80/80ing Borderlands with Future Cat

Maze: Borderlands

Purpose: Get 2 Dragonling Skulls, kill 49 enemies with Skeleton Drake, and use 21 Bone Staves. (These were the quests I had left to get 80/80 in Borderlands)

Main Gumball: Future Cat — to get the 30-floor backslide from Time Machine, the bonus bone parts from FC’s Dimension Door, and the Monster Timer/Resentment-Venting Hourglass for disabling the boss for extended periods of time.

Soul-Link 1: Odin — the bonus to all spell effects is nice, but really Odin is here for his one-round boost to all spell durations.

Soul-Link 2: Three-Eye King — to speed up the dullest part of the run with Howling. Skyeye is just a bonus.

Venture Title: Night Walker – Evil Bandit – Farplane Ranger — Acquired as early as possible. I took 1 star in each title straight to FPR, then went back and filled in Evil Bandit to get the XP reduction suit, then back to Fortune Finder so I could find and kill mobs quickly. Then I took all three stars of Magic Apprentice before moving on to Melee.

The Borderlands is one of the best Mazes for Lantern Farplane, because every stack of skulls you raid or worship gives you a soul. Those souls cast Stoneskin, Blade of Ruin, grant or restore HP, grant Power, and more. I used the Stoneskin and BoR souls to conserve spell scrolls on floors and bosses from 70 to 91.

Also, the Frankenstein corpse gives you a soul that gives you a 100% success rate on a single Altar. (Because I was using Future Cat, I didn’t put a single bone into the Bone Chime until I had maxed out the Bone Armor and the Bone Boots, and then I built it an leveled it up to level 10 all on a single floor using the Frankenstein soul.)

One more thing! FPR gives you 2 Night Wicks every time you take a star — and Night Wicks instantly kill one of the Borderlands’ boss’ annoying little Dragon Eggs. (So do Future Cat’s Hurricane Straws!) Save them up for the lower-level bosses, because they’re super-helpful!

Melee Title: Magic Warrior – Shadow Warrior – Duke of Destruction — After finishing Magic Apprentice, I took all three stars of Intern Warrior followed by all three stars of Warrior. Then one star each of Magic Warrior and Shadow Warrior, and it was on to Duke of Destruction, then all three HP stars to max the trigger chance, then all three Power stars to max the duration.

Duke of Destruction + Odin + Legendary Mage (which comes next) means that whenever Duke of Destruction triggers, you get 14 rounds of Blade of Ruin — which with Fortune Finder is almost always enough to kill all remaining enemies without taking any counterattack damage. This is your survival mechanism.

Magic Title: Conjurer – Earth Master – Legendary Mage — I went the Earth Master route to get bigger Stoneskins and maximize the benefits of the one Portal of Earth. Also, Conjurer is one of the best tools for keeping your MP up over the long run.

Really, though, the big benefit of Legendary Mage is that it effectively gives you extra actions to use against the bosses, because you don’t have to renew your buffs as often. Between that and extending the duration of Blade of Ruin to ‘the rest of the level,’ this was an obvious choice.

Artifact: Amulet of Legendary Mage — The bonus you get to Legendary Mage gives you a Timestill, but really that’s not why I have this. I have this because I knew that I was going to be filling my Glove, Helm, Armor, Accessory, and Boots slots (between Future Cat and Borderlands items), and I wanted to maximize my Power, which meant leaving my Ring slot open for a +power item and converting my Amulet slot to +Power by taking this artifact (normally Amulets only give +MP).

Potion: Hell Crimson Potion — +Power, +MP, and +Fire magic all in one package means I get the stats I want and bigger Blades of Ruin. Win/win!

Other Gear: Once you get the Future Cat set, wear it! If you need the extra Armor, wear Bone Armor and just swap in Hiding Cloak when you step down the stairs, then switch back immediately. Don’t wear the Bone Chime until you’ve leveled up to 10, and then only if you have obtained the Time Machine and can go back 30 floors.

Floor Strategy: Kill ranged mobs, then go straight toward and kill non-ranged mobs one at a time. When you reach floor 71+, if the ranged mobs are more than 4 turns (2 of their attacks) away, consider killing them with magic instead to reduce damage taken. Use a PoE or Time Machine on floor 59 (use Howling now), then use the other once you get deep enough to kill off Howling (in my case it was floor 84), so that your Skeleton Drakes can build up their kill count with relative ease.  Do not use any Ice Shields or Aurora Barriers. This is important for later!

Boss Strategy: Always pop a Bone Staff on turn 1. Attack the Dragon Eggs, and just suck up the boss’ first attack. If the Skeleton Husky/Drake dies before the Nightmare Shield breaks, pop another one. Make the boss skip his 2nd attack with Icicle. For floors 30/40/50, just suck up his 3rd attack. He should be dead before his fourth. For floors 60+, skip his 3rd attack either with Resentment-Venting Hourglass or Timestill (either from a normal cast or from Future Cat’s Monster Timer).

For the final push to get multiple Dragonling Skulls in one go, we’re going to cheese the hell out of the Floor 90 boss. Pop the Drake, kill the Dragon Eggs with Nether Wicks (focus on full-HP eggs so your Drake will eat one), and then literally spend every turn you have dumping out every single Aurora Barrier and Ice Shield in your book, pausing only to pop new Drakes when your existing Drake dies, or new Fields if your Electrostatic Field runs out. (You want to come into this fight with 30+ Bone Staves.) I got my 2nd Dragonling Skull out of my 14th Bone Drake, and finished the boss literally by accident with 12,000+ HP because Aurora Barrier and Ice Shield stack infinitely. The F90 boss will have zero chance to stop you, and with that many Bone Staves, you will get 2+ Dragonling Skulls unless you have the worst RNG ever.

In my case, I had to go to F91 afterwards because I had to get one more kill out of a Skeleton Drake to get the full 80/80.

Final Notes: I thought I was going to hate this run, but all of the tricks in Future Cat’s bag combined with the power of the Duke/Legendary Mage combo made this actually really fun! Applying your brain to figuring out when to use each of FC’s gadgets for maximum utility is the kind of puzzle that makes Gumballs and Dungeons a great game.