Heroes are the main damage dealers in towers at high level.
To be successful in towers, heroes need the highest stars possible and epic gear.
Heroes fall in general categories of damage, tank or utility. Some can straddle the line.
This will focus on the more commonly used damage dealers. Other heroes can also be used and be very effective in some cases but these are the most commonly used.
He tends to be slow but can do a lot of damage. He also has high resistances which can help him survive. If you want to use him as a pure damage dealer I recommend using him on the first floor of your tower so he can benefit from the time attackers need to get soul energy up. He pairs well with evokers and inquisitors since he has attacks that target everyone. His main sources of damage will be his soul skill and poison cloud. Beam of death can also be devastating and attacks two enemies so with taunters it can hit both the taunting hero and the one behind it. I don’t recommend using disintegrate as a defender. While it does a ton of damage it takes very long to cast and in most cases will be cast once at most during an attack. Another point of interest about disintegrate is that its damage type is stun. In higher level towers, facing well geared opponents, stun resistance tends to run very high making it even more obsolete. Crushing fist will be used more often and likely end up doing as much if not more damage than the single disintegrate beam you will get. I have seen some people use polymorph in towers and it’s a very hit and miss skill. If faced with a taunter it will polymorph him and doesn’t remove the taunt status. If not, it can target anyone and might hit the damage dealer or an important healer such as cleric but it’s very hit and miss. Fist, Poison cloud and beam of death are safer bets. For passives, unless you’re putting him up front you should forget about stone skin. Without debuffers his attacks are not as useful and he will likely not kill many attackers. Some towers use a bunch of bombards with archmage and while it was a devastating floor before global launch, it is no longer the case. If you want to use archmage on a higher floor, he will most likely not be as effective. I use mine as a damage dealer on a mop up floor. He gets maybe one or two meteor storms and then dies. If attackers have low hit points he can finish them off.
Warlock is a pure damage dealer. She has a quick soul cycle and attack cycle and can put out a lot of damage. She is an uncommon hero so she is likely to have higher stars than Archmage unless you bought a lot of archmage stones or you’ve been incredibly lucky with drops. A good warlock will be very quick and relentless. Attacks follow in quick succession and end up doing a lot of damage. Like any other hero, she will kill more attackers if she’s on the first floor and has more time to cast before attackers get their soul energy up but due to her quick cycle she can also be used further in as a damage dealer. I run mine with Demonfire, Ball of darkness and acid bolt and use the shadow wall passive and dark patron. Demonfire is a single target killer that gets boosted by dark patron and ball of darkness never misses. Acid bolt does a lot of poison damage and ticks for a long time. At skill level 10 and hero level 54, it does 49-81 eight times but that’s before the bonus from dark patron and the additional elemental damage from the wand. Some people run her with drain life which does reasonable damage and can help her survive, but I prefer to run her as a pure damage dealer. Shadow bolt has average damage and is not boosted by dark patron so I’d avoid it. A max level wand will add 406 to her damage so it can make a big difference. With epic gear and shadow wall up she has 22% dodge which can help quite a bit and 115% shadow resistance which is capped at the maximum of (I think) 80%. Some people seem to be afraid to use demonfire because of the self damage but it’s mitigated by defense and resists and doesn’t do much damage to the warlock. She also benefits greatly from debuffers and some people have used overseers with her with great success.
The new popular kid in town, berserker can put out a lot of burst damage to all attackers but requires a high investment. An earthquaker epic weapon is almost a necessity and 7 stars are also very useful in getting him to do some actual killing. He is most efficient on the first floor and almost useless on other floors since he doesn’t have a very high life pool and resists. The basic build is raging shout, fatiguing strike and bloodbath with reckless for the additional critical hit chance and vicious streak for the healing. A berserker is a glass cannon that needs to hit hard and fast and ideally get critical hits in order for him to kill. If it works it can kill the whole backline in one attack but if it doesn’t then he will simply die. Overseers are extremely useful in getting his attack to higher levels. Evokers can help debuff the entire party at once to make him do more damage and some have used inquisitors to target either a taunting tank or a single random target for a huge debuff. I myself am not a fan of inquisitor with berserker since if attackers are using a cleric, cleanse will come up quickly after the debuff and will be able to remove it. My personal setup is three overseers in front and the backline is a chill turret, berserker and an evoker. The warcry ability will come up very quickly and two or three, depending on attackers will be in effect before he first casts his rampage attack.
This guy is the high attack king, especially with high stars and an epic weapon. He will do a ton of damage but is rather squishy, even with epic armor. He can be paired with a lot of chill turrets to immobilize attackers, a cheap and effective tactic, or with overseers to boost his attack to truly obscene levels. Besides his relative squishiness, his weakness is the fact that he attacks either one or two characters at a time so that slows him down but he can be a very effective defender with the right equipment and backing. His biggest drawback with an epic fist is his pure physical attack, making him a less serviceable killer against high armor targets. As of now, there are no monsters that lower armor percentage like heroes can. This can be overcome by using fire aura or a super rare fist with elemental bonus damage instead of the epic fist but this theory is untested.
Another glass cannon attacker. If he has epic gear and is used with a good backing to lower defenses, he can be devastating but tends to die rather quickly unless max stars. His soul skill does a distressing amount of true damage so he can be very good to destroy tanks.
Amazon with a high level frost pike can do a lot of damage against low defense and low resist targets. Her frenzy ability can ensure her a good number of attacks and she can shred attackers. She usually is helped by debuffers and has an average survivability. Recently, some have been using her with the cover allies ability, making her reduce damage on other units on her floor. This tactic can be very effective since the skill is part of the rotation on frenzy and will stack. A floor with debuffers and a suit of armor can turn into a stall floor if she is allowed to cast her cover allies ability too often. Some go further and have her use shield of the lady on top of that, turning her into a tank of sorts. With this build, since damage isn’t the goal, Wilderness Toughness is used to further increase her resistances and survivability instead of her attack passive. She can be very long to kill when she uses those skills. She does a lot less damage, obviously but can probably make some attackers time out.
This hero can be used in two ways. Either as a high damage tank, or as a high defense and armor damage dealer. Vicious strike and double swing are a part of basically every blackguard build. If you complete this with tendril of shadow and use find weakness and hell’s bulwark as passives, your blackguard is going to be a tank that’s hard to take down. If you instead use death glare with deadliness and find weakness, you will have a truly horrifying damage machine. His soul ability can wreak havoc on attackers with its damage and long stun. If an attacker is hit by death glare and then by soul rend, it can be truly devastating. Due to his great flexibility he can be used in many contexts. If used with debuffers he can shred an attacking team. If used with suits of arms and as a tank, he can take very, very long to kill and make attackers time out. He is one of the game’s most versatile heroes and is truly fearsome.
Some other heroes are used as damage dealing defenders, such as archer for his soul attack that can devastate a backline if backed by debuffers, mage which can do some interesting damage with Rod of Ruin thanks to his quicker skill cycle and faster and less expensive soul skill, Barbarian can be used to shred defense and attack with true damage and sorceress can mess with attackers with beguile and her soul skill that has a chance to freeze enemies for a long time. Ranger I see more as an utility or tank but some have used her for damage.
This concludes this quick round up of damage dealing heroes. The next part of the guide will look into tank heroes and support heroes.
Stay posted for when the next part comes out!
Huge thanks to Athanatos of guild Awesome Sauce with help from Ashbringer for writing this amazing guide for the community to read!