Advanced Strategy: Planning ahead ft. the Elder Tree

I think planning ahead in this game is a huge topic that’s rarely touched, so I’ll keep this post simple: how can I plan ahead utilizing the elder tree to enhance my progress in the campaign?

Planning ahead

One of the things I personally like about this game is how despite randomness, you still have a lot of impact over your own progress through strategic decisions.

The wishlist, summons transitioning to stargazing, Elder tree progress, Guild store, lab store, challenger store: It’s not a one-to-rule-them-all scenario, but rather a synergistic set of systems that can allow you to plan your own progress.

I think planning ahead in this game is a huge topic that’s rarely touched, so I’ll keep this post simple: how can I plan ahead utilizing the elder tree to enhance my progress in the campaign?

The Elder Tree

First, let’s get the basics out of the way. The elder tree total level doesn’t mean much – even at chapter 12 where you first gain access to it, the level increases as you get heroes, the bonuses are insignificant and you’ll only have it block you if you spend a lot of money trying to advance it.

Second, the branches aren’t born equal. There have been balance changes modifying the skill trees, but Celerity and Sustenance are the most significant in both PvP and PvE.

Did you know – not only did the skills change, but the initial design also looked different. Do you like the eyes in the middle?

Third, the levels aren’t born equal. As we know for a while, the tree has valuable % stat improvements as well as unique stats improved at every 5 or 10 levels respectively starting from 2. That link also includes a table for The Elder Tree level costs.

Example team

Using this, we can start building our plan. Assume you just got access to the elder tree at chapter 12, and this is your team:

r/afkarena - Advanced afkarena strategy: Planning ahead ft. the elder tree.
An average team to have at the start of Chapter 12.

How should you level your tree?


Levelling 5 heroes, close to breaking through the level 140 barrier. 14 crystal slots.

22 elite heroes (leaving the ones we can’t see aside), 8 legendaries (and an extra Bellinda on top). 19 of them are unique ascended tier heroes; as this account hits level 160 it will slowly start transitioning to only ascended heroes. They are currently split like so:

  • 6 sustenance: Ezizh, Twins, Rosa, Tasi, Nemora, Raine
  • 3 sorcery: Isabella, Shemira, Bellinda
  • 3 might: Seirus, Khasos, Estrilda
  • 3 fortitude: Skreg, Lucius, Ulmus
  • 5 celerity: Eironn, Ferael, Fawkes, Kaz, Lyca

Note how this guy likely runs Shemira / Bellinda as his main carries, both of them are sorcery.

Since he already has some legendary heroes, he likely won’t be blocked by tree level. If you are and you have a lot of essence lying around, you could temporarily level trees like Might (helps with Twisted Realm) and later reset.

The best instant value

Sorcery 5 -> Sustenance 5

Because of these carries, for the cheap immediate impact, I’d advise him to push Sorcery to 5. After pushing sorcery to 5, the bonus for 10 costs a lot and doesn’t benefit much. For that reason with so many useful sustenance healers, I’d recommend they then proceed to push sustenance to 5. That should burn out most of the essence you initially get; now for the planning.

Short-term plan

Celerity 5 -> Sorcery 15

it seems like this guy will main Shemira or Bellinda once he gets either to level 161. They will likely appear in setups alongside other support ( not sustenance ) heroes like Tasi, Lyca, Nemora, Fawkes, Lucius, and in his case Ulmus and maybe Eironn. Note how many of these heroes are celerity heroes, and their 5 skill bonus is 120 flat dodge and 10 flat haste buff; that is incredible at the early game, so the next stage would be getting Celerity to 5, and then Sorcery to 15. Sorcery is a subpar tree, but 15 is a decent investment into it even in the late-game; it will get him more team energy so he makes better progress in the short term.

Mid-term plan

Fortitude 5 -> Sustenance 15

At this point, this guy should be about level 200 starting to look at some of his first ascended heroes. He will likely eventually end up using Shemira as a midgame carry, which works great. He will tune his wishlist for great heroes that work with her like Rowan, Tasi, Nara, Lyca, Lucius, Rosaline, and Eironn. This means at this stage he will benefit the most from the support that she gets. This is why here he would level Sustanence to 15; gaining benefit from the heals, shields, energy regeneration, SI’s, etc.; After that, he should level Fortitude to 5. This little investment will make the likes of Lucius, Hendrik, Ulmus, and Gorvo be able to stop some of the offence that Shemira would take.

Long-term plan

Celerity & Sustanence -> 25, Might -> 5

This is the time where you can really plan ahead. This guy is approaching the late-game at the late level 200’s, preparing his late-game teams. Depending on what he finds, that may be Eironn Safiya, Gwyneth, The god team, or something along those lines. He should start focusing on getting the pieces to one good setup to push progress towards 31-4 while having the very late game in mind.

This means Celerity and Sustenance, the absolute best trees in the game. Both have a great level 25 skills. One increases energy regeneration, the other increases haste by an absurd amount. Which one is up to his personal progress and the setup used, but either way he should focus one of them, and eventually the other. When he has those bonuses, further tree bonuses will suffer from diminishing returns; This is a good strategic point to invest into Dura’s might 5 because despite how most Might heroes aren’t usually the late-game carries you’ll be used to see, the ability from Dura’s might is so good its worth the investment.

Endgame plan

Sustanence -> 37, Celerity ->40, Might ->10, Sustanence ->47, Celerity -> 47, Fortitude -> 15

At this point, you’re playing the late game. Tree bonus dodge & haste makes more difference than diminishing skills (albeit the skill bonus also eventually diminishes). You should push sustenance anyways, giving your heroes valuable haste and higher scalings, as you will likely use them often here as the best set of heroes out of all branches. The celerity 3rd ability is the strongest elder tree skill in the game, so that’s where you’re going next: bonus 140 haste is definitely overtuned. After that, you can prepare for multi setup stages gaining the full value of Might’s bonus, at +10 you get a higher scaling; Eventually, you’ll keep pushing sustenance and celerity for more stats, vacating into other trees when their bonus is worth it. Fortitude here is a good investment for movement speed for the heroes themselves, as well as an enemy haste debuff.

r/afkarena - Advanced afkarena strategy: Planning ahead ft. the elder tree.
My own, classic endgame tree
Complete plan

Note: while the end goal is likely going to be similar, the early plan was highly customized to this specific player.

from Ch. 12 to the endgame:

  • Short-term

    Sorcery 5 -> Sustenance 5 -> Celerity 5 -> Sorcery 15

  • Mid-term

    Fortitude 5 -> Sustenance 15

  • Long-term

    Celerity & Sustenance 25 -> Might 5

  • End-game

    Sustanence 37 -> Celerity 40

  • Might 10 -> Sustanence 47

  • Celerity 47 -> Fortitude 15

Concluding notes

Planning is a key aspect of this game. If you want to avoid the slowing progression players typically encounter when approaching the endgame, you should invest thought into your decisions to maximize future gain. I will upload an in-depth planning and decision-making video in the future, here.

Please let me know what you think, below.

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