2. Bristle Woods Rift
Power Type: Rift
Minimum Rank: Grand Duke/Grand Duchess
Minimum Recommended Trap: Mynorca Trap
Objectives: Get the Timesplit Dissonance Trap / Get the Clockwork Base
Recommended Area Progression Plan: Where Should I Go Next?
Once more, a new rift has torn through the fabric of reality, this time in the Acolyte Realm, a place that itself lies in a different dimension already! Another dimension inside of another dimension … sounds like we will have to go deeper!
You might think that such a place will be quite a confusing hunting ground, and you would be correct. I won’t deny that it took me a bit to figure out the Bristle Woods Rift. However, once you get the hang of it, you realize that many of the mechanics are familiar and actually quite similar to older areas, like the Labyrinth.
You start outside the Acolyte’s tower. There is little to be gained by hunting outside though, so you should enter the tower immediately. In it, you go from chamber to chamber, each with its very own properties. The first chamber is always a Gearworks where you hunt for Tiny Sprockets with regular String cheese varieties. You will be able to leave the chamber once a set number of items have been looted from the mice. Now, this does not only mean Sprockets, but also other pieces of loot. However, only Rift items count here! For example, Calcified Rift Mist does, but Enerchi looted from Enerchi Charms or (Simple) Orbs don’t. This is why arming Vacuum Rift charms is a good strategy to clear a chamber faster.
Upon completion of a chamber, you are presented with a choice of three random new chambers. Apart from the Gearworks there are also Ancient Labs and Runic Labs where you gather Ancient String and Runic String cheese. Since you need Ancient String cheese to hunt in Runic Labs and also to brew Runic String cheese, get ready to spend quite some time in Ancient Labs! The whole area is an immense grind that requires lots of patience. There are also rare lucky looty areas where mice drop an astounding number of helpful things! Always use Quantum Quartz here (read more about it in a short bit) as you usually get back more than you burn through. Despite the immense amount of loot to be cleared before these chambers are finished, it will still only take you 7 or 8 hunts, since the mice shower you in loot!
Crucial for advancing are Timewarp Chambers, where you first have to collect an Ancient Hourglass with which you will then be able to collect Time Sand. You will need the Sand during your final showdown with the Acolyte. Once you have enough Sand and Runic, you can enter the Acolyte Chamber. Chances of a portal to it appearing increase with the amount of Sand you gather. Here you will have to collect loot in order to charge your Timesplit Obelisk. Every hunt you lose one Time Sand and the Acolyte gains one Time Sand. Once your Obelisk is charged, you will have to drain the Acolyte’s Sand. You will again lose one Sand per hunt, but now the Acolyte also loses one sand per catch you achieve. At this point, the Acolyte will occasionally show up, but can’t be caught yet. Once its Sand is completely drained, you will be able to catch it. Afterwards you will have to start the entire cycle from the beginning.
This is the basic stuff that’s going on in this place, but there are lots of additional things to consider! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. There are three more chambers where you can gain special abilities and be burdened with special curses that will be in effect for the rest of your run, until you catch the Acolyte. One is called the Guard Barracks. In here, you have six hunts to catch a Portal Paladin, or the curse is activated. Every Paladin catch resets the alarm to zero, but if it gets to six, you lose. The positive effect of this chamber at the end is guaranteed. Even if you fail, once you clear the chamber the Portal Paladins will no longer be attracted for the rest of your run. And since the Portal Paladin steals Time Sand from you if you FTC it, this makes the rest of the run and the Acolyte Chamber in particular a lot easier! However, if you fail you will lose the Luck stats from your weapon and base, and that really hurts your catch rate. This only counts for the Bristle Woods Rift! If you travel to any other area, there is no punishment there.
In the Frozen Alcove, every hunt drops the temperature by 2 degrees. If it gets to minus 30, that is inside of 15 hunts, from now on one random portal of the three portals to choose from will be frozen and thereby inaccessible. This will not happen if you are able to clear the loot of the chamber inside 15 hunts. And once the chamber is cleared, the Acolyte will not be able to pillage Time Sand, gold, or points from you.
In the Ingress Chamber, you have three seals. FTC a Portal Pursuer and a seal is broken. If all seals are broken before the chamber’s loot is cleared, the Portal Pursuer, usually only found in the Ingress Chamber, will follow you for the rest of your run, a possible attraction in all other chambers, and it is a toughie! On top of it, it steals your Time Sand! However, at the end of the chamber, instead of being presented with three portals, from now on you will be able to choose from four!
Initially it sounds like the risks are very high, and I won’t lie to you, getting through the special chambers is a hit-and-miss kind of story. You may well have to live with the curses … for a while! Because if you are lucky, you will find portals leading to chambers where you can easily fix the curses by just collecting a small amount of loot there. These are the Silence Chamber, the Furnace Room, and the Pursuer Mousoleum.
None of the Special Chambers are needed in order to catch an Acolyte, but the bonuses are pretty helpful in the process. You have to decide what seems important to you and what you can go without. You might not even be presented with all three Special Chambers during a run.
You have a Quantum Pocketwatch in your HUD. It can be powered by Quantum Quartz, which you can either loot from certain mice (mostly in the more advanced chambers), buy from the Marketplace, or exchange for Tiny Sprockets. Each hunt uses up a piece of Quartz, but the Quartz generates one more piece of loot from all unique types of loot you gained from your hunt. All Rift loot, that is. So for example, if you loot one or more Tiny Sprockets and a Calcified Rift Mist, the Quartz will add an additional Sprocket and Mist, which count towards the loot that is necessary to clear a chamber.
Portal Scramblers work like Shuffle Cubes in the Labyrinth, they give you a new set of portals that you can then choose from. Buy them with Sprockets.
A Portal Rekindling Key unfreezes a frozen portal. They cost Sprockets.
Tiny Sprockets can buy several more charms with different properties. When in a tight spot, you can also use them to buy Ancient and Runic Potions.
In the regular chambers, if you arm Runic cheese you have a chance of attracting the Chamber Cleaver, a mouse that if caught will immediately guide you out of the chamber you are currently in. This is only possible after catching a certain amount of loot though, so keep a look at the HUD where a mouse symbol appears next to the chamber name once the Cleaver can be attracted. This will not happen in the Special Chambers.
At the end of your first run, you will loot a box from the Acolyte. In it you will find several Clockwork Cogs. Use one of them to buy the Riftstalker Codex. You may remember the Riftwalker Set, giving you a power and luck bonus for using only Rift-associated charms, bases, and traps together. The Riftstalker Set works in the same way, but the bonus is even better!
The Clockwork Base will be the new base of choice for this area.
The Timesplit Dissonance Trap is an upgrade over the MYNORCA and needed for the even more powerful Celestial Dissonance Trap, which you will encounter in a future area.
Tactics and Strategies
In certain chambers it might be beneficial to use Rift Antiskele charms to shun the Skeletal Champions and attract other mice that may carry more loot.
As mentioned before, Rift Vacuum charms help with acquiring more loot faster. However, in certain situations a more powerful charm might be favourable. Also, when collecting chamber loot that you really need, like Ancient or Runic Potions, additional loot – in this case Calcified Rift Mist – of comparatively little value is counter-productive. Since you can only loot a set amount in any chamber, you want to make sure it is the right loot when you are not in a hurry!
Quartz is best used in the Special Chambers to try and clear them as fast as possible, along with Rift Vacuum charms (the additional loot most often makes up for the lower catch rate), as well as when charging your Obelisk in the Acolyte Chamber. At the end of a chamber, the Quartz will disarm itself, just like Lantern Oil at the end of a Labyrinth hallway. However, this is not the case once your Obelisk is charged, since you stay in the chamber, so you have to remember to turn it off manually.
It is not necessary to use Runic cheese in the Timewarp Chamber, the Special Chambers, or in the Acolyte Chamber, but it certainly helps a lot! I would not recommend using anything else, unless you are not a in a hurry and failure in the chamber is acceptable for you.
After catching the Acolyte, you not only lose all your remaining Time Sand, but also your Hourglass. You will have to loot another one on your next run before you’ll be able to gather Time Sand again. Since too much Sand will just be a waste, make sure you have enough to get an Acolyte safely without overshooting too much. 75 or more Time Sand (and the same number or more of Runic cheese) seem to be a good number for an Acolyte Chamber, provided you use Quartz to power your Obelisk. You will get some additional Sand and Quartz in the process, also more Runic potions, but no Ancient potions! So make sure you have additional Ancient cheese for Runic potion conversion, if you think you might need it.
If you managed to get through the Guard Barracks, you will require a little less Sand and Runic, but I’d still gather around 50 or so Sand. As mentioned above, the Portal Paladin steals one Sand if you FTC it, but if you banished him by completing the Barracks, this won’t happen and you can breathe a little easier. Same for the Acolyte, unless you have cleared the Frozen Alcove.
If you run out of Sand in the Acolyte Chamber, you will be kicked out of it into a Gearworks. However, your Obelisk charge will be kept, so after you’ve gathered more Sand and find another Acolyte Chamber, you can continue where you left off. You can also retreat from the Acolyte Chamber yourself if you feel you forgot something along the way, or realize you won’t make it before your Sand runs out. There is no penalty.
* Enter the Acolyte Tower and go from chamber to chamber.
* Gather Ancient String and Runic String Potions.
* Get special bonuses in certain chambers.
* Gather Time Sand in Timewarp Chambers.
* Enter the Acolyte Chamber, charge your Obelisk with Time Sand, and defeat the Acolyte.