Advanced Active Defending – Part 2 – Hunter Dragons

Hello my Wardragon friends!  Time for Part 2 of active defending.  Here are some advanced tips for dealing with Hunter dragons in particular.  Hunter dragons don’t have as much health as Warrior dragons, but their special skill is doing a ton of fast damage.  Many can cloak and a few have healing mark.  Some have death mark and others can have self destruct.  Different tactics are required depending on which spells you are facing.

  1. A wounded hunter dragon that makes it to the next island can take down any single tower there easily, even if he has only a sliver of health remaining.  The trick to defeating certain hunter dragons is doing a burst of damage fast that doesn’t give them time to recover with healing mark or another skill.  This means you are going to supershot archer towers and lightning towers in particular.  When facing a hunter, don’t save your supershots for later in the attack.  Use them to hit very hard and fast, going straight for the kill.  Often you can take down the dragon before the attacker has a chance to effectively use their spells.
  2. Hunter dragons have an attack that can fire rapidly while they have “fire”.  When they run out of fire, they can’t fire rapidly at all, though some still have death mark which can take down any tower that isn”t shielded or covered by a red mage tower.  If you can supershot a storm tower before his approach to an island, he will likely target a tower in the front row and that tower will be protected while he wastes his fire (or death mark or havok) on it.  One of the best defensive strategies is to get the attacker to fire on a target that is either shielded or not critical to the defensive grouping.  You can do this by supershotting a storm tower in the middle or back row, or to a lesser degree, a trebuchet.  You want him out of fire so your damaging towers such as archer towers can take him apart quickly.
  3. When a hunter dragon with self destruct is almost dead, you can be certain the attacker will try to use this ability as soon as it comes up.  You must stop him from using it or minimize the damage he will do.  If he is in the middle of a long island, deprive him of it by hitting him with mage tower supershots.  If he is approaching a new island with low health and has self destruct, be sure to supershot the storm tower so that his self destruct will not damage the other towers.  A mage tower won’t stop him quickly enough before he manages the spell, but a storm tower supershot will work just in time.
  4. When facing a dragon with healing mark, such as Drude, you need to hit him faster than he can heal and attack.  Hit hard and fast and use defensive boosts to get your most damaging towers to take him out.  His regular shots will not be strong enough to defeat your towers unless he has saved up his fire.  Since he will certainly use that fire up at the first few towers, repair and boost the towers after his shots.
  5. A dragon with death mark can do tremendous damage to a tower group.  When facing a dragon with death mark, your focus must be on taking away his rage.  Mage tower supershots are your best use of your supershots against this dragon.  Without rage, he will be toast.  The same goes for hunter dragons that have havoc.
  6. Cloaking dragons can spell disaster for a base without blue mage towers.  Your best defense in these cases is to supershot any mage tower while he is visible.  And keep supershotting them, one after another.  This will stop further cloaking and give your towers a chance to take him down.  Many attackers with cloak don’t realize that the red mage tower can shut down their rage and deprive them of their cloaking spell.  They rarely target red mage towers first.  On the long 10 tower islands, his cloak will run out before he reaches the end of the island, so plan for this.  Even if you have no blue mage towers to work with, you will have him visible at these times.  Often attackers using cloaking dragons feel stronger at the start when they have all their health and remain visible when they could be cloaked for the first part of the attack.  They figure they can do some real damage before they cloak.  Make this their last mistake and take all their rage.  They many never get a chance to use their cloak at all.  Hit him again and again with mage tower supershots.  Your other towers will do the rest.

To summarize, with hunters you have to hit hard and hit fast.  Look at their spells and supershot the best towers depending on whether your goal is to deprive rage, do fast damage, or protect.  Simply supershotting storm towers is not enough.  The havok, death mark, and cloak spells require mage supershots, the healing mark requires archer supershots, and self destruct or basic defense require storm tower supershots.  Tailor your defense to the dragon.

Good luck!

Advanced Attacking Tips – Part 1

These tips can be used by both a beginner and an advanced player who wants to improve the efficiency of his attack.

  1. Attack where the tower will appear to get a head start on destroying it.  This tip works particularly well with a warrior dragon.  You’ve played enough to know where the tower will appear when you round the corner to hit a new island.  Begin attacking the instant the tower comes into view, and track it as your dragon turns towards the island.  Your fire will hit and by the time the island is fully in front of you, you will have already damaged it and possibly destroyed it.  This is why, defensively, you never want to place your most important tower on that corner of the island that first comes into view.  If you wait until the tower is no longer moving across your view (because your dragon is no longer turning), you have missed out on an opportunity to get in some damage before the tower fires.
  2. When using summon warrior, do not summon your warrior too early if you are approaching a new island.  Because the summoned warrior leads your dragon, it will be in the towers’ range while you are still turning towards the new island.  The summoned dragon will be attacked by the towers the moment the towers see it, but it will not attack until the towers come into your view.  If you want your summoned dragon to fight at the start of a new island, the ideal timing for the spell is a couple seconds, approximately, before the island comes into view.  That way it will fully appear the moment it can attack.  Summoning before that time will lead to extra damage to your summoned dragon and have no beneficial effect.
  3. Shielding stops damage from poison while the shield is in effect.  When the shield is gone, the damage from the poison will continue if there is still time left on the duration of the poison.  This means you can use a shield as a rage expensive way to remove poison in a pinch.  For example, if your dragon is almost dead and is suffering from poison, you can even shield when there are no towers to hit you in order to get temporary protection and make it to your next goal.  If poison will kill you before you can destroy the farms or base at the end of the attack, or even if you just want extra health at the very end (and less healing time after the attack) and are taking poison damage, the shield can help.
  4. Any target in front of your dragon will slow down the pace of your flying.  This can be used to your advantage when you are facing a number of different situations. 1)  If you see that there are low damage towers in front of your dragon, such as mage towers, farms, or storm towers, and nasty high level towers behind it, you can fire past the low damage towers and hit the towers in the distance before they start to target your dragon.  This also works well when you have a blue mage tower in the distance and a dragon that depends on shields like Amarok.  If you destroy it quickly enough, the blue tower won’t negate your shield.  This works on long (10 tower) islands where the towers in the back won’t fire until you are closer to them, but are still vulnerable to attack.  After you hit the towers in the back, you can kill the closer towers next before they drop past your range.  2) If there is a farm or mage tower that is out of supershots at the end of an island, you can choose not to destroy it right away, and take that time to allow a former supershot from a mage tower to run down its timer.  By not destroying it right away, you will get extra time on that island and your rage bar will unfreeze much earlier, giving you a chance to recover before the next island.  That time can also be used to allow your rejuvenation spell to fully count down before you have to face new towers.  3) If you are at the very end of the attack, you can wait until the last instant to destroy the base, enabling you to get in an extra rejuvenation spell or 2 before you destroy it, giving you less healing time after the attack.  I haven’t been able to scientifically test if rejuvenated health counts towards lower healing time, but anecdotally, it appears to help.

I hope these tips help.  Good luck!

To Heal or to Shield – That is the Question

A bunch of warrior dragons have the ability to heal as well as shield, and usually the cost in rage is the same.  Since rage isn’t easy to acquire, often the choice is one or the other, and the answer isn’t obvious. I don’t mean healing mark, but the rejuvenation spell.

The easy answer is, in most cases, to shield.  But like any good rule, there are exceptions.  Here are a few good rules I consider when I’m flying a warrior with both healing and shielding spells.  Rarely would you be wrong if you saved rage for shielding.  Below I’ve listed those times when a rejuvenation spell will benefit you.

When to heal:

  1. Heal when you have a ton of rage, 3+ bars of rage, and you expect to have 4 bars when the next opportunity to use your shield comes around.  Under these circumstances, since healing takes some time to finish.  Be careful!  A single mage tower blast can turn your 3 bars into 2 and freeze your rage regeneration.  When that happens, you may miss out on an opportunity to shield in the future that you expected to have.  You will find that the more defenders there are, the less likely you will have the rage you need.
  2. Heal when you are approaching an island with a blue tower.  Since your shield won’t work, and likely your rage will be sapped anyway, healing is a better use of the rage than having it taken away from you with no benefit.
  3. Heal if you think you can finish soloing a base and your shield doesn’t perform total damage protection (like stoneskin shield), and you only have a sliver of health remaining.
  4. Heal if you want to counteract the effects of poison, and that poison will kill your dragon.
  5. Heal if you are attempting to finish a base that you dominated with the absolute minimum of damage, so that your dragon has the shortest heal time (after the raid is finished) before he can raid again.
  6. Heal if you are approaching an island of extremely weak towers that will do so little damage that your healing will give you more health than shielding against the towers will protect.
  7. Heal if there are many defenders and you are early in the attack.  They will almost certainly break your shield and hit you with a ton of mage tower blasts, taking all your rage.  If there are no shield breaking towers, like a group of lighting towers with a storm tower, then shield instead.
  8. Heal if you are facing a group of towers you resist.  You will take such minimal damage from them that healing will help you more than shielding.  Unless your dragon is extremely weak or the towers are incredibly strong.

Shield

  1. Every time you are uncertain, err on the side of shieldingIn just about every circumstance, shielding will benefit you more than rejuvenation.  Unless it is one of the circumstances listed above, your shield is your friend.
  2. If there are no blue towers on an approaching island, shield before the island if there are lightning towers.  If there are no blue or lightning towers, shield after the first shot is fired, but before it hits you.  This will maximize the time your shield is up.
  3. You can save your rage or either heal if the current tower group you are facing is made up of towers you resist.  You will take minimal damage from towers you resist.  Often you are better of saving your rage for a future shield than using rejuvenation.

Have fun raiding!

Attacking and Assisting Attack – How to be a Great Member of a Team

You’re on a team and you want to be as helpful to your teammates as possible.  Here is how to be especially valuable on a team whether you are the lead attacker or if you joined someone else’s attack.  This article is not about telling you how to beat a base, but how to be the best teammate you can be when attacking.

Here are a few tips on how to make everyone happy when they join your attack.

As the lead attacker:

  1. Don’t completely finish a base if your teammates want to get experience by completing the last little bit.  In advance of attacking, agree on a statement your teammates can make that is short and sweet, letting you know that they don’t want you to finish a base you are able to solo.  Leaving the end of a base so your first assisting teammate can get experience for his dragon is truly valuable to your team.  On my team, we say “Leave a little” or “Leave the city.”  The statement has to be short because you cannot have a long statement that the attacker can see.  If you don’t know if you are supposed to leave the end or not, you can always take a few extra seconds while flying past the last little bit to give the assisting players a chance to tell you what they want.  If they don’t say anything, go ahead and destroy it.  If you are not certain, err on the side of destroying the end, rather than leaving it for the next dragon.  This is because if the assisting players wanted you to finish, and you didn’t finish the very end, you are forcing them to use a dragon and get less than maximum experience for it.  If the assisting player is of much higher level than you, they get zero benefit for finishing your base, and they have to wait for their dragon to heal.  To repeat, if you’re not sure, finish it!
  2. If you are told to leave a little, only leave the buildings past the bridge at the very end of the base for the next dragon.  If you leave the farms at the end, many very weak or low level dragons are not strong enough to destroy those farms.  This will result in the lead attacker having to use an extra dragon, forcing the experience gained to be split between 2 dragons, a real loss if you are attacking with a dragon with an x5 multiplier.  If you have destroyed enough to come close to finishing the base, you can quit and get more experience than if you split it with another dragon.  Without the farms destroyed however, the total experience will be lower (unless you destroyed 99%).  And for a war attack, you need 99% destroyed to get maximum flames.  I don’t recommend leaving anything if it is a war attack.  For war attacks, don’t leave anything to chance.  Finish it and get your 5 flames.
  3. If your dragon is almost dead, and not likely to survive the next batch of towers, do not use the last of your rage.  Leave that for the next attacker.  It is extremely frustrating and difficult for your teammate to have to start a fresh dragon with zero rage.  You will be tempted to use the rage and try to do one last little bit of extra damage, but take my word for it, it will be much more effectively used by the next dragon, with his full health.  Also, some dragons, such as sorcerer dragons, really need health to survive.  You are limiting the options of your assisting teammate if you leave him no rage at all.  Don’t fire that last fireball.  Leave it for the next guy.
  4. Pay close attention to the small structures, the monuments, and the boats.  Destroy them all if you can.  If it is not distracting you from your attack, you have a responsibility to try to hit every one.  Often the 4th place assisting teammate won’t have the opportunity to attack since the base will already be finished.  Sometimes the assisting players don’t even need experience, but are simply there to help you if you need it.  This is virtually always the case if your assisting teammates are much higher level than you.  At least let them enjoy the free boosts that come from these structures.  It is a way you can pay back your teammates for generously joining your attack.
  5. If your dragon is going to die before you complete a base, or before you can fully destroy a group of islands, do your best to fully destroy critical towers instead of damaging a group of them.  This means you want to fully destroy a mage or storm tower if you can.  Remember, when the next dragon starts, the defending side will have a new batch of supershots.  If there are active defenders, they may heal the towers.  A destroyed tower can’t be healed and a group of 5 towers that is missing a key tower is much weaker than all of them damaged, but still standing.  Focus your fire to take down a tower, especially if your dragon is barely alive and coming up on a new island.
  6. Let your teammates know in advance if you are going to begin the raid with a low level or extremely weak dragon.  It’s only fair that they know what they’re getting themselves into before they join an attack.  Nobody likes the surprise when your first dragon fails to destroy a single tower before going down.  They won’t mind doing the heavy lifting if you’re upfront about it before they join the raid.

As the assisting teammate (Not lead attacker):

  1. From the number 2 spot, do your best to finish the base.  Don’t attack with your weakest dragon and get nowhere.  Do your best to make an impact.  You have taken this spot from other possible teammates and you are in the most important position to assist.  If you can’t finish the base, at least don’t use up all the dragon rage.  On the other hand, if you are the only person assisting, and the base is beyond your abilities, simply do your best to be an asset.  Even if you can’t even take down a single tower, you can still build additional rage for the attacker.  A hunter dragon can almost always take down a single critical tower without using up rage.  Little is more disappointing to the lead attacker than a teammate who uses up all the rage and leaves him worse off.  Don’t be that teammate.
  2. If you want the attacker to leave a little of the base at the end to gain experience, let him know and don’t type additional lines of text beyond your agreed upon statement.  When you type additional lines, the attacker cannot see your request and may miss it.  When you type long statements, he often can’t see half of them and will be uncertain of what you want.  Make sure you let him know early that you want experience, and you want that line of text to remain as the last line showing.  Since only 1 line can show at a time, do not replace a critical statement with something else.
  3. One of the single most valuable things an assisting player can do, and this can be done from by 2nd or 4th spots, is to let the attacker know what mage towers are approaching.  This is also true for the lead attacker once he is no longer attacking.  Say, “Red next,” or “Red and Blue.”  Keep it very short and clear.  This is a huge help since the attacker often is not aware of what towers are on the next island he is approaching and you have a much better view.  It will stop him from wasting rage on a shield if a blue tower is coming up, or from wasting rage on death gaze when the towers are covered by a red mage tower.  For a dragon like Luminark, this is invaluable help!  I cannot emphasize enough how useful this is to the attacker.  A teammate who alerts the lead attacker of upcoming mage towers is worth his weight in gold.
  4. Don’t be upset if the lead attacker fails to leave the end of the base for you after you clearly requested it.  It is difficult to focus on an attack and also pay attention to the this request, so the lead attacker will invariably make a mistake from time to time and destroy the base completely.  It happens, and if the base is wiped out solo by the lead, at least you got the free boosts.  You can use your dragon the next time, since he won’t be healing (since he didn’t fly).

One final piece of advice for both assisting players and lead attackers.  If your dragon did not destroy all the towers, or it left a few farms at the end, but your dragon managed to make it to the end of the base, do NOT destroy the city at the very end.  Leave that for the next dragon.  Since the next dragon will have to destroy towers anyway (or farms), you want to give him the opportunity to destroy boats, houses, monuments and bridges on the way.  If you finish the end, when he destroys the towers you couldn’t destroy, the attack will be over when he destroys the last tower standing.  Instead, you want his attack to be over when he destroys the city at the end.  Most often, when you have failed to wipe out all the towers before the end, you have also failed to hit all the extra structures that give boosts.  Be a courteous teammate and give him the opportunity to do so and pick up those extra boosts.

Best of luck out there!

Advanced Active Defending – Part 1 – Warrior Dragons

This article is for those who already know the basics of defending and really want to improve their active defense.  Part 1 will focus on defending against warrior dragons.

One of the keys to defending is understanding the capabilities of the attacking dragon.  Each dragon differs by both type (warrior, sorcerer, or hunter) and spells/resists (resist cannon, vampiric touch, fireball, etc.).  To truly excel at defense, beyond simply giving the supershot to the storm towers, requires paying attention to the attacking dragon and adjusting the defense accordingly.

Warriors:  Warrior dragons are the workhorse dragons and almost always are the ones sent to attack first.  That’s because due to their health, they are most likely able to solo a base.  They don’t have any obvious weaknesses, but they do rely on their shields to mitigate damage.  Their healing abilities are generally weak, and an effective attacker rarely uses them unless he has an excess of rage.

  1. Wipe out their shields with blue or red tower shots.  Even though the red tower doesn’t impact a shield already generated, it saps rage that will be used in the future.  Blue tower shots are by far your best weapon against warrior dragons. They will also knock out the effects of battle cry, an added bonus.
  2. Archer towers, while they can do a lot of damage, don’t have as strong an impact on warrior dragons due to their high health, so they shouldn’t be supershotted until the warrior is close to the end of their health bar.  The exception is if the archer tower is of very high level compared to other towers, in which case you want to maximize its damage output.
  3. Storm towers are great for slowing down the progress of a warrior dragon.  But the most effective storm towers for this are in the middle or back row of a grouping.  If you are defending a base and the group of 5 towers has a storm tower in the front row, it is likely the attacker will target it right away.  In the back row, the attacker has to reorient himself and change his target to target the storm tower.  That extra time means extra damage from your other towers.  If the storm tower is in the front row, you may consider skipping supershotting it entirely as it won’t have much impact on the attacker’s progress.
  4. Warrior dragons do not do a burst of damage with their attack, so (unless they are immensely powerful) using repair boosts on your towers is highly effective against them.  In addition, may advanced players switch targets in anticipation of a tower’s destruction, so repairing it in that process can ruin their timing and cause them to have to go back to a tower they already thought destroyed.
  5. Tower boosts for attack and defense are highly effective against warriors because they do not destroy towers quickly.  Use them with confidence that they will help.
  6. The best defensive strategy against warriors is to wear them down, and you do this by simply keeping your towers alive as long as possible.  That means you are using defensive supershots on towers such as storm towers and mage towers, as well as trebuchets, more often than archer towers or ballistas.  Your strategy is to do continuous damage over a period of time instead of a burst all at once.  Of course, if the warrior is almost out of health, hit him with a burst and take him down.
  7. Since the warrior dragon is likely to be strong and able to overcome your first 2 islands, be sure to save at least 1 or 2 supershots for a later island, when his health is lower and his rage is dissipated.  Then, on that later island, supershotting a storm tower will make a much bigger impact on his progress.  Or, if he is close to dying, a well timed supershot on an archer tower can take him out entirely.
  8. Trebuchets are another way to wear down an attacking warrior.  The trebuchet will have the same effect regardless of its level, so you don’t care if it is level 2 or 20.  I recommend using the trebuchet when you have a group of 5 towers that can put out some serious damage, such as one filled with archer towers.  When combined with an attack boost, the trebuchet can give every tower an extra shot or 2, a very effective combination.  But since they don’t impact rage or shields, they are usually not the first choice for a supershot.  When defending my own base, when I have a large quantity of supershots (you get far more supershots on your own base when you first defend), I will often supershot the trebuchet on one of my first islands.  This slows the dragon enough to give me an extra second to think and plan my defense.  It is also a tactic that can sometimes cause the attacker to panic a little and use some rage on my weak first islands (first islands are almost always the weakest), against towers that would do minimal damage.
  9. Cannon towers are a critical part of your defense, assuming the warrior has a shield.  But never make the mistake of boosting a cannon tower when there is already a blue tower in your grouping of 5.  The blue tower will automatically wipe out the shield, so the supershot on the cannon is not only wasted, but it will reduce the cannon’s damage.  Putting a supershot on your cannon tower requires watching the dragon’s rage and anticipating the attacker’s timing with his shield.  While you cannot see the rage bar on the attacker, you can see when his abilities are highlighted and available.  In my experience, when he has his shield ability available well in advance of an approach of a new island, the probability he shields immediately upon coming into range is high.  If he does not have his shielding ability highlighted, you are best of waiting until he is already in range, then using the cannon supershot as a reaction to his ability coming online.  If he doesn’t have the rage for a shield yet when he comes into range of a new island, it is a better strategy to hi him with a red mage tower supershot, keeping him from generating the necessary rage, while your cannon continues to fire its regular attacks.  I say red because if you had a blue tower in the group, you wouldn’t be considering a cannon supershot.
  10. Don’t worry about his healing abilities.  Those abilities, while they can help the attacking dragon, are weak in comparison to the damage he can avoid using his other spells such as wind wall.
  11. If the attacker has either explosive or shield of annhilation, you can be certain he will use these abilities early and often.  The key to taking him down will be depriving him of his shielding abilities.  Against these warrior dragons, using blue and red mage tower supershots are your most valuable weapons, with cannon supershots coming in a distant second.  If he has the rage to shield and is not shielded when approaching a new island, I recommend supershotting the cannon so that it will fire a moment after he reaches the island, instead of before he has reached it.  This is because an advanced player will absorb the first shots, then shield, thereby keeping his shield because the supershots hit him before it was up.  Beginning players rarely do this, and if someone puts up their shield while still on the island approach, you can supershot your cannons without risk of your timing being off.
  12. If he’s almost dead when approaching a new island, and has the rage to shield, a shield is guaranteed.  You can supershot your cannon well in advance, because you want your hits to get through quickly.  If he has wind wall, he will use it.  So supershot your lightning tower in that case.

This advice should be used in addition to the general advice on defending.  For example, don’t boost a tower type that the attacker has a resistance to already.  Don’t use up all your supershots right away.  And so on.  That’s all for now, good luck defending!

Attacking – That Sweet, Sweet, Double Hit

I’m going to let in on a secret I have found while attacking.  Well, I’m sure plenty of advanced players know about it, but I happened to find it myself and many people aren’t aware it exists.  There is a way to hit two towers at the same time, with the same shot, doubling your damage.  It takes practice, but while you are hitting both, you are damaging both equally and fully, not doing half damage to each.  Dealing twice the amount of damage makes your attack a ton more effective.  This is not a cheat or a hack, but a legitimate way to attack.  (I don’t post cheats, they’re not sportsmanlike.  I’m sure you can find plenty of cheats if you google them.)

Here’s how it works:

You want to target the base edge of a tower in the distance, where it would meet the edge of the tower next to it.  Since I’m not putting up a picture of the attack itself, I will describe it with numbers.  If you are approaching a group of 5 towers, the 2 closest to you are 1 on the left and 2 on the right, the one in the middle is 3, and the back two are 4 on the left and 5 on the right.  Aim at the ground between 1 and 3, and if your placement is just right, you will hit both 1 and 3 at the same time.  I find the spot is not exactly in between them, but a tiny bit in front.  You’ll know you hit the right spot when both health bars decline at the same time.  This will work for both hunter dragon fire and warrior flamethrowers, but not for sorcerer dragon’s regular attack.  This is because the sorcerer dragon attack can’t be targeted at the ground, and will always hit the center of a tower.

If you’re having trouble finding the spot, just try a few attacks with a warrior dragon and pay attention to the tower health bars until you find it.  I find that it works best when the two towers are at a greater distance from your dragon.  This is often the case when you are approaching the long middle island of 10 towers, and you can hit the back 5 from a greater distance.  When they’re already up close, it is much more difficult to hit both.

This double hit also works for death gaze, and I assume any other targeted shot such as vampiric touch.  And yes, if both towers are hit with the same death gaze, both will be destroyed.  I rarely use it for death gaze because I risk missing both towers entirely if my aim is slightly off.  Maybe with more practice I’ll perfect my attack, but at this stage, I find it works best and easiest with warrior dragon flamethrower attacks.  This is partly because you can adjust your aim and see when you are hitting the spot just right.

Good luck!  I hope this helps!

Active Defense – The Basics

This article is for those times when you generously choose to defend a teammate in war or from a regular raid, and you want to be effective.  It will cover some basics of active defense strategy.  Since this topic can cover a very large amount of material on tactics and overall strategies, I will divide it up into multiple articles.

There are two different attacks you can defend against, war attacks and raids.  Both use most of the same strategies, but for war, your goal is to keep the number of flames the attacker wins to a minimum (hopefully zero), and defenders have a greater interest in the outcome of a war attack, because it impacts the overall war effort.

You start with a given number of supershots, often around 4, but if it is your own base you are defending, you will be given more at the start.  These are your most powerful weapons, and, if used well, are much more powerful and useful than the Defense Armor, Defense Repair, or Defense Gunpowder boosts you are able to use.  The biggest errors beginners make when defending is using them all up at once, using them on weak towers, or using them without considering the attacking dragon strengths and weaknesses.  These supershots are the jewels in your treasury and unless you have extremely advanced research, you won’t be getting more of them.  Use them wisely and don’t throw them away!

When you defend a base other than your own, which will be most of the time, you have very little idea of the layout of the defender’s base.  You don’t know which towers are strong, which are weak, and what is the best place to use your supershots.  Often the attacking dragon is already attacking by the time you get your bearings and you will feel panicked to use your supershots right away before the base is decimated.  This brings us to point #1.  I have listed below some basic advice (and rules of thumb in bold) I have found useful for supershots.

  1. Rarely is it best to use more than one supershot on the first island attacked.  Until your teammates reach levels above 50 or 60, usually that first island attacked has their weakest towers.  Sometimes it doesn’t even have a full complement of 5 towers.  In addition, the attacking dragon will be strongest, with max health and lots of rage, when it has just started attacking.  People also usually attack with their strongest dragon first, in the hopes that they can solo the base.  Expect it to be wiped out relatively easily.  On this first island, only supershot the storm tower or mage towers, if anything at all.  Save your supershots for where they will count most.  Storm towers will slow down the attack and mage towers will eat up the attacker rage, softening it up for future towers.  While there are always exceptions, don’t throw away your supershots on this first island.
  2. Use your supershot on storm towers.  Storm towers do very little damage, but they create invulnerability shields with your supershot, so use it on them.  This will give the other towers time to bring down a dragon while it wastes time trying to take down the storm tower.  If you don’t care anything about strategy and just want to help defend a base, this will be effective.
  3. Do NOT use your supershot on a tower that is already being attacked.  There is a delay between when you select a tower for a supershot and when it actually uses it.  If the tower is destroyed before it has the opportunity to fire, your supershot will be wasted.
  4. Rage is the key to successfully attacking.  Reducing dragon rage is one of your main goals as a defender.  Using supershots on mage towers will subtract from attacker rage as well as freeze rage regeneration for a short time.  Sorcerer and Hunter dragons rely on rage much more than warrior dragons.  Deprive them of this rage and they won’t last long.  Though it does very little damage, use your supershots on mage towers early in the attack.
  5. If an attacking dragon has a shield, and you can choose between a cannon or a blue mage tower, use your supershot first on the blue mage tower.  This will deprive rage and the blue mage tower will stop the shield.  If there is no blue tower, use it on a cannon.  ONLY use your supershot on a cannon if you are certain a shield is coming.  For example, if the dragon has shielded or has the shield ability and is approaching a new island, it is highly likely the dragon will shield when it comes in range.  Using it when a shield is not likely or possible is the most common mistake made by beginners.  The cannon supershot REDUCES the damage of the cannon, despite how cool it looks.  And ONLY do the supershot on a single cannon at a time in a group.  Your goal is to make your shots effective.  Using it on 2 canons in a group is wasting one of them and reducing the damage output of the extra tower.
  6. Don’t use your supershot on a farm.  While there are specific exceptions, you are almost always better off using a Defense Repair boost over a supershot on a farm, and there are better uses for that same shot.
  7. If the enemy dragon is weak and has no shield, boost your archer towers.  These dole out the most damage with their supershot and are excellent for taking down dragons quickly.  Alternatively, lightning towers, while not as damaging, have the benefit of a virtually instant shot and often an attacker will get off very few shots before they hit.
  8. Save at least one shot for later in the raid.  By the time the attacking dragon has hit the first island or two, it has often used up a lot of rage and is much weaker.  It can’t take down towers as quickly and is vulnerable.  You want to make your supershot kill the dragon so it can’t limp on to further islands.  A dragon with almost no health can do a lot of damage if it can make it to the next island.  Use your last shot to make a killing blow before it moves on.  If the attacker is weakened and almost dead, but it coming around to a new island, using your supershot on a storm tower can protect most of that island’s towers from the attackers final burst of strength.  This is when your supershot will count the most.  Save your final shot for that best moment.  The best moment to use your last supershot is never in the first 5-10 seconds of an attack.
  9. If you kill an attacking dragon and have any supershots remaining, spend them very quickly before the next dragon starts his attack.  Shots that are not used are lost.  You will have a small window of time after the attacking dragon dies to spend your remaining shots before the next dragon begins.  At this stage, you are so limited in time, I recommend spending them on whatever towers are on hand, even if you don’t spend them on the ideal towers.  When the next dragon arrives, you will have a new batch of shots to spend wisely.
  10. If you can’t remember any of this and it’s too much to follow while defending, you will help if you supershot in the following order: 1. storm towers 2. mage towers 3. trebuchets 4. lightning towers 5. archer towers.  As you defend more and more, the other rules will become more apparent (hopefully!)

There are certainly many more strategies and nuances to defending, and I will do my best to cover them in future posts, but the tips above are the basics of supershot defense.

In addition to supershots, the defender can use defensive boosts.  The boosts are for Attack, Defense, and Repair.  The attack boost increased damage of towers by 30% and the defense increases tower health by 30%.  The repair boost repairs part of the damage a tower has already taken.  These boosts can be placed on up to 5 towers grouped together in the glowing circle, so be sure to include as many as possible.  Here are some basic tips on using these boosts.  Some may seem obvious, but in practice, when you are defending a base that you’ve never seen before and have limited time, it is not always easy to follow these basic rules.

  1. Use attack and defense boosts on the strongest towers.  There is no point in boosting a level 2 tower or a group of towers that is weak overall.  A 30% addition to the health of a tower with 10,000 total health gives an extra 3000 health, but the same addition to a tower with 50,000 health gives an extra 15,000.  Both boosts cost the same, but the second option is far more effective.  The trick is boosting towers on a base when you don’t know their relative power.  For this, look at the towers themselves.  Higher level towers have more barrels (for cannons), or more bows and arrows (for archer towers), or appear to be gold, or simply look nastier.  Since you will use a boost from your inventory, make sure you are using them where they will count.
  2. Use attack boosts on groups of towers that can do serious damage.  If there is a group of towers that has a storm tower, 2 mage towers, a ballista and a cannon, only the cannon will do real damage of the three.  It would be a waste to put an attack boost on that group, compared to one with 2 archer towers, a cannon, a mage tower and a storm tower (which has 3 towers that deal serious damage).
  3. Use defense boosts and attack boosts together.  These boosts are far more effective when used together instead of separately.  The defensive boost means your tower will likely last longer, giving it more shots, and the attack boost means every shot will do more damage.  A natural one-two punch.  Place them one immediately after the other.
  4. Use defense and attack boosts before the attacker arrives.  Boosts take a moment before they have an effect.  If the attacker has already arrived at the towers on an island, he will have a chance to destroy them before your boosts work.  You’re too late if you are trying to boost towers already under attack.
  5. Use boosts only when they will count.  If the dragon attacking you is far more powerful than your base can handle, skip boosting your towers.  If it’s a lvl 20 base and in a war attack a lvl 40 hits it, the battle is a lost cause.  It may not be a lost cause if you can keep the attacker from getting 5 flames, but don’t boost your final archer tower against a full health Amarok.  Unlike your supershots, your boosts come out of your personal inventory, and a boost used today is one that will not be available in the future should you run out of your supply.  Sometimes you just have to accept a loss and move on.
  6. When fighting a sorcerer dragon, don’t boost an island with no red mage towers.  This deserves it’s own spot, even though it is very specific.  An island with no red mage towers that gets boosted in advance will 100% of the time get hit with lightning or fireball.  The target becomes too dangerous, so the attacker will wipe it with one shot.  Your boosts will have no impact on the raid if the towers are destroyed instantly.
  7. Don’t boost towers that the attacker resists.  This is very basic, but many people fail recognize that most attacking dragons have resistance to certain tower types.  The resistances appear below the dragon’s stats.  If the dragon resists lightning, don’t supershot or boost lightning towers, and don’t bother to repair them while they’re being destroyed.  You’re wasting your time and your resources.  Instead boost archer towers, or cannon towers, or anything else at all that isn’t lightning.
  8. Repair before damage starts.  Timing with repair boosts is critical.  If the tower is already being damaged, it will be destroyed by the time the repair boost becomes active. The time to use the repair boost is just before the attacker hits, as he’s rounding the corner to your new island.
  9. Repair boosts work best against sorcerer dragons and weak warrior dragons.  Since the sorcerers attack is not a concentrated attack, you can often repair towers and keep them alive.  This can force the attacker to use valuable rage on a spell, or give the towers the extra shot necessary to kill a dragon.
  10. Repair farms to improve results in a losing war battle. Farms have a surprising amount of health and many dragons cannot keep up with the pace of repairs.  This can often save one or two flames when the attacker simply can’t finish the base.  This often requires the use of multiple repair boosts, one after another, on the same batch of farms grouped at the very end of the attack.  Don’t do this if the attacking dragon has death gaze, as death gaze will simply kill the farm.  This strategy doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s fun and effective.  And you can imagine the attacking going crazy as he just can’t manage to destroy your farms and finish your base.
  11. All or nothing works better than a little, when it comes to attack and defense boosts.  I recommend either using a lot of boosts, and boosting groups of towers in advance, or few to no boosts.  Since they are coming from your inventory, decide whether or not you are going to use boosts, and if you do, fight to win!  Boost all your towers on all your islands before the attacker arrives.  Just one or 2 boosts are really if there is only a single group of decent towers on the base.  Remember, the goal is to kill a dragon before it advances to the next island, not just gravely wound it.  A dead dragon is the goal and that is best served by boosting all the towers on your long 10 tower island for both +30% health and damage.

Defending depends on timing and understanding the attacker’s strengths and weaknesses.  The rules above all have exceptions, but as basics for defense, these rules will vastly improve your effectiveness.  I hope this list of the basics of defense helps.  In an effort to keep this post of reasonable length, I have had to leave out many of the more advanced tactics.  There will be more advanced articles in the future on the specifics of timing and tailoring your defense to the attacker.