Engineering 101 - A Beginner's Guide for Building Bases in Horde


No character on the team is more essential to the team than the engineer. While other characters can dish out far more damage shot for shot, the engineer has more influence than anyone over how the game is played. At their best, an engineer defines the flow of combat for their teammates and provides them with a coherent base of operations along with all of the tools needed to destroy the enemy. Without a quality engineer, your base is doomed to be overrun by enemies and Horde becomes basically unplayable. But the life of an engineer is often a grind, meaning a successful game may require you to spend more time repairing your base to protect your team than focusing on killing the enemy directly.

Placing the Fabricator

Every Horde game begins with the Fabricator being placed somewhere on the map. As the engineer I always try to get to the Fabricator first, but wherever it is placed is the core of your base. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Enemies will not spawn too close to the fabricator
  2. Downed allies can be revived at the fabricator; and
  3. If you die during a wave, your character will be revived at the fabricator.

Therefore, you will want to choose a location for the fabricator that will be as easily defensible as possible. The spawn locations on each map are usually good options, as they allow you to put a wall at your back and concentrate all of your fire in one direction without enemies sneaking up behind you. Some levels, such as Harbor, Reclaimed and Training Grounds have elevated platforms from which enemies can come from all directions which are also strong options for bases.

The Repair Tool

The biggest difference between the engineer class and most of the other classes is that instead of spawning with a pistol, the engineer begins the game with a repair tool in the pistol slot. This tool allows you to repair anything you’ve built out of the fabricator by “shooting” it with the repair tool from a short distance away for a small amount of credits. In addition to restoring the “health” of fortifications, the repair tool also reloads the ammunition in the sentry turrets.

Barriers: The walls of your base

Once the fabricator has been placed, the next major task is to construct the barriers that will protect the team and define the dimensions of your base. Look around the area and determine what are the spaces in which a barrier could be laid that the opponents won’t be able to run around. A good base has no more than 2-4 of these chokepoints that require a barrier.

Barriers have four levels of strength:

  1. Spikes
  2. Barbed Wire
  3. Electric Fence
  4. Laser Fence

Level 1 and 2 barriers don’t stop enemies, they merely slow them down and do a bit of damage. However, after 3-5 seconds most enemies will emerge on the other side of these with at least 80% of their health intact.

Level 3 and 4 barriers do not allow enemies to pass through. Enemies will attack these barriers from the outside causing themselves damage, but until they are destroyed they will keep the enemies out.

Placing barriers strategically allows you to define the base from which your team engages the horde. When placing barriers, make sure there is cover nearby, so the engineer can work in safety while repairing the barrier for the team. At the end of every wave if not more often, take a moment to scan your base to make sure all of the barriers you need have enough health to survive the next wave.

Sometimes an engineer will create a safe zone with barriers only to see their team spread out across the map with no regard for the area you’ve created. This is frustrating but remember, it’s your job to work with the team you have, not the team you might wish to have. If people are actually working within defensible areas consider shifting the fabricator and barriers to their location.

The team playing too far from the fabricator means the enemy can spawn right on top of you, and it may be impractical for teammates to get back to the fabricator to deposit money, purchase defenses, or revive teammates when necessary. However, if your team is roaming the map without a home base or is stationed in an area you don’t believe is defensible, it’s appropriate to continue to build a defensible base in the hopes that as waves require your team to seek shelter they will appreciate the base.

If your team does not deposit money and just roams the map without regard to the base, you may want to consider just picking up the strongest weapon you can find and operating with the same disregard your team has. Or possibly just quit and find a better team to play with.

Everything Else

Every other item in the fabricator can make it’s own distinct contribution to the team.

Decoys: These fake teammates can be placed on the battlefield to distract enemies. Higher level decoys can take more damage before being destroyed, and level 4 decoys explode when destroyed. Enemies will focus their attacks on a decoy if the decoy is closer to them than actual COG soldiers. This distraction both reduces the amount of damage your team takes and makes the horde that much easier to kill.

Weapon Lockers: A weapon locker creates a slot where a teammate can reload any weapon they’ve picked up on the battlefield except pistols. A level 1 Weapons Locker creates a slot for a single weapon to be reloaded, a level 2 locker has two slots, etc., and the highest level of locker is level 4.

Forge: The forge allows your team to convert the guns dropped across the level into credits that can be spent by your team. This is particularly valuable when you have Jack playing on your team, as they have bonuses that allow them to receive significantly more credits by depositing weapons into the forge. Higher level forges reward the team with more credits for each weapon melted down.

Sentries: Machine Gun Sentries and Shock Sentries are the only offensive weapons in the Engineer’s arsenal. MG Sentries placed strategically at the edges of your base can easily end up destroying more than 80% of the enemy if they’re properly placed and repaired, but at the higher levels where they are most effective they come at a very hefty cost and require regular reloading. Shock sentries do not kill enemies but they do shock them and therefore slow them down, making them easier for the team to kill. EDIT: Shock sentries may kill enemies with very low levels of energy. I honestly don’t use them so I don’t know but it probably is true.


Is that right? I’m absolutely sure that while they have a lower rate of fire and do less damage, they can still kill enemies. They also have longer range compared to MG sentries.


Nice little break down but i would like to see some horde die hards give some tips and tricks for classes or just their best card setups and why.

1 Like

NEVER trust anything a del says that dont use shocks :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Look up hulkdaddy. He’s got like 4-5 guides on horde classes already. Pretty in-depth.


Not sure the people on this forum are your target audience.
I find the guild pigeonholed into your way of playing Engineer.

Spiteful much?

1 Like

I’d say this is applicable past wave 20ish and higher than advanced or so, otherwise it takes ages to kill stuff sitting in base early on waiting for them2come 2u, 1st chunck of horde is best just running around, I’d even go so far as to say build nothing till wave 11 near the 1st tap


If your team is indifferent to a base being built and don’t give you the resources you need to build one, why should the engineer feel responsible for creating a base by themselves? I usually have just enough money to keep everything repaired and occasionally replace something. But if the team doesn’t value having a base the engineer can’t force them to, and without money to spend an engineer is just another guy with a gun.

1 Like

Only thing I build as engineer before wave 11 is the Forge. Fences and Weapons Lockers should be build by others.

Weapon Lockers built without Del’s higher reload card are nearly useless imo. My Del also builds barriers that are discounted, stronger, and moved faster by Del, so I disagree on who should be constructing the base in general.


Doesnt del get cards for cheaper purchases tho? So a waste for others to build lockers etc, plus better hp on them too or faster weapons charge?

1 Like

Full discount only applies to the first 5 things Del builds… discount slowly decreases the more Del builds, If Del builds dozens of items… fortifications cost thousands more for Del to build that any of the other players.

Ahh yes true that, i remember being a jd an del asking me to build him 3/4 sentries so he could upgrade them cuz the cost of his next was way higher than mine

Also on Boss waves we turn the Forge and most of the higher dollar fortifications red so they do not get destroyed.


A cheap cop out that shouldn’t be in game if ya ask me, ruins the whole concept of having a base to defend, sure i do it cuz everyone with half a brain would, however id be happy seeing that removed, maybe replaced with something like “fortify” ie, close the item down, cant use it for a whole 2waves but it gets 5x hp or something adding a risk reward feature to each item

It’s better to place them sideway, horizontally. Around 2+ or more, depending on width. It slows down enemy, way more, and cover more area of effect.


So happy when i see a del do this, im like YESSSS got me a good del :grin::grin::grin:


This is a good strategy but it can also block fire lines and especially JD’s laser

1 Like

Exactly. That’s why Level 1 better. Level 2 Razor can block the laser sight and hard to see Leeches through them.

1 Like

Del should build everything, so many cards that increase health to fortifications or save power, not using him properly is a waste.