Visitng F220 of Erathia courtesy of High Priest + Planar Prophet

Maze: Erathia

Purpose: Getting as deep as I can in a tough-ass Maze that I haven’t really mastered yet, just to prove I can go down on a fresh hole like no one’s business.  (Turns out my wife won’t let me say that. Lemme try again.) — just to prove that I can drive my balls deep into (Nope, didn’t even get to the end of the sentence that time. One more.) — that I can achieve the climax REACH THE TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD.  (Thanks, honey!)

 

Mainball: Blacksmith — I wanted Venture main for the F1 Farplane for the extra elements from the soul. Also, Blacksmith is the best Attack-boosting Venture type there is, and I plan on punching a lot.

Linkball 1: High Priest — One of the best deep divers around because he combines a free random stat point per floor with the game’s only transcribe effect that gives just as many rank 5 spells as rank 1…so if you travel a sh!tload of floors, you end up with a sh!tload of stats and a sh!tload of high-level spells. Like literally I died on F220 with more than a dozen Timestills and more than that of every other 5th level spell. 🙂

Linkball 2: Hercules — In the ‘traditional’ setup, this is Monkey King for the extra stat per floor, but Erathia don’t play no “gotta wear my own hat” gumballs, and it offers some in-Maze backtravel, which means Herc has access to his Final Form, giving you a net of 1.72x your base stats (1.3 the first time, 1.01 the second and third times, and another 1.3 the fourth time.)  Yeah, I ended this run with more than 2700 base Attack. 😀

 

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger — ‘Cause souls. And Magic Bandit. But mostly souls. See, the big limiting factor to super-deep runs in Erathia is actually your Airship energy. It’s trivially easy to rip through floors using your Airship and never see a real dip in your Energy, but then you hit like one unlucky Satellite and suddenly you’re at half energy. Keeping it at full for every encounter is vital, and nothing allows you to do that quite like a plentiful supply of Driver’s Souls.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — Obviously.

Melee Title: Sword Sage — I held out on taking Sword Sage’s main title until F150, just to eke out as much possible benefit from that 30% as I could. I ended up jumping from ~1.8k to ~2.6k with that one level plus the rest of the stars, all purchased in one go. Also, this is one of the few Mazes where the Physical Resist Resist and the Dodge reduction and (admitted only occasionally) the Curse reduction are all useful, so…bonus!

Artifact: Harp of Adventurers — I almost took Sword Sage’s Flag for the stars, but decided this was a better idea and never regretted it.

Potion: Cactus Juice — Had to do it. Too much punching and no other mechanics for avoiding the damage to be had. 🙂

The Rundown: The usual start: one-star to FPR(l), then fill in Explorationist and Magic Bandit for EP purposes. Then two more stars of Treasure Seeker to locate the enemies faster ’cause I wanted to do this run in two days and not more, and all three stars of Novice Warrior because it synergizes so well with the -15% counterattacks from Steam Gloves.

Then I started up Magic, filling in every level star by star until literally everything was full. I even had time to back up and fill in Night Walker for the extra power before my first PoE from F59 to F8.

On the second trip down, I filled in Melee star by star up to 3*Sword Master and bought all my Farplane Ranger stars. When I hit F59 again, I went back to F8 again, and starting buying literally everything I could, because why not? I had thousands of EP just sitting around. Somewhere around F20 take II, I picked up Dragon Magic from a wish, because Dragon Wing Ward is 100% necessary for surviving past F170 or so.

I trucked all the way down to F99 at that point, because of Hercules. See, he gets a +30% bonus the first and fourth times that he passes F51. The first time, you don’t really get any control over how many floors you traveled to get there — but by taking by third run from F8-F99, I maximized the stat gains I could make before that second 30% boost hit, so landing it vaulted me up nearly 500 points of Attack.

So I bounced back up to F46, and somewhere around F80-take-two, I got ahold of the Dragon Titles and maxed them out entirely in a single go. I held out on taking Sword Sage until F150, again to max out the 30% as hard as i could.

Ancient Science Choices: The Ancient Sciences are an interesting thing. There are six options and two or three Master options for each color. (Master Chips are in bold, Special Chips are in bold italics, and the ones I chose are in colored text.)

Blue:

  • Reduce long-range damage by 3% per Steam item worn
  • Increase drop rate of Engineering components by 9% per Steam item worn
  • Defense +3 for each Steam item worn
  • Damage Reduction 3% per Steam item worn
  • Attack +3 per Steam item worn
  • Dodge +3% per Steam item worn
  • Attack +20%; Ignore Physical Resistance 20% when wearing full Steam set.
  • 20% chance to avoid each damage source when wearing full Steam set.

Green:

  • Defense +3, reduce reflect damage by 75%.
  • +6 Attack, 6% chance to insta-gib non-Bosses on attack.
  • HP +60 & 9% chance to detect Key each floor.
  • Attack and Power +6, HP and MP +30.
  • Dodge +9% and immune to Jamming.
  • Attack +6, Defense +9%
  • Attack and Power +10%; recover 5% HP per floor
  • Gain 5% Atk for each 20% you drop below MaxHP; 5% counterattack reduction
  • Gain access to the Mechanical Title (found by killing Unknown Creature).

Red:

  • +9% damage to high-level spells per piece of Electrical equipment worn.
  • Power +3 for each piece of Electrical equipment worn.
  • Ignore 9% of enemy Dodge per piece of Electrical equipment worn. 
  • +9% to Healing spells per piece of Electrical equipment worn.
  • +9% to Support spells per piece of Electrical equipment worn.
  • +9% to Damage spells per piece of Electrical equipment worn.
  • Power +20% and Ignore Spell Resistance 20% when wearing full Electric Set
  • Effect of All Spells +30% when wearing full Electric Set
  • +15 random stats gained upon dying (yep!) (found by killing Unknown Creature).

Yellow:

  • Air magic +15%, Power +6
  • Earth magic +15%, Defense +6
  • Fire magic +15%, Attack +6
  • Water magic +15%, MP +60
  • Light magic +15%, HP +60
  • Dark magic +15%, Ignore Enemy Spell Resistance +9% 
  • Effects of All Spells +15%; 50% to gain 2 Power upon upgrading Magic Titles.
  • Gumballs’ Active Skills gain 50% more Energy. 

I learned, sadly, that the Active Skills thing doesn’t work on Divine Dragon Magic. 😦 But at least it made High Priest recharge 50% faster.

Floor Strategy: For the first hundred floors, it was pretty straightforward — I had enough raw stats to just keep doing the whole reveal-punch-reveal-punch routine, dropping a Divine Favor that healed more than my MaxHP every few floors.

From about F111 to F141, it got to be challenging enough that I started to nuke down the high-attack Jammer Bots and the annoying-ass triple-damage Ranged Bots and Lizard Bots. Somewhere in there, the numbers got big enough that everything was question marks, and I started using Ice Shields as a way to test enemies’ Attack values every few floors, letting them hit me so that I could determine how scared I needed to be.

Then at around 140-something, enemy stats got high enough that getting insta-gibbed by any given ranged mob or LizardBot was a near-certainty, and they were all but impossible to kill in one hit. That’s when all those low-level buffs and debuffs that you typically ignore all Maze long became super-vital. I survived by liberally raining down Stoneskin, Curse, Bless, Ice Shield, and Blind on anything that could one-shot me. Fortunately, I had about a metric kilo-asston of spells thanks to the Electrical Set + High Priest, and Conjurer’s Totems kept my MP up nicely.

 

Around 160, everything would OHK me. That’s when it occurred to me that there was no particular need to clear floors, as I had 20k EP that I would never spend anyway. So, every floor became an optimization exercise: how can I find the Key with the minimum expenditure of Scrolls and without taking any full-strength hits? Basically, more of the same debuff strategy, but much more constant and more carefully.

Until around F180, when I had a total derp moment: I looked at my Elements and noticed I had 350+ Aeronautics Elements just sitting around. So I turned that into around a hundred Interphone Batteries and started clearing literally every floor with the Airship. I used all of the Driver’s Souls I had gathered along with a few dozen Aeronautics Elements to keep the Airship’s energy peaked.

When I died at the F220 Boss, the airship was still clearing floors without any real problems, losing ~6% energy if I fought a Satellite and nothing at all on non-Satellite floors.

Boss Strategy: Always start with an Airship Summon, of course. Then Electrostatic Field (Timestill first past about F180 as the ‘you cast a spell, now you die’ backlash gets to be unbearable) (also, use Opticons first to get the +1% to future Fields; same logic w/Timestill), then Great Prophecy (twice if you have Dragon Magic) About a third of the time, you’ll end up with Blade of Ruin, Timestill, or both. Cast the other one, toss a Disrupting Ray, and punch punch punch. As the spells end, recast them (except only cast a Disrupting Ray if you know you’ll get hits on every round of it). That’s it. Landing the Dragon Titles and thus the ‘kill a Boss at 20% or less HP’ ability is big, but not nearly as important as “having High Priest” and thus bringing literally a few dozen of every spell, low and high level alike, to the table.

When I died on F220, it wasn’t because of a lack of spells, MP, or desire to continue — that’s just the floor where my Airship could no longer take out the Boss’ Satellites. It wiped out two of them, but the thing is, unlike the Boss itself, the Satellite counters tick down by one every time Timestill ends — and the F220 Boss has enough HP that I was throwing enough Timestills that those damn Satellites got me.

If I had decided to reload and try again, I could probably have used Stoneskin or Aurora Barrier to get through other 20 or 30 floors, but by then I was the top of the leaderboard by 50 Floors, and I had gotten every DP quest that I could (except a few Magazines, but whatever, those’ll come as I finish up the last five that I couldn’t add any more to on this run.) So, I called it quits.

Lessons Learned: If you’re going to go deep, always buy every Spell you see in the shops — they do all actually have a purpose at some point. I was amazed to see myself worrying that I was running low on Blinds and Ice Shields (two spells I almost never use).

Also, deep runs are absolutely dependent on the Divine Dragon’s help. I could have made it without the Dragon Titles, but no way could I have done it without Dragon Magic…and the Titles did help an insane amount, too.

Finally, I think a team with Nelson + Orbit Satellite, if it were otherwise set up for a super-deep run, could probably just waltz through quite a bit of Erathia, given the ease with which my Alliance (yep, didn’t even switch to a real combat setup, was fully geared for SkyEP) did the job. Just prepare for the Boss and his anti-spell tactics intelligently, and Erathia will spread wide open for you to go balls-deep BE YOURS FOR THE TAKING.

(Thanks, hon.)

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Accidentally Getting the Erathia Boss Prize w/ Catherine

Maze: Erathia

Purpose: DP questing! …which I massively failed at, so I’m going to retroactively call this Boss Prize! instead. :p

Mainball: Catherine — Gotta figure out how this gumball works. The +%damage and %defense vs. Machines is very interesting because it comes on a Magic gumball, which is unique — very few Magic gumballs will help your Melee-types beat face through an entire three mazes (City of Steam, Spacecraft Ruins, and Erathia) and most of a fourth (Avallon Fortress).

But I wanted to take her main because I wanted to find out how the Overclocking Mechanism works. Turns out it grants +90 Power and +50% Magic Resist Resistance for an entire floor. In other words, it’s “kill the Boss on F80, F90, and F100 without really breaking a sweat.” 🙂

Linkball 1: Peter — With Catherine single-handing the major obstacle Bosses, I thought I’d be wise to pair her with a Gumball that could single-hand the most annoying floor mobs from F81+. Peter is that Gumball.

Linkball 2: Great Guardian — Great Guardian was my plan for eliminating annoying-ass Reflect mobs without having to punch them in the face. He turned out to be mostly much more amazing than that, providing 100% of the “special effects” I needed to get to F79 in the first place.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet Lord of Elementals (Darkness) — So I was supposed to go through Earth Master and take Planar Prophet and do one of those 250+-floor runs to get ALL the DP…but I fat-fingered it and picked Dark Master and didn’t notice for like six floors. 😦  So, I fell back on Lord of Elementals and decided to nuke my way through whatever came.

Melee Title: Light Paladin — Really, I wanted the big Power boost from Knight of Faith and the Ranged Damage resist from Heavy Armor Knight, so Light Paladin was basically ‘better than Titan Knight’. Worked out well, though, making sure my Divine Favors were consistently big enough to be a full heal given my plentiful Power.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger — Because I knew I could get my 30-medal DP quest in a single soul, and figured I’d probably get some other benefits along the way as well.

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — Given that the maze all but requires you to wear both  the Steam and Electric sets, you don’t really get a lot of options in the Artifact slot. You basically have to either choose a Title-based artifact that you really want the stars from, or you take Adventurer’s Harp because you know that there’s a bunch of other stuff to spend your EP on. (Like so much that I went Magic Bandit + Adventurer’s Harp and I still didn’t max out my Titles until F86.)

Potion: Potion of Great Mechanic — The obvious choice is Cactus Potion, but I had plenty of ways to avoid punching Reflect mobs, so I went for the extra Elements instead.

The Rundown: I one-starred up to Farplane Ranger just ’cause, then maxxed out Magic Bandit and then Explorer for EP purposes. Then I took all three levels of Magic Apprentice, then Novice Warrior, then the other two stars of Treasure Seeker.

Then I rocketed up the Magic title, filling in Black Mage, Conjurer, Dark Master (D’OH!), and taking the main title and Power stars of Lord of Elements before moving on to Melee. There I took one star of Knight, three stars of Knight of Faith, three stars of Heavy Armor Knight, and then the other two stars of Knight.

Finally, I filled in all of my missing stars except Light Paladin. I waited until I had maxed out all of my other sources of HP (both from Titles, the Steam suit, and finding the +100 HP Medical Chip) and was below 100HP on F86 before I took Light Paladin and promptly filled in all of its stars at once.

Science Management: First off, obviously, don’t use any of your Research Reports for EP, period. You’ll want them all eventually. Also, you need a crapload of Ancient Elements, so anything you can do to get more of them, do that.

That said, I leveled up my Steam suit thusly: +Elements/floor, +Defense, +avoid-counterattack%, +%HP/floor, buy one of every Science for the item-based specials, +Attack, +HP. I ended the run at F101 with one point in each of the advanced sciences and the rest of the suit maxed out.

And my Electric suit like this: +Dodge%, +Power, one of every Science, +Damage%, +Healing%, +Aid%. Same story as the Steam suit in terms of final stats, except I never bothered leveling up the +MP slots.

Aviatronics, I leveled up +healing%, bought one of every skill, +Energy, -enemy Stats, -enemy Energy, and then maxed out Law Satellite for the Doctor before the run ended.

Advanced Sciences, the only two I leveled up at all was the +Element Drop% one and the Mutant Demon Gene for the extra 5% counterattack reduction. (Getting that up to 40% total was very nice.)

Floor Tactics: Pretty simple until about F70: reveal enemies one at a time, punch them to death, pausing only to nuke or Special down the reflect mobs. I cleared most group situations (Satellites, crashed airships) with Great Guardian or a Death Ripple since I had lots and they were OP.

From about F70, I had to be more careful because the stupid high-dodge LizardBot had a high enough Attack to be quite dangerous with it’s chance for triple damage, and it doesn’t count as a ranged mob so Heavy Armor Knight doesn’t help with it at all. So those bots got added to the list of ‘things to nuke.’ Fortunately, because of Heavy Armor Knight, the ranged mobs themselves were facepunchable down to F91, so it kind of made up for it.

From F81, I had used up enough of my nukes that I had to start being careful, so I switched on Peter to take out the LizardBots and the ReflectBots, figuring there should be less than 40 of those in the last 20 floors. Turned out I had good luck with Night Walker’s Lantern and also had gotten 6 Candles by the time I hit F91, so I key-hunted through the last 10 floors and actually ended with Peter just under half full.

Boss StrategyF30, F40, and F50 all dropped to dual Great Guardian blasts. (F50 might have taken a Bless before activation, I don’t remember.) F60 went Bless, GGBlast, Icicle, GGBlast, facepunch, facepunch. F70 I took out with Electrostatic Field, Meteor Shower, Icicle, Meteor Shower x3, GGBlast x2 (absorbing a hit in there because I could tank it with my ridiculous HP).

F80 I straight up forgot to use Catherine’s Overclock and paid a Timestill instead, but basically took him down with a few Meteor Showers and an Implosion.

F90 I hit the Overclock button and used a few Meteor Showers, a few Gravities, two Icicles, and a Timestill.

F100 I was out of big nukes and Icicles — I thought for sure I wasn’t going to make it. But I rolled out Overclock, Holy Bolt, Disrupting Ray, Timestill, my last Meteor Shower, more Holy Bolts, my last Timestill (from the Opticon), a pair of Chain Lightnings, and a final triumphant Armageddon just for the lulz.

Lessons Learned: Honestly, I’ve never really liked ‘direct effect’ Gumballs like Great Guardian or Peter; I prefer to build stats with clever gimmicks. I’ve always figured that ‘direct effect’ Gumballs were basically short-run-only ‘trick ponies.’ But this run taught me that, used cleverly, those direct effects can actually be pretty damn good.

Great Guardian would clearly be a craptonne better in an Attack-centric build; as it was, my Attack was passable, but passable doesn’t mean sh!t past F75ish, so GG fell into disuse. The last time I hit that button on F86, it didn’t even kill the single mob it was pointed at. BUT! That said, it was a great way to save Scrolls through first ~59 levels. And actually, the whole ‘only gaining Energy when the Prince shows up’ thing turned out to not suck nearly as much as I thought it would.

Peter, on the other hand, is amazing if you have a way to save his Fencing for the last, most annoying mobs you’ll face.

And Catherine…sheesh. As a Link, she’d make a great Magic gumball to arbitrarily toss onto a Melee-oriented team to take into any robot maze (though honestly I think Puppeteer would still be better.) As Main, though, that Overclock thing really is all that and a bag of chips. I never would have made it through this run without it. Like Flagellant, she’s a Boss-hunter extraordinaire when taken Main, so team her up with some great floor-clearing Gumballs and you’ve got a great Boss-Prize-Hunting team — even if that isn’t the goal you had in mind when you started your run. 😀