Maze: Forest of Whispers
Purpose: Getting my Sunflower Statue built, which means farming about 200 Sunflower Fragments. Also, I’ve been challenging myself lately to find a use for some of the gumballs that I hate. And I hate the hell out of some Cyborg…so let’s use him!
Mainball: Cyborg — There are a few different elements to Cyborg. Most obviously, he gets +10% Attack and Power and 5% damage reduction for 10 rounds after he’s been Poisoned. (Oh, and you’re immune to Poison.) But more subtly, when taken as Main, Cyborg gets a Hand item that goes from +1 Power/+10 MP to +5 Power/+50 MP/+5% Spell Effects by getting Poisoned a lot. (Also, he gets a potion that gives him 20 EP and Poisons him every 10 floors, which is…mustbepositivemustbepositive…is something that arrives just in time to be used on each Boss for that bonus to Attack and Power. Yay!…I guess.
Linkball 1: Gangster — Cyborg and Gangster have a very not-obvious but a quite strong synergy: they are the only two balls in Canas Enlightenment that provide a decent amount of bonus EP. In my experience, Cyborg is worth about 30 bonus EP per floor in the land of many spiders (less if you have a high Dodge or counterattack-reduction), and Gangster is worth about 70 EP per floor assuming you disenchant everything you steal that isn’t immediately useful.
More than that, though, Gangster allows you to steal from the Maze’s special shops, which means free Seeds of Black Thorn. But wait, there’s even more! If you manage to score Gangster’s special “six star steal” on one of the special shops, you get access to a two-item set — Bucket and Ragged Suit — that give you +15% damage reduction, +20% damage vs. plants, +50 HP, and -5% Dodge (which, again, is good in letting you get counterattacked by Spiders more often). Reducing boss damage by 20% (15% from the Bucket and 5% from your “I just got poisoned” buff) is a big deal, so it’s worth pursuing.
Linkball 2: Mage or Magic Boy — Mage if you’re worried that the run will need to go long, Magic Boy if you’re willing to s/l 30 a few times at F60 if the Sunflower Seed hasn’t shown up by then. Either way the idea here is to make sure that the auto-nukes you’ll be proccing everywhere are relevant and stay that way. Mage by critting lots, and Magic Boy by making it easy to use all that bonus EP to level up your Magic use.
Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — You want that Magic Bandit set, but first, you really want to get Farplane Ranger so that the moment you encounter the Evil Queen’s corpse, you will do double damage to everything you punch from that point forward. Then get the rest of the Bandit set.
Melee Title: Knight of Faith –> Titan Knight — With the Boots of Titanosaur equipped (at +6), you can dump ~5500 EP into six stars’ worth of “trigger more Earth Spike,” with the end result of getting an Earth Spike to trigger on 35% of all your attacks. That’s pure gold!
Magic Title: Earth Master (ok, fine Legendary Mage (Earth)) — You’ll probably get your Sunflower fragments before you need to take Legendary Mage, but it’s there for you just in case.
Artifact: Boots of Titanosaur — Raising the proc rate on Earth Spike from 20% to 35% is huge, and while the Dodge buff is slightly counter-synergetic with Toxin Transfer, it’s acceptable.
Potion: Plant Potion — Because you don’t really need a potion, and 10 seeds is good, and you already have dozens of them from popping sheep on the world map.
The Rundown: As mentioned above, start by one-starring your way to Farplane Ranger to get the Evil Queen’s Soul, then back out to finish Magic Bandit. After you have that, one-star your way all the way up to Titan Knight, and take all six stars that give +trigger%. Once you have 35% chance to trigger Earth Spike, go up the Magic ladder, with three stars of Magic Apprentice, then one star each of Black Mage, Conjurer, and all three stars of Earth Master. Then go back and take all three stars of +effect to Earth Spike. After that, it’s all you — I never had to go much farther before finishing up Sunflower. (One time, when I had to go do F70 because I didn’t want to s/l30, I took two stars of Farplane Ranger so that I could kill the boss’ mushrooms with Nether Wicks.)
In terms of strategy, the idea is to get Sunflower at F60 at the latest (you can get it from any boss), then as soon as you have both Sunflower and a PoE, use the PoE — there’s no reason to go deeper than you have to when collecting seeds. Use Blackmail on every shop, and disenchant absolutely everything you steal unless it’s immediately useful. You want the EP.
The floor tactics are fairly complex, because you want to maximize your Toxin Transfers. So reveal enemies, and if they’re NOT a Spider, Wallnut, or the first Lizard, kill them immediately. Ideally, you’ll be able to set up a situation where you get 1+ Spiders, 1+Wallnuts, and 1 Lizard. Then, you basically attack the Spider as many times as possible to get as many Toxin Transfers out of it as you can.
The Boss is fun! Killing one of his precious little mushroom sidekicks gives you Toxin Transfer, so +10% Attack and Power and +5% damage reduction. Plus, there’s a decent chance that you’ll trigger Earth Spike and hurt the Boss and two other mushrooms. Then you can take out the mushroom in the opposite corner, and if you get lucky with a second Earth Spike, they’ll all be dead.
Generally speaking, I killed the Bosses primarily with punching, which means I focused on taking out the left two Mushrooms first. Then a Gravity to deal some solid damage and keep him from counterattacking, then punch face for a while, maybe hitting a Stoneskin if he was going to successfully attack me a second time.
I’ve taken this run a few times now, and I’m actually looking forward to the Ghost Captain statue because I’ll have an excuse to take Cyborg into Pirate Island. (Thanks for the idea, Frank G.!) Here’s hoping I can find something totally different and still totally awesome to do with Cyborg there. 🙂