14/05/2020

Master Mode Flashpoint Tips: Umbaran Spider Tank

Introduction

I previously wrote about Commander Mokan, whom I consider one of the hardest flashpoint bosses in the game. The thing that makes Mokan hard is understanding the tactics involved - however, once you've internalised all the steps, the actual execution isn't all that tricky aside from the healer having to be capable of a certain degree of multitasking.

Today I'd like to write about a boss that is also one of the hardest flashpoint bosses in the game, but for completely different reasons: the Umbaran Spider Tank at the end of Crisis on Umbara. This one's no puzzle at all (stay out of the fire and kill adds) but the problem lies in the requirements for perfect execution, which are pretty harsh on master mode. Also, unlike Mokan, killing the Umbaran Spider Tank is not optional, meaning that he's driven many a group to despair, and pugs will often drop out as soon as they see that their queueing for a random master mode has landed them in Umbara, even though it only takes 20-30 minutes to complete if you can one-shot everything. The problem is that most groups won't get that experience; instead they'll just wipe a lot and often end up abandoning the whole thing.


I am not above these problems myself, and have only ever had a single what I would call a "perfect kill" of this boss, where we killed it right where it spawns, it was a one-shot and everyone was still alive by the end of the fight. To this day I'm not entirely sure how we did that; I think our dps must have just been awesome that day. More commonly there've been at least a handful of wipes involved, and by the end we're often just as dead as the Spider Tank, with the only difference being that we're allowed to get up again and loot while the tank does not get that luxury.

That was until I was taught the strategy I describe in this post. It's fair to describe it as "cheesy", as it involves fighting the boss in a way that clearly wasn't exactly what the developers had in mind when they designed the encounter, but as it doesn't actually avoid any of the mechanics I don't consider it exploitative. Just like the best way to beat the Purifier Droids in KotET chapter four on veteran/master mode is to leg it into a different building, this fight can be made a lot more manageable by moving the boss and forcing the add spawns into a funnel that makes them a little easier to control. It's no miracle solution to suddenly making the fight easy, but it does take a significant amount of pressure off the group by giving them more wiggle room to handle the adds before they maul the healer.

The boss in a nutshell

Once again I can recommend what both Vulkk and Dulfy have to say about this fight if you want to know the exact details of every ability the boss does, but the short of it is that on top of damaging the tank it does both a painful knockdown and places fire circles on random group members that make it a constant challenge to stay alive. At certain health percentages a wave of adds spawns in, and once the boss gets low on health an unending stream of adds begins, forcing you to burn it quickly. While dps is important, the main challenge of the encounter is simply staying alive, as a particularly unlucky combo of the same person getting stunned and hit by a fire circle can be absolutely devastating to their health bar, and all this happens while the healer will struggle not to get eaten by the adds.


What to do as a tank

After the little cut scene has played, send the rest of your group back down the hill, just around the bend where a bunch of kolto barrels are lying on the ground. Pull the boss and start running down the hill; it will evade at some point. Then repeat this manoeuvrer - this time the boss won't evade but will instead follow you all the way down to the rest of the group.

Try to position the boss so that it's not straight up against the cliff face, so that there's a bit of room to run around it on all sides. Keep it facing away from the rest of the group as much as you can but run out of fire when you must. When adds come down the hill and run past you, you can also hit them with AoE; hopefully the dps should be able to take care of them for the most part though.

What to do as a damage dealer

After the little cut scene has played, run back down the hill to where a bunch of kolto barrels are lying on the ground. Wait for the tank to bring the boss all the way down to you, then start to dps. Try to stay away from each other to avoid more than one person being hit by any ability, and run out of fire circles as quickly as you can. Also try to retain some awareness of where the healer is hiding, so that you break line of sight as little as possible and don't run out of range.

Whenever adds come down the hill, try to resist the urge to run up and get them as soon as they get close - let them come down. By default they will aggro on the healer, and if the healer breaks line of sight properly the adds should bunch up nicely close to them, at the bottom of the hill. At that point you want to charge in and kill them quickly (but still avoid standing on top of other dps or the healer while doing so).

When the boss is at around thirty percent health, mop up any adds that may still be around before continuing to dps (just look at the red dots on the mini map). At about twenty percent an infinite stream of adds will start spawning, so just focus on nuking the boss at that point. With the adds taking some time to run down the hill, you should be able to kill the boss before they reach the group and start causing trouble, so that you then only have to deal with getting rid of them after the boss is already dead.


What to do as a healer

After the little cut scene has played, run back down the hill to where a bunch of kolto barrels are lying on the ground. Try to hide behind one of the "tentacle trees" there, or on the other side of the path. (See the spots marked with a healer marker in the above screenshot.) Move when the boss puts a fire circle on you and if you lose line of sight of group members you need to heal, but try to stay behind one of the trees as much as you can, so that the adds will have a long way to run when they come in. Once they start bunching up near you, the dps should quickly AoE them down.

Note for everyone

One of the reasons to fight by the kolto barrels is that you can pop them for some extra healing if it feels like the healer can't keep up with the damage at any point. Keep in mind that they don't respawn though, so if you use them all up and wipe you don't get them back for the next attempt.

4 comments :

  1. Oh boy...this Boss made me question my ability to play a healer. I've healed NiM-OPs, i solo-healed Veteran- and Story-Mode-OPs...but to heal this Boss right there, where he stands...

    I did that only once, with no groupmember getting killed. And for that i had to change from Sage-Heal, with basically no dcds, to Commando. And i had to pull every dcd i had. And Commando dcds are basically heal-back-to-full-abilities.

    Doing it the "cheesy" way is so much easier. One-shot. Every. Single. Time. With Pugs. I'm close to the 25-times-achievement.

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    1. The interesting thing is that I actually wasn't at all keen on this tactic the first time I tried it. I was used to (as a healer) running in circles a lot and utilising the available space to the max. In comparison, fighting at the bottom of the hill felt cramped, and I constantly had line of sight issues. I came around to it though once I adjusted to having to move differently, and it really takes a lot of pressure off the dps in particular to not have to worry about quickly bursting down every add the second it spawns.

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  2. Ah, the time-honored routine of moving the boss somewhere else to make things more manageable. I don't mind this so much as people still need to deal with the mechanics, just in a focused way.

    That said, I do find it funny that Bioware obvious thought of people trying this very tactic by having the boss evade the first time around. Either they didn't think people would try it twice in a row or there's a programming issue with doing that pull twice in rapid succession. Kudos to whoever figured it out as most groups would have just assumed the boss would always evade.

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    1. Yeah, the first time we tried pulling the boss down the hill we saw the evade and were like: "Oh, I guess Bioware made that impossible then, no dice". I was quite surprised when I learned later that it still works the second time.

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