I guess this is where F2Pers meet now… Those of you in the know knows what I am getting at.
When the Ninja Tower started and progressed, honestly I didn’t think I was going to try to finish, and really doubted my chances. The usual things that have been said have been applied, you need deep benches (that probably called for some duplicates) and it is very resource intensive. If I thought Tavern of Legends was horrible waste of my time, this 5 day event where 2 strikes will take out one of your heroes, rendering him/her useless for the rest of the climb seemed utterly pointless (to me), and going a few floors already had me rolling my eyes at how annoying the Oni curses were (they even curse the dead heroes on field too, the heck?). Plus, those who knows me will know that I don’t keep duplicates, so my bench will always been consisted of heroes I may only get to use once (or twice). Plus, every few floors up will have me bringing less items (these ninjas sure don’t maintain their towers very well where people will fall through because they ate a little more for lunch), and poison mists that only seem to poison us but not the Ninjas (I guess they have gas masks, cheaters).
So playing somewhat nonchalantly for the first two to three days of the event (thinking, come on, I was not going to finish, why do I even bother trying?) The first 10 - 15 floors had me using 3*s, I had enough sense before reading up on strategies that this part is like the Taverns, where you would want to use the lower leveled heroes and save the meat of your roster for higher up. But those bosses sure started hitting hard, really fast, items were not even used before opportunistic ninjas dispelled the buffs and the other one shot the hero dead. Ugh… A few more floors up, and I read how Tornadoes are going to be essentially to help on the Oni curse tiles that don’t play nice. I guess I have a few of those lying around…
Then, out of character for what I normally do, I chucked in 300 Gems into the portals that I normally would not have spent (since I am back in gem hoarding mode from my first 30x pull), just to see what’s up. Not surprisingly, only Valen popped up and no Zulag. That felt dirty and very depressing.
Then when I am down some of my normally used heroes by curses (Melendor, Grimm, Kiril, Boldtusk, Kashhrek, Jackal, Buddy) and others crippled, Wilbur, Tiburtus, and Isarnia (1/2 cursed), that sinking feeling had me convinced I am just going to sit there and let time expire, no way I am putting myself into the rest of the meat grinder again. I stopped at Floor 34, I told myself, there, I am done…
But… I might as well, see how the rest of my alliance mates were doing (of course, those who finished on Saturday have deeper benches, plus they flasked, not surprising. Oh, this person too, but he is not a huge spender, I see, this is some of the items used), so what about the rest of the forum? No doubt inundated with complaints and rage quitters like I’ve seen the first day? Even more people finished, must be the whales, I thought. Then, one post caught my eye, and it was yours, @sleepyhead, from that thread about Patience and Learning, where you had indicated that you had managed to finish and there is a more detailed description of what transpired. Whoa, didn’t most of the Vanilla Milkshake Terror members quit climbing the tower already? But looks like you tried and finished… If sleepy can manage to push through… Just maybe I… (Please don’t take this as any disrespect from me to your playstyle or roster, in fact, it is quite the opposite).
There were some little voices that seemed to be telling me…
Hey, we are not chopped livers, you know!?
I didn’t know who were saying this to me at the time, but they were getting louder.
So, sitting at full energy on Sunday afternoon and 34 floors, I thought, looking at my rankings, maybe I should just try at least to squeeze into one tier above the participation tier by playing a few more levels. So timidly, I subbed in some of my other lesser used heroes, and managed to go up 2 more floors, into the 2nd tier in rankings (but you know as well as I do that it will get pushed out very quickly).
Turns out the little voices were those heroes on my roster that I had maxed but neglected for a while.
So what turned out to be just a few more levels, turned into a full blown, you know what, I just might want to try to finish as far as I can. I exhausted the 10 flags for the day, which took me to level 44, used the flask that was given by the game, that’s 5 more flags, therein lies the problem, I miscalculated, there is now one more stage left, and I don’t have any more flags. Where I normally would not have made any gem purchases for flasks, but I didn’t want to stop there when I was so close, then I shelled out the 50 gems needed to buy another flask to get more energy in, last stage, the curses won’t matter any way. I pushed on, and finished the event. Turned out to be 173## in ranking by the time the event ended.
So who were the little voices that were screaming at me not to overlook them? Turns out they were Lianna, Marjana, Sartana, Vela, Rigard, Gormek, Sabina, Elena, Caedmon, Magni, Frida and Malosi and they were emblemed to some degree. In all this self doubting and defeating and over-dependence on a few heroes, I had forgotten that I am not totally without some guns and healers left (although I didn’t use the last 5, they were available if called upon).
Your post helped a lot, sleepy. Especially the part about using normal versions of Melendor in lieu of the costume because the higher floors reduced the effectiveness of Heal over Time, but Melendor was already gone. But I still had Rigard and took him out of costume. Titanium Shield was definitely another one great advise, Cyber Shredder (Onyx) was always the opportunistic one that likes to one shot kill my heroes not to mention Cobalt has that nasty special bypass % that made Ranger class talents odds look like utter jokes. Titanium Shield (a few of them were definitely crafted and left aside because I needed some Iron sink from the overflowing Iron while waiting for building upgrades to finish), bringing those really helped did a number on the bosses.
Tornadoes were brought (again, had a few of those because I needed iron sink and was really crafting time stops and dragon attacks more), above mentioned Titanium Shield, one other item that I am not going to be in high supply of is the Hurricane (awesome alternative to Tornado), my Hunter’s Lodge has been sitting at level 4, so I don’t have normal access to that yet, and I did end up taking that down a bit. The last item I brought was the Panacea (which, fortunately I was able to craft some more at my HL level), these helped early as I was trying to build up boards and taking out curses and the mobs were striking at my healers a bit too often.
Going into the event, one might think it’s better to deal a lot of damage and hit hard to end the fight quickly before the curses overwhelm you and using too many items, and move onto the next one. And I had been very dependent on Wu Kong to help me become the big tile damager (I don’t have Tarlak, Miki, or Ranvir) that once he was cursed out of the fight, I thought I was done. But once I changed the mind set to just being able to finish (and not even worry about the time it takes to finish a stage), things felt easier and the weight on the shoulder felt lighter.
Perhaps the most important factor that often gets overlooked through the entire process but helps determine whether you succeed or fail would be the blessings you get every 3 floor. My playstyle is often pretty slow, so naturally I might have picked the defensive blessings. But I ended up choosing all the Attack+, Mana Charge+ (Not the boost every few turns types), and only one Def+ (because the others were +mana or +HP a few turns, if I remember correctly), then perhaps the best choice I had made throughout the climb was to choose the Lantern/Minion Meat Shield every chance I get. I will be the first to admit I am not overly fond of minions in normal game play because they don’t hit very hard but are little annoying buggers when AI uses them. But noting they stack in stats and comes replenished automatically made all the difference. In the end, I had a minion shield auto-gen that takes up 25% of the HP and hits for 25% of the owner every 5 turns. It’s like having Noor on the battlefield without having her actually being there!
Some posts on the forum from players and also my alliance mates who reached the top also mentioned that Oni curses become less relevant on the higher floors. I didn’t know what they meant, do curses appear less or do they not appear any more? That can’t be right. And of course, that’s not the case. Once you reach the higher floors and your hero choices are going to be limited, but pretty much set (you pay comparatively less attention to color stacking or color strength/weakness), you tend to try to work your boards much like you do with those Egg Bombs on Springvale, so you would tend to be more focused and more careful in trying to create Dragons and Diamonds and try to move colors close to each other. You are also very careful on when you use the Tornadoes/Hurricanes or any other healing items and only use them when absolutely necessary. So all this time, your heroes overall stats (augmented by troops paired, emblems used) all gets factored in their survivability from the mobs/bosses. But the aforementioned Minion auto-guns helps by absorbing hits, pick away at the mobs and bosses in small increments, but most importantly help you focus build the boards up and rid the oni shields. Most of the time I became so focused on working the boards, I had forgotten to take note that the lanterns (more helpful than Chochin) are doing their best at keeping me alive. The fact that they spawn every 5 turns is a true blessing, they were really the MVPs there. Of course, before they get up and running, there are times when some mobs focus fired on my healers (namely Sabina, who carried me much of the rest of the way until she too succumbed to the curse, but Rigard was there for last few floors), so that’s where the Panacea comes in, 500 HP, Antidote, and a Dragon Banner for all, but once the minion turrets are up, I had to use that less.
My surviving heroes at Floor 50 were: Rigard+20, Isarnia+19 (1/2 Cursed), Sartana (2/2 Cursed), Gormek+20(1/2 Cursed), and Vela+9 (2/2 Cursed)…
I opted to sit Wilbur even though he was not fully cursed, and the defense buff / damage share was not attractive. But I felt the opposite of his ability would hurt me not because of the defense down, but rather the damage sharing on the enemies. Without Wu Kong to help me dish out the tile damage, I would have to be dependent on Sabina to minimize the waste of ability, and when the trio of bosses show up, you would want to focus fire on the damage dealers foremost, sharing out the damage isn’t going to be ideal when you ready your snipers. Sure there was Frida, Caedmon, or Sonya to get rid of the Spirit Link on the other end, but the focus fire would have been averaged out to the others. Sabina / Melendor at least would have done so without having to touch the enemies first, but of course they would have to also heal the party (which you may or may not want to use just yet). I was already out of Melendor, can’t afford to also lose Sabina too. So I opted to trust in my minion meat shields, and opted to just rely on the Pulverizer bros, followed by Isarnia, then let the snipers go to work, while the minion shields also tick away at the bosses. Typically, if Onyx and Cobalt are on the board, they are usually the ones who I target first. Nevermind I don’t have strong color against either by the end, nor do they get bomb attacked, just straight out slug fest from def down specials, sniper fire, and minion barrages. Isarnia became very crucial in the fight because the mana boost charged her specials much more quickly, so I couldn’t afford to lose her (so whenever there is any doubt for her safety in way of curses, the tornadoes / hurricanes are always used). You just have to see which heroes you can afford to lose, which you can’t.
At the beginning of the event, I had a few Elite Troop Tokens in inventory. Now SGG could have pulled a very sneaky move by creating a brand new troop portal just for the event, but they didn’t. So I was able to use them to get a 4* Yellow Ninja troop, the others were 3* “classics.” Incidentally, my first 4* Troop in this game was a Yellow 4* too.
So 102 Ninja Coins at the top of the tower. I felt enough is enough, would I do this event again? Not in a short while, and of course this won’t come back for another 2 months, I feel like just dropping the coins in to get my hard earned “free” pull. Screen flashed… Lianna. Now normally, Lianna would be a very awesome pull and again one of the rare, next to non-existent instances where I had the luck of a 5* on a single pull, but I already have one and I always feed the dupes, but I was soooo incredibly close to the Ninja heroes in terms of odds, even a 4* Ninja would have been ok, why game why?
There were a lot of takeaways from this, could things have turned out differently? Absolutely, but the worst thing I have done was to initially give up in the middle by selling the rest of my roster short, and I was left with 350 gems short that I might not have otherwise have spent. Lesson learned, that’s for sure.
Sorry about the length, but not so bad for a F2P who don’t keep duplicates right? I felt I needed a long rest after doing all that climbing, whew!
Thanks again, @sleepyhead for your inspiring post, if I haven’t read it, I might not have decided to finish the event.