Even the most experienced Moo Manchu groups have room for improvement. After having done all lengths of runs, from smooth hour-and-a-half trips to not-so-smooth three-and-a-half-hour visits, and completing nearly 30 runs between the Test and Live Realms, I've seen what helps not only complete runs, but make them speedy, too.
Advantages to Being SpeedyThe biggest advantage is saving time. Because if you can do hour-and-a-half runs, that means you can do two in the time it might take your friends to do one. That's double the loot for the same time investment.
You also have timed chests, though. On floor 4, there's a four-person chest that disappears after being in the instance for 40 minutes. Then, on the balcony, there's two two-person chests that are timed based on how long you spend in the battle. You'll see the same three chests on floor 8 with the Nefarious Five, though the four-person chest if obviously set for longer.
The important thing to understand is that these tips are not essential to being successful in the tower. You can do awesome, speedy tower runs without any of these things. But as you try to get faster and faster, these will help you out.
In no particular order...
2. Get Rid of Minion DoubloonsMinions are great for the Nefarious Five or Moo Manchu or maybe even the Terror-Cotta Warriors and flame battles, but on all other levels, they're simply irritating. First of all, understand when to summon minions. Using them when one enemy remains with 100 health isn't necessary. Minions are going to take extra time to cast, extra time to play through every round, you don't know who to attack because you can't coordinate with the minions, and so on.
But it gets worse. The worst thing is when someone uses a Mark of Mooshu and they are randomly summoned right where you had a perfect plan to have your team cast traps and fires. Suddenly, you lost up to 20x damage so these pigs could run around and hit 17 and 20 on enemies. Even against the Five or Moo, this summon is simply ineffective, and getting rid of the summons altogether during regular battles will definitely save you some time.
3. Remove PetsOur pets are great, but let's be honest, they really don't do much damage - at least not most of the time. Think about all the battles that all of those four pets enter. And all of the rounds you fight. Every one has to allow time for that pet to move and attack. Plus, on the third level, pets with AoEs may attack statues, summoning up to five more enemies, which would require over 10,000 additional points of damage to be dealt.
If you have pets with grants abilities, that could be a whole different story. But just ask yourself, "What am I getting out of my pet that's worth the extra time it requires to have one equipped?"
4. Know the Melee-on-Melee "Rules"Most of the time on "regular" floors, you want to use companions that match the attack style of enemies. So Nausica against one of those True Grit pig archers is going to do well. El Toro against a Pig Thrasher is going to do well.
The Nefarious Five are where it's a different story. The biggest mistake people make are sending their melee units against melee enemies and ranged units against ranged enemies. With the Nefarious Five, the Buccaneer and Swashbuckler have insane dodge. Not only that, they have plenty of response epics as well. So as hard as your melee unit might hit, if they can't kill, it is probably dangerous to send them in. The Musketeer is the same way with True Grit. This is where some doubloons and debuffs can come in handy. Ultimately, you know the capabilities of your pirate and companions, but you will generally be faster when following this rule.
6. Use Spell and Weapon Power DoubloonsFirst off, remember that anything that uses your weapon to attack uses Weapon Power. So for Musketeers, this is their "x" and "+" hits, and so on. It's just about all attacks for melee units, and almost NO attacks from Witchdoctors. Then anything you cast, or that doesn't use your weapon, uses Spell Power. For Musketeers, that's traps and bombs. For melee units, that might be shields or heals. For Witchdoctors, it's almost everything.
7. Mark Your Blood Flame SpotsEvery flame is valuable in placing these traps. They function as obstacles and they do not stack, so if another flame is in the way, you lose out on 4x damage. Knowing your teammates is essential to quick tower runs. Ideally, your entire team knows that you'll be using flames the first round, as you each mark (by right clicking on) the spot that is the center of your flames. Then, each person follows the pattern, careful to make all flames present. The photo shows an example of someone marking where they'll place flames, and all of the places you should and shouldn't put yours in relation to theirs.
Spell power is what affects your Blood Flames. Your 200-250 spell power is multiplied by four to do 800-1000 damage a trap. When you use a high-level Spell Power Doubloon and add 200 to that, your 400-450 spell power is multiplied by four to do 1600-1800 damage or more. That's your whole team's flames based on one doubloon. Now imagine you cast two and have 600-650 multiplied by four to do 2400-2600 a trap. Times five traps, times four people potentially puts 52,000 damage on the board in one round using four powers and two doubloons.
8. Understand Risk Minimization in Relation to Tower TimePlay offensive. If you're struggling with the tower, use your shields, but after you've done it a few times and found a good group, it's going to be less a matter of "Can we beat this tower?" and more one of "How fast can we beat this tower?" At this point it's about killing quickly.
The earth wall from the Earth Guardian's Helm, Frozen Tide from Moo's boots, Glacier doubloons on the Nefarious Five, and shields and defense in general are all good at minimizing damage to yourself or your units. These can be extremely helpful if you are having trouble with the tower, but they don't do anything for your time. Too often, I see people go hidden and prepare and prepare, but by the time they're buffed and ready, everything is just about dead. This happens a lot with the Nefarious Five, which can take only two to four rounds using the flames strategy (even when they don't all show up right away).
The better option in terms of time is to simply lay your flames and traps and use hard-hitting attacks. Heal and shield as units become wounded and near death, but if you can manage to kill everything before it could hurt you anyway, there's no need for defenses.
When you hang back and let them come to you, not only do you not waste turns moving, but you also get all of the extra damage from traps. I have started to see more use of Louis, Pepe, and Zeena for their trap hits. If you can hit almost every round and hardly ever move (allowing more epics and traps to activate), then you'll go quick than you might think. Only once the enemies are upon you do you start shifting around and killing.
10. Use Chests at the End of the RunI don't mean the group plunder chests. Use those right away in case a member of the group disconnects. I mean the second chance chests. Nothing is worse than your whole team sitting and waiting on you to go through thousands of crowns on the Nefarious Five chest. Instead, grab the speed chests, toss a few crowns into your second chance, and move on until the end of the run. Not only are you going to save everyone time, but you'll also avoid filling your backpack and being unable to get drops from the final two battles, whereas second chance chests can exceed your backpack limit.
Run Like the Wind!Here's hoping you see improved times and new personal bests as you run the Nefarious Tower in hopes of epic new loot! Best of luck.
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!
Congratulations, you've solved the second clue!
Prize: Two packs of choice