As far as what minis to buy, until you get deep into the game and want to know how to spend your juicy legendary cores, it doesn’t hugely matter. Two reasons why:
The first is that your collection level gives you a strong incentive to purchase every mini. You get collection levels for each mini purchase, each rarity upgrade, and each mini level. In all cases, the most efficient source of those things is the one you haven’t done yet. Upgrading a mini from rare to epic takes 25 stars (2250g) and an epic core, but unlocking a mini costs a measly 90g.
The second is a bit deeper. While execution is important, in many ways Rumble is a Puzzle game, each mission presenting a different challenge for you to build an army to overcome. This means that almost every mini has a role in an army. The counter system says that even the mightiest of melee can be felled by the flimsiest of fliers. A single Flamewaker can clear hundreds of gold of aoe minis by himself, but is rapidly dispatched by a charging Stonehoof Tauren, who in turn collapses to a pair of Vultures.
Likewise, in PvP this means that what’s good or bad is mostly dependent on what other people are playing at the moment. This makes what’s good or bad a highly dynamic situation that is best answered by looking at the stats about what people are doing.
Be free! Experiment! Explore! The world is yours for the taking!
Okay, still here? I know what you really want. You want a guide that says buy this, avoid that, and rules you like a king.
Let’s get started. The quick and dirty tier list is as follows:
Things to note: The bulk of minis are in B tier. No child is my favourite. But my favourite children are in the S-tier. These minis aren’t necessarily the most powerful, but they’re the spice that goes into and improves nearly every army you can fit them in. As we move down the tiers, the minis get more specialised - but even the D tier can be good in the right contexts. Face off against Vultures with an army with limited ranged or spell minis, and you’ll be pulling your hair out as they counter an entire push with 1g.
Also, there’s no leaders here. First off, we need a leader from every family to complete the heroic campaign, so that limits the comparison that can be made. And so far the leaders within each family are varied enough that I wouldn’t make strong recommendations either way. Still, here’s the easiest or most accessible leader for each family:
- Beast: Hogger
- Horde: Cairne / Grom
- Alliance: Tirion
- Undead: Baron Rivendare
- Blackrock: Rend Blackhand
These tiers are of limited use. For example, both Quilboar and Earth Elemental are S tier, but they overlap in what they do, so you don’t get as much benefit from both. We can try and group minis in to their rough roles - how they would slot into an army, and ask for how they perform there.
The Big Boys
We have 6 bulky tanks at the high end of costs - Core Hounds, Abomination, Mountaineer, Warsong Grunts, Footmen, and Molten Giant. Abomination, while lacking Armoured (50% reduced physical damage) or Resistance (50% reduced elemental damage), has an incredibly strong hook to drag in ranged, massive bulk, and cleaves minis in front of him. The others all risk too much in what they cost for what they bring.
Call in the Squad
We have Raptors, Angry Chickens, and Spiderlings for swarming the enemy. Spiderlings offer a nice poison trait, and Chickens are extremely high damage for their cost, but Raptors offer a good mix between versatility, survivability, and damage output. Skeletons and Skeleton Party are both good (the former with the Exhume talent), but are more used for their Unbound ability.
One Shot, One Kill
For our long-ranged single-targets, we have the Necromancer, Darkspear Troll, Firehammer, and Murloc Tidehunters. The Necromancer can demolish swarm armies with the talent that summons a skeleton on kill, and frustrates single target opponents as they fight with the skeletons instead of him. The troll and the dwarf tie as each offers a different damage type. The murlocs are a little weaker, but they made it into my Onyxia army in Beta, so don’t discount them.
Spells are Fun!
Smoke Bomb, Cheat Death, and Polymorph offer unique utility. Of the damage spells, we have Holy Nova, Living Bomb, Chain Lightning, Execute, Deep Breath, Arcane Blast, and Blizzard. Blizzard comes out on top for being just a lot of damage for the cost, and the slow feature being extremely useful. Chain Lightning has an important role in trading cleanly with Whelps (it pops the eggs and kills the whelps) and Harpies. Execute’s value changes dramatically depending on the target, making it a more purposeful choice.
Get in there and fight, maggot!
Geting into the brawl - we have Stonehoof Tauren, Prowler, Harvest Golem, Gnoll Brute, Fire Elemental, Ghoul, and Worgen. Stonehoof Tauren is the clear favourite, offering a stun on charge, massive amounts of health, and a talent to double charge, allowing her to shred enemy backlines. Prowler is a respectable second choice, and Worgen sees use as another backline attacker. The Golem has a useful stun talent, and Fire Elementals are decent as a tank and cleaver while resisting and dealing elemental damage. The Ghoul has some niche use - when healing from corpses it is genuinely tough to take down, but is a little slow and outclassed as both a cheap tank and damage dealer.
These minis specialize in AoE damage to the ground. We have the Plague Farmer, Flamewaker, and the Bat Rider. A well protected Flamewaker can annihilate ground armies, and the Batrider is a cheap flying counter to any melee. The Plague farmer falls behind a little, but has use in poison-focused armies.
Guarding the skies we have the Gryphon Rider, Harpies, Drake, and Vultures. Harpies are incredible - fast, high damage, relatively cheap. They have versatile talents, allowing them to acts as miners or deal high amounts of poison damage. Drakes are also strong, offering massive amount of aoe damage to both ground and air, as well as controlling the lane by dropping eggs with the Mother Drake talent. Gryphons are solid at 2g, but Vultures exist mostly to punish opponents with insufficient anti-air.
Do you like to play with fire?
Focusing on AoE ranged damage, we have the Huntress, the Ogre Mage, and the Pyromancer. The Huntress is a super-star, offering reduced elemental damage taken, fast movement, and a high damage long range chain attack. The Pyromancer and Ogre Magi offer different tradeoffs. Ogre can give nearby minis bloodlust and is extremely bulky, but comes at a high cost relative to the damage output. The Pyromancer is fragile, but has an extremely high damage output, which can be increased by talents.
Tear it down!
We have some siege specialists - the Warsong Raider, Goblin Sapper, Gargoyle, and Meat Wagon. Sappers flip towers for 2g, making them an excellent choice when Tower control is important, but falling down on a lot of maps. The Gargoyle and Meat Wagon are more versatile - many missions can be won just by allowing the Gargoyle to slowly fly towards the enemy base, and the Meat Wagon has an unparalleled range, able to attack bosses without incurring aggro. The Raider falls behind a little, but can fight other minis more effectively.
Unbound minis are some of the most powerful in the game. S.A.F.E. Pilot doubles as a ranged mini while offering efficient AoE damage. Quilboar and Earth Elemental make repositioning boss attacks and taking towers a breeze. Whelp Eggs are egg-cellent, acting in tandem with our tanks, or can be dropped on the face of melee or ranged minis, flipping the usual counter system. Worgen, Skeletons, and Skeleton Party are good - but tend to have more specific builds they go into.
Tools of the Trade
Finally, we have Banshee, Dark Iron Miner, Defias Bandits, and Shaman. The Shaman is the only reliable source of healing in the game outside of Tirion. The Banshee is a devastating counter to high cost minis, stealing them for you own. But she is fragile and doesn’t always grab what you want.
The Dark Iron is reasonable for easily taking gold mines, being unbound and slightly tougher than your regular Kobold. A lot of maps lack enough mines to take advantage of his abilities, and can be substituted for careful use of Kobolds, making him a niche pick.
But the Bandits are another story. For just 1g, you can make them efficient poison damage dealers, gold generators, or a source of stuns. They’re stealthed so they usually get value, and are great at capturing chests and killing Kobolds. One of the best and most versatile minis in the game.
To reiterate what we said at the start - all minis have uses, all minis should be looked at. Many of the buckets I placed the minis in here only represent part of their potential. But within these limited perspectives, this is what they offer. The real work is fitting the pieces to the puzzle.