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Released in December 2004, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories follows Sora and friends as they explore Castle Oblivion well before the events of Kingdom Hearts 2. The game features a new battle system, where you can organize cards of different numerical values and types to form all sorts of different spells and attacks. This is the only Kingdom Hearts game where you get to play as Riku, and the first to feature a multiplayer mode. Alas, people complained about the card system, so Tetsuya Nomura redefined the battle style for Kingdom Hearts 2 so that you could defeat almost every enemy simply by pressing the Triangle button.


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Single-segment as Riku: 1:29:05 by Keith Skomorowski.

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Author's comments:

It should be noted noted right away that the Japanese version of this game is a lot easier than the US version in terms of difficulty. Most of the things you see being done in that version on Youtube are out of the question in this run, or simply won't happen in the US version. At least you can watch our speedruns without fear of progressive sound de-sync, which every one of those Chain of Memories videos seem to have for some reason.

I love not only the Riku/Rebirth/Reverse Mode (yes, there are three different names for this), but the character of Riku himself. Sora is such a whiney little bitch. He essentially stumbles around clueless for the first 11 floors, never shutting up and always asking stupid questions, while occasionally fighting "Riku" a bunch of times.
Riku gets to the castle, decides to confront his past, and does so by spending the rest of the game kicking ass.

Riku/Rebirth mode is similar to Sora's story, but they are totally different characters, with totally different battle strategies:
Sora has a number of different keyblades to use as weapons, he can make many, many sleights, and has to charge a counter each time he wants to reload his deck.
Riku has one weapon, about one magical and three fighting sleights at his disposal, and one tap of the reload box quickly reloads his deck.
Sora can modify his deck to suit the world and enemies he's facing. In order to do this though, he has to go after Moogle points, which help him get new and hopefully helpful cards from the Moogle shop, and he also has to hope that these cards aren't outside his Card Point limit.
Riku's deck is stacked for him each time he enters a new world or boss battle. In place of the card points are Attack Points, which cause Riku to do more damage in an attack.

Riku has a form called Dark Mode. Each time you card break, the difference goes towards the Dark Meter counter on the upper left side of the screen. Once Riku reaches the limit (it increases with each meter boost on level-ups), he goes into a much more fast and damaging form. Each time he gets damaged or becomes a victim of a card break, the meter counts back down with the respective damaging card number until it hits 0 and he reverts back to his normal self.

How the number system works on the doors:
Every first door in every world will need a one-or-above card. Each subsequent door will require one number greater to open and move on. You can keep this chain going from one to nine, but then you will need a zero card to continue for your next card. If you put a higher number card than what the door requires, the counter will pick up from there. So if you put a 4 card in the place of a 1, the next door in the 4 room will require a 5 card, skipping the 2 and 3. A zero will also overrule any number and take the counter back to one.
Certain doors will only open if you have certain cards, either above or below a certain number. In some annoying cases, those certain doors will also require the right card color along with a specific number. There are three colors ? red, green, and blue. Red mostly impact the enemies in the room, green effects mostly the card effects and room layout, and the blue are magical cards that make a variety of effects happen. There are also doors where cutscenes and boss battles happen, and are necessary to go through in order to exit the world.

When I'm selecting cards, remember that I have to plan ahead for over one hundred rooms, so if I change my mind on a card or look for a specific one, it's all part of the plan. Also, the joystick is really, really jumpy on that screen, so that's why you might see me hesitate for half a second to make sure I don't select the wrong one.

General information:
What really helped this run was that it was made for a portable system, so that meant I could practice, plan, and play it anywhere. In front of the computer, waiting for my food to cook, before I went to bed, and even in the washroom. Yeah, I'm weeping too.
But I digress.

If my movement appears sloppy, it's because there's either a slight oversensitivity with the controller, or an imput lag. I also got tired and wired at various points in the run, so... yeah. Also, keep in mind that the L and R buttons on the Gamecube controller need to be pushed down a lot further than the usual GBA ones do. The GBA ones sit right on top of the trigger contacts, but the Gamecube ones need to be pushed so far down for such a little one.

The reason I save a few times is to give me (and you) an idea of how I'm doing. I also need to because even though this game has a timer that actually counts seconds, it doesn't let you save after the game is over, though it does recognize you've beat it. This was mostly so the last part count be accurately timed. The Donkey Kong County 2 run did this, and it took way longer because he had to go out of his way to do it, so I think it's okay. The other important thing about the save points is that they replenish your health.

I go after the creeping heartless instead of the experience because they have a phase where they hide under the ground and move around which costs some time, and makes the run look ugly while I'm just waiting for them to resurface.

I throw the overdrive card (Dragon Maleficent) out at the start of many fights where it is seemingly not needed is because if I enter the battle with the first strike, I can finish off some enemies in two hits instead of three. The overdrive card also lets me finish off some enemies up to two hits less than it would normally require.

Stagnant Space and Lasting Daze rooms are annoying because they're so big and the doors like to jump around. Lasting Daze can be REALLY annoying because the rooms are the largest out of any of them and the doors are a total bitch to find a lot of the times. Enemy battle chances are also high because of how long I'm exposed when climbing a ledge or running around looking for the way out. At least with Stagnant Space there's only one way to go, and enemy fighting chances are next to none.

There are some parts where I fight longer battles, like Halloween Town and Twilight Town so I can get the experience at just the right level, so I can then grow up to three levels at once.

Run Comments:
I always played this on my Game Boy Advance and never noticed that castle in the background on the file select screen until I played it on a back-lit DS. Just a random trivia fact for you.

For those that know the story and characters, if you look at it, Riku and Ansem are kind of like another duo from a game I did a speedrun of before this; Danny and Leo from Manhunt 2. How odd.

I know no one cares about the story, but to players of the Kingdom Hearts series, did anyone else find it odd that they didn't send Luxord (the British card guy) to the castle? If all the attacks are at the mercy of the cards and he's got 52 of them, he'd be perfect. He knows more about card stacking than anyone else, and he's the easiest guy in Kingdom Hearts II, so they could have made better use of him here.

In closing I'd like to thank AquaTiger (a.k.a. FrostyTheDragon), who re-sparked my motivation to do this, and saved the world from the somewhat shoddy Sora speedrun I would have submitted in order to get this one on here. Actually, I doubt I would have ever gotten around to doing a Sora speedrun because of all the extra stuff involved, so scratch that. He's the reason this speedrun exists, so keep that in mind if you decide to link this run or comment on it.

The members in the Chain of Memories thread for their helpful information and encouragement. For example, I had no idea you could skip the cutscenes in this game. That's why you should always read the instruction booklet lady and gentlemen.

People who have done single segment runs for the inspiration and standards they provided.

The SDA staff for their continued hard work and being awesome guys.

Single-segment as Sora: 3:02:18 by Ben Hartman.

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Author's comments:

Hey, I'm Ghostwheel. If you haven't played this game or aren't familiar with running it, I strongly encourage you to read these comments. They even contain timestamps which let you skip the boring parts! They are long, however, and will be detailed to be as helpful as possible for future runners and people unfamiliar with the game.

~Personal/History of Sora running~
This is my first submitted run to the site and the first Chain of Memories Sora run to be considered. For these reasons, I'd like to describe my own history with the game and the site, and the story of how this category became as optimized as it is now. When I discovered SDA 3 years ago, I was looking for a Pokemon Emerald speedrun and found Mouldy Cheese's amazing 1:54 Sapphire run instead. The very next thing I wanted to see was a CoM run; this was a game I'd owned since 2004 and beaten sans HP upgrades. As I expected, only the much more consistent Riku Story SS was up, and the run is great even by today's standards! I then resolved to take on this game, but segmented instead of SS. I had a Dazzle that I got a few years ago for LPing with a friend (which never really got off the ground), and 3 months later I would get a Gameboy Player to record the game. I then spent months trying to get my crappy laptop to record to SDA quality specs, and I have many people from the Tech Support forum to thank for their help and patience (most notably, nate, honorableJay, Tranquillite, and UrainumAnchor. Finally, I was able to get rolling.

Then I took a detour. I saw a completely unrealistic $1000 bounty had been put on a Standard mode 100% (All Journal Entries) run of KH2. I decided to go for it, not only because I could do it (and it was fun while it lasted) but also because I wanted to get the KH community back into KH2 and maybe meet some people who could help me revitalize the CoM community. I also wanted to make my first run something I wasn't as invested in in case I had recording problems. And guess what: every single one of those things happened. My recording crashed in a way that I couldn't fix then (ironically, just after I'd finished the last interesting part of the run), and I met quite a few cool people in the KH community.

Now we back up a little bit to the state of the CoM community. The thread I found when I signed up was largely composed of the work of two runners, 'The Quiet Man' who had worked on the Riku run which ended up on the site, and 'AquaTiger'(aka Frosty), who worked adamantly to get a sub 3:30 Single Segment Sora run up. There were barely any videos, just about 6 pages of forum conversation with a few key posts of information. Frosty had written out a general plan, 80% of the boss strategies, and most importantly, a rough guide for the power level and combo placement of keyblades. Eventually, the hour long buffer of stupid before the game gets challenging and able to kill runs got to Frosty, and their correspondence and activity on the forums ended 4 years before I joined. Additionally, most of the information on the internet about CoM is either very simple or flat out wrong. For instance, the probability distribution of Moogle packs was presumed unknown. Except of course for one table I found which said that you couldn't pull kingdom keys! Later I'd find EchoPheonix's (likely emulator assisted) time attack boss rushes, which were of mixed use.

Enter Ghostwheel (who at the time went by the completely ridiculous name of Qxybxjjllp). I created a segmented route from scratch, and put it up, and because of recording problems, never followed through. (Though you will see the segmented run eventually ;) ). Then, months later, during my KH2 running phase, the 358/2 Days runner, Drazerk, PMed telling me about his new Maeflicent strategy (14 raids). It was so simple and easy, I couldn't believe I had missed it. He then told me about his attempts at SS Sora running, and I was even more shocked. While I ran KH2 he was doing attempts which culminated in a run just over 4 hours before going back to 358/2. Through our conversations about the game, I got excited again. I wanted to forge ahead and optimize SS once and for all. I wanted to revitalize the CoM community and give this game the run it deserves.

So when KH2 crashed, I got to work. SS requires improvisation, so instead of specific deck ideas, I had to appeal to the idea of deck structure. The first thing I did was optimize the farming strategy. Between quickly getting a ball of cards in TT, making my overworld strategies more streamlined, and finding blue cards in barrels, I may have taken 45 minutes out of the game while also greatly increasing the consistency. Then I crafted boss strategies based on decks I could easily acquire, with easy transitions between decks for certain bosses. I also applied all of my latent thoughts from my segmented routing and my conversations with Drazerk. He and another new runner named Kyhron also contributed a large amount to the routing, and made an honest stab at breaking the map card RNG by manipulating the number of cards used in each battle. And here it is: it's a year later, and I finally have something awesome to show for it. I am nowhere near finished with this, and I'm happy to see that Drazerk and even Frosty will be ready to compete soon enough.

~What the hell are you doing?/Basics of running Sora~

First, I'll explain the basic game mechanics, found in the tutorials at the beginning:

"But you mustn't forget your own strength": You can jump, and dodge rolling is the fastest way to move horizontally. It can be difficult to turn quickly afterward, however.

"Bid the cards return to you...and they will": Pressing A over the reload card lets you reload your cards. It counts up to a maximum of 3 each time you reload, and you can't move while doing so. Reloading is pretty fast, and as such, when constructing decks, it's often better when considering reload time to make it a smaller deck, as having to reload more times isn't as bad as having to wait for a big deck to replace itself after each reload. In addition, you can reload while your enemies are attacking.

"To use cards from a separate category—": Enemy cards are like your abilities. You have a separate deck of them (which you build into your real deck) that you access using the select button. Only one enemy card can be sent out at a time, and its effect appears flashing next to your deck for as long as it's slated to remain there. Some cards disappear after a certain number of reloads, some disappear after a certain number of attacks or sleights. A few relevant enemy cards:
-Blue Rhapsody – Blizzard boost increases the strength of ice attacks blizzard and blizzard raid
-Red nocturne – Fire boost increases the strength of fire attacks like fire raid.
-Shadow – Incrementor increases the value of all your cards by 1
-Genie Jafar – Attack Bracer makes each attack card you use unbreakable
-Card Soldier – Attack Haste increases the swing speed of attack cards
-Parasite Cage – Dispel Erases one enemy card that your opponent has used
-Riku Replica – Sleight lock preserves the first card used in sleights until 5 sleights have fully resolved.
-Hades – Berserk about doubles your attack power, but only as long as you are on critical (flashing red) health.

"Playing a higher card than your opponent' called a 'card break'": This is one of the most important things to be acquainted with in the entire game. Enemies get stunned when you break their cards, and you get stunned when your cards are broken. Breaking an enemy's card gives your card or sleight a much higher chance of resolving, while just putting it out there means that many decent bosses will break it 90% of the time, especially with your awful deck. This is life or death. Know when to use cards, get a sense of the AI, and get broken as few times as possible. 0 cards break anything and are broken by anything.

"Now let me show you how to stock cards": Pressing L and R at the same time stocks a card and trying to stock a 4th card or the reload card will result in your stocked cards being used together as a sleight. Misleadingly, "sleight" is also the name of certain techniques you learn by leveling up or finding in the overworld. If you have a technique learned, the three cards will resolve as an execution of that technique if they satisfy its requirements; otherwise, they will resolve in succession. In both cases, however, they will have a value equal to the sum of the values of the constituent cards which means they are often broken by higher sleights or 0 cards. You also lose the first card of the sleight for the remainder of the battle, unless you can resolve certain items or have the sleight lock ability in play. Some relevant sleights:
-Blizzard raid/Fire raid/Judgment = Bliazzard/Fire/Aero + attack card + attack card
-Omnislash = 3 Cloud
-ara and aga spells = 2 or 3 of the relevant magic card, respectively.

Map cards: I'll reiterate what The Quiet Man says for his Riku run, it all applies here:

How the number system works on the doors:
Every first door in every world will need a one-or-above card. Each subsequent door will require one number greater to open and move on. You can keep this chain going from one to nine, but then you will need a zero card to continue for your next card. If you put a higher number card than what the door requires, the counter will pick up from there. So if you put a 4 card in the place of a 1, the next door in the 4 room will require a 5 card, skipping the 2 and 3. A zero will also overrule any number and take the counter back to one.
Certain doors will only open if you have certain cards, either above or below a certain number. In some annoying cases, those certain doors will also require the right card color along with a specific number. There are three colors ? red, green, and blue. Red mostly impact the enemies in the room, green effects mostly the card effects and room layout, and the blue are magical cards that make a variety of effects happen. There are also doors where cutscenes and boss battles happen, and are necessary to go through in order to exit the world.

When I'm selecting cards, remember that I have to plan ahead for over one hundred rooms, so if I change my mind on a card or look for a specific one, it's all part of the plan. Also, the joystick is really, really jumpy on that screen, so that's why you might see me hesitate for half a second to make sure I don't select the wrong one.

Deck Construction:

You have a stat called CP, which determines the limit of how many cards you can put in the deck and you can level it up. Each card has its own CP value, so putting more powerful cards like Genie Jafar in might sink the space you have for other cards. It is important to keep your CP up to accommodate the ridiculous things you want to be able to do. You also want to keep your hp low for certain bosses.

The fastest way to edit a deck is to take out what you don't want, make exactly the space for the things you want to put in, and then add the new cards in order.

Through the course of the game you want to use a few main decks
-Deck 1, The Farming Deck – 3 or 4 blizzards, a rhapsody, and your 8 best kingdom keys
-> The Protoraids Deck - 4 blizzard raids and one rhapsody
-> The Raids deck - ideally 3 Cloud, and 8 raids, with a rhapsody and a nocturne
->Often this one gets sacrificed at the very end of the game to be the Marluxia 2 deck.
Deck 2, The Berserk Deck – You most well built attack cards, a blizzaga, and berserk
-> The Second Farming Deck – For our TT farming at the end of the game
Deck 3, The endgame deck – 3 cloud, and 3-4 Judgment, with an elixir and a mega-ether.

Attack cards other than Kingdom Keys need to be put in the correct hit of a combo. Remember, Crabclaw, Three Wishes, and Olympia are finishers, Divine rose is first hit, Oathkeeper is second hit, and everything else is first two hits.

For anything else, I refer you to my speedrunning tutorial, which, though poorly made, is informative:

~The Run~

Is this run improvable? Absolutely. Will I improve it? Without question. However, it has now gotten to the point where it will be very difficult to improve upon it. I feel that this run is a very satisfying representation of the work I put into it. There were very few execution mistakes, and the luck went very well. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Overworld and Deck editing: You can practice this all you want, but this is where the improvisation required in this game can get you. Every room you see is randomly generated and your deck and map card set from playthrough to playthrough is never the same. This game may not be a random as people say it is, but it IS unforgiving. Every mistake you make, however tiny, can end your run, sometimes hours after you've made it. I endeavor not to be sloppy with menuing or travel, but I slip up sometimes. Overall, I could be a minute or so tighter over the course of the whole run. Keep in mind also, that this is a 3 hour run, and I usually have to reset for an hour before I can get started, so I can get tired and lose focus for a second sometimes.

--Traverse Town--

-I hate this cutscene with a fiery, burning passion, and the tutorial that follows is not much better. This is the biggest reset point of the whole run, as I need to find a blizzard in the barrel that guarantees a card. I slip up a few times in the tutorial section, but I didn't care, seeing as I had been resetting for an hour and a half already!

-Prepare for 40 minutes of farming. I need to get to 80 map cards here to prepare for the worlds ahead, and to do that I need to quickly find a 3rd blizzard and use what I know about the encounters here to kill them as fast as possible. I farm in teeming darkness rooms and hit a lot of object triggers to try and improve my deck. Enemy cards have the greatest chance of dropping in these rooms as well, and it shows, seeing as I get the rhapsodies and nocturne that I need. To skip to guard armor, go to the 43 minute mark in the video. In short, I have a few sketchy fights here and there, and my deck isn't the greatest coming out of TT, but this was one of the fastest farming runs I've ever had. Good start indeed, as it's possible to lose 15 minutes here.

-Guard Armor: I get both blizzaga's to hit all 4 limbs, which is extremely important, as I waste a minute I f I have to hack at one of the limbs. I waste a little bit of time (~10-20 seconds) risking Goofy and accidentally using a blizzard, but it was still an above average fight. He didn't give me any funny business when I was attacking him, and didn't move very far away either.

-Axel 1: Trolls me a little bit, but eats both the blizzagas, which makes it a good fight.


-I get the blue cards I need quickly, and I use one of my chest rooms to get the sleight Blizzard raid. I am so sorry that it appears frames were dropped right as it said that I learned it. This looks awful, and I had no idea until writing these comments that the video had this hiccup. I assure you, what happened there is that I simply opened the chest and learned blizzard raid from it. This is not a random occurrence either, as the first chest in Olympus Coliseum will always yield this technique. Again, I apologize.

-The Cloud fight could have gone faster if he hadn't broken me initially, but I got a 4-hit raid off at the end, making it an average fight. Not too worried about this one, as they tend to var on the order of seconds.

-The Hades fight was good. He doesn't troll me like he usually does, and eats a 4-hit at the very beginning. He does almost kill me though, and almost gave me a heart attack!

-When you see me fight enemies and break barrels here, it's to farm for the extra blue cards I need, most notably to get a chance at the 1= Blue I need for the end of the game, at the door I call the Gates of Hell. This is the single most random element of the whole game. Even with the most consistent strategies, you can lose the whole run over the one thing you have absolutely no control over. Barrels also give you a better shot at getting extra cards for your deck than other object triggers do, and over time my crappy deck actually beefs up substantially. Fighting them is easy, consistent, and quick, except maybe ¼ of the time when they flood me with spawns. This is one reason the route is OC – MO – AG, because this gives me the most early barrels. I use sleeping darkness almost exclusively here to get the best chance at spawning them. Being as systematic as possible with map cards also helps me to make quicker decisions. Finally, here specifically, I need to fight a few enemies so I can be level 16 in Agrabah.


-I spawn a quick moogle room, and attempt to get 2 clouds. Just one omnislash saves a lot of time between Larxene I, Riku I and II, Jafar and Ursula. I'm willing to reset for a total of 5 minutes here to get the luck I need, as the chance of Cloud showing up here is surprisingly slim. I clock in just at the edge of acceptance, but with one kicker. I get 2 Clouds in the last pack! A second omnislash saves even more time on the aforementioned bosses and saves time later in the run as well. What's more, even though I only care about existence the {3, 4, 4, 7} set of Cloud values allows me to make very intimidating sleights, and always keep my sum above 10 without incrementor. The second biggest random element of the game gives me a pat on the back this time around, and I run with it.

-I probably have my sloppiest deck editing section here. I want to make sure I hadn't screwed anything up, but I didn't realize how many times I checked it was okay. More Clouds means more CP, and I had to cut things. I checked the deck 2 more times than I should have and burned ~20 seconds.

-Parasite Cage: Great fight here! 2 hit raid followed by 5, 4, 4, 2, and kill. His hitbox is very wonky with respect to the z axis (from my frame of reference, the direction you move by pressing the dpad up), and small variations can result in losing hits and time all over the place.

-Key to Truth Room: Also great. I only got left with one enemy to clean up after I burned my sleights, and if the whale gauge doesn't fill up when you run out of gas, you can be in big trouble if you don't bring your potion, which if you'll remember I was hesitant about cutting.


-Here it gets a little complicated. I need to hit level 16 here, while also secretly hoping for the 1 Blue, before I can open the Key of guidance room. What's more, I need to manage my experience very tightly, and hope that I don't go too over the level up threshold. If you haven't noticed, leveling up restores your HP, and I want to keep it low for a little while ;)

-At the key of Guidance Room, I get great luck, and the enemies are aggressive. I get to critical in 15 seconds, a move that will save me minutes on the next couple of bosses.

-Jafar: Good fight, probably the best I could have gotten with the average deck spread I had. There were a couple close calls, but I get the job done well. For those who don't know, shooting a blizzard at his chest rewards you with a trick card. Thanks for that, Frosty!

--Halloween town--

-Now I need to keep the berserk for Oogie. I'm a bit nervous about this, so I let the experience despawn in the opening fight. I also need to make sure I don't die in the overworld, as it will end my run.

-Oogie Boogie: It's almost impossible to one cycle Oogie SS. You need to rip more 3 wishes than I did, or about twice as many wishing stars. I already had a good pull in this respect, so I'm happy with the ensured 2 cycle. What I'm NOT happy with is how Oogie sat on his fat ass all day long, not giving me an opportunity to break him and lower the gates. He burned a whole minute just minding his own damn business...


-Card Soldiers: Tough to get better than this, but once in a blue moon I throw one fewer raid here.

-Trickmaster: goes pretty much perfectly :). I get a trick card on the first card break (random by the way), and though I have to jump on the table this time around, the rest of the fight is me on autopilot.

-Larxene I: The fight turns from perfect to just good. I get 5 out of 6 Cloud hits to start things off, which is pretty rare. Good thing I did, because if not, the fight could have been a disaster. I get a nice 4 hit raid off to start, but then for one reason or another, every other raid fell flat. Now with her health, I was more focused on getting them out then lining them up, so it was inevitable, but 20 seconds could have been saved if a couple of moments were a little more fortunate. Don't get me wrong though, this was still a really fast fight. She has so much health that you are in a lot of danger of running out of gas here. If you do, it's pretty much game over, as your damage output is atrocious with kingdom key combos. I'm especially glad I was able to kill her with the very dicey Cross Slash technique. She is the most evasive of all the Organization members, and a true pain in the ass.

-Now there are two good places to put 100 Acre Wood, and with 4 clouds I decide to slot it in 7F. Other times, you might find it appropriate to skip 10F because the map requires more cards. This lets me get my elixir before Ursula and Riku, and saves me a ton of time. You may think that Pooh is being especially trolly here, but this is par for the course. Pooh is as spastic as it gets, and "Press R: the game" is not forgiving. That elixir is SOOOO worth it though. (Not for segmented, however)

-Riku I: You can't ask for a better fight than this. Just awesome.


-Never fight anything here. All the heartless are difficult to beat quickly and are very annoying. You've been warned.

-Ursula goes very well. I deal her as constant a stream of damage as I can. The one time she screws me is by moving off the screen to miss two cloud hits. Trying to brawl with her normally is madness, as your attack cards don't deal good damage and you get maybe a combo and a half before her tentacle comes back. I keep 95 HP for the whole game up to this point so I can take 3 bolts and get to berserk health. This way, when I get an opening in the form of a trick card, I can deal her a ton of damage with my attacks. For a boss that only permits you to hit her every so often she has a ton of health and a set of fast, lethal moves. Definitely one of my least favorite bosses and one of the most nerve wracking moments of the run.

-Riku II goes well, except when he busts out a 27 dark firaga, and lets it sit there for about 15 seconds. I can't put a sleight out there with his on the ready, as the first thing a boss AI will do when you break them is use their sleight. I actually use this to my advantage many times throughout the run.


-Probably the sketchiest thing I do in this entire run is here actually. I decide to chill for a while since the run is going well and make sure I get the 1 blue. I also need more map cards, as I can tell I'm getting low. Low enough that I would have to start using things that I have to save for later. If I already had the 1 Blue, though, I would have made a detour to Traverse town instead. I spend 13 minutes here farming at a slower rate, but not using extra map cards. All things considered, this decision wastes about 2 minutes over a run in which I got the 1 Blue earlier. I also gambled on the possibility of getting the crescendo enemy card, which powers up omnislash, but I didn't get one. Cut to 2:03:50 for the Hook fight

-Hook: It's a fast fight, but his sleights and chained attacks make him very able to kill you. I manage to use the ships motion to hit him a lot with two of my raids, and then I spectacularly killed him even when he has all zeros out! Great fight.

--Hollow Bastion--

-Nothing to say here except that 10F is long and Maleficent sucks. The fight is automatic, except for the rare occasion when she can slip in a stomp attack.

-Vexen I was an average fight. He didn't troll me by constantly moving like he sometimes does. but I missed a couple of raids and had to use the elixir. No big deal, as the pace of the fight was still good. On a side note, one touch about CoM that strikes me is the fact that all the Org members have their own method of movement. Larxene flies and darts, Vexen is slow, but advances without dropping his guard, Axel never takes a step, always warping wround and teleporting for a chance at a backstab. Finally, Marluxia glides effortlessly, not needing to jump, but ready to elegantly approach you and take your life.

--Twilight Town--

-I'm sweating here. This run is going very well. I just need the 1 Blue and this is the last place to get it. I can't stay long either, else I risk using gaining too many map cards. Thankfully, the 3rd encounter here gives me that oh-so-sweet 1 mingling worlds. I laughed, I screamed in joy, and I sat up straight in my chair. I was going to finish this right.

-Vexen II. I catch him in his tracks, and I make it a nigh perfect fight. Takes me a couple seconds to realize I want parasite cage before him though.

-I don't put the Clouds back in my deck for Riku III, but it doesn't really matter. I hit hime 4 times with a lot of the raids and keep the pace up, outside of one slow dark firaga. This ends up still being a good fight. About 30 seconds slower than if I had taken the trouble to do it, and really, what's the point when this is the last boss I use this deck on? It takes a bit of time to put them back and I would have probably had to take out the cage. I took them out in the first place, by the way, so I could speed up Vexen and TwT farming.

--Destiny Islands--

-I open the black belt Moogle Pack to attempt to get an Aero. The reason I hesitate afterward is I get 2 clouds instead. I did not expect this at all and I'm running numbers and probabilities in my head here. Can I still kill darkside? How much better is this against the final 5? Can I get both Cloud-sums above 10? The answer to all of these was yes! So I press on and take a no reset moogle room.

-Darkside is a joke. Unless he isn't. Basically he's a gate that says "Do you have enough sleights to hit me in the face constantly?" If you answer no, you guessed it, game over. This guy's pattern is slow, he has 3.5 health bars, and your attacks suck. Lucky for me, he goes down without a problem.

-Here it comes: The ugliest mistake in the whole run... After I beat darkside I notice my GBA was low on power. Lucky for me I had another one charging on standby, and there was a nice FMV during which I could make the switch. However, my nerves are at fever pitch at this point, and I was so caught up in trying to make the switch I completely forgot to put darkside in my deck before Riku IV. I try one omnislash, because I have 6 in my deck which is enough to kill him. It completely whiffs, and before things go from bad to worse, I kill myself to get another shot. This guy wastes 30 seconds, which isn't as bad as a few of the improvements I've mentioned. But it represents a gross mistake on my part, and is the part of the run I'm most ashamed of.

-Riku IV (for real): Was INSANE. It's almost like the game felt bad that I screwed up and gave me a really solid fight here. Note that once I copy sleight lock with darkside, I actually WANT him to break my sleights, because sleight lock doesn't decrement until your sleight fully resolves. He busts it out quickly and I get good damage again and again. I even risk using incrementor for a reload, especially scary since I don't have 0s to break the especially lethal Dark Aura with. Even worse is that everyone in the final 5 has a scary normal attack that they like to spam. Make no mistake, the game can get very dangerous from here on out.

-Larxene II: Also insane. I get so many 2 and 3 cloud hits on her over the course of the fight, and I only get hit by 1 lightning bolt and 1 annoying chain combo. I can barely ask for more from her.

-Traverse Town revisit: I need a few cards to make it through the 14 regular rooms of CO and the gates of Hell. Unfortunately, I stay a minute longer than I have to, but at this point, I can't take the risk. Having to fight a single encounter in CO would waste more time. Axel II is at 2:47.

--Castle Oblivion--

-Axel II had been killing me and not behaving in my past couple of runs, so I was happy to get the start that I did, shredding through 2 health bars in a matter of seconds. Then he gets a little less cooperative, and I'm afraid he's going to kill me, but I pull it out here and make it a spectacular fight. His enemy card makes the fight especially annoying, as it lets him more easily dodge my raids.

-Marluxia I: Let me preface this with something. I hate this guy. He is one of the most annoying bosses in the entirety of my gaming experience. His yellow attack is so instantaneous, so spammable, so damaging, and so difficult to avoid, that if you get card broken, Marluxia will punish you. If you get close to him, Marluxia will punish you. Furthermore, he resists sleights and is weak to physicals, so the game is practically begging you to get close. After I run out my sleights, there is about ~20-30 seconds of playing it safe here. This is comparison; if you think hitting with resisted sleights is slow, try going up to him with attack cards. Even with attack bracer, this guy's a problem. This was the biggest hole in my 6 cloud plan, as I might have been better able to use another judgment instead. But in any case, I'm very happy with how this fight went, especially with how close it came at the end.

-Marluxia II – When you're on the edge of something awesome, the only thing to do is finish strong! I go all out and bust out the berserk strats here to compensate for my lackluster deck. The basic idea is to break him with dummy cards and smack him with well built combos. The fight is simple and easy; the only part which stings is that the flowers get in my way at the very end, wasting about 30 seconds while I wait to get on his back to kill him.

And that's it. I'm not done with this, not by a long shot. I've come so far, but each time I look at the run, I see something else I can do and I'm hungry for more. If anyone has a question for me, be sure to PM me on the SDA forums. I'll be more than happy to answer.

Special thanks:
-All the staff at SDA, for streamlining the submission process, working hard to get my run verified and on the site as soon as possible, and making it easy for a first time submitter like me to understand the rules and procedures. I wouldn't strive for the best quality if SDA didn't expect the best out of me.
-The KH community, for being awesome people and supporting my CoM endeavors.
-My stream viewers, for sitting through that awful cutscene over and over again among other things and keeping me company. If you want to join the chill party that is my stream chat, head over to
-My friends and family, for understanding and appreciating the math geek that I am and how it can manifest in my hobbies.
-Everyone who loves this game and the unique, creative combat system I've had so much fun with. This run is for you, and I truly hope you enjoy it.

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