Being a "free to play" (F2P) player can be really tough, because this means that you don't have access to a lot of creatures that paying players have. This disadvantage will certainly make a lot of aspects of Deck Heroes very challenging for you; however, challenging does not equal impossible.
Explorer's Gate Edit
Explorer's Gate is easy for just about every up until you reach map 13. On map 13, you start encountering really overpowered enemies who have max level runes and really annoying melded abilities. "Pay to win" (P2W) players may not have any issue with these dungeons; however, F2P players will most likely have a tough time. Here's some tips to help get you past them:
- Use a powerful PvE hero. Wight, Armageddon, Oceanus, Captivator, and sometimes Berserker are the go to heroes for these dungeons, even for P2W players. The good thing is that by the time you reach map 13, you should already have Wight and Berserker, and should either be close to or already have Armageddon, Oceanus, and/or Captivator.
- Use Spikey Bits on magic heavy dungeons. This is where Berserker comes in. If you see that your enemy has Flame Braves, Blossoms, Kirtana, Great Mystic, Azure Dragon, etc, then throw on a Berserker with a high level Spikey Bits talent.
- Use a Paragon. You will need to get a Paragon as quickly as possible, because multiple Revives and Recycles map these dungeons very challenging without her. She can be farmed through guild map 6.
- Use Disposal/Instakill whenever possible. Although it is a very cheap tactic in PvP, it is perfectly acceptable in PvE. Most of the more powerful creatures will have Immunity 10, making them immune to Disposal and Instakill. But, it may be worth trying to use them on vulnerable creatures, especially if you're using an Armageddon or Overlord.
- When in doubt, use Battlecry 10 + Warcry 10 + Berserk 10. This is a really cheap tactic; however, it works very well. Having these talents on a 5 star hero will enable your creatures to hit for anywhere from 3k-50k damage. This is incredibly deadly, especially when paired with a Bullseye heavy deck.
- Killer Queen + Crazed Sorrow works VERY well. This is a strategy used even by P2W players, because it works so well. When Crazed Sorrow goes off when your enemy has 6+ Guilted creatures in play, you can end up executing a complete board clear, giving you a huge advantage.
- Form your deck well and play strategically. You have a really low chance of getting lucky on these dungeons. Only players who try many times with well crafted decks will succeed. Make the best plays possible, even if it means sacrificing your hero's health or one of your creatures.
- Have a high level Hero Vigor rune. 70k+ hero HP is ideal for these maps, because you will almost always not have board control, meaning that your enemy's creatures will be beating the heck out of your hero. Obviously, this means that your hero should have as much health as possible.
- Don't use magic that much. A lot of creatures will have Immunity 10 and high level Immunity runes, meaning that any time their Immunity triggers, they'll heal for a lot of HP.
Arena and Tournament Edit
Everyone wants to hit rank 1 in Arena or Tournament; however, not being P2W will mean that you're severely handicapped when going up against a P2W player.
- Use "top tier" heroes. These include: Oceanus, Armageddon, Spirit Arbiter, Captivator, Warlock, Judgement, Wight, and Alchemist. If you aren't using one of these heroes, either you're intentionally trying to make things harder for yourself, or you're insane.
- Use "cookie cutter" melds. There are a ton of top tier melds that are achievable by every player. Check the Melding Ideas for All 4 and 5 Star Creatures page or the Melding section below for more info!
DO THE MINES! This is a F2P player's best friend. It enables you to farm for powerful creatures and heroes, so if you aren't taking advantage of this, then you're nuts. Allocate at least 100 energy every day to the Mines, and do the gem mines if you can.
The Gauntlet gets harder and harder the more powerful that you get. Hopefully some of these tactics help you defeat your more powerful opponents:
- Use Disposal/Instakill and a Graveyard Hero. A Graveyard hero is any hero who removes enemy creatures from play or from their graveyard (Armageddon, Spirit Arbiter, Light's Hand, Overlord, etc). This will ensure that you remove as many enemy creatures as possible, making future attempts much easier for you.
- Just hero kill them. Make a stabthrough/curse deck, and just hero kill them if possible. This will save you a lot of time and energy, and will make getting further a lot easier.
- Use a hero healer. You'll want to keep your strongest hero alive for as long as possible, so it isn't a bad idea to use an Oracle to keep it's health up.
Melding is one of the aspects of Deck Heroes that can turn a mediocre deck into a great deck, because it allows you to give your creatures big boosts by giving them a 4th skill. Unfortunately, a lot of melds will not be available to a F2P player, because getting duplicates can be a pain in the rear. However, there are some really good F2P melds that even P2W players use, and here's a short list of the 5 star ones (Revive will be left out, since it is considered a P2W meld):
- Anathema - Sacrifice 8, Frost Armor, Battleblow 8. Sacrifice 8 and Battleblow 8 take advantage of Anathema's Bullseye ability, allowing her to tear through creatures who have Frost Armor and Dodge. Frost Armor allows her to tank more damage while dealing a lot of it herself.
- Nidhogg - Frost Armor. I love my Frost Armor 5 Nidhogg, because he proves to be a very decent support. His Stoneskin and Frost Armor allow him to tank while both buffing my other Neander creatures and locking down the enemy creatures with his Delay 3.
- Phantom Liege - Immunity, Frost Armor, Frost Blade 10. Both Immunity and Frost Armor allow Phantom Liege to tank even more damage, especially since he also has Life Sap. Frost Blade 10 will enable him to lock down up to 3 enemy creatures, making him really tough to take down.
- Sea Wizard - Immunity. An Immunity Sea Wizard is really annoying to take down, because not only will the three creatures in front of her most likely be Frozen, but she will also be almost immune to magic and lockdown effects.
- Ridge Hunter - Immunity. An Immunity Ridge Hunter is good for kind of the same reason that an immunity Sea Wizard is good. His Dodge makes him hard to hit, and Immunity only adds to that already existing defense.
- Pit Dragon - Sacrifice 8, Frost Armor, Battleblow 8. These melds boost Pit Dragon in the same ways that they boost Anathema; however, Anathema is often regarded as the better of the two simply because Pit Dragon lacks Stoneskin.
- Paragon - Frost Armor, Immunity. You want your Paragon to stay on the field for as long as possible, in order to keep your enemy's Graveyard sealed. Both Frost Armor and Immunity help her stay out longer, and it is really up to personal preference as to which one you choose to meld onto her.
- Pontiff - Immunity, Mass Heal. Pontiff is already really tanky, because he has Frost Armor 5. Giving him Immunity 9 will just make him even more tanky, allowing him to keep your creatures buffed for a longer duration, especially if he is being healed. You could go for Mass Heal over Immunity, if you want him to be more of an active Support instead of a Passive support.
- Fafnir - Frost Armor, Recycle. Melding Frost Armor onto a creature that already has Dodge will just make them all the more annoying to deal with. Also, you could meld Recycle onto him if you want a more aggressive version of Recycle Horned Beast.
- Fae Firstborn - [S]Resurrect. Pairing Oinari's [S]Resurrect with Fae Firstborn's [D]Healing Breath creates a decent F2P version of Great Mystic.
- Mythril Drone - Frost Armor. A Frost Armor Mythril Drone is really tanky, and will allow you to completely cancel out your enemy's magic skills for a very long time.