Do not upgrade the Hatchery unless you are level 25+ or you know what you are doing. The gold can be better spent elsewhere.
Your whole gameplay until level 16 is going to revolve around doing the repeatable Tundra quest and farming XP. Do not try to progress the main story beyond Tundra, if you are struggling, your main goal is the most XP per energy spent.
Do not worry about hitting the Fish cap, or about saving gold for the buildings. Hatch as many dragons as possible, use as many of them to train your primary dragons as possible. Use whatever spare gold you have to upgrade Duties, then Treasury, then Fishery. Maxed Duties, ~level 4 treasury and ~level 3 Fishery are recommended.
Do not over-invest into 2* or lower dragons, unless you really have no options.
Try to upgrade your Red, Purple and Blue dragons as little as possible, unless your red\purple dragons are 3*+ or your blue dragon is a 4*+.
- Generally after 16 your goal is to keep the balance between your resources. In my experience - you always manage to get more gold then it’s needed to Hatch\Train dragons, so these excesses should be used to eventually upgrade the Treasury\Fishery.
- Thanks to Dot_Gale, I know that you get a 2nd egg slot before 3* hatching. Having two eggs hatched at once can be useful, but its primary goal is to allow both 1-2* eggs dragons and 3* to be trained at once, you can’t hatch two of the same kind of egg at a time.
The balance of your resources heavily depends on how you train your dragons and on how do you manage the duties. Ideally you should only do the right activities for the right duties, especially for Astrid\Hiccup combat duties, for example:
-If you get a “do X quests”, you do not progress the story and it’s recommended to do the daily scale quest.
-If you get a “get X resources”, depending on your second combat quest, you can progress the story, or you can do a Fish Limited Time quest.
-If you get both “get X resources” - that’s a good time to try and progress the story. Keep an eye on your dragon cap though, each story mission gives you one 1* fodder.
-If you get a “Hatch X dragons” - you should have nearly-capped eggs ready to be mass-hatched in the shortest amount of time.
-If you get a “Hatch X amount of Y color dragons” and you have the upgraded Hatchery - you can let it get ready in a few hours. However, if you are near the egg-cap in preparation to a standard hatching duty - just brute-force it with random hatching.
-If you get a “Train X dragons” - 4-6 is acceptable, anything beyond that is not. To do this duty - you should have a roster of either fresh 2-3* dragons you may want to breed later, or a roster of 2* dragons that you will dump 1* dragons to. I will explain it in the next section.
-If you get “Level X dragons” - reroll it. Plain and simple. This is what reroll is for.
-If you get “Breed X dragon and Y” - just do it. If you don’t have these dragons… ignore it. Not worth a reroll, you might just get these dragons sooner than you’d level 12 dragons.
-If you get “Breed X dragons” - you can brute-force it by breeding 2-hour 2*+2*, but I would recommend to never breed below 3-hour 3*+2*. This way you eliminate the chance of a 1* trash and get at least a decent 2* fodder for consumption.
If you micromanage the duties properly, chances are that you’ll have plenty of resources and that you will be able to regularly do Hard Chests, as these are the only chests worth doing.
Besides the repeatable zone quests, you should always do the first two nodes of the daily scale quest. If you have a good team of ~2500 power - you can tackle the third node.
Among the resources - only the Fish is worth doing, because while all the resource quests are useful for “Do X quests” and “Gather X Fish” duties, only Fish is actually crucial.
Look at it this way: repeatable quests give eggs that have to be used for hatching that costs gold that hatches dragons that require fish to be cooked with. And if you save fish or gold, you run into the egg cap. Fish repeatable quests give only Fish, which is useful if you can’t manage the grinding wheel.
Any other repeatable quest doesn’t benefit you as much, because you can’t run out of egg shells, you always save up a bit of gold, and you always need as much fish as necessary.
Runes are best spent on Dragon Roster extensions, at least ~4-5 of them. Alternatively you can use them on the Pacifier that the developers offer you once you lose the fight, because some non-boss fights could actually use such an investment.
How to Train Your Dragons
First of all you need to realize what do the effects of dragons’ abilities do:
1.There are 3 types of healing: instant healing, healing over time and shielding. Healing and healing over time can be wasted if the dragon has full health, and they can be blocked by “can not be healed” debuff. Shielding, or the “+max health%”, can not be wasted, and, theoretically - should not be blockable by the healing debuff. Which is why the values of these abilities tend to stretch from heavy over time heals to small shields.
Most mid-\end-game fights require heavy healing from your team, very often your dragons will be sniped clean off the board. To make sure that you don’t lose the fight because your healer is down - it’s recommended to have more than one, preferably 3 or even all 5.
Accuracy debuff prevents enemies from actually landing hits, which is one of the ways to prevent sniping, but it also makes you miss with some of the launched tiles if it’s used against you. However, accuracy does not affect any ability casts.
Counterattack(CA). When your dragon has CA, it will launch back a shot for every hit that he receives, which includes the damaging abilities, even mass-damaging ones. This shot will deal a % of that dragon’s Attack, and the damage will be done with that dragon’s color. However, the dragon still takes full damage from the attack, so if it takes lethal damage - it will not counterattack.
Single CA is not recommended, as it’s unreliable for your dragons, and it’s more or less easy to avoid if an enemy casts it. A mass CA is a great additional source of damage for your team, and it’s a nightmare if you allow the enemy to cast it on themselves. I still do not entirely understand how it works for the enemy, all I know is that it’s one of the worst effects to fight against.
Healing debuff is useful against enemy teams that use mass healing. Like CA, it’s best used against the entire enemy team, though even ensuring that your primary target doesn’t get healed is also useful.
Healing debuff against your own dragons is lethal. Depending on the fight - it might be even worse than CA, it’s definitely worse if the debuff affects your entire team. Like I said, most fights require your dragons to heal themselves, it’s hard enough to charge the abilities of your dragons and if you later are unable to even land the heal - it can often end the fight prematurely.
The ability Lock effect prevents the dragon from using his ability regardless of his charge.
Enemies with single target ability locks are annoying, random and dangerous, but generally a fair challenge, and, like mass-CA - can be normally outhealed(if you have backup healers), but mass-antiheal or mass-lock from the enemy requires your own Lock effect, and if you lack it - it might be time to farm instead of progressing.
Effects such as lower damage dealt\higher taken for enemies and higher damage dealt\lower taken for your dragons do exactly what they say they do. They are like CA: valuable when used on a team, not really important when used by a single dragon, yours or the enemy’s.
The Strong Hit(SH) mechanic is very interesting. Like CA - a single dragon’s SH for one turn is barely noticeable, but a mass SH for your team can be very scalable. What it does is turning all your dragons’ color damage into counter-color damage to the enemy. The right way to use this effect, assuming it’s used on your entire team - is to save up some special tiles on the board, preferably for at least 15 tiles launched(a couple of line-poppers). At least - this effect will be more or less comparable to a “mass damage” effect, but if you are lucky or you prepared the board - it can nearly wipe out the enemy team in one fell swoop.
Spirit restoration is also a very useful effect that either restore a fixed % of spirit or improve the spirit generation of your dragons. Like healing - spirit restoration is crucial for the harder fights, as you’ll find out that you do not win by raw tile stacking, but by managing your abilities. Keeping an accuracy debuff on the enemy team can be a difference between life and death. Keeping CA on your team can really punish the enemy for even trying. Buffing your dragons’ damage or increasing the enemy’s damage taken can also improve your raw number efficiency by 30-60%. All of that requires spirit to be maintained, so having a dragon that assists everyone with spirit regeneration - can have much bigger impact than a single damaging attack.
Finally I’d like to say that you should avoid dragons with Ricochet ability. Its damage is low, the second target doesn’t get the debuff if the attack applies one and the second target is random. Abilities that restore health based on the % of damage inflicted or mass-damage abilities are much better scaling.
Hybrids and Breeding
Now that you know what do the dragons do, you must understand what are hybrids and why they can be valuable.
Until 4*, hybrids are directly more powerful than most nonhybrids, both because of the raw stats, and because of the higher amount of ability effects. Normally dragons have 1 effect for 1*, 2 effects for 2-3* and 3 effects for 4-5*. Hybrids allow even 1* dragons to have 2 effects, some 1* hybrids can virtually be more useful than normal 3* dragons. 2* hybrids still have 2 effects, but 3* hybrids can already have 3 effects.
The rarity gap in the game increases drastically, so while a viable 1* hybrid might not go far, a viable 2* hybrid can easily replace a normal 3* dragon, a 3* hybrid is much harder to get than a standard 3* dragon, but it technically has the capacity of a 4* dragon. Obtaining a 4* dragon is a sub-endgame accomplishment, and 5* dragons are reserved either for the people with very deep pockets or people, who have spent months farming.
Essentially having the effectiveness budget of an endgame dragon on your “realistically obtainable” dragon can make not only repeatable farming much easier, but also help your progression.
To breed a hybrid, you need to be level 16 and have the Breedery, and you need the matching species. One can never thank Szaddaj enough for his Spreadsheet, it has been edited to very conveniently show who do you need to breed for almost every dragon in the game.
According to this post, the breeding is not affected by how leveled and trained your parent dragons are. I have growing suspicions of the opposite, but RNG has never been good to me.
The breeding principle is this:
2* + 2* = 1* 2* 3*
2* + 3* = 2* 3*
3* + 3* = 2* 3* 4*
3* + 4* = 3* 4*
4* + 4* = 3* 4* 5*
Seeing as fate has not bestowed with me with not a single 4* dragon, you can imagine what part of this is theory and I would rather stop it there.
If you breed two normal dragons, your potential results are all star-matching dragons both parenting species and all star-matching dragons of the hybrids.
If you breed two hybrids - your potential results can only be star-matching hybrids. You can not breed hybrids and non-hybrids and, to my knowledge, you can not breed two different hybrids together.
At 4* and beyond, hybrids generally have no distinct advantages over normal dragons, it all comes down to optimizing your team, more on that later.
"Leveling Dragons\Dragon Disposal
Leveling dragons is going to be your primary fish sink, so it’s important to optimize it and know exactly how much fish per level do you pay.
First of all - you need to know that you can consume 10 dragons at a time. Before you ask - no, you do not get any growing experience bonus or any higher chance to upgrade your ability. In fact, regarding the ability - do NOT worry about upgrading it. It is all about RNG, some maxed-out 3* dragons will have a level10 ability, some will have 7+, and it would take the worst kind of RNG for a 4*+ dragon to NOT max out their ability. Feeding a copy of your dragon will give you 25% upgrade chance per copy, but remember that you need a copy of your dragon to train any 3*+ dragon to 3*-training.
The only real benefit of consuming as many dragons at once as possible - is the fact that you save some fish by doing it. For every level, your dragons need 50 fish more per a consumed dragon. It begins at 1500 fish per dragon for any freshly matured dragon(1* training), at 2000 for a 2*-trained dragon and I assume 2500 for 3*. So, it can go up to ~2900 fish per dragon at 1* level 29, ~3400 2* level 29 etc. If you consume multiple dragons, even if these dragons give your consumer dragon 5-10+ levels - they will all have the cost of the current consumer-dragon’s level.
In other words, let’s say that you consume 5 dragons to get 5 levels for a 1* level 1 dragon. Consuming them all at once will cost 7500 fish. Consuming them one after the other will cost 1500+1550+1600+1650+1700 = 8000 fish.
Seeing as I found it impossible, as a f2p player, to feed 1* dragons to my primary dragons and still have enough fish for anything, and I kept running into max dragon cap over and over, I’ve devised a trick to handle it.
It doesn’t matter which dragon you consume: from a 1* untrained hatchling or a maxed out 5* trained dragon - it all depends on the current leveling of consumer dragon. It also doesn’t matter which dragon do you train to 1* training, it’s always 2000 Fish + 2 scales.
This is why I have some 2-3* dragons trained for the Duty credit, and I use these dragons to consume all the 1* fodder of their color at the rate of 1500 fish per dragon.
In case that’s unclear - you NEVER consume dragons of a color different from your consumer dragon, EVER
The purpose of such “dragon disposal” is to not run into the dragon cap and to fit within the “fish per dragon” budget. How much Fish do you get daily? ~10k from the Fishery. ~5k from the Duties if you are lucky. And ~5k from the Hard chest, assuming that you get one every 2 days. With ~20 hours of 6 energy each, that’s… Realistically about 100 energy daily, with ±3000 fish per 5 energy - 60000 Fish. So about 80k Fish daily. Now, even assuming that you don’t get any story mission 1* dragons and that you only get 2*+ from 3-4* breeding, you still get at least 2 drafts and, from these 20 repeatable quests - ~150 scales. That’s ~20 or more dragons obtained daily. Since you need 2k Fish per hour for breeding and you can realistically spend about 15 hours per day breeding - that’s 30k Fish. Which means that you only have ~50k Fish to spend on dragon disposal. Chances are that feeding your primary dragons is going to cost 2500-3500 Fish or more, you really can’t spend more than 1500 Fish on 1* dragons, as much as you’d want to level your primaries.
Feeding a 2* dragon with 9 x 1* dragons will give give it ~6.2 levels, as opposed to 10 x 1* for ~6.8 levels. You get a bonus for every level of a consumed dragon, so a base 2* dragon gives ~1.2levels, while a level 7(+6.2 levels) - ~1.9 levels. This means that you at least get some “refund” of experience from all these wasted 1* dragons that you can’t afford to feed to your primaries.
One exception that you can afford - are the freshly-2*-trained dragons, who start their leveling at 2000 Fish per dragon. Them you can, if possible, feed with 9-10 1* dragons to get a level 7. If you have both the Fish and the dragons, you can repeat it once again, but I really wouldn’t recommend spending more than 2500 Fish per 1* dragon, unless your Fish economy is far above mine(which is possible for a high-end player, but then again this guide is for beginners\regulars).
First of all I’d like to say that the combat is random, is supposed to be random and it is a F2P game. You are expected to lose, expected to be motivated to pay for more energy, to pay 100 runes to continue the fight. No matter how you try, these issues can not be resolved by skill alone. This is, if you aren’t going to be a “wallet warrior”, at least you should know what you are getting into.
I’ve spent some time analyzing the combat and trying to think up strategies, but… it all contradicts itself. Counter-colors? Random. Charging up your key dragon? Random. Trying to insert your ability during enemy turn? Unclear, scripted so much that there is hardly any theory needed.
So what can I suggest when everything is ultimately determined by randomness?
I’ve listed what abilities can be dangerous, and it only makes sense that such abilities should be cast as little by the enemies as possible, if you have no means of controlling it yourself, like with an Ability Lock.
As you may have noticed, enemies recharge 10% spirit every turn, all of them, and they recharge 10% spirit for every tile that hits them, regardless of how much damage it does. Which means that you can scratch these “dangerous” dragons and they will only use their abilities more.
So the logical solution is to charge your dragons without hitting enemies or by hitting the enemies, whose abilities you can survive.
As I said, having multiple healers is crucial, but a number of effects are no less important. First of all - the accuracy debuff can prevent leathal damage to your team while you charge. Secondly, reducing enemy damage dealt or your damage taken is useful, as long as it’s team-wide. The combination of these effects is necessary to survive the more ridiculous enemy teams.
Likewise, a mass counterattack and a damage buff to your team is the first thing to get if you feel like you lack damage. Enemy damage taken and Strong Hit are secondary, but also useful if you can get them.
Which means that out of 15 total possible ability effects: 3-5 should be reserved for healing, 3-5 most often goes to damage, so the remaining effect slots should preferably have varied utility. While a maxed 3* hybrid team is not endgame-capable, some maxed 3* hybrids in a team of 4-5*-s can still pull their weight.
Blue - Anveil , Tricky Two-heads, The Radiant Skyglow
Easily the most powerful 3* dragon and also the one dragon you get for free.
This dragon gives a solid -Accuracy Debuff to the entire enemy team and he heals your lowest health dragon, in addition to dealing decent mass damage.
If you manage to get Tricky Two-heads, you are going to keep the mass -acc debuff, upgrade the single heal to not only mass heal, but also mass shield-heal and trade damage for team-wide counterattack.
And the third broken blue dragon is The Radiant Skyglow, which keeps the team-counterattack, trades -accuracy debuff for a huge team-damage taken buff and even restores spirit on top of it. Probably one of the best support dragons in the game. However, if you get any other source of mass-counterattack, then it’s either a 5* Fronsty Sparguard(if you don’t have mass heal-over-time) or The Tempestuous Scalestorm.
Yellow - Brute-Wurst
Tanky, has a high mass heal-over-time and restores spirit to maximize the team’s ability usage.
There are no 3* hybrids, and among other 3* yellow dragons - Brute-Wurst just seems to have the most practical value. Warcry is hit-or-miss without healing, Pincher has single-target shield-healing, but it might not be enough, and the heavy single-target burst is hardly better than extra spirit to your team.
From 4* and 5*, only Skywarden can be used for team-counterattack, but he is one of the lowest-value T-CA providers out there. And the other 5* dragons are either good for team-cleanse or enemy-dispel.
Either Szaddaj’s list is incomplete or the devs should really expand the yellow roster.
Green - Scally-Slander, Flank-tanker, Revenger, Fendmender
Flank-tanker is probably the easiest to get, since it’s not a hybrid, and if you have it - his mass heal can go a long way. Sadly, he is “Very Slow” to charge his ability, so if you have another dragon besides Anveil who can heal - probably best to upgrade.
Scally-Slander is a Monstrous Nightmare+Gronkle hybrid with a very solid +damage taken debuff to the entire enemy team. Also, she compensates her low damage with a personal damage buff(sadly wasted if you have another buffer in the team) and deals fine mass damage.
Revenger is pretty much a green Skywarden, so if you have Brute-Wurst - Revenger is a good source of team-counterattack and even some extra spirit on top of it.
In turn, Fendmender is like a bigger brother of Brute-Wurst, with the team heal-over-time now complemented by a shield-heal to the lowest dragon and some AoE damage.
From 5* the best options are either The Chestnut Knight with a rare revival chance and a team buff\debuff, or a Cryptic Collector for some support value.
Purple - Fog-Stalker, Gloomleer
Fog-Stalker is probably the 2nd most powerful 3* hybrid after Anveil, and is the hybrid of a Deadly Nadder and Stormcutter. It’s basically a better version of Fanghook with an added extremely valuable mass-shield-heal.
4* purples are largely useless single-target dragons with little team utility. Obsurdian can be used as an enemy team-dispel, but ultimately I’d say that Gloomleer should potentially replace Fog-Stalker, as he is one of the few dragons with a Silence effect, coupled with a healthy -damage taken buff for your entire team, as well as a self-heal from damage done.
In fact, the only real upgrade to Gloomleer is 5* The Shifty Murklurker with MASS SILENCE. Sadly, for an UNKNOWN reason(devs, the hell?) this mass silence comes with -a spirit gain reduction to the enemy team. I mean… you already prevent enemies from using their abilities. And chances are that you are doing it not to 0 spirit enemy, but to a max spirit enemy. So the spirit reduction is almost worthless next to mass Silence.
Red - Knock-Rocket, The Shrill Boltbeak
Driftcleaver is the same worthless statbag as Fanghook, and while Torch and Tripfire can be equally valuable, depending on whether you lack healing or a damage buff, ultimately it’s the Knock-Rocket who takes the 3* crown.
Knock-Rocket is a Roburst Rumblehorn+Skrill hybrid, with a very rare ability to actually revive fallen dragons. Of course, it’s random, and it’s pointless if he gets sniped, but in a clutch, or if your other dragon gets sniped - he could be a lifesaver and go a looooong way. Additionally he deals heavy single target damage and prevents target from being healed, which is a good way to knock… I mean nuke an undesirable enemy.
4* red dragons are just pathetic. The Fireshrike could be sort of useful if you fail to get neither Brute-Wurst nor Fendmender, but his healing is weaker and is only supported by self-targeted buffs that are quite low on the value budget for a 4* dragon.
However, The Shrill Boltbeak is an excellent specimen who can provide team-counterattack with an added team-damage buff and mass damage on top. Of course, if you have any other dragon with team-counterattack, then he loses his value and you could as well take The Smoldering Slaggert for -accuracy debuff to the enemy team.
I’d also like to address unequal teams. That is - teams without dragons of all 5 colors. Such kind of a setup could theoretically work, if you want to stack powerful dragons\rotate the uptime of effects or just counter enemies with less chance of getting counter-color sniped. Whatever’s your poison, here’s how it would work:
*Obviously any matched tiless that do not have a dragon of their color present - will NOT deal damage. Yes, if you dragon is dead, they still deal damage, but if it’s absent, there is NO damage. They, however, will STILL give enemies spirit, so if you hope to just scroll through the board, while the enemy attacks your team with their weak-color attacks - you’ll just end up with enemies spamming their abilities.
*All your dragons(of the same color) gain spirit from a matched set of tiles(of the same color). Yes, this technically means that once you charge one dragon - you might have your whole team charged. On one hand, it allows for smoother transitions, if you are keeping one dragon alive to charge your team, on the other - it might cause overlapping abilities with the same effects.
*The matched tiles will have the damage of all your dragons of the same color. That is - they can 1-2 shot enemies if your entire team is one color. But it comes with the above-mentioned risks of over-triggering enemy abilities. Your dragons’ abilities, obviously, are not stacked, because each dragon has his own stats.
Overall it’s a viable and maybe funny way to play, possibly could work against bosses, but… Personally I prefer control, and with my luck - I don’t want to end up being unable to kill a dragon\having to use abilities on him, just because that part of the board has NO tiles that would damage it.