Orcs Must Die Max Combo Killbox Guide by VvT76
This post will explain how to build an efficient and effective killbox that generates consistent high combos. Orcs Must Die! has an excellent reward system for the amount of traps used and to maximize this reward, you will have to use as many traps as possible that add a combo point to the kill. For every combo point you add to the mix, the amount of points for that kill double. When maximizing the amount of points for a kill, an extra combo point can make a huge difference, from 51,200 points for one kill on most levels, to 204,800 points on Hard Climb and The Stream. In another post, I have elaborated on how to drop the barricades in favor of the spring trap in order to get the maximum amount of combo points in each level.
So what makes an effective and efficient killbox?
- Every trap is in there, preferably only once (it’s cheaper that way too)
- The killbox can deal a final blow (you will need to kill the enemy in order to get the points obviously)
- The killbox is reliable (you can repeat a max combo over and over)
- Depending on the circumstances, damaged enemies can still be affected by each trap without killing them prematurely
The static part of a killbox
- Crossbow (this weapon is standard issue, no way of changing this)
- Archers (the burning pitch upgrade of the steel weaver adds a combo point, which you would otherwise lose)
- Ballistas (the jagged steel upgrade of the steel weaver adds a combo point to this trap, which you would otherwise lose)
You could argue that the spring trap is a static part of the killbox too, since everybody uses this trap in a high combo scenario. The reason for this, is that this trap can alter the direction of the enemy and add a combo point. And it does a very good job at that. It can be replaced by a push trap, but that push trap will take a valuable wall spot. You could use a push trap in a narrow corridor for example. At least one physics trap is part of the box and experience tells that only one is preferred. You will introduce a variable when you add a second physics trap and is highly discouraged.
The interchangable part of a killbox
Although interchangable, the lightning is used because it is a reliable spell, does not take up a physical spot to use and is active for the duration of the time it takes your mana bar to replenish. In gameplay scenarios, lightning ring is ridiculously effective and people already know how to use it. This leaves five traps to choose from. Any trap that adds a combo point will do, as space permits.
Favorites are the grinder which damages the enemy and reliably adds a combo point. Brimstone has a long damage over time, so it will add a combo point reliably as well. Wall blades damage a lot, so they are a good killer trap. Spikes have a long damage over time too because of the mandatory jagged steel upgrade.
The scorcher is an excellent trap to use because it occupies a ground square and is triggered from a distance. The down side is that it interacts with the spring trap in strange ways. You cannot put the scorcher directly adjacent to the spring trap or the spring trap will sometimes just not work, losing all kinds of combo points in the process.
Less favorite are the zapper and pounder. The zapper zaps beyond the column it occupies, making it not as reliable as you’d want. The pounder is pretty slow. Tar works well too and can be used in an ingame scenario to combo orcs or to make your pen harder to escape. It does not do damage in your killbox, so you will have to account for that. And tar does not have an animation, which I will come back to shortly.
The most demanding trap of your entire setup, is the ballista and it deserves a paragraph of its own. It will add 2 combo points and has a very fast cooldown, which means you will lose the combo point very quickly. You will need to add the ballista to the mix as late as possible. Not all of them, just one. And that is very important to realize. That one last ballista needs to allign with your kill spot and must be fired at the last possible moment. The other ballistas are used to bring the health down of an enemy. The ballista fires at a 45 degree angle max, so contrary to popular belief, it does not shoot straight down (you can see that in the loading screen of Hard Climb)! You will have to account for the angle when building a killbox. The 14x combo video by Kenny and Hungry Hungry Hippos demonstrate that. The ballistas are pointed to the door where the ogre comes out of, but they never fire. As expected, since the door is at 60 degrees or so.
And then, there are the ogres. You will need to get them to the killspot and herd them. I usually stop at the edge of my killbox and have him swing at me. Just take a tiny step back and he will miss. You can use the time he is swinging by walking backwards, cast lightning and spray him with your crossbow. This works almost for every high combo killbox.
When you want to build a killbox for an ingame scenario, you have to take your enemies into account. Do you need a lot of crowd control? Use tar. Do you need to deal with lots of fliers (like on Great Gorge), bring the zapper. Use the appropriate interchangable traps and incorporate them in your box. Do you have different kinds of ogres and could they take unwanted damage along the way? Adjust your box to accommodate for that. In that case, take the health of the ogre down yourself. Get the bulk down with headshots, fine tune spamming his body and legs (you cannot headshot while spamming, so go ahead and fire blindly). The fire ogre and armoured ogre are nice and sturdy. Frost and vanilla ogres die easily by fire, so take that into account!
If there are hunters on the level, try to minimize the amount of ballistas. You might score very high combos on them too, but they require a lot better timing and positioning than ogres do. Plus, they have a lot less health, but are not particularly vulnerable for a single element type or trap. In theory, they can combo just as high as ogres, so use that to your advantage!
What can go wrong (assuming you have all the necessary steel weaver upgrades)?
Q: The ogre is flung down hard after he hits the spring and he doesn’t hit the wall blades above the grinder.
A: The ballista hits just a bit too late. Find out which ballista causes this (by eliminating one at a time) and do not put a ballista in that spot (or move the entire box)
Q: I get an 11x, not a 12x
A: Check the traps afterwards. Traps have an animation when they have fired. If everything seems to have fired, perhaps the crossbow or lightning did not take. Tweak and tune
Q: I get a 10x, not a 12x
A: Either two traps did not fire or archers did not fire or the ballistas did not fire (or too late). Listen for the ballistas and watch the archers (they fire three shot, then nothing). Add more archers or place a ballista closer to the kill line: angle-wise, not necessarily distance-wise (as long as the ballista can hit, it will be ok, no matter the distance).
Q: I get a 9x or even lower
A: Your box needs more power. Add more ballistas and more archers. If there are other enemies in the level, did you make sure the ballistas had reset properly? Take some time between kills in the killbox and let every trap reset. Ballistas take more time to reset than the other traps.
I have created a video which shows a max combo spot for every map in the game, but not necessarily the most reliable or useful one. I have preserved the original sound, so the music and sound do not flow smoothly because of that. The thing you can take most from this video, is the ballista sound. You can see the lines as they hit the ogre and hear them being fired. Notice that when the combo point is shown, a fraction of a second before that, you’ll hear (and in some cases see) the ballista. The best example in the reel is the Chokepoint bit.
Furthermore, you can see how I direct the ogres. Although the Rebirth kill is the most spectacular of all the kills in the video; if you require a kill like this for the combo to take, the killbox is not reliable.
I hope this video will give you a better understanding and appreciation for high combo killboxes!Other Orcs Must Die! Articles
Orcs Must Die Max Combo Killbox Guide
Orcs Must Die WarMage Mode 5 Skulls Guide
Orcs Must Die Barricade Blocking Guide
Orcs Must Die Ogre and Gnoll Hunter Killing Guide
Orcs Must Die 4X2 High Score Strategy Guide
Orcs Must Die Maps List
Orcs Must Die Gameplay FAQ