Explosive Conflict is a challenging Operation oriented toward teams of well-prepared players. Darth Hater has already released a guide on defeating Toth and Zorn, Explosive Conflict’s first pair of bosses. We now turn our attention to the Operation’s second boss encounter, the warmachines Firebrand & Stormcaller. These vehicular monstrosities may be technologically superior to your Operations group, but with the right strategy and a little teamwork you’re sure to triumph. Hit the jump to learn how to put these two buckets of bolts in the garage — permanently.
For this strategy, we recommend using two tanks (one for each boss), two healers (one per side), and four DPS. For the sixteen-man version of the encounter, we recommend using two tanks, four healers and ten DPS.
Much like the encounter with Toth & Zorn, you will need to split your Operations group into two separate halves, one for each side of the encounter. One group will move to the left to deal with Firebrand, and the other group will take Stormcaller on the right. To prevent confusion, we recommend marking each tank with an appropriate target symbol. This is mostly to help your tanks, but it is also a good idea for general awareness. Given the bosses’ elemental names, our Operations group used the lightning bolt to indicate Stormcaller and the fire symbol to mark Firebrand.
We also recommend that both groups position themselves alongside the tanks prior to engaging the encounter. You need not worry about accidentally pulling, as the warmachines will not trigger unless you attack them or jump directly onto them.
As the fight commences, each boss will have a semi-unique “Phase One” and a shared “Phase Two,” which is triggered at specific HP percentages. This guide will first cover each boss’s Phase One, then explain the shared second phase.
Once the encounter begins, the group assigned to Firebrand should move in and begin to attack the boss lightly, making sure to give your Operations group’s tank time to develop hate. Be aware that immediately after being engaged, Firebrand will use an ability called Mortar Barrage. This will place large red circles all over the encounter area, and ranged players not standing on the boss should attempt to dodge these attacks.
During Phase One, most of your players will want to clamber on-board Firebrand’s hull, with the noteworthy exception of several ranged players. Standing on Firebrand grants a buff called “Magnetically Stabilized,” which makes players less likely to be selected by the warmachine’s “Targeted” and “Electrical Disturbance” abilities. Both of these abilities target a player with a damaging AoE attack. To prevent collateral damage, it is prudent to keep at least one ranged player off of Firebrand. This ensures he does not receive the “Magnetically Stabilized” buff, which will increase the likelihood that he will be the target of “Targeted” and “Electrical Disturbance.” Ultimately, this decreases the chance that the group clustered on Firebrand will be caught in an AoE’s splash damage.
“Targeted” will place a large yellow beacon on the affected player. After approximately 5 seconds the pillar will fall off of the player and leave a target on the ground. The Targeted area will them be bombarded by a salvo of missiles, so be sure the ranged character drops this somewhere well away from your group. On the other hand, “Electrical Disturbance” drops a spire on the ground that constantly pulses with electricity. Make sure that players are aware of this and quickly move out of its area of affect.
The last important ability specific to Firebrand is “Incinerate Armor.” This places a debuff on the target that removes all armor for 15 seconds, making the affected player incredibly vulnerable to damage for the duration. When this occurs, the the player tanking Firebrand should switch with the Stormcaller tank. This will distribute the debuff and prevent the untimely death of your tanks.
The placement and mobility of your group’s ranged characters are clearly important, but so is the placement of the team members standing atop Firebrand. The front of the warmachine is a giant turret, and you will be cleaved if you are standing in front of it. Standing off to the side will allow you to remain on the tank while avoiding the cleave. With a little work, your tanks will be able to face the boss turret’s outward, allowing your healer to still reach the player tank without risking being cleaved.
Much like the Firebrand group, the Stormcaller group should move in and stand on top of the boss, save for a ranged player that will be selected for “Targeted” and “Electrical Disturbance” abilities.
The most notable unique ability that Stormcaller will use during this phase is “Double Destruction.” This ability applies a DoT that doubles the damage Stormcaller deals to the affected players. Worse yet, if this ability affects only a single player, that player will be stunned and tossed into the air, likely dying as a result. To avoid this, we recommend that you use two players to absorb the ability. There are a variety of ways to distribute this DoT, but my Operations Group found it most effective to have two players stand to one side of the turret. During the channel for “Double Destruction,” the group’s tank should turn Stormcaller’s turret such that that the two players who will be eating the debuff are closer to the boss than the player tank.
When the “Double Destruction” debuff is shared in this fashion, it applies a “Single Destruction” debuff that will turn into “Double Destruction” after a few seconds. This will cause damage over time, but it should be easily managed with light heals. Because Double Destruction doubles the amount of damage received, affected players should try and avoid taking any damage for the duration of the DoT.
Shared Phase Two
As previously mentioned, Phase Two is a phase shared by both tanks. This phase is triggered once either boss hits 80% health, and at every 20% subsequently after that. The second phase occurs only once per 20%, ensuring that the bosses cannot each trigger a separate Phase Two.
The start of this phase is indicated by the announcement “Repulsion Systems armed and ready!” Both warmachines then gain a buff called “Defensive Systems.” This buff makes each tank virtually immune to damage and will knock back any player that approaches them.
A few seconds after “Defensive Systems” is cast, each tank will perform a knockback to anyone within their vicinity. Once this is cast, two shields will appear, one on each side of the encounter area. In Story mode, these shields are always guaranteed to spawn off to the side of each tank. In Hard mode, the shields can spawn all around the arena. In the sixteen-man version of this encounter, two shields will spawn on each side, for a total of four shields. Players must immediately move under this shield to avoid damage from Mortar Volley, which Firebrand begins to repeatedly cast. Damage is received from this attack every three seconds, and will hit eight times in total. This deals considerable damage to anyone caught in it, but the shield provides full protection.
During this phase, the only player who should not be under the shields is the player tanking Stormcaller. Then ensures that the tank will be the target of Stormcaller’s “Electrical Disturbance” ability, which prevents the Electrical Disturbance spires from being dropped on those seeking shelter under a shield. The tank will need to stay mobile during this period, so we recommend that the player tanking Stormcaller save his cooldowns for this phase. The Stormcaller tank will also need heavy heals during this time, and he should be mindful of staying in range of the healer assigned to him.
Under each shield you will find a few Trandoshans and a Shield Generator. DPS should focus on killing the Trandoshans, taking great care to single target the Trandoshans andnot hit the generator. The Shield Generator is the only thing preventing those under it from taking damage from the bombardment raging outside. If it goes down you will likely face a number of deaths. Once the Trandoshans have been killed, players should wait for the Defensive Systems buff to expire. They can then return to their respective bosses, taking care to avoid Mortar Barrage (the large red circles) on the way back to the boss.
After that, this encounter is just a matter of alternating Phase One and Phase Two every 20%. Players should take care to DPS each tank as evenly as possible, as a powerful linked enrage buff is triggered by the first machine’s destruction.
Defeating these bosses will bring you one step closer to reclaiming this planet for you respective faction, so good luck!