Gold Mines with a mix of houses in the first build phases. I want to optimize my gold gain. Allow the early nights to be harder at the benefit of a better late game.
Once you have all the gold mines started, quickly build the seer and then magic shop and armor shop go next. Once you hit waves that are too big or hit 3 sides, grab the inn. You should be able to max one a night (so max level and production, 3 max level items a day). What I look for… Druid Staves and Longbows.
Seer is super useful, pushing the fog back means more time to hurt the enemy.
1 Druid Staff User on each side at the end can hold if off solo. Magic orb sub weapon works well too. Make 4 wizards each with a lot of magic damage and poison. With thrifty, you can cast the Bees spell, which, with the propagation boost from another perk, can poison entire lines… and if the line is small, then it comes back and poisons them all a second time. Once you have enough +Poison, this is usually enough to one shot just about everyone (if they get hit once, they die next turn, if they get hit twice, they die now). Each wizard gets 2 casts so two long lines of dead mooks. The orb allows you to pick off isolated mooks (orb basic has bonus damage to isolated enemies). The longbowmen can be positioned (one a watchtower if you unlocked it) to support 2 sides and pick off fast enemies, archers, and isolated enemies (or stronger ones you want dead asap).
My biggest problem when I played were the Lancers. I couldn’t kill them with the builds I was using. Turns out poison murders them extremely quickly…. and also everyone else. Seriously, one druid staff can hold off the big side of each night solo.
Last goofy thing you can do once you get far enough…. replace all the walls with balista. All of them. And then double up with an extra row behind it. Anything that gets close tends to die this way.