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Old 12-22-2010, 02:26 AM   #1
Firehydrant
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Arrow Higher Difficulty Progression Guide

DISCLAIMER
This guide is meant to help players in Medium mode and above. It is not written for beginners and will be confusing for those just starting the game. Check out one of the beginner guides if you've only just started playing. Check out the Aenonar's world map guide for enemy and mission data. Come back if you are interested in progressing to higher difficulty after finishing Beginner.
Terminology and Abbreviations:

Spoiler:




Table of Contents:
I. Introductions
I.A. Basic Info
II. Play Style: Country Phase
III. Play Style: Karakura Phase
III.A. Play Style: Akatsuki Temple Phase (Forbidden Mode only)
IV. Play Style: Final Phase
V. Play Style: Formation
VI. Play Style: Notable Legendary Weapons for Progression
VII. Preparation
VIII. Team Type: LSnin
IX. Team Type: Hybrid
X. Team Type: HS
XI. Team Type: LStai
XII. Team Type: HStai
XIII. My Continuous Run
XIV. Q&A
XV. Closing Remarks



I. Introductions

I often get questions about how I can progress so fast without using premium. Now that I finished Impossible, I'm writing this guide to hopefully answer all the common questions once and for all.

There are five factors that determine how fast you can progress, preparation, play style, time spent online, premium, and luck. (There are technically more factors than that but the other factors can be categorized under one of those five) This guide will not talk about how to get more time to spent online/ladder or how to get more money to spent on premium. We all have however much resources (time, money) we have, the mark of a skilled player lies in how he uses those resources. And, of course, there will always be a luck factor when determining progression speed. You can have everything else going for you but get unlucky when trying to clear Kyuubi, or you can really suck at this game and get lucky with good LW drops. There is just no way to control your luck. But a skilled player with no luck can still clear difficulties with reasonable speed while a lucky player with no skill will have nothing to fall back on when his luck runs out.

Of the remaining two categories, preparation is more important than play style. That's because NM is a fairly long games in the sense that it takes months to finish a difficulty. And it is often difficulty to tell whether your plan will work out until you've played things through. Thus lack of proper planning can lead to slow progression speed. With that said, all the difficulties have now been beaten multiple times by varying team types and a lot of good team builds are floating around the forum for everyone to use. So for the first few sections of this guide, I will assume you already made preparations and thought up a good team to use. In these sections, I will talk about a collection of tricks and play styles that I have used to advance in higher difficulties. All of the tips and ideas in this guide are based on my own biased opinion as such your mileage may vary. How some of these things work may not be intuitively obvious to you and must be experienced firsthand, so don't be afraid to try different things out.

The latter sections of the guide contain very specific mathematical details and explanations for how various team types work, what ninjas/items/LWs are good for progression, how to choose summons, and basically information relevant to how to plan a team out before each difficulty. Normally, it would make more sense to put this section before the play style section. But because the information contained within can get very technical I decided to put this later for more advanced players. Also contained in this section are examples of how to plan out a run at higher difficulties (I'd bet you never realized how much details can go into planning a fast run), as well as proven team designs for various team types, play styles, and difficulties. Warning to all you creative team builders out there, I will be examining some common team designs and why they work well, and the explanation may influence you to lean toward a more "traditional" design. If you want to start from a fresh slate when building your team, don't look at these proven designs.

I.A. Basic Info

Before you start a difficulty you need to know what exactly it is that you're up against. In this sub-section, I list some basic information about each difficulties, most of which can be found in the tutorial but some of which are hidden. I deduced the hidden information from carefully experimentation but they are not 100% certain. Where the number is not absolutely certain, I will but an asterick next to the number.

Beginner: Enemy HP multiplier - 1.0, Attack multiplier - 1.0, Bonus ele. adv. - 0, Resist multiplier - 1.0
Easy: Enemy HP multiplier - 1.4, Attack multiplier - 1.15, Bonus ele. adv. - 0, Resist multiplier - 1.15*
Medium: Enemy HP multiplier - 1.8, Attack multiplier - 1.3, Bonus ele. adv. - 50, Resist multiplier - 1.3*
Hard: Enemy HP multiplier - 2.2, Attack multiplier - 1.45, Bonus ele. adv. - 100, Resist multiplier - 1.45*
Extreme: Enemy HP multiplier - 2.6, Attack multiplier - 1.6, Bonus ele. adv. - 150, Resist multiplier - 1.6*
Impossible: Enemy HP multiplier - 3.0, Attack multiplier - 1.75, Bonus ele. adv. - 200, Resist multiplier - 1.75
Forbidden: Enemy HP multiplier - 5.25, Attack multiplier - 3.0, Bonus ele. adv. - 250, Resist multiplier - 3.0

A multiplier means exactly what the name implies, a WM opponent with a base resist of 30 will have 30*3 = 90 resist on Forbidden mode. A bonus means that amount is added on top of whatever the WM opponent already has.

It should be noted also that resist exhibit odd behavior when a ninja hits low (typically < 150, but especially when its < 50). Some strange boost/nerf kicks in that can dramatically alter that ninja's resist and this applies to both your ninjas and WM opponents. This is the primary reason why having right element do you almost no good during the country phase on FM unless you have a lot of ele. adv..

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:48 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:27 AM   #2
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II. Play Style: Country Phase

I divide NM higher diff progression into three phases based on changes in play style. I will call these the Country Phase, Karakura Phase, and Final Phase. Since this guide is for higher diff progression it is assumed that you already have C+ and AA.


Duration:

From the start of the game to the end of the fifth Akatsuki country.


Objective:

1) Advance in rank as fast as possible

2) Get endgame jounin (or a strong HS temp jounin ex: Kabuto CM, if endgame jounin ex: FNJ is not available yet)

3) Get endgame kage, if possible (on impo, it may make sense to get a temp kage)

4) For Nibi/Gobi users, obtain endgame summon (temp combat summon for 20-ck progression summon users)

During the initial phase of the game, you start with whatever LWs you brought from the previous difficulty and can usually go pretty fast. Your objective in this phase is to move up in rank as fast as you can for the following reason: Since you're on higher diff, you have to be stronger to advance in rank than most of the other people, which means your team xp will be higher than everyone of your rank, which means you will get less and less challs as you spend more and more time on a given rank. Being in higher rank usually also means fighting higher level ninjas but since your own ninjas are using powerful LWs they can beat those higher level ninjas for massive exp. Also remember that having higher team xp does give bonus ninja exp for every 1k team xp, so as long as you're ranking up asap, having a somewhat high team xp is not a problem in this phase.


Team Layout:

In the beginning, you typically want to focus equip LWs on one or two ninjas at a time. The way the exp system work, it is better to have one or two very good ninjas then several ok ones for the purpose of earning ninja exp. If one of your ninja pulls too far ahead simply move the LWs to another one and repeat. In this way you can rotate LWs between your ninjas to keep them roughly the same level while advancing really fast. I usually focus lv the ninjas that have element advantage against the next country I'm doing.

You should keep all your ninjas around the same level because it turns out your team xp is strongly influenced by your strongest ninja (your strongest ninja usually decides whether you win BA fights). As a result, if one or two ninjas are much higher level than the rest, you could end up with too high of team xp which attracts high level opponents making it difficult to level the low level ninjas. This is bad because WM progression typically require good contributions from all ninjas.

It is very important that you have a strong jounin for this phase, even if it is a temp jounin. This jounin has to have a high initial damage and preferably a high initial seal. HS seal bonus is very strong for initial progression because the endurance couples well with the extra damage from your LWs. I personally recommend Kabuto CM regardless of team types if you're looking for a temp jounin. FNJ can also be used for this purpose if you already have one from a previous diff. The reason why this is viable is because once you reach the gold rank, it is very easy to raise a new ninjas up to your current level (typically 16-20) by focus equipping LWs. The reason why you want to do it is because you can get a new FN at the end of the five countries. And your FN, regardless of difficulty will be a very valuable addition to your team. Additionally, the strongest kages for low chakra cost are typically Chiyo/Ebizou/Naruto 4-tail, which you can start beefing your team up with once you reach gold rank. I typically use a temp jounin (or one of my endgame jounin depending on diff) until end of 4th country, and ditch him for the kage to allow me to quickly beat 5th country and get my FN. But even if you decided to use a silver star kage, the strategy doesn't change, you want to get to those strong endgame ninjas ASAP so you can slaughter some high level ninjas for massive ninja exp. Note, that on impo you may want to use a temp kage (instead of temp jounin) and simply replace with FNK at the end of this phase.

I also recommend having all your endgame FNGs out as much as possible (even if they have no equipment) because FNGs are worth twice as much ninja exp as normal genins and will make you a more attractive chall target. Once you have your jounin/kage, make sure to keep your jounin/kage stronger than your FNG (by shifting LWs), this has two desirable effect, a) your jounin/kage can actually kill stuff and level up (enemy ninjas don't get cut off by your FNG), and b) your now weaker FNGs make attractive targets. I usually have at least one relatively weak FNG at any given time in the first slot to attract people trying to get good exp from beating FNGs.


Chall Pattern:

These tips apply to all three phases.

1) I always look for opponents with lots of FN. Three is preferable though two is ok too.

2) Look for teams that have higher levels than other teams of the same team xp. They will give you more ninja exp for your AE.

3) Every 1k of team xp gives you +1 ninja exp on all ninjas if you win. (The bonus is half rounded down if you lose) But you only get the bonus if your opponent's team xp is also as high as yours. For example, if you have 4k+ team xp, you get +4 ninja exp on win against another 4k+ team and +2 on lose. But if you fight a 3k+ team, you get only +3 on win, and +1 on lose. So if I currently have 4k+ team xp I will prioritize my challs against other teams with 4k+ team xp.

4) Look for teams that have elemental disadvantage against you, this typically means your kage has elemental advantage against their kage/jounin, which ever is strong. Of course, there can still be upsets but this will improve your chance of winning and getting good ninja exp.


WM tactics:

These tactics apply to all three phases but especially the Country phase because all five countries has a specific pattern of missions that can be overcome by arranging ninjas and equiping LWs properly.

1) Check the world map guide to see what your opponents HP and element are before each mission.

2) Element is very important in higher diff progression. If you start with all fire ninjas you can actually get stuck in water country due to elemental disadvantage. If this happens, use your starter and change their element if necessary, load them up with LWs and hope for the best.

3) Against multiple soft-hitting enemies (like the 1:1, 1:2, 2:1, 3:1 missions of each country) you want to spread your LWs out to multiple ninjas focusing on the HS ones if you have them. You don't want your best LWs on a single ninja for these missions because its very easy for the super ninja to overkill and waste a lot of damage, then be killed by stamina decay.

4) Against one or two hard-hitting enemies (like the 1:3, 2:3 missions of each country) you want to focus equip your best LWs on one or two strong ninjas once again preferably an HS. The goal is to raise the one (or two) ninja's attack high enough and make it last long enough to finish off the enemy by himself. If you spread your LWs in this case, your ninjas will not have a high enough attack and will be killed off quickly.

5) Against suicide enemy (mission 2:2), you equipped your first two genins with just enough items to take out the first suicide enemy and allow the rest of your ninjas to win easily.

6) On the final mission of each country, you will always fight two enemies, one has an element the other does not. It is very important that you avoid elemental disadvantages by trying to make sure any ninja with a disadvantage fights the enemy with no element. Also the second enemy is typically stronger than the first, which is another reason why having a strong jounin/kage (even if its temp) is advantageous since this last mission is usually the hardest.

7) When you're ready to get a bijuu summon or an FN, change your elements appropriately so you can unlock the said summon/FN sooner. I've found that typically, Nibi/Sanbi can be cleared at around the 3rd to 4th Akatsuki country (memory a bit fuzzy here cause that part went by fast) and Gobi a while after the 5th Akatsuki country.


Spare WE usage:

For Medium and Hard, during this phase, you want to focus on advancing as fast as possible and will typically not have much leftover WE for LW hunting. Nor are there that many LWs worth hunting during this phase. I'll talk about exceptions later. But for the most part your energy will be spent on defending in order to maximize your ryo gain so you can buy items to give you temporary boost (spoil soldier pills, soldier pills are my favorite along with 50 abilities and certain 200 abilities). Speaking of which, unless you have a very good reason to use a different temp summon, get ryo bird. Do wind country first and get ryo bird. It'll be useful for at least a short while to gather extra ryo, which you can spend on items to help you advance. For me, this is not an optional thing to do, it is an absolute must if I want to progress quickly. I have tried spending less before, and it is definitely slower to hold back that spending. Don't forget that you gain more ryo from BA when you rank up to silver and gold. For Extreme and Impossible, it may be better to use nin-dogs if you're worried about finding LWs, especially if you're going to camp after Impo and wants to find one of the Impo Guardian LWs ASAP; otherwise, use Ryo bird until Nibi/Gobi.

Now, there is no doubt that you can get lucky and find a few LWs during this phase that will help you advance faster, but there are almost no LWs during this phase that you'll want to bring with you to the next difficulty and very few among those you can hunt that will help you in your battle against Kyuubi. Here are the notable exceptions:

Beginner:
Golden Axe (Battle Arena 2:1) - For when you really really don't want to wait until AT to get your golden axe. (I actually did this once)
Zero Sword (Rain Country 1:2) - For if you're worried about baiting enough challs on Extreme/Impo (and probably FM). Note when hunting this make sure your kono trios are Lv 1 (by selling and re-buying if necessary) and if I remember correctly, equiping 800 on the first two kono will actually cause you to end with less IF because only those two kono will fight.
Zweihander (Earth Country 3:2 Naruto team beat strong guardian) - A highly situational LW, you get this if you think you end up with lots of excess stamina on a ninja and has a free slot.
Medium:
Moon Chaser (Wind Country 3:1) - Useful for LSnin ninjas for obvious reasons.
Faerie Cloak (Lightning Country 3:1) - Another great LW for LSnin ninjas in both LSnin and hybrid team types.
Coma Puncher (River Country 3:1) - For LStai ninjas, too bad LStai sucks at progression.
Daedalus Lance (Fire Country 3:1) - Useful mostly for its extra utility, let's you hunt hard LWs more easily, and can give you some extra stamina if you need it for your final clear team.
Impossible:
Impo Guardian LWs (what I called IMPG) are 0.01% drop rate super buff LWs (except Gigas) that you can hunt for if your Naruto team beat the stronger guardian. They are:

Levantine (Lightning Country 3:2) - The best all round LW for progression you can wrap your hands around... for now. I can spend all day bragging about how lucky I was to find this baby on Impo, but I won't... for now.
Demonic Fang (Earth Country 3:2) - Rivals Levantine when used by LSnin ninja on higher difficulty.
Angel Slayer (River Country 3:2) - Very strong in camping but not as strong in progression. Perfect for people who will camp after Impo with a tai-dominant HS ninja.
Aegis Armor (Fire Country 3:2) - Just about the best camping LW you can find.
Gigas Glove (Wind Country 3:2) - Sucks. Go hunt Neo Fang instead.
*Note, that these LWs have specific countries tied to them so I highly recommend that you tackle the corresponding country ASAP if you want to hunt them.

So if you want to hunt one of these LWs, plan appropriately and spam WE, otherwise, defend.


Naruto team:

For Medium to Hard, this is the only phase during which you need to worry about your naruto team. For Extreme and Impossible (and FM I guess), you may have some trouble with the last mission of Karakura Castle. If are advancing as fast as possible through the ranks you will find that your naruto team is holding you back. The higher the difficulty you go the more of an issue this becomes. And it is typically more of an issue in the beginning than at the end of this phase. If you have no issue with your naruto team, you're probably going too slow. If you have issues there are a few things you can do to speed things up (without transferring any of your precious ryo over).

1) When attacking with team naruto, look for FNGs and high level but poorly equipped ninjas.

2) Look for ninjas against whom you have an elemental advantage.

3) When leveling select ninjas it is ok to attack enemy even if you lose as long as the ninja in question gains a lot of ninja exp (45 max per fight). This is because naruto team do not take exp penalty when losing fights or fighting against ninjas of lower type (i.e. jounin winning against genin) unlike BA fights. You can actually gain more ninja exp losing against a strong team full of FNG than winning against a weak team full of regular (or worse, starter) ninjas.

4) You can always change the element of a member of your naruto team for 1 ryo as long as that member is lv 1. The exception to this is Rin because she comes in at a level roughly equal to the average level of the rest of your naruto team, but can still undergo element change for 1 ryo as long as you do it right after getting her. Note that it will say 100 ryo to change but will only take away 1 ryo. (Don't rescue Haku) When you first get a naruto team member, try to aim for an element that will help you in the initial countries, especially the first two countries, which is usually wind and lightning for me. Don't be afraid to change one your naruto team members' element to help you get through a tough spot, you'll have tons of ryo to set their final elements before the end of the game. The hardest fight of every single country for naruto team is the hard guardian (don't fight the weak guardian, you want to extra items to help you beat the later countries quickly). Only the hard guardian of wind, lightning, and fire countries have elements as such you can only use elemental adv to speed your way through for those countries. For the same reason, you only have to worry about elemental weakness against the hard guardians of those countries. And for the love of god, don't turn all 3 of your initial ninjas into fire element (even though I said you want an advantage against wind country if you're getting Ryo bird), cause it will take you ages to clear the water country and get out of Pink. A good compromise is to make Rin fire since she comes in after the water country.

5) I always buy the naruto team ninjas' 50 ability, I find that it helps beat the first two Akatsuki countries, after which I can just use all the goodies I get from the hard guardian.

6) Of the two ANBU you start the game with, one of them will have a relatively high seal while the other will be low-mid seal. When the time comes for one of the ANBU to get booted from the naruto team it will always be the one with lower ninja exp. Keep that in mind and try to make sure the ANBU with higher seal has higher ninja exp. This is because HS naruto team ninjas definitely perform better than LS for progression (Don't rescue Haku). In fact, if you're worried about naruto team slowing you down (and you should for a fast run) then you may want to keep resetting your team until you get the right ANBU (you only keep one so if the other one sucks its usually ok). Below are the stats of the ANBUs, you are always given 2 of the 4 at random.

Code:
Anbu 1 (female):        tai: 14+3.6    nin: 52+6    sta: 10+0.5    res: 10+1    starting seal: 16 
Anbu 2 (triangle cheek):    tai: 33+5.8    nin: 33+3.8    sta: 10+1    res: 10+0.5    starting seal: 14 
Anbu 3 (scratches on cheek):    tai: 45+4    nin: 21+5.6    sta: 13+0.5    res:  8+1    starting seal: 10 
Anbu 4 (triangle forehead):    tai: 60+5.6    nin: 6+4    sta: 13+1    res:  8+0.5    starting seal:  5
Either Anbu 1 or Anbu 2 is fine. Anbu 1 has a higher starting seal but Anbu 2 has better stamina growth. Either case you only care about their performance for the first couple of countries before Yamato shows up. There are six possible combinations of ANBUs that you can get and of those only one contains neither Anbu 1 nor Anbu 2. So the odds are good that you'll start with one of them.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:27 AM   #3
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III. Play Style: Karakura Phase


Duration:

From the end of the last Akatsuki Country to the end of Karakura castle


Objective:

1) Obtain endgame team members (except 20-ck progression summon users who have to wait until Final phase)

2) Hunt LWs

You should be trying to complete your endgame team ASAP. Once Karakura castle is cleared, you should enough chakra to equipped everyone except maybe an FNG. Just rotate FNGs as necessary to keep their levels even.


Team Layout:

Most of the tips from the previous phase still applies except your kage (or FNJ if he is stronger) will now be the anchor of your team. Unlike the previous phase, there won't be nearly as many high level ninjas for you to beat up on for exp because most of everyone else will have some LWs/400/800/combat summon equipped. So instead, you should make your team's fighting power more spread out so that no ninja gets left behind (especially your anchor if he's under-leveled). Why do I call your strongest ninja the anchor? That's because your anchor usually comes out last in BA fights and is highly influential in whether you win or lose. Your anchor typically also does the most damage in BA. There are two advantages to having a strong anchor:

1) If your last ninja is weak (like if you got a really weak kage or misslot someone without stamina in the kage slot), he will usually lose should the fight ever get to him, thus lag behind in level.

2) If your last ninja is weak, something like half of the time the fight will not reach him and instead stop at wherever your strongest ninja is. Any ninja that does not get a chance to enter the fight does not gain ninja exp, not even the team xp bonus. A ninja count as having enter the fight if the ninja before it gets knocked out. Thus, it is very important that your last ninja is also your strongest in order for your whole team to get good ninja exp.


Chall Pattern:

Same as previous phase except you will occasionally find people who purposely equip their ninjas poorly to draw challs. They tend to be much higher level than others of the same team xp and provide great ninja exp. Of course it is also possible that its a trap.


Spare WE usage:

By the end of this phase, you will have access to 800 abilities and be able to fully equip your kono trio for IFing. You will also gain access to a number of very useful endgame and temporary LWs.

1) LWs from FNG will become available to hunt. They have high drop rate (0.08%) and can be very useful for the boss fight. Notable ones include:
Tornado Edge (Fire Country, Young and Mischievous) - Great temp LW for all team setups.
Vampire Claw (Fire Country, Young and Ambitious) - useful for when you need a crap load of stamina.
Shadow Blade (River Country, Young and Gifted) - Useful for mislotting. Shadow Blade is also a great source of ryo, but Golden Axe (with Murasame) is usually enough.
2) LWs from FNJ will become available to hunt (Hard+). They have relatively high drop rate (0.04%) and are very devastating. If you're on hard, many of these should be brought with you to extreme. Notable ones include:
Zangetsu (Water Country, Rebellious Jounin) - The highest damage hard LW that is easily huntable. Great for all team types. A must-have.
Chaos Blade (Water Country, Sharklike Jounin) - Kind of a like a Luna Sword but less damage and more stamina. I usually just re-hunt it if I need to since Luna is very hard to hunt on higher diff whereas Chaos Blade is easy.
Cosmic Blade (Wind Country, Smoking Jounin) - Great LW for progressing in phase 1 as well as hunting extreme LW due to its supersized elemental advantage. A respectable LW when there is not elemental advantage. Also great for laddering.
Psionic Blade (Fire Country, Mysterious Jounin, Extreme+) - One of the best progression LW for HStai ninja. Unfortunately its only got a 0.02% hunt chance and can take a while.
3) (Forbidden Mode only) If you're playing on FM, a number of FM LWs will also become available to hunt. In general, the four super damage LW are useful for all teams, they are:
Forbidden Edge (Battle Arena, Orochimaru FNK-earth) - The second highest damage LW, and the highest you can hunt without rerun. Great for all team types. A must-have.
Magirock (FNJ Sanctuary, Gaara FNJ-wind) - Excellent for LS nin teams and any ninja already equipping high reroll, is still exceptionally useful for other team types in terms of raw damage.
Fafniel (FNJ Sanctuary, Killer Bee FNJ-lightning) - Excellent for LS tai teams and any ninja already equipping high crit, is still exceptionally useful for other team types in terms of raw damage.
Santa Claws (FNK Sanctuary, Rikudou FNK-lightning) - Great for all teams but you must have enough stamina to use. Plan accordingly.
Other FM LWs are situational and which one you should hunt will depend on your team type and ninja choices. Here are a few examples:[indent]The Nue (FNJ Sanctuary, Nagato FNJ-lightning) - Excellent for an LS nin ninja in a hybrid team or an LS nin ninja who does not have much reroll. Good for an LS nin ninja that has a lot of reroll. And mediocre for everyone else.
Deimos (FNJ Sanctuary, Sasuke FNJ-fire) - Excellent for an LS nin ninja with a lot of reroll. Great for an LS nin ninja that has a little reroll. Good for an HS ninja packing a lot of damage (because of endurance). And mediocre for everyone else.
Exodus (FNJ Sanctuary, Hinata FNJ-water) - Excellent for an LS tai ninja or an HS tai ninja with maxed critical chance. Mediocre for everyone else.
Vorpal Sword (FNJ Sanctuary, Yondaime FNJ-wind) - Excellent for HS tai ninja wanting to max out critical chance. Mostly useless to everyone else. Vorpal + Exodus + Psionic/Angel Slayer is a great combo for HS tai ninja on FM (unfortunately only on FM because your ninja will not reach a high enough tai on other difficulties to make this combo effective).
Musashi (FNK Sanctuary, Jiraiya FNK-fire) - Excellent for an LS tai ninja. Not bad for everyone else (because of the damage boost).
Sword of Life (FNK Sanctuary, Naruto FNK-wind) - Excellent if you lack stamina (from equiping stamina reducing LW). Great for an LS nin ninja with high reroll. Otherwise, its pretty good for the moderate damage and endurance boost.
Naruto team:
You will continue to level your Naruto team as usual and should have no trouble with the missions except when you're on Extreme+, you may have some trouble with the last mission of Karakura Castle. People who have trouble with this mission usually either slacked in their Naruto team lving (you should have been continuously lving after clearing the fifth Akatsuki country) or have elemental disadvantage. If you beat all the strong guardians you have have received four crystal shards that add elemental damage. Check the world map FAQ for the element order of the four enemies and arrange appropriately. Another common problem is that ppl lv Rin and Sai a lot at the expense of Yamato and Naruto, this is in large part because you get a lot of exp from FNGs but not the jounin/kages that you sneak. You may want to level only the jounin/kage (especially right when you get Yamato) for a bit.

On FM, the last mission of Karakura Castle is particularly hard and it will generally take longer for your Naruto team to reach the point of being able to beat this mission then your regular team. Your Naruto team need to have pretty much perfect elemental advantage, an FSP or two, and ninjas with lvs that are in the high 20's. Most likely, you will need to give ryo over to your Naruto team to get all the items and change elements if necessary to achieve this. Be warned, do not stop lving your Naruto team ninjas after the last Akatsuki country.


III.A. Play Style: Akatsuki Temple Phase (Forbidden Mode only)


Duration:

From the end of Karakura Castle to the end of Akatsuki Temple


Objective:

1) Obtain endgame summon (i.e. 20-ck progression summon)

2) Hunt LWs


Comments:
The reason I added a fourth phase for FM is because most teams will be using a 20-ck endgame summon that are obtained at the end of this phase and because FM is ridiculously long so that its easier to treat by dividing into more chunks. In terms of play time, the end of this Akatsuki Temple (AT) phase should sit at about half way in a typical FM run so I tend to think of the last fight in this phase (Six Paths of Pain) as the mid-boss fight for FM. For SD user, the mid-boss fight is going to be the SD fight instead. Since I don't use SD on FM I'm not going to talk about the SD fight, instead I'm going to focus on the 6-path fight and a few things leading up to it. (SD users may contribute if they like.)


Strategies:
In terms of energy usage, there is no difference between the AT phase and the Karakura phase. But one of the main drivers for FM is the need to obtain your endgame (typically 20-ck) summon as soon as possible, combined with the fact that it takes a long time to reach the 6-path fight, it is necessary to plan for the 6-path. This is kinda like having to plan a midgame team on top of the usual endgame team, if you will. Understand that the 6-path fight is hard, really hard, so you should prepare for this with the same kind of mentallity as you would the last boss fight.

To plan your midgame team, you need to know your opponent. The 6-path fight consist of six opponents that have the exact same attack pattern but different element and slightly lower HP with each successive ninja. Each Pain will fight with the following pattern: First hit is regular strength, Second hit is weak, Third hit is slightly stronger than regular, and Fourth hit plus are all regular. The order of Pain's elements are:

fire -> wind -> lightning -> earth -> water -> none

It is very important that you plan your ninjas' elements around this order due to the high ele. adv. bonus that the Pains get. One bad element placement can give your ninja an early knock out and make you fail the mission. Another thing you need to be aware of is that Pain's base resist is 30. On FM, this gets amplified to 90. Or in other words, even if you have the right element, you will only do a little bit more damage unless you boost your ele. adv..

To beat 6-path, you need to keep in mind three important things,

I) You have 130 chakra (with C+) at this point. If you are using the typically all FN teams with a 20-ck summon, you will have exactly 10 chakra left over for a temporary combat summon. Conversely, if you use a temp combat summon that exceeds 10 chakra you will have to equip something weak (typically a starter) in place of one of your endgame ninjas. As it turns out, Reibi is, so far as I can tell, the best temp combat summon to use for the 6-path fight. The reasons are:
1) The reduction in combat power from having one less FN is very significant so all summons over 10 chakra puts you at a large disadvantage.

2) Of all combat summons that are 10 or less chakra, Reibi alone provides a sizable amount of both damage boost and endurance. This endurance makes a huge difference on FM because the HP to attack ratio is very high for FM.

3) I simmed it. Granted I only optimized the hybrid team with Reibi, Sanbi, and Gobi (hybrid teams don't use Nibi) sims, but I'm fairly confident the results will extend to other summons and team types. I found that for a reasonable clear percentage (~5%) a Reibi team came out 5-6 ninja levels (and a corresponding number of summon levels) lower than a Gobi team and 2-3 ninja levels lower than a Sanbi team. If you want further proof that I have this sim capability, here's a picture of the exact team that I used for my main's midboss battle.
For these reasons, and because FM FNKs have an enormously high resist (base 40 -> 120 on FM, or in other words just having the right element gives no bonus dmg), I find that its best to just use Reibi all the way from the Country phase up to the AT phase. I've seen people use specific ele. adv. summon to help them with getting their FM FNK, while that method may get you the FNK sooner (emphasis on may, I actually think using Reibi give roughly the same speed) it would almost certainly mean beating 6-path much later. Of course, you're all welcome to try other team designs. It would be interesting to see if anyone can come up with more efficient ways to tackle the midboss battle.

II) Unlike Kyuubi, five of six Pains have element, and you should take advantage of this as much as possible. One great way to do this is by hunting elemental shields since they give +45 ele dmg and +45 ele adv of the specific element. Unfortunately, the shields are completely useless against Kyuubi, fortunately, they're relatively easy to hunt. Vitamin hero waters are another obvious item to use. A large number of ele. adv. items (like Cosmic Blade, Omnipresent Mask, etc.) that are usually dismissed for the Kyuubi fight are very effective for the 6-path fight so you should keep them in mind when planning your team layout and hunt strategies.

III) On all other difficulties, it is typical to wait until you have a fairly high chance before tackling 6-path. But FM differs in that it takes much longer to raise your clear chance. Thus, if you treat it as another boss fight, it may be best to tackle 6-path at a relatively low chance like say 5-10% (my main cleared at 24% chance because I made a mistake with my ryo and bought my exp souls too early, leaving me with insufficient ryo for element change). With that said, its practically impossible to tell the exact chance without a simulator. You may just have to use your experience and gauge roughly how close you are to being able to clear 6-path. (And no, I don't have time to package my Shark into a .exe, not trying to be a jerk or anything. Its a lot more involved for me than you might think cause I'm not a programmer and don't usually work with executables)

Once you've successfully cleared 6-path on FM, pat yourself in the back. You're about half way through FM. Hopefully..


*Originally, I was going to update the guide with info about the stretch of time after the AT phase to clearing Kyuubi on FM but I quickly realized that there really is not much there I haven't already written about in the next section of the guide. It's pretty much just 3+ months of grinding until you get a decent clear chance (or a very small one if you want to try your luck, or just don't clear if you plan to camp RF FM for a while). So there isn't much to update about.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:28 AM   #4
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IV. Play Style: Final Phase


Duration:

From the end of Karakura castle to the final battle against Kyuubi


Objective:

0) 20-ck progression summon users should get their endgame summon ASAP

1) Try to clear Akatsuki Temple ASAP so you can field your full team

2) Hunt LWs

3) Clear Shinigami at a point when you have no ninjas whose level is a multiple of 5

4) Clear Kyuubi

In this phase you should try to get enough chakra to field your full team ASAP and hunt all LWs you plan on bringing with you. This is the longest phase of the three and is also the most boring. The only thing you can really do is keep leveling and LW hunting. There's a few things you can do to speed things up a bit, but more than anything else you just need to have planned your team well and be patient. If you're an SD user, you should try to beat the SD mission as soon as possible by taking advantage of the elements, use vitamin hero water if necessary on higher diff.


Team Layout:

In this phase, it is more important than in the previous phases to keep your ninja levels roughly the same, because it helps you make sure none of your ninjas' levels are a multiple of 5 when you're ready to face off with Shinigami.

Aside from making sure your strongest ninja goes into the last slot and keeping all your ninjas at roughly the same level, you should also start considering weakening parts of your team.

1) Have an FNG equiped with ryo making items like golden axe and weakening items like zero sword if you have it in the first slot. This will act as a bait for weak teams wanting high ninja exp. Rotate FNGs into this spot as needed to keep their levels roughly the same.

2) Once you hit roughly 5.5k to 6k team xp, your incoming challs will drop a lot. To counter this, start equipping ninja exp items, mainly exp sphere and exp amulet, exp soul is nice but will be too expensive for most situations. What equiping exp items will do is it will weaken your ninjas so that you end up with higher level ninjas for your team xp. Other people will now see you as a more attractive target since they can beat you for better ninja exp than other teams of your strength. The exp items then compensate for the lower ninja exp you will normally receive from fighting lower level ninjas.


Chall Pattern:

Same as the previous phase.


Spare WE usage:

All spare WE in this phase goes to LW hunting, prioritize the most important LWs that you can hunt and want to bring with you first. Once you have all the LWs you want to bring, go back to hunting temp LWs if you have time left. On the off chance that you have absolutely no LW you want to hunt (like if you're just super lucky), go sneak. Its a good way to boost your exp. If you reach the point of being able to clear Kyuubi but still haven't found all the LWs you want to bring with you, consider just clearing re-planning your LW hunting. Its not always worth it to hold up your progression for an LW.


Spare Ryo usage:

If you know you need to weaken your team with exp item (typically Hard+) buy those first. So far I bought 3x sphere and 1x amulet for Hard, 3x sphere, 3x amulet for Extreme, and I threw in a soul for Impo. The rest goes into buying stats. Buy stats one round at a time (i.e. don't buy a 2nd round of stats for a ninja if there is another ninja with 0 round) cause it would otherwise cost too much. Typically, you want to buy stats in the following order: strongest ninja -> weakest ninja, except when one ninja is particularly low in level compare to everyone else and you want him to catch up.


Laddering:

Laddering is a great way to gain extra ninja exp but also very difficult to do if you picked popular ninjas. It is not always easy to identify which ninjas are good ladder choice. Ask around chat for advice on this. You can also ladder for team awards, but for the most part this is time consuming and the reward is not worth the effort.

The best ladder award also require the least amount of laddering time to get. They are: ideal shinobi, streak, reroll king. And if you have the right equipment, sorcerer and shinigami apprentice are also fairly easy to get.

1) To get ideal shinobi and streak, equip the ninja you want to ladder with your best LW and make sure he gets a lot of stamina/endurance. Equip only this ninja and your combat summon then ladder away for at least 101 ninja fights (not team fights). This should take about 5 minutes. The number 101 comes from the minimum number of ninja fights needed to get ideal shinobi.

2) To get reroll king, it helps if you have a strong elemental advantage LW like Cosmic Blade. This can be done at the same time as step 1. You're bound to run into a couple of konos of the right element and score massive damage in the process.

3) To get sorcerer, you usually need to have a strong elemental advantage LW. To get shinigami apprentice, you need a Level 5 Death ability or weapon. If this ninja has no L5D ability, you can usually get this award with just a few L5D, making any L5D weapon you have very useful for laddering. Both of these awards can be gotten at the same time as step 1, though it maybe hard if you have a crappy L5D weapon.

4) Repeat process for any other ninja you want to ladder. I usually only have two ninjas I want to ladder (everybody else is usually too popular to ladder) so I typically get ~8 awards for like 10 minutes of laddering. If I have extra time on that day, I'll ladder for hardworker, heavy hitter, and masochist as well, typically giving me ~14 awards for about 45 minutes of laddering. I used to max my ladder awards each month because I ran with Ebizou (probably took 60% of all Ebizou awards for 3 months), which was under-used back then but ladder is becoming more aggressive. By the time I hit Impo, I was targetting more like 200-250 in a month. And yes, with only 45 minutes of laddering each day. You can certainly get more if you ladder more, but the key is to ladder smartly.

(Forbidden Mode only) At this point I got pretty tired of laddering, so I mostly stuck to Asuma FNJ and whatever opportunistic award I could take on a give day. I usually did not ladder much at the beginning of the month (at the start of the ladder cycle when everyone else is spamming 800 matches a day) and just saved my energy for later in the month (not NM energy, MY energy). But really, FM is a very long ordeal and arguably not worth laddering, its probably better for your sanity to just relax and be patient.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:29 AM   #5
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V. Play Style: Formation

Formation is not the same as team design. Team design is what ninjas you pick for clearing Kyuubi. Formation is how you arrange those ninjas. As such, a particular team design can have multiple formations. In this section, I will talk about several common formations and their pros and cons.


Crescendo Formation

As the name suggests, a crescendo formation is a team where the ninjas are arranged monotonically from weakest to strongest. At no point in the formation is the next ninja weaker than the previous one. A fight with this team will continue to escalate until the anchor is reached. The winner of the fight is usually determined by the anchor. I have found that this is the best formation to use for higher diff progression. There are several advantages to this formation:

1) Since the strength of your ninjas are gradually increasing, all of your ninjas will usually get to knock someone out in a given fight. If a ninja is stronger than the ninja after it, then one of two things will happen: either the fight stops at the stronger ninja or whoever beats the stronger ninja will also easily beat the weaker ninja even with stamina decay. Thus, it is better to have a lineup where the ninja damage rise gradually.

2) It is usually a lot easier to level your kage with this formation (assuming you're using a kage, if you're missloting an FNJ then this applies to the FNJ), since he's usually your strongest ninja. Other types of formation tends to suffer from over-leveled FNGs. This is bad because the FNG steals a lot of needed wins from the jounin/kage who will suffer in level. Since two of the FNG will be offed by Kyuubi's 4th and 8th hit, their extra damage gets cut off prematurely. Every extra level you gain on your strongest ninja is always more useful for progression than an extra level gained on your weaker/tank ninjas. Of course you don't want to go overboard and end up with huge level gaps between genin and jounin/kage since at that point it will take a lot less exp to level your genins than your jounin/kage.

3) It is a lot easier to hunt LWs with a crescendo formation team because your strongest ninjas are in your jounin/kage slots, so you can put in kono trios and retain the majority of your firepower.

4) A crescendo formation is better at baiting. Because you will have relatively weak FNGs compare to other people around your team xp (i.e. those who are not using crescendo), this makes your team attractive to weaker teams looking to get some good ninja exp off of your FNGs.


Spike Wall Formation

As the name suggest, this formation has a sharp spike in damage in the form of one super strong ninja (typically kage). It is possible to make a jounin spike wall but that effective cuts off all other ninjas that come after the spike wall and is usually not recommended for reasons discussed in crescendo formation. The main use of the spike wall formation is to collect massive ninja exp on just the one ninja and is useful for leveling up a fresh kage or FN.

Spike wall formation carries a lot of the same advantages as a crescendo but also has one major drawback.

Because team xp is highly influenced by your strongest ninja, you can end up with extremely high team xp for your overall ninja levels. This can lead to a large drop in incoming chall if you're in the red fox rank. As such this formation is usually not recommended for teams in their final phase.


Fade Out Formation

This is the most common and probably the worst formation for progression. As the name suggests, it is the opposite of a crescendo formation. The damage of your ninjas decreases as the battle progress so your genins have the highest attack. This formation carries the exact opposite traits as crescendo and is not recommended.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:29 AM   #6
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VI. Play Style: Notable Legendary Weapons for Progression

I'm assuming you already hunted and brought Luna Sword and Murasame from beginner and easy, respectively. Any other LW on beginner/easy is usually not worth bringing or not easily huntable. Some of the LWs overlap what has previously been mentioned because I want this section to be a comprehensive description of all LWs I find to be worth mentioning. I have included, in parenthesis, the location where the LW can be found as well as the element of the enemy where applicable because this is important for planning your elements.


Beginner/Easy

Zero Sword (Rain Country 1:2) - Great for baiting if you chance upon it, not necessary to go out of your way to hunt it.

Golden Axe (Battle Arena 2:1, 0.1%; AT 1:1 0.5%) - Absolute must on every difficulty, just hunt it from Akatsuki Temple to save WE.

Zweihander (Earth Country 3:2) - A highly situational LW, you get this if you think you end up with lots of excess stamina on a ninja and has a free slot.

Fury Fist (Earth Country, Young and Hungry) - Somewhat useful LW if you have a HS ninja that would have otherwise equipped a robust nunchaku

Vampire claw (Fire Country, Young and Ambitious) - Very useful for mislotting.

Shadow Blade (River Country, Young and Gifted) - Useful for mislotting. Shadow Blade is also a great source of ryo, but Golden Axe (with Murasame) is usually enough.

Tornado Edge (Fire Country, Young and Mischievous) - Great LW, is usually the first temp LW I hunt once I got all the LWs I really need.

Dragonbone (Battle Arena 2:2) - Interesting LW in that its stronger than most 400 abilities, but by the time you reach medium, you can already hunt Hexa Sword. So I personally find it pointless to hunt this.

Recovery Blade (Otherworld 1:1) - Another interesting LW. Recovery Blade is very good for progression but comes at a location that's difficulty to hunt in. By the time you can hunt this you're typically ready to clear Kyuubi, which leads to a big dilemma about whether you should stay behind for a while to hunt it. I personally don't like to stay behind to hunt LWs.

*Just a quick note about Murasame/Golden Axe, the reason I don't hunt more ryo LWs beyond those two is because they give a total of 26% ryo gain, which is just over the 2->3 ryo gain threshold for losing as a Gold/RF.


Medium

Hexa Sword (Battle Arena 1:1) - Huntable very early on, a pretty strong temp LW. If you think you need to stamina in your final clear team, try hunting this. This is one of very few exceptions to LW hunting during Phase 1.

Daedalus Lance (Fire Country 3:1) - Useful mostly for its extra utility, let's you hunt hard LWs more easily, and can give you some extra stamina if you need it for your final clear team.

Moon Chaser (Wind Country 3:1) - Useful for LS nin teams for obvious reasons.

Faerie Cloak (Lightning Country 3:1) - Great replacement for Itachi's 800 if you have an Itachi. Also great for misslotting. The extra endurance and reroll greatly increase the damage dealt by an LS nin ninja.

Coma Puncher (River Country 3:1) - Primarily geared toward LS tai ninja if you ever try to progress with one.

Dark Saber (Otherworld 2:2) - Powerful all round LW but is unfortunately in Otherworld. Not recommended under most circumstances because you'll probably be able to clear Kyuubi before you can hunt this.


Hard

Zangetsu (Water Country, Rebellious Jounin) - The highest damage hard LW that is easily huntable on hard. A must-have.

Chaos Blade (Water Country, Sharklike Jounin) - Kind of a like a Luna Sword but less damage and more stamina. I usually just re-hunt it if I need to since Luna is very hard to hunt on higher diff whereas Chaos Blade is easy.

Cosmic Blade (Wind Country, Smoking Jounin) - Great LW for progressing in phase 1 as well as hunting extreme LW due to its supersized elemental advantage. A respectable LW when there is not elemental advantage. Also great for laddering.


Extreme

Psionic Blade (Fire Country, Mysterious Jounin) - One of the best progression LW for HS ninja. Unfortunately its only got a 0.02% hunt chance and can take a while.

Revive Armor (AT 1:1 no element) - One of the best progression LW for every ninja type, it is primarily designed for Phase 3 progression and clearing Kyuubi. Good to bring if you want but it is somewhat easy to hunt and is less useful during Phase 1 and 2.

Immortal Blade (AT 1:2 Earth) - One of the best progression LW overall because it combines damage with endurance. A must-have.

Garuda (AT 1:3 Fire) - One of the best progression LW for LS nin. A must-have if you're using LS-nin.

Terrorizer (AT 2:3 no element) - Another high damage LW that is generally useful for all teams. If you're LS or mixed seal and need to pick out one more LW to bring, this is a good one.

Demon Hit (AT 3:1 Wind) - Primarily designed for HS ninja, not as good as Psionic Blade but easier to get.

Neo Fang (AT 3:2 no element) - An LW for LS tai, get it if you plan on using LS tai.

Kali Blade (AT 3:3 Lightning) - An LW for LS nin (despite having a lot of tai), get if if you plan on using LS nin.


Impossible

Levantine (Lightning Country 3:2) - One of the best all round LW for progression you can wrap your hands around.

Demonic Fang (Earth Country 3:2) - Rivals Levantine when used by LSnin ninja on higher difficulty.

Angel Slayer (River Country 3:2) - Very strong in camping but not as strong in progression. Perfect for people who will camp after Impo with a tai-dominant HS ninja.

Aegis Armor (Fire Country 3:2) - Just about the best camping LW you can find.

Gigas Glove (Wind Country 3:2) - Sucks. Go hunt Neo Fang instead.

Soul Blade (River Country, Kushina FNJ) - A great utility LW that combines a fair amount of attack, large amount of stamina and ele. adv.


Forbidden

Forbidden Edge (Battle Arena, Orochimaru FNK-earth) - The second highest damage LW, and the highest you can hunt without rerun. Great for all team types. A must-have. I regard Forbidden Edge, Levantine, Magirock, and Fafniel as the four core progression LWs because they can be hunted while you progress and they are generally useful for any team type.

Magirock (FNJ Sanctuary, Gaara FNJ-wind) - Excellent for LS nin teams and any ninja already equipping high reroll, is still exceptionally useful for other team types in terms of raw damage.

Fafniel (FNJ Sanctuary, Killer Bee FNJ-lightning) - Excellent for LS tai teams and any ninja already equipping high crit, is still exceptionally useful for other team types in terms of raw damage.

Santa Claws (FNK Sanctuary, Rikudou FNK-lightning) - Great for all teams but you must have enough stamina to use. Plan accordingly.

The Nue (FNJ Sanctuary, Nagato FNJ-lightning) - Excellent for an LS nin ninja in a hybrid team or an LS nin ninja who does not have much reroll. Good for an LS nin ninja that has a lot of reroll. And mediocre for everyone else.

Deimos (FNJ Sanctuary, Sasuke FNJ-fire) - Excellent for an LS nin ninja with a lot of reroll. Great for an LS nin ninja that has a little reroll. Good for an HS ninja packing a lot of damage (because of endurance). And mediocre for everyone else.

Exodus (FNJ Sanctuary, Hinata FNJ-water) - Excellent for an LS tai ninja or an HS tai ninja with maxed critical chance. Mediocre for everyone else.

Vorpal Sword (FNJ Sanctuary, Yondaime FNJ-wind) - Excellent for HS tai ninja wanting to max out critical chance. Mostly useless to everyone else. Vorpal + Exodus + Psionic/Angel Slayer is a great combo for HS tai ninja on FM (unfortunately only on FM because your ninja will not reach a high enough tai on other difficulties to make this combo effective).

Musashi (FNK Sanctuary, Jiraiya FNK-fire) - Excellent for an LS tai ninja. Not bad for everyone else (because of the damage boost).

Sword of Life (FNK Sanctuary, Naruto FNK-wind) - Excellent if you lack stamina (from equiping stamina reducing LW). Great for an LS nin ninja with high reroll. Otherwise, its pretty good for the moderate damage and endurance boost.

You can also have a look at my DV FAQ, where I developed a rating system specifically for ranking LWs for specific progression team types. I did not and do not plan to include FM LWs in the DV FAQ because the rating system would have to be recalibrated specifically for FM (since difficulty stats are very different for FM than for the other diff). I don't really want to list two sets of DV, one for FM only, and one for all other diff. Everyone should have some idea on how to select LW by the time they make it to FM.


Notable Regular Items

These are not LWs, but you should be aware of them if you plan on making a speed run.

Soldier Pills - (including spoiled, regular, and fresh varieties) are very useful for clearing the Country Phase quickly. You can get them either by buying them or, if you're on Extreme+ and get stuck on a rank, laddering for team streak. For the most part, the laddering is only useful for obtaining spoiled and regular soldier pills as fresh ones can only be obtained in RF/PF ladder, which is usually too hard to ladder for team streak. And of course, useful for when you don't have enough stamina.

Vitamin Hero Water - Very useful for obtaining FNJ/FNK/Bijuu summons early. But does cost quite a bit, another reason to get that Ryo bird.

Exp (Sphere/Amulet/Soul) - Great for boosting incoming challs while maintaining a good amount of ninja exp. Equipped a Soul and an Amulet on your FNK with a strong LW and watch her(or him) rip everyone apart for massive experience.

Robust Nunchaku - Useful when you have absolute nothing else to equip in that last equipment slot.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:30 AM   #7
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VII. Preparation

The following are the bare minimum information you should have figured out before starting any difficulty:

Team Design: Team design refers to what endgame ninjas and summon you picked for this difficulty. To decide this, you need to know what team type you want to use, what ninjas you want to use, and what summon you want to use. I'll list some notable ninjas/summon to use for common team types in later sections.

The following is what I figure out before every normal runs:

Endgame Formation/LW Layout: The first step I always take when preparing a run (which happens near the end of the previous run) is to brainstorm a bunch of different team designs with the FNs that I have available. For my alt, I also consider potential camping candidates in my FN selection. A lot of people ask me what FNs they should take but I think the better question is what FN do you want to camp with (or progress indefinitely with) and build teams around those FNs. I can come up with the perfect team design for a difficulty and it won't mean squat if it contains ninjas you don't want to use. Next, for each of these team ideas, I come up with a logical formation and equipment layout including LWs that I can reasonable expect to get during the run. I sim them, fine-tune some details and obtain a reasonable comparison between the different team designs. If two of them are reasonably close, I'll compare other aspects of the teams like how easy it is to lv, how much ryo it cost to complete, and so on so forth.

Ninja/Summon Cost and Location: Once I have my endgame team laid out, I make notes on the cost and location for each ninja and summon so that I can create a logical order for obtaining them. If a ninja/summon requires that I beat something to obtain it, I also note the stats of the opponent I have to beat, especially the elements.

Ninja Element: I leave some blanks for ninjas the element of whom I have no control over. But for those that I can control I write them the element I want based the country order I want to tackle and the element of key enemies. I also write them element changes that I think may be needed.

Progression Formation: I now make a small table with all chakra-increasing mission area on the left and all my team members (including temp members) on the top. I then go through each mission area and plan my regular team formation for the amount of chakra available after that mission. Example, I will this formation after clearing the River Country whereas I will have that formation after clearing Karakura Castle. At this point I also figure out the order of the Akatsuki countries I want to do based on what LWs I want to hunt and Naruto team. I may also leave blanks to be filled in once I know what my ninjas' elements are.

LWs: I now make detail notes about which LWs I absolutely need on my endgame team and which ones are optional. I also put down notes on what opponent I need to beat for the LW, what element they have, and their rough strength.

Naruto Team: Now, I plan out my naruto team's elements, taking into account at what point each member enters and leaves the team. For example, one of the anbu leaves after the 2nd Akatsuki country so its ok for his/her element to be weak against the 3rd-5th Akatsuki country.

Lastly, I look at all the steps in my progression plan and see if they mesh well together. I may go back and fine-tune the order of the countries, the elements of my ninjas, the elements of Naruto team ninjas, formations, LWs, and even occasionally starting back from team design until I'm satisfy with the order of events in my run. Obviously, you don't need to do all of this planning before a run but better you plan a run, the less problems you'll have during the run.

For the First Revival event I also tracked a few additional pieces of information to help me better predict when I could clear, these include:

Day-to-day Income: I tracked my total incoming challs and ryo income to predict at what point I would have all the ryo I need.

Summon Exp: I tracked my wins in order to predict when I should switch from Ryo bird to Gobi

Ninja Exp: This one was harder to predict, so I just estimated roughly and refine my estimate as I go. The trick to that particular run was to make sure all three of these things converge together as early as possible to enable a clear (that is to say one of those three things didn't end up lagging behind the other two). Easier said than done, but when the prize is a custom LW and you have a self-imposed rule of no premium, its worth the effort.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:31 AM   #8
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VIII. Team Type: LSnin

From this point on, I'm going to describe a few common progression team types, the pros and cons of each type, proven team designs for each type, and notable ninjas/LWs for each type. Hopefully, this will help you choose the team design that best fits your style and personality.


Description:

A traditional LSnin team consist of six low-seal nin-dominant ninjas with a Nibi or SD summon. There's also some variants with a single HS ninja to tank one of Kyuubi's deathblow, but that's usually only done on Beginner/Easy. This team type has been exceptional strong for progression in the past and continues to be a strong contender in the present. The key to succeeding with this team type is to recognize that although you have a chance of rolling low, it is the small chance of rolling very high that's your strength. You only need to get lucky enough to beat Kyuubi once. Building an LSnin team is very easy as there are a large amount of experience floating around and people have pretty much come to agreement on which team designs are the best. Nevertheless, it takes a certain type of player who are willing to deal with the inherently risky nature of LSnin to progress six to seven difficulties with it.

Here I list the pros and cons of using LSnin,

Pros:
* Highly competitive
* Can "luck out" and clear a diff WAY before everyone else
* Initially levels very fast due to ability take down high lv opponents with good rolls
Cons:
* Inherently risky
* Will occasionally fail on LW hunting
* Will waste some WE trying to clear missions
Proven Team Designs:

These are called proven team designs because they have actually been tried and shown to give good results,

Medium (113 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Zabuza/Guren, Deidara, Chiyo, SD

Hard (104 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Chiyo/Konan, SD
FNG, FNG, FNG, Guren, FNJ, Chiyo, Nibi

Extreme (95 chakra):
FNG, FNG, starter G, FNJ, FNJ, Shodai (undead), Nibi
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, FNJ, SD
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Chiyo/Konan, Nibi

Impossible (86 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, Guren, FNK, Nibi
FNG, FNG, starter G, starter J, FNJ, FNK, Nibi

Forbidden (140 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, SD
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Shima

(Note that when I was balancing summons I found that, for a pure LS nin team, using Shima puts you a few summon levels behind using SD for a 1% clear chance. And that presumably you will have a harder time with regular missions and LW hunt due to a lack of reroll. But the performance difference is small enough and the difficulty long enough that people who are sick of staring at the same SD for six difficulties may want to consider Shima for the seventh run. Be careful to make this choice early though because the LWs that optimize a Shima team is not the same as the LWs that optimize an SD team. Which summon you plan to take will affect what LWs you should hunt throughout FM so don't wait until after clearing 6-path to decide.)


Notable Ninjas:

I occasionally get questions about what FNs to choose, and to be honest, FNs are generally alike except for their abilities so the actual choices are not that impactful. Nevertheless I will list FNs in order of what I think are most useful for each team type as well as any none-FN ninjas that are exceptionally useful.

For an LSnin player, you want ninjas with as much nin growth as possible with abilities that give high nin, reroll, and endurance. The following ninjas are worth considering for an LSnin player, I list them in the order of who I think are the most to least useful for each rank. (note: useful, not powerful)

Kage:
1. Itachi FNK
2. Orochimaru FNK
3. Rikudou Sennin FNK
4. Chiyo

Jounin:
1. Itachi FNJ
2. Kabuto FNJ
3. Tobi/Karin FNJ
4. Konan/Deidara FNJ

Genin:
1. Itachi FNG
2. Orochimaru FNG
3. Konan FNG
4. Shikamaru/Ino/Nagato FNG


Notable LWs:

For an LSnin player, the most important stats you should look for in your LWs are nin, reroll, and endurance. The higher the difficulty level, the more important endurance becomes, though you should not neglect reroll. The following LWs are worth considering for an LSnin player, I list them in order of what I think are the most to least useful.

1. Levantine (IMPG)
2. Demonic Fang (IMPG)
3 tie. Kali Blade (Extreme)
3 tie. Revive Armor (Extreme)
3 tie. Immortal Blade (Extreme)
6. Garuda (Extreme)
7. Terrorizer (Extreme)
8. Murasame (Easy)
9. Zangetsu (Hard)
10. Luna Sword (Beginner)
11. Faerie Cloak (Medium)
12. Cosmic Blade (Hard)
13. Moon Chaser (Medium)

These are, of course, not the only LWs you should consider but you shouldn't not consider these.

*Note that I will not be updating the notable LWs list for FM LWs. It should go without saying that FM LWs will be at the top of these lists if I were to update them. Players should be able to decide by now which FM LW to hunt when they finally make it to FM. If not, read my suggestions in section III under "Spare WE Usage".

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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IX. Team Type: Hybrid


Description:

The so-called hybrid team type refers to a team with both low seal and high seal ninjas mixed together. This team type is the easiest the build and the hardest to build right. Building a hybrid team is as simple as picking a bunch of random ninjas, make sure there are both low and high seal members and stick in a Gobi. Even if the members don't mix well, it can still be called a hybrid team. This is why the majority of teams in NM are hybrid (an why everyone picks Gobi, nerfed or not). Newer variants can also use Fukasaku, Shima, and Gamaken. However, just because you threw together a bunch of ninjas of opposing seals and got a "hybrid" team doesn't mean it will do well. It's like tossing salad, if you throw in a bunch of random vegetables it'll probably taste alright but you may not be able to sell it at a restaurant. With that said, there are a lot good hybrid recipes out there through trial and error or by observing good setup in action. But to really make a hybrid team shine, you need to know why a hybrid team can do well and what makes it tick. BTW, hybrid teams are my favorite, so I have more to talk about on this team type than on any other.

Before I go into why hybrid teams work well, I need to talk about the idea of spread. For a ninja, spread refers to how much variation that ninja's damage output can have. Ex: a seal 1 ninja with 200 nin, 0 tai has an attack range of 5 to 195, his spread is (195-5)/100 = 190%; a seal 19 ninja with 200 nin, 0 tai has an attack range of 95 to 105, his spread is (105-95)/100 = 10%. In other words, although their average damage is the same, the LS ninja can output almost twice as much damage as his average than the HS ninja. For a team of ninja, I define Spread a little differently. I define high damage as the total damage that this team has a 1% chance of exceeding, and I define low damage as the total damage that this team has a 99% chance of exceeding. The Team Spread is equal to (high damage - low damage)/average damage. This will make more sense when you look at the clearing curves below.




The figure above is divided into 7 sub-figures each showing a clearing curve. For now focus on the top two. These two curves show how different the Team Spread of an LSnin team is compare to an HS team. Note that the average total damage of the HS team is actually much higher than the average total damage of the LSnin team, yet due to the difference in Team Spread, the LSnin team has a 1% chance of clearing Kyuubi whereas the HS team has a 0% chance. Now watch what happens as I change the seal of some of the HS team ninjas one by one to create a hybrid team. In the six lower sub-figures, I change ninja seal from 19 to 1 one at a time so that I start from a 6-0 HS team and go all the way to a 1-5 hybrid team while keeping everything else exactly the same. You can see that with each conversion of an HS ninja to LS the average total damage drops but the spread increases. The highest clear chance is achieved, in this case, at 3-3 when enough LS are present to give you a large enough Team Spread to reach the goal but not so many LS that your average total damage drops too much. This is the essence of hybrid, and the reason why hybriding works. You are trading damage for spread in order to accomplish what LSnin can do but without the aid of reroll (for those who understands the math of what's going on, reroll basically increases average total damage while decreasing spread).

If you understood none of the above its not a problem. The bottom line is a strong hybrid team requires two components to suceed, a high average damage (provided by HS) and a good spread (provided by LS). Furthermore, the two components must be in balance to achieve the best results. This is why, the best ratio of HS to LS for hybriding is typically 4-2 or 3-3 depending on situation. I typically LS two of my three genins and one/zero of my jounins. This way I have all the spread I need when I fight Kyuubi and very little spread when I swap in Kono trio to hunt LWs.

Aside from being competitive with LSnin, there are other reason to use hybrid teams. Although they are not the best at any one thing they are very good at many things. Here I list the pros and cons of using hybrid,

Pros:
* Highly competitive
* Fairly steady LW hunting (if you pick the right ninjas to LS)
* Decent leveling through out
* Being able to draw on the best LWs for other team types
Cons:
* Has minor risk component
* Not much else other than not being the absolute best at any given thing
Since hybrid teams are built from two components, I will be listing notable LWs and ninjas for each of the two sides. Mastery of hybriding require that you learn to balance the two sides and is best learn through playing. Note that for the LS side of the hybriding, you should stick to ninjas with as much nin as possible. Because LStai does not provide enough spread for the decrease in average damage. The only notable exception to this is Killer Bee whose abilities allow him to excel in progression despite being LStai. Read the LStai section for an in-depth explanation of why LStai is not currently competitive for progression.


Proven Team Designs:

Medium (113 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Kabuto CM, Hidan J/Deidara J, Ebizou/Chiyo, Gobi
FNG, FNG, FNG, Kimimaro CS2, Itachi J, Ebizou/Chiyo, Gobi

Hard (104 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Naruto 1-t/Sasuke CS2, FNJ, Ebizou/Chiyo, Gobi

Extreme (95 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Ebizou/Chiyo, Gobi
starter G, FNG, FNG, FNJ, FNJ, Nidai (undead), Gobi

Impossible (86 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, Naruto 1-T/Sasuke CS2, FNK, Gobi
starter G, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, FNK, Gobi

I used to have Sanbi teams in here, but I tried them and didn't like them. Wasn't fast enough for me.

Forbidden (140 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Fukasaku
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Shima
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Gamaken

Pick Fukasaku if your LS members are tai (LS tai members in hybrid team are only effective on FM due to the availability of high power crit LWs) or you have an HStai member employing high tai crit combo (like Tsunade FNK with Vorpal + Exodus + Psionic).
Pick Shima if your LS members are nin. It is pretty easy to just swap Fuka for Shima to see which is better when simming though take care that some LW choices may change when you go from one to another.
Pick Gamaken if you want to camp after clearing FM but you don't want to use a pure camping summon that would slow your progression down too much.


Notable Ninjas:

For a hybrid player, you want pretty much the same LSnin ninjas as LSnin players and HS ninjas with high attack. The following ninjas are worth considering for a hybrid player, I list them in the order of who I think are the most to least useful for each rank. (note: useful, not powerful)

HS Kage:
1. Tsunade FNK
2. Itachi FNK
3. Rikudou Sennin FNK
4. Ebizou

LS Kage:
1. Itachi FNK
2. Orochimaru FNK
3. Rikudou Sennin FNK
4. Chiyo

HS Jounin: (HS FNJ are for most part somewhat lacking)
1. Karin FNJ
2. Zabuza FNJ
3. Yamato FNJ
4. Asuma/Kisame FNJ

LS Jounin:
1. Itachi FNJ
2. Kabuto FNJ
3. Killer Bee FNJ
4. Konan/Deidara FNJ

HS Genin:
1. Itachi FNG
2. Rock Lee FNG
3. Kankuro FNG
4. Kimimaro/Sai FNG

LS Genin:
1. Itachi FNG
2. Orochimaru FNG
3. Konan FNG
4. Shikamaru/Ino/Nagato FNG


Notable LWs:

For a hybrid player, you want to play on the strengths of both HS and LS, that means focus on nin, reroll, and endurance for your LSnin ninja, tai, CD, and endurance for your LStai ninja (i.e. Killer Bee), and raw damage boost for your HS members. The higher the difficulty level, the more important endurance becomes. The following LWs are worth considering for a hybrid player, I list them in order of what I think are the most to least useful.

HS LW:
1. Levantine (IMPG)
2. Psionic Blade (Extreme)
3 tie. Revive Armor (Extreme)
3 tie. Immortal Blade (Extreme)
5. Demon Hit (Extreme)
6. Garuda (Extreme)
7. Murasame (Easy)
8. Zangetsu (Hard)
9. Luna Sword (Beginner)
10. Zweihander (Beginner)

LS LW:
1. Levantine (IMPG)
2. Kali Blade (Extreme)
3. Demonic Fang (IMPG)
4. Garuda (Extreme)
5. Terrorizer/Neo Fang (Extreme)
6. Murasame (Easy)
7. Zangetsu (Hard)
8. Faerie Cloak (Medium)
9. Cosmic Blade (Hard)
10. Moon Chaser/Coma Puncher (Medium)

The reason I list more than one LW in certain slots because which of the LWs are useful depends on how many LSnin you have and whether you have LStai ninjas. You wouldn't hunt Neo Fang and Coma Puncher if you don't have an LStai ninja. The reason certain LWs appear on both list is because they're useful for both LS and HS ninjas. These are, of course, not the only LWs you should consider but you shouldn't not consider these.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:32 AM   #10
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X. Team Type: HS


Description:

A traditional HS team consist of six high seal ninjas with a Gobi summon. Newer variants include the use a tai-dominant ninja with a CH LW and new 20-ck summons like Fukasaku, Shima, and Gamaken. This team type is not competitive for fast progression except on Beginner. Some will argue its not competitive for Beginner either, but my experience has been that its actually quite fast on Beginner. Then again, few team type is slow when you're playing Beginner. While HS team traditionally lacked spread, the recent development of CH LWs has somewhat alleviated that lack. The strength in this team type lies in its absolute steadiness in progression. Although slow, you don't have to worry as much about luck while clearing Kyuubi as with other team types. HS is perfect for people who just want to take their time or want to play at a measured pace.

Here I list the pros and cons of using HS,

Pros:
* Steady LW hunting
* Somewhat better leveling toward the end than other team types
* Not as reliant on luck when clearing Kyuubi
Cons:
* Not competitive in terms of speed
Proven Team Designs:

Medium (113 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Kabuto CM, Hidan J, Ebizou, Gobi
FNG, FNG, FNG, Kimimaro CS2, Itachi J, Ebizou/Chiyo, Gobi

Hard (104 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Naruto 1-T/Sasuke CS2, FNJ, Ebizou, Gobi
FNG, FNG, FNG, Juugo, FNJ, Tsunade K, Gobi

Extreme (95 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Ebizou, Gobi
starter G, FNG, FNG, FNJ, FNJ, Nidai (undead), Gobi

Impossible (86 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, Naruto 1-T/Sasuke CS2, FNK, Gobi
starter G, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, FNK, Gobi

As HS, you have enough built-in endurance that you wouldn't want to use Sanbi.

Forbidden (140 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Gamaken

Note that Gamahiro is also a possibility if your team is close to pure tai. Just take care to decide early as, obviously, the LWs that optimize a Gamahiro team is not the same as the LWs that optimize a Gamaken team.


Notable Ninjas:

For an HS player, you want high-dmg ninjas with abilities that give lots of dmg (nin, tai, atk), CH (for tai-dominant ninjas), and, to a lesser extent, endurance. The following ninjas are worth considering for an HS player, I list them in the order of who I think are the most to least useful for each rank. (note: useful, not powerful)

Kage:
1. Tsunade FNK
2. Itachi FNK
3. Rikudou Sennin FNK
4. Ebizou
5. Tsunade kage

Jounin:
1. Karin FNJ
2. Itachi FNJ (if you can convert him to high seal)
3. Zabuza FNJ
4. Yamato FNJ
5. Asuma/Kisame FNJ

Genin:
1. Itachi FNG
2. Rock Lee FNG
3. Kankuro FNG
4. Kimimaro/Sai FNG


Notable LWs:

For an HS player, the most important stats you should look for in your LWs are tai, nin, atk, and CH (if you have HStai). The following LWs are worth considering for an HS player, I list them in order of what I think are the most to least useful.

1. Levantine (IMPG)
2. Psionic Blade (Extreme)
3. Immortal Blade (Extreme)
4 tie. Demon Hit (Extreme)
4 tie. Revive Armor (Extreme)
6. Angel Slayer (IMPG)
7. Garuda (Extreme)
8. Neo Fang (Extreme) (if you have a CH ninja)
9. Murasame (Easy)
10. Zangetsu (Hard)
11. Luna Sword (Beginner)
12. Zweihander (Beginner)
13. Coma Puncher (Medium) (if you have a CH ninja)
14. Fury Fist (Beginner)

These are, of course, not the only LWs you should consider but you shouldn't not consider these.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:54 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:32 AM   #11
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XI. Team Type: LStai


Description:

LStai is a relatively new team type for progression. It is typically composed of six low-seal tai-dominant ninjas with a Hachibi summon. Newer variant can also use Drill-Beaked Bird and/or an HStai ninja with CH LW. In terms of progression performance, LStai is about as good as HS. In fact, at the lower difficulties, LStai plays like HS. However, at higher difficulties, once the CD bonus builds up sufficiently, LStai actually behaves more like LSnin, at least in sims. In fact, for FM, it is actually possible to create an LStai team that is competitive with LSnin, at least in sims. I have never ran a pure LStai team myself because I've decided early on that it was not competitive. But I didn't decide this arbitrarily. The reason LStai is not competitive with LSnin from Medium to Impo and the reason why it can be competitive at FM can all be traced to the initial design philosophy for Hachibi. And the reason I'm able to tell you all of this is because I had participated firsthand in its design.

The story began, if I remember correctly, back in February 2010 when Bijuu summons were still in its infancy. I'm having trouble finding some of the threads so I'll just go off my memory. Originally, udon envisioned Hachibi as a CH summon and that at high enough level you would just have a 100% chance of scoring 25% bonus damage. But dist made the suggestion of making CD variable instead and CH capped at some percentage. At which point, I did some analysis comparing a LStai ninja plus a potential CD summon to a LSnin ninja plus SD. The most important results was that for Hach to provide the same average damage boost as SD at Lv 50, for CH cap of 50%, Hach needed a stat of 4 tai, 1.75 CD. This was latter rounded to 2 CD on release.

Now, the important part of this story is that the amount of CD was chosen to balance Hach and SD on the basis of average damage at Lv 50, lowered to like Lv 38 with the use of 2 CD instead of 1.75. In other words, to keep LStai balanced for BA, we tried to fix its damage growth so that it meets up with LSnin at a fairly high summon level. For those who understands the math of reroll, you know that the damage boost from each additional point of reroll is highest between 0-100%, and becomes lower with each additional roll. For those who don't understand it, this means the growth in average damage bonus from reroll for LSnin is much higher at lower levels than at higher levels. Since the growth in average damage bonus from CD for LStai is linear, and we balanced nin vs tai at summon level ~38, this means the reroll bonus for LSnin is stronger than the CD bonus for LStai from summon levels 1-38. As you might have guessed by now, progression takes place exclusively inside that summon level range. The bottom line is, short of intervention in the form of ninja abilities and LWs, LStai will always fall behind LSnin for progression because it was designed that way from the start to keep it balanced on BA. If you didn't understand any of the above arguments, have a look at this graph, which illustrates the average damage bonus as a function of summon levels for LStai-Hachibi vs LSnin-SD.



Now, one might counter that this is only for one ninja and that it will be different when facing Kyuubi with a team, but where do you think all the damage comes from if not from these individual ninjas. The clearing curve against Kyuubi correlate strongly with the behavior of individual ninjas for LS teams. One might also counter that Hachibi comes just a tiny bit sooner than SD. In that case, I would ask you to look at the "Summon Level" axis a little more closely, do you really think 1 or 2 levels out of 20 is going to change the trend?

I will mention at this point that DBB could be a game changer. But since we balanced it at FM, where Hachibi is already potentially competitive, I don't expect DBB to change anything.

There is one more important reason why LStai is not competitive. Its because it does not provide enough spread at low levels. I shouldn't have to explain why the spread of LStai is much lower than LSnin at low levels. So when you combine the fact that both average total damage and spread is lower for an LStai, you're obviously going to lose to LSnin (and by extension, good hybrid teams) in progression speed.

I mentioned earlier that LStai can be competitive in FM. If you've been following my arguments so far then you can probably guess why. It's because at the levels needed to clear FM, Hachibi's CD bonus finally comes close to SD's reroll bonus and the spread of LStai becomes large enough to enable a fast clear. Nevertheless, you got to think about how to play through the previous six difficulties to assemble a team you can play LStai with in FM.

Now, I'm sure some people will complain about the non-competitiveness of LStai (and others will deny it), but it is not my goal to push for any changes to Hachibi. In fact, I think Hachibi is fine as he is. I just want to make sure you, the reader, understands what you're getting yourself into by going LStai for progression.

Here I list the pros and cons of using LStai,

Pros:
* More steady than LSnin at lower difficulties (but can actually become less steady at the highest two diff)
* Can actually become competitive in FM
* Has a high coolness factor? (since not many use it)
Cons:
* Becomes increasingly risky as you go up in level (and difficulty)
* Not competitive from Medium to Impo
Possible Team Designs:

Since I've never played pure LStai, and I've pretty much written it off as uncompetitive for progression, all the teams here are hypothetical. They are just team designs that I would use if I were forced to go pure LStai. LStai players are welcome to contribute if you have a proven design.

Medium (113 chakra):


Hard (104 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Naruto 1-T, FNJ, Tsunade K, Hachibi

Extreme (95 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Tsunade K, Hachibi/DBB

Impossible (86 chakra):
FNG, FNG, starter G, starter J, Kimimaro CS2, FNK, DBB
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, Chouza, FNK, Hachibi

I have to say, most of these team designs suck, but they're all I can think of with the available ninjas.

Forbidden (140 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Hachibi
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, DBB

FM is the only difficulty (besides Beginner) for which an LS tai team makes sense. Too bad you have to play through the other five difficulty to reach this point. When I was balancing the summons, I found that Hachibi require 2-3 more levels to be competitive with DBB but its also available a bit sooner. So its up to you to decide which one you want to use. I think any difference in performance is extremely small compare to factors like LW luck and clan support.


Notable Ninjas:

For an LStai player, you want ninjas with as much tai growth as possible with abilities that give high tai, CD, and endurance. With that said, there's a shortage of good LStai FNs that actually have CD abilities. You'll just have to do your best with what's out there. The following ninjas are worth considering for an LStai player, I list them in the order of who I think are the most to least useful for each rank. (note: useful, not powerful)

Kage:
1. Tsunade FNK
2. Naruto/Rikudou Sennin FNK
3. Killer Bee kage
4. Tsunade kage

Jounin:
1. Killer Bee FNJ
2. Rock Lee FNJ
3. Suigetsu FNJ
4. Maito Gai FNJ

Genin:
1. Kiba FNG
2. Chouji FNG
3. Hinata/Kimimaro FNG

Yes, someone like Kimimaro actually comes in third for LStai FNG. There just isn't many good choices.


Notable LWs:

For an LStai player, the most important stats you should look for in your LWs are tai, CD, and endurance. With that said, there's a slight shortage of LStai LWs so there really isn't that much to pick from. Once you've exhausted all the CD LWs you should consider pure damage LWs. The following LWs are worth considering for an LStai player, I list them in order of what I think are the most to least useful.

1. Levantine (IMPG)
2. Neo Fang (Extreme)
3 tie. Immortal Blade (Extreme)
3 tie. Psionic Blade (Extreme) (if using an HStai)
5. Revive Armor (Extreme)
6. Terrorizer (Extreme)
7. Kali Blade (Extreme)
8 tie. Demon Hit (Extreme)
8 tie. Garuda (Extreme)
10. Murasame (Easy)
11. Coma Puncher (Medium)
12. Zangetsu (Hard)
13. Luna Sword (Beginner)
14. Zweihander (Beginner)

These are, of course, not the only LWs you should consider but you shouldn't not consider these.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:33 AM   #12
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XII. Team Type: HStai


Description:

The team type that I call HStai is a brand new, completely untested team type that revolves around a single summon, Gamahiro. That's because Gamahiro allows you to build a team of six high seal tai-dominant ninjas that take advantage of critical chance even though they are high seal. Although this team type is HS, I predict that it will play more like LStai. In order words, it plays like HS at low level, and plays like LSnin at high level. Since this is a brand new team type, there is no proven design, and the reader should experiment for themselves to find out what works and what doesn't. The rest of this section is written based on what I would do if I were to progress using HStai.

Gamahiro was balanced for FM only. As such, it is likely that it will not be competitive for difficulties Medium to Impo. The reason why is because unlike other teams types, HStai relies on cross synergy between two attributes that gives damage bonus, CH and CD. Since both CH and CD grows linearly for Gamahiro, and Gamahiro is balanced for FM levels, the cross synergy will be too small for all levels that are lower than FM levels. So if I were to progress with HStai, I would play like HS at first, switch to hybrid at Easy to Impo, then switch to HStai at FM. With that said, this is all hypothetical and the reader is encourage to experiment on their own.

Here I list the pros and cons of using HStai,

Pros:
* Very stable at lower levels
* Can actually become competitive in FM
* Has a high uniqueness factor?
Cons:
* Becomes increasingly risky as you go up in level (but not as risky as LStai)
* Probably not competitive from Medium to Impo
Possible Team Designs:

Here are some possible team designs for HStai. HStai players are welcomed to contribute proven team designs.

Medium (113 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, Kimimaro CS2, Hidan J, Ebizou K, Gamahiro
FNG, FNG, FNG, Rock Lee DM, Gai CG, Ebizou K, Gamahiro

Hard (104 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Ebizou K, Gamahiro
FNG, FNG, starter G, Kimimaro CS2, FNJ, Ebizou K, Gamahiro
FNG, FNG, starter G, Hidan J, FNJ, Tsunade K, Gamahiro

Extreme (95 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNG, starter J, FNJ, Tsunade K, Gamahiro
FNG, FNG, starter G, Naruto 1-t, FNJ, Tsunade K, Gamahiro

Impossible (86 chakra):
FNG, FNG, starter G, starter J, Kimimaro CS2, FNK, Gamahiro

Forbidden (140 chakra):
FNG, FNG, FNK, FNJ, FNJ, FNK, Gamahiro


Notable Ninjas:

For an HStai player, you want ninjas with as much tai growth as possible with abilities that give high tai, CH, CD, and endurance. The following ninjas are worth considering for an HStai player, I list them in the order of who I think are the most to least useful for each rank. (note: useful, not powerful)

Kage:
1. Tsunade FNK
2. Rikudou Sennin FNK
3. Naruto FNK
4. Ebizou kage
5. Tsunade kage

Jounin:
1. Killer Bee FNJ
2. Tsunade FNJ
3. Kisame FNJ
4. Naruto/Hinata/Asuma FNJ

Genin:
1. Rock Lee FNG
2. Kankuro FNG
3. Sakura/Kimimaro FNG
4. Tsunade FNG


Notable LWs:

For an HStai player, the most important stats you should look for in your LWs are tai, CH, CD, and endurance. Once you've exhausted all the CH, CD LWs you should consider pure damage LWs. The following LWs are worth considering for an HStai player, I list them in order of what I think are the most to least useful.

1. Levantine (IMPG)
2 tie. Neo Fang (Extreme)
2 tie. Immortal Blade (Extreme)
2 tie. Psionic Blade (Extreme)
5. Revive Armor (Extreme)
6. Terrorizer (Extreme)
7. Kali Blade (Extreme)
8 tie. Demon Hit (Extreme)
8 tie. Garuda (Extreme)
10. Murasame (Easy)
11. Coma Puncher (Medium)
12. Zangetsu (Hard)
13. Luna Sword (Beginner)
14. Fury Fist (Beginner)
15. Zweihander (Beginner)

These are, of course, not the only LWs you should consider but you shouldn't not consider these.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:34 AM   #13
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XIII. My Continuous Run

This section describes my first continuous progression run from Beginner to Impo as well as everything I've worked on during this period of time. My journey began on January 22, 2010 and ended on December 8, 2010 for a total run time of 320 days. The image below shows my run history.

*I've updated this section with an image of my main's post-FM history. My FM run time was 180 days, 7 hours, 12 minutes. Coincidently, my original estimate for FM run time (while helping to design the 20-ck progression summon) was 5-7 months. Talk about lucky guess.



For each difficulty, I'll show the endgame team I used as well as any relevant comments. This is exactly what my team looked like right before clearing Kyuubi. Number/letters in {} refers to the seal. Numbers/words in [] refers to abilities and LWs. Numbers in <> refers to how many rounds of stats were bought. If no value shown then the value is unknown.


Beginner

When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing so I used a hybrid team with random elements put together. This team sucks but it's Beginner, which is very forgiving.

Lv26 Sakura (350) {LS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv28 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [200] <0>
Lv27 Hinata (TN) {HS} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <0>
LV28 Rock Lee (Drunken Master) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv28 Gai (Celestial Gates) {HS} [400] [Robust Nunchaku] [FSP] <0>
Lv22 Sandaime (45c) {HS} [800] [Robust Nunchaku] [Luna Sword] <0>
Lv09 Katsuyu (+5 nin/+1 NI)

Comment: Definitely overleveled, Sandaime only got to do one hit, took a while to hunt Luna and get ryo for AA.


Easy

Gobi has just been released before this run, but I decided to get some experience playing LSnin to see how it plays. I settled on hybrid after this run.

Lv30 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [200] <0>
Lv30 Gaara (TN) {LS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv31 Itachi (FNG) {LS} [400] [800] [Murasame] <0>
LV32 Zabuza (Assassin) {LS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv32 Deidara (Explosive Artist) {LS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv29 Chiyo {LS} [400] [800] [Luna Sword] <0>
Lv09 Spirit Dragon (+4 nin/+5 reroll)

Comment: Slightly overleveled because of Murasame hunting.


Medium

I finish forming my theories about how hybrid teams can work after my last two runs and put it to practice. The results were quite good if I do say so myself. (I went on to beat my own record using lower level ninjas/summons on my alt after refining my hybrid theories)

Lv33 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <1>
Lv34 Itachi (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <1>
Lv35 Konan (FNG) {LS} [400] [800] [Soldier Pill] <2>
Lv35 Hidan (Jashinist) {HS} [Murasame] [800] [FSP] <2>
Lv38 Kabuto (Crazy Medic) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <2>
Lv37 Ebizou {HS} [400] [800] [Luna Sword] <3>
Lv12 Gobi (+4 nin/+3 tai)

Comment: I was actually hunting Daedalus Lance but never found it. Took Golden Axe with me to the next diff instead.


Hard

Nothing out of the ordinary happened on this run. Went pretty much as planned.

Lv37 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <3>
Lv38 Itachi (FNG) {LS} [400] [800] [Cosmic Blade] <3>
Lv38 Konan (FNG) {LS} [800] [FSP] [Zangetsu] <4>
Lv41 Tobi (FNJ) {LS} [Murasame] [800] [Chaos Blade] <4>
Lv40 Naruto (One-tail) {HS} [Tornado Edge] [800] [FSP] <3>
Lv41 Ebizou {HS} [400] [800] [Luna Sword] <3>
Lv16 Gobi (+4 tai/+3 nin)


Extreme

I actually planned to hunt 3 extreme LWs on this run, but luck was not with me. I didn't even find Immortal Blade until the last minute. Which is why this team is overleveled.

Lv44 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <3>
Lv44 Itachi (FNG) {LS} [400] [800] [Cosmic Blade] <4>
Lv45 Konan (FNG) {LS} [Faerie Cloak] [Murasame] [Zangetsu] <4>
Lv44 Kimimaro (starter) {HS} [400] [800] [Luna Sword] <3>
Lv47 Asuma (FNJ) {HS} [Zweihander] [800] [Immortal Blade] <4>
Lv48 Ebizou {HS} [400] [800] [Revive Armor] <4>
Lv19 Gobi (+4 tai/+3 nin)


Impossible

This was the one run when I decided to get inventive with my team design. Straying from my hybrid theories. Unfortunately, it didn't pay. Although my clearing levels were respectable, using Sanbi instead of Gobi caused me to take an extra week to reach these clearing levels based on my estimation. Warning to everyone, DON'T USE SANBI, at least not in its current form (+2 tai/+4 endu).

Lv45 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [Cosmic Blade] <4>
Lv45 Konan (FNG) {LS} [Moon Chaser] [800] [Murasame] <4>
Lv45 Itachi (FNG) {LS} [400] [800] [Kali Blade] <5>
Lv45 Kimimaro (starter) {HS} [400] [800] [Luna Sword] <4>
Lv56 Tsunade (FNK) {HS} [Psionic Blade] [Immortal Blade] [Revive Armor] <4>
Lv50 Naruto (3-tail) {HS} [400] [Tornado Edge] [Levantine] <4>
Lv22 Sanbi (+2 tai/+4 endu)


Forbidden

Nothing special about the team design, just the standard six FN plus 20-ck progression summon. FM is not really a difficulty for innovative design since there is not much of a chakra constraint. Your team design boils down to which FNs you're entering FM with and which 20-ck summon will work best with that team, or alternately, if you plan to camp FM, what you want your camp team to look like. Many people pick the later option since going back to beginner to camp is going to cost you 6+ months of work.

Lv67 Rock Lee (FNG) {HS} [800] [Zweihander] [TE] <5>
Lv67 Itachi (FNG) {LS} [400] [Fafniel] [Cosmic Blade] <5>
Lv71 Orochimaru (FNK) {LS} [The Nue] [Revive Armor] [Immortal Blade] <4>
Lv74 Asuma (FNJ) {HS} [Forbidden Edge] [Levantine] [Luna Sword] <4>
Lv67 Tobi (FNJ) {LS} [Kali Blade] [800] [Magirock] <5>
Lv71 Tsunade (FNK) {HS} [Vorpal Blade] [Exodus] [Psionic Blade] <5>
Lv26 Fukasaku (+6.5 tai/+2 endu)


2nd Revival

As a special service, I'll show you my 2nd Revival endgame team, which is pretty close to what I would have used on Beginner had I known what I was doing.

Lv20 Tsunade (FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [SP] <0>
Lv20 Rock Lee (350) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv19 Kankuro (TN) {HS} [400] [800] [SP] <1>
Lv18 Kabuto (CM) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <1>
Lv18 Konan (AJ) {18} [200] [800] [SP] <1>
Lv18 Ebizou (K) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv08 Gobi (+4 tai/+3 nin)

Comment: Finished 10th place, and was the fastest non-premium user in the event.


3rd Revival

Here's my 3rd Revival endgame team, which is pretty close to what I would have used on Easy knowing what I do now.

Lv24 Karin (J) {LS} [400] [800] [FSP] <1>
Lv24 Kankuro (start FNG) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <1>
Lv24 Rock Lee (new FNG) {HS} [Tornado Edge] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <1>
Lv24 Suigetsu (J) {18} [400] [800] [Robust Nunchaku] <0>
Lv24 Juugo (J) {HS} [400] [800] [Zweihander] <0>
Lv24 Ebizou (K) {HS} [400] [800] [FSP] <0>
Lv12 Gobi (+3.5 tai/+3 nin)

Comment: Once again finished 10th place, and was the fastest non-premium user in the event.


Contributions to NM

Here I will unabashedly claim credits for all of my contributions to NM during the 320 days of my first continuous run so that you know who to thank (or curse *veg*) for certain NM features.

* Feb 2010, helped udon balance Bijuu summons for initial release, particularly Hachibi.
* May 2010, helped udon balance Reibi/Shichibi for progression. Reibi got a nerf, Shichibi was changed drastically.
* Jun 2010, wrote the second edition Attack Value table for the 2nd Revival event.
* Jun 2010, designed and balanced a new clan war skill tree, which is currently in-use.
* Nov-Dec 2010, helped udon design and balance five new 20-ck summons (Fukasaku, Shima, Gamaken, Gamahiro, Drill-Beaked Bird) for FM progression.

Last edited by Aenonar; 09-08-2011 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Restored
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:34 AM   #14
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XIV. Q&A

In this section I will answer any common questions pertaining to this guide.

Q1: Here's my team design, is it good?
A: Please post in the "Teams and Strategies" section. If you want me to look it over, send me a PM with link and request.

Q2: I don't think your play style is right.
A: Well that's not really a question, but... there's no such thing as the right play style, only play style that is suitable or not suitable for you.

Q3: I get more challs by camping Gold for a while instead of advancing to RF ASAP.
A: Again not a question, but... when you should advance to RF is highly situational and will work differently for different people (different people have different experience with incoming challs). Go experiment for yourself to figure out the right timing.

Q4: What about LW X? You didn't mention it.
A: If I didn't mention an LW, I don't consider it useful either because there's something else better and easier to get or because that LW is really hard to get. But that by no means mean you can't consider it.

Q5: What about ninja Y?
A: Same deal with LW X, ninja Y just didn't make the list of top useful ninjas. But that doesn't mean he/she suck, just look for the ninja attributes that make a ninja useful for your team type.

Q6: How come team design Z isn't in your guide?
A: Prove to me it works well and I'll add it, with credits where it is due of course.

Q7: How much should I ladder?
A: How much time do you have/want to spend laddering?

Q8: How do you progress so fast without using premium!?
A: Read the guide.

Q9: The guide is too long, can you make it shorter?
A: Eh~~ I don't want to~~

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Old 12-22-2010, 02:35 AM   #15
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Closing Remarks

This guide was made from my own personal experience and is therefore full of my own personal bias. Don't be shy to experiment on your own.

Now that I've cleared FM, I have no more plans for this game. This guide is now completed and finalized for the foresee-able future.

I started the game with a self-imposed challenge of trying to finish the difficulties as fast as I can without using premium. I have completed all available challenges. So from now on I planned to just chill. Note that this means I'm going semi-inactive on the forum. I will not be checking my forum inbox as regularly so if you need to reach me for anything it will be faster to just drop by BW chat and ask around.


Acknowledgments:

Here I like to thank various people for contributions to the FAQ as well as just people I like thank.

First, I'd like to thank udon for making this game, sucked up way more of my time than I'm willing to admit.

Next, I'd like to thank my fellow clan members for all your support and all the fun times, particularly antony, Nebu, Set, Darts, Meta, hit, Izzy, MKY, Ororin, CyS, Qq, Chicken, Eclair, Noba, drag0nf0rce, Grakhus, Mendes, Flik, Mugiwaras, Nikoyea, FrozenHeaven, kreva, Rel, Kata, Candy, Aku...ok, this might take a while...rambles on for another five lines. THANK YOU, ALL! Would definitely not have played this long if it weren't for all of you. (If your name doesn't appear here, I haven't forgotten you, I just didn't want to turn this into a roster of active BW members; but if you bribe me with cookies...)

Then, I'd like to thank the LW guide crew for maintaining the LW guide. And I'd like to thank Szilu, Forsaken, CFray, Lethal, Kaikai, Ghiddi, and Sparhawk (yea, I know you two don't like to see your names next to each other, but, too bad, its my guide XP) for some very interesting discussions.

Lastly, I'd like to thank the following people for specific contributions to this guide:

Bacchikoi for the stats of Anbu 4 (I'm too lazy to check).
Lethal for pointing out a few things to add and several errors.
Anbu77 and barthek for pointing out the min ninja fights needed for the individual ideal shinobi award is 101.

Version History:

[Ver. 0.0] Begin construction.
[Ver. 1.0] Finish construction of initial version.
[Ver. 1.1] Added some new info and strategies for FM, primarily in the form of two new sub-sections: I.A and III.A
[Ver. 1.2] Added a few more comments on FM, descriptions for some good FM LWs, and team designs for FM. Most of the new material is highlighted with a Forbidden tag.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:35 AM   #16
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