Dungeon Defense: Best Character Guide

Dungeon Defense: The Invasion of Heroes — Best Character Guide Guides

What’s this for?

Choosing a party is part of the fun of this game. I tried out every character early on to see which ones l liked and how the skills worked. With the promotions in version 1.91ish this becomes a little more of a chore imho, resetting promotions for different compositions. Maybe you’ll enjoy hearing what others have to say about these characters, or save yourself a little bit of trial and error.

If you haven’t seen the main guide for the game, check it out here.

How does it work?

Characters can be classified a few different ways.

  • Tier 1-5: This refers to the number of medals it takes to promote the character.  A tier 2 character like Nameless takes twice as many medals to promote as a tier 1 like Snake. The spirits at tier 5 take 5x the medals to promote. Generally speaking, higher tier characters have greater damage potential.
  • Weapon type
  • Melee, Ranged, Single, Multi. The character’s damage specialty.
  • Unique skills, Special on a timer in bold, awakened skill for the hero in italics.
  • Top Skills Important/notable skills for the character, Promoted and hell store bonus skills in bold and italic..
  • Talents (NEW in v1.92)
  • Costs, if any.
  • Legendary Equipment Bonuses, at max level (10)
  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Synergies. Who does this character pair well with, and why? Team recommendations.
  • Strategies and recommendations for using this character.
    • Weapon mods, generally or strategically
    • Skills to emphasize
    • Etc? Let’s see what comes up.
  • I’m not going to differentiate between awakened and unawakened skills. Let’s try to keep it simple, folks.

Maybe all of this can get summarized in a fancy chart once this has been fleshed out? Let’s see.

As for skills:

  • General skills that nearly everyone has—basic training, for example.
  • Unique skills that are only possessed by this character
  • Party skills
  • Defensive
  • Offensive
  • Buff
  • Debuff
  • Economic skills that are applied outside of battle or increase income.

I think the synergies and strategies component of skill is best suited for the character discussion, unless we get some comments otherwise. I’m not sure how necessary this section really is, because Jonathan A. made a really handy chart of characters and skills, and if you want to know what a skill does, mouse over the cell (look for that arrow in the corner for the “note” to popup up) or take the old-fashioned root of…just looking at it 🙂

Aside from that, maybe someone else sees a different opportunity here than I do at the moment. Are you wondering if that person is you? Then it is. Write away, my friend.

Tier 1 Characters


WeaponSwords and daggers – PhysicalSpecialtySingle Target Support
UniquesSwift (increases attack & reload speed)

Mortal Strike (25 guaranteed criticals)

Top SkilzAssassinate, Triple shot

(O)Last Projectile

(P)Weak Exposure, Moment, Deadly force

Necklace<span;”>-50% ammo, 60% damage

2x chance of ricochet

Ring<>+30% damage, +15 ricochet level

Swift skill at 40% to rest of party

Strengths+Good support with 40% swift skill to party, rampage, deadly force, and weak exposureFlaws
Synergies<>~Wraith’s resonance & cheer skill will make swift even stronger for the party, which is great for later day mutations.

~Guardman (ogre, orc, nature) or fire dungeon for increased rage (deadly strike)


& Advice

~The Last Projectile: Use swords to make use of this skill more frequently. While Goblin doesn’t have as high a chance of assassinating as Snake, with the necklace’s ammo reduction 1 in 8 attacks do equivalent damage, which is kind of like a 12.5% increase in chance to assassinate (at least, before the hell store bonuses kick in). Of course, if that last shot is ALSO an assassination, you’ve got a huge hit. This skill also makes 2x ammo usage mutations helpful.

~Make sure your party has a high chance of critical attacks to take advantage of deadly force.

Living Sword

WeaponJavelin and Shuriken – PhysicalSpecialtyGold generator and Support
UniquesMutilate (Single target damage to multiple enemies)
Ricochet Festival (guaranteed Ricochet on attacks)
Top SkillsRicochet, Penetration

(P) Bouncer, Moment

(D) Fear

(E) Bounty Hunter

Necklace+30% damage

+60% Skill Recharge Speed

Special Skill damages all Enemies

Ring+30% Damage

+15 Ricochet Lv.

+4 Additional Javelins thrown

StrengthsExtra Gold generation thanks to Bounty HunterFlawsWay too little damage
Synergies~ Pair with Ogre to let his weapons bounce for even more stuns.

~ Pair with Goblin to increase Goblins chance of Assassination procs, while Living Swords attacks faster for more CC.

~ Pair with Snake to increase Snakes Lucky Strike and Assassination procs.


& Advice

~ Put Living Swords weapon on special enhance (Hell store perk) to reduce costs while upgrading it. His most beneficial skills are party wide. Except if you are running with Water Dungeon, where he shines (still weak compared to others) thanks to ricocheting Shurikens/Javelins he will stun and slow enemies almost permanently.

~ If awakened or legendary ring equipped use Javelins

~ If you struggle to finish days, try swapping Living Sword out for a more damage oriented character.

~ Paired with Water Dungeon for a high Debuff (Slow, Ats Slow) and Stun uptime on enemies (though not as effective as Ogre/Orc who also smite)

~ Bounty Hunter stacks with the rings and necklaces.


WeaponAxes and Blunt weapons – PhysicalSpecialtySingle Target Support (more area w/ring)
UniquesShockwave (Stuns all enemies)

Giant Festival (guaranteed Huge Weapon on attacks)

Top SkilzTriple Shot, Huge Weapon

(P) Groupe Rage, Guardman

(E) Miner, Builder

(D) Threaten, Suppress, Smite

(O) Medicinal Steel

Necklace+60% Attack Speed

+30% Reload Speed

+% Damage per penetration (English tooltip has not been updated)

Ring+30% Damage

+15 Huge Weapon Lv.

+1 additional projectile shot in a random direction

StrengthsHigh utilityFlawsLess damage, although he hits more targets than Orc, he doesn’t compare in AoE damage to Eye or Love.
Synergies~ Pair with Goblin/Slime (or character with Moment) for less reload time → more attacks → more stuns/slows

~ Orc so you get more bang for your buck (hell store upgrades; Orc and Ogre use the same)

~ Living Sword for bouncing weapons for even more stuns and slows. (Huge weapon already penetrates, so bouncing weapons is more effective than Skeleton’s party penetration)


& Advice

~Try to use a weapon with a fast reload speed (unmodded) and mod it full with attack speed, so you increase your chance of stunning and slowing enemies.

~ Water Dungeon for extra stun and slow chance—(and he’ll hit more targets than Orc)

~ Reduced building costs stack with Nature Dungeon.

~ Increases damage from damage dealers.


WeaponAxes and Blunt weapons – PhysicalSpecialtySingle target killer, defender

(party does 400% damage for 14 seconds)

Shield Blocking

(25 attacks deal -75% dmg)

Top SkilzHuge Weapon

(O) Deathstrike, Weapons of progres,, Winning Streak, triple shot

(B) Fury, Bash, Weapons of rage

(D) Smite, Supress

(P) Rampage, Guardman, Negate Attacks, Vanguard,

Necklace30% damage, +60% skill recharge speed

All party members enrage

Ring+30% damage, +15 Huge weapon levels

+900 enraged duration

Strengths~Excellent against bosses because of deathstrike & winning streak

~Vanguard doubles dungeon HP!

~pretty much constantly enraged with ring

FlawsLess AoE attack then Ogre
Synergies~Wraith’s resonance will increase Warcry’s effectiveness for the party

~Use with Ogre to maximize hell store bonuses to huge weapons and make water dungeon very powerful.


& Advice

~As with Ogre, use at least 2 asp mods and an axe to increase stun and suppression.

~Focus on the bash skill in later days


WeaponBow – PhysicalSpecialtySupport
UniquesBone Party

Infinite Arrows (25 multi-shots)

Top SkillsPenetrations, Tripleshot, Multishot

(O) Penetration mastery, numerous weapons, weapon of wind

(B) Eagle Eye, Continuous firing,

(P) Bounty hunter, Penetrations

Necklace+60% damage

-30% attack speed

+4 additional arrows

Ring+30% reload speed

+15 tripleshot levels

+15 bone penetrations

StrengthsGold generator with Bounty HunterFlawsWeak damage output

& Advice

~Bounty hunter gives a bonus to income on TOP of  rings and necklaces. So in late game you might get ~5 million if everyone is equipped with $ accessories, but closer to ~40 with a bounty hunter. Early game it doesn’t seem like much, but it helps. It does take 330 levels to max out, so it is best to have bounty hunters in to start and then sub out after day 500 with  a stronger character.

~If you use the freeze talent in the water dungeon, then skeleton’s penetration bonuses could be very helpful.

Scientist (slime, eye, light) – ?? levels.  Boosts research generated by labs from X% to Y%.   Can provide a solid bonus early game by getting to crucial researches a bit faster.   Tends to become less useful as you progress to higher difficulties because the bonus stacks additively with Rebirth stone science upgrade and accessory upgrades.

Also, as you start with more and more gold, you can afford to boost labs much more quickly and since research takes at least 1 day and carries-over, you hit a point where it does not help.  i.e. you get 7 research done in 7 days regardless of whether you have a scientist or not.


WeaponStaff and Wand – MagicalSpecialty
UniquesConcentration (no reload speed)

Infinite Flames (25 fireballs)

Top SkillsFireball, Flame lance, Triple shot

(O) Last projectile, Chain Reaction, Giant fireball,

(B) Fireball of Wrath,

(P) Scientist, accountant (meh), Cheer, Negate attacks, scribe

Necklace+30% damage, +30% reload speed

+75% fireball range (area coverage)

Ring+30% damage, +15 fireball levels

+450% fireball damage

Strengths+Scientist bonus to research

+Area of effect with chain reaction and giant fireballs

+no need for reload mods or skills

FlawsNot as good as Wraith for single targets
Synergies~Concentration can run almost permanently with wraith’s resonance, and both benefit from each other’s hell store bonuses

~Skeleton can focus on asp/shot instead of reload

~Water dungeon if using the freeze talent


& Advice

~Makes  -reload mutations laughable because of scribe and concentration, so the party can leave the reload skill pretty untouched and focus on others

~Use a staff to get the most use of the last projectile


WeaponSwords and daggers – PhysicalSpecialtySingle targets Hero (bosses!)
UniquesShadow of Death mass damage, except bosses

Lucky Coin (25 lucky strikes)

Top SkillsAssassinate, multi-shot

Power of Assassination, Detectors, Ricochet, Deadly Poison, triple shot

Necklace+30% damage & +30% Reload

2x chance of ricochet

Ring30% damage, +15 ricochet levels

+20% chance of assassination (!)

Strengths+Strongest assassination with +20% ring AND multi-/triple-shot.


Flaws-Damage falls in late days (+600?)
Synergies~In hell, pairs well with goblin to make the most of hell store bonuses to the assassinate skill.

~Snake makes a lousy merc because his party skills are weak and he won’t get many kills, thus making his dungeon heal nearly useless.

~His damage falls off lategame, making him a good pairing with mercs that kick into high gear lategame such as Mr Eye.

~ Pairs well with Living Sword, thanks to the Bouncing party skill, increases Assassination and Lucky Strike procs.


& Advice

~Snake makes a good main character especially before other characters are unlocked.   His early game damage is strong and stays decent into the midgame due to damage multipiers such as assassinate, day-long bonuses when you do assassinate, lucky strike, ricochet, etc. He also heals when he gets a kill which is most common when he is a main.  This is very helpful when you first transition to a new difficulty as your dungeon tends to get beat up and early game repairs are exorbitantly expensive. He self-heals dungeon so you can invest in money early on.

~He is best against bosses and one target DPS. This makes him solid in the early/midgame main-only trials. (Thanks, Mike S.)

~Make sure you use a couple asp mods so that you can trigger the power of assassination bonuses.

~Scavenger skill is useful after you have increased max item quality, but will also make a little extra $.


WeaponStaff and Wand – MagicalSpecialtySingle target

Fire Lance festival (25x fire lances)

Top SkilzFire Lance,

(O) Giant Fire Lance, Fire Lance of Wrath

(P) Bank, Resonance, Cheer, Return,

NecklaceRing+30% damage, Fire Lance +15 levels

+450% fire lance damage


~Possibly the strongest single-target mage

Synergies~Slime and Wraith both benefit from the same hell store bonuses.

~Everyone benefits from a 25% increase in special skills from Wraith’s resonance. This works particularly well with skills that effect the whole party, like Orc’s Warcry and Goblin’s swift (and slime’s concentration will become virtually permanent), or debuffs all enemies, like Ogre’s Shockwave, etc.


& Advice


General Strategies and Recommendations with the 5 spirits:

  • Team Composition
    The spirits are strongest when balanced in regards to promotion levels and hell store bonuses. But you can find ways to differentiate them, for example:
    • Generally, Nature makes the strongest lead with bash. Mod damage x3, asp x2 (stun bonus!), crit x1 (or put into damage if using fire dungeon late game). Axes are better for overall damage.
    • Water is your only magic weapon user. If you get the -physical weapon mutation, she’s got to hold it down! Give her a rend AND anti-magic mod to handle everything in these situations. I use a staff for the higher anti-magic %, damage x3, anti-magic x1, rend x1, asp OR crit x1. Keep a wand on special enhance with 4x dmg, 1x asp, 1x reload for tower 29 & 30 (the wand does more damage, and these are “normal” foes)
    • Give fire a dagger and an anti-magic mod to clear out magic enemies quickly. I use damage x3, asp x2, and anti-magic x1. (the dagger is also better for trials)
    • Give Dark a rend mod in case you get the -magic weapons mod. (His weapon has the highest rend%, and when you combine that ~100% with the anti-armor skill, she can also be brought up to 900% damage to armored enemies) next to nature’s axe or blunt…but you want nature focused on normal enemies, which are MOST enemies.) I use dam x3, asp x2, rendx1
    • Light…well…she is the weakest of the bunch right now. She should have a reload mod and maybe a crit mod, to help with -reload speed and -crit mutations.
    • Living Sword makes a better bounty hunter, given his talents, he can actually be useful for his suppression and cursed weapons maxed, until you replace him. You don’t need to worry about updating his weapon for damage—use a Star (faster attack and reload speed) with 4x asp and 2x reload. After he maxes bounty hunter, do Shot & Reload, and that’s it.
  • Basic training is WORTH IT late game (after shot and reload are +250 at least). For nature, bring up basic training close to the level of bash.
  • Talents are identical for spirits:
    • T1 Chain blast+: chain blast intervals disappear, all explosions occur at once, ATK +20%/pt, max 10
    • T2 Implosion: 1%/pt to attack a random enemy for 500+50%/pt damage when attacking, max 10
    • T3 Elemental Power+: Elemental damage (elemental release only?) bonus increases by 20%/pt, max 10 pts
    • T4 Implosion +: implosions AK increases by 20%, max 10
    • T5 Elemental charge: next element blasts ATK increases by 1%/per damage by element release
    • T6 Extra Blast: increase the number of blasts from chain blast by 1/pt, max 4 pts
  • Ideas for talent distribution
    • Chain blast talents are EXCELLENT. Chain blasts benefit from the hell store bonuses, and with accessories, each blast does MORE damage. Additionally, promotion bonuses increase blast and chain damage, so you should definitely focus on them.
    • If implosion does not cause chains or blasts, it should be ignored EXCEPT for nature, who can use the extra bashes, stuns, and weakening of enemies. (Unknown at this point also if it uses elemental release as its base damage, but I suspect it does)
    • Elemental Power+ affects the base damage of your blasts, and therefore your chains. It may also impact implosion? Developer was unclear on this point upon request)
    • Dragon Slayers: water should definitely have dragon slayer for level 29. For level 28, it might not be necessary because you’ll have three spirits, but it would be ideal to be able to kill the insane bosses by day 1000, which would shorten runs considerably. I currently have my 4 mercs building up dragon slayer and even with only two points in it, I can see the difference.
    • Resurfaced memory will also be very effective for your main compared to others. Also, if your main has it, you can fire & rehire your mercs between days 600-900 for a boost in their levels. (as of 1.92.2 this seems to be bugged, at least on iOS devices)
    • Extra Blasts, when maxed at 4 are estimated to quadruple the damage of your chain blasts IF you are wearing the necklace.
      • Hero: Chain blast+, Elemental Mercenary King, Elemental Power+, Resurfaced Memory, Extra Blast, Elemental Charge, (Nature: Implosion), Dragon slayer, Implosion/+
      • Merc: Chain blast +, Legendary Merc/ Elemental Power+, Dragon slayer/Elemental Power+, Elemental Blast, Extra Blasts, Implosion, Implosion+, Resurfaced memory
      • Rationale: nature can use implosion for extra stuns and weakening. If your main has resurfaced memory, everyone else can benefit from it because of guild. Mercs should focus on dragon slayer for trials 28 & 29
        • Note that resurfaced memory isn’t working properly on all versions between android and iOS as of 1.92.2
  • Hell Store
    • A spirit team performs best in endless waves (and thus in general days)  when it is balanced. However, as you earn talents to chain blast and elemental blast, it will be more beneficial to invest more heavily in elemental blast.
      • One approach to this is that your Hero and Merc ATK should be strong enough that you can readily handle the first 150 days, in which your elemental blast skill will be weak while you develop the economic skills. If you are at that point, invest in blast. However, as you start to approach the next difficulty level, you’ll want to prepare by investing in hero and merc ATK.
  • Promotions
    • Prioritize on promoting your main first, and then water, who will face floor 29 on her own. HOWEVER, if you are struggling and it is taking a long time to beat floor 29, prioritize on water first. This will be helpful with -physical weapon mutations anyway, as she is the only magic weapon user in the group. Mutations aside, she is already an excellent damage dealer with medicinal steel, particularly if Nature has implosion maxed out and bonus chain blasts, or you are using the water dungeon with some points in freeze.
  • Misc
    • If you have nature as your main, you can start with Water and light for bank and scientist, then add Orc/Ogre for max miner (and much later, construction) discounts, and a bounty hunter. Set the weapon of whoever will replace orc/ogre on special enhance. You will get weapons upgraded very quickly, and very cheaply. Once nature has miner maxed out, replace orc/ogre.


  • T2 Legendary Mercenary: ATK increases by 10%/pt if mercenary, max 10
  • T3 Mercenary king: increases mercs attack by 5%/pt if leader, max 10
  • T4 Dragon Slayer: damage to boss increases by 10%, max 10pts
  • T5 Resurfaced memory: exp in battle increases by 5%, max 10 pts
    • For fun, I did some napkin math on the benefit of 50% more XP from battle: Characters are about Lv2000 with Item Level 6000 by Day 1000 on higher Hell difficulties. Using the XP Formula (XP for 1 level = 50 + 2.6 * Lvl) and converting to cumulative (Cml XP = (1/10)*(13*Lvl^2+513*Lvl)), we expect characters to then be around Lv2450 by Day 1000. Item Level is about 3 times current level so we get iLvl 7350. Based on the iLvl I’ve  data collected so far, iLvl 7350 is about 55% stronger than iLvl 6000. So, 50% more XP is at least a 55% damage increase. Having around 400-500 levels worth of more skills also increases that number. (Thanks, Vince T)
  • T6 Fateful group: when hired as a mercenary, at rebirth, gain 50% of leaders rebirth xp as own. Max 1 pt (without this, ALL mercenaries—even those not in your party—earn 10% exp)



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