I broke down and bought some gems as well. To build money buildings. Also bought some hero armor. Did not spend any on the Gladiator King but may spend some at the end of the Druid Box time period tomorrow night. Because somehow I am in the running for the top 250. For the last day and a half, I have been one under, even with, or one over the number needed to be top 250 (as I type, the magic number is 17. I have been at 16 like 18 hours, and for a while that was good, when the magic number was 15). I've been playing slow, not leveling up too fast so that I don't encounter the big guns until I have more strength. When it's not Box time, I don't do quests or attack people. But as soon as it's Box time, I go on the offensive and gain a level or two (at level 54 now, will be 55 by tomorrow) and lots of boxes to try. However, that strategy does not work so well with the Gladiator King. I couldn't even defeat his level 10 without spending gems and I wasn't going to spend gems on that, especially once it was clear there was no way I'd get near completing the quest.