There are two ways to go about race selection: Picking a strategy in advance, or keeping open to whatever the dungeon presents. The most broadly useful races could be considered Halfling and Gnome when playing challenge dungeons. This is because you are virtually guaranteed to use BURNDAYRAZ to kill one boss, and melee attacks to kill the other (see Boss Battling).
One strategy that can be effective is to play the game as if there were 3 distinct phases to it: Scouting, Preparation, and Boss Battling
- Scouting: Levels 1 to 3. It's not possible (with the exception of the Factory) to kill monsters of significantly higher level at this stage, but it can be useful to do some quick scouting around the dungeon and find what Gods and Runes are available, as well as what Boss spawned (if playing Normal or Ranked modes).
- Preparation: Levels 3 to 7. It's possible to kill monsters of significantly higher level during this phase, to generate more exp (level-up steamroll and experience catapult). The goal is to generate enough bonus experience to be able to reach levels 9 or 10.
- Boss Battling: Levels 7 to 10. At this point, dungeon exploration likely stops (unless you're using a poison glyph against a boss), and the battle begins. It can be useful at this point to be 1 experience from the next level, allowing the player to use the level-up steamroll to instantly heal to full health and mana, possibly even multiple times during the fight.
The preparation phase for the boss battles is highly significant, as it requires maximizing exp gain, minimizing resource usage, and choosing an appropriate strategy. It's worthwhile to note that while dungeon exploration is itself technically a limited resource, it is often desirable or even necessary to exhaust all dungeon exploration during this phase to maximize exp gain, unless intending to use a APHEELSIK glyph to defeat the boss(es). In challenge dungeons, where there are two bosses, it can be helpful to try to leave a corridor, corner, or area unexplored to allow for regeneration between boss battles.
When reaching level 6 to 7, it's often beneficial to have explored most if not all of the dungeon, and begin creating an "exp farm." By weakening several lower level monsters to within a single hit from death, they can be finished later to gain exp for further level steamrolling. Note, it is less useful or even dangerous to leave creatures with the First Strike ability weakened as a part of an exp farm, as they will deal still deal damage to you when you come back to finish them off.
Leveling as a "regeneration" point is often under-used by less experienced players. Leveling up is similar in effect to exploring 13 (or more if you have an increased max mana) tiles of dungeon, but without allowing enemy monsters to regenerate.
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These values are with no damage powerups, and often times the disparities can be bridged with glyphs / race / class / deity bonuses, or by fighting monsters with less than the standard 100% health for their level (Gorgons, imps, wraiths, ...). The three most basic combos are the two-one, the two-two and the four-one. Some race/class/deity setups are capable of doing far more advanced combos, but these are the basic underlying methods available to all.
As a note, monsters with lower starting health can often be killed at even lower levels than the charts suggest. The example of a level 8 gorgon falling to a level 4-5 four-one attack comes to mind.
The "two-one" attack: Two fireballs, followed up by a melee blow. Damage dealt is calculated by (4 x 2 x player level) for the fireball damage, and (5 x player level) for melee damage. This technique is most effective early-game.
|Player Level||Damage Dealt||Monster Level||Monster Health (100%)|
As the chart shows, at most early levels it's possible to kill monsters of one higher level with a simple two-one attack. An early item such as a Fine Sword can make this tactic effective well into level 5.
The "two-two" attack: This technique is similar to the one-two attack, but requires First Strike, CYDSTEPP, healing, or enough health to survive two attacks from the monster. When successful, however, it allows for easily killing monsters two levels higher. This technique is most effective mid-game, although coupled with a level-up, it can be chained into a four-two or even a four-four attack for slaying extremely high level monsters.
|Player Level||Damage Dealt||Monster Level||Monster Health (100%)|
The "four-one" attack: By leveling up mid-combat, the player can use 4 fireballs in a single battle against a monster (even 6 or 8, through gear / deity / race / class / etc.). This technique is highly effective, but often harder to use.
|Player Level (start/end)||Damage Dealt||Monster Level||Monster Health (100%)|
The ideal position to be in when starting a boss battle is at Level 7 with 34 / 35 experience, with proper runes, and all health / mana potions remaining, and an exp farm containing 96 experience worth of monsters (enough for level 10). The first phase of the boss battle involves the player, using all available health and mana points (but not potions) against the boss before killing weakened monsters to gain a level. This phase ends when the player no longer has enough weakened non-boss creatures to gain another level, or has reached level 10.
Phase two of the boss battle involves the player using other available resources (health & mana potions, etc.) to defeat the boss.
In dungeons with two bosses, it can often be effective to kill the "hard hitting" boss with magic attacks during phase one, as they usually have lower max health. This allows the player to save as many health and mana potions as possible for the "tank" boss, who generally doesn't retaliate as powerfully.
Most challenge dungeons have 2 bosses: one hard hitter, one tank. An effective strategy can be to kill the hard hitter with fireballs while using an exp farm to advance from 7 to 10, then fighting the tank with your remaining resources.
- Normal / Ranked => Strategy depends on the boss.
- Snake Pit => Hitter: Gorgon, Tank: Serpent
- Library => Hitter: Warlock, Tank: Dragon
- Crypt => Hitter: Wraith, Tank: Zombie
- Factory => This is the exception. Physical damage works better on both, and life drain is often the easiest 100% success.
- Level one: Because of playing as an Elven Rogue, level one of the campaign allows for strategies that include two-two, four-two, and even six-two (six fireballs, two melee) attack styles. Coupled with the types of monsters present in this level (Goats and Gorgons are both highly susceptible to two-two and two-one combos), making this level easier than most challenge and ranked dungeons. Pick up any items along the way that allow for increased max mana, or mana potions, but keep spending to a minimum as you'll need your gold later if you intend to beat the entire campaign. Collecting a CYDSTEPP glyph makes this level an almost guaranteed victory (it's very useful against the boss).
- Level two: With a similar mix of creatures in this level, the Elven Wizard is actually best served in most situations through extensive use of physical combat glyphs, such as BYSSEPS, GETINDARE, CYDSTEPP, and HALPMEH. HALPMEH becomes especially mana efficient, healing 3 points of health per level at the cost of 2 mana points. The boss is a Tank boss (low damage, high health) with some magic resist, so picking up life drain (Vampiric sword or worshiping Dracul), or making good use of an exp farm and physical combat glyphs are often the safest way to win.
- Level three: The Elven Berserker combination is also highly effective at killing higher-level creatures to level-up steam roll and build an extensive exp farm. If the (CYDSTEPP) glyph is available, defeat the boss by chaining death protection and physical attacks. If not, chaining fireballs followed by a one-off death protection (Zombie Dog, Badge of courage) physical attack can be enough, or even just chain casting fireballs can be enough if the right shops are present (Keg o' magic or Orb of Zot).