Neema Empires and Puzzles HotM November 23

Neema Empires and Puzzles Hero Card Small

Neema is Empires and Puzzles’ November 2023 Hero of the Month (HotM) and quite possibly, the most game-shifting HotM since dear old Telluria. -At least for mid-tier players.

She’s a fantastic Hero who ignores Taunt like capitalism ignores democracy, or like history ignores the truth. Wonderful stuff.

It’s November, baby!

Soon enough, I’ll be writing up the Christmas Special. Crazy how time flies.

But before all that and before we start, please consider sharing a link somewhere!

It always helps.

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


Neema’s Stats and Special Skills (Hero Of The Month)

Key Facts: Fire (Red), Average, Druid, Legends 2023

Special Skills (Fire Tigers): 1. Deals 220% damage to all enemies. 2. Summons a Fire Tiger Fiend for all enemies. The Fiend damages its target for 45% attack every turn and disappears after absorbing 45% of the target’s max health. 3. While present, the Fiend’s target cannot cast any new Taunt Status Effects (can’t be cleansed). 4. [Element Link] Gives +10% Special Skills damage to all Fire allies for 4 turns (can’t be dispelled).

Passive Skills: 1. IGNORE TAUNT ~ This character’s Special Skill is not affected by Taunt. 2. RESIST SPECIAL SKILLS BLOCKING ~ This character has an innate resistance against Ailments that block Special Skills.

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

Aether Power: AILMENT IMMUNITY ~ Immunity to new Status Ailments for 6 turns.

Legends 2023 Family Bonus: 1/2/3 Heroes: +10%/+15%/+20% Defense. Bonus for 2+ Heroes: Element Link affects all allies.

Neema – Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Neema and the Conspiracy to Bring Down The King (Empires and Puzzles)

Before we examine the strengths and benefits of Neema, there was something odd that happened in the lead-up to her release.

See, in the comments section of my Edwin Post, before Neema had even appeared in Beta, an Anonymous reader stated:

‘Ive often wondered why they never had the idea of a hero skill to ignore Taunt? …’

Anonymous Reader – Bizarre

What are the chances?

If this was you then wow, congrats on calling it!

When I first saw Neema’s anti-Taunt Special, I immediately thought she was here to quell Lord Ludwig.

My Limit Broken 2 Ludwig Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Yes, I said quell.

I mean, do the Devs really want Ludwig fronting as much as he does? -I’m guessing not, but I’m a Cynic.

Still, I can’t be the only mid-carder relying on Ludwig to stay relevant.

I’ve always said that Ludwig’s Special Skills were timeless and it’s evident. For as long as mana floats in the sky, Ludwig will be a superpower.

That said, I’m not 100% behind the idea that Neema is here to reduce his use. After all, why target Ludwig with a Hero who’s also capable of taking down and subduing other newer, and much more premium, Heroes?

And more than that, this counter (Neema), will be readily available to a large section of the player base as a Hero of the Month. -Well, if you’re lucky enough.

Regardless of the intent, Neema is impressive. I particularly like the way her meaty Fiends restrict Taunt until they’re properly resolved.

Meaning, the opposition will need to consider fielding a (good) Healer with every Taunter or risk losing their hero to mediocrity.

Note: Heroes who protect against Neema’s Fiends include Gaillard the Gargoyle, Balur the pointless, and all the powerful Healers (with Esme looking especially great).

Neema’s Special Skills in Review (Empires and Puzzles)

As I mentioned in my Xiamara review, Neema and Xiamara were actually tested together.

I’m willing to admit that while I was trying to focus on Neema, I was easily distracted by Xiamara’s tremendously powerful thunder thighs:

Xiamara Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Nonetheless, Neema is special, but not because of her hit, but because of her masterful control of Taunt.

The hit itself, 175% to all in Beta and 220% now, isn’t earth-shattering. In my tests, she hit for about half of what Xiamara did.

Improved to 220%, that hit will be better, still, it’s worth noting that Neema possesses a rather low Attack Stat (824) compared to Xiamara’s 1019.

The table in the next section will further help to illustrate the difference, but in short, we have a…

  • Decent Average hit-All Hitter
  • Who will hit through Taunt
  • Lay a hefty Fiend (45% max health) and
  • Stop future Taunts if left unremedied.

In fact, I think Neema is incredibly impactful and I’m especially pleased to see her available as a HotM.


Neema Vs. Empires and Puzzles

This is Neema Vs. some Fiend Summoners and Hitters:

HeroMana SpeedDamageSecondaryATK StatTotal Hit Score
NeemaAverage (10 tiles)Deals 220% damage to all enemiesLays Fiend that weighs a ton (45%) and stops Taunt8249,064
Cardinal RAverage (10 tiles)Deals 330% damage to all enemiesSummons a Fiend (30%) that steals Buffs88114,536
ElizabethAverage (10 tiles)Deals 175% damage to all enemiesSummons a Fiend (28%) that reducing mana regen by -24%7686,720
ViscaroSlow (12 tiles)Deals 220% damage to all enemiesSummons a Fiend (50%) that does nothing (hell of a Passive tho)7318,041
XiamaraAverage (10 tiles)Deals 300% damage to all enemiesMore power next attack and Mana Punishment101915,285
Xiamara 2ndAverage (10 tiles)+200% max powerMana Punishment101925,475
BrimstoneAverage (10 tiles)Deals 200% damage to all enemiesSummons Fiends that do loads, including reduced Defense, plus Passive does 180% damage9399,390
C. Guardian KongAverage (10 tiles)Deals 300% damage to all enemiesAllies reflect Status Effects and 115% damage back to the attacker… /Ice. Dispels buffs from all enemies84812,720 – Neema compared with similar Heroes.
(Total Hit Score = Atk Stat x Damage % x Number of targets)
Thanks, Tobov!

Neema is clearly underpowered when compared to the current top of the meta. She’s missing a couple of thousand fictional points to be considered anywhere near.

However, her weighty Fiends should be seen as a net benefit here because they do more than simply damage the opponent; they reduce or overwhelm the capacity to heal.

So in an ideal situation, Neema could negatively impact the abilities of 2 types of Heroes: -Taunters and Healers.

Which is interesting because her mere presence in the opposition will encourage the fielding of a Healer in order to recover the Taunter if needed.

Neema Vs E&P’s Anti-Taunters

Here are some anti-Taunt Heroes who came to mind:

HeroMana SpeedDamageSecondary
NeemaAverage (10 tiles)Deals 220% damage to all enemiesLays Fiend that weighs a ton and stops Taunt
GraceFast (8 tiles)Deals 335% damage to 3Inflicts -34% Defense against Special Skills and stops Taunt for 3 turns
I can’tthink ofany otherswho directly deal with Taunt in their Special – Neema compared with anti-Taunters

Of course, there’s an array of Heroes who can steal Status Buffs (Ithar), who restrict Status Buffs (CGP), and Heroes who Dispel Status Buffs (Kai).

But I can’t think of others who directly deal with Taunt (although, I’m sure there are).

Neema really excels in the fact that her Taunt suppression remains for as long as her Fiends are attached.

We should recognise that while Neema will control Taunt, she won’t have any bearing on Ludwig’s Magic-Mana sharing or Phorcys’ ability to summon Minions.

But at this point, and for me personally, Taunt, in general, is what’s keeping my Raid Squad alive most of the time when facing these new nightmare meta teams!

Neema at the Summons Portal Empires and Puzzles

Neema Empires and Puzzles – Hero of the Month November 23

My final thoughts:

I often review HotMs that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to level myself. However, I always try to find the good in them, understanding that new players won’t have the same depth in their roster as I have in my own.

But with Neema, we’ve bumped into a Hero who I’d personally really like to get and would choose to level.

That said, I suspect Neema’s value is going to be predicated on your own ability to manage Taunters and whether or not you already have a decent All-hitting Fire Hero.

I haven’t touched on the rest of her build, but it’s clean:

  • An innate resistance against Ailments that block Special Skills, and
  • Immunity to Ailments as an Aether Power

Meaning, Neema is going to fire.

Sure, she may be missing that spark without a Taunter to face, much like a Politician without the public.

But let’s not discount her reasonable hit, weighty Fiends, and modern Power Stats. -Because she should be useful across the game.

At her core, Neema is an awesome specialist, with a Special Skill that should enjoy a long shelf life.

She forces any opposition that includes a Taunt to ensure they have an anti-Fiend system too, or to risk losing out.

And that forced proposition is what makes Empires and Puzzles such a great game.

Now, if they would only balance the Heroes a little better, it could return to the splendid game of strategy it once was.

Hero Grade for Neema (Empires and Puzzles)

So for my grading, the question is:

Is this Hero’s Special capable of/likely to change the outcome of a battle? Yes, although this is a specialist with otherwise good all-round abilities.

If not, do they still bring enough to the party to help defeat the deities? N/a.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity★★

Bonus: Neema in Puzzle Combat!

I heard that Neema’s artwork and name were both from Empires and Puzzles’ sister game, Puzzles Combat.

So I re-downloaded it to find her for your amusement, and here she is:

Neema Puzzle Combat Hero Card Small
Neema from Puzzle Combat (Small Giant Games)

In Puzzle Combat, Neema’s a Minion Summoner and Healer. Fantastic.

Have a great November, guys!

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

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Copyright: (including initial images)
Images used by way of review/tutorial – Copyright owned by Empires & Puzzles: Small Giant Games

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  1. thanks for the review. a good hotm indeed. i want her and will start saving coins til month end to have my chance of pulling her..

  2. I was disappointed to see her being a case of copy and paste from Puzzle Combat.

    So much so that it nearly distracted me from testing her in beta.

    However on testing her she did ok even with her low attack stat and the low, initial damage, but, and as you said, her fiends definitely made up for it.

    If I got her, I would level her up since I do need another hit all red to complement costume Gravemaker and his burn all.
    And Neema’s block taunt is going to be fun to use.

    1. Hey Cornelius, thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Puzzle Combat thing is odd because many PC players are/were E&P players first, at least that’s my impression.

      Good luck in getting her. I have R&N and Skargremar (better & more useable than I thought he’d be but still not stella) as my Headliner Reds and Neema would provide a different option, especially with so many Taunters about.

      Thanks again!

  3. I hope I pull her 😀 If I see Ludwig or any other taunted, I just use Lepiota – she’s undervalued but amazing against irritants you need disabled!

  4. I pulled her today, I saved the keys I had with that intention and it worked.

    As you say, it is a specialist, like Kravekrush, but more useful in the current meta. I do not think she is All Elite, my plan is use her alongside Cinisia in Wars. Probably with Areax when this year ends and they receive the bonus.

    Thank you OC.

          1. Don’t be sorry.
            It was for curiosity only. I still have not decided if I hate them or only dislike them and wanted to know different opinions.

            Keep the great work!

  5. When I get her, definitely pairing with Brimstone. Probably a better hero than SGG would prefer to release as a HotM…not *so* good that they would considering nerfing. Going to be a problem for a long time.

    1. Sounds deadly.

      “Going to be a problem for a long time.” – I agree, this does seem like a pretty definitive Hero. Especially for mid-range players who are more likely to use her. I expect to see Neema a lot in future, which would be fair given I use Ludwig a lot.

      Thanks for stopping by Dr. E Genius!

  6. Hi Cynic, i use heroes like El Naddaha, mist, Louhdi, they have synergy and great against taunted, but I would like to level if I got Neema, she is all in one, Again Great review,

  7. Hi OC,
    My current policy of dealing with the like of Ludwig and Krampus is to use Fortuna who removes the buff and combine her with Roughian and Nurgib, I can normally either strip the Taunt and hit the blighters or just stop them from launching it at all.
    Having said that, I would welcome Neema as well despite being swamped with very good Red 5* heroes. I can’t seem to pull any other colour! Odd “problem” to have.

  8. The likelihood on pulling any of these characters is a total joke. The summoning itself is a joke. Like a lot of people. I’m sure we don’t or can’t spend money on Gems and we all know how hard it it to accumulate an adequate amount to finally get a summoning to only pull a 3 star common.

  9. Hi Oldcynic,

    May I ask how you would compare Neema to Ukkonen?

    I have recently pulled Ukkonen after a long draught from portals but I have a feeling that he is kinda subpar.

    I have Louhi and shirtless yellow dude from the same portal but their family bonus is also pretty meh.

    Am I missing something? What would you say?


    1. Hey Berdy, sorry for the late reply. I have Neema as a Deity: Tier 1 and just added Ukkonen as a Tier 2. It’s all on my Hero Ranking Page.

      Ukkonen is currently a very popular Tank in many top alliances because he does sooo much. Both are good, but Ukkonen would be considered better.

      Of course, if you struggle with Taunt, Neema may help you more.

      I also have Louhi and he’s good due to the order of his Special (Dispel first), but agree, he’s not as impactful as you’d hope.

      The shirtless wonder is Kullervo I think? And his double Mindless Attack is of great use in the game. I would swap Louhi with Kullervo if I could.

      Anyway, I hope this helps and thanks for visiting!

  10. It feels like characters like Ithar and Deadboot being VF and not just defeating Taunt, but co-opting it, provide much better protection from and
    a solution to, double broken Taunters. Plus their skill can be used on other buff-over-time heroes.

  11. OC!
    So I have onyx, cleopatra, Frigg, Ruby, and El Nadd atm. Some are not really a meta hero but well its all I have since i dont know how long ive been playing EP. If there’s new HOTM ive always come here and check your reviews, I’m a bit skeptical to see if she’s worth the bucks to replace Ruby BUT, at the same time, she’s quite interesting. Your thoughts about it?

    1. No, I don’t encourage spending in general so my answer’s always, no.

      Ruby does a different job so is not a direct comparison but Neema will/should have better power stats.

      For me, Neema would be a great hero to pick up for free and is well worth levelling. But as always, it comes down to personal play-styles and rosters.

      If you want more opinions, feel free to join my Facebook group, link is at the bottom of my menu on the Empires and Puzzles page!

  12. I don’t have any reds apart from C2 Azlar and Ferant. Other Heroes I have: Kai, CSeshat, Luna, Toxicandra, Cinisia, Cristobal, Quintin, Loki, Eloise. I just pulled neema and hope she can help me to have all hitter red one.

  13. I pulled neema yesterday and started leveling her up. I have her at 3-20 right now and she is already melting defenses in raids I’m testing her out in. Completely neutralizes any defense that utilizes taunt. If you get her I would say you should definitely level her up ASAP.

  14. OC, thank you for another helpful review. I immediately posted the link to your review on our Alliance’s FB page. We are a small Alliance (The Catfighters) and a lot of our members are F2P or C2P. My teammates have learned how to do more with less, and given the constraints of actually having budgets and sticking to them, Neema will be a great asset. I do spend significantly more than the other members, so usually I overlook HOTMs, but I already pulled her and I’m going to level this one. BTW, I’ve turned my Alliance on to your work, and I frequently post links to you on our FB page. You’ve received a lot of kudos and appreciation for how you can really influence and help less experienced or less affluent players. Thank you!

    1. Hey Scott, first I must apologies because this automatically went to the bin. Sorry! 🙃

      Thank you for your kind words, I get a kick outta writing this stuff and appreciate the support because it makes it worthwhile. I’m not always right, but I give it a good ol’ swing!

  15. She seems very good for a HOTM. When reading the skill and knowing she was a HOTM i thought she would be slow, so positively surprised at average.

    For mid-roster/VCTP/FTP she will be very helpful, not only to negate Phorcys/Ludwig, but also to slow down Myoin-in and other quick healers, as those fiends are very beefy. Especially good against the premier taunter Phorcys, because she also helps push away the minions on his neighbours. So often we see Phorcys flanked by Ukkonen, so you can’t dispel him, but with Neema you can fire and then tile-dump into him with no fear. Good stuff

  16. I just pulled Neema and immediately came here to check your review. As always, great analysis. Thank you!

    I knew I would get Neema becuase she is a red HotM, and the 5th consecutive red HotM I’ve pulled. In three years, as a VC2P player I, I’ve only pulled 7 others. Good luck all around, but great luck with red. In fact, I have an embarassing bounty of reds, including Khufu (my only S5) and Gravemaker, who I pulled this week. But I have no taunt heroes, and limited taunt contollers, so she’s jumping to the front of the line.

    Thanks for your insight!

  17. Taunt heroes will be obsolete, in defence, minion heores are already out, so heores with new mechanics like constrct core, goblin wither/growth and moonbeam are in, especially in defence

  18. Thanks for reviewing! I got her and after your review I certainly value her more!

    Some heroes that deal with Taunt in an immediate but effective way from my experience

    1. Malosi. His VF weak hit that blocks the capability of giving ailments or buffs is the best answer against Ludwig in my experience!

    2. Caedmon C.×2 He is fast so many times he blocks the ability if buffs before the tauter charges.

    3. Sneferu. Slow but miraculous if you get a bit lucky…not only he blocks the taunter but he also punished him AND the whole team for trying to use taunt, by 250 for every attempted buff (so he punishes extra for the mana buff or defense buffs that some taunters give).

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