The new Winterbane Bundle from WalMart has some interesting features - and by "interesting" we mean "awesome". Since we're all about the cheat bosses, it's not surprising that this bundle makes our hearts sing; it comes with a new gauntlet that you can place in your own home, and this little place has a few tricks up its sleeve!
So let's get started and unpack the fun that is the
It's bigger on the inside (time wimey stuff not included).
Winterbane Hall was once a place where proud warriors could gather... but now the grendels have tunneled in from below and are taking over! They need your help to take back what's theirs - and you may find some great rewards along the way. It should be noted that this guide is based on the Promethean level dungeon. The dungeon will scale to the level of the lowest level wizard in your party. In order to prepare for the most difficult content, we've written this based on using 4 max level wizards. PLEASE NOTE that your drops will also scale to the difficulty of the dungeon you are in. If you take a level 10 wizard in with you to get an easier/faster dungeon, you will only get level 10 gear drops. The exception to this rule is mega snacks - all wizards of any level will get the same megas. As a general note, the bait and switch strategy (having one wizard go in early to draw less minions) does NOT work in this dungeon; every fight will have four enemies regardless of how many wizards enter the fight. Videos for all fights will be posted shortly.
Treasure cards to stock up on before running this gauntlet: Pierce and Cleanse Charm. 5 of each should be more than enough.
Your first fight will be a typical mob fight against grendels, but be warned. The ice and storm grendels LOVE to use spells like storm lord and frost giant, so put a few stun blocks (or convictions) in your decks if you're about to face a battle with several of these those schools in it. The schools of the grendels here will change each time you run the dungeon, but after you speak to Jarl, you'll get the opportunity to check out their schools before you begin the fight and adjust your deck if necessary. For this fight, you can use either a mad rush or mad hatter strategy, as outlined here in the Mercenaries101 mob strategy guide, depending on which schools you have in your group - if you've got a lot of power hitters and can manage to avoid a stun, feel free to try to hit on round two.
TY to Paige Moonshade for allowing me to use this picture here! The only enemy possibility not pictured here is the ice grendel minion, 3500 health.
After this fight, you have two options.
1. You can stick around on this floor and do a second fight with slightly more powerful grendels (these are just a few example of many possible grendels).If you choose to do this second fight, you will be awarded the Grendel Slayer badge upon completion of the dungeon. If you skip this fight, you will not receive the Grendel Slayer badge when you are finished the dungeon. The fact that KI made two badges for this dungeon and made one of them conditional upon completing both these fights seems to imply that it is absolutely intended for this second fight to be optional. [picture of this fight will be posted soon]
2. You can move to the back of the hall and down the ladder quickly to the next floor. Be FAST, though- more grendels will respawn in this same location, and you need to get out of their way PRONTO.
Next up is the first of many boss fights. This boss may say he's myth, but don't believe a word of it - he's apparently a crafter, because he's earned the deer knight spell and he is NOT afraid to use it liberally. He will hit your team with deer knight every time he has enough pips to do so, which usually includes both of the first two turns. Thankfully, this means you don't need to worry about earthquake; he'll use those pips on deer knight instead.
In this fight you'll also want to be aware of a few new spells cast by the minions - the balance grendel can cast a 50% sun school balance blade, and the ice minion casts a sun shield that acts like a 90% tower shield (and they always place these blades and shields on the boss). As a general rule of thumb, there is a three round pattern: on turn 1, the ice grendel will put a 90% sun/tower shield on the boss. On turn 2, the balance minions will put a 50% sun/balance blade on the boss. On turn 3, the left minion will cast a regenerate on the boss (for no pips). On turn 4, the cycle will usually start over again. However, these are GENERAL rules and we have also seen occasionally seen them cast a tower or blade a turn early or late as the battle progresses - these spells only seem guaranteed to follow their order for the first 6 rounds.The most problematic of these is obviously the 90% tower - thankfully, this tower can be pierced or shattered right off without incurring any cheats. Since the minion may *cover* that sun shield later with a legion shield or regular tower, we recommend using shatter rather than pierce. Since the pattern is not 100% guaranteed, to be safe, always have someone shatter the boss on the same turn your hammer hits.
Aside from the super-powered cheat spells, you can approach this as a regular boss fight; just set up one wizard to be your hammer and take them all out in one hit. You want to make absolutely sure to kill the boss - if you kill the minions before him, you will be hit with the following cheat spells:
For killing the balance minion: deer knight (this deer knight is about 15% more powerful then a regular deer knight)
For killing the ice minion: scarecrow (regular power)
For killing the life minion: blinding light (stun all). However, he will STOP stunning your team as soon as he encounters a player with a stun shield up. It's unknown if this is intentional or a bug.
For killing all three minions: all three cheats.
In other words - shatter and one hit kill the boss, lol. It's your best bet for a clean, safe fight.
The third floor is a puzzle that many of us can identify with after spending a long time in this dungeon. These bosses are cranky and looking for a fight... but mostly they're just hungry. If you can whip together a batch of their favorite stew for them, all will be forgiven.
You can read through the recipe to find out the ingredients necessary to make the stew. We've found it easiest to have one person stay by the book and read out the ingredients one by one as another player runs around and grabs them.
For those of you who are reading this while you're running the dungeon and would rather no watch the whole video (although you should just for the fun music ), the ingredients you will need (in order) are:
- hot pepper
You must grab the ingredients in the order listed or you will fail this puzzle! If you fail the puzzle, your entire group will instantly be pulled into a fight with two ice enemies. You will be pulled into this battle in the order you entered this room, so please, if this is your first time trying the puzzle or you're feeling a bit scared, have your tank enter this room first.
The battle you will encounter if you fail. There are no cheats, but they do love to shield and frost giant.
Video of how to do the stew puzzle correctly.
This video is best watched as a larger version in high definition so you can actually see the locations and names of the ingredients.
Be careful! Several of the ingredients (particularly the hot pepper at the very end) are close together and the prompts may overlap; double check to make sure the correct ingredient is showing on your screen's pick up prompt before you click (or press x).
The fourth floor brings you to a single life boss who has a couple of interesting tricks up her sleeve! (While the bosses cheats are the same, in lower levels version of this dungeon the boss will be accompanied by a full fight of balance minions.) At the beginning of the first round, and the beginning of every third round following that (so rounds 1, 4, 7, 10, etc), the boss will interrupt to put a 30% weakness on all players. At the beginning of the third round, and every third round after that (so the start of rounds 3, 6, 9, 12, etc) the boss will put an ALL SCHOOL DISPEL on one random player. This means that WHATEVER spell that wizard plays next will be dispelled.
This boss is fairly simple to deal with - just pack a bunch of cleanse in your sideboard and cleanse your hammer regularly. The 30% weakness isn't so bad, but an unexpected dispel on your hammer can definitely be problematic. In particular make sure to cleanse your hammer on the round of their big hit. Aside from using cleanses, set up on player to do a one hit kill on this boss, as you would with any regular boss. Since this boss is life and can heal, you'll want to make sure that you kill in one hit.
These bosses bosses seem straightforward, as long as you don't feel the need to prism Jokul. If you put a prism on Jokul, he will keep removing the traps that have been put on him (starting with the most recent ones put on) until he gets that prism off - and then he'll remove one additional trap for good measure. Please note that mass prism does not circumvent this cheat; converts from a mass prism will also be removed. He will react to a prism (mass or otherwise) of ANY school, not just ice, so if you are putting up a mass prism for the purposes of converting a hit on one of the other bosses, make sure to do it before you put other traps up on Jokul or you will lose one of those traps.
He will remove the prisms and traps after one player or character has had a turn since the prism was cast. Ie, if player one prisms Jokul, he will remove the prism and one additional trap after player two's turn. If player three prisms, he will remove the prism after player four's turn. If player four prisms, he will remove the prism after the first enemy in line has cast their spell even if that is enemy's turn is not until the next round of the battle. I don't recommend an ice hammer for this fight, but if you insist on having one, the best way to get that prism on him is to have another wizard prism the boss DIRECTLY BEFORE the hit so that he does not get the opportunity to remove it. Vaporize does not work here - he will keep removing over and over until he finally cleanses those prisms off.
If you avoid prisms on Jokul altogether, this is just a normal boss fight (uh, if normally boss fights had 3 bosses). Any schools other than ice make an excellent hammer here. The other bosses don't react to prisms and will keep them on indefinitely. With three high health enemies, your group should try to get at least one feint (preferably two) on all bosses, and one hit them all.
This fight isn't too scary as long as you're using a hammer that isn't ice, but it can be time consuming. Be patient with setting up for a one hit kill and you'll be just fine. Please note that Jokul has a storm mastery, so be ready for some unexpectedly strong damage from him.
This fight is a doozy, not so much because of the cheats, but due to the sheer power and health of the enemies, with the "mobs" having 10K health a piece on top of being storm enemies who LOVE to use sirens and remove those blades. To be on the safe side, since keeping lots of blades up will prove a difficult task, you may want to put at least one feint on each storm enemy.
As for the boss himself, he's definitely a little peculiar.
Eirikur Axebreaker's cheats:
- Axebreaker is simlutaneously a fire AND an ice boss. For this reason, he resists both fire and ice at the same time, as well as resisting death! He boosts to life and balance, and is neutral to storm and myth. Because he resists both fire and ice, neither of these school make effective hammers here since they cannot prism around his resist. His resist does not seem to alternate or change in any way - he will resist both fire and ice in the same rounds (and resisted both in all rounds, as far as we observed).
- He starts out the fight by casting a 14 pip ice armor on himself (without using up his pips). This armor can be pierced or shattered off, but do not try to steal his armor; he will steal and back from you and hit you with a brimstone revenant for your trouble.
- Once the boss drops below a certain health point, he will begin replacing that armor every time he is attacked. After he drops below another health marker, you can again attack at will without worry of his replacing that armor. We're still working on determining the exact numbers but we believe it is APPROXIMATELY when he is between 10,000 and 20,000 health that he will replace his armor every time he is hit. Any insights you guys may have on that would be appreciated - it may vary by level, so please note the levels of the people with you if you have any info to add. Because of this cheat, is it best to pierce off his shield and make sure to kill him in one hit. If you're not certain your hit will kill, make sure to have more pierce handy just in case!
- Axebreaker has not one but TWO natural attacks - a fire version, and an ice version. The fire version will hit one member of your team and put a smokescreen on all of you. The ice version of the attack will hit one member and put a 9% pierce blade on all your opponents. This is similar to the inate spell card on the coldfire dragon pet (which is dropped by him), although note that the coldfire dragon's spell will use both after effects at once.
He casts this spell frequently, so be prepared for the accuracy debuff, which can be especially brutal which combined with a sirens from a minion. We recommend equipping a pet with frequently-casting may cast heal, not only for the extra health but to help remove all those accuracy debuffs.
- In slightly lower level versions of the dungeon, this boss can place a stun on all players that lasts not one but TWO rounds. He casts this at the beginning of the fight, so there is no way to stop it - just be prepared.
Strategy: You want to kill these guys in one hit if at all possible. Have someone ready to pierce off that armor, and then start piling up the traps. Try to get one feint on each storm minion and at least two type of feint (three is preferable) plus a school trap on the boss. If you have the option, trap first; the storm minions like to remove blades with sirens, so trap at the start of the fight and pile on the blades when their pips are low and your hammer is ready to hit. If you are one of the players buffing the hammer in this fight, put extra triblades into your deck (even if they're nor the type that will be used up in the attack!). When the storm minions have a lot of pips, unnecessary or additional triblades such as spirit and elemental blades can provide nice fodder for Sirens; even if they're not necessary to make the attack more powerful, by piling them on after the blades that REALLY matter go up, you'll be forcing a Sirens to remove useless blades instead of the more important ones that were played earlier.
Once you complete the dungen, you'll earn the Warrior of Winterbane badge for yourself!
KingsIsle has been kind enough to provide all of the Mercenaries101 team with gauntlets so that we can help you guys farm! The bosses in this dungeon (in particular the last fight) drop gear, even wands, from the Raven's Hoard pack, which makes it a surefire farming hotspot. In our experiences so far, the drop rate of hoard pack gear is actually quite high, so get farming and have fun! If you'd like a mercenary's help farming, feel free to click on my signature to be taken to the Mercenaries101 forum and post a request in the Difficult Instances thread.
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