When I play games on the ENT bot I see people are pretty decently skilled and generally know what they are doing. Though a large percentage of the players lack knowledge on game mechanics, even though some players know they exist they do not know how they work and can not copy them. I will try to explain a lot of the mechanics and other various functions in Island Defense so the average player understands and improves.
Table of contents
Orc building style
Human and undead building style
Armor and Weapon types
General tips & tricks and other mechanics
Orc building style
Also known as wallwalk builders.
Builder placement when building is completed/canceled
When you are finished constructing or have canceled a structure as an orc type builder your builder will spawn in the bottom left corner of where the building was constructed. If the bottom left area is blocked, you will spawn to the closest possible location. You can not spawn in the area which in the structure was being built. If there is no valid location nearby for you to spawn in you will spawn ontop of the newly built structure.
A technique that has been developed throughout the life span of Island Defense is wallwalking. It is used to escape from the titan when you don't want to waste your escape ability or just to waste the titans time. It is made possible by the fact that your builder is invulnerable and is unable of being attacked while constructing a wall. By creating walls and then cancelling then instantly after to avoid the titan from killing you is how it is done. BurnShady has good guide on how to wallwalk which I used to learn how to wallwalk.
Basically the procedure is b>w>click>b>w>click>cancel first wall>b>w>click>cancel second wall. This skill you really have to practice in order to get good at it, there is no shortcut.
Human and undead building style
The two remaining building styles.
Builder placement when building is being constructed
If you construct a building on top of your current position, your builder will move to closest open space on the same layer to finish the building. If there is no valid location nearby for you to spawn in you will spawn ontop of the newly built structure.
Sheep tag walking
Similiar to wallwalking this type of walking it is a type of escape mechanic with the help of buildings. It is a lot harder to perform good than what wallwalking is. It comes down to abusing mechanics like pathing and the fog of war. For example if a titan is chasing you and you block of that way fast with an RC and the titan issues a move commad at the same time of the otherside of the RC, the pathing will make the titan move another way to find an open space to the area where the command was issued. If titan is close to you, you can create a small pathway for you to enter but the titan must go around it, thus making him stop and attack the structures or move around them, enabling you to escape. Be vary of wand of the wind, wards and titan summons. Good practice builders are morphling and magnataur because of their tankyness.
Making critters move
There are three ways you can use to influence the movement of critters. The two useful ones is bubonicus' plague and using an eye of the ocean on the critter. Both of the methods will move the critter in the opposite direction of where you are standing. The third method is radioactives immolation which functions the same way as bubonicus' plague.
Using critters as a nuke bridge
This is pretty hard to pull of and needs preparation. First you must move the critter into position. The position you want your critter to be is 2 walls range from the builder you want to nuke but not further than 5 walls range from where you are going to nuke from. When the critter is in the correct position you will need 2 minions to windwalk into your nuke spot and then nuke. Nuking is pretty hard since you need to be real fast so the critter doesn't move out of intended position as the first nuke hits [Q>Click Critter>Tab>Q>Click Critter]. I suggest you use bubonicus or sypherious to practice this because easy movement of critters. I also suggest you use an albatross as your critter of choice since it is flying. Here is a video of a succesful albatross nuke.
You can also use workers as a bridge. Limit your vision so the nuke bounces towards the builder and not on all the worker if you use workers. Use floating eye to limit your vision. Here is a video on how to do it properly.
- Using eye of the ocean on critters to scout. Useful with sypherious' eye ability.
- Blocking builders at mound
- Preventing builders from building on the critter
The map of Island Defense consists of layers and ramps connecting the different layers. The mound area is layer -2, the ramp area where you wall mid is layer -1, area that is outside mid area is layer 0 etc. Here is a picture the shows the different layers. When doing an action which clashes 2 units hitbox's, the map will separate these 2 units, moving one of them to the closest possible location on the same layer. It will only separate them to the same layer (i.e. the map will never separate from layer 1 to 2, only from 1 to 1 or 2 to 2.). If there isn't a spot nearby on the same layer as the separation occurs on the hitboxes will clash instead and clip with each other. This act of separation the map does enables actions referred to as, item jumping, worker blocking, structure jumping and other types of "jumping". Common examples on units that can collide and will separate; Item dropping on an invisible titan hero/chicken, shelter spawning workers, item dropping on unit who is gathering lumber, builder constructing building onto its own hitbox.
I've created an imgur album with the most useful jumps. The instructions are inside. There are more jumps but they are mostly inconvenient, don't be afraid to experiment yourself.
As a builder you can jump with items as the same time you gather lumber. This is not really useful at all, it is just fun to do. The only real useful thing you can do with it is taking the seed outside of euro base with a orc style builder. Here's how you do it;
- Be a orc style builder with an item in your inventory.
- Build a shelter inside the seed outside of eurobase
- Move as close as you can to the right side of the tree corridor
- drop the item ontop of your builders hitbox
- gather lumber with your builder whilst not moving away from the item
- You should now have jumped outside and can now pick up the item.
Here is a video of me doing the jump.
With items and ankh. There are more jumping methods available to the titan e.g. Burrow jumping. I will add it to the guide if it is possible to do with the Fossurious in 4.0.
This type of jump is one of the easier jumps to pull of and requires an ankh and at least 2 minions/chickens depending on the base you want to jump, but the more you have the easier the jump will be. BurnShady has a video where PLus performs an ankh jump in an in-house. As you can see in the video PLus blocks the possible spawning locations on the ramp with his minions, thus the only place left he can spawn is in the base.
BurnShady has a good guide on how to learn item jumping, though it is lacking in how to item jump a base and other mid walls you can item jump. I've created another imgur album with possible item jumps. The instructions is in the album as well.
Base item jump video is here.
How to base
When basing you'd most likely want to double base so you don't need to use so much lumber. You will need to be quick when basing, as a good titan can capitalize on your poor basing skill and siege it before it is complete. To base fast, prepare yourself before you start with already having built food resources and research center. Wait for the titan to move to the opposite side of the map as to where you are basing. Start basing and always have your builder constructing. If you are double basing, have the builder with shorter range towers to build in the front tower spots to maximize base damage per second. Don't forget to hotkey your towers and upgrade walls as you build, the titan can destroy your base in seconds if the walls are not upgraded. As for structure location I have created an imgur album to show where to build your structures in the best bases (I didn't include bases that are not good because if you choose to base there, you take the game unserious and this guide is tryhard guide). I only used 4 layers of walls on some of the bases, of course you can and should add more layers towards the outside of the base.
Even though this is a type of "jump" I feel like it deserves to be here. It works the same way as I explained in the "Jumping" section and is used to block the titans movement with workers. The purpose of worker blocking is to hinder the titans movements whilst sieging your base. It can be used to prevent the titan from moving in close to nuke you while you rewall or to block him from moving in or out of your base. Here is a video of me worker blocking a titan. It's basically spawning workers from two shelters on layer 0 and they spawn there to block the titan. The same logic applies to every base. In the album I linked above are the shelter locations for every good base to be able to worker block. Be cautious of not feeding the titan too much when performing worker block. Upgrade worker HP for worker block to be even more OP.
Armor and Weapon types
In Island defense every unit have different armor and weapon types. Each weapon type deal different damage to each armor type, so it is important to know how they are calculated to understand the game and where the titan peaks in his power, respectively when the builders peak in their power. To see what armor type a unit have hover your mouse over the armor or attack icons in the stats field of a unit.
The different armor types are;
- Unarmored (Most workers)
- Light (none)
- Medium (Builders that are basers)
- Heavy (Some supportive builders and demonoligist and merchant summons)
- Hero (Titans, and most titan hunters)
- Fortified (Buildings, some supportive builders and some titan hunters)
The different weapons types are
- Normal (Builders)
- Piercing (Towers, and demonoligist and merc summons)
- Siege (none)
- Chaos (Titan hunters)
- Magic (Some irrelevant units)
- Hero (Titans)
Illegitimate worker stacking
This includes loud worker stacking and unnukeable worker stacking. If you perform one of these you will get banned, that is why I recommend only stacking in seeds because you can't loud worker stack in them, nor are they unnukeable.
rules wrote:Loud stacking (worker stacking with the loud error sounds) or worker stacking in an un-nuke-able spot in a base.
Legitimate worker stacking
Alright with the illegitimate ways taken care of I'll explain what worker stacking is, how it works and how you can do it. Worker stacking is stacking multiple workers into one 1x1 area to decrease spots required to max out food gain, this is useful in the lategame where titan keeps nuking your base workers but you have seeds. The way it works is when a worker is returning its lumber the workers hitbox will dissapear so the game thinks there is an empty area for a worker to spawn in but in reality there isn't, if there is a 1x1 available between the workers and "open area" they will pop out of their stack. The way you do it is simple;
- Have a shelter inside a seed with it's checkpoint targeted at a tree
- Have the shelter mass-pump workers
- Detonate the workers that escape the seed, some workers will spawn inside the seed and have it's hitbox's clipped with each other
- Keep pumping workers and detonating escaped workers until you're satisfied with the stack.
Here is a video of me worker stacking, showing how the process works. I only managed to stack one worker since I wanted the video to be short. If you want more stacks just continue spawning and detonating workers.
A lot of players regard the chicken as a useless trophy of shame and believe it is harmless, but with the correct preparation and skill chickens can be used as an valueable asset to the titan. List of useful functions for the chicken;
- passageway blocker
- mystic staff of gods/pearl user
- healing ward user
- wand of the wind user
- nuke rod user
Mind games are often not mentioned in Island Defense but I consider them to be a major part of the game and an asset to the titan. What I mean by mind games is as titan you do an action to trigger a response from the builders. Mind games can be used to make builders think you are doing one thing but in reality you are doing another thing.
E.g. when builders are golding mound and you have just cleared a lumber base, the builders will assume you are heading back to mound invisible so they will stop golding, but instead of heading back to mound you went to the next lumber base and cleared that. so what you have achieved is two actions while doing one action.
A lot of average titans overlook the fact that the average builder players information (in terms of vision etc.) is limited and doesn't use this to their advantage. Be careful not to be away from gold mound too long since builders might counter your mind games by mass-walling mid, item jump the walls if you can for a free minion.
E.g. You've just been spotted invisible at mound by a gnoll ward. There is nowhere you can jump to kill a builder and all builders are safely within walls. The builders will stay in their walls until you show yourself from the fog of war, that gives you a lot of free time to scout the map while the builders are not golding. Once again you have achieved two actions with one action.
The key factor here is that a lot of players doesn't know how long the windwalk duration or cooldown is and by the time the duration has worn off people assume it is off cooldown, use this to your advantage. There is a lot more mindgames you can do but if i name more I fear this guide will be too long so you just have to figure more out yourself, again don't be afraid to experiment.
As the same way chicken is viewed as, the mound is very much the similiar. The mound can use the same items a chicken can, the two useful ones are wand of the wind and wind catcher. When I random magic coral or wind catcher my early game is secured. To use items, you need mana. Mound doesn't have any mana to start with. If you place a magic coral inside the mound it will have 0/250 mana, use a regen potion to fill the mana of the mound and you are ready to use any item inside it.
Using wand of the wind in mound properly; Have mound with at least 1/250 mana and one wotw inside it. Have one wotw on titan. Trigger an action which makes builders gold. Use mounds teleport ability. Use wand of the wind from gold mound on easiest builder to kill. Arrive mid and hit builder once and then use the titans wand of the wind on the builder. Hit builder again and finish the builder with a nuke. Make sure you have vision on the target so he doesnt escape while you attempt to nuke him.
Using wind catcher in mound properly; Place wind catcher in mound. Use wind catcher. The best time when to use wind catcher in mound is when you are forced to waste a lot of time at something e.g. early sieging, because the builders can't gold for the duration of wc if they do not have true vision.
Note: You do not need mana to use windcatcher in mound. Also reveal your wind catcher first by obtaining a minion and then place it in mound to prevent further golding.
It's a valuable asset to the titan to know how to use vision properly, especially during the early game in order to find feed. There is multiple ways to gain vision as the titan, the most obvious one is pearl. Seacow has a good pearling algorithm to maximize his chances to find early feed. It is important to know when to use pearl, I recommend to always keep it on cooldown in the early game to scout as much as possible, but it still comes down to timings e.g. if you want to kill a golding magnataur, then it is wise to not use pearl on scouting as you will need it for the magnataur kill. Another trick to scout the map is chimera's. Chimera's are flying units available to the titan in the consumables shop. It has a pretty long cooldown so you can't use it all the time. Though each chimera can use items and have separate cooldowns so you can scout the map nicely with chimeras. Here's how to do it;
- Have 1 chimera in the mounds inventory and 6 on the ground beside it.
- Use the mounds chimera and pick up the rest.
- Use another chimera just as the first one is about to expire, the rest will drop on the ground as it expires.
- Pick up the rest and repeat.
- Beware of towers/foodsources, as they will kill your chimera.
Note; this chimera trick doesn't work for 4.0 version of Island Defense. It still works in 3.0.9d if you happen to play a game of that version, e.g. in an in-house.
Other vision sources are wards, floating eyes, and the titans inherent scouting abilities. Floating eye is a necessity when sieging to prevent rewalling by threatening with nuke, also use it to scout bases you think the builders will base in. In games where there is a lot of seeders I like to buy a floating eye and go around nuking seeds without wasting mana on pearl.
An important aspect in Island defense is being able to micro manage your units wise and effiecently both as titan and builder.
I see a lot of titan players with bad micro management skills and poor usage of control groups. To effiecently micro manage your units as the titan you will need hotkeys for all your units, abilites, and items. For items I recommend using BurnShady's autohotkey script. For abilites I recommend the standard hotkeys. For units you will need to set up control groups (To set an control group press Control+1/2/3... while you have the units you want in that control group selected). The control groups I use are;
miscellanious units(chimera, mini-minions, titan ability units)
If I need more minion control groups I move 5-6 control groups to 6-7 to free up control group 5 for the extra minions. Sometimes I have minions as singles in their control groups to maximize the scouting I do, I do this when there is no threat of a supportive builder killing my minion. When there is a supportive threat in the game I will have my minions in their control groups in pairs to avoid them dying.
This isn't the most effiecent way to have your control groups, it's just my preference. If you truly want to maximize your effiecency in control group usage I recommend BurnShady's control groups which can be found here.
To improve your actual micro management skill there is not much I can help you with. Here's a few tips to help you practice and learn faster;
- Always have every unit you own perform an action
- Try to move around your camera as much as possible to maximize your information intake
- Try to have a high action per minute count to increase reflexes and action speed
Might not be so obvious that the builder needs good micro management skills, at least it's not as noticable as a titan with poor micro management. Having good micromanagement skills as builders includes setting up a fast lumberbase to maximize lumber gain, detonating workers when titan moves nearby, setting up a base fast, managing tower attacks, controlling worker block etc. To achieve these goals you will need good choice of control groups. I use and recommend these ones;
(Early game without base/ Late game with base)
 Main builder/Worker block shelters
 Empty/Main builder
They enable you to easily worker block, re-wall, and focus fire when titan is sieging. It also allows you to move your camera around much easier in the early game (e.g. titan is attempting to kill you 5-wall full-deny lumberbase and you are afraid of titan TP mid while you are detonating it, spam 1>1>2>2 to move camera fast inbetween mid and your base to see if he is teleporting. Wait until titan is killing the last wall to kill your lumber base if he doesn't TP). Change your main builder hotkey to a more distant  when you have a base to prevent you from accidentally suiciding.
Use this guide from BurnShady to set up a lumber base and practice until you are fast as lightning.
Anyways micro-management is a skill you will have to practice yourself, use the tips I gave you in previously to improve.
- Watch replays of good titans playing to mimic and learn from them, I recommend the old ih replays found on the forums from 2 years ago.
- When sieging move a minion to tank some of the hits from the towers before your titan walks up to the base.
- Builders can remove the titans ability to "jump" into their base by "blink proofing" their base. This is done by removing all open 2x2 or larger spots in the base.
- Builders can remove debuffs such wand of the wind or eye of the ocean from any unit except enemy units if they detonate a worker on top of the debuffed unit.
- When double basing, the builder whose towers have the shortest range should have its towers closest to the entrance of the base.
- When titan is sieging, focus your towers to hit one unit
- If you're facing moltenious has his ultimate magmide, create a trap for the magmide to spawn inside your base, as it will spawn anyways if you have your base blink proofed.
- To maximize lumber gain in the early/mid game, use this tip by BurnShady.
- If you are starved for lumber late game by titan because he keeps nuking your base workers. Use a seed lumber base.
Write below if you have any questions or contact me private if you want further options to increase your skill.