Skulla Part Fourteen: A Close Shave

Duke Skulla begins Hell Act V at clvl 82.

Str 38
Dex 25 [29]
Vit 302
Nrg 135 [178]

Raise Skeleton @8+7
Raise Mage @20+7
Mastery @20+7
Summon Resist @2+8
Clay Golem, Blood Golem, Iron Golem, Fire Golem, Golem Mastery @1+7

Iron Maiden @20+4
Dim Vision @10+4
Lower Resist @2+4
Decrepify @1+4
Amplify Damage, Weaken, Terror, Life Tap, Confuse @1+4

Necromancer's Wand of Enlightenment: +2 necro skills, +28 energy, 28% cold resist, 15% fire resist, +1 Summon Resist
The Spirit Shroud: 295 def, +1 skills, replenish life +10, -8 magic dam, cannot be frozen
Large Shield, 3 Perfect Diamonds: 57% resist all
Golemlord's Circlet: +3 necro summoning skills, +38 life
Rare Demonhide Gloves: 20% IAS, +3 dex, 25% lightning resist, 16% poison resist
Ruby Chain Boots of Speed: 30% faster run, 34% fire resist
Rare Sharkskin Belt: 17% faster hit recovery, +58 life, 22% cold resist, 25% fire resist
Rare Ring: +104 AR, +13 energy, +35 life, 17% lightning resist, -25% poison length
Scintillating Ring of Fortune: 15% resist all, 20% magic find
Rare Amulet: +1 necro skills, +2 energy, 16% cold resist, 33% lightning resist

Javelin of Vileness: Prevent Monster Heal
Summoner's Gargoyle Head of Remedy: +1 necro skills, -25% poison resist
Scintillating Circlet of the Colossus: +56 life, 12% resist all
Nozokan Relic amulet: 20% faster hit recovery, +10% maximum fire resist, 50% fire resistance
Assorted rings and amulets with resists

Skulla began the act with the same gear, stats, and skill points that he'd had in the previous act, excepting only the Izual skill points that had been added to Raise Skeleton. By this point in time, equipment was about the furthest thing from Skulla's mind. It was very unlikely that he would find anything better than what he already had. The focus going forward would be entirely on survival. I didn't even bother carrying items back to town to sell them anymore. What was I going to do with that gold anyway?

The journey began as always in Act V with the Bloody Foothills. They were sporting an unusually small monster mix, with only two opponents: imps and foul crows as a returning opponent from Act I. The crows are widely viewed as one of the weakest enemies in the game, but they were somewhat more dangerous here having been juiced up with a ton of extra speed. Their movement pattern can be pretty weird too; like the bats, they will jerk themselves around willy-nilly at times. That said, this was a friendly monster draw that presented few problems. I used Dim Vision here against the imps to stop their fireballs and blinking abilities, and it was easier to use the same curse on the crows as well. They didn't have enough health for Iron Maiden to be necessary, and Lower Resist didn't break their cold immunity. Might as well Dim everything then. The catapults were arguably the biggest annoyance, as Skulla and his crew were poisoned over and over again by green missiles out of the sky. I counted four bosses, all in the first half of the Foothills, none of them posing any serious danger. Dac Farren was at the halfway point as always, easily handled with Dim Vision. (The imp monsters really do not like that curse!) Shenk rolled Extra Strong/Stone Skin/Conviction aura for his abilities, and was about as feeble as you would expect. Not a hard area. Next.

The Frigid Highlands always start with a battle against Eldritch and his crew, this time rolling Extra Fast/Teleportation/FEB on the monster affixes. That's one reason why I don't like to use this waypoint, as you're guaranteed to start with a boss right on top of your position. Terrible game design there, by the way. Eldritch was easily handled since Skulla had the entire Foothills to use for a retreat if necessary, but it did mean that I would have to full clear up to the next waypoint for safety's sake before stopping. Of course I was planning on doing that anyway, knowing the dangers ahead of time. This is a real trap for a newcomer though.

The Highlands had more imps, the "slayer" enemies (same monster type as Eldritch, fairly weak melee critters) and corrupted rogue archers from Act I. Those archers were the real danger here... or so I thought. In reality, the true dangers were the doors, barricades, and towers scattered throughout the defensive architecture of the Frigid Highlands. Skulla's bony minions were obsessed with attacking those things, to the point where they would attack empty towers while ignoring monsters right next to them. In the picture above, Skulla was repeatedly casting Dim Vision on the enemy archers while waiting for his minions to kill the completely pointless tower next to them. Those towers have an absurdly high amount of life too, they took FOREVER to destroy! This made passing through each line of fortifications a true danger, since Skulla had real difficulty getting his minions to focus on the proper targets. One corrupted rogue archer boss had Teleportation as an ability, and she kept blinking into an area with multiple towers. This would then render her invincible, as Skulla's idiot minions would attack everything other than the archer shooting them down. Argh! Overall this area wasn't that dangerous, but it was quite tedious. (Killing evil demon huts and their imp minions was another time-waster; the less said about that, the better.)

The Abaddon subdungeon was at the very end of the Frigid Highlands, and it made a natural breaking point before the next outdoor area. These Act IV minidungeons are some of the most dangerous parts of Act V, probably a good idea to skip for anyone not attempting full clears. Skulla headed through the portal and found himself facing off against two types of witches and undead soul killers. The blood stars from the witches could be shut down to some extent with Dim Vision, but wow, there were a LOT of them down there in that small area! Although Dim Vision was useless against the little bone monsters, I had no choice other than to keep using it. There were way too many witches to try something like Lower Resist or Iron Maiden. Even with my best efforts to Dim the mobs, Skulla still took many hits. At one point against an Extra Fast boss, Skulla must have been caught too close to the action and took several hits in a row. Cursed + damage = very bad combination! I don't even know what was hitting me, I think it was the death explosion from some of the undead soul killers. In any case, I saw health suddenly drop below half, I drank a full rejuv immediately, and ran backwards as fast as possible. That was a little too close for comfort. There was nothing else too bad in the rest of Abaddon, mostly because I kept a very careful watch on those little undead dolls. Their red graphic made them tough to spot against the sea of lava. (Would you even see them in the above picture if I hadn't specifically mentioned them?)

Eyeback was guarding the entrance to the Arreat Plateau, and this otherwise normal boss was made much tougher by standing next to two towers. Of course Skulla's minions spent most of the fight hitting those completely irrelevant towers! Anyway, soon enough the skeleton army made it up the stairs and into the Arreat Plateau. Here the monsters were a mixture of slayers, overseers, and spear cats from Act II. Once again, the returned enemies from a previous area were much harder than the default Act V critters. (It's not a good sign that Act V needs to pull in enemies from previous areas to make it more interesting. The default stuff from Act V is boring and poorly designed. And it doesn't help that all of the outside areas use so many washed out brown and gray tones for the color scheme, ugh!) The spear cats threw multiple javelins at a time, and they forced the use of Dim Vision whenever they were present. Iron Maiden worked well against the other enemies whenever the kitties failed to appear. There were more fortifications in this area as well, more towers and barricades and the like, although this time there were no imps to blink inside the towers. I cleared up to the waypoint with Skulla, which was located right in the middle of the Plateau, and ended the session there. The next one would have to complete the rest of the area and the subdungeon up ahead. It was a point of pride for Skulla that I never had to recruit more skeletons back in Act I during this whole session. That spoke to the general weakness of most of the monsters he was facing.

Next session meant a restart from the Arreat Plateau waypoint. This time the monster draw had spear cats again, but also lightning skeleton mages and carvers with their shamans. The carvers forced lots of reviving antics to consume their bodies, while the spear cats and skeleton mages were both immune to poison, stopping the necromages from shutting down their health regeneration. Skulla had a pretty nasty fight with a group of skeleton mage champs right upon starting, nearly costing him his army. I was able to rebuild on low numbers and slowly get back up to the max. All told, this group of opponents required much more work than the last ones, and I was glad that the Plateau had only a little more real estate to clear. Maybe a third of the total area hadn't been done in the previous session. Thresh Socket was at the back end as always, with the Cursed/Extra Fast/Extra Strong combination of traits. Good thing he was all alone! Could have been dangerous otherwise.

The Pit of Acheron subdungeon was also located at the top end of the Plateau, and Skulla headed in there once he was finished. This area turned out to have corpse-eating maw fiends, burning dead mages, and salamanders shooting their fire spears. The burning dead and maw fiends were both immune to poison, another immunity that couldn't be broken with Lower Resist. This session seemed to have that as a recurring trend. The salamanders were the most dangerous of the enemies here, fortunately they were easy prey for Iron Maiden's reflective damage. I would use the curse any time that the burning dead weren't in play, which would of course force Dim Vision usage. I counted five bosses total in this area, with the most interesting battle occuring against a double boss pack of burning dead mages. I have one of the two of them pictured above, couldn't ever quite get a picture of the other one. It was a lot of skeleton mages! Thank you Dim Vision curse. That skill allowed Skulla's army to work over the enemies slowly and turned dire peril into something routine. Skulla himself leveled up to 83 while passing through Acheron; with the Ancients quest, he would probably get one more level before the end of the game.

The underground icy cave areas were next, so get used to seeing those white backgrounds in the next few screenshots. The Crystalline Passage was first, and this region had bone mages, physical immune ghosts, and claw vipers firing their bone spears. The bone mages were most notable for looking identical to Skulla's own cold necromages. The graphics were literally the same thing. I used Dim Vision's large golden orb as a way of telling the monsters apart from Skulla's own servants of the dead. This was an area that dictated a true diversity of curses, with Iron Maiden best against the snakes, Dim Vision optimal against the bone mages, and Lower Resist of course the curse of choice against the ghosts. Overall it was a fairly easy dungeon to clear, even when something nasty like a Cursed/Extra Strong/FEB boss popped up in the picture above. (Iron Maiden would be perfect here - except that the ghosts are immune to physical damage!) There were about five or six bosses here, and then two more from the evil urns that I took care not to open until everything around them was dead. I think the funniest part was finding a champ pack of ghost monsters, and one of the champs rolled the "ghostly" trait. It was a Ghostly Ghost, oh no!

The Frozen River had more bone mages, along with frozen abyss monsters (yetis) and gloams. The last of the trio was the clear danger, as the gloams were able to move around in near-invisible fashion and electrify Skulla's minions from great range. They did some serious damage to Skulla himself as well, despite Skulla's maxed lightning resistance! I used a lot of Dim Vision here for the bone mages and gloams, while also trying to employ Iron Maiden whenever the melee frozen abysses would appear. That often meant juggling both curses at once, casting Dim Vision (with its much larger radius of effect) first to blanket the room, and then layering Iron Maiden overtop of it for the melee foes. Still, the gloams were the paramount threat, and led to some difficult bouts before the Frozen River was cleared. There was one point where a Cursed/Mana Burn/LEB gloam boss charged right into the middle of Skulla's army. It could not be Dimmed due to the boss status, and the Cursed affix had the skeletons taking horribly casualties. Another even larger battle took place against a double boss pack: CEB/Magic Resistant/Extra Fast gloam encountered at the same time as a CEB/Magic Resistant/Stone Skin frozen abyss and his crew. The Extra Fast on the gloam was the real trouble there, and dealing with both of them and their full entourage of minions was no picnic. Skulla was glad to get this area out of the way.

Frozenstein's tactical planning skills could have used some work here. He was fought across a tiny bridge where only two monsters could get into the battle at any point in time, while Iron Maiden curse was doing its reflective damage and the poison necromages prevented any regeneration from taking place. Frozenstein's whole crew managed to kill a single skeletal warrior, while dropping over a dozen replacement bodies. Pretty easy stuff.

I'd been making excellent progress on this particular session, and so instead of stopping after the Frozen River as planned, I went ahead and decided to clear the Glacial Trail and its subdungeon the Icy Cellar. The Glacial Trail looked extremely similar to the Crystalline Passage, with more claw vipers and cold skeleton mages and wraiths instead of ghosts. Those two were both physical immune and practically indistinguishable aside from the name. Skulla was getting a serious case of deja vu here. There was one encounter that stood out as being particularly difficult, a double wraith boss pack encountered right on top of one another. One boss was Magic Resistant/Extra Fast/Holy Freeze aura, and I never was able to get a screenshot of the second one's traits. It had a Conviction aura, that's all that I know. This was part of the problem; I had no idea that there were two bosses there at first, due to the way that the wraith enemies will clump up on top of one another. There could be two monsters or twenty monsters in a group together. I knew this situation was bad only because the skeleton army began dropping like flies! Holy Freeze is a bad aura for them, cutting down on the necromage firing speed drastically. Of course I could use Iron Maiden to reflect their blows back... oh wait, nope, the wraiths are all physical immune. Ummm... retreat? The initial army did get some kills on the wraiths, albeit at the cost of getting wiped out. And I mean completely wiped out, every single one of them died, even the golem! Skulla bailed out of a portal, found some more recruits in Act I, and then came back to get the remaining wraiths. That's when the picture above was taken, it's often hard for me to take them in the heat of the worst fights. This was certainly more interesting than anything else encountered in this area. (Although I did find a skill shrine and temporarily had 8 skeletal warriors walking around. It was fun for the two minutes it lasted!)

Bonesaw Breaker and his companions were the only reanimated skeletons in the Glacial Trail. They died very easily to Iron Maiden, and Skulla could raise their corpses to make sure they didn't stand up a second time. The gold chest was as useless as expected on the item drop. Made for a pretty cool picture of the fight though!

This meant that the Drifter Cavern was up next. The Drifter Cavern and the Icy Cellar are Act V's version of the Kurast Temples. Lots of tiny areas packed with bosses, little room to retreat, possible stairs traps in each one. They are extreme deathtraps where Hardcore characters fear to tread, much less Hardcore characters with Skulla's miniscule health orb. (1100 health is very low for Hell difficulty.) Anyway, down I went in pursuit of the full clear. The stairs were quiet, thankfully, but the action picked up in a hurry. First up was another cold skeleton mage boss (been seeing a lot of that enemy type today!) with Extra Fast/Extra Strong/Mana Burn traits. While Skulla was in the process of downing that group, a frozen abyss boss (Teleportation/FEB/Mana Burn) came racing off from the right with his minions, then a witch boss (Extra Strong/FEB/Mana Burn) began adding her projectiles to the mix, and more enemy skeleton mage champs poured in from the north... It all started to get rather messy. Skulla's army fought tenaciously, giving ground slowly, curses flying about here and there. Eventually I limped out of there with a few necromages remaining, having killed the toothier part of the monsters. Only the witch boss and a few of her minions remained from the initial hairball, and they went down easily when Skulla returned with a fresh group of skeletons. That was the tipping point for the Cavern, even though there were two more bosses, a champ pack, and an evil urn left to be cleared. Eventually I had a full minimap:

That was the complete extent of the Drifter Cavern. That little area right there. Counting the evil urn boss pack, there were six bosses and two champ packs clustered into that closet. Is it any wonder that most people skip these totally pointless deathtraps? The monster draw could have been a lot worse here, at least Skulla never had to worry about being forced back up the stairs. I hope that the Icy Cellar goes as well later. This had been another successful session with relatively few close calls. So far, so good.

The next play session began at the entrance to Nihlathak's Temple. I don't much like this area, with its boring brown textures and lengthy slog, only to reach a cheese boss at the bottom who provides nothing by way of quest reward. The first thing that Skulla did upon entering the red portal was to race over to the other side of the entry room, opening another normal town portal there. That's an insurance move, providing another entrance into the temple if Skulla would be forced out of the red portal. Well it never came to that on this playthrough, but it did come close. There are a lot of prowling dead outside of the temple entrance, like a lot of them. Even with Skulla's ability to raise them as new minions and prevent their revival ability from kicking into effect, there were long moments where I wasn't entirely sure if the thin bony line would hold. The weight of numbers eventually tipped in favor of Skulla, and I was able to avoid retreating from the area. Whew. At least I had a foothold now. Pindleskin rolled Teleportation/Spectral Hit/FEB and presented no problems. On to the actual temple itself.

The Halls of Anguish turned out to be full of melee opponents: frenzytaurs, melee flayers, and temple guards. This meant a whole lot of Iron Maiden curse to reflect the damage back against all of them. As it so often happens, the opening battle at the stairs was the hardest part of the floor. There was a temple guard boss right at the staircase (CEB/Teleportation/Mana Burn) and in the process of fighting him, a flayer boss and frenzytaur boss showed up. Then as the extended contest went on, a fourth frenzytaur boss appeared as well (CEB/LEB/Magic Resistant). Fortunately Skulla was never fighting more than two of those bosses at once, but that was still quadruple of them within the first 5% of the level. It looked as though Skulla was going to be forced back up the stairs at several points in time, but the skeletal minions barely managed to hold the line. The rest of the floor was anticlimactic after that start, lots of Iron Maiden usage with the monsters forced through narrow choke points. It just took a long time to wade through such a large area. One item of note dropped here: the Face of Horror unique mask. That was something that I remembered using with Meatbag's character and having some fun with the Terror ability. Since Skulla had Terror as an innate curse, it wasn't particularly useful here.

The next floor down was the Halls of Pain, and the first thing that Skulla saw upon descending was legions of blood maggots and their young. That was not a good sign, to say the least. I had visions of wading through room after room of maggot young everywhere, something that would take hours to complete. (That might not matter if you're reading these reports after the fact, but it definitely mattered to me the player!) The other monsters turned out to be melee goats and blowdart flayers. At first I tried using Iron Maiden curse, such as against the Fanaticism goat boss pictured above. Iron Maiden did work pretty well against the maggot young, although it didn't do anything to stop the maggots from breeding. After playing around with the curses, I soon replaced Iron Maiden with Dim Vision:

That was more like it. The Halls of Pain turned out to be mostly full of blowdart flayers, and Dim Vision worked perfectly against them. Block their line of sight, prevent them from running around, prevent them from shooting back. The necromages had more fun than a barrel of monkeys killing the flayers once they'd been slapped down with Dim Vision. The curse also worked well against the maggots (which were fairly rare on this floor, thank goodness) and it stopped them from laying eggs if I could tag them in time. On the few occasions where Skulla wasn't able to reach the maggot mothers, they bred the room full of young in mere seconds. Then I would have to use Iron Maiden again to kill the teeming hordes of maggot young. Overall though, Dim Vision turned an area that would have taken ages on end to clear and turned it into something approaching routine.

There were two items of note that dropped in the Halls of Pain. One was the Dark Clan Crusher, the unique cudgel, which has +2 to druid skills and a bunch of bonus damage against "demon" type enemies. I could have used this with some of my other druid characters, although it was another whiff for Skulla. The other pickup was this grand charm with +34 to life on it. I'd been shifting around some of Skulla's charms due to the +10% resist all scroll that he had gained after completing the Anya quest. Skulla had wound up with way more lightning resist than he needed; I was able to remove a grand charm with 30% lightning resist while still sitting at the maximum of 75% resistance. I replaced it with this grand charm that had extra life on it. Why not, might as well get something from that inventory slot (I stashed the old charm in case I would need more lightning resist at some point). This is also a good picture of Skulla's inventory, where I leave just enough room to carry one item back to town. Those are slots that could be used for more charms! I was honestly looking for more useful charms at the time, I could have made due with even less inventory space. Part of the reason why Skulla has made it this far has been through maximizing his limited resources here in Single Player. When you can only use the stuff you find along the way, you can't afford to waste anything.

That left the final area of Nihlathak's Temple, the Halls of Vaught. The monster mix here had more witches, prowling dead, and arach spiders as a returning enemy. The spiders were honestly the worst of the bunch, as their poison attack was so strong that it meant instant death for any minion hit. The poor skeletal warriors were never able to fight them without suffering brutal casualties. I could watch the lifebar of the golem draining away over time as the unfortunate thing turned green. Even the fire golem's 2500 life was no match for that spider poison, it would get the golem every time if I didn't summon another one. Good thing Skulla himself never took a hit from the spiders! Ironically, the spiders themselves were immune to fire (not to poison) and poison damage from the necromages was one of the key factors in taking them down. There were some bosses down here, but nothing all that remarkable or dangerous. I found Nihlathak in the third of the four branches, pulled away as soon as the quest marker popped up, and cleared out everything else first. I wanted to deal with him as the last thing in the Halls of Vaught. Soon enough the rest of the floor was cleared, and it was time to face off against this guy. I swapped out my normal amulet with +1 necro skills for the Nozokan Relic (which allows you to go above the normal fire resist cap and hit 85% fire resist). I didn't need 11 necromages here, I needed to avoid dying to the fire damage from Corpse Explosion.


I hate everything about the Nihlathak battle. The only other boss in the game as poorly designed as this guy is Duriel, who traps your character into a tiny sardine can and then chills your movement with a Holy Freeze aura. Nihlathak is just as bad in a different way. His Corpse Explosion spell deals completely ridiculous damage and it's almost impossible to avoid. (In the initial expansion version back in 2001, the thing was a literal one hit kill: if you were hit in Hell difficulty, you were 100% dead every time. That was toned down in later patches, although it's still brutal.) For a character who can clean corpses like Skulla, the danger isn't quite as bad. If you can raise all of the monsters as soon as they hit the ground, then it's difficult - albeit NOT impossible - for Nihlathak to blow them up under your feet. He will keep summoning more enemies though, and he can summon suicide minions that detonate immediately, providing a body for him to use Corpse Explosion upon. The range on that spell is also much greater than you would think. Just because your character looks safe doesn't mean that he or she is safe, not at all. So Skulla had the means to remove those corpses by raising them as skeletons, but that did not mean that this would be a walk in the park. If I missed even one body at any point in time, that could be the end of Skulla's journey. Talk about pressure. Let's get this thing over with.

I crept my way towards Nihlathak's back corner. There were still witches and spiders and prowling dead to kill, and then Nihlathak's own ice spawn minions began showing up. He was detonating bodies with his Corpse Explosion the instant they could hit the ground, even faster than I could raise bodies in some cases. I did my best to keep Skulla as far back as possible, only staying close enough to the front lines to see what was taking place. Poison damage from the spiders forced me to retreat back to Act I for more minions at one point. Overall though, things looked pretty good. Most of the monsters were dying, and Skulla had stayed totally safe. That was about when I took the picture above, when I got my first look at Nihlathak. Extra Fast was a bit of a pain there. Nothing Skulla couldn't handle though.

I thought everything was going fine. At least, I thought so. Then suddenly I heard an explosion, and Skulla was sitting on 50 health!!! OMG WTF DRINK A REJUV POTION HOLY CRAP!!! I had no idea what had happened. I would have to go back and look at the Livestream footage to find out for certain. Here's the screencap I pulled after the fact:

Nihlathak had cast Corpse Explosion and landed it on Skulla. Nevermind that the graphic for his spell was wildly out of sync with the area of effect damage. In the picture above, Skulla wasn't even remotely close to the exploding corpse. It looks like it missed him by a country mile, but he still took the full damage from the spell. (And I thought the graphical effect for the Gragas barrel in League of Legends was misleading, heh.) Just another example of how the cheesiness of this battle stinks to high heaven, extremely misleading hit box on the Corpse Explosion spell. Anyway, I found the culprit for this random body as well. Look at the pre-Livestream picture up above. See the one spider corpse on the ground off to the left? That was the one that Nihlathak blew up. The darned thing must have run away when it got low on health, then died to necromage poison off in the corner. It was nearly invisible while playing, and I must have missed it while repeatedly sweeping the area with Raise Skeleton looking for bodies to clean up. See that's all that it takes, missing a single corpse anywhere remotely close to your character. If you miss even one, Nihlathak will blow it up and inflict crushing damage to your character. That's exactly what had happened here.

Fortunately Skulla did not die. He made it through by the slimmest of margins, surviving with 53 out of 1127 health. I was curious about this, so I worked backwards to figure out the damage from Nihlathak's Corpse Explosion. It did 1074 total damage according to simple subtraction. Corpse Explosion deals half of its damage as physical and half as fire damage. Working back from that number with the 85% fire resist Skulla had at the time, I figured out that the Corpse Explosion had done 934 physical damage (which Skulla took in full) and 934 * (0.15) = 140 fire damage. That meant that Skulla would have taken 934 * (0.25) = 233 fire damage if he hadn't been wearing the Nozokan Relic for the extra 10% fire resist, and 934 + 233 = 1167 damage, which would have been a one hit kill. The Nozokan Relic saved Skulla's life. But even with that amulet, Skulla also would have died without the random extra life he was getting from charms and the socketed perfect ruby in his circlet. I went back and counted that stuff up: Skulla was getting 222 HP from all that extra gear. And of course none of this would have mattered if Skulla hadn't been at full health when he took that Corpse Explosion, my insistence on ALWAYS being at full health at all points in time with my Hardcore characters proving to be a true lifesaver here. It just goes to show how the seemingly smallest details can make a huge difference in the end. Something as small as using your socket quests and hauling around a bunch of charms like a packrat can be the difference between life and death. It's often the smallest details that have the biggest impact.

Long story short: Nihlathak had gotten his best chance and had come up just short. He would not get another one. I kept Skulla so far away that I couldn't even see the traitor, relying on the minions to do their thing. Die, king of cheese battles. Die, hardcore character slayer. Die.

Whhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww. Glad that's over with. What a close shave. I really hope that Skulla doesn't have another encounter quite so near to death again. The whole Nihlathak battle is pure bullshit from a design perspective, I'm still sitting here pissed at Blizzard over a decade after the fact that something like this exists in their game. Shame on them for such an unfair setup! Well, it's in the rearview mirror now. The final areas of the game await. The last climb to the top of Mount Arreat, the Ancients, and Baal. We're almost home on this one, stay tuned.