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Cursed: A Nihlathak Love Story (Untwinked Amazon Hits 99)

PhineasB

Well-known member
Guide Author
Mar 14, 2020
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Originally posted December 28, 2019

Quinta was my fifth entrant in Kitteh’s relaunch of the untwinked 99er challenge, joining Mercy (trapper assassin), Hiatus (Blizz sorc 1-98 and lightning sorc 98-99), Phaedrus (Hammerdin), and Pestilence (Novamancer) on the Table of Heroes.
99.jpg
Here’s a vid with the final few Nihl runs and gear showcase. I somehow forgot to show weapon switch and merc gear (you’d think I’d have it down by now, but obviously not :rolleyes:). But they are in the readouts at the end.
A literary interlude is in the spoiler below, for those who are interested. My writeups were feeling a bit formulaic, and I had some creative energy. It gives the backstory around the title and choice of music in the video.
Harrogath was crumbling, slowly withering in the face of Baal’s onslaught. The rest of the Elders had slowed the assault, but not stopped it, their sacrifice in vain, the Fools! Now only I remained, and there was little hope of victory in arms. Warriors departed, not to return. The enemy was too powerful to overcome, but also too treacherous to trust. As I pondered these questions, they approached.

Rumor had spread around the City of a hero who had vanquished the other Prime Evils who was come to deliver us from despair. Such mad hope often appears in the face of disaster, but what could one warrior do when so many of the City’s bravest had set out only to be slaughtered in the foothills. But it turned out to be no rumor.

One was an archer, lithe and stern of expression. The other was like a vision of an ancient goddess, her blonde hair flowing and a faint glow around her. She carried a large spear and an expression of neutral regard for all that she saw. But I had eyes only for the third, clearly their leader, and my first sight of her smote my heart. She wore a grim helm, and perhaps even a grimmer expression full of determination. Our eyes met, and, as she looked me up and down, said:
Nihl Greeting.jpg
My heart skipped a beat, but I was not a foolish boy. Doom was bearing down on us all, so I tried to cut the infatuation short. “Well, well. The siege has everything in short supply...except fools,” said I. “Why would you seek this place, stranger? Are you a vulture come to loot the bodies of our fallen warriors? Regardless, this is no place to make a name for yourself. The mountain is ours to protect. It is only a matter of time before Hell's legions are routed.”

She returned a wry smile, perhaps with a murmur of pity shining through her eyes, and said, “A lovely welcome. Where can a girl get lunch around this City? Surely you have the skill to tend to that?” With that, she took my hand and my heart melted. Those were the most glorious hours of my life. We talked, shared our hopes and histories.

Quinta! Her name was Quinta, my love. I learned how her parents had given her that name after a seer in her homeland had said she was destined to be the fifth in a line of great heroes. I told her of my secret retreat, how well-guarded it was, and hinted that we could go there together and be safe. She looked at me doubtfully, and simply repeated that her destiny led elsewhere, to defeat Baal.

I devolved to pleading and begging, telling her that she would only be throwing her life away and that we should fly to safety and at least be together, hidden from Baal’s corruption. The look of pity was no longer just a murmur. She said she would return to find me after she overthrew the Lord of Destruction and set forth with her two companions.

I was in agony. As the hours passed with no news, my despair deepened and I resolved to save my love by whatever means. Although I had dismissed this before, I saw that the only hope was to bargain with Baal. After disposing of that snoop Anya, it was easy enough to find Baal. “Even you, Baal, cannot bypass the Ancients,” said I. “I can help, but you must agree that you and your minions will bring the hero, Quinta, to no harm, and end the siege of Harrogath.” He nodded assent, the deed was done, and when I reminded him of his promise to spare Quinta as he departed, his laughter echoed off the slopes of Mount Arreat. “Thank you for your aid, fool!” were his leaving words.

I was distraught. Had I helped Baal in exchange for nothing, with my love still in danger? I thought of running to battlefront to find her, but instead fled to my retreat. All was quiet for some time as I agonized over what was occurring. I would give anything to see her again, but I dared not leave. Suddenly, commotion broke out at the entry, and slowly worked its way down the levels, as the sounds of fighting became clear and screams of my servants broke out. Had Baal come to exact his final revenge?

Battle could be heard in the hall outside my chamber, my minions were drawn out and destroyed, but I could not see by what. I awaited some evil creature, but it was her! My love, but with a grim look and fiercer than ever. Her two companions also looked battle tested and, unlike her, a bit weary. I wanted to yell, “My love, you are safe!” But she spoke first, charging forward as she cried out:

Nihl Traitor.jpg
My mind was a muddle, as I realized she was right. But I had done everything for her, to save her. And then was on top of me, striking fiercely. I had betrayed her, but only to protect her, so I could not fight. My final thought before entering the blackness was: “Quinta, my love, I understand. I only wanted to be with you always, and hope you will also come to understand my motivation."

* * *

I regained awareness in my retreat. I thought maybe she would be there, it was all a mistake. It was if though she had never arrived. But I had died, and I came to believe this was some device of Baal’s to punish me for thinking I could bargain with him. He had, of course, killed Quinta (and with that thought, my heart was pierced with grief), and decided it would amuse him to make me live in, trapped where she had struck me down.

For week’s I sat in peace, grappling with my thoughts and guilt. Then tumult broke out above, at the entrance it seemed. It lasted weeks, like an epic battle raging in my front garden. I was confused, curious, but also too afraid to investigate. But it ceased, and several months of quiet followed again. I was confused and beginning to dread this limbo.

Suddenly, tumult broke out again, cries of an intruder from my servants, and then . . . She appeared again, but her companions were gone, replaced by a strange man with a polearm and strange auras around him. She carried javelins and a shield instead of her spear. I nearly cried out with joy, she was alive and had somehow survived. Perhaps we could be together.

Before I could speak, she let fly a bolt that split into countless others and seared my vision, and all went black again. But I again regained awareness, as if nothing had happened. She arrived again, as before, and struck me down, as before. I realized she would not forgive me. This this was my punishment for the betrayal, and I resolved to maintain my love for her no matter how long this lasted. I had earned this fate, I understood, but I would not abandon my love for Quinta . . .

Progress
Quinta entered the S/U Tourney hosted by @jiansonz in February 2018, with the idea that she could become my untwinked 99er zon entry. After making it through as a passive CS spearazon without a death (but also without any useful gear for a furyzon), she gathered some basics and became my entry in the 2018 Summer MFO. She won the Pindle category with ridiculous S/U luck, but she also got virtually no drops useful for her end-game build.

She officially entered the Untwinked 99er challenge in September 2018 at level 93.4, with that post summarizing (with links to relevant posts) her tourney progress, pre-MFO running for basics, and MFO results. She continued at Pindle to level 94. With a Ber in hand from Pindle, she then transitioned to LK, netting 2 Surs and other lower runes over 1350 LK runs (first 500, second 500, last 350), plus Thunderstroke and a non-eth Shako from Meph runs.

That allowed Infinity, as I’d already decided to build it first. The idea was to “run” WSK, given that early SPF 99ers had run Baal without Enigma, and in hopes that v1.13 would deliver runes toward Enigma without having to grind LK too much. It worked out, as she picked up two Bers from Cows and WSK, before returning to LK for another 650 runs that netted a Sur and Ber to allow the game-changing runeword.

She also had picked up a +6 BO CtA and Titan’s by this point, and key gear (minus Griffon’s), so the transition to Baal runs was smooth, moving to 95.5 before Achmel dropped the real game-changer:
Baal (Griffons).jpg
:D She then moved to level 96, with the gear upgrades making for speedy progress. She was parked as a I focused on Pestilence, but picked up again after being my 2019 RFL Round 1 (Cows) entrant, with some runes but the best drop a FR RJoF for the merc’s Andy’s.

She then blitzed to level 97 in just over a week, averaging <3 minutes per run, or around 12M/hr, which I believe was the fastest for any of my 99ers for that stretch (updates for 96.5 and 97). She then sat until Pestilence hit 99 in July, and then getting to 97.25 before 2019 Summer MFO. She hit 98 during the MFO, placing second to @Vildecor who deservedly took the victory with his own untwinked 99er zon. A vid from her last few Baal runs is below.
It was then time to transition to Nihl, where the love story resumed. After some testing and helpful feedback from @ffs, we settled on the Thunderstroke set up with Highlord’s, Magefist, and ML ring. The lack of FCR/ML ring or caster/ML amulet was the limitation. Then it was just steady progress from September to December, with a nice vacation and trip to visit my family mixed in (updates at 98.25, 98.5, 98.75, and 99).

Drops weren’t great, but XP progress was ~2.9-3M/hr, so progress was smooth and steady, with no deaths. The only auto-aborts were unbreakable LI Nihl, and nasty viper rolls or might/fanaticism with amp and archers resulted in other S&Es. But they were pretty limited, so that helped with progress. She was fun for Nihl, and I found the aggressive approach engaging: 2-3 LF casts to clear things out, then teleport to Nihl and CS away unless Vipers had shot clouds around his landing spot.

Finds
She had some great finds, particularly for the two MFOs. She netted two of my at-that-time four remaining grailers overall, with Grandfather during 2018 Summer MFO and Mang's during 2019 Summer MFO to bring me to grail -1 :cool: Honestly, the biggest find was the Griffon’s at level 95, which really makes the javazon shine. She was also solid on the rune front, with the key runewords made and runes remaining in the stash below:
Code:
Enigma
CtA x2
eth CoH
eth Fortitude
eth Infinity
Delirium
Cham'ed Griffon’s

Runes left: Mal x2, Ist x2, Vex x2, Lo x2, Sur, Ber, Jah x2
She picked up only two skillers for herself, which was disappointing, but otherwise her charm collection was really nice. She netted a +35 vita Natural skiller, but not much else to contribute to my overall stash beyond her equipped charms.

Reflections
Due to starting as a tourney character and lack of early gear contributions from 2018 Summer MFO, she was much slower to 93 than any other approach, and her gear early on was pretty weak. But the tourney was a fun challenge and way to get the fifth one of these going. Once she got the basics, and especially Enigma/Infinity, she was very fast. The Griffon’s then made her a powerhouse, and Baal runs were actually fun with her :eek: All in all, a great option for a 99er run, for sure, which makes sense given the javazon’s prevalence in the overall SPF 99er table.

Stats, Gear, and Merc
Below are her stats, etc. upon pinging 99, reflecting her approach for Nihl runs. I removed readouts of the runes included in runewords to shorten things. She obviously ran a good bit of Baal also, and her set up at the conclusion of those is summarized here in the Meet the Olympians posts for 2019 Summer MFO.
Code:
Name:       Quinta
Class:      Amazon
Experience: 3520485254
Level:      99

Naked/Gear
Strength:   83/157
Dexterity:  151/160
Vitality:   331/353
Energy:     15/15
HP:         1239/1552
Mana:       162/320
Stamina:    493/673
Defense:    37/1755
AR:         725/890

Fire:       177/137/77
Cold:       120/80/20
Lightning:  164/124/64
Poison:     152/112/52

MF:         150       Block:      34
GF:         96
FR/W:       92
FHR:        87
IAS:        35
FCR:        100

Magic Arrow: 0/0
Fire Arrow: 0/0
Cold Arrow: 0/0
Multiple Shot: 0/0
Exploding Arrow: 0/0
Ice Arrow: 0/0
Guided Arrow: 0/0
Strafe: 0/0
Immolation Arrow: 0/0
Freezing Arrow: 0/0

Inner Sight: 0/0
Critical Strike: 1/8
Dodge: 0/0
Slow Missiles: 0/0
Avoid: 0/0
Penetrate: 1/8
Decoy: 0/0
Evade: 0/0
Valkyrie: 0/0
Pierce: 20/27

Jab: 1/14
Power Strike: 20/33
Poison Javelin: 1/14
Impale: 0/0
Lightning Bolt: 20/36
Charged Strike: 20/33
Plague Javelin: 1/14
Fend: 0/0
Lightning Strike: 4/17
Lightning Fury: 20/33
Code:
Enigma
Mage Plate
JahIthBer
Defense: 985
Durability: 59 of 60
Required Level: 65
Required Strength: 55
Fingerprint: 0x47c52f56
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+45% Faster Run/Walk
+1 to Teleport
+753 Defense
+74 to Strength (Based on Character Level)
Increase Maximum Life 5%
Damage Reduced by 8%
+14 Life after each Kill
15% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
99% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (Based on Character Level)
3 Sockets (3 used)
Socketed: Jah Rune
Socketed: Ith Rune
Socketed: Ber Rune

Arachnid Mesh
Spiderweb Sash
Defense: 131
Durability: 12 of 12
Required Level: 80
Required Strength: 50
Fingerprint: 0x6adf6d92
Item Level: 99
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Slows Target by 10%
+109% Enhanced Defense
Increase Maximum Mana 5%
Level 3 Venom (11/11 Charges)

Quinta's Griffon's Eye
Diadem
Defense: 245
Durability: 20 of 20
Required Level: 76
Fingerprint: 0x8a0d0e42
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+25% Faster Cast Rate
-20% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
+11% to Lightning Skill Damage
+188 Defense
Cannot Be Frozen
1 Sockets (1 used)
Socketed: Cham Rune

Aldur's Advance
Battle Boots
Defense: 43
Durability: 13 of 18
Required Level: 45
Required Strength: 95
Fingerprint: 0x696ec723
Item Level: 81
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Indestructible
+40% Faster Run/Walk
+50 to Life
+180 Maximum Stamina
Heal Stamina Plus 32%
Fire Resist +49%
10% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
Set (2 items): +15 to Dexterity
Set (3 items): +15 to Dexterity
Set (4 items): +15 to Dexterity

Highlord's Wrath
Amulet
Required Level: 65
Fingerprint: 0xf5cd287e
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+20% Increased Attack Speed
Adds 1 - 30 Lightning Damage
37% Deadly Strike (Based on Character Level)
Lightning Resist +35%
Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 15

Stone Master
Ring
Required Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0x687bfd1b
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+103 to Attack Rating
6% Mana stolen per hit
+9 to Dexterity
+57 to Mana
All Resistances +8
Half Freeze Duration

Magefist
Light Gauntlets
Defense: 24
Durability: 18 of 18
Required Level: 23
Required Strength: 45
Fingerprint: 0xd5758894
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Fire Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Adds 1 - 6 Fire Damage
+24% Enhanced Defense
+10 Defense
Regenerate Mana 25%

Nature's Peace
Ring
Required Level: 69
Fingerprint: 0x28577eb1
Item Level: 95
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Prevent Monster Heal
Slain Monsters Rest in Peace
Poison Resist +29%
Damage Reduced by 9
Level 5 Oak Sage (27/27 Charges)

Call to Arms
War Scepter
AmnRalMalIstOhm
One Hand Damage: 38 - 65
Durability: 70 of 70
Required Level: 57
Required Strength: 55
Fingerprint: 0x268d802d
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+40% Increased Attack Speed
285% Enhanced Damage
+150% Damage to Undead
Adds 5 - 30 Fire Damage
7% Life stolen per hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+2 to Fist of the Heavens (Paladin Only)
+1 to Holy Shock (Paladin Only)
+2 to Battle Command
+6 to Battle Orders
+4 to Battle Cry
Replenish Life +12
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
5 Sockets (5 used)
Socketed: Amn Rune
Socketed: Ral Rune
Socketed: Mal Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune
Socketed: Ohm Rune

Spirit
Monarch
TalThulOrtAmn
Defense: 140
Chance to Block: 0
Durability: 86 of 86
Required Level: 54
Required Strength: 156
Fingerprint: 0x34f88642
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+34% Faster Cast Rate
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense vs. Missile
+22 to Vitality
+107 to Mana
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+3 Magic Absorb
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Tal Rune
Socketed: Thul Rune
Socketed: Ort Rune
Socketed: Amn Rune

Thunderstroke
Matriarchal Javelin
Throw Damage: 100 - 188
One Hand Damage: 85 - 154
Quantity: 53
Required Level: 69
Required Strength: 107
Required Dexterity: 151
Fingerprint: 0x723df120
Item Level: 99
Version: Expansion 1.10+
20% Chance to cast level 14 Lightning on striking
+4 to Javelin and Spear Skills (Amazon Only)
+15% Increased Attack Speed
186% Enhanced Damage
Adds 1 - 511 Lightning Damage
-15% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
+3 to Lightning Bolt (Amazon Only)

Spirit
Superior Monarch
TalThulOrtAmn
Defense: 147
Chance to Block: 0
Durability: 96 of 97
Required Level: 54
Required Strength: 156
Fingerprint: 0x89780392
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+35% Faster Cast Rate
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense vs. Missile
+22 to Vitality
+93 to Mana
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+8 Magic Absorb
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
Increase Maximum Durability 13%
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Tal Rune
Socketed: Thul Rune
Socketed: Ort Rune
Socketed: Amn Rune
Code:
Harpoonist's Grand Charm of Inertia
Grand Charm
Required Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0xfe1e9c6a
Item Level: 81
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Javelin and Spear Skills (Amazon Only)
+7% Faster Run/Walk

Harpoonist's Grand Charm of the Icicle
Grand Charm
Required Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0xe71fd84b
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Javelin and Spear Skills (Amazon Only)
Adds 2 - 4 Cold Damage Over 1 Secs (25 Frames)

Ruby Grand Charm of Sustenance
Grand Charm
Required Level: 53
Fingerprint: 0xbaba0836
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+32 to Life
Fire Resist +27%

Ruby Grand Charm of Vita
Grand Charm
Required Level: 69
Fingerprint: 0x400a174c
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+37 to Life
Fire Resist +26%

Shimmering Grand Charm of Balance
Grand Charm
Required Level: 27
Fingerprint: 0x95f5156d
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+12% Faster Hit Recovery
All Resistances +15

Gheed's Fortune
Grand Charm
Required Level: 62
Fingerprint: 0x2e252803
Item Level: 95
Version: Expansion 1.10+
96% Extra Gold from Monsters
Reduces all Vendor Prices 13%
40% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Shimmering Small Charm of Balance
Small Charm
Required Level: 29
Fingerprint: 0x1e36f89a
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+5% Faster Hit Recovery
All Resistances +5

Sapphire Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x4cf35a43
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+18 to Life
Cold Resist +10%

Amber Small Charm of Good Luck
Small Charm
Required Level: 33
Fingerprint: 0x5703a5bc
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Lightning Resist +11%
7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Fine Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xde186caf
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+3 to Maximum Damage
+17 to Attack Rating
+19 to Life

Emerald Small Charm of Balance
Small Charm
Required Level: 32
Fingerprint: 0x9475875d
Item Level: 81
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+5% Faster Hit Recovery
Poison Resist +11%

Snake's Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x9f098977
Item Level: 81
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life
+8 to Mana

Lapis Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x6a408631
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+19 to Life
Cold Resist +7%

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x15138b8d
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Tangerine Small Charm of Balance
Small Charm
Required Level: 29
Fingerprint: 0xe0cccd93
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+5% Faster Hit Recovery
Lightning Resist +5%

Russet Small Charm of Balance
Small Charm
Required Level: 29
Fingerprint: 0x59b22a7b
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+5% Faster Hit Recovery
Fire Resist +7%

Amber Small Charm of Fortune
Small Charm
Required Level: 32
Fingerprint: 0x853a86f0
Item Level: 87
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Lightning Resist +10%
4% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xc125991b
Item Level: 83
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xcb514ffe
Item Level: 95
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Shimmering Small Charm of Craftmanship
Small Charm
Required Level: 77
Fingerprint: 0xc8b24b99
Item Level: 95
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Maximum Damage
All Resistances +5

Jade Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x474859c
Item Level: 99
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+18 to Life
Poison Resist +9%

Shimmering Small Charm
Small Charm
Required Level: 25
Fingerprint: 0x8e62d14
Item Level: 84
Version: Expansion 1.10+
All Resistances +5

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xc7dc48ac
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Burly Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xb421078a
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+16 Defense
+20 to Life
Code:
Name:       Kasim
Race:       Desert Mercenary
Type:       Off-Nightmare
Experience: 114096020
Level:      98
Dead?:      false

Naked/Gear
Strength:   209/229
Dexterity:  169/169
HP:         2287/2287
Defense:    1671/3745
AR:         2066/2066

Fire:       227/187/127
Cold:       227/187/127
Lightning:  227/187/127
Poison:    227/187/127

Delirium
Grand Crown
LemIstIo
Defense: 354
Durability: 33 of 50
Required Level: 51
Required Strength: 103
Fingerprint: 0x75cd5556
Item Level: 84
Version: Expansion 1.10+
1% Chance to cast level 50 Delirium when struck
6% Chance to cast level 14 Mind Blast when struck
14% Chance to cast level 13 Terror when struck
11% Chance to cast level 18 Confuse on striking
+2 to All Skills
+261 Defense
+10 to Vitality
50% Extra Gold from Monsters
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level 17 Attract (60/60 Charges)
3 Sockets (3 used)
Socketed: Lem Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune
Socketed: Io Rune

Chains of Honor
Archon Plate
DolUmBerIst
Defense: 1720
Durability: 31 of 31
Required Level: 63
Required Strength: 93
Fingerprint: 0x3642f69f
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+200% Damage to Demons
+100% Damage to Undead
8% Life stolen per hit
+70% Enhanced Defense
+20 to Strength
Replenish Life +7
All Resistances +65
Damage Reduced by 8%
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Ethereal
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Dol Rune
Socketed: Um Rune
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune

Infinity
Colossus Voulge
BerMalBerIst
Two Hand Damage: 90 - 896
Durability: 26 of 26
Required Level: 63
Required Strength: 200
Required Dexterity: 45
Fingerprint: 0xe3c8a32e
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
50% Chance to cast level 20 Chain Lightning when you Kill an Enemy
Level 12 Conviction Aura When Equipped
+35% Faster Run/Walk
263% Enhanced Damage
-53% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
+49 to Vitality (Based on Character Level)
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level 21 Cyclone Armor (30/30 Charges)
Ethereal
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Mal Rune
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune

Thank You-s and What’s Next-es
As always, I have to start with thanks to this forum and everyone who participated or contributed to this thread: it’s much easier to plug away with company. A special shoutout to @Kitteh for relaunching the challenge, and @Pb_pal, @Nano, @T72on1, @ffs, @Bewitch and the other more recent entries for the suggestions and encouragement throughout. The SPF is a great community, and the untwinked 99er thread in particular has been a great place for theorycrafting and tips and has generally helped keep D2 engaging for me. So a big thanks for the SPF for being the SPF!

As for what's next, Quinta will search for an eth Scythe in early NM to Larzuk and make Infinity for another project. Beyond that, she likely won’t get much use. But I will try to put together distinct set ups for her and my other javazon so each can be ready for a particular target (Cows, CS maybe) without rerolling maps.

Beyond that, I will take a break from the untwinked 99ers, focusing on the Three Way Dance to finish those characters off (one way or another). I also have some twinked builds that I would like to push through. I know, I’ve said that about the Druid to use the eTomby in, what, three straight 99er writeups now, but this time I mean it! I have a project in mind that might provide the motivation to actually do it this time, so maybe at least a few twinked pat/mats will be incoming. For my other 99ers, Death (Barb) is at 95 and Septimus (Druid) is at 90. The occasional set of Baal runs may see Death start creeping toward 96, but I think Septimus will sit for a while. We’ll see . . . Either way, liking the character screen:
99 (Character screen).jpg
In closing, a final thanks to everyone who followed along and provided encouragement around the untwinked 99ers. Questions and feedback are most welcome. Cheers! :)
 
Last edited:

PhineasB

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Originally posted February 18, 2018

This tourney looked like lots of fun, but I held off because I’ve been focused on the two untwinked 99ers. But I am getting a bit tired of LK and thought it would be worthwhile to have another option when the pally needs a break from CS. And because it’s an untwinked tourney, this could be a starter for the next class I would tackle if I finish the pally.

So meet Quinta, the passive-zon. The plan is to one-point all the passives, except critical strike (a few extra points), Decoy and Valk (maxed), and pierce (no points, unless we get nice bow or javelins for a hybrid).

She is SC so that I can potentially continue on the untwinked journey if she gets taken out before reaching Mat. I can level her to 98 on Baals (and probably would anyhow), so the loss of Ancients isn’t as much an issue. But she won't use socket quests on the play-through to ensure that's available in the future.
She started off lucky, with a gem shrine in the Blood Moor, which was saved for first topaz (in the Den of Evil). Blood Raven, Griswold, and Countess dropped. Triple emerald bow for the merc, and triple emerald spear for Quinta (not the trident but the other one) was fine, if a little slow going.

She had very nice topaz luck along the way, with full chippies for Quinta and Merc (2os armor for Quinta instead of ring mail to avoid stamina drain), the flawed in Quinta’s hat, and quite a few extra stashed. But the first S/U didn’t fall until just before Andy fight (Axe of Fechmar). Andy dropped the second unique (Umbral Disk) and a Topaz (nice!).

When I saw Fechmar drop, I remember thinking, interesting, the freeze target will likely to come in handy for shattered skeletons in A2 to prevent reanimation by Unravellers. Boy did that turn out to be the case! :rolleyes:
Quinta went after the cube first after picking up a town guard and giving him the spear. With an assist from immediate left hand entrance to Dry Hills from Rocky Waste, successful retrieval of the cube allowed her to make three flawed topazes, one of which went into the skull cap with the regular topaz, with the others going into a 3os breast plate (that took nearly 10 minutes to finally roll in the vendor screen).

She then cleared the first two above-ground areas before tackled Radament, with her third unique (and second weapon dropping, the Skewer of Krintiz). You can probably see where this is headed. No uniques or sets as she cleared surface areas up to Claw Viper temple. She planned to grab the amulet, then hit AT, then clear to Arcane Sanctuary before going back to get the staff. Honestly, she was hoping for no more drops until A3 to avoid risk of having a weaponless merc.

Of course, in AT, the third weapon dropped from a poppable, Isenhart’s sword. :mad: I was so annoyed that I apparently messed up the screenie. This obviously made the rest of the Act much more challenging, as the merc was now weaponless and useless except as an extra decoy.

Maggot lair was a joy, but the freeze target allowed Quinta to manage the passageways and eventually bash her way through. Arcane Sanctuary involved lots of running forward and retreating, with the ghosts a challenge due to (I think) some physical resists. She actually picked the right arm the first time and decided to clear the surface area in the Canyon in the hopes of a lucky polearm or bow drop. No such luck, so she slogged through the other arms of the Arcane Sanctuary.

I almost caved in and hit Duriel’s tomb first to allow retrieval of a cold mage in A3. In retrospect, I wish I had, but instead cleared the six false tombs first. Berserker’s helm dropped, which the merc got. Pics show how the merc tanked Kaa’s lightning bolts as Quinta swung over his shoulder, the second-to-last tomb presented an (at that time) unkillable boss, and a similar issue with a Ghostly Unraveller in the last tomb.

The pic below shows Quinta’s tactics for the tombs, with merc and decoy establishing a beachhead while Quinta attacked from the perimeter and ensured that they never got flanked.
N A2 Tactics Weaponless Merc.jpg
Several tactical retreats were needed, but she was able to plod along shattering corpses one-by-one. The relatively low damage made it so it quite a few swings to take down a single monster. Four tombs had Unravellers, but they were actually one of the better rolls given the tactics she had to use. The most dangerous roll was vampires mixed with Blunderbore types.

She had picked up a poison damage charm (and a second) when clearing the true tomb, so she went back to take on the Ghostly Unraveller, with one town trip needed to restock on potions (the pic above is actually from this fight). It turned out she had not cleared the rest of the tomb, so cleared the rest of it, with Isenhart’s armor dropping. The merc was now weaponless and without MF in either armor slot, but it didn’t matter because he wasn’t doing any killing!

It turned out that Quinta couldn’t safely take down the chest-boss in the final false tomb, so she gave the other parked boss (physical immune ghost) a shot before moving on to Duriel. He went down in about 5 minutes, with one town trip needed to restock on potions.

Duriel at p1 took one trip to town to restock healing potions, but eventually fell. Sander’s gloves were useful, and the set quilted armor meant Quinta had to give up her topazed armor. She took Isenhart’s (mostly useless mods, but partial set bonus ftw!) and gave the merc the other, along with the Skewer. With a cold mage in tow (Flux!), she returned to take down the last boss :p (observant readers noticed that the pic above had the cold mage doing his thing while Quinta tanked).

It was a slog, but she made it and now has a merc that can wield the third weapon. She will get some time hear and there, but it won't be steady progress.

Current gear. For Quinta, it’s plain belt and boots; jewelry slots open; topazed skull cap (flawed and regular for 25% MF, which is her total); Isenhart’s sword and umbral disk, with Fechmar on switch. Backpack has some resist charms (she’s been reasonably lucky there, with 19/27/12/14 all from charms) and 21 points of poison damage. Cold mage has Berserker hat, Arctic Furs, and Skewer (no shield).

Quinta, the Level 28 Passivezon, and Flux, the Level 27 Cold Mage; A3 Normal, Lut Gholein
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted September 8, 2018

Next, it’s time to introduce my fifth entry in this challenge, Quinta, a LF zon. She’s currently level 93.4, with a few gear upgrades needed ahead before she settles into Baal runs.

I started her in February 2018 as my entry in the S/U tourney hosted by @jiansonz . The idea all along was that she might become my zon entry in this challenge, and she also ended up being my 2018 Summer MFO entry along the way.

She progressed as a passive/Valk zon, eventually settling on Charged Strike spearzon as the build in A3H. After some early challenges in that tourney, she finished without a death early last month. Major milestones in the tourney progress are in the spoiler.
Normal
A1 & A2
A3 and A4
A5

Nightmare
A1
A2
A3
A4
A5

Hell
A1 & A2
A3 & A4
A5
After Mat’ing, Quinta was the main focus of my time, with Pindle and Eldritch runs in preparation to be my entry in MFO. She also mixed in 500 Meph runs and 500 LK. She made it to level 90 level pre-MFO, with very basic gear. But that’s all you need for Pindle!

She ended up winning the Pindle category, which was pretty cool, with reflections on those 10 days here. Bottom line was very lucky drops for MFO, but virtually no item upgrades for her untwinked journey:
MFO (Haul).jpg
The plan is to get to level 94 at Pindle, probably mixing in some LK, as a break from Phaedrus as he pushes to 99. The idea with her was that I could roll a Baal map that makes Enigma not-essential, as some of the earlier SPF 99ers have shown you don’t need to teleport if running Baal. After three untwinked Enigmas, I was hoping to minimize LK runs even if it takes longer in the grand scheme of things.

She has the nice Ber drop from Pindle, so if she can pick up Infinity from LK runs, she’ll move to WSK and Baal, hoping for rune drops along the way to open up Enigma. I’ll probably break down and go back to LK for Enigma before it drops from Baal runs, but we’ll see.

* * *

We leave for a three-week vacation tomorrow, so there won’t be any progress until October at the best. No wifi or cell reception for most of it, but I'll try to check in on progress of others when I can. My goal upon returning is to focus on Phaedrus, with Quinta as a break (and maybe some Pit runs with Pestilence). I’m thinking he may be able to get 99 by the end of November, with Ancients XP bonus available, and my hope is that Quinta will be at 94 from Pindle and Pestilence will be at 97 at that point. But we’ll see!
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted November 21, 2018

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 94 (pic)
As mentioned in Phaedrus’ write up, Quinta had progressed to just shy of 93.7, and she finished the last stretch in the week after Phaedrus hit 99.

No major upgrades since her last update at 93.4, sadly, but it was smooth progress for the most part. One dumb death mixed in: I often ran with her as a short break from Phaedrus, and clearly forgot to lower the p-setting to p1 before realizing what was happening. Exhibit Q as to why I don't play hardcore :p

Early in this stretch, she picked up a Leviathan and Horizon’s, followed by a minor troll with a Fletcher’s skiller, and then an Um as her only Lem+ rune. After another 7 yellow Shako’s (and 31 total at Pindle), it finally dropped, but of course:
Pindle (Shako eth).jpg
:rolleyes: Another five yellow Shako’s before she hit the level. :mad: But that allowed her to run on p3 for the rest of level, with 1 durability left when she pinged. The +skill without too much loss of MF and extra life were key.

She finished up with BK CB, Arkaine’s (+2 skills on the roll), another Spirit Keeper, and another Leviathan. The Arkaine’s is actually pretty interesting, and may be the armor she uses for Baal runs once she gets Infinity. The +skills and vita will be welcome, and I’m not sure what else would beat it in my current stash except maybe Naj armor for +1 skill and resists?

As for Infinity, we have moved to LK again, hoping for a Ber equivalent to complete that runeword and then do at least 94-95 on Baal before reassessing whether to go back to LK for Enigma.

Quinta is doing 50 runs on promising maps before rerolling, and still haven’t found an @ffs quality map at 200 LK runs completed. Only two Lems to show for it so far. In the meantime, she rolled a CtA to make runs more comfortable and keep deaths to a minimum, and the roll (+1 BO) perfectly matches her experience with useful drops so far.
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted November 24, 2018

Quinta finished another 500 LK runs (for 1000 total) and is half way to her Ber for Infinity. Sur dropped on run #326, along with an Ist on run #424. Aside from that, 4 Lems and some Kos and Lums. A Sur, Ist, Mal, and Um over the first 1000 runs, so not too shabby.

The map she used for 200-500 had a semi-stable Matriarchal Javelin rack next to a super chest, which is why she stuck with it hoping for Thunderstroke. It also rolled Scepters regularly, and so that was the one that rolled unique obviously. She rolled a new map after that, and landed on a nice one where she will stay until she finds another Sur:
Quinta - Imgur.jpg
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted December 1, 2018

As for me:

Quinta finished another set of 500 LK runs (now at 1500 total), with most of the progress over the remainder of weekend after my last update. It was a busy work week, but I managed to get the last 100 runs in small chunks before bed or with morning coffee.

Mal #2 fell on run #94, followed shortly by Ohm #1 on run 115. She then went until Mal #3 on run #421 with nothing higher than a Lum in the middle, which was a frustrating dry spell. But Ist #2 fell 13 runs later, along with Pul #1 right at the end, so the last 100 runs were productive.

Over 1500 LK runs, Pul+ total is 9: Pul, Um, Mal x3, Ist x2, Ohm, Sur. A bit below expectations, so I expect things will pick up (oh, wait, that's not now is works? :))

So still a Sur short of material for Infinity, but she now has enough for a Call to Arms reroll (to hopefully improve on her first with +1 BO). She’s also now in the 500 pgem range, having used the pAmethysts to craft as she’s gone along. So once she progresses to Baal, there will lots of GC rerolls possible.

Unfortunately, no major charm upgrades over this set. A few plain 19/20 vita and now up to three columns of FRW SCs, 2 with +100 poison damage, which will likely get used to speed up for non-teleport Baal runs, and have incrementally sped up LK runs. No Harpoonist skillers for Quinta yet, and only 6 skillers total from last 1000 LK runs (none with good secondary mods), which seems a bit low. Hopefully she can pick up at least one before that Sur drops and moves on from LK, at least for a while.

She also used Hels to reroll her Spirit for a 35 FCR upgrade as a break at the 350-run mark. She got to 29 rerolls without success, which seems extremely low probability occurrence. She finally stopped on a 34 FCR roll due to extreme unlikelihood she will roll a 2/19 or 2/20 caster amulet anyhow, where that 1 FCR could make a difference in combination with still-unfound Griffon’s. Once she gets a second 4os Monarch, she’ll roll more Spirits, so she’s picking up those run ingredients until she has the makings for 25 more rerolls.

I'm playing my Trio of Twins barb again, now into A2 NM, hopefully finishing A2 to allow a progress update this weekend. Aside from that, we're leaving town on Tuesday and there's lots of work to wrap up before leaving, so I doubt Quinta will make much more progress in LK until later this month.

Good luck to everyone on continued progress!
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted December 15, 2018

I was out of town last week through this Monday, and then was really busy at work, so playing time was limited since my last update.

But Quinta got some more LK runs in, with a goal of another 500 runs for 2000 LK runs total. She netted Mal #4 and Ist #3 in the first 300 runs, with this nice GC mixed in:
Quinta - Imgur(4).jpg
Then on run #324 (#1824 overall) she picked up Sur #2 (having to dig through the gold and some potions before it revealed itself after seeing the orange flash and just *knowing* it was a high rune):
Quinta - Imgur(1).jpg
I had already decided to go for Infinity first to try “running” Baal, hoping for runes to drop along the way to eventually allow Enigma. So after getting to 350 LK runs (1850 total), we Hel’ed one of her low roll eth Insight CVs, and had Infinity:
Quinta - Imgur(3).jpg
She still didn’t have decent javelins or head gear, we rolled another Meph map, eventually landing one where stairs down were an immediate left turn from WP with only a short hallway mixed in. With Infinity, she could finally run him at p3 safely, and she also mixed in p5 Pindle runs.

Within 15 runs a golden Shako dropped, and she finally had a non-eth one (which was immediately socketed for a very welcome upgrade over her 3 pTopaz mask). Within 5 minutes, she also picked up a Thunderstroke, prompting her to use her final quest reward re-spec to rebalance for higher dexterity to equip that.

I think she may go back and forth between p7 Pindle and p3 Meph for a little while, hoping for Titan’s or a lucky rune drop. I might just settle into that routine for a tenth of this level before regearing for Baal runs. We’ll see!
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted December 22, 2018

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 95 (pic)
After the Titan’s drop last weekend, Quinta finished up to 94.25 on Pindle, picking up this nice rare ring that replaced a 24MF Nagel for only -9MF and a major improvement to fire resist. This allowed her to keep War Travelers instead of Aldur’s when she transitioned to CS and Baal runs.

In preparation for that, she decided to use her Ohm in hopes of a CtA upgrade, which it was :)
Quinta - Imgur(2).jpg
Then it was running Baal, after realizing CS was much less efficient without teleport due to River segment before CS. About 80 runs total on p1/p8/p3, netting ~1.8M/run.

Only decent drop from Baal was an eth Horizon’s, but other things more than made up for it. Lack of CBF was felt, particularly on Baal, but she picked up Raven Frost from a wave minion that made things much more comfortable. She also picked up a Dwarf Star toward the end that may get use later on if she hasn’t found a +skill ring. For now, she’s plenty safe and the MF and resists from the rare are nice to have.

At 94.5, I decided to take a little break from Baal. It turned out this map seed has the Tristram portal is right by Stony Field WP, so I decided to check out her Cow map. She still has only one 4os Monarch and she could theoretically luck out with a high rune, so why not? On the first run:
Quinta - Imgur(5).jpg
One-third to Enigma was pretty awesome. Quinta did 2 more Cow runs and decided to do one last Baal run before bed:
Quinta - Imgur(6).jpg
So two-thirds of Enigma in about half an hour! RNG . . . :rolleyes: I'll happy copy @Pb_pal in that regard!

One death right before 94.8 due to distraction, thought I’d paused, and BO ran out just as first wave landed on top of her with holy freeze aura. Wasn’t quick enough when I saw game moving, but she was able to recover the corpse for only 3 runs or so lost.

Upon hitting 95, I decided to start using her pgems and burn through her gold gambling for amulets and gauntlets (in hope of an upgrade over current 2/20 rares). She found only one Baal GC and worked through a little more than half her pgems before rolling a Burning skiller with 23 life. So she then worked through 20M gold, with nothing to show for it, except a +1 amazon skill with teleport charges that may see use if she goes back to LK.

Speaking of which, I may actually do that to finish off Enigma because this seed also has a solid two-fire LK map. The current Baal map can definitely be run, but WSK2 would take half as long if she could go through a wall, and it would obviously be faster to the throne room with telelport. Due to good secondary maps (Pit, Cows, CS), I will probably keep this seed to allow breaks from Baal runs without having to reroll.

But my focus through New Year’s will be Pestilence. It’s time to get him moving toward 97.5 and keep Klaus company. :D
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted January 1, 2019

Quinta also hit a major milestone:
Quinta - Imgur(8).jpg
I planned on doing another 150 LK runs to reach a round 2000 total and then reassess. On literally the second run, a Sur dropped, her third from LK. :cool:

So that meant we were only one Sur away, and another 500 LK run-set became the goal. They got mixed in as breaks from Pit runs with Pestilence or before bed. Along with two Ums, she picked up her second 4os Monarch, and we finally rolled 35 FCR on the 34th attempt overall. Another six attempts in the second one yielded 34 FCR, and we called it quits.

Ist #4, Mal #5, and Mal #6 fell on runs 219, 412, and 457, respectively, with a 3/17/19 Fine SC of Vita mixed in. At this point, I decided that we’d do another 150 runs for a round 2500 and then go back to Baal. Mal #7 fell on run 512, a poppable provided Ist #5 on run 549, and Mal #8 dropped on run 558, with a Pul was mixed in between.

Then a poppable delivered on run 562:
Quinta - Imgur(7).jpg
So that was a crazy good 62-run stretch! :D With the 2 Bers from 94-95 and a 3os Mage Plate, we got ready and made Quinta’s Enigma. She is the fourth of my characters in this challenge to farm Enigma, and thankfully this involved the least amount of LK runs to do it.

Still, she finished out the remaining ~140 LK runs to get an even 2500 total. We were also a Diablo essence short of being able to make a Token and respec to balance out the strength. So she got to test out teleport there, finally getting the essence after about 15 p1/p7 runs.

So 2368 LK runs with Quinta to get Infinity and Enigma, with a major assist of a Ber from Pindle, and the two Bers from Cows and Baal runs in quick succession at level 94.5. She has the final LK Sur stashed, so she’s a Sur and Mal/Ist from being able to make CoH for the merc. The only real complaint is no skillers so far. Her resist charms aren’t great either, but those aren’t essential for javazons!

Now it’s back to Baal runs with her, likely 4-5 at a time as a break from Pestilence’s Pit runs. She still has half the pgems from before, plus the new ones cubed over last 650 LK runs. So here’s hoping for a couple Baal GCs!
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted January 6, 2019

As for me, Quinta has another ~100 Baal runs behind her, and is half way to level 96. We very nearly started things off with a game changer on the first run, but the diadem was green :(

Baal himself provided an Arachnids a few runs later, and then we got two nice GCs in WSK, one a Ruby of Sustenance and the other her first skiller :)
Quinta - Imgur(9).jpg
A second green diadem dropped right near the quarter-way mark. The only good find worth a screen shot for the next quarter was this ring:
Quinta - Imgur(10).jpg
Other notable finds were Horizon's, set Colossus Blade, and set Corona.

She is going to switch up to Diablo to farm a few more essences and use one for a respec to test out the Arachnid's and the ring. TGods is very solid, but I think the next FCR break point may speed things up even with a net of -2 to lightning fury. That will also mean a little charm shuffling to max lightning resists.

Pestilence continues to plug away, but I will hold off his next update until 97.5.
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted January 19, 2019

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 96 (pic)
Quinta made mostly uneventful progress, finishing the last tenth of the level earlier today. After finding the Griffon’s, we played around with gear set ups for bit. We ended up with Aldur’s boots (only 44 fire resist, so this is one piece that can be upgraded), TGod’s belt (mainly for lightning absorb to neutralize gloams), Highlord’s, and this ring:
Code:
Stone Master
Ring
Required Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0x687bfd1b
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+103 to Attack Rating
6% Mana stolen per hit
+9 to Dexterity
+57 to Mana
All Resistances +8
Half Freeze Duration
With only the one skiller still, she also Gheeds and one each resist GC with life/FHR for fire, cold and lightning, and a shimmering of balance GC. Cube and 2x2 open allows quite some resist plus life/MF SCs, plus two with FHR to hit 86 breakpoint. With only one lightning facet that's -3/4, we've gone with shimmering jewel with lightning damage in the Griffon's for the short-term. Resists are 62/57/74/57, with 155 MF, >600 mana and >2700 life with BO active.

Baal runs are very comfortable, and I am enjoying them so far :eek: Merc is still squishy with some Lister rolls, but dropping Duress in favor of Duriel’s Shell made a difference (I plan to test out Treachery for the first 10 or so runs in this level). Another Sur/Ber for CoH would be a major improvement, I suspect, and allow me to test out Delirium to see if it works better for me with Quinta than it did for the Mercy.

Drops were minimal, with only a Ko and Um for this level on the rune front. Two Nightwing’s, Azurewrath, Arkaine’s, and Arachnid’s were the S/Us of note. The other drop meriting a screenshot was finally getting another Baal GC right at the end (only her second in about 300 Baal runs so far, which seems unlucky). But it didn’t matter, as she burned all her remaining pgems (just under 150) and didn’t net a keeper. Oh well . . .

The most exciting part of this stretch was one bit of sloppy teleporting:
Quinta - Imgur(11).jpg
But thankfully being quick enough on S&E to avoid having to do quite a few more Baal runs. Corpse recovery would have been dicey, so I probably would have had to recover the full tenth of the level XP due to lack of corpse recovery kit (which will be addressed going forward).

But it’s time to focus on Pestilence in earnest. He’s been getting some runs here and there and has less than 50M left to 97.5, so hopefully by the end of the month.
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted May 18, 2019

After hitting the 10-hour mark for the RFL Rd 3 set with Pestilence, I decided to take a break for some Baal runs. Quinta was shy of 96.1 from doing 4-5 Baal runs as a break from Nihl runs, and the last two days saw her to 96.5.

Starting off, she kept Razortail, which had been used for Cows in RFL Rd 1, with her 2/9 caster amulet getting the 68 FCR breakpoint. I also moved in a few extra SCs to max lightning resists and others to 50+, along with Aldur's boots. Relatively early on, she picked up a nice Ruby GC of Vita, which replaced a Ruby of Sustenance one.

Around this time, the inability to equip Highlord’s and it’s extra IAS was becoming a drag. Baal actually was taking a while :rolleyes: She still doesn't have a mana leech FCR ring option, so I figured he would go down faster and speed up the runs with Arachnid and maxing pierce, even if it cost me fully synergized LF a few percentage points less than 100% pierce.

We didn’t have Diablo essences, so I went to CS to farm two (plus one extra from Andy, which fell on the second run). An eth Nightwing’s dropped from Diablo as she closed in on the quarter mark for the level. After picking up the second essence from Diablo, we respec’ed and went back to Baal. Highlord’s allowed me to swap out the Amber SCs, which are MF for now.

Baal definitely dropped quicker with the faster IAS breakpoint, and still >90% pierce. As we settled into the routine, a nice eth Sacred Armor dropped, which obliged by picking up 4os in the cube, and on the same run Baal coughed up a Pul. Then this sweet SC fell from Baal’s waves:
Quinta - Imgur(12).jpg
The merc was still squishy, so I went back and checked status on finally replacing the Duriel’s with something better. I had Ohm and Vex stashed, and enough lower runes to cube up a second Vex minus a Pul, which I then realized Baal had dropped :) So we prepped for Fortitude, with a nice upgrade for Kasim:
Quinta - Imgur(13).jpg
No real drops of note for the next ~40M or so worth of runs, which is typical. [Edit: Except for a [email protected] Mara's.] For the half level as a whole, drops were pretty limited, although the Fortitude upgrade was enormous.

The main thing is how fast she is, even with just 2 skillers. With the Highlord’s/Arachnid set up that she had from around 96.25 on, she finishes the runs before BO runs out, so less than 3 min/run (170s BO with BC active). So, unless I messed up the math, she’s averaging close to 12M/hr, or a little more than 2 hours per tenth of the level :eek: Much faster than Mercy’s Baal runs, and faster XP-wise than Phaedrus who had the fastest XP gain at this stage of my untwinked 99ers so far. I think it will only take 11 hours or so to finish the level :cool:
 

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Originally posted May 25, 2019

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 97 (pic)
Quinta made it to 97 :) The speed is nice and it’s plenty safe, but the lack of drops are the tradeoff. The only real danger came from teleporting through WSK2 to the stairs, one convicted gloam pack forced a quick S&E, but otherwise only two S&Es due to landing in pack with mana burn.

Before starting into this half of the level, she reshuffled gear, with a goal of higher MF. War Travelers replaced Aldur’s, with the Ruby GC of Sustenance returning to the backpack in place of some vita SCs. IN all, her vita barely dropped, and she netted out about the same on resists.

But, as noted drops were pretty minimal, so the extra MF didn’t help :rolleyes: But this was nice:
Quinta - Imgur(14).jpg
That’s two stashed for her, so an option of cubing to Cham, I guess. The only other drop meriting a screen shot for the last half level was +2 skill Arkaine’s from Baal. Other nice finds were these two rings (one from gambling, one from Baal):
Code:
Rune Band
Ring
Required Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0x59589bd6
Item Level: 99
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+58 to Attack Rating
6% Mana stolen per hit
+13 to Energy
Lightning Resist +29%
Fire Resist +9%
Poison Length Reduced by 25%

Grim Gyre
Ring
Required Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0x9ca771f3
Item Level: 99
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+18 to Attack Rating
6% Mana stolen per hit
7% Life stolen per hit
Cold Resist +15%
10% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
The first actually replaced her other ML ring, due to higher LR allowing removal of two SCs to keep that maxed and replace with MF charm and another ruby SC. The other notable finds were Halaberd’s and another Azurewrath. I recorded a vid of two runs toward the end to show the approach:
I think she will roll a 2-3 shrine CS map and give that a shot for 97-98. If it also has a decent Baal map, that would be great so she can mix things up. She actually needs an Ist for delirium when she transitions to Nihl at 98, so hopefully that drops along the way. A long way to go, so plenty of time.
 

PhineasB

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Originally posted August 26, 2019

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 98 (pic)
Quinta was my entry in 2019 Summer MFO, moving from 97.25 to 98 during those 10 days, as summarized here.
MFO Haul.jpg
The Mang’s was great, bringing me to grail -1 overall, and some solid progress on eth grail, and some useful finds to boot! Most notable were the Mara’s and Nature’s Peace, as well as some ML rare rings that give more flexibility to gear.

A Mal and Pul rune allowed her to cube an Ist, which became Delirium, along with a lower defense Treachery. The facet in her Griffon’s was only 3/4, so we also dusted off the 2 Jahs and got some CBF from her headgear for added flexibility with the rings:
Chamed Griffons.jpg
The real issue is needing Nature’s Peace and wanting some ML, so Raven Frost is getting squeezed out.

I’ve done about 3M of runs with different set ups (without having to reroll maps due to Baal map having good Nihl map, but not shrines, so we will have to reroll when the time comes to settle in). With LI Nihl rolls, I think TStroke will win out over Titan’s, even with more frequent repairs needed. That also allows Mara’s due to 15 IAS on TStroke, which gets her close to 3000 life due to charm flexibility.

Fire is maxed, and poison is too with Nature’s Peace, with cold and lightning ~30. Lightning may need a slight bump due to bolts from lightning enchanted Nihl and the need to CS him. There is still some fiddling to do, but I think this will be doable with only 2 skillers and no facet shield. I will likely post something this weekend with gear options and seek some advice :)
 
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PhineasB

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Originally posted September 4, 2019

Nice progress everyone, but especially @ffs and @Bewitch with the great progress on high-level characters. And it's very cool to see the entries by @bcoe and cool to see you enjoying the diversity of characters.

I have a pseudo-update for Quinta, who has the first 15M XP of level 98 under her belt (so 1/20th of the way there? :rolleyes:). Mainly it's been the gear testing phase, as she is feeling the effects of untwinked playthrough. We’ve tested quite a few options with her existing gear choices, and I think have settled on the set up for now. But with major hopes for an upgrade along the way.

The biggest limitation is the lack of 10FCR/mana leech ring, despite burning through ~20M gold on rings since level 97 (with some gloves, plus amulets for caster crafts mixed in). But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Titan's or Thunderstroke. The first question was Titan’s vs. Thunderstroke (Baal had dropped a +4 javelin skills one). I quickly settled on TStroke due to allowing her to hit IAS breakpoint without Highlord’s, opening up amulet slot, and the extra -eLR. More frequent repairs are the downside, but my sense was time was worth the added speed/run over >12,000 runs. And the current playstyle usually doesn’t involve too many LF throws per run (see below).

68 FCR or 99 FCR Breakpoint (and Mana Management). The IAS freed up the 2/9 caster amulet, but she didn’t have the 10 FCR/ML ring, as mentioned. I gave it shot nonetheless, but lack of mana leech just wasn’t sustainable. That’s when we did a major gambling session of ~10M gold, in addition to gambling as she went through MFO, but without luck. I then checked my stash for a 10+ FCR amulet with mana leech, figuring 2 skills would be worth sacrifices to hit the 99 FCR breakpoint. But she hadn’t found one of those either.

So I went with Mara’s (and figured we’d have to stick with the 68 FCR breakpoint), which allowed nearly 3000 HP with BO active after fiddling with various mana leech rings to fill out the gear and swapping around charms, and allowing War Traveler for extra MF (and damage for extra mana leech). I thought that might win out as the final set-up, as Nihl was fairly smooth and the life pool was nice. But this happened a few too many times:
98 (HoP NDE).jpg
The inability to hit 99 FCR was annoying because of time spent getting to stairs and then to Nihl, but this risk in Hall of Pain due to slower teleport rate finally prompted me to reassess. I hadn’t really thought about gloves that weren’t 2/20, so checked and found a 20 IAS/3ML pair. If I had been willing to give up 2 skills in the amulet slot, why not from the gloves?

The lower mana leech percent means she needs to use pots more than when she was at 68 FCR with a 6% mana leech ring. But it’s workable, especially if she grabs the occasional mana pot right by her when safe to do so after clearing Nihl.

Finally, I decided to test Silkweave for +mpk and maybe allow the 2/20 gloves. That requires a pot each run, which seems slower than the marginal faster speed from the +2 skills.

Current Gear and Stats. So the gear below gives her the key stats/breakpoints listed below that:
Code:
20/11 Griffon’s w Cham
+4 javelin skill TStroke
Spirit shield (35% FCR)
Enigma
20 IAS/3ll/3ml gloves
Arachnid
War Traveler
Nature’s Peace
10 FCR/5ll/+80 mana rare
Switch: 6 BO CtA/Spirit

Charms:
2 skillers and Gheeds
Rest are mix of resist/life/FHR SCs/GCs

HP with BO active: 2799
Skills: +14 javelin skills
-eLR: -35%
Resists: 80 fire/22 cold/1 lightning/34 poison
MF: 202
FHR: 87
IAS: 35
FCR: 99
Approach. Aborted runs are unbreakable LI rolls with mobs around, and some breakable LI with lots of Vipers, so fairly rare. Merc has Infinity, Delirium, and Gladiator’s Bane (I had started with Treachery but prefer this set-up, I think).

The playstyle is more engaged than the other Nihl runners, with different approaches if Vipers are around or not. If not, cast LF twice and then teleport onto Nihl to CS him. If Vipers, side-step technique and stick with LF from a distance with merc’s delirium proc helping keep monsters distracted. Whether I see Vipers teleporting to his platform determines which approach.

Her life hasn’t dropped below 1179 HP on Nihl since settling on this strategy, with HoP a much bigger risk, but much improved with 99 FCR. We’ll see if that holds up :) But, based on my experience with Phaedrus, I will likely skip the teleport/CS Nihl approach if I’m tired or not fully focused due to risk of mistake.

One final word is on the map: similar to Pestilence, the spawns around Nihl’s platform make a difference. The first map had lots of monsters on all three sides and was dicey. The current map has regular spawns on only one side plus the open end, and is much more manageable. It has only one shrine in HoP that sometimes doesn’t spawn on the teleport path though, so we will reroll maps.

I'll save the drops for a proper update, likely at 98.25. Any thoughts or suggestions are most welcome! I really hope for a 10 FCR/ML ring or 20 IAS gloves with higher mana leech. But I’m still open to fiddling around with gear if there are interesting suggestions.
 
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PhineasB

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Originally posted September 22, 2019

Quinta completed the first quarter level on Nihl without too much excitement. An NDE shortly after 98.15 made me realize she didn't have corpse recovery kit, which has since been rectified and thankfully not needed. Drops for the quarter level were dreadful, with Lo and Pul being the only Pul+ runes. This is an apt representation of how things have gone so far:
98 (Typical rune luck).jpg
Thankfully, she had picked up a Mal at the beginning of the level when farming Diablo essences, so now only a Mal short of being able to make CoH for the merc. Other drops meriting screenshots were minimal, actually only one: Stormlash. Except for the Pul, all of those were in the first 15M of the level. So things can only improve, right?

In fairness, she picked up a few elite uniques (Boneflame, Leviathan, etc.) and set B-K sword, and a nice 2os eth Giant Skull and Wisp Projector. She also picked up a nice Natural skiller:
Code:
Natural Grand Charm of Sustenance
Grand Charm
Required Level: 53
Fingerprint: 0x5ee92ae8
Item Level: 84
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Unidentified
+1 to Elemental Skills (Druid Only)
+35 to Life
I’ll keep plugging away with her, hoping to hit 98.4 before leaving for vacation in mid-October. Work is really busy again, so I’m not sure 15M/week will be doable, but that’s the goal, with the mini-RFL an added incentive to get some runs in.
 
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PhineasB

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Originally posted October 16, 2019

98.5.jpg
With an assist from a 20-hour Mini RFL set to get most of the progress, Quinta completed the next quarter of the level to 98.5. The rundown of the Mini RFL set (minus qualifiers) is here.

I’ll avoid spoiling the Mini RFL qualifiers, which were nothing spectacular, but other drops meriting screenshots from this stretch were: Sur #1 before RFL, Shadow Dancer as a nice surprise during RFL, a CoH made after RFL (Ber had been found before, so no spoiler there), and then Jah #1 in the last 2M.

She has somehow managed to get not a single charm upgrade from Nihl so far, which is disappointing. But she’s picked up lots of other elite S/Us, including a set Corona and set Sacred Armor, plus a few eth items to fill out my eth grail.

A few NDEs, but she’s fairly safe, even with a more aggressive style that has netted ~2.9M/hr since the last half of RFL. So a little more than 50 hours to go (Ancient quest XP is not available). But we’re leaving tomorrow for a three-week vacation, so no D2 for a while. But then we’ll see if she can ping 99 before the year is out.

Best of luck to everyone running in the meantime! Looking forward to following the progress as WiFi allows.
 
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PhineasB

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Originally posted November 27, 2019

Quinta has completed the next quarter level, sitting a little past 98.75 at 3.45B. As noted, she started making progress after returning for a nice vacation earlier this month, with some careful progress getting back into the swing early before settling back into the groove.

We had a really close call fairly early on, with a few other less-scary situations ~500 life since then:
98 (Yikes NDE).jpg
Life is lower than mana here for the HC crowd :rolleyes:
Otherwise, not much to report, with drops meriting screenshots limited to Jah #2:
98 (Jah #2).jpg
Other notable drops were Mal #2 (so only two Pul+ for the quarter level :(), and quite some elite uniques, but no TC87s. Remarkably, she picked up THREE more Reaper’s, with no ethereal, so now at 70 found without ethereal. Maybe if I continue complaining it will finally happen . . . She also finally got a charm upgrade with a plain 20 vita SC dropping to replace an 18 vita SC with 8 mana. So barely an upgrade there, but still . . .

I have a fair bit of work to do over the long holiday weekend here in the States, but I think we’ll have enough time to push through the next 25M, even with a slight break to return to the Three Way Dance project. So even with my trip back east the next week, we are still on track to ping before the New Year, assuming no mishaps, and maybe even hitting 96 with Death before then also.

Keep up the good progress everyone!
 
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PhineasB

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Originally posted December 27, 2019

Matriarch Quinta and Kasim the Might Desert Merc, Lvl 99 (pic)
99.jpg
Quinta finished the last quarter level without too much excitement. A couple instances below 1000 HP, but never under 500 for this stretch. Drops were minimal, although I did finally pick up a long awaited item.

The first session I ran with her after the update for 98.75 included this fun Shimmering SC with Damage from Nihl that replaced a fire resist SC with 6 life for still maxed FR and a dash of style. That was quickly followed by BKWB (3% ll), her first +skill ring, but not helpful at this point due to second ring needing mana leech.

An hour later she picked up eth Titan’s, which somehow also happens to be my first overall. Middling damage roll, but still an upgrade over highest roll plain up’ed version. It didn’t help her out because she was using Thunderstroke for Nihl, but a nice item to finally have and cool that an untwinked zon picked it up :)

That was followed by a big ol’ stretch of nothing, until Um #2, Ist #2 and Ist #3 fell in quick succession, with the Ists on consecutive runs. Then another stretch of nothing until Ravenlore fell on the third-to-last run before she pinged.

There were other drops mixed in, of course, including 6 TC3 uniques (none eth), a slight upgrade to her Nature’s Peace, a 5/4 cold facet, and quite a few non-TC87 elite uniques. She was also trolled with one of those stretches where Sacred Armors seem to drop regularly, with two Rares and a Set one getting my hopes up for an epic Tyrael’s drop from Nihl, which was sadly not to be.

In fact, for 98-99, there was only one TC87 unique (Shadow Dancer). She also got only 15 Pul+ runes, with 6 of those Vex+ despite taking out quite a few mobs on Nihl's platform. That's much less than Mercy’s 14 Vex+ and about on par with Pestilence’s 5 Vex+ with Ancients Quest reducing total runs. The Vex+ were: Vex, Lo x2, Sur, and Jah x2, so still a nice haul.

She managed to avoid death throughout the level, although she had a couple close calls, including that 1 HP incident :rolleyes: She was managing ~3M/hr when focused, but I had long stretches of lax play. So her overall average per hour for the level was lower, maybe under 2.9M. The improved S&E times really speed things up compared to Mercy and Hiatus though.

I hope to get her writeup finished this evening after work, but it may not happen until tomorrow am. I have notes organized already, so hopefully it won’t take too long. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement throughout her journey. She was a lot of fun!
 
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