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Paper Mario: The Origami King Tape boss fight guide

How to beat the Shifty Sticker boss in Sea Tower

Paper Mario: The Origami King Tape boss fight guide Image: Intelligent Systems/Nintendo via Polygon

Paper Mario: The Origami Kings boss fights introduce a twist on the game’s spinning ring-based combat. In every fight against a Boss or a Vellumental, like this fight against Tape in Sea Tower, you’ll have to chart a path for Mario from the outside ring in and land on an attack action.

Every boss fight in Paper Mario: The Origami King has rules that you’ll learn over the course of your turns. Not knowing them means you’ll waste turns and open yourself to more damage.

In this Paper Mario: The Origami King guide, we’ll let you know the rules to Tape in Sea Tower so you don’t have to learn them the hard way, and then we’ll give you step-by-step guides to defeating it.

Tape boss fight strategy

There are two phases to your fight against Tape. We’ll call them the Dispenser phase and the Roll phase.

During the Dispenser phase, your goal is to hit all four quadrants of it with hammer attacks (1,000-Fold Arm attacks work, too) until the dispenser shatters. This phase is pretty straightforward.

During the Roll phase, your goal is to hit it with 1,000-Fold Arms Magic Circle attacks until it’s completely unspooled. This phase is tricky (and sticky) since Tape will roll around and tape rings and segments together, severely limiting your ability to move them around.

Throughout both phases, useful tiles will be hidden in treasure chests, so be sure to hit them.

Your boot attacks won’t work in either phase, so focus on Magic Circles, hammers, and healing.

In the second phase, your regular attacks deal minimal damage, so use your turns to heal if you can’t land a Magic Circle attack.

As its health drops, Tape might start spinning and glowing yellow. When that happens, the only attack that will damage it is a Fire Vellumental Magic Circle attack.

Hole Punch boss fight step-by-step

Knowing what to do and managing to do it are sometimes two different things in Paper Mario: The Origami King. Below, we’ll go step-by-step through this fight. Unlike the first few boss fights, this one doesn’t have a set pattern. The tiles, arrows, and items will change every fight and every round. Instead of spin-by-spin directions, we’ll give you goals for each phase.

Phase 1

The number of turns each phase will take depends a lot on luck and the presence of useful tiles. The goals listed below apply to every turn in this phase.

  1. Tape’s dispenser is divided into four quadrants (front left, front right, etc.). You have to destroy each quadrant to move to phase 2 — this takes roughly 50 points of damage each.
  2. If you attack directly from the side or front or back, you’ll damage two quadrants at once.
  3. Hit every treasure chest you can, and try to use extra attack tiles when they’re out.
  4. Block as best you can, but this phase should be over before you take too much damage.

Phase 2

This is where things get tricky and sticky. (Because of this phase, this fight easily last 10 minutes or longer.)

  1. This phase gets frustrating fast. Tape’s Roll Out ability means that the arena’s rings and segments get taped together, and you can’t get rid of the tape by sliding segments. Over time, you might even end up with the entire arena moving as one block. You’re not going to string together a beautiful path all around the arena, so only focus on what you’re able to do and try to achieve one goal each turn.
  2. Your first goal through every turn of this phase should be to land on an activated 1,000-Fold Arms Magic Circle. Since you won’t have much control over the rings, you might have to activate an ON switch one one turn, and hit the Magic Circle on the next.
  3. Any time you’re stuck or out of options, aim for a regular attack and use your turn to heal — your weapons will only deal a couple points off damage, so they’re not worth it. We can’t stress this enough: Heal whenever you can. Tape’s attacks in this phase deal 30 to 50 points of damage. You can only survive a few of them before you’re killed.
  4. Hitting a Fire Vellumental Magic Circle will deal some damage to Tape, but it will also clear the tape from the arena’s rings. Try to mix these in to keep your options open, but always prioritize 1,000-Fold Arm attacks (and healing).
  5. If Tape starts spinning and glowing yellow, only a Fire Vellumental attack will touch it. Just as importantly, though, Tape will follow its spinning with two attacks, so make sure you have the health to survive them.
  6. Keep cycling through 1,000-Fold Arm attacks, Fire Vellumental attacks, and healing until you win.