With the addition of the our new champion coming with the new week and unlocking the 7th tier of Order Hall Advancement, I feel this is a good time to revisit the subject of optimizing Order Hall Champions and research.
There's a lot of leeway with regards to composition, and there's no single "best" setup. Mission counters are largely randomized, and your lineup will obviously change if you favor certain Champions or Combat Allies over others. The biggest optimization is simply ensuring you can counter as many threats as possible. That said, this is merely my logic regarding optimal combinations.
Quicklinks: New in 7.2 - Best Champions - Champion Analysis
New in 7.2
- Darius Crowley (Alliance)/Eitrigg (Horde)
Unlocking the new follower also unlocks a 6th active champion slot, so you don't have to immediately deactivate a champion to drop back down to 5. Unfortunately, while I want to like them, I don't find the new Champion to be that attractive. Rather than add a 3rd Protection option, we got a 4th Fury, which means overlap and Crowley/Eitrigg has the same counters as the already well-used Hydmall. There simply isn't a lot of reason to use both, so unless you're going to use him as a combat ally, or don't want to use Hymdall, it may be better to deactivate them and use another follower instead - more on this below.
Tier 7 Advancement
- Strike Hard
Adds two new troops. Like Shieldmaidens, they provide a +30% bonus, but also provide a random counter. While at first glance this seems really attractive, I'm not very inclined to use them, especially if you've trained Abundant Valor, allowing a 4th Valarjar/3rd Shieldmaiden. I find Shieldmaidens on par or better with Ascension, and a lot of counters can situationally be ignored (increased cost, duration, lethal) depending on the mission.
- Roster Champions
Unlocks a 7th active Champion slot, up from 6. I find this to be very useful in allowing more flexibility and variety in countering threats; it's essentially required to allow 2 of each counter, unless you don't want a dedicated Combat Ally.
My suggestion is dependent on your level of involvement.
- If you do missions often, leading to a well developed roster of Champions, of high level and complete with powerful equipment, I find that adding another Champion will make your team more flexible and three extra equipment slots can be far more powerful than extra troops.
- If you instead do the bare minimum, only sending out missions once per day or less, and don't have all epic/titled quality Champions, then extra troops will be more beneficial for getting high bonus % on the missions you send out.
Best Champion lineups
(what you really clicked here to find)
There are many viable setups, largely dependent on who you want to use as a combat ally, and which Champions you may have already leveled/geared up to this point.
Champion Special Abilities Counters Finna +15% vs Hazards 2 Protection Svergan +15% dual troop types 2 Fury Hymdall +15% over 8 hours 2 Arms Hodir +15% vs Minions 2 Pummel Thorim +15% when solo 2 Whirlwind Ymiron +poop 2 Leap Crowley (ally) +5% per troop vitality Fury/Leap backup
- Strength: Well balanced specs/counters.
- Weaknesses: Slightly weaker special abilities (Thorim/Ymiron), Crowley is now a much less useful combat ally.
- Optional allies: Thorim or Hodir can be used as optional combat allies if desired, just swap them when a mission they counter comes up.
B (my setup)
Champion Special Abilities Counters Finna +15% vs Hazards 2 Protection Svergan +15% dual troop types 2 Fury Hymdall +15% over 8 hours 2 Arms Dvalen +20% with 1 health troop 2 Pummel Ragnvald +5% per troop vitality 2 Whirlwind Thorim +15% when solo 2 Leap Hodir (ally) +15% vs Minions Fury/Whirlwind backup
- Strength: Well balanced specs/counters, Hodir is great for world PvP.
- Weakness: A lot of "solo champion" specials, Hodir is very good for missions.
- Optional allies: Dvalen/Thorim.
Champion Special Abilities Counters Finna +15% vs Hazards 2 Protection Svergan +15% dual troop types 2 Fury Hymdall +15% over 8 hours 2 Arms Hodir +15% vs Minions 2 Pummel Ragnvald +5% per troop vitality 3 Whirlwind Ymiron +poop 1 Leap Thorim (ally) +15% when solo Arms/Leap backup
- Strengths: Stronger special abilities, Thorim's buff is good for less geared players and in PvP, "KROLMIR!"
- Weaknesses: Only one dedicated Heroic Leap counter, though Thorim can be used for missions when not actively being used.
- Optional allies: Hodir.
Champion Special Abilities Counters Finna +15% vs Hazards 2 Protection Svergan +15% dual troop types 2 Fury Hymdall +15% over 8 hours 2 Arms Hodir +15% vs Minions 2 Pummel Thorim +15% when solo 2 Whirlwind Ymiron +poop 2 Leap Dvalen (ally) +20% with 1 health troop Fury/Pummel backup
- Strength: Well balanced specs/counters.
- Weakness: Weaker special abilities; Dvalen.
- Optional allies: Thorim/Hodir.
*Meatball & Moroes
*If you want to use Shocktroops instead of 7 Champions, either drop the dedicated Combat Ally, or drop Ymiron and use Thorim/Dvalen as combat allies to retain the second Arms/Pummel counter.
(long winded shit you don't care about)
Mostly subjective, but can have a big impact on who you decide to run in your main mission-going roster.
- Finna - Random proc, 1.5m internal CD. Uncontrollable makes it annoying, often pulls neutral mobs or attacks PvP flagged players (and guards) in towns.
- Dvalen - Bodyguard. Useful at low levels, but fairly worthless at higher ones.
- Thorim - 2m CD 3m duration 25% AP buff with a short AoE stun 3m. Good in world PvP, and the buff is a nice ~10% damage increase that can be kept up permanently. Very useful for undergeared players, less useful when you're already two-shotting world mobs.
- Hodir - 3m CD 8s AoE stun, deals more damage than Thorim, but doesn't provide a personal buff. Very powerful in world PvP.
- Crowley/Eitrigg - A second combat ally, with the option of putting them in proc mode, working similar to Finna, which causes him to appear and bladestorm a group of enemies for ~500k damage.
Personally, I find Thorim and Hodir to be the best allies, because you can control them. I don't really like Finna because she often procs when you don't want her to, and her cooldown prohibits her from appearing when you do (she also procs on and chases non-hostile targets such as neutral mobs and PvP zone/server players not actively engaged in combat). She's also really important for her Pummel, since the other two champions which offer it are, in my opinion, pretty weak. Likewise, I'm not a fan of Dvalen for similar reasons, and I find the extra damage output unnecessary at higher gear levels.
Another important thing to remember is that Combat Allies can easily be taken on and off, meaning you can use them for the occasional mission, and so they should complement your group. This can compensate for an imbalanced roster, since you can still use them to complete missions, especially during "off" hours when not actively playing the game.
- Finna Bjornsdottir - Shield Charge synergizes well with the Shieldmaiden's Ascension, and the strongest option for Pummel.
- Svergan Stormcloak - Royal Bloodline is strong bonus with the right follower equipment, but requires two open slots for troops, making it difficult to counter missions with multiple threats. Pairs well with Shock Troops.
- Ragnvald Drakeborn - Commanding Shout has the highest bonus potential of all Champion special abilities. Slightly stronger than Thorim or Svergans bonuses because it still gets some benefit with only one troop and another Champion.
- Thorim - Titan's Wrath precludes any other Champions on the mission, making it more difficult to counter missions with multiple threats. Pairs well with Shock Troops.
- King Ymiron - Screams of the Dead is pretty bad in my opinion. A [I]chance/I] to save a 30m cooldown and trivial amount of resources. However, he provides Pummel.
- Hymdall - Gatekeeper is very useful as the hardest to complete missions are often the longest, and synergizes quite well with long-duration equipment bonuses.
- Hodir - Frozen Blows is almost always active, since his Whirlwind also counters Minions.
- Dvalen Ironrune - Enrage is useful though kind of niche; hard to plan on it being available, forces you to counter Lethal, and takes awhile to force availability if it's not already up. While the bonus can stack high, it encourages keeping troops at 1 health, which is at odds with Ragnvald/Crowley/Rallying Cry which benefit from high health troops. However, he provides Pummel, and is typically a better option than Ymiron.
- Darius Crowley/Eitrigg - Leader of the Pack/Blood and Honor is disappointingly the same effect as Ragnvald, although it is one of the stronger bonuses. His true fault is that his counter also copies Hymdall's, who is likely far more useful as a "long mission" specialist, and likely already well developed during the time leading up to 7.2.
- Meatball & Moroes - Both are great champions, and can be really useful for hitting 200% with underdeveloped teams, but the downside is that they don't actually counter anything. Personally, I don't have much problem hitting 200% as long as I can counter the missions... the hard part is actually having whatever combination of counters it requires, which is why I favor regular champions. TLDR: Meatball & Moroes allow you to 200% one mission - having a wide range of counters allows you to 200% many missions.
If you do want to use them, my suggestion would be to use only one, either as a combat ally, or using your combat ally to cover any counters that you lose by replacing one of your primary mission going champions.
I tend to find Finna, Hymdall, Ragnvald, Hodir, Svergan, and Thorim the most useful due to their bonuses, while Dvalen and Ymiron the least, in that order. Since we're going for an extra Protection and Pummel, there really isn't a lot of choice - Svergan is the only choice, and unfortunately, getting a second Pummel counter requires the use of either Dvalen or Ymiron. Although Dvalen's special ability is better than Ymiron's, there are already too many good Fury picks, so Ymiron wins out in the end. This is why I find Roster of Champions more useful than Shock Troops - you can't get two of every spec/counter and have a dedicated ally without it. Although you could get by with 6 and a "flexible" combat ally used part time, I still favor an extra Champion, as it allows more variety and a greater chance of being able to counter missions.
As I said in the beginning, there's a lot of flexibility, and I don't really think there's any "right" choice as long as you can counter mission threats. The biggest influence is who you decide to take as a Combat Ally, and which Champions you may have already spent time leveling up/equipping already. I'm currently using setup for B.