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## Survival Endless Guide

by Draco89123

===================================
The Ultimate Survival Endless Guide
===================================

============================================================================
Written by Mike D. (Draco89123) v1.0

I really don't care what happens to the information presented on this page,
post it wherever you like.

For questions, contact me at [email protected]

How-To Consumable Use Guide
Setup Guide
============================================================================

This guide is designed to give you the requisite knowledge to build your own
Survival Endless build that will survive indefinitely. Whether you’re here
for curiosity, for fun, or for money, this guide will equip you with the
latest and most effective strategies known. You shall be a Survival Endless
master even if you come in here not knowing what this mode even is.

This guide will be broken down according to how every build must deal with
the zombie pressure. I’ll be here to show you how each area of the map has
its own tricks up its sleeve and what answers have been given to the problems
presented. Like any game with varied strategy, there is always preference
for who wants to play what. Cob Cannons are such a dominant force in
Survival Endless that every build can be categorized by how many Cob Cannons
there are. Before we go into the detail of Cob Cannons, I shall introduce
you to the regionalization of the map. I will be using Last Stand as an easy
means to show theoretical concepts, because it has the exact same map
(Pool: Day) as Survival Endless.

==========
The Layout
==========

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0671/SurvivalRegionDiagram

The map is a 9 column by 6 row grid and you’ll notice a couple of things
right off the bat. The map is symmetrical, therefore there is always a top
region corresponding to a bottom region that deals with the exact same
pressures but not necessarily at the exact same time. For simplicity, I
will refer to each as pairs. The pairs of rows in the water are referred
to as Pool Rows. The pairs of rows closest to the edge of the pool are
called Inner Rows. And finally, the outermost rows furthest from the pool
are Outer Rows. I do this because then you don’t have to count the row to
figure out which I’m referring to. This is very easy to visualize.

==========
The Ground
==========

You’ll also notice there’s a region of the map not labeled. It’s the
front-most 2x2 square on the ground. This is that way for good reason.
No plant can survive there. You will find out very shortly that the primary
difficulty of surviving Survival Endless is from fighting the ground forces.
The Zomboni, Giga, and Catapult zombies will make quick work of anything
placed there, even with maximum possible DPS (damage per second) from
Torchwood plus Gatling with Glooms helping out.

The corresponding brown region (column 7 counting from the left) behind the
death zone is reserved for highly replaceable plants, because they serve as
a buffer and will undoubtedly come into contact with all sorts of zombies.
Only put easily replaceable plants here. This area is where you would put
your queued up Freeze Shrooms, Spikerocks, or Fume Shrooms, but we’ll leave
the explanations for that later.

The orange region behind that (columns 5 and 6 counting from the left) are
important because they are very safe. Unless a zombie breaks your front lines,
these plants will see very little action. Imps are thrown over it, and
everything else attacks other regions before they get to this one. This is a
very good place for Cob Cannons because of that. It is also the best
determiner for how healthy your base is because this IS your main line. If
any of the plants in this area are compromised for long, you will have some
serious worrying to do.

The green region behind that (columns 3 and 4) are no different from the
orange region except that they are vulnerable to Imps from the Gargantuars.
This restricts them from being Cob spots, but Pumpkins allow any other plant
to be there. The main concern of this region is what should be done to take
care of those Imps and the remaining spots are used toward helping out the
rest of the build.

The final back region, which happens to be blue (and columns 1 and 2), has
very special properties because of the unique pressures it has to face.
Catapult zombies go directly for your 1st column of plants, so this region
MUST contain an Umbrella plant. The remaining 3 slots must protect the base
from Digger zombies that also happen to target the 1st column; in addition,
this area must handle the Imps who overshoot theprevious green region. We’ll
discuss later on how that is accomplished, but now on to the pool regions.

========
The Pool
========

The pool is far, far simpler than the ground because of simpler zombie
design. Only Dolphins and Jacks will give you trouble. Notice how you can
plant things right up front because of the easier nature of these zombies.

The first region, the red (columns 8 and 9), represent the area that will be
directly dealing with the mass of regular zombies. In addition to that,
there is always the constant threat of an immediate Jack explosion. The Jack
steps onto the map and explodes instantly after, taking out either one or
both of the plants in that region. Although very rare, it can happen at any
time without warning. This fact is very important for the 6 Gloom setup
because Glooms are a vital part of the build’s DPS; they’re expensive, and
take long to replace. The vast majority of builds use the power of this
setup; there are exceptions but this region’s vulnerability is important
to the survival of A LOT of layouts. We’ll discuss how to deal with it in
detail.

The white region behind that (columns 5, 6, and 7) is a very stable area
because only Dolphins and ambush zombies (that pop from underwater at the
middle and end of the level) nibble at your plants. The Dolphins are the
bigger threat because they waste no time getting over there and getting to
work. This area will require constant Pumpkins no matter what build you use.

The backmost purple region of the pool (columns 1, 2, 3, and 4) is completely
and utterly safe. You will lose before these plants are compromised. They
don’t even need Pumpkins. They serve as good Cob spots or areas to put your
Twin Sunflowers.

That concludes all the regions of the map. Now let’s move to the plants
you’re going to be putting on these regions.

==========
The Plants
==========

The design philosophy of a successful Survival Endless build involves using
the upgrade plants. These plants get 50 sun more expensive for every instance
of that plant on the field in Survival Endless, which is a unique restriction
for this mode. Many plants start costing 700-1100 sun at any given point.
People would assume that using cheaper unupgraded plants would be the way to
go, but the goal of using upgrade plants is to make a build so good, by
maximizing the effectiveness of each tile, that losing the expensive plant
is extremely rare.

================
Offensive Plants
================

Gloom Shroom:

This is the heart and soul of ANY successful Survival build that I’ve come
across. The reason why we categorize builds by number of Cobs is because not
every build has Cobs, but every known successful build up to this point has
Glooms. These guys have unparalleled DPS to all the zombies within a 1 tile
radius of itself. With enough of these guys, everything will fall. They do
have a few weaknesses, though. They suffer most from the upgrade plant
penalty. Their price will range from 500 to 1200 sun normally because of the
abundance of Glooms you’ll have on the field. They also have a long cooldown,
so they can only be built or replaced one at a time in between long intervals.
Don’t forget that you need to wake these guys up too since it’s during the
day, which is another 75 sun. They are also extremely vulnerable to Jacks.
Even though they can make quick work of Jacks once they’re in range, the
Jacks can still explode when they’re close but still alive. Jacks can take
out 1-2 Glooms in an instant, and are considered very dangerous for this
reason. Since Glooms are the bread and butter of nearly every build, the
survival of the build is contingent on keeping them alive. Replace as soon
as possible.

Cob Cannon:

While the Glooms are required by every build, the Cob Cannons are extremely
influential in how you play your build. These guys require two slots and
cannot use Pumpkins. So, any spot where any zombie has a decent chance
of nibbling on these plants will be off-limits. They can easily cost
1000 sun just like Glooms, have a long cooldown, and the void left by their
death can definitely be felt. Replace as soon as possible. They work
exactly like Cherry Bombs with their blast radius, which is a 3x3 area
centered on where you click. They also have the added benefit of having a
lower cooldown of ~30 seconds when the Cob lands. A lot of builds are
designed around the constant use of extreme force of these explosions
at the front of the map. They also have the benefit of being ungrabbable by
Bungee zombies because they’re too big. One can come up with interesting
layouts to make their base less vulnerable to Bungees with this information.

Fume Shroom:

This mushroom is the little cousin of the Gloom. While these do not attack
nearly as fast as the Gloom does, their range is a lot longer. They, like
their cousin, attack all units in their range, which happens to be exactly
the 4 tiles in front of them. This has certain advantages and complements
the weakness of Glooms rather beautifully. These guys are extremely useful
for taking out Jacks and Zombonis, in addition to adding more DPS to
everything in the row. Combinations of Fumes and Glooms can make you
immune to Jacks, which is very important as we shall see later on. They also
have a low cost and low cooldown, which makes them easily replaceable, but
you do need the Coffee Bean. Their overall DPS contribution is small so
their priority is less.

Winter-Pult:

Melon-Pults should not be used in Survival Endless. There has been some
controversy over their DPS vs. Winter-Pults, but I’ve personally tested it
myself and Winter-Pults not only do more damage to zombies than their
unupgraded counterparts (unless the shot is blocked by buckets, doors, etc.,
then it’s equal), but they also provide that lovely splash snare. The snare
in PvZ is very useful because it is a 50% reduction of movement AND attack
speed. Very few builds can live without the synergy potential of snare.
These guys attack their row at any distance and vary their initial timing,
but it stays constant after that. Their impact does a sizeable amount of
damage (4-5) to the zombie they’re targeting and 1 damage to everything
within a 1 tile radius of that impact point. It is highly recommend having
at least one Winter-Pult in each row (even Pool) for this reason. They all
do well to cover for each other. If you only have one in the row, be warned
that it can get distracted by landing Imps if it’s too far back, or zombies
will just naturally become unsnared by random chance. There is nothing wrong
with adding additional Winter-Pults to the important rows if the build
benefits from it.

Spikerocks:

These guys have their place in Survival Endless, but it’s not for what you
think. They are mainly used as buffers for Gargantuars, actually. A
Spikerock can take 9 swings before it dies (3 per spike) or tire pops from
Zomboni/Catapult zombies. They are moderately expensive and their cooldown
is also moderate. So they’re replaceable but not as easily as other things.
Because of this restriction, you can’t just wantonly place them like you
could in other modes. They still can’t go in the death zone mentioned
earlier, but the brown region right next to that is where they find good
use. In Cob builds, they serve as a deterrent for Dancer zombies, Zombonis,
and Gargantuars. However, they cannot handle them alone. They’re only used
as a safety net if you make mistakes with the Cob timing. In this fashion,
you can actually afford the upkeep. Another interesting application of
Spikerocks is actually for Digger zombies. If placed in the far left column
where the Digger zombies pop out, they willdie before they reach the next
plant. It’s rather nifty but I never use them that way because they do not
help with the Imps. I’ll explain in detail about this later. They also can
attack any and all zombies within range, ignoring shield damage, treating
most zombies as the 10 hp lamers that they are, which is pretty cool.

That concludes the offensive plants. You’ll notice that I’ve omitted a great
deal of plants you normally would use in other modes. However, in Survival
Endless, they either do a negligible amount of damage because of their
single target nature, or their use is too impractical for the magnitude of
units you’re going to face. I’d like to make a special note of Torchwood
with Gatling. They have good short term DPS, but due to their limitations,
they have no long lasting build. None. Now, we shall move on to the niche
plants.

============
Niche Plants
============

The niche plants, as the name implies, serve a very specific and unique
function that is either required or recommended for any and all layouts.
Luckily there aren’t too many of them.

Umbrella Plant:

These guys are absolutely necessary, end of story. They serve the function
of blocking (within a 1 tile radius of their placement) the Catapult shots,
which ignore your Pumpkins and destroy your plants with a couple of hits.
The Catapult zombie will always attack the backmost plant of its row, so it
is required that you put an Umbrella Plant in the blue region on the map
(ground columns 1 or 2) because only in those spots can the Umbrella reach
the back. After that, Catapult zombies can be ignored. Umbrella Plants also
have the added bonus of blocking Bungees from stealing your plants. Aside
from the necessary 2, you can have additional ones in your map. Bungees are
usually not a big threat for reasons we shall see, so it’s not entirely
recommended. You can make interesting designs using a combination of
Umbrella Plants, Cob Cannons, and Gloom Shrooms to block off your valuable
plants from this threat.

Cattail:

These guys are very useful for constructing a build before its completion,
also good for picking off some zombies in a significant capacity, and also
good for helping with Digger zombies sometimes, but they’re mainly used for
Balloon zombie control. You need two of these Cattails to take care of air
indefinitely. There is another stipulation, and that’s if the Cattails are
too close to the front (3 tiles or less from the right edge), then they have
a chance of letting a Balloon zombie pass. Cattails attack the closest
zombie to them (always air first) and continue sending lagging shots to a
unit until it is dead. The closer they are to their target, the less
downtime they have in between target switches, which means more DPS.
Cattails are also not necessary and as an alternative you can bring along
a Blover.

Twin Sunflowers:

They’re powering your army and providing you with the currency to build your
plants up. These should be kept in safe spots and in spots that are not very
useful for other offensive plants. The number of Twins required will be
dependant on your play style. If you must make regular use of Cherry Bomb,
Jalapeno, Squash, and Freeze Shroom, then 5-6 will be your recommended
amount, because you also have to deal with Jack accidents and Pumpkins.
If you rely on Cobs and little use of items, you can get away with 2-4
Twins depending on the skill of the player and the maintenance required of
the layout.

Gold Magnet:

For those who want to use Survival Endless as a means of getting money,
having about 2 of these on the map gets the vast majority of coins that
drop. A lot of optimized Survival builds are designed for those who are way
past their need for money and are only it for the challenge. So, you can
usually take one of these builds and replace 2 of the less necessary plants
for Gold Magnets. Just make sure you know what you’re doing, otherwise
you’ll find out the hard way.

Pumpkin:

This is a no-brainer, an absolute must, and I usually forget that this is
even a plant. Whether or not you need the Imitator version of this depends
on the maintenance requirements of your build, which is the sum of your debt
accumulated by Imp, Digger, Dolphin, and Football zombies. Jack explosions
and Gargantuar/Zomboni squashings also affect this, but it’s hard to factor
their small influence into it.

Now that we’re done with the tools you’ll be working with, it’s time to take
a look at the opposition you’ll be facing.

===========
The Zombies
===========

The Horde:

These are the Regular, Conehead, Buckethead, Newspaper, Pole-Vaulting, Pool,
Pogo, Ladder, and Screen Door zombies. For all intents and purposes, these
guys can be ignored if you’re doing the build right. They’re the lowest on
the totem pole because of their relatively unexceptional nature and are good
for fodder and money.

Jack-In-The-Box Zombie:

Jacks are quite possibly the simplest and most complex special zombies of
Survival Endless. If not for these bastards, we would’ve had a fully
automated build by now. Alas, Survival Endless actually requires thinking,
and we have our thanks to these guys, the killer of Gloom builds. Once
thought to be an inevitability, they can be worked around. They are of
average health, equivalent to all the other bipedal specialist zombies
(17hp) and they attack normally too. Their one special feature is that at
(seemingly) random intervals, they explode and take out anything within a
1 tile radius. This can be disastrous for close range plants because there
seems to be no way around getting close with the zombie horde all the time.
Well, I’ve already gone on long enough about how evil they can be, so what
can people do to handle this threat? Well, there’s one way of taking care of
inner row Jacks, and two ways of taking care of outer row Jacks.

For inner row Jacks, you require two pool Glooms and 1 Fume that attacks
off-screen.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0838/InnerJackTactic

Notice how the absolute right edge is about a third of another tile, which
means zombies can be attacked before they even get on the grid. The Fume
can be closer but not too close for obvious reasons. Immediate Jack
explosions will not plague you as long as you satisfy those conditions.
I’ve not tested the arrangement with the Fume one tile back, where it only
attacks on-screen tiles. This solution is on such a hairy edge that it is
unlikely to work, but you’re all welcome to experiment.

For outer row Jacks, you can Cob them before they reach your plants (which
doesn’t work out so well for those inner row Jacks since they explode
before you can react) or you can use a special arrangement I discovered a
while back to lead to the first Cobless build, which was a big deal because
it was unheard of to not be using 6 Cob Cannons to get past 100. Here’s the
bare minimum required to be Jack immune in their exact positioning.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0568/OuterJackTactic

It also has the added bonus of taking out Zombonis by itself along with most
any other zombie except Football zombies and Gargantuars. Now, we’ll get a
little more into discussion about this arrangement because there actually is
some variability at a cost. For some odd reason, that exact distance from
the right edge makes the build perfectly immune, no matter what. If the
arrangement is moved forward one tile, it’ll be crushed rather quickly, so
the only alternative would be to move it back. As it turns out, the farther
back you move it, the more vulnerable to Jacks it becomes. One tile back,
it may take your Gloom’s Pumpkin (if the Gloom has no Pumpkin when the Jack
nicks you, then it dies) with a very small chance of taking it out in one go.
This is still perfectly manageable and I’ve seen it put to good use in a lot
of the minimalist Cob builds, where they only have 2-4 Cobs and let the
zombies come to them, allowing the small number of Cobs to recharge in time.
Just remember that every tile you scale back, you lose 2 possible spots to be
used for other plants, like Winter-Pults.

As a final note, I’ve studied a lot about the nature of Jack explosions and
their timing. The positions at which they explode are constant and occur
usually as they cross the border from one tile to another. This a rough
estimate and not necessarily true the farther back in the base you let them
go. Also, the farther they get, the more likely chance they have of blowing
up since their missed opportunities for exploding continue to go up. At
first it’s, say, 1/8, then 1/7, then 1/6, etc. These are just some things to
keep in mind, and one day it’d be really helpful to find out exactly where
all the explosions occur. The final thing I’d like to mention is what really
makes Jacks a force to be reckoned with. When you’re in the later waves
where multiple Jacks come out, they have a very deadly cascade effect as a
product of not only weakening your defenses but increasing their probability
of exploding as they go along. One blows up and takes out a Gloom, so the
other 2 live, then another blows up a couple seconds later, and so on. This
means that a chain of Jacks can take out 3 Glooms in an instant, possibly 4
if they take out your replacement before it can help. That is also something
to keep in mind and Jacks are always to be taken seriously.

Zomboni:

These guys are the ice machine rovers of death. They cannot be slowed and
have a surprising resistance to damage especially by Winter-Pults. They
leave a trail of ice behind that blocks placement of any plants there
(sorry consumables!). Jalapenos can melt the row it affects but it’s not
that useful for this function because of its long cooldown. Zombonis also
flatten any plant in its way, making it especially dangerous and it is the
second most likely reason you’ll die in Survival Endless, next to
Gargantuars.

Zombonis are usually taken care of by Glooms or Cobs, same as everything
else. Inner row Zombonis that are not taken care of by Cobs or Spikerocks
are taken out by the 6 pool Gloom setup.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0938/Orthodox6gloom

Even with the 6 Gloom, they will reach that third tile from the edge if it’s
a Spikerock or a plant with a Pumpkin. Unpumpkined Fumes can survive
surprisingly, which is why that inner row Jack setup actually works, which

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0838/InnerJackTactic

Outer row Zombonis are taken care of similarly. You can either use the outer
row setup for Jacks or rely on the panacea of Cobs.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0568/OuterJackTactic

I’d like to make a note that you should notice which plants have Pumpkins
and which don’t for good reason. Yes, you do actually need 2 Fumes and 1
Gloom as they are bare minimum for this to work.

Now you’re probably all wondering why Pumpkins can make or break whether or
not you get flattened by Zombonis. The answer lies in the fact that Pumpkins
add width to the plant. If the Zomboni touches the plant, it gets flattened,
so a Pumpkin decreases the distance the Zomboni has to travel to reach your
plant. Pumpkins make your plants fat. It really is that close and it is
definitely worth it because now you can ignore even the monstrous Zombonis.
Unpumpkined plants are obviously vulnerable to Football zombies, so you can
use Pumpkins in the Zomboni’s absence or just deal with the replacement
costs.

Balloon Zombie:

Make sure you either use 2 properly placed Cattails or always bring the
Blover card when they come around. Balloon Zombies can be snared by Freeze
Shroom only and when their balloon pops, they can sometimes land on those
unpumpkined plants annoyingly.

Catapult Zombie:

Make sure to put an Umbrella in each 2x2 back corner, then you can forget
about them. If you’re not damaging the outer row Catapults, they’ll
eventually get bored and move forward.

Dolphin Zombie:

He’s another of the more complicated zombies but with a very simplistic
effect at the end of the day. He can take initial hits before entering
the pool, but never enough to be killed off. He jumps in with
invulnerability and arcs over your plants with invulnerability. He also
happens to be immune to snare when in this leap-frogging process. He’s not
actually invulnerable, because he can be killed at any point by a Cob, and
Freeze Shroom works on him too. If you have the standard 6 Gloom, he’ll land
on your third column of Glooms and start nibbling away. Without the Cob,
you can only kill him so quickly, so he is usually guaranteed to get bites
off. If he’s snared prior to getting into the pool or Freeze Shroomed,
then his damage will be vastly reduced. Dolphins require the most frequent
Pumpkining because of their numbers and speed, so you must always keep
watch of that. Winter-Pults are very unreliable with their start times for
attacks, so good luck getting them to nail the Dolphins.

Digger Zombie:

These guys are very straight-forward, too, and you actually don’t want to
use Magnets for them. There will be just too many of them for your poor
Magnets so you need dedicated ways of kicking their butts when they pop
out of the ground. That leaves you two viable options, Glooms or Spikerocks.
A Spikerock will take them out with no damage felt but at the expense of
doing no damage to Imps. 3 Glooms are required to take out a Digger without
a single nibble. 2 Glooms is a good balance since they sometimes take them
out with small damage or no damage. Glooms are affected by the same variable
starting time as Winter-pults, essentially, so how much damage you take from
a Digger is dependent on when the Gloom wants to get off its lazy butt. This
randomness will plague you in a lot of things, and this is no exception.

Gargantuar:

Bum, bum, buuuum. The most intimidating zombie ever conceived for this game.
The only zombie in the game that can sustain a heavy damage consumable. Some
people say he IS the difficulty of Survival Endless and he is the biggest
reason you will fail. He specializes in crushing noob builds and laughs as
he strolls right past your Starfruit and Threepeaters. Nothing short of
unmitigated rape will stop these titans. You might think you’re cool for
putting down 8 Cattails and you took down that one Giga all by your lonesome,
but fast forward 50 flags and now 12 Gigas come out with 8 Zombonis and the
Football zombies are eating all of your snare. Yea, good luck. Go find
another guide. There’s no solution.

Just kidding. Even though Gargantuars can take a heavy damage consumable,
they can’t take two. The red eye Gargantuars, a.k.a. Gigas, are only 50%
more HP, so they take 3. (their Imps are also 50% more hp) Henceforth, I
shall refer only to Gigas, because if you can take down Gigas, you can take
down their weaker counterpart. As a matter of fact, some builds even ignore
the weaker brother, *cough* Cobless setup.

Rule of thumb, always snare the Gigas. Unsnared Gigas will squash their way
to your Umbrella Plant before you can even press the space bar to rest
your arthritic hands. There are only two ways to handle Gigas, woo surprise,
Cobs, Glooms, or both. It turns out that 3 tiles and a Spikerock gives
you enough room to Cob the living hell out of Gigas if you have 6+ Cobs. So,
for Cobs, both outer and inner rows are handled exactly the same. The inner
row only seems to require 1 Cob though if you have the 6 Gloom watching your
back, since having 3 Glooms worth of DPS apparently helps out somewhat.

Now for those of you wondering how you can stop 12 of these guys without
constantly bombing them with napalm, well you have to pump your build with
more Glooms, like crack. And you still have to use heavy damage consumables,
just now they’re cards instead of cobs, and they cost sun, not spots. They
never really wanted to balance a build strong enough to handle 20 Gigas
without cheating (the number always changes because God laughs at you),
so there you go. Either Cob spam or Cherry Bomb, Freeze Shroom, Jalapeno,
and Squash spam. So, how do you manage without sucking on the teat of Cob
Cannons? Well, you do literally stuff as many Glooms as possibly you can.
Exhibit A.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0493/GodSlayer

Take note of the seriousness of this photo. These are god slayers and take
their job very seriously. Also take note of the Freeze Shroom in the
picture. It’s a reminder that the Gigas must be snared the whole time. It
also shows that these 5 Glooms can’t do it alone and they need a Freeze
Shroom when the Giga’s in range of all of them. 5 Gloom beatdown while
frozen equals dead Gigas. This requires Freeze and Imitator Freeze.

There are other ways of taking out Gigas. Exhibit B.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0221/GodSlayer2

Note that you still require full snaring and 4 open spots. The Winter-Pult
obviously doesn’t have to be up front. This one takes up more space than
Exhibit A but is more independent because you don’t need the Freeze Shroom
normally.

Now, for the outer rows. They’re a little more difficult to handle because
of Jacks. You can’t just put 4 Glooms in a row and call it a day. If we take
our answer to Jacks and Zombonis, and add an additional Gloom to the mix, we
can work without Cobs.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0691/ExhibitC

This setup has precisely enough DPS to take out normal Gargantuars by
themselves, and since Gigas are only 1 consumable away… you use Cherry Bomb,
Jalapeno, and Squash to bridge the gap. This is the only non-Cob outer row
solution to Gigas that doesn’t get its butt handed to it by Jacks. Scale
it back and it has the effect described in the Jacks section.

I just want to add that all these answers to Gigas make their younger
brother garbage. You can ignore Non-Gigas with these heavy damage-dealing
formations outside of some crazy flukes.

To top it off, people can use the minimalist form of the Jack/Zomboni answer
in conjunction with a small number of cobs, usually 2-4. This requires
that you scale it back at least 1 or 2 tiles from the original position,
because the build is placing a lot of emphasis on those Cobs.

Aside from the above listed methods, there aren’t any more tested ways of
dealing with Gigas that isn’t highly situational or impractical. There is
but one more zombie to deal with.

Imp:

These fat midgets have the potential to be very annoying if you don’t watch
out for them. When a Gargantuar reaches its 50% hp mark, he’ll take the
time to throw the little guy from his back to about 5 tiles ahead of him.
Imps land on the plants in columns 2,3, and 4 the vast majority of the
time. So they breach basically the two back regions on the map. Since many
Gargantuars can come out at any one time, there will be many Imps at one
time. However, their attack is slow and their health is low, so you don’t
need to Pumpkin often when they show.

The only way discovered so far to take care of Imps effectively is to also
use Glooms in the back.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0521/DiggerGloom

Like so. The formation doesn’t need to be exactly that, but the Glooms must
be in range. Now, to discuss Gloom placement. Even though Gargantuars
throw their Imps relative to their own position when they get to 50% HP, the
range at which they land can be generalized. If they move too far in, they
won’t even bother throwing their Imp. This can make things more difficult be
cause that throw serves as a good way to stop the Gigas for a short while.
No throw means less time to DPS them down before they reach your plants.
Only bases that are scaled really far back have to worry about this, though.
With that in mind, there are two columns that Glooms can be placed in to hit
99% of the Imps that land. The red bracket is where they land, and the
yellow bracket is the area for effective Gloom placement.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0995/ImpRegionDiagram

Notice that the right side of the yellow bracket is not within range of
Digger zombies, so ideally the left side of that bracket is the most bang
for your buck since it hits 99% of all Imps and 100% of all Diggers. I’d
also like to point out that the transition from 2 Gloom to 3 Gloom coverage
for Imps is not very noticeable.

This is why Glooms for Digger zombies are probably more useful than
Spikerocks. Why? Because, if you lay down Spikerocks to take care of Digger
zombies, you have 0 Glooms to take care of Imps. This is what the setup
would look like:

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0221/DiggerSpikerock

So for 3 slots, you’re getting 3 Glooms worth of damage to Diggers
(3 Glooms = 2 Spikerocks) and 1 Glooms worth of damage to Imps. If you use
Glooms for Diggers, like the one shown earlier, for 2 slots you get 2 Glooms
worth of damage to both Imps and Diggers. Now, simple math dictates that
3 + 1 = 2 + 2. So for 2 slots, you get the same overall DPS. Not to mention,
the difference between 2 Glooms of damage to Diggers is minimal compared to
3. It’s all about diminishing returns and maximizing your effectiveness per
tile space.

One final note is that Imps are very wide and heavy-set, so their hitbox is
actually larger than where they land. So, horizontally speaking, Glooms can
reach them about 1.3-1.4 tiles away aside from the normal 1 tile range. We
shall see that this is the same for Bungees too.

Bungee:

These guys come every beginning of a flag (end of first half and end of
second half), but not at the beginning of the level. They vary in number,
even in the later flags, from just about 1 to 10 at a time. There are
multiple ways of dealing with Bungees. You can either block them with
Umbrella Plants, which is somewhat hard to manage with a very large base,
or DPS them down before they pick up your plant and leave. So, how does one
go about that? Well, snared Bungee zombies surprisingly stay down twice as
long, but they have 23 health so it is still quite a feat to bring these guys
down in time. You can use a properly timed Freeze Shroom, which will freeze
them in place if they’re out and not moving, snare them, and damage them.
The key to timing it is to see the targets land, wait 3 seconds, then Coffee
Bean the Freeze Shroom. If it works out, they should be frozen as quickly
as they possibly can. This way, your Winter-Pults, Glooms, or Cobs can
handle them. You can also Cob them without any help if you have good
timing and reaction speed.

The final way is for your base to handle it all by itself. This requires
extreme Gatling plus Torchwood DPS (which doesn’t work in Survival Endless
anyway), or Winter-Pults and Glooms. With enough Glooms, they’ll die snared
or not, which means your 6 Gloom front will always be safe. However, if you
don’t have space for such a large amount of Glooms, you’ll need to enlist
the help of Winter-Pults. Because Winter-Pults and Glooms both start at
random times with their attacks, their delay can be so long that you need at
least 1 Winter-Pult and 4 Glooms just to secure a plant 100%. 3 Glooms will
be around 90-95% security. If you already have a Winter-Pult in every row,
every plant not covered by an Umbrella must be in range of 4 Glooms. But
like the Imps, the Bungees are wider; therefore their horizontal hitbox
allows them to be hit by Glooms 2 spaces away. This does not work vertically
or diagonally, though. If you fail to achieve 3-4 Glooms for some spots,
whenever those spots get targeted, you must use a Freeze Shroom or be
prepared to replace the plant.

After learning all this theory, it’s time to see these things put into
practice. It’s one thing to memorize the tactics laid down by your
forefathers, it’s another to see these in action. Like I said, I categorize
these builds by their number of Cobs, from 0 to 8. There are builds that
are more than 8, but they’re no different from the 8 Cob.

=============
Cobless Build
=============

I happen to be the designer of this build, so I have the most knowledge
about the only successful Cobless build out there. I say “only” because
any other variation of this build is no significant variation, just a small
change in the back corners or the pool. The meat and potatoes can’t really
differ. There are some modification to this build that makes it different
from the standard approaches. For one, the Umbrella plant is optimally
placed so this build is Bungee immune. For two, there is a third inner row
Gloom that is used for Imps and also acts as a safety net and makes this
build very resilient to failure.

You should see that this build is a combination of the inner row answer to
Gigas (5 Gloom which requires Freeze Shroom and its Imitator) and the
only non-Cob answer to outer row Gigas (which requires consumable rotation).
The original Pumpkin card is enough to cover for the maintenance.

There are two weaknesses to this build. The first of which is dealing with
the fact that every zombie will get uncomfortably close to your base, so
visibility and pressure issues will arise, like finding spots to place your
Freeze Shroom. The second problem is that it can’t do anything to stop the
premature Jack explosion of the pool Glooms. This can be a game breaker if
you do not replace them immediately and react accordingly. Since you’ll be
down a Gloom for a little while, it is difficult to prevent any other loss
of plants in the mean time, especially that first inner row Gloom. The key
is to focus all your consumables on stalling time and minimizing damage.
That means Freeze, Puff Shroom, Cherry Bomb, etc. Cherry Bombs have the
added benefit of affecting both rows, so use the Cherry Bomb for the
afflicted side before the Jalapeno.

The key to the consumable rotation is to use them only when the Gigas are
about to smash your plants. Use the Squash as often as possible because
of its cheaper cost and lower cooldown. Aside from that, don’t let your
Freeze Shrooms go to waste all too often, and make sure to queue up Freezes
during the breaks.

The highlight of this build is that for non-Giga levels, you can watch the
destruction of all the zombies completely automated. It is rather beautiful
to see everything fall without you doing much of anything. It also provides
an alternative to the usual Cob spam that’s required of you for the Cob
builds. People recommend this build if you don’t like all the excessive
clicking of Cob Cannons.

============
2 Cob Builds
============

The main trouble of these builds is that they quickly let unsnared zombies
get by, so Freeze Shroom is a must for its equalizing power. It gets
everything snared and removes the debt accumulated for lost time. These are
probably the slowest builds because they require the zombies to go the most
distance before the next wave comes. As a result, you can get away with a
low Sunflower count.

http://i27.tinypic.com/27zg603.jpg
(By FlyinFree)

FlyinFree’s build employs the delay tactic and making full use of those 2
Cob Cannons. It seems like this build also requires full consumable rotation
and both the Pumpkin card and its Imitator. He also uses Spikerocks for
Diggers because he wants to keep the Gloom cost down just in case he loses
the pool Gloom or that front ground Gloom. You can see too that he employs
the most stripped down version of the Zomboni/Jack answer. It was his build
that actually showed me the second Gloom in this formation was unnecessary.

http://a.imagehost.org/view/0825/Draco2Cob
(By Draco89123)

My version of this build does not require a consumable rotation, but I do
bring a Freeze Shroom and Cherry Bomb just in case. When there are Jacks in
the level, I replace those regular sunflowers for Fumes to handle the Jack
accidents. I rely on using Puff Shroom and its Imitator to severely slow
down the Gigas so that my Cobs can take care of them.

============
4 Cob Builds
============

These are probably the easiest and most flexible of builds. 4 Cobs is
halfway to constant Cob spam every wave, so the Cob rotation for this build
involves Cobbing every other wave and just drawing out the zombies long
enough to take care of the in between.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/2356/timeisyourfriend.png
(By halibabica)

Halibabica has come up with a very interesting pattern where he goes even
more minimalist with the ground support and takes out the Fumes. Jacks
are apparently no problem for him since the Cobs take them out before they
reach any ground plants.

I couldn’t find a link to his setup, but there are a lot of videos of this
guy’s build.
(By Shapes112)

Shapes112’s build is what introduced me to the flexibility of the 4 Cob and
it shows the pacing of the game by these builds, which makes it very level
and nonchalant. I believe Shapes112 requires consumable rotation and all
sorts of other hijinks based on its asymmetry and his constant switching of
plants to fit his needs. He has definitely proven that 4 Cob can manage
1,000 flags just like the rest of them.

(By Draco89123)

As inspiration from Shapes112’s build, I decided to optimize both sides,
make it symmetrical again, and make it so the build can always deal with
anything that comes out and not need to switch things out. You can still
switch things out, but basal form can handle anything without any
modification. This build requires no consumable and no imitator card, so I
just bring Puff Shroom and its Imitator because you can never go wrong with
free delays. You do need to bring a Blover for air, though.

=============
6+ Cob Builds
=============

Now that we’ve moved beyond just having 4 Cobs, the Cob rotation becomes
extremely important for maintaining yourself in the later waves. These
builds always rely on Cobs, even for simpler levels with the basic zombies
because of the sacrifices they made to have such raw power. The Cob rotation
involves Cobbing whenever you have a pair up, but only one pair per wave.
The idea is to Cob as late as possible. You can time this based on the
Dolphins, but the best timer is to make it so the Cobs land right before the
Zomboni is about to get popped by the Spikerock. That is a good way to get
in the groove, and if you maintain that for every level, nothing will give
you trouble. Football zombies, Dance zombies, Jacks, and Gigas still pose a
threat so they are the main priority of these builds.

To optimize Cob blast placement, target the inner row 7th column tile to hit
everything within that open area. It helps against pool zombies and is best
for dealing with the entirety of a wave with just 2 shots. The next tactic,
like all the other Cob builds, is to stall the zombies with Puff Shrooms and
Freeze Shrooms if you need time for your Cobs to recharge.

http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/2668/endlessiamsooty.jpg
(By Iamsooty)

This is the first successful build for Survival Endless. This defined what
being a viable build meant and laid the foundation for all Cob buildsout
there. It established the idea of using Glooms in the back, using the
orthodox 6 pool Gloom, and using Spikerocks and open space to buy enough
time to kill everything with Cobs. The card selection suggests that it
required the usual consumable rotation, Pumpkin replacement, and Spikerock
maintenance.

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/557/endlessproz.jpg
(By Proz)

This was the start of the 8 Cob builds. Why stop at 6? The outer rows were
always more vulnerable because they weren’t getting Gloom protection.
People answered that for the longest time with a butt load of Winter-Pults
for the outer row, but then Proz decided to be really ballsy and put an
extremely vulnerable Cob Cannon on the front lines and just made his Cob
rotation constant. With 8 Cobs and proper timing, there is no gap in between
waves, so if done correctly, everything would be dead before they even
reached the Cob Cannons. If a Cob Cannon does get eaten, or mistakes are
made, then consumables are recommended to bring along as backup.

http://i32.tinypic.com/11in8km.jpg
(By Cob Cannon)

http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/8528/endlesstaikanatur.jpg
(By Taikanataur)

(By Draco89123)

Finally, the rest of these links are just tweaks of the 8 Cob design.
They’re designed for ease of use with Freeze Shrooms, or more elegant
Umbrella Plant placement, or whatever. They essentially all follow the same
Cob rotation. My builds at the end show that the 6 pool Gloom is entirely
superfluous for these setups, and as a result, Jacks are no longer a
concern, which makes sun no longer a concern.

============
Zombie Stats
============

Special thanks to A Guy for his contributions.

Regular: 10
Football: 80
Pole-Vaulting: 17
Newspaper: 8 hp Newspaper + 9 hp Zombie
Screen Door: 65 hp blocked, 10 hp penetrated
Michael Jackson: 17
Backup: 10
Ducky Tube: 10
Ducky Tube Conehead: 27
Ducky Tube Buckethead: 65
Snorkel: 10
Zomboni: 60
Bobsled: 14 hp bobsled, 10 hp per zombie
Dolphin: 17
Jack-in-the-Box: 17
Balloon: 1 for balloon, 10 for zombie
Digger: 15
Pogo: 17
Bungee: 23
Ladder: 25 hp for ladder, 17 for zombie
Catapult: 35
Imp: 3
Gargantuan: 150 (2 Consumables worth)
Giga-Gargantuan: 300 (3 consumables worth)
Yeti: 46

==========
Conclusion
==========

Hopefully this guide will be complete enough for you to not only be able to
play a build past 100 flags, but design a new build past 100 flags.

Any questions, comments, concerns, or if you have new ideas, new tactics,
or just a willingness for PvZ discussion, you can email me.

[email protected]

Thanks imagehosting.com for your awesome image hosting. =P