TEK with No Howling?!? – The Trip to F170 of Gods’ Chessboard

Maze: Gods’ Chessboard

Purpose: DP questing, Boss Quest, and experimenting with a few mechanics I haven’t played with before. Specifically Ferocious.

Mainball: Cytus – TEK + Cytus combines to produce a buff of +5 Attack and +50 HP to all summoned creatures every 3rd floor or so, as long as you keep killing mobs. Generally, this is hampered quite a bit by summoning Howling, which is why we’re not summoning Howling. Also, Timestill Cytus is the answer to Bosses for a very long time. No pun intended. If that was even a pun. I can’t tell.

Linkball 1: Three-Eye King – The sweet thing about Skyeye is that, if your Attack is high enough, you can get most or all of your entire Energy spend back by killing mobs with it. So your only real limit on using the Cytus trick is Cytus’ energy, not TEK’s.

Linkball 2: Future Cat – For a few reasons. I wanted the Time Machine, I wanted the piles of spare Statues you get from each Dimension Door, I wanted the ‘enemies don’t block tiles’ from wearing the Future Technology set (so I could get Skyeye efficiency), and I wanted the Timestill-casting items.

 

Magic Title: Planar Prophet – The goal is to build up the largest possible pile of Statues so that I can max out the Book, customize my set of Powers, and then still have Statues left over to execute my late-game plan.

Melee Title: Light Paladin – Having a boatload of HP (and the long-range damage reduction) makes doing deep pretty easy if you have something else — say, a huge supply of high-damage pets — that is doing the killing.

Venture Title: Holy Rune Master – 9 more Timestills (made easy b/c Cytus poops Chain Lightning, the other necessary ingredient for crafting Timestills) (turned into 18 more Timestills because Cytus is Cytus) (plus a big pile of bonus low-level buff spells for survival in the deep floors)? Yes, please!

Dragon Title: Demonized Dragon – For the Spell Resistance Penetration, mostly, though the added +100% Chain Lightning damage was sweet, given Cytus poops Chain Lightnings.

Mechanical Title: Interstellar Defender – Because that’s as far as Cytus can get down that Title chain. 🙂

 

Artifact: Boots of Planar Prophet – More floors!

Potion: Evil God’s Nostrum – Saves a massive pile of Statues if you’re willing to wait until F80 or so to use it.

 

Other Important Items: I happened upon 3 parts of the Dragon Scale set by F70, so I stopped at the next Blast Furnace and threw Knight Statues into it until I got the fourth piece. Also got an Eternal Set just purely by accident while tossing Amber Statues to try to get more God’s Scrolls for the DP quest. Also, of course, the Ring of Inhibition is 100% necessary.

Statue Strategy: I saved all my statues until I had nearly 200 of each on F80-something. Then I drank my Evil God’s Nostrum and immediately maxxed out all my Book abilities, ending up with about 60 of each statue left over (not counting Amber, which I didn’t use at all except to try to get God’s Scrolls). I had set up my Book for spellcasting across my previous runs, and specifically obtained 2 different +Lightning% abilities, 2 different %-to-cast-Lightning-on-attacking abilities, a +Timestill% ability, and an Amber ability that gave me, at level 20, a phenomenal +40% to all spells.

I summoned Ferocious on F99, after filling a floor with other summoned statues. I hadn’t ever summoned Ferocious before, and I assumed that by “consume all other statues,” it would gain the stats of all those statues, which would be magnificent given that all of those statues had like +200 Atk and +2000 HP from all my CyTEKing. It didn’t. Don’t make my mistake! All you need to do is summon 1 of each statue and Ferocious will be as strong as it gets. I’m pretty sure. (Which is still pretty strong, BTW. It survived until F108, which isn’t bad at all.)

 

The Rundown:  I maxxed out Planar Prophet and every other Magic star first (using the Time Machine on F31 to start over), then three-starred Melee up to max Knight of Faith for the extra Power. I got one star each of Fortune Finder, Explorationist, and Rune Master before my first PoE from F59 to F7.

Then I took the other two star of Rune Master for the extra low-level spells, one star of Royal Rune Master, and Holy Rune Master and all three of its Power stars. Around this point, I got a Wish and obtained Dragon Titles. After backfilling Fortune Finder and taking one star each of the Mechanical Titles, i PoEd again from F59 to F4.

Then I filled in the Mechanical Titles and backfilled the Venture Titles before three-starring Heavy Armor Knight. At that point, I saved up enough spare EP to take Light Paladin when I was low on HP and left it alone. With everything else full, I started up the Dragon Titles and three-starred everything step by step to Demonized Dragon. Around F130, I used Light Paladin for HP, but maxxed out Demonized Dragon before maxxing out Light Paladin around F140.  After that, I just purchased every statue I found, ’cause duh.

 

Floor Strategy: Broken into four basic stages.

  • Pre-Future Technology Set: Tap tap tap, reveal an enemy, kill it, keep tapping.
  • W/ Future Tech, Until about F70: As above unless TEK is charged up. Then, instead, reveal everything and kill w/Skyeye. If necessary, cast Bless to empower Skyeye enough to finish everything off at once.  At that point, my Attack was low enough that I had to switch suits.
  • W/Dragon Scale Suit, Until about F110: Back to tap tap kill, but use Skyeye to hurt and get the mild Disrupting Ray effect on any Queens or other extra-big-HP mobs you come across so that you can kill them efficiently.
  • Back to Future Tech, past F110: Summon (floor – 100)/10 Statues, then tap around to reveal one mob, tap other stuff until the Statues kill it, reveal a new mob, etc. Save the Tower for floors with 3+ Ranged units and the Bishop for floors when you’re running low on HP.

 

Boss Strategy: With Cytus and a sh!tload of Timestills, you can basically go without ever getting attacked until you get so deep that the Boss’ “You can’t cast 5th level spells once the boss is below 20% MaxHP” feature kicks in — and even then, you can make it through another 20 or 30 floors with the power of Hex.  I died on F170 not because of lack of Timestill, but because of lack of Hex.

Even then, you can still survive a lot of hits by summoning a Tower and using Stoneskin, as they stack nicely. What finally actually got me, ironically, was the Boss’ randomized special effect, one of which eats a sh!tload of MP per turn. I haven’t died of a lack of MP since I was DP questing in Bloody Fortress, so that was different, which I choose to interpret as fun. 😀

 

All told, this run was damn fun, even if it was a little tedious by the end. I don’t like to go super-generic power team all that often, but God’s Chessboard’s statue-summoning mechanic makes this one so obvious that I had to run with it…and it was well worth it. 🙂

 

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OMG Cytus is the Coolest Gumball EVER

Maze: Hell Frontier

Purpose: DP Questing. I have one Abyss Demon to resurrect, one item to craft in the Alchemist’s Array, one Corpse Flower to transplant, three Gumballs to summon, and one Light of Corruption to max out. I’m hoping to get all but the last one done in this run. Oh, and if I can farm some Satan’s Son and/or Hand of Balrog fragments along the way, so much the better. Got a Legacy at F70, so it’s definitely a might-do. :p

Mainball: Sunflower — Gotta have a Plant to do the Corpse Flower, and I wanted to test at least two different Active abilities’ interactions with Cytus (see below). I’d previously tried World Tree and established that it doesn’t work with Cytus because even though it has a little circle and a counter, it’s not Active b/c it triggers automatically when the little circle fills up. So, Sunflower it is.

Linkball 1: Three Eye King — Canas, check. Melee type, check. Active ability, check. Bork as furk, check. I’ve hit the quatrafecta!

Linkball 2: Cytus — One of the new Rayark gumballs, Cytus has an Exclusive Skill that creates “Memories.” Each Memory is either:

  1. Cytus’ Memory of the most recent spell you cast (excluding PoE), or
  2. The Memory of one of your other Gumballs, which you get when you use their Active skill and then follow it up with Cytus’ Memory Specimen ability.

In this case, the three non-Spell memories I had access to were:

  1. Sunflower’s Memory, which grants +3% to Light spells and a 3% discount on Photosynthesis (max 15%),
  2. Three Eye King’s Memory, which gives all of your currently-summoned creatures +50 HP and +5 Attack, and
  3. Divine Dragon’s Memory (’cause I got Dragon Magic), which gives you +1 Attack and your next 5 attacks proc Dragon’s Claw (in other words, they deal triple damage.) Unfortunately, this does not stack with any other buff, but still…nice!

Venture Title: Farplane Ranger (lantern) — Because of the next two Titles. I’ll explain at the end. 🙂

Magic Title: Pope — Almost there…

Melee Title: Light Arbiter — OK, so check this out. Farplane Ranger, in Hell Frontier, gives access to a small selection of Complete Souls. This includes:

  • Complete Adventurer’s Soul, giving some EP,
  • Complete Beast Soul (hard to find!), giving +1 Attack,
  • Complete Mage Soul, giving +1 Power,
  • Complete Angel soul, giving +1% to Light magic, and
  • Complete Demon soul, giving +1% to damage spells.

As you can see, 60% of those souls add directly to the concept of “damage from Light spells”. I actually didn’t know what Sunflower’s Memory did when I started the run, but it turned out to play directly into my plan. 🙂

So Pope is unique in that it doesn’t just double your damage, it also doubles all your other modifiers to your Light damage spells. So with +75% to Holy Bolt from Pope, +75% to Holy Bolt from Light Arbiter, +60% to Light Magic from Light Master, and another let’s say +10% to Damage spells and +40% to Light spells (from Angel’s souls and Sunflower’s Memories), my Holy Bolts were dealing more than 3.5x their normal damage…twice. That’s like collecting enough bonuses to reach +600% on your spells!

Yeah, that’s worth doing. 🙂

Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — Honestly, the extra bennies from Pope and Light Bishop aren’t that great, and I want to make a lot of Sunshine, so getting the steepest discount I can on Titles is going to be a good idea.

Potion: Sunlight Potion — Getting the steepest discount I can on Sunshine is also a good idea. (Again, I didn’t know what Sunflower’s Memory did going into this, so this worked out very well for me. 🙂 )

The Rundown: I of course one-starred my way to Farplane Ranger (Lantern) on F1 before collecting the first corpse. Then I did an experimental Sunlight to see how Cytus worked, thinking because of the way the ability reads that I’d get two Sunlight for the price of one. Not what happened, but getting Sunflower’s Memory was pretty sweet anyway.

After that I one-starred my way up to Pope, backfilled Light Master, then one-starred my way up to Light Arbiter, pausing every time that I maxed out Cytus’ Energy to create a Sunlight and then a Sunflower’s Memory, until I had made 5 Sunflower’s Memory and thus obtained my maxium (30% total) discount on Sunlights.

From there, I basically sought out and obtained every point of Power I could find: Knight of the Faith, Oracle, the Power stars from all three of my Tier-5 titles…everything. And around the time I had done that, I also got to my F70 Legacy (having taken a peculiarly long Infernal Portal from F56 back to F32 along the way, disproving my theory that the Portals are always 20 floors long.)

At my Legacy, I dumped 50 of each Crystal to get Demon’s Gift Box so I could get some Satan’s Son frags, and got access to the Demon Title along the way. It so happens that the ‘magic side’ of the last level of the Demon Title has two sets of +3 Power stars in it, and I Demoned up until I had all that, activating my cute little Mini-Demon Pal on F73. (Each of the three Demons lasts 9 floors, and the last floor I might need to visit would be F101, so starting on 73 meant I’d keep the bonus for as long as I could possibly need.)

Once I had ALL the power, I went back and took more Knight for the HP, and had time to max out the 4th tier of Demon before I got to the end of my run.

Somewhere around F50, I got my first and only Dragon Wish of the run, which I used to get Dragon Magic, because Cytus testing. I didn’t use it much once I saw that the Divine Dragon’s Memory was basically “hit real hard five times” in the form of a buff that didn’t stack with Blade of Ruin and was therefore dead to me.

I had a total brain fart at the F60 Boss and seriously forgot that I was doing the whole Pope’s Killer Holy Bolts shenanigan, and had to panic-summon Howling in order to kill the boss before he did his 9-layer instagib on me. He made it a quick trip from F60 until about F85 where he died horribly.

Somewhere around F75, I finally got the ingredients together to form the Hand of Balrog, so that happened, and with it, my crafting DP quest. Coincidentally, on the same floor, I summoned my final Gumball in the form of one Frost Queen.

Finally, from Howling’s death onward, it got real. I had a huge pool of HP from lots and lots of Sunlight and Knight, but I didn’t have all that many spells saved up because I honestly didn’t expect the run to go as long as it did. Freaking Corpse Flower literally didn’t show up until F101.

Floor Strategy: Pre-Howling: Open one enemy at a time, punch it to death. Summon Water Elementals constantly to keep HP full. Howling: Let Howling eat absolutely everything. Occasionally Curse an Angel to keep it from hurting me too much before Howling ate it. (I did, of course, activate the “No Angel Resurrection” side of Azazel’s Statue when it showed up.)

Post-Howling: Open up as many enemies as possible, killing any Angels and Ghosts as soon as they’re spotted with big nukes. Once max visible enemies are visible, SkyEye and Death Ripple or Fist of Justice or Chain Lightning, sometimes using Cytus to replicate a second copy for the kill. Around F94, I had maxed out the final level of Demon, which gives you a bunch of Implosions as well as the ability to have Implosions affect all visible enemies. So I cast Earthquake/Implosion/Implosion every floor for the auto-wins.

Boss Strategy: Electrostatic Field/Disrupting Ray/Holy Bolt until dead. Starting on F80, I discovered the orgasmic joy of Timestill Cytus.  The one big disadvantage to using Cytus during a boss fight is that it takes an action to use Cytus’ ability, then a second action to actually cast the spell, which is often a lethal consumption of time. But with Timestill, you cast it, you use one of your X turns to create a Memory of the Timestill, then you wreck face until Timestill ends, and then you cast a second Timestill from the Memory.

Oh, God. The wreckage is REAL. I was fortunate enough to have 4 Timestills going in to F80, and I still had one left when I quit on F101 after finally transplanting the damn Piranha Plant, because Cytus really IS the coolest. Gumball. EVAR!

 

80/80ing Borderlands with Future Cat

Maze: Borderlands

Purpose: Get 2 Dragonling Skulls, kill 49 enemies with Skeleton Drake, and use 21 Bone Staves. (These were the quests I had left to get 80/80 in Borderlands)

Main Gumball: Future Cat — to get the 30-floor backslide from Time Machine, the bonus bone parts from FC’s Dimension Door, and the Monster Timer/Resentment-Venting Hourglass for disabling the boss for extended periods of time.

Soul-Link 1: Odin — the bonus to all spell effects is nice, but really Odin is here for his one-round boost to all spell durations.

Soul-Link 2: Three-Eye King — to speed up the dullest part of the run with Howling. Skyeye is just a bonus.

Venture Title: Night Walker – Evil Bandit – Farplane Ranger — Acquired as early as possible. I took 1 star in each title straight to FPR, then went back and filled in Evil Bandit to get the XP reduction suit, then back to Fortune Finder so I could find and kill mobs quickly. Then I took all three stars of Magic Apprentice before moving on to Melee.

The Borderlands is one of the best Mazes for Lantern Farplane, because every stack of skulls you raid or worship gives you a soul. Those souls cast Stoneskin, Blade of Ruin, grant or restore HP, grant Power, and more. I used the Stoneskin and BoR souls to conserve spell scrolls on floors and bosses from 70 to 91.

Also, the Frankenstein corpse gives you a soul that gives you a 100% success rate on a single Altar. (Because I was using Future Cat, I didn’t put a single bone into the Bone Chime until I had maxed out the Bone Armor and the Bone Boots, and then I built it an leveled it up to level 10 all on a single floor using the Frankenstein soul.)

One more thing! FPR gives you 2 Night Wicks every time you take a star — and Night Wicks instantly kill one of the Borderlands’ boss’ annoying little Dragon Eggs. (So do Future Cat’s Hurricane Straws!) Save them up for the lower-level bosses, because they’re super-helpful!

Melee Title: Magic Warrior – Shadow Warrior – Duke of Destruction — After finishing Magic Apprentice, I took all three stars of Intern Warrior followed by all three stars of Warrior. Then one star each of Magic Warrior and Shadow Warrior, and it was on to Duke of Destruction, then all three HP stars to max the trigger chance, then all three Power stars to max the duration.

Duke of Destruction + Odin + Legendary Mage (which comes next) means that whenever Duke of Destruction triggers, you get 14 rounds of Blade of Ruin — which with Fortune Finder is almost always enough to kill all remaining enemies without taking any counterattack damage. This is your survival mechanism.

Magic Title: Conjurer – Earth Master – Legendary Mage — I went the Earth Master route to get bigger Stoneskins and maximize the benefits of the one Portal of Earth. Also, Conjurer is one of the best tools for keeping your MP up over the long run.

Really, though, the big benefit of Legendary Mage is that it effectively gives you extra actions to use against the bosses, because you don’t have to renew your buffs as often. Between that and extending the duration of Blade of Ruin to ‘the rest of the level,’ this was an obvious choice.

Artifact: Amulet of Legendary Mage — The bonus you get to Legendary Mage gives you a Timestill, but really that’s not why I have this. I have this because I knew that I was going to be filling my Glove, Helm, Armor, Accessory, and Boots slots (between Future Cat and Borderlands items), and I wanted to maximize my Power, which meant leaving my Ring slot open for a +power item and converting my Amulet slot to +Power by taking this artifact (normally Amulets only give +MP).

Potion: Hell Crimson Potion — +Power, +MP, and +Fire magic all in one package means I get the stats I want and bigger Blades of Ruin. Win/win!

Other Gear: Once you get the Future Cat set, wear it! If you need the extra Armor, wear Bone Armor and just swap in Hiding Cloak when you step down the stairs, then switch back immediately. Don’t wear the Bone Chime until you’ve leveled up to 10, and then only if you have obtained the Time Machine and can go back 30 floors.

Floor Strategy: Kill ranged mobs, then go straight toward and kill non-ranged mobs one at a time. When you reach floor 71+, if the ranged mobs are more than 4 turns (2 of their attacks) away, consider killing them with magic instead to reduce damage taken. Use a PoE or Time Machine on floor 59 (use Howling now), then use the other once you get deep enough to kill off Howling (in my case it was floor 84), so that your Skeleton Drakes can build up their kill count with relative ease.  Do not use any Ice Shields or Aurora Barriers. This is important for later!

Boss Strategy: Always pop a Bone Staff on turn 1. Attack the Dragon Eggs, and just suck up the boss’ first attack. If the Skeleton Husky/Drake dies before the Nightmare Shield breaks, pop another one. Make the boss skip his 2nd attack with Icicle. For floors 30/40/50, just suck up his 3rd attack. He should be dead before his fourth. For floors 60+, skip his 3rd attack either with Resentment-Venting Hourglass or Timestill (either from a normal cast or from Future Cat’s Monster Timer).

For the final push to get multiple Dragonling Skulls in one go, we’re going to cheese the hell out of the Floor 90 boss. Pop the Drake, kill the Dragon Eggs with Nether Wicks (focus on full-HP eggs so your Drake will eat one), and then literally spend every turn you have dumping out every single Aurora Barrier and Ice Shield in your book, pausing only to pop new Drakes when your existing Drake dies, or new Fields if your Electrostatic Field runs out. (You want to come into this fight with 30+ Bone Staves.) I got my 2nd Dragonling Skull out of my 14th Bone Drake, and finished the boss literally by accident with 12,000+ HP because Aurora Barrier and Ice Shield stack infinitely. The F90 boss will have zero chance to stop you, and with that many Bone Staves, you will get 2+ Dragonling Skulls unless you have the worst RNG ever.

In my case, I had to go to F91 afterwards because I had to get one more kill out of a Skeleton Drake to get the full 80/80.

Final Notes: I thought I was going to hate this run, but all of the tricks in Future Cat’s bag combined with the power of the Duke/Legendary Mage combo made this actually really fun! Applying your brain to figuring out when to use each of FC’s gadgets for maximum utility is the kind of puzzle that makes Gumballs and Dungeons a great game.