Disclaimer : the thoughts and exemples below only reflect my own state of mind of the game, you are free to agree or disagree. Also the aim is to help people improve and not to give them premade 5S to use.
Selecting the 5 first units you start with is key in a match. It can allow you to have an edge right from start or be behind on the board even beore game really starts.
Before selecting them, you have to ask yourself a few things :
Who plays first?
Who is enemy Hero and Guardian?
What are the key units of opposite faction which can be used in his S5?
What is my gameplan?
The point 1 and 2 are easy if you paid attention in loading screen. If not, you can at least know you plays first by looking if the dagger and pipe is on our side (= you play first) or not.
The point 3 is linked to the knowledge of the game. You will need a bit of practice before being able to anticipate what the opponent can play.
This part is important because it will allow you to know what units you can take to be safe or counter the opponent start.
For example, if you play against Naphas and they play first, they have only 3 3Movement(3M) unit that can be used : Hero with 10 or 11 attack, Pionner with 3 attack and Warrior is 4 attack.
This means that anything with 4 HP on the frontline will need to be attack by hero or by pioneer+warrior to get removed. so it is quite free to deploy pioneers with 4 HP on the front line.
Naphas have also lot of high HP units so you will need to take some low HP/high damages units to start with to be able to contest opponent advance on the board. if the opponent uses is 3M to come kill your weak units you can trade them after removing the few mobility Naphas have.
Tagaris have low HP/high damages and bunch of 3M, if they play first, anything on your frontline is at risk unless the biggest tanks. it also means than even warriors can take favorable trades vs their higher units so having 2movement warriors with 3 or 4 attack can contest the advance of Tagaris low HP units
Point 4 is more about your mood and favorite playstyle, if you want to play offensive you will select high damage and mobility cards but you already have to think at what your first moves would be. Trying to go middle, waiting in defense with archers, pushing a side... As a ancient general said : It is better to have a bad strategy than no strategy.
When you have answered the questions, you can take the 5S the more in line with the enemy possibilities and your gameplan.
For exemple, in the game below I was playing first as Nordur Erik/Fabyor vs Arachnids Rezu/Kratos.
Rezu is 15 HP so you cannot contest it without your hero also it is probable that Rezu will push a side where you cannot easily mass damages to kill it. Also Arachnids have a few 3M : 6 attack Master, 3 attack pioneer with paralyze, 3 attack warrior with grievous wounds. They can also field a assasinate 3range pioneer and some high attack pioneers. Most Arachnids units have 7 HP or less so anything with 8 attack is a good counter to them.
The gameplan is to pressure the right flank and try to force the opponent on left side to fight cheaper units.
So the 5S is
And deploy is
Night prince and Ygridd have enough damages to clean up the side to allow Lorik to get in a position to threaten enemy deploy zone. Also Ygridd + Lorik is 16 damages, enough if Rezu if in the area
Frailga can reach 7 damages against higher tier units so she can be a threat to a lot of Arachnids units. Gantur is to take trades on eventual warriors going this way. Erik have a central position to be able to move vs Rezu.
There is no 5S that counter everything in every situation and taking 5S comes a lot with experience but you should ask yourself everytime why you take a unit in the 5S and what is his purpose in your strategy
NB : As a final tip : don t stack 1Movement warriors in your 5S it only leads to a complete lose of the board and probably to a game lost :)
I didn t used the the fellow ship/guardian bonus to not make the guide overstuffed. It comes with Guardian knowledge (point 2) and experience (point 3) to anticipate fellowship and guardians possible interactions.
Also in the game Kratos is used so I was sure you didn t had 4 damage 3M from Qessa bonus.
Erik was misplaced, he should have been on frontile as you said
Thanks for the guide. It's really helpful even for experienced players.
I would like to draw two remarks though: (1) Lasthos can have 7 attack with fellowship bonus; Thera and Exodus can get 4 attack with Qessa bonus. (2) I would like to ask why do you put Erik in the second line? Isn't putting him in the first line provides even more maneuverability?