There are lots of battle modes available in the tactical squad combat game Warhammer 40K: Tacticus. Set in a dystopian galaxy far in the future, the human race battles for survival against a series of alien life forms bent on their destruction. In this title, though, you can play as either side.
There are campaign stories that include hundreds of unique battles, guild raids, Onslaught, and Salvage Runs, plus an ongoing series of limited-time quests. But for hardcore players, the real challenge is in the Arena. Here we’ll give you some tips on how to survive in Tacticus Arena PvP.
Tacticus Arena Leagues
If you want to try your luck in the Arena, first click the Battle icon on the bottom right of your screen and scroll down until you see Arena. Click the box to be taken to the main Arena screen. If you click the Leaderboard tab, you’ll see a Hall of Fame of previous Season winners at the top, with the full list of current leagues below it. The Top 25 players in the top league are just below, followed by the list of all the other Arena leagues.
If you scroll down, you’ll see the position you have in your current league, and at the bottom of your league’s box, a line in green telling you what number you need to stay above to advance to the next league up in the next season. As long as you’re not in the lowest league, there will also be a position you need to get to so you can avoid being dropped to a lower league. The higher your league, the better rewards you’ll receive for winning battles and completing seasons.
The Arena Battles Screen
At the top of your Arena Battles screen, you’ll find some important information in your section:
- Character Power: This is the total power of the last team you used to fight in the Arena, which is also the team the AI will use if you are someone else’s opponent (see below).
- Victories: The number more you need to get your next Crate of rewards.
- Character image: click this to see your total character power, as well as the team you put out last time that determines your Character Power mentioned above.
Below your character are three potential opponents chosen for you at random from your current league, and just below that the number of battles you have left this time period and how long until that number will refresh.
Choosing Your Opponent
Each opponent section gives you some very useful information:
- Character image: Click this to see their total character power, top line up, and more, just as you can with your own image.
- Character Power: This will be the strength of the team you come up against, which you can compare to yours to get a fairly good feeling for your odds.
- Potential League Points: This is crucial. It tells you how many ranking Arena points you’ll get if you win (green up arrow) or lose (red down arrow).
- Opposition characters: Depending on the closeness of your Power to theirs, this can be important. In a close matchup, you need to know your team has the composition it needs to take down the opponent. While this is illuminating, note that you can’t look in detail. They may individually have much better gear than you, for example.
At the bottom of the Arena Battles screen is the option to Refresh your available opponents. This costs Blackstones, the most valuable currency in the game, so be very sure you want to do this before you commit. There are far better ways for most players to spend those Blackstones, such as opening up new characters through the Requisition system.
If you don’t like the look of your three opponents, see if there are any high-ranking ones you can lose to and not lose any ranking points (they have zero by the red negative marker). This way you take the L and lose no progress, which will also refresh your three opponents for the next battle.
Arena PvP Pre-Battle Guide
Once you’ve chosen an opponent, click Battle to begin. Here are some important details to note:
- They’re not there: While you are battling against a team of characters created and leveled up by a real person, the actual battle isn’t against them in real-time. It is against the Warhammer 40K: Tacticus AI.
- There’s no time limit: Which means you don’t need to panic. You can take as much time as you like, just as in any other Tacticus battle.
- Five-character teams, you go first: You’ll always be five-versus-five, you can rearrange and change your squad before the battle begins, and you will always take the first turn.
- Tight maps: While there is a small variety of different Arena maps you might play on, they are always tight. So, it is likely your opponent will be able to hit you on their first turn and vice versa. Think carefully about the positioning of passive defenders such as Tigurius, and those with Overwatch such as Certus.
Arena PvP Battle Tips
Once the battle begins, as this is against the AI, all the usual tropes apply. As you play more, you’ll start to note that the AI plays certain characters better than others. But don’t underestimate it — the AI really can play very well.
- Danger Zone and skipping turn one: Remember the Danger Zone Enabled icon at the bottom right of the battle screen, which shows the move range of the entire opposition squad. If you can stay out of range, give the likes of Belator a free build-up round, and line up Overwatch characters, this can be a good first move.
- Flame on: Adepta Sororitas Vindicta is a very popular early-game character and as you improve her Fire of Absolution ability, she can cause fiery havoc. But on a tight map, this can do as much harm as good. Consider your own maneuverability, especially in a tight match with a Vindicta on both sides.
- Pets win prizes: Characters that Summon are very big in the meta right now and the more troops you have in the Arena, the better your odds. Even weaker ones have a use, as they can draw fire from your actual characters.
- Bring it on back now: Similarly, troops such as Isabella that can Revive your other characters can swing the tide of a battle. As these battles are on tight fields, they tend to be short, so triggering all your powerful one-shot abilities can be a key to success.
- Eliminate the danger: Don’t rush. Look at whom each of your characters can attack and how much they can take them down. It’s better to eliminate a character completely even if it means wasting damage, as that’s one less body shooting back at you. If you have choices, pick anyone who hasn’t yet used their special ability – especially Revivers and Summoners.
- Enemy at the gates: If both teams have a sniper such as Certus, and you be out of range on turn one, position your sniper where they can Overwatch the opponent’s sniper. Otherwise, those guys can really spoil your day.
Finally, whether you love or loathe Arena PvP, you need to do a little every day. If you’re not winning, don’t let it get you down. As you strengthen your team, your time will come. You need to have two battles (just play, not win) each day to complete your standard Daily Mission and get your Tier Crate, which is pretty much essential for progress.
Similarly, try not to leave any Arena Crates unclaimed. If you’re on three of four victories towards your next crate at the end of a season, one more victory would’ve got you a great crate. It’s unlikely to be the difference between league promotion or relegation, so you may as well play a few more battles to get that win and that crate. Good hunting!