There are 3 different tiers of heroes in AFK arena as seen in the heroes portrait section in game: common, legendary and ascended. Each tier has a maximum level cap.

Common tier heroes can be leveled up to level 100.
Legendary tier heroes can be leveled up to level 160.
Ascended tier heroes can be leveled up to level 240.

However, to get a legendary tier hero to level 160 or ascended tier hero to level 240 these heroes must undergo ascension in the Temple of Ascension. This guide is about explaining the ascension process.

Common tier heroes are best left to be retired in the Rickety Cart in exchange for Hero coins and dust. You can turn on the automatically retire new common heroes function in the Rickety Cart.

You get legendary tier heroes at Rare rarity (sometimes at Elite rarity) and ascended tier heroes at Elite rarity. They need to be ascended to higher rarity to level up past their respective level caps.

The requirements of ascension are given in the following table:

Ascension
Requirement (additional to the original copy)
Rare → Rare+ 2 copies of the same hero at Rare rarity
Rare+ → Elite 2 copies of any hero of the

same faction at Rare+ rarity

Elite → Elite+ 1 copy of the same hero at Elite rarity
Elite+ → Legendary 2 copies of any hero of the same faction at Elite+ rarity
Legendary → Legendary+ 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Legendary+ → Mythic 1 copy of any hero of the same faction at Legendary+ rarity
Mythic → Mythic+ 1 copy of any hero of the same faction at Legendary+ rarity
Mythic+ → Ascended 2 copies of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Ascended → Ascended (star) 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity for each star

The legendary tier heroes are basically fodder to ascend the ascended tier heroes, although you may use them at different stages of the game according to their usefulness. After level 240 the leveling system changes. The level cap in the Resonating Crystal increases by 5 levels for each Ascended heroes you have currently. For example having 5 Ascended heroes would increase the level cap by 5 X 5 = 25 levels up to (240+25 = 265) level 265.

So to ascend an ascended tier hero from Elite rarity to Ascended rarity you would need 8 Elite copies of the ascended tier hero and 180 Rare copies of fodder! And 2 more Elite copies of the ascended tier hero for every star up to 5 stars ( 2 X 5 = 10). In total 8 + 10 = 18 copies (Ascended 5 stars).

The math for the fodder heroes is as follows (taking into consideration you start all fodder heroes at rare rarity, it is possible to get elite copy of fodder heroes) :

Rarity Number of Rare heroes needed
Rare+ 3
Elite 9
Elite+ 18
Legendary 54
Legendary+ 72

It is not necessary to only ascend heroes which you use in battle but rather the ones you can ascend. Ascending multiple heroes of the same faction can easily put you in scarcity of fodder heroes making the progression of the game slower. The heroes you get depend mostly on rng but you can purchase some heroes from different stores and event to make the ascension process much easier. Don’t get too upset about not getting enough ascended tier heroes from pulls, you are guaranteed to get one every three 10 pulls and you are going to need the fodder. There are currently 43 ascended tier heroes from the 4 major factions and you would need (43 X 180 ) 7740. Rare heroes to ascend all of them. It is not recommended to use ascended tier heroes as fodder (at least until you have acquired 8 copies of said hero) because you are going to need them in the long run to increase the level cap. Pay special attention while ascending fodder heroes so you don’t mistakenly ascend the wrong hero, keep in mind the rarity you need to ascend it to and plan accordingly.

This type of ascension process is applicable for the 4 major factions: Lightbearers, Maulers, Wilders and Graveborns.

Celestial and Hypogean faction heroes follow a different ascension process requiring no fodder heroes.

Elite → Elite+ 1 copy of the same hero at Elite rarity
Elite+ → Legendary 1 copy of same hero at Elite+ rarity
Legendary → Legendary+ 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Legendary+ → Mythic 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Mythic → Mythic+ 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Mythic+ → Ascended 2 copies of the same hero at Elite+ rarity
Ascended → Ascended (star) 1 copy of the same hero at Elite+ rarity for each star

So to ascend an ascended tier Celestial/Hypogean hero from Elite rarity to Ascended rarity you would need 14 Elite copies of the ascended tier Celestial/Hypogean hero. And 2 more Elite copies of the ascended tier Celestial/Hypogean hero for every star up to 5 stars ( 2 X 5 = 10). In total 14 + 10 = 24 copies (Ascended 5 stars).

Dimensional heroes follow a different rule. They acquire the level and rarity of the hero they are currently fused to. You can acquire dimensional heroes at Elite rarity.

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