Here are my thoughts regarding strategy (on a Pro), and order to play songs based on maximising score efficiently.
At the start of EVERY ball, short plunge to right flipper trap and go for the super skill shot, which will be one of scoop, left loop or centre ramp. This awards 2 Smart missiles, which will greatly increase your prospects later on.
I start with Sweet Emotion, but don’t necessarily attempt to finish it in one go, instead focusing on lighting locks for Toy Box.
The ideal scenario is to finish SE at the scoop with 5 out of 6 balls locked. If that means having to play SE twice, so be it. (If you’ve drained without completing SE, your chances of getting to Medley are already looking poor, so you need to find a different way to maximise pts.)
By finishing SE at the scoop, not only does it award Super Scoring, but also starts the next mode.
Assuming your now near Toy Box, choose Rats in the Cellar, and take the CIU award as soon as possible (which adds another lit shot) then start your MB. Rats should complete itself with any decent MB. This will award Super Spinner.
During Toy Box, but especially at the start focus on locking away a couple of balls, not only does it increase the playfield scoring, but when the balls are released a ball save is awarded, it isn’t uncommon to have this ball save add into the original starting ball save, along with the add a ball ball save, allowing you to focus on hitting shots – no need to trap up for over a minute.
After Toy Box I choose Last Child, one of the reasons being it forces you to shoot some loops which you need progress towards Elevator MB, Super spinner should also be lit from completing Rats. On starting LC, the loops and ramps will be lit. Once you hit a ramp it will go out, but the loops stay lit throughout the mode. I usually try and pick off the ramps, then hit the CIU, which will light all of the shots for progress. BEWARE, once you have lit all the shots hitting either loop will turn them off – focus on the non-loop shots. You need to finish with at least 1 loop to complete.
Following LC I will take Back in the Saddle, because super loops will be lit, as well as super spinner if you haven’t collected all the benefit yet. I don’t focus on completing BITS at all, rather try and start Elevator MB. The reasoning is twofold. 1) it’s a dangerous feed from the pops having hit the right loop, and 2) it is the easiest mode to complete in Medley – by just plunging to the pops and letting the balls drain in the initial ball save.
During Elevator I focus on hitting the elevator, as there is a better than 50% chance that it is lit. Depending on progress made, will depend on whether I try and replay Elevator at all, or complete it during Medley.
Next is Same Old Song and Dance, It is simply not worth as much as it used to be, so need not be the default song of choice at starting. The most important thing during SOSAD is to hit the CIU as soon as possible as it means every major shot you hit will award 2 petals instead of 1, along with the stand-ups being lit. This should be a relatively easy song to complete. It awards super targets, as well as a shot multiplier. I look to have this active on the centre ramp.
Next is Walk this Way, hopefully you’ve got the shot multiplier on at least one of the ramps. I’ll shoot one of the ramps and then shoot for CIU. This will relight both ramps (rather than having to alternate them) along with all of the other shots. Like LC and loops, you’ll have to finish on a ramp.
Now it’s decision time. Depending on how many of the songs I’ve completed depends on whether I start Dude, or replay a song. By completing songs, not only does it make Medley easier to complete, it also means more points are awarded for song completion.
10mil for 1 song, 30mil (10+20) for 2 songs, 60mil for 3, 100mil for 4, etc.
If have completed 4 or 5 songs, I’ll restart a song I haven’t completed as it will effectively be worth 50 or 60 mil when Medley starts.
Another thing to take into consideration is how many shot multipliers you have active. If you don’t have many it may be worth starting a Toy Box MB and focus on lighting them from the stand-ups, which also lights the mystery award (which can be stacked), as you’re really not very far from Final Tour, where the shot multipliers can make or break your final score.
Dude Looks Like a Lady is another mode where the CIU really improves the chances of you finishing it by allowing each in-lane and scoop to award a petal. This is then reactivated once all 4 have been hit once. (In essence ramps are worth 2 petals as they feed to the in-lanes).
Once you have started all songs, whether you have finished them or not, the scoop is lit for Medley and you can’t reattempt the songs in the normal way – hence a decision needs to be made before starting Dude.
Usually by this point I only have Elevator and BITS to complete, which is easily achieved during the ball save period of Medley.
Which means that Final Tour is ready to go.
There are 3 colour phases to Final Tour, Yellow, Orange and Red.
During the Yellow phase all shots remain lit after you hit them, once you have the required amount you move onto the next stage, which awards an add-a-ball and ball save, after that it’s on to the red (with a starting AAB & ball save) in this mode once you hit a shot it turns out, once all are hit the Super Jackpot is lit at the scoop.
I mentioned Smart Missiles right at the very start – Final Tour Red Phase is what I have been saving them up for. During the red phase I’ll pick off the easy shots (toy box, scoop, centre ramp, lock) then trap a ball on the right flipper and spam the action button to pick of the last of the shots and then hit the scoop.
The only other time I consider using the smart missiles is nearing completion of Toy Box MB, if there’s a shot I’m bricking constantly, or if there is just a single shot left of a song as I drain. Smart missiles can be extremely valuable – don’t waste them.
This strategy generally scores in the region of 1.6Bil and 1.8Bil by the time you play/complete Final Tour.
It also maximises scoring on short games by playing Sweet Emotion and Rats early with Toy Box MB.