E&P Mag 4: Old Cynic’s Christmas Post, Soul Exchange, Best HotM (Dec)

Christmas has always been an exciting time of year for me and the closer it gets, the more I find myself lost in daydreams of a Christmas Day only really seen in the movies.

Still, as a creature of habit, I follow a tried and tested formula for feeling festive:

  1. Wear a jolly Christmas Jumper -now, this could be a Die Hard V-neck style sweater, or a subtle seasonal number, but never, ever, the blinding neon green/red Elf get-up.
  2. Eat a large Christmas dinner -I’m on a diet every Christmas because as soon as autumn arrives, I start eating like I’m eating for two… You could have also had, I start eating like… I’m about to go into hibernation. Either way, I eat a lot when I’m cold. I’m also injured, which doesn’t help. But if I want that Spring-bod, I’ve gotta pass on a few desserts. Just not on Christmas Day…
  3. Watch some Christmas movies -It’s a Wonderful Life, Gremlins, & Die Hard are all good choices. Nothing made after 1999, ’cause that’s when the world lost its cool.

“Yes”, you say, but what’s happening in the world of Empires and Puzzles?

Wait, wait, wait. Have you subscribed yet? What a gift that would be; I could send you generic emails which you could delete without reading…

AGENDA (Empires and Puzzle Magazine)
1. Top 10 E&P Defense Heroes (updated as per)
2. Soul Exchange
3. My Top 3 HotM for 2021
4. Merry Christmas!

Wanna read last month’s Magazine?

This post may contain speculation, personal opinion, and adult comedy. It is not advice and is solely for entertainment and informational purposes.


Empires and Puzzles Magazine

Current Top 10 Empires & Puzzles Defense Heroes

On the morning of 23rd December 2021, instead of wrapping gifts, I reviewed the top 50 Empires and Puzzles Defense teams. Based on the data, here are the Top 10 E&P Defense Heroes:

10. Ludwig

9. Hannah ↓3

8. Octros ↑2

7. Xnolphod ↓2

6. Odin ↓2

5. C.Kadilen ↑2

4. Morel ↓1

3. Frigg ↓2

1. Elizabeth ↑1

1. C.Krampus

Here’s last month’s list:

10. Octros 9. Prof. Lidenbrock 8. Krampus 7. C.Kadilen 6. Hannah 5. Xnolphod 4. Odin 3. Morel 2. Elizabeth 1. Frigg

Empires & Puzzles Top Defenses

This month saw a couple of significant moves, the first was Costumed Krampus, who leapt into joint 1st place following his recent introduction in the Christmas event, Santa’s Challenge.

For the record, this count treats the Base and Costumed versions as separate entrants, so this is C.Krampus in joint 1st place. His Base version was in at 14th!

The other interesting move concerns Ludwig, who finally broke into the Top 10. We’ve all watched his slow march to the top, and I think he still has more to go. The only limit is, accessibility (how many players actually have him?)

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is still considered one of the best Defense Heroes in Empires and Puzzles, and with the introduction of another Fiend Hero (Viscaro), dealing with Fienders continues to be a key concern.

Back to the list, and just outside the Top 10 sits Wolfgang at #11. Mother North’s behind him, at #12, -with her Costume, at #15.

Where are all the Minion Summoners?

Bera and Freya haven’t appeared in the Top 10 for a while and there are a number of reasons for that, but Viscaro, the next HotM, won’t help much.

There was a time when Bera and Freya were the Must-Have Heroes.

For the record, they appeared a total of 10 times, between them.

That said, the Christmas Heroes (all Minion Summoners) are bucking the trend, although they have significantly more in the arsenal.

What’s your view -Do you find this list useful?

Empires and Puzzles Soul Exchange (E&P Mag)

This month we received first news of the Soul Exchange programme for 5-Star Heroes.

The basic premise is that you can exchange a bunch of useless 5-Star Heroes (so duplicates, or low-grade Heroes), for one Hero from a shortlist offered by Empires and Puzzles.

How would it work?

You’ll have 3 levels of Heroes to choose from (I expect the Heroes to change). The first tier has Heroes like:

Sargasso | Rana | Guardian Chamelon | Reuben | Rumpelstilskin

To get one of these Heroes, you’ll have to give up 10 5-Star Heroes.

The next tier offers Heroes like:

Thor | Jean-Francois | Alaise | Ursena | Costumed Horghall

That will cost you 15 5-Star Heroes.

And the final tier has Heroes like:

Gravemaker | Skadi | Garjammal | Inari | Killhare

Costing you 20 5-Star Heroes.

Is the Soul Exchange worth it? (Empires and Puzzles)

The Soul Exchange is an expensive hobby to take up, -because not everybody is gonna have 10 disposable 5-Star Heroes sitting in the locker room.

I’ve been playing for a long time, starting out as a F2P player and later becoming a C2P(ish) player, and I only have 23 5-Star Heroes in total.

Of those, I consider 7 disposable. In fact, I’m trying to sort out the Hero Academy, Level 10, so I could retrain the lazy bunch of bench warmers. -And, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

The Soul Exchange, in its current format, isn’t really meant for players of my calibre. Still, I actually think it’s a useful resource for the big spenders. And they deserve it.

Some players end up with more duplicates than they can reasonably store, and for all the money they put into the game, they deserve a better way of disposing of extra Heroes, -because cooking them is a dreadful outcome for all concerned.

That said, the Heroes you get back aren’t overwhelming.

And I imagine, anyone with 10 to 20 free 5-Star Heroes sitting around, will either already have the Heroes available, or not want/need them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

How is the Soul Exchange Graded (Empires and Puzzles)

This is all speculation and opinion on my part… none of it is based on fact… reader discretion is advised.

The most interesting thing to come out of the Soul Exchange for me is the idea that someone/group/panel has graded these Heroes, -creating TIERS.

This means, they (the company), are basically telling us who the best Heroes are.

I love this idea.

Of course, all the Heroes are in a Grading book somewhere at SG HQ, but we the players, have never been privy to this information.

Let’s take another look at the 3 tiers we got above:

Tier ONE: Sargasso | Rana | Guardian Chamelon | Reuben | Rumpelstilskin

Are these Meek (according to SG?)

Tier TWO: Thor | Jean-Francois | Alaise | Ursena | Costumed Horghall


Tier THREE: Gravemaker | Skadi | Garjammal | Inari | Killhare


These Heroes seem to be grouped by strength, not just some random selection.

Anyway, it doesn’t make much difference, it’s only an interesting thought.

My Top 3 HotM for 2021 (Empires and Puzzles Mag)

I had this idea for a post, nothing shocking, just my pick for Top 5 Heroes Of The Month for 2021.

Well, no sooner was it on my To-Do List, than had somebody posted the same question on the forum, here.

So, instead of writing up a post, I want to squeeze it in here.

For the record, I’m gonna share my picks before checking the forum poll. Here goes:

3rd Place 🥉 Frosth (April)

Frosth Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Picking third spot was the hardest because there are so many who could have conceivably fit in here. Bertila nearly got it, but Frosth brings a whole lot to the party, especially with another Summoner on the team.

He’s Fast, Summons a Minion for all allies (worth 13% HP and 15% Att), and buffs all allied Minions for +30% HP and +30% attack… -And because this happens after he’s Summoned his own Minions, they too get the 30% buff.

I also love the idea of Frosth paired with Mr. Pengi, where his Element Link (a small amount of Mana at the end of each turn), would be an additional bonus.

2nd Place 🥈 Hanitra (December)

Hanitra Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Hanitra is the current HotM, and I’m really liking her. It’s true that she has her faults, but she also has a lot of potential.

I pulled Hanitra and she’s a perfect fit for my squad.

If you don’t know, Hanitra is in possession of C.Kadilen’s dodge skill, but instead of creating a Minion for every dodge, she heals for 275 HP (which can Over-heal, too).

The other major difference between the two is, Hanitra doesn’t have an attack like C.Kadilen. She is Nil Pwa on that front.

Hanitra’s not the main healer for me, but her additional support is welcomed.

Overall, Hanitra represents a great opportunity for an average player to get hold of one of the most powerful skills in the game (dodge), and that can’t be understated.

1st Place 🥇 Devana (July)

Screenshot of Devana's Card with Special Skills from the mobile game, Empires and Puzzles

Devana is awesome.

A fantastic Hero for players lacking in the Deity department.

She’s like three Heroes in one, -she does everything you’d want from an Archangel:

  • Deals 255% to three targets
  • Summons a TANK of a Minion worth 35% HP and 35% attack
  • The Minion destroys all Minions from the target before it hits
  • Back to Devana, she goes on to Dispel buffs from the three targets she hit earlier
  • Finally, her Element Link gives a small amount of Mana to like-minded Teammates
  • Oh, Oh, and her Passives… An innate resistance against damage/effects from Minions (sorry Lady Of The Lake), and finally, she’s also resistant against buff Dispels!

For me, the Hero Of The Month should help battle against the best Heroes in the game, and Devana does just that, -in bucket loads.

Here’s the Top 3 from the forum poll:

🥉 3rd Place goes to Uraeus
🥈 2nd Place goes to Hanitra
🥇 1st Place goes to Devana

Did you have someone else in mind? Let us know in the comments below.

Merry Christmas! and Happy New Year

Before you go, I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope you have a good one.

[Please always check in-game Hero Cards to confirm details and never chase Heroes]

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

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  1. I have read the 2021 bonus will be a crit bonus, there is a thread about it on the official forums.

    Have they specified if the Soul Exchange is a “you get a random from this list” or is it “you pick from among this list”.

    Because if it’s random and I draw a C. Horghall instead of ANY OTHER CARD on that list my anger could be seen from space.

    1. It’s a pick from the selection. So you do have some control over what hero you get back, but it’s only from the 5 heroes on that tier.

      Thanks for the update re the 2021 HotM, and thanks for reading & commenting Shb!

  2. Thanks OldCynic. Really enjoy your perspective and your website. Re the best 2021 HoTM I agree with majority with Uraeus over Frosth as I have them both and Uraeus really brings it when I need it.
    I have Wolfgang LB and in the last event pulled Odin. Should I look at Odin for my Rainbow AW defense team or is Wolfgang still rising like Ludwig? (Hoping for Ludwig next time). I agree with you on Hanitra. With cViv-Hanitra-Wolfgang-Mist-Uraeus I feel pretty comfortable. Of course there is room for Odin there somewhere (Mist brings a lot, but the extra firepower won’t hurt).
    Anyways a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Keep them coming. We players appreciate it!

    1. Thank you Centaur, re. Odin Vs Wolfgang, I’d do Wolfgang because he has 3 powerful skills. I think healing is going to be so important with all these Fiends about, and he can act as a second healer, too.

      Still, you’ve gotta level them both because they’re both top tier heroes. -Odin has been dominating the Top 10 for a long time.

      At the end of the day, you can’t lose either way, both are Superstars!

      Merry Christmas!

  3. Over the past year I have been unable to pull a single hero worth anything, anyone I got was either a copy or really low in the opinion ratings.
    Suddenly last week the game went mad and gave an almost army of new, worthwhile hero’s including Anasatasia, Hanitra, Poseidon and Agrefena. Totally delighted by that lot but I also picked up
    Cheshire Cat and Captain of Diamonds who I don’t think I have ever seen in battle so are those last two nothing but 4* food?
    Anyway, ref the above, I agree with you about Frosth and Bertila, both really good team members to have.
    The “Soul Exchange” won’t impact me or how I play the game, I dream of being in a position where I have unwanted 5* hero’s!

    1. Congrats Steve, I think you’ve got a real gem with Hanitra, especially if you don’t have Dodge yet. Agree re. the Soul Exchange, but glad the big spenders got something.

      Thanks for visiting and Merry Christmas.

    2. Cheshire Cat is extremely good for War depth.

      He shuffles their lineup, which you can use to avoid a tank and push him to the edge. He’s on my 5th bench team, but he let’s that team gamble on taking down a team with a tank that you’d otherwise avoid.

  4. Thanks for your insights and tips over the past year, love having Ludwig in my team but wish I nabbed G. Owl to flank him but will have to ascend Guinevere instead. With Elizabeth or Albie-C on the flank I am winning way more that I lose. Great work with your music as well.

  5. I can’t see the Soul Exchange being anything other than a novelty.
    I have five unlevelled five star, I can’t see me (ctp) ever having fifteen or twenty disposable five star. Ten isn’t enough, the lowest tier isn’t good enough.
    The question I ask is which of them could break into my top forty heroes? The answer for me is two or three (Thor, Alasie, GM) as I already have the best of the rest (Garjammal, Killhare, JF, Reuben).
    If I were ptp or ptw I doubt any of them would make my top sixty, perhaps GM if I didn’t have him already.
    I have restarted TC20, not in the hope of anything decent from there (there isn’t), but as fodder for HA10 now that some decent costumed heroes are available. I’d rather put 15 through HA10 hoping for costumed Alasie than pick an uncostumed one from the Soul Exchange.

    1. Hey John, agree with everything, including the Costumes now up for grabs -some of the best heroes in the game there.

      I’m positive on the Soul Exchange because it’s a start. Hopefully it will get better, but at least it’s here.

      Thanks for sharing your views and, Merry Christmas!

  6. It would be nice (as I’m f2p) if the soul exchange would also apply to 4star heroes. Likewise for level10 of the hero academy.

  7. Another great post. Thanks!
    Soul exchange doesn’t see worth it. Like you said, how many folks have those excess 5*’s? Plus, all the extra hero capacity in general?
    In regards to Hero academy. I love it. Great little surprise at the end of every week. I spend very little on the game, so the cost of recruits and food is well worth it. Only interesting hero I’ve converted over the last few months is a costumed Domitian, but her debuffs are handy.
    I like your three HOtM choices. Devana is strong, wish I pulled her!
    Looking forward to leveling Hanitra, just need some darts.
    Jade takes too long to power up…
    Oh well, Happy New Year!

  8. Where do you get the stats for the top defense heroes? Or do you compile it yourself? I’m curious how some of the newer heroes are trending (who aren’t costumes people already had) are going. I was curious if Ruby’s unreliable usage by the AI would keep Elizabeth above her but want to see if she’s gaining ground in the meantime. Same with the gargoyles, Penolite felt like a decent bet to make a small surge into the defensive ranks given the relative lower competition in Holy.

    1. Hey Grape, I compile the list myself (Loooong!). Ruby was in two teams. Problem with her is accessibility.

      Her 2nd & 3rd strike are worthwhile so I suspect the Ave player would field her, but I just don’t think there are many of her out there.

      I’ll try to keep on eye on her for you, because as we get more Ninja Towers, we should get more Ruby’s.

  9. Hi. I agree with everything you wrote. I think I may have underestimated Devana. One note to Steve. Keep COD unless you have another minion killer for S4 final boss.
    I was disappointed we’re only allowed 1 trade at the soul exchange. Was hoping for 2 or 3. As it stands I’m leaning Gravemaker or Inari. What do y think of GM in the current meta? Already have the bunny and Skadi.
    I have plenty to work on but need space. Refuse to buy beyond 300 spots. Thanks for the great read.

    1. Hey Fledger, I like GM but the days of him lording it over the others is long gone. If you don’t have a dodger then Inari (or another Dodger) is a complete necessity in the current game.

      Hopefully the Soul Exchange is just a start -I do expect things to improve in time. But that may be a long wait.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      1. Thanks. I have Hanitra at 3/70 but I’m not sold. Inari is interesting or I could ascend Motega who’s dodge stays as long as they fiends remain but at very slow speed. All holy. Have a few emblems for each. Ugh don’t know…

        1. I’m loving Hanitra – Her over-healing when the big dogs miss is awesome. That said, Inari actually hits, gives you a minion, and Dodges for 56%.

          Plus you’ve got Motega sitting in the Wings?… You do have problems!

  10. Just wanted to note that the Soul Exchange is not only for the big spenders. It’s also (perhaps even mainly) for F2P players who have been playing for a long time (in my case, October 2017). While the big spenders are likely to have many/most of the SE heroes already, I had exactly none of them. I did have some standard 5*s lying around, though, as well as a TC20 I’ve been using to store food, which was at nearly 300 trained heroes (in other words, it’s been running for a while). Got my 20, traded for Skadi, and now I’m running three TC20s while waiting for the next SE. So yeah, while the SE may not be of much use to you now, just give it some time, and you’ll get there 🙂
    I agree with you about Devana, btw. My girlfriend (also F2P) and I were both lucky enough to get her, and she’s amazing. Especially against the current purple tank lines in Rush wars, a top-tier yellow dispeller is an absolute godsend.

    1. Hey Kharas, thanks for sharing the info. I appreciate it!

      It is amazing how quickly the 5-Stars can rack up once TC20 is going…. Lame 5-stars, but still.

      1. Very lame, yeah. But great for powering the SE if you don’t need your TCs for anything else. If you don’t, then I guess the SE will already be of use to you. Especially since the devs have confirmed that each one will feature different heroes.
        Personally, I managed to complete Underwild on both difficulties without pulling a single non-standard 5*, so I’m very excited for future SEs.
        Anyway, great job on the blog and all your reviews. I’ve been spending way too much time reading about heroes I’m never going to pull*. Though now, with the SE, I might be able to trade for some of them instead 🙂

        *This from the guy, who has somehow managed to pull both Mother and costumed Mother for free. Still haven’t got a single 5* Challenge Event hero, though.

        1. I did think you had some good luck, because I don’t have many 5-Stars really, even with some spending (as seen from my Underwild Pulls).

          But, I have been grinding S4 for next time round, and if that turns out like it did for you… I don’t know. -I’ll focus on 4-Star heroes instead!

          I hope the SE has something decent for 10 heroes, that would be cool. And as for you pulling MN, wow. My wife saved up gems all year to try at Xmas… Nothing.

          Thanks for reading my blog, I am ever grateful.

          1. My girlfriend really wanted Mother as well. In the end, she didn’t get her. She did, however, pull both Krampus and Pengi with just eight tokens (on the 3rd and 6th pulls, I think). Insane. And yes, that combo is just awesome and has really renewed her interest in the game 🙂

            Several of the 4* heroes are definitely worthy. I’ve got Kiril and Sonya on both of my 4.5K blue monos, and Mel and Caed on both of my 4.5K green ones. Griffin and Jackal may not be 5*s, but they hit 900 attack when emblemed and broken, so they can definitely help take down Alfrike in Rush before she fires (if you’re lucky).

            Not to mention the current Top 2 on your “Best 4-Star Heroes” list. I still don’t have any of the 4* Knights or Mages, but I pulled Costumed Rigard and Ametrine early on, and during this month’s Valhalla Forever, I managed to hunt down enough of those pesky gnomes to pull once – and I finally got him: The Golden Boar.

            I faced an all-Gulli defense in a yellow Rush tourney a few months back. One of the 7DD players. He had only bothered to emblem the tank, but it didn’t matter. I got absolutely decimated. Gulli is awesome, and now he’s finally mine 🙂

  11. The latest Soul Exchange has some really interesting heroes on offer including Norns (10 heroes), Lady of the Lake (15 heroes) and for 20 heroes: Sif, Mother North, Lord Loki, Morel, Black Knight. If only I had twenty to trade !

  12. Hello!
    Been saving for this soul exchange for quite sometime. Methinks, we have some good choices. Ariel, MN and Black Knight. Ariel is such a nice healer, but I lucked into Milena, so not sure I have a spot for her now. MN is in many top teams, but I’ve also got heimdall and finally, the black knight. I’m waiting for a dart to level Kara, but he would be pretty sweet. Well, maybe I don’t even have enough heroes, so that’ll make it easier. 🙂
    Which hero would you like to have on old cynic’s roster?

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