Challenge Festival II: Empires and Puzzles Guide with Heroes

Pinterest Pin with the words, Challenge Festival II (2) Empires and Puzzles

Empires and Puzzles’ Challenge Festival is about to get a Part 2. The Challenge Festival II will introduce a fantastic group of new heroes and also includes a large mix of wonderful old favourites. And thankfully, there’s no Season One!

This event houses heroes from 4 different Families: Starfall, Villains, Slayers, and the new Bard (Narcisa, Winifred, Rhys, Phenexa, & Zhabog).

That means heroes like Director Zuri, Toxicandra, and Senan will all be available for summoning from the same Portal (don’t mean they’ll appear, tho!).

Strap in, coz we’re about to get started, but first, please consider subscribing to this blog! It really does help me grow.

MENU (Empires and Puzzles Challenge Festival II)
1. Challenge Festival II Guide
2. Challenge Festival II Special Rules
Family Hero Bonus
Stage Effects
Color Reflect
3. All Stage End Bosses
4. Challenge Festival II Summoning Portal
5. New Bard Family Bonus
6. New 5 Star Hero Reviews
Narcisa
Winifred
Rhys
Phenexa
6. New 4 Star Hero Review
Zhabog
7. All Challenge Festival II Heroes

Caveat: This post contains gameplay speculation and personal opinion. It may also contain comedy and sarcasm. It is not advice and is solely for entertainment and informational purposes.

Also, this stuff is all Beta at the moment, so subject to change.

Image of Heroes from the Empires and Puzzles Challenge Festival II
Empires and Puzzles – Challenge Festival II Poster (Early image of the new heroes)

Challenge Festival II Event Guide | Empires and Puzzles

The Challenge Festival II is a 4-day event due to start on 11th August 2022.

The new event will be much like the previous Challenge Festival event, consisting of 10 Stages in Rare, Epic, and Legendary (30 Stages in all), rotating through different effects associated with the families on each Stage.

The goal for the event is to get the highest score possible, -the better your scores, the better your rewards.

The difficulty levels (Rare, Epic, and Legendary) will have limits on what heroes, troops, and battle items can be used, but you can improve your scores by replaying the Stages.

Screenshot of the Challenge Festival II Empires and Puzzles Event Screen

Special Gameplay Rules for the Challenge Festival II (Empires and Puzzles)

Just like the previous Challenge Festival, this event will combine three of the older events, including:

It will also serve to introduce a new Family of heroes, the Bard Family.

Using heroes from these Families (or Families featured in CF1) for the event gameplay will produce the following results:

+20% attack, defense, and health.

They will also bypass the elemental barriers (reflect) that are attached to each Stage.

Special Challenge Event Features – Stage Effects (Empires and Puzzles)

Each Stage of the event will feature a special battle effect associated with the different Families; Starfall, Villains, and Slayers.

These effects will rotate between the Families throughout the 10 stages, and will involve the following:

Starfall Circus Stages – Stars fall every 5 turns giving the following effects:

  • The Starfall deals damage to all heroes (dealing 100 for Rare, 150 for Epic, and 200 for Legendary).
  • The Starfall interferes with 2 of your Battle Items preventing the use of the items for 3 turns.
  • Changes the element of all heroes to the element they are strong against for 5 turns.

League of Villains Stages – These stages have a ‘Divine Smite’ effect and poison damage as follows:

  • Every time you use a Special Skill or Battle Item, a meter for Divine Smite gets filled.
  • When the Divine Smite meter is full, all enemies receive damage (100 for Rare, 150 for Epic, and 200 for Legendary).
  • The Divine Smite meter will reduce if you don’t use any Special Skills or Battle Items during your turn.
  • Poison damage: All heroes receive poison damage every turn (20 for Rare, 30 for Epic, and 50 for Legendary)

Slayers of Fell Shadows Stages – These stages will have a Rage meter effect with the following:

  • Every time you use a Special Skill or Battle Item, a Rage meter gets filled.
  • Enemies deal more damage based on the amount the Rage meter is filled, the higher the meter, the more damage they deal.
  • While the Rage meter is maxed, all enemies receive 50% less damage, all Battle Items deal 50% less damage, and all enemies are cleansed of all Status Ailments at the beginning of their turn.
  • The Rage meter will reduce if you don’t use any Special Skills or Battle Items during your turn.

Elemental Barrier / Color Reflect for Stages (Challenge Festival E&P)

Each Stage will reflect a different color. See the table below for more.

All the Bosses, for All the Stages, in the Challenge Festival 2

STAGEREFLECTMONSTERSEND BOSSES
1
(Starfall)
HolyHoly and DarkCandy (Holy), Eichbelborg (Fire) and Whacker (Nature)
2
(Villains)
DarkFire and DarkSkrekok (Fire), Edd (Dark) and Sanngrior (Ice)
3
(Slayers)
IceIce and NatureCillian (Fire), Noril (Nature) and Maeve (Dark)
4
(Starfall)
HolyHoly and IceMarcel (Nature), Bobo (Ice) and D’Andre (Holy)
5
(Villains)
DarkIce and DarkIsrod (Fire), Karnov (Dark) and Ingolf (Dark)
6
(Slayers)
IceIce and DarkAodhan (Fire), Senan (Dark) and Orla (Nature)
7
(Starfall)
HolyHoly and DarkEiora & Fluffy (Nature), Emilio (Fire) and Faline (Holy)
8
(Villains)
DarkDark and FireToxicandra (Nature), Dark Lord (Dark) and Crystalis (Ice)
9
(Slayers)
IceNature and IceRian (Ice), Cathal (Ice) and Saoirse (Fire)
10
(Starfall)
HolyHoly and IceEmilio (Fire), Director Zuri (Holy) and Theobald (Ice)
OldCynic.com – Challenge Festival II – Stage End Bosses (Empires and Puzzles)

Related: The Best Heroes In Empires and Puzzles

Challenge Festival II Summoning Portal (Empires and Puzzles)

Screenshot of the Challenge Festival II Empires and Puzzles Summoning Gate

The Challenge Festival II Summons Portal uses the usual Challenge Coins.

It takes 10 Challenge Coins or 300 gems for a single pull. Or 2600 gems for a 10 pull.

Challenge Coin Example for Challenge Festival II (Screenshot)
A Challenge Coin – Empires and Puzzles

You’ll have a chance of pulling for all of the heroes from the featured events: Starfall Circus, League of Villains, and Slayers of Fell Shadows.

(I’ve created a table with all the heroes available, located near the bottom of this post).

There’s also a chance of grabbing some brand new Bard heroes, which we’ll be checking out next!

Just like the previous Challenge Festival, this Portal will exclude Classic Season 1 heroes and Trainer heroes.

New Bard Family Heroes in the Challenge Festival 2 (Empires and Puzzles)

There are five new heroes in the Challenge Festival II, and all of them are part of the Bard Family.

These generous heroes actually support other Families with a little mana boost!

Bard Family Bonus:

  • All Heroes with no other heroes of the same Family in the team get +5% mana generation.

They also have some interesting Passive Skills, which are capable of manipulating so many in-game factors!

There are four 5-Star heroes and one 4-Star hero in the Bard Family, let’s take a look:

Image with words, All Heroes

All New 5-Star Heroes in the Challenge Festival II (Empires and Puzzles)

For reference: This post has been updated with all the new data following the first appearance of the Challenge Festival II. Many of the new heroes have emerged much stronger than was previously recorded.

Of note, all of their Passive Skills will only affect enemy heroes! -This increases their value immensely.

I will remove any old, now irrelevant thoughts, and share some new ones based on what we have.

Finally: I have added early Hero Grades to assist, however, you’ll have to give me some grace as I haven’t been able to do the same level of research and comparison as I would normally do for standard solo hero reviews (due to the high number of heroes). Happy to take your opinions as ever, in the comments below.

OK, let’s go!

Narcisa, Winifred, Rhys, & Phenexa (Empires and Puzzles)

Narcisa Review (Empires and Puzzles)

Narcisa Challenge Festival 2 Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Element: Dark (Purple) Class: Sorcerer Mana Speed: Fast

Passive Skill: Mana Increase Reduction – Reduces the amount of mana increased by Special Skills by -50%. The effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Special Skill – Song of Calamity: 1. Deals 240% damage to all enemies. 2. The duration of status ailments is reset for all enemies. 3. All enemies get -34% attack for 3 turns.

Talent: DELAY ~ +15% chance to drop the mana generation of the enemy by -50% for 2 turns after dealing damage. The effect is applied at the end of the turn.

(I left the first part of this review the same because it’s entertaining! But for clarity, Narcisa is an awesome monster hero. A Deity.)

Initial Thoughts On Narcisa: It took a second glance for me to see Narcisa’s full potential.

Coz, I was busy looking for a new OP superstar, and Narcisa wasn’t it.

So I wrote a couple of hundred words which included the following undermining concepts:

  • Unreliable
  • Lacklustre, and
  • ‘not impressive’.

But then the lightbulb flickered on. It may have been the sweet coffee finally kicking in, or maybe it was the enchanting strings of the chorus which softly played in my background. Maybe it was the gentle hum of my computer or the smiles on the faces of the people walking by.

No matter the spark, I was forever changed.

I frantically held the ‘Backspace’ button on my keyboard, like a 16-year-old deleting their last search query as Mom entered the room.

In a moment, it was gone.

I had a new space to occupy. And apparently, this time it was destined to be filled with a bunch of waffle, before finally getting to the point!

240% to all at Fast is the proper stuff. The benchmark is 280%, set by C.G.Panther, while Morel hits for a more easily surpassed 180%.

In simple terms, what I like about Narcisa is her heavy hit and ability to lengthen some of the worst Ailments in the game.

240% is high-end stuff and will hurt. And while the Secondary might seem a little too ‘situational’, it will just take a little planning to make it all worthwhile.

In fact, on the right team, this Fast hero could make the waiting time for a Slow hero, much more tolerable.

Imagine extending Franz’s Ailment to 8, 9, or 10 turns. Or C. Roc’s, or Kullervo’s.

Narcisa’s true power is in extending torture. To reset it, and have it all start again.

She’s a fantastic hero who becomes Outlandish when paired with the right teammates.

…And you’re just gonna love her Passive!

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

On the right team, she’ll feel indispensable.

Winifred Review (Empires and Puzzles)

Winifred Challenge Festival 2 Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Element: Nature (Green) Class: Wizard Mana Speed: Slow

Passive Skill: Defense Ailment Reduction – Reduces the effect of defense ailments by -50%. This effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Special Skill – Madrigal of Mayhem: 1. Deals 550% damage to the target. 2. The attack chains through all enemies adjacent to any hit enemy, and deals minor damage. 3. All hit enemies get -54% attack for 5 turns. 4. All hit enemies are immune to new status effect buffs for 5 turns.

Talent: JINX ~ +25% chance to deal +15% extra damage per each active buff the enemies have. The extra damage applies to both normal attacks and Special Skills.

Initial Thoughts On Winifred: First look at Winifred, and Khafre (from Season 5) comes to mind, as both are new and both implement the chain-damage effect:

  • Winifred hits for 550% (Vs. Khafre’s 450%), and
  • Her Chain hits for Minor Damage (Vs. Khafre’s 450%)

Remember, Khafre currently sits at #4, in the countdown of heroes who cause the most damage in Empires and Puzzles.

‘Minor Damage’ = Half. So, that’s 275% damage to the other enemies Winifred manages to catch.

Also Winifred inflicts:

  • -54% Attack to all enemies for 5 turns (Vs. Khafre’s -41% Defense to Fire only), and
  • She makes all enemies immune to new Buffs for 5 turns (Vs. Zero!)

And that’s where Winifred really earns her stripes.

-In a Rush battle, she’ll be utterly devastating. And in a normal battle, it could spell the end.

In fact, a key argument you’d make for Winifred is predicated on that last line; that blocking of Buffs.

Just look at the fame Franz has accrued with a similar Skill in his pocket. -And he’s Very Slow!

Winifred is a heavyset, road-hogging, pixel-snatching, Legendary hero. -She’s a completely debilitating force.

Again, we’ll end on that Passive. It’s awesome and may be worth a spot in the lineup on its own merit:

  • Defense Ailment Reduction – Reduces the effect of defense ailments by -50%. This effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Rhys Review (Empires and Puzzles)

Rhys Challenge Festival 2 Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Element: Holy (Yellow) Class: Cleric Mana Speed: Fast

Passive Skill: Mana Increase Reduction – Reduces the amount of mana increased by Special Skills by -50%. The effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Special Skill – Hymn of Enrichment: 1. Boosts health of all allies by 320 (can exceed max HP). 2. Alters the power of all Holy shields on the board. When attacking, shields become enhanced with +37% more mana. When defending, shields become weakened with -30% less mana. 3. All allies get +34% attack and a further 3% increase per Holy shield on the board for 3 turns (max +70% attack). 4. Cleanses status ailments from all allies.

Talent: MANASHIELD ~ +35% chance to resist any negative mana status effects or effects that prevent the use of Special Skills.

Initial Thoughts On Rhys: Rhys is an awesome hero. He heals/boosts health by a very meaty 320 HP, f#cks with the mana value of the tiles, increases Attack up to +70%, AND.

AND.

Cleanses all allies.

This dude does it all.

A crazy package for Fast.

320 HP in my tests, look to be about 15% healing (Boosted). Milena will give you between 450/500 HP.

And yeah, that Passive looks like a unique tool specifically designed for use against the Mana-Gods.

He’s a fantastic hero.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Want more Rhys? Check out his full review here.

Phenexa Review (Empires and Puzzles)

Phenexa Challenge Festival 2 Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Element: Fire (Red) Class: Monk Mana Speed: Average

Passive Skill: Revival Chance Reduction – Reduces the chance of revival by -50%. The effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Special Skill – Ballad of Restoration: 1. Recovers 42% health for all allies. 2. The duration of buffs is reset for all allies. 3. All allies get +30% critical chance for 4 turns. 4. All allies get +50% attack for 4 turns.

Talent: WITHSTAND ~ +30% chance to resist negative status effects.

Initial Thoughts On Phenexa: Yes! Here comes Phenexa for the easy win.

  • Recovers 42% for all allies (which is in line with most Slow healers)
  • Increases the duration of Buffs for her own team (the opposite of Narcisa’s Special)
  • Gives a +30% chance of Critical Damage (chance to inflict Double the damage), and
  • Casts +50% attack for all allies!

Phenexa looks like a more aggressive take on the Ariel standard of Healer. She might even be my new personal pick for the Best Healer in Empires and Puzzles (you see what I did there? *cheesy grin*).

-For the blood-thirsty out there, she’s gotta be in contention.

A fantastic Healer in my eyes. Just stick her on a team of hitters… nay, Big Hitters (not my first rodeo), and she’ll look like a stallion 😉. -I’m here all night folks.

I like her…

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

New 4-Star Hero in the Challenge Festival II Portal (Empires and Puzzles)

Zhabog Review (Empires and Puzzles)

Zhabog Challenge Festival 2 Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Element: Fire (Red) Class: Druid Mana Speed: Fast

Passive Skill: Revival Chance Reduction – Reduces the chance of revival by -50%. The effect applies to all enemies in the battle.

Special Skill – Melody of Misery: 1. Deals 350% damage to the target. 2. The duration of status ailments is reset for all enemies.

Talent: COMPANION ~ +15% chance to summon a Thorn Minion after receiving any damage. The effect is applied at the end of the turn.

Initial Thoughts On Zhabog: Alright, just one real question for Zhabog;

What’s that 350% worth?

Here’s a reference list:

  • Sonya will give you 345%
  • Ahhotep will give you 340%, and
  • Caedmon will give you 345%

So, the hit’s normal (notwithstanding his high Attack stat). Let’s check out the secondary then…

  • Resetting the duration of Status Ailments for all enemies.

Epic heroes love casting Ailments. They think it’s bloody fantastic stuff.

One Epic hero puts it on (Buddy), the other takes it off (Rigard), another puts it on (Wilbur), another takes it off (C. Sonya), and so the merry-go-round spins.

But, imagine if Franz puts it on, and Zhabog at Fast, keeps renewing it?

Aww, the sweet dreams we construct.

Rigard and C.Sonya are still problems, but maybe it’s their night off.

-Gotta be positive sometimes.

Oh, and the anti-Mother North Passive…

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Archangel

Related: An interview with a life-long Free to Play player!

All Heroes in the Challenge Festival II (Empires and Puzzles)

Please check in-game before deciding to pull (do not rely solely on this table).

This is a list of all the heroes available at the Challenge Festival II Summoning Portal:

Family5-Star4-Star3-Star
StarfallBoboD’AndreCandy
Director ZuriEichelborgWhacker
Eiora & FluffyMarcel
Emilio
Faline
Theobald
VillainsAsteriusIngolfEdd
CrystalisSanngriorSkrekok
Dark Lord
Isrod
Karnov
Toxicandra
SlayersCathalOrlaNoril
SaoirseCillianMaeve
CaitlinAodhan
Rian
Senan
BardNarcisaZhabog
Phenexa
Rhys
Winifred
Oldcynic.com – All Challenge Festival II Heroes (Empires and Puzzles)
Pinterest Pin with the words, Challenge Festival II Empires and Puzzles

Challenge Festival II – Empires and Puzzles

The Challenge Festival II should be a lot of fun! I especially like the new Bard Family, who set a good example of what we can achieve if we all work together.

That’s because I grew up in a time of incredible optimism; when many people were hoping for a future that was better than the past.

Turns out, holding hands and swaying in unison to the euphoric sounds of the C chord, doesn’t quite cut it.

But maybe the Bard Family can help us get there?

“Sing your own song here, coz I can’t afford a copyright claim from Sony Music”

Who’s your favourite hero? Let me know in the comments below.

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Images used by way of review/tutorial – Copyright owned by Empires & Puzzles: Small Giant Games

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16 Comments

  1. Does that Rhys/Narcisa passive affect mana generation buffs like Sif and Ariel, or only mana boosts like Xnol, Ludwig, and the above ladies’ costumes?

    And on that note, these are clever passives. It’s like they’re designed to be unattractive to the whales, while giving the lesser plebes that pull them more of a fighting chance against the teams with the mana gods.

    1. Hey Holodigm, reading it there, it looks like all mana to me. (I’ve checked as well, and no clear distinction atm). I agree with your assessment; f2p/c2p may have more to gain from these heroes than p2p… but, p2p will have access to the heroes who would work best with them. An interesting group for sure!

  2. Phenexa is the one to pull out of this group. Imagine a Ludwig tank, flanked by Phenexa and say Zircon. That would be infinite taunt, healing/boosted health, and mana boosting, and undispellable. Just put 2 heavy hitters on the wings and sit back and enjoy the ride.

  3. Well I finally got my 5 star red healer. In fact, it was jackpot time as I had saved enough Challenge coins for 22 pulls and received Phenexa, Saoirse, Emilio and Zhabog among the 22. Then we vanquished a titan and got my 6th. Mystic Rings so full ascension will (eventually) occur. On my 2nd. account the first summons brought Winifred, surprise, surprise. I was also able to pull a number of 3 and 4 star heroes that account was missing and now only need Cillian to finish those off. Best summons ever, but may never happen again as you know what they say about lightning.

  4. I pulled zhabog, saved up cpins for 6 summons, including playing the event. The others we’re 4 and 3stars I already had so a little bit dissapointed here🙃. After reading the review curious about how he’ll perform but I really wanted that red healer.
    Maybe in another life and universe😂

  5. Hi, I don’t unterstand Winifreds passive. It says: Reduces the effect of defense ailments by -50%. The effect applies to all enemies in the battle.
    It sounds like a negative passive. Can that be right?

    1. Hey Chris, my understanding is that the Passives for all the Family was changed from Beta, instead of effecting all heroes, it now only effects enemy heroes. A serious upgrade I’d say. From what I’ve seen on the forum, it’s suspected that Winifred is suffering a malfunction which will be fixed. If it turns out that this was the desired outcome, it clearly impacts her value. Hopefully it’s sorted soon. I’ll try to update this comment with a note when it is.

        1. I agree. Either that’s a negative passive like the Easter Family, or a positive which should be worded as “applies to all allies” instead of enemies.

  6. Thank you so very much first for your reviews and information Old Cynic 🙂 This is my first post but you are one of my go to for any new fighters my team or I pull. Was exceptionally excited about your review of Narcisa! I was lucky to get her and almost have fully accended 😍 already she is awesome. Thank you

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