By VarldinVarldin Last updated
This is a written guide with a video alongside it so you can visually see what's going on (plus an explanation on some things. They're intended to go together so everything can be explained with full clarity.
Seeing as how we currently don't have any guides for any of the categories, I wanted to put one together for Any% as this is the category I am most familiar with.
To start off: I run on the PC. One thing I discovered somewhat recently is that setting your graphics to “fast” when opening the game makes it faster than the other settings. If you decide to do this, there is the potential to Soft Lock in Southern Trail, which I will discuss later.
Secondly, what I do before runs is I go to my original save file (my casual playthrough) and warp between a couple of areas for a bit. For whatever reason in the programming, this makes it so you load zones quicker. I noticed this myself after realizing that when I did multiple runs in a stream, an hour or two in I would load up Beach City after leaving Steven's house much quicker than the first run of the day. Sometimes the differences were up to like twenty seconds. I believe this is true on the consoles too, so I'd suggest anyone speedrunning this or any other category do this prior to starting your first run of your session.
Now, as much as we all love Steven Universe, we'll be wanting to go through the text as fast as possible. Personally, I just mash, but I believe you can also press the button for dialogue as soon as it appears and press it again and it achieves the same thing.
Another thing to note: different party members move at different speeds. For Any%, you'll almost always be controlling Connie due to her being the fastest in your party. You'll switch when you need to (e.g. for the Greg guitar puzzle). For movement, sometimes we'll be using Steven due to his roll. Steven's roll is faster at some points, mostly if you can extend the roll in some way. You can see a few examples of this right off the bat: rolling to exit the house, rolling down to the beach where Connie is, and jumping and rolling off the boulder before the Cookie Cat. The one place where I don't do this where I think it might be a little faster is in The Forge. If you'd like to try that, I'd recommend viewing FrogPope's runs and seeing him do it.
As for your splits: You can split whenever you want, or not even have splits. So long as you start and end the timer as per the rules of the category. All the splits we do for this category and other categories are more or less in one of two areas: when you leave an area and the auto save icon appears, or when a fight has concluded. The splits that the currently active runners use are the following:
(First Fight) Splitting after the first fight right after Hessonite has her debut.
(Get Key) Splitting upon the end of the fight where the light constructs drop the Beach City key.
(No Pearl :() Splitting when you exit Beach City and enter the woods.
(Familiar Grounds) Splitting when exiting Familiar Grounds.
(Waterfall Way) Splitting when exiting Waterwall Way.
(South Trail) Splitting when exiting South Trail.
(Bye Felicia) Splitting when leaving the boss's room. (Often referred to as Dave.)
(Forge Skip) Splitting when entering the top of the Forge after the skip.
(Chrism) Splitting when the prism reacts to Steven's dialogue in the last phase and begins to stumble backwards (thus ending the fight)
(Heckonite) The white flash when the final blow is dealt to Hessonite (and finishing the run!)
I've listed what the splits are named in my own. A couple are personal flairs. The third split is usually called Beach City Done, Bye Felicia is Dave Skip, the prism split is Spectral Conclusion, and Heckonite would be Hessonite.
With all that said, let's get on to the actual run.
Getting from the start of the run to the end of this split is pretty simple. There's a couple of things here you can do that are fast, so it would be ideal to do them. As you can see in my run, roll down after grabbing the cheeseburger backpack, roll down to Connie, go on top of the boulder and roll down, try to jump on Lars' head and roll (something I didn't get), roll into the cutscene.
Some dialogue options are faster than others, and some you want to pick because of who it gives XP and builds relationship points with. So you pick the right most one with Connie in front of the Big Donut, and the left option when talking to Hessonite. The Cookie Cat and Star Fruit in the sand will drop in a location randomly. Ideally they'll be in front of you.
Your own movement, loading time, and the Cookie Cat/Star Fruit locations account for the most time variability in this split.
Now for the fight itself. After Connie attacks, there are three dialogue boxes. A cool thing occurs here: the enemies do not attack until you continue with the tutorial, but the star ring continues building your points. It turns out it's faster to let it build here than to just plow through the tutorial (due to it removing the enemies' attacks). You'll want to let it build till seven and resume the tutorial when it gets around to the bottom right arm of the star.
As you see me do in the video, I don't attack with Connie immediately at the end. This is a little something you should look out for, not only in this fight but every future fight: it can be faster to NOT attack immediately, but wait until the enemy gets closer to you. That way you save time on the attacking party member's movement. However, you don't want to wait if the attack would kill the enemy.
After the battle, grab the star fruit inside the car wash and move on to the next fight in front of Mayor Dewey. Note: sometimes, Steven gets stuck in the Car Wash. Unfortunately, this is a soft lock and you'll need to save and quit, so if this happens you'll want to reset). Unlike in the first fight, you can now peform Perfect Hits and Blocks. They add a bit of star power to your bar, so getting these is fairly important. As you can imagine, a run where you got every perfect block and hit vs. never getting them would add up to a bit of time overall. Especially if this results in an enemy attacking and having to go through that whole animation, which is a time loss.
Continuing from above, note how at around 5:35 in my run, even though I had enough points to attack again, I made a choice here for optimizing the fight. I waited until the enemy moved closer, and I took into account that getting a perfect hit would increase my bar a little bit, so I don't let it refill before doing my attacks. I then attacked as soon as I could since I knew Connie would kill it.
And that's an important thing to remember in Beach City fights, and fights in this game in general during speedruns. A lot of times, the speed of a fight relies on you reading the field and seeing what you can do to ensure things go fast. Trying to kill an enemy before it attacks, having two next to each other so Connie can hit them both, letting enemies be on top of each other if you attack with Steven since the second part of the attack will smack them both, not doing two hits (pressing A when the star is below the enemy) because one hit does enough to kill. Getting stars off of an enemy's death (which is total RNG) and figuring out whether to use it immediately or wait. The more you do runs, the more you'll pick up on these little things and be able to take advantage of them.
When Steven gets frozen, you can switch to Connie before the dialogue appears. Do that. Then grab the sweatband in the shop, as you'll need this for the Garnet fight shortly.
One thing we're doing in these fights is trying to get Steven and Connie's relationship built. Their team attack is fusing into Stevonnie, and having them attack the final phase of Spectral Conclusion is the fastest way to finish the fight. While you're going through the fights here, you'll hopefully get at least one kudos to help build them up. Otherwise, the other way we build that bar is by having one of them deal the final blow on an enemy attacking the other. In other words, if Steven deals the final blow on an enemy who is going after Connie, they get relationship points. The reverse is true as well. So, another thing to look for is enemy attack patterns and taking advantage of this. If you watch the video, you'll see me do these things during these fights. In front of the fry shop, I wait until the top two enemies are near each other so Connie hits both. Killing the red one with Steven helps knock the one blue warrior closer to the other when he dashes into it.
We have one dialogue come up in Waterfall Way where Steven can compliment Connie and give their bar a little tick. Depending on how far behind you are at the end of this split, you may need to either heal Steven in Familiar Grounds a few time, or otherwise it could simply not be worth the long Familiar Grounds and you may want to reset your run. Typically I'm willing to do one heal in Familiar Grounds, anything more I'll reset. (For one heal to be all you need, you need the bar to be just almost full.) Alternatively, you may get a kudos to appear in Familiar Grounds and can have Steven give Connie or Connie give Steven kudos.
You'll use a star fruit at the start of the rest of the fights up until Spectral Conclusion. Bear in mind that the fight after you use the cookie cat, the in-fight inventory will be on it. So you can't simply mash the activation button, otherwise you won't select it. And accidentally using a cookie cat is a bad thing.
Level Steven up in attack. First strike during the next two fights, and you'll want to use Greg in both of them after getting all the constructs into position. Which means getting them closer to Greg, since it will do more damage.
Sometimes things can go wrong and you'll need to improvise (unless you plan to reset). For example, a construct might attack Greg before you can stop it. Improvising for things like that, or missing perfect hits/blocks is another thing you'll get better at with time.
Beach City Done
Grab the key, return to Dewey, give him the key, equip the badge on Steven. Switching to Steven near the end to roll up and into the cutscene is a bit fast. You also want to be on Steven because we're using our first trick now. If you open the menu during cutscenes, you can use your selected character's out-of-battle ability. This is great for Steven because his actually lets you move. I hold my analog stick directly up and mash the roll button. You should get down the hill a little. You can also switch back to Connie during the dialogue rather than waiting for the camera to pan back onto you. Proceed to the fight.
The important things for this fight: have Connie defend Garnet, put an attack band on Garnet, and hope for good RNG. I go after enemies who are moving to attack and hope they're attacking Garnet/Connie, as this will help their relationship. You should be able to finish this fight before Connie's defend runs out and she runs back to her original position (which is slow). An ideal fight will drop you at least two stars so you can finish the fight a bit faster. Remember your perfect hits, especially both with Garnet's attacks – missing even one means you'll usually be too slow to end this fight and Connie will run back.
The right-most option is the quickest, so pick that. Now, I make a little detour here to grab the bottle.
In this speedrun, we need two level up charms. In convenient locations, we have three – Dave's room, The Forge, and Yellowtail's quest. The bottle is for Yellowtail's quest. Now, what I typically do is I use the charm from the boss room and the charm in the forge. The other route forgoes the Forge charm, instead getting the other two. That route also picks up Sneaky Sneaks in South Trail and uses them as soon as you get Yellowtail's charm. I did some timing and testing myself and I feel like the time difference between these two routes is probably minuscule at best. I prefer the Dave + Forge ones as I find it easier.
I get the bottle because it's a backup in case I don't get the Dave Skip. Sometimes it fails (more on that later), and I find that getting the bottle and then talking to Yellowtail rather than going up the left side of the mountain when you return to Beach City adds on about 20-25 seconds to a run, but means that a run can live on and go to Hessonite's Warship.
Continue on to the Woods.
We'll be grabbing the star fruit in the tree here, and then moving on to the fight. By now, you'll have Steven and Connie built all the way, or close to it. If you chose to continue a run where you'll need a heal or two, this is the fight you should do it in. Otherwise, in addition to getting through this fight (and the last until the Spectral Conclusion!) we need to build Garnet and Connie's relationship. While Stevonnie simply makes for a faster Spectral Conclusion fight, Garnet and Connie are rather critical to the run as their team attack allows us to 1-shot Hessonite.
As with the Beach City fights, start off with a star fruit, then have Connie defend Garnet. Connie can defend while still on her target, so you'll want to renew it before it runs out. Which means keeping an eye on your star points so you don't mess up and have it run out, since you'll lose time by having Connie run back to her position. For the fight itself, start off attacking one or both of the enemies, and then hope for good RNG. Ideally you'll get a kudos or two. Personally, I prefer to attack with Garnet in this fight. Soon enough, between defending Garnet, blocking attacks, and kudos, they'll have their bar filled. Your goal here is to finish the fight quickly while ensuring they've unlocked their team attack.
After the fight, you'll be skipping collecting the Light Dews and jumping on the rock next to the chest. It's a bit of an odd angle, usually I jump up-right, then go to the bottom left and jump and that usually works after a few tries. It's not terribly difficult, so it shouldn't take too long to get a feel for it.
Grab the chest, roll off with Steven and switch over to Connie. As you approach the door, mash Y (or whatever your inventory button is). I didn't get it in this run, but this sometimes has the key activate during the dialogue, which skips the inventory and dialogue that plays otherwise. When the characters begin to run forward towards the Light Steven, switching characters speeds up the cutscene a bit.
Now we're going to Waterfall Way.
Waterfall Way is pretty simple – it's just some menuing and movement. As you run forwards towards the puzzle, switch to Greg when he's in front of where the chest is. Now, I'm not too sure why, but I believe the game still reads your position as that of Connie's. Otherwise, you're not able to play the guitar and interact with the puzzle. You can open the chest as it appears. Ideally, you'd like the key to open and land on a character so you collect it, saving some time.
Right, Left, Left, Up, Down, Right is the solution. You'll know if you're interacting with it if the arrows are glowing with each guitar strum.
Continue through this part, arriving at Amethyst and picking the right-most option, drop down to collect the Sweatband, jump back up and continue along the path. If you'd like to grab the Together Breakfast to use during the final fight, feel free to. At the end, you'll want to pick the Connie option. If you were only one tick away previously, this should harmonize Steven and Connie. Otherwise if you're still not synched and are choosing to not reset, you can risk bubbling and/or healing Connie during Spectral and Hessonite. The risk being you're using stars you would otherwise have used for attacking.
Again, this split is essentially movement. You'll notice that when I go through the log I do a bit of pause buffering. As I said earlier in this guide, I do this to avoid softlocking in the log. I roll at a certain place and pause a few times and that negates the soft lock. (https://www.speedrun.com/sustl/thread/dwdbs).
Use the menu trick to move during this cutscene, grab the key and exit through the log. If you're fast enough, you avoid the second part of the dialogue between the party members. Move through the rest of the level, taking care to avoid the enemies jumping out of the bush. Grab the key, open the door, and continue. Use the menu glitch again to run into the loading zone instead of waiting for the short cutscene.
Earlier I mentioned the Yellowtail backup that I do in case Dave Skip fails. Unfortunately, as of now we do not know of a way to make this consistent. Grab a sweatband from the grass below and get into the cutscene while controlling Steven. Open the menu at some point so you can roll. What I do is wait until the camera pans to the pedestal and I see the shimmer of light appear on the prism, hold an up-right diagonal angle and roll. Your goal here for a successful Dave Skip is to get near to the chests so you can press the open button. Steven cannot move freely in this room unless he opens up a chest, which I do in this run. (Interestingly, I believe I mashed A enough to open the last chest despite being mid-roll). Once you've done this, grab the level up charm behind the ruins and warp to the forge.
The backup is if you fail to get to the chests so you can move freely, but are able to roll onto the warp pad. You'll then continue as normal, except when you warp to Beach City you'll move around to the far-side of the Temple, talk to Yellowtail, grab his charm, and proceed up the hill from there.
Move on through this area, grabbing the level up charm at the end, and returning to the entrance. Despite this skip sequence breaking the game and skipping the vast majority of it, this actually isn't all that difficult to pull off. (Excuse the fact I almost messed it up in the video).
What you're doing here is placing a character on the rocks in front of the entrance, making sure they're not following you back, and using your other character to jump up against the rocks. Go back and forth a bit with your jumps. I usually count to about 7 or so seconds before switching to Connie, and that tends to be long enough. Alternatively, sometimes she pops up (as you see here). Once Connie is inside the wall, jump and move around and eventually you'll get on top of them and can run up the mountain.
At the top you'll want to jump off and keep holding left. You should land on the middle platform. Run up it and you'll load up the forge.
Exit the forge. The game now believes that you've gone through the entirety of the game and gone through the forge. Move around a bit to activate the next cutscene. Now, you're on your way to Hessonite's Warship! Go down to the warp pad, and warp to Beach City. Now, if you messed up the Dave Skip and are doing the backup, you'll want to move to the right and go to Yellowtail for your second level up charm.
This is a trick called Temple Jump. Instead of running up the hill with Connie, Steven can double jump onto the statue's chest and then jump along her hair and reach Lion. Doing this optimally can save about 12-14 seconds. It's a bit tricky and seems to involve jumping at the statue, facing down to the beach house and then continuing the jump to get up. It seems to work like the Familiar Grounds Dew Skip jump, so I'd recommend some practice and you should understand for it feels after not too long. NOTE - since the Cheeseburger Backpack can get glitchy and not appear sometimes, I personally have started using the level up charms in Bismuth's Forge right before I get onto the warp pad and head back to Beach City. Sometimes it may not load in Hessonite's Warship, so I do this just do be safe.
If you're not grabbing Yellowtail's level up charm, nor doing the jump, go around the left-hand side of the mountain and talk to Lion. Remember: prior to the fight you'll need to use your two level up charms on Connie. Talk to lion, pick the left-most option and enter.
Now, you have characters to level up. The most important thing is to fill up Connie's attack, and I would recommend putting the final point into luck.
Anything else is kind of more of option. I give Garnet three points in defense because it ensures that a beam attack from the Prism won't outright kill her. If you want, you could also level up Steven's defense. Amethyst isn't used at all in these fights so there's no reason to increase her stats.
Spectral Conclusion has three phases. There are four different moves it uses and they correspond to what color it is.
Blue – It will shoot an energy ball at one of your party members. You'll engage in a little tennis match hitting it back and forth. If you succeed, it will fail one of the hits and hurt itself. Two things to note: it does more damage if it has a debuff on it, and if it aims for Steven you'll need to react really fast to hit it back the first time (Yes, I've lost runs due to not reacting fast enough when it chose Steven)
Red – It will fire rockets into the air, which will then come back and land on the field randomly. Pay attention to the shadows – sometimes all of them will miss. You'll want to react accordingly and shield party members, if you so choose. Ideally, they'll hit no one, or only hit Amethyst.
Green – After a bit of time, it heals itself.
Black/colorless – It will fire a beam attack which hits everyone. This is quite literally the worst one and can be a run killer. Even if you recover and make it to Hessonite, you'll need very good RNG to ensure Hessonite doesn't kill one of the three members needed for the final fight. If you got yourself the Together Breakfast in Waterfall Way, you'll probably be using it during Hessonite if this happens to you.
First phase is pretty easy. Luckily, you can set everything up quick enough that you can move on to the next phase before it gets a chance to use its attack. In my video I seemed to have glitched a little and it had a delay on choosing a color.
Red or black, you'll want to study with Connie immediately. I would then use Garnet's Shield Breaker when Connie's study is about halfway. It's pretty important that you get a perfect hit with Connie, and also hit the star on Garnet's bar. I wait a little to put the sweatband on Connie to maximize the amount of tim she has it. All of this combined means you can get it down to the next phase without it doing anything.
Green – I usually study and wait to see what its next color will be. Since it can't overheal itself and give itself more HP. Because if it's blue...
Blue – With Garnet's defense debuff, the energy ball will do enough damage to the Prism to end this phase, meaning Connie doesn't need to attack, saving you a bit of star power and having a free Study for the next phase. Personally, I consider this ideal.
Important to note – Connie cannot deflect the ball if she's in the middle of a study. The Prism is likely to attack Garnet since she has some aggro, but it's still random. This will kill Connie, so be cautious of studying while it's blue.
After the end of the first two phases, pick the left dialogue option. For the last one, pick the right one.
Phase 2 – Phase 2 is a bit scary. We don't fuse into Stevonnie just yet, and chances are the Prism will get off at least one move before we get it down enough. You'll want to attack with Connie mostly. Keep an eye on its debuff and have Garnet do her shield breaker again if it runs out. I managed to have a nice fight where I took it down before it could do its attack (red, so I would have had bombs). Note how I attack with Steven – attacks seem to slow it down a little, and also a perfect hit helped load up my star bar a little. If I had gotten blue, I would have let it go off before resuming my attacks with Connie. Green, I would have studied until it healed. I would have done the same I did here if it were black, since that beam attack would have been very bad.
Phase 3 – Phase 3 is where we use Stevonnie. Fuse into them. Again, make sure the Prism has Garnet's debuff. Use the star fruit we picked up in South Trail and attack the warrior. Like Phase 2, it will most certainly get off at least one attack. The good news here is that Stevonnie lives a beam attack, and even if Garnet is knocked out, she returns at the end of the fight.
Split when the screen flashes.
The Hessonite fight can be pretty frustrating, as a lot of it is going to come down to RNG.
Obviously, we don't want anyone to die. On our end, there are three things we need to do.
1) Garnet needs to have her debuff on Hessonite.
2) Steven needs to put a sweatband on Connie
3) Connie needs to study a minimum of two times. (Note, only two times means you MUST hit practically all of the attacks perfectly, especially Connie's flurry. Otherwise, it will be like my PB where Hessonite still had a bit of health and I lost over 20 seconds due to needing to attack her an additional time)
The third can be countered by the fact that an optimal Hessonite RNG (like I had in this video) isn't something you can expect to come across often. There's no harm in having Connie study additional times, so long as you take into account that you need 2 points for Garnet's debuff, 2 for Steven to heal the Prism, and 4 for the team attack.
Basically, you're going to want Connie to Study two times in concession. You'll then wait for Hessonite to attack the prism. When she's next to the prism, healing it with Steven's power will cause Hessonite to get a massive defense debuff. You then need to get Garnet's debuff on her, throw the armband onto Connie, and execute Garnet and Connie's team attack.
A few things to look out for. The Prism debuff seems to go away rather quickly, definitely quicker than Garnet's does. If you used another item (e.g. if you use a Together Breakfast as a health backup) you'll need to wait for the backpack to recharge to be able to use the sweatband. After Connie has her studies, you'll need 8 stars in order to perform all the moves you need. I've messed up previous fights by taking too long and the Prism debuff running out. Remember that there isn't a reason to use Garnet's debuff or put the armband on until you're ready to do the team attack.
Meanwhile, Hessonite seems to act randomly. We need everyone but Amethyst to survive this fight, so it isn't the end of the world if Hessonite attacks her. Her AOE attack is very frustrating. At full health, everyone will survive one of these. She will also attack people regularly, and she also has an attack that can 1-shot unless Steven's shield is on them (the attack where she aims her sword at someone). If the shield is on them, this seems to do about 40 damage to them rather than kill.
Many runs tend to die here on Hessonite – between the Prism and Hessonite, the vast majority of my resets happen at these two. It sucks to lose a run at the end, but unfortunately that's a commonplace for Any%. Hopefully, even if your Hessonite fight isn't optimal, you'll still be able to complete a run.
Once the screen flashes white on the last blow to Hessonite, go ahead and end the timer. And congratulations on finishing a run!
Attack the light
File Dupe Glitch