Lavathing

[LeaderboardGuides] Nature/Water Guide

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Leaderboard Guides

Nature/Water Guide

by Lavathing

Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Lavathing and I've decided to start a new Element TD guide project. I've recently become addicted to EleTD and noticed the distinct shortage of guides, especially those outlining the top strategies in the current meta. Due to my extensive history of guide writing, I thought I'd bring some of that expertise here. I plan to pump out guides frequently that outline the strategies used by those at the top of the leaderboard.

For this first guide, I'll be focusing on the Nature and Water centric strategy that is currently dominating the top of the Normal game mode leaderboard. Here are some examples:

While each person above uses a slightly different strategy and layout, I've created this guide using the common points among the matches. With that said, this is my first time writing Tower Defense guides, so feedback, suggestions, and comments are greatly appreciated. Additionally, I do not intend to theorycraft my own guides (at least not yet), but rather write out guides for how top leaderboard players are playing. Thus, any insight from those competing on the leaderboard is also greatly appreciated. Let's get started!

Game Settings

Difficulty: Insane

Game Mode: Normal

Modifiers: Chaos / Rush

Type: All Pick

Top Score: 994,321 (as of 3/2/16 @ 1:30 AM EST)

Elements

  1. Nature
  2. Water
  3. Nature
  4. Water
  5. Nature (You likely want to wait until the break between Wave 25 and 26 to do this rather than immediately, the level three elemental is tough to kill this early.)
  6. Pure
  7. Water
  8. Light
  9. Light
  10. Earth
  11. Earth

Tower Build Order

Note:  Although not included below, Arrow Towers are an important part of not leaking early. Build as many as required early to avoid leaking and to kill waves as quickly as possible (and thus get a higher speed score multiplier). Arrow Towers return 98% of their cost when sold, so in reality you are only spending one gold for each one. Additionally, once you need to fight level two and three elementals you might want to build a few extra Nature Towers to help kill them.

RNG Note: If you're unlucky and get a lot of Fire waves early, especially Fire Acolytes, and you are trying to push leaderboard rankings, just start a new game. Fire Acolytes before your first Focused Nature Tower (~Wave 10) will likely leak and ruin any leaderboard score.

Wave 1: Build Nature Tower.

Wave 5: Build Nature Tower.

Wave 8: Build Nature Tower.

Wave 10: Upgrade Nature Tower.

Wave 14: Upgrade Nature Tower.

Wave 16: Upgrade Nature Tower.

Wave 18: Build Well Tower.

Wave 20: Build two Nature Towers and upgrade one.

Wave 24: Upgrade Well Tower to Spring Tower.

Wave 27: Sell the low level Nature Tower.

Wave 28: Upgrade two Focused Nature Towers to Refined Nature Tower.

Wave 29: Upgrade (final) Focused Nature Tower to Refined Nature Tower.

Wave 30: Upgrade Spring Tower to Waterfall Tower.

Wave 31: Sell remaining Focused Nature Tower(s).

Wave 36: Upgrade Refined Nature Tower to Pure Nature Tower.

Wave 39: Build one Life, Tsunami, and Waterfall Tower.

Wave 42: Build two Tsunami Towers.

Wave 45: Upgrade Life Tower to Enchantment Tower.

Wave 47: Build Four Polar Towers.

Wave 48: Upgrade Refined Nature Tower to Pure Nature Tower.

Wave 49: Build Enchantment Tower.

Wave 50: Upgrade both Enchantment Towers to Incantation Towers.

Wave 50: Build Waterfall Tower.

Wave 51: Upgrade (final) Refined Nature Tower to Pure Nature Tower.

Wave 52: Upgrade all four Polar Towers to Glacial Towers.

Wave 53: Build two Tsunami Towers.

Wave 54: Build Waterfall Tower.

Wave 55: Build four Tsunami Towers, two Glacial Towers, and one Enchantment Tower.

Tower Placement

Note: Remember that tower placement is not set in stone. There is a lot of variation among the top scores on the leaderboard. However, all top scores place the majority of their towers in the "/" and "7" locations.

Early Game

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Mid Game

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Late/End Game

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Conclusion / Ideas Going Forward

Thanks for checking out my first Element TD guide! As I mentioned above, any and all feedback, suggestions, and comments are welcomed. I hope that this guide is helpful to players who are looking to climb the leaderboards by seeing what those at the top are currently doing. I know that due to the laborious nature of watching other player's EleTD replays, many people do not bother. These guides will seek to address that issue by providing guides on all strategies popular on the leaderboard. Going forward, I might upload accompanying videos showing leaderboard replays. Let me know if you'd like to see that!

Again, thanks a lot for checking this out and I look forward to interacting with the EleTD community! :) 

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2 hours ago, Lavathing said:

Again, thanks a lot for checking this out and I look forward to interacting with the EleTD community! :) 

Impressive! I'm looking forward to more contributions from you.

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On 3/2/2016 at 11:53 PM, justintimbersaw said:

why is your score not on the leaderboard anymore?

It wasn't my highscore, I linked to the top score on the leaderboard who was using that build I described, which at the time was #1 overall. However, it appears that user no longer exists on steam, so it disappeared off the leaderboard.

In terms of me personally, I'm sitting at rank 41 on the leaderboards, but I'm not claiming to be the best player (or even close), just good at watching replays and writing organized, easy to follow guides. :P

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32 minutes ago, Lavathing said:

It wasn't my highscore, I linked to the top score on the leaderboard who was using that build I described, which at the time was #1 overall. However, it appears that user no longer exists on steam, so it disappeared off the leaderboard.

In terms of me personally, I'm sitting at rank 41 on the leaderboards, but I'm not claiming to be the best player (or even close), just good at watching replays and writing organized, easy to follow guides. :P

I see. Nice work on the guide, it is indeed quite well done. I'm #7 currently leaderboard, so I just missed the cut of the examples you linked to in the guide ;) 

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7 minutes ago, justintimbersaw said:

I see. Nice work on the guide, it is indeed quite well done. I'm #7 currently leaderboard, so I just missed the cut of the examples you linked to in the guide ;) 

Ah, very nice! What are your thoughts on getting the Pure on 6 or 7? Guide says 6 atm because that seemed most popular, but I've been testing it and I think I prefer Water 2 at 6 and Pure at 7 rather than the inverse.

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1 hour ago, Lavathing said:

Ah, very nice! What are your thoughts on getting the Pure on 6 or 7? Guide says 6 atm because that seemed most popular, but I've been testing it and I think I prefer Water 2 at 6 and Pure at 7 rather than the inverse.

I think it depends on the waves you get. I don't spend my 5th lumber until I get my 6th (After wave 25) to ensure I have enough damage to kill the lvl 3 nature element. If wave 26 is going to be a hard wave, I get pure as my 6th to quickly upgrade to a refined nature tower, since I might have had to spend extra money on nature towers further along in the maze to finish off the lvl 3 nature element as wave 26 is starting. 

In one of my games I chose lvl 3 water as my 6th, and then did pure as my 7th before the element was killed, so it showed up as 6th. 

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Ok, going to reverse my statement on starting to prefer Pure at 7 rather than 6. A few reasons, at Wave 25 you're likely also doing your Nature Elemental level 3, so doing that and a Water Elemental level 3 can be a bit tough. However, more importantly, the bonus gold from taking the Pure helps you get a quick Refined Nature Tower (or two), whereas you likely won't need the Waterfall Tower until later. Going to leave the guide with Pure at 6 as the default option.

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nice guide, ez 1kk (: but you should build nature towers closer to the portal ( position "/"), then you can insta kill waves from 30 to 40ish and get a bit more pts. I mean, you wanna do it in mid game, when you get your first mango. Early game tower placement is good on your shots. 

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Just want to note that its possible to get your 2nd Nature tower at level 4, you just need 2 arrow towers to help you through till you kill 2-3 creeps at level 4. It speeds up your level 4 clear a little bit and you should always end up with 112 gold by the end of level 5 to build a 3rd Nature tower when you get a level that might be rough. Also if you want a top 10 score you should just reset if any of the levels get past your main build as its very rare that your speed score will recover enough to make it worth it.

 

A few notes that I have experienced over many many retries:

Reanimate levels early are a pain in the ass and you need 3+ cannon towers to kill them.

Fire level 2, 3 and 4 is a pain in the ass, if it has anything but regeneration or  don't bother -  Retry

Build the highest level Water tower if you have a reanimate fire level

• If you get frustrated at having really bad spawns in Chaos + Rush + Insane and keep resetting should just enjoy the game differently.

• Getting Pure essence before Water 3 isn't entirely worth it in most cases and can be avoided if necessary.

___________________________________________________

 

I'll add a few screenshots to how I build in the first few levels in most scenarios before I give up and reset

I may give up halfway if I get too many reanimates at the wrong levels, retried roughly 10+ times at this point..

 

Level 1 - Place the arrow tower literally anywhere where it can hit 1 creep prior to the Nature tower and spam right click the furthest creep back (Doesn't matter, it will only clear the wave .1 second faster)

ntNrH.jpg

 

Level 4 - Its also acceptable to place the Nature tower on the left if you don't get a REANIMATEAHAHEAHEAHAEHU

ntNx6.jpg

 

Level 8 - Right side is acceptable also if you are't being mauled by reanimate or fire waves, build another Nature tower when possible to clear Nature elemental 2

ntNP7.jpg

 

Level 11 - Upgrade your Nature tower to stop getting mauled by awful spawns

ntNW4.jpg

 

Level 15 - This should be able to clear most easy waves up till level 20, build another focused Nature below the one at 7 if you need any insurance.

ntPbC.jpg

 

Level 20 - This is a little bit tricky, you need to sell the two Nature towers located at the top once the Nature elemental 3 is out of range, build a single focused Nature at the centre while building another focused Nature at the bottom left then after they kill the Nature elemental 3 you sell all of the towers that aren't at 7 or / and rebuild 1 or 2 focused Nature towers at the spots that they originally were in this screenshot. (I hope you were able to digest that all)

ntPiK.jpg

 

As for the rest of the build... I think I won't be able to explain it properly as it just becomes a huge mess of buying and selling depending on the level up until level 25+

 

Skipping a few steps to level 30 - Camp the entrance with 2 Refined Nature towers and buy your essence ASAP then sell the Nature tower above to buy the Pure Nature tower when available, you may need to buy another Refined Nature tower before this is possible. Then you can afk until level 40 or something... Pretty balanced huh

ntPGR.jpg

 

 

Then there's the grey area where I don't really think much but build whenever required. All I know is that you should have 725k points at level 50 or you've gone wrong somewhere.

 

Level 50 - You should look something like this, place the second Pure Nature tower further down if you feel like it. Keep building if you are against any weakness levels (Fire/Dark)

ntQh6.jpg

 

... Then pray the next few levels don't have any reanimates as they lower your score by a considerable amount, possibly even leak if they are Dark or Fire ...

 

If all goes well your pre-frog score should look like this

ntU14.jpg

 

... And another failed high score

ntU7a.jpg

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NIce addition to the guide!

Do you think spending your money in order to get a fast pure nature tower is worth it regarding the amount of interest money you lose by upgrading that early?

 

Sad that rng plays a huge role atm not only because of wave types but also in the frog wave bonus calculation, you basically need to redo because you get unlucky and not because you messed up..thats the general problem with chaos mode though

 

You could maybe add how important it is to kill a frog wave enterily instead of just focusing on getting most frog kills because you won't get the bonus otherwise

 

Also, for everyone wondering why score bonuses are sometimes weird after the last wave this thread should be linked (will probably be adjusted or changed in the next patch)

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24 minutes ago, Helpstone said:

NIce addition to the guide!

Do you think spending your money in order to get a fast pure nature tower is worth it regarding the amount of interest money you lose by upgrading that early?

If you mean by level 25~ probably not. At level 33 its possible to sell 2 Refined Nature towers and upgrade 1 then afk till 40 minutes which is much more reliable if you have built correctly up till then. Afterwards just stack tidal towers till 45, while trying to save as much as possible.

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22 minutes ago, Kpop fangay said:

If you mean by level 25~ probably not. At level 33 its possible to sell 2 Refined Nature towers and upgrade 1 then afk till 40 minutes which is much more reliable if you have built correctly up till then. Afterwards just stack tidal towers till 45, while trying to save as much as possible.

Quote

Skipping a few steps to level 30 - Camp the entrance with 2 Refined Nature towers and buy your essence ASAP then sell the Nature tower above to buy the Pure Nature tower when available, you may need to buy another Refined Nature tower before this is possible. Then you can afk until level 40 or something... Pretty balanced huh

y, I know its possible to get one pure tower at lvl 33 or something like that but imo it could be better saving the money until you rly need the pure tower, because you lose the extra income you would have gotten otherwise

sure the games gets pretty easy if you upgrade immediatly but with more money saved its probably possible to kill more frog waves in the end..

always depends on which waves you get of course..

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2 minutes ago, Helpstone said:

y, I know its possible to get one pure tower at lvl 33 or something like that but imo it could be better saving the money until you rly need the pure tower, because you lose the extra income you would have gotten otherwise

sure the games gets pretty easy if you upgrade immediatly but with more money saved its probably possible to kill more frog waves in the end..

always depends on which waves you get of course..

The extra income doesn't really outweight the speed score bonus to boost your score up so its hard to argue against saving 2% extra. Also you can save up for 7 whole waves with the pure tower which is a bonus also.

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14 hours ago, Black.ttk said:

nice guide, ez 1kk (: but you should build nature towers closer to the portal ( position "/"), then you can insta kill waves from 30 to 40ish and get a bit more pts. I mean, you wanna do it in mid game, when you get your first mango. Early game tower placement is good on your shots. 

Thanks! Glad it helped you get #1 on the leaderboard. :)

2 hours ago, Kpop fangay said:

*snip*

Thanks for the contribution! Really great stuff, good to hear from you as some of your replays served as inspiration for the guide. 

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33 minutes ago, Phoebe Zeit-Geist said:

are we sure getting light is better than fire 

Yes, the majority of your late game damage comes from Tsunami and Glacial towers (as well as the damage amp from Incantation towers), all of which require Light 2.

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Fire opens up alternatives to replace Tsunami as a straight up damage tower. I'm not sure they're as good but let's just assume they're adequate for a second:

Kpop Fangay has 12 Tsunami, 3 Glacial, 4 Invocation, 3 Pure Nature and 7 Waterfalls.

Forge gives you the same 30% buff Invocation does (not actually mechanically the same which might be a problem) and costs almost a third.

The money should fit for at least 20 Damage Towers, 5 Forge and 5 Waterfalls.

20 forged Damage Towers deal 116.(6)% (66.6%) more damage than 12 regular Damage Towers (with Invocation).

The Tsunami/Glacial combination might be that much better than anything Fire offers over Light but idk, it might also just not?

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4 hours ago, Phoebe Zeit-Geist said:

Fire opens up alternatives to replace Tsunami as a straight up damage tower. I'm not sure they're as good but let's just assume they're adequate for a second:

Kpop Fangay has 12 Tsunami, 3 Glacial, 4 Invocation, 3 Pure Nature and 7 Waterfalls.

Forge gives you the same 30% buff Invocation does (not actually mechanically the same which might be a problem) and costs almost a third.

The money should fit for at least 20 Damage Towers, 5 Forge and 5 Waterfalls.

20 forged Damage Towers deal 116.(6)% (66.6%) more damage than 12 regular Damage Towers (with Invocation).

The Tsunami/Glacial combination might be that much better than anything Fire offers over Light but idk, it might also just not?

I feel like fitting the Forge towers somewhere they can buff everything is the bigger problem with that idea. You do get access to the impetus and haste towers which could be a good thing, however you lose your % amplifiers also which is a bit of a downside. I won't really mention the Ephemeral towers since they need too much built around them to be good, plus they aren't good to stack up unlike the Tsunami towers which get stronger gradually.

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the main problem i ran into was the fact that you need both earth and fire to build haste/quake so you cant upgrade them until lvl 45

might still work out if the build is optimized enough but it's really tight 

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9 minutes ago, Phoebe Zeit-Geist said:

the main problem i ran into was the fact that you need both earth and fire to build haste/quake so you cant upgrade them until lvl 45

might still work out if the build is optimized enough but it's really tight 

I would say if anything Fire/Dark 2 would be a better alternative from the normal Earth/Light 2

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Hey sorry if I'm a bit late to the train, thought I'd give a go at a quick video commentary aimed at being a visual accompaniment to your guide. I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions!

 

 

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Summoner Error model makes me sad, does that happen often or is it a replay thing?

 

Also thanks for capturing a top highscore in a video, it really shows how fucked up Nature tower balance is :rolleyes:

Those Arrow towers though

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Awesome, I was hoping it might be useful for balancing or something like that. The error model in this case was a replay bug, it's happened to me maybe once or twice in an actual game which also made it unselectable so I couldn't spawn any elements. One other quick point I'd like to make whilst you're here is that (unless you've already done it and I haven't noticed) it's not clear that highscores in private lobbies won't be scored, I got a high 900k score the other day and was confused when it wasn't on the leaderboards. Otherwise though I love this gamemode too addictive, and looking forward to any upcoming changes

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