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Getting Loot In Cannon Defense

The reason why people play cannon defense.

Ahoy, I am Leon Dreadpratt, a level 50 pirate. I love cannon defense and have gotten pretty good at it. My current cannon defense record is wave 104 and I have gotten Revenant Ram 4 times, so I can guarantee that these strategies work. The biggest reason people play cannon defense is because it is by far the best way to get famed and very rare cannon rams. You get loot in cannon defense about every 6 or 7 waves, and everyone gets loot on the same wave. You get loot after waves 6, 13, 19, 26, 32, 39, 45, 52, 58 65, 71, 78, 84, 91, 97, 104 and so on. You also get loot after you lose. However, each time you get loot you are not guaranteed to get a famed cannon ram, or even a cannon ram at all. Past wave 26 you can hope to start getting famed, but you might have to wait as far as wave 32 or 45 if you are unlucky. It is quite common to get wool cannon ram on wave 26, but not guaranteed. And to even start hoping for rev ram you need to get to at leastwave 52. Think of it like this. From wave 1-13 loot is what you might expect in a loot pouch, almost always common or crude, if you are lucky a rare, and if you are insanely lucky a famed. From wave 19-26 loot is what you might expect in a loot chest, mostly rare with the occasional famed. Past wave 32 the loot is what you might expect in a skull chest, a pretty good chance of getting famed and rare. However, getting this far is obviously the hard part and the reason for this guide.

Strategies, Tips, & Tricks

Use A Mouse

Now for cannon defense I highly suggest you use a mouse and not a trackpad. If you are playing on a laptop, put it on a table and get a real mouse. It may sound nitpicky but trust me. If you do not have a mouse or you really do not like them, fine, but using a mouse will certainly improve your playing. Now the reason why a mouse helps so much is because they let you make much more fluid and constant adjustments to your aim. To get the most shots and the best aim this is what I suggest you do. Take your mouse and hold it in your right hand (if you are a lefty reverse it) make sure you have a nice open area to your right to move the mouse around on such as an open tabletop. When the wave starts click the right mouse button on the mouse and hold it. There is no reason to let go of it. Move your mouse around to follow the ships and use your left hand to shoot (either by clicking on the left mouse button on your trackpad or control on your keyboard) and to switch ammo by using the numbers. This is much better than using a trackpad because you can shoot while aiming much easier, and you can constantly be aiming in a much smoother, fluid, and controlled manner than using a trackpad. It helps greatly for following and hitting small ships like light sloops. Try it out in a practice game, you will find it is a much easier and natural feeling to move your mouse hand to follow ships. Trust me, you will be surprised how much easier using a mouse makes things.

Sinking Each Ship

It is pretty obvious that sinking light sloops doesn't take the same strategies as sinking war frigates. Now I will tell what those strategies are.

Light Sloops

These ships are considered some of the most annoying, possibly some of the most difficult, ships in the game. Tiny and fast they can be a problem for even the best cannoneers. However if you have the right strategies their equally tiny hp can make them a piece of cake. Some people love using a nice keg to take these little guys out easily. Although this works, it can be a waste of money. These ships really aren't that hard to just shoot. The most important thing you need to be able to take these guys out fast is 5 on the shoot skill (see below). If they are moving, use your mouse to follow them and shoot a quick round (note: when I say "round" I mean 6 round shots not one) at them, remember to aim in front of them so they will move into the shot, odds are one or two will hit. If they are sitting at the beach don't shoot all the shots at the same time, they all might miss. Take a few quick shots and constantly be adjusting your aim as you shoot at them. Still, as you go through the levels ships get more and more lives and get harder and harder. This makes light sloops especially harder as they go from being sinkable in 2 hits to needing more like 5 or 6 hits to sink them. Firestorm can be very effective at taking these guys out, if you can hit them. Two things you can do is aim at a larger ship (if one is out) like one of the light galleons that often accompany light sloops. The other thing you can do is wait for one to stop at the shore, try shooting it with round shot until you get your aim right, the quickly shoot a firestorm without moving your aim. If you really really have to you can use a keg, but only in the higher levels. The general rule is, only use expensive ammo if you don't think you could do it with only round shot.

Light Galleons And Frigates

These ships are very easy. Slower and larger than the light sloops they are no problem to hit. Use your mouse to follow them, shoot one or two rounds, and they are gone. No problem. If you encounter a large group in a high level, a firestorm or even a keg might help. But make sure you are really using it well. If you think you could sink them without better ammo there is no point wasting money.

Sloops, War Sloops, And Heavy War Sloops

These ships are fast but they are large and have relatively low hp. They really aren't that hard. For them it is best to aim for the sails. However make sure the rounds don't go through the cracks. Unloading a few rounds quickly can sink them easily. Again a large group in the high levels might call for a firestorm or keg.

Galleons and War Galleons

Though they have good hp, being very large and very slow make them easy targets. Unloading several rounds into their hull can sink them before they even get to the beach. If there are a lot of them it might be good to hit them with a keg or firestorm. Often this won't sink them but will still make them easy to finish off with some round shots. In higher levels it might even take multiple big hits with firestorm of keg to take them out.

Frigates And War Frigates

These guys are a little faster and have a little more hp than the galleons, making them harder. However they are still large and easy to hit. A few kegs and firestorm and plenty of round shot should do the trick.

Heavy War Galleons And Frigates

These ships are massive and extremely hard to sink. Often times even 10 or more rounds will not sink them. If there is more then one or two out you should definitely consider a barraging them with keg and firestorm. And if you spy one of these emerging they are the only ship that might warrant a quick bait shot to keep them from wreaking havoc on the town. If you really have the money.

The Good Ammos And How To Use Them

Now it is rather obvious that round shot isn't the only ammo you can use, even if it is the most useful. The most important thing to know about ammo is that in the beginning, you need to save money for ammo later on. One of the most obvious signs of someone who has no idea what they are doing is one that buys and uses every new ammo the second they unlock it. Ammo like target shot, smoke bomb, and hot shot are a complete waste of money. Even ammo as tempting as mines or scatter shot are best left alone. If you are hoping to get anywhere you need to save up. Often you will learn this the hard way the first time you get pretty far. After having a great time using mines and other ammo you suddenly realize you have nowhere near enough money to buy kegs. Soon afterwards you are out of money altogether and you lose, learning your lesson, save up. However once you have learned this you need to know what ammos are useful and how to use them. As I said many times above the most important rule to know about ammo is that you only ever use it when you think you will not be able to sink all the ships with just round shot. If there is a big group of light sloops it might be tempting and funny to hit them with a keg and sink them all. But odds are, though it may be tricky, you would have been able to sink the light sloops without wasting money. Always remember that as you play cannon defense.

Round Shot

By far the absolute most useful ammo in the game. Often overlooked and considered useless in higher levels, it is what you should use 99% of the time all the time. It is free which makes it impossible to waste, it does good damage, you can shoot a lot and it reloads fast, there is no situation in which it is not useful. This ammo can take out light sloops and war frigates. Use it, waste it, love it.

Powder Keg

When a floating keg is hit with another shot it explodes doing massive damage to a huge area.

At level 10 you unlock your first good ammo, powder keg. Now this ammo is extremely expensive and only good if you know how to use it. Unlike some people think, it is NOT a large mine. Although it floats, if a ship runs over it it disappears without doing any damage. However, if you shoot it with round shot after it is placed, it explodes doing massive damage to a huge area. This makes it extremely efficient for taking out a large group of difficult ships in one shot. To insure detonation, once you shoot a keg instantly switch to round shot without adjusting your aim and shoot a few times. This will insure you will hit it. It is very imortant to remember that keg is only good if used in a large group. In theory it can do infinite damage to a big enough group! Using it to try and sink a single ship, even a heavy war ship, is a total waste. It does about 1,500 damage to each ship. So using it on one heavy war frigate does a total of 1,500 damage, or about one round of round shot. On the other hand using in on a group of 10 light galleons does a total o 15,000 damage, which is much more worth the money. One interesting note is that the explosion is rather boring compared to the dramatic fiery explosions of ammos like bomb, mines and, firestorm. In fact it looks more like a large puff of smoke than a massive damage explosion. It might take some learning to be able to use it well however. being able to place it right where you want it, being able to detonate it quickly. Do a lot of practicing until you have this down. The important thing with this ammo is not to waste it as it is very expensive. Only use it when you know it will be most needed.

Bullet shot goes fast an straight making it great for hitting small escaping ships.


Right after unlocking keg at level 10 you unlock bullet at level 11. This ammo goes very fast and straight and does pretty good damage. It also reloads fast similar to round shot, however you can only shoot 3 at a time. This makes it extremely good at hitting ships that are getting away, especially smaller ships. You will be surprised how many ships you will be able to sink with this that would otherwise get away.

Cold shot freezes a small patch of water forcing ships to stop making them easier to pick off.

Cold Shot

The next good ammo you get cold shot at level 13. When it hits the water it freezes a small patch of it. It does not do anything if you hit a ship though. When a ship touches the ice it does a small amount of damage and halts the ship. This can help by preventing ships from moving as you pelt them with ammunition, like keg or firestorm. It can also buy you precious time to get more rounds into large ships. Keeping up a ice "blockade" can be one of the keys to getting really far. This is only really helpful past wave 40 or so when, if you are doing good, money is abundant.

Bait shot summons a massive shark to attack and destroy any ship instantly.

Bait Shot

The next useful ammo you get is bait shot at level 16. When it hits a ship, a massive shark jumps from the water and pulls the entire ship down no matter how big. As you would think, this is best used on the largest, toughest ships of the heavy war classes that would pose a great threat otherwise. One interesting note is that the shark will bite right where you hit the ship. This means if you want to see the shark dramatically leap into the air hit the top of the ships sails not the hull. Like powder keg, it is extremely expensive and you can not waste it. One trick for higher levels when you can afford bait shot but you don't have an empty slot for it. You can quickly exchange bait shot for keg or another ammo as soon as you see a heavy war ship. Sink the ship, then quickly sell the rest of the bait shots back and buy the original ammo again. If you can do this quickly you will have easily sunk an otherwise extremely difficult ship.

Fire Storm

When firestorm hits a ship it causes a fiery explosion that does good damage to a large area.

Finally, firestorm, the last ammo you unlock. This can be used like a cheaper, but slightly less powerful powder keg that does not have to be detonated. When it hits a ship it explodes in a huge fiery burst igniting all ships in the area. It will do pretty good damage to a large area similar to powder keg, but without the need of a trigger. Also since this ammo is far less expensive you can use it a lot on any group of ships. It also reloads faster making it very useful. In the higher levels, if you have the money, you will find yourself using it as soon as it reloads again. It is most useful in very dense masses of ships where finding open water to place a keg on is difficult.

Dealing With Barrels

Light frigates and up will fire barrels at you when hit. These can be extreamly annoying if you do not know how to deal with them, if you do however they aren't a problem. The first thing you need to know is when ships fire barrels. They shoot when they are first hit at whoever hit them, and somethimes again when they reach the shore. Now if you see a barrel coming towards you, the most important thing is not to pannic. Keep playing as normal and wait for it to get close. When it is getting close simply fire a few shots at it. The closer it is to your ship the bigger target it is and the easier it is to hit. Often times a very good keg or firestorm can make you the target for a good number of barrels. Again do not panic. If there are too many to take out, just let them hit you. If you get hit by a barrel white you are knocked out nothing happens. So all you need to do is let them hit you, shake your mouse enough to get you almost revived, then when the last one hits, revive yourself, no problem.

Good Skills For Cannon Defense

Now cannon defense uses different ammo than the regular cannon you have on your boat, even round shot. This means that giving round shot 1 or 5 skill points will not effect how much damage round shot does in cannon defense. However many of the passive skills can be extremely useful in cannon defense.


Cannon shoot.png

Perhaps the best but most overlooked skill is shoot. Yes by shoot I mean the little cannon up in the top left corner that automatically gets 1 skill point. Now it may seem useless, but this is extremely helpful for cannon defense. Not because it increases your damage but because it lets you shoot faster. If you leave this on 1 point it might take you a few seconds to shoot a round of round shot. However if you put this on 5 you can shoot a round in less than a second. Now this is extremely helpful: it helps you shoot rapid fire at large ships, it lets you shoot lots of rounds at those pesky light sloops hoping one will hit, it simply lets you get more shots fired meaning more damage dealt. It is almost necessary to have this on 5 for cannon defense.


Cannon barrage.png

The second best skill for cannon defense is obviously barrage. Anyone who is smart has this on 5 anyway. Extra damage to everything. It is like an extra skill point on every cannon and grenade attack. It goes with saying that I highly suggest you put this on 5 for cannon defense.

Rapid Reload

Cannon scrounger.png

The final helpful skill is rapid reload. As its name implies this skill helps you reload faster. Though not necessary or as helpful, it does help reduce the reload time of some shots that take longest to reload such as powder keg, bait shot, and fire storm. If you have extra skill points, putting a few on this can help.

Cannon Rams For Cannon Defense

It may seem ironic using cannon rams to get cannon rams, but certain rams can be helpful in cannon defense. As I said above extra skill points on normal cannon ammo does not carry over to cannon defense. This means the only helpful cannon rams are the ones that give boosts to the passive skills named above. And out of all the cannon rams currently in the game the only ones that boost any of those are the gunners cannon rams giving a boost to rapid reload. This means that if you are playing cannon defense the only cannon ram that will help is one of those three.

What Level You Are Doesn't Really Matter

Because in cannon defense your cannon level resets with each game, what level the player is doesn't really matter. This means that a level 1 who is good at cannon defense could do far better then a 50 who has no idea what he is doing. One thing that does matter is basic or unlimited access. Basic members are greatly handicapped in cannon defense because they can only buy ammos up to mines. And as we all (really really should) know, mines are terrible so a basic member pretty much doesn't get any good ammos. Now you may have noticed that I am saying level doesn't really matter rather then saying it doesn't matter at all. This is because it actually does matter a little bit. The reason why almost all good cannoneers are high levels is because they can have more skill points on the passive skills named above, meaning they are better at cannon defense. That said this can't nearly make up for skill. And you shouldn't avoid people just because they aren't mastered. Like I said a good level 1 can be far better than a bad 50. You should chose who to play with based on skill not level.

Getting Far In Cannon Defense

This is pretty average for practicing (honestly I wasn't playing my best because I as focusing a lot on getting the screenshots you just saw!) If you can get this far or further, solo, you are ready to start playing for real.

Practice Practice Practice

To start off, if you want to get anywhere, you need to be good before you can even start thinking about playing for famed. Many people don't understand just how hard it is to get far enough in cannon defense to get famed, let alone reverent ram. Everybody who is playing needs to be masters in cannon defense, if even one person is bad you won't get very far. To get better, simply practice and play often. Don't worry about getting very far, just work on aim and the strategies I talked about. Learn how far in front you need to aim to hit ships. Learn how far cannons fire at different angles. Learn how and where to use ammo most effectively. If you want you can even play alone. Try and sink all those pesky sloops by yourself! One thing I suggest you don't do is use any ammo you want, even if you aren't going to get far anyway. You should learn how to use the good ammos and only the good ammos. Plus if you get a reputation as someone who loves to use mines, you might just find it will be hard to get people to play with once you learn otherwise.

Organize A Good Group

Once you feel you have become good yourself, you need some good friends. This can be very hard. Often, it is hard enough getting four people to start at the same time, let alone four good people. You need to figure out some way to organize. Either in the game, on the wiki, among real friends, however you can. I would suggest getting a couple (maybe 10) friends who are all masters at cannon defense too. That way you can play whenever enough of them are online and want to join. Again, a surprising amount of it is reputation. Once word gets out that you are good at cannon defense, people will want to play with you.

Always play with four people. Though the number of ships increase, it is still easier with more poeple. Mostly because of ammos like keg and firestorm that are much better with more ships.

Chose Your Location

Surprisingly what island you play at can effect how well you do. I would suggest you start all your games at padres. Why does it matter? Well even though the game itself is exactly the same no matter where you start, padres is best is because, if someone on your team leaves, or for some reason there is an open spot, there is a lower risk of a noob joining. By "noob" I mean a very low level, normally basic access, who hasn't really played the game much and doesn't have much esle to do other then wander around pressing shift every time he can. He has never gotten past wave ten and loves using target shot. If someone like this joins your game it can completely destroy a game because he will be making more ships come but won't be doing near as much as someone who is good at cannon defense. Starting on padres, greatly decreases the chance you will get a noob because noobs almost rarely go there.

Make Sure You Have Time

This can be hard because games can last hours and often time unexpected things might pop up. But still try your best to make sure you and all your team mates really are up for it. One of the easiest ways to lose in cannon defense is if someone in your group has to leave the game or stops playing, especially if they don't exit the game. If someone has to stop for just one wave the other three people will have to sink four people's worth of ships. Think of it like this, if you have four people and you are all trying your best and just barely sinking all the ships, if someone stops playing (but doesn't leave) a quarter of ships that that person would have sunk will all get by. Often times you will be amazed at how quickly ships will start getting by if someone leaves. You can easily lose in one wave. If you absolutly have to leave, unless it is for literally ten seconds, always exit the game. Yes your levels will reset, but it is better than murdering your team. Similarly, try your best to avoid chatting durring the game. If someone wispers to you just say you are playing cannon defense and you can't talk. And try and keep all chat between teammates to between waves.

Get Organized

Though it is certainly not necessary getting your group organized, it might help you get a little farther. You might have noticed that above I talked about 6 good ammos but you only get 4 ammo slots. To solve this and to help to decrease confusion you can take a second with your group to decide who is going to do what and who is going to use what ammo. Obviously (at least I really really hope this is obvious) everyone should have round shot. Out of the 5 other ammos I listed, powder keg and firestorm are the best, everyone should have those too. You then need to decide who should get what other ammos. You could assign one or two people to buy cold shot and keep up a small ice blockade. You could also assign someone as the sniper to buy bullet to take out escaping ships. Finally because it is insanely expensive only one person should buy bait shot, or you might decide no one should buy bait shot if you don't think it will be necessary. Again though this is not necessary it might just get you that few waves further to get your next famed cannon ram.

Open Fire!

Make sure everyone in your group is familiar with these strategies and knows what to do. Start the game at the same time and be ready. Be prepared for hours of shooting. But know that in that one game you could get several good cannon rams including the highly prized revenant cannon ram! Good luck!