- 22 Aug 2022 - 1.16 moved S.I.M.O. from Restricted to Open
- 14 July 2022 - Because of the recent change where Mr. Autofire, Dr. Toxic, Frostina, Blazia and Hecate shards were removed from the castle drop pool, making them very hard to star up*
First of all, there is no one-best-hero-to-rule-them-all, mainly because there are so many variables at stake (the level, because some promotion bonuses are quite impactful; the number of stars, because some skills in the skill tree are quite impactful; what you are playing, for example Miasma’s Absorb is very useful on regular runs but worthless on high Endless runs; etc). So essentially different heroes will be better at different points in your progression.
And even if there was a “best” hero, you would still need to have multiple heroes, because
- You need at least 3 heroes for castles, more if you want to have at least 1 hero matching the castle element to take advantage of the elemental attack bonus
- You need multiple heroes for the tournament, because of the cooling down period when you fail to complete a floor
- You are more likely to be able to clear Nightmare levels on the Daily events by having a hero matching the element than by trying to have 1 super strong hero.
- The special events are increasingly limited to heroes of a particular element
So rather than having a single main hero, I recommend a portfolio of primary heroes who you develop to play with.
This is the progression that will most likely work for most new players:
- Develop Mr. Autofire to Level 29 - the 5% Dodge bonus at Level 20 is useful and he’s typically the only option for your early progress. Going beyond 29 is not worth the hero medals until quite late in the game (when you have all your primary heroes at 50)
- Unlock Dr. Toxic, Frostina, Blazia and Hecate in ~10 weeks from the free weekly shard (use a recharge if you don’t get it in 3 runs - details), possibly earlier if you get shards from BP, login bonuses, promo codes, etc.
- Develop them until you can unlock other options - most likely you’d take them to 29 at least (to get their level 20 bonuses which are useful even though not great) and it’s unlikely you will do well enough in castles to unlock other options (even if you do well enough in Hard daily events to get keys) otherwise.
- Switch to a better hero when you unlock them - you’d probably get most shards from castles (one-time rewards and drops) but you could also get lucky on the weekly free Summon Gate, or maybe on the Golden Pig event, login bonus, etc. The BP/SBP will get you some shards if you are paying. I recommend the following
- Poison: Switch to Miasma
Absorb is very good for not-endless runs and her Level 20 bonus is very good (and the Level 50 once you get there). Mortis is somewhat handicapped unless you can afford to unlock the Looper (the autogun is the 2nd best option for him) and his bonuses are much weaker.
- Ice: Switch to Arctor
Fursus is also a good choice, but I find the extra few seconds gained by Arctor freezing enemies invaluable in tough runs. Both of them are best with the Looper (Autogun is 2nd best) but the difference is a lot more pronounced for Fursus than Arctor
- Fire: Switch to Scorcher
It’s risky to play with Scorcher because you have to take damage to activate Stress Shot, but it gives you the best dps of any hero. Firebug is also good though (especially once you unlock the Attack % and Dodge level bonuses) and has excellent base stats. Many players don’t like jumping around to activate Fiery Wings but I suggest that you just think of it as a bonus that kicks in when you need to jump (to evade shots or feint)
- Magic: Switch to Hocus Focus
I know many players don’t like him because his skill is rather unreliable (sometimes you’ll reroll and get a great perk, sometimes you get worse than you started off with), but his base stats are very good, much better than Prospero’s. However, Prospero benefits much more from the Looper, as well as the Elemental armour (because the Magic bullets spread elemental damage) so if you can afford to have both of them then Prospero will be better. Even with one of them he might be better.
- Metal: Switch to S.I.M.O.
Finally we have an accessible Metal hero with good attack stats
- Poison: Switch to Miasma
And then at some point narrow down your selection to 3 heroes to take to 50 - all other things being equal I’d suggest Miasma first for the level 50 bonus, but the choice also depends on which hero RNGesus has blessed you with shards for, as well as personal preference.
In addition to the above, you need a Farming hero - by default this would be Autofire but you should switch to Jackbot when you have him, otherwise Fursus (details)
Until you can clear the respective nightmare events consistently I wouldn’t recommend levelling non-playing heroes to level 20 just for the bonuses. The only really useful one is Miasma and you would probably develop her as your main Poison hero anyway. But if you don’t play a lot your hero progress will be more limited by XP than by hero medals, in which case you could target some bonuses (see recommendations)
In the above analysis I haven’t considered the Premium heroes, because most players can’t afford them, and even if you unlock them you can’t star them up without paying for special summons or gym passes so your regular heroes will likely have more stars anyway.