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Barney and Laz, Ice and Fire

 Barney and Laz, Ice and Fire

We’ve come full circle with the mutations rotating back to Barney’s and Laz, each with the same mutation as before, just with different promotions and curses. To be honest, it’s quite disappointing to see the lack of variety, especially for Ice Mages whose strength against the Lost is once again negated by the mutation type. Let’s have a look at what we need to get through these expeditions this week.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

Arrrrrr me hearties, let’s get Lost and Angry. Barnacles and Black Powder is mostly full of Lost enemies like pirates and ghosties, but features a couple of angry ole tentacles and a final boss having an identity crisis. Lost Ward and Lost Bane usually suffice, but you can bring some Angry Earth gear if you want to go the extra mile. The Lost are particularly weak to Nature damage, so consider putting an Amber in your weapon. Hammers have a slight advantage but feel free to make use of the features of your favourite weapon if you prefer. Lost Ward potions can be scoffed in the big fights, or places like the ghost stack on the gold piles that can often get messy. As always, attribute food and honing stones keep you at your best.

Ice, Ice, Barnacles Baby! Everything slows down in the cold and this mutation is no exception. At M1 level we start with Icebound, which means all enemies are resistant to Ice damage, so say goodbye to that Ice Gauntlet this week. Most annoying is Shiver, a zone of exclusion that bites anyone who is outside of it, which keeps the group huddled up together. Be careful of enemies with Glacial, as they will drop a crystal that can root you in place. To prevent this, you need to destroy or run away from the crystal, depending on where it is positioned. All enemies are dealing Ice Damage, so pull out your Aquamarines and Frozen Protection amulet.

Once we reach M3, we start seeing Mage Hunters, who drain mana when hit, so healers need to make sure their mana potions are slotted. Silence enemies cast a zone in which no abilities can be used, but at least it doesn’t have the explosion at the end.

The real trouble starts when things get Frenzied. At M6, players begin being penalised for dodging, by acquiring a stack of Unstable that does 1.5% of max health as ice damage per second for 10 seconds and cannot be cleansed. You can get up to three of these stacks. When we get to M9, 3 stacks of Unstable drops a 3m radius zone that does 10% of max health per second for 15 seconds – ouch, that’s 150% of your health if you just stand there! If you enter this zone with stacks of Unstable, it will consume them and do 30% of max HP. So, it’s really important to manage your stacks and move away from the group if you can’t avoid dropping a puddle. Don’t poop on the group.

The last boss in Barney’s is so annoying, she deserves a mention of her own. While she does move to a predictable pattern, her attacks become quite frenetic and she closes in the arena dramatically, leaving very little wiggle room toward the end of the fight. Legend has it that despite looking very similar to her Lost sister the Siren Queen, Nereid is of the Angry Earth with Lost weaknesses. So it might be worth swapping to Angry Earth Ward and Bane if this fight is causing a problem, but don’t be fooled into thinking your slash weapon would be stronger.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Then we have The Lazurus Instrumentality, everyone’s favorite way to build up the umbrals. As always, Ancient enemies require ancient solutions and this means Hammers! Crush those bones down, but don’t forget the utility of your secondary weapons. Every good mutation team benefits from a Spear with Perforate and a Great Axe with Grav Well to keep things running smoothly. Or any other way you can think of to weaken those enemies and buff up your friends.

Essential perks are Ancient Ward on Armour and Ancient Bane on your weapons. Topaz converts some of your damage to Lightning, which is strong against Ancients, or you might choose to slot an Emerald for those large numbers in Chardis’ final down phase. Add an Ancient Coating, Infused if you can afford it, and a Honing stone to maximise damage. Slot an Ancient Ward potion in your hotbar to scull down just as things get a bit hairy. For example, just before the first fight as you run in, so you can start off on a high note. Remember to eat an attribute food of your choice and take your Topaz if you need to collect some gypsum.

Burn baby burn, this rotation it’s Fire. At M1, we start with the basic Hellfire. Look at the enemies’ nameplates to see whether they are Explosive, and be sure to position yourself well away from edges when they die, to avoid being blown over. Fiery enemies apply Burn, giving you a Fire DOT, so it’s worth drinking some Desert Sunrise before you start. Ignited enemies deal 50% of their damage as Fire, so slot Rubies in your armour and wear a Flame Protection amulet to get your Fire resistance up. Enemies with Enflamed can cast a Burn zone on the ground, so watch your positioning. And leave the Firestaff at home, all enemies have 50-75% fire resistance.

At M3, some enemies start being Barbarically buffed. Shattering is annoying for your tank, dealing 40-75% increased stamina damage! It might even be worth stacking more of the stamina perks to keep up. Watch out for those large Enraged enemies, who deal 50% more damage once they get 20 stacks of Fury.

The first of our Fiendish curses is Weary, which starts at M6 and slows down player movement as well as increasing damage taken by 20%. This is on a timer and while you’re meant to be able to delay it by using abilities, it’s been glitchy in game so don’t rely on that.

The other curse is Blood Offering. Using abilities causes a 4.5% Fire DoT, which can stack up to 3 times, however while under the influence of Offering players also get a 25% life leech. So as long as you’re doing damage, this curse has little effect. The main person it impacts is the healer, so they may need to focus on healing themselves. Drinking some Desert Sunrise before you start the expedition should help reduce the effect. 


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Landi

Landi is an avid furniture collector and regular DPS for Don't Die Alone. She contributes to the Mutation Rotation and Faction Control series of articles.

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