Hello! Glad to see someone taking an interest in my ramblings. I'm Hot-Hit, a relatively new defender, my personal favourite class is Series EV and I hope what I've written here can be useful to you!
So, while playing dungeon defenders I thought; "this is a cool multiplayer strategy game, people know how their own heroes work. But do they know all the ways in which heroes combine?" I generally play dungeon defenders with my friends and they know, I obsess over maximising everything. Everything. As a player I value utility over raw power and that leads me to thinking about the utilities provided by each hero. It's also worth noting, I will not be suppress my biases here, I'm not just gonna tell you X does A, I'm gonna tell you X does A and Y does A but Y also does B and X does C to compensate. If I feel something has nothing over something else, I will say so. Because superiority and inferiority is a part of comparison and comparison is a method of improving, which is the entire point of reading guides.
Put simply, I'm crazy and this guide will help you improve your own play by showing how heroes compete with and compliment other heroes.
(Note: This guide will work best if you have a group of friends you normally enjoy playing with. But most of it is likely useful in a game with random players or even solo play.)
Beginner stuff. Generic builds, how to be a teammate, etc.
What most players know is, every hero has two major builds that they use. The first is a "hero" build that maximises how capable the hero themselves is at combat. The other is a "tower" build that maximises the effectiveness of what their hero should do. For most heroes, it's clear which build is preferable on them (DPS Huntress, tower Apprentice), but for some it is far more blurred (looking at you Monk) and as such some players prefer a hybrid of both builds. In general a team will need a balance of both heroes focusing on towers and personal killing to be effective. Too many heroes powering up themselves and they'll be getting torn apart trying to defend everywhere, too many tower heroes and you'll be competing for each other's DU, won't be as able to take on early rounds when mana is scarce and bosses will take a very long time to defeat.
Personally, I hard difficulties beyond hard due to the limited build phase, because this limits how much you can communicate with your team. When you're with a whole new set of defenders who all have different understandings of the remainder of the team, this becomes a bit of a problem. So be sure to try and talk to your teammates at every opportunity, the more they understand you, the better they can work with you.
I'd add more here, but I think I'm going to cover it in later sections. So I'll just leave with something cryptic instead:
"A teammate does not go for all the glory himself. A teammate wishes to see the victory of their team."
Finally! The meat! Well, no, this is the competition section.
Yep. In most cases, if you put 4 people together they're more likely to succeed at whatever task you give them than 1 single person. Well, that would be true in dungeon defenders, if it wasn't for the fact that the hordes scale to compensate for the number of players defending. Put 1 tower apprentice against the hordes and he'll probably be alright. Have an extra 3 tower apprentices assist him and we've likely got a problem. You see, despite the fact that they're all playing the same game and have the same goals, they're competing over the same resources and that means it's effectively the same game as if there were only one tower apprentice.
That's right, this is the cynical part of a team. It often hurts to think of yourself as a liability, but if you're an apprentice built to do high damage with towers and there's already an apprentice in the same role, it's redundant. Redundancies are always bad and cause teams to fight amongst themselves over who's better. So by being the better player and being flexible in strategies, you can save an otherwise doomed team.
For starters there's the first main areas of competition in tower types:
A crucial part of defence, there's various blockades in the game and each has their situations. Which blockade is better is situational and can vary based upon your team. But in almost all defence strategies, especially on survival, you're going to need something to stop those enemies in their tracks. Keep in mind that whichever player is providing the blockades will be investing significantly in tower health, which means their tower's damage won't be as impressive.
Squire: Spike Blockade
The Squire's blockade of choice and usually the first thing looked for if you want to stop a horde in its tracks. The spike blockade takes up 3 DU and damages any enemies that attack it causes them to flinch. The spike blockade is also I believe the best blockade for being a blockade, because it has extremely high health.
Squire: Bouncer Blockade
If a Squire is providing your blockades, in some situations they may prefer to provide this one. The bouncer blockade is actually fairly bad at taking damage, making it vulnerable to mages, Kobolds and Orges. But it can tactically push enemies away. This utility allows it to push enemies into other lanes, which means you can focus your defences elsewhere to better deal with opponents. Only 4 DU, to make sure a lane is forever defended? Awesome.
Squire: Slice and Dice Blockade
The Squire's ultimate weapon, which unfortunately I find awesome but impractical. For a high 8 DU you can get a barricade with less health than a spike blockade and high damage, if you've traded more blockade health for damage stats. But prevention is better than cure and it's likely the Slice and Dice Blockade can reduce a significant portion of the damage it takes through its spinning blades. Still, if you're needing to block off a wider chokepoint this gets very expensive, but since a squire is providing the barricades your team's able to use them where appropriate. In solo play though, this'd likely be good for a tower squire.
Apprentice: Magic Blockade
A magic blockade is smaller than a Spike blockade, provides less health and doesn't even return damage. So it's just worse outright isn't it? Wrong. A magic blockade also costs only 1 DU and has an additional, less obvious utility. When enemies strike a magic blockade, their elemental affinities are removed. This makes it the go to blockade for teams that use elemental damage rather than physical. Additionally, that removes the elemental portion of their damage, meaning this blockade can defend against elementally enemies better than others.
Series EV: Physical Beam
Now this horrendous disregard for the laws of physics provides very little obvious benefit as far as blockades go. But don't be fooled. Other barricades usually require multiple barricades if defending a wider chokepoint, the physical beam only uses one. Multiple barricades have separate healthbars and upgrade separately, this makes the physical beam the go to barricade when blocking a wide space due to how much mana it saves and how much easier it makes repairing the defensive line. While also making your blockades significantly less vulnerable to AoE. Additionally, the physical beam is extremely DU efficient, it takes only 5 DU to defend its maximum distance. Such gaps would usually require ~4 spike blockades to cover properly, that's a saving of 7 DU. That's pretty crazy. Plus it can be used to block small lanes for only 2 DU, which is pretty handy. Finally, you can walk through it, while enemies can't. That's some game breaking utility right there.
Summoner: Orc Minion
The summoner uses MU, so you'd think he doesn't compete with his defences... But your barricades guy isn't going to be happy about somebody muscling in on his territory. After all, there can only be only unit in each lane preventing the damage dealt to the remaining units. So what an Orc provides is a barricade that attacks in an AoE with its axe and that's it, sounds familiar right? But the Orc has some additional utility to it on account of being a minion. The first of which being it uses 0 DU, which means more DU to spend on other defences. As turrets are upgraded their range increases, meaning an Orc can advance further from the towers, reducing the damage taken from the explosions of Kobolds and the attacks of Ogres, plus it can recover after being pushed around by Sharken or a Goblin Mech. But that's not even the best part. Orcs double as auto-repairing barricades thanks the mage minion's ability to heal itself and other minions. Since the heal benefits from the summoner's offensive tower stats, that means the Orc's ability to take and dish out damage is also benefits. So, unlike the Slice and Dice Blockade I mentioned earlier, this barricade's damage is actually relevant as a benefit. Very, very nice.
Summoner: Ogre Minion
If and Ogre fills up the lane, then there's no superior barricade. For no DU and an insane 600 mana... Wait, yeah that's nuts. Most barricades cost around 30~ mana. That's 20 times more mana. That's enough mana to buff 6 towers to rank 1 or 1 tower to rank 3. But aside from that ridiculous investment cost, Ogres are Orcs providing everything they do, but with more size, mo re damage and more snotball throwing. It's worth noting that Ogres also do not scale with tower attack speed. So be wary summoners, that's a wasted investment if you focus on Ogres.
Summoner: Archer Minion (Thanks Silencedmetal)
A seemingly bizarre choice for a barricade. But, since mages can heal them, you create an archer line in front of your towers with a mage behind it and you have barricades with ranged attacks who automatically heal. As mentioned for the Orc and Ogre, that means the barricade's ability to defend also scales with its offensive stats. Archers are also significantly cheaper than other summoner minions, costing 40 mana vs the Orc's 140 or the Ogre's ridiculous 600.
There's wyverns. They're a really big nuisance, which is definitely not me being biased at all since EV has no anti-air towers, so you need some method of dealing with them. You could in theory make one of your team a wyvern hunter (preferably a huntress), but then that leaves your team vulnerable to simultaneous attacks. So long as you have towers to distract the wyverns, though, that'll keep them from going straight to the eternia crystal everywhere, making the hunter's job far easier. So with either strategy, you're going to need to put some DU and mana aside to invest in a permanent wyvern solution.
Apprentice: Magic Missile tower
Ah, the Apprentice's simplest tower. The apprentice has four different ranged towers, so a lot of this will apply for those too. Magic missile towers cost only 3 DU and shoot short range single target shots extremely rapidly. To compensate for the lack of range, their range of view is huge. Still, Magic missiles are generally used to fill in the DU gaps for a defence. No reason anti-air can't be one of those gaps.
Apprentice: Fireball tower
The Apprentice's choice for taking out groups at a time. The fireball tower explodes upon striking targets, which makes it great for taking out groups of wyverns, meaning it sees little difference between one wyvern and a wave of twenty. The fireball tower also fires slower than magic missile towers, but has extra range to compensate and a smaller range of view. Even so, the fireball tower comes with a weakness to fire aligned enemies, so you either need more towers to assist or a wyvern hunter to clean up. Most important to remember, elemental towers are even less favourable against wyverns, because they're hard to hit with Strength drain auras and next to impossible to hit with Magic blockades.
Apprentice: Lightning tower
Now this seems like a good idea. Flying is weak against lightning, right? Well so long as they aren't lightning immune. A lightning tower is similar to a fireball tower in that it is multi-target. Lightning towers become charged when the first lightning mune enemy is in range and in line of sight. Then it will continuously zap lightning mune enemies around itself, one after another, until it needs to recharge. So that's right, lightning towers have 360 degrees of coverage at all times. But that's not the best bit. Lightning towers are multi-target by zapping one enemy, but then that lightning chains to other nearby enemies, letting them hit enemies far outside their normal range.
Apprentice: deadly Striker
Don't worry, this is the Apprentice's last trick up his sleeve. Deadly Strikers are powerful single target towers with ridiculously long range. They have the highest damage output of any Apprentice tower and they deal physical damage. Sounds perfect for Wyverns right? Almost. Deadly Strikers have the slowest attack speed in the game, meaning it's best to invest in tower attack speed to maximise them. With only a little attack damage, they tend to one shot everything that isn't an Ogre or a boss, so you end up with a lot of excess damage from them. Their final weakness is that they almost have a line of sight, they generally cannot cover more than one spawn point of wyverns.
Squire: Harpoon turret
A tower squire's only option against air opponents. (No, bad, bowling ball turrets attack down.) The harpoon turret adds the usual squire tower silliness of taking up more room than it actually appears to and costs a pretty big 6 DU for what it appears. However, the harpoon turret has about the same fire range as a fireball tower and puts that same arc to good use, because its shots themselves don't have a range limit. Why does that even matter? Because harpoons pierce targets. That means the harpoon turret is also multi-target and like the lightning tower is very likely to strike targets from outside its usual range. Sure, it can't quite stand on the level of the Apprentice's towers. But if a squire is providing your damage towers, then it's a base that's already covered.
Huntress: Ethereal spike trap
At first I was cynical, how could a mark on the ground hit enemies that are flying over it? By calling down lightning that's how. That animation isn't just for show. The Ethereal Spike trap is a vertical bolt of death triggered by enemies moving over its range. Unfortunately, it's still no lightning tower, suffering all the weaknesses of a lightning tower, the maintenance issues of a trap and worst of all it cannot multi-target. However, it doesn't require any investment (20~ damage is probably enough, you'll get that as a side effect from equipment) in trap damage to be able to one shot wyverns. So even a Huntress specialised in maximising their bow can make use of them to thin out the enemy's air units.
Summoner: Archer Minion
Yep these things again. This time however, I bring into question their ability to deal the damage, not take it. For no DU, they provide a rather lackluster turret. They fire a single target attack with comparable damage output to a harpoon turret with the same attack range. But archers cover a full 360 degrees around them, so they can easily take on wyverns from multiple directions and as minions are also mobile so they can be recycled during a boss round for other uses if there are no more air units.
Unfortunately, if I continue on at this pace, this guide could end up being impossible to load and as I put earlier, this isn't even the big part. This should have taught you useful skills though. You should compare different abilities that have similar uses, doing allows you to best cover for the weaknesses of an incomplete team. But don't worry, the main reason I wrote this guide is up next!
Good partners for heroes. Who loves being with who.
There's a total of four defenders you could use at any time (on some maps the maximum was increased to six). With eight different classes available, each one with their own variety of builds, there's an insane number of possible combinations you could have. So, this guide so far just looks like I'm rambling on about rubbish and seems like I'm writing a general guide for playing the game? Unfortunately, that's the only way I could fit this important section in. Many players have written guides for dungeon defenders and many guides on other team games look very s imilar. Those guides forget that this is a team game. The most important part of a team game, is not what you do, but how you interact with everyone else on the team. It only takes a little effort to add a section that says things like "oh Series EV steps on the Huntress' toes, so they probably shouldn't dance together" or "the Barbarian loves the Monk, if only he hadn't taken every vow monks take ever", you don't even need those metaphors, dangit! But that's what this is here for so, let's dive right into it.
The first one on the team, every time you try to make a new character you'll be reminded of the robe and wizard hat he's donning. The Apprentice is generally thought of as the tower guy. He's very much capable of soloing just about any map with little effort. The Adept's kit makes her slightly better suited to focusing on towers, while the Apprentice is better suited to a DPS role with his mana bomb, but it really doesn't matter unless you're a minmaxing son of a pig. The Apprentice usually provides damage with no regards for utility, so his best partners tend to be more supportive allies that provide utility.
Squire: Every good squishy wizard loves a good meat wall to hide behind. The Squire can not only provide strong blockades for the Apprentice, but he can also act as a barricade himself before proper defences have been built or if something goes wrong.
Monk: Fireball towers can be an Apprentices' best friend, but as soon as one fire immune enemy shows up, you can guarantee your blockades are going to take a hit which is very bad against Kobolds. Should another player be providing the team's barricades, we have a significant problem. The monk solves this problem by using a strength drain aura. This not only removes the elemental affinities of enemies before they reach your blockades but helps boost the power of the Apprentice's own somewhat flimsy blockades by reducing their damage. The extra slow aura to slow enemies also help reduce the pressure on barricades and causes enemies to group up more, making it less painful for towers to be attacking wyverns instead of ground units.
Summoner: The summoner provides what is possibly one of the best barricades in the game thanks to his mages and MU means his units are only an issue when it comes to mana.
Huntress: The Apprentice provides almost nothing but damage. A Trapstress is going to be competing with the Apprentice for AoE fire damage which makes her main thing she provides redundant because the fireball tower not only hits air, but also doesn't need to be maintained constantly. Even so, a huntress' traps have utility that stops non-poison immune enemies and prevents damage to the Apprentice's blockades, which means it's not even close to impossible for them to work together.
Monk: Similar to a trapstress, a monk's lightning aura is beaten out by lightning towers for the same reasons as the Huntress losing her flame trap.
Unlike the Apprentice, the Squire isn't as much of a one trick pony. The Squire's blockades all provide damage on top of acting as barricades, while the bouncer blockade also additionally launches enemies flying, which makes it exceptional on defenders who can abuse terrain. His turrets deal damage and his bowling ball turret also knocks enemies around, but they're not as multipurpose as his blockades. With their high DU cost, the Squire must be able to take advantage of all his towers effects to be cost effective. As far as Squire vs Countess goes, the Countess has more straight up damage on her attacks which she trades for being slightly less able to take hits, but the Squire's bloodrage is far superior than call to arms unless you have an organised team. The choice between Joust and Circular Slice is more of a playstyle one than anything else. All this means, the Squire doesn't really have a weakness unless he builds so that he does and that tends to reduce his own effectiveness anyway because he needs to maximise his tower's effectiveness per DU.
Series EV: When fighting uphill, the Squire's only defence against ranged attackers like archers and Mages is harpoon turrets. While his blockades can easily take on the remaining foes who have to attack in melee. This makes EV's reflection beam a great cover for his blockades.
Huntress: Even with the Squire's large health pool, most bosses can be of enough threat that the Squire has a lot of trouble taking them down without assistance. Additionally, the Huntress assists the Squire by hunting down air units and Ogres, which he is also somewhat unsuited to do.
Monk: For a DPS Squire, the Monk's healing aura is your best friend. I guarantee that if you try to slash something, you will get hit.
Barbarian: If there was ever a hero that will be competing with the Squire, it'll be the Barbarian. Even then, only if the Squire is building to maximise his own combat effectiveness.
The Huntress uses traps for her defences. These traps seem really awkward and weak to players just starting out and even more experienced players can easily doubt their effectiveness. What the huntress has over the other classes though, is raw power. With no mana, the Huntress can far more easily defend than any other hero. For these reasons, Huntresses tend to focus on running and gunning, making them perfect for covering lanes that aren't set up, hunting wyverns and wrecking priority targets like Ogres or bosses. But don't be fooled, a trapstress is a very capable defender, she just has a few painful weaknesses. Between Huntress and Ranger, it's silly how much more effective the ranger is at combat, I believe he moves slower, but he has more health and his damage output is higher also his abilities are just straight up upgrades of the Huntress'. All this makes the Huntress difficult to play alone, but her weaknesses are easy to cover.
Squire: Once again, the go to guy for barricades. The huntress has none and benefits from them a rather silly amount, especially if focusing on her traps.
Apprentice: Like how the Squire is the go to guy for barricades, the Apprentice is the best there is when it comes to taking control of the skies. The Huntress' ethereal spikes and abilities are capable of fighting wyverns, but she's still vulnerable to them on multiple ends and if she's stuck fighting wyverns at all there's nothing stopping an Ogre.
Series EV: EV and Huntress tend to provide similar things, long range hero damage and defences primarily for their ground based utility. EV's defences are arguably better, while Huntress has 25% additional damage over EV.
So the monk is probably the closest thing to a support that this game has. His main role is to provide utility through the use of his auras, but only the lightning aura is capable of direct damage. His hero abilities also provide AoE buffs, which like any good support makes him better with more allies, this means you'll usually want to have one monk during combat, especially in a full team. In direct combat, the monk's support role is much less apparent, he can fight both at range for taking out flyers and safety and in melee for more damage. The Monk and Initiate aren't that much different. The monk's damage output is higher, but the Initiate's tower buff can be used for global effect, in Nightmare mode, their hero buff and enemy drain auras are also equal. One thing to remember when defending, an ensnare aura can be used to let towers do more damage, but they can't take damage for your towers, which makes an ogre very bad news.
Squire: The monk does not have barricades. The Squire does. Need I say more? Actually yes I do. The Squire synergises in the same way as a Barbarian does, only with blocking able to reduce damage to the point of nigh invulnerability.
Barbarian: The one man army. Put a Barbarian in a lane and he'll be able to defend it like set of towers, until his health hits 0 anyway. He's gonna take hits and it won't be pretty. That's where the healing aura comes in. A Barbarian that's regenerating will die because he got bored before he dies from enemy attacks.
Series EV: If anything could make a defence composed entirely of proton beam trip wires more deadly, it's ensnare auras. EV's proton beams are usually a lot more deadly (and obnoxious) than an electric aura, so a well placed trip wire defence can be significantly more effective.
Huntress: While the Monk generally has enough uniqueness to work well in any team, the Huntress' traps are probably the closest competition auras have. A darkness trap will protect barricades better than a strength drain aura will but forgoes the alignment removal. A poison gas trap will temporarily stun enemies, but doesn't have the reliable slow of an ensnare aura. The flame trap and lightning aura provide the similar damage, but with different elements.
The Barbarian is an interesting class. Since he doesn't compete with anyone else for DU and can usually run fine off of excess mana, it makes him difficult to pass up for the combat phase. He effectively has infinite mana if you give him a genie, so be sure to abuse that to act as a battery for your mana hungry teammates. But even still, his competition is the hero builds for Monks and Squires and I'll be honest, you can never have enough combat effective heroes for the combat phase. Monks offer a boost to everyone on the team, Squires have a block that negates a tonne of incoming damage, the Barbarian has drastically more raw power, so picking a Barbarian means you want to give yourself a DPS to switch to. No hero in the game can kill an Ogre or a boss as fast and reliably as the Barbarian. Thanks to all of that power, he can usually take a lane by himself, even with interference from Ogres, this frees up a ton of DU for your allies.
Summoner: That genie trick? My team's summoner loves it. He loves to feel powerful himself, so he's been trying to abuse the Barbarian as best he can. So he uses the Barbarian as a battery for his summoner to slap down 3 Ogres by wave 2.
Monk: He's not just a battery, he's also all the damage (and perhaps even barricades) a lane will ever need. As such, if you're wanting to minimise the stress on a Barbarian player, the Monk's slow and healing auras are almost perfect for the job.
Squire: I think I've cited this guy on just about everyone so far. This time the Squire combines well, from providing a barricade to take stress off of the barbarian letting enemies pass him. But also! A Barbarian cannot be in two places at the same time, place a bouncer blockade well and you can force multiple lanes into your uncivilised meat grinder.
A DPS: Tell me a downside to one player defending a lane for 0 DU and 0 mana. He competes only with damage dealers, because the barbarian doesn't put any builder out of business since he can't be everywhere at once. He is the best melee hero in the game, hands down, I'd even wager he does a better job at damage dealing than a Huntress or Apprentice. But even still, more experienced players have a building and a combat hero, one for their respective phases. So he only really competes with anyone for a player playing solo.
EV is an interesting class choice. She has all types of ranged weapons available to her, meaning she uses both the Apprentice's charge based weapons and the Huntress' ammo based weapons. But, what really makes this special is her ability to switch between two weapons, this allows her to make use of weapons that would be gimmicky to even think about equipping, like the portal gun or elemental damage based weapons. Unfortunately, unless patch notes after her release says otherwise, she does 20% less damage than the Huntress. Of course, what truly makes EV unique is her defences. She draws a line between two points, creating powerful beams with various effects. Her most unique beam is her buff beam, an irreplaceable asset to almost any defence, and another more gimmicky beam is the reflection beam, which repels any non-boss projectile. Her abilities are just as gimmicky as her beams, which keep her as a less effective DPS than most. Holographic decoy summons a decoy that takes aggro priority over everything and explodes after 18~ seconds, which is very useful in challenges where you can't use barricades. While Proton Charge Beam is an odd ability that first needs to collect mana that has been lying around in order to fire a massive AoE laser, while hilarious, the time it takes to charge usually means your weapon would've been just as effective. Still, even though EV provides so much, she has no permanent methods of dealing with air units meaning her lackluster damage is needed to stop them.
Apprentice: Probably the most obvious candidate for buff beams, the Apprentice's towers are always behind barricades, out of harm's way, meaning there is very little risk to buffing them. Yet EV also provides very strong blockades for the Apprentice. Combined, they make a very effective defence for wide choke points (such as the southern end of Royal gardens), although they are fairly vulnerable to Sharken. Towers also provide a permanent defence against Wyverns.
Huntress: They're very similar, as I stated in the Huntress' section. They both use anti-ground defences and they both shoot things. The Huntress has higher damage, while EV has far more useful defences. It's worth noting that while proton beams have high non-elemental damage, they only effect a very small area, making flame traps with a strength drain aura often a far cheaper solution.
Ah, the minion master. The most indirect fighter possible, the summoner needs to summon minions to fight for him or hope his pets will protect him, because he doesn't have any weapons to do so himself. So, to make it so that the summoner can always be useful, he uses MU instead of DU. In other words, any defence in the history of the universe can be made better by adding minions to it. Since the summoner prefers to fight indirectly, he phases out of existence and enters a bird's eye veiw, playing the game like a more traditional tower defence. He can also wander around the map phase shifted, but there is no benefit aside from mocking everyone else's lack of an ethereal form. One big note is that while phase shifted you cannot gain mana except by selling defences.
Everyone: Any defence ever can be made better by having double the DU available. Meaning minions are pretty much mandatory for any team.
Summoner: A single summoner is great because they double the DU available, a second summoner just makes things awkward. While other classes can just use different builds to maximise different defences, a large portion of what makes a summoner great isn't provided by any extras.
I must endure the urge to scream curses at the sky over this eldritch abomination to tactics and preparation.
This crazy lady can use any weapon, thus making her competition for DPS in the same manner as EV is to the Apprentice or Huntress, only without the 20% damage drop. But additionally, she can produce any defence from her presents. From what I know, those defences are any kind of tower, blockade, aura or trap. I have never seen them produce beams (which require two vectors, which would be absurd to come from one point) or Minions (which would be uncontrollable). Overall, this makes a Jester both a hilarious and nightmarish addition to any team. For extra team coordinating nightmares, join games as a jack of all trades. Her abilities to move defences that aren't minions makes her handy against Sharken and gambling with the wheel o' fortuna can result in gaining the edge needed to take on challenges above your level. It's worth noting that her presents only take up 2, 3 and 4 DU, this means that combined with her ability to move towers, she can slowly replace defenses with DU cheaper ones. If your defence was entirely composed of Slice and Dice blockades for example, the Jester could effectively double the number Slicing and Dicing with her deluxe presents.
????: It is entirely based on the luck of the draw how useful a jester is to your team as far as buildings are concerned and as a DPS she can fill in for any role, but like a jack of all trades lacks the raw power of someone specialised with reliable combat boosting abilities. If your team is balanced without the Jester, then she should be a perfect addition. If you have a team of people good at thinking on their feet, then you have a good team for a Jester.
Basic classes: (Assuming presents can make auras) If you really want to gamble your way to victory, you can replace any of the standard classes' defences with the Jester's with the same effectiveness but far higher DU efficiency. Her presents double as barricades if built during a wave. But be wary that if you unwrap an Ogre they're likely to decimate your unbarricaded towers with all the other enemies following behind.