Dread Palace is a really fun operation in my opinion. It concludes the Dread Master arc that began in Karagga's Palace and continued over 6 operations, which even today is more than half the list of full-length operations in SWTOR. The operation consists of fighting each of the 4 remaining Dread Masters individually, then a group fight that brings them all back together along with ghosts of their slain colleagues from early operations.
Each boss fight has very unique mechanics and overall to me provides the most creative mix of unique mechanics of any operation even today. Relatively few fights are all about the numbers and can ignore mechanics, except perhaps Bestia. All others are far more important to have a strategy and execute it effectively.
Bestia is the most straightforward boss fight and a good introduction to the operation, with a simple pair of early phases where you fight adds separately then Bestia alone and then transition to a third burn phase where you must do both together.
Tyrans is the first of two puzzle bosses with mechanics that require the group to be deliberate about where they stand and move, with good coordination making the fight feel very easy and poor coordination can cause folks to get stranded on islands of isolated platforms.
Calphayus is the second puzzle boss with mechanics that transport players between the present, past and future. Good coordination of split teams is important to clear this encounter.
Raptus is more straightforward than Tyrans or Calphayus but has his own wrinkles and has long been the most challenging boss prior to the final council fight. He requires the team to split by role to complete challenges (healers keep a target alive, dps kill a target, tanks survive incoming damage) or else Raptus gets powerful buffs. The main encounter also features challenging mechanics with knockbacks, huge punts and others that make Raptus a dynamic (sometimes chaotic) encounter.
The operation ends with the Dread Council as the team must face the assembled might of all surviving Dread Masters and the Force ghosts of their slain brethren. The first phase requires the team to face Bestia, Tyrans, Calphayus and Raptus simultaneously and each with different mechanics. Once all 4 are pushed to 50% health, the group enters a transition phase and must face the Force ghosts of Dread Masters Styrak (defeated in Scum & Villainy) and Brontes (defeated in Dread Fortress). After vanquishing the ghosts, the group faces the surviving 4 Dread Masters again and eventually enters a burn phase where all 4 stand together and deal very high sustained AoE damage until all four are finally defeated.
Maps (Coming Soon)
Dread Master Bestia
Dread Master Tyrans
Dread Master Calphayus
Dread Master Raptus
Story Mode Summary
IMPORTANT - The information below is summarized and intended to be an easy quick-reference guide for players who need a quick reminder heading into an operation. As time allows, I intend to add separate pages with detailed boss fight guides for each fight.
Dread Master Bestia
The Bestia encounter is split into three very simple phases. The first phase involves killing waves of adds while Bestia is shielded. The second phase involves the team fighting Bestia alone. The third phase then combines these two and has the team fighting Bestia and incoming waves of adds.
Phase 1 (Adds)
Bestia has a buff called Shield of the Masters that makes her immune to damage and prevents her from acting during Phase 1. This shield expires after all Phase 1 enemies (4 Monsters and accompanying Larva) have been defeated or based on a timer if DPS is very slow.
Adds will spawn periodically from the portals in the corners of the room. There are two adds in Story Mode: Dread Monsters and Dread Larva. Monsters are very large creatures that deal low-to-moderate damage and should be picked up by tanks. Larva deal higher damage but have much less health and should be prioritized by DPS. 4 Monsters will spawn in total during Phase 1.
Phase 1 ends as soon as all Monsters and Larva are defeated or based on a timer.
Phase 2 (Bestia 100% -> 50%+)
Phase is a fight just against Bestia. Any remaining creatures should be defeated first before turning to attack Bestia. Apart from some positional AoE damage mechanics described below, Bestia Phase 2 is a straight up tank-and-spank.
Tanking Bestia is very straightforward as she does not have a knockback and there is no tank swap mechanic. Her highest damage attack is a channel called Dread Strike but overall she deals fairly low damage. I recommend tanking Bestia at the entrance door and moving her as necessary. Some groups prefer tanking Bestia on the throne, but I discourage this approach because Dread Pools are more dangerous as they can clip people standing on the throne even when they can't see the pool on the ground.
The main mechanics to watch for are Combusting Seed and Dread Pool:
Combusting Seed: Applies a debuff on a player that resembles a tomato and places a small red circle around the player. This debuff counts down for 10s and deals moderate AoE damage when the debuff expires. The affected player should move out of the group before the debuff expires.
Dread Pool: Random yellow AoE circles are applied to the ground underneath players. These pools tick for high damage and can kill a player very quickly even in Story Mode. Players need to look out for these most of all and move out of them immediately.
Phase 2 ends when Bestia reaches 50% health or when too much time has elapsed.
Phase 3 (Bestia 50%+ -> 0% & Adds)
Phase combines the previous 2 phases and involves fighting Bestia and her waves of adds. No new mechanics are introduced.
The typical strategy is to have one tank hold Bestia while the other tank (or a DWT if solo tanking) gathers up the Monsters. DPS need to kill the Dread Larva, though depending on group preference it may be best to pre-assign the duty to certain DPS players and leave others to tunnel on Bestia.
Depending on the group's level of DPS, there are 3 general strategies to how to balance the DPS focus on Bestia v adds:
Ignore adds & tunnel Bestia: For very high DPS levels, it can be very easy to simply burn Bestia from 50% to 0% and ignore adds. Waves will continue to spawn but with very high DPS this usually only involves the off-tank or DWT having to wrangle up to 2 Dread Monsters and 2-3 Larva, which is manageable to heal through for a short time as long as players manage the Combusting Seed mechanic and avoid standing in Dread Pools.
Split DPS until 20-30%: For moderate DPS levels, a common strategy is to have half the DPS killing Larva (and possibly Monsters) until Bestia reaches a target in the 20-30% range then have all DPS focus Bestia and ignore adds. An off-tank or DWT can fairly easy handle kiting 2-3 Monsters with healer support.
Keep killing adds then attacking Bestia: For groups that have low DPS or particularly low healing, it may not be possible to keep everyone alive long enough to kill Bestia while holding adds. In these cases, DPS burn priority is Larve -> Monster -> Bestia.
All adds despawn when Bestia is defeated.
Dread Master Tyrans
Dread Master Tyrans is a fun encounter that can be very simple or very challenging depending on the group's coordination around the key mechanic of Simplification. As the fight progresses, platforms will be destroyed and the group will have less and less room to stand. Groups with good coordination should never be in danger of running out of room, but poorly planned placement of Simplification can lead to groups being stranded or out of range.
Dread Master Tyrans
So let's talk briefly about Tyrans and his main mechanics of note, except for Simplification that is discussed separately below:
Tyrans teleports instead of walks: Tyrans will generally teleport to the same platform as the player with aggro and stand in the very middle of the platform. He only delays this teleportation during casts of Simplification or Thundering Blast. This feature adds depth to the strategy as moving during Simplification is desirable but moving during Thundering Blast is note.
A key note is that this also means if a ranged DPS pulls aggro, Tyrans will teleport across the room to stand on their platform instead of standing near the tank, which can have dreadful consequences for the group if it means everyone gets cleaved with Thundering Blast.
Thundering Blast: Tyrans casts this ability that sends a blast of Force energy towards and through his target and damages anyone in its path. Tyrans will not teleport during this cast. Tanks need to be face Tyrans away from the group due to this ability, and need to be very careful when moving between platforms to ensure they don't turn Tyrans towards the group to get cleaved by Thundering Blast.
Affliction: A green DoT placed on a random player by Tyrans. Can be cleansed in Story Mode.
Inferno: A cast ability by Tyrans. In Story Mode, it places 1 red circle underneath a random player. After a few seconds, an inferno of fire AoE will appear for a short time and deal massive damage to anyone standing in it. Look for it and move out of it immediately.
Tyran's signature ability, Simplification is a cast ability that is used to shrink the playing field. As soon as it is cast, Tyrans will drop aggro from his current target and swap to the next player on his threat table. This person should be another tank or a DWT who is prepared to keep Tyrans facing away, as shortly after Simplification he will cast Thundering Blast and potentially cleave the group if the swap isn't handled correctly.
The person who had aggro prior to Simplification gets a huge red circle under their feet that rapidly shrinks. When it disappears, the platform under the player at that time will turn red and disappear after a few seconds. In Story Mode, a second Simplification circle will go out to another random player shortly after the first circle.
The main strategic consideration is how to move Tyrans around the room and in what order to drop platforms for Simplification. Here are the key recommendations:
Tank swap during Simplification. Tyrans forces a tank swap due to dropping aggro after Simplification. Whether it is a second tank, a DWT or a designated DPS who avoids using an aggro drop unlike the others, a specific player needs to be designated to either taunt or be second on the threat table. The damage profile for Tyrans is relatively low unless poorly handled swaps lead to Tyrans cleaving the group with Thundering Blast. He must always be tanked facing away from the group.
Drop outer platforms for Simplification. A specific path is not necessary in Story Mode. A good and easy rule of thumb is to drop any and all outer platforms but leave the inner ring of platforms so people can move around.
Everyone needs to always be thinking about Simplification. Ranged DPS and healers should try to always be standing near a convenient platform and usually can stand on the opposite side of the room so they drop platforms far away from Tyrans and the tank(s). Melee DPS and tanks need to try and drop platforms behind the tanking path of the boss and leave plenty of room to relocate Tyrans each time Simplification goes out.
If anyone falls down, click on the holocron to teleport back up.
Dread Master Calphayus
Dread Master Calphayus is typically the easiest boss encounter in Dread Palace on Story Mode as there is not any challenge for DPS or healers and the tanking requirements are very easy. It is primarily a test of coordination through each phase to clear mechanics.
The basic structure to the fight is that the group begins in the Present and will twice have to send players to the Future and/or the Past in order to clear challenges. This transition is made via portals summoned by Calphayus, with BLUE / PAST on the left and ORANGE / FUTURE on the right. The mechanics in each phase are different in the first and second pairs of portals. Once the mechanics are successfully completed, the group returns to the Present.
Phase 1 - Present (Calphayus 100% -> 75%)
The group begins in the Present. The only mechanic of note is that a random player outside melee range will get a large red AoE circle called Distorted Perceptions that damages and slows everyone inside it. A common strategy is to have everyone but one player stack in melee range of Calphayus to ensure the desired person gets the red circle away from the group. Regardless, whoever gets the circle should immediately move away and use a defensive cooldown.
At 75%, Calphayus channel Visions of the Past and Future to summon Blue and Orange circles to transition to Phase 2. Anyone not standing in a portal circle at the end of the channel will be killed. In Story Mode, the simplest strategy is to have everyone go LEFT / BLUE / PAST during the first pair of circles.
Phase 2 - Past
The primary mechanic in Phase 2 in the Past is to protect the Seed of Knowledge from 3 waves of enemies who spawn around it. The Seed is a green crystal situated in a random location around the room. The Seed is a friendly so it can be shielded, cleansed, healed, etc.
Calphayus is active during the phase but cannot be killed and will shield himself at 10% health and stop taking any action.
3 waves of adds need to be killed and prevented from destroying the Seed, which generally is not difficult. During this time, the Seed is casting a 75s called Pure Seed. Once the Pure Seed cast finishes, the Seed will begin floating and can be clicked to pick it up. The carrier then needs to carry the Seed to the flower bed that is glowing yellow and planted by clicking on the nearby ground. Once the Seed is planted successfully the phase is completed, and after a short time the team will return to the Present.
Phase 3 - Present (Calphayus 75% -> 50%)
This second time in the present repeats the same mechanics as Phase 1. Keep a person out to kite the red AoE circle but otherwise just stack on the boss until he reaches 50% health. Calphayus will then channel Visions of the Past and Future to summon another pair of circles. This time half the group should go LEFT / BLUE / PAST while the other half goes RIGHT / ORANGE / FUTURE.
Phase 4 - Past & Future
This time the team needs to split evenly between the two phases. If DPS is uneven then stronger DPS should be sent with the team going LEFT / BLUE. In each phase, the four fountains around the room will each have 3 crystals around their perimeter.
LEFT / BLUE / PAST: The team's objective is to identify the crystal that Calphayus is targeting in the Future and to destroy it before he completes his cast (see below). The Future team can call out which crystal is being targeted or the Past team can identify it based on a small green circle around the specific Focus Crystal. This mechanic repeats 3 times and as long as the Focus Crystal is destroyed each time before Calphayus finishes the cast then the team succeeds. In between attacking Focus Crystals, Calphayus can be attacked but he should be ignored any time a crystal is being targeted.
RIGHT / ORANGE / FUTURE: The team's sole objective is to identify which Focus Crystal the Past team should destroy. In the Future, the team will see Calphayus leap to a Focus Crystal, destroy it, and begin a 20s cast that will wipe the group if completed. Calphayus takes very little damage during the cast time. The Future team is unable to interrupt Calphayus but timely callout as to the location of the Focus Crystal is important to get DPS on it as quickly as possible.
Phase 5 - Present (Calphayus 50% -> 0%)
This last time in the present repeats the same mechanics as Phase 1 & 3. Calphayus is a straight tank and spank until he is defeated.
Dread Master Raptus
Dread Master Raptus (Rap Daddy Raptus when he's being informal) represents a fairly big step up in difficulty from Calphayus as the team progresses through the Dread Palace operation. He adds some unpredictability around positioning and movement that can frustrate some teams, especially those who do not follow mechanics or develop a clear plan to deal with his potential for heavy burst damage.
The fight progresses through a short opening phase then teleports to a large circular platform. Raptus remains on the platform the rest of the fight though the team has to deal with brief intermission phases called challenges.
Opening (Raptus 100% -> 93%)
The tank should grab Raptus on the throne and face him away from the group to avoid his cleave attacks. After a very short time, he will teleport everyone to the big circular platform.
Intermission 1 (Raptus @ 93%)
Raptus will be shielded for 30s and will be inactive and invulnerable to damage. During this time, everyone needs to pick up a buff from a crystal corresponding to their role (though the clickable part is actually the base below the crystal).
Tanks click on the Purple Crystal and receive the Shrine of the Coward buff (+armor, -threat)
DPS click on the Red Crystal and receive the Shrine of the Weakling buff (+Tech/Force power, -armor)
Healers click on the Green Crystal and receive the Shrine of the Incompetent buff (+healing, -health)
Phase 1 (Raptus 93% -> 79%)
Raptus becomes active and the main fight mechanics begin. Raptus has a couple of mechanics to contend with, as follows:
Basic AoE / Cleave attacks: Raptus has a basic AoE group-wide damage attack that deals low damage and a medium-sized conal cleave attack that deals moderate damage. The AoE is unavoidable but the cleave should be faced away from the group.
Deadly Slash: Raptus applies a very long and wide conal 2s cast ability that deals damage and knocks players back a long distance. Players should run out of it to avoid the knockback. Tanks and melee can run through Raptus to avoid the knockback. The knockback will not push a player off the platform from the middle area but is extremely dangerous if Raptus is near the edges.
Rising Slash: Raptus knocks up the player with aggro 60-70m into the air and 30-40m backwards.
The main question becomes what positioning works best for Raptus. Generally speaking, there are two approaches, (1) tank Raptus by the Purple crystal; or (2) tank Raptus in the middle of the room. I vastly prefer #2 but here is a quick overview of each:
Tank Raptus by the Purple crystal: This is the simpler approach, works most of the time, and is probably the best strategy for less experienced tanks. The idea is that the tank puts their back right up against the Purple crystal base. The crystal base protects the tank from being knocked back by Deadly Slash and also usually causes Rising Slash to punt you almost straight up in the air, in both cases serving to protect you from the knockback/up but also keeping Raptus stationary. The downside is that Rising Slash still sometimes knocks the tank off the platform to their death (and in such cases, they are usually not able to be revived).
Tank Raptus in the middle: The idea here is to keep all DPS and healers on the ramp down from the throne platform with each tank on a line perpendicular to the DPS/healers. This keeps Raptus fairly stationary and protects non-tanks from cleave damage and the tanks cannot be knocked off the platform to their death no matter what. The keys to success to keep Raptus stationary are (1) make sure to run through Deadly Slash to avoid the knockback; and (2) swap after Rising Slash to avoid Raptus repositioning in an inconvenient place.
Challenges 1 (Raptus @ 79%)
When Raptus reaches 79%, he will cast Spinning Attack and begin the challenge phase. Raptus will also challenge one tank to stay and face him, cleansing their Purple crystal buff in the process.
This begins a 60s challenge phase during which everyone except the challenged tank must complete 3 challenges split by roles so that tanks/healers/DPS have their own challenge. The challenge is entered by going through the portals around the room, with the available challenges denoted by the market at the top of the portal gateway.
The challenged tank should avoid attacking Raptus as he is immune to damage. They should make sure to taunt Raptus to keep him away from other players and kite him in a circle around the middle of the platform until the challenges are complete.
Every player must have their crystal buff to enter the challenge portal. Each group should go in together and in the following priority order:
Tank (Purple crystal buff): The sole tank (the other is kiting Raptus) should go in immediately. They simply have to stand in place and take AoE damage. Pop a defensive ability and wait 30s for the challenge to complete, then rejoin the group on the main platform. Failing the tank challenge gives Raptus an armor buff.
Healers (Green crystal buff): The healer team should go in immediately after they are all together. Their job is to heal a friendly creature through heavy damage and keep them alive for 30s. This task is not super difficult as long as all healers go in together. Failing the healer challenge causes Raptus to reflect a small amount of damage received.
DPS (Red crystal buff): The DPS team should wait until they see an Ops Announcement that 30s remain then go in immediately. Their challenge is to defeat a creature within 30s. This challenge is very easy and is usually completed within 10s. Failing the DPS challenge causes Raptus to deal more damage.
Intermission 2 (Raptus @ ~70-79%)
Once all 3 challenges are completed, Raptus will become active for any remaining time in the 60s challenge window then will shield himself. The team should grab their buffs again and prepare to resume battling Raptus.
Phase 2 (Raptus ~70-75% -> 50%)
Phase 2 is the exact same as Phase 1 and should follow the same strategy.
Challenges 2 (Raptus @ 50%)
The second challenge phase should proceed in the same manner as the first. The other tank should be challenged this time to face Raptus and kite him around. Make sure that tanks and healers begin their challenge at least 15s before the DPS go in. This is especially important for the second challenge phase. If the challenges finish while the healers are still in their challenge room, that means 5-10s during which the tank is getting no healing and is vulnerable to burst damage from Raptus...
Phase 3 (Raptus 50% -> 0%)
Phase 3 is similar to Phases 1-2 except it will cover more time and has a new mechanic. Raptus now uses Force Execution, which has a small AoE around the boss that deals very high damage after the 3s cast finishes and projects a lightning beam from Raptus through his target and in a straight line behind Raptus as well.
Everyone needs to get out of the AoE and avoid the lightning beam. The tank who is targeted cannot avoid the lightning beam so should try and avoid moving laterally to Raptus so the beam stays constant and is easy to avoid.
The Dread Council fight is one of my favorite encounters in the game, probably because it was the first time I personally got a Hard Mode clear on the most recent content (as I joined SWTOR as 2.0 launched and got into progression raiding just as Dread Fortress and Dread Palace were released). It is a fun encounter that requires some coordination even in Story Mode, with several Hard Mode mechanics still present but far less punishing.
The overall structure of the fight has four phases. Phase 1 has the group fighting each of the previous bosses all together, Phase 2 involves fighting the ghosts of the Dread Masters defeated in previous operations, Phase 3 is a repeat of Phase 1, and Phase 4 is a soft enrage burn phase to defeat the Dread Masters before the group is overwhelmed.
Phase 1 (Bestia/Raptus/Tyrans/Calphayus 100% -> 50%)
Phase 1 begins as soon as any of the Dread Masters is attacked on their thrones. The Dread Masters jump down in the sequence of Bestia -> 15s -> Calphayus -> 10s -> Raptus -> 10s -> Tyrans.
The overall goal of this phase is to push each Dread Master to 50%, which causes them to leap up to their throne and begin casting Siphon Energy. This cast has a 200s cast time and causes the Dread Master to heal themselves and jump back down. This mechanic means the group needs to push all 4 Dread Masters to 50% within 200s after the first one is pushed, as once all 4 are back on their thrones the encounter moves to Phase 2.
The typical burn order and mechanics for each Dread Master are as follows:
Bestia: Has a Corruption Aura effect that buffs nearby Dread Masters. The tank who opens the fight should hold Bestia in place and all DPS should focus on her until she jumps at 50%.
Raptus: Will periodically cast Deadly Slash that applies a very large knockback graphic, which must be avoided so that players are not knocked off the platform. Keep him facing the outside of the platform at all times and run through him to avoid the knockback. Every other Deadly Slash he will use Whirlwind and chase his target while spinning in a red AoE that deals damage to anyone in it. A DWT or mobile Ranged DPS should typically pick up Raptus when he comes down and kite him until Bestia leaps to her throne, then the Bestia tank should pick up Raptus and kite him.
Tyrans: Tyrans has a random aggro table and teleports around the room periodically. He will occasionally attack his target with Thundering Blast that does cleave damage to everyone it hits, but is difficult to avoid giving his random aggro table. His main mechanic is Death Mark, which applies a debuff to random players that deals heavy damage if not cleansed before it expires.
Calphayus: Calphayus has a Dread Shield around himself that reflects some incoming damage, so players need to be inside the shield to attack him. His main mechanic is Void Zone, which causes pink circles to drop underneath him periodically. The tank holding him should move him out of these and avoid standing in them as well, as the Void Zone circles apply Drained (-50% healing received) to players and Dread Font (-50% damage taken) to Calphayus or any other Dread Master.
Phase 2 (Ghosts of Styrak/Brontes 100% -> 0%)
This phase begins after all 4 Dread Masters are pushed to 50% and leap back to their thrones. The ghosts of Dread Master Styrak (riding a ghostly Kell Dragon) and Dread Master Brontes join the fight. The team has 2.5 minutes to defeat both ghosts before the other Dread Masters come back down.
Both Styrak and Brontes are very straightforward in Story Mode. A tank should grab Styrak and pull him to Brontes so that DoT spread and splash damage can shorten the phase. Brontes will periodically teleport to a new location, so reposition Styrak as necessary.
Phase 3 (Any of Bestia/Raptus/Tyrans 50% -> 15% or Calphayus 50% -> 30%)
Phase 3 triggers after the ghosts of Styrak & Brontes are defeated, or based on a timer if DPS is very low, Phase 3 begins. All 4 Dread Masters jump down and begin a 20s cast called Fury of the Masters. They do not take any other action during this time so it offers free DPS time for the team. After the cast ends, all 4 bosses resume the same mechanics as in Phase 1.
The team should employ the same strategy as in Phase 1 (DPS/tank on Bestia, DWT/Ranged on Raptus, Tank on Calphayus) and damage Bestia until she reaches 15% and the team pushes to Phase 4.
Phase 4 (Bestia/Raptus/Tyrans/Calphayus 15-30% -> 0%)
Phase 4 is triggered as soon as Calphayus reaches 30% health or any other Dread Master reaches 15%. All 4 Dread Masters leap to the middle, grow to giant size and begin channeling Power of the Masters into the holocron in the middle of the platform.
The Power of the Masters buff will gain in stacks as the phase continues and will cause the group to take greater and greater damage. In Story Mode, the amount of damage scales with the number of Dread Masters still alive. As such, the immediate goal is to burn each boss down individually before the damage is too much to heal through.
The typical strategy here is to follow the same burn order as in Phase 1 and burn Bestia -> Raptus -> Tyrans -> Calphayus.
Any players with group defensive buffs should be prepared to cycle through them. Gunslinger/Sniper players should coordinate to use their group shields in sequence starting around 15-20s into the phase.