Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, elit eget consectetuer adipiscing aenean dolor

Speed Running Gnome Vault Key Event

Tomorrow is the start of a Gnome Vault Weekend, where gnomes show up more often and we get vault keys for killing increasing amounts of gnomes. Because gnomes show up at a rate regardless of the difficulty, it stands to reason that if you want lots of gnomes, you should do explore battles as fast as possible, ignoring all other factors (gold and medals).

When Ironhawk came out, something dawned on a number of players: this thing could blow through the easiest explore (level 1), because enemies have very little health as it is, with this team:


Dust Devil deals 5 damage to all enemies and is Empowered (Starts battles with full Mana). Ironhawk deals 5 damage to all Enemies when an Ally casts a spell. With three Ironhawks, casting Dust Devil immediately does 20 damage to all enemies.

Problem: when an enemy troop has more combined health/armor than 20, you’re left with no fast way to kill it, because Dust Devil doesn’t do anything to change the board, so you’re left to manually match gems to fill up its 10 yellow/brown mana to cast it again, or get lucky with skulls to kill remaining enemies.

You can use the Archmagus class to start at 50% mana and get a bonus +3 Purple Mana, and an additional +2 from a banner, giving you +5 bonus mana. That means one purple match will give you a minimum of 8 mana, which means you can start with a 16 mana weapon and always have full. The problem is of course always having a purple match when you start the match…

So… this leaves us with trying to find a Kingdom that has the highest number of matches where Dust Devil can kill all troops. That’s the ideal situation. You want kingdoms that don’t have troops that, for instance, can summon additional troops when they die. You don’t want troops that are buffed from the weekly buffs. You don’t want kingdoms where certain troops have abnormally high armor/life (typically at sacrifice of attack/magic).

For example, my Slayer/Zuul’goth team for Explore 12 I only use in Ghulvania, because absolutely no troops there are immune to burning (necessary for Fireblade), and none summon troops on death, and the highest “skull” resistance they have their is 25%. So it’s a perfect kingdom for that.

What do you think the best kingdoms are for Dust Devil/3x Ironhawk?

Troops don’t have traits on explore 1, no worries with summons or spell reduction

Anyway, apparently Soul Gnome survives this team, so every time you find him you should have a slow match

1 Like

@igniteice you know the devs don’t play the game. So do you make threads to be more helpful for them to nerf troops?


Wild Plains. As long as there are no weekly stat buffs there (and there aren’t any this week), the Dust Devil/3x Ironhawk team will one shot everything except Mythic bosses and Soul Gnome.

So it’s probably still faster to run Dust Devil, even if a couple of matches I need to skull match or cast Dust Devil a second time.

Yes, Dust Devil is better.

If you ran 2 dust devils and 2 Ironhawks, while you would not wipe out everyone on the first cast, it would be faster than refilling a single dust devil assuming the combined armor + life is below 31.

That’s definitely true. Two casts to deal 30 damage vs one cast to deal 20 damage. Technically it’s “twice as long” but perhaps the time saved not having to look for matches when the first cast doesn’t kill everyone would outweigh the time spent doing the second cast in every other battle.

I wouldn’t be too stressed 1:15 (maybe 1:30 soul gnome) goes you have to move the board.

Win/win over what has gone before.

You could run a dust devil, greed, 2x ironhawk setup for every non mythic fight. You wouldn’t lose turn and would be dealing 25 damage, enough to kill soul gnome. Sure it isn’t a one shot kill, but fast enough with a little extra gold to boot

Keep in mind folks that the Phoenicia team is only ~3 seconds slower and will net you millions more gold and several medals by doing E6 vs E1. The Ironhawk team will net you more VK’s during the weekend sure but is it worth millions of gold for a “few” extra VK’s?


and hero class xp

I don’t get it either. 🤷

1 Like

If those few extra vault keys get you major orbs of chaos, which if even one becomes a power orb? Absolutely.

Taking 3 days away from standard farming to go for vault keys isnt really all that much of a loss. Can easily make millions of gold throughout the week, whereas I haven’t found a vault key from gnomes once over the past month


I would argue that getting as many Vault Keys as possible is absolutely worth giving up some gold and medals. And it’s not just Vault Keys, you can also earn more souls and glory using the Dust Devil/3x Ironhawk team. Gold and medals can be farmed anytime, but you can’t really farm Vault Keys outside of Vault weekends.

1 Like

Let’s define “few”
Someone is projecting 500 battles per hour with Dust/3Hawk teams.
Previous estimates put Phoenicia battles at 240/hr.
Given the rough rates of VK (gnome/12) and EVK (vault key/10), and using the data from @Dust_Angel 's post here Vault Weekend data collection - #138 by Dust_Angel

We get the following breakdown (some items omitted), per gnome (directly from gnome, and from 1/12 vault key from that gnome, including vault key from vault key etc.):
Note: Epic Vault Key loot is not included

  • 1.5 diamonds
  • 0.5 event keys
  • 0.5 gem keys
  • 3 gems
  • 4400 gold
  • 62 souls
  • 0.04 major orbs

At a difference of 260 battles/hour, this is what an E5-E8 Phoenicia explorer is missing out on:

  • 32 diamonds
  • 8 event keys
  • 10 gem keys
  • 63 gems
  • 95,000 gold
  • 1336 souls
  • 0.9 major orbs
  • 2.3 minor orbs

Is the E5-E8 Phoenicia rate/hour of 300K-400K gold worth the full list above?
Not for me.

Then someone is on drugs. You can’t possibly do 8 battles per minute. I doubt even 6 is possible.


They must have an amazing setup/internet connection :stuck_out_tongue:. Even then, server issues are a possibility.

I generally have to factor in longer waiting times than most speed running projections when working out what’s best for me.


I was under the impression that as long as the loading bar fills up only once that’s as fast as you can get. If you have a slow connection the bar fills up more than once but no matter how fast your connection is you cannot speed up how long the loading bar takes to fill up once. Maybe I’m wrong or it’s just an xbox thing?


I have no real idea – I’d say you’re probably right, assuming the bar fills at the same speed for everyone, and with no lags when it fills up. And yeah I agree 8/min is probably unrealistic, although happy to be proven wrong by a video (and long enough to show it can be sustained). Do we know how long that min. loading time is, then?

Fun fact, I always notice when I play an alt account without all troops fully traited that you can cast much sooner if you use an untraited team and don’t have to wait for them to activate. Obviously there’s a trade-off with Kingdom stats there, though.


You say that because you play on Xbox where botting is supremely rare. Unfortunately bots and Ironhawk teams are going to be like peanut butter and jelly on PC.

And before this turns into a shit show over what’s possible and what’s realistic. Humans can play as fast as a cpu for a short while… Not a long time. How long is unknown at this point.

If anyone doesn’t think people are going to cheat (or are already cheating) with this team. Then perhaps they’d also be interested in some magic beans that I have for sale.

1 Like