Santa’s Challenge: Empires and Puzzles Guide & Reviews

Santa’s Challenge is the Empires and Puzzles Christmas Event, and for 2021, we have a New 5-Star hero to check out, and range of new Costumes.

In this post, I’ll provide a guide for the Challenge itself, an initial review for each current hero, and finally, I’ll break-down their new Costumes.

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get started. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to this blog. It would really help me grow.

MENU (Empires and Puzzles Santa’s Challenge)
1. Santa’s Challenge Guide
2. Santa’s Challenge End Bosses
3. The Summoning Portal
4. Santa’s Family Bonus
5. All 5 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes
Mr. Pengi
Mother North (+ Costume)
Krampus (+ Costume)
Santa (+Costume)
6. All 4 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes
Buddy
Carol
7. All 3 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes
Frosty
Rudolph

Caveat: The post represents game-play speculation and personal opinion. It is not advice.

Empires and Puzzles official Poster for Santa's Challenge
Santa’s Challenge 2019 poster © Small Giant

Santa’s Challenge 2021 Guide | Empires and Puzzles

Santa’s Challenge is an annual Christmas event that starts on 1st Dec, and ends on the 1st of Jan.

The Challenge consists of 24 Stages in Easy, Normal, and Advance (72 Stages in total), and prizes improve as the level of difficulty increases.

There are no hero restrictions in this event, no Elemental Barrier, and you won’t be able to replay already completed Stages.

As for gameplay, there’s only one feature; Frosted tiles (or Frosted shields).

Frosted Tiles / Frosted Shields (Santa’s Challenge)

At the start of battle, and as tiles are used up, some tiles will be randomly covered with Frost.

Although you can still move these tiles, they won’t fire-off any damage when matched. Instead, they’ll lose their Frost when matched and can then be used, on the following turns.

Finally, matching a Diamond or a Dragon by swiping a Frosted tile, won’t result in a Diamond or Dragon.

All the Bosses, for All the Stages, in Santa’s Challenge

STAGEMONSTERSEND BOSS
1Ice and FireFrosty (Ice)
2Ice and FireBuddy (Nature)
3Holy and FireCarol (Fire)
4Ice and FireSanta (Fire)
5Holy and FireRudolph (Fire)
6IceFrosty (Ice) and Carol (Fire)
7Ice and NatureKrampus (Ice)
8Ice and FireMother North (Nature)
9IceFrosty (Ice)
10Holy and FireBuddy (Nature)
11Fire and NatureCarol (Fire)
12IceBuddy (Nature) and Santa (Fire)
13Holy and NatureKrampus (Ice)
14Fire and DarkBuddy (Nature)
15IceFrosty (Ice)
16Holy and NatureSanta (Fire)
17Dark and NatureCarol (Fire)
18Holy and FireRudolph (Fire) and Krampus (Ice)
19Ice and NatureBuddy (Nature)
20IceCarol (Fire)
21Ice and FireSanta (Fire)
22Dark and NatureMother North (Nature)
23Ice and DarkKrampus (Ice)
24IceMother North + Krampus + Santa
OldCynic.com – Santa’s Challenge – The Stage End Bosses – Empires and Puzzles

Santa’s Challenge Summoning Portal (Empires and Puzzles)

One of the most significant facts about Seasonal Events (including Santa’s Challenge), is that you can use Golden Epic Hero Tokens at the Summoning Portal.

You’ll also have a chance to pick up the December Hero Of The Month -Hanitra!

As expected, the Santa’s Challenge Portal will include Season 1 heroes, unlike the recently seen Black Friday Portal.

What heroes are up for grabs?

This year, there’s a new Christmas hero called Mr. Pengi (you can find his review below). You’ll also find all the Classic Christmas heroes and in addition, Costumes for:

  • Mother North
  • Krampus
  • Santa

Well, that’s it for the Challenge itself. Now let’s take a look at the heroes, starting with the Christmas Family Bonus…

Santa’s Challenge Family Bonus (Winter Family)

All Christmas heroes are part of the same Family, the Winter Family. Here’s the bonus:

For 2/3 Heroes: 1. +5%/+10% health for minions inherited from their summoner. 2. +5%/+10% attack for minions inherited from their summoner.

Now it’s time to check out the heroes -Let’s start with the brand new, Mr. Pengi.

As always, I’ll provide a short review for each hero and where possible, I’ll link to my full review (which I’ll be adding over the coming days!).

All 5 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes (Empires and Puzzles)

In this section, you’ll find a review for the base-hero and also, a review for their Costumed counterpart (if they have one).

Mr. Pengi Review Empires and Puzzles

Mr. Pengi Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Herring Blaster): 1. Deals 450% damage to the target. 2. Deals an additional 130% damage to as many random enemies as there are Minions owned by allies. The damage is reduced on each consecutive hits. 3. All hit targets receive 132 Frost damage over 3 turns. 4. Summons an Elf minion for the caster and nearby allies with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster.

Initial thoughts on Mr. Pengi

That’s a lot of damage for Fast…

5 heroes X 3 Minions = 15 hits

(A big Thank You to my primary school maths teacher -You were right, I got this.)

Yes, the damage decreases with each hit, but that’s still a shedload of damage.

According to my math 😉, he dishes out near 1,498%* damage, if you have a team stacked with Minions. And, that’s without the Frosted ailment.

Quenell (also Fast), with her long run up, will do 1,560% damage (total). But without it, she’ll only hit for 960% (total).

Mr. Pengi has all the traits of a Monster hero. And given he’s the only new hero among this bunch, it’s no surprise.

The Frost damage (132 over 3 turns), looks like more of an afterthought. And with more and more heroes targeting, or being triggered by, Status Effects, it may prove to be his Achilles’ heel (here’s hoping).

Finally, the Minions mean that Mr. Pengi does just about everything…. Sniper, Mass Monster, Status Caster, and pseudo Healer.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Want more Mr. Pengi? Read his full review here.

Mother North Review Empires and Puzzles

Mother North Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Super Porridge): 1. Recovers 30% health for all allies. 2. Each fallen ally has a 50% chance to get revived with 10% HP. 3. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster.

Thoughts on Mother North

Mother North is best known as the hero who never gives-up.

Just when you think the battle’s won, she gets to stirring her tiny pot, with her big ass spoon, and soon enough, you’re surrounded again.

The thing about Mother North is, she actually raises the dead -consistently. I mean, how many times has she personally pissed-you-off?

Have you ever targeted her, for fear that she’ll fire-off?

You ever rage-quit over her? I have.

Mother North is a legend, an Icon, and the most notable reviver in all of Empires and Puzzles.

Oh, and she’s about to get an upgrade.

…more than deserving of the highest honour I can bestow…

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Initial thoughts on Costumed Mother North

Mother North Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Hyper Porridge): 1. Each fallen ally has a 55% chance to get revived with 15% HP. 2. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 3. All allies regenerate 612 HP over 4 turns.

Ever since Mother North was created, people have moaned about her imperfections.

And I get it, she should revive allies first.

Well, you have your wish. Mother North has received the buff of all buffs, and looks even better than before.

Besides the order of her Special, the other significant change is incremental healing, rather than one big wave of it.

Oh, and instead of a 50% chance of reviving with 10% HP, allies now have a 55% chance of being re-born, with 15% HP.

Mother North was already a Deity…

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Want more Mother North? Read her full review here.

For more on Reading Hero Cards, see this.

Krampus Santa’s Challenge (Empires and Puzzles)

Krampus Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Scourge of Joy): 1. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 2. The caster gets Taunt that prevents enemies from using Special Skills on the caster’s allies for 3 turns. 3. The caster gets +44% defense, and a further 10% increase every time they are hit during 3 turns. This effect can’t be dispelled. 4. All allies get +50% attack for 3 turns.

Thoughts on Krampus

Krampus has been on my top Defense Heroes List since I started it.

He’s a Taunter who summons a Minion for all allies and increases Attack by +50%.

And despite his prominence, he likes to keep his head down and focus on his job.

Why? So the heroes around him can shine.

I imagine he plays “Wind beneath my Wings” on loop… and rings his little bell at the end of each line.

Yeah, you can safely disregard that constipated look on his face; this guy’s a sweetheart.

Krampus is one of the best defensively minded heroes in the game, and I’m sure he’ll be the target for many, this Christmas.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

(Just for research purposes, did you go back and check his face?)

Initial thoughts on Costumed Krampus

Krampus Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Merriest Mysery): 1. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 2. The Caster gets Taunt that prevents enemies from using Special Skills on the caster’s allies for 4 turns. 3. The caster gets +50% defence for 4 turns. 4. All allies get +45% attack, and a further 20% increase every time they are hit during 4 turns.

Firstly, please note the extra Taunt turn. Now, instead of 3 turns, it’s 4 turns -and that may be the most important point here.

The other main difference is, Krampus will lose out on the additional personal defense, in favour of his allies benefiting from additional attack.

If I had to choose between his defense Vs. Team attack, I’d take defense. That said, the extra Taunt turn is really where the value is -and for that, you need to wear the Costume.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Santa Claus Review Empires and Puzzles

Santa Claus Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Ultimate Gift Sack): 1. Deals 150% damage to all enemies. 2. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 3. All enemies get -34% attack for 3 turns. 4. All enemies get -44% defense for 3 turns.

Thoughts on Santa Claus

I find it strange that Santa, the real star of Christmas, is the third forth strongest hero out of Santa’s Challenge. -The thing’s named after him!

Back in the day, when I first started playing E&P, Santa was in quite a few defenses -he was a real badass.

But time’s been cruel to the old man.

Nowadays, he just looks dishevelled, and I know I’m not the only one, who pretends not to smell the alcohol on his breath…

Despite all of that, Santa thinks he can still deliver, and every once in awhile, you’ll face him in a Raid.

Buddy, hide the sleigh keys.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Warrior

Initial thoughts on Costumed Santa Claus

Santa Claus Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Gift of Rock): 1. Deals 150% damage to all enemies. 2. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 3. All enemies get -24% attack for 4 turns. 4. All enemies get -54% defense for 4 turns.

This Costume isn’t much of an improvement; just a little play around with the stats. But it’s the same old Santa.

The -54% defense is notable, however, it doesn’t change the fact that he does way too little, way too late.

I guess all those cookies have taken their toll. Sorry Santa…

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Warrior

Related: Reuben’s Redemption

All 4 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes (Empires & Puzzles)

There aren’t any new 4-Star heroes, but I will cover Buddy and Carol.

Buddy Santa’s Challenge Empires and Puzzles

Buddy Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Gift Sack): 1. Deals 205% damage to the target and nearby enemies. 2. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster. 3. The target and nearby enemies get -24% attack for 3 turns. 4. The target and nearby enemies get -34% defense for 3 turns.

Thoughts on Buddy

Buddy looks great, very similar to Santa, just quicker and only targets 3.

205% damage to the target and nearby is a solid offering. The Minions add a nice bit of protection, and the defense-down is a handy bonus.

Buddy’s a fantastic allrounder and I’m really happy to have recently pulled him.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Archangel

Carol Review Empires and Puzzles

Carol Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Perilous Present): 1. Reduces the mana of the target by 25%. 2. The target receives a Gift Bomb. After 3 turns the Gift Bomb explodes and deals 312 damage to the target and nearby enemies. The Gift Bomb also explodes when the target is defeated.

Thoughts on Carol

No no no.

Not this “hold onto a bomb” stuff. Nope. Not interested.

She can keep her gift. Don’t care.

I don’t have 3 turns to wait for this one to do something.

3 turns?

Game’s already over & done by that point.

I’m in a bubble bath, celebrating. Candles lit and allsorts.

Sorry Carol. But no.

PS. I think you’d really like this guy. You two have a lot in common.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Meek

Related: How long have you been playing Empires and Puzzles?

All 3 Star Santa’s Challenge Heroes (Empires and Puzzles)

There aren’t any new 3-Star heroes, but I will cover Frosty and Rudolph.

Frosty Review Santa’s Challenge

Frosty Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Joyful Backup): 1. Recovers 32% health for all allies. 2. Summons an Elf Minion for each ally with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster.

Thoughts on Frosty

Frosty is one of the best 3-Star heroes in Empires and Puzzles.

You might even argue, he’s the best of the lot. And I’d nod along, listening intently to your point of view.

Frosty heals and pseudo heals -for bucket loads.

Look at his face, his posture, his flex… he knows man -he knows.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Deity

Rudolph Review Empires and Puzzles

Rudolph Empires and Puzzles Hero Card

Special Skills (Antler Attack): 1. Deals 285% damage to the target. 2. Reduces the mana of the target by 20%. 3. Summons an Elf Minion with 10% HP and 10% attack inherited from the caster.

Thoughts on Rudolph

Rudolph’s not too bad at all. He’s Fast, does a decent amount of damage, reduces mana, and summons a Minion.

I can see how the mana reduction would help, but it’s not really enough.

In today’s game, 3-Star hitters have to really bang, and Rudolph doesn’t. Those bells don’t help either, cause the target can hear him coming and get out the way.

That said, the Minion will probably keep him alive longer than most.

If I pulled Rudolph, I’d take a serious look at my other 3-Star red heroes and think it over.

He’s OK, not Great.

Old Cynic’s Hero Grade: Warrior

Santa’s Challenge – Empires and Puzzles Guide & Review

We have made it!

Santa’s Challenge is a popular Quest and Portal because heroes like Mother North, Krampus, and now, Mr. Pengi, are all up for grabs.

And with the addition of their Costumes, there’s even more to hope for.

That was another epic post! Spot an error? Just let me know and I’ll update it.

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Copyright (decoration images and text): oldcynic.com
*Figure based on information that came out of Beta testing, combined with general guesswork
Some data sourced from the SG forum. Thank you to those who contributed, especially PFF.
Images used byway of review / tutorial – Copyright owned by Empires & Puzzles: Small Giant Games

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19 Comments

  1. Really good post, thank you for it. I have had Krampus for a year now, never leave home with out him.
    While I HATE Mother Christmas and refuse to fight a team with her in it, I would LOVE to have her in my line up.
    I fed Carol to another hero, I had levelled her up and it was a total waste of time. She is nothing but food for better hero’s.
    I was interested in your views on Frosty as I pulled him recently and he is in the queue to be levelled up, I will now move him up the queue.

    Thanks again, I think yours are the best reviews of hero’s out there, keep it up please.

    1. Thank you Steve, it’s really nice to hear you enjoyed it.

      This Christmas, I will be having a little go for Mother North, Krampus, and Mr Pengi. But I already know, the Universe will hand be a big fat Santa for the way I spoke about him.

      Thanks for visiting and reading!

      1. I had saved my tokens and spent some money this morning so I ended pulling 16 of the Seasonal Hero’s.
        I now have 2 Buddy’s, 3 Rudolph’s and 5 Frosty’s plus a Carol.
        No sign of Mother North or Mr Pengi.
        Not very happy with the result.

      2. Hey there, just pulled hanitra(very few 5stars I have, and I wanted mother north). So should I upgrade her? She doesn’t do any damage in her special. As I’m new and almost f2p(just the vip pass n mini purchases) so I don’t have resources for final ascension so I need to use them wisely. Please help!!!!

        1. Hi Dunk, Hanitra is a fantastic hero, you should read my review here. Also, check out my Christmas Post, which has a countdown of the best HotM for 2021 (Hanitra features).

          In answer to your question, all the normal caveats aside (your choice, not advice, no guarantees, etc.), I would upgrade her. Especially if I didn’t have many other 5-Star heroes.

          I’ve been playing awhile and after pulling her recently, I’m really impressed. She’s already in my Raid squad, before final ascension. She’s awesome. I play her with Rigard (2nd healer) and it works a treat.

          She’s improved my win rate by a long way. She is a modern hero, designed to deal with these modern monsters.

          Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Really enjoyed the review. I have MN (maxed and broken maxed) and getting her costume would be amazing. Frosty is great, but I prefer Helo since he removes status effects too.

  3. Woot!!!
    34 pulls for Christmas with token, Krampus and hotm. Christmas came early.!!!

    Great review and always a joy to read it.

    1. Hi Eric, where is the 1960%? It is completely possible it is an error (this was just published).

      As for the 960%, it’s the sum of all her damage: 320% to 3 targets. Again, it is getting late here, so please correct me if it’s wrong. Otherwise, it’s just a fun way to attribute damage from a single hero.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Edit – I thought this was on Mr. Pengi’s review -which I did just publish. Thanks again!

  4. Costume Krampus’s defense buff appears to be dispellable. Despite the extra taunt turn, I feel this really gimps him as any attacker who sees him will simply add a dispeller to their team. Based o that do you still regard C. Krampus > Krampus?

    1. I don’t know. I prefer the non-Costumed version, but still think that extra turn would produce better results. -There’s no way to prove it, just my opinion. I use a dispeller and timing is important, as is the depth and strength of the opposition squad.

      Anyway, it’s a close call for me. As a defensively minded player, I prefer the +defense, so it’s hard to let go of that for the extra turn, however I really wouldn’t argue over it. Fantastic hero -just what works for you/ your team (for example, you might get +attack elsewhere and not care too much about losing it here).

      Thanks for stopping by!

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