Horde Engineer Strategy Discussion

Hello fellow Del players (let’s be real, you’re all Del, haha),

I feel I’m hitting a bit of a wall, in terms of getting better at playing engineer - so I decided I’d probe the community to see how you all like to build your bases.

Specifically, I’m looking for input on the following maps, but any general strategy discussion is great also:

  • Asylum
  • Exhibit
  • Foundation
  • Training Ground
  • Icebound

What build order do you typically employ, including upgrades? Where do you like to drop the fabricator on these maps? Do you wait for the first tap to spawn, and decide based on that? How do you place your barriers? What cards do you equip? What is your ideal loadout, or do you just roll with Del’s starting loadout?

Have at it.

This is a big topic but i’ll try to rehash some of the important stuff I picked up.

For locations it’s good to pick spots that have few access points and a roof over your head for when a Kestrel or Guardian spawns.
I tried to find some maps but didn’t have such luck.

  • Asylum
    I pick the spawns of the map. I like to put the fabricator not against the back wall but behind the fountain/block on the spawn side. The other side of this cover is the ammo box. It’s close enough to stop the swarm from spawning into the little room on the side so they can only spawn on the tracks or other side of the map.

  • Exhibit
    I put the fabricator upstairs. The only 2 ways up there are the steps and across the catwalk with the lasers. Only 2 entry points. It can get crowded but you have the high ground. Things beneath you will have to take the stairs to get a shot on you unless your near the edge.

  • Foundation
    Spawn sides. Ill put the fab closer to the ramps to stop things from spawning at our sides. If it’s placed in the very back they will spawn all around you.

  • Training ground
    I’ll put the fab in our spawn cause it has a roof over our heads. I will slowly branch out towards the center area across the hall from us. It’s high ground and we can cover most angles of entry. If there’s flyers we can safely fall back to the room with a ceiling.

  • Ice bound
    Sound like a broken record but near the spawns. Let them come down the middle and shoot out the ice beneath them.

If there’s a Jack get the forge asap. The sooner it’s out the more money you get cause those guns disappear. If everyone is contributing I upgrade it to lvl 4 before everything else. So long as the team isn’t having issues killing. That’s about the only thing I absolutely build first. The rest I play/upgrade by circumstance.

After the forge try to get a weapon locker and upgrade it to lvl 2 for JD before wave 10. Upgrade it as money comes in. Kait can share it with him until she gets her own. Everyone else can use ammo boxes. If you have a Fahz he will need one eventually for his rifles. A spare for you or anyone else who needs to use heavy weapons.

Once we have 1 locker I do barriers next. Instead of using a tier 3-4 fence I prefer tier 1-2. When the fence is tier 3-4 it stops them from crossing but they are forced to dmg it. They will sit there until they die or the fence is destroyed. Requires a lot of repair. The lower tier fences slow them down but they won’t stop to destroy it. With enough firepower they will die before crossing and they require little maintenance. I only use a tier 3-4 fence if I certainly don’t want anything to cross that area. Like a back door or a piece of cover I don’t want those pesky leeches vaulting to interrupt me. I tend to build 5 to 6 tier one fences to create what I like to call “The Box”(see below for details)

Sentry. Once Jack is smelting or you have a tap, there’s a locker and all entrances are blocked by barriers start building sentrys. Mostly to help kill things or to cover a section a person isn’t watching. They don’t need to be lvl 4 as soon as you build them. Id build 1 for each entrance before upgrading them.

Shock turrets after sentries. These things have a farther range and they stun things. Even wardens. Gives everyone else time to react and kill.

I’ll build a decoy and put it in front to draw attention but it will be behind a barrier. They can’t get to it right away and it takes attention off everyone else for you and the sentries to kill it.

Once all the above is built I will start upgrading. usually lockers first. Then the sentries+shocks. The barriers in the box will need to be upgraded to tier 2(barb wire). I don’t exactly upgrade 1 specific thing to max. Rather those are my priorities and I upgrade depending on the income.

Build Ideas
Some general tips for building.
When building barriers I like to use “the box” method. I will plant several lvl 1 fences long ways not side ways. This creates a rectangle of slowness. Unless a warden, a matriarch or a carrier stomps down on them they won’t get destroyed if you keep them repaired in between waves.

Don’t put sentrys/shock turrets behind or in front of each other. They need clear line of sight to target. When putting them side to side try to leave enough room for people to get through.

Whenever possible try to put sentrys, fences, decoys just around cover. You can take cover and blind fire your repair tool to fix them. You will still get shot cause cover sucks in this game but it’s better than being out in the open.

You can place the fabricator side ways in some hallways to stop “most” things from crossing. Sires hop over it and juvies/leeches can sometimes squeeze through. It will stop scions and stuff and it can’t be destroyed.

Picking up a fort and placing it somewhere it can’t be will highlight it Red. It can’t do anything but most importantly they can’t be dmged. If a matriarch is coming Ill pick up the good ■■■■ and move it into a wall so she can’t destroy it. If I’m jack ill leave the forge out where the enemy dies so it’s less traveling to smelt weapons. Then when the next wave starts i’ll put it back in red somewhere.

Last if you have a surplus of money buy something but leave enough for repairs. Add an extra sentry to the front or shock turret. I like to build extra sentrys and have them pointing inside our spawn so if something like a guardian or snatcher gets through we have a fall back spot.


When I search a lobby for Masters I see a lot of people playing on The Forge. Reason being is they will setup Helms Deep in the upstairs area where the switch is. You will rarely get kills with the switch but that’s not the point. That section of the map is a big U shape. Plant the fabricator sideways to block one of the entrances while most people manually cover the other side. After the good stuff is built they will build spare sentrys inside the room with the switch for when a guardian flys in.
Basically once your setup the only thing you have to fear is a bastion shielding a scion, a snatcher, matriarch. Swarmak is only a problem is JD/Kait can’t kill it by the time it gets to the base. Same with Carrier. Kestrel you can hide inside and kill everything else, saving it for last.

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You wanna do my next guide for me? lol

Nah you do them so well.

If google found more maps I could show actual spots where I like to setup base but this was a lot of typing. i just wanted to get it started :stuck_out_tongue:

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I use the following skill card combo for Del:

  1. Efficient Fabrication
  2. Healing Repair
  3. Ingenuity
  4. Overclocked Locker
  5. Reinforced Fabrication

Ideal loadout for me is overkill/retro lancer (Kait dependent) plus Claw, honestly though it isn’t a big priority as I’ll only get involved with combat (outside of maybe boss waves) early on in the game.

Build order typically will be as follows:

  1. Forge level 2
  2. 1st Weapon Locker level 2
  3. Level 1 barrier for each entry point
  4. Forge level 3
  5. 2nd Weapon Locker level 2
  6. Forge level 4

After that it will differ slightly game to game but generally I will be looking to prioritise upgrading the existing WLs to level 4, adding more barriers to entry points (never higher than level 2) and building two additional level 4 WLs.

Beyond that I’ll typically be adding sentries/decoys during the remainder of the match and I’ll always try to ensure that line of sight isn’t obscured.

In terms of bullet sentries I try to avoid using level 4 as they’ve carried over the nerf from Gears 4 (they are also much slower to respond to enemies than they were in the previous game), the only ones that will be level 4 are those that are at the back of the base and will only be firing at any Guardians/Sentinels that fly into the base.

I much prefer level 4 shock sentries as they have more range, are quicker to refill & are able to slow down the approaching horde.

Decoys will typically be placed just inside the base and ideally won’t be visable to the horde unless they manage to break into the base, this reduces the amount of time spent on repairing them throughout the match but ensures they also serve as a necessary distraction if the horde gets too close for comfort. I will move the decoys outside of the base during boss waves and then bring them straight back after those waves have been completed.

In terms of where I prefer to set up a base on each map:

  1. Asylum - spawn , opposite side of spawn is okay, middle left hand side of map (above or below) is too tight space wise.
  2. Exhibit - spawn, opposite side of spawn is okay, upstairs too tight space wise and you are too exposed to snipers/elite drones in later waves.
  3. Foundation - spawn, opposite of spawn is okay.
  4. Training Grounds - middle of map to the right hand side of spawn (there’s a ground level room underneath it), setting up in either spawn or opposite of spawn means extending base so that it cuts off entry to that side of the map (not impossible but very reliant on players depositing for the majority of the match).
  5. Icebound - either building to the right hand side of spawn, neither of them is ideal (due to the number of entry points) but as this map feels like it was built for PVP only they are the best it has to offer.

In terms of the fabricator I try to place it as close to the front of the base as I can without enabling enemy spawns to occur within the base. This ensures that enemies spawn as far from the base as possible as well as reducing the amount of travel time from the fabricator for barriers etc.

Finally, in terms of taps, if they appear just outside of the base then I’ll extend the base perimeter to include them but won’t waste time/energy on taps that are too far away.

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Regarding the “box” placement for barriers, do you guys know how far out from the actual model of the barrier it still affects enemies? My fear with this method is always that I’m not actually covering it as well as I think unless I literally place like four barriers across the gap…

I definitely don’t really bother spanning barriers across gaps any more (the way they are obviously intended to be used by the devs, lol), but sometimes I’ll opt for “triangle” barrier placement in front of entry lanes if they are too wide to cover with a lengthwise barrier or two.

I definitely don’t bother with lvl 3 or 4 barriers, since as someone mentioned, it forces the enemy to attack them, and those repair costs add up (and it’s annoying to have to fix them constantly).

As for decoys, I usually place them to pull enemies into ideal position for my sentries, but also hopefully covered enough that they aren’t constantly taking damage. What level decoys do you guys usually opt for? I usually upgrade to lvl 4 eventually.

Regarding fab placement:

Training Ground - I usually set up in the spawn alcove, as it has cover, but it also concentrates a lot of enemies on a small area. I’ve tried building in that middle raised area, but it feels too exposed after a while.

Asylum - I always build on the spawn area opposite the side you spawn in, and build out the base to cover basically that entire third of the map.

Icebound - I always place it in that central building, but it feels REALLY exposed on higher difficulties. Three entrances, plus two window entrances, plus they can come from the upper level. I think I need to experiment with this map more.

Exhibit - I always build on the upper area, because obviously that catwalk with the lasers is ridiculously easy to place barriers on, and you can look down on the rest of the level. I’m seeing at least one person saying that’s not wise, because it’s too exposed?

Foundation - I place the fab near the top of the central ramp, close enough to stop spawns on that side.

I usually have them just touching each other. If your finding them running through it you can always move it closer.

Ive used a triangle build and put the decoy in the center of the triangle lol

Matter of opinion. Upstairs you have 2 sides to watch and it can get crowded. Downstairs at spawn they only come from one direction but from 2 elevations. If they get past everything you got nowhere to run. Not like you can really step out of cover on higher difficulties -.-

Yeah, the one issue I definitely encounter with that spot on Exhibit, is that it’s a great location… unless the enemies make it all the way to your base. Then it quickly becomes a nightmare, haha.

Maybe I’ll try building out the spawn next time, and see how I like it.