* Introduction: Tortun/SL
It is quickly recognized that Tortuns combine very effectively with SL support, due to the mileage that the low speed, high damage tortuns get out of bonus AP and extra attacks. It thus pains me to see Tortuns used ineffectively, and have the players charge blithely into enemy fonts to be obliterated. Tortuns strike me as a great race to learn to play on, because while they are certainly very powerful, they grow radically more effective as the player using them gains in skill. This page will be organized as a series of tips that cover some of the most common mistakes. However, every rule has its exceptions, and there will be situations in which pieces of advice can be ignored entirely.
* Trained Turtles Do Tricks
The beauty to tortuns is that all of them are effective tanks, with at least 3 defense and around 50 HP, and most of them are effective beaters. However, trying to use your tortuns as leoss is not realizing their full potential. In this section, I'll explain how to get the most out of the special abilities that define each turtle.
aka "Meth Turtle"
Purpose: Font Nabber, Champion Control
Groundpounders are not combat champions. While 18 damage may look impressive, a Groundpounder will almost never get two attacks off without a quickening. They are thus hit harder by ponderous than almost any other turtle, and if they ever get targeted by FR, you should thank your opponent. The Meth Turtles, as I call them, are font nabbers and font harassers. Their special abilities give them great control opportunities against a variety of champions to assist in battles without ever using a basic attack.
They are amazing first turn drops, because they can go 9 spaces on their first turn, and Crushing Charge works as a limited clear as well.
Antag & Turtle: One of the easiest ways to pacify an enemy. This one is particularly effective because almost nothing is immune to it. The enemy will need to cleanse his champion to attack with it.
Antag & Jet: One of my favorites. Crushing Charge makes disengagement free, and there are many situations where you want your meth-turtle to nab a side font. Preventing a melee unit from fighting for the font that he had been sitting in while rushing off to contest or capture is particularly effective on K'thir Hill, Savage Tundra, and Lost City.
Stop the Unstoppable: Tremor works on unstoppable champions and cannot be cleansed. Groundpounders thus function as control units in situations in which control would otherwise be untenable.
aka "Mr Tuttles"
Purpose: Tank, Anti-superchamp
Pygmies are good when your opponent is bad. While the pygmy has reasonable speed when it comes to getting into combat, it is perpetually AP starved once it gets into battle. Though its single hits deal impressive damage (with rend added on as well) it will get very few in without the help of supporting equipment.
If an enemy champ ends its turn next to Mr Tuttles when he has 4 stored AP, find a way to give him the additional AP needed to get a second attack. If you do so, that champion is dead.
His combo attack is by far the strongest in the game. Creating situations in which he gets more than his usual AP max (Bonesplitter Maul, Warleader, Transfusion, and Draconic Benediction) makes him an anti-superchamp. In KF/FS, always store 4 AP on turns when he does not attack (6 with accrue) whenever possible. Then, use Undertow to bring an enemy champion into his autokill range. While it is typically only worth running one in Tortun/SL, you definitely want to run two in KF/FS
aptly named "Broadsides"
Purpose: Primary Damage Unit
Always run two Broadsides when building your tortun BG. Unless the plurality of the enemy units are resistant to ranged or physical damage, always deploy the broadsides as soon as possible. They provide the bulk of your firepower for several reasons:
1) Sunder. Not only do they deal a very solid 14 damage on their hits, all other attacks on that champion deal 2 more damage. Since Tortuns play defensively, you always want to one-round enemy units when attacking them. Broadsides are thus great enablers for the rest of your units.
2) Barrage. With quickening and barrage, a Broadside deals inordinate amounts of damage. A single broadside on a quickening turn can one-round the majority of units that you'll be facing. Against normally unkillable leoss, a broadside with Barrage can deal a huge amount of damage and lower the defense enough for the other tortuns to finish him off.
3) Bash. While it looks superfluous, the fact that Broadsides cannot be locked down is a very big deal. It also increases their threat range immensely, because it means that with 6 AP, they can attack any unit between 1 and 8 spaces away.
Note: Just because they can melee does not mean that they should. Use Bash to kill the unit, then either turtle or advance your other tortuns to protect your broadsides as they are crucial to your success. Handle the broadsides with care - while 3 defense and 45 HP may look respectable, they are slightly squishier than your other tortuns and will be the enemy's primary target if he is familiar with how Tortuns work or is not stupid.
aka "I'm Not Your Friend, Pal"
Purpose: Antistealth, Antiequip, Antigen
Corsairs are the Tortuns only counter to several key equips, most notable the Earthshaker's Bracelet and Bloodthirsty Blade, as well as stealth champions and thus should always be used 2x for draw purposes.
If your opponent is using nora gen, Corsairs win games. Against a single nora cow, the Corsair hits for 30 damage. Against two miners, they hit for 34. I have won games easily that should have been hard and won games that would have been lost because of Resonance on corsairs. Note that just because your opponent can run Nora Gen doesn't mean that they do. They are not auto-deploy against IS or ST unless the opponent has already deployed nora gen, a problematic equipment, or a stealth unit. When not facing against runes which the Corsair is meant to counter, it is less efficient than many other tortuns in your arsenal.
A tip for dealing with negative equipment - If you first equip the Corsair with a positive equip, like a Rage Band, he can safely remove negative equipment from a friendly turtle without putting it on himself. It is also worth noting that you usually do not want to equip the Corsair with a Bloodthirsty Blade.
aka "Atomic Bomberman"
Purpose: Area of Effect, Alt Damage, Shrine Rushing
I honestly do not deploy Grenadiers most times that I have other options. Tortuns do not yet have a plethora of ranged units, however, and Grenadiers are ok. If your opponent does not have physical resisting or antirange champions out, the Broadside brings much more to the table for about the same price.
Their primary purpose is Firebomb. Firebomb not only provides damage to bunched up enemies, but it also serves as an anti antirange. You can Firebomb to finish a unit that has Deflect or Dodge off cooldown, to deal slightly more damage to evasive champions, to avoid paralytic feedback, or to hit arrow eaters or absorbing units.
As far as upgrades go, the only upgrade that you should always take is the hit point upgrade, as it makes them more survivable, and the only upgrade that you should never take is Farshot. I find both Traps and Death Nova to be highly situational, and currently run one with each of the upgrades. Death Nova has been fun because enemies don't expect to see it and will occasionally make mistakes like killing off a 1 HP Timberjaw. I have never killed a unit with traps or reduced a units hit points with traps such that I was able to kill him when I ordinarily would not have.
If you are running KF/FS, however, you will be able to use undertow to ensure a trap goes off if you absolutely must (or to just deal a piddling 6 additional damage to the unit you're humiliatingly squishing).
aka "Shrine Killers"
Purpose: Board Control, Shrine Rushing
First, a note on shrine rushing - I put siege on my Mortars and I have never, ever regretted it. On the Forsaken Waste or K'thir Forest maps, two early mortars and two mid-game land cannons is autowin. On the Forsaken Wastes map, with Quickening, it is possible to destroy the enemy shrine by round four. Early Shrine Killers on a small map is literally unbeatable by many battlegroups.
Now, onto their primary use. If you are not shrine rushing (and to be honest, in the majority of games it is very unwise to do so) you do not want to deploy two mortars unless you already have a plethora of other units out. While their 8 range is impressive, enemy units can successfully get in under it and be able to avoid being targeted entirely. Furthermore, 8 spaces is not nearly far enough for most enemy formations, so an exposed mortar can be taken out.
That said, Mortars can both punish your opponent for standard play due to the AoE effect of their attack, and cause your opponent to make dumb mistakes. It is very common for enemies to feel threatened by the great range on the mortars and, fearing that you can win in a sniping war, will charge in to get in under the mortars. This will often allow you to unleash a broadside (pun intended) against them. If you are engaged in a sniping war (common on the Sundered Lands or Shattered Peaks maps) the mortars work fairly well against most enemies. Due to their low speed, they are not actually as scary as they look, except against shrines. Note that they do not have Unstoppable when dealing with Kanen Crones and Cultists.
Purpose: Champion Control, Primary Melee
Hamslammers shine in one v one battles. With a Bonesplitter Maul and full AP, they can pummel a unit 9 spaces away. A pummeled unit is stunned. A stunned unit does not hit back. If you exert on the following turn, you can double-tap and stun them again. A stunned unit does not hit back. Do you see it yet? Good.
Hamslammers are the easiest Tortuns to use in the early game font battles precisely because of this facet. However, it is easy to misuse their stun-support in large, mixed-unit battles. In general, do not stun units that you can kill with your other tortuns. Stun something else instead. That way, you disable two units on their following turn if they do not have a cleanse handy.
Always take HP and Physical Resistance.
aka "Shoebox Fodder"
Purpose: Shrine Rush
Do not use Gunbatteries. They suck. The only possible use for them is shrine rushing, since they can hit the shrine from 11 spaces away. While that's some impressive range, they deal less damage than their cousins with siege and cost significantly more. Repeat: Do not use Gunbatteries. They suck.
aka "Relocater lite"
Purpose: Relocation, Champion Control
I do not use Galesingers in Tortun/SL and nor should you. They bring too little to the table for a champion that will almost never actually attack. That said, if you are less restricted in your champion selection, you can consider dipping one or two to push your turtles around. The Gale ability will most likely be used on your units to get them into the fight or out of harms way. It's really not effective offensively if your opponent isn't being stupid near cliffs or lava. Additionally, Pacify is invaluable due to its being uncleansable.
You will always want to take Soothing Serenade, and probably want Shove for your other upgrade. Wind Aura isn't particularly useful for Tortuns and if your opponents are the type to let you cliff their champions, you're going to win anyways. Undertow can be used to let you cliff or lava-dive champions that your opponent believes to be safely positioned if you first cast Undertow, then use Gale.
Purpose: Undertow Enabling, Minor Support
You don't want to run these in SL/tortuns simply because you don't have enough spaces to run two Undertow. In KF/FS, however, you want two of them for draw purposes (though you shouldn't deploy two if you have other tortuns you can deploy). With a favored out, you always have water available to undertow and then gib enemy champions.
Their Nora Shield can be used to recoup the losses from any Tortun that you plan on sending on his own to contest an enemy font to recoup your losses when he gets slaughtered. Additionally, his Heal Mass ability can restore some of the health to your damaged turtles to keep them hearty & hale.
If you run Drown, Tidal Wave is a lot of fun in that it ensures that no enemies are safe. Additionally, it makes avoiding an Undertow literally impossible. If your opponent pulled back far enough to think himself safe, you can use the tidal wave to prove him wrong. Finally, it deals 12 damage at reasonable range, and thus can be used in similar circumstances as the Grenadier's firebomb.
aka "One More Square"
Purpose: Scramble, Champion Control
The Captains have fairly short range, and thus only really shine after battle has been joined. However, if a Captain manages to get two attacks off in a turn, he can make a Tortun powerturn even stronger. Between a Captain's scramble and a Bonesplitter Maul, getting off a Devastating Combo from Mr Tuttles becomes very doable.
While he doesn't come close to the Hamslammer in his control capacities, Pin Down is nevertheless almost as good as stun against melee units. It has great synergy with the other ranged tortuns, by letting them get out of a combat zone intact.
While captains have fair stats, they are not nearly as efficient as the Broadside or Grenadier. They are okay early deploys, because their attacks will allow other tortuns to get to the fight sooner. Consider how long you expect the game to go if deciding between saving for a Captain or deploying a less expensive ranged tortun. A Captain works best when he will have a large number of allies to boost.
Note that while they are very, very good units, they are not necessary for a tortun BG. If you run two mortars, two broadsides, and two grenadiers, you have a decent ranged array. In KF/FS, you have undertow as your chief enabler, and in SL/Tortuns, you have benediction, so scramble is never strictly necessary either.
aka "Dread Pirate Roberts"
Purpose: Offensive Font Battles, Champion Control
Mangleshell is the only Tortun unit that works best when used aggressively. He repays a significant portion of his cost upon his death, so long as you can get the X, but more importantly Frightful Blows prevents the units that he attacks from hitting him back. Like the Slamhammer, he is very easy to use, so I'll instead focus on some common mistakes I see people make when using him.
1) Soloing multiple, cheaper enemies. Mangleshell shines against fewer, stronger opponents rather than an array of weaker units. He both reduces the damage of the target and prevents it from targeting him; however, he can't spread around his fear easily due to his middling speed and ponderous
2) Forgetting about Cleanse. While this is fairly minor as far as calculation foibles go (like forgetting to always take off 10 HP when fighting against KF), you need to remember that frightened units are not dead units and many factions will still be able to focus-fire Mangleshell on the following turn.
3) Letting the enemy get the "X." While this one may seem harder to control, the rule of thumb is that Mangleshell should not die ahead of your battle line. If the battle is roughly even and there are three-four Tortuns arrayed nearby, the enemy is very unlikely to be able to get the "X."
aka "Melee Monster"
After a Tortun has died, Tremir deals a lot of damage very consistently once he gets into melee range. Multiattack 3 makes Ponderous more or less meaningless - his first attack will take 2 AP and his second attack will take 3 AP. With Tortuns, more attacks does not simply mean more damage - you're generating more nora.
In the mid to late game, Tremir will be capable of using his Cannon Barrage every turn. It's usually best if you consider the barrage some free damage, and try to focus on avoiding hitting your own units rather than maximizing its theoretical potential damage. That said, if the enemy is all clumped up, go ahead and center your barrage there.
* A Very Turtle Toolbox
Sundered Lands / Tortuns
The rule of thumb when building this is to use primarily tortun champions and Sundered Lands support. You will want to run at least 12 Tortuns. I run 14, including Mangleshell as one of my few Sundered Lands units. The only SL units you should include (aside from Mangleshell, of course) are the ones that bring something very special to the table that the tortuns lack. Because of the need for at least 15 champions to ensure that you have a unit to deploy on your first turn, you will most likely end up using a couple of SL champions.
Swarm champions -
You should strongly consider including one. I run a Drakewing Swarm and it works wonders against Moga and FW. Be very cautious when using your swarmers, however, as they tend to be very inefficient for their price. The Drakewing has the obvious weakness of its AoE vulnerability, and you will often find that you get a swarm in only to have the swarmer and the new Drakewing killed by a pair of AoEs.
Draksar Rocketeer -
Very long range, very good burst damage, and very easy to use (unlike the swarm champions). If you are just getting started, you could do worse than including one of these chaps. In almost every circumstance, however, you should deploy a Tortun over a Rocketeer.
Acid Elemental / Spark Crone -
Recently, I've only been using the Acid Elemental to kill units with perseverance by deploying it after perseverance triggers. However, they are also effective as a one-time global destealth and are very survivable champions. You can consider including one of these units for their greeting ability. Neither will fail you once they engage in combat, as both also provide efficient, midranged options.
Negation Mages -
I tried using them in my Tortun BG and ended up taking them out. You don't want your tortuns to die very often, as they tend to be fairly expensive. However, I have seen Molecl use them to great effect. I encourage you to try them for yourself to see if they work for you.
I don't use it, but you should probably run one. You won't use it most games, but when you do the results can be hilarious. Any rune with immunity or eater to their primary damage type (Frost for ST, Fire for UD) is a great target.
Eggdrop Soup -
Hatching Season, Hatching Season, Awaken Brood. This combo works particularly well with Tortun Mortars, since they will pop all of the babies within exploding range of the attacked unit. This combination will kill their avatar. It takes up invaluable rune slots, however, and will miss more often than it hits. Hatching Season itself makes a reasonable utility spell when used to contest the enemy's font. It's more expensive and less stable than Conjure Ice Block, but also oftentimes costs the opponent nora to clean up.
Draconic Benediction -
Run at least one. It's not quite as good as Quickening, but it is still very powerful. Don't waste this spell, as doing so will lose you the game. See this guide for details.
Run two. It's awesome with the extremely high damage, but low speed tortuns. See this guide for details.
Firestorm / Draconic Pulsar / Arcane Maelstrom / Acidic Gale -
You want some direct damage, but usually it is better for tortuns to deploy an additional unit. Only cast these spells when doing so kills a unit that you could not kill otherwise. I run one Firestorm, but very rarely cast it.
Rage Band -
In a battlegroup that is primarily one race, Rage Band can quickly amp up the damage on your units. Additionally, it provides a much needed speed increase. The best target to equip this to is the Broadside, as they are your primary damage options. It can work well on Grenadiers, but only when your opponent lets you bomb a group of champions. When shrine rushing, they can provide some more damage to the Mortar as well.
Bonesplitter Maul -
This equip was practically made for tortuns. Almost all of your units are warriors - double check before equipping your unit that it is one, however. It works great on literally any warrior tortun. Note also that all of the Kanen alpha champions are warriors. Any tortun equipped with a bonesplitter maul can laugh in the face of even an enraged Timbermaw.
Dragon God's Staff -
Spot cleansing is amazing. Run one. While you won't deploy it in roughly half of your games, it will save your bacon in the other half. Additionally, it can be dropped after it has been equipped to finish off a persevering unit. Note that it can't be dropped as a relic the turn that you equip it, though.
A great font contester! Put it adjacent to the nora font to affect all units within the font zone. It can also be used to finish off persevering units and as a 'ghetto detection' relic.
Tortun Land Cannon -
Run two of these in every tortun BG. Their survivability may have been nerfed, but they are stillamazing relics. Solid font contesters, valuable spot damage, and the ability to keep on firing until they are destroyed. They can also be used to shrine rush, as they are capable of targeting shrines.
Ferocity of Kain Taris -
This spell is a LOT of fun in any battlegroup. However, it's far less valuable on Tortuns, because of the Turtle ability. However, you can still try this spell out. Many players run counters to perseverance, but with Ferocity, they do not see it coming and thus may not have the counter prepared.
It's more or less always worth including one. They pay for themselves after your third Tortun, and they also provide a valuable (and global) HP boost.
K'thir Forest / Forglar Swamp
Unlike SL/Torts, this battlegroup can include all of the tortuns that you want. As a result, there are very few non-tortun champions worth using. Instead, you can cherry-pick the best of the best of KF and FS's spells.
This spell will save you. Additionally, it allows for you to play far more offensively than would otherwise be reasonable. Large AoE, uncleansable, and it forces them to move out of its area or be pacified again. Very easy to use.
Withering Fern -
At 20 nora, you can drop it like candy. 2x autoinclude, auto-deploy on any enemy champion you think might pose a problem.
Rejuvenation Ring -
Another great, cheap equip. With your highly survivable tortuns, the amazing regeneration that this ring provides can make your already sturdy tortuns into unstoppable tanks. Best deployed on champions that your opponent has damaged and will not one-round on the following turn.
It is always worth including one. Against some battlegroups, it grants temporary invulnerability. Note which damage types your opponent is using. If his battlegroup is primarily one damage type, such as Frost, Fire, or Physical, drop it on whichever unit you feel is most exposed.
Eriluun's Favor -
The fact that most players had not yet seen how awesome this rune is at the time of this writing has disconcerted me. It provides a global speed boost for 30 nora. And it stacks. It not only provides a net AP gain that is larger than even Mobilization, it also increases the threat range on all of your champions.
One of the best spells in the game, if not the best. Run two in every BG that features the Tortun Favored. In fact, the Tortun Favored is an autoinclude just because it enables this spell. It's also very easy to use, as long as you can count spaces, and cheap enough to not cost you the game if miscast.
Reverberating Blast -
This is another spell which, like Reclaim that will save or win games. Just make sure that you hit two enemy units rather than one of your own. If you can count the spaces between units, this spell shouldn't be too hard to use. Note, however, that it costs as much as Reclaim and hits two champions rather than all the enemies in an area.
This spell is unnecessary for Tortuns, but nonetheless makes a fairly good cop-out spell for any champion that would cost you more than 75 nora to kill otherwise.
Still a great spell! Even when it catches a spell costing less than 45 nora, it will very often catch a spell that your opponent was relying on. It can stymie an offense or even turn your opponent's clever offensive into a game-costing turn.
While the Favored makes the use of water generation unnecessary, Flood is still a great utility spell. Its knockback effect is amazingly useful, and it also can kill persevering champions.
This champion is meant to be used as a spell. Think of it as a delayed guided missile. With Rampage and Multi upgraded, they can get two attacks in at 5 AP. After deploying at your font, let it sit there until it stores its max (9 AP). Then create water near your targets with either a Tortun Favored or a Flood. Deep Dive adjacent to one champion and within range of another. Attack the far target twice to deal a huge amount of damage to both units.
Fairy Tricksters -
These little fairies are fast, mobile, and incredibly useful. A metamorphosed champion is usually very easy to one-round, and thus provides a great answer to champions that can pose a problem to you.
Avenging Angel -
AP generation is great for Tortuns, as has been mentioned previously. Avenging Angel can give your turtles 4 AP every other round, as well as serving as a very potent heal platform.
* Example Battlegroups: