Utopian Organ logo

Tarn, Depths and Savage; Ice, Fire and Nature

 Tarn, Depths and Savage; Ice, Fire and Nature

Well. In an unexpected turn of events, AGS capitulated on the mutation rotation this week and gave the people what they wanted – Glacial Tarn. Better make the most of it and run as many times as possible for the Frigid Dawn set (although why you wouldn’t just craft it at the Gypsum Kiln I’m not sure – you can farm Dense Mutator Materia every week). I do know one DPS who is going to be happy to get their hot little hands on the Deep Freeze Ice Gauntlet, assuming it drops for them.

There are three levels of Mutation, as well as Story mode, for each Expedition.

  • M1 requires 650 gear score and is relatively easy, introducing the mechanics of the mutation type at a reduced level of damage.
  • M2 is a little harder and requires 675 gear score, with increased scaling and the addition of the Promotion challenges. It is still quite simple to do with an experienced group and is probably the most efficient mode, with improved loot for little effort.
  • M3 requires 695+ gear score and optimised perks, gems and buffs. It is considerably more challenging than M2, both with increased scaling and the addition of the mutation Curse as well as the Promotion.

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

Artifact: Deep Freeze Ice Gauntlet

The Glacial Tarn is a frozen stronghold in the North-eastern corner of Great Cleave. It is connected to the Empyrean Forge and has a nice little deviation into Marius’ chamber. The first part of the expedition is Ancient, then you swap to Human, so in higher mutations you’ll be spending a bit on ward potions and coatings. 

Falling stalactites will plague you from the beginning of this dungeon, so look out for the telltale marking on the floor and avoid or dodge through them. Frozen enemies take very little damage unless you have the fire buff on you, so don’t be afraid to stand on the firepits. The buff only lasts less than a minute, so sometimes you may need to go back or forge forward to refresh it.

The first boss in this dungeon is the Ice Troll and he’s a doozy! While he is classified as Ancient, he takes 15% more Thrust and Fire damage, and 20% Lightning damage, so a ranged weapon like Bow or Firestaff could be a good option. This is where you get the artifact, so some groups will stop after this fight. The Troll doesn’t like to stay with the tank and has a number of moves that see him skating around the icy arena. A blue mark above your head means he’s going to charge at you, so get out of the way. He usually does a second charge too, so beware of that. If you see an icy cone on the floor, emanating from him towards to, get ready to dodge! The cone will follow you but you can dodge out of it at the right time.  During his tantrums, stalactites fall from the sky and they really hurt. You will be able to see an outline on the ground before they land so you can get out of the way. It’s okay to concentrate on staying alive during this phase and resume attacking when it’s over, if you need to.

The final boss has been buggy from the release of the dungeon, and while some of the bugs have been fixed, others remain. Try not to kill the mages while the bridges are down, in case it bugs the Giant Ice Elemental in the middle and makes our boss fail to enter the death sequence. The fight takes place on four platforms with bridges connecting them. When a red icon appears over the bridges, they are about to be destroyed, so don’t be caught standing on one. You can repair the bridges after a brief delay, by pressing E at the edge of the platform. The Giant Ice Elemental is powered by the mages and can be very annoying. When he crosses his arms, he is about to blow on a platform and make it uninhabitable. The group needs to move to another platform when this happens. If the mages are unprotected by their aura and the bridges are not down, you can kill them for a brief respite but they respawn quickly. If you get a blue symbol above your head, dodge or move to the side – an arrow or ice wave will be heading your way. If a bomb appears, destroy it quickly. When the Giant Ice Elemental has small greenish shields called weak spots up, Ser Loth gets a buff and you will do little damage to him. Nullifying Oblivion can remove the buff, or ranged attacks can destroy the weak spots.

Mutation: Icebound

Ice, Ice, Baby! Everything slows down in the cold and this mutation is no exception. 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.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Aquamarines, and may not need to use Ward potions or Coatings.

M2 - Barbaric

At M2, 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.

M3 - Censored

In M3, players are Censored with silence. 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. You can deliberately set off Silence before big fights, and in boss battle arenas you can clump to stack the Silence and reduce the area impacted. 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

Artifact: Lost Stopwatch Amulet

At mutation level, The Depths is a different place than the one you visited on your journey to level 60. There’s no time to get the hidden crate in the tree anymore, it’s all go, go, go. 

The biggest challenge in this dungeon is Archdeacon Azamela in the Unholy Pit. His bombs do Void damage, so you may want to bring a Void Protection amulet to swap out for this fight and slot Void Absorption potions in your hotbar. The Archdeacon’s bombs have been buffed, so you really need to get the bubbles popped on each side as fast as you can. It’s better to send everyone at once, two on each side and the healer with the weaker team, rather than try and keep up with the bombs in the second round.

Thorpe, on the other hand, does Fire damage, so a Flame protection amulet might be good here, or even Slash protection to reduce the devastating damage done by his big sword.

Mutation: Hellfire

Burn baby burn, this rotation it’s Fire. 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.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Rubies, and may not need to use Ward potions or Coatings.

M2 - Savage

When you get to M2, 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.

M3 - Dessicated

The Curse of the Fiery Depths is Desiccated, which is your basic dip and nae-nae. When a player gets a Fire ring around them, they need to dip all team members in order to remove their Shrivel. But make sure they nae-nae away before the timer ends to avoid spiking others with a chain Fire for 50% of their max health. If you’re unlucky enough to be left shrivelled, damage and healing will be reduced by 50% until the debuff wears off.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

Artifact: Endless Thirst earring

The Savage Divide is a beast-filled warren of caves, which is very easy to get confused in. Beasts have no specific elemental weakness, so feel free to use any gems your like in your weapons. Watch our for hard-hitting chameleons and annoying gorillas throwing their stuff at you. If you’re curious, you may want to see whether you can lure the mammoth Madhu down the Vast Chasm to help you find a secret.

Both boss fights focus around a range of elemental damage types, so your best bet is to keep at least some Opals in your Armour and use a Protection amulet and mutation-specific gems in your jewelry.

Mutation: Overgrown

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 damage over time that increases at the higher mutations, 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, so Amber slotted in your gear will protect you.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Ambers, and may not need to use Ward potions or Coatings.

M2 - Oppressive

Once we reach M2, we start seeing Mage Hunters, who drain mana when hit, so healers need to make sure their mana potions are slotted. Suppressor enemies cast a silence zone in which no abilities can be used, but at least it doesn’t have the explosion at the end.

M3 - Fiendish

The first of our M3 curses is Weary, which 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% Nature 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.

Avatar photo


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *