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. 😀

 

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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! 😀

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. 😀

Probing the Bowels of Spacecraft Ruins: Cat w/Chef & Priest

Maze: Spaceship Ruins

Purpose: Originally, it was just “Test if Chef’s recipes using machine parts can be consumed by Future Cat.” Then it was “Collect all the codes for the computer manual.” When I inadvertently got to F70, I was all, hmmm…and added “DP Quest for F80.” Then I happened to notice while on Pause on F81 that the Boss Quest for this Maze was F90, and shit got real. 🙂

Mainball: Future Cat — Had to test if Chef’s two machine-based recipes worked with Kitteh, b/c the other two Gumballs they work with (Machine Herald and Bloody Wolf) are both Melee-types like Chef, so only Future Cat might make a “proper” teammate for Cheffery in the machine-based Mazes. (Spoiler: they work.)

Soul Link 1: Chef — Bork bork bork! Chef is like Red Hood, a gumball that you barely notice except on quite long runs. Well, this run got long, and Chef pulled his weight. The two ‘machine recipes’ are a one-time reduction to damage and burning damage, and a repeatable boost to Attack, Power, and Dodge. By the time I got to the end-maze, thanks to that potion, maxxed-out Mechanical Legs, and for the first 15 turns of each floor the Fly ability from Future Cat’s headgear, I was bopping around with a 54% dodge chance (44% after the buff ended). Pretty fly. I also probably gained ~30 Attack from that recipe and his always-available recipe for Appetizer Soup.

Soul Link 2: Priest — Spaceship Ruins is filled with high-damage activated items, so I figured focusing my magic on healing instead of harming was a good companion strategy.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — Spaceship Ruins has like a dozen unique corpses all over the place, so I figured FPR(l) was a pretty obvious choice. Especially since it takes one of the best activated damage items (Colt 1911) and triples its damage.

Melee Title: Sword Master –> Warrior — So one thing I noticed quickly about the boss of Spaceship Ruins is that Meteor Swarm counts as 6 magical attacks against him for purposes of swinging his Physical/Magical Resistance balance. So I figured laying on mad Physical damage and then using Meteor Swarm to reset his resistance to zero after several hits was a solid boss strategy.

Magic Title: Light Bishop — Originally I picked this as a lark, but it turns out that when you have a massive Dodge bonus helping you avoid most attacks, having the ability to heal up to full in a single spell can get you pretty deep.

Artifact: Armor of Light Oracle — I hate Exoskeleton Armor (it’s the worst of the special thingies in Spaceship Ruins), so I picked an Artifact that went in its slot.

Potion: Potion of Great Designer — I wanted to be 100% certain of getting Farplane Ranger on F1 so I wouldn’t miss a single corpse. Wasn’t necessary in the end, but whatever. 😀

The Run Down: I whipped straight to FPR(l), backed up to fill in Evil Bandit, pushed Magic up to 3-star Water Master because Icicle, bitches, and then filled in 100% of every level of Melee up to 3-star Sword Master. I couldn’t decide whether to to Sword Sage or Warrior, but ultimately Warrior won (and it was a good thing). I ended up taking Light Bishop’s first level first, then filled in all of Warrior, then backfilled the lower-level Magic titles, then the lower-level Venture titles. Ultimately, I ended up with a single Attack star in Farplane Ranger; all three Power stars, all three Attack stars, and both Artifact stars from Light Bishop; and 100% of the stars from Warrior.

I never found a PoE; ended up using Future Cat’s Time Machine on F42 to go back 30 floors. (My ‘special item floor’ was ‘ending in 2’, so I popped back on a 2-floor for an easier time getting the rest of the items.)

It turns out that if your ‘special floor’ is ‘ending in 2,’ you don’t get a computer panel on F2. You have to wait until F12 to get your first special item, and I got Exoskeleton Armor. Grumble grumble. So when I got Mechanical Legs, it was like “boing.” Straight to near-max, and The Great Dodge-ening commenced.

I didn’t really have any struggles getting to F70, largely due to the 14 rounds of 300-damage bullets you get from having FPR(l) when you stumble upon the Colt 1911 corpse. Those guns got refilled at damn near every ammo station, and took out damn near every ranged enemy in the Maze.

After F70, though, I started having to really work for it, so I decided to take the quick-and-dirty way down, and from F71 to F80, between Night Walker’s Lantern and Future Cat’s little magnifying-glass thingies, I key-hunted 7 of 9 floors. I felt like I had barely squeaked by getting to F80, and I wontonly blew my wad on the F80 boss, hitting him with Timestills and Resentment-Venting Hourglasses and Blades of Ruin like it wasn’t even a thang. And it wasn’t — he dropped like a sack of potatoes.

Then I hit Pause on F81 instead of Quitting. I’m not even sure why I did that. But when I came back to play hours later, I thought to check and see if I had cleared the Boss Reward for the new maze. …nope. …f**K!

So, it became a serious game. No more dinking around. I had to legitimately fight my way from F81 to F90 and kill the F90 boss having blown through all of my ‘easy-pass’ resources getting to F81.

I had been wearing my Artifact armor and the Power Hammer and not really doing any time-consuming piddling with equipment. Now, every floor, I swapped in Future Cat’s full set so I could get those extra 5 rounds of >50% Dodge.  Twice, I ended up burning through Stoneskins so that I could survive the trip cross-floor to reach and deactivate an Attack-enhancing Combat Pod through the crossfire of 2 or 3 ranged units. I also burned through 9 Recoverings and 4 Divine Favors in 9 floors in addition to activating a Medical Package on almost every floor. I also burned through 3 of Future Cat’s Lightning Clouds to help me soften up the baddies.

F89 was the real test: I came in with 390 HP and was facing down 3 Attack-enhanced ranged units that had 190 Attack (even getting a 50% long-range Defense boost from Consul’s Armor). Getting hit twice at all would kill me, and I had a single Recovering left which I was determined to use at the end of the floor so I could go into the F90 Boss at full life. I made the attempt seven times before I realized I had a secret resource I had been ignoring for the entire Maze: Nether Wicks. I mean, I didn’t have any, but I had enough EP to get a single star in FPR(l), which meant enough to take out 2 of those damn Ranged bastards before they shot me. It still took me some good luck successfully dodging a couple attacks beyond what would be statistically likely.

Then on F90, I came in with no Timestills, no Resentment-Venting Hourglasses, just one Blade of Ruin, and no idea how I was going to survive. I popped the BoR on turn 1, smacked him around to the tune of 1.5k per hit, Icicled on turn 3, smacked him around for the rest of the duration of BoR, popped two Aurora Barriers to absorb a single attack(!), and hit Meteor Swarm to reset the Boss’ Physical Resistance. A second Icicle got me through the next two boss attacks, and I popped Bless and punched face until I ran out. Then it was Electrostatic Field into Meteor Swarm to reset Resistance again, face-punching under Electrostatic Field, and dying to the boss’ next attack.

…then I came back thanks to a long-forgotten Holy Rebirth, punched face once more and got him down to 480 HP, and cast my one remaining Holy Rebirth to survive the Boss’ attack. With three rounds left to live and literally no tricks up my sleeve (I thought), I calculated the Boss’ resistances vs. facepunches vs. Blessed facepunches, and realized I would need to dodge one counterattack (which I was likely to do) and get one double-damage hit from Power Hammer (which i was also likely to do). Between both chances, it was really close to 50% that I wouldn’t make it.

So instead of punching his face at all, I cast my one Implosion and walked off with the Boss Prize from a run that started off as a silly one-off test of Chef’s recipe. Damn fine run if I do say so myself. 🙂

Two Snapshots of Long Runs that got Stupidly Lucky thanks to Divine Dragon

I generally speaking prefer to blog about runs where lots of intense planning came together and awesomeness happened — but every once in a while, intense planning gets completely shattered by a stroke of luck that turns things completely on their head. Here’s a couple of quick summaries of my last two runs, where those strokes of luck defined things far more than my initial intentions.

RUN ONE

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

Purpose: Get the last Boss prize on my list (F100 Bone Dragon), and max out Imperial Commander for the XP along the way.

Main: Angel Deity — You can guess where this is going.

Link 1: Spy — Yes, I’m doing this again. Big difference this time is…

Link 2: Hercules — Because I got him, and because Dracula’s Castle is the single best Maze to use him. That’s because if you hit F51 once, you get a 30% boost to all stats. Hit it again, and you get +1 Atk/Pwr and +10 HP/MP. Hit it a third time, you get another +1 Atk/Pwr and +10 HP/MP. But hit it a fourth time — which is only possible here, in Saint’s Tower (limited broom), and Desert Oasis (magic carpet) — and you get a second 30% boost to all stats. That’s my kind of power!

Magic Title: Pope — Because seriously, if you’re going to be throwing around Fists of Heaven, you might as well.

Melee Title: Imperial Commander — Because XP, and I figured I could get away with it.

Venture Title: Great Swordsmith (Crucible) — Because I wanted the +15% bonus Holy Bolts, and those Swordsmith’s Runes make for an easy route to F100.

Dragon Title: Evil Dragon — I knew as soon as I saw this pop up on my list of Wishes that I was going to take it. This was a HUGE benefit for my run, and here’s why: “high level spells” counts any spell of 4th or 5th rank. Guess what? Angel Deity has the only proccable 4th-level spell in the game, and Evil Dragon instantly doubles the damage it deals. Can you say Bwaaahahahahahahahahahaaaa!!!?  I knew you could!

Artifact: Gloves of Great Swordsmith — Because 2 more Swordsmith’s Runes is 2 more floors I get to laugh my way through.

Relics: Mutu’s Belt, Eternal Cup, and Confinement Cage — Because I need to go back a bunch of floors, and I want something to do with all of the blood I’m going to be gathering once I max out these Relics. (I ended up also nabbing a Crown of Holy Glory and maxing that out, also, because Light Magic and extra Undead damage make for lots of fun.)

Potion: Mixture of Light and Dark — Let’s do this thing.

The Run Down: Not going into huge amounts of detail here. Basically, I calculated out exactly how to maximize my titles for the highest possible Attack, Power, and HP at the time of reaching F51. Then I recalculated them on F46 (fourth iteration) when I landed the Dragon Titles and thus had access to the extra bonus from Lesser Dragon, and abused those two 30% boosts for all they were worth. Walked onto F52 (after doing 44-49 five times and 48-51 four times) with all four of my Relics maxed out, over 3k HP.

I never saw another Shadow Stone, and I never cared. I did pick up an Air Book at some point though.

So I started busting out all the craziness from Pope and the Evil-Dragon-boosted Angel Deity, and it was literally no challenge all the way to F100. Took out the F100 boss with this exact sequence of spells: Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, Holy Bolt, Timestill, Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, Holy Bolt, Icicle, Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, Holy Bolt, Timestill, Holy Bolt, Holy Bolt, Holy Bolt. Didn’t take a single point of damage. 🙂

RUN TWO

Maze: City of Steam

Purpose: Max out the damn Manual. Again.

Main: Dwarf King — Because I wanted Fighter stats in the long run, but I also wanted to max out Planar Prophet on the cheap. The lighting proc was a nice side benefit, and though I didn’t plan for it, the 5 Quenching Essences didn’t go to waste, either.

Soul Link 1: Cactus — Because I was going to melee my way down, and to hell with those stupid spikey bots.

Soul Link 2: Machine Herald — Because nothing says ‘I pound faces’ like a 50% Attack buff right off the bat.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — A must for maxing out the Manual.

Melee Title: War God of Hell — I kind of figured, what the heck, let’s add another proc to the proc so I can proc while I proc. No real intent here.

Venture Title: Great Swordsmith (anvil) — Yeah, this is where things all went against plan in the best possible way. I was going to go Great Enchanter (crucible) because I’m still trying to figure out exactly how that bonus damage works, but things got swutched.

Artifact: Boots of Planar Prophet — Who needs the Electric Powered Set when you’re going to punch all the faces? I WANT FLOORS.

Potion: Hell Crimson Reagent — Because a little extra Power is a good thing, and Hell God of War.

The Run Down: So I got stupid lucky with Dragon’s Wishes for the second run in a row, and after portalling backwards from F59 to F4, I got my seventh ball on F5, and got Most Cruel Equipment: Sorehead Knight suit.

At this point, I had maxxed out Planar Prophet and the entire Magic title set, and I had one star of Novice Warrior. I was going to shoot straight to Hell God, but landing this set immediately shifted my priorities to Great Blacksmith, because you can upgrade the Sorehead Knight suit.

It took me until F58 mkII, but I did it. The Ordinary Knight Suit gives a total of:

  • +410 HP,
  • +38 Attack,
  • +100% Attack(!!),
  • +100% Accuracy (no enemy can dodge),
  • + 3 Defense, and
  • +80% Damage Reduction(!!!!!!11!1oneone!!)

Yes. Getting the Ordinary Knight Suit literally makes the rest of the run for you. I waltzed through the rest of the Maze (PoEing a second time at F99 just to annoy myself), maxed out the Manual, and quit on F101 just because I couldn’t be arsed to go any further.

 

Those two runs were completely nuts — unplannable, but exactly the kind of “jackpot!!” feeling that makes Gumballs and Dungeons so damn addictive and entertaining. W00t!

The Long Run: 250+ Floors of Avallon Fortress

Maze: Avallon Fortress

Purpose: To max out the Engineering Manual and get as much other DP as possible along the way.

Main GumballGenie — You can see where this is going.

Soul Link 1: Future Cat — Yep.

Soul Link 2: Justice Herald — Because if you’re going to go that many floors, you really need a consistent, rock-solid plan for keeping your HP up.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — Because we need ALL the floors.

Venture Title: Holy Blacksmith — Because Great Druid’s Cloak + Electric Shock Ring + the Chemistry that gives +30% to low-level spells + a high base Power = Lightning Bolts that kill the F60 boss in 2 casts. 🙂  Also, with Avallon sciences, the Blacksmith’s Anvil just pops out Quenching Essence every 5 floors, and every Quenching Essence beyond what you craft with turns into +2 Attack (again because Science!), which adds up over this many floors.

Melee Title: Titan Knight — I wanted the +30% HP from Knight for Justice Herald, and Titan Knight synergizes with Earth Master, so this was the title of choice.

Artifact: Boots of Planar Prophet — ALL. THE. DAMN. FLOORS.

Potion: Vampire Hunter’s Potion — You gotta have some Attack to conserve your spells for as long as possible, and you gotta have some Power to get max back-travel, so…why not?

Other Gear: I ended up wearing the Steam set, naturally, along with the Clockwork Pendant (+3 EP/tile) (I did switch this out for a (crafted) Starmoon Pendant after I had maxxed out all my Titles), the Electric Shock Ring, the Great Druid’s Cloak, the Boots of Planar Prophet, and the Dimension Bag. Mostly obvious, but one thing is worth pointing out: with the proper Science!, the Electric Shock Ring also grants +100% to Chain Lightning — which you can cast over and over again using Future Cat’s Lightning Cloud. So that’s nice. 🙂

The Run-Down: So honestly I don’t remember a lot of this run, because I traveled 246 floors getting from 1 to 80. I know that I used Magic Carpet on F39, Time Travel Device on F49, PoE #1 on F59 (52 floors back), and PoE #2 on F79 (54 floors back). It got fairly mind-numbing. I maxxed out not only Planar Prophet, but every single Title that gave even a single point of Power by the time I used my first PoE, and I maxxed out every single title period by the time I used my second PoE. I still only got my last necessary Ancient Element on F76 (the second time).

I know that I didn’t use a single Goblin Compound until I had a point in every single Chemistry skill, so that I got all of the side benefits, and that built up a lot over all those floors. I ended with a base Power around 310 and a base Attack around 360, in large part due to burning through 30+ spare Quenching Essences for a 60+ Attack boost.

Floor Strategy: Reveal enemies one at a time and punch them in the face until dead. When stuff gets challenging (F76+ in this case), reveal all the enemies and cast Chain Lightning, then face punch. Once you’ve maxxed out Chemistry, keep buying/acquiring all of the Chemistry Elements you can, because they’re HP and you use them before you use any other resources.

When you have time to sit back and ping something down slowly, take it and use up a few of your Air Gun/Air Cannons to conserve resources. If you hit a floor with 3 ranged units and they’re doing dangerous levels of damage, hit them with Hurricane Straws or just f**k it and Armageddon or otherwise board clear and AoE — but save at least a couple of Hurricane Straws in case you get a Dimension Door; that little guardian inside gets crazy as you get into the lower floors.

Boss Strategy: Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, Lighting Bolt, (your choice of Hex, Resentment-Venting Hourglass, or Timestill from either your spellbook or the Future Cat item), Lightning Bolt until dead. Seriously, that’s how I took out F60, F70, and F80. 😀

Final Notes: This was an ordeal of repetition, but it was a great way to get about 30 DP in one run and nail the Boss Prize as a side benefit. If I had to do it again, I’d do it exactly the same way. 🙂

City of Steam Boss Prize w/ Death Knight

Maze: City of Steam

Purpose: Kill the level 90 boss for the boss prize, and get whatever DP we can along the way.

Main Gumball: Death Knight — Usually a “bad” Gumball, because the transformation DK causes (normal mob into a Skeleton with no features except Atk and HP) also happens to undo debuffs, which sucks once you get to floor 76-ish where you need to start tossing Curses and Blinds on stuff before you punch it in the face, just to save HP. But with this build, we’re counting on killing most of the mobs without punching. The purpose of Death Knight here is to cancel the annoying Damage Reflection robot and the cooperative-buffing of the Steam Mecha trio.  Honestly, if I were doing this run again, I’d probably take Red Dragon or Predator in it’s place.

Soul Link 1: Shadow Assassin — The engine of the build. With Shadow Assassin and Dark Arbiter cooperating, the vast majority of attacks trigger Dark Ripple. This allows us to open up as many enemies as possible, then avoid as much damage as possible by attacking the lowest-Attack mobs and using Death Ripple to kill the rest.

Soul Link 2: Lich King — Lich King is a strangely powerful Gumball. It takes a lot of investment to level his Faith up to 20, but even without any leveling up, the benefits you get from the first 10 levels of Faith are huge. As you level from 10 to 20, you get enormous Power boosts, some extremely useful spells, and a boatload of HP and MP. The capstone, of course, is the insane Key of Destruction, which sets our total Dark Ripple trigger percentage at 95% for near-total win.

Among those ‘extremely useful spells’ are 3x Armageddon. That might not seem huge, but when combined with the literally 24 Dark Ripples you get from taking Conjurer and Dark Master titles, that’s three deep-dungeon floors you can clear in seconds without taking any damage at all — and that matters, because this build’s healing ability is minimal. (Similarly, the 3 Hexes and 2 Timestills are great tools for keeping the Bosses attacks at bay!)

I got to level 20 Faith basically by sacrificing every single 4- and 5-star treasure I got from killing bosses to the Statue. This dungeon gives crap for treasure, so that’s what it took!

Melee Title: Dark Arbiter — I took one star in all of the lead-up Titles before promptly maxing out Dark Arbiter’s Power stars to get the 40% total Death Ripple trigger chance. Then I went back and filled in the rest of Novice Warrior and Warrior. Next, I took all three Attack stars, from Dark Arbiter. I took a break to max out both Fortune Finder and Apprentice Mage, then went back and filled in Shadow Warrior and Magic Warrior in that order. Finally, I maxed out the three HP stars of Dark Arbiter before moving on to the Magic title.

Magic Title: Conjurer -> Dark Master -> Dark Priest — After completing the Melee title, I took one star of Wizard, one star of Conjurer, then maxed out Dark Master. Then I backfilled Wizard and Conjurer, and finally took Dark Priest. Within Dark Priest, I filled in just the Power stars, then moved on to the Venture titles.

Venture Title: Rune Master -> Weapon Master -> Great Swordsmith — The purpose here is the obvious: avoid damage through the 15% chance to cancel counterattacks (and with the Swordsmith’s Runes in the lower floors). I took one star each in Explorationist, Rune Master, Weapon Master, and then the main title of Great Swordsmith. Then I went back and filled in Rune Master because why not, and then started in on the Attack stars of Great Swordsmith to get a few Swordsmith’s Runes.

Artifact: Armor of Light Oracle — I knew that the Maze would give me either a Helmet (Fawke’s Mask) or Gloves (Thorn Fist), and the Necklace, Ring, Cloak, and Boots (the Electric Age set). I also knew the Gumballs would give me an Accessory (Contract of the Dead and eventually Key of Destruction). That left me the Belt and Armor slots, and I chose the Armor slot entirely because I wanted to max out my Defense early, as these mobs don’t joke around.

Potion: Cactus Juice — I chose this entirely because I hate the hell out of those damage reflection mobs that show up like 2-3 per floor for almost the entire dungeon. Even given the Dark Ripple and Contract of the Undead abilities keeping the damage reflection to a minimum, I still am glad I chose this potion.

Other Gear: In terms of the Manual, my general strategy is to get one point in every science as quickly as possible in order to get all of the small side benefits of using the Maze’s consumables (especially the Clockwork Spiders!). Then I fill in all of the cheap ones in order of usefulness, saving all of my magazines until every cheap science is full. Then activate all of the magazines to get the most savings out of them.

Floor Strategy: Uncover enemies until you hit a ranged mob or you can’t uncover any more. If using a single Blind at that point will let you uncover 2 more enemies, do it. Then smack the lowest-attack enemy until everything is dead. Heal as necessary. It’s pretty simple.

I only used the Airship for Boss fights until floor 80 — then I cleared floors 81-90 using a combination of the aforementioned Armageddon+Dark Ripple, Airship clears, and careful use of Blades of Ruin (through Charizard first, then normal)/Swordman’s Runes.

I would have used a PoE at floor 79, but I didn’t have one. But I got one on floor 84 and used it immediately for a 29-floor drop-back, which I desperately needed to get up the resources to defeat floors 85-89. Yes, I was that close to dying! 😀

Boss Strategy: Also simple. Call the Airship to defeat the Airship. Cast Electrostatic Field, then Disrupting Ray, then either Icicle (preferably) or Hex (less so). Beat face until the Boss is ready to act again, then either Stoneskin and suck up some damage or Timestill if you won’t survive using Stoneskin. At F80 and F90, consider throwing down an Aurora Barrier after your initial Icicle/Hex. Don’t ever forget that with everything you’ve invested into your Dark Ripple, the only thing comparable to a facepunch is Implosion. Fortunately, the boss is ridiculously simple — no special anythings at all once you clear the first airship part. Just make sure you check your airship’s energy on FX9 and top it off if it’s below 90%.

Final Notes: This run started as an attempt to get to F90, but it was also an attempt to find a legitimate purpose for Death Knight, because you know, he sucks sweaty Bantha nuts. Ultimately, what I ended up doing was getting my Boss Prize, and proving that Shadow Assassin is so damn good that he can compensate for having a crap gumball like Death Knight main. If Death Ripple worked on undead, this would be the team everyone would be using to get Dark Dragon. There is only one logical conclusion:

Dammit, QCPlay! PUT FALLEN ANGEL BACK IN THE GAME!  😀 😀 😀