Beginner’s Guide to Plants vs Zombies 2

PopCap has a long history of creating addictive puzzle games, and Plants vs Zombies 2 (usually abbreviated PvZ2) is the latest in a long line of such games. This time around, Plants vs Zombies 2 is free-to-play, although to date only an iOS version has been released. If you’re new to the series and are trying to check out what all the buzz is about, I’ve collected my strategies for clearing levels and created this Plants vs Zombies 2 guide.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: Opening Moves

There are many “build orders” out there, but I’ll share the one that worked for me. I’ve not lost a lawnmower yet with this guide!

FAQ: What plants should I bring? For the starting levels in Ancient Egypt, I suggest bringing the Sunflower, the Pea Shooter, the Cabbage-Pult (if there are grave markers, which there almost always are), the Wall-Nut, the Iceberg Lettuce, and finally either the Bloomerang or the Repeater. I will pick the Bloomerang if I see a lot of “Camel Disguise” zombies, and the Repeater if there are a lot of “Bucket Head” or “Sarcophagus” zombies.

The first couple of moves you should make in virtually any “daytime” Plants vs Zombies 2 level are always the same:

  • Gather 50 sun and build a Sunflower in the leftmost column that you can.
  • Gather another 50 sun and build a second Sunflower in the leftmost column that you can.

It doesn’t really matter what row you place the two sunflowers on, they should just be both in that leftmost column. If you’re playing a level to get a Plants vs Zombies 2 star, then you may have Mold Colonies that block the leftmost columns – we’ll get to stars in another guide, but just make sure you place your Sunflowers to the right of these mold colonies.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: Your Very First Zombie!

By the time you’ve done this, it’s very likely that the first Zombie is going to spawn. He will begin to shamble left, towards your flowers and your house. At this point, what you want to do is:

  • Gather 100 sun, and build either a Cabbage-Pult or a Pea Shooter in the same row as the first zombie
  • Gather 50 sun, and build a third Sunflower

Plants vs Zombies 2 - Early Game Setup

FAQ: Cabbage-Pult or Pea Shooter? – If the row you’re building in has a lot of grave markers, or grave markers very close to the left side, then build a Cabbage-Pult, since these will hit zombies even if there’s a grave marker in the way. If the row is clear, build a Pea Shooter, since they do more damage. A Pea Shooter can generally take down a single zombie before he can make it 3 or 4 squares, whereas a Cabbage-Pult takes an extra square longer.

FAQ: What column should I build my Pea Shooters/Cabbage-Pults in? – I will tend to leave a column open between the Sunflowers and these first attacking plants. Later, you’ll likely want to build a more expensive Bloomerang, Repeater, or other attack plant in the second column. It’s better to have these further towards the back, as it gives them more time to fire and less of a chance they’ll get eaten if things start to go wrong. When you get to the harder levels, you may be pressed for space and can’t leave this gap, but under normal circumstances it is beneficial.

Pro Tip In the early going, planting in PvZ2 is always about reacting to where the zombies are. Don’t start planting your attack plants until you know what row the zombies are starting on. You don’t really have time to earn enough sun to cover all the rows right from the start!

By the time you’ve built your third Sunflower, a second zombie has likely appeared, so:

  • Gather another 100 sun, and build a Cabbage-Pult or a Pea Shooter in the same row as the second zombie
  • Gather 50 sun and build a fourth Sunflower

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: Two’s Company

At this point, usually 2 zombies spawn. If you’re lucky, one of them is in a row you’ve already got an attacking plant in. Otherwise, you’re going to need to start stockpiling sun so you can build 2 more plants, again, either Pea Shooters or Cabbage-Pults.

  • Gather 100 sun, and build a Cabbage-Pult or Pea Shooter in the row with the nearest zombie
  • Gather 100 more sun, and build a Cabbage-Pult or Pea Shooter in the row with the other zombie

Plants vs Zombies 2 Beginner's Guide - Mid Game Setup

Pro Tip If the zombies are getting close while you’re working up to build the attacking plants, drop an Iceberg Lettuce or a Wall-Nut in their way. This will slow them down and give you a bit more time to prepare. The Iceberg Lettuce is free, but the Wall-Nut is going to be worth it in the long term. Both of these defensive plants are slow to recharge, so if you think you might need them, use them early.

  • Gather 50 sun and build a fifth Sunflower
  • Begin stockpiling 175 or 200 sun for a Bloomerang or a Repeater

After these two zombies are taken care of, it’s likely that you’re going to see a zombie with a traffic cone on his head. These guys can’t usually be stopped by a single attack plant.

  • Drop a Bloomerang or Repeater in the row with the difficult traffic cone zombie

Plants vs Zombies 2 Beginner's Guide - Oh No, Harder Zombies!

Pro Tip Here you may have to drop an Iceberg Lettuce or a Wall-Nut if you think you can’t build the more expensive attack plant in time.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: They’re Everywhere!

At this point, more and more zombies are going to attack, and eventually the harder zombies will show up. Just keep filling in your line of Wall-Nuts and your line of Bloomerangs or Repeaters, and you should take them down with no issues.

Watch out for the special zombies – what zombies show up depends on the level, but pay special attention to Bucket Head Zombies – these guys will take a lot of shots to go down, and you’re almost certainly going to need 2 attack plants and a Wall-Nut in order to beat them.

By the end of the round, you want to have:

  • Five Sunflowers in the far left column
  • Five Bloomerangs or Repeaters in the next column
  • Five Cabbage-Pults or Pea Shooters in the next column
  • As many Wall-Nuts as you need or can afford in the next column

Plants vs Zombies 2 Beginner's Guide: Final Wave!

When the final massive wave comes, you should be able to take it down no problem.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: Plant Food

Certain green glowing enemies will drop Plant Food when killed. This stuff is a real life-saver. It can boost a single plant and save the round if you use it right.

  • Sunflowers will drop a massive amount of sun – 150, by my estimate.
  • Pea Shooters and Repeaters will fire a massive blast of peas in their row. This can be good versus a pack of zombies, or a couple of Cone Head/Bucket Head zombies. If you’ve got an underdefended row and can’t build more plants due to lack of sun, this can be a good option.
  • Cabbage-Pults will let loose a volley of giant cabbages that hit all the zombies on the screen. This is good for times when you’re low on plants on a row, since the Cabbage-Pult will hit things it normally can’t shoot at.
  • Bloomerangs fire a massive amount of boomerang shots in all four directions. In the early going, in many circumstances you won’t have zombies below, above, or behind your plants. Still, it’s good to know for later when zombies start getting crafty.
  • Iceberg Lettuce explodes when fed plant food. It will freeze all the enemies on the screen for a short time.
  • Wall-Nuts will get a hard, steel coating that takes a long time for the zombies to break through. This is one of the only uses for plant food that doesn’t run out over time.

It’s a good idea to save at least one plant food for emergencies – sometimes you just start to get overwhelmed and need a quick boost. If you’re maxed out, though, I suggest just using some. That way, if more drops, you can just pick it up and not have to worry about using up some of your existing plant food first.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Guide: Moving on from Egypt

In order to “finish” Ancient Egypt and move on, you’re going to need 15 stars. If you’re lost about what stars are, or are having trouble getting them, check out our guide to earning stars!

As you move on from Ancient Egypt, the levels start to change a bit, with more complex stuff happening. Some of these strategies will require tweaking. We’ll be covering some of these strategies in later articles, so check back soon!