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In order to get a star in some levels of Plants vs. Zombies 2, you are required to not spend any sun for rather lengthy periods of time (90 seconds, and even 120 seconds). The only plant I currently have that has any sort of detrimental effect on zombies and that costs no sun is the iceberg lettuce, and that simply does not tide me over until I can start using sun.

I've been getting through these levels (and getting a star) by spending in-game money to kill zombies by pinching them. Seeing how activating said ability costs 800, it makes losing the level a rather painful affair.

Is there some way I am overlooking to finish the level, get the star, and not resort to spending money?

  • On earlier levels, it's easy enough to just use iceberg lettuce and a potato mine. Place the lettuce on the far right as they're incoming, and then the mine as far left as you can afford. – Vaughan Hilts Nov 10 '13 at 20:12
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    @VaughanHilts But potato mines cost sun... – Aubergine Nov 10 '13 at 20:34
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I did a whole guide to stars that might be of use, but I'll summarize the "no sun" strategy.

I think the basic premise you have wrong is that you don't have to do this at the start of the round. You can spend sun and then later in the level not spend any for the required amount of time. It's much easier to establish your defenses and then do this towards the middle/late part of the round, when victory is more or less assured.

Don't wait too long, though, since the levels tend to take pretty close to a fixed time. You can extend the length of the level by digging up all your attack plants when you're down to the last 1-2 zombies, and then using plant food on a Wall-Nut or similar.

  • That is a very helpful distinction! Thanks for the tip. – Aubergine Nov 11 '13 at 11:53
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To elaborate @agent86's excellent answer, on some levels the following tactics works best to achieve the "squeeze all the time needed at the end of the level without spending sun, using money or losing" strategy.

Please note that the full tactics below is a massive overkill, none of the stars I saw so far require using ALL of them.

Simply pick and choose based on resources and limitations you have at hand for a given level.


Resources useful for executing these tactics:

  1. Have Super-attack plant for attack:

    • Super-attack plant is either instant-kill one (Potato Mine/Jalapeno/Cherry Bomb); or a Coconut Cannon that kills almost any zombie besides Pharaoh in 1 shot but doesn't kill until fired.

    • On levels where losing the lawn-mower is allowed, you don't need a Super-attack plant. Just let the lawn-mower do the job for you. This is the BEST attack option, of course, if available.

    • For Pharaoh+Cannon, make sure to freeze him after Cannon breaks his sarcophagus so Cannon can recharge. If you want to be crafty, break the sarcophagus BEFORE your timer is over and all nuts are eaten, to allow recharging.

  2. For defense, have Tall-Nut, Iceberg Lettuce, Wall-Nut, and Spring Bean in your available plants list.

    • The listed order is the order of their usefulness; you should pick earlier ones over the latter if you can't have all in your seed list.

    • If you have an Imitater, use it to clone extra Iceberg Lettuces (pick that rather than wall-nut or Spring Bean if your seed space is limited).

    • If you can, have a supply of Plant Food ready. As many as you can.

    • If possible, obtain an Instant Recharge upgrade (found behind 3-key door on Pirates area near Day 5 battleground). That lets you turn your spare Plant Food into instant-recharge for Iceberg Lettuce - but see the note below.


TACTICS

  1. Pick a lane to make your zombie's last 1.5 minute no-spending stand.

    This can be done one of two ways: either simply prepare all 5 lanes the same way if you have enough resources, OR, when the very last wave of zombies is almost done, pick a lane with the strongest zombie in the last wave, e.g. least-damaged Pharaoh/Buckethead.

  2. Make sure to plant the Super-attack plant in the leftmost squares in the last zombie's lane you picked. You have 5 options:

    1. If you take lawn-mower option for attack, you obviously don't need to plant an attack plant. Hooray for you!

    2. Have a single-kill Super-attack plant planted in advance, before your "no-spend" period.

    3. Plant the Super-attack plant only after the no-spend timer runs out and/or zombie is about to eat your brains. Useful for when you don't have resources (ready seed or enough sun) before the no-spend period starts.

    4. Use a "regular shooter attack plant + optional plant Food booster" attack plant option. Like #3, but if you don't have any super attack plants (e.g. 1 shot 1 kill), you plant a regular shooter plant after the no-spend timer runs out and if needed, use Plant Food to enhance its killing power to finish off the last zombie.

    5. Use a "regular shooter attack plant" slow attack plant option. You plant a regular weak attack plant in the leftmost square from the beginning and let it SLOWLY continue killing the zombie while it eats the defense. This is pretty risky to time, since you must let the shooter kill the zombie slow enough to last through the whole timer but fast enough to kill before the zombie eats your defenses, your shooter and your brain.

      Ideally, Kernel-pult is best for this, it's both weak AND uses butter to extra-freeze the zombie for more delay.

    but that's NOT the best bang for the buck for using plant food.

  3. Also, in the same lane, to the right of your attack plant, plant your defenive line: the Spring Bean to the left, and any amounts of Tall-Nuts and Wall-Nuts you can.

  4. Pick a moment when you have 1 last strong zombie left, in a lane that are prepared in accordance with bullets #1/#2 above.

    Ideally, it should be the strongest zombie in the last wave, e.g. least-damaged Pharaoh/Buckethead.

  5. In that moment, freeze the last zombie with Iceberg Lettuce and dig up ALL your attack plants aside from one Coconut Cannon as fast as possible. This way they won't kill your last zombie.

    • Digging priority goes to strongest shooters first.
  6. Now, you delay the inevitable as follows:

    • Use any of your remaining Plant Food on the Nuts to give them iron shells.

      • If you have more than one Plant Food, you can apply them to the same nut repeatedly, once the last iron shell is eaten. I never had to bother so far.
    • Use the Iceberg Lettuce as soon as it becomes available to re-freeze the zombie.

      • In an emergency, you may also use the Plant Food to recharge Iceberg Lettuce seeds, if you have "Instant Recharge". But that buys you LESS time than iron-shelling the Nuts so only do that after your nuts are gone, or if you have unlimited Plant Food.

    Given that the zombie must wait to be thawed from the Iceberg freezes, and in the remaining time eat through your Nut (and hopefully more than 1 of them), AND will be pushed back by Spring Bean once the last Nut is eaten, this is nearly guaranteed to last up to 2 minutes.

  7. Once your timer runs out, kill the zombie using your super-attack plant. You may need to plant it first if you chose "plant explosive or Coconut at the very end" tactic.


What if you don't have ALL the above resources above available?

  • Use various attack plant tactics as described above in limited resources:

    • Lawn Mower is best, if you can afford to waste one.

    • Potato mine only costs 25 sun.

    • Super attack plants can be planted in the end, when no-spend period is finished. This lets you collect more suns for them while you don't spend; and/or wait till slow-replenishing seed for attack plant becomes active again.

    • Or use pre-existing "non-super" attack plant if all else fails (slow attack option)

  • Spring Bean is the least useful (shortest lasting) of the defenses and only needed if your existing defenses almost last the full time needed but you need to buy an extra couple of seconds and the last Iceberg doesn't recharge fast enough for you. I never needed it.

  • Obviously, Tall Nut is preferable to 2 Wall-nuts if you can't pack both seeds.

  • Instant Recharge for Iceberg is much lower bang for the buck relative to using Plant Food on iron-covering the Nuts. Only do that if either you have no nuts available, or you have unlimited supply of Plant Food.

  • Imitater+Iceberg Lettuce isn't as good as a Tall-Nut, so don't waste a seed slot on Imitater at the cost of Tall-nut.

  • If you're elaborating on someone else's answer, why not edit it into that instead of creating a new one? – Crowbeak Nov 11 '13 at 12:56
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    @Crowbeak - because aside from one idea, my answer has nothing to do with his. There's a difference between minor improvement and major detailed expansion. – DVK Nov 11 '13 at 13:20
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It's easy if there's no limit on lost plants. You just wait until the last zombie of the game, destroy your offensive plants before they can harm the zombie, and plunk some walnuts/tallnuts in front of it (or an upgraded walnut). Then just sit back and wait for the timer to run out.

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