How Does Stress Work In Lamplighters League?

Lamplighters League is something special. This game is full of unique characters, an interesting world, and fun mechanics that allow you to tackle the game with a number of strategies. One such mechanic is that of Stress. It’s a potent path to victory if you know how to utilize it.



Related: The Lamplighters League – Agents, Ranked

While there are many obvious ways to break your enemies’ bodies, attacking their minds is just as effective, and sometimes even moreso. If you want to bring your opponents to their breaking point and keep your own agents from buckling under the Stress, then we will tell you everything you need to know.

How Does Stress Work In Lamplighters League?

Celstine (Dazed, seeing stars) faces off against an armored heavy enemy. There's Ghostfire on the top right. Circle in orange are their Stress Gauges

If you want to know how Stressed units are, you can find out by looking above their health bars. Stress is counted in single red pips, with leftover capacity for Stress shown by empty boxes.

Stress is accrued when units– both friend or foe– are attacked, either directly or harmed by AoE effects. Once their Stress reaches the max, they’ll suffer from a Stress Break, which lasts for the rest of the round and all of the next round, after which their Stress gauge resets.

Before your Agents suffer a Stress Break, there are a number of ways to remove Stress. All Agents can use the Stress Remedy consumable to remove three or five Stress, depending on the quality of the item.

There are also Agent-specific abilities, Undrawn Hand cards, and equipment items that can reduce stress when a certain criteria is met, through random chance, or both.

What Are The Effects of Stress?

(Left) A Stress Break-afflicted heavy soldier cowers near a building. He is surrounded by Ghostfire and actual fire. (Right) Celestine in the Undrawn Hand Screen. The Breaking Card Harpy covers her leftmost card

When a unit reaches maximum Stress, they suffer from a Stress Break, which puts them in a vulnerable state. Most enemies immediately panic, running in a random direction, heedless of cover. Agents don’t suffer from the initial Stress Break save for some panicked dialogue.

Most human enemies will spend their turn panicking, but monstrous enemies like mummies and other creatures have a chance to attack their allies.

The most important effect of a Stress Break, however, is that units affected can be killed or be put in the Mortal Danger state with the Finisher action. This is true for your Agents as well as enemies.

Finisher is a melee range attack that instantly takes out a Stress Break-afflicted unit without using an Action Point, allowing you to finish off an enemy and take another action. Since it’s melee range ability, you have to be relatively near your target, but this also means that if you’re close enough, Agents can close the distance with the Finisher.

After-Mission Effects

Similar to injuries incurred by entering the Mortal Danger status in a game, an Agent suffering from a Stress Break during a mission is afflicted with a lasting debuff that comes in the form of a Breaking Card, which not only saddles the Agent with a nasty debuff for three missions, but will also cover up one of their Undrawn Hand cards, negating it until the Stress card is gone.

Breaking Cards can be dealt with in one of two ways: wait it out or tough it out. After three missions, the card will disappear with no further effects.

However, if you want that Agent on the field, you can field them instead of waiting it out. If they can get through the mission without suffering a Stress Break, the card is removed and you’re given bonus ink for the trouble.

This is risky, since the debuffs can be quite strong, but if you think you can pull it off, it’s worth the risk.

Related: The Lamplighters League – Classes, Explained

What Are The Best Stress Strategies?

A Stress Broken soldier (red aura) is surrounded by the Lamplighter agents Fedir, Celestine, and Alexandrite. A mix of Ghostfire and fire rages at the top of the picture

The best way to utilize Stress against your enemies is to build around it, but even generally, there are ways to Stress out your enemies without making it your whole composition.

Poison is a fantastic way to build Stress, since poisoned units get a point of Stress every time the effect procs. Focusing your attacks on one unit is also a reliable, if slow way of Stress Breaking them, which is especially useful against tough or heavily-armored units that you have a hard time killing just through damage.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this works in the other direction and that your Tanks or other characters that call attention to themselves (Judith, Fedir, Lateef, etc.) are prone to Stress Breaks as well if you don’t manage their Stress.

Incidentally, Tanks, while not particularly good at stressing enemies with their own abilities, are good to equip with Undrawn Hand cards like The Tyrant and The Monument, since they’re often surrounded and under attack.

What Is The Best Stress Break Team?

Left: Fedir Rages ( red, left), an enemy skirmisher falls under attack because of Warped Image (white, center), another skirmisher attacks their ally and Stress Breaks because of Warped Image (right, orange) / Right: Celestine casts her Mesmerize signature, which surrounds her with red-black flames

If you want to make Stress Breaks the centerpiece of your strategy, then Alexandrite and Celestine are mandatory for your squad. No one does Stress better than these two and putting them together with some proper strategy will leave your enemies’ lines in shambles.


Alexandrite has some of the most diverse ways to inflict Stress in the game. With the Dread Embers passive, enemies afflicted by the Illusory Burn from Ghostfire get additional Stress when attacked by Alexandrite. Warp Image makes an enemy a target for other enemies, but any enemies attacking a target of Warp Image gain Stress when they do.

Alexandrite’s most potent Stress tool is Tether. Tether links two enemies together and gives them both one Stress each for three turns, and if one of them Stress Breaks, the other does as well. With Tether, Stress Breaking enemies goes from being a cool gimmick to being a very effective and reliable way to take out enemies.


Celestine is designed to Stress enemies, with most of her attacks dealing little to no damage, but being fantastic at inflicting Stress. For this, Curse is her most powerful ability, since any afflicted enemies take an additional point of Stress when attacked, effectively doubling their incoming Stress.

With Tether, this is guaranteed double Stress Break, if you play your cards right.

Her Cruel Release passive gives an additional Stress when Celestine lands a crit. Whispering Knife is a ranged attack that inflicts poison on an enemy, further increasing their Stress.

Mesmerize, her signature ability allows you to capitalize on the enemy’s Stress-induced disarray since it not only causes enemies to attack each other, further spreading Stress, but it also resets whenever she does a Finisher.

Other Team Members

Celestine and Alexandrite are capable of destabilizing enemy ranks with their abilities, but you’ll still want a full team for every mission. Your picks to fill out your roster are a lot more flexible in this regard.

You might want to bring a Tank for Team Stress Break, since they’re both rather squishy– though Alexandrite is a slippery target thanks to her Slip Mind passive. Judith and Fedir are both strong choices, though Lateef also makes a good, if unorthodox pick.

With his Distraction ability and Decoy Signature, he can take the heat off your MVPs while keeping himself safe with all the Evade he stacks.

Ana Sofia is a great fourth pick on special missions, or even in place of a Tank in normal missions if you’re careful. Not only will she keep the team alive, but at higher levels and with the help of The Conjunction card, she boosts any team’s action economy and effectiveness in the field.

Related: The Lamplighters League – How To Upgrade Your Agents

What Are The Stress Strategy Limitations?

Lady Nicastro surrounded by the Lamplighters. Fedir prepares to do a Finisher on her. An orange circle highlights that the move will damage but not kill her. On the bottom right, an orange arrow points to the line

Utilizing Stress Breaks as your primary form of removing enemies is potent, but has its limitations. Chief among them is the fact that Scions are not instantly killed by Finisher. Instead, they take a chunk of damage when hit with a Finisher, which may kill them anyway, but it’s not guaranteed.

Also, you might not want to try and Stress Break scions, since they have huge stress gauges that take many attacks to fill out, even if you’re spec’d for it. Later on in the game, you might deal so much damage that it would be quicker to try and kill them outright.

Also, Nicastro faction monsters and Nicastro herself are immune to poison, which will blunt some of Celestine’s effectiveness.

Next: The Best Strategy Games Of All Time

Leave a Comment