Tower killing

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There were several ways to defeat the Tower monsters (prior to changes to the Naughty Sorceress Quest on December 31, 2014) without using the combat items to which they were uniquely susceptible. However, the techniques described here may be applicable to other powerful monsters.

These strategies rely on items, skills or familiars which may not be available in all ascension paths, or to all players. Killing Tower monsters using these strategies may not even be optimal in all cases, so choose carefully.

Nearly all of these strategies rely on keeping the Tower monster stunned or blocked so that it cannot attack you. Being attacked by a Tower monster will end with you being Beaten Up. To kill a Tower monster, you must do 99,999 damage to it, within 30 rounds, without letting it attack you.

Since the May 2014 revamps give damage resistance to all monsters when you run Monster Level increasers, you should not use any +ML when tower killing. Even the detuned radio at +10 gives the monsters 4% damage resistance. This doesn't make tower killing impossible, but it does unnecessarily raise the difficulty. In fact, if you have any ML reducers, use those. They will increase the damage you deal from all sources.

Softcore strategies

American Trickster

The first widely-adopted softcore Tower killing strategy relies on a synergy of Items of the Month:

Other IotMs supplement the strategy, but are not strictly mandatory:

On round 1, cast Shadow Noodles or another multi-round stunning skill. On round 2, activate Wrath of the Trickster God, which will do most of the damage. Starting on round 3, unless this is the last Tower monster you need to kill, you must reactivate the Gaze of the Trickster God for the next Tower monster. Do this by slinging a finger cuffs and spectre sceptre on round 3, and then a seal tooth and spectre sceptre each subsequent round, until the Gaze has been reactivated. The more times you do this in a day, the longer it will take.

(If you don't have Funkslinging, you can still try with single combat items, but it will be more difficult to reactivate Trickster in time to start dealing damage.)

Keep watch for messages that your finger cuffs have been destroyed, and use another if necessary. With net 95% blocking from familiar and hat, it's unlikely you'll need more than 1 or 2.

Once the Gaze has been reactivated, and as long as the monster remains cuffed and entangled, fire your biggest spell every round to augment the Trickster damage. If you have a 120 MP spell such as Eggsplosion, use that; otherwise use Saucegeyser or Fearful Fettucini or Weapon of the Pastalord or any other large spell. The Super Skill effect will reduce the cost to 0 MP.

Marinara Trickster

This strategy is a variant of the preceding one. It uses a combination of Wrath of the Trickster God and Curse of Marinara to deal all the damage. The pieces are:

Other IotMs supplement the strategy, but are not strictly mandatory:

Use a multi-round stunning skill or item on the first round, and then Curse of Marinara on round 2. (If you have Itchy Curse Finger, the curse will also stagger the monster that round.) Activate Wrath of the Trickster God on round 3, and then spend the next several rounds using combat items to reactivate Gaze of the Trickster God as described in the previous strategy.

You don't need to do any additional damage yourself, unless you want to. Marinara and Trickster together will deal more than enough.

Hardcore strategies

Curse of Marinara

Curse of Marinara does 3% of a tower monster's attack (3000 damage) per round, with almost no variance. This by itself will not kill a tower monster, and does not constitute a whole strategy, but it greatly assists nearly every other strategy, effectively cutting the necessary damage to a tenth of what you would need without Curse of Marinara.

Therefore, this skill deserves prominent mention.

Marinara Victuals

Curse of Marinara does 3000 damage per round, or 90000 damage over 30 rounds. Jiggling the Staff of the Headmaster's Victuals does 30% of the monster's current HP. Together, this is more than enough damage to kill a tower monster.

Assuming Marinara + Itchy Curse Finger on the first round, a multi-round stun skill or item on the second round, and jiggling the staff on the third round (all at +0 ML), the jiggle will do 28200 damage, and the tower monster should die on the 24th round. With negative ML, it may go even faster. (Adding some spell damage will also speed it up -- see the following strategies.)

Hot vs cold

This strategy uses spells to deal most of the damage to the Tower monster, possibly taking advantage of elemental tuning for double damage. The essentials:

Optional components:

The shard of double-ice changes the monster's elemental alignment to Cold, so that Hot and Spooky spells do double damage. If you don't have the double-ice shard, then your spells will do regular damage instead of double damage. That just means you need more Mysticality, or more spell damage, or both. With Marinara, the shards are really quite superfluous.

Here are some of the spell damage and Mysticality boosters that are readily available in Hardcore. You don't need all of these! Some of them may be obtained without expending limited resources; others cannot (they may require turns to be spent, or tome summons, fullness, or other daily counters).

+Dmg% multipliers Spell crit chance Myst bonuses +Dmg bonuses
tobiko marble soda +150%
Song of Sauce +100%
occult jelly donut (et al.) +100%
Simmer +100%
Nothing Is Impossible +100%
Staff of the Soupbone +75%
Visions of the Deep Dark Deeps +50%
Mental A-cue-ity +50%
Sockdollager +50%
sugar chapeau +50%
Is This Your Card? +50%
37x37x37 puzzle cube +25%
The Wallaby sign +20%
concentrated cordial of concentration +20%
black eye shadow +15%
Master Saucier +10%
Subtle and Quick to Anger +10%
cordial of concentration +10%
natto marble soda +15%
Wizard Squint +10%
confiscated cell phone +10%
Sauce Monocle +5% or +15%
Hawking's Elixir of Brilliance +200%
Bee's Knees +100%
cold-filtered water +100%
ointment of the occult +100%
potion of temporary gr8ness +100%
Nanobrainy +50%
tomato juice of powerful power +50%
Telescope buff +5% to 35%
stench wad +30%
spooky wad +30%
prismatic wad +30%
Myst bang potion +25%
cold wad +20%
sleaze wad +15%
glittery mascara +15%
hot wad +15%
Stevedave's Shanty of Superiority +10%
twinkly wad +10%
black sheepskin diploma +10%
pirate tract +10%
Sockdollager +40
+40 Hot
+40 Spooky
Song of Sauce +50 Hot
resolution: be feistier +20
black sheepskin diploma +15
Jackasses' Symphony of Destruction +12
Dirge of Dreadfulness +12 Spooky
Flavour of Magic +10
confiscated cell phone +10
twinkly wad +5
orange candy heart +5 Hot
Color legend
Costs Turns
Costs Fullness, Drunkenness or Spleen
Tome Summon
Other Daily Counter

Given a choice between a spell damage and a Mysticality booster, take the spell damage. Also remember that elemental wads can be cooked into each other. Use Inigo's or a chef-in-the-box for cooking any potions you decide to use. If you're using Deep Dark Visions, remember that you'll need 500 HP as well as a large amount of Spooky Resistance to cast it.

If you are using Curse of Marinara, then you only need to do about 10,000 damage with spells, over 25-27 rounds, or about 400 per round. This is extremely simple if you have enough MP to keep casting Saucegeyser; you only need about 200 Mysticality and +40% spell damage, or 340 Mysticality and +0% spell damage (for example).

Without Curse of Marinara (or any slime stacks), you need to do about 100,000 damage with spells, or about 4000 per round. With 600 Mysticality, +100 spell damage and +350% spell damage multiplier, and a standard 9% chance of critical spell hit, you will be slightly short with Saucegeyser alone (~3973 per round). If you can't add damage/Mysticality/critical hit bonuses, or if the RNG is witholding critical hits, you may consider mixing in some Awesome Balls of Fire or Raise Backup Dancer spells.

If you're going to use Awesome Balls of Fire or Raise Backup Dancer, you'll need a large MP pool due to their cost. This may require additional potions for raising Mysticality.

If you have Curse of Marinara and Itchy Curse Finger, use Marinara on round 1. If you have a shard of double-ice, use that next. This makes the monster cold-aligned, so all of your hot/spooky attacks deal double damage. (If you have Marinara but not Itchy, use Marinara after your first multi-round stun.)

Next, use Shadow Noodles (preferred) or another multi-round stunning skill; then finger cuffs or other stunner(s); then finally your large spell (Saucegeyser, etc.) on subsequent rounds. If you don't have a stunning skill, stunning items may be substituted. Reapply the stunning items as necessary.

If you can't manage to get enough spell damage with the resources available, you can add some slime stacks (see the Slime stacks strategy).


This is just a variant of the Hot vs cold strategy. Instead of using a shard of double-ice to change the monster's element, you use Frigidalmatian to add an additional burst of passive damage each round. (You should not use both together -- doing so will cause your Frigidalmatian to do only 1 point of damage.)

The rest of the strategy is identical -- boost spell damage and mysticality, keep the monster blocked/stunned, and throw spells until it dies. Your spells won't be tuned for double damage, so you may need more rounds to kill the monster this way. Again, you may combine this with Curse of Marinara or slime stacks if your Frigidalmatian damage isn't high enough by itself.

Massive deleveling

It is possible to delevel the tower monsters so much that their defense scores become negative, which means your weapon-based attacks gain bonus damage, as the difference between your Muscle and the monster's defense grows larger and larger.

In order to use this strategy, you need Curse of Weaksauce and at least one other reusable, percent-based deleveler. Crayon shavings are the most readily available in no-path runs. Challenge path runs may offer alternatives.

The steps are:

  1. Prepare by using a blocking familiar, boosting weapon damage, using effects or equipment that prevent you from fumbling, etc. Most of this preparation is optional.
  2. Cast Curse of Weaksauce (assuming you have Itchy Curse Finger -- if you don't, then use a multi-round stunner first). This begins the deleveling.
  3. Use a multi-round stunner. (Be prepared to re-stun the monster as needed.)
  4. Use crayon shavings or other percent delevelers early, while the monster's attack/defense are still relatively high.
  5. Once the monster's defense displays as 0 or less, start attacking it.

There is at least one in-game bug involved in this (though it's not clear whether the bug is in the displayed values, or in the actual values). Once the monster's defense is deleveled to 0 or below, the defense values displayed by Monster Manuel will be wrong. The monster's actual defense will be much lower than what is shown.

Because the Sauceror curse skills are mutually exclusive within a given combat, you cannot combine this strategy with the Curse of Marinara damage strategies.

Slime stacks

The first known strategy for Tower killing in Hardcore used slime stacks to deal damage. This is less convenient than other strategies because it requires stockpiling the slime stacks well in advance (throughout the whole run).

In addition to the Slimeling, this method of course requires some blocking/stunning. Originally this was done by slinging gobs of wet hair with the slime stacks, but other stunning items are more readily available now (see other strategies for examples).

Use spells to finish off the monster once the slime stacks have reduced its HP sufficiently.

Small golem

The small golem can be obtained by using a grimstone mask and selecting the gnome. You'll need to farm 3 leather and 1 clay, and you must have the skill to turn the leather into parchment. (This skill may be developed in previous lifetimes.)

The small golem does 5000 damage (passive) per round to tower monsters, and can be used on 5 monsters before crumbling. You'll need to keep the tower monster stunned or staggered while the golem fights for you.

The turns required to obtain the leather and clay (and the turns spent with the Grimstone Golem to get the mask in the first place) make this strategy less desirable than some of the others, but in paths where you do not have access to your full skill set, but you do have access to your familiars, this may be viable.

Challenge path strategies

Way of the Surprising Fist

Way of the Surprising Fist gives several unique skills, including Salamanderenity and Flying Fire Fist, which work together. The number of turns of the Salamanderenity effect determines the damage of Flying Fire Fist (which also removes all turns of Salamanderenity, so it's only good for one tower monster, unless you have the time to build up Salamanderenity again before the next one).

You need just under 20,000 turns of Salamanderenity to kill a tower monster with a Flying Fire Fist.

You can combine a smaller Fire Fist with the other (no-path) methods if you have the necessary skills or equipment.

Avatar of Boris

Softcore Avatars of Boris can pull a phial of hotness for 5 turns of Hotform. Use a shard of double-ice to align the monster, and then Bifurcating Blow to kill it. Use a soft green echo eyedrop antidote to remove Foe-Splattered so you can do it again.

Unfortunately this doesn't work in Hardcore.

Zombie Slayer

In Zombie Slayer, it is possible to kill tower monsters using Meat Shields, Corpse Pile and Howl of the Alpha. Corpse Pile is a multi-round stun skill, guaranteed to keep the monster from acting for at least 2 turns, and can be used multiple times per combat. Meat Shields can be activated prior to the fight, or it can be activated following the first Corpse Pile, and will block the monster about 90% of the time. Since there is no way to predict how long Corpse Pile will remain in effect, you should re-cast it every time you get a message indicating that it has acted.

If you have multi-round stunning items such as gas balloons, you may use them as well, to save some Horde. Also, the gnomish coal miner's lung will sometimes block, if you have the Reagnimated Gnome.

In between casts of Corpse Pile, use Howl of the Alpha to do damage to the monster. Howl does half of the monster's current HP and can be used multiple times per combat. You can use Grizzly Scene once, as well, if you have the bear arms. Once the monster has sufficiently low HP for other skills to do more damage than Howl does, switch to those other skills. (Flesh Mob will not hit, because it rolls against the monster's defense, but Zombie Maestro, Bilious Burst and Distracting Minion will work, in roughly decreasing order of power/cost.)

This strategy costs about 100(?) Horde with Zombie Maestro, or more without it.

Avatar of Jarlsberg

Avatars of Jarlsberg can tower kill using Bake, Hot Resistance, and stunning.

Crank up your Hot resistance before the fight. Use the Hippotatomous for extra blocking. Lead with a shard of double-ice, then Blend, then start Baking. Use multi-round stunners as needed; once the Bake damage is high enough, you can even use single-round stunners, as the damage keeps going even when you aren't actively casting Bake.

Surprisingly, Bonus Spell Damage is reported to have no effect on Bake's damage, so you can save resources by not boosting it.


The world's most dangerous birdhouse can kill tower monsters.

If you have an over-the-shoulder Folder Holder, and if a folder (Yedi) dropped, you can get an additional +50% spell damage with it. The ph balancer is a stat equalizing potion, which can help you boost mysticality if you aren't a myst class.

Otherwise, tower killing in KOLHS is just like no-path.

Heavy Rains

Dumb mud can kill tower monsters. However, only one is available per Hardcore run.

There are some new sources of bonus spell damage: fishbone bracers, Sheet Lightning, and lightning rod. There are also a couple skills that increase the size of your MP pool: Riding the Lightning and Clean-Hair Lightning.

Thunder Bird is a reusable deleveling skill, which can be combined with Curse of Weaksauce for the massive deleveling strategy. If you have Thor's Pliers, you can craft a dark porquoise ring for double deleveling.

Each tower level has a base water depth of one, in addition to any other water depth modifiers you may have, adding +10 ML and 4% damage resistance per level. Water depth may be directly mitigated with a heavy duty umbrella and/or indirectly by water wings for babies. (The ML reduction from the water wings increases your damage, making them a solid choice for accessory slots where you aren't already using something better.)

See Also

Ascension Strategy
Rankings: HC Skills - HC Familiars - HC IotMs
General: Class selection - Familiar usage - Lucky adventures
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
Additional Paths: DG - 2CRS - KoE - PotP - LKS - GG - Y,Robot - QT - WF
IotMs: Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist