Disclaimer: This guide is meant for players who have completed their first successful run of Hades. That means you’ve successfully escaped, not reached the surface only to be kicked to the curb by the eponymous big daddy himself. I can’t stop you from reading any further, but know the risks of spoiling yourself from an enriching experience. If you need help actually beating the big man, read our Newbie’s Guide to Schooling Hades. If you’re brand new to the experience, play a few rounds then read Newbie’s Guide to Exploring Hades.
Got it? Good.
The game had you going didn’t it? All will be well when you get out. So why bother decorating the damn house, making friends, or petting Cerberus when you’re gonna fly off to see Yanni at the Acropolis anyway? (For those too young to get the reference, Google is your friend) Turns out, your dead ass is tied to the Underworld and you only have fifteen minutes to have a conversation with your mother or you can order a pizza from Sam Porter Bridges to get to you by then. If you’re gonna get something delivered, might as well ask for the best.
Can You Feel The Heat?
One thing that has changed is that Hades, being a disgruntled section chief that he is, has to make things extra difficult for you. He’s that tough supervisor that gives you useless tasks and his way of encouragement is that Boomer sentiment of all that work is good for you. As a former boss kept telling me at my first job, “It’s good for the soul”. So welcome to the Pact of Punishment, where you can take on extra challenges and reset your bounty so you can get more of the good stuff. The good stuff being Titan’s Blood, Diamonds, and Ambrosia.
Just to be clear, you don’t need to take on these challenges, but you really want to max out all those weapons with the extra Titan’s Blood. However, it’s not going to be the same rodeo as let me warn you… it will be hard. Meaning, maybe you probably had an easy time using the Coronacht with the lock-on or you took your sweet time with the Aegis. Like a frog in a pot, it starts you off small, one point on the heat gauge. It adds up real fast. Imagine the Chaos challenges, but instead of a few encounters, try the whole run. Enemies could have more health, grow in number, or have an extra layer of armor. Bosses have additional moves in their arsenal. Traps can hit you harder, each area has to be cleared in nine minutes or less, your Mirror Skills can be locked, and so much more fun stuff to keep it fresh!
You can also crank up the heat gauge if you’re a bit of a masochist, but you really don’t need to do that to earn more bounties. You have to go up slowly. However, you can actually increase the heat level for weapons you haven’t escaped with at the moment. It’s a great way of acquiring more Titan’s Blood and Diamonds as they are definitely useful. At this point, I think you can take on the Furies and Lernie (The Bone Hydra) with no problem at all. In this world of instant gratification, it’s the one thing you can be sure to withdraw.
Also if you’ve collected about five diamonds, you can have access to another layer of hell Erebus for a crazier challenge and deeper rewards. It also has a heat gauge requirement to enter, the lowest I’ve seen being five. It’s something to think about later.
I used to love Persona before it got too mainstream. In fact, Hades really reminds me of Persona 3, my favorite one of the bunch reimagining the Greek Pantheon closer to Neil Gaiman’s vision rather than how everybody else keeps turning it cheesy. Also it’s deliciously existential, but that’s my thing. In my last guide, I advised to give out only one Nectar to a new face to receive their Keepsake and stop giving it in order to maximize your nectar to keepsake ratio. Apparently, if you keep gifting them, your relationship with each character grows.
Social Links Hades Style!
Unlike in Persona where you go eat takoyaki together and engage in some Jungian psychobabble, it’s pretty much the same in Hades but with limited hangout spots, you’re bound to just drink with them in the lounge. With that in mind, you can raise everybody’s relationship level to six before you have to go further with your relationship. Each confidant has particular needs so it can be as simple as listening to them or do tasks like maxing out the Stygian Blade and kill them with it. Whatever it is, if you like them that much, feel free to fulfill it and once you’re ready to take it to the next level, seal the deal with a bottle of Ambrosia.
Just like in Persona, when you max out a relationship with a character, it depends if the character in question is an intimate ally related to the main story or an NPC that you happened to come across . Say if you compare Ann to Kawakami-sensei from Persona 5, their benefits will be different max them out. In my case, I’ve maxed out Charon and Thanatos. Charon was easy to master was all I had to do was keep buying from his shop but Thanatos, I had to keep winning in his kill chamber subquest. While Charon couldn’t even give me a staff discount in his store, Thanatos was able to grant me a new Keepsake – Companion Mort, which is akin to a Final Fantasy summon where I could call them to do massive damage. Unlike the base keepsakes that I could grind to level up, these new keepsakes require Ambrosia. So if you’ve been trading those for Titan’s Blood or Diamonds, I got some bad news for you…
Make The Most Of Your Stay At Chateau Hades
Now that you’re back, you really gotta make the most of your stay. It will be a long journey, so why not shake things up and make it fun? Unlock a compendium of subquests by activated the Fated List of Minor Prophecies from the Contractor to manage all your extras. All your collectathons and relationship quests are listed with rewards from Gemstones, to Keys, and Nectar. Of course the rarer commodities like Titan’s Blood, Diamond, and Ambrosia require more challenging and grindtastic demands.
If you’ve maxed out the Mirror of Night, I recommend unlocking all the way until the end. Retool your skill set one more time and customize it to your needs. One thing you have to be wary of is how the skills on the Mirror reflect your play style. You have your basic set that suits my needs just fine and you have the alternate set that works for some weapon aspects. While difficult to master, the spear’s Aspect of Guan Yu has a great synergy for this alternate set, but requires a complete new set of skills I don’t have. One thing to consider, God’s Legacy is a great skill to max out as it increases the chances you’ll unlock Duos and Legendary Boons. They really save your skin out there and the extra benefit really adds that extra 100 damage to make the big man yield.
Testing the skills out in my later runs, I find that I could be down with most of the alternate skill sets, save for two: Death Defiance and Greater Reflex. I’ve yet to master the art of well-timed dodging and well-timed dying. My current strategy is basically saving all my death defiance until I reach Hades, which for the most part works because I seem to attract the RNG number that generates Patroclus on Elysium. So whatever Death Defiance I lose getting there, I regenerate at Patroclus’ chamber, especially for weapons I’m not too proficient with. As for spamming the dash button, it’s great when you have a kitted out Lightning Dash or Blade Dash, I can just weave across enemies and drop extra damage on them. The alternate skills: Stubborn Defiance and Ruthless Reflex are based on precision. With Stubborn Defiance, you’re allowed to die once per Chamber and will regenerate 30% life. With Ruthless Reflexes, you’re granted attack bonuses after dodging a near-miss. Master both and then combine with Aspect of Guan Yu, theoretically you’ll have a regenerating glass cannon of a build. Whatever health you lose, you can heal with the spin attack and you have a safety net of one death per chamber. Problem is, you gotta dodge every hit with style.
That being said, what do you do with all the extra Cththonic Keys after unlocking all the weapons and the mirror skills? Trade them for Nectar from the Wretched Broker. Also, if you have Fated Authority or Fated Persuasion, you have the capacity to earn tokens for them by collecting keys after commissioning a work order from your Contractor thus creating a steady supply of Nectar. While we’re on the topic of work orders, use your Diamonds to commission ways to extend your resources. That way for every Darkness you collect, you gain +5 Health, Gemstones gives you an extra 20 gold, and Nectars will randomly upgrade a Boon. For the price of twelve diamonds, it’s a good use of resources that will reward you in spades. If you have an extra diamond, get a Fishing Rod. Caught fish could be traded for items from the Chef.
Escape Planning 101
You’ve probably escaped more than me by now, because I’m an old man and my reaction time isn’t what it’s used to be. I mostly rely on cheesing the opponents and it takes quite a bit of time for me to learn how to block and punish properly. In my successful attempts to escape, I’ve learned better ways of using dash, better ways to dealing damage, and ultimately stopped button mashing altogether. Here are six different builds I’ve put together in my attempts to escape with a particular weapon class.
Aegis Shield Build
- Infernal Arms: Darker Thirst, Aspect of Chaos Level 1
- Keepsake: Broken Spearpoint
- Daedalus Hammer: Breaching Rush and Explosive Return
- Chaos: Soul and Strike
- Primary Boon: Aphrodite (Heartbreak Strike, Heartbreak Flourish, Empty Inside, Broken Resolve, Wave of Despair, Sweet Surrender)
- Secondary Boon: Dionysus (Trippy Shot, High Tolerance, Premium Vintage, Positive Outlook)
- Support Boons: Artemis (Hunter Dash, Artemis Aid level 2), Hermes (Swift Flourish, Hyper Sprint), Demeter (Snow Burst).
My first win against Hades has been won with the shield. Out of all the weapons, this is the only one that can block and you can combo with it quite easily. What I don’t like about this build has a lot of splash dash boons built into it and I could’ve chosen to add other benefits. As mentioned in my other guide, I was working with a block-bull rush-special, trippy shot, and call combo. It’s a boring combo as it takes a while to kill any boss. It was completed on my 24th escape attempt, so as a beginner build, I think it’s a safe bet.
- The Good: Controlled block and punish strategy.
- The Bad: Need to cut down on the slap-dash boons.
- The Ugly: Boring AF, not recommended for speed runs.
Adamant Rail Build
- Infernal Arms: Aspect of Eris Level 1, Darker Thirst
- Keepsake: Broken Spearpoint
- Daedalus Hammer: Hazard Bomb and Spread Fire
- Charon Store: Cyclops Jerky
- Primary Boon: Poseidon (Tempest Flourish level 3, Tidal Dash level 2, Tempest Strike)
- Secondary Boon: Aphrodite (Blown Kiss and Crush Shot)
- Support Boons: Artemis (Artemis Aid), Dionysus (Premium Vintage)
This is another “beginner build” using the cheap tactics of the Adamant Rail special combined with Poseidon’s pushback abilities. The entire build rests on Hazard Bomb and supported by Cyclops Jerky to increase my attack along with Poseidon’s knockback damage. All I had to do was dash away from Hades and drop the bomb doing about 600 damage at a time. Even my Artemis Aid does 500 damage with critical. It’s textbook cheese.
- The Good: Easy way to kill Hades.
- The Bad: Relies too much on Hazard Bomb, you have to get it a Daedalus Hammer chamber, which rarely spawns.
- The Ugly: Cheesy AF, not exactly something to be proud of, but a win’s a win.
Coronacht Bow Build
- Infernal Arms: Aspect of Chiron Level 1, Darker Thirst
- Keepsake: Lucky Tooth
- Daedalus Hammer: Twin Shot, Point-Blank Shot
- Chaos: Grasp, Favor
- Duo: Mirage Shot (Poseidon and Artemis)
- Primary Boon: Poseidon (Flood Shot level 3, Tidal Dash level 2, Razor Shoals)
- Secondary Boon: Artemis (Clean Kill Level 2, Artemis Aid Level 2, Deadly Flourish)
- Support Boons: Hermes (Greatest Reflex), Demeter (Blizzard Shot, Frost Strike), Zeus (Billowing Strength, Lightning Reflexes, Static Discharge), Athena (Clouded Judgment)
I’m surprised by this one as I really don’t like CQB with Hades, but ended up using a close range bow because I wanted to complete some side quests. However, thanks to picking up some support Boons in the later half of the game, I was able to convert all my close-range skills to long range ones with my Cast and Special. Mirage Shot is a life saver as it added an extra projectile when using cast doing double damage. Since I used Ruthless Reflex on this run, I was able to max out Zeus’ lightning and add extra damage to Poseidon’s and Artemis’ knockback and critical combo.
- The Good: The extra DPS gives you the extra edge.
- The Bad: Please don’t copy me, using the Daedlus Hammer to turn my weapons close-range. I did the same thing with the Adamant Rail Build above.
- The Ugly: I guess because I’m playing against my regular type, I’m extra careful and it won me the last two runs.
Twin Fists Build
- Infernal Arms: Aspect of Talos Level 1, Darker Thirst
- Keepsake: Cosmic Egg
- Daedalus Hammer: Breaching Cross and Long Knuckle
- Chaos: Grasp
- Duo: Curse of Longing (Ares and Aphrodite)
- Primary Boon: Ares (Blade Dash Level 3, Curse of Agony Level 3, Dire Misfortune, Ares’ Aid)
- Secondary Boon: Aphrodite (Heartbreak Flourish Level 3, Life Affirmation)
- Support Boons: Athena (Phalanx Shot, Sure Footing), Hermes (Swift Flourish, Hyper Sprint)
I’m a little proud of this build because the moment Ares showed up, I made sure he was my primary. The RNG number was really working in my favor as when I used Fated Authority to change the choices, Ares kept popping up. In a way, Aphrodite is fast becoming my favorite support goddess as Weak is probably an underrated status effect. She’s involved in some way activating the Privileged Status skill to combine Doom (Ares) and Weak (Aphrodite) to beat Hades. This is one of the few times I only used one Death Defiance on Hades giving me complete control of the situation. Not bad for CQB.
- The Good: Doesn’t need a high skill level to produce results. Special and Attack combo to trigger a high DPS without relying too much on your cast.
- The Bad: Requires a lot of setup, Fated Authority is an expensive skill and I had five at the time.
- The Ugly: I take back my low opinion on close range weapons.
Eternal Spear Build
- Aspect of Hades Level 1
- Keepsake: Black Shawl
- Daedalus Hammer: Extended Jab, Quick Spin
- Chaos: Soul, Strike, Flourish
- Duo: Vengeful Mood (Zeus and Ares)
- Legendary: Fully Loaded (Artemis) and Splitting Bolt (Zeus)
- Primary Boon: Artemis (True Shot Level 3, Artemis Aid, Support Fire, Deadly Strike, Pressure Points, Hunter’s Mark)
- Secondary Boon: Zeus (Heaven’s Vengeance, Thunder Flourish, Static Discharge, High Voltage)
- Support Boons: Ares (Engulfing Vortex, Blade Dash, Urge to Kill), Hermes (Side Hustle), Dionysus (Strong Drink, Premium Vintage)
The spear next to the blade has been the last two weapons I’ve cleared a run with. The blade run was a little easier because of a maxed out aspect versus that of the spear. The spear is a tricky weapon that seems to be almost a no-brainer “beginner” weapon with its range and seemingly high CQB damage. However, it’s a cross between a sword and a bow without the benefits of either. The sword allows you more leeway when it comes to using dash, enabling you to weave past enemies and chip them. The sword’s special has a knock back feature that has a small AoE effect. The bow allows you to stay in a safe spot as you snipe away with its special a way to deflect projectiles and keep rushing enemies back with its knock back. The spear, it lacks the defensive and offensive capabilities of the two, but when mastered, it allows you to switch your strategies on the fly. This build compliments it with Artemis’ critical, Zeus’ splash damage, and Ares’ aggressive DPS.
- The Good: High offensive power that can change if you want to go close or stay ranged.
- The Bad: When you get hit, you get hit hard.
- The Ugly: I still can’t incorporate spin attacks with my spear setup, it just doesn’t seem to fit.
Stygian Blade Build
- Aspect of Zagreus Level 5
- Keepsake: Chthonic Coin Purse
- Daedalus Hammer: Shadow Slash, Breaching Slash
- Chaos: Affluence
- Duo: Smoldering Air (Zeus and Athena), Heart Rend (Artemis and Aphrodite)
- Legendary: Unhealthy Fixation (Aphrodite), Divine Protection (Athena), Splitting Bolt (Zeus)
- Primary Boon: Zeus (Zeus Aid Level 4, Billowing Strength Level 2, High Voltage, Thunder Flourish)
- Secondary Boon: Athena (Holy Shield Level 2, Brilliant Riposte, Proud Bearing)
- Support Boons: Artemis (True Shot), Aphrodite (Heartbreak Strike Level 2, Passion Dash)
I’d like to thank the RNG Deity for showering me with all the skills that I needed for this run. Maybe it helped that I made an Ambrosia offering to Zeus and he became my BFF, at least for the next thirty minutes. You can’t get a better build than this with three legendaries and two duos, all I had to do was count to three and spam lightning at Hades. By the end, I wasn’t even using my sword, but when I do, I charm weakened enemies with it and they go to town on each other.
- The Good: Legendary Build that will guarantee a win, provided you play it smart.
- The Bad: The setup for this is crazy involving a few maxed out passives on the Mirror of Night and a maxed Aspect of Zagreus for the sword, the 15% movement and attack speed is worth it.
- The Ugly: How can I even top this build?
That’s it for this guide. Will I be writing an advanced one to explore the hidden reaches of Hades? What lies beyond Erebus? When will I actually see the end credits to this game? When will this game introduce time savers? I’d love to just pay for the damn Titan’s Blood to get it over with. All these cliffhanger questions seem inappropriate at this point. Also share some of your builds on our Facebook Page! It’ll be cool to see what you’ve come up with.