The Key to Real Ultimate Power? Future Cat + Key of War

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: To see if I really did stumble upon an easy, consistent way to out-and-out double my damage output at the tiny cost of one million gold (reduced to 600k by Pharmacist, but, you know, close enough) and figure out whether or not that was awesome. Also, get some Satan’s Son frags and some Hand of Balrog frags along the way.

Mainball: Future Cat — The idea here started when I stared for a long time at the Immortal Blade (a Hell Frontier item that gives a 20% chance to deal double damage) and wondered just how high I could get my “% to deal double damage.” A few dives into the wiki later, and I had my answer: I could handily reach 100% chance to deal double damage…for the first 15 turns of each floor. All I needed was the entire Future Cat set (which includes Machamp Gloves, which give a buff of +50% to deal double damage for 10 or 15 turns), and the Key of War, which gives a straight up 50% chance to deal double damage forever. Between the two, double damage was guaranteed!

Linkball 1: Machine Herald — Because why would you go for anything less than all the Attack cheese?

Linkball 2: Cytus — Two reasons here. First, Timestill Cytus is the be-all and end-all of Boss destruction, and I was going full Timestill. Because no matter how big your Attack, you need some way of keeping the Boss from Counterattacking, and at the lower levels, you need more time to punch face regardless.

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (Lantern) — It’s annoying that Hell Frontier basically forces you to take this, at least if you want to farm Hand of Balrog frags, which I do.

Melee Title: Fighter (Sword Master) — If I were going for a super deep run, I’d’ve taken Sword Sage instead, but since my gravestone was at F66, I didn’t really need the extra damage for floor mobs, so Fighter was the more obvious choice.

Magic Title: Legendary Mage (Air) — Because how else are you going to guarantee three — I mean six — Timestills other than Legendary Mage? Also, more rounds is gooder!

Artifact: Necklace of Legendary Mage — Because Timestills, bitch.

Potion: Potion of Evil Dragon — Because between Machine Herald and the Doubling Combo, every +1 attack turns into +3 damage, and +15 damage per strike is a hella good potion. And it comes with HP, and further (if minor) damage multiplication. What’s not to love?

Crystal Use:

  • All (and first): Getting Demon Gift Box.
  • Fire: Acquiring Hand of Balrog frags, making the Doomsday Blade worth disenchanting.
  • Water: Acquiring Toilet Fruit, summoning Healing Pets.
  • Earth: Acquiring Destroy, then dropped into Crystal Core to work toward the big stat buff at the end.
  • Air: Summoning pets if I didn’t need healing. Eventually dropped into Crystal Core out of boredom.
  • Light: Acquiring Hand of Balrog, then Dim Matrix. ALL the Attack, plzkthxbai.
  • Dark: Acquiring Hand of Balrog, keeping Angels from resurrecting, learning Lightless Shield.

The Rundown: I one-starred up to FPR(l) on F1 for the solz, maxed out Explorer by F3, Magic Bandit by F7, then I did nothing except work my way, star by star, up the Melee chain from Novice Warrior to Sword Master. Once I had done that, I started buying items for the Hand of Balrog and spending any spare on one-starring from White Mage to Legendary Mage, then getting +3 rounds to all my sh!t and one extra Timestill for the giggles.

Then it was backfilling time. Apprentice Mage, then Air Master, then Priest, then Night Walker (for the Power), then the Attack stars from Farplane Ranger, then the Power stars from Farplane Ranger and Legendary Mage.

Then I had to decide whether to hold off on taking my 5th-tier Melee Title because I wanted Sword Sage, or take it now and take Fighter. I was on F59 and my gravestone was on F66, so since I didn’t have to actually worry about fighting big, deep floor mobs, I took Fighter. After getting my Satan’s Son frags, I PoEd back to F36. Finished my Hand of Balrog on F41, suicided myself into a pack of Stronghold Angels on F44, and the deed was done.

Was It Worth It?: Kinda. I mean seriously, I facepunched the F60 boss to death with an Attack of 240-something, +65% from Fighter, x2 was ~750 damage per punch for the first 15 turns. Obviously, I didn’t need all of them. That said, the real problem was that it only lasts for the first 15 turns, and even though I didn’t go that deep, I can tell you that’s flat out not enough sustainability to last past F80 or so. Which kind of makes it less worth it than I would like.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept is amazing for short and mid-length runs — but do you want to spend a million gold on a midlength run? Probably not. 😀

 

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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!

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. 🙂