I’ve read several raid strategy guides which were written by players who have an abundance of strong heroes to choose from and can customize their battle team to the enemy. If you are like me and really have only a single team that you can work with, then these tips are for you.
Tip #0: Why are you raiding?
Well, obviously, to fulfill the Wanted Heroes mission, but there are two more reasons to raid: first, to gain cups. You get more food and iron loot for completing the mission in higher level arenas than in lower ones. Second, to gain iron. Ok, so I’ve spent the few bucks for the VIP pass to give me the extra builder, so iron is always at a premium for me. Why are you not raiding for food? Read on…
Tip #1: Choose your battles wisely
Be willing to spend food for rerolling until you find a battle that’s right for you. You might reroll 10 or more times until you find the right battle. The right battle is one that you think you can win, has the right cup win/loss ratio, and gives you a fair amount of iron for winning.
As for finding a battle you think you can win, it’s not enough to just compare your team power against your opponent’s. You need to look at the enemy’s heroes, especially their HP, their special ability, their mana speed, their attack power, their configuration, and how synergistic their special abilities are.
Don’t be fooled by the power rating. Power rating of a hero is an arbitrary value that combines all of aspects of a character – attack, defense, special skill – into a single number. A higher power rating does not necessarily mean that character will do more damage than a character with a lower power rating.
As for the right cup win/loss ratio, you don’t necessarily want to always fight battles that give you a lot of cups for winning and you lose just a few cups for losing. The higher your cup count, the harder your enemies will be. In fact, since I’m mostly a coward, I go for the exact opposite: I fight battles that give me fewer cups if I win than I lose if I lose the battle. This way, even if I win 2 out of 3 battles, my cup count stays relatively constant while I continuously level up my characters.
The trick is knowing what battles you can win. This depends on a lot of factors, and before attacking any enemy, you should always look at each of your opponent’s heroes, their level, star count, HP, and special ability. Special abilities that affect all the enemy’s heroes are worse for you than ones that affect only nearby allies, and those are worse for you than ones that affect only one. Special abilities that attack and/or give negative status effects to all of your heroes are worse than ones that attack only a few. Special abilities that attack only a single character can be dangerous because they could one-shot a hero that is not fully healed.
Determine, based upon special ability and likelihood and number of times the hero will execute it, which enemy hero you need to kill first. You’ll get a good sense for this as you do more raids. I tend to go after the heroes that give multiple allies increased attack, as even with healers it can be hard to keep up with the damage.
Ask yourself: if my opponent can poison me or set a hero on fire, can I negate that status effect? That damage you take every turn adds up. If you can’t, then either you need to take out that enemy before they get their special attack in, or you need to be able to heal enough to absorb both the original attack damage and the residual per-turn damage.
Tip #2: Understand the placement and role of your opponent’s heroes
Probably \you’ve played the game long enough to realize that there are 7 columns in the grid. With the initial placement of opponent’s heroes in a V-shaped pattern, you can see that 3 of those columns will hit the front hero where as the other heroes have only 1 column where they can be hit. This means the front character is going to take almost half of the regular attacks you make. Because of this, the front hero is almost always one that has a lot of HP, and very often you’ll notice a healer right next to the front hero. The idea is that if you are aiming at the front hero, you are more likely to hit the heroes immediately adjacent to the front hero than the ones on the end.
We can thus categorize the roles of each of the five heroes:
- The front hero is a tank who has a lot of HP and will usually get to execute his or her special at least once.
- The heroes to either side of the front hero are intended to have their specials executed occasionally to make it more difficult for you to kill the front hero. They could be healers, or they could be strong attackers that you’d rather not provoke into executing their specials.
- The heroes in the back are the annoyers. They aren’t going to get hit a lot, and in most cases they’re not going to be your primary focus. Because they aren’t going to get hit a lot, they won’t get to execute their specials for a while, so in some cases you’ll see heores with fast mana growth there. It’s possible to put a super strong character back there that has the ability to one-shot one of your heroes. While you’re busy with the the front hero, the strong character slowly charges his mana.
Tip #3: Develop a plan and execute it
Before hitting that “Attack” button, decide which two enemy heroes need to go first. Then, focus on killing just those two heroes while doing minimal damage to the other heroes. Usually the front character is going to be one of them, and is also going to be the strongest hero (high HP) since it will absorb 42% (3/7) of all your attacks. Occasionally I’ve found parties where the front character was relatively weak compared to my heroes and the strong heroes were in the back. In these cases I focus on taking out the front hero as quickly as possible while avoiding attacking the back heroes so their mana gauge grows as slowly as possible.
TIp #3.5: Your first few attacks are critical
Remember that the mana gauge of your character only increases when you attack with the character’s color, but the mana gauges of ALL of your opponent’s heroes grow every turn. Raids are almost always won or lost by combining multiple special attacks into a one-two punch against an opponent or two. You’ll need to decide which of your characters you need to execute their special early on, and try to focus on growing that character’s mana. See Tip #6 though.
You should also try to get as many combo attacks as possible during the first few turns to grow your mana gauges quickly. If your opponent is firing off 2 and 3 specials and after 10 turns you still haven’t gotten off one, you’ve probably lost.
A lot of longtime players will complain about getting “bad boards” during raids or titan battles. This refers to a board where they aren’t getting any combos. When you find yourself in such a situation, I’ve found more success getting out of it by making vertical matches than horizontal matches. This is also a good time to try to make a 4-match and use the resulting special gem to mix up a bit of the board.
Tip #4: Don’t provoke the healers/buffers
If the party has healers but they aren’t your priority, try not to hit them, as this will only increase their mana gauge faster. There is nothing more annoying than getting your target down to 10 HP and then having a healer kick in and restore 40% HP back.
Tip #5: How to begin a battle
5 on 5 battles means you’re going to take your lumps, so be sure to fill the mana gauges of at least one of your healers fairly early, but don’t completely focus on it. You need to fill the mana gauges of your big guns as quickly as possible so you can take out the first hero.
Tip #6: Watch out for those juicy gems
Hitting one of those gems and watching your board erupt into attackers is fun, but not always the smartest thing to do. The problem is that if you are trying to focus on one or two characters, this is likely to hit everyone and increase everyone’s mana gauge causing a strong retaliation. That’s not to say you should never hit those gems, just me mindful of the situation. If it isn’t going to hit the healer and it’s going to fill one of your heroes’ mana gauge, then go for it.
Tip #7: After the first hero is dead
If you’ve taken out the front hero, then you’ve effectively divided the enemy army into two. Since you already know the second hero you want to take out, you might want to attack only on that hero’s side, leaving the other side alone. Their mana gauges will grow slowly.
Tip #8: Be opportunistic
The rule of first hero and second hero to take out doesn’t necessarily always apply. If you find yourself in a situation where you can take out a different hero with a special, consider going for it. Having more heroes alive than your opponent is always an advantage.
Tip #9: Firing blanks
The amount your mana gauge grows is not dependent upon the amount of damage you do. If given the choice of firing three reds into a blue hero or firing three reds into nothing, it may just be better to fire the blank. The reason is that your attack is going to be very little damage in exchange for the mana growth of the enemy. The less you help your opponent’s mana gauges to grow, the better. In fact, if you fire three reds into nothing, your red character’s mana gauge will grow more than if you actually hit something with it. When your opponent is down to 1 or 2 heroes left, it often times is best to fire as many blanks as you can to grow your mana gauges more quickly than your opponent’s, and hit your opponent only with specials or with their weak color.
Tip #10: Watch your opponent’s mana gauges and turns till attack
If an enemy hero is going to attack next turn and its mana gauge is very close to being full, likely that hero is going to attack two turns in a row unless you do something about it. If the special attack is inevitable, you’re better off attacking that hero with what you’ve got on the board to fill the heroes’ mana gauge. This way, that hero will attack only once.
Also, you might as well attack any hero whose mana gauge is full, unless it is a healer who is just going to regain the HP or unless you can kill the hero before they do their special. Their gauge can’t get any fuller.
Tip #11: When dead heroes are actually helpful
It sucks when one of your heroes dies, but sometimes you can take advantage of it. For example, Boril and other characters with Perfect Riposte are helpless to counterattack your dead heroes. And if your hero dies with a negative status effect such as lowered attack, that status effect is removed at the time of death, so suddenly you’ll be attacking full strength!
Tip #12: Fighting Rigard
Rigard is one of the most difficult healers in the game to defeat. Your best chance at beating him is to fill the mana gauges of 2-3 of your attackers and let loose all at once. If you don’t think those combined attacks will defeat Rigard immediately, consider his mana gauge, deliberately fill it quickly so he does his Purification skill, and then let loose on him while his mana gauge is empty.
Tip #13: Fighting against Perfect Riposte
Several characters in the game have Perfect Riposte as a special ability. This ability causes the hero and neaby allies to counterattack every attack, including special abilities. Many players will put this hero front and center so the front three characters, which take 72% (5/7) of all attacks, counterattack constantly.
These battles can be tough. Try NOT to hit the front hero immediately, or at least not a lot. Rather, hit a few others while you fill your mana gauges of at least one healer and at least one attacker. If you can get one special attack in before Perfect Riposte comes up, you’re on your way. At that point, just ignore the Perfect Riposte and concentrate everything on that hero, using your healing when needed. You can also consider attacking along either edge to hit the heroes not protected while filling your mana gauges.
Tip #14: Fighting against Boldtusk
Boldtusk’s War Cry special is particularly nasty in that it not only does it heal all allies 20% but it also gives all allies +30% attack for several turns. Attacks and specials executed by a buffed hero can be deadly even to a fully healed hero. If Boldtusk is the front hero, you need to take him out first. You might also consider avoiding raids of enemies with Boldtusk in their defense team if you can’t dispel buffs on enemies. If Boldtusk is not the front hero, then you might consider taking out as many attackers as possible before Boldtusk does his War Cry, even leaving the healers for later.
Tip #15: Fighting against Kiril
This blue hero is especially nasty because his Blessed Brew special not only heals all allies, but also boosts all of their attacks and defenses too. You’ll want to treat him much like Boldtusk (see Tip #14).
Tip #16: Fighting against Little John
Green hero Little John has his Massive Chop special attack and that is exactly what it is. While it does quite a bit of damage to all heroes, the worst part of the attack is that it also decreases the mana regeneration rate of your characters for several turns. This is a big problem early on in the battle where you need to balance attack with healing. Little John’s two biggest weaknesses are his relatively low max HP and his mana speed is slow. You need to use both of these advantages. If Little John is in front, he’s gotta go quickly, before he can execute his special. A red attacker works great against him, but hitting him with multiple specials is even better. If he’s in the back, avoid hitting him except with specials. Be mindful of his mana gauge and either take him out before he can do the special, or kill off enough enemy heroes that you can still survive several rounds of low mana regeneration.
Tip #17: Fighting against Healer-Perfect Riposte-Healer as the front three
Yep, this one sucks. And by healer, it could be Kiril or Boldtusk or Rigard. The problem with this battle is that while you’re going full boar at the Perfect Riposte hero, some of your attacks will spill over and fill the mana gauges of the healers, undoing the damage you’ve done. When I see a combination like this pop up, I immediately add 300 points to the opponents team power, and usually end up passing on this battle unless one of those three is not leveled up. You really need to overpower at least one of those three characters extremely quickly, which means finding the one with the fewest HP, filling up your attackers’ mana gauges, and blasting the hero with everything you’ve got.
Tip #18: Attack of the Healers
Ok, this term actually refers to using a defense team of 5 healers in the Alliance Wars and allowing the Revenge Attack to kill the opponent, but I’m using it here as a catchy phrase. Some opponents might be healer-heavy. That means they have at least 3 healers in the party. These teams can be pretty easy to defeat if you focus on taking out the attackers first by doing multiple special attacks on the attacker hero in a row. If you just don’t have enough firepower to kill an attacker, then try taking out the weakest healer first. (Let me be the first to say that there is no more unexciting battle than when you and your opponent both have only Rigard left.)
Tip #19: Gambler’s Stance: The House Usually Wins (thanks to @SuuriKoira)
Wu Kong’s Gambler’s Stance is extremely dangerous. That +185% attack at 68% accuracy is absolutely deadly when combined with special skills and even normal attacks if multiple heroes are going to attack in the same round. Even worse, that skill stacks with attack buffs. A hero that is buffed with Wu Kong and an attack buff will very likely one-shot one of your characters if their special hits. If you don’t have a special skill that can debuff that, then the only way you’re going to be successful is to kill Wu Kong first, before he fires off that special skill. Fortunately Wu Kong’s max HP is relatively low so a one-two punch of specials can take him out or come close enough that regular attacks can finish him.
Here are some additional posts that discuss raiding strategies. Some of these tips apply only if you’ve got a good set of leveled heroes to choose from.