Defense Derby may wear the mask of a tower defence, but it sets itself apart from the traditional labels with a huge raft of innovations. With a four-player PvP mode as its flagship, customisable decks that get largely ignored each round, and a huge host of units to pick from, it’s hard to know where to start, but we are here to help.
Take the auction with the action
The combat section of the flagship Derby Mode is indeed important, but to be successful you also need to master the Scouting Phase. This is where most of your army will come from each round. You get two units from your deck at the beginning of the round, and one after each boss, but you will need to augment them with bidding wars.
It is important to balance building a team to take you through the round, with not overspending. Don’t be tempted to throw all your money at characters who won’t fit into your formation just for number's sake. You might miss a few important fighters through your haste, plus the scouted unit is pulled from the deck of the player who has the most Derby Chips, so saving them will place you at an advantage when everyone else has thrown theirs away.
Never stay still
With most tower defences being a slow, static affair, coming into Derby Mode expecting the same here will leave you incredibly shocked. The waves of enemies don’t hang about, circling your castle and knocking on the door within seconds, so you will need to keep shuffling your units around to take advantage of their attack range and skills. The Harpy who can debuff enemies' defence should stay ahead of your heavier hitters to get a bit more damage and the Mermaid who deals extra damage to targets with high health should stay towards the start.
Knowing all the units’ skills is incredibly useful in deciding where to place them, so try to have at least a basic idea of how everyone works. More importantly, however, is to remember that deploying characters has a cool time, so you can’t just keep shifting indefinitely. Bear in mind the current and potential threats and tactical implications of all of your moves, and also never forget Synergy.
Placement equals power
Every fighter in Defense Derby belongs to one of three Factions; Human, Spirit or Beast, and are then either a Physical or a Magic type. They will all take one of eight open slots in your castle, surrounding your big bastion of a Hero who is anchored to the centre, and who also has these designations, and it is very important for you to play to these.
Any members of the same factions who sit next to each other will benefit from a power boost of 20% that can stack three times, whereas a line of three Physical or Magic types will get a single 30% boost. This is a potential 90% boost to your soldier's damage, and say you combine that with a Hero with Osborn who adds 20% to Beast power, it is clear why you should consider the composition of your Deck, the Scouted characters you recruit, and more importantly, where each of them is stationed at all times. Never forget the Synergy bonuses, they will turn the tide in your favour.
Blitz with the best of them
While you will spend most of your time battling against others in Derby Mode, don’t neglect Blitz Mode. Defense Derby has an idle defence that will collect Gold and Elixir for you, storing up to eight hours’ worth at a time. The way you generate more is by completing higher waves of Blitz, a fun game that lets you deploy your full deck at once against enemies that you are warned about in advance, so you can prepare your tactics and watch them go.
As vital as these resources are, Blitz can also function as an excellent training tool. You are able to replay the highest level you have achieved for free, so you can use it as a way to decide what Faction you like, what units you prefer, and who pairs up well with everyone else. It may not have been what Krafton intended, but it works extremely well regardless.
Prepare your army in advance
The reason Blitz is so important is that Gold and Elixir are used to increase the level of your units. This increases their power, of course, and makes it so that whenever you recruit these in Derby, whether it be from your Deck or from Scouting, they will enter the game with that level. So, buff up all Humans to level 50 and take advantage of Synergy, and no enemy will be left standing.
As you recruit more units, you will undoubtedly pull more than a few duplicates. Luckily, you can merge three characters of the same rarity together to improve their rank. This leads to more power and also increases the level of their skill, so it's worth checking every time you recruit soldiers. You will also have an Army level based on your eight most levelled-up warriors, which you can then assign to another of your fighters. This is a great way to increase your troops' level for free, so don’t forget to nominate your weaker characters.
Defense Derby truly takes the tower defence genre and gives it a massive makeover, so it will take a bit of time to get used to. Follow the lessons in this guide though, and you will be well on your way to climbing up the ranks and cementing yourself as one of the best castle defenders in the game.