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. 😀