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Lava 3 Notes

Just like many guilds, our guild already has a set of lava 3 positions that we follow. I'm not going to attempt to replace them or even post them because I don't want to confuse anybody (we store the positions in an album in line chat). Instead, my goal is to provide suggestions that may help when you are having trouble and to provide some guidance regarding talents and artifacts.

This guide assumes these positions:

New! Hero leveling recommendations

Please see this page for my hero leveling recommendations.

Troubleshooting Failures

Symptom - the teams in spots 2,3, and 4 all die quickly

Generally, this means we didn't get our damage multiplier up quickly enough to kill the monsters near the demon. The AC procs and we are toast. Consider these remedies: Btw, one theoretical possibility is to discover if any heroes are actually attacking AC early near spot 2 and give them scatter crests.

Symptom - team 1 dies

Please consider my configuration, which for me works extremely well. In a typical win, my setup never needs Tree to save a single hero. Also, this position is pretty brutal, so high evolves are a must.

Symptom - You survive the beginning, but run out of time

Add a second Valentina and/or 5vite Cupid. See the explanations in the Hero Adjustments section.

Pets

I recommend these pets for your lineup:
I'm not sure if it makes a difference to put these pets on specific heroes.

Hero Adjustments

For various reasons, you might want to deviate from the recommended hero positions. Most deviations are probably ill-advised, but the following are solid choices.

Reaper instead of SM

If the position you are taking has SM but not Reaper and you don't own SM (because you are f2p), just use Reaper where you see SM. Once the battle devolves into just bosses, SM and Reaper actually do identical damage. Any f2p player that aspires to be a top player pretty much requires a strong reaper anyway, so you should have no qualms about devoing your reaper. As a bonus, Reaper is cheaper to evolve due to his 7000 shard cost!

Add Valentina instead of SM (Mathematically Great)

If the position requires both SM and Reaper, you can take one of those out (whichever hero is weaker) and add Valentina instead. Usually this means the overall team will have 2 Valentinas. You might be surprised to discover that Valentina indirectly contributes huge amounts of additional damage. A mathematical analysis for this can be found later on this page.

Add a 5vite Cupid

5vite Cupid is incredibly useful, especially if nobody has a 5vite Valentina and nobody has 5vite Arctica / Grim. The damage buff that Cupid provides helps more than you might realize against the boss with no damage cap. In our scheme, 5vite Cupid is not allocated to anybody, but if you have one, it might be worth using.

Add a Second Tree

In dire circumstances, you can add a second Tree. Usually this is needed if you are carrying a player in position 3 that honestly can't hold his own. This is a serious risk to your DPS, so only do this if you are desperate.

Do Not Swap Out PK!

We all need PK for his immense DPS. If yours is weak, evo him ASAP. Devo is not necessary, albeit helpful. In position 1, my single evolved PK with goblet of life does just fine.

Position 4 - Take out Vlad, add Reaper/SM or Debuffer

Reaper/SM adds DPS to the other Demons, which may be a difference maker. This can also allow a player in another spot to remove Reaper/SM and add somebody else, such as Val, Tree, or Cupid.

Mathematical Analysis of Using 2 Valentinas

Let's assume that combined, the total team has 2 PDs and 3 Reapers or SMs. Normally you'd have a combined 4 Reapers/SMs, but we are removing one and replacing with a 2nd Valentina.

Once every 6 seconds, Valentina will proc. At 9/10, she adds as much as 108 energy over 3 seconds. What this actually means is that all 3 Reapers or SMs will proc one additional time every 6 seconds compared to if you didn't have Valentina. This is true because Reaper/SM doesn't have a cooldown period. Without buffs like Valentina, it normally takes a hero 1.6 seconds (8 attacks) to build up 100 energy and proc. It therefore takes 4.8 seconds to proc 3 times. If you had SM and not Valentina, the net number of procs you would get in 6 seconds is almost 4, so in this respect, Valentina instead of SM hardly hurts your team's DPS.

The big mathematical edge, however, comes with the fact that your 2 PDs will also gain an additional stack every 6 seconds. The player in position 1 gets to fight a boss that does not have a damage cap. In a bad run (where the team fails), it takes up to a whole minute for the that player to defeat the boss and join the clump that is attacking the East demon. In a great run, it only takes 30 seconds or less to defeat that boss. Great runs are more common when you have 2 Valentina's. Those extra PD stacks greatly increase the damage multiplier. The time that you save by killing the no-damage-cap boss quickly is incredibly significant. This advantage is so big that even if you are not f2p and have Valentina, you might be better off using Valentina instead of SM!

The True Significance of Ice Demon

When I first studied Lava 3, I thought the purpose of Ice Demon was to prevent a certain dinosaur from interfering. The benefit of preventing that dino from attacking is significant, but that's not the biggest benefit.

The biggest benefit of ice demon occurs when the East Demon is defeated and your heroes split up, going north or south. The heroes that go north are in terrible danger. If the north demon procs, you might fail. However, a good ice demon with 7/10 skill can permafreeze the boss. As long as the first hero to reach the north demon is a ranged hero, the north demon will never successfully walk up to your hero and start attacking. He will just be frozen and it will look like a glitch, even though it isn't.

Incidentally, a second Valentina helps with the permafreeze. Ice demon does not have a cooldown, so Valentina contributes an extra proc that would not have otherwise existed.

What if Ice Demon dies or the first hero that attacks the North demon is a melee hero?

As I mentioned already, if the north demon procs, your team might fail. Your failsafe is to have no less than an 8/10 Aries, but ideally 9/10 or better. If you attack the North demon under Aries' calamity, he won't proc and hopefully you will kill him before he procs. In addition, every player should use Eye of Garuda. When Aries' calamity is not active, you should pray that somebody's Eye of Garuda will be in effect.

Talent and Artifact Strategy

As mentioned already, every team should put Eye of Garuda on somebody. Personally, I put it on Ghoulem. Otherwise, you should use either victor's emblem or goblet of life. Blitz on pd is fine, but honestly, you will hit the 200ms breakpoint so quickly that blitz is not necessary. Personally, I use goblet of life on Aries and PK, and victor's on everybody else, including SK.

Although the general advice is to give the revive skill to every hero, that's not 100% advisable. The exceptions to that rule are Ghoulem, PD, and Ice Demon. In position 3, Ice Demon rarely gets hurt. He's better off with revite crests so you can slow down that dino immediately. In position 1 in particular, you want Ghoulem to proc as quickly as possible. Therefore, revite crests are better than revive. In practice, a devo Ghoulem hardly ever dies, even in position 1, which is why the revite crests are so useful. As mentioned earlier, to survive the beginning of the battle, revite on PD helps get the damage multiplier up immediately.

I've played in positions 1 and 3 tons of times, so when I say Ghoulem and Ice Demon don't need revive, I'm quite serious about that. It's rare when I need Tree to bring either of those heroes back.