2020's superb dungeon crawler Hades gives the son of the titular Greek god a slew of "Infernal Arms" to fight his way out of the underworld. One of the absolute best weapons that he can wield in battle is Holy Excalibur, the legendary sword that will one day be wielded by King Arthur. (This is sort of ancient Greece, after all!)
The key to thriving in this Roguelike dungeon-crawler on any given run, regardless of the weapon, is to construct a delicate balance between the innate abilities of your Infernal Arm and the many Boons granted to the hero Zagreus by various members of the Greek pantheon. And there's actually a way to transform the blade of Arthurian legend into an overpowered money-making powerhouse.
Here's a look at one of the best possible builds in Hades.
The Aspect of Arthur is essentially the Stygian Blade's ultimate weapon, and unlike its other forms, this is more of a claymore than a longsword. Which is to say that it's a heavy weapon with slower swings that deal a lot more damage. Even the attack pattern is different with an initial thrust followed by wider slashes whereas the other forms end with a thrusting stab.
With Holy Excalibur, the Dash-Strike is also a thrusting maneuver. Like many of the game's best builds, this one relies on a Daedalus Hammer Upgrade called Hoarding Slash.
- Your Attack deals bonus damage equal to 5 percent of your current Coin
Especially if acquired early on, you can hoard all of your money and gradually see the gains — especially when damage stacks with more traditional Attack boons.
You'll want to focus heavily on Chaos Gates, along with Hermes and Poseidon doors throughout the duration of your run — and Coin, obviously. Also feel free to mostly ignore Charon's shop, as you'll want to keep that coin until the very end.
You'll be looking for Affluence (increase to all Coin gained) from Chaos, Side Hustle (earn Coin every chamber) from Hermes, and Ocean's Bounty (bonus to Gemstone, Darkness, and Coin gains) from Poseidon. The Ocean God's Sunken Treasure also gives you an assortment of goodies including Gold, so that one's also worth taking if it's available.
In general, the strategy is to focus on Coin and Attack, then Special and Dash-Strike. Your Cast should mostly be ignored.
Mirror of Night Upgrades
Boiling Blood — Plus 50 percent Attack and Special damage to foes with Cast crystals in them
Golden Touch — Plus 15 percent Gold total each time you clear an Underworld region
Dark Foresight — Plus 20 percent chance at Gold Laurel rewards (Boons, Hammers, Poms)
Even if there's no boon attached to your cast, the boost to Attack damage will be worth it against bosses, particularly Hades. You can just spam your cast whenever it's available and then reap the benefits of the Boiling Blood.
And this build relies entirely on Daedalus Hammers for Hoarding Slash, so Dark Foresight is essential. Golden Touch is also better than Deep Pockets here because it gives you a percentage rather than the flat rate of 100 Gold. By the time you reach the Temple, you'll make far more than that just by passing the boundary.
Chthonic Coin Purse (Hypnos)
Conch Shell (Poseidon)
The coin purse will give you a chunk of Gold right away, and it's 150 when fully upgraded. So that's 7.5 extra damage added to each Attack you make. (The standard Attack combo is 60, 80, and 200 base damage per hit.) It's a must-use at some point during your run, probably right at the beginning. Then later on, swap to the Conch Shell to increase your chances at Poseidon boons that can buff your Coin hoard.
If you're lucky enough to get everything you need from Poseidon by the third or fourth region, feel free to switch to a Keepsake from Ares, Demeter, or Artemis.
The general rule of thumb here is to get the best Attack Boon you can and stack it with further buffs, and then do the same for Special. But you might want to mix that up if you have the Family Favorite ability equipped that gives you an additional 5 percent damage per Olympian. Variety is key even if you have Privileged Status instead.
If you do snag a god's attack modifier, then it's best to lean into those effects. Artemis' Deadly Strike boosts attack damage and adds a chance for critical damage, so her Clean Kill (critical effects deal more damage) or Pressure Points (all damage has increased chance at critical) are also worth pursuing. And if you get Zeus' Lightning Strike, he also has further buffs like Storm Lightning that makes it bounce more times and Static Discharge that adds the Jolted status effect.
Here's a quick rundown of the best boons overall.
Swift Strike (Hermes) — Your Attack is faster
Battle Rage (Ares) — After slaying a foe, your next Attack or Special deals more damage
Urge to Kill (Ares) — Your Attack and Cast deal more damage
Support Fire (Artemis) — After you hit with an Attack, Cast, or Special, fire a seeking arrow
Hunter Dash (Artemis) — Your Dash-Strike deals more damage
Ravenous Will (Demeter) — While you have no Cast, take 10 percent less damage and deal more
The main priority in all this is definitely attack, but because Holy Excalibur has a Special aura move that affects a large area, boosting that in any way you can should be a secondary goal. All you need to do is watch the money come in and the damage output scale astronomically as you progress.
Hades is now available.