IronMan Compendium



IRONMAN COMPENDIUM

 

 

GENERAL TIPS

Pre-game
Because IronMan games are meant to be played in sets if not finishing it in one session, you should expect to play for at least 3 hours at a time. Maybe the others wouldn't mind just a quickie but you should state it in the beginning if you do not have the time required. There's nothing worst than someone leaving the game after a couple of levels - having robbed the team much needed exp points and resources.
Note: For example, after the team did a complete clear of the Church you have the option to save the characters and restart from the Catacombs at a later time.


Hotkeys and abbreviations
Change your hotkeys F9 - F12 to communicate quickly. Some messages that are useful:


”I need Heal Other!”
”Stop!”
”Baiting!”
”Regroup  at the door!”
”Repair items please!“
”Fall back!”
”King Leoric!”


Also, it helps to predefine some abbreviations especially when there are new people in the group. Some abbreviations we often use are:


HOP - Heal Other Please
Hopper - The person doing the Heal Other
RIP - Repair It Please
CJ - Cracker Jack (crack these barrels)

Join Order
Warrior creates game, rogue joins next, then the mage. Other variations are possible but the "Tank/Shield" hosts game and the character with the least AC joins last. The join order is important because of the way monsters choose their targets. Without getting too technical - normally they will attack the character closest to them - but a choice have to be made when there are multiple targets in the same range, and the decision is made based on the join order. The monsters will target the game host first, then the first to join and so on. Keep in mind that this guide is written with the assumption of the aforementioned join order.

Shopping
Pool all your gold. Throw all your gold on the ground in front of Gris upon entering the game. Each player lists all BASIC armor Griswold has to offer. Personally, I prefer to spend the first 250 gold pieces for a resurrection scroll then buy the others with the left over. It makes sense since the craps you buy with the limited amount of gold you would have better replacements by level 2 or 3. Otherwise, spending that gold on 5 half potions is not a bad second choice.

ITEM

AC

DUR

Price

Rags (Armor)

2-6

6

5 Gold

Cape (Armor)

1-5

12

10 Gold

Cloak (Armor)

3-7

18

40 Gold

Robe (Armor)

4-7

24

75 Gold

Cap (Helm)

1-3

15

5 Gold

Skull Cap (Helm)

2-4

20

25 Gold

Buckler (Shield)

1-5

16

30 Gold

Small Shield

3-8

24

90 Gold


When buying basic items from Griswold, it helps to keep in mind that spending more does not always mean you'll get more. You want to get the highest AC possible with the least amount of gold. Durability is hardly a problem with a warrior in the party. If you are lucky you can get up to 14 AC with just 50 gold pieces. Also, the warrior can sell his club for 5 gold (probably get one from the first monster killed) and his buckler for 12 gold (if he bought a better one) if there are other good buys.

Gold and scrolls
Pick up the gold - The number of items that can lie on the floor is limited. This will prevent monsters from dropping items if the limit is filled. Pick up the scrolls as well, they may come in handy later on. One Firewall scroll can make a difference when facing King Leoric without Holybolts, if you know the double cast technique. Not even those humble little TP scrolls should go to waste, they serve many useful purposes ( yes, it's legal to go to town as long as you don't interact with the town folks). The Town Portal section covers some obvious and not so obvious uses of TP scroll/spell.

Basic tactics
Note: Occasionally, the word “Tank” is used in reference to the person who hosted the game. Tank is usually the warrior and host, though he can be a rogue with weapon/shield setup. The tank’s job is to hold the monsters at bay so the other members may attack without getting hit. The tank position may also be a temporary status, for example, when the warrior is near lvlup with low HP, the rogue takes the tank position while warrior tags with a bow.

DON’T be caught dead with resurrection scrolls in your inventory. Drop all the resurrection scrolls by stair as soon as you enter a new level.

DON’T put resurrection scrolls on belt! Hehe, bad enough people (mostly me) uses up potions when typing without hitting the "enter" key first. Try to get into the habit of clicking on the mouth icon to type.

DON’T block the doorway! This is one of the major causes of death. You should not enter a room until the scout gives the signal.

DON’T change weapon/items in the middle of a battle when you are playing form CD. You cannot do anything until the loading sequence is completed.

Choose one member to be the leader, usually the warrior or ”Tank”. Follow his lead and stay together. Warrior cracks all barrels and rogue opens all chest and sarcophagus. Rogue should also run the cursor over doors and warn if trapped. The mage should feel free to get up and smack monsters with his staff as long as he is standing next to the warrior, and can trust him not to retreat or move off without thinking. 

When entering a new level in the Churches and Hell, no one moves until everyone is down. You may activate monsters you have to handle by yourself and get killed, plus no one likes a surprise party when they just enter a new level. Note: A different tactic is used when entering the Catacombs and Caves, more on that later.

It’s now time to introduce you to the first battle formation, “Shotgun”, in conjunction with what is known as “Set and Bait”. Examine the immediate dungeon layout and go to the nearest door to setup defense there (Set), otherwise, the party have no defendable area to retreat to when overpowered by monsters. The warrior stands on one side of the door and mage the other; rouge stands a couple of squares back directly inline with the door. This is the “Rogue Shotgun” formation. One of the party (I prefer the warrior) goes in the next room and lures (Bait) a few monsters then fall back into formation. If the rouge baits, she can position herself at the door inline with the warrior and mage. Other situation may call for the “Mage Shotgun” formation when the firepower of the mage is required, especially in the catacombs when Fire Wall is available. See also the “Slant” formation when defending a corner door.


COOPERATION


Psychology
If I have to choose one tip as the most important tip, it would be "Think and act like a team". Team IronMan is not about personal glory. Think of the team as one character, a character with awesome power gained from combining the advantages of each class. Consider the other characters as your arms and legs you cannot function without, so protect them with all your might. For example: if you see the mage in trouble, go to his aid right away - NOT after you finish off "that" monster first. Same goes when the warrior nearing lvlup running around with dangerously low HP, pay extra attention to him. That's a good time for the warrior to switch to bow while the rogue put on a shield and take up the "sponge" position. This works especially well when the rogue is also nearing lvlup with a surplus of Mana and/or HP.

Communication
In time, you'll get to know your partners' style of play and be able to second-guess their actions and what they are thinking of, but there is still no substitute for good communication.
- Announce every item you find. You may think that 3 AC cap is nothing to write home to and don't bother to pick it up, or use it on yourself. Meanwhile, the warrior may only have one with 1 AC or none at all.
- Swing at empty spaces in the general direction of the item you want your partner to see.
- Discuss with the group before ID'ing an item.
- Say so if the game pace is too fast.
- Keep an eye on your experience points, tell and ask the others. There maybe a need for your soon to be wasted HP and Mana if you're nearing lvlup.
- There's no shame in asking for help and protection suchlike when you need Heal or running low on HP rather than die or use up valuable resources. It is good team play!

Items
Warrior gets the best armor and weapon; the rogue is next in line and of course gets the best bow. As for the mage, he might as well accept the fact he is going to be technically naked and get only left over armor. If the party finds an extra shield and club in the dungeon the mage should use them for better protection instead of the Charged Bolt staff. The mage shouldn’t be using much spells in the earlier lvls anyway, he should be standing next to the “Tank” and whack with the staff or club. Save the Charged Bolt charges for large crowds especially those skeleton archers the warrior and rogue have a hard time to get at. Be careful when using Charged Bolt, don’t hurt your partners in the process. Take a look at “Charge Bolt” in the “Tips” section to learn more.

Don’t bother to ID the items you find earlier than level 4 except for jewellery or unique items that have beneficial properties the party can use. A sampling of some of the questionable (whether to ID or not) unique items:

The Gladiator’s Bane - Don’t ID. Minus 3 to all attributes is not a good exchange for the -2 dfe bonus at IronMan level.
Leather of Aut - Nice armor, +5 Str and +5 Dex. Give it to the mage unid’ed if warrior and rogue already have armor with much higher AC, minus 5 to magic is not good.
Nightscape - Minus 40% lr (or any -lr in general) is not a good thing to have on the warrior and rogue. The monsters will go after the mage. Minus 40% lr is even too much for the mage to wear because of the lack of Infravision scrolls. Keep it if inventory space allows, the +20 resist all will come in handy.
Scavenger Carapace - A great armor for the mage and rogue as long as they have a “tank” in their group. Mr. Warrior the “tank” will benefit from it greatly against every kind of ranged attackers.
Torn Flesh of Soul - Nice, but the warrior and rogue probably have better AC. Not worth an ID scroll if given to the mage.
All unique axes are worth an ID when playing the rogue as tank and warrior as axe.

Other things to watch out for before ID’ing an item is to look at it’s durability, or charges on a staff. Staves with higher than normal charges and items with extra durability or indestructible are probably just Plentiful, Craftsmanship or “of the Ages” respectively. There is absolutely no gain to ID a staff with extra charges, you still get the extra charges unid’ed. The question now is, do you feel lucky enough to get a prefix with that “of the Ages” item? Generally I like to save the ID scrolls for deeper lvls and don’t feel the need to ID items until I find the going gets tough.

Magical items
Unless it’s of a specific types that the other classes can’t use (a War bow for example), or one that would heavily benefit one over the others (a plate for example), magical items should be distributed to the one who can benefit most from them. This is not always obvious. One would think that the mage only need Magic adder in an IronMan game, but the ring of Strength that might not be doing much for the rogue or warrior can mean 5 Magic points to the mage if he needs the strength to use a heavier staff. Likewise, Dex and ToHit adders should go to the warrior especially after he has maxed Dex at clvl 9. What if the party finds a Valiant crown of Brilliance with 18AC, 14 Magic? Plus 14 Magic will sure make a nice addition to the mage’s outfit and make him that much more powerful. But the crown should go to the warrior if he is suffering from lower than optimal AC. This is especially true on a melee lvl when the warrior is playing the key role. Here is where the team should learn to share/switch items for different tasks. Let the mage borrow the crown when he is needed as the artillery against range attackers as well as to read books, and when blue potions are running low.

When leveling up
There’s more to gaining levels in IronMan than just getting your attributes a boost.

Pre lvlup
When you gain a lvlup, both your Mana and HP will be replenished to full globes whether you are down to 1 Hp, 0 Mana or have full health and Mana. Due to this feature, one should not let the pre lvlup HP and Mana go to waste. Keep an eye on your experience points, tell and ask the others the same. When you are close to lvlup low on HP and Mana, avoid using potions, take up a bow and hang behind a “shield”. All you need to do is tag the monster to get a share of experience points. There is no shame in asking for help, it’s good co-op sense. Likewise, if you see one of your partners running around with dangerously low HP, help to shield him till he levels.

If you are nearing lvlup with good health and Mana there are several things you can do:
- Crack some barrels
- Cast Heal Other on your partners
- Put up a TP for escape, and use it to store extra items in town
- This would be a good time for the lvling up warrior or rogue to act as “tanks” blocking monsters without swinging, and let the others catch up on experience points. You can afford to lose HP now, but not after you’ve leveled up.
- Heal yourself so you can take more risk against monsters and protecting your partners. This is a good time for some role switching.
- Mage can now go nuts doing what he does best, put on a magic show. This is the time when the mage uses his Mana to cast spells instead of using up charges on the staff.

Where to put lvlup points
Although general wisdom of point distribution applies, there are several twists in an IronMan co-op game. Adjust accordingly to the team makeup.

Warrior - all points to Dex until maxed. You will be lvl 9 when you maxed your Dex and you won’t really need any extra Str for heavier equipment before then. You can now invest most points to Vit and slowly build up your Str for heavier  items. Unless a Heal Other/Heal stick is found, forget about putting any points to Magic (see Spell components below).
Mage - all points to Magic all the way. Only when you find a heavier staff than you can use should you put points toward Str.

Rogue - being the most versatile of the three classes, she can afford to adjust her point distribution to suit many different needs. Generally, all lvlup points still go to Dex. Raise her Magic to 17 as soon as Heal Other/Heal in the form of books or staves is available to her. Still keeping the main focus on raising her Dex until its at a decent level, (around clvl 7 with approximately 60 Dex, 2 points might have gone to Magic already) she may start to put one point per lvlup toward Str. in preparation of a heavier bow. Or she can put 2 points per lvlup toward Str in case heavier armor and weapon becomes available to her. The latter example works good if the rogue is the host of the game switching between “shield” and bow.
 

 

POTIONS, SPELL COMPONENTS AND SHRINES

Potions
Traditionally, warrior gets all half reds, mage gets all half blues, and rogue gets all full potions - because warrior gets 2x bonus from healing potions and mage gets 2x bonus from mana potions.
Ideally, rogue should not have to use any potions at all in a perfect IM game but that’s never the case.
Personally, I think mage should get all mana potions. The mage can put those full blues to much better uses than the rogue can ever dream of. The rogue should still carry a couple of blues in case of emergency.

Rejuvenation potions are to be used only if no others are available, so ask your partners if they can spare some potions before drinking. Rejuv are reserved for emergency only, because they can be shared between everyone in the party when supply runs dry.

Conserve your potions for the deeper levels. Use up the charges from staves first with the exception of extra mana nearing lvlup.

Spell components
All offensive spell books goes to the mage. The mage should also get the first Heal Other book in case there is no more to be found. The rogue gets the first Heal and the second Heal Other book who would otherwise be wasting mana on lvl ups. All extra Heal Other books should be read by the mage since he will become the main HOpper (one of the, if not the most important role of an IronMan mage) later in the game. The mage can use Healing scrolls, which are plentiful in the Church.

The warrior can forget about spells altogether with the exception when the warrior is the sole survivor looking for resurrection scrolls. Or, if a staff of Healing or Heal other is found, then it's feasible to bring his Magic to 17 after Dex is maxed - that would be clvl 9. Being low level it’s more important to hit and not to get hit therefore little need for heal spell. A high Dex'ed warrior should be able to live on lvl up alone, at least until clvl 6-7, by then he's nearing max Dex. Usually, there are not enough Heal Other/Heal books to go around in a game, and the mage/rogue can make better use of them.

A bonus Mana supply
As a mage, I don’t usually read books as soon as I find them. If I don’t need that spell or plan to use a certain spell in the near future I’ll save the book and read it when I need more mana. In other words, I use reading as little blue potion. The following is a list of the amount of mana gained from reading certain books. All mana gains are constant regardless of your clvl, slvl or class.

SPELL

MANA +

Bloodstar

25

Bone Spirit

24

Chain Lightning

30

Charged Bolt

6

Elemental

35

Fire Wall

28

Fireball

16

Firebolt

6

Flame Wave

35

Flash

30

Golem

100

Guardian

50

Heal Other

5

Healing

5

Holy Bolt

7

Inferno

11

Lightning

10

Mana Shield

33

Phasing

12

Stone Curse

60

Telekinesis

15

Teleport

35

Town Portal

35


Note: The amount of mana gained is equal to the mana cost to cast the same spell at slvl 1.
And you thought Town Portal books are useless in IronMan !?

Shrines
Again, due the nature of IronMan game, the pros and cons of various shrines are not always obvious. A different rationale is needed to decide upon when and who should use them if at all. Make sure to take a look at the Enchanted shrine in this section.

Fountain of Tears [+1 to one attribute, -1 to another attribute] - Don’t do it!

Tainted [Does not affect user, other players get +1 to one attribute and -1 to all other attributes] - Don’t touch it!

Abandoned [+2 dexterity] - Goes to rogue for sure even when found early in the game. Warrior’s Dex is maxed too fast and the bonus will be wasted once maxed.

Creepy [+2 strength] - Goes to rogue especially if the rogue is playing tank. The warrior can max Dex early thus leaving a lot of lvlup points to invest in Vit and Str. Maybe nice for the mage too if that means he can use heavier/useful items available.

Eerie [+2 magic] - Mage gets first consideration, then rogue if she needs it to use Heal/Heal Other.

Quiet [+2 vitality] - Warrior gets.

Cryptic [Cast a Nova spell and restores Mana] - For mage. Empty your Mana ball before you use the shrine. Make sure your partners are out of the room when you use it. 

Divine
[Restores health and mana, gives two full potion rejuvenation, or one full potion of mana and one full potion of life] - Empty your Mana ball before you touch the shrine. Usable by warrior and rogue too, but a Heal Other from the mage makes more sense.

Spooky Shrine [All other players get life and mana restored] - Same usage as the Divine shrine. Cast Heal Other on warrior and let warrior touch the shrine.

Holy Shrine [Casts a Phasing spell] - Don’t do it, if the immediate area is not cleared.

Magical Shrine [Casts a Mana Shield spell] - Are you ready to use Mana Shield yet? Do you want to waste your mana pool when your HP can take the beating? If not, let the warrior have some fun too. See how long he can keep that little Mana Shield up.

Murky Pool [Casts an Infravision spell] - Very useful for scouting, especially when the mage or rogue uses it with minus light radius items. They can pick off the monsters one at a time without activating other monsters. Don’t forget to shift-click when using bow, otherwise you would just walk toward the monster instead of shooting if the monster is not activated.

Mysterious Shrine [+5 to one attribute, -1 to all others] - The rogue and mage can benefit from this more then the warrior since his vital stat, Dex, can easily be maxed.

Secluded Shrine [Gives complete map of current level] - Yes, if the scout doesn’t get confused as to where he’s been. Otherwise, let someone else get the map, it will help the party determine choke points and course of action.

Spiritual Shrine [Gives a small amount of gold to each empty slot in your inventory] - Nice little bonus in a tournament. Empty your inventory before touching.

Eldritch [All potions become rejuvenation potions] - Collect all potions from everyone first. If the party is not using up potions, then wait to get more before using this shrine.

Glimmering Shrine [Identifies all items in your inventory] - Same reasoning as using ID scrolls. Wait until you can fill your inventory with “good drops”.

Religious Shrine [Restores all items to full durability] - Wait until you need it.

Stone Shrine [Restores charges in all staves] - Wait until you have some decent staffs and have a little fun emptying them first.

Hidden Shrine [-10 durability to one item equipped, +10 durability to all others] - Is the gain of 10 dur on 3 item (2 if bow) worth the risk of having one item (semi) unusable? Generally not worth the risk for IronMan unless you have something that begs to have it’s dur raised such as a Thinking Cap, because you might not find another Hidden shrine. The party will have to make the decision based on items found.

Fascinating [Lose 10% of maximum mana and increases Firebolt 2 slvl] - Firebolt maybe your main offensive spell for the whole game if you don’t find Fire Wall later. If this shrine is encountered early in the game, it may well worth the gamble. Besides, you don’t actually lose 10% of overall mana except when lvlup and using full potions. The mana globe of a conservative IronMan mage is hardly ever topped when using half blues.

Ornate Shrine [Lose 10% of maximum mana and increases Holy Bolt 2 slvl] - Sure thing if you don’t have HB before facing King Leoric. The resources lost from facing Leo without Holy Bolt if far greater than the mana lost from using the shrine.

Sacred Shrine [Lose 10% of maximum mana and increases Charged Bolt 2 slvl] - Not worth the trade off.

Blood Fountain and Purifying Springs [Restore 1 HP/Mana per use respectively] - Take advantage of these as much as you can especially on the same level where they are found. Push as hard as possible without putting yourselves in danger then run back to the shrines to get refreshed.

Goat Shrine and cauldron Random effects [What you don’t know can hurt you] - Don’t touch these without careful planning. Besides that they may not be a desirable shrine, they can be dangerous! A Nova from Cryptic and Phasing from Holy can kill you and the party.

Note: Here are the procedures I usually go through. The warrior would be the one doing the touching, although by cauldron time maybe the rogue is unable to use her mana either. In any case the other characters have to be able to stand clear to avoid Nova. Then the character should be carrying all of the party's red and blue potions, important spell staves running low, and unid'd items (the ones with real potential anyway). The small chance of getting a Stone or Glimmering shrine probably is enough to make up for all the risks. To prevent the risk of getting a holy shrine, a wide area around the shrine should already be cleared (if not the entire level).

Enchanted [Lose 1 slvl for one spell, all other known spells gain 1 slvl] - Don’t touch it without careful planning! The following discussion assumes only one Enchanted shrine is found in the game… and keep in mind that certain spell staff may offset the pros and cons, and if you find more spells on the deeper levels and still have access to the Enchanted shrine, then you may reconsider. The following samples are books dropped in actual games with full clear of the Churches and Cats. While I have only included six samplings, they are pretty typical examples of IronMan games:

SAMPLE 1
Books: 3 Heal, 2 Heal Other, 2 Firebolt, 3 Charged Bolt, 1 Mana Shield, 3 Fire Wall, 1 Inferno, 1 Holy Bolt.

Total of 8 spells with 5 of them at slvl 1 (If the party had distributed the book properly, the mage should have only one Heal and Heal Other). There’s a 62.5% chance you will lose one of the spells and 1 in 8 chances you’ll lose the use of Mana Shield or Holy Bolt. While there’s no use for Holy Bolt after the Cats, it’s still a very useful spell to lure and use against Diablo if the party ever make it that far. Sure one can look at it as 7 in 8 chance to gain an extra slvl in each spell, so lets look at what you may gain.

-Heal - almost useless after Mana Shield
-Heal Other - nice
-Holy Bolt - nice
-Inferno - useless
-Fire Wall extra slvl is nice but level 3 is already quite usable even in hell.
-Firebolt and Charged Bolt (note: Firebolt is already lvl 4 since mage gets 2 slvl at startup) These 2 spells can be deadly in a normal game when used properly, however, they are not mana efficient for IronMan. Especially in the deeper levels, they should not be used unless in desperate situations such as being swarmed. The mana is better used to heal other players. The IronMan mage’s main offensive spell is Fire Wall for its damage and mana efficiency. Learn to use it well.
-Mana Shield - No spell bonus or saving in Mana from extra slvl.

Conclusion: While an extra slvl on any spell is nice but they won’t make that much of difference except in mana saving. What you really hope to gain is an extra slvl of Fire Wall; weigh that against the possible lost of Mana Shield and Heal Other, I think not.

SAMPLE 2
Books: 2 Heal, 2 Heal Other, 3 Firebolt, 1 Charged Bolt, 2 Inferno, 2 Telekinesis, 2 Town Portal, 3 Flash, 2 Lightning.

This sampling has a 33% chance of an Enchanted shrine turning against you. Again, I would suggest leaving the shrine alone. Remember that being a HOpper is the most important role of an IronMan mage in the deeper levels. He cannot afford to lose Heal Other. Sure, the rogue has Heal Other, but she will be quite busy herself while the mage can be totally protected and do nothing but Heal the other partners.

Conclusion: It would be nice to gain an extra slvl on Lightning, but slvl 2 is not too bad vs a chance of it turning to slvl 1.

SAMPLE 3
Books: 1 Firebolt, 3 Charged Bolt, 1 Mana Shield, 1 Fire Wall, 1 Inferno, 1 Telekinesis, 4 Town Portal, 1 Flash, 3 Holy Bolt, 1 Phasing

Conclusion: This is bad, real bad! Only slvl 1 on two of the four most important spells (Heal Other, Mana Shield, Fire Wall and Lightning) in an IronMan game and no Heal Other… Good luck!

SAMPLE 4
Books: 2 Heal, 1 Heal Other, 3 Firebolt, 4 Charged Bolt, 1 Mana Shield, 1 Fire Wall, 1 Flash, 1 Holy Bolt, 1 Phasing

Conclusion: Definitely not! Don’t touch that shrine.

SAMPLE 5
Books: 1 Heal, 3 Heal Other, 2 Firebolt, 5 Charged Bolt, 1 Inferno, 3 Holy Bolt, 1 Stone Curse

Conclusion: The only consideration against using the shrine here is the possibility (1 in 6 chances since the only Heal went to the rogue) of losing Stone Curse. But 60 mana (57 if increased to lvl 2) required to cast a Stone Curse makes it a spell good only if you are having a panic attack, and against some tough bosses. I would take a chance and touch the shrine.

SAMPLE 6
Books: 4 Heal, 1 Heal Other, 3 Firebolt, 4 Charged Bolt, 1 Mana Shield, 1 Fire Wall, 4 Inferno, 2 Telekinesis, 4 Town Portal, 5 Flash, 1 Lightning, 3 Holy Bolt, 1 Phase, 1 Stone Curse

Conclusion: This was a good game as far as the variety of spells is concerned; but I still would not touch the Enchanted shrine. At first glance you might think 1 in 14 chances of the shrine turning against you is not bad, but there are actually 5 spells (not counting Phasing) here at slvl 1 you do not want to lose. That’s almost 36% chance you would lose out, and losing one of the four most important spells is not an option.

 

Take this list as some kind of incitation. Always keep in mind, that your playing style will dictate what you do, but these Shrine choices have worked successfully for me time and time again in playing IM Diablo.

 

Finally I have to point out, that in all successful IM games I've played, a strong and experienced warrior was a key aspect of the victory. When the warrior is a stud, everyone else can ply their own particular trades longer and to greater effect. Thus I look to using Shrines first and foremost toward improving the Warrior.



ADVANCED IRONMAN STRATEGIES


CHURCH CRUNCH

Tactic for Church and Catacombs 6 & 7 versus skeletal archers; all classes, most useful to warrior types

Occasionally you’ll find yourself having to rush a group of skeleton archers in your IM game. Here is a tactic I use to kill them as quickly as possible and thus take the least return damage possible.

First, ready your best blunt, the one that does the highest amount of damage or has the best chance of destroying a foe in one hit (depending upon what the minimum/maximum damage is and what hit points your foes have). When you break out from behind your wall for the rush, run your cursor over the group of foes. You are trying to find a pair of archers that are adjacent each other, either side-by-side or catty-corner (diagonally adjacent). Now plot your attack path and click to attack the further of the two side-by-side foes, moving in such a manner that when you stop and swing at that first foe you will also be adjacent to the second one.
Ok, now here’s the tricky part; as you are moving up to attack that first foe, place and keep your cursor on the Second foe. When your avatar onscreen starts the swinging motion on the first foe, click to attack the second. What happens - if you are lucky - is that the first swing hits and destroys the first foe and you immediately switch and attack the second foe. If all goes as planned, with just two swings you’ve destroyed two foes! Then you can quickly deal with the remaining archers. Repeat the tactic if possible on them too.


GETTING YOUR GOAT

 A spell-casting tactic for those durnb Goat Archers, esp. useful in Catacombs; most useful to mages

When soloing an IM mage I’ve found Goat Archers to be devastating. They have ranged attacks and some run from you making pursuit frustrating and dangerous. Eventually I discovered a tactic to deal with them, and it was especially useful versus Fire Clan Archers in Catacombs.

Prerequisite - You either need to have your CB stick readied and hot-keyed or the same for Charged Bolt: the spell.

When you hear the “zing” of an arrow being fired, dodge and retreat to the nearest corner that is not still in line-of-sight of the attacking Goat Archer. Then, after turning the corner, step a second tile away from it (still adjacent to the wall), bring up your Charged Bolt, and turn to face the corner you know the goat is going to attack from. As soon as you see the Goat make the corner, fire off TWO quick charged bolt casts at it.
What usually happens is this: the Goat makes it to the corner, but doesn’t turn the corner per se, as its movement AI wants it to “retreat” or at least place some distance between you and it. Thus, when the Goat Archer reaches the corner, instead of attacking you it turns and steps away! Meanwhile, you’ll find your casting speed and the speed of the movement of the charged bolts is enough that when the Goat finally stops and turns to prepare to fire on you, the two Charged Bolt casts will reach it JUST BEFORE it can shoot.
If the casts kill it, well and good. If they don’t, make a dodging retreat for the next corner and repeat. You can usually see if the Charged Bolts are traveling “true” and are going to hit the Goat beforehand; if you see that they are going to miss (or got absorbed by the wall) you can start retreating and dodging for the next corner before the goat has turned to fire on you! Nice. Save you some heartache and damage.


A FIERY RECEPTION

Three tactics for using Fire elemental damage bows, esp. useful in Caves; great for all but esp. Rogues and Bards

Rarely, oh so rarely in an IronMan game you may come upon a fire-damage bow (of Flame, Fire, Burning); occasionally a Unique Hunters bow -Flamedart - will show up. Treat fire bows as if they are mad of solid gold. When properly used, a fire-bow is a terrific weapon for the IM team.But not in the way you probably think. You’re probably thinking of the devastating buggy damage that Fire on bows does. Nope!

What I’m talking about is the “of Vileness” characteristic that all fire-bows have, in that they stop monster hit point regeneration. How is this important, and how do you use it to your advantage? Well, there are three major ways of doing so, with most of them being of greatest use in Caves.

I.

Since wear and durability are nearly always a concern in IronMan, do this when attacking (with your fire bow) foes that are trapped behind grates, stuck behind lava rivers, or do not move to attack you (e.g. Spitting Dog bosses and their packs). Fire one shot from the fire bow, hitting a foe (hopefully) then place the fire bow in your backpack and finish off the foe with your rattiest, cheapest, crappiest damage bow you own.
Doesn’t matter that the damage is poor; since the monster is not regenerating, it all adds up anyway and you kill it still. Thus you can use the fire bow over and over in this fashion - one shot to damage with the fire-bow, kill the foe with your cheap bow - allowing the fire-bow to last practically forever (great for single player IM Rogue runs where durability is such a concern). This is especially useful for dealing with those foes on the other side of a lava river who run back-and-forth and back-and-forth (dogs mostly) and make you waste a good bow’s durability while trying to kill them. Instead, shoot with the fire-bow until you damage the creature one time, then switch to your el-cheapo bow and finish it off. Lose durability on that bow? - bah, who cares, it’s a rubbish bow anyway!

II.

Getting good experience to all the IronMan team players is difficult to do the further down in the dungeon you go. The more deadly the foes, the more difficult it is to get the weaker party members (mage) or those who have trouble with ranged attackers (warrior) their share of experience. With a fire-bow properly used, Caves becomes a “bonanza of experience points” for all. What you do is this: find a lava river (or closed corral) that separates the foes from your group. Bait/scout and bring a single or small group of foes to this area. Have either the warrior or the mage use the fire bow and shoot ONE time to damage one foe. Then trade the fire bow to the other character (warrior or mage) and have him shoot once to damage that same foe. Then have the Rogue (with a ratty bow) finish off the damaged foe. Everyone gets experience!Rinse and repeat as many times as you’d like.
This tactic is especially useful when there are Night Clan Archers, Lava Demons, Storm Demons, or Dogs on the other side of that river. What usually happens when using a regular bow is that the warrior or mage tries to damage or kill these said foes to get experience and in return gets smacked up side the head with damage! With a fire-damage bow the warrior or mage peeks out, snipes quickly, and dodges back to safety taking very little damage! Then the Rogue, using happy feet, finishes off the nasty beast while taking little damage in return! (Remember, your characters must stay on the level to get experience when the foe is killed. If you have to drink from a Blood Fountain or something, wait until after the kill is completed.)

III.

One last fire bow tactic: dealing with bosses with minions. When a boss with a mass of minions shows up, have the Rogue immediately switch to her fire damage bow and shoot to hit AS MANY DIFFERENT FOES as possible in the attacking group, and try to get a shot in on the boss especially. Then lead the enemies back to your trap point (door, gate, group of barrels, whatever) while switching to your “high-damage” bow. This way you’ve stopped the regeneration of a number of creatures (and lord knows it may take a long time -read: lots of time for those foes to regenerate - to kill all those foes at your choke point) and you’ll more quickly and efficiently dispatch the entire group.


BAITING BALROGS

A tactic for Balrog demon types, useable in Caves and Hell; most useful for warriors types

When playing solo IM warriors, I’m nearly ALWAYS lacking in the resistance department by the time I reach Hell. Balrog type demons are especially devastating in that they have two attacks, a physical melee attacks and the Inferno spell, what is very tough to dodge.

After scouting a bit to draw in a single Balrog, what I used to do in the past was to stand two tiles back behind a corner, one finger on the shift key and one on the mouse ready to swing like mad as soon as I saw the Balrog turn the corner. (Ah, you don’t stand AT the corner due to Balrog’s circular movement and Inferno attack.) Unfortunately, about 1/4 of the time the Balrog stops at the corner, pivots, and breathes Inferno in my warrior’s face. To move I have to stop swinging, take my finger off the shift key, and then either move to dodge the Inferno or simple move zhrough the inferno to attack. Very painful.
What I learned to do was this:

Scout as usual, drawing in a single Balrog. Run back and turn the corner, stepping two tiles away from it. This is same as before. However, this time do not hold the shift key at all! Keep your cursor at the corner the Balrog is about to turn, and your eye peripherally glancing at the portion of the screen that displays dungeon information.
AS SOON AS YOU SEE the information portion of the screen display the monster’s name - meaning he is about to turn the corner - click to attack. Not shift-and-click, just click. As soon as you move and are adjacent the Balrog, THEN hold the shift key and swing like mad. If the Balrog had stopped at the corner and fired off Inferno, you’ve ALREADY stepped through it and are engaged with him and doing him damage. If the Balrog didn’t and chose to attack, well, you’re already engaged with him anyway!
What’s nice is that the information portion of the screen will show the monster’s name -and you now have it “targetted” and may click to attack it - BEFORE the monster has actually turned the corner! So you are given a split second where you can target a foe and move to attack it without actually “seeing” a target/foe on the game screen! It’s a only slight improvement over the other method, but in IronMan every advantage counts.


 

 

Author:

Attika aka. Esau

 

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