Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walkthrough - Survival Endless Build Guide

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| | GTM Build : An Expert Build For Survival Endless | |
| | FAQ by FallEnd ( | |
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| [001] Legal Matters and Rules of Use |

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.
You may use the information presented here any way you like. However if you
plan to post it somewhere or use a major portion of this FAQ in your own work,
please send me an email first. The email is not actually required but I will
definitely appreciate it. You don't have to wait for my reply or permission.
Also please remember and obey these rules :
ABSOLUTELY NO financial gain involved.
Give credit where credit is due.
If you post this FAQ, don't alter it AT ALL.
Please pay attention to those simple rules. If you are caught breaking it, I
will have to blacklist you.
Copyright 2009 Ferdi
| [002] Introduction & Contact Information |
This FAQ will give you an in-depth explanation about my currently strongest
build for survival endless. Learn how to fully utilize it and it will survive
for a long time.
I haven't checked PvZ communities for quite some time. It is always possible
that this build had already been introduced by someone else. At least it
hasn't been mentioned on the FAQs page of PvZ. Rest assured that I designed
the build presented here myself.
I decided to write this FAQ as informative as possible so even a beginner may
be able to learn a thing or two. If you plan to design your own build, you may
find the theory behind this build interesting.
If you have any question, I suggest that you post your question on GameFAQs
message board first as it is likely that you will get your answer much faster
that way. I don't have much free time online.
You can contact me at ( for questions, suggestions, etc.
| [003] Table of Contents |
[001] Legal Matters and Rules of Use
[002] Introduction & Contact Information
[003] Table of Contents
[004] Layout and Glossary
[005] The GTM Build : Reason and Purpose
[005a] The history behind it
[005b] What a GTM build is
[005c] Why I wrote this FAQ
[006] The GTM Build : Basic Layout
[006a] How to make it automatic : THE GOLDEN RULE
[007] The GTM Build Type A : Classic GTM
[007a] How to play : The weakness of Type A
[007b] How to play : The strength of Type A
[008] The GTM Build Type B : True GTM
[008a] The fall of 6 Glooms
[008b] Jacks : The true problem and answer
[008c] Winter Melon : How to retain its full power
[008d] Type B : step by step
[008e] How to play : The weakness of Type B
[008f] How to play : The strength of Type B
[008g] How to play : Modification of Type B
[009] The GTM Build Type G : Special GTM
[009a] How to play : The weakness and strength of Type G
[010] GTM vs. Zombies : Testing
[011] Questions and Answers
[012] Version History and Updates
[013] Credits and Thanks
[014] Closure
| [004] Layout and Glossary |
This is how I will describe various layouts in this FAQ :
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
# # # # # # # # # # # Legend :
O # . . . . . . . . . #
I # . . x . . . . . . # . Open Land
P # _ _ _ _ _ _ y _ _ # _ Open Water
P # _ _ _ _ _ _ y _ _ # # Edge of Map
I # . . x . . . . . . # x Spot I3
O # . . . . . . . . . # y Spot P7
# # # # # # # # # # #
The zombies come from the right side of the map. I will use # symbol only on
occasions where I don't have to show the entire map.
The map is symmetrical with 3 major rows and 9 columns. The rows are inner
land row (I), outer land row (O), and pool row (P). The columns are numbered
from left to right so when I write P7 Gloom, you will know that it is located
on y spot.
The GTM build itself is symmetrical; so when I write P7, it means both P7 on
the top half of the map (top P7) and P7 on the bottom half of the map
(bottom P7).
I won't write the word "row", so inner Jacks means inner row Jacks. Also, most
of the time I won't write a complete name of a plant nor a zombie, so Fume
means Fume-shroom and Balloon means Balloon Zombie.
These are some of the weird terms that I will use in this FAQ :
Automatic : Able to take down both Zombonis and Footballers at the
same time.
Point damage : The amount of damage done to a zombie's hitpoints. For
example : pea inflicts one point damage and a fume cloud
inflicts one point damage to every zombie. When a regular
zombie has taken 10 point damage, he will die as he only
has 10 hitpoints (HP).
DPS : Point damage per second. I will use Cyrad's Plants FAQ
for reference. Here are some of the most important ones :
Gloom : 3 DPS
Fume : 1 DPS
Gatling : 4 DPS
Fire Gatling : 8 DPS (direct) 4 DPS (splash) !!!
Winter Melon : 2 DPS (direct) 1 DPS (splash)
Melon : 2 DPS (direct) 1 DPS (splash)
Fire Gatling is Gatling + Torchwood.
Tile damage : The amount of damage a zombie take when he walk one
complete tile.
# # # # G = Gloom. When a zombie walks from I9 to I8 (2 complete
. . . # tiles), he takes 2 Gloom tile damage on I9 and 4 Gloom
G . . # tile damage on I8 for a total of 6 Gloom tile damage.
G G G #
# # # # W = Winter Melon. When a zombie walks from I9 to I8 he
. . . # takes 1 Winter Melon tile damage on I9 and 1 Winter Melon
W . . # tile damage on I8 for a total of 2 Winter Melon tile
_ _ _ # damage.
You can convert tile damage into point damage but the
resulting point damage will be different for every
zombie, depending on the amount of time they spend on the
corresponding tiles. For example : a Buckethead (which
walk slowly) will take much more point damage than a
Footballer (which run) from the same Gloom tile damage.
This concept is very important in this FAQ. If you don't
understand, please email me and I will try to explain it
Instant : This refers to Cob from Cob Cannon, Squash, Cherry,
Jalapeno, Freeze, Doom, and their Imitator. Blover is not
an Instant.
Delay : This refers to cheap, fast-charging plants. Delay is used
as a sacrifice to halt Gigas and Gargantuars for a short
while. Puff (it is free) and its Imitator are the best
Instant. Another examples are Sun-shroom, Pot, etc.
Wakeup : This refers to a slight delay between a zombie entering a
plant's attack range and the plant actually attacks him.
It is random and almost all of the attacking plants have
AOE : Attack that damages all of the zombies within its area of
effect. Fume cloud from Fume-shroom is a good example.
MJ : Dancing Zombie, the one who summons Backup Dancer.
Dancer : Backup Dancer. I write this so you won't confuse Dancer
with Dancing Zombie (MJ).
The Big Four : This refers to Giga, Gargantuar, Zomboni, and Footballer.
The big bad guys of the land based zombies.
There are six important terms left. They are "Layered Defense", "Winter Box",
explained later in the appropriate sections.
| [005] The GTM Build : Reason and Purpose |
----- [005a] The history behind it -----
It began when I was looking for a nice build to use in survival endless. What
I wanted was a build that strike the best balance among these conditions
(your opinion may differs) :
I always prefer a build that can deal with the majority of the zombies
by itself. That will give my hands, my eyes, and my brain plenty of time
to rest during playing.
To do this, the build has to be able to deal at least with both Zombonis
and Footballers at the same time (note that the Zombonis are immune to
Winter Melon's slowing effect). Once a build can handle them; it should
be able to handle the rest of the land based zombies. We won't discuss
pool zombies since they are weak.
The only exception is Gigas. I really doubt there exists a build that
can take them down by itself (inner Gigas are still possible) and
survive a significant number of flags.
It should be clear that the build will be a 6 pool Glooms build.
I hate hate HATE these buggers. Inner Jacks with their sudden explosion
are THE game breaker for me.
The only way to completely prevent this, unfortunately, is by abandoning
the pool Glooms completely. This can be achieved by using an 8 Cob build
(no less).
But an 8 Cob build is absolutely a no go as it is not automatic. This is
getting complicated...
Please hear me out on this :
>> With 6 pool Glooms build, there's NO way to stop the inner Jacks
explosion completely. No matter how much DPS you pump out you can't
stop it 100%. Sooner or later, it WILL happen. I have experienced it
myself from time to time. > On O9, 1 Fume tile damage from O5 Fume.
>> On O8, 1 Gloom tile damage from I7 Gloom and 2 Fume tile damage
from O5 and O4 Fume.
>> On O7, 1 Gloom tile damage from I7 Gloom and 3 Fume tile damage
from O5, O4, and O3 Fume.
>> On O6, 1 Gloom tile damage from I7 Gloom and 3 Fume tile damage
from O5, O4, and O3 Fume.
>> Total on the outer row = 3 Gloom tile damage + 9 Fume tile damage
= 3 + (9/3) = 6 Gloom tile damage
The build is complete and able to inflict 6 Gloom tile damage on both
inner and outer row. Now we have to test it. Let's take this build for a
..... testing .....
..... please wait .....
Done ! Press any key to continue...
----- [007a] How to play : The weakness of Type A -----
Well, it doesn't take too many time to quickly find its weak points. Actually,
even without testing we can make an educated guess about them. I will list
them along with the best way to deal with them (hopefully).
[W][G][F][F][F] . . . . G Gloom
[u][G][W][W][F][F][G] . . F Fume
[t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G][G] W Winter Melon
[t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G][G] t Twin Sunflower
[u][G][W][W][F][F][G] . . cc Cob Cannon
[W][G][F][F][F] . . . . u Umbrella
c Cattail
[ ] Pumpkin
First, I7 Gloom is very vulnerable to certain zombies. Furthermore, if we lose
it, we will lose 3 Gloom tile damage on the outer row. This is dangerous.
Second, it is very vulnerable to Jacks. Inner Jack explosion is dangerous as
always and outer Jack explosion can take out I7 Gloom sooner than you think.
This build offers no concrete solution for this.
Third, it is vulnerable to Bungee, most of the time the Bungees can survive
and grab your plant if you don't do anything.
Four, it only has 2 Twin Sunflower. Actually, it is enough for Pumpkins and
Freezes. However, If you suffer some major loss, you might want some extra sun
production. Bring Sunflower and plant on either I1 (Umbrella), P6 (Cattail),
I5, or I4. Be careful with I5 and I4. Two extra Sunflowers can give you around
500-1000 extra sun at the end of the round.
These are the zombies to watch out for. If necessary, we will use I4 and I5 to
help defend I7 Gloom.
>> Zombonis
Just keep I7 Gloom unpumpkined and they will be taken out automatically.
Pumpkin is fat and the Zombonis only need to touch the I7 Pumpkin to
flatten the I7 Gloom along with the Pumpkin. Don't worry, that
unpumpkined I7 Gloom will survive, except against Footballers and
>> Gigas
Cob them first. Next, just keep delaying them using Puff and Imitator
Puff (you need to be on your toes). If Delay is too much hassle, bring
Freeze and Imitator Freeze instead. It is easier at the cost of some sun.
Cob - Freeze - Cob - Freeze - ... the Gigas will soon fall.
>> Footballers
If there are no Zombonis around, Pumpkin the I7 Gloom and that's all. If
there are Zombonis around you can't Pumpkin the I7 Gloom so you will need
to pump out extra DPS. The initial Winter Melon on I4 and Fume on I5 is
good but Melon on both spot is even better. To do this, just bring
Melon-pult (not Winter Melon) along. It recharges fast so you can fill
I4 and I5 with them quickly.
>> Dancers
Sometime MJs come moonwalking to I8 and summons the Dancers on I7. Those
MJs will be killed quickly but never before they raise their hand to
summon the Dancers. The Dancers attack I7 immediately and pose high
threat to an unpumpkined I7 Gloom.
This one is hard to handle since the Dancers attack VERY quickly. All
those Glooms and Fumes around sometime can't kill them fast enough
(before they take the first bite) due to wakeup time. The best solution
will be Gatling on both I4 and I5.
Gatling's attack is triggered by the presence of a zombie in front of
them. So the Gatlings will pretty much be "turned on" during the whole
flag. All those peas flying around might have a better chance in catching
the Dancers.
Gatling has a long recharging time so if you can't plant one, Fume will
be the next best choice. Note that Gloom on P6 might be able to help out
a bit but I won't count on them due to their wakeup time.
>> Jacks
Outer Jacks can explode and take out I7 Gloom. There's nothing we can do
about it. Inner Jacks with their sudden explosion are also very
dangerous. Just hope that I6 and I5 Fumes can take them out quickly.
>> Bungees
Use Freeze after they throw the target and just before they actually
enter the stage. With added time to damage them, they should be killed
quickly enough.
So, considering Zombonis' threat, the modification needed for I7, I5 and I4
are :
- Zombonis : unPumpkin I7 Gloom
- Footballers : Melon on I5 and I4
- Dancers : Gatling on I5 and I4 or at least Fume on I5
- Jacks : Fume on I5
They are listed in their order of priority, so if you face Footballers and
Dancers both at the same time, use the solution for Footballers. Jacks hold
the lowest priority because those other three pose a constant threat.
Should you lose I7 Gloom, try to replace it immediately while buying some time
with Instants. If you lose it for too long, sooner or later the outer row will
fall (even much sooner if all of the Big Four are around).
----- [007b] How to play : The strength of Type A -----
Type A has only one strong point, unfortunately. And that's that you don't
need Spikeweeds or Spikerocks for the outer rows.
This is Type A : O # . . [F][F][F] . . . . #
I # . . . . . . [G] . . #
Compare with this : O # . . [F][F][F] . . . . #
I # . . . . [G][G] . . . #
The second example is what I see in most other 4 Cob build. In theory, both
provide 6 Gloom tile damage on the outer row. But in reality, the second
example can't kill Zombonis fast enough before they reach I5 Pumpkin. Against
both Zombonis and Footballers, the second example will usually require
juggling with Fumes, Pumpkins and/or Spikerocks on I5. This is not the case
with Type A.
What gives ?
The answers is because Type A has only 1 wakeup time (from I7 Gloom) compared
to the second example's 2 wakeup times (from I6 and I5 Gloom). Because of that
Type A is able to pump out just a littleee bit more damage on the outer row.
This enables Type A to kill the Zombonis faster, just right before they reach
I5 Pumpkin.
Gee... even 1 wakeup time can cause all that hassle...
That concludes our journey with Type A. Easy enough to understand, right ?
Well, there's plenty of surprises waiting for you in Type B.
| [008] The GTM Build Type B : True GTM |
Type B is the superior one. It is much stronger than Type A. Unfortunately,
it is also probably a rather difficult to understand. If you play Type B
right, it can survive for a long time.
Type B uses a very different approach than Type A. Instead of working on it
right away, we will analyze a few things regarding a build's survivability
first. Let's begin...
----- [008a] The fall of 6 Glooms -----
A 6 pool Glooms build usually relies on Glooms and Fumes to provide the
damage. Winter Melon is used mainly only for its slowing effect. Now, Glooms
and Fumes have AOE damage capability so in theory, they will give the same
damage to whether 1 zombie or 100000 zombies in their area of effect. Once you
can kill a zombie, you should be able to kill that type of zombie no matter
how many they are on screen.
In reality, a 6 pool Glooms build will face an increasing difficulty as the
number of the zombies piles up. That build's power and effectiveness is
clearly decreasing as the time goes by.
So why does it happen despite all of those AOE attacks ?
Can you see it ? Once your build is able to (somewhat) prevent it from
happening, it should be able to maintain its effectiveness longer and increase
its chance of survival significantly. That's what Type B tries to do.
From my observation, there are two major cause to that problem. I call them
DISASTER ONE and DISASTER TWO. I will explain them along with my suggested
method to deal with them.
----- [008b] Jacks : The true problem and answer -----
Inner Jack is the main cause of downfall in many builds. But Jack himself is
not the real problem. Confused ? We will go slowly and start by analyzing what
happens when Inner Jack explode. Take a look at Type A :
[W][G][F][F][F] . . . . G Gloom
[u][G][W][W][F][F][G] . . F Fume
[t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G][G] W Winter Melon
[t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G][G] t Twin Sunflower
[u][G][W][W][F][F][G] . . cc Cob Cannon
[W][G][F][F][F] . . . . u Umbrella
c Cattail
[ ] Pumpkin
Let's assume an attacking wave of Jacks + Zombonis + Footballers. When a Jack
suddenly explode on I9, usually this chain of events will happen :
Jack explodes, taking out I9 and I8 Glooms with him. Even if you replace
one of the Glooms (say I8 Gloom), you will still lose 2 Glooms tile damage
on I9 and I8 while waiting for the Gloom to fully recharge.
O # [W][G][F][F][F] . . . . #
I # [u][G][W][W][F][F] G . . #
P # [t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G] _ #
Since you only have 4 Gloom tile damage on the inner row, there's a
really good chance that a Zomboni may survive and flatten I7 Gloom (with
or without Pumpkin). Instants may help you prevent this for a while, but
you can't rely on them to bail you out every time.
O # [W][G][F][F][F] . . . . #
I # [u][G][W][W][F][F] . . . #
P # [t] cc cc cc cc[c][G][G] _ #
Now you lose 1 Gloom tile damage on the inner row and 3 Gloom tile damage
on the outer row. This is TROUBLE. With all of those lost damages, the
zombies are able to pierce your defense even deeper now, especially the
outer row.
O # [W][G][F][F][F]


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