Hardcore Oxygenarian Strategy
Among the most difficult challenges in KoL is the Hardcore Oxygenarian (HCO) ascension. Forbidden from consuming food and booze, the number of adventures you can amass per day is severely restricted. Likewise, all stat bonuses from eating and drinking are unavailable. This article aims to impart what HCO wisdom is available. To get the most benefit from your limited number of adventures, use the Oxycore Guide to determine how best to spend your adventures each day.
Once you decide to leap into an HCO character, remember: you can always go to the account menu and drop the path if it becomes too tedious, at the cost of losing your path rewards.
Most of what is covered in the Hardcore Skill Analysis applies to Oxygenarian strategy as well. Given that Oxygenarians cannot consume food or booze, HCO characters should have a healthy roster of hardcore permanent skills prior to attempting an HCO run. Several skills acquire increased importance in Oxy. Most of your skills should focus on turncount reduction. The few turncount generators that are permable such as Pulverize, Super-Advanced Meatsmithing, and The Long View, also have high priority. Beyond these, there are a few support skills that acquire increased importance due to the length of an Oxy run. Below we describe why each skill is so valuable in Oxy particularly — refer to the Hardcore Skill Analysis for a broader picture of its use and relative importance.
Note that Oxygenarian does not use Standard restrictions.
Extremely Useful Skills
- The Long View adds 3 extra Rollover adventures per day. In an Oxycore run, this adds up to a lot more Adventures compared to other types of runs. Fashionably Late also helps, even if it's just 1 extra Adventure per day.
- Mad Looting Skillz (20%, passive), Phat Loot (20%, 11-MP buff), Powers of Observatiogn (10%, passive), and Thief Among the Honorable (5%, passive) all reduce turns spent hunting for items. Their combined effect is 55% item drops, for ~1/3 reduction in the expected time for a given drop.
- Smooth Movement and The Sonata of Sneakiness both increase the likelihood of noncombat adventures, which helps when farming for required outfits or S.O.C.K. parts, licking the Deep Fat Friars' Gate Quest, spinning the castle wheel, or getting stat gain noncombats in the various rooms in Spookyraven Manor and similar areas. In particular, they are useful for bringing up the Haunted Gallery's Louvre It or Leave It adventure, one of the most valuable noncombat adventures in the game.
- Transcendent Olfaction dramatically increases the chances of encountering a tagged monster — this helps immensely with desired item drops. Cheese in the Goatlet, stone wool in The Hidden Temple and stars in The Hole in the Sky are all examples. Its effect can be mimicked using an odor extractor, if a bounty can be collected efficiently.
- Ur-Kel's Aria of Annoyance raises Monster Level at an MP cost of 30. At level 5 or higher it gives more substats than Antiphon while consuming less MP – if you can survive it.
- Drescher's Annoying Noise and Pride of the Puffin both add 10 ML for 10 turns. Drescher's is more MP-efficient, with a 2 MP/turn ratio compared to Puffin's 3 MP/turn.
- Patient Smile, Wry Smile, and Knowing Smile gives 1 substat to a particular stat per combat adventure for 10 MP. While 10 substats doesn't sound like much, they help with reaching your first few levels. Note that these skills are mutually exclusive.
- Aloysius' Antiphon of Aptitude gives 3 extra substat points per combat adventure. While expensive, each cast (assuming the use of an antique accordion) can give up to 30 additional substat points (more if you're an AT and less if you run into non-combat adventures) if you don't have any other skills to spend MP on.
- Pulverize allows you to smash equipment into powder, nuggets, or wads. Wads can be consumed for extra adventures and stats at the cost of spleen hits, and Powders and Nuggets can be used for a bit of elemental resistance or damage.
- Amphibian Sympathy is a passive Turtle Tamer skill that raises your familiar weight by five levels. While Tower Familiars are no longer a thing, the extra 5 pounds makes your familiars much more effective, especially in the earlier stages. Empathy of the Newt and Leash of Linguini both confer an additional five pounds to your familiar.
- If you are a Seal Clubber, having Batter Up! and Ire of the Orca permed is highly recommended, as it can dramatically save a lot of turns by banishing undesirable monsters for certain quests.
Other Useful Daycount-Reduction Skills
- Elemental Resistances can speed up quests significantly. Elemental Saucesphere and Astral Shell provides protection against all elements, giving you an easy way to progress in Guano Junction, the Mt. McLargeHuge Quest, and for speeding up A-boo Peak and the Hedge Maze. Passive elemental resistances also help; Northern Exposure and Cold-Blooded Fearlessness/Hypersane, are more desirable than resistances for the other three elements.
- The +Combat frequency skills, Musk of the Moose and Carlweather's Cantata of Confrontation, speeds up the Lair of the Ninja Snowmen if you go that route, plus Sonofa Beach.
- Super-Advanced Meatsmithing lets you smith a chrome sword, staff, or crossbow, which give +3 rollover adventures. It also lets you upgrade a chrome sword to a sword behind inappropriate prepositions, or craft a staph of homophones, both of which give +5 rollover adventures.
- Rapid Prototyping or Inigo's Incantation of Inspiration give free crafting, removing the need to waste a few turns to craft things like said chrome sword. If given the choice, Rapid Prototyping is preferred because while Inigo's generates more free crafting, it comes with a 100-MP cost.
- Initiative boosters such as Springy Fusilli and Overdeveloped Sense of Self Preservation are needed for both modern zmobie hunting, clearing the A-boo Peak, and for the "Fastest Adventurer" contest, in addition to saving HP.
- Extra meat drops such as The Polka of Plenty and Nimble Fingers will come in handy for the Nuns side-quest and clearing the wall of meat.
The following support skills gain higher importance in Oxygenarian runs relative to standard HC strategy:
- Inner Sauce gives a passive 1 MP regen (more to Saucerors), which helps in maintaining buffs.
- Superhuman Cocktailcrafting gives Moxie classes 10 bottles of tonic water (300-500 MP) per day for only 700 Meat — a massive and well-needed influx of MP when keeping numerous expensive buffs active.
- The Moxious Madrigal adds 10 Moxie for a measly 2 MP, adding a good deal or survivability, especially with high ML.
- The Magical Mojomuscular Melody increases your MP headroom to let you take better advantage of the tonic waters you acquire from Superhuman Cocktailcrafting. It also empowers early casting of Antiphon and Ur-Kel's, making those skills even more powerful.
- Ambidextrous Funkslinging allows the use of two items per combat round. Its main application is in defeating the tougher bosses, like the Shadow Class enemy in the final quest. Stunning and healing items can be used in combination if players get close to being Beaten Up.
- Advanced Saucecrafting and Impetuous Sauciness together allow you to cook useful 10-turn (15-turn for Saucerors) Reagent Potions, although the more useful potions require either farming for ingredients or finding the Filthy Hippy Disguise to get access to The Hippy Store. If you're having problems defeating monsters, especially in later levels, helpful potions can get you over the hump. Adding The Way of Sauce lets you spend your run fully reagented if you also get the hippy outfit. Very few top ascenders use this strategy, but some do, and many casual players enjoy it greatly. This strategy is most useful to Moxie classes. Muscle classes can use Blood of the Wereseal to similar effect, while Myst classes will be multiplying an offstat and not a main stat.
- Adventurer of Leisure and Disco Nap give free rests for more HP/MP per day and for removing Beaten Up.
- Some high-level class-specific skills are very handy to have right at the beginning, even if it's good for only one class:
- Turtle Tamer: Blessing of the Storm Tortoise can turn a simple Headbutt into a TT's best combat skill, when used with the right stuff. A chrome helmet turtle or spiky turtle helmet gives it a very large damage boost and Butts of Steel allows you to hit stronger monsters with it. You can also use its Spirit Boon for extra MP. While War Snapper is acceptable, Shieldbutt can get pretty pricey MP-wise.
- Pastamancer: Thrall Unit Tactics halves Pastamancer combat spells, saving a lot of MP. The Spice Ghost's bonus Item Drops makes it a very useful Thrall as well.
- Sauceror: Curse of Weaksauce equals practically unlimited MP. Adding Saucecicle to the mix lets you get more MP out of Weaksauce, especially in the early stages. Add Itchy Curse Finger for safety.
Choosing the right astral item can be tricky. Don't bother getting an astral food, for obvious reasons.
If you're confident with surviving with 20 extra ML, then go for the astral belt, as Adventures are too precious to spend dozens of turns to powerlevel. If you are less confident, then the astral shirt is a good general choice with its +3 substats, with Prismatic Damage to make the early game very easy, plus it doesn't compete for equipment slots compared to other astral gear.
Mysticality classes (and others, to lesser extent) might want to consider the astral bracer or astral statuette for the added rollover adventures (although note the statuette is an off-hand item that can't be equipped if you get a chrome sword).
What class should you choose to do an HCO ascension (although you'll likely end up doing all of them eventually)? It depends on what skills you have marked hardcore permanent. You should strongly consider earning Karma in other ways to acquire the "essential" skills above before you start your Oxy career, but enjoying Oxy with few skills requires only patience.
Characters with few skills often enjoy playing Accordion Thief or a Disco Bandit, moreso with ATs than DBs. Since their primary stat is Moxie, it will be hard for monsters to inflict damage, and it will be possible to progress to more difficult regions of the Kingdom sooner. Pickpocket gives extra chances to grab required items. And if you have Superhuman Cocktailcrafting permed, you can convert soda water from The Market into bottles of tonic water for a extremely effective MP restorer. Accordion Thieves have an easy time with the early game, thanks to Accordion Appreciation and Accordion Bash. Disco Bandits, on the other hand, need a few exclusive skills to become fully effective, such as Flashy Dancer for deleveling tougher monsters, and Disco Dance 3: Back in the Habit for their 3rd level of Momentum. Although it can get expensive on the long run, those item drops bonuses from Disco Greed can come in handy.
Have some nice combat skills? Then perhaps Muscle is the way to go. Seal Clubbers and Turtle Tamers get an innate 50% bonus to their maximum HP; in conjunction with Muscle (upon which base HP depends) being their main stat, and Blood of the Wereseal (percentage change in Muscle based on moonlight) being available at The Smacketeria, they are the most resilient classes in the game. Projections for wereseal bonuses can be accessed on the Noblesse Oblige website.
All-healing Medicinal Herb's medicinal herbs are also sold at the Muscle guild store, so fighter classes can take a licking and keep on ticking. For those not willing to sacrifice a valuable spleen point on herbs, a scroll of drastic healing will accomplish the same thing (though only available late in the game), and the Pastamancer's Cannelloni Cocoon skill heals all wounds for 20 MP.
Seal Clubbers can blow through some parts of a quest thanks to Batter Up!, but that and Ire of the Orca should be permed first, otherwise you only use it for 2 quests. On the other hand, Turtle Tamers can pick up valuable turtles through Turtle Taming along the way, including decent Back items and a few very useful potions.
Pastamancers and Saucerors have a natural 50% bonus to their max MP, and have access to Gouda's Grimoire and Grocery for magical mystery juice, by far the best MP restorer in mid and later levels. Offhand cookbooks raise spell damage to make spells hit harder. If you can manage their MP, combat should be a cinch for them.
Saucerors have little worry concerning MP, since Inner Sauce and Soul Food gives them a lot of MP, and if they have Curse of Weaksauce permed, then they will have practically unlimited MP when managed right. Pastamancers can kill anything very efficiently with some prep: Thrall Unit Tactics with a good chefstaff will allow them to cast Entangling Noodles + Stuffed Mortar Shell to kill anything for little MP, should Cannelloni Cannon with Bringing Up the Rear attuned with Flavour of Magic not do the trick.
Having a few familiars prior to beginning your HCO run can help out immensely, and since Standard restrictions do not apply to Oxycore, you have a large selection of familiars to choose from.
A spleen familiar is highly recommended for HCO ascensions, as they are your only major source of turn generators. Except for the oldest Spleen familiars that require turns to get a spleen item, each Spleen familiars have their own benefits. Baby Sandworm can be used for a very fast flyering with Cyrus the Virus with just 2 clovers and 7 turns, Pair of Stomping Boots gives free runaways, Rogue Program lets you trade extra tokens for regen from little parachute guys, and the FotY Volleychauns' spleen items give enough stats to level up to 3 or 4 quickly.
To minimize the amount of turns spent powerleveling, having a stat familiar helps. While a Volleyball-type familiar gives a larger boost early on, Sombrero vs. Volleyball shows that an equal weight Volleyball beats the Sombrero until 83 ML. This amount of ML is fairly easy to reach after Level 6 or so or even earlier with some IotMs.
Some moon signs are much more useful than others in an HCO ascension. Or more accurately, some are downright worthless. All moon signs have access to Monster Aggravation Devices, which boost Monster Level. Several bosses give bonus drops when their level is boosted by a given amount.
The innards of Degrassi Knoll yields two relatively small (but useful) benefits and one potentially major benefit to casters. Innabox and The Plunger provide free smithing and meat paste combining, respectively, which saves turns and meat for simple crafting (Innabox cannot perform Super-Advanced Meatsmithing or Armorcraftiness). Additionally, the gnolls will sell most of the parts necessary for a meat car and meat maid (plus items needed for crafting for The Smith's Tome owners); other classes will have to adventure in Degrassi Knoll to acquire these. The detuned radio is the Knoll's monster aggravation device, raising ML by up to ten points.
As for individual signs:
- The Mongoose increases Muscle gains and grants 20% more physical damage.
- The Wallaby increases Mysticality gains and grants a 20% boost to spell damage.
- The Vole increases Moxie gains and grants a 20% increase to both combat initiative and maximum HP/MP.
Little Canadia provides 2 zones with a little variety for the early levels, although these really don't provide much benefit.
The primary benefit to visiting Canadia is for the logging hatchet, although it's usability depends on what class you are. Muscle classes have no trouble, Mysticality classes can manage as long as they have a spellbook or use it in the off-hand, but Moxie classes will need to buff their Muscle in order to hit stuff with it.
Another benefit Canadia is putting the meat gems from the pork elf goodies sack to use, should you elect to keep them rather than sell them for early Meat. Jewelrymaking and Really Expensive Jewelrycrafting are quite costly both in terms of meat and adventures to perform, but particularly for characters with rapid advancement of their Myst stat, the accessories produced can be equipped early.
The Super-Secret Canadian Mind-Control Device is the Great White North's monster aggravation device, raising ML by up to 11 points.
The individual signs are:
- The Platypus increases Muscle gains and grants +5 to familiar weight.
- The Opossum increases Mysticality gains and grants extra adventures from food — useless for Oxygenarians.
- The Marmot increases Moxie gains and grows a ten-leaf clover after one adventure per day.
Gnomish Gnomads' Camp
The Gnomish Gnomads' Camp may be the least useful overall, including HCO. The drop rates of the special items are too low to be of use without a Yellow Ray source, and even then farming for these items is questionable. You could try for a clockwork maid over 3 days with careful planning and free run-aways, but there are more valuable Yellow Ray targets for the first couple quests, which means it won't give as much returns. Fragnk's trainable skills are better off perming (for Torso Awaregness and Powers of Observatiogn, at least) beforehand. You also need to unlock the Desert Beach to access this place, and this is obviously more difficult than if the car parts can be purchased, like in Degrassi Knoll.
Now that the Naughty Sorceress Quest no longer requires one of the gum effects from South of the Border, the Gnomish Gnomads' Camp provides absolutely nothing for speeding up runs.
- The Wombat increases Muscle gains and grants 20% extra Meat gains from monsters.
- The Blender increases Mysticality gains and grants extra adventures from booze — useless for Oxygenarians.
- The Packrat increases Moxie gains and grants 10% extra Item drops from monsters.
Like for every other run, the Degrassi Knoll trumps the other two by a wide margin, although Little Canadia does have a small niche, even though said niche is hard to take advantage of.
Don't worry too much about picking the sign that generally helps your class the most. The area unlock often more than makes up for it. (For example, if you're a Muscle class, picking the Mongoose and being able to take advantage of all Degrassi Knoll offers can save more turns than picking Platypus or Wombat just for their abilities.)
Strategy With Clovers
Due to the length of HCO runs, players will have a decent surplus of Clovers. With the addition of free crafting skills such as Rapid Prototyping and Inigo's Incantation of Inspiration, there's no need to use these clovers for a chef-in-the-box, nor would they need it for a big rock to make a Rock and Roll legend due to the AT revamp.
Here's a list of locations with Clover adventure that directly speed up a run:
- Guano Junction for 2 sonars-in-a-biscuit
- Itznotyerzitz Mine for 1 of each ore
- The Smut Orc Logging Camp for 3 of each bridge parts
- A-boo Peak for 2 A-Boo clues
- The Castle in the Clouds in the Sky (Basement) for Wand of Nagamar parts
And a few other zones for "quality-of-life" stuff:
- The Misspelled Cemetary Post-Crypt for a brain and a smart skull
- Lemon Party Slot for Epic Weapon crafting
If you don't need any specific items from Clover Adventures, your ten-leaf clovers are best used for stats in the appropriate room of Spookyraven Manor: The Haunted Gallery (Muscle), The Haunted Bathroom (Mysticality), or The Haunted Ballroom (Moxie). As the clover stats in these high-yield areas scale to your main stat, it's best to use them at the very end of the day or the end of your run.
Clovering low-yield areas is never a good idea — you should spend that time in an area that yields items, Meat and stats. Clovering for meat should only be done as a last resort, and reflects poor planning.
Because you can't consume a fortune cookie or a Lucky Lindy to reveal the semi-rare counter, HCO ascensions have particular problems finding these special adventures. The problem is exacerbated by an Oxygenarian's need to spend as many adventures as possible advancing quests and character level, which is generally done outside of areas with useful semi-rares.
Semi-rares can potentially be farmed once an initial SR is found. Since the SR counter resets to 100-120 adventures, HCO SR farmers can start adventuring in SR areas about 100 turns after their previous SR. However, this can result in serious adventure waste (not to mention that some special adventures can overwrite SRs and confuse the count), so this is not particularly recommended. If you wish to hunt for SRs regardless, then it's highly recommended to have some sort of free runaways available to mitigate the number of Adventures lost.
In the HCO context, the most useful semi-rares (and thus some areas where players may wish to farm SRs anyway) are:
- One of the five +50 elemental damage potions (fire flower, freezerburned ice cube, fake blood, Eau de Guaneau, bag of lard) for the third NS contest. Most of the zones that have them are actually ascension-relevant, but only for a very short period of time. You will need to upgrade your telescope at least once in order to know which semi-rare you need to get.
- Mick's IcyVapoHotness Inhaler speed up the Nuns quest significantly, and if timed right, you will hardly waste any turns in the Top Floor of the Castle just to look for it.
- bottle of rhinoceros hormones, teeny-tiny magic scroll, bottle of pirate juice as appropriate for main stat; these can be farmed at the same time as getting required outfits for the Pirates and starting the Frat-Hippy war. These will help for the second NS contest.
- scented massage oil is inordinately handy to defeat the Shadow Class (especially if you don't have Funkslinging) and in general to save you from getting Beaten Up in a tough fight. However, the Harem is a worthless area to linger long in; only visit the Harem for this item if you are reasonably sure the semi-rare will come up soon.
Remember than combat semi-rares can be copied and faxed, so using a semi-rare counter for these is largely a waste.
|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 - DD|
|IotMs:||Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist|