A guide to the Open Fort Strategy: High Risk, High Reward (Not for the faint of heart)

People say that you should learn to walk before you learn to run. If I believed that, then you would be reading a basic lose-streak guide right now and be bored out of your mind.

Open Fort: 50 gold by Round 10, and about 35 damage taken.

In this post I’ll be explaining briefly what lose streaking is, followed by giving a basic and in-depth explanation of the Open Fort Strategy, including what builds I find work best with it, as well as how to determine if it’s safe to try the Open Fort Strategy.

Let’s get started.

A Bit About Lose Streaking

I think most of you understand the basics of lose streaking, but in case you don’t, it’s a strategy where you try to get an early economic lead by exploiting the bonus gold you get for losing multiple times in a row.

All the while trying to field a team that deals takes out some pieces, reducing the damage your Avatar/ChessPlayer/Courier takes and leveling behind the curve (generally waiting for 50 gold before you put any points into levels). It’s a fine line to walk, and winning a random round puts you behind.

That’s everything you need to know about Lose Streaking to understand the rest of this guide on the Open Fort Strategy.

1. The Start

As always, we’ll start with the basics: The Open Fort Strategy is just lose streaking, cranked up to 11. Neutral rounds (like the treants and wolves) don’t count towards a lose streak or a win streak, so you play the first three rounds normally, then you sell everything.

You’ll have 10 gold on round 4, meaning you’re already earning interest. You’ll lose about 30-35 HP over the course of the next 6 rounds, but you’ll have a major economic lead over everybody.

Use that economic lead starting at round 10 to jump start a winning comp, and aim to get a win streak as soon as possible (while maintaining your economic lead).

Like the title says, this strategy is not for the faint of heart.

As I said above, you’ll play the first three rounds normally. Kill creeps, hope for items. When round four comes along, you must make the choice of whether or not this game will be an open fort game.

Check the scouting screen, and if you see a lot of people with stronger teams than yours (2 stars, synergies), and/or people with summoning pieces (Werewolf, Whisperseer, and Wormy Boi), you might consider trying to Open Fort.

Unless you see another person going Open Fort.

If you ever end a combat round with someone as a draw, it breaks win streaks and lose streaks. So if you see somebody Open Forting, joining them would be a even riskier (though, it would be just as devastating to them. So yeah. There’s that).

2. Round Four (The Decision)

Where were we? Right, round 4. If you decide it’s time, then sell everything, including the units on the field. You now have 10 gold, and a bit of free time.

Instead of using this time to do call your mom to let her know how much she means to you, or using this time to brush your teeth, or clean up trash in your gaming corner, do something productive with it: Scouting!

You won’t be buying anything between now and round 10 (don’t let the strange egg tempt you), so don’t just use the scouting screen, actually go to their boards, watch them fight, watch them position. Get a feel for what comps they may all be going for, and relatively how they’re positioning.

3. Round Ten (Buying Core Pieces)

Once round 10 comes around, you’re still going to be losing. You won’t have the strength to beat the Rock Golems (unless you ruin your economy right away, which totally defeats to point of Open Forting).

When you hit round ten, find a balance between buying experience until you hit level 7, and buying units. Unlike my other guides, you will not be buying any “lone gunman” units.

You need to go for core units right away. And you need to go for core units of every build you know how to play that you think might work. Here’s an example:

One Round

You might see a Shadow Crawler, Warpwood Sage, and The Source. Try to pick up all three, try not to go under 50 gold. Next round, you run into Venom and Thunder spirit, and spend the excess points into experience. Meanwhile, you’ll still be losing more HP, but you’ll have some units on the field now.

Next Round

Another Shadow Crawler, Werewolf, Thunder Spirit, Tortola Elder, and Abyssal Guard. The game has dictated that you’re playing mages with some kind of warrior frontline.

Having Core Pieces

Between The Source, Thunder Spirit, and Tortilla Elder, you’ve got all of the core pieces needed for a 3 mage comp. At that point I’d field Werewolf, Abyssal Guard, and Warpwood Sage, (and the Venom we bought earlier if there’s room on the board for it), and sell the shadow crawler we bought earlier.

In that example, I picked up Core units that I could use for Mage, or Feathered Assassin, or Dragon. When you play Open Fort, you cannot force a build, since you’re so far behind on HP. You have to be as flexible as possible, and play the build the game gives you.

Some builds are going to be easier to flex into than others – namely, the ones that don’t require you to build up a 1-cost or 2-cost unit up to 2 stars. Builds where the Core Units are mostly 3 and 4 cost units.

Recommended Builds

The best builds to go into in my experience when Open Forting are:

3 Mage
The Source, Thunder Spirit, Tequila Elder, Shadow Devil with a warrior frontline (like the Holy Trinity).

Shining Dragon, Venom, Dragon Knight with a full knight frontline (though usually I’m stuck with 4 knight for a while, as I won’t put out Lightblade until she’s 2 star, and I won’t put out frost Knight until I put out Lightblade).

I’m not great at Assassins, but Shadow Crawler, Shining Assassin, and Warpwood sage are all core units that are 3-4 cost, while Lord of Sand and Venom are both 3-cost units also, so you can activate the synergies without too much trouble.

My Experience

I’ve used Open Fort and have gotten top three with Hunters, but it doesn’t slip right in as naturally (The shop refreshed and gave me two Dwarven Snipers, A wind Ranger, and a Skull Hunter all at the same time).

Since Egersis Ranger is going to be difficult to get to 2 star, let alone 3 star, and it’ll be difficult to get your 1-cost front liner (Redaxe or Tusk Champion) to two star as well.

I haven’t played into Glacier Clan after Open Forting, since 3 out of the 4 units are 1 or 2 cost. I also haven’t played Goblins or Warriors from Open Fort, for pretty much the same reason.

High Risk, High Reward

Open Fort is a High Risk, High Reward strategy. Pulling it off properly requires you to be comfortable playing a variety of comps, have a firm grasp of how strong your comp is compared to others at a glance, and (most importantly) grace under pressure.

It’s common to get to 30 HP or lower before your economic advantage pays off and your comp starts winning, and there’s a lot of risk with playing a game at that low amount of HP (including but not limited to The Glacier Clan neutral round).

This strategy is currently very rare, but after writing this, you might not be the only person who wants to give it a shot. If more than one person Open Forts in a game, both players are probably going to lose because of it. Open Fort players also ruin people who are forced to go into a normal lose streak.

This is an advanced strategy, but it’s not always (or even often) the right choice. Even top players like DefinitelyNotOran and Viiince shy away from playing the Open Fort strategy. Still, you’re all Humans and Unicorns with free will, so it’s important to know that this (fun) option exists.

Bonus Tip

I’ll leave you all with a fun piece of AutoChess information that has nothing to do with this strategy: When you look at an end-game screen, look at the Value column and the Gold column. The closer those two numbers are to one another, the luckier that player’s rolls were that game.

If those numbers are very far apart, it means they were went out of their way to force that build. If the numbers are closer, they played the units that were dealt to them. The higher the round is that they lost, the less significant this correlation is.