I woke up at 5:30 a.m., filled with anticipation for exciting battles. Reddit had already posted a text guide to Cinder Drift, and Eulmore was filled with the sound of exploding materia and Realm Reborn Red as people put materia into their crafted gear.
I really liked this battle! After a bit, I think it is my favorite of the extreme primals I have done so far (Then again, I've only killed 4 of them!)
I was able to progress with a few members of my FC, Not Kawaii and Asta Valdis. However, they left to do Savage and I cleared alone with pugs.
This fight has few tank mechanics, but very punishing ones. If you make a mistake on them as tank, you will likely wipe the party. There are some subtleties that text guides may not cover, so here are my tips.
Firstly, when it casts Helicoclaw, you should stand on the swirly line to try and bait the magitek lasers there. Then, once the lasers have fired, move into the safe spot between swirly lines. If you don't bait the magitek lasers, it is very likely you will have no space to dodge.
Secondly, when the boss casts Ravensflight, it is important to remember the pattern of 6 dashes. The dashes have a rectangular danger zone, so the safe spot is perpendicular to the dash. It will do 3 short dashes, then raise one claw: that side of the boss is then always dangerous. In the example below, it raises its left claw, so for the remaining 3 dashes, the left side of the boss is always dangerous. After the 4th dash, it will reverse the quicksand pattern on the floor - if the outside was dangerous at start, now the center zone will be, and vice versa.
While it sounds challenging, there are actually only 2 patterns of dashes (mirrors of each other), so with practice, it is simpler than it looks!
Thirdly, there is the timing of the tank swap in phase 2. In this phase, 2 adds spawn, and players must attack the add with the opposite colored buff, like O12N and Hades EX. When the boss casts "Change of Heart", the buff switches, so the tanks must swap. The correct timing to provoke the other add is once you see a purple wave emit from the boss. The adds can be tanked where they are, because their donut attacks will not hit inside each other's hitbox. Be sure to make way for the dps to pull the heads into the boss, and do not let them hit you.
By the way, when swapping, it's important to provoke the add, but NOT SHIRK. I Shirked after I provoked, thinking to give my enmity on the old add to my co-tank. But doing this will also give away the enmity you just got on the new add, the one you are supposed to tank. It sounds so obvious, but I caused several wipes this way! (I'm very sorry to my party!)
Finally, there is the meteor phase. First of all, the numbers that appear on your head are a ruse, ignore them! While they suggest you are supposed to place the meteors in order around the edge of the arena, the meteors have a small enough radius that it is sufficient to drop them at the edge, then just run into the middle. (Tanks and healers should use party mitigation here.) Just remember to drop meteor #8 a bit closer to the center, so that you can use it to hide later on.
I am reluctant to post many screenshots of part 2, since it is actually a big spoiler. But if you have already done it, make sure to note the dramatic scene that goes on in the background of the trial. (The boss even conveniently stops doing mechanics at this point! Lol!)
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I spent abut 2.5 hours to learn and clear this fight. This makes it the 2nd fastest Ex I cleared after Innocence Ex. However, it's debatable whether this is due to improvement on my part, the fight difficulty or the strength of the party.
It does not say "Duty Complete" when you clear! And no, I don't have any video to show! I recorded it, but the fight is in two halves, and I got no idea how to stitch them together, lol. Maybe I should hire Anna as video editor...
I must clear 9 more times for my weapon. Hopefully I'll be able to get it and proceed to Savage tomorrow. Our road trip has barely begun.
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