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.
After feeling largely lost last Izu, it was good to settle into some nice, familiar Echo Harp/Whetstone abuse.
There’s not much to say regarding board construction; this is a design pretty much as old as the game itself. The only somewhat unusual thing is the two Amulet of Immortals. I poopooed the weapon last time it showed up for Dominic, since Dominic tends not to die until he’s out of Runes and the board is flooded. On the other hand, Masina’s lack of an active ability to pass the turn, combined with a maddening weakness of a dead room every round, makes her vulnerable to unlucky spawns. More than other characters, she’ll get trapped with a bad weapon, or simply take one too many damage before she can grab a star. Or, more eloquently, shit happens.
As such, Amulet of Immortals works much better here, simply as a way to negate the swings of bad luck that Masina tends to encounter. After they rez you, they also help a bit more by giving you 1 or 2 more coins to work with (this ended up being a deciding factor in my clear!). Furthermore, boosted echoharps are ridiculously strong in the lategame, so you don’t have to generally worry about respawning on a full board that kills you anyway. I started with 1 amulet and got to 246, and decided I wanted two since the first one contributed so many points.
Looking back, it’s possible I should have boosted all 4 Echo Harps, rather than splitting them 50/50 among Echo Harps and Reaper’s Scythes. It would have been worth at least trying out. However, the Reaper Scythes are quite strong in their own right, and boosting them helps in the midgame against Chimeras, so maybe it was fine.
I’ve put a lot of time optimizing these types of boards, so I have a fair number of tips ready:
- Early on, leveling Whetstones is a big priority. I’m willing to waste up to two moves to give them XP. I also sometimes kill Serpents with them, even if I can kill them with a Harp.
- Don’t try to save coins in the early and midgame – you’re usually forced to blow them later anyway. The biggest example is if a Serpent is blocking your path, it’s better to 2-hit it with your red tile than to retreat a space and Harp it. Just be happy the coin saved you 2 moves.
- Similarly, if it saves you two moves, go ahead and use your Dwindling Torch. It’s not worth wasting time to preserve Torch charges.
- I think the usual temptation is to level the Whetstones evenly, but this is a mistake. If you have a choice between them and its the same number of moves either way, put XP on the one with more XP. The first boosted Harp is more important than the second.
- Prioritize Amulet of Immortals over Scythes, if it’s the same number of moves and the Scythe can’t get you value. Scythes come mostly online at level 2, while Amulets need to get all of the way.
- Don’t level your Whetstone to full while one of the rooms it’s next to is greyed out by Masina’s weakness. It won’t get boosted.
- Once you have Harps fully leveled and boosted, try to leave Serpents and Cubes alive until you can kill two of them at once.
- Masina’s boss is (IIRC) always a Unicorn, which is great because you want to boost one of your middle harps to 3.
- If you die while Amulet is greyed out, you won’t get rezzed. If this happens, the proper response is to take a screenshot and tweet it to Michael Brough. He’ll enjoy your tears.
For the rest, it’s mostly luck and perseverance. This isn’t the easiest board to clear, but with Echo Harps and Whetstones, it’s not the worst either. Happy hunting!