Revisiting the Summoner's Smackdown Tournament (2010)

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Revisiting the Summoner's Smackdown Tournament (2010)

Post by Clersius » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:41 am

Hello, it's me again,

Back in mid 2010, Metropolis Man started a thread entitled Zy-El vs. Eastern Sun Summoners' Smackdown. It looked like a lot of fun, and I've always wanted to give it a try, and I figured that this would be the perfect venue in which I could get my Zy-El feet wet again. I chose a Necromancer named Necrosys for two reasons. First, this was the first character I ever played in the Zy-El mod, so... nostalgia? Second, I hate the Zy-El Druid's minions with an undying passion. True, they are simply amazing at lower level, and one almost needs to be blind not to succeed with them in the early Acts, but soon and very soon they become completely unplayable (from my perspective - plenty of people have successfully played Druidic summoners in Zy-El, I admit that).


I actually started back on the 19th of July. I had completely forgotten the pain of getting a character to level 5 without any lucky breaks and without the benefits of charged summons! What a slog... Sooooo many restarts. Run out, look for a Quill Rat or a Kobold to beat on. None around? Make sure you are not threatened in any way and restart. Try again. Get hit by poison? Run back to the entrance to town and restart. Low on life, run back to the entrance and restart.

Necrosys' first skeleton at level 5 made a difference, but not a big one. He could at least stay out in the field, but the killing was not at all fast. The first day, I think I played for 4 hours and made all of 10 levels. :roll: It was a lot of fun, though, I hasten to add!


The second day, I played for 4 hours, then later for another 4 hours. Took on the Den of Evil around level 18, then graduated to Cold Plains. I think I was using p4 (players 4) from level 15 on, then p8 after a first circuit of Cold Plains. My previous playing experience informed me that the skeletons could handle p127 and that would be a huge time saver, but the risk of death is massive with such incredibly low life. He had no real equipment, no good life charms, nothing. In fact, his inventory consisted almost entirely of hex and tall charms with 6% to 10% Extra Gold on them. No Elixirs, nor rare charms, so no ChoMs yet, of course.

By the time Necrosys was level 23, I decided that I would give the merc a try, so down we went to p1 again and tentatively cleared out the Burial Grounds. Blood Raven was no sweat with 10 skeletons and 4 levels of Skeleton Mastery. At players 1. ;)

After playing a while longer, I decided that I could no longer tolerate the mass usage of ID scrolls to find out what all of the rings, amulets, and jewels were, so I started storing them unidentified and again set p1 and pushed through to rescue Cain. Done and done at level 33, and that is pretty much where I ended the play session.

The rogue kept up quite well, to be fair. I'm usually pretty down on what a useless pile of trash they are, but she kept out of harm's way better than most, it seems. Necrosys lucked out and received a cold merc as a gift, so there was no pondering whether it was worth it to obtain one manually. She had some pitiful jewelry, a rare torso, rare boots, and it was all pretty much a big pile of refuse. She needed Mist and Patiently, and how!

Necrosys wasn't much better off, still with nothing better than tall and hex charms with very small amounts of %EG on them... a real classy operation, let me tell you. :roll: Just over 100% EG, actually, but at the cost of 80% of his inventory.

We had stopped putting points into Raise Skeleton at a hard 10 (total 12 with a +2 wand), instead concentrating on pumping up Skeleton Mastery and keeping it maxed for his level. The Mastery made a world of difference - those Skellies rocked pretty hard at that point!


The next day I made her the Mist and Patience runewords, and those helped somewhat. They were not game-changing, but they were worth the investment. Necrosys also crafted his first ChoM at level 34 - a Healer - after a rare charm and a third Elixir finally dropped.

Somehow, Stony Field was not a complete disaster at p8, or at p16. At first. I was quite surprised. Later I realized that the merc must have had some extreme luck not to have been hit by a single Shadow Rogue the whole time we were clearing it that time.

Still on p16 going into Dark Wood again, all was still well until Treehead Woodfist and his wrecking crew. The 14 skeletons lost the war of attrition with those meanies. Sometimes, for other monsters, briefly upping the players setting to 127 would allow his army to pound down their adversaries, but in that case it just made them die more quickly. I broke it off with them rather than push a losing situation.

He hit another wall at level 43 in the Black Marsh. Still playing at p16, but Monoliths were more than a match for the army when there were more than 2 or 3 of them. The Skellies just melted before them. Even at p127, after spawning the Monoliths at p16 hp, they easily bested the Skeletons. Again, I broke it off and went back to easier prey rather than beat my head against that wall.

At 44, I finally broke down and made him a rare charm for his second ChoM - a Finder. That freed up 16 inventory spaces and added +3 skills, which is always a plus! At 46, he found the last piece he needed for his first poster - Sailor Moon with rock-bottom life (easily fixed by re-rolling, obviously).


The next day, I used up vast amounts of Necrosys' resources in order to punch 6 holes into an 18% EG Hex Charm, as zero CCS (common cube scrolls) had dropped that would give 6 sockets to an item. In that he made a Gigantor giving an incredibly disappointing 8% to max life and 16% to resistances. At that point, he had 1100 life.

I do not remember the exact circumstances (as in, I don't remember what the players setting was,but I'm certain that it was at least p16), but the rogue died twice in Stony Field to Shadow Rogue poison before I could portal home and have Akara heal her. So I made her a Blend runeword armor for the high poison resistance. It, too, was rock-bottom: 110% poison resist and 10% to the other three resists. Still, in conjunction with a some low resistance jewelry, she was infinitely more robust to poison attacks.

When it came time to enter Dark Wood the third time (I tend to do full clears of practically everything once I summon an army, just so I don't waste it, so it takes a while to get around to doing areas again), I lowered the setting to p8... for some ethereal reason. I had no solid plan in place as to what I was going to do next, but I had this vague notion that maybe I wanted to push through to take out Andariel and gain access to runes in Act II. This I did, over the course of a couple of days, keeping the players setting low to avoid any further walls and to avoid taking forever to get the Act done. Oh, right... and the battle with Treehead and his cronies went much better than previously. That could have been due to p8 as opposed to p16, or to increased Skeleton Mastery, or a combination of the two.

During this time (around level 50 or 51 iirc), Necrosys finally amassed enough Treasure Cards to fashion several amulets. The first was from 2 of Stars. It was good only compared to a 90% EG amulet, though it was 1100 life better than that. :lol: 1100 life on a 2 of Stars/Talons/Swords is actually quite pathetic, so he kept trying. I don't have screenshots of any of these, so generalities of description will have to suffice. A couple of levels later he made one from 2 of Swords which had 2300 life and 170 resistances, but it was level 72. Finally, at level 57 he made another 2 of Stars which was level 56, had 2400 life and 125 resistances. He's still using that one to this day, though he's almost done hoarding 4s to make a better one (hopefully). The merc took the low level amulet, giving her a much-needed boost as well, finally maxing all of her resistances.

Soon he had that magical number of levels - 60 - and life became a lot easier. Immediately he had level 15 Skeletal Mages and his Mastery was up to level 53. That made it pretty much game over for anything to which he could get the Mages to pay attention. By the way, here's something I've (re)learned in the last 10 days about minions in general. If they are staring off into space and not helping out the way you think they oughtta be helping out, simply cast a couple of curses in the same spot in quick succession. Or hold down the shift key and strike at the air with your weapon a few times in the same spot. Your minions will start milling about chaotically, like a nest of red ants when you disturb their anthill. This will cause them to path back and forth around you until they find something on which to focus their attention, and voila! You've caused your minions to engage without having to move yourself any further into danger. If the target is near the edge of the screen, this is less effective, as only a few of your own minions will be able to engage - they tend to effectively block the rest of them because they stopped right at the edge of where they can perceive the threat. It works pretty well most of the time, though, and many times better than just standing there hoping they wander in the right direction in the next 30 seconds.

At the end of the fourth day, at 315 am, Necrosys killed Andariel at p4 (two Sol runes, a diamond, and the Elixir). He ended the day at level 63 with over 3.8k life, 480 mana, level 15 Mages (seems as if that should have been 16), level 53 Mastery, and level 25 Skeletons. He had exactly one runeword - the hideous Gigantor - and the merc had two of them - Mist and Patience. He had three ChoMs - a Healer and two Finders. At that point, I planned on another 10 points in Mages, then he would focus on Mastery until he maxed it, then back to Mages, but only as many as he needed at the time. I wanted to avoid a heavy mana cost, as that makes building the army take longer. He also needed to make Teleport boots stat. As well, he was starting to get to the point where a Life BoCL belt would actually be useful.


I started the fifth day by making some items. First, a Spiderweb Sash (easy to get the materials, and no need for adding strength to wear it) which Charsi was glad to craft for Necrosys. This was turned into a belt with 4.5 life/level, giving him 300 more life than he had (taking the 8% Gigantor into account). We gambled six Unraveller Heads for a total of 270k gold, but received neither Exceptional nor Elite versions of it. Took one of those and used "any item to mag item" on it and, miraculously, it didn't have +necro skills on it that would have made it too high level for him, and it also came with the three sockets that he needed it to have for the Dead On runeword.

The wand he wanted was not available until level 70, so the last item made were the boots. We used just regular boots to create crafted boots and added 96 charges of Teleport to them. He doesn't need them very often yet, but they are great for hopping over walls in the Catacombs to get to Andariel faster! Plus, taking out Monoliths, Sunders, and Andariel by focusing the Magi with Teleport helps to take out monsters that might otherwise win a war of attrition.

He did a bunch of gold/Elixir runs (the next day) by slaughtering things on the way to Andariel and then snatching that Elixir that she always drops. With 5k life and a 6k Bone Shield, he is able to do runs at p127 now in almost complete safety, which makes everything in life much, much better. :mrgreen:

Finished up at level 78 - and we never did get that wand made during the fifth day.


I spent most of the sixth day fiddling around with the new Zy-El wikia pages. When I finally got back to playing, we made Necrosys that wand runeword he's been hinting about - a +6 Deceased in a wand that already had +3 Skeleton Mastery on it.

He made it to level 93 by dinner time, then to 102 before I quit at 2 am. He switched from Amplify to Decrepify, as it is safer, if a tad bit slower. It's actually not much slower at all, because the Mages are doing most of the heavy lifting. The Skeletons are just getting in the way of the front lines, preventing them from rushing the cannons. Decrepify ensures that they walk and attack in slow motion, just in case.

The Blood Golem was (and still is) an amazing asset as well. I thought that he would be just another stepping stone to the Fire Golem, but his damage is not heinously lower than the Fire Golem's, and his ability to top off Necrosys' life is quite nice. In fact, because of the Blood Golem Necrosys actually allowed himself to have life drain from more non-Healer ChoMs than Healer ChoMs could overcome.

At that point, he was keeping 30 mages and 20 Skeletons, as well as the Blood Golem and the rogue.


This was the day that I started changing my collection practices. Before, it was all gems of any type, all scrolls, all runes (selling the excess lower tiers), all charms, and of course everything that only drops occasionally. I wasn't picking up magic or rare items apart from the above list. I stopped keeping and upgrading the chipped gems. I started selling them instead. I stopped picking up non-magical charms. I stopped picking up El runes and Eld runes, even to sell. Midway through Act II, I stopped picking up Tir runes as well.

I only played enough to make 5 levels on this day. The little time I did play, I managed to make Necrosys a Pride runeword in a Cuirass (Exceptional Breastplate). It had 18% max life and 47% mana regen on it - almost as low as either of those stats can get! Woohoo!

Instead of playing very much, I spent a lot of time thinking about what my goals should be, and actually were. I started a document for this purpose, wherein I made lists of things I wanted, what would be needed to get them, and then putting all of the various parts together to see the holistic bucket list of all those items. I just wanted something I could look at to see why, exactly, I saved all of the jewelry I found. I wanted to be able to understand all of the practical ways that keeping jewelry would help me later on, and which types and grades were going to be most important for which goals. I could have just played and let it sort itself out, but I like that sort of thing. :)

The upshot of my "thinking" session was that I decided that I wanted at least level 120, 10k life, a Master Mega ChoM, and two Defender Minor ChoMs before I was ready to plow through to Meph and start doing Zy rune runs. With the Pride, a Master Mega, another poster, and the Gigantor, 10k life should be in range, or very close.


In preparation for making the Mega, I made Necrosys three more Finder ChoMs and converted his Healer into a Finder as well. Then I did runs on Andariel until 120, gathering gold, more Elixirs, and several rare charms to help with the rest of the process of making the Mega. Then I finally started the work on making the Mega ChoM itself. It took a while, but it's a nice piece of machinery to have! It will undoubtedly prove useful in the weeks to come.


I don't know when it was that Necrosys made the Calvin poster, but he had been using it in place of the Sailor Moon ever since. After the Mega was done, he added Sailor Moon and the Gigantor back into his inventory and switched his last two existing Minor ChoMs into Shield Minors (200 life each, but more importantly, 25% damage reduction each). That put him at 10.3k life with a 10.5k Bone Shield and +34 skills. He also had 485% EG and 320% MF for his trip to the Durance of Hate.

The last few levels that he gained in Act I, he switched over to using Lower Resist as his main curse, with Decrepify on hand if needed. He continued with that practice until... well, until the present.

When he found a CCS for a Kiwi Seed just a bit into Act II, he immediately punched three holes in his 40% EG grand charm and socketed it. Several hours later, he found a second scroll for a Kiwi Seed - "used and abused" as Al-T would say. :mrgreen:

He stuck his head into the True Tomb at the end of this day, but didn't get very far - I was too tired to continue.

Throughout the trip through Act II (done at p16 in order that he gain at least SOME benefit from all the baddies he was destroying), I'd taken up a new obsession - loading collectors with magic and rare items for which he has no need. I would do this until his inventory was full, then dump his inventory into the cube and keep going. Since there was then stuff in the cube, I couldn't load collectors. After a trip to town and a cleaning out of the cube, I would start loading them again. The point is that he had 7 full 500 point collectors at the end of this session. Those will be useful when he needs 1k collectors to build full Zy-El Scrolls later on. The process slowed the progress down considerably, but I think it will have been worth it in the end. :)

When his life was still over 10k after removing the Gigantor, he took it out of his inventory permanently.

He maxed out Skeleton Mastery during this session as well. He put a few more points into Mages, but stopped when he hit around 45 to 48 total points (not hard points). The mana cost was getting too high for no benefit other than more Mages, which he doesn't need yet. He actually stopped summoning regular Skeletons at all, except when something big was coming up, like Fangtooth. But after that, even in Duriel's lairs, there was no need of them at all. The Blood Golem was sufficient in conjunction with 30 to 35 Magi. He used 30 through most of the Act, upping it to 35 for the Arcane Sanctuary and its portal death traps, but even with portal-mobbing, there was no danger. I love how those Mages start casting the nanosecond that they hit the other side of the portal, or when the teleport lands, and a few milliseconds later there are bodies piling up all around them. :twisted:


Played a couple of hours before finding the third Kiwi Seed to fill the last socket in his %EG grand charm. That brought him up to 615% without any Finders (which he hasn't had since leaving Act I). Shortly after that, he finished Act II.

There was really nothing at all to say about Act III. He had the setting on p1 from start to finish, including Mephisto, who dropped zero Zy runes. Surprise! At p1, I expected nothing less. The next run, done at p1 and then setting p16 before running in to engage Mephisto, Meph dropped 3 Zy runes. So that's a plus.

The Meph runs (I've not counted them for this character - I don't want to be depressed at how few I can do with him in a given block of time; at how slowly I do them with him) have been a mixed bag. I tried a run at p16 all the way through, and it was terribly, terribly slow. I didn't use teleport very much until I realized that I'd be there all day waiting for Majat to die - those things have massive amounts of life even at p16. I also took in the same number of Magi that I'd been used to having - 30 to 35. I think at higher settings, at the skill level of Mastery that I had, it would have taken a LOT more of the Magi to be effective at higher settings.

Anyway, the point is that it was terribly slow, so I went back to p1 runs and bumping to p16 just before engaging. The process for the runs is that I summon the Blood Golem at p127 in town, then p1 and into the Spider Forest to let the rogue and the golem kill 10 or so baddies, raise those up at p127, then hit the Durance after lowering it to p1 again. By the way, the map Necrosys has for Durance 2 is perfect - the pad and the entrance to Durance 3 are next door neighbors.

After killing a few things, he raises more Magi - up to 25ish - and then blows through as quickly as possible (for him), teleporting across the huge chasm between the two long walkways to save a little time. Sometimes I try to push it a little faster and use teleport more, but the rogue is not very robust (she only has 3k life - that's why the plan was to give her the first fruits of the labors of their Mephisto runs - a Requiem - that would allow her to wear a high defense belt crafted with life BoCL) and can't take a punch so well. After the third death for her (NOT due to teleport, mind you), I called it a day on the rogue until the Requiem and the belt were ready for her. But after I had thought about it a little bit, I began to wonder what it was, exactly, that I was trying to accomplish by having the rogue in the first place. Sure, once she is tricked out with half a dozen Artifacts and a few unique damage jewels, she will be a good damage dealer, but... is it worth expending such a massive amount of resources just for the damage of 4 or 5 more Blood Golems? Static Field and Crushing Blow are the only things for which I would truly need her, and I am not convinced that either of those two effects are truly needful - at least not in any scenario in which I have Lower Resist and as many Magi as I care to summon. And perhaps not at that price, either. Anyway, I am still debating whether or not she will ever come back.

After fighting through the Act, Necrosys only did a few runs before it was time for me to stop playing. But he had made it to level 164, with 10.8k life, 1.9k mana, and 15.5M gold saved up (I'm guessing this will mostly be used for building PGems both for re-rolling Zy-El Scroll Fragments and for the Cube Locks to upgrade his belt). Over 7k collector points, as well. He has enough for the 5 1k collectors he'll need to make his first non-fragment Zy-El Scroll, whenever that might be.


After deciding not to rez the merc, that made it possible to at least try to do the runs faster. It's very, very difficult for me to do that, as I want to stop and collect things that I know will be useful in the future, but I am trying to train myself. Ideally, he will put up his Bone Shield and just start running, teleporting when he gets hemmed in or when he needs to cross the chasm. The problem with this "ideal" plan is that the Magi can and will disappear if he does that. So will the golem, sometimes. And landing poorly without a cannon to start blasting away the surrounding press of baddies can be dangerous. Theoretically, anyway. As well, it is more time-consuming to create a small army in the depths of Durance 3 than it is to do so in the Spider Forest. Which means that he has to run a screen or two, then teleport to keep the Magi happy. It's a skill I've not quite mastered yet, but I guess I'm learning. Another problem is that by teleporting, the Magi kill things almost instantly, which leaves stuff on the ground, which I want to pick up... heh. I can get over that, though, I'm almost certain of it.

I finally stopped picking up chipped gems, as well as magic hex charms. Rare ones I still grab - all rares, in fact. I cube the non-charm rares into a collector once back in town. Only Tal runes and above get picked up, too. Making some progress, I guess. The other thing I stopped doing after a dozen or so Meph runs was opening the chests around his chamber. Too time-consuming, by far.

I took a small break at one point to search through Necrosys' collection of CCS for the "any helm to circlet" scrolls. I only remembered seeing one in the 600+ that he has and, sure enough, there was only the one. Sad clown is sad. It yielded a Tiara, but that was still good news in my opinion, as it cut down on the needed Circlets by a third - from 27 to 18. Daunting. He started gambling for Circlets, and for almost 10 minutes didn't see a single one! I thought that maybe I had forgotten that they can't be gambled, but I was pretty sure that they could be... finally he found one, then another couple, then suddenly a Coronet popped up on the gambling screen! THAT I don't remember at all! He bought it (at merely twice the price of a Circlet, which is great news), and it came up as another Tiara. Yay! I figured that I was not going to waste any more time on Circlets, since a Coronet will at LEAST be a Coronet. Another 10 to 15 minutes (I guess... at least it felt like a long time) passed before another Coronet appeared, and it came up as the third Tiara. Upgraded them to a Diadem, ran them through the Trinity Demon Recipe, and he has a crafted Diadem to use to make their first Requiem. Not sure what to do with the 8 circlets he now has, but... not much of a problem in the grand scheme of things.

By the end of the day, Necrosys had amassed 24 Zy runes. The plan was to make some Scrolls - at least the first few - out of Fragments, as this saves 4 Zy runes per Scroll. Of course, gold must be spent in order to re-roll fragments, but that's a decent trade off, as it has been my experience that after amassing 3 or 4 Scrolls worth of Fragments, the re-rolls tend to be more useful than when just re-rolling for a single Scroll.

He ended at level 185 with just shy of 10k life (he removed the second poster to make more inventory space), over 2k mana, 23.3M gold remaining, 675% EG, and 400% MF.


I was up early in the morning, but my attention was consumed for over 4 hours by the needs of the wikia pages. I added anchors to all of the rings, amulets, and jewels, then linked the CCS and UCS "rare jewel to X" entries to those anchors so that people could just click on them to see what they were. Plus a bunch of formatting. Anyway...

The first thing I did in-game was to turn 21 of the Zy runes and seven empty collectors into Fragments. There were only two duplicates of the seven Fragments, but instead of re-rolling them, I decided to collect more Fragments in order to possibly lower the need for re-rolling. I'm not sure how many Fragments I plan on amassing before making Scrolls, but it won't be too many more.

Back to the Meph runs went Necrosys. Seven or eight runs later, he was level 190 when I teleported him off of the entry dais out onto the main floor, him and his Blood Golem and 10 Magi. Boom! His health dropped by maybe a third. Then it popped back to full. Obviously the golem had been hit, too, and filled up Necrosys' life. I recast Bone Armor, thinking I had forgotten to cast it, but as I was doing so, I remembered very clearly that it had been cast as soon as he entered the game. And even if I had forgotten, nothing in the Durance had ever hit him hard enough to create so noticeable a health drop... By that time, what few moments I'd been given in which to react was eaten up by my focusing on the wrong thing... Boom! Boom! Down a third, then he died.

I had teleported into a group of Majat and Harathnars, and I had forgotten to set p1 again after summoning the meager handful of mages at p127 in the Spider Forest. I should have teleported back onto the dais, in hindsight, but I was not thinking that there was actually any danger because for two days there has not been the least hint of danger on these runs. My mistake. It would not have mattered if I'd had 300 Magi summoned. They could not possibly have taken out even one of those Majat at p127 in a single volley - with or without Lower Resist - much less the half dozen that surrounded us. All I can say is that at least I'm not a 1-hit kill. :cool:

If I continue, it is obvious that I will need to do a couple of things. First, always check the map to ensure that the setting is where I want it. Second, I need to take the time to max out his life BoCL belt. Maybe I can add "start using potions" to the list. Full rejuvs are only in the last slot on his belt, and he's only used them twice, to save the merc from dying from Medusa or Jem Hadar poison. If I was in the habit of using them, maybe I could have lived long enough to teleport away? It's also entirely possible that I was doomed as soon as I left the dais at p127, but I don't know for sure.

The question is, do I keep going with this? Or is the fact that I cannot achieve a perfect score enough of a deterrent for me to move on to another challenge? To be honest, the idea of doing countless Meph runs with an incredibly slow Necromancer is not much of an incentive in the first place, so I'm still debating how to proceed.

So far, though, I can say that I've thoroughly enjoyed almost every moment of playing him, if for no other reason than that I'm back in the game that has given me so much entertainment in the past. :)

I'm going to put in a code table for my "score," though I won't include the other players from that tournament in it - I think that would be kind of... rude? Something negative, for sure. I just want to keep track of how I'm doing by the scoring system of that tournament.

Code: Select all

Player          Character, Class     CL      SL      PP      SSC       SM      TOT
Clersius        Necrosys, Nec       190    5480    1200        0    0.975     6698

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Re: Revisiting the Summoner's Smackdown Tournament (2010)

Post by sokol815 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:45 am

Good story, Clersius. I've never had the patience to run a Necromancer in Zy-El. Perhaps you can switch to playing the Softcore rotation tournament (viewtopic.php?f=53&t=59151) A sorceress or Amazon would be a great next-choice for getting lots of damage done fast. Especially since they would be greatly helped by the materials collected by your Necromancer.

Good luck!

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Re: Revisiting the Summoner's Smackdown Tournament (2010)

Post by Clersius » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:22 pm

Hello sokol815 :)

Yours is an inspired idea! I don't think I'll completely give up on Necrosys, but a break to do something else is probably necessary. I was thinking I might take up where I left off in the Evolution Tournament next, but I like your idea better. I should still have my Softcore Rotation characters, so I'll take up where I left off there, instead. Thank you for the inspiration. :) I hope you are doing well, and that you get to play Zy-El once in a while.

Happy Zy-Elling, one and all!

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Re: Revisiting the Summoner's Smackdown Tournament (2010)

Post by Clersius » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:33 pm


Getting back into it, I did a few Mephisto runs. Very slow, as I actually killed monsters on the way – not clears, just selected foes here and there. Basically, he is summoning (at p127) all, or most, of the 48 magi to which he is limited, setting p20, and taking 10 minutes (sometimes more) to do a run. He can't effectively kill Majat, sadly. It takes 48 magi – when he can get them to concentrate on a Majat in the first place – at least 25 seconds to get the Majat's life down to 20%, even using Lower Resist. Once they are that low they bolt (of course), and after trying to chase them down using Teleport a few times (which wastes Teleport charges and doesn't get the Majat any closer to dead), I gave up on even trying. The entire scene is an utter fiasco, honestly. I guess I need to buckle down and find out exactly how many Magi it takes to kill Mephisto fast enough at p20 to keep me from abandoning this character in complete frustration, then take that number directly to him via Teleport without stopping for Wyverns, Jem Hadar, or the Council at all. You know... just get something done!

He started in the 180s, now he's in the 210s. I did not count his Zy runes, but the number is around 25ish, none of which have been converted into fragments yet.


Finally achieved the making of a TC amulet from 4 of Talons. 800 more life, 12 more replenish life, but one less Necro skills on it. I deemed it worth the switch, so he's using it now. I also added close to 50 CCS to the amulet of varying types – mana regen, life regen, mana, %EG, Magic Find, Energy, all sorts of fun stuff. That gets him up to 12,188 life, which is slowly getting better, but still fairly terrible.

Another one to two dozen runs today (I didn't have – or make – a lot of play time). Sometimes I still stop to kill Wyverns or Jem Hadar, but mostly I am just killing the council and Mephisto. It doesn't take 10 to 15 minutes, but it does take at least 5. Meaning that it is incredibly slow going. Necrosys almost doubled the number of Zy runes he now possesses – up to a whopping 48. I should be making fragments, but I was loathe to interrupt the gathering process, such as it is. He is also level 217 now.


Created another 14 ZES Fragments, for a total of 21 – 3 full Scrolls worth, but only one set of all 7 fragments. He turned those into a full Scroll and made himself a Zy-El's Requiem! That doubled his mana pool, which is now a “whopping” 4.6k. His life rose to 15.5k. The 7 additional skills are nice, as well.

Another aspect of having a permanent helm now is that he can use all of his CCS and UCS on it. He rooted through his stash, pulled all of those scrolls out, and upgraded his helm with them. That gave him 5 more Necromancer skills, for a total of +12 on the Requiem and +45 overall. He also added mana, defense, energy, FRW, and FHR to it.

His next Scroll was used to create a Zy-El's Idea ring for the +15 skills on it. That brought him up to +60 overall, with level 74 Raise Skeletal Mage. Since his mana pool has increased so dramatically, it is practical for him to have a higher level in that skill.


This is an attempt to predict how high a skill level in Magi Necrosys will achieve. 15 each for Idea x 2, Deceit, and Ransom. That's 60. 4 from his amulet makes 64. 20 from his Requiem makes 84 (I'm hoping that he eventually gets his Requiem up to +20 skills). 100 from hard points is 184. 127 from his belt is 311. 10 from his Oath is 321 [editor's note from the future: he only received 8 from his Oath]. 12 from Vice makes 333. 12 from his Mega ChoM makes 345 [editor's note from the future: this item has +18 skills on it, not +12]. 15 from 5 Anthems makes 360. I'm thinking 360 should be plenty, right?

So how many ZES does the above require? 6 for equipment, then another 5 for Anthems, which makes 11, but I have already created 2 pieces of the equipment, so just 9 total.

20/20 for life and 2/2 for mana (he doesn't need 5/5 as my Necromancers from the larger tournaments did, because he is not allowed to cast Poison Nova or Bone Spirit (or any other damage spells)), 1 for FHR, 1 for FBR, 1 for DR, and 1 for MR makes a total of 48 Scrolls for the life jewel.

All together, that makes 57 Scrolls needed. That's daunting, considering how damnably slow the Necromancer is at doing Mephisto runs. 16 or 17 runs per Scroll at 10 minutes per run is almost 3 hours per Scroll!? 144 hours spent just to do this part.

The other requirements that involve ZES – or their equivalents – are the 10 full 50k collectors (equivalent of one ZES each) and 40k damage on a jewel, which is probably no less than 25 ZES.

35 plus the 57 makes 92, at least. On top of that, he'll need massive amounts of gold in order to create and/or re-roll jewels in order to get the Quadfecta of Shard of Salvation, Coin of Armageddon, Rock of Ages, and Dreamgrail. As a side note, I've only ever seen one of those four unique jewels – the Rock of Ages.

He also needs 38 Cube Locks to max out his belt. That's 266 PGems/Elixirs and 40 Zy runes... 266 PGems will cost... over 95M gold!!! That is roughly 2.5 times his current net worth... However, he can start with 6 Cube Locks just to max the life BoCL part of it. That's only 42 PGems, which will cost 15M (assuming he uses none of his current gem resources). That is quite reasonable.

Putting all of this together, I think that it is fairly certain that he will benefit from having %EG jewels, sadly. He needs enough life and mana to be able to kill at p20 or p32 in ToD, where the Witches live. When he has enough life to do that, he can progress to that point and start testing his income per run so that I can formulate a plan on how to best build his gold jewels.

I think, then, that he will need, say, half a million life. He currently has 13.3k life and 23% max life. A 3/3 jewel will bump him to just under 150k. 5/5 will bump him to just under 335k. 6/6 will put him exceptionally close to 500k, which should be fine to start. If that is not enough, then I will add more later.

I also think that it just might be possible to shave 5/5 off of the 20/20 total – 15/15 yields 2.5M instead of 4M, but I've never noticed that there has been any danger whatsoever with even 20% of the life total at 4M, much less with 37.5% of the life total at 4M. The Requiem and the belt together will give him a robust amount of life – assuming maxed resistances, of course – by the time he enters the Hell Insanity levels.

In order to progress, it may also be desirable to have a larger army, so another ZES or two or three or four may be required to provide him with another Idea (+15 net) and possibly Vice (+12 net) gloves. Deceit (+10 net) and Ransom (+9 net, but -3 Skel Mastery) are not out of the question, either. :P

He also needs another 24 levels so that he can make an Oath runeword, which acts as a fairly cheap life upgrade (which may not be needed in the face of a 6/6 jewel, but just might allow that number to be lowered to 5/5?).

Upon further reflection, considering that I am only looking at playing in Normal difficulty at p32 or lower, 500k life is probably way higher than he needs. Maybe half that would be sufficient – a 3/3 jewel would give him 150k. That will at least allow him to complete Normal difficulty (not leave it, just complete it – he's not leaving Normal until he's done with everything he needs to do apart from acquire the quartet of Unique jewels). If running ToD is too dangerous with that amount of life, then more can be added.

And now I realize that I forgot to take the upgraded belt into account! That will further decrease the number of ZES required before pushing on to the end of Act V. Or make his life a little more robust if he just goes with 3/3.


Finally made the six Cube Locks and used them to max out the Life BoCL on his belt. He now has just north of 30k life! The plan is to push through another 10 levels to reach 255 and make an Oath of Necromancer runeword in some sort of torso armor. Mage plate or one of its equivalents would be ideal, but I'm not sure what worth there will be of spending a lot of time and resources creating some piece of Elite armor for this purpose. It would be nice, granted, but perhaps not much more than just “nice.”


Finally reached level 255. He used three “any armor to mag armor” scrolls on a Light Plate he found before getting one with 6 sockets in it. He made the runeword, but it had +5 Necro skills and 15% max life on it – the lowest possible values either of those stats could have! It did have good resistances of +191, and almost 600 life.

Four more scrolls to re-roll it with 6 sockets again. This time, the runeword only had half the max on resistances (+100), less than 300 life, 65% max life (out of a maximum of 75%), and +8 Necro skills. At least that is the same number of skills that a Decorum would have. I'm happy with the % max life, for sure. Putting it on, he had just over 42k life. At some point, I might try for a better version in the other Light Plate he has, but the window on the usefulness of a better version won't be open for long. Another couple hundred levels (when life BoCL on the belt and any Oath become large enough to overshadow other life sources), or when he becomes proficient at running ToD (and can therefore load more life/% max life onto jewels) – either of those circumstances will relegate the variable stats of the Oath to a very minor part of his total stats.

Working out the math again, it looks like he will still need a 3/3 life jewel in order to break 250k life (the “new” target for life to complete Normal), even with both the fully upgraded belt and the Oath torso armor.

It remains to be seen how the loss of Regenerate Mana 47% from the Pride runeword he was using will affect his ability to quickly draw up an army of Magi. He doesn't use his mana much at all compared to a Necromancer using Poison Nova nearly constantly.

What now? Do speed runs (no more need for levels right now, and the “stuff” that he can collect will not help him nearly as much as Zy runes anymore) in order to get the 3/3 life jewel completed, at which point he can storm his way to the end of Normal difficulty and re-assess his approach – gold runs or Meph runs?

Before quitting for the night, I took him halfway to his goal – he now has 64 Zy runes at his disposal. Another 62 and he will have enough for the 3/3 life jewel. It takes an average of 2.5 minutes per run when I'm concentrating and actually being efficient at it. 10 runs in 25 minutes. Unfortunately, he is not finding an average of 1.5 runes per run. At one point there were three runs in a row with no Zy runes, then four runs after that with only a single rune. If I had to guess, I'd say that he is averaging somewhere between 0.9 and 1.1 runes per run. Even if he is only gathering enough resources for three Scrolls every 2.5 hours, that's a whole lot better than nothing, and twice as good as if it were taking him five minutes per run. :)

I was thinking about the “other” parts of what has become my standard life jewel – namely, the DR, MR, FHR, and FBR parts. Of those, only the DR seems crucial before starting the Insanity levels. And by crucial, I mean that I would like to give it to him in order that he might get rid of those two Shield ChoMs hogging eight of his inventory spaces. I am strongly considering putting the DR onto the 3/3 jewel. The other parts can wait until the rest of the life jewel is created. I've been using scrolls that give FBR and FHR to his helm, so honestly, if he finds another half dozen of each of those, he probably won't even need to megaload those onto a jewel at all! That would be nice.


Considering yesterday's end-of-day considerations, it looks like I want to gather 7 Scrolls instead of just 6. That means a total of 147 Zy runes to gather from Mephisto's necrotic grasp. Slow day today... picked up another 30 runes and made it to level 274. He has 44k life now, as well. 53 more runes to collect!


Level 280, collected another 37 Zy runes to make a total of 131 – only 16 to go!


Collected the 16, plus a few extra, but instead of using all seven groups of 21, I only converted six groups of 21 into seven Fragments per group. Together with the two groups of seven Fragments that already existed in Necrosys' stash, he had a stockpile of eight full Scroll's worth of Fragments. With about 20 to 25 re-rolls of duplicate Fragments, he was able to actually put together seven ZES, with seven Fragments left over for later use.

After that chore, he used some of his stash of rare charms and rare amulets to make four crafted amulets and three crafted charms. At that point, I realized that he doesn't yet have access to Jah runes! Buying three Ber runes per Jah rune for each of the six Jah runes that he needs is an unjustifiable expense, in my opinion, and I'm certainly not going to downgrade the hard-earned Zy runes that he's collected! What options remain? Well... I think he's going to brave Act IV at p1 and hope he has enough life to withstand the vicious attacks from Venom Drakes.

Fifteen minutes later, he was in Harrogath. At p1, Act IV was trivially simple for him. I did experience a game crash in Diablo's Lair, before Necrosys even started to clear out the Seal areas. No idea what happened, but it didn't happen a second time.

And, of course, I forgot that in order to buy runes in Act V, Anyanka must be rescued! :eyeroll:

An hour after that, he had not only rescued the damsel in distress, but also nearly completed the entire Act. He stopped just shy of finishing – leaving just Baal himself alive. I don't want to deal with having an extra click every time I load a new game for him, which is exactly what would happen if he killed Baal and finished Normal difficulty (if Nightmare is not available, there is no choice to make as to which difficulty to enter, so no extra click to get into the game).

There were a couple of problems in this Act. The first is that at p1, Mind Maws obliterate Skeleton Magi en masse with their corpse explosions. The Magi were all summoned at p1, rather than at p127, which is probably significant – I didn't test trying to build the hardier variety. Regardless, that's super annoying. The second is that the blue Witches in Throne of Destruction are also pretty hard on Skeleton Magi. Nowhere near as bad as the Mind Maws, who literally wipe out 70 to 85 Magi at a time, but they still go down pretty fast. And that was both the Magi summoned at p1 and the Magi summoned at p127. Or it seemed to be...

The money is already noticeably better in ToD than anywhere else, which I already knew. Still, it's nice to see it again! I will have to do a few runs after making the 3/3 life jewel, then perform my analysis of how much %EG he would need in order to match the speed (such as it is) at which he can farm Zy runes from Mephisto. That will be a future day, however, and not this day. I'm done for now.

I did manage to put the 3/3/DR jewel together and rearrange his inventory a little. He now has 260k life at level 292, which feels quite luxurious to me after all this time with barely 15% (and less) of that amount. :)


He did one run but I didn't time it. Netted 6.47M gold. Had to return to town twice to stash all of the paraphernalia he was collecting.

The next run I did time. 6.51M gold in 41 minutes. That's 9.53M gold per hour. His %EG is +1245%. 9.53M / 13.45 = 708.6k gold as a base.

Necrosys can do 24 Meph runs per hour. At 1.2 runes/run, that is the equivalent of 103.7M gold per hour. At 1.4 runes/run, it is 121M gold per hour. 24 runs also yields 72 Elixirs, which would cost 5.4M gold to buy, so his Meph runs really yield somewhere between 109.1M and 126.5M gold per hour.

In order for his pure gold runs to equal his Meph runs in profitability, he would need a multiplier of 126.5M / 708.6k = 178.5 = 17,850%. He already has 1245%, so he needs 17850 – 1245 = 16,605% more %EG. Each application of %EG yields 900%, so 16605 / 900 = 19 Scrolls. Similar calculations show that at the lower end (1.2 runes/run, or 109.1M gold per hour), it would take 16 Scrolls to yield a comparable level of %EG. Unfortunately, there is no benefit to splitting that jewel up into smaller jewels and using the smaller jewels to shorten the time for the remainder of the Scrolls, because these Scrolls are not made using runes bought with gold – they are made using the runes that Mephisto drops.

That's all well and good, but the real question is, does it save any time to make a %EG jewel? Of course not. The 19 Scrolls only make it so that he makes future ZES at the same speed while running Throne of Destruction as he would while running Mephisto. Which means that if he makes that 19-Scroll %EG jewel and then carries on with making the Scrolls he needs for everything else, he'll have wasted a lot of time just to be able to do gold runs instead of Mephisto runs.

To make it worthwhile, he then needs to make an additional %EG jewel (or jewels) – one that will improve his efficiency and therefore cut down on the time it takes to make the rest of the ZES that he needs. More calculations, then!

Assume that he still needs the equivalent of 150 Scrolls worth of gold, which is 150 x 75M gold each doing it the long way (Fragments), or 150 x 100M doing it the shorter way (50k Collectors). That is 15G (I use G to indicate “giga”, which more or less stands for a billion) gold the shorter way (which is the only reasonable way after the first few Scrolls). Also assume that he earns the equivalent of 126.5M gold per hour doing Meph runs (see above for that reasoning). 15G / 126.5M = 119 hours – let's call it 120 hours just to make the math a little simpler.

As an aside, playing 8 hours a day means spending 15 days on this. I can't do 8 hour days anymore, realistically – my wrists were in constant pain through the last 75% of the Softcore Tournament I just did. 4 hour days means a full 30 days, and even that sounds unreasonable to me anymore. By that I mean just doing Meph runs or gold runs for 4 hours. Playing “normally” I am not constantly clicking to pick things up or trying to concentrate wholly on doing Meph run after Meph run as quickly and efficiently as possible, which is why I can play longer hours when not doing gold or rune runs. Like I wrote, that was just an aside.

Also assume that he will make that first %EG jewel. That's another 1.9G / 126.5M = 15 hours. I assume this because I prefer to do gold runs to Meph runs – they are more interesting, in my opinion. Or at least they are less dull! So I am going to spend 120 + 15 = 135 hours on making Scrolls and extra gold. At least.

Now comes the good part. If he doubled his gold per hour to 126.5 x 2 = 253M, that would halve the 120 hours spent in gathering the gold for the 150 Scrolls. In order to halve the 120 hours, he would need a total of 253M / 708.6k = 35,700% Extra Gold from Monsters, which is 17,850% more than the first jewel gave him. 17850 / 900 = 19 more Scrolls. No surprise there. That's 15 more hours. The 120 is cut in half to 60 hours, the 15 for the first %EG jewel remains, plus the 15 for the second %EG jewel. That means that the total time to get everything done is now 60 + 15 + 15 = 90 hours.

Is it possible to cut that 60 hours in half again? Yes, but it does not buy nearly as much of a savings as that previous jewel did. Quadrupling the gold per hour, he'd need 506M / 708.6k = 71,400% EG. Subtracting the 35,700% given by the first two jewels leaves 35,700% needed, which is 35700 / 900 = 40 Scrolls, which is 4G gold. Remember, at this point he has already doubled his gold per hour to 253M. 4G / 253M = 16 hours. The 120 has been cut in half twice, so it is now 120 / 2 / 2 = 30, and 30 + 15 + 15 + 16 = 76 hours. Still, it is a savings of another 14 hours.


I finally found the willpower to stop picking up gold during Meph runs! I just have to keep in mind that these gold piles are mere drops in a waterfall of gold that won't materialize until enough Zy runes are collected, and every gold pile picked up is another pair of seconds that passes before that waterfall starts flowing.

My new routine is to keep the setting at p20 all the time. Summon a Fire Elemental, throw up a Bone Shield, portal to the Durance and run towards Mephisto until a large-ish group of monsters with relatively low life materializes. Cast Lower Resist on them, then Poison Nova (the Fire Elemental can't kill anything effectively) and start raising Magi. After the first Poison Nova, I can use Teleport to concentrate the few Magi that now exist so that they create more corpses, and keep raising more until there are 30 of them. That's about the right number to take down Mephisto in a reasonable amount of time. Run a few paces, Teleport ahead; keep doing that all the way to him, drop him, gather the loot and reset the game! I have not timed my runs, but if I was doing 10 runs in 25 minutes before, I'm guessing that I'm doing 10 runs in 15 minutes or less now. I'm not going to start thinking about it too hard just yet, but that lower time is going to increase the amount of %EG necessary to equal the efficiency of Meph runs...

After two hours of Mephisto runs, he suddenly had a run of four triple-Zy drops, then a double-Zy drop, another triple-Zy drop, a double, and another triple! Six triples in eight runs. 22 runes out of a possible 24. That was pretty amazing to witness. I've never seen such luck on the good side, though I've seen that plenty of times on the bad side, where triple-DKey drops occur over and over and over again until I feel nauseous. Good times!

At the end of three hours and change, he had 147 Zy runes – seven Scrolls worth – in his hot little hands. He started with around 25, so that's a nice increase. Necrosys reached level 337 in the process.


Another 98 minutes of rune gathering today. Up to 201 runes and level 349. That's 48 today at a rate of 33 runes per hour, which is the equivalent of 119M gold per hour. Also, my guesstimation of how long my runs were taking was way, way off. It certainly seems a lot faster than before, but it isn't. Necrosys is now averaging between 1:50 and 2:10 minutes per run, with an extra 60 to 70 seconds added to the runs when he needs to dump DKeys, Elixirs, and Zy runes into his stash and repair his Teleportation boots.


324 runes and level 374. 123 gathered today in 182 minutes. That's a rate of almost 41 runes per hour, which is the equivalent of 146M gold per hour.


92 minutes to gather 56 (380 total) runes. Level 387. 36.6 runes/hr, or 132M gold/hr.


135 minutes to gather 70 (450 total) runes. Level 404 now. That is a pathetic 31 runes/hr, or 112M gold/hr. I've decided that my goal is enough %EG to ensure that I “earn” enough gold per hour to buy 42 runes, which is 14 Fragments, or two full Scrolls with a few re-rolls. That amount of %EG is a bit less than 21,600%, which is 24 applications of 900%, which is 24 Scrolls worth. Using Fragments to build the Scrolls, that means that I need 24*7 Zy runes – 504 of them. 54 more to go, which I might be able to gather tomorrow, though Fridays are often quite busy for me in “real life.”

Today I also decided to start throwing all of the Elixirs and Demon Keys into Collectors – I want to make at least 50k (one full Scroll) Collector points in this manner. Necrosys has hundreds and hundreds each of Elixirs & DKeys in the stash, and he doesn't need to keep a whole lot, honestly. He does need at least 14*32 = 448 Elixirs to max out his belt's +skills, but other than that, a handful for emergencies should be all he needs to store. I would not be surprised if he has enough Elixirs to make half a Scroll and enough Demon Keys to make a full Scroll! I've not counted them, but I know there are more than 10 pages of DKeys, and close to 20 pages about half full of Elixirs. It takes 1000 Elixirs to make 50k points; it takes 500 DKeys and 100 Elixirs to make 50k points. Additionally, he already had roughly 15k Collector points just from tossing rares, sets, and uniques (armor and weapon uniques) into Collectors as he goes. He gathered the three full sets he needs to earn that multiplier in the tournament scoring system, but all the other set items he has cubed into Collectors.


It took 89 minutes to gather 41 runes (491 total), during which time he gained level 414. 28 runes/hr; 101M gold/hr. 1220 Elixirs stashed; 612 DKeys stashed. 35k Collector points towards the 50k needed. Need 15k more, which is 150 DKeys and 30 Elixirs.

I mentioned the Elixirs needed to max the +skills on his belt. Well, I overlooked the fact that he also needs 32 Zy runes to make the 32 Cube Locks, which means collecting another Scroll and a half worth of runes before quitting these horrible Mephisto runs, which means he needs a total of 536 runes instead of 504. Wait... that's not quite right. The math is correct, but the need to gather them before moving on is what's not right. He cannot afford the flawless gems to cube with Elixirs to make perfect gems to make the Cube Locks. It will cost over 71M gold to buy the gems, and he only has 50. He can make some of the Cube Locks, of course, but not all of them, and I am loathe to use the gold that he starts collecting in ToD for anything except the next few pieces of the %EG project! So he really only needs to collect another 15 or 20 Zy runes for the purposes of making Cube Locks before hitting ToD for gold runs.


Made half a dozen Cube Locks and farmed half a dozen runes. He dinged twice in the process, reaching level 416. Very slow day.


99 minutes to gather 69 Zy runes (560 total) – Necrosys is now level 426. I have to say that, while the runs are not painful to me – neither physically nor psychologically – I am tired of them from the standpoint of inefficiency. But then again I've been tired of them for that reason for days and days now. Barbarians and Sorceresses are so much better at it! :P Even one of those Druid things would be better at it, as it only takes a second or two to summon a few wolves.

Anyway, I'm probably done with Mephisto runs, for the most part. Next up is making the hundreds of ZES Fragments, re-rolling Fragments a few hundred times, and piecing together the Scrolls. Then we can concentrate on transforming those into a partial %EG jewel. Then any remaining resources can be used along with the six Cube Locks to upgrade his belt. Finally, once all of that is accomplished, he can start on gold runs!

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