Monday, 20 December 2010


Breakthrough is one of the most misunderstood and underestimated research in Grepolis. Many players ignore it or try it in a wrong way, get wiped and never come back to it. As long as you know what  breakthrough can offer you and what are its limitations then it can become a very useful tool in your arsenal. Its main drawback in a Revolt world is that it cannot be both revolt and breakthrough, which makes it more usefull for Conquest worlds.

Would you be interested in getting my calculators and guides on your smartphone? Vote Now!!!

In a shortcut breakthrough is a life policy for your land nukes, that's all. Use it to make sure your land troops get onshore and do not die useless in sea (terrible waste of resources). You pay for it in weaker Light Ships, which are used only as a cannon fodder in a breakthrough attack.

If you have specialised cities, like land nuke cities then breakthrough is for them. Because of the population cap land nukes can have only small Light Ships escort, which is not in any case enough to really deal with many Birems. If there are many Biremes defending enemy harbour, hit it before with a pure Light Ships nuke. If by any chance BMs appear after your clearing LS waves and before your land attack, breakthrough will at least help your troops land safely onshore.
So its very simple - I send land nukes to hit land units only, not BMs fleet, that's the main purpose of sending them. For sinking BMs I have LS fleets, for destroying land army I have land nukes which I send as breakthrough attacks just in case if my target stacks more BMs which my LS didn't have chance to sink.
That's in short, if you are interested in details read further.

Lets first see what the game says about it:
"Your ships enable a better breakthrough of your transport boats to the land. But this reduces the fighting strength of your ships by 50%."
The information provided directly links this tactic with Light Ships (depends on LS) and it says "better" not "guarantee". I agree its not very clear however understanding comes with practise.

As I said in my guide about city specialisation, make your offensive cities purely land attack or navy attack (proportions attack/defense is the key for minimal loses/maximum damage). In your land attack cities always research breakthrough and use it. To remind, attack made of 1000 slingers and 20 catapults is much stronger than two attacks of 500 sl+10 cat, this is why we build purely land attack cities. However the population limit makes it impossible to have big land forces and fleet in one city at the same time. We also cant send transport ships without LS escort, never! Transport ships must be always escorted by LS. The population limit reduce our escort size and therefore we use the trick called breakthrough. Its to make possible to have a big land army and still be able to transport it on the enemy shore without having huge fleet escorting it.

Breakthrough is the way to minimise risk when sending a land nuke but there is always possibility of losing some transports. The effectiveness of breakthrough depends on LS/BMs (Light Ships to Biremes) ratio - the bigger the better. Breakthrough is not some kind of magic carpet - its all about proportions. If there are to many BMs then forget about land attacks, clear the harbour first with your LS fleet (which you make in your navy attack city). Whenever a player tries to defend and kill attackers its always best to send LS waves just before your land nukes to sink as many enemy BMs as possible. However even then its still better to use breakthrough than not at all, unless you plan to make 100-150 LS escort for every land attack group...but then you wont have any land attack.

For example if your land nuke hits a city protected by only 50 BMs then 25 LS escort is sufficient and you will not lose any transport ship. If you hit 200 BMs then 50 LS escort might be just enough (depends on a lot of things). However if you attack a city protected by 600 BMs and have only 25 LS escorting your transport ships, then even breakthrough will not help. If you hit 1000 BMs don't be surprised that it wont work. Everything is about proportions. I haven't collected any data but I believe that 1 LS / 4 BMs is somewhere on the edge (as long as both sides are equal - both have battering ram and captain).

I think that 50 LS is a good number to escort your troops. It will not always work but in most cases yes. If you want to be prepared for 300 BMs then make 60-70 LS escort but it will limit your land forces. As long as you clear the enemy harbour just before your land attack then there is very little chance that suddenly 500 Biremes will appear out of nowhere to sink your ships. It might happen but there is not much you can do about it. My LS clearing waves hit 2-10 seconds before my land attacks.Timing waves is another subject, however its sufficient to say that when you attack, you take risk, everything depends how skilled and smart your opponent is - all you can do is to try to minimise this risk and breakthrough is the way to do that.

I have positive experience hitting  <300 BMs with my land nukes escorted by 50 LS (300 was max I hit without loses). Anything above that and you need more LS to escort. 300 is a lot and its on the edge - I think I had advantage over my enemy by having Battering Ram researched, navy general (Captain) on and Zeus Favourable Wind boost. To make your breakthrough as efficient as possible always have Battering Ram researched and if possible use Captain and Zeus cast.

However when your enemy is as strong as you (no casts, and also has battering ram and captain) then 350 is to much as we can in the example here:

Even though I sent clearing LS waves, my land nuke was cought by 365 enemy BMs

 This is with the breakthrough on - 25 transport ships lost and in total I and my enemy lost:

104.25k Wood 23.515k / -80.735k
50k Stone 17.725k / -32.275k
64k Silver 8.095k / -55.905k
975 Population 240 / -735

If I didn't have breakthrough switched on, then the battle would look something like this (more or less, didn't add here any research or captain):

151.6k Wood 50.715k / -100.885k
91k Stone 41.525k / -49.475k
92.8k Silver 14.215k / -78.585k
1.54k Population 512 / -1028

So in the second "battle" without the breakthrough I sunk more Biremes BUT lost more transport ships and land troops, which didn't even fight! If we analyse resources lost we can clearly see that in the second battle (no breakthrough) I lost 20.15k more wood, 17.2k more stone, 22.68k more silver and 293 more population. So I will need more time and effort to rebuild lost units (time to gather resources and produce units). In both battles I lost resources but in the first one less, because I insured myself with the breakthrough.

50 LS = 500 population, its still a lot but better to be on a safe side. Better to kill few units less but not risk  losing all of them in the sea. If you hit 200 BMs with 50 LS without breakthrough then you will sink more BMs BUT lose all/most of your land troops before the land battle starts. If you use breakthrough you will sink less BMs but get your troops on land. For sinking BMs I use LS waves, for destroying land defenses I use land nukes, simple.

To recap, Light Ships and breakthrough in land offensive cities are only to safely transport your troops on the enemy shore.

If you have any question or would like to add anything, please leave your comment
cheers :)


  1. Good explaining. I never understood this until now. I always thought that your ships fought 50% less strength or something until you made this. Thank you.


  2. well they do fight with 50% less power (so are much weaker) but they help to push through as many transport ships as possible. So even though they are weaker, they manage to put more transport ships on the shore if there are many Biremes defending city. The efficteveness of this mechanism depends on LS/BMs ratio.

  3. Brilliant guide,thanks GROM.

  4. Thanks Grom - One comment I have. Doesn't Breakthrough really help in a revolt world. It allows you to start the revolt FIRST. You can then go on to finish clearing any navy/troops they have, but the revolt timer has already started ticking... Am I correct?

  5. Nice guide!!!

    One problem: Your enemy can see that it's a breakthrough. Then he knows it's a slinger nuke.

  6. thanks,
    I havent played this game for long time so please tell me how can see it? The only way to see it is to spy it with favor points but then you see all units incoming. Of course I might have totally forgot things :P

    Anyway, what matters is proper timing - I was able to squeeze 10-20 waves in 10-15s interval and land nukes were always hitting just few secs before the CS wave.

  7. Hello Grom,

    First off, thanks for this blog! I use this site for a lot of my research. I have been using breakthrough in my nuke cities and I was actually wondering if you can use breakthrough with your cs to take over a city?

    1. I think you can but I have never tried it. After all its just a "normal" attack. Im guessing that you refer to a revolt world? If you use a breakthrough attack, you are likely to lose the colony ship if there are any defensive ships. How likely? I guess it depends on how many Biremes are there. To be honest Ive never tried it but I know that Devine Powers kill CS quite often only because it "contains" (is produced from) large amount of population - same can happen when calculating breakthrough attack. You would have to try to know it - maybe you are developed enough to afford such a test? I imagine that 9/10 times CS will be sunk.

    2. PS Its part of the fun to try those sort of things :D I liked to test new tactics. This is how I found out "tea time" message and developed my tactic of sending 2 CSs (about which you can read in my guide about organising waves when conquering a city). If you have 20-30 cities just give it a shot ;)

    3. You cant. The cs will just bounce. It has to be a normal attack.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. The bread and butter of a breakthrough attack is its ability to break a full-blown siege. There's always more bireme support than dlu. Have your alliance send LS and harpies/manticore to their death, like any other siege breaking attempt. Eventually bust out the old breakthrough attack in a big way and, if you're lucky, watch the land support crumble and the CS sink.

  10. So Grom - if you wanted to revolt a city would you send 2 land attack waves in quick succession with the first being a breakthrough attack and the second being a revolt attack? I can see breakthrough being more effective at killing DLUs but it won't get you the revolt. In that case maybe the revolt attack has a larger LS escort?