Welcome to Ixxthl – the most generous, and also the most unforgiving of all of the heroes. Ixxthl’s rune power is ridiculously strong. With proper use, she pretty much can’t die. And yet, “proper” use in this case requires planning multiple moves ahead for the entire duration of her run. One slip-up and you die, pulling out your hair at the “obvious” mistake. In the early game, where lots of Ixxthl’s runs are cut short by luck, but in the end-game, unless you have 0 runes left, your death is solely on you. This is both maddening and liberating at the same time.
Ixxthl represents an interesting tradeoff. Her early game is so punishingly difficult that you want to shore up her early game. But, if you get lucky enough, you can get through with even the greediest board, and set yourself up for a strong lategame. As a result it’s an open question – do you want a lot of “viable” seeds, or do you want the viable seeds you have to be as strong as possible? There’s no easy answer.
I personally prefer to have lots of “viable” seeds. This results in weaker late games, but more chances of getting to play in the first place. In this case, that means running the max number of Rimeclaws, and cutting some of the late-game tech.
This Izu is also notable for being the first showcase of the buffed Poisoned Chalice. In this case, it’s Diamond cost remains a liability, but it’s still the most efficient option available to us for killing Wasps.
I am unsure of what the correct number of Dice/Dragon Skulls is, but my hunch is to run the max number of dice and only a small number of Dragon Skulls. The problem with Dragon Skulls is that your Diamonds are so consistently under pressure that it’s hard to take advantage of the improved maximum. If you are constantly floating around 1-2 diamonds anyway, then having 8 max does nothing. On the other hand, cursing is key to the board, so I run the max number of dice. When a Cursed Dice curses an enemy, it’s like gaining a “virtual” diamond, since I don’t have to use Poisoned Chalice to curse it instead.
Right now I’m standing at second place with this build:
Again, it’s a hair behind JackMule’s score, for now. I’m hoping to catch up tomorrow – I failed last Izu, but Jack’s score of 211 feels more vulnerable this time. Somehow, I’d like to figure out how to fit in the 4th Cursed Die – I feel it might be the key here.
Giving tips on playing the board is difficult, because I feel like I’ve hardly mastered it myself. I am currently focusing first on the lower right Wicked Thorns – even wasting moves to level it. The other Thorns aren’t as important, but getting a Wasp cursed from the outset can save a tremendous number of moves. In the endgame, each star is a battle to figure out how many runes you need to spend to survive. If you overestimate, you’ll gradually run out and won’t be able to get a decent score. But if you underestimate, you’ll die immediately. It’s not easy!
Above all, don’t beat yourself up too much when you inevitably fall to a mistake. This is not an easy board to max out on.