As a new player, I wanted to offer up my newbie advice based on what I've learned so far. Ive played for three weeks and am level 72, with 4100+ seconds survived on bonus round, 500 waves. On Medium.
Starts at level 1. As you play and your towers gain XP (and you get XP from challenge rounds), you level up. Next time you play, you can select skills based on your level. These have modest impact on the game. One gamechanger skill lets you do up to 300,400,or 500 waves instead of 200.
ONE TOWER IMPORTANCE:
The first important concept in this game is the fact that 1 tower can become infinitely powerful...with few caps. There are also multiple sources of damage which MULTIPLY together, based off your Base Damage which is tower-level-dependent.
In other words, if you got 10x shoot speed, 10x damage, and 100% crit chance with 900% +dmg, that would be 1000 times the base damage! Add Multicrit for yet another multiplier, then add any tower specific bonuses.
If you took two towers instead and split the potions/buffs such that they each had 5x speed, 5x dmg, and 5x crit factor, you'd have two towers with only 125x base damage. That is far inferior to stacking up on one tower!
While you can share auras and items all you want, NEVER split up your Potions (except for a few very specific examples).
The takeaway is that you want ONE tower that does most of your damage, with the rest being support. The tower guide in this forum really helped me understand that.
Your best bet is to restart the game until you have a viable combo of towers to start with, which means 1 damage tower and a support. You get 4 towers with 1 being rare/blue periodically.
Dandilion - Lots of damage makes it ok on bosses and the area effect helps some vs Normal, a bit vs flying, and a lot vs Mass waves. Awful range though.
*Bunny - My favorite. Multishot makes it good vs Flying/Normal/Mass, but weak against bosses since it is effectively splitting its damage. Fortunately bosses are easiest wave to mitigate with support.
Hitman - Good on average, but inconsistent damage means you will have leaks. Needs support and Jilly's in the backline to catch leaks. I'm not a huge fan.
Secondary: You add these after about 10 rounds if possible so the main tower gets established as the main damage dealer by leveling up.
Miss Jilly - You put these at the very end to catch any creeps. They can outright kill anything but a boss, and several of these will keep your health up, while not stealing XP from your main. This is my favorite secondary to start with. Drop 1 or more of these when you think a creep is going to leak. No need to insta-drop it.
Beaver - Good with all towers since all starting ones tend to struggle vs bosses. The stun helps, as does a bit of extra damage. Place a few of these where they can stun while in range of your Main. Dont drop them immediately though as you dont want them leeching XP.
Eventually you will want to add Luck and Attack Speed items so they stun more.
Scientist - Place at very first squares typically so it gets XP from attacking but generally doesnt kill much. Place after main has leveled a few times. It then starts leveling due to its ability and you swap it later. It isnt all that helpful, but its free XP generation.
Pocket Thief - Provides a bit of extra damage and income, to be replaced later. Pays for itself really fast and helps get the interest money coming.
Small Spider - Great long range so take advantage of that. Another good vs boss supporter, especially once you get any "Luck"/Speed items so its more likely to web the bosses and slow them.
AVOID the Twisted Mage. He sucks.
So you have started out with 1 main damage tower and kept the rest of your cash.
Put the Main tower in the MIDDLE 8 square area on the square 1 above the closest to the creeps (front-middle). This gives you the longest creep route while your tower is in range and is conducive to most replacement towers later.
It is also the most friendly location for surrounding with support towers.
Here is what will happen. Your main will level up, but will slowly start getting outscaled. Potions of Strength/Speed/Crit and your items will offset a bit but drop rate is low.
As such, you will need to drop some of your white/common support when needed to add a bit of damage and utility. Save them until needed so you can maximize interest money.
When you get 2 Potions always COMBINE THEM. Every 2 commons = 1 rare, 2 rare= really rare. (two really rares just make 1 rerolled really rare so don't do this until much later.)
You gain no extra stats this way, but this gives you a chance to roll "Water of Life" which HUGELY increases your chance of getting more items..and better items. This allows you to SNOWBALL early on.
Two rare pots can combine into a Great Water of Life potentially so there are two chances to convert pots to +Item find.
Don't overdo this however because the actual Speed/Dmg/Crit Potions are what help keep your tower from getting outscaled!
Equip any items on your Main Tower. Extra ones should be Converted, as a single rare Wolfskin cloak is WAY better than several white items, OR having junk items on your support. BUT, don't totally unequip your Main to transform as you could get garbage. Only transmute extras.
Do not bother equipping your support towers for a while. Eventually you put LUCK and Attack Speed items on things like Spider and Beaver so their special triggers more. Support is perfect for holding items that boost your attack speed, but hurt your damage.
Use of Rare towers:
The blue support towers are tempting to drop when you get em, but you should not do so unless you actually NEED them. Sure you can surround your main with Herb Witch and Pub(for +attack speed and damage), but each one is 300 bucks. Doing this WILL delay your heavy hitters. As such, I'd bank the money and not start dropping them until you have 1000 gold. 1 Pub is worthwhile due to its ACTIVE damage boost for difficult situations such as Horseman and Mass Challenges. These should go BEHIND (further from creeps) your main.
But the witch is better in general and you want to drop her in the forward 2 squares so she affects your closest 3 tiles which have Scientists/Beaver/Thief. Attack speed is better than +damage for triggering specials. Interest on 1000 gold is 20 per round.
AVOID dropping any other blue tower type..only the Shadow is a viable Main tower.
The first yellow support to drop is the Money Tower. Does nothing by itself but +60% cash and going from 2% to 3% interest really helps you drop more powerful towers a lot earlier. When you replace it, you will get refunded 1.6K gold as a rebate.
All other yellow towers suck at midgame.
The purple tower you ideally want to drop first is the Ganesha. Put it on the FIRST tile closest to creeps. Once its level 99 you can replace it with a tower that eats Mass waves and gives buffs.
Manatuo adds the ability for a tower to crit multiple times in 1 shot. This only helps once you have a crit chance of 40%+ so no big rush to drop it fast...but its HUGE later on. By the time one drops you can probably benefit by about +25% total damage. This varies tho.
The purple Knusper witch should always replace Ganeesh on the first tile. Load her with attack speed items(mushrooms) and even POTIONS, and LUCK (viking hat, lucky pants). She will basically eat ALL non-challenge Mass waves for you and gain a big -Armor debuff on all creeps.
Abyssal King is similar to Knusper but weaker. Only helps the SHADOW main tower since its the only decent DARK-race main tower.
Dark Forge sucks... over 100 rounds it makes 10 lousy common items, with a chance to make 1 unique item at high levels.
Black Widow is weak, but adds item find aura. Maybe use to replace whatevers in the Second tile from the creeps, just above Knusper.
Note that when you get to >200 wave games, this analysis changes somewhat.
REPLACING MAIN TOWERS:
Turns out when you replace a tower, it KEEPS ALL POTION benefits!! And XP and items. This is very important because your inital Main WILL start becoming outscaled and need a swap.
This happens around wave 80ish, but you can swap earlier, especially with a build-up tower like the Shadow.
You can read the tower guide in this foru, but I've had the best luck with as a main:
-- Shadow - Starts building up a very big damage multiplier vs everything over time. Focus on attack speed items and also luck. Great range, attack speed. Easiest to use and you want to drop him ASAP so he starts building up.
-- Balu the bear - Basically a Super Dandilion doing ridiculous splash damage in a monstrous area. Buffs himself up over time. With him, you probably want to transmute white/blue Damage potions into Speed or Crit later on when you can since it will multiple better with his natural Dmg boost.
-- Hitman - Yes you can keep or change to lowly Hitman. He shines more lategame due to the big +25% crit chance and the damage multiplier bonus and can last thru endgame. Mostly due to huge range and multicrit friendly. But his overall damage isn't that great.
-- Biofield Lazer tower - This thing is AWESOME. I tend to save money anyways and drop a Money Bin early. If I can get a Bin and snowball into more Bins, then this is a big boost. DO NOT replace with it until you have a million gold though. Once dropped, it hugely slows down the money-gaining process which it relies on to actually do damage.
If you go this route, you will want several Money Bins. But note that you can ONLY GET 1Million in interest. Which is maxed by only 20Mil in the bank with only 3 Bins. So no need to put Bins all over the map!
As a reference point, at 330 Million, level 99, its BASE damage was 14,000 to 21,000. Compare THAT to the 1k damage tops of most other towers. Even at 1Million, it is still quite powerful.
Ideally you drop this thing right before the Bonus Round starts if you are wanting to maximize that.
JUNK: Poison Frogs damage takes too long to apply. Wolf range is awful and relies on high level other towers which is undesirable. Huli is mediocre, even with his potential 200% dmg buff and ~40% crit chance buff.
Bear hunter range sucks. Slooow speed. Holgar is so-so. Electric Chair range sucks. Mr Iron has such awful base damage so even with tons of +dmg/crit/etc he still sucks, and its horribly micromanagement intensive.
Scarface base damage is too low to be useful. Muli sucks. Scarecrow is meh due to bad range, slow speed. Fire Elemental is bad. Damage over time stinks.
The Knusper should be placed closest to the creeps where she can consume all the MASS creeps and get a huge debuff of armor to all enemies. Ideally after a Scientist or Ganesha has buffed up her initial level.
The second one on that 3 tile lane should be a Abyss King(if you are using a Shadow/Dark tower).
Otherwise the ItemFind aura of the Black Widow is your best bet.
Third tower should be a Beaver for stunning, loaded with Luck/Attack gear, and 2 Frozen Set or 2 Withered Set gear which both apply an on-hit debuff effect.
You might replace a Herb/Pub with an Mr Iron. He can eat all the Aura items such as Keys,Cauldrin,etc and thus give huge amounts of buffs to the main tower next to him.
You can get a "Gib Frozen Demon" support lategame. If you give it the Reaper that gives area of effect damage, you can Freeze huge numbers of enemies. This is another good choice for the 3rd tower location instead of beaver.
Pay attention to Mummy Bandages. Its a green set item but is UNIQUE and can add 307% Attack speed(!!!). The Withered set on a buffed Beaver can stun,knockback AND amplify damage eventually, but mummy alone can add a ton of damage to your main.
Put the useless Frozen set early items on your Beaver and Spiders to add Frozen effect to creeps.
Last Train/Wristwatch are lousy for your Main, but great for Spider/Beaver/Support since the -damage effect doesnt hurt but more attack speed helps their triggers. Lategame the Unstoppable force completes the set and can add huge Attack speed to your support towers for cheap.
Endgame, dont forget Frozen Heart. Your crit chance is likely way above 200% so -10% doesnt hurt much. But the extra Multicrit stacks a LOT of extra damage.
3 hearts and a Excalibar are pretty solid endgame tower gear. (Or substitute 1 Mummy bandage or Hades Helm)
The Wedding Rings bond 2 towers for potion purposes. This is extremely handy for buffing your support towers. You would put the ring on your Main and a support and drink tons of speed pots that you save up.
Then give the support 4 Lucky Pants. Now your beaver/spider stunlocks like crazy and your Knusper/AbyssKing can gobble mass creeps easily. Then unequip the rings.
Other useful Tips:
Save up your Acolytes of Greed. When Ganesha hits 99, start replacing him with Acolytes over and over. Each time you do, you will spawn 5 treasure goblins for phat lewt.
After the first one, it doesnt even cost anything to keep swapping until you are out, each one making more goblins. Then, you swap out with Knusper as stated above.
Make sure you don't kill yourself with this trick as the goblins are quite hard to kill until wave 150ish.
On the extended length (300,400,500 waves) games, it becomes possible to have a second Carry tower since you have a lot more time to gather potions and share via Wedding Rings.
I've had best luck actually with Mr Iron, as you rely on your main Carry and have Iron eat tons of items (starting out as using him as a support tower).
I managed to get him to 22 Million damage output at 0.0 speed which was quite powerful. In particular look for Wolf Cloaks which are one of the only item-ways to boost Crit Damage. Bows are very strong too.
Equip him eventually with 3 Frozen Heart and a Hades Helm(for longer range).
The Dark Forge becomes much stronger in longer games as it is very likely to generate its Dark Blade which adds quite a bit of damage. Very good to feed Mr Iron items too.
Well welcome to the community =)
and Kudos for writing a decent-lenght guide.
But there are some suggestions:
#1 Jilly: Its an incredible good starting tower. I go for it 90% of the time. Got good range/speed/dmg for the first 10-20 rounds (since you plan to go shadow anyway and replace it, you dont have to go further with your carry. and 240g for the shadow is normally available on round 5-7)
#2 Your statement about Holgar: "Holgar is so-so". Holgar is the most important tower for long games. You can have it out before round 30 and generate an avarage of 2 pots/rounds. Which gives an INCREDIBLE BOOST to your droprate and all other tower stats.
#3 Electric Chair is underrated. Hits multiple targets. One in range and the first 2 spawned units on the map. Abuse it. (You leak a boss? SUMMON THE NEXT WAVE and your hit will jump and kill the boss over the whole map etc.)
#4 Twisted Mages: They do not suck at all. Just dont go for a single one or his "failing" warp might kill you. Go for 5-10 with speed items and Withered set (Cactus+Toad/Mushroom whatever) and you got an really good chance to kick bosses back to the spawn!
#5 Hitman is far too unreliable with his HUGE dmg range. Beware it got always the chance to deal a single dmg (+pot effects.)
#6 About Shadow: Mention that "Messerschmidts Reaver" is a must have item for him and try to keep his dmg low so he can farm stacks...
#7 Scarface: The "Scarface sucks" is just DUH-UH! Lets face it: Rather low Dmg on single Targets. But with Loads of stuns+possible warps from withered set OR Twisted MAges he can wear down bosses easy while taking out everything else.
Quite good if you intend to skip many waves to stack up the Buzz Buzz Set (dont know its true name ^^)
#8 Honorable mention of : Dried Cactus. Incredible Powerful Item if you play without knux. Loses much of its power if there is a knux around but the only source of "Armor penetration" around.
#9: ALL TOWERS have a Proc-Lock of maximum of 80% proc chance! a Beaver starts with what? 30%? 40?50? Be careful, its useless to buff the luck higher then the 80% proc chance.
Edit: *Beaver got a 20% chance. So a level 10 Beaver with 4 Lucky Pants. got an 37,6% Chance to stun. Sorry somehow i had way higher chance in my mind.
You are right, but I have started replacing hogar with balu, and I found that with the right set up he can outshine hogar, this also depends on what cards you get and when.
Thanks for feedback. I have learned a lot since writing.
I agree that Jilly is an awesome tower. I always used as leak-catcher and never tried her as a main.
I agree that Holgar is awesome...esp on those 500 wave games! What hurt me before was transitioning from a strong shadow which caused a power-loss if I was actually behind. (and shadow was holding me afloat)
Twisted mage strat is interesting. Ill give it a try!
Hitman does suck, but he IS viable. Especially once you get enough attack speed.
Why is reaver good on Shadow? Does each thing he damages proc his adapt chance??
Ill also try out the electic chair. Horrible range but with Jack Ripper that might be a good upgrade path.