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PvZ, Hardcore: Frost vs. fire 101

Robin Torres writes PvZ, Hardcore for the hardcore Plants vs. Zombies player. Of course, you casual players can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating PvZ is our highest priority.

We're going back to the basics this week, fellow Lawn Elitists, and we're going to let the noobs in on some of our secrets. So I'm jumping on the 101 bandwagon here at PvZ insider, and we'll rehash the old frost vs. fire debate. Don't skip this column, however, because a refresher course may be just what you need to beat your Survival Endless score.

Frost 101

The prevailing theory with the frost build is that you slow the zombie down to give you more time to DPS and shore up your defenses. This is an excellent strategy, as long as you know your plants:
  • Snowpea: The Snowpea costs 175 sun and fires one frozen pea at the target, slowing down both his movement and his attack. Snowpeas do not stack, so don't put more than one in a row.
  • Wintermelon: This is an upgrade that must be purchased from Crazy Dave. In game, you upgrade Melonpults with these and they cost 200 sun. Like Melonpults, they damage groups of zombies, but they also slow these groups like Snowpeas.
  • Kernelpult: Technically, when the Kernelpult turns zombies into temporary butterheads, this is a root and not frost-related. But since they cost 100 sun, they are a cheap way to slow the zombies' movement down.
You still need to have DPS plants as well. I also highly recommend the passive DPS of Spikeweeds. While the zombie is rooted or slowed, the Spikeweeds will keep attacking if the zombie is still standing on it. It is particularly good to put spikeweed right next to Wallnuts and Tallnuts so that the Spikeweed is picking at the zombies while they are slowly eating.

Fire 101

With the Torchwood plant, your peas (and peas only) become fireballs that do twice as much damage and hit zombies that are close to the target. If you set up your plants correctly, the zombies will rarely make it past the first column, except in the huge waves. Here are the plants that will make fireballs when placed to the left of Torchwoods:
  • Peashooter: Cheap at 100 sun with a pretty quick refresh, this is the first thing to plant until you are able to replace it with something better later.
  • Splitpea: Only use this if there are Diggers in your level and you are not using Magnetshrooms and/or Cattails.
  • Repeater: At 200, these are expensive, but twice the fireballs and can be upgraded.
  • Gatling Pea: A great upgrade for Repeaters that shoot four peas.
  • Threepeater: This is the best plant for fire spec as it shoots a pea down each row. 325 sun is expensive, but well worth it for the overlapping fireball action.
If you are replaying through adventure, sometimes Crazy Dave's choices don't make it possible for optimum fire or frost spec. And there are benefits to both in the Survival modes. So which do you choose? I say both:

Frostfire 101

You can frost your cake zombies and torch them too, if you take one simple precaution:

Don't use Snowpeas.

When Snowpeas pass through a Torchwood, they turn into regular peas. They don't keep any of their slowing abilities, nor do they turn into fireballs. It is best to use the Wintermelon upgrade on Melonpults, even with the added expense of using upgrades in Survival Endless. You'll get all the slowing ability of Snowpeas, but as an AoE attack, and still be able to firebomb the zombies. The only issue that may arise for noobs trying the frostfire spec is not having enough sun. So here's a pro tip: always plant two columns of sunflowers.

Next week, I will give you an in-depth analysis of the Bobsled Bonanza minigame, complete with a foolproof strategy for winning consistently. Until then, remember, we don't want zombies on our lawn.

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