Our guide to The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War best units will help you choose which forces to focus on in the early stages of this mobile strategy game. The latest title set in Middle-Earth is a surprisingly layered geographical military sim. As such, you’ll want to perfect your balance of units to produce the most effective attack on enemy soil.
That’s where our handy best units guide steps in. We’ll break down each and every unit type in the game, including those exclusive to certain factions, so you know which are best tailored to your approach. It’ll give you the knowledge you’ll need to head straight into the in-game barracks and start training up units of your choice. The One Ring will be yours in no time - we’re sure of it.
Middle-Earth fans rejoice, as Rise to War is a mobile entry in the hit franchise that’ll keep you busy for countless hours. If you’re new to the game and want a helping hand, check out our The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War guide, which will help you find your feet. We’ve also got a Commanders tier list, so you know which characters to focus on unlocking.
The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War Best Units
First things first, it’s worth mentioning that there are seven base units that you’ll get to use regardless of which faction you select. Of course, there will be cosmetic differences, but these units will perform the same in all factions.
Base level: 15-16 damage, 18 HP, 86 speed
Evolves to: Marksman, Sentinel
First up is the Hunter, the base ranged units in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. As you can see, they aren’t the most effective unit, with negligible damage and low HP. However, their quick speed for a base unit means they’ll be useful, purely through brute force and sheer numbers. As you upgrade Hunters, they’ll get increasingly more useful - but they start off pretty weak.
Base level: 21-23 damage, 56 HP, 127 speed
Evolves to: Cavalry Archer, Bow Knight
The Horseback Archers are the second base unit, with stats that greatly surpass Hunters. These are ranged units too, shooting arrows from horseback. However, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll get fewer Horseback Archers in each squadron, as they train at a slower rate than Hunters. While they appear in smaller numbers, they’ll be individually stronger than the Hunter alternative.
Base level: 26-37 damage, 76 HP, 139 speed
Progresses to: Cavalier
The third base unit is the Outrider, a sword-wielding soldier on horseback. Speed is the key here, with Outriders being able to charge into battle and slash at opponents, with respectable HP stats to boot. The only downside is the amount of resources you’ll need to conscript them, taking 2,600 wood, 3,400 metal, and 5,200 grain. That’s no small cost, but the reward is an immensely powerful unit.
Base level: 12-24 damage, 28 HP, 80 speed
Progresses to: Herald
These units wield swords and shields, meaning they’re somewhat tougher for opponents to defeat than other troops marching on foot. That said, the low HP and damage on Level 1 Wardens makes them a risky choice, as they might not do the trick in the heat of battle.
- Read more: Our The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War best factions guide
Base level: 9-15 damage, 20 HP, 80 speed
Progresses to: Longbowman, Sharpshooter
Speed is once more the focus with this ranged unit, as their generally low damage and HP means it won’t take many hits to send them to the Apothecary. However, they’re very easy to train up, and once upgraded, Sharpshooters are much more potent in battle - if still a little bit weak.
Base level: 8-13 damage, 24 HP, 89 speed
Progresses to: Spearman, Guard of the Tower
The Militia unit is best for padding out your forces, ensuring you’ve got enough sheer numbers to simply overwhelm your opponent. That’s because its attacking stats really aren’t something to marvel at, with pitiful damage that only rises to 12-15 when fully upgraded. If you want units to soak up damage, then they’re useful - but don’t expect them to win a fight for you.
Base level: 15-23 damage, 65 HP, 132 speed
Progresses to: Knight, Cataphract
While not quite as powerful as the Horseback Archer, this steed-riding unit will provide solid attacking stats while also soaking up a respectable amount of damage. Later progressions of this unit become slightly more cumbersome with lower speed, but the increase in damage, to a blistering 26-35, makes up for this. The Horseman is certainly a unit to bear in mind for melee fighters.
Base level - 14-20 damage, 30 HP, 100 speed
Progresses to: Dúnedain
The Ranger is part of the species of Man and is only unlockable when you join up with the Arnor faction. There’s a consistent mid-level performance here, with solid attacking stats that will slowly whittle down an opponent’s health. However, HP is notably low, and you’ll find that Rangers die very easily. That speed statistic is worth noting though, as they can zip around the battlefield faster than most on-foot troops.
Base level: 8-11 damage, 26 HP, 86 speed
Progresses to: Shieldbearer, Guardian
Dwarves are some of the most beloved soldiers in Middle-Earth, though the low damage of their Rise to War units makes them a pretty hard sell. They can soak up plenty of damage thanks to a respectable Defence stat once fully upgraded, but the lack of attacking potency means they might not perform well. If you’re the kind of player looking for a hardy and strong team, they can take punishment - but they can’t really dish it out.
Base level: 1-21 damage, 22 HP, 77 speed
Progresses to: Heavy Axe Thrower, Master Thrower
These dwarven units are, excuse the pun, equally hit-and-miss. Their utility comes more from the onslaught of throwable items on the battlefield than their damage stats, as a missed or inaccurate throw will result in negligible damage to your opponents. However, speed is the key for this unit, meaning they can roam around quickly and push up the battlefield, helping you take more territory while keeping the pressure on enemy forces.
Base level: 24-28 damage, 82 HP, 96 speed
Progresses to: Ram Rider
Yes, you read that right - this dwarven unit does its military business on goats. What’s even more surprising is how effective they are in battle, with consistent, if slightly low, damage stats and solid HP to boot. They can soak up plenty of enemy pressure while also dishing out a decent amount of punishment themselves, made even stronger when upgraded. They require a lot of resources to conscript, but the in-battle results will make it all worth it.
This unit is exclusive to players who select Mordor as their faction. Their strength lies in damage and speed, with much better performance than base troops. However, that burst of power doesn’t last long, as Ravagers have low base HP stats, meaning they can be defeated quite easily in battle.
This Gondor-exclusive unit is a particularly wise choice for defensive players. As a contrast to Ravagers, the Swan Knight is most proficient in soaking up damage and holding the fort for more attack-minded units to wreak havoc.
The Marshal unit is exclusive to Rohan, with speed at the focus of its ability. The Marshal can blast across the battlefield faster than other units, dealing out high levels of damage in the process. The issue with Marshals, as you’ll see with a lot of Rise to War’s ground-based units, is their resistance to punishment. They’ll go down quickly - but they’ll also dish out plenty of damage before they do.
The Marchwarden unit is exclusive to Lothlórien, with high damage stats combining with a ranged approach. If this sounds like a quality combination on paper, that’s because it is. Being able to rattle off shots from a safe distance is crucial to whittling down the enemies in front of you. As such, the Marchwarden is one of the strongest exclusive units in the game and is certainly one to keep in mind.
If you’re looking for a unit that can take almost all the punishment your enemies throw at it, then the Iron Warrior might be the best choice in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. This unit is exclusive to Erebor, home of the dwarves, and can provide a solid backbone to any fleet you send out to invade nearby territories. While Erebor isn’t the best location in the game, the benefit of having the Iron Warriors might be enough to balance out those geographical flaws.
All Lord of the Rings fans know that Isengard isn’t the most welcoming place in Middle-Earth. In fact, it’s the home of Saruman and his seeing stone in the films and books. The good news is that if you choose Isengard, you’ll unlock the exclusive Snaga Thrak unit. Speed is an issue here, as the Snaga Thrak aren’t particularly quick, but the damage and HP stats certainly make it a troop worth considering.
The Noldor Longshot is a unit that you’ll unlock if you pick the faction in Lindon. It’s the mountainous home of the High Elves, and as such the Noldor Longshot focuses on bow and arrow combat. Ranged attacks are the focus here, alongside speed - but as with other bow-minded units, defence and HP are at a premium here. Use your Noldor Longshot troops wisely, as they won’t withstand much punishment.
The ominously named Fallen is a unit exclusive to those choosing the Angmar faction. Nicknamed the Steel Home, you can probably guess the Fallen’s strength. They’re highly proficient in sword and blade-based combat, which is good for speed but often leads to slash attacks that aren’t particularly effective. The Fallen would be a useful unit if you’ve got plenty of ranged attackers to complement it, but on their own the impact might be slightly understated.
Last but not least is the War Chariot, a special unit you get if you select the Rhun region. A horse riding special unit, sheer firepower and brute strength is the focus here. As you might expect, speed is also very prominent with the War Chariot. However, it’s worth noting that not all of these troops are immediately unlockable. As such, you’ll have to play a significant amount before you’re eligible to unlock the War Chariot.
How Do I Select Exclusive Units in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?
Broadly speaking, the special units detailed in this guide are unlockable once you choose your faction in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. For example, if you choose the Arnor faction when you go through the tutorial, you’ll be able to enlist Ranger troops in your Barracks.
However, as a geography-based strategy game where only one player can pick each region within a server, there are times you won’t be able to select an in-demand faction, as somebody else might already have it. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to access the special unit within that faction. You’ll have two options: either choose a different faction and enjoy those special units, or join a different server to try your chances again.