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30 Jan 2021 : Escaping Hades #
Yesterday after much blood, toil and darkness, I finally made it out of Hades. I've made it to the surface multiple times, but before this had never managed to get past Hades himself. He is, after all, very mean. It turns out that, for me at least, the key to escaping his onslaught was all in the loadout of boons and benefits.
I'm not so much of a melee fighter, I like to get distance between me and my foes. So I'd assumed that the Exagryph was going to be the weapon that expedited my escape. But the game is smart in the way it encourages the player to make different choices on different runs and consequently I wasn't sticking to it for every attempt. So I was trying the Heart-Seeking Bow. It's also a ranged weapon, but initially I'd dismissed it because of the slow aiming. In fact I wasn't wrong about that: the main weapon wasn't so useful in the event. The special on the other hand is fast, almost always hits something and also deals a devastating amount of damage up close. That makes it quite formidable. Plus the choice of weapon doesn't affect the options for Cast, and this was an important factor in my escape.

In terms of boons, the key set that really made it possible was the following.
  1. Multiple Crystal Beam Casts from Demeter. During the final boss encounter you need to spend a lot of time hiding behind things, keeping moving and generally doing things that don't allow you to aim, or to get close to Hades. Crystal Beams make a great weapon here because you can drop them and leave them to do their work. Fire and forget. However, they're slow to work and slow to re-aim, so one isn't enough. With three Bloodstones, a 3 second regeneration cycle and a 5 second lifetime, I was able to plant four simultaneous Crystals at different points on the map, making them almost impossible for foes to evade.
  2. Super Speed from Hermes. Hades has a wide reach, and being able to get out of his way, by being not just fast but really fast is both unexpectedly helpful and exhileratingly fun. With boons from Hermes giving me increased movement speed, going yet faster after a dash, it was easy to evade almost all of the attacks from Hades. Combined with the Crystal Beams that allowed me to keep moving without having to stop to attack, this was a great combination.
  3. Life Recovery from Athena and Demeter. Usually during a battle I'm relying on Stubborn Defiance to get me out of a tight spot. But during this escape I picked up Stubborn Roots, a Duo boon from Athena and Demeter. This kicks in when you have no remaining Stubborn Defiance opportunities, leading to a slight but perceptible life recovery over time. This also combines well with super speed, used as a delaying tactic to avoid taking damage while allowing my life bar to rise up.
There were other advantages too, such as a beefed-up special that was useful for picking off the shades periodically spawned by Hades to help him take me down. But the combination of multiple crystals, extra speed and gradually increasing life was what really got me through.

Below is the full list of boons I accumulated on my travel through Hades. For the record, it took 71 chambers, 10453 slain foes, 53 attempts and 68 hours to make the escape.

Main Weapon
  1. Heart-Seeking Bow
Attack boons
  1. Epic Divine Strike Lv.2 - Your Attack is stronger and can deflect - Attack damage + 90%
  2. Sniper Shot - Your Attack deals +200% damage to distant foes
  3. Perfect Shot - Your Power Shot is easier to execute and deals +150% damage
Special boons
  1. Divine Flourish Lv.3 - Your special is stronger and can deflect - Special damage + 101%
  2. Chimaera Jerky - Passive: your special deals +30% damage - Duration 5 encounters
  3. Halting Flourish - Your Special deals +48% damage
Cast boons
  1. Rare Crystal Beam Lv.2 - Your cast drops a crystal that fires a beam at foes for 5 Secs. - Cast Damage 11 every 0.2 Sec.
  2. Rare Snow Burst Lv.3 - Whenever you cast, damage foes around you and inflict chill - area damage 77
  3. Legendary Fully Loaded - gain extra Bloodstones for your cast - Max Bloodstones +2
  4. Braid of Atlas - Passive; your cast deals +50% damage - Duration 5 encounters
  5. Epic Slothful Shot - Your Cast deals +75% damage
Speed boons
  1. Epic Greater Haste - You move faster - move speed 40%
  2. Epic Hyper Sprint - After you dash, briefly become sturdy and move +100% faster - sprint duration 0.7 Sec.
  3. Epic Blade Dash Lv.3 - Your dash creates a blade rift where you stand - 24 damage per hit
Life boons
  1. Duo Stubborn Roots - If you have no Stubborn Defiance, your life slowly recovers - Life Regeneration During Battle 1 every 0.8 Sec.
  2. Lucky Tooth - Automatically restore up to 100 Life when your Life Total is depleted - Once per escape attempt
  3. Rare Nourished Soul - Any Life Restoration effects are more potent - Bonus restoration +32%
  4. Quick Recovery - After taking damage, quickly Dash to recover some Life you just lost - Life recovered 30% of damage taken
Uncategorised boons
  1. Rare Pressure Point Lv.2 - Any damage you deal has a chance to be critical - Critical chance +4%
  2. Support Fire - After you cast, or hit with an Attack or Special, fire a seeking arrow - Arrow damange 10
  3. Epic Blinding Flash - Your abilities that can Deflect also make foes Exposed - Bonus Backstab Damage +75%
  4. Epic Hunter's Mark - After you deal Critical damage to a foe, a foe near you is Marked - Marked Critical Chance +54%
  5. Dark Thirst - Whenever you find Darkness, gain +20%


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