CHROMATIC SOULS: CHALLENGE DUNGEON, ALTAR FORT

PARTY SETUP

We’ll be using the Monk as our tank.
I typically use two different builds. The first build relies on GM Preach, GM Nirvana, GM Primal Regrowth. The second build relies on GM Preach, GM Nirvana and TIV Time Reversal. The former build is the most consistent, while the latter build affords extra opportunities to buff your party and acquire/reacquire aggro. You can chose either one, or come up with your own. The only essential skills are GM Preach and GM Nirvana; the third skill is really up to you. 

You don’t need to use the Monk as your tank, but she’s far and away the best character for the role. You can use the Paladin or Knight using TIV Justice Armor instead of GM Preach, but the Paladin is more apt to die and the Paladin and the Knight will do much less individual damage and will not be able to meaningfully increase your party’s damage. This challenge dungeon is simply much more difficult when you run with a tank other than the Monk. 


The Mystic will be our primary healer.
I often use two or three different builds. The first build employs TIV Purify, TIV Wisdom and GM Acceleration. The extra mana is really a luxury, so I also run her with TIV Purify, TIV Soaring Energy and TIV Time Reversal, or with TIV Purify, TIV Soaring Energy and GM Acceleration. TIV Purify is the only necessary skill; it shields your toons, providing mitigation, and given the Mystic’s passive ability, it is your primary heal. You can mix and match the second and third skills to taste, but should typically focus on skills that buff your party’s damage. 


The Scholar will be our secondary healer and provide the main form of damage mitigation.
We’re going to use GM Ancient Plague or GM Decay to take advantage of the Scholar’s passive ability that allows him to reduce enemy damage every turn. We’re also going to use TIV Lethargy to further reduce enemy damage by nineteen percent. Finally, the Scholar is going to use TIV Swiftmend to assist the Mystic in healing, to assist the Mystic in cleansing debuffs and dots placed on our toons and to buff our Brigand’s damage. 

Our sole damage dealer will be the Brigand, running the cookie cutter setup of GM Lacerate, GM Primal Regrowth and GM Multiple Strike. You don’t necessarily need Lacerate to prevent enemies from healing, so you can feel free to instead use a Scout running with TIV Numbness, TIV Swarm and GM Multiple Strike. You can also borrow a friend’s Brigand to use instead of your own, which maximizes the chance that you’ll have the option of bypassing the final mechanic used by the Frantic Pawn, as discussed below. 

For what it’s worth, you may have noticed that the Monk is the preferred tank for all three challenge dungeons, the Mystic is the preferred healer for all three challenge dungeons, and the Brigand is the preferred damage dealer for all three challenge dungeons. Additionally, teams generally run with a Scholar for two of the three challenge dungeons. If you haven’t been building these toons over the last three months or so – and in the case of the Mystic and Scholar, for almost the last year – you really need to consider taking some time to immediately focus on raising their skills and obtaining equipment for them to use. Characters develop very quickly in the current environment, and you’ll find that you’re able to accomplish a lot more and contribute a lot more when you use at least some of the key characters. 


STAGE ONE: THE CROCODILES


The first stage has you fighting an Armored Crocodile and a Crocodile Sawtooth. They don’t deal much damage and you should be able to easily dispatch them. You can use Preach and Nirvana if you want a bit of extra help in the fight, but they’re not necessary and they may remain on cooldown when you need them at the start stage three. 

The only mechanic of note is the boss’  ability to stun your toons. It becomes most apparent when you kill one of the bosses and the other boss remains. At that point, the remaining boss will begin stunning your toons and you’ll start to feel some pressure. You can avoid this, however, by killing both the Armored Crocodile and the Crocodile Sawtooth on the same turn. You’ll therefore want to make sure that you evenly damage them during the course of the fight. 


STAGE TWO: THE FRANTIC PAWN

The Frantic Pawn can be a little annoying, but most of his skills appear more daunting than they are in practice. He also doesn’t deal an incredible amount of direct damage, but he will hit all your toons and he can be tough until you get the hang of the stage. 

First, you’ll have to deal with his defense. His passive ability reduces all physical damage inflicted, but it doesn’t appear to reduce the damage by much. His passive ability also deals magic damage to any toon that attacks the boss with magic damage. The amount of damage done to your toons is noticeable, but not significant. You can largely ignore these abilities, unless you have an undergeared spellcaster. 

The boss will also put a debuff on one of your toons early in the fight. You’ll know which toon has the debuff because his or her portrait will be highlighted with a red aura. The debuff will cause the toon to take magic damage whenever that toon uses a skill. The damage isn’t immense, but it also isn’t insignificant. You should be able to deal with this mechanic through careful play. Notably, it cannot be cleansed with Purify or Swiftmend and expires after three or four turns. 

The Frantic Pawn will also place a debuff on your toons that causes them to take additional magic damage. The debuff can be stacked four times. When it’s stacked four times, your toons will be stunned. 

If the battle persists, the boss will eventually silence three of your toons – typically all of the toons that do not have aggro. It can be annoying, because the silence cannot be cleansed with Purify or Swiftmend. The effect does, however, have a relatively short duration. Once your toons attack twice, their silences are removed. That’s good news for the Mystic, since her passive ability provides her with the opportunity to multistrike every turn when she is at full health. She can therefore remove the silence quickly. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to cast Multiple Strike with your Brigand every turn, so that if she is eventually silenced she can continue inflicting significant damage. 

Once you kill the Frantic Pawn, he will revive with one percent health and cast a shield on himself. I don’t remember how much damage the shield absorbs, but it can be burned down in one turn with T11 gear on Legendary difficulty. Once you burn the shield and deal one percent damage to the boss, he dies and is unable to revive again. 

That said, you can exploit a little trick to keep the boss from using his shield. The boss only raises his shield when his health is reduced to zero while your toons are attacking. If he is reduced to zero health during his turn, he will not revive and will not be able to cast the shield. 

You can exploit this mechanic by stacking the Brigand’s Lacerate and her inherent bleeds on the boss, as well as the Scholar’s Decay or Ancient Plague. If the boss is at around two or three percent health, or less, during his turn, you can use standby with your damage dealers so that these bleeds/dots kill him without affording him the opportunity to revive and shield himself. It’s a quick and easy way to end this stage a little early. 


STAGE THREE

GM Nirvana; the third skill is really up to you. 

You don’t need to use the Monk as your tank, but she’s far and away the best character for the role. You can use the Paladin or Knight using TIV Justice Armor instead of GM Preach, but the Paladin is more apt to die and the Paladin and the Knight will do much less individual damage and will not be able to meaningfully increase your party’s damage. This challenge dungeon is simply much more difficult when you run with a tank other than the Monk. 
The Mystic will be our primary healer. I often use two or three different builds. The first build employs TIV Purify, TIV Wisdom and GM Acceleration. The extra mana is really a luxury, so I also run her with TIV Purify, TIV Soaring Energy and TIV Time Reversal, or with TIV Purify, TIV Soaring Energy and GM Acceleration. TIV Purify is the only necessary skill; it shields your toons, providing mitigation, and given the Mystic’s passive ability, it is your primary heal. You can mix and match the second and third skills to taste, but should typically focus on skills that buff your party’s damage. 
The Scholar will be our secondary healer and provide the main form of damage mitigation. We’re going to use GM Ancient Plague or GM Decay to take advantage of the Scholar’s passive ability that allows him to reduce enemy damage every turn. We’re also going to use TIV Lethargy to further reduce enemy damage by nineteen percent. Finally, the Scholar is going to use TIV Swiftmend to assist the Mystic in healing, to assist the Mystic in cleansing debuffs and dots placed on our toons and to buff our Brigand’s damage. 
Our sole damage dealer will be the Brigand, running the cookie cutter setup of GM Lacerate, GM Primal Regrowth and GM Multiple Strike. You don’t necessarily need Lacerate to prevent enemies from healing, so you can feel free to instead use a Scout running with TIV Numbness, TIV Swarm and GM Multiple Strike. You can also borrow a friend’s Brigand to use instead of your own, which maximizes the chance that you’ll have the option of bypassing the final mechanic used by the Frantic Pawn, as discussed below. 
For what it’s worth, you may have noticed that the Monk is the preferred tank for all three challenge dungeons, the Mystic is the preferred healer for all three challenge dungeons, and the Brigand is the preferred damage dealer for all three challenge dungeons. Additionally, teams generally run with a Scholar for two of the three challenge dungeons. If you haven’t been building these toons over the last three months or so – and in the case of the Mystic and Scholar, for almost the last year – you really need to consider taking some time to immediately focus on raising their skills and obtaining equipment for them to use. Characters develop very quickly in the current environment, and you’ll find that you’re able to accomplish a lot more and contribute a lot more when you use at least some of the key characters. 
STAGE ONE
The first stage has you fighting an Armored Crocodile and a Crocodile Sawtooth. They don’t deal much damage and you should be able to easily dispatch them. You can use Preach and Nirvana if you want a bit of extra help in the fight, but they’re not necessary and they may remain on cooldown when you need them at the start stage three. 
The only mechanic of note is the boss’s ability to stun your toons. It becomes most apparent when you kill one of the bosses and the other boss remains. At that point, the remaining boss will begin stunning your toons and you’ll start to feel some pressure. You can avoid this, however, by killing both the Armored Crocodile and the Crocodile Sawtooth on the same turn. You’ll therefore want to make sure that you evenly damage them during the course of the fight. 
STAGE TWO
The Frantic Pawn can be a little annoying, but most of his skills appear more daunting than they are in practice. He also doesn’t deal an incredible amount of direct damage, but he will hit all your toons and he can be tough until you get the hang of the stage. 
First, you’ll have to deal with his defense. His passive ability reduces all physical damage inflicted, but it doesn’t appear to reduce the damage by much. His passive ability also deals magic damage to any toon that attacks the boss with magic damage. The amount of damage done to your toons is noticeable, but not significant. You can largely ignore these abilities, unless you have an undergeared spellcaster. 
The boss will also put a debuff on one of your toons early in the fight. You’ll know which toon has the debuff because his or her portrait will be highlighted with a red aura. The debuff will cause the toon to take magic damage whenever that toon uses a skill. The damage isn’t immense, but it also isn’t insignificant. You should be able to deal with this mechanic through careful play. Notably, it cannot be cleansed with Purify or Swiftmend and expires after three or four turns. 
The Frantic Pawn will also place a debuff on your toons that causes them to take additional magic damage. The debuff can be stacked four times. When it’s stacked four times, your toons will be stunned. 
If the battle persists, the boss will eventually silence three of your toons – typically all of the toons that do not have aggro. It can be annoying, because the silence cannot be cleansed with Purify or Swiftmend. The effect does, however, have a relatively short duration. Once your toons attack twice, their silences are removed. That’s good news for the Mystic, since her passive ability provides her with the opportunity to multistrike every turn when she is at full health. She can therefore remove the silence quickly. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to cast Multiple Strike with your Brigand every turn, so that if she is eventually silenced she can continue inflicting significant damage. Once you kill the Frantic Pawn, he will revive with one percent health and cast a shield on himself. I don’t remember how much damage the shield absorbs, but it can be burned down in one turn with T11 gear on Legendary difficulty. Once you burn the shield and deal one percent damage to the boss, he dies and is unable to revive again. 
That said, you can exploit a little trick to keep the boss from using his shield. The boss only raises his shield when his health is reduced to zero while your toons are attacking. If he is reduced to zero health during his turn, he will not revive and will not be able to cast the shield. 
You can exploit this mechanic by stacking the Brigand’s Lacerate and her inherent bleeds on the boss, as well as the Scholar’s Decay or Ancient Plague. If the boss is at around two or three percent health, or less, during his turn, you can use standby with your damage dealers so that these bleeds/dots kill him without affording him the opportunity to revive and shield himself. It’s a quick and easy way to end this stage a little early. 
STAGE THREE: THE AVARICIOUS EXECUTIONER

The core mechanic of the third stage is Lottery. When the boss begins channeling Lottery, he’ll assign a symbol to each character. The symbols represent a result on a slot machine. The character with aggro will be assigned 777. Once the boss finishes channeling Lottery, the character with 777 will be dealt a considerable amount of damage through five or six successive attacks, and another character will be dealt a moderate amount of damage. You want your tank to be dealt 777 and receive the big hit; any other character stuck in this position will likely die. 
If you’re running with the Monk, you can easily deal with Lottery. Lottery is the boss’s opening move and it is on a six turn cooldown, meaning that the boss will cast it on the first turn and then every six turns. Preach is also on a six turn cooldown, meaning that the Monk can cast it to taunt the boss every six turns. Therefore, as long as the Monk casts Preach on the first turn, and continues to cast Preach as soon as it comes off of cooldown, he will always have aggro when the boss channels Lottery. The Monk will therefore always be assigned 777 and receive the big hit, and you’ll never have to worry about your healers, support characters or damage dealers falling victim to the mechanic. 
If you’re running with a Paladin or Knight instead of the Monk, you can use Justice Armor to get similar result. You should, however, know about two issues that arise in this situation. First, Preach decreases enemy damage by 20%. Therefore, the Monk will have an easier time surviving the big hit using Preach than the Paladin or Knight using Justice Armor even though Justice Armor increases Armor Rating. Second, the cooldown of Preach is six turns, while the cooldown of Justice Armor is four turns. You can cast Preach on cooldown since it’s six turn cooldown corresponds to the six turn cooldown of Lottery, but you’ll need to remember to factor in two additional turns when relying on the four turn cooldown of Justice Armor. 
Either way, Lethargy really helps. You’ll reduce the boss’ damage by nineteen percent, which greatly increases your tank’s survivability. Also, the Scholar’s Decay or Ancient Plague will further reduce the damage of Lottery. You’ll want to make sure that you use these skills; they really increase the likelihood of success. 
In addition to Lottery, the boss employs Spit, a mechanic that reassigns aggro to a random party member and assigns them considerable amount of threat, as well as a separate move that resets aggro. He shouldn’t follow up the changes with a direct attack against that party member, so you should have time for your tank to reacquire aggro. Note that the Paladin and Knight will likely have a more difficult time reacquiring the aggro than the Monk, since the Monk can deal more damage. Also, if the Monk is running with Time Reversal, he can reset Preach and readily reacquire aggro. 
Depending on the level of difficulty, you may find that the boss periodically assigns a bomb to two random characters. If any of those characters take an action while the bomb is active, all characters will be hit with an AoE that does moderate damage. The easiest way to deal with this mechanic, as well as to effectively heal your team and cleanse other debuffs, is to use standby with your Mystic and Purify the bombs at the end of the turn. If your Mystic is assigned a bomb, be sure to have her cleanse the bomb from herself before anyone else, though, to ensure that she does not activate the AoE. 
Similarly, you may find that the boss disables or sleeps random party members, most notably after he disables two toons using Lance of Greed and right before using Tackle, a high damage single target attack. Again, you should be using standby with your Mystic every turn to ensure that she can cleanse the crowd control. You should also be using standby with your Scholar. If the Mystic gets stuck with a disable or sleep, the Scholar can use Swiftmend to cleanse the crowd control. 
Additionally, the boss may employ damage reduction, depending on the level of the dungeon. He’ll start with ten stacks of the reduction, and one stack will be removed every time he is attacked. There’s nothing too complicated about this mechanic – you want to remove the stacks as quickly as possible, using weak damage dealers, such as the Mystic and Scholar, to remove the initial stacks since they provide the most reduction, and stronger damage dealers, such as the Brigand and Monk, to remove later stacks since they provide the least reduction. 
The final mechanic is implemented when the boss’ health is reduced to thirty percent, although the mechanic isn’t actually incorporated into his rotation until his health is reduced to twenty percent. At that point, he can use Public Execution, a skill that will stun a toon and inflict significant amount of damage to them every turn. The stun cannot be removed with Purify, Swiftmend or any other skill that can cleanse. He usually uses the skill on the toon with aggro, which should provide an easier opportunity for your team to finish the dungeon since you’ll still have your Brigand and can still buff her damage with the Scholar’s Swiftmend, the Mystic’s Acceleration and/or the Mystic’s Soaring Energy. 

 

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