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Systematic approach to completing Ironman wizard mode

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  • shogun00
    Originally posted by Cloda View Post
    Excalibur is not really my best table... I struggle with not being able to keep the "kickbacks" activated all the time and that seriously puts a dent in my usually approach.
    The easiest approach for Excalibur is to just ignore the kickbacks completely and practice on your nudging. Both side drains have movable gates, so it's actually very easy to save your ball by just doing small little nudge.

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  • Cloda
    Originally posted by Womble View Post
    Thanks a bunch for these vids Cloda.

    Any chance of you doing a series on Excalibur?
    Excalibur is not really my best table... I struggle with not being able to keep the "kickbacks" activated all the time and that seriously puts a dent in my usually approach. There is though a few that I am good enough to do videos for now - Wolverine, Spiderman (not that there is really one needed) and Biolab.

    Other tables that I can possibly do, but where I need to practice a lot on are - Blade (will be a long video), Mars (also going to be a long video and will be excruciating to watch if I have to repeat the Pyramid Mission 20 times!!!) and Rome (haven't played the table in about 6 months though).

    Hopefully Nekro Neko or some of the other guys will do some of these gameplay videos as well. I'll most probably only do one again in a weeks time or so.
    Last edited by Cloda; 06-11-2011, 09:15 AM.

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  • Womble
    Thanks a bunch for these vids Cloda.

    Any chance of you doing a series on Excalibur?

    Leave a comment:

  • Cloda
    Ironman Table Video

    I decided to record a video of me playing through to Wizard mode to go along with this guide. I made it, but not in 15 minutes so I had to split the recording into 3 parts. I also decided to have the Wizard mode as a separate video as I didn't have much confidence that I was going to get past it (Ultimo is quite a mean machine in case you haven’t noticed!!!). Hopefully in future I (or somebody else) can replace part 3 with a successful attempt at beating Ultimo!

    This was not my cleanest attempt ever and I didn’t really play according to my own guidelines (performance pressure!!!). I also had quite a bit of luck and there are more than a few excruciating moments e.g. 3 x Vortex Beam and 2 x Flame Blast attempts, not being able to hit the mission targets, repeatedly missing the same required ramp.... I’m sure it will be excruciating to watch as well but I don't know how to edit the videos without losing quality, so I rather kept it intact... warts and all. My attempt at Ultimo was pitiful, but lets rather not talk about it....

    Part 1: 4 Ironman Missions

    I pulled together a Wizard mode guide for Ironman on the Zen Studios Forum and decided to record a video of me playing through to Wizard mode to go along wit...

    Part 2: Last 2 Ironman Mission, S.H.I.E.L.D. Missions and rest of Stark Missions

    I pulled together a Wizard mode guide for Ironman on the Zen Studios Forum and decided to record a video of me playing through to Wizard mode to go along wit...

    Part 3: Ultimo Whipping

    I pulled together a Wizard mode guide for Ironman on the Zen Studios Forum and decided to record a video of me playing through to Wizard mode to go along wit...

    Leave a comment:

  • OzV1
    Nice guide.
    Last edited by OzV1; 06-07-2011, 09:12 PM.

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  • Systematic approach to completing Ironman wizard mode

    After reading some of the recent posts on this forum I realised that there are many people that have not reached or completed a tables Wizard mode yet. In response to that (and because I love ZEN’s pinball work so much and want everybody to enjoy it to the fullest) I wrote a step by step guide for reaching and defeating Fantastic Four Wizard mode.

    I have since been playing Ironman a lot and have learned quite a few tricks that work for me and will hopefully work for you as well. This table is also in a way the perfect table for going for Wizard mode – hear me out you unbelievers!!! All the missions are straight forward with clear goals, there is nothing that can side-track you as everything you do is progress towards reaching Ultimo, the two required multiball modes are perfect training for taking on Ultimo and to get to him will take you less than half an hour so you can repeatedly try for it.

    The guys that have completed the Wizard mode or that have lots of experience with this table, please feel free to suggest corrections, where I can make the guide a bit more clearer or need to add a step or whatever. This is also not a table guide, this is a straight path to the Wizard mode (For Rapierdwt's excellent guide follow this link - Here goes!!!!


    - Be honest with yourself... if you still struggle with aiming and keeping control of the ball, set the table to easy mode (with max. extra balls etc.) in the tables operators menu to give yourself the best shot at this.
    - Learn the layout of the table (table image in the overhead shot thread).
    - Read the table rules and Rapierdwt's guide so that you understand how to complete each mission.
    - Forget about improving your score for now – the scoring on this table is such that there is very little variation from one game to the next e.g. each time I play through all the missions and reach Ultimo I have a score around 45 - 50 million. So no point in spamming anything, it is not going to benefit you.
    - Forget about the extra ball. I have been awarded it a few times, but rarely when playing once through to Ultimo… usually only on my second round of completing all the missions do I manage to reach him.
    - People like me, the ones that choke under pressure, prefer to play with the DMD display off!!! Once you have completed all of the missions once and know what is expected, there is no need to have the DMD or the action camera on as everything is quite straight forward… they will just distract you when you least need it.

    - You obviously need to be able to do all the shots on the table but pay special attention to the following:
    • that you can consistently shoot the Party Ramp with both flippers as keeping your kickbacks activated on this table is very important.
    • that you can consistently hit the Stark Tower Ramp with both flippers as you need to hit it often for normal gameplay and Ultimo.
    • that you can do a controlled backhand shot from the right flipper to hit both the ball lock targets.
    • that you can hit the three mission targets with all three flippers; especially practice the top left flipper as you can hit the middle and right mission targets quite consistently and sometimes the left one as well.

    - For multiball you will need to practice the following shot options to have a better chance of beating Ultimo:
    • to keep all 4 balls in play as long as possible and to hit the Science Award ramp while you have all the balls in play (teaches you to shoot the Stark Tower Ramp and the Right Orbit). Remember though to keep only 2 balls before you hit the last flashing lane on Vortex multiball so that you only need to lock 2 balls.
    • with a ball on each flipper, to consistently hit the right orbit from the left flipper.
    • with both balls on the right flipper, flick the top ball with a backhand around the right orbit while controlling the other ball.
    • with both balls on the left flipper, shoot the top ball up the Stark Tower ramp while controlling the other ball. This is needed during Ultimo mode to sepperate the balls as you won't have a scoring shot from this flipper if they are together.

    Initial and Critical Goals

    - This table will gobble up balls down the out-lanes and down the middle - it appears impossible to keep the ball alive for long when you first start playing. The key to overcome this is to always have your kickbacs activated and to play a controlled game.
    - Accept that you are going to play a slower and more calculated game as this table requires pinpoint accuracy. It is not always possible but resist to play with a moving ball… whenever you can, bring the ball under control by catching it on a flipper. When the ball moves too fast, shoot it up a ramp/orbit that you are comfortable with and know how you are going to bring it under controll.
    - Activate your kickbacs - if you use one, activate it again.
    - As soon as you lose a ball – activate the kickbacks again (after you first went for the Lock targets… see below).
    - Work at keeping two of the three kickback lights on both sides activated at all times as it will make it much easier to reactive a kickback once it has been used.

    These goals are very important if you want to keep the ball alive on this table. If you don't stick to it... you are not going to get anywhere.


    - You don’t have much say as to which mission you do when so just make peace with it and take it as it comes.
    - When a game first start, immediately go for the lock targets as the ballsaver is active. If you manage to get both and lock a ball while the ballsaver is still active – good. If not, forget it for now and start working on activating the kickbacks.
    - You can get into a shot rhythm for the kickbacks but it is not that easy and your chance for a bad ricochet is big - so rather stick to the controlled approach explained above.
    - After the kickbacks are activated, go for the mission targets and start a mission. Keep in mind that while you can hit the mission targets with all three flippers, your chance for a drain is the biggest with shots from the left flipper. The top left flipper is relatively safe and the right flipper as well – as long as you have your right kickback activated because some of the shots will go down the right outlane. You also have a bigger risk of a drain if you shoot at the mission hole from the left flipper, so preferably use the right flipper.
    - The Stark missions will either be completed, or close to being completed once you have completed the 6 Ironman missions and will be easy to finish off from there.
    - The two S.H.I.E.L.D. missions are usually the last two to complete before you can get to Ultimo and can be a bit of work to complete safely but both gets much easier with practice.
    - Remember to go for the lock targets each time ball save is activated either through normal gameplay by hitting the 4 small targets next to the ramp or when you start a new ball. Lock the ball in as soon as the hole is exposed because if you lose a ball, you will have to rehit the two lock targets again to expose the hole.

    Wizard Mode Preparation

    - The first and most important thing to remember about Wizard mode is that it is not timed... I repeat, it is not timed, so you have all the time in the world.

    Wizard Mode

    - This mode only has one stage where you have to hit Ultimo 10 times on his body with balls that are lit on fire after you hit the rotating flashing lanes.
    - After the four balls are launched the ball save will be activated – during this time do your best to keep all four balls in play, to get past Ultimo to hit the flashing lanes and to light as many balls on fire as possible. Score as many hits as you can on his body during this time but do not be discouraged if you don’t get any… remember, he is a big dude in the middle of the table that is doing his best to block all your shots.
    - Once the ball save start to blink… bring two balls under control. Don’t worry about the rest of the balls… you only need two to continue successfully.
    - Now the fun starts… all you need to do is to recognise when you have an open shot past Ultimo on one of the flashing lanes or if you need to reposition your balls from the left flipper to create a shot opportunity. Use your practiced normal and 2-ball shots.
    - Once you have a ball on fire… shoot it at Ultimo, but first make sure you have the other ball under control. Sometimes the ball falls in such a way after you hit Ultimo that you can immediately hit him again but do not panic if you only hit him once (or not even once) and can’t get another shot in straight away.
    - Depending on how the balls end up… revaluate your position and reposition the balls as necissary.
    - Sometimes you have to wait quite a while, but your next shot opportunity will come… remember the mode is not timed.
    - The whole key to beating Ultimo with this approach is patience and control. Each time I have failed it was not because it wasn’t working, but because I was trying to rush it.

    Well, there you have it. I hope you complete it quickly but know that you might have to repeat it more than just a couple of times to finally beat Ultimo! Please let us know once you have done so... and let us have your best bragging... you earned it! Be assured, once you have reached and completed Wizard mode your confidence will go up, you will feel that you have beaten the table and the scores will come.
    Last edited by Cloda; 09-14-2011, 10:46 AM. Reason: Update and Spelling