Heroes strengthen your marches with skills, buffs and ability to field more units. Most hero exclusive skills boost damage or unit health. Other heroes have skills that provide other boosts (such as instant repair, boosted gathering or immediate unit training); these heroes are not recommended for PVP but still are very useful.
You’ll find that many heroes ultimately will not be useful; figuring out which heroes to pour your limited resources into (shards and experience books) will be critical to success.
Pair an army hero with another army hero and tanks, navy hero with another navy hero and ships, and so on. Mixing and matching will be far less effective.
Until you reach level 80, most players primarily use army and navy heroes. Army allows for multiple effective marches, given you can easily have 300+ tanks but there is very limited space for navy and air force units – navy takes 6 water spaces, and air force 4. Navy has an advantage over Army, given the significant bonuses from unit suppression (think rock-paper-scissors), so a strong Navy march will go far. You will unlock second docks/hangars at 80, which changes the game by increasing the limit on ships/planes.
Top initial gold heroes are Katyusha and Bradley. Rambo is the top purple hero. Given the cost and rarity of orange shards, most focus on one gold hero (Katyusha recommended) and Rambo.
The Hero Bond achievements in particular make the above gold heroes attractive. These add +2000 WAR or DEF to these particular heroes, increasing skill impact and unit stats.
For big spenders, Amalia is a versatile hero whose exclusive skill boosts all units, and she gives valuable chests each day with a gold shard chance and other goodies. When Ben becomes available, he is also very strong in attack. Fahed is also strong, particularly on defense.
The strongest late game army heroes are Katyusha, Ben, Optimus Prime and Amalia/Bradley. Ben’s shield (solely on attack) on provides a shield that protects units from 5 attacks; this is 6 with lvl 1-4 exclusive skill, and 7 with lvl 5. This grouping on attack (particularly in a 3 hero march) can beat even strong navy marches, though the introduction of Akatora has countered this.
Late game, rough ranking of army heroes: Optimus Prime, Preycis, Mei, Bradley (exclusive level 7), Katyusha, Ben, Piedmont, Fahed, Villiers (all units), Amalia (all units), Tywin, Rambo.
Top gold hero from the start is Bassel given his strong ATK boost skill and boost from Hero Bond achievements. Nimitz is second and Bellevue third; her artillery skill is similar to that of Katyusha, though the proc rate is fairly low. Simon is the top purple hero, so Bassel or Nimitz and Simon is a common pairing. Simon is strong in PVP with full perks, and wouldn’t be replaced until Bassel/Nimitz are 4 stars.
Top heroes are Yuu, who is especially strong with a very expensive exclusive level 7, Akatora, and Bailos. 914 was the most powerful hero in the game on attack, but has become less so with the introduction of Optimus Prime and Yuu and their defensive skills. Top navy 3HM is generally Yuu, Akatora and Bailos on attack, and the same on defense; Optimus Prime can be substituted for Yuu, and 914 can still be an effective inclusion on attack.
Late game, rough ranking of navy heroes: Yuu (exclusive level 7), Akatora, Optimus Prime (but not with Yuu), Bailos, Maximo, Yuu (exclusive below 7), Bassel, Villiers, Amalia, Violet, Katrina, Nimitz, Bellevue
Air Force Heroes
Air force has typically had poor free gold heroes, and does not have a strong purple. Rockfield and Tsuru became available through tickets and are the strongest initial gold heroes, and their skills complement one another. Otherwise, Sauvage is okay, and Hartmann and Edward aren’t terrible. Most players do not field an air force march until later game, however, as it is difficult to build a high number of air force units, and air force is countered by the many army marches out there. Can use Dr. Gero and Ricardo as purples to pair with a gold hero.
For later game, Maximo was recently introduced and is one of the most powerful paid heroes in the game with his laser shot skill. Aya, Selina and Dante and are powerful air force heroes for purchase. Amalia and Villiers can be used as air force heros given their versatile skills. A typical top air force march is Maximo, Selina, and either Aya, Villiers or Optimus Prime.
Late game, rough ranking of air force heroes: Maximo, Selina, Optimus Prime, Villiers, Aya, Dante, Tsuru (with Rockfield), Rockfield, Amalia.
Diana: Use Diana for attacking dark forces and warhammers, which are crucial to accumulating tech chests to level up. She reduces the vitality requirement for each attack by 2.
Bob: Bob is a blue you’ll get early with low stats, but he can be useful to pair with Diana in attacking dark forces given the march speed buff of his skill.
Wade: A free early purple hero. His skill allows immediate repair of units, but do not level him up too heavily (could leave him experience level 1) as he is not too useful in PVP – his skill has no effect in battle.
Kurozo: Purchasing Kurozo allows you to train a number of units immediately each day. Do not plan to use for PVP.
Black Widow/Kate Curry: Black Widow is another blue who you should use for gathering oil, food and gold. Kate can be obtained by purchasing 10 shards from the Legion Store, and also receives gathering buffs.
Amalia: For a bigger spender, Amalia offers a unique benefit when attacking warhammers and dark forces, giving you 4 chests each time based on a limit that increases by her star level. Once she hit 4*, these are upgraded to gold chests. Chest contents and drop rates are here: https://top-war-battle-game.fandom.com/wiki/Amalia Amalia is also highly effective in PVP, and can be used on any march.
Villiers: Similar to Amalia, Villiers can be used on any march and boosts attack/damage. Her skill also allows up to 50 minutes per day of significant damage decrease, which is fairly powerful for events such as odinium or SVS, and can be useful in KE.
Experience and Stars: You level up both the experience and star level of your heros – experience with books, and stars with shards. Shards can be obtained through recruit tickets (standard, premium, elite), through events, with $ purchases or with gems. 60 gems for purple and 300 for orange, though ideally at a discount. You obtain a hero when you pull 10 shards; it then takes 20 shards to level to 2*, 60 more to 3*, 180 to 4*, and 360 to 5*. 630 total shards to level a hero to 5*, so a lot of time or money.
Elite Recruits: Elite recruit vouchers, by default, recruit navy heroes. You need to change that each time, if you want army or otherwise.
Level Impact: Hero experience level increases their War and DEF, impacting unit attack and HP. Hitting level 20, 60 and 100 also open slots for skills. Hero star level increases War, DEF and critically Command (CMD). CMD provides a larger march size, allowing you to field more units for each 100 points. Gold heros have a 2000 max CMD, and purple 1500.
Once a hero reaches 5 stars, you can unlock one of 4 perk slots with gems. The perk you obtain is random, and can be changed with perk books. The effect of perk books is random until you use 20 for the slot, at which point you can choose the perk. The ideal would be four perks – all unit HP, all unit ATK, and ATK/HP appropriate for the hero’s military branch. It will be easiest and cheapest to fill these for purple heros such as Rambo and Simon, greatly increasing their effectiveness.
At more advanced stages of the game, strong players perk their gold heroes on the main attack march. It is very expensive to perk gold heroes – a fully perked hero would take ~1,760 shards – but that hero would have +220% Attack and +220% HP. So there is a tradeoff between strengthening your main attack march, and building out a broader set of heroes and army/navy/air force marches to take advantage of the rock-paper-scissors aspects of the game’s combat.
3 Hero March
At the outset of the game, you can use 2 heroes in a march. A powerful (and expensive or very long) unlock is the use of a third hero. This is very powerful, as it, increases march size, enables use of a third hero skill, and also applies a third set of skill boxes. It is achieved through the Grand Marshal combat tree. The costs are very high, however; over 1.5 billion of each oil and food, ~1,700 nameplates, and ~342 days at the least (which can be reduced with speed ups and gems. In most servers, the first 3 hero march isn’t seen until ~4-5 months into the server life.
It is typical for players to pursue the Tactical Master tree first, for the very substantial damage increase and damage decrease benefits early in the tree, and switch to Grand Marshal at the cost of 5,000 gems once Encirclement has been completed. This switch will return everything invested, and 3 hero can immediately be unlocked.