[Discussion] Buff/Nerf Thread!

Anything you feel is way too strong or too weak? Explain your reasoning here and give suggested input.

For beginners, Ill mention the combination of Viper Occultist and Unguided Entity.

Recomending a nerf to it, heres why:
The combination of Viper and Unguided Entity oneshots any target as long as you keep your power balance high enough. The percentage-based damage makes endless builds very easy to pull off (4x this combo, a topaz paragon and a pegasus with Electroheart beats anything in the game, basically)

Thanks for starting this thread! I’m curious to hear what everyone has to say.

I took a look at Unguided Entity and it’s actually bugged; it should only ever deal damage equal to 40% of the target’s Current Health under any circumstance.

Seems Cephyric beat me to making this! Replying here, then:

The following are just my opinions: some folks obviously have a lot more experience with the game than I do, and hopefully they’ll chime in.

Nerfs

Unguided Entity + Incantation: Won’t go into much depth on this one because there is another thread on it, but at max power balance this theoretically one-shots anything.

Doom Devil: Timebomb at will is another one of those “endless depth” things, so long as you can stall long enough for the devil(s) to kill everything. Gets crazy with Itchy Finger. Perhaps Timebomb should just do damage?

Perfect Defenders: This one’s going to be a bit controversial, but hear me out. I’m specifically talking about two things here: the Mummy Lord and the Witch Doctor Sacrificer. The problem being that once you get a “perfect defense” set-up, the rest of the tanks in the game feel entirely useless in comparison. Why bother with a Chaos Guard when I set it up so I never take more than one damage from attacks, ever? This gets more problematic because both Death Beckons and Blood Dance have flaws built into the abilities…flaws that can be countered with another ability (Steadfast Resilience and Cloak and Dagger, respectively.) Perhaps the abilities should prevent you from keeping those respective buffs?

Buffs

Troll Alemaster: I actually feel a little awkward putting this here, because I get the impression that this is a joke creature and not really intended to be used in any serious capacity. Nonetheless, I’m bringing him up. Near as I can tell, Mystery Brew just slaps a random debuff on everyone in the battle, either Buzzed, Tipsy, Drunk, or Smashed. Which is hilarious, sure, but it screws you over more often than it messes up the enemy, since two of those buffs can restrict commands. The last thing you want is a defender to get Tipsy, for example, and near as I can tell this provides you with no real benefit or way to exploit it that benefits you more than the enemy. Other than tweaking the debuffs, perhaps Mystery Brew should instead inflict everyone with a gradually shifting debuff, like going from Buzzed -> Tipsy -> Drunk -> Smashed as the battle continues. At least then it would be something you could plan around.

Dryad Naturalist: Already acknowledged, but I’m putting it here for completeness: the Naturalist’s ability is just a worse version of the Nightmare Golem’s.

Twisted Devil, Elder Ent, etc.: The best buff these guys can get is the removal of Villify and Warp Reality. Egad. That said, the Twisted Devil in particular is a bit puzzling. He’s a tier one creature, the starter for Chaos mages, but he doesn’t actually seem any good at his job as an attacker until much, much later when you can build around buffing Luck. At the least, he feels like a much weaker tier one critter than things like the Iron Golem.

Minotaur Warrior, Minotaur Juggernaut, Winter Aspect, etc.: These creatures kind of lost their purpose with the taunt nerf. You can no longer even attempt to make a creature that is both a tank and an attacker, since Taunt now requires provoking and the meta basically asks that you take one creature and make him go full on defense for tanking purposes. So, any creature that is effectively “get hit to increase damage on attack” is dubiously useful at best. This is particularly perplexing for the Minotaur Juggernaut, who explicitly needs to hit the attack button to use his ability.

Other Thoughts

Abbadon Guard: See the above re: Minotaur Warriors and such. At least some use for Sidewinder can be used, but I don’t think it will see anything other than Assault Stance due to how binary tanking is in this game. Perhaps, at the very least, they should get the ability to stack stances?

Nightmare Mummy and Topaz Paragon: So, I don’t think these abilities are OP on their own. Rather, I think they expose a problem with the magic system in the game. There’s something clearly wrong when I find that the game is much more fun and interesting when you completely remove the magic system from it. I know this is undergoing a change in the future, but I’m going to express that my problems with the magic system is mostly that it benefits enemies more than it benefits me. They don’t need to worry about limited spell charges, I do. That alone is enough to banish spells into a “save it for emergencies” role for folks like me. The fact that enemies can just randomly throw an Aftermath or Armageddon from nowhere is enough for me to think that Nightmare Mummy is a mandatory creature for any of my builds.

That’s enough for now. I think discussing the nuances of which attackers are better than others can come later.

I hate to mention it, but I’d have to say Electroheart (there’s a reason Cephyric put it in an unbeatable group). It’s just a bit too easy to abuse if you know how the enemy AI works. Make it a tempting target, and anything but spells will automatically give you 2 turns for free. And it’s quite easy to get the creature up in the meantime and repeat the process. Maybe make it non-resurrectable, or only a 1 turn stun.

Though I’d have to say, I’d like to see abilities follow more of a level/rarity trend for their power. Some skills can be very powerful if you need to get L30 on More Creatures, and their respective legendary material should be hard to find. Skills will never be fully even, but at least you can say you worked hard, or got really lucky, for some of the more powerful ones.

I agree with Electroheart being reduced to one turn, and maybe also not a 100% proc rate as well. One of the silliest abilities in the game, especially if you combine it with Cradle to the Grave.

I think something that would help is an anti-stun ability or three. I considered asking about it as a basic ability, but I think it would be fine to add as skills, such as a 30% chance to negate stun for the entire team, or 75% chance to negate stun on an individual creature. Stun tends to be one of the most powerful abilities. Calm is obviously as powerful, but much less common.

Actually, calm reminds me of something else I want to bring up, and that’s creatures that completely hose an entire strategy.

This may be another controversial opinion, but if a strategy is too strong, then that should be nerfed, not “fixing” it by introducing a creature that just completely screws the composition with no counterplay possible. Talking about things like Mutant Swampdwellers, Frenzy Ghouls, and yes, even Nightmare Mummies (if the magic system gets improved.) They just show up and say “lol, your composition is now useless, enjoy the stomping!” and proceed to destroy you. There’s no creature that counters them, they just kill healers/tanks/whatever. Mercury Slimes and Volcanic Efreets do the same, except that they are countered…by one of the uncounterable “destroys X strategy” creatures.

I’d rather they simply not exist, though an alternative that would at least be tolerable is to have the debuffs immediately disappear as soon as the offending creature is killed. Right now Blight and Frenzy linger for a while after the creature is dead.

I don’t want to sound scornful, but isn’t there a counter to hard counters?

Scorn doesn’t cause already applied buffs/debuffs to disappear immediately. You scorn a Frenzy Ghoul, you’re still afflicted by Wrath until it times out, same as if you killed him.

Edit: Not to mention only two creatures natively apply Scorn that I’m aware of…one of which only has a 50% chance to apply it, the other triggers it only when hit. I question if it’s healthy at all to have creatures whose abilities utterly destroy things as ubiquitous as healing and tanking.

… well-played

[quote=“Grakor456, post:9, topic:846”]Scorn doesn’t cause already applied buffs/debuffs to disappear immediately. You scorn a Frenzy Ghoul, you’re still afflicted by Wrath until it times out, same as if you killed him.

Edit: Not to mention only two creatures natively apply Scorn that I’m aware of…one of which only has a 50% chance to apply it, the other triggers it only when hit. I question if it’s healthy at all to have creatures whose abilities utterly destroy things as ubiquitous as healing and tanking.[/quote]

The Pit Guard has a ~44% chance to inflict Scorn on hit, and Summon Wild Imps will duplicate its effect on any monster.

~*~

Hosers

On the contrary, I think hard counters are completely necessary. Your point about perfect defenders only stands so long as there isn’t a Frenzy Ghoul on the other team, for example. Mutant Swampdweller, additionally, I don’t count as a hard counter because Blight does not prevent healing from happening, and doesn’t kill creatures after it inflicts proportionate damage, which means that Pit Wraith Dominator still gets its boost even against Swampwalker, and enemies still have to target and kill your creatures instead of autowinning.

Also, Scrolls of Mass Dispel will remove any detrimental status once the status creator is gone.

That said, Nightmare Mummies, I agree, are not good for the metagame. It’s not so much what effect they have against creatures as what they do to the player; they nerf an entire class, making all but one of the Wizard’s class perks useless, and that one an out-of-battle passive. I don’t agree with punishing the player for picking an already tough-to-play class.

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Luck Creatures and Builds

I agree completely that Vilify and Warp Reality threaten the usefulness of a dozen creatures easily, and require nerfing. Where every other stat debuff in the game is a percentage and recoverable from, only these two completely and outrageously tank a stat to effectively nothing.

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Perfect Defenders

These aren’t as bulletproof as you think they are. Stun knocks down your defense for a turn, Wrath prevents it entirely, and Grip/Snare can keep you indefinitely paralyzed. Damaging effects such as Enchantment / White Knuckles / Carrion Swarm don’t care about your defenses at all; and Faith Hunter has a good chance to kill you outright for even trying.

I’m satisfied that they’re balanced, given these counters, though the WDS is undeniably the strongest defense you can obtain in the game, and may need a minor nerf.

~*~

Status Creatures

I’m already nervous with how badly status has been nerfed in this game; it’s got to be a valid alternative to damage, and the methods by which this is plausible are decreasing rapidly. Gravestorm + Electroheart does need nerfing, I admit, but Timebomb seems valid to me, given that it’s effectively a random 2HKO that requires defending (lots of things will punish you for this).

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Creatures that Need a Buff

Frozen Spirit: It’s a cool concept, but creatures that defend and provoke are incredibly likely to keep defending and provoking, because they’re built to do so. Frozen impedes neither of these things whatsoever, and only bothers you if for some reason you decide to have your tank punch things in the face.

Minotaurs in General: They’re intended to get stronger from being punched in the face, but hybrid builds are unimpressive at best, and this means you have a damaged creature leaving off defense duty and exposing other, softer-bellied monsters to attack, so that it can . . . deal mild damage. Because you built it as a tank so that it could survive taking shots in the first place. There’s a problem here.

Minion Monsters: Every single monster in the game that uses minions is slightly underpowered, bar the Blood Hound (due to its plethora of support) and the Lich King (Deathknights are basically SuperLeech, which is already a valid ability for the Bats). I’ve never had a time where I wanted to use a Mutant Seadweller, or Pit Guard, or Planetary Amaranth, or Mauler Fend. A small side benefit to make them more effective than “I casted a Summon spell” would make them more distinct.

Mutant Rotmongeror: Skeleton Cannoneer does literally everything better than this creature, and that is a big problem in terms of design.

Pestilient Smog: Infection and Disease now deal damage off of the inflictor’s base Speed and Luck. This creature has base 6 Speed and base 10 Luck. It doesn’t need to be attempting to inflict Infection and Disease anymore.

Priest of Light: This creature has a 40% chance to heal your party for a total of 105% health on its turn, distributed randomly and inequally. Ashwood Ent heals everyone for 20% on their turn, in a reliable and predictable manner that always works and grants 120% health over the length of a round (and gets better with turn-stealing shenanigans).

Red Storm: Stagger is cool, but with the crappy Attack of the Storms in general, you’re not going to be doing anything worthwhile with it. The Storms in general need a damage-dealer species to make him more viable, or he needs a buff.

Winter Aspect: The Minotaur conundrum again - if this creature’s ability boosts attack, what am I doing trying to draw fire?

Wildfire Efreet: Objectively worse than Dragon Soldier, now.

Carnage Antagonizer: A half-and-half chance to deal damage to an attacker based on a tank’s dump stat. Minotaur conundrum!

Not looking to start an argument, but I do want to clarify a few things.

Hosers: There are two different design philosophies here. Yes, in the current game Frenzy Ghoul is necessary to create a hole in perfect defense set-ups. My argument is that if those set-ups weren’t available, Frenzy Ghoul would not only be not necessary, but it’d be harmful to the game’s balance. If I’m using a non-perfect defense set-up, you don’t need Wrath to take down my Chaos Guard/Autumn Aspect/Troll King/Whatever tank, it just makes that creature completely useless for the first several rounds of the battle. (And yes, Blight is probably the lesser of the evils here compared to Wrath because Blight itself can’t kill you. That said, in some ways I find it worse because you can’t exactly turn off healing abilities, and it actively harms you while Wrath just prevents an action.) So the question is: should the game be based on radical abilities with hard counters, or more moderate abilities with soft counters? I prefer the latter because it makes the game much easier to balance, as seen by my next point…

Perfect Defenders: The problem, as I said in my first post, is that they invalidate the vast majority of the other tanks in the game. Do you ever see anyone talk about using a Chaos Guard tank, or an Autumn Aspect, or a Troll King, or a Dragon Guardian? It’s always the same suspects every single time: Stronghold early game for perfect provoke, and then later most folks are either using Stronghold + WDS, a Cloak and Dagger WDS, or a Taunt Mummy Lord. Heck, the “why use X when Y does everything better?” question is especially relevant here. Why use a tank that boosts defense, when I can just use a Taunt Mummy Lord who reduces almost all of the same stuff that defense affects to one damage? Yes, there will be a few bizarre edge cases where another tank might have an edge, but nine times out of ten, why would you ever use a Dragon Guardian or Autumn Aspect over a Mummy Lord with Steadfast Resilience?

It’s the problem when you have extreme abilities that act as absolute hard counters. Blood Dance and Death Beckons are effectively hard counters to direct attackers, so what happens to the creatures that soft counter the same?

Edit: After re-reading this morning some of my comments sounded more passive-aggressive than I intended, so I removed those bits. Sorry guys.

Alright, I can see your point then. There needs to be better game balance between the WDS/Shadowdancer combo and the rest of the tanks, but I feel like Mummy Lord, at least, is balanced due to its incredibly difficult-to-get status.

I still disagree with you about hosers, but that’s likely a personal preference, because I think any creature whose ability prevents a strategy you don’t even necessarily use (Pegasus never needs to defend/provoke, for example) is justified in having a powerful effect on that strategy.

[quote=“VagrantSun, post:11, topic:846”]~*~

Hosers

On the contrary, I think hard counters are completely necessary. Your point about perfect defenders only stands so long as there isn’t a Frenzy Ghoul on the other team, for example. Mutant Swampdweller, additionally, I don’t count as a hard counter because Blight does not prevent healing from happening, and doesn’t kill creatures after it inflicts proportionate damage, which means that Pit Wraith Dominator still gets its boost even against Swampwalker, and enemies still have to target and kill your creatures instead of autowinning.

Also, Scrolls of Mass Dispel will remove any detrimental status once the status creator is gone.

That said, Nightmare Mummies, I agree, are not good for the metagame. It’s not so much what effect they have against creatures as what they do to the player; they nerf an entire class, making all but one of the Wizard’s class perks useless, and that one an out-of-battle passive. I don’t agree with punishing the player for picking an already tough-to-play class.

~*~

Luck Creatures and Builds

I agree completely that Vilify and Warp Reality threaten the usefulness of a dozen creatures easily, and require nerfing. Where every other stat debuff in the game is a percentage and recoverable from, only these two completely and outrageously tank a stat to effectively nothing.

~*~

Perfect Defenders

These aren’t as bulletproof as you think they are. Stun knocks down your defense for a turn, Wrath prevents it entirely, and Grip/Snare can keep you indefinitely paralyzed. Damaging effects such as Enchantment / White Knuckles / Carrion Swarm don’t care about your defenses at all; and Faith Hunter has a good chance to kill you outright for even trying.

I’m satisfied that they’re balanced, given these counters, though the WDS is undeniably the strongest defense you can obtain in the game, and may need a minor nerf.

~*~

Status Creatures

I’m already nervous with how badly status has been nerfed in this game; it’s got to be a valid alternative to damage, and the methods by which this is plausible are decreasing rapidly. Gravestorm + Electroheart does need nerfing, I admit, but Timebomb seems valid to me, given that it’s effectively a random 2HKO that requires defending (lots of things will punish you for this).

~*~

Creatures that Need a Buff

Frozen Spirit: It’s a cool concept, but creatures that defend and provoke are incredibly likely to keep defending and provoking, because they’re built to do so. Frozen impedes neither of these things whatsoever, and only bothers you if for some reason you decide to have your tank punch things in the face.

Minotaurs in General: They’re intended to get stronger from being punched in the face, but hybrid builds are unimpressive at best, and this means you have a damaged creature leaving off defense duty and exposing other, softer-bellied monsters to attack, so that it can . . . deal mild damage. Because you built it as a tank so that it could survive taking shots in the first place. There’s a problem here.

Minion Monsters: Every single monster in the game that uses minions is slightly underpowered, bar the Blood Hound (due to its plethora of support) and the Lich King (Deathknights are basically SuperLeech, which is already a valid ability for the Bats). I’ve never had a time where I wanted to use a Mutant Seadweller, or Pit Guard, or Planetary Amaranth, or Mauler Fend. A small side benefit to make them more effective than “I casted a Summon spell” would make them more distinct.

Mutant Rotmongeror: Skeleton Cannoneer does literally everything better than this creature, and that is a big problem in terms of design.

Pestilient Smog: Infection and Disease now deal damage off of the inflictor’s base Speed and Luck. This creature has base 6 Speed and base 10 Luck. It doesn’t need to be attempting to inflict Infection and Disease anymore.

Priest of Light: This creature has a 40% chance to heal your party for a total of 105% health on its turn, distributed randomly and inequally. Ashwood Ent heals everyone for 20% on their turn, in a reliable and predictable manner that always works and grants 120% health over the length of a round (and gets better with turn-stealing shenanigans).

Red Storm: Stagger is cool, but with the crappy Attack of the Storms in general, you’re not going to be doing anything worthwhile with it. The Storms in general need a damage-dealer species to make him more viable, or he needs a buff.

Winter Aspect: The Minotaur conundrum again - if this creature’s ability boosts attack, what am I doing trying to draw fire?

Wildfire Efreet: Objectively worse than Dragon Soldier, now.

Carnage Antagonizer: A half-and-half chance to deal damage to an attacker based on a tank’s dump stat. Minotaur conundrum![/quote]

I know, it might seem lazy, but Vagrant quite excellently took the words out of my mouth on all accounts. In stead of spending everyone’s time reading a rewording of this quote, I figured it’d be better to do it this way. Vagrantsun, I couldn’t agree more. This is me saying that my opinion is as previously stated.

[quote=“VagrantSun, post:13, topic:846”]Alright, I can see your point then. There needs to be better game balance between the WDS/Shadowdancer combo and the rest of the tanks, but I feel like Mummy Lord, at least, is balanced due to its incredibly difficult-to-get status.

I still disagree with you about hosers, but that’s likely a personal preference, because I think any creature whose ability prevents a strategy you don’t even necessarily use (Pegasus never needs to defend/provoke, for example) is justified in having a powerful effect on that strategy.[/quote]

I think the point he makes about hosers, at least with one subject, is that they counter -all- tanks and nerf them, rather than just the strongest ones, so you’re nerfing something that’s already outclassed. Pegasus is already a top tier tank, so avoiding the big counter puts it even higher up. I have no problem with them existing otherwise, though, but Wrath counters imperfect tanks as well as perfect ones. :stuck_out_tongue: It’s still not a very large issue since it’s one high-tier monster out of hundreds and you can cleanse the ailment after you kill it, though.

I also disagree with a creature’s balance being based on its difficulty to obtain. Higher tier/rarer creatures should have fancier/more complex abilities, but they should try to focus on balance between tier 1 and 30+powerspells. Otherwise high level teams become more samey. I think Mummy Lord should be disallowed to use Taunt, but possibly get a buff to its provoke redirection chance as compensation, so it isn’t objectively better than any other defense-based tank by virtue of having essentially infinite defense. Defense piercing effects do break through, but all the other defense-stat tanks lose to that as well, so it evens out.

I agree with your other points, though, and strong strategies do need counters that exist in the game, as long as weak strategies aren’t also caught in the line of fire. :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: A bit of clarification on the “difficulty to obtain” point: I think Zack mentioned in the past that the tiers aren’t meant as a grading of strength, but a way to sort the monsters, for the most part. Simpler abilities tend to be gained earlier, as well, and more complex or unique ones come later. I’m fairly sure that the intent is that monsters from tier 1 are made to be able to compete with the final monsters you unlock, though a lot of the most impactful abilities do come later at this point in time. The “hard to get, but strong” effect comes from Nethers/Demons instead.

Yeah, jamosup explained that bit better than I did. And I agree with him on difficulty to obtain not really mattering for balance reasons. All creatures should be equally viable, which is a pipe dream, but one that we can still aspire to.

Also, silly me, I suggested buffs or reworkings of several creatures but didn’t offer suggestions on how to improve them. Off the top of my head:

Minotaurs

Since “get hit in the face and become more attack-focused” isn’t really worthwhile, it’s hard to keep with the minotaur’s theme. I think, though, that the overlying idea in a flavor sense is playing with the minotaurs getting really, really angry, and I think we can still play with the fury/frustration angle. Some ideas for abilities, some of which obviously will need balance numbers or adjustments:

Seeing Red: When this creature deals damage but fails to kill an enemy with an attack, it gains Rage and acts again. (Rage acts as both a steroid and a limiter here, since if he misses with Rage he can’t go again.)

Inescapable Fury: When an enemy creature dodges this creature’s attack, this creature immediately deals X% of this creature’s attack to the enemy.

Charging Bull: When this creature deals damage but fails to kill an enemy with an attack, it stuns the other creature in the enemy’s column and deals X% of this creature’s attack to it.

Winter Aspect

Simple improvement suggestions here: have the dodge debuff the enemy instead of buffing the Aspect. Perhaps decreasing enemy speed (thematic for winter) or attack, or inflicting frozen.

In my opinion over-specialized hoser (Frenzy Ghoul, Nightmare Mummy, Bone Reaper) are bad design because they offer nothing to the player. They are mostly there for the AI to break up certain player compositions. Creatures like Frenzy Ghoul or Mutant Swampdweller are rarely used by the player because their abilities are only useful in very few encounters.

A better design would be stone/paper/scissors and soft counter with interesting side effects. For example, the Bone Reaper could be immune to death effects and move to the top of the action queue when such an effect occurs.

As for the meat of the thread:
Buffs:
Frost Phoenix - Breath of the Tundra is pitiful compared to Electroheart of the Thunderstruck Phoenix
Rancid Imling - Release the Panic is a poor imitation (no damage reduction) of Chrysaor’s Ambition.

Nerf:
In my opinion at least Timebomb and Doom need to receive the same treatment as the other buffs. Charge is harder to acquire than Timebomb but was changed.
My suggestion would be
Timebomb: deal 400% of this creature’s attack to a random enemy. If the target dies from the attack this creature looses its turn.
Doom: Deal damage equal to 200% of the inflictor’s maximum health when the debuff expires. this makes it reasonable deadly within a wide realm range.

These are less prone to problems but still potentially problematic:
Haunt: vary chance to die based on the difference between inflictor’s and inflicted luck with 35% as baseline and 5% and 65% as maxiumums for infinitly greater luck
Stone: Base chance to shatter on difference between attacking creatures attack and attacked creature’s defense

Thunderstruck Phoenix - It should be closer to Frost Phoenix and Raven Ritualist. Currently it is an incredible powerful lockdown not even considering supercharging it with Cradle or any other resurrect.

Witch Doctor Sacrificer - limit damage reduction to the WDS max health
Mummy Lord - same

Pegasus - it is the only “automatic” taunt creature left after the Taunt change. I think it should only intercept when it is defending or provoking like any other tank.

Super-specialized hosers do have the niche of being useful for certain major sigils - the Lich Overseer sigil is essentially impossible without a Bone Reaper, and the Omnipotent Deity sigil would be extremely difficult without one or without out-statting it heavily. Nightmare Mummy is also sometimes used to turn off the spell system for people who don’t want to deal with their team getting blown up randomly. I agree though that for the most part I wouldn’t use a Frenzy Ghoul and to a lesser degree Bone Reaper for normal realm diving (though without a Reaper, any pair of omnipotent deities is an autowipe, so their ability still has merit).

Calamity is kind of OP right now anyway, at least in the hands of enemy formations. It was really over-tuned when it was moved away from % max health, since even on realm one an Omnipotent Deity can destroy an entire player team in one round from Calamity chaining off of itself.

I would suggest that the best way to deal with Nightmare Mummy is that it Silences five members of each team - that way if you need to cast a spell, you still can, and the enemy team isn’t completely gimped on the spell front.

Imlers and Imlings are barely competitive as well. I managed to take a team around one such pairing to realm 42, but that’s as deep as I could go, even with Calamity support and a perfect wall. In particular, the Imlings don’t offer anything I would consider worthwhile, with the exception of Diamond Imling and Putrid Imling; rez effects and free turns will always find a way to be abusable.