Ado's Painter ★★★★★ (credit)
Ado's Painter is usually the fastest way to beat bosses or large groups of enemies. You choose either Kracko, Ice Dragon, or Waiu, riding them until you take a hit or expend a generous time limit.
Kracko is the all-rounder and shines against aerial bosses. It can fly freely, attack a wide circle around it with the shown beams, or shoot a lingering lightning bolt directly downward. The beams are best. You can stick close to bosses with them for massive damage, especially if you stay closer to a boss, or you can move around while using beams to cover a wide swathe of enemies, especially vertically. The lightning bolt is occasionally
ideal in specific situations, like when phase 1 Zan Partizanne has her back to the wall and covers a large portion of the area near her by slashing her partisan. There, being higher above her can help.
When using the beams, their starting position and rotation direction depend on which way you are facing. This occasionally matters for getting certain hits as quickly as possible, especially the final hits on bosses or crumpled mini-bosses.
Kracko flies as fast as Ribbon does. You can enter doors with it just fine–just be aware it will expire in the transition–so feel free to do that.
At the start and after every checkpoint, Kracko will always be the fastest boss you can select with Ado's Painter. That's great!
Ice Dragon ★★★★★ (credit)
Ice Dragon quickly damages grounded enemies, clumps of enemies, and bosses. That Ice Breath you see is his best move. Beyond its high damage and ability to linger when you hold the button, it can freeze enemies. This includes some large enemies that take longer to defeat, like the giant Waddle Dee constructions, instantly defeating them. Frozen enemies can be pushed, including with Ice Breath itself, to hurt other enemies, and any enemies spawning on frozen enemies take damage, though these come up rarely.
Like with Kracko, moving while using Ice Breath lets you cover large swathes of enemies. You can quickly jump and you can turn the Ice Breath around, unlike with Kracko's beams. However, Ice Dragon lacks free flight, though he does have a funky little hover I haven't got much use from.
Ice Dragon has two other attacks I haven't got much use of. It can make a block of ice and push it forward, which may slightly optimize damage on bosses if you time it a certain way: the block hits the boss just as they become vulnerable/spawn in, but in a way that lets you immediately start using Ice Breath as they become vulnerable. I haven't got around to testing this or getting use from it, though, and I imagine it has marginal-to-zero benefit. Ice Dragon can stomp and summon icicles around him, but I'm not sure how this would be useful, since the attack is somewhat slow, and you can easily turn around with Ice Breath to cover both back and front.
Walking with Ice Dragon is slower than running. You'll want to eject from him in the aftermath of defeating mid-bosses, for example, so you don't have to slowly walk all the way to the door.
Ice Dragon starts second in the selection order. It usually isn't too hard to access, as you'll find situations to use Kracko and thereby bump Ice Dragon up to first. Trust me.
Waiu struggles to find use for me, unfortunately. Their main attack is throwing cutters, which are somewhat slow but have good horizontal range. However, in almost any situation where you'd want this, just start flying with Ribbon and use the shard gun, which is faster to initiate and more flexible. If you just want horizontal damage in general, use Ice Dragon's Ice Breath.
The main use I've found for Waiu is maximizing DPS in specific limited situations where accessing Kracko or Ice Dragon would take too long. On my current route, Phase 1 Dedede and Phase 1 Meta Knight jump out. They also have a teleport and summoned spikeball, which I assume have marginal utility I haven't gotten around to, like Ice Dragon's Ice Block.
Managing Ado's Painter
The Ado's Painter bosses are always in a given order. If you input the command and let go immediately, you will summon the first in the order. If you keep holding, Adeleine's canvas will slowly rotate between showing all of the bosses. She will draw whichever the canvas shows when you let go.
There are many opportunities to summon the first boss in the order without losing much time, especially as enemies or bosses spawn in. Waiting until the second
boss shows up takes considerably more time and is harder to squeeze in, though there are some chances. Sometimes, you can bring one boss up during dead time, like before some cutscenes, to paint the second boss in the order once the cutscene ends. A significant part of routing this speedrun is understanding and managing which boss is first in the order.
When you start the speedrun and after every checkpoint, the order becomes Kracko -> Ice Dragon -> Waiu. This is nice of the game, roughly ordering them from more helpful to less helpful. When you paint a boss or
see it on the canvas, that boss moves to last in the order. For example, if you paint Kracko, Kracko expires, you wait five rooms, and you start to paint Ice Dragon but get interrupted mid-painting, Waiu will be first in the order next time.
All bosses from Ado's Painter have 1 health and disappear when you get hit. Not only will you lose time using Ado's Painter again, but the order of bosses may not be friendly to you, so do try and not get hit!
If you are riding a boss for the full length of a generous timer, it will expire, and you will pop in the air for a bit. This loses some time and is not ideal. You'll want to find a window to voluntarily eject or, if you're Kracko, ride it to a door and enter.
The actual act of painting a boss creates a hitbox with a bit of damage, which can help towards optimal damage sometimes.
Ribbon's Crystal ★★★★☆ (credit)
Once you start flying with Ribbon, you can use her Crystal Gun, and it's fantastic. Each one
shot shoots two
crystals that go a far distance horizontal at moderate speed. With their only moderate speed, it's ideal to be as close to enemies as possible. The two crystals will differ in height and trajectory slightly–think Ivysaur's Razor Leaf from Smash Bros., but with less extreme height variation, and you shoot two at once. This is your primary attack for being in the air–unless you're riding Kracko of course.
You can fly around while shooting crystals, which gives you a lot of flexibility. Making good use of the gun and two crystals per shot can clear enemies and obstacles in cycles that may not seem possible initially. There's lots of little room for for optimization, like timing the crystals to hit an enemy just as they spawn. However, using the gun slows down your speed, so you should only use it as much as you need to.
Ideally you'll want to be using a boss for DPS and beating large groups of enemies, but there are situations where you don't have enough dead time to paint one usefully, and you'll end up using this instead.
Fairy Dance ★★★☆☆ (credit)
Adeleine summons Ribbon, and they do an adorable spin. You can slightly move left or right while using the move. It has good invincibility and range.
Besides hand-carrying serotonin to your bloodstream, this move is primarily your best close-quarters combat option when Kracko isn't available. Phase 2 King Dedede in my current route comes to mind. It's also generally useful if you end up in a tight spot, like unexpectedly losing the boss you were riding. The invincibility and slight motion can shine in getting through certain groups of enemies or obstacles quickly–damage boosting is almost always slower in such cases.
Al Fresco ★★★☆☆
Adeleine paints food for healing; only a small amount if it's just her and Ribbon, but much more with a full team of friends. Sharing food between friends means your whole group can go to or near full health. Ideally, you shouldn't be using it too much. It takes a lot of time, time Ado's Painter competes for, and Checkpoints and Health Boosts restore your health to full. However, there are specific spots of dead time it shines, and how cool is it to have free healing in the back pocket!
Painter ★★★☆☆ (credit)
Adeleine randomly paints one of four past enemies: Batamon, Ghost Knight, I³, or Octagon. These move and attack for a short time before disappearing.
Painter can be tricky to work with; besides the randomness, many times you'd want to use it, you'd use Ado's Painter instead. That aside, there are definitely good specific situations to use it, and Painter RNG only has tiny effects on the run.
Batamon walks quickly forward, turning the other way if it hits an obstacle. Great for dealing with enemies, who Batamon easily plows through without stopping. Less great against bosses, because it only gets one hit before turning around.
Ghost Knight and Octagon ★★★☆☆ (credit)
Ghost Knight and Octagon walk (float?) forward some, attack for a bit, and repeat. I believe the differences are Ghost Knight does more damage, Ghost Knight can jump, Octagon attacks slightly quicker, and Octagon doesn't have gravity if you paint it mid-air, but these differences don't end up mattering too much. Both are great for bosses.
I³ slowly rises up and to the right, pounds downward in one high-damage attack, and repeats. I³ has difficulty being ideal in practice due to how the routing turns out-I'll explain there when it's relevant.
Canvas Cover ????? (credit)
This guard move makes you immune to attacks, but Fairy Dance's invincibility makes that pretty unnecessary. The real allure is this:
"When released, paint is sprayed around Adeleine to deal damage. By tapping both the direction and L/R buttons, Canvas Cover can be repeated very quickly and deal massive damage to enemies nearby.
How good is this? I don't know! The top time used this + a turbo controller, but I do not have a turbo controller, and I do not want to hurt my wrists too much! So I haven't played around with it. Maybe you can utilize it well without hurting your wrists, or you have a turbo controller, so if you're interested in trying it out, by all means.
Brush Slash ★★☆☆☆
Adeleine swings her paintbrush in front of her, splattering damaging paint. It only works on the ground, only covers one side, doesn't let you move, and doesn't do enormous damage, so it's a bit tricky to find use for, but it finds time now and again. Its range is great for how quickly you can use it.
Brush Force ★★☆☆☆
Like dashing, except you hit anything in front of you! A sweet deal? Not quite. Actually hitting an enemy pushes you back, which is (almost always) the opposite direction of where we want to go. Its damage isn't that high either. However, breaking blocks doesn't push you back, so there's one situation Brush Force is optimal, and you can dash with style.