The Last Spell

The Last Spell

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I beat the last spell on run #3 (ever). Here's my strategy and tips (40+ tips) [UPDATED 2022 for Apocalypse 6]
By DrakenKin
Guide updated for the latest patch and apocalypse 6!

Why should you listen to my advice? I did night 6 on my very first run ever, night 8 on my second, and i beat it on my third. Recently beat all maps on apocalypse 6, including Edricht on the first try then again on 5 heroes then 4 heroes only, and now only 3. (Stream of all of these runs available on Twitch DrakenKin). Just some background to show that what i am about to say might makes some sens. Find here a lot of tips for players of all skill levels.

Disclaimer : This guide is written with apocalypse 6 in mind. Yes you can get away with using different tactics and builds on the lower difficulties and that's fine, but this guide is focused on apoc 6, and what in my opinion is the optimal "min max" way to play the game. Some of the tips in the game are absolutes, and some others are opinion or my personal play style. So feel free to add your own grain of salt when using them.
As briefly as i can put it :

1. Don't get hit in combat by always focusing on safety first. Or at least try your best, the occasional accident or misplay is fine. You will benefit from perks when applicable, never have to worry about temples or health regen (worst case use a potion), but most of all you can totally ignore tanking stats which will snowball your damage output. Keep reading, ill explain how to make all of this possible in this guide.

2. Be super greedy and careful with resources. From gold to mana to materials, don't use anything that is finite unless you have a very good reason to.

3. Good base structure, use the most cost efficient builds such as relying on cheap barricades as much as possible. Catapults are insane early on to let you survive with fewer heroes but become near useless in the later nights (because their damage doesn't scale while enemy health does). More on that and specific tips for each map further down.

4. Squeeze as much lethality out of your heroes as possible. Learn to prioritize which monsters to kill and which to wound. And yes both killing and wounding have a purpose. (Think about not killing a boomer until he is surrounded by more enemies for example, or slowing down and poisoning an elite that has mirror damage.)

5. (new point) Don't use stat points on level up or perks on things that you can get from items. For example you get plenty of armor from items. You can get a bit extra accuracy or resistance penetration from items too, for these 2 stats you want to pick a green or blue one then never pick that stat again and focus on damage sources, move points, and AP. Same with mana regeneration and health regeneration, it's better to rely on potions than spending precious stat points on these. Check the stats section of this guide for a priority list on what to take.

I'll cover each of these points in details below.

Basically never let your heroes get hit, and if you do this, you won't need healing, you won't need the temple, you won't need as many potions. This will save you a lot of gold and let your economy snowball early on. But the main benefit is as you level up (and pick items) you can focus on damage and utility (damage, move points, multi hits) instead of picking useless stats to survive. This can be the difference between finishing day 10 with +80-100% damage vs only 30/40% max. Less damage hurts your killing ability which in turn makes you more vulnerable to being overwhelmed and simply losing the run.

Let me say this again. Defense stats are dead stats. I completely ignore defensive stats (except for a bit of armor, but usually items give you that for free) and simply do not get hit 95% of the time. You can watch my streams on twitch, user "drakenkin" if you want to see how i play the last spell[]. So ignore health, block, dodge, resistance, etc. and focus on your damage, movement, and utility. Mana regen is a dead stat (use perks, crystals, and maybe potions mostly to deal with mana), health regen is dead, evasion is the same, dead dead dead. There are a few exceptions to this that I will cover right away, but they are very few and far between.

A little bit of armor is not bad, in case you make a mistake in the later waves and take a hit, or if you're playing Elderlicht and have to deal with Vessels and ghosts. Taking an accidental hit is now a possibility where in old patch you could always avoid it. That could happen for many reasons, but let's say a double action elites is a possibility. Hunters that can shoot you through cover is another one. And if you're playing on Apoc 6, enemies have a lot more move points meaning they can reach you where without that they could not before. If you take the skill point that gives you 15% crit at the cost of 60 health, again you might pick health if you see a green or blue one when leveling up and there is nothing better to take, but only do this once. And that's about it. And yes that includes blood magic, i ran the numbers and i don't believe blood magic is worth it even with vampirism, simply because you waste a lot of perks to solve mana, and it can be solved much cheaper using other methods. Let me be clear, use it if you want, i am not saying it is bad, i am saying simply it is not optimal. Keep in mind, don't waste your level up stats on armor. You will almost always end up with enough armor from items without even trying. Remember to transition from 2-3 gold mines straight into armor crafting and you'll be fine on armor and survivability. Also pay attention and be careful with mirror damage elites! I can say i've been there, died to that. ;)

(Little side note, i do use melee characters sometimes, but i also always ensure that i have at least 4 ranged characters by the end so that I can handle the elites and bosses from long range. So the melee guys rarely have to do actual tanking.)

Max mana *could* matter if you have the skill that gives you more damage the more mana you have. But overall there are better skills, and better sources of damage depending on your skill rolls. As for mana regeneration, it depends. With now multiple skills that give you enough mana back, like mana from kills, mana from crits, half mana cost each 8 AP spent, you have multiple ways to stay afloat without wasting stat points on that. You will simply get back all the mana from attacking and never need potions as long as you are being smart and greedy with your mana, and occasionally you won't even need to build the mana well itself. Again watch my videos to see this in action. I think I built the mana well once on my first run then never again until recently on Elderlicht and only because i had 2 heroes with no mana generating perks at all. (I also didn't know at the time that new patches made potions reusable, now i'd definitely go the mana potion route instead in the future whenever possible.)

Second, prioritize your economy in order to snowball it asap. Pretty clear and self explanatory. On the first turns ill usually build 1 gold mine per turn for a total of 3 by day 3 (depending on what you unlocked and what apoc you're on). This is not written in stone. If you see an amazing item on day 1, like a 15% propagation trinket, a mana crystal, a source of multihit, a much better weapon, or anything valuable, grab it. Sacrificing some economy to buy something rare and valuable is worth it. So basically, focus on economy, but know when there is an exception to be made. As they say, understand the rules to know when to break them.

Third principle, be super greedy with your resources. Mainly mana. If I can kill a wave or kill all immediate threats without spending mana, especially in the first days, then i won't spend the mana. OFC factor in your mana regen, just make sure you don't spend more mana than your regen ideally. If i do this enough, i never have to build a single mana well or buy a single mana potion until i can get mana from crits or from kills etc. All those savings feed into my economy, lets me snowball, lets me have seer, inn and additional heroes, crafting, etc much earlier.

Last but not least, squeeze as much lethality from your heroes as possible This means focusing on damage and damage related skills and stats (and remember damage comes in multiple shapes, crit power is damage, opportunism is damage, etc). Using AP properly, Mana properly, knowing when to kill and when to wound, and leaning to maximizing the impact of your AOEs and special attacks. For example with the TOME weapon, you can often kill a couple of enemies in order to shape the propagation "wave" and let it hit the enemies you want to get hit, and maximize its spreading potential.

- I see people sticking to 1 weapon too long. And when they do get a second one, they are not aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon so they don't use them properly. Why are you attacking healthy targets with the hand crossbow when you have a shortbow equiped? Shortbow can one shot most things, and you should be using the weak damage multishot to clean up the surviving monsters rather than doing most of the damage. Also, did you notice the -1 move per attack on the HC? you don't need to finish off monsters that won't be able to move or attack anything of value. Make an effort to understand your weapons and use them properly, it will help you a lot. First, have 2 different weapons if you don't already at the start of the game. This has a lot of benefits. It will balance your melee by giving you ranged options until you get more move points. It will give you more AOE, since they are limited to 1 or 2 per weapon pet turn you can switch to the second weapon and use its AOE in a tight spot. This is insanely useful for dealing with massive group of enemies. Finally, the additional weapon gives you more options to skip defenses... such as having attacks that can't be dodged (shortbow) or that skips resistance (magic weapons) or that's amazing at isolated single target (isolated attack on the dagger or longbow). But most of all, a lot of weapons have a really good attack that only costs 1ap but is limited in charges to maybe 2 per turn (think power shot from shortbow that can do 130+ dmg per shot right from basic level 1), so having a secondary weapon lets you use more of those charges, sparing your mana and your more powerful attacks for where they are needed. Another example would be to combine the 2h sword and the 2h axe, since one has a great horizontal attack, and the other has a great vertical attack, you can often have an attack to deal great damage in every situation without spending any mana. Second and again, read what those weapons can do, and be aware of their strengths so you can use them properly.

- Another mistake i see often. Why do you feel obliged to keep bad items equipped? Those -5% accuracy boots are hurting you, that -1 move point armor is really weakening your melee character. Get rid of bad items! Fight naked if necessary. Truly only the weapons matters in the beginning, and you can sell that vendor junk at the start to snowball your economy early or buy something nice from the shop.

- Don't freak out about panic! You still get a lot of gold and materials on 100% panic. I see people taking hero damage and blowing off all their mana going to zero to avoid a bit of panic. Don't do that. Think of panic as the icing on the cake, it's nice to have less panic or even zero and get that juicy item, but you can do fine by having some. For sure it's not worth having your hero taking face damage to avoid it. You'll spend more money healing him than you got from less panic. Notice the difference in gold between perfect and some or even 100% panic, it's a lot less dramatic than what you might think. And if you're starting out with the game, focus on surviving longer. This happens by keeping your heroes healthy and mana pools maximized, rather than freaking out because a runner can hit one of your ruined buildings.

- There is no class for heroes in this game. Weapons make your class! What this means is, if you absolutely hate that 6 movement melee hero you start with, nothing prevents you from slapping a ranged weapon on him and making him ranged, skipping the move point issue entirely. Pick ranged damage as you level up and you'll be just fine. In fact often a hero will start with stats and traits making him better in a different purpose than what he started with. This is reinforced by the new skill trees that are dynamic and can have widely different rolls. I would prefer to have my mage built on mana from crits for example as they spend the most mana (6 mana costing AOEs instead if the usual 2-4). More on skills and the skill tree further down the guide.

- Stop throwing your AP around without thoughts!. I see big streamers like Day9 doing this and then complaining that the game is hard or doesn't explain enough and immediately give up on it. It is pretty sad to be honest because it doesn't matter how much the game explains, you have to think and consider your actions and consequences. You heard that this game is hard, didn't you? So why do you throw abilities around almost randomly, and be frustrated when you lose? This game is more like chess, and definitely not a shooter or hack and slash. So think about what you're doing before you do it. Before moving your hero you should know your priority targets, you should know what you are attacking and why, and you should know how you will move your hero after attack to keep him safe. If you can't answer these questions before moving, you will struggle.

- Be very greedy with mana in the beginning, you get a tiny bit of mana regen (most likely 2 or 3) and that's it. Ideally, you don't want to build the building for mana nor buy potions immediately because your gold will be more valuable invested in other things. You want to invest that early gold into making more gold. So don't use more mana than your hero's mana regeneration on that first battle, ideally. Of course that's not always possible, but try your best.

- Move your mouse over enemies, you see exactly where they can move and what they might be able to attack, use that to make better decisions. It literally takes a second, and it makes you aware of critical information. This immediately makes you a better player. It's well worth doing! New patch, you can now press left ALT to see where all enemies can reach in a glance, even better.

- Move points are one of the best stats in the game! Expect to get about 2-3 move points from armor, the rest you need to get from leveling up stats. It is often better to pick move instead of almost anything else, for the exception of AP. Keep also in mind that 17 is the maximum move you can have, but i would say that aiming for 14 or so is good enough. Beyond that number think about getting armors or weapon related moving abilities.

- Move points vs skill range. Quick note, one extra skill range is worth 2 move points. Because you would have to go in with movement to hit something, then back off with another move point to get the equivalent of 1 skill range. So if you get some points into skill range, consider that you might not need as much move points as usual. There is an excellent skill that scales your range, giving you a +1 for every 12 kills. Extremely worth taking, especially before facing the boss in the later stages of the game. And even if no boss, there are many enemies that are worth reaching and sniping out, like hunters or those with nasty buffs and debuffs.
(For some reason, Steam has a max limit on each section's size. So let me continue the beginner tips here)

- Keep in mind that now, when you equip an item with + health, it will heal you by that much. So if you took a hit, it might be more cost effective to equip an armor with +health rather than buying a potion or a temple for healing.

- You have to balance killing with delaying, and this is why the hand crossbow is so sexy. Having 3-4-5-6 attacks with 1 ap (stacking multishot) and having each one of these attacks remove movement from enemies will completely neutralize big meanies like the boomers, lancers, elites, and whatever else is increasing your blood pressure. Have you ever seen a boomer with ZERO move points? it's a beautiful thing to behold. Keep him there, and explode him when he's surrounded by your enemies. Just like that, boomer works for you now.

- Ok this is a fundamental principle, and i assure you it is not contradictory with the above tip. You want to kill things instead of delaying them whenever possible. For this reason, you will always prioritize damage over stun and utility / tanking stats, and you will always prioritize weapons like the dagger and spear over the hammer, because those can actually kill instead of wound and stun. What you want to do is kill as many per turn, ideally wiping the wave completely sometimes. If your decisions are always focusing on being able to kill more and more efficiently (instead of defense, tanking, utility, or some other distractions), the game becomes a lot easier. What more, the recent patches gave us enemies that can render zombies completely invulnerable to poison and stuns, so killing is now even more powerful than delaying.

- Early on, having a secondary weapon that can jump or teleport you some distance can be very useful, especially on melee characters. Early on is when you have the least amount of movement, so those skills come in handy very often.

- If you have nice gold economy but less materials, consider using buildings as disposable walls. I almost never build the temple, but when i do, i do it because i need a cheap wall. The other cheap gold wall i use is the secondary armory, first one gets upgraded and is well tucked in and safe inside my base, the second one is a shield against the horde. These buildings are cheap enough to be very cost efficient to cover a flank. I really like to keep my materials for the occasional wall, the occasional catapult, and most of the materials will go into making TRAPS. I am talking about the explosive type. They are just amazing. 9 tiles area, multiple charges, it chews up enemies and let you one shot them easier. By the endgame the outside of my village is surrounded by what I like to think of as the "traps donut". What more, they used to hurt your heroes and buildings, with the last patch they won't anymore, so they can be placed in front of walls. Traps are just OP, especially the damage ones and the slow ones. Think about alternating them for maximum efficiency. The slow ones will padk up more enemies in a smaller area, making your AOEs more efficient.
The problem with build orders

- Build order? I don't like build orders because :
1. Your meta progression can vary widely, giving you more or less gold (magic items you start with sell for more, towns can start with up to 50 more gold, you can get more rerolls to repick your day 1 reward for more gold to invest)
2. You often need to adapt to the situation and your skill level, and a rigid build order will not give you that. What if you see a +15% propagation or a +2 multihit trinket on day 1, are you not gonna buy it because of a build order? of course not.
3. What if the melee hero you start with has a sword and 5 movement. Are you going to not buy that 12 gold shortbow from the shop on day 1 to make him usable? Again, of course not.
4. Are you willing to sell some if not all of the GOOD items you start with as to have more gold to put into the economy on day 1? There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
5. How do you like to play, walls? no walls? faster crafting? Buying from shop or not? Crafting is the only way to make more gold after making your gold mines. It can be argued that going faster into crafting by skipping some gold mines can be more profitable, and more efficient since it gives you better items sooner. But once again that depends on your meta progression and your chance to craft magic items.
6. If you're just starting out this game with no meta progression and only 4AP, can you really afford to not buy an action item or potion (they refill every day now) if you see them? Once again, nope.

All of the above will change how much gold you have to invest, even 5 gold difference can completely change what is optimal or not. Could be full gold mines. Could be full working of the ruins. Most likely the optimal way would be a tricky mix of both. And all of that will depend on your play style, trying to wall off your town ASAP will require a different build order from wanting to get your 4th hero out ASAP.

Now that we understand the issue with "build orders" let's try to come with something that might not be min maxed for every situation, but that will save you the trouble of popping an Excel sheet every time you start a run.

Cookie cutter build order

The build is further down, but here are some basic principles so you can understand it and adapt it to your own needs :
1. The ruins will always be there, you can work them anytime for extra gold. And if you save them for later, they can also be worked for more materials instead of gold if you are doing a heavy defensive strategy (walls, catapults, ballistas). The minimum gold you can get per villager is 12, and max is 18. (By working the 4 villager ruins.)
2. The gold mines on the other hand, create gold from thin air. Some of it by converting your villagers to gold, and some is completely free like the passive gold you get from the gold mine every day. For this reason, generally, getting the gold mines out ASAP is better than working ruins and building more houses / upgrading them first. With a fully upgraded gold mine, you get 40 gold per villager (25 with non upgraded) compared 18 max from ruins, and you can upgrade all the houses faster by getting the mine up asap. Which means you can also clear all the ruins faster, if you insist on doing so.

With maxed out meta progression, you can build and work a fully upgraded mine on day 1. If you focus on working ruins and upgrading houses, you will end up with days where you have villagers with nothing to do. Hitting the exact right balance between ruins and gold mines is tricky and requires doing some not so straight forward math every time you start a run (you'd have to do the math every single day really, since a lot can change between fights), this is why i recommend you focus on the gold mines first and only upgrading houses and working ruins with your left over gold.

Full meta unlock build order


~166 starting gold with perfect night 1

Gold mine, costs 72 -> Upgrade from 25 to 40 gold production, costs 72 -> You need 2 more gold, sell an item -> Upgrade production, costs 24 -> work the mine once and get +40 -> upgrade the mine once more (now maxed), costs 36 -> work the mine for another 40 gold. You end up with a fully upgraded mine and something like 49 gold or a little less depending on what you sold.

Now you have choices between :
- You can sell a lot of items to buy another gold mine then move on.
- You can buy a house, or more if you sell items, then work some ruins
- You can rebuy some of the items you sold to afford the mine (at selling price, you lose nothing)
- You can check the shop and pick up some cheap secondary weapons for your heroes, which is what i like to do usually. You can get some secondary weapons for as low as 12 gold each, and they help a lot in saving your mana and giving you an easier time with night 2.

What i do : My priority is to reduce AP waste from not having enough charges from using a single weapon. I will try to pick a decent weapon from the daily reward (repick if necessary), then buy a second weapon from the shop, and usually there is a weapon that can work solo, like wand (can give extra AP and moves to other heroes), or rifle (has expensive 2ap attack and cheap 1ap attack so you can use all your AP without needing a secondary weapon), etc. Once that is fixed, i focus back on the economy, unless there is something truly special in the shop that warrants the expense.


It gets easier. Worst case scenario (you didn't do house ruins or second gold mine) you should have 100+ gold from the night reward, and another 120 from the gold mine (40 passive + 40 per villager), and some savings /extra villagers /something else depending on what you did on the previous night. That's enough for a second fully upgraded gold mine. Make sure you build / work it in the same order as day 1 to extract another 80 gold from it right away. If you can't afford two houses (should always be possible by selling items then buying them after finishing the mine without loss), just upgrade the mine from 25 to 40 then work it once.

You know the drill, depending on how much you got get that third mine, sell things if necessary, build houses and work ruins, or simply buy yourself something nice from the shop.


Rince and repeat, work the mines, collect the gold, build that third gold mine if not already. Then choose your path from there.

DAY (?)

I'll spare you the day to day as every run and every player is different. Personally i like buying weapons from the shop and going next into armor crafting, trinket crafting (I really like runic gift for a 2nd trinket slot so i want a lot of good trinkets quickly), potion crafting (AP, mana, teleport scrolls), then back to the second armor crafting building.

I find that buying weapons from the shop is very efficient, and remember that you can reroll for 10 to 50 gold max. I'll only build the weapon crafting stuff if i can't find what i want from the shop, but usually i end up with ranged weapon crafting since those multi hit HCs are worth digging for. Once i feel comfortable with my gear (won't wait for perfection) it will be time to invest into scavengers so you can keep rebuilding and repairing those walls and afford teleporters into the endgame and boss fights.

Note that at some point you will want to stop working the gold mines (they will still make passive gold) and focus instead on crafting and materials. You only have 12 workers, so you need to focus on what you need most at the moment.
- What i would advise on the build order is to try to get as much economy going as possible (skip anything that you don't need, and need less by being efficient with your combat tactics (not wounded? you dont need a temple, conserved mana? you don't need a well or potions, can though it out longer with low level weapons? you won't need to spend money at the shop), then use those savings to rush your economy asap) but make exceptions when you see something special that will greatly help you survive and do well on the short term.
—PS : For new players : you unlock the gold mine by spending 1000 gold at the shop.

- if you unlocked a lot of meta progression (chance for crafted items to be magical or better) then it would be fine to skip a gold mine or two and go faster into crafting on the shorter maps like Gildenwald. In general my goto build order is 2 gold mines into crafting armors.

- If you want to simplify your life, only destroy ruins manually, never use villagers. I've won apocalypse 6 with zero gold mines, so believe me those little build order optimizations with the houses and ruins are not what is stopping you from winning the game. Between working gold mines, working scavenger camps for materials, and crafting, your villagers have plenty to do that is more worthwhile than the ruins.

- The numbers on mines vs ruins can vary widely depending on how much meta you unlocked. Personally i didn't have the +25 gold or +50 gold on new towns until beating Elderlicht on apoc 6. Having those upgrades can very dramatically change the math on what would be optimal in working ruins vs rushing gold mines. What i can tell you is that i am beating the new maps on high apoc with my main 0-1-2 gold mines into crafting armors build just fine, but i do think that getting the 3rd mine asap on anything but Gildenwald is optimal.

- Don't waste your villagers on the other seer services if you can afford to. All you need is the occasional pushing of the fog. On my last run i only pushed the fog once and that was enough. And you should only do it if enemies can spawn and immediately hit your buildings, else it's just fine. It doesn't matter what enemies comes. And it doesn't matter the ratio, since you can see right from wave 1 where the most are coming from, and switch your heroes around, another reason why move points are for me the #1 stat in the game. Just make sure to position your ranged and high mobility heroes between directions to be able to easily switch. — I'll repeat because it's important, my rule of thumb is that if enemies can spawn and attack my walls / building immediately, i will push back the fog... else it's a waste. Using the seer too much will make you feel safer and also feels like you got more time to kill enemies, yes. And it is true, kinda. The issue is that it is a bad long term strategy. Pushing the fog will weaken you by--best case scenario--denying you 3 more items per night. Which when you are trying to max out your damage and find key stats like multi hits on your items, is a very serious problem.

- I recommend you craft armors first, even from 2 copies of the same building first, because a lot of the armor rolls will suck on apoc 6, and you are looking for something specific like damage and multihits. Remember that everyone can use armor, but not everyone is a ranged or magic user. Another thing to consider, it is possible to win the game with level 3 weapons or even less if you pick decent damage from leveling up (+50% or more combined).

- If i find decent hand crossbows, short-bows, longbows, spears, daggers, etc from the shop then i don't need to craft that weapon category at all. I often end up picking melee and magic weapons from the shop and only crafting the ranged weapons since most of my guys end up with hand crossbow / short-bow / longbow anyways. Why only long range? because i want more chances to find specific stats like damage and multihits on them.I used to only end up with only 1 mage (tome) and only 1 melee (spear dagger or spear hand crossbow), but recently i completely eliminated melee in favor of more magic (tomes, staves, scepters), read the weapon guide part of this guide for more details. Skipping melee also means you can skip the melee crafting building entirely, which is definitely a lot more efficient for your economy.

- Crafting is the only way to make more gold once you max out your gold mines, either use the item or sell it. With the new system where you upgrade your weapon level universally, it's very convenient.

- Keep in mind the daily reward item level is independent of your crafting level. So even if you are falling behind on item level, you might want to reroll the daily reward until you find a good higher level weapon. It seems to scale as the days go.

- The max heroes you can have is 6. That's when the Inn upgrades max out. Plan accordingly.
—PS : For new players, you unlock the Inn (building that lets you have more heroes) by having 5 nights at less than 1 panic.

- The ideal moment for a seer is probably day 5 on average on most maps. So plan your expenses around seer, inn, economy, crafting, etc. accordingly. Having or saving enough money for buying that 4th hero on time is often a very important timing to focus on.


- Think barricades instead of walls. And think reinforced wooden walls before thinking stone walls. Early on, the barricade will soak up 2 hits. BUT you should probably save your materials until day 4-5+ (on the hardest maps only build cataputs early on) because the first waves are so much easier wasting materials is not optimal. Also you don't care about those ruin walls that you can't repair, it's OK to lose them in the first days while you build up your economy. The only thing i would spend materials on early are catapults then ballistae later on especially on Elderlicht. Traps are great, but they require recharging which makes them worse until much later, focus on catapults that you can use every night and survive easier with less heroes until you can afford more.

- Once again catapults, into reinforced wooden walls, into ballistaes, into finally damage traps is the way i would go for optimal play. Walls used to die to 1 or 2 hits, which made them so much worse than barricades. But patches made them stronger, and now they can take 4-6+ attacks from the common enemies, meaning they do buy you a lot of time when you are overwhelmed.

- When i say walls i do mean reinforced wooden walls. The do the job nicely for the budget. Only upgrade to stone walls if you need cover from ranged enemies for your heroes (or your ballistaes if you're going that way), and only put the stone walls in strategic locations, meaning use them sparingly.

- Trick, you can use barricades in front of walls as distractions to buy you one more turn. No spoilers, but if your hero has to do something specific in the front lines *cough* Elderlicht *cough* you can also make his job safer with a couple of well placed barricades.

- Stone gates are great! lots of HP, and lets you move in and out without spending extra move points for jumping. I like to place 3 of them per side, one in the center, and 1 on each side. If on Elderlicht, you can place gates right in front of the essences so you can get to them easier when needed. If i had infinite materials i would build gates only instead of wooden walls, the only downside is that they don't offer cover.

- Possibly obvious, but worth mentioning. Always repair a wall before upgrading it. It ends up being cheaper.
- After you understand the basics, the biggest tip i could give is to learn to prioritize. This alone can go a long way. I've been looking at a few new people playing the game to work on this guide, and it's infuriating to me to see someone wasting an AP to finish off an enemy that is 10% health, has no movement, no ability to reach or attack anything of importance, while there are plenty of enemies that can hit the walls, hit the buildings, hit the hero, and that are full health. It is often better to wound a bunch of enemies to make them lose move points, if they cannot reach your hero and buildings and town, rather than finishing off wounded ones. The only exception to this are the armored guys with tons of armors, obviously finish them off so you don't have to deal with their armor going back to full next turn. Let me be more specific on priorities in these sub tips :
- Priority #1 is whoever can attack your heroes or circle or buildings or cause panic. Again hover your mouse over enemies to see what they threaten.
- When i say priority it doesn't always mean kill. If a monster can attack a building, you hit him once, and now you removed enough of his move points that he can't reach anymore, forget about him and move to the next target. Your AP is very precious, don't just throw it around, make sure every AP is spent for a purpose.
- Priority #2 are things that can attack your walls, barricades, or things that can do a lot of damage like splitters since they can attack 3 tiles at the same time.
- Priority #3 are groups. Meaning you need to get value out of your AOEs. A good rule of thumb is to always get value if enemies are grouped in such a way that your AOE can get more kills than single targets. So even if nothing is threatening you this turn, if you keep shooting single targets, eventually you will get overwhelmed because you're not getting value out of your AOEs. Remember this is a game about HORDES of enemies, AOEs are very valuable, and unless you're saving mana and you know you can get away with it, you should be casting 1 AOE on average per hero per turn, more in the later waves. The only exception is when the hordes are not positioned in a favorable way for your AOE, in this case it might be better to save mana.
- Sometimes ranged enemies can be a decent priority since they can keep smashing your defenses at a range--especially hunters that focus heroes and buildings and seem to ignore walls--and they also prevent your hero from being close to the action since they can shoot him out of cover and reduce his move points.
- Finally if things are looking grim and you might die this night, a better tactic to survive is to stop caring about panic. Focus on whatever can attack your important buildings (gold mine, inn, seer) and circle, and ignore the rest. Let them wreck the walls, the ruins, the less important buildings (like un-upgraded temple, mana well, etc) to buy you time, and focus on the biggest AOEs / Kills you can do per turn. In my first and second runs this let me go all the way to night 6 and 8 respectively, simply because i didn't care about panic (i was focused on the unlock and surviving as long as possible) and i was just using buildings and barricades as delayers of enemies while my little band of 3 heroes was focusing on numbers. Night 5 and 8 are important thresholds for survival since they unlock important things. I'll spare you the spoilers.

- Be aware of what monsters are present in this night. If this wave doesn't have ranged enemies like archers, you don't need to move back to cover every time. You can simply move away out of range of all melee, and be safe AND be close enough to be efficient with your moves next turn. I see too many people freaking out and moving their melee guy way back... you don't need to freak out my friend, simply back him off to a place where he can't be attacked, and no further than that. Similarly if the fog is close, and there are runners in this wave, even if you don't see them assume they are in the fog and move back accordingly so they can't hit you.

- Worth repeating, move your mouse over enemies to see where they can go, and click them and read their attacks and statistics to know what they are capable of. For example archers do ranged damage and dodgers do MAGIC damage, for this reason they are a lesser threat to your heroes compared to physical damage dealers, since those do double damage to armor. Each enemy will reveal something worth knowing. An example, a dodger might have 15 dodge. One of your heroes has 15 accuracy, and another has 5 accuracy. Do i need to say that it's your higher accuracy hero who should take care of the dodger? So once again, READ the stats on enemies, and read their capabilities. Be also aware of your own capabilities. Keep in mind enemies get better stats every day, more hp, more dodge, more move points, more everything. So every wave, it pays to read and be aware of what you are dealing with.
- Observe and learn how the AI makes decision. They seem to almost always prioritize buildings when they can. So even if they can reach your hero 2 steps away, they will stop 1 step away and hit that barricade instead. They will also tend to attack whatever is closest on their path rather than whatever is a juicer target. For example an archer could attack your building or your hero (he is in range and has vision), but he'll most likely attack the wall simply because the wall is closer. This is important to understand because if you can avoid getting hit ever, you don't need to build temples, wells, or buy potions. That's a huge saving in terms of gold, and every little bit saved will help snowball your economy. Note: Some enemies have their own priorities, again like the hunters that ignore the walls and focus on actual buildings and heroes.

- Always consider all the options before making a decision. That building you just made might prevent you from being able to buy an amazing new weapon or armor that would be a game changer for your hero. For this reason i will often look at the shop first and spot the items i want before spending any gold elsewhere. So think, and pick the option that will result in the most power gain for you. In terms of build order, i usually prioritize maximizing my economy first (building gold mines and upgrading), then focus on the shop and tavern, then items, then finally materials generation and item crafting. I beat the game multiple times on apoc with 80% of my gear being level 1-2-3, so you don't absolutely need the level 4-5 weapons to win.

- Worth repeating for any skill level. Be very greedy with health and mana. For instance after the first night, since i don't need healing and mana, i will invest my gold into either better items or gold mines, or both. Bottom line, delay buying the temple and mana well for as long as possible, and you do that by being good at the fighting part. You will eventually be so comfortable with the fighting that you won't ever need to to build these 2 buildings at all.

- This is not a tip to succeed, more a tip to be efficient with your time and sanity. After the first few runs the game gets much easier, even on apocalypse levels. So why are you holding on before buying that extra hero? It is optimal to wait as long as possible before getting more heroes, yes, so all of them be of higher levels. BUT if you are comfortable with winning and the game is getting too easy, get that new hero earlier, play faster, win faster, do more runs, experiment more. Sometimes min maxing the game is wasting your IRL time. So i'd recommend min maxing your IRL time at the cost of some ingame efficiency, it's a worthwhile exchange.

- One more tip following the above to make faster decisions : Look at the enemy wave in this direction. Can you kill everything? If you can, go in both guns blazing. It will make the turn faster. If you can't, then look at priority targets and give it more thoughts. There is no reason to overthink things when you can obviously kill everything comfortably. Again, it comes down to min maxing your IRL time.

- If you're bored with the game becoming easy, give yourself a challenge. I played runs where i forbid myself from using hand crossbows and shortbows. I had runs with only 1 gold mine. Had run with each type of weapon. Had runs with forced poison when i don't believe it is optimal, the run was very fun. Etc. If that's not enough to spice things i'll find other ideas to make things harder. Try some new weapons, even bad ones. Try different builds. I hate tanks and i don't want to get hit, but i will build one soon just for the sake of increasing the challenge and learning something new. If the game is getting too easy or repetitive, do something interesting and challenge yourself!
Wow, the patches really put some spice into the skill tree. I remember the time where most skills were bad, and where you took the same skills every time because the superior ones were stronger by a mile. The new tree is more dynamic, more diverse, and will definitely change what you do with a character depending on what skills you rolled in there.

I will review a skill in a coming video and post the link here, since explaining them by text will take forever. In the meantime let me share some pointers here that will let you make your own choices. This should cover both the skills and the stats, since they are both source of the same stats and effects.

You want the 25% xp skill if you see it ONLY on your 3 starting heroes. This will give you 1-2 more levels by the time you hire your other heroes, putting them at higher level and giving you more of a power boost. Yes the inn heroes will start at higher level, since they scale with your current hero pool level.

Why only on the starting heroes? Because your heroes are limited to 10 perks only. Once you pick 10, level ups will only give you stats and no more perks. Meaning that +25% xp perk is kind of wasted on longer maps like Elderlicht where you would rather take another perk that will give you more value that just experience.

Other than that here are the priorities when it comes to perks :

- All the mana generating skills are beast. Not a typo. Remember that in this game the one way you die is getting ovewhelmed. That happens when you can't deal with groups of enemies most of the time. Your #1 weapon to deal with hordes are AOEs, and all AOEs cost mana. If you have more mana, you cast more AOEs, you kill more, you keep hordes under control. So anything that gives you mana is great. The best one is obviously mana from crits at the end of the tree. Followed by mana from kills. And finally half mana everytime you spend 8AP. Keep in mind the AP you spend on the AOE is also counted in that total, so after casting the AOE itself you are already 6 AP away from your next half mana casting. This skill basically triggers once or twice per turn depending on how much AP you have. Great!

- Second priority is anything that scales damage, in any of its forms. It can be human ballista (one of the best skills in the game, it kills but it also protects you by killing whatever is closest to you, it also triggers after enemies moves, but before they attack, which is just perfect), 15% crits for -60 health, 15% crit on full health targets, more damage from the mana pool, ability to equip another trinket (one more trinket is a lot of stats, totaling more than one perk can give you in stats, and more flexible since you can switch trinkets around depending on what you need), specialist with its massive 30% damage boost on top of more charges, the flexibility skill that gives you 25% damage when switching damage types (such as attacking with hand crossbow first then doing the tome AOE then back and forth), obviously specialist and flexibility are mutually exclusive and should never be taken together. So when picking a skill, do the math, compare it to others and see which one will result in the most damage for you.

- Follow up to the above point, and worth repeating, damage comes in many forms... so don't sleep on reliability and isolation bonus (opportunism for some weapons). They make elites into a non issue, and they are awesome at killing bosses too. Obviously if your skill tree has things like multishot and propagation bonuses, then you are heavily encouraged to find yourself a hand crossbow or tome or 2H hammer etc. to fully take advantage of those.

- Another great type of skill are all the "scaling ones". Such as damage scaling higher for isolated kills, range scaling from killing things at distance, and so on. In my last apoc Glenwald win, my hand crossbow user had over 15 range from scaling (on top of +90% damage and +100% isolation bonus) and was a great boss killer.

- Finally, remember that potions recharge every day. For this reason the perk that gives you +1 potion slot can be really good at plugging some of the weaknesses of your heroes. For ex you can take a +damage potion if you need damage, you can stack multiple mana potions if you need to spam more mana, and you still have AP potions and movement potions that are very useful. On longer maps i end up filling all my potion slots and have plenty of money to buy more, i just regret not having more slots for them.

The perks that are good on EVERYONE and are always a must take?

1. The 3 mana perks from the magic tree, mana from kills, half mana cost from ap, and mana from crits. No reason not to take all of them. If you can get to 30%+ crit chance, the mana collector perk will be enough and you can skip the others. Either use well / potions or pick the other mana perks if you are more focused on the economy.
2. Either specialist or flexible. It's just too big of a damage boost to miss.
3. Human ballista. Scales with your weapon, is equivalent to a free extra 2 to 4 AP per turn in terms of damage, and if that wasn't enough it activates at the end of enemy movement phase but before they attack, basically protecting your hero from immediate threats!
4. Glass cannon and first blood, which are the 2 perks that give you +15% chance to crit. Each one of these is equivalent to 7.5% more damage with the default +50% crit damage, and they are worth more the more crit dmg you stack. They interact with many other perks like collector (mana from crits), and basically just give you more chance to one shot things, which is a huge saving in terms of AP and mana and efficiency.
5. Runic gift, which is the perk that gives you +1 trinket AND extra mana storage on top of that. An extra trinket is a lot of extra stats, damage (i've seen +14% damage on trinkets), multihits, accuracy, reliability (i've seen 33%+), or whatever your hero needs the most. And if that wasn't enough, you can get abilities like Run! for moves, letting you turn AP into move points, or turning mana into APs, etc. This one extra trinket ends up giving you more stats and utility than any other perk in existence. Easily underestimated, but very powerful.
6. Field study. Scaling range with kills is pretty good, and it can go pretty high too. I take this one whenever i see it.
7. Lone wolf. A combined 20% damage from a single perk, enough said. Often enables a hero to handle a lane by himself.
8. Blink. A 6 range teleport for 3 mana, twice per turn for a total of 12 extra move points per turn. You won't use this often to conserve mana, but when you do need it it comes up clutch and saves your butt. Very good, and if you have mana from crits the mana cost if often not an issue at all.
9. BOOM! Come on, it's a game about killing hordes and hordes of enemies, and this perk turns any damage or attack you do into an AOE by splashing the extra damage. Just great, especially on crit builds.
10. If you got mana collector, BULLY is another amazing perk to take. It guarantees crits, and can be activated with many weapons, like the poison attack from hand crossbow, or the debuff skill from the tome, etc.

Must have for specific builds

- Initiator. The +2 multihit is just too good, and many weapons can take advantage of that. Obviously the hand crossbow, but also the wand, dagger, spear, and more.

I'll post a comment to this guide once the skill tree video is available, so make sure to subscribe to this guide or my brand new discord server to get a notification.
- On the heroes you start with, you will have to pick every mana generating perk as you go. But once you get to level 11+ and hire new heroes (either new or to replace a bad hero), consider skipping the first 2 mana skills if you got mana collector and decent crits, instead of ending up with overkill mana generation and wasted perks slots. Remember you can only have 10 perks per hero.

- If you DO end up with overkill mana generation, consider picking up one of the attack scrolls from the shop. Those attack AOEs are very strong, and only cost mana (no AP). Meaning you can easily burn your extra mana for pretty beast additional damage. Consider also picking items with active abilities that convert mana into AP (focus).

- Picking the mementum perk with something like a pistol can add an insane amount of mobility (10+ moves per turn depending on charges) to any hero. Worth keeping an eye for.
When it comes to stats, i think it can depend on your perk rolls, weapon, traits, etc. For example if you have access to multiple +crit chance perks, crit damage might be valuable, and if you don't it will be almost useless. But in general and without any specific bias i would focus on these :

Primary : Movement up to 12-14 (more up to the max of 17 on Elderlicht), AP (but not past the # of charges you have if you go specialist), Damage, crit if applicable (depends on your perks rolls, only if does something like give you mana, else focusing on flat damage, reliability, and isolation is better), accuracy with minimum being the dodge value on base clawers, some resistance reduction again minimum being the resistance value on clawer, and finally maybe some extra mana storage if it's green or blue especially if you have the damage from available mana skill. That is all, if you lost 60 health to the +15% crit perk you can get some extra health to stay above 100 at least (preferably armor since it regenerate every turn) to be able to survive a couple of shots (health still valuable on Elderlicht because more armor penetrating enemies), you should naturally get some armor from items so don't waste your primaries on that if you can avoid it, and if you follow this guide you know that dodge and resistance are useless since we won't let ourselves be hit often if at all. Again, tanking stats are bad except maybe for some armor, and again only because it auto regenerate every turn and because of the existence of enemies like hunters that have a 10 range attack with visibility, meaning you can't take cover from, or enemies with double action that is not shown when you press ALT so these can also surprise you too. Bottom line is ignore tanking stats, but make sure you won't die from the occasional hit or 2.

Secondary :
1. multi hit (you see them you take them and switch to hand crossbow, wand, or anything that shines with it),
2. propagation (switch to tome or hand crossbow if you get those),
3. skill range,
4. reliability,
5. isolation (amazing for killing elites, bosses, and anything tanky),
6. specific damage stacking like ranged or magical damage, especially if your universal damage is lacking or falling behind... the ranged damage is always useful since you can never go wrong ending up with more hand crossbow / shortbow / longbow users by the end.
7. if you don't get the 25% xp skill then getting a green or blue xp stat is fine on the first 3 heroes to maximise level of future heroes.
8. Crit damage becomes more worthwhile IF and only if your crit chance is getting high (35-40+), then of course once you get some of this, crit chance from the primary becomes more useful too

I don't value propagation damage that high anymore, in fact i'd rather take a +15% propagation damage from a trinket than waste a precious stat level up on getting 3% more. I'll consider a blue or green one however.

I don't care much about mana regen (unless the character has absolutely no way of getting mana from the skill tree, and even then i'd pick max mana instead because it gives you that much mana then get him potions and worse case build a well), i don't care about health regen at all (blood magic is fine but far from optimal), opportunism is OK but stacking or rerolling into relayability or isolation is much better (wounding enemies doesn't count as a debuff), poison and stun are fine if you get the perfect perk rolls for them, but i don't think they are optimal so unless i am doing a challenge i would focus on the other stats, and finally momentum can be great for big numbers, but it goes away after one attack and needs a focused build which can be cute and fun but it's not something i would go for unless the stars align like getting good traits, skills and items for making an amazing momentum character that can one shot bosses or something like that.

Various tips :

- I did say pick +xp on your original 3 heroes. But once you hit day 9-11+ and are very comfortable with gold, it would not be a bad idea to pick a new hero from the tavern and get rid of the original heroes, especially if you got bad perk rolls on them. At the worst you get rid of +xp perk and stats and get something better, knowing that from level 11 up you don't get any new perks, maximizing the impact of the 10 you have would be optimal.
Weapons can be the subject for a small ebook on their own. Instead of going into every single one of them, let me refer you to the excellent guide written here on Steam. You can't miss it, it's literally the #1 guide for the game on steam right now.

However let me at least cover some basic concepts about weapons, and what weapons are currently the best in my opinion for this "don't get hit" play style. These might change with future patches and updates.

The one thing to understand first is that "best weapon" is relative to what you need to get done. Some weapons are best at doing AOE and killing a lot of weaker enemies. Some others are best at killing single targets (anything tanky like elites and bosses). Some have special effects, like disabling dodge (shortbow, longbow, which is nice because it compensate for ranged damage losing accuracy with range), or making the enemy slower (hand crossbow with -1 move per shot), or even stunning or poisoning (useful against mirror damage elites). Some are simply good at doing insane damage for 1ap (3rd attack from longbow) There are all kinds of enemies and situations, so a mix of all the above is probably what you want.

Once you factor in that heroes start with traits that can make them better with specific weapons, and the new dynamic skill tree system that has widely different rolls on available perks, you can see that the weapon choice is not as clear cut as you might think.

My preference? Assuming positive perk rolls, i like having 2 longbows at least in my team of 6 heroes. 3 hand crossbows. 2 tomes. And between 1 to 2 wands. Yes that's a total of 8-9 weapons and we only can get 6 heroes. This is because i like a mix of specialists dedicated to one weapon, and flexible heroes that will always carry 2 weapons while retaining similar damage (25% more damage from flexible vs 30% from specialist). The longbows are here to deal with elites and bosses and anything that is too far away yet a priority target (guardians for ex). Hand crossbows are probably the best and most versatile weapon in the game, but they suck at killing single targets (because block exists) and their range is also too small, so ideally you want to mix the hand crossbows with a tome or a wand to be able to deal with a wider selection of situations.


#1 hand crossbow (HC for short). The catch is that you need multihits and propagation stats to make it shine. The other catch is that the range kind of sucks, you miss more often because of the accuracy loss from distance, and you're kind of bad at killing single targets that have block. The upside, multiple aoes with propagation, ability to deal with "mirror damage" with a combination of both poison and removal of move points, and you deal extremely well with surviving enemies with the quickshot. And if that wasn't enough you get a free hand where you can equip an offhand weapon or a shield for even more stats and utility on your hero. But most of all, the one thing that makes hand crossbow great is that it scales from 3 different stats (multi hit, propagation, and propagation damage) where most other weapons only scale from 1 or 2 different stats. This means you have an easier time finding the stats that you want on level up, and with only a couple of these the HC is an absolute beast. Keep in mind multihit is capped at 5.
-> stats to focus on : multihit, propagation (not prop damage), pure damage, isolation, reliability is good but not as important as with other weapons. Crit and crit damage would also be amazing if you got dual crit chance perks.
-> perks : Bully (HC poison attack is a double debuff so it melts elites and bosses), BOOM (makes the propagation more lethal, and as we often finish off wounded enemies with quickshots, the damage ends up overflowing to nearby enemies making quickshot into an AOE)

#2 Shortbow. Not as RNG dependant as the above HC, as it has very high and dependable damage from the start. Because of this i like starting with the shortbow on my ranged characters in the first days, and switching to hand crossbow once i find some multihit or propagation later in the game. For the heroes who don't get multihit and propagation, i transition to longbow instead. PS: don't underestimate double shortbow on a ranged character, you can wipe out a 14 tiles area pretty easily by casting the AOE side by side.
-> stats to focus on : reliability (huge gap between minimum and maximum damage so reliability ends up giving you the equivalent of 5-10%+ extra damage, similar to tomes), pure damage, isolation.

#3 Longbow. Amazing single target damage, thanks to isolation bonus and for only 1 ap. The third attack is also insane, once again 1p some mana and move point, doing double damage compared to the 1st. These will be your tools to snipe bosses and elites. And if that wasn't enough, you have a huge AOE attack with stun that can buy you time or finish up wounded enemies in a pinch (very nice coupled with damage traps).
-> stats to focus on : same as shortbow above for the same reason.

#4 tome. Once again because it scales from 2 stats, propagation, and propagation damage. But also it stats with a lot of damage, ignoring 50% of all resistances, very decent range, and starting out with many propagation targets making it perfect for those situations where you are overwhelmed. The more enemies you have piling up, the better the tome becomes. Meaning it really helps you when you need it the most.
-> stats to focus on : propagation damage, propagation, isolation, damage, crit chance (especially if you have mana from crits)

#5 Wand. I used to underestimate this weapon, but the more i use it the more i respect it. First of all all the hardest maps are big enough and wide enough that you really want more sources of move points, the ability to give another hero more move points for 1 ap (actually it's almost free since you give the other hero that same ap which he can use with better weapons for more damage) is more valuable than you think. But even before that, you have decent range and decent damage scaling, and multiple charges on your ultimate that scales and is super strong with multi hit. You are already picking multihits for HC, so if you're more lucky getting extra magic damage, and only getting multihits but no propagations, those heroes can do really well with wands. I love wands with specialist because they absolutely melt elites, bosses (remember magic damage = 50% less resistance), and 3 charges of that every turn turns your hero into a single target killing machine. But most of all, the wand shines because it complement the best weapon in the game (hand crossbow) very well by plugging its weaknesses. So even if specialist is ideal, on your heroes who didnt roll specialist perk, getting HC + wand and flexible is the next best thing.

What about melee weapons you say? First let me tell you that in this new meta after the patches, i don't think melee heroes are optimal. They are fine, and can work ok, but if you want to min max you will transition your melee into something ranged. The main reason is move points. Between bigger maps / towns, weird enemies spawning locations like when they come in the corners instead of in front of your gates, the new mechanics / enemies on Elderlicht, movement is just too precious to deal with a melee weapon. I had RANGED heroes with 16 movement points and movement abilities on top of that and often i would still wish they had more. So yes, melee can be great and yes you melt armor and have access to a lot of utility, but for optimal, min maxed play, focus on "ranged" weapons, basically anything that scales with the +range stat, because each point of +range is equivalent to 2 move points and you will need a lot of these on the harder maps on apoc 6.

Still, the question remains. What are the best melee weapons?

Number one by far, the 2h hammer. It has everything, high base damage, AOE with propagation, a movement ability, and it can stun in a wide area. The only downside is a lower amount of charges, but nothing stops you from equipping 2 of these.

The next best thing? It can be very situational, a 2h sword can be very strong with momentum and boom, but can also struggle with charges. Overall with ideal stats I would say it is the dagger when you have multiple sources of multihit (which again you are always looking for anyways). Not only you can attack multiple target for pretty solid damage (look at base + poison), but it also makes your melee technically a ranged character and can scale with extra range stat. It has piercing to one shot those armored targets, and it has an amazing isolated bonus that lets you one shot things most of the time and melt down elites and bosses. I like the spear as a secondary weapon to balance out the dagger (early to mid game only, then it loses its shine), it has huge aoe, very solid damage output, and another ranged ability that scales with multihit.

Worst melee weapon? Possibly the 1h sword. The basic 3 targets AOE and the awkwardness of needing holes in enemy formations to move is a bit of a headache. Yes you can shine with momentum and extra range (and you absolutely need boom to make it decent). But range stat is very rare and hard to find, so you're more vulnerable to RNG. And the momentum disappears after killing one target (or even missing!), and remember this game is about killing hordes, not single targets. So momentum is not exactly the stat we want to focus on, and even if we did a 2h sword or pistol or even scepter would be better at those builds.

Note : If you're not playing with the above "optimal" weapons, keep in mind you can win with almost anything if you use the weapon well. Most weapons are well balanced, so it is not a matter of good vs bad, but more like which one is optimal for the kind of situations you're facing including what are the perks available. For instance using the hammer with its big AOE stun can make it so the close enemies can't attack you, and others can't access you since your sides are occupied by stunned enemies. Effectively serving as walls. Other weapons have movement abilities and AOEs that can also be very strong. If you are using the weapons to their full potential and handling your priorities and resources right, you will do just fine in any map.
/!\ This section is being written and is a work in progress, first version should be finished in the next couple of days /!\

(tutorial map)

I haven't restarted the game save since i came back, so i didn't get to play this one. You don't really need tips to beat a tutorial map however, so it's all good.


This is the easiest map, rated at only 1 skull by the game, so have fun with it and experiment!

My first time through this map on high apoc I built no gold mines and only crafted mostly trinkets and beat it. I did lose one hero because i didn't know how the boss mechanic worked, so the boss landed on me doing damage, then attacked me immediately after for more damage and that was lethal. This can be easily avoided once you know the mechanics of the map :

1. Stay in base when the bosses are about to land. The boss seems to always land on the exact spots (north east, then south west, then south east, in that order), so you can easily avoid taking damage from being landed on. However he can immediately move and has a jump attack too, so being inside your base protects you from his attacks, and possibly the harpies too.
2. Kill the harpies as soon as you can, that will make the boss land and let you kill it, you have to kill all 3 bosses to win the map.
3. Long range weapons and "isolation" bonus are as always very useful here to kill bosses asap
4. The map only lasts 6 days (7 nights), so focus on getting the best perks and stats you can instead of investing into the +25% xp perk, your heroes (most likely only 4) won't be very high level by the time you finish the map.
5. My build order? 2 gold mines only then stright into crafting, starting with armor
6. Enemies can't spawn north-west, so you can beat this map comfortably with 4 heroes and catapults

Once again this is the easiest map and the fastest to beat, so might be an opportunity for you to rush to apoc 6 asap by doing it a few times.


Before coming back to play the new patches, this was the only map in existence and the max apoc was 4. I beat it around 8 times with various challenges, but it has changed since then.

It is rated 2 skulls by the game, but don't let that deceive you. It is definitely a big step up from Gildenwald in terms of amount of enemies and difficulty. They tend to also really swarm the areas around the lake, since they can't spawn over water. The good news is that the enemies don't spread all over the place like they do on the more difficult maps, so you have an easier time getting value out of your AOEs. Some tips :

- Wall the areas around the water as that's where most enemies will really swarm you
- AOE AOE AOE. Crossbow is really good here (not the hand version) especially north west, as enemies will often line up nicely. Get the big AOEs like tomes, HCs, staves, etc.
- Investing in scavengers early so you can keep the walls up can go a long way
- Teleporters by the endgame help a lot. Personally i placed them in the east and west corner, one north near the lake, and one south corner outside the base. That worked well for the whole duration of the map, including the boss fight. This was also the game i realized that teleporters are now invulnerable since a few patches ago, neat! This means you can place them anywhere without worry of losing them.

The boss

As usual, you're dealing with 3 phases. Here you have to kill 3 different "lockness monsters" including their tail. Once you kill them, nothing happens for one more turn (while zombies keep coming) and you get a new boss after that.

The bosses spawn eggs, that can slow and poison and slow around them when destroyed (including the monsters). If not destroyed, little wyrms will spawn to attack you. These are dangerous, as on apocalypse 6 they have 9 move points and they deal serious damage. So kill make destroying the eggs a priority, after killing the boss first.

Keep in mind the boss seems to do a big AOE splash around the water, so keep your heroes at a safe distance from the water. Hard to tell how far, probably 5+ tiles from any water tile.


Rated 3 skulls, this is the first map i did on apoc 5 after coming back. Made some mistakes while discovering the new mechanics and changes, even lost heroes in the end battle with the boss due to stupid mistakes, but we did beat it. Tips :

1. Get those 3 gold mines early, you want to get more heroes and crafting asap so you will need to max out the economy asap.
2. More heroes, more mana, more aoes. This is definitely a big step up in terms of number of enemies (and tankier enemies) from previous maps, so make sure you use optimal play, heroes, perks, weapons. I would focus on magic and ranged damage and avoid melee. I did kill the last boss with a melee character, but i don't recommend making your life harder by using melee heroes.
3. The boss is what used to be the OLD Lakeburg boss, except that you need to kill him 15 times, and there are a couple of turns where 3 copies spawn at the same time. So your priority will be to be able to snipe all the copies ASAP before you get swarmed. I recommend at least 2 longbows (pick all extra +range you can find), maybe even 3 if you pick flexible on one instead of specialist and have those longbows at the 3 corners with plenty of move points, move potions, teleport scrolls, and anything else that can help you reach the boss and kill him asap. (Build teleporters too.)
4. The map ends when you kill the 15th boss, meaning you don't need to clean up all the monsters after... so suicide running heroes to kill him or the last few copies is a valid strategy. On my first try i was on the very edge of losing but this gave me the win.
5. The big issue with this map? A lot of indestructible trees blocking your vision. You will deal with this by having more heroes so they can cover more areas and flanks, and you will also super prioritize movement points and abilities beyond anything else. If you get to the boss phase and you still have slow heroes, i would consider getting dismissing them and hiring new heroes from the tavern that might have better rolls on the movement points and movement abilities.

You unlock this one by beating Glenwald. It is rated 4 skulls by the game, and it's definitely well deserved.

You will see a lot more enemies, and a lot more special ones. You will also see a new mechanic, ghost enemies that are completely invulnerable, until you destroy their vessels (they look like blue fires) by spending AP.

Once again this map will put a lot of stress on your movement abilities, and your AP. On top of that you often can't kill the vessels without taking some hits from monsters, so having some extra armor AND health will pay off. Armor is better than health because it goes back to full every turn. And you still need some minimal health because some of those ghosts have armor AND block penetrating attacks, meaning your armor can sometimes not help you and having at least 100+ health is recommended.

General tips

1. Prioritize movement. Big time. Potions are big here, and so are teleport scrolls. AND teleporters also help a lot for the end game.
2. Get extra heroes quickly, the 4 direction waves come very early. If cought by surprise with less heroes, consider closing one side of the town with walls and barricades to delay them until you can deal with the other lanes and rotate.
3. 3 gold mines are mandatory. You might stop working them around day 8-10+ once you get level 5 crafting upgrade, and focus on crafting with your villagers instead. Some scavenging for materials would not be a bad.
4. You want to upgrade and repair walls (only build reinforced wooden walls for efficiency) and keep your base closed up from all sides with those. You won't NEED to do this before night 5-6+, but having healthy walls earlier helps a lot. If you are playing this on apoc 6 like i did, the walls are going to be critical in stopping runners and other fast units, and it will also help you be able to focus big targets while the walls hold your common clawers and runners (because they are melee only one of them can attack a wall at a time, so the wall should be able to hold 4-5+ attacks from those buying you precious time). Having the enemies clamp up at the walls will help you get better aoes by having them group up nicely.
5. Catapults will help you early when you don't have many heroes, but as time go they won't scale in damage and enemies become very tanky, 4 hits from a catapult will most of the time not even kill a winged... so consider building a max of 8 catapults before transitioning into focusing your materials into building and repairing walls. If you have extra materials, stone walls would not be a bad investment.
5. Optimal use of the seer, only use the fog push ability. Keep the fog so only 4 vessels can be activated north-west, whenever the fog is closer, use the seer, and only then. This keeps activated vessels close enough that your heroes can go from your walls to take care of them in one turn. A closer fog means your walls won't last, a farther fog means you won't be able to deal with vessels and ghosts efficiently. (Unless you rushed to teleporters, which is a valid strategy.)
6. Ghosts, what to prioritize? Focus on those who can buff damage of others, and those that can debuff your damage. The melee ones can be ignored for a while if it's too much of a risk to try and get to their vessels.
7. Worth repeating, on this map having a lot of move points and move abilities (teleport, run!, etc.) is critical.
8. This is also the map where if you've been sleeping on potions before, you need to wake up and use them. Move potions, AP potions, mana potions, even healing potions because you will get hit occasionally, will all be very useful. Consider the perks that give you more potion slots.

The boss

The boss sits on a throne with 3 platforms. He has 3 phases, and each phase passed will crumble one of the platforms. Once the 3 platforms are gone, he will come down to fight you (most likely right next to your circle) and you will have to kill him then.

Keep in mind, he has enough damage to one shot any hero. So burst damaging him when he appears would be optimal. Heroes with big game hunter will be great at this.

On each phase, vessels will light up that you need to deal with. They cost 6 ap (30 flame) at first, and each wave is cheaper, at 4ap, then 2 ap each. The bad news is that even though it gets cheaper, more vessels light up, so you need a lot of movement or teleporters to be efficient.

There is a countdown of 3 at your circle at each phase, and i am guessing that if the counter goes to zero your circle explode and you lose. I don't know for sure, i didn't lose the map. Just make sure you deal with the vessels in a maximum of 3 turns and you will be fine. In fact 3 turns are too much, you need to be faster than that if you don't want to get overwhelmed by monsters.
Bonus section : what is the most broken hero build i can imagine?
What does the perfect hero build look like?

Assuming we hire him late so we immediately can unlock all perks and skip the bad early ones, this would be my ideal hero :

- He or she would be a dual hand crossbow user, or HC + wand. I prefer the latter as it compensates for HC weaknesses with magic damage (vs high resistance), more range, more accuracy at longer distances, and deals better with scattered enemies. Also scales with multihit and starts with 2 charges on its 4 base multihit skill which is nice.
- The best specialization for this build would be debuff + assassin. Debuff for the Bully perk (guaranteed crit on double debuffed enemies, our HC poison or quick shot attack (-1 move) enables bully through contamination because it counts as a debuff too, and assassin for "critical master" basically scaling crit damage, +20% crit damage and an extra 10% per 5 crits landed for the whole night, meaning as you fight, you get higher and higher damage everytime you crit.
- Your items will give you +3-4 multihit (from helm, armor, and the hand crossbow itself even if it is lower level), and you get at least 1-2 from leveling up or a perk, for a total of 5 which is the max multihit cap. You can do well with even 2 to 4 multihit, so don't feel obliged to max it out at 5.
- As you level up you pick up movement points, damage, between 15 to 30+ accuracy depending on your perks and items, and you aim for 15-25% resistance reduction (rest comes from items). Ignore crit chance completely. Ignore health, mana, dodge, resistance, block, armor. You'll get a bit of those, mostly the needed armor from items.
- Perks :
Rank 1 : Ideally the mana scaling from level up especially if you have magic fuel to turn that mana into damage, else quick reload most often
Rank 2 : Contamination, Overload (you'll get AP potion, move potion, and either teleport scroll or damage potion that will give you more damage boost than magic fuel, once mana is not an issue replace the move potion with a second teleport potion until you get an offhand teleporter, an aoe scroll, or even mana potion if it is needed)
Rank 3 : Sadist is great, then your choice depending on what you got from leveling up stats : Runic gift (+1 trinket and more mana), lone wolf for a big chunk of damage, or else longer weapons (+2 range) helps with placement and maximizing aoe impact
Rank 4 : Critical master (assassin tree), Bully (debuffs tree), optionally volatile propagation later on
Rank 5 : Legendary assassin (gives you a lot of AP back), blessing is also good if you got sadist since you can stack the opportunism even higher, and the perk that turns accuracy into opportunism can also be great
- Traits? You don't have control over traits, but just for the sake of theory crafting, whatever gives you flat damage (like marksman), extra bag slots for more potions or scrolls (hoarder, hunter), move points (like dancer, swift), skill range (eagle eye, sniper), action points (energetic, hero), critical power (expert), or can replace one of your perks like aristocratic or jeweler or noble (+1 trinket slots).

How does this hero work?

You won't need much damage or any crit chance at all to shine, you only need critical power and opportunism. You will start every turn by quick shotting widely to build up your opportunism from sadist. Once you debuff something for -1 move from quickshot it will automatically take a contagion (from the contamination perk) too meaning 2 debuffs, which will guarantee crits on any following attacks and most likely one shot any enemy with enough stacked crit power and opportunism. If you got mana collector, and every single one of your multi hits will crit, giving you mana everytime (5 multihits means 10 mana back for a single 1 AP, maxing your 20 mana per turn in a couple of quickshots). But lately i have been avoiding mana collector, preferring a larger mana pool and using mana wells to save a perk slot for something better. I generally aim for 60 mana or more, and that would be enough.

I used to build this with boom, but i don't believe it's optimal anymore. Or needed even, really. This build clears whole screens without the help of boom, in fact it's better without because it interfere with getting AP back from legendary assassin.

Crit master will keep on pushing your crit damage higher and higher, 10% extra for each use of quick shot (5 targets), for the rest of the night.

The core of the build is the assassin debuff specializations, so snag those heroes out of the inn everytime you see them, even if they are lower level (aim for level 11+ if possible) because they can definitely punch way over their weight with this combination. This is how i won my recent 4 heroes only run on apocalypse 6 Elderlicht.
Finally I must say that there are many ways to win this game, don't think there is only one path to victory. This game is difficult, but there is plenty of room for different play styles and you don't always need to min max or use the same ideas to win. For instance, i like to have very few walls, very few static defenses like siege weapons if any (i love traps however, and catapults are very strong), and i like having a lot of move points for rotations. You might like a lot of walls and a lot of ballista or catapults and be able to shoot things with longbows over walls from the watchtowers. That's fine. So even if you read or watch someone over the internet, remain free to experiment your own ideas and play style... that's where the fun is!

If you want to see all those tips in action and more, watch me go through the game on Twitch. I comment and explain almost every decision i make, and i will be happy to answer your questions should you have any.

This strategy guide on Steam will hold all my current, past, and future tips. I will *try* to keep it updated as the game evolves with updates. Let me know if there is anything else you want me to cover here!
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Mazetto Jul 6 @ 2:23pm 
Yeah, ain't no -1 move point on HC. It's still an amazing weapon simply because you can make it work in many way. I specifically like it with Dagger.
I'm pretty sure it must've been insanely overpowered when it had the move point debuff. I mean, why the hell would you consider using any other weapon at all? So I guess that's why they removed it.
Lunro May 7 @ 12:46am 
As far as I am aware, the HC doesn't debuff with -1 move point anymore. Maybe you want to consider that, when you next update the guide.
75338 Mar 26 @ 1:17pm 
HC = Hand Crossbow, recommend telling people first time you use the acronym
75338 Mar 25 @ 7:25am 
Nice work
DrakenKin  [author] Sep 27, 2022 @ 2:19am 
Next stop, apoc 6 again, but now a 3 hero run! let's see if we can make it happen.
DrakenKin  [author] Sep 27, 2022 @ 2:19am 
Today I beat the game on stream on apoc 6 Elderlich, using only 4 heroes. The full run is available to watch. I did use the critical master bully build i listed in this guide, and boy did it deliver!
DrakenKin  [author] Sep 6, 2022 @ 5:01pm 
Today we beat Gildenwald apoc 6 on SPEEDRUN + CHALLENGE mode in a 6 hours stream in one go. We challenged ourselves with the following restrictions : no gold mines, stick to original weapons (we started with an axe, scepter, and longbow and we beat the game with those), can NOT build any economy or crafting until all ruins were destroyed by villagers, no hand crossbow / shortbow, and finally try new weapons and perks whenever possible.

Tomorrow we do the same speedrun + challenge on Lakeburg apoc 6! Long stream starting in the morning and going all day. Then after that we will do Glenwald on 6, and we will have beaten all maps on apoc 6. Will that unlock something in the game like a new map or not? will shall see.
DrakenKin  [author] Sep 6, 2022 @ 8:42am 
Elderlicht beaten on apoc 6 on first attempt! All videos available on twitch, 13 parts total. I wasn't able to find any videos of this on youtube, is this a world first? Please feel free to link anyone here if this is not the case.

First video :
Last video (boss) :

New perks and stats guide :
DrakenKin  [author] Sep 4, 2022 @ 7:15pm 
Once again the guide has been updated and new sections were added. We beat gildenberg on apoc 5, and we are day 11+ on Elderlicht apoc 6, going well so far. I’ll circle back and do all maps again on apoc 6, and I also want to do a full apoc climb from a brand new save, it will interesting to see how the game feels starting with 4 ap only and no meta upgrades.
DrakenKin  [author] Aug 28, 2022 @ 7:59pm 
I updated the guide, removed old information, added new one, made some corrections. I'll be covering the skill tree and specific tips for every maps later, possibly in a video.

After beating Glenwald last time on stream on apocalypse 4 (so many mistakes made! Killed my own hero by mistake, but we still made it to the finish line), we will do the next map on apoc 5. Please guys let me know if you want me to play Eldericht or Gildenberg (as with Glenwald it will be my first time playing these maps so no spoilers please). I will stream all day Tuesday Wednesday and Friday, doing one map on 5 and then the next on apoc 6. We will then circle back to beat every map on Apoc 6 with some self restriction to make them more challenging.

Now that we figured out the skill tree and some of the new mechanics, i should be able to play much faster. I do know that i tend to spend too much time thinking when streaming and i am working on that. :)