Arena is a huge pain point in this game, especially now. Being F2P also presents further challenges.
This might be obvious for some, but I know many of you just want to hit Gold 4 for a second just to complete the Arbiter mission.
I finished in Gold 4 at reset on day 120 and to ensure it wasn’t a fluke, I waited until this week to see where I finished which was also in Gold 4 at day 127. I know many of you did this faster, but there are likely even more who may be struggling just to get out of Bronze.
It was not that long ago that I was floundering around in different stages of Silver and maybe hitting Gold 1-2, only to plummet after reset. I stayed in Gold 4 for 3 weeks previously, but it was during the time of the bots, so we can’t count that.
I realize you won’t have the exact same champions, but the concepts will be similar. Yes, I got lucky with some things (but you will be lucky in other areas where I was not).
Your path will certainly be different, but I write this hoping that it will help someone out there who may be struggling. There is no shortage of info for end-game players, but not much from an early to mid-game F2P player.
This is not a quick fix.
It was a 2-month plan with ongoing adjustments.
I remember starting with Elhain, Warpriest, Executioner, and Shaman.
Month 2-3 was High Khatun, Uugo, Elhain, Iron Brago. (~240-285 speed on HK)
My current team is High Khatun, Underpriest Brogni, Uugo, Big ‘Un, and Underpriest Brogni. (295, 230, 223, and 205 speed respectively)
I was happy to reach Gold 4, ecstatic to finish there
1. Assign a dedicated nuker.
My starter was Elhain and I used her everywhere – campaign farm, dungeons, CB, DT. She was also wearing (and still wearing) the starter Lifesteal gear you get in the first week. Even going first in arena most of the time, she would only hit for about 20-25k or so on her A2 or A3, only to have the entire opposing team survive and counter-nuke my entire team. She was also in Warmaster (vs Helmsmasher) given she was used for CB and dungeons. Being F2P with limited resources and champions, I came to the realization that I could not just use my starter for everything anymore. This was ok at first, but it was around day 85 or so. It seems so obvious now, but a difficult realization for.
I had pulled Big ‘Un early on from a lucky ancient shard, but the issue was books, potions, and masteries. Elhain was my starter and had easier requirements in all categories including masteries purchased with gems as typically recommended.
I also pulled a Zargala along the way and hoped for a more common competitive nuker like Trunda, Foli, Ithos, etc. but ultimately decided on Big ‘Un. I even considered Outrider (yes, the uncommon) given the comparable damage and multipliers.
This video by Hell Hades was very helpful in general.
I used this spreadsheet by Ash Voyager to compare multipliers.
I also used this spreadsheet on RSL mined info by NotAnAkaliMain.
SwaIllidan made this simplified spreadsheet on nukers which helped me quite a bit.
2. Farm the right gear.
Speed gear is essential, but stats are more important than completing a set if you can get better stats. I farmed Dragon early on for Lifesteal, but Speed set (with speed stats) was just as important. For about 2 months, my High Khatun was using 4-5* gear and sitting at 283-288 speed. Even now, there is only one 6* piece with the ring being a 4* and a total of 295 speed.
After the realization that an all-purpose Elhain just wasn’t good enough, I learned that the Savage set is essentially non-negotiable on a nuker. This led to about 1-2 months of farming Fire Knight (at stage 16) each night. I used almost all of the quest energy on this and farmed overnight where possible, especially given that my runs were taking 4-6 mins. I didn’t care if it was a Dragon or Spider tournament. About 95% of items were sold, but eventually I got 4 viable pieces and filled the remaining slots with broken sets that had good stats. I waited until the Artifact Enhancement events during the Brogni fusion. Got some reasonable Shield, Regen, and Stun pieces too.
Don’t underestimate The Forge. Do you FW, roll a ton of pieces, and eventually you’ll get usable gear. It’s just a numbers game. Most of my champs are wearing Resilience and Perception where they tend to fill in the broken set slots.
I used to manually plan the gear on paper, but the Hell Hades optimizer was a game changer in picking the best stats with what you have.
As a general rule, most will tell you that you ideally need 300+ speed in Gold 4. (I’m getting by with a High Khatun at 295 speed, but have to carefully choose my battles).
For your nuker, a general rule is 200 speed, 100% crit rate, and 200+ % crit damage which encompasses the Savage set. (My Big ‘Un is 4000 atk, 205 speed, 95% CR, 222% CD)
Stats on my Big ‘Un. Savage set with 2 broken pieces. The 95% Crit Rate feelsbadman, but it’s the best I can do.
3. Picking the right roles.
There are many ways to build a team, but one of the most common ways (which I did) was to have a:
Speed lead (aura boosts speed)
Turn meter booster
I certainly acknowledge there are many variants of this along with things like blender comps, defensive teams, go-second teams, etc. I just wanted one versatile team for offense and defense with specialized teams when I have more resources and better champions.
Excluding some obvious Legendaries, here are some champs you mix and match in each category that I see used (and lose to):
|Speed Lead||Turn Meter Boost||Decrease Defense||Nuker|
|High Khatun||High Khatun||Warmaiden||Kael|
|Deacon Armstrong||Deacon Armstrong||Deacon Armstrong||Seer|
I realize at all levels from Bronze to Gold, we’re seeing a ton of Arbiter, Duchess, Siphi, Lyssandra, Trunda, Tormin, Madame Serris, etc. There’s not much we can do about that aside from controlling our own teams.
Given that High Khatun is both a speed lead and has a turn meter boost, she fills two rolls and is a great F2P champ that everyone has access to at day 30. If you’re new, do not feed her!
I’ve filled that 4th slot with some sort of defensive support that can help protect the team (eg. Shaman, Iron Brago, Underpriest Brogni). I regularly see Mausoleum Mage, Sinesha, Vogoth, Umbral Enchantress, and Sandlashed Survivor.
Defensive nukers are also a consideration like Miscreated Monster, Drexthar, or Rhazin.
HK as lead with a speed aura, Uugo does defense down, Brogni does attack up, Big ‘Un as nuker
4. Speed tuning for the right order
It’s easier said than done, but you do need the right gear with the right stats along with the glyphs to make it work. That said, the order should follow the order of turn meter booster, decrease defense, and nuker.
The speed lead does not necessarily have to go first, it just happens to be the case for my team where a speed lead also has a speed boost (eg. High Khatun, Arbiter, Deacon, Lyssandra). I see many different speed leads used, but it ends up being someone like Seeker who actually takes their first turn.
All of my fastest gear went into High Khatun, regardless of other primary or secondary stats.
Uugo was my defense down (who also heals) so I built her with some speed while having enough accuracy (220+ minimum). She’s wearing 4 Perception pieces and 2 Speed.
Big ‘Un should go after Uugo as to take full advantage of her decrease defense.
Brogni was a recent addition and by this point, I was fortunate to be farming higher dungeons. He’s using a Shield set with 2 broken pieces and happened to come in at 230 speed. The shield, block debuffs, and increase attack on his A3 benefits Big ‘Un as well and he now goes second in order.
Iron Brago was on my team until recently where he increases team defense with his passive and A2 along with hitting hard like a backup nuker.
Yes, I do get cut in sometimes, but it just happens to be the best speed tuning I could get without sacrificing other essential stats.
This can be highly variable and debated even amongst the top level players. A fundamental understanding of what each does and what your account needs is critical. As a reference guide though, I use the HH site or Ayumilove. I don’t always agree, but it’s a starting point.
I personally asked every content creator on stream what they did for their nuker and if they would do the same for Big ‘Un. TomminatorZ was the most helpful where he’s an end-game player in plat with a stream that’s not as big thus he’s able to answer every detail. (Tommy’s taking a break for 2-3 months though).
These are my Big ‘Un’s masteries. As long as you end on Helmsmasher for Arena, it should be fine. I decided on Retribution and Deterrence under Defense because all of his attacks are AOE and you get great value out counterattacking.
I am always trying to learn more. You can find me hanging out every single day in Leila’s stream. I am regularly hang out at Tomminator‘s, Smiley‘s, and Tyrauku‘s streams as well. These are all welcoming communities with end game players who are more than willing to answer every single question for you. When they’re on, I definitely watch Stew, Chosen, Skratch, and Deadwood Jedi as well. I watch almost all of Hell Hades’ videos and catch him when he is streaming.
I didn’t level up the gear I had saved for Big ‘Un until the artifact enhancement event during the Brogni fusion. It was 1-2 months of waiting, but worth it in the end while allowing time to save silver and get the best pieces possible.
I was fortunate that during my first month or so the Iron Brago event was happening. This placed me in easier tournament groups where I was able to win or come 2nd in most of them.
Team order placement does matter. AOE attacks do not hit everyone at the same time and follow the order of your team. Using this concept, you want Seeker 1st or 2nd so that he gets hit before other allies and triggers his Dark Blood passive to Increase Def. For someone like Vogoth, you want him 4th in position where you want allies taking hits before him so his Festering Dynamo passive can heal them. Sandlashed Survivor is another champ you want 4th for her Born Survivor passive.
If you’re wondering how I got Brogni as a relatively early F2P player, I wrote up exactly how I did it here.
Most will tell you that team power doesn’t really matter. However, it can give you some clues about the team. In order of how they raise player power, it’s Resistance > Crit Rate > Crit Damage > HP. You cannot tell speed from team power, but I make a generalized judgment about their gear based on their team power, player power, account level, and team composition.
I’m not quite there yet, but the Arbiter mission for reaching Gold 4 is confirmed retrospective and appears completed.
I still choose my battles in Gold 4 and certainly cannot farm it. The vast majority are Arbiter lead teams, but I’m happy to fight anyone not led by Arbiter or Lyssandra.
I even sneaked into Platinum for a few minutes lol
I’m sure many of you have your own F2P journeys to Gold 4, so I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Let me know what worked for you, would love to hear it.
Hope this helps. If you read this far, thank you! Good luck!
TLDR: Farm speed gear and the Savage set, may take 1-2 months. Assign a nuker. Speed lead, turn meter booster (Aim for 300+ speed), defense down (aim for 200+ accuracy), nuker (200 spd, 100 CR, 200+% CD). Use the resources linked above to learn more and get your specific questions answered.