Welcome to another Hero Guide - this time I’ll be covering Apocalypse, which is one of my favorites. I tend to enjoy the Heroes that drastically shake up how you play the game, and Apocalypse certainly fits into that category. It’s one of the more focused Heroes, and today we are going to go over the gameplan at every stage, alongside tips, tricks, and more - let’s get to it.
The most important piece of playing Apocalypse is surviving until your Hero power goes off - not a surprise, I’m sure. How you do that is the tricky part, since it does change your priorities quite a bit, and there are some sweet ways to get value on the way. When in doubt, make the play that keeps you alive longer and makes your board stronger, since Apocalypse hits a huge power spike as soon as you hit level six. Another quirk that results from you blowing up your board on six is that you should ignore scaling - not only do you lose your progress when you go boom, you definitely don’t want to pay the costs of starting weaker (which most scaling characters do).
Digging for Treasure
Another key difference with Apocalypse is that you get to keep any Treasures you found even when your board gets wiped. As such, finding Treasures is a great way to get extra value, and looking for them becomes more important than normal (if you can afford to). There’s no better feeling than hitting six and having a couple solid Treasures to pair with your fresh board of high drops.
In the early game, you don’t end up playing that differently than most Heroes. The main exception is that you should rarely buy Wizard’s Familiar, since the scaling is less appealing (as I mentioned above). I actually like Humpty a bit more than normal as well, as paying a small gold cost for extra health is a good deal on Apoc.
Cinder-Ella is the best character to start on, which is true for most Heroes, and other combinations to look for are Mim + Black Cat, Sherwood Sureshot + Frog Prince, or any early buys that keep your board presence solid.
Here is where things start to diverge from most Heroes. The two main goals you have in the midgame are:
Experience spells are the best possible buy on Apocalypse, as all you want to do is get to level six. There’s even One Weird Trick involving XP spells, but we’ll get to that later. It’s fine to lock XP and buy characters to make your board stronger too, but you should never let XP spells pass you by.
Build a Strong Short-Term Board
Given that you want to survive and don’t care about scaling, your priority order from levels 3-5 changes significantly from other Heroes. Normally, you have to balance being stronger now and being stronger in the future, which comes in the form of scaling characters like Spell Weaver or The Chupacabra. On Apoc, it’s a lot simpler - now is better, because later you get a whole new board of powerful characters.
Here are the characters that go up in value on Apocalypse:
What these characters have in common is that they all provide more power immediately than most, and don’t scale. That’s not to say that you would never buy these on other Heroes, but I do buy them more frequently on Apoc. For example, Medusa isn’t normally an early buy, since it doesn’t get better over time, but it’s the perfect character for Apocalypse.
Here are the characters that get weaker - they basically are all scaling, but I’ll list them for reference.
Another thing I’ll do more often on Apocalypse is buy combat spells early. Again, you’re fine paying gold to preserve your life total, so purchasing Lightning Bolt, Cat’s Call, or Fireball is something you do more frequently than you would otherwise.
It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
So you’ve eaten your vegetables, made your midgame team strong enough to win fights, and even found some extra XP spells on the way. You’re finally at level six - what now? First, let’s talk about that One Weird Trick I mentioned earlier.
If you are at 5.2 (one XP away from 6), and you buy an XP spell, Apocalypse will trigger its ability instantly.
What that means is you can sell your entire board, buy the XP, and get a whole new board. You then have a ton of gold to spend, so you get to go nuts and buy whatever you want.
This isn’t a niche trick either - once you hit about level 5, you generally want to go hunting for XP, and just lock it until 5.2 so you can pull off the expert maneuver.
Once you’ve gotten the grab bag of level six characters, you’ve got a bunch of options. What usually ends up happening is you go into your first fight with a random mix of giant level 6’s, often with little to no synergy. After that fight, you basically just see which of your build-arounds find their friends first, and go that direction.
For example, take a look at this board:
Not only does it provide a lot of stats right away, but it’s also got a few different build-arounds. Ashwood + Robin Wood + Echowood could lead you down the trees path, Bearstein + Good Boy could be an Animals/Good build, and The Great Pumpkin King heads down the path towards Evil.
On this particular board, Trees seems like the best direction, but what matters more is what shows up in your shop. If you see another Good Boy and a Baby Bear, perhaps Animals is better, or a couple big Monsters could tilt the scales towards Evil. You can also pivot, like if you buy a Good Boy but the next shop has multiple Trees, then Trees it is.
One of the cool things about Apocalypse is how much it tests your ability to build lategame comps, and after playing Apoc a few times, you’ll get much better at figuring the different directions out.
Best of luck bringing the Apocalypse to your opponent, and may you always spike XP on 5.2