AFK Arena: Deep dive into the late-game strategy – Chap. 33-36 with >115 level deficit, 5 setups

I will review my solution as an example, explaining my approach to advanced teambuilding against a multi-set campaign at a high-level deficit.

Without further ado:

Here’s my solution for Chap. 33-36.

Setups

For reference, find my arsenal below.

My setEnemy set
Thoran – Tasi Khazard – Naka – FeraelGrezhul – Seirus Morvus – Rosa – Rowan
Rowan – Twins Fawkes – Mehira – EzizhSeirus – Grezhul Lyca – Estrilda – Ulmus
Saurus – Lorsan Safiya – Eironn – LycaGrezhul – Seirus Shemira – Ira – Kelthur
Estrilda – Arthur Rosa – Gwyneth – CeciliaEstrilda – Hogan Morvus – Rowan – Arden
Orthos – Talene Athalia – Wukong (merc) – NaraGrezhul – Brutus Saveas – Kelthur – Shemira

General observations

33-36 is very tanky. With 4 Grezhuls who passively resist magic damage and 3 high-level Seiruses who reduce most damage they take by 50% supported by many healers, secondary tanks, and CC – When I see a stage like this, I instantly think of timing. Losing because of time is the worst way to lose since 5 setups already take a lot of time to replay. This means where timing is a concern I’ll prioritize counter healing to healing, Penetration to defence and risky infiltrates and invades to prolonged battles.

The next thing that comes to mind is the faction layout:

  • 8 Graveborns
  • 8 Lightbearers
  • 2 Maulers
  • 7 Wilders

No Dimensionals or Celes/Hypos, and little Maulers; Because of this balanced spread, I can easily match factional carries to sets to enhance damage without a second thought. It’s not a rare sight to have over 50% of a stage be of a specific faction, but here that’s not the case.

Picking the Carries

Although I belong with those who believe the game definitely becomes less carry-centric over time, because of the tankyness and factions as well as my own arsenal shortcomings, I know in this case I should start from the carries. I heavily suggest at this point, if not before, to watch the replays. I am old enough to remember the time when there weren’t replays and you had to youtube search stages and hope you’re lucky enough to find a close enough stage to yours with a close enough set of heroes – however, the times have changed. We have replays, Macros, online videos, and much more content by great creators like Aesyr, Volkin, as well as myself.

(see arsenal):

  • Eironn☆☆☆☆☆ +30
  • Ferael☆☆☆☆☆ +20
  • Fawkes☆☆☆☆☆ +20
  • Thoran☆☆☆☆☆ +20
  • *Shemira☆☆☆☆☆ +30
  • *Bellinda☆☆☆☆☆ +20
  • Gwyneth☆☆☆☆ +20 (3)
  • Athalia☆☆☆ +30
  • Safiya☆☆☆ +10
  • Talene☆☆ +30 (3)
  • Saurus☆☆ +10
  • Khazard +10
  • Carryless: setups without a specific carry, i.e Celesgraveborn without Daimon or Wilders Mehira. These setups rely on countering the enemy carries.

* While Bellinda and Shemira are carries, they rarely are picked as carries in these stages. Bellinda is used for her crit buff with the likes of Gwyneth, Arthur and Khazard while Shem is used as a very niche tank.

Starting from Eironn, for me, he obviously belongs in Set 3. Many Graveborns, no counters like the maulers in Set 5 and low early-fight CC all make it a natural fit.

Team 5 has many threats to interrupt, and so Carryless interrupts seem natural there. Nara and Athalia fit great there for many reasons; It’s also a common pick in the replays.

Team 4 is heavy on ramped-up CC which I want to reliably counter, fast. With the likes of Athalia already belonging in Setup 5, Gwyneth is the best pick here; Note the static backline as well.

Left with Team 2 and Team 1, I was wondering if Safiya is a good carry for either. Eventually, I decided against it; she just wasn’t reliable enough: She didn’t kill Ulmus once he ulted in set 2, and has many counters like Ross immunity frames and rowan ult in set 1; Those setups have too much healing that I have to stop. I decided I cannot let the Ulmus ult, so some sort of Ezizh energy setup will fit in Team 2.

Calculating what I have left, I noticed many Khazard SI heroes; Khazard SI benefits team CC, prolonging all teamwide CC conditions slightly longer than they would usually last. A Khazard-Ferael combo started forming in my mind, countering all healing and bursting enemies just fast enough to earn the win or lose fast when trying, so I can replay faster.

Teambuilding

There are many approaches to team building. Knowledge of synergies, matchups and counters can let you customize a solution that’s adjusted for your own team; otherwise, replays help a lot. For me I’ve already decided on the general formations once I’ve decided on my carries; all that’s left trial and error.

Team 1: Khazard

This set might seem odd to some of you. You may be asking: No factional bonus, No big DPS, What is the Thoran doing there? Well, there’s one uniting factor: Khazard. Khazard’s Signature item, The Frigid Aura, makes it so the duration of most negative debuff effects affecting all enemies on the battlefield is increased by 30%, scaling up to 60% when he’s +30. Another incredible ability he has is near-perma CC in his ult, The Frozen Mist: enemies with health lower than 30% will become frozen until the are able to recover 30% of their health or the mist disappears.

Thoran is a useful tank: anything in that slot is going to take shots from the Morvus, who’s no joke at 115 level deficit; Thoran, however, is one of the heroes that can make the best of that situation. He rapidly reflects the damage taken, and after his initial “death” he revives, providing team CC that Khazard extends.

Ferael also has team CC in his spirits; He also has counter heal and useful damage to burst enemies down to Khazard’s ult range. Tasi can frontline, teleporting away while debuffing enemies attack; Eventually she ults, making the whole enemy team fall asleep for almost 7 seconds including Khazard’s buff.

Lastly, Nara is a tech pick that’s used to CC Rosaline before she spirals her deadly % damage.

Team 2: Celeshypos & Fawkes

Knowing I want to free Talene for the fifth setup, I instantly drafted in the energy comp: Rowan, Twins, Mehira and Ezizh. That’s a very high power level comp, they do fine even without Talene at 115 level deficit; I paired them with Fawkes because of his ability to remove shields and provide a useful defence buff for the twins, which allowed them to frontline consistently gaining energy fast enough to prevent unwanted ults throughout the whole match.

Team 3: Wilders Safiya

If there’s one setup that beginners can add to their toolkit from this post, it’s this one. Eironn, Safiya, Wilders. It works like a charm;

In this case, Safiya was needed simply to apply her passive as Eironn pulls enemies towards the backline. Lorsan and Lyca are great support for Eironn, increasing his burst damage as he gains haste and energy. Since Lorsan links Shemira, Eironn can be positioned in the backline to fully utilize Safiya’s passive. Saurus is a good tech pick but wasn’t necessary here – other options which would work include Nemora, Seirus, Ulmus and Brutus.

Team 4: Gwyneth

While this setup may look benign at first look, some thought went into it. Arthur is absolutely needed, as the overall damage output is surprisingly high from Arden and Gorvus; otherwise, Khazard could have definitely used Arthur’s crit enhancements. Cecilia is another tech pick: Arden occasionally gets to ult, allowing him to 1 hit most of my comp. Cecilia’s ring makes it so he 2 hits each team member, buying my Gwyneth precious seconds in that case to regain control of the setup.

Team 5: Celesgraveborn

This one is pretty straightforward: Athalia and Nara have to stop Saveas and Shemira here. Nara goes on the bottom to ult Brutus; Orthos frontlines with Chalice to take the heat from Kelthur and the rest. Talene is needed with Orthos here since he does not regenerate health at the first 15 seconds of the match; Wukong is another crucial pick here, as Kelthur’s strong hits get very hard to handle over time. Wukong’s SI allows him to hold any burst damage at bay, especially once he ults. That came clutch in the eventual winning replay.

Honorable mentions (that didn’t make it)

  • Lucius backline instead of Nara or Tasi. He didn’t provide anything after the initial knockback and usually didn’t get to ult. His standing-in-place-shielding-nothing makes me appreciate Tasi’s consistent frontline debuff better.
  • Ulmus or Nemora instead of Saurus. I like Saurus’ Warrior tree debuff, but that’s not the real reason I picked him. I like Saurus better.
  • Gorvo instead of Naka. Gorvo’s knockup is valuable, but he bursts down too quickly to make a significant difference. I like using him where his passive is utilized, and since Nemora wasn’t around, he just wasn’t useful this time around.
  • Brutus. I didn’t find any good use for him. Thoran has better synergy with Khazard, and Arthur took the other place he could’ve fit in.
  • Hendrik instead of Estrilda. It’s a constant saga in Gwyneth setups, which knockback is better; This time around Estrilda’s mitigations got her on the team because put together with Cecilia they make it so Arden 2 hit KOs.

Summary

In this post, I’ve taken a case study in 33-36 to show advanced teambuilding concepts in multi-set campaign stages. I hope you’ll find it useful, and I’ll answer any questions about it or the game in general. Please let me know if you’d like overviews like these.

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