Heavy Rains/Strategy

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This page discusses strategies for the Heavy Rains challenge path.

Overall the path plays much like No Path, but with extra skills available, extra wandering monsters, and extra built-in +ML.

Astral Gear/Consumables

Given the path's extra built-in +ML, the astral belt might be overkill. However, it's not as simple as it may seem at first glance. You should definitely not struggle for stats once you hit level 11, but there may be stat bottlenecks at level 6 (especially if you are stuck waiting for a reanimated writing desk to wander by), and level 10.

The inhibition of your familiars by the flood water means the familiar equipment slot becomes nigh useless for non-water-breathing familiars because the Miniature life preserver is so important for maintaining their proper function. So, the astral pet sweater is not as useful as it would be in other paths.

Additionally, since the pool skimmer and heavy duty umbrella are both off-hand items, it makes taking the astral shield, bludgeon, statuette, and longbow all unappealing choices.

That leaves the astral mask as the default choice, at least in Hardcore. More +item is always helpful.

If you are struggling, the astral shirt is an excellent pick. It gives bonus stats from combat without raising difficulty, and the prismatic damage will be welcome against some of the path bosses, if you are using weapon-based attacks rather than spells.

On the consumable side, nothing really changes from No Path. Take the astral energy drinks if you have no path-usable spleen familiars. Take the astral pilsners if you want to maximize turn gen and can delay turn gen until level 11. Take the astral hot dogs if you want to maximize stat gains from consumables, at the cost of turn generation.

Water Management

You will have an extra +10 to +60 ML due to the flood waters, depending on which zone you're in. You have some control over this:

  • You can increase the depth by learning and using the Thundercloud and Rainy Day skills. Increasing the depth is the only way to learn the Rain and Lightning skills.
  • You can decrease the depth by equipping the heavy duty umbrella (offhand) or the fishbone corset (shirt). If you are playing for speed, you will never have enough fishbones to make the corset in Hardcore, and in most cases you wouldn't want to reduce the water anyway. But if you are struggling in softcore, and aren't seeking more skills, the corset might be a reasonable pull.

For speed purposes, you want to increase the water depth as much as you can, as soon as you can. This raises the Monster Level and gives you more stats, and it allows you to pick up more of the path skills. Once you reach level 11 and got the skills you need, you can stop renewing the water depth increasing effects, allowing the water to recede to its default levels by the time you're ready for the lair.

However, there are a few occasions where you want to keep the water level low, if you need to find non-conditional items for a quest (i.e. the Liver of Steel items and goat cheese). The 100 turn duration for Personal Thundercloud and The Rain In Loathing makes it hard to decrease the water level on demand, so be sure to keep an eye on the turns remaining on those buffs when you're close to having to do those quests.

Increasing the water depth also increases your probability of losing item drops to the water. This means your yellow rays are no longer 100% reliable turn savers, greatly diminishing their importance. Generally you should count on needing to fight more than one of a given monster, even if you can "cap" its drops with +item or yellow rays. This places a greater importance on combat selection mechanics (Transcendent Olfaction or banishing). If you rely heavily on Olfaction, you'll need extra SGEEAs.

Lists of all ascension relevant hard zones

What Water Level ML doesn't affect

Extra Monster Level from Water Level does not affect out-of-combat things: the ML is added in combat. This means that:

  • Random Lack of an Encounter: When investigating the crew quarters, Water ML will not make you fight MagiMechTech MechaMechs.
  • Tavern Cellar: Water ML does not increase the chance of fighting bunches of drunken rats or drunken rat kings.
  • Death Rattlin': While Water ML does not give you bigger swarms of ghuol whelps, it does reduce the same amount of Evil since it scales off ML regardless, so do not be fooled by its appearance.
  • Oil Peak: Water ML does not give you tougher opponents. You would still need at least +100 ML to fight oil cartels.

Path Skills

You get the first wandering monster on the 9th to 11th turn (after 8-10 turns spent). You can set a /timer for this as soon as you begin the path, to remind you. Afterwards, you will start encountering the wandering monsters every 35-45 turns.

Generally speaking, the Rain skills are the most critical to speed, and the #1 path skill by a huge margin is Rain Man. This means every time you use Rain for some other skill, you are comparing the opportunity cost of that Rain against another Rain Man pseudo-fax.

Rain Man is easily obtainable if you start your run with at least one aquaconda brain, but if you don't, you'll need to learn Thundercloud ASAP. Once you have Rain Man, Thunder Clap and Lightning Strike are the next-best skills for speed, and afterwards you can fill in the other path skills however you see fit.

Thunder Skills

You gain an average of 3 Thunder per combat, or 5 with Thunder Thighs, which makes it the most available resource of the three. Contains mostly survivability skills.

  • Thunder Clap (40 dB): Banishes one monster at a time for up to 40 Adventures. Like with every other form of queue manipulation, it's very useful for speeding up runs by removing undesirable monster encounters.
  • Thundercloud (20 dB): Increase water depth by 2 for 100 turns. Required for aquaconda brains, making it a top priority skill.
  • Thunder Bird (1 dB): Delevels monster by 15%. Good for gremlins, boss fights, and many tough encounters, especially if you don't have the skills or equipment needed to win the combats otherwise.
  • Thunderheart (20 dB): +100% Max HP for 100 turns. While generally unnecessary to learn, it can help for A-boo Peak, places where you can't equip the Underwear, and the last few bosses. With Thunder Thighs you will likely gain so much Thunder that you can easily stack hundreds of turns of this.
  • Thunderstrike (5 dB): Stuns for 4 rounds, even up to 150ML, where monsters become stun-immune otherwise. Best used for when you are running tons of ML when stuns become less reliable, and against The Rain King, since he can't remove your buffs while stunned.
  • Thunder Down Underwear (60 dB): Gives you a thunder down underwear until rollover. While it won't save any turns by itself, the huge amount of Damage Absorption, Max HP, and HP regen it gives greatly increases your survivability, making it an excellent quality of life item.
  • Thunder Thighs (passive): Increases Thunder generation from 30 to 50 dB. Helpful for using more Thunder Claps with less downtime, which is handy in places where you want a lot of banishes close together (e.g. The Hidden City or Spookyraven Manor Cellar).

Rain Skills

Many of the Rain skills can be used for direct turn-saving, but with an average gain of 1 Rain per combat it is more precious than Thunder.

  • Rain Man (50 drops): Lets you fight any monster you know, like a Fax Machine, but with multiple uses per day. By far the best turn-saving skill, so most of your Rain will be used on this.
  • Rainy Day (20 drops): Increase water depth by 2 for 100 turns. Required for lightning milk and boosting ML overall, making it a high priority skill.
  • Make it Rain (10 drops): +300% Meat Drops for the combat it's used in. Speeds up Nuns greatly.
  • Rain Dance (10 drops): +20% item drops for 100 turns. Self-explanatory why it's useful.
  • Rainbow (3 drops): Deals 6-7 Prismatic Damage. While it could make early bosses easier, it's generally a waste of Rain.
  • Rain Coat (40 drops): Gives you a famous blue raincoat until rollover. Grants +2 resistances and +10% Item Drops and +40 Initiative, making it a nice "quality of life" skill if you didn't bring an astral shirt, but mostly a waste of Rain from a speed perspective.
  • Rain Delay (passive): +3 to all elemental resistance. Can potentially speed up A-boo Peak and is more useful on low-skill characters. And it doesn't cost any Rain!

Lightning Skills

Besides free runaway and Yellow Ray, Lightning is suited for spellcasters. However, unless you own Thor's Pliers, you can't gain any extra Lightning until rollover, so it is a resource you can't afford to waste.

  • Lightning Strike (20 bolts): Turnless insta-kill (like a free runaway but you get stats, meat and items), saving up to 5 (or more with the Pliers) turns a day. It's the most important Lightning skill out of them all, and any extra Lightning you gain with the Pliers should go into this. The most effective places to use this are zones where you wish to conserve turns of limited buffs (+meat for Nuns, +item and gland effects for filthworms) or other special effects (Ultrahydrated in the desert). Otherwise, use it anywhere you want. It also makes a great panic button, letting you kill a monster that might otherwise beat you up.
  • Clean-Hair Lightning (10 bolts): +100% Max MP for 100 turns. Redundant due to Riding the Lightning and overall a waste of Lightning. Might be useful for low level Pastamancers (for high-MP Thrall binding) if you're running out of Lightning skills to learn.
  • Ball Lightning (5 bolts): Yellow Ray disintegration with a 99 turn cooldown. While Yellow Rays have diminished effectiveness in Heavy Rains, it remains a useful skill because you can never have enough item drops. As a downside, if you don't have the Pliers using it will deprive you of one extra Lightning Strike a day.
  • Sheet Lightning (10 bolts): +100% Spell Damage and damages attacking opponents for 100 turns. If you don't have the Pliers and used Ball Lightning, you will have some leftover Lightning that you can't use for Lightning Strike. Therefore, spellcasters have a way to make use of those 15 or so remaining Lightnings on something that benefits them.
  • Lightning Bolt (1 bolt): Deals massive damage when cast for the third time in a single combat. Sounds strong on paper, but experienced players should be able to one or two-shot monsters anyway, not to mention it uses Lightning. It also doesn't work on path bosses due to their hard damage caps. Could be used in some tower killing setups (but not by itself).
  • Lightning Rod (20 bolts): Gives you a lightning rod until rollover. Gives very large bonuses that benefit a spellcaster greatly, at the costs of a Lightning Strike. If you are willing to trade an extra Adventure for a lot of Spell Damage and some MP regen, you can steamroll through almost anything with it.
  • Riding the Lightning (passive): +100% Max MP. Mainly a quality-of-life skill in some cases, but as a passive skill, it doesn't cost you any Lightning. Watch out for storm cows, though.

Skill Acquisition

Every time you complete a Heavy Rains run (by breaking the Prism), the game counts which skill tree you have the most skills in. On future Heavy Rains runs, you'll start with the corresponding skill-giving item. Each run's item is remembered independently. If you have a tie for most skills in multiple trees, the game chooses one at random.

There is a limit of 3 of each starting skill item (i.e. you max out at 3 thunder thighs, 3 aquaconda brains and 3 lightning milks). If you've already maxed the skill tree you have the most skills in, the game will use your second-highest skill tree for this run. However, you must have learned at least one skill in a second tree. You can't start with lightning milks if you have never learned a Lightning skill at all.

It's recommended to finish your first run with more Rain skills than others for a Turn 1 Rain Man, and then with the most skills in whatever else according to your needs in future runs afterwards.

Either way, the first step you need to take in any Heavy Rains run is to acquire some thunder thighs ASAP, which you can find in a high-level underground zone. The earliest available zone of that kind are the Hobopolis sewers and the Slime Tube, but you will need to be able to survive there (at minimum you have to deal with 160 ML from the slimes). If you are unable to handle the monsters or adventure in those zone, then the earliest available zone is Menagerie Level 3 (faster, but somewhat RNG-prone and not ascension-relevant), followed by The Cyrpt zones. The Dungeons of Doom are also available once the Cyrpt becomes inaccessible.

Once you have learned Thundercloud, zones in Spookyraven Manor, Second Floor, Barrrney's Barrr and Pandamonium can be used to find aquaconda brains, and all but Pandamonium are ascension-relevant to boot. However, these zones will take some time to open, so you probably won't be able to get Rain Man until at least the second wandering monster without starting with an aquaconda brain.

By the time you have Rainy Day, there are multiple high-level, ascension-relevant outdoor zones that can be used to acquire lightning milks. The earliest high-level outdoor zone is The Obligatory Pirate's Cove, but there is no shortage of such zones from level 9 onward.

Attempting to adventure in the Daily Dungeon (low-level, underground) when it has been completed for the day fires adventure.php but does not take a turn, so you can "adventure" here each turn during the rain monster window. This lets you guarantee an alley catfish or giant tardigrade, with at least one water-depth increaser active. A Massive Ziggurat and the Overgrown Shrines in The Hidden City work similarly, as high-level, outdoor zones that can be adventured in without consuming turns.

Rain Man

This skill is so critical it gets its own section. You start each day with 100 Rain, and it regenerates at approximately 1 drop per combat. So, you can cast Rain Man twice immediately at the start of each day, then again every 50 combats or so, if you don't use Rain for anything else.

Any leftover Rain at the end of a day can be used to spam the Rain Dance or The Rain In Loathing skills, to stockpile turns of the effect for subsequent days.

Since Rain Man works a lot like the fax machine, the standard fax machine strategy applies -- except that you get way more Rain Man casts than you do faxes. Some of the better choices for this path include:

  • writing desk: You must read the telegram before fighting these. You need to fight 5 of these to open Spookyraven's second floor, bypassing all of the first floor zones. With the Reanimated Reanimator you can wink at the first one, Rain Man a second one, and then wait for the 3 wandering copies.
  • mountain man (requires Monster Manuel or access to a fax machine): Outside of Unaccompanied Miner, your only other speedy choices for acquiring the ore you need in Hardcore are mountain men, clovers, and zapping.
  • ninja snowman assassin: You need to fight 3 of these to bypass the middle of Mt. McLargeHuge.
  • lobsterfrogman: You need to fight 5 of these to bypass Sonofa Beach
  • Quantum Mechanic: This can drop a large box, allowing you to bypass the greater-than sign and the Dungeon of Doom. Remember that the flood water can wash this away. Also remember that if the QM hits you, you can be inflicted with teleportitis.
  • Bram the Stoker: Reduced Combat Frequency is as useful as ever, and Bram's choker has a 100% drop rate, so it can't be washed away. Getting this before the semi-rare unlocks at level 11 can save many turns.
  • Orcish Frat Boy Spy: Drops the Frat Warrior Fatigues items with a base rate of 30%. They can be washed away, but at least you don't have to waste a Ball Lightning on them, so you can always try again. It also allows you to skip the Filthy Hippy Disguise and its potential YR-washaway grief.
  • War Hippy Spy: Same concept as the Fray Boy Spy, if you want to fight the war as a hippy.
  • (big/giant) swarm of ghuol whelps: You'll be giving up some +ML by fighting them in the (low-level, outdoor) "Rain Man zone" rather than their native (high-level, underground) Defiled Cranny, but it can still be worth it if you have enough. Evil reduction is based entirely on +ML, so the only consideration for which swarm to summon is group damage and base HP.

If you have extra Rain Man casts available, you can also consider some lower-priority targets, depending on what you need:

Pool Skimmer

Whenever you are not actively raising +item with A Light that Never Goes Out (or +meat with Half a Purse at the brigands), you should spend as many combats as possible using the pool skimmer to get random items. The items you get are extremely random, and most will not be useful, but a few lucky finds can help you enormously.

Quests

Guild Entry Quest

It should be noted that Mysticality classes unlock their guild in The Haunted Pantry, which is indoors (water depth 3). If you choose to unlock the Myst guild, and if you are struggling with the additional Monster Level at this point, consider equipping the water wings for babies.

Boss Bat Quest

Due to the high water depth inside The Bat Hole and the fact that sonars-in-a-biscuit and enchanted beans can be washed away, it would be a good idea to equip the heavy duty umbrella here.

Or it might not.

The King of Cobb's Knob Quest

Similar to the Bat Hole, lowering the water level can speed up the acquisition of the harem/guard outfit.

The Aquagoblin removes a buff on hit, so if you are relying on buffs to defeat it, you should at least apply several cheap buffs on yourself to reduce the chance that a powerful buff gets removed. Having a stun also helps.

Azazel, Ma Belle

Keep the water level low for this quest since losing one or more items may prevent you from obtaining your steel margarita in that day.

If you do manage to get the items, it should be noted that this is one of the earliest high-level indoor zones you can adventure in.

Undefile the Cyrpt Quest

While the swarm of ghuol whelps do not grow bigger from water depth, it still counts towards the Evility reduction.

The Rain King

The Rain King is significantly tougher than many other final bosses, so plan accordingly:

  • Similar to the Aquagoblin, apply as many buffs as possible to reduce the chance of having your most important buffs removed.
  • The Rain King fight has a (hidden) water depth of 6, even without depth-increasing skills. This gives him effectively +60 ML, which gives him a chance of stun resistance. However, wearing -ML gear (such as water wings for babies) at the start of the fight reduces his effective +ML bonus, even after he removes them from you. So, turn off all your +ML stuff, wear those water wings, and stun away.
  • The Rain King is vulnerable to stuns, and won't remove buffs while stunned. Having multi-round stuns will help turn the fight in your advantage, and the more you have the better. CSA obedience grenades are an excellent choice, as they both stun for a few rounds and delevel the enemy. Thunderstrike is also a good choice for stunning, and should be considered for those without a backpack.
  • Stagger-locking him with macrame nets or superamplified boom boxen, plus another damaging item if you can Funksling, is also viable.
  • If you're using weapon-based attacks, stock up on elemental damage to deal more damage per attack. Drinking a Sockdollager adds a whopping 100 damage per hit, which helps finish off The Rain King much faster.
  • A Pastamancer with Bringing Up the Rear and at least +100% bonus Spell Damage can deal 120 damage per round with Ravioli Shurikens. Anyone with the skills permed can deal 80 damage per round with Saucestorm or a tuned Weapon of the Pastalord, or 120 with Turtleini.
  • Since this fight can take quite long, the Warbear Drone familiar can be a good source of additional damage (for a familiar), as long as you can provide some buffs for extra weight.
  • Seal Clubbers who haven't already should consider learning Hide of the Walrus, which will reduce damage by up to 12% per hit, if they didn't perm Astral Shell and Ghostly Shell already.
  • The Rain King hits quite hard when you're naked, but repeated applications of Thunder Bird or crayon shavings are an excellent way to reduce his strength if you can't stun-lock him.
  • Using a semi-rare on scented massage oils before the battle may be wise if you think you will need more in-combat healing than you can get from the war's gauze garters or filthy poultices.
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