HQ Level 18 was something I looked forward to for a while mostly because I would get access to Scorchers. There’s a few other upgrades that would make this level one to strive for, including the next-to-the-last level Sculptor and some killer armory upgrades. However, between here and HQ level 19, it feels like taking a shotgun blast to the gun (although admittedly, I’ve never done anything like that to myself).
In many ways, beyond the Scorchers, I was thankful that there weren’t many additional structures for this level. The only offensive building added was a mortar. Mostly, this level I found to be focused on upgrading most of my buildings, troops and ships in going from XP 44-47. It’s actually a good level to slow down a bit and focus on things that you might’ve missed while rushing your base.
As a primarily offensive player, I focused on things like Sculptor, Vault, Armory, Gunboat and even managed to sneak in a submarine and radar upgrade. However, these were pretty brutal in cost, especially the Sculptor. Yet so far I’ve found that many of these upgrades have made up for things in the long run. In between, I’ve been upgrading smaller defenses like machine guns, flame throwers and mortars as well as my gold storage. The goal here is to get more of the less important defenses to have enough health to withstand a few attacks. You can think of them as a sort of resource and time sink while you’re collecting for your major upgrades.
Now, the other part that I’ve been slowly working on are my Landing Crafts. Since my primary load out strategy is Tanks-Grenadiers-Medics, I haven’t had a crucial need to keep my landing craft upgraded. Of course, with Scorchers made available, you need a minimum level of 17 to fit any of them. My long term goal is to hopefully get a Scank (Scorcher-Tank) load out going but part of that strategy involves making sure that I have the space.
At the same time, I’ve been warned that you want to start preparing your Landing Crafts for when you eventually hit HQ 20. The idea is that you don’t want to be in a situation where all you’re doing the moment you hit HQ 20 is upgrading your landing crafts to get your next increased troop capacity. So aside from having a few landing craft to be able to support Scorchers, I want to get as many landing craft as possible to around level 17. That is going to be pretty painful since I have an entire row still at level 12. But again, that’s why it’s better to hit 17 now rather than later.
Now, while my goal is to eventually give Scanks a try, I did read that they are not effective until you have them upgraded to level 5 or so along with 4 landing crafts containing 3 tanks each. I can see why since you no longer can rely on Medics to keep your troops topped off. Also, at my stage where I can only have 2 tanks per landing craft, it makes the load out very risky. The suggested load out is 3 scorchers and 4 landing craft full of tanks. And considering how GBE heavy this combination is, I’d be very worried against most bases it would be much harder to take out Boom Cannons, Shock Launchers and special defense weapons beyond laser cannons.
That said, I feel that with my current investment into the Grank-Med combination, there really isn’t a dire need to switch at the moment. In fact, switching at this stage might be detrimental since I find grenadiers pretty invaluable for a lot of scenarios. I’m hoping that they can take me all the way to HQ 22 at least.
Past all things, my current primary goal is to get my Armory upgraded to level 18. Level 18 is a pretty lofty upgrade. Level 13 tanks, level 8 medics (2 upgrades), level 6 grenadiers and the final Shock Bomb upgrade among other things. Even if I manage to get enough experience to qualify for upgrading my HQ to level 19, the number of upgrades remaining in the Armory at their cost will keep me busy for a while.
Now, one other thought that has been crossing my mind is whether to do warriors as a separate load out. My current level is only 9 and trying to get them up to par will take a huge investment. I know that warriors are an excellent troop type capable of taking on most bases. But I’ve tried them out and felt disappointed. Probably, a huge issue for me is that I was lacking GBE (this was one my other, lower level account). Still, I’ve felt that there are a few issues beyond GBE such as configuring a whole new and costly statue layout as well as upgrading Smoke Bombs and Flares. So I’m on the fence with them for now.
If anything I’d prefer to spend the money on upgrading the Scorchers in the future. Or perhaps even working on zookas and riflemen since I’m already keeping my Medics upgraded regularly. In that manner, I’ll be prepared for running a combo like RZM in the future.
Overall, this level is pretty slow. I do like the fact that I’m able to spend more time working on focused upgrades rather than spreading myself too thin. But I feel like I’m on that tipping point where the next level or two will be extremely frustrating. I’ve heard that the grind from 19-20 is even worse. I feel that the hardest and dullest parts are just working on those landing craft. But it has to be done so FML.