Mario & Luigi Dream Team; Some Useful Expert Advice
As far as difficulty goes, it’s becoming quite well known that Mario & Luigi Dream Team is a significant step up from the rest of the series. With brutally difficult boss battles, enemies that hit hard and even a secret Hard Mode to play through that ups the challenge even further, the game is so much more insanely hard than Bowser’s Inside Story that it’s almost ridiculous to compare the games any more.
Thankfully though, Dream Team also has quite a few great ways to make the game much easier, and so here are my tips. Here are some useful tips that will take this game’s most difficult moments and make them much, much more reasonable…
Grind for Beans with the Wellington/Farmer Boots
In the Mario & Luigi series, the general rule is that beans are used to permanently boost character stats, sort of like the vitamin items in Pokemon or the level ups in other such games. But while in the last three games beans are a pretty rare and difficult thing to find in the game, they’re actually super easy to get in Dream Team!
This is because late in the game (think, the final dungeon), a certain enemy called a Flaming Antasmaton drops a piece of gear called the Wellington Boots. You know, those types of boots farmers and the like wear, or that are used in places with extremely wet weather.
Unlike the real world clothing however, the Wellington Boots in Mario & Luigi Dream Team have a really neat side effect… that of being able to cause enemies to drop beans instead of coins when they’re defeated.
So all you need to do to grind your stats up to the limit is to find a bunch of weak enemies in one place (Dreamy Dozing Sands is pretty good for this, what with the Dreamy Sandoons and what not) and then just jump on them outside battle. You get the first attack in, everything dies instantly and a whole ton of beans get dropped as a result. Just keep doing that, and you’ll eventually have enough beans to raise any stats to any level you like (making things like the POW Up+, BP Up+ and HP Up+ entirely pointless). Happy bean grinding!
Set your Date of Birth to the current date to use the DOB items
There’s also a useful set of gear items you can use in Dream Team if you’re having trouble, known as the DOB (Date of Birth or Birthday items). These work by giving you a ridiculously powerful effect (like, 400% normal attack power or chance of getting Lucky Hits) if the date matches up with what you set your birthday as on the 3DS system.
So just set your birthday to the current day, then curb stomp everything with ludicrously overpowered gear. Kind of like how you ‘cheat’ Find Mii/StreetPass Quest really.
Take advantage of badge grinding/combos
Another thing you need to take advantage of in Dream Team is the new badge system.
This works much like the one in Bowser’s Inside Story, but has one big change you need to take advantage of.
Storable badge slots. You can store up four badge effects that can then be used in any battle you like, and can consist of anywhere between 1 and 4 completely different effects.
So what this means is simple; you can run into a bunch of weak enemy battles, charge up the badges by getting Excellent ratings, then save them until a tough boss battle later on, at which point you merely activate them and make the difficult fight a piece of cake.
It also means you can come up with some pretty mean combos. For instance, a Rainbow Rank player can save the freeze time, raise Mario + Luigi POW, refill 80% of each Bros HP/revive/status cure and ‘hit enemy for 160 damage’ effects, then use them ALL on the first turn of a difficult boss battle. Think that Antasma or Dreamy Bowser fight is super difficult? It won’t be if you can pause the fight midway through, refill most of your health, do 160 damage and double your attack power before you even do anything!
So use badges carefully people, you can come up with some pretty lethal combos if you mess around with them and save up badge slots for difficult points in time!
As well as time freezing effects in general
But the real ‘best’ badge effect in the game, and something that opens up even more possibilities than usual, is the time freeze effect.
Equip the Gold badge and Miracle Badge, activate it, and all enemies on screen immediately freeze in place for two turns, letting you do whatever you like in peace for a while.
It’s not even something that’s only useful for attacking! Having trouble and only have limited health? Stop time and use the extra turns to heal yourself back up with some Candy and 1-Up Deluxes.
It also really, really breaks some boss battles, by completely destroying their defences and ‘gimmicks’. For example, the bonus boss in the Battle Ring hides in his Clown Car to avoid side on attacks. If you use this badge effect though, he freezes… and doesn’t duck. Hence leaving him perfectly vulnerable to the Slingsniper, Bomb Derby and Fire Flower.
And the final boss himself usually blocks attacks to their head with his arm. Use the time freeze? He can’t move his arm, and hence you can just hammer away at his head immediately.
You can even use it against Pi’illodium/Pi’illodium X to shut down the self destruct timer at the end, if you’re having trouble defeating him quickly enough.
Really, there’s nothing much to say here other than ‘use this badge combo, and you’ll have no trouble with anything ever again’.
Beat Expert Challenges the easy way (some tips)
In Dream Team, there’s a long list of difficult ‘Expert Challenges’ you can beat to unlock various prizes, ending with the Duplex Crown at 1000 points (which has the useful ability of letting you move twice in one turn). But while some of these are hard to get, there’s a very nice couple of tips I’ve ‘noticed’ that make many of them much more possible to beat.
For one thing, if you’re having trouble with ‘Dodge Ten’ or ‘Defeat X Enemy without getting Hit’ challenges, it can really help to just kill off everything on screen except one last monster, then just dodge that one for ten turns. This usually stops it doing any challenging ‘combo’ attacks (like the herd attacks a lot of Dream World enemies use) and makes it ludicrously easy to avoid.
Similarly, you don’t have to kill a background enemy to win the ‘don’t get hit by this enemy’ challenge. No, the only rule is that you win the battle without getting hit by it, not that said monster actually dies in the fight. So it’s quite easy and convenient to just dodge a Pi’illodactyl fire shots from the background and then just kill the foreground enemies instead. That gets you the challenge, but means you don’t actually have to fight or defeat the Pi’illodactyl itself.
You can also take advantage of ‘special’ encounters to clear the dodge ten challenges if you’re having too much trouble beating the normal monsters without taking damage. Having trouble in a Dream World and need to dodge ten attacks? Try finding a Gold Beanie there and dodge that for ten turns. Having trouble dodging monsters in Dreamy Wakeport? Just fight the Hooraws or Big Massif and dodge them for ten turns. As far as I can tell, there’s no ‘rule’ that says it only counts if you dodge ‘normal’ enemies.
Additionally, take advantage of the virus enemies. Because you see, they’re found in every main location in the game (Mushrise Park, Dozing Sands, Wakeport, Driftwood Shore, Mount Pajamaja) with the exception of Somnom Woods and the final dungeon, and they’re also one of the easiest species to avoid taking damage from, especially if you kill off 15 of them immediately. So instead of ‘struggling’ with Huckit Crabs in Wakeport or the monsters in Driftwood Shore for their Dodge Ten challenges, just find the one or two viruses hidden around (there’s one in the pirates cave in Driftwood Shore and one by the Wiggler boss location in Wakeport), defeat 15 of them in battle and dodge the one remaining guy for 10 turns with Boo Biscuits.
Oh, and I know this sucks, but the Battle Ring doesn’t count towards any Expert Challenges. So while you can use it to learn/practice the more difficult Bros and Luiginary Attacks, you won’t get anything for completing them there.
Don’t Buy Anything
Yeah I know. Not exactly great advice at the start of the game. But seriously, items in this game are pretty much a compete waste of money.
1. Pi’illate is only ten coins a pop and heals you fully. And can be bought from any shop.
2. Enemies drop most items anyway
Really, it’s advised you just stay away from buying any non gear or badge items and just make use of the (near endless) supply of free stuff you get from beating up enemies in different areas. It’s really good advice in the final dungeon, where a certain enemy drops a 1-Up Deluxe every few battles, and many others drop Max Mushrooms or Max Candy.
So yeah, stay away from the item shops and use that money to either buy gear (if necessary) or buy the different badges.
Use Gear to ‘cheat’ the Battle Ring
In the Battle Ring, your badges are automatically reset (so you have to fill them up again to use them each time you restart) and your items are seriously limited. But did you know there are ways to nullify both these issues with gear?
For instance, for badge effects, there’s a really neat item called the ‘Boost Wear’. You get this from defeating the Zeekeeper in the fourth giant battle, and do you know what it does?
It causes your badge meter to go up when you take damage!
And what’s more, this ain’t like counter wear/retribution wear, it doesn’t only kick in at the end of the turn! Nope, it comes into effect the instance something hits Mario or Luigi!
Believe you me, this is damn useful when a boss tries to hit you ten times with the same attack in one turn. For instance, that attack the Elite Trio use with the Goombas charging at you in a stack? Just let it miss, then get hit by the swarm. Your badge meter has now shot up!
Or in the Antasma X battle, just let his bat attack hit you first (that’s ten Excellent attacks worth of badge meter filling instantly), then in a Nightmare, fall into a sawblade pit. Bounce off the saws non stop, and each hit causes a badge refill! That’s a very easy (albeit painful) way to get some useful badge effects in a limited number of turns.
It’s not just the Boost Wear that’s useful either. There’s also the matter of the Bottomless Gloves. This useful item lets you use items without removing them from your inventory (so in other words, infinite items). This makes the Battle Ring a complete joke given how much of the difficulty comes from only having a limited pool of healing items, sort of like how Mighty Meteor made the Gauntlet a joke in Bowser’s Inside Story.
You can also use certain gear items like the Counter Wear, Retribution Wear, King Wear or Pro Wear too. Why are these useful?
Because they work like Counter or Mirror Coat in the Pokemon series, automatically doing an equal amount of damage to an enemy after they hit you first. This is very, very bad for the likes of Pi’illodium, Antasma and Bowser Jr (especially if you’re underleveled), since their ‘Mario/Luigi health wrecking attacks’ are also rather good at wearing them down too. Indeed, you could theoretically use this, minimise your defence, and take advantage of how the counter attack completely bypasses enemy defences to turn the enemy’s strength into a liability.
Finally, the Duplex Crown you unlock for beating all Expert Challenges comes in real useful here, simply because being able to move twice in one turn pretty much doubles the turn limit, at least functionlly speaking. Really good against Antasma especially, since it means his ‘nightmare’ status effect can be completely ignored since the Duplex Crown makes up for any turns lost.
So pick your gear carefully people, it can make a huge difference to how well you do in the Battle Ring.
And there are my tips. I hope you found them useful for beating the game, and I’ll have more posted on this site soon when the walkthrough is finally finished!