Requested by Pornpote, and after seeing some comments made on Facebook, the next post in the stronghold trap series is going to be Nettle Grove. You know, the irritating one with the seemingly unavoidable highly damaging poison arrows? Yeah, that…
Here’s what I have written up so far just in case you’re new to these posts:
Room Type: ‘Damage Dealer’
Upkeep: 5 (T3); 10 (T4); 15 (T5)
*Like the other traps, I’ll be reviewing the T5 version as that’s the one which players would eventually have or at least strive to have.
The Nettle Grove is a relatively small squarish trap room with 12 turrets (faces), with 6 on both the left and right walls. The turrets will launch poison arrows in the direction they are facing, which is about 45 degrees in angle. Being directly in the line of fire or even close to any of these arrows would deal not only instant damage, but damage over time upon your character itself. The turrets fire out arrows at a rapid rate of 1.5-2 seconds interval.
Although at first glance when you’re on the ground, it seems impossible to evade any of the arrows since they’re firing at such a hasty rate, but here I’ll present the lines of fire from an aerial perspective for a larger and clearer picture.
If you observe carefully where the heads are facing, you’ll be able to determine that there are actually a lot of ‘safe zones‘ within this trap room where you will not get hit by any arrows. Areas like the corners of the room or even in between the columns allow your character to handle mobs without the constant barrage of arrows in your back.
Despite these ‘safe zones‘ not being very small, it necessary to practice some rounds first (on a friend’s stronghold) to get them right as moving out from them would result in unnecessary poison damage.
TL;DR: Fight within the corners of the map or in between columns to avoid the arrow fire.
The other unique thing about the room is the 4 move-able columns that ‘rise‘ of the ground or ‘fall‘ back down. Although the columns move periodically , there is no observable fixed patterns for the movement of the columns or the timing of their behavior.
However, it has been noted that only one of the columns will only take a single action of ‘rise‘ or ‘fall‘ at each single time. Also, the timing between each column’s movement is between 5 seconds to 13 seconds (as if that is of any use). Thus, it’s best to classify their behavior as random at best.
The benefit of these columns is that they stand directly in the way of the line of fire from the opposite arrows. If you view the image above, this is extremely vital information as standing within the central aisle of the map (esp when all 4 columns are up) can effectively reduce the amount of damage received through the fight itself.
TL;DR: Central aisle is predominantly the safest path of travel.
While admittedly one of the more deadly traps in lower levels or death-elemental raiders (base armor less than 3.5k), this trap becomes more of a mere irritant when you learn its mechanics or when you get to higher levels and get better gear. By then, it might not be very necessary to care about these arrows if you already have a legendary armor equipped or simply prefer raiding in Fire.
If you are Raiding one…
In the previous entries, I talked about ‘blind zones‘ and how when the camera pans through when entering the stronghold, you’ll miss out certain minions. Thankfully for this trap room, the relatively straightforward nature of the room does not conceal any enemies…right?
There still exists the mysterious ‘blind zone’ when you enter the room and it’s large enough to put in a freakin’ Kenashi warlord since you only see the edge of the last column. This makes it extremely dangerous for players to venture in that direction and I would highly suggest to head towards the left side first.
TL;DR: There is one hidden minion. Period.
(A) For Ranged Users
With seemingly no where to hide, it might be thought that this room is highly disadvantageous to ranged users. However, once you’re aware of the ‘safe zones‘ and the benefits of the columns (see above), it’s not as bad as one might perceive it to be.
Like always, priority would be support minions (eg. water vorors, druids, acolytes). Taking them down first will allow your battle to be drastically much easier. Also, don’t be afraid to stand close to them to take them out as most probably there will be other faster minions who might block your line of fire, or if they come equipped with the ‘reflect shield’ for all voror types.
What minions follow next would be up to your discretion. But for this map, what I suggest would be in this order: Support -> Melee Strikers/ Champions -> Ranged Strikers -> Defenders -> Champions.
Why Melee Strikers next you might ask?
Well, they are most probably going to get in your way and will pose an immediate thread if they were to swarm you quickly within this room. With little cover (besides the random column movement), there are no obstructions for the minions to break their chase or for you to hide behind for a safe shot. Hence, taking these out quickly will help make the battle a whole lot easier.
As for Champions being the last or next on the list, this is because certain champions behave like Melee strikers, just that with a whole lot of HP and defensive capabilities. Watch out for champions such as Wicker Beast, Ignicore, Succubine, Lord of the Eve, Dominator etc. as these like to ‘stick‘ close to your character, making ranged attacks difficult to perform. Under certain circumstances, it’s best to have a secondary melee weapon as backup to quickly clear these foes first.
TL;DR: Take out support types first, before removing the faster Champions and Melee strikers. The rest is up to your discretion.
Maneuver your way around the 4 columns when they’re raised, always standing on the sides which are closest to the walls (see diagram below) or between 2 raised columns. This will give ample cover from the arrows while attacking the minions.
The path of travel to take would be diagonally or laterally across, always passing through the center of the room to take the least damage from the arrows (see arrow paths of fire overlaid below)…and of course, avoiding monsters and their attacks along the way. Nonetheless, having additional run speed works best here.
Always ensure that minions do not swarm you too much. The idea would be to gain as much distance between you and your target minion, taking them out individually or in small groups. Due to the small space available, you probably wouldn’t be able to outrun every single one, but as long as you isolate them into manageable groups, this would allow you to wipe them out easily.
It’s also good to have Damage to Attacker (DTA) trait in this scenario as it would help you remove the lower HP minions (eg. melee strikers and ranged strikers), so they’ll fall before you ever have to hit them proper. Area of Effect crowd control skills (eg. Fire Cyclone, Ice Burst, Static Burst, Entangling Vines, Nightmare Burst etc.) would also do nicely in slowing down minions when they’re attempting to chase you.
TL;DR: Isolate Minions, Fight from the corners and keep running to break up the crowd. AoE skills, DTA and run speed does well here.
(B) For Melee Users
Similar to the strategy for ranged users, melee users have a slightly easier time when dealing with minions in this stronghold. Keep within the ‘safe zones’ and if you find that there’s too many minions crowding in the same area and/or receiving too much damage, make a run for the next safe zone, preferably some distance away for your skills to recharge.
Glaive and Greatsword users perform well here due to their unrestrained wide range of attack, enabling them to handle swarms of minions much more easily compared to Duals, unless you already have high base attack for your duals. If you’re equipped with the latter, concentrate your attacks on one minion at a time before attacking the next one, making sure to take out those with lower HP and deal the most damage first (ie. ranged strikers).
As you’ll be facing minions head-on most of the time, it’s best to have a shield type skill that is able to soak up some HP (eg. Healing shield, Lightning Shield, Darkness Shield). These would keep you from losing too much HP in order to have a better chance of survive-ability against the keeper later.
TL;DR: Like the Ranged strategy, run across the room to break up the crowd and tear the minions up and allowing your skills to cooldown. Have a shield skill at your disposal too.
If you own one…
Now that the combat system is oriented to a more elemental-based one, I’d recommend to be unpredictable and cater to as many elemental-types as possible.
This means that you can consider having at least one of everything, except less so for nature of course, since Dark users are most probably going to suffer heavy damage from the trap room alone. But if you have that spanky new Nature Colossus, then by all means, use it. 🙂
(a.1) General Minion Types
The major consideration for damage-type rooms would be to keep the raider running about as often and as much as possible to receive the most damage from the arrows. This means that you can opt for plenty of melee strikers (with high dodge or have long periods of invincibility) or minions that ‘stick‘ close to the raider.
The other alternative would be to use minions that use AoE often, such as Succubine, Ethera, Acolyte, Colossus, Harbringer etc. These will force the raiders out of the ‘safe zones‘ and keep them moving constantly.
Alternatively, due to the small space of the room, this particularly makes it easy for minions who can revive others. Pairing a Harbringer, Lord or Eve or simply 2-3 acolytes with a couple of pumpkin ghouls and ravagers, works well as their resurrect skill would reach most dead ‘undead’ minions inside the room. This makes a very sticky, or even deadly (particularly for light raiders), situation as raiders are forced to kill the beefier champion first while taking constant damage from the other undead minions.
TL;DR: Intention for minions would be to keep your raider running around and get hit often. Use fast-moving minions that swarm the opponent and avoid slow and low HP ones.
(a.2) Minions to Avoid
On the other hand, minions to avoid would be those which are easy to kill as raiders can easily charge up to them and take them out instantly, resulting in a waste of 60 or so upkeep, which could’ve housed an extra voror knight. Generally, minions that lack a durability of more than a few (3-4) hits (besides water vorors and druids) should be avoided.
Other types would be slow moving minions without a ranged skill or a jump/teleportation ability (eg. ogres, turtles, warmage sentinel). These would be a hindrance and can be wiped out easily, especially with anyone with a decently leveled crossbow or staff.
TL;DR: No slow or squishy minion types.
(b) Middle Row
Those minions positioned in the middle should be the tankier yet quick ones that can chase your raiders around the room without slowing (eg. Wicker Beast, Lord of Eve, Mezzogian, Dominator, Ignicore, Immortal Gatekeeper). As these will ‘see’ the raider first, they will most probably be the ones that keep chasing him/her till their deaths. Thus, it’s best to put a heavyweight or 2 here to keep your opponents busy.
If you don’t have the luck of drawing champions yet or lack enough upkeep, you could consider T6 Cicatrizers, T6 Monkeys, T5 Ravagers as these are nearly as durable for less upkeep.
(c) Back Row
Your weaker support types fall within this area (eg. Druid, Gelid Voror). The opponent will take some time to get to them and the minions from the front row should be able to hold them off.
If your raider is sufficiently experienced, or just simply read this blog post, another important aspect of defense would be to consider placing certain minions along the sides of your trap room.
In fact, you can put a powerful Champion minion on the right (within the blind zone) just in case some curious raider decides to take that direction instead. 🙂
Minions that go here are the ‘volatile‘ types which have the mere presence of ‘Keep out’ (eg. Voror knight, Acolytes, or even Wolf Primes to a lesser extent). These usually trigger an AoE type of attack when you approach them, making it impossible to stay within these ‘safe zones’.
TL;DR: Middle – Fast Champions; Back – Support; Sides – Those that trigger AoE attacks often
Okay, hope that covered all of it.
Have fun and good luck in Guild Wars! 🙂