Let it be known in general that ALL Veteran giant units and Champion elite units for each area and enemy type are this trope in the game. Not only does their very presence ruin your previously established "best strategies" against an area's units, but they are each uniquely designed to synergize with the associated strengths and weaknesses of their area's normal units to overwhelm your party so not premptively preparing for their presence WILL devestate your team. Keep in mind however that preparing for them simply enables you to have a "chance" not to be devestated. The Darkest Dungeon, the game and the area, is an ocean of Demonic Spiders.
- Spiders (Webbers and Spitters), even if they're not necessarily demonic in nature. They have very low health and are able to be one-shot by most attacks, but they also have a decent dodge stat and both types can inflict Blight. The true demonic-ness comes when you have both together: Webbers can mark targets and stun them at the same time with Web, Spitters have a tremendously increased base damage and crit chance on Spit against a marked targetnote . Both kinds also have Bite, an attack similar to Spit that also hits Marked targets harder, but it's considerably less powerful and reasonably inaccurate. Web also inflicts a speed debuff, letting the Spiders act before the poor target can raise a finger to defend themselves. A team of 2 Webbers and 2 Spitters often results in one hero getting Stunned and Marked, followed by the whole group ganging up on them and quickly putting them to Death's Door. If that hero's still standing with low health, the residual blight damage would finish the job.
- Brigand Bloodletters, Degraded Boss versions of the giant bandit from the tutorial, have an attack called "Rain of Whips". Not only does this cause party-wide damage with a chance of bleed, but it also has a higher critical hit chance than most other area-of-effect attacks. The one silver lining is that the base damage is very low and the bleed is very mild. They also have Point-Blank Shot, an extremely powerful single target attack that hits whoever is at the front of your formation and, like Rain of Whips, has a high critical hit chance. Oh, but wait, there's more: an update not long before the Radiant Update added a stress-increasing effect to Rain of Whips and its stronger single-target variant, Punish.
- Brigand Hunters are upgraded versions of Brigand Fusiliers, encountered in Champion-tier dungeons and the Wolves at the Door mission. Unlike Fusiliers, Hunters have a non-trivial damage output, and cause stress damage on top of that. While it's minor party-wide Stress damage, they also like to start the battle Stealthed, guaranteeing them at least two free shots while going unharmed unless you're packing anti-Stealth skills or have set up a Riposte. If you run into a Hunter and a Bloodletter, especially in the Wolves at the Door mission, prepare to see your entire party's stress skyrocket.
- Ghouls, large undead that appear in any dungeon once you reach level three. In addition to having a mountain of health, they have two very nasty stress raising attacks (Skull Toss and Howl; the former also stuns the target and deals hefty damage, the latter is party-wide and also lowers the torch light level), and a powerful short range attack that can cause bleed (Rend). Whats worse, skull toss has a tendency to go for the backline and a single critical by it can be bad news even against a previously healthy teamas it usually meaning someone soft has been struck and stunned with bonus points if its your healer or stress removing jester.
- Bone Captains, encountered at level three and up in the Ruins, are gigantic armored skeletons wielding huge maces. They have a single target smash (Crushing Blow) that can hit anyone in your formation and easily deal 50% of a hero's health if they're not a Leper or Crusader; on top of that, it lowers stun resist. Its second attack (Ground Pound) hits your entire team for medium damage but with a considerable stun chance. That's right, a full party stun. Thankfully, it's rare that more than one hero gets stunned unless they were hit by Crushing Blow beforehand and the debuff stuck.
- The Bone Bearer is the elite enemy of the Ruins. Though it has very little offensive power on its own, its very presence on the battlefield grants all other enemies a passive damage buff, and it can actively buff the other enemies even further. Worse still, if there are corpses remaining at the end of a round, the Bone Bearer will simply revive them at full health, so clearing the rabble without corpse-clearing or Damage Over Time is a futile effort. Shoot the Medic First is in full effect here, and the Bone Bearer has an effective stun immunity to make it impossible to avoid its buffs.
- Although Swine Choppers are rather bog-standard Warrens enemies that simply hit reasonably hard and take a fair bit of punishment, their Veteran and Champion versions (Swine Reavers and Swine Slayers) get worse for one reason: Their basic attack now inflicts a Healing-reduction debuff. In two to three hits, a single character cannot be healed at all. In the higher-tier dungeons these guys are often accompanied by other more dangerous enemies which demand to be killed off first and quickly, so the Swine Slayers get the time to chop your units to bits, leaving them bleeding while receiving no healing.
- The Swinetaurs in the Warrens have a ton of HP and Protection, and when Pig Spear lands, you will feel it. They're capable of causing a near-Total Party Kill with a single good attack, and have the durability to make sure they'll at least get to cause one or two; if they don't, they'll use Boar Rush instead, a single-target attack that hits just as hard as Pig Spear, has enough knockback to sent a hero in the forefront all the way to the back, AND it can and often does stun. Even if you clear the battle so they can't Trot Retreat behind anything, they still have Crunching Backhand, a double-target attack with decent damage and a mild stun chance that they'll dish out relentlessly. Even worse in the Pitch Black Dungeon mod, as Trot Retreat doesn't cost them a turn.
- Of the elite enemies introduced in the Radiant update, the Swine Skiver seems to have attracted the most hatred. It's got decent resistances to anything that isn't bleeding, always spawns at the backline, and his only melee attack, used when at the first and usually second position, will send him all the way back to the fourth when used. Which is terrible news, because the main attack available back there is horrific impalement with huge chance for a critical hit (which will rend even the biggest health bars to nothing), as well as knockback and a stun. And if he's not busy with that, his other javelin toss will blight everything that isn't your first-position hero and debuff their speed and dodging, making it ever so likely they'll eat a killer javelin and the blight finishing off those that got knocked to Death's Door by the impalement. Worse yet, Skivers are the only real source of Blight in the Warrens, so it's unlikely that you'll be carrying Antivenom. Heavy stunners, extreme backline damage or a lot of pull-forward spam are a must if you don't want a party wipe.
- The Gnashers in the Weald. These buggers have low health, but ridiculously high dodge, meaning you WILL miss about 75% of your attacks unless you've specced for accuracy; meanwhile their own accuracy is high as well, so they'll almost never miss theirs. Their attacks don't hit all that hard, but inflict bleeding that stacks on subsequent attacks, meaning your party will take heavy damage-over-time if the fight drags out (which, due to above mentioned dodge ratings, it often will), and they ALWAYS attack in packs of 3-4 unless they're together with other monsters. The worst part? Their speed is so ridiculous that the entire pack will almost always get the first turns, meaning going in strong will leave you battered and going in weak will end you. You can go into this fight with a party in perfect condition and just barely survive the Death of a Thousand Cuts. They also have a chance of inflicting Rabies on every hit, a disease that greatly reduces accuracy in exchange for more damage, which makes hitting them even more of a painful task.
- The Giants first appear in Veteran difficulty quests, and for good reason. With a large amount of health, they're certainly not the best choice for your entire party to target first, but with their ability to inflict blight on any of your party member, use the highly-damaging Treebranch Smackdown skill on either of your front ranks, and shuffle your entire party with Confusion Spores, you'll get the urge to. Did we mention that Treebranch Smackdown will guarantee the squishier heroes will go onto Death's Door with a critical, and the Virago or Crone can reduce your heroes' dodge to better sap your hopes of avoiding Treebranch Smackdown's immense damage? Stuns can help against them if they hit, but even stacking stun skill chance on a hero tends to not be completely reliable since they have a bit of resistance against it - the most dependable ways to avoid a worst-case scenario against their Treebranch Smackdown is reducing their damage with the likes of the Leper's Intimidate or the Occultist's Weakening Curse skills.
- The Virago is the elite enemy of the Weald. She does capable damage (devastating on a crit), and is also capable of marking targets (bad news if a Fungal Scratcher is there with her). But by far her most terrible ability if From Death Comes Life, which she uses instantly if an enemy is killed and leaves a corpse (without ticking Damage Over Time or being delayed by stun either). It turns the corpse into a Necrotic Fungus, which does absolutely nothing on its own, but as long as it's on the field, you can't heal. That's right, all healing is blocked when it's summonednote . You have to kill her first, but she has an astounding 47 Dodge and effective Stun immunity. Every turn spent trying to kill the Virago is a turn for the rest of the enemies to tear your party to shreds. The one silver lining is that if you can kill all enemies and leave two necrotic fungi, you can stress heal as long as the healer's ability doesn't also restore physical health.
- Many of the enemies in the Cove qualify, but arguably the worst are the default Groupers, simply because they're the most common and numerous. They have no special gimmicks, no stuns, debuffs, or bleed/blight attacks. They simply hit VERY hard from anywhere in their formation, making them immune to A.I. Roulette, either with a close-range slash that can hit in the 5-9 range (increasing by 50% at level 3 and again at level 5), or a slightly less nasty long-range spear attack (3-7) that can hit your back row (and pull you into melee range from level 3 and up). They like to appear in formations of 4, and if not dealt with quickly can put a serious dent in your party's health.
- The Uca Majors in the Cove also deserve special mention. Theyre essentially a tank with two seriously crippling moves. Tidal Slam is a raw power attack which easily hits in the double digits, sends its target all the way to the back and Stuns them. Worse still is Arterial Pinch. It hits for two damage. Awesome! Its a reprieve from Tidal Slam's devastation! No. It causes bleed which causes an additional 8 damage per turn and weakens any healing they receive. Worse yet, this is a very common attack, so youll burn right through your bandages just to keep everyone from hitting deaths door in the next two turns.
- Like the other elite enemies exclusive to Champion-level dungeons, the Squiffy Ghast is a nightmare to face. Unlike the other elite enemies, the Ghast forgoes dealing heavy physical damage in exchange for being stress-inducing Madmen on steroids. They have a rather respectable health pool, high dodge, and great speed to boot, so they're definitely going to get at least few turns in before going down. They take a page out of the Madman's book by being able to induce a Stress taken debuff that lasts until your next camp (so if you're in a Short mission and/or out of Medicinal Herbs, you're out of luck), and a page out of the Ghoul's book by inflicting a strong party-wide Horror. These guys will focus your Jesters if they can, who can easily deal with their individual stress attacks, but considering how most enemies are resistant to Bleed in the Cove, it's difficult to bring him along. If you're particularly unlucky, they can appear alongside the aforementioned Ghouls, so if you encounter that enemy combo, prepare to kiss your party's sanity or Laudanum goodbye. The cherry on top is that the bosses of the Cove are fairly stressing fights, so it's imperative that you manage your party's sanity prior to facing them, which is an issue that the Ghasts are all too willing to exploit.
- The Darkest Dungeon, being The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, is home to plenty of highly deadly enemies. But among them, none are more deadly and numerous than the Cultist Priests. Reasonably resilient and fast, Cultist Priests sport two attacks — Death Lash mauls the front lines to reduce their Bleed resist and cause some minor Stress, and The Finger strikes any point in the formation, inflicting damage (more if they're marked), a hefty 6 point bleed, and significant Stress. And that's before accounting for when that attack crits. Within any Darkest Dungeon encounter setup, Cultist Priests easily become priority targets and have to be killed before they break both body and mind. When an encounter sports two or more of them, you know the party's not going to make out of that encounter with their Stress intact.
Crimson Court DLC
- Essentially all the Bloodsucker enemies have an attack called "The Thirst", which can heal themselves and has a chance of inflicting the Crimson Curse, a complicated disease that can't be treated at the Sanitarium. Managing the Curse requires you to gather a new resource, The Blood, and it takes up inventory space that could have gone to other treasures or supplies. While the Curse initially a mild inconvenience that conveniently overwrites other diseases, over time a hero will start "craving" for The Blood, acting erratically like an Afflicted hero and even breaking into curios in search of The Blood. If you don't (or can't) give them The Blood they suffer massive debuffs in the wasting stage before dying after enough time passes, but if you do give them The Blood they enter a berserk state with increased damage and speed but also act more erratically until it fades. This presents a Morton's Fork over what phase of the Curse you're comfortable with handling. What's worse is that, after you complete the first Courtyard mission, the Bloodsuckers start to appear everywhere. Oh, and because The Thirst heals its user, this drags out a Bloodsucker encounter, increasing the chances of another Bloodsucker using The Thirst and spreading the Crimson Curse.
- Of all of the Bloodsucker classed enemies encountered, the Chevalier has attracted the most amount of dread to them. Chevaliers are tanky backrow snipers who'll likely stay out of reach from your heavy hitters while you deal with whoever happens to be in front of them, all while lashing at your party members with heavy hitting moves like the bleed inducing Subterranean Skewer and the multi-target stun Buried Blast. They also have effective immunity to movement so you can't drag them into range of your melee hitters. They lack The Thirst so they cannot heal themselves or spread the Crimson Curse, but that likely won't matter much when all of their friends are keeping them out of reach by staying alive with their own self heals. And speaking of their friends, Chevaliers are one of the few Crimson Court enemies that can show up anywhere. Not only is nowhere safe from them, it's perfectly possible to find them in tandem with some of the other nasties in this same page, among other painful combinations. They do have a pathetic stun resistance, but if they're not in range of your Stunners, expect a world of hurt.
Color of Madness DLC
- By the end of your first Endless run, you will have learnt to hate the Plow Horse. Though it is a Glass Cannon compared to most other Large enemies, with only moderate HP and Prot, it has relatively high speed - and will almost always start the turn by stealthing itself using Paw the Ground, which prevents most of your heroes from hitting it. It then follows that up with Trample, which deals decent damage to your entire party and shuffles them, messing up your formation and likely forcing you to waste a turn on moving everybody. Its Rearing Strike is nothing to sniff at either, hitting up to two of your heroes with heavy damage, Bleed, and a stun to boot. The only occasional reprieve comes from Bestial Scream, which only deals moderate Stress damage - and even then, Stress is much harder to deal with in Endless than other dungeons.
- Halfway through each bar between rest areas the color will randomly shift and create a warped version of one of the other areas with their units. In most dungeons, other enemies that count as Demonic Spiders will only appear once in a given formation. Not so in the Farmstead. Remember Ghouls, Unclean Giants, Brigand Bloodletters, and Bone Captains? There's a chance that you could end up fighting two of them at once now. Have fun.
- Nothing stops the game from simply spawning another large enemy to replace the one you just killed when facing a duo of them. Oh you played carefully and took down both at the same time? Here have another two of the same.
- Especially egregious are Swinetaur duo's. Swinetaur shift backwards to unleash either a forward charge in the form of a devestating single target attack with knockback/stun or full party AOE just as strong as the former. With two of them this means they play off each other, one charging forward to place the next one in the back for their turn. You effectively have two high hp enemies shredding your team to death with a good chance that killing one will just see it replaced by another Swinetaur.
- Also fun, each regular dungeon generally restricts its possible foes to its respective theme. When going into the Warrens, you know to bring a bleed team, while in the Ruins, you would generally avoid a bleed team. The Farmstead doesnt have those restrictions, so your team has to consist of generalists or risk getting stonewalled by the mobs most resistant to their strengths. Keep in mind generalist teams are "generally" a terrible strategy in Darkest Dungeon, especially for longer runs but here you are forced into them for an ENDLESS run.
- Enemies that can inflict diseases with their attacks go from mere nuisance to insidious threat when you're doing the Endless Harvest, as it takes just one unlucky hit to infect a party member with a potentially crippling ailment for the rest of that run, unless you brought along a hero who can cure diseases during camp.