Disclaimers up front: this is NOT a guide (hence not in Player Guides). All it is intended to do, is to share my own experience raiding up to Top 9 globally, as a way for me to process my learning. And hopefully to help others who want to raid up and see how far they can go.
I’ve only done it once. Before that, I made it to rank 231 globally with 2796 cups. This experience got me to Rank 9 with 2988 cups; and I briefly managed 3002 cups but lost cups immediately after so didn’t climb any higher
"Screenshots Or It Didn’t Happen:"
Background: TL/DR, my defense isn’t so good so I can’t maintain more than 2450-2550 cups regularly; I am FTP; I give emblems to my 4*s and use mono on offense; and I am NOT looking to debate my gaming choices OR to convince anyone to play a certain way. I believe different strokes work for different folks based on goals, priorities, gaming situation etc.
Click for Details on Background
I usually maintain 2450 to 2550 cups, as my defense isn’t very good (Seshat +9, Francine +7, Aegir +9, Marjana +7, Joon costume +7).
I prefer spreading emblems around so I can complete more game content. I am aware some players prefer pouring emblems into their War/Raid defense. Personally it’s not for me, I like giving emblems to my key 4*s and am building up to two mono attack teams for each color in War. I am aware of the pros of toughening up my War defense, but for my alliance it’s good enough, and am not looking to debate my personal situation here.
My offensive style is mono in Raids/Wars. Again, not looking to debate mono vs. rainbow vs. 3/2. Mono works for me, because I have relatively few 5*s. I am aware of the risks; and with mono, at least I usually need only 1-2 matches in my color to clear the tank.
I am FTP; have only ever bought one 2.99 EUR deal for 300 gems, and one Rudolph deal that gave me VIP for a month. Also got free VIP from referring a friend one time. No plans to spend ever again. I am not here to debate player classifications; I identify as FTP, the FTP Rebellion has accepted me as an FTP, period. (besides, the only hero I can directly trace to those gems was Sir Lancelot; pretty much all of my 5*s came from EHTs, Atlantis coin summons, or TC20, so there.)
My Mono Teams:
Click here for the mono teams I used to raid up, and notes on how they work
- Purple - Proteus +19 / Sartana costume +7 / Seshat +9 / Tiburtus costume +11 / Rigard normal +15 .
Tibs is there to soften up the enemy, full credits to @Muchacho for a good discussion on why Tibs is important. Before our talk, I would sometimes sub in Aeron +4 or Sabina +20 for Tibs. I still do, rarely, but this is more of an exception than a rule.
Proteus has his mana node activated and has my level 17 mana troop (my only Purple mana) so he can fire with 9 tiles and buy valuable time. Sesh dispels as needed, otherwise comboes with Tibs and Sarty to kill key threats.
- Yellow - my MVP for this run, they were my go-to team for the toughest defenses O faced. Malosi +7 / Inari +7 / Rana +4 / Lady Woolerton +15 / Joon costume +7.
Inari and Lady Wooly keep the team alive (there have been times when my entire team dodged an AoE enemy special). Malosi blocks key threats like Telly, and acts as a finisher for weakened heroes. Rana of course heal blocks and is great for finishing too. Joon snipes, but often gets fired when a dangerous threat is about to attack (I have stopped a few Finley specials cold because he missed his first strike).
- Blue - Isarnia +6 / Sonya normal +20 / Sonya costume +13 / Kiril +11 / Master Lepus +7 . Sometimes the Sonyas got swapped around depending on the enemy. Once, Valeria +7 came in on a healer heavy team, and Aegir +9 on a defense debuff heavy team.
This team is a bit tricky, as Lepus / Kiril / Isarnia make a great combo but have different mana speeds. The choice to fire Lepus or hold Lepus depends on whether I can kill a weakened hero now, or need the combo to make the kill. Sonya plays similarly.
- Green - Francine +7 / Hansel +15 / Margaret +1 / Melendor costume +14 / Gregorion +7 .
Francine is amazing, a step up from Caedmon costume +15, as her 3-turn cleanse at end of turn makes timing less tricky to get right. Margaret protects my fragile 4*s. She used to be +7, but I gave her emblems to Francine as Francine is now on my defense.
- Red - Boldtusk w/ costume bonus +18 / Sir Lancelot +15 / Elena +7 / Gormek +14 / Marjana +7 . Sometimes Sir Lancelot gets dropped for Scarlett +12 when enemy has a lot of hard hitters.
This is the team I use least. No cleansers means I have to kill dangerous threats before they can fire. When facing Green tanks I prefer my Yellow, Green or Purple teams as they can turn around a bad board better (with their cleanses/dodges/effect blocks).
Preparation and Target Selection:
I waited until I had a good cup level of about 2600 to use as a base;
I stocked up on Raid flasks - used 9 all in all for this run;
I made sure I would not be interrupted - you cannot afford to go offline during this, a single revenge can take 50 cups away. It took me about 2 hours in total! Mentally, I think the momentum from consecutive raids helped me play better too.
I made sure I had plenty of food for rerolls. As I got higher and higher, there were fewer eligible players to fight, so I often cycled through the same defenses when rerolling. It’s really key to pick defenses your team is suited to beat. I ended up fighting a lot of Purple tanks because my Yellow team was best suited for surviving way up there.
I tried to pick the best cup ratios all the time, that way a loss would not set me back too much. I expected to lose quite a bit, and I did. Wasn’t able to track my win/loss record (it’s already been erased due to all the revenges!) But I definitely had a few losses.
Although most defenses are filled with +20 non-vanilla 5*s, a few pleasant surprises came along - I fought a few mostly-vanilla defenses on the climb up, Also 2 Richard tanks and a Sartana tank. of course, those were a bit lower if I remember right, around 2750 cups.
Edit after reading responses - if you are targeting a certain rank, remember that the number of cups needed to achieve the rank will depend on other players’ scores. Sometimes reaching 3000 cups will give you rank 10, sometimes rank 8… consider this in your planning.
Actual Raid Tactics:
In hindsight, target selection and team building were half the battle. As I said, my Yellow team was my go-to for the last set of battles because of their great synergy and relative toughness (4/5 of them are 5*s!)
Knowing when to time specials helped a lot, and I can’t always describe my instincts. But citing examples: do I fire Malosi now to finish off a weakened Quintus, or wait until Zimkitha charges up to avoid her attack boost? do I fire Lepus and Sonya now to pick off Tyr, or wait until I charge Kiril and Isarnia up and go for Alby?
Killing a hero outright was often the way to go, allowing me to focus on the remaining few (especially newer Valhalla or Ninja heroes I am less familiar with).
Losing taught me better tactics and helped me win on 2nd or 3rd try (like: I fought a defense with Seshat / Raffaele / Telly / Vivica / Kestrel - lost first time due to the healing core cleansing over and over again. Lesson: don’t kill Telly first, but wait until Proteus mana blocks the center three, and then kill Viv. 2nd time Proteus fired, he covered Sesh/Raff/Telly.
When You Get Up There:
I always knew I could not hold cups for very long. Especially as at the Top, you can be raided when online, and by that time each revenge was taking 50 cups from me. So I took screenshots early and often
I personally found it exhausting (2 hours of non stop raiding, yikes!) so I didn’t push for more than Top 9. I was already being revenged, and the defenses I was encountering were not suited for any of my mono teams. I decided to call it a night.
Coming down. I was worried at first that I would be attacked by top-ranking players who would be impossible to revenge… but most of my lost cups were from players revenging me! I only got 2 “new” attacks vs. 10 revenges on me. Which is certainly a lot less stressful.
Would I do it Again?
Probably, but not very often considering the preparation and concentration involved. I did it to see how far I could go, and I already know I can raid up that high and stay there for a bit.
And that’s it. As I said, NOT intended to be a comprehensive guide; NOT intended to be a “well I did this, so you should too” post. It’s what I did, what worked for me, what I learned from it - and if you the reader can learn something from it too, great! If you don’t think it will work for you, fine too - you probably have a different situation than I do.
And if you have a different way, please do share - would be great to learn from each other.