Desktop Tower Defense Strategies

Somewhat to my surprise, it seems that more people want to read about Desktop Tower Defense than they do about anything else I’ve written. Over the last few days roughly 40% of the traffic to this blog has been to my previous post on DTD.

While I’m a long way from an excellent player, I’ve developed my strategies to the point where I’m consistently scoring just below 6000 points.

My first tip is that it’s a mistake to try and build a really long maze. When I started playing I tried to make the longest maze possible, covering the board with towers. That’s a mistake because you just can’t get the firepower you need to stop the creeps on higher levels. Instead, concentrate on upgrading towers in the center of the board. I find its better to upgrade a couple of towers to the maximum level, a fair few to medium levels, but I leave plenty untouched. I usually aim to have two Squirt Towers upgraded to Typhoon Towers separated by a Bash Tower.

My second tip is to use Swarm Towers. For a while I tried to avoid that, and thought that I should be able to deal with flying creeps just using Squirt Towers. It might be possible, but I sure haven’t got it to work. One problem with the Squirt Tower only strategy is that typically they are also dealing with other creeps at the same time the flying creeps need to be shot down. I’ve found that three appropriately upgraded Swarm Towers give enough support to my existing Squirt Towers to enable me to shoot down all flying creeps.

My final tip it to be aggressive in the use of the “Send next level” button. It’s pretty easy to pick up 500+ points like this.

I think these three tips are the difference between scoring 3500 and scoring 5900+. If I had to guess I’d say the first tip is worth over 1000 points, and the second two are worth roughly 500 points each.

So there you go – Nick’s quick Desktop Tower Defense Strategy guide. Feel free to add your own tips here, and to add your scores to the “badmagicnumber” group

24 thoughts on “Desktop Tower Defense Strategies

  1. Another tip..

    Rather than building up a path towards the top-left of the screen to concentrate the creeps, build a path towards the lower-left, or anywhere that’s an unequal distance from the entry points. That way you’re not dealing with each set of creeps at the same time. Also, a wall of upgraded dart towers can be effective at taking out large crowds.

  2. Placing a few bash towers in a line with a frost tower will equal ownage for most ground foes. it really won’t matter how many levels you send at once as long as you know you can handle the bosses. Watch out for the air!

  3. 6242, trying a new and less effective strategy – and overwhelming the maze just a tad. Sadly, I’m not even really good at this. See the ##java group for some more impressive scores, people who absolutely slaughter me… and an example of a number of mazes where *no* creeps get through at all.

  4. And now 6432, playing a more standard strategy (for me), with no creeps getting through at all. But that still pales compared to waz and some of the other blokes on ##java, and see intj for even more. I’m fair-to-middling at this, at best. :)

  5. I find that if you have about.. 8-9 squirts all in the middle of the board, they can easily take out the flying, even the flying bosses. If you aren’t confident, add ONE swarm tower, and upgrade fully. Remember, with towers it counts more with quality than quantity.

    Also, when sending levels early, try and send them between 10-15 seconds early. That way, you have a constant line of creeps entering your maze. But, make sure your squirts have dealt with the spawn creeps before sending in the flying wave. Otherwise, you’ll likely get over run. And, send in the first few waves of the game in one go, it gives you instant bonus points.

    Here are my mazes:

    As you can see, some have a swarm tower to help, the rest only use squirts. (ignore the one with sniper towers – it failed.)

    If you follow these, then you can get 6500+ everytime. Hope this helps you. Now i just need to get good enough to beat 7000 =D

  6. @Khipmunk, mostly the Spawn are followed by Flyers. I send the Flyers early *immediately* after the Spawn have entered the game. That way, the Flyers are flying into the heart of my defense in the center of the board while the Spawn are still just entering the maze.

  7. @Spellucci, thats true. I do that for the bosses (lvl 48, and 49) but i never really bother with the other levels.

    Ive just started juggling, though. And i got a new high score of 7145 =D i just need to sort out a flying defence sooner, and i can complete with all 20 lives left and reach about 7.5K

  8. One of the most effective strategies seems to be creating _two_ mazes, and using a single pellet tower to open and close them. You let creeps go down one of the mazes, and when they get near the end, sell the tower and move it to block that maze and open up the other one. The creeps will than have to walk all the way back along the first maze, and then down the second one. Timing of different waves is obviously an issue here – it’s sometimes worth sending loads of waves at once and waiting for some slow moving bosses.

  9. @Thom, that’s called juggling. Alot of people do that, and it seems to be the only way to defeat The 100.

  10. I have added a few scores to your group using a couple of different strategies. The most recent one has the creeps going around the maze in opposite directions. I don’t know what to add to a strategy guide that hasn’t already been mentioned. I would recommend people checking out the different mazes created and shown on youtube to get some fresh ideas. I do the juggling thing at the end of some games, but I can’t really do it well when sending them through in opposite directions.

  11. I just added a good score to the ##java group. I usually get around 7000 to 7200 on medium (a little less on hard).

    Four tips:

    1. A full power bash tower will decimate ground creeps.
    2. A full power swarm tower by itself takes care of *most* fliers… try to slow down the big flies with a couple frost towers.
    3. Try upgrading only six towers… leave the rest to the maze.
    4. You can send the first 5 waves of creeps all at once. They are weak. Your towers are strong.

    Happy Destroying!

  12. I was invited to the multiplayer DTD this morning. Despite the heedless calls from my family, I have been playing quite a few games. I thought I was addictted before! At any rate, I will create a badmagicnumber group for it. Okay, I’m back to MP DTD!



  13. there’s gotta be a way to go through all 100 levels without juggling. has anyone here beaten it (even the 10k mode, for all i care) without juggling, because that would be a tremendous accomplishment, and if u did wat did ur maze like and how did u do it?

    p.s. a good tip in the placement of bash towers (multiple bash towers, for that matter) is by placing them in a diagonal pattern….that way creeps can hit all four corners of the bash tower and will definitely maximize the amount of damage you can inflict on them. putting them side by side wouldn’t really do as much.


  14. Hello , Uh… Can somebody please show me whats a good maze like for the medium mode? I can’t seem to beat it , or .. even if I did beat it ( which I don’t do very often ) I always get extremely pathetic scores with only a few lives left…

    I just started this game not long ago , and I’m REALLY not very good at this.. So can somebody help!??!?

    My email is you can , send me a picture of whats a good maze like ~

    Thank You ,


  15. i cant get enough this in 6th form, i play the 10k and now get to level 80+ my best being 90 without juggling, but i think whoever said you cannot beat this game without juggling is right


  16. I’ve got it down to a pretty good science. I can get to lvl 89 on “The 100” where I am invariably overtaken massively. I use only squirt and swarm towers and one maze which accepts the top creeps right away, and delays the side creeps a little. Oh, and I juggle. PS, the guy above me (90 w/o juggling) lies. (-:

  17. Completed the 100 on 10K gold once. i get smashed on LV 98 now…doh

    You need 4 frost towers in the middle, surround them with air towers and put 8 upgrade towers on, i think i used another 8 or 10 air towers and thats just for the air creaps !!

    The trick is to have a good ground defence until LV 70 or after you kill the 2 pink bosses that are 1 million strength, then sell EVERTHING and keep upgrading the air and upgrade towers and juggle the ground creaps. You’ll be able to have 20 air towers and 8 upgrade towers max’d along with as many frost towers ( hitting the air only ) max’d up.

    I did a screen dump somewhere when i completed it, but cant seem to finsh them off for the second time.

    Top marks for the game !!


  18. i beat the 100 with 10k its very easy all you do is have all bash towers for the maze and fully upgraded like 3 swarm towers on the ends and beginnings of the maze with only a couple going through

  19. I have a pretty good cross shaped maze but the first wave of blue creeps always get past becaues its only pellet towers in th early game. It costs me 2 or hearts. I too have beaten 10k with all bash and swarm towers.

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