Well, after five days of hardwork I finally reached the top of the ninja tower. As a pure F2P player, the following quote by the kunoichi boss pretty much sums up my exact thought at the time of finishing.
The following is my final score and ranking as of the time of this writing.
Anyway, the following was my experience and what I learned:
This event is pretty much designed for players with a very good roster depth. As someone who has played for around 2 years, I have 20x maxed 5*, 51x maxed 4* (link to my HeroPlan page). Needless to say that I lost plenty of heroes to the curses, but having the roster depth was very helpful. Towards the end, the most basic of heroes were the most effective, especially heroes whose specials last 6 turns (like Grimm, Elena etc). And Wu was the MVP of the event. I was using a 4-1 colour stacking strategy with Wu as the one, and the four chosen based on the boss colours. Tile damage is key here and nobody does it better than Wu. I took all the mana and crit blessings whenever they were available (Special thanks to @madmarv for the amazing tips) . For the rest I mostly focused on defense and HP increase. The mana boosts helped me to charge my heroes (especially the healers) very often, thus ensuring survivability. The crit bonus and some crit troops, along with some attack buff and defense debuff (like Kiril+Grimm, BT+Wilbur/Falcon/Gormek), the tiles melted the bosses pretty fast. I was very sad when I lost Wu at floor 40. Fortunately, I have a Tarlak whom I used for the rest of the way until I lost him at floor 49 (sad again). A 3.70 Ranvir had to fill in for the last level. One of my friends (@Saicheeze) used his second Wu after he lost his first one, for the rest of the way
This was the most challenging part of the event. I took it very slow as I was going only for completion. Most of my levels lasted around 5-6 mins. I didn’t have to buy any energy refills, I just used the one which SG gave us at the start. I got defeated 4 times overall, and finished the event with 1 energy to spare. This is the first time any event pushed me out of my comfort zone. Like most of us, I am depend heavily on cascades and moving as many tiles as possible in a single move. But this event forced me to do the opposite thing, I just couldn’t risk it because I wanted have some control over where the oni stones would appear. Some tricks that I employed were:
If I got a diamond or dragon bomb, I kept it around for as long as I could, so that I could use them to take out some oni stone which might appear in some remote corner of the grid.
I tried to make vertical matches more towards the middle of the board so that I have options on either side if an oni stone came up. It was always the corner matches which screwed me up, so learnt it the hard way.
Avoided cascades at all costs unless it was the boss wave.
And ofcourse, the usual stuff, made sure all my heroes were charged before the boss wave, and had atleast a few matches of the favourable tiles ready (preferably a diamond). After that, just let Wu/Tarlak/Ranvir/Miki do their thing.
Inspite of all this, heroes will still get cursed, but these were just some small attempts to reduce that number as much as possible. Really forces you to do smart tile play.
This is where I went real cheap. Throughout the entire thing my items carried were small heal, medium heal, small mana and axes. Only on the last 5 stages I carried medium heal, axes, bombs and dragon attacks. But since the number of items get limited in those stages, I ended up only using about 10 of them (bombs and dragon attacks) in total. So very minimalistic item investment.
Okay, this is where most players seem to have issues with this event, and I totally understand and agree. Just by finishing all the floors I got enough coins for 1 pull (got a 3/* Karil , but expected with those low odds). I also got about 200 emblems just completing the floors (The drop rate increases as you go higher). And based on my current ranking, I will most likely end in the top 10k tier, which is another 250 emblems. So, that’s 450 emblems with minimal resources and considerable time invested. But, I think SG can make everyone happy if they incude more rewards to motivate players to reach the top.
Personally, I enjoyed it a lot as it was different, but I believe that with some minor tweaks here and there, SG can make it better for everyone.