What Makes a Good Hero?

“What makes a good hero in Shop Titans?”

This is a simple question with a shockingly complicated answer. Heroes are an extremely deep and intricate metagame for this silly idle game about selling fantasy items to an endless conga line of mindless NPCs in the name of capitalism.

Hi, I’m ArchonMal. I’m pretty active on the ST subreddit and spend a lot of time doing deep dive breakdowns of hero rosters for people. It can be very tricky to figure out how good a specific hero is, even if you know how roughly good each of their individual skills are. This guide series exists to hopefully help point you in the right direction to get a better handle on how to improve your own roster.

This page (and three others linked at the end) will build off of the foundation set in the Hero Academia page. Hero Academia is a good introduction to the various classes and what kind of things you’re generally looking for at a basic level for each of them. This series will cover some of the more specific aspects that go into making a good hero. Note that these will specifically focus on things related to individual heroes. As mentioned in Hero Academia, you will want to build a few strong rosters. Powerful individual heroes are usually pretty splashable on a team but it’s important to keep the three archetypes in mind so you have balanced teams overall.

In this guide, we’ll cover a relatively simple topic – skills that should be avoided for all classes. We’ll also be going over WHY these skills should be avoided. These skills are definitely not unusable, but they’re generally much weaker than they should be. Any hero using them is less effective than they should be as a result. Remember – you only have three or four skill slots available so it’s important to not waste any.

Now to clarify, these are skills that you generally don’t want to keep on any heroes that are going to be a part of your permanent roster. Having some of these skills doesn’t automatically make a hero bad either. Say you have a Conquistador with Eagle Eyes, Magic Darts, Perforate, and Backstab.

This example hero has some of the right components of what they need for a good skillset. You have a decent amount of both Crit stats plus some Attack to back it up. This hero would be perfectly functional but is missing a lot of key pieces and is a smidge too weak for long-term usage (not just because all four skills are Common).

A key thing that makes many of these skills “bad” is competition. Perforate and Backstab are both perfectly acceptable skills. If your Rogue is lacking Attack and either Crit stat, you could do a heck of a lot worse. But on the flipside, you can also do a lot BETTER. Perforate for example is directly outclassed by Assassinate. Nearly every skill that offers Attack or CD grants a higher value, usually with a strong secondary stat as well. On top of that, Rogue don’t have a problem getting CD. They have problems getting the Attack to power it plus every other stat that they need (weapon skill, Evasion, CHC, etc). Crit Damage is just a bonus once you have all the key stats the Rogue needs to do their job. If you’ve ever wondered why something like Wall of Force or Dagger Master is ranked much lower than similar options in the TL,DR Heroes ratings, this is usually the reason why.

EXP / Gear Break Skills

First up are Fast Learner, Super Genius, and Maintenance. These are all grouped together because they give a pretty niche benefit and a small boost to all stats gained from equipment. The stat boost can be more potent than you’d think in some situations, which is why Extended Warranty is not included in this list.

  • The big thing is that their specific effects are nice but not game-breaking. They do nothing in combat, so a big chunk of the skill’s power is completely irrelevant during the quest itself. Fast Learner and Super Genius’s primary draw (increased EXP) is fantastic while leveling, but does nothing once the hero hits max level for your guild’s Training Hall. Additionally, this effect can be replicated with Owl spirits (although it does stack if you’re using Owl and FL / SG). Maintenance reduces break chance but the boost is a bit too weak to get much use out of.
  • Extended Warranty (aka Maintenance’s big brother) specifically is an exception here. It offers a pretty substantial 60% Break Chance Reduction on all gear at rank 4, which is extremely handy to avoid replacing expensive gear all the time. Even at rank 3, it provides a hefty 50% reduction. This is pretty big if you don’t have Royal Merchant. Additionally, its stat boost is bigger than the rest – 40% at rank 4. This is enough to make it a legitimately BiS option in many cases if you have a ton of stat power from your other skills.
  • A big thing to keep in mind with all four of these skills (Extended Warranty included) is that you’ll get higher returns with higher stat value from other skills. Weapon attack for example is calculated with this formula: [base Attack x (1 + WeaponBonus)] x [sumTotalAttackBonus]
    • Other stats are calculated similarly of course. Take the base value of the item, multiply it by any specific equipment bonus (Rings for Monks, Herbal Medicine for Druids, Shield Master, etc) and then multiply that boosted total by the sum of your total bonus Attack / Defense / HP.
  • If you have high values on both sides of the equation, you’ll get excellent returns. Stacking one side and ignoring the other means you will end up with less Attack overall. To brutally simplify this concept: 1 x 100 = 100 and 100 x 1 = 100, but 50 x 50 = a whopping 2,500. These skills can definitely help you get some pretty impressive numbers with a lot of bonus stat value in your other skills, but it doesn’t work out as well in practice. This applies to crit builds as well – it’s critical (ba-dum-tss) to have high amounts of both Attack and Crit Damage if you want to optimize damage output.

Att / Def Skills

Next, we have Smite, Parry, and Mage Armor. These are all essentially the same skill with the same bonus: a boost to Attack and Defense. These ones should be avoided simply because the stat total they offer is fairly low. Smite and Parry both grant a stat total of 125% and Mage Armor grants 120% (all at rank 4). A second big problem with these is opportunity cost. If you’re using one of these, then you’re missing a slot that could be used by a more universally powerful skill or a key stat like CHC / Evasion.

  • Smite doesn’t do much for Fighters because the Defense it offers is so low. They have many other superior defensive options: Extra Conditioning, Juggernaut, On Guard, and even Sturdy to name a few. The Attack it offers is mostly wasted for Fighters since they’re primarily a defensive archetype. Berserkers, Samurai, and Chieftains can use the Attack, but all three have innate boosts to damage that typically scale better with crit stats or weapon skills if you’re looking for some more offensive power.
  • Parry is weak for Rogues because they primarily rely on Evasion to survive a fight, not their Defense stat. This is the only skill available to Rogues that offers both Attack and Defense, but this skill doesn’t really work for either side of the offensive / defensive spectrum in most cases. They have a ton of skills that offer combinations of Attack, Crit Chance / Damage, and Evasion that are typically better offensive / defensive hybrid skills. If you’re looking for purely defensive power, then Cloak & Dagger, Glancing Blows, and Extra Conditioning all offer Evasion to dodge and higher Defense (Except EC which equals or is beaten out by Parry) for failed dodges. You also have access to the universally excellent Impervious for survivability.
    • There is one notable exception to this one – a budget ToT Wanderer / Tower Slave team. Parry here provides a respectable 50% Defense at rank 3 and is Common so it’s extremely easy to get and provides a surprisingly solid overall defensive boost. Wanderers get so much free Evasion that Parry, a weapon skill, and an Evasion skill is usually enough to clear even the Epsilon Titan with little effort (plus Lilu’s healing powers of positivity).
  • Mage Armor and Smite both fall short for Spellcasters. The offensive side is weak and the defensive side doesn’t provide a big bonus due to their inherently low defenses. They also have access to four different superior skills that provide this exact stat combination with higher numbers: Flame Brand, Shining Blade, Perfect Form, and Mana Shield. Sorcerers specifically also have a fifth in Petrify.

Weak Pure Offensive Skills

Finally, we have Magic Darts and Perforate. These are both purely offensive skills. Magic Darts boosts Attack and Perforate provides both Attack & Crit Damage. Their main issue is that they’re typically the weakest option available.

  • Magic Darts isn’t great for Spellcasters because it’s directly outclassed by Arcane Blast, which is also Common. Absolutely every other skill available to them that offers Attack offers a higher stat total, with all of them (minus Mage Armor / Smite) granting higher Attack as well. There is no reason to ever use this skill on a Spellcaster – there is always a better option. For Rogues, it’s a boost to Attack with no additional bonuses to the key stats they need – CHC and Evasion.
  • Perforate has many of the same problems as Magic Darts, but is situationally much worse because over half of its power is Crit Damage. This skill grants 75% Attack and 100% CD at rank 4. Fighters inherently have the default 5% Crit Chance, so this means that a huge chunk of the 175% stat power it offers will be completely useless 95% of the time. It’s a bit better for Rogues since they naturally have 20% CHC instead of the usual 5%, but is still a bit too weak to be viable. The CD is nice, but Rogues can sometimes struggle more with Attack to back up their crits. They also have many more options for CD than this that vastly outclass it, as mentioned at the start of this guide.

And that’s it! (For this introductory part, at least). There are some other skills here and there that should generally be avoided, but those are primarily ones that you want to stray away from for a specific archetype. Additionally, this guide is mainly targeted towards a few individual skills in a vacuum. As with our example Conquistador in the introduction to this guide, skill synergy across a hero’s skillset is just as important as having good skills in general. A hero with four weak skills can still be perfectly functional as long as they work well together. In the next parts of this series, we’ll cover what you’re looking for in each hero class as well.

General Skills (you are here)
Fighters
Rogues
Spellcasters

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