YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

The tower awaits!

Yet even more victories!

Postby Remora » Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:18 am

One thing I forgot to mention for the "Hunter" run was that I used druj nasu Soul Armor. I actually forgot to do a Relic Upgrade at one point, but I decided to just settle for that, linking with a druj nasu on Tower:21. That's another good use for Call Demon.

My Stellar Nova run ended with being drained by Charliss. I got a bit cocky when he was starting to get low. At the moment I'm just in limbo.

Here's a list of other wins in March, all being buff/Gaudium builds but I have come to have one or two other active abilities nowadays. I've had some more time off, so a lot of days were good for playing Demon.

[ur=https://i.imgur.com/xgaYQtk.png]3-5: "Knowledge."[/url] I've come to favor unicorns more recently as healers and/or for acquiring their abilities. While I did win the game with a unicorn here, I'd say that they're not very optimal to bring this far. Ibong adarna should be a good replacement for a unicorn if you still have one past Tower:23. Anyway, the one specific thing about this run that I can remember is an encounter with incubi, banshees, and charun on Tower:21 that had some of the most diverse random modifiers I have ever seen: Eliminator, Savior, Iceborn, and Destined! That's quite the combination on them, with just an unmodified banshee between them.

3-8 "Knowledge" second cycle. IIRC I found a nice brand for healers and some others, i.e. a brand that gives more SP and pierce resistance for being past level 27/28. It's a nice thing to have with enemies like powers and bruchas around. I don't have much else to say by now.

3-10 "Seen." I had unwittingly went with Orb of Power instead, but that's not a problem. This game was pretty generous, given that I had over 40 heal stones by Tower:29 and plentiful other resources. I even had two gold offerings, which were used to nab Slenderman (who spawned without the Lure) and Thor. I got Sati via link; Gaudium helped out with that, albeit its limits hurt a lot with links. I failed badly with Daksha's, even with all of my heal stones. I remember having a nice brand for Slenderman that removed his light weakness and gave him +10% more speed, and so with Throat Slash he was quite the menace.

3-13 "Knowbetter." I like meamei. The link is fun, but it can be brutal; groostlangs are something nasty and eye killers provide disruption. Sometimes it makes me wish I had access to Sun's Lament + Serenity. That aside, I previously had a mysterious civatateo. This was the first time in quite a while in which I bothered to recruit Baphomet.

3-15 "Observer." Party. I remember Ammit and the nuckelavee being total menaces together for a few floors. Before that I remember just about every encounter on Tower:21 having a fast brand at the expense of pierce weakness (on powers and all) and then Tower:22 was similar but with body weakness (lots of shikome and rakshasas around here). That Mi-Du-Im-Pl brand was excellent for hitdudes. I had a vampire for a while that was made into a great fighter with it, becoming replaced with the marmoo at the end.

3-18 "Collective." Party. Druj nasu and kaliga-on: A match made in Heaven (or Hell). I got an early kaliga-on in Phoenix's Sanctum. It is a nice supporter, but it does suffer a bit from its low HP; enemies that can drain max HP will target it a lot, leaving it more vulnerable to many attackers, especially hitdudes that can charge in. Even then, I had fun with it for a few floors in which the druj nasu spread poison to mobs with total ease. I kept that fly mainly just because of the high recruit; it's just not optimal otherwise, but I think sup-optimal play can be fun sometimes.
I went out of my way to get SP saving/getting upgrades in this game, starting with Fusion Saver. I had over 70k on the penultimate floor, and so on the final floor I got to make a few bonus fusions before using the mirror/ghost chimes.

"Coldskin" party. Completed on the 20th. I went with the Crown of Glory start again, going for similar upgrades to the previous game. I wanted to rely on that Copy Saver to share Arctic Veil + Frostbite, but I didn't spread it all that much until the late game. I know I copied it onto my PC and an ogre early on, at least, and later an ehlose and then kuchisake-onna. I think that combo helped a bit with melee fights, particularly in the mid-Tower. I remember going through some onis pretty fast. It also helps out a lot with Madevra and Tremane, who are tough and strong but lack the ability to deal damage from beyond melee range. I don't think I had ever defeated the latter so fast before, and I consider him one of the tankiest entities in the entire game.
That Qu-Du-Le-So brand was just awesome. I don't think I've seen any other brand with such incredible stat bonuses before or since. The decrease in speed is worth it, given the huge increase in durability, evasion, and accuracy. I do get the feeling it made fighting my mirror wraith a little easier, though, but that's some conjecture.

A few more general thoughts:
I think the game really shines in the last several floors. That's generally when your summoner's build is totally online and approaching its apex, if it hasn't already. The late game enemies are challenging, and like I've said before, they can punish you easily with a few wrong moves. I'm looking forward to Tower:30 to see what group compositions they'll show up in there, alongside the other planned challenges.

Ammit is very strong. I consider her to be an excellent "wraith killer." She definitely suffers against all that she does not resist nor is immune to, though. Aside from ice attacks, naturally, mind and matter status effects are nasty! The late game shows that you really need the support to cover as many situations possible.

Of the Tower:29 mobs, I think the yithian and marmoo ones are the nastiest for all the debuffs and status effects they can quickly spread. The others aren't too deadly IMO (which is why I'm looking forward to seeing Tower:30's nasty compositions), albeit I think asura/sura groups can dish out a lot of damage if you don't disable or kill them swiftly. Sati's group can sometimes give me a lot of trouble, especially if my active party is fire weak like in the "Hunter" run.

The mulassa and yuki-onna groups that spawn in the early 20s floors are probably the nastiest regular encounter for me. Their ability to spread Panic is often really nasty for my party. That aside, I've come to fear gremlins, given that they can be a big problem if you don't have something reliable to tank their attacks in Anomaly (albeit blobs are pretty much a hard counter to them and spawn ofen). If they show up with Enemy Lure, they can be a big burden. I still find the glitch sanctum one of the most difficult places in the game (it might be easier when playing as a ranged attacker, though). I am not fond of running into mummies either, but every once in a while my party has great damage and a reliable tank to deal with them (baleful peluda lol).

I've been killing Paracelsus much more often recently. I've come to figure that Infection and Poison are very strong against him, even with nero support, especially on something fast like Vikhor. That's one way to deal with summoners: take them out fast! The resulting relic explosion may be nastier though, but Anomaly is rather open and the party of Paracelsus isn't too hard to escape usually, even with the slowing Aithirs.

I've only tried a sura link once and I failed badly. I think asura would be an excellent hitdude with abilities like Malleable or Healing Factor (its resistances and abilities are great for regenetation). That aside, I don't have reliable plans for linking with mandrakes (my current strategy is to just do it when overleveled a bit), succubi (I've only done that once and it did not end well), and Thor (haven't done it yet).

It is more than a mouthful, but I haven't said much in a while, so I've got this done tonight.
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:08 pm

A 30% speed demon! :D I don't know that I've ever seen someone use something that slow before. It wouldn't even get one turn for every three a normal demon does, but it sounds like you were happy with it regardless. :)

Those oozes in Anomaly are a fun and *sometimes* relatively easy OOD recruit, though it went much worse for someone in the Discord earlier this week who failed it when it slipped by them. :D

Petrify is probably the deadliest of the hard controls, even more so than Charm, because most players seem to focus more on mitigating Mind and its plethora of control effects, such that Matter-based Petrify can sometimes sneak in relatively unopposed, and unlike Paralysis (the only other non-Mind hard control) it gives you no actions at all once it starts. Not saying that happened to you in particular (I only have your end party to look at after all :D ), but it seems to happen that way more often than not.

Mid-combat Copy Ability is pretty powerful at times. :) Not sure I've ever heard of someone kneecapping their own team before a mirror fight and using it to reverse the process after using the chime, but it's not a bad idea. :D

Huh. Re: The encounter on your 3-5 game, I don't know if I've ever seen 4 different random modifiers in one group before, especially a group of modifiers that well balanced between damage, healing, and support. :D

Re: 3-15, that is definitely an amazing brand. :D +42 STR and VIT with only a relatively minor drawback (no reactives/auras) for characters already ignoring Magic. While there are some reactives worthwhile on a physical character, most auras require stats they typically don't use or use much (Magic/Cunning) anyway, so that part isn't a great loss.

Re: 3-18. Druj Nasu was one of my favorite demons back when I added it. Even without someone throwing Vile Dance around, it was fun working with it to fumigate entire Tower floors (minus pesky Body immunes. :D ) Happy to see it's still fun to do even years after they were originally added. :)

Tower:30 is where the end game begins, so I wouldn't necessarily expect normal encounters anymore from that point. :D What lies in wait instead should hopefully prove interesting and challenging though. :)

Infection is I think is often underestimated in dealing with enemy healers: even if they can remove it right away, they must spend a turn to do so, and there are not many ways to remove it while also healing HP. It is even proof against healers using Draw Wounds/Gift of Life for two heals a turn, since the Infection must be removed first and you can only heal with a cantrip + normal action if you do the cantrip first. Infection is also fairly easy to apply against non resistant/immune targets, so it is not difficult to spam for the duration long enough to take out the target.

Thank you for all the thoughts and feedback in these reports. :D I admit I'm eager to see what you make of the end game content once it is in, though I still have a ways to go on that. :)
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Three more victories as of today.

Postby Remora » Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:38 pm

A 30% speed death worm is amusing, albeit it really is that slow. It was one of my favored demons for facing against my mirror wraith, but it really did take its time just to get into battle. Like I've said, it was very much able to use an attack every turn it got because its SP regen outpaced its turns.

As for the current final few floors (Tower:27 - 29), I do think they're fine as they are in difficulty. I think Tower:29 works as a sort of "this is the last regular floor, so take what you can before the final challenge" kind of place. The real difficulty at this point lies in the links, as most of the level 38 to 40 demons aren't usually easy to get without some kind of set up. e.g. ijiraq and night-gaunt links take a lot of turns which is likely to lead to other enemies on an uncleared floor if you don't have them pinned down, asura, sura, and meamei links summon a lot of enemies within a short amount of time, marmoo link isn't too bad but you will likely run into something that can threaten it easily (light groups that spawn on Tower:29 have some of the greatest burst damage in the game, particularly the virtue + dominion + cherub groups).

I've been more busy recently, and so I've been playing Demon much less, but I have gotten a few wins over the past few weeks:
From the 27th last month, there was Bounty. In this run I didn't get Gaudium, sticking with merer buffs. The nice thing about that is that with Rabblerouser you can get a lot of accelerated turns. However, I failed to get Hunter's Cry, which would have been great. Even then, I still made it to the end. I remember this game being bumpy around the Tower:20 bend, but I did alright in the late game. I think part of the issue was having a demas healer for too long; I remember jotunn groups being a lot of trouble in this game. I had a gold offering for Thor once again. My final floor mirror wraith was easy to fight just because it spawned with two unicorns alongside the healing-only ibong adarna, so those fights consisted mainly of just whittling down the wraith. I think I had a lot of trouble chimes and ghost chimes by the final floor, so all of those made up for missed experience from previous floors. I've yet to have to skip fighting Dark Vital.

On the 6th last week there was Attrition. I think the fun thing about Copy Saver is that it can let you easily have party builds that have an ability or two that can be easily spread across most or all of it. Not too long ago there was the Arctic Veil and Frostbite combo of "Coldskin." In this game I got Distracting Aura a bit early on and I decided to put it on several allies over time, resulting in six endgame allies having it. Auras like that are probably among the more reliable abilities that can be mass-copied, as they become a lot more likely to affect enemies, especially debuff auras. I'm certain that a bunch of healing auras are also great.

That aside, I remember getting beaten up badly around Tower:12; I had to skip Lioth because an akateko ally of his turned out to be a lot of trouble, and I also kept my distance from Reprobus and Mordecai. I did find Ninkasi's sanctum and went into it right away. In there I encountered an asura within for the first time, and so I recruited it with a bronze offering. I also saw a sulfuric asura, but even with a silver offering I passed it up. Asura is very strong, and naturally so this early on. Even then, you still need to be wary of electric attacks. From this point onward I recovered pretty well. As can be seen in the image, I had a very strong endgame party with lots of unique modifiers on high origin level demons. My mirror wraith battle wasn't very easy, but it turned out to be rather quick. I managed to recruit all of the mirror demons for the heck of it, save for the civatateo. Before my second major asura, I had an immortal ibong adarna which helped out in the mirror asura's link. That would be the first time I have succeeded in the asura/sura link; I think I can come up with parties reliable to beat those, but I have yet to do so otherwise.

Today, there is Frostful. This character is the return of the "Frostful Heart" build. From some recent magic build games I have come to figure that boosting magic very high isn't very worth it with low power attacks. I had also figured that playing builds centered entirely around a single element on your PC aren't very easy; at the very least I usually find it worth getting a buff or debuff ability on such characters. Within this run I also figured out that Deep Chill isn't very necessary if you're using Cold Embrace, especially without Winterkill on your character or allies. I replaced it with Resolute around Tower:18. I was willing to get Snowstorm and Sentinel's Cry on this character, but I didn't have much luck with appropriate links. In hindsight, though, I've realized that I could have gotten one of those from an ijiraq via Transpose Soul, albeit I was pretty tight on credits throughout much of this run.

This game was kinda bumpy, and it's my most underleveled victory since getting back into the game back in February. I skipped a couple fights by then, but I had to skip Baphomet's Sanctum because I was unable to deal with the petrifying attackers that spawned not far off from the entrance. At least I recovered a bit by the time I reached Medusa's Sanctum, with just Tower:15 cleared in the meantime. I did skip part of Tower:22 because I wasn't able to deal with mulassa and light groups at the time, which was a gamble that paid off: my first encounter on Tower:23 consisted of eye killers and ikiryo, and even though I had two electric-vulnerable supporters I managed to defeat the eye killers and then have my shikome recover by draining the ikiryo (it's a hard counter). I figure that's the nice thing about shikome; she can recover max HP quickly if you're cautious enough. My 20s party mainly consisted of supportive allies, with discarded ones being shojo and lampad. A dominion did help my party punch above its weight class for a few floors; I know I cleared the last five Tower floors as well as Athena's sanctum. Even then, I got that dominion from Ammit's Sanctum, which was about the only thing I had achieved there aside from Relic Preservation kicking in at least once. I think the late mobs that consist of a few somewhat lower level to several sub-30 demons helped out a lot with recovery. They are noticeably more difficult if you're a few levels behind, but defeating them is a boon if you are behind the eight ball. I think the only level 40 groups encountered were the spriggans and marmoos (the latter of which appear with yithians); the spriggans' healing was a lot more noticeable in this game for me. "Dark Vital" was still defeated too. My mirror party wasn't too bad, but you should see that a lot of max HP draining happened in the meantime.

Overall, I think this last run was alright, just a bit rough here and there. I still have a habit of playing the relics flavorfully in regards to the abilities and builds they have had in the past. I'm pretty sure to get the most out of a "Frostful Heart" character is to mass-copy Winter Lord onto your allies and perhaps your PC for a nice defense support. Too bad I wasn't in shape to do the jotunn link!
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:52 pm

Late game links are definitely toughies, no denying that. You covered most of why, but I'd also point out many of them have horrifying consequences for failure too. :D

Speaking of slow poke demons: I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone else so willing to tolerate Speed penalties. :D Having one 30% Worm is one thing, but a fair chunk of Affliction's party was happily carting around -30% Speed for the -59% SP Costs brand, and the -20% Speed +51 Vit one is used often in Frostful's bunch. No arguing the results given they're all wins, but I admit even I'm a little surprised at the success you've had with it. I'm not unhappy about it at all: -Speed being a viable choice of acceptable penalty is great, I just didn't realize anyone'd be willing to take it on half their party (though -59% SP Cost at least is a pretty big incentive... less certain about the +51 Vit)

Single element's definitely a better plan for demons who can be swapped out, as opposed to the main character who will be stuck standing around frowning. As you mentioned, even one ability for a Plan B, be it a heal, debuff, or whatever, is a big help just to give you something to do when your main element isn't usable.

Creating safe "feeding" scenarios for Shikome is a pretty clever way to handle preservation recovery. :D It might be possible to make the strategy more broadly applicable with Charm or Petrify, and passing MaxHP drains to other demons... though you'd need to watch the durations carefully. I hadn't thought of that before in the specific of case of creating scenarios where even critically low MaxHP demons could safely fill back up; I assumed even with MaxHP drains folks would usually wait until a demon was fairly close to full again and just use the draining to accelerate the last part of recovery.

I haven't announced it on the blog yet, but I plan to release a build relatively soon with just the new abilities (distributed out among the various demons/modifiers of the Tower), so even though the end game content is probably still a bit off, you'll have a bunch of new goodies to find soon. Not ALL of the new abilities will be present: some are only found on the end game characters after all. But a fairly good chunk of them will be available. :D

Thanks again for the reports, and congrats on three more wins. :D
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Remora » Sat May 08, 2021 11:00 pm

The scaling on brands with slow penalties can be pretty crazy; in a recent game that ended early on, I found a level 3 brand that increased vitality and cunning by 14 traded for a 30% speed penalty. That brand, for example, is great for "veil tanks." In a game from a few weeks ago I found a brand that increased magic by about 34 points as well as giving a good regen value for -20% speed, IIRC. I put it on my sulfuric mulassa and it had over 100 magic as a result. For that game though, most of the brands were added right before last floor mirror fights so I didn't get all that much mileage out of them. I feel that the best slow brands are those with dual effects, which is my general attitude towards brands. I think the flexibility can really compensate for the lower speed.

I pretty much figured out that kind of recovery through recruiting Ammit just about every chance I can get. Call Demon can be especially useful for this as the asrai link can give a swift recovery for party members that are able to drain max HP.
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Mon May 10, 2021 1:11 am

No denying slow Brands can give major benefits. :D -Speed is one of the biggest bonus to overall Brand power there is. :) Double bonus Brands do tend to have more power total; that's the compensation for having to find a character who can use both bonuses effectively (though sometimes you get lucky and this is easy or even automatic.)

That's true: Using Call Demon to summon demons whose links involve summoning (at your current level) wimpy demons to use for MaxHP draining is also a good plan for restoring damaged demons. :D
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