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Candy Cane Sword Cane: Overview

2023-12-01 // IOTM Overview

It's a cane! It's a sword! It's a candyswordcane! You can whip out the sword in the middle of your fights... and other adventures. That means noncombats, allowing you to do a wide variety of fun, silly things both inside and outside an ascension context. Let's turn this candy cane into a shiv and stab right into the meat of the item.

General Summary

The core item is a one-handed weapon. It's a cane, not a sword, although the flavor text (obviously) implies it to be a peppermint-scented combination of the two. Your trusty candyswordcane comes equipped by default with a handful of cute effects:

  • Grants a +10 to all attributes
  • Grants a "never fumble" bonus
  • Gives +50% weapon damage overall
  • Gives +5 * (X + 1) flat weapon damage (max +115)
  • Gives 250 turns of Sugar Rush every rollover

For the flat weapon damage, the X in the equation stands for the number of combat skills you've used. Ergo, the cane's flat weapon damage will increment by 5 every time you use one of the cane's two combat skills:

  • Surprisingly Sweet Slash is a once-per-combat shrinking powder equivalent, reducing the enemy's overall hit points by 50-75%
  • Surprisingly Sweet Stab is a damaging skill, which is a guaranteed-to-hit attack that deals 25 extra damage from what your attack normally would have dealt

These skills are both limited to 11 per day. Every time you use one, you get (30 - X) turns of "Peppermint Rush", an effect that's essentially "sugar rush, but doubled" (IE, +10% mus/mox, 40% init).

In addition to these combat benefits, wielding the candyswordcane also enables a ton of new flavorful noncombat choices across the game, in areas both relevant and irrelevant to speed ascensions. The available noncombat choices are still being spaded, but for now, here are the top 7 options for speed ascenders.

ZoneDescription & Reward
Wartime Frat/Hippy Camps; all NCsRedirects to the correct "start the war" noncombat.
The ShoreOnce per ascension, lets you go on a special trip; this trip gives you two Shore Inc Trip Scrips instead of one!
Black ForestOnce per ascension, instantly completes 8 of the 50 exploration you need to unlock the black market
A Mob of Zeppelin ProtestorsIn the sleaze damage protestor-clearing NC, gain an option that doubles the protestors ousted in the NC. So, if you would've ousted 20 protestors, you instead oust 40!
Daily DungeonOnce per ascension, at the 2nd boring door NC, you can get an extra fat loot token atop the skip. (Also, the cane itself acts as an eleven foot pole, a welcome respite for no-familiar paths!)
Hidden Bowling AlleyCan bowl once per ascension using your cane from the bowling ball NC; this is a free action, cutting down both the number of bowling balls needed and removing the need to spend a turn on one of your bowling NCs
Hidden Apartment BuildingAt the final NC that leads to the protector spirit, get a once per ascension choice that adds one to your curse level; this allows you to free up either one liver of space from a cursed punch, or one fight against a pygmy shaman.

In addition to these, there's a number of fun flavor options -- you can get free swords in the Haunted Library, free meat once per day from the Northeast Overgrown Shrine, a free priceless diamond in Copperhead Club. Out of run, you get a bit of free clownosity for your nemesis quest, some free papayas, and other various sundries. That's a lot of stuff, man!

Speedrun Applicability

Obviously, the noncombat choices are where the majority of the candyswordcane's power budget lies. So many of these options are unique and powerful, giving players more agency and control over various RNG-riddled parts of the puzzle. To give a small, non-exhaustive attempt to count the turns this item saves in a speedrun:

  • You save roughly 5 turns from the Daily Dungeon token, removing the need to back up or otherwise copy a fantasy bandit for an extra token. (In no-familiar paths, you save an additional 2-3 turns from having your own 11-foot-pole replacement.)
  • You save 4-5 turns on being able to guarantee that any war NC you hit turns into the war unlock; as we could when Comprehensive Cartography Compendium is in standard, we can now use noncombat forcers like Spikolodon Spikes or Cincho Exits to force any NC in the wartime zone to start the war. This is a long-tail zone that can easily extend to 5-10 turns without that ability, so while it is a ranged savings (as you sometimes could get the war unlock on turn 1 naturally), it's a great variance reduction vector!
  • You save 1-2 turns on the Black Forest option; the Black Forest is highly complicated, but 8 exploration out of 50 saves you anywhere from 1-2 turns of marginal exploration at the end, which is an excellent conversion rate
  • You save 3 turns on the Shore option in any path where you need to access the Mysterious Island and don't have alternate methods like the Skeleton Skiff or the Yellow Puck's yellow submarine.
  • You save 2-3 turns on the Zeppelin mob. Doubling your protestor count isn't quite as flashy as a token or a scrip, but it's a powerful benefit that generally will make it easier for folks in standard to guarantee a 2-turn mob (saving clovers and turns for other uses) and for folks outside of standard restrictions to execute a formerly bonkers 1-turn mob (by overlapping Dirty Pear and Bend Hell in arcane, crazy ways)
  • You save 1 turn on the Hidden Bowling Alley, every run. Removing an NC like this from a run not only impacts standard and unrestricted, it also lowers the theoretical minimum of a maximal tortoisecore run. Extremely cool and rad!
  • You get... something, from the extra curse. In softcore, where you can't stomach the cursed punch, that something is a flat 1 turnsave. In hardcore, where you can, this enables you to get a tiny bit more turngen. Both valid and fun!

That nets out to 16-20 turns of savings per run, just from the NCs. That's a hell of a lot! No, it isn't BOFA/CMC level, but it's clearly in the range of the top-tier "you should REALLY get this" IOTMs that a KOL player requires if they happen to have a need for speed.

Beyond this, I think it's worth calling out that there are a few smaller, non-NC related benefits as well. First, the Surprisingly Sweet Slash skill is a cute survivability tool that also has one important speedster benefit: it helps towerkill the Wall of Bones in situations where your path has any issues doing so. In general, towerkilling the wall in Standard paths is pretty straightforward, but that can be complicated significantly in weird avatar paths where you don't have any group damage skills. Finding an electric boning knife can be a total pain in the ass sometimes, and having methods in your pocket for killing the wall yourself can help shave a few turns off your run. Luckily, the Wall of Bones is impacted in the way you expect by shrinking powder-esque tools like the Sweet Slash and the Autumnic Bomb. This means that you can use the slash to dramatically reduce the core damage you need to deal to the wall, making your life MUCH easier.

Second, this IOTM fulfills a similar role to the June Cleaver -- it does a ton of work trivializing combat. While it isn't quite as busted as the Cleaver, what with its +500 guaranteed-to-hit damage by the end of a 1-day run, the roughly 200 damage bonus you can get from using most of your skills and adding a handful of easy weapon damage effects should put you in slashing distance of virtually any monster in the game. This isn't something that results in "direct" turns saved in a speedrun, but it isn't useless. Just about every speedrunner worth their salt can remember a time or two where they accidentally died to a monster they should have been able to oust in a speedrun, costing them a turn (or more) in resources lost or turns inadvertently spent. Combat trivializers like this go a long way towards evicting those mistakes and removing the chance of a screw up.

2023 In-Standard Synergies

  • The ability to guarantee that any NC within the Wartime Hippy/Frat Camps leads to the war start option unlocks the ability to use a noncombat forcing mechanism like Spikolodon Spikes (2022) or Cincho Exits (2023) to force war start. This is quite the helpful additional sneak, because generally, you are lacking a few sources of NC due to the need to be wearing your full war gear (similar to how Billiards can be a good sneak in cases where you have to be wearing the pool cue!)
  • You can get 10 extra turns of Peppermint Rush by visiting Lyle at the monorail. This isn't really a synergy, I just couldn't think of anywhere in this article to put it, so I'm putting it here. Nobody can stop me! I'm drunk with power!

Overall Rating

We'd rate the Candy Cane Sword Cane a tier 1 IOTM, with 7-15 turns of savings per day. This is a little bit of a weird one -- in a 1-day run, this guy is -easily- a run-defining tier 0 IOTM with 20 turns of benefit. But virtually all of the cane's savings are localized in once-per-ascension benefits, rather than repeatable daily benefits. But the fact that you can get around 20 turns of benefit in 2-days makes it an easy tier 1 item, and (frankly) 1-day runs are doable enough in modern standard that I wouldn't disagree too much if you erred more on the side of a tier 0 over a tier 1. It's REALLY good, folks.

Article contributed by Captain Scotch