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Imbroglio Izu Discussion

06-07-2017, 06:32 PM
#11
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Izu Set 56: Jeska

What's nice about getting 256 in Izu is I know that vivafridge can't 1-UP me and force me to start competing again.

Top 3 Scores

1. JackMule 256 (4/1/0)
1. vivafridge 256 (2/3/0)
3. ecuzzillo 225 (0/0/1)

Items

Vampiric Spear
Ancient Shield
Bashing Warclub
Mystic Whisk
Dice of Omens
X-Ray Gun
Switchblade
Forged Sigil

Building

After skimming through the list, there were only 2 items that I considered unusable: the X-Ray Gun and the Forged Sigil. A ranged weapon that only deals 1 damage is just asking to get canned, no matter how many monsters it hits per turn, and the Forged Sigil has no use here as you can spam your runes whenever it benefits you to do so and still not run out. In all honesty, the Forged Sigil is probably only worthwhile on Ixxthl, as her and Dominic's abilities allow them to survive almost any scenario, while the remaining characters either can't use their ability to save their skins at times or won't run out of runes under normal circumstances.

When I saw that the most damage per turn that could be dealt with any item in this set was 2 I thought achieving 256 would be extremely unlikely. After tinkering with my original board that involved Vampiric Spears being the focal point in order to have a decent late game – which was futile as surviving late game for an extended period of time with the items given is impossible - I took a page from vivafridge's design and made the focal point the Switchblade instead. This went against my trend of building strong late game boards and instead honed in on trying to clear the game as fast as possible, which in turn allowed me to get to the first boss with a score of roughly 240, by far the fastest board I've ever used as my average score by that point is 180.

Although the Switchblades were the focal point of this board, I didn't end up placing them until last. First the Mystic Whisks were arranged in a vertical zig zagging pattern through the middle of the board, making sure that a Whisk was on b1 to kill Serpents in one blow just outside of their spawn. Mystic Whisks are very powerful for blue weapons, as they're one of the few blue tiles that can deal 2 damage, and like the Switchblades they allow you to keep moving onward towards the star even if the enemy you're attacking it with is strong against its colour. To keep the blue tiles on diagonals, Dice of Omens are added to a2 and d3, which not only help preserve a fairly even colour distribution, but also help speed up the game by turning a lot of enemies into Ghosts that can be killed by any tile immediately.

Ancient Shields guard the Cubes spawn, while a Shield on c1 and a Vampiric Spear on d2 are ensconced outside the Wasps spawn. Since speed is vital, only one Spear can nest on the board as any more would soak up too much exp from the other tiles and turns in order to be strong, compared to Shields that gain an extra damage point at level II, which makes them able to kill Cubes and Serpents efficiently. We don't even need more than one Spear anyways as the extra health from the Shields will provide enough time to move from the left side of the board to the right before dropping into a state of peril.

The Switchblades get placed in an unorthodox set-up, with two independent pairs of Switchblades linked up on diagonals – one pair being in the centre and the other far across from each other in the top left and bottom right corners. In this manner, after using a Switchblade not only will you always have the option to siege, but the odds of being forced onto another Switchblade on the next turn is relatively low. This is an extremely important fact as although the Blades give the board its extreme mobility, they don't help much with sieging, which is a vital option to have in the mid game. Bashing Warclubs take up the remaining corners as they require minimal exp to become safe to grab a star on with enemies nearby.

Gameplay

Although only one item in this set synergizes with Jeska's ability, her power is so strong and cheap that even without gaining many benefits from cursing she can still clear the game with relative ease. You can use her curse to change the parity of monsters, ensure an enemy turns into a Ghost on the next star pickup and even plague an enemy so that it gives you more life from your Vampiric Spear. If it's safer or faster to use your ability than not, do so as the only way of running out of runes is through poor play/a series of unfortunate dungeon layouts and monster movement.

Speed is everything with this dungeon. Each good usage of the Switchblade grants at least an extra turn and every six turns saved is about equal to a gem. Cursing Minotaurs and turning them into Ghosts is a great way to deal with them early on when most tiles don't hit 2, while using Whisks to move enemies out of your path to the star to prevent backtracking grants haste as well.

There is not a single tile on this board that requires level IV in order to be useful and as such there is no tile that should have exp dumped onto it by wasting turns. The Ancient Shields level IIs should be prioritized first, followed by the Clubs level Is to grant more tiles that can safely kill 3+ health monsters. At the same time, any enemies weak to blue weapons should be killed by the Dice of Omens if possible since they passively curse monsters which can turn into Ghosts, therefore likely to save turns. Because of the Vampiric Spears position being close to two enemy gates that spawn red-weak monsters, it will level up quickly even if most of its potential exp is diverted elsewhere. As there are only 6 blue tiles on the board and the Whisks are the strongest blue weapons to siege on, they'll be maxed without effort. It might be worth a couple of turns to funnel exp into the two centre Switchblades to get them to level IV for extra damage, but doing so for the ones in the corners is a waste of time as they won't be used frequently.

I always used to think that getting to 256 required boards to be strong late game, but this Izu proved me wrong. It turns out the best board that I found sacrificed late game almost entirely for a speedy early and mid game, which isn't much of a sacrifice if you don't really have to play the late game.

Conclusion

vivafridge managed to tie me with his board that revolves around Switchblades occupying all of the centre. I'm interested in looking for potential ways Switchblades can be incorporated into other pre-existed board layouts, as its element of speed is nigh unparalleled. He also brought up a good point that one of Jeska's resources won't regenerate completely from grabbing gems if its maximum count is two or more higher than the other, so without a doubt it would have been more optimal later in the game to swap a Vampiric Spear for the Ancient Shield on a3 with my board, but it would come at a cost of early speed and safety. You learn something new every Izu.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-09-2017 at 04:43 PM. Reason: None
06-09-2017, 07:39 PM
#12
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Izu Set 57: Ixxthl

I've started putting damage profiles and descriptions of the weapons in the items sections for those who aren't as familiar with them as others. Let me know if this was a terrible idea and that you object profusely if you don't like it.

Top 3 Scores

1. vivafridge 256 (3/3/0)
1. JackMule 256 (5/1/0)
3. ecuzzillo 246 (0/0/2)

Items

Entangling Rope (1/1/1/1/1) 0: When this hits a monster, stun all other monsters of the same kind. I: Once per turn, when a monster is stunned, 12/25/37/50% chance to stun them for an additional turn.
Geomantic Orb (1/1/1/1/1) I: When this hits a monster, destroy a random wall. IV: When this kills a cursed monster, gain a rune.
Morphic Mirror (1/1/1/1/2) 0: Once per turn, after this hits a monster, spend mana to hit all other monsters of the same kind.
Dice of Omens (1/1/1/1/2) I: Each turn, 1/2/3/4% chance to curse a random monster.
Bog Hands (1/1/1/1/1) I: When a monster is hit here, 25/50/75/100% chance to stun them.
Dragon Skull (1/1/1/1/1) I: When this hits a monster, 25/33/42/50% chance they lose two mana. IV: Your hero gains one maximum and current mana.
Brainspoon (1/1/1/1/1) 0: When this hits a monster, spend mana to take control of them. IV: Controlled monsters deal +1 damage.
Necromancer's Mask (1/1/1/1/1) I: When this levels up, all monsters become Ghosts. IV: One random Ghost is your friend.

Building

In Izus where the maximum damage an item can do to an individual monster is 2, Bog Hands often reign supreme. This is not the case here. Bog Hands help a slow and steady type of game where it's difficult for monsters to kill you because they're always paralyzed, but they're always flooding the screen because you have no tools to clear waves fast. It's a war of attrition that simply doesn't work for a character whose main method of dealing with monsters is spamming the ability button as a child might do to the buttons of an elevator in hope that the ride will finish quicker.

Another item which isn't universally good, nor any good here, is the Entangling Rope. There has to be an obvious way of manipulating longer stun durations to your benefit (*cough*, Dream Wheel & Caltrops, *cough*) or it's all up to chance as to whether you'd want a longer stun or not, and because I already got rid of the only item it synergizes well with, the only use it has is lengthening the stuns from Ghosts. Sometimes a longer stun might help you fight a monster without it returning any punches, but other times it could line the two of you up so that it gets the first strike. Since its risk is about equal to its reward, it isn't worth choosing over any of the remaining options.

Except for maybe the Brainspoon. An item more tragic than the tale of Romeo and Juliet, the Brainspoon is the item we all want to love but are forbidden to do so. The irony is that because it's arguably the coolest weapon in the game we have a desire to use it the most, but if we do use it we're more than likely to get killed, therefore making us use it the least of all. The star crossed lovers have nothing on this tile.

Let's go over the perks of the Brainspoon. You can use those under your control as meat shields, have Ixxthl indirectly deal red damage, order a Ghost to obtain gems quickly, kill a boss by having it tango with its own henchmen, and you can even whittle away things by bashing them directly with the Brainspoon! There are only a few caveats, the most obvious being that it costs mana to use, but the biggest problem is that you are locked into that monster until either it's dead or you command it to attack you, upon which instead of damaging you it is merely stunned for a turn. In a game where you are forced to consider every possible variation of RNG before you move, there is no scarier moment than when you go to pick up a gem while using the Brainspoon. Depending on the dungeon generation, there's a maximum of 15 turns (without including monsters obstructing your path) that you might have to make before you could directly be able to regain control of your hero, which is plenty of time for any monster to make mince meat of you. Is it likely the path back to your hero will take 15 turns? No. Is a smaller number of turns that can kill you likely to happen? Very. There are some other gripes that don't help its appeal, such as losing exp when your slaves die and doing 1 or 2 damage at most per turn, but being unable to release a monster at will is what makes this item unviable on the majority of characters.

Now that I've trash talked the Brainspoon and told you why it should be left in the dumpster, let's actually get to what the previous subtitle said I'd be talking about which is how I came up with a board using the items I haven't dismissed. The Morphic Mirror is one of the few weapons we have that deals 2 damage and is the only weapon that has waveclear (ability to hit multiple enemies at once), so it is used as the secondary focal point of our board by being placed in a horizontal zig zagging pattern, making sure to have one Mirror placed on c2 to help deal with Wasps as they leave their spawn. But what's the first focal point? How can we already be at the secondary focal point when we haven't even established the primary focal point? We've got one item on the board and you're telling me we already have two focal points? Because of their massive game altering implications, Ixxthl's pair of handicap and ability is almost always her primary focal point and so the remaining items will not look to draw power from her ability but seek to amplify it instead.

As we've decided the majority of this boards strength will lie in Ixxthl's ability, we need an energy source for her to keep turning all of our foes into Ghosts without running out of stamina. Geomantic Orbs solve this problem, so they are placed in a manner that is intertwined the the Morphic Mirrors yet vertical. However, much like Ixxthl, the Geomantic Orbs also need a power source so that they can generate runes as clams do pearls, so to give them a chance to produce our priceless treasures frequently, Dice of Omens are scattered evenly across the perimeter of the board. In order to supplement utility to our ability, Necromancer's Mask are placed in two opposite corners while the extra mana from the two Dragon's Skulls that are added to the final corners will allow us to use the Morphic Mirror's waveclear ability more often as well as help with surviving the Dragon. The Skulls are situated in spots where they can kill the typical monsters that spawn nearest to them in one blow if lucky.

Gameplay

I mentioned last time I wrote about Ixxthl that her early game is very weak due to her inability to use red damaging items. Now that this set doesn't have any strong early game items, this board has by far the weakest start to any Izu set-up I've gotten a decent score with. As such, don't be surprised if you have to restart immediately upon starting the game because a Wasp that's guarding the gem spawned off kilter to you. Attempt to level up a tile of Dice of Omens as soon as possible to gain a rune so you can deal with unmanageable Chimeras and Wasps.

The fundamental idea behind this board is accumulating runes to use your god-like ability, so killing what is cursed with level IV Geomantic Orbs is always worth a few lost turns, unless it results in a net loss of runes or death. Saving runes is as effective as gaining, so instead of using your ability as soon as a monster spawns that cannot be dealt with directly by anything on the board, look to have it follow you around the map so it can either be cursed and turned into a Ghost, or have other monsters join it so you get 2+ Ghosts for the price of 1 rune. Once all of those monsters are Ghosts, they can easily taken care of by one hit from the Morphic Mirror, provided you have some spare mana.

Our only consistent way of cursing monsters, which isn't consistent at all, is using the Wicked Thorns little sister the Dice of Omens. They are the root power source of the board and deal a rare 2 blue damage at max rank, so they should be maxed immediately. Waste up to 6 turns dumping exp into these as your game will be cut very short from spending tons of runes to emaciate Chimeras and Wasps if you don't. As the Morphic Mirrors have an easier time than the rest levelling up because of their innate waveclear - not to mention that the Geomantic Orbs will also be putting the curses of the Dice to good use - the Geomantic Orbs should be maxed second, followed by the Mirrors. When it's safe, funnel experience into the Dragon Skulls as it's pretty much required to have extra mana to tackle the dragon, before attempting to finish the Necromancer's Masks to make your ability a safe haven.

This board is a nightmare to get through the early game and its late game isn't even worth the effort. If we had Wicked Thorns to replace the Dice of Omens so we could have higher rates of cursing, this Izu would be a breeze as our rune supply wouldn't be an issue. Morphic Mirrors also aren't ideal when paired with Necromancer's Masks since the Masks subdue most/all the Ghosts that appear. Mystic Whisks would be much better replacements for the Mirrors as they whisk monsters away - sometimes freeing a path to the gem to facilitate the transformation of a cursed monster into a Ghost - which can help with avoiding damage when sieging. Compromising is just the name of the game when it comes to Izu.

Conclusion

Although I will almost always refuse to play with Brainspoons on other characters, vivafridge proved that they can be used as viable corner weapons for Ixxthl, which is something I may try my hand at in future Izus.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-17-2017 at 12:21 AM. Reason: ?
06-16-2017, 03:17 AM
#13
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Izu Set 58: Johnny

I've played Johnny in Izu three or four times now but have yet to see Harry, Susannah or Masina at all. Here's hoping one of those three is chosen next Izu.

Top 3 Scores

Pictures of the boards will be at the bottom of this post when this Izu ends.

1. JackMule 161 (6/1/0)
2. thomp ~ 149 (0/1/0)
3. Madeofwires 146 (0/0/2)
3. QuestNemestrina 146 (0/0/1)

Items

Slingshot [R] (1/1/1/1/1) I: When this hits Minotaurs or stronger, they lose mana for each level.
Brutal Axe (1/1/2/2/2) I: When this kills a monster, curse a random monster. IV: Curse another monster upon a kill.
Blight Broadsword (2/2/3/3/4) Only devours cursed monsters.
Malign Wand [R] (1/1/1/1/1) 0: When this hits a monster, spend mana to curse them. IV: When this kills a monster, curse all monsters.
Poisoned Chalice (1/1/1/1/1) 0: When this kills a monster, spend mana to curse a random monster. I: Upon hit, cursed monsters additionally lose health equal to this items level.
Forbidden Scroll (1/1/1/1/1) I: The nearest gate can't spawn a monster if it was the last gate to do so. IV: When this hits a monster, return them to their gate.
Festerfang Venom (1/1/1/1/1) IV: Once per turn, after a cursed monster is stunned, hit them.
Bonesnare (1/1/1/2/2) 0: After you spend a rune, hit the monster here.

Building

Wow – what a selection of items we've been granted for this Izu. I'd normally throw out the majority of weapons at first glance, but since playing with two items is not an option it'll have to be a matter of which bad item is worse than the other. Clearing is out of the question as without Blink Daggers Johnny takes far too long to reach 256 stars.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry whenever I see the Festerfang Venom in Izu; it might as well say “an Amulet of Immortals but doesn't revive you.” The Bonesnare's leaps and bounds more useful than the former, as it eventually hits for 2 damage, but it's outclassed by any other red weapon that deals 2 because its ability is too situational and deals pitiful damage for the exp and spot on the board that it costs.

Johnny's boards are very unique in the sense that most of the fighting will be done in the perimeter, as opposed to the centres like the majority of heroes. With that in mind, since the Brutal Axe is second in strength to the Blight Broadsword it gets placed in a horizontal zig-zag through the centre. I order the zig-zag horizontally because I want to avoid using any Poisoned Chalices in the first column of the board, as there are a number of scenarios involving unlucky Cube and Serpents spawns when you're confined in that first column that'll drain your mana quickly due to the Poisoned Chalices 0: ability.

Our mobility will naturally be restricted by walls forming more frequently because of Johnny's handicap, so it's important to have access to an opposite coloured weapon nearby from any tile so we aren't wasting too many turns to travel to said weapon in order to kill a monster using less attacks. Keeping that trend, Slingshots are placed in the corners diagonal to the Brutal Axes. Crossbows would be much better alternatives to Slingshots, but as ranged weapons both help Johhny with zugzwang and are safer to use because of Johnny's innate escape and frequent closed corridors being generated by Johnny's handicap, Slingshots are still worthwhile here. The same is true for the Malign Wands that are placed in the remaining corners.

Albeit unreliable, we have multiple ways of cursing enemies to ensure that our Blight Broadswords will be the strongest weapon to use against non-cursed foes. As mentioned previously, the perimeters are likely to receive the majority of combat, so Broadswords are spread equidistant apart from the closest of the same kind. Poisoned Chalices gain power from Brutal Axes, so although they have the penalty of costing mana when they curse an enemy, they still outclass Forbidden Scrolls as damage dealers. Chalices fill the remaining spots on the board except for b4, in which place a Scroll resides. Levelling all Broadswords to level IV so that they can deal 4 damage won't be feasible with the methods of cursing available, and killing blue-weak monsters with Wands and Chalices risks getting trapped or draining mana fast respectively, so it follows that Cubes would be the most formidable of the common monsters. The scroll on b4 not only helps reduce the amount of Cubes that we have to face, but it also gives us a non-ranged square to kill Cubes in one blow without unwillingly spending mana.

This board is trash, but I suppose one man's trash is another's treasure, which is often the case in Izu.

Gameplay

Scoring well with this board requires an unorthodox play-style that's only akin to Vesuvius Bob's; you should play fast, but you can't play too fast by spamming your runes or you'll quickly run dry and lose access to your only escape tool. It's a fine balance of saving many turns per rune and surviving through long passages to hold on to those precious runes – one that is not trivial in the slightest, as it's instinctual (but wrong here) to hold on to runes if possible in order to survive later in the game. Keep in mind that surviving for as long as possible is not the goal here and that stockpiling runes will only force you on average to spend more runes per star at an earlier star count if you do so. Use runes to get through unfavourable dungeon generations quickly and to save at least 7 turns to the star on unnecessary uses. If you can save turns while also killing a monster with Johnny's ability, look to force that instead of using his ability then fighting a monster – unless you wish to change relative parity by attacking or you want to feed an item with it.

Since it's a long road to every star and we have no way of regaining our resources aside from gem pickups, avoid taking damage if conveniently possible when you won't be at max hp/mana after the next pickup. Nearly every item on the board has an interaction with curses in some way, so cursing as many enemies as possible with safe uses of Brutal Axes is what we'll be looking to do during the mid game. By keeping all enemies on the board cursed our Poisoned Chalices and Malign Wands can kill and deal damage without sucking the life out of us, our Blight Broadswords can level up faster and some enemies will be transformed into frail Ghosts upon gem pickups. Another priority is to keep monsters on the board at a minimum as there are no items that are likely to deal 4 damage nor are there any that can kill two monsters in one turn, which risks wasting many turns and runes in order to deal with big waves or a chance of dying.

Experience distribution is fairly simple with this deck as the only immediate goal is to reach an early level I on the Forbidden scroll. Funnelling exp into the Brutal Axes until they all reach level II is the proceeding step, as it eliminates weaknesses on the board by adding an extra damage point to each Axe. Afterwards, The Blight Broadswords become the main targets of exp soaking so that they can kill Serpents in one hit upon reaching their level IIs. With so few blue weapons on the board, the Poisoned Chalices and Malign Wands will be maxed merely by efficient fighting, while Slingshots will gain experience rapidly due to their relatively decent sieging and damage avoiding capabilities and as such their level advancements do not need to be prioritized over other items.

Conclusion

After this set, I don't know if I'm looking forward to an Izu with all F-tier weapons or dreading it. I wonder if there's a character/item set combination where getting over 100 is highly unlikely. Let's hope I don't find out tomorrow.
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-17-2017 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Reason
06-20-2017, 04:46 PM
#14
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Izu Set 59: Masina

I thought I'd mix up the format this time because I didn't want to complain the entire post about how Masina's constantly placed in unescapable deaths. Hopefully a subjective harangue is just as satisfying to read as a series of objective statements.

Top 3 Scores

1. vivafridge 256 (4/3/0)
2. JackMule 246 (6/2/0)
3. eddybox 230 (0/0/1)

Items

Whetstone (1/1/1/1/0) IV: Increases damage of adjacent weapons in row.
Amulet of Immortals (1/1/1/1/1) IV: Upon death, respawn here and reset to level 0.
Reaping Scythe (1/1/1/1/2) II: When this kills a monster, a random monster becomes a Ghost.
Rusty Caltrops (1/1/1/2/2) IV: When a monster moves here, stun them.
Brutal Axe (1/1/2/2/2) I: When this kills a monster, curse a random monster. IV: Curse another monster upon a kill.
Dwindling Brazier (4/3/2/1/0)
Echo Harp (1/1/1/1/1) I: Once per turn, after this hits a monster, 25/50/75/100% chance to hit a random monster.
Bonesnare (1/1/1/2/2) 0: After you spend a rune, hit the monster here.

Rambling

After what I thought was my last game of 868-Hack (another one of Michael Brough's roguelikes) that I'd play for a long time – an expansion in the near future has me convinced otherwise – I thought I'd give Mr. Brough's other iOS games a shot. I duelled in Glitch Tank, a one on one battle versus either an AI or another human, and died valiantly in his endless (?) encircling game Helix for about a combined half an hour before I thought I'd seen enough of both to confirm that I wasn't interested in getting good at either. Although I intend to complete it at some point, I didn't get very far into the puzzling world of Corrypt. I don't intend to downplay it, as it does have fascinating concepts such as warping terrain from one screen to another, but most of what I played involve moving objects attached to your character into specific locations, which wasn't enough to suppress my desire to move onto Mr. Brough's initial iOS roguelike Zaga 33.

868-Hack had set my standard for roguelikes pretty high – it was my only roguelike that I had played at the time – so in retrospect it's understandable why I was disappointed after finishing the entirety of the game in under an hour. Zaga's way of adding variance to its item system by masking all abilities with random icons wasn't enough to make multiple playthroughs feel distinct, and its pushover difficulty once I employed a basic strategy of stockpiling items was just another factor for never feeling the urge to play just one more run, something that 868-Hack made me crave after each failed attempt.

Once I'd tried all else, I returned to Imbroglio to see if I could crack the egg I couldn't grasp on my original assessment; my first impression of Imbroglio was that it was inferior to 868-Hack in almost every way. All monsters had the same AI which made them as a whole feel bland, the spawn position of enemies was strict and as such meant that considering your position upon their arrival was less important, and there were times when I felt that no matter how good I was playing, the game could just kill me if it felt like it.

Meet Masina, the most helpless character against zugzwang and a major source of why I once thought beating Imbroglio was based too much on luck. Whereas Molly has help once waves start pouring in by being able to manipulate random effects without any worry of running dry on runes, Masina's either low or has already ran out of runes – not to mention that her ability only grants her one extra damage point if she's attacking on a red tile. Naturally, Masina has an accelerated early game in comparison by being able to kill most foes in fewer blows with weak red weapons, but that doesn't help with escaping nearly as much as being able to have a say in which enemies get struck by random effects that dictate parity.

She might not have the strongest ability, but like any other character it's still beneficial to try to preserve them. Whetstones quench Masina's rune thirst by allowing one damage red weapons to kill Chimeras without spending them, and Echo Harps help deal with zugzwang by killing enemies that she's off-kilter to without coming face to face with them, so the board that I arrived at uses those two extensively. I tried my hand at incorporating Rusty Caltrops into my board to strengthen my Echo Harps and give me options to indirectly sync up enemies, but they often clogged passageways and forced me to fight on less than ideal tiles so I scrapped them and replaced them with two couples of Whetstones and Reaping Scythes. Because they turn random monsters into Ghosts upon a kill at level II, Scythes are great at chaining kills and levelling up quickly without spending too many runes on Masina and are solid tools for clearing out waves late game. Semi-closed (layouts that have 4-6 walls) and closed (layouts that have 7-9 walls) dungeons often place Masina into an unavoidable death by forcing her to move into unfavourable tiles, making Amulet of Immortals extremely valuable. My best configuration I came up with uses two of them, which are paired with their own Whetstone to help them max out faster and give the hero a better chance of getting off of them once revived.

Although Masina has a lot of inherent problems and can be utterly frustrating to play, seeing her this Izu reminded me of why I now consider Imbroglio superior to 868-Hack, which is a truly impressive feat (after all, 868-Hack was my favourite roguelike). Both games have unique appeals, but Hack has one trait that dampens the question of survivability which is that the games state of winning or losing is most often decided in the first two (out of eight) sectors. No matter how many powerups are implemented, you still only need to siphon handful of progs to ensure enough options to get you out of any scenario with proper play.

This doesn't affect Hacks charm too much in the early games of score streaks – as most of the first ~15 games are focused on getting to the secret stage to achieve otherwise unobtainable scores while expending your resources fully in an efficient manner – but once three or four powerups pile on, playing for access to the secret level becomes nearly impossible, which results in games with fractions of the scores you could potentially get. After about the halfway mark to what I'm sure most would consider the final stage of Hack, level 33, the style of gameplay makes this heavy shift from scoring mode to survival mode in which your total score will grow minimally. That's kind of a problem in its own right, but my main gripe is that since you're forced to play with an inability to transport yourself to the secret stage, the games become lacklustre when the best strategy is to instead safely hoard your supplies and just pick up as many points as you can on the last sector.

Let me stress that when access to the secret stage is possible, it isn't detrimental to Hacks enjoyability if surviving is guaranteed with perfect play as the main goal of those types of games is scoring. The reverse is true, however, if the entire purpose is to survive and you can determine that you will after the first phase of the game is completed. That's what makes Imbroglio captivating every time I play. No matter how good I get I'll never know whether or not I'm going to clear Imbroglio after its opening seed, making the outcome of survival one of the most intriguing questions Imbroglio presents – even if it means I have to take a cheap death from Masina every now and then.

TL;DR Building

Whetstone + Echo Harps = Good

TL;DR Gameplay

RNG simulator 2017

TL;DR Conclusion

vivafridge's clear is pretty stellar and I'm surprised he was able to do so with his board given how many weak tiles it has once maxed. I'd love to know how much of the late game he had to endure before he finished, as I only made it to the second boss once with a score of 244 (I was playing really safe and slow, which still ended in my death.)
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Last edited by JackMule; 06-20-2017 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Why the long space?
06-20-2017, 10:16 PM
#15
My Masina clear was a pretty standard time for me, I think. Past first boss and the minotaur rush (which I had to go down to two runes to survive), but definitely way before the second boss. In my experience if I get to the second boss, I was too slow and probably can't win (although there are some exceptions with super strong lategames like Dreamwheel setups).

It looks like your setup possibly wastes too many moves leveling the Amulets (it's hard to get XP on the corners), but I'm not sure.

Last edited by vivafringe; 06-20-2017 at 10:18 PM.
06-21-2017, 12:05 AM
#16
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivafringe View Post
My Masina clear was a pretty standard time for me, I think. Past first boss and the minotaur rush (which I had to go down to two runes to survive), but definitely way before the second boss. In my experience if I get to the second boss, I was too slow and probably can't win (although there are some exceptions with super strong lategames like Dreamwheel setups).

It looks like your setup possibly wastes too many moves leveling the Amulets (it's hard to get XP on the corners), but I'm not sure.
I do need more exp to max my board, but I thought everything hitting more would waste little exp so I could hit higher faster. That said, I was surprised when I arrived at the first boss twice with two very different gem counts (~220 on my 246 game and ~200 on my 244 game) so maybe I was playing too safe around exp and getting trapped.

I don't know if you were strictly talking about Masina, but Susannah pretty much plows through everything, even if it's at a really slow pace. Many times I'll reach the 3rd and 4th bosses with her, as she has one of the easiest albeit cumbersome mid-late games with a quad Whetstone and Vamp Spear setup.