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Brutal Difficulty

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discuss build orders, tips and tricks, strategies and tactics for BRUTAL difficulty here!

I'm also playing Ironmode :D

thoughts:

1. the most common failure of a run is not enough heroes. researching the early recruitment boost might be a killer strategy in brutal. It should allow you to beef up your roster with some mid-level heroes so you can get some keeps going and become self sufficient.

2. health potions take almost no time to research and are really really useful. I recommend taking the time to research them early. They've saved my ass loads of times.

3. Most common causes of tactical failure: poor scouting and strings of misses. Use stealth to scout out the area and hide non-stealth heroes from enemies behind cover to force them to wander into you! And have a backup plan for if your caberjack knockback glances, or your brewtalist stun is off target...

4. Invest in crowd control (CC). I went with 2 alchemist houses and 1 hunter house so far this game and I am already dreading my next generation of stunless heroes. My early caberjacks became partners to my alchemists, so I was flush with brewtalists for a while, but now I'm going to have to establish a caberjack keep so I can get some stuns and knockback in my lineup.

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Meh. It doesn't seem worth it. It still feels kind of imbalanced, and not really satisfying. I enjoyed testing for it in Beta but ... outside of the sweet metal riff, it just seems like your asking for the randomizer to ruin replay.

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I'm enjoying it thus far. My problem the first time was not getting the armor boosts soon enough, so I'm prioritizing that on this second playthrough. Also gunning for four keeps right away and running out of heroes to maintain them. There are enough ways to mitigate the risks, in my mind.

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i start off with building a Sagewright tower first Recruit then lay out the rest from there

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Meh. It doesn't seem worth it. It still feels kind of imbalanced, and not really satisfying. I enjoyed testing for it in Beta but ... outside of the sweet metal riff, it just seems like your asking for the randomizer to ruin replay.

I feel like its great till its not. I'll be cruising along and then hit a wall and just teamwipe. All of a sudden I'm hugely behind because advanced cadence or a new enemy type has popped up. Difficulty could definitely be smoother. Those teamwipes can be run-ending on Ironman, which saps my enthusiasm for playing. Ironman is a double-edged sword: it makes every moment of play more intense with the threat of ultimate doom hanging over every second, but when the game actually cashes in those chips and makes you pay with actual pain and loss, it hurts so much worse! Same thing with Diablo Hardcore mode--once I quit playing for months after losing a high level character. But thems the breaks with this kind of mode, I still love it. I actually (still) think we need a brutal+

i start off with building a Sagewright tower first Recruit then lay out the rest from there

You have the people to staff a sagewrights guild early on? I can't help but think this is a highly suboptimal strategy. How well has this worked out on brutal? Beaten it yet? (I havent I hit a wall at 170 with advanced bulwarks)

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I've failed several times. After deciding normal was a little too easy for my liking, I tried a few brutal and hard modes, which helped me learn just how horrible those advanced enemies can be if you're under-leveled (did not realise regent/partner levels affected childrens levels, lol, thought it was all crucilble, you can guess how that went, lol.)

Now I've had a few decent runs through brutal (loving the challenge) and totally getting ganked unexpectedly about 100 - 200 years in. Those battles where you start surrounded by enemies can be a real butt hole, but I really enjoy the challenge of making a comeback on brutal, when all your best guys get killed and you're trying to hold it together and recover the overall war effort...

This usually ends badly, but in my most recent save, I've been down to 0 deploy-able characters. Had a little bad luck, where all the guys I was going to make regents got killed, at the end of a battle I had 1 of my best characters left on 1 hp... I got the bullwark, rupture and wrinkler close enough to stun blast them against each other with a flask... Then just in that last second, forgot I was using nockback flasks... Blew one of the enemies into myself... Epic fail! But I still won the battle, so the map was still looking okay... Since then I went through some tough times, had to skip a battle, while getting hero research and a bunch of usable heroes, which have now blossomed into another great team!

One that I don't plan to get killed in stupid ways this time!

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Things were going great until some bratty kids showed up and made all of my heroes Child-Averse. And then, you know, they passed it on until all of the bloodlines were dead and had no kids to take over. (._. )

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Things were going great until some bratty kids showed up and made all of my heroes Child-Averse. And then, you know, they passed it on until all of the bloodlines were dead and had no kids to take over. (._. )

yeah that event outcome is *brutal*

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Things were going great until some bratty kids showed up and made all of my heroes Child-Averse. And then, you know, they passed it on until all of the bloodlines were dead and had no kids to take over. (._. )

That event is so harsh, ironic that the most worrying thing is the very thing you spend half the game trying to make more of...

I personally managed to get to the end... Then got my arse handed to me. My confidence was through the roof the year before the end, because I wooped a whole load of tough enemies without breaking a sweat, got my first lvl 10 character, which probably gives away my main problem, not enough high level characters... And after the first turn a lapse swiftly dropped him back to lvl 9, lol.

The next playthrough has gotten off to an interesting start, no hunters until year 80, which then turned out to get a free relic (random event relic) and then ended up with heart disease! So I took the risk and threw him into regency as soon as the building was complete, he had 1 kid (with nice stats) but the keep got ganked. Lost my main blasterjack, he went full suicide half way accross the map and managed to keep both Regent and partner alive... He died bravely.

But now I only have the 1 archer and people are thinning out a bit... Wish me luck, I'll need it.

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My first Brutal Ironmode run seemed to be going pretty well up until year 170 or so, where I made the mistake of researching armour upgrades instead of new heroes (I was running short). I think I had to skip two fights because I had nobody old enough, and did another two with half empty vanguards (which I lost). Even with those downsides, I still hung in there until around 210.

Other than that, everything felt like it was going pretty smoothly. I'd gone with a sagewright's guild first, then a second keep and health potions if I remember correctly.

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People that won brutal (iron or not) should explain the various choices they did, I hate deeply this game, but I love its combats and after a Hard win I'm looking for reason to replay the game.

I don't see any interesting alternative strategy approach than what I do, a chosen class mix replay doesn't work with mixed classes system (I made final with not a single class I like facepalm, still it was the right choice with 5 relics and all heroes level 10 without to mention a large choice of level 10 heroes.

I usually hate hardest difficulties in games but I wonder if it's not my last chance to replay the game. Except that Brutal seems not well tuned yet.

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Has anyone beat Brutal/Iron yet?

I walked through on normal, so tried Brutal but stopped in year 150 after it became apprant i was not going to win. Won the opening 3 battles losing 2-3 vanguard per time and lost 6 of 7 of the next ones.

Dropped to Hard/Iron, and after an initial tough start losing 1-2 heroes a battle for the first couple, I found myself ahead of the curve and now im winning most battles with relative ease (not walking around at will like in normal, but keeping encounters isolated and being able at year 170 to have some level 6-7 heroes that can 1 or at worst 2 shot twitchers).

I feel like the bell curve from Hard -> Brutal is very big, and was wondering if anyone had beat it and some pro tips.

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According to Steam stats...

4.7% of players have reached the final battle

4.0% of players have finished Normal

0.25% of players have finished Hard (the 2 decimal figure is from my steam profile, it is the rarest achievement I have)

0% have finished a Brutal Run

0% have finished an Iron run

So either up to 0.049% of the player base has finished Brutal/Iron, or the achievement is bugged. Or both would have expected some Iron Normal games to have finished for example.

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.7% of people have completed the IRON CHALICE (any difficulty iron run). Additionally, given how Geriatric Brigade isn't really that hard, but only 0.2% of people have completed it, I don't think it's a matter of the achievements being bugged.

I think it's just really really hard :(

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Hey, help is here!

I beat Iron mode Brutal. Check my gamer tag on xbl if you want to see achievements/proof( MLG xSasquatch). Please read below if you want helpful advice to beat brutal iron mode.

First you need keeps and bloodlines! I made two keeps ASAP and always make sure you breed your high fertility heroes first early in the game regardless of experience. I restarted my game like 20 times to get 2 starting hunters with high fertility. It helps a lot. If you cannot keep high hero populations, you will beat yourself! The monsters are hard enough, no need to beat yourself by poor breeding! Having bountiful as an attribute means you should use them, even if they are a little lower leveled than other options. Especially in the early game when you need lots of heroes for breeding, fighting and sage wrights! Make sure your keeps have people that are highly fertile. You DONT want longevity, or they will live in keeps for 30-40 yrs past prime breeding, which is bad. Young at Heart is a great trait for your regents.

Next- use hunters! Hunters with barb bows and veil armor will win you the game. Thats what I used. I also had two relics. Relic weapons are a must to overpower high levels monsters late game (i.e. follow-up ability on the advanced bulwarks).

Sage wright is helpful to build after 2nd or 3rd keep. Sage wright is useless if you cannot have heroes to spare for them.

My build was: ( 3 total keeps first) Keep, Keep, steady hander, Sagewright, crucible, advanced bow training, veil armor, sage wright, crucible/keep, elite crossbow training, barbed bow and then eventually the advanced nations ones near end game (last 100 years).

If you have good breeding lines and a good 10-15 yrs of age gap between keeps to prevent “low population” years, you should never have to worry about adoption or searching for more heroes. If you run into problems tho or see a forming age gap... feel free to adopt a child if you need to. I did my run without needing to adopt a child more then twice. I ran into a 12 yr baby-less stretch due to all similarly aged old regents in my 3 keeps. I didn't make that mistake again! I typically try to have the average between my regents to be 15 yrs.

BIG HELP: Crucibles: Use standards with the TRANQUIL ability. Tranquil is NECESSARY to use hunters in the late game or you will miss a lot- which makes you lose. When you get a decent hero with tranquil and no other bad qualities, favor them in battle to get the kills. They will create a relic and then you can put them in a crucible to teach young heroes tranquil lus give them a nice xp bonus!

Get relics asap by focusing use on two of your hunters. You need to make relics to do serious damage to those advanced bulwarks that show up soon! Take your time in harder battles… pass turns to recharge abilites, scout out areas very well while stealthed to make sure you dont get overrun by a mob.

Bottom line, you need to ensure you have a high population and play every battle with the goal of not losing a single hero. I only lost 2 heroes my entire play through on brutal iron mode. Both times was me being too aggressive. Even the ones where you start off with enemies looking at you are doable without losing anyone.

In combat be sure you use the "blinding shot". It is VERY useful. Maybe have one hunter with flarrow and the rest use blinding shot. Follow up and blinding shot are essential to winning without losing heroes.

The final battle was extremely easy and you have nothing to worry about if you have all level 10 heroes with 2 relics and the rest barb bows! They never touched my chalice and only hit my heroes a twice.

If you follow my advice above and take your time in battle utilizing stealth, blinding, follow up, and long sight distances of hunters, you should have no problem with brutal iron. Just remember to make sure you start with two bountiful heroes, one of which is a hunter! Plus you want 3 of your 5 to be hunters from the start. If you are lucky, your random heroes after you win the first battle will have some good traits for breeding too.

On a side note how many people have done this? Nobody on my 120 person friends list has yet.

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.7% of people have completed the IRON CHALICE (any difficulty iron run). Additionally, given how Geriatric Brigade isn't really that hard, but only 0.2% of people have completed it, I don't think it's a matter of the achievements being bugged.

I think it's just really really hard :(

That is good to know. Also for Geriatric brigade do you need a full vanguard of 60+ heroes?

Similarly for 3 bloodlines to survive to the end do they have to be enkeeped or just present in the final vanguard?

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I prefer to play my games on the hardest difficulty. My first play through was a Brutal/Iron. Made it to past 130 years, but was struggling the whole time. Only had two females in the beginning, (one with poor fertility). Rest of my heroes all had more flaws then beneficial traits each. Only ever had one hero get to level 4, and then died of old age. It was a tough slog but learned Hunters were the most effective. Cabers kept getting killed too easily. Alchemists never got off the ground, (bad bloodlines to begin with.)

I've never played X-Com and didn't really pay attention to the design of this game. Started as cold as one could be. (Was surprised when I saw the first territory crumble away.) Choices as to where to defend suddenly got harder.

All in all, loved the game. Looking forward to my next Brutal beat down.

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.7% of people have completed the IRON CHALICE (any difficulty iron run). Additionally, given how Geriatric Brigade isn't really that hard, but only 0.2% of people have completed it, I don't think it's a matter of the achievements being bugged.

I think it's just really really hard :(

That is good to know. Also for Geriatric brigade do you need a full vanguard of 60+ heroes?

Similarly for 3 bloodlines to survive to the end do they have to be enkeeped or just present in the final vanguard?

You just need old heroes in your active party (5 of them, 60+ years old). Not your whole retinue.

For 3 bloodlines, it doesn't matter if they were in keeps. I mean, good luck trying to keep the bloodline alive without placing them in keeps. All that you need is to have 3 people in your last battle that share a family name (3 different families) with people in your starting 5 heroes.

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Sasquatch were you using a vanguard of 5 hunters the whole time??? Thats the way it read but surely you need cabers for the stuntastic ness?

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I'll hopefully be posting some tips for Brutal Iron as well soon. I picked up that run I mentioned earlier that was plagued by Child-Averse, and I've gotten it to about year 250. It's been proceeding quite differently from Sasquatch's tips, so I'll be curious to see if it'll make it.

A few quick tips I've definitely found:

- Play it slow! As Sasquatch mentioned, it's most important to keep heroes alive in combat for as long as possible. There very well might be five more enemies around the corner, so let them come to you.

- To that end, you can try to play to the enemy AI. For instance, I found that Advanced Seeds seem to favor nearby enemies instead of hunting down a kill that they could easily get. You can use Prime Target to this end as well; taunted enemies that can't actually attack the target won't attack that turn.

- Consider when it would be strategic to leave a keep unoccupied for a few years. Spending a battle to get your soon-to-be-Regent up an extra level could be essential to staying ahead of the XP curve.

- I'd highly favor Crucibles over Sagewright's Guilds. It can get very risky to spare three heroes when you don't actually need too much research, and the XP boosts are pretty vital.

- Don't give up! =) You never know when a timely ostrich will show up or when an Advanced Cradle will go stand behind a wall.

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I'm going to give a brutal iron a go -- I don't think this will end well. But thanks for tips! What research have found most essential?

Smiles

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My money's on 2nd keep -> potions -> 3rd keep -> all lvl 1 trainings -> crucible -> ultralixer and all lvl 2 trainings (the nation-wide armor boost is somewhere in there, possibly a recruitment early on as well), but that's going for using all three classes. My first Brutal Iron attempt died horribly once I hit Advanced Cradles without any lvl 2 armor.

There definitely seems to be flexibility, though. You could go without lvl 2 weapon training in favor of Cadence weapons, I would think. (I have tried none of the Cadence weapons or armor yet, so I can't speak for any of them. Actually, I haven't tried most of the other items yet, either.) Sasquatch went without healing items, which I think is nuts but makes sense with an all-Hunter approach.

Just think through every single decision you make, and it won't be very hard. ;)

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You definitely need to get a Sagewright's Guild (or two!) in as early as you feel comfortable doing so, IMO. Their payoff is cumulative.

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You definitely need to get a Sagewright's Guild (or two!) in as early as you feel comfortable doing so, IMO. Their payoff is cumulative.

I disagree; I think even without any Sagewrights you have enough research to get what you need in time for the final battle, with enough coming along the way to stay ahead of the curve, especially without spending the research to get the Guild in the first place. Of course it'll pay for itself if you can keep it staffed, but I wouldn't say it's necessary.

(I'll find out if I'm right soon, but I will have all lvl 2 training and the global armor boost in time, which should be sufficient. I don't recall having any Sagewrights for most of the game, at least...I was hit by Child-Averse rather early, maybe year 50, so I don't think I had the chance even after I built it until year 180 or 200 or so.)

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I disagree; I think even without any Sagewrights you have enough research to get what you need in time for the final battle, with enough coming along the way to stay ahead of the curve, especially without spending the research to get the Guild in the first place.

This hasn't been my experience. Once I get up past 160 years, I feel like I don't have much breathing room research wise. Are you definitely playing on Brutal? That changes research lengths.

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I am on Brutal, yeah. I might just be misremembering how often I kept someone as a Sagewright, but I felt like once I got to year 180 or so all I had left that I wanted were the advanced trainings, and I thiiiink that there's just enough time to get them all...maybe...I also adopted a couple of times and did the recruitment research once, though.

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Hi all. I'm new to the forums but I've been playing the heck out of this game for a while now and I just successfully completed a brutal/iron run. Some build/research/general strategies that helped me:

-2nd keep>sagewrights>crucible>items

I only do the 2nd keep first because I value personality stuff on my regents way more than everything I've read for the game. Basically I restart until I have two heroes from diff families in the first battle that have good traits/personality and one of them is under 20. These are my regents, and I do everything possible to max the xp of each in the first battle. Usually I'll leave the 2nd keep open until after the second battle so that I can get some more xp in on the second regent, which is why it's important to have a young 'un to start with.

-3rd keep comes about from opportunity.

When you have the crucible finished and some decent sagewrights in place, build the keep and fill it only once you get a good random hero as a reward for a battle. If you are not trying to keep all hero types, you can fill it earlier but I am wary of multiple keeps for one bloodline because it can get tricky to maintain marriageable partners and you have less options for hybrid classes. I never got around to building a fourth keep in the playthrough I finally finished.

-never research refined armors, only use cadence armor

the advanced armors are at best a tradeoff with the cadence armors and the refined are pretty pointless, and the amount of research time kills your options for everything else. This might be less true if you are specializing in one hero type (all hunters or all caberjacks)

-Items in this order: exp scarf>steady hander>healing potion>ultralixer

If you are super confident in your tactical skills, you can put off or even skip the healing stuff. I use it to save specific heroes but be able to take risks with them to max xp gains.

-Random events are all about unique personality traits and avoiding corruption.

Picking up Patriotic/well rested/might of the walrus for your shadowjacks/clearheaded can all make a huge difference. I try to target these on any Standard that I promote. I've always wanted to see if I could get Ostrich vision onto my hunters/trickshots but it's incredibly hard to get it on the right people at the right time and even then passing it on is a crapshoot. Corruption increases are crucial to avoid though because you will lose at least two regions, in my experience. I leave some of the outer ones with the weaker bonuses empty for that reason.

-Stealth is safer

For most of the 300 years, I use shadowjacks and some form of hunter. You just can't beat being able to go completely dark for multiple turns to draw enemies out; it's the best way to avoid an unlucky death for that hero you've been pumping exp into in preparation for a regency. Toward the end (at least 40 years in advance) you can switch to pure caberjacks if you want. I hate blastcappers, the AOE damage is just not high enough to make up for the lack of stun. Although you can fix that with ramcaps.

-Use the Sagewrights guild as a way to correct bad choices for relics.

Sometimes you give a relic to a hero that ends up being less than ideal. Either you gave it to a bratty 13 year old that ended up being Nervous and Asthmatic, or maybe you just mistakenly gave it to someone who has less xp than your young heroes by the time the next battle comes up. By appointing a hero with a relic you want back to sagewrights, you can immediately reclaim the relic and give it to someone who can put it to use. That said,

-Leveling regents is more important than relics

Trying to get 3 houses to level 10 is not easy on brutal/iron. I managed to do it this time around but only had one level 10 relic and the rest level 8 or as low as level 5. I kept one ramcap for crowd control. It's crucial, though, to have one high level caber relic because it makes the kill rage infinitely more valuable if you can one shot kill most enemies.

Hope that helps. I'm probably done with this game for a while, because it took a ridiculous number of hours and many scrapped playthroughs to get through that run. Loved the game, though, and I'd be super excited to see an expansion or sequel at some point.

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Sasquatch were you using a vanguard of 5 hunters the whole time??? That's the way it read but surely you need cabers for the stuntastic ness?

Yeah Hunters the whole time (I had a few times where I crossed a hunter to a Caberjack to get an enforcer). The enforcer is nice because they can stun via knock-back shot into walls or other enemies, but in the end I found straight hunters to be the best.

I didn't need "Stuntastic-ness" because I could snipe all of the enemies and blind them if I was in a tight spot (i.e. the levels where you spawn visible to 3 or 4 hordes of enemies) ;)

As for the discussion about sage wright vs crucible: I beat brutal with 2 sage wrights and 2 crucibles. Admittedly, I had an extra 50 years where I didn't really need to research anything at the end. I researched heroes and babies for the heck of it as a "just in case". You need 2 crucibles to get your heroes to lvl 10 for the boss fight. Also- remember to have heroes with tranquil, patriotic, or anything else that increases accuracy in your crucible so all of your hunters have excellent accuracy. A string of 1 or 2 misses can be a game-ender. For the argument about sage wrights being less useful due to taking your heroes- you should have 3 keeps early and build a 4th later. Heroes should never be a limiting factor! Breed them like crazy!

For research: potions/elixirs are worthless with an all hunter party. You should never take any damage in fights, except for the the early fights involving advanced bulwarks, but even then- blind them! I ran veil armor, steady hander, and barb bow/relics the whole game. Again, I can't stress accuracy enough when it comes to hunters. The most important items to research for hunter fight-ability is the steady hander, and advanced/elite crossbow training, veil armor, and barb bow.

I will go home tonight and actually check my research order to know the exact sequencing I did. Will update you guys later!

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For the argument about sage wrights being less useful due to taking your heroes- you should have 3 keeps early and build a 4th later. Heroes should never be a limiting factor! Breed them like crazy!

Note that getting Child-Averse from children visiting your heroes makes this less viable. ;) But it's working out well for me because I've enjoyed fighting at two or three levels below the enemies. I think it's really cool that our playstyles have differed but both are viable (yours moreso, and I still haven't gotten to the final fight yet but can probably scrape up a couple of level 10s in time).

Again, I can't stress accuracy enough when it comes to hunters.

Very yes. I'm getting hurt pretty badly by missed shots in the late game. At least I can bring 4 Blastcappers for a nice Charge-fest.

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