A Study in 10HP Movesets
In this article I will explain the Battledome oddity known as "10HP Movesets" and how it can be used to defeat the Giant Ghostkerchief with minimal stats and weapons.
The term "10hp moveset" refers to a 1P opponent using the same specific move whenever your pet’s remaining HP is 10 or less. One example of this mechanic can be observed with the Flaming Meerca: if your pet starts the round at 10HP or less, the Flaming Meerca will use his Stone Fire Body Basher + Forest Hat + Static Cling, round after round, until your HP goes above 10. Not all opponents have a 10hp moveset, but here is a list of the ones that do:
Count von Roo: Auto Targeting Telescope + Supersize! + Halitosis
Flaming Meerca: Stone Fire Body Basher + Forest Hat + Static Cling
Mummy: Hand of the Mummy + Level 2 Bubble Beam + Irritable Minions
Brain Tree: Ultra Rainbow Flash + Brain Tree Branch + Shade
Lava Ghoul: Grand Lightning Beam + Attack Fork + Halitosis
Evil Sloth Clone: H4000 Helmet + Stone Snowball + Meh
Shadow Usul: Ice Ring + Shadow Sword
Koi Warrior: Koi Warrior Battle Fork + Trident of Poseidon + Positive Thinking
Jelly Chia: Evil Snowball Wand + Wet Snowball + Drizzle
Black Pteri: Caw of Despair + Song of Futility + Throw Pillows
Giant Ghostkerchief: Prismatic Mirror + Ghostkershield + Drizzle
S750 Kreludan Defender Robot: Thermal Explosive Device + Randomly Firing Freeze Ray + Static Cling
(Thanks to drazu for testing the two premium challengers.)
I don’t know when these 10hp movesets were added because I couldn’t find any official announcements or even a mention of them from TNT, but the majority of those 12 challengers listed above were released in August or September of 2001, with three being released in 2002 – 2003, and the Kreludan Defender Robot being released with the Battledome revamp in 2012. Maybe there’s something to that. I don’t know. I also don’t know when the mechanic was first discovered by users. Personally, I learned about 10hp movesets from richardnub in the later years of the old dome, but soon found out that other battlers had already discovered and used the mechanic long before richardnub stumbled upon it.
Some of these opponents award avatars or appear in Defenders of Neopia, but their 10hp movesets didn’t feature in any guides. Utilizing one of these movesets requires you to be able to fully negate the opponent’s damage, and that generally means either pricey weapons or a high defense stat, neither of which were easily available to casual battlers in the old dome. The one exception to this would’ve been the Giant Ghostkerchief, with the Evil Sloth Clone a potential second (depending on what ability it used back then).
While these 10hp movesets didn’t change much for avatar hunters or Neopian defenders, they did have some use to competitive battlers. In the old dome, 1P opponents would permanently gain some hitpoints (and strength and defense) every time you beat them, making them slightly more difficult the next time around. This meant that most pets would eventually reach a point where the opponent could overpower them. But if you could limit your opponent to a single weapon combo, then you would know exactly which icons you needed to block, and you could render yourself invincible to that opponent. Competitive battlers could use this to continue grinding out wins to reach a personal goal, to score more points in a user-run tournament, or even to climb one of the official high score tables that existed for each opponent.
Another use for these 10hp movesets was to get a fun screenshot of a weak starter pet beating an opponent with thousands of HP. The trick was to use a strong BD pet to grind out wins until the opponent had an impressive amount of hitpoints, then switch to your tiny pet and make use of the 10hp moveset. After a long and tedious battle, you would have an impressive novelty screenshot to show off.
After the revamp, these 10hp movesets might actually have a more mainstream use in daily farming. The Koi Warrior and Kreludan Defender Robot are two of the more commonly used farm opponents; the Koi for its Codestone drops, and the Robot for its low stats and occasional Armoured Negg drops. For a pet with at least 13 strength and defense, a Solar Flare Shield or Golden Scorchstone will completely block the Kreludan Defender Robot’s attack, and Candy Cane Dragon Star + Static Cling will deal 14 damage for the one-hit win. (A one-hit win is important here to avoid getting frozen by the Robot’s Randomly Firing Freeze Ray.) Likewise, a pet with at least 55 strength and defense can use Leaf Shield + Bleached Bone Staff + Icicle to keep the Koi Warrior to zero damage per round. In both cases, the fact that pets no longer get healed to full after winning a 1P fight actually has some use here. (I still think the change was a bad decision; it’s just interesting that there might possibly be some small niche definitely unintended benefit to be had from it.)
The outlier among all of these opponents was, and still is, the Giant Ghostkerchief. First, because its 10hp moveset can be utilized by pets of any stats, and second because its moveset is purely defensive and makes use of a reflector. Specifically, the best reflector in the game: the Prismatic Mirror. A weapon so strong it was used by every war boss in the old dome. The mirror reflects 81-100% of all icons except Physical. Paired with the mirror is a Ghostkershield, which blocks, among other icons, a considerable amount of Physical damage.
Shortly after the Battledome revamp I began working on a new Defenders of Neopia guide in anticipation of fixes and features that never came. Still, I enjoyed the exercise because it led to a rather fun and unique hypothetical strategy to beat the Giant Ghostkerchief. I recently revisited that already-obsolete guide because I finally had the right pet to test it with, only to find out that I had made two erroneous assumptions and my original strategy would not have worked.
First, the Ghostkerchief’s Drizzle ability never deals damage. It’s a two-round ability that’s supposed to deal four icons on the second round, but it never does. The multi-round abilities in general are kinda finnicky, and there are plenty of ways to interrupt them. I did some testing and, while I discovered other things about Drizzle, I still don’t know why it won’t work for the poor ghost. But the important part here is that the Ghostkerchief cannot generate its own damage so long as you have 10 HP or less.
The second mistake I made was assuming the Prismatic Mirror would do its reflection first, and the Ghostkershield would mop up whatever icons got through. Turns out, it’s the other way around. The Ghostkershield will eat up its icons first, then the Prismatic Mirror will reflect 81-100% of whatever non-Physical icons are left.
Luckily, neither of these two tidbits changed the core of my strategy; just the weapons involved. In fact, it makes the whole thing cheaper and simpler. And I know it works this time because I tested it.
The basis of the strategy is to let the Ghostkerchief reflect your icons back at you, and then cancel that damage out with a multiuse healer. There are only a few healers that will work for this, because you need the healing to be consistent to ensure you don’t go past 10 HP. The Fighting Folder heals a constant 2 HP per use, and does not take up the healer slot, which means you can equip a second Fighting Folder along with yet another healer. The second healer would be Frost Healing, which heals a constant 4 HP per use. There is also the Everlasting Crystal Apple (this is what I used in my original strategy), which heals a constant 30 HP per use, but without the Ghostkerchief’s Drizzle damage, it’s difficult for weaker pets to bounce 30 damage off the Prismatic Mirror. (And if your pet has at least 55 strength, you should just use Engraved Chakram x2 to overpower the Ghostkershield and completely avoid the Prismatic Mirror, allowing you to take no damage at all.)
For pets below 55 strength, there are plenty of combos using Fighting Folders and Frost Healing to carefully under- and over-heal the damage taken to keep your HP in the 1-10 range as you whittle away at the Ghostkerchief.
One example would be a pet with 35-54 strength alternating between Fighting Folder + Frost Healing, and just a Fighting Folder. The Prismatic Mirror will be reflecting 4-5 damage each round, and the pet will be healing for either 2HP or 6HP each round. So the net change per round would be -2 or -3 HP when using just the Fighting Folder, and +1 or +2 HP when using both weapons.
The simplest example is a pet with 7 or less strength using a single Fighting Folder. Because of the way rounding works in the Battledome, the Prismatic Mirror will always reflect 2 damage back at you. With the Fighting Folder healing 2 HP, you never have to worry about your HP changing.
On a final note, as with most of the things I do in the 1-player dome, the testing and calculating to figure out what’s possible accounts for 90% of the fun, and seeing the victory screen accounts for the other 10%. The battle itself, in this case, was half an hour, 750 rounds, 1,500 clicks of the same move over and over and over.