This page contains advanced tactics for winning difficult battles.
Rarely can you kill every enemy in a single turn, so you must learn to prioritize. At the start of every stage, figure out which enemies must be dealt with. Kill, neutralize, or avoid as many of them as possible.
Enemies are high priority if:
- They do lots of damage and/or apply nasty status effects.
- They can reach you, either because they have a lot of movement or by being ranged or magic.
- (Sometimes) They have nasty AI (especially tactician).
Examples of high priority targets: Liches, Wargs, Orc Warlords, Golem Bowlers, Dragons, Orc mages, Senseis.
Ignore lower-priority targets: you'd much rather kill one golem bowler or lich than four bats or wolves. Many large enemies like Abominations and War Devils are low-priority because you can simply ignore them. In fact, leaving low-priority enemies alive can often save you, as they may move first and block line of sight from more dangerous monsters.
Stall and heal
Except possibly for some one-stage boss battles, you should bring 1-2 healers to every fight. At the end of every stage, stall out and heal to max: leave a single non-threatening enemy alive on purpose and heal your team to full before killing it. Notes:
- Even if your team is full health, it may be good to stall out the duration of status effects like silence, bleed, and poison that persist through stages.
- In harder levels there may be no non-threatening enemies to leave alive. In this case, bring push, hamstring, or specialized resistances to stall better. For example, a pusher can keep a dangerous enemy far away or in water/lava, a bleed-resistant hero can safely tank internal bleeding, and a burn-resistant hero can safely tank burning.
- Plan a turn or two ahead to keep the correct enemy alive.
There are many many exceptions, but here are my general rules for positioning.
If you want to play offensively, spread out and move towards the center of the map. Spread out heroes don't block each other's line of sight and can hit more monsters in total. Regardless of attack pattern, a hero in the center of the field can hit many more squares than a hero in a corner or side.
If you want to play defensively, clump up and move towards sides, corners, and choke points. The less surface area you present, the fewer enemies can hit you at once. Many dangerous maps can be only handled defensively by holding one or two choke points with tanky heroes and slowly whittling the enemies down. As another example, if you're in a map with lots of wisps, it might be better to clump up in a corner to minimize surface area than to attack them outright and leave yourself exposed.
Turn order priorities
It's a no-brainer to move your heros with tumble and push before others, but the turn order priorities between other hero types is less obvious. Here is my general rule of thumb:
healers > magic/melee > ranged
Note: turn order is opposite of move order. This means that in your move order, you should typically touch healers last if you want them to act first, and touch archers first to make them act last.
Healers should go as early as possible in the turn order for two reasons. First, they can heal allies that are dying to status effects; if a low-health ally would die to poison, acid, or burn, the healer has to go before them to keep them alive. Second, healers do the least damage so they should be used to ping off arcane shields and kill weenies like bats and wolves, leaving the rest of the team to hit bigger targets. Of course, if the hero is at full health and will take damage at the end of their turn (from poison, punishment, etc.), having the healer act after that is the better option.
Ranged heroes should usually go last if possible, so that other heroes can clear out blockers for them to hit enemies further back.
Turn order is also influenced by hero traits, e.g. whirlwind, finishing blow, and focus:
- You should check if heroes with whirlwind will need that damage to knock out their targets and if so, prioritize getting it activated.
- All other things being equal, heroes with finishing blow should act as late as possible to maximize the chances of its activation.
- Mages with focus may sometimes need to go later so that only one direction of enemies is left for them to attack.
Plan out your entire move before touching the screen. In chess, if you touch a piece you have to move it. Friends & Dragons is similar, except a single move is more like 4-6 chess moves all in a 5 second time limit, so the stakes are astronomically higher. For more intricate moves, take a minute to rehearse the exact finger motions you plan to do: you may find unintended consequences, or that the move you were planning is simply impossible.
Keep it simple
It's much better to go for a simpler move that deals with the major threats but doesn't kill everything, than to mess up an overly complex OTK and leave half your team standing in the open with their pants down. As a rule of thumb, plan to move only 3 heroes per turn. Once you gain more practice, confidence, and Split Seconds, you can slowly attempt more ambitious moves.
Plan who gets the last move
In difficult coops, the skill difference is often big enough that who gets to go first is game-deciding. If you're the stronger player, try to leave the last move on each stage (except the last) to your partner.
Even for players of similar strength, be strategic about who starts each stage: the player with the rogue or pusher, for example, should usually move first.
Predict the outcome
Before you make your move, take five seconds to predict the outcome: which enemies will die? Which of your heroes will survive? Where will each enemy end up?
After your move, check your prediction: did you miss anything? Did any AI moves surprise you? Did you forget about mighty blow?
Making and checking predictions is the most consistent way to improve game knowledge and cover blind spots over time. Sometimes losing heroes is unavoidable, but aim to never lose heroes by accident - at least you should see it coming.