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Ennead, Laz, and the Forge; Nature, Void and Ice

 Ennead, Laz, and the Forge; Nature, Void and Ice

Looks like pre-patch jitters have hit, as the mutations have rotated but the expeditions have not. We can continue playing around in Lazarus, The Ennead and the Forge this week, but we’ll have to swap our gems out for the higher mutations – boo! I bet you opal users are feeling pretty smart about now. The patch is also due to drop on July 6, at which time we’ll probably see another rotation, so if your funds are tight, think wisely about whether you want to invest in gems for just a couple of days.

Note: Elemental damage gems in your weapons are simply recommendations based on the elements your enemies are weakest to. Your playstyle may suit non-elemental gems better and you are encouraged to continue using those if so.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

The Ennead has more bosses than any other organisation, with three major boss fights and two bosses in the final battle. This brings us to a total of four big bosses. And don’t forget, you have to defeat the last two twice. This expedition also starts out with Ancient enemies, but with a Brimstone flavour, so if you’re getting toasted, you can consider adding some Fire ward. 

The first boss you encounter is Godling Khepri Supernal, a giant scarab beetle. You need to use the architecture of the room to avoid his laser beam, by running around to the other side of the pillar once he starts casting. As long as the group works together, this is a pretty easy fight.

After getting through the twists and turns of the first maze-like section, you will use three Azoth staves to burst a Corruption bubble and encounter a series of Corrupted enemies. This culminates in the second boss fight, with General Crassus. He goes through three phases and summons a lot of adds, so it’s worth having dedicated DPS keeping them under control.

The final boss fight is a doozy. It starts with Anpu, aka Big Guy, who has some nasty elemental attacks, reaching out with ranged spikes and causing an AOE spin, as well as smacking down like a regular brute. The one attack you can control to some degree is his charge, which is usually targeted at the furthest player. If they keep a pillar between Anpu and themselves, he will bonk his head and stop his charge. Make sure you don’t stand in the trail he leaves when he charges, as it does major damage.

Once you knock Anpu over, his little buddy, Heru (aka Small Guy), turns up. He is infinitely more annoying, because he requires the whole team to work together. When he enters his levitation stage in the middle of the arena, four players need to be at each of the floating pillars and use their azoth staves, while suffering massive tick damage. It’s worth drinking a regen pot just before using your staff, to keep the ticks under control. He also stuns and creates damage zones, so be careful.

The real fun starts once Heru goes down, as at this point they both get up and the place becomes chaotic. If you don’t kill them both within 30 seconds of each other, the other one respawns, so one strategy is to get Small Guy down to almost dead, then focus on Big Guy, then when he is almost dead, take them both down. Just careful of Small Guy going into his levitation phase while you’re trying to fight Big Guy, it’s good to have a lot of DPS here to get this fight over and done with. 

Overgrown means those mobs are going to be healing one another, which really should be a privilege exclusive to us. Compost mobs drop a healing circle that works like a Sacred Ground for them and looks a bit like one too. This is one of the rare times that disease perks are useful in PVE, so pull out your Hatchet with Infected Throw, or slot a weapon with Plagued Strikes or Plagued Crits. Your Bile Bomb heartrune will also spread disease around, so vomit away to your heart’s content.

Toxic mobs spawn THE most annoyingly friendly little green blob that follows you around, does pretty intense DOTs (20-40%), and casts an area root. We just love not being able to move and getting damaged at the same time. Best bet is to try and stay out of its way. If you get stuck, it might be worth it to have Nature Absorption potions slotted and chug one down. Arboreal enemies are dealing 50% of damage as Nature, and Bramble enemies deal 20-40% base damage as Nature when hit, so Amber slotted in your gear will protect you.

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.

In the higher levels of the mutation, players are Censored with silence. Starting at M6, using abilities causes a meter to build up and when it is full, silence is cast on each member of the group where they are standing. Abilities cannot be used inside the silence zone and when it expires, it detonates with a massive 65% max health damage. So it’s pretty important to keep an eye on the meter and make sure that silence zones are strategically placed, especially in boss battle arenas. While silence is active, natural mana regen is turned off, however you can get 25 mana per 0.75 seconds by standing in the silence. Just don’t be in there when it explodes!

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

It’s The Lazurus Instrumentality week, 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.

It’s all purple in Laz this week, with the Eternal mutation transforming the enemies to Void damage, so go with the theme and protect yourself with AmethystsParanoia is particularly annoying, with stacks building up as you hit the enemy. When you reach 4 stacks, a purple pool appears at your feet, dealing 40-70% damage. This is easily dodged as an individual, but when the melee are crowded together, you can end up with some big spikes of pain. It might be an opportunity to try a ranged DPS team for a change, with the tank holding aggro and 3 bow users shooting from afar. Creeping enemies Empower their friends when they die and Oblivion enemies use a life leech that heals them when they hit you. 

When you get to M3, Festering enemies start to appear, dealing disease against you so your incoming healing will be reduced. Remember, debuffs can be Purified in a number of ways. Slicer enemies also turn up, adding 30% base Void damage, so think about diversifying your protective gems in this mutation.

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 Void 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.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

The Empyrean Forge is a fire-themed mountain stronghold, with mechanical puzzles and giant gears and pistons. The majority of enemies are Human Varangians, but there are also quite a few Lost ghosties around. Our advice is to stick with Human Ward, the Lost are not significant. Slash weapons are strong, but with the changes adding a 10% bonus to ranged Banes, there is scope for a wide range of character builds here. An interesting feature of the humans is they use weapons just like us and have similar moves. However, they don’t seem to be governed by the same cooldowns!

As you might expect from a Forge, there is quite a lot of fire around so you might either consider splitting your elemental protection, or using the new gear sets to swap out your setup for the boss fights. At the very least, a Fire Protection amulet will come in handy.

The first boss, Ifrit, is a fiery scythe-wielding worm-type boss who likes to throw his flames about. There are a few mechanics to watch out for, but once you have these down he’s not too bad. He stays in the middle of the room, rather than burrowing like some other worms we know.  You can avoid the fiery space invaders by going prone, just make sure the floor is clear when you do. When he starts to project lines of flames, run anti-clockwise around him with them. The closer you are to him, the easier this is. Just don’t get burnt!

Commander Marius is the final boss and he also likes his fiery tortures. At some points during the fight, the floor is literally lava. Thankfully, there are some safety platforms provided in the corners of the room, just watch out if he joins you on them or drops a giant fiery meatball. For the DPS, ranged attacks allow you to stay out of reach from his heavy hitting AoE, so it might be worth considering a bow or magic weapon.

Ice, Ice, 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 dealing Ice Damage, so pull out your Aquamarines and Frozen Protection amuletMost 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.

When we get to M3, some of the mini-bosses gain Phalanx shields that block projectiles, which is particularly annoying for healers who are trying to speed up their cooldowns or charge up their heals with heavy attacks. If you play ranged DPS, make sure you have a melee weapon in your other slot and be aware that heals might be a bit less powerful. Vampiric also makes an appearance, which can make enemies slower to kill, so your Bile Bomb heartrune might be useful.

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% Ice 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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