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. 😀


Let’s Playtest Phoenix (and Earth Elemental’s Talent) to F100!

Maze: Saint’s Tower

Purpose: To see just how sweet Phoenix can be when given optimal conditions (i.e. +50 Power from Angmar’s Curse.) Also, to see what it looks like when Earth Elemental’s talent combines the Earth Set into an Earth Orb. Also, to collect an Earth Set and a Water Set for the Honor Quests.

Mainball: Phoenix — Because seriously, a gumball that plays Legendary Archer all by his lonesome deserves to be in the front of the back. (OK, really I just wanted the high power.)

In case you haven’t seen it yet, Phoenix’ main trait is that every 8 turns, he deals .6*Power to all visible enemies. Despite being called Eternal Fire, it’s not buffed by effects that buff Fire. Or anything else. Even Electrostatic Field. Nope. Just .6*base Power. But it’s more than enough.

Link1: Future Cat — Almost mandatory for playing Phoenix, so that you can use the Hidden Cloak to quickly reveal all enemies so they all get nuked every 8 turns. All the other fun, ridiculous stuff that comes with him is just a bonus. 😀

Link2: Merchant — Yup, no Melee titles this run. It’s more important for me to get lots of chances at equipment so I can fill out those sets.

Magic Title: Dark Priest — Because with Phoenix burning through the floors, I’m going to want a strong tool to take down the lower-floor Bosses…and 3 free Implosions with +75% effect and +60% effect and a 50% chance at 200% damage sounds like my kind of math.

Venture Title: Great Swordsman (crucible) — Because I know Phoenix is going to stop keeping up at some point, and I might need to go a few floors deeper. Every Swordsman’s Rune is 1 floor with no counterattacks, so bingo. Also, the standard-issue 15% counterattack reduction stacks with Crystal Dress and Crystal Shoes to great effect.

Artifact: Belt of Time Lord — Because it’s the only slot that isn’t taken up by either the Dark Suit, the Water Suit, or the Dimension Bag/Phoenix Feathers.

Potion: Hell Crimson Reagent — Because I thought it might buff Eternal Flame. Oh, well.

The Playtest: Made it to F101 after a Limited Broom, a time Machine, and a 31-floor PoE, for a total of 177 floors traveled. Who says you need all three Title types to go deep? 😀 I didn’t max out until about F70 (after all three of the above go-backs, so effectively F146). But I did spend about seven sh!tloads of EP on gear, mostly Magic Toffees, Magic Brooms, and upgrading bits of the Water and Earth suits.

The Phoenix power itself reached the limit of its usefulness somewhere around F70, too. It does an amazing job of allowing you to clear floor after floor after floor with minimal expenditure of resources for those first 60 floors, and after that it can get enemies significantly damaged (but not kill them) for another 10. Past F70, it’s best to play as though you don’t have the ability and just enjoy it when it happens to go off usefully. I imagine that if you built around Fighter stats, it would probably peter out around F50.

However, this was Saint’s Tower, so the Phoenix Power not keeping up just meant it was time to switch tactics. First, I ran through the several Blades of Ruin that you get from running Phoenix main (one per 20 floors, and I had arranged my go-backs so that I always landed on Fx9 so I could get another BoR upon going down one floor). Then I just went all-in and used my level 50+ X Roars to nuke everything, popping the occasional Magic Toffee so I could keep doing it.

I finished the Earth Elemental set around F65 (the first time past it; I went past once more later). Turns out that when Earth Elemental turns the Earth Suit into the Earth Orb, it becomes an Accessory item that gives:

  • +8 Attack and +8 Power,
  • A 40% boost to all Earth spells,
  • A free random Earth scroll every floor (not PoE, sorry), and
  • Access to the spell Earth Elemental Ball, which costs 10 mana, uses no scroll, and does damage equal to your Power to one target.

As a side benefit, once it’s fused, you can put on a second copy of any Earth Suit item (except Thorn Orb, natch), and the 40% bonus from the Earth Orb stacks with the 25% bonus from that item. Good times.

I would’ve quit way earlier in the maze, but I got punk’d by RNG: I was able to easily gather every piece of the Water suit…except the FIRST ONE. I went the whole run without seeing a Water Spirit’s Cape, and I kept pushing on only because I really wanted to see what the difference between a 2* (water) and 3* (earth) Fused Orb would be.

Alas, F101 saw me locked into a corner with a No-Spells Ward up that I had no Light Crystal to break, and I had used up all of my Swordsmans Runes getting from F91 to F99. Sigh. Next time, Water Suit. Next time…

Taking Abyss to F100 Farming Ancient Arena

Maze: Ancient Arena

Purpose: To finish the Honor Quests “Reach Floor 100 with Abyss Roar” and “Fill in Holy Rune Master.” Oh, also, farm the hell out of the Ancient Arena’s audience members.

Main Gumball: Shadow Assassin — We’re going to F100, so I’m pulling out all the cheese stops on this one.

Soul Link 1: Vampire — ALL the cheese stops. With Death Ripples killing most of the foes and Life Drain sucking HP back from the few we do have to attack, we’re going to waltz through the floor mobs all the way down.

Soul Link 2: Mutant no. 5 — So, we need something we can do against the boss, too. Timestill On a Stick sounds like a great idea, and it’ll let us heal up by punching floor-mob faces without counterattacks on the lower floors, too.

Melee Title: Dark Arbiter — Obviously. 40% Death Ripple from Shadow Assassin, 20% Death Ripple from Assassin’s Mask, and 40% Death Ripple from Dark Arbiter means literally every facepunch comes with a Death Ripple. Every. Single. One. That’s bork as furk.

Magic Title: Dark Priest — Because double damage and extra Death Ripple effect is what this build is all about.

Venture Title: Holy Rune Master — Because double damage and extra Implosion effect is a good way to hurt bosses, but Implosions don’t come often enough, so we’ll make our own.

Artifact: Gloves of Dark Arbiter — Because the artifact’s stars give you a second 50% chance to do double damage with Death Ripple (at 2 stars, which is all I have right now). I never actually bothered to sit down and determine whether the two chances stacked (i.e. my Ripples were always doing double damage), or they were independent (and doing quadruple damage 25% of the time and double damage 50% of the time).

Potion: Mixture of Light and Dark — I’ll never understand why Abyssal Rum gives +20% to Fire and Dark and then no other stats, where Mixture of Light and Dark gives you +20% to Light and Dark…and then also +2 Power and +30 MP. Is Light that much weaker than Fire?

Other Gear: I have to admit, I got lucky with gear on this run. By the end, I was wearing almost entirely six-star gear: Istantine, Melee Master’s Gloves, Consul’s Armor, Starmoon Pendant…but the thing that really made it shine was landing the Great Druid’s Cloak from the F60 boss. Without that, I probably would have died somewhere near F85. With it, I cleared those last 15 floors nicely.  My only two low-end bits of gear were Nether Boots — which don’t count, I disenchanted four or five higher-star boots because I wanted that +25% to Death Ripple — and a Ceremony Ring. Yeah, I literally never found a ring except that and about seven Rune Rings.

The Run Down: I ran straight up to Dark Arbiter and maxed out the +Ripple Chance star before I touched any other class. Then it was up to Dark Priest (through Conjurer to keep MP up) and all three +Death Ripple Effect stars in that and then the same from Dark Arbiter. Then I took the two Artifact Stars for Arbiter, then went and backfilled all the lower Magic titles and all the lower Melee titles in that order.

Then it was a straight shot to Holy Rune Master, and maxxed out the damn thing entirely for the XP. Next was a backfill of all the Venture Titles, then my one PoE from F79 to F55. Then I got the rest of Dark Arbiter filled in, and finished off Dark Priest by F83.

I purchased every single Shaman’s Ear I could find, and used them liberally during Arena fights to kill the audience — down to about F65; after that, it was easy to kill the audience by punching the enemy a bunch. For most battles afterward, I actually went ahead and took my Gloves of Dark Arbiter off to lower my Attack so that I could get more Death Ripples off before the enemy died. Got all of 2 gems from killing the audience, but I did manage to pull off the whole Panda-wine Oriental-shrine thing, so that more than made up for it. 🙂

The basic floor strategy was drop-dead simple: reveal as many enemies as possible, punch the one with the lowest Attack, repeat. Arena doesn’t have a lot of complex baddies, so it didn’t need to be anything but that.

The boss strategy was almost as simple: Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, punch face until dead…until F60. Then it became Field, Aurora Barrier, Disrupting Ray, punch face until dead…until F80. Then it was Electrostatic Field, Aurora Barrier, Disrupting Ray, Implosion until dead (s/l once when I really needed the Dark Priest’s crit to go off and it didn’t.) The F90 boss took a Shaman’s Ear before each Implosion and three Holy Rebirths, and of course I didn’t even try to fight the F100 boss. XP accomplished, run over, done deal. 🙂




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: