BIG!/Strategy

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BIG! runs play similarly to no-path runs in some ways, but differently in others. Since you don't need to gain stats, day 1 in particular is no longer a race to reach consumption requirement or zone unlock requirement levels. Having (nearly) all the quests available from the start allows grouping of quests to maximize the effect of scarce resources (daily buffs and the like).

With all the turns saved due to not needing to gain stats, it is possible to achieve a greatly reduced turn count compared to no-path, by replacing turn generation with turn savings. It may also be possible to go the other direction and reduce day count, though this hasn't been done yet.

Softcore strategies

See this discussion.

Hardcore strategies

You should be using Kung Fu Hustler for the whole run, with a frosty halo if you have one. Muscle classes can punch monsters with a few buffs; otherwise, you'll want some spells (and/or Toss, Clobber) to kill things when your familiars aren't killing them for you.

Valhalla choices

Moxie classes, as usual, have advantages in BIG! runs. Accordion Thieves can use Richie Thingfinder and Chorale for extra +item and +meat (and Benetton's for the tavern). Disco Bandits can use Disco Momentum to get additional +item.

Take the astral mask.

Take either astral pilsners or astral energy drinks. The pilsners give better turn generation unless you are using Superhuman Cocktailcrafting, so you probably want the pilsners, unless you have no spleen familiars.

You don't need the mainstat bonus from a moon sign, which frees you to focus on the other benefits. The Degrassi Knoll signs are typically considered superior (frilly skirt, Innabox for generating slime stacks, mushroom patch for a spooky mushroom for a grue egg omelette and Knob mushrooms for reagent pasta).

Familiars

You do not need any stat gain familiars, unless you are using them for their other abilities (like the Happy Medium's booze). Use the Happy Medium for booze, and the Knob Goblin Organ Grinder for pies, as needed.

Use your spleen familiars just long enough to get their spleen items, and then put them away. It doesn't even matter which kind of spleen items you're getting, as long as it's not the not-a-pipe, because you don't care about the stat gains. Optimally, use 3 different spleen familiars, until each one drops a single item -- that reduces the number of turns spent with them.

Use a Mini-Hipster or Artistic Goth Kid in delayed zones, or zones where you are hunting superlikely adventures.

Use a He-Boulder for yellow rays if you can; other sources aren't as good, but can be used if necessary.

Use an Obtuse Angel for its badly romantic arrow once a day.

Use the Angry Jung Man long enough to get a psychoanalytic jar to unlock Fear Man's Level, for faster white pixel farming.

Use a starfish analogue, or a Stocking Mimic whenever you need MP. The Rogue Program can serve double duty here, giving MP as well as spleen adventures; you may also want to spend one token on finger cuffs. The various elemental starfish can be tremendously effective when used against monsters with elemental weaknesses.

Use the Nanorhino to banish something once a day. Good choices are A.M.C. gremlins, senile or slick lihcs, sabre-toothed goats, animated possessions or natural spiders. You'll need a usable Muscle class combat skill to set it up for banishing (Toss and Clobber are excellent). However, if you have a Nanorhino but not a He-Boulder, you should use the 'rhino for a yellow ray instead.

Finally, you'll want a fairy of some kind. There are several good choices:

  • The Slimeling is optimal when farming outfit pieces. It also gives you MP. It's only a 1x fairy, but with all the other +item available, that is sufficient to cap 30% drops (see below).
  • The Fancypants Scarecrow with spangly mariachi pants (fax + yellow ray) is a 2x weight fairy, which gives you a much higher item drop bonus, at the cost of the fax and yellow ray. It doesn't give MP, but it does block monsters, making you less likely to be hit.
  • The Reagnimated Gnome with gnomish housemaid's kgnee is a 1x fairy which occasionally gives bonus adventures (like a Temporal Riftlet). If turn generation is of paramount concern (as opposed to turn savings), this may be the best choice.
  • On some days, the Mutant Fire Ant can be a 1.15x effect or 1.3x effect fairy, and it doesn't have to be charged like the Jack-in-the-Box. On other days, it is the same as, or worse than, a standard fairy. Be sure to check your calendar carefully before choosing this one.
  • The Jumpsuited Hound Dog is a 1.25x weight fairy which also increases Combat Frequency. You can't use it as your only fairy, because there are zones where you want item drops and noncombats (particularly the Airship), but it's a very good choice in most of the other zones where you want item drops, and it's excellent in zones where you want items and combats (The F'c'le, Whitey's Grove).

A 31 lb. Slimeling (or other 1x fairy) is sufficient to force 30% drops with a bit of assistance. You have a constant +150% item drops guaranteed:

A resolution: be happier gives another +15% for key zones, for a total of 165% before adding the familiar; so you need +68.34% from your familiar, which can be done with a 31 lb. fairy. Focusing on a single fairy for most of the run (especially with Curiosity) means you can easily have it up to 31 lbs. (buffed) by the time you hit the major +item zones. If you're a moxie class (Thingfinder, Chorale, or Disco Momentum), of if you get lucky with a Grateful Undead T-shirt, this gets even easier.

Sugar shields can also help you get those critical item drops.

Fax choices

The fax machine lets you save a lot of turns, especially with the Obtuse Angel:

Combat

Combat is mostly the same as no-path. If you're using Kung Fu (which is highly recommended for speed), you can try to hit monsters with your fists, or use spells, or let familiars deal damage. In many situations, you'll use a combination of all of these.

All classes can Run Away from monsters that don't have significant meat or item drops, because you don't need stat gains. You'll lose valuable familiar experience, however, so CLEESH is worth considering; CLEESHed monsters do not receive the path's +150 "embiggening" effect, and can be crushed beneath your heel.

Muscle classes can hit things with regular attacks. This is trivial against the earliest monsters, but becomes a bit more challenging in the higher-level zones. Adding buffs greatly extends the amount of punching you can do -- Ben-Gal™ Balm, Rage of the Reindeer, Stevedave's, black facepaint and Sugar Rush all give a percentage boost to your Muscle. Don't forget the +20 to hit from Master of the Surprising Fist. For things that are between 20 and 40 points above your Muscle, you can use Kneebutt, which gives another +20 to hit (and a substantial amount of damage from the big pants).

Saucerors will find Sauce Synergy to be quite easy and effective due to the Spell Damage +25 on the big pants. Use the imp unity ring or a demonskin jacket for tuning against neutral monsters. Use Jackasses or a black sheepskin diploma in zones where you can't wear the big pants.

Pastamancers and Moxie classes will probably need to spend MP on spells and then do a bit of extra starfishing to pay for it. Stringozzi Serpent is the spell of choice for non-aligned monsters, with Flavoured Cannon for elemental monsters. For finishing off nearly-dead opponents, Toss and Clobber are both handy (the latter does more damage when you have some elemental damage bonuses).

Moxie classes may also choose to spam regular attacks, hoping for critical hits, while dodging all the monster's attacks. Black Body™ spray will increase the chance of critical hits. You'll need a spell to finish off monsters when the RNG withholds critical hits.

Low-skilled play (no Kung Fu) is also possible, of course -- just use the standard class-specific combat techniques (melee weapons for muscle classes, ranged weapons for moxie classes, spells for myst classes, or ranged weapons + serum of sarcasm for Saucerors).

Semi-Rares

If you're aiming for a 3-day leaderboard run, turn generation is not a major issue; you should be in no danger of missing your day count. Therefore, semi-rares should focus on turn savings. Good turn-saving Semi-Rare Adventures include:

If you're aiming for a 2-day run, or if you lack the skills, familiars, etc. for an easy 3-day run, then turn generation may be more important. In these cases, consider:

Mr. Store items

Besides familiars, there are many useful Mr. Store items for Hardcore BIG! runs. In no particular order:

Quests

Since the quests do not have to be done in order (apart from a few dependencies), it is useful to rearrange them to take full advantage of your resources.

The most interesting decision is how to handle the Strung-Up Quartet's songs. The -combat song is greatly useful in many places, but detrimental in others. The best approach is to set it early, and do all the quests that benefit from -combat; then turn it off while opening the wine cellar (after having started the war), and do everything else. (Some luck is required to get the quartet to show up when wanted.)

Grouping the three zones that benefit from +ML is especially useful. A single Lapdog buff should be enough to finish Oil Peak, The Defiled Cranny and the Tavern Cellar. Combine Lapdog with all other available +ML sources.

Flyering is extremely easy in this path, due to the 150 point bonus for each monster, and due to being able to start the war in the middle of day 2, with many "earlier" quests still untouched.

Ascension Strategy
Rankings: HC Skills - HC Familiars - HC IotMs
General: Class selection - Familiar usage - Semi-rares - Clovers
Paths: BHY - Fist - AoB - BI - ZS - AoJ - BIG! - KOLHS - CA2 - AoSP - SS - HR - Picky - Ed - Random - AoWoL - Source - NA - GN - LtA - L.A.R. - PF - G-Lover
IotMs: Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist