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DDRKirby(ISQ)'s EleTD 4.0pb Tips n Tricks Compendium

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Last updated 7/24/08

Just a general collection of EleTD knowledge I've gained through my experiences. I'll probably add to this every so often. Tips range from general basic knowledge to specialized cases that you may never encounter.

Please note that my playing style, especially in SR, is very centered on interest abuse. As such, if you don't like the philosophy of interest abuse, or if you are not a micro-intensive player, some of these tips may not be relevant to your playstyle.



VH Arrow opening reference (s=super, n=normal, a=advanced, e=element), disregarding weaknesses/resistances: (thanks to jolin)

1 S

2 SN

3 SA

4 SS

5 SS

6 SS

7 E

8 E

9 EN

10 ES

11 EE

12 EE

13 EE

Remember that for undead waves, cannon AoE always works better.

Round 2 and 3 (and simliar rounds) are easy to get wrong, I struggle with them a lot myself. The problem is getting both arrow towers to always shoot at the same creep. Usually I select both of them and spam the (S)top command until the creeps are in range. This seems to work a good percentage of the time, for me at least. Remember that you can use temporary towers as a safety net in case you screw up. For round 4/5/6 the problem isn't so bad since you can just manually target half-dead creeps with a temporary tower placed at 5.

My style of play is to never sit around waiting for a creep wave. Just after interest hits it is -always- beneficial to build temporary towers (although in AP you are limited to element arrow towers). The exception is if you are too busy doing other things, in which case you must always prioritize your main tower setup over temporary towers. Even if you can kill a creep wave entirely with only the towers you have on the field, it is still beneficial to build temporary towers, because it will lead to finishing the wave faster (more useful in multiplayer than singleplayer) or it will lead to more creeps being dead when interest hits.

The maximum Speed Reduction allowed on creeps is 66%. Creeps cannot be slowed to any less than 33% of their normal speed. (thanks Cisz)

Hydro and Jinx towers can help with creep slowing by providing an indirect method of slowing down creeps (effectively bypassing the speed reduction cap). Jinx towers have a higher proc rate than hydro towers so they are more effective at indirectly slowing creeps, but in general are too expensive to use extensively. The exception is if you have buttloads of cash and are running out of space on the map to put towers--in that case, all hydro towers should be replaced by jinx towers. Well towers can also improve the effectiveness of hydro and jinx by leading to more chances to proc.

Pures always always deserve to be buffed by well/blacksmith when it's available. This might mandate manual casting in some cases.

Impulse tower micro is always very important, but Laser tower micro can help too (clicking on the closest creep). However, it's not quite as important as Impulse, so if you have something else to build/etc, that should take precedence.

Drowning/Life towers should ideally be placed as the last line of defense since they help the most when they fire at creeps after everything else. If you are placing towers along 3/6/9, for example, life towers and drowning towers should go at 9. If building at 4/5 exclusively, life/drowning would probably work best at 4.

Hydro towers help obliterate elementals completely. Especially helpful to know in random mode when a tier 3 elemental comes and you aren't prepared--hydro towers on a longpass can be your best friend. Impulse towers and other long-range towers are also very deadly to elementals.

Blacksmith/Well towers can often be placed on otherwise undesirable positions (such as -) to make room for other towers.

LWN and EFD are very good element combos because they cover each others' weaknesses. Of the two I prefer EFD as Quaker, Zealot, and Muck are all very strong towers that can be used as primary sources of damage. In addition, Quaker and Zealot can be "chainmorphed" (see random mode section).

For 2-pass placements, Magic/Mushroom/Hail/etc towers are better at 9 than 3 since they need time to recharge their abilities. On the other hand, Zealot is often better at 3 because it does best when there is minimal time between passes.

In singleplayer, F11 will display the message log, which pauses the game. If you've used tower query anytime in the past few minutes (and I tend to use it a LOT) you can look at your available towers here as well. Some may consider this "cheating" but if you need time to plan, this is your chance to do it.

Along the same lines, you can use the - and + keys to speed up and slow down the game as needed (or you can go into the options menu). Again this is a bit shady, but only usable in single-player, so you should be the judge over what you want for your own EleTD experience.

Know where to place the windstorm tower, and more importantly, the tornado it makes. (<- more on this later, hopefully)

Hotkeys can help you micro more effectively. In general I like to have hotkeys for each of the following if I have them:




-Windstorm tornado


The builder only moves at a certain rate. Therefore try to avoid situations where you need to wait for him to move a long distance. If you are expecting to have to catch leaks, for example, move your builder there beforehand.

If you want to play with Cisz's l33t custom builder in single-player you can make a new profile with name="Cisz" =P

Catching leaks is always nice, but in general it is more important to be prepared for the next wave. This is especially true in multiplayer where creep waves come at you nonstop without any chance for pause or respite.

If possible, it's better to make a LOT of super arrow/cannon towers vs composite waves than a bunch of element arrows/cannons, simply because composite armor reduces elemental damage. However, you may not have the time to set up so many towers. Use your best judgment.

For waves like 14/15 where you can't one-shot a creep with 2 element arrow towers, it's better to spread your damage out more, either by using cannons or by reverting back to a bunch of super arrows. This is because using 3 element arrow towers will be inefficient--2 shots will almost kill a creep, so the third shot is mostly wasted.

Always be prepared for fast waves. Knights won't wait for you.

Never underestimate Mechanical waves. Fear the shredders.

Never underestimate Healing waves. Fear the Murlocs.

Of course, on chaos mode you must be prepared for anything! Playing random chaos mode requires you to be very quick at thinking and adapting your tower build...

Gold from your reserves gets subtracted when you issue the build command, not when the tower is actually constructed. Minor difference, but can be important when trying to, for example, squeeze in interest before building a periodic. Also, this is another reason to favor B click B click over shift-click rallying in order to build towers, since with shift-click ALL of the gold needed for the towers is subtracted at once, before any of them are even built!

Waves with special properties are always stronger than other waves. So if you just managed to squeak by a wave that was a normal Fire wave, be prepared to build significantly more if the next wave is Composite Undead or something.

Not all towers are created equal! In the current build some towers are underpowered and should be avoided in general. It is also true that some towers are good, but tricky to use and may not fit your playstyle. In general I would recommend sticking with something that you are comfortable with as opposed to trying out "weird" towers like summon, trickery, disease, jinx and not knowing how to use them properly.

For interest abuse, it becomes more and more important to "prebuild" as the game goes on. During early game you should generally wait until the interest hits before even building a new tower, but as the game goes on, the price of normal arrow towers becomes insignificant compared to your gold reserves, so it is more efficient to build 12 normal arrow towers before interest hits, then upgrade them afterward. Later on you may even build 12 super arrow towers before interest hits, then upgrade them to element arrows once interest hits. Upgrading takes time, and you can't always afford to sit there and wait for towers to upgrade 4 times.

Learning hotkeys for tower upgrading and building is essential for quick tower build and micro technique. "U" will always upgrade a tower to its next level, and in all cases that I can think of, you can upgrade a tower by pressing the first letter of the upgrade (ex: Gunpowder -> (M)uck). X is the hotkey for sell.

As in Warcraft, Ctrl+click (or double-click) will select all towers of the same type. Very useful for rapid upgrading.

TFT 1.22 introduced a new feature that permanently enables health bars over units and buildings so you won't have to hold alt down all the time. I don't see why you would ever NOT use this for EleTD.

Always know how to prioritize. For example, microing the impulse tower is usually very important, but if it's an Earth wave that will be easily killed without any micro anyways, and the next wave is a fire wave and you have insufficient defense set up, you should concentrate on preparing for the next wave instead of microing one tower. Of course if you are good at multitasking, you can do a little bit of both at once...but you must know your own limits.

During the last few levels (~55 and above) and even before that, most towers that would have served you well in earlier levels become almost completely obsolete. While supporting towers are ALWAYS effective no matter what level, damaging towers such as zealot, quaker, gunpowder, etc. no longer have that much of an effect when you consider the insanely high amounts of HP that creeps have at this point. Thus, it is important to have lvl 2 duals, lvl 3 triples, or preferably pure element towers as the backbone of your defense at this point. This holds even more true during the Ronald round, where only the strongest towers will do significant amounts of damage.

Well towers and Blacksmith towers in general can be left on autocast if you have enough, but sometimes it becomes necessary or preferable to activate their abilities manually. This is especially true if you have certain towers which are much stronger than others--for example your first lvl 2 triple tower probably deserves the buffs more than your lvl 1 triples, and pure element towers always have priority over everything else.

Although for normal situations it is only beneficial to slow creeps down as or before they go into tower range, during the Ronald round it is usually beneficial to slow the Ronalds down =everywhere= on the map. This is because the Ronalds come at a constant and neverending stream, so it's better to have more time to deal with them as they come. Of course, this is dependent on your tower setup, but the general principle usually holds.

All Pick


In general towers that require micro (impulse, tidal) are a little stronger in All pick since the emphasis is not so much on selling/rebuilding.

Past midgame ~round 30 or so, sell/rebuild tactics with element arrows/cannons become essentially useless, so it's better to devote micro time to something else (e.g. the aforementioned towers).

Always attempt to plan for lategame towers. Not always possible, but try to place your towers where you would want then at the end. This isn't SR so you can't just sell and rebuild things to replace them! Know before you place a tower whether it's going to be permanent or just serving as an upgrade to another tower (i.e. "this kindle here will eventually become a windstorm...").

In the early game arrows and cannons deal roughly comparable amounts of damage. Later on, cannon towers become more effective since slowing comes into effect, making creeps bunch up.



Blacksmith/Zealot/Quaker towers and Well/Drowning towers can be "chainmorphed" somewhat akin to chainmorphing destroyers in WC3. Assuming you have the ability to build both blacksmith and zealot, ideally for each wave you want to have a bunch of zealot towers that are all buffed.

-One solution is to build a bunch of zealot towers and then build a bunch of blacksmith towers to keep them all buffed. If you're quick you can sell/rebuild the zealot towers in between rounds, or you can sell/rebuild the blacksmith towers between interests. But it's very very hard to build all of it at once.

-My solution requires very active micro but with a little bit of practice it isn't too hard. This needs to be done before the wave actually hits because otherwise blacksmith towers will autocast and that ruins everything. The idea is that you build a bunch (like 10) fire towers, upgrade to amp fire, then upgrade ALL to blacksmith. Then, when the timing is right (ideally right after interest and about 10 seconds before the creeps hit) you do the following:

-Tower 1 -> zealot

-Tower 2 buffs tower 1, Tower 2 -> zealot

-Tower 3 buffs tower 2, Tower 3 -> zealot

-etc etc

This allows you to have all except one of your zealot towers buffed, and in the end you have no blacksmith towers sitting around doing nothing! Note that this is strictly an interest abuse tactic and not recommended if you aren't experienced with timing sell/rebuild tactics.

In late game when you finally receive an element that hasn't come into play before, it is often advisable to just spam a lot of amplified towers of that element if you don't know what to build. You only have 3 seconds in between waves in VH, so waiting for Element Query to tell you all of your new options can leave you with too little time. You can get to every new tower from an amplified tower of the new element, so it can be better just to start from there.

In early-mid game, always build arrow towers before the next element comes.

If the random element is an interest pick or a pure element, sell as much as possible. Since you are given a long period of time before the next wave and there's no elemental to deal with, you should be able to sell/rebuild a lot. Judge how much depending on your own build speed and the current status of the interest timer.

Sells can't be quite as last-minute on battle.net. Aim to sell towers ~1 second earlier than you would offline to make sure that you sell in time.

Pures are the most expensive towers in the game, and as such always deserve to be sold/rebuilt unless you absolutely need them to always be firing in order to survive a particular wave. This should probably take priority over all other sell/rebuild tactics. However, pures also take a prohibitively long time to build from scratch (except for periodics which are imba ^^;). As such, you should concentrate on maintaining two groups and alternating between the two in time with interest. For example, assuming you are building pure earth towers and can build at most 2, you build a group of 2 pure earth, but at the same time have another group of 2 focused/refined earth towers. Before interest hits you sell the pures and upgrade the focused/refined to pures, then build 2 more focused/refined towers. Selling and rebuilding pures works better with longer ranged pures (light, dark) and might not be quite as applicable with water/fire.

Towers that require constant micro (impulse) are not good for random because they prohibit you from selling/rebuilding tactics. (unless you are REALLY good and can do both simultaneously! Possible, but very stressful...believe me, I've tried) Tidal, Laser, Trickery etc is still alright as long as you are confident enough in your multitasking ability but mainly this is a problem with Impulse.

Know how much you can sell/rebuild, and what types of towers are better to do it with. It's a LOT easier to sell/rebuild 10 of the same tower, than it is to sell/rebuild 10 completely different towers. Thus, I usually keep most of my support towers as permanent towers which I never sell, then I have a bunch of damage towers which keep on being constantly sold/rebuilt between waves/interest timings.

If you are just starting out and don't know what to sell/rebuild, the best advice is to make sure your main damage towers always fit the next wave. That means obviously use strong elements vs waves if you have the right towers, but it also means things like having AoE damage vs Undead.

Building towers is most efficient using a zigzag pattern since the builder has to travel the least distance that way.

Using Shift-click to rally your builder is not efficient since doing b-[x]-click repeatedly will cancel his "summoning" animation and allow him to build faster. However, shift-click is useful if you need to divert your attention to other things. For example if you wish to build towers but you're also timing an interest sell, you can use shift-click in that instance (then go back to manual building once you've done the sell).

Arrow towers take up a relatively minimal amount of gold later on so you can always feel free to build a mass of them before elementals come, and your interest won't be hurt significantly at all.

Selling/Rebuilding more than 12 towers becomes a little harder since you can't select them all at once. But it's still possible.

When you click-drag a rectangle over a bunch of towers, the unupgraded ones are selected by default. Can be useful when trying to upgrade a bunch of towers as fast as possible.

Magic/Mushroom/Summoning/Disease/Hail towers cannot be sold/rebuilt as aggressively as other towers since they all require time to charge their abilities.

As the game progresses when you are selling/rebuilding you will have to start rebuilding sooner, since towers take longer to get up.

Generally the fastest and easiest way to rebuild towers is to build all the base towers first as fast as you can, then once the final tower is complete, ctrl+click/double click and upgrade them all at the same time.

The more interest picks there are in play, the more powerful and worthwhile interest abuse becomes. however, you will have to build more than usual since your towers will not be as efficient as if you had stronger elemental picks.

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Nice one. :)

Maybe try to get it into a form that can be used on the mainpage. Like a guide between my faq (beginners) and my placement guide (special problems). That would be a great help for many players.

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i dont know...a lot of this is not advice that i would recommend for your everyday player. Although some of it is, most of it is just random things that I think about when I'm playing personally. From my experience not a lot of people can do such aggressive interest abuse as I do, so their playstyle is a lot different, where they always have towers on the board, although they do swap out towers in random.

On the other hand I think your tower placement guide is essential reading for all eletd players regardless of playstyle or skill level. btw maybe you should do a slight revision, you say that the damage from steam doesn't stack, but not in 4.0pb the damage from kindle does stack, right? And there are other 3.0 specific things as well (rainbow/acid tower, etc)


maybe later I can make something though, with advanced techniques such as the builder animation cancel. hmm...

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Nice tips. There should be a link at the main page.

If you want to play with Cisz's l33t custom builder in single-player you can make a new profile with name="Cisz" =P
That should work with other names too. See in the middel of the map :)

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plenty of useful information. although in time to come, you might want to reorganise this into various sections. Or i might combine this with my personal guide :wink: (the beta leads will know that it's stored in club element) .. takes a long long time to write a full guide..

although as you say some are not for most players, it's still useful information to know. Eventually, some of those players who move on to be experts would be thankful for knowing those stuff which they wouldn't have know otherwise. Not everything is that easily picked up just by casual playing...

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