First Draft: 3/25/18
First Revision: 3/27/18. Removed the 1st two topics, replaced with 3 much better topics
This is part 2 of my "Raiding in the Top 1000" opus.
You might want to check out part 1.
Raiding in the Top 1000, Part 2,
Thoughts Before Selecting Heroes
The Hidden Puzzle in E&P
As I was writing/editing this document, I learned something new for my experience with the game. (Funny how "teaching" a topic teaches YOU about the topic.) The "puzzle" of E&P was the gem board, but I don't see it that way now. My favorite "Puzzle" now is selecting my heroes to raid. The single most strategic thing I can do is select my attack heroes to counter their defense heroes. The more heroes I have, the more puzzle pieces I can choose to solve the puzzle (and kick their butts).
“If it is not maxed, it is meat”. Not totally true. I find it funny, but there is some logic to it. When you are playing unmaxed heroes vs other unmaxed heroes, winning relatively is simple. Just level you heroes up more than them, boom you have the advantage.
Playing Maxed vs Maxed heroes changes the game a lot. You can't level up a maxed hero, so team selection becomes key. When playing with a pool of maxed heroes, I don't really look at hero power any more, but I focus on their capabilities. I "cast" my attack team to best counter the defense them with the heroes in my pool. This is not a simple puzzle. The complications and benefits run very deep. The more I learn, the more I discover I don't know. My favorite line Bubbles said from the Powerpuff Girls is, "Education is the progressive realization of our own Ignorance". I love the PPGs.
Note: When I say Maxed, I don't mean level 70 for 4* and level 80 for 5*. Raise their levels and ascensions as far as you can with the materials you have. If you are running mainly 4* heroes at level 60, most of your opponents will be close to this value and team power will cancel out. As you become a better raider, you will start fighting tougher opponents, but you got this.
Troops are kinda a way to raise the level of of a fully ascended hero. Generally you will be fighting defenders with the same level troops and they cancel out. I don't worry so much about them. If you can focus on building your pool of heroes I feel you will get more reward for the same amount of food. Yes, you should definitely level your troops, but it is slow and boring. You should be aware of your troop level, but you really don't need to give it much thought. Level when you can and it will handle itself.
I feel your goal should be to have a large pool of equal power heroes not necessarily just a few super powered ones. Ten 3*s is frankly more fun to "puzzle" than only five 5* heroes (no puzzle). Options are what can give you the most power and for me the most fun. I would set a goal of ten 4* heroes, one of each color all about the same power. You will have a lot of fun before that, but I feel the maximum "fun jump" happens here. When they are all above 640 power, you have the tools to beat ANY team. Granted some are much harder than others, but with some luck and the rematch button ANYONE is a possible target. That being said I would still pick your battles and fight teams you have a better than 50% chance of beating, but it is nice to know you can win against anyone.
I don't really want to get into Alliance Wars here, but the bigger my pool of heroes are also makes AW more fun for me.
Full Disclosure: Here is my current totals for raid heroes as of 3/27/18
7x Maxed 5*heroes
3x Maxed 5*^3 heroes (with 4 more leveling)
16x Maxed 4* heroes (with 2 more leveling)
5x 4* troops at levels 11-13
5x 4* troops at levels 5-8
"But, that means I will be leveling FOREVER!" Yep, welcome to E&P. I have been doing this for about 11 months and I farm my brains out. You can spend money and buy your heroes (I have at times), but leveling them still means you need to play a lot and Everyone (P2P and F2P players) are waiting on ascension materials. A free, and I feel smarter, way is to get your training camps to lv20. Building your pool of heroes takes time, but the rewards are cool.
Also, there are no useless heroes, just useless teams. You will see on the forum that such-and-such hero is "useless". It might be true for their skills and/or their pool of heroes. I have many heroes I thought were useless. As I get better at this game I keep finding uses and hero combinations that make them useful. Keep looking, keep growing your pool. You will eventually find a use for every hero and not just for your junk team in AW.
IMHO, There should be scorch marks on 8-7 in Season 1. ; )
Your Defense Team is Not your Attack Team
This is probably 100% false if you don't have a pool of heroes to draw from. Early in the game, my defense team was hands down my best team. I had no other heroes leveled or even close. The bigger your pool of equally powerful heroes becomes, it gets to become more and more true. Once you get to ten 4* heroes this will probably be 100% true.
I don't want to cover defense teams here. It is a different game in my opinion and a equally large topic. But I do need to mention some heroes are typically better on defense and some heroes are better on attack. You heroes will tend to gravitate towards one or the other. But there are no heroes that are always defense or always attack. How you use your heroes depends on your tactics, your other heroes in the pool and what the defense is running. As your pool grows and as your tactics evolve don't be surprised if heroes flip-flop between you attack and defense teams.
In the higher tiers you are fighting defense teams that are designed to defeat randomly selected attackers. Look at the defense teams on the leader-board. You will start to see patterns. These people have put thought into their teams. They have a number of heroes to choose from, and they have selected the best for defense.
Sounds horrible! How can I win against that?... The defense team is static, your attack team is flexible. You have the initiative. Don’t get lazy. Customize your team to defeat the enemy in front of you. The defense team was designed to defeat you, but you can design a team to defeat them. If you get it wrong or get unlucky, edit your team and rematch and figure out that puzzle.
Raiding in E&P is a game of strategy with a small element of luck, not the other way around.
Really! I mean that
Hero and Team Power is Not All That...
I have written a lot about power. It is a useful guide to a hero or teams strength, but it is definitely not the rule when building your team.
For Example: I have Lianna (5* green) at lv70 and Caedmon (4* green) also at lv70. Lianna's special is a damage machine and is 26 power higher than Cae. It seems logical at first glance I should not run Cae, but I swap them all the time. Caedmon removes enemy buffs while Lia does not. My favorite use for him to to "counter" counter attack. Most of the time I hit a enemy not covered by counter attack so he does not take damage. But he removes the counter attack for all of the defense team, which opens the door for me to hit them hard and not worry about killing my own heroes. If I don't need to debuff and need raw damage, I run Lia. Both are useful.
Even when I level up Lianna to 4^80 (come on Tome of Tactics...) I will still swap them at times. I am giving up team power, but I am gaining a great tactical advantage.
Quick note on 3* heroes. The difference in raw power between 4* and 5* heroes is big, but generally 4* special are more useful. So 4* for 5* swaps are common. The power difference between 3* and 4* is HUGE. I'm not saying don't do it. You may have a great reason. Just beware swapping out too much raw power for tactics.
Quick horror story. Early in the game I had a Grimm. Then I dumped a bunch of money on summons to build my "killer" 5* team. I used Grimm to level Thorne because I thought Grimm was now useless. Aggghhhh! what was I thinking. It took me a long time to realize what a bone headed move that was. I have a new Grimm and I promise not to do that again.
You Do not need the HOM or Challenge Heroes
The Hero of the Month and special challenge heroes are fun, but not necessary at all to be competative and have fun.
YOU DO NOT NEED THEM!?
It took me a while to learn this. You can play for free and be competitive. The standard deck heroes that you get from tc20 are all that you "need", the others are "wants". I have a bunch, Ares, Musashi, 2x Alberich, Delila... I run them because they are fun, not because I "need" them.
With the Standard Deck, Can I consistently beat...
Hel: Yes! (pun intended)
Ares: Almost yes. I am very close to figuring out my tactics for him.
Guinevere: Not yet, but I am making progress on my tactics for her.
Who do I fear? Quintus, Joon, Lilanna, Sartana, Azlar, etc. A well designed team is dangerous regardless of whether it has "limited time" heroes.
The developers at Small Giant are really good at balancing the heroes. I feel the limited time heroes are only 1% better than the regular heroes when maxed. You get a tiny reward for spending money/gems which is fine. But, good tactics make this irrelevant. Granted, I feel Guenevere needs a small nerf, but she is still definitely defeat-able.
Lastly, Make sure you are up to date on the release notes here in the forum. A hero you fear might get a nerf, or a "useless" hero you have might have gotten a buff and suddenly becomes one of your favorites. For me this happened to Quintus in the 1.7 and 1.4 releases.
You Only Need to Kill One of Them
This is not 100%, but around 80% true. At the start of the match both teams are relatively even in their ability to do damage. If after playing a bit, both you and the defender each loose one hero, the attacker is generally at an advantage. This effect magnifies when you both loose 2 or 3 or 4 heroes.
The attacker do damage with gems and special power. The defender does damage with special powers and direct attacks from LIVING heroes. Every time you loose a hero, you loose one of your specials, but you still do the same damage from gems. On the other hand, the defender looses a special AND their direct attack damage goes down buy 1/5th.
Both have 5 heroes
Defender: 100% direct damage + 5/5 special powers
Attacker: 100% gem damage + 5/5 special powers
Both have 4 heroes
Defender: 80% direct damage + 4/5 special powers
Attacker: 100% gem damage + 4/5 special powers
Both have 3 heroes
Defender: 60% direct damage + 3/5 special powers
Attacker: 100% gem damage + 3/5 special powers
A good general plan of attack is to first knock out one of their team., Most often the center. Chances are you are going to win after that. This assumes your team is not "almost dead". If all your heroes are at 10% health and the defender has Quintus or Azlar charged... Sorry, but you are about to die. But Hey! That is what the "rematch" button is for.
Have a Plan to Win
A bad plan is better than no plan. Your "win" plan does not need to be complicated. The plan I use 90% of the time is:
"Kill the hero in the center first and figure it out from there"
Nothing wrong with that, but here are a few of the more complex plans I have used:
"Use the gems on the right side only as much as possible, so I don't activate Azlar on the left side. Kill Azlar with special attacks only."
"Ignore Ares in the center. Dump gems on him to activate my special attacks to kill the heroes in the left and right corner first. Figure it out from there."
"Knock out the healers first and protect my own. Once they are dead, grind down what is left."
Old military axiom, "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". The gem board is random and will very often force you to change your plan. Try your plan, but if it will not work, then be flexible and change it. Or even change it back. The goal is not to do your plan, but to win.
The purpose of "making a plan" is too speed up your development of new tactics that work for you and your heroes. After each fight, pick the statement that applies the most:
"You won according to plan"
"You won, but the plan did not happen"
"You lost, and the plan did not work"
"You lost, but the plan did kinda happen"
"Well that was a awesome or horrible mess"
Now ask yourself why did it happen that way. Was it because it was a good or bad board? Was it a good or bad plan? Was it because your were drinking while raiding and forgot that Elena has counter-attack, AGAIN! Nothing too in depth, just a quick reflection on the fight.
For me this is an extremely powerful learning tool. It quickly changes how I set up my teams and greatly improved my win ratio. I keep doing it and I feel like I keep getting better mainly because of it.
Look for Synergies Between Your Heroes
I was goofing around and played Grimm with Thorne and discovered my current favorite pair of heroes to play together.
Grimm is a blue 4* with average mana speed. Thorne is a blue 5* also with average mana speed. Because their mana speed is the same they normally activate at the same time. I fire Grimm first to drop their defense and do some damage. Thorne gets fired second and his damage is magnified. This is a instant kill much of the time. If not it really hurts. I like to call them my "Alberich Snipers". : )
You could swap out Thorne for Perseus or Magni, or swap both for Sartana+Tiburtus or Marjana+Gormek. But pay attention to the ones that have fast mana speed. They will typically activate first before the average speed "defense reducers" activate. You may need to hold off firing for a turn to maximise the effect. Holding fire is a little dangerous and scary that the hero will be killed before you can fire. Nothing wrong, just be aware. More on holding fire in a later document.
This is only one set of "Hero Synergies". There are a lot more, and not all the same color. Goof around, do stupid things, experiment and find the synergies or "killer combos" in your hero pool.
Counter Their Strengths, Exploit Their Weaknesses
This is where having a lot of hero choices in your pool really comes into play.
Does the defense team have special powers that will "stick" to your heroes? Ex: Azlar (fire), Sartana (poison), Hel (mana freeze), etc. Counter then with heroes that have "cure status ailments", like Vivica or Rigard.
Does the defense team have a lot of defense buff specials? Ex: Ares (Healing, Att+,Crit+), Alberich (Healing, Mana+), Boril (counter-attack), etc. Counter with heroes that "remove enemy buffs", like Caedmon, Melendor or Sabina.
The reverse is true to exploit their weaknesses.
If they have nothing to dispel your buffs,then use attack buffing heroes. Healing over time is great in this circumstance. You buffs will last the max number of turns... assuming the hero does not die.
If they don't have any heroes that could drop de-buffs on your team, then you don't need the "cure status ailments" heroes. You may need them for other reasons. Just don't bring a tool you don't need, bring a better tool.
If the defending team has nothing to remove status aliments, then hit them with "Damage Over Time" attacks, accuracy reduction, etc. The defender left a hole in their defenses, so exploit it.
I think you get the idea. There are a lot of things to this. more than I can write about (in a already too long document). The forum is fantastic for finding new exploits. Look for them.
Quick Summary / Short List
"For Gods sake Blaa! Would you stop typing! How much do you expect me to remember!"
Good Point. I am a bit "wordy". Treat this like a salad bar. Take what you want and leave the rest. Or take a little and come back for the rest later. This stuff works for me, Do what works for YOU. (FYI, I love Kung Fu Panda 2)
But, Here is a quick short summary of what I have written so far (+1). It should only take a few seconds to do for each fight.
Be Positive. You Got This!
Play the trophy spread
Reroll and Revenge are your friends
Pick your heroes each time
Have a plan and did it work?
Double up on the weak color of their center hero (more in the next post)
Remember this is supposed to be fun
Do I do this all the time? Nope. Here is another list I use at times.
Drink while you play
Stop caring if you win or loose
Enjoy the game's pretty colors
Now THIS is fun!
I like to play a my local bar. Drinking and good game play don’t mix (but is still fun). Dante2377 posted one of the funniest video I have seen about this game (NSFW).
This is the end of part 2. Part three is here:
Good Luck and hope it helps. I would like this to be a “living” document and would really like feedback for changes or additions or whatever.
As of 3/25/18 My alliance is recruiting 4-5 more players.
We are relatively quiet, causal players, but very active.
Open alliance. Mercs and visitors welcome.
1600+ to join but you can drop after. We are cool with that.
Hitting 7-9 Star titans, need your help for more.
"Perfect" win score in AW (If you consider 80% to be perfect, lol)
Castle Black Rangers (formery CastleBlack).
My forum name is the same as my game name, fyi.