GW2. A guide to the Old Lion’s Court Strike Mission from Living World Season 1: Battle for Lion’s Arch.
Accessible from Lion’s Arch or Arborstone. Speak to Lyra in Arborstone and say you’d like to enter a Strike Mission, or the statue in the middle of the Grand Piazza in Lion’s Arch.
While CC is necessary for this encounter, knowing when and when not to use it is important.
Two Tanks can position the Red and Green Watchknights.
A Kiter can be useful for baiting the Green Watchknights tether away from the group during the later phases.
Mobility such as superspeed, leaps, or ports can help to handle mechanics and then quickly regroup with your squad. Despite this encounter requiring plenty of movement, you also need to stay close to your group to survive.
Otherwise stick to standard heal, quickness, alacrity, might composition for 2 parties of 5.
Break Bar – The purpose of the break bar in this encounter is more strategic. When broken, the boss will invert the range of their massive instant kill attacks and will gain the exposed debuff when they become vulnerable. Players should only break the bar with CC when it is necessary to move their attack away from the group. If you CC accidentally and squad members can’t react fast enough to the swap, it will kill them, so it is often best to CC fast or not at all.
There are three Watchknight bosses that have their own mechanics. Depending on which ones are currently active, you want to position and behave accordingly:
Red Watchknight – Prototype Vermillion – Hammer
Positioning and timing (Gravity) is the theme of this enemy. It will fixate to the player who is closest to it when it spawns, shown by a Red Symbol above the player who will then have the Watchknight focus their attacks on them.
In or Out – An orange outline will surround the Red Watchknight and white arrows will point either outwards or inwards. Players should see where the arrows are pointing and then position outside or inside the line accordingly. For each player that is on the wrong side, the entire party will be hit with a shockwave. If arrows point both in and out, then both are fine, but it will decide the order that you get the mechanic because it will always alternate for each player on an individual basis. In other words, if you go inside for the first, then you will have to go outside for the next, then inside, and so on.
Boiling Aether – This mechanic will occur throughout the encounter from all the bosses. It will first show up as a small blue puddle, then grow into a fully sized red circle. Avoiding these puddles will help you survive, but later on in the fight there will be multiple of them spawning. To conserve space, try to place these on the edge of the arena.
Attack Chain – The third attack in the hammer attack chain of the Red Watchknight will create a wide Orange effect. Every second completed attack chain will create a Boiling Aether on the ground which you can hear a deep siren when it is created. This can be delayed by kiting the boss so they don’t progress their attack chain. The player fixated by the Red should face it away from the group and near the edge of the arena. They will not do their attack chain while channeling their break bar or casting the In or Out mechanic.
Green Watchknight – Prototype Arsenite – Greatsword
Kiting and staying at range is the theme of this enemy. It will follow the player who is closest to it when it spawns, shown by a Green Symbol above the player who will then have the Watchknight fixated on them. When there are multiple bosses out at the same time, the Kiter can move this boss away from the group to avoid stacking mechanics.
Pull – After a cascading red animation, players will be pulled in towards a Red puddle which pulses damage. Being closer to the epicenter of the pull will pulse more damage, but being inside the puddle will result in taking heavy damage. Move as far away from this as possible while still staying together.
Tether – The player furthest from the Green Watchknight will be tethered when it completes its auto attack chain twice, shown by a green line, then after a moment the Watchknight will throw a projectile at the tethered player. Once it reaches them, it will create a Boiling Aether on the ground. This puddle will grow larger until it becomes fully formed. Try to move these out to the edge of the arena to conserve space.
Blue Watchknight – Prototype Indigo – Staff
Stacking and staying close is the theme of this enemy. This Watchknight is mostly immobile so the fixate does not matter as much.
Wind Gust – This attack will push players away and deal pulsing damage to them, doing more damage the further away they are. Always keep moving towards the boss where you will take less damage and can regroup with your healers.
Orange Circles – Three orange circles appear around three players. Spread these out but not too far because you can get caught too far away from the Watchknight when they begin to use their Wind Gust. The damage from these circles can be blocked or dodged, so try to dodge inwards when they are about to explode to avoid spreading too far.
Tether – Every second time Orange Circles appear, one of the three players will be tethered to a blue beam. They must run far enough away from the beam’s origin because after a short delay a Boiling Aether will automatically be placed underneath them and they will be teleported back to the original location of the tether.
Trio CC Phases
At certain health thresholds, the Watchknight Triumvirate will all appear at the same time and each one will channel a break bar. There will be no safe space to stand in to avoid all of the areas, so your party must break one of the bars to create a safe place to stand. This mechanic is the same solution every time, which is to CC Green at 80%, Red at 40%, Blue at 10%.
First CC Phase – 80%
CC the Green Watchknight and then take refuge next to the Red one.
Second CC Phase – 40%
CC the Red Watchknight and take refuge behind the Blue one.
Third CC Phase – 10%
CC the Blue Watchknight and then take refuge beside the Red.
During the first phase, each Watchknight will attack individually. One tank can get close to them as they spawn to become fixated. Keep them along the edge of the arena when possible to give your team more room and to drop Boiling Aethers.
During the second phase, two Watchknights will be active at the same time, so it is necessary to have a tank for the Red and a kiter for the Green (which will become a tank when Red phases). Keeping the Watchknights spread will prevent them from becoming overpowered. Make sure that each watchknight is fixated to the right player by having everyone move away from their spawns and remember which one spawns where. For the second phase, the Red spawns to the east and the Green spawns to the west.
During the third phase, all three Watchknights will become active, but it does not matter who takes the fixate of the Blue, so just remember that the Red spawns to the north and the Green spawns to the southwest so you can have your tanks get fixated by the correct boss.
While there is only one Watchknight out, just perform the mechanics listed above. However, when multiple Watchknights are out things can get more complicated. Depending on which Watchknights are out your strategy may change. Only one Watchknight is susceptible to damage at a time which will also change the strategy. Here are some priorities:
- Always try to tank/kite the Red Watchknight along the outside of the arena whether it can be damaged or not.
- Tank/Kite the Green Watchknight away from the group when it cannot be damaged, and then the group should stack on it when it can be damaged. Still move away when it does the Pull mechanic.
- Always stack on the Blue Watchknight when it can be damaged.
Besides the tanks and kiters, everyone should be together to receive support from their allies. It may be useful to have a fourth player that is neither a tank or kiter to be designated leader for the rest of the group. They can have a raid marker placed over their head and everyone can stack on them so that everyone can stay together while doing mechanics. Isolated players will take more pressure and receive less heals when alone.
Otherwise, remember that the only CCs required are during the specific CC phase with the order of:
There are a few differences on the challenge mode of the Old Lion’s Court.
- The Three CC phases are randomized and do not show indicators on each of the Watchknight’s deadly attacks
- Red Pools linger until the next CC phase, increasing the amount of them that stack up, and decreasing play area
- Phases occur at different times: CM: 100%, 60%, 20% instead of NM: 80%, 40%, 10%. This makes the 60%-20% phase the hardest.
To survive the CC phases, you must CC one of the watchknights to create a safe space. The one you must CC will be in a random order, so you can’t just remember a specific order. You can remember which watchknight you CC’d already in the attempt because you still will only CC each once per attempt. Instead of remembering an order, you need to remember specific arrangements. Here are some easier ways to remember which watchknight you need to CC:
When you must CC Red, all of the Watchknights will spawn close to each other. At first the Red will spawn facing inwards, then the Green will spawn with the Red facing it, and then the Blue will spawn also facing the Green. So the easiest factors to remember are:
- Red and Blue face Green
- Close spawn
When Blue needs the CC, the Red will spawn facing inwards, then the Green will spawn facing outwards with the Red facing it. Then the Blue will spawn facing inwards but will not face either of the others, rather in between them. This creates a perpendicular shape with the line of sight of the Blue intersecting the line of sight of the Red. They will also spawn more spread out, along the circumference of the line inside the arena.
- Perpendicular pattern
- Spread out spawn
When you must CC the Green, Red will spawn facing outwards, then Green will spawn facing inwards, and then Blue will spawn facing outwards with Green facing Blue. They will spawn more spread out along the circumference of the circle inside the arena.
- Spread out spawn
- Only Green faces another knight and its the Blue one
Using this information, you can easily decide which one to CC based on a two step logic process:
- Is it a close or spread out spawn? If close then CC Red. If spread out go to next step.
- Is Red facing Green? If yes then CC Blue. If no then CC Green.
Once you CC one, be ready to hide behind another Watchknight.
Unlike on normal mode, the Boiling Aethers, shown by Red Pools will not dissipate until the next CC phase. This complicates the positioning of mechanics and creates a DPS check because you will run out of space eventually the more these spawn. The best way to handle these is to stack them together to overlap the space they cover with the outside of the arena or with other Boiling Aethers.
- Have your Red Watchknight tank move slowly around the outside of the arena so that the pools drop near each other but not on the group.
- Make sure that you have a dedicated kiter for the Green Tether so that they can be reliably placed on the edges
- Use defensive cooldowns when placing the Green/Blue Tether mechanic so that you can potentially place it inside another Boiling Aether and conserve even more space. You can evade/block/invulnerability to reduce the damage taken from Boiling Aethers.
- Always stack with the group if you aren’t the kiter so they can reliably get the mechanic, and always be prepared to potentially get a Blue Tether on you afterwards if you have an orange circle spawn on you.
Because you will be facing multiple mechanics simultaneously, and losing space as more Boiling Aethers spawn, you may need to decide to CC the Watchknights during the DPS phases to create more space to handle this positioning. Generally this should be done only when obvious because a lack of coordination will result in deaths, whether the decision was right or not. Always stick together.
During the 2nd DPS phase, when the Green Watchknight is vulnerable to attack, the Red Watchknight will periodically perform its deadly AoE. Because this forces you to stand in the circle next to the Red Watchknight and you want to keep the Watchknights separated, it is often better to just always CC the Red Watchknight in this phase to create more space for the tanks to separate the mechanics. Otherwise, try to push through this phase while not losing anyone and the final phase is much easier.
Old Lion’s Court – 5AP
Complete the encounter on normal difficulty.
Legendary Old Lion’s Court – 5AP
Complete the encounter after enabling the challenge mote.
Aether Aversion – 5AP
Complete the encounter without taking damage from Boiling Aether. This means being vigilant to avoid the red puddles on the ground, dodging if you get the Green tether on you, and avoiding the auto attack chain of the Red Watchknight.
Static-Dynamic Synergy – 5 AP
Complete the encounter without dying or failing at any of the three Watchknight’s individual mechanics. These include:
- Failing to be inside or outside the Red Watchknight’s circle corresponding to the current way the arrows are facing for you
- Taking full damage from being too far from the Blue Watchknight when it pushes players out
- Taking full damage from being too close to the Green Watchknight when it pulls players in
If the Blue Watchknight is out, always stay close to it. Otherwise, have mobility skills ready to move away from the Green or fulfill the correct positioning for the Red.
Fear Not This Knight Defender of Lion’s Court – 5 AP
Complete the Challenge Mode encounter while not letting any of the Watchknights finish casting their instant kill attacks without breaking their defiance bars. No one can die to this attack either. This means that your squad needs plenty of CC and mobility to be able to swap targets and break every single defiance bar, then reach the safe area. Superspeed, ports, and leaps can allow more flexibility with handling the mechanics while swapping to CC. Remember that if you are attempting this title, the danger zone will always be swapped to become the safe zone, and since you need to CC every single break bar anyway, you can reliably just stand in the danger zone while CCing to be safe. If the CC fails you lose the achievement anyway so it doesn’t matter if you die to a failed CC.