Terror From Beyond
Terror From Beyond (TFB) is the fourth operation in SWTOR chronologically. It takes place on Asation and continues the Dread Master storyline arc in operations. Players can access the TFB operation via the fleet vanguard vessel (Gav Daragon for Republic, Ziost Shadow for Imperial).
TFB has the traditional five boss encounters of most operations in SWTOR. In Story Mode, TFB has a nice mix of boss encounters ranging from simple tank and spank encounters with the Writhing Horror and Kephess, a multi-boss fight with shifting mechanics in Dread Guards, and then fairly complex fights in Operator IX and the Terror from Beyond. These last two fights require significantly more teamwork and coordination than the vast majority of story mode operations in SWTOR.
In Veteran (formerly Hard) Mode, TFB is reasonably challenging and has a smoother difficulty curve than its predecessor operation, Explosive Conflict. The Writhing Horror remains a simple boss with added mechanics. The Dread Guards add several mechanics and most notably the Force Leech mechanic that may see your tanks die many deaths from well-intentioned healers. Operator IX is significantly more difficult due to the Color Deletion mechanic in phase 2 and is the most likely spot for groups to get temporarily stuck prior to the final boss. Kephess actually has mechanics in phase 1 unlike Story Mode and thus is not a pure tank and spank any longer. Finally, the Terror from Beyond is more difficult with notable extra mechanics that will challenge the group's teamwork and communication.
In Master (formerly Nightmare/NiM) Mode, TFB has a similar difficulty curve to Veteran Mode but the tough fights are much tougher. The Writhing Horror is now primarily a heal/tank check due to much higher damage taken by the group. The Dread Guards are quite difficult for the tanks and healers to manage damage and has a reasonably tight DPS check, on top of most group's strategy requiring cheesing of Doom. Operator IX is much tighter on Phase 1 and Phase 2 with no room for error unlike in Veteran Mode. Kephess remains a lot easier than the other latter bosses and should be a quick clear. The Terror from Beyond has a very tight DPS check in Phase 1 and will challenge your tanks to survive high damage slams, with Phase 2 being easier by comparison but with very little room for error.
Kephess the Undying
Terror From Beyond
Summary Boss Fight Guides
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.
Terror From Beyond - Story Mode Guide to all boss fights
Writhing Horror Story Mode Kill Video
Writhing Horror Master Mode Kill Video (tank PoV)
The Writhing Horror is a very easy first boss in this operation. It has a few basic mechanics and some additional spawning enemies but is very nearly a tank and spank encounter.
The Horror itself has a conal basic attack and so should always be tanked facing away from the group. The Horror will periodically burrow into the ground and relocate to another location. This rotation is fixed and essentially swaps back and forth between sides of the room (twice per side) then returns to its starting point.
The only additional mechanic related to the Horror is it applies a Corrosive Slime DoT to a random player that should be cleansed by a healer.
Several times during the fight the team will need to deal with waves of adds. This wave begins with the spawning of a Jealous Male (a similar beast to the Horror but much smaller) and then soon after a wave of around 4-6 Foul Offspring.
The Jealous Male should be picked up by a tank or perhaps a DWT and tanked near the Horror. The Jealous Male has a knockback attack so should similarly be faced away from the group.
The Foul Offspring can be easily killed via the flower/pheromone mechanic. As the group pulls, you should see 3 "flowers" situated in the middle area of the room. When the Jealous Male & Foul Offspring spawn, one flower will spawn a red puddle of Calming Pheromones. One player should run into this red puddle to absorb these pheromones. Doing so causes the Foul Offspring to aggro to that player but also causes them to deal virtually no damage, and makes grouping them up for easy AoE quite simple.
The basic strategy for this fight is to DPS the Horror, cleanse the Corrosive Slim DoT, and each time adds spawn one player should run into the red puddle. DPS priority is Foul Offspring > Jealous Male > Horror.
A post-fight note is that it sometimes takes abnormally long to exit combat after the fight is won.
The Writhing Horror remains a very easy boss encounter in Veteran Mode, with just a few changes to mechanics worth noting. Depending on your tank class composition, the fight may actually get easier overall.
The Writhing Horror encounter in Veteran Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Incubation: Just as in Story Mode, the Writhing Horror applies stacks of Incubation to the player with aggro once every several seconds. In Story Mode, the Incubation stacks are cleansed and Foul Offspring spawn automatically when the Jealous Male spawns. In Veteran Mode, the Incubation debuff has a 15 second duration and Foul Offspring spawn when the player reaches 10 stacks of Incubation or when the debuff expires. Shadow / Assassin tanks can use Force Cloak to stealth out and cleanse stacks of Incubation in Veteran Mode without spawning Foul Offspring.
Recently Implanted: When stacks of Incubation expire, the player gets a debuff called Recently Implanted. The debuff lasts for 30 seconds and will kill the player if they get any stacks of Incubation. This mechanic requires a tank swap in Veteran Mode.
Corrosive Slime / Void Zone: As in Story Mode, the Writhing Horror periodically applies the Corrosive Slime DoT to a random player that should be cleansed. In Veteran Mode, cleansing Corrosive Slime places a yellow Void Zone AoE circle at the player’s location when they are cleansed. The Void Zone lasts for 60 seconds and will damage any player who enters the AoE circle.
Calming Pheromone: As in Story Mode, when adds spawn a player can step into a red puddle near a flower to get the Calming Pheromone buff that grants aggro to the Foul Offspring and applies the Calming Pheromone debuff reducing their damage by 95%. In Veteran Mode, only one player can get the Calming Pheromone buff per flower and they can lose the effect if they step out of the red puddle. Also, when the Calming Pheromone buff is removed the player receives the Stale Pheromone debuff that prevents them from using the flower again for the rest of the encounter.
Twisted Spawn: In Veteran Mode, a new wave of adds called Twisted Spawn begin spawning into the encounter when the Writhing Horror drops below 13% health. They spawn one at a time every 5 or so seconds until the boss is defeated and should explode when the boss is defeated.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Writhing Horror in Veteran Mode include the following:
Burn order remains Foul Offspring -> Jealous Male -> Writhing Horror. Just like in Story Mode, the team’s DPS priority is smallest to largest. When Foul Offspring spawn, AoE them down first then burn down the Jealous Male then back onto the Writhing Horror.
Be careful for aggro during opener. The Incubation buff mechanics make it very important for the tank to avoid losing aggro especially during the opener. If the tank loses aggro and an Incubation stack gets applied to a DPS by accident, that can trigger an early wave of Foul Offspring and apply the Recently Implanted debuff to the tank and really mess up the fight. Depending on the gear and skill levels of your tanks and DPS, consider how to layer in multiple taunts in the opener and/or have your DPS give the tank a few seconds to establish threat. The DPS check on the Writhing Horror is really easy so if there is any doubt about pulling aggro then err on the side of being careful.
Tank swap when Jealous Male spawns. The Recently Implanted debuff makes it impossible to solo tank the Writhing Horror. Trying to do so will cause the tank to eventually get 10 stacks of Incubation that trigger a wave of Foul Offspring and apply the debuff, then the next time they get Incubation they will instantly die. The simple strategy to deal with this mechanic is to have the tanks swap each time the Jealous Male spawns, with the tank swapping off the Writhing Horror picking up the Jealous Male.
Assign a rotation for Calming Pheromone red flower puddles. Only one player can use the Calming Pheromone flower puddle per wave of Foul Offspring and each player can only use the flower once per fight. Assign a rotation for all the DPS and healers so each person knows when it is their turn.
Do not step out of a Calming Pheromone red flower puddle. Once you step into the Calming Pheromone red puddle, do not step out or you will lose the buff (and so will the adds). Even if you step into the flower puddle by accident, it is critical to not lose the buff early. The Calming Pheromone reduces the Foul Offspring damage by 95%, so losing the buff right after the adds spawn can be very dangerous.
Watch positioning when cleansing Corrosive Slime. In Veteran Mode cleansing Corrosive Slime drops a Void Zone yellow AoE that lasts 60 seconds. Avoid placing the Void Zone on top of the flowers or in other inconvenient locations. The DoT does not tick that hard so it is fine to take a few seconds to reposition before cleansing.
In burn phase, focus DPS on the Writhing Horror. Once the team pushes the Writhing Horror below 13% then endless waves of Twisted Spawn will begin to enter the fight. The DPS should ignore these adds and focus all DPS on the Writhing Horror. The off-tank should try to grab as many of the Twisted Spawn as possible.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Writhing Horror in Veteran Mode:
The Writhing Horror continues to tunnel between locations in Veteran Mode and follows the same pattern.
Shadow / Assassin tanks make the Writhing Horror fight simpler by letting the team skip waves of Foul Offspring adds. When the Jealous Male spawns, the Shadow / Assassin can use Force Cloak to stealth out and cleanse the Incubation stacks without any Foul Offspring spawning. A team composition with two Shadow / Assassin tanks can skip Foul Offspring adds entirely.
The team can shorten the fight by having the off-tank position the Jealous Male adjacent to the Writhing Horror to facilitate DoT spread and splash damage.
The Foul Offspring die very quickly with targeted AoE attacks. Most groups can safely leave 1 or 2 DPS on the Writhing Horror while the other DPS AoE the Foul Offspring and burn down the Jealous Male.
Ranged DPS and healers should try to position themselves where they have LoS on the boss and/or teammates but are also safe to immediately cleanse if they receive the Corrosive Slime DoT. Avoid standing near or on top of the flowers at all times.
Tanks will benefit from holding onto at least one big defensive cooldown for the burn phase, especially if the tank with aggro on the Writhing Horror may need to AoE taunt and hold the boss and multiple Twisted Spawn. Some good DCDs are Deflection for Shadow / Assassin tanks, Saber Ward for Guardian / Juggernaut tanks and Reactive Shield / Energy Shield for Vanguard / Powertech tanks.
The team should be careful about balancing the timing of Jealous Male spawns and pushing into the burn phase. Getting the Jealous Male, Foul Offspring and unending waves of Twisted Spawn at the same time is the most common cause of a wipe in Veteran Mode for what is otherwise an easy boss fight. If the team expects a Jealous Male to spawn soon, it may be best to simply stop DPS until the Jealous Male spawns, kill it and the Foul Offspring, then safely push through the burn phase with only the Twisted Spawn to consider.
The Writhing Horror is one of the easiest boss encounters in Master Mode operations. The fight features very similar mechanics to Veteran Mode but substantially increased damage scaling especially for the tanks. Teams progging the fight for the first time may experience a few wipes in learning the timing and tanks/healers getting used to the damage scaling by the Horror, but after a little practice should be a very consistent one shot for most teams.
The Writhing Horror encounter in Master Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics in addition to those in Story and Veteran Mode:
Writhing Horror hits much harder: The damage taken in Master Mode is much higher particularly for the tank with aggro on the Writhing Horror. The boss does not have any predictable big hitting attacks but its Nasty Bite and Melee Attack abilities that are used very frequently can take big chunks of health if you get unlucky with defense and shield rolls. Tanks will semi-frequently see a quarter or more of their health get spiked away. Healers need to keep the main tank topped off as much as possible.
Corrosive Slime goes out faster and ticks harder: Each tick of the DoT does between 8-16% of your health which is significantly more than in Veteran Mode.
Writhing Horror has random burrowing patterns: In Master Mode the Writhing Horror’s burrowing patterns are random. The potential spawn points are the same as in lower difficulties, however..
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Writhing Horror in Master Mode include the following. Please note all strategic considerations in Veteran Mode also apply unless directly contradicted below.
Same burn order as in lower difficulties. Just like in Story Mode, the team’s DPS priority is smallest to largest. When Foul Offspring spawn, AoE them down first then burn down the Jealous Male then back onto the Writhing Horror.
Position in advance for Corrosive Slime cleanse. Since the DoT ticks much harder in Master Mode, players should always position themselves to facilitate an immediate cleanse. Ranged DPS and healers should stand near a wall if possible and tanks and DPS should watch their feet.
Avoid Jealous Male spawning in burn phase. Since the damage taken is the primary barrier to clearing the fight in Master Mode, the most dangerous phase is the burn phase. My experience has been that a wipe is likely if the Jealous Male spawns early in the burn phase. The team should pay attention to their DPS level and timing on pushing the boss and slow DPS if necessary to clear adds before entering burn.
Main tank should avoid taunting Twisted Spawn. The Twisted Spawn add a stacking DoT called Acidic Corrosion with each attack. The tank with aggro on the Writhing Horror can hold adds for a brief time with a strong defensive cooldown but will likely die quickly when defensives expire due to the combination of boss damage and the DoT. The off-tank should hold Twisted Spawn as long as possible during burn phase and afterwards healers and/or a designed DPS should try to tank them to keep them off the main tank.
Save raid buffs for burn phase. Burn phase lasts longer in Master Mode due to increased enemy health, which means the damage taken will be much higher and for much longer as more and more Twisted Spawn enter the fight. As such, I recommend saving raid buffs and adrenals for burn phase and making sure DPS time their use of cooldowns so they are back up for burn phase..
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Writhing Horror in Master Mode in addition to those in lower difficulties:
When the Horror burrows, I recommend beginning to move towards the middle of the room until you see where she resurfaces. This initial movement will usually guarantee you are in range of your gap closer and at most the group takes one cleave from the boss, whereas waiting to see the boss tunnel across the room can lead to 3 or more cleaves in some cases.
Shadow / Assassin tanks are even more helpful in Master Mode to avoid Foul Offspring, which makes the DPS check easier. If you only have one, I particularly recommend organizing the tank rotation so the Shadow / Assassin tank has the Writhing Horror during burn phase. If so, then if a Jealous Male spawns then the team can do a tank swap with the Shadow / Assassin cloaking out to avoid Foul Offspring. The off-tank will still need to hold the Jealous Male and the Twisted Spawn but it is much simpler than risking non-debuffed Foul Offspring running around killing DPS and healers.
As noted above in strategy, you usually will wipe if you get Foul Offspring spawning during burn phase. If this happens, make sure your healers know who is standing in the Calming Pheromone red puddle and keep them alive because if they die the debuff will expire and the Foul Offspring will run wild.
The Foul Offspring die very quickly with targeted AoE attacks. Most groups can safely leave 1 or 2 DPS on the Writhing Horror while the other DPS AoE the Foul Offspring and burn down the Jealous Male.
Tanks should communicate with their healers about the use of defensive cooldowns. The Writhing Horror is not too dangerous when the tank has cooldowns available to help mitigate spike damage or respond to spikes to let healers catch up. Any time you are out of defensives you should let the healers know to be more aggressive in healing you.
Dread Guards Story Mode Kill Video
Dread Guards Master Mode Kill Video
The Dread Guards are the sole multi-boss encounter in TFB. The basic structure to the fight is to DPS them down one boss at a time, with each phase having one or two unique mechanics. The fight is fairly easy in Story Mode and the only difficulty that semi-frequently causes issues is the Doom mechanic during the Ciphas phase.
Firstly, let's cover tanking. Heirad has a random aggro table and does not move, so no tanking is necessary. Ciphas and Kel'sara both need to be tanked. Kel'sara places a stacking debuff on her target that causes them to take more damage. This mechanic requires a tank swap during the fight. Use your judgment based on how many stacks your healers can comfortably handle - a common threshold is to swap at 5 stacks for newer groups or around 10 stacks for experienced groups. Really high DPS may be fast enough to avoid any swaps at all.
Phase 1 - Heirad
The team begins DPS'ing Heirad. Heirad's primary attack is Force Lightning aimed at random players and deals low damage. Tanks should pick up Ciphas and Kel'sara to kite them.
The primary mechanic for Phase 1 is Surging Chain. Heirad will begin chain casting Surging Chain while Ciphas leaps near him and begins channeling Empowered Barrier, which makes Heirad immune to damage. DPS should swap to Ciphas and attack him until the interrupt ability is usable then immediately interrupt his cast. This makes Heirad damageable again and the team should resume attacking Heirad.
Phase 2 - Ciphas
Ciphas is probably the most difficult phase of the encounter due to its emphasis on awareness and positioning. There are a few mechanics to deal with during this phase:
Expiatory Motes (green puddles): A green puddle spawns underneath a random player. A debuff is applied to the player for a few seconds prior to the puddle spawning (it looks like a person with a green background and lasts for around 2 seconds), and after it spawns the player has 1-2 seconds to move out of the way. Otherwise, stepping into the green puddle will consume it. Players should avoid using these puddles as they are needed for the Doom mechanic, and using them unnecessarily will apply a uncleanseable DoT to the player (indicated by a green orb DoT debuff).
Doom: A player receives a Doom debuff that lasts for 30 seconds. The debuff has 2 stacks. One stack can be cleansed by running into a green puddle of Expiatory Motes. The Doom mechanic will kill the player if the debuff expires without being cleansed of both stacks. As such, the player needs to run into 2 green puddles to cleanse the mechanic. (Pro Tip - some classes can use defensive abilities to mitigate Doom without running through puddles, but be careful doing so as it isn't usually necessary in Story Mode.)
Force Choke: Ciphas leaps to a random target and stuns them with a channeled Force Choke. Other players should immediately interrupt this ability, then Ciphas will resume his normal mechanics.
Tanks should continue swapping as needed but whoever is tanking Ciphas should try to keep him steadily moving to help make it easier to avoid standing in Expiatory Motes / green puddles.
Phase 3 - Kel'sara
Kel'sara has one primary mechanic called Marked for Death that occurs a few times during this last phase. She will aggro to a random player and be connected to them by a green energy beam (i.e., looks similar to the Commando basic heal beam). This mechanic slows the player. Kel'sara begins moving to them and will deal heavy damage if she reaches melee range. The affected player should use movement abilities and/or receive help from allies (Sage/Sorc pull, Transcendence/Predation, etc.) to stay away from Kel'sara.
The other mechanic to consider for healers is Withering Terror, a DoT that gets applied periodically to several random players. The DoT cannot be cleansed and must be healed through, so any players with the DoT will benefit greatly from HoT or shield effects as they will take much higher damage than most non-tank players.
The Dread Guards encounter is a step up in difficulty from Story Mode with new mechanics during each phase of the fight. The most important new mechanic is Force Leech that requires your healers to be very careful during the last phase or else risk killing their tank.
The Dread Guards encounter in Veteran Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Gored (Ciphas): In Veteran Mode, Ciphas applies stacks of Gored to the player with aggro. Each stack of Gored increases damage taken from Ciphas’ bleed effects by 50%.
Lightning Field (Heirad): Heirad will periodically channel Lightning Field. The channel takes 7.5 seconds and will periodically tick for single target damage on all players. The last tick at the end of the Lightning Field channel will trigger AoE damage that can affect other players.
Doom (Ciphas): As in Story Mode, Ciphas applies the Doom debuff every 30 seconds to a player that will kill them unless the stacks of Doom are cleansed by entering an Expiatory Mote green puddle. In Veteran Mode, the player receives 3 stacks of Doom (instead of 2 as in Story Mode), so the player must consume 3 green puddles to cleanse Doom. Doom lasts 24 seconds similar to Story Mode.
Strangle (Ciphas): Ciphas has an added mechanic where he will leap to a random player and choke them over 6 seconds. Strangle can be interrupted and deals high damage over its channel. Ciphas will prioritize players outside melee range and usually targets DPS.
Force Leech (Kel’sara): In Veteran Mode, Kel’sara will cast Force Leech periodically on the player with aggro. Force Leech lasts 18 seconds, reduces healing received by 99%, reduces healing done by 300% and deals damage to the player each time they receive a tick of healing. The first Force Leech goes out shortly after Ciphas is defeated and thereafter happens immediately after each Marked for Death mechanic.
Dread Guard Legionnaires (Kel’sara): In Veteran Mode, Kel’sara will summon 3 adds at 75%, 50% and 25% health. The add with one lightsaber will immediately cast Mass Affliction over 8 seconds and cannot be interrupted. In 16m groups there will be more adds and 2 will attempt to cast Mass Affliction.
Withering Terror (Kel’sara): Similar to Story Mode, the Withering Terror DoT will go out periodically while the team is attacking Kel’sara. In Veteran Mode the DoT ticks for significantly more damage but is predictable in that it goes out immediately after Force Leech.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Dread Guards in Veteran Mode include the following:
Burn order remains Heirad then Ciphas then Kel’sara. There is no change to the kill order in Veteran Mode due to the Dark Bond mechanics.
Tank swap is required between Ciphas and Kel’sara. Many groups may need to tank swap in Story Mode also to let the stacks of Pulverized applied by Kel’sara drop off, but it was usually possible to have one tank hold Ciphas at all times along with holding Kel’sara most of the time. In Veteran Mode Ciphas and Kel’sara each apply a separate stacking debuff that causes the tank to take more damage. Most groups should tank swap around 5 stacks. Avoid taunting Ciphas during Empowered Barrier (the channeled shield on Heirad) as Ciphas is taunt immune until interrupted.
Spread out for Lightning Field. The last tick of Lightning Field deals moderate AoE damage in Veteran Mode that can be very dangerous if the team is grouped together. Spread out during the channel to avoid overlapping AoE damage.
Doom requires 3 green circles. Doom requires a bit more strategy in Veteran Mode, which is discussed below.
Interrupt Strangle. Strangle deals high damage over its full channel so should be immediately interrupted. Ciphas will leap back to the player with aggro after Strangle ends, so it may be preferable to let the ranged DPS interrupt the channel so that Ciphas returns to the tank’s preferred kiting path to drop green puddles.
Avoid killing tanks with Force Leech. Force Leech is by far the most difficult mechanic added in Veteran Mode and may challenge less experienced tanks and healers. See below for more substantive discussion on these mechanics and strategies to deal with them.
Spread out for Withering Terror. The yellow Withering Terror DoT goes out after each Force Leech and is an AoE ability that can apply the DoT to multiple players. The team should try to spread out prior to Force Leech and remain so until the DoT goes out, then can safely group together a bit more if needed. Any player who get the Withering Terror DoT should use a low cooldown defensive ability to help mitigate the damage taken.
Kill adds before Mass Affliction. After Force Leech killing your tanks, the next most common cause of a wipe is Mass Affliction going out from the adds. The adds will spawn at precisely 75%, 50% and 25% of Kel’sara’s health. 1 add in 8m and 2 in 16m will begin casting Mass Affliction and need to be killed before the 8 second cast finishes. Mass Affliction cannot be interrupted. The casting adds are readily identifiable since they have a single lightsaber and do not move after spawning. The remaining adds should be killed afterwards as they deal relatively high damage.
Advanced Strategy - Doom
The Doom mechanic is only slightly more complicated in Veteran Mode than in Story Mode, but some additional discussion may be helpful to players.
When Heirad is defeated, the first Doom will go out 30 seconds into the second phase while the group attacks Ciphas. Doom lasts for 24 seconds before it expires and potentially kills the affected player, with another Doom going out 6 seconds later and on a 30 second timer.
The green Expiatory Mote circles go out every 6 seconds. A player without Doom entering the circle gets a DoT that ticks for low damage and more importantly they consume the circle. A player with Doom needs to run into 3 green circles to cleanse it.
In Veteran Mode, the team strategy should generally be to avoid wasting green circles and use them to cleanse Doom. Unlike in Master Mode, there is no compelling reason to stockpile the circles for the Kel’sara phase. It is possible to cheese Doom though again it is not generally recommended since it adds difficulty and the potential to kill a player without any meaningful upside.
Advanced Strategy - Force Leech
Force Leech is the most dangerous mechanic in the Dread Guards in Veteran Mode. All team members need to understand how the mechanic works and the plan to clear the mechanic.
The first Force Leech goes out shortly after Ciphas is defeated and after every Marked for Death mechanic thereafter. Force Leech lasts 18 seconds, reduces healing received by 99%, reduces healing done by 300% and deals damage to the player each time they receive a tick of healing.
In Veteran Mode, each tick of healing received will typically damage the player for around 15% or so of their health. Channeled heals and heal-over-time (HoT) effects are especially dangerous.
Tanks should plan for and communicate to the healers at all times who has aggro on Kel’sara. The tank with aggro will need heals but healers should avoid applying HoTs or delayed heals. The healers should also be very careful with any “smart” AoE heals like Roaming Mend / Wandering Mend or Successive Treatment / Progressive Scan.
Tanks should also be very careful about using any self-heal abilities. These include medpacs that have a HoT component, defensive cooldowns like Battle Readiness / Overcharged Saber, or delayed self-heal cooldowns like Focused Defense / Eneraged Defense or Adrenaline Rush / Kolto Overload. If any of these are active or any HoTs or probes have been applied, the tank should try to manually click them off their bar before Force Leech goes out.
As soon as Kel’sara begins casting Force Leech, the team should call it out in voice comms. Healers should immediately stop healing the tank with aggro to avoid any heals landing after Force Leech is applied. The off-tank should immediately taunt Kel’sara.
At this point, the ideal strategy is for the tank with Force Leech to run >30m from the healers. I recommend the tanks and healers communicate in advance where the tanks will move to shelter during Force Leech. Healers should stand on the opposite side of Kel’sara to make it easier for tanks to get out of range quickly so healers can resume using their full healing kit.
Force Leech will expire shortly before the Marked for Death mechanic, which will be followed by another Force Leech tank swap. Healers should then heal them to full in preparation for the tank swap.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Dread Guards in Veteran Mode:
Kel’sara spawns adds at 75%, 50% and 25% as noted above. This includes during Phase 1 and Phase 2. See below for some discussion on ways to add DPS on Heirad and make the healers' job more efficient by keeping Ciphas and Kel’sara close. The tank with aggro on Kel’sara should keep an eye on her health and pull her further away from the group if she gets below around 85% health. Getting an unexpected wave of adds can be deadly if it leads to Mass Affliction going out, so avoid that at all costs.
Skilled tanks should consider how to add damage during the Heirad phase to help push the phase faster. This strategy is important in Master Mode so getting practice is a good idea. I recommend tanks use their full opener on their assigned boss prior to the first Surging Chains mechanic to build aggro. After the tank swap, I would hit that boss a few times then pull them adjacent to Heirad and then swap targets and attack Heirad. No one else should be directly damaging Ciphas or Kel’sara so losing aggro should not be a concern. Tank damage is much lower than the other DPS, but between two tanks and a little extra damage from healers that is close to having an extra DPS player.
Some tanks prefer kiting Ciphas and Kel’sara. I have never noticed a difference in Veteran Mode and have actually found it sub-optimal in Master Mode. As such, I recommend placing Ciphas and Kel’sara adjacent to Heirad in phase 1 and keeping the two 10-15 meters away from each other in phase 2. This helps facilitate extra DPS on Heirad in phase 1, but more importantly will make it easier for healers to use AoE healing to maintain healing uptime on the tanks but also clip the DPS.
Ciphas and Kel’sara have cleave attacks so make sure to angle them away from DPS players. If keeping Ciphas and Kel’sara near Heirad in phase 1 then be careful how they are pointed, especially given the positional requirements for some DPS requires them be behind Heirad.
Many classes can cheese the Lightning Field damage and I recommend doing so if possible. Melee DPS in particular may benefit from doing so by getting more uptime to damage Heirad. Some examples include Shadow / Assassin players can use Resilience / Force Shroud, Guardian / Juggernaut players can use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash, Sentinel / Marauder players can use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash or Guarded by the Force / Undying Rage, and Scrapper Scoundrel / Concealment Operatives can roll the damage. I do not recommend ranged DPS bother with cheesing the damage since they can maintain uptime anyway. Just use a regular defensive cooldown.
For any players that struggle with identifying and placing the green puddles, I recommend keeping an eye on the ops frame. A green debuff is applied 2 seconds before a green puddle spawns. If you get it yourself and react quickly, you have a second or so to move away from the group to drop the puddle then can move back in. Either way, you have a second or so grace period to move out of the green puddle without consuming it.
Many classes can cheese Doom but I do not recommend it in Veteran Mode. The team will get 5 green puddles per Doom window plus an entire wave of green puddles before the first Doom. As such, there should always be plenty of green puddles unless the team is horrible at watching their feet.
I recommend any Shadow / Assassin tanks consider equipping the Friend of the Force tactical. This strategy can help in an emergency if the team runs out of green puddles to cleanse Doom. The tank can swap their guard to the debuffed player and hit Resilience / Force Shroud a second before Doom expires and make them immune to the damage. As for other tacticals, Two Cloaks is not particularly helpful in this fight and Shroud of a Shadow can be nice to extend the tank’s immunity to Force Leech damage but is not critical.
Many teams may have different preferred tank swap strategies for Ciphas and Kel’sara. The simplest one I would recommend is based on the typical swap pattern in Master Mode. During the Heirad phase, I suggest swapping at each Surging Chains cast when Ciphas shields Heirad. Stacks will drop off during Lightning Field and do not require a tank swap, so each Surging Chains should coincide with the appropriate timing to swap. During the second Ciphas phase, tanks can swap on every Strangle. Feel free to swap more or less often though, as the tank damage is not typically a massive problem in Veteran Mode for most healers as long as they avoid going above 10 stacks.
Healers will usually be safe to apply HoTs, shields and probes on a tank right after Force Leech expires. Those effects should expire and/or be consumed well in advance of the next Force Leech swap. Outside that specific time window, I suggest avoiding those effects on tanks entirely.
Sage / Sorcerer healers should be especially careful of applying shields to tanks if they are running the full Empowered Restorer 4-piece or 6-piece set bonus. Both set bonuses cause Force Armor / Static Barrier to heal (4-piece applies a HoT, 6-piece causes an immediate heal). As noted above, it is usually safe to shield the tank after Force Leech expires since the shield will be consumed before the next one. If you already have a Revitalized Mystic set with augments, this one might be better for this fight. However, you still need to be careful about applying Rejuvenate / Resurgence to the tank.
Commando / Mercenary healers should be careful of using Med Shot / Kolto Shot (your basic spammable heal) on tanks when running the Tech Medic set bonus, as it also applies a HoT that lasts a while.
All players should check their utilities for anything that might add a heal to a friendly player. For example, Shadow / Assassin tanks have a utility that makes their AoE taunt apply a small HoT. I have been killed by this utility several times in Master Mode due to my co-tank using an AoE taunt to grab Kel’sara for Force Leech right as adds spawn. Make sure you remove these utilities at least for the Dread Guards fight.
Shadow / Assassin tanks are ideal to take the first Force Leech after Ciphas goes down. Since damage from Force Leech is a Force attack, they can use Resilience / Force Shroud to give themselves immunity to any damage triggered by heals. Shadow / Assassins also can count on Force Cloak to trigger a tank swap if it’s late and can use Force Speed to move quickly away from healers.
Guardian / Juggernaut tanks should use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash to quickly move out of range of healers. If the healers are 5-10 meters on the opposite side of Kel’sara, dashing 20 meters in the opposite direction should almost entirely move them out of range of heals. Blade Blitz / Mad Dash may also help to mitigate damage from any late heals.
The Dread Guards encounter in Master Mode is a very large step up in difficulty from Veteran Mode. There are few new mechanics but the fight features very high outgoing damage and a tight DPS check. The damage tuning will challenge players to cheese high damage mechanics like Lightning Field and Doom, and most groups will need careful positioning to drop green circles to avoid a new mechanic in the Kel’sara phase.
The Dread Guards encounter in Master Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Lightning Field hits very hard: Lightning Field goes out more frequently and deals much higher damage in Master Mode. An unmitigated last tick of damage will typically consume around half or more of a DPS or healer health bar. The team absolutely must avoid overlapping Lightning Field damage unless those players are using abilities to completely cheese the damage. Since outgoing damage is very high in this fight on the tanks, all players should try to mitigate Lightning Field damage as much as possible to help healers avoid falling behind due to excessive group healing.
Surging Chain reflects damage: This mechanic punishes DPS who continue attacking Heirad during Surging Chain instead of swapping to Ciphas. As long as players promptly swap targets it should not matter.
Ciphas and Kel’sara hit very hard: The bosses hit very hard in Master Mode and will be a struggle to most groups to survive their damage. The damage is lower during Phase 1 but offset by much higher group damage from Lightning Field. During Phase 2 both tanks will take very high damage and during Phase 3 Kel’sara hits very hard. Among the pre-Gods operations in Master Mode, the Dread Guards have among the higher damage dealt to tanks.
Doom lasts 34 seconds requires 6 green puddles to cleanse: Doom in Master Mode lasts longer (34 seconds versus 24 seconds in Story / Veteran Mode) and has 6 stacks instead of 3 in Veteran Mode.
Force Leech ticks for more damage per heal: The Force Leech mechanic functions identically in Master Mode as in Veteran Mode. However, the damage applied by Force Leech for each tick of healing received is significantly increased. Anecdotally I observed the damage seemed to be roughly double from around 20% of my max health per tick to around 40% or more per tick. Given that the tank getting Force Leech will usually be below max health, this means often just one tick of Force Leech will kill the tank whereas in Veteran Mode a tick or two may be survivable.
Expiatory Mote red puddles drop during Phase 3: While green Expiatory Mote puddles drop during Phase 2, red circles now drop during Phase 3 while the team attacks Kel’sara. Just like the green puddles , stepping into the puddle applies a DoT. The red puddle DoT ticks extremely hard and will likely kill the player very quickly. The red circle can be cleansed by entering a green puddle, which will convert the red DoT to a green DoT. The green DoT still ticks for damage but is far easier to heal through.
Withering Terror hits very hard: The DoT applied by Kel’sara is very dangerous in Master Mode and is also applied to any players near the target. Withering Terror goes out shortly after Force Leech.
Slow effect during Marked for Death is more powerful: The player receives a slow effect in Veteran Mode while Marked for Death and is slowed even more in Master Mode. A movement ability or friendly pull will likely be necessary to avoid Kel’sara for the duration of the mechanic.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Dread Guards in Master Mode include the following. Please note all strategic considerations in Veteran Mode also apply unless directly contradicted below.
All Phases - Same burn order as in lower difficulties. Just like in Story and Veteran Mode, the team’s DPS priority is Heirad then Ciphas then Kel’sara.
Phase 1 - Stack Ciphas and Kel’sara near Heirad. We found that tanks stacking Ciphas and Kel’sara near Heirad was helpful both for group healing and to let tanks help DPS Heirad to push the phase faster. We also found that kiting Ciphas and Kel’sara did not have a noticeable decrease in damage taken by the tanks but stressed healers since AoE healing would not benefit the tanks. If following this strategy, be careful to face Ciphas and Kel’sara away from other players since they have a cleave attack. My preferred positioning is to have Ciphas and Kel’sara next to Heirad and faced perpendicular to Heirad’s front and back sides. This positioning ensures no one gets cleaved and leaves Heirad’s back side safe for players with positional DPS requirements (e.g., Shadow/Assassin or Scoundrel/Operative DPS players).
Important caveat to this strategy - keep an eye on Kel’sara’s health and make sure she does not get down to 75% health and trigger adds. Even with DoT spread and splash damage, it should not be a concern unless DPS directly attack her. The tank with Kel’sara’s aggro should keep an eye on her and pull her away if she gets low.
Phase 1 - Tanks help DPS Heirad. We found the DPS check to be moderately challenging among Master Mode fights and in particular wanted to guarantee we could avoid a third Lightning Field attack (that would leave us low in health when moving to Phase 2). Tanks adding DPS to Heirad helps push the phase faster and is more efficient since Ciphas and Kel’sara will frequently heal the tank damage on them anyway.
If using this strategy, the key consideration is avoiding the loss of aggro early in the fight. After a few tank swaps this will cease to be an issue due to the multiplicative impact of taunts.
My usual approach in this fight while tanking would be to use my normal rotation on my assigned boss until the first Surging Chain to build aggro. We would tank swap on Surging Chain and after that I would swap my target to Heirad to add DPS.
Phase 1 - Use defensives to cheese Lightning Field. Lightning Field hits very hard in Master Mode and can be stressful to healers given the high sustained healing required on tanks. All players should use strong defensive cooldowns to mitigate damage and cheese it if possible. The team ideally should only see 2 Lightning Field mechanics so plan accordingly. See below for more discussion on this topic.
Phase 1 & 2 - Tank swap to minimize stacks of Gored / Pulverized. Ciphas and Kel’sara hit very hard in Master Mode and dealing with the sustained damage will challenge tanks to time their swaps and cooldowns appropriately and the healers to stay ahead of damage. We found that optimal timing for swapping was based on the timing for certain mechanics and usually led to swapping between 3-5 stacks of the debuffs. See below for more discussion on this topic.
Phase 2 - Cheese Doom to avoid consuming Expiatory Motes (green puddles). Cheesing Doom is highly recommended if the group composition allows it, since it can enable the group to avoid consuming green puddles. See below for more discussion.
Phase 2 - Drop Expiatory Motes (green puddles) together near the wall. As will be discussed below, the optimal strategy is to place all the green puddles closely together near a wall somewhere in the room. Once 12 green puddles have been placed on the ground, no more will spawn unless some are consumed. If 12 green puddles are on the ground, no red puddles will spawn during phase 3.
Phase 2 - Ranged DPS should interrupt Ciphas’ Strangle attack. The team should be looking to strategically place green puddles near a wall and close together during Phase 2. Tanks and/or melee DPS leaping out to Ciphas to interrupt Strangle is not recommended since they may move into/through a puddle and consume it or drop a puddle in a bad position. As such, we usually ask a ranged DPS player to take responsibility for interrupts if possible. If your group has fewer than 2 ranged DPS then you may want to assign one player to handle interrupts. A healer can usually handle the interrupt though without accuracy gearing their interrupt has a chance to miss. The safest option to avoid loss of uptime on DPS is to have the off-tank with Kel’sara handle the interrupt since they can move more freely without impacting melee DPS attacking Ciphas.
Phase 3 - Tank swap on Force Leech. The Force Leech mechanic functions similarly to Veteran Mode but each tick is roughly double compared to Veteran Mode. Also, tanks take so much higher damage in Master Mode that it can be very challenging to heal through the damage and avoid ticking Force Leech. See below for more discussion.
Phase 3 - DPS should interrupt add casts and focus down adds. The add mechanics are identical to Veteran Mode in that they spawn at 75%, 50% and 25% of Kel’sara’s health and includes 1 add in 8m (2 in 16m) that cast Mass Affliction that wipes the team if it goes out. In Master Mode the adds deal high damage that can be challenging for healers given the sustained healing on the tank with Kel’sara’s aggro, healing up the off-tank after Force Leech drops off, and healing through the Withering Terror DoT. Teams with high AoE or DoT spread damage may be able to safely kill them while maintaining priority on Kel’sara, but some groups may benefit from having DPS prioritize immediately killing the adds to reduce overall damage taken. As long as the team is safely ahead of the enrage timer then I recommend getting all adds down immediately as the safer and better option.
Phase 3 - Spread out for Withering Terror. The Withering Terror DoT can be really rough on healers if it gets applied to multiple players. The team should stay loosely spread out after Force Leech until Withering Terror is applied, and then ranged DPS and healers can group up safely.
Phase 3 - Avoid red puddles, use green puddles to cleanse if necessary. Ideally the team should try to drop 12 green puddles during Phase 2 and avoid using them. If so, no red puddles will spawn during Phase 3. If a red puddle spawns, avoid it at all costs to avoid the red DoT. If a player clips a red puddle by accident, they should immediately pop a strong defensive against periodic internal/elemental damage and run into a green circle. They will still take damage from a green puddle but it is survivable, whereas the red DoT will kill a player relatively quickly regardless of your healers.
Phase 3 - Use movement abilities and pulls for Marked for Death. Marked for Death is much more difficult in Master Mode due to the more powerful slow effect applied to the player. Often the player has less room to move around assuming the group has successfully dropped green puddles in one side of the room. Kel’sara will chase the player for 15 seconds and will catch the player unless they use movement abilities to avoid her. Make sure to take utilities that help improve movement speed or provide immunity to slows as they are really helpful. Sage/Sorcerer and Gunslinger/Snipers should utilize their pre-placed teleport abilities. Any Sage/Sorcerer players in particular should plan to use their friendly pull ability to help. Sentinel/Marauder and Vanguard/Powertech players can also help with friendly speed buff abilities. This mechanic is not super hard but the kiting path is not a pure face roll like in Story or Veteran Mode.
Advanced Strategy - Lightning Field
Lightning Field is a dangerous mechanic in Master Mode because it can lead to a wipe if people do not spread out. Even with proper positioning the mechanic severely stresses healers who are already dealing with very high sustained damage on tanks.
The team should pre-assign positions for Lightning Field to ensure no overlap. Keep in mind that players are slowed during the Lightning Field channel. Melee DPS who plan to cheese the Lightning Field attack and keep attacking Heirad should be identified, and the group should allow sufficient spots near Heirad for them. Usually at least 2 melee DPS or tanks can stand near the door.
During the fight, ranged DPS and healers should try to be relatively near their assigned position prior to the mechanic. When Lightning Field begins, everyone should move to their position and use a movement ability if necessary. Everyone should use a strong defensive to mitigate the last big tick of damage. DPS and healers should generally take very little damage during Phase 1 except from Lightning Field so have no reason to save defensives.
After Lightning Field, all team members should group up near Heird for efficient AoE healing to top everyone up. Ranged DPS should then move back to their assigned position prior to the next Lightning Field.
The group should generally see two Lightning Field phases. If you get a third then you are likely behind the enrage timer.
In 16 person operations, positioning will be much trickier. I highly recommend everyone who can cheese Lightning Field do so, which will help provide more space for those unable to do so.
Classes that can cheese Lightning Field include the following:
Guardian/Juggernaut - Use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash at 0.5s left on the Lightning Field channel. Try to be near a wall and dash into the wall to avoid clipping someone else with your AoE.
Sentinel/Marauder - Use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash similarly to Guardian/Juggernaut. Guarded by the Force / Undying Rage should also work but has a much longer cooldown.
Sage/Sorcerer - Can use Force Barrier for one Lightning Field but it will not be available for both. I do not recommend doing so though as it may not be back up in time for Doom.
Shadow/Assassin - Use Resilience / Force Shroud. Tanks can also shield a guarded player if running the Friend of the Force tactical.
Scoundrel / Operative - Scrapper/Concealment disciplines can roll the last tick though it is tricky to do so. Other disciplines cannot cheese the damage.
Gunslinger / Sniper - Can roll the damage if timed carefully. Gunslinger / Sniper has excellent mitigation so I do not recommend cheesing. An easier approach is to Hunker Down / Entrench and hit Dodge / Evasion.
Commando / Mercenary - Cannot cheese Lightning Field.
Vanguard / Powertech - DPS disciplines cannot cheese Lightning Field. Tanks may be able to cheese using Emergency Power though the absorb shield has a cap so may not work depending on how many players are stacking.
Advanced Strategy - Tank Mechanics
Tanks and healers have a tough time in the Dread Guards fight in Master Mode due to the much higher damage taken during the fight. The overall key is to be properly coordinated around tank swapping to ensure no tanks gets too many stacks of Gored by Ciphas or Pulverized by Kel’sara during the first two phases, surviving the first Force Leech in the third phase, and then dealing with Force Leech for the remainder of the fight.
During the first phase, I recommend tank swapping at each Surging Chain, which should work out to 3-4 stacks. Debuff stacks will naturally drop off during Lightning Field that happens in between each Surging Chain, so the first phase should go as follows:
Begin fight. Each tank takes their assigned boss.
Surging Chain, tank swap
Lightning Field, stacks drop off and tanks resume tanking the same boss afterwards
Surging Chain, tank swap
Lightning Field, stacks drop off again
Surging Chain, tank swap
(teams should ideally defeat Heirad before the third Lightning Field)
I recommend tanks avoid kiting Ciphas and Kel’sara and instead place them adjacent to Heird during the first phase. My experience with kiting bosses has been that I take essentially the same damage but makes the healing tougher since they can not clip other players with AoE heals as often. Positioning near Heirad lets healers maintain primary focus on tanks and let AoE heals targeted on the tanks provide group healing to other players, and may let the tanks add DPS to Heirad to push the phase faster.
The tank with aggro on Kel’sara during phase 1 and 2 should keep an eye on her health and make sure she does not drop to 75% and summon adds. This should not usually be a problem unless DPS are targeting the wrong boss or are fluffing, but if so pull Kel’sara away.
Keep in mind that Ciphas and Kel’sara have cleaves so keep them pointed away from Heirad in phase 1.
In phase 2, pull Ciphas to a pre-determined position along the wall. At this point the goal is to move Ciphas as green puddles are dropped along the wall. The tanks should swap at 4-5 at each Strangle mechanic by Ciphas. Try to avoid leaping or running out to Ciphas when he leaps for Strangle, as after it is interrupted he will jump back. Also make sure to move Ciphas out of green puddles and leave room for melee DPS to stand to avoid the cleave and green puddles.
As soon as 12 green puddles have been dropped, pull Ciphas to the middle of the room away from the green puddles. If any green puddles get consumed, pull him back to drop more. The Kel’sara tank should stay near Ciphas but not on top of them. It is fine to add some DPS to Ciphas but watch Kel’sara’s health.
I generally recommend being aggressive with defensives early in phase 2 so that they are back up going into phase 3. Try to time the use of defensives as you get to 2+ stacks of the debuff, which should align your mitigation buffs with the higher damage phases.
Before Ciphas goes down, figure out who is going to hold Kel’sara until the first Force Leech and let your healers know. Ideally try to time your last tank swap so that the tank on Kel’sara has no more than 2 stacks as Ciphas dies. That tank needs to save a big defensive cooldown.
As soon as Ciphas goes down, Kel’sara begins dealing much higher damage. Since the healers can’t use any abilities with heal over time effects this phase can be challenging to heal through. The Kel’sara tank should hit a big defensive cooldown (Saber Reflect, Saber Ward, Battle Readiness / Overcharged Saber, Reactive Shield / Energy Shield) to help bridge to Force Leech and try to click off any HoTs, bubbles or probes active on them at the time.
Beginning with the first Force Leech, the first is the same as Veteran Mode except Kel’sara deals a bit more damage. Force Leech is much more dangerous however since each heal received ticks for more damage. As soon as you get Force Leech, run far away from your healers. The sooner you get more than 35 meters away from them the less likely you are to die to a “smart heal”.
I highly suggest using defensive cooldowns as Force Leech goes out to mitigate damage, especially for the first one. Shadow / Assassin tanks are ideal for the first Force Leech since they can use Resilience / Force Shroud to resist all ticks of damage. Guardian / Juggernauts can use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash to both resist damage and quickly move out of range of heals.
Advanced Strategy - Doom / Green Puddles
Doom functions similarly in Master Mode to Veteran except that you have more time to cleanse it and require 6 green puddles instead of 3. Given the rate at which green puddles go out, this leaves very little room for error by teammates wasting green puddles if the team deals with Doom using a conventional strategy to use green puddles to cleanse Doom.
The preferred strategy for Doom is to have as many players (preferably all) cheese Doom to avoid using any green puddles. Once the team places 12 green puddles on the ground then no more will go out. More importantly, the team will not get any red puddles in phase 3. This is a highly desired result because a red puddle will very quickly kill a player if they clip into it in phase 3.
Players need to be careful to drop green puddles as close together as possible on one side of the room to maximize the available space in phase 3. Having spread out green puddles makes phase 3 rough due to Kel’sara’s knockback and Marked for Death mechanics.
The key to this strategy’s success is the team successfully cheesing Doom. Classes can cheese Doom by using the following abilities just before Doom expires:
Guardian / Juggernaut - Saber Reflect or Blade Blitz / Mad Dash
Sentinel / Marauder - Blade Blitz / Mad Dash
Sage / Sorcerer - Force Barrier
Shadow / Assassin - Resilience / Force Shroud (Force Cloak also can work with utility to apply Resilience / Force Shroud on use)
Scoundrel / Operative - Scrapper / Concealment may be able to cheese Doom with their roll but the timing for that will be quite difficult and isn’t recommended as a consistent option. Other disciplines cannot cheese Doom.
Gunslinger / Sniper - Roll will work if timed correctly but is difficult to time. Need to hit ability within 0.5s of Doom expiring.
Commando / Mercenary - Reflect
Vanguard / PT - Unable to cheese Doom
Cheesing Doom makes Phase 3 much simpler so is a desired strategy if group composition allows it. A Shadow / Assassin tank is great to help classes cheese Doom that otherwise cannot by running the Friend of the Force tactical. If so, the tank guards the player with Doom and activates Resilience / Force Shroud 1-2 seconds before Doom expires and the guarded player will be immune. This strategy can work even with multiple team members unable to cheese Doom, though given Resilience / Force Shroud’s cooldown it may not work consistently depending on who gets Doom.
Advanced Strategy - Force Leech
Force Leech is far more difficult in Master Mode due to the much higher damage taken by tanks. In Veteran Mode it is fairly easy for experienced healers to keep up with tank damage without using abilities with heal over time effects. In Master Mode that becomes more difficult. The game’s gearing meta also makes it more difficult due to Sage / Sorcerer healers running Empowered Restorer set bonus gear applying a heal over time via their Force Armor / Static Barrier shield and Commando / Mercenary healers running Tech Medic set bonus applying a heal over time with Med Shot / Kolto Shot.
The first Force Leech is the most difficult since Kel’sara’s damage spikes after Ciphas goes down and frequently the tank holding Kel’sara has at least a few stacks of Pulverized and takes more damage. I highly recommend the tanks try to time their swaps so the tank holding Kel’sara has no more than 2 stacks and pops a big 15 second defensive cooldown to reduce damage taken and make it easier for healers to keep you up without using heal over time abilities.
As soon as Force Leech goes out, run away from the healer to a corner of the room. Shadow / Assassin tanks should use Resilience / Force Shroud to become immune to ticks from Force Leech and Force Speed to run away, Guardian / Juggernauts should use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash to resist some damage and move more quickly away, and Vanguard / Powertechs should use Power Yield (if running Emergency Power) and Hold the Line / Hydraulic Overrides to resist damage and run away.
After the first Force Leech the tanking becomes similar to Veteran Mode except with higher damage. Anytime a tank picks up adds they should pop a defensive cooldown when AoE taunting to help mitigate the extra damage.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Dread Guards in Master Mode in addition to those applicable to lower difficulties:
Pre-fight, Sage/Sorcs and Gunslinger/Snipers should pre-place their teleport markers for Marked for Death in Phase 3. Make sure to consider the planned positions for dropping green puddles and tanking Kel’sara.
It is possible to set up a custom timer for Doom in starparse. I highly recommend doing so to help keep track of its timer. When my current team progged NiM TFB we had several instances of people dying due to losing track of the 34 second duration on Doom. We then set up timers for everyone and never had that issue again.
In Phase 3, healers should try to position themselves opposite the direction the tank plans to go after Force Leech. If they are 15m from the tank when Force Leech goes out and back up a little while the tank runs away, the tank can get almost immediately out of range of heals. Conversely, if the healers are standing on the same side as the tank then they may need to run 35-40m to get out of range.
In Phase 3, all players should be careful of their position for the knockback that precedes Marked for Death. Depending on the positioning of Kel’sara and the green puddles, it can be possible to be knocked into them inadvertently.
Sage / Sorcerer healers who also have a Revitalized Mystic set may benefit from swapping it in over Empowered Restorer for this fight. It is sub-optimal in most circumstances but lets you safely bubble tanks in phase 3 without it triggering Force leech.
Shadow / Assassin players should make sure they are NOT taking the Shadow’s Shelter / Assassin’s Shelter utility (skillful tier). This utility causes your AoE taunt (tanks) or threat drop (DPS) to apply a small heal over time effect. This may sound silly but I have been killed several times by tanks and DPS using this ability prior to or just after Force Leech and the miniscule ticks of healing killing me via Force Leech.
Operator IX Story Mode Kill Video
Operator IX Master Mode Kill Video
Operator IX is a really fun fight that has rather high requirements for group coordination and strategy. In 8m encounters, every player must fill a role during the Phase 1 color coordination mechanics. These roles are very straightforward but do not allow for any players to skip their role, as the mechanics cannot be powered through and will lead to a wipe. Moreso than nearly any other operation in SWTOR, the group must plan out their strategy in advance and make sure everyone understands their role.
The basic structure to the Operator IX encounter has two phases. The first phase is by far the most complicated and involves the team going through 4 "color phases" to bring down the shields and destroy the Data Cores around the room. Once all 4 color phases are completed, the second phase begins and involved a much more straightforward tank and spank of Operator IX itself.
Before going into strategy, the first and most important aspect of the fight to understand is the color buffs themselves. In order to enter the Operator IX encounter room, each player must click on a color panel to teleport in. Each panel gives a different color buff and can be either Blue, Orange, Purple or Yellow. No player can have more than on color. If someone grabs the wrong color, a panel just inside the room can be used to teleport out and swap colors.
The team needs to be divided evenly amongst the 4 colors. This means 2 people per color in 8m and 4 per color in 16m groups.
The most important thing to understand is that only the players with a given color can execute mechanics for that color. As discussed below, only players with the Blue color can bring down the shields during Blue Scalene or deactivate Blue circles during Black Obtuse. As such, it is incredibly important that players know what color they have and know when/where to execute mechanics for their color phase.
As discussed in more detail below, there are various roles that need to be executed and these should be assigned in advance. The main items to cover are as follows:
Who should pick up each color? I usually recommend having 1 tank/healer and 1 DPS per color.
Who will be "in the middle" for each color? I usually recommend having tanks/healers in the middle, as this enables them to help tank adds and heal the tanks.
Who will be "channeling" for each color? I usually recommend having DPS channel, as the DPS check is very generous in Story Mode so having tanks/healers in the middle is usually more beneficial to group success.
Make sure everyone understands what to do for Black Obtuse in Phase 2.
The exact assignment of roles can vary and multiple combinations can work. That said, my general recommendation is as follows below. The main strategic thinking here is to let 2 tanks be up and mobile during Orange and Yellow when Regulators are up. The regulators deal heavy damage and have a knockback, so it is preferable to have 2 tanks available to kite each of them and let the healer in the middle continuing spam healing them through the damage. This strategy is also viable for Hard Mode for most groups for similar reasons, with the only tweak applicable to Hard Mode but not Story Mode is weighting your stronger DPS to Blue / Orange.
Blue: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Orange: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
Purple: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Yellow: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
Phase 1 - Blue Scalene
When the fight first begins, the team is not on the clock yet so can take some time to destroy all the droids in the area. These will keep spawning so as soon as all available droids are down the group should begin the mechanics.
This mechanic will repeat for each color phase in Phase 1. The person designated to be "in the middle" (usually a tank or healer) will need to stand inside the circle around the Master Control entity (note the Master Control is not damageable). This area is highlighted the color of the applicable phase (Blue in this case) so is easy to identify.
As soon as the designated Blue player steps into the Blue circle, this will power up a console on one of the four pillars around the inner area. The console will glow blue. The Blue person designated to "channel" needs to find this console, run over to it, and click it. Clicking the console begins a Diagnostic Override 65 second channel that deactivates the shields on two consoles around the room. The channeler should just stand there and not move or use any abilities.
As soon as the shields are down, all other DPS should attack and destroy the unshielded Data Cores. The two that drops their shields will be exactly opposite each other in the room, so once you destroy one Data Core the other will be directly opposite on the other side of the room.
The adds in this phase are Recognizers, which are small adds that spawn in waves of 2. Tanks should keep adds away from the channeler and person in the middle. The adds need to be held via Taunts as otherwise they cannot normally be picked up through normal aggro.
If the channeler gets attacked and interrupted, they should call out for help and attempt to resume channeling to bring the shields back down. A tank and/or DPS should peel off the adds immediately.
Once both blue Data Cores are destroyed, the group moves to the next phase. If the group fails to complete Blue Scalene within the 70s timer, the phase will repeat and a special large add called a Rectifier will spawn. This add is very dangerous and DPS should stop attacking the Data Cores and swap targets to the Rectifier, then resume mechanics once it is down.
Phase 1 - Orange Scalene
This phase is nearly identical to the Blue phase except the designated Orange players need to stand in the middle Orange circle and then channel the Orange console to drop the shields on two more Data Cores.
The adds in this phase are Regulators. These large droids spawn one at a time. Regulators deal much heavier damage than Recognizers and have a stun/knockback attack that should be interrupted if possible.
Phase 1 - Purple Scalene
This phase is nearly identical to the Blue phase except the designated Purple players need to stand in the middle Purple circle and then channel the Purple console to drop the shields on two more Data Cores.
The adds in this phase are Recognizers that spawn in waves of 2.
Phase 1 - Yellow Scalene
This phase is nearly identical to the Blue phase except the designated Yellow players need to stand in the middle Yellow circle and then channel the Yellow console to drop the shields on two more Data Cores.
The adds in this phase are Regulators that spawn one at a time.
Phase 2 - Operator IX
After all 4 color phases are completed and all 8 Data Cores destroyed (finally!), the second phase begins with the team fighting Operator IX. DPS should prioritize destroying any remaining Recognizer or Regulator adds before attacking the boss. Tanks should coordinate to have one grab Operator IX while the other holds any adds.
Operator IX is a very simple boss fight in Story Mode. It's primary mechanic is Black Obtuse. This mechanic involves Operator IX shielding itself and populating the 10 small circles around itself with a random color from the 4 color phases (Blue, Orange, Purple, Yellow). Players then have 10s to deactivate all 10 circles or they will take very high AoE damage.
Players can only deactivate circles of THEIR color (e.g., Blue players can deactivate Blue circles, etc.) and can only deactivate 2 circles in total. It is possible for Black Obtuse to consist of 4 Blues, 4 Oranges, 1 Purple and 1 Yellow, in which case at least 2 Blue players and at least 2 Orange players will be needed to deactivate the circles.
The Operator IX encounter is the major mechanics check for groups in Veteran Mode as it adds several new mechanics. The basic structure of the fight remains with phase 1 involving bringing down shields to destroy power cores over 4 color phases and phase 2 fighting the boss itself. Phase 1 is more difficult due to less time for each successive color phase, a very punishing add that spawns if you fail a color, and new color spheres the group needs to collect for phase 2. Phase 2 is also much more difficult in Veteran Mode due to Color Deletion. Operator IX is one of relatively few fights where it is difficult to simply overpower mechanics through sheer DPS, meaning every group will need to execute mechanics successfully to clear the boss.
The Operator IX encounter in Veteran Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Color Spheres: In Veteran Mode, two color spheres spawn at the beginning of each color phase during Phase 1. A sphere spawns at the north and south ends of the room and move inward. The spheres are neutral (yellow health bar) so cannot be tab targeted but once damaged will become enemies. Dealing the killing blow to a Color Sphere that matches your color sphere grants a Obtuse buff.
Blue/Orange/Purple/Yellow Obtuse: Buff granted by defeating a Color Sphere that matches your color alignment. A player can only have one Obtuse buff and defeating a second Color Sphere wastes the buff. The [Color] Obtuse buffs are used to protect players from Color Deletion Protocol in Phase 2.
Phase 1 Timers: In Veteran Mode the group gets less time to complete each succeeding color phase during Phase 1, unlike in Story Mode where the group gets 70 seconds for each color phase. In Veteran Mode, the color phase timers are as follows:
Blue Scalene - 70 seconds (same as Story Mode)
Orange Scalene - 60 seconds (70s in Story Mode)
Purple Scalene - 55 seconds (70s in Story Mode)
Yellow Scalene - 50 seconds (70s in Story Mode)
End of Line (Regulator): The Regulators that spawn during Orange Scalene and Yellow Scalene use an ability called End of Line that deals
Trauma (Regulator): The Regulator applies a Trauma debuff that reduces healing received by 25% for 6 seconds.
Pause Break (Regulator): The Regulator uses a Pause Break attack that stuns the target for 5 seconds. Pause Break has a 10m minimum range so will not be used as long as the player with aggro is within 10m of the Regulator.
Rectifier: A new enemy in Veteran Mode is the Rectifier droid that spawns if you fail and repeat a color phase. The Rectifier uses the Data Disk attack every 6 seconds. Data Disk deals high damage and is an AoE attack.
Black Obtuse (Operator IX): Black Obtuse is modified slightly in Veteran Mode. Unlike in Story Mode where the team gets 10 color circles and may get as many as 4 of any color, in Veteran Mode there will always be 8 total circles and 2 circles of each color (Blue, Orange, Purple, Yellow). Two circles will be blank during each Black Obtuse phase. If the team fails to deactivate each color circle, Black Obtuse deals very high damage and may one-shot non-tanks unless they are at maximum health and/or use a very strong defensive.
Color Deletion Protocol (Operator IX): Following Black Obtuse, Operator IX will frequently use Color Deletion Protocol. See below for more discussion on this mechanic.
Disinfection (Operator IX): Disinfection is an attack used by Operator IX anytime that Color Deletion Protocol does NOT follow Black Obtuse. See below for more discussion on this mechanic.
Droids in Phase 2: In Veteran Mode, droids will spawn periodically and attack the group. The adds have a knockback attack that can make Black Obtuse and/or Color Deletion Protocol challenging, and can complicate aggro management among tanks.
The key strategic considerations to defeat Operator IX in Veteran Mode include the following:
Focus Target Master Control. The Master Control droid in the middle channels the Blue/Orange/Purple/Yellow Scalene phases. Given the timer is much tighter in Veteran Mode in later color phases, I strongly recommend placing the Master Control on Focus Target (default key mapping is Alt+F) and have your Focus Target Castbar enabled and where you can easily see it. This UI setting will let you easily keep track of the timer.
Plan Color Assignments. The team should discuss in advance who will be in each color phase and who will be responsible for being “in the middle” to power up the console and who will “channel” to bring down the shield. See below for more discussion.
Get all Color Sphere buffs. Two Color Spheres spawn per color phase (4 in 16m) and each player can only get 1 buff of their corresponding color. The team will want everyone to get their color buff to make Color Deletion as easy as possible in Phase 2.
Person “in the middle” should run immediately to the middle. The person standing in the inner circle next to the Master Control should go there immediately so the shield can be brought down. They can manually target their Color Sphere and use a ranged attack or taunt to aggro it. The sphere should float to you inside the circle where you can easily kill it. There is no need to wait to go into the middle until you kill your orb.
Person “channeling” should tag their Color Sphere and immediately channel. The person channeling has a tougher job since they can’t kill their orb while channeling. I recommend the person try to kill their orb if they can do so within about 5 seconds, which means they identify it immediately and kill it in 2-3 attacks then go channel. Otherwise, you can attack your orb once to aggro it so it will follow you around and then can safely channel. As long as the orb matches your color it will float next to you and do nothing. If the team avoids killing it with AoE attacks, then you can safely kill it after your color phase.
If the team fails a color, kill the Rectifier then finish the repeat color phase. Failing a color phase in Veteran Mode is not a huge problem provided the team handles it correctly. If the team will obviously fail the timer the first time, leave the second core around 25-30% health and wait for the timer to reset. The team can then focus kill the Rectifier and go back and finish the core. Try to avoid a sequence where you fail the color phase, spawn a Rectifier, and then immediately push the color phase. This can lead to a rough cycle where you spend so much time killing the Rectifier that you fail a color phase again and get a second Rectifier. It can also be rough if you fail Yellow then immediately clear it after the timer resets, forcing the team to deal with a Rectifier and Operator IX simultaneously.
Team must handle Color Deletion successfully. See below for more discussion on Color Deletion, which is by far the most difficult mechanic in the fight in Veteran Mode. Most teams will need to handle Color Deletion at least 4-5 times.
Tanks should watch for Operator IX to drop aggro and pick up adds. Operator IX will periodically drop aggro, usually right after Black Obtuse via the Disinfection mechanic. Tanks need to taunt back immediately. Adds will also spawn periodically and tanks should coordinate AoE taunts to keep them under control so their knockback attacks do not prevent the team from clearing Black Obtuse.
(Advanced) Tanks should taunt 2-3 seconds after Black Obtuse. This trick is unnecessary in Veteran Mode but extremely helpful in Master Mode. See below for more strategy on Disinfection.
Advanced Strategy - Color Assignments
There are multiple strategies that can be successful to clear the color phases, especially in 6.0 with the introduction of Veteran’s Edge that significantly boosts group DPS and makes the DPS check to kill the cores much easier.
That said, I would generally recommend either of two strategies as simple and efficient.
Simple Color Assignments:
Blue Scalene: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Orange Scalene: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
Purple Scalene: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Yellow Scalene: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
The simple mix of roles ensures the team has 3 DPS up in all phases and leaves all tanks and healers available though with one per phase needing to stay in the middle. Tanks go in Blue and Purple phases because no Regulators (with a knockback) spawn, so the tank in the middle can still use single and AoE taunts to help grab little adds. Healers go in Orange and Yellow so that both tanks are free in phases with Regulators, which lets one tank pick up each Regulator and avoid a tank holding two Regulators at once. Healers can easily turret heal during these phases, which is convenient since most heals will go to the tanks near the middle anyway.
Max DPS Color Assignments:
Blue Scalene: DPS (middle) / DPS (channel)
Orange Scalene: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
Purple Scalene: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Yellow Scalene: Healer (middle) / Tank (channel)
This set of assignments is intended to let the team have all four DPS free to deal with Power Cores in Yellow Scalene since it has the short 50 second timer. The downsides to this strategy are that it makes Blue Scalene more difficult since only 2 DPS are free and it forces a tank to hold both Regulators in Yellow Scalene. As such, I greatly prefer the simple assignment assuming the group has sufficient coordination and DPS to clear Yellow Scalene with 3 DPS, which is usually the case in 6.0 due to Veteran’s Edge even for newer progression teams.
Advanced Strategy - Color Spheres
The Color Spheres / orbs can be tricky for players progging TFB in Veteran Mode for the first time. Orbs spawn at the North and South ends of the room, 1 on each end in 8m and 2 in 16m. The orbs are initially neutral NPCs (yellow health bar) and so cannot be tab targeted. After they are attacked, they become hostile and aggro normally.
If a player does not pick them up immediately, they will float around the room in a circular pattern. One color sphere will float in a circle just inside the pillars while the other will float just outside the pillars.
The color spheres have very little health and can usually be destroyed with 2-3 attacks. Color spheres do not despawn in the fight so can be left floating around indefinitely assuming no one aggros or destroys them.
If a player with the same color aggros their orb, it will passively follow them around the room and deal no damage. If a player of another color aggros their orb then it will follow them around and stun them every few seconds.
If possible, players should try to move towards the color sphere spawn point a few seconds before the phase ends so they can immediately pick up their sphere. Do not do this if leaving early will result in failing the color phase, however.
The simplest strategy to deal with color spheres is to determine in advance who will go north and south to pick up their color spheres. The player “in the middle” should tag their color sphere to aggro it and immediately run into the middle. The color sphere should follow them to the middle where they can defeat it at leisure.
The player “channeling” has to decide whether to destroy their color sphere or not. I highly recommend just tagging their sphere to get its aggro then go channel. The sphere will follow you passively and be waiting after your color phase to defeat it.
If players decide to destroy their spheres before channeling or moving into the middle, it is key to understand that you only have a few seconds to deal with your color sphere before you need to execute mechanics. It is generally better to risk missing a color sphere than to fail a color phase and potentially wipe.
If any players fail to pick up or defeat their color sphere at the beginning of the phase, the group needs to be very careful with AoE abilities such as damage attacks, heals and especially AoE taunts.
Advanced Strategy - Color Deletion Protocol
Color Deletion Protocol is the most dangerous mechanic to new players in Veteran Mode. The mechanic is relatively straight-forward but requires very quick reaction time and a clear team strategy.
Color Deletion only ever occurs right after Black Obtuse (players running into color circles to deactivate them). After the boss’ shield goes down, a few seconds later Operator IX will target a player with Color Deletion. A raid announcement will go out as follows:
Operator IX targets [name] with [color] Deletion Protocol!
The player who is targeted will have a few seconds and then be hit by an insta-kill damage mechanic. The player can only be saved if they are shielded. A player can shield the targeted player if:
The player has the same color alignment as the Deletion Protocol (blue, orange, purple, yellow)
The player has a Color Sphere buff remaining. The Color Sphere buff is obtained by defeating a Color Sphere in Phase 1.
If both #1 and #2 are true, a player can shield the targeted player by standing on top of them. This triggers a brief shield graphic and consumes the color sphere buff.
The simplest strategy for Color Deletion is to have the targeted player and ONE player with the applicable color sphere buff run to the middle directly under Operator IX.
This strategy makes it easy to stand together since both players are running to a predetermined point instead of trying to find each other. It also helps save other players stay away, which is ideal since if the mechanic fails then Color Deletion deals AoE damage and may kill nearby players.
Teams should pre-determine the order in which players of a color should run in. If multiple players run in then multiple color sphere buffs may be consumed. My groups usually follow the rule of “left side runs in first” or something like that. I also recommend the ops lead call out when a color sphere buff is used and alert the next person they are up if their color is used in Color Deletion.
Two last points for unusual circumstances. First, if a player is targeted by a color and no spheres are available (i.e., missed a color sphere in Phase 1 or used multiple shields earlier in Phase 2), then that player should still run to Operator IX so their death does not kill anyone else. Second, if a player is targeted by THEIR COLOR then they should move to the middle but will automatically shield themselves if they have a color sphere.
Color Deletion Protocol requires every player to be aware of (1) do they have a color sphere buff; (2) is it their turn if their color comes up; and (3) run to the middle if they are targeted or if it is their turn to shield that color. I highly recommend newer teams practice this mechanic in voice chat a few times before pulling.
Advanced Strategy - Tanks & Disinfection
Disinfection is a high damage attack used periodically by Operator IX during Phase 2. Anytime the tank takes a lot of damage it is usually due to Disinfection.
Disinfection is also an alternate mechanic used by Operator IX after Black Obtuse (running around deactivating color circles) anytime the boss does not use Color Deletion. When it goes out, Operator IX will drop aggro from the tank and swap to another target and hit them with Disinfection that deals high damage.
Operator IX will NOT naturally swap back to the tank after Disinfection and must be taunted back or else the combination of Disinfection damage and continuing regular boss attacks will quickly kill a non-tank.
Disinfection will not happen early in Phase 2 as Color Deletion is more common but will happen more frequently the longer Phase 2 continues. It is not entirely clear why this happens. Color Deletion appears to be a semi-random selection of the applicable color and target. The controls on its randomness are a counter that prevents any color from being used more times than the maximum available color spheres for that color (2 in 8m, 4 in 16m) and a control to limit the targeting of the same player via an invisible debuff. I believe the mechanic functions such that each time Operator IX rolls a target for Color Deletion, if the player already has that debuff (i.e., has already been targeted by deletion), then it will skip Color Deletion and use Disinfection instead.
Disinfection should not one shot a non-tank in Veteran Mode unless they are below around half health. However, that is still very dangerous and becomes even more so in Master Mode.
A cool trick to help control Disinfection (and Color Deletion) is available to tanks. Tanks should taunt Operator IX around 2-3 seconds after Black Obtuse (when the boss’ shield goes down). Timing the taunt correctly should force Operator IX to target the tank with Disinfection if it goes out. Proper taunt timing will often cause Opeartor IX to target the tank with Color Deletion as well, though in some cases the boss will choose to simply delay Color Deletion until the taunt debuff wears off. The point to this strategy is not to control Color Deletion but Disinfection and that should work reliably.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Operator IX in Veteran Mode:
For players new to the fight, it can really help to get set up early for your color phase to grab Color Spheres. If you miss them when they spawn it can be difficult to track them down as they move around the room.
Be careful to avoid clipping Color Spheres that are not your color! Aggroing them will cause them to stun you every few seconds and makes it difficult to do your job. Killing them will eliminate the stun but will leave the team without a potential shield for Color Deletion in Phase 2.
Once you aggro a Color Sphere that matches your color, it will follow you around without dealing damage. This makes it possible to (1) aggro your Color Sphere from the middle and let it come to you to destroy without ever leaving the middle; or (2) aggro your Color Sphere then channel while the orb patiently floats next to you. These tactics can make it much easier to pick up your Color Sphere while quickly dropping the Power Core shields.
Failing a color phase is not the end of the world but the team can easily wipe if you fail a color phase, spawn a Rectifier, then finish killing the Power Cores and push to the next phase immediately. This is especially dangerous in Yellow Phase since having a Rectifier, Operator IX and possibly a Regulator (or two) all up is usually a wipe.
If you see that the team is going to fail and repeat a color phase, I suggest leaving the second Power Core at around 20-30% health and get everyone grouped up to defeat the Rectifier as soon as it spawns. You will have plenty of time to heal up and finish the phase the second time.
Try to interrupt the Regulators End of Line cast as often as possible. I especially recommend healers and DPS nearby help deal with Regulators.
If your tanks/healers struggle to handle having 2 Regulators active during Orange and Yellow phase, it may be helpful to designate a DPS to stay in the middle and help DPS down the first Regulator before swapping to cores. This may be especially helpful if a tank is channeling for Yellow and so only one tank is available, as one tank holding two Regulators can be challenging.
I recommend tanks stand near the add spawn point on the east side of the room to immediately pick up adds. This positioning makes it safer to use an AoE taunt to grab multiple adds with less risk of aggroing any floating Color Spheres. It is also very helpful to immediately pick up the Regulators so they do not use their stun attack on the channeler and reactivate the power core shields.
During Black Obtuse in Phase 2, players should keep moving until they are certain there are no more color circles of their color remaining. Operator IX is big enough that it can sometimes make it difficult to see the other side of the room. I usually recommend running through Operator IX at least once to make sure you have seen the entire area.
Tanks should coordinate AoE taunts to pick up adds. The adds are not very dangerous in damage dealt so a tank holding two adds and Operator IX should be fine. The key is controlling them under the boss so splash and DoT spread on the boss damages the adds, and ensuring they are not punting people all over the place.
The Operator IX encounter in Master Mode is a notable step up in difficulty from Veteran Mode. Phase 1 now requires greater team coordination to avoid failing any color phases and timing the kill of the cores. Phase 2 is very similar to Veteran Mode except that Black Obtuse is a bit tougher and tanks need to handle Disinfection to avoid healers or DPS being one shot. Damage tuning is higher as one expects in Master Mode, though the only notable issues on that front are Disinfection in Phase 2 and the Regulator adds in Phase 1.
My experience has been that getting through Phase 1 is the most difficult in Master Mode and Phase 2 is much easier by comparison, which overall is similar to lower difficulties.
The Operator IX encounter in Master Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Team cannot fail any color phases: In Master Mode the team wipes if it fails any color phases (Blue, Orange, Purple, Yellow).
White Parallel / Dual Core: When the first Data Core in each color phase is destroyed, the surviving Data Core will immediately cast White Parallel over 5 seconds. If the cast completes then the Data Core gains the Dual Core buff that provides 90% damage resistance.
Failing Black Obtuse wipes the group: The team must deactivate all 8 colored circles during Black Obtuse in Phase 2 or the group will wipe.
Stepping in the wrong color circle during Black Obtuse kills the player: When players move around the inner circle to deactivate colored circles during Black Obtuse, stepping into a color circle of another circle will instantly kill the player.
Disinfection hits VERY hard: After Black Obtuse, Operator IX attempts to use Color Deletion Protocol on a player but if the selected player has an invisible buff due to having been previously targeted then the boss will hit them with Disinfection. Disinfection hits extremely hard in Master Mode and can one shot a non-tank player.
The key strategic considerations to defeat Operator IX in Master Mode include the following. Please note all strategic considerations in Veteran Mode also apply unless directly contradicted below.
Plan out color assignments. As in all difficulties, the team should have a plan in place around who will channel and be in the middle. This discussion should include whether the channelers will kill their Color Sphere first or immediately channel. See discussion below for strategies to consider for color assignments.
Coordinate DPS to kill Data Cores simultaneously. The DPS should communicate in voice comms to try and destroy the Data Cores simultaneously or at least within 5 seconds of each other to prevent the White Parallel cast from completing. In an emergency, DPS on the surviving Data Core can use stuns to interrupt the White Parallel cast and get more time to destroy it. Given the unbalanced DPS in most color phases, this strategy requires some planning. See below for more discussion.
Plan the team approach to handle Regulators. The Regulators hit very hard in Master Mode and can be very challenging for a tank to hold 2 Regulators at once. There are various strategies to deal with Regulators and see below for further discussion.
Watch your positioning in Phase 2. Positioning in Phase 2 is very important to avoid messing up Color Deletion or stepping into (or an add punting you into) the wrong circle during Black Obtuse. After Color Deletion ends, the group should stack under Operator IX until Black Obtuse. After Black Obtuse, spread out until either Color Deletion or Disinfection goes out then stack again.
Color Deletion is the same as in Veteran Mode. The team should execute their strategy to deal with Color Deletion by having the targeted player and one player with the appropriate shield buff run under Operator IX to shield the attack.
Tanks need to coordinate taunts to avoid Disinfection hitting a non-tank. Disinfection can one shot a non-tank in Master Mode, so tanks should taunt 2-3 seconds after Black Obtuse ends to try and force either Color Deletion or Disinfection to target them. Tanks should make sure someone has a taunt available at all times if Operator IX swaps targets unexpectedly. See below for more discussion on the mechanics for Color Deletion and Disinfection.
Advanced Strategy - Color Assignments
Color assignments and strategy will be very important to team success in Master Mode since the DPS check is much tougher without the Veterans Edge buff. Most groups should not struggle with the DPS check once they can properly coordinate to immediately get shields down, position DPS to immediately burn Data Cores, and handle a floating DPS appropriately to get the Data Cores below 10% at the same time.
The reduction in color phase duration is much tougher in Master Mode given the team’s inability to repeat a color. As such, most teams will follow the “Max DPS Color Assignments” for 8m groups as outlined previously in the Veteran Mode guide:
Blue Scalene: DPS (middle) / DPS (channel)
Orange Scalene: Healer (middle) / DPS (channel)
Purple Scalene: Tank (middle) / DPS (channel)
Yellow Scalene: Healer (middle) / Tank (channel)
16m groups can have DPS handle all color assignments, though I would suggest having a ranged DPS be in the middle for each phase if so so they can help DPS adds.
This set of color assignments is focused on clearing Yellow Scalene with its reduced duration. It also makes Blue Scalene semi-difficult as only 2 DPS are available to damage Data Cores. A tank and a healer should help DPS to clear the Data Cores though and it should not be too difficult, especially given that Blue Scalene does not start until the shields come down.
Advanced Strategy - DPS assignments to Data Cores
An early issue many groups encounter is the DPS knowing where to go. With each DPS taking a turn channeling or in the middle and 3 DPS active in Orange and Purple, teams should pre-plan which direction (North or South) each DPS should go in each phase. Most teams will want to assign a “floater” to help in one direction then swap sides. During Orange and Yellow, some teams will want a floater DPS to help burn the first Regulator before dealing with Data Cores.
Here is an example of how this phase may go by color phase:
Blue Scalene - DPS 1 in the middle, DPS 2 channels, DPS 3 goes North, DPS 4 goes South
Orange Scalene - DPS 3 channels, DPS 1 goes North, DPS 2 helps burn first regulator then helps damage the nearest Core then floats to the other side, DPS 4 goes South
Purple Scalene - DPS 4 channels, DPS 1 goes North, DPS 2 floats, DPS 3 goes South
Yellow Scalene - DPS 1 goes North, DPS 2 helps burn first Regulator then goes North, DPS 3 helps burn first Regulator then goes South, DPS 4 goes South
Here is the same DPS assignment organized by each individual DPS responsibility:
DPS 1 - In the middles for Blue, North for Orange/Purple/Yellow
DPS 2 - Channels for Blue, Adds then floats between sides in Orange, floats between sides in Purple, adds then North in Yellow
DPS 3 - North for Blue, channels for Orange, South for Purple, adds then South for Yellow
DPS 4 - South for Blue/Orange, channels for Purple, South for Yellow
Other assignments may work but this illustrates how a strategy can let 2 DPS focus on going just one direction for all phases other than their own and 2 DPS have to float between sides and helping deal with adds.
Advanced Strategy - Regulators
The Regulators hit very hard in Master Mode. A tank can handle one Regulator without too much trouble but holding two can be very difficult without using strong cooldowns. The first Regulator spawns after around 10-12 seconds and the second spawns after 30 seconds or so through Orange and Yellow phases.
I highly suggest the tank picking up Regulators is ready to immediately taunt the Regulator when it spawns. The add will auto-aggro to the nearest player of that color phase and will stun them. If it aggros to the channeler it will cause the shields to come back up for a few seconds, which can lead to a wipe.
DPS and healers should help interrupt End of Line casts by the Regulator to avoid the damage, knockback and stun effect on the tank.
There are a couple of strategies to deal with Regulators:
Assign a DPS to stay in the middle and help DPS the first Regulator. My group did this and it helped quite a bit. The DPS would burn the Regulator down to around 40% then swap to Data Cores. This requires good awareness of your group DPS and being able to still get the Data Cores down.
For Orange, you can swap the healer and DPS where the DPS is in the middle. If the tank brings the Regulator to the middle they should be able to burn down the first Regulator before the second one spawns. My experience has been that solo healing with one Regulator is easier than dual-healing with two Regulators.
Coordinate your use of big defensive cooldowns after the second Regulator spawns. The Regulators hit hard but there is no need to use defensive cooldowns at any other point in Phase 1, so a tank using 1-2 big defensives to tank 2 Regulators is manageable. If you do so, make sure the tank holding Regulators in Orange is the one to pick up Operator IX since most of their defensives will be back up by then.
My group usually had a DPS help damage the first Regulator for around 10-15 seconds then go to the second one. The Orange tank would use defensives aggressively as necessary and be the one to pick up Operator IX first in Phase 2. We repeat the same mechanics in Yellow though the DPS peeled off a bit faster.
Advanced Strategy - Tanking Color Deletion & Disinfection
As stated above, Color Deletion functions identically in Master Mode as in Veteran Mode. However, an added complexity is the danger of Operator IX swapping targets and hitting a non-tank with Disinfection if Color Deletion does not occur.
Operator IX uses Disinfection regularly on its target and is responsible for the majority of tank spike damage during Phase 2 and may one shot a non-tank in Master Mode.
The tank’s objective should be to time their taunt to force Operator IX to target them with either Color Deletion or for the Disinfection hit if it skips deletion. The usual timing is to taunt 2.5-3.0 seconds after Black Obtuse ends, which works pretty consistently.
The mechanic that precedes Color Deletion is called White Perpendicular. The mechanic targets a random player and taunts Operator IX on their behalf. White Perpendicular goes out immediately after Black Obtuse ends and the shield goes down. White Perpendicular also tags the player targeted with a hidden debuff that should prevent them from being targeted again for 4 minutes. A second or two after White Perpendicular, Operator IX targets the player with aggro with Color Deletion.
So why does Operator IX skip Color Deletion at all and why does it tend to use Color Deletion often at the beginning of Phase 2 and less often late in the fight?
After researching the mechanics, I believe it has to do with the hidden buffs and debuffs that accompany White Perpendicular. As noted above, Operator IX tags the player with a debuff when they are targeted that prevents them from being targeted again with Color Deletion. I believe the “skip” happens when Operator IX randomly selects a player who has already been targeted. Since they have the hidden debuff they cannot be targeted by Color Deletion so it does not go out. Instead, the taunt applied by White Perpendicular causes Operator IX to swap targets and hit the player with Disinfection. Since Disinfection has a 6 second cooldown, it is off cooldown and used immediately after Black Obtuse.
This mechanic also explains why timing your taunt correctly works to force Operator IX to target the tank with either Color Deletion or the Disinfection that comes immediately after a “skip”. I believe the timing works as follows:
Black Obtuse ends and the shield goes down
White Perpendicular triggers to randomly select a target player. The mechanic does not appear to avoid anyone so is truly a random 1/8 or 1/16 roll amongst the team. The player has a hidden debuff applied to prevent them from being able to be targeted by Color Deletion.
White Perpendicular taunts Operator IX on behalf of the targeted player and selects a color for Color Deletion. The mechanic has a counter that prevents Operator IX from selecting any color more than twice in 8m or four times in 16m.
Operator IX delays a few seconds. This appears to be designed to give the team time to spread out in advance of Color Deletion.
The tank should taunt during this time.
If the player targeted did not already have the hidden debuff from White Perpendicular, Operator IX announces its target and initiates Color Deletion Protocol. If the player targeted already had the hidden debuff from White Perpendicular, then Operator IX skips Color Deletion Protocol and resumes its attack pattern.
If tank times taunt correctly, they either get targeted by Color Deletion Protocol or the boss hits them with Disinfection and resumes its attack pattern.
Make sure to wait at least 2 seconds before taunting Operator IX. The taunt applied by White Perpendicular lasts 8 seconds while your taunts last 6 seconds. Taunting too early may cause Operator IX to delay Color Deletion Protocol until your taunt falls off or may cause it to wait out your taunt and then swap targets to the other player because their taunt has not fallen off yet.
My preferred approach is to hit the boss with 2 attacks and hit my taunt right after. That should work out to almost exactly 3 seconds and works very consistently.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Operator IX in Master Mode in addition to those applicable to lower difficulties:
Every player should focus target the Master Control with the Focus Target Castbar enabled and in a visible position so that every player can track their timer for each color phase.
I highly recommend players channeling in Phase 1 always follow the practice of tagging their Color Sphere and immediately channeling. You will find that the orb follows you to your terminal and waits there patiently. As long as no one AoEs then it is easy to kill it after the phase ends.
The color terminals are always in the same location. Blue begins at the NW position (front left as you enter the room on the west) then moves in a clockwise pattern around the inner ring with Orange at NE, Purple at SE and Yellow at SW.
As noted above, tanks should generally try to pick up adds at the spawn point on the east side of the room. This helps use slows and roots to keep them out of the middle and more importantly allows for safe use of an AoE taunt without worry of grabbing another player’s Color Sphere.
Tanks dealing with Regulators should try to stay within 10m of them at all times. Their long range stun attack has a minimum range of 10m and will not be used inside that range.
Coordinating interrupts of the Regulator’s End of Line cast is a huge help to your tanks. My group usually had a DPS helping do some damage to the first Regulator in Orange and Yellow and got the first interrupt, then healers would get the second and third interrupts as necessary.
Make sure to call our health on Data Cores regularly. My team usually called out health at 50/40/30/20 and then would hold at 10% until both sides were sub-10%.
If it looks like the team may fail the color phase, then I suggest teams avoid coordinating the kill and just destroy the Data Cores. If so then the team on the surviving Data Core should be prepared to use a stun to avoid White Parallel being successfully cast.
As noted above, I suggest the Yellow tank pick up Operator IX. They will have used some cooldowns on Regulators in Orange and will have them back up faster than the Orange tank who held Regulators during Yellow.
Watch out for the add knockbacks as they can kill you during Black Obtuse. This is another reason I suggest the team stack after Color Deletion, as it lets the team easily add splash and DoT spread on the adds and keeps the players positioned where a single knockback will not hit them into a circle.
As in lower difficulties, it is totally safe to run through Operator IX during Black Obtuse.
Kephess the Undying
Kephess the Undying Story Mode Kill Video
Kephess the Undying Master Mode Kill Video
Kephess (part 2) is a VERY straightforward fight. It has 3 phases, though one of them was nerfed to the point that it is essentially a dummy parse fight and the last is a very short soft enrage / burn phase. After all the fun with Operator IX, this fight represents a bit of a breather in terms of the number of mechanics.
Phase 1 - Dummy Kephess Parse (Kephess 100% -> 50%)
Phase 1 has no mechanics at all. Kephess uses a basic attack that deals relatively low damage.........and that's it. The tank can hold him in place while DPS (and healers for most of the time) can just parse on him. This phase used to have interesting mechanics (and is the toughest phase in Hard/Nightmare Mode), but not in Story Mode. Try not to fall asleep and be ready to resume actual operations content when Kephess reaches 50% health.
Phase 2 - Kephess 50% -> ~10%
Kephess in Phase 2 has several mechanics (yay!) to manage. The primary mechanic is Corrupted Nanites. This DoT is applied to a random player every 15s (2 players at a time in 16m). The DoT lasts for 30s and does not tick super hard in Story Mode. It will eventually expire but can be cleansed by channeling Hypergate Tower Collapse (clicking on the towers that spawn).
The second and related mechanic is collapsing the Hypergate Control Towers. This can only be accomplished by players with Corrupted Nanites. If Kephess is within about 25m of these towers when they collapse, he will be knocked down and stunned for 6s taking additional damage. The tower is collapsed by clicking on the tower to channel Hypergate Tower Collapse (cleansing the nanites) then either (1) completing the 12s channel; or (2) performing any action to interrupt the channel.
The last mechanic is Dread Bomb. Kephess will leap into the air and land on top of a targeted player. His jumping point spawns a blue circle that deals light persistent AoE damage while the targeted player is noted by a red circle. The targeted player should get out of the group.
The strategy for this phase is to pull Kephess from tower to tower, using the towers to both cleanse nanites and stun Kephess. Be careful to wait until just after a jump / red circle to collapse a tower, as Kephess will not be stunned if he jumps prior to the collapse.
Ideally, try to hold DPS when Kephess reaches about 13% or so and wait to burn him until just as a tower falls on him. With the stun time and taking extra damage as well, it is possible to easily burn Kephess down to around 5-7% before he stands back up and enters the burn phase. This strategy can make the burn phase much shorter.
Phase 3 - Kephess ~10% -> 0%
The last phase is a brief soft enrage burn phase. Kephess stops moving and squats on the ground and begins blasting players with mortars. These mortar attacks are telegraphed by yellow/orange AoE circles that the group should avoid.
The strategy for this phase is simply to move out of any orange circles and keep DPS'ing Kephess as best as possible. Some groups like to try and have DPS stack under Kephess in a belief they are less likely to get orange circles. I find that strategy problematic and not consistently successful as the group can get orange circles and takes a lot more damage when that happens due to the AoE nature of the mortar attacks. I suggest everyone just staying mobile until Kephess is down.
The Kephess encounter is a step up in difficulty from Story Mode with new mechanics during each phase of the fight.
The Kephess encounter in Veteran Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Overcharge (phase 1): Kephess will periodically apply the Overcharge status effect to his primary target as well as the Ignored debuff. Overcharge deals periodic damage every 0.5 seconds, while Ignored makes the target unable to hold aggro on Kephess and increases their movement speed to 200% normal speed. Overcharge is cleansed automatically when the team enters Phase 2 (Kephess HP <= 50%) or can be cleansed by entering a Hypergate Void.
Hypergate Void (phase 1): Periodically during phase 1 a Hypergate Void will spawn in the middle of the room. It is telegraphed by a large blue circle and its continuing presence is indicated by a lightning puddle. The Hypergate Void ticks every 1.5 seconds and persists for 3 minutes in the fight. Each time it ticks, any player within its radius (the area indicated originally by the blue circle) receives a stack of the Hypergate Void debuff that increases damage taken by 100% for 3 minutes. This debuff can stack up to 10 times but is automatically removed when the team enters Phase 2 (Kephess HP <= 50%). A player with Overcharge who enters the Hypergate Void will be cleansed of Overcharge and Ignored and will consume the Hypergate Void.
Energy Distortion (phase1): A wave of small orbs of light will spawn in between each Laser Blast mechanic by Kephess. The group will get 2 orbs in 8m and 4 orbs in 16m. The Energy Distortions lock onto a player and become immune to damage by anyone else. Energy Distortions have a stacking Volatile Energy buff that increases their damage dealt by 22% per stack and gains a stack every second or so. Energy Distortions also apply stacking debuffs to the player called Pulsating Energy (radiates AoE damage to nearby players) and Desynchronization (increases damage resistance to AoE damage). These debuffs tick and gain a stack once every 3 seconds up to a maximum of 5 stacks. See below for more discussion on the Energy Distortion mechanic.
Laser Blast (phase 1): Kephess targets a random player and channels Laser Blast over 9 seconds. Laser Blast ticks for damage every 1.5 seconds and 5 times overall. Laser Blast is a 70m range attack. Laser Blast will destroy the Hypergate Control Tower to which Kephess is connected after the channel completes. If Kephess is within 30m of the tower when it collapses then he will be stunned for 8 seconds. Laser Blast also adds stacks of Vulnerable to Kephess for each of the 3rd, 4th and 5th ticks of Laser Blast that are aimed towards the targeted tower, as well as additional stack if Kephess is stunned by the column’s collapse.
Stunned (phase 1): A 5s stun status effect applied to Kephess if he is within 30m of the targeted Gree column when it collapses.
Vulnerable (phase 1): A debuff applied to Kephess via Laser Blast. Vulnerable increases Kephess’ damage taken by 50% per stack up to a maximum of 4 stacks (so +200% damage taken). Vulnerable is applied by aiming Laser Blast towards the tower to which Kephess is connected. The 3rd, 4th and 5th ticks of damage from Laser Blast add stacks of Vulnerable, and another stack is added if Kephess is within 30m of the targeted Gree column when it collapses and is stunned.
Corrupted Nanites (phase 2): Corrupted Nanites are applied every 15 seconds as in Story Mode. Nanites are applied to 2 players at a time in 8m groups. Each wave of Nanites will add a stack to players that already have the DoT if it has not yet been purged. Unlike in Story Mode, Corrupted Nanites will not naturally expire in Veteran Mode. They can only be purged by accessing the Hypergate Control Towers.
Vulnerable (phase 2): Kephess receives the Vulnerable debuff in phase 2 by being in range of the Hypergate Control Towers when they are collapsed after players channel them to remove the Corrupted Nanites. Vulnerable in Phase 2 is not a stacking debuff but applies a similar total damage debuff to a full 4-stack channel of Laser Blast in Phase 1 to increase damage taken by 200% for a short time.
Dread Bomb (phase 2): Kephess uses his leap and smash attack similarly in Veteran Mode, telegraphing the attack with a red circle for 3 seconds. The attack knocks back affected players and stuns them for 3 seconds. This attack deals more damage and players should use a defensive cooldown to mitigate the damage as well as ensure it is moved out of the group. Dread Bomb will not target a player who has been targeted by Dread Bomb in the last 45 seconds or a player with Radioactive Barrage. Dread Bomb tends to go out on a timeline close to 15 seconds then 30 seconds then repeating.
Radioactive Barrage (phase 2): Kephess uses this ability during phase 2, which has a 30 second cooldown and is only used when a player in the group has 2 stacks of Corrupted Nanites. The ability will target a random player with Radioactive Barrage, which targets the player with a trail of energy attacks that follows the player across the map. The trail of energy deals damage and has a knockback effect, which is troublesome if kited through a group. Radioactive Barrage will follow the player for 15 seconds.
Fury of the Masters (burn phase): This mechanic is the same as in Story Mode where Kephess becomes immobile and starts radiating periodic group-wide damage and targeting players with telegraphed AoE Volatile Emission attacks. The damage phase is significantly more intensive than in Story Mode and the AoE circles deal far more damage, so effective kiting is important.
The key strategic considerations to defeat Kephess in Veteran Mode include the following:
Tank swap on Overcharge. The tank with aggro will periodically get the Overcharge and Ignored debuffs, forcing a tank swap. That tank should immediately run into the Hypergate Void (lightning puddle) to cleanse Overcharge. The other tank should taunt Kephess if necessary to ensure aggro remains on a tank.
Non-tanks should avoid Hypergate Void (lightning puddles). The Hypergate Void applies a status effect of the same name that increases damage taken during Phase 1 by 100% per stack. The area of effect is noted by the blue circle when the Hypergate Void spawns. All players should avoid that area except the tank with Overcharge, or else they will take significantly more damage during Phase 1.
Kite Kephess to the Hypergate Control Tower. Kephess will target a Hypergate Control Tower via an energy beam connecting him to the tower. The tanks should kite Kephess to stand adjacent to the tower as quickly as possible.
DPS and/or tanks should aggro and destroy Energy Distortions. Energy Distortions will spawn as soon as Kephess connects to a Hypergate Control Tower. The group gets 2 Energy Distortions in 8m and 4 in 16m. DPS are preferred to pick up Energy Distortions though a tank can pick one up as well. See below for more discussion on strategy for Energy Distortions.
The player targeted by Laser Blast should stand between Kephess and the Hypergate Control Tower. This positioning helps avoid the group from being cleaved and ensures Kephess picks up as many Vulnerable stacks as possible to maximize damage dealt to Kephess to push the phase quickly.
Kephess enters Phase 2 at 50% health.
Use Hypergate Control Towers to cleanse Corrupted Nanites and stun Kephess. The tank with aggro should kite Kephess to the nearest Hypergate Control Tower. The team should coordinate to have players with the Corrupted Nanites debuff channel together to cleanse the DoT. The team should also coordinate to stop their channel at the same time to drop the tower on Kephess to stun and debuff him to deal more damage. See more discussion on this strategy below.
Kite Dread Bomb out of group. Dread Bomb is telegraphed with a red circle. The targeted player should move slightly out of the group so no one else takes damage or is stunned. Take care not to move too far away, as the group may want to collapse a tower immediately after Kephess lands.
Kite Radioactive Barrage away from the group. Radioactive Barrage will generally go out when a player has 2 stacks of Corrupted Nanites and the barrage will follow the player around for 15 seconds. That player should stay out of the group until barrage ceases.
Avoid Volatile Emissions (orange AoE circles) during burn phase. When Kephess reaches 10% health he will drop down and begin channeling Fury of the Masters to deal periodic group-wide damage and target players with Volatile Emissions that are telegraphed by orange circles. Players should move out of orange circles and burn down Kephess. Kephess will not enter Fury of the Masters while stunned, so it is possible to damage him well below 10% by a well-timed collapse of a Hypergate Control Tower.
Advanced Strategy - Tanking Phase 1
The tanking mechanics are relatively straightforward during Kephess Phase 1 but can be confusing the first few times since Kephess has no mechanics during this phase in Story Mode.
The tanks’ goals during Phase 1 are to control Kephess and move him to close proximity to whichever Hypergate Control Tower he is connected to via an energy beam. If the tanks keep Kephess sufficiently close to the tower then he will receive stacks of the Vulnerable debuff during the Laser Blast channel, which will significantly increase team DPS and help push through the phase much faster.
This objective is complicated by the Overcharge mechanic, which forces a tank swap via the Ignored debuff. The tanks need to be prepared for this tank swap and quickly cleanse the debuff to ensure at least one tank is free to hold aggro on Kephess, or else it will become very difficult to position Kephess correctly.
The off-tank during the opener should be watching the ops frame carefully and taunt as soon as the main tank gets Overcharge. The off-tank should be moving with Kephess towards the indicated Hypergate Control Tower. I recommend running right next to the tower to pull Kephess as close to it as possible.
When the first tank gets Overcharge, they should immediately run into the Hypergate Void to cleanse Overcharge/Ignored.
At this point, the tanks can swap roles where the second tank holds Kephess until the next Overcharge and then swap again. Alternatively, the team may prefer to have the first tank taunt Kephess to gain back aggro, thus ensuring that the same tank always gets Overcharge. Either strategy is viable in Veteran or Master Mode, though on balance I recommend having the same tank take Overcharge as it is a bit more reliable in Master Mode due to the mechanics involved to deal with Energy Distortions as a tank.
If a tank gets an Energy Distortion while moving Kephess around the room (or if the team’s strategy involves a tank picking up an Energy Distortion), that tank should pick up Kephess with a taunt as soon as possible. The tank will get Overcharge soon and the periodic damage from Overcharge will quickly destroy the Energy Distortion.
Advanced Strategy - Energy Distortions
The Energy Distortions are the most challenging mechanic in the Kephess encounter in Veteran Mode, since they are entirely new and relatively unforgiving to players who fail to recognize and deal with them.
Energy Distortions spawn in a predictable cycle during Phase 1 immediately after Kephess “locks onto” a Hypergate Control Tower via an energy beam. The group gets 2 orbs in 8m and 4 in 16m.
After a few seconds, the Energy Distortions will become active and lock onto a player. They will lock onto a player who immediately damages them after spawning. If no one damages them after spawning then they will lock onto the nearest player.
Once an Energy Distortion locks onto a player, no one else can damage it except them. A white circle graphic will appear under the player’s feet (and is only visible by them) to indicate they are locked onto an Energy Distortion.
The Energy Distortion uses a Jolt attack once every second. This attack also adds 1 stack of the Volatile Energy buff that increases damage dealt by 22% per stack. The player will also receive two stacking debuffs:
Pulsating Energy - Ticks every 3 seconds and deals radiating AoE damage. Each tick adds 1 stack that increases damage dealt by 30% and AoE radius by 25%, up to a maximum of 5 stacks (+150% damage dealt, +125% AoE radius).
Desynchronization - Adds a stack every time a stack of Pulsating Energy is added. Each stack reduces the player’s damage taken by 20%.
Taken together, these buffs mean that the player will take more and more single target and AoE damage from the Energy Distortion until they destroy it. The player will also be very dangerous to the group due to the radiating AoE damage.
The player’s immediate priority should be to single target burst down the Energy Distortion while staying out of the group.
The usual assignment for dealing with Energy Distortions is to have DPS attack them to gain their aggro. The Energy Distortions have relatively low health and DPS can burst them down quickly before the spheres gain too many Volatile Energy stacks. Tanks take longer to burn them down but their higher damage mitigation makes it relatively safe to do so. Healers often struggle since their DPS is relatively low and they have low base mitigation.
Advanced Strategy - Phase 2 Corrupted Nanites & Hypergate Control Towers
During Phase 2, Kephess applies Corrupted Nanites every 15 seconds to a new player and any player with Corrupted Nanites gains 1 stack of the DoT every 15 seconds. Corrupted Nanites does not naturally expire in Veteran Mode unlike in Story Mode. The cleanse mechanic for Corrupted Nanites is by channeling on a Hypergate Control Tower. Only players with Corrupted Nanites can channel a Hypergate Control Tower.
The Hypergate Control Towers collapse after ALL player channeling ends. If 3 players begin to channel the tower, the tower collapses after all 3 players break or end their channel. The player can voluntarily break their channel by moving, jumping, activating an ability or hitting the Escape key. The player channel can be involuntarily broken by the Dread Bomb knockback/stun mechanic, the knockback effect from Radioactive Barrage or by a friendly Sage/Sorc pull.
The strategic goal during Phase 2 is to coordinate the group so that every player with Corrupted Nanites can cleanse the DoT together and avoid any player taking excessive periodic damage. The secondary goal is to ensure that Kephess is stunned and debuffed by each tower collapse, which significantly increases group DPS and shortens Phase 2 duration.
With the addition of Veteran’s Edge to legacy operations in game update 6.0, the mechanics in Phase 2 are a bit more forgiving for most groups. Phase 2 also goes somewhat faster due to higher group DPS and healing through Corrupted Nanites is typically easier. As such, the recommended strategy now prioritizes speed and maximizing DPS over cleanse priority as healers can more easily handle a player getting to 3 or 4 stacks for a short time.
The tank with aggro should kite Kephess to the nearest tower with the group following. Any players with Corrupted Nanites should gather near the tower, while any player with Radioactive Barrage should stand slightly away from the group.
The ops leader should be paying attention to when Kephess uses the Dread Bomb (red circle) attack mechanic. The ability typically alternates between a 15 second and 30 second delay between uses. If Kephess has recently used Dread Bomb then it is typically best to channel/collapse as quickly as possible to maximize DPS. If you are unsure then wait until the next Dread Bomb begins, have everyone with Corrupted Nanites begin channeling, then as soon as Kephess lands and is back in range drop the tower on him.
If anyone misses cleansing nanites when a tower gets dropped, make sure they are the first to channel at the next tower.
Once Kephess is below 20%, try to coordinate the last tower to make sure everyone gets cleansed.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Kephess in Veteran Mode:
It may be helpful for tanks to taunt over each other during the opener to build aggro. It can be very inconvenient and surprising if a DPS pulls aggro and gets the Overcharge debuff, especially if that distraction leads to a healer getting aggro on the Energy Distortions.
Energy Distortions select their target based on traditional threat tables and if no one attacks them then they aggro to the nearest player. Since healers getting Energy Distortions is very bad, I highly recommend the DPS or tank for each Energy Distortion try to stand closest to it in addition to attacking it and/or taunting it. Melee DPS and tanks can leap to their orb. Ranged DPS should try to stay more or less in position for their orb and only move away if Kephess is on the other side of the room or if they get Laser Blast.
A handy trick for dealing with the Energy Distortion orbs is to have a tank pick up one. Normally a tank takes a while to destroy the orb due to their lower DPS. However, if that tank also holds aggro on Kephess and gets the Overcharge debuff then the periodic damage they take will also damage and quickly destroy the orb. This strategy can be extremely helpful in Master Mode but is entirely optional in Veteran Mode. If pursuing this strategy, a tank should pick up an orb then immediately taunt Kephess so they get the next debuff.
The tank holding Kephess during Phase 1 should keep him very close to the targeted Hypergate Control Tower. Kephess may move away when you get Overcharge and run towards the next player with aggro, so keeping him very close to the tower ensures Kephess will not run out of range to be clipped by the Tower and receive the full Vulnerable stacks.
Sage / Sorcerer players can purge Corrupted Nanites by activating Force Barrier. This may be useful if they miss clicking on the tower to purge or have active nanites going into burn phase. This ability should only be used in an emergency due to its long cooldown.
Groups can coordinate the timing to push Kephess sub-10% to significantly shorten the burn phase. Try to stop DPS on Kephess around 12% until you drop the next tower on Kephess, then use all offensive cooldowns while Kephess is vulnerable and taking extra damage. It is fairly common with good coordination to damage Kephess down to 5% or less by the time he becomes active again and enters Fury of the Masters, making the burn phase only last 10-15 seconds. This tip is purely optional in Story and Veteran Mode but I recommend practicing it for Master Mode where it is much more important.
The Kephess encounter in Master Mode is a large step up in difficulty from Veteran Mode. The fight requires more coordination to deal with Energy Distortions, more precise tank kiting during Phase 1 and better coordination on Corrupted Nanites in Phase 2. Despite all this, Kephess remains the second easiest fight in the operation so should be a relatively quick clear for groups that have successfully cleared Dread Guards ( tougher skill check) and Operator IX (tougher coordination check).
The Kephess encounter in Master Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
More Energy Distortions in Phase 1: In Master Mode, 8m groups will get 3 Energy Distortions (+1 versus Vet) and 16m groups will get 6 (+2 versus Vet).
Kephess must be in the Yellow circle during Laser Blast: A large yellow circle appears during Phase 1 while Kephess is connected to a Hypergate Control Tower. Kephess must be in the yellow circle while channeling Laser Blast to gain any stacks of Vulnerable. The circle has a 20m range from the Hypergate Control Tower.
Laser Blast hits VERY hard: Kephess’ Laser Blast channel hits very hard in Master Mode. Cleaving the group is very dangerous and the targeted player will need a defensive cooldown and strong healing to survive.
More Corrupted Nanites in Phase 2: In Master Mode, the team will see 3 players at a time get Corrupted Nanites in 8m and 5 players at a time in 16m. Just as in Veteran Mode, the nanites gain a stack each time another wave goes out and can only be cleansed by channeling the Hypergate Control Tower. The periodic damage is higher in Master Mode.
Hypergate Control Tower breaks after the FIRST channel is broken: In Veteran Mode the Hypergate Control Tower only collapses after all channels have ended or broken. In Master Mode the tower collapses as soon as the first channel ends or is broken.
Dread Bomb hits VERY hard: The Dread Bomb red AoE is extremely dangerous in Master Mode. Players should use DCDs for the damage and must get it out of the group.
Radioactive Barrage is unpredictable: There is some inconsistency with the Radioactive Barrage mechanic where the text announcing the targeted player does not match the player who gets the lava trail.
The key strategic considerations to defeat Kephess in Master Mode include the following. Apart from tighter coordination for mechanics and higher damage taken, the only significant addition to the fight in Master Mode is extra Energy Distortions during Phase 1. Most groups will clear the fight relatively quickly after they get the hang of dealing with more orbs. Please note all strategic considerations in Veteran Mode also apply unless directly contradicted below.
2 DPS and 1 tank should get Energy Distortions in Phase 1. For 8m groups, I recommend having a tank pick up the third orb. The pattern requires the tank to pick up the Energy Distortion then taunt Kephess to ensure they receive the Overcharge debuff. The damage from Overcharge will kill the orb, letting the tank essentially ignore the orb apart from picking it up in the first place. See the phase 1 tanking strategy discussion in the Veteran summary guide for more details.
Keep Kephess inside the yellow circle during Phase 1. The tank swap can cause Kephess to move around if he swaps aggro to a tank outside the yellow circle, so the team should keep Kephess well inside the yellow circle. Either tank leaving Kephess to cleanse Overcharge or pick up an Energy Distortion should return as soon as possible to ensure Kephess stays in the yellow circle and receives full stacks of Vulnerable during Laser Blast.
Use a DCD during Laser Blast and avoid cleaving the group. Laser Blast hits very hard in Master Mode so use a strong defensive cooldown and make sure to avoid cleaving the group. Ranged DPS and healers should stay close enough to Kephess to get in position within a few seconds.
Everyone with Nanites should channel at the same time. The tower will collapse after the first channel breaks, so coordinating this mechanic is more important in Master Mode. The suggested approach is to make sure everyone is together near the tower, give everyone a few seconds to get ready, call out “click”, then call out “break” as soon as all nanites are cleansed.
Watch out for Radioactive Barrage. As noted above, the text announcement is not always accurate regarding who is targeted. As the group is moving across the room between towers, try to identify who is targeted and they should stand slightly outside the group.
Drop last tower with Kephess at 11-13%. Since damage is higher in Master Mode and final burn can be difficult for healers while on the move, I suggest coordinating DPS to make sure you drop the last tower on Kephess at around 11-13%. This timing should push Kephess significantly below 10% but he will not begin the burn phase until the 8s stun wears off, making the burn phase much shorter.
Dodge Volatile Emission AoE during final burn. Kephess’ final burn phase can be challenging for healers since they also have to dodge the orange AoE circles. DPS need to avoid the AoEs at all costs to keep the damage taken manageable. As of 6.0, the group will typically take around 4k or so damage from Fury of the Masters. The combined damage from Fury of the Masters will gradually overtake the healers but is fairly simple to keep up with during burn phase as long as no one gets hit by a circle.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Kephess in Master Mode in addition to those applicable to lower difficulties:
I recommend using raid buffs during Phase 1 since it is the most difficult phase in Master Mode. Hit all buffs as soon as the Laser Blast mechanic begins. Kephess should begin picking up stacks of Vulnerable in a few seconds, which will be refreshed as he gains stacks and lasts 8 seconds after reaching 4 stacks. This 12-13 second duration overlaps nicely with the duration of raid buffs and adrenals, so gives the team the biggest boost to damage. Another alternative is hitting buffs during the final burn phase, but I believe Phase 1 is tougher for the group and it is relatively simple to time the final tower to shorten burn phase anyway.
Players that can apply mitigation buffs to friendly players should be prepared to do so during Laser Blast or Dread Bomb if necessary. Some examples include Guardian Leap / Intercede for Guardian / Juggernaut players (+30% damage reduction for 6 seconds with utility), Force Armor / Static Barrier for Sage / Sorcerer players (especially if the group does not have a Sage / Sorc healer), or Resilience / Force Shroud for Shadow / Assassin tanks if running the Friend of the Force tactical.
Tanks should make sure to communicate actively regarding tank swaps, particularly if a tank is picking up an Energy Distortion. The recommended strategy is for a tank to get an orb, which also means they will be holding Kephess any time they do not have Overcharge.
Every player needs to take personal responsibility to move out of Laser Blast and Dread Bomb to avoid cleave/AoE damage. Identify which player is targeted and move away from them. For Laser Blast, move away from Kephess while the targeted player moves in. During Dread Bomb, move towards the nearest tower while the targeted player should move away from towers.
Radioactive Barrage was really annoying when it desynced between the text announcement and who got the mechanic. Be prepared for it and communicate in voice comms so the correct person stands out.
Guardian / Juggernaut tanks are nearly unkillable during burn phase if running Grit Teeth, as the self healing will nearly out heal the damage from Fury of the Masters. One of our early group kills when progging TFB had me solo Kephess down from around 2% after everyone died. It took almost a minute but was not that difficult as long as I consistently dodged the Volatile Emission orange circles.
Terror From Beyond
Terror From Beyond Story Mode Kill Video
Terror From Beyond Master Mode Kill Video
The Terror last boss encounter is an interesting fight due to its strict positioning requirements in Phase 1 and the platforming / "unlimited range" aspects in Phase 2. This fight is easier in many ways than Operator IX due to the simpler mechanics but for most groups is likely to be either the second toughest fight after Operator IX or even tougher.
The high level overview of this fight is that it has two phases. Phase 1 consists of an encounter on the island itself, while Phase 2 sees the group teleported up onto the floating platforms around the hypergate and battling there. There is technically a brief Phase 3 soft enrage phase as well though that is very fast in Story Mode.
A key mechanic to remember for this fight is that the team does not attack the Terror directly until the very end of the fight. Prior to that point, the only way to properly damage the Terror is by attacking the Tunneling Tentacles (the big tentacles). Each time they are killed, they deal damage to the Terror. A VERY common issue in this fight is DPS inadvertently attacking the Terror instead of their proper target.
Phase 1 - Island
The first phase involves the team fighting 3 pairs of Tunneling Tentacles in sequence. While battling each pair of Tunneling Tentacles, the group will also have to deal with 2 Unstable Larva that will run to the tanks and explode if not killed first. In between each wave of Tentacles, a wave of Birthed Larvae will race outward to the shore and will explode if anyone gets too close or attacks/heals them.
Let's discuss each creature in sequence:
Terror from Beyond: Let's not forget about the big bad. The Terror doesn't do much during this phase. It has two attacks to consider. The first is Acid Spit, an attack that places a lingering Acid AoE on the ground. Acid Spit targets a random player outside melee range of a Tunneling Tentacle (unless all players are in melee range). Secondly, it has a conal Slam attack that will hit anyone not LoS'd via the Tunneling Tentacles.
Tunneling Tentacle: The main enemies in this phase, the Tentacles have a Slam attack that deals moderate conal damage. A DWT can tank a Tentacle in this phase, if necessary, via defensives and strong healer support.
Unstable Larva: Birthed two at a time from random locations around the island shore, these adds aggro to each player with aggro on the Tunneling Tentacles and crawl out to them and explode if they reach melee range. DPS need to kill these immediately when they spawn.
Birthed Larva: The waves of "linebackers" that spawn in between each wave of Tunneling Tentacles, these adds should be avoided or they will tunnel to the player who aggro'd them and explode. The damage typically will not one-shot a player in Story Mode but still hits hard.
The strategy for Phase 1 is to DPS the Tunneling Tentacles with tanks facing them to the sides and all players but one healer or ranged DPS staying in melee range. The one healer or ranged DPS stays at range to kite spit. As soon as the Unstable Larvae spawn, DPS should swap to them and kill them. After each wave of Tunneling Tentacles, players should run to the shore and dodge the wave of Birthed Larvae.
Pro Tip - A very easy and preferred strategy is to focus all DPS on one Tunneling Tentacle. In Story Mode, you can just kill one Tentacle per wave and still move to Phase 2 after 3 waves of Tunneling Tentacles. This requires putting a tank or DWT on one Tentacle and everyone else on the other. This strategy completes Phase 1 much faster.
Phase 2 - Hypergate
Phase 2 sees the group teleported up to the floating platforms. The platforms are arrayed with a Home platform where the group initially appears, below which is a half circle of 8 platforms, and a lower circle of 8 platforms around the Terror itself.
The objective of this phase is similar to Phase 1, which is to kill 3 pairs of Tunneling Tentacles to damage the Terror. Other than that main goal, however, everything else is different.
First, let's discuss range. There is unlimited range in the room for healers, meaning they can heal anyone with most of their abilities provided they have LoS. Some healing abilities (primarily AoE abilities) will not work. For this reason, some healers prefer to stand at the Home platform high above everyone and spam heals, while others run with the DPS so their full healing kit will work.
Second, how to navigate. Little portals are visible on most sides of a platform. When a player steps off a platform into these portals, they automatically leap to the neighboring platform. Stepping off a platform from a direction without a portal should teleport the player back to the Home platform (though it has a small chance of bugging and killing the player).
A key exception to this range rule is damaging creatures/objects that spawn on an individual platform. These can only be damaged by players standing on the same platform. No sniping from an adjacent platform!
Tanks should generally hold the Terror while standing on the outer platforms (it doesn't really matter which ones). There are two mechanics to watch out for:
Spit: The Terror covers the tank's current platform with acid (similar to the acid puddles from Phase 1). The tank should immediately jump to an adjacent platform. This ability is immediately followed by Scream.
Scream: The Terror hits the tank for heavy damage. This ability can be mitigated by certain defensives like Saber Reflect.
The Tunneling Tentacles spawn on the lower front Left and Right platforms. They have a Slam attack that deals low damage in Story Mode. Players must stand on the same platform to damage them. DPS should focus on these exclusively until both are down.
In between the Tunneling Tentacle phases, 13 Hypergate Irregularities will spawn. These spawn on most of the platforms around the area, with one Irregularity per platform. The team will have 30s to kill them all. After the 30s cast of Terror finishes, the Irregularities will begin ticking team-wide damage per Irregularity. More than 1-2 Irregularities still alive will quickly wipe the team.
During the Irregularity phase, DPS should expect to kill 2-3 Irregularities each, tanks should kill at least 1 and help with a second, and healers should kill maybe 1. The Irregularities deal damage to players while attacking them, so healing will be needed. A key to success in this phase is to look for platforms where an Irregularity is not being attacked and move there - avoid doubling up! In 8m groups, the Irregularity phase is the toughest if people are not efficient. Think ahead and move in a manner that ensures the group gets adequate coverage to defeat the Irregularities on time!
The Tentacles swap positions between waves, so the second pair of Tentacles will spawn at the lower back left and right platforms, and the third pair will be back at the lower front left and right platforms.
After the third wave of Tentacles is killed, Phase 3 begins.
So to recap on strategy, the timing for this fight is as follows:
Team loads into area, tanks grab aggro on Terror, team moves into position
DPS kill first 2 Tunneling Tentacles on lower front left and right platforms
Team kills Irregularities (don't forget the one at the very back right behind the Terror!)
DPS kill second 2 Tunneling Tentacles on lower back left and right platforms
Team kills Irregularities (don't forget the one at the very back right behind the Terror!)
DPS kill third pair of Tunneling Tentacles on lower front left and right platforms.
Terror enters Furious Tantrum
Phase 3 - Furious Tantrum
When 3 pairs of Tentacles have been killed, the Terror is finally directly damageable. The boss will swap from target to target and hit them with a heavy damage attack. Players should spread out and each take a different platform then attack the boss. Tanks should alternate taunts to hold aggro on as many attacks as possible. Once the Terror reaches 3% health, it will be sucked back into the Hypergate and the team wins the encounter.
The Terror From Beyond encounter is a step up in difficulty from Story Mode with new mechanics during each phase of the fight. The DPS check in this fight used to be difficult for newer progression teams prior to the introduction of Veteran’s Edge in 6.0. Now the fight is primarily a coordination check to deal with the Hypergate Beacon and avoid exploding adds in Phase 1 and coordinating DPS to deal with Irregularities/Anomalies and not dying to Slams or Scream in Phase 2.
The Terror From Beyond encounter in Veteran Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Tunneling Tentacles: Unlike in Story Mode, the damage dealt to the Terror after each wave of Tunneling Tentacles is proportional to the cumulative damage dealt to them. To push the Terror below 50% health and push to Phase 2 with only three pairs of Tunneling Tentacles, all Tunneling Tentacles should be below 10% health when the other is killed.
Hypergate Beacon: In Phase 1, a Hypergate Beacon spawns during each wave of Tunneling Tentacles. The Beacon will typically spawn behind a Tunneling Tentacle or in between them. The Beacon will latch onto a player (usually a healer) and will pull them towards it. If the player is pulled into the Beacon or it finishes its 10 second cast then the targeted player is killed.
Void Disturbance: A glowing swirly orb will spawn periodically during Phase 1 adjacent to a Tunneling Tentacle. Stepping into the orb will grant the player the Void Disturbance debuff, which deals damage to them and deals damage to the Tunneling Tentacle. The debuff lasts for 20 seconds in Veteran Mode.
Unstable Larva & Birthed Larva: The exploding adds in Phase 1 deal much more damage in Veteran Mode and should be avoided. The damage can be mitigated through defensives and is usually not a one shot anymore due to Veteran’s Edge.
Slam: The Grasping Tentacle Slam attack deals much higher damage in Veteran Mode and can one shot a DPS without strong defensive mitigation.
Scream: The Terror’s Scream attack in Phase 2 leaves the Faded Reality debuff that increased damage taken by 200%. The debuff can be purged by returning to the Home platform on which the team begins Phase 2.
Phasic Spit Pool: The Terror’s Spit attack in Phase 2 lasts much longer on each platform than in Story Mode.
Hypergate Anomaly: The Grasping Tentacles in Phase 2 will summon a Hypergate Anomaly when they reach 70% and 25% health. The Anomaly is similar to the Hypergate Irregularity in that it deals damage to adjacent players and after a short time will enrage and begin dealing damage to all players.
Furious Tantrum: The Terror enters a Furious Tantrum normally after the 6th Grasping Tentacle is defeated, just like in Story Mode. However, it is possible to push the Terror into Furious Tantrum early if its health is reduced below 16% before the 6th Grasping Tentacle is defeated. If this occurs, the Terror heals for approximately 20% of its max health and enters Furious Tantrum immediately. This mechanic also exists in Story Mode but is far less likely due to the much lower health of the Grasping Tentacles.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Terror From Beyond in Veteran Mode include the following in Phase 1. Overall the keys to success in Phase 1 having sufficient DPS to avoid the Tunneling Tentacles enraging, killing the Beacons and not dying to exploding adds. The DPS check is relatively trivial and exploding adds are much more easily survived, both thanks to Veteran’s Edge. As such, the primary mechanic to focus on Veteran Mode is correctly defeating the Hypergate Beacon.
Split the team into two evenly balanced groups and each group takes a Tunneling Tentacle. The Tunneling Tentacles must be burned down evenly to reach Phase 2 on time, so balanced DPS is the simplest strategy.
Everyone stands near the Tunneling Tentacle except one player per group to kite Spit. The team should try and avoid Spit near the tentacles, so having either a healer or ranged DPS stand out is ideal. I recommend a healer since Phase 1 is relatively easy to heal and DPS is more important.
Balance DPS to avoid killing a Tunneling Tentacle until the other one is below 10% of max health. The damage dealt to the Terror is based on the cumulative damage to both Tunneling Tentacles. To reach Phase 2 in three waves you need both Tunneling Tentacles in each wave below 10% when the other is killed.
Assign DPS to kill the Hypergate Beacon. The Beacon will spawn midway during each Tunneling Tentacle wave and needs to be killed immediately. Ranged DPS are ideal to handle the Beacon or else assign melee DPS. If the Beacon is on one side then all DPS on that side should kill. If the Beacon is in the middle then pre-assigned DPS (again, preferably ranged) should kill it.
Assign DPS to kill Unstable Larva. The first wave of Unstable Larva should spawn shortly after the Hypergate Beacon and a second wave still spawn shortly before the Tunneling Tentacles enrage. Ranged DPS should kill the Unstable Larva before they reach the tank. If no ranged DPS are available, assign melee DPS to deal with the adds so the rest can tunnel the Tunneling Tentacles. Alternatively, the tank can use a defensive cooldown and cheese the damage but they should make sure they stand far enough back to avoid clipping DPS with the AoE explosion damage.
A DPS can pick up the Void Disturbance. The Void Disturbance is not necessary in Veteran Mode but can help deal additional damage to kill the Tunneling Tentacles. I recommend it primarily in 8 person groups where the DPS is unbalanced and picking up the Void Disturbance lets the group with less DPS catch up.
Avoid Birthed Larva. This mechanic is the same as in Story Mode except the Birthed Larva deal a lot more damage.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Terror From Beyond in Veteran Mode include the following in Phase 2. Phase 2 is the more difficult phase in the fight as balanced in 6.0, though overall is fairly simple. The most common cause of a wipe is DPS dying to Grasping Tentacle Slam attacks, the team being sloppy handling Hypergate Irregularities or forgetting to deal with Hypergate Anomalies.
Tanks should guard healers. The Terror has 75% damage reduction prior to Furious Tantrum. This reduces the threat tanks can build through normal attacks. Given that many tanks should be cautious of dealing too much direct damage to the Terror to avoid pushing to Furious Tantrum early, it can be surprisingly easy for healers to pull aggro. Tanks swapping guards to healers just before Phase 1 ends or just as Phase 2 begins largely solves this potential headache.
DPS should avoid all Grasping Tentacle Slams. The Slams in Veteran Mode deal significantly more damage and can easily one shot a DPS player if they are not using a defensive cooldown. Some classes can more easily cheese Slams than others, such as Shadow/Assassins using Force Speed or Gunslinger/Snipers using Hunker Down/Entrench. If there is any doubt of surviving a Slam, the DPS should jump off the platform to dodge each Slam.
Tanks should stand opposite a Grasping Tentacle. The optimal tanking position will be for a tank to stand opposite each Graping Tentacle. This means standing in the back left and back right platforms for the first and third tentacle waves and the front lower left and front lower right platforms for the second tentacle wave. This positioning means the Terror will use melee attacks that are more easily mitigated via defense chance and more broadly applicable defensive cooldowns and ensures spit and Scream are taken well away from the DPS.
Tanks should swap during Scream cast and go Home to cleanse Faded Reality. The Terror will spit on the tank platform then immediately cast Scream. The other tank should taunt during the Scream cast so the debuffed tank avoids any boss attacks. The Faded Reality debuff applied by Scream increases damage taken by 200% and can only be purged in Veteran Mode by running to the Home platform where the team loaded in. The tank with the debuff should go Home to purge then return to their platform to be ready to take the boss back on the next Scream.
DPS should burn one Grasping Tentacle at a time. The DPS should attack one tentacle at a time to control the rate at which Hypergate Anomalies spawn. Burning two tentacles evenly may lead to two Anomalies being active at once, which may require multiple DPS to break off and slow overall DPS during the phase.
A DPS should be assigned to kill Hypergate Anomalies. Anomalies spawn as a Grasping Tentacle reaches 70% and 25% health. The Anomalies will enrage if not killed quickly enough and deal damage to all players until destroyed. One DPS should be assigned to break off when the first Anomaly spawns and then burn them down in sequence.
Spread out for Hypergate Irregularities. The DPS check to destroy all Hypergate Irregularities is not difficult if the team spreads out efficiently. Some teams may benefit from pre-assigning coverage areas and others may not need to do so. The best rule of thumb is spread out and avoid attacking any Irregularity that another player is already attacking.
Spread out for Furious Tantrum. When the sixth Grasping Tentacle is defeated then the Terror will enter Furious Tantrum. During Furious Tantrum, the Terror will reset a player’s aggro each time they attack them. Tanks should combine taunts and defensive cooldowns and coordinate between themselves to hold the Terror’s aggro as much as possible. The Terror gets sucked into the hypergate at 3% health.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Terror From Beyond in Veteran Mode:
Tanks should be careful to face the Tunneling Tentacles away from the group and towards the Terror so the group avoids the conal damage from Slams. However, the tank should be very careful to avoid moving too close to the Terror or they will instantly die.
Healers should note that any player who dies from Beacons or walking into the Terror in Phase 1 will have their bodies spawn in a predictable location for combat or stealth revives. When facing the Terror the body spawn location is on the far left side of the boss.
The Terror has a conal knockback attack that can target any players who are not sheltered by proximity to the Tunneling Tentacle in Phase 1. The tank is safe standing between the Tentacle and the Terror and all other players are safe by keeping the Tentacle between themselves and the Terror. Moving too far to one side may result in taking extra damage. This can be especially dangerous for tanks kiting Unstable Larva as the knockback briefly stuns them as well.
A second wave of Unstable Larva spawn a short time before the Tunneling Tentacles enrage. Most groups will comfortably kill the tentacles before the Larvae get too close to the tanks. If not, the tank can kite away from the Tentacle to avoid the Larva, just be careful not to run into the water or into the Terror.
If a tank dies unexpectedly while Unstable Larva are active, they will change targets and explode if they get in melee range of that player.
If a DPS dies or DPS is very uneven, an effective strategy is to have the team with higher DPS swap sides as soon as their tentacle reaches 10% health. The tank DPS and any ticking DoTs should drop it down to 5-9% without danger of it dying unexpectedly while the combined DPS completely kill the other one.
The DPS check is not very difficult to avoid the Tunneling Tentacle enrage in Veteran Mode due to Veteran’s Edge. However, tanks should generally keep a defensive cooldown available in case they need to take an enraged Slam. The enraged Slam will be the first one that comes after the second wave of Unstable Larva spawn.
If the tanks are still kiting Unstable Larva when the wave of Birthed Larva spawn, it helps the DPS for the tanks to run towards the shoreline and closer to the middle of the island. This kiting makes it easier to melee DPS to avoid the Birthed Larva and reduces the chances of a stray AoE attack clipping them by accident.
If a player loses track of their position as Birthed Larva spawn, I recommend running towards the shore in the middle of the island as quickly as possible. This position nearly always buys you enough time to identify a safe spot in the path of the linebackers.
In Phase 2, healers should generally stay at the Home platform or the first platforms down from them. These platforms are higher up than the rest and have a clear line of sight to nearly all other platforms.
In Phase 2, the tanks should coordinate so that one of them picks up the Hypergate Irregularity on the back platform. It is further from the others and inconvenient for a DPS to pick up since they usually need to kill 2-3 Irregularities themselves. Usually one tank will be in motion towards Home to purge after Scream, so the other non-debuffed tank should pick up the back platform.
In Phase 2, the tank on the opposite side of the first Grasping Tentacle to be burned down should usually pick up the Terror. For example, if the team burns the left tentacle first then the tank on the right side should pick up the Terror. This makes it less likely for a DPS to be cleaved by the Terror while moving around and also frees up the tank on that side to help add some DPS to the tentacle before they need to pick up the boss.
In Phase 2, the tank who goes Home to purge the Scream debuff can spend as much as 10 seconds or so helping burn down a Hypergate Anomaly on their way back to pick up the Terror.
In Phase 2, DPS should be very careful to minimize AoE damage and DoT spread as much as possible. Depending on group composition, this may be a minor concern or a major one. Tanks may also need to severely limit their direct attacks on the Terror. The Terror will heal 20% and push into Furious Tantrum if pushed below 16% before the sixth Grasping Tentacle is killed.
During Furious Tantrum, tanks should manage their positioning to optimize the benefit of their defensive cooldowns. The Terror uses melee attacks on targets standing on a platform adjacent to the Terror (i.e., the lower circular ring of platforms) and Force attacks on the outer platforms. Use defensive cooldowns accordingly. Guardian/Juggernaut tanks should only use Saber Reflect on an outer platform while Saber Ward is best on lower platforms. Shadow/Assassin tanks should use Deflection on lower platforms and Resilience/Force Shroud on outer platforms. Vanguard/Powertech tanks perform best on the lower platforms with all defensive cooldowns.
The Terror From Beyond encounter in Master Mode is a very large step up in difficulty from Veteran Mode. The DPS check to beat the Tunneling Tentacle enrage in Phase 1 and the Terror’s enrage in Phase 2 will be difficult for many groups. Team coordination to maximize DPS uptime on enemies is key for the entire encounter given the many distractions between beacons, unstable larva, anomalies, irregularities, inconsistencies and dodging slams.
The Terror From Beyond encounter in Master Mode includes the following new and revised notable mechanics:
Terror enrages in Phase 1 after 3 waves of Tunneling Tentacles: In Master Mode the Terror only has 6 stacks of Tunneling Tentacles, which causes the Terror to enrage after 3 waves of Tunneling Tentacles in Phase 1.
Unstable Larva & Birthed Larva will one shot players: In lower difficulties the exploding adds will typically not one shot players and defensive cooldowns can mitigate the damage further. In Master Mode the adds explosion damage cannot be mitigated through defensives and deals more than each player’s maximum health and is an automatic death.
Tunneling Tentacle enrage check: The Tunneling Tentacles enrage after 70 seconds. They enrage immediately before a Slam.
Void Disturbance kills the player at 5 stacks: The Void Disturbance is the white “swirly” item that appears near one of the Tunneling Tentacles in Phase 1. The Void Disturbance deals damage to the player and tentacle and gains stacks every 4 seconds. In Master Mode only the effect kills the player at 5 stacks. The Void Disturbance effect is cleansable.
Tunneling Tentacle enraged Slam hits VERY hard: The Tunneling Tentacle alternates between a normal slap attack and Slams. The first Slam comes after 16 seconds or 9 slaps, after which a Slam takes place every 11 seconds or 5 slaps. The sixth Slam will be an enraged Slam. An enraged Slam may one shot a tank if a defensive cooldown is not used and the tank does not shield the attack.
Tunneling Tentacle will Slam if the tank moves too far away from it: The Tunneling Tentacle skips its normal cooldown on Slam and will use Slam more quickly if the tank with aggro moves more too far away from it. The range for this appears to be approximately 10m.
Terror has a 9 minute enrage timer in Phase 2: The Terror has a 9 minute enrage timer in Phase 2 beginning when it takes damage.
Jumping off the back of a platform kills the player: Unlike in Story or Veteran Mode where jumping off the back of a platform will usually teleport the player to the entrance (Home) platform, in Master Mode the player will die unless they teleport directly to an adjacent platform. The teleport mechanic can occasionally desync and mistakenly kill the player.
Grasping Tentacles gain a stacking Hypergate Alacrity buff: In Master Mode each time the Grasping Tentacles slam their platform they gain a stack of Hypergate Alacrity that reduces the cooldown of Slam by 0.25 seconds per stack. This mechanic causes the Slams to go out faster and faster to make it more difficult to jump off the platform in time.
Grasping Tentacles spawn Inconsistency at 50% health: In addition to the Hypergate Anomaly that is spawned at 70% and 25% health, the Grasping Tentacles also spawn an Inconsistency. The Inconsistency spawns on a platform on the outer ring and connects itself via an energy beam to a player. The player closest to the entrance should get this debuff, so it will usually be a healer but occasionally a tank cleansing Scream. The player gets a debuff called Inconsistency that reduces healing received by 80% and can only be cleansed by the debuffed player moving to the same platform as the Inconsistency, which causes the orb to despawn.
Terror will enter Furious Tantrum early and heal 20% if pushed below 16% early: Just as in lower difficulties, the Terror loses 6% health when each Grasping Tentacle is defeated. If the damage dealt by players pushes the Terror below 16% before the sixth Grasping Tentacle is defeated then it goes into Furious Tantrum and heals 20%. This will always lead to a wipe in Master Mode.
The key strategic considerations to defeat the Terror From Beyond in Master Mode include the following. Please note all strategic considerations in Veteran Mode also apply unless directly contradicted below.
Phase 1 Strategy:
Must get both Tunneling Tentacles below 10% each wave to avoid enrage. The team only has 3 waves of Tunneling Tentacles to get the Terror below 50% unlike in lower difficulties. The team must have both Tunneling Tentacles below 10% when one is defeated, and preferably both below 5%. The team needs a strategy to let DPS swap if needed due to lower DPS, a DPS dies unexpectedly or to balance for whichever side got the Hypergate Beacon. The simplest approach is to make sure each tentacle team has a ranged DPS.
Kill the Hypergate Beacon ASAP but minimize downtime. The Beacon is the exact same as in Veteran Mode in that it pulls a player and kills them if not destroyed quickly. The DPS check on Tunneling Tentacles is much tighter so the team needs to balance DPS to kill the Beacon promptly but avoid wasting too much time. This depends on group composition. If the group has any classes that struggle to swap targets then adjust accordingly.
Coordinate DPS to minimize downtime to kill the first wave of Unstable Larva. The Unstable Larva are similar to lower difficulties except they are a guaranteed one shot if they reach the tank. DPS need to kill the first wave of Larva but without losing too much time. Groups with lots of ranged DPS that swap targets easily can just swap when it gets in max range and kill it. Some classes can double DoT and stay primarily on the Tentacle while another burst DPS kills it. Some groups may have one melee DPS leap out and solo it while the other DPS stays on the Tentacle. Find what works for your group.
DPS should generally pick up the Void Disturbance and cleanse by 4 stacks. The difficulty of the DPS check makes picking up the “swirly” Void Disturbance a good idea for most groups. The extra damage taken is easily healed through. The DPS picking them up and the healers need to be coordinated to ensure the DPS is cleansed by 4 stacks so they do not reach 5 stacks and die.
Ignore the second wave of Unstable Larva until the Tunneling Tentacles die. The enraged Slam from the tentacles is very dangerous and will kill your tanks if they have to take more than two (and maybe more than one), so DPS should ignore the adds until the tentacles go down. Tanks should kite adds if necessary until the tentacles go down.
Tanks should be prepared to take an Enraged Slam. Groups with very high DPS, groups with a Vanguard / Powertech on each side to use Rebounders, or teams with crystals may beat the enrage timer. However, many groups will hit the enrage and take at least one enraged Slam. Tanks should save a big defensive (Saber Reflect, Blade Blitz / Mad Dash, Power Yield w/ Emergency Power, Resilience / Force Shroud) for the first Enraged Slam.
Tanks should anticipate kiting the Unstable Larva if DPS is low. Many groups will be behind on DPS early in progging the Terror fight, meaning tanks may have to kite the adds up to 10-15 seconds. There are a variety of strategies. A common strategy is to stand on one side of the Tentacle at first to draw the Larva that direction then kite the opposite way. Another is to time your kiting to take a Slam away from the group then run in a circle around the Tentacle to kite the add and be back facing the back/side in time for the next Slam. This takes practice and everyone has different preferences, but some strategy will be needed unless your DPS is very high.
DPS should avoid AoE attacks when killing the second wave of adds. Most teams will be trying to kill the second wave of Unstable Larva while dodging the “linebacker” Birthed Larva. This can be done safely with ranged attacks so long as players avoid any AoE attacks that can trigger nearby Birthed Larva. Tanks should try and kite the Unstable Larva towards the shore to give the DPS more room to work safely (especially melee DPS).
Phase 2 Strategy:
Tanks should swap guards to healers. Threat and aggro act unusually in Phase 2 of the Terror fight. The Terror has 75% damage reduction in Phase 2 until it reaches Furious Tantrum. The high DR means tank attacks generate significantly less threat than usual, while healer aggro from heals is not reduced by the Terror’s mitigation. Healers can easily pull aggro early in the Phase 2 encounter and DPS should not be damaging the Terror at all in Phase 2, so guards are most effective on healers.
All DPS should target one Grasping Tentacle at a time. The Grasping Tentacles spawn Hypergate Anomalies at 70% and 25% just as in Veteran Mode. The team should avoid having multiple Anomalies spawn so should burn the tentacles one at a time. Since the Grasping Tentacles also shorten their Slam timer each time, it is also desirable to burn one at a time.
All DPS need to jump off the platform to avoid Slam. With very few exceptions, DPS cannot survive a Slam from a Grasping Tentacle in Master Mode. Players should position themselves close to the platform edge so they can immediately jump off when they see the Slam cast. Some classes can use defensives to barely survive the Slam damage, though the only class that can comfortably and consistently survive it is Gunslinger / Sniper when Hunker Down / Entrench is active plus another defensive cooldown. I highly suggest DPS avoid all Slams unless/until it is clear that cheesing some Slams is the only way to beat the enrage timer, as any DPS deaths will cause much greater loss of uptime than getting 3 seconds more uptime a few times in the fight.
Assign one DPS to destroy Anomalies. Just as in Veteran Mode, a DPS should handle Anomalies. DPS that avoid push-back and deal damage when they take damage are ideal, so melee DPS tend to be ideal. This DPS should do everything they can to add uptime on the Grasping Tentacles in between Anomalies.
Player targeted by an Inconsistency should run to its platform to remove it. The Inconsistency spawns when each Grasping Tentacle reaches 50% health. The large green Inconsistency orb will target the player closest to the entrance (Home) platform, which will usually be a healer but occasionally a tank. The targeted player will have a green beam connecting them to the Inconsistency and should run to the orb’s platform for it to despawn.
DPS should try to avoid DoT spread and splash damage as much as possible. The Terror has 75% damage reduction prior to Furious Tantrum but can still take damage during Phase 2. The boss begins the fight at 50%, takes around 6% damage per Grasping Tentacle death and pushes to Furious Tantrum once it drops below 16%. The math works out that after 5 Grasping Tentacles the Terror will be no higher than 20% of max health, so the team only has 4-5% of its health as cushion to avoid pushing. DPS with optional DoT spread abilities (e.g., Lethality Operative Toxic Haze, Annihilation Marauder Smash) should avoid DoT spreading at all. DPS with rotational DoT spread or splash damage (e.g., Vengeance Juggernaut Vengeful Slam , Lightning Sorcerer Chain Lightning, Engineering Sniper Plasma Probe) should be prepared to avoid those abilities if necessary. Virulence Sniper can apply DoTs in reverse order to avoid spreading the second DoT. Some group comps may not have any issues but some will have serious issues, so some balancing here may be necessary to avoid pushing early.
Tanks should be careful to minimize damage early in Phase 2. Depending on group composition, tanks may not have room to deal damage to the Terror to avoid pushing to Furious Tantrum early. I usually suggest the first tank using their normal rotation up to the first Spit / Scream to build initial aggro then afterwards both tanks should use only abilities that provide core mitigation benefits. Once the team has a good handle on how much DoT/splash damage is going out then more DPS may be safe but I recommend erring on the side of caution.
Communicate and coordinate killing Irregularities. The Irregularity phase in between Grasping Tentacle waves is identical to Veteran Mode. However, good coordination is more important in Master Mode due to the enrage timer. The team needs to get the Irregularities down on time so that they can be back in position to burn the Grasping Tentacles. Players should avoid having multiple players group up on one Irregularity since it costs valuable uptime on the Tentacles.
Tanks should begin Furious Tantrum at the left middle and right middle platforms. See the advanced topic below for more discussion on tanking in Furious Tantrum and use of defensive cooldowns. This platform is the safest position to hold the Terror especially if it enrages based on the damage profile of attacks used from platform to platform.
A tank should NOT taunt the Terror during Furious Tantrum with the Scream debuff. Depending on DPS pace, the team may push to Furious Tantrum while one tank still has the Scream debuff. If so the other tank should cycle through defensive cooldowns and taunts to hold the Terror until the other tank can cleanse Scream and pick up the Terror.
Advanced Strategy - Tanking Phase 1 Slams/Adds
Many groups progging the Terror in Master Mode for the first time will struggle to beat the DPS check on Tunneling Tentacles in Phase 1 (and probably also the Terror’s enrage timer in Phase 2, though you have to beat the first to see the second). Tanks on those teams should try to plan ahead to deal with up to two enraged Slams from the Tunneling Tentacles each wave.
Each tank class handles the Tunneling Tentacles a bit differently with respect to handling regular Slams, enraged Slams and kiting adds.
Guardian / Juggernaut tanks have decent armor mitigation, plenty of defensive cooldowns and two cheese defensives for enraged Slams. They are arguably the best tanks for progging the Terror fight with low DPS or DPS still learning to maximize uptime in the fight, mostly due to their greater cheese abilities.
Pre-enrage, Guardian / Juggernauts should not need to rely too heavily on defensives for regular Slams. I usually alternate between Enure / Endure Pain, Saber Ward, Warding Call / Invincible, Focused / Enraged Defense and my adrenal anytime I get low to give my healer some cushion and am never without a defensive. I rarely find it an issue since the slaps deal minimal damage and the 11 or so seconds in between Slams is plenty of time to heal up.
For the enraged slams, I recommend saving Saber Reflect for the first enraged Slam and Blade Blitz / Mad Dash for a potential second. Guardian / Juggernaut is the only tank that can easily cheese two enraged Slams each wave.
For kiting, Guardian / Juggernaut lacks a low cooldown speed boost so should be mindful of keeping plenty of distance from adds and avoiding back-pedaling.
Vanguard / Powertech tanks have high armor mitigation, good but less extensive cooldowns and one consistent cheese defensive for enraged Slams. They also can offer Sonic Rebounders to their DPS to help with the DPS check and deal the higher base damage of the tank classes. They are often the easiest to heal during Phase 1 but have fewer options if things go wrong or if multiple enraged Slams go out.
Pre-enrage, Vanguard / Powertechs also should not need to rely too heavily on defensives. That is convenient since relatively few of their defensives are effective on Slams due to their Force attack type. Riot Gas / Oil Slick and Battle Focus / Explosive Fuel are not useful defensives since they only mitigate slaps and not Slams. This leaves Vanguard / Powertechs with only Reactive / Energy Shield, an adrenal and Adrenaline Rush (and possibly a relic if taking the Shrouded Crusader relic). I usually try to save Shield and my adrenal for a second enraged Slam and just hit Adrenaline Rush if I get low to get my healer time to heal me back up. Rebounders from a friendly DPS are also really helpful.
For the enraged slams, Vanguard / Powertechs should use Power Yield if running Emergency Power to cheese the first enraged Slam. There is no great option for a second enraged Slam which is why I usually try to save Reactive / Energy Shield and/or my adrenal together to mitigate it. Please note that the cooldowns on those abilities will not let them be used for each wave, though.
For kiting, Vanguard / Powertechs can easily use Hold the Line / Hydraulic Overrides. Just bear in mind that if you get more than 10m away the Tunneling Tentacle will Slam you. Try to practice staying around the 8-9m range from the tentacle and running in a big circle to give your DPS more time.
Shadow / Assassin tanks have low armor mitigation, great but not entirely applicable defensive cooldowns and one consistent cheese defensive for enraged Slams. They are more than capable tanks in this fight but are likely to struggle the most due being more vulnerable to unshielded Slams and having one good cheese for enraged Slams.
Pre-enrage, Shadow / Assassins should try to cycle through their defensives as efficiently as possible for non-enraged slams. I suggest being pro-active to use a defensive if you are taking a slam and below about two-thirds of your maximum health, as that is the range for a potential one-shot if you fail to shield the attack. Force Potency / Recklessness, shield adrenal and Battle Readiness are reliable cooldowns when needed. Hitting a medpac before the Slam to get you closer to max health is a good strategy also if you are worried. It is also possible to use Force Cloak immediately prior to the Slam then taunt the tentacle back to cheese the Slam, though timing is critical to do this correctly and avoid slamming your group. I highly recommend that any Vanguard / Powertech DPS be assigned to the Shadow / Assassin tentacle so they can rebounder an early Slam and then have it available again for an enraged Slam.
For enraged Slams, Shadow / Assassin tanks can use Resilience / Force Shroud easily to cheese the damage. The Force Cloak + taunt also works though the timing is much more sensitive. Rebounders from a friendly Vanguard / Powertech DPS is even better. When I tank this I usually try and coordinate Rebounders for the enraged Slam and then save Resilience / Force Shroud for a second if necessary.
For kiting, Force Speed is amazing. Just keep in mind you need to avoid getting out of 10m from the tentacle unless it is going to die within a few seconds.
Advanced Strategy - Tanking Terror in Furious Tantrum
Tanks need to be well prepared to handle the Terror during Furious Tantrum, especially if the boss may enrage before/during the phase. If the team pushes the Terror on schedule, the Terror should enter Furious Tantrum at 10-11% health and needs to be burned down to 3%. A team with all its DPS should typically push the Terror in 25-30 seconds or so. That is a short window but surviving it requires good coordination between the tanks and proper positioning and use of defensives.
First a brief reminder. During Furious Tantrum the Terror’s attacks reset the targets aggro after each hit, which should normally cause the Terror to hit a target once then swap targets. A tank can maintain aggro for the 6 second duration of a taunt. Assuming the player has sufficient defensive cooldowns to survive holding the boss, one tank can cycle through single/AoE/single taunts to hold the boss for 17-18 seconds. The second tank can theoretically hold the boss for this long again, after which more taunts should come off cooldown. As such, two tanks should be able to hold the boss for the entire phase assuming they can survive doing so.
So how does a tank survive Furious Tantrum? You need to understand how your defensives work and what type of attack the Terror uses depending on where you are standing.
The Terror uses the following attacks based on your positioning:
Outer/upper platforms: Phasic Spittle (Force attack)
Middle front/back/left/right platforms: Monstrous Swipe (melee attack)
Lower platforms (where tentacles spawn): Tail Whip (Force AoE attack)
Tanks should generally start holding the Terror at the middle left/right platforms. To avoid any doubt, this would be the middle platform in between each of the tentacle platforms on each side. The tank should use defensives effective against melee attacks here and can move to the outer platform with one jump to use defensives effective against Force attacks.
If you are tanking the Terror without defensives, the middle platform is the best position since your mitigation is the most effective against melee attacks than Force attacks since you have a much higher chance to dodge melee attacks.
Here is a quick run-down by tank class of potential order of priority for using defensive cooldowns and positioning while you have aggro on the Terror:
Guardian / Juggernaut: Cycle through Saber Ward for its 12s duration, then Warding Call / Invincible + adrenal for its 10s duration, then jump to an outer platform and use Saber Reflect for its 5s duration, then back to the middle platform and use Awe / Intimidating Roar, Enure / Endure Pain, medpack and Focused / Enraged Defense.
Vanguard / Powertech: Power Yield (w/ Emergency Power) for its 3s duration, then Reactive / Energy Shield for its 15s duration, then Riot Gas / Oil Slick and Battle Focus / Explosive Fuel for its 10s duration, then adrenal and medpack and Adrenaline Rush / Kolto Overload. You should not move from the middle platform at all since your defensives work better against melee attacks.
Shadow / Assassin: Deflection for its 12, duration, then move to an outer platform and Resilience / Force Shroud for its 5s duration, then back to the middle platform and Battle Readiness / Overcharged Saber for its 15s duration and Force Potency / Recklessness, then adrenal and medpack. In an emergency you can move to an outer platform and try to combine Force Cloak then taunt to cheese one Force attack as well, though the mitigation will not last beyond the first Phasic Spittle (if that, depending on timing). Spinning Kick / Spike should be used on cooldown anytime you have aggro and neither Deflection nor Resilience / Force Shroud are active.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a couple other tips for Terror From Beyond in Master Mode in addition to those applicable to lower difficulties:
I highly recommend everyone get in the habit of putting the other Tunneling Tentacle in Phase 1 on Focus Target. This lets you easily keep track of the health of boss tentacles and if anyone needs to swap. The team leader will get the most benefit from this but the more players who are aware the better.
Teams may consider using raid buffs in Phase 1 to help beat the enrage timer on Tunneling Tentacles. Raid buffs are pretty easy to use for the first and third waves when everyone is close together but more difficult in the second wave. If using raid buffs, I would suggest trying to stagger them with one for each wave to help boost DPS across all three waves.
Tanks can easily set up a Starparse timer to predict tentacle Slams in Phase 1. The one I use has the following info. This timer will not predict the first Slam but will track every one afterwards. The exact duration is a little flexible but I’ve found a little less than 11 seconds is more comfortable. I also usually add a Countdown to remind me that it’s coming if I don’t see the timer window so that I can prep a defensive and call it out for healers, though that’s up to you.
Name: Slam (or whatever you like to call the timer)
Boss: The Terror From Beyond
Trigger on: Damage
Source: Custom (Tunneling Tentacle)
Cancel on: Combat finished
Vanguard / Powertech players can make the DPS check in Phase 1 significantly easier with Sonic Rebounders to reflect Slam damage. The Tunneling Tentacle slap attacks are single target attacks while the Slam is an AoE attack that can be reflected with Rebounders. Tanks can use their AoE taunt to rebounder the DPS and then either turn the Slam towards the DPS or have them move to stand with the tank. DPS can use their Rebounder to buff the tank and the other DPS but should avoid taking a Slam themselves. Each player that uses Rebounder deals around 2% of the Tunneling Tentacle’s maximum health, so using Rebounders at least twice to benefit two players should deal around 8% damage and may make the difference between hitting enrage or not.
Shadow / Assassin tanks depend heavily on their shield chance to mitigate Slam damage in Phase 1. Guardian / Juggernaut and Vanguard / Powertechs can handle non-enraged Slams pretty easily through their higher base mitigation, but not Shadow / Assassins can take a lot of spike damage if they fail to shield. Vanguard / Powertech DPS using Rebounders can help with mitigation (in addition to the reflect), Sage / Sorcerer shields planned just before Slams can also help, etc.
Guardian / Juggernaut tanks should generally save Saber Reflect and Blade Blitz / Mad Dash for taking enraged Slams in Phase 1. I usually hit Saber Reflect for the first enraged Slam then kite away from the tentacle to avoid the Unstable Larva. If I see a second Slam coming then I use Blade Blitz / Mad Dash to both cheese the damage and move further away from the larva. The cooldown of Blade Blitz / Mad Dash (45s, 35s with utility, 25s with utility and Dashing Blademaster set bonus) is low enough that it can be used for an early Slam and still be back up for the second enraged Slam.
Another option for dealing with enraged Slams with a Guardian / Juggernaut tank is to have them taunt both tentacles for the first enraged slam in the first and second waves. Saber Reflect will work for both adds. This could help a Vanguard / Powertech save Power Yield (w/ Emergency Power) and a Shadow / Assassin save Resilience / Force Shroud for a potential second enraged slam. Ideally the DPS are fast enough to avoid a second enraged Slam but could be a potential option in emergency situations.
In Phase 2, players with periodic damage over time effects can apply them to Grasping Tentacles from an adjacent platform. The DoTs will not tick until the player moves to the same platform, though. This trick lets DoT classes maximize DPS uptime by re-applying DoTs from another platform and avoiding the downtime when they return to the tentacle platform.
In Phase 2, the free tank should always try to add DPS in any way they can. DPS the Grasping Tentacle when convenient or help destroy Anomalies so that DPS can
While the team is dealing with Irregularities, DPS should move to set up for Grasping Tentacles once they have cleared their orbs and there are no more unassigned orbs. The enrage timer can be very tight for many groups, so the team should avoid having 3 DPS dogpile on one Irregularity when 2 of them could go straight to a tentacle and get 5-10 more seconds of uptime. It is okay for the team to take a few ticks of enraged Irregularity damage as long as it is not more than 1-2 orbs and not for more than 5-6 seconds or so.
I highly recommend that the tank on the opposite side from the Grasping Tentacle to be burned first should grab the Terror at the beginning of each tentacle phase. For example, if the team is burning the Left tentacle first then the tank on the Right should have the boss at the beginning of each phase. This strategy makes it safer for DPS to move around on their side to get to the tentacle and maximize uptime and is more convenient for the tank on that side to help burn the tentacle before they swap onto the boss.
Healing tends to be light during Phase 2 to the point that it is solo healable for many groups. A good strategy involves one healer running with the DPS to help add some damage to the Grasping Tentacle. They can also more efficiently AoE heal the DPS in this way to free up the other healer to tunnel heal on the tank with aggro.
Groups that struggle to beat the enrage timer may consider skipping the last Anomaly in the third tentacle wave. The Anomaly spawns at 25% of the last tentacle’s health. Given the delay before the Anomaly enrages it should not enrage until after the team enters Furious Tantrum, especially with the extra DPS chipping in and ready to open up into Furious Tantrum. The periodic team-wide ticks from an enraged Anomaly are annoying but not that dangerous to healers. The much bigger danger is the Terror’s attacks one-shotting people. My team’s first clear just barely beat the enrage timer via this strategy, and we found healing through an enraged Anomaly and a normal Furious Tantrum was far easier than killing the Anomaly and trying to tank/heal through an enraged Terror Furious Tantrum. Not all teams should do this but it is a potential option.