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Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/2/2022 19:06:22

Level 62
I have the last 4 hardened levels left to complete. Should I complete them before Ascending?
Hardened Rise and Fall
Hardened China
Hardened Trisk
Hardened Europe Huge

Is there a benefit or disadvantage to completing them or skipping them?
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/2/2022 21:18:52

Tulsi 2020 
Level 61
Hardened Trisk is a bad joke. Unless you're a total mosaicist wait until you get multi level advancement in phase four.

If you play a lot of the arenas pick up Rise and Fall.

Hardened Europe Huge is not really worth it for the rewards, it is however extremely worth it for the AP. Once you learn how to play the map it can be beaten relatively quickly, the best AP for the amount of time invested at least until you super ascend. I would recommend doing it serval times before ascending. Even someone with few artifacts and little AP can beat it in a few days with the right technique.

You'll want to pick up China if not this go around then next, I would probably hit it after getting the AP from beating hardened Europe a few times.

Edited 7/2/2022 21:47:15
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/4/2022 15:17:59

Master Jz 
Level 62
I usually skip those 4 until I'm into Phase 4. The only one that gives me good AP/hour (without powers) is H. Rise and Fall.

H. Rise and Fall takes forever to get started. I usually avoid it until I have army caches boosted (Phase 4). If you have a legendary triple strike, you can play it sooner. There's an expensive hospital that has three very cheap borders. Taking it with the TS will give you enough armies to capture a market and a few small hospitals. Or, you can also jumpstart it with powers.

Hardened China is very short on money, even with a legendary alloy values and all Phase 1/2 money advancements maxed. I tried it before ascending and had to use IM powers to finish.

Edited 7/4/2022 15:20:32
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/4/2022 15:19:21

Level 30
I’m assuming you do 4th boy before phase 4?
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/4/2022 17:01:14

Level 62
Even in late phase 4, it still takes a long time to complete Hard Trisk. I don't recommend it.
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/4/2022 17:30:13

Level 62
Hard Trisk is a lot quicker to clear if you have:
- Leg TS
- Leg QS or Leg or higher IM (or open to use a power)
- 100% increased army caches

Use Leg TS & QS on all the big territories prioritizing territories with army caches while beelining to the big territory in the W & IM on the biggest merc camp (if you don't know where these are, you're not ready for this strategy yet), when you pop a QS on that territory & pop that merc camp, you'll have enough to get all the hospitals & markets, get all the remaining army caches, finish the Techs you feel like (I only do the ones that buff alloy values, sometimes not even those).

My personal preferred path is to go down to the SW of the circle you start in, head W to the hospitals in the S of the SW circle, then go into the NE of the SW circle from your starting circle over to the big territory in the far W. Also drop IM (power or artifact) on the biggest merc camp if you need to (you might, you might not, but doing it makes it easy). The key is to "ride the army caches" to the next big territory & merc camp, pop TS/QS/IM to get you to the next big territory/merc camp.

With good knowledge of the map, maxed Adv's listed above & high level supporting artifacts, this strat works well for HT.

But HEH is still more straight forward/easier/quicker. It's actually quite easy to use a similar strat on HEH to "ride the army caches" to the big 1.1T territory in the east & 800B merc camp in the Baltic. But again, if you don't know the level well and this doesn't make sense, don't do it until you do, else you'll likely just get lost and make a mess, and get in a bad spot in the level (no mercs, no money, low income, etc).

Same goes for HC as well, moving towards the 54B territory in the mid-W. But I find HC less intuitive than HT & HEH - the territory names give me trouble, and with the lack of water/coast/landmarks, it's tough to identify some of the hospital/market locations (even knowing where they are) well enough to get the best path to them. BUT if you Fog Bust it, it's easy.

That said - going back to the original question, should you do all this before Ascending? Before ASCENDING? Regular Ascension? For the first time? Hell no. I mean, you certainly CAN, but they are likely to take you 30+ days to clear, whereas if you leave it for 2nd/3rd Ascensions, they'll likely only take 3-10 days (dependings on your play style, play time, strategy, etc).

The main difference between 1st & 4th Ascension shows in your end stats, the % armies that come from each category.

1st Ascension - ~10-15% army camps, 10-15% drafts, 25% JS, 20% hospitals, 15% mercs, 10% caches

4th Ascension - <5% army camps, <10% drafts, ~15% JS, 25% hospitals, 20% mercs, 15% other***, 10% caches

4th Super Ascension** - <1% army camps, <1% drafts, ~10% JS, 40% hospitals, 15% mercs, 23% other, 20% caches

** = 4th Super Ascension after powering up again (with the benefits of high level artifacts, etc)
*** = 'other' category is armies not tracked in the stats, like armies saved by TS/QS/FH/DT, etc (I only use TS/QS, FH & DT are imho nowhere near as useful)

When I started, JS was high b/c I was careful about capturing where JS gets used to save armies, earned lots of money, bought lots of mercs, upgraded hospitals to the max, got some use of army camps, etc, didn't use TS/QS/IM/TW at all.

As I progressed, I beelined to the important stuff more without caring about JS (max minimal army spend to get to the important territories), leveraged high level Adv's, got more value from caches, invested less in mercs, used TS/QS/IM/TW more, don't upgrade hospitals as much. At this level, the armies from army camps, drafts & JS are fairly ignorable. And the armies from hospitals, mercs, caches & other are all a sliding algorithm, I do whatever makes sense for that level and I'm in the mood for. If my TS/QS/IM/TW cooldowns are @ 0, I used them, and if not, focus on the caches, empty the markets & buy mercs & upgrade hospitals, and therefore the %'s here vary depending on a given playthrough style, but collectively they form 88-90% of the armies required for the level.

Edited 7/4/2022 18:00:41
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/6/2022 15:38:02

Chief Rollie 
Level 61
I haven't ascended yet but completed everything except for hardened triskelion and hardened Europe huge. They took an obscene amount of time (> one month of casual play) to complete but at this point it's like a challenge so I'm going to see it through before ascending. I have about 20 IM though so they should be very doable quickly just because of that.
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/6/2022 20:18:41

Level 62
Thanks for the input. I ascended for the first time without completing those 4 hardened levels. I got to keep all my artifacts. I thought I only got to keep 3?
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/6/2022 21:52:17

Level 61
“Ascend” is different from “Super-Ascend”

Ascend is possible after you complete Europe Huge. You spend 100 AP and relock all levels but in exchange the levels give full 100% AP returns again.

Super-Ascend is possible after you spend 100k AP on Level 4 advancements. You relock all levels, sacrifice all advancements and can retain only 2 artifacts. In exchange you get a *permanent* bonus (either an extra artifact, +25% AP collection or -20% digging speed).

Most people will do multiple ascend cycles before a super-ascension.
Finish all hardened levels before Ascending?: 7/8/2022 03:55:24

Level 62
Thanks for the clarification
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