MB Tactics and Strategies

Sean DonCarlos

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Mar 17, 2012
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Since the threads for tactics and strategies on the other tables (particularly TotAN and ToM) seem to have gone well, I thought I'd start one for MB. Again, this is not received wisdom from the pinball gods, just one player's way of going about things. Use my high score (839M as of this writing - on an iPad with its inferior nudging, no less) to determine whether to pay attention to me or not. :p

General strategy: Monster Bash and Monsters of Rock score so much higher than everything else that there really is no alternative strategy other than going for them, although there are some things to grab in passing on your way there, most notably Mosh Pit Multiball. Monster Bash is fairly easily achieved, since you only need to start the 6 monsters to light it. Monsters of Rock requires completion of all 6 monsters, and this is most easily done by combining as many monster modes as possible under a multiball, which stops the timers and relieves a lot of pressure on you.

Important note on timers: Unlike Ripley's Believe It or Not!, each monster has a separate timer. So unless you're about to head into a multiball and freeze all timers, starting more than one mode at a time in single-ball play is actually bad, because the existing timers are not reset and so you end up with more things to do than you have time to do them in.

Meet your monsters: Before we discuss multiball stacking, a few words on each monster mode in case you have to complete them in single-ball play, along with when to use your monster bombs.
  • Creature Feature: This is a relatively safe mode both to start and to play. The lagoon is sometimes a pain to hit, but unless you completely botch the shot the ball usually is not in danger, and the kickout is relatively tame. Use your spear guns if the initial hurry-up is about to time out or if your subsequent shots (which have a 20-second resetting timer on them just like Royal Madness in MM) are about to expire. Note also that the lagoon spots a shot and resets the timer, so aim for that if you have problems with one of the other required shots.
  • Ball and Chain: You really, really want to combine this with a multiball, not because 6 ramps in 30 seconds is so bad (and you can reset the timer thrice by shooting the center lane), but because you really want to stop the timer and rock those 3X Bride Complete ramp shots for 1.5M+ each. If Mosh Pit or Frankenstein multiballs are close - close meaning you can start them within 90 seconds (remember, center lane resets timer) - do that instead of going straight for ramps. If you're forced into a Ball and Chain with only one ball, looping alternate ramps is not that hard and is relatively safe. If Phantom Flip is lit, it's usually pretty good about making a ramp when Bride is running. Hair dryers are generally saved for the last ramp shot.
  • Frankenstein Multiball: This gets its own section later on, but this is the mode you want to start last, with lots of other monsters running on top of it. Note that Franky is quite the drain hazard, while no shot to his targets is perfectly safe, shooting gently straight up from the left flipper is not too hazardous, and caroming off the Drac targets works well also (although unlike the real table, the "Drac-Frank combo" tends to become the "Drac-spinner combo" in TPA). Do not shoot Franky directly from the right flipper while he's closed; you might get away with it once or twice, but eventually he will toss your ball in the drain. Once the multiball begins, flaming torches are best reserved for when Franky is lit for Double or especially Triple Super Jackpots, or when multiball is about to end and you're one hit from the keyboard. (Don't forget about Last Chance though.)
  • Mummy Mayhem: This is easier and higher-scoring during multiball - there's a remaining time bonus for finishing Mummy quickly and obviously multiball makes it go faster - but it can be done in single-ball play as well. Mummy Mayhem is essentially a frenzy round with jackpots lit on major shots and 3X scoring ("Mummy Jets") on the bumpers. Throw the ball up either orbit to land in the pops and build up the jackpot value, then hit a major shot to collect the increased value. Repeat until the DMD tells you it's over. Ancient scrolls are best used after the ball exits the bumpers so that the free jackpot is of good value. Never waste a scroll right after collecting a jackpot unless you're about to drain and you just need 500K more to snag the instrument.
  • Full Moon Fever: If you're like me, you often hit orbits when going for ramps and so this mode is often started before a multiball is ready to go. Thankfully, this is the easiest mode. Just keep on making orbits. The silver bullet is best used for the first hurry-up, as they all count down at the same speed and the first one starts from the smallest value. Note that if Mummy is running also, orbit shots drop into the bumpers, which is much nicer than having it scream back around.
  • Drac Attack: Another one I try to avoid doing single-ball, as bounces off the Count are unpredictable and tend to find the outlanes. Don't worry about trying to catch him while he's moving for the double scoring; just worry about making the safest shots you can. Garlic cloves are used whenever the timer is about to expire; it resets to 30 seconds after each hit, so you're not in nearly as much as a rush as the game wants you to believe.

Multiballs and stacking: Ideally you want each multiball two shots away from activating before starting any modes. For Mosh Pit, this means 5 trips through the spinner. For Franky, you want his head flashing. The reason you want to be two shots away is so that an errant shot into the scoop or into Frank doesn't accidentally start multiball and prevent you from stacking modes. This is particularly important if Phantom Flip is running, as it will aim for Frank in preference to all else if he's open. You can hear the Phantom noise a split second before the shot is made, either make another shot yourself or nudge to prevent unwanted activation of Frank MB. Better yet, pay attention to the blue lights above the inlanes and switch PF to the other lane if you don't want its shot.

The ideal situation, of course, is to have the other 5 monsters started and go into Frankenstein Multiball. Depending on how the bumpers have been behaving, Mummy may or may not be lit; if it isn't, go ahead and start the other 4 modes and Frank MB rather than risk more shots into the bumpers and the potential for SDTM drains if the ball exits left. If Mummy is the last monster, starting him will light Monster Bash, and you'll start the Bash and finish Mummy easily.

Once multiball begins, you basically ignore the actual object of the multiball in favor of finishing modes. There is one immediate exception for each multiball. For Frankenstein Multiball, you immediately whack Frank - there is a hidden bonus which grants you as many Frank hits for an immediate shot as you have monsters running simultaneously. So if you brought 3 other monsters into Frank MB, that shot spots 4 hits toward the keyboard (you need 6). For Mosh Pit Multiball, you immediately send a ball up the center lane to add a third ball, so that Mosh Pit does not end prematurely. (You can do this a second time when you drain one of the balls.)

In multiball, your timers are stopped - you are in no hurry whatsoever - so after the ball saver expires, trap up and make nice, controlled shots. If you need 10 seconds to make a left orbit for Wolfman or the right ramp for Bride, do it. Complete as many modes as you can, and don't forget Frank himself - your other shots will be advancing him for Double and Triple Super Jackpots as well as scoring regular jackpots. Once your modes are complete, you either alternate ramps if you have 3X Bride Complete going, or take any major shots and the occasional SJ for Frank. For Mosh Pit, loop the Frank ramp 10 times for a Super, then carefully whack his standups 5 times more for a second Super. Again, you may prefer ramps if 3X Bride is running.

Completing already completed modes: The reason for doing this is that the modes score more each time they're completed, as well as add another 5M to the Monsters of Rock starting bonus. Whether this is worth it depends on what it is. Creature Feature and Full Moon Fever are fairly easy and safe and are worth going for if nothing else more pressing is going on. A Ball and Chain redux is very nice if you're about to start another multiball, including Monster Bash. (Don't bother if Monsters of Rock will start, MoR cancels any other running mode.) Mummy Mayhem and Drac Attack are generally not worth rerunning unless you're going to drag them into Monster Bash.

Monster Bash: When it first starts, there's a looooong ball saver. During this phase, juggle the balls and hit as much as possible. If you get an opening and can make a clean shot, aim for any shot that will help complete any running modes you brought into Monster Bash. If there are none of those, the center lane scores the Bash Jackpot and is always nice.

Once the ball saver expires, treat this as any regular multiball - make nice controlled shots to finish remaining modes; if there are no more running modes, take ramps if 3X Bride is active (only this time take the center lane to collect the Bash Jackpot every so often when it caps out), or major safe shots - which means not Frank or Drac - for 2M each.

Monsters of Rock: OK, you're in the wizard mode. What now? First, take advantage of the extra looooooooooooooong ball saver - it's seriously 30 to 45 seconds of unlimited balls - and smash everything in sight without regard for draining. Instead of collecting jackpots, the center lane spots the next "unrocked" monster (the monsters' faces in the center light once they've been hit), rocking all 6 scores the Monsters of Rock jackpot, which starts life at 24M. Again, once the ball saver expires, trap up and make controlled shots for the monsters you need for your next MoR jackpot. Again, shoot the center lane to spot Frank and Drac rather than going for the risky direct shot. Try to ignore the exciting music and frenetic light show, that's just the table trying to get you to go faster and make sloppy shots and drain. Half a billion points or more is quite plausible with a nice controlled Monsters of Rock round.

Lyman's Lament: You're going to need to play a special-purpose game and concentrate only on the scoop if you want to start this. It takes 44 hits to activate and even in the course of a good game, you'll be most of the way to your second Monsters of Rock before you get anywhere near 44 scoop shots. If you happen to notice you're getting close (the status report will tell you), set up a multiball first, activate the Lament, then start the multiball. This essentially adds 62,500 points per switch to your bonus - for the love of the pinball gods, don't tilt! - and a long multiball will shoot your bonus well into eight-figure territory.

Extra balls and specials: Besides the obvious ones at 3 monsters started and 60M points, there's one at 12 center lanes that's easy to forget about, and there's another one for starting 3 monsters after Monsters of Rock. (You have to go through MoR, plain old Monster Bash doesn't count.) The scoop itself also sometimes awards Light Extra Ball from a concert hall, but I've only seen it do that in pity situations. The only special I know of is for completing 4 monsters; the best time to collect this is during Monster Bash (if you have 4 instruments, you're probably close to or in MB) while that lengthy ball save is going on.

Fun with bonus: Unless Lyman's Lament activated, bonus is not much fun on this table. This means be aggressive with your nudging to save the ball, especially when close to starting Monster Bash or Monsters of Rock. Either mode will easily outscore whatever bonus you might have.

And that's more or less all I've got. Good luck!
 

SoonPoker

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Jul 19, 2012
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Yet another detailed thread about strategy by Serenseven, great !

I really think I know all about this table, but I still learned 2-3 small things really not bad. Including clock reset, that I did not use at all actually ! I'm going to take care of it right now !

Personally, I don't like shooting Francky with the left flip, because the ball drain regularly directly into the right outline. I've got better results with a shoot with the right pinball in the middle of the Franky's targets.

Two monsters of rock in the same game allowed me to achieve my current hi-score : 1.3B. And maybe I could get a better hi-score because my MoR biggest score is (only) 280M ...
 

SoonPoker

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Jul 19, 2012
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For me, on may iPad, nudging doesn't work well, so i don't use it.

Is there an video or something like that, that shows a good way to learn nudging?

Same thing for me : All my scores without nudging.

I've red somewhere in another thread that nudging seems to be easier in landscape mode on Ipad ...

But I prefer viewing all the table in the portrait mode, so no nudging for me (a little bit annoying sometimes (always) with the outlanes ...)
 

laughing_lunatic

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Jun 6, 2012
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Nice guide, as yours always are, mate. Can't wait to play this, seems like it's going to be fun. Can't play in my iPad 1. I tried, just can't do it.

nudging doesn't work well, so i don't use it.

Wow, you get those scores without a single nudge ? My hat is off to you. My high score on ToTAN is a mere 111,000,000 and change and I must have nudged to prevent a center drain at least a dozen, if not more, times during that game...
 
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Slam23

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Jul 21, 2012
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Nice overview, I also picked up some new things. My best score is 1.6B on my iPad, I usually score around 600-700M on a good round of MB. My bane is the Bride ramps, especially draining from the left flipper to right ramp. Even with Frank's multiball going on, it's still a chore to finish. The one trick that got me to Lyman's Lament is catching the ball from the scoop to my left upright flipper, this will give a bouncy pass-over to the right upright flpper in 9 out of 10 times. The one time that it doesn't it can be corrected quite easily. Now I have my sight set on the Mosh Pit Super Jackpot, find that one very hard to achieve. If they fix the wizard goal of collecting the special, then I got them all!
Slam23
 

d_a_v_e

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Jul 31, 2012
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The one trick that got me to Lyman's Lament is catching the ball from the scoop to my left upright flipper, this will give a bouncy pass-over to the right upright flpper in 9 out of 10 times.
Slam23

Since the latest update changed the physics, this trick doesn't work anymore. You can trap the ball coming out of the scoop with the left flipper about 50% of the time, but you can't pass it over to the right flipper.
 

bavelb

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Apr 16, 2012
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You'll forgive me for not reading your original post serenseven I hope, cause I do like to figure stuff out myself and come up with "my own" strategies.

Been playing this for the first time tonight (I didnt like playing this one on iPad) and I got to say I really like this table. Its sort of a mix of Medieval Madness with the modestacking of Rbion (albeit with altogether easier shots). Setting up all your modes and than quickly activate them, then complement em with a multiball is very satisfying and reminds me a lot of the sometimes intricate setups you do for RBioN.

As mentioned prior, Im a fan of wizard modes that make you finish the modes to et there. in that sense I really like there are 2 "wizard modes": 1 for starting the modes and one for completing them.


In the grand scheme of things, the franky mb bug isnt so horrible when you play normal (ofcourse it breaks leaerboards, but Im strictly speaking normal solo play at,). On a score of 600+ million, I accidentally triggered it about 4/5 times for a values of around 16 million. So around 2/3% of the highscore.

A question that came up when playing: if you have all monsters and instruments collected apart from one (say, creature), and you activate him and get his sacophone, this would light up both Bash as well as Rock at the scoop. Ehat would happen if you shoot the scoop?
 
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Sean DonCarlos

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Mar 17, 2012
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You'll forgive me for not reading your original post serenseven I hope, cause I do like to figure stuff out myself and come up with "my own" strategies.
No worries. My advice is there for those that want it; those that want the additional challenge of figuring out the table on their own or that want to blaze their own trail to the high score list do so with my full support.

As mentioned prior, Im a fan of wizard modes that make you finish the modes to et there. in that sense I really like there are 2 "wizard modes": 1 for starting the modes and one for completing them.
Depends on the modes in question. RBION in my opinion has the threshold for some of the modes set too high (Exhibit A: South America). And I question the value of the new Sterns' designs, which seem to delight in including wizard modes that less than 1% of players will ever see. I suppose that exclusivity helps make the "wizard" part actually mean something, but I can't see where it would hurt to let mere pinball mortals occasionally join in as well.

A question that came up when playing: if you have all monsters and instruments collected apart from one (say, creature), and you activate him and get his saxophone, this would light up both Bash as well as Rock at the scoop. What would happen if you shoot the scoop?
What happens on the real table is that Monsters of Rock starts immediately, skipping Monster Bash. As compensation, you get a 50M "Rock before Bash" bonus in addition to the bonus for instruments. This is actually not enough IMO; a good Bash can be 70M to 100M or more.
 

Matt McIrvin

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And I question the value of the new Sterns' designs, which seem to delight in including wizard modes that less than 1% of players will ever see. I suppose that exclusivity helps make the "wizard" part actually mean something, but I can't see where it would hurt to let mere pinball mortals occasionally join in as well.

I think this is a sign that the pinball market, such as it is, is more and more geared to collectors as opposed to people who actually want to earn quarters from their guests. Absurdly deep rulesets make more sense if you're trying to convince people to drop thousands of dollars on a table for their own personal amusement. They're more likely to get that far if the price of playing is a sunk cost.
 

superballs

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Apr 12, 2012
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Thanks Serenseven,

I was actually questioning the value of stacking modes...I've been really close and tend to drain when i have 4 or so active and am going to start multiball...not bad for activating bash but for MoR it's a pain.
 

Sean DonCarlos

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Mar 17, 2012
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Thanks Serenseven,

I was actually questioning the value of stacking modes...I've been really close and tend to drain when i have 4 or so active and am going to start multiball...not bad for activating bash but for MoR it's a pain.
There is no reason to stack modes heading into Monsters of Rock, as starting MoR cancels all running modes.
 

Richard B

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Apr 7, 2012
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I think this is a sign that the pinball market, such as it is, is more and more geared to collectors as opposed to people who actually want to earn quarters from their guests. Absurdly deep rulesets make more sense if you're trying to convince people to drop thousands of dollars on a table for their own personal amusement. They're more likely to get that far if the price of playing is a sunk cost.
Not all Sterns are hopelessly complex or ridiculously simple. Some, like TSPP and LOTR, are nice in that they are extremely difficult to reach and beat the Wizard modes, but have enough simple objectives to satisfy casual players. AC/DC is great for casual players, as it is a throwback to simply hitting targets to get a high score, with little to no emphasis on specific objectives (other than one shot or area rewarding extra points), while also including several multiball modes and a Wizard Mode that requires an enormous amount of skill to reach.
 

Richard B

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Sadly, most people on 360 have a much simpler strategy - start Frankenstein multiball, trap two balls, nudge 'till your heart's content.
 

Sean DonCarlos

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AC/DC is great for casual players, as it is a throwback to simply hitting targets to get a high score, with little to no emphasis on specific objectives (other than one shot or area rewarding extra points), while also including several multiball modes and a Wizard Mode that requires an enormous amount of skill to reach.
Not entirely true. The Album and Tour multiballs show albums or tours on the DMD, respectively, each time you hit the multiball's jackpot, starting from AC/DC's earliest album/tour and proceeding chronologically. If you match the currently playing song with its album/tour, you score the song jackpot, which is usually worth several million and on a long song can be worth several tens of millions. Add 2X or 3X playfield and you've potentially got a 100M+ shot.

This also makes the starting song choice more interesting. The two highest-scoring songs ("Rock and Roll Train" and "War Machine") are also on the last album and the last tour in the rotation, so you have to balance increased scoring now vs. having to make lots of regular MB jackpots before the song jackpot comes up. The problem is that unless you've seen someone who knows what they're doing play or watched the PAPA tutorial, the machine itself gives you no indication of any of this.

EDIT:
Sadly, most people on 360 have a much simpler strategy - start Frankenstein multiball, trap two balls, nudge 'till your heart's content.
Given my skill on the other tables relative to the leaders there, I would say even 8B or 10B scores on Monster Bash are quite possibly legitimate, especially if done by players who frequent the heights of the other leaderboards, such as Mark, Porygon and Parallax. If you don't exploit the bug and just play naturally, it seems to add between 5-10% to your score, depending on how much nudging you do for control and how many times you collect the keyboard bonus at the start of Monsters of Rock.

Also: Lyman's Lament + 3X Bride + a good long Monster Bash multiball, followed by Lyman's Lament + a well-played MoR = ~1.5B in play and bonus on a single ball. I could see someone with better control than myself easily pushing that to 2.5B or 3B.
 
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Squid

Senior Creature
Mar 22, 2012
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Great write-up, as usual, Mr. Serenseven. Very valuable & helpful intel.

A question, if I may.
Is there any real method to collecting a bonus hold award or is it purely random? I seem to get 'em alot.
 

Captain Rumwood

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Apr 25, 2012
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I'm having a bit of a problem hitting Dracula the required 5 times. I've managed to hit him 3 times before the mode is over. Any hints, tips?
 

IceCat88

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May 2, 2012
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Thank you, Serenseven, for the helpful tips. I have really been enjoying this table even without approaching it with any real strategy. That's probably why I have only activated Monsters of Rock once.

I have a question for anyone who can answer. How do you actually trigger the items you collect (Hair Dryer, Ancient Scrolls, etc.)? I'm mostly curious for the X360 platform, but I also play on iOS. I didn't see anything in the in-game Instructions, and I've been keeping an eye out on the forums. :(
 

Sean DonCarlos

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Mar 17, 2012
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I'm having a bit of a problem hitting Dracula the required 5 times. I've managed to hit him 3 times before the mode is over. Any hints, tips?
Easiest and safest way to complete Drac Attack is to bring it into a multiball. Drac's a drain hazard in single-ball play. If you have to do it in single-ball play, try to wait until Drac is over to the right to minimize the risk of a quick drain. The timer resets to 30 seconds with every hit, so you have up to 2-1/2 minutes to complete the mode.

Thank you, Serenseven, for the helpful tips. I have really been enjoying this table even without approaching it with any real strategy. That's probably why I have only activated Monsters of Rock once.

I have a question for anyone who can answer. How do you actually trigger the items you collect (Hair Dryer, Ancient Scrolls, etc.)? I'm mostly curious for the X360 platform, but I also play on iOS. I didn't see anything in the in-game Instructions, and I've been keeping an eye out on the forums. :(
You're welcome. Use the ball launch button to activate special items during their respective monster's mode or Monster Bash. They don't do anything if the corresponding mode isn't running. On the 360 it's right stick down; for iOS there's a red button below the menu button. Not ideally placed as it's quite a stretch on an iPad, but there you have it.
 

IceCat88

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May 2, 2012
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You're welcome. Use the ball launch button to activate special items during their respective monster's mode or Monster Bash. They don't do anything if the corresponding mode isn't running. On the 360 it's right stick down; for iOS there's a red button below the menu button. Not ideally placed as it's quite a stretch on an iPad, but there you have it.

Cheers! You have further enabled my addiction to my new favorite pinball table. ;)
 
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