Touhou Monster TD – Tower Viability Tier List (3 Star Lunatic, including DLC)

This game has mostly good balance especially if we ignore the DLC. I love this game but loves ranking stuff even more, so I here I am ranking towers in a Touhou tower defense game hardly anyone plays! This list does not take Endless mode into account and tiers are not ordered.

Guide to Tower Viability Tier List


Best of the best, actively makes the game easier


Yukari is good at nearly everything, being potent in DPS, group damage and stalling all at once in the same tower. Her main attack has comparable DPS to Reisen & Nitori, and the very fast attack speed & instanenous velocity makes her particularly reliable for cleaning up low hp enemies & killing flying enemies in general. The train deals heavy damage to groups of enemies, and said train combined with the teleport makes enemies struggle to get past Yukari. She is spammable in practically every level against most enemies, and the only reason that she doesn’t outright trivialize the game is because after she unlocked, the rest of the levels mostly have several paths, lots of heavily armored enemies and Yuugis who are immune to stalling/disabling effects including teleport and knockback. Pair her with Cirno for best results!

(DLC) Eirin

Similar to Yukari, Eirin excels in most aspects and can be used (if not spammed) in practically every situation to brute force through the enemy waves with ease. She is more oriented towards group damage and range, in fact not only is her range one of the highest of all towers, but she is the best tower to deal with flying enemies. She is just as good for dealing with grounded enemies, because as a whole she is arguably the best offensive tower in the game.

Unlike other group damage towers like Komachi and Tenshi, Eirin’s multi-targeting allows her to easily kill groups of enemies on her own no matter how “spaced” they are. And because she deals a high amount of damage with each projectile, her damage contribution eclipses all other towers most of the time. That’s already enough to make her arguably the best tower in the game, but she has one more trick up her sleeve: Thrown potions! A multi-targeting tower like Eirin should not be allowed to also have high single target DPS on top of everything else, but Eirin basically cheats and uses her potions to stay contributory against high health and/or high armor enemies like Momijis and Ghosts with various effects like freeze, armor debuff, magic damage burst and more. It doesn’t do too much against Yuugis considering they are immune to disabling effects like freeze, but regardless this is what pushes Eirin over the edge into being unquestionably overpowered in my eye.

(DLC) Keine

Keine’s base kit isn’t terribly exciting for how high she is on this list. Her main attack makes enemy take more damage from other towers, which is nice, though her own damage output is pretty low. Her Hakutaku form has high health and damage, but it’s nonetheless easily killed by stronger ranged enemies, Flandres and Yuugis. It also interrupts her main attack, but on the other hand from the perspective of a “Summon” tower it’s a significant advantage to be able to continue contributing to the fight even while “dead”. But that’s nothing compared to the sole reason she’s S tier: Her ability to upgrade nearby towers for completely free.

Place a level 4 tower near her, and when her ability is ready she’ll upgrade it to level 5, saving you hundreds of $. With a bit of management, you can do this at minimum several times throughout the level with different towers and you will quickly have saved up over a thousand $. On a blue speed tile she can upgrade towers twice(?) as often, if you really abuse Keine you will end up with more money & towers than you know what to do with by the end of the level. It’s hilarious (and overpowered). Even if you put no effort into managing her upgrade ability, she’ll still strengthen your defense by upgrading that one level 1 Alice guarding the exit into level 5 throughout the level.


Very strong use cases


Cirno is weird. On her own, she shouldn’t be this high on the list. But she ends up being one of the most useful towers in the game because she acts as a supplement to the “meta”. When you look at the other towers, they largely focus on physical damage output. And If they are magic damage, then they are mostly lacking in single target DPS & enfeebling effects. Letty is the exception to this, but Letty is inferior to Cirno as a supportive or synergy tower as a result of being unreliable and having inferior enfeebling effects. Marisa and Eiki (true damage) are also partial exceptions, but they both have zero enfeebling or supportive effects, with Marisa being outright unable to damage flying enemies. What I’m trying to say here is that Cirno’s role is supporting & covering the weaknesses of offensive towers.

Heavily armored enemies, Flying enemies and high damage enemies can all pose problems depending on what towers you’re using, but Cirno is good against all of these. Yukari cannot really handle enemies like Kyouko and Ghosts on her own, but Cirno fills in the gap and handles them. Plus, her slow effect synergizes with Yukari teleport, making enemies have an even harder time getting past. Upgraded Summon towers like Alice and Kaguya struggles against enemies like Momijis, Ghosts and Flandres, but Cirno can freeze them to prevent them from killing ally units & heavily damage them through their armor. Marisa struggles against fast enemies and as I said cannot hit flying enemies, but Cirno can slow down & freeze fast enemies and also kill flying enemies. I could keep going, but you get the idea. Furthermore, Cirno is useful even at level 1 since you don’t need to upgrade her for the slow debuff. It only helps that she’s cheap in general, too.


Just like Barracks in Kingdom Rush, Alice is invaluable for her ability to spawn multiple units on the path for such a cheap price. Even at level 1 to an extent, She can either stall enemies in “chokepoints” for your other towers to shoot them or catch non-flying enemies at the exit that just slipped past your defense. But somewhat unlike Kingdom Rush Barracks much of the time, it is actually a great investment to upgrade Alice to level 5 too, not only do her units have relatively high stats but you get two more units that are ranged, for a total of FIVE units! Depending on the stage, multiple level 5 Alices can easily destroy the enemy waves as these dolls are strong & can beat most enemies without help. Watch out for flying enemies though!


The “Poison” tower of the game, a very reliable & potent one at that! She prioritizes targets that are not poisoned, so when placed near the entrance she is so effective at spreading poison to enemies that at her best she can “kill” (leave at 1 hp at least) entire enemy waves on her own. She practically solos most of level 11 (Rugged Hills) only needing basic cleanup, until the last couple waves where there are simply too many enemies for her to keep up with even on a blue speed tile. And in later levels with the annoying Ghost enemies, she can simply poison them to drain their HP, trivializing them. This mainly works great in Stage 19 (Sanzu River) and EX. Abandoned Mineshaft. Yamame is somewhat situational, but her results are outstanding when used right. She is bad at lower upgrade levels though, she only really becomes useful at level 5.

(DLC) Daiyousei

Daiyousei generates green stars that restores your Hero’s stamina and reduces their ability cooldowns a bit. Youmu and Iku benefits the most from it, as they both deal high damage with their base attack but with heavy stamina cost. They also both have arguably the most powerful & impactful secondary abilities, especially Iku. Not only that, she gets an attack speed boost aura at level 5 to makes your other towers more effective. No other tower does the things she does, and since she actually makes a somewhat significant impact despite her own attack being pitifully weak, she’s an easy A+. The reason she’s not S is because she doesn’t carry levels by herself and her support is less significant than saving well over a thousand cash over the course of a level.


Good towers, as expected


I was debating on if I should place Marisa at A+ tier, but I decided that she belongs down here since she is a little more difficult to use and requires more support than the offensive towers up above. Don’t take it as her being weak, she takes the role of the “Magic Artillery” tower in the game seriously and raw power is her specialty. A huge beam pierces through every enemy it touches dealing significant damage, in fact her single target DPS being “average” is fantastic for a tower meant to be used on big groups of enemies. When she gets going and covers an entire group of enemies in her beam, her damage output is briefly the highest in the game eclipsing even the actual “Blast” towers who are supposed to be specialists at group damage.

She requires specific positioning to make the most out of her piercing beam, but with the star upgrade that lets towers keep attacking even while being lifted you can micro Marisa and line up her beam to hit as many enemies as possible. She peaks in usefulness on level 18 (Blazing Furnace) where Ghosts are constantly spammed at you in groups, Marisa TEARS through these enemies with ease giving you plenty of room to focus on other enemies. When taking Marisa’s inability to hit flying enemies combined with her reliance on positioning both into account, you need a little bit of skill and knowledge to use her to her max potential, but it’s more than worth it. On a different day, I’d probably think of her as A+, I’m not sure.


The simple & straightforward tower of the game. She pew pews, does significant single target physical damage and that’s it. To talk about Reisen, we need to compare her to her competitiors: Yukari and Nitori. Yukari is absolutely better than Reisen overall because of all the other tools she has alongside comparable single target DPS, but even ignoring the fact Yukari is borderline overpowered in the first place, Reisen has several advantages over Yukari that makes her relevant. She is cheaper, has longer range and is fully compatible with Damage tiles & Speed tiles unlike Yukari. As for Nitori, it’s a similar story. Nitori has even shorter range than Yukari and blue speed tiles don’t seem to affect her at all from what I saw. Nitori has among the highest single target DPS in the game and a slight knockback effect to slow down enemies, while Reisen continues to stay afloat thanks to her superior range & price.


See the Reisen description just above. Compared to Reisen, Nitori has superior DPS as well as a slight knockback effect to slowdown enemies, but is more expensive and has significantly shorter range. Otherwise they are pretty similar towers.


Can be considered a more offensive-oriented version of Alice. Kaguya spawns rabbit soldiers that walk on the path fighting enemies they stumble upon. Because of this, she will constantly be contributing a significant amount of damage & stalling. Additionally, she doubles as an “anti-air” tower that stockpiles high damage, AoE homing projectiles exclusively for flying enemies. She is fantastic at guarding the exit from fast grounded enemies & flying enemies alike, but she’s not perfect. She is matchup-reliant and her rabbits struggles to make a dent against some enemies. Ghosts just ignore the rabbits and take next to no damage from them, Yuugis & Flandres just instantly kills them, Nitori Mechs just blast them away with missiles, Parsees easily kills them with their high damage laser attack, Momijis will waste the rabbits’ time with her very high armor and so on. This is also minor but, Kaguya cannot shoot projectiles & spawn units at the same time. If there’s constant flying enemies or one particularly bulky flying enemy in range, she will pause spawning units in favor of constantly shooting at the flying enemies.

(DLC) Letty

An ice tower with similarities to Cirno. She can slow down enemies and freeze them, but her enfeebling effects are not nearly as good nor reliable compared to Cirno. Her Frostbite effect is a very powerful DoT, but unlike Yamame she won’t even attempt to spread it to multiple enemies in her range, instead attacking the same enemy over and over until it’s brought down to 1 hp from Frostbite and she finishes them off. Her icicle AoE attack packs a punch considering it applies her Frostbite effect to groups of enemies, but it has long cooldown so you need to pair it with Barracks to get the most out of it. She isn’t too good at first glance, until you realize that at level 5 her Frostbite DoT melts enemies so fast that Letty’s main role is actually being a giant enemy slayer.

Whether it’s Nitori Mechs or especially Yuugis, you can place Letty near them and by the time these enemies reach your other towers they will be mostly dead if not outright dead. For example, there is one dangerous wave in Level 19 (Senzu River) with around nine Yuugis coming from the top. I move Letty at the entrance and the results are all of the Yuugis ending up at a small chunk of HP left by the time they reach the rest of my towers. This meant that Letty did something like over 30,000 damage in total in one wave without movement/micro, which is pretty darn impressive. Her icicle attack also shines in the Nameless Hill stage in particular, Kyouko & Medicine are very difficult to deal with when they combine their armor & magic resistance auras but the icicle attack is effectively AoE true damage which decimates them. Letty could have been A+ since she’s so extremely effective in some levels, but she’s too situational for it.

(DLC) Miko

Queen of single target DPS. Reminiscent of the laser tower in Onslaught 2, multiple Mikos will link/combine their attack into one, so individual Mikos will contribute to the fray even if there are no enemies in their range. As for the damage, the “network” doesn’t just combine the damage of the Mikos, but also multiplies it, leading to nearly if not over 1000 damage each hit with 5-6 Mikos. Such impressive numbers suggests Miko is one of the strongest towers in the game, but a closer look reveals a lot of cracks. While Miko is one of the cheaper towers, spamming Miko still is a huge investment. Combined with her only partial true damage & AoE coming from her sword skill, spamming Miko leaves big gaps in your defense, leaving you vulnerable to heavily armored and grouped enemies (especially when it’s both).

The big problem is that it is necessary to build a balanced defense in almost all levels, and spamming Miko goes against that & again leaves you likely to outright lose to enemies that counter Miko. It is an outright inferior strategy compared to spamming Yukari and/or Eirin, who are way more flexible and safe. Furtheremore, not only do individual Mikos have a limited distance when attacking with the “network” (you can’t have a line of Miko across the whole map & have all of them attack the same target), but Mikos are prone to “desyncing” when there are multiple enemies, reducing effectiveness.

That said, spam is not the only reason to use her, at level 5 she has an aura that increases the damage of nearby towers, so you can use only one or two Mikos to take advantage of the damage buff aura. I used to believe Miko was one of the best towers in the game just because of the huge damage, but when I actually tried to use her in hard levels I found it difficult to fit her into a strategy outside of being a simple boost aura. I’ve been going ham on Miko and making her look like a weak tower, but she is still good, it’s just that her highs are really high and her lows are really low. I would actually have ranked her as low as B if it weren’t for the damage boost aura, there’s also the fact she indirectly becomes better (relative to other towers) when using the overpowered heroes (Mokou and Iku). They can carry the early waves and more importantly annihilate groups of armored enemies, giving you much more flexibility when trying to abuse Miko.


Compared to Reisen and Nitori, she is a lot more geared towards killing bigger enemies, especially if they are armored. Her slow attack speed combined with very high damage per hit means she has severe overkill problem when dealing with weaker enemies, making her unsuitable for actually defending against enemies by herself. But her true damage gives her an edge, especially against smaller enemies like Ghosts and Kyouko.

Compared to Letty’s insane Frostbite DoT, Eiki deals lower DPS and is more expensive. She would be outclassed, but she has one big saving grace: Damage and Speed tiles. Letty’s Frostbite DoT isn’t affected by those, but for Eiki she especially benefits from the speed tile relative to other towers. Doubling her attack speed crosses the thresold where she actually becomes quite good at defending to an extent by killing one enemy at a time at a much faster pace, and her DPS on giant enemies becomes bonkers. Other towers like Yukari, Nitori, Okuu and etc are only partially affected by speed tiles (It’s confusing in general), while Eirin throwing potions more often can actually be considered a detriment when you want her to just spam arrows to kill hordes of enemies.


The jack-of-all-trades tower. Her chain lightning is reliable and can make quick work of smaller groups of enemies, but it has poor single target DPS and also gets overwhelmed against dense groups of enemies. Chen provides stalling and further damage, it solidifies Ran as being particularly effective against “Medium” enemies, but still doesn’t provide too much help against dense groups of enemies or especially giant enemies. I usually prefer strategizing by using different towers that covers each other’s weaknesses, but Ran is a particularly safe and reliable all-around tower, especially for the early portion of levels. She’s also extremely helpful against the obnoxious bat spam in stage 6 to 10.


Yuuka generates money, which helps you afford other towers slightly faster and by the last few waves end up with a bit more towers overall. And for what she does, her flowers actually have respectable power. The damage and range are subpar, however she frequently stuns individual enemies, making her useful for catching enemies at the exit or simply supporting AoE towers against beefier enemies. However, she needs more space than other towers for the purpose of growing her flowers, so you need to be considerate when placing her. I actually prefer leaving Yuuka at level 4 to save money rather than leveling her to level 5, not only you won’t need a perfect square worth of space but going from 9 to 12 flowers doesn’t make a big difference, especially since I don’t think it affects the cooldown or duration of the stun.


Have flaws, but can be just as useful as the above towers if played around


She has all the tools to be as viable as the other towers, but contrary to Cirno, Tenshi (and the other Artillery/Blast towers in this game) don’t fit as well with the rest of the player’s options. She faces a lot of competition with towers like Eirin, Yukari and Marisa among others, not to mention heroes in this game (except maybe Professor Cirno) excels in AoE damage. Even if we ignore that, Tenshi is also held back by having more limitations & weaknesses like dealing fully physical damage, dealing subpar single target DPS and being unable to hit flying enemies. Compared to Okuu and Marisa, she also won’t hit as many enemies at a time due to having a smaller blast radius/hitbox. Her saving grace is her surprisingly big range as well as her stun, she performs especially well on blue speed tiles.


Much of what I said about Tenshi also applies to Okuu, as I implied. She has a large blast radius that can damage & briefly stun whole groups of enemies, at the cost of being one of the most expensive towers in the game with one of the lowest single target DPS & range, and can’t hit flying enemies. She is really situational and mostly shines against particularly dense enemy waves, but I also find her somewhat useful for damaging ranged & melee enemies at the same time when they target Barracks units. At level 5 she also makes enemies near her take constant DoT, which helps wearing down armored enemies a lot if combined with stalling. if If you want to invest in Okuu for Lunatic 3 Star, you need to know what you’re doing or else you will most likely fail.


Seiga is overall outclassed by Alice, who is cheaper and spawns more units. The only real reason to use Seiga over Alice is to counter swarms of enemies by creating an army of short-lived Yoshikas from said enemies. It works fairly well, but a strategy around it needs support and it won’t work in every situation.


An interesting tower, but in practice she’s basically Tenshi but with armor debuff instead of stun. The armor reduction is definitely useful and pairs well with physical DPS towers, but the combination of said armor reduction not being that big as well as Komachi’s average damage output means I prefer to just use magic towers like Marisa instead.


I used to think Yuyuko was outright a bad tower and she would’ve been ranked C tier if I made this list earlier, however upon using her more I noticed she actually has strengths & use cases that makes her effective. Before anything else, she is borderline the most expensive tower in the game when it comes to total cost for level 5. Despite this, her DPS is only average and she has no enfeebling or supportive effects at all. To make Yuyuko good and not deadweight you need to play around her two powerful abilities. The big butterfly deals big damage piercing through unlimited enemies, and her “circle zone” have enemies near her explode on death dealing high magical damage to other nearby enemies, often creating a chain reaction.

Enemies have to be grouped AND be near her for her abilities to be effective, and the best case for it is Level 19 (Sanzu River) during the last wave that spams a legion of ghosts at you. Also, the star upgrade that lets you upgrade a Spell tower to level 5 for free once per level makes her cost less of an issue. Nevertheless, Yuyuko is hard to use and requires you to play around her shortcomings to really make her work. She was actually an important part of my Lunatic 3 Star speedrun since I needed her to damage Yuugis & kill ghost spam at the same time on Sanzu River.


Kogasa’s fear effect makes enemies walk in the opposite direction thus gives you a lot of extra time to deal with them, however it has negative synergy with other towers. Slowed down enemies won’t walk back as far and stunned enemies won’t walk back at all because they are well, stunned. These interactions are to be expected, however what doesn’t make sense is the fact that enemies fighting ally units won’t budge when they are feared. Additionally, Kogasa’s rather pitiful range makes her unable to fit in many spots that would otherwise be amazing. These two problems combined makes Kogasa a lot more situational than she should be. Her best use case is on blue speed tiles that makes her practically infinite stall enemies, but because of her low range this is only applicable in a few levels in total. Lastly, similarly to Cirno she can be useful at level 1 as well to occassionally fear an enemy at a cheap price.


Womp womp

Shou (DLC)

Yes, a DLC tower is the worst tower in the game. Out of all the different towers in the game, Shou has the most limitations and weaknesses of them all:

  • Subpar DPS
  • Projectiles can literally miss against moving enemies
  • Fully physical
  • Cannot hit flying enemies
  • Second most expensive tower in the whole game to upgrade to level 5, but at least Yuyuko can upgrade to level 5 for free with the star upgrade
  • Amount of projectiles affected by RNG, inconsistent damage output
  • Zero enfeebling effects

The only thing you get in return is her ability to produce an upgrade star every once in a while at level 5, 1-2 times per level or so. It can save a significant amount of money in the long run, but the problem is that it takes a long time for Shou to generate ANY at all, in fact I’ve had cases where she didn’t generate any upgrade stars by the end of the stage. That’s not even the biggest issue, just getting level 5 Shou at all will cripple you because she is so weak and can’t defend a thing by herself. If you’re playing on Lunatic and rush level 5 Shou as your first tower, seriously good luck surviving with 3 stars if you’re not abusing Mokou. Why use Shou for grouped damage when Tenshi is much cheaper & stuns enemies? Or Okuu having a much bigger blast radius, stunning enemies and also performing better against armored enemies? Why use Shou to save money when Yuuka is much cheaper, much more reliable and can stun enemies? Or Keine saving a disgusting amount of money in general while having other useful supportive abilities?

Basically, never use Shou unless you want to challenge yourself. In fact, Lunatic 3 Star with level 5 Shou as your first tower is a pretty fun challenge and takes the difficulty of the game a step further. In all cases if you absolutely want to use her use Mokou to survive the early waves, get Cirno to cover Shou’s numerous weaknesses and maybe place Shou on a speed tile so she can produce upgrade stars much faster.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7111 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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