Monday, June 30, 2014

On the Importance of Resistance Gear

First, let's start with a picture. This is me.

Forget those other two chumps. They just get my hand-me-downs as they level.

For awhile now, I've been running around with the same gear. I've had that gear since before my year-long hiatus (except for the shoes, just picked those up in Atlantea). I've liked the combination of accuracy and power that my gear gives me. I hate fizzling, so have resisted switching gear with more critical chance in favor of always hitting.

And if you know me at all (by reading through the blog posts), you know that I will die fighting a boss twenty times before asking for help. I won't try and solo dungeons, unless of course I already out-level it, but it's in my nature to try and puzzle bosses on my own.

Enter Clemente Moraga and his two fiery monkey companions Primo Ortiz and Segundo Ortiz. I'd been only half paying attention to quest text and just following the arrows to beat up the next boss. That's too bad, because the Azteca drama seems to be pretty interesting when I stop and read the story here and there. I couldn't remember why I had to fight these guys, just that this was the next boss fight in a chain. Well I got my face smacked pretty hard in this fight. I tried it three times, and after the third loss (and this time killing both minions before falling), I was tired of it and decided to move on. I was pretty disappointed in not being able to port back in after death, so I knew I'd eventually have to come back with a better strategy or at least come in with friends.

Later, when the time came, I looked up Clemente Moraga on the web to get better info and form a strategy. I was a bit disappointed. I realized I had to beat him to open up the next set of spells, this time from the Sun School. I also noted that there was no way to port back in, and friends can't help out. This was a solo boss, and I was failing. I had tried stacking fire shields in my sideboard and in my hand, but it was never enough. One battle, I failed to block four critical hits... I was dead in three turns. They just simply could outpace my damage mitigation and any healing I might be tempted to load into my deck. I was at a loss; and for the first time, I doubted I could move forward.

And then I came across a post in a help forum. The helpful voice (actually there are quite a few who say this) said, "Go to the Bazaar and buy fire resistance gear..." I thought, I got some funds, as long as it isn't too expensive, how bad can it get?

I bought three pieces. Molten Mantle, Torched Tunic, and Fiery Chac's Great Boots. This gave me 74 Fire Resistance. I could have done Reckless Runners for boots... they had 2 less Fire Resistance and gave accuracy, but I wanted to fully mitigate against fire.

I then prepped my deck (Cinder Deck)
Fire Shield x7
Colossal x4
Efreet x4
Fireblade x5
Empowerment x5
Pixie x3
Power Link x3
Fire Prism x3
Fire Trap x2
Mass Fire Prism
Elemental Blade
Elemental Trap

Sideboard: All treasure card Fire Shield

This is how I looked for the fight.

So how did it go? Well I knew from the very first hit how it would go. The enemy got to go first in the turn, which worried me; but instead of taking around 500 damage from the first cast Meteor Strike, I took 113 damage. I did put up some Fire Shields that came up in my hand, and occasionally I cast a Pixie. At one point, my pet cast a Sprite on me, and I healed enough to mitigate two attacks entirely. I only suffered three unblocked criticals that were around 300 damage total. I took my time and knocked off each minion one at a time. Before concentrating on the boss. I did wind up using my Reshuffle. From that point I built up for a big hit. I dropped a regular Fire Trap and a 15 pip Backdraft on him after using a Fire Prism. And I had my standard three blades up (Fire Blade, item card Fire Blade, Elemental Blade), and also used the Furnace aura. That means when I sent my Colossal Efreet to knock on Clemente's door, I wasn't even fully loaded. It was more than enough. I finished the battle 100 health short of my maximum.

What did I learn? I learned that I've been playing this game several years without utilizing one of the best strategies in the game: resistance gear. When you are high enough level, you shouldn't be hurting on coins. I often burn off my extra on treasure cards or crafting reagents. Now I'm considering buying resistance gear against as many schools as I can... Just. In. Case!


Addendum! If you want a good list of resistance gear by school type and which schools can wear it, this site provides it for you:

The page is two years old, but the list is still useful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Belloq in Azteca, first time

I'm noticing a theme in my soloing bosses. That theme is Efreet. The 90% debuff to enemy attacks keeps me alive, since I'm not using much healing.

On several bosses, what I've been able to do is load up my sideboard with shield treasure cards. This is pretty good for being able to stack a bunch of blades and traps until I'm ready to fire off my Colossal Efreet, and with a prior-cast fully-pipped Backdraft, I'm typically hitting for around 45,000 damage. I don't add traps or blades into my sideboard, because I'm going to need to reliably draw shields. I'm utilizing the Empowerment aura to generate pips fast enough, and along with Power Link for a boost to my life, I generally can dispatch his minions fast enough, hold the boss off, and finish him off with a couple hundred life to spare.

Belloq though can't be shielded against. He has the ability to cast Hydra or Chimera or Spectral Blast, which requires all the other schools to defend against, but his biggest hitters have no shields to protect me. The strategy then changes. You don't build up for one big hit (and luckily he doesn't heal). You load your deck up with as many Efreet as possible, as well as Power Links for equal damage and healing, and you trim out extra traps and blades that will delay putting the Efreet debuff on him. Backdraft? Too time consuming and expensive. Elemental blades and traps are just going to delay your Efreet or Power Link. Power Link in itself is a bit of a risk. When I faced him, I died the first time; but since I killed his minion, I was able to use the instant port back (through the Dungeon Recall button) and handle him fairly easily the second time without having to worry about the minion's extra damage.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Skurkis in Azteca, the first time

Note, this is for the first meeting in Cenote, not in Xibalba. I didn't know there were two until I googled Skurkis.

So I've finally broken free from the quick and easy fun of killing Loremaster a gazillion times with only a couple spells to show for it (only that life spider for Alexander, and my theurgist now has two spells, neither of which are life)... and finally started to quest again.

As can be expected, the creatures in Azteca are hitting fairly hard. They have added spell penetration and score more criticals than in Avalon. As I started questing in Cenote, the easiest thing for me to do was construct a deck that loaded with Empowerment/Meteor Strike/Colossal. I would clear the field in around 4 turns, 2 if I were extremely lucky (scoring at least one critical that they don't block).

The bosses in this area range from 13000 health to just under 20000 (so far). I was forced to tinker with a deck to get the right set up to beat Skurkis Screaming Moon. She can heal back up pretty fast, and she is going to dish a lot of damage that will be hard to soak up if you solo. She has a Moon Skull Zombie helper with 3000 health, and she has just under 14000 herself. I toyed with sending lots of Efreet to keep her attacks small, but I wasn't able to generate enough mana pips to constantly send them her way. Thus I was forced to load up Death Shields in my treasure card slot.

My equipment is geared for accuracy, so I don't fizzle often, but it's at the expense of critical and power pip chance. Also, Skurkis was overcoming my critical block more times than was comfortable for me. I needed to go first this battle, and I needed to drop the zombie helper quick.

I used an Armillary Deck with these cards stocked:
6 Colossal
6 Efreet
5 Empowerment
5 Fireblade
3 Fire Trap
1 Fuel
1 Backdraft
1 Elemental Blade
1 Elemental Trap
1 Wyldfire
11 Death Shield treasure cards

I also have these Item Cards from my gear:
1 Fireblade
1 Fire Trap

Besides hitting hard and healing back up with Scarecrow, Wraith, and Satyr (it says she's equipped with a life amulet, so she has the Satyr and the heal charm too), Skurkis likes to drop 30% weakness spells on you. You will need to decide if you want to just add more traps and blades to overcome them or save your wand shots to get rid of them.

The way I worked the fight was dropping Empowerment often to get extra pips. Each time I put a Colossal on an Efreet, I would use the extra card slot to draw a treasure card, which would be a Death Shield. She does have a Skeletal Dragon, so be careful not to have more than one shield up at a time, or she may cast that and eat through your shields too quick.

To kill the Zombie, I used one Colossal Efreet after I was bladed. It was enough to outright kill it.

Then the trick was to just keep dropping traps and blades while keeping a shield up as often as I could. It sounds so easy, but I had only around 500 life left at the end of the battle.  I made sure to get my Backdraft up to full pips before casting (it wound up being a 10 pip spell, as I wasn't generating many power pips that battle).  I dropped every trap and blade I had on her, except Wyldfire. I was a bit risky in the end... Instead of waiting one turn, drawing a Death Shield and laying it down, I was impatient and cast the Efreet. Only a 6 percent chance of fizzling while she had 6 pips on her end...

It wound up being overkill, even without dropping the Wyldfire. It was 30000 damage spell once everything was tallied. I found this strategy to be best, as I didn't have to worry about whatever health she was siphoning off me or if she would try and heal up... one shot would take care of it, rather than trying to compete with her life gaining. But I would have gone nowhere without the shields. I wound up using all but 3 of my treasure cards.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sorry for not posting in forever... (someone watches this!)

But guess what I've been doing? Same thing everyone seems to do recently... I run Loremaster over and over, hoping for a spell. It's fun to do, and perhaps a good way to build up a little gold if you need it, since it's rare to make an attempt that doesn't fill almost immediately with other spell seekers.

Admittedly, I haven't run it very often with Alexander. I have some other characters, namely Tyler and John, who have been running it far more often. Tyler is my Theurgist, and it's rather fun to go in healing everyone while they concentrate on doing damage (plus Tyler has a Feint item card spell). But really, John my Necromancer has done the most runs. The thought of getting a Deer Knight before ever setting foot in Celestia is very tantalizing. I do already have my Scarecrow, so it's not at all mandatory. I just like the choice of damage over time spells or drain spells hitting all enemies.

Unfortunately, the drop chance for the spells is very small. And attempting to get them on multiple characters is... not very likely. But the upside is that the battle is so quick.

Here's some strategies that I've noticed for getting the fights done with the best outcome.

If you're low level:
- It's probably a good idea to have a few powerful attack all treasure cards stashed into your sideboard in case you get the misfortune of being in a group with everyone being low level.
- Consider having Reshuffle in your deck.
- Bring a good amount of traps and blades that can be used by others.
- Because damage can be from any and every school, bringing a bunch of shields is counter productive. You'll be better off having half as many as heals, leaving your deck filled with cards more suited to taking down the enemies, including buffing your friends.
- Your blades cannot be dispelled. Others may use your traps, but that is a good thing!

For all players:
- The single worst thing about the encounter (other than every 3 or 4 turns someone being pounded for 600 plus damage by the Loremaster) is the amount of negative charms placed on you by the Font of Weakness. If you have the patience, keep putting on blades and save up a wand charge for getting rid of the negative charms without removing the blades. The weaknesses will affect Sorcerers more, and most players have the Font of Weakness as a priority target above all others (including the Font of Life).
- Saving up your attacks for large hits negate the power of the Font of Life.
- Don't be selfish! Traps for everyone! Blade up the obviously powerful wizard who has a lot of pips up. The sooner he hits big, the faster everyone's done.
- Play to your wizard's strength. If you're a Thaumaturge, get the Loremaster's attention on you. If you're a Theurgist, Rebirth and Satyr freely. Sorcerers are loved by all here with their extra blades.