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:
- Electrostatic Field
- Disrupting Ray
- Holy Bolt
- Timestill-on-a-stick or actual Timestill
- Blade of Ruin or Bless
- (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….!