Stronghold v2.0 has descended a few days ago and, boy, do we get plenty of changes (not to mention that I need to edit/recreate a number of my posts).
But with regards to that, let’s take a look at what is currently present in the new system and look at strategies as to how to at least survive these first few weeks of stronghold building.
Not going into the details too much (since you’ve probably experienced it already), you basically now have 5 minions instead of 10, no upkeep limit, no keeper and an entirely revised trap room ‘crafting’ system. Workshop stones are your primary resource and you gain some (on top of your trophies) upon every successful raid.
The workshop offers an interesting configuration system, allowing you to buy and evolve trap rooms, increase minion maximum stats (attack, armor, HP) by a percentage (maximum of 60% for each stat), purchase minion boosters, buy stronghold chests (once every 5 days) and converting your abundant reservoir of quartz to stone.
What they don’t tell you is that conversion from quartz to stone and permanent minion stat increase is incremental, so it would be really costly to do it at some point in time. Also, if you fall out of rank, you lose the option to buy that tier of minion booster…which sucks if you’re barely sitting in those specified leagues (eg. Vet2, M2 etc.).
Pretty sure by now you would know that you’re gonna lose a lot of trophies over the next few days, or even weeks for that matter.
Well…to survive in the current cut-throat environment, the advice which I can give would be to raid continuously to prevent too drastic ranking league drops at this point. The other alternative (of lesser maintenance) would be to drop to a suitable rank where players would start to hesitate as to whether or not to raid you upon seeing what your Stronghold has to offer…and ultimately you get raided less.
But besides that, it’s imperative to look into strategising for both Stronghold Building, to get in some defensive potential, and Raiding plans, to maximise your trophy wins.
With the 5 minions, it’s critical to optimise the efficiency of your trap room and put in the ‘right’ minions which experience bonuses from that particular trap.
But before I go any further, it’s best to give Red69’s well-written post a read here about strategising for Stronghold Building.
Working that Trap!
Echoing the same tune, the first and foremost step should be that you spend your stones on evolving the trap room to T6 as soon as possible, as this gives the most bang for your buck which ranges anywhere between 10k-13k.
However, it is recognised that evolving traps to T6 are incredibly expensive in terms of stones, to which I’ve already feedback to the devs down below on how to work around it.
TL;DR: Priority is to T6 your trap room for maximum effect.
If you lack a trap room that suits your minions (or vice versa), you can always opt for one that gives a universal bonus (eg. Valenthian Guardhouse – Invulnerability, Ruby Temple – HP regen). These are undoubtedly useful regardless of the minion’s element you choose to invest in.
Nonetheless, it still costs stones and this should only be used as an option if you’ve just started out without good rooms or not yet in the high leagues (Veteran and above).
TL;DR: If all else fails, go with Valenthian Guardhouse or Ruby Temple
Diversification is Key
Strongholds with minions of the same element are not entirely dangerous (especially at T5). It’s best to have at least an opposing elemental minion which preferably receives the boost from the trap room.
For example, putting a Baloth in a Valenthian Stockade as it has knockdown capabilities, which get boosted by the increased damage to knockdown-ed raiders in your room. This gives you some damage potential against those pure Dark raiders you’ll attract.
Choosing the Right ones
Currently, it’s best to have minions of some good defensive and higher than average offensive quality to them.
Keeping them alive longer should be a priority these help a lot in getting the damage across over an extended duration of time. Having minions with invincibility frames (iframes) or a skill or action that allows them to evade/block/dodge attacks all do nicely.
Examples of non-Champion types include: Monkey‘s force barrier; Voror‘s reflective shield; Cicatrizer‘s Leap attack; Cardinal‘s Unseen Strike; Sentinel‘s Lightning shield etc. etc.
Yep…basically the same minions that were deemed good in SH v1.0. Thus, if you’ve been playing consistently, you’ll probably like to add one or two of these T6 minions to try holding the fort.
Don’t forget the Support too!
Support units might be deemed as unnecessary now that there’s only 5 available slots for minions. However, these can still do good even without being boosted by the elemental bonus from trap room, especially the universal traits trap rooms.
Unfortunately, certain support units might not be entirely useful now. The once famed Acolyte and all-time poor Pyre Voror are (still) lacking in their support capabilities, with the Acolyte having less Ravagers to revive at its disposal and the Pyre Voror still falling too quickly before triggering Armor shred, particularly to Ice burst. While I like to include the Rhino Vigil in this same category, I think it does have some defensive and support potential in the light room, especially if sited well.
Also, it’ll be best to get them to T6 (like the rest of your minions) as quickly as possible (or if possible), to prolong their survive-ability.
Notice that I didn’t include in the Ranged Strikers in all of this?
Unfortunately, these are still rather poor in terms of durability and putting them out with less other minions to distract would only result in them falling really quickly. Thus, unless there is a major AI adjustment or skill-set improvement to minions of this type, then it’s advisable to stay clear of them for now.
The Proper Placements
As mentioned in a number of my stronghold posts before, minion placement is ever more vital in this context as it could keep minions alive longer…which means additional damage to your opponent.
Another thing good to know that most trap rooms usually have all the minions aggro-ed and chasing after the raider upon the start (with Scalding Forge and no trap being unique exceptions).
Basically, most Strongholds now adopt a reverse V-formation or Star formation, with one minion sometimes behind a big obstacle.
Naturally, it is the back slot where you would want to place your support minions or one of those heavyweight Colossi or Kenashi Warlords there to keep them obstructed and alive.
Front slots would be your defenders, melee strikers, or Chaser-type Champions, generally anything that sticks close to the raider and won’t go away until upon death.
Middle slots include minions that block your raider’s path to the minions at the back, particularly if they are weak like most support types.
The Valenthian Guardhouse (of all traps) includes sweet spots at the top of the room. Now with the reduced size, it is impossible to hit the 2 spinning turrets at the top without some form of ranged spell or weapon. Moreover, with the placed minion in the way (usually I see Colossi here), it’s near impossible to ‘break’ them unless they get lured out from it.
At this rate, I would like to ask: “Why aren’t you using the Guardhouse already?”
TL;DR: Minion matters are important – Back: Support/Artillery; Middle: Block raiders; Front: Damage dealers
Although raiding has become much easier, it works back ways as players are getting attacked much more at a faster rate.
Now that the speed of raiding is now faster (from an hour to 1/2 hr per stamina regen), the rate of losing trophies is consequentially more rapid as well. Hence, the general objective would be to maximise your efforts in raiding (more trophies per raid) and at the same time reduce the chances of you appearing on opponent list.
Revenge is best served Sweet
As discussed in the previous entry, only raid those on your revenge list. This allows you not to show up on theirs instead…which is a great help if you’re constantly getting raided.
Another neat trick which I discovered would be to constantly refresh your game if you don’t get players with high trophy count on your raid list (ie. you gain less than 25 trophies from them). This refreshes your list and it can display up to people who have raided you for more than a day (longest passed duration I’ve seen).
If you do have to raid through the regular method, try to avoid those who are of much lower trophy wins (less than 25) as this means that they can return the favor and take a higher number of trophies from you when they win. Of course, unless you are absolutely confident that they are unable to.
TL;DR: Only take revenge and refresh the list (by refreshing the game) whenever necessary
Plan your Sprints
Scouting is an good addition to the raiding system as it now shows where your opponents minions are located. While players might feedback about it as it takes out the fun of raiding, at higher rankings, this helps a lot in deciding which minion to take out first or to plan a strategy instead of blindly killing everything…placing the emphasis more upon strategising.
Paired alongside this function would be to change opponent, allowing you to skip that T6, 5 champion stronghold. Thankfully, the rate of changing opponents is still is reasonable a fee for the first few attempts. For anything else, you might want to refresh your game to find out whether you have any opponents to take revenge upon.
TL;DR: Scouting to avoid low trophy gain opponents or simply those well-equipped with Champions
Suggestions to Devs
After reading this post, I still expect a large number of naysayers out there who would still be unconvinced about the new SH v2.0 system, criticising it as a problematic function (which doesn’t encourage synergy at all) and seeing it as pay-to-play as you ‘absolutely need’ 5 champions to defend.
Fortunately, rest assured that a couple of suggestions have gone up to the devs already and hopefully some of these will be implemented in time to come.
Bring back the Shields!
Suggested by Kaseus, a once-forgotten capability of raiding used to come with shields where players would not be able to raid others after getting hit for a duration of an hour. This essentially blocks you from being attacked, which is undoubtedly essential in this context from getting 20 loses after coming back from a hard-day’s work.
This is especially so with the reduction in stamina regen duration…meaning you get raided twice as often now if someone were to take your (SH’s) fancy.
…at least that should give us some ground to hold our ranks.
TL;DR: Hour long shields to protect your SH.
Scale Trap Rooms at lower tiers
Starting between 3-5% and max-ing out at 80-100% for same-element minion stats, trap rooms currently suffer from poor scale-ability at anything below T5, as per general consensus by most players.
Placing a T5 trap, sadly, does not offer decent stat increment to handle the current gears which most players have, especially at anything above Vet 3. As most players have stuck (and would be stuck with it for a rather long while), this equates to a massive percentage of losses which is what most people are experiencing now.
Oh, and if you were wondering, a T6 room with relatively high permanent minion enhancements is equivalent to a WP 46 and above in Trials of Elements…so at least that is some consolation that the end-game is being done right.
TL;DR: Scale the lower tiers (below T6) better.
Improve the Trap room capabilities
Besides shrinking down certain trap rooms (eg. Ruby Temple), enhancing the trap room’s inherent capabilities could be also an option to improve the offensive and defensive potential of a trap.
A potential list (sent to the devs) include:
– Guaranteed Knockdowns and faster recharge times for Valenthian Stockade
– Increase trigger radius and blast radius or add bind/stun effect for mines in Bayant Mountain
– Higher HP regen for Nightmare Pits
– Increased poison damage for Nettle Grove
– Longer freeze duration for Xinkashi Spring
– Make all minions with aura able to regen HP and receive higher DOT upon hit in Ruby Temple
– Return Ashkardian crypt its guaranteed bind ability
– Increase DOT on Scalding forge
– Shorter duration to Stun the player near the flowers in Forbidden Courtyard
…and if you were wondering about the Valenthian Guardhouse, rest assured that its invulnerability is way OP already.
TL;DR: Better trap rooms through their inherent traits.
Increase Stronghold Stone base Gain
Now that the 2x Stones event is currently running, it still might seem a stretch to reach a T6 trap room.
In fact, in order to get a T5 trap room to T6 from scratch requires much of a grind than one might appreciate, with approximately 12 victories a day for a month at double of M1 rate (36 stones per win).
As such, it might be more reasonable to increase the amount of stones per raid (perhaps to the current double rate or higher). This way, there is less of a risk of alienating those who still have a long way to go.
TL;DR: More stones per raid.
With this one understandably tedious to implement, I placed it as last on the list.
At the moment, most minions execute their standard protocol AI, dishing out move after move without care of that huge field of Entangling Vines or that they’re probably burning to death…inclusive of certain champions as well.
My point is that minions are really bad at avoiding AoE attacks and DOT damage, with most taking them on head first instead of teleporting (eg. Warmage Hexcaster) or jumping/ running away (eg. Corvus, Vulture Harpy, Overseer). This is exactly why ice burst/ice stalagmites/entangling vines and fire cone all work so well.
Thus, this limits the number of ‘good‘ minions to be used as recognising and evading potentially dangerous attacks mean that they don’t die as quickly as other minions. Hence, this increases the viability of more minions, meaning more options to build your stronghold with.
Of course, this would have to be improved with the considerations of the trap rooms scaling and minion stats, in order to avoid overpowering raiding on a whole.
TL;DR: Smarter minions (which can avoid attacks) for more options.
Okay, that concludes it for now.
I’ll update this post whenever I receive new suggestions for strategies. In the meantime, happy raiding. 🙂