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Looking for a solo summoner guide ips to completing campaign on nightmare

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I've been out of the game for a long time (my highest level is 75 >.>) waiting for the final shards pack to come into play, and also new releases like Diablo 3 distracting me.

So what I am looking for is any links, suggestions, or guides on how to complete the Nightmare campaign missions as a summoner ONLY I am not looking for anything with a combination of summoner and series EV or any other class just PURE Summoner.

Also if anyone can explain the uses and differences between the different summon-able allies it would be much appreciated.

I have tried the search feature but haven't found anything that incorporates a pure summoner strategy.

Any help would be awesome I hope to get some good feedback from the DD community I am excited to be back now that the complete shards pack has been released!

(also if you have any good leveling spots and builds my main tower characters are the 4 base classes (i don't use Series EV not a fan) and i feel like getting to 90 using glitter or ramps on insane will take and incredibly long time but i could be wrong.

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I started off my Dungeon Defenders career with a Summoner last week and began gearing up for Nightmare at about lvl 71 with Godlies from Campaign, with a main focus in Tower HP and Tower Damage. Currently Lvl 75, still solo summoner only, still very very new, but I've gotten by a number of the NM HC campaigns.

Minions used:

Archers - Your bread and butter. 40 Mana for 4 MU, they can sting and have decent range. They're not the best tower out there, but they're the only one you've got. Most of my strategies incorporate them to a large extent.

Spiders - Probably trash. I can't find a good use for these at all.

Orcs - Great walls on anything under Nightmare. Decent damage, junk range, even for melee. Set to the default defensive stance, they have a horrible tendency to completely miss targets in melee range (!?) forcing you to manually move them closer to a target while they're getting whaled on. Pre-nightmare their HP is fairly forgiving. In nightmare, this will cost you big time. I generally forgo them for cheaper Archers or Ogres.

Mages - Most important minion. This guy heals your minions for about 5-10% of their total hp. With Tower HP investment, adding one of these significantly prolongs the health of everything in it's range. Crucial for NM HC campaign solo. He has fairly strong DPS too, but if he gets tied up healing minions, he won't attack.

Warriors - I'm mixed about these guys. High Melee DPS. Not much HP for their heavy mana cost (about 25% more than an Archer) They're horrible at walling and have to engage targets at close range, where they just get beaten into snot. I'm sure other summoners may have use for them, but I don't like them at all.

Ogre - Premium wall. The mana cost is a kicker, but paired with a mage and upgrades, are nearly invulnerable to all but the heaviest of onslaughts. The third of my most used minions.


Like most people, I started off farming myths from Endless Spire. Unlike most people, this was just after Goblin Copters were introduced. This caused me intense pain, but I figured out a strategy in the end, only for Goblin Copters in first wave to be removed. It did teach me a lot of tricks that I used to steamroll through the campaign, though.

NM Endless Spire Gear Grind Solo Summoner <74:

With decent Tower HP, Tower attack investment and Tower focused Godliesyou should be able to get through wave 1. It is important to note a few things here.

1) You only need 4/5 chests on this map to survive wave 1 as a summoner.
2) Guard the Northern crystal with 3 Archers in a line, as close to the crystal as possible. This crystal will be attacked no matter what you do, but 3 archers there should kill the attacker (usually a Sharken) quickly enough.
3) Position 3 Archers on the top of the Eastern stairs any way you wish. Spreading them out is fine.
4) Spread out your remaining 4 Archers on the top of the Western staircase.

Your archers WILL die in 3 or 4 hits, and will need to hit the Ogre nearly 200 times to bring it down. Hence, it is crucial to plan ahead for the ogre even after the combat phase has started:

1) Generally, stay out of Overlord mode for as long as you can until the Ogre arrives. You need to collect mana from the Spiders, Goblins and, crucially, the Sharken.
2) Whenever you get 40 mana, quickly enter Overlord mode, build another archer guarding the Western staircase, spaced out from the rest, then exit Overlord mode. The archer should continue to build unless you jump or take damage. This lets you move around and collect mana while building. (You will only get the chance to build 2 or 3 before the Ogre arrives, and EVERY ARCHER COUNTS!)
3) When the Ogre hits, you should have about 450+ mana. Enter Overlord mode.

Ogre fight:
1) Don't panic. Keep summoning Archers.
2) If your archers are poorly spaced and getting hit by the Ogre's AOE, space them out.
3) You have 3 tools you can use simultaneously - Repair, Upgrade and Summon. Repair the archer that the Ogre is focusing on to extend it's life. When it's about to die, quickly upgrade it, then continue repairing it. This allows you to buy time to summon more archers.
5) Check your Shift map constantly. As soon as the enemy waves attacking from the North and East are done, pull the 6 archers guarding those places over to deal with the Ogre.
6) If all goes well, you should be able to bring down the Ogre losing only 2 or 3 Archers. If the Ogre brings your total Archers down to 5 or less, you will probably fail unless it is almost dead.

In this manner, you should be able to start finding decent Mythicals long before you reach 74. My NM HC Campaign build focuses very heavily on Tower HP, so you might want to look for +70s in that stat if you're building your Summoner like I did.

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At Lvl 74, With Mythicals focused in Tower HP and Tower Attack, you can hopefully achieve 600 or 700 in either, or both, give or take a handful of upgrades.

The crucial point for me was the 700 Tower HP. You might be able to work off less, but having a high Tower HP stat allows the 40 Mana archers to weather a thrashing from the Wave 1 Ogres on Deeper Wells and other maps.

Crucially, you won't have any other choices apart from Archers for wave 1 off the 4 starting maps, so if you intend to play the NM HC Campaign in order, that's not a bad stat to work with.

Backed by a mage and some upgrades, Archers are also decent choices for early wave walls. As wave numbers increase, the Archer's chronic inability to deal any kind of AOE damage starts to hurt and you should consider switching out for an Orc or Ogre ASAP.

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Mayo has some pretty good tips. Another one I've discovered while playing solo as a summoner is that you usually want to move your minions closer to the spawns when possible. Kobolds will target the minions if they see them before getting within range of the crystal, which is nice since minions can't seem to reliably kill kobolds sprinting for the crystal.

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Using 1 Archer walls for early waves while you save up for Ogres can get you pretty far with Myth gear (Deeper Wells, Foundries and Forges, Servant's Quarters (Orcs are useful here), and Armoury), though you'll encounter a few tricky situations on other maps.

Keep building your tower stats as you go along. 700/700 is fine for the first 3 stages, but you'll want to touch a thousand in tower HP for Alchemy Lab.

Map specific tips:

Magus Quarters

The defences here are EXACTLY the same as what you've been doing in Normal all the way up. The main problem for summoners, however, is that this map will introduce you to Goblin Copters (if you're playing linearly). If you position your minions close to the edges of the lava pit, however, there seems to be a high chance the copters will just mistakenly dunk their Ogre into the lava without your minions having to damage them, so this is a good way to avoid having to deal with them.

If an Ogre does land:
1) Figure out which minion he's targetting, then move that minion near a mage for heals (but make sure the mage is out of splash radius).
2) Same deal as Ogre on Endless Spire. Repair and Upgrade when low on health.
3) Get your other archers in the vicinity to bring down the Chopper first. The rockets they fire hurt a good deal more than the ogres.

Alchemy Labs

Hell on earth for the beginner solo Nightmare Summoner. I'm not sure what strategies to provide here because I barely made it on 900/800 Tower Health and Damage and still have trouble even now with 1000/1100, so my tips might not be that useful.

Build Strategy:
It's tempting to concentrate archers around the Eternia Crystal, but repeated tries have shown this to be a bad idea. Kobolds and Sharken have a tendency to seep through Archer walls and destroy the crystal in a few hits. Attempting to block the base of the ramps on either side of the Defender's Forge will also fail as enemy Orcs and Archers have a tendency to slip off the ramp, then proceed directly to the Crystal.

1) Place your Minion walls (2 Archers at first wave, switch to Ogre as soon as you can) at the top of the ramps on either side of the Defender's Forge. These points are extremely high traffic. All kobolds, Djinns and Ogres will use these ramps. Place a mage in front of the Defender's Forge, which will allow the mage to heal 2 Ogres at the same time.
2) The other 2 chokepoints to the Crystal are fairly low traffic, and 0 Kobolds/Ogres/Djinns, so a single Orc can effectively close off each of those points.
3) Fill the remaining DU up with Archers. If you want, you can get an additional mage. With luck, your archers should plug any leaks from your Orcs and Ogres.

Combat Phase:
I chose to forgo adding a mage to heal the Orcs to get higher MU for archers. It's therefore pretty crucial to keep an eye on your Orc's hp and make repairs when needed. Sharken can still hurt them badly, so you want to keep an eye out for those. Your ogres will also be getting attacked by tons of kobolds, buffed enemies, Djinns and enemy Ogres, though with close to 900 or 1000 tower HP, your mage will be able to heal off most of the damage.

Boss Preparations:
1) On my successful run, I accidentally sold the mage at the defender's forge before the Boss. This may have been a blessing in disguise, since I was able to keep my Mage alive against the demon lord by upgrading him. It's definitely a strategy to consider.
2) Gather a few archers around your mage, and spread the rest out around the crystal.

Boss Fight:

If you're following my style of 1 mage on this map, you CANNOT LET the mage in front of the Defender's forge fall. He's supporting not just your Archers, but the 2 Ogres at the chokepoints too. Prioritize his safety above all other units. Archers are 40 MU and build relatively quickly. Ogres and Mages take forever and will cost you the game.

Enter Overlord mode - preferably with max mana - and stay in it for the whole battle unless you really need mana.

1) Your archers have a tendency to keep firing at the Demon Lord, even if they are sitting in the path of that AOE flame move he has. This might be due to the command resetting to defend/attack as soon as they take damage.
2) However, you can get around this by repeatedly hammering right click, allowing them to slowly twitch out of the fire. They might be expendable, but they're more useful to you if kept alive longer. As soon as they're out of the fire, command them to move to the mage to get healing.
3) As soon as any Archer goes down, begin summoning a new one.
4) That's all the strategy there is here. Everything else is just "Pray it works out". Hopefully, your Ogres don't let too many things past them. Hopefully, spiders don't web up too many archers and turn them into sitting ducks for the Demon Lord. With enough time and a LOT of luck, you can win this with a solo summoner. I'm just not gonna do this ever again until I hit 2000 Tower attack or something.

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Mayo is largely correct, but I have to say that spiders aren't entirely useless.
If you mix a couple of spiders in with your archers their web attack can be very useful for grabbing wyverns and kobalds so that the archers can kill them.
archers have much higher dps so you want more archers than spiders but for example 4 archers and 2 spiders can survive waves of fliers that would overrun 6 archers on their own simply due to the fliers getting webbed so they can't move.

A few well placed spiders can also take a lot of pressure off by tying up enemy warriors (no pun intended)


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i've found it to be largely debatable whether an ogre is worth the tradeoff... personally i find a few archers and TWO mages to be better than an ogre, archer or three, and one mage. if you're struggling on a specific map, try swapping out an ogre for a mage and an archer.

general tips:
*archers can be placed up high on a lot of the original maps. a column, wall, etc, can all nicely hold an archer well out of reach while he picks away at mobs under him... ASSUMING you have enough minion range. minion range is an AWESOME stat early on to help you dps mobs long before they get to your walls (ie while they wind their way through mazes like on summit)
*pets do crap damage, so unless you have a REALLY good one, focus on upgrading tower stats
*the chances of you having decent movespeed for minions pre-myth is almost non-existent. consider them static defenses and ignore the stat entirely imo (once you HAVE movespeed though, a DEW makes a nifty bodyguard, for you or friends. i often summon one for friends on "safe" maps)
*overlord mode is NOT optional. gather mana and get used to hitting "2". overlord mode has the nifty benefit of getting you out of trouble while letting you build. i tend to hang out in the biggest chokepoints, gather tons of mana, and then pop into overlord mode, spend it all (preferably upgrading during waves and summoning between), pop out, gather real fast, pop in, etc. you can upgrade TONS just by sticking in the chokes, and are fairly safe since your mages will keep you healed for the most part. oh, and levitate can be your friend if you have poor hps.

accept one thing above all others though: summoners are a SUPPORT class and not really balanced to handle things alone. it's a LOT more fun working one up when paired with a friend who has a huntress or monk, for example, who can support you with utility, since you have none (spider webbing barely counts imo)

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oh and never ever ever ever summon outside of overlord mode while fighting waves.

you can start summons in overlord, and get out of overlord, move around, and collect mana all while that summon attempts to finish (will only cancel if you spend the mana that would be needed to complete the summoning)

once you get used to overlord, you'll be summoning multiple mobs at once, tossing a flash-heal (indispensible later in nm when you're swapping chars out because it not only repairs all static defenses in the area, but also re-stocks a lot of trap count), upgrading, watching defenses, etc... basically overlord mode makes it so you're not "stuck" doing one thing... once you start an action, you should be looking elsewhere for something else to do.

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Can I get a general stat distribution tip for lvl 70 summoners? Right now I have:

80 Tower Health
120 Tower Dmg
20 Tower Range
75 Tower Speed

I'm not too sure if Tower Range is too low or if Tower Speed is too high (people say attack rate for minions cap early).

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range is low, yea. ideally you want to get that up, since it scales REALLY well with archers at first (they can't hit worth a damn without points in it)

you SHOULD be able to get tower stats higher at 70, if you factor in two pets BOTH upgraded towards tower stats and a set of godly armor. admittedly, it's been a while since i've been 70, but i'm pretty sure my stats were higher at that point. if i remember correctly, i had a godly set bonus at that point, with ~100-150 in most tower stats and ~200 in tower dmg. getting rng & speed to 100 helps a TON, and of course the more damage the merrier.

be willing to sacrifice both of your "abilities" (minion speed and flash heal), attack, movement speed, and lastly health. all you really need is the tower stats + some casting speed for yourself. everything else is optional to those tower stats, and you SHOULD be able to get some good enough godly gear in summit/ramparts/spire to push all your tower stats past 100 with a set bonus.

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I still prefer Ogre walls for their massive, extreme spike damage AOE swings, which Archers and 2 Mages just can't match, at least, for where I am in nightmare right now. Perhaps I just don't have enough Tower HP. 3 or more Enemy Ogres (plus swarms of Djinn Buffed enemies), as is waaaay too common in NM Campaign now, forces my Mages to permanently lock into healing my Archers. Toss in a flood of enemy Necromancers and it becomes a battle of attrition I can't win.

Without the Mage AOE Fireballs to deal with mobs, and with no efficient method of dealing with Fire Resist mobs en masse, Archers + 2 Mage walls will probably not cut it for a Solo Summoner build. On maps like NM Glimmer, Archers are reserved primarily for bringing down Copters, Wyverns and Djinns. They just can't efficiently handle the 200+ mobs from every entrance like a single Ogre + Mage can. (Though, I still can't finish Solo NM Glimmer)

Once again, this might also be due to having too little Tower HP, but I'm still fairly new to DunDef and Nightmare in general, so I could be very wrong.

If you mean heroic stat distribution without gear...

I don't actually know the values for Tower Speed. At one point in-game, I just noticed that my Archers were firing at 1 shot per second instead of 1 shot every 1.5 seconds, so I stopped investing in Tower Speed. I probably won't advise investing anything in Tower Speed at all and just let your armor bring it up to par.

My stats values at lvl 70 were just 120 Tower HP, 120 Tower Damage and the rest in Player Cast Speed (Don't do the player cast speed thing. The effect is barely noticeable). With the current changes to the stat system, i'd go for 180 Tower HP, remainder into Tower Damage.

I relied on armor and pets to shore up Range and Rate of Fire.

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that's a good point with ogres v mage/archers. personally, i stopped playing summoner solo a little ways into nm (worked in my other toons, plus pulled out the uber gear... i was impatient to start using summoner to supplement once he was 74, even though i leveled him up fairly legit). summoner SUCKS at handling massive amounts of enemy packs (they're not at ALL balanced for it).

basically, summoner CAN be played solo but is NOT balanced for late-game nightmare solo play... purposefully so. simply because the whole MU thing. they're fine pre-NM, but after...

the problem is the 1.0 attack speed you mentioned. minions do indeed cap off at 1.0 attack speed, never improving past that. which makes them VASTLY inferior dps-wise to other tower builders, simply because they can't keep up with the flood of enemies and their hps. late-game summoners rely on auras, traps, and other towers to manage the trash, with archers/mages being used as living walls + copter/spider/djinn/wyvern killers and dps against ogres.

so you're right in that ogres are useful, early on at least. i forgot how much i used them, and probably didn't switch out to archer/mage ONLY until i stopped playing summoner solo.

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oh and i'd still go 180tower damage & rest into hps as a lowbie summoner. i agree to use the armor + pets to get all 4 tower stats up, which will raise minion range/speed enough to matter.

no matter the tower builder, damage is always king (except for EV wallers and whatnot, of course). HP is a solid second, but never a first.

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Huh, I didn't know that I should level a stat to 180. I thought you would hit some diminishing returns "soft cap" at 120, but I thought I was wrong. Yeah I meant stat distribution without gear. With gear it's:


As you can see somehow the gear I'm currently wearing loves minion attack speed. I just respec like you guys said and got:


I'm still concerned whether 75 range. Maybe I have to exchange some of that tower speed for tower range for one of my equipment. Another concern would be I only have 93 hero health (1130 HP) and 16% damage resistance (since I try for tower stats on gear first), and I die quite often outside of overlord. I currently use a genie and seahorse, and I wonder if this is better than using 2 dps pets.

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The seahorse is generally a DPS pet, I thought? Since you have 0 investment in hero damage, getting DPS pets should not be a priority. Pure stat pets are the best (Giraffe, Pet Rock), followed by any pet that provides a large boost to tower stats. In addition, extremely high DPS pets that can dish out decent Nightmare level damage are hard to come by, and also receive a slight decrease in power when used by Summoners. Unless you can farm them with other characters, I'm not very supportive of Double Pet DPS Summoner builds in general.

Getting utterly destroyed in a few hits is, sadly, a common thing in my Summoner career, though it is very avoidable with the tools the game gives you. Notably, you can drag up a lot of mana simply levitating over a battlefield. I don't suggest this though. Instead, plan in advance.

Nightmare wave on.... say, Survival Deeper Wells. The enemy billboards tell you in advance that 10 Dark Elf Warriors and 9 Ogres will be arriving, in addition to the swarms of trash that generally won't target you and won't kill you in one hit. This tells you two things:

1) At the very start of the game, DEW will immediately spawn and run to your defences. Being outside of Overlord mode at this time is fatal.
2) Ogres generally appear 30-40s into a wave, and are slow to move to your defences. You want to be in Overlord mode so you can manage your minions and towers at this time.

However, you can use the time between the deaths of the DEW and the arrival of the Ogres to exit overlord mode and collect mana.

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the only cap you have to worry about is soft caps on range and speed. both minion hp + dmg scale very very well. i have like 3000 or each and want more of both :P

if you're upgrading your armor, keep note that at every x9 (09, 19, 29, etc) of upgrades you can upgrade armor defense stats. always always always do this, focusing on physical defense first of course. if you're upgrading set bonus armor, you can often get +2 to a certain stat. personally, i find the huge defense increases to be more important than the +1 to minion damage now and then. it's a preference thing though, but if you have good enough phys defense + some hps, you can take hits from DEWs and ogres, meaning you can gather mana in hotspots and upgrade MUCH faster. but that's more lategame strategy than you're probably at atm, so....

for you i'd say suffer with the lower hps/survivability atm. your goal is to get to 74 and mythical gear, at which point your hps and survivability will go WAY up (simply because armor will have more ups, and you can spend them not just on a few tower damage, but also phys defense). your stats for 70 are fine imo... just gotta grind out the xp, which sounds horrible but it'll also get you more used to micromanaging things on the fly. hard glitter hc might be a good choice? never tried it with summoner solo but it should be doable with your stats.

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I'd like to thank you all for your help. Unfortunately, my skill is a bit lacking, and I can barely beat Summit on Insane solo. However I've learned some good tips in playing summoner and I promise to keep working at it. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
The seahorse is generally a DPS pet, I thought? Since you have 0 investment in hero damage, getting DPS pets should not be a priority. Pure stat pets are the best (Giraffe, Pet Rock), followed by any pet that provides a large boost to tower stats. In addition, extremely high DPS pets that can dish out decent Nightmare level damage are hard to come by, and also receive a slight decrease in power when used by Summoners. Unless you can farm them with other characters, I'm not very supportive of Double Pet DPS Summoner builds in general.

I use double Seahorses on my Summoner because the Seahorses I can get at my stats are better than the Girraffes.

Insane Aqua HCMM wave 20 Seahorses can drop with 260/260/60/60 tower stats.
Insane Aqua HCMM wave 30 Girraffes drop with tower stats in the 50's to 80's.

I'm not sure what Pet Rock stats are because I've never been able to even get to wave 30 to get one. But that means for me they are effectively 0/0/0/0.

Sometimes you even get Tran Seahorses from Insane Aqua. For me, especially when I first broke in to Myth gear, Seahorses were a huge help.

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I'm currently working on the real time strategy nm for the summoner. Archer/mage walls seems to work very well if you keep them both towerbuffed and in a strengthdrain.

Use enough archers, like 4 per mage, since the archers will be your primary dps. Put the mninions on the towerbuff. Add an aura stack a little outward of your minion wall with a strengthdrain and ensnare. And to prevent djinn from becoming a pain also place a gastrap just inside the towerbuff.
If you're NOT going for the rts-accomplishment add and electric aura to the stack and place reflectors on the outside (for obvious reasons) AND the inside so spiders can't weaken your minions. Preferably use 1 du reflectors, they seem to give the most length for du.

One thing I always use is an active summoner with a genie and laserbot. You generate mana all the time so you can keep upgrading, upgrading, upgrading. Maxing towerbuffs, aura's and then minions helps a lot. The laserbot means you can safely stay behind a wall and still collect mana from monsters, plus it has quite high range as well actually :)

That tactic is bascially what I use most atm, almost no normal towers. I've beaten aquanos NMHC survival with around 1500/1500/1000/1000 stats on my summoner. EV and auramonk were between 1000-1200 on most towerstats.
You need to play a bit with placement of your walls; generally it's better to keep a lot of minions fairly close together, so defending 1 bigger choke with all minions together rather than 2 smaller ones with them begin split.
One warning when placing minion walls close to crystals, ogres seem to walk almost between your minions sometimes which can be lethal if they can just reach the crystal under some angle. Placing them more close together (less gap) or further away helps in that respect.

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  • 1 month later...

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