While plenty of players have already succeeded at making their way through Destiny's new Crota's End raid, some of them even while flying solo, there are still some who are looking to get the experience's nuances down. And others want to prepare for the inevitable release of Crota's End's hard mode, which is slated to hit in January.
But although we can't predict what changes Bungie might introduce with hard mode, it's safe to assume players might want to be well-versed with the final confrontation with Crota. Understanding how the Chalice of Light works, knowing when to take out Hive Knights with "Boomers," and being able to predict Crota's movements are tantamount to success. But more than that, it's important to know how to use the sword. Much like with handling the relic in Vault of Glass, we expect handling the sword will become a task that every player needs to learn to be successful. And that's where we come in.
Since most Destiny players who have completed the Crota's End raid likely haven't used the sword, we've created a handy guide breaking down how each class can wield it and wield it well. Obviously some classes will be better at it than others, but if the hard mode will require everyone uses it, it's best to find a good strategy now. First, some basics.
After having tackled the Crota's End raid about 8 or 9 times, we've explored a variety of approaches. Some like to group up on the top left of the map (when facing Crota), while others like to tuck away in the center hallway below. Some groups clear out all the enemies at the beginning, while others simply run and jump through them. These are all different approaches to the same fight, and all are viable. The only real constant is that the sword carrier must be level 31, or they won't do enough damage per round. Level 32s would be even better, but only a few players have hit the new level cap so far.
It ultimately depends how your group responds to the strategy. If one approach doesn't seem to be working, try to mix things up and go a different route. Blindly beating your head against the same approach saying, “It worked with my last group,” doesn't help anybody. Don't be afraid to make suggestions and try variations on the two proven methods, either. It may even be worth it to switch up sword carriers, since some just seem to have a natural knack for it. Maybe if you follow these tips, you can become a solid sword carrier and an integral part of any team.
No matter what your class, though, there seem to be a few constants when wielding the sword. Obviously, the non-sword holders will want to drop Crota's shield, which in turn forces him to kneel and makes him vulnerable, but there's a lot timing involved. In some cases, the away team calls out Crota's shield depletion percentage (75%, 50%, 25%) so the sword carrier knows when to jump in. While others like to have the sword carrier tell the team when to take Crota down as soon as they are in position. Again, it varies by team.
For the sword carrier, the two best approaches (with some variation) are on the right and left sides of Crota. There you will find giant rocks that make good hiding places and perfect stepping stools for getting up to Crota. However, it's important to practice jumping up to Crota and getting the timing down, as the third person view may affect your jump. It's like using the relic – once you understand how your class works when in third person and wielding the sword, it becomes a lot easier. Also, don't forget that light attacks (RB or R1) with the sword push you forward, so in case you might not make it throw a few slashes in to cross the gap.
Hunters have it the easiest, as their Bladedancer subclass grants invisibility through its Stalker ability. It takes some time to crouch and activate the invisibility but once you do there's far less timing involved. Simply jump up to Crota and have the team down him as fast as possible. Then, when Crota's shield shimmers and he's about to stand, drop the sword and melee hit him to generate a new invisibility shield. Ideally, the team should then be able to down him again quickly (preferably with rockets) and you can get more hits in. Since you're right up close to Crota, this strategy is likely to get between 4 and 8 hits in on the Hive god.
However, if you don't have the Escape Artist perk – which grants invisibility after a charged melee – then another variation is to simply run back to the left or right rocks, wait, and then charge back in. Either way, on one of those attempts you want to use invisibility to ensure maximum sword hits. Don't be greedy, though.
Titans are viable if only because they have a higher jump and greater strength and toughness. That means a Titan sword carrier can survive a few more hits from Crota's weapon (NOT his sword), especially if they have the Chalice of Light. It also means they can get to Crota practically from the ground floor – no rock standing necessary.
Since they can jump right from the ground up to Crota, many teams like to form up in the center hallway when a Titan wields the sword. That way, the Titan can jump straight up to Crota, while everyone sends rockets whizzing by their (the Titan's) head, and by the time the Titan reaches Crota he should be down. Then jump back to the courtyard, send more rockets in, and repeat. In this case, you should be able to get between 2 and 6 hits in on Crota.
But, if there are good orb-creating classes in the group it's possible to do even more damage by getting a Super hit in. Have those players who can create orbs do so in the center of the courtyard, so the Titan can pick them up once they have the sword. It's important to draw the Swordbearer past the orbs in this case, though, so the Titan can pick them up while on the run. Now, when the Titan reaches Crota they can slip a Super hit in right as a regular hit lands to trigger a kind of double hit for huge damage.
Warlocks have it the hardest of the bunch because they can't turn invisible and their jump is not quite as high. They do, however, have the benefit of Radiance (for the Sunsinger subclass), which means they can revive themselves if they die. The team will still need to banish the Oversoul if the Warlock does die, but at least no team member will need to risk trying to revive them.
For this class of sword carrier, getting as many hits as possible is very important. If you're getting only 2 per round, the team is not going to defeat Crota before he Enrages. And Enrage is nearly impossible to withstand, with constantly spawning Oversouls and Ogres. So in this case, it's best to down Crota the second the Warlock gives the go-ahead, usually with strong rockets. The Warlock will get in close with light attacks and do max damage before zipping away. Then, get back in for another round of hits if the team can down him fast enough and the sword hasn't disappeared.
Unfortunately, this is the most traditional approach to Crota and therefore has the most room for error. The other two strategies do enough damage per run that you can miss a full set of hits and still defeat him. With the Warlock, that's unlikely. Still, it's best to practice wielding the sword as a Warlock just in case.
While we still don't know what that just in case might be, learning how to use the sword makes any player valuable. Posting on DestinyLFG that you know how to use the sword guarantees not only that groups will want you, but that you will have your pick of the litter. So use these tips the next time no one wants to be sword carrier, and become an instrumental part of any team.
What are some of your strategies as sword carrier? What new wrinkles do you think Bungie will add for hard mode?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina