This is part of a series of posts that covers Imbroglio’s Izu mode. It will go up on either the 2nd or 3rd day of the Izu.
This Izu got to showcase one of my favorite weapons – the mighty Switchblade. Switchblade is interesting both for its deceptively powerful tempo and for the strong incentive to break the standard red and blue “checkerboard” pattern of most boards.
I started off with this build:
Placing all of the Switchblades in the center looks silly at first, but there’s strong reasons to do so. First, they’re by far strongest in the center. You want to use them to zip across the board, so putting them on the edges limits the amount of mobility you can get out of them. Second, putting them together lets you “chain” them by bouncing back and forth, permastunning your hapless victim if they’re level 2. This has obvious implications for when the Dragon inevitably comes out, but there’s a more subtle benefit as well. Their biggest weakness is that they are extremely annoying to level up. Not only do they sometimes move you in the opposite direction you want to go, but if you attack a 2 heart monster with it, it will move you off of the tile. With the Switchblades together, you can negate both weaknesses. You can counteract your backwards movement, and be able to finish it off with another Switchblade (nabbing your valuable xp).
The rest of the board, I have to admit, isn’t quite optimal. I added a Forged Sigil as an experiment to see if I could use runes super-liberally. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out (you don’t have quite enough opportunities to get value), and the extra runes sat uselessly in my inventory. I made the necessary tweak and put a Cursed Die in its place, and was able to clear with this board:
Unfortunately, even though I cleared, I’m still not sure this board is quite ideal. I ran two Ancient Shields and two Vampiric Spears, but there is an issue here where if you have 5/6 Hearts and 4/4 Diamonds, picking up stars won’t heal you due to Jeska’s weakness. You can still get to 6/6 by leeching with Vampiric Spear, but it’s a bit clunky. It might have been better to have three spears and one shield instead.
If you want to try out the board, prioritize leveling the switchblades. That said, it’s not worth losing turns to level them. For instance, if you Switchblade forward, it’s better to walk to a spear to finish off the monster rather than Switchblading backwards and losing two turns. That said, if you can go backwards with a Switchblade, THEN forwards, then you should go for it (since you won’t be losing turns on net).
In addition, you should be extremely aggressive with Jeska’s runes. As mentioned above, even when I used them in every single spot where I thought it benefited me, I still never ran out even when I cleared the board! There are two major spots to look for when it comes to using runes:
Here, I’m about to pick up a star, and have an option to curse a Snake before I do so (turning it into a ghost). This is great to do in the early game, since they normally take two hits to kill. This also guarantees that you’ll be able to kill the monster easily after the maze reconfigures. If you don’t use a coin here, you risk needing to backtrack to an efficient spot to finish off the monster. Finally, notice the monster’s position here. If you kill it normally. it will deal me two damage. By coining, I stall for a turn and gain parity, letting me kill it with zero damage!
The other spot where you’ll commonly use coins is here:
Here, I can walk forward and take a hit, walk backwards, and kill the cube with the Whisk (three turns), or I can use a rune and kill it (two turns). Not only do I save a damage, but I save a turn. This might not seem like it’s worth it, but these saved turns really add up over the course of a run, and the saved damage might prevent you from dying later.
My final tip here is that in the late game, you should make sure you kill nearby monsters before you pick up stars in the corners. Chances are you won’t have time to level your whisks to 4, and you risk stalling out doing 1 damage a turn and having the board flood with monsters.
Overall, this is one of the easier Izu boards to clear with, and if you haven’t cleared an Izu yet, now is the time to try!