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Laz and Barney, Ice and Nature

 Laz and Barney, Ice and Nature

Only two weeks left to enjoy this classic mutation format, before we get a new and improved experience in Season 3. So whether you’re running Laz for old time’s sake or taking a squiz at Barney’s, remember to take some time to reflect and store up some memories, for the times they are a changing.

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

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.

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 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.

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

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 and Ice Gauntlets 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.

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 modified Lost weaknesses. Instead of the regular 30% Nature, 15% Ice, 10% Strike, she is weak to 30% Ice and 20% Strike only. So it might be worth swapping to Angry Earth Ward and Bane without an amber if this fight is causing a problem, but don’t be fooled into thinking your slash weapon would be stronger.

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.

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 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 Nature 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.

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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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