Tips on tactics, synergies, and how to git gud.
Gameplay Overview – So You Want to be a Wizard
In Rift Wizard, you play as a small wizard starting with no power and a large spellbook with the intention of traveling across enemy-filled maps and abyss-filled walkways before finally confronting Mordred, the archwizard who cast the universe into chaos. You knew this already, or I’d like to know how you ended up reading my guide.
In order to safely navigate the rifts and defeat Mordred, you will need to build an understanding in three strategic arenas: positioning, your game plan, and synergies. Each of these has their own section, but I’d like to give a brief overview here.
Positioning is often the most overlooked arena of tactics, but also one for which many gamers develop an innate understanding. You should position yourself to destroy gates, spawners, and difficult enemies early, preferably in an area where you won’t get ganged up on while doing so. Let your health be a resource you use, but treat it as precious – it might be better to destroy that spawner before warping away even if it means you take some damage from the enemies surrounding you, but try to put yourself in places where the enemies can’t reach you all at once.
It goes without saying (yet I will say it REPEATEDLY) that a good translocation spell is a must for survival.
Your game plan is how you get from point A (a weak and defenseless wizard) to point B (destroying the map in a single spellcast). It requires that you plan ahead and be willing to take sub-optimal rewards so you don’t die to challenges above your capability. There is no single combo or solution for every fight in the game! (Though a couple come close…)
Synergies are the key to Rift Wizard’s magic. You can win the game by buying basic spells and trying to use them effectively, but it will be much easier (and much more fun) if you think about the spell and shrine interactions to make them truly powerful. Restless dead? Good spell. Restless dead with a swamp shrine? Amazing spell.
Basic gameplay tips
* Look at the rift’s description of enemies before you look through the rift itself, because it will help you to catch that one boss or spawner that you weren’t prepared for.
* Most deaths in this game could be avoided by picking a different rift. While finding a good spell-circle is nice, it’s generally better to go through rifts you know you have the tools to conquer than to fight in rifts that look difficult, but possible. Sometimes you don’t realize just how far away that gate is and just how quickly it will build up reinforcements, or you overlooked a boss or enemy type that completely negates your gameplan.
*Movement is key because positioning is key. Do not forget to take a translocation spell!
*Diverse damage types are necessary for survival. An amped-up Chain Lightning spell is great until you have to finish a level filled with lightning scrolls, storm fiends, constructs or copper imps.
* Adaptability is your friend. You might want to play a Restless Dead build, but if you’re only getting levels filled with undead, spirit or demon enemies, maybe spend your SP on something to kill them first (like Melt) and save Restless Dead for later.
* Get a good AoE spell and a couple high-damage single-target spells. You don’t want to confront a 400 HP megaboss with only weak AoEs, because you’ll eat through your mana fast and likely take damage on top of it.
* Target priorities: Game-changers first. Spawners second. Healers and heavy-hitters third. Everything else is just chaff. These priorities may change based on your build (summoner vs chain killer vs straight wizard) and positioning – if the heavy hitter is bearing down on you and you’re out of translocation spells, obviously you want to take it down before finishing off the spawner.
*Just buy an Earthen Sentinel, or at least SOME type of reliable summon that can give you breathing room in a realm filled with corridors. Anything that stops the shambling zamblies from chewing on your face for a few turns is worth a bit of investment.
Positioning – AKA, Why You Should Always take a Translocation Spell
Some enemies have the ability to teleport you, the wizard. When that time comes, you will live or die based on only one factor: do you have, or have you saved enough SP for, a good translocation spell?
In a single turn, you can take 200 damage because you were petrified, stunned, teleported, or otherwise surrounded and had the living mana juice beaten out of you. You need a good escape option that will never fail you. Teleporters are nice for this, but to help keep it from happening in the first place (and to reposition yourself when you realize that wall to your right isn’t as impermeable as you once believed), you will need a translocation spell.
Turn economy is how you avoid getting surrounded by a horde of leaping lizards and trololoing trolls. If you need to cover 20 squares before you’re in a good position to start firing off your spells again, chances are you don’t want to spend 20 turns getting there. Translocation.
Sometimes the fighting in one area of the map has left those two spawners on the other side totally unguarded. Wouldn’t it be nice to take them out now instead of slogging through a pile of enemies for the next forty turns while they constantly spawn more mana-sponging polar bears? Everybody say it with me: TRANSLOCATION.
Any translocation spell will do, but I like to use Blink because of its reliability, versatility, and cheap cost. Always upgrade it to be able to teleport you through walls, because it will allow you to get out of line-of-sight, and feel free to take the range upgrade too.
Now that we’ve hammered down the bit about translocation, let’s talk about your positioning in general.
First of all, your goal is to kill enemies before they can kill you. This usually means making sure that they don’t all have line-of-sight on you at once, at least once they start getting powerful ranged attacks. Finding alcoves from which you can fire AoE and chaining spells can help clear out the chaff in a few turns while still protecting your health bar. Jumping through a rift to land near spawners gives you an early advantage and helps to preserve your mana, and taking out that enchanter before he can shield everything coming out of a bag of bugs is probably your first priority. So much of the game is dependent on knowing which targets to prioritize and which are just there to distract you, but even knowing the difference won’t help you if you can’t reach your targets in the first place.
Synergies and You – AKA, why Death Cleave is Overpowered
Arc Lightning and Heaven’s Wrath are not a synergy just because you can fire them from outside line-of-sight. Chain Lightning and an Energy Shrine though? That’s a heckuva synergy. You get about 20 shields per cast of chain lightning and nothing can ever damage you again. Ah, so sweet.
Remember, a synergy doesn’t mean “It’s a good spell Jeremy,” it means “These two things work together to achieve much more than they would alone.” It’s the power of anime friendship, just without 20 episodes of drama between battles!
How to recognize a wild synergy:
There are three kinds of synergies: Individual, Self-compounding, and Multi-step. Generally speaking, compounding synergies are the strongest, but they each have their place.
Individual synergies are basically just flat-out upgrading a spell. Fireball with a +2 radius shrine? Bigger fireball. Not a big deal. Basically if your spell does what it always did, but better, that’s an individual synergy. They’re fine to use for single-target nukes (since you REALLY want your nuke spells to work), but are subpar for everything else.
Self-compounding synergies are synergies that then synergize with themselves for an increased effect. Restless dead with a swamp shrine is an example of this, because the poison damage increases the amount of damage your horde of undead do each turn dramatically, which then creates more restless dead, which then increases the damage further. If a synergy makes itself stronger over time without any direct effort from you, it’s a compounding synergy, capice?
Multi-step synergies are often the hardest to pull off in a way that’s worthwhile, because they require multiple steps to perform and a failure at any point causes the entire synergy to stop working. Freezing an enemy then casting Arcane Vortex on them is an example of a reliant synergy, as is inflicting any kind of debuff then hitting them with a spell enhanced by the Butterfly Shrine. For every step of setup required, a synergy becomes less powerful because it takes longer to pull off, thus you must divide the final effect by the number of turns taken to reach it.
That said, if you happen to get a wide-area freeze effect spell then hit enemies with a butterfly-enhanced chain lightning or whatnot… mmm, Pacha hands, it can be quite beautiful. Multi-step synergies are only worthwhile when you have the time and space to cast all the required pieces, AND the payoff is greater than what you could have otherwise done with those turns. (The strongest synergy in the game is actually a reliant synergy, but it requires only one turn of setup.)
Recognizing strong synergies:
Anything that provides free and immediate damage or provides you with health or shields should strike a chord in your mind as a good component for a synergy. Anything that multiplies spellcasts or targets affected also multiplies the power of any synergies it applied to it, which is why death cleave is overpowered.
To reiterate, the more times a spell will proc an effect, the greater the synergy. You want to find ways to guarantee that the effect in question procs, and if possible, maximize the number of times it procs in a single turn.
For example: A lightning bolt enhanced by an entropy shrine (-25% arcane damage resistance for 10 turns) followed by a magic missile is technically a synergy, but a realistically useless one. It sets up a single target for a bit more damage from another single-target spell, requiring two turns to do the damage that a higher-damage spell would do in one. Chain lightning enhanced by an entropy shrine is much better, but still leaves the problem of taking out the remaining enemies one-at-a-time with magic missile when additional casts of chain lightning or other multi-target spells would likely be faster. Sadly, there are no chaining arcane-damage spells, so the entropy shrine gets to remain mostly useless.
Lastly, you can spot synergies when you notice a spell that enhances other spells, and if you find any spells that are especially powerful for certain situations but with noticable drawbacks that make them seem like “niche” tools.
If you can recognize a spell’s shortcomings and then find another spell that helps to overcome them, you’ve got a synergy. An example would be Cantrip Cascade paired with Mystic Vision, which can destroy about a third of any map per cast (at least if you’ve been upgrading cantrips or have Arch Sorcerer), or Death Cleave paired with Mega Annihilate (Death Cleave’s weakness is that it only chains if it kills, and an upgraded Mega Annihilate kills almost anything.)
Now we talk about level synergies and antisynergies. I’m getting tired so this section is shorter. If the realm is generally open, chains are stronger because enemies can cluster and the chain can reach a large number of targets from any individual point. If a level is more maze-like then beam spells and high-health minions are stronger because they can damage entire routes and block lines of approach. If a level is spotty then WHERE IS YOUR TRANSLOCATION SPELL. Find locations in the level that synergize with your spell list, whether that’s alleyways or wide open areas, and lure your opponents there. If you took my advice and took Blink, feel free to take out a couple of gates on entry before warping to your killbox of choice.
A Note on Summoning and Hard Counters
It’s always interesting to see how games handle summoning minions, because they’re independent actors that provide damage and targets to enemies without any further effort from you. In most games, they either turn out completely useless or brokenly overpowered with the right setup, but in Rift Wizard they’re often both.
Summons are a fantastic utility spell that don’t get mentioned enough, especially high-health summons like the earthen sentinel. They pull in aggro from surrounding enemies, meaning that as long as you aren’t in their range yet, they will waste turns killing a summon that would have disappeared in a few turns anyway. They can block off routes or distract entire groups of enemies while you wait for the right moment to fire your heavy AoEs, or while you deal with a particularly troublesome boss or game-changer. And as Restless dead will prove, they can make a very effective army… most of the time.
This is a good time to talk about hard counters, because everything in the game has a counter. Enemies with lots of shields will counter one-hit wonders like Mega Annihilate or Pillar of Fire, those with lots of resistances basically force you to have specific damage types to deal with them (looking at you, constructs), and summons get countered by… other summoners.
Restless dead mitigates this problem a lot, because many times it simply grows faster than the enemy can cut them down… but for most summoners, you will find that your worst enemies are those who summon smaller, weaker enemies that distract your summons and cause them to eventually run out of time or HP to deal with anything that was actually a threat. The worst of all summoners are gnomes, who can spam a multi-summon spell every turn. Just a few of them can stop an army.
I wanted to combine the sections on summoning and hard counters because they’re short, but the point is that you don’t want to rely entirely on one tool or type of tool like chaining spells, summons or high-damage nukes. Your best bet is to build a diverse toolset that can handle the various hard counters the game will throw at you, rather than building around a theme or basic idea like a “pyromancer” or “shadow wizard.”
Yaeh ok, but what’re the most powrful spells, dood?
Rift Wizard is a game about discovering synergies and playing with combinations and themes. Having me tell you the most powerful spells and combinations outright would just make the game less interesting, wouldn’t it?
That said, this is a guide. So if what you really want to do is win, here you go…
Death Bolt with Soul Battery. I don’t take this one personally, as it means taking longer to get my chain spells going… but it can grow unreasonably powerful by the end of the game if you commit to using it. Just don’t be so focused on it that you forget your positioning or the wise use of your other spells to stop a horde, yeah?
Energy Shrine with Chain Lightning. I mentioned this one earlier. It’s great for clearing huge rooms and gaining 20 stacks of shield in the process, but there will be plenty of enemies this doesn’t work on. It’s an early-game wonder and still works well in the end-game, but it won’t carry you through everything. Remember to upgrade the chain distance on Chain Lightning, please.
The most powerful combo… Death Cleave empowering Mega Annihilate. This one *will* carry you if you need it. The vast majority of enemies in the game will succumb to a single cast, and upgrading Mega Annihilate to deal Arcane and Dark damage makes it able to handle more enemy types who might resist the fire, physical, and lightning damage. Often, with an upgraded chain distance, a single cast can clear an entire realm. It’s biggest weaknesses are shielded enemies, liches with soul jars, or the very few bosses with enough HP to survive it… but even in these situations, it’s almost always worth using. Especially when combined with…
The Restless Dead. Or really, anything combines well with the Restless Dead except for Death Bolt. It synergizes with every damage-dealing spell in the game because it turns them into conjuration spells against about 60% of enemies. Getting any shrine that increases your skeletons’ resilience, damage or (horror of horrors) provides a damage aura will make it stronger exponentially, especially if you use chaining or wide-AoE spells for damage as they provide faster army growth than single-target spells.
Blink, sightless upgrade. No, this isn’t a synergy. It’s just one of the most powerful spells in the game.
Thanks for reading my guide; I hope it was helpful! Leave a comment if you liked it or have any questions. I can’t promise I’ll continue to update this guide or respond to questions, but I do like to know when someone found my guide useful.
This guide was in production since before 1.0, and it was delayed for so long because it was originally going to include a complete spellbook with upgrades and descriptions. Thanks to Moasseman, that hard work has already been done and I can link his spellbook here – [steamcommunity.com] without having to spend many more hours typing out descriptions and filling in details. Thanks, Moasseman!
This is all about Rift Wizard – Best Strategy and Game Mechanics + Tactics + Weapons; I hope you enjoy reading the Guide! If you feel like we should add more information or we forget/mistake, please let us know via commenting below, and thanks! See you soon!
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