Kappy’s Spotlight — Mr. Softener

It’s time for another #KappySpotlight, 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 to dive into the world of items with an item that is almost never used in challenge running Paper Mario: TTYD — MR. SOFTENER!

Mr_Softener_TTYD

Move: Inflicts Soft (DEF-3) on all enemies

You’ll notice that there’s no Glitz Pit Rank on there. At this time, the Glitz Pit has not rated items for TTYD or 64 (although that might change in the future…). However, I can assure you that Mr. Softener is not perceived well. Soft as a status is largely not very useful because Mario and his partners already deal obscene amounts of damage, and items and special moves can pierce that DEF with ease. It also only works on enemies that actually have DEF. If a 0 DEF enemy is inflicted with Soft, it doesn’t become -3 DEF. A missed opportunity, really. For the record, Soft Stomp, the badge that can inflict Soft, is E+ tier — in other words, it’s not great.

So, with a high number of enemies (even in the end game) not having DEF, you’re not really going to be seeing use out of Mr. Softener when you could easily fit in something else. However, there are a few places where it could be used to some cool effect. To the Pit of 100 Trials!

PIT OF 100 TRIALS FLOOR 91/95/99

Loadout — Elite Wizzerd (12 HP) x5

Elite Wizzerds are a feared enemy in the Pit of 100 Trials, and for good reason! They have what looks like a measly 12 HP, but back it up with 8 ATK and 5 DEF. Yeah, 5. It’s pretty hard to deal damage to them, but Mr. Softener comes in to help! Elite Wizzerds are actually pretty susceptible to Soft — it’s an 80% chance to successfully inflict the status on them. Do a little more math and we find that using two Mr. Softeners results in an 84%* chance that 4 of them will be inflicted with Soft. Now, due to the different times, you can encounter these guys based on when you enter the Pit, there are a few ways we can utilize this.

NOTE: While there are 5 of them on the field, we’ll only be attempting to inflict the status on 4. This is because when there is one Elite Wizzerd left, it will always spawn clones. If you hit it and cause the clones to disappear, it will infinitely loop through it until you either don’t hit it, or it’s KO’d.

Let’s try a few variations!

BADGES: Quick Change, Double Dip, Mega Rush P (11 BP)

PRE-HOOKTAIL PIT
BP ONLY

T1: Double Dip (Mr. Softener x2), Shooting Star

T2: Sweet Treat, Swap to Koops, Power Shell

VANILLA
T1: Power Shell, Swap to Goombella, Double Dip (Mr. Softener x2)

T2: Swap to Koops, Power Shell, Fire Flower

DISABLED PRE-CHAPTER 2 PITT1: Double Dip (Mr. Softener x2), Appeal

T2: Earth Tremor, Swap to Koops, Power Shell

These strats are all for common Pit challenges, but they’re anything but common. While RNG can sometimes cause you to really not have the proper resources, most of the time a situation calling for Mr. Softeners is rare. However, these are pretty cool ways to defeat the dreaded 5 EW loadout, and it’s all done with Super Rank Koops (normally, challenge runners will use Goombella in the 90’s due to the many aerial enemies that appear). So, let’s break all of these down.

Koops at Super Rank does 3 with Power Shell, 8 with Mega Rush P. That’s 3 damage to Elite Wizzerds since they have 5 DEF. If they’re inflicted with Soft, they only have 2 DEF, bringing the damage Koops deals with Power Shell to 6. At that point, we just find the right item or attack to finish them off while Power Shell deals that 6 damage. For BP Only, a Shooting Star is required due to the 5 FP limit. The Vanilla one is pretty cool, but assumes you don’t have any Shooting Stars or Thunder Rages. The Disabled Pre-Chapter 2 Pit one could actually be done with just two Power Shells without Soft, but it’s still pretty cool.

Okay, we’ve got some early-game Pit strats for this loadout. Let’s try some end-game stuff with the same loadout!

10 FP

BADGES: Power Rush P x2, Power Plus P, P-Up D-Down P, Double Dip x2 (16 BP, 19 with FP Plus)

T1: Triple Dip (Mr. Softener x2, Point Swap Yoshi), Stampede

OR

15 FP

BADGES: Mega Rush P, P-Up D-Down P, Double Dip x2, Quick Change (16 BP, 22 with 2 FP Plus badges)

T1: Triple Dip (Mr. Softener x3), Swap to Yoshi, Stampede

OR

20 FP

BADGES: Mega Rush P, Power Rush P, Double Dip x2, Quick Change (15 BP, 24 with 3 FP Plus badges)

T1: Triple Dip (Mr. Softener x3), Swap to Bobbery, Bob-ombast

While the first strat is a cool way to utilize Danger Yoshi with one extra Power Rush P from the Pianta Parlor, the other two actually make use of inflicting Soft on all 5 Elite Wizzerds. The chance of 3 Mr. Softeners inflicting Soft on 4 Elite Wizzerds is 96%*, which is actually really solid. Adding one extra enemy to that makes it… 96%. Yeah, 3 Mr. Softeners offers a pretty high chance of inflicting Soft on these guys. So, with all 5 inflicted, we can utilize Quick Change to swap out to an already Peril’d Yoshi and Bobbery to deal exactly 12 damage with Stampede and Bob-ombast respectively. I actually really like these two strategies, especially since we’re making use of Bobbery in one of them.

I want to cover one other enemy in the Pit that Mr. Softener can be put to good use for.

PIT OF 100 TRIALS FLOOR 55

Loadout — 4 Moon Clefts

BADGES: Mega Rush P (1 BP)

T1: Mr. Softener, Power Shell

Moon Clefts are 100% susceptible to Soft, so using one results in all 4 being afflicted with it. This allows you to OHKO with Peril Koops in a Pre-Hooktail Pit instead of letting the Moon Clefts have an extra turn to attack. This is a great loadout to use a Mr. Softener on because you can save your other attacking items for the later floors where they count more, and a Mr. Softener is actually quite useful here because Fire Drive doesn’t work on Clefts.

There are quite a few other notable enemies when it comes to the Pit of 100 Trials that can be inflicted with the Soft status. Here’s a small list:

Wizzerd – 3 DEF – 90% chance to inflict Soft
Dark Bristle – 4 DEF – 100% chance to inflict Soft
Sky-Blue Spiny4 DEF90% chance to inflict Soft
Chain Chomp – 5 DEF – 95% chance to inflict Soft
Bob-ulk – 2 DEF – 85% chance to inflict Soft

Pretty nice that you can get rid of a Wizzerd’s DEF entirely with Soft, huh?

Since we’re covering an item that inflicts status, I want to point out that utilizing an item like Mr. Softener has an inherent flaw; like I say in the beginning of every post, I try to give these lesser used items and other things time to shine, but Mr. Softener is very difficult to use in pre-planned strats. Why? Because even with 3 used, they can still fail if an enemy isn’t 100% susceptible to it, and if they fail, the entire strat gets shot, forcing you to think on the fly and putting you in a potentially horrible position.

So, what can you use Mr. Softener for that’s not pre-planned? You could use it to stop Macho Grubba’s DEF+ buff (90% chance to inflict Soft with 1 Mr. Softener) when he uses that. You could use it against Magnus Von Grapple 2.0 (80% chance to inflict Soft with 1 Mr. Softener), any of the above enemies I listed in a pinch, or Bowser (also 80% chance) to deal a little more damage. But let me be frank — most are all still determined (even if only slightly) by RNG. When you use items like Mr. Softener, you always want to prepare for the case where it doesn’t work. And that causes them to inherently be unoptimal. For example, against Magnus Von Grapple 2.0 you could just use a Power Punch to negate the DEF he has, and it’s 100% guaranteed to work.

What I’m trying to ultimately say is that Mr. Softener and other items that inflict status are a special case. Sometimes, it’s the right call; sometimes, it’s a really bad call; and sometimes, it’s the only way you can get out of a potentially bad situation.

If we go back to the 5 Elite Wizzerds. You might be at a spot in the battle where, if that Mr. Softener hit 2 of the 3 left, you can KO them both and safely stall your way back to a good place so you can finish off the last one and go into the next fight looking good, or it allows you to KO them with your non-Peril partner out in the case of Pre-Hooktail, allowing you to level up safely. It’s really unlikely, but part of what makes a great Paper Mario player is realizing that even items with a chance of failing can be the right option. In Mr. Softener’s case, you’re not going to find that spot very often.

That’s it for today’s spotlight. What do you think of Mr. Softener and the Soft status? Do you like to use it against enemies with DEF, or do you prefer just stomping through with piercing moves and huge ATK? Despite my giant wall of text explaining why items like Mr. Softener aren’t great, I had fun coming up with these strategies, and there’s something to be said about the math and probability that goes into combat for Paper Mario: TTYD. Maybe now you’ll see a situation where Mr. Softener was the correct play to make mid-battle. Let me know!

*EDIT: Thanks to Jdaster64 (I’ve referenced him before; go check out his site! I get a lot of information from his stuff!) for pointing out the inaccuracy in my probability math. It’s actually a much better 98.5% to inflict Soft on 4 of 5 Elite Wizzerds with 2 Mr. Softeners and basically 100% on 4 of 5 Elite Wizzerds with 3.

Just Sayin’
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Kappy’s Spotlight — Supernova

It’s time for another #KappySpotlight, 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 one of Mario’s Special Moves in Paper Mario: TTYD — SUPERNOVA!

15-hozf2.png
SP Cost: 6
Move: Deals 15 (piercing) damage to all enemies
Glitz Pit Rank: 8th (of 8 Special Moves)Supernova, as you can see, was rated the worst of all of Mario’s Special moves. This is largely in part due to Art Attack costing 2 less SP and has the ability to deal more than 15 damage to a group of enemies. With max SP, you can fire off two Art Attacks before running out, which is pretty crazy considering the damage you can deal, so Supernova gets overshadowed really hard. It’s also the last Special Move you get in TTYD, making it a pretty mediocre reward for completing Chapter 7 when you’ve probably been KO’ing enemies left and right with Art Attack anyway. However, in runs where you’re limited in badges, Supernova can make for a nice way to deal massive damage to large bosses in Chapter 8 (Gloomtail and Shadow Queen are the only ones that come to mind), although you’re usually better off using Power Lift.Unlike some of the worst badges in TTYD, Supernova does have a niche use despite being so heavily out-classed by Art Attack. That niche use…is in Level Zero Pit. Art Attack struggles in two areas — hitting all enemies if they’re not in a straight line, or if there are 5 enemies on the field. Both limit Art Attack’s damage output. Many players have struggled to deal 12 damage to all 5 Elite Wizzerds with Art Attack, and if you have a combo of enemies in the air and on the ground, your circle has to be much bigger to deal 3 damage to all enemies consistently. So, let’s see where Supernova can be used well!

PIT OF 100 TRIALS FLOOR 94/98

Loadout — Swampire (20 HP), Elite Wizzerd (12 HP), Amazy Dayzee x2 (20 HP)

10 HP, 5 FP, Base Rank Yoshi
BADGES: None
ITEMS: None

T0: [Ultra Hammer First Strike] (Swampie: 14, Elite Wizzerd: 9, Amazy Dayzee 1: 17, Amazy Dayzee 2: 17)
T1: Supernova, Gulp [KO]

This is one of the only times where Supernova is better over Art Attack, and it’s because of the consistency of 15 damage no matter what. This strategy is pretty simple and is a staple in Level Zero Pit runs. You Ultra Hammer First Strike to deal damage to all enemies, then Supernova Turn 1 to KO both the Swampire and Elite Wizzerd, and Gulp to KO the Amazy Dayzees. In Level Zero, you don’t level up partners, so Yoshi only deals 4 damage with Gulp. It results in basically 100 Star Points, so you get a free Level Up utilizing this combo. Supernova is chosen over Art Attack because it’s very much possible to not deal enough damage to both Amazy Dayzees to KO them with Gulp while also KO’ing the Elite Wizzerd and Swampire with Art Attack.

This and 5 Elite Elite Wizzerds are two prime examples of Supernova being a great option, but like I said earlier, it’s pretty unoptimal everywhere else. Still, let’s try fitting it into a couple boss strategies!

GLOOMTAIL STRAT

10 HP, 5 FP
BADGES: Power Plus P x2, P-Up D-Down P, Mega Rush P, Power Rush P, Charge P, Double Dip (20 BP)
ITEMS: Point Swap

T1: Double Dip (Power Punch Goombella, Point Swap Goombella), Charge [Superguard breath]
T2: Multibonk (5-cap) (15), Supernova [KO]

This is just a slight variation of a common strategy utilizing Goombella as a powerhouse, but we fit in Supernova to save ourselves items, FP, and BP! Gloomtail has 80 HP and 2 DEF, so we need a lot of ATK to bring him down quickly. Ultra Rank Goombella has a base ATK of 3, so – Glooomtail’s 2 DEF is 1. We add 3 from two Power Plus P badges and P-Up D-Down P, then add in a Charge and Power Punch T1 for +4 ATK. Now Goombella’s as 8, but we Double Dipped, so we’re at 1 FP, so it’s an easy Point Swap to Goombella, adding +7 ATK with Mega Rush P and Power Rush P. I thought I’d fit in a strategy that utilizes superguarding, so we do all the prep Turn 1, which requires a superguard (or some luck with a Close Call P) to preserve Goombella’s peril status into Turn 2. Because the strategy is only two turns, it’s not terrible to require a superguard — it’s an easy reset and the save block is right next to the room Gloomtail is in.

Onto Turn 2. With a 6-cap, Goombella brings down Gloomtail to 5 HP with 15 + 14 + 13 + 12 + 11 + 10 = 75 damage, but we’re using Supernova, so let’s cut it off at 5 bonks and subtract the 10 damage bonk to bring the damage down to 65 and Gloomtail down to 15 HP left for a nice clean Supernova KO. Nice! We could’ve used a Thunder Bolt with 6 bonks, but we’re cutting down items used by KO’ing with Supernova instead, and we have enough ATK for a clean 65 damage with Multibonk.

GRODUS STRAT

10 HP, 10 FP
BADGES: Power Plus P x2, P-Up D-Down P, Double Dip P x2 (22 BP, 25 with FP Plus)
ITEMS: Power Punch, Spicy Pasta, Hot Sauce

T1: Earth Tremor, Triple Dip (Power Punch Goombella, Spicy Pasta Goombella, Hot Sauce Goombella)
T2: Supernova (35), Multibonk (5-cap) [KO]

Time to use Triple Dip against Grodus! This strat uses NO DANGER OR PERIL; awesome, since we’ve been abusing it a lot lately. As I mentioned in my Tornado Jump spotlight, Grodus has 1 DEF naturally and +1 DEF for every Grodus X on the field. We’ll be using Supernova for that since it pierces DEF.

Turn 1 is the setup. We use Earth Tremor to save on an item to take out all the Grodus Xs. We then Triple Dip a Power Punch, Spicy Pasta, and Hot Sauce on Goombella for +4 ATK. With that, two Power Plus P badges, and P-Up D-Down P, Goombella is sitting at 10 ATK, 9 against Grodus’s 1 DEF. Grodus uses lightning and deals damage, but that doesn’t really matter here. He summons two Grodus Xs.

Turn 2, we destroy him. Supernova takes care of the Grodus Xs while also dealing damage to Grodus, putting him at 35 HP. With only 1 DEF now, Goombella will start at 9 with Multibonk, with a 5-cap, Multibonk deals 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 = 35 damage, just enough to deal perfect damage to Grodus and KO him! We also achieved perfect SP use with Earth Tremor and Supernova = 8 total SP used, and we have 8 SP max.

And there you have it. Supernova is actually a pretty fun move to use, and it feels great to see “15” flash above all enemies on the field. While Art Attack basically renders it obsolete in most situations, there are a few times where it is actually the optimal choice, and it can still be worked into some cool strategies. I don’t strategize often with special moves as a way of dealing damage, so this was actually really fun to do! As always, feel free to utilize these strategies or modify them when playing yourself! Maybe you’ll find another cool way to use Supernova.

That’s it for this spotlight. Next time I’ll be doing an item from TTYD and asking for that item from readers like you on Twitter! Make sure to follow me there so you can voice what item you’d like me to cover!

Just Sayin’

Kappy’s Spotlight — Tornado Jump

It’s time for the first entry in my #KappySpotlight series! In this series, I cover badges/items/partners/etc… that are generally seen as “bad” and not used very often by challenge runners, and is aimed at giving them a chance to shine in strategies and to dive deeper into why they’re rated the way they are and how can they be used. I’m planning to release 1-2 every week (will depend on my schedule per week) — one will always come out Monday, and if I have time for another it will be on Friday!

The first thing I’ll be covering? A badge in TTYD that had cool potential but just never makes the cut — TORNADO JUMP!

Tornado_Jump_TTYD.png

BP Cost: 2
FP Cost: 3
Move: Deals 2/4/6 damage and creates tornadoes that deal 2 piercing damage to all midair and ceiling enemies. When stacked, gives +1 to the Jump damage and +2 to the tornado damage at double the FP cost.

Glitz Pit Rank: FF

Tornado Jump is that lovable meme badge that no one will ever use. Its biggest asset, the tornadoes, are pitifully weak and only hit aerial/ceiling enemies — that’s right, you don’t hit the grounded ones! With the ability to hit every enemy anyway with a myriad of moves (Stampede, Earth Tremor, Supernova, Fiery Jinx, attacking items, etc…), it’s hard to justify using it to hit multiple enemies. Something that I think really holds back Tornado Jump is that the tornadoes aren’t affected by increases to ATK. You could equip 20 Power Rush badges and still only deal 2 damage with the tornadoes from Tornado Jump. That’s rough.

One badge that really overshadows Tornado Jump’s utility is Multibounce. While Multibounce only does a single jump’s worth of damage, its ability to hit every enemy barring ceiling enemies almost always outclasses the tornadoes Tornado Jump provides, and the damage can be easily made up with increases to ATK. There is something to be said about Tornado Jump’s ability to deal Hammer-esque damage to a single enemy; it’s just at 3 FP it’s hardly ever worth the cost when you could Spin Jump or Power Jump for 1 less FP and more damage.

Despite this, people love the move for its amazing Stylish animation and really unique move. For challenge runners, it’s a great way to look at a badge that’s clearly outclassed by others. Almost any strategy you come up with for Tornado Jump is bound to be less efficient than a strategy utilizing better badges in terms of FP use and BP use, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some sick exact damage and low-turn strategies with it! Here are a couple end game boss strategies that make some use of its tornadoes and unique damage property.

GRODUS STRAT

15 HP, 15 FP
BADGES: Tornado Jump x2, Double Dip P, Power Bounce, Last Stand, Mega Rush (12 BP total, 24 with 2 FP Plus and 1 HP Plus)

ITEMS: Point Swap, Power Punch

T1: Tornado Jump, Double Dip (Power Punch Mario, Point Swap Mario) [Don’t Guard Lightning]

T2: Tornado Jump (39), Rally Wink, Power Bounce (6-cap) [KO]

This strat utilizes Tornado Jump to get rid of Grodus Xs while simultaneously using just enough FP to put Mario at 5 HP after Double Dip Turn 1 for a nice 4 damage lightning attack into Peril. Two Tornado Jumps equipped makes it a 6 FP move. Double Dip costs 4 FP, bringing the total to 10 FP used. With a Point Swap, Mario ends up with 5 HP and 15 FP. On Turn 1, the Tornado Jump used gets rid of all Grodus Xs since the tornado now deals 4 damage (they have 3 HP), but deals no damage to Grodus. Grodus’s 7-damage Lightning attack, which he always uses Turn 1, is reduced to 4 thanks to Last Stand, bringing Mario down to 1 HP, and putting us in Peril for Mega Rush to activate.

Now, Turn 2 is where all the setup pays off quickly. Mario’s base Tornado Jump at this point is 7 thanks to it being stacked. With Power Punch and Mega Rush, it’s now at 14. Grodus always spawns 2 Grodus Xs at the end of his turn, so there are two out on the field. For those of you who don’t know, Grodus has a special ability where his DEF increases by 1 for every Grodus X on the field. His base DEF is 1, so now he’s at 3 DEF, bringing Tornado Jump’s damage down to 11. So, we use Tornado Jump to deal that damage (Grodus has 50 HP max, so he’s now at 39 HP) and get rid of the Grodus Xs once more. Now Grodus only has 1 DEF. Goombella Rally Winks to give Mario an extra turn and we finish off with a 6-bounce Power Bounce that starts at 9. 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 equals…you guessed it, 39 damage exactly. With that, Grodus is brought down, and you’ve got yourself a nifty (albeit unoptimal) Tornado Jump strategy!

As you can see, to utilize Tornado Jump you need a lot FP and a few badges to help bolster it. For this particular strategy, you can get away with a 10 HP, 10 FP Mario, but you’ll need two Flower Saver badges and two Flower Saver P badges to pull off Turn 2 thanks to Tornado Jump’s crazy FP usage. And while I could have easily subbed in Power Rush to discard the use of Power Punch, the Double Dip FP use is actually a crucial move that needs to be done to manipulate FP correctly for Point Swap, which is what’s used to restore my FP without increasing it even further. You could get away with a slick Double Pain equip that puts you at 1 from 15 since Grodus would do 14 with Lightning and eliminate the need for Last Stand, but you’d need at least 20 FP to pull it off without Flower Savers equipped.

MAGNUS VON GRAPPLE 2.0 STRAT

10 HP, 15 FP
BADGES: Tornado Jump x3, Power Plus x2, Mega Rush, Power Rush, Jumpman (22 BP total, 28 with 2 FP Plus)

ITEMS: Hot Sauce x4

T1: Defend, Hot Sauce Mario [Guard Drill]
T2: Hot Sauce Mario, Hot Sauce Mario [Guard Drill]
T3: Spin Jump (39), Hot Sauce Mario [X-Punches released]
T4: Defend, Tornado Jump (22) [Audience Cannon]

T5: Jump [KO]

Another interesting use of Tornado Jump featuring everyone’s favorite boss, Magnus Von Grapple 2.0! The goal of this strategy is to manipulate Magnus Von Grapple 2.0’s HP triggers (63 for X-Punch release, 35 for audience cannon) to work a perfect Tornado Jump in that allows you to deal exact damage with a Jump for the KO the next turn. To do this, we use a beefy partner like Flurrie or Bobbery as a damage sponge while we buff Mario’s attack with Hot Sauce. The first two turns are a classic damage manipulation trick for Grapple 2.0. Until he hits 63 HP (max is 70), he’ll always use his Drill attack, which hits both Mario & Partner. The move does 6 damage, so we Defend Turn 1 and Guard to take 4 damage, then Guard Turn 2 without Defending to take 5 damage, making Peril easy to get to with 10 HP. While we’re waiting for this, our partner & Mario uses a few Hot Sauces to achieve a very specific 14 ATK for his Jump. Grapple 2.0 has 2 DEF, so with 3 Hot Sauces, we’re sitting at 6 base ATK, 9 with two Power Plus badges and a Jumpman. Then, once we get into Peril, that skyrockets to 16 ATK, which ends up to be 14 thanks to Grapple 2.0’s 2 DEF. We Spin Jump for 2 FP, dealing 14 + 17 = 31 damage, leaving Grapple 2.0 at 39 HP. This triggers him to release the X-Punches, which means he deals no damage Turn 3. We also use one extra Hot Sauce to give Mario an extra +1 ATK.

At this point, we Tornado Jump for a whopping 12 FP to deal 17 damage and 6 damage with the tornadoes (enough to KO both X-Punches), which puts Grapple 2.0 at 22 HP and triggers the Audience Cannon, which only hits the front, so we’re safe since our Partner is in front right now and Defending. Without the extra Hot Sauces from earlier, Mario’s base ATK with all badges and factoring in Grapple 2.0’s DEF is 11, which is just enough for a Jump attack to KO him with exact damage Turn 5.

So, there you have it! Feel free to try these strategies or modify them yourself! As you can see, Mario needs a little bit of setup to work in a Tornado Jump (namely FP), but it can be a pretty fun badge to try out. I will say that it definitely has no business being used unless you’re fighting a boss. Multibounce really is the superior choice for damaging multiple aerial enemies in, say, a 4 Poison Puff loadout or something of that sort. Despite it being one of the worst ranked badges by the Glitz Pit, I think this shows that even the worst badges can be worked into a relatively cool and unique strategy! I had fun coming up with them.

And that concludes my first spotlight. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!

Just Sayin’

Paper Mario Talks — Kappy’s TTYD Badge Tier List (& comparison to Glitz Pit Tier List)

Over the past few months, the Glitz Pit Discord Server (link at the end of this post) has been debating and voting on how good and how bad badges in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door are. Finally, this past week, discussion on badges has completed, and while we’re moving forward with partners in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, I thought I’d share that list alongside how I personally ranked every badge.

See, we had some 30+ players voting in the Glitz Pit, and all votes were taken and boiled down to a score. However, because of this, some votes for each player for certain badges differ from what is shown on the Glitz Pit. Obviously, this is to be expected; I, of course, have some pretty varied opinions on some badges, so let’s compare how I’d rate them to how the Glitz Pit rated them!

Before we do that, let’s categorize what each tier means (taken directly from the Glitz Pit on ranking badges):

S Tier — Well above average
A Tier — Above average
B Tier  — Slightly above average
C Tier — Average
D Tier — Slightly below average
E Tier — Below average
F Tier — Well below average

Now, F Tier badges aren’t “unusable”…generally speaking, S-B tier are badges you’ll likely keep equipped a good portion of the time, while C-F are more niche picks and filler.

First, let’s take a look at the Glitz Pit’s ranking. A few things to note are that, because of the aggregate of votes, there are +/- categories in each tier to represent a high/low end. SS = S=, and FF = F-. Badges within each tier aren’t listed in any order — they were basically listed by the order we voted them in.

glitz-pit-rankings

Now, here’s mine. I don’t really care what’s on the high or low end of a tier, so I didn’t include those. That also means I have no SS or FF tier. This is basically a list of how I voted for these badges during the rankings, so keep that in mind. They’re sorted in the order we voted them in per tier.

tierlist

I’ll talk about a few key differences:

Power Rush (GPRB: S; Kappy: A) — Yeah, I’m assuming heads will spin here. While, obviously, this badge is one of the most potent in the game and Danger Mario is easily the most optimal and broken strategy, we were rating them as if you could only get 2. In that context, I voted for A, because 2 Power Rush badges just aren’t as good as 1 Mega Rush. 2 BP for +4 vs 1 BP for +5, and with how easy it can be to get into Peril if you know what you’re doing, it’s really not an issue of difficulty when it comes to manipulating HP.

Fire Drive – (GPRB: A; Kappy: S) — This one’s a weird one. I’ve already explained why Fire Drive is in my Top 10 Badges in TTYD in my video on the subject, so I’ll defer to that for my explanation, but to summarize — my S vote comes from how this badge enables the possibility of ultra-hard challenges like 10 HP Prologue Pit, 10 HP No Mega Rush P Pre-Hooktail Pit, etc…

Double Dip (P) (GPRB: B+ [both]; Kappy: S [both]) — Again, another set where my video explains my reasoning here. I like free actions, and this badge provides them in spades for items. Many players felt they didn’t really need it, but I feel it’s an invaluable resource that makes set up ultra fast, ultra easy, and ultra awesome.

Power Jump (GPRB: C; Kappy: B) — Power Jump is actually a great option for early-game and with Flower Savers can be an amazing (and more damaging for a portion of the game) alternative to Spin Jump when stacked with 2 of them. I’d pick this over Spin Jump until you either get Ultra Boots or until you’ve got a couple ATK+ badges, especially against enemies with even 1 DEF. It’s an aerial hammer-esque move for Jump!

Pity Flower (GPRB: E-; Kappy: F) — A lot of casual players know this badge is pretty bad, si it might come as a surprise that the collective challenge run community got it into E tier (albeit on the lower end). While I voted F, I can actually understand how it ended up here, since when looking at other F Tier badges, this one can have niche use.

Those are the big differences I wanted to comment on, and that’s it for this post. What do you think of each list? Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter, or on Facebook!  I swear I’ve got something new coming for this blog for Paper Mario Talks soon. I should be releasing another post in early October comparing Items and Star Power/Special Moves!

Just Sayin’

Paper Mario Talks — Pro Mode & Hammer

Continuing with gushing about things I like in my last post about Pre-Hooktail Pit Runs, today’s topic covers something I found exceptionally interesting in Paper: Mario Pro Mode, and that’s how you approach The Master.

If you’re unaware, someone by the name of Clover created a mod of Paper Mario that enhances its difficulty. Enemies do double damage, badge costs have changed, FP costs have changed, new enemy layouts, smart AI, new areas to explore… it’s quite a lot of new content. If you’re curious, click here to check out the release trailer that contains a link to download!

Anyway… one boss, in particular, stood out to me in Pro Mode, and that was The Master. His entire gimmick was changed – he now starts at 0 ATK (first form) / 1 ATK (second form) / 2 ATK (final form) for his basic attack (his combo moves have set damage), and with every strike you inflict on him, his ATK for the basic attack increases by 1. This means a Jump increases his ATK by 2, and Hammer by 1. I’m sure you see where this is going, but let me explain: this new gimmick actually makes Hammer a more viable choice than Jump when fighting him.

In 64 and TTYD, Jump is generally vastly superior to Hammer. It has generally better badges (Multibounce, Sleep/Shrink/Dizzy Stomp, Power Bounce) and nets a greater increase in power when you increase your attack because the attack of both Jumps are increased when you perform a successful Action Command. So, essentially, your ATK for Jump is doubled when compared to Hammer. The only thing Hammer has going for it is against high-DEF enemies and challenge runs that restrict your badges…but most of the time, your partners are there to help clean up. It’s much more effective to rely on Jump than Hammer almost every time. I will note that the Hammer is inherently better in 64 than in TTYD thanks to awesome badges like Power Power Quake, which are souped up Quake Hammers that can easily out-damage Multibounce, but for single targets like bosses, Jump still reigns supreme. However, The Master in Pro Mode turns that on its head.

Because of his unique gimmick, the battle is more about maximizing single hit damage so you can better control how much damage he’s inflicting. You can’t attack The Master recklessly. You need to make sure you’re doing the most damage with every strike to maximize your own damage and minimize his. With Mario’s Hammer, you can more smoothly increment The Master’s damage output to manipulate your HP into Danger or Peril, and using Charge makes sure you’re doing 10+ damage per hit with Hammer and Power Smash or Mega Smash. This makes Hammer a much more viable choice. You need seriously beefed up Jump to match what the Hammer can do, and even then, you’ll have a much harder time manipulating his ATK if it’s always increasing by 2. Honestly, I’m impressed with his design, because Mario’s Hammer being superior carries through for all 3 forms of The Master. It’s a strange concept to grasp. Almost every other boss I fought had me using some combination of D-Down Jump, Spike Shield, Ice Power, and ATK-increasing badges. The Master was the only boss to make me choose Hammer over Jump.

And yes, you could use Power Jump or Mega Jump… but the Hammer itself costs no FP, and The Master has DEF as he grows stronger, so D-Down Pound becomes a viable choice in his later forms. Besides, those two specific Jump badges are Hammer-esque in how they work anyway!

That’s my short spiel on The Master in Pro Mode and why I like it so much. I wish more bosses made Hammer a clearly superior choice over Jump.

Just Sayin’

Paper Mario Talks — Skills of a Paper Mario Challenge Runner

Coffee…Check.
Fingers and hand stretched…Check.
Paper Mario information…Check.

I think I’m ready.

Welcome to Paper Mario Talks! In this new series, I’ll be exploring various areas of the Paper Mario series as it relates to gameplay, game design, and challenge running! I have a lot of opinions on this series that I haven’t really expressed to, well…anyone! So, what better way to talk about the series I love the most than through blog posts and videos!

Oh, yeah, there’ll be videos, too! They’ll be available on my YouTube channel. Here’s how it’s going to break down: these posts will be more in-depth into various topics of the series that I want to write about, and the videos will be more focused on my favorite/least favorite badges/partners/etc…

Paper Mario Talks will be more focused on Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door; the reason will be a topic all of its own!

To begin this series, I want to bring to light what challenge running is so that you know what angles I’m coming from. Unlike speedrunning, where the goal is to beat the game as fast as possible, challenge running aims to beat the game under certain conditions or with restrictions. This is to force a new style of gameplay or make the game harder. RPG’s are usually pretty great for these, as you can easily restrict certain items/attacks/level ups and change the way the game is played.

There’s a wiki detailing a lot of different challenges in the Paper Mario series to get you more familiarized with what I’m talking about. Check it out if you’re interested!

Anyway, today’s topic is about the core skills of a challenge runner in the Paper Mario series. There are four distinct skills I believe most great Paper Mario players are proficient in – execution, planning, game knowledge, and reactionary theory. Let’s define those:

Game Knowledge: How well you know enemies, their health, their stats, Mario’s abilities, partners’ abilities, boss AI, etc… This is an ever-growing skill until you’ve memorized everything. If you don’t know enough about the game, you can’t really improve the rest of your skills. However, it’s easy to improve this one – ask someone or look it up online. Besides Color Splash, the series is pretty old and has a lot of FAQs/guides dedicated to the other games in the series.

Planning: How well you can plan out a strategy for a given fight. If you know enough about a certain boss, you can plan turn-by-turn strategies around them. You can account for RNG and have a plan of attack no matter what the boss does. You can be adequately prepared for any kind of encounter. Theoretically, you can win fights before you even get to them! Everyone can plan to an extent, but truly remarkable players can optimize their strategies further.

Execution: This is Planning’s cousin. You can win fights before you even play them, but can you execute on your strategies and actually win the fight? Can you guard or superguard every attack you’re planning to? Can you hit all the necessary Action Commands? Planning & Execution go hand-in-hand with each other.

Reactionary Theory: Probably the trickiest of the skills challenge runners need. If your plan goes awry, how can you get back on track? Can you save the fight? If you encounter a certain enemy loadout that you weren’t expecting, can you formulate a plan for success? This kind of on-the-fly thinking is crucial to certain challenges and is great for when you messed up an Action Command or RNG truly shot down your strategy. This is the hardest skill to become proficient in.

These four together form the core of a great Paper Mario challenge runner. How I define these skills helps shape how I view challenge running – and by extension certain facets of the series – so I hope this helps shed some light on how I’ll be approaching the rest of the topics in Paper Mario Talks.

Just Sayin’