User:Littlebum2002/Skill Analysis Test

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Somewhat using the table in this thread


Using this format

  1. Hardcore Skill Analysis

official thread:


This is a listing of all the skills available in the game, grouped by how useful they are at making a hardcore ascension happen faster. Some skills help you use fewer turns to ascend, others give you more turns per day. The skills are ranked so that all the skills in each tier are all relatively the same quality

In general these recommendations are aimed at ascensions that don't choose a path, so that consumption of food and booze isn't restricted. That's because if you want to pick up many permanent skills, that's the most efficient way to go about it.

Even if your eventual goal is to complete a fast Oxygenarian run, you'll need many permanent skills to accomplish that. It's worth taking time to accumulate skills like Advanced Cocktailcrafting and Pastamastery because they'll let you add permanent skills from no-path runs so much faster that the time spent obtaining the food/drink skills will justify itself. But once you've passed through the top tier, those whose intended focus isn't no-path runs will certainly choose their skills differently than here. For example, there's little reason to pick up highly rated skills like Ode to Booze when you could be getting ones that will help your intended path instead.

Tier 1

Hasc01.gif Essential skills that immediately add or save many turns over a runHasc01.gif
Skill Name Class (Level) Type MP Cost Description
Advanced Cocktailcrafting Disco Bandit (5) Passive and Non-Combat 10 Allows you to create little paper umbrellas, coconut shells, and magical ice cubes (3 random per day) at the cost 10 MP each, and to use these ingredients to make advanced drinks. This skill is a must for all no-path and -- of course -- Boozetafarian ascenders.
Advanced Saucecrafting Sauceror (5) Passive and Non-Combat 10 Allows you to create scrumptious reagents (3 per day) at the cost of 10 MP each, and use them to cook reagent dishes and potions. While most of them will likely be consumed for food, potions are incredibly helpful for Safe Adventuring in the Hole in the Sky and the Hedge Maze.
Amphibian Sympathy Turtle Tamer (3) Passive N/A Increases familiar level by 5. (Decreases the Inflatable Dodecapede's level by 5, to a minimum of 1 lb.) The only familiar skill that can be in effect during the Naughty Sorceress battle.
Pastamastery Pastamancer (5) Passive and Non-Combat 10 Allows you to create dry noodles (3 per day) at the cost of 10 MP each and to cook noodle dishes. Noodle dishes are an amazing improvement to any ascender's diet and give many more adventures than you would normally see. Best when used to cook reagent dishes or chow mein.

Tier 2

Tier 2: Best skills to aquire after tier 1 skills. These 6 skills round out probably the best 10 skills in the game, and are listed in no particular order.

  • Ode to Booze (a lot more adventures per drink, if not on day 1 then definately on day 2)
  • Moxious Madrigal (Adventure at a higher ML sooner)
  • Mad Looting Skillz
  • Superhuman cocktailcrafting (Much better drinking, plus tonic water for Moxie classes)
  • Smooth movements
  • Phat Loot

Tier 3

Tier 3: Skills ranked 11-15, in no particular order.

  • Leash of linguini (Leash + Sympathy + pet snacks = 0 turns levelling up familiars for the NS)
  • Hero
  • MMM
  • Tao
  • Sonata of Sneakiness

Tier 4

Tier 4: Skills ranked 16-20, in no particular order

  • Entangling Noodles
  • Astral Shell
  • Dual Fisted
  • Sauciness
  • Noodlecraft

Tier 5

Tier 5: skills ranked 21-25, in no particular order

  • Tongue of the Walrus (good skill, but by the time you get around to perming it, you probably won't need it)
  • Aria
  • Way of the Sauce
  • Pulverize (Hi mein, plus extra adventures)
  • Wisdom of the elder tortoises (Makes running buffs easier)

Tier 6

Skills ranked 26-30, in no particular order

  • Shieldbutt
  • Elemental Saucesphere (Elemental resistance, but no DA like Astral shell)
  • Torso (extra DA, if anything, but there are only so much good shirts you get in a run. Only good if you have armorcraftiness))
  • Powers of Observation (+items is always good, but it is so low there are a lot better skills to perm)
  •  ???

Special Tier

  • Note: While these skills will greatly help you during a hardcore run, they are very valuable and expensive, and are by no means necessary. However, if you do want to get them, you should get them as soon as possible, because they will only get more expensive.
Extremely valuable skills you purchase rather than ascend to acquire
Summon Candy Hearts Misc. Non-Combat Varies Increases stats and adds a variety of very helpful effects. While not quite as powerful as snowcones, you can get a lot more of them each day and they stack nicely. White hearts increase experience gained from fights for both your character and their familiar, while orange hearts provide an excellent source of early MP. If you haven't already got it, then get it sooner rather than later, because this extremely valuable skill is only going to become more and more expensive as time goes on.
Summon Party Favor Misc. Non-Combat Varies The common party favors are very good for help in high-ML areas and bosses, and also can provide a good stat boost early on in a run. The rare favors give much-needed MP, a mini-Harold's bell, and pickpocket for non-moxie classes.
Summon Stickers Misc. Non-Combat 2 Provides a variety of helpful effects. Can give up to +6 stats on day one, or a 75% item drop rate. Later in the run, +30% to all stats is very helpful. The UPC sticker is very helpful in the nun's quest as well.
Summon Snowcone Misc. Non-Combat 5 Purple snowcones provide lots of much-needed MP (and, less importantly, HP). Orange and green snowcones are handy for a few extra stat points, and saving a green snowcone for the Sorceress's familiars will reduce or eliminate the need to level your familiars up. Blue is handy when hunting for quest or utility items, and red improve Meat drops. If you haven't already got it, then get it sooner rather than later, because this indispensable skill is only going to become more and more expensive as time goes on.
Transcendent Olfaction Misc. Non-Combat 40 Increases the chance of encountering a particular monster from On the Trail effect. Ridiculously useful throughout an entire run, from hunting goats to beating up girls.

Tier 7

Hasc07.gif Very limited use skills Hasc07.gif
Brawnee's Anthem of Absorption Accordion Thief (8) Buff 13 Gives you 5/7/10/15 adventures of the Brawnee's Anthem of Absorption effect (Damage Reduction that scales with your level). This buff is not very useful because -- although the damage reduction can be significant -- it is seldom worth using a valuable Accordion Thief buff slot with it.
Carlweather's Cantata of Confrontation Accordion Thief (14) Buff 20 Gives you 5/7/10/15 adventures where you are 5% more likely to have combat adventures. There are extremely few spots in a Hardcore run where this would be helpful, with the Perfume drop in the Harem being the main one.
Chronic Indigestion Misc. Combat 5 Does a range of (current fullness + 5-10) Hot damage. Useful against the Naughty Sorceress for beginning ascenders, as it deals a decent amount of damage for a relatively low MP cost. It smacks down the Bonerdagon and other Cyrpt enemies, as hot damage to spooky monsters is doubled. It is also very handy against Yetis for the same reason, killing them in 2-3 turns; this skill also works against monsters who are resistant to physical damage, like the Snow Queen at the Peak. Since players with plenty of permanent skills don't need this skill, it's a good plan to work on those other skills instead of making this one permanent. Instead, eat an Insanely spicy enchanted bean burrito to obtain it during runs when you need it, because that's an excellent food to have anyway.
CLEESH Misc. Combat 10 Turns most enemies into a very weak monster. When combined with Advanced Saucecrafting, can make useful potions usable very early in the run. To minimize the stat losses, this skill is best used that way against weak early monsters who don't drop anything useful; a good example are the enemies in the early Knob while searching for a chef's hat). Can also be useful if you find yourself overpowered and don't want to risk unsuccessfully running away. When fighting extremely tough foes that normally take two hits to kill, you might use CLEESH as a safety net if the monster gets the jump on you and lands the first attack. Generally the times you'll most run into this situation (like the giants and The Astronomer) are after you'd have gotten this skill anyway during regular play.
Cold-Blooded Fearlessness Turtle Tamer (13) Passive N/A Adds so-so Spooky resistance. It's generally hard to navigate The Cyrpt in a non-Moxie class Hardcore run at the point when it's first unlocked; stacking this with other elemental resistance can help significantly there.
Cosmic Ugnderstanding Gnomish Passive N/A Increases MP by 5%. Not worth taking as a Hardcore permanent unless you are a fan of trophies.
Diminished Gag Reflex Sauceror (13) Passive N/A Adds so-so Stench resistance. Saves some MP if you have it instead of casting Elemental Saucesphere.
Disco Face Stab Disco Bandit (10) Combat 10 Does 15-18 damage and reduces monster power by 7. This skill is very nice if you're acting as a 'faux' Moxie class (some Mysticality classes do this). Using Disco Face Stab could possibly allow you to play as such until the Hole in the Sky. Also great for adventuring just beyond your level or using the Mind-Control Device. However, the somewhat high MP cost is detrimental if you are low on Meat.
Disco Fever Disco Bandit (11) Passive N/A Adds +1 damage/player level when using a ranged weapon. This is not a high priority to make a hardcore permanent due to the nature of this skill, however dealing more damage per hit speeds up a fight, lowering critical hits suffered from monsters.
Flavour of Magic Pastamancer (14) Non-Combat 10 Specifies the type of elemental damage dealt by Pastamancer spells, and additionally adds 10 damage to all spells. Correctly setting this before some sections of the game will double damage done in that section. Particularly useful for toasting Yetis earlier than otherwise would be practical. While Myst classes can target their spells by purchasing a cookbook, the ability to work with a Kickback cookbook instead makes it worth the consideration in a Spellslinging approach.
Ghostly Shell Turtle Tamer (4) Buff 6 Gives you 10 adventures of the Ghostly Shell effect (+80 Damage Absorption). Not very useful by itself, as a small amount of damage absorption has little effect. However it's cheap and stacks easily with other TT buffs for significant DA.
Gnomish Hardigness Gnomish Passive N/A Increases HP by 5%. Not worth taking as a Hardcore permanent unless you are a fan of trophies.
Heart of Polyester Disco Bandit (13) Passive N/A Adds so-so sleaze resistance. Most helpful for making The Hole in the Sky easier and fighting the Frat Orcs in The Battlefield at lower levels.
Hide of the Otter Seal Clubber (1) Passive N/A +20 Damage Absorption. Not very useful, as a small amount of damage absorption has little effect.
Hide of the Walrus Seal Clubber (7) Passive N/A +40 Damage Absorption. Not very useful by itself, as a small amount of damage absorption has little effect. However, stacking these two passives with Astral Shell gives slight protection against all elements and almost 30% Damage Reduction in combat.
Jalapeño Saucesphere Sauceror (7) Buff 5 Gives you 5/10/15 adventures of the Jalapeño Saucesphere effect (enemies which attack you take damage, sauce spells that pass through the shell will return a portion of their MP cost as HP).
Musk of the Moose Seal Clubber (14) Non-combat 10 Gives you 10 adventures where you are 5% more likely to have combat adventures. This helps speed up the Sonofa Beach side-quest and avoid non-combat adventures in the Giant's Castle.
Northern Exposure Seal Clubber (13) Passive N/A Adds so-so Cold resistance. Saves some MP if you use it instead of casting Elemental Saucesphere, and can also be stacked on top of Elemental Saucesphere to ease Yeti battles and Lord Spookyraven.
Spirit of Ravioli Pastamancer (9) Passive N/A Increases your maximum HP by 25%. It's extra HP. That's helpful no matter what your class.
Spirit of Rigatoni Pastamancer (7) Passive N/A Allows the equipment of chefstaves. However, they cannot be made unless you are a Mysticality Class, so it will not help other classes. However, this skill allows a Myst-class player access to some of the most powerful magic weapons in the game, and for Saucerors it frees up an accessory slot.
Summon Hilarious Objects Misc. Non-combat 5 Summons a set of normally useless objects. A notable exception is the fake hand, which is useful for MP recharging via the Star Starfish Trick, particularly during the first day of a run. The joybuzzer could have been employed in much the same fashion prior to its May 7, 2007 update. The bag of airline peanuts is a combat item that deals a small amount of damage, the clown hammer is a low-power weapon and the Wind-up chattering teeth is an attack familiar.
The Psalm of Pointiness Accordion Thief (9) Buff 15 Gives you 5/7/10/15 adventures of the Psalm of Pointiness effect (enemies that attack you suffer damage and weaken). This is a poor choice for a Hardcore permanent because it costs more than the Sauceror equivalent, and especially because it will be one of the three Accordion Thief buffs you can have at once.
Torso Awaregness Gnomish Passive N/A Allows the use of shirts. A useful skill, but shirts are uncommon and the benefits of wearing one are less than might be expected. It is important to note that there are some shirts that appear early on, such as the supportive bra or the harem girl t-shirt, that help with Moxie-building, a widely used strategy in Hardcore. With Armorcraftiness, players can Smith shirts from a variety of skins. Most notably, after the Trapz0r quest, players have access to shirts that can give +7 Moxie, +10 Monster Level, or +3-4 MP per adventure.
Tolerance of the Kitchen Pastamancer (13) Passive N/A Adds so-so Hot resistance. Saves some MP if you have it instead of casting Elemental Saucesphere.
Dirge of Dreadfulness Accordion Thief Buff 9 The fact that this buff adds 12 spooky damage to each of your attacks, and its easily affordable MP cost, make this skill a nice choice to make permanent at some point, but unfortunately it does count toward the limit on the number of Accordion Thief buffs you can have active at the same time, and this somewhat limits its usefulness.
Fearful Fettucini Pastamancer Combat 35 An elemental version of Weapon of the Pastalord: deals 32-64 Damage plus a significant Mysticality bonus (35%, uncapped). Very powerful when combined with spell damage modifiers (and compounded with Concentrated Concentration), but its massive MP cost makes this skill a poor choice to make a Hardcore permanent. This skill always deals Spooky damage, which does double damage against The Hole in the Sky's constellations (though not the astronomers) and is favored by basement divers (It will, however, be very disappointing vs. spooky monsters). It's a tossup whether you'd rather get this skill by completing the Spookyraven Manor Quest (using turns but gaining stats) or by simply purchasing Pastalord for 10,000 Meat.
Spectral Snapper Turtle Tamer Combat 20 Does 30-80 spooky damage, thriftier with MP per HP of damage cost than skills like Disco Face Stab, but does not delevel opponent. It's extremely popular with basement divers.
Tango of Terror Disco Bandit Combat 8 Does 15-18 spooky damage and delevels opponent, similar to Disco Face Stab for 2 less MP cost.

Tier 8

Hasc08.gif Generally useless or redundant skillsHasc08.gif
Cletus's Canticle of Celerity Accordion Thief (3) Buff 4 Gives you 5/7/10/15 adventures of the Cletus's Canticle of Celerity effect (+20% combat initiative). This is practically a waste of an Accordion buff slot, as Overdeveloped has the same effect as a passive, and there are many sources of initiative boosting in the game.
Stuffed Mortar Shell Pastamancer (8) Combat 19 Deals 39-60 damage (damage scales with Mysticality). This skill is very useful for fighting monsters in the Castle and later, especially if you equip kickback cookbooks, but non-Mysticality classes may find it too expensive without access to magical mystery juice.
Disco Aerobics Disco Bandit (0) Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 adventures of the Disco State of Mind effect (+2 Moxie). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
Disco Dance of Doom Disco Bandit (4) Combat 5 Does 4-6 damage and reduces monster power by 3. This skill is largely useless, as Disco Face Stab and Disco Dance II accomplish the same goal more efficiently. However it is somewhat useful for the Naughty Sorceress in her first form as she automatically removes negative levels in excess of 5, making her immune to Disco Dance II and Disco Face Stab. However if you are using it for this purpose its often more efficient to just buy it during your run.
Disco Dance II: Electric Boogaloo Disco Bandit (7) Combat 7 Does 8-10 damage and reduces monster level by 5. It gives you a good advantage over a monster for a relatively low MP cost. The choice between this and Disco Face Stab should depend on the power of your equipment and the level of the monster. It is also somewhat useful for the Naughty Sorceress in her second form as she automatically removes negative levels in excess of 7, making her immune to Disco Face Stab.
Disco Eye-Poke Disco Bandit (1) Combat 3 Does 1-3 damage and reduces monster power by 1. This skill is a very poor choice for a Hardcore permanent compared to Disco Face Stab and Disco Dance II.
Disco Nap Disco Bandit (3) Non-Combat 8 Heals 20 HP and removes Sleepy, Confused, Embarrassed, and Wussiness effects. Since Disco Power Nap is more efficient and removes the same effects, this skill is a poor choice for a Hardcore permanent. The skill also grants the learner the ability to rest once per day without using an adventure.
Cannelloni Cannon Pastamancer (4) Combat 7 Deals 10-16 damage (damage scales with Mysticality). Useful only when stacked with a kickback cookbook or like item, making it especially not useful for non-Mysticality classes.
Headbutt Turtle Tamer (1) Combat 3 Follows up a successful attack with a headbutt against your opponent. Deals extra damage if wearing a helmet turtle. Coupled with the power-doubling of Tao of the Terrapin and bonus damage of turtle helmets, this is a cheap way to add large amounts of damage to your close combat attacks. Particularly useful for a Muscle class with easy access to turtle pheromones.
Intrinsic Spiciness Sauceror (9) Passive N/A +1 damage per level to your Sauce spells (maximum bonus of +10). This is relatively useless because it only applies to Sauceror spells, and also because most non-Mysticality classes do not cast spells to move through Hardcore.
Kneebutt Turtle Tamer (7) Combat 4 Adds an attack whose strength is based on your pants. It's more accurate than a normal melee attack and has a 45% chance to stun the opponent. Deals significantly more damage with Tao and high-power pants from Armorcraftiness.
Manicotti Meditation* Pastamancer Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 adventures of the Pasta Oneness effect (+2 Mysticality). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
Ravioli Shurikens Pastamancer (1) Combat 4 Deals 3-8 damage (damage scales with Mysticality). Useful only when combined with a kickback cookbook or like item; mostly used by Pastamancers against the Naughty Sorceress. Low damage output makes this spell a poor choice for a Hardcore permanent.
Moxie of the Mariachi Accordion Thief (0) Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 adventures of the Mariachi Mood effect (+1 Moxie and +4 maximum HP). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
Patience of the Tortoise Turtle Tamer (0) Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 Adventures of the Patience of the Tortoise effect (+1 Muscle and +4 maximum HP). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
Really Expensive Jewelrycrafting Misc. Non-combat N/A Lets you create advanced jewelry. Saves 5,000 Meat for those in Mysticality zodiac runs.
Sauce Contemplation* Sauceror (0) Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 adventures of the Saucemastery effect (+1 Mysticality and +4 maximum HP). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
Saucegeyser Sauceror (11) Combat 40 Deals 35-45 damage (scales with Mysticality). This is a poor choice for a Hardcore permanent because its high MP cost makes it nearly useless without access to magical mystery juice. It doesn't have a Damage Cap though, allowing expensive one-hit kills.
Saucestorm Sauceror (6) Combat 12 Deals 14-18 damage (scales with Mysticality). Poor Hardcore permanent because of its low damage relative to its MP cost.
Seal Clubbing Frenzy Seal Clubber (0) Non-combat 1 Gives you 5 Adventures of the Seal Clubbing Frenzy effect (+2 Muscle). Poor choice unless you are a trophy collector.
The Smile of Mr. A. Misc. Buff Other Player 5 Gives another player a box of sunshine if they have ascended at least once or The Smile of Mr. A. if they haven't. This skill won't help your hardcore runs any, but boxes of sunshine do make nice gifts.
Tongue of the Otter Seal Clubber (3) Non-Combat 7 Heals 10-20 HP and removes Beaten Up. This effect is useful because it removes the need to waste turns in an easier area until Beaten Up is removed. However, Tongue of the Walrus is more MP-efficient.
Wave of Sauce Sauceror (8) Combat 23 Deals approximately 20-24 damage of cold or hot, scaling with Mysticality. This spell is a poor choice for a Hardcore permanent because of its high MP cost compared to other damage spells.
Weapon of the Pastalord Pastamancer (10) Combat 35 Deals 32-64 damage plus a significant Mysticality bonus (35%, uncapped). Very powerful when combined with spell damage modifiers (and compounded with Concentrated Concentration), but its massive MP cost makes this skill a poor choice to make a Hardcore permanent. Note that unlike most other spells, this one does physical, not elemental, damage. However, when tuned, it does half physical and half elemental damage. It's a tossup whether this skill or Fearful Fettucini is more useful -- see above (Tier 7).

Controversial Skills

While most experienced players rank the skills similarly to the tiers they're grouped in here, a few of them are controversial. Depending on your game experience level, equipment, and goals for playing, you may have different priorities for a couple of skills. Here are the most popularly contested rankings:

  • Impetuous Sauciness and The Way of Sauce both allow considerably more use of Reagent potions to make parts of the game easier. Using those potions regularly can decrease real-life playtime and make the game less stressful to play, especially for beginners. The combination of these two skills even allows the player to spend an entire oxygenarian run under full reagent potion coverage, provided he or she can obtain the other ingredients. Reagent potions can allow players to beat bosses and adventure in high-level zones like The Haunted Gallery earlier than would otherwise be practical, which greatly speeds advancement. With potions, adventures above the beanstalk can more easily be done with monster level increasers like the hippo whip and the goth kid t-shirt equipped. Even without these combat skills, some players can survive in the required zones without relying on stat-boosting potions. For these players, Impetuous Sauciness would be of much lower priority than it is ranked here. The Way of Sauce, of course, has its uses relating to food, even ignoring any debate over potions.
  • The Polka of Plenty and Nimble Fingers are the best two skills for improving the amount of Meat you obtain from monsters. Beginner players may find that Meat harvesting is a major drag on their progress through the game, especially those who are using a regular blood-faced volleyball instead of the improved Mr. Store versions that also increase Meat drops (Nervous Tick, Cymbal-Playing Monkey, Cheshire Bitten, and Hunchbacked Minion). Those players may consider Meat skills like Polka much earlier than they are suggested here.
  • Tongue of the Walrus is a moderately useful healing skill, but its main benefit is curing Beaten Up efficiently. The skill allows you to push the monster level you can take on a little past what would be wise, with only a minor penalty if you make a mistake. Some players feel that you should just not do that, and learning a permanent skill just to avoid beaten-up is a waste. Others (especially more casual players) appreciate the ability to recover easily from pushing through a run faster than they should, and would rank the skill higher than it appears here. It considerably lowers how frustrating some portions of the game are to play.
  • Manicotti Meditation and Sauce Contemplation give minor boosts to Mysticality and MP. That can be useful at several points in the game. First, they can be used so that no matter what class you are, you can Summon Snowcones before adventuring. Second, because they boost Mysticality without using an Accordion Thief slot, they can help wean you off of the Magical Mojomuscular Melody more quickly, thus allowing you to use a better buff (stat gains, damage, or Meat) in its place. And finally, when adventuring as a Mysticality class, you often want to use equipment that buffs Muscle or Moxie instead of Mysticality. But there are some areas where your Mysticality won't be high enough to adventure without using some small buffing of it, particularly above The Beanstalk. For example, you unlock The Penultimate Fantasy Airship with a main-stat of 85, but you can't actually adventure there unless you buff it to 90. Similarly, these skills can be helpful for gaining slightly earlier entrance into The Haunted Gallery.

See Also

  • KOL forum thread
  • HCO forum thread
  • RetroFrog KoL Tools includes a tool useful for those who already have many skills to figure out which you're missing.
  • When you ascend using one of the browser interfaces in KolMafia (see Tools), it displays a nicely formatted summary of all the skills in the game, color-coded by class, showing which you have and which you're missing. For serious ascenders, it's very helpful to look at and even print out that chart periodically, to use it planning future runs.
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 - DD
Additional Paths: DG - 2CRS - KoE - PotP - LKS - GG - Y,Robot
IotMs: Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist