nav-left cat-right

Home Defense Boost: Ritual Flames, Watchfires, GBs

One of the functions of this game is the ability to attack and plunder your neighborhood. While many players see this as extremely unfair, it’s still a part of the game, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. With that in mind, it’s best to be prepared for it, and a great way to do that is to up your home defense boost.

As new event buildings come out, especially the set buildings, we are seeing more and more ways to get that boost up there. Before those buildings though, there were Watchfires and Great Buildings. Then came Guild Expedition, with the addition of Ritual Flames.

Obviously, for the maximum boost you’d want to put everything into your city, but that’s not realistically possible. You’d end up spending all your valuable real estate on defense, and you’d have nothing left for other important things, like happiness or goods. Therefore, you need to decide what combination of these buildings are right for you, in addition to whatever sets you build.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

This is a Great Building which will add a defense boost as you level it up, as well as a nice coin collection every day and some additional force to your guild’s support pool for GvG. The defense boost with this GB doesn’t just boost your defending army’s defense score, it also gives them an attack boost. So not only are they harder to kill, but they pack a more powerful punch, too.

You can get this GB in Late Middle Ages, if you don’t get it ahead-of-age (which isn’t necessarily recommended). It has a 5×5 footprint, and at level 10 you will get:
30% defense & attack boost to defending army
30 guild support pool
30,210 coins




Deal Castle

Like St. Basil’s Cathedral, this GB gives that same defense boost called fierce resistance that also gives your defenders an attack boost, plus adds to the guild support pool daily. Unlike St. Basil’s, it will give you daily medals instead of coins.

You can get this GB in Colonial Age, and it’s also not necessarily recommended to get it ahead-of-age. It has a 7×7 footprint, and at level 10 you will get:
30% defense & attack boost to defending army
30 guild support pool
170 medals


 Watchfires can be earned in events and sometimes the daily quest, meaning that they’re a building you cannot replace if you accidentally delete one. Each watchfire will give you a 4% defense boost, which stacks as you add more of them into your town.

These are great little defenders, because they occupy a 1×1 space and do not need a road connection. This means that you can fill in any little hole or gap with one of these and make the previously unusable space useful! A very handy thing to have.

Since there’s nothing to collect from them either, it also doesn’t matter if you lose sight of them behind some of the taller GBs in your town and such. Most choose to put them along outer perimeters where buildings never seem to reach to.



Ritual Flames

Ritual Flames come from Guild Expedition. You can win them from relics mainly, which gives the Temple of Relics a bit more value to get as soon as possible since you cannot earn relics until you have that GB.

These babies take up a 2×1 space and give you an 8% boost to defense for your defending army. So they’re exactly the same as having two Watchfires, just a little less versatile because they are not square. Still, they don’t have to be connected to any roads and are easy to tuck off wherever you have the space. The more you have, the bigger the multiplier.




Picking out what is right for you and your town’s needs is really the hardest part. Some opt to never build St. Basil’s Cathedral or Deal Castle because they have better uses for that space. Others really like to pack a punch when attackers come to visit, or they want to give to the support pool of the guild for GvG (but Observatory is the best building for that because it also donates goods to the guild treasury). In some cases, the two GBs are built as a stop-gap briefly, until better things come along and then they’re removed; if this is the intended case though they often are not leveled beyond 5.

To help decide though, here’s a breakdown of what you can get for the real estate in comparison:

  • Deal Castle is the largest at 7×7. At level 10 you get 30% defense for your defending army.
  • St. Basil’s is 5×5, which means you can build it and 24 Watchfires to get to a 7×7 space, for a total of 126% defense for your defending army.
  • In a 7×7 space you could place 49 Watchfires for a total of 196% defense for your defending army.

Of course, you can interchange two Watchfires for one Ritual Flame in that comparison too, it’s just easier to calculate a total based on the Watchfire.

Looking at this, Deal Castle gives the least, and just Watchfires/Ritual Flames offers the most. To make St. Basil’s or Deal Castle as efficient as just the Watchfires/Ritual Flames you would need to get either to well over level 100. However, unlike either GB, you do not get any additional bonuses from the Watchfires/Ritual Flames. So from purely a defense boost perspective, neither GB is worth it in the long run. However, if you’re desiring of the GBs other perks, then they’re something to consider. Remember though, there may be other GBs that are better suited for you that give similar things to those extra perks you’re going for.

12 Responses to “Home Defense Boost: Ritual Flames, Watchfires, GBs”

  1. ZexxxyZeop says:

    Having good defense is great. But what what is a good “line up”? (defensively speaking). I’m assuming it matters on which age you are in so I was wondering if there is a general guide on that; otherwise, I am in EMA. Thanks in advance!

    • Saknika says:

      Good question Zexxxy! We definitely have plans to follow this one up with a post specifically designed towards that (and plundering), but generally speaking I’d say mimic the Guild Expedition. What setups in there do you find particularly difficult to face? Thinking on these terms, an entire set of artillery is usually brutal. It’s also nasty to face four artillery and four heavy units. Throwing a champion into the mix can also make it more difficult. If you have rogues, don’t put more than two into your defending army, because otherwise they become too easy to target and pick-off once all seed units have been defeated. C:

      • tago mago says:

        Regarding city defense, up until Prog at least, which is my experience.
        Don’t use fast units. I love to pick them off first when in atk. And light units are usually two-hit wonders.
        Instead use a mix of ranged, artillery, and heavies. If you must use one fast unit, use a champion.
        If you use the same unit in the def, eg 8 artillery, then a attacker will return the next day with eg 1 fast unit and 7 rogues. With good going terrain the attacker has a good chance of success.
        And any same-unit defence will struggle against a 7 rogue attack, if the seed unit holds the advantage.
        A mixed defense will always make things harder for the 7 rogue attack.

        • Saknika says:

          I always check and see what an attacker does day two. Some are diligent about returning, and some aren’t. And some that do return, don’t remember what your defending army was. If they breached, then yes, I change my army immediately. If they didn’t, I’ll see what they do the second time around. Usually though, if they failed the first time they don’t return for round two. 🙂

    • tago mago says:

      I have never bothered about defensive GBs, and I have ritual flames in my invent. Perhaps it helped that I am a fighter, so in early ages I was well towards the top of my hoods. It’s the lower ranked players that get hit first, usually.

      I was taught early on that you shouldn’t plunder a full defense, but usually I will respect a player that bothers to assign even one unit to city defence. If a player leaves default def 2 spearfighters, then I take it as an invitation to plunder.

      I am currently in PE. I am only just in the top half of my hood, and I am hardly ever attacked, less so successfully, and in my whole game I have been plundered 3 or 4 times. If plundered I think, I lost a few resources there. Why should I want to waste space to stop this happening ever again?

      Perhaps life is different in the higher reaches of the game. I’m six months into this game and I don’t need def builds yet.

      • Saknika says:

        It honestly sounds like you have gotten lucky Tago Mago. 🙂 I’m #1 in my hood usually, and never below top 5, but I get hit regularly by gutsy players. Almost never do they breech the defenses I have now, though. That is much rarer because I have defensive buildings. There’s no wrong way to play though, if you don’t feel you need a defense boost, then that’s how you play. 🙂

        • tago mago says:

          I plundered everyone in BA and IA, probably pissing off lots of other new players. These days I hardly ever plunder. Those players who don’t put up a full defense usually don’t have any worthwhile plunder anyway, only a few coins, and why piss someone off for that (now if it was 2 fps!). And I think that it’s cheap to lurk around for their buildings to mature decent plunder. Essentially I raid for tower points ie medals.

          I tend to think that it would be extremely cheeky not to say risky to continually raid top-ranking players in my hood. Which is not to say that I don’t think it might be fun!

  2. D says:

    what is the upper effective +defense % limit before it really wont make any difference any more? i THINK its between 200-300% but that’s kinda guesswork.
    there’s no such thing as an impregnable defense and building more then is needed is a just be waste of very limited space.

    • Saknika says:

      Honestly, this is a very play-style oriented thing. There are those who, because no defense is perfect, choose to have no defense buildings at all. No watchfires, no ritual flames, no GBs. They might get some passively from a set, but that’s it. Then, there’s a total other side of a coin where I’ve seen folks fill in gaps in their cities and end up with 500%+ of defense. Much harder to breech, but still possible. In the end, 300%-400% is a decent difficultly to make folks think twice for a while (many can get their base attack bonus up over 200% after all) about taking on your army, but it comes down to if you want to dedicate the space to defense. The other mode of thought is that a good offense makes the best defense, so if you get hit, just hit back harder to make them think twice. I hope that helps. C:

      • D says:

        from my experience anything over 300% (and the number may actually be lower) is a waste and wont really help. since no def is perfect the best anyone can do is make it time consuming, annoying and expensive for an attacker. who wants a hard target when there’s plenty of soft ones?

        conversely, ive been thinking lately that the best defense (beyond the standard 2-300ish% i set up for my cities) could very well be a kickass Offence. mutually assured destruction, as it were. (this is pretty much what ive been working on in the lately and i think itll become the model for all my cities. the ones that arent diamond farms anyway)

        let me explain; ive not noticed a difference at all in the number of people who could get through a +300% def and
        by 300% .. ish- most attackers wont even try. not worth the time, effort, and cost vs possible rewards. the exact same is true when im attacking the hood myself.

  3. Machine says:

    There are very few people who have a defense as high as mine. Mine is 846 defense. Yet, even with that high of a percentage, I get beat by a level 70 CDM and a level 10 (the other two) every time. Even though the Deal isn’t such a good deal, it produces massive amounts of coins which can get you the expansions you need (once you have bought all the expansions that you can). So I intend to build the Deal up and get those coins for the expansions.

    • Saknika says:

      I think you mean medals, not coins. 🙂
      Deal does give medals, but the amount it gives is a pittance compared to what you can get from even GE winnings if you regularly make it into Tier 4. I have a Deal Castle at level 10, and a Gaea Statue at Level 10, and I receive more medals from GE than I will from either of them; not to mention what my Arc helps me bring in from getting reward spots on GBs. So I’d give some long-term play thought to Deal. I won’t say don’t build it, but I will say that there could be better options. 😉


  1. Building a town (Part 2): Fighter town aka Road to 48 | Forge of Empires Guides - […] Please note: the 3% military boost referred to above affects your units when you are the attacker. It has…
  2. Home Defense How-To | Forge of Empires Guides - […] setting up a good Home D army, you’ll want to think about getting items or buildings that can increase…
  3. Tips for a Better City Layout | Forge of Empires Guides - […] for supplies. You can use it for any building in the game. In fact, the comparison was made for defense…
  4. Plundering and You | Forge of Empires Guides - […] like you can raise your attack boost, you can also raise your defense boost. There are a lot of…
  5. Set Buildings: Worth It or Worthless? | Forge of Empires Guides - […] Defense Boost: This is a permanent boost that your units being used to defend your city will receive. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *