An Elder Secret (Merciless) is the first stage in Growing Strange. Beating this stage allows the player to go to one of seven random follow-up stages. The possible follow-up stages include:
- Color of Blood (Merciless)
- Fear of Flying (Merciless)
- Hearts of Darkness (Merciless)
- Holy Wrath (Merciless)
- Galactic Threat (Merciless)
- Clash of Steel (Merciless)
- Seas of Death (Merciless)
Each is based around a different enemy type, with a 99% chance of yielding an Elder Catfruit Seed and a 1% chance of an Elder Catfruit. (At least one reward is guaranteed.)
- The stage begins with two Mr. Angels, followed shortly by two Ginger Snaches.
- When the enemy base is hit, a debuffed Mr. Angel will spawn as the "boss" with a few Ginger Snaches.
- There are several enemies inside the base that will only emerge after/with the boss, including:
- A few of these will appear as support when the "boss" spawns, but not all of them. The only thing that keeps all of them from spawning at once is the low enemy limit. This means that as you kill off the enemies, they get replaced by others.
- There's a limited number of foes inside the base, so eventually nothing will spawn besides the occasional Ginger Snache.
Since you will have to fight another level afterwards, you can use one of these 2 methods to beat this:
- Hope for 1-2 specific follow-up level(s) and go with a focused army that can defeat them easily. (Very luck based and inefficient, but MUCH easier.)
- Example 1: You can use Eva Unit-01, Ganglion/Armageddon and anti-Zombie, Alien or everyone as general attackers, so, if the Alien stage or the Zombie one comes out, you can beat them without much trouble, but you will fail against the other 5 stages (unless you have enough free spaces for other cats), getting the Catfruit Seed 2/7 of the times on average.
- Example 2: You can use an army such as: Ramen, Jiangshi, MKIII, an anti-zombie and a crit hitter for this level (MKIII is for the pigeons, it will die and be resummoned in time for Berserkory as well, Eva 00 is worse here because it can't be resummoned nor resist Berserkory), then add something to make a couple of stages doable, such as a metal staller or 2 for the Metal stage, an extra unit who is strong against zombies for Zamelle in the zombie stage, Bombercat and a unit who deals very high damage to blacks for the black stage etc.
- Go with an anti-everyone loadout that can defeat (almost) all follow-up levels. (VERY hard, but efficient.)
- Example: You can use a combination of certain cats and some anti-everyone to have a chance against every possible follow-up level except, maybe, 1 or 2, this way you WILL have an hard time, but if you can manage it, the chance to win (and get the seed) will be higher, maybe even guaranteed.
Either way, there are some units that should be used in all cases, those being a Shockwave Blocker cat and a Crit. Hitter, as well as small Combos that include cats that would be useful anyways and anti-everyone cats. Some recommended units are: E. Kubilan Pasalan + Lion Cat (very good combo + a good anti-Metal), Ramen Cat, Mitama, Gao (can also act as only Crit. Hitter if you want), Drone Cat, Valkyrie Cat (and RNG), Ganesha (or similar stuff), Manic Eraser, Shishilan Pasalan, Orbital Platform Armageddon (Zombie Killer helps a lot, not to mention the DPS and lack of white foes) or Amaterasu, as well as many others.
You shall also remember that items do not carry over, meaning that Treasure Radars will be useless and you can't get any extra help in the second stage, but you can use a weaker anti-everyone army that can only beat the first stage with the help of items to focus a bigger part of the army on the second level.
- In the speech-bubble reference beside the event name, this level is labeled "Deadly", although it should be "Merciless".
- This stage's gimmick is the opposite of the regular Catfruit stages. The first level is similar to Catfruit Jubilee, while the follow-ups are similar to the other "Growing" stages, featuring enemies of one trait (only that a Metal and Zombie level were added as well).