You are always full of useful answers. Me, I'm just too lazy to figure out the whys after the fact, as long as my witch is not dead. hehehe
However, I did know the damage from traps is scaled on your level, but what I didn't get was why I had so much trouble in that last T6 version of Swirling Fear. I have done that trial before in a lower tier, and it was a cake walk compared to all the others I did this league. I really wasn't expecting any trouble for this last trial.
Was I in for a shock. It was nasty, my life see-sawed badly, to my eyes, the traps were on overdrive! Maybe I was just tired and everything looked faster in comparison and my reflexes were slower than normal. I had a horrible time. As you were on your last too, then you might remember Stinging Doubt. That one was the most scary, and it felt reasonable in comparison!
And yeah, I totally know what you mean with waiting for the last one to spawn. This is one Lab where you have no control over when you go in. But having done this once, I think I'd aim to go in at 80+, so at least 5+ levels above with my build. As you saw, he hits really hard. I feel this ascension was 40% luck, 40% build and 20% player skill. XD
It is exciting to check another thing of my must-do list. As you'd know with HC, each time you get past a gate, it feels it'll be easier next time.
We sound like we're on a similar thinking regarding the extra curse. I had the extra curse on the normal tree node, but because I cannot afford to have a second curse due to sockets, I took it off and used it for life and resists. And thanks to you bringing Hex Master to my attention, I really like it. But like you, I have to skip it in the early stages in favour for more immediate needs. But it is strong, so it needs to return.
I know the slowness bores you. It is hard with the skill point, but I'm okay with it. It's one of the reasons why I play HC, because I don't mind it is slow for my slow brains and limited time to play. I have the game open often but rarely do I actually play it. I'm usually just looking at stuff. But as long as maps will drop. I'm still doubtful a few will and we'll be left with no way to get them. My shaper game feels non-existent atm. It's halted at T4 simply because I cannot get a Leyline map!
Anyway, I hope you feel refreshed enough to do a comeback when you're ready. I'll be the same though. Once Nerferella rips, I won't have the energy to relevel. I'm happy with what I've achieved this league, at least with hitting Lvl 84 and with the bonus happy of an ascension, I've improved from my previous Level 83. With all that said, I still commend you getting to 88. As I already said to you, that was a phenomenal effort, and the higher you go, the more it hurts to lose a toon. One of the guys of our group recently ripped 2 blocks from 87 and he raged apparently. hehe. I think once we get past the 85 mark, we all start getting super tense. I've always considered 86-88 the death zone for HC anyway. I've read of some many HC rips around then.
For me though, I am so sick of being poor! So I'm basically stuck with needing to farm low tier maps anyway for currency. I desperately want a 6L. I refuse to give up Spell Echo on my bane to fit in a 2nd curse. But I still won't Delve. I just know I'd be so blind as to run the wrong way and kill Nerferella!
Anyway, I hope you and the cheeky cat are well. Btw, I checked out Sims Magic. It looks good! I just need to find the original Sims 4 CDs, to install it on my PC. I'm very tempted...