Idle Monster TD Guide: Tips & Cheats to Unlock More Monsters & Destroy Enemies

Idle Monster TD is an amazing idle tower defense game with a retro vibe, available as a free to play game over on Kongregate. And today we’re here to help you get better at this game by sharing an Idle Monster TD guide: tips and tricks to help you beat more enemy waves.

Because, even though in theory the game is pretty much straightforward, there are some small details that you might miss – details that could prevent you from achieving greatness. And we’ll talk about them all – and more! – in today’s guide.

So let’s get straight to business and check out some Idle Monster TD tips and tricks below in our guide!

How to spend your Essence?

The Essence is the green stuff that you’re earning when you’re beating each new wave after a restart. It has many uses and, since it’s available in very limited amounts, you should micromanage it in order to ensure a better progress in the game.

Essence is used to unlock new monsters, buy and upgrade spells or conduct research – all of these being important things between which you must distribute your essence through.

Early on, when you start the game, you should definitely invest your essence primarily in unlocking new monsters: even if you don’t have access to the higher Tiers (which improve the chances of you getting rarer monsters), you still need the numbers to take out the enemy waves.

So, if you’re just starting up, I would recommend to use your Essence on summoning new monsters until you have at least 5 of them. And always use Essence to summon the highest tier available to you.

Afterwards, start investing in Spells first – get Strength Aura first, as you will need it to beat the waves later. Research is what should be invested in next, with the Damage increase being your top priority: it’s relatively cheap and offering you massive damage boosts!

The prices for the spells and research increase with each new purchase in a category, while summoning units of the same tier costs the same amount of essence. Keep mixing drawing for new monsters with boosting spells and research in order to keep increasing your overall power.

Important upgrades to buy with Free Gems

You will get a lot of gems for free in Idle Monster TD, which can be used to purchase some really important things – some of which you might not be directly aware of.

One of the most obvious ones is the Tier 2 unlock in the Research category. Eventually, you will want to unlock Tiers 3 and 4, but until then, there’s something else to spend your gems on.

Click the house icon in the bottom bar to be taken to the game’s shop. There, you will have one extremely useful thing to buy with Gems: a permanent damage boost! It is relatively cheap compared to other Gems upgrades that you can get from the shop and extremely useful on the long term.

The second most useful thing you can purchase with gems from the shop is the Prestige rewards booster, but if you’re a free to play player, you should only get the Tier 2 Upgrades first, a few Damage boost second and only afterwards decide to hoard Gems for a Tier 3 upgrade unlock or Prestige booster.

Upgrades: Spells, Research & Artifacts

We’ve covered some of the things here already, but I want to go a bit more in depth with each category, so that things are clear and useful.

Best Spells in Idle Monster TD

You can only have 4 spells in the game bar available at one time, but you can unlock and upgrade as many as you want. However, most of the spells in the game are not that useful.

Here is my rank of the best spells, with the top 4 being the ones that I think you should use at all times.

Rain of Fire – perfect for dealing damage and taking out minions, leaving the boss to be focused on by your towers.

Strength Aura – another great spell for boss battles and not only. Get a damage boost for a limited amount of time.

Frenzy Aura – again, a spell that’s great for taking out those difficult waves, as it increases the attack speed of all monsters.

Essence Storm – perfect for grinding: you get a chance of having regular monster kills drop Essence. Use this one constantly throughout the game, but especially immediately after a Prestige, when you destroy a ton of monsters easily.

Freeze – another useful spell for fighting bosses and difficult waves as it freezes opponents for a while (depending on level) You can switch it with Essence Storm before an important fight.

Deadly Strikes – Increases Critical hit chance. Low percentage and less useful that other spells.

Mastership: Good especially early on for getting more XP points for your monsters. I rarely used it though and still had a great time in the game.

Prosper: You get more gold dropped by enemies. Good when grinding and in need of money, but in reality it won’t make much of a difference.

Death Awaits – This sounds better than it really is: it depletes a certain % of all enemy troops’ health. But the amount is really low and less useful than what other spells offer. Clearly the worst spell in the game.

Now, depending on the situation and in-game progress, you can switch some of the spells and have some active over others. For example, the spell that gives you more money is useful when you’re just grinding, as well as the Mastership spell.

But if you don’t want to micromanage spells too much, just keep the top 4 active and you’re set for easy wins against even the most difficult bosses.

Idle Monster TD Research Guide

Research in the game is divided into Tiers and you can only unlock additional tiers by spending Gems. This shouldn’t be your main priority though, as research is expensive and Tiers 2 & 3 are not that useful early on.

I would recommend investing instead in the Damage research – you can always use some boosts to your overall damage, then attack speed and Critical Hit chance.

At tier 2, increasing the range of your Monsters is the best Research to invest in, while Tier 3 doesn’t give you any real direct bonuses, but you can invest in increasing the coin drops from monsters to ensure faster progress.

Artifacts in Idle Monster TD

You unlock a new artifact in the game for ever 10 new waves that you complete. So if you reach wave 100 and reset, you won’t receive a new artifact until you reach stage 110.

You don’t have any control over the artifacts that you’re getting, so there’s not much to strategize here. You can spend 100 Gems to randomly reassign all artifacts (basically redraw them) but that is not something that seems worthwhile.

It could make some sense if you could do this once you unlock all tiers and the random redraw gives you rarer artifacts, but it’s all based on luck and there are other better ways to spend your premium currency in the game, especially if you’re a free to play player.

Collections: Relics, Tech Tree & Tournament

Idle Monster TD Relics guide

Every time you prestige in the game, you earn Relics Prestige Points which can be used to buy various boosts in the game and upgrade existing ones.

It’s important to note that, unlike how it goes in other games, the Prestige Points here are worthless by themselves as they don’t give you any bonuses. So you should always invest all Prestige points in order to make the most out of them.

The main challenge when managing your Prestige points is deciding between drawing for a new Relic or upgrading an existing one. If you don’t have very good Relics available, you should draw for new ones.

By “very good” relics I mean relics that increase your monsters’ damage, critical hit chance, range and so on. All these relics that directly influence your performance in the game are really good and should be upgraded first.

I have written an in-depth guide to relics and shared a full list of relics here – make sure to check it out to better plan your moves.

Idle Monster TD Tech Tree & Technology scrolls

You only get access to the Tech Tree later on in the game, after beating wave 400 or something like that. Once you unlock it, there’s not really a lot for you to strategize about.

You have two directions you can choose, but you can also follow them all. I recommend investing in this order (after the basic damage increase): invest in all the monster type damage boosts (you will need them later on when resisting monsters are met), then follow with Range, Critical Hit chance increase and Rarer Monsters.

Getting all these will keep you busy for a long time and once you get here, you will get the chance to decide what direction to follow next.


Every now and then, there will be in-game tournaments taking place, rewarding you with goodies based on your performance. What matters the most to you is earning as many tournament points to invest in boosts.

In my opinion, the best ones to invest in are: Damage, Spell Duration, Attack Speed, Range, Critical Hit Chance.

Later on, you can spend Diamonds to unlock the second Tier – but don’t rush to do this unless you already have a lot of leftover points. Otherwise, invest them in the solid categories in Tier one, until the prices become too high.

Prioritize using your rarest monsters

When it comes to deciding which monsters are best in Idle Monster Tower Defense, there is one easy answer: the rarest ones!

So before anything else, always start by placing your rarest monsters on the field. For a long time, this strategy will be the only one that you will have to use.

Eventually, things will get a bit more complicated, when Shielded Enemies will appear (more on this below) and when you will have to consider the monster boosts – some monsters give fellow monsters damage boosts, for example, if they are in their proximity.

If you’re curious, check out a list of all the monsters in the game, as well as extra thoughts regarding the best monsters.

Dealing with Shielded Enemies

When Shielded enemies start popping up, your job of defeating the waves will become a bit more difficult and you will have to strategize a bit.

Start placing the monsters that you have which are not resisted against in key positions: those where they can attack the highest number of enemies and, if possible, within the effect range of fellow monsters that boost their stats.

Shielded monsters are not that difficult to destroy, as long as you take some time to think about the positions of your current troops on the field.

Remember: you can remove and replace monsters and doing so won’t reset the level they’re at before removing, making it a lot easier to mix and match and use the monsters you have based on the enemy types you’re facing.

Control the attack targets of your monsters

You can go even more in depth with the control over your Monsters’ behavior, by selecting who to target first and choosing a Skill Priority as well!

In order to get to these advanced controls, click a monster on the field then click the magnifying glass icon in the bottom menu, above the monster’s portrait. You will get to the menu that allows you to fine tune the monster’s behavior.

You can also instruct the monster to use their skill only against bosses – make sure you do so with those that are high damage for a single target.

Complete the daily missions

One of the best and easiest ways for you to gain a lot of diamonds each day is completing the daily missions.

The best way to play this game is to let it run in a tab in your browser and return to it every hour or so to buy some more upgrades, activate skills and such. You will progress really fast this way!

Don’t forget to bring in the Drones & Cargo

In the upper left corner, you have the option to call in, every now and then, a bunch of drones that give you some regular coins, the Cargo Carrier which has even more goodies and the Tech Ship which drops Tech Scrolls.

Don’t forget to call these in regularly, ideally during an easy stage, not a boss battle, so that you can focus on destroying these special enemies and grabbing the rewards.

When to Prestige?

No matter how good you are, you will have to reset and start over, aka Prestige. But when to Prestige in order to ensure the best gains?

The answer depends on the stage you’re currently at in the game. The more expensive new relics or relic upgrades are, the more prestige points you will need for the reset itself to make sense.

So always prestige when you get enough Prestige for at least one new Relic and a few upgrades on existing ones. The more, the better. Have in mind that you won’t really feel a 20% increase in damage if that’s the only Relic upgrade you buy!

However, prestigious not only gives you the chance to get new relics, but also earn Essence once again – this does take time, but you can use that as well for boosting your stats, like Spells, Research or Monsters. So have this in mind as well.

I personally prefer to Prestige after I beat at least 30-40 stages more than during the previous run. If getting past a new boss takes a lot of time, then this might be a sign that it’s time to Prestigeas well!

Useful tip for getting a massive head start daily

I keep the game running continuously on my computer throughout the day, but I stop playing over the night when I sleep (duh!) But here’s a thing that is extremely useful, one that will help you quickly get back on track after prestiging.

After a long break, you will have your daily rewards in the bottom left corner: if you press that button, you collect whatever gold, essence and Gems that you earned.

But the trick is NOT to collect those rewards! Instead, after your night’s sleep, Prestige first, and only after restarting get those rewards. This way, you will have a ton of resources immediately available, allowing you to quickly upgrade your monsters to a high level.

These would be the Idle Monster TD tips and tricks that we had to share today. Do you have additional suggestions to share, to help fellow players get better? Let us know by commenting below!

Calin Ciabai
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8 thoughts on “Idle Monster TD Guide: Tips & Cheats to Unlock More Monsters & Destroy Enemies”

  1. you can unlock the research tiers without buying them with gems. I recommend that you save the gems and just unlock them by progressing in waves in the game. Restarting prestige often is a good way to farm essence just doing the boss rush and resetting once it starts slowing down.

    I like using the AOE earth monsters to clear waves quick and a fire monster to kill the shielded ones and reset once I cant one shot all the monsters anymore with the gold I got getting to that level. I find it is a really good way to farm essence and I have not been lacking for it since. Also saving the daily log in bonus for right before you go to bed and resetting and claiming it on wave one is a good way to farm while you sleep.

    I level the earth monster mostly with the gold and the fire a good bit too so that while I sleep they clear every level, not just boss rush for this one, and eventually an earth shielded will stop the progression at a spot that my earth monster can still one shot the whole wave. I leave this to farm while I sleep and wake up with 100-200m gold to work with. I spend gems to get the auto cast spells for the gold, exp, and the essence from monsters buffs which are the best spells for farming your monsters up. Getting at least the 12.5% attack speed, crit chance and the 100% crit damage is important on every monster you use.

    I find at higher levels you only get enough gold to level 2 monsters effectively and should focus on them. Each place you get stats from have diminishing returns. The tech tree upgrades are very important as they not only raise your damage… they actually raise your damage multiplier.

    Like for example if I have 500% earth monster damage from relics and I get the 50% earth damage tech it actually boosts me to 750% earth monster damage boost as it acts on your damage stat rather than adding to it. this makes the all monster damage one another awesome buff… but it takes 2 points for one level as the specific ones are 1 point for twice the damage bonus. specializing in 2 monsters lets you use those 2 points to get a 50% bonus.

    There are diminishing returns though so it is still good to level the all damage one as well, at least to a point. Exotic monsters make a massive difference. The water exotic is the best for combat by far from my testing on total dps and effectiveness in combat, but I recommend going down the fire path first as it leads to the bonus for more tech scrolls per ship destroyed. This research should be rushed asap as these ships become really hard to kill later and being able to get 2 instead of 1 scroll per win and then 3 when you max it out is important.

    When you hit I believe it is wave 750 and unlock the last set of relics use 100 gems to reroll them, this is important. you will get tons of great bonuses from the final tier that you want asap such as game speed, let you farm everything faster, and extra 2 tech scrolls from each tech ship for the final max of 5 per ship.

    This is where your patience really pays off the most and you can easily then max all branches of tech and get all the exotics. The gold income and crit rate of the wind exotic is one of the most useful things for farming and getting the gold needed to really level your guys for those latter rounds and the water exotic can remove element shields temporarily and boosts 50% damage (of what you have in game so it comes after all bonuses are added up) and with gems you can unlock other bonuses such as extra 10% damage per water monster, including itself.

    Once skills are unlocked they cost essence to boost them. Tournament points give some of the best bonuses. crit chance is the one I recommend above all else. once you have this maxed the next one is in tier 3, unfortunately you have to pay gems to get these- but you have dailies to get those for ya and in the tech tree you can get an extra 2 gem reward on each daily quest bringing you up to 168 gems/day upon completion- so it isn’t all bad.

    Spell cooldown is an awesome thing to have as well as spell duration. Duration will make all your buffs for income and exp and essence last significantly longer as well as the damage and attack speed buffs you’ll need for the later waves, max crit and the crit one is useless keep that in mind.

    The spell cooldown is nice for all those buffs too, but mainly for the rain of fire which can deal up to 10x the combined damage of all your monsters to everything on the map at once! This spell is my go to trump card if I am about to lose a wave. Whenever the rare earth and fire double shield show up I wait to see if my water exotic will remove the shield and if not then I use the spell and watch as even at high levels they die from full.

    Keep in mind it is their damage used, not their dps. Earh monsters hit slow but have very high base damage. Once you start stacking attack speed on them their dps skyrockets and the aoe damage is a must have as the 2 strongest hit aoe with every attack. This trait also makes the rain of fire hit very very hard because of their high raw damage. Hope this info helped add to this guide for anyone who is interested.

    • I would love to read the reasoning behind this. And in what type of game scenarios/player activity that would be true.

    • Yeah, seriously.
      Pretty ridiculous breakdown.

      Essence, gold, xp on auto cast whenever it’s idle.

      Essence, gold, xp, frenzy for drone strikes.
      Gold, xp, frenzy, strength for cargos
      Xp, frenzy, strength, misc +dmg spell (I usually go crits) for tech ships.

      Contrary to the authors opinion, the gold spell is incredibly valuable for pushing further in a run. Basically on auto cast all the time. Only ditched if tackling tech ships that are a little a head of my level.

      Essence boost is also huge all the time, it’s one of the few benefits you take with you across prestiges.

      And anyone that doesn’t invest as much as they can in xp just simply isn’t that far into the game yet. You’ll get all spells, max your artifacts, max the tech tree, max your spell levels, max your relics before ascending a single tower 5 times.

      Ascension and tournament points take a long time.
      Always invest in xp when you can.

      • Note when I say max things like artifacts, tech tree and relics I am only referring to things that max within reason.

        There are obviously virtually always going to be options to spend those points.

  2. Question about the tournaments.

    If I prestige during a tournament run after I’ve collected so and so number of waves, will my total tournament wave counter reset? Or will my new waves add to my previous ones.

    For example, let’s say I decide to participate in a tournament. Fresh run, new map. I pass, maybe, 300 waves before getting to a slow point. My tournament wave counter says 300 waves. If I prestige, will my tournament wave counter reset to zero, or will the passed waves on my new run add to the 300 waves of my previous run? In theory, it seems like quickly prestiging to get loads of easy waves in a row would be a fast and easy way to add to my tournament wave counter, but maybe overpowered?

  3. This is easily the worst guide i have read to any game ever. The Author must have played for 3 minutes before vomiting up this disgrace of a “guide”. In the future, if you want to make a guide and have 0 understanding of the game, go look at wiki or discord for some knowledge.


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