First Draft: 5/8/18
This is part 3 of my "Raiding in the Top 1000" opus.
You might want to check out part 1&2.
Raiding in the Top 1000, Part 3,
Stratagies for Choosing Your Attack Team
OK, First a little boiler plate.
I am not going to focus on using the limited time heroes (HOM, Challenge, etc.) on “attack”. For example, an attack strategy that focus on Delilah, Alberich, Aeron, Alasie, etc. is useless for anyone unlucky enough to not have them. Also waiting 11 months for a specific hero to be available again is kinda sucky. So I will only focus on the standard deck heroes for attack which can be drawn from a TC20.
Once again, you may WANT the special heroes, you don’t NEED them. I really mean this.
Limited time heroes on the defending team is another matter. I will totally include the limited on defense, because we run into them all the time. I 100% believe any team can be beat reliably with the standard deck heroes, no matter how many limited heroes are on the defense team.
There are a lot of tactics out there. I am only going to focus on the ones I use.
My previous docs have been focused on Trophy Raids. Some of what I have written could apply to AW. This doc is different. It will mostly apply to AW also.
I have no intention (or ability) for this to be a comprehensive guide to tactics, but a starting point for developing them. That being said, this is still going to be a very long topic.
“Shut up Blaa and get on with it!” OK, here we go.
Color StackingA rainbow team is OK and I did pretty good until I reached about 3800 team power. When I started stacking up on a color (doubling or tripling), I learned a lot and started winning a lot more. Color stacking is the first tactic you should consider when setting up your attack team. It is not always right, but you should at least consider it.
The Double StackSimply double up on the weak color of the first defender you want to kill and drop the color you are least worried about. Some would say it is a beginner tactic, but I use it in a lot of my raids. Just because it is simple, does not make it for beginners only. The more you use this tactic and learn from what did or did not work, this will become a very advanced tactic.
The weak color of a hero does roughly double damage for each gem. Doubling up on a color roughly doubles the damage per gem also. What it really is doing is adding the attack value for each hero. So adding an 500 attack hero to a 700 attack hero is not a double, but it is a heck of a lot more damage. For simplicity’s sake I an going to call this double damage. Technically incorrect, but much easier to write about. The combination of a targets weak color and double color stack, you will be delivering 4 times the damage per gem. This is a fast way to kill that center defender or anybody else who needs killing.
Once your “on” color target is dead, you double color team is far from useless. It will still do double damage to 3 of the other colors and “normal” damage to the strong color (2x damage for double color and 1/2x damage for weak color).
The initial gem board does not need to favor your doubled color. Matter of fact, it will not favor your color 4/5 times because there are 5 colors. Every time you drop gems, the board changes. While the initial board may not favor you, it can and will change with every move you make. Every move you make is a chance for the board to shift in your favor. It will not all the time, but it will most of the time if you play smart (“Gem Drop Tactics” I will specifically cover in Pt.4).
To kill your target of your double color, it does not take many gems. 9-15 Gems will kill most heroes you encounter. The board does not need to completely favor your color, you just need a few. Also remember you still do damage with 3 of the other colors, just not 4X damage.
BUT! If you double up on a color, you have to leave one color empty. This color will only do 1pt of damage per gem, but still boost the defenders mana. Ouch!. You should to select your missing color where it does the least amount of “harm” to your attack. The color you choose is entirely dependent on what the defenses team and location are. A simple method is to select the “last” defender you want to kill and make that your missing color. Typically the last hero is in one of the corners, but not always. If you kill all 4 other defenders and you still have a viable attack team, your weakness to this color is almost moot. Kill it with the 4 colors you have.
In summary, my most common use is to double up on the first hero I want to kill and drop the strong color of the last hero I plan to kill. Many times my plan of using my double color does not work and I win without dropping that color. No problems, take the win. There will always be exceptions, I am just playing the odds.
This tactic is about generally increasing the damage done by gems, but remember you also do damage and other stuff with special powers. While you will generally be more successful, you need to pay attention to your selection of heroes and what the defender is using. You still need to think about countering their defensive/offensive buffs, exploiting your hero synergies, etc. I recommend not “just doubling up”, but rather play a well chosen team and add doubling up to it.
Doubling up on a color does put you at risk of loosing because you got none of "your color". You can mitigate this with:
- Pay attention to the defensive heroes. Counter the attack or defensive buffs, you feel you need to counter.
- Pay attention to the other heroes you select beyond the double color and make sure they ALL play well together and help you exploit the defense teams weaknesses.
- Play the gem board as it is, not how you want it to be. Win with any color or special you can, not just the double.
- If you loose, consider the rematch button if you played the trophy spread.
Note: If you run into a team with 2 of the same color in the center and next to the center. Double up on their double’s weakness and drop the color weak against their missing color. This is a gift. Attack!
This is only an introduction to the tactic. Use it as is or combine it with other tactics. No hard and fast rules. This one runs as deep and complex as you want to make it.
The Double-Double Stack
(Californians will get the reference) Just like it sounds, double up on two colors. A common use for this is when I have two heroes I want to kill one after another. I use this about 50% of the time in AW.
A defense tactic I see used is leading with a color and then backing it up with the counter color. For example a yellow defender center, but flanked by two purples. The defenders idea is that if you double up on his center yellow, you will then be weak on the two purples. With smart gem board play a double-yellow + double-purple will beat this almost all the time.
While you are giving up two colors I find this to have less of a danger from a bad board than just a single double. I find it is much less common to be missing 2 colors rather than one. Also, I don't "feel" the loss of two colors much more than the loss of 1. This tactic is not a replacement for the single-double. Your hero list, the defenders team and you play style will determine which you play.
I find this to be a winning tactic for me a little more often than the single double, but that is my experience with my heroes and my play style. Your experience will be different.
The Triple StackWhen I started writing this I was going to write about how this tactic does not work, but I started testing it. Ha! I was wrong. This is now my most used tactic.
This is the simplest way I have found to kill those hard to kill tanks. Triple purple for Guinevere, Triple Blue for Ares, etc. I use it about 90% of the time in trophy fights and 50% of the time in AW. I am not saying this is the best tactic, It is just that I fight Guinevere almost 75% the time when trophy raiding (see more about Guin below).
If you get none of your tripled color, you are probably gonna loose (not always). If you get a bunch of your strong color, the match ends very quickly with your victory. But to win you don’t need the board to favor your color. All you need is a little bit. You color does 6x damage to their weak color, and this is really huge. Most of the big tanks are killed by 6-8 gems. That is it, Six to Eight! I kill Ares with 6 blues or Guinevere with 7 purples. You don’t need a lot of the triple color, you just need a few and more often than not, you will get “a few”.
Granted, things can go bad and when they do you will fight a long drawn out battle. Your team will all get killed and you will not get one of them. It happens, there is an element of luck. Don’t focus on your loss. Hit the rematch button and try again. Keep track of your wins to losses I bet you will find you are way more successful against those teams that were “unbeatable”.
You can not play the gem board the same as you would play a rainbow team. I find this tactic requires really good gem board management. You have two colors that will only do 1 point of damage, but will still increase their mana. If you just drop “any old color”, you will loose. I can not “phone in” my attack. You need to pay attention to the bad colors and limit dropping them when you can. Different gem board strategy, but not hard to learn.
The Full House Stack
I find this to be the most fun to play. It is not my most winnable tactic, but I find it it is fun to play. But used correctly it can be the right tool for the job.
It is a combination of the triple and the double-double. Triple of one color, double of another and dropping 3 colors. One obvious use is when Guinevere is backed by two purples, or Ares backed by 2 greens.
But, this tactic is one of the most difficult to run. It takes "spot on" gem board management. If you don't play the board well, this will be a loosing tactic, but give it a shot. I find 6 losses in a row teach me way more about the gem board than 60 wins.
Hey, they are just trophies. You will win them back.
No-Healer Defense TeamsI love defense teams that have no healers and are only attackers. These teams are fun and easy. This works with color stacking or rainbow teams. Every point of damage you do will stick to them. But if you bring 3 healers, every point of damage they do can be healed (most of the time). All you need to do is stay alive as you whittle them down. The big 5-way hitters like Quintus and Azlar are fantastic here. Typically for me these can be longish games. Play the board well, keep your healers charged and you will win almost all the time.
This can be done with 4 or 5 healers, but I find 3 to be the sweet spot for me. As I write this I don’t have any maxed heroes that reflect damage, but I feel they would rock here.
Lots of Healer Defense Teams
We have all fought a 5 healer defense team. Some 3 and 4 healer defense teams fit here also. The defender is hoping that they will overlap their heals and you will not be able to kill any of them, or that the time will run out. They are not very dangerous, but it is worth mentioning how to kill them.
This will be a medium too long match, so you should bring a few healers to this fight (not 5, uggh). You should not spread out your damage across the entire team, otherwise it will be healed way. Avoid the 5-way attackers like Quintus and bring the single attackers like Sartana. 3-way attackers are fine, but singles are better. 2 attackers with three healers or 3 attackers and 2 healers should do it. Focus all of your attacks on a single healer and knock it out. Then move on to the next and kill them one by one. Each one you knock out makes the next easier.
Ares is a Wimp
Way back in the day when Ares was a new hero he was the "must have" defense hero. He is not any more, but he pops up a lot and still takes thinking.
To kill him in the center position, bring 3 Blues (Triple Stack) and power through him. You can add a few defense de-buffers like Sonya or Melendor. I find good old Grimm is also fantastic here. That is kinda it. Little simple, but it works.
Another way to win is to ignore him. He buffs others attacks, but he does not directly effect your team. Bring a couple healers and a couple 1-way or 3-way attackers. Drop gems on him to power up your attackers. Fire their specials at the 2 defenders in the corners. They are not under his protection. Try to kill them first and slowly work your way down till only Ares is left. Then you can mop him up. For me this is not really better than "just" triple blue, but it is more fun.
Option 3, do both. Bring a triple blue stack, but focus on killing the back row first. You might kill Ares first, or not.
If Ares is in the second row (next to center), ignore him and kill everyone else first. He can be a pain in the butt here, but he is a pushover when everyone else is dead.
Guinevere is Boring
She is not hard to kill, it just feels like everyone in the top 100 is using here. I am so bored with killing her.
She is not a hard nut to crack. Triple up on purple and bring a couple de-buffers. Sabina and Sratana are my "go to" girls. Sabina is Purple, not a bad attack stat AND de-buffs. Sartana is Purple, great attack and fast mana generation. Tiburtus works nice also. I have had success with Quintus and other slow mana heroes, but I find they can almost never power up before she is dead. Still useful, just not as much, IMHO.
I win with this about 75% of the time. since I am almost always playing the "trophy spread" against her, I pick up trophies (even if I am drunk and my win rate drops to 50%).
But, killing her is only the first part of the battle. A "Guinevere center" fights break up into two partrs, killing Guin then killing the other 4. Balancing your "before Guin" and "after Guin" team can be a bit tricky. I am comfortable fighting with a lot of healers, so this is my most used team for her:
Sartana, Sabina, Tiburtus, Vivica, Melendor
Prior to writing this I used Alberich rather than Melendor. But with the Abe team I only win 60% of the time. Surprise! I win more with good old boring Melendor more. I did not expect that result. This just reinforces that the standard deck is viable. You do not need the HOM, etc...
Now, while 75% win is good, I want it to be 90%, so I am still working on this. One problem is her purple buff on defense. It takes about twice as many purples to kill her. I feel there is a winning combination that does not use purple or yellow out there. No luck yet. It has taken way to long to write this document, so I will leave this section unfinished… for now.
A quick note: Hansel, Gretle and Gravemaker may be Guin killers, but this doc is about the standard deck.
Alberich can be Surprisingly Tricky
We all know that Alberich can "revive" a dead hero. People tend to forget his other power, Mana Generation. When Alberich is in the center position he is not there to revive dead heroes. He will probably die first. The point of him there is to generate mana for the rest of the team. Consider my current defense team (FYI: I change often):
Sartana, Delilah, Alberich, Azlar, Lianna
Alberich is gonna probably die first, but my hope is he charges up Azlar and Delilah before that.
So, with Albe in the center, kill him fast and bring de-buffers.
Now everyone seems to have Albe in the #1 position (back left). He is there to revive dead heroes not so much for mana generation. Kill the center hero, then use your 1-way attackers to kill him second. Lots of ways to do this. Grimm + Magni or Sartana + Tiburtus are great Alberich sniper teams.
Counter-attack/Reflect and why I hate ElenaI like to play in the morning without my glasses. I get Elena and Marjana mixed up. I have killed to may Quintuses and Azlars because I "forgot" she has a counter-attack special. No hard to beat, but I still I hate her. LOL
Dealing with them is fairly straight forward. Bring de-buffers, boom! No to hard, but ther are a few interesting options.
A lot of times when I am fighting Boril or Cyprian (both 4 stars) I get lazy and will load up a triple stack of 5 stars then just “power through”. Not elegant, but works most-ish of the time. This does not work well against Elena (5 stars). She is a little too tough.
Caedmon and Sonya are great de-buffers, but it hurts to fire them off at a counter-attack hero. Remember, they remove the buff from all defenders. If you don’t want to hurt them, fire at the corers to drop the counter-attack and then kill them with other means.
I am not a super fan of 5-way attacks here. They work, but bring a de-buffer to clear the way before them.
There is A LOT MORE clunking around in my head, but I need to just get this thing out there. I will be adding more soon-ish. Good Luck and hope your win ratio goes up. I would like this to be a “living” document and would really like feedback for changes or additions or whatever.
As of 5/8/18 My alliance Castle Black Rangers is recruiting 4-5 more players.
We are relatively quiet, causal players, but very active.
Open alliance. Visitors welcome. Free Pie!
1800+ to join but you can drop after. We are cool with that.
Hitting 8-9 Star titans, need your help for more.
"Perfect" win score in AW (If you consider 80% to be perfect, lol)
Castle Black Rangers
My forum name is the same as my game name, fyi.