Once you have all that you need to create powerful gems in Gemcraft Labyrinth, you must then focus on learning the various fortress structures that you can mount them on (and what these structures are for). Creating a structure will cost you mana, and the costs will increase with each one you create. This means that after you create one tower, the next tower will cost higher. The same rule applies for walls, traps and amplifiers. Thankfully, each structure type’s costing is independent of each other. If you have accidentally placed a structure on a wrong location or if you need to remove a structure for strategic purposes, you can gem bomb it. Lastly, shrines do not follow the costing and destruction rules.
Wall (W) – a wall, in game terms, is a simple block that barrs any monsters from passing through. This is a great tool for creating long winding paths or for bottlenecking a passageway. The important thing is, you must ensure that any wall you place down will have an effect on the amount of time an enemy unit will need to reach you. You cannot place a gem on a wall, so they are not much use in terms of actually defeating enemies.
Walls are cheap, and if you get the construction ability, the cost becomes significantly lesser –which is very important in certain stages. There are fields with wide open parts that you must block off with plenty of well placed walls. The only restriction that a wall would have is that you cannot block off a path in such a way that monsters can no longer reach your base. Once a wall has been set in place, you can still opt to place a tower, amplifier or a shrine on top of it.
When building wall mazes for delaying monsters, we have three simple tips. First, if you have enough mana, do not place down a wall with the intention of building a tower on top of it –just lay down a tower instead, it is actually cheaper. The only reason to actually delay placing down a tower is if you really have no mana at all. The second is to force enemies around as many narrow turns as possible, this slows them down and makes them vulnerable to area effect abilities. Lastly, when creating diagonal passages, place the wall blocks in a diagonal fashion, do not fill in the corner as it will be a waste of resources.
Tower (T) – this is your standard defensive structure, in order for them to be useful, they must be mounted with a gem. Since the cost of towers increase a lot with one built, you must be careful with how many you actually create. Of course, it makes sense that before investing in a tower, you must ensure that you have enough mana for a gem as well. Oftentimes, you may not have a high level gem ready for in time for your next tower, but if you have a few low level ones in your inventory, place them in any empty towers you have waiting to maximize your defensive potential.
When gems are mounted on towers, they will fire off projectiles at enemies. The range of these attacks is determined by the gem itself (not the tower). Also, these attacks serve as your primary defensive strength against enemies in most fields. Be sure to observe the map for any towers that are already in place as they will help you conserve your mana for making gems instead.
As we mentioned with walls, towers also work well as walls, so if you have the mana to spare, you can use a tower to block off a small entrance instead of a wall –this ensures that monsters will not only be able to get through, but they will also suffer a bit of damage as well. Just remember that when doing this, block off entrances where enemies will still pass by as blocking off certain routes will make monsters go to a different path instead. Overal, towers are best placed in intersections and at key points in turns where their circular attack range is maximized.
Trap (R) – a trap is another defensive structure. Like the tower, it can play host to a gem in order to inflict damage on enemies. To use a trap, simply place them on any pathway tile (tiles that monsters will step on), then mount it with a gem. The gem will then inflict damage on any unit that goes on top of the trap. Certain gems work well with traps (particularly those with status effects) while others are better off in towers. To get a good idea of which gems are better, be sure to look at our discussion about the different gem abilities (though right off the bat, poison and slow gems are super useful in traps).
To maximize the effectiveness of a trap, place it in a location where enemies are sure to walk on –ideal spots are in the areas where multiple paths finally merge before leading to your base. Thanks to the use of walls, you can even create your own ideal trap locations (turn a three tile path into a one tile path by adding in two wall blocks). Of course, not all monsters that step on a trap will trigger it (gems still follow their firing rates), and in terms of range, a trap has a very small area of attack (even if you increase it, it is hard to go past two tiles). This means that you cannot rely on traps solely for defense unless you have plenty of it ready on hand.
Amplifier (A) – amplifiers are unique structures that will increase the stats of all gems in towers and traps that are directly and diagonally adjacent to it. The bonus it gives relies on the type of gem that has been placed on it. Expect to get a small boost from a grade 1 gem and a significantly powerful difference when you use a grade 8 gem. There are two ways to use amplifiers –you can either use a single 1 and surround it with towers or traps (and that one amplifier will increase the stats of the others). Or you can have several amplifiers focused on one or two towers/traps.
It may not seem like a sound strategy, having only a single tower, but when it is supported by eight amplifiers, that one single gem mounted tower can be quite deadly. This is because the amount of boosts it adds to range, damage and firing speed will be very high. More importantly, even the gem’s natural abilities, which are based on its color and grade level, will also get a boost that it will never receive from combination. There is actually a field where you can try this out –since it will already have a single tower surrounded by 8 amplifiers right in the center of it. Be sure to place a decently leveled gem in each of the amplifiers.
One great thing about amplifiers is that they are actually better than inventory space. On towers, gems can be combined without having to deal with a cooldown period, second since they are in a tower, they will automatically provide players with a bit of help by boosting the stats of nearby gems. The only drawback with amplifiers is the cost –they are really expensive, even with the construction ability.
Charged Bolt Shrine (C) and Lightning Shrine (L) – shrines, unlike towers, traps and amplifiers, do not use gems in the traditional manner. Instead of being equipped with gems, shrines will consume gems. Like the gem bomb ability, shrines will deal damage to enemy monsters within a certain range.
The charged bolt shrine attacks a large round area around it. This means that the shrine is best placed around a large turnpike where its bolts will affect the most number of enemies. The attack itself comes in the form of small lightning bolts that will home in on monsters within the circle.
The lightning shrine will attack all enemies to its left, right, upper and lower directions. Imagine a large cross with bars that are three tiles across stretching from one of the screen to the other edge, place the shrine in the center of that and you have an idea of the lightning shrine’s attack range. The attack itself comes in the form of long blue electric sparks that hit all enemies in the target tiles.
After using a shrine, it will have to take a quick cooldown before you can sacrifice another gem to it. They work great as last ditch efforts for dealing with certain monsters, and there are plenty of maps that already have shrines that are ready to use. If you plan on building your own, be sure to set aside plenty of mana for it since they can be costly.
Play Gemcraft Labyrinth at Armor Games, one of the many great castle structure games they have sponsored over the years.