Kappy’s Spotlight — Fire Pop

It’s that time again: #KappySpotlight time, where I talk about badges/items/partners/etc… that are generally seen as “bad” and not used very often by challenge runners. I dive deeper into why they’re perceived the way they are with some cool strategies centered around them mixed in! Today, I’ll be covering a really unique item in 64 that has an effect most items don’t: FIRE POP!

Before we jump in, I want to relay some sad news — this will be the last Kappy Spotlight…for now. I feel I’ve covered many of the lower-tiered things when it comes to Paper Mario combat and I think it’s time to retire the series for now to focus on other things. I’ve also been busier than ever and finding time to write has been increasingly more difficult. If I’m ever inspired to cover something else, I will, and I’ll still be trying to write a few more things for Paper Mario Talks as well, so do look forward to those! Anyway, enough of that — let’s look at Fire Pop!

firepop

Move: Restores 20 FP and reduces HP by 1.

The “reducing HP by 1” part is what’s interesting. 20 FP is a pretty nice FP heal, but what’s more interesting is being able to finely tune Mario’s HP with an item that can also restore a good amount of FP. When you look at the item, it’s really not amazing by any means. It’s cool, and the effect is unique, but more often than not you can just get to Danger or Peril through being attacked and knowing which attacks to guard and not guard, and it doesn’t have the fine-tuning that, say, a Dried Shroom or Mistake might have when it comes to taking damage over a large number of turns. However, this item could lead to some interesting badge setups. Let’s check out a couple strategies involving Fire Pop!

LAVA PIRANHA STRAT

This is a little bit of a special case, but I wanted to include this because it shows off Fire Pop. Over the past couple of years, the Glitz Pit has done Community Challenges. These were challenges hosted by the server that everyone could participate in. The gist was that every month, we’d proceed through a Chapter and set restrictions for the bosses & mini-bosses (including all optional ones) that came from community members. The restrictions for Chapter 5 for Lava Piranha were:

– Only items with “candy” or “pop” in their name could be used (attacking items excluded)
– Sushie cannot be used
– You cannot equip Ice Power or Fire Shield

– You cannot use multi-target attacks/items

NOTE: We did Chapter 5 in October of 2018, hence the “Halloween Candy” restriction.

Okay, so now that you’ve seen the restrictions, you can probably see why Fire Pop is used. Let’s take a look at the strategy!

10 HP, 10 FP
BADGES: Power Bounce, Hammer Throw, Double Dip, Quick Change, Dodge Master, Power Plus x2, Defend Plus, Mega Rush (30 BP)
ITEMS: Fire Pop, Lemon Candy, Thunder Bolt

T1: Turbo Charge, Fire Pop *Guard only Bud attacks
T2: Power Bounce (4 bounces), Fan Smack [Phase 1 Ends]
T3: Fan Smack, Double Dip (Lemon Candy, Thunder Bolt)
T4: Hammer Throw, Outta Sight
T5: Hammer Throw [KO]

Because of the candy restriction, perfect FP use wasn’t too much of a worry because basically, all the items with “pop” and “candy” in their names restore a good portion of FP. I knew I wanted to use Peril, but I needed a way to get into Peril Turn 1 and in the second Phase since Lava Piranha was guaranteed to attack then. Enter Fire Pop. Because of my restriction on items, I was basically chained to 3 or 5 HP heals. Damage Dodge wouldn’t allow me to get back into Peril off of a Phase 2 attack, so I turned to Defend Plus. I had more than a few ways to get into Peril but decided to make use of Fire Pop. I do want to note that while this is a strategy showing off Fire Pop, it didn’t help me in saving turns or BP — it was more for flash here. Anyway, I added Power Bounce for a quick KO Phase 1 and Hammer Throw for Phase 2 and I was set. Let’s begin the battle!

Turn 1 is setup. We Turbo Charge and Fire Pop to restore the FP lost from Turbo Charge, then get into Peril through specific guarding. Then, we Power Bounce for 30 damage and Fan Smack, ending Phase 1 quickly. Now Phase 2 starts. We Fan Smack and Double Dip Turn 3 with a Lemon Candy to restore 5 HP and our FP once more, along with a Thunder Bolt. I want to note that had we note recovered with the Fire Pop Turn 1, we wouldn’t’ve had enough FP for that Double Dip. Turn 4, we Hammer Throw for 13 damage as Turbo Charge goes away. And guess how much HP Lava Piranha has left? That’s right: 12 HP. We Hammer Throw for now 12 damage to end the fight with perfect damage!

Like I said before, Fire Pop wasn’t the crux of my strategy, but I wanted to show this off because it used Fire Pop to eliminate a guard I needed to pull off to get into Peril and is an actual unique strategy that I used during an actual challenge featuring today’s spotlight, which is, well, rare!

Okay, let’s look at another strategy with Fire Pop!

CRYSTAL KING STRAT

10 HP, 5 FP
BADGES: Super Jump Charge, Power Plus x2, All or Nothing, Power Bounce, Flower Saver, Mega Rush, Damage Dodge (30 BP)
ITEMS: Fire Pop

T1: Super Jump Charge, Turbo Charge *Guard two bits
T2: Fire Pop, Electro Dash (65)
T3: Chill Out, Electro Dash (60)
T4: Hammer, Electro Dash (43)
T5: Star Storm, Electro Dash (miss AC) (35)
T6: Power Bounce (3 bounces), Electro Dash [KO]

This strat is a little complicated and requires a little RNG, so let’s dive in! As I’ve mentioned before in my Mega Jump spotlight, Crystal King has 70 HP, 6 ATK, and 2 DEF. The goal of this strat was to get into Peril using a Fire Pop and then KO him with a Power Bounce once he was low enough. Because of the 2 DEF, we equip all ATK-increasing badges and Super Jump Charge and lean on Flower Saver and Damage Dodge for support. With this setup and a Fire Pop’s FP healing, we can get away with 10 HP 5 FP against Crystal King!

So, let’s jump in. We set up Turn 1 with Turbo Charge and Super Jump Charge and guard two of the bits. Each bit does 4 damage, so we take one and guard twice (it’s 2 damage with Damage Dodge) to get to 2 HP. Next turn, we restore our FP with Fire Pop and simultaneously put ourselves in Peril! We Electro Dash because Watt has nothing else to do and we don’t have the luxury of Quick Change with this badge setup. This turn, Crystal King summons more ice bits. Next turn, to prevent ourselves from being KO’d, we Chill Out and guard all of the bits. We once again Electro Dash.

Turn 4, we Hammer to pile on some extra damage and set us up for the Power Bounce finisher. This is also the turn that Turbo Charge will end, so we should attack to make sure it wasn’t wasted. Currently, Mario’s base ATK with the Ultra Hammer is 6. With two Power Plus badges and All or Nothing, that’s 9. With Turbo Charge, that’s 10, and with Mega Rush, that’s 14. Factor in Crystal King’s 2 DEF, and we’re at 12 damage. We Electro Dash as well, leaving Crystal King at 43 HP. At this point, Crystal King will summon ice bits again — he doesn’t change phases until he’s at or below 35 HP.

Next turn, we Star Storm for 7 damage, leaving Crystal King at 36, and then miss Electro Dash’s Action Command to put him at 35, just enough to activate the next trigger. At this point, there is some slight RNG which we will not be accounting for — I call these “RNG Chokepoints” in a strategy. Normally, I try to make these at the beginning of a fight and only have one or two maximum, if possible. Sometimes, a strategy needs a little RNG to work, and it’d be too difficult to work around it or working around it defeats the whole purpose of the strategy. Here, Crystal King has a chance to heal since his HP is under 38. It’s not a strong chance since he’s entering Phase 2 and will likely use bit spit this turn, but it’s something to consider.

Anyway, assuming he uses bit spit Turn 5, Turn 6 we KO him. Currently, Mario’s base ATK with Ultra Boots is 3. With the ATK-increasing badges, it’s 6, and with one Super Jump Charge, it’s at 9. With Mega Rush, it’s 13. Subtract Crystal King’s 2 DEF, and we’re at 11 ATK. Crystal King actually has a chance to cap at 3 for Power Bounce without Dodge Master equipped, so that’s the cap we’re going to use. 11 + 10 + 9 = 30 damage exactly, and leaves him with just enough HP for Watt to finish him off with Electro Dash for perfect damage!

Fire Pop is unique and cool and it is fun to build a strategy around/with, so give it a try if you’re looking to manipulate Mario’s HP in a different way!

And that’s it for my spotlights (for now). I hope you all have enjoyed them and maybe learned something while reading them. If you’re wanting to ask me questions directly, Twitter and Discord are the two best ways to reach me, and I’m always happy to help strategize or just talk about combat in Paper Mario!

Just Sayin’

 

Kappy’s Spotlight — Mega Jump

It’s that time again: #KappySpotlight time, where I talk about badges/items/partners/etc… that are generally seen as “bad” and not used very often by challenge runners. I dive deeper into why they’re perceived the way they are with some cool strategies centered around them mixed in! Today, I’ll be covering my first badge in 64, and probably the worst Jump badge of them all in said game — MEGA JUMP!!

Mega_jump_badge
BP Cost: 3
FP Cost: 6
Move: Deals Jump (3+3) + 4 damage to a single enemy.
Glitz Pit Rank: F

Mega Jump is one of the last badges you get in Paper Mario 64. You get it in Chapter 7, and while it has the “Jump is a Hammer” property of Power Jump and an added 2 damage compared to that badge, it costs triple the FP of Power Jump and triple the BP. Triple the FP and BP for +2 damage? Yeah, it’s easy to see why challenge runners don’t really use the move often. And by the time you get it, you’ve got basically every option that outclasses it. When you can just Power Bounce (or even Power Jump!), it’s tough to compete, especially when the other two are just so much more FP efficient. However, if you’ve got a lot of FP to spare, you can make some use of that extra damage.

CRYSTAL KING STRAT

15 HP, 40 FP
BADGES: Mega Jump, All or Nothing, Power Plus, Last Stand, Damage Dodge x2, Flower Saver, Mega Rush (27 BP. 30 with HP Plus)

ITEMS: Shooting Star

T1: Mega Jump (60), Electro Dash (55) [Guard 2]
T2: Mega Jump (45), Electro Dash (40)
T3: Turbo Charge, Do Nothing
T4: Mega Jump (25), Electro Dash (20)
T5 or T6: Mega Jump (5), Electro Dash [potential KO]

If heal T4 & T5

T7: Jump (6), Do Nothing
T8: Shooting Star [KO]

This is actually a pretty cool strat, but look at how much FP you need! Crystal King has 70 HP, 6 ATK, and 2 DEF. Despite these actually pretty good stats, he’s a huge pushover with easy-to-abuse AI, meaning we can destroy him with Mega Jump provided we have the FP. This strategy also nicely showcases the power of Peril combined with Last Stand in 64.

The goal of this strategy was to get rid of the RNG that Crystal King has for healing with Mega Jump and Electro Dash. Let’s start with the setup. Turns 1 & 2, we just Mega Jump and Electro Dash for 15 damage per turn. At base, Mega Jump deals 10 damage. With Crystal King’s DEF, we’re at 8, so we equip a Power Plus and All or Nothing to get that back up to 10. Now, Crystal King uses Bit Spit if he has Ice Bits on the field, which he does Turn 1. We take 4 damage each from those without guarding. With guarding, we take 1. So, we get hit by one then Guard two of them for (4+1+1) damage to be at 9 HP. Turn 2, Crystal King will summon Ice Bits. Turn 3, we set up Mario with Turbo Charge so that Mario will be dealing 15 damage instead of 14 damage in Peril. Mario does nothing to ensure Crystal King doesn’t try to heal just yet. He’ll use the Ice Bit Spit attack. We don’t guard any attacks, putting Mario at 5 HP with the first Ice Bit. Now that Mario’s at 5 HP, Last Stand kicks in, which means the other two Ice Bit attacks deal 2 damage instead of 4. With those two 2 damage attacks, Mario’s gone from 9 HP to 1 HP, putting us in Peril.Turn 4, we begin our manipulation and continue on this path until Crystal King is KO’d. On Turn 4, Crystal King is triggered to use Ice Beam. If he heals, we just Mega Jump and Electro Dash again Turn 5, and if he heals again after that, we Mega Jump and Electro Dash Turn 6, then take the guaranteed Ice Beam and do it again. Turn 7, Turbo Charge wears off, so we Jump and Do Nothing. At this point, Crystal King can either Ice Beam or create 3 clones. To circumvent the cloning, we use a Shooting Star to guarantee he gets hit and is KO’d. if he uses Ice Beam earlier, then we KO him earlier. Perfect damage and a lot of Mega Jump — nice! If you wanted, you could have 45 FP and not need a Flower Saver. I just liked being able to fit in 30 BP perfectly if HP Plus is used.

Now, there are a couple other places you can use Mega Jump, and that’s against Hallway Bowser and Final Bowser. Given that both can get rid of Water Block/Cloud Nine/Turbo Charge, as well as having an extremely punishing 3-cap most of the time for Power Bounce, you can get around the same damage over time with Mega Jump, even if you’re Power Bouncing in Peril, especially since it can be hard to maintain if you’re not great at Guarding Bowser’s attacks. Other than that, I see no reason to try and use this in normal battles., It’s likely overkill and just a waste of FP.

All in all, Mega Jump comes way too late to really be useful, but try it out next time you’re fighting Final Bowser! You might be surprised. As always, feel free to use the strategy I made or adapt it into something yourself! I’ll be doing a vote for my next spotlight, so please be sure to follow me on Twitter or join my Discord server to get notified when I ask for suggestions!!

Just Sayin’