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. For a write-up of what each weapon does, go here.
My eyes lit up when I saw this Izu’s offer. Necromancer’s Mask, Geomantic Orb, AND Morphic Mirror are some of Ixxthl’s favorite tools, so it felt like a clear was not only possible, but inevitable if I found the proper board.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way. While I drooled over the incredible lategame tools, I failed to notice that there wasn’t much in the way of an early game. It quickly became apparent that unless I wanted to spend a lot of time grinding out early game seeds, I needed to have Brainspoons in the corners to shore up my early game. I also decided that Dragon Skulls were important, since they can become sort of effective (albeit maddeningly unreliable) at killing Wasps after just one level.
There was a second problem – while Necromancer’s Mask, Geomantic Orb and Morphic Mirror are all powerful, the first has questionable synergy with the other two. Morphic Mirror kills your allied ghost, and Geomantic Orbs get far fewer kills when ghosts become your friends and move randomly away from you. So, to start, I decided that I should try builds that didn’t run all three, but tried to go as far as possible with two out of three.
My first idea was to combine the lategame unreliableness of Dragon Skulls with the reliableness of Bog Hands. I figured if monsters were getting stunned 100%, I wouldn’t have to worry about Dragon Skulls giving me bad rolls and failing to proc 3 or 4 times in a row. As a result, my first real attempt at clearing was this build:
Carrying forward my lessons learned from Izublog #1, my Bog Hands “point towards” the Hawks this time. It’s not a bad build, but I decided I wouldn’t be able to clear with it (barring some extraordinary luck). It’s just not quite efficient enough in the lategame – you eventually run out of runes, and then you die. Also, while the Dragon Skulls are great for fighting early, they are a real liability later even with Bog Hands. Once multiple monsters start attacking you, you really need to be able to count on taking things down quickly, and can’t really risk flipping coins for the three damage.
My next attempt tried to cut the Necromancer’s Mask and included Geomantic Orbs and Panoptic Mirrors, but that was even worse and I quickly scrapped that as well.
Finally, I saw true love when I noticed Michael Brough himself had beaten my 224 score with a simple and, in retrospect, “obvious” build. I shamelessly copied it and was able to clear a few tries later:
Michael Brough’s build here is good because it cuts Geomantic Orb and Panoptic Mirror down to 2 each, both in the center. Before, I had tried running some on the sides, where they’re less effective. Instead, he runs purely “tech” tiles in the side slots – a good choice, since our tech tiles are so strong in this Izu. He also runs two Dragon Skulls that “point” towards the Hawk corner, which ease the early game a bit. It’s definitely the best Izu board, and I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself.
There is also a hidden synergy here that I had never noticed before. Brainspoons are normally a liability, especially lategame, because they leave your original body prone and vulnerable while your mind controlled monster is gallivanting about. Here, however, you can keep Ixxthl safe with two Necromancer’s Masks and Ixxthl’s hero ability. Whenever a monster gets too close, spending a rune will most likely convert the nearby threat to a friend. Using this newly discovered synergy, I was able to take control of the dragon and grab around 20 stars with it – a key factor in my eventual clear.
Overall, it was one of the more enjoyable playthroughs – I’ve always wanted to make Brainspoons “work”, and this is the first time I’ve been able to actually do that.