It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been the internet’s foremost Torghast contrarian! So I figure, what the hell, why not give it another shot?
On Sunday, eager to knock out the Soul Embers calling for my Covenant, I took my DH into a Twisting Corridors run for the first time, and the first time in about a month I’ve run one. I started them when I was maining Holy Paladin, and stopped to gear and relearn my DH. So I had layer 4 unlocked, and figured why not? Let’s do that since I’ve done my main instance layer 8 runs already.
On the very first anima power orb, I got the Cilice of Denathrius. If you are unfamiliar, this is the power:
In a normal, 6-floor Torghast clear, this is an interesting power but one that rarely offers too much to you, either in terms of the power or the negative tradeoff. At absolute worst, you’ll lose 25% of your health and gain 75% increased damage and healing. Not an awful tradeoff! In a Twisting Corridors run, though, getting it on floor 1 meant taking 90% reduced health and gaining…270% increased damage and healing. Now, the reduced health dips and surges based on anima powers, so you can take some Obleron Endurance or similar anima powers to offset the loss somewhat.
But I had seen people post about successfully taking it early in a TC run and having hilarious experiences at the top floors of their run, so I did it. Having this power on floor 1 of 18 changes so much about how you think about your Torghast run. In practice, it translates into something both simple and difficult at the same time. You can build your anima powers basically along two vectors at that point – increasing damage output further to enhance the damage done by the massive increase of the Cilice, or take every survival power offered and allow the boost from the Cilice to be your primary source of bonus damage. To be fair, almost 300% bonus damage and healing by the end of a full TC run is fucking ridiculous in its own right, but at the same time, a lot of powers stack very high in a TC run, and you can also have individual spells and abilities boosted easily as high or higher than what the Cilice offers – but then the Cilice stacks on top of all of that, so you might have a 400% damage boosted Chaos Strike and then boost that damage by a further 270% (unsure if additive or multiplicative), which means you have single melee hits that absolutely destroy most common foes.
Here are my observations about how the Cilice completely transformed that Torghast run into one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in World of Warcraft.
The Strategy Changes
The biggest observation I came away with, 2 hours deep with all floors clear and safely rewarded my layer 4 achievement and Helm of the Dominated toy, is this – when you first pick up this power, you expect every fight to be a race to survive against your enemies. But early in the run, this was not true at all – in fact, it made earlier floors substantially easier than I expected. You have way more damage boost than health dampener – so go nuts! I’d pull packs of mobs on top of each other and Eye Beam them all into dust. Anything that lived got hit by the Elysian Decree I’d placed before firing my lasers, and anything that lived past both of those was burned alive by my Immolation Aura. It was fantastic!
I took a mix of offensive and defensive powers – part of it just being the way the cookie crumbles with a random power system in a roguelike mode – but I made an effort to take most of the Obleron Endurance powers offered to me. This staved off the worst of my health loss (losing 90% of my max, base health would have left me with 3,360 health for the last boss, where I actually landed with 12,300), but as I learned when climbing high, it wasn’t nearly enough. Floors 1-15 were a cakewalk, but the final floors were tough for one simple reason – my health decrease had finally reached the threshold of the enemy’s damage increases, such that I was being one shot by basic mob attacks. This forced a change in strategies, which was helpfully facilitated by two key anima powers – the one that makes you immune to damage when channeling Eye Beams, and the one that gives a 20% chance per stack to make Eye Beams not incur its cooldown. 4 stacks of that cooldown removal and the only needed stack of the immunity, and it was off to the races. Forget your actual rotation, grab a pack at safe Fury levels, immediately hit Eye Beams and don’t ever stop. It did mean that if I got unlucky on the Eye Beams lotto, well, I could be toast, and I did eat a lot of deaths near the end, but most were due to me not being prepared once on floor 16 and dealing with the scaling. Once a basic mob caves your face in, the game definitely changes!
For bosses, this also meant taking advantage of a core Shadowlands synergy for Havoc DH – using Eye Beams without casting Metamorphosis until the slot machine struck unlucky, then casting Meta to reset the cooldown, and hitting the slots again until luck ran out. Fortunately, I also had the epic power Cadaver Eye, which gives you a shortened cooldown for Eye Beams when cast in Meta, which dovetailed nicely. I also had the Fallen Comrade’s Blindfold (the extra off-spec DH doing their version of your frontal cone green stuff) and since I also had that legendary equipped, I got two friends for each Eye Beams, both puking green at my target and healing me for the damage dealt. All-around good strategy and power synergy like that become crucial at the point in later floors where your health is subterranean.
Glass Cannon Play Is A Lot More Fun When Things Melt
Obvious point I feel like, but man, it is thrilling to be able to pull like you’re competing in the Mythic Dungeon International and just round up half a floor of goons, plant on one spot, and hit your best AoE combo while everything around you withers and dies. There’s so much of the annoyance I think people feel with Torghast tied up in feeling weak even with Anima Powers on, but with the Cilice, you are only as weak as your health management. It makes some of the rare mobs so much easier to play against. For example, Subjugator Klontzas. This big asshole will apply a number of debuffs to you if you get hit by his big 3 attacks – a melee-ranged AoE, a ranged-targeted AoE, and a frontal line AoE. If you are unfamiliar with him, you’ll get hit at least a few times, and he gifts you for it with permanent debuffs to damage dealt, health, and other stats. No big deal, though, since he almost always drops an AP orb after that offers a choice power that removes his debuffs. Fair enough – there’s an incentive for smart play (I’ve learned his pattern and no longer get hit by him) but you can tackle him unwittingly and still come out fine. However, he drops an incredible anima power typically that procs a huge shadow damage DoT on your target with your first hit. It is a guaranteed hit, and also silences for 4 seconds, so it is extremely powerful and to your benefit to get this power if you can. Unfortunately, if you take his debuffs, you’re probably not grabbing it. Well, if you aren’t super skilled against him yet, the Cilice can help, since you will likely melt him in seconds before he casts anything, and then you can always take his super-strong Manacles power, which will also hit like a fucking truck and give you some safe time against spellcasters with one-hit nukes.
Everything is fun when you can careen freely around most floors of the Twisting Corridors, striking fear into the hearts of anyone dumb enough to cross you. I highly recommend it!