How Good is Flagellant?

Hi, guys, how’s is going? Arananthi here. Today I’d like to introduce to you one of the new Mercenary Camp gumballs and talk about the fact that it is amazing in a very subtle way. Let’s go to the run.

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: Farming Son of Satan and Hand of Balrog fragments. My tombstone is on F81, so this run has to go fairly deep.

Mainball: Flagellant — This Venture-type Gumball has a crazy number of abilities, all of which are activated once, give a small benefit, and have a HUGE drawback. To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s a list of which of Flagellant’s abilities I activated on which floor, and what they did:

  • Floor 1:
    • Halve your HP for the entire Maze (including all future HP gains) to gain a permanent 5% bonus to Attack and Power.
    • Halve your Dodge for the entire Maze to gain 5% Damage Reduction.
    • Ban yourself from using any Special Spells this Maze to gain a 2% chance to retain an enemy’s Soul when killing them.
  • Floor 55:
    • You cannot learn any more Venture Titles this run: Receive 1d2 Dragon Balls.
    • You cannot learn any more Dragon Titles this run: Receive 5 random Souls.
    • You cannot change your Armor anymore this run: Receive 3 random Swordsmanship Scrolls.
  • Floor 51, 2nd Passage (after Infernal Gate):
    • You cannot learn any more Melee Titles this run: When attacking, 10% chance to cause double damage.
  • Floor 79 (Immediately before last Boss I needed to fight, so I went nuts):
    • You cannot change your Gloves anymore this run: ignore enemy’s Physical Resistance 10%.
    • You cannot change your Ring anymore this run: ignore enemy’s Magic Resistance 10%.
    • You cannot change your Cloak anymore this run: Effects of Aid spells +10%.
    • You cannot change your Treasure anymore this run: Attack +3, Power +3, +15% damage vs. Bosses.

As you can see, none of those bonuses are huge, and all of those penalties are HUGE! …If you don’t build very carefully around them. So let’s talk about how I did that.

Soul Link 1: Crusader — Pop quiz, hotshot: how many Gumballs look at the words “Halve your HP” and think “YEE-HAW!!”?

Soul Link 2: Puppeteer — The interaction between Puppeteer and Crusader is complex and hard to take advantage of, but amazing once you master it. Basically, the Puppet’s unique damage shield is based on it’s Attack, which is based on your Attack when you summon the Puppet. So if you have Puppeteer and Crusader, you immediately spend the first dozen or two floors working hard to get the Puppet to kill itself. Then, you kill yourself…or get as close as you can without actually dying. I literally used Curses to deliberately take single-point-of-damage counterattacks until I was below 1% of my max HP, because that’s when Crusader’s bonus is biggest.

Then I used Bless (later, Blade of Ruin, which I love Hell Frontier for giving me 3 of with Diablo’s Soul) and summoned a Puppet with a ridiculous attack. The Puppet inherits 20% of your Attack, and it came down with an Attack in the high 50s on floor 18ish. The Puppet Shield is then 5x its Attack, so I was dancing around with a 250 point damage shield when I walked in on the F30 Boss with his 39-point attack.

And this interaction repeats every time the Puppet dies — so you want to keep the Puppet alive for a while, but you do eventually want it to kill itself so that you can use your presumably-now-much-higher Attack, boost it to hell and back with Crusader, pop a Blade of Ruin, and poop out a new, improved Puppet with an attack of like 124 or so, providing you with a damage shield of 600-ish points.

The best part is, once you have that crazy stupid damage shield, you can never heal yourself, and mulch your way through 10 floors of baddies taking down one per swing at near-Howling speeds without breaking a sweat b/c your Crusader bennies just sit there as long as you never pick up a red Potion. (Just watch your Puppet’s timer and make sure he doesn’t attack anything himself!)

So your Puppet doesn’t benefit from your Dodge, but it totally benefits from your Damage Reduction, because it affects enemies’ Attack scores, not your actual damage taken. So the tradeoff of half my Dodge for 5% Damage Reduction was totally in my favor thanks to pet mechanics. And I didn’t have any Special skills, so the 2% soul capture was just butter.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (Lantern) — You can’t farm Hand of Balrog fragments without it! Also, I maxed this one out fairly early b/c once you max a specific Title out, you get a small benefit from Flagellant — in this case, a Dragon Ball. Yay! I got my wish from doing so, spent it on Gems, and banned myself from learning Dragon Titles because at that point, why not? 🙂 It was worth some pretty quality souls, including +1 Defense, +1 Attack, and one Blade of Ruin in soul form. Nice!

Melee Title: Duke of Destruction — Because why spend ‘real’ Blade of Ruin scrolls on buffing my Puppet’s attack when I can have them procced for me? I maxxed this one out midwayish through the run, and was rewarded with a clean 10% chance to deal double damage, which stacked with Anonym’s Sword’s 20% chance to do double damage for a healthy bump in my total damage throughput.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage — Because it’s kind of silly to take anything else alongside Duke of Destruction. I never finished this Title.

Artifact: Duke of Destruction’s Belt — Never take Duke without getting your proc% up to 45% with this beastie.

Potion: Nugget Potion — Because that 5% extra Crystal Find really does add up!

The Rundown: Very straightforward. With Flagellant giving me impetus to max out Titles fast, I did mostly just that. I one-starred up to FPR(l) on F1 before looting the Corpse, then filled in Explorer by F4, then Magic Bandit by F11 (this actually gives better EP in the long run than maxxing Magic Bandit first). Then I filled in Night Walker.

Then I had to take a break and get two stars in Magic Apprentice, a star in Novice Warrior, and two stars in Warrior Jr. before the F30 Boss so I would have some offense I could use against him. (That huge damage shield I mentioned is less useful in Hell Frontier b/c the Boss just straight ganks you after 9 turns regardless, so…yeah.)

After the Boss, I finished Farplane Ranger (took me a while b/c I kept spending EP on Gems and stuff for the Hand of Balrog), then did ALL of the Melee Titles up through 12-star Duke of Destruction before going back to one-star up to Legendary Mage and take all three +Round stars, which is all I got in before the F81 goalpost.

I got the Demon’s Gift Box around F50 Mark II (after taking an infernal gate from 55 to 35), then dumped all my Crystals into Light of Corruption to buy me more turns against the later Bosses. Other than that, I spend my Earth Crystals on corpse matrixes and Strongholds, and mostly just saved up everything else for more Light of Corruption.

Floor Strategy: Literally just tap an enemy, kill it, move on, making sure never to reveal an enemy if Puppeteer is about to attack. It doesn’t take a lot of strategy once you get the Phat Puppet trick down. 🙂

Boss Strategy: Basically “Electrostatic Field, Nuke, Icicle, BoR, punch until dead.” Add Timestop for F70 and F80. Again, pretty straightforward. Crusader + BoR = rampant death everywhere. 😀

 

So, How Good IS Flagellant? 

In the end, Flagellant is cool, but he’s weird — most of his tricks by nature only happen after you’ve already done most everything else you intend to do. Like you don’t lock down your Cloak slot forever unless you are 100% certain you have The Cloak to End All Cloaks.

And, his tricks seem pretty small — but then, when your plan is already coherent enough and solid enough to get you to the endgame without Flagellant, he really can add a surprising amount to a seemingly-complete build. It might not seem like much, but when it’s multiplied by Crusader and BoR, that 5% Attack boost turns out to be startlingly big (like +20 or more Attack!)

And if you can work out a situation where the penalties are either completely unnoticeable (like taking five of the six “can’t use this kind of magic” penalties while playing Apollo), or in the ultimate version are actually beneficial (like taking half-HP forever with Crusader and Puppeteer!), he becomes kind of scary badass.

So, Flagellant is stupid good — but only if you are stupid good at building around his crazy abilities.

In other words…I’m in love. Thank you, and I’ll see you next week. 😀

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OMG Cytus is the Coolest Gumball EVER

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: DP Questing. I have one Abyss Demon to resurrect, one item to craft in the Alchemist’s Array, one Corpse Flower to transplant, three Gumballs to summon, and one Light of Corruption to max out. I’m hoping to get all but the last one done in this run. Oh, and if I can farm some Satan’s Son and/or Hand of Balrog fragments along the way, so much the better. Got a Legacy at F70, so it’s definitely a might-do. :p

Mainball: Sunflower — Gotta have a Plant to do the Corpse Flower, and I wanted to test at least two different Active abilities’ interactions with Cytus (see below). I’d previously tried World Tree and established that it doesn’t work with Cytus because even though it has a little circle and a counter, it’s not Active b/c it triggers automatically when the little circle fills up. So, Sunflower it is.

Linkball 1: Three Eye King — Canas, check. Melee type, check. Active ability, check. Bork as furk, check. I’ve hit the quatrafecta!

Linkball 2: Cytus — One of the new Rayark gumballs, Cytus has an Exclusive Skill that creates “Memories.” Each Memory is either:

  1. Cytus’ Memory of the most recent spell you cast (excluding PoE), or
  2. The Memory of one of your other Gumballs, which you get when you use their Active skill and then follow it up with Cytus’ Memory Specimen ability.

In this case, the three non-Spell memories I had access to were:

  1. Sunflower’s Memory, which grants +3% to Light spells and a 3% discount on Photosynthesis (max 15%),
  2. Three Eye King’s Memory, which gives all of your currently-summoned creatures +50 HP and +5 Attack, and
  3. Divine Dragon’s Memory (’cause I got Dragon Magic), which gives you +1 Attack and your next 5 attacks proc Dragon’s Claw (in other words, they deal triple damage.) Unfortunately, this does not stack with any other buff, but still…nice!

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — Because of the next two Titles. I’ll explain at the end. 🙂

Magic Title: Pope — Almost there…

Melee Title: Light Arbiter — OK, so check this out. Farplane Ranger, in Hell Frontier, gives access to a small selection of Complete Souls. This includes:

  • Complete Adventurer’s Soul, giving some EP,
  • Complete Beast Soul (hard to find!), giving +1 Attack,
  • Complete Mage Soul, giving +1 Power,
  • Complete Angel soul, giving +1% to Light magic, and
  • Complete Demon soul, giving +1% to damage spells.

As you can see, 60% of those souls add directly to the concept of “damage from Light spells”. I actually didn’t know what Sunflower’s Memory did when I started the run, but it turned out to play directly into my plan. 🙂

So Pope is unique in that it doesn’t just double your damage, it also doubles all your other modifiers to your Light damage spells. So with +75% to Holy Bolt from Pope, +75% to Holy Bolt from Light Arbiter, +60% to Light Magic from Light Master, and another let’s say +10% to Damage spells and +40% to Light spells (from Angel’s souls and Sunflower’s Memories), my Holy Bolts were dealing more than 3.5x their normal damage…twice. That’s like collecting enough bonuses to reach +600% on your spells!

Yeah, that’s worth doing. 🙂

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — Honestly, the extra bennies from Pope and Light Bishop aren’t that great, and I want to make a lot of Sunshine, so getting the steepest discount I can on Titles is going to be a good idea.

Potion: Sunlight Potion — Getting the steepest discount I can on Sunshine is also a good idea. (Again, I didn’t know what Sunflower’s Memory did going into this, so this worked out very well for me. 🙂 )

The Rundown: I of course one-starred my way to Farplane Ranger (Lantern) on F1 before collecting the first corpse. Then I did an experimental Sunlight to see how Cytus worked, thinking because of the way the ability reads that I’d get two Sunlight for the price of one. Not what happened, but getting Sunflower’s Memory was pretty sweet anyway.

After that I one-starred my way up to Pope, backfilled Light Master, then one-starred my way up to Light Arbiter, pausing every time that I maxed out Cytus’ Energy to create a Sunlight and then a Sunflower’s Memory, until I had made 5 Sunflower’s Memory and thus obtained my maxium (30% total) discount on Sunlights.

From there, I basically sought out and obtained every point of Power I could find: Knight of the Faith, Oracle, the Power stars from all three of my Tier-5 titles…everything. And around the time I had done that, I also got to my F70 Legacy (having taken a peculiarly long Infernal Portal from F56 back to F32 along the way, disproving my theory that the Portals are always 20 floors long.)

At my Legacy, I dumped 50 of each Crystal to get Demon’s Gift Box so I could get some Satan’s Son frags, and got access to the Demon Title along the way. It so happens that the ‘magic side’ of the last level of the Demon Title has two sets of +3 Power stars in it, and I Demoned up until I had all that, activating my cute little Mini-Demon Pal on F73. (Each of the three Demons lasts 9 floors, and the last floor I might need to visit would be F101, so starting on 73 meant I’d keep the bonus for as long as I could possibly need.)

Once I had ALL the power, I went back and took more Knight for the HP, and had time to max out the 4th tier of Demon before I got to the end of my run.

Somewhere around F50, I got my first and only Dragon Wish of the run, which I used to get Dragon Magic, because Cytus testing. I didn’t use it much once I saw that the Divine Dragon’s Memory was basically “hit real hard five times” in the form of a buff that didn’t stack with Blade of Ruin and was therefore dead to me.

I had a total brain fart at the F60 Boss and seriously forgot that I was doing the whole Pope’s Killer Holy Bolts shenanigan, and had to panic-summon Howling in order to kill the boss before he did his 9-layer instagib on me. He made it a quick trip from F60 until about F85 where he died horribly.

Somewhere around F75, I finally got the ingredients together to form the Hand of Balrog, so that happened, and with it, my crafting DP quest. Coincidentally, on the same floor, I summoned my final Gumball in the form of one Frost Queen.

Finally, from Howling’s death onward, it got real. I had a huge pool of HP from lots and lots of Sunlight and Knight, but I didn’t have all that many spells saved up because I honestly didn’t expect the run to go as long as it did. Freaking Corpse Flower literally didn’t show up until F101.

Floor Strategy: Pre-Howling: Open one enemy at a time, punch it to death. Summon Water Elementals constantly to keep HP full. Howling: Let Howling eat absolutely everything. Occasionally Curse an Angel to keep it from hurting me too much before Howling ate it. (I did, of course, activate the “No Angel Resurrection” side of Azazel’s Statue when it showed up.)

Post-Howling: Open up as many enemies as possible, killing any Angels and Ghosts as soon as they’re spotted with big nukes. Once max visible enemies are visible, SkyEye and Death Ripple or Fist of Justice or Chain Lightning, sometimes using Cytus to replicate a second copy for the kill. Around F94, I had maxed out the final level of Demon, which gives you a bunch of Implosions as well as the ability to have Implosions affect all visible enemies. So I cast Earthquake/Implosion/Implosion every floor for the auto-wins.

Boss Strategy: Electrostatic Field/Disrupting Ray/Holy Bolt until dead. Starting on F80, I discovered the orgasmic joy of Timestill Cytus.  The one big disadvantage to using Cytus during a boss fight is that it takes an action to use Cytus’ ability, then a second action to actually cast the spell, which is often a lethal consumption of time. But with Timestill, you cast it, you use one of your X turns to create a Memory of the Timestill, then you wreck face until Timestill ends, and then you cast a second Timestill from the Memory.

Oh, God. The wreckage is REAL. I was fortunate enough to have 4 Timestills going in to F80, and I still had one left when I quit on F101 after finally transplanting the damn Piranha Plant, because Cytus really IS the coolest. Gumball. EVAR!