The Lunar Minion Neutralizing Passive: Nerf It? (Empires and Puzzles)

Screenshot of Lunar Minion Neutralizing Passive - Empires and Puzzles

For any future historian reading one of the last personal blogs on the interweb, the year is 2023 and the World is in complete turmoil. Politicians are still getting caught with sticky fingers in the cookie jar, Capitalism has become an inside joke, and propaganda has never been more thickly spread.

The writer is in his 40s and has become cynical about most aspects of life. But, do not despair, for in the midst of his social and personal struggles, he has found something fun to do; play a game called Empires and Puzzles.

So, while the battle for the minds of the world rages on, he sits quietly with his mobile device in hand, finding a zen-like quality in the simple challenge of moving digital pieces around a dimly lit screen.

And much like when following an esoteric path, he is coaxed along. Although, instead of searching for the One inside, he seeks the bright colours of victory.

But now there’s a disturbance in his sea of tranquillity; for a stonking new Passive has arrived.

What will it mean? A changing of the guard? A new meta? Or is it a whole lot of noise about nothing?

…And most of all, should it be Nerfed?

Let’s discuss!

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

Xiaotu Laohu Split Empires and Puzzles Family Bonus


I initially reviewed both of the new Lunar Heroes (Xiaotu and Laohu) a couple of days ago, over here.

And went ahead and graded both of them, two Snipers mind you, Deities: T-3. My highest honour.

Of course, my grades are tongue-in-cheek, but I like to think I cover the Heroes in more depth in the words that come before the grade.

The main reason for the high valuation was this Passive Skill:

Lunar Year Passive Skills:
1. DISABLE MINION ABILITIES ~ Attacks and abilities of all Minions owned by enemies are disabled.

Sidenote: There are Heroes who produce Minions while also Casting Buffs as part of their Special, and this Passive won’t affect the Buffs.

I wanted to come on here today to offer a few more thoughts on the Passive in a more informal way.


  1. Coz I’ve got some time today
  2. Coz I find it really interesting
  3. Coz this game gives me challenges to overcome that are generally fun, which is refreshing for my mind!

Caveat… (Empires and Puzzles)

I personally don’t care what you spend on the game. It’s your choice (albeit, see my #1 Empires and Puzzles Tip, here). I do care about the Heroes, the line-ups, and the battles. And that’s the angle I’m always coming from.

However, it’s important to note that one of the things I used to love about Empires and Puzzles was the way you could beat an elite Defense with a well-synergized lesser team of Heroes. I wish it were still that way.

And at this blog, I tend to come at it from that perspective; from the side of facing these Heroes in battle, rather than having them.

Unless, they’re an Archangel, sorry, I mean, Hero of the Month. In that case, I’m trying to figure out how to stretch them to their limit in pursuit of a cheeky win.

Finally, E&P isn’t my business. So I’m not here to tell them what to do. But, I will offer my opinion!

Who’s currently trying to Pull the Lunar Heroes? (Empires and Puzzles)

At the time of writing, there are 15 days and 18 hours left on the Lunar Portal timer, where both Xiaotu and Laohu hide in wait.

But who’s actually stepping up to the gates, handing over their Epic Hero Tokens or Gems to partake in what has widely been described as a poor Portal? And why?

The Elite Teams and Players…

Now, I can’t talk for the Top Alliances, however, I do speculate that this Portal is troublesome because they can clearly see the blanket coverage Xiaotu and Laohu offer.

And once the Portal closes, it’s gone until the next Chinese New Year, -in 2024 (it appears).

There are, of course, plenty of anti-Summoner Monsters expected in 2023. And they probably already have many of the better options currently available.

So, are they pulling for these Heroes or not? If you’re in a Top Alliance, let us know in the comments below.

C2P and F2P and the Lunar Passive…

We all have our own rosters so I can’t presume to talk for C2P or F2P players, either. But, as one of them, who loves to Raid, I had no hesitation in using my Epic Hero Tokens (all 7 of them) on this Portal.

These Heroes, in my opinion, are more useful to me than to a player with a roster stuffed with elite anti-Summoner options.

These Heroes would allow me to punch through what is in many cases, the nucleus of the Defense, without any fear of repercussion.

I could drop tiles all over them without so much as a single care in the world.

I’d smack talk M&M like she was a Taxpayer and I was the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Waterpipe and Hulda could jog on, and Gormek, my poor excuse for Minion control, would have his emblems stripped and would never be part of my “Maybe if I tried this…” plans ever again.

He doesn’t want to be fighting the heavyweights anyway. He can go back to 4-Star tourneys and get some pride back.

If you’re C2P/F2P, why not share your thoughts in the comments below?!

Both of these Player Groups face the problems, tho:

Poor Portal and Fear of the Nerf hammer.

And there’s already a thread on the subject over at the forum, here.

Should the Lunar Passive be Nerfed? (Empires and Puzzles)

It’s a tough one…

From my personal point of view; no.

It would make no sense for me, as a C2P player, to call for their Nerf. They offer hope, not dread.

-Even if my Lady of the Lake has to take a hit, too.

Also, I don’t expect these Heroes to be very widespread, after all, they’re not a toy in a Happy Meal, you still gotta catch one. Add to that, the negativity surrounding the Portal and I’m not sure how visible they’ll ultimately be.

But more than all of that, I wouldn’t Nerf these Heroes because many players would’ve spun solely for that Passive. It’s the same reason I don’t like Nerfs generally.

And there are loads of OP Heroes from 2022 who avoided the Nerf hammer.

From a Game Balance point of view; yes.

This Passive offers a blanket stifling of a number of amazing Heroes who will now likely be benched on sight.

It’s also a hard and fast rule to solve a common problem many are facing; that is to say, -there’s no subtlety about it…

No real gameplay, no Mana generation needed, no way to counteract it, just no.

And if we saw more Passives like it, it could be crippling. Like a no Taunt Passive, or a no Counterattack Passive, etc.

From a Game Balance point of view, I can see the argument to question the strength of this Passive.

Lunar Heroes on Defense (Empires and Puzzles)

Another intriguing area of discussion concerns putting Lunar Heroes on Defense.

Now, there’s no screaming reason to put these guys on D besides that Passive (as both are essentially Snipers).

But, you could mute some of the most powerful Heroes in the game, like Lady of the Lake and Bera, alongside elite Heroes like Waterpipe. Just by sticking one of these on the Wing and out of the way.

And if they fire, it’s a perk… oh, and these guys will Bang.

I suspect many players have Fixed/Favored Raid Squads and forcing them to bench a Super Summoner may lower their odds of success.

So even if the Lunar Passive isn’t directly used in the battle, it could still play a role in deciding the terms of the battle.

I was recently able to break into the Top 50 again with my budgeted bunch of Try Hards, and there were 2 Heroes key to my strategy; Ludwig and LotL.

-I’ve tested, and without Lady of the Lake, it’s simply not possible for me to replicate it. She is the only Hero I have who can manage, stifle, and control the Monsters up there.

But once I hit the Top 50, I’m hastily shown the exit.

Either of these Heroes (Xiaotu or Laohu) would reduce LotL to a bad Healer.

Which would force me to bench her, and in doing so, bench my only real current hope of beating all-comers.

Now, none of that makes these Heroes good Defense Heroes, but it’s an interesting thought.

Graphoc of Lunar Minion Neutralizing Passive - Empires and Puzzles

Xiaotu & Laohu: Lunar Passive Nerf (Empires and Puzzles)

My final thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed chewing the fat on this one.

In honesty, I don’t know about Nerfing Heroes, it’s a tough call coz somebody always loses.

Also, there are stacks of Heroes in the pipeline, many of whom will be stronger than these. It’s the nature of the game; to keep moving forward.

Still, I don’t run this company and won’t assume to tell anyone which way things must go. But hopefully, this has been some reasonable food for thought.

I’d love to know what you make of the Lunar Passive and its impact on the game.

Thanks for reading.

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

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

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    1. Nobodies saying you should! What are your thoughts on the Heroes and Passive? Also, for all we know there will be some new monsters at Easter, and we already know there are a lot more than the 2 that can be found at this portal.

      1. I think the passive is really strong, will disrupt the minion meta and make more strategies viable. However hit one snipers are weaker with big hit 3 and hit all heroes, so these are only worth it with the passive being the way it is.

        I am against nerfs in general, and I think they should undo old nerfs and make future nerfs only last for a year then it goes back to the prenerf strength and they can do another nerf if it is still affecting the meta negatively.

        For this ability if they nerfed it they could give it a 50/75% chance to disable minions each turn and it would weaken but not destroy the passive. Could also switch the passive and family ability and then have it 1 hero 75% 2 heroes 100% from the lunar family.

        I do think I will use my EHTs, but am going to wait until February because I already got this HOTM. Xiaotu i can max, emblem and LB immediately with stored resources. But Laohu I can only take to 3/70, but he fits on my primary attack team, 4-1 holy + C. mother north.
        On my roster they would be a great addition, probably would allow me to live in the top 1000 full time on raiding, and increase titan hits. But I am safely in diamond, and I win my attacks in wars most of the time, so they won’t be the gamechanger a lower level player would see from them.

  1. The passive is so powerful, that for me it’s just a trap to empty EHT stockpile from players, and then release even more powerful heroes on next seasonal events. Only 2 heroes, but overpowered ones, seems the new way for E&P. SuperElementary is the same, and covenant portal too, as there are never more than 2 5* heroes from monster hunters family (but some nice heroes featured to be honest).

    I don’t fully understand the Rabbit. Dealing damage for avoided healing is useless against the 2 monster healers : Hulda and M&Ms, as the passive already did the job. Of course it will be useful for regular healers but we’re talking about top teams here.

    1. It’s an odd portal given it’s a seasonal. People should want to pull here like any other seasonal!

      You’re right of course, not much to gain against those two (but there is M&Ms own healing buff).

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like the experiment happening here and am interested in how it affects the direction of the game and the player’s spending choices. This definitely feels like new territory.

    For quite some time now, people have been upset over the appearance rate of new heroes, but there seem to be a lot of negative comments about this portal only having 2.

  3. I would find it strange to cast a nerf on this passive now because it’s pretty obbvious what the implications of the skill is. It’s not that they can be ‘taken by surprise’ or something. In general i don’t like nerfs. It always feels like you let someone play outside with a Ball, only to fill up that same Ball with concrete just before you hit it, leaving you crippled for life, thinking of ‘what could’ ve been. Used (Both!!!) my tokens as well, but hoping more to get the hotm. Well, valen ánd ulmer came to say hi. As usual 😅

  4. I splurged on a Dunes 10x hoping for a S5 5* or this HOTM and then on a whim decided to spend my gems on the seasonal after reading your profile of the two, and low and behold the last of the 10x gem pull was Laohu! Unbelievable! I’m generally just outside the Top 10,000 when I finish raids so I have a long way to climb, can’t wait to see what this will make possible once I get him leveled

  5. As I responded in the Lunar thread, this was a needed idea. Minion summoners had taken over the game to a large extent and they needed to roll that back before it got beyond control.

    This isnt the 1st time. The Telluria/Vela nerf and renerf are akin to this. half the defenses in the top 100 had Gravemaker/Tellura/Vela. It was a wickedly hard combo if you didnt get the 1st 2 specials on the board fired at Telluria, you probably wouldnt fire any specials once T fired and slowed your team to a crawl and then GM and V would wear you down.

    Had to be fixed, it was disastrous for non whales for a period of months.

    But the fix(es) they chose was to nerf, then nerf again. Strip power from Telluria till people would stop making her the only tank used in 90% of the top 25. And ultimately it worked. The G/T/V teams faded away. not immediately or entirely, but over a month or 2 or 3 it became obvious that you could now beat that team. It didnt stand a cut above anymore, it actually wasnt even that dependably good anymore.

    Can anyone remember the last time they faced a Telluria Tank?

    The Nerf effectively wiped Telluria away like a tourist asteroid stopping by to take a selfie w earths dinosaurs

    There was outrage and disgust when it happened. MANY top 100 players pulled Telluria by expending great numbers of gems, and then spending resources to finish their new Uber-Tank, and then had all that expenditure tossed aside as Telluria was turned from a diamond into dryer lint.
    While it was rude and sudden and unfair, the game had gotten unfairly tilted. It was badly unbalanced and SOMETHING had to be done. There were players who posted angry curses on forums, and there were players who quit the game after demanding refunds of at least the resources expended if not also the gems…and were denied and ignored.

    But it passed.

    And there would be other “Uber-Tanks” of the month. Guinivere had her run, Xnolphod was legendary till he became a legendary example of nerfing to death. Telluria at least remained on defenses for several months as people had to experiment and figure out what to try next abd before the 2nd nerf at least she could still be an annoyance. A week after Xnolphod was nerfed, he was invisible!

    Now here we are. The game got tilted again. Probably not quite the same as previous nerf cases were a single hero, this was more a single skillet.

    So whats the answer? Leave the game broken? Or break the hearts of a few players who invested heavy and then got their new toys smashed with a hammer before their eyes?

    There is no fair answer.

    But these 2 horses are already out of the barn. And so are the mass minion summoners. Now all we can do is see if there are any changes coming. This IS a change. If its for the best or worst its too early to tell…but something had to change and this is change…

  6. This is why I love your articles. I completely overlooked the passives on Xiaotu and Laohu. Today I got the pull of a lifetime and ended up with both featured heroes on a pull of 10. Miriam has been a major pain….but for me , the biggest pain by long shot is Waterpipe as there is no feasible way to deal with him unless you get extremely lucky on your board. I am frequently competing against the top 200 raid teams, and now, I just pay my 2500 food to skip over Waterpipe teams….well…..those days are OVER!!! I was a strong proponent for nerfing Waterpipe on the forums, but now I say…HA…keep your nerf! It will be more fun watching Waterpipe flounder as I pound him into oblivion!! Oh what a glorious day, isn’t it?!

  7. Why nerf it? They will be the only heroes that have this passive for a while. I get if it was in every defense and it completely took over the game or something. But, to have a skill be just introduced to the meta and already hear about nerfs? I think the community has gone soft for this one! It literally hasn’t been two whole weeks yet!

  8. I’m F2p and got an ice monster chest which I happened to pull an EHT. Used my only lonely sad EHT which somehow pulled me a Xiaotu! I hope they don’t nerf her at all as there will be better minion killers as the year goes on. As always love the post!

  9. I think the Lunar heroes oddly bring some balance back to the game. Minion makers are pretty dominant in the top defenses. Just the threat that they will be nullified makes you reconsider your mix of heroes. Snipers have fallen out of favor, but they are back and require different strategies. These new heroes are no longer squishy, so maybe your 3/2 doesnt work.
    This is bad for the player that stay with just a couple of set offenses, but good for people that use a “best” mix of heroes for each battle.

  10. I wonder aloud. I also have an unleveled OGIMA. In his own way hes a far more dangerous beast than the Lunars. Granted hes still subject to the will and wants of say Waterpipe or LoL if they get a shot off. But if they do and then HE gets a shot off, its positively mean, The potential for a vast speed 400 hits all shot, plus perks! True, he needs minions to do his thing, but he was never mentioned as a game breaker hero.

    Because there was always the chance a board of bad tiles could stop him. No yellows, no charge, he becomes just soso.

    And the Lunars, youd almost rather they DONT shoot…dont be noticed. Just hide on the edge and do your raindance, hypnotize the minions, and we will call ya if we need ya.

    But Ogima is more fun. At least he still uses strategy.

    You have to work him

    But again, the game was broken and they thought this was a fix.

    And they Nerfed Guardian Panther…
    Whats worse, they nerfed panther before I finished panther, never got GP into a battle. But now shes, less.

    This game has become somewhat frustrating. There was a time you played it like chess, the right pieces attacking would be a victory.
    Now, you could lose any attack if the tiles on attack dont go your way you cannot beat even an above average jayout. Luck is as big or bigger a factor than planning, strategyt or even top tier heroes.

    And its less fun than it used to be

  11. Somehow I only saw this piece for the first time tonight. I guess many of us will find old things you’ve written and we Somehow missed, and reread the things we’ve read before. Go quietly into the night OC!

    1. 😁 Thank you, Gabrielle! I just checked and there are 221 Empires and Puzzles posts on this website and hopefully some are still funny and useful. Thank you for reading!

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