The 2-2-1 Raid Strategy Explained

Since it’s the season of giving, I thought I would share a technique I use to successfully raid, on a consistent, daily basis, players that are 300, even 400 power higher than me. This technique uses a 2-2-1 setup, or for those not familiar with the terminology, a raid team consisting of 2 heroes of one color, 2 of another color, and 1 of a third color.

Here is my raid team:

This technique is extremely powerful. With this raid team I have beaten several players ranked in the top 200 worldwide, and am even 1-0 against members of the vaunted Seven Days Departed (7DD) alliance. These are players with defense teams over 4100.

I’ve chosen yellow and blue as my doubled colors. How did I choose these heroes? There are a couple of attributes I looked at when building my raid team:

  • Both yellow and both blue heroes are FAST to VERY FAST mana.
  • All four yellow and blue heroes are hard hitters to a single enemy.
  • My heroes synergize with one another
  • My healer is the singleton color (though you may choose to run without a healer)

Do not make a healer one of your doubled colors. Healer’s tiles don’t hit nearly as hard, and you want to be charging two attack specials at once.

G.Jackal (on the left) drops the defense against yellow of the target, making Joon’s (on the right) attack even stronger. Furthermore, G.Jackal’s mana is faster than Joon’s, so G.Jackal will fire first. Triton’s (second from left) special not only hits hard, but also gives a healing bonus to all my heroes for when Rigard (purple) fires his healing special. Alasie (center) doesn’t synergize with my heroes, but her special does reduce the mana generation of the target and nearby heroes, which is important for the strategy.

This strategy is very much a “kill the opponent faster than they can kill you” strategy. If you don’t play it this way, you will lose. The doubling of yellows and doubling of blues means tile damage of those colors will be significantly higher than if there were only one hero of that color. In this strategy, I am relying in the beginning on tile damage until my heroes’ specials are charged.

Picking a team to raid
First and foremost, you must find a team whose headpin (center hero) is weak against one of your doubled colors. In my case, I want either a red or purple headpin. Not surprisingly, most of my raids are against Gravemaker as headpin (no, I am not afraid of Gravemaker).

When you’ve found a team that meets your cup criteria and has the right color headpin, the next thing to do is to understand what specials the enemy heroes have, and how fast they fire. You need to raid a team that will charge their specials slower than you, after considering the mana boost from your tile damage. More on that in the next section.

What are the opponent’s specials? Do they hit multiple targets, or a single target? Do they buff their allies or debuff their allies? Do they debuff your heroes or afflict statuses like lowering defense or attack? Some of the more difficult teams to beat are teams that can both buff their allies and afflict statuses on yours. Generally, I’ll avoid these types of teams. For the rest, I take either Rigard to remove statuses on my heroes or Sabina to debuff enemies.

Heroes that hit multiple targets may do more damage overall to your heroes than one that hits a single target, but in this strategy of “kill or be killed”, if given a choice, I will usually go after the hero that has the multi-attack. There are two reasons for this: 1) the really hard hitters have much slower specials, so yes, they might take out one of my heroes, but it’s better than having Isarnia wipe out 3 or 4 heroes in a single blast; 2) these battles are fast and bloody – a very slow hero should not get a second shot unless they are the last hero standing.

If you’re still not sure about whether or not you want to attack a particular team, there is this handy little question mark you can press:

This will pop up the enemy team, along with their troops:
Screenshot_2018-12-19-20-28-25

From there, you can click on either the hero to see the hero’s stats (HP) or on the troop itself to see what bonuses they give. This is handy information, if you know your raid team well (see the next second).

After raiding a lot with my above team, I know that with a good board, I’ll take out Gravemaker before his special fires, or with anything but a horrific board I’ll take him out with his special firing only once. I don’t fear Vivica (yellow) because not only is her mana slow, but she does not have a mana boost troop, so I fully expect to kill her before her special fires once. Looking at the team, though, there are two healers and three attackers, but the headpin must go quickly, so it will really be two healers and two attackers. That, combined with the team power being only about 100 points higher than mine made me decide to attack this team, and indeed I won easily.

Know your raid team
You should know how many tiles it takes your attack heroes to charge their specials. Note that “ghosted” tiles, or tiles that are fired but miss all enemies, charge your mana at double the rate of tiles that hit, so you should know both.

In my raid team, 3 ghosted tiles charges G.Jackal fully (wow!) and 6 ghosted tiles charges Joon fully. 5 ghosted tiles will charge Triton and Alasie fully. It’s useful to know these numbers when planning what tiles to match.

I don’t have a screenshot of my troops, but I am using all Lv15 and above 4* troops. G.Jackal and Triton have mana troops, Alasie and Joon have the other 4* troop type. Rigard has a mana troop. Ideally I want my hardest hitters to have the biggest attack boost, but the mana troop is best for that, and I don’t have duplicates. I suggest playing around with your troops and see which troops work best for each hero.

The opening
Here’s a sample starting board from a recent raid I won:

I’ve cleverly marked up the board with my initial strategy. In the very beginning of the battle, you want to hit the headpin with as many strong tiles as possible. The goal is to kill the headpin quickly. Usually if the headpin fires his/her special twice, you’ve lost. Now on this board, there are two ways I could proceed. One way is to swap the blue with the red right above it, forming a chain of 4 blues and leaving a blue dragon tile where the red one is, and hitting G.Falcon with three blue tiles and Thoth-Amun with one. But after that, there aren’t going to be any more blue matches. I can’t afford to burn a couple of turns to hope for more blue tiles to match.

The moves I chose are marked with the arrows. The first move is to do the vertical match of three blues and hit G.Falcon with all of them. The second move was to match the three purples. This enabled my third move to match at least three of the circled blues, again all hitting G.Falcon. The combination of hitting G.Falcon with six blues and three purples killed him before his special charged.

As the battle progresses, you need to keep matching as many blues and yellows as possible. Avoid matching any non-existent colors until you have no more good moves. For me, this means avoiding green and red matches.

It is not necessarily a good thing to make gems or even dragon tiles of your strong colors in the beginning. The reason is that you want to consume only the minimum number of tiles needed to charge your specials and no more. Popping a gem will not only likely over-fill your heroes’ mana bars, but will also remove all of your strong tiles of that color from the board, exactly what you don’t want!

The middlegame
Eventually I got to this point:

I’ve killed two enemies and Magni is hanging by a thread, but now I have no more yellow/blue/purple moves, so I must match red and/or green. When you get to this point, find the match that will remove as many tiles as possible. The goal here is to get the board “back in your favor” – chock full of yellow and blue tiles (and purples too). Yes, this means very likely charging enemy specials. If you get to this point and there’s no way you’re going to survive it, well, can’t win 'em all.

Getting to this point with at least two enemies dead is usually a good sign. Three or four enemies dead and the win is yours. One enemy dead… it’s still a battle. All enemies still alive, yep, the board screwed you.

I’ve marked with a yellow arrow the move I chose to make. I chose this move because not only is it going to remove at least 7 tiles (5 red plus the ones above and below the red dragon tile), but it will also create a red gem. If the resulting board doesn’t give me anything helpful, then I would pop the red gem which will remove quite a few tiles.

The endgame
The middlegame ends when the board moves back in your favor. At that point, again, you want to fire off as many strong tiles as possible. This time, however, with some heroes missing, there are potential opportunities to ghost your strong tiles. Unless you can make a move that’s going to kill an enemy with tile damage, I’d recommend ghosting tiles. This will charge your mana quickly while providing minimal charge to the enemies. Using this strategy, pick off the “scariest” enemies by using as many specials as you need or if you can save a special and for certain kill an enemy with one round of tile damage, go for it, but the point here is to err on the side of caution and “overkill” an enemy. I’ve lost enough raids where I tried to conserve a special by using a round of tile damage only to have the enemy survive with less than 10 HP, then fire of his/her special, then get healed, etc…

Usually the “scariest” hero is the one whose special is closest to firing, although in tight battles you might consider picking off the hero who is about to attack next round instead. At this point in the raid, we’re trying to minimize the amount of damage the enemy can do to our heroes. This usually means that I go for the attackers first and leave the healers, but if you’re left with no way to heal yourself, you might not be able to afford the enemy getting healed, and you might have to take out the healer first, even if it means sacrificing one of your heroes in the process.

Additional notes
Using a 2-2-1 setup, sometimes you end up winning battles that seem hopeless. You might be two against four, or even one against three. It’s not necessarily over. You still get the benefit of the higher tile damage even if one or both heroes of that color are dead. You’ll have to play desperado – make every turn count as much as possible – but I’ve won plenty of battles where I was sure I was going to lose. Don’t give up.

One particular battle I recall was against a team which had Alberich in one corner and Vivica in the other. I killed the three attackers, but Vivica healed Alberich, then Alberich fired off his special and resurrected one of the attackers. I took out the attacker and started work on Alberich, but Vivica healed him a second time and then he fired of his special a second time, this time resurrecting nobody. But my board wasn’t great, and I couldn’t focus an attack on one of the enemies and Alberich ended up firing a third time, resurrecting another hero. This time, I let the attacker go and focused on killing Alberich with my specials, then took out the attacker and lastly Vivica.

Why did I tell this story, other than to gloat about beating a team with Alberich (I’ve beaten many, but having him fire three times and still winning is a bit of a rarity)? In this strategy, it is important to pick a target and focus on that target until he/she is dead. If you waffle – I’ll go after XYZ now, then two turns later, oh, the board looks like I could take out ABC instead – you’ll lose. Focus on one enemy hero at a time. Always focus on the headpin first, then usually the hero next to the headpin with the fewest remaining HP.

What not to do
I’ve learned these through enough practice, believe me.

First, if your board starts out where your strong colors are lined up on the edge so that you’ll hit the heroes in the back row, killing off a back row hero first almost never works. The reason is most people are going to put their slow mana heroes back there. They aren’t a threat in the beginning. The headpin and the heroes next to the headpin are the threats. You need to take out them first. Yep, there are such things as bad starting boards.

Second, if you are using a singleton healer, it is never a good strategy to take a couple of turns at the very beginning to charge your healer. I’ve had plenty of board where I start with lots of purple to match. Ok, great, so I can heal myself once, but in the meantime I’ve done very little damage to the enemy, haven’t charged my attack specials, and all the enemies have charged their mana some. I almost always end up losing these raids. Yep, there are such things as bad starting boards.

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That’s really cool. I appreciate your taking the time to lay it all out like that. I’ve been filling out the wiki over on Fandom (you should totally help me do so!), and although I wrote the article on Teams, I left the part about Color Stacking blank because I don’t yet have enough heroes to do it regularly and understand it well.

While I’m still not sure how well running a 2-2-1 might take out an enemy that I’m not bonused against, or maybe even weak against… I do feel confident enough to just dive in and see how we fare. Thanks for leadin’ me through what it looks like step-by-step. I’ll have to see who I’ve got that might fit the bill for a good double-team.

Sadly, i dont use most this strategy, i dont have much very good heroes to build a team like that. I have 2 strategies, the double color against tank.
And my other strategy is : GM killer composed of 3 maxed blues.

Very informative and in-depth piece, thank you so much for sharing!

…(by the way, the tank in the picture is not Ares but Guardian Falcon)…

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If you can make this guide into a video, that will be awesome. Most interesting post i’ve read.

Thanks for the correction @Martinus. I’ve updated the guide to reflect the correct headpin :slight_smile:

@Hemihemi I’ll consider doing that after the holidays.

Thanks for articulating this strategy well! I’ve been using it to good effect, and your post explains it so well.

It doesn’t always work for me - sometimes I get bad boards - but with a little luck I was able to revenge someone with almost 500 team power more (after losing two revenges, haha :slight_smile: - which made the victory even sweeter.

My win ratio has increased a lot though, and I often successfully revenge opponents in one try.

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Just tried your strategy, I’ve been losing at raids for ages now using a rainbow team, although I had to piece together a team using 3,4 and 5* players and a much lower team score, my first raid against a much higher team, I won! Who knew! Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your wisdom!

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This has worked very well for me. I now beat teams 300-400 higher then before. Do you use this in creating teams for wars?

Yes. It works well in wars since you have to use 30 different heroes

Do you stick to this combo or do you ever use the 3 - 2 combo?

I use a variety of combos depending on the situation. 2-1-1-1, 3-1-1, 2-2-1, 3-2, 4-1, and 5tack

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