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Witch Wars Puzzle Strategy Guide: Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 by

Witch Wars is a fast-paced, addictive Match-3 game with an unusual twist: It pits you toe-to-toe against other players in an intense online versus arena. If you want to best the competition, you’re going to need more than just a fast finger. Our handy dandy Witch Wars guide has all the info and strategies you’ll need to consistently come out on top.

STARTER GUIDE: HOW TO PLAY

Don’t skip the easy stuff! Having all your bases covered and knowing the fundamentals are crucial to successful play. Our Starter’s Guide is here for you if you’re just starting out, or if want to know more about Witch Wars basic mechanics.

In Witch Wars, the goal is to outrace your opponent by depleting her life bar faster than she can deplete yours. The first player to run out of life will lose the match. Generally speaking, the faster you can make consecutive matches, the more likely you are to win games. As anyone who’s played Bejeweled Blitz will tell you, speed comes mostly from practice, but a little bit of strategy and luck can go a long way toward tipping the balance in your favor!

Matching Effects

Like other games in the genre, the primary focus of Witch Wars is to swap blocks around to make matches of three-in-a-row. Doing so clears those blocks from the board, triggering special effects:

Matching 3 swords deals damage to your opponent, reducing his or her life bar.
Matching 3 books fills your skill gauge slightly, giving you fuel to perform your chosen witch’s special abilities.
Matching 3 cuffs will lock down some blocks on your opponent’s board, freezing them in place and impeding your opponent’s ability to make quick matches.
Matching 3 potions will heal you, restoring a portion of your life bar.
Matching 3 coins will earn you some gold. These coins can be saved to upgrade witches and unlock other game features.

Matching 4 of any of these blocks will create a leftover “power” block. These power blocks are gold in color and produce a stronger effect when matched than regular blocks. Try to keep an eye out for thse special blocks and match them up whenever possible to help you get ahead of the opponent.

You can create a key block by matching six blocks in a row at once. A key block will remain on the board until you tap it. Doing so will remove all the locks from your board, freeing up all your trapped blocks at once. These key blocks are extremely helpful in maintaining your momentum; If possible, try not to waste them! They can be a lifesaver when your opponent starts matching cuffs like crazy.

The Skill Gauge

The skill gauge is a circular, three-tiered meter that rests at the bottom right of the screen; it becomes partially filled whenever you match three or more books. When the skill gauge becomes full enough, you can tap it to trigger one of your witch’s special abilities.

Every witch has 3 unique abilities in her arsenal that define her play style. Level 1 skills require only one third of the gauge to activate, while level 2 skills require two-thirds before they are ready. Level 3 skills, generally considered to be the most powerful ones, require a full gauge to activate. Familiarize yourself with your witch’s abilities and use them in the best situations to maximize their effectiveness. Few things will swing the game in your favor more than a well-timed skill.

Combos and Fever Mode

Whenever you make a match, those blocks will clear from the board and more will drop from above. Each time this happens, there’s a chance another match will be made in the resulting cascade, forming a combo.

Perform enough combos fast enough and you’ll enter Fever Mode. During Fever Mode, every block on the board becomes a power block for an extremely limited time. Every match made during Fever Mode is immensely powerful; all it takes is one good Fever round to stage the ultimate comeback, or end the game in a most dramatic way.

Offline Modes

While this guide focuses primarily on the multiplayer aspect of Witch Wars, there are a few offline modes of play that cater to those times when you’d rather play by yourself or when you’re looking to earn some of the game’s single-player achievements.

Infinity Mode, Flash Mode, and Single Play are there for when you want to build up your gold reserves or practice without the pressure that comes from playing other people. To access Infinity Mode or Flash Mode, just tap their respective icons located on the left side of the witch roster. To try Single Play mode, simply choose a witch you have previously unlocked and tap the button that appears.

GENERAL STRATEGY: TIPS AND TRICKS

Here are some effective strategies and tips to help fine-tune your skills and up your win rate.

  • Lock her down: Right out of the gate, the first matches you should be looking to make are handcuffs – you can usually make one immediately, oftentimes you can swing two or even more. Get those locks out to your opponent as soon as possible and you can cheat them out of the early momentum that comes from a fresh board.
  • Keep her locked down: All throughout the round, prioritize handcuff matches and keep sending locks across the board as fast and soon as possible. By maintaining this kind of pressure on your opponent throughout the game, you can dramatically limit her ability to make matches, sometimes bringing her to a complete halt while she waits for the locks to run their course.
  • Don’t forget your keys! Naturally, your opponent will be gunning to lock you down also. And no matter how swift or skilled you are, you’ll eventually find yourself in a sticky situation where you simply can’t do anything except stare at your iPhone in a a panicked fit of rage. It’s nice to have a key during these situations so you can break free from those petrifying bonds all at once. Unless you have two or more on the board, hold on to your keys until you really need them; resist the temptation to tap them needlessly just to clear them out of the way.
  • Combo assist: Don’t get too relaxed after making a match – you should be actively searching the entire board for places to swipe your finger at all times. With enough practice, you’ll be identifying multiple matches in a single glance. Working your way from the top to the bottom, you can swipe each match as the last one clears, creating a pressuring string of combos that will help push you towards Fever Mode faster. Don’t be content to get the occasional random combo from falling blocks – try to actively create combos by making matches faster than they can clear off the board.  Always remember: Be fleet of finger and never linger!
  • Drain your skill gauge before hitting Fever: When you see that you’re about to enter Fever Mode, it’s usually a good idea to go ahead and use your special ability beforehand. Once you’ve entered Fever Mode, your skill gauge can fill up ridiculously fast and, since the gauge can only hold so much, its easy for a lot of that potential boosting to go to waste. Going in to Fever Mode with an empty gauge helps to prevent this and maximizes your skill output.
  • Fever Mode: This is where the magic happens! Games are won and lost in Fever Mode, where every block is made exceedingly powerful for a very short time. Prioritize swords during this golden period and try to rack up as much damage as possible. Any combos you can pull off during Fever Mode are going to be devastating. Try to keep a clear head and keep that finger moving.
  • Disrupting Fever Mode for your opponent: While it’s really tough to keep an eye on your opponent’s board while you’re in the heat of battle, if you happen to spy her board turn gold as she enters Fever Mode, throw out whatever ability you can immediately. The start-up animation will disrupt the game for a second or two, leaving your opponent unable to do anything but helplessly watch as her Fever Time runs out.
  • Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade: While Witch Wars is fairly balanced overall, the sad truth is that until you get your witch maxed out, you will be at a potential disadvantage every time you play a new opponent. To level up, you’re going to need a ton of coins. But instead of forking over your hard earned real-life cash, you should just play a ton of online matches to get coins. You can only develop speed and precision by playing a lot of games, anyway, and the best experience comes from playing others over and over again. Don’t be discouraged by a loss! The road to excellence is often paved with defeat.

CHARACTER INFO AND ABILITY STRATEGIES

Learn the ins and outs of your favorite witch here with in-depth information on their skills.

ATHENA

Since she’s the one provided to you for free at the outset, Athena will be your go-to while you learn the ins and outs of Witch Wars. Thankfully, she’s one of the better witches on tap and her skills are both straightforward and effective.

Disturb: If you want, you can throw Disturb out at every opportunity to make things extremely frustrating for your opponent. I wouldn’t advise this as a general strategy, though, since Dancing Sword is better overall at helping to outpace the opponent. Also, performing consecutive Disturbs may actually lock the opponent down too fast, resulting in an untimely board reset. Space them out and try to use them at opportune times, like when you see your opponent’s board go into Fever Mode or immediately after her board resets.

Dancing Sword: Dancing Sword is, pound for pound, Athena’s best available trick. It can deal a ton of damage in an instant, and it helps freshen up your board by clearing out many blocks at once. When Dancing Sword becomes available to you, try to eek a few more swords onto the screen before popping it off by quickly matching up some non-sword blocks. Avoid using Dancing Sword when there aren’t many swords on your board, or if your swords are mostly locked down.

Explosion: Explosion deals a colossal amount of damage, but has the unfortunate downside of clearing the opponent’s board and giving her a fresh selection of new blocks. You can try to mitigate this downside by staging some handcuff matches to be made immediately after triggering Explosion to keep up the pressure.

ELPHYME

Elrhyme is a strong choice and, thankfully, not too expensive to unlock compared to the other witches. Her ice abilities may not lock the opponent down for too long, but they are very disruptive.

Ice Arrow: Ice Arrow is perfectly suited for spamming; fire it out every chance you get! It’ll lock out a portion of the opponent’s board for a short time by freezing her blocks. To add insult to injury, it will deal a small bit of damage when they thaw out. Upgrade this one to the max as soon as possible and use it often!

Weakness: The defensive skills in Witch Wars aren’t very appealing overall, and Weakness is no exception. Reducing incoming damage by half isn’t that great, even when you consider Weakness’s considerable duration. More often than not, it’s usually better to hold off on using Weakness and keep piling on meter until Blizzard is ready to go.

Blizzard: A souped-up version of Ice Arrow. It freezes more blocks, and they dissipate in waves instead of all at once. It’s a nice trick to whip out, but considering the amount of meter it takes to prepare, you’ll find it’s better to throw out three Ice Arrows for the same price instead. For those times when you come out of Fever Mode with a full gauge, though, it’ll stop your opponent dead in her tracks, giving you precious seconds to pile on the extra hurt. A fully maxed-out Blizzard is a thing to be feared.

NOAHS

Noahs takes a lot of coins to unlock and is the most defensive witch in the bunch. She’s perfectly capable of winning the race by nerfing the opponent’s ability to deal damage.

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Defense: Not terribly dazzling but it can stop a little damage in a pinch. Once leveled up, Defense is sure to absorb at least one blow from your match happy opponent, but the unreliability of Defense makes it a crap shoot in terms of effectiveness. Unless you’ve upgraded it a couple times, don’t bother with Defense and just save up for Stun instead.

Stun: The ability to completely paralyze the opponent is a powerful one, indeed. It doesn’t last long, but it’s hard to argue the effectiveness of gaining a few seconds on the opponent. A stunned opponent can’t make any matches, which can severely impair their ability to ramp up a quick Fever and leaves them completely vulnerable to lockdown. If you get lucky, you can pop one off just as her Fever mode starts.

Reflect: Reflect takes a long time to charge up, and it’s effectiveness against good players is somewhat limited – those players will simply stop sending damage your way until they think Reflect has expired. Against reckless players, though, you can really pile on the hurt during those few seconds as they take damage from you and themselves. Like most skills, being able to shoot this off near the start of an opponent’s Fever Mode can really wreck her day.

MORRIGAN

Morrigan is one of the two “expensive” witches and her vampiric abilities are just plain incredible. Playing against a high level Morrigan can be very frustrating, as she always seems to pull ahead with all her life drain shenanigans.

Drain: You’ll probably be tempted to use Drain as soon as it’s available, and you know what? You should. It pecks a chunk of life away from the opponent and gives it to you. It’s as effective as it is straightforward.

Sacrifice: What a great ability this one is. Giving up some of your life to deal twice that much in damage isn’t something you should do if you’re about to kick the bucket, but in almost every other situation it’s a killer bargain. Sacrifice’s damage output is tremendous! If you have more than half of your starting life, then I wouldn’t even hesitate to use it. If you’re on your last bar of health, though, then assess the situation before following through. It’s usually worth it to use Sacrifice when the opponent has more life than you, but if things are getting down to the wire and your opponent has a tremendous lead, then you should just save up for Power Drain instead. Due to Sacrifice’s toll on your own life, it doesn’t make for an effective ‘Hail Mary’.

Power Drain: As the name implies, it’s a more powerful version of Drain. It soaks up a percentage of your opponent’s life and transfers it over to you. Earlier in the game, when the life bars are still fairly full, you can really suck up an unfairly large amount of life this way. Later in the round, when the life totals are smaller, it’s usually a better idea to spam regular Drains instead of saving up for Power Drain.

WISP

Wisp has some pretty good buffs in her arsenal, and when her skills are combined with thoughtful play she can be downright unfair.

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Power Potion: Doubling the power of your healing potion matches for a short duration isn’t terribly exciting, but with a little preparation it can help stop your life from hemorrhaging out too fast. Naturally, you can pop it off when you have a two or more potion matches ready to go, but it works best if used right before going into Fever Mode. It’s a little tricky to time right, but all worth it when your life starts filling up like crazy.

Bless: Bless has a long duration and helps you deal twice the damage you normally would while its active. Getting two hits for the price of one is the very definition of awesome. Triggering Bless right before or at the start of Fever Mode will change all those swords into life-smashing monsters that can steal you an instant and unexpected win.

Heal: Heal is arguably the best defensive ability in the game, giving you a quick and healthy shot of life with no strings attached. Given its straightforward nature, you don’t have to finesse it to make it effective. Just use it and watch your life total shoot up. For those times when you can’t make Bless work the way you want it to, it’s a good idea to just save up for Heal instead.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – CHARACTER STRATEGIES FOR SILPHEED, AND RAGNAROS COMING SOON!

About the Author

Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone). Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG

Mark A. Brooks has written 615 posts on Delta Attack
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  • Fade to Slack

    I’ve never really paid attention. Does locking the board down via handcuffs/disturb also deal damage like it does when you use explosion?

    Also, I’m ashamed to say I never noticed the keys unlocked your tiles. I typically pop them as soon as they show up because of the 1 sword damage they do. And, now I know why I suck at the game so badly.

    What’s your world ranking looking like nowadays?

    • Mark A. Brooks

      Board resets don’t deal damage like Explosion does, as far as I can tell; they just occur when there are no possible matches on the board.

      My rank goes all over the place but is generally in the top 1000. At best I was in the 400s some time ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yosuaonesimussuheru Yosua Onesimus

    nice posting.. please add me to your friend.. my id is arrow_405.. my fav skill is Dancing Sword..