This is What Winning Looks Like - Show Us Your Post-1.5 PvP builds!

The majority of the community rejoiced when it was finally confirmed that as of Update 1.5:

This was first asked for in fall of 2021 during Early Access when the first “turn zero” pvp builds emerged using Dragonguard Helm, Elven Necklace and other items to facilitate winning without matching any gems and earning 25,000 points in pvp for the week, a number unobtainable for nearly all players due to the lack of gear. This was especially frustrating as the 3 weekly PvP leaderboards were one of the only continuous source of non-story based gem earnings.

At launch in 2022, the developers nerfed a host of mana generating items that resolved the “turn zero” pvp issue at the time (although the real reason for the nerf was likely the general overpowered nature of mana-generating gear relative to other gear during Early Access in all modes of play) allowing many players to once again “compete” with a variety of builds and have the opportunity to earn those highly-prized weekly gem rewards.

The “turn zero” issue emerged once again though after Update 1.2 with the available of the Flametree Helm. This combined with a growing number of select players with deep pockets or long play time having accumulated enough “Pact” gear items brought back 25,000 scores and once again put most players out of reach of the weekly leaderboard and highly coveted source of weekly gems.

So, it was great news to see that Starting Mana was finally capped at 80%, in theory opening up PvP leaderboard rewards to a wide array of builds and increasing the number of players once again who could attain the rewards, a big win (we thought!) for the community.

But then! Action points emerged with Update 1.5 and with it, an all new problem!

Tresk summed it up well:

So it was good news to hear that something was being planned for Update 1.5.5 to address the unintentional outcome of the Action Point implementation. What was the solution:

Ummm, what?

So, their response to the issue was not to fix the new timing that created this awkward new scoring paradigm but rather to change the point scoring so that the only max scoring path continues to be 1st turn skulls , but now you get 2,488 points instead of 2,475! Yes!! All the while, everyone without the “right build”, ends up getting less and the problem that supposedly was resolved in 1.5 now persists.

So, in an effort to demonstrate how dumb PvP continues to be but in an all new and ludicrous way, I encourage everyone to post your “winning” builds! Let the developers know the wonderful gaming experience they have engineered.


My “winning” build in PvP Elite Tourney this week is a strong build made up of a complete set of carefully curated gear and spells that achieve max results with a bit of finesse. I’m kidding, of course:

Actually, I equip no spells and minimal gear to drive my gear score down as low as possible so that I am matched with equally undergeared opponents, then hope that I can match a few skulls, perhaps some upgraded ones via Royal-II and Saviors Helm to club my opponent in the head and secure that necessary turn 1 win that only skulls can provide.


Here’s my “winning” build in Open PvP (and Blue Restricted!) that utilizes Blue Mana to set up specific spells to execute a win on my next available turn.

NOT! It’s just like the other build with no spells to purposefully drive down my gear score to face equally undergeared opponents, but in this case I equip 6 Bloodfang pieces to get those all important 1st turn skulls, the only win condition that matters.


@Sibelios I’d love to post my winning pvp build. But I don’t have one. lol I would use bloodfang x 6, if I hadn’t had to destroy enough bloodfang gear to fill a landfill due to the very very long period of inadequate storage space. Instead I use some variation of your pally build above, for all three tourneys, no matter the color restriction. I then use timer mode to match everything on the entire board (prioritizing skulls, because nothing else matters, as fast as possible. Hopefully my initial skull matches were enough to kill. Otherwise, I’m depending on the skullfall slot machine to pay off with a cascade. Weeee.

I actually came to the board this afternoon to post a question asking how this is considered to be in any way balanced. I’ll just ask here, instead. How is this in any way balanced?! lol There is no possible way to achieve the top score using a spell. Any spell. And forget about using multiple spells.

I mean, the situation before 1.5 was terrible too. No doubt. Turn zero meant there was no possible way to win top score using skulls. :crazy_face: If you had the right gear (BIG if) you could at least use different spell setups. And the problem was likely not in the newbie league(s). Maybe it was, I don’t know. But considering how hard it is to get all the right gear, I would think not. Again, still super terrible. Don’t want that back.

But now, I would think this new situation would be the same in every league. And instead of “if you do anything other than cast spells, you lose,” we have “if you so much as THINK about casting a spell, you lose.” And yes, technically you don’t lose the battles. However, the way the scoring and the rewards work, simply winning the battle is all but completely irrelevant.


My winning pvp build is pretty much as bare bones as @Sibelios pally build, only I just realized I’ve forgotten to unequip my spells to drive down my gear score more… And @Tresk , don’t forget the ever important retreat from any battle you don’t win on turn 1 if you’re not in the top league, to try to keep your opponents as squishy as possible for as long as possible! That’s far more important than getting the match rewards. I too, would be running the skull generating set, but, whee, I’ve had to trash all of it due to not having a level 50 Northelm and spare gems to upgrade him beyond that. (Nope, not at all bitter about that “solution”)

Can someone remind me why we play this game again? :cry:


I don’t mind the new system except that if you don’t get 24880 points, you only get 50 gems. There should be a sliding scale of rewards from 500 down to 50 in steps.


yes this really frustrates me to no end!!!

Never have lost a pvp match in like 8 months and if you dont abuse the latest trend you get stuck with 50 gems. It needs to be graduated better, to go from 500 to 50 is just a slap in the face! It makes me mad every time I think about it and thats not what you want 505 studios right?

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If less than 50 players reach the max score of 24880. If more than 50 players do, then the placement reward is reduced to 25 gems. The Open Tourney is already there,


with the Restricted Tourney approaching that threshold and may get there in 2 more days.

Also, of important note, is that the leaderboard is only 100 slots long.

As of the time of this post, 24750 only yields 93rd position. If that falls below 100th position by weekly reset, then 24750 will not yield any Gems at all.



This is turning out worse than I imagined it would be.

Prior to 1.5 there was very little wiggle room, in terms of gear and spell choices, and no wiggle room, in terms of gameplay (start with full spell/s and just cast) to achieve top score and 500 gems. But there were many ways to get 100 gems.

Now there is very little wiggle room in terms of gear choices (wear as little as possible, make big gems, carry a big stick), spells must not even be equipped, and no wiggle room in terms of gameplay (absolutely must match skulls and kill on turn one) to achieve top score and 500 gems. Since that is a comparatively easy meta to do, it makes it impossible to get 100 gems, or even 50.

Luckily (yay?) most people can put together a loadout with no spells and very little armor, so most people can get 500 gems. But it’s beyond dumb, not fun, and way more punishing for people who can’t, or don’t want to, play it that way.

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Just flew over the posts but here are so many people knowing what they are talking about because of their long time playing and excellent knowledge of the game (I don’t count myself in).

And it really is a shame you have to go that “naked” way in a game where players are literally begging for more and more inventory slots because you could be able (but aren’t allowed to because the greedy devs have been hiding all the time behind their “Northelm”-Adaption pfff) to experiment with so many gear and set variants.

Now we have to deal with another way of problem in PvP but let me be totally honest here: IF a company is not able to design or redesign a proper and interesting way for players to receive valuable rewards you HAVE to look at what other companies have handled it. And yes, the devs would be able to reach out for sure if they want to.

But with nearly 2 years of playing every day I get the impression they just don’t want to. Like others have said it is also about how rewards are scaled compared to the damage done or points received or whatever. Furthermore you also can rank out leagues with restricted gear rarities (from common to mythic there could be 6 of them for example). With proper designed rewards for every league this may be a good chance making PvP interesting for new players as well … so many possibilities, so less tries to adapt something community friendly …

One last thing: I have never played a game where the community has to do all the companies brainstorming work and I really feel “cringed”.


I want to give my opinion about the current state of PvP. It’s important to note that I am a recent player that has not really experienced the pre-1.5 PvP, and that my current priorities are leveling up my “main” gear, I don’t have the resources to try different builds.

From what I have read, the main problem pre-1.5 was the ability to get Turn 0 victories. This gave rise to two main problems:

  1. Lack of diversity: if you wanted to get the max rewards you could only use a very specific build
  2. High barrier: only veteran players or those who paid a lot of money could go for the max rewards.

After the update, Turn 0 victories have gone away. However, it is true that the difference in point between a turn 1 skull kill and a turn 1 spell kill means that the lack of diversity is still an issue. There is an important difference, though. Now, at least, everyone has a shot for the 1st place, so the high barrier problem has gone.

I believe that the main point when evaluating the current state of PvP is… What do players want from it?

  1. For new players like me, PvP is a way to gain more gems so that we can keep on growing. I have to say that I am quite happy with how PvP is going for me, since I can get 1st place quite easily and gain those so necessary gems. As they have said before me, the number of people placing 1st has drastically gone up, so in terms of rewards the current state is more beneficial for players than the previous one.
  2. For more veteran players, PvP should be a place where they can enjoy trying different builds and testing their abilities. Once you have been playing for a long time, PvP should be the place to get that extra excitement and not get bored with the game. The current state of PvP, however, does not support this, since you get no rewards unless you commit to a specific kind of build. That can make veteran players less engaged and even getting bored of the game.

I believe that there is a very easy way to reduce the lack of diversity problem, which has been raised once and again by other players: don’t deduce points upon enemies action, so that skull-based builds and spell-based builds can both be used without losing a chance to get the rewards. It should be easy to apply and I cannot find any downside to it. Due to the way that PvP work, as long as you can secure 10 perfect victories you will get max rewards, so no one should be negatively affected by increasing the ways of achieving those victories.

Still, the lack of diversity is a much deeper problem. As long as scoring awards winning as fast as possible, PvP will only favor a small set of specific builds. What about tanking builds based on defence? Combos that need more than one turn to start but then can kill instantly? A deeper change on the scoring and reward system could increase diversity a lot, although it would require more work, effort and careful tunning.

In my case I am happy with how PvP currently works, but I do understand all the frustration that many players are expressing and I agree with their concerns. Therefore, I want to add my voice and ask that the scoring system only deduces points on you matching gems, so that both skull-based and spell-based 1 turn kill builds are viable. I believe this small change would make many players enjoy PvP again.

This is and was the biggest issue which is why we lobbied for a cap to Starting Mana for so long. The gem income provided by PvP was historically one of the only means for steady gem income other than 1st time story completions (obviously now there is Challenges, Adventures and Kingdom Defense/Bazaar but for most players, even all these modes added up provide less gems weekly than finishing first in all 3 PvP leaderboards).

PvP is not a very interesting format. It is also essentially unchanged since the beginning of Early Access in March of 2021. Most players simply want to do enough PvP to earn the weekly rewards, leaderboard rewards, and sufficient Honor to use in the Kingdom Bazaar when items become available. There is no challenge in PvP; it’s just farming resources. Until it becomes something that is actually competitive in a way that rewards challenging play or interesting build choices, then people should not be penalized because of an odd quirk that resulted from the introduction of a change to overall game play (AP mode; enemies taking turns actually matching gems).