Hades – Speedrunning Builds for Every Aspect: Spear

We’re going to be covering what builds to go for when speedrunning spear aspects. First we’ll talk about mirror setups, hammers, builds that apply to multiple aspects and weapons (Global Builds) which includes keepsakes, hermes options, core boons, and supplementary boons.

And then we’ll go over aspect specifics, like which global build is best for them and how they interact with it, as well as any other viable builds. We’re not going to go too far into detail on gameplay, but there are plenty of other in-depth guides around and I’ll provide links to those where relevant.

Mirror Intro

Before we jump into the first build let’s go over the standard mirror setup. You can take this as the default setup for every aspect unless mentioned otherwise. The setup is as follows:

  • Fiery Presence
  • Chthonic Vitality
  • Death Defiance
  • Greater Reflex
  • Boiling Blood
  • Infernal Soul
  • Deep Pockets
  • High Confidence
  • Family Favorite
  • Dark Foresight
  • God’s Pride
  • Fated Persuasion

The most flexible one of these is between Infernal Soul and Stygian Soul and there are benefits to both, but generally Infernal Soul provides more utility. One thing to note is that while High Confidence is better than Thick Skin, if you’re still getting comfortable with the game or learning a new aspect and want the extra safety, Thick Skin is usually fine. Other than that, most of these will stay consistent, save for specific builds.

Spear Hammers

Spear has possibly the single best hammer in the game: Flurry Jab. Flurry Jab speeds up your attack and removes the spear’s spin attack, allowing you to hold the attack button for quick jabs. It also removes the cooldown on dash strikes, which means you can hold the attack button and dash around, constantly attacking. Unfortunately, Flurry Jab is only available on Zag Spear and Achilles.

Another hammer worth mentioning is Serrated Point. Serrated Point gives you three dash attacks at once, but at the cost of 25% dash distance. This is actually a pretty huge nerf and only worth taking on Achilles if you can’t find Flurry Jab, avoid at all costs otherwise. Other nice hammers include Exploding Launcher (on the aspects it’s available), and Charged Skewer on Guan Yu. All the other hammers actually do very little for any build.

Global Builds: Flurry Jab

Good on: Zag Spear, Achilles

The best build for speedrunning spear relies on getting Flurry Jab. This can be a bit problematic since it has about a 1-in-3 chance of appearing on a hammer, but it’s absolutely worth resetting for, since nothing else in the spear’s kit can keep up with the DPS output of this hammer. This build is only available on Zag and Achilles spears, but if the others could run it, they definitely would. There’s also a mirror change for this build: Fiery Presence does very little, so you’ll want to run Shadows Presence for a bit of backstab value.

Core Boons

For this build you’ll want to start with Tidal Dash from Poseidon. Tidal Dash is the strongest dash boon in the game, dealing the most base damage, pomming well, and also causing knockback effects that can deal more damage. Having Flurry Jab allows you to dash very rapidly, taking advantage of Tidal Dash’s damage, and the range on the spear pairs well with the knockback the dash causes.

From here, you have two options for your attack boon: Zeus and Artemis. Both of these boons pair well with the rapid strikes of Flurry Jab, and you’ll usually want to take whichever of them shows up first so that you can look for scaling. If you take Zeus, you’ll want a good rarity Static Discharge (Jolted), and/or Zeus’ Legendary, Splitting Bolt, opened up by first taking Storm Lightning. With Artemis attack, you want Hunter’s Mark and more importantly Attack damage from Chaos. Dash Strike damage is also okay, but less than half your attacks will be dashes so it’s not quite as good.

Supplementary Boons

Poseidon’s tier-2 boons are among the best in the game. Breaking Wave can make Styx tunnels a cake walk, and helps in Tart and Elysium. Razor Shoals can do a surprising amount of damage over time and kill stragglers that are getting away. Typhoon’s Fury is a budget Breaking Wave and still solid, and Wave Pounding isn’t super useful, but it does help against bosses, which is usually where this build struggles most. Special, Cast, and Call boons aren’t critical to the build itself, but they can always be helpful in their right (especially on Achilles, but more on that later).

Hermes

Best Hermes options are:

  • Hyper Delivery (Hyper Sprint + Rush Delivery)
  • Greatest Reflex

Rush Delivery turns your bonus movement speed into damage, and Hyper Sprint gives you +100%. It’s favored here, especially on the Zeus build because of the multiple sources of damage, but the downside is that it requires two boons, so is harder to pull off.

Greatest Reflex is still an excellent choice since dash striking is your primary way of dealing damage, and it being only one boon makes it the easier option to pick up.

Other Keepsakes

After starting with Poseidon, take Zeus or Artemis into Asphodel depending on which you have or want on your attack. For Elysium and Styx, there are the typical two options:

  • Hades: Flurry Jab builds call very quickly, and can take advantage of the bonus damage.
  • Acorn: When you’re constantly attacking you can take a lot of damage, especially from bosses.
  • Occasionally, you may want to take a god keepsake into Elysium for a duo, or to fill out your call.

Wrap Up

To recap: priority number one is Flurry Jab. Splash Dash is your best friend, and you want to build Artemis or Zeus attack, whichever you find first. Get some scaling and pray for good Hermes.

Global Builds: Merciful End

Good on: Hades, Guan yu

Core Boons

The core boons you want for an ME build are Ares attack, Athena special, and Athena dash. When you have the full build, it allows you to dash strike into enemies, tagging them with doom and proccing it almost instantly with the dash deflect.

To achieve this build you want to start with Ares’ keepsake and take his attack. You might think that since we need two Athena boons we should start with Athena keepsake, but there are a few reasons to start with Ares. First, is that we want to get as many poms into our doom attack as possible, so having it from the start gives us the best chance of that happening, while poms into Athena’s boons have little benefit. The second reason is for doom rarity. While it’s definitely possible to get great times with common doom, it’s only 50 damage, while rare is 75 and epic is 100. This is a huge difference, and when going for top times, most runners will reset runs where rare or epic doom is not offered.

The second boon you’ll want to pick up is Athena special. This is the only boon that will open up the Merciful End, so while it’s much less effective at proccing doom than Athena’s dash, you’ll want to prioritize the special first. Ideally you can find the special naturally in Tartarus, but in a worst-case scenario, you can take Athena’s keepsake into Asphodel to force the special. Hopefully though, you’ve found Athena special already and you’ll be taking Athena’s keepsake in hopes of finding Merciful End on your next boon. If merciful end isn’t offered on your second Athena Boon, you can also just take Divine Dash, since it’s a necessary part of the build, and hope to find ME on your next Athena or Ares boon.

So to recap you want to start with Ares’ attack, grab Athena’s special next, then Merciful End, followed by Athena’s dash.

Supplementary Boons

There’s one main supplementary boon you want to find on a Merciful End build, and that’s Impending Doom. Impending Doom provides a damage boost to your doom attacks at the costs of taking longer to proc, but you’ll already be negating the delay with Merciful End, so it’s purely a buff at that point. This does mean that your DPS will take a hit before you find ME, but Impending Doom is valuable enough once you do have ME that it’s worth it. Impending Doom is also your secondary pom target, once you’ve got a few into your attack. The only other boon that really deserves a mention is Dire Misfortune. Dire Misfortune doesn’t do anything for your damage once you have ME, but it can help a little before you get it. It’s not worth going out of your way for, but can be nice to have.

We haven’t mentioned a Cast or a Call boon yet because they’re not very important to an ME build, but if you do take one, try to make sure it doesn’t open up additional duo boons, at least until after you’ve found Merciful End.

Hermes

There are two main options for Hermes:

  • Hyper Sprint + Rush Delivery (Hyper Delivery)
  • Greatest Reflex (+dashes)

Hyper Delivery takes the 100% move speed of Hyper Sprint and turns it into damage with Rush Delivery, which pairs well with ME’s doom attack. The downside is that it requires two boons, and you can’t get Rush Delivery until after Hyper Sprint.

Greatest Reflex on the other hand gives you more dashes, which means more doom procs. Even just common Reflex is significant, and it’s arguably just as effective as Hyper Delivery, while being much easier to get.

A third option would be to take Greater Haste and then Rush Delivery, but only if the first two options aren’t offered.

Other Keepsakes

Aside from the ones mentioned already, a few other keepsakes can help your build:

  • Coin Purse: the main reason to take the coin purse (usually in elysium) would be if you’ve used both Ares and Athena keepsakes already and still need pieces of the build. Coin Purse can help ensure you’re able to purchase a boon in the shop if what you need is offered.
  • Hades: Hades’ call is a very powerful keepsake in the second half of the game as it can provide a burst of damage, great for bosses and chunky enemies.
  • Acorn: Acorn allows you to maintain aggression in boss fights while maintaining safety. It also helps you maintain the 25% bonus damage from High Confidence.

Wrap Up

That all covers the basics for building Merciful End on spear. There are a few things to check out in the aspect specific sections, so be sure to look at those as well.

Aspect Specifics

Zagreus Spear

Zag spear grants you 15% extra damage, speed, and range to your spear special. This pairs nicely with the Exploding Launcher hammer. It’s not good enough on its own to become the primary build for the aspect, but it can keep your run going for a while as a first hammer, or offer some nice supplementary damage for the Flurry Build as a second hammer.

An important thing to note for Zag Spear is generally performs much better with the Zeus attack version of the Flurry Jab build due to not having any inherent buffs to the attack. There’s not much else to go into here, it’s a pretty straightforward aspect.

Achilles

Achilles is the fastest aspect of the spear and has held the World Record many times throughout the game’s life thanks to 185, who has an in-depth guide on the aspect that you should also read.

Achilles turns your special into “Raging Rush” allowing you to throw it out and teleport to it. On top of that, after a Rush you gain 150% damage to your next four attacks or casts. This rush fits perfectly with the Flurry Jab build since you can perform a Rush at the end of a set of dashes to buff your next set of attacks, and just loop that over and over until everything is dead. 150% is a huge buff that is hard to find anywhere else in the game so having access to it makes Artemis the preferred attack boon on Achilles. Great times can still be achieved with Zeus attack though and you’ll want to be using the buff whenever possible no matter the build.

Early on, Achilles was played as cast weapon, then after realizing how good Flurry Jab was, it became a Flurry Jab weapon. Now, we’ve realized that 150% is a massive buff for both casts and attacks, and they both have their place in the build. Flurry Jab cleans up mobs, and a good cast helps solve the problem that Achilles tends to have with killing bosses quickly. It’s worth mentioning that the Infernal Soul option on the mirror is highly favored because casts are so useful on this aspect.

The main cast you’ll be looking for is Slicing Shot from Ares. This turns your cast into a blade rift that travels in a line doing ticks of damage. With the Artemis/Ares duo, Hunting Blades, these rifts track enemies, and with Achilles’ buff they can do massive damage.

Other good cast options are Trippy Shot from Dionysus( made better with the Demeter duo boon Ice Wine), and Phalanx Shot from Athena, because it just does a lot of damage. If you take Phalanx Shot, it makes Quick Reload a good option from Hermes. Also, because casts are so good on Achilles, it gives you a lot of options from Chaos. Extra cast stones, and cast, attack, dash strike, and backstab damage are all good pickups.

Again, be sure to check out 185’s guide on the aspect as it covers a lot more than I get into here. Achilles is a very difficult aspect to play well but one of the most fun and rewarding once you start getting the hang of it. Good luck!

Hades

The aspect of Hades gives you a big ol’ spin. This spin also tags enemies with a status effect that makes them take 150% extra attack and special damage. This is a nice buff, but again, not enough to make a build out of. Instead, you’ll want to build Merciful End here.

On top of everything described in the Merciful End section, you’ll also really want to find Exploding Launcher on this aspect. Normally the spear’s special requires you to throw it out and recall it before you can attack again, but Exploding Launcher gets rid of the recall entirely. This gives you a way to proc ME before you pick up Athena’s dash, and it’ll also give you decent damage and lets you take advantage of the aspects bonus damage before getting your build together.

That’s about it for Hades spear. People have tried to run with Splash Dash and a chunky/crit special in order to get away from ME resets, but it doesn’t really have the same peak. Experimentation is always encouraged though!

Guan Yu

Guan Yu is the hidden aspect of the spear and changes the moveset from the base kit. Your attacks become slower and stronger, your spin sends out a spinning projectile that can heal you, and you have 50% reduced HP. Because of this, a lot of people will run Thick Skin instead of High Confidence, for safety, and so Chaos gates don’t leave you with less than 5hp. You’ll still be running Merciful End, but Guan Yu is in a unique position to build it a little differently.

First off you want to be looking for the Charged Skewer hammer. This lets you charge your special for extra damage, and since Guan Yu’s special is basically like Exploding Launcher from the start, it’s enough damage to carry you through Tartarus and still do significant damage later. Having such a strong special lets the aspect start with Athena’s keepsake and take Divine Flourish as your first boon instead of going for Ares’ attack. You can get through the early half of a run with just those two boons but you still want to find a good doom attack and pick up Merciful End as soon as possible. Charged Skewer remains valuable damage throughout.

Some people do still prefer to start Ares attack and build ME the normal way for the better chance of a good doom rarity, so definitely try out both starts and see which you prefer. Similar to Hades spear, you can try running Splash Dash with a big special boon, but it’s probably less reliable and definitely more dangerous.

I hope you found this helpful!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 519 Articles
Being a big gaming fan, I believe that I have a lot to share with other gamers. I got my first official job in the game industry in 2005 and continue to develop there. It's a true blessing when your passion, hobby, and job combine into something one. My favorite console is the Nintendo Switch. I think you can all guess why. Because I just bought a Steam Deck. I love playing on PC, but my main love for me will always be Xbox. Anyway, it's complicated and simple at the same time. After all, I'm back in the days of the ZX Spectrum (1994)…

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