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Tips and Tricks for Has-Been Heroes

by Justin Nation - April 9, 2017, 4:36 pm PDT
Discuss in talkback!

There's no doubt Has-Been Hero is a serious challenge, and it can take quite a few runs to realize key strategies in the game. Here's a list of things I wish I'd known out of the gate and some strategies I've picked up in my 65 hours (and counting)

Change notes:

  • Last updated 4/9/17
    • Added video for the Poison / Zombie Boss
    • Added video for the Yeti Twin Bosses
    • Added video and refined the tips for the Ancient Skeleton Boss
  • Previous updates:
    • Added video for the Moth Skeleton Boss
    • Added video for the Skeleton Trio Bosses
    • Added video for the Fire Polearm Skeleton Boss
    • Added video for the Ice Skeleton Boss

General notes:


  • In general you always want to plot the longest possible path (at least the one that includes the most question mark areas) on your way to the boss. You can't guarantee you'll get battles along the way but you're hoping for as many of them as possible. More battles means more gold, more gold means you can take better advantage of shops you may hit. 
  • As you acquire candles take these into account to try to get all spots if you can (you'll lose one each time you go over a path you've already cleared), just don't count wrong, it could be fatal! Also, always keep in mind you want to have at least one candle in case you hit a shrine
  • Assuming you've been in battles and have some candles to spare if you come upon a Stamina camp that you don't currently need, look to see if you'll be able to pick it up later on the route, even if you may need to backtrack a little. It could save your party in a pinch and you can't use a camp more than once!
  • Especially until you're deeper into the game if you get the locksmith don't waste your money on the skeleton key. Before you defeat the first boss you'll be lucky to see a single chest, let alone many of them...
  • In the map icons for shops you'll see dots to indicate how many items there are at the shop. Mostly only useful if you get the cartographer but worth planning with in the event you are lucky and get one
  • As you get further into the game beware the new shrines! The ones that look more like an owl have a much more harsh penalty to, admittedly, go with a better improvement. Both times I've used them I've lost 1 stamina but there can be other less nasty surprises like losing gold as well!

Battle Essentials:

  • Probably the most important thing to focus on is whether an enemy blocks or you're able to stun is no accident, you need to look carefully at the green squares next to their health as those indicate the number of blocks they have. If you attack with your "fighter" hero (who normally has only one attack, their number of attacks are always listed next to them) and the enemy has a full set of blocks you're wasting your damage. The ideal would be to try to combine attacks from your spell-caster or your rogue to remove blocks to stun them, and then come in with your heavy hitter to deliver the pain! If you get any hits on an enemy past their block number you'll get hits and usually juggle them, which sometimes is necessary but is less effective
  • Another major reason to stun an opponent and then hit them is that this will actually reduce their future block chances by one for each stunned strike. This both forces you to switch up your attack dynamics and, overall, makes your enemies easier to stun and kill
  • Backstabs (hits you get when you attack deep and then hit enemies on the way back) do some damage (and have varying potential benefits from character to character) but also reset the counter on stunned enemies, potentially buying more time and setting up a better strike
  • Knockbacks on stunned enemies are also further than those where you juggle, buying you time you'll often need. More time = better planning = more stuns = more success

Elemental Spells and Spell Slots:

  • Get to know your slot bonuses for your heroes and carefully try to maximize their usefulness whenever possible, it can make a tremendous difference if you get a solid combination
  • Most elemental combinations have beneficial effects so experiment with them and make things work to your advantage, you'll need it when you're facing mobs
    • Water / Lightning - Shock damage can travel, but does increased damage to enemies that are wet
    • Water / Fire - It can create steam that will slow down enemies, potentially buying you some needed time
    • Fire / Lightning - This can create explosive damage if you can combine them
  • Something/someone that is soaked with water will have an immunity to poison attacks and also fire, making it potentially wise to soak your own hero with a minor spell for the benefit of that buff if you're fighting a fire or poison-wielding enemy

Additional Battle Tips:

  • Spells are meant to be used and generally refresh pretty quickly in the overall scheme of things. This makes "holding" spells generally a waste, if you see an opportunity (even right away) make use of it, combining power-ups to get off to a strong start
  • If the worst is happening and one of your heroes is going to have to take a hit carefully consider who you should put there. Do they have stamina points? Where's their health level at? You should try to spread things around and you'll need to focus on keeping your already hurt heroes out of the line of attack since once one goes down you're done
  • Always be sure you're using your spells and keeping an eye on whether your princesses have built up enough point to use theirs. While it will reduce your total used towards unlocks at the end of your game, they don't keep those points available between rounds so they're use it or lose it in terms of battles. Sometimes the ability to cast an extra spell without waiting through the cooldown can make a tremendous difference
  • Learn your heroes, your spells, and all of their affinities and then be sure to assign new spells to the "best" slot whenever possible. Sometimes this isn't putting the right spell in, it can be opting to waste a slot bonus for one character that is weaker than another. Spells with elemental affinities are best used by people who may have slot bonuses geared towards that specific type of spell but use your best judgement
  • While you can lose some health when your hero catches on fire or gets poisoned one useful way to make this work to your advantage is that on your return through a populated lane your hero will give that same status to all enemies he passes through
  • The typical order of focus in battles (this changes with circumstances):
    • Finally something in the late game worse than zombies is ANYTHING that has one of those wrecking balls. Wow do these have a reach and they are devastating if you don't deal with them. While the skeleton variant with an afro and a disco ball looks awesome make no mistake, he will kick your ass
    • Whenever you see anything ethereal/ghostly on the screen you will want/need to begin planning for them or dealing with them as soon as possible. Soak them, poison them, something... you need to be sure you have a spell that makes it so you can hit them. Deal with this too late and it will be bad
    • Freaking zombies are a nightmare and you'll want to wear them down as soon as possible, continuously attacking them if possible because they'll regenerate health and generally be a pain in the ass
    • Spell-casters of various types. As the game goes on the nastiest ones will speed any enemies in their vicinty up, they need to be dealt with quickly. There ones with orbs steal your collected souls, ones that buff other enemies, and ones that can cast elemental spells on you. Depending on the circumstances and your heroes the threat will vary
    • Fast-moving enemies, though typically these can be killed with a simple spell
    • Heartier enemies, especially the ones with weapons with a longer reach, they can cause real trouble. Be opportunistic, if possible, and rather than take the time to attack their stamina down hit them with spells to sap their HP and deal with them, whenever possible, by stunning them to save trouble. If you need to hit them remember your Rogue always has the spell to double your attacks
  • Sometimes, though unorthodox, it can pay to cast low-level spells on your own heroes in order to get their benefit. Some spells also have immunities to different elements as a side effect and they may work for you defensively in the right situation
  • Boss battles are, plain and simple, tough as balls and every boss requires you to have a varied strategy to defeat them. Speaking generally you need to focus, whenever possible, on doing damage to the boss themselves since if you take them out everything else will fall with them
  • One way to deal with bosses or other tough enemies is to make use of the princess spells, allowing you to cast additional spells without a cooldown. Attack multipliers, in particular, could be very powerful if you chain them together, giving you a lot of attack power in a massive burst

Spells to look for:

  • Vortex: Wow, if you can get a high-damage combination going after you suck everything into one place you can practically destroy everything in one shot. Of course, if you fail at this stacking everything into the same lane can also be fatal
  • Portal: Any of the elemental portals has real use as they can bring in a given enemy, apply the effect, and stun them. Just be sure you're ready to hit them with something good. As a note the Poison portal has the opposite effect, it moves the enemy all the way to the right in the lane, still a useful thing to have in a pinch! Oh, and as a warning you NEVER want to portal a zombie to bring it in closer!

Items to look for:

  • Skull "pets": Any of them. While they can sometimes trigger things incorrectly in specific situations they otherwise can be a godsend, especially lightning and fire if they occasionally set things off

Crucial Tips for Success:

  • In general when you see an item that will give you a chance of elemental damage you should probably take it. Lightning is probably the most useful for general AOE damage but others will work nicely to compliment damage and set the stage for doing damage to multiple enemies
  • With elemental weapon damage the rule is probably always to stack different elemental attacks on the same hero (your warrior is usually ideal since he'd probably do the majority of the killing and some are triggered on kills) but if you get a second of the same time you should probably spread the love, especially with lightning damage
  • If you get the right gear and have the proper opportunity if you don't attack with your Rogue (well, or another character but with her it would go fastest) you can stack her pending attacks to a ridiculous degree for a massive attack. I've both seen video and have gotten word that if you can get this going and amass perhaps 32 hits or more in a single burst you could either do substantial damage or even kill most anything, including bosses (though I've had a hard time getting the courage to try it)

Early Game Strategy:

  • While it may not seem like a great idea to hold your gold absolutely do it, if you can always try to keep your gold above 200 so you can always pick up a spell. Spells, especially if you can pick up slot bonuses, are absolutely what can win you the game
  • Consider stacking power-ups mostly with a single character sometimes, especially if they're spells and they can get you deep into that heroes slot bonuses since they get more powerful as they go. Depending on what you're getting spreading out can usually be the plan but at times you can soup just one hero up and that can be very powerful as well (but do you power up someone you consider the strongest or the weakest?!?)

Late Game Strategy:

  • The further you get into the game the more you'll absolutely want to take anything that will give your hero an immunity. Fire is probably the most crucial, probably followed by poison. As you get further into the game not just bosses but also normal enemies will get more nasty with elemental attacks. Short of that you may want to invest in HP regen items
  • While in the early game it may be easiest to find success by stacking a single hero heavily with all buffs and bonuses in the late game you'll accumulate a significant amount of items, to the point that you'll likely max at least one hero out. While it can be tougher in the early game to spread things out in the later game having tuned each of your heroes may be essential to success
  • For some fundamental elemental attacks (fire, water, lightning) you're going to want to ensure you've got at least one of each type of these spells in your arsenal by about the fourth boss regardless of whether they compliment your heroes. Each of these elements has a critical use when you face late bosses. Water can expose ethereal enemies (though poison will work in a pinch as well), fire can be useful for sapping health from masses of enemies if you get things going, and lightning then absolutely do devastating damage when combined with fire, but even water conducts pretty well. Always have contingencies in place, and these types of spells are essential. I'd probably even say have 2 water spells since it can be crucial
  • Absolutely towards the end you're going to want/need every one of your characters to have as much stamina as possible. There are some boss attacks in the late game that will make every bit of stamina matter and it can be a bit out of your control. Don't get that far and then die because you turned down that gear that would have added some stamina, or don't end up having a tank or two and the hero with the least stamina dies because you couldn't control the situation

Boss-Specific Tactics

  • Stun with spells and try to maximize damage on hits
  • Be aware that his ghosts will kill any hero they get to. While they can be attacked and taken care of one by one it is most effective to hit them on return from a deeper strike in another lane
  • When he goes invisible you won't be able to damage him, you'll need to hold out
  • Holding out, overall, tends to be the best plan within reason. He'll summon ghosts and move between lanes initially. Wait until he has settled in and hopefully he'll be vulnerable deep in an otherwise open lane. Hit him and then return in another lane to wipe out ghosts and then hopefully hit him again and get the third lane
  • Work very hard to maximize damage quickly because he'll continue to summon more and more skeletons the longer you fight him
  • He has a ton of blocks in him so you'll need to plan your attacks to try to stun him as best as you can and then capitalize with your warrior
  • Look for AOE opportunities with spells to try to maximize damage to his support skeletons and hold them off while you try to finish him off
  • Very similar to the previous one but this time his shield will generally make it unrealistic to block
  • On his stage there will typically be a booby-trapped skeleton that will show up periodically that will explode to freeze everything in the area when it dies. The Bard's basic water attack is perfect for killing these guys to trigger that hit remotely since if you hit the skeleton directly you'll freeze your hero as well
  • Be careful on attacking the mob when the booby-trapped skeleton shows up, you may inadvertently backstab him as you return and trigger his freeze too early!
  • Obviously if you have a freeze spell or something that will stun be sure to use it on him as well
  • Work to manage the other enemies and continue to freeze/stun the boss and wail away on him while he's frozen, maximizing your opportunities

  • A nasty bunch, they will quickly overwhelm you if you don't have a strategy
  • In general I've found it is best to focus on the tan skeleton first, since he's the fastest
  • Always be sure to use any spells that will stun strategically to either get in more hits more quickly or kept as a safety valve in case a skeleton gets too close
  • For the one that's the biggest on the top lane you can't ignore him, once you kill either the red or tan boss you'll want to begin investing your rogue in getting his stamina down or if you have a spell that will stun you can wait till he's somewhat close, stun, knock back, and bide time. Be aware that he's immune to fear though, you won't be able to use it to buy time

  • Tends to catch on fire and has a mean reach with his weapon so be very careful in planning if you have heroes that are very weak, if you have one with fire resistance that's a plus as well
  • When hit he'll almost always change lanes, making planning more of a challenge
  • This boss is also a bit faster than the others so you'll have to be very careful with how you juggle him around to be sure you don't get yourself into trouble. Focus on stuns as much as you can to minimize his potential mobility
  • Since he tends towards fire soaking with water may be an effective overall strategy, at least for helping to slow him down a little
  • As you can guess he's a fire summoning boss, he'll tend to be a bit mobile and if you can't interrupt his spells he'll either summon more skeletons for you to deal with or he'll charge them up with fire and they'll speed up
  • Be sure to douse people and hopefully you'll have your Bard's second slot filled to create extra puddles as these will slow your enemies down and help out quite a bit
  • Lightning skills = explosive energy so hopefully you'll have either lightning-enhanced melee attacks or some good AOE lightning skills
  • If you don't have fire resistance be sure to keep an eye on your heroes and their health. If they're on fire too much they will die

  • Who hates zombies? I do! What does this boss do? Summons zombies like it's going out of style! Fortunately in the 3 times I've faced him I've never lost to him but each battle against him has been quite long and difficult
  • Against him you're absolutely going to need to be rocking some hard elemental affinity AOE attacks of some kind. My combination of the Tiger Dude's fire attacks with the Luchador's lightning attacks was very effective, without doing a lot of damage to a lot of zombies I doubt you could keep up
  • Even if you don't have someone like the Bard who has some water attacks going on either a water attack or a freeze attack that you can melt with your fire would be helpful to keep the lanes a bit wet and to try to slow things down, buying you more time

  • The first problem is being able to hit him. Both water and poison spells absolutely work, hopefully you have some of these... or at least a freeze spell and fire if you're in a pinch. There does seem to be some other method of being able to hit them but I haven't been able to isolate what it is. If you're using water to douse him just be sure not to cast fire spells anywhere, it will evaporate and let him go back to being a ghost!
  • Definitely will want to have immunity of some kind or water spells ready to keep soaking your heroes with as he casts poison like a mofo! Just be sure you're soaking him at some point so you can work on his damage and not just preventing yours
  • I seemed to be most effective when I couldn't hit him doing crowd control and attacking him with melee attacks that had lightning enhancement in his vicinity, the really kept him occupied. All of my heroes had at least 1 immunity, 2 of them had lightning, and this seemed helpful because usually before being able to hit him he'd send out a massive surge of lightning
  • Both times he killed me it was because he froze one of my heroes right near his minions, basically allowing them to then gang up on them and kill them before I knew it. Be on the look out for this and it would probably pay to hit them with a fire spell or an immunity to try to get them out of there. Still not positive which animation it is where he does this, but here I think the crowd control helped greatly, even if he had frozen one of my heroes deep there weren't many minions there that could have attacked

  • Only fought these yeti twins once and managed to defeat them but they were tough. Essentially one seemed to be fire and one seemed to be ice and they were both pretty quick
  • I was able to take down the fire one first, at some point he had spawned another monster but I was so occupied casting AOE spells on them that I couldn't see much
  • Once the fire one was dead the ice one was PISSED and changed forms, making it move quite a bit faster. Since I didn't have a whole lot of water to throw around I had some very close calls and got pretty depleted but defeated him as well. They don't bring much anything for a mob and they both had quite a few immunities, anything that increases attack speed or stuns would be a good bet against them
  • Only fought him once but it was a solid fight. You'll need to hit him with water or poison to get him hittable (he has an immunity to freeze I believe)
  • I remember crowd control getting a bit on the hairy side, you'll want to have some good AOE damage available or things like Charm or Fear to be able to keep them at bay
  • Beat him the first time but there's no doubt this was one of the craziest fights I've won in the game
  • The first problem is he gets his minions riled up and moving fast the majority of the time. Efficient crowd control will need to be a priority to stay alive
  • To make this more challenging the second issue is that randomly he'll charm someone... the problem is that sometimes it is randomly one of your heroes. This presents 2 problems. First, it makes them very exposed as nothing can hit enemies on their lane, making them vulnerable. Second, if you aren't able to hit them with something to remove the status before it is through they'll attack one of your other heroes, removing stamina in the process. Probably nothing worse than being killed by a fellow hero

  • You absolutely need to have your stamina up and multiple ways to force a stun when facing him, he moves very quickly and has a burst move, in particular, when he's coming at you at that is very bad if he executes since then he's right on top of your hero for a substantial amount of damage
  • Be very aware of his many immunities, several attack types won't work against him so your tactics that have worked before may not here
  • If you can throw down some water to evaporate for steam to help slow him down
  • Be on the lookout for when he appears to be getting ready to cast a spell. Save spells that interrupt him (water, poison, fire) for when you see him start to do this to prevent him from casting to further help himself
  • It has been suggested to try backstabbing him in a sort of a loop once you stun him to hurt him badly without retaliation
  • The first level boss is water-based and overall isn't too tough to deal with. Your focus should be on his statues, being sure to take them all out while managing the mob
  • You'll need to clear all statues 3 times, making the boss materialize at the right end of the middle lane. You don't need to be fancy, you just need to hit him with anything, whether an attack or spell, and he'll go to the next round
  • The second pirate boss is lightning based and he has little rods in the ground sparking electricity. Focus on destroying these one by one until the boss is exposed and then hit him with anything
  • This is another where managing the mob seemed reasonably doable as long as you had some strong skills for combining and doing AOE damage
  • This guy ups the challenge quite a bit, you need to be prepared for fire damage and your timing will have to be much more precise
  • You'll want to have either fire immunity you can apply to your team, a AOE water spell that you can cast against your team on a periodic basis, or live with trying to put people out as needed
  • The fire skulls on the ground blow flames periodically and you'll want to be sure you're hitting them when they're closed to avoid damage unless you have immunity. This can be tricky for the top lane, in particular, since your view will be blocked by monsters, flames, and carnage!
  • Once you destroy his devices and deal with pretty tough set of shielded skeletons you'll need to go with AOE damage against you just need to get any hit or spell on them and he'll go to the next phase. Thank god, by the time I got him exposed the third time I was hurting bad!
  • Strangely I found the ice pirate boss to be easier to defeat then the fire one. Rather than having staggered devices to take out he has an ice wall at a decent depth that is about mid-way into the lanes
  • You'll still need to be on the lookout for the timing since the faces on the wall will give off an ice attack, and you'll need to attack them with melee hits since they appear to be invulnerable to spells
  • There is a yeti-like creature you'll need to deal with in the center lane but with a fear attack or something to drive him back I was able to manage him pretty easily and kept him behind the wall quite a bit. Once the walls are all gone for each wave you just need to get in your hit and then on to the next. Another final boss I was able to defeat on the first try, I think when you're souped up enough to get to them the challenge was in the getting there. :)
  • The zombie/poison pirate boss predictably took some time to take out since zombies are always a pain. The rocks you need to destroy take some effort and are staggered pretty deep past the middle of the screen or so in some cases, you'll need to probably focus on a lane at a time to push the zombies back, just don't let the other lanes sneak up on you
  • As usual once you destroy the rocks you just need to hit him with anything and it is on to the next round. To do some zombie control AOE combinations are, as always, recommended
  • The wind pirate boss was pretty tricky and most of the fight was pretty unpredictable. Aside from dealing with trying to destroy the skulled windmills each round he's constantly summoning some pretty focus-intensive enemy skeletons with shields. You'll hopefully have things like charm or fear spells to help manage this, vortex can also be handy but sometimes that can make matters worse depending
  • The worst thing about fighting him was that he periodically uses a wind attack that essentially reshuffles where all of your enemies are. This can ruin your AOE attack plans, your lane line-ups, basically everything and anything. Be ready to be flexible

Unlockable Hero Tactics

  • Though the Bard looks pretty goofy he can do pretty well for you with his water spells, particularly in his second slot with the added puddles... they can save you if you're dealing with fire enemies
  • His base skill is simple but recharges pretty quickly and is very helpful when you need to trigger a booby trapped skeleton or douse someone who is on fire
  • His melee isn't too strong but his healing rate seems to be pretty decent. You obviously don't want him to take too many hits but if he can take a hit he'll heal reasonably quickly comparatively
  • Wow, do I love playing with the Luchador. To open he has 4 stamina, something that can really save your ass if you can position him to take hits instead of your other fighters
  • His base shock attack is great, but be sure to use it correctly! You should always use it for its ability to stun enemies, don't think of it as a cool finisher with lightning... that would be wasting it!
  • Not entirely sure if it is a bug or by design but whenever you cast a spell with him his melee attack seems to immediately reset. So if you make his spell and melee refresh rate high you can do a whole lot of hitting with him... very useful and you should try to exploit it to the fullest
  • I'll call him the Tiger Dude and overall he plays pretty well. His default spell is a fireball so he pairs pretty well with the Luchador for a 1-2 punch
  • I'd beware a bit, through the few runs I've done with him he just "seems" to be a bit of a glass cannon and not great at taking damage. How this compares to the Bard or the Monk I couldn't say, but it is an impression
  • His slot bonuses are where he gets both odd and interesting. Once you're able to unlock more of the spells he may become quite powerful since his slot bonuses don't focus in a single affinity, he starts with poison, and then each slot is geared to something different. That may make him very powerful, we'll see when I'm more consistently pulling those types of spells
  • While I call him the Sultan his nickname would be Backstabby McBackstabberson. He is absolutely a finesse hero and you should probably only use him if you like planning your attack lanes carefull to maximize backstabbing. Why? Because he gets an attack bonus for your backstabs on the previous attack. Very different
  • He only starts with 1 stamina (versus the Luchador's 4, ouch) but especially when he gets his backstab bonus his base damage does some significant damage
  • His base spell is an ice spike, which obviously can be very useful
  • His slot bonuses don't kick in until slot 2, but that has a freeze enhance which could likely be nasty if you could line one up there
  • I call the new hero Happy Gimli, I don't care what people think or say
  • His base spell is a poison dart which actually infects the are around where it hits, and that cloud will even infect your heroes, though it doesn't seem to do too much damage. If you attack quickly and get it on your other heroes you can make it spread a little as well
  • He starts with 3 stamina so if you combine him with the Luchador you really have a high stamina bunch, but I'd wager he also doesn't hit as hard as the Tiger Dude.
  • I did combine him with the Luchador to beat the 6th boss. Their base stamina was a big help and I was able to slot him in spells that didn't make much use of his slot bonuses but that better complimented the Luchador
  • Super Awesome Robot Dude! The final top-line hero unlock! w00t!
  • Starts with base stamina of 3, which is nice, and his base spell seems pretty worthless since it just propels an enemy back a bit with wind, but it does then charge up his next shot to do nasty fire damage!
  • The most significant thing to know about him is that he fires a shot at range on enemies meaning with him there is NO BACKSTABBING! This very much messes with the flow of the battles I've done to this point, still working out whether I think this is an improvement or a curse, we'll have to see how well he works as he is powered up

Cross-posted from: MAMEiac Gaming


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