[Primer] Defense AI Cheats or why computer gets first move, trickle mana & bonus damage and how to exploit/ defend against it for more trophies

[Primer] Defense AI Cheats or why computer gets first move, trickle mana & bonus damage and how to exploit/ defend against it for more trophies

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In raid defense, the A.I. ( computer ) gets 20% a bonus damage buff, a trickle of mana per turn in addition to mana per player match, and always attacks first after the board matching is finished. This is done because the AI is very limited, unlike players that can use tactics & strategy. In fact, these advantages are always constant so you can plan for them when setting up your raid attack, raid defense teams and choosing matches on the board.

20% bonus damage buff

Players can increase damage by making matches of a color strong against the defending hero. Since the A.I. Cannot, they get a flat 20% bonus ( which is roughly the bonus of a rainbow team against a single color boss due to strong matches versus a team of all neutral colors fighting the same boss ).

You can preview the raid defense team and pick the best colors to attack.

If the raid defense team has 3 yellow, you can run 2- 3 purple ( strong against yellow), take out your yellow hero ( weak against yellow) or add a healer that removes debuff from your team ( if the enemy yellow heroes can blind your heroes).

For your defense team, you want to balance the advantages of a 3 or 4 color team with the disadvantages of the attacker picking his colors. This usually comes down to what special skills works well with each other and later, a knowledge of potential opponents that can attack your defense team.

Trickle of mana per turn

Players can increase mana by matching where a hole exists in the enemy’s defense. Since the A.I. cannot, the defense gets a steady trickle of mana.

Balancing the mana gained by the A.I. versus the mana you gain from matching where a hole exists or matching a weak color against an A.I. hero takes practice.

Attacks first after board matching is finished

Once the matching is done, enemy special skills fire first. The A.I. cannot set up dragon shields ( match 4 ) , power shards ( match 5+ ) or cascade/ combo 9 for x1.8 damage. So if the A.I. manages to survive your attacking it with 4- 27+ matches and its special skill or normal/ physical attack is charged, it gets first attack, since you had first attack with your dragon shield, power shard or cascade/ combo.

Your tactics should be to try for the things the A.I. doesn’t get dragon shields, power shards, positive matching combos, and negative matching combos. A dead A.I. hero cannot use it’s charged special skill or it’s charged normal/ physical attack.

Positive matching combo

When you move a shield/ tile and create a match 3, that is a positive match. If the shield/ tile you swapped with also creates a match, this is a positive matching combo. This immediately gives you a Combo 2 with x1.1 damage buff.

When farming 8-7 practice your positive matching combos.

Negative matching combo

When you create a match 3, and the remaining board shield/ tiles fall up into the vacant spaces, and also creates a match, this is a negative matching combo. This immediately give you a Combo 2 with x1.1 damage buff. With practice you can get a double negative matching combo where the vacant spaces created by the first negative matching creates a second negative matching which immediately gives you a Combo 3 with x1.2 damage buff. Triple, and higher, matching combos are possible on purpose, but unless you have the visual knack for it, you will probably only get them by accident.

When farming 8-7 practice your negative matching combos and double negative matching combos.

Dragon shields

Setting up dragon shields ( match 4 ) and setting them off immediately is usually good at the beginning of the raid. At the middle and the end you need to balance saving the shield for an optimum time versus a hero dying before you can use it versus the trickle of mana the A.I. gains.

When farming 8-7 practice forming dragon shields.

If you have multiple dragon shields on the board, consider triggering a dragon shield highest on the board. This will result in the most number of shields/ tiles shifting, resulting in the most probability of new matches that can start a combo.

Unfortunately, if you tap a dragon shield, and it triggers a dragon shield next to it, you do not get a damage buff.

If you use a dragon shield for matching another 2 shields/ tiles and the dragon shield is at the end of the match, you will get a bonus 1 shield/ tile removed. You will get the four shields/ tiles around the dragon shield and the one matching color tile outside the effect of just tapping the dragon shield.

If you connect two dragon shields of the same color, with a third shield/ tile of the same color, you will still remove the same number of shields/ tiles, but set off both dragon shield at the same time.

Power shards

Setting up a power shard ( match 5 ) is usually best. But once it is created, there may be no more shields/ tiles of that color on the board. You need to balance how many shields/ tiles it will remove versus its usefulness in negative matching combos versus a hero dying before you can use it versus the trickle of mana the A.I. gains.

When farming 8-7 practice forming power shards.

If a power shard is next to a dragon shield and the dragon shield is a different color, tapping on the dragon shield will set off the dragon shield, and the power shard, and give you a Combo 2 with a x1.1 damage buff. This works for any number of power shards as long as they are a different color from the dragon shield for a maximum of Combo 5 with a x1.4 damage buff.

AI picks random targets

Players can target any hero with their special skills while the A.I. picks randomly, so on the defense team, enemy heroes in front can partially shield enemy heroes in the back from matching/ shield/ physical damage from the player’s heroes.

For your defense teams, high defense & HP heroes, especially high defense & HP healers and high defense & HP defense buffers, work well in the center. The far left and far right work best for glass cannons ( very high attack, low defense ), especially glass cannon healers and glass cannon attack buffers.

AI triggers special skills when full

The A.I. also has to fire its special skills when 100%. A player can hold his Gambler’s Stance ( attack buff with blindness penalty ) until after A.I.’s Fog of the Fallen ( heal & removes player’s buffs like Gambler’s Stance ) or while setting up several dragon shields ( match 4 ) and power shards ( match 5 ) for Gambler’s Stance to buff.

This just takes practice judging when to hold a special skill.

AI triggers special skill from left to right

The A.I. fires its special skills left to right. A player can decide to use Gambler’s Stance first in order to buff Ramming Pulverizer ( splash damage & defense debuff ) for increased damage or Ramming Pulverizer first for less damage but guaranteed defense debuff since Gambler’s Stance includes a blindness debuff to offset is insane damage ( player perception of special skills using RNG is a totally different post ). The A.I. has to fire whichever hero is leftmost.

So if a player’s large combo fills all five raid defense heroes’ mana, they will then fire off left to right.

For your defense teams, consider which heroes you want in the far back row and the middle row then put the ones you want to fire first on the left. Example: Alberich can revive heroes, so he often works best on the left where he can revive heroes then other heroes can heal or defense buff them. Heroes with Attack all special skills work well on the left of the defense team, since they can eliminate weak HP heroes on the player’s team before a single target defense sniper wastes its special on them. Heroes with single target special skills work well on the right of the defense team where they can pick off the remaining heroes as the raid comes to an end.

Defense mana from board damage

Defending heroes gain mana from matching/ tiles that hit them. In general, the center hero will receive the most mana. The two flanks the next most. And the corners the least.

Fast mana speed heroes work well anywhere, but corners benefit from fast mana speed heroes, or heroes that work best in the middle of the battle like Alberich and Mother North reviving dead heroes.

Flanks benefit from fast mana speed, but this is also the best place for slow mana speed heroes since they will charge faster than the corners but take less damage than the center. Two slow heroes on flank will be easier to defeat than one slow hero on flanks, but it depends on your roster. Not everyone has every hero and sometimes your hero is still X* 1.1 .

Center benefits from fast mana but it also takes the most damage. A flank healer can help keep the center alive. Center healers can also help keep themselves alive. Center healer and two flank healers can frustrate low level enemies in alliance war. Combining healer and damage dealers on center and flank will work better in raid defense since the attacker is not limited to one use per hero.


Since the defender charges when hit by matching/ tiles, combos can be a mixed blessing. A combo does a lot of damage, but also charges the defenders.

To give the advantage back to the attacker, the more damage a combo does, the less mana defenders get from it. So a huge 23 combo will give substantially less mana per tile to a defender than a 2 combo.

Combining all of the above

A player can use defensive tactics and strategy by setting up a defense team that enhances the above A.I. mechanics of steady mana, bonus damage, and firing first while minimizing the mechanics of using the special skill left to right on a random player’s hero.

Carver, Little John and Li Xiu are attack all so they don’t pick a target, attack all so even with Gambler’s Stance reducing their accuracy they will probably hit most of the player’s heroes. They are most effective at stripping mana when the player’s heroes are 100% after a power shard ( match 5 ) or cascade/ combo, so going before the player’s heroes maximizes the ability.

Once you get a better feel for the A.I.’s strength and weakness, you can decide to spend food to skip a particular raid defense team.

Note: not sure how crit works for enemy raid defense team.

Farming practice

As of this time, Season 1, Province 8, Stage 7 ( 1.8-7 ) is the best for recruits. But it give you a lot of common herbs.

Once you have four training camps you will probably discover that Extra low cost training ( RT11 ) is the most Hero XP per recruit but substantially slower than the other trainings. Extra fast training ( RT19 ) is the second most Hero XP per recruit and the fastest, by a wide margin, Hero XP per hour. But Extra fast training requires Rugged clothes.

Season 1, Province 7, Stage 7 ( 1.7-7 ) is some of the best Rugged clothes per energy ( for Extra fast training ), and string per energy ( for Arrow Attacks ) and almost as good as 1.8-7 for recruits.

While not as good for recruits, Season 1, Province 7, Stage 4 ( 1.7-4 ) is the most monsters per world energy letting you rapidly fill you Wanted Monster Mission Chest ( and Wanted Dark Mission Chest ), while also getting Rugged clothes and String.

Last Update 2019-Mar-02


You did not cover firing/not shields with no hero.

Dude, he typed all of that out with two thumbs on a smartphone and you critique what he missed? I’m too busy being impressed by his persistence.


Oh, no disrespect for a job well done…just want to see if he handles a seemingly bad board differently.

I think Bud was asking for Chapter 2… :wink:

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Well done @Gryphonknight; and thank you very much!

Rook, you know me so well

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Because of the revenge bar in Alliance war, hitting enemy heroes with strong or neutral match/ shield/ physical damage is more important than charging up a special skill by matching where a hole is.

Dragon shields ( match 4 ) and Power Shards ( match 5+ ), double matching and combos are also very important.

In Alliance war, two healer s can also be helpful unless you are using five 1.1 heroes (1* to 5* doesn’t matter) in which case five sniper 1.1 heroes are useful for at least removing some HP from the defense team.

Slight edit:

Because of the revenge bar in Alliance war, hitting enemy heroes with strong or neutral match/ shield/ physical damage is relatively more important than charging up a special skill by matching where a hole is.

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Thanks. Typing on a phone, hard to read all my post.


The revenge bar is why a Rigard (purple 4* heal all, remove debuff allies all ) in the far back right corner can hold off six or seven enemy attack teams if they wait until after they have used their 10 best attack teams.

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Thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

I think this needs a bump just to remind everyone what advantages the defense team has and what weaknesses there are to exploit.

@Gryphonknight I’ll move your guide under #player-guides so it won’t get lost. Thank you for your contributions again! :slight_smile:


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