Clever Canines Trump Reprobate Rodents
An Alternate Approach to Moo Manchu Tower Floors 9-10
Psylent has written a very helpful guide here detailing how to use Ratbeard to stop the Terror Cotta Warrior rush on the top two floors of the tower. There is another approach that can work even better, especially on the last floor: instead of Ratbeard, pick Gracie Conrad.
Gracie Can Fix It
Why Gracie? Primarily for one reason – her War Golem. The War Golem has excellent stats for stopping Terror Cotta Warrior rushes. First and most importantly, it has Hold The Line 3. This will not only stop enemies but will also reduce their dodge, making them easier for your units to hit. Vengeance Strike 2 means the Golem will immediately fight back after taking a charge attack, and Turn The Tide 2 (coupled with the reduction in enemy dodge) means it has a decent chance of hitting, even after having its accuracy reduced by a charge or two. And as a summoned minion, it is most definitely expendable.
Gracie herself comes with Hold The Line 1, and can be trained with HTL 2, so at the very least you get two “companions” with Hold The Line for the price of one to help stop that all important first turn onslaught. But wait, there’s more!
Plug The Gaps
With the right strategy, it is possible to negotiate the top floor with a minimum of difficulty, and without losing a single pirate or companion. Here’s how:
On the top floor, there are five “lanes” between the statues. If you can find a way to plug all the holes on the first turn, there is no way that the bad guys can reach you.
So the idea is to block all 5 lanes, and get the Warriors to expend most of their charges on things you don’t care if they hit. This is where the War Golem struts its stuff: have Gracie summon it into one of the gaps (the X‘s on the picture). If your team includes 4 Gracies, that can take care of all but one of the lanes immediately.
The only possible snag with this plan is that the casting range for the Golem is limited to 3 squares. If Gracie starts in the leftmost column (as one does in the picture), she can’t actually place the Golem in the gap (although its Hold The Line 3 will still stop a few Warriors if placed in the right spot). So while ideally you can block all but one lane with golems, there might be an additional gap or two to plug.
There are any number of ways to deal with the remaining gap(s):
- Captain Blood’s Jacket – Blood Flames cannot be run through, and can be used to simultaneously block 2 lanes.
- A Summoned Creature – Any minion can block a gap, either summoned by a pirate or by a companion (like Old Scratch’s Skeletal Corsair). Witchdoctor pirates are the most probable candidates for this, but there are quite a few pieces of gear that give a minion summoning power and can be worn by any class. Some summoning powers even provide enough creatures to block multiple gaps (e.g., Stygian Chorus, the Scorpion Swarm power that comes with the Nefarious 5 staff).
- Earth Guardian’s Helm – The Stone Bastion will block one or more gaps.
- Raise Barricade – Musketeers get this power for free; other classes can train it for a single practice point.
- Once More Unto The Breach – If all else fails, you can always have a companion (or even a pirate) block a lane. If a swashbuckler casts Black Fog on them, they can move into any lane without getting damaged. If they move into either the topmost or bottommost gap without being hidden, they will only get hit by one statue, and will take at most two charges. If they can be protected with a Valor’s Armor or Valor’s Fortress, so much the better. Sounds like a job for the Son Of Zeus! [Actually, Hawkules has relatively poor armor – as much as he might like the challenge (and you might like to give it to him, in more than one sense), there are better choices to use as a tank.]
These are all the methods I can think of off the top of my head – there are probably others as well. Even if you can’t plug all the gaps, you can limit the damage by “walling off” things on your side of the statues. For instance, assume the bottom gap in the picture above is left open. If the dark blue Gracie (the one on the left edge of the board) summons her Golem on the square marked with the O, at most one Warrior can get into a position to attack a companion.
In addition to plugging all the lanes, use a few summoning doubloons. Hopefully the creatures will spawn on the other side of your wall, and provide additional targets for the Warriors. On the second turn, when everyone is frozen, Gracie can deploy her mine to add to the chaos. An exploding golem or two that does further damage to the enemy will just be the icing on the cake.
In a test run, three of us (our fourth pirate had to leave early) plugged all 5 gaps with 3 golems and Blood Flames. The Warriors expended their charges on the golems and summoned creatures, didn’t even attempt to attack a pirate or companion until the third turn, and we finished the top floor with barely a scratch.
Ratbeard might be the superior companion on the ninth floor (which is more wide open, and where his knockback attack is more effective), but for me, Gracie is the better choice on the tenth floor.