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Basics of element TD

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Basic Guide to element TD

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Contents of this guide

Basics of Element TD

Elemental damage types

Build Design Guide

Simplified Tower Placement Guide

Individual tower notes

Build lists




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Basics of element TD

Elemental damage

light - 200% to darkness, 50% to earth


dark - 200% to water, 50% to light


water - 200% to fire, 50% to darkness


fire - 200% to nature, 50% to water


nature - 200% to earth, 50% to fire


earth - 200% to light, 50% to nature


Creep classifications

Fast: Creeps move 25% faster. They move at 375 speed instead of 300 speed.

Healing: Creeps will heal each unit within a 250 AoE for 20% of its max HP upon death.

Mechanical (often shortened to "mech"): Creeps activate an invulnerability field every 12 seconds. The field lasts 3 seconds.

Undead (often shortened to "ud"): Creeps revive 5 seconds after death with 33% HP. Every creep revives once.

Types of towers

There are basically 2 types of towers, damage towers and support towers.

The support towers are further divided into aoe slows (muck, roots, windstorm, nova), armor reducers (corrosion and enchantment), damage amplification (polar and voodoo), tower amplification (well and blacksmith) and trickery tower. These are the 3 super duals and 8 super triples.

All other towers are considered damage towers.

Common terms used in element TD

AoE = area of effect (towers deal damage/cast spells in an area, hitting multiple creeps.)

ST = single target (towers deal damage/cast spells only on a single creep)

LWNDEF = Light, water, nature, darkness, earth, fire (the 6 elements of element TD, used to describe what elements are needed to build a certain tower or in discussion of what elements a player used/randomed in a game)

FDS = forum draft series (a popular tournament using the draft mode, organised in the forums by a draft host)

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Build Design Guide

Choosing the support towers

The 4 aoe slows





All 4 towers work by reducing the creeps movement speed, resulting in clumping. Nova and windstorm (unless microed well) tend to result in slightly less clumping. This makes aoe damage towers much stronger as more creeps are hit with each shot.

Roots and muck can be placed at both 2-pass and long-pass areas, depending on the setup of the defense.

Nova works best at long pass but it isn't too bad at 2-pass placement also. An alternative is diagonally opposite the corners of bottom right III and top right IX, the short-pass placements. The first pass area is small but it makes up with a large second-pass area.

windstorm can be placed almost anywhere. The tornado can pass through ledges. One strategy is to place it right at the start and mirco it all the way through the path but this takes a lot of micro. For most, it would be together with the rest of the defense.

Armour reduction



Both towers reduce the armour of the creeps. Corrosion is aoe while enchantment is single-target. The armour reduction is higher on enchantment. one corrosion tower is usually enough to cover the whole wave (more so with aoe slows). Around 3 enchantment towers are probably needed to cover the wave.

Corrosion is better used in builds where aoe damage is dominant. Enchantment with single-target towers. In the endgame/ronalds, enchantment towes can also be built to further strengthen the defense (more often in random mode)

Corrosion can also be a good early game solo tower.

Damage amplification



These 2 towers increase damage dealt to creeps. Damage is 'amplified'. Both towers have strong uses against elementals. Voodoo can be built once some damage is in play while polar is usually left to almost the end of the game.

A good spot to build voodoo is the start of your defense. The damage accumulates and the bonus damage is dealt when the creeps start leaving the defense.

Polar allows your towers fire less shots to kill creeps by reducing the creep's hp. Also typically placed at the top of the defense, where the spell is casted on the creeps as they enter the defense. Polar is often spammed with enchantment in the endgame/ronalds of random games.

Tower amplification




Well increases the attack speed of towers. Towers fire more shots in a given time.

Blacksmith increases the damage each towers deals with every shot.

Both these towers are staples in any build they are available. Each supports 4 towers. Build well and blacksmith only after you have 2k gold worth of damage towers in play generally. These are not towers to start with.

Blacksmith tends to lead to overkill damage. In the case where an unbuffed tower can kill the creep in one shot, the buff from blacksmith doesn't contribute anything. A buff from well tower allows the tower to take down the wave in a shorter time.

Trickery tower works by creating clones of existing non-support towers. This provides a temporary boost to the defense as the more expensive towers can be cloned for a short time. A tier3 trickery is cheaper than a tier2 triple. Pures and periodics can be cloned! This also allows you to maintain some elemental strength as the towers to be cloned can be changed every wave. However this tower requires micro and can be harder to use well compared to blacksmith and well.

Elemental Damage types (contributed by jolin012, with edits)

Combining 2 elemental damage types.

With 2 elemental damage types, one of them is your base elemental damage type and the other is your secondary damage type to cover weakness of your primary damage type. For instance, you have fire and darkness. You start with fire towers as your primary defense. To cover the weakness, you build darkness towers.

If 75% of your damage is fire and 25% is darkness damage, Vs a wave of the element:

Earth, Fire or Darkness: 100%

Nature: 175%

Water: 87.5%

Light: 87.5%

Non-Elemental: 80%

This can be done with for example building 1 radius tower(Dealing darkness damage) for every 3 Zealots towers (dealing fire damage).

Having something like 3 amplified Earth towers and 5 focused Fire towers should also work. (it's the total damage that matters not only the amount of towers)

Combining 3 elemental damage types.

There are 2 groups of 3 elements that cover each other in a circle. One is Earth, Darkness and Fire and the other one is Nature, Light and Water.

If you do this with 1 radius tower(dealing darkness damage), 1 Quaker tower(dealing earth) and 1 Zealot tower(dealing fire damage) it results in this:

Fire, Earth or Darkness: 100%

Light, Nature or Water: 116.7%

Non-Elemental: 80%

Simplified Tower Placement Guide

There are two types of placement, 2-pass and long pass. (if you want to be technical, there's another type of placement called bad placement). refer to numpad notation in cisz's tower placement guide.

2-pass areas such as IV, III, IV, IX (numpad notation) gives your towers two chances to kill the creeps. In general, most towers belong here and is where your main defense is located.

Long pass areas such as VII, V, I (numpad notation) gives your towers only one chance to kill the creeps. Towers fire more shots at a small number of creeps. This is useful for killing elementals. Towers that deal their damage in an area around itself, namely nova, quaker, belong here.

Long-range towers such as impulse, gunpowder, darkness and light towers are best at V where almost the entire map can be covered. The semi-long 1125 range towers, namely electricity, hail are usually also placed at V. Only the top and bottom row of V allow the towers to cover a L-shaped area of the outer path.

One-pass play, not to be confused with 2-pass, is when all creeps are killed the first time they pass the towers (this can be a two-pass or long-pass placements of towers).

Individual tower notes


The tornado can travel through ledges.


These 3 towers belong to the long pass placement, mostly VII and V. These towers deal their damage in a area around themselves. At long-pass placements, the maximum number of creeps will be hit.

Nova and quaker would do well enough at a 2-pass placement, when the player has no other towers at long-pass placements.


This belongs to long-pass or a area with a fast second pass such as IV and III. At a long pass placement, the tower would fire many shots at a few creeps, keeping the speed boost throughout the wave (until the entire wave leaves that long-pass area). A fast two pass placement will prevent the speed from resetting for the second pass.

gunpowder/impulse/elemental dark and light towers

These belong best at V. At that placement, almost the whole map can be covered. The only areas not covered are small portions of /, VII, I and III.


I personally place this tower left-middle of IV. The creeps are hit as they are above IV, damage builds up, the spell does its damage around V. The creeps are hit again by the voodoo as they are below middle IV (the second pass). Some damage builds up and the spell triggers as the creeps move around I. This can be useful in taking out creeps that survive with a very low hp.


The hp reduction of polar is also counted as damage done for voodoo tower.

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Build lists

The roots and muck tower builds

#1: DNEF

Duals: magic,disease,gunpowder,flame,blacksmith,mushroom

Triples: voodoo,flamethrower,roots,quaker

#2: DNEL

Duals: disease,gunpowder,trickery,mushroom,life,quark

Triples: roots,oblivion,laser,enchantment

#3: DWEF

Duals: poison,gunpowder,magic,hydro,vapour,blacksmith

Triples: muck,corrosion,flamethrower,zealot

#4: DWEL

Duals: poison,gunpowder,trickery,hydro,ice,quark

Triples: muck,hail,laser,polar

#5: DNEW

Duals: disease,gunpowder,poison,mushroom,well,hydro

Triples: roots,drowning,muck,flesh golem

The nova and windstorm builds

#6: LFNE

Duals: electricity,life,quark,flame,blacksmith,mushroom

Triples: nova,gold,enchantment,quaker

#7: LFND

Duals: electricity,life,trickery,flame,magic,disease

Triples: nova,radius,oblivion,voodoo

#8: LWFE

Duals: ice,electricity,quark,vapour,hydro,blacksmith

Triples: windstorm,polar,gold,zealot

#9: LWFD

Duals: ice,electricity,trickery,vapour,poison,magic

Triples: windstorm,hail,radius,corrosion

#10: LFNW

Duals: electricity,life,ice,flame,vapour,well

Triples: nova,windstorm,tidal,impulse

Non aoe-slow Builds

#11: LDFE

Duals: trickery,electricity,quark,magic,gunpowder,blacksmith

Triples: radius,laser,gold,flamethrower

#12: LDWN

Duals: trickery,ice,life,poison,disease,well

Triples: hail,oblivion,tidal,drowning

#13: LWNE

Duals: ice,life,quark,well,hydro,mushroom

Triples: tidal,polar,enchantment,flesh golem

#14: DWFN

Duals: poison,magic,disease,vapour,well,flame

Triples: corrosion,drowning,voodoo,impulse

#15: WFNE

Duals: vapour,well,hydro,flame,blacksmith,mushroom

Triples: impulse,zealot,flesh golem,quaker

5-element Builds

#16: LDWFN

Duals: trickery, ice, electricity, life, poison, magic, disease, kindle, well, flame,

Triples: hail, radius, oblivion, windstorm, tidal, nova, corrosion, drowning, voodoo, impulse

#17: LDWFE

Duals: trickery, ice, electricity, quark, poison, magic, gunpowder, vapour, hydro, blacksmith

Triples: hail, radius, laser, windstorm, polar, gold, corrosion, muck, flamethrower, zealot

#18: LDWNE

Duals: trickery, ice, life, quark, poison, disease, gunpowder, well, hydro, mushroom

Triples: hail, oblivion, laser, tidal, polar, enchantment, drowning, muck, roots, flesh golem

#19: LDFNE

Duals: trickery, electricity, life, quark, magic, disease, gunpowder, flame, blacksmith, mushroom

Triples: radius, oblivion, laser, nova, gold, enchantment, voodoo, flamethrower, roots, quaker

#20: LWFNE

Duals: ice, electricity, life, quark, vapour, well, hydro, flame, blacksmith, mushroom

Triples: windstorm, tidal, polar, nova, gold, enchantment, impulse, zealot, flesh golem, quaker

#21: DWFNE

Duals: poison, magic, disease, gunpowder, kindle, well, hydro, flame, blacksmith, mushroom

Triples: corrosion, drowning, muck, voodoo, flamethrower, roots,

6-element Builds


Duals: trickery, ice, electricity, life, quark, poison, magic, disease, gunpowder, vapour, well, hydro, flame, blacksmith, mushroom

Triples: hail, radius, oblivion, laser, windstorm, tidal, polar, nova, gold, enchantment, corrosion, drowning, muck, voodoo, flamethrower, roots, impulse, zealot, flesh golem, quaker

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The Forum Draft Series!!


You must have the latest wc3 patch downloaded. Map version would be 4.3. You must have the correct map file = "Element TD 4.3" with spaces, not underscores. Map file must be in maps\download folder in your wc3 directory. Failure to comply would result in replay being disqualified.

The entire draft can take some time to complete. You MUST be committed to checking the draft thread AT LEAST ONCE EVERY 24 HOURS. Failure to vote after 48 hours would result in votes being randomed by draft host. Also, ensure you have sufficient time to play out the game.

Each draft is typically 4 or 5 drafters.

About the draft format

The pool consists of arrow towers (and its upgrades), cannon towers (and its upgrades), the 6 single element towers (and their upgrades), the 15 dual-element towers (and their upgrades), the 20 triple-element towers (and their upgrades), periodic tower of the elements as well as all the elementals, extra investments and pure essences which can be summoned from the summoning centre.

The draft consists of 3 phases, the tower removal phase, element draft phase and the gameplay.

Tower removal phase: 5 dual-element towers and 7 triple-element towers are voted to be removed from the pool.

Element draft phase: The elementals that can be summoned are drafted.

Gameplay: The drafters would then play the game with the restrictions in place.

Tower removal phase

There is no order for this phase. Drafter may post their votes once they have decided on their removals.

Each drafter votes a dual-element tower of his choice for removal. You are allowed to vote for a dual-element tower that has been voted for removal by another drafter. 5 dual-element towers would be removed. If there are less than 5 drafters, draft host randomly removes dual-element towers to remove 5 in total. If there are more than 5 drafters, draft host randomly removes 5 from the dual-element towers voted.

Each drafter votes 3 unique triple-element towers to be removed from the pool. You are allowed to vote for a triple-element tower that has been voted for removal by another drafter. 7 triple-element towers with most votes are removed from the pool. Ties would be resolved through random removals by draft host.

Dual-element towers removed from the pool cannot be built, not even as intermediates to triple-element towers. Triple-element towers removed from the pool cannot be built.

Element Draft phase

The order for this phase would be posted by the draft host.

Each drafter, on his turn, picks an element / extra investment / pure essence to add to the pool. When you specify a pick, add some comments to it. Each element can be voted a maximun of three times. Extra investment and pure essence can be voted a maximum of three times.

At the end of the phrase, the picks are combined by the draft host. The number of votes for each element would be the maximum tier that element can be summoned. The order is decided by the drafters in game but only those in the pool can be summoned.

Gameplay phase

Drafters proceed to play a single-player game with the restrictions. Game mode is: Very Hard difficulty, pick, non-chaos, non-(extra) short, non-extreme. No other modes to be added.

Once satisfied with replay, attach your replay via forum PM to the draft host and the draft host only. DO NOT POST YOUR REPLAYS ANYWHERE. Drafters may submit their replay anytime and replace it with another replay until the draft closes and last call for replays has been made.

Scoring and winning replay

Scoring would be decided once the number of players is confirmed.

Building of removed towers/summoning of elementals not drafted will result in the replay being disqualified. Any instances of bug abuse, known or unknown beforehand and the use of cheats will result in replay being disqualified.

Replays would be judged on number of leaks, time taken up to wave 60 (ronalds not included), networth and ronalds killed.

Prizes, such as a custom element td mouspad/t-shirt may be awarded to the winner if the draft meets competitive requirements (as determined by the draft host.)

Once you have read the rules and understood it, post your nick in this thread. You may post in this thread or PM draft host any inquiries you have on the rules.

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About the "tower removal phase" : So, even if we haven't decided about the elemental draft phase, we still remove those towers?

Sorry If I'm kinda noob to understand, but I really don't understand about the "element draft phase"...

draft order (player 1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1,1,2,3,4) earth3, water1, fire2, nature1, nature 2, earth1, light2, water2, fire1, earth2, dark1, water3.

final elements in the pool: water1-3, earth1-3, fire1-2, nature1-2, dark1, light1.

Usually, 2 interests and a extra pure is added (host choice/drafted)

After 1st player choose earth3, why would someone choose earth2? Because he's running out of option?

After this is all clear to me, I'm joining this forum draft!

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Hey, for the drafting, it seems that there is no need to pick tiers. A player should just draft an element and as long as the element is drafted no more than 3 times, it should be fine. Just add up how many times each element has been drafted to determine what level of that element is allwoed.

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I agree on the math, the level is only to check if you remember what levels are not taken yet and for diplomatic puposes ofc. ;)

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The tier-pick system is ostensibly for "diplomacy", but in actuality it has no effect on the result whatsoever.

If only tiers 1 and 3 are picked, tiers 1 and 2 enter the pool.

If only tiers 2 and 3 are picked, tiers 1 and 2 enter the pool.

If only tier 2 is picked, tier 1 enters the pool.

If only tier 3 is picked, tier 1 enters the pool.

Since "floating tiers" are downgraded anyway, the following two cases, for example, are in fact the same case!

> I pick Earth-1 and nobody picks any other Earth

> I pick Earth-3 and nobody picks any other Earth

Or, another example:

> I pick Nature-3 and someone else supports me by picking Nature-2

> I pick Nature-1 and someone else upgrades to Nature-2

and once again the two cases are identical.


For the purpose of real diplomacy, I suggest the following new system for element picks:

For each pick, choose interest, essence, or an element.

Also choose a tier to go with that pick. This includes not only element picks, but interest picks as well. (Don't choose a tier to go with essence.)

Continue picking until 13 to 15 applicable picks have been drafted.

A pick is not applicable if the tiers under it have not yet been picked.

The order that the players pick is entirely randomized, but the same player cannot pick twice in a row.



1. Darkness-3

2. Earth-3

3. Nature-1

4. Earth-2

5. Water-3

6. Earth-1

7. Light-2

8. Light-1

9. Water-1

10. Interest-2

11. Interest-1

12. Fire-1

13. Interest-4

14. Darkness-2

15. Interest-3

16. Water-2

At this point 14 valid, applicable picks have been made, and the host decides to cut it off here.

Pick summary:

3-XX--X X
4       X
5       -

The resulting element pool:

Light-2 , Water-3 , Fire-1 , Nature-1 , Earth-3 , Interest-4

No Darkness, no essence.


What do you think?

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Guest Milamber

when you talk about IV, V and VII as positions what are you refering to? because i'm not sure where you are refering to.

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when you talk about IV, V and VII as positions what are you refering to? because i'm not sure where you are refering to.

numpad locations

and most of us say 7 8 9 4 5 6 1 2 3 - / but a few say I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX - /

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Guest grpgm

Minor thing, did you mean to type Phrase? You use it every time I think you meant Phase.

Cool guide though :)

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The guide's first challenge.

(a repeat of a old one)

Survive as long as possible using (elemental) arrows and cannons only. You are not allowed to allow creeps to run around multiple times to farm interest. Post your best replays here!

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