Killin’ It with Fire: The Trogdor Build

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

80/80ing Dracula’s Closet…as a Time Lord! (For real this time!)

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

Purpose: Finish this bitch off.

Main Gumball: Vampire Hunter. Both of my soul-links are baby-fresh to my team, so neither is fed anything but the foods necessary to get their Exclusive Skills to level 5. Also, Vampire Hunter is the single best Gumball to have for Dracula’s Closet, because of the +3 Essence Blood per floor and the utility of 30% Dodge Reduction from Vampire Hunter’s Potion.

Soul-Link 1: Claw — Because I just purchased him and I have no idea how he works. Here’s how he works: You gain 3 Energy while attacking, to a cap of 99. You can spend 50 Energy to turn into a Great Bear (his icon changes, too, which is pretty sweet!). Once you’ve transformed, you gain +50% to attack, and +10% to avoid enemy counterattacks. You also gain the ability to cast Fissure (a 15-mana spell that targets a unit and hits it and and the 8 tiles around it, flipping the 8 tiles and then dealing (attack*1.5) damage to all enemies) and Ancient Roar (a 10-mana spell that reduces the Attack of all visible enemies by [10+(your attack/5)]%, max 50%). You can cast these spells as often as you want, but of course Ancient Roar doesn’t stack with itself (or any other debuff).

I’m going to do a run in the near future for the explicit purpose of finding out whether Fissure is affected by Earth Master. If it is, I will have joy, because I’ve been looking for anything other than Titan Knight that synergizes with Planar Prophet, and Claw might just be it. 🙂

Soul-Link 2: Templar — Because I just earned him and I wanted to see if Time Lord would be worth playing if your Air spells were significantly more powerful.

Venture Title: Rune Master –> Great Swordsman — Because 20% attack avoidance from Novice Warrior + 20% from Vampire Hunter +15% from Great Swordsman (Sometimes +10% more from Great Bear form) is a really nice amount of damage reduction, and every Swordmaster’s Rune is one “kill floor instantly” pass from floor 80+. I took one star in each Title up to the first level of Great Swordsman, then backfilled Rune Master for extra Lightning Bolts and Electrostatic Fields, then Treasure Seeker because it’s quicker to clear floors when you know where the bad guys are.

Melee Title: Magic Warrior –> Dragon Warrior –> Hell God of War — Dragon Warrior because I don’t want no summoned Shadows killing off the Zombie-spawners before they go spawning Zombies. Hell God of War because I want a magic proc and Dark Ripple doesn’t affect undead and Light Arbiter never goes off on bosses. Oh, and because Hunter’s Long Whip stacks with Hell God of War for a max 25% proc, which is nice.

I started with Novice Warrior three-stars, then paused to go Magic Apprentice three stars, then filled out one star of Warrior, Magic Warrior and Dragon Warrior before taking and maxing out the HP stars of Hell God of War. Then it was on to the Magic titles.

Magic Title: Time Lord — I really want this Title to do something…and it did. After taking one star each of White Mage, Priest, and Air Master, I took time Lord, went back and filled in Air Master, then Priest, then the Power stars from Great Swordsmith. (At that point, I cast my one PoE, from F69 back 25 floors to F44.) Then I took the Power stars from Time Lord, and went back to fill in Warrior, then Dragon Warrior, then Magic Warrior. Then I just kind of filled in all the other stuff randomly. I was near Peak Title when I quit on F91.

Time Lord really shines when you have the power to deal serious melee damage and serious magic damage, but you don’t have a lot of HP. Basically, this build is a glass cannon — even given the 45% counterattack-reduction and the 30% Dodge (see below), I still regularly found myself one counterattack away from dying on F67 onward.

That’s when I started throwing around my massive backlog of Lightning Bolts all willy-nilly and using the one round of Timestill to punch the biggest baddest dude on the floor in the face. I burned through the entire stack of Bolts between floors 71 and 83, but it was well worth it, because then I had all of my other normal floor-clearing mechanisms on-hand to get me from F84 to F90. When I found a floor with 3+ ranged enemies, I cast Earthquake and dropped a Chain Lightning or two on the ranged mobs before dropping back to Lightning Bolts.

I got the 9th Artifact on F79, but pressed onward because I still had to find one more Shadow Stone. I got it on F88, used it, and then realized I was one Dragon Ball away from a second wish, so I figured I’d see if I could nail it. I got it as boss loot from the F90 boss, got ‘rich’, and quit on F91 because I was bloody well done with this damn Closet. 🙂

Artifact: Belt of Time Lord — Because the artifact star gives you 4x Electrostatic Field, and that’s just a really nice spell to have a lot of on-hand. And stats were relevant.

Potion: Vampire Hunter’s Potion — Because +6 Attack and Power and -30% enemy Dodge are great.

Relics: Confinement Cage, Spear Ring Thingy, Holy Crown — Because I really wanted the Light Magic boost for Holy Bolts and Divine Favors, I had to cast 3 more Bombs from the Ring and (somehow!) still had 4 more Back in Times left to cast. Oh, and I needed to collect all 9 artifacts in one run. Cake, right?

Actually, it was. I didn’t even get crazy lucky with good Dragon wishes (got two, both not relevant to in-Maze progress.) Between the huge Attack boosts from Claw-form helping me clear 2 floors out of every 10 (and helping vs. the bosses on F30/40/50) with occasional blasts of Meteor Storm and the actually-daunting power of 135%-boosted Electrostatic Fields/Disrupting Rays into 25%-boosted Holy Bolts made the F80/90 bosses actually possible.

Other Gear: As mentioned, I kept the Hunter’s Long Whip, and I used Killer’s Glasses for a while while I maxxed out the Confinement Cage, the Vampire Hunter’s Cloak, and the Corrosive Bracelet in that order. Once I got a few levels into Holy Crown, I switched over to that. I did manage to put together the entire Noble Set and use it starting around the time I PoE’d.

Final Notes: This was a fun run, actually. I think if I were to do it again, I’d choose Mutu’s Belt over Holy Crown, and I’d take Crown of Pope instead of Time Lord’s Belt. Glad to be done with Dracula’s Closet, and turns out that if you’re super-careful about how you build for it, you can actually do something useful and fun with Time Lord. It’s not powerful, so it’s never going to be a mainstream thing, but it’s not at all a poor choice as long as you plan for it. 🙂

Experimental Run: Burninating the Countryside

Maze: Dracula’s Castle — Yeah, still here, still looking for random DP quests while I’m playing around.

Purpose: To get the highest percentage bonus to Fire spells I can and see what happens.

Main Gumball: Red Dragon — Because being Red Dragon main gives you +40% to Fire Magic when you take the Hell Crimson Reagent. Yeah, my base Power won’t be so hot, but don’t worry — the heat will come.

Soul Link 1: Hellfire — +75% to Fire magic is basically the core of the build.

Soul Link 2: Vampire Hunter — Yes, I could probably have taken Gumiho here, but I wanted a Venture title, and Dracula’s Castle is half Undead, so progress would have been slow anyway. Also, Vampire Hunter’s Blood Contract helps in maxxing out the Relics quite a bit.

Melee Title: Magic Warrior –> Dragon Warrior –> Hell God of War — because Fire magic, obviously. I didn’t want to take Duke of Destruction, because (and yes, this gets a bit obsessive) the Artifact Stars for Hell God of War give you an item called Hell Dust that casts Armageddon followed by a randomly-targeted Meteor Storm…and gives you a permanent +3% boost to all your Fire magic. ;D

I took 3 levels of Novice Warrior, 3 levels of Magic Apprentice, and then took one level each of Warrior, Magic Warrior, Dragon Warrior, and Hell God of War. Then I took all three of the +HP/+Trigger% stars, and then the one Artifact star that I had available to me. Then I moved on to the Magic titles.

Magic Title: Wizard –> Fire Master –> Lord of Elementals — I debated going Mage of Destruction, but Lord of Elementals plays nice with Fist of the Heavens and Holy Bolt, and I figured that might be useful at some point. I took one star each of Black Mage and Wizard, then all three stars of Fire Master and one star of Lord of Elementals, then all three of the +Power stars of LoE. Then I went back and grabbed all three +Power stars of Hell God of War before moving on to the Venture titles.

Venture Title:  Holy Rune Master — for to turn useless Blinds into useful Meteor Swarms and useless Blades of Ruin into useful Armageddons. I never got that far, though. I got all three stars of Treasure Seeker, one star in Explorationist, and three stars in Rune Master. Then I got sidetracked because I remembered that I had Dragon Titles.

Dragon Title: Medium Dragon — All three stars of Wyvern Bloodline and Primary Dragon Bloodline were next. Then I went back and took the +Attack stars of HGoW, and remembered to take one star of Royal Rune Master…then I died on F88.

Artifact: Gloves of War God of Hell — Because they’re named backwards, and that’s awesome. Oh, and that thing about the Hell Dust above.

Potion: Hell Crimson Reagent — Also as mentioned above. +40% boost to Fire magic is what it’s all about.

Relics: Embrace Protection, Corrosive Bracelet, Mutu’s Belt — No real rhyme or reason here, just some stuff that I thought would help me stay alive to achieve maximum burnination.

Other Gear: I did dink around using the Hunter’s Long Whip for a while, since it was an extra +5% for Meteor Swarm, but in the end the much bigger attack and enemy dodge reduction from the Corrosive Bracelet won out. I did acquire and keep a Belt of Electric Arc and a Fire Lizard’s Bracers.

Floor Strategy: Open up all of the enemies that you can, then punch the face of the one with the lowest attack, waiting for long enough that the summoners can summon their zombies. Let your Meteor Swarms clear as much as possible.

Boss Strategy: Swap in the Belt of the Electric Arc and the Fire Lizard’s Bracers.

  1. Electrostatic Field
  2. Meteor Swarm
  3. Meteor Swarm
  4. Icicle
  5. Electrostatic Field (note that if you cast Field while your old Field is still up, your new Field will be even bigger!)
  6. Disrupting Ray
  7. Meteor Swarm
  8. Timestill
  9. (Start over at turn 1.)

Final Notes: I saved up all my Venom Gland Samples and Armageddons to blast from F81 to F88 without really having to do a lot. On F88 I miscalculated (forgot that Werewolves have a chance to counterattack for double damage) and died and decided I didn’t need 5 Soul Reaper fragments for 3 Gems at the moment.

If I was going to do this again, I’d swap out the Corrosive Bracelet for the Nibelungen Spear; I needed more Power more than I needed the +Attack, and the Hunter’s Long Whip would have been a great way to fill my Hand slot for the entire game. Also, having a stun effect that wasn’t Icicle would have felt like I wasn’t cheating on my desire to burn everything to the ground. ;D

It’s always a little counterintuitive for me to take a Melee-statted Gumball main if I’m trying to do mad Magic damage, but ultimately, the survivability provided by Red Dragon was necessary, and because my main offensive weapon was Hell God of War’s Meteor Swarm (so I could save the spellcasting for the Bosses), it turned out to be the right choice. Burninating the countryside wasn’t just a fun experiment — it turned out to be a pretty sweet power play, too.  Win!

Experimental Run: ALL the EP!

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

Purpose: To see what it looks like to go bat-sh!t crazy on EP-gaining and EP-cost-reduction mechanisms while making some side progress toward Dracula’s Castle’s DP quests.

Main Gumball: Minstrel — Needed my Venture title to be first so I could rush straight to Magic Bandit. Also Farplane Ranger.

Soul Link 1: Lionheart King — Because a 30% EP reduction on your two expensive titles (three if you find Dragon’s Power) is simply the biggest total EP reduction in the game.

Soul Link 2: Saladin — Because there’s only one Magic-type pokemon in Ranger’s Song that gives any kind of positive EP effect, and that’s Saladin’s ability to turn Rank 5 spells into 300 EP.

Venture Title: Night Walker –> Magic Bandit –> Farplane Ranger — Bought up to Farplane Ranger on the first floor so I could get that sweet bonus Relic. Then went back and filled in Magic Bandit, then filled in all three stars of Magic Apprentice, then filled in all the back levels of all the lower Venture Titles.

Melee Title: Sword Dancer –> Sword Master –> Sword Sage — Stupid bats. Dodge THIS! I filled in every level in order up to Sword Sage, then paused to take every single level of every single attack-boosting

Magic Title: Priest –> Light Master –> Pope — For to slaughter the boss with huge double-Holy Bolts.

Artifact: Crown of Pope — Because I didn’t have any headgear, and blasting things to death with big light spells seemed like a good idea.

Potion: Potion of Great Designer — Because I needed to clear 400 bonus EP to get Farplane Ranger before searching Dracula’s corpse.

Relics: Mutu’s Belt, Corrosive Bracelet, Talking Puppet, Stupid Spear Ring — I took all items that had ‘Cast this spell X times,’ because those are the most annoying DP quests I have left.

Other Gear: I literally purchased every single item from every single shop. Treasure shops, scroll shops, purple-castle Dracula-specific shops…everything. Because why not?

Final Notes: Turns out that when you max out your EP gains to this bat-sh!t insane degree, you run out of Titles to buy by floor 60. Even with the purchasing of every damn thing. So yeah…I quit because I had blown my wad too early and nothing really left to do. The mission was to learn, and I did. Conclusion: don’t do this.  🙂 😀 XD

 

Casting Immortal Source 20 Times…as a Time Lord!

Maze: Dracula’s Castle

Purpose: Cast Immortal Source 20 times (consuming 20 Ancestral Bloods, which sucks to do.)

Main Gumball: Dwarf King — Honestly, I worked backwards here and came to the main gumball last, deciding to take Dwarf King because I wanted the Quenching Essences and I wanted the base stats of a fighter-type, which weirdly, Dwarf King totally has.

Soul Link 1: Justice Herald — This build is largely based around Justice Herald. Specifically, the interaction between Immortal Source (which at max level gives you +3 Attack, +3 Power, +30 HP, and +30 MP per cast) and Justice Herald’s percentage-based healing factor. Because I’m literally only ever using 4 Ancestor’s Bloods for raising the stats on my Relics (3 on Eternal Cup and one on Confinement Cage), every other Ancestor’s Blood I find is going to give me +30 HP (and the other nifty stat boosts as well). I intend to have so much HP that Justice Herald’s healing factor keeps up into the triple digits. We’ll see if that works.

Soul Link 2: Red Hood — Weird choice, right? Well, no. Red Hood’s power, once you have obtained Mr. Wolf’s Camouflage, basically gives you occasional nuggets of “lose some HP/MP, gain some other stat” — well, with Justice Herald doing his thing, the HP gains will vanish in the wash. Add on the MP gains from Immortal Source to cancel out the MP losses from Red Hood’s foodstuffs, and she basically turns into an ongoing stat-boosting machine to add onto my existing stat-boosting machine.

Venture Title: Holy Blacksmith — I’m starting down the Venture Title first even though it’s not my main Title, because the single most important thing for making this build even vaguely effective into the late game is being able to craft Great Druid’s Cloak (followed later by Ash Ring and even later by Starmoon Pendant). I took one star of Treasure Seeker, one star of Explorationist, one star of Blacksmith, all three stars of Royal Blacksmith, one star of Holy Blacksmith, then back to fill in the rest of Blacksmith.

The idea here is to buy every treasure worth 50 EP or less out of every shop, then disenchant it all for Quintessence progress and net EP gain once we get three stars each in Royal Blacksmith and Blacksmith.

The Great Druid’s Cloak makes Dwarf King’s proc absolutely lethal, and gives all those Lightning Bolts and Fireballs the ability to clear ranged mobs with one cast until well into the depths. Also, importantly, wearing it and having a solid Power will let you kill the Boss with Holy Bolts in very little time.

Melee Title: Knight –> Fighter — After snagging the first level of Holy Blacksmith, I took all three stars of Novice Warrior and the first star of Knight. Then I went for the first three stars of Apprentice Mage, and came back for the first stars each of Silver Knight and Royal Knight. Then I paused to do the first step of the Mage stuff below, then came back to pop the first level of Fighter in time for the F60 boss.

The reasoning here is twofold: first, the HP gain from Knight boosts Justice Herald’s regeneration factor even more. Second, we have Great Druid’s Cloak-powered nukes and Thor’s Hammer for cleaing floors — we need s solid plan for clearing bosses. Fighter will give us that.

Magic Title: Time Lord — Yep! I decided not to wait for Templar. I have been griping about Time Lord for a long time now, and I realized that I hadn’t tried to play one since before I had unlocked Bloody Fortress. It was time to try again, but with a lot more experience under my belt. Between Royal Knight and Fighter, I paused to take one star each of White Mage and Priest, then maxxed out Air Master for bigger Thor’s Hammering.

After the F60 boss (and it’s attendant levels of Fighter), I maxxed out Priest for the Power boost, then took Time Lord and all three of its Power stars, because I felt in my bones that I had a Portal of Earth dropping soon, and I wanted to be ready. As it turns out, I was right — my one and only PoE dropped on F64, and I used it on F69 — 24 floors back to floor 45 I went. Oh, but I forgot a part:

Dragon Title: Evil Dragon — I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the Dragon Title wish, and I took one star each of Wyvern Bloodline and Primary Dragon Bloodline right before I took my first star of Time Lord. Why? Another 10% bonus HP, of course! 🙂

On my way re-down from F45 (post-PoE), I filled in the other two stars of Knight, the other two stars of Wyvern, the other two stars of Primary Dragon, and took one level each of Medium, Advanced, and Evil Dragon — in the name of MASSIVE HP, with a side helping of “hey, Fighter + Evil Dragon sounds like a downright great way to slaughter that damn Bone Dragon, eh?” Then I took all three Attack-granting stars of Fighter.

By the time I quit on F80, I had taken all 3 HP stars of Time Lord, all 3 HP stars from Holy Blacksmith, all three HP stars and both Artifact stars for Fighter.

Other EP Spending: I purchased every single Ancestor’s Blood and every single Shadow Stone that showed up. This meant I *always* kept a stock of 750ish EP in reserve just in case another opportunity arose.

Artifact: Helmet of Fighter — Well, we’re punching faces, we’re taking Fighter, and the HP bonus helps Justice Herald do his thing. Oh, and we don’t have a helmet coming in from Red Hood, Holy Blacksmith, or Dracula’s Castle in our plan. Kind of a nice coincidence.

Potion: Whale Oil — because you know it’s all about that base ’bout that base: base HP, that is.

Relics: Eternal Cup, Confinement Cage, Talking Puppet — And here is where this build gets meaty as f**k. By the time I used my one and only PoE, I had cast 8 Back in Times (5 on floor 39 and 3 on floor 59), and 17 Immortal Sources, for a total of +51 Attack and Power and +510 HP and MP. That’s 76 HP per floor I wouldn’t otherwise have been gaining from Justice Herald! After I had maxed out all of these at +10, I started keeping my eye out for a Mutu’s Belt, just because I had over a hundred Essence Blood just sitting around, and I figured I could spend 1 Ancestor’s Blood to activate the first-level 15% heal for 5 Essence Blood. Unfortunately, I never found one. 😦 The Talking Puppet I kept because I figured an extra 25% boost to all damage spells would play nice with Great Druid’s Cloak.

Other Gear: I obtained Red Hood’s set fairly early and used it until I quit, just because I was busy disenchanting everything else for Quintessence and I kind of like randomly casting Frog. 🙂 I crafted my Great Druid’s Cloak somewhere in the mid-50s, and Ring of Ash on F79 right before the final showdown with the F80 boss. (Reach floor 80 was the last DP quest that I was going to be able to get on this run, so I quit there. I could have gone much farther had I been patient and played well — I had a metric asstonne of resources untouched — but my goal was not depth, just DP.)

Final Notes: Yeah, I literally never once used the actual class feature of Time Lord. Literally never. Not even by accident. What I did do was cast not just 20, but a ridiculous 28 Immortal Sources. With all of the HP stars, the Immortal Sources, the +20% HP bonus from Knight, the other +20% HP bonus from Primary Dragon, and all of the normal HP gain, I ended the run with 3,391 HP. Also, 2,115 MP, 199 Attack, and 183 Power — before any buffs. Turns out gaining 508 HP just for going down a floor (and that’s just from Justice Herald; I also had HP gains from Priest, Silver Knight, and Medium Dragon pouring in) is pretty good. 😀

Maxing the Unused Relics of Dracula’s Castle w/ Vampire Hunter

Maze: Dracula’s Castle (or as my son insists on calling it, Dracula’s Closet.)

Purpose: Maxxing out my as-yet-unused relics — Nibelungen Spear, Mutu’s Skin, and Talking Puppet (Ring, Belt, Necklace) — while hopefully clearing all of the secondary DP quests related to them as well (i.e. ‘puppet kills stuff,’ ‘Cast Annihilation Bomb 20x”, etc.)

Main Gumball: Vampire Hunter — Normally, Hunter would be a link because he doesn’t actually do anything better as main than as a link, but I haven’t fully-fed the other two gumballs seeing as I unlocked them both yesterday, so my fully-fed VH had to be main. His purpose is twofold: one, get 3x Blood per floor using his Blood Contract, and two, get 20% counterattack-avoidance through his Cape.

Soul Link 1: Red Dragon — His skill lands 50% of the time and prevents the enemy from counterattacking for 3 turns. You’re probably starting to get the gist here. And yes, if you don’t want to spend the gems on Red Dragon, you can get an essentially identical effect by taking Predator and keeping your HP above 50%.

Soul Link 2: Mutant no. 5 — His skill gives 33 energy per floor, and consumes 50 energy to cast a 3-round Timestill. This means 3 enemies killed with no counterattack on a normal floor, or 3 more rounds of beating Boss face without getting counterattacked or attacked. Massive amounts of win here.

 

Venture Title: Rune Master –> Weapon Master –> Great Swordsmith I really wanted to go with Night Walker –> Elf Ranger –> Great Elf King here, to make the Puppet more viable, but ultimately the allure of even more counter-attack-reduction by going Rune Master into Great Swordsman proved irresistable. That said, I didn’t take any of this until I had first obtained 3 stars in Intern Warrior, and 3 stars in Magic Apprentice, for the counter-attack reduction and the full spell use respectively. Then I took one star each of Treasure Seeker (the new name for Fortune Finder, sadly), Explorationist, Rune Master, Weapon Master, and Great Swordsmith.

Magic Title: Wizard –> Conjurer –> Planar Prophet — I knew I would need a big PoE or two to max out multiple Relics, and I wasn’t taking Genie or Future Cat, so Planar Prophet would have to be it. I took one star each in Black Mage, Wizard, and Conjurer, maxed out Earth Master, went back for 3 stars worth of Warrior (which was a mistake, see below) b/c my Attack was too low…and then ended up needing to PoE earlier than I expected, so I took one level of Planar Prophet to get said PoE and said bye-bye to floor 59. (I never saw another PoE, either.)

Melee Title: Magic Warrior –> Dragon Warrior –> Hell God of War — Man, did I screw this up. I had totally planned to go Silver Knight –> Armored Knight –> Titan Knight to take advantage of my Earth Mastery but far more importantly to get my HP up high enough that the 35% heal from a maxxed-out Mutu’s Skin would be enormous. Instead, I unthinkingly took 2 levels of Warrior and promptly went down a floor, sealing myself into the top half of the Melee tree. 😦 If I could do this run again, I would 100% stick with my original plan.

Artifact: Boots of Titan Knight — I already had the Necklace, Ring, and Cloak slots filled up with Relics, so I figured I might as well do something relevant with the Boots slot since none of my Gumballs nor the Maze would fill it usefully. Also, more Dodge plays nicely with the basic idea of “let’s not get hit by anything ever.”

Potion: Vampire Hunter’s Potion — I figured as long as I was taking VH main, I should get an easy +6 Atk and Power out of it. Also, reducing the Dodge of those annoying-ass Bats by 30% was a pretty decent side benefit.

Relics: Nibelungen Spear, Mutu’s Skin, and Talking Puppet (with Vampire Hunter’s Cloak) — The Spear gives Power and ignores more enemy Dodge, so those damn Bats were doing down.  The Annihilation Bomb was pretty damn sweet, too, making short work of the Vampire Lords.

The Talking Puppet gives +MP and a boost to Damage Magic, which I didn’t make much use of. Mostly, it was there for the Puppet. The Puppet’s abilities grow significantly with each level of Ancestral Power. At first, it has a chance to crit for 200% damage. Then it gains the ability to Curse the enemy, which is a huge boost to its survivability. Finally, it gains a healing ability that makes it near-certain to survive to the end of the floor.

Mutu’s Skin is great for healing up, especially when you get hit as infrequently as I did. +12 HP per kill is nothing to be sneezed at, and the bonus to Recovery magic made it actually useful in the later game despite my low Power. The Cell Regeneration ability was nuts, and gave me plenty of reasons to stick with Vampire Hunter’s Blood Contract as my Accessory even into the later floors. I don’t think I’d ever take this Relic without Vampire Hunter in my group, but with VH, it’s amazing. Once you get your Relics to +10 each, the Blood Contract+Mutu’s Skin combo keeps your life ridiculously high.

Other Gear: I ended up running with Killer’s Sunglasses forever just because of the added chance to loot Essence Blood, and the Black Jacket because nothing better came up.

Floor Strategy: Kill all ranged mobs, using spells if I’d take more than 3 hits before they died. Then the path forks. If you have a Magic Dust and a maxxed-out Talking Puppet, use it. There’s no real benefit to waiting. Let your Puppet kill as much as it can before continuing.

Next, if you’re on a floor ending in 7 or less and your Timestill-on-a-stick is full, start revealing enemies. If you see a Werewolf, kill it on the spot — you don’t want it’s attack growing. Once you’ve revealed all of the other enemies, hit Timestill and kill the ones with the biggest attack while time is still.

Otherwise (making sure that at least a couple of tiles are open to receive summoned Zombies) open up one enemy at a time and kill them one at a time, pausing only to allow the summoners to summon their two Zombies. Then kill the Summoner, then the Zombie with less attack, then the other one. Everything else, punch down as soon as you see it.

To deal with Vampire Lord, hit him with Annihilation Bomb if you can, then punch him down while he’s stunned. Otherwise just punch him out.

Drop a heal if you get low on HP, starting with Cures, then using Mutu’s Skin if you’ve maxed it out, then Divine Favor, then Restoration.

Boss Strategy: Round-by-round:

  1. Electrostatic Field
  2. Disrupting Ray
  3. Holy Bolt
  4. Icicle
  5. Bless
  6. Punch
  7. Punch
  8. Timestill-on-a-stick or actual Timestill
  9. Blade of Ruin or Bless
  10. Punch
  11. Punch
  12. Stoneskin
  13. (start over from 1)

If for some reason you get hit by the Dragon’s breath, immediately use Divine Favor — that Corrosive bullshit ain’t no joke.

Final Notes:  First, Mutant no. 5 is f**king BADASS. Timestill-on-a-stick is an amazing tool to give a melee beast. It’s actually sweet enough that I’m already plotting a Time Lord build (yep!) for when I get the last 5 fragments I need for Templar. 🙂

Second, my screwup taking Warrior over Knight was real bad. Totally screwed over my intended long-range survival mechanism of ‘Mutu’s Skin with mad HP’. So the instant I managed to get my 3 Relics leveled up to max (floor 69), I quit. If I had taken my intended path to Titan Knight, I could have easily taken it another 11 floors just for the DP. Next time, Dracula! Next tiiiiiiiimmmmmmmme….!