So, you’ve decided to make a better tower defense. Building a successful tower requires time and gold but it can be very rewarding. Let’s get some things out of the way: You will need to buy all 5 floors. Even if you choose not to use all 5, having all 5 floors gives better rewards for, among others, daily quests and wizard tower. With time, the upgrades pay for themselves and the longer you wait, the more rewards you’re leaving on the table.
Do not sell any monster. You will need them to combine and level up the monsters you’re keeping. Some highly desirable monsters can drop at a low level and will require low level monsters to level up. If you sell low level monsters you will find yourself hunting for low level monsters which can be very frustrating.
First, some basics: I see three types of floors: Damage floors, Mop-up floors and stall floors. At high level, stall floors lose quite a bit of their efficiency since most attackers will have high level and high starred heroes with epic weapons and so make short work of most stall floors. Some exceptions exist but I haven’t timed out on a floor in a very long time. Quick note: When attacking a stall floor, turn the speed of the game to normal. Running the game at high speed costs you seconds that can sometimes make the difference between defeating a floor and failing there.
In high level towers, your main source of damage will be heroes. Bombards are not as efficient as they once were so do not waste resources crafting them. If you have them they can be used as support damage but if you don’t you can still create a tower that will defeat raiders.
There is an important distinction to be made between the first tower floor and others. The first floor is in many cases the most deadly as most attackers will enter the tower without soul energy, except for teams including a Spellsword. Tactics that work for the first floor might not be as good on other floors.
Let’s start with a rundown of available units for tower defense.
At high level, a lot of machines are not viable defenders. Some can be very useful but a tower can very rarely be defended only with machines.
Chill turrets will provide a slowing aura that can be used to limit the turns attackers have. It also provides a boost in armor and fires off freezing bolts but the main use is the chilling aura. The aura stacks with multiple units but is dispelled as soon as the turrets are destroyed.
Once the bane of tower attackers, bombards have been greatly nerfed with global launch. Their attack was lowered, their initiative lowered and in all likelihood so has their skill cycle. They can still provide interesting damage but their cost is too high to justify investing in them. If you have some bombards, you can put them to good use but they will not be successful on their own.
High life, immunity to critical hits, and parry ability makes these units pretty durable. Their interest lies in their taunt ability, which will force enemies to attack them to the exclusion of other units. Once again, these units will not win a defense on their own but they can help control attackers.
Strong tanks with stunning abilities, high life and defense, boost their armor when damaged and will increase attack and defense over time. They can be hard to kill and can be useful for stall floors if you wish to attempt one.
These units have high life, high defense, immunity to critical hits and reflect a portion of melee damage done to them. They also block most ranged attacks, enabling you to protect the unit behind them from direct ranged attacks but leaving them vulnerable to line attacks, row attacks and area of effect attacks. While they can be useful, their greatest strengths are also their weakness: because of their high survivability they are often left standing after all other units on the floor are defeated, giving attackers time to heal up and load up on soul energy.
At high level, most monsters are simply cannon-fodder. Most monsters do not have the stats or abilities to be interesting in tower defense. There are some exceptions.
Black Fist Evokers:
Also known as CoWs because of their cloud of weakness ability, Evokers can mean the difference between a successful defense and a defeat. They max out at level 65 and can be expensive to level up but they are worth it. They have relatively high life and acceptable resistances to fire which gives them survivability but have next to no armor which means they are weak to physical attacks. Their cycle is also pretty slow so it can take a while before the cloud of weakness ability comes up. Keeping them alive until this point is important. Cloud of weakness affects all attackers so it’s much more difficult to cleanse and it’s not affected by taunt. They also have 2 attacks, one single target lightning attack and a fireball that attacks everyone. While these attacks are not the main reason to be interested in those monsters, they can add up and sometimes finish weakened defenders. They can be used with either single target heroes or area of effect heroes.
Also know as Reps because of their repentance ability, Inquisitors are very useful in a successful defense. They also max out at 65 and are less expensive to level up but they have lower life and resists but higher armor. They are better suited to frontline use than Evokers. Their repentance ability is a huge debuff that is applied to a single character. Attackers using taunt will receive the debuff but protect other attackers on the team. They also have a beam of light attack and a minor heal ability that makes them versatile. Repentance is cast quickly so it can be very useful to debuff attackers before the first soul skill attack of the defending hero comes up. Their healing ability seems to target randomly but it can make the difference between a unit dying or surviving long enough to use an ability.
Also know as Pig men for obvious reason, Overseers will buff attack and heal defenders. They max out at 70 and have good life and high fire resistance and 10% armor. Vicious overseers are used to buff the defenders. At max level they provide 185 attack. They are not too expensive to level and each level adds 2 to the warcry attack bonus. Their Warcry ability is rather quick to cast and will likely affect the first soul skill use of your defending hero. They can make a significant difference with some heroes and can be a great component of a damage floor. Heroes such as the Berserker and the Shaman can make use of their warcry bonus but so can others.
Also known as eyeballs and beholders, demonic watchers are a bit of a controversial monster. They are epic so they are hard to find and while they can do a lot of damage at high levels, getting them there is extremely expensive. They max out at 80 and have 10% armor, and resitance to fire, lightning and shadow. They have high attack and can do a lot of damage at higher levels, a keeper used a level 80 watcher with great success but getting them there will cost you a ton of gold and monsters.
Another epic monster. Maxes out at 70 and has high life and armor as well as acceptable resists across the board, their only weakness being light. They also have regeneration equal to their level and a vampiric strike ability that heals them so they can take quite a beating. They are not very high damage dealers but can be used in some circumstances with great results.
Also known as sneaks or sneakers. The ultimate rush unit. They quickly do a fixed amount of true damage with their sneak attack but die quickly. I will admit that I do not know at what level they max out. In high level towers, their use is marginal.
They max out at level 60 and have good life and armor and a useful taunt ability. When damaged they raise their armor which helps survivability.
There are other monsters that can be useful in tower defense but this is a quick round up of the most useful and commonly used.
Machines should be max level whenever possible for best efficiency. Avoid using low level monsters. Keep them in stock and level them before deploying them. A monster that dies before using its ability, like an Evoker that dies before casting Cloud of Weakness, is not only useless but a net liability since it gives the attackers soul energy.
Quick description of floor types:
The name is pretty self-explanatory. These are the meat of your tower. At high level, a tower without good damage floors will fail. A good damage floor will include a high damage hero, ideally of max stars with epic equipment, as well as buffers such as the Overseer and debuffers like the Inquisitor and Evoker. Try to pair Inquisitors with AOE heroes, unless you want to snipe a taunting attacker like knight with a single target hero like amazon, shaman, blackguard etc… Evokers are good with either single target heroes or AOE heroes but take much longer to cast their buffs. Overseers can be useful in a number of situations where heroes rely on high attack for quick kills.
Those are usually right after a damage floor and are there to quickly finish off remaining heroes. Often they tend to use high level vile assassins in numbers, and they can be paired with heroes for different effects. Some use Ranger for quicker initiative, or ninja for interrupting the attackers, or spellswords to stop the attackers from healing. There is a strange tendency to use templar with vile assassins that I have seen in some towers. It is not a good strategy in my view since the vile assassins have low life and will die quickly. More often than not, a vile assassin will die, be resurrected by templar and killed immediately after. In some cases, we can forego vile assassins completely and use different heroes that attack quickly or disrupt the attackers’ attacks such as ninja. For example, I use a floor with a high star (not max) ninja, 2 chill turrets to slow down attacker actions, an inquisitor to debuff any taunters, an evoker to debuff the entire team and a bombard for additional damage. The bombard dates from pre-global days. If I had to craft it now I’d do without.
Pretty self-explanatory. These are floors that are centered around the idea of timing out attackers. I have yet to see a successful stall floor at high level but if you are interested and can come up with a working combination I would be interested to hear your comments. Stall floors can be the heal variety with either druid or cleric, the defensive variety with either warhamster or paladin, or the debuff variety with a combination of high hp taunters, necromancer and other debuffers, the idea being to lower attackers’ attack stat so that they cannot do large damage to your units. Vampire lords can be an interesting unit here, as well as covernant guardians, runic constructs, walls, and suits-of-armors. These floors are usually the last one in the tower so the fact that attackers have time to heal and gather soul energy is irrelevant. The whole idea is to grind them to a halt and make it impossible to get through the floor in time, through one of the strategies described above. As I said, these floors tend to be easier to pull off at lower levels and not as efficient at high levels.
This concludes this introduction. Further installments will deal with different heroes and floor combinations.
Huge thanks to Athanatos of guild Awesome Sauce with help from Ashbringer for writing this amazing guide for the community to read!