Post Sunday, 19th August 2018, 19:41

YAVP: 4 rune DrWz of Nemelex

Vexingly I managed to splat a DrWz in Snake:4 before this one, thus denying myself a streak. However, I'm a bit smug that my 0.21 record is now "played one, won one"... and with the release of 0.22, might well stay that way.

I thought Dr might go well with Wz because you aren't really committed to any particular school at the point you get your scales. What hadn't occurred to me is what happens after that; you've got this shiny new aptitude but, potentially, no spells to go with it. For a while I trained up Conjurations in the hope something would turn up, relying on Mephitic Cloud (a good fit with a lucky find of Four Winds on D:4) and Conjure Flame to do the heavy lifting. Meph Cloud was amazing, remaining useful all game - I was still Meph-ing draconians in Zot - with minimal skill investment. This got a bit better when I picked up Stone Arrow in Lair:1 and then could Meph things and Stone Arrow and axe them to death.

I had a couple of close calls in this part of the game but of course Nemelex dispenses an almost infinite supply of decks to save you. I never Stacked Five and rarely Triple Drew and Dealt Four; I tended to feel it's better just to start drawing single cards earlier, when you have so many of them. (Why Nemelex? Simply down to being an early altar of one of the gods I haven't yet won).

I decided I couldn't just keep hoping some Fire spells turned up (the right decision: I eventually found a book of Fire on V:5). I had a Fen Folio already, and found a Grand Grimoire; I started training Summoning, hoping Meph and Stone Arrow would continue to cut the mustard while I worked up to the level 7 summons. If I was lucky Dragon's Call would show up, but if it didn't, XXX and Malign Gateway should be able to do plenty of heavy lifting. I had a ring and a staff of wizardry, so I hoped to be able to get the high level summons working even with an 0 aptitude and starting later in the game.

Swamp was mostly OK - a deck of destruction stopped Nikola being a threat, and even Lernie went down without too much difficulty - but Spider:2 had at least one ghost moth and I wasn't equipped to deal with them. I went to Elf, which gave three things - the gold for a +6 ring of intelligence and more XP in Summonings, which combined let me use Monstrous Menagerie, although my first approach was usually still Mephing things. Even the room of bastards in Elf:3 wasn't too bad - elves don't resist Mephing. The third thing was a ring of see invisible, and that let me clear out Spider.

V:1-4 wasn't too bad, and got XXX and Malign Gateway online. I didn't use Malign Gateway much, because a Book of the Dragon also turned up, and I trained Summoning exclusively to get Dragon's Call online - I don't think Malign Gateway is bad, but once you can cover things in dragons, every problem looks like something to cover in dragons. By the middle of Depths I had it online; just as well because I also had a very nasty close call with spriggans and spark wasps, shafting myself to Depths:4 with a deck of escape.

I did Crypt rather than tackle the third rune problem right away, getting the easy C:3 ending with flying skulls and jiangshi and some useful randart rings. Then I did V:5, dropping a Malign Gateway and teleporting away; it didn't pose any real problem.

I thought I could probably pick off Slime without too much risk given my ability to interpose hordes of summons. It wasn't quite as easy as I hoped; I had to reset the fight with TRJ twice, and tackle a lot of inconveniently colossal packs of split-off jellies, one of which I ineptly managed to get stuck on the stairs on my planned line of retreat. The third time was the charm, though, and I got the scrolls of enchant armour I needed to get into a trove on U:5, getting a ring with {rF+ MP+9 Str+7} which was really very handy for covering orbs of fire in dragons.

To Zot! Z:1-4 were pretty routine, but Z:5 was a pain with 7 orbs of fire, which take quite a lot of killing even with dragons, and can blast dragons off the map in fairly short order (let alone large abominations from XXX, which OOFs eat for breakfast). I got some annoying malmutations here, but nothing bad enough to reroll; and one lung had a permanent teleport trap in the choke point, one a Zot trap. I trial-and-error blinked across the Zot trap to get in.

What I should have done was cleared the entire level, then left by hitting the teleport trap. What I did was clear one side and leave by crossing the Zot trap. This produced a horde of hostile summons; luckily the really bad stuff (death cob, curse toe, panlord seen earlier and left behind a cloud of dragons) was behind me and not adjacent, so drawing the Tomb from a deck of escape let me axe-and-dragon forward through draconians while leaving the really bad enemies behind.

The rest of the orbrun wasn't too bad. Of the four other panlords, three weren't actually blocking the stairs, and the fourth was easily worked around with the usual "cloud of dragons" strategy.
Ascension reports with too many words since 2016.