Rise to War Guide: Balin (Retaliate Build)

Might Focus Speed
99 (+1.98/Level) 89 (+1.78/Level) 62 (+0.9/Level)

Balin is a dwarven commander characterized by his mixture of control and Physical Damage skills. His R0 branches focus on troop control and healing while his R3 (Durin’s Blood) and R5 (Warrior of Lonely Mountain) provide Physical Damage skills and damage reduction, respectively. Many
may think that Balin is a weak commander with significantly less commander damage-dealing potential in comparison to his other dwarven counterparts and this is true when the right equipment is lacking. However, there is a very niche build that makes Balin an absolute powerhouse on the battlefield.

Note: These are suggestions only and may be subject to change under certain circumstances.

Skill Tree

Contrary to other dwarven commander builds, Balin works best with a mixture of dwarven healing and Physical Damage skills. The right combinations can produce an incredibly durable dwarven army with enough healing potential to surpass the elves.

Balin’s R0 top and bottom branches provide healing and durability for allied armies (specifically dwarves). Frightened has a 50.0% chance to stun enemies in the first 4 rounds of battle and Heavily Wounded is a powerful commander damage-dealing skill. However, investing in both branches will lead to disappointing results as dwarves are not the greatest damage dealers and Frightened is only somewhat reliable. Durin’s Blood is a staple of all dwarven builds and All-In is still the highest damage-dealing skill in Balin’s arsenal. Finally, Warrior of Lonely Mountain is great to invest in when dealing with Witch-kings.

Top Tree
Bottom Tree
Lord of Moria
Dwarven Leader
Heavily Wounded
R3 Tree
Durin’s Blood
R5 Tree
Warrior of Lonely Mountain
Giant Slayer

Skill Builds

Dwarven Durability and Commander Damage Build
  • Lord of Moria (15/15)
    • Heavily Wounded (7/7)
  • Durin’s Blood (15/15)
    • All-In (7/7)
  • Warrior of Lonely Mountain (15/15)

Note: This build requires a Flawless Weapon with the special effect, Retaliate.

This build provides excellent healing and damage reduction for dwarven units. When Balin is equipped with a Flawless weapon that has Retaliate, all dwarves have a 35% chance to recover 150.0% HP when receiving and dealing damage (in most cases). This significantly increases the durability of Balin’s army and makes up for the lack of Physical Damage skills. Additionally, dwarven units are already durable, to begin with, and the extra Burn Damage reduction from Warrior of Lonely Mountain provides an excellent counter against Alchemists.

This build works well against enemies that use three melee units (ex. Théoden with all Melee Mounted Units) because they allow Retaliate to activate every time they attack Balin’s dwarves. However, this team is slightly less durable against ranged units due to the inability for Retaliate to activate (ranged units are not within range to counterattack by Guardians or Ram Riders).


This build is heavily reliant on good equipment because Balin’s dwarves need to sustain the amount of damage they take. This build will not work as it is meant to without strengthened and refined equipment.

The Mattock of the Iron Hills is the best Flawless weapon for Balin. It provides Retaliate and also synergizes with dwarven units. However, other weapons that provide Retaliate can also work. See the following for a list of Flawless Weapons that provide Retaliate for Dwarven commanders.

  • Mattock of the Iron Hills (best weapon)
  • Lhang (2nd best weapon)

Balin’s Helmet and Armor should typically boost dwarven Defence or HP and his accessory should provide additional healing. Depending on what the Helmet or Armor boosts, Balin may be used exclusively with Guardians or exclusively with Ram Riders.

Exquisite Equipment Build
  • Mattock of the Iron Hills (Retaliate)
  • Bone Mask (Hysteria, Manipulate) or Horseman’s Helm (All except Grinding Assault)
  • Superior Hauberk (Melee Vigour, Fire Protection) or Scale Mail (Melee Vigour)
  • Hithlain (Mend)
Mattock of the Iron Hills
Bone Mask
Superior Hauberk
Flawless Equipment Build
  • Mattock of the Iron Hills (Retaliate)
  • Iron Basinet (Fortitude of Dwarves, Fortitude of Soldiers)
  • Durin’s Plate (Fortitude of Dwarves, Tactical Manoeuvers)
  • Erebor’s Pride (Iron Guard) or Defender of the Mountain (Iron Guard)
Mattock of the Iron Hills
Iron Basinet
Durin’s Plate
Erebor’s Pride

Army Unit Composition

Balin works best with only one type of dwarven unit if the Hithlain is equipped. The only optimal options for this are Guardians or Ram Riders. However, since Ram Riders are very expensive, Guardians are the best option. They are cheap and easy to conscript. Additionally, they acquire the most out of equipment buffs due to their higher units per command stat.

Thank you for reading this article! Hope you found it informative.


Leave a Reply