Arkona, Halfling Barbarian: Melissan and the Five
By now, everyone knows how this ended. Melissan had a bad day: a very, very bad day.
But the details matter- the details are interesting. Unfortunately, this post will be light on details at first due to RL constraints. I'm tired. It's time for me to go to bed. And yet I promised myself I'd finish covering Arkona's run this evening.
My intention is to dart through this now and then, hopefully, fill in some of the details tomorrow or the day after. Forgive my haste. It shouldn't detract from Arkona's accomplishment.
The Plan: Stay ranged, wield Seeking and the Reflex. Maintain 100% resistance to fire. Counter remove by rebuffing and conserve HLAs for the finish. Once Sendai's book is drained, go on the offensive. Bring Yaga-Shura to at least badly injured using Darts of Stunning and the Asp's Nest, and then finish Sendai to trigger Mel's arrival. Once Melissan arrives, stay close to her. Maintain a clear aura. Listen to her everyone word. When she says "praeses" use Focus. Once the Time Stop begins, set aside the Reflex, put Belm in the offhand and finish Illasera.
Next, take down the two remaining weak links: Gromnir and Sarevok. Finally, finish Abazigal with Arrows of Dispelling->Sling of Seeking and Yaga-Shura with Darts of Stunning->Foebane + Belm.
in the final showdown with Mel use the Potions of Magic Shielding that you've been saving to counteract Mel's save lowering on hit effect. Use the Defender + Hardiness + 100% cold resistance to cushion melee and Bone Blade damage. Use healers to counter damage so that PW:K range is never reached. At the same time, be careful to avoid being caught in a Time Stop. Use proximity, round counting, and savvy timing to insure that Melissan will never get a chance to execute Time Stop melee. Maintain distance until an opening emerges and then launch a full on melee assault with Ages in the main. Use your HLAs. Done't hold back. Finish as quickly as possible, while keeping an eye on your saves.
Execution: Everything went according to plan. Arkona was never really in danger here, although she did take some damage in the endgame.
Here we see the typical Balthazar allied opening: Sendai, Yaga Shura and Sarevok to the west.
Abazigal, Illaera, and Gromnir to the east.
In the opening rounds, Arkona spent most of her time on the move while Sendai expended her high level spells.
A Remove was immediately countered with an Oil of Speed followed by a Potion of Fire Resistance.
Rage, which can't be dispelled, was precast before a Malison hit to insure that Sendai wouldn't have a window to use a disabler.
The two rounds it took for Arkona to rebuild her buffs gave Yaga-Shura an opportunity to launch a lava bomb. Arkona reluctantly took the damage, but she was also sure to position herself so that Yaga's allies would take some of the heat too.
Now that Sendai's book was tapped, it was time to go on the offensive. Dart of Stunning->Asp's Nest for Yaga.
Ok. He'd down to badly injured. Time to finish Sendai.
Here's Mel. Let's get on Illasera's case.
Mel says "praeses" we say Focus.
Down with Illasera.
And Gromnir, too.
Let's put a little pressure on Abazigal.
We're nearing the end now, we can bring out HLAs into play. Hardiness to cushion Bone Blades damage.
Yaga is stunned.
A devastating Seeking blow finishes Abazigal.
The stunned Yaga falls.
Time for Mel. Buff those saves.
Layer in some cold resistance and wait for a window.
An injudicious Taint of the Slayer cast granted Arkona the window she sought. Ages Whirlwinds.
Down to badly injured, Melissan knocked Arkona back and healed herself with Divine Cleansing.
We needed another window. It came, but a last second Absolute Immunity cast kept Mel in the action for a few more rounds.
Last window. Time to bring the Improved Haste Critical Strikes.
We win! Melissan is defeated!
I'll try to tack on more detail tomorrow. For now, I'll just note that I'm proud of Arkona. This run began as an install test, but over time it evolved into a proper run. And in fact, it ended up being one of my more satisfying runs. Arkona's run represents the first SCS Watcher's Keep solo in the challenge's history, the first solo with the Improved Enclaves, and my first run with a warrior. Earlier I said that I felt that Arkona shouldn't be consider for the Hall on the basis of this run, but I think, in the end, she deserves it. This was ultimately a worthy run, I believe. What does everyone else think?
Anyhoo. Thanks to everyone who took an interest in Arkona's run. Sorry for the shoddy final post. I really am sleepy! I'll try to add more detail tomorrow. Ask if you have questions.
Btw. For those who don't play Ascension, here's Balthazar's final dialogue and epilogue. I think it's well done. Spoiler alert!