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So recently, I have been trying to beat the PvZ minigames (and some of the levels in the 2nd adventure) while only using one column of plants. I have been struggling with Zombotany 2 (which I have been trying to do for ~1-1.5 hours), although some of the other levels that I am struggling with I will ask about in the future when I have played them a bit more.[1] Here are a few of the things that is making me have difficulties with completing Zombotany 2 while doing this challenge:

Case 1: Tallnut Zombie in a lane with no protection

Now, this is probably the least annoying case out of the ones I am going to present. Here's why:

While Tallnut Zombies do have the most health out of any of the Zombotanies (with a total of 3600), they can be wiped out pretty easily.

In fact, all I needed to do was make sure I had, say Potato Mine on hand and then switch out Repeater/Gatling Pea for Cattail (more cost efficient with a total of 250 sun needed compared to 450, and it frees up a seed slot because I'm still using Lilypad no matter what).

This is because then I could have Cattail auto-targeting the Tallnut Zombie that was a problem and get its health down enough that a Potato Mine/Cherry Bomb could easily take it out.

This actually is probably more beneficial because since I'm using Melon-pults/Winter Melons on land, which since it has pretty much the best damage (and a slowdown effect if Winter Melon's melon hits a zombie), I'm easily going to be able to at least get the Tallnut Zombie down to ≤1800 health.

This is also because of Melon-pult's/Winter Melon's splash damage that it does, although that requires it to be hitting another zombie adjacent to the Tallnut zombie in the lane with no protection. It also requires that the zombies are going the same speed (since zombies are able to go different speeds, as for some reason it's not always the same), so the plan really shouldn't rely on that.


Case 2: Gatling Pea Zombie in water

This is not where I realized I needed to bring in Pumpkin (obviously I needed to bring it in if I want to keep my plants - they don't have much health at all), but more where it became really difficult to protect my plants. This is especially in the water, where my Cattails are just too busy knocking down the Tallnut zombie's hit points.

All the Gatling Pea Zombie does is mow down the Pumpkin's health points before destroying my Cattail. I'm not really sure if there even is a counter to this other than sacrificing support to just have a Melon-pult/Winter Melon there, although that just makes Tallnut Zombies harder to kill.


Case 3: Jalapeño Zombie behind a Tallnut zombie

This is literally the worst thing that can happen. If this happens, the Cattails aren't going to target the Jalapeño Zombie, Melon-pult/Winter Melon can't even hit it, and unless you have a Jalapeño off cooldown, say sayonara to your row, 'cause you ain't saving the row. And even if you do have a Jalapeño off cooldown, you still have to dig up a plant to use it. And even then, you have to deal with the Tallnut Zombie if it's not already dead.

Now, let's make this already bad situation worse. Let's say you just dug up a plant and used a Jalapeño. But what's that? Another Jalapeño zombie behind a Tallnut zombie? Oh well, let the Jalapeño zombie take that row. But what's that now? Another one?

Yes, this actually happened to me. I wasn't even using Jalapeño, so that's how I lost 6 plants (a total of 1625 sun, since I lost 2 Winter Melons in Pumpkins and a Cattail in a Pumpkin) in an attempt that I think is tied with my current best (failed on the last wave before the 3rd flag).

Not gonna lie, this is the only case that I can't find a reliable counter to. However, a question that I feel like I need to answer to clarify some stuff is

What is my current loadout right now?

(for context I play on mobile which for some reason only allows for 9 seed slots to be used, this is also what I consider to be my best loadout so far, since it got me to the final wave before the 3rd flag before I failed.)

What I use Why I use it Counters Countered by Notes
Sunflower Sun production None Everything - although here I'm not going to be using them for long, so it's fine N/A
Imitater Sunflower Sun production None See above I should probably stop using Imitater at all, since the only reason people even use this in Survival Endless is for sun production right at the beginning, and even though sun production is a necessity (obviously), I doubt it's that good to the point where I'm going need to use it here
Pumpkin It's a necessity - it's a one column strat, after all! and zombotany peas None Everything - still need to use it for protection of my plants Very good for protecting the plants
Lilypad It's a necessity due to the fact that it is a pool level None Everything - doesn't mean I don't need it Upgrades into Cattail, another necessity. It can also be used for stalling in some cases, although that doesn't really seem to work here.
Cattail Necessity and cost efficiency. Also helps with breaking down the HP of Tallnut zombies. Peashooter Zombie, Wallnut Zombie (which I actually forgot all about while writing this up - that's how weak it is)[2], Tallnut Zombie, Squash Zombie Tallnut Zombie, Gatling Pea Zombie, Jalapeño Zombie Actually really good plant because of targeting system and damage
Melon Pult Best damage in the entire game Peashooter Zombie, Wallnut Zombie, Gatling Pea Zombie (sometimes), Tallnut Zombie (sometimes), Jalapeño Zombie (if I can get lucky), Squash Zombie Gatling Pea Zombie, Jalapeño Zombie Not gonna lie pretty much the best plant in the game along with Winter Melon. This is an S+ tier plant, except for the fact that it's too darn expensive.
Squash Instant Kill Everything Jalapeño Zombie Instant Kill
Potato Mine Instant Kill Everything Jalapeño Zombie, Squash Zombie Instant Kill
Cherry Bomb Instant Kill Everything Jalapeño Zombie Instant Kill

What I could probably improve about my strategy

Before the 1st flag

Usually, I put Sunflowers on land first before putting them in water (mostly so I can save up more sun overall in the long run). After I start losing them to Peashooter Zombies, I put a Potato Mine where the Sunflower was so I could kill it without losing lawnmowers.

The thing I could probably improve about this part is just letting the lawnmowers go so I have a bit of time where a zombie cannot spawn in that lane so I can get some more sun, however the only problem with this is, I need the lawnmowers for later on, so I don't really know what to do here.

After the 2nd flag

This is really why I should probably switch out either Squash or Cherry Bomb for Jalapeño (or maybe Imitater Sunflower), because then I would at least stand a chance against Case 3 (Jalapeño Zombie behind a Tallnut Zombie) and I could finally at least make it to the final wave, however I haven't had the time to do the necessary testing to see if my presumption is correct. So, this begs the question

Can Zombotany 2 be beaten while only using one column of plants, or is it truly impossible?


[1]e.g It's Raining Seeds, 1-7 (2nd adventure), etc.

[2]I actually also forgot about Squash Zombie, since that's also a pretty weak zombie.

1 Answer 1

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Source

OK, so I've come back from doing testing, and it's most likely impossible without perfect RNG. However, at least I made it to the final flag.

My strategy:

Loadout

+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Sunflower         |Useful for sun economy/stalling                                                                           |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Imitater Sunflower|Same as above                                                                                             |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Melon Pult        |Best damage with splash effect                                                                            |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Winter Melon      |Same as above with cooldown effect                                                                        |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Potato Mine       |Cheap land insta and only one I need                                                                      |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Pumpkin           |Keeps plants protected for longer                                                                         |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Lilypad           |Required automatically, also Cattail                                                                      |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Cattail           |Can help stall the ground lanes as well as good damage                                                    |
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Tangle Kelp       |Costs 25 (same as Potato Mine) and good for killing Tallnut Zombies in water if I'm unable to with Cattail|
+------------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Before the first flag

Here, I actually made a change to my general strategy, which allowed me to beat 1-7 of the second adventure with only one column of plants:{1}

Not wasting any of my lawnmowers until at least the first flag.

Yup. This is what I had to do. I did this by stalling out the first few waves of Peashooter Zombies using Potato Mine and Pumpkin (Pumpkin when there were two Peashooter Zombies in the same lane) so I could save up a lot of sun to last me until late game.

When I hit 650 sun, I dug up one of the sunflowers in the pool lane and replaced it with a Cattail since it was getting difficult to stall with Potato Mines. Right before the first flag, I started protecting plants with Pumpkins to make sure I had protection and sun production going into the first flag.

I also made sure to plant a Melon Pult in Row 1 and place a Pumpkin on it to protect the Melon Pult from oncoming peas.

Here is my setup going into the first flag:

Sun: 475

Row 1: Melon Pult + Pumpkin
Row 2: Sunflower + Pumpkin
Row 3: Lilypad
Row 4: Lilypad + Cattail + Pumpkin
Row 5:
Row 6: Sunflower

Lawnmowers remaining: 6

First flag

At first, it didn't go so bad. There were a few Squash Zombies, and Gatling Pea Zombies did start coming, but it went well at first. I was able to get a second Cattail around halfway through the first flag. In my opinion, there isn't really a whole lot to say about this, except that this is where the sun economy basically fell apart.

Here is my setup going into the second flag:

Sun: 25

Row 1: Melon Pult + Pumpkin
Row 2: Sunflower + Pumpkin
Row 3: Lilypad + Cattail + Pumpkin
Row 4: Lilypad + Cattail
Row 5: Melon Pult + Pumpkin
Row 6:

Lawnmowers remaining: 6

Second flag

Welp, this is bad. First off, a Wallnut Zombie that was actually in Row 5 (the one with the Cattail with no Pumpkin) ate my Cattail and took that lawnmower. Then, a Peashooter Zombie took the Row 2 lawnmower. Then it fell apart really quickly.

I then got what I'm going to call Case 4: Tallnut Zombie behind a Wallnut Zombie in the water

Explanation of Case 4

This is probably tied with Case 3 for the worst possible case. Like Case 3, if this happens, you are not keeping that row's lawnmower.

You have to deal a total of 5400 damage (1800 for the Wallnut Zombie and 3600 for the Tallnut Zombie), and if you only have the one Cattail (which you should have a Pumpkin on), finish off the Wallnut Zombie, and then dig up the Cattail and hope that you brought Tangle Kelp.

That's the only way you're getting rid of that Tallnut Zombie. Even if you have 2 Cattails.

Back to explaining the 2nd flag

After that happened, this was my setup:

+-+------------------------+
|l|lawnmower is still there|
+-+------------------------+

Sun: 150

         +--------------------+-----------------+
         |Plants              |Zombie(s) coming |
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 1:|l|Melon Pult + Pumpkin|                 |
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 2:| |Potato Mine         |Peashooter Zombie|
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 3:|l|                    |Tallnut Zombie   |
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 4:| |Lilypad             |Peashooter Zombie|
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 5:|l|Melon Pult + Pumpkin|                 |
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+
|Row 6:| |                    |                 |
+------+-+--------------------+-----------------+

This isn't going to hold up for much longer. There's not really much that went on after it, so let's just skip to my setup at the end of the second flag:{2}

+-+------------------------+
|l|lawnmower is still there|
+-+------------------------+

Sun: 100

         +--------------------+----------------+
         |Plants              |Zombie(s) coming|
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 1:| |                    |                |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 2:| |Potato Mine         |Tallnut Zombie  |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 3:| |                    |                |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 4:| |                    |                |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 5:|l|Melon Pult + Pumpkin|                |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+
|Row 6:| |                    |                |
+------+-+--------------------+----------------+

Third flag

Yay. (not really) Only one wave longer than what my current best was. Here, I die to a Squash Zombie while trying to stall out the Tallnut Zombie coming in Row 2 after the second flag had ended.

The only reason I was even trying to stall out the Tallnut Zombie was because I had no means of damaging it (I was trying to save up 25 sun for a Potato Mine) and the Squash Zombie just so happened to come in a different row than the 5th row, where my Melon Pult could have easily taken care of it (it came in the 6th row).

Verdict

Edit 1: Added some clarification to the verdict

Zombotany 2 is most likely impossible to beat with only one column of plants without perfect RNG.

While it is known to be possible, this solution sadly uses save scumming as a method to get certain zombies to go in certain rows so the attacking plants can fend off the other zombies reasonably.

It was otherwise determined by me and @Pyrotechnical in comments that this challenge is not feasibly possible by a human. (as no human could get that lucky)

Since mods will most likely delete the convo after this edit takes place (as they will no longer be needed), here is a screenshot of our convo that took place after my answer was first posted.


Alt Challenge suggested by @Pyrotechnical


The alternative challenge that was suggested by @Pyrotechnical was basically my original challenge, except that instead, it's "one plant in each row".{3} (as in, I could do Lilypad+Cattail+Pumpkin because it's on one tile)

So the challenge is more "one tile of plants per row".

I will update my answer after I've made significant progress on this. (mainly because the alt. chal. basically ties into the original challenge)


{1}After beating 1-8 and 1-9 in the second adventure, of course. This brings my total number of levels in the second adventure beaten with only one column of plants to 10.

{2}There really isn't a whole lot to mention, I'll edit in more of what happened if that would be more helpful.

{3}In chat, it was clarified that while it was supposed to be a true one plant per row challenge, @Pyrotechnical did mention that I was free to interpret it as I wanted to.

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  • 1
    Can you clarify your initial statement about perfect RNG? Are you needing perfect RNG for sun drops, timing of enemy pea shooter shots, timing of your own pea shooter shots, or all of the above? Dec 12, 2023 at 19:25
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    Also, good luck with your challenge! It looks neat! Dec 12, 2023 at 19:27
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    @Pyrotechnical Perfect zombie RNG, you can watch this to better understand what I mean (of course, this uses save scumming, which I don't have access to)
    – CrSb0001
    Dec 12, 2023 at 19:29
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    I wonder if a viable alternate challenge might be to try having just 1 plant in each row. Thus if you lose the cattail in column 1, you just place a tangle kelp in column 7 to take out whatever killed the cattail. Dec 12, 2023 at 19:39
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    That's my point, the challenge probably isn't possible for a human. I don't know enough about the game's coding, but it may not even be possible to get that kind of RNG by dumb luck. In any given save, the code might be checking the last time something was thrown on a specific row and after a certain number of checks, it might default to putting something on that row. Dec 12, 2023 at 19:41

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