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!