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- Necromancer's Oath
- The Oath of the Necromancer
Interestingly, the Black Flames absorbed lightning and poison elements, which meant that half of the Oath spells were hurting them while the other half were healing them! This encounter of five Black Flames appears every single time at that particular little island, and it's worth a ton of gold and experience, making this a great place to grind out additional levels.
Karthus needed a Flame Ring for safety's sake in some of the upcoming boss fights, and this was the best place to get the cash for it. He picked up a half dozen levels here as I prepared for the Sol Cannon sequence.
I always try to avoid breaking rods as much as possible and the next few opponents were weak enough that the cheese solution could be skipped. Adamantium was countered by equipping the Guardian dagger and the Elf Cape, then hoping to pull lots of dodges from the physical-only boss along with Flaremancer spells from Oath. Karthus enjoyed good luck here on the dodging , and eventually cycled through enough Oath spells to win before his health ran out. Ticking poison damage from Zombie Dragon contributed a lot of the total damage dealt here. Karthus equipped a Thunder Rod for the Crayclaw battle to boost the damage output of the Skeleton's Bolt 2 spells, since the boss is weak to them.
This took a few tries to succeed until Karthus managed to line up a couple of Bolt 2s together with a Flaremancer. The Flameguns and Rockets were both easy for Karthus to defeat, taking the Flame Ring into each battle and then equipping a Knife to prevent self-damage while using Oath repeatedly. The Flame Ring could have been skipped here by rolling Rockets for each encounter; I wanted it on hand just in case for future use.
With Sol Cannon itself, there was never any choice other than breaking rods. This battle functions on a strict time limit, the same one that the Beserker had confronted in my horrible solo run of that class. The first Surge Beam will take out half of your character's life and inflict an HP Leak status, which means the second Surge Beam is a guaranteed death.
If your character can't heal, the battle must be won before that second beam goes off.
The notion that Karthus could win this setup by hoping to roll eight or nine Flaremancers in a row would have been ridiculous. Karthus was a high enough level that he could take out both of the Launchers with a broken Thunder Rod immediately, and he even had the good fortune to dodge both of the initial missiles on the first attempt at this battle.
Then it was down to shattering more Thunder Rods, which were able to hit the elemental weakness of the cannon and get another doubled damage multiplier for no longer having to multitarget. At close to damage per Thunder Rod once the Launchers were gone, that made for a very fast battle indeed. Karthus defeated this boss before the first Surge Beam went off, let alone having to worry about the second. The enemies inside the Lonka Ruins were tough opponents, with even the Flaremancer spell only barely doing enough damage to kill them in one shot. The Skeleton and Zombie Dragon moves were now mostly ineffective, and even Rajiformes was really starting to fall behind the curve of monster health.
Needing to pull three Aqua Rakes to defeat monsters was a pain in the rear. Given his inability to heal in battle and the hard limit of 99 Potions in inventory, Karthus would end up running from some of the tougher fights rather than trying to grind them out for experience. At the end of the ruins, Archaeoavis required a slightly different strategy than normal:.
The main danger from this boss for solo characters is typically its status effect physical attacks. The fourth form of Archaeoavis can inflict paralyzation and the last form can inflict confusion. Both are obviously very bad for solo games. There was an additional danger for Karthus in the form of Maelstrom, an attack that Archaeoavis pulls out in its final form that drops the whole party down to critical HP. Most solo characters solve this by using an Elixir With no ability to heal, those could simply wear down Karthus' health pool over time and defeat him regardless of any other considerations.
And the final form of Archaeoavis is immune to all of the major elements, which meant it was going to have to be Oath and not rod-breaking to get past that last form. This could be a tricky situation. I went into this battle using the standard Guardian dagger for physical evade, but with the Flame Ring equipped instead of the Elf Cape. The Flame Ring neutralized the ice element on the Blaze ability in Archaeoavis' second form, and it allowed Karthus to heal off of the Flame ability in the third form. This would allow Karthus to heal back up to full in mid-fight, and then only have to get through the final two forms before his HP hit zero.
There would even be a small possibility to heal during the last form if Archaeoavis pulled out Flame again, which he has a chance to do in some rounds of his AI script. The first three forms of the boss were therefore not very dangerous. I had Karthus use Oath here and simply paused to heal up during the third form. The ability to sit in the back row, combined with Karthus' healthy max HP total, meant that physical attacks themselves were not threatening. It was only the status component that some of them carried that I feared.
Karthus broke an Ice Rod and immediately ended that threat. For the last form, there was nothing to do but use Oath and pray for Flaremancers to appear. Two of them would be enough damage to secure the kill, and fortune smiled on Karthus as he managed to roll a pair of them in his first four uses of Oath. No Maelstroms appeared and Karthus won on the first attempt. This could have been a much worse battle - whew. The meteor miniboss trio was nice and easy this time around.
Necromancer's Chest - Official Paladins Wiki
Oath was enough to take down the Chimera Brain and Titan with the proper defensive equipment set up ahead of time Flame Ring and Elf Cape respectively. I attempted to try using Oath against the Puroboros as well, under the thinking that if I could land two or three Rajiformes in a row I might be able to knock them all down into the critical range and have them explode harmlessly to their deaths.
This tactic completely failed and Karthus broke two more rods to destroy the lot of them. Good riddance. Both the Gladiator and Cannoneer had been able to use their class ability to get solo Galuf a kill against Gilgamesh at Level 1. I was going to try the same thing again here with Oath, since a pair of Flaremancers would have done the trick, only to remember that the Necromancer class doesn't start with Oath as an innate ability.
It takes 15 ABP and I wasn't going to stop and grind that out for a throwawy gimmick battle. As a result, there's no invisible solo Galuf using Oath here, sorry. The standard Samurai GilToss cleared the way forward. The monsters on the Big Bridge were nearly strong enough to kill Karthus in a couple places. The Mustard Bombs out of the little chariot enemies did around damage, and even with his high Vitality he couldn't take many of those hits. The worst was the situation where Karthus was forced to fight two scripted encounters back to back, leaving him no time to heal in between.
Oath was also pretty terrible at this point, dealing weak damage when anything other than Flaremancer appeared, although Rajiformes was still useful because of its mass targeting property. Karthus needed a damage upgrade in the worst way. I have the victory picture above with Karthus surviving with a mere HP remaining. He likely would have died to the next Gilgamesh attack, and that was with me selecting "Break Rod" as a command four times in a row.
This was cutting it too close - the first Dark Arts spell couldn't arrive soon enough. Fortunately the worst was over now and Karthus only had to make it through the Underground Waterway dungeon before he would finally gain access to his Dark Arts. This is an area where most of the enemies are weak against lightning element, and I tried equipping the Thunder Rod again to buff the Skeleton's Bolt 2 spell. I concluded that this wasn't worthwhile, since it was Flaremancer that was doing most of the killing and the Guardian dagger was more important to lock out additional attacks in this mostly physical dungeon.
The Blood Slime enemies down here were a hoot though. They start each battle poisoned and then try to steal life from your characters with the Vampire spell. That was useless against Karthus, since his undead nature caused any such drain spell to heal him instead. They probably should have thought that through before trying to suck the blood out of an undead lich. With that diversion out of the way, Karthus reached Bal Castle and could finally pick up his first real spell:. Down in the basement is a sealed area where all of the encounters are against these statues.
This is a bit of a loophole area since it actually leads to the optional Odin summon, and the players aren't supposed to be fighting down here until much later on in the third world. Still, nothing prevents the player from fighting these battles right now, and defeating one of these groups unlocks the first Dark Arts spell.
Karthus had to break two Thunder Rods to pull it off, since these monsters were much stronger than the normal random encounters in this part of the game. Now he had access to Hellwind, an air element spell that hit all enemies on screen for sickenly high damage. How much damage?
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Like almost all of the Dark Arts spells, Hellwind also hits all opponents and doesn't lose damage for being multi targeted, making more akin to a Summon spell than a Black magic spell. The biggest tradeoff was its cost: at 38 MP per casting, Karthus could only use Hellwind a handful of times before he ran out of juice. This was still an enormous upgrade over Oath though, and the path forward was about to get a whole lot easier.
The Oath of the Necromancer
A wave of dark gray wind blows across the screen from right to left and hits all enemies. In addition to dealing air element damage, Hellwind also has a chance to inflict petrification status which serves as an instant death effect. This would come in handy against certain opponents; for example, the Zombie Dragons in the encounter pictured above were vulnerable to being turned to stone and frequently died in a single casting.
This also has the same spell attack value of and hits all enemies, but Evil Mist is attuned to poison element and has a chance to inflict the poison status for extra ticking damage over time. Of course there are lots of enemies who are immune to poison damage while hardly anything is immune to air element, which meant that Hellwind continued to see regular use.
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The Necromancer is one class that has a ready answer to the Hiryuu Plant boss. Repeated castings of Evil Mist wiped the floor with the little flowers and prevented any of them from ever attacking. Karthus had just enough magic points available to get the kill before he ran out. The expensive cost of the Dark Arts spells made for an interesting symmetry with the inability of the Necromancer class to heal in battle.