A lot of people have started playing Loop Hero. How do I know this? It hit 50,000 concurrent users on Steam over the weekend. I was one of them. I’ve now put over 25 hours into the deck-building roguelite, and I have some tips for everyone else who’s just getting started with it.
At its most basic level, Loop Hero plays itself. Your warrior walks around a circle fighting hordes of slimes and vampires automatically. Over time they get stronger, and if they get strong enough they’ll survive to summon the boss, beat them, and progress to the next chapter. Of course, the devil is in the details of everything you can do on top of this simple conceit, including upgrading gear, building up settlements, and choosing how to play the cards you collect over the course of each expedition. Here’s some useful advice I’ve put together based on my own experience navigating this complex gauntlet.
The Knight is tanky and hits slow. The Rogue is more vulnerable but carries two weapons. The Necromancer summons skeletons to fight by their side. Each requires a different strategy. I’ve found that focusing on these particular stats for each class has led more toward greater success and longer lives:
- Knight: Regen/Vampirism
- Rogue: Evasion/Crit Chance
- Necromancer: Magic HP/Extra Skeletons
Survival is the name of the game, which means balancing how quickly you can kill enemies with how quickly you heal. Regen is nice because it works even when you’re not in battle, while Magic HP is how much damage the Necromancer can absorb each battle before getting hurt.
All gear in Loop Hero has a level and one of four rarities: common, blue, yellow, and orange. The higher the rarity, the more bonus stats it comes with. Simply making the numbers go up isn’t enough, though. You might get a piece of armor that’s two levels above your current one, but is the lowest rarity and so doesn’t come with any bonuses. In this case, something like 10% vampirism is better than an additional 100 HP.
The reverse can also be true, depending on the situation. In one expedition I got a higher level common ring with a 4.5 regeneration stat. I quickly traded it for the single digit buffs in my existing orange rarity ring. Plus, all armor you don’t use eventually breaks down into resources, so consider waiting instead of constantly swapping up to new gear with only marginally better stats.
Mountain cards give you more HP, and a total of 120 HP extra when arranged in a 3X3 grid. Meadows net you an extra resource when placed next to a mountain or set of rocks, making it more advantageous to mix them in rather than place them somewhere separate on the map. The bonus effects of rivers are doubled when they touch another land in two places, so be sure to arrange them in a zigzagging pattern rather than straight lines.
Like extra gear, cards you don’t use will break down into extra resources that can be used to expand and upgrade your settlement. So don’t feel like you have to play everything that gets rotated into your hand, especially if you are on an expedition to purely grind for resources. In addition, the key to success in Loop Hero is balancing the need to farm enemies for better resources and gear with being able to actually survive until the late game. A couple vampire mansions is good. Littering the map with them is not.
If you don’t think you’ll survive another loop, retreat to your village when you pass by. You’ll get to save everything you’ve collected that expedition. There’s a significant amount of grinding in Loop Hero, which means you’ll probably do some expeditions to farm for certain resources to get key upgrades and unlock important cards without ever intending to take on the chapter boss. Better to restart an expedition early than lose a big chunk of your haul in an untimely death. If push comes to shove you can also retreat for a smaller penalty from any other square on the map when you’re not in battle.
Telltale signs that you should retreat are when the loop has multiple squares with large groups or enemies on them, and if you haven’t gotten good gear upgrades in a while. Enemies get harder every completed loop, and if the RNG, which Loop Hero has a lot of, simply isn’t going your way, it’s better to quit while you’re ahead.
Your settlement in Loop Hero is basically your skill tree. The upgrades will carry over between expeditions and often be the determining factor in whether you survive or not. Aim to unlock the Smelter as early as possible and then upgrade it to get the arsenal. When placed, it lets you equip an additional piece of gear in a new slot that will give you another chance to boost your class’ most important stats.
Watch towers take a bit longer to get but are also super helpful for farming resources. They provide archers in your settlement who can attack enemies in the surrounding squares depending on how much they’re upgraded. This incentivizes playing as many monster cards as close to your settlement as possible to essentially take on the majority of your loop’s toughest fights with backup.
Every time your character level’s up in a loop they get to select one of three new traits to help them for the duration of the expedition. The Knight has plenty of good ones to choose from, but Blade of Dawn has never let me down. It makes your first attack of each new day super-charged, dealing double damage to all enemies in an encounter. The days pass quickly outside of battle, and if you’ve placed enemy buildings sparingly and smartly, you can start off almost every big fight this way.
For the Rogue I always go with the Child of the Forest pet trait that has a 75% chance of spawning a companion dire wolf each fight, and for the Necromancer I really like Unseen Care which gives you permanent bonus Magic HP for each skeleton summoned. Normally I try to go with whichever trait will trigger often or provide some lasting benefit that scales nicely as the loop gets harder.
Loop Hero is full of mysterious synergies between different buildings and land types. One of those is the Burned Forest, which you get when you place a Storm Temple and it strikes a Forest or Thicket with lightning. The burned forest grants extra magic damage, which ignores enemies’ defenses. Another good combination is the Hungry Grove, created when you place two Blood Groves next to a regular grove. It occasionally will attack you when fighting enemies next to it, but will also instantly kill any enemy that falls below 20% health, helping you take down large groups much more quickly.
Different cards produce different effects and let you harvest different resources. If you’re always playing the same class doing similar loop setups you won’t get the full range of resources necessary to quickly expand your settlement, which is the real point of 90% of the expeditions you go on. Play around with different land types, enemy buildings, and placements on the map to see what happens.
Similarly, different classes are better suited to different sorts of loops. The Necromancer will do better against larger mobs, while the Rogue can deal massive critical blows that take down quest enemies (the ones that spawn by visiting villages) a lot more quickly.
Use Oblivion to nuke enemy camps.
I’ve died to goblins more times than I can count. They hit hard and fast, and often appear in groups of three or four. The Oblivion card lets you nuke any square on the map, not just the stuff you’ve built. You can use it to erase a mob of goblins, or better yet to destroy the camp that’s spawning them. The same goes for bandit camps and other enemy spawn sites that spring up automatically as you progress.
Extra Credit: You can also use an Oblivion card to destroy the last mountain or rock formation in a 3X3 mountain range. You can then replace the mountain or rock to re-trigger the formation and get additional bonus resources. You can rinse and repeat as many times as you like. (Hat tip user Jolly2Joy from the Loop Hero subreddit).