KotFE Chapter 16 Master Mode

At last, more than two years after I first tried my hand at a veteran mode chapter, I completed the last of all the veteran and master mode story chapters. I kept putting off tackling KotFE chapter sixteen since I expected it to be somewhat time-consuming, and I wasn't wrong - I almost had to pull an all-nighter from Friday to Saturday since I spent so many hours dying on and re-trying some of the boss fights. In the end I succeeded however (plus there was some time left for sleep), and as always with these things, being able to say that I did it feels quite good.

There isn't much to say about the trash in this chapter, though it's worth mentioning that I chose to go with the turrets for support, since I remembered them being the "easy extra dps" option. Later, as I was reading up on some fights for hints, I saw at least one comment that claimed that the shield actually makes some of the boss fights much easier as its ability to reflect is completely OP, however the commenter also warned that it only has a limited number of charges which can't be replenished, so if you wipe too many times you basically have to re-start the whole chapter if you want to continue using the shield as you won't be able to gain any more charges otherwise. Obviously I wasn't able to verify this but I thought I'd just put it out there.


When Rav wrote about her annoyances with master mode chapters more than two years ago, she used shots from this fight to illustrate her post, and I can now see why. Boy, is this guy a pain! The two major challenges of the fight can be summed up as follows:

First, like the Gemini Captain, his default attacks hit ridiculously hard. I think his attack speed is slightly lower than hers, but in turn each hit took 20-30k off my Sage's health, which was absolutely insane. The only way I found to deal with this was to do the fight in healing spec and set Lana to heals as well, while prioritising survival above all else and mostly leaving the actual damage dealing to the portable turrets.

Second, the fight takes place in a relatively small room and all the boss's special attacks are AoEs. It's still easy enough to avoid them as a player, but Lana will happily jump to her death at any opportunity, which means that you have to micromanage her to the nth degree and she can only make a limited contribution to the fight. I eventually figured out all the tricks to keep her alive, and yet you can still see her running through an electric circle at around 1:50 in the kill video, which she just happened to survive with a sliver of health through sheer luck I guess.

I'll actually explain all the boss's abilities in detail for this one since the final video doesn't make it at all obvious just how much planning and thought went into every step of the fight by that point (after several hours of wiping).

Pulse Cannon: This is the big yellow cone he does, and as far as I could tell he only casts this if his main aggro target is within its range (probably around 20 meters or so). It's pretty big, pretty painful, and an instant death sentence for Lana if she gets caught in it. I guess that as melee you have to do some skillful dancing around here to avoid either of you getting hit, but as a ranged character I at least had the luxury of simply always staying far enough away to avoid having him cast it, even if it limited the area I could use for moving around. It was also important that I maintained aggro throughout, because if the boss switched to Lana in melee, he would start casting the cone and she'd just die instantly. This was somewhat annoying in so far as I had specced into the utility to gain damage reduction from my aggro drop, which I couldn't actually use in the end as it would always cause the boss to switch to Lana.

Antigravity Grenade: This is the white circle he casts on his main target every so often and should be your favourite ability as it can be avoided easily and in its entirety. Just try to not place it on your turrets if you've got one up. Lana should be safely away anyway as per what I wrote above.

Mortar Volley: This is the nastiest cast to deal with at range, a big yellow circle that starts doing damage instantly, puts a burning dot on you, and pretty much kills you if you don't start running out of it immediately. This became my main consideration when it came to placing turrets, as it sucked to put down a turret and then have it instantly destroyed by a mortar volley. So I always made sure to place them right after he had just cast this to maximise uptime.

Microwave Laser: At 60, 40 and 20% health, KJ will jump around and start channelling red on a large part of the floor. This is easy enough to get out of, but for your companion only if you immediately put them on passive (as there's always a bit of delay until they sheathe their weapons, trundle back to your side etc.). It's also a great time to dps from range as you can just stand there in a safe spot and nuke while the boss does nothing, however I found it more prudent to focus on survival, get both myself and Lana fully healed up for the next phase etc. As an aside, you can get Lana to do some healing even while on passive, but it's very fiddly as you need to target the character you want healed and then trigger each healing ability of hers manually. The important thing to know is that as ranged, I found that unless the boss was focused on a turret, he would re-enter the fight after casting microwave laser by instantly casting another mortar volley on me, which was a problem in so far as if Lana was still on passive at this point, she'd just die as she was still standing on top of me and could never move out of it fast enough. I therefore found it crucial to always sic her back onto the boss about a second or two before he finished casting microwave laser, so that she'd have time to draw her sabre, start moving and be away from my side in time to not die.

Shock Spike: At around 50% / after the first microwave laser, the boss casts an ability called shock spike which places four electric circles around the edges of the room and limits the space you have left to move around in. I didn't find this to be a problem as a ranged character, but again, the companion AI is dumb. Specifically I found that sometimes when I put her back on active after pulling her out of the microwave laser, she'd decide to run back to the boss via the edge of the room, right through one of the circles, and basically kill herself. I did eventually realise that I could at least minimise the chance of this happening by making sure that she and I stood as close to the middle as possible before re-engaging the boss (to make sure that she'd go through the middle and not along the edge).

There you go, I think that should cover absolutely everything.

Dara Nadal

I didn't think anything could faze me after beating KJ, but I was still annoyed to run into this named Knight of Zakuul right afterwards who could basically two-shot you with her melee attacks. This helpful video by GamingInABikini (who had also proven helpful to me while doing KotET chapter two) reminded me that sometimes it's best to just go for a quick burn. With both my Sage and Lana set to dps, I blew my heroic moment, chained my stuns and the rest was a breeze (even if you can see me actually cancelling my legacy orbital strike by accident in the kill video...)


Arcann caused me some more wipes, but no more than on veteran mode I think. The basic strategy was the same as I described in the post about that. The main things that threw me initially were these:

- The damage from the "throw manifestation" ability is really high. You can survive it if you're at or near full health, but if you're already low due to having messed something else up, it will kill you. He also always throws the first manifestation, so just get ready to be punted around at that point and focus on getting out of Arcann's yellow cone right after.

- Similarly, taking unshielded damage from the manifestations also hurts a lot. Now, obviously you should always reflect their casts, but I found that bad RNG could screw you a bit there if a set of two spawned at opposite ends of the room, making it next to impossible to reflect both of them so that at least one would knock you down, and if your timing was off they'd both hit you and you'd probably die. You can see in my kill vid that I got lucky with manifestation placement there as they spawned in a way that made it easy to reflect them in pairs, but I went through a fair number of attempts where I basically died to what felt like bad RNG.

- On story and veteran mode I used the shield bash ability to help deal damage to Arcann, but since I went into this fight as dps anyway, I found it prudent to save my charges for when he barriered at 25%, as otherwise there's a chance that you might end up without enough charges to bash him at that crucial moment, in which case it's a wipe.

Waiting for the two manifestations near the end to kill themselves with reflects was even more nerve-racking than on the other difficulties, but it seemed to be the right choice once again as I did manage to stay alive long enough to bash Arcann and win the fight anyway.


1 comment :

  1. Argh, I hated that chapter even on Normal Mode. I'm not saying I'd ever be able to do it, but it's kinda the same reason why Monster Hunter World (aka: Raid Boss: the single player game) isn't interesting to me. After raiding for so many years I seem to have lost every interest in banging my head against hard bosses until they fall over, especially solo :P

    But maybe I should kick the relaxing stance and try to challenge myself a bit more again...


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