Getting the Hell Frontier Boss Prize — the Sith Lord Way

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: Gotta get that 100F Boss Prize, just to prove it can be done.

Mainball: Sculptor — We’re going to be doing a lot of Thinking.

Linkball 1: Skeleton Lord — Thinking about eeeviill.

Linkball 2: Satan’s Son — And it all comes together. Satan’s Son is the opposite of Apollo — he turns every spell you get into a Dark spell, meaning you have a very limited toolbox, but if you can make those tools work, you can focus on them to Hell and back and walk away with massive success. Satan’s Son gives a clean 50% boost to Dark, and we’re going to get another 60% from Dark Master, and then another 75% to Implosion and Death Ripple from Dark Priest for nice big bonuses.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — Getting FPR(l) on the 1st floor doubles your initial stock of Elemental Crystals, which means instead of 1 level of Light of Corruption off the bat, you get 3. Light of Corruption is going to be our primary method of clearing floors all the way down, so every little bit counts. Getting the Fused Ebony and Ivory from Dante’s Corpse is a pretty good benefit as well, though in general I think FPR(l) is probably a little underpowered for this Maze.

Magic Title: Dark Priest (wizard) — Dark Priest is the heart and soul of this build, giving you titanic Implosions and Death Ripples. Going through Wizard instead of Conjurer gives you six extra Laske’s Energy Drains, and when you’re nuking with the kind of power we’re nuking with, every Laske’s is one dead enemy plus a full heal.

Melee Title: Light Paladin (Faith) — Going through Knight of Faith means more Power for our nukes, and taking all three stars of Heavy Armor Knight is clutch for getting through F80-100 — without it, any time you get 3 Angels on one floor would be the end of you.

Artifact: Codex of Dark Priest — Gotta squeeze in every last point of Power we can find, and more Death Ripples is never a bad thing.

Potion: Lich’s Enhancement Liquid — I really wanted the reduction in enemy Spell Resistance for this, as it’s imperative to kill the Boss fast, and that F100 Boss has a cubic metric sh!t-tonne of HP, so every advantage I could work into my spells was clutch.

The Rundown: Essentially, this is like playing with Legendary Hunter, but on a 3-turn timer — if you keep up with Light of Corruption, it nukes hard enough to OHK everything except Angels until about F60. By F80, you’re only using it to wear down three of five/six enemies, and you have to deal with the other three yourself, but that’s still insanely useful. Also, if you get Light of Corruption above lvl 10, it wipes one level of the Boss’ Demon Mark every hit, which means you get 12 turns to kill him instead of 9. Bonus!

There are two crucial side-task to which you must attend:

  1. Opening up Light-side shops strictly for the purpose of finding and buying an extra 10 Light crystals above your normal stores. This is so that, when you find Azazel’s Statue, you can spend those extra 10 Light Crystals into it. This will give you the special ability to keep your enemies from Reviving, which is 100% vital — those Angels are fokking nasty below F80, and even with Heavy Armor Knight, you can’t afford to have them sitting around.
  2. Opening up Dark-side shops strictly for the purpose of finding and buying ALL the extra Dark crystals you can. Every time you activate a level of Light of Corruption and you have 5 extra Dark Crystals, immediately put them into a level of Dark Crystal Core. The idea is that by the time you hit F90+, you need to have that Spell Forbidden at -50% or better, or being unable to cast will definitely kill you.

So one-star up to Farplane Ranger (lantern) on F1 before you collect the first Corpse. Then fill out Magic Bandit, then Magic Apprentice. One-star Black Mage and Wizard, then fill in Dark Master and take one level of Dark Priest. Get three stars in Novice Warrior.

Then, around F20, instead of taking Titles, dump your EP first into sculpting Thinkers. Every floor, 100 EP goes into Thinkers, and when you finish a Thinker, start another one on the same floor and put a second 100 EP into it. You will be building Thinkers until around F70. Any spare EP you build up, put into backfilling Black Mage and Wizard, then into taking one star of Knight and Knight of the Faith, then getting all three stars of Heavy Armor Knight. Either way, do those things once you’re done with your Thinkers. (If you’re not aware, every Thinker you sculpt gives you +5~10 Power and +5%~10% bonus to all damage spells. Sculpting 10 of them basically turns you into walking nuclear event.)

After that, take the +MP stars of Dark Priest so that your Implosions are extra-lethal by the time you reach the F80 boss. From about F75 on, things are going to get rough. Your Floor Strategy in the later floors is “Kill Angels with your fists if they’re alone, or Dark Ripples if they’re in pairs or more. Reveal an enemy. If it’s not a Demon of the Abyss (which are immune to Dark spells), Curse it and punch it carefully, watching your HP and the monster’s Attack and re-Cursing as necessary. If it is a Demon of the Abyss, dink around opening tiles and picking stuff up, and let the Crystal Core wear it down as much as possible before punching it out. If your HP is low, don’t let the Demon die, as it keeps you from casting for 15 turns. Instead, reveal some other enemy and hit it with Laske’s Energy Drain to heal yourself up, then let the Demon of the Abyss die.”

Even with all of this strategizing, plus a Full heal from Istantine, I still had to key-hunt my way from F91 to F99, taking advantage of a couple of Magic Lantern procs, a Lighthouse, and some dumb luck getting the key off of an Angel. I even (wounded pride) had to s/l twice (same floor) when I ended the floor facing two Demon of the Abyss in a row — the first one leaves you unable to cast, which means the second one kills your ass and you can’t heal or use any tricks to avoid it.

Contrariwise to the complexity of your Floor Strategy, your Boss Strategy is simple: Implosion once, then Laske’s until he’s about to attack, then Hex, then more Laske’s. On F90, Implosion twice. On F100, Implosion until you have no more Implosion, pausing only to Hex, then Laskes until one of you dies.

I went in to F100 with a secret treasure: a Holy Rebirth I managed to snag from a Phoenix Signet from my third level of Knight of the Faith. I was determined to not use it — and I didn’t! The fight went like this:

Implosion. Implosion. Hex. Implosion. Implosion. Laske’s. Laske’s. Activate Lightless Shield Scroll (obtained from giving zero crystals to Abaddon’s Statue) to absorb the only attack the sonofabitch was ever going to get. Laske’s. Laske’s. Laske’s. Collect prizes.

That’s the power of a maxed-out Dark Priest with six Thinkers and a Ring of Ash on his side. If I had ever found a Great Druid’s Cloak, it would have been even nastier, as my Death Ripples would have out-damaged my Laske’s at that point.

So, to all y’all out there wondering just how you’re supposed to beat the Boss of Hell Frontier, here’s one way: nuke his face so hard it comes out his ass, and laugh your way to Hell and back. 😀

Recruiting the Son of Satan with Great Elf King

WARNING: SPOILERS

If you’re the kind of masochistic SOB who insists on figuring out how to unlock hidden gumballs without outside assistance, do not read this. If you are sane and reasonable, please continue. 🙂

 

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: Recruit the Hidden Gumball, Satan’s Son.

Pre-Run Preparation: Take any other random Endless run in Hell Frontier, and die somewhere between F50 and F60. This is necessary for unlocking Satan’s Son!

Mainball: Minstrel — Hell’s Frontier has a ton of things to spend EP on, and Minstrel is enormously helpful. That, and I haven’t gotten all the big rewards from the Grand Harp (Minstrel statue easter egg) yet, so that’s a plus. Really, though, I wanted Venture main so that I could take Great Elf King (lantern) ASAP.

Linkball 1: Autobots — The Boss requires crushing with immense speed, as his Resistances quickly reach 100% and he kills you in 9 turns flat no matter what you do (short of Timestill) (or Stunning) (you can also Resurrect, but that doesn’t make his massive resistances go away), so having a big ol’ wrecking ball to swing at his face is necessary.

Linkball 2: Puppeteer — We’re not taking advantage of any of Hell Frontier’s assistance mechanics for the first 50+ floors, so we need to bust out the power playa, and Puppeteer is it. Because the Puppet’s Shield is 5x the Puppet’s Attack, and the Puppet’s Attack is 1/5th of your current attack when you summon it, it’s actually super-valuable to drop even your last Blade of Ruin right before summoning the Puppet so that it’s damage shield is significantly larger. Do that — you’ll be glad you did!

Venture Title: Great Elf King (Lantern) — We’ve got two Pet-summoning linkballs, but just as importantly, Hell Frontier itself provides frequent opportunities to summon elemental pets (and occasionally, at random, elementally-aligned Gumballs!). Also, we’re planning on taking Shadow Warrior, and all that stuff benefits significantly from Great Elf King (Lantern). So yeah, we’re totally going there.

Melee Title: Duke of Destruction (Shadow) — Really, we shouldn’t ever end up taking Duke if all we want is the Hidden Gumball. The real key is Shadow Warrior, which with Great Elf King (Lantern) creates Shadows with 78% of your current Attack when spawned. That’s pretty significant, even if they’re only hitting once and then dying.

Magic Title: Lord of the Elements (Fire) — Duke and the Shadows (new band name) will help us clear the floors easily enough, but we still need a little extra boost going after the boss, because nine turns is NOTHING. So we’re taking LoE(f) and using those Meteor Showers that Wizard gives us, alongside Autobots’ summons, to take him down fast.

Artifact: Belt of Duke of Destruction — Yeah, we’re probably not actually taking Duke, like I said, but we DO need the biggest boost to HP and Attack we can muster in order to max out the utility of our pets, and this will do it. And if we do decide to go deep afterwards, we’ll totally appreciate the extra trigger% for BoR.

Potion: Nugget Potion — It might seem silly, but that extra 5% Elemental Crystal find is HUGE in this Maze, especially when you’re going after Satan’s Son.

The Rundown: One-star your way to GEK(l) right away, then take the other two stars of Treasure Seeker as you can. Focus on revealing enemies in such a way that your Puppet hits them once, then you kill them — because you want to damage your Puppet, but you also want the EP from Minstrel. 🙂

Then save up your EP for a bit. You don’t really need levels at the moment, as your Puppet’s Shield should keep you safe from just about everything while you punch your way to F29.

Sidebar: Recruiting Satan’s Son — Along the way, until you actually recruit Satan’s Son, do not spend Elemental Crystals on anything except opening up the shops — and always open up whatever kind of shop (Light or Dark) that you have the fewest of in your inventory, as they often give you the ability to buy more of that kind of Crystal inside. Whatever Crystals they have, buy them all.

That’s because, in order to unlock Satan’s Son, you need three things:

  • A tombstone (left behind from when you died)
  • 3 Satan’s Hearts, when you get out of a Demon Giftbox, which you have to buy with 50 of each Elemental Crystal. This takes on average 50 floors to obtain, which is why I suggest you die somewhere below F50. I died on F50, and I got there on this run with 49 Air Crystals (and 50+ of all others), so I had to use a PoE and go back 29 floors just to have my Satan’s Hearts in time for my Tombstone. 😀
  • One Dark Elemental Crystal, which portalizes the Tombstone and allows you to feed it the Satan’s Hearts in order to draw out Satan’s Son. (No, you don’t get your Legacy this way, sorry!)

So focus hard on maximizing your Crystal gains, even though that means ignoring most of the fun stuff about the Maze. You can do all that once you have the Son of Satan in your group.

OK, back to the Rundown. Once you have a comfortable (~1000 EP) cushion, go ahead and snag three stars of Novice Warrior, then of Warrior, so your Puppet’s shield gets stronger and you can facepunch enemies to death easier. Then snag three stars in Magic Apprentice and three stars in Black Mage, so you can nuke the boss.

Then go back for one star of Magic Warrior and one star of Shadow Warrior. Then go back again for one star of Wizard, Fire Master, and Lord of Elementals. Then backfill Fire Master and Wizard, then take the Power star of Lord of Elementals. That should hold you over to around where your Legacy can be obtained.

Floor Strategy would be complicated, except Puppeteer makes it easy: go in a straight line toward each enemy, kill it (or let the Puppet hit it if you’re trying to kill the Puppet so you can reset its attack and thus make its shield more powerful), and repeat. The enemies here don’t really do much to you that Puppeteer can’t ignore, so just brutalize everything.

Boss Strategy is more delicate. Round 1, drop either Bless or BoR. Round 2, summon Autobots. Round 3, Icicle. Round 4, Electrostatic Field. If you’re confident you’re going to kill him with it, follow up with Disrupting Ray, then Meteor Swarm (this worked on F40 and F50 boss for me.) If not, skip Disrupting Ray (which will keep him stunned, which will prevent him from stacking on more layers of his unique debuff), and just hit him with the biggest nukes you have (usually Meteor Swarm and Fireball if you’ve followed the plan above).

All told, the only really hard part is making sure you get the crystals in time. Fortunately, all of your interactions with your own Tombstone don’t take any turns, so you can do everything you need to recruit Satan’s Son even right in front of the Boss, and he won’t do anything about it.

I paused this run here to come write this, but I’m clearly quite well set up at this point to explore much deeper, so I don’t think I’m going to quit yet. Especially since the Demon Gift Box also gave me a special item that granted me access to the new Demon Title. Time to playtest something new! 😀

Have I mentioned how much I love this game?

Introducing the Grandmaster Pwnzor of Bloody Fortress: Vosebarker!

Maze: Bloody Fortress

Purpose: Farming Lich King fragments, in this case — though really this plan will work like gangbusters for any damn thing you want to do in Bloody Fortress.

Mainball: Alchemist — You can’t Vosebarker without Alchemist main, straight up. OK, here’s how we’re going to break Bloody Fortress: Alchemist gains a Quenching Essence at random 20% of the time when you pick up a piece of gear. Bloody Fortress rains gear down on you like a cow pissing on a flat rock. I seriously had enough Quenching Essences to craft the almighty Vosebarker’s Cloak by F11, at which point all I had to do to clear floors was punch faces until about F65.

Linkball 1: Blacksmith — You want to punch faces? Blacksmith will help you punch faces. You have 10 gear slots, so Blacksmith is basically a +30 Attack bonus and then a +15% Attack bonus on top of that. It’s enough to help even a panty-waist caster like Alchemist keep facepunching deep into the Maze. I walked into the F30 boss with an unbuffed Attack of 119 and a Power of 48 and I had caster base stats. That’s the power of Blacksmith.

Linkball 2: Gladiator — Most of the time, you’re going to want to punch the monsters to death one by one as you reveal them, and we’re going to be dealing double damage a significant percentage of the time anyway, so Gladiator’s attack bonus will come in hugely handy. (There’s some flexibility here — I did a few of my runs with Swordsman and it worked just fine, and Holy Warrior is solid here, too, as the +15 Defense will let your Vosebarker’s Cloak take you an extra 5-7 floors, which is bigger than it sounds. And of course free healing is nice.)

Venture Title: Holy Blacksmith — You’ll be investing your EP in Venture titles for the first bit, even though you’re Magic main, so get used to the idea. Holy Blacksmith is also 100% vital to the Vosebarkerening, so that’s a thing.

Magic Title: Mage of Destruction — After freely punching faces down to about F65 and then carefully punching faces for another 15 floors, you’ll have a mountain of Fireballs saved up from Alchemist’s transcription. Mage of Destruction saves you a lot of time, mana, and Fireballs by turning about a quarter of yours into much more significant Armageddons.

Melee Title: Hell God of War — You’ve got Fire Master, and you’ll be getting big bonuses to Fire Magic from Faith and the equipment Faith gives you, so turning your facepunching into epically destructive spellcasting is everything you want and more.

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — to make paying for all that Venture title stuff slightly less painful. You’ll be replacing it soon. 😀

Potion: Glacier Silver Reagent — A vastly underestimated potion, this will double the effect of your Red and Blue bottles picked up from the dungeon floor, which means you don’t even have to worry about whatever damage sneaks through your Vosebarker’s Cloak, as it’ll heal up without any real effort on your part. Also, the extra mana will help your MP pool keep up with your Fireball pool well past F100.

Important Gear Choices: You’re going to craft a ton of six-star equipment, and after the Vosebarker’s Cloak, you can really craft whatever you need when you need it. I suggest an early Air Book so you have plenty of Timestills, Electrostatic Fields, and Disrupting Rays to deal with the later bosses, and you will definitely need a Great Druid’s Cloak by F70. After that, anything goes — but don’t stress about the melee side of things, as you’ll be building the entire Realm of the Dead suit as you go down anyway.

Important Faith Choices: Mono-Eye Tyrant 11 –> Hectoria 10 –> (Lich 15) –> Hectoria 20 –> Mono-Eye Tyrant 20 –> Heinhardt 20 –> Victoria 20 –> Lich 20.  Taking Mono-Eye Tyrant first gives you more Magic Item Find, which means more chances for Alchemist to spawn Quenching Essences. It also gives you more Defense, which again, Vosebarker’s Cloak loves, and leaves you with a Tyrant’s Belt for maximum face damage at level 20.

Taking Hectoria 10 next gives us a very important -50% to the Manticore’s Roar effect, which is the single biggest weakness in your Vosebarker’s Cloak plan between F40 and F65. Also, carrying a Torch around for +30 Magic Item Find isn’t a bad thing at all.

Then, if it’s on your agenda, take a short break to get to level 15 Lich King so you can get the obtaining/farming Lich King part done. Also, more Magic Item Find. 🙂

The last 10 levels of Hectoria eliminate the Roar effect entirely, so we have no concerns about hurting Manticore any longer, and give us a nice boost to Power and Fire Magic for our nukey-nukey Hell God of War/Mage of Destruction battleplan. Then the last 10 levels of Mono-Eye Tyrant give us more Magic Item Discovery again and terminate with a huge +12 Attack bonus and 15% to double damage. (Stacks with Giant’s Eye and Giant’s Bones should you feel the need.)

Then just power down Heinhardt next because the Black Armor helps keep with the facepunching longer, then Victoria to finish up the set, then finish up Lich King, just cause you can. 🙂

The Setup: Start by one-starring your way to Holy Blacksmith. At the rate you gain Quenching Essences in Bloody Fortress, you’ll almost certainly have enough to craft Vosebarker’s Cloak before you have enough EP to reach Holy Blacksmith. From the moment you craft that (typically circa F15) until about F65, you literally only have to worry about four things:

  • Not punching a Spikey Skeleton,
  • Not spending too much time on fire,
  • Being very careful about how you kill Manticores (and to a lesser degree Cyclops), and
  • Dealing with the Boss.

So, compared to a normal Bloody Fortress run, basically nothing. Being immune to counterattacks means you’re immune Lich’s (non-floor) fire, Demon of the Abyss’ curse, Manticore’s poison, and Cyclops’ Thump ability.  This is as close as it comes to speedrunning Bloody Fortress, folks. 🙂

So, once you have that under wraps, it’s time for the fun to begin.

The Fundown: First, snag your other two stars of Treasure Seeker: you need to be able to avoid enemies until you want to touch them. Then, snag all three stars of Magic Apprentice, Black Mage, Wizard, and Fire Master in that order. You don’t need no Melee titles, you’ve got Vosebarker’s Cloak! It doesn’t matter how many times you have to punch something in the face to kill it, because it can’t hurt you! 🙂

Including the F30 boss! 😀

Once you’ve maxxed out Fire Master, you can go back and take one star in Novice Warrior, then three stars in Warrior, one star each of Magic Warrior and Dragon Warrior, and finally all three Power stars of Hell God of War. “Power?” you say. “Don’t you mean HP for the Meteor trigger?” Hell no, I mean Power for the boost to Meteor Shower. Meteor Shower is going to be your primary boss-killing tool, and you’re going to want that sh*t crunk up. (Also, until you get your Hectoria faith up to 18, you’re going to want to minimize the chance that you accidentally Meteor Shower a Manticore.)

Then backfill your Warrior and non-Holy Blacksmith Venture titles, then your Hell God’s HP and Attack stars, then take Mage of Destruction and max out Power, MP, and HP, in that order. Finally, you can take your Holy Blacksmith stars just for sh*ts and g*ggles. (Feel free, by the way, to use Quenching Essences just for the 20% reduction to counterattacks — you’ll have plenty!)

Your goal should be to PoE just around where your Vosebarker’s Cloak isn’t protecting you consistently anymore (F59 or F69, generally), so you can go back down again for maximum super-safe EP gain.

If you’re having troubles getting to the point where you can take Holy Blacksmith, keep in mind the Giant set and the Manticore set can both be worn at the same time, and with both suits on you gain 13 HP per kill and have a 33% chance to deal double damage, which should keep you quite safe.

Floor Strategy is as complex as you might think:

  1. Kill ranged enemies without revealing any non-ranged enemies.
  2. Reveal non-enemy tiles until you have 5 or more things to do that aren’t ‘reveal a new tile.’
  3. Reveal an enemy.
    1. If it’s an Anti-Magic Demon and you’re low on HP or might otherwise need to cast a spell to get through the floor, either cast those spells first and then kill it, or go reveal a different enemy.
    2. If it’s a Spiky Skeleton, nuke it to death or use a Curse to make it impotent.
    3. Kill it. If it was a Lich, do your 5 ‘other things’ to let the Fire pass, then reveal 5 more things to do and start at 3.

“Kill it” should mean facepunching until at least F70, a mix of facepunching and non-Fire-element nukes through F80, and basically Fireballing everything that moves from F80 until you decide to quit.

Boss Strategy seems like it might be hard without the use of 1st level spells, but of course it’s not really. Save your Meteor Swarms for F70+; take out the F30 boss by punching it as it can’t hurt you with Vosebarker’s Cloak on. For F40/50/60, take him out using Electrostatic Field + Holy Bolts, Gravity, and Implosion, with Icicles and Hexes to keep him from attacking. If you have to chance it, it can be worth it to punch him (while stunned, of course) to get a free Meteor Swarm out of it.

For F70/80/90/100, go ahead and use your Meteor Swarms liberally. With the damage boost from the full Realm of the Dead set, a magic book (Sage’s Diary if you have it boosted up to 12% or 15% all-spell-effect boost), and Ring of Ash, plus the bonuses from Hell God of War, I was able to kill the F100 boss with 4 Meteor Swarms (all cast under both Electrostatic Field and Disrupting Ray).

On my most recent run, I used this build to test exactly what Faith level was required to get Lich King frags. I encountered the broken statue at Faith 11, s/l30’d it away, went up a Faith level, encountered it again at 12, s/l30’d it away, and repeated every Faith level until I finally succeeded at Faith 15…which by my good luck happened to be at F101.  😀

Here’s what I looked like at the end:

Seeing Stars

…and that’s after sacrificing an entire trio of Vosebarker’s Equipment as well as some Melee Master’s Gloves and a Pharaoh’s Mask (source of those two silly souls) to one of the Evil God statues, and you don’t see the Air Book, Water Book, Fire Book, and (unused) Istantine I was carrying around so I could make sure I had all the spells I needed when I needed them.

I’m almost disappointed at this point that I don’t have anything left to do in Bloody Fortress anymore. This was far and away the funnest running I’ve done since…well, like two weeks ago. God damn I love this game. 😀

WAIT! I forgot! I got Creator!

do have one more thing to do in Bloody Fortress!

/scampers off to go Peter-hunting

 

A Stereotypical Run with a Standard Power Team

Maze: Ancient Arena

Purpose: To get the God of War costume for Spartan, and farm some audiences along the way because why not?

Mainball: Spartan — Can’t get the Ares suit without him!

Soul Link 1: Zorro  — Spartan+Zorro = easy-peasy farming Arena audiences all the way down. Seriously, you don’t even need High Priest’s Skill; he’s only here for transcribing high-level spells on the way down. Two Z-Swords will kill the Audience every step of the way, and refresh itself entirely off of the deaths it causes, too.

Soul Link 2: High Priest — Because while dual Z-swords work wonders on the Arena audience, they don’t keep up well with floor mobs without significant help. High Priest gives you all manner of high-level spells to help you through those last 15 floors.

Melee Title: Duke of Destruction — With GEKb and Z-sword doing work killing ranged mobs up front and the Belt of Destruction maxxed out, you stand a really good chance of triggering a BoR off of the ranged-mob kill and thus finishing off the rest of the floor without taking any damage.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage — For more Ruination, and also it’s the only way to get debuffs to last a vital 3rd round vs the Boss’ annoying duration-halving ability.

Venture Title: Great Elf King (bow) — GEKb often gets overlooked in favor of Legendary Hunter, but the instakill of the first exposed foe is a huge benefit to anyone running Duke of Destruction, in addition to greatly reducing the risk of death by 3x ranged unit on F90+.

Artifact: Belt of Duke of Destruction — Boosting your BoR trigger percentage from 20 to 35 is massive, effectively guaranteeing that if it triggers once, the rest of the floor is yours.

Potion: Vampire Hunter’s Potion — Because the build is mostly Attack focused, but does use Power extensively later on.

The Rundown: I one-starred my way up to Duke, and took all six +trigger stars before I did anything else. Then I took 3* Magic Apprentice, the other two stars of Novice Warrior, and 3* of Treasure Seeker. After that, it was time to one-star from Wizard to Legendary Mage and take all three +round stars; then I one-starred from Explorer to GEKb.

After that, I went through and took every point of Attack I could get, because I had obtained the Book of Five Rings from killing Musashi in the Arena. Around F73ish, I finished that goal and used the Book to get my Attack up over 200 (~550 w/BoR). Then I did the same thing seeking out every point of Power.

Floor strategy was pretty basic: If there are 2+ ranged enemies and they’re more than a few taps away, Z-sword immediately to kill them. If not, kill the ranged enemies efficiently, uncover as many mobs as possible, Z-sword, kill the rest by hand. Z-sword costs 40 Energy, and with Spartan, every kill gives you 8 — which means (because the floors have 5 enemies minimum), you can Z-sword once per floor with confidence.

Around F70, cast Bless before activating Z-Sword. Around F86, cast Blade of Ruin before activating Z-sword.

I also cleared every single subfloor with Z-sword as well.

High Priest is the only way currently in the game to get 2 PoEs without using Planar Prophet. I used them for 26 floors each, not because I really needed to, but because I could. 😀 After all, every floor is a random spell and a random stat boost, so unless you’re speedrunning, why not?

Due to that backtravel, I had literally 23 Armageddons at the start of F85, and I made it through those last 10 floors by throwing 2 Armageddons at every floor. It was a stroke of odd luck — I only had 2-5 of every other 5th level spell — but I wasn’t about to argue. If the God of War wants the End Times to be Right the F*ck Now, I’m all in. 🙂

Arena strategy: Optionally, cast Electrostatic Field. Always, Activate Great Prophecy. If you’re on F75+, and Great Prophecy didn’t give you BoR, cast BoR. Z-sword twice. If needed for defense, cast Icicle/Timestill. If you didn’t cast BoR, cast Bless. Punch face until it dies.

Boss strategy unfortunately varies wildly depending on what spells High Priest gives you. You do have to be pretty familiar with all your spell-based options and how to deal with the Boss’ lack of timer and unique debuff-shortening trick. Always start with Great Prophecy, and adapt from there — often, you’ll end up with Aurora Barrier, Blade of Ruin, or Holy Rebirth (which you should totally use up all the time, because High Priest will give you more both through Great Prophecy and just normally — don’t be afraid to let the boss kill you and come back at half life to finish him). Figuring out how to maximize the advantages of your Great Prophecy is the key to easy boss battles.

Having boatloads of Blades of Ruin, Implosion, and especially Timestill to throw around is grand.

I don’t often take well-known power combos, because to me half the fun of the game is coming up with exotic ways to meet challenging goals — but sometimes, it really is fun to just blast straight through a run that’s usually a struggle, and this was that time. 🙂

Builds I Want to Try and Why, Part II

Starmoon Scholar (Lord of Elements (Fire) ) main, Mammoth (Titan Knight), and Slave (Holy Blacksmith) linked.  Boots of Titan Knight; Lich’s Enhancement Liquid.

Starmoon main brings the Starmoon Badge with him, which when paired with the Starmoon Pendant (from Holy Blacksmith) gives you +1 Power per tile flipped. Titan Knight and Mammoth both flip hard-to-reach tiles, albeit rarely.  Starmoon transcribes Lightning Bolts, and with Holy Blacksmith, you can whip out a Great Druid’s Cloak to make those Bolts massive. Slave is there to give you a massive dump of EP and Disenchantable material for to craft 6-star items right around the time that the going might otherwise get a little rough. This build would have a tough time getting started, but I think it could be amazing once you made it to F51.

 

Dwarf King (Lord of Elements (Dark) ) main, Hamster (Holy Blacksmith) and Gangster (Dark Arbiter) linked. Lord of Elements’ Gloves; Lich’s Enhancement Liquid.

Between the Dark Ripple chance from Dark Arbiter and the Lightning chance from Dwarf King, you’ll be proccing a lot. Hamster makes sure you hit everything when you do. Gangster exists solely to feed huge amounts of free treasure into Holy Blacksmith, allowing you to create a Great Druid’s Cloak, Ring of Ash, Book of Darkness, and so on, making sure your procs stay relevant forever (and also netting you a crapload of EP to spend).

 

Paparazzi (Farplane Ranger (bow) ) main, Spartan (Duke of Destruction) and High Priest (Legendary Mage) linked. Duke of Destruction’s Belt; Vampire Hunter’s Potion.

For use only in Village of Heroes, Ancient Arena, or Pirate’s Seaport, as the major purpose here is to collect a boatload of souls that cast Blade of Ruin, and thus get around the major weakness of the Duke of Destruction+Legendary Mage build: that you don’t start the floor with BoR unless you craft a Dragon Scale set.

 

Killin’ It with Fire: The Trogdor Build

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

Purpose: Get the last 18 Vampire Hunter fragments I need for my one Vampire Hunter pearl that I need to grow the Sunflower statue.

Mainball: Red Dragon — Because consummate Vs.  Look it up. Seriously, though, it’s because only Red Dragon gives you an item that drops free Meteor Showers in your lap, comes with the stats to use it well and the Melee title you want to build quickly to Hell God of War and the Exclusive Skill that makes it safe(r) to melee things repeatedly while hoping for your Meteor Shower proc. That’s a LOT of Vs!

Linkball 1: White Chess Bishop — Red Dragon makes it safe(r), but only with the help of White Chess Bishop can facepunching be genuinely safe.

Linkball 2: Sculptor — Because of the way that Meteor Shower scales, it grows bigger than any other spell if you gain a crapload of bonuses to it. 10x Thinker is a crapload of bonuses to it.

Melee Title: Magic Warrior –> Dragon Warrior –> Hell God of War — Why cast when you can proc?

Magic Title: Lord of Elements (Fire) — Did I mention the goal of lots of bonus damage?

Venture Title: None — Seriously, you’re dumping 5000 EP into sculpting 10 Thinkers and you expect to have a Venture Title? What do you think you are, Ranger’s Song?

Artifact: Ring of Hell God of War — You might consider taking Gloves of Lord of Elements, except you wouldn’t because this is Dracula’s Castle and obtaining the Hunter’s Long Whip means an extra 5% chance to Meteor Shower. It’s not much alone, but stacked on top of the 20% from Hell God of War, it’s a very meaningful improvement and you want that. So, the Ring it is.

Potion: Lich’s Enhancement Potion — Because why wouldn’t you? (If you don’t have it, go for Vampire Hunter’s Potion instead.)

Other Equipment: As mentioned, the Hunter’s Long Whip is an important part of the build. For the Relics, you’re going to want to take Eternal Cup (and max out it’s normal Blood first), Vampire Hunter’s Cloak (because that’s why we’re here), and Confinement Cage (all that backtravel helps a lot in terms of getting the EP and spare floors needed to build all your Thinkers).

The Rundown: One-star your way straight to Hell God of War, then max out your Meteor Shower trigger%. Go back and fill in Novice Warrior, then take all three stars of Magic Apprentice. One-star your way to Lord of Elements, then drop back and max out Fire Master, then Wizard, then Black Mage. At this point, start dropping 100 EP into a Thinker on every floor, and slowly fill in your Warrior, Magic Warrior, and Dragon Warrior titles as EP allows.

Floor strategy is to reveal as many enemies as possible, but stopping to hatekill Werewolves on sight. Once everything possible is revealed, kill the summoning Liches first, then hit each Blood Slave once, then attack everything in order from lowest Attack to highest. That will give you the best chance of killing the most dangerous enemies with your proc.

Boss strategy is to pop Electrostatic Field and Disrupting Ray, hit him with 6 Meteor Showers (taking a hit along the way), and then if he’s still alive, hitting him with Icicle and starting over. Yup. 🙂

That’s really all there is to it. This strategy works almost as well outside of Dracula’s Castle, too — it’s really only the Hunter’s Long Whip that makes a significant difference, and even that isn’t really all that significant. The Trogdor build is courtesy of…damn…someone on Facebook. I tried to find the post where I saw it, and I can’t. So if it happens to be you, comment so I can give you credit, awesome G&D guy! 😀

Let’s Find a Reason to Love Cyborg…How About Farming Sunflower?

Maze: Forest of Whispers

Purpose: Getting my Sunflower Statue built, which means farming about 200 Sunflower Fragments. Also, I’ve been challenging myself lately to find a use for some of the gumballs that I hate. And I hate the hell out of some Cyborg…so let’s use him!

Mainball: Cyborg — There are a few different elements to Cyborg. Most obviously, he gets +10% Attack and Power and 5% damage reduction for 10 rounds after he’s been Poisoned. (Oh, and you’re immune to Poison.) But more subtly, when taken as Main, Cyborg gets a Hand item that goes from +1 Power/+10 MP to +5 Power/+50 MP/+5% Spell Effects by getting Poisoned a lot. (Also, he gets a potion that gives him 20 EP and Poisons him every 10 floors, which is…mustbepositivemustbepositive…is something that arrives just in time to be used on each Boss for that bonus to Attack and Power. Yay!…I guess.

Linkball 1: Gangster — Cyborg and Gangster have a very not-obvious but a quite strong synergy: they are the only two balls in Canas Enlightenment that provide a decent amount of bonus EP. In my experience, Cyborg is worth about 30 bonus EP per floor in the land of many spiders (less if you have a high Dodge or counterattack-reduction), and Gangster is worth about 70 EP per floor assuming you disenchant everything you steal that isn’t immediately useful.

More than that, though, Gangster allows you to steal from the Maze’s special shops, which means free Seeds of Black Thorn. But wait, there’s even more! If you manage to score Gangster’s special “six star steal” on one of the special shops, you get access to a two-item set — Bucket and Ragged Suit — that give you +15% damage reduction, +20% damage vs. plants, +50 HP, and -5% Dodge (which, again, is good in letting you get counterattacked by Spiders more often). Reducing boss damage by 20% (15% from the Bucket and 5% from your “I just got poisoned” buff) is a big deal, so it’s worth pursuing.

Linkball 2: Mage or Magic Boy — Mage if you’re worried that the run will need to go long, Magic Boy if you’re willing to s/l 30 a few times at F60 if the Sunflower Seed hasn’t shown up by then. Either way the idea here is to make sure that the auto-nukes you’ll be proccing everywhere are relevant and stay that way. Mage by critting lots, and Magic Boy by making it easy to use all that bonus EP to level up your Magic use.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — You want that Magic Bandit set, but first, you really want to get Farplane Ranger so that the moment you encounter the Evil Queen’s corpse, you will do double damage to everything you punch from that point forward. Then get the rest of the Bandit set.

Melee Title: Knight of Faith –> Titan Knight — With the Boots of Titanosaur equipped (at +6), you can dump ~5500 EP into six stars’ worth of “trigger more Earth Spike,” with the end result of getting an Earth Spike to trigger on 35% of all your attacks. That’s pure gold!

Magic Title: Earth Master (ok, fine Legendary Mage (Earth)) — You’ll probably get your Sunflower fragments before you need to take Legendary Mage, but it’s there for you just in case.

Artifact: Boots of Titanosaur — Raising the proc rate on Earth Spike from 20% to 35% is huge, and while the Dodge buff is slightly counter-synergetic with Toxin Transfer, it’s acceptable.

Potion: Plant Potion — Because you don’t really need a potion, and 10 seeds is good, and you already have dozens of them from popping sheep on the world map.

The Rundown: As mentioned above, start by one-starring your way to Farplane Ranger to get the Evil Queen’s Soul, then back out to finish Magic Bandit. After you have that, one-star your way all the way up to Titan Knight, and take all six stars that give +trigger%. Once you have 35% chance to trigger Earth Spike, go up the Magic ladder, with three stars of Magic Apprentice, then one star each of Black Mage, Conjurer, and all three stars of Earth Master. Then go back and take all three stars of +effect to Earth Spike. After that, it’s all you — I never had to go much farther before finishing up Sunflower. (One time, when I had to go do F70 because I didn’t want to s/l30, I took two stars of Farplane Ranger so that I could kill the boss’ mushrooms with Nether Wicks.)

In terms of strategy, the idea is to get Sunflower at F60 at the latest (you can get it from any boss), then as soon as you have both Sunflower and a PoE, use the PoE — there’s no reason to go deeper than you have to when collecting seeds. Use Blackmail on every shop, and disenchant absolutely everything you steal unless it’s immediately useful. You want the EP.

The floor tactics are fairly complex, because you want to maximize your Toxin Transfers. So reveal enemies, and if they’re NOT a Spider, Wallnut, or the first Lizard, kill them immediately. Ideally, you’ll be able to set up a situation where you get 1+ Spiders, 1+Wallnuts, and 1 Lizard. Then, you basically attack the Spider as many times as possible to get as many Toxin Transfers out of it as you can.

The Boss is fun! Killing one of his precious little mushroom sidekicks gives you Toxin Transfer, so +10% Attack and Power and +5% damage reduction. Plus, there’s a decent chance that you’ll trigger Earth Spike and hurt the Boss and two other mushrooms. Then you can take out the mushroom in the opposite corner, and if you get lucky with a second Earth Spike, they’ll all be dead.

Generally speaking, I killed the Bosses primarily with punching, which means I focused on taking out the left two Mushrooms first. Then a Gravity to deal some solid damage and keep him from counterattacking, then punch face for a while, maybe hitting a Stoneskin if he was going to successfully attack me a second time.

I’ve taken this run a few times now, and I’m actually looking forward to the Ghost Captain statue because I’ll have an excuse to take Cyborg into Pirate Island. (Thanks for the idea, Frank G.!) Here’s hoping I can find something totally different and still totally awesome to do with Cyborg there. 🙂

Wife’s Run: Speedfarming Prince…with Sage!

Maze: Saint’s Tower

Purpose: Getting Prince (because she hadn’t been arsed to before)/Farming Prince

Mainball: Panda — Because who doesn’t love Panda? He’s like Swordsman, but cuter. Also, there’s no better Maze for main Panda than Saint’s Tower, because once you hit F29 and give Master Turtle some wine, you can take out any floor mob for a number of MP equal to the floor you’re on — and there’s no better way to regain MP than Magic Toffee. Oh, and the other two Panda Wines have a crucial role to play in this as well. 🙂

Soul Link 1: Sage — Sage completely freaking ignores the Dark Ward produced by the floor pillars. So you don’t need to waste any time or thought breaking the pillars, because punching faces works all the way down. Also, that big pool of extra MP makes Magic Toffee especially magical even though you’re not going to arse yourself with the big 500-MP-granting spell you could get by breaking pillars.

Soul Link 2: Tarot — Because as long as we’re ignoring the Wards, we should bring along someone who has useful magic-like effects that can be used to heal, defend, and otherwise do useful things on floors with an anti-magic Ward. Between Sage and Tarot, you literally don’t even need a single Ward broken (except occasionally on the boss) to get to and win Prince and/or his fragments.

Melee Title: Warrior (via Royal Knight) — Because HP are good, but epic boss facepunches are also good, since Tarot’s Tower can protect us from the nasty hits.

Venture Title: Treasure Seeker — Yep. That’s it. No time for anything else!

Magic Title: Magic Apprentice — Ditto. Get your spells active and dump all your EP into more Melee-title power.

Artifact: Helm of Fighter — Just to make sure you can spend all your EP on the thing that matters.

Potion: Master Designer/Engineer — To make sure you have the EP for Pumpkin Carriage by the time you need it.

The Rundown: Saint’s Tower is usually a slow grind, with lots of fiddling with Crystals and Wards and Special spells that take three-plus taps per mob to work. This team takes all that away and sets you up to tap tap tap all the way to F60 where you can s/l 30 until Prince shows up.

You do still have to save up your 2k EP to buy the Pumpkin Carriage, but other than that, you really don’t have to do much of anything except tap tap tap tap. Ignore Wards, tap everything, move forward quickly.

The Boss fights go facepunch twice, change ward, facepunch some more. For F50 and F60, start with Panda Wine to make sure you can clear the boss super-fast.

It’s really the quickest, most effective brainless Saint’s Tower run you can get. And all this after I spent a good half-hour ranting violently to her about how Sage sucks just about as bad as a gumball can suck and has no purpose anywhere for any reason.

Yeah, she’s smarter than me. But I got at least one over on her — I married up. 😀

 

A True Power Team Laughs at Spartan Farming

Maze: Ancient Arena

Purpose: Farm Spartan fragments, and test just how depth-crushingly sweet this team might be.

Mainball: Ripper — As main, has a 15% damage boost vs. humans. Also, gains significant stat boosts and a number of other cool tools on the way down.

Soul-Link 1: High Priest — There’s just no caster like him. High Priest is currently the only way in the game to get truly random scrolls every floor (as in, you get just as many 5th-level scrolls as 1st-level scrolls). All other “random scrolls” are weighted so that you get proportionately more low-level spells than high-level ones. Also, he gives you a random stat boost every floor, which will turn out to be very important.

Soul-Link 2: Monkey King — Obliterates every 3rd-ish floor all by his lonesome…which oddly is not why we’re taking him here. We’re taking him because, like High Priest, he also gives you a random stat boost every floor. Though the floor-wiping totally does help. 🙂

Venture Title: Great Enchanter (Anvil) — Because adding a full Mage set to our existing High Priest’s Spellbook means another free spell every floor. And if we can manage to get a Demon or Wizard’s set, it’s even a decently high-level spell, which is awesomeness squared.

Melee Title: Sword Sage — Just like with the bonzo stat-gains of the legendary Nobunaga/Saladin/Crusader combo, we want to jack ourselves up to absurdity right on the verge of inevitable demise, so that we can squeeze out another dozen or so floors if we’re careful.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — Because our goal is to travel down as many floors as possible, to maximize the stat gain and the spell acquisition on every floor as we go.  

Artifact: Boots of Planar Prophet — Even though we’re hoping to eventually wear Wizard Boots instead, these will give us a solid early boost to Power and another +9 floors to our PoEs. Totally worth it.

Potion: Lich’s Enhancement Potion — Need Moar POWAA!

The Rundown: The whole way down, you want to buy every single one- and two-star treasure you see, and every piece of magic-suit gear that is better than the one you’re currently wearing.

Take one star of Magic Apprentice, Black Mage, Conjurer, Earth Master, and Planar Prophet. Then max out Black Mage, then Earth Master, then Planar Prophet, starting with Power and the Artifact stars, then HP, then MP. You should be able to do this pretty easily before you actually get deep enough to use all of the backtravel you’ll have access to. As soon as you get deep enough that an Electrostatic-Field-Empowered Portal of Earth will get you somewhere around F2-5, use it.

On your second run, focus on maxxing Blacksmith and Great Enchanter, and get your Wizard Suit progressed as far as possible. Then PoE again as soon as it’ll take you to F2-5 again.

As you run out of Quenching Essences to spend your EP on directly, shift to building up Melee, plodding star-by-star along the straight-line path to Sword Sage — but don’t take Sword Sage itself until after you’ve narrowly scraped by death a few times in a row, and taken at the minimum every single point of Attack that all of your Titles can give you. (If you happen to get ahold of the Dragon Titles, wait until they’re finished up, too!)

Generally speaking, you’ll run out of EP to spend around F70 after both PoEs (assuming you haven’t gotten the Noble, Hunter’s, or Forging suits — they’ll make it faster.) That’s OK, because even without any more titles to buy, every floor you’re traveling is still giving you 2 random bonus stats and 2 random (generally high-level) scrolls.

Use Monkey King whenever it’s at 90 or 100/100 points, and High Priest on every Boss and every floor ending in 5 just for fun. The other floors shouldn’t be too difficult at any point in time.

Bosses, you’ll have too many options for. Stick with whatever saves you the most Timestills for later on. You’ll want them. Also, you have Earth Master, so feel free to spam Gravity instead of Implosion up through Boss F70 or so. You’ll want the big guns later.

Once you do take Sword Sage, you’ll generally have the EP to take all of it. Go for it. 🙂

As an example of the absurdity of the spellgain, by the time I got to Spartan using this method, I had 9 Armageddons, 12 Aurora Barriers, 11 Timestills, 7 Holy Rebirths, and 3 Implosions. (Guess how I killed the F80 and F90 Bosses? It was Implosion.)

How deep can you go? I’m not the kind of person who enjoys that kind of gameplay, so I quit on F129 because I got Hamster and wanted to test him out — but I had a few thousand HP and MP, several hundred Attack and almost that much Power, and about 400 spell scrolls sitting around. So if this is your kind of game…love it! 😀

The Safest Way to Farm (And DP Quest) in Spacecraft Ruins

Maze: Spacecraft Ruins

Purpose: Basically anything other than getting the weird one-off special easter eggs like the Ultimate Answer or the hacked money-case. (See this document for deets on those things.)

Mainball: Bounty Hunter — Gets you 2x Arrest Warrants off of the sign on F1 if you play him. Also, see the Potion below.

Link: Puppeter — The linchpin of the whole setup, Puppeteer’s automatic damage shield allows you to speed-tap your way through the first ~45 non-boss floors without giving a single f**k.

Link: Commander — Who needs to dink around with complicated, thought-provoking special abilities like those of Crusader when this brainless dolt gives you exactly what you need most — quick and dirty bosskills — without having to ponder anything?

Venture Title: Great Elf King (bow) — Snag yourself a Hunter’s Suit first, then somwhere around F41, snap up GEK(b). The function here is to reduce ranged damage by offing one of those annoying double-damage-plus-fire ranged units automatically at the beginning of each floor — this’ll keep them from eating up valuable damage-shield points that you need for the other threats.

Melee Title: Warrior (Sword Master) — Punching the boss in the face demands it!

Magic Title: Wizard (ok, Lord of Elements) — The only thing you need is Meteor Showers to reset the Boss’ resistances. If you want to go past Wizard and take Fire Master and even Lord of Elements to turn your Meteor Showers into actual offensive weapons, you totally can, but it’s unnecessary unless you just don’t see Bloody Wolf’s secret door until F81+.

Artifact: Helm of Warrior — Nothing important in the maze takes up the head slot, and more face damage vs. bosses is always helpful.

Potion: Vampire Hunter’s Potion — Slightly misnamed in that Bounty Hunter also gets double bennies from taking this puppy, too — and +6 Attack/+6 Power ain’t nothing to sneeze at. Also, that -30% enemy dodge reduction actually helps a lot when the Boss’ Spell Resistance is high (meaning his Physical Resistance is down), because it brings his Dodge up with it.

Other Items: Save all your Cogs and Golden Cogs until you get either Mechanized Legs or Alloy Riot Shield. Max both before you move on to Power Hammer. Ignore the cloak and the armor.

The Rundown: Keeping a stockpile of ~600 EP in case you come across a Cog shop, start with getting three stars in Treasure Hunter, then get the other two stars in Treasure Seeker. Bop over for three stars in Novice Warrior, then one star each of Apprentice Mage, Black Mage, and Wizard. Go back to Melee and three-star every Title between Novice Warrior and Warrior. If you run out of Meteor Showers at any time, snag another star in Wizard to restock. Somewhere around F41-45, snag Great Elf King.

The floor strategy is a little complicated. First, kill all ranged bots. Reveal an enemy, and if it’s not a Crab-Bot (the ones that gain attack as you get more of them) keep revealing more enemies. If it is a Crab-Bot, kill it. If there’s an Arm-Bot around to rebuild it, kill the Crabs until they’re all dead. Once all revealable enemies are revealed, look at the enemies that are blocking you from revealing more enemies.

  • If the blocker is an Explody-Bot and it’s attack is above 1, kill the other enemies first, then reveal the blocked enemy. If it’s attack is a threatening amount (check your damage shield to compare), use a Curse to make it go away for almost no pain.
  • If the blocker is an Arm-Bot, kill some other enemy first and then kill the entire Crab-Bot chain before removing the Arm-Bot and revealing the blocked enemy.
  • If the blocker is anything else, kill it and reveal the blocked enemy.
  • If there are no blockers (i.e. all enemies are revealed), kill them following these rules:
    • Kill Explody-Bots last.
    • Kill Arm-Bots second last.
    • Kill Crab-Bots first.
    • Other than that, anything goes.

The Boss strategy is stupidly simple: Punch x2, Icicle, punchx5, Stoneskin, Punchx3, Repeat. (Yes, that means punch x3 then punch x2, then Icicle again.) Between Commander and Warrior stars, you shouldn’t have to swing that long until F80, and you shouldn’t ever have to go that deep — you should be dropping a PoE as soon as it’ll get you back to F51 for purposes of looking for Bloody Wolf.

As long as you’re careful executing the Floor Strategy and you don’t have to wait until past F50 to get the Alloy Riot Shield, this setup is the best way to maximize safety while minimizing time-consuming decision-making. Happy farming!