Page 1 of 1

KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:48 pm
by kicorse
In every KR game, there have been towers labelled as “OP” and “weak”. I've always thought this was overstated, e.g. the “weak” Musketeer Garrisons make Pandemonium, the hardest level in KR, much more manageable.

KRV is different. There really are OP and weak towers.

You can win every level in the main campaign on Impossible, no lives lost, using just three towers, without even bothering to familiarise yourself with the levels first. (I used Asra and Hellion Tridents, playing on mobile – doubt it matters though.) And don't think that this is about in-app purchases; two of the three towers are free.

Fortunately, the Subaquatic Menace and Frozen Nightmare campaigns provide counters to two of the Big 3 towers which forces a more diverse strategy. It would have been disappointing otherwise.

Cost Efficiency

The most important raw stat for a tower is its cost efficiency. That is, the gold it costs divided by its DPS (damage delivered per second). The lower the number, the better.

Other things matter too: Does it deal damage to multiple enemies and with what footprint? What's its range? What's its fire-rate (the faster the better for the same cost efficiency, to avoid wasting damage on overkill)? Does it stall/tank/stun/slow? How good are its special abilities? Is it still useful when disabled? Can it store attack damage? But cost-efficiency is the place to start.

So let's rank the Level IV towers by cost efficiency. The list assumes that the tower is continuously active and that any barracks units are alive and fighting. Area damage is treated as damage to a single enemy. It is assumed that you have all soul upgrades:

    1) Elite Harassers: 9.7 (Barracks; 8.6 in melee)
    2) Deep Devil's Reef: 10.2 (Mage; includes ranged redspines; 14.7 for magical damage only)
    3) Bone Flingers: 11.5 (Ranged; improves to 11.1 with Got Milk III)
    4) Wicked Sisters: 12.8 (Mage; improves to 11.1 when set to poison)
    5) Infernal Mage: 14.0 (Mage)
    6) Spectres Mausoleum: 14.3 (Mage)
    7) Shadow Archers: 15.1 (Ranged)
    8) Orc Warriors Den: 15.8? (Barracks; assumes attack rate of 1 per sec?)
    9) Blazing Gem: 16.6 (Mage; for an attack lasting <1.25 sec)
    - 0-2.5 sec average is 11.0
    - 0-3.75 sec average is 8.3
    - 0-inf average is 5.5
    10) Goblirangs: 16.8 (Ranged)
    11) Orc Shaman: 16.8 (Mage)
    12) Goblin War Zeppelin: 17.8 (Artillery)
    13) Grim Cemetery: 18.0? (Barracks; assumes 5 active and attack rate of 1 per sec?)
    14) Dark Knights: 23.1 (Barracks)
    15) Rocket Riders: 33.1 (Artillery)
    16) Rotten Forest: 53.6 (Artillery)
    17) Melting Furnace: 68.0 (Artillery)
(There is a small difference between some of these numbers and those listed on the wiki, which gives different tower costs from the ones I have on mobile.)

Ignore the fact that the numbers for artillery towers are terrible. Of course they are, as the whole point of them is that they are dealing damage to multiple enemies. Similarly, most (but not all!) barracks towers exist mainly to stall and tank, so you would expect them to deal less damage than ranged and mage towers.


My big three towers include two in the top three of this list, and one that comes a lot later....

1) Elite Harassers

If you treat them as a pure barracks tower, you will be disappointed by how easily they die. So don't treat them like that. Treat them like a hybrid between a ranged tower and a barracks tower that provides the best last line of defence. Usually, it is a good idea to spam this tower near the back of your defence.

Their cost-efficiency is incredible. Even if the units spend a third of the time dead, they will do more damage over time than, say, Shadow Archers placed at the same point. For this reason, it is okay to place them further forward, e.g. within range of an artillery tower, a Goblirang, or a Blazing Gem with Unstable Power. Plus, their movable rally point gives them a greater effective range than any other tower in the game except Wicked Sisters.

And don't forget that, on top of all of these advantages, they can also stall enemies for a while, usually long enough to get the kill. A ranged tower that you put at the back won't be able to do that.

Upgrades: None of the upgrades are priorities, but get Arrow Storm first if at the back. Get Backstab first if further forward. I never get Fury of the Twilight.

When not to use them? The area damage of Anurian chasers will quickly kill them. More generally, Subaquatic Menace has heavily armoured enemies, and it has enemies that deal a lot of ranged or area damage, against which the dodge ability of Elite Harassers is useless. So in this campaign, they should be replaced by the Deep Devil's Reef, which is a true hybrid between a mage tower and a barracks tower. The Deep Devil's Reef deals slightly less damage and it has a much worse effective range, but it is better against armoured enemies, and it keeps dealing damage after the units die.

2) Blazing Gem

This tower is not as good as its hype. It is better. Provided it spends more than 3 seconds on each enemy, on average, it has an even better cost-efficiency than the Elite Harrassers. With a very long term cost-efficiency of under 6, it makes giant enemies and bosses seem pathetically weak. This will surprise nobody. More controversially, it is also a decent crowd-control tower, at least when compared to other mage towers....

Consider Pond of the Sage, which would be KRV's toughest level without this tower: If you start by spamming Level 1 Blazing Gems at the front and Deep Devil's Reefs right at the back, you will find this level surprisingly easy on Impossible (Asra; Hellion Tridents; mobile; I also build one Rotten Forest in the obvious place). The Blazing Gems are effective against hoards of Anurian Chasers because they are Level 1, so they continuously fire for several seconds to get the kill, and also because they have a fast fire-rate, so suffer less than other mage towers from overkill. Later on, you can upgrade and get Unstable Power, which is very effective for area damage if supported by barracks.

Upgrades: I usually get Unstable Power first, but might prefer Gem of Amplification if I know a batch of giant enemies are coming. I only get Destructo-Ray if I'm running out of ways to spend my gold.

When not to use them? On levels with frozen hearts. They will kill the frozen heart but ignore the resulting frozen soul in favour of a less advanced enemy. The frozen soul will either turn into a full-health frozen heart, or it will escape. I recommend Spectre's Mausoleums instead, right at the back, in Frozen Nightmare. The other four towers might be Elite Harassers, Bone Flingers, Goblirangs and Melting Furnaces.

Blazing Gems are also weak against leap dragons, because they lose focus on every switch between flying and walking. Nevertheless, they are the best mage tower on levels containing leap dragons because their sustained attacks are powerful enough to be somewhat effective even against magic resistant enemies like ice witches and svell druids.

Don't put them right at the back. You want towers placed there to target the enemy that is closest to the exit.

EDIT: I don't use them in Cursed Bargain. See my comment below.

3) Bone Flingers

If Elite Harassers get you physical damage at the back, you need something to get you physical damage at the front. You need Bone Flingers. They have a great cost-efficiency, and their random targeting is an advantage because it gets around the meat shields of enemies that have ranged attacks or summoning powers. Their weakness is their poor range, but good tower placement can deal with that.

Upgrades: Got Milk is a continuation of the basic upgrades, which actually improves the cost-efficiency. That's another advantage: because there are 6, rather than 3, upgrades to get to full power, you can get a high DPS tower without ever spending more than 180 gold on a single upgrade, so you are never forced to save up lots of gold.

The other two upgrades are decent, but because I put Bone Flingers near the front, I only usually get them if I want to spread out my units as a way of dealing with Magnus Spellbane or Arkuz.

When not to use them? I would always have them available unless I'm trying to give myself a challenge. In some Subaquatic Menace stages, I might not build any because Blazing Gems are so effective, even getting by against the magic-resistant enemies. More generally, Goblirangs are often better at choke points for their damage to multiple enemies. Also, don't build Bone Flingers at the back because of their random targeting. You should be spamming Elite Harassers there anyway.

EDIT: Don't use them in Cursed Bargain. See my comment below.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:45 am
by AerisDraco
While I agree with most of your analysis, I think you might be undervaluing tower abilities. The Bone Flingers are rightfully one of the most powerful in the game, however, the Specter Mausoleum is generally rated on the same tier as the Bone Flingers, mostly due to Possession being an absolutely absurd ability.

Possession alone would make a tower high tier, but the Mausoleum is also the cheapest Mage ever, and the Gargoyles, while expensive, are very good blockers. But mostly though, it's Possession.

Also, I've made a DPS chart before, and my numbers come out differently then yours, though I never updated it for barracks: ... sp=sharing

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:24 am
by kicorse
That's a nice spreadsheet. Our attack damages are slightly different for almost every tower. Mine are taken from the wiki over the last couple of weeks. Doesn't mean they're right.... (EDIT: Just noticed that yours are without soul upgrades whereas mine are with.)

Generally we agree on attack-rate and cost, but you have the Tier 4 upgrade of Shadow Archers costing 180 instead of 280.

Spectres Mausoleums are strong, for sure, the best free mage tower and their stored damage makes them by far the best way of dealing with frozen souls. Not sure that spamming them would generally work like it does for the Big 3, but I haven't tried. The gargoyles are great and possession is nice too.

The thing is, often the early waves are the most challenging, and the different paths, different enemy types, and tower disabling means that rushing Tier 4 and the abilities can be a bad idea. Therefore, for me, the OP towers are towers that don't depend on special abilities to be OP. Otherwise Rotten Forest might be the strongest tower!

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:53 am
by PitNata
I believe that Bone Flingers, Spectre Mausoleums is all you need.

In a way, Bone Flingers have better dps, better damage output, and always helps around with constant skeletons.

Spectres, is an efficent tower where it can be a barrack and a mage tower. It's cost is cheap, Possesion is very effective, and Gargoyles are as tough as Dark Knights, makes an appealing choice.

However, as i tend to say, while these 2 win most stages, some stage requires different tactics to win, so in fact, those 2 towers even when spammed wouldn't be enough. Sometimes, Shadow Archers is a good bet for a tower because of what usage it has, Goblirangs are good alternative to an artillery towers, and Harrasers having huge range can be put into some very gimmicky holder placements to good use.

All in all, while there's best towers, You cannot really best with just those. every stage has it's own tactic.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:14 am
by AerisDraco
Thanks for the correction on the shadow archers. I'm still not sure how the numbers are different. My process is average the two damage extremes, divide by attack speed in seconds, and then divide the total gold cost by that number. Unless you used a different process, the numbers shouldn't be different.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:38 am
by kicorse
Yes, that is the method. My spreadsheet is not online, I'm afraid, but here is a screenshot:


Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:04 pm
by kicorse
Since the Cursed Bargain campaign has come out, I thought I should update my "When not to use them" to account for the new enemies:

Fast-regenerating enemies (werewolves) and enemies which heal when allies die (bone carriers and haunted skeletons) are bad for towers which don't target the furthest advanced enemies. In these situations, you want to focus as much damage as possible on one enemy until it dies, rather than weaken lots of enemies. That's because weakened enemies can heal. Dead ones can't. Neither can full-health ones.

So in Cursed Bargain, avoid Blazing Gems and, especially, Bone Flingers. I replace both with Wicked Sisters, which can switch between poison and magic to deal with both types of immunity/resistance. Or just leave them in poison, which ignores armour but not physical damage immunity. Another advantage of them (Goblin War Zeppelins also) is that they keep going at full attack-rate through rotten roots.

With this campaign, Ironhide have done a great job of countering two of the strongest towers, and also pushing us to use more premium towers. Elite Harassers are still great though, and very spammable.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:29 pm
by AerisDraco
Conversely, I would argue that Blazing Gems can be quite good in Cursed Bargain, specifically on Rotten Roots spots to counter Bone Carriers. Their high damage easily kills the enemies, and due to their 0.4s attack rate, they are not significantly affected by the Roots, unlike most attacking towers.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:39 pm
by kicorse
I don't get the argument that Blazing Gems' fast attack rate makes them less affected by roots.

If a tower's attack-rate is halved, its DPS is halved. That applies regardless of initial attack-rate. The only towers that avoid this are the same towers that keep dealing damage while disabled: barracks towers (until the units die), Wicked Sisters, Goblin War Zeppelins.

But it's possible that I overstated how bad Blazing Gems are against regeneration/healing enemies. They do at least focus on one enemy until dead or out of range. Bone Flingers suffer far more. I just ended up using neither.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:11 pm
by AerisDraco
Less affected is perhaps the wrong word - they are equally affected, but a tower that does large burst damage (Shaman for instance) is more harmed by the roots, since the burst is much more spread out.

Also, as far as I'm aware, Blazing Gems still gets the damage buffs every 1.25s, which is good.

Re: KRV towers: The Big 3

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:31 am
by SealDarklight
What i know of the spectres and Bone flingers May be good on most stages but most of the times there cheap and have good abilities. Using most towers isnt that bad to use (aside from rotten forest, orcs and deep devils)

I dont know about the harassers Being used to stall, they have 2 abilities that are ment to stall and normally they stall much better than an orc.


PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:02 pm
by Uranato
I agree with your viewpoint on the Elite Twilight Harassers – they're indeed WONDERFUL, but I disagree on many of your views on strategies for the Cursed Bargain. For example, Bone Flingers are actually GOOD in the Bargain as in any other MC. Due to their random targeting, they can destroy Lichs with ease, something even the powerful Shadow Archers will have trouble doing. I can provide you with a much better strategy (it has worked wonders for me, atleast).

Criticism is welcome as always.

Read only the bold text if you don't have time.

For a player who has beaten all three Stages (plus the Heroic and Iron Challenges) of the Cursed Bargain with three stars on his first try, I can recommend a strategy that can help you beat the Ancient Ghosts with ease.

Use the following Towers –
1) Infernal Mage
2) Bone Flingers
3) Orc Warriors Den

Use Oloch as your Hero (for his magic and his Seal of Isolation – quite handy things).

Now let’s discuss strategies.

First of all, build an Orc Den at each exit. These Barracks are not used for their power, but for their low cost, expendability and ability to stall the fastest and fiercest enemies of the Bargain (you guessed it, it’s the Corrosive Soul) for a few seconds. Though the ‘puny’ Orcs would not survive more than two hits from a Corrosive Soul, this deadly enemy will have to stop to fight them – and that’ll mean the difference between 18 lives and 17 lives. Do not upgrade these Orcs; they’re there for blocking enemies for a few seconds, and not for their power. Upgrade them ONLY to block leaks, and prioritize Corrosive Souls in this regard.

Build one (or at most two) Infernal Mage near each Den. This’ll be your main line of defense against Ghosts and Carriers. Do not upgrade these Mages at first. Use Oloch for magic resistant waves. Have the Mages at Level 2 initially. Use only Bone Carrier waves to upgrade them. Build them up slowly – and avoid buying their Level 4 special skills. If you do want, use the Affliction upgrade to reduce enemies’ Armor.

Bone Flingers, nice and cheap, will be your main Tower of defense. Focus on them and spam them in earlier waves – use the Milk upgrade when viable. These Flingers will protect you from the Haunted Skeleton waves early in the game and Lich waves in the late game. For their other Level 4 skills, use Golems if you want – but avoid the Skeletons, as they aren’t too efficient in the Bargain.

Use Oloch for all the early Ghost waves, and save your Infernal Mage upgrades for Carrier waves. His Seal will be useful for stalling Bone Carriers while you take the opportunity to get a Mage upgrade or two under your belt. Use him and the Bone Flingers as primary means of defense in the earlier waves. The Seal will be extremely useful in some situations.

Now let’s deal with the Corrosive Souls. The deadliest threat of the Bargain – these beasts are fast, meaty, resistant and can plough through ground troops easily. They’re by far the greatest threat in Cursed Bargain (the second one being the alternating resistance of the two basic enemies of the Bargain – which can be quite big of a challenge in and of itself – not to mention the Lich hordes). Bone Carriers are kids compared to the Souls IMO. You should be in a steady state of caution when that Corrosive Soul wave comes – focus everything; Orc Den upgrades, Soul Impacts, Oloch, his Seal, and Goonies (use Demon Guards) on the Souls. Save your Orc upgrades specifically for preventing Soul leaks. Remember, CORROSIVE SOUPS ARE THE TOP PRIORITY in the Bargain.

The bosses, the two Ancient Ghosts are pathetic and don’t require any specific attention other than selling and buying the Towers that can hurt them through their resistance – the enemies that spawn on their paths also have similar resistances.

By following this guide anyone can break the Bargain easily. Cheers to all my fellow Kingdom Rushers!