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The best weapon to use Tome of Power with?

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In Heretic there is that very useful item called Tome of Power which makes your weapons stronger in some specific way. I was wondering, with which weapon you use it for the most time and for what reason, and which tomed weapon effect you find the most useful or interesting.


I'm finding myself mostly using it with Ethereal Crossbow. Probably the reason is that the effect is very generic and simply making the weapon just stronger and faster without making anything special that would force you to use the weapon in specific ways or cases, giving it the most general use case. I usually use it when I'm about to face a group of stronger enemies I need to get rid of faster, which is quite usual situation.

With Elven Wand the effect is kind of similar (stronger+faster), but the Elven Wand is not that much strong on its own, so it is outpaced by Ethereal Crossbow. I use Elven Wand with Tome rather on earlier maps when there's enough ammo for it and there are lot of weaker enemies.

For Dragon Claw, I did not understand the effect for quite long time when I was a kid. So I used it the least from all weapons (except the Staff of course), as I felt it just consumed lot of ammo and was not that much strong against individual enemies. Later I learned it's really strong and useful against big crowded areas, and the flying projectiles take damage to enemies all around the room. But still, I feel it has quite limited use case as it's not that much useful against flying enemies for example, so I still use it only in rare occassions.

The Hellstaff's most significant effect is the bloody rain that takes damage from enemies standing under it. This is quite useful, but only when the enemy stands long time enough under the rain. The drawback is that often the enemy just passes through the rain or misses it, losing the full effect of it. I always need to find some advantageous spot, for example a blocking line which enemies cannot pass and there's high probability they will stay for most of time in that area, then the rain can take the most damage.

The flamethrower of the Phoenix Rod is really strong, but it is only short-range attack. Due to that, it is practically useless against distant or flying enemies. I almost exclusively use it against bosses (Maulotaur and D'Sparil), mostly in combination with Ring of Invicibility.

The tomed Firemace can instantly kill most of non-boss enemies, so at the first look it seemed to be really useful and strong to me. But later I found out it had no efffect against ghost enemies and was not very good against flying enemies, and not useful against bosses at all. But what is the biggest flaw of this weapon ever, that it is very hard to use when I'm strafe-circling around enemies in order to dodge projectiles. When I'm strafing, the projectile is shot in a different direction, not straight to the enemy which is what I want. So it order to shoot, I must stand still, which makes much higher chance I get hit by enemy. I rarely use Firemace anyway, and sometimes I remember I have one I can use when I leave lot of not-picked-up ammo for it.

The Gauntlets are really good as you can drain health from enemies. I don't use it really often as I don't like it's only close-range attack, but sometimes I take advantage of it.

The Staff, I think, I'm nothing to say about that.

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My loose order of preference would probably be about like this, but some are quite situational:


Gauntlets of the Necomancer - The vampirism can be immensely useful and you do get increased range when you're tomed.  You can even take down a lone maulotaur with these, but you have to be careful about groups of enemies, especially groups of disciples.  This is a great way to start a tome burn if you're low on health and have no other healing items around, then you can switch to something else when you're topped off.


Elven Wand - If tomes and wand crystals are plentiful enough, it's a good way to burn wand crystals you're not otherwise using, especially against crowds of weaker to mid tier enemies.  It's not that devastating but rarely feels wasteful.


Ethereal Crossbow - particularly good for crowds or the nice wide target of iron liches, but decent in general.  Also good if you're dealing with ghosts and the crossbow is all you've got a decent amount of ammo for.


Dragon Claw - Niche use for crowds in open spaces, I think it's also ok for bosses even with the reduced damage output (bear in mind they take continual damage the entire time the spikes are inside them, and bosses have a wider hitbox, so it probably evens out somewhat?)


Hellstaff - Niche use for when you can funnel a crowd into a chokepoint, otherwise tends to be kind of wasteful.  In vanilla it's not worth shooting more than two storms at once, unless you want to change the placement of one.  Otherwise wait for them to burn out.  Dunno if ports let you have more, probably.  For bosses, I feel like untomed is more effective.


Phoenix Rod - For bosses or beefy enemies that can be stunlocked (ophidians, weredragons).  Can be ok for spraying crowds but other weapons (and the detonations from the untomed version) tend to be better for those situations I think.


Firemace - I feel like this was designed more for deathmatch TBH.  It's an all right ophidian killer if you've got a bunch of those around.  Think of it like this, it's an instant kill except against bosses, so hit the highest HP enemies you can with it to maximize damage output.  That means snakes, and weredragons next after them.  For gargoyles and golems don't bother wasting this.  I'm not 100% sure but I think vs. bosses the untomed version will actually hurt them more per cost of ammo, or maybe it just feels more effective thanks to stunlocking.


Staff - Mostly desperation as is par for the course with the staff, but you can sometimes use the slam effect it gets to help force an escape through a crowd a bit like a watered down version of the Disc of Repulsion in Hexen.


I think the thing to keep in mind with the Tome of Power (In all the games it's in, as far as I recall, though maybe not so much in Heretic II) is that tomed weapons are not always strictly better, you have to think about whether the effect you get is the suitable one for what you're trying to tackle.

Edited by ETTiNGRiNDER : Toming the crossbow is good when it comes to ghosts, too.

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2 hours ago, ETTiNGRiNDER said:

I think the thing to keep in mind with the Tome of Power (In all the games it's in, as far as I recall, though maybe not so much in Heretic II) is that tomed weapons are not always strictly better, you have to think about whether the effect you get is the suitable one for what you're trying to tackle.


For Heretic 2, most of the weapons do become better.


The staff gains a level, but there's no effect if it's already at level 3. Still, until you reach that point, it's useful for quickly splattering a lot of enemies which aren't that strong at that point.

The fireball becomes bigger and does more damage. That's about it, but it's still decent for that weapon.

The hellstaff shoots rail shots. Good for long distance enemies since the shots move a lot faster and they won't be able to dodge those.

The thunderblast shoots out 3 powerful magic missile type shots. This is one of two weapons that might not be as good powered up, since the unpowered version shoots out 5 rail shots in a spread, which is good for dealing with those pesky harpies. The powered up version has slower shots, making it easier for them to dodge.

The storm bow changes to green effects and becomes much stronger. One of the best to use while powered up.

The firewall is just a bigger version. Not bad, but there are better weapons to use with the tome of power.

The phoenix bow amplifies that explosion maybe 3-4 times and produces that familiar phoenix explosion effect (unpowered does not). Shooting one of these up close is a quick way of ruining your day (and everything else around you).

The sphere of annihilation is the other weapon that is bad when powered. Unpowered, it shoots a blue ball that explodes in an ever increasing sphere of energy. Direct hits will wipe out anything in 1-2 hits. Powered up, it shoots a rail shot, quickly followed by two more rail shots on either side, followed by two more on either side of those, and so on for another couple of shots. Because they really aren't focused on a single point and most of those shots would likely miss small targets, this one really isn't very good for much, especially when you have other better weapons at your disposal.

The iron doom is basically the powered up dragon claw, but the shots after impact don't go out indefinitely. It also costs a bit too much mana for the damage it does. It's still decent, though I prefer the sphere unless I know there's a lot of mana around. The big bouncing spiked ball is much like the powered up firemace (bouncing balls), but you can conntrol the shot easier. I wouldn't waste my mana on it though unless I want a few laughs.

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The gauntlets are what I go for mainly with the Tome, when I'm on low health, at other times, i just don't use the gauntlets at all. I recently watched Dwars's video on how an Elven Wand powered by the Tome could kill pretty much every enemy in the game below 1000 health quickly, as long as all particles fired connect. As from my experience, the Hellstaff is what I consider to be a better weapon when powered by the Tome. 


P.S Just, don't use the Staff with the Tome unless you have no ammo on all your weapons, as the staff when powered, will have more kickback. Or better, when you're on low health and have a tome, use the gauntlets.

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Given that ammo and quantity of tomes isn't a consideration I would 9 times out of 10 switch to the crossbow when using a ToP, in the same way that the SSG is the 'go to' or standard weapon I use mostly in Doom 2, barring a few exceptions. At longer ranges I would go with the Elven wand or Dragon claw if the claw would be good at getting shots into a large group.

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