The Cub Report – 56k would be nice but 28.8 is the reality

Once upon a time, a Bear and his wife played video games together.

Their favorite series of video games were Spyro the Dragon on the Playstation and PS2.

This, of course, was before the developing companies took the license, abandoned the core gameplay and threw in all sorts of half baked mini-games that ruined the experience.

In this long ago time, both Bear and Cassie loved playing Spyro, but there was a slight problem.

There were these missions, see.

Crystal Popcorn missions. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage introduced them, and oh boy.

If you wanted 100% completion of the game and the awesome rewards that came with it, you had to do all the missions at max.

You’d be given a mission to race Hunter the Jaguar to be the first to collect Crystal Popcorn. There would be a cave with holes in the ground, and from these holes would pop, briefly, a crystal popcorn. While you’re racing around trying to arrive at a hole at the precise moment a popcorn was coming up and grab it, Hunter would be running around too.


This quest was tight. You had to learn the popcorn spawn points, the sequence they would appear, and master the timing so you got there and stood ON the damn spot before it arrived because Hunter would steal that damn popcorn if you gave him half a chance to stick his dirty filthy paws on it.

I wish there was a way to trigger PvP mode in that game and supercharge Hunter, damn him.

Sorry, I still have issues.

Anyway, this was a really fun mission and, being a platforming superstar on the analog controller I quickly became a master of these missions.

Cassie, on the other hand, found them incredibly frustrating, and her cool was often harshed by me leaning over and sarcastically offering to help her do the missions.

You know, carry her through the completion.

It was totally for her benefit, of course.

This is a game from 1999. This was a long damn time ago, but there you have it. I trolled my wife over Crystal Popcorn.

Now, for those of you who haven’t been in a long term relationship yet, let me clue you in on what to expect.

Fast forward to today, 16 bloody be damned years later.

I’m a much older Bear and we have a Cub that is rapidly leveling up through the teen years. He’s going to be living his own Breakfast Club scenarios in High School next year and he wasn’t even alive when The Breakfast Club came out.

We have two XBox Ones in the house so the Cub and I can play multiplayer together, one in my office and one in the family room downstairs. It was expensive but damn it was worth it, it’s what we do more of than anything else.

What we play together more often than anything else is Destiny, a stunningly beautiful sci-fi shooter.

Well, it’s Christmas season and Destiny has an in-game event called The Dawning, and along with new multiplayer Strike (PvE) content and quests came the return of an event called Sparrow Racing League.

In the game are these rocket bikes called Sparrows, basically Star Wars speeder bikes from Endor, nothing more than a rocket and a stick to steer with.

SRL consists of 6 person races through different incredibly awesome maps while mobs shoot at you, and yes you can run them over. There are quests, bounty missions, and TONS of rewards including transmogrification tokens to change your armor color schemes (instead of transmogging individual items, Destiny has ‘shader’ schemes that redoes the entire equipped armor in a consistent theme. I love it), new cool looking Sparrow racing bikes, top level gear, special gear that has bonuses to racing like more fuel for tight turns, etc.

Basically, the racing itself is insanely fun but there is also top end loot raining from the sky in almost every race.

They did this last year as well, and it goes away on January 3rd. This year, with the addition to Destiny of private PvP matches, when January 3rd rolls around the league itself, it’s quests and rewards will go away but you will still be able to participate in races with your friends forever, so hell yes.

Technically, this is PvP. It’s a race, and while you can queue up with everyone in your group, it’s still filled out with strangers.

One of the quest chains that drops tons of great loot is to complete matches with ever-increasing ratings to earn a higher class of racing license. Just an excuse for more gear rewards, really.

The final challenge is to complete 3 races without blowing up, and also complete 3 races in first.

Hoo boy.

I’m not bad, I love it, I quickly got all the dedicated Racing gear and leveled it,and it didn’t take long to learn the various maps.

The problem comes in that I am OLD now, it’s winter break for most school kids, and online shooters are mostly played by… how shall I put this.

I know, to use an appropriate quote from the original Point Break, “Angelo, this stuff is for rubber people that don’t shave yet.”

I’m playing a racing game in an online shooter against rubber people that don’t shave yet. Two seconds into the race and you find out there’s a bunch of savages in this town. I mean tower. I mean track. On the track. Speed boost gate? Yeah, good luck getting that gate as five other people simultaneously bike check you off the track.

Damn I love that game. Seriously, it rocks.

I mean, it sounds bad, but the loot has nothing to do with your score! It don’t matter, first, last, 5 minutes late, you get the same random chance at awesome rewards as the dudebro next door.

But the quests… ah, the quests require you to do some stuff.

First place? Against those savages? THREE TIMES!?!

I got two down, one because the Cub let me pass him when we were in first and second respectively, and the second time because, and I swear to God I’m not making this up, I was in second place but the lords of lag tossed me a pity win over the guy in number one. He literally crossed the line before me but the actual score showed I beat him by 6 seconds. Which I totally did NOT. He must have been frothing at the mouth like a mad dog.


But win number three, I was chasing the dragon for two days.

I was bitching about hanging up on the wall, getting bumped away from gates, having a slower speeder than everyone else, that perennial favorite lag, you name it.

So my son, the Cub, bless his heart, he asks me if I want him to play my character so he can get me my last win.

I went to make lunch for us, and he comes up five minutes later.

“I only beat the guy in second place by 11 seconds. I got you the quest completion, a new shader, a new banner, and a 380 light rocket launcher.”

…. “But it was only five minutes.”

That’s okay, want me to play your character some more?


It was at this point that Cassie erupts in howls of laughter and yells “Yes! After all these years and you pulling that on me in Spyro you finally know exactly what it’s like! JUSTICE IS MINE! How do you like getting OLD?!?!?!”

I’m telling you. Sixteen years. Sixteen long years, and she didn’t forget. Not one little bit.

It’s a fair cop.

The spirit is willing, but the data pipes that run signals from my brains to my hands, they’re slowing down.

I’m a 28.8k baud body in a High Speed DSL world. I need an upgrade.

Screw lasik eye surgery, I want the promised cyberpunk nerve upgrades.


Summoners War – Progression and Team Planning


When playing Summoners War in the early game, it can feel a little overwhelming. There are a lot of potential monsters of many different natural star qualities, and knowing that some natural 2 or 3 star monsters can be great end game monsters makes it even worse in some ways.

After all, once you know SOME natural 2s or 3s can be great, then the worry sets in on every Unknown Scroll summons. “I just got this monster. Is it good? Bad? Food to level something else or a fundamental game changer? What do I do with it? My bag space is limited!”

The purpose of this post is for PVE planning, to help you look ahead to what comes after clearing a bit through the scenarios (Garen Forest, Kabir Ruins, etc).

First steps, let’s define the normal progression path for PVE.

Step 1 – Scenarios

At the very beginning, the tutorial leads you through forming a basic team of monsters, starts you off with a tanky mon, a healy mon and a couple DPS. It shows you basic rune farming from the scenarios, applying them to improve your monster performance, leveling them up to get the most out of them, and then working your way through various scenarios in pursuit of specific rune types.

The scenarios then are the first progression step. You get good rewards for clearing all seven stages, and the higher the difficulty you clear (Hard, Hell) the better potential quality the rune drops can be. Also, you get XP for your monsters. Great place to begin, your monster types don’t really matter, and you get to play around with literally ANY combination of monster to have fun trying out wacky strategies.

After you clear the Kabir Ruins on Normal, you unlock access to the Cairos Dungeons.

Step 2 – Giant’s Keep

The Cairos Dungeons are where you find the next true steps on the progression path.

The Cairos Dungeons contain the five elemental halls (each only open for one day per week), the Hall of Magic, the Giant’s Keep, the Dragon’s Lair, the Necropolis, and any Secret Dungeons (duration one hour which you OR ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS may have unlocked in an elemental hall. More about Secret Dungeons all the way at the end of this post.

Giant’s Keep is the second stage of progression. This is where all of the most basic early game runes drop, and at the highest levels of the dungeon you can get 4, 5 and 6 star runes consistently. This is a big advantage over the scenarios, as even on Hell difficulty the likelihood of a rune being a 5 star, while there, is still darn rare.

It’s kind of neck and neck. You can choose to switch to running Giants to get much better runes and level your team, or continue with scenarios, or a mixture of both.

Step 3 – Dragon’s Lair

Once you are clearing Giant’s Keep on stage 10 consistently, you should farm that for runes for a while to strengthen your team. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS. Getting all 5 and 6 star runes for your core Giant’s team is critical to your progression. The goal is to be able to run Giant’s Keep B10 consistently on auto.

The nice thing about this is that the starter team I will talk about later in the team planning section can ALSO auto run Dragon’s Lair B8 consistently. This lets you really focus on improving one team while getting the benefits of two of the progression dungeons.

The benefit to running Dragon’s Lair is that this is where the end game runes drop. This is the source of the vastly overpowered and highly desired Violent runes, as well as your Shield, Focus, Guard and Revenge runes, all used in PVE further on down the line.

Most end game rune strategies revolve around Violent and something else, or in the case of Raiding and PVP Guard and something else. Dragon’s Lair is the dungeon you will farm for runes to enable everything else you really want to do further on.

Step 4 – Trial of Ascension (Normal)

Once you are clearing Giant’s Keep B10 and Dragon’s Lair B8 consistently, you should definitely be strong enough to get to level 40 or 50 in the Normal mode of Trial of Ascension. This is a monthly source of summoning stones, Red Crystals, Rainbowmon, Devilmon and other lovely rewards.

The Trial of Ascension is also one of my favorite parts of the game. A lot of players talk about building the perfect ‘auto TOA’ team, but for me it’s more about using your monsters smart. It’s a test of how well you know and understand the abilities of the different monsters, and how well prepared you are to counter them.

A single basic team CAN go an incredible way through, in fact I have one team I use that without any monster substitutions at all can clear Normal all the way to level 70 or even more. It went to level 80+ last month and I’ve hit level 70 already this month, and can probably go further.

But a single team isn’t the goal. Some enemy monsters have tricks based on their abilities, like an enemy team of ALL healers and resurrection specialists. Burning down a team of 5 monsters that can all heal each other and resurrect fallen monsters is a nightmare if you haven’t planned for that in your team build, as in maximizing your team strength with monsters that have lots of AoE AND Stuns AND the Despair rune set that has a chance to stun the enemy, and also slows the enemy team, and also increases your own speed. Speeding yourself up, slowing them down, keeping as many stunlocked as possible, using abilities that can remove the enemy action bar, if you prevent the enemy from getting a chance to go, then they can’t bloody well heal, now can they? And resurrection has a long turn based cooldown.

Also enemy teams can do lots of healing, and you can counter that using a monster that can block the enemy from benefitting from any heals for 1, 2 or even 3 turns. On some levels that is a mandatory ability.

Step 5 – Raids

Raids are just like what you would think. An opportunity for you to join a couple friends and unleash your teams on a single massive raid boss. On raids, your team runs on auto without your control, so this is the ultimate expression of how well you understand monster abilities, team synergy, buffs, debuffs and overall strategy.

For raids, the key is overlapping buffs and debuffs that are preferably on attack 1 (goes most often as default), and to a lesser extent on attack 2, which usually has a 2 or 3 turn cooldown. So a team composition of six monsters that EACH provide some of the required buffs and debuffs on attack 1 or 2, without doubling up, will do the best for you in starting out.

Further Progression – Necropolis and PVP

One might say that the ultimate end game progression is PVP, where you are matching your wits against enemy players. That is where the Necropolis comes in, supplying mostly end game PVP oriented of special-purpose runes.  How you would rune your monsters to tackle other players can be a lot different then for PVE, so this is why you want to look very closely at suggested rune builds for monsters. A rune build for Hwa for PVP is going to be a lot different than for Dragon’s Lair B10.

Team suggestions and synergy – a starting checklist

Now that I ran down the progression order and when and where you are going to want to try them, let’s talk about what exact monsters to look for in planning your starter teams.

These teams are designed for one purpose – to make the most out of free to play monsters that WILL get the job done. Each team can and will run their content on auto at the highest difficulty… but they will be slower than hell.

The idea here is to have a list of monsters you can actively seek without relying on RNG. While farming these monsters, you will of course be getting Red Crystals to buy Premium Packs, you will be earning Light and Darkness Scrolls, and you will get Mystical Scrolls from drops in the Caiross Dungeons and other events that can and eventually WILL give you the lightning strike of a rare 4 or 5 star monster that might just work better in your team to get it cleared faster.

If that happens, great! Once you can clear a dungeon or raid every time, the natural next step is to improve your team so they clear it faster or more consistently. Maybe they fail about 10% of the time, and you want to swap in a different healer to improve that. Or your team clears Dragons B10 in 7 minutes, and you want to get that time down to 4 or 5. Absolutely, go for it.

Your starter goal though has to be to clear the bloody things in the first place. You can always improve from there.

Here are my recommended starter team monsters and rune sets based purely on a free to play farmable strategy.

ATTENTION! I am including the Fusable Dark Ifrit Veromon in this list, as well as two other Fusable monsters (four if you count the raid teams). These may take some time to farm, yes. And also a bit of luck on getting and saving the 3 star monsters needed from Unknown Scrolls or Secret Dungeons.

It’s still perfectly doable, and you will find that Veromon is THE KEY to unlocking the gate of damn near all content in this game. Once you’ve played long enough to have farmed up and leveled/awakened the monsters necessary to Fuse Veromos the dark ifrit, you darn well know the basics of this game. Veromos is kind of the badge of experience that shows you know what you’re doing. If you have Veromos, you’ve got it going on. You’re not a new player anymore.

Free to play team suggestions

Giant’s Keep B10 –

Veromos [leader] (dark ifrit – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% (early game – later on replace Swift with Violent)

Shannon (wind pixie 2 star – scrolls) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Bernard (wind griffon 3 star – Tamor Desert) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Belladeon (light inugami – Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Optional 5th party member heals/buffs:

Ahman (light bearman 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Blade/Blade/Blade HP%/CritR%/HP% early to get 100% crit rating. As sub stats with Crit Rating allow you to remove Blade rune sets and maintain 100% crit, add in Energy. Once you can build a Violent/Blade or Violent/Energy set with 100% total crit rating from Crit R% sub stats, you’ve got a true beast. For early Giant’s B10, having Energy/Blade/Blade with 100% crit rating and HP%/CritR%/HP% should be fine. Max that HP out as much as you can though. I use Ahman everywhere, but the key is to have that second healer for your team.

Darion (light vagabond 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Energy x3 Hp%/HP%/HP% while not a healer, he has a defense break, an attack power debuff, AND an automatic 15% damage reduction for everyone in your party which is just amazing.

To add your own monster, keep in mind the B10 giant boss is water so the elemental advantage of Wind is best. You really, really want the core Shannon/Bernard team to be the basis of your group though. boss slow/team speed buff is amazing. plus Shannons attack power and defense buff to your party, yum!

This team will clear Giant’s Keep B10 on auto for me 100% of the time using Ahman. My Ahman is a badass, but for most of my other monsters, the runes are a mix of 5 stars and 6 stars, usually leveled up to +12 minimum. They are all 6 star monsters, but some say you can run with Bernard and Shannon only 5 starred if your runes are strong, highly leveled, and you’ve got a great healer assisting Belladeon.

Dragon’s Lair B10-

Baretta [leader] (fire sylph – 4 star Fused) Despair/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% (Despair so also usable in TOA)

Veromon (same as above)

Belladeon (same as above)

Konamiya (water garuda 2 star – Unknown Scrolls) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Mikene (water undine – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% early on, Violent/Energy later.

Mikene is along as a resurrection monster, because the true obstacle in Dragons B10 is the third level mid boss, Zaiross the fire dragon. It is common to lose a monster here, and later again on the final dragon when you kill the right pylon, so Mikene is here to resurrect fallen comrades. Briand the Wind Death Knight is usually vastly preferred over Mikene, but he is a natural 4 star monster requiring pure luck to get.

Dragons is not quite as focused on the elemental disadvantage, by the way. It helps to have all water, but sometimes some monsters are just so great it doesn’t matter if they are fire.

This team is required to be FAST. You want your Veromos very fast, 210 Spd if possible, and yes that takes some serious sub stats and your SPD tower you are upgrading from Glory Points. Baretta speeds up your entire team, Veromos cleanses a dot every time he goes, Konamiya can cleanse ALL dots every three turns, Mikene can rezz the fallen, and Bella has the defense break and group heals as well.

If you are blindingly lucky to get a fire vampire Verdehile, his whole thing is speed buffing everyone with his first attack, so replace Baretta with Verde when or if you get him.

The idea here is to get massive health from runes (20k+health is ideal starting point), place Baretta in the lead for the speed buff to the team, and on the final boss kill the right tower, then burn the boss.

When a tower dies, whoever struck the last blow gets a hellacious counterstrike that will usually kill it. If the tower dies to a DOT, nobody gets nailed. So monsters that DOT towers are wonderful. But if someone else takes it down with a direct strike, Mikene is there to resurrect them.

Improving this team usually involves Violent runes, better health, faster speed, and being able to burn the final boss without attacking the right tower, so you don’t need the resurrection.

If you do get a Verdehile, just remember, either DO NOT use Devilmon to skill him up, or stop skilling him up when Noble Agreement is at rank 3. The whole point of Verdehile is for his 1st attack to go off as often as possible with 100% crit, so two blows per attack each increase your teams attack bars. If you reduce the cooldown on Noble Agreement, he’ll use that more often and it only hits the boss once. As you can see, this is why Violent runes on Verdehile can be insane since every time he goes he fills everyone’s attack bar a bit. So extra turns for Verde can make your entire team go again before the enemy. INSANE.

Added notes – This is a starting point. If your runes are only around 5 star +12, it will likely NOT have 100% reliability. The whole basis for this team is speed.

If you have been doing your Arena point farming from day one and focusing on leveling the Speed totem after buying your weekly Devilmon with Glory points, then by the time you have a Dragons B10 team ready to go realistically you should be at least +10% Spd from the Glory Point totem. Continuing to improve the totem will help the overall speed. Likewise, replacing runes with 6 star versions and leveling the runes you have, especially Spd and HP% runes, will vastly improve success chances.

Finally, the runes listed for builds are ones to get started in Dragons, based on what you can farm from Giants B10. Replacing the runes for Veromos and Belladeon with Violent sets and getting extra turns is an incredible boost to the success, as having those reduced cooldowns for casting heal from Belladeon and more turns from Veromos to cleanse a DoT is overpowered. Likewise, if you finally get your Ahman to truly maxed out with Violent/Energy runes and 100% crit rate and +15 level 6 star runes, replacing Belladeon with him evens out constant healing for everyone and adds taunts to keep damage off of squishier monsters.

Without Belladeons defense break, and without more DoT providers than Veromon, this is a very slow team. It’s whole point is as a consistent starter to get you farming.

Improvements include replacing team members with better resurrections, replacing a resurrection monster with a more powerful multi-DOTter, speeding the whole thing up. This is usually where 4 and 5 star monsters come into play to decrease the time it takes to complete a run.

I am currently running Verdehile, Konamiya, Veromos, Ahman and Mikene. Mikene has zero Devilmon skillups fed to her, and neither does Verdehile. But Ahman, Veromos and Konamiya are both fully skilled up. This team takes about 7:30 to 7:45 to clear the Dragons B10, so incredibly slow. BUT it’s been 100% successful for me, even with many runes being only +12. The point being, please don’t assume the suggested starter team is all you will ever need as an end goal. It really is what I’m calling it – a starter team to get you farming.

Trial of Ascension (Normal)-

Veromos (same as above)

Baretta (same as above, runed for TOA AoE stunning)

Bernard (same as above)

Ahman (used by me as Violent/Energy HP%/CritR%/HP% 100% crit rating and all 6 star runes as only healer. Can handle heals in TOA Normal all the way to level 80 fairly easily.

***Belladeon (same as above) used sometimes instead of Ahman without much difference, really. Just needs to be more hands-on to time heals better. But has Defense Break on first attack and can remove enemy bubble/buffs with second attack, so less heals, more usefulness on difficult fights.

Shannon (same as above)

Alternate outstanding free to play monsters for TOA Normal-

Colleen (fire harpu – 2 star Unknown Scroll, Secret Dungeon, etc) Violent/Revenge HP%/Def%/HP%

Colleen is runed here for her other top use as a main Necropolis B10 monster and for Raids. Since her main usefulness is at progression past Dragons B10, her runes reflect what you should have then. But her combination of healing, Attack Power debuff on boss and Healing prevention to the enemy makes her IDEAL for those difficult situations in TOA when the boss is surrounded by healers or does a big whammy of damage on someone.

Talc (water battle mammoth – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Guard HP%/HP%/Acc%

Talc is incredible. He is a powerful tank, and becomes more powerful the higher his HP gets. In fact, the only reason he has accuracy on rune 6 is to apply his taunt to a target, protecting squishier monsters. If you’d prefer to replace that with a HP% rune, it might even be more effective. Talc has a powerful AoE team heal plus defense buff, AND if he gets his health high enough then he can just ignore most enemy trash attacks, a nice thing with his taunt. Talc can be a great healing supprt for Belladeon on fights with tougher bosses that are tough for a squishy healer.

Spectra (fire griffon – 3 star, Unknown Scrolls and Secret Dungeons) Swift/Blade SPD/HP%/Acc% Spectra is a direct replacement for Shannon in some situations. Both have an AOE attack speed reduction on the enemy team. Shannons has a higher chance to succeed (80%), while Spectra’s can also reduce the attack bar of all of the enemy targets (50%). Aside from that, Shannon has a team wide attack power and defense buff that vastly increases the overall power and survivability of your team while Spectra provides a very big single target DPS attack. I generally use Shannon unless I need more DPS oomph.

Another thing to note is Shannon’s AoE enemy slow is an actual attack. It does damage. Spectras slow does NOT do damage. This means that if you rune your Shannon Despair, her AoE WILL have a chance to stun, but if you rune Spectra with Despair HIS AoE will NOT because in order for the Despair rune to have a chance to stun the enemy, the attack has to be able to do damage. So running Shannon as Despair is extremely viable for all content but never rune Spectra with Despair.

Hemos (water grim reaper – 3 star, Unknown Scroll and Secret Dungeon)  Swift/Focus or Violent/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% or Spd/HP%/HP% (he’s kind squishy) Hemos is primarily for TOA HARD mode, but as a 3 star monster with his second skill, he’s still well worth talking about here. Again, his second skill AoE deals no damage so don’t use Despair runes on him, but he is used for his second skill. It has a very high chance to apply TWO DoTs to all targets, useable every 3 turns, and since DoTs do a percent of the enemy health every tick, this is great against bosses and trash alike. Works great in tandem with other monsters that do more damage to a target based on how many effects they currently have, like Akhamamir the wind ifrit (summoned from guild wars currency).

Mav (wind penguin knight – 3 star, Unknown Scroll) Violent/Focus or Violent/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%, Mav is on almost every ‘must have’ monster list for both TOA normal and hard because of the awesome mix of abilities for speeding up your team (Wings of Awakened), being tanky, self heal, taunt off squishy monsters. You should aim for around 45% bonus accuracy off sub stats if at all possible.


Front Line:

Xiong Fei (fire panda warrior – 5 star Fusion) Guardx2/Energy DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Talc (same as above) really, really shines on raids

Copper (wind living armor – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Guard x3 DEF%/CritD%/DEF% Copper is also an incredible tank, and he’s also a beast in PVP, especially guild wars. Paired with Randy (the fire bounty hunter) in pvp, Randy can apply a defense boost just in time for Copper to decimate the opponent with Thunder Strike. The key thing here is Copper gets more deadly the higher his defense gets, and his base health is great. Wonderful natural 3 star monster for raid front lines.

Darion (light vagabond) runed Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/HP% instead of Energy x3

Back Line:

Colleen (same as above)

Konamiya (same as above is okay but prefer Violent/Revenge for raid)

Belladeon (same as above but for raid and end game should be in Violent rune set)

Necropolis B10-

I won’t really get into Necro B10 too much, because it is seriously end game and PVP oriented, and by the time you are clearing Dragons B10 on auto and TOA Normal, you bloody well ought to have a variety of 4 star or 5 star monsters to make a straight free to play team unlikely for your Necro build.

However, here are some great 3 star monsters to watch for that are ideal for a Necropolis B10 team.

Necropolis has a serious trick to it, speed is capped at a certain level, and the boss has a shield that has to be popped by multiple hits in a turn before you can get through with damage. So they key to building a Necro B10 team is to have monsters that slow the enemy, speed you up, get multiple hits from your key skills, and have a real heavy hitter and great healing.

The key is to tune your team speed very carefully through speed runes in slot 2 and Spd sub stats on runes so that each monster goes at a specific time in the turn. You want the monsters on your team to do multiple attacks to pop the bubble, have defense break applied on the boss, and THEN have your heavy hitting DPS go and beat the hell out of him. At the same time, the boss WILL mind control someone, so you can’t have anyone that is a DPS powerhouse also be so tough you can’t defeat them to regain control.

For Necro B10 ALL monsters are recommended to have Violent/Revenge rune sets for even more multi hits, the core necessity of this fight.

Belladeon (really needs to be Violent/Revenge)

Seren (dark harpu – 3 star, Secret Dungeon) Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/Atk%

Colleen (same as above)

Adrian (fire elf ranger – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Revenge Atk%/CritR%/Atk%

Xiong Fei (runed differently than from the raid description, switch to a Violent/Revenge set

In this list, Seren takes the part of the heavy hitter, Bella applies the defense break, Adrian and Xiong Fei apply multi-attacks, Colleen applies multi-attacks and heals. So you’d likely tune speed for the following turn order; Xiong Fei, Adrian, Colleen, Belladeon, Seren.

I say likely, because this isn’t the actual team I’m going with because I have acquired other 4 star monsters more ideally suited for multi hitting such as Zibrolta, Chilling, Smoky and Lisa. Colleen remains a core part of the team I use though. Colleen is badass.

If you are already doing Necropolis B10 and have a team of free to play monsters you prefer, please share them in the comments, I would love to see your suggestions and as they’d be free to play farmable monsters, I’ll be happy to build and try those teams. Sounds fun!

Checklist of all monsters mentioned in the above teams:

Veromos (dark ifrit – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Shannon (wind pixie 2 star – scrolls) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Bernard (wind griffon 3 star – Tamor Desert) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Belladeon (light inugami – Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Darion (light vagabond 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Energy x3 Hp%/HP%/HP%

Beretta (fire sylph – 4 star Fused) Despair/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Konamiya (water garuda 2 star – Unknown Scroll) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Mikene (water undine – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% early on, Violent/Energy later

Ahman (light bearman 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Violent/Energy HP%/CritR%/HP% 100% crit rating from sub stats

Colleen (fire harpu – 2 star Unknown Scroll, Secret Dungeon, etc) Violent/Revenge HP%/Def%/HP%

Talc (water battle mammoth – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Guard HP%/HP%/Acc%

Spectra (fire griffon – 3 star, Unknown Scrolls and Secret Dungeons) Swift/Blade SPD/HP%/Acc%

Hemos (water grim reaper – 3 star, Unknown Scroll and Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus or Violent/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% or Spd/HP%/HP%

Xiong Fei (fire panda warrior – 5 star Fusion) Guardx2/Energy DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Copper (wind living armor – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Guard x3 DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Seren (dark harpu – 3 star, Secret Dungeon) Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/Atk%

Adrian (fire elf ranger – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Revenge Atk%/CritR%/Atk%


Notes – Secret Dungeons

You can only unlock a Secret Dungeon in an elemental hall, and the Secret Dungeon will be of the same elemental type as that particular days elemental hall. Other dungeons that can be found here are the Hall of Heroes, Angel Garden, Rainbow Garden and Devilmon Caves, usually only on a one weekend per month basis (or during special events).

Concerning the Secret Dungeons.  Not all monsters have a corresponding Secret Dungeon. A good rule of thumb if there is a specific monster you need for a Fusion or as part of a team build is to check the Summoners War Wiki page for that monster and element type. It will show exactly what sources of content can drop that monster, and will tell you if it has a Secret Dungeon that can appear. It will also tell you if it can drop from a particular scenario, meaning it’s easily farmable. This is also a good way to find if there are other places other element types of a monster you have on your team can be farmed, and used as skill ups.

An example of this is the much desired monster Belladeon.  Belladeon is the Light Inugami, and from his description he can come from a Light and Darkness Scroll, the Temple of Wishes, or a Secret Dungeon. Period.

This means that out of three possible ways of getting him, the ONLY way you have any control over is running the Hall of Light on Sunday repeatedly in hopes of unlocking the Light Inugami Secret Dungeon, hoping one of the friends on your friends list unlocks him and you happen to be on for that hour and see it, and also monitoring global chat and asking other players who get unlock it to invite you as a friend. I went into greater detail on this in an earlier post.

The key thing from this though is that the light inugami is a natural 3 star monster. It’s difficult to get, but inugamis of other elements can be acquired by farming various scenarios.

So you can work hard to get your first light inugami, but then farm the Faimon Volcano (Fire), Garen Forest (Water) or Telain Forest (Wind) depending on your team strength to get other monsters to feed to him and level up his skills.

Any difficulty of a scenario has the exact same percentage chance of dropping a 3 star monster on it’s list, so if all you can farm is Garen Forest stage 7 Normal, go for it. Just as likely a water inugami will drop as if you were running it on Hell. It’s a low chance of course, but over 30 or 40 runs you ought to get one… and if you’re farming runes and leveling monsters off the XP, it’s all good.

Summoners War – Runing for Desired Stats

This post is a quick takedown of how to plan your rune needs when building towards a desired stat. I’m going to include links to some outstanding in-depth articles on the fundamentals of equipping Runes, so if you’re unfamiliar with the concept those will be great places to start.

First, if you are new to Runes in Summoners War, please go read this incredibly well done guide for beginners from the Summoners War Sky Arena website. Seriously, it’s a great guide that covers all of the basics about runes.

Second, a more detailed look at min-maxing Runes, really well done and with that lovely thorough testing and mathematical analysis that you and I love can be found here by abs01ut3 in the official Com2US forums.

Reading the first guide while looking at your own monsters and runes, and reading through the second guide while considering the implications should get most of your questions answered.

But the next step is applying all of this to reach your desired goal for a specific monster. That’s what I want to talk about.

Let’s take a single monster and use it as an example for this article.

I’m going to pick Ahman to talk about, although Verdehile would serve just as well. This is the Big Bear Butt blog, and here we be all about dem bears. So Bear it is.

Ahman is the Awakened form of the Light Bearman.


Ahman is a monster that can only be obtained from a Light and Darkness Scroll summon, or be collecting pieces from the Light Bearman Secret Dungeon.

Ahman is a Healing Support unit with a great mix of abilities, and while he is not the best healer in the game, he fills a very solid role on some teams. I use him on my Giants B10 team with Belladeon, I frequently use him on Trial of Ascension (Normal) when I need to get weaker support allies through, and really as a healing tank he’s outstanding considering he’s a 3 star monster when summoned, and can EASILY be fully skilled up by feeding him other Bearman monsters.

What makes Ahman so good, though, is highly dependent on what are considered mid to late game Runes. And therein lies the problem with Ahman.

At max skill level, his #1 ability, the ability that has no cooldown so the one he uses every time everything ELSE is on cooldown, has a 50% chance to Taunt the opponent. Considering all of his other abilities are based on his max health, that means that he is going to be built and runed for high health so he can take those hits he’s taunting off the squishy monsters on your team.

No, that’s all good. That means you are safe planning on using HP% Runes in position 2 and 6.

The problem comes with his core Awakened ability, Crushing Power.


As you can see, Crushing Power is a passive ability, meaning it works all the time, on every attack he makes… as long as that attack was a critical strike.

The shoe drops. To get a 100% certainty that every single time Ahman gets a turn he provides a heal, you will need to Rune Ahman to reach 100% CRI Rate.

To find what your current rate is along with your total health for computing how much that bonus heal is worth, just look at the monster Info screen.


As you can see my Ahman has reached 100% CRI Rate, and my HP (Health) is a total of 29432.

So, every time Ahman attacks the enemy and gets a critical strike, every monster on my team gets 3532 healing.

That ain’t bad.

It all depends on that 100% CRI Rate, though, if you want it to be reliable.

So, how do you plan for what you need?

First, identify what are important. For Ahman, you need to reach 100% CRI Rate as your primary, but anything over 100% is wasted. As your secondary, you want the highest possible health you can get.

That would indicate a few possible rune choices.

Energy runes have a two-piece set bonus of +15% HP. So those will boost your max health, and consequently boost how much YOUR heal is worth.

Blade runes have a two-piece set bonus of +12% CRI Rate. So those can be an early-stage stopgap to bring up your CRI Rate if your substats don’t get the job done. More on substats in a second.

The Runes in slot 2, 4 and 6 each have different special stats they can be. All three can be HP%, DEF%, ATK%, etc.

Each slot also has a special stat that you can ONLY get in that slot.

For example, only slot 2 runes can have SPD. Only slot 6 runes can have accuracy.

And ONLY in slot 4 can one of those special stats be CRI Rate%.

What we want and what the possibilities are write our rune requirements for us. We will want runes in positions 2,4 and 6 that are HP%/CRIRate%/HP%.

Whenever you see rune recommendations, they will usually be in this format of x/x/x and the types of runes.

As an example, For Ahman maybe you’d recommend to a brand new player “Start out with Energy/Blade x2, HP%/CRate%/HP%.

What that means is you’re suggesting they use two Energy runes, four Blade runes (2x the two piece bonus) and that in slot 2 you have a HP% rune, slot 4 you have a CRI Rate% rune and in slot 6 another HP% rune.

That’s all well and good, but the reason we’re discussing Ahman is he’s a special case. He is one of those monsters that has a specific cap we’re shooting for. We have a target we want to reach and a plan for how to get there.

We want 100% Crit.

To know what we need to do we need to know two things. What Ahman’s base Crit Rating is at max level 40 / 6 star, and what the max value our CRI Rate% rune can reach once we level it all the way to +15.

To find Ahman’s base CRI Rate, something you will notice you CANNOT see once you have any CRI Rate runes on him at all, you can find the info on your favorite database website.

My website for choice that I love referring to for everything is the Summoners War Wiki.

By referring to the page for Ahman, you can see his base CRI Rate is 15%.


It also gives you a good idea of the stats of your monster as you level him up, so you can compare him with others for the role you’re using him for (such as maybe a single target nuker attacker) and see if at max level he’s going to be as powerful as others you have as options.

So here we can see we’re starting with 15% CRI Rate, and everything else will have to come from runes.

Our next step is to see how much we can get out of that CRI Rate % slot 4 rune. What it can become is based on one thing; it’s star quality. A 1 star quality rune can be leveled up to +15 just like a 6 star rune, it just has far, FAR lower potential stats.

Here is an extremely useful chart that provides you with the exact values you will get from a given rune based on star quality and stat type;


This chart came from that excellent Min/Maxing Runes guide by abs01ut3 on the Com2US forums I linked to at the beginning of the post.

From that chart you can see that if you get a 6 star CRI Rate% rune, and level it up fully to +15, it will have +58% CRI Rate on it.

Do the math. If base Crit is 15% and the slot 4 rune fully maxed is 58%, you’re at 73%. Even if you had two sets of Blade runes, that only gives you another 24% Crit, leaving you at 97%.

So what do you do?

This is where substats come into play, and also where you start to see the depth and detail this game can have.

You see, every rune has it’s base stat which improves as you level it.

However, as you level a rune, it also acquires BONUS stats. Every time you level a rune to 3, 6, 9 and 12 it acquires a new bonus stat. Completely at random. The only hard and fast rule seems to be that you can’t double up on a stat, so for example a Slot 2 SPD rune won’t proc a SPD bonus stat. Because the stat is already on it, got it?

Okay, so WTF, you’re thinking you get the rune of your dreams to drop, an Energy slot 2 6 star quality rune with HP% on it, but then it’s crap and you can’t use it because after you invest a ton of Mana Crystals in it to level it up, it never procs CRi Rating as a bonus stat, OMG, right?

Well, yeah, kinda. It all depends on if you get enough CRI Rate on other runes as substats to make up for it.

See, there is a way to rig the system in your favor.

Sometimes your runes can drop as or be purchased in the Mystic Shop as a boosted quality, just like World of Warcraft gear. All runes are acquired as level 1 runes with a star rating from 1 to 6, but they also have a color rating.

White runes start with zero bonus stats. Green runes start with 1 bonus stat already on it. Blue runes start with 2 bonus stats. Purple runes start with three bonus stats, and orange runes start with four.

There can ALSO be a bonus stat directly under the core type of rune. It’s not in the bonus stat list, it’s under the rune type itself, like right under the big bold “ATK%” there might be a smaller rune type like “HP%”.

All these extra stats are your substats. The extra stat that might be listed immediately under the stat name will never increase in power. What it be is what it be, bro. You know?

The other runes, the ones a bit lower down and off to the left, those are the bonus stats in the positions you WOULD have gotten them as you leveled up the rune.

Guess what?

When you do level the rune up, when you reach +3, instead of giving you a bonus stat, you instead get one of those substats INCREASED by a solid amount. Which stat is chosen at random each time, but this means that +3% CRI Rate substat on your blue rune, when you hit rank 3 might get boosted to be more powerful. And a blue rune would normally get TWO bonus substats, so you get two chances at having that CRI Rate substat boosted.

Here is an example of a rune that starts at level 1 5 star but is a green quality, and has one substat.


This is where you game the system.

You look for not just a rune that is the type and start quality you want, you also look for one that has the substat you want already on it, knowing that it gives you a chance when leveling it up to get some REALLY tasty CRI Rating bonus.

Let’s take a look at one of my runes, for example.


This is my slot 2 HP% Rune. You can see it’s not Energy or Blade, it’s Violent. I’ll talk about that in a second.

The important this is to look at the substats. In this case, I have +6% CRI Rate from this rune, and that came from this rune starting with CRI Rate already on it, and then getting boosted again while leveling.

I have another rune with a substat of +11% CRI Rating. That one I really hit the jackpot on, bt it happened because I knew to look for a rune that already had the right substat on it, and in that case it started out as orange quality so I had FOUR chances for CRI Rate to be the stat that got boosted… and it actually happened 3 times. So glorious.


This rune is only level +12, and can continue to be leveled to +15. However, +12 is the last rank that you get a bonus stat, so it’s the last rank where your substats have a chance to get boosted. That’s why I stopped there for right now. Well, that and I forgot I wasn’t done leveling it yet, lol.

See, when you reach your final 3 level multiplier at +15, instead of boosting a substat or getting a new one, your MAIN stat gets boosted a lot instead. In this case, when that Violent slot 3 rune reaches level 15, it’s going to be worth 160 Defense, as you saw on that leveling chart up above. Great, especially for a tanking healer, but not critical right this second.

So those are all the fundamentals for planning out your rune goals.

In this case, you might have to start out with three sets of Blade runes for that +36% CRI Rate, but as you get better runes with solid CRI Rate substats, you can begin to switch runes out.

Now, why am I running Violent Energy?

Because Violent is considered the backbone Rune set of end game, with that great bonus chance at getting an extra turn, and when you heal your team for 3000+ health PER MONSTER every time you attack, getting an extra turn is just… beautiful. I’ve seen Ahman pop off three attacks on his turn and top everyone to full, and it’s just wonderful. Add that in to his taunt on skill 1, and multiple strikes in a turn give an even better chance to pull an enemy off of a weaker buddy.

The problem with Violent runes is you can only get them from the Magic Shop, or as drops from the Dragons dungeon. Dragons rune farming is where it’s all about, but to get there you have to get your Giants rune farming locked down first and farm some sweet runes there. Starter runes, but still solid ones like Fatal and Energy.

See, Energy and Blade runes are easy to farm, coming as they do from Garen Forest, Kabir Ruins and the Giants dungeon. That being said, If you have to use all Blade sets to get to the CRI Rate requirement, your max health will suffer for it, reducing the amount of the heal you’re getting.

This is exactly why you’ll see most people recommend Ahman as a powerful mid to late game niche healer. By the time you are able to get the Violent runes with the CRI Rate substats to get the most use out of his abilities, you’re already well past Giants and the regular campaign.

This makes other healers such as Belladeon, Colleen and Rakaja far more useful in the beginning, being easy to get and max skill up, but using easier to acquire rune sets to get the most out of them.

To recap.

Find out the base stat for the Awakened monster, what stats are most needed to maximize the effectiveness of the skills that matter to you, what main runes can have those stats and by how much, what rune types can give you set bonuses to help, and finally what substats you need as well.

You might think my Ahman is pretty good. max level 6 star monster, optimal rune set with Violent/Energy, 100% Crit and almost 30,000 health.

What if I were to tell you that the top Ahman I’ve seen on the global server has all that, but with a max health of over 36000 health?

That extra 6000 health is all from substats. He not only has the CRI Rate% on his substats, but he has lots of HP% in his subs as well.

I did good on mine, but I didn’t take it anywhere near as far as it could go. And the higher that max health, the higher the heal every single team member gets per strike.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. I really do. There is a lot of pleasure to be had in carefully planning out a goal to max the power of a monster for what you want it to do.

Most of my runes were bought over several months from the Magic Shop. I knew what perfect runes I was looking for, and when I saw that 5 star HP% slot 2 Violent rune in blue condition with CRI Rate subs, I snapped that SOB up no matter that it was 400,000 Mana Crystals or more. Because I knew that there rune was like solid gold for my Ahman.

I guess it’s like the rush a dedicated antique collector feels seeing that perfect piece in crappy condition in the back of someone’s barn. You know what it is and what it’s worth, and that makes the acquisition all the more satisfying.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

When introducing your son to Star Wars goes horribly wrong

A long time ago I mentioned my son was finally reaching an age where I could share all of my favorite geek movies with him.

I even specifically mentioned Star Wars.

I never shared the aftermath.

You see, it all went terribly, horribly wrong.

Let’s face it, when you have kids one of the best things is watching them grow up. It’s so cool. One day they’re like this and it’s awesome, but then some time passes and they’re bigger, more nuanced, and it’s awesome in a completely new way.

But they can’t handle all the neat things you want to show them on day one. You have to plan it out.

You have to wait for that optimum juxtaposition between youth (still interested in neat stuff), maturity (able to grasp just how COOL the neat stuff is), and naiveté (still thinks Dad could potentially have a remote clue what is cool, the poor deluded waif).

Star Wars is one of those things.

So is Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I blew it with that one. I introduced my son to Raiders of the Lost Ark too soon, not anticipating the reception a cave full of spiders and skeletons with spears sticking out of their heads might get. Also, he had no idea what nazis were or why it’s so much fun to hate them and okay to cheer on a bunch of Nazis getting incinerated by the breath of God. Kind of like how it’s okay to hate fat old white men now, if you see them getting tortured or killed that’s all right then. Just, you know, nobody else. But white guys, that’s funny TV. White men; society’s modern Nazi. He didn’t have the correct cultural conditioning to know when you see a Nazi, you’re eagerly waiting to see how the foul beast will die, and I consider that a failing on my part.

Oh come on, you know I’m right. Take the book “The Keep”by F. Paul Wilson. The book is basically you watching eagerly as a team of Nazi SS get eaten by a hideous nightmare creature, and yes the point of the book is to be conflicted over watching a hideous monster eating people and feeling “well, but what if it eats someone I care about?” It’s wrong to root for the monster.

Nice piece of work pointing out the fallacy inherent in ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. No, the enemy of my enemy is just my enemys’ enemy, no more, no less. My apologies to Howard Taylor, I know it’s his line.

Great book, though.

Wait. Where was I going… oh right, Star Wars. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nazis. Fat white guys.

Okay, back on track.

I tried to introduce my son to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and instead of falling in love with the adventure he got creeped out by spiders and things that stick spears through your head. That can happen.

Lesson learned. I held off on Star Wars. Some things, you just can’t rush. It’s not worth the risk.

It was great fun to debate the HOW of introducing him to Star Wars, too.

Obviously, you can’t start with the books, the expanded universe, anything like that. You have to go with the movies; the foundation of all things.


To Jar-Jar or not to Jar-Jar.

Or to bottom line it… Watch Phantom Menace knowing the truth of Darth Vader’s origin or not?

I grew up with the movies, so I can’t make an unbiased decision. I watched them in the theater in real time.

I lived the life geeks of a certain age experienced after Star Wars came out in theaters. All we had were playing cards showing scenes from the movie in little packs with cardboard we were told was gum, action figures that I somehow thought were great even though modern toys make them look like blister-packed piles of cat poo wearing Jawa cloth swatches, and a book.

That book.

You know that book.

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, by Alan Dean Foster.

Talk about trying to get a kid to hate Star Wars… that damn book. I won’t say it’s a bad book, but let me tell you, when that wikipedia article says it was written so it could be filmed as a low budget sequel… well.

Can you imagine telling an author to write a book of science fiction about an amazing adventure, but hey, make sure it’s like, not too cool or awesome or uses the imagination TOO much or it’ll be too expensive to film on the cheap?

Hey, now I know what hell must be for writers. Wonderful.

Anyway. 1978 was lean times for a Star Wars fan who had an imagination burning in the glow of the fires of a million lightsabers.

And nothing, NOTHING fired the imagination as much as the most brilliant marketing ploy of all time; releasing the fourth part of the story FIRST.

OMG, I can’t even begin to describe the flights of fancy and ‘what ifs’ dancing around what stories might have been in those first three stories we didn’t see.

The word on the big fan magazines like Fangora, Starlog and Questar was that there would be six movies! They were going to give us episodes five and six to finish the trilogy, then go back and do the first three!

Yeah, geeks our age didn’t realize what time meant. We thought that meant, like, next year. It ws only three years until Empire came out, but a lot changes in a child in three years, man.

Shit, High School, the entirety of High School, is only four years long. Fucking eternity.

Star Wars Episode IV came out in 1977. I saw it in theaters in 1977. I was 9 years old.

I had no idea what the heck it was going to be. Nobody did. And I know nobody cares, water under the bridge. It’s only relevant because if I saw it at 9, that must be the right age. Right?

I decided no. I saw it, I loved it, I didn’t really fully understand it. That took nothing away from my enjoyment of it, not at all. pretty simple story, really. I grokked it.

But the sequel didn’t come out until 3 years later, in 1980. When I was twelve.

The Empire Strikes Back is, arguably, the best movie of the series, especially for shattering expectations.

But how much of that awesomeness was enhanced by having to wait three years speculating on what would come next in the third and final part of the trilogy in 1983?

1983. I was in High School. Only six years from start to finish, but I went from age nine to fifteen. BIG changes there.

How would all this play out now to a kid that has not just all three original trilogy films at the touch of his hands in an easy to watch format that tore apart all that was good and decent in the world by making it look like Greedo shot first and Han was slow in returning fire when clearly Han shot first establishing that he was an unscrupulous rogue that didn’t sit there like a patsy waiting to get killed by the first nerf herder fresh off the fields with his daddy’s blaster thinking to make a quick credit off a bounty by Jabba the Hutt?

Um. Sorry. I have issues. Unresolved issues.

Anyway, my son doesn’t have years to sit around waiting for sequels to be made, letting the anticipation and excitement build. He’s got instant gratification waiting, the whole damn thing sitting right there available for a weekend marathon.

Gotta do the original trilogy first. Have to build that suspense. The big reveal. “Luke, I am your father.” “I love you. I know.”

I mean, come on, has to be the original trilogy first. But what age?

I settled on twelve. Twelve is a good age, right? Twelve is the right age to appreciate Empire, and you know as soon as Star Wars is done you’ve gotta pop in Empire.

So, we waited.

I bought the movies on blu-ray. I prepared.

When I felt the day had come, I asked him if he’d like to watch Star Wars with me. You know, the original classic.

“No, that’s okay. I already know what it’s all about.”


“Oh sure, I’ve seen the story plenty of times before.”

This required further investigation.

It turns out, get this, it turns out that he’s seen the entire thing before. Oh, but not the MOVIES.

No, no, what he saw is the story… in every form EXCEPT the movies.

So there are these cartoons called Lego Star Wars, maybe you’ve heard of them? Apparently they are Lego’s way of FUCKING RUINING STAR WARS FOR AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF CHILDREN BY PITCHING THE CARTOONS AT A YOUNGER AGE THAN THE FUCKING MOVIES ARE INTENDED.

Those worthless fucks.

So I thought I was going to be introducing my son to the greatest character that has ever breathed life to a screen, like this;


And instead, children’s cartoons introduced my son to this;


Are you kidding me?

No. No, that’s real. That’s my son’s introduction to Star Wars. And to Darth Vader, thank you very much.

That, and apparently every single other cartoon that had writers strapped for original story ideas who decided, “Hey, in this episode let’s phone it in and do a Star Wars mockup, everyone loves those.”

You know, like Phineas and Ferb.

It’s been a thing. A big thing. And it’s been in his face since he was a baby, apparently. All his life he’s seen the Star Wars stuff played out in parody form over, and over, and over.

It was already too late before kindergarten was done.

I tell you, I begin to see why you’re supposed to isolate the kids from TV, this shit poisons their youth.

Do you know how I got my son even vaguely interested in watching Star Wars with me?

I promised him that he’d be able to see where his favorite Star Wars: Battlefront level, the attack on the Ice Planet Hoth, originally came from.

I had to promise him he’d get to see the actual attack on the rebel base of Hoth! He already knew all about it, but he’d never actually SEEN THE DAMN THING.

Not only did he know there WAS a battle between the Empire and the Rebellion on Hoth, but he’d taken part in it. He’d taken down AT-AT walkers with a harpoon already. Himself. Personally.

Shit, he’d personally flown speeders through the forest moon of fucking Endor chasing down Stormtroopers before he ever saw Return of the Jedi!

How fucked is that. No, seriously, this is bullshit and also awesome, but there is an intended sequence of events here that has been violated like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Causality has become warped beyond measure. I require a time travel device and jellybabies. Also, a multi-colored scarf. Stat.

I eventually got him to watch the movies. Grudgingly. Kinda cranky. They’re so old, after all. He already knows what happens.

Star Wars Rebels, now that’s cool. He likes that. And he did like the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He did.

He didn’t love it, though. It was ‘all right’. Not as cool as Star Wars Rebels, after all, but pretty nice. A movie for us old folks.

It’s a nightmare. 

The whole thing has caused me to look at my long lists of movies and TV shows I wanted to share and realize, much as I expect my own father did, by the time they’re old enough to be old enough, your shit is TOO FUCKING OLD TO BE COOL.

I find myself remembering vaguely his efforts to get me to realize just how awesome The Beatles were. Like, The Beatles, man. THE BEATLES.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. They’re okay, I guess. Funny cartoon about a yellow submarine, crappy art style but okay.

And Elvis. Really, dad? Elvis? Gee, what next, the Beaver? Little Rascals? Holy crap, the ’20s called, they want their tired old black and white crap back. Maybe you heard we’ve got this thing now called color?

That’s me.

I put Spaced Invaders on, I thought he’d love that. He was so bored we shut it off after 15 minutes. “Who died and put you in charge?” “Captain Bipko.” Ah, that never gets old.

Or The Last Starfighter. “What do we do?” {Eyepiece flip} “We die.” He watched it, it was okay. He watched it dutifully in an attempt to make me happy. That’s all.

You want to know what the only true geek thing I’ve been able to share with him is?

Mobile Suit Gundam models and anime. He LOVES building Gundam models, and he also loves the best anime shows I’ve let him watch, like Fullmetal Alchemist and Sword Art Online.

So it’s not my shit that’s wrong, I just have to fall back, dump the old versions of it, and pick the newer, high speed low drag awesome versions to introduce him to.

I have to use the newest cutting edge geek stuff to give him a taste, then stand back and hope his own interest will drive him into archaeological research into the darkest origins of the art form.

Like how I once dipped my toe into Dark Side of the Moon and that drove me down the full path of Pink Floyd love.

Fucking Lego Star Wars.

You know, he doesn’t read comic books? I have a whole wall of Ultimate Spider-Man, he wants nothing to do with them.

But he likes the cartoons. But he doesn’t LOVE them.

No, what he loves is Rabbids. Rabbids and Teen Titans Go.

Okay. He loves Teen Titans Go.

I can live with that.

Seriously though. If you’ve got kids, you watch that early morning cartoon shit like a hawk. LIKE A HAWK.

You’ve been warned.

Summoners War – Glory Points

When you get started in Summoners War, you begin fighting in the Arena on day one. For every loss against another real player, you earn 1 Glory Point, and for every victory against a real player you earn anywhere from 2, 3 or more Glory Points.

If you are fighting in the 900 – 1100 Arena Rating range as I recommend you focus on when starting, going up and down the ratings to stay within a viable point farming league, you should consistently see 3 Glory Points per win.

That may not sound like much, but they all add up. You should realistically be able to reach a minimum of 200 Glory Points a week at the very beginning, and could easily reach 600 or more in a few months as you level up and Awaken / Rune some natural four star quality monsters for your team.

So… why care about Glory Points? What do you want to use them for? Are they good for anything?

In the in-game shop there is a tab specifically called the Glory Shop where everything you can buy with Glory Points are listed. And there are a lot of buildings in there, as well as some immediately gratifying, nay tempting items for purchase.

Probably the most tempting items to purchase in the Glory Shop are the summoning scrolls. For 240 Glory Points you could purchase a Mystical Scroll once a week, giving you a guarantee of a three star monster summons, and it could, COULD strike lightning and be a four or even five natural star monster!

It’s called striking lighting because when you perform the summoning of a monster, the screen has an animation it displays, and when you proc a super bonus like a higher ranking of monster (or an awakened version of a monster) then lightning bolts dress the whole thing up. It’s very satisfying.

On a side note, you can get lightning when a monster you summon just randomly comes as the Awakened version. When a monster is summoned as an Awakened, it comes as one star quality higher than normal. If you were to summon a three star Fire Inugami, for example, and it procced as the Awakened type from a Mystical Scroll, then it would appear full Awakened, named Raoq, and be four stars in quality with the namx possible level of 30. Still only level 1, but it’s already been leveled up to a four star and Awakened for you.

Pretty cool, right? Yeah, except don’t be surprised when you see people telling other people “RIP” in chat when someone summons a five star monster… because what they summoned was a natural FOUR star monster that came as Awakened. RIP as in “Dude you got RIPped off.”

I can only imagine how much it must suck to summon a monster, see lightning strike, have it be a five star monster… and then realize it was Awakened so it’s really a natural four star. Like, YAHOO!!! oh damnitall. Still good, but it wasn’t Zaiross, know what I mean?

Anyway, there are more summoning scrolls than just the once per week Mystical Scroll in the Glory Shop. You could also, for only 300 Glory Points, purchase a summoning scroll dedicated to one particular element. The scrolls work exactly the same as a Mystical Scroll with a three star or better monster, you just get to specify whether it be a Fire, Water or Wind monster.

It’s so tempting. I mean, it could be a four or five star! It could happen.

If I said I never bought one, I’d be lying. I’ve purchased the scrolls many, many times. And I’ve been wrong to do it every single time. But that temptation of a chance at riding the lightning is very, very strong.

There are far better things to spend Glory Points on.

When you just start out, your number one Glory Point priority every single week is to amass points until you can purchase your once-per-week Devilmon. Do this every single week. Don’t ever miss. Nothing else in that store is ever more valuable than getting your Devilmon for the week. You use them to skill up monsters, and you should save them for use on a monster that is a natural four or five star, because the three star monsters can get skilled up by feeding them other three stars of the same type… and you’ll see plenty of the three star monsters of that type over a few months.

Good luck finding 10 or 12 natural five star monsters to skillup just one. No, you save those Devilmon to sink into your first Veromos or something similar that is a total badass you will want maxed out.

Saving them for Veromos unless you get a different great natural four or five star monster first is a smart bet. Don’t waste them skilling up Belladeon, for example, because you can farm Inugamis to feed to Belladeon from Faimon Volcano, Telain Forest and Garen Forest. They ain’t rare.

So, step one every week, buy a Devilmon. Seriously, if you had any idea how critical that is…

So what else to spend Glory Points on?

You’ll quickly earn more than the 180 pts per week you need for a Devilmon.

Your second purchasing priority is the Mysterious Plant. NOT scrolls! Save up your Red Premium Crystals to buy the 750 Crystal Premium Packs, that’ll net you 11 Mystical Scrolls in one pop, AND get you Mana Crystals and Angelmon to feed to them to level them up. The feeling of summoning 11 monsters from Mystical Scrolls is far more satisfying than just one.

The Mysterious Plant has ten levels. It costs more Glory Points every time you level it up, but it’s well worth it.

Energy is the resource in the game you use to do any activity. The Mysterious Plant speeds up how quickly you regain Energy once you spend it. The faster your Energy regenerates, the more play time you get without being tempted to spend Red Crystals on Energy refills.

Max out your Mysterious Plant to level 10 as your number two priority.

Your third priority after the Mysterious Plant is also Energy related; max out the Sanctum of Energy.

The Sanctum of Energy is another building that has ten levels. Each level gives you a +1 to your max possible Energy.

Now, it may seem stupid to spend all those Glory Points for a measly +10 Energy. WRONG.

What you have to remember is this is a big game, and Energy is your resource for doing everything cool. The more the better.

The time will come when you reach level 50 as a player. When you do, your max Energy without the Sanctum of Energy building is 80. Maxing the Sanctum tacks on another 10.

You go to sleep at night, you wake up to 90 Energy instead of 80 ready to burn through quickly on 3 guild wars battles(30), 3 World Boss battles (30), one Giants B10 run (8), one Hall of Magic B10 run (8), one Hall of Essence run (8) and three runs through Faimon Volcano hell level 1 with a friend’s monster along (15) to complete all the daily accomplishments. Do them all every day plus the Arena and summoning/leveling stuff, it’s a free ten red crystals, after all.

But okay, so what?

With a maxed out Sanctum of Energy, every time you spend 30 red crystals in the shop to recharge your Energy, you’re getting an extra ten Energy for free.

So what again, right?

Listen up my friends.

There will come a time when you will want to spend your red crystals on Energy recharges instead of 750 crystal Premium Packs.

That time comes right around when you can clear the Caiross Dungeons Giants level B10 100% of the time, and begin farming it for the best 5 and 6 star runes.

At that point, running Giants B8 – B10 constantly and using red crystals to recharge your Energy will get you as many if not more Mystical Scrolls as random drops as the same amount of Crystals spent in a single 750 block getting 11 scrolls from the shop.

And at the same time, you’re getting damn good runes, Rainbowmon drops, regular scrolls, and items you can eventually use to craft specific runes or other stuff from the new crafting shop.

So long term, you will come to a point where you will stop spending crystals on Premium Packs. And at that point, you will cherish your super fast Energy recharge rate and extra +10 Energy max cap.

Okay, so you max both buildings. NOW what? It’s Mystical Scroll time, right?

Wrong again, turkey breath.

There is one more key building that is a must have, and it will suck down all your Glory Points for a long time to come;

The Sky Tribe Totem.

See, there are other buildings you can buy in the Glory Shop, and they are unique in that they are like extra rune effects that apply to ALL your monsters, ALL the time, EVERYWHERE.

The Sky Tribe Totem is a building with ten levels or stages just like the Sanctum of Energy or the Mysterious Plant, and what it does is increases your speed. ALL your monsters speed. ALL the time, not just in the Arena.

In this game, speed is king. Most of the best synergies come from combining fast monsters that buff your teams’ speed with monsters that slow the enemy team down. More turns for you, less turns for them. And more speed for you means more turns as well, and going first to get your stuns on them before they have a chance to blink.

To go from zero to a level 10 Sky Tribe Totem will cost you, in total, 11,400 Glory Points.

Buckle up sally, that’s gonna be a long ride.

But in the end, that level 10 Sky Tribe Totem will provide every single monster on your team in EVERY piece of content in the game a +15% increase to their core base Speed stat.

For normal monsters, that’s great. For a monster that has a high core speed like Bernard and which you’ll equip with the best Speed rune you can get in slot 2, it’s insane.

That +15% Speed boost will make your life and success in the game easier in ways you can’t begin to anticipate. The only place it really won’t help is in the Necropolis, where there is a hard speed cap of I believe an effective speed of 140.

Once you’ve finished that building, sure, you want to spend them somewhere else by all means go ahead.

But by the time you have played Summoners War long enough to have amassed enough Glory Points to have purchased all three of those buildings to max, you’ll probably know ore about the game and be better at it than I am, and you can come back and tell ME what the next step should be. 🙂

Summoners War – Getting Started

Hello, and welcome to a big chunk of text. What we used to call a bearwall back in the day.

If you have no interest in Summoners War on mobile devices, move along citizen, nothing to see here.

The purpose of this post will be to give a beginning player of Summoners War an overview of all the early content and some advice for getting started and what “free to play” 2 or 3 star monsters to watch out for and save for future teams.

I’m sure I’ll go into greater detail on various sections in future posts. Once you see how long this ridiculous thing is, you’ll understand why I just scratch the surface on a given topic.

Summoners War is a game I enjoy a great deal. It has a ton of content, different potential goals and styles of play, and it’s one of the games that you can play on multiple mobile devices by setting up a Facebook or Com2Us account.

That last bit is very important to me. I play on the go on my phone while traveling, but at home I like playing on the larger screen of a tablet. Summoners War allows me to play my one account hot swappable between devices by logging in on the new device. I personally have done it both ways, Facebook and Com2Us account, and lately I prefer the password entry of the Com2Us account. Some locations have Facebook blocked on WiFi, so it’s just easier.

What I’m going to discuss below are the things I wish a friend had clued me in on the first few weeks.

Beginning gameplay modes.

When you first start the game, the tutorial leads you through accessing four sections of game content;

1) The PvP area called the Arena. This is a 4 monster vs 4 monster battle, one stage. You throw 4 of your monsters at a static defense set up by a player. Victory brings increased rank and Glory Points you can use to buy monster summoning scrolls, buildings and building upgrades and DEVILMON in the store.

2) The main PvE gamemap of progression called Scenarios, where you use a team of 4 of your monsters vs three waves of AI controlled monsters. You can use one of your friends monsters to assist you in this mode.

Each Scenario area has 7 stages of battle and three difficulty settings from Normal to Hard and ending in Hell mode. They are typically themed around a specific element, each drops a particular type of rune stone (the equipment that you use to customize monster abilities), and you can farm a particular rune stone by choosing which stage you will clear. Stage 1 drops rune stone slot #1, Stage 4 drops rune stone slot #4, etc.

Stage 7 is unique in that it’s always a boss fight, and can drop any of the runes from any of the stages, potentially at a higher rank/power. Thus, if you are farming a particular rune from a Scenario, the very best runes have the potential to drop from Hell Stage 7 of that Scenario, but what you get is still random and will take many runs to get 5 star runes.

The Scenarios can also drop monsters of 1 to 3 star quality. You can see which monsters each scenario has the potential to drop, and thus farm for the specific monster you want.

Scenarios are the primary location you will run content to level up monsters.

3) The PvE section called the Caiross Dungeons. This location has various Dungeons, each with 10 increasing stages of difficulty. Thus, when someone describes “Dragons B10” they’re talking about the 10th and most difficult level of the Dragons Caiross Dungeon.

The Caiross Dungeons (Giants, Dragon and Necropolis or Lich) are where the truly GOOD max level rune stones can be acquired, up to the max of 6 star runes.

They can also drop random rewards other than runes, like Mystic Scrolls and Rainbowmon (generic monsters that are pre-leveled for you to accelerate your improving your own monsters). The first Dungeon you are recommended to attempt is Giants, since it is where the good basic runes drop. Basic runes are Fatal, Blade, Energy, etc.

Next once you’ve mastered building a team and farming Giants is Dragons, which requires a different style of team to combat, followed by the Necropolis which has a serious trick to the mechanics of the final boss, and strategies around it typically include Mikune the Water Undine or another monster that can resurrect other monsters mid-fight.

The Caiross Dungeons are 5 monster vs 5 wave dungeons, with the final boss having support crystals to either side. You can use a friend’s monster to assist your team here.

Within the Caiross Dungeons are also found the Halls of Elements, or elemental dungeons. These are where you can find Dungeons themed to the game elements. These also have ten stages of difficulty, but they only have three waves of monsters to face.

You need essences of the various elements, along with Magic Essence to ‘Awaken’ monsters to their special state, improving their stats and often granting new or boosted powers. A monster only ever needs to be Awakened once, but you’ll find yourself farming these essences frequently when you get a good monster you want to Awaken.

4) Guild Wars. There are in-game guilds, and these guilds can participate in Guild vs Guild PvP wars that have a 6 day duration. The guild can participate in either 10 player vs 10 player, or 20 vs 20 battle. There are typically two kinds of Guilds – farming guilds and progression guilds. You use a team of only 3 monsters in Guild Wars, and you cannot use friend monsters so strategies change dramatically as opposed to the Arena. Another trick is that there are three battles per Guild War match, and inside each battle are two teams of three that you have to face. If one of your monsters dies in any match, you can’t use it again for the rest of that particular series of three.

You really, REALLY want to find a farming guild to join as fast as possible, even at low levels. There is a specific guild currency you get from participating in and winning guild battles, and you use this currency to purchase 4 star Rainbowmon that give you a MASSIVE jump up in getting a monster to 6 star status. You can only buy one per week at 150 currency cost, but that one little purchase saves you hours of using Energy to level multiple 2 or 3 star monsters up and feeding them to others.

The sequence of upgrading quality goes like this. You level a monster to max level, and then it can be upgraded to the next star rank by feeding it other similar star level monsters.

For a 2 star monster, you have to level it to 20 and feed it two other 2 star monsters to upgrade it to a 3 star.

For a 3 star monster, you level it to 25 and feed it three other 3 star monsters to make a 4 star.

For a 4 star monster, you level it to 30 and feed it four other 4 star monsters to upgrade it to a 5 star.

Finally, to upgrade a monster to the absolute max of 6 star, you have to take your chosen 5 star level 35 monster and feed it five other 5 star monsters.

If you started with nothing but 2 star monsters that is one SHIT load of monsters leveling and feeding and leveling and feeding.

So, being able to purchase for a few days worth of Guild Wars activity a single pre-max leveled 4 star Rainbowmon ready to be instantly upgraded to a 5 star monster is huge. Yes, you still need to have four 4 star monsters to feed it, but trust me, you come to love the Guild Shop.

150 Guild Points, that’s not much to earn per week, even at low levels, and if all you can buy once a week when starting is one of these from Guild Wars, it’s still huge.

The other big thing you can buy are summoning pieces for 5 star Ifrits, super powerful monsters. Badasses. Must haves. Great for PvE and PvP alike. This is one of your two only routes to a guaranteed natural 5 star monster. It takes 100 pieces to summon a random elemental Ifrit, it costs 450 guild currency to buy 10 pieces, and you can buy a total of 20 pieces in a single week.

For comparison, after something like nine months of playing, I have two natural 5 star monsters I’ve gotten from Mystic Scrolls, three natural 5 stars from Fusion and two Ifrits from Guild Wars summoning pieces. I’d have more Ifrits, but I didn’t join a guild for a LONG time. I didn’t know any better.

Even in a farming guild I can usually only buy a single 4 star Rainbowmon and 10 Ifrit summoning pieces in a given week. Some weeks maybe 20 pieces, sometimes not. But even at 10 pieces a week, that is one natural 5 star every ten weeks. I’ll take that. So focus on Rainbowmon and Ifrit pieces each week. Those are your bread and butter.

A brief note on farming guilds vs progression guilds. A farming guild exists to fight low level opponents for easy victories even with low level players, to farm guild currency. You set a very weak defense, and that is what your opponents will fight. Your defense, once set, stays that way. When you are on offence, you get to pick your team members to suit the opponent’s makeup, so you get to plan a strategy against static defenses.

A farming guild intentionally has every member set the weakest low level 1 star single monster defense or similar to make it easy for the enemy to destroy you… keeping your rank low so the guilds that you are faced with are ALSO super low level, and will typically also have super easy defenses for you to crush and earn points.

One thing to be careful of is that you want the max number of members in your guild battle. If you only run with a team of twelve in a 20 v 20, there aren’t enough of you to get completely pounded into kibble by the enemy, and so your rank never really lowers enough to stay in the easy farming range. Basically, with only half the total health available to pound you can only take half the damage and drop half the rank. So you creep up over the week into harder and harder fights, where you’re not earning any damn currency.

At that point, recruit more members or leave to join a new guild. Or form your own. You totally can, you know.

Also, you have to watch people in Guilds. You can check other members defenses. If you create your own guild just to farm properly, make sure everyone has a super low defense. I frequently see guilds recruit for farming, and never communicate to the members what a farming guild means, so the new members set defenses as high as they can manage wanting to do the best they can, not realizing they’re shooting the whole team in the foot.

You can look at the other members in your guild and see what they set for a defense as well as who is or is not attacking. Don’t hesitate to find out if some guild members have drifted away from the game, and replace them with new active players.

The guild wars run Monday through Saturday, two battles a day (usually resetting midnight and noon so you have twelve hours to participate in each phase of the war) and then Sunday there are no battles as the results are tallied and rewards are given.

Aside from the guild currency, the weekly reward for progression are Summoning Stones and epeen. So, the higher your rank and also your individual participation within your guild, the more Summoning Stone currency you earn each week to summon 3 star or better monsters. This is what Progression Guilds go for.

Don’t hesitate to watch the chat channels, and expect the guilds to advertise for new members every Sunday for the upcoming war. If you leave a guild, you CANNOT JOIN A NEW GUILD FOR TWELVE HOURS. Just a heads up, if you intend to leave your guild, do so minutes after getting your Summoning Stone reward on Sunday morning so you can join a new one that evening.

If you are in a guild, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING, you get a certain amount of guild currency every day based on their success. So if you get in a farming guild but they don’t field you every day or every match, don’t fear, you will still earn some guild currency. Just make sure the guild leaders know you are happy and eager to fight or sideline, whatever they need. Time enough to want more action in wars once you’ve played longer and have a stable of monsters to give you tactical choices.

If you are very active (able to fight twice a day) it’s all good. Most guilds will be happy to have you.

Later on in the course of leveling, you will unlock additional gameplay areas.

These additional higher-level areas include;

1) The PvE 100 level Tower of Ascension that is really two 100 level towers, because there is a normal mode and a hard mode, each with it’s own separate lockout. The Tower of Ascension, once unlocked, resets each month so you have a solid month to tackle ascending the 100 floors. Each floor gives you loot, and as you get higher, the loot gets much, much better. Really damn good, well worth hitting that sucker. As you’d expect.

You use a 5 monster team in the Tower of Ascension. You cannot use a friends monster.

You can get some serious good loot from here. Summoning Stones, Crystals (premium currency), Mystic Scrolls, at higher levels even Devilmon, Legendary Scrolls and Light and Darkness Scrolls.

2) World Boss. This is a PvE battle you can face up to 3 times every day. Each of the three battles will take away some of the health of the world boss, and everyone in your region is attacking the same world boss health, so it takes him about 4 to 5 days to die. You are graded on how much damage you dealt in each of the three individual battles that day, and you get loot randomly based on the damage. When the world boss dies, your overall total damage done to him for the entire time he was up is added together, and you get some SERIOUS Crystals (premium currency) as a reward depending on how you did.

To take on the world boss, you have to field a team of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 monsters, each with a minimum level of 30. You cannot use the same monster twice in a single day, so do the math. That means to do the utmost damage to the world boss each day, you would need 60 monsters, all level 30 or higher.

A monster cannot reach level 30 unless he is a 4, 5 or 6 star monster. 3 star monsters cap out at level 25. So, at a minimum, to take 3 shots at the world boss every day for the most chances at random loot, you want 30 monsters at level 30 each, and only field ten per fight.

Right now, after many months, I’m able to field two teams of 20 monsters, and a third team of 12. You get some very nice mana crystals, premium Crystals, essences and even chances at Mystic Scrolls and pieces of Legendary Scrolls from every fight so this is well worth it. In the World Boss fight, it’s all about your mass stats. How many of your monsters are what level, what grade, have runes, how high are the ranks of the runes, are awakened or not, have skills leveled or not. Once you start the fight, it’s a sequence of cinematics of your monsters on a massive battlefield fighting the monster. I really like it, it’s well done. And you can see an after action report if you search for it breaking down who your top contributing monsters were, all ranked, so you can take notes and plan for who to improve or replace in your ‘A’ team for next time.

3) Rift Battles. These are three person raids. Live raids. You and two other people group up live to go in and face a three headed hydra. Each of your team faces a different head, and your team makeup is just like setting up a regular raid, with front line tanks, back line DPS and healers. The key difference here is the battle is live with you and two other players, but you’re not in control once it starts. Just like in the World Boss fight, it’s all in your setup and group composition. You build monsters and rune sets designed how you want to face the rift hydra, set up your tank team in front and supports in back line positions, and then let it fly, and your team goes after the boss.

You watch the battle unfold, and so it’s all about research and preparation.

This was once the highest level of content, but they have recently added LIVE Arena battles and also a new series of Rift solo Dungeons as next level content. I haven’t gotten my teams to the point of doing well there yet, so I can’t even begin to give you pointers. Sorry. Always something new being released adding an extra dimension to what you can try.
4) Fusion. One of the buildings you can make on your island is the Fusion building. There, you can fuse other monsters into a higher ranking one. It takes four specific 3 star monsters to fuse into a natural 4 star monster, and four 4 star monsters to fuse into a natural 5 star monster. These all have to be max level and Awakened before you can fuse them, so getting the monster is only the first step. But holy crap, it’s worth it.

One of the very best monsters in the entire game, Veromos the natural 5 star Darkness Ifrit, comes from the Fusion building, so making this building and making a list of monsters to save for that fusion is critical.

Don’t be the guy that had a monster drop that you fed to something else, only realizing afterwards you could have saved it to fuse Veromos.

Red Alert. One of the four monsters needed for this Fusion is the Dark Yeti, obtainable only from the Hall of Darkness Secret Dungeon for this monster. Monday is Hall of Darkness day, so at the time of this writing today is your day to try to farm this monster until next week. Happy farming. I discuss the farming of these Secret Dungeons more later down.

There is even more content after this but by the time you get to that point you’ve been playing six months or more, so why talk about it now?

My actual starting recommendations.

You can see there are a lot of different types of content to get started playing immediately and the in-game tutorial does an outstanding job leading you through it. I’m not gonna rehash that.

Here are my actual recommendations to get the best bang for your playtime fast. Aside from joining a farming guild as soon as possible.

First, know your monster sources.

Normal scrolls can drop random monsters of 1 to 3 star quality, and only ever of Wind, Fire or Water. You cannot get Light or Dark monsters from normal scrolls. You will get lots of these scrolls as drops from farming Scenarios and Caiross Dungeons. LOTS.

Mystic Scrolls can drop monsters of 3 to 5 star quality, again only of Wind, Fire or Water. You can get these as fairly infrequent drops from Caiross Dungeons, the Trial of Ascension, buy them for around 125,000 mana crystals from the Magic Shop, buy them with Glory Points, and what I do the most of, buy them with Crystal premium currency, in the form of a 750 Crystal package getting you mana crystals, leveling monsters and 11 Mystic Scrolls. And yes, when you’re playing often enough the Crystals rain down like candy and buying one of these 750 Crystal Magic Scroll Premium Packs every week is fairly easy. Two weeks at the most if I’m blowing Crystals on Energy refills.

Don’t forget, I’m still totally a novice at this game, and I have Crystals out my ears thanks to playing the content, World Boss, Arena battles and the frequent special events. The top players that farm all 100 floors of both Trial of Ascension difficulties and higher ranks of everything get much, much more. So if you hunger for crystals, don’t despair. Patience will reward you. It may be six months from now before you really get cooking, but it WILL come.

Legendary Scrolls can drop monsters of 4 or 5 star quality. Warning, I hear the vast majority are 4 star. Please don’t drop a ton of money on one thinking you’ll automatically get a 5 star. Again, these will be Wind, Fire or Water. You can buy these in special deals (usually costing $100 of real world money, seriously, wtf) or as drops in Trial of Ascension, and you can also get pieces that assemble into one from content like the World Boss or buying them in groups of 5 pieces from the Magic Shop.

Light and Darkness Scrolls (Scroll of Light and Darkness) can drop any 3 to 5 star monster of Light or Dark type. This is to my knowledge the only possible way to get a naturally occurring 4 or 5 star Light or Dark monster, except for the 5 star Dark Ifrit Veromos (Fusion). You can get one of these if you clear Trial of Ascension, and also once every month if you complete the 22 day daily check-in rewards. Incentive to keep coming back. And yes, you can buy them with real money I think. Oh, and you can get pieces for them in World Boss battles.

Summoning Stones are acquired as drops from the Caiross Dungeons sometimes, from clearing floors of the Trial of Ascension, rarely from the Wishing Well (a once a day thing), occasionally from the World Boss battles, and as a reward for your ranking in the weekly Guild Wars. Summoning Stones, much like a Mystic Scroll, can summon a 3 to 5 star monster.

The key difference here is that the available monsters are limited to a small group each week, so you can see what your possible chances are. I know of some players that claim they save thousands of Summoning Stones specifically to wait for the one week that a specific desired monster, such as the Fire Vampire (Verdehile) becomes one of the monsters offered. then they blow them all in a wild orgy of desperate summoning.

Secret Dungeons. The single best way to farm some monsters is to lurk in chat and pounce on someone who unlocks a Secret Dungeon. This is THE way to get some of the best early starter monsters in the game.

Secret Dungeons are unlocked randomly in place of actual loot when you clear an elemental dungeon in the Caiross Dungeons. What level dungeon you cleared does not matter; you can unlock a Secret Dungeon just by clearing Stage 1 of the Fire Dungeon. it’s random.

When you unlock a Secret Dungeon, it is unlocked for precisely 1 hour of time. You can then enter it with your team and clear as many floors as possible, repeating it over and over. How many summoning tokens you get is determined by how many floors you clear each attempt. The higher the star quality of the monster you are going for, the more summoning pieces you need. I’ve seen 2 star and 3 star monster Secret Dungeons get unlocked.

There are also special 4 star monster Special Dungeons once a month. They don’t get unlocked randomly, they are only opened once a month by Com2Us and are called the hall of Heroes.

Now, you can unlock the Secret Dungeon for yourself by clearing dungeons, but from what I’ve seen once you unlock one, you will NOT unlock another until the first ones timer expires.

However, all of the players on your community friends list ALSO has access to your Secret Dungeon for that same one hour!

This leads directly into how you can farm for a specific monster through Secret Dungeons.

In the Caiross Dungeons, the Giant, Dragon, Necropolis and Magic dungeons are always open 100% of the time. None of them have Secret Dungeons.

The other elemental dungeons are open for 24 hours each on a rotation. Sunday is Light Dungeon, Monday is Darkness, Tuesday is Fire, Wednesday is Water, Thursday is Wind. Usually there are no elemental dungeons on Friday or Saturday, but once a month an entire 48 hour period will have EVERY elemental dungeon open so you can do some serious essence and Secret Dungeon farming.

So say you want THE best must have 3 star monster in the entire freaking game, Belladeon the Light Inugami (Light Wolf). It ONLY comes from a Light and Darkness Scroll, OR from farming the Secret Dungeon. The Secret Dungeon is ONLY available to unlock during Sunday when the Hall of Light is open.

So you can and should farm the Hall of Light on Sunday as much as you can in an attempt to unlock the Secret Dungeon yourself.

There are some other highly sought after badass 3 star monsters that are good all the way through the end game, also from the Hall of Light Secret Dungeons. Specifically the Light Bearman (Ahman) and the Light Vagabond (Darion).

But you should also pop out of the dungeon you are farming often to check to see if one of your friends has unlocked the Secret Dungeon so you can get in there.

And you should have a few spaces open in your friends list, and while your team is on auto farming the dungeon, watch in the chat channel for someone to have an in-game announcement that they have unlocked the Secret Dungeon you are looking for.

Proper etiquette is, if you see someone get a Secret Dungeon unlock that you want, YOU send THEM a friend request, and THEN you say in chat “player name I sent you a friend request, please accept I’ll remove it after the SD is gone if you want. Thank you.”

See, most people you see will spam a channel that “I want an SD add me.” Well, you can clearly see if someone unlocked one, so there is no need to spam. It just annoys people. And you’ll see other people demanding someone that unlocked a dungeon add THEM to a friends list. Now tell me, do you really think it’s likely someone that just unlocked a desirable Secret Dungeon is going to stop their farming long enough to go find the name of that entitled little shit and send them an invite? Or do you think it’s more likely they’ll think “If the lazy bastard wants an SD they can send ME an invite, bugger off.”

So the point is, if YOU make the effort to send THEM an invite, and let them know you did and ask politely if they’ll please accept, you’ll be shocked how many people watch chat channels and respond favorably to that.

Send them an invite first. If you can’t because their friend list is at the 50 player cap, then move on and wait for someone else. If you can, then send it and THEN ask them to accept it in chat. That only takes them a click. Much easier to accommodate a player wanting Belladeon that way.

Finally, when the time comes that it is YOU that is farming a Hall of Elements and you get the unlock… pay it forward. Even if you don’t usually follow the chat in a channel, if you unlock a Secret Dungeon take the time to go into the chat channel and tell people how many openings you may have in your friends list, and let them know if they want the SD to send YOU an invite. Then you can farm another run or run the Secret Dungeon once, pop back out and check to see if you have any friend invites to accept.

We’ve all been there, and being helpful in Summoners War, believe it or not, is VERY common. Far more folks are helpful than not. Be one of the ones that offers SD access if you’re lucky enough to get one. I know I do.

Some times you’ll see people in chat begging for a particular Secret Dungeon and you won’t know why. It’s either going to be for a kickass monster in it’s own right, or for one of the key monsters needed for Fusion. Keep your eye open, and if you see a monster like that look it up. It’s how I found out Spectra was actually a damn useful Fire Griffon monster and not just food for Bernard the Wind Griffon.

Scenario Drops. The final place to find monsters is as a random drop from a Scenario. Each Scenario has a range of monsters that could potentially drop instead of a rune.

While it’s a low chance for those monsters to drop, it’s not THAT low, and if a monster can drop it has an equal chance of dropping from Normal Stage 1 as it does from Hell Stage 6.

Some of the best early monsters can be obtained by farming a specific scenario. The Wind Griffon (Bernard), the Fire Inugami (Roaq), the Water Warbear (Dagora) are all outstanding monsters you can farm. Bernard in particular is on my top 5 must have monster list.

Now that you know where monsters come from, let’s go over the content you should do to get as many chances at lucky drops as possible.

Arena PvP

Your first step is to farm the PvP Arena for Glory Points to spend in the Glory Shop.

The Glory Shop is unusual in that you can buy new buildings for Glory Points.

You can also buy Mystic Scrolls, specific elemental scrolls, and once a week you can buy a Devilmon.


There are only two ways to level up/improve your monster’s skills in this game. One way is to feed another monster of the same type to it. Star quality doesn’t count for this. Some Vagabonds are 3 star (like the Fire Vagabond) while others are only 2 star (like the Light Vagabond).

If you feed a Fire Vagabond to a Light Vagabond, the Light Vagabond will have one random skill powered up by 1 level. So element and star quality don’t matter, it’s Vagabond to Vagabond or Griffon to Griffon.

Well, a Devilmon is a wild card when it comes to skill leveling. You feed it to a monster, you get a single skill increase.

Since the chances of scoring multiple natural 5 star monsters is damn low, you will be feeding Devilmon to a 4 or 5 star monster to power up it’s skills.

You can only get Devilmon by purchasing ONE a week from the Glory Shop (week resets Monday morning), as a special reward in the frequent events Com2Us throws weekly, or by purchasing for INSANE amounts of real money. Or by clearing one of the top floors in Trial of Ascension.

So yes, at the minimum you need to farm Glory Points by fighting in the Arena.

Any excess Glory Points you earn, you should prioritize purchasing and upgrading the Sanctum of Energy. You can upgrade it ten times, and each level gives you +1 max Energy for fighting battles. It might not seem like much, but that extra +10 Energy can be super valuable, especially if you are wanting to chain farm a Secret Dungeon and you’re willing to spend Crystals to recharge your Energy as you may want to do. Getting 90 energy per 30 Crystals at max level instead of 80 is very sweet. And when you don’t know when the next time you’ll see that Dark Yeti Secret Dungeon may be, 30 Crystals is a small price to pay to farm every second of it.

Early level Glory Point farming.

At early levels, my recommendation for farming Glory Points in the Arena is to bounce your Arena rank from 900 to 1000 and back down.

At rank 900 to 1000, you get +3 Glory Points for every Arena win, and +1 point for every loss. So every loss is still feeding your pool of points.

You set your Arena Defense in the tower, and I recommend setting your defense to a single super weak monster. This encourages others to attack you, driving your rank down. The lower your rank, the lower the strength of the opponents you are matched against when you refresh the opponent list, the higher the chance at low levels that you’ll have monsters that can win against them.

When you refresh the Arena opponent list, it matches you against ten players that are the same rank YOU were when you refreshed. If you defeat all ten opponents in the list, it refreshes at the rank you ended up when you defeated the tenth one.

So, you want to refresh at rank 900 to 920, beat the first 9 opponents driving your rank up to around 980+. Then you want to intentionally LOSE to the last opponent repeatedly until you drive your own rank back down. Once you are back to rank 900 – 910, finish off that last opponent, refreshing your list and coincidentally getting two free Arena invitations, and start over.

In this way you are assured of a steady stream of Glory Points until you reach a high enough level and roster of monsters that you’re ready to step into the real competitions in the 1200+ rank brackets where rewards are much better.

One final thing about farming low level Arenas for Glory Points.

Only farm from Monday – Saturday. On Sunday, drive your point total as high as possible, refreshing and seeking anyone in your list you can beat. Keep refreshing, sometimes people forget what day it is and leave their weak defense monster up for you to crush as they are trying to claw their way to rank 1300.

That being said, Saturday night YOU need to swap out your weak defense monster for the strongest team you got, so you hold on to your rank as long as possible. Don’t make it easy on them to feed off your carcass.

The weekly rank tallies happen Sunday night at midnight, and you get Crystal premium currency rewards for what your final rank turns out to be at that time, not what your overall for the week was.

Then after you collect your Arena rank reward on Monday morning, restart the climb and fall process.

And yes, by all means spend Glory Points on Mystic Scrolls if you want. But damnit you had BEST be buying your weekly Devilmon.

And DO NOT EVER use your Devilmon to level up the skill of a 2 or 3 star monster. Not if you can farm it somewhere instead. Be patient and wait for scrolls to drop those monsters to feed, check out the Magic Store (and power up the store fully to 10 slots) because 2 star monsters like the Vagabond are frequently found there, and use those.

You can only get 52 Devilmon a year from Glory Points, plus whatever you get from Trial of Ascension or special events, so save them for 4 star or 5 star monsters. Especially prioritize Veromos.


My suggestion here is to make sure you are using the Community tab to invite high level folks as friends. Everyone has a ‘rep’ monster, a single monster they specify for use by friends. Most people choose their favorite, or one that can solo farm something like the Faimon Hell 1 scenario. You can use a friends monster in your team once per day. Their monster NEVER counts against your earned experience points, and even dead monsters in your team earn the same experience as everyone else.

Don’t hesitate to use friends monsters in your team to help clear harder levels of content.

Once you can get to the Normal Scenarios for the following, these drop great monsters to farm for;

Garen Forest can drop the 3 star Water Inugami. It’s not good itself, but you can use it to feed to a Light Inugami (Belladeon) or a Fire Inugami (Raoq) to level up their skills, so these are great to save for that purpose.

Mt White Ragon can drop the Water Warbear and the Wind Garuda. The Water Warbear can, once fully leveled and 6 starred, solo Faimon Hell 1 with 100% success. It’s also a badass tank in it’s own right, and can easily have it’s skills leveled with other farmed Warbears. The Wind Garuda is not good, but the Water Garuda (Konamiya) IS a great healer and team support once leveled, so Wind Garudas are useful to save to feed to the Water Garuda.

Telain Forest can drop the Wind Inugami and the Fire Warbear. Neither are good themselves, but again are great fodder to skillup the Water Warbear and the Fire or Light Inugami.

Tamor Desert can drop the Wind Griffon. This is one of the best 3 star monsters in the entire game, and is considered to be one of the KEY monsters in every Giants Stage 10 team. Farm this son of a biscuit, and level him up. Alongside the easily acquired 2 star Wind Pixie (Shannon), the Wind Griffon is the BADASS for Giants B10. (stage 10).

See, the final boss in Giants stage 10 is a Water Giant. Water is weak against Wind, so Wind monsters, Light and Dark are all preferred for your team. Shannon slows down all opponents, while Bernard the Wind Griffon speeds up YOUR team (and has a defense break attack). The combo of slowing them down and speeding you up is just HELL YES.

Have I sold you on a Wind Griffon yet?

Oh yeah, and since Shannon the Wind Pixie is a natural 2 star monster, she can be bought from the Magic Shop cheap, as well as her skillups, so watch for her there frequently, buy her and skill her up. Pair her with Wind Griffon and you have the core of your Giants B10 auto team. Add Veromos (Fusion) on the front end as leader, add Belladeon (Light Secret Dungeon) and the Light Bearman (Ahman from Light Secret Dungeons) and congratulations, you have a Giants B10 team that you can count on.

Finally, Faimon Volcano can drop the Fire Inugami, Raoq.

I love Raoq. He’s a monster that a lot of players will tell you is great for early game but isn’t much use in end game.

The key to that is his special. If he lands the killing blow, he immediately gets a free turn.
You can see then that if he’s your first 5 or 6 star and you’re attacking low level opponents like early stages of the Secret Dungeons, any place that has waves of low level weak monsters, he gets to go once and just wipes out the whole floor.

He was my first 6 star and I don’t regret it, he carried me long enough to get a Dagora Faimon farmer leveled.

Still, don’t expect him to be your go-to forever. Damn well worth farming for and Awakening, though. And he can get some serious multi strike hits in if the luck rolls right.

I mentioned making a list and saving monsters for Fusion to make Veromos. He’s the key to damn near everything PvE oriented in the game. Check what you can get from Secret Dungeons and build up your friends list.

Aside from the Giants team you want to build towards (where you will farm for GOOD runes for your monsters, and prepare a team for Dragons afterwards), you will want to look towards Trial of Ascension Normal.

I mentioned Veromos, Shannon, Bernard, Ahman and Belladeon already for a free to play Giants B10 team. You can absolutely make your own team, this is ONLY a free to play suggestion. There are hundreds of team variations out there that work much faster per run, for one thing. How fast your team clears content is one of the ways people compare their skill at planning and gearing.

Likewise for Trial of Ascension normal, there is a great team you can build free to play.
Using Veromos, Bernard and Belladeon from your Giants team, you can add the 3 star Fire Griffon Spectra, obtainable from a Fire Secret Dungeon or from a Mystic Scroll or from the Glory Point Fire Scroll, and the Fusable natural 4 star monster Beretta.

Beretta is the Fire Sylph, is one of the Fusable monsters that makes up Katarina, but most importantly his leader skill is to make your team speedy, and he has some awesome fire attacks including a continuous damage Dot AoE, and a single target strike that can wipe out the opponent’s attack bar slowing him down.

Put Baretta on lead, and Veromos, Bernard, Belladeon and Spectra to fill out your team, and they can clear ALL 100 floors of the normal Trial of Ascension. All 6 starred and with solid runes, of course, but damnit these are all obtainable monsters without dropping tons of cash on scrolls in the store.

So don’t be afraid to farm monsters to Fuse Beretta as soon as possible either. Great monster.

I mentioned Runes, but I’ve intentionally left out what to Rune things and where to get them.

The truth is, a large portion of my runes comes from patient refreshing my Magic Shop every hour and referring to a large notebook filled with Monster names and the runes I’m looking for. When I see one on my list, I buy it.

Sometimes I run Giants B10 a dozen or more times to get a bunch of runes, but you can’t get Violent runes from there, the ones that give extra turns. The can get them from the Magic Shop.

For runes, I research all over the place for what works where. Different rune builds are useful for the same monster depending on whether you’re gearing for PvE or PvP.

In most cases, the same recommendation is made; Violent everyone at end game plus a 2 rune combo of something.

I hate that. But at very end game, it’s probably true.

Regardless, My rule of thumb is, I research what runes to put in a monster, then I toss in whatever I farm or have on hand that fits.

But long term, I will NOT stop working on runes for the monster until 5 star minimum. Once something is 5 star runed, I focus on something else.

For my top team of monsters, if I get a 6 star rune drop, then I’ll replace one of them to make it that much better. But I’ll settle for 5 star everything and be happy, unless I need specific stats like say 100% crit for Ahman to always trigger his AoE group heal on every blow.

So I’ll farm the right Scenario and Stage for the basic runes I need, make a list of anything that ain’t 5 star minimum, and troll the Magic Shop for upgrades. The Magic Shop refreshes hourly. I check it that often while awake.

Ah, but what about Rune stats?

One thing to keep in mind is, There are 6 rune positions to fill. Rune 1, 3 and 5 are all fixed in type. Rune 1 is ATK, Rune 3 is Defense, and Rune 5 is Hit Points.

The other three rune positions can have different values. All three can have HP, HP percent (HP%), Defense or Defense percent (DEF%), and ATK or ATK percent (ATK%).

First warning – never ever buy or leap for joy over a straight HP, DEF or ATK rune. The Percent runes are ALWAYS better than a straight stat increase. The math bears this out time and time again.

If you need high health and you get an HP rune, don’t throw it in the trash but replace it with a good HP% rune first chance you get.

Rune position 2 is the only position that can have a Speed (SPD) stat.

Rune position 4 is the only position that can have a Crit Rating (Crit R) or Crit Damage (Crit D) stat.

Rune position 6 is the only one that can have an Accuracy (Acc) stat.

So you will frequently see rune recommendations made like so;

“You should rune Ahman Violent/Energy HP/CritR/HP with at least 100% Crit Rating from rune 4 and sub stats.”

What that means is you are being told you should rune Ahman with a combination of four Violent runes and two Energy runes to get the benefits of the four rune and two rune equip bonus, with a HP% rune in slot 2 and 6, and a Crit Rate% rune in slot 4. Also, since the absolute best a 6 starred max level 15 Crit R rune can get is +58%, and the Static Atribute value of Crit Rating for an Awakened Light Bearman Ahman is +15%, you’re told you should look for substats on your other runes that make up the other missing 27% crit. The goal being to get to 100% crit rating so the special ability of Ahman, an AoE heal on a crit attack, works 100% of the time.

Oh, and the reason for Violent runes on Ahman is so he gets a chance to get mutliple strikes on a turn for multiple heals. and High HP% and Energy (HP bonus) runes because his heals are based off HIS health, not the rest of the team.

Anyway. Hopefully that explains what people mean when they toss out that rune type/rune type HP/ATK/ACC recommendation. 1, 3 and 5 have no options so the only ones they CAN be talking about are rune slots 2, 4 and 6.


Damn, I know this is long. A friend asked me to put something together and the time to be useful is NOW, not drug out over three weeks.

What monsters to look for, and are 2 or 3 star monsters trash?


This game has monsters of 1 to 6 star value. The highest ‘naturally occurring’ monster grade is the 5 star. Every monster, EVERY monster that drops that does NOT have a grey star can be Awakened, runed and upgraded in quality to a 6 star.

Typically, the higher the natural star grade, the higher the basic stats/attributes of the monster, making a natural 5 star damage dealer have better potential than a 3 star.
That being said, normally you’re told don’t ever, EVER feed a natural 4 star or 5 star monster to something else, no matter how desperate you are for that first 6 star monster, unless you are absolutely positive you will never find a use for it. You might never see it again.

So early on, if you get a natural 4 star or 5 star monster, rejoice. Save it. Study the comments on multiple sites and the Reddit to see what people say. Check to see if it is used as Fusion for something else you might want more.

If you get a Light or Dark monster, save it. The elements in the game work like so; Fire is stronger than Wind, Wind is stronger than Water, Water is stronger than Fire, and Light and Dark are not affected by those silly games.

These are just general rules to start with until you know how to find details on specific monsters and where they can be used strategically (like Rift Raids) or tactically (like PvP to counter a specific monster).

Some 2 star, 3 star and 4 star monsters are actually marvelous powerhouses because of their abilities/spells, and while without the prestige of the 5 star, far more reliable and damn useful. Also easier to skillup.

So don’t get hung up on “I don’t have a natural 5 star”. You can do damn near ANYTHING in this game and do it well with a carefully chosen stable of free to play 2 star and 3 star monsters fully upgraded and Awakened, and Fused monsters like Veromos and Baretta and Mikune.

Okay, so now for last to wrap this up, a list of great free to play monsters from the 2 to 3 star category to watch for;

These are just what I think are the BEST 2 and 3 star monsters to watch for and keep, monsters that are great because of their base stats, abilities and synergy for general use; There may be more!

Some of these you might not think are that good, until you study Rift Raids and realize how critical a balanced team of monsters that both buff YOUR team and debuff/curse the Rift Hydra really is.

I present these to you in Awakened name / Element / Monster Type format.

Dagora – Water Warbear
Shannon – Wind pixie
Bernard – Wind Griffon
Raoq – Fire Inugami
Belladeon – Light Inugami
Ahman – Light Bearman
Spectra – Fire Griffon
Megan – Water Mystic Witch
Konamiya – Water Garuda
Rina – Water Epikion Priest
Bulldozer – Fire Frankenstein
ramagos – Wind Warbear
Talc – Water mammoth
Darion – Light Vagabond
Neal – Light Fairy
Colleen – Fire Harpu

This is not an exhaustive list, but you should watch for these in particular and don’t feed them to something else if you can avoid it.

Some of them are situational.

For example, I mention Neal the Light Fairy. She is here because she can put a 3 turn Invincible bubble on a monster. One of the natural 5 star monsters, Katarina the Wind Valkyrja, has a special ability called Sword of Discharge that deals a metric shit-ton of damage and ignores the enemy Defense stat entirely… if used when she’s in an Invincible state.

So Neal is a wonderful monster, a Fairy so easy to level her skills, but she is mainly useful to bubble Katarina so she can nuke the FUCK out of an enemy in PvP. Mostly Guild Wars, where teams are limited to 3 monsters per side.

Add Chasun as a third monster for healing in your Guild War offense team, and Neal, Katarina and Chasun are just ugly to crush your enemies. I can’t freaking wait to Fuse a Katarina just to hear the lamentation of the women. Serious.


If you get a 4 star Fire Epikion Priest, I hate you, and hold onto it with dear life, it’s the go-to PvP monster for everyone in the game, I swear. Someday I hope to see one, especially since everyone else in the fucking universe seems to have one. Ugh RNG.

Also rejoice over getting 4 star monsters Chasun, Lushen, Verdehile, Hwa and Hwahee if you do. Off the top of my head every one of those has a lot of usefulness and is lusted after by players.

I think that’s it.

It’s only 8300 words, I hope it’s not too damn short.

Bodyguards, Wild and Untamed

One of the things carried over from Warlords of Draenor is the concept of NPC bodyguards.

As your artifact missions unfold and you increase in levels, you unlock more followers.

Unlike Garrisons, the number of followers you have access to in Legion are much more limited. The cap at max level that you can possibly have active is only five.

What’s more, at least so far anyway my Hunter shows that there are only eight possible followers to find and unlock. Big change from Draenor, and it’s yet another indication of how Blizzard liked aspects of the Garrisons but wants to limit how much we have to micromanage now.

Five active followers means fewer of your champions can be out on a mission at any given time. There are troops that you can train up/hire that take the place of a follower/champion, but they’re just… troops. No name, no backstory, each one representing a small group of trackers or elementals or whatever.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that your followers have special abilities to counter mission objectives. Some of them also have special abilities that take effect when you assign one to be your combat ally in the Broken Isles.

They did this in a pretty neat way.

You might assume that when you assign a follower to be your combat ally, they would automatically be your bodyguard out in the world, just as they were in Draenor.

Instead, some of your followers when assigned give you a special spell/action you can use that has a cooldown.

Cassie is playing her Enhancement Shaman, and one of her followers when assigned gave her a pretty badass self heal.

For myself, I’m playing my Hunter and one of my followers, Emmarel Shadewarden, gives me an AoE attack if I assign her to be my combat ally.


Emmarel’s Assault gives you an extra action button that is the AoE attack spell, and casting it summons her to your side, where she briefly engages your targeted enemy with her attack before vanishing into cooldown land.

Pretty damn neat, right?

Fear not, however, for there are traditional bodyguard followers to stand at your side through thick and thin as well.

Me, I was given the option of having the legendary hero Rexxar by my side.

Rexxar, at least in Legion, is a Survival Hunter with twin battle axes. He used to be a Beastmaster in lore until apparently he decided to switch specs like any flavor of the month player. But hey, he’s half Orc and half Ogre… so what can you expect, right? Next thing you know he’ll go from being the hero of the Barrens to talking smack in Barrens Chat.


Still and all, if you have read your WoW lore, what wandering Pandaren if given the chance wouldn’t want to be escorted by Rexxar for an adventure or two?

Everything was great in the beginning. Rexxar does decent damage, pitches in on a fight, and didn’t even seem to aggro things when I snuck along in Camouflage.

Also, how badass is it to be a hunter with a Bear pet fighting side by side with Rexxar as he calls Misha to his aid? Huh? Huh? Fuck yes.

Then came the moment of truth when I realized this savage barbarian had worn out his welcome in my base camp.

I’m currently adventuring in the beautiful zone of Val’sharah, land of the Druids and ‘the closest thing to the Emerald Dream’s beauty we will find in the waking world.’

Lots of beautiful critters here, including some very nice owls and stags that my Beast Lore spell tells me are tamable.

I’m sure they are, too, if only I didn’t have this damn Survival Hunter noob by my side.

I dismiss my bear so I can tame a gorgeous stag, and guess what axe-wielding son-of-a-bitch not only attacks the stag, but apparently has a taunt so I can’t keep it’s attention for the tame?

The worse bit is, you can’t control your bodyguard. You can’t even dismiss him in disgust. All you can do is watch in horror as the miserable brute butchers a wonderful stag right there before your eyes, and then just looks at you like, “Wut? Lolumadbearbro?”

Oh, would you like to be able to tame creatures in the wild? Tough titty, then you don’t get a bodyguard. Bear up and solo it.

Or, well, play it smart.

You can dismiss your bodyguard, of course you can. You just have to carry your happy fur-covered butt back to Trueshot Lodge, which is the only place you can unassign your bodyguards from within the game.

Ah ah ah! There is another way, though. For the impatient among us, you can also assign and unassign Champions as bodyguards / combat allies directly from within the Blizzard Legion mobile app.

If you have an Android or Apple smart phone or tablet, you can log out of WoW, log into the app and unassign or reassign the follower there without having to make the trek back to your class hall.


This takes my level of dissatisfaction at Rexxar down a few notches.

The first time this happened, I got all cranky, hearthed, flew back to Trueshot Lodge, told Rexxar to GTFO and went back out to tame a pretty stag.

I felt like Oxhorn, I swear I did. Muttering to myself the entire flight back.

Ah, but my attitude has brightened up, now that I know I merely have to take a break logged out for a few minutes to make the change on the app and log back in to tame a new friend.

Ugh. Seriously, was it that hard to add in a ‘tell a bodyguard to go the fuck home’ button?

Still and all, Rexxar. Mah buddy. Yup. Me and him, we be mates.


Have you played around with one of your Champions as a bodyguard or with their spells if they give you an ability? Do you have a favorite Champion based on lore or what they can do for you?

All the classes get their own special class Champions, so I have no bloody idea who all the rest of you get to choose from. I bet some of them have to be pretty sweet, though.

Red Snappah, so tasty!

The Dreamgrove Comes Alive

I have some refreshing news, some wonderful warm wishes to share with everyone today.
This is pretty awesome.
I’m delighted to share the news that Phaelia, the former author of Resto4Life has returned both to World of Warcraft AND to blogging!
Before I ramble on about what Phaelia meant to me because who gives a toss what I think, let me tell you that her new blog and website can be found at The Dreamgrove.
How’s that for the ultimate Druid website name! She’s clearly providing all of us a place to come home to at last.
Go ahead, go on, go visit her, I’ll still be here.
As those of you still around know all too well, I may be an old blogger but Phaelia is, alongside Big Red Kitty, one of the two spiritual parents of all WoW bloggers that have ever lifted finger to key to share our thoughts about the game.
phaeliaPhaelia and her website Resto4Life was, at least for me, one of the most treasured blogs and resource websites for Druids around. Always written from the heart with love and genuine warmth, just the memory of Resto4Life as a website brings a smile to my face.
It’s kinda like sitting down and thinking back to that one warm, sunny day where you took a blanket and a picnic basket to the beach, and the breeze was just right, and everybody actually had a good time, and nobody got sand packed up the crack of their bathing suit, and the sandwiches didn’t get wet before you ate them, and your kid had fun and didn’t step on a jellyfish or cut his foot on a sharp seashell.
You know, one of those few truly wonderful, heartwarming memories that remind you that the rest of the internet may be a shitshow but daggonit it’s not ALL like that.
She represented the best of us and made me feel that maybe, just maybe after a long day of Trade Chat there was still at least one ray of hope. One.
As many of you might remember, Phaelia announced she was retiring from blogging a while back due to the approaching birth of her son and her desire to spend some true, solid, focused time with her little one.
Shortly after that Blizzard added the perfect item to the game in her honor, Phaelia’s Vestments of the Sprouting Seed, an extremely appropriately well-named leather chestpiece.

While she’s been gone for a while now, I’m sure I’m not the only one that is going to be excited to see her return!

Phaelia, I’m delighted that you’re back, and to hear that you’re super enthusiastic to get back to writing. Or blogging. Or whatever the heck it is we do. I missed you.

Elune bless you and shine upon you that you may grow in light or darkness, no matter what the seasons may bring.

Welcome home.

Beastmaster No More!

When I first started World of Warcraft, this set the tone for everything that came after;

What is the first thing you see when you hit the 38 second mark?

A Hunter, out in the harsh winter wilderness, alone but for his bear friend and companion. From 38 seconds to 1:08, the Blizzard cinematic team introduced me to something I had never seen in gaming outside of tabletop role playing games; the concept of a Hunter and his pet adventuring together in a wild, crazy world.

Immediately after that, of course, was the Night Elf Druid, shapeshifting in the wild on the fly to race towards danger.

Funny thing is, up to that point, those two classes were the only two I ever preferred to play myself in AD&D. A Ranger with animal companion, or a shape-shifting Druid.

When it came time to play World of Warcraft for the first time, I had a hell of a time choosing which I’d play first. I’d play both of course, but which first?

In the end I chose a Druid, but it was a near run thing.

The cinematic helped cement in my imagination the idea that in World of Warcraft, a Beastmaster Hunter was about a Hunter and his (or her!) pet, alone against the world.

Survival was all about them traps, and Marksmanship was all about those stings, but Beastmaster was all about dat pet.

So I was Beastmaster. So it was, so it is, so it shall ever be.

Fast forward to the end of Warlords of Draenor and ten years of class changes slowly accreting around that core idea like the layers of a pearl.

I was vaguely dissatisfied with the whole damn thing, though I would have been hard put to explain why.

But with the Legion artifact quests it all came home to me; Beastmaster was no longer a duo, it was a symphony.

Nothing shows that better than an artifact that permanently gives you a second pet.

Over time, the Beastmaster class has changed from the idea of a Hunter and his single badass pet to more of a, well, a BEASTMASTER. Someone who is the master of all pets found in the wild.

This should not have come as a surprise. I mean, seriously, this was my generation after all;

The Beastmaster Hunter is pulled from the concept of the original movie; seeing through the eyes of an eagle, running fast as the panther, having tons of pets to do your bidding… not just one.

So it’s a perception issue for me. I’m not into a Beastmaster / literal master of all beasts (Ranger) class to play in the game.

Apparently, I’m more wanting my pet to be the Claude Rains to my Humphrey Bogart.

Oh come on, you know the reference.

You may be getting the idea that I’m having fun writing this post. It’s not everyone who gets to put together an article referencing both Vanilla WoW cinematics and Casablanca. This is why I don’t do this as a job; nobody would pay me to do this. And with good reason.

Believe it or not, there is a point to all this.

I chose Beastmaster to play as a part of a beautiful friendship, only to wake up ten years later with a Titanic weapon throbbing in my hands as part of a mènage á trois.

Queue the dancing bears!

Okay, so I didn’t want to do the Beastmaster artifact first. I didn’t WANT a permanent second pet. Heck, the gun and second pet was actually the least of it, especially after I found out at max level you can complete a special process that lets you have your spirit pet take on the outward shape of any other pet you’d like, so you’re not stuck with a wolf forever.

No, the core issue was all of my abilities summoned more pets, temporarily, to go after the enemy.

Over the years I loved the addition of each and every one of these cool spells / attacks.

I admit it. The scope that shot a woodchuck at the enemy was delightful in it’s place.

Taken all at once in their final form, in any given combat the legitimate question could be asked, “Hey, have you seen my pet around? Is he in there? I can’t tell amid the flying snakes, stampede of rhinos, flock of crows and various random environmental critters mobbing that poor murloc.”

“What, there’s a murloc in there?”


I didn’t want to play a Beastmaster anymore. I just wanted it to be me, my weapon of choice, and my best friend.

This may be my favorite post ever. I’m just saying. Now I’m bringing in Walken bouncing off the walls. Heck yes!

So now what? I’ve identified the source of my problem; I don’t want an army of pets.

But I’m a Beastmaster, ten years strong. What the heck else could I possibly be?

I did queue the dancing bears earlier, right?

Survival is right out, because melee. A cute idea and I’ll certainly mess with it someday, but seriously. If I have issues about tons of pets, can you imagine how freaked I’d be if I played a Hunter without a ranged weapon? I mean seriously.

So this Marksmanship thing… like, what’s that all about man?

I heard you don’t even get to HAVE a pet if you go Marks, man. No pet? I gotta have a pet. I mean hunter, pet, that’s a thing, man.


That’s kind of a deal breaker.

I read all about it on Icy Veins.

And then I promptly switched to Marksmanship and I’ve never looked back. Not once.

See, here’s the thing. Before I can pick something, I have to know what I want.

I want to be a rugged individualist.

I want a pet, ONE pet, my bestest friend ever, because friendship is magic, damnit.


I’m getting to the point already, sheesh!

I want a weapon, a ranged weapon, that shoots projectiles. Maybe it shoots hot loads, hot magic loads, I don’t care but what I don’t want it to do is shoot squirrels, snakes or other assorted living creatures downrange because seriously WTF is up with that?

Is that really so much to ask?

From what I read on Icy Veins, yes, YES when you are in a raid or an instance Marskmanship is strongest when you’re running the Lone Wolf Talent without an active pet. So they recommend the whole no pet thing while running in groups.

Sue me, bitch.

It’s not mandatory. I mean, it’s not like I’m raiding. They don’t make you sign a waiver swearing you’ll never sneak out and quest with a pet, no not even that cute little foxy… fox… that you got in the Eastern Kingdoms two expansions ago.

For all non-raiding general questing have fun poking my nose into shit that doesn’t concern me, having Steady Focus and an active pet works just fine.

All my usual misdirection shenanigans are good to go, for example. Pets still get Talent specs like tank, they can still Growl, they’re still, ya’know, pets.

So if for example I went Marksmanship, and for Talents I took Steady Focus, Lock and Load, Posthaste, Patient Sniper, Binding Shot, Barrage and Trick Shot, what I’d end up with is a build that has me, my weapon that hastes me so I move faster, my tanky bear pet that I can misdirect Barrage to like a BADASS, and not a single other extra from Marlin Perkins’ Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

No, no link to that. There are some lengths I’m not willing to go for a sight gag.

“And now let’s watch as Jim goes down the river and wrestles a rhinoceros in heat. Be careful there, Jim. He looks horny!”

Oh, who the hell am I kidding.

Sorry about that pun. No, no I’m not.

So what I have now is a rotation something like this.

I have a misdirect macro to my pet, of course. So I’ll run up to a large group of monsters because Barrage and Multi-Shot so fuck it, pull ’em all, let Blizz sort ’em out.

I misdirect to my pet, often while in camouflage since it doesn’t break stealth, then Barrage a whole group to dump aggro into my bear.

Then I’ll pump a few multi-shots into the group until my Hunter’s Mark proc lights up the multi-shot and arcane shot icons, indicating my next casting of either spell will dump a Hunter’s Mark on all affected targets, setting them up for a big boom.

Then, with Hunter’s Mark on them, my Marked Shot icon lights up. This attack is both single target and multi-shot. However many targets you lit up with a Hunter’s Mark on your last shot, the Marked Shot attack will hit them all. So if you’re single targeting, then you’re doing Arcane Shot and Marked Shot. If you’re firing into a group, it’s Multi-shot and Marked Shot. It’s not rocket science here.

When Marked Shot goes off, it clears the Hunter’s Mark, BUT it applies a Vulnerable debuff that lets your ‘stand-in-one-place’ Aimed Shot do more damage.

And that sets you up for squeezing off two Aimed Shots before the Vulnerable wears off.

Once Vulnerable is gone from your target, return to misdirecting, Barraging, and multi-shot / arcane shotting until you get another Hunter’s Mark proc.

Really, that’s it.

The only real other change is your artifact has a powerful single target attack that you can cast whenever it’s up, but once you gain a few levels of artifact power you can choose an ability that lets the artifact attack directly apply the Vulnerable debuff. So no need to wait specifically for that whole ‘arcane shot lit up shoot it now Marked Shot now Aimed Shot Aimed Shot’ sequence.

Instead, you can Misdirect, Barrage, Windburst (the artifact ability), Aimed Shot, Aimed Shot, then Arcane Shot fillers until shits off cooldown or you get a Hunter’s Mark proc.

Now does that sound complicated?

No seriously, does Barrage, Windburst, Aimed Shot, Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot x3 to refill focus sound that bad of an opening sequence?

And wonder of wonders, it perfectly fulfills my desire to play as an adventurous wanderer making my way through the world, my rifle on my shoulder and my trusted companion by my side.

Come at me, world. Bring it.


Artifacts of a Lost Age

Since the theme of the Legion expansion seems to be artifacts, let’s go with it.

The Marskmanship Hunter artifact is a bow, a really sweet looking weapon that has an ornamental quiver that appears on your back. It’s a really nice touch that I admire.

At least I would if I didn’t transmog the bow to look like the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle.

Still, that’s not the point.

The point is I mentioned this really cool visual appearance to Cassie as I tried to convince her why she should give Marksmanship a try.

“It’s really cool, you’d love it on your Orc. The quiver is very attractive.”

She looks at me and replies, “I already have a quiver. It still has stacks of ammunition in it.”

… lolwut

Oh yeah. She does.

She still has in her bank inventory a quiver with stacks of ammunition.

It’s the Quickdraw Quiver, and it shows that once upon a time she crafted it herself.


You know, that’s pretty awesome. How many years has it been since we had quivers or ammo pouches? How long since you had guildies group up in front of Karazhan for serious raiding, only to inevitably have someone announce they needed a Warlock summon ready because they had to hearth to get ammo, they were out.

Or of course the reality of paying a Hunter, being in the middle of a guild raid boss fight and being reduced to smacking the boss in the ankles with your stick because you ran out of ammo mid-fight.

I suppose these days the equivalent is chain dying so much without repairs that your weapon is broken mid-fight?

“I may not be doing any dps, but at least I’m not afk like Frank, damnit!” <smack smack>

I stared at my wife for a moment in admiration for a moment, and she upped the ante by announcing she still had Ankhs, too.

I had her go through her bags. She has more obsolete dead gear, and suddenly I understand why she always complains about being out of bag space. Even after account wide transmog!

Ankhs, quivers and stacks of arrows, all sorts of cool “hey I forgot about those!” pieces of history.

It made me wonder… well frankly it made me wonder if it represented sweet sentimentality over a fun time in the game, or the tip of the hoarder iceberg.

But really, do you have a few items like that in  your bags or the bank, something that was a thing back in the day but is now so dead and dated that you can barely remember when they were live and used?

I know what I’ve got in that category…

My Rogue still has the Brazier of Invocation, the Extra-Dimensional Ghost Revealer and the users manual for the Brazier! All items long dead when they removed the Class Dungeon Set 2 epic gear questlines from the old world.


I mean, how can you ever get rid of something that unique? Especially when you can use it to establish your old skool street cred for wearing that slick Rogue gear set that anyone with some time at the Darkmoon Faire can have now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


Don’t those artifact weapons look awesome? Oh wait…

How about you? What do you have lurking in the dark, ghost-fart haunted recesses of your vault?

And is it there because it reminds you of wonderful times, or is it that you can’t bear to clean even a virtual room!