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Hades is out now, holy heck

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I've been enjoying the hell out of the Switch port until I ran into the rare bug that renders your save file unplayable - apparently in order to avoid this, you need to have at least one point in all actively available upgrades in the Mirror of Night. They've submitted a patch to Nintendo but it hasn't been deployed yet, and the patch will render your unplayable files playable again. So I'm putting a pause on playing until the patch comes out.

I've made it to the Minotaur in Elysium 3 or 4 times but I die every time.

What Keepsakes do you guys prefer? I like having Athena's Keepsake right away so my first boon can be the Deflect Dash, but after I beat Tartarus I usually switch to the Spiked Collar for the extra health.
I like Thanatos's Pierced Butterfly early to get some nice damage buffs, then switch to Skelly's tooth late.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
@upupdowndown - that boss really wrecked me several times before I beat it with the Shield (constant blocking and bull rushing really seemed to be my savior).

What Keepsakes do you guys prefer?
I'm a big Cosmic Egg user because I (probably mistakenly) believe those benefits outweigh the temporary penalty. I also like the Black Shawl for big hits and my overuse of dashing behind and smacking folks. I'll also swap to Lucky Tooth partway through runs I feel like I could GO THE DISTANCE on (but still never have).
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I like Thanatos's Pierced Butterfly early to get some nice damage buffs, then switch to Skelly's tooth late.
Does the damage bonus persist if you remove Pierced Butterfly? If so, that's news to me. (Same question for Lambent Plume. I had a really good Plume run recently where I got Hermes's "+move speed gives you +damage" boon.)
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’ve gotten a lot of practical use out of Dusas Feather Duster. A 7% chance of finding a healing item doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Does the damage bonus persist if you remove Pierced Butterfly? If so, that's news to me. (Same question for Lambent Plume. I had a really good Plume run recently where I got Hermes's "+move speed gives you +damage" boon.)
That's a good point, though I still think I'd take the survivability late. Of course, the real answer to this question is Persephone's keepsake.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I’ve gotten a lot of practical use out of Dusas Feather Duster. A 7% chance of finding a healing item doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up.
I've had plenty of runs where I really liked a feather duster in Elysium, where the enemies hit hard and the urns are plentiful. I know Serephine is also a big fan of the duster.

If I'm feeling unconfident going into Styx, I often take the tooth, though the collar can be better if you have several DD remaining and relatively low max health.

For general purposes, I've taken to bringing the coin purse in at the start along with the mirror perk that gives you compounding interest, which has allowed me to reliably afford the progression item in Styx provided I don't overspend early.
 
I found great success with cosmic egg into coin purse into whatever god I want to add to the mix into
Persephone's Pom flower
or skelly tooth for styx. I am only at about heat level 3 on all weapons though so maybe that line weakens at harder levels, but early chaos damage boons are so insanely powerful and the fact that they stack with themselves makes a couple of early "free" ones game winning.
 
Might be time to cut my losses. Past two runs I've gotten to section section bosses (Theseus and whatever first, Bone Hydra hatching mob variant just now) and just sat the controller down to die (with one or two DD's, even) rather than continue to develop tendinitis in the spirit of stick-to-itiveness. I'll probably keep playing for lizard brain reasons, of course. (many currencies; checklists!)
 

karzac

(he/him)
Lambent Plume and Pierced Butterfly are my favourite keepsakes, because they make every room an interesting puzzle. And no, the bonuses don't stack.

Skimbleshanks, how dare you insult the Bow aspects. They're all really fun, but Chiron aspect especially is super powerful and really satisfying.
 

Destil

Red Mage
(he/him)
Staff member
The biggest problem with the feather duster is that smashing pots with the adamant rail is a huge pain.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
That's what your special is for, unless you have deflect dash, in which case, that's what that's for
 
Rage quit after dying in the Hades fight again which I assumed would just have me back in the first room of the House of Hades after reloading. Instead, I was in the room before entering Tartarus and had lost all my progress. Yes, yes, of course I was trying to cheat, too, though I didn't expect it to work. I don't deny this. Hoisted by my own petard.... An important lesson: I should have uninstalled this a while ago.

Mistakes that run: spending 1000 obols on a progress item so "at least I'd have something when I died" then immediately finding a Death Defiance refresh I couldn't afford.
 
Rage quit after dying in the Hades fight again which I assumed would just have me back in the first room of the House of Hades after reloading.
Yeah, the save system seems to have issues. I had a computer crash during my furthest run so far, and got sent all the way back to the beginning of the run.
 

Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
I was, still am I guess in some cases, the duster, but my entire strategy at the moment revolves around using the god trinkets to force the ones I want into my run so I can get the stuff I want consistently. It's not the most exciting way to play for sure but I'm here to win, not make friends (because I already made friends with 90% of the people already hehe). The Egg is always a solid Tartarus pick because it really juices the boon rarity which you really want from those. Trinket management over the course of the game is one of those subtlety deep mechanical things you develop over the course of playing a lot, and switching away from things that are pure survivability like the Collar and the Duster is your first step into playing hard.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
Finally made it THROUGH Styx, and even better: twice in a row.

The first few times I went there I swear I hit every door before I got to move on, so I assumed it was how it was expected to go. But these last two it was only 2 doors required! Haven't been able to make it past the (I believe?) final challenge of a run yet.

Came in with both the Bow and the Fists, and the fists got a lot of boons from Demeter that totally changed how much I liked them.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I finally beat that stupid hydra! Turns out that the bow with the sniper upgrade makes pretty short work of a boss on a leash. Didn't make it to the boss in Elysium, but I'm still pretty happy. I played about 5 hours of Hades when it was in early access and I've put another 3 or so into the 1.0 release. Haven't found a ton of time for the game just yet, but I feel like it somehow controls even better than when it was in development, and that's saying something.
 

Dark Medusa

Diamond Crusader
(He/him)
I almost always use Lambent Plume or Thanatos's Butterfly pendant thing, and yeah you can't remove them if you want to keep their buffs. But they're awesome and I enjoy the layer they add to the game!
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Time for another Hades Effort Post. It's your Guide to the Gods! In particular, I'm gonna discuss which gods' boons are good for which weapons.

But before I can talk about that, I need to talk about parallel universes damage calcs.

Zagreus's attack, special, and cast each have base damage that can be modified by various boosts. For example, Athena's Divine Strike gives +40% attack damage at the Common level, and the first strike of Varatha's attack combo deals 25 base damage. If you have Divine Strike, you can expect to deal 35 damage with that strike.

Damage bonuses stack additively. That means that if you have two boons that each give +100% damage, your total damage is 300% of your base damage, not 400%. There are not a lot of exceptions to this rule, and it means that percentage damage bonuses don't scale as well as you might hope.

With that said, let's talk about the primary boons: Strike and Flourish.

ZEUS

The thunder god is still king. Lightning Strike deals 10 damage at Common up to 20 at Heroic, and Thunder Flourish deals 30 at Common up to a crazy 60 at Heroic. That's just the base damage; Zeus's primary boons scale pretty well with poms.

Due to their flat damage, you prefer these boons on something that hits quickly. Lightning Strike is amazing on railgun, and Thunder Flourish on the bow (especially Chiron or Rama) is some of the best damage in the game.

If you take one of these boons, try to aim for Static Discharge, which adds Jolted to enemies struck by lightning. Jolted deals a large amount of damage when the enemy attacks. This also removes Jolted.

Nearly all of Zeus's support boons will help out the lightning effects in one way or another, but in particular, Double Strike (lightning bolt effects have a chance to strike twice) and the legendary Splitting Bolt (lightning effects create an additional burst) are very good. Cold Fusion, Zeus's Duo with Demeter, prevents Jolted from expiring when the enemy attacks, which can be very desirable for hit-and-run builds.


POSEIDON

Tempest Strike and Tempest Flourish are uninspiring at a glance: relatively low percentage damage bonuses (at Common, +30% and +70%, respectively) with a knockback effect that doesn't work against bosses. On top of that, the potency of the knockback effect varies wildly. It sounds like a great idea to stick Tempest Strike on the railgun so you can play keep-away with the denizens of the underworld, but the knockback on that particular combination is negligible.

But don't discount Poseidon. While the primary damage bonus is unremarkable, you can deal significant damage when knocking enemies into barriers, and there's no god in the game who's able to neutralize the entirety of Styx the way Poseidon does. These boons do best on big single attacks, like sword special or railgun special, because the knockback that is innate to those attacks will be amplified by Tempest Flourish.

Keep an eye out for Razor Shoals, which adds Rupture to foes affected by your knockback. Rupture deals some nice damage to foes that attempt to move. Breaking Wave (create a watery blast when you slam foes into barriers) turns Styx into pinball. Finally, Wave Pounding salvages Poseidon against bosses by increasing your damage against them when using Poseidon's knockback attacks, but the boost really isn't that incredible.


ARES

Curse of Agony and Curse of Pain apply Doom on attack and special, respectively. The Doom damage is roughly the same for both, with Curse of Pain dealing a bit more damage at Common and Rare.

This is flat damage, but whereas Zeus gives you a good reason to stick his flat damage on a fast attack, the non-stacking nature of Doom means Ares wants you to put it on something slower. Bow attack, sword special, and shield special are prime candidates. Shield special deserves a call-out because it easily spreads Doom across a wide number of targets with just enough cooldown to tag them right as Doom expires.

Most of Ares's boons are dedicated to blade rifts. He has two boons that improve Doom: Dire Misfortune increases the damage dealt when you apply extra Doom before it expires. The bonus damage is negligible, however. Impending Doom greatly increases the damage dealt by Doom at the cost of making it last half a second longer. This is usually very nice, but if you've gotten the timing down for reapplying Doom, then it can throw you off.

Two Duo boons deserve a special mention: Curse of Longing (Aphrodite) makes Doom continuously damage Weak foes, and Merciful End (Athena) makes your Deflect attacks instantly end Doom. With the right setup, Merciful End is the best DPS in the game, because Doom is the best flat damage in the game, and you can trigger it and reapply it continously.


DIONYSUS

"You thought it would be a useful god, but it was me, Dionysus!"

Drunken Strike and Drunken Flourish inflict Hangover, with Drunken Flourish dealing 1 more point of damage than Drunken Strike across the board. Hangover deals its damage every 0.5 seconds and lasts 4 seconds, so a single hit from a level 1 Heroic Drunken Flourish (8 damage) will deal 64 damage over 4 seconds.

Because it caps at 5 stacks, Hangover is fairly unimpressive compared to the more immediate effects you'll get from a god like Zeus. Recall that Zeus's Flourish deals 60 damage instantly, and you can keep piling that on instead of only being able to stick it on an enemy 5 times every 4 seconds. However, Hangover can get really good if you stack a lot of poms on it, because unlike most boons, it doesn't suffer from diminishing returns at higher levels. As with Zeus, you want your Hangover effects on something that hits relatively quickly, though since the damage is capped, you don't need to be that quick. Fists attack, spear attack, and railgun attack are decent candidates.

The advantage of Hangover compared to other damage sources is that it isn't stopped by armor. Big-damage attacks will get soaked entirely by the last point of armor on an enemy, but Hangover isn't bothered by that and will keep ticking.

I'm reaching a bit here. How can you keep Dionysus from being a poor man's Zeus? Other than stacking poms on your primary Hangover boon, keep a look out for a couple of Duos: Low Tolerance (Aphrodite) allows 8 stacks of Hangover on Weak foes, and Curse of Nausea (Ares) makes Hangover tick every .35 seconds, meaning each stack deals its damage 11 times instead of 8.


APHRODITE

Heartbreak Strike and Heartbreak Flourish are notable as the strongest percentage damage bonuses in the game. That alone is enough to recommend Aphrodite, but Weak is also good: -30% damage for 3 seconds. The additive stacking in the damage formula is true for penalties as well, so if you have another effect that reduces the damage you take by 20%, an enemy deals half as much damage when Weak. That's good!

Weak doesn't stack but can be reapplied, so Heartbreak is best on a high-damage attack that you expect to use often. Fists special and sword attack are prime candidates.

Be on the lookout for Broken Resolve, which increases the damage reduction from Weak, and Empty Inside, which greatly increases the duration of Weak. The Legendary Unhealthy Fixation gives Weak effects a 15% chance to Charm as well, which is just ridiculously good.


DEMETER

Frost Strike and Frost Flourish are percentage damage as well and nearly as strong as Aphrodite's equivalents. The big difference is that Chill stacks and Weak does not. You can still treat Demeter like Aphrodite, but I find there's more value in stacking up Chill. Railgun attack and bow special are very good candidates for this.

Having an enemy slowed is its own reward, but Arctic Blast is a game-changer: when you max out Chill, you create a high-damage blast that wipes out all Chill stacks. This lets you treat Demeter more like Zeus than Aphrodite, and any slow effects you get on the way are icing on the cake. Of course, you'll want your build to work without Arctic Blast, because you can never guarantee any given boon, but Arctic Blast turns Demeter from support to primary source of damage.


ATHENA

Divine Strike and Divine Flourish are middling percentage bonuses that add Deflect to your attack or special.

...I'll be honest here: I take Divine Dash 100% of the time and Strike/Flourish approximately 0. For Athena, I defer to Kalir:

Kalir said:
Divine Strike/Flourish strats: WHATS THE BIGGEST HITBOX YOU GOT CHIEF
Divine Flourish on sword is literally just a bomb in a bullet hell game

ARTEMIS

I've saved the best for last! Artemis has the lowest percentage bonuses in the game. Deadly Strike gives a 15% chance to deal Critical damage, and Deadly Flourish gives a +20% chance to deal Critical damage.

Critical triples the total damage of an attack. It's time for some math. For simplicity, let's say you've got an attack that deals 100 damage. In one corner, we've got Aphrodite, willing to give you +80% damage, which is a simple 180 damage on every hit. In the other, Artemis is offering +40% damage with a 15% critical rate. 85% of the time, that's 140 damage, and the other 15%, it's 420. On average, that's 182 damage.

So Artemis is about the same expected damage, and Aphrodite gives you a nice status effect to boot. What's the big deal?

The big deal, it turns out, is that there are a lot of percentage damage boosts in the game. Back attacks, boiling blood, Pierced Butterfly, Urge to Kill, Chaos boons, whatever. And they all stack additively until you throw Critical into the mix. Critical takes the final damage of the attack and triples it, and it's the only effect that manages to beat additive stacking.

The temptation is to stick this on a single, big boom, like railgun special. You're going to be better off putting it on whatever is your primary source of damage, though, which is usually your attack. If your primary damage is your special, even better: Deadly Flourish has a markedly higher critical rate.

While the baseline on Critical is +200% damage (multiplicative with other bonuses!), Clean Kill and the Duo boon Heart Rend (Aphrodite) can increase that number additively. Hide Breaker is another enormous +200% at the Common level, but it only works against armor, and a single critical hit is usually enough to strip a foe of its armor.

Bigger than damage increases, however, are opportunities to increase your Critical chance. Nemesis sword and Zagreus bow each have innate Critical, and Pressure Points gives every source of damage you deal a chance to crit. The Duo boon Deadly Reversal (Athena) gives a whopping +20% chance for 2 seconds after you Deflect, and Splitting Headache (Dionysus) gives +1.5% per Hangover stack.
 
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karzac

(he/him)
Got my first clear since 1.0! It was on the back of Chiron Aspect, a Lvl 7 Rare Frost Flourish, and a Chaos Boon that gave me +119% backstab damage. Turns out it's really easy to backstab people with the Chiron Aspect.

Now to try clearing with every weapon, I suppose.
 
I just started playing yesterday and my first boon after the initial Athena one was Artemis and I knew immediately which God I was gonna love getting boons from most. That Flourish crit is so good. It basically carried me all the way to the second boss on my very first run (at which point I got brutally destroyed because wow that boss had way more going on). Unfortunately I still haven't managed to get other good damage buffs on Special and that boon at the same time yet.
 
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Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
You can only get one boon that modifies your Attack, Special, Dash, or Cast at one time, so you're never gonna be able to stack Crit Attacks with say Poison Attacks. Cast is interesting in this case as there are a handful of additional effects on Cast like Demeter's frost circle when you cast that don't specifically act as a Cast modifier, in this case Demeter's cast modifier is the crystal laser thing. Sometimes you'll be offered a switch out from another god that has a higher rarity, which ib e always interpreted as them trying to win your favor by offering a stronger boon.

Eta: I guess I should clarify a little, there are other things that can affect your moves that aren't specifically Strike (attack), Flourish (special), Dash, and Cast, but the boons that occupy those core 4 spots cannot coexist.
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
But Chaos can boost your attack or special without occupying those slots.
 
I guess I should clarify a little, there are other things that can affect your moves that aren't specifically Strike (attack), Flourish (special), Dash, and Cast, but the boons that occupy those core 4 spots cannot coexist.
Right, that explains it then. Thanks for the explanation.

The Duo boons are veeeeery nice also. Artemis/Ares to make an Ares-boosted cast home in on a target is one of my favorite things. EVERYTHING IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. This game is so good.

The amount of story and dialogue it has is just phenomenal too. That instantly made it my favorite game of this type that I've ever played.
 
Have beaten it twice now, with the shield (stationary spinning aspect) both times. Once, immediately after I reinstalled. (you always have to Post Mad)

How do you people prefer to raise heat? I think I read the upgrade with more enemies on screen was preferable (easier) at one point at least. Second time I escaped, I had that and the keepsake that gave you extra damage if you cleared screens without getting hit, and I kept getting hit by, like, one tiny enemy that I hadn't seen spawn. I do not have a brain that's like, "oh, almost got it!" and was just kind of annoyed. Fun keepsake, though. And sure, that is probably one of the easier heat... pact... things.

I think if I keep playing, I will maybe just... stop raising Heat at all. It's not fun for me. I haven't been able to gift Ambrosia (?) at all yet so for now do not care about it. Maybe when I run out of Fated Choices and finally stop "having" to pick bad/unsuitable upgrades just to finish a checklist. (sometimes I am able ignore this impulse)

Still do not have the last two mirror upgrades unlocked. Feels like key drops have shown considerably... At 29 right now. I think I'll just die the next time I get one bc I have many... purple moneys?
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I recommend Extreme Measures for your first three levels of heat. Each successive level provides 1 more heat, and each rank powers up one boss. So EM1 makes the Tartarus boss harder, EM2 makes the Asphodel boss harder, etc.

I cannot in good conscience recommend EM4, although it has some arcane unlock conditions associated with it anyway. EM3 was intimidating to me for a long time, but I have made my peace with it. It helps that Theseus spends less time in his call phase under EM3.

As a general rule, I'd advise against enabling any conditions that make the final boss more difficult. That means you want to avoid +damage, +health, and +speed. For me, the timer clause is free heat, although if you can't reliably win in under 36 minutes, you will want to steer clear of that.
 
I tried that and lost two lives on the first boss bc I am bad. (and I think I was using a weapon I was bad with like the sword or spear?) BUT I am fine with the idea of boss fights being more difficult as opposed to dungeon encounters longer and more tedious. I can learn! Maybe.

Considering switching God's Pride out for God's Legacy. Also it looks like I'm close to finishing some God's boone lists, but I've been that way for a while and it might be a good idea to see if their I prerequisites I need to be meeting before getting skills. (maybe there aren't any at all; I'm sort of hazily drifting through this)
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Eventually, you'll unlock a codex of the gods and their boons, which explicitly lists prerequisites. It's handy!
 
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