WIP: Key Investment Methods for highest key gains (Updated till v118)

What is the highest amount of keys you’ve ever gained in a mission in v118 or higher?
And how many keys have you spent to get it?

Tip: If you want to answer this question, please note down how many items you’ve used while flying, find the cost of those items (by remembering where you bought them), and let me know the results.

Example: (this is just an example to show you how it’s done, not actual data)

I’ve gained 69 keys when I completed a Boss Rush mission.
In it,
I’ve used 2 Extra Lives (4 each - Aftermarket),
3 Damage Amplifiers (4 each - Shady Dealer),
1 Phase-Out (5 each - Shady Dealer)

Other items used: HUDs, BX-9 + 5 Barbecuer.
Time taken: 4 mins

Net gain: 69-2x4-3x4-1x5 = 44 keys. Not bad.
Keys/sec: 0.183

I’m currently planning on a future topic about Key Investments in this game, to hopefully prepare a good tutorial on how to spend your keys wisely to actually win and start having some fun in CIU for newbies.

As much as I hate explaining how to invest stuff to have fun in a game (it already doesn’t sound fun now that I’ve read it tbh), it just has to be done.
It won’t help all newbies who play CIU though, since most of them won’t look into the game’s forums until way way later on - if they can even stay for that long, but I’ll help whoever I can with that guide essentially.

Edit #1: one-time-use-forever items are ignored for this guide, but should still be mentioned.
Edit #2: You should also tell everyone how long you took to do that mission as well, to get the key gain/second stat.
Edit #3: H&C ships should also be mentioned, as not using them gives you a bit less keys.
(unless you’re playing in Multiplayer where the bonus doesn’t even exist)


I gained 251 keys in the Authentic Hero - Heroes Academy mission.
Ignoring HUD items, I just used a H&C 101 Hatchling (+18% keys), and 9 Extra Lives (from a Shady Dealer, 28 keys for 10). No special weapons used here, only one ICBM satellite.
You’ll also get extra keys if you use default equipment (Copper Heat Sink, Mr. Fusion, etc.), but I didn’t bother because I have better things to use.
Also, I used Superstar Hero (increases key drop rate).

Total net gain: 233

You should also tell me how much time you’ve spent on that.
Key gain/sec is another stat that is extremely important.
(Time is easy to get though, just review the mission)

Anyways, sharing my favorite method of getting keys:

Doing an Elite Boss Rush with BX-9, 8 fp weapon, 5 Barbecuer and some HUD items on SSH.
I’ve spent 7 Damage Amplifier during the mission (4 each on Shady Dealer so 28 keys lost)

Key gained at the end of the mission was 93, that means a net gain of 65 keys.
Here’s the kicker though: This mission was done in less than a minute. 56 secs to be exact.
So the key gain/sec here is 1.16, which is insane.

Note that this method only exists for those who are in the late game phase,
as BX-9 + Barbecuers + 8 fp weapon might take a lot of keys to get in the first place, and you need to get used to boss battling prior to using Damage Amplifiers so you could use it really well.
(Since if you die you lose firepower which is vital for future Amplifier usage’s effectiveness)

PS: IA if you’re watching this, I’ve spent a lot of time calculating the key gain in each and every mission to finally find this method. Please don’t mess with this in any way as this is mostly what I’m doing for fun nowadays.

In this Retro mission (Retro is pretty consistent), I lost at wave 9 (it shows as 9/17 because immediately when I died, my last bullet hit the last enemy, this is possible) after 03:28.43 in real life. I used Superstar Hero, no mission items, H&C 101 Legendary with Absolver Beam level 8 and Barbequer (which would have been used for the boss).

Key gain / sec here is: 60/150 … 0.4.
I used to do Retro for keys too, but when I did the math for this, it’s clearly inefficient compared to some of the other methods I’d found.
PS: when I did the math, actually doing it with a BX for more damage nets you a higher key gain/sec.
(You’d spend way less time doing the Classic Invasion levels + boss fight)

Also, key gain counted by food is merely inconsequential (~15 food / key, no modifiers like keys), as in the higher Elite levels, you’d get more keys, but way less food as Elite enemies rarely drop food. Except from Chickenaut, but that’s the only Elite that does this, and dude’s not even that common.

around 317 keys on a key rush mission

Not enough stats really. Is this keys gained or keys obtained?
(keys gained = keys obtained - key value of all items used in the level, which should be memorized beforehand as you can’t find it in the Results menu)

How long did you take on this?

And considering this is a Key Rush, this can only be obtained once, so keys/sec is a bit useless.

Yeah, I know. Key Investment is a pain.

Doing this to hopefully help newbies find the fastest way to progress and actually do some of the cooler stuff this game has to offer, so yeah.

Keys obtained: 58
Keys gained: 317.

Time: 15 minutes Wave 18 / 50

Diff: around 90 + 30%

Canine Draper boss rush mission. 3 Bosses: Vader, Metal Egg, Getting Cold in Space.
581-185. I used BX9, positron, all satelites BBQers

It normally takes 1 minute to finish, you get 39-40 keys depends on fluctuation.
With Damage Amps you finish the mission in 11-12 seconds.
Assuming you buy a batch of 9 Amps - 54 keys, that nets you 3 fast mission completions.
3 completions = 120 keys in 36 seconds. Minus the 54 from buying the amps…
66 keys / 36 seconds. profit.
So with damage amps you can say you make roughly 132 keys per 1m12s total mission time. Good enough yes?

edit: 66/36 = 1.83 keys per sec. Much better than ur 1.16 rate :>

One thing: You only need to calculate your keys in one playthrough to simplify all the math.

Assuming you’ve done that in 12 seconds, each Damage Amplifier you’ve bought cost 6 keys, and you’ve used 3 (1 for each level), in that run you’d get (40-3*6)/12 = 22/12 = 1.83 keys per sec.
It’s the same, but point is you only need to do that run once for the math, as you can repeat that over and over and the numbers won’t change (in theory).

Tip to increase that even further: get Damage Amplifier from a Shady Dealer.
It costs 4 keys there, so in theory you could’ve had (40-3*4)/12 = 28/12 = 2.3 keys/sec. Nice.
(Though you’re going to need to stockpile a lot of that if you want to get huge gains quicker)

Also, another thing to note: yes, because of key fluctuations there might be a slight increase/decrease in keys gained over time. I’m just taking the number you’ve gotten in that run regardless as that’s pretty negligible for the most part.

Very hard to find a specific item from Shady Dealer, calculate it based on the regional store cost is more realistic.

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