Deck Heroes – Explorer Gate, Map Guide, Guild Maps – Hints and Tips

Click here for our Deck Heroes Introductory Strategy Guide if you’re new to the game!


This is a Deck Heroes strategy guide that will explain all possible modes of “Maps” found within the game, such as the Explorer Gate, where you can battle your way across 12 different Maps which hold many Dungeons (Stages). Within the Gate’s Maps are also Map Guides that may be of interest to many of you — these were added in the V4.5.0 update. Last, but certainly not least, this strategy guide will explain how to do major damage in the Guild Maps battles! Are you ready? Good. Let’s get started!


Ahhh, humble beginnings… The first Explorer Gate Map will always have a nostalgic charm for you no matter how far you go into the game, remembering the times when you had a simple Faen deck…

Explorer Gate

Most of us Deck Heroes players are well versed in the fact that the game has many modes, and the Explorer Gate is one of them. In fact, this is usually the first mode you will play, as it is essentially the single-player campaign of the game. Explorer Gate contains 12 different Maps, and as you complete them you are able to scroll through to the next Map.

Each Map holds a certain amount of Dungeon levels. Sometimes it will range from 8 Dungeon stages to 11 Dungeon stages. The earlier Maps have less Dungeons compared to the later Maps, which normally hold 11 Dungeons + a secret one. Maps numbered 3 through to 12 have a Dungeon known as a Secret Dungeon, where you must beat a certain level at the Hard difficulty in order to unlock it.

Also note that this is the same area you will find Mazes in. Mazes are particularly great for collecting great loot and also possibly stumbling on a rare card or two. When I started this game, I always avoided the Mazes because they are time consuming. However, now I do find most of my 4-star cards are found through here, and I tend to get around one 5-star card per month in Mazes (not great, but it’s something! 5-star cards are hard to get).

As a long-time player and watching this game grow, I do find that Explorer Gate is definitely one of my favorite modes — it not only tests your overall ability as a player to build a strong deck, but also to utilize different strategies and angles to beat each Dungeon. I found myself using 3-star Heroes in Map 11 and 12 even though people would assume you need to use higher level Heroes, so each Dungeon not only requires a critical thinker, but a clever one as well.


In order to access the Mazes, look out for the small icons with dice on them. They take time, but you can luck out and get some high rarity cards in here occasionally.

Explorer Gate Maps — 1 through 12

I’m going to break down each Map for you and point out some noteworthy Dungeons that are known to be particularly difficult as they give most players a hard time. Here we go!

Map 1 – This is your introductory Map. When you start off, you’ll normally have a CPU go through a preliminary orientation to explain how the game works and this is where it is done. Nothing is particularly difficult in this Map. Just get through it and make sure to pay attention to the game’s mechanics as you learn them.

Map 2 – Same deal as the first one. As long as you are working through them and leveling up, there is nothing particularly difficult about this Map.

Map 3 – This Map is probably where it starts to get a little more difficult for new players, mainly because of the fact that you are limited in how many cards you can play. The game naturally starts you with a Faen Hero and Faen cards, so you start to build your deck around those cards. What I recommend at this point is to start leveling up your creatures and strengthen your deck by building experience, and of course the best way to do that is to run the Mazes and build up more EXP (experience points). There is no particular Dungeon that is too difficult in this one that leveling up wouldn’t solve.

SIDE NOTE: Just in case you didn’t already know, after you play Dungeon 3-1, you’ll have the option to enter a referral code. Both you and the other person can actually earn some gems here; it should give you about 50 gems, 10,000 coins, and 2 coupons! Not a bad deal. I would do it. If you go to the chat room, you’ll see a bunch of random referral codes and you can just grab one of them. Also, you need to enter the code in the “Earn Gems” mode (located at the main screen).

Map 4 should be a bit easier once you’re over the hump that is Map 3, if you played it without a 4-Star Hero to help out.

Map 4 – From my experience, I found Map 3 more difficult than Map 4 because in Map 3, I wasn’t as strong or as leveled up, but by Map 4 I got a 4-star Hero Devil Hunter and it helped a ton! For those who haven’t received a 4-star Hero by this point, one suggestion for you: LEVEL UP!!! From Maps 1 to 3, I was working with only 2-star Heroes and that was mainly the issue (I’m sure you guys know what I mean). So if you are still working with a 2-star Hero at this point in the game, I recommend using Sir Valmourn or Zora Marauder, as their skills are just incredible for being only level 2 Heroes.

Map 5 – The only Dungeon I particularly had difficulty with on this Map was Dungeon 5-9 and 5-10 (the secret Dungeon), because if you scroll through Maps 1 to 5, you’ll see that you never really had to fight against a 4-star Hero until you hit these two. So that’s why it’s particularly difficult, since 4-star Heroes are much more powerful against your lower-star Heroes (if you are working with one). So for Dungeon 5-9 and 5-10, use Mortii cards if you can, since Faens are weak against them. However, if you can’t, then try the ‘Undying’ ability by making sure most of your cards have ‘Rebirth’ and keep recycling your cards until you beat it. Good thing you get infinity chances to beat it, so you can learn as you go!

Map 6 – I don’t believe this Explorer Gate mode gets particularly difficult until you hit Map 6… like, seriously difficult. I created a new account (to help write this guide from the perspective of a new player) and ran through the entire Explorer Gate up to Map 12, taking care to notice when the game starts to get annoyingly hard. This is where you will probably hit that point. The developers have actually made Map 6 and onward a lot harder than when us veteran players first started Deck Heroes at the initial release, so you’ll have a tough time here (sorry about that!).

There are a lot of Dungeons here where the opponent’s deck just over-buffs, and if you’re not well versed in their Hero and Deck synergy then you’ll probably be stuck here for a while. As I always recommend, level up as much as possible and make sure you have great synergy between your Hero and Deck. For example, I would use my Hero such as Devil Hunter and make sure that my cards in my Deck are able to activate his Talents. In this way, try to match your deck’s faction to your Hero’s faction when possible.

A Dungeon on this particular Map which I had trouble with the most would be 6-7 because it’s a Hero-killer deck, so if you stumble upon this one, you must absolutely have Hero-healers in your deck! Another common mistake people make is that they don’t level up their creatures — please do so! A lot of people neglect to level their cards up as often as they should, but it really holds you back as you do not unlock your cards’ fullest potentials.

By Map 6, you should really be starting to feel the heat… Keep pressing on, and make sure to switch around your deck to tailor the exact strategy you need to beat each Dungeon, if you find yourself struggling.

Map 7 – There are a few Dungeons worth mentioning in this Map. Some of the ones I had difficulty with (even with my 4-star Hero at this point) would be Dungeon 7-6 and Dungeon 7-10. The reason why 7-6 is hard is because of the Hero. Surprisingly, his skill is super OP (overpowered) because when your creatures die and go into the graveyard, his skill multiplies by each one. Without any creatures in your graveyard, the base amount of ATK and HP he restores to his creature is 90, but let’s say you have 3 creatures in the graveyard — that’s 270 HP and 270 ATK for each and every single one of his cards, so make sure you have a bunch of ‘Rebirth’ skills for this particular Dungeon.

For Dungeon 7-10, there’s constant magic hitting you from left and right, so if you can, I recommend using the ‘Spiky Bits’ skill in your deck to help against that. I would totally have annihilated that stage if I wasn’t only focusing on my Faen deck. I barely had any good Neander cards at this point, and so I was getting totally messed up on this Stage. I recommend being well-rounded and making sure you have a good deck for each faction as you progress in the game. It’s useful!

Map 8 – There is a notorious Dungeon in this Map that, if not all, then 99.9% of the entire Deck Heroes community has a hard time with. It is known as the notorious level Dungeon 8-11. This particular Dungeon, I would say, has to be one of the hardest in the entire game! The reason why it is so hard is because the game up to this point conditions you to use a lot of magic users, as they are strong and produce multiple damages which is normally an advantage. Well, when you hit this stage, it actually becomes a flaw. You don’t want to use magic in this stage — seriously! Stay away from magic!

Why? Well, I mentioned before the ability called ‘Spiky Bits’, right? The Hero in this stage has something that is basically it. It’s called ‘Sharp Armor’ and it gets really annoying. This is probably the most annoying stage I have ever played in the entire game. Well, how do we beat it, then? There are three things you need to do. 1) You need this specific card, Centaur Chief (A MUST!!!), because they’re super OP against Neanders. 2) Do not use magic. At all. OK? 3) Make sure your deck is heavy with ‘Rebirth’/’Recycle’ abilities, as you’ll need them to make sure your cards keep coming back!

Map 9 – Once I hit Map 9, after crying for weeks because of how difficult 8-11 was, I was so relieved to find out that Map 9 wasn’t too bad. So I put away my tissue box because I breezed through 9-1 to 9-9 like nothing… and then… 9-10 happened to me, and the tissue box came out again. The reason why 9-10 is so hard is because of Predator’s skill — that grizzly bear is unstoppable! It’s practically immune to nearly anything, so if you want to beat it, you’re going to need to really put your thinking cap on. The way I beat it was to go around it and kill the Hero, so I got a Chaos Witch and a bunch of Dark Witch creatures and made sure they kept hitting the Hero. Even if his cards keep attacking you, just make sure you hit the Hero, as that’s your goal. It’ll make life so much easier. There are other ways but it can get a little complicated, so this is one of the simpler ways I always suggest to people: the Hero Killer Method.

Ahhh, Map 9… So peaceful, so serene… Who could possibly know beforehand about the sheer horror that this Map is hiding in the form of Dungeon 9-10?

Map 10 – Dungeons 10-8 and 10-11 are worth mentioning here. At this point, I’ll have to admit that every single last stage of each Map gets pretty hard, so expect it. 10-8 is hard because there are not one, but two Dahlias, and everyone knows why Dahlias are so hard to deal with. Well, for one, it has ‘Sacrifice’, which is a skill that kills one of your cards and uses it to buff itself up, and second, it has ‘Recycle 2’!!! Yes, she Recycles two cards, so it doesn’t matter if she sacrifices another card in the deck because she brings them right back. And yes, I did say there were two of them, right!?

They get annoying, so what I recommend is getting those Dahlias out first and making sure they both die, and it’s smooth sailing from there. How, you ask? Just timing and luck — you can dispose them or kill them off, but your objective is to get them out first! The reason why 10-11 is hard is because of the 5-star Hero Armageddon. Everyone knows his skill is super OP, but surprisingly, I beat it with the “Hero Killer Method”, so I recommend that. Otherwise, I also recommend if you have a card that has the skill ‘Retreat’, it basically keeps flipping the enemy’s cards back into the deck, so if you place that card first you’ll keep flipping cards back and you’ll have more opportunities to kill the Hero. Keep trying until it works!

Map 11 – There are a couple of notable ones in here: Dungeon 11-4, 11-8, and 11-11 are a pain. To keep it short, use Balrog as the Hero for 11-4 and 11-8, and for 11-11, there are many ways to beat it, but it takes a lot of timing. A good Hero to use for this one is Beserker, and if you can, make sure you have ‘Spiky Bits’ for his Talents.

Map 12 – To be honest, I haven’t finished all of Map 12. I know… I am still a newbie. However, I’ve asked around (including higher level players in my guild and from other very reliable sources) and you guessed it… it was the last stage 12-11 and the secret Dungeon 12-12 that are the hardest! It is the last Map of the entire game, so try any method you can. Try the Hero Killer Method, buff up your creatures, and most of all, never give up — because you’ll eventually get it, right? Good luck!

The confusingly named ‘Map Guides’ are purchasable packs full of stuff that are tailored to help you on that particular Map page. They’re definitely worth picking up, if you can.


‘Map Guide’ Boosters

Map Guides are normally found on Maps 3 to 6 at the very top of the screen. The developers are probably still designing the Map Guides for the next few Maps and haven’t gotten to them yet! So, hold your horses on those. As I was saying, they are basically boosters to help you out through the hard stages of the game. Map guides were not around at the beginning of Deck Heroes. It was recently updated with Version 4.5.0, released in April, 2015. They’re basically known to players as the Explorer Gate’s “booster packs”. If you know what the Faction Booster packs are, where they sell them for 675 gems in the “Events” tab, then basically these are like mini versions of those, but their purpose is mostly to help you with beating the Dungeon Maps.

Earlier, I explained how some Stages can get annoying if you don’t have certain cards. These boosters are there to help you and solve that issue! When they were first released, I thought they were such a sham. I thought it was just another way to make players waste their gems, but out of curiosity I bought one of them. They seem to always have a “90%” off sticker stamped on them. It’s been 3 months and I still see that sticker on it, so I am assuming the original cost of it was 3500 gems, because if you are only paying for 10% of the original cost, when you do the math it comes out to 3500 gems. So if they ever took the “sale” price tag off of it, you’re paying for only 10% of the original cost, and that is extremely worth it.

However, that’s not the only reason they are worth it. Why I find it worth the cost in purchasing is because some of them (but not all) are very helpful in finishing the Maps. Remember how I was ranting about how hard Dungeon 8-11 was? Well there is a particular card in one of these boosters which is extremely OP and necessary to beat Dungeon 8-11, and that card is Centaur Chief — you’ll find him in the booster pack of Map Guide number 4. Just because they are given in designated Maps, it doesn’t mean they’ll always help you with just those Maps. They can, but like I said, I bought him because I needed him for Dungeon 8-11.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that not only do you get two 4-star creatures for only 350 gems (Map 3 is only 100 gems) but you also get 600,000 coins and 16 Enhancement Essence cards! (Map 3 gives 300,000 coins and 10 Enhancement essence cards.) These Enhancement cards are all 4-star ones, so that means you can use it to level up a good amount of cards with lots of experience points. Now let’s break down each one and analyze how “valuable” they are, by ranking which ones are more worth buying.

You don’t have to pick up any Map Guide packs, but I highly recommend you do, as they’re going to make your Deck Heroes life much easier.

Remember, each Guide Map/Booster gives you 600,000 coins and sixteen 4-star Essence cards. Nothing is different in regards to that, so the only difference is the two 4-star creature cards it guarantees you. Each Map gives you different ones. So let’s break them down and see if they’re worth purchasing.

Map 3 Map Guide – This Map Guide is cheapest out of all of them. I didn’t buy it, but the only reason why it is worth it is because it’s only 100 gems and you get 10 Essence cards, and that’s the part that’s worth it. It also gives you 300,000 coins which is mediocre, but honestly, the 3-star cards they give you can also be used to level up other cards too. So I guess it’s pretty useful, but definitely not anything to be excited about. However, those Essence cards… I’d definitely buy this one just for those alone.

Map 4 Map Guide – This one I definitely made sure I purchased, because I needed Centaur Chief. Remember when I was explaining how Dungeon 8-11 is hard and the number one piece of advice I gave you was to get a Centaur Chief? This is where you can get one! Also, as I always point out, you will get 16 Essence cards to help level up your deck. You’ll also get another 4-star creature and it’s Treant Elder — he is a pretty good card and I normally use him in my Faen-heavy deck for his healing abilities. Last but not least, you get your coins!

Map 5 Map Guide – I didn’t buy this one, mostly because I didn’t really need the cards that they were offering. However, I would definitely buy it for the Essence cards. Other than that, I don’t find the cards Pit Lord or Colossus particularly helpful because I pretty much beat almost all the Maps without them. However, you will get your 600,000 coins and 16 Essence cards, as always! So it’s worth picking up if you want those.

Map 6 Map Guide – I bought this one simply for one reason alone — it gave me an Oracle! If you have been playing this game for a while, you probably know that the game is very stingy when it comes to giving Oracle shards (which you need to craft one) and everyone knows that when you try to Meld her (Melding is explained in my other guide here), you lose your duplicates. So I thought this Map Guide was particularly worth it just because of her. Also, there’s always room for more Sentry Angels, especially if you are trying to Meld him, too. Last but not least, you also get your coin goodies and your Essence card goodies!

The Guild Map tab is where you’ll access these from. They’re one of the most enjoyable aspects of the whole game, so go wild and have fun!

Guild Maps Guide

I always get excited when it comes to Guild Maps because they’re so fun, and you can always improve your understanding of them by changing up your deck to see which produces the most damage. So let’s talk about the logistics of Guild Maps. When you open this mode, you will find 4 different tabs. The first tab, ‘My Guild’ is where you will find membership information — your Guild Master might post information on this page so you can read and keep up to date about new rules, etc. The second tab, ‘Guild Maps’ is where you go to hit the Maps and do some damage! The third tab, ‘Guild Mall’ is just another mall where you can buy some shards and other materials. Last but not least, ‘Guild Battle’ – every 3 days there is a server-wide battle with other Guilds in order to gain some reputation for your Guild and collect some rewards!

As mentioned before in my previous Deck Heroes guide, I explained that one of the best ways to score really high and do insane damage on the Guild Maps is to use the Hero Wight. I would recommend other ways to do major damage, like using the cards Killer Queen, Prime Angel and also Mythril Drone, but the developers realized how OP these cards were and thought to limit them so they basically don’t work anymore… Super bummer!

Alright so what about Wight? If you read his skill, it’s based on a percentage, and it increases each round that passes which means that it hits pretty crazy amounts of damage by the 10th round, and it also stacks! The skill at level 1 is no good, though. I currently have it at level 7 and it does wonders! At a higher level, the skill ‘Death Curse’ does 700 damage to 2 enemy creatures with the most HP after their next turn. DMG dealt is increased by .7 times every turn. So basically 70% of 700 would be 490. Let’s say it was applied to the same creatures twice, so stacking it would do 700 + 490 + 490 which equals 1680, then it takes 70% of that, and so on and so forth. Bottom line is, it’s a CRAP LOAD OF DAMAGE!!!

PRO TIP: make sure Wight is at level 3 or higher, as that’s really where you need him at in order to do decent damage. Also, pay very close attention to this rule: make sure you do not hit the opponent’s Hero, as if you do, it will activate something called ‘Mantra’ and it will completely get rid of Wight’s ‘Death Curse’ skill. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE, MUST FOLLOW RULE! Or, you can try to hit the other Hero and see how it will mess up the skill. You’re probably thinking, so what? Wight will just do his skill again and then it’ll apply again. Nope. Remember, you’re trying to stack his skill, and it does it each round, so if you mess that up and hit the Hero and the Hero heals its cards and ‘Death Curse’ is erased, you’ll have to start from zero again. This means the basic skill damage, such as starting at 700, then 490 then 490, will happen all over again. So please do not do that!

This is the guy you need if you’re serious about dealing some hefty damage in the Guild Maps.

Last but not least, you need the right type of deck. What I recommend is getting a bunch of Frost Ragers and Oracles, along with some Cave Dragons. You don’t really need to follow this sample verbatim, but you do need to understand the logic of it. The reason why I am recommending you use Frost Ragers is because they are easy to harvest and they are also easy to Meld. The reason why you need ‘Bless’ on them is because you need to heal the Hero quite often, and the general rule is you need at least six healers in your group so your Hero doesn’t die. The other Hero constantly absorbs your Hero’s HP, so you want to make sure you have cards that are taking care of your Hero. Your goal is to stay alive and do the most damage possible.

Secondly, the reason why Oracles are so important is because they have ‘Bless’ and ‘Mass Heal’. Some people argue that Blood Warlocks are better because they also have ‘Bless’ and ‘Mass Heal’ but are easier to harvest. You can do with whichever cards you please — as long as the skills ‘Bless’ and ‘Mass Heal’ are there, you are good. There is no set one way to do this. There are a lot of ways, and if someone says it’s wrong, well, as long as you’re hitting the Maps right and doing the most damage possible then it doesn’t matter how you do it — it just matters that you did it!

Also, you need Cave Dragons. Why? Well you need them because they have a skill called ‘Fatigue 8’ which basically reduces the ATK of all enemy creatures by 80 and if you have two of them you’ll have a good 190 ATK reduced each time, and if they hit zero then that means no ATK against your cards would be made. The tricky part is to make sure that you have those cards out first, because you want them to reduce the enemy’s ATK down to nothing by the time the other cards come out. Then you’ll pretty much be set and your cards won’t be harmed.

Now I will create a simple list for you to follow as to what an ideal deck could be like. (Remember, this is just the ideal. There are other methods, but this is the one I use.)

Hero to use: Wight at level 3 and higher.

Cards you want/how many

Melds you want on them

Melds found on this card

Frost Rager 3 ‘Bless 7’ or ‘8’ Oracles, Blood Warlocks
Oracle  3 ‘Frost Armor 3’ or higher Frost Rager, Sentry Angel
Cave Dragon 2 ‘Frost Armor 3’ or higher Frost Rager, Sentry Angel
Nidhogg 2 No Melds necessary

Something you can play around with — sometimes I don’t use all 10 cards, I only use 6 cards. I make sure the enemy’s cards are all lined out and then I organize my cards and how they will line up. When I am done and making sure they line out correctly, I hit skip and end the battle to see if my organization worked out. I normally hit really high damage using less cards because you reduce the chance of hitting the enemy’s Hero and resetting Wight’s skill.

When to place them in the field — You always want to make sure you get your Cave Dragons out first. I normally skip my turns until at least three enemy cards are out on the field. Then you put your Cave Dragons out, and then you’ll also want a few Hero-healers out there. If you stumble upon an enemy that has sweeping blow, make sure you put your ‘Frost Armor’ creatures in front and to the left because that’s how the mechanics work. A sweeping blow from the enemy side will hit your middle card, left card, and then your right card. So if you have a ‘Frost Armor’ on the left side, your right card will not take the skill of the left side and only get damaged a limited amount. Then the rest of your cards can be played.


Conclusion and Disclaimer

This method is a well-rounded one. I never hit lower than 50k damage when skipping with this method, and the most I have hit is 2 million. So it’s really up to you and up to the composition of your cards. However, this method is weak against high-magic enemy decks, so if you see a bunch of magic players in there, more than likely you are not going to hit that high in damage.

This method is extremely strong against Map 1-5, so try it there and you’ll see why you do well — it’s because that deck is non-magic, and you pretty much created a deck that is super OP against decks like the one found on guild Map 1-5.

If you see an Archdeva or Revenant, you know that they have the skill ‘Retreat’. This sucks because your cards are constantly bounced back, but to combat this, I specifically place my Nighogg in front of them or I have a Gabroid with ‘Frost Armor 5’ Melded onto it placed in front of them. This works wonders against those two because Nidhogg and Gabroid both have ‘Stoneskin’ and ‘Retreat’ doesn’t work against it. Take that!

Last but not least, Guild Map damage is all about flexibility. You must analyze your enemy’s deck before you play against it — if you blindly use only this tactic against all, you will not see any improvement. Good luck, friends!

Interested in more? Go to our Deck Heroes Introductory Strategy Guide for more tips and hints!

Any questions or feedback? Got some tips of your own, perhaps? Let us know in the comments below!

What Else Do We Have on Deck Heroes? Read Next:

How to Play Deck Heroes – Strategy Guide – Hints, Tips, and Tricks

In-Depth Review of Deck Heroes

Deck Heroes Screenshots

Games Like Deck Heroes

External: Deck Heroes Merchandise

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Lisa Lac
Author: Lisa Lac View all posts by
Lisa is a graduate of Public Health Policy with a minor in Anthropology and a long time Pokémon card collector. She started gaming at a very young age and has a special interest in RPGs and TCGs. She is currently infatuated with Deck Heroes, a mobile TCG and is still working on breaking every code the game has to offer.
  • Manya Sharma

    Will you ever write such a detailed guide for Earthcore Shattered elements which got rare 9/10 rating here.

    • ZacPhoenix

      We’re looking into do this!! Thanks for the feedback. It’s always appreciated.

  • Johnny Chang

    Thanks a bunch!

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