The game will start off by throwing you through a series of tutorial missions in the Academy. Each focuses on a particular aspect of the battle and will teach you a new concept. Each will also award you a beginner loot crate which takes 15 seconds to open. These contain a tiny amount of cards and resources. Once you complete the first quasi-full battle you'll unlock:
Once you advance in glory to new arenas, new tutorial missions will appear in the academy. Each of these will give you more beginner crates and some of the games premium currencies. Disclaimer that some of these are incredibly tough and at least one (the perk related one) seems to be glitchy and gets stuck in a repeat loop. The general approach for a lot of the later missions is to just go all out in a lane and overwhelm the robot before the other side overwhelms you.
The tutorial goes into some of the details discussed here but I'm including it for completeness. Generally speaking, you want to spend energy more efficiently than your opponent. If your opponent spends 10 energy in a lane, but you can counter with only 3 and stop his attack then you have 7 energy that he cannot answer. Many of the game's units have a rock-paper-scissors type of relationship:
- Tanks generally have a ton of HP, but move slowly and don't do a whole lot of damage. Use these units to lead the charge.
- Zergs generally have lots of units and low hp but if left alone will do a ton of damage. Use these to take out single tough units and enemy towers when there's a tank in front of them.
- Some units fly and can only be targeted by ranged units. Use these against ground-only units.
- Some units can only attack buildings. These will beeline for the building and guarantee some damage so long as something backs them up or serves as a distraction.
- Some units do area damage. Use these to counter zerg units.
- Some units do massive damage but only attack every several seconds. Use these to take out tough units or towers so long as a tank is in front of them.
As such having a deck that can answer many scenarios is ideal. The meta and units will change as you advance throughout the game and as new updates are added to the game. That being said an initial build I used follows with the purpose behind each unit and how to play them:
- Seeres (Epic) - You don't start with this but you can get it very early on (I got it in my tutorial crate). This unit is very overpowered. It is a ranged attacker that does area of effect damage and a summoner that summons 3 orbs every few seconds. It is a great counter against other zerg units, flying units and can comfortably take down towers so long as there's a tank in front of her. Given enough time she'll spawn her own zerg army. This card was always in my deck and most decks I've encountered. One good counter against Seeres is another Seeres.
- Berserk (Rare) - A melee unit that has a spin attack that hits all surrounding units. Great for countering zerg units and can act as a tank as well. Can't target flying units but can stop an enemy's advance solo. This is another card that was always in my deck and you'll see often in builds. This unit is one of the few good counters against Seeres (so long as you spawn him on top of her).
- SS8 (Rare) - A melee tank unit that can only target buildings and the mech. Slow but has a ton of HP. Great for leading the charge when backed up by pretty much anything. Can solo an enemy tower if the opponent doesn't do anything, but you can be sure they'll try to stop this guy. Since it doesn't attack anything but buildings pretty much anything can counter it, but most units won't kill it fast enough for it to not do some damage. You either need a bunch of zergs or a high damage dealer like ninja to stop this guy. And as long as someone is following him they'll be taking care of your opponent's counters while SS8 soaks up the damage.
- Ninja (Rare) - A melee unit that does massive damage to a single target. A slow rate of attack and doesn't have a lot of HP so he'll die easily against zergs but can take out most tanks without a problem. Can also easily take out a tower so long as a tank is taking damage for him. Good counter for SS8.
- Bug (Common) - A ranged unit that can only target ground units. It does area damage and is a cheap counter to zerg units. It is rather fragile. Can effectively protect your SS8 from ground zerg units.
- Hawks (Common) - A pair of ranged units. A little bit tougher than most common zerg units but not by much. Need someone to tank for them to be effective.
- Atlas (Common) - A cheap tank. Only has a melee attack that does modest damage but can be used as a great distraction while other units go to work.
- Air Strike (Common) - A cheap removal perk to get rid of a bunch of zergs.
This deck is by no means perfect, comprehensive nor might it fit your play style but it comfortably got me to all the leaderboard related achievements. Drop a tank like an SS8 or Atlas and follow up with Seeres or zerg units and see if your opponent can counter appropriately. Obviously feel free to experiment and find what works for you. Also, sometimes seeing an opponent use a unit effectively is the best way to learn. I generally found buildings to be the least useful as card types, with units being the most useful and perks being great if used correctly.
A final note is that your mech is also considered part of your deck. The mech has three cards that make it up. A left-hand weapon and right-hand weapon and an armor. These cards can only be obtained through premium currencies and end-of-season alliance wins. As the tutorial explains, the mech starts off inactive during the match. After the first minute, you can activate your mech for 5 energy. The mech automatically activates if you lose a tower or the mech sustains some damage. Generally, you can ignore the mech due to the fact that its cards come from special crates, but it is useful to have a mobile tower for extra defense (or to help with an offensive push) in certain situations.
Now that you have a deck, you're ready to start fighting battles. The game has a mechanic to handle both the lack of players at your level and the lack of players in general, namely bots. You'll know that you're facing a bot because their gamertag is named after an actor (e.g., Tom_Cruise, Jet_Lee, Al_Pacino, etc). These battles should be significantly easier than against actual players. The bots don't seem to have too much of a strategy and will frequently use perks on your towers wasting valuable energy that you can use to your advantage. This will be good practice and will give you lots of early wins and crates. In fact, I only encountered a real player or two before hitting all the leaderboard related achievements (1000 glory). Real players start happening somewhere around 2000-3000 glory. Your first 25 battles will mostly be against bots and give you the following achievements:
The game will award you a loot crate each time you win (whether against a bot or a real player). Loot crates vary in order of increasing rarity and time to open:
- Bronze (3 hours)
- Silver (8 hours)
- Extended (12 hours)
- Diamond (24 hours)
You can only hold 4 crates in your inventory at a time, and you can only be opening a single crate at a time. Therefore you should always be opening at least one crate, and as soon as one opens login again to start opening another one.
The game gives you a free container every 4 hours. It can stack this once, meaning if you log in every 8 hours you can pick up both of your free crates. If you log in after more hours than that the most free crates you will have available are 2. Therefore logging in every 8 hours is the optimal way to get free crates.
Container for Stars
Each day you can get a "container for stars". Stars are awarded for each turret you destroy and if you destroy the mech you'll get 3 stars. The container maxes out at 10 stars, encouraging you to win at least enough battles each day to get your "container for stars".
The game's store will rotate cards for sale daily. The first unit will cost you the base price and each subsequent unit will increase the cost. You can generally use this to buy new units or to level up units that are close to you reaching the requirement for leveling up.
There are also crates for sale using the game's premium currencies (redmin and glory coins). You'll slowly accrue these from daily battles, completing missions, etc. In general, I found the cheapest crates to be the best. The cheapest redmin crate is the extended crate and while it doesn't guarantee any epics it does give you a ton of units, a lot more than expensive crates. You can use these to level up your units quickly. The same holds true for glory coin crates. The cheapest glory coin crates will give you the most mech parts. Again, they don't guarantee any epics, but they'll help you level up quickly.
The game has a concept of squads (alliances). A squad can have a maximum of 50 members. Alliances have several benefits.
The first (and most important as it is tied to a set of achievements) is that every 7 hours a squad member can request others to donate a particular unit to them. The exact amount is based on the rarity of the card and your glory rank. The rarer the card the less donations can be made. The higher your rank the more of it you can donate per request. Since all the achievements are tied purely to the amount donated, it is most efficient to only make requests for common (bronze border) units. Donating makes progress towards the achievement, gives you a little bit of XP and will help you level up cards that you're trying to level up (when you ask for donations for that card).
There is currently an alliance dedicated to this purpose: Here to Help Achieve. The only rule is that you ask for donations common units (nothing above common and no mech parts). There might be other squads doing the same.
A common request can have 30 cards donated to it but you can't make all the donations. You can make somewhere around 4-6 common donations per request based on your and the requester's glory. Having lots of members constantly making requests is the fastest way to make progress on this achievement. Some rough back-of-the-envelope calculations should tell you that if all 50 members request common units every 7 hours and you donate the 6 maximum possible you'll be netting roughly 300 donations towards the 5000. You'd have to repeat this every 7 hours and can theoretically get it done in 17 such exchanges over the course of roughly 120 hours. Obviously you wouldn't be playing the whole time nor would you ever find such an ideal scenario. Likely you'll log in, see a couple of people to donate to and make some modest progress each time you log in.
The second advantage to being in a squad is that you can engage in special battles that increase your squads rank if you win. These are random and happen instead of a normal battle. You need to have a token (which you wind up getting in loot crates, free crates and containers for stars). You also needed to have been in the squad at the start of the season. Finally, it must be matched up against another player from a different squad that meets these criteria. These battles are variants on the normal battle (some examples: 2x energy, gain extra energy for killing units, 3 towers instead of a mech, etc.) If you win the battle you get the normal stars and a crate, but you also get some rank points. At the end of a season, you get an extra crate based on how well your squad did.
Based on all the information so far the rest of the achievements should be straightforward to obtain. Log in whenever you can, open whatever stuff is ready to open, donate whatever you can and fight some battles. Over the course of time you'll hit 1000 wins and 5000 donations giving you the game's remaining achievements:
Obviously there's a ritual you can get into to optimize the loot and the rewards. You can log in every 8 hours to make a new donation request, to donate, and to open free creates. You can log in as soon as a crate is open to start opening another one. You can engage in your daily limit of battles to get your container of stars. The level of micromanagement you want to do is up to you. The more frequently you log in and play the more progress you'll make.
I generally login in the morning to do my daily battles for my container of stars which will generally fill up my 4 containers. Then I open the shortest container (generally you'll have mostly bronze/3 hour containers). Over the course of the day, I log in when I can to open the container and start the next one. While doing so I make any donations I can. I save any long containers for the night so it can open while you're sleeping. Then the cycle repeats each day.
Speaking from experience, the donation achievement takes a lot quicker than the wins. You'll finish it roughly 300 battles in if following this ritual. Obviously it depends on how active your squad is with making requests.
Some cards you'll find later that I found useful (again meta can change with updates and other decks):
- Orbs swarm (Epic) - This cheap perk spawns 14 orbs. Great zerg group for taking down tanks, towers if supported by a tank or serving as a distraction. Easily countered by many area-of-effect units and perks, but if not these will do a ton of damage.
- Raptor (Rare) - This range does huge area-of-effect damage. Great counter against zerg and flying units. It is extremely fragile, however.
- WRAITH (Epic) - This cheap perk greatly speeds up the rate of attack in an area. You can solo towers with a tank unit and this perk if the opponent isn't paying attention. Evenly matched units will win since they'll be attacking faster.
- Stasis (Epic) - This perk is not cheap, but it freezes all opponents in a small area. You can use this to defend or you can use this to freeze the opponents' tower and counter while leading the charge. Very cheap to be attacking units while they can't fight back.
- Arc (Epic) - This is the flying version of the SS8. It is a melee unit and only targets buildings but it does a ton of damage per hit. There aren't that many great air counters in the game so this will generally land at least one hit before getting destroyed pretty much guaranteeing you destroy a tower over the course of a match.
- Mystic's phantoms (Common) - A very cheap flying zerg army. They do melee damage but it's area-of-effect. Super fragile but can take out ground units without retaliation. Can also attack the Arc without retaliation. So long as someone is distracting these will do a lot of damage like most zerg units.
- C4X (Epic) - A tank with massive HP with a weak attack. The real threat is that once killed it leaves behind a bomb that explodes for massive damage. Like the Arc, this will guarantee some damage on the tower (and/or the units that kill it).
- Raven (Epic) - A flying tank that has a ranged attack that does area-of-effect damage. Again, good air counters are not common so this tends to cause problems for your opponent.
- Rocket Buggy (Ellite) - A super rare Ellite unit (typo is intentional as that's the way it appears in-game). At 3 energy it's very cheap and it has a longer attack range than towers. It also does area-of-effect damage and can target air units. You can plop this down in an opposing lane while your main attack happens in another and this can safely pelt away at the enemy tower. The buggy is very fragile though.
The above list is not comprehensive by any means but just some units I've had fun with.
Good luck and patience in knocking out this 1000 GS.
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