Hades – Achilles Spear Mechanical Guide

Purpose

Note: Credit goes to CardDweeb

What is the purpose of this guide? I’m writing this to tell you what you can do mechanically to improve your Achilles gameplay.

This includes attack cycles after getting Flurry Jab, room-clearing tips that you won’t be able to find outside of vod reviews, and casting base Slicing Shot!

Practice Resources

If you need some sort of visual for everything talked about in this guide, you can watch one of my 3-hour sessions here! This will help you understand what the concepts look like in practice and will help you improve faster!

Attack / Dash Strike Cycles

What is the Attack Cycle?

This is the core fundamental that makes the weapon work. Without learning this cycle effectively, the weapon will seem clunky and you will be more susceptible to dying. The general description of the Attack Cycle is:

  • Dash Strike -> Dash Strike -> Special

However, it does not state that you need to hit the Dash Strike inputs very fast. You must let go of the button before a Standing Strike happens after the Dash Strike. If you see an additional Standing Strike before you special, you are not letting go of the button fast enough. A more detailed description of the Attack Cycle is:

  • Dash Strike -> Quickly Press Dash Strike -> Let Go Right Away -> Spam Special -> Repeat

The reason why we spam Special is to get the shortest Special range possible. During combat, you don’t want to Special all the way to the other side of the room if there are enemies right in front of you, so learning how to Special as short as possible helps out a lot with positioning. Generally, hitting Special 3 times is enough to buffer the shortest Special range. 

How Does Flurry Jab Work?

Flurry Jab takes away your spin, making your Dash Strike much faster. Due to this, a singular Standing Attack also comes out when you Dash Strike, so each Dash Strike input is effectively a Dash Strike and a Standing Strike. 

When you use Special, you get 4 charges of +150% damage on your Attack or Cast. This also affects the Dash Strike, so if you Dash Strike twice with Raging Rush active, you will use all 4 charges, hence why you do not want to do an extra Standing Strike after Dash Striking twice. 

What Happens With +Dashes?

When you get +Dashes from Hermes, the only thing that changes is adding Dash Strikes to the cycle. You only have to quickly let go of the button on the last dash, so get used to having 3, 4, and 5 dashes at a time. If you dare venture to 6, good luck.

  • Dash Strike -> Dash Strike -> Dash Strike -> Quickly Let Go of Button -> Special

What Happens With RD?

You play the same as the 2 dash Attack Cycle. It feels worse going into Elysium, but your blades and other sources of damage are juicy. 

When to Hold Special During Cycles

There might be times when you’re fighting against an enemy like a Greatshield or just a faraway one. If they have a lot of health or are armored, it is worth it to hold Special to go behind the enemy and backstab them. For Greatshields, this is self-explanatory, but for armored enemies in Tartarus or Asphodel, this is recommended if you know you do not have enough damage to clear them cleanly. 

An example would be against armored Louts/Thugs in Tartarus. These things have a lot of health, even for Flurry Jab and Tidal Dash. In these cases, you want to Special behind the Lout(s)/Thug(s) and attack them from the back for more damage. Lodging a cast after Special also works, as that only takes away 1 charge from Raging Rush. 

If you have a good special like Zeus or Aphrodite, you can charge your Special a little longer to have it hit the enemy. Half the time, you’ll be using Special to go towards enemies, but if the place your Special is landing on is close to the enemy, might as well go past it.

Tartarus Room Clears

There are certain breakpoints that are useful for clearing Tartarus mobs effectively and efficiently. This section will be organized into No Flurry Jab and Flurry Jab.

This assumes you used Special to empower your attack/cast prior to combat. These breakpoints are written ignoring any attack/cast boon. 

No Flurry Jab

With High Confidence on:

Dash Strike one-shots

  • Pots 
  • Numbskulls

Dash Strike with Dash hitting one-shots

  • Brimstone 
  • Witches
  • Skullomats

Cast one-shots

  • Brimstone

Special -> Cast one-shots

  • Wringers (Doesn’t work without a boon and HC)
  • Witches
  • Skullomats

Special -> Cast -> Dash Strike for

  • Thugs
  • Louts

Base Cast hits for 127 without HC, 137 with HC, and 140 with HC and a boon. After exiting Chaos, keep in mind that your Base Cast will hit for 127. Wringer’s health are about 140 so hitting HC and having a boon is exact. 

Flurry Jab

With High Confidence on:

Dash Strike one-shots

  • Witches
  • Brimstones
  • Armored Pests 

Dash Strike with Dash one-shots

  • Wringers
  • Thugs
  • Louts
  • Skullomat
  • Armored Witches
  • Armored Brimstones
  • Armored Wringers if you push them into a wall/corner

Dash Strike twice with Dash 

  • Armored Wringers
  • Armored Louts/Thugs if you push them into a wall/corner

Multiple Attack Cycles needed for

  • Armored Louts/Thugs

General Tartarus Room Clear Tips

Make sure to push enemies against the wall, as pointed out by 185in in the original guide. This helps with Dash clearing enemies by itself and helps out if you happen to aim assist onto another enemy. Along with this, make sure when you use Special in your Attack Cycle, you hit the enemy to allow for easier breakpoints. Sometimes when you’re attacking without Flurry Jab and a dash misses, it won’t completely kill the enemy and you’re left with a <1% health Lout that proceeds to charge in the opposite direction (totally not a personal issue, no siree). 

Also be fully aware of the breakpoints, as that helps you determine if you can empty dash with your second dash instead of Dash Strike another time. This helps with saving milliseconds at a time, as you’re not locked to your Dash Strike animation to put out Special faster. If you are also aware of the health of the enemy you’re fighting, you can empty dash and kill it instead of committing to a Dash Strike and possibly being stuck with a Standing Strike. 

One last thing that I want to point out is knowing where the summon circles are. You can pause the room when you see the summon circles and determine how you’re going to clear the room. You ideally want to clear the room with as few Attack Cycles as you can to avoid leaking time and being locked into a Standing Attack or Specialing away from the exit. Achilles is very mobile, so use that to your advantage when you clear rooms.

If you want to see an example of this, check out my Vod Review of Kirrby’s 5:44 where I point out how to play Tartarus with visual cues. 

Small Update: A very minor thing you can do to save time is to hold Special during the freeze frames after you clear a room. This way, you can put your Special out to the door you want to go to in the loading time between the room clear and the reward drop so that you save a tiny bit of time moving towards the door. The faster you get out of your Attack Cycle after defeating the last enemy, the farther you can launch your Special.

Small Update 2: Make use of your cast as much as possible. If you’re in a room full of Wringers and/or Thugs, you want to cast into each of them. Wringers get one-shot by a cast, while you can cast and empty dash into Thugs. If there are a group of Thugs, you can cast > empty dash into it > buffer cast into the second Thug > repeat. This way, you save your Raging Rush charges and avoid using your special between each enemy.

Utilizing Slicing Shot & Boss Tips

General Overview

Slicing Shot is a cast that comes out in the form of a “rift” and travels across the room for 4 seconds. Slicing Shot normally is a bit of a hard cast to utilize, because “geometry.” Slicing Shot can bounce off of walls, and due to that, can create some weird situations, like going into the out-of-bounds areas and not making it back to the field in time to actually do damage. However, knowing how this “geometry” works is crucial to using it effectively. 

With Achilles, the one Duo boon that you definitely want is Hunting Blades, which is a Duo between Artemis and Slicing Shot. This allows Slicing Shot to seek out enemies and lock onto them, therefore allowing you to throw your cast out and not needing to account for geometry. However, only using your cast after getting Hunting Blades is a lot of damage loss, as Slicing Shot itself does about 100 damage per second. With multiple out, they can actually clear rooms by themselves. 

Engulfing Vortex Note

Before we continue, I do want to point out a minutia. Engulfing seems good on paper, but it can heavily mess up your casts dropping too late between boss phases. I would only go for Engulfing if you don’t think you will get Hunting Blades at all, don’t have enough damage, or if you think you can sell it in the upcoming midbiome purging well. While 0.2-0.4 extra seconds don’t seem like much, they can be the difference between a clean Phase 2 Dad or 10 seconds lost. 

You can definitely take Engulfing once you have enough practice with it to gauge when you should be putting out all of your casts and when you shouldn’t against bosses. Engulfing is really nice in rooms, but is okay against bosses. 

TL;DR Engulfing is bad when you have too little damage with Hunting Blades so they stray away or if you have too much damage for them to not drop in time between boss phases.

Tartarus Usage

Chambers

Within Tartarus, you almost never have Hunting Blades prior to endshop, so you have to make use of Slicing Shot. The main thing you want to look out for is geometry that will make the cast bounce back in the direction of the enemies, as showcased here by 185in’s 4:55 run. By doing so, you can get maximum value out of your Slicing Shots and it only leaves you one side of the room to clear. Of course, this is harder when there are enemies scattered all over the room, but using it efficiently in rooms where enemies are bunched up will save a lot of time. 

Midboss

You generally don’t have Slicing Shot at all for Midbosses. You tend to want Base Cast for Boiling Blood as most of the time, you lack damage and Tidal Dash knocks around the boss too much. 

Doomstone

  • Special -> Meg Summon -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • Don’t worry about it not staying in casts

Sneak

  • Dash into Corner -> Special once towards middle -> Meg Summon on the 2nd teleport -> Special -> Optional Cast -> Attack Cycle
    • The reason you Special once towards the middle is due to Sneak possibly being too far away from you

Bombers

  • Special towards pillars -> Meg Summon facing the top pillar -> Cast Bottom Bomber -> Attack Cycle on top
    • Cast placement is mainly intuitive in this midboss fight as Bombers can jump anywhere

Furies

There are cycles for Furies that I like to do and each Fury has a different cycle. 

Tisiphone

  • Phase 1: Special -> Cast (Can cast another time, but risk being hit) -> Attack Cycle
    • Can also Special -> Cast -> Attack Cycle Once -> Cast -> Attack Cycle
      • Remember that Attack Cycle is Dash Strike -> Dash Strike -> Special, so the 2nd Cast is buffed
  • Phase 2 & 3: Special towards the right -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • You can do the same with Phase 1 where you Cast the third after the first Attack Cycle 

Alecto

  • Phase 1: Special -> Cast -> Attack Cycle
  • Phase 2: Special -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • For the casts, make sure you’re lining up perpindicular to the wall behind Alecto so that they bounce back
  • Phase 3: Special -> Cast -> Attack Cycle
    • Again, make sure they are perpindicular to the wall behind Alecto
  • Phase 4: Special -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle

Megaera

  • Phase 1-4: Special -> Cast -> Attack Cycle
    • The casts from earlier cycles should have dropped by the 4th phase
      • You can cast multiple times if you have extras
      • I.e., 2 casts on Phase 3 if there is one laying on the ground already
    • You can also follow the Alecto cycles, but they are much less consistent due to Meg having a higher chance of dashing away & being farther away from the wall
      • The casts also tend to end up super far from Meg so they’re harder to put out in time
      • The additional summons also steal your aim assist prior to Meg coming out of the bubble, so they might not even hit Meg

Asphodel Usage

Chambers

There isn’t much to put for Asphodel chambers besides trying to bounce them off of walls and into clumped enemy groupings. Try to hit as many enemies with them as possible. If they kill at least one enemy without you touching it, then they have done their job. You generally don’t have Hunting Blades in Asphodel until later into the biome, so it’s not a major loss of damage if you don’t use it. After you get Hunting Blades, try to use them as much as possible. 

Midboss

Power Couple

  • Going into the room, you want to Special -> Cast everything -> Attack Cycle on the Gorgon Head. You ignore the Skull-Crusher until it comes down and Meg it. Ideally, you should have either killed the Gorgon Head or strip its armor. 
  • Slicing Shot after the initial casts don’t matter, so don’t pick them up
  • If you don’t have Slicing Shot, lodge a cast into the Gorgon Head and strip its armor

Witches

  • You do not use cast here and instead set up for Meg

Lernie

  • This is pain
  • Phase 1: Start out with Special -> Cast -> Attack Cycle
    • You never want to put out more than 1 Cast unless you’re lacking damage
  • Phase 1 Heads
    • Clear them as they pop up 
    • If you have Hunting Blades, preemptively Cast twice on a head and go to another one
    • If you do not have Hunting Blades, kill the first one that pops up and Cast twice on the 2nd one to go for the 3rd one. Make sure to check to see if the 2nd one has died after killing the 3rd one
  • Phase 2: Special -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • Ideally you want to Cast twice, but if you cannot find your casts, you’re fine using one
    • If you do not have any casts, find at least one
  • Phase 2 Heads
    • Same as Phase 1 Heads, clear them when they come up
    • If you have Hunting Blades, delegate one Cast to each Head and clear the rest
    • If you do not have Hunting Blades, try to group them up in the center and cast twice or thrice into it
      • Go after the other Heads after casting
      • If they’re heads that do not group up right away, Cast once or twice on other heads and attack in the lava
  • Phase 3: Special -> Cast Everything -> Attack Cycle
    • Fully commit to killing Lernie and don’t worry about Lava damage unless you’re about to lose a DD

Elysium Usage

Chambers

You should have Hunting Blades by this point, so you want to fully utilize them to clear enemies. If an enemy is far away from another, cast a few times on the first one and go over to the second one. If they’re all in a group, Special -> Cast twice on the group and then go around the group to make sure they stay in the Cast. 

If you still don’t have Hunting Blades, once again try to find geometry in which the cast would bounce off of walls and do more damage on clumps of enemies. In Elysium, it is especially important to trust your cast. In doing so, it can save you time and you won’t have to waste damage on the enemy that’s in the cast and instead kill the other enemies in the room. 

Midboss

Butterfly Ball

  • Either:
    • Hold Special -> Meg Summon -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • Dash once/twice -> Special -> Meg Summon -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
  • You only need to cast twice due to the Casts dealing a lot of damage already unless you have Flurry Cast
    • If you have Flurry Cast, put out all of your Casts as long as it’s 4 or under

Heroes

  • This is also pain
  • Phase 1: Meg facing up -> Special behind Asterius -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • You should have enough damage to phase both Theseus and Asterius before the cast runs out
  • Between Phase 1 and 2
    • Phase the other if they haven’t already and pick up casts. Don’t put out more casts unless, say, Asterius is not close to phasing
    • Head over to Theseus before he phases and cast everything
  • Phase 2: Pray?
    • Do your Attack Cycles after casting
    • For some forsaken reason, when Theseus is killed by Slicing Shot, Hunting Blades stop working and they drop on the ground
      • Make sure to pick up the casts and put them on Asterius
      • Do not try to phase Asterius with Attack Cycles

Styx Usage

Chambers

You generally don’t use Cast in chambers unless you lack damage, i.e. without +3 Dashes, Rush Delivery, or Breaking Wave (Typhoon Fury is a scam). The general idea with Styx chambers is that you immediately start Dash Striking after planning out where you’re going and then start the Attack Cycle. If you find yourself needing more than 2/3 Attack Cycles, it’s fine to throw out a cast at the beginning of one. Otherwise, you avoid using it. Although, for rats, just throw out all of them between waves. 

Midboss

Satyr

  • Special towards middle -> Meg Summon -> Cast Everything -> Attack Cycle

Anthony (Huge Rat/Gigantic Vermin)

  • Special towards middle -> Cast Everything if you have the time, twice if not -> Meg Summon -> Attack Cycle
    • For Anthony, make sure that you don’t knock him out of the casts and instead knock him into them or against a wall closest to the casts
    • Engulfing helps out a lot against Anthony as it keeps it within the casts no matter what

Snakestone

  • Special towards middle -> Cast Everything -> Meg Summon -> Attack Cycle against one of the pillars closest to it
    • If you do not do the Attack Cycle on the pillars, the miniboss will be sent away from all of the casts and you will not be able to 0-cycle it

Dire Bother (Green Pot)

  • Dash/Special towards middle -> Meg Summon Quickly or not at all -> Cast once/twice -> Attack Cycle
    • Make sure to push it into walls so that it can’t get away from the casts

Hades Usage

Phase 1 Part 1

  • Special -> Cast Twice -> Attack Cycle
    • To set up, angle your special diagonally towards the upper right and summon when you hit your special button a second time. Afterward, dash and cast simultaneously to cancel the cast animation and position yourself behind dad.

Phase 1 Part 2 & 3

  • Before Dad gets out of the bubble, don’t attack additional summons, but instead lure them towards him. Using these summons, cast everything onto them so that when they die, it locks onto Dad
  • This also helps with not having to cast during the phase, risking a darkness near the end of the phase
  • If you have Dad Call, make sure to use half-charge at the beginning of each phase unless you get it at the end of a phase or you risk being forced to use full charge. Full charge doesn’t last long enough to be worth it

Phase 2 Part 1

  • Special for the buff, then set your Special next to Dad and cast everything once he raises his arms. Once you see him out of the bubble, special toward him
    • Make sure you’re decently close as well so the casts aren’t aimlessly searching for Dad
  • Whenever Casts go down, put them up immediately unless they’re too far away
  • If you have enough damage, do not use half-charge here. You want to save it for Phase 2 Part 2 instead

Phase 2 Part 2

  • You tend to not have enough time to Special again and then cast between phases, so pick up your casts as fast as possible and cast towards Dad
    • You have to be close to him as he likes to dash away into the ether. Make sure you’re picking your casts up immediately and stand right next to him to start casting
  • Again, make sure to put Casts back up unless he’s about to phase
  • This is when you fully commit to killing Dad, so don’t worry too much about damage unless you’re about to die

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