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Spring Shoes: Overview

2024-02-23 // IOTM Overview

Spring is here / a-suh-puh-ring is here / life is skittles / and life is beer! I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do -- do you? You do? 'Course you do. But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me... it's the February IOTM, the Spring Shoes! (Also, it's not remotely close to spring yet. Also, I'm not Tom Lehrer. What a shame.)

General Summary

The Spring Shoes are an accessory. They grant the following bluetext enchantment benefits:

  • +100% Combat Initiative
  • +20% Moxie
  • +50% Critical Hit chance

In addition to these three "obvious" enchantments, the shoes state that "nature springs up after each step". This extra enchantment means that after every combat, at random, the shoes will do one of five actions:

  • Restore some HP (a good bit; capped at 1000)
  • Restore some MP (40-60% of your max MP, capped at 1000)
  • Drop a random fruit, from a relatively large pool
  • Drop an "ultra-soft fern", a potion for 5 adventures of -5% combat rate
  • Drop a "crunchy brush", a potion for 5 adventures of +5% combat rate

In addition to these benefits, with the shoes equipped, you get access to three distinct skills.

The first skill is Spring Growth Spurt, which doubles the attack and defense of any Plant phylum monster it's used against, for increased statgain. Per measurements by Semenar, it appears to be +50 flat additional stats to any plant combat you use it on, in exchange for a much more annoying monster to kill.

The second skill is Spring Kick, which represents an interesting new design choice -- a mid-combat banish. This banish can be cast whenever the player wants, and will banish the given foe for the rest of the day (or, until you cast it on another monster, as it can only be active on one at a time). As noted, though, it doesn't end the combat -- you still need to do that yourself!

The final skill is Spring Away, which free-runs away from the current monster. This is on the new Everything Looks Green shared counter for freerun items; this freerun cannot be used if Everything Looks Green is active, and each usage gives you 30 turns of Everything Looks Green. Think of this as an ever-so-slightly worse version of Green Smoke Bombs that can be used at any time without having to use an item!

In addition, there's one last incremental benefit -- when planting an enchanted bean to grow the Beanstalk, you gain 1000 substats for each stat. This statgain increases by 250 stats per level as well, capped at 2000 substats at level 14. Neat!

Speedrun Applicability

So. There are lots of fun benefits to high-stepping in your spring shoes. How much of this really matters, though? Let's go from "least important" to "most important" for the myriad benefits you can derive from your shoes.

First, many of the postcombat effects and enchantments are of the "neat, not necessary" variety -- +20% moxie is "fine" but isn't really going to help you out in most cases. It'll marginally increase survivability for low-shiny folks, but even then, 20% isn't a TON. The HP/MP restoration is similar -- it's fine, but it isn't doing that much for you. (Except in the current avatar path; the HP is actually a little nice there.) The +50% chance of critical hit is pretty cute -- it'll help survivability (as it synergizes nicely with the Candy Cane Sword Cane's weapon damage silliness), but for most saucestorming/cleavering ascenders, it isn't going to change your fortunes that much.

Second, we'll lump the statgain helpers together. The increase in statgain from plants is pretty cute, and it makes wishing up Black Crayon Flowers even better than it normally would be. Barring other considerations like a necessary locket enchantment or a BoFA drop, this is a small but meaningful boost to a specific black crayon monster. If you're a moxie class, the +20% moxie will mildly increase the size of your scalars, though it's absurdly minor. The stats from the enchanted bean are very funny. They're late enough in-run that they aren't THAT great, representing 27.8% of the stats needed to go from level 10 to level 11. But they're mildly useful. In any standard path with the Trainset, none of this really matters to you, but in paths like WereProfessor, these will be reasonably helpful boons.

Now, we're getting into some of the things we need to cover individually. To start, a few things we can deal with in easy bullets:

  • The initiative is nice. 100% is a pretty big chunk; it should help decrease the need for an initiative wish, and help backfill for the 300-ish initiative that standard lost from the 2021 IOTMs.
  • The +/- combat potions are more valuable than you might think. Even if you're already at the 25% combat rate softcap, pushing that from 25% to 26% noncombat with a -5% combat rate potion is worth about 1-2 turns over a whole run. And we currently (surprisingly) aren't always even at the 25% +combat softcap, which can cause a few annoying choke points in runs (specifically in Whitey's Grove and finding your Ninja Snowman Assassins). The fact that it comes from potions you'll end up having a good amount of means you can essentially have this on whenever you need it, so long as you route for enough turns to get them, which is great.
  • The occasional fruit is something that doesn't sound incredible on its face, but actually ends up being a meaningful speedrun helper -- that's because blackberries are actually part of the pool! Reporting as of early year runs indicates that you (almost always) hit 3 blackberries in about 200 turns. Depending on how you're routing your run, you can often defer black forest that long, if you're careful. In any event, no need to yellow ray or apply extra resources for blackberries, because you generally get 1 or 2 from your shoes and can now afford to miss one blackberry in a pinch. You also will have fruit available -before- finishing up the Filthworm sidequest in the war, which is helpful for potioncrafting for increasing your stats for scaling fights. (In addition, you can get exotic jungle fruits, which are helpful for Grey Goo score nonsense. And there are some sea fruits in there, which can be autosold for decent value. And it's an alternate source of cactus fruit, which means easier pre-desert tequila access. Dope!)

This leaves us with two final benefits to go over, and the best two attributes of the IOTM -- the Spring Kick and Spring Away skills.

Of the two, SPRING AWAY is the stronger but less complicated skill. You just want to hop your way into a delay zone and use the freerun every 30 turns. Assuming you roll out 200ish turns per day, you can expect 6-7 freeruns a day, which is pretty good. The real power here is less about what the spring boots do and more about what the spring boots free up. While we weren't necessarily planning on doing all the bullshit we were doing last year when we went sicko mode, being able to access a freerun with a 30 turn counter without any resource expenditure dramatically lessens the need to spend a single resource on Green Ops Soldiers (GROPs).

Think of it this way -- Green Smoke Bombs (also known as GSBs, the free-run drop from GROPs) have an Everything Looks Green counter of 25. To get one extra freerun, you'd need to generate 6 GSBs (for 25 * 6 = 150 turns of cooldown versus 30 * 5 = 150 turns of cooldown for the shoes). That's... kind of a bunch, man! Previously, every GSB you generated was worth 1 turn. Now, effectively, each GSB is worth 0.16 turns. (NOTE: This is mildly incorrect -- depending on your final turncount, there's always a small chance that your last freerun is at a weird time window, where you get an extra turn if you can free up your last run a tiny bit earlier. This isn't really easy to math out, nor is it super dependable, as it is dependant on factors that change basically every run. But I'm a detail-oriented person and it is useful to note, even if it doesn't really change the math much.)

That is a massive sea change, and changes SO many resource allocations across a speedrun. You need much less familiar experience for your Grey Goose, to the point that the goose loses a pretty large portion of its speedrun value. (Don't worry, Goose fans -- it's still a high tier item, it just isn't a bonkers 20-turns-a-day type item anymore.) You free up a bunch of item% wishes, familiar XP wishes, and any wishes or summons used to generate GROPs in the first place. You free up familiar turns, loosen routing constraints, and can re-evaluate how you route your runs. It's hard to evaluate what is saved by doing all that work, but it's a whole lot of extra interesting decisions, and that's cool as heck!

Finally, there's the last skill -- SPRING KICK. This isn't as powerful as Spring Away, but it's quite interesting in its own right. As noted earlier, Spring Kick is an all-day banish that doesn't end the fight. This is notable in a few ways. First, it's -perfect- for monsters you want to encounter a specific number of times in a run in a zone where you may still need to spend extra turns in. Things like the banshee librarian in the Haunted Library, the pygmy janitor/shaman across the Hidden City, the pygmy bowler (with some sword cane/cosmic ball/fallbot/goose nonsense), the bird rib monsters in Whitey's Grove, the Black Forest beasts with the reassembled blackbird parts, et cetera. It lets you modify the future available combats in a zone while still getting whatever you need from the monster. And that's cool!

There's another neat trick you can do with Spring Kick -- if you are running out of turns in a delay zone, you can use it to defer freebie monsters generated through Recall Habitats by kicking the monster on your last delay turn, and only kicking something else when you have another delay zone open to drop the rest of your copies in. If you've summoned a specific freefight monster for a reason, this might actually end up being a useful trick for you. And even if you are out of the realm of useful tricks, the kick is also just generically valuable as an easily toggleable all-day banish. That makes it useful for things like the Yossarian gremlins, solving the Cyrpt quest, etc.

The fact that it isn't a freebie banish like Cosmic Bowling Ball makes it (obviously) not quite as powerful as a freebie, and the fact that it doesn't end the fight can be a little annoying, in some cases. But it's a bold new mechanic -- nothing in the game works the way it does, and that is cool as heck!

2024 In-Standard Synergies

While the Spring Shoes are a pretty nuanced item, they don't have a -ton- of important synergies to keep track of.

  • The after-combat HP restoration is useful in the Spring 2024 challenge path, WereProfessor. Without a healing skill, HP is at a bit of a premium in the path. (Note that there is also significant anti-synergy in this path as well, as Spring Away doesn't actually give you a freerun as the Beast, and the Professor can't use combat skills. So that's kind of a shame.)
  • The Patriotic Eagle (2023) is one of the few familiars that recharges its primary familiar benefit -- the Patriotic Screech phylum banish -- on freeruns. That means that you can use Spring Away free runs to help charge up your next Eagle banish, unlike most familiars (who do not derive real value from freeruns).
  • As noted in our Black Apron article, there's a mild synergy in that your shoes can produce some of the fruits needed to improve your meals.
  • As noted above, Spring Kick can synergize with the Book of Facts (2023) by allowing you to effectively defer/delay using up your Recall Habitat copies until you have a delay zone open. You'd prefer to just route around having enough delay to use them all, but this isn't a terrible use.

Overall Rating

We'd rate the Spring Shoes a tier 1 IOTM. They are pretty close to a tier 0, too! With 1 freerun every 30 turns, you can expect about 6-7 turns of value per day from freeruns alone. The +/- combat is worth 1-ish turns per day. Spring Kick is extremely difficult to benchmark, but is worth (in my view) at least 2-3 turns per day by letting you powerfully manipulate the queue throughout the entire day. The init and fruit are both worth about half a turn. So you're at about 11 turns saved per day. It's a very, very good IOTM.

Article contributed by Captain Scotch