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General tips and tricks
Rogue Lords can be an unforgiving game, and I find the difficulty curve to be a bit inverted since your starting party isn’t that great. So you might have a rough time the first time you play. Here’s some stuff I noticed works.
1: Always go for terror. Each terror level gives you a relic, some of which are game-winning on their own, as well as increasing the odds of getting a level 2 ability. Your early game will be slightly harder since you’ll have less skills and won’t be able to combine them, but that’s frankly an unreliable way to get higher ranked skills. Once you reach Terror 4, go for something else. Souls if you’re aiming for a shop, skills if you need to fill out your slots.
2: If the starting party doesn’t work for you, switch out Dracula for The White Lady and build your party around spirit instead of physical. Bloody Mary’s good at both, while the Horseman can do a bit of both but should mainly function as a self-healing tank. After the first stage, you unlock Lilith and can swap him out for her. She’s slightly trickier to play, but can actually heal others.
3: While your party should be based around dealing primarily physical or spiritual damage, always keep a couple of the other damage type around. There’s an Elite that requires it. Some characters have workarounds (eg. White Lady switches hp types), but until you have one keep those skills.
4: Not all status effects are made equal. Some are only good in the early game or in rare situations. For example, Shell reduces all incoming damage by 4. Wall reduces all incoming damage by half. In the early game Shell might perform better against multi-hit enemies, but by the midgame enemies hit for 10+ damage and Wall is always better. And you can only have 1 Protection status active. See the Status segment for more info.
5: Not all Relics are made equal. Some come with negative side-effects which can screw you, while others win you the game when you get them. Looking at you, War Horn. See Relics segment for more info.
6: Always fight Elites. They give relics, which win you games. If you can’t beat them, you probably weren’t going to make it anyway, so don’t avoid them. You’re just crippling yourself longterm. Only exception: No relics debuff. That one can end a run.
7: Devil Essence is there to be spent. Mostly out of combat, on events and occasionally teleporting. Try to keep a reserve, some fights will require Essence use, but don’t be afraid of dipping down to 20.
8: Character selection for Events should be based around the perk, not their stats. Always prioritize your team’s damage type – large tank hp – large other character hp – small tank hp – social stats, with the exception of Omnipotence on your tank. Your tank will probably be doing most events, and using the same character a lot automatically means their social stats will rise. Always go for Hard or Very Hard options if possible since they might give relics, use Essence when your odds are below 70% on all events. 15 Essence for a relic is a great trade most of the time. For the same reason, you can safely ignore most negative perks. Minus social? Who cares.
9: Don’t be too afraid of area debuffs. They often barely matter. Double Essence cost on a fight? You shouldn’t be using Essence in a fight anyway. Relics don’t work on a Styx area? Usually irrelevant. A skill locked during combat? Inconvenient, but not worth rerouting for. Some combo’s are bad, like no relics and Elites, and some are always bad like losing souls or Essence and sometimes you’ll have to take a hit, but it’s honestly pretty rare. Don’t stress about it, it’s mostly there to make route decisions a bit less boring. The relic that doubles them for 1 AP is definitely worth it.
10: Don’t be in a rush to Sacrifice. They’ll show up on the optimal path eventually, and since you’re not getting loads of skills and duplicates you don’t need to worry about slot space. When you do use one, Sacrifice the wrong damage type skills first (remember to always keep one or two).
11: Relics that change your Essence max to 30 don’t stop you from increasing it after. Early on, before you get a lot of extra Essence max, they’re pretty good value. 30 Essence is more than you need, and with Terror it’ll shoot back up quickly.
12: You can reroll secondary locations using Essence, so no more unexpected Styx shrines when you’re full.
Here I’m going to give a quick overview of the common status effects and, more importantly, which ones are garbage. This should help when selecting skills, since I’m not going to go through those.
Bleeding: PDamage every time the victim attacks. Pretty decent, especially useful for AoE or multihit enemies. Be careful when your units are affected, a careless use of an AoE can cost you a lot of hp or Essence.
Depression: Pretty decent, triggers twice per turn so SDamage quickly builds. Baron Samedi’s all about this stuff, but any time you can inflict it it’s good. Max sp decrease seems to work through invulnerability, for what that’s worth. A ♥♥♥♥♥ when used on you, hope you’ve got debuff removal.
Zombie: Heals do damage. Situational use, but often decent to have 1 skill in your party because it can do huge damage. Varies from meaningless to lethal when used on you.
Burn: Kinda garbage. Great early on, combo’s well with multihits and the Staff, but late game 2 dmg is almost negligible, and your opponents often have some kind of shield up negating it. More importantly, it uses the same effect slot as a lot of better statuses. Pretty ignorable when used on you.
Decomposition: Pdamage equivalent for Depression but without decreasing the max. Pretty wide range of damage, but solid output.
Warmth: Solid SHeal. Triggers twice per turn, so heals pretty fast. Note that Essence damage predictions does not take this kind of heal into account.
Vampirism: Sounds great on the surface, but needs multihits to do any effective healing.
Cheat Death: Great, hard to get though. Only works on PDamage, sadly. When your opponent has this you just ignore them or deal SDamage.
Regeneration: Significant healing over time. Cast Zombie and laugh at them.
Shell: Great early defense, pretty terrible later. Better than nothing.
Aegis: Small PDamage defense. Nice to have.
Mind Shield or whatever it’s called: Aegis for SDamage.
Wall: The thing you want. Halve all damage, outshone early on by the others, way better later on.
Dodge: Great against big PDamage hits. Annoying when your enemy has it.
Clumsiness: Pretty good. 10’s a solid number, often enough to negate physical attacks.
Exhaustion: Must-have. Halves all damage, this is what you use to deal with late game big attacks.
Silence: Mostly used by the AI to bully poor status builds. Real annoying when you can’t taunt, shield, dot, or slow heal. Little point in using it yourself.
Presence of Mind: Decent SDamage boost, usually pretty hard to get
Growth: Free skill up to 3AP. Must have the AP available to use the skill, since it’s a refund not a discount. Nice to have, I’m sure there’s some neat stuff you can do with it. I often forget its there and neglect to use it.
Sharpening: Okay PDamage boost. Needs multihits to shine.
Provocation: It’s taunt. I shouldn’t have to explain this.
Wandering spirit: Ignore the rest of this page. Does not remove already active effects.
Split spirit: Really frustrating when your enemies have it. Potentially great defensive tool, both applying it to yourself or to the enemy, since it also changes their attack.
Superpower: Another one I often forget to use properly. Huge potential for massive hits, but often impractical to use. Also, this game doesn’t have the same potential for huge single attack nukes like similar games. Damage output tends to be pretty consistent, so doubling a single attack saves you a refresh and use most of the time.
Mirror Effect: Annoying when enemies have this. Some statuses are safe to inflict on yourself.
Alteration: Interestingly, is not affected by Silence or Wandering Spirit, nor anything that punishes debuffs like bosses. Reliable damage decrease. The enemy doesn’t seem to use it.
Incomplete since there doesn’t seem to be a way to just look at all the Relics.
War Horn: Probably the Relic all other Relics will be compared to disfavorably. Infinite damage scaling for the price of doing something you were probably already going to do. Even recharging counts, and for some that’s a free action. Stupidly broken.
Punishing Nails: Put it on a character that doesn’t need to do a lot of actions, and earn free recharges at no real cost.
Battle Plans: Solid stuff. You always want this.
Ritual Dagger: Diminishes in value the later you get it. Great on your tank. Not a priority, but strong nonetheless.
Hell’s Brasero: Wacky shenanigans. Hopefully you already have some +AP items. If not, be prepared to die. Turns out survival skills cost AP. Who knew? If you’ve got the AP to spare, it wins you the game. Damage not represented in damage predictions.
Styx jet stone: Probably removes any need to worry about Essence. Great to have.
Elixir of Energy: Heavily dependent on Disciples. Fantastic with Dracula, decent with most others.
Brooch of Anticipation: Mediocre to bad. Rarely triggers, and effect is minor.
Cursed Watch: Great. Essentially +1AP for free.
Damnation Mantra: HP improvement. Definitely not a first pick. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever picked this. Souls might be better.
Sword of Thorns: 3 skills is usually plenty, and +1 AP is pretty great.
Incubator: 1 free attack. Woohoo. Yeah, I’m not impressed. Especially with it being Disciple-bound you don’t even get to choose whose skill to use.
Conqueror’s Scepter: Better that 20 souls.
Ethereal Potion: Great potential, never really used it myself.
Corrupted Talisman: Great early pickup. More damage is always nice, 30 Essence is plenty, and you can always build back up. Questionable lategame. A great example of why War Horn is so OP, since this does less for a cost.
Predator’s Instincts: Pretty good. If you refresh frequently it’s useless, but sometimes it’s free damage.
Grim Reaper Scythe: Great. You want Terror anyway, this means you get paid for doing so. The earlier you get this the better, obviously.
Bookmark: Pretty good. Pretty bad if picked up late. Not a primary pick.
Sealed Pact: Can be great. If you’ve got a lot of skills or cheap refreshes it’s pretty much free AP.
Netherworld Catalyzer: You need to visit Styx less. Not the best healing item, but decent.
Cursed Apple: Okay emergency healing Relic. Mostly useless.
Black Magic Accumulator: Strong. Use for big hits.
Staff of Storms:Fantastic in a Spirit build, turning all your spare PDamage skills into damage. Triggers after turn but before mask. Great for finishing off enemies, combos with burn. May screw you against enemies that have hit-based effects (eg. Martyrs)
Mask of Thorns: Fantastic. Acquire when possible. Rewards high cost skills and frequent refreshes. Amazing on Lilith.
Demonic Sting: Pretty good in a PDamage build, worthelss for Spirit
Bloody Cleaver: Great for PDamage, useless for SDamage
Hell’s Hammer: Skill dependant, great for PDamage, useless for SDamage
Receptacle of Torment: Good for Pdamage, possibly usable for SDamage
Dog Tags: Great on your tank, okay on the other 2 in PDamage. Garbage for Spirit
Soul Stone: It’s fine.
Scapegoat: Why pick this when you can pick something that makes sure you don’t get to the point of death? Lowest priority.
Chalice of Blood: Great as long as you have any kind of healing. Which you should.
Brother Caleb (BOSS 1)
The first boss you will face, Caleb is a pushover. He comes with two sidekicks and occasionally summons more. He’s got low health for a boss and he goes down pretty quickly to any kind of burst. Just kill his two minions first, then blast away. His damage output is pretty negligible.
His Unique trait activates after he takes damage 19 times, he enters Rage and does… basically nothing. He gives a couple of bigger hits, then the trait resets. Frankly, I’ve had to actively stop attacking in order to see what this does.
Elites tend to put up more of a fight.
TLDR: Kill his sidekicks, punch him in the face.
Recommended: Large, single hits instead of multi hits to avoid triggering his Rage
Avoid: Staff of Storms, the hits all count for his trait. Mask of Torment.
Brother Gabriel (BOSS 2)
The first boss with changing effects. Comes with 2 minions, as usual. Unimpressive health.
Exalted: Each time an enemy suffers damage, they earn -2 damage suffered during the turn. 3 Turns until switch.
Don’t do multihits, just smash.
Unstable: +4 damage suffered by their enemies, each time an enemy suffers damage randomize the damage of their next attack. 2 turns until switch.
The enemy takes more dmg, so time for multihits. Or just smash. Try to stop attacking when he’s on low damage rather than high by saving an extra attack just in case.
As usual, just kill the minions then hit him until dead.
Carmillia (BOSS 3)
Bloody Tango: After the Disciples have used 12 skills: Apply 2 stumble (Carmillia prepares a large physical attack against this Disciple, if the Disciple becomes vulnerable rally an enemy) to the last Disciple who acted, Apply 2 Dexterity (Ignore provoke and stealth) to Carmillia, +2 Damage to enemies
She’s got decent hp, Stumble causes her to his like a truck and she’ll occasionally deplete 3 AP. Beyond that, she’s pretty simple. Expensive skills trigger Bloody Tango less frequently, but it’s not that dangerous. Just remember that you can choose the Disciple that gets stumble, so you can spread the hits around if needed. Wall and Exhaustion make it so she doesn’t do much. Remember that provoke won’t work and you’re good to go.
Not a hard boss.