Paper Mario Talks — Kappy’s Partner & Special Move/Star Power Tier Lists (+ comparison to Glitz Pit lists)

As I said in my previous entry, the Glitz Pit Discord Server (link at the bottom of this post) cast judgment on badges in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, bringing to light a tier list for more hardcore players. This time, we’re going to go over something many players also debate on — Partners and Special Moves/Star Powers in both TTYD and Paper Mario. However, we did things a little differently.
Instead of giving a tier, we basically just rated the order of each from best to worst. While there are certainly “breaks” within these lists where partners could be placed in the same tier, we felt that an ordered list would work better for Partners and Special Moves/Star Powers given the small amount of each compared to badges. Of course, like with badges, the overall opinion of the 30+ players who voted and discussed these are a little different from mine. I’ll be showing you each list with my own ranking next to it, and talk about some key differences. Remember, the Glitz Pit list is framed with a challenge runner in mind. Let’s start with TTYD!

PARTNERS

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There’s actually not much to say here — I voted with the majority. There was a lot of debate between Yoshi and Goombella, but in the end, Yoshi’s ability to hit everything for huge amounts of damage barely won out over Goombella’s superior single-target damage and versatility with Rally Wink. To me, Yoshi and Goombella could easily be seen as the best partner — it just depends on how you fight. I fight with partners, so Yoshi is better. Flurrie and Vivian were another hotly contested pair.

SPECIAL MOVES

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The glaring difference here is my opinion of Power Lift. I think Power Lift is great but unnecessary. A lot of the time, you can get an adequate boost in power with, say, Double Dipped Items or even just a single Power Punch. This is especially true for bosses where you’re planning to take damage to achieve Danger/Peril. The DEF boosts can get in the way, and while you can avoid those, it makes your ATK boosts worse since you’re wasting time waiting for the arrows to appear. It does pair well with P-Up, D-Down (and the partner variant), though. That was really the only difference. Supernova taking last might be a bit of a surprise, but Art Attacks just outperforms it at almost every step.
Alright, those are the rankings for TTYD. Let’s dive into 64!

PARTNERS

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The big difference is the 5-7 spots. To be honest, these were big toss-up votes for a lot of people. While Parakarry is solid damage all-around and useful early-game, I rarely use him because Sushie does basically the same things he does but better. Air Lift is nice, but… Water Block is much better, and Lakilester has an AoE version. Goombario is uncontested in single-target damage, but it’s barely needed and requires Ultra Rank. Lakilester has Cloud Nine, a move that’s better than all 3 Lucky Badges combined in terms of evasiveness and he’s got a full-screen clean-up move in Spiny Surge, but I’ll be honest — I don’t use him often.

STAR POWERS

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The big difference is my Refresh > Star Storm and Time Out > Smooch. I think Star Storm is great, but when it comes to dealing damage Mario usually has it covered. Refresh is useful throughout the game and is a key component in more restrictive runs. As for Time Out > Smooch — while Time Out really isn’t that great to begin with, I think the healing provided by Smooch coupled with its cost just isn’t really worth it. More than Up & Away, but I’d rather inflict status. There was quite the debate over some of the middle locations — partly because, well…you don’t really need any besides the first 3; they just out-class the rest super hard. For me, I’d take status > 20 HP heal, especially when that’s readily available with items. Refresh at least is only 1 SP and can be used multiple times with lower HP amounts (which challenge runners tend to have rather than going for 25+).

And that’s it for TTYD/64 Partners and Special Moves/Star Powers! We’re now on 64 Badges, so expect another post in the future once that’s been completed. Do you agree or disagree with these lists? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter, or on Facebook! And that post I mentioned in my badge tier list is coming! I swear!

Link to Glitz Pit Server: https://discord.gg/0yohFnSHDvBexU7i

Just Sayin’

Paper Mario Talks — An Examination of Danger Mario

When Mario is at 5 HP or less, he’s in what’s known as Danger. If he has 1 HP, he’s in Peril. In Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, there are badges that only activate when you’re in Danger or Peril. These badges are as follows:

— Close Call (and partner variant) [Increases chance of enemies missing]
— Last Stand (and partner variant) [Halves damage Mario takes]
— Power Rush (and partner variant) [Increases damage Mario deals by 2]
— Mega Rush (and partner variant) [Increases damage Mario deals by 4 (64) / 5 (TTYD)]

These 4 badges are quite powerful and represent a “last chance” kind of effort for the player. It allows them to win by the skin of their teeth in normal gameplay, especially if you have Mega Rush equipped, which only activates when Mario’s in Peril. However, if a player is upgrading HP often, these badges become less useful because you can go entire battles without it activating. On the flip side… there is a badge setup known as Danger Mario. A character in both games called Chet Rippo allows Mario to swap stats around. This makes it possible to make Mario’s HP 5 instead of 10, effectively putting him in permanent Danger. This is the basis of Danger Mario, and it enhances these 4 badges beyond their normal usefulness.

Now, Danger Mario is quite notorious. Many players frown upon it, saying it’s powerful, but not fun. I’m inclined to agree, but I’ll save my opinions for later. For now, let’s jump into what makes Danger Mario so good. Let’s break down TTYD’s first, as it’s the one most well-known as the “Danger Mario” build.

There are quite a few builds of Danger Mario in TTYD. The first one is the most common: hyper offense.

Here’s the setup:

Hyper Offense Danger Mario

– FP Plus
– Spike Shield
– Ice Power
– Multibounce
– Power Bounce
– Quake Hammer
– Power Rush x20+

Now, you’re thinking “20+ Power Rushes? What??” Well, in the Pianta Parlor, you’re able to buy badges for tokens you win while at the parlor. One of them happens to be Power Rush. Buy enough, and you can make Mario a monster, dealing up to 99 damage per Jump if you buy and equip enough. With Spike Shield and Ice Power, Mario can jump on any enemy barring those on the ceiling, but that’s what Quake Hammer is for. Multibounce allows you to OHKO basically every enemy, and Power Bounce lets you destroy bosses in one turn. Truly, this is Mario’s most powerful form offensively.

This specific setup is the one everyone knows about. There are plenty of videos of it online. The reason it’s so powerful is that you can stack badges in TTYD, and there’s an infinite supply of Power Rush badges for Mario to equip. The other three badges can be stacked, but you need to grind badge drops from enemies, making builds focused around stacking them more tedious to implement. The other one I’ve seen used often is one with a bunch of Close Calls, which makes Mario an evasion tank that will never be hit.

Now let’s look at 64’s Danger Mario. Unlike in TTYD, you’re only able to get one of each badge. But, Last Stand functions differently in 64. Instead of being last in the damage calculation and rounding the damage taken up, Last Stand comes before Guarding & Damage Dodges, and rounds down. This is a significant difference and makes Danger Mario in 64 much more potent defensively than TTYD’s. It’s the only Danger Mario setup that can successfully use a Peril Mario setup.

Now, an offensive build in 64 is actually not incredibly potent. While you have Jump Charge/Hammer Charge, Mega Rush and Power Rush don’t stack with each other like they do in TTYD. Furthermore, Mega Rush only increases your ATK by 4. Without any other badges, you’re sitting at only 7 damage with Ultra Boots. Couple in the lack of partners using items AND lack of ATK-increasing items, and your only real way of powering up is Watt’s Turbo Charge, which makes your ATK 8. No, offense isn’t what makes Danger Mario in 64 so potent. It’s Mario’s defensive setup. Let’s look at Tank Mario.

Here’s the build skeleton:

Tank Danger Mario

– Last Stand
– Damage Dodge x2
– Defend Plus
– P-Down, D-Up
– Fire Shield

Without Last Stand active, Mario’s current DEF is 2. With a Guard and two Damage Dodges, Mario can reduce his total damage taken by 5. If you add in Sushie’s Water Block, that total is now 6. With Chill Out, it’s 9. If the move is a Fire move, Fire Shield blocks that for an extra 1 point of damage. Now, since Last Stand comes before guarding, a move reduced by Last Stand can have its damage output effectively reduced by 6 (7 for a fire move) before Last Stand takes effect.

Let’s see what Mario’s taking before he guards with Last Stand active!

  • Final Bowser’s Flame Breath (10) -> 3 / 2 -> 1
    • No Chill Out = 6 / 2 -> 3
      • No Water Block = 7 / 2 -> 3
  • Final Bowser’s Lightning Blast (10) -> 4 / 2 -> 2
    • No Chill Out = 7 / 2 -> 3
      • No Water Block = 8 / 2 -> 4
  • Star Rod Powered Final Bowser Flame Breath** (20) -> 16 / 2 -> 8
  • Huff N. Puff’s Full Power Ground Slam (15) -> 9 / 2 -> 4
  • Huff N. Puff’s Ground Lightning* (12) -> 7 / 2 -> 3
  • Anti Guy’s Flashy Attack (12) -> 6 / 2 -> 3
    • No Chill Out = 9 / 2 -> 4
      • No Water Block = 10 / 2 -> 5
    • No Water Block = 7 / 2 -> 3

*Huff N’ Puff’s Lightning Attacks go through Water Block’s 1 DEF increase.
**When Bowser has the Star Rod active, Chill Out will not work on him.

Look at that damage! Because no attacks pierce in 64, everything is affected by all DEF boosts Mario has. Now, let’s factor in Guarding and Damage Dodges!

  • Final Bowser’s Flame Breath = 0 damage
    • No Chill Out = 0 damage
      • No Water Block = 0 damage
  • Final Bowser’s Lightning Blast = 0 damage
    • No Chill Out = 0 damage
      • No Water Block = 1 damage
  • Star Rod Powered Final Bowser Flame Breath = 5 damage
  • Huff N. Puff’s Full Power Ground Slam = 1 damage
  • Huff N. Puff’s Ground Lightning = 0 damage
  • Anti Guy’s Flashy Attack = 0 damage
    • No Chill Out = 1 damage
      • No Water Block = 2 damage
    • No Water Block = 0 damage

So, with 6 badges equipped, Mario has successfully negated damage from all but a few attacks, and some don’t even need Water Block or Chill Out! The only move that truly defeats him is Final Bowser’s Flame Breath while being boosted with the Star Rod. That’s an insanely tanky Mario. Even without the extra badges increasing DEF, Last Stand rounding down coupled with Chill Out or Water Block can cripple most enemies and bosses for practically the whole game. And, unlike TTYD where you have to wait until after Chapter 5 to access permanent Danger Mario, you can access permanent Danger as early as pre-Chapter 2 in 64. You also don’t need to stack any badges to achieve this level of defensive prowess.

With only 6 badges equipped, you have more than enough BP to equip some badges that boost ATK, D-Down Jump, Flower Saver, HP Drain, and more! You can also equip Dodge Master for easier guarding. With this setup, Mario can basically emulate superguarding from TTYD by equipping Zap Tap and tanking his way through enemies.

So, now that we’ve broken down common builds of Danger Mario and how they function, what do I think of Danger Mario? I think 64 definitely has the more broken Danger Mario. It requires no grinding for stackable badges and only requires a few badges to be truly terrifying. Even Last Stand alone is ridiculous, and because Chill Out exists, it just cripples enemies.

And yet, for how broken 64 Danger Mario is, I find it fun to use when it’s needed. Using only 1 of each badge forces more strategic thinking and planning in both games. And with the exclusion of items like Point Swap and Trial Stew in 64, it becomes even more pronounced. And, because most damage is moderately high from more deadly enemies if you miss a guard, there’s still a feeling of tension. You can’t mindlessly run through the game Multibouncing everything in sight with +40 ATK. If you miss a couple guards, you’ll probably game over. I feel the same way about TTYD, but like I said earlier, that only applies with 1 of each badge equipped. Stacking a ton of them can be fun once just to see Mario run a train through every enemy and boss left, but being a challenge runner, I prefer being challenged and not mindlessly playing. Although, I will say I think the evasion tank build is quite hilarious and cool, and am a fan of it over the hyper offense setup.

All that being said, I do tend to stay away from Danger badges – especially Mega Rush in TTYD and Last Stand in 64 – if I can help it, but I’ll use them if I need to. Sometimes, the most elegant or most creative strategies require them.

Also, Close Call is incredible. Seriously.

Just Sayin’