Nuclear Throne – Crowns of The Wasteland

A relatively comprehensive guide about these little fashion statements, and just how exactly each one alters gameplay.

What Are Crowns?

Crowns are secret modifiers that can be unlocked for each character in Nuclear Throne. Similar to artifacts in Risk of Rain, most crowns offer some challenge to play with, but can be quite rewarding if you know what you’re doing. This guide aims to share all of the details of each crown, so you may use them to their highest potential. Seeing how knowledge of the crowns’ existence is a spoiler in itself, this guide is pretty spoiler-heavy. You have been warned!

How Do I Obtain a Crown?

On 3-2 and 5-2 (the second levels of Scrapyards and Frozen City, respectively) you will find a large brown object called the Proto Statue. Damaging the statue a bit will open it, and it will suck in the rads dropped by enemies around it to charge. The density of enemies in the level is usually high around the statue, just make sure you don’t grab the rads yourself. Once charged, the statue will open a green portal to the Crown Vault, where you will nab your crown. Opening and fully charging the statue will spawn a couple IDPD portals in the level as well, stay on your guard and spot them before they ambush you.

In the Crown Vault, you will find a crown sitting in the middle of a pedestal-like structure. Walk into it and you will find a crown select screen. Choose a crown, and it’s yours! You may only have one crown at a time, entering another Vault and choosing a new crown will replace your current crown. There are two sets of crowns, Pre-loop Crowns and Post-loop crowns. After looping the game, Post-loop crowns replace Pre-loop crowns in the crown select screen. Remember this, because it is impossible to grab a Pre-loop crown from the Crown Vault if you’ve looped already. Also after looping, two more Proto Statues will spawn in the level progression, on 1-2 and 7-2.

How Do I Unlock a Crown?

To unlock a crown, you must loop the game after you’ve chosen that particular crown. Destroying the large generators that line the arena of the Throne before destroying the Throne itself will spawn a large loop portal upon the Throne’s defeat. Upon entering the portal and generating the next level, that crown will be unlocked for the character you are currently playing as. Unlocking a crown will allow you to select it in the Character Select screen and start a run with it automatically.

Alternatively, you may unlock a crown by defeating the IDPD Captain Boss, who spawns on the third level of the IDPD HQ. This method is useful for unlocking Post-loop crowns, as you can enter the HQ levels right after exiting the Crown Vault, provided you are skilled enough.

Unlocking a crown will grant you the Crown Life Achievement. Unlocking every crown for a character will grant you the Vault Raider Achievement. You must unlock every crown for every character if you want the Ultra Mutant Achievement.

Pre-loop Crowns

These crowns appear in the crown select screen before looping. After looping, they are replaced by Post-loop crowns.

Crown of Life

Benefits

At the beginning of every level, the radiation canister has a 66% chance of being replaced by a large Medkit, regardless of what level your current health is.

The game has a 50% chance of spawning a large Medkit if your health is below half upon generating the level. The Crown of Life’s effect adds to this chance, making it closer to around 83%.

Drawbacks

Mini Medkits won’t drop from enemies, even if your character is at low health.

Why should I use this crown?

In my opinion, this crown is one of the worst on the market. It fixes a problem that it creates, leading to almost no change in gameplay. The only practical use for this crown would be if you’re playing as Chicken. Upon entering headless Chicken mode and surviving, Chicken will lose some of her max HP. Touching a Large Medkit will regain the max HP lost by 1.

Crown Quirks

Large Medkits have a chance to become Health Mimics upon being generated. Having the Crown of Life increases the odds of a Large medkit spawning each level, thus increasing your odds of running into a Health Mimic.

Crown of Guns

Benefits

All enemies are 8% more likely to drop a weapon upon death, this includes enemies that couldn’t drop weapons before.

Drawbacks

Mini ammo chest won’t drop from enemies, even if your weapons are low on ammo.

Why should I use this crown?

With the Crown of Guns equipped, you will be seeing a LOT more weapons on every level. This will increase your odds of finding that particular weapon you want, like an Energy Sword or Super Flak Cannon for example. Running out of ammo for your weapons can be frustrating, but every weapon that uses ammo will give you ammo of its ammo type upon walking over it. The Large Ammo Chest will still spawn every level, so you have that to fall back on as well. Equipping melee weapons that don’t use ammo will also help with ammo conservation. This crown works WONDERS for Robot, as you can eat all the weapons that drop, giving you additional ammo and health.

Crown Quirks

The large generators, as well as the projectiles that Throne II and Crown Guardians fire, normally drop mini ammo chests. With the Crown of guns equipped, they have a chance to drop weapons.

Crown of Haste

Benefits

Mini Medkits dropped by enemies give 1 more health.

Mini ammo chests dropped by enemies give 1 more ammo.

Drawbacks

Mini Medkits and Mini ammo chests fade thrice as fast.

The value of rads isn’t increased, but they still fade thrice as fast.

Why should I use this crown?

The Crown of Haste will give you a small boost to your health and ammo pickups. +1 may not sound like a lot, but that extra health from medkits could turn the tides of battle. Fish and Plant’s increased mobility will make it easier to grab pickups. Eyes’ Telekinesis will gradually pull pickups towards him. The Extra Feet and Plutonium Hunger mutations will also make it easier to grab pickups.

Crown Quirks

The hands of the clock on the Crown of Haste will change depending on your system time, this can be seen in the character or crown select screens.

Crown of Destiny

Benefits

You get a free mutation upon selecting this crown.

Drawbacks

This mutation as well as all mutations thereafter, is limited to a choice of 1. This includes your ultra mutations. Horror gets a choice of two mutations.

Why should I use this crown?

Screw the meta! Starting with the Crown of Destiny will put your mutations at the mercy of the game. You get an extra mutation, so choosing Destiny could possibly put you a leg up in the race, especially if it’s a good mutation like Strong Spirit or Scarier Face.

Crown of Curses

Benefits?

All crowns have a 1/7 chance to make Weapon Chests Cursed, Crown of Curses increases it to a 2/3 chance.

Cursed Weapon Chests can possibly drop weapons from 2 levels higher, like a 7-3 weapon dropping on 7-1.

Cursed Weapon Chests always contain cursed weapons. They cannot be replaced by other weapons once you equip them.

Why should I use this crown?

The Crown of Curses is one of the safest crowns in my opinion, offering you risks you can choose not to take, and having several workarounds to these risks. Cursed weapons can be replaced by other cursed weapons, and this crown makes many more cursed weapon chests spawn. Also, entering a Crown Vault or looping will uplift the curse on weapons you’re holding. I wouldn’t recommend using this crown as Robot, as eating cursed weapons will deal a whopping 7 damage to you, which can be lethal.

Crown of Risk

Benefits

If you are at full health, enemies have a 50% higher chance to drop pickups.

Drawbacks

If you aren’t at full health, enemies have a 50% lower chance to drop pickups.

Why should I use this crown?

Using the Crown of Risk is, well, risky. Being at full health will give you a nice increase to the ammo that’s being dropped by enemies. However, just taking the tiniest bit of damage will drop that increased chance and then some. Defensive abilities like Crystal’s shield will help prevent damage, and mutations like Bloodlust and Rabbit’s Paw will help you get back on your feet in an instance you take damage.

Post-loop Crowns

Crown of Death

Benefits

Adds three small explosions around every instance of a big explosion in the game. (Exploding cars, Bazooka missiles, etc.)

Mini grenade weapons, (Grenade Rifle, Grenade Shotgun, Auto Grenade Shotgun, and the Cluster Launcher) will fire 1 more mini grenade per click.

Drawbacks

Your character has -1 max HP.

Doesn’t effect blood explosions, plasma explosions, or IDPD explosions.

Why should I use this crown?

The Crown of Death is very situational. It practically only effects a handful of explosive weapons, so this crown is good if you like using them, or nabbed a good explosive weapon by the time of selecting the crown. Boiling Veins will give you some life insurance for the now larger explosions.

Crown Quirks

When you die, you emit a gigantic explosion, mirroring that of Big Dog. Enemies killed by this explosion are added to your score.

Crown of Blood

Benefits

None, technically speaking.

Drawbacks

All enemies are doubled upon level generation. This does not effect bosses.

All enemies drop one less rad.

Why should I use this crown?

For fun of course! Immediately looking at the stats, one could summarize this is merely a crown to pick just for the challenge. While that is true with doubling the enemies and reducing rads, it’s still beneficial in a way. Let’s say you enter a level that spawns one scorpion normally. Scorpions drop 10 rads, but this crown will make it 9. However, the crown has also made the level spawn two scorpions, effectively increasing it to 18 rads. Picking Crown of Blood will make level you up faster, as well as giving you a better high score.

Crown of Hatred

Benefits

Walking over chests, radiation canisters, and large Medkits will give an extra 16 rads.

Drawbacks

Walking over chests, radiation canisters, and large Medkits will deal 1 damage to your character, which can be lethal. Medkits will heal first, then deal the damage.

Why should I use this crown?

The Crown of Hatred is another safe crown I like to use. The early-game rad boost is nice, and if you don’t have the health to tank the damage, you can just skip the chests. You can shoot the rad canister instead to prevent the damage, but you gain the normal amount of rads. Also, the level end portals can open chests for you, but they also won’t give the extra rads.

Crown of Love

Benefits

A lot more ammo chests spawn every level.

Drawbacks

No more weapon chests and radiation canisters, as they are being replaced by normal ammo chests.

Ammo chests still have a chance to spawn as present chests.

Why should I use this crown?

Another situational crown, the Crown of Love is most useful when you are satisfied with your choice of weaponry. If you’re armed with a Heavy Assault Rifle and a Plasma Minigun, they chew through ammo like it’s going out of style. The extra ammo is good, but you’ll still have to traverse the level to get to the chests. Also, Rogue’s Portal Strike canister still spawns, which is good.

Crown Quirks

The huge weapon chests that spawn in Y.V’s crib turn into huge ammo chests. They give 25 ammo pickups each, which is overkill.

Crown of Luck

Benefits

Upon generating a level, each enemy has a 10% chance to spawn with 1 health. Bosses aren’t effected.

Drawbacks

You will always be damaged down to 1 health when you enter a level. Rebel will start each level with half health, due to her passive.

Why should I use this crown?

The Crown of Luck is a very strong crown, but requires a lot of setting up. Mutations like Strong Spirit and Boiling Veins will help you stay alive with the 1 health, while mutations like Bloodlust and Rabbit’s Paw will help you get back to full. Impact Wrists is a wonderful mutation to pair with this crown, as the enemies with 1 health will quickly die from the corpses being flung about, creating a domino effect of corpse damage. Speaking of corpses, this crown synergizes well with Melting’s Brain Capacity ultra. With Brain Capacity, Melting’s active instantly explodes any enemy with 5 health or less, meaning you’ll be clearing levels and filling your screen with explosions in no time. Also, this crown is already a good choice for Melting, because of his already low health. Finally, this crown synergizes excellently with Horror’s Anomaly ultra. Anomaly kills all of the remaining enemies on a level based on their cumulative HP, an the Crown of Luck can make many enemies on each level have 1 HP.

Crown of Protection

Benefits

Dropped weapons that use ammo will give you 1 HP when walked over.

Drawbacks

Those dropped weapons will no longer grant ammo for that type when walked over.

Why should I use this crown?

Although useful, the ammo that dropped weapons give isn’t entirely necessary. This crown will give you a little more protection, as you now have another source of HP. Also useful if you’re going a melee route, as ammo isn’t as important.

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