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Two for the Road

Two for the Road

May 25, 2013

With the release of Azteca and a new level cap, KI introduced us to Azteca, where boss and mobs start with gazillion pips, like to critical, and have very annoying spells (stealing pips, weakness, chain stunning, etc.). In many cases, my poor Storm with comparatively low health can barely survive the battle long enough to cast the killing blow, even with high critical ratings and 90%+ damage boost. If only there was a way that my storm doesn’t get hit…


The Traditional Boss Strategy

In a boss battle, usual merc strategy has everyone enter the battle together, then working together to buff one wizard (usually the wizard in the final position of the battle circle) to hit with a high damage spell and high damage boost (“hammer”). A storm wizard is a natural hammer. Thanks to mobs with some SERIOUS power, however, Azteca has made fights with multiple wizards like this less desirable – the more wizards in the battle, the more potentially brutal minions you have to deal with. To deal with this, I used another strategy for most AZ boss battles and the fights are almost easy & leisurely when you have multiple wizards.


The Bait and Switch Boss Strategy

In a normal boss battle, the objective is to defeat a specific boss (i.e. not the minions or the 2nd boss).  You get 1 to 3 minions in the room depends on number of wizards.  The actual enemy count in the battle depends on number of wizards that enter the initial round.

In this strategy, one wizard enters the battle alone (the “tank”) for the first round. By entering the battle alone for the first round, the boss joins the fight with only one minion, even when there are 4 wizards in the instance. The “tank” usually has high health and/or high damage resists allowing it to absorb more hits. An ice wizard is a natural Tank. Once the first round has started, the remaining wizards may join the battle without pulling in additional enemies.

STRATEGY IN ACTION: The tank will start the battle by running at the boss to make sure that the boss is in the battle circle (otherwise you can get 2 minions instead and have to fight them then the boss and 1 minion). The other wizards will intentionally miss the first round. This means the battle has only 1 boss and 1 minion and both target the Tank. Note: Sometimes the boss will not join the battle, and the tank will pull in two minions instead. If this happens, the tank should log off to the character selection screen, and port back into a teammate that is in the instance. Usually it is much easier to ‘catch’ the boss on the second attempt.

Once the 1st round has started (i.e. the other minions have disappeared), rest of the team will join the battle.
In this setup, the Tank can do one of the following

  1. Shield self and the team – Legion shield is particular handy for this.  It is cheap (in terms of gold and pips) and easy to get (i.e. Bazaar).
  2. Buffs hammer and heal self if needed – This would be appropriate if the Tank has high health and resist (i.e. a decent Ice wizard) or ability to heal (i.e. Life or Life Mastery Amulet).


Benefits and Drawback of the Bait and Switch strategy


– fewer enemies means a lot less damage

– fewer enemies also means a lot less chance for annoying spells that steal pips, power, or stun you. When these sort of spells do come up, they will usually be directed at your tank instead of your hammer.

– since most hits are targeted at the tank, the other wizards can have lower critical block and resistance and focus on damage boost or buffing Hammer.

– Got a friend that can’t buff the Hammer?! No problem! Just have s/he be the tank and cast shields.

– battle takes slightly longer since less wizards are buffing the hammer (as the tanks is busy shielding and healing off damage).

– Only works for instances that you can port back into (in case the essential tank pull doesn’t “catch” the boss).

– Doesn’t work for all bosses – for a few of them, the remaining mobs will hang around and join the battle when other wizards joined the battle. Cipactli is one example of boss where this strategy doesn’t work.


Here is an example of using this with Azteca Belloq in the Twin Giants.