The Most Efficient Dragonball Farming Method Ever

Got this idea from Hengyu Lin on the G&D forums, tried it, and it works wonders, so I thought I’d share with y’all. Happy Gumballing!

Maze: Pirate’s Port

Purpose: Nailing the fastest possible Dragon Wishes, for the purpose of getting the day’s Gems as quickly as available.

Mainball: Panda — There’s a special interaction here: if you get the Master Turtle’s Shell and give it to the Turtle Master (who only shows up w/Panda Main and always on F29), you get four Dragonballs (and a fifth if you have Farplane Ranger (Lantern) when you open the Shark’s Stomach)!

Linkball 1: Divine Dragon — Duh. How else u gonna get an extra Dragonball per 20 floors (on average)?

Linkball 2: Flagellant (alternately, Junkman) — Flagellant nets you 1d2 Dragonballs once you’re done with Venture titles, or Junkman nets you a very rare Dragonball from his Trash Cans. I prefer Flagellant in general (feels better to deliberately finish off the 2nd or 3rd wish than accidentally get your 3rd dragonball or whatever). That said, if you haven’t gotten Junkman’s baby, play Junkman until you do. 🙂

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (Lantern) — If you’re farming Dragonballs, you’re endgame enough that you can just push through the Venture title first without stressing about your ability to keep descending, and you don’t want to open the Shark’s Stomach until you get FPR(l), so just do it.

Melee Title: Duke of Destruction — This is the one maze where you’re most likely to land a complete set of Dragon mail, and there’s literally nothing special about the enemies in this maze that you need to work around here, so just go for broke and look for the classic ‘easy mode’ combo.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage — See above.

Artifact: Belt of Duke of Destruction — You won’t wear it once you get the Dragon mail, but it doubles the eventual proc rate of Duke of Destruction, which is super awesome.

Potion: Hell Crimson Reagent — Because really, you don’t need a potion at all, but slightly better Blades of Ruin can’t hurt.

The Rundown: Not going to go into huge detail here as there’s almost no strategy involved. Nail FPR(l) as close to F1 as possible, then fill out Venture titles so you can get the Dragonballs from Flagellant. Move on to Melee, fill it out entirely, get Flagellant’s crit chance, move onto Magic, fill it out completely.

If you get the Turtle Master’s Shell, you can hang out long enough to get 3 Dragon Wishes ’cause you’ll basically get one free from the Shell’s 4 (secretly 5) plus Flagellant’s 1-2. The other 66% of the time, you can still land 2 wishes fairly easily just by working your way down.

[Edit a couple days later] I should note, too, that if you’re serious about farming Wishes at optimal speed, just quit and restart if you open the Shark’s Stomach and don’t get the Turtle Master’s Shell. It’s way easier to run to F29 three times to get your Gems than it is to run to F80+ once. :D[/edit]

Sorry for the short post, work is still blitzed from the post-holiday catchup, but I wanted to let y’all know I’m not dead, and while I’m not quite as active on G&D as I was (mostly due to no new maze content in some time and getting stuck on a couple of other games), I’m not going anywhere, either. 🙂

Peace!

Advertisements

Speedrunning Erathia: The Hunt for BB-7

Maze: Erathia

Purpose: Find BB-7, and hopefully a Boxing Quintessence (my last DP quest, still 0/3) along the way. Oh, and rack up some more kills with Decour.

Mainball: Future Cat — The only two ways to really speedrun and search for BB-7 (which requires a mechanical Gumball as main) are Blue Shark + Athena, which is a power team I’ve already run plenty and didn’t care to repeat, or Future Cat + Three-Eyes, which…is a power team I’ve already run plenty and didn’t care to repeat. Sigh. Oh, well.

Linkball 1: Three-Eye King — Ain’t no such thing as a speedrun without a powerful pet to insta-gib things for you upon reveal.

Linkball 2: Cytus — One of the biggest problems with opening up a can of Howling early on in Erathia is that you have to either deal with a relatively puny Attack, or run the risk of Howling dying easily upon hitting a bunch of Reflect monsters. Cytus helps mitigate that danger significantly by producing a buff of +5 Attack and +50 HP every time TEK uses his SkyEye — and because of the groups of mobs showing up in all of the Satellites and Crashed Airships, you can actually build up enough Energy to use SkyEye semi-regularly even with Howling murderizing everything in her path.

Venture Title: Great God of Thieves  — Can’t find BB-7 without it!

Melee Title: Duke of Destruction — Eventually, Howling will die, and when that happens, you want to have another mechanic in place that can keep the speed high. Duke does it.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage — Because Duke. We’re not trying to kill the Unknown Creature or collect all the Opticii or anything, so no need for Planar Prophet.

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — ’cause Erathia.

Potion: Potion of Great Mechanic — Mostly because I wanted to prove that with Cytus, you don’t need a Werewolf Potion to get a solid speedrun out of Howling.

The Rundown: One-starred to GGoT, backfilled Magic Bandit (then spawned Howling with the bonus +100 HP on F7 or so) and Explorer, got to business…by which I mean going back and forth between Magic and Melee, leveling up one Title at a time. Novice Warrior –> Apprentice Mage –> Warrior Jr. –> White Mage –> Sword Dancer –> Priest –> Dragon Warrior (Time Machine from F57–>F27) –> Air Master.

Then I took Duke and its %activate stars, then Legendary Mage and it’s +round stars, by which point I found BB8 and the run was over.

I did a lucky early Holy Rebirth, which means I was able to grab Decour by F15, so that was a bit of a side bonus. He benefits quite a bit from the TEK/Cytus interaction as well. Snagged my (first) Boxing Quintessence around F45 the first time around, and finally found BB7 somewhere around F45 mark II.

Floor Strategy: Literally just speedtap every damn thing and let Howling sort it out. If something doesn’t die to Howling, great! Tap it and get +5 energy for SkyEye.

Dungeon/Satellite Strategy: If you have SkyEye, use it and follow up with Memory Fragment for the pets buff. If not, tap to kill two things while Howling eats the other two for the +10 SkyEye energy.

Boss Strategy: Summon Satellite, punch face, Icicle, punch face moar. I only ever got down to F57, so it didn’t have to get more complex than that.

Takeaway: While I was right, and Cytus+SkyEye did a passable job of keeping Howling alive long enough to hunt through some seventy-five-ish floors, the mental effort of charging and using SkyEye followed by Memory Specimen really took away that speedrun spirit. Speedruns are supposed to be brainless and stupid and taptaptappy, and while this was like that ~70% of the time, that other 30% killed the buzz.

That said, Cytus + SkyEye + Decour is rock solid. Decour was still putzing right along kicking ass and taking names and having way more HP than necessary when I ended this run. If your goal is to level up Decour, Cytus + Skyeye on a super long run is a great way to do it. (Next up: testing the summoned-creatures buff that is given by Mahiraga through the Image of SemiHemiDemiQuavers.)

 

Visitng F220 of Erathia courtesy of High Priest + Planar Prophet

Maze: Erathia

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — Obviously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue:

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

Green:

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

Red:

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

Yellow:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks, hon.)

Accidentally Getting the Erathia Boss Prize w/ Catherine

Maze: Erathia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Getting Peter via Bloody Fortress w/Pope

So I looked around a few weeks ago and noticed two things.

  1. I still haven’t gotten Peter. I mean, I hate the SL/30 game and I flat refused to sit around for days trying to get Creator to drop his key in Arena. But then I remembered that…
  2. I got Creator like two months ago through 8 solid months of $1 and $3 purchases. Apparently I got so caught up in the Hell Frontier game that I just never looked at him. Also…
  3. There are zero guides on the entire Internet for doing a paid Peter run through Bloody Fortress. — Turns out this is wrong, my search somehow missed this guide in the Forums’ Files section (the best single G&D resource online, that Files section!)

And I thought “Hey, this is an opportunity to create something that at least a few people will probably appreciate!”  😀   So, to quote my favorite Super Mario Kart driver, “Here we go-ooo! Mwaaahahahahahahahahaaa!”

 

Maze: Bloody Fortress

Purpose: Unlock Peter and his piles o’ treasure.

Mainball: Captain — I wanted my Venture titles to be cheap, so Captain had to be the first in line.

Soul Link 1: Time Wizard — not much choice here.

Soul Link 2: Creator — See above.

Venture Title: Great Swordsmith (crucible) — I knew two things about this run: 1) it was going to be hell getting through F81-99, and 2) I was going to have facepunch my way as deep as I could to conserve spells. I couldn’t take Novice Warrior, so I really wanted that 15% counterattack reduction to  help me keep facepunching. And of course nothing gets you through a set of floor mobs quite like a 100% counterattack prevention.

Oh, also, going through Rune Master will give me 15% more Holy Bolts, which will actually matter.

Magic Title: Pope— Pope gives me double-damage, greatly-enhanced Holy Bolts — and the Key of Lore gives me 1 Holy Bolt every other floor, which means I won’t run out of ammo if I’m careful.

Artifact: Gloves of Great Swordsmith — Because yes, the 3 extra Swordsmith’s Runes are worth having an artifact you won’t use in the final 1/3rd of your run (see below).

Potion: Athena’s Tears — because you gotta.

The Rundown: The whole way down, I purchased every single ‘set item’ out of every special shop, as well as every Demon Spleen (that’s the +Power one) and most of the Demon Kidneys (+HP/MP one), and I kept a stock of ~1200 EP to keep buying those things when they showed up.

I started by one-starring my way up to Great Swordsmith (Crucible). Then I went back and filled in Rune Master right away, then Treasure Seeker so I could avoid activating monsters for as long as possible (to have plenty of things to pick up, so as to avoid flaming tiles). I grabbed all three stars of Magic Apprentice in time for the F30 boss (I might have had to buy the third star with the EP from beating the boss, my notes are unclear.)

Then it was one star in Priest, three stars in Light Master, and then Pope and all three MP stars in Pope to get the +75% to Holy Bolt. Then I backfilled Priest and Explorationist for the regeneration, took the Attack stars of Great Swordsmith because I needed to keep facepunching for a little longer, and then took the Power stars of Pope and Great Swordsmith. Then I basically just purchased whatever, whenever, and maxed out both Titles somewhere in the early F80s.

Key Management:  One of the more challenging aspects of any Peter run is remembering when to switch between Keys to maximize their effects. The three obvious ones are the Key of Sky (use immediately), the Key of Fate (use immediately), and the Key of Destruction (never equip it).

The Key of Time has an alluring trap built in, but don’t fall for it: as much as you might want to save it for late in the run to get the maximum boost out of it, don’t. Use it on F19, after doing absolutely everything you can to attain your current peak Power (primary importance) and HP (secondarily). Then equip the Key of Eternity and go into F20 to earn your free Timestill.

From then on, basically keep the Key of Lore equipped 90% of the time, swapping out the Key of Eternity in time to get your free Timestill every 20th floor. (When you use your one PoE, use it to get from just-after-a-20th-floor to go back to just-before-the-previous-20th-floor, so you get 2 extra Timestills from the deal. Timestill is your friend!)

You may also benefit from swapping over to the Key of War whenever it will give you a good chance to OHK an enemy with a facepunch. I actually wore a complete set of Giant’s stuff for a good portion of the middle of the maze to get the 33% chance to double damage plus, when needed, the 50% from Key of War for a solid 83% ‘crit chance’, which let me continue to play Mostly One Punch Man well into the mid-F60s, and Two Punch Man until the mid-F70s.

By that time, I had 8 Timestills and 104 Holy Bolts, and 12 Swordsmith’s Runes — which means I could mostly-freely-facepunch (Bolting down only distant Ranged mobs) my way through F87-F99. So I only had like ~15 floors worth of floor mobs and 3 Bosses I had to kill with magical might. In other words, Key Management is a super-critical part of the success of this run, as it provides like 50% of all the resources you need to make it through the difficult part! Another 20% comes from your Titles…

Faith Management: …And here’s the last 30%. 🙂 It’s crucial to get the +100% to damage spells (and all of the other bennies) from maxing out all 5 Faiths, which means you have to start intelligently to get lots of set items quickly.

Step 1: Every time you reach a Lich or Beholder (Eye Tyrant) statue and you have at least one full set*, sacrifice every full set you have to that statue. Continue until the Lich is level 8 and the Beholder is level 11. Then sacrifice exclusively to the Fire of Wisdom until it’s level 10. Equip the Torch (yes, giving up your Gloves of the Swordsmith!)

Go back to sacrificing exclusively to Lich and Beholder until Lich is level 18 and Beholder is level 19. Unequip the Torch and get your sweet Gloves back, you’ll need the stats by now. Then max out both Lich and Beholder for the items.

Now, start doing the same “sacrifice whenever you reach X statue and have stuff” with both Fire and the Knight, because you’ll need the +Attack bonus about now but you’ll also need to start mitigating the Manticore’s Roar ability, as it’s the one thing that is genuinely run-endingly powerful if left alone.

Once you max out Fire, feed either Knight or Victoria as you have stuff handy — you’ll be happy to have the HP and the -Spell Forbidden Effect from Victoria, but you’ll also need to keep your Attack up in order to continue facepunching.

* – Also, sacrifice Mephisto’s Soul Gem because it sucks and Demon Hunter’s Blade because you can’t do anything else with it anyway. And if you’re close to making an important level, go ahead and sacrifice any normal equipment you’re not using — it’s better used for Faith than being disenchanted for EP, as you’ll end the run with more EP than you know what to do with anyway.

Floor Strategy: Open as many non-enemy tiles as possible, leaving all the stuff sitting on the ground so that you can pick up 5 items to end Burning Tiles efficiently if needed. Then, if Captain’s ability is active, reveal an enemy, see how many of the missiles it will take to kill it, and if you’ll have missiles left over, reveal another enemy. Once all three missiles are ‘assigned,’ set the ability off.

Once that’s done, or if the ability isn’t active in the first place, just open one enemy and kill it before you open another. If it’s a Spiky Skeleton, you can choose to ‘kill it’ by grabbing some floor items and sucking the damage (or mitigating it with Curse, Ice Shield, or Stoneskin), or by hitting it with nukes (not Holy Bolts unless you can kill two with a single casting via Pope-iness.)

Boss Strategy: Punch down F30. Holy Bolt F40. Holy Bolt and Icicle F50. Starting with F60, use Electrostatic Field when you’re going to use Icicle, and Electrostatic Field+Disrupting Ray when you’re going to Timestill instead. Use one Timestill on F70, two on F80, three on F90, and as many as you need on F100, ’cause you’re done once you beat that big beast.   If you play your spells right, you should literally never see the Boss’ attack animation through the entire run.

Is It Worth the Effort? HELL YES. Getting through the Gate of Creation is pretty sweet — 100 Gems, a crapload of coins and Relic Fragments, and of course Peter. You also get a metric sh!t-tonne of in-maze bonus stuff that would make it relatively easy to bust through another 20 or 30 floors…but who cares? Once you get Peter and his Gems, get the hell out of there!

Peter comes into the game at 5 stars, which is a huge boost to most Ranger’s Song airships right off the bat, and his Exclusive Skill is basically a big pile of Nether Wicks on a stick, which is a great if unusual pairing with Flagellant’s big pile of “kill the sh!t out of any one boss” on a stick, as the two together can make short work of any dungeon’s F91-F100 for easy Boss Prize hunting down the road. 🙂

By the way, if you’re actually using this guide, I’d like to personally thank you for supporting my favorite game. It’s thanks to people like you that G&D is still around for me to enjoy, and I appreciate your contributions to my play time! 🙂

 

 

Power-Farming Oasis Gems with the Hand of Balrog

Maze: Desert Oasis

Purpose: Getting some Gems from Genie’s Lamp (and also the Divine Dragon if I can manage.)

Mainball: Nobunaga — you’ll see.

Soul Link 1: Archaeologist — The Hand of Balrog is an artifact that grants +5 Attack, +10% Attack, and +100 HP. Archaeologist increases that by 250%, meaning +17.5 Attack, +35% Attack, and +350 HP (which in turn grants you another 23.333 attack via Nobunaga). 23.33+17.5=40.833, *1.35= roughly 55 points of Attack just for equipping that one item. Not counting any further multiplication of any other points of Attack you may have. That’s some insane offense and some insane survivability for a pretty simple combo!

Soul Link 2: Zeroes — There are two basic ways to think about having a stupid high Attack. The first is “how can I make it stupid higher so that I can facepunch F80 mobs to death?” The second is “how can I turn this into a tool that will kick ass and take names?” In Desert Oasis, the major threats are Cacti and Scorpions, which you really don’t want to facepunch — Zeroes lets you kill them by punching stuff next to them, and is unique in that he’s the only AoE facepuncher (i.e. he doesn’t use or even care about your Power) in the game, making him a great pairing with the Archeolrog.

Venture Title: Great Swordsman (Crucible) — When everything you want to do involves facepunching, dropping your “getting counterattacked” rate from 80% to 66% is a pretty important survival mechanism. Also, going through Rune Master means more cheap nukes to take out those Cacti that don’t get dropped by Zeroes’ special ability. On a deep run, I’d’ve used the Swordsman Runes to laugh my way through floors 91-99. 🙂

Melee Title: Knight — Yep, didn’t get any farther than this.  If I was to go deeper, I would have taken this up and around to Fighter for Boss-killing into deeper floors.

Magic Title: Magic Apprentice — Ditto.  If I were taking this run down all the way, I totally would have taken this to Light Bishop for the extra points of Attack and the ability to stay alive, and gone through Water Master just to make sure I had enough Icicles.

Artifact: Hand of Balrog — It’s the Hokey Pokey of this run. It is what it’s all about!

Potion: Aladdin’s Lamp Oil — 100 HP means a few more Attack from Nobunaga, and the Golden Lamp Oil is appreciated as well.

The Rundown: I started by getting three stars in all three base Titles just for the general utility. Then I one-starred out to Great Swordsman (crucible) first, to get that sweet 35% total counterattack reduction, then filled in Rune Master for the extra low-level nukes so as to take out any annoying Cacti that didn’t die to Daybreak Cannon.

Then I took three stars of Knight, filled in Explorer and Weapon Master because why not, and…ended the run on F60 with 3 Holy Oil without even paying attention.

I also purchased literally every Lamp Oil, Flag of Sudan, and Persian Powder that came up in the Camel Store, which was probably 20-30% of my total EP spend.

Floor Strategy: Uncover all the enemies you can, and punch the one with the lowest Attack (not including Cacti or Scorpions), hoping Daybreak Cannon will kill the rest. Repeat until you’re out of enemies, pausing to either nuke or Persian Powder down any Cacti that you don’t kill with Daybreak Cannon.

Boss Strategy: Punch it in the face. Over and over. If you get below half health, hit the thing with Icicle instead of facepunching when it’s counter is one, and keep punching. I killed the F30, 40, and 50 Bosses w/o Icicle, because 350 bonus HP + 30% from Knight is enough HP that if you start a fight with full HP, it takes more than a few Boss attacks to get you below half.

How Good Is Archeolrog? This is just one run out of several that I took testing the basic Archaeologist (mostly + Nobunaga) + Hand of Balrog combo — I chose this one to write up because I really liked Zeroes as the third member of the party. I tried many other third members, from Puppeteer (which was also pretty strong, but really missed the Melee titles to add more Attack and HP to accelerate the combo) to Great Guardian to Commander and more, but Zeroes was the one that really turned the combo from ‘strong’ to ‘never felt even mildly threatened by anything,’ which is what I really want from a Power Farming team. I could handily have taken this team to F80 without getting genuinely threatened.

 

Extra Lesson Learned: I’ve played quite a bit of Machine Herald, Black and White Queen, and other significant percentage-to-Attack bonuses, and somehow I never really noticed this until testing Archaeolrog: percentage based bonuses to stats aren’t really super amazing unless you also get a sizable static numerical bonus to the same stat.

This is why Machine Herald is actually less powerful in most circumstances than Blacksmith — because a 50% Attack bonus is generally smaller than a static bonus of +30 followed by a 15% Attack bonus. (In fact, in order to get a bigger bonus from Machine Herald than Blacksmith, you have to have a base Attack of 99 before you count either bonus. That’s not a super-easy number to reach!)

So a big part of the combo’s power isn’t just the 35% Attack bonus, it’s the additional 17+ points of numerical Attack bonus you get that gets added before the 35% bonus is applied. You have to get your base Attack up to 158 in order to get a higher bonus from Machine Herald than you do from Archaeolrog. That’s not just challenging, it’s near-impossible. Especially given that Canas’ Enlightenment has basically zero Gumball-based Attack bonuses. (And that’s not counting the effects of Nobunaga!)

But wait! Let’s put an artifact in on Canas’ side, too. If you take the +11 Attack from Gloves of Dark Arbiter and add it to Machine Herald’s side, you only need a base Attack of 48 to get better results from Machine Herald than Archaeolrog. Which you can probably totally get to…but then you have to compensate for a missing 350 HP, too. :p

In short, Archaeolrog is, mathematically, the strongest Attack bonus you can get on F1 of any maze right now, and it actually keeps up quite nicely as you go down, only starting to really lose out once you reach triple digits, and then only to teams that have “grow as you go” abilities like High Priest+Monkey King+Blacksmith or Nobunaga+Saladin+Crusader. And it comes with three hundred and fifty freaking HP

All of those other “front-end power” gumballs like Nalakuvara and Pharmacist can suck it.

 

Wait…Nalakuvara is Ranger’s Song…and offers a significant static numerical Attack bonus and a higher percentage Attack bonus…

…   …   …

Sorry, got more testing to do, be back soon!

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. 😀

 

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!