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Need build suggestions with no traits or legendary

I’m heading into Forest of Thorns/Whitehelm and my current team just doesn’t seem to be cutting it

I’ve looked at some team suggestion threads, and tried some of the builds I had the troops for. But the ones I’ve tried didn’t cut it in Mist of Scales, and most of the suggestions require troops (or weapons) I don’t have or getting max traits on a troop (which typically requires traitstones unlikely to drop in the lvl 1-2 explores I can currently manage).

I’ve got a decent amount of Epic-rarity troops, but my only legendary is Abhorrath.

Currently I use a pumpable dragon build with :
Drake Rider ** (lvl 17, does splash dmg boosted by converting yellow gems to red)
Dragotaur ** (lvl 16)
Dwarven Gate ** (lvl 16)
and either Droggo ** (lvl 16 charm random enemy, create blue), or Lady Garnetia (lvl 15)

I use Dwarven Gate to barrier the team against 1-shot kills and true dmg, and just pump my stats up with Dragotaur (+5 atk and armor and +2 for each yellow gem destroyed) until I can kill stuff with 1-2 shots. I’ve tried swapping the dwarven gate with a parrot (for the silence) and had good luck. Sometimes I’ll swap it for Golden Cog (target’s armor is doubled) when I’m using Lady Garnetia (does dmg boosted by her current armor).

Not sure on your current level or number of troops but here’s a few I used to use early on:

Hellcat, Alchemist, Goblin Rocket, Goblin Rocket (loops really well once it gets going). You can throw your hero in to level classes and replace Hellcat/Alchemist using any blue weapon or purple/brown depending on what troop was taken out.

Mang/Black Manacles, Dwarven Gate, Dwarven Gate, Dwarven Gate (or any hero weapon that hits troops with a 15 mana cost or less)

Golden Cog, Clockwork Sphinx, Rowanne, Setite Warrior (Put armour onto Rowanne where possible)

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Thank you. Sadly, I’m missing a key troop for each of those builds (goblin rocket, mang/black manacles, and Rowanne).

But it IS a starting point and uses some new tactics I may be able to adapt to the units I do have.

Maybe I just need to grind more for units and such before trying to unlock any more areas.

I think the basic team you have has a lot of potential to be really strong, actually — the one flaw I see is lack of a hero, who will be your strongest troop throughout the game, most likely.

I’d recommend, when you level up your hero, choose red and brown mana masteries. This will, eventually, unlock a weapon called Mang.

Put that badboy up front, then kick out Garnetia/Droggo, and you’ll be amazed how well your team synergizes, especially if you have a class equipped that gives barrier upon brown matches (Titan, Monk, Sentinel are the best 3, imo, but Dragonguard might also be a good option to go with Dragotaur).

EDIT: Also really helps to be in a decent guild. Let me know if you play on Xbox (I assume not, from the topic-type chosen), and I’ll let you get a week or two (and more if you wish to stay and are active!) for free in our starter guild so you can get a few hundred keys and more than enough gems for dragon armor.

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In the early game, you want to look for troops that gain bonus damage based on boost ratio, as the boost ratio may contribute way more damage than your current magic count can.

The free epic troop you get from Pan’s Vale, Elwyn, can do a lot for you in the early game with its x7 boost ratio and minor mana generation. His traits are pretty insignificant, so there’s no pressure to improve it once you outgrow his usefulness.

Alchemist + Elwyn can probably do a lot paired together.

Without knowing what other troops you own, its hard to give specific build suggestions.

I encourage you to always use your hero with a hero class on your teams when possible. To this day, people are still leveling a majority of their hero classes, since it takes a very long time for each class to reach level 100. May as well get an early start on it, as you’ll find yourself kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

Stormheim’s Titan class is a popular first hero class.

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Try to get Forest of Thorns done first for Rowanne, which gets you access to the Golden Cog/Clockwork Sphinx/Rowanne trio (last slot is discretionary), which should be able to get an easy win condition of pump/cast Rowanne for all quest fights (and a lot of other content it can be used for)

Before then, troops that are boosted off things such as board state or gems destroyed are probably your best bet, with some control. My early game setup for my last early game playthrough (granted, this was a long time ago) was Hero(priest’s hammer)/Lion Prince/Tyri/Dragonian Rogue. Pick a class with the War talent tree for +4 hero attack in all battles (warlord works) and put some common ingots (won in PvP, shouldn’t take too long to get the few that you need) on Priest’s Hammer. A priest’s hammer +5 is an additional +7 attack. This should give your hero a fairly hefty skull strike. You’ll want the Forest of Thorns banner, and Tyri leveled high enough to destroy at least 8 gems, so if you match green and get a surge, you have enough mana to start casting, otherwise you’ll need a few matches to get one of your other supports up. Once you do, you can usually ping between your three troops to deal damage while getting back minor amounts of mana and/or setting up skulls for the hero, covering all colors except one as minor generation/control, with four of them also leading into damage. Don’t bother casting the hammer or matching browns unless you have only bad moves left.

I also used an early game Dragotaur build in the past, but this was back when quests were super easy and you could unlock Dragonguard early. The build was yellow weapon hero + dragotaur + dragonian rogue + baby dragon (or some other red colored dragon, like Lady Garnetia). Without access to a Dragon Hero, you might still want to throw a hero up front because of the high team attack bonuses, but you don’t want to block brown, crude club as a common rarity club could work there. If you don’t have D. Rogue, you could try any Dragon’s Claw dragon you do have that covers a color you need, even if it is just Dragon Eggs for safety. A big problem with the dragon setup you are using is that you are mana blocking dragotaur on brown, taking away yellows that Dragotaur gets a big boost off with Drake Rider, and don’t get much out of the red either except a direct damage that probably won’t kill. Dragon setups can be highly effective early game because of dragotaur boosting attack and fishing skulls as your win condition, generally pretty slow but it works, you just want him not mana blocked but as far back as you can still be “safe”. Also Drake Rider isn’t from Dragon’s Claw. Three dragons from dragon’s claw on the team at early game is a not-insignificant boost that should help out, hero up front (crude club, cheap mace weapon for attack to not block brown, high starting attack even if you don’t have dragons), at least far enough to get Rowanne and get that team going. Match priority should be Skulls > Dragotaur Mana >>> everything else.

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Thanks for the help and advice all. Just played through Forest of Thorns and it was a total cakewalk compared to Mist of Scales. Guess I played an area out of order, or maybe my dragon build was just especially vulnerable to Mist Stalkers (true dmg to weakest enemy).

Now that I’ve got Rowan, I’ll lvl and build a team around her.

@Mithran Thank you for the analysis of my dragotaur build. I was kind of stuck on the drake rider as my tank since I didn’t think I had anything better (I’d overlooked Dragon Eggs potential, seeing it as just a rather useless summon).