The Key to Real Ultimate Power? Future Cat + Key of War

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: To see if I really did stumble upon an easy, consistent way to out-and-out double my damage output at the tiny cost of one million gold (reduced to 600k by Pharmacist, but, you know, close enough) and figure out whether or not that was awesome. Also, get some Satan’s Son frags and some Hand of Balrog frags along the way.

Mainball: Future Cat — The idea here started when I stared for a long time at the Immortal Blade (a Hell Frontier item that gives a 20% chance to deal double damage) and wondered just how high I could get my “% to deal double damage.” A few dives into the wiki later, and I had my answer: I could handily reach 100% chance to deal double damage…for the first 15 turns of each floor. All I needed was the entire Future Cat set (which includes Machamp Gloves, which give a buff of +50% to deal double damage for 10 or 15 turns), and the Key of War, which gives a straight up 50% chance to deal double damage forever. Between the two, double damage was guaranteed!

Linkball 1: Machine Herald — Because why would you go for anything less than all the Attack cheese?

Linkball 2: Cytus — Two reasons here. First, Timestill Cytus is the be-all and end-all of Boss destruction, and I was going full Timestill. Because no matter how big your Attack, you need some way of keeping the Boss from Counterattacking, and at the lower levels, you need more time to punch face regardless.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (Lantern) — It’s annoying that Hell Frontier basically forces you to take this, at least if you want to farm Hand of Balrog frags, which I do.

Melee Title: Fighter (Sword Master) — If I were going for a super deep run, I’d’ve taken Sword Sage instead, but since my gravestone was at F66, I didn’t really need the extra damage for floor mobs, so Fighter was the more obvious choice.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage (Air) — Because how else are you going to guarantee three — I mean six — Timestills other than Legendary Mage? Also, more rounds is gooder!

Artifact: Necklace of Legendary Mage — Because Timestills, bitch.

Potion: Potion of Evil Dragon — Because between Machine Herald and the Doubling Combo, every +1 attack turns into +3 damage, and +15 damage per strike is a hella good potion. And it comes with HP, and further (if minor) damage multiplication. What’s not to love?

Crystal Use:

  • All (and first): Getting Demon Gift Box.
  • Fire: Acquiring Hand of Balrog frags, making the Doomsday Blade worth disenchanting.
  • Water: Acquiring Toilet Fruit, summoning Healing Pets.
  • Earth: Acquiring Destroy, then dropped into Crystal Core to work toward the big stat buff at the end.
  • Air: Summoning pets if I didn’t need healing. Eventually dropped into Crystal Core out of boredom.
  • Light: Acquiring Hand of Balrog, then Dim Matrix. ALL the Attack, plzkthxbai.
  • Dark: Acquiring Hand of Balrog, keeping Angels from resurrecting, learning Lightless Shield.

The Rundown: I one-starred up to FPR(l) on F1 for the solz, maxed out Explorer by F3, Magic Bandit by F7, then I did nothing except work my way, star by star, up the Melee chain from Novice Warrior to Sword Master. Once I had done that, I started buying items for the Hand of Balrog and spending any spare on one-starring from White Mage to Legendary Mage, then getting +3 rounds to all my sh!t and one extra Timestill for the giggles.

Then it was backfilling time. Apprentice Mage, then Air Master, then Priest, then Night Walker (for the Power), then the Attack stars from Farplane Ranger, then the Power stars from Farplane Ranger and Legendary Mage.

Then I had to decide whether to hold off on taking my 5th-tier Melee Title because I wanted Sword Sage, or take it now and take Fighter. I was on F59 and my gravestone was on F66, so since I didn’t have to actually worry about fighting big, deep floor mobs, I took Fighter. After getting my Satan’s Son frags, I PoEd back to F36. Finished my Hand of Balrog on F41, suicided myself into a pack of Stronghold Angels on F44, and the deed was done.

Was It Worth It?: Kinda. I mean seriously, I facepunched the F60 boss to death with an Attack of 240-something, +65% from Fighter, x2 was ~750 damage per punch for the first 15 turns. Obviously, I didn’t need all of them. That said, the real problem was that it only lasts for the first 15 turns, and even though I didn’t go that deep, I can tell you that’s flat out not enough sustainability to last past F80 or so. Which kind of makes it less worth it than I would like.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept is amazing for short and mid-length runs — but do you want to spend a million gold on a midlength run? Probably not. 😀

 

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Getting the Hell Frontier Boss Prize, the True Cross Way

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: Satisfying a long-standing personal goal of mine — maxxing out Lionheart King’s True Cross and using it to beat a Big Bad Evil Guy. And since I had done Hell Fronter the Sith Lord way, and since it’s, you know, hell, it seemed doubly appropriate. Also, I wanted to playtest the Apollo+Flagellant interaction. And I farmed some Son of Satan fragments along the way.

Mainball: Lionheart King — Can’t get the True Cross any other way. If you’re familiar, the True Cross gives +2 Power, +20 HP, and +5% to Light spells at level one, and gains a level when you cast 10 Bless — or, if you have Apollo linked, 10 Heavenly Beam. Then to level it again, you have to cast 10 Holy Bolt, then 10 Divine Favor, then 10 Fist of Heaven, then finally, yes, 10 Holy Rebirth. At it’s final level, in addition to the predictable +10 Power, +100 HP, and +25% to Light spells, it also grants 1 random Light spell whenever you go down a floor.

Linkball 1: Apollo — The easiest way to get all the Light spells you need for the True Cross.

Linkball 2: Flagellant — I figured being able to toss all 5 non-Light schools of magic away to Flagellation was a good start, and I also showed my commitment to the True Cross by immediately sealing it permanently into my Treasure slot. The +2 rounds to spell duration granted by sacrificing Air magic made Heavenly Beam into a sweet ‘nuke plus 3 rounds of Stoneskin,’ which turned out to be amazingly useful.

Melee Title: Light Arbiter — You’ve seen this plan before, fairly recently.

Magic Title: Pope — Yep. We’re going to take down the Lord of Hell with True-Cross-powered massively boosted Holy Bolts of Holiness.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger — As mentioned a few posts ago, Hell Frontier’s selection of Souls feeds directly into the Pope gameplan, boosting damage spells, Light spells, and Power directly.

Artifact: Crown of Pope — I figured that snagging a bunch of spare Fists of Heaven couldn’t hurt the quest to level up the True Cross, and a bunch of extra Power would help, too.

Potion: Lich’s Enhancement Liquid — Again, more Power, and the reduction to enemy Spell Resist was pretty clutch at the end, there, too.

Crystal Usage: Having run Hell Frontier for a while, I realize that including a section here on Crystal usage is kind of important. So, after I got Diablo and Tyrael out of the Dim Matrix, opened the Demon’s Gift Box so I could farm Son of Satan, and leveled Light of Corruption to level 10 to give me a few extra turns of ‘not instantly dying’ to the Boss’ special, here’s where the Crystals all went:

  • Fire: Doomsday Blade, Infernal Portal, then really nothing.
  • Earth: Collapsed Stronghold — Earth Strongholds give spare Crystals, so they’re the way to go.
  • Air: Crystal Core — the 10th level Air Crystal Core gives you a 10% chance not to use MP upon casting, which seemed like a good step toward getting True Cross levels.
  • Water: Hell Toilet (that fruit’s Stun is crucial for someone with no access to Hex and Icicle!) and Collapsed Portal to summon healing pets.
  • Light: Crystal Core — I wanted the +100% to Light Magic for leveling the Crystal Core up a bunch.
  • Dark: Dim Matrix — +a crapload of Power over the course of ~60 floors? Yes please!

The Rundown: As per my previous run with Flagellant, maxxing out Titles quickly is great for sneaking in Flagellations that don’t actually hurt you, so I pushed to Farplane Ranger, then filled in Explorer, then Magic Bandit, then *all* of the Venture Titles.

After that, it was Magic time. If I hadn’t already gotten the Pioneer Honor Quest, I totally would have gotten it here, as I one-starred up to Pope, then filled in Light Master, then Magic Apprentice, then all of the Magic title from top down. Somewhere in the middle of that, I decided to forsake any chance of getting Dragon Titles and Flagellated that option away as well.

Finally, I blitzed up to Light Arbiter and took all three stars of +Holy Bolt, then filled Melee in from bottom to top. I Flagellated my last Title away at F89.

Other Flagellations I performed included:

  • Sealing my ‘Special Spells’ ability on F1 (gained 2% chance to capture enemy Souls upon killing them),
  • Sealing my Fire magic on F1 (gained 3 Fist of Heaven and 1 Holy Rebirth),
  • Sealing my Air magic on F1 (gained +2 rounds to “all spells” — meaning Heavenly Bolt),
  • Sealing my Armor slot as soon as I got Tyrael’s Strength,
  • Sealing my Ring slot (Ring of Ash) and my Cloak slot (Great Druid’s Cloak) after finishing my last Title on F89,
  • And finally on F99, I opened up a HUGE can of “I’mma whip this Boss’ ass so hard he won’t even see straight.”

That last bullet point means that I Flagellated away my Water and Dark magics to get a full heal and a Holy Rebirth, then my Earth magic to summon a Rock Golem that would absorb one complete attack from the Boss. Then I Flagellated away my ability to gain HP from Magic Potions to get 3 Magic Toffees, with which I completely restored my MP. Then I Flagellated away half my MP to gain a +10% bonus to Damage spells.

Then I went into the final Boss floor and before doing anything else, I Flagellated away my ability to use items, as I’d already used my Toilet Fruit (see above) and my Scroll of Lightless Shield to take out the F90 Boss without breaking a sweat. The ability you gain by sacrificing item use is five complete damage preventions.

And when you’re not physically attacking the Boss, that means you only use up one of those five preventions when he attacks you. Which means you get seventeen turns of unmolested nuking the crap out of the Boss (assuming you have a Holy Rebirth handy to cancel his 9-layer autokill, which of course I did.)

At that point, who cares if he has 90% Spell Resistance? I was already sidestepping 20% of it thanks to Lich’s Enhancement Liquid and another 10% of it thanks to Flagellating my Ring slot. (Oh, and a 15% chance to ignore Spell Resistance altogether thanks to Apollo’s Talent.)

I didn’t use it all, and I didn’t do anything fancy at all. I literally beat the Lord of Hell using nothing except Holy Bolts to the dome over and over and over again. Because that’s how good guys win, dammit: by stubbornly and overdramatically hitting evil over the head with the Light of Truth and Justice over and over and over again until it f**king STICKS.

😀

So the lessons learned from this run are as follows:

  1. Maxxing out the True Cross is 100% not at all worth the effort. Seriously, get a Light Book and take your caster main instead of doing all that dicking around, you’ll be way happier.
  2. Flagellant is absolutely stupidly amazing at winning Boss Prizes. He might not even do very much — or anything at all! — for the first half or more of a run, but holy crap, that last Boss is just nothing at all in the face of the almighty power of a Gumball that just tosses his entire future onto the fire in the name of killing that one dude really stupidly dead.

And I love him! 😀

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. 😀

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!

 

The Hell Frontier DP Quest Guide

Alright, I’m departing from my usual format here to drop a guide for completing some of the harder-to-compete DP quests in Hell Frontier.

Resurrect Tyrael/Diablo

  1. Save up 10 Light/Dark Crystals and some Earth Crystals
  2. Use the Earth Crystals on a Dim Matrix, and Activate it
  3. Find Tyrael/Diablo’s Corpse
  4. Feed the Light/Dark Crystals to Tyrael’s/Diablo’s Corpse

 

The “Light Sacred Artifact” and “Dark Sacred Artifact” sets.

  1. Buy 3 of the 4 pieces from the Light-Crystal Shop and the Dark-Crystal Shop respectively.
  2. Buy (from the respective Crystal Shops) or find (on corpses*) 3 Demon Thorns (for the Light Set item) or 3 Angel Wings (for the Dark Set item).
    1. *:This is a little confusing, because Angel Wings are found on Demon Corpses, but are needed for the Dark Set, and vice versa. So you need to search Demons to get the parts for the Dark Set, which isn’t hard to understand — but then they went and put Demon Corpses in the Light-crystal Strongholds, so you need to spend Light Crystals to get the Dark Set item, and vice versa. OR you can get both Angel and Demon Corpses from the Earth-crystal Dim Matrix, but you only have a chance to get the items if you Search the corpses rather than Reviving them.
  3. Find a recipe for the last item specifically on the respective kind of corpse (in the opposite kind of Stronghold!)  — I’ve heard that they can also show up in the correct kind of Crystal Shop, but I’ve never seen them there.
  4. Gather 25 of the appropriate kind of Crystal for your item, and 3 fire Crystals.
  5. Find a Dim Matrix, and put the Fire Crystals in, then put the Recipe in, then hit Craft.
  6. Put the entire suit on for the DP. 🙂

 

The Doomsday Blade reaches the Max Level

  1. Save up 126 Fire Crystals.
  2. Find the Doomsday Blade somewhere below F50.
  3. Upgrade the Doomsday Blade 5 times.
  4. Draw the Doomsday Blade.

 

Learn a Special Spell

  1. Save up 30 Dark Crystals
  2. Find Abbadon’s Statue
  3. Feed the Crystals to the Statue
  4. Use the resultant Scroll.

 

Successfully Transplanted the Corpse Flower

  1. Have as main one of Explosive Pumpkin, Cactus, Sunflower, or World Tree.
  2. Save up 10 Water Crystals
  3. Find the Withered Corpse Flower
  4. Feed the Water Crystals to the Corpse Flower
  5. Talk to the Corpse Flower
  6. Choose the Transplant option.

 

Open the Hell Rift

  1. Find six Hell Rifts in the floor before F50.
  2. Feed each Hell Rift a single Crystal.
  3. Upon feeding the sixth Crystal, collect all the Gems and tap the hell out of the Minecart and Barrel at the bottom of the screen.

 

Summon Gumball

  1. Just keep using the pet-summoning Collapsed Gate. It’ll happen.

 

Receive the Hand of Balrog

  1. Be a Farplane Ranger (lantern)
  2. Find Ragnaros’ Corpse
  3. Use Ragnaros’ Soul to obtain an Eye of Balrog
  4. Save up 28 Fire Crystals and a pile of Light and Dark Crystals
  5. Open Light-elemental Shops and buy Cores of Incandescence until you have 10
  6. Open Dark-elemental Shops and buy Blood of Mountains until you have 10
  7. Somewhere in there, buy a recipe for the Sulfuron Hammer
  8. Use 3 Fire Crystals on a Dim Matrix to open an Alchemy Matrix
  9. Use the recipe for the Sulfuron Hammer in the Alchemy Matrix
  10. Use the Eye of Balrog to turn the Sulfuron Hammer into the Hand of Balrog

 

Obtain the Hidden Gumball(/’s Fragments)

  1. Die somewhere, probably best below F50
  2. Next run, save up 50 of each Elemental Crystal, with 1 extra Dark Crystal
  3. Trade in your set of 50 Elemental Crystals for a Demon Gift Box the floor before you reach your Gravestone
  4. Open the Demon Gift Box to obtain 3 Satan’s Hearts and some other stuff
  5. Reach your Gravestone
  6. Feed your Gravestone one Dark Crystal to open up a portal
  7. Feed the portal 3 Satan’s Hearts

 

Arananthi’s Notes

This Maze has a very clear “best” route for getting the DP quests done. It goes like this:

  1. Play Earth Elemental main, Genie and Three-Eye King linked, with Boots of Planar Prophet and Nugget Potion. Take Farplane Ranger (lantern) off the bat (F1 if you can), then just work to get the biggest Portals of Earth you can.
  2. Use your Crystals in the following fashion:
    1. Earth: Open every Stronghold as an Earth Stronghold (helps you build your collection of Crystals) until you get your Demon Gift Box. Open every Dim Matrix and an Earth Matrix until you’ve resurrected both Tyrael and Diablo.
    2. Light: Save 10 for resurrecting Tyrael. Open Light-side shops until you have 10 Cores of Incandescence, 3 Demon Horns, and a Recipe for Sulfuron’s Hammer.
    3. Dark: Save 50 for resurrecting Tyrael, feeding to Azazel’s Statue to keep Angels from resurrecting, and getting the special spell from Abbadon’s Statue. Open Dark-side shops until you have 10 Blood of Mountains, 3 Angel Wings, and a Recipe for Sulfuron’s Hammer.
    4. Water: Spend them into Collapsed Portals to summon Water Elementals that heal you every other turn. (Be sure to keep only 1 pet in case you need the other slot for Tyrael/Diablo!) After resurrecting Tyrael and Diablo, spend Water Crystals on the Dim Matrix until you’ve gathered 3 Gems. Then just..whatevs.
    5. Air: Spend them into Spell Shops when possible for more chances at Electrostatic Field/Disrupting Ray/Timestill. After getting 3 Gems from the Dim Matrices, spend Air Crystals to get a higher average EP per Matrix return.
    6. Fire: Save all of them. Seriously, you need 227 just to do the tasks on this list plus use the Teleport backwards. 😀

 

Good luck, and Enjoy!

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.