The Apache Prime leaves most Bloons wishing they'd never been inflated.
~ BTD6 description
Apache Prime is the final upgrade on Path 1 for the Heli Pilot in BTD6.
The upgrade replaces the Apache Dartship's dart weapons with lasers and plasma. Its base Quad Dart projectiles are replaced with lasers and its deadly frontal machine gun is replaced with a rapid-fire plasma cannon. The lasers and plasma cannon now have 23 and 11 pierce respectively, and strip 6 and 5 layers per shot instead of 1 for both, before Monkey Knowledge boosts are applied. Its homing missiles deal an additive 15 damage (total 17 from 2 damage) to MOAB-class bloons as well. The plasma machine gun cannot pop Purples, the rockets cannot pop Blacks, and the lasers pop neither Purples nor Leads.
The Apache Prime is an excellent late-game tower that features in many games that run to Round 100 due to its sheer power against most types of rounds. Its shortcomings are usually dampened by adding support towers. Its largest weakness on paper is in fact DDTs, which its rockets (and since 25.0, the red lasers as well) do not damage, along with the inability to fully use its decent pierce due to the tendency of DDTs to be spaced and fast. These issues are usually solved with the addition of support. Its largest weakness in practice is affording it, as Apache Dartship can struggle against many mid-late rounds on harder maps and without a properly planned strategy. It is recommended to micro the Apache Prime to good positions if you are able to/need to.
Compared to other Tier 5 upgrades of a similar price, Apache Prime actually benefits greatly with Striker Jones as a way to save money by not requiring a MIB to counter its poor DDT-popping, and Striker's stuns can help clump up DDTs if needed. Apache Prime tends to benefit better from an Overclock than Alch buffs, given its high attack speed and multitude of different attacks. This is unlike other expensive high-DPS towers such as Sky Shredder and Bloon Exclusion Zone, which both synergize very well with Alch buffs.
Overclock is a premier partner of Apache Prime, as it greatly increases its power and consistency and is cost-efficient.
Although Apache Prime struggles little against MOAB-class and Super Ceramics, Bloon Sabotage and MOAB Glue are both very good choices for slowing down bloons, especially on shorter maps. In addition, these upgrades can also be useful to help on non-DDT rounds where the Apache Prime just does not have enough time to kill the bloons on certain tracks.
Bigger Jets does help remedy the Apache Prime's issue of failing to catch up with Super Ceramics, but it loses out on popping power compared to Faster Firing.
If you cannot micro the Apache Prime, leaving it on Pursuit still allows it to do its job, albeit it will not be a truly optimised use of the Apache Prime.
Surprisingly, 3-0-2 Sun Avatar (with Knockback and Ultravision) can be used as a partner for Apache Prime. It helps to avoid the awkward midgame Apache Dartship can have while continuing to support Prime for DDTs, which is its largest weakness.
Apache Prime performs the best on single-path maps. It also takes advantage of maps where there is hindered placement or tracks with decent length due to its global range, such as High Finance, Infernal or Geared.
See Apache Dartship for more strategies during the process of affording Apache Prime.
Apache Prime has gained many buffs over time to increase its raw offensive power to make up for its high price. With several buffs, especially on Version 8.0, the Apache Prime has become an expensive but powerful option at high DPS with mobility.
Increased movement speed.
The main plasma cannon gained +1 damage and +1 pierce.
Machine gun damage increased (3 → 5).
MOAB rocket damage increased (11 → 16).
4xx Apache Dartship price increased from $15000 to $19500, increasing cumulative price of Apache Prime.
4xx Apache Dartship price increased from $19500 to $19600, increasing cumulative price of Apache Prime.
Base Heli Pilot cost increased ($1500 → $1600), increasing cumulative price of Apache Prime.
Affected by Razor Rotors area-of-damage size buff.
Affected by Razor Rotors damage buff.
[undocumented] Apache Prime's laser attack now is energy type instead of normal type.
[undocumented, likely a bug] Apache Prime's plasma machine gun attack now is energy type instead of normal type.
[undocumented] Apache Prime's plasma machine gun now is (correctly) plasma type.
Apache Prime in-game
Apache Prime in-game
Apache Prime with Heli Pad
Apache Prime Shooting
In the upgrade artwork, the Apache Prime appears to be deploying flares in the angel formation, made famous by the AC130 gunship (otherwise known as the Spectre).
In Version 1.6 of the game, there used to be a glitch that caused the Apache Prime to be extremely powerful, firing its frontal plasma cannon at roughly five times the speed. All its projectiles seemingly did double damage as well. The cause of this glitch is unknown, as it only triggered on certain devices.
Due to its decent early and high late game power, the Apache Prime has been used in a variety of 2 Tower CHIMPS, most notably being paired with Archmage, Pre-Emptive Strike, Wizard Lord Phoenix and Prince of Darkness. In addition, Apache Prime benefits disproportionately from long length maps due to its global range.
The above 2 Tower CHIMPS are frequently considered some of the easiest to execute on Logs.