Burning Down the City of Steam — with Phoenix!

Maze: City of Steam

Purpose: 80/80 DP, bitches! Which in this case means collecting and using about a dozen magazines, ’cause I’ve done everything else.

Mainball: Phoenix — City of Steam is one of the few places in the game (maybe the only one?) that has a ranged opponent who lights you on fire. Phoenix turns getting lit on fire into a sweet 25 HP, which means as long as we can keep the damage dealt by those ranged opponents at 24 or less, we profit!

Soul-Link 1: Golden Titan — Re-read that last sentence, and understand. 🙂

Soul-Link 2: Earth Elemental — I want to PoE twice, and with Earth Elemental’s synergy, Titan Knight is a viable choice — which I want, because I want to take Heavy Armor Knight because of the whole “keep the ranged damage down” theme. Also, opening up tiles for free with both Titan Knight and the Earth Elemental Orb spell helps Phoenix deal damage to all enemies consistently with his every-8th-turn autonuke.

Magic Title: Planar Prophet — One of the key aspects of (ab)using Phoenix is taking advantage of the fact that he basically solos the first 39ish floors of any dungeon with said autonuke, which means you can invest hard in something that doesn’t pay off hard right away…like going balls-in on Planar Prophet and maxing it out so early that you can’t even use all of the floors you could go backwards, because  you aren’t that deep yet.

Melee Title: Knight of Faith –> Armored Knight –> Titan Knight — See comments under Earth Elemental. Also, Knight of Faith is more Power, which means more Phoenix burnination.

Venture Title: Rune Master –> Weapon Master –> Great Swordsmith — Honestly I waited until I had literally maxxed out my entire Magic and Melee titles before I even took a single star in anything higher than Treasure Seeker, so by the time I got here, I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any crafting (I’d disenchanted too much stuff already). This particular line is basically the default “I’m in deep and don’t know what to do with my Venture Titles” Title as it gives you some spells, some Defense, some offense, and 9 floors of “get past this floor free,” which is always a good thing to default to.

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — Boots of Titanosaur/Planar Prophet were off the table since I’d be wearing the Electric-Powered Set, so this made sense as a strong back-up Artifact.

Potion: Cactus Juice — Because FVCK YOU, “Power Grid Type V-H22”. FVCK the FVCK out of YOU.

The Run-Down: Somehow I forgot to write this part of the post, and I didn’t notice for like a month. So forgive me please! If I recall correctly, this was basically a completely bonkers, brokenly-easy run that resulted in almost complete unkillability thanks to continuously getting healed by the ranged burny robots. The only thing that made it even vaguely hard was that the robots kept getting killed by my auto-nuke, but not before they healed me all the way up first, so who cares? XD

Point is: farm City of Steam with Phoenix. Almost anything else you do is just superfluous. That’s how stupid powerful Phoenix is in CoS. Seriously.

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Maxxing out City of Steam Manual while Testing Earth Elemental

Maze: City of Steam

Purpose: Gotta get that manual maxxed out! Also, we’re getting the XP quest “Max out Great Enchanter,” ’cause it’s my last Adventure Title. Just as importantly, we’re playtesting Earth Elemental to see if it makes it any easier to devote your Magic Title to Planar Prophet. (tl;dr: It does!)

Main Gumball: Odin — We’re doing City of Steam right, in full magic mode, bitches.

Soul Link 1: Earth Elemental — Sweet, sweet Earth Master synergy, here we come!

Soul Link 2: Machine Herald — Because I hadn’t played him yet, and I figured a near-constant 50% Attack boost would help me melee my way down without using too many scrolls/MP.

Magic Title: Conjurer –> Earth Master –> Planar Prophet — Because the whole point is to see if we finally have something that synergizes effectively with Planar Prophet. Also, manual maxxing.

Venture Title: Rune Master –> Weapon Master –> Great Enchanter — Gotta get that sweet Adventure Mastery trophy. Also, we’re going to need some extra damage to keep punching faces in the lower floors as our Attack isn’t going to keep up very well, and this’ll help.

Unexpectedly, one of the hidden power-plays in this run turned out to be Rune Master. In City of Steam (and Avallon Fortress, too), the Crucible actually gives +25% low-level spells (instead of +15%) — and over all the many floors I traveled, that ended up being super strong. I quit with more than 40 Cure spells in my inventory, and that was after averaging 2.5 per floor for the last 17 floors.

Melee Title: Knight of Faith –> Armored Knight –> Titan Knight — Because Earth synergy is the name of the game, and this will give us a regular, if not predictable, way to add damage based on our enormous Power to our face punchings.

Artifact: Crown of Pope — All of my in-Title artifacts are magic-slotted, so I can’t take any of them and still use the Electric-Powered Set. So of the melee slots, I wanted to take either a Crown or a Belt because they’re the two slots that usually don’t give anything but HP. I had my eye set on a Lightsaber for an Accessory, and a Belt of Electric Arc because Odin, mothafokka, and so the headgear was my option. And I was determined to go Full Mage, so we went for the Magic-oriented headgear.

Potion: Potion of Great Designer — Manual maxxing, plain and simple.

Other Gear: Totally ended up with the Green Lightsaber and the Belt of Electric Arc. I also ended up carrying around a Book of Water for a good portion of time as well. Managed to find Dragon Scale gloves and Sapphire Armor so I was busting out phat Disrupting Rays to go with my phat Electrostatic Fields. Really the thing that I loved the most gear-wise, though, was the Fishbone Spikes — the City of Steam consumable item that pops out an Earth Spike and gives you a permanent 1% bonus to Earth spells. I think I burned through at least 18 of them. Any time I could hit 3 or more enemies, out they came. I kept all the consumables until I had one of every Science, though, so that I could eke out every benefit possible.

The Run Down: I started by maxxing out Magic Apprentice, then took one star of Wizard and Conjurer, than maxxed out Earth Master, then (gritting my teeth) I stuck around and maxxed out 100% of Planar Prophet, including two Artifact stars. By the time that was done, it was F54, and as it turned out, I had just enough PoE power to go all the way back to Floor One…so i did!

Starting over again, I maxxed out Novice Warrior, then one star in Knight, three stars in Knight of Faith for more Power, one star in Armored Knight, and then took Titan Knight and all three of the +trigger% stars. Around floor 55 (take 2), I switched over to Venture titles and took one star each of Fortune Finder and Explorationist, then maxxed out Rune Master. One star in Weapon Master, and then one star in Great Enchanter.

Around floor 70, I started backfilling: first Conjurer for the MP gain, then Knight of Faith for the Power, then I basically just backfilled everything from cheapest to most expensive, ending up filling in the last of Great Enchanter at F96.

The floor strategy was challenging — I had no way to deal with all the Damage Reflect robots except for spells, and I was pretty concerned about keeping my MP up. So I carefully, carefully used all of the Frag Grenades and Flamethrowers and Grenade Launchers — not to mention the aforementioned Fishscale Spikes — to clear the spiky sumbitches for as long as they lasted. Then I let the Lightning Bolts and Fireballs flow like water, only using my Earth Elemental Orb when it’s spread-damage effect or tile-flipping effect would be valuable.

Without Rune Master’s extra 10% bonus, I would have ran out of Bolts and Balls around F75. As it was, I ran out around F80 and resorted to mostly Earth Elemental Balls…only to discover that I probably should have been using them for a while before that because they were much stronger than the low-level nukes thanks to Earth Elemental+Earth Master+all those Fishscale Spikes. I would have used less MP per kill if I’d switched around F70.

All of the non-reflect bots I facepunched using Machine Herald’s 50% attack bonus + Great Enchanter’s 50% damage bonus until F80 or so. I facepunched the low-attack Repair bots all the way down. From F80-F87, I used Metal Charizards to avoid taking counterattack damage by keeping Blade of Ruin up for seven straight floors. Past F87, I just magicked down absolutely everything.

End Result: Painfully, I found myself in a deathtrap on F97. A magic-cancelling trap was all the way across the floor from the door, and three high-damage ranged units were guaranteed to kill me before I got there. I had no tricks left up my sleeve, and I had already Revived once thanks to a nearly-identical situation on F88. I wasn’t going to Revive again — I have pride — even though it meant that I died with 2 Sciences left to go before I maxxed out the Manual.

All that way, and all that awesome synergy and amazing fun (and seriously, this was one of the funnest runs I’d ever had!), and I was unlucky in one simple but ultimately purpose-foiling regard: I never found a second PoE. That would have made the Manual-filling-out thing easy.

Oh, well. Guess I’ll have to try again with Water Elemental and Archbishop. 🙂