A Pretty Darn Speedrunny Abyss Farming Run

Maze: Saint’s Tower

Purpose: Get the last 20 shards I need to start my Prince statue.

Mainball: Vampire Hunter — Originally I was going for the whole ‘never get counterattacked’ shtick. In detail: 20% from Novice Warrior, 15% from Great Swordsmith (Crucible), 20% from Vampire Hunter’s Cloak, 20% from Crystal Dress+Shoes is 75% no-counterattack — plus about a 20% dodge from…something…left me only taking counterattacks 12.5% about the time.

Linkball 1: Kairo Monarch — See below.

Linkball 2: Kairo Concubine — This run only has to go to F60, because I’m more than willing to s/l 30 for half a day if it means finishing this run in a minimum amount of actual runtime. With both Kairos, I only have to actually fight my way to F18, because I start with 2 Robot Capsules and get 2 more every 3 floors — so I can spawn Cubefriends literally every floor from F19 to F60 and only ever need my massive counterattack-denial abilities when punching the boss in the face.

Venture Title: Great Swordsmith (Crucible) — Gotta get that 15% counterattack reduction, boyz.

Melee Title: Sword Dancer — Wanted to max out my Attack ’cause my pets Attack was based on mine. Was thinking Sword Sage, but never got above Sword Dancer.

Magic Title: Magic Apprentice — Just 3 stars for the purpose of spellcasting. 🙂

Artifact: Hand of Balrog — Because 50% bonus Attack (20% from Warrior Jr., 20% from Vampire Cloak, and 10% from the Hand) is a good thing. 😀

Potion: of Titans — I guess? Why not.

The Rundown — Was, like you might predict, really quick and dirty.  The only EP I spent pre-Pumpkin Carriage was on Magic Taffy. As soon as I had the Pumpkin Carriage, I also acquired Great Swordsmith (Crucible), one-starring my way there. Next I 3-starred all three ground-floor classes to get my basics covered. By then, I was on F18 and every floor became “pop a Robot Capsule, find enemies quickly, collect loot, keep moving.”

[EDIT] Right, I did do the whole ‘collect the special spells, gain +50 Atk/Pwr and +500 HP/MP’ routine right on time on F45ish. Just ’cause why wouldn’t I? [/EDIT]

On FX9, I’d spend whatever EP I had built up three-starring my way to Sword Sage (and never quite making it.) Then, I’d pop in on the Boss and kill him.

Boss Strategy:

  1. Cast Bless (or Blade of Ruin on F60).
  2. Pop a Robot Capsule.
  3. Cast one of Stoneskin (F30, F40) or Icicle (F50, F60).
  4. Punch face. (F30 dies)
  5. Punch face. (F40 dies)
  6. Switch over to Light Boss, Cast Divine Favor (F50) or Aurora Barrier (F60).
  7. Cast Divine Favor.
  8. Punch face.
  9. Switch over to Dark Boss, Punch face (F50, dies)/cast Stoneskin (F60)
  10. Punch face.
  11. Punch face. (F60 dies)

 

Did it Work? — Absolutely. If I had to do it again, I’d swap out Vampire Hunter (strictly unnecessary to fuss about counterattacks when you’ve got Cubefriends doing the munching for you) for Commando (much better Boss facepunching).  It’s not Howling, but then nothing is — but for the low low cost of spending one action at the beginning of each floor, you, too, can get a pretty damned effective speedrun to F60 for the purposes of farming just about any damn thing you please out of two linked Kairocubes.

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Getting Peter via Bloody Fortress w/Pope

So I looked around a few weeks ago and noticed two things.

  1. I still haven’t gotten Peter. I mean, I hate the SL/30 game and I flat refused to sit around for days trying to get Creator to drop his key in Arena. But then I remembered that…
  2. I got Creator like two months ago through 8 solid months of $1 and $3 purchases. Apparently I got so caught up in the Hell Frontier game that I just never looked at him. Also…
  3. There are zero guides on the entire Internet for doing a paid Peter run through Bloody Fortress. — Turns out this is wrong, my search somehow missed this guide in the Forums’ Files section (the best single G&D resource online, that Files section!)

And I thought “Hey, this is an opportunity to create something that at least a few people will probably appreciate!”  😀   So, to quote my favorite Super Mario Kart driver, “Here we go-ooo! Mwaaahahahahahahahahaaa!”

 

Maze: Bloody Fortress

Purpose: Unlock Peter and his piles o’ treasure.

Mainball: Captain — I wanted my Venture titles to be cheap, so Captain had to be the first in line.

Soul Link 1: Time Wizard — not much choice here.

Soul Link 2: Creator — See above.

Venture Title: Great Swordsmith (crucible) — I knew two things about this run: 1) it was going to be hell getting through F81-99, and 2) I was going to have facepunch my way as deep as I could to conserve spells. I couldn’t take Novice Warrior, so I really wanted that 15% counterattack reduction to  help me keep facepunching. And of course nothing gets you through a set of floor mobs quite like a 100% counterattack prevention.

Oh, also, going through Rune Master will give me 15% more Holy Bolts, which will actually matter.

Magic Title: Pope— Pope gives me double-damage, greatly-enhanced Holy Bolts — and the Key of Lore gives me 1 Holy Bolt every other floor, which means I won’t run out of ammo if I’m careful.

Artifact: Gloves of Great Swordsmith — Because yes, the 3 extra Swordsmith’s Runes are worth having an artifact you won’t use in the final 1/3rd of your run (see below).

Potion: Athena’s Tears — because you gotta.

The Rundown: The whole way down, I purchased every single ‘set item’ out of every special shop, as well as every Demon Spleen (that’s the +Power one) and most of the Demon Kidneys (+HP/MP one), and I kept a stock of ~1200 EP to keep buying those things when they showed up.

I started by one-starring my way up to Great Swordsmith (Crucible). Then I went back and filled in Rune Master right away, then Treasure Seeker so I could avoid activating monsters for as long as possible (to have plenty of things to pick up, so as to avoid flaming tiles). I grabbed all three stars of Magic Apprentice in time for the F30 boss (I might have had to buy the third star with the EP from beating the boss, my notes are unclear.)

Then it was one star in Priest, three stars in Light Master, and then Pope and all three MP stars in Pope to get the +75% to Holy Bolt. Then I backfilled Priest and Explorationist for the regeneration, took the Attack stars of Great Swordsmith because I needed to keep facepunching for a little longer, and then took the Power stars of Pope and Great Swordsmith. Then I basically just purchased whatever, whenever, and maxed out both Titles somewhere in the early F80s.

Key Management:  One of the more challenging aspects of any Peter run is remembering when to switch between Keys to maximize their effects. The three obvious ones are the Key of Sky (use immediately), the Key of Fate (use immediately), and the Key of Destruction (never equip it).

The Key of Time has an alluring trap built in, but don’t fall for it: as much as you might want to save it for late in the run to get the maximum boost out of it, don’t. Use it on F19, after doing absolutely everything you can to attain your current peak Power (primary importance) and HP (secondarily). Then equip the Key of Eternity and go into F20 to earn your free Timestill.

From then on, basically keep the Key of Lore equipped 90% of the time, swapping out the Key of Eternity in time to get your free Timestill every 20th floor. (When you use your one PoE, use it to get from just-after-a-20th-floor to go back to just-before-the-previous-20th-floor, so you get 2 extra Timestills from the deal. Timestill is your friend!)

You may also benefit from swapping over to the Key of War whenever it will give you a good chance to OHK an enemy with a facepunch. I actually wore a complete set of Giant’s stuff for a good portion of the middle of the maze to get the 33% chance to double damage plus, when needed, the 50% from Key of War for a solid 83% ‘crit chance’, which let me continue to play Mostly One Punch Man well into the mid-F60s, and Two Punch Man until the mid-F70s.

By that time, I had 8 Timestills and 104 Holy Bolts, and 12 Swordsmith’s Runes — which means I could mostly-freely-facepunch (Bolting down only distant Ranged mobs) my way through F87-F99. So I only had like ~15 floors worth of floor mobs and 3 Bosses I had to kill with magical might. In other words, Key Management is a super-critical part of the success of this run, as it provides like 50% of all the resources you need to make it through the difficult part! Another 20% comes from your Titles…

Faith Management: …And here’s the last 30%. 🙂 It’s crucial to get the +100% to damage spells (and all of the other bennies) from maxing out all 5 Faiths, which means you have to start intelligently to get lots of set items quickly.

Step 1: Every time you reach a Lich or Beholder (Eye Tyrant) statue and you have at least one full set*, sacrifice every full set you have to that statue. Continue until the Lich is level 8 and the Beholder is level 11. Then sacrifice exclusively to the Fire of Wisdom until it’s level 10. Equip the Torch (yes, giving up your Gloves of the Swordsmith!)

Go back to sacrificing exclusively to Lich and Beholder until Lich is level 18 and Beholder is level 19. Unequip the Torch and get your sweet Gloves back, you’ll need the stats by now. Then max out both Lich and Beholder for the items.

Now, start doing the same “sacrifice whenever you reach X statue and have stuff” with both Fire and the Knight, because you’ll need the +Attack bonus about now but you’ll also need to start mitigating the Manticore’s Roar ability, as it’s the one thing that is genuinely run-endingly powerful if left alone.

Once you max out Fire, feed either Knight or Victoria as you have stuff handy — you’ll be happy to have the HP and the -Spell Forbidden Effect from Victoria, but you’ll also need to keep your Attack up in order to continue facepunching.

* – Also, sacrifice Mephisto’s Soul Gem because it sucks and Demon Hunter’s Blade because you can’t do anything else with it anyway. And if you’re close to making an important level, go ahead and sacrifice any normal equipment you’re not using — it’s better used for Faith than being disenchanted for EP, as you’ll end the run with more EP than you know what to do with anyway.

Floor Strategy: Open as many non-enemy tiles as possible, leaving all the stuff sitting on the ground so that you can pick up 5 items to end Burning Tiles efficiently if needed. Then, if Captain’s ability is active, reveal an enemy, see how many of the missiles it will take to kill it, and if you’ll have missiles left over, reveal another enemy. Once all three missiles are ‘assigned,’ set the ability off.

Once that’s done, or if the ability isn’t active in the first place, just open one enemy and kill it before you open another. If it’s a Spiky Skeleton, you can choose to ‘kill it’ by grabbing some floor items and sucking the damage (or mitigating it with Curse, Ice Shield, or Stoneskin), or by hitting it with nukes (not Holy Bolts unless you can kill two with a single casting via Pope-iness.)

Boss Strategy: Punch down F30. Holy Bolt F40. Holy Bolt and Icicle F50. Starting with F60, use Electrostatic Field when you’re going to use Icicle, and Electrostatic Field+Disrupting Ray when you’re going to Timestill instead. Use one Timestill on F70, two on F80, three on F90, and as many as you need on F100, ’cause you’re done once you beat that big beast.   If you play your spells right, you should literally never see the Boss’ attack animation through the entire run.

Is It Worth the Effort? HELL YES. Getting through the Gate of Creation is pretty sweet — 100 Gems, a crapload of coins and Relic Fragments, and of course Peter. You also get a metric sh!t-tonne of in-maze bonus stuff that would make it relatively easy to bust through another 20 or 30 floors…but who cares? Once you get Peter and his Gems, get the hell out of there!

Peter comes into the game at 5 stars, which is a huge boost to most Ranger’s Song airships right off the bat, and his Exclusive Skill is basically a big pile of Nether Wicks on a stick, which is a great if unusual pairing with Flagellant’s big pile of “kill the sh!t out of any one boss” on a stick, as the two together can make short work of any dungeon’s F91-F100 for easy Boss Prize hunting down the road. 🙂

By the way, if you’re actually using this guide, I’d like to personally thank you for supporting my favorite game. It’s thanks to people like you that G&D is still around for me to enjoy, and I appreciate your contributions to my play time! 🙂

 

 

Power-Farming Oasis Gems with the Hand of Balrog

Maze: Desert Oasis

Purpose: Getting some Gems from Genie’s Lamp (and also the Divine Dragon if I can manage.)

Mainball: Nobunaga — you’ll see.

Soul Link 1: Archaeologist — The Hand of Balrog is an artifact that grants +5 Attack, +10% Attack, and +100 HP. Archaeologist increases that by 250%, meaning +17.5 Attack, +35% Attack, and +350 HP (which in turn grants you another 23.333 attack via Nobunaga). 23.33+17.5=40.833, *1.35= roughly 55 points of Attack just for equipping that one item. Not counting any further multiplication of any other points of Attack you may have. That’s some insane offense and some insane survivability for a pretty simple combo!

Soul Link 2: Zeroes — There are two basic ways to think about having a stupid high Attack. The first is “how can I make it stupid higher so that I can facepunch F80 mobs to death?” The second is “how can I turn this into a tool that will kick ass and take names?” In Desert Oasis, the major threats are Cacti and Scorpions, which you really don’t want to facepunch — Zeroes lets you kill them by punching stuff next to them, and is unique in that he’s the only AoE facepuncher (i.e. he doesn’t use or even care about your Power) in the game, making him a great pairing with the Archeolrog.

Venture Title: Great Swordsman (Crucible) — When everything you want to do involves facepunching, dropping your “getting counterattacked” rate from 80% to 66% is a pretty important survival mechanism. Also, going through Rune Master means more cheap nukes to take out those Cacti that don’t get dropped by Zeroes’ special ability. On a deep run, I’d’ve used the Swordsman Runes to laugh my way through floors 91-99. 🙂

Melee Title: Knight — Yep, didn’t get any farther than this.  If I was to go deeper, I would have taken this up and around to Fighter for Boss-killing into deeper floors.

Magic Title: Magic Apprentice — Ditto.  If I were taking this run down all the way, I totally would have taken this to Light Bishop for the extra points of Attack and the ability to stay alive, and gone through Water Master just to make sure I had enough Icicles.

Artifact: Hand of Balrog — It’s the Hokey Pokey of this run. It is what it’s all about!

Potion: Aladdin’s Lamp Oil — 100 HP means a few more Attack from Nobunaga, and the Golden Lamp Oil is appreciated as well.

The Rundown: I started by getting three stars in all three base Titles just for the general utility. Then I one-starred out to Great Swordsman (crucible) first, to get that sweet 35% total counterattack reduction, then filled in Rune Master for the extra low-level nukes so as to take out any annoying Cacti that didn’t die to Daybreak Cannon.

Then I took three stars of Knight, filled in Explorer and Weapon Master because why not, and…ended the run on F60 with 3 Holy Oil without even paying attention.

I also purchased literally every Lamp Oil, Flag of Sudan, and Persian Powder that came up in the Camel Store, which was probably 20-30% of my total EP spend.

Floor Strategy: Uncover all the enemies you can, and punch the one with the lowest Attack (not including Cacti or Scorpions), hoping Daybreak Cannon will kill the rest. Repeat until you’re out of enemies, pausing to either nuke or Persian Powder down any Cacti that you don’t kill with Daybreak Cannon.

Boss Strategy: Punch it in the face. Over and over. If you get below half health, hit the thing with Icicle instead of facepunching when it’s counter is one, and keep punching. I killed the F30, 40, and 50 Bosses w/o Icicle, because 350 bonus HP + 30% from Knight is enough HP that if you start a fight with full HP, it takes more than a few Boss attacks to get you below half.

How Good Is Archeolrog? This is just one run out of several that I took testing the basic Archaeologist (mostly + Nobunaga) + Hand of Balrog combo — I chose this one to write up because I really liked Zeroes as the third member of the party. I tried many other third members, from Puppeteer (which was also pretty strong, but really missed the Melee titles to add more Attack and HP to accelerate the combo) to Great Guardian to Commander and more, but Zeroes was the one that really turned the combo from ‘strong’ to ‘never felt even mildly threatened by anything,’ which is what I really want from a Power Farming team. I could handily have taken this team to F80 without getting genuinely threatened.

 

Extra Lesson Learned: I’ve played quite a bit of Machine Herald, Black and White Queen, and other significant percentage-to-Attack bonuses, and somehow I never really noticed this until testing Archaeolrog: percentage based bonuses to stats aren’t really super amazing unless you also get a sizable static numerical bonus to the same stat.

This is why Machine Herald is actually less powerful in most circumstances than Blacksmith — because a 50% Attack bonus is generally smaller than a static bonus of +30 followed by a 15% Attack bonus. (In fact, in order to get a bigger bonus from Machine Herald than Blacksmith, you have to have a base Attack of 99 before you count either bonus. That’s not a super-easy number to reach!)

So a big part of the combo’s power isn’t just the 35% Attack bonus, it’s the additional 17+ points of numerical Attack bonus you get that gets added before the 35% bonus is applied. You have to get your base Attack up to 158 in order to get a higher bonus from Machine Herald than you do from Archaeolrog. That’s not just challenging, it’s near-impossible. Especially given that Canas’ Enlightenment has basically zero Gumball-based Attack bonuses. (And that’s not counting the effects of Nobunaga!)

But wait! Let’s put an artifact in on Canas’ side, too. If you take the +11 Attack from Gloves of Dark Arbiter and add it to Machine Herald’s side, you only need a base Attack of 48 to get better results from Machine Herald than Archaeolrog. Which you can probably totally get to…but then you have to compensate for a missing 350 HP, too. :p

In short, Archaeolrog is, mathematically, the strongest Attack bonus you can get on F1 of any maze right now, and it actually keeps up quite nicely as you go down, only starting to really lose out once you reach triple digits, and then only to teams that have “grow as you go” abilities like High Priest+Monkey King+Blacksmith or Nobunaga+Saladin+Crusader. And it comes with three hundred and fifty freaking HP

All of those other “front-end power” gumballs like Nalakuvara and Pharmacist can suck it.

 

Wait…Nalakuvara is Ranger’s Song…and offers a significant static numerical Attack bonus and a higher percentage Attack bonus…

…   …   …

Sorry, got more testing to do, be back soon!

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.

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…

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!

Honor Questing in Saint’s Tower w/ Ranger Song

Maze: Saint’s Tower — Because it’s easy to get to F100 when you have +50 Atk and Pwr and +500 HP and MP. Also, the Workshops here let you level up Elemental Suits, and you can Steal parts of the Light and Dark suits here, so it’s the place to go if you need a Dark and/or Light suit for Honor Questing.

Purpose: To get the Honor Quests ‘Take a Ranger Song team to F100,’ ‘Obtain the Dark Suit,’ ‘max out Great Swordsman,’ and ‘max out Pope.’

Main Gumball: Divine Dragon — I knew I was going Pope for the XP, and I figured that would take me through Light Master, so the free Divine Favors from the Dragon would be super useful. Also, the 20% boost to MP from Primary Dragon would add to the value of Magic Toffee.

Soul Link 1: Lionheart King — Because if you’re going to have Dragon titles tacked on to your usual set, you might as well make them cheap. Also, this makes the XP quest for Great Swordsman 30% less annoying. 🙂

Soul Link 2: Kaito — Because I’m planning on stealing the parts of the Dark Suit from the mobs in Saint’s Tower.

Magic Title: Priest –> Light Master –> Pope — For the XP! Also, this will make it much easier to nuke down the boss in his Dark phase.

Melee Title: Knight of Faith –> Armored Knight –> Light Paladin — Because I want those Divine Favors to achieve maximum value, and getting a bunch more doesn’t hurt, either.

Venture Title: Rune Master –> Weapon Master –> Great Swordsmith — 15% more Holy Bolts sounds like winning, the 15% Counterattack Prevention stacks neatly with the Crystal Shoes and Crystal Dress, and Swordsmith’s Runes read “beat one floor free of charge,” so 9 of them will get me from F91 to F100 easy-peasy. (Actually, one floor I did punch enemies in the face for so long that the dungeon nearly collapsed on me…got out on my 98th turn!)

Dragon Title: Medium Dragon Bloodline — Because I had them, and I had the EP to buy them. 🙂

Artifact: Ring of Great Enchanter — Not useful for my classes, but between the treasures of Saint’s Tower and the pieces of the Dark Suit, I was limited to choosing between Rings and Gloves, and I wanted to get plenty of Power but also recognized that a little Attack is vital for punching your way past the early game.

Potion: Mixture of Light and Dark — Because it’s the only way to eke any more utility out of those Divine Favors and also Pope.

Other Gear: I used the Crystal Shoes and Crystal Dress to reduce enemy counterattacks so that I could keep punching faces for as long as possible, for to conserve spells. I did successfully build the Dark Suit, but ended up discarding everything but the Voodoo Cloak, which I kept because it’s one of the few ways to get Power (instead of MP) out of the Cloak slot. I also wore the Magic Boy’s Glasses for the same reason.

I ended up carrying around a Dark Book as treasure, and swapping it out for a Skullcap Wand whenever I had to heal myself (15% healing magic boost FTW). I also swapped out my Voodoo Cloak for an Oracle’s Cape when it came time to kill bosses, and my artifact ring for a Ring of Faith whenever I had to heal myself.

The Run-Down: I basically facepunched everything from F1-F59 (except the boss). Even with my miserably low Attack, I forced my way through in melee, relying on massive counterattack reduction and the fact that Divine Favor basically took me from single-digit HP to near full in a single cast. Then, I cast my one PoE to go back 27 floors because I didn’t quite feel ready for the F60 boss. Looking back, I have no idea why I felt that way because the bosses were the easiest part of this run by far. Getting +100% effect Holy Bolts (+75% from Pope and +25% from Oracle’s Cape) that double-cast themselves (thanks Pope) meant that the F30, F40, and F50 bosses dropped before they could take an action, and the F60 and F70 bosses dropped before they could take two actions. 🙂

It was F49 that I realized I had gotten level 5 in all four of Saint’s Towers custom buffing spells, and I had 7 Magic Toffees, so it was time. I cast 10x “Give me 50 MP,” used a couple of Toffees, cast 10x “Give me 5 Power,” used a couple of Toffees, cast 10x “Give me 50 HP,” used a couple of Toffees, cast 10x “Give me 5 Attack,” used a single Toffee, and moved on to kill the F50 boss with a smile in my heart.

Title-wise, I drove straight to Pope, then backfilled Magic Apprentice and Light Master. Then I took 3 stars of Novice Warrior, one star of Knight, Knight of Faith, and Armored Knight, and then backfilled Knight of Faith for more Power. Then I took one star each of Fortune Finder and Explorationist, all three stars of Rune Master (for more Holy Bolts!), one star of Weapon Master, and one star in Great Swordsmith. Then I filled in ALL of the Dragon Titles, went back to obtain every point of HP that I could from everywhere before taking Light Paladin, went back to obtain every point of Power that I could, and finally just filled in everything else pretty randomly. I maxxed out my Titles completely around F92.

Once I got below F60, I started using the Roar spells to snipe off ranged attackers, and facepunched the melee attackers until F81. Burned through about half my enormous backstock of Divine Favors (yes, I refilled my 1200+ HP more than once per floor on average!) Then I used the Roar spells to kill basically everything until F91. 10 MP to cast a spell doesn’t mean sh!t when you’ve got 1500 MP. Literally made up all the MP with a single Magic Toffee on F89. 😀

F91-99, as mentioned, fell like wheat to a series of 9 straight Swordsman’s Runes. The only danger was nearly collapsing the dungeon on myself killing a pair of 1200-HP Rock Golems with attacks that were dealing 27 damage each.

The bosses dropped easily to a basic run of Electrostatic Field, Disrupting Ray, and endless Holy Bolts until F80. The F80 boss I had to futz around a little with an Aurora Barrier and a couple of Icicles. The F90 boss was a genuine pain in the ass, requiring multiple switches back and forth between nuking the Dark-side boss with Holy Bolts, then switching to the Light side for a Divine Favor (which at this point was an automatic trip to full life), another Electrostatic Field, and another Disrupting Ray, then a switch back to the Dark Side. Also several Stoneskins and a couple more Aurora Barriers.

Oh, and Timestill. I Timestilled the F80 boss once and the F90 boss twice. It’s crucial to know that Timestill prevents the boss’s “hurt you badly” aura from going off, so it’s a clutch tool for ekeing out the last three Holy Bolts when you’re about to die.

I quit when I reached the F100 boss. I’m 100% sure I could have beaten him if I had devoted 15 minutes to it, but I had accomplished all four of the Honor Quests I started out to achieve…and besides, I had a dungeon in the brand-new Elemental Event go to clear out before it reset. 🙂

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. 🙂

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….!

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!  😀 😀 😀