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Imbroglio Izu Discussion

05-21-2017, 01:06 PM
#1
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Imbroglio Izu Discussion

Izu Set 52: Dominic

I'll try to write one of these for every set, but I might get lazy and not.

Top 3 Scores

Pictures of the boards are at the bottom of this post.

1. vivafridge 245 (1/0/0)
2. JackMule 214 (0/1/0)
3. aloiivWizard 198 (0/0/1)

Items

Slingshot
Vampiric Spear
Crossbow
Forbidden Scroll
Entangling Rope
Repercussion Drum
Jagged Saw
Bog Hands

Building

Pictures of the board are below.

I thought it'd be useful to others if I explained the thought process behind creating my boards. Maybe it'll help others understand how to make their own.

I'll use chess notation for describing positions of tiles.

When building a board in Izu mode, I first look to discard items I consider weak relative to the others present. The Slingshot has niche usefulness and a maxed Jagged Saw is inferior to a maxed Vampiric Spear, so I ignore those items completely. It is worth noting that with the Jagged Saw you have a faster early game and the ability to leech exp to other squares easier, but I prefer late game strength over early speed in most boards.

Since we do not have any items that deal 4 damage without a penalty, the first item that should be placed on the board is the Bog Hands. The positions of these tiles will determine which squares benefit from dealing less than 4 damage and which ones that don't. Because I want my strongest square for dealing with waves on c2, I arrange my Bog Hands in such a way that if Serpents move adjacent to the c2 square while clearing the wave, I can stun them unless they take a really long way around from their spawning gate.

In order to keep my blue tiles on a diagonal (it's almost always bad if you have two adjacent to each other) I place a Forbidden Scroll in the bottem left corner. Serpents are obviously the hardest to deal with of the four basic monsters due to Dominic's handicap, so it's beneficial that they spawn less frequently than the others. Next, I place crossbows in the corners to help deal with monsters that are off-kilter (on your diagonal) as spending 2 runes to avoid taking damage when vital drains your resources quickly.

One important thought to consider is that if the star is on a1, it is imperative that it is obtained in as few moves as safely possible. This is because if you're forced to fight more than two serpents as you are making your way to that square, there's a good chance you'll be in a state of peril as you have no way to kill them in one blow without spending mana, or you'll waste a lot of turns or runes trying to avoid taking damage. For this reason, it's logical that Repercussion Drums are placed on a2 and b1 in order to deal with Serpents immediately if one happens to spawn while heading in that direction. I placed another Drum on a3 for the same reason, but another Forbidden Scroll could work there as well

The remaining space around the Bog Hands is filled in by Vampiric Spears because they synergize well with Bog Hands and finally the last space is taken up by an Entangling Rope. The Rope helps deal with multiple monsters attacking you as you could possibly stun one monster for 2 turns and therefore get an extra turn to deal with another monster before taking damage from the enemy that you stunned.

Gameplay

I'll be using the terms early/mid/late game a lot. I define the mid game as the period from the first Minotaur spawn (your gem count should be ~70, but it depends on your character/board) to the appearance of the first boss. Sometimes Minotaurs start spawning later than normal, so there's no definite instance of when mid game begins.

Dominic has an extremely powerful ability if used correctly. Use it to reposition yourself to stronger squares (ie. stuck on a blue tile) and to escape damage when low.

Serpents will give you the most trouble in the early game, so to mitigate that the most important square to level up first is the Forbidden Scroll. After that, I advise getting a Vampiric Spear to level 1 as they gain a lot of utility for such little exp.

As all of our red weapons only gain extra damage at level 4, the mid game of this board is absolute garbage. It would seem intuitive that the first tile to max is the c2 Vampiric Spear, but if you focus all of your early exp on leveling Vampiric Spears you risk not being able to max your Repercussion Drums as the mana cost mid to late game might be too risky. Then there are the crossbows in the three corners that are useless late game unless maxed, so although it may seem like a good idea to have an easier mid game by maxing all of your Vampiric Spears first, it's much better to have a poorer mid game by spreading the exp (roughly) equally across your red tiles in order to ensure that you can survive for much longer in the late game. I'd max one Vampiric Spear and an adjacent Bog Hands (for survivability and leeching) and then focus on maxing Repercussion Drums and Crossbows.

If a Unicorn spawns, your first thought might be to kill it on the c2 square, as I've mentioned that it is the strongest square for killing waves, but it's actually better if you kill it on the b3 square. This is because once the Vampiric Spear hits 4 damage the Bog Hands lose their utility relative to that square (unless you're fighting a boss) so it's better to make a Spear that doesn't benefit as much from the Bog Hands hit 4 than one that does. Keep in mind any weapon that hits for 3 will kill all lesser monsters equally as fast as one that hits for 2.

Conclusion

Although we fought back and forth for a while, vivafridge ended up stomping me with a board that revolves around the b2 square. My greatest mistake was writing off the Jagged Saws as although I'd never use them over anything else when playing Imbroglio normally, the restricted mobility and exp requirements of the Crossbows didn't make up for the benefit of not taking damage when fighting enemies at a distance. Ranged weapons in general only work well for Johnny - as his handicap strengthens them due to long corridors frequently being created, plus he can escape those tiles by using his ability - so I'll have to keep that in mind when for the next Izu with Crossbows/X-Ray Guns.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-08-2017 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Added a conclusion and top 3 scores/boards.
05-22-2017, 01:04 AM
#2
Impressive write-up! My own (less thorough) summary of my thoughts is here: https://vivafringe.wordpress.com/201...log-1-dominic/

The most striking difference in our philosophies here seems to revolve around whether to design with the early/mid game in mind, or whether to simply create the strongest possible late game board once all of your tiles are maxed. This ultimately came down to me using many Jagged Saws while you ignored them entirely. It seems like your approach worked better, since my early builds weren't powerful enough to start and I had to adjust to keep up.

05-22-2017, 09:10 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivafringe View Post
Impressive write-up! My own (less thorough) summary of my thoughts is here: https://vivafringe.wordpress.com/201...log-1-dominic/

The most striking difference in our philosophies here seems to revolve around whether to design with the early/mid game in mind, or whether to simply create the strongest possible late game board once all of your tiles are maxed. This ultimately came down to me using many Jagged Saws while you ignored them entirely. It seems like your approach worked better, since my early builds weren't powerful enough to start and I had to adjust to keep up.
I'm pretty much always concerned about which board is the best late game as the only character that can't butcher their early game completely is Susannah. For the most part I find that a slower early game is worth a stronger late game, even if that late game is sluggish regardless.
05-24-2017, 01:16 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Izu Set 53: Molly

Despite not having a single weapon that makes use of Molly's runes (Poisoned Chalice isn't a weapon, it's a death trap), this was still an above average set of items for her.

I tried to write less than my last post but instead wrote more. Maybe I'll aim to write more next time.

Top 3 Scores

1. JackMule 228 (1/1/0)
2. vivafridge 227 (1/1/0)
3. Madeofwires (0/0/1)

Items

Vampiric Spear
Bashing Warclub
Dwindling Brazier
Poisoned Chalice
Forbidden Scroll
Arcane Hourglass
Rimeclaws
Repercussion Drum

Building

The first item that stands out like a sore thumb is the Poisoned Chalice. Rarely will it be on any board that clears the game and that's for good reason. Comparing the Chalice to the Repercussion Drum, the only thing it does better is that it curses a random enemy upon a kill, but that does not at all compensate for the requirement of the attacked enemy being cursed in order to deal 4 damage. The only character that the Poisoned Chalice might make sense on is Ixxthl, but even with her there are far better items to choose from as she doesn't need to deal 4 damage due to her ability.

The next item on the chopping block is the Arcane Hourglass. Why would we place an item that makes us have to deal with a foe later when we could put an item that kills it instead? That's not to say that it can't perform better than say for example a Bashing Warclub in certain scenarios, but it's too niche to be worth a spot and the mana cost on a character that sometimes can't avoid taking blue damage is just another reason to discard it. Like the Hourglass, the Drum isn't viable due to it's penalty.

Molly's biggest problem isn't that the four main monsters can spawn at any gate, it's the fact that she has no way to deal with zugzwang (a position where the best move would be to wait a turn). In order to give ourselves an opportunity to manipulate the parity of enemies to ensure that they're not on our diagonals when we go to fight them, we make the Bashing Warclub the focal point of our board. I'd prefer to have a Vampiric Spear on c3, but because the centre of our board will have two Clubs - which will be paired with Rimeclaws in order to give us more options when choosing what colour we wish to fight enemies with - I instead place it on d3 as it's nice to be able to life-steal off of Chimeras while moving near their spawn. We want our red tiles aligned diagonally as much as possible, so our Warclubs are placed in that manner.

Serpents will be a huge pain on this board since we have no defensive buffs nor any way to deal with Minotaurs without taking damage, unless fighting them with a level 0 Dwindling Brazier, so naturally making use of the Rimeclaws will be our secondary focal point. The Claws are placed in a similar manner to the Warclubs in order to spread them out over the board.

It may seem silly to use Forbidden Scrolls with a character in which enemies spawn randomly, but as any gate will have a 62.5% chance to spawn its traditional monster when Molly's handicap is applied, reducing that percentage on the Serpents and Cubes is still far more beneficial than situational uses with the Arcane Hourglass. Less Serpents means less blue damage taken, and fewer Cubes gives way to more Chimeras and Wasps that we can one shot with Spears to life-steal. The Scrolls are put in spots that aren't adjacent to other blue tiles to minimize the chances of being stuck on blue areas. Dwindling Braziers go in the remaining corners because we need weapons that can deal with Minotaurs immediately when low on mana.

Although having reds and blues on respective diagonals is nice, it isn't always necessary. The Brazier that was placed on d4 broke that rule and so will the Vampiric Spear that will be placed on c1. You could consider Braziers colourless in a sense that in many cases 4-3 damage will kill the vast majority of enemies, but with the Spear on c1 it's a matter of being able to life-steal frequently as you'll often be forced to take red damage, no matter how perfectly you use the Warclubs to avoid those situations. Finally, the remaining blank on a2 is filled by a Spear to facilitate more life draining opportunities.

Gameplay

You aren't able to use Molly's ability without having a ghost on the map, so I guess there's one less paragraph I need to write.

Molly cannot deal with late game as well as other characters because of her inability to avoid zugzwang by using an active ability. Her trade off is that she can reach 256 much quicker than most by abusing Blink Daggers to fly around the map like Harry Potter in a game of Quidditch. We don't have Daggers and we still can't survive late game, so the best strategy is to take the quickest path to the star by ignoring the urge to drag exp to any squares off of that path.

Although speed is important, this is still a marathon and not a sprint. It's about who's first in the last 10 seconds of their marathon, not who's first in their initial 10 seconds. Another analogy would be that if your mortality is ticking on an hourglass where the sand is your remaining move count, smashing the hourglass will get the sand out of it's upper chamber a lot faster than normal; the arcane rule is don't sprint into the hourglass and break it, play it safe by jogging around it. What I mean by this metaphorical prolix is if you can avoid damage by manipulating the positions of enemies, do so; two moves may grant two hundred. The two nontrivial ways of avoiding damage are by blocking a monster from spawning on your diagonal by walking in front of their gate and using the Warclubs to stun enemies that are paired (not on your diagonal) with you. Sometimes doing either of these might not be the safest option, so use your noggin above all else.

Unlike the last Izu board I made, this one is much more forgiving to play in terms of exp distribution. As any board, only use Braziers when you need to or when they'll save you a bunch of turns. Get all of your Clubs and Spears level 1 before focusing on maxing your Spears. Rimeclaws will level up quickly because there aren't that many blue tiles on the board, but prioritize them over your Forbidden Scrolls as being able to hit 2 blue damage earlier will accelerate your board and make it safer. After that, everything else will max themselves naturally just by you surviving.

If a boss spawns, you're most likely going to die unless you have a level 0 Dwindling Brazier. I'm assuming the game doesn't generate a boss if - while you are at full health/mana - it requires you to collect a bunch of stars in order to kill it, but in case I'm wrong or you want some extra mana leave a Brazier unlevelled if possible.

Conclusion

Due to two weapons being unviable, mine and vivafridge's boards looked quite similar. Although I managed to snag the top spot on the last day, I was disappointed nonetheless as I blundered and threw away a possible 240+ game . I'm not sure how I got into the position, but I ended up thinking that I was going to kill a Chimera in one hit while I was on my Forbidden Scroll. An unlucky Serpent that spawned in the bottom left corner as I was stuck fighting on b1 sealed my fate.

Poisoned Chalice got a buff recently, so maybe these posts aren't in vain after all.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-07-2017 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Edited the edit description.
05-25-2017, 07:39 PM
#5
(my post)

I was on the fence for a while about including Forbidden Scroll on Molly, but this post definitely sealed the deal.

This time around, it seems like the biggest differences in builds are the Vampiric Spear vs. Warclub center, and double Forbidden Scroll vs. Dwindling Brazier + Arcane Hourglass.

- The Warclub center is interesting, since I get your point about zugzwang being important. I'll make sure to try it out before the Izu ends. On the other hand, Spear sort of has a built in anti-zugzwang feature as well. You can just ignore red damage monsters and focus on making sure you line up correctly with Serpents and Minotaurs.

- Not sure either about the 2nd scroll, blocking cubes. Like last Izu, the fact that you park on Vampiric Spears so often makes Cubes kind of annoying, but this time the Rimeclaws are pretty decent to park on as well (certainly better than Bog Hands).

Overall another interesting board. Thanks for writing this up!
05-25-2017, 07:49 PM
#6
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivafringe View Post
(my post)

I was on the fence for a while about including Forbidden Scroll on Molly, but this post definitely sealed the deal.

This time around, it seems like the biggest differences in builds are the Vampiric Spear vs. Warclub center, and double Forbidden Scroll vs. Dwindling Brazier + Arcane Hourglass.

- The Warclub center is interesting, since I get your point about zugzwang being important. I'll make sure to try it out before the Izu ends. On the other hand, Spear sort of has a built in anti-zugzwang feature as well. You can just ignore red damage monsters and focus on making sure you line up correctly with Serpents and Minotaurs.

- Not sure either about the 2nd scroll, blocking cubes. Like last Izu, the fact that you park on Vampiric Spears so often makes Cubes kind of annoying, but this time the Rimeclaws are pretty decent to park on as well (certainly better than Bog Hands).

Overall another interesting board. Thanks for writing this up!
I just like blocking Cubes so I can sit on a vamp and not waste too many turns if I have to clear a wave.

The Clubs also help you move faster since if you kill something in your path you will for certain be able to advance to the square of the deceased.

My board seems pretty consistent, as my only two scores were 220 and 216, but breaking 230 is going to be tough. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

You're welcome!
05-27-2017, 01:18 PM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,956
This may be a dumb question, but does Izu refer to the 4-day daily mode or something else? If so, are your preferred board layouts different for the game's normal mode? Thanks in advance for any info or advice.
05-27-2017, 09:47 PM
#8
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guise View Post
This may be a dumb question, but does Izu refer to the 4-day daily mode or something else? If so, are your preferred board layouts different for the game's normal mode? Thanks in advance for any info or advice.
Yup, Izu is the name for the 4-day game mode. Generally the boards used in Izu are weaker due to the 8 tile restriction, but a lot of the building process is still the same. Every character needs a different board layout to play to their strengths, so there isn't really one board I can tell you to make that works for everybody. Copying other peoples boards that have cleared the game (reached 256) is a good way to learn the game, so if you check the leaderboard section and use one of my boards I can explain to you how it works if you'd like. Keep in mind a lot of other peoples boards you'll see have pre-nerf Whetstone, so some setups can't make it to 256 anymore.

Last edited by JackMule; 05-27-2017 at 10:36 PM.
05-28-2017, 02:17 PM
#9
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Izu Set 54: Dominic

I don't enjoy playing Dominic all that much (his play pattern is tedious) and we've seen quite a bit of him lately, but having Blink Daggers picks up the pace of his game so I ended up enjoying getting a decent score.

Top 3 Scores

1. JackMule 235 (2/1/0)
2. vivafridge 215 (1/2/0)
3. --[45df]-- 194 (0/0/1)

Items

Amulet of Immortals
Slingshot
Blink Dagger
Forbidden Scroll
Arcane Hourglass
Jagged Saw
Plague Totem
Necromancer's Mask

Building

As per usual, the Slingshot gets discarded as soon as I see the icon. To be honest, it would be nice to have one Slingshot in order to slay Minotaurs in one blow, but if you're backed in a corner and are forced to fight a bunch of Serpents/Cubes, that's pretty much the end of the game.

When I first looked at this item set I thought any board would be trash tier. The maximum amount of damage that can be dealt by you per turn is (excluding conditional cases) 2 for red weapons and 1 for blues. Not only are the weapons low damage dealing, but the Amulet and Mask are the only two defensive buffs available, both of which can't be stacked (having more than one tile of the same item) efficiently. There was one strength I overlooked that this set has and that's speed.

To spend as little moves as possible fighting enemies, Plague Totems are placed in the majority of the corners. Unlike Blink Daggers they don't require any experience to function at their fullest (I'm not sure why Totems have the IV ability that they do, as you can't curse multiple enemies that well when Totems are your main way of cursing monsters) and they'll help deal with Serpents and Minotaurs much faster. Since Serpents spawn in the bottom left corner, another Plague Totem isn't the greatest choice as you'd rarely be able to curse a Serpent on that tile, so a Forbidden Scroll is placed instead to slow down the rate of Serpents being spawned.

There's no real question on which red weapon needs to be in the centre of the board as the Jagged Saw is the only weapon that you can siege on. The Saws are placed diagonally to ensure that one is never too far away from wherever you are, while the Blink Daggers are placed in a fashion that spreads them evenly throughout the board. Since the Plague Totems can curse things consistently, being able to reach the star quicker allows us to cripple enemies much faster, not to mention that it heals your character more often. In a game where speed is crucial, Daggers are always strong weapons.

Arcane Hourglasses fill the remaining space in the centre of the board, as there aren't any other options that won't be the death of you at some point. Because this board spends mana frequently, a Necromancer's Mask is placed on a2 to negate the threat of Ghosts draining our precious mana. There won't be many times where two Ghosts will be on the board at once, so instead of another Mask an Amulet is placed on d3. The two common monsters that spawn on that column can be taken down in one to two hits with the Amulet, so it's much more safer to have on d3 than a 1 damage blue weapon that takes three to four turns to kill those same enemies.

Gameplay

As most of the tiles on this board have similar damage outputs, the majority of the time you'll be using Dominic's ability simply to survive when you're low on resources. There may be times when a cramped dungeon is formed, in which case it might be worth two runes to get to the star quicker in order to transform the dungeon into a space that gives you more options per turn.

Even without the ability to life-steal and with roughly three quarters of the lesser monsters dealing red damage, mana is much more important to conserve. Without any excess mana, five items lose the majority of their power and seeing as though our main way of dealing with Serpents is by cursing them and turning them into Ghosts, as soon as you lose the ability to curse using our Plague Totems things turn sour very quickly.

Although as of recently this is one of the tougher boards to play, its play pattern is simple to understand. Ideally Serpents and Minotaurs will be cursed by Totems - while using Daggers to zip around the map - and upon reaching the star one of them will (hopefully) be turned into Caspers because of the Necromancer's Mask. The Saws will grind enemies to dust while the Hourglasses banishes those foes that can't be dealt with immediately. Although they're idle, the Scroll and Amulet provide a decent amount of utility by respectively reducing the chance of Serpents appearing and saving your skin when you're out of resources.

With Dominic, the less Serpents the better, so getting the Forbidden Scroll to level one is the first priority. Plague Totems and Hourglasses don't need any exp to be useful, so I'd recommend trying to max the Mask first above all else. Once one Saw is level II, it can bring Cubes/Serpents/Minotaurs down to 1 hp in one turn in order for Blink Daggers or level I/III Saws to secure the kill, which is extremely useful as Daggers are especially thirsty for exp because of their increased utility with levels and 1 damage Saws are just liabilities. Worry about maxing the Amulet once most of the Daggers are level IV, as bringing you back to life to a board that can't deal enough damage to wipe out all of the current monsters won't get you many more stars.

Conclusion

On my best attempt I managed to gain around 20 additional gems after reviving on my Amulet of the Immortals with only 1 rune remaining, so you could say that I got a little bit lucky. It was an interesting board but - aside from the passive utility squares - as the only tile of this Izu that is strong late game is the Blink Dagger it would take a miracle to reach 256. Hopefully Dominic doesn't show up for at least a couple of weeks to give some of the other characters the spotlight.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-07-2017 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Added top 3 scores and conclusion.
06-01-2017, 04:48 PM
#10
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 193
Izu Set 55: Ixxthl

I think 256 is possible with the items given for this Izu, but it'd require a lot of grinding in order to make it to full build and get lucky enough to survive the Dragon.

Top 3 Scores

1. JackMule 237 (3/1/0)
2. vivafridge 231 (1/3/0)
3. smestorp 196 (0/0/1)

Items

Wicked Thorns
Blinding Lantern
Malign Wand
Poisoned Chalice
Entangling Rope
Rimeclaws
Dice of Omens
Dragon Skull

Building

I'll admit that I'm no Dream Wheel/Caltrops/Entangling Rope expert (I've never cleared the game with that setup, nor gotten anywhere close for that matter), so I haven't used the Blinding Lantern that much and don't really ever intend to. It's slow to kill a lot of enemies, only provides conditional stuns and one of the two stuns it provides costs mana. The Malign Wand also saps mana but has a much desired attribute of being able to curse monsters. However, because it has the drawback of being a ranged weapon that can get you stuck - unless you're willing to shell out some runes – it is a scary tile to be on late game and like the Blinding Lantern it does not provide enough utility to be worth the risk. Given that the remaining tiles in the set do not stun, the Entangling Rope will also have to sit this one out.

Ixxthl's early game is bar none the frailest in the game, so in an attempt to drain Wasps and Chimeras mana before fighting them, Wicked Thorns are placed in the corners of the board. Once the Thorns are all over level 0, any enemy that spawns will have a chance to be cursed, which can't be said if they're positioned anywhere else. Not only will the Thorns help Ixxthl turn enemies into Ghosts, they'll also be the main source of power of the Poisoned Chalices.

After a much needed buff (thanks Mr. Brough!) Poisoned Chalices have less of a chance of killing you than bosses. The curse effect upon a kill was moved from level IV to 0 and is now what costs mana, but in order to compensate for that buff it does additional red damage based on what level it is to enemies that are cursed. With these changes the Chalice can deal extra damage without spending mana and can curse things early on in the game, both of which are extremely beneficial to Ixxthl given that Ghosts will be doing a large portion of the damage dealt to her late game while Chimeras and Wasps will be consuming all her resources early. Now that the Chalice is much more reliable, it's capable of being placed on a zig zagging diagonal through the centre of the board. I want a set of Rimeclaws to be on c2 in order to deal with Wasps when I'm headed in their spawns direction, so I make sure that none of my Chalices take up that square when I place them in that zig zagging manner.

Dragon Skulls are necessary to tackle multiple Ghosts at once, but they should never be placed in the centre of the board because of their unreliability to deal decent damage. Instead they're put around the perimeter equally spaced from one to the next so that there's minimal risk of being forced to fight on them in a closed space. The remaining holes on the perimeter are filled with Dice of Omens to give us a couple of tiles that deal 2 damage without a penalty and to curse monsters as a backup when the Thorns fail to do so. Rimeclaws are then added to the centre so that Ixxthl's chance of surviving early game goes from 0% to 1% by allowing her at full health to 1v1 a Wasp without dying - assuming that she has the mana to use them.

Gameplay

Ixxthl is easily the most unique character in the game as her focus is not about forging a set of weapons that deal large amounts of damage to monsters, it's about whittling down enemies so that when she does meet one she can kill it with a flick of her wrist. Being able to convert every enemy on the board to a Ghost for a single rune gives an option out of pretty much any situation when combined with a Necromancer's Mask or two, but unfortunately we don't have those so Ixxthl's ability is much less lenient to use in this set. Even without a security blanket to aid Ixxthl's active, it's pretty much the only option that can be taken when a group of Chimeras and Wasps spawn without being cursed.

The early game of this board is nonexistent and as a result it's likely that twenty games could be played before reaching its mid game. Luckily, most of those games last under a minute as any combination of two or more Chimeras/Wasps has a good chance of stopping Ixxthl's advance. Although Chimeras and Wasps can give quite a bit of trouble, if a Cube or Serpent is left alive to chase you when one of them spawns, you can kill that follower with a Chalice to curse the new arrival so that it becomes a pushover after collecting the next star. During the first phase of the game health is slightly more important to conserve as the majority of the enemies deal red damage, but as the game progresses and a stockpile of runes accumulates, mana essentially becomes your health and hearts turn into shields to protect what little mana that can be spared.

As the Wicked Thorns do the majority of the disabling, the most important tiles to give exp to are the Thorns on the right side of the board. Although the Thorns can curse those pesky mana heavy foes, sometimes the path to the star is blocked by those same foes, prohibiting their transformation into Ghosts, which is why I'd advise working towards getting all Chalices to level I in order to deal with those cursed enemies when giving experience to the rightmost Thorns is not possible. Once the Chalices hit level I, try to give exp elsewhere as they become easy to max once the majority of monsters appearing are likely to be cursed. Being able to kill Serpents and Chimeras in one blow with Rimeclaws grants a large amount of safety and as such they should be maxed before anything else (they'll naturally soak up more exp than Thorns due to their higher damage capacity so it's okay to max them first.) Having extra mana from Dragon Skulls seems better than additional cursing from Dice of Omens, but more cursing can lead to saving mana when sieging on a Chalice so you can't go wrong if you decide to max one before the other.

Overall this board is interesting to play once it gets to late game due to the fact that you're pretty much always on the verge of dying because of your excessive spending of mana, but getting that far is tedious from constantly reseting during the first few minutes. If a couple of the Dragon Skulls were replaced with Necromancer's Masks and the Dice of Omens were swapped with Ixxthl's Rings, I'm sure this board would have the potential to make it to 256, but in its current state it requires way too much luck for me to want to make the push for a clear.

Conclusion

Although having more mana is guaranteed by Dragon Skulls, increasing the odds of cursing by using more Dice of Omens made my board quite a bit safer. In my original board, once all of the Dragon Skulls were maxed it was fairly difficult to recover the entirety of mana missing so the benefit of gaining another 1-2 mana after my 6th mana slot was minimal. I placed the Dice of Omens in an odd pattern with 2 of them outside the Serpents spawn and the same for the Chimeras spawn. This orientation spreads out the weapons that deal 2 blue damage by aligning those weapons on a diagonal, which is handy for when I have enough resources to fight monsters without using Ixxthl's ability. I felt I could have gotten a much higher score because I played late game pretty poorly, but I'm content on getting as far as I did anyways.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-07-2017 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Added stuff.