Who is the Best Vanilla Tank? 🍦

This is exactly my case: Marjana, Isarnia+7, Justice+6, Rigard+17, Lianna+6

I’m going back and forth from Platinum to Diamond and back. But I don’t raid actively, only do occasional revenge.


I use Thorne +7 as my tank since I don’t have anyone better! He keeps me in diamond well enough though.


I find Richard more a more threatening tank than Justice. The slow mana speed gives you that much more time to prepare a defense (easy with Grazul, not too hard with Ursena), have a cleanse ready, or kill her outright before she fires. You have less margin for error in a bad board with Richard soaking up tiles. I haven’t faced his costume more than once or twice, but he seems excellent costumed up.


What about Azlar?

Kash is my favorite snack, earlier this year, I used to fight 3600 Kash Tank with 3200 team that consist of 2 blue and 3 purple… I won’t rate the lizzard as tank.

When I need a guaranteed victory (filling raid chest), I often avoid Elena/Azlar tank…


After the classes were introduced Elena definitely got better, I’ve thought of her as a serviceable tank for defenses.

  • Riposte to herself + nearby means that rows 2 to 6 get counterattacked
  • Fighter class comes with revive talent (a plus for any tank even if slow)
  • Nasty damage to all, means you need a beefy dispeller that can take the hit

I think she’s serviceable though, not a fantastic tank. Her low defense is what ultimately really hurts her for that spot.


I compiled the data for all 3,224 raids I’ve tracked. Normal caveats apply: I am making no attempt to normalize for emblems, team power, value of support team, the attack team I brought, etc. So, to some extent, the data is skewed by my own roster and decisions to fight. Although, with this particular question, I believe it is less subject to those influences, as a big part of my tracking exercise was so that I could better guide my embleming and troop leveling decisions to shore up weaknesses. That is, when I saw I’m weak against red tanks, I poured emblems into Kiril and Frida and bumped up my blue troops.

4 Stars

There is no contest here: the answer is Boril. He went 5-74 against me, 8th best in the sample and head and shoulders above any other four star (barring one potential outlier I will get to in a minute). The rest of the four stars went 1-129 against me. He’s by far the best value proposition, given how cheap it’ll be to emblem him to max, compared to all the five stars we’re going to talk about in a moment.

Worth noting: Gadeirus. Recognizing that he probably doesn’t fit the definition of Vanilla, he did go 2-6 against me, which would be the highest win rate in the period. Obviously there’s a sample size issue here - I am looking for and fighting every Gadeirus tank I can find. But if I had one, a stack of Druid emblems, and no obvious better emblem tank, I’d give it a go.

5 Stars

Hero Wins Losses Win %
Elena 12 97 11.0%
Isarnia 6 61 9.0%
Azlar 4 45 8.2%
Richard 13 167 7.2%
Elkanen 4 52 7.1%
Horghall 1 14 6.7%
Obakan 1 17 5.6%
Joon 1 17 5.6%
Justice 3 69 4.2%
Lianna 1 26 3.7%
Leonidas 1 26 3.7%
Thorne 3 79 3.7%
Kadilen 1 27 3.6%
Vivica 3 89 3.3%
Sartana 1 43 2.3%
Magni 2 98 2.0%
Marjana 1 57 1.7%
Khagan 0 50 0.0%
Quintus 0 17 0.0%
Domitia 0 15 0.0%


  1. Fast snipers like Joon, Lianna, Sartana, Magni, Marjana, etc. are not tanks. You are mispositioning your hero.

  2. Average speed and slow heroes fall into two groups: when they fire they basically win the raid (Azlar and Isarnia) or dramatically change the composition of the fight with their secondary effects (Elena and Richard), or they do not, causing only damage (Leonidas, Thorne, Khagan, Quintus, Domitia - note the absence of soul crushing secondary effects).

Let’s look a little deeper at the heroes I didn’t name in the above categories one at a time, since I think they defy easy classification.

Vivica: her win rate is poor, even though her special changes the fight composition. Part of it seems to be how easy the special is to clear: Richard does well because there is no natural choice to cleanse or reverse his ailment, Vivica does not because Seshat or Domitia were getting charged while Vivica was.

Horghall, Obakan, and Kadilen: not the best sample sizes for these, but it is interesting to note that Horghall may qualify for the latter part of point 2. Maybe not though, as Boldtusk is a very strong counter. Kadilen is a weird mix since she has sniper speed and does have a secondary effect that is hard for fire heroes to clear. But I think ultimately it’s just not enough damage output while still leaving her susceptible to tile death (whereas Richard and Elena make tile death harder / punish it). Not sure what to say about Obakan.

Elkanen is also an interesting case as he is similar to Kadilen, conceptually. Sniper speed, but only damage. The obvious comparison is Leo, who did NOT fare well. I’m not sure why Elk did better than Kadilen. I guess that self-heal giving a little extra time for his team before dying makes a difference. Maybe someone will have some thoughts on this.

Lastly, Justice: Justice seems to meet the criteria for an average / slow tank: big special. The problem is that almost everyone is going to have a very emblemed Rigard. And the costumed versions can now easily fire in 9 tiles. Barring a costume change for her, I think she’s becoming less viable, though she is not terrible. Average or slightly above average right now, I’d say.

My Opinion

Again, Boril. You get maybe 80% of the performance of the best vanilla five stars at a fraction of the cost.

Beyond that, my vote is Richard. No green who’s likely to attack him undoes his ailment and his class does a lot for his tank position (where Isarnia and Azlar’s do not). In saying this, I’m partly accounting for my roster - I’m attacking him with a heavily emblemed Mother North, moderately emblemed Evelyn, and a basically max emblemed Caedmon. That team is strong and fast (decently superior to what I bring against the red heroes). That he still wins so often anyway is a real credit to him.


@IvyTheTerrible do you happen to know what talent path is the best for Elena? Attack or HP or Defense?


Titans att, tank def…

Azlar - the gamble king

Horghall - emblemed and costumed can be extremely tough

Elena - similar to Azlar as another gamble card

Thorne - sorry but I like him better than Richard


Thorne isn’t anything, neither tank nor flank nor wing, he just hits and leaves enough lp for at least one slash even on squishy epics. No, Thorne is out imo.


Richard - the best classic tank. Always was, always will be. This is the main reason I’ve chosen him to be my tank in AW. Beginning with September, no one succeeded 1-shot win against me in wars. OK, agree, there are a lot of noobs out there, but still…

P.S. I’ve chosen every atk node and is also a 1-shot finisher if he hits an already harmed hero (or one with lowered def). And the adjacent heroes are also screwed. And is average, not slow, which makes him indeed the greatest.


Her attack stat is high so I’d just go that route, especially since she’ll almost certainly be on your titan team. I know Scarecrow has also said offensive Fighters should pour on attack so it’s more devastating if they revive and fire.

That said, I didn’t fully spec her out and would do that before I decided. My guess is it’ll be like Jackal; even going full defense / hp it was obvious he’s be upgraded, at best, from very fragile to regular fragile. So I felt going full attack and hoping he survives through Evade a bit longer was the best course. I’d guess Elena could maybe go from fragile to whatever is slightly better than fragile but still well shy of robust. Attack, let the revive work from time to time.


This surprises me and I remember you saying the same thing in your Embleming Heroes guide (which I think is excellent, btw). So you consider him more towards the sniper class? Do you think of Frida the same way?

If you look at paladin grid you’ll see the player is forced to go mainly def path. And Richard has already a tone of def. There is no point in let him be as weak as Justice, for example (for me, Justice is a joke; to little damage and any cleanser has the time to cleanse). Besides, like I also said in that thread, Richard is a hitter, not a support hero. It seems obviously for heroes like him and Frida to choose any atk node available. When I attack, Richard is one of my best heroes. I rely more on him, than Magni, who dies easily. And the best use for Richard is side finisher (hitting the wing with an already harmed flank, wipes both heroes, so strong his damage becomes after his atk stat is 700+). And if they somehow survive, they’re useless being with attack down and low HP. Support heroes like Ares and Aegir have to go only def/HP path, but not the A3E and splash hitters. You know, the best defense is the attack :slightly_smiling_face:

P.S. At last 5* rush attack tournament, my alt (Richard +11) finished undefeated…


Yeah I use Richard as tank, and I started off on strictly DEF route but now I’m more tempted to switch to attack. My thinking was originally that the protect talent adds a multiplier for DEF, so it would be crazy to not take advantage. But he’s so tanky now it just feels like diminishing returns.

As an aside, seems like people always talk about ATK or DEF nodes as a binary choice. I think it sometimes is, but shouldn’t certain heroes be balanced? For example, I’ve picked from both sides for Athena because her primary role is debuffer, but she’s also a hitter.


I agree that attack path with Richard is better too.

He already has the same defense stat as Kunchen before emblems, but Richard’s skill is more threatening when it heavily damages his target – leaving it in range of death by slash attack when fighting him on defense.

This is mostly thanks to his already high % damage from his skill. Pumping his attack will make that high % much more notable, and he still picks up a decent amount of defense anyways.

EDIT: although Thorne is a less desirable tank choice, if you have no one better for a blue tank, he’ll be serviceable with emblems – so long as he also goes the attack path (for the same reasons as Richard)


I’ve been wondering about this. I envisioned Thorne as my tank not so long ago, but it didn’t work that well. My paladin emblems are going to Gunnar right now (still on my paladin trial team) after taking Sonya to +20, but if I ever get around to embleming Thorne, my thought was to go attack. After all, if his special is only damage, it had better be A LOT of damage! Thanks for confirming my thoughts.


Am I the only one using Horghall(+11) as tank? He usually keeps me around 2500 cups. Or maybe it’s the rest of my defense team.


Yes, yes you are. :evergreen_tree::deciduous_tree::evergreen_tree::deciduous_tree::evergreen_tree:


Yeah Horg isn’t too good these days. He’s slow mana, and even if he does go off it’s not a big deal really. Just hold BT’s special and it’s like Horghall’s special never happened.

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