Castle Crush Progression to Grandmaster Guide

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Greetings Crushers! It’s been an exciting few days since the new card NFTs have become playable in-game. Sales and Interest in the NFTs have both exploded, as players try to acquire the Gen 1 NFT cards both to become more competitive in-game and to start earning some sweet ACS tokens.

ACS tokens will be very desirable for quite a while, now that they have become the de-facto way to acquire the rest (54!) of the cards in-game as NFTs. Gen 2 Ascended chests that contain these cards will only be purchasable with ACS, not AVAX like the Gen 1’s did. That will further boost the demand for ACS. The main way you can increase your ACS earned per day is to increase your rank:

It is surprisingly easy to break into Grand Master rank (5000 trophies), even with moderately leveled cards. That will give you a hefty 30% boost to your ACS earned per day! In this guide I want to share the deck I used to achieve Grand Master rank in <400 wins, as well as some general tips on how to be a better Castle Crush player. If you’re stuck in the lower castles, check out my mid-game progression guide here.

Deck Guide

This is the deck I used from Castle 8/9 all the way to Grand Master rank. It was a very smooth climb up the ranks, with very few losses. The whole deck revolves around the Skeleton’s Legion card, which you unlock in Castle 6. The reason this card is so strong is because it applies pressure in all 3 lanes at once, and it is very cost efficient. On a card vs card basis, it will beat out both Archer’s Tribe and Triplets. The only card that can efficiently answer it is Arrows, which is rarely seen, as well as an equal or higher level Skeleton’s Legion. Due to the power of this card, I chose to build an aggressive version of this deck, rather than a slower deck that features Spectre, Necromancer, Skull Queen, etc.

The deck mostly skips lower cost units, seeking to overpower the opponent using 6+ cost units instead. To do this, 2 copies each of Extra Crystal and Mana Ritual are a must include. It is important that the levels of your Mana Ritual and Skeleton’s Legion cards are synched up, ie. levels 3+8, 4+9, 5+10, etc. The reason for this is to avoid the level penalty imposed on the card played after Mana Ritual. We want to play a full-powered Skeleton’s Legion card as soon as possible to start off our game plan. It would be nice if your other Epic unit cards are not penalized by Mana Ritual as well, but not strictly required.

Most of the rest of the deck are unit cards that can follow up on Skeleton’s Legion and keep the pressure up. The opponent will most likely use cards that deal with your skeletons 1 lane at a time. If you deal with the opponent’s unit efficiently and still add an extra threat on the lane, they are back where they started, facing pressure in all 3 lanes. Demon is an excellent answer to a majority of these cards. If a tough melee unit such as Golem/Mud Elemental shows up, Ape Pirate is the ideal counterplay. Mage/Shaman/Pirate are versatile range units that can deal with a variety of cards and keep the pressure up at the same time. The Pirate card in particular is a concession to the fact that we’re running a deck full of 6+ cost cards that rely on the 2 mana cards. It makes our early game more consistent and helps vs faster aggressive decks.

Finally, Fire Elemental is our finisher unit card. They come down hard and fast, dealing direct damage to the enemy’s castle if it’s in the range of its area of effect. You typically want to save these until you’re losing decisively in at least 1 lane. Squeeze out the maximum value out of the rest of your deck before playing your Fire Elementals. They help close out games after you get the enemy castle down to ~3k health.

Here’s some quick tips on playing the deck:

  • If you draw both mana cards in your starting hand, you should play Extra Crystal first followed by Mana Ritual. This will most efficiently use your mana and set up your future plays, while only delaying your Skeletons by a couple of seconds.
  • Mana Ritual into Shaman is a fine opening play if you don’t draw Skeleton’s Legion. The opponent has no direct counterplay to this except Metamorph.
  • Skeletons not only reinforce your ranged units but can neuter cards like Demon/Metamorph as well.
  • If you have skeletons out already, it is usually better to wait and react to the opponent’s play rather than sending a ranged unit down a random lane.
  • In 95% of cases, avoid playing Fire Elemental in a way that doesn’t damage the enemy castle directly. The only scenario I would do so is if you can kill multiple high value targets such as Necromancer/Angel etc. that can spiral out of control if left unchecked.
  • If timed well, Mage can snipe a Reaper hiding behind another melee unit such as Dwarf/Golem.
  • It is usually better to open with Skeletons against a faster Reaper/Storm Elemental deck in anticipation of a Standard Bearer play. The time they have to wait for your other lanes to advance in order to play Standard Bearer is valuable time/tempo gained for you.

General Tips

In this section I’ll list some pointers that can help you rank up faster, no matter what cards you’re playing in your deck.

  1. Know your game plan and quickly determine if you’re the aggressor or the defender. This is easy to do if you’re sporting an ultra aggressive or slow control deck, but harder for a middle of the line deck such as the one I presented in this guide. Your line of play changes based on whether your chance of winning goes up or down as the match drags on. This is also why I tend to favor aggressive decks as my cards are usually lower level than my opponent’s.

  1. Always try to use your cards efficiently and maximize their potential. The main reason for this is that mana regenerates slowly, especially the beginning part of the match. Use the best card you have available for the job to deal with the opposing units. A great example of a card to illustrate this point is the Ape Pirate. This card is generally mediocre against opposing ranged units, but is excellent in dealing with slow, melee units. As both players can only play cards as fast as their mana regeneration would allow, any advantage can snowball into a victory.

The second reason is that you will always draw all 14 cards in your deck before it reshuffles. In other words, the number of copies of a specific card available for you to play will always be the same across chunks of 14 cards drawn. If Fire Elemental is my finisher card and I have 2 copies of it in my 14 card deck, I expect to have at least 2 to play per typical game, up to 4 depending on my luck. If I use one to kill units, I know I have one less copy to use for direct damage on the enemy castle.

  1. Plan ahead and play your cards as fast as you can. This is a follow up point to no.2. Your mana stops regenerating when it is full. In a game where both players go back and forth answering the other’s units, any delay in playing your cards means extra time for the opponent’s mana to refill.

Closing Words

Hopefully this guide will help you climb up the ranks and juice up your ACS earnings. Don’t forget, you need to win one game a day with each of your NFT cards in order to earn ACS tokens. You’re always welcome to join us in the Fief Guild in-game guild for Castle Crush. Our members have been climbing up in the ranks steadily. Tag me in the Fief Guild discord if you have any questions!