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Newbie’s guide to schooling Hades

How I Learned to Stop Complaining And Love The Grind.
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This probably happened to you on your way to git gud: You just beat the first two areas of Hades and then you passed through Elysium, which was not a cake walk. You dodge projectiles short of being an arcade shooter, stubbed your thumbs raw chipping away at all the bullet sponge mini-bosses with your rail gun, and made some pretty risky choices trying to stay alive by resisting permanent bonuses to just heal 30 more hit points to survive the next wave. Then when you took on that Minotaur mid-boss for a rematch, the cheater brought Theseus with him! You’re down to 35 HP, you’ve used up your last Death Defiance five chambers ago, and lasted a mere five seconds.

Do we quit? Do we throw our Switch against the wall? Do we take up some Free-To-Play game like Genshin Impact? Or do we stick to Hades because we’re broke and we only have enough money left on our budget for Cyberpunk 2077? If you picked the last choice, this guide is right for you!

In our previous guide, we gave some beginner’s tips on how to make your way through the game but this time around, we’re taking you through the ringer and making sure you’ve got what it takes to actually finish the game!

Stuck In A Rut

I get it, you get to a part where there’s no more bonuses left to unlock save for some pretty steep unlockables hidden behind rare commodities. Titan’s Blood, Diamonds, and Ambrosia are of extremely limited supply. Do we just grind it out until we get enough bonuses to come our way because no matter what we do, we really can’t git gud? Well get over yourself and take a break, get some sleep, something to eat, or talk to a friend about something else. When you’re good and relaxed, come back to the game.

At this point in time, I would assume you’ve unlocked most of the bonuses and you probably have 2,000 Darkness stored away and have unlocked the Mirror to the 10 Key Price Point. First thing you could do is retool your skill set. It costs 1 Chthonic Key and the first thing you do is to put 1,530 points on Death Defiance. Then put 50 points on Dash and whatever is left your Infernal Soul and Thick Skin (HP gain) then work down from there.

Next, if you’ve finished the A Simple Job sub-quest on the The Fated List and have upgraded most of the necessary Tartarus projects for the contractor (I recommend at least setting up all the Fountains and the Tartarus Keepsake Cabinet), cash out all your gemstones for at least 20 Chthonic keys for the next skill set of the Mirror. When you’ve completed that, make sure you put about 20% on the Olympian Favor. You’ll need that for later.

Make sure you secure all available keepsakes by gifting the Olympus gods and your housemates Nectar (except for Hades at this point). The most important being Broken Spearpoint from Patroclus on Elysium. It makes you impervious after taking damage for a second. You ask, only for a second? Trust me, it prevents enemies from turning you into a pin cushion with projectiles and chain damage. Then complete your Olympian Set by gifting every god you meet, they seem like throwaway keepsakes increasing the rarity of the boons, trust me you’ll need it later. Finally, the Cosmic Egg from Primordial Chaos is a great investment. Besides increasing the rarity on his boons, you don’t have to pay the blood price to enter their domain. At this point, you’ve probably gotten gud enough to outgrow the Lucky Tooth and Worn Out Collar. By the time you max out your HP skill in the Mirror and your Death Defiance, I’d say you must have some confidence with your skills at this point to cover the rest, right?

Finally, you’ve probably defeated Megara and her sisters with all Infernal Arms to get six (6) Titan’s Blood. Use those to unlock your second ability for each weapon. The changes are really subtle for some, but noticeable in others. Some of the noticeable changes: The Coronacht Bow getting a lock on special after landing an attack to increase your DPS; The Aegis Shield that launches an extra shield on the special throw after a successful Bull Rush; and the vacuum uppercut ability for Malphon’s Twin Fists, cutting the frame rate to get your attacks in quickly. As for the subtle changes: The Stygian Blade increases critical on a regular attack after using a special, The Varathos Spear adds a Rage Rush effect on the special, and Adamant Rail gets a power up once you enter the blast radius of your special. It feels subtle because it evolves your play style with the three latter weapons. It can get confusing at first, but it does add options. 

Let’s Play Gacha With Boons!

There’s a lot of RNG involved when you rely on the gods to help turn the tide, unless you’re praying for Poseidon. The one thing I enjoy about switching my weapons up to something I’m not comfortable with such as the blade or the fists is how certain combinations will let you elevate your game. Every one of them has their particular weaknesses, which you would compensate with the bonuses you receive. The Aegis can block projectiles from one direction, leaving you open for backstab damage. The Coronacht has high DPS but once you get hit by a jumping tank like that gods damned Minotaur, you’ll bleed out after three direct hits.

One of your keys to victory is make sure you’ve slotted your Attack, Special, Cast, Dash, and Call Boons. Make sure it compliments your weapon. If you have a melee specialty like your sword and fists, probably bind deflection (Athena) on your Special as it has a wide area of effect enabling it to get rid of pesky projectiles. A variation of that deflect strategy is to bind on Dash when you have a projectile weapon like the bow or the rail gun as you want to keep the Attack and Special to chip away at enemies. Your dash now becomes your shield. Mix it up with other strategies. 

Support Boons are a must as every Olympian God has a specialty skill and you have nine to choose from. Lightning, Knockback, Deflect, Critical, Weakness, Poison, Doom, Speed, and Frost. A favorite of mine is when Zeus shows you favor is to maximize his area of effect lightning dash. Splash some speed from Hermes, and you’re literally riding the lightning. Combined with a solid lineup of your slotted abilities, and you’re ready to do some damage. Another note is to take advantage when you’re given a choice of a Daedalus Hammer and Chaos. Chaos especially is advantageous when you take the risk early in the game. You can have a “permanent” increase in some of your passives by taking on a penalty challenge. While it is easier to get through them early on in Tartarus, keep taking advantage and get ahead of the game.

In one of my recent successful runs, it’s mostly consisted of boons from Aphrodite, Hermes, and Artemis, with some splash passives from Dionysus and Demeter. To be honest, I was just trying to complete the sub-quests by trying out new skills. For some reason it just worked out by maximizing my natural defense and learning to block, rush, shield throw, and cast Trippy Shot (Dionysus) as a combo. I used that technique with the Adamant Rail with a weird combo of boons from Zeus, Athena, and Hermes with a more run-and-gun setup. My dash has deflect (Athena) for projectiles, dash-attack for rush, cast chain lightning and use its special which has the same effect as the Trippy Shot but with the Adamant Rail’s special ability to power up my next attack, this tactic was perfect to chip away at Theseus. Finally with Coronacht, I had a setup made up of boons from Zeus, Hermes, and Ares where every time I dash, my area of effect with Zeus’ lightning dash takes up a considerable portion of the screen. Ares’ cast allows me to have a more direct attack versus that of the Trippy Shot, which compliments the DPS play style of the bow versus that of the shield and rail gun. Note that in all three, Hermes makes things go smooth. 

Your successful run depends on the combination of the boons you receive. Plus with all the bonuses you’ve prepared for earlier with the keepsakes and Olympian Favor, you can acquire them on a Rare or Epic quality that you don’t need to waste a chamber for a pomegranate upgrade, allowing you to splash more skills from other gods, collect Centaur Hearts, make a deal with Chaos or unlock your weapon’s potential with Daedalus Hammers. The key to success is a diversified skill set instead of rigid specialization. This way, you could adjust your play style to what you get.

Hell Hath Some Furies

  • Level One: Tartarus
  • Recommended Keepsake: Cosmic Egg

The key to a solid run will be to save all your Death Defiance when it matters the most, as long as you can hold out. So when fighting against the first two bosses, make sure you don’t die, and if you have to die, at least keep 200 gold for a Kiss of Styx from the shop or pray to all that’s holy that you reach Patroclus on Elysium. 

Tartarus is straightforward. No real big bad enemies save for the Doomstone that could deplete your life quickly depending on your positioning. The enemies are easy to kill and even their armored versions are manageable. Save your gold for quick Olympian bonuses and Centaur Hearts. Focus on building up your Boon set on whatever god grants you favor. Take advantage of Trial of the Gods for a double boon (try to go for a Duo). I recommended a Cosmic Egg this run because this is the time to take on any deals from Chaos. Take the hardest challenge, the rewards are sweet.

When you get to Megara and her sisters, their patterns are quite predictable. Cast is your friend here as you can cheese them quite easily. Whatever your projectile defense, whether it’s to block or to deflect, use it when they try to turn this game into Panzer Dragoon. It’s a roguelike dungeon crawler, not a rail shooter, kindly teach them to follow the rules. Out of the three sisters, Tisiphone is the easiest, then Megara, and finally Alecto. Alecto is especially difficult because her rage meter makes her deal more damage and running into her spiked mines causes a world of hurt. With Tisiphone, as long as you have a way to deal with projectiles, she’s a sitting duck. Megara uses more direct attacks so as long as you keep your distance, you’ll be fine. 

Nine Heads Are Better Than One

  • Level Two: Asphodel
  • Recommended Keepsake: Any Olympian God’s Keepsake You’re Attracting The Most

What you have to watch out for this level is the lava and again, annoying projectiles. The mid-bosses aren’t too crazy as long as you watch your footing and deflect or block against projectiles as necessary. Continue to build on that collection of boons from the god that chooses you as their champion. You can build up Zeus’ lightning, increase weakness damage from Aphrodite, or just keep you speedy like Hermes. In fact, Hermes shows up a lot more often than necessary in this level. Watch out for those Bone-Rakers and Wave-Makers who hit you with a one-two punch and sonic boom combo. They swarm you and seem to have a penchant for dealing massive damage. Gorgons can be annoying, but they’re easy to kill.

The Bone Hydra seems like a pushover at first because their pattern is basic. Cast at the main head and chip away while keeping your distance as his body slams are heavy on the damage side. Then the main head will turn impervious and you have to vanquish their extra heads before returning to attacking the main head. The problem is when it becomes Panzer Dragoon again and they basically turn the place into a lava water park complete with sonic booms, body slams, and a swarm of Bone-Rakers for good measure. Controlled dash-strikes and projectile repellent is a must when the Hydra is taking on this form, chip away slowly and make sure you don’t use any Death Defiance (you’ll need them all later).

Cow And Chicken

  • Level Three: Elysium
  • Recommended Keepsake: Lucky Tooth, Broken Spearpoint, or Your Second Favorite Olympian God’s Keepsake. 

I hate Elysium. I really hate Elysium. Every level is like a Panzer Dragoon map from hell replacing the Bone-Rakers and Wave-Makers with a boy band quartet made up of Brightswords, Longspears, Strongbows, and Greatshields who pretty much have almost the same skill set as you and there’s a possibilty they reincarnate after death. Though the most annoying are Soul Catchers, those pink balls who spray butterfly turds that fill the screen while you dodge a screen’s worth of enemies. Oh yeah, the whole place is booby trapped worse than Kevin’s Home Alone Deathtrap. I swear I have a feeling that damn kid changed his name to John Kramer and became Jigsaw. Anyway, with that in mind, keep to the same strategy with powering up your boons and by this time you probably have acclimatized to a working strategy. Also turn the tables on the swarms by using the traps against them, making sure of your position. I’d prefer fighting Asterius (the cow formerly known as Minotaur) over the Dire Soul Crusher. It’s an evolved pink pokemon turd that farts butterfly grenades as a mid-boss while dodging swarms of regenerating enemies, because with the Minotaur at least I only have one target instead of playing a rail shooter. Pray that you encounter Patroclus because he’ll regenerate your Death Defiance for free if you’ve expended them one way or another. If you’ve made it this far without expending a Death Defiance, either choose to be of good health or increase your damage for the main event.

So when Cow brings his friend Chicken (the cheap ass formerly known as Theseus) to a sword and axe fight, this becomes probably the hardest fight you’ve come across for a while. For good measure, at the time of writing, I’ve only defeated them with three of the six Infernal Arms. Out of the three weapons, I was only able to keep all of my Death Defiances intact with the Aegis. The Adamant Rail and Coronacht left me with one or none. My favorite win was when I killed them with the Adamant Rail with no Death Defiances left. Worth it.

Focus on all your attacks on the Minotaur. The reason being is if Theseus reaches half his life bar, he starts bringing his own Boons out to play. At the time of writing, I’ve only come across Ares and Dionysus AoE attacks, though I’d prefer Dionysus as it’s easier to dodge. My best strategy for them is to use the Aegis’ block (hold attack), bull rush (release attack), shield throw (special), and trippy shot (cast). This way, you can defend against Theseus’ cheap ranged attacks. When the Minotaur gets stuck in the corner, drop as many casts as you can on him to quick damage. Make sure you use your Call every time it charges. Every single damage point counts. Once the Minotaur is vanquished, focus on Theseus and pray that he’s praying to Dionysus. If it’s Ares, just memorize the patterns of attacks coming from the ground. That actually opens him up to a block-rush-special-cast combo. Keep doing this until you skewer the motherlover (It’s not Oedipus, get your Greek Mythology right, Vince).

Schooling Hades

  • Final Level: Styx
  • Recommended Keepsake: Broken Spearpoint or Lucky Tooth

If you get this far, I salute you. You’re almost there, just a few more steps. First you have to get past the goodest boy Cerberus. All you need to do is look for Scooby Snacks stuck in the dungeons. You usually will get them on the second try out of the five choices. This is also a great place to farm rare loot like Diamonds, Titan’s Blood, and Ambrosia. At this point, either choose to succeed the run or get better loot. It can’t be both unless you’re an accomplished, which if you’re still reading, thanks for the views!

The dungeons are no laughing matter. You have rodents, crystals, and those mine traps that deal serious damage and adds poison to boot. I mean real poison, not alcohol poisoning the way Dionysus does it. Heal yourself when you can and try to preserve as much HP. You’ll need it. Take the Scooby Snacks to Cereberus and now you’re ready for the main event: Hades.

Full disclosure, I’ve only beaten Hades once and I’ve only faced him twice. I defeated him with the Aegis because I had three whole Death Defiances and a boring combo that worked. With the Coronacht I was aiming for the cheap win and I only had one Death Defiance. In terms of damage load out, I think I did better with the Coronacht but Hades dealt the same level of damage with me.

Hades hits hard and takes damage like the boss that he is. In terms of pattern, he’s basically the Minotaur with Theseus’ Spear and summons creeps like the Furies. You have to watch out for his Infernal Soul because that’s basically like getting hit with your cast, tripling his already beefed up damage. If you dodge the gods damned things, they also have an AoE explosion when left unchecked.

Once you get through that round, the battle truly begins. Besides hitting harder and becoming an even more annoying bullet sponge, he adds a ray attack that takes up the whole screen and if you’re caught in its trajectory, that’s 20 damage per hit (60 if you got hit with his Infernal Soul). The good news is that you can block it with the Aegis. If using a different weapon, there are boulders left standing that can handle the heat rays. Hide behind them. His cool down period after is about two seconds, so use that precious window of opportunity to punish. Continue the combo until he’s defeated. Enjoy what’s next because you’ve finally escaped!

Or did you? That’s it for this round and good luck to your next newbie steps in the wonderful world of Hades! Hopefully those tips and tricks help and make sure you take breaks in between dungeon runs, eye strain is a thing.

Now excuse us as we get some shut eye. Damn this game is addicting.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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