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That One Boss / Arknights

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Arknights boasts a wide variety of boss encounters designed to challenge players, and while difficulty is often justified for boss battles, there are a couple among them that seem designed to make Doctors pull their hair out.

  • Skullshatterer, who is fought twice in the main story alone. Packing extremely high HP and a huge ATK stat, they deal really high ranged AoE damage with their grenade launcher on top of temporarily cleaving your operators' defense in half, opening them up for more damage from themselves or other physical enemies. Not only are they capable of both ranged and melee strikes, their damage output is far worse when they're blocked, since their melee attacks hit a lot harder than their grenades. Once Skullshatterer gets below half health, they'll gain a 50% ATK boost. If you can't kill them quickly at this point, they can wreck your entire defensive line very fast with their AOE damage and devastating melee strikes. While their first boss fight is manageable, the 2nd boss fight against them can be rage inducing due to their inflated stats. While their second stage gives you defense boost tiles, it's pretty pointless once they turn red. Even top tier Defenders well above the recommended level and placed on the defense tile will be cleaved in half very quickly if said Defender isn't backed up by several Medics.
  • Faust of maps 5-10, H5-4, 6-7, Deserted Factory and FA-7. He's a very (read: insanely) hard-hitting, global-range Sniper enemy who cannot be harmed for the entire duration of his first phase due to his stealth, which lasts for two and a half minutes. During this time he will casually snipe your operators from across the map with disturbingly powerful shots from his crossbow - and every once in a while, he will launch a Critical Hit that deals enough damage to punch through even sturdy defenders. On top of the constant damage they're already taking from nearby enemies, even sturdy defensive lineups can easily crumble thanks to his interference. To make things even more annoying, he will also periodically summon invincible ballista turrets that ramp things Up to Eleven, necessitating that your deployment order must be on point and your lineup be beefy enough to tank all of that - sending in anyone after the operator who is supposed to tank it, is basically sending them to death since Faust will target them instead of your tank, so it is important that the healer who is banking on them is deployed first. Oh, and he also can't be blocked, making it impossible to stall his advance once he gets moving, especially since he also high HP. Now try escorting your squishy DPS units through all that mess because you need them to kill Faust.
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    • Faust stars as the main boss of Operation Blade's permanent map, which not only lets him take advantage of all the global contracts, but also gives him two particular contracts to specifically buff him further. Sharp Arrow buffs his stats and lets him spam ballista turrets that have heavily boosted damage to pressure the whole map simultaneously, while Snake's Eye one buffs his already high ATK even more (but buffs his defenses less than the alternative) while letting him spam critical hits that deal One-Hit Kill levels of damage.
      • However, while the ballistas can be dealt with with very good healing and the crits can be soaked if you can count to five (seven if Snake's Eye wasn't taken) and use fast-redeploy units to take the hits, the real threat is the ridiculous HP and DEF buffs it gives Faust. Even if you can completely neutralize his attacks, you will still have major problems getting through his absurdly high HP pool, especially if combined with other contracts, and since you cannot block him, the DPS check to kill him before he struts into the blue box becomes rather tight.
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    • The Rusthammer Warrior found in Ceobe's Fungimist is even worse, despite being a Palette Swap of Faust. While he can no longer deploy turrets, he has higher stats and a critical hit that deals Arts damage, letting him One-Hit Kill tanky units that would normally laugh at Faust. Furthermore, his backup is also substantially stronger than the minions that usually accompany Faust into battle. It is fairly impossible to have someone who can tank all the damage plus the Arts bolt, and if you encounter him, you can only hope you have a Fast-Redeploy like Gravel or a Summon Supporter like Scene in your roster to take the Arts bolts.
  • FrostNova of 4-10, 6-16, and H6-4 takes the cake, mostly because of her very annoying arsenal of skills rather than her raw stats.
    • While FrostNova's power comes from her skills, she's still an Arts caster with respectable stats, meaning she will still be dealing heavy ranged damage. She can also periodically fire a radial nova that deals Arts damage to everything around her while severely lowering their attack speed, making killing her all the more difficult.
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    • From the get-go, the most aggravating thing she can do to you is fouling certain tiles with magical ice, which instantly eliminates any operator standing on them regardless of health, on top of making them permanently off-limits. This can severely screw with your unit placement, especially during Auto Mode, considering its already-wonky AI note . Worse still is that whichever tiles she denies are mostly random, unless you can coax her out by placing some operators in her way as bait, or by bursting her down quickly enough to transition her into her second phase, which has an entirely different skill set. In her Chapter 6 encounter, she can freeze even more tiles at once once she Turns Red, up to 4 tiles at once in H6-4.
    • Speaking of second phase. FrostNova generally takes more effort to put down than other Reunion bosses due to her reviving herself upon her first defeat, which also makes her into a walking powerhouse that can burst down your operators very quickly with her buffed attack. It's possible to cancel out this revival with careful application of Shift operators with upgraded skills to jostle her before this ability kicks in, but it's impractical to do and doesn't always guarantee success. In her rematch, it's even worse, since she gets a sizable chunk of invulnerability after reviving.
    • Later on, during the Chapter 6 encounter, all of her attacks can now inflict a freeze that completely immobilizes your operators if she can hit them two consecutive times, and she can keep this up permanently on whoever she's targeting. In addition, not only does her radial nova cover a huge area after she revives, it now deals double damage to frozen operators, allowing FrostNova to deal a disturbing amount of burst damage to a huge number of operators at once. And that's with the ice crystals and ice-based enemies already present on the map. This is one of the few places where Ceylon and her debuff duration reduction really shines.
    • That being said, compared to the ridiculous situation that is the prevalent Cold damage of Chapter 6, FrostNova seems like a cakewalk by comparison, as she's almost always encountered separately from the main bulk of her army, who are arguably the actual threats due to their sheer numbers and the extra damage they deal to frozen operators. Short of H6-4, FrostNova can be very quickly dealt with by a decent damage dealer like Exusiai, and some clever placement of stall tanks to weather out her invulnerability period. To make it a little bit more tangible, stage 6-16 is the first boss stage where most guides just tell you to bring a 6-star operator.
  • The Heart of Surging Flame event introduced Pompeii, who will quickly teach players not to underestimate it just because it's an Originium Slug. It's telling that when the Obsidian Festival Rerun rolled around, many players thoroughly enjoyed returning with much stronger forces to tear it a new one.
    • From the get-go, it has a massive amount of HP, and its whopping 70% RES makes most Casters all but useless against it. That being said, it has low DEF by comparison, making operators who deal high physical damage ideal to use against it. Hellagur in particular trivializes the fight due to often being able to outpace Pompeii's damage output with his own self-healing, while dealing heavy burst damage in turn with his skills.
    • However, its main claim to power is its ability to simultaneously hit four operators at once with its Arts attacks. Ever wondered how Reunion mooks feel being roasted by Eyjafjalla? Because it will teach you. While it has rather low attack for a boss, its fireballs also inflict a nasty burn debuff that can quickly pile on damage when combined with its constant barrages. All of this allows Pompeii to ravage groups of operators at once from a range longer than most casters, and Pompeii dealing Arts damage means that it's going to be hitting right through your units' DEF. It's basically the same as Eyjafjalla's Volcano, but running on infinite duration. If you don't pile on the Medics, be prepared to suffer a Total Party Kill or two when fighting the behemoth.
    • Not to mention that when Pompeii is blocked, it is able to unleash a devastating AoE eruption that deals an obscene amount of Arts damage, potentially instantly killing all squishier units in the vicinity.
    • Once it hits half health, Pompeii gains a substantial attack speed boost. If not killed quickly after this point, it can handily bury your entire team under its rapid-fire lava volleys.
    • All that being said, handling one Pompeii isn't as difficult as it used to be, so in order to make Pompeii threatening again, FA-6 from Rewinding Breeze rectifies the problem, by sending a second Pompeii.
  • The Rat King from Code of Brawl can be a tough nut to crack, not necessarily because of his stats, but because you absolutely have to devote a good chunk of your unit placement if you don't want to get destroyed by his skills.
    • Every 15 seconds, he'll hit the Operator with the highest max HP on the map with Singing Sands, a veritable nuke of an attack that deals very high physical damage in a large cross. If they're a melee operator, they'll probably be able to take it, but its range is so massive that squishier ranged units will almost certainly be caught in the blast unless you took measures to put them out of the way beforehand.
    • He'll also periodically hit the lowest HP unit with Sand Tomb, which deals Arts damage over time in a wide area. While its damage will kill units without medic support, it isn't too bad, but the problem arises with the 70% ATK debuff it nails any unit within the tornado with. Since it targets the lowest health unit, it'll almost certainly be hitting a damage dealer, severely lowering your damage output against him and his flunkies. Worse still, it affects Medics, meaning your healing will also be neutered.
    • His skills have a global range and can't be stopped, meaning that your formation absolutely has to be built around him. In this process, you risk leaving other paths open for attack, especially when he's accompanied by stronger enemies that will engage you from the other side of the map.
    • As an Arts caster with above-average ATK, he's going to be punching holes in your units whenever he's not casting his abilities, although his durability is on the low side for a boss. That would be a significant weakness if he didn't also spawn with a barrier that gives him 3000 DEF, making it borderline impossible to burst him down with physical damage. You can take out the barrier with Arts, but considering that it takes anywhere from 14,000 to 22,000 Arts damage before going down coupled with Sand Tomb debuffing your casters, it might take a while.
    • Once he's below half health, all his attacks and abilities will start dealing more damage. You best hope you're prepared to finish the job, because a boosted Singing Sands or Sand Tomb will hurt.
  • Patriot, good god. Mere hours after his debut in the Chapter 7, he was already being hailed as the toughest boss in the entire game, and for good reason. Not only are his stats extremely high, he has a large number of skills to make any Doctor pull their hair out in rage.
    • Passively, Patriot activates the special skills of all Guerrilla enemies on the map, which grants them bonus stats and occasionally new attacks. He also grants every enemy a +20% ATK buff and +200 DEF just by existing - and yes, this includes himself.
    • He enters the map in a defensive stance which grants him tripled DEF and doubled RES (which is 2100 DEF and 90% RES if you factor in his buffs). In this state, nearly everything deals Scratch Damage to him, leaving true damage like Amiya's S3 or a lot of stacked DEF/RES debuffs the only way to actually hurt the guy. The stage does give you true-damaging land mines to use against him, but you only have 15, and other enemies may detonate them (of note are the swarm of jetpacks that drop in partway in the fight and walk through the area you fight Patriot in, detonating most of the mines you plant there). Worse yet, he has an active taunt that makes all nearby Operators target him instead of, say, the horde of lethal and super-buffed enemies rushing at you (As an extra layer of 'screw you', this taunt has higher priority than that of Guerilla Shielders, making it even harder to dispose of those already extremely strong enemies). And the cherry on top is that he also has an effective 70% ATK bonus in this state, along with his attacks being a combo that strikes 4 times consecutively.note  Nothing short of invulnerability will save anyone he decides to attack in this state.note 
    • If you bring him down, you're not out of the park yet - taking a leaf out of his daughter Frostnova's book, he will become invincible and slowly revive himself, while gaining an aura that deals a disturbing amount of true damage over time to every Operator near him. And once he revives - good luck, because while he's not Nigh-Invulnerable anymore nor can he Draw Aggro, he still gets substantial attack and defense buffs, while retaining his burning aura. Oh, and he can No-Sell stuns now.
    • In his second phase, Patriot's attacks are now able to hit both melee and ranged tiles, letting him kill off your damage dealers just as easily as he does your tanks. He also gains a lethal ability used every 15-20 seconds where he throws his spear at the furthest ranged operator, dealing enough damage to instantly kill them regardless of who they arenote .
    • If that wasn't enough already, Patriot also returns in H7-4. Not only does he have even higher stats, much stronger backup, and a legion of Guerilla Shieldguard Leaders to protect him, this state doesn't give you any Interference Mines to help. Good luck!
  • Twilight of Wolumonde allows us to get acquainted with Mudrock pretty quickly, whose already massive bulk is amplified even more by virtue of them having a barrier skill like the Rat King. It gives the boss significant HP and ASPD buffs as long as it exists, and while it can be taken out with Arts damage, unlike the Rat King's shield it will be periodically refreshed. Not only that, stalling the boss is nigh impossible for long periods of time without any invulnerability skill/talent or slow debuffers because Mudrock's Gathering Steam ability permanently increases their ATK every time they hit something, letting them stack attack power like no tomorrow up to a whopping 360% ATK buff. Coming off of a minimum of 800 ATK, that ATK is no joke especially with the ASPD boost from their shield, letting them instantly kill most Operators sent in to block them. However, what cements the boss as a difficult one is the fact that they can instantly hijack any Gramophone tower closest to their current location every 35 seconds after spawning. With how important Gramophones are in taking down Colossi and preventing enemy healing, it is imperative that that the player take down Mudrock as fast as possible before the situation quickly grows out of control. This is most definitely not a trivial issue, due to all of the aforementioned issues listed above, plus Mudrock can potentially receive significant amounts of healing from any Gramophone tower they hijacked to undo all your hard-fought progress.
    • Mudrock returns with a vengeance in Operation Lead Seal's permanent map as part of a Dual Boss with Big Bob. While their HP is slightly lower and they don't have any gramophones to hijack, they're still a massive threat since their stats will be buffed by the risks you're taking on top of their pathing taking them over an Active Originium tilenote - particularly, the contract that buffs them and Big Bob will significantly increase all of their stats while making their Deflector Shields both significantly stronger and faster-regenerating, making them even deadlier while giving them an unholy amount of bulk. If Mudrock manages to meet up with one of their Colossi, Big Bob, or both, you're almost certainly dead unless you have some nuclear area attacks that can deal with their insane combined bulk.
      • Oh, and about there being no Gramophones for them to hack. There are Mudrock Colossi on the map, and you're going to have to figure out how to nuke them down. While this means Mudrock won't be turning them on you, it does mean you need crazy DPS to take down the Colossi and likely won't be able to structure your team from taking down Mudrock, who's still as absurdly overpowered as ever.
  • The Lost Colossus from Ceobe's Fungimist can be a real hair-puller. While its DEF is decent at best and its RES is abysmal, its titanic HP and very strong ATK still makes it very difficult to take down, especially since its status as a relatively early boss means you may not have very strong Operators yet. However, what cements it as a Goddamned Boss is that it can periodically throw a ranged attack that deals massive damage and stuns the target for a whopping 25 seconds. While it won't target anyone who's already stunned, it doesn't make it much less threatening - the attack has a cooldown of only 13 seconds, so one person will be stunned at any given time. Using this ability, the Colossus can easily cripple key DPS units and prevent them from fighting back, or stun your blocking units so the other enemies can walk right through them.
  • Both of the secret bosses of Ceobe's Fungimist can be hair-pulling, especially because the mode's nature as a Roguelike means you might not have all the tools to combat them. Fittingly, they're both heavily upgraded Moveset Clones of other bosses on this list. And if you thought you can just let them through because Integrated Strategies doesn't deduct rewards for leaks, they inflict a life loss of 30 to make sure that thought remains nothing but a thought.
    • The Frozen Monstrosity is a caster boss like FrostNova who inflicts the cold status on all her attacks and can also use a highly damaging AoE burst to deal heavy damage all around her which is doubled against frozen targets, except hers hits even harder than FrostNova's. Unlike FrostNova, however, she has 1500 DEF and 80 RES at base, letting her take Scratch Damage from just about everything and making her low HP a non-issue. Like FrostNova, she still retains annoying abilities like summoning Originium Ice Crystals to help her freeze Operators, coming with a slew of Yeti Squad enemies to exploit the ice elements on the stage, and reviving herself with a period of invincibility upon death - but not only does her revive now give her a massive ATK and HP boost, making her tankier and harder-hitting, but she's also invincible for 80 seconds when first spawned to ensure you can't spawn-kill her. But the worst part is that if a unit under the frozen status is retreated, she doubles their redeployment time - considering that every Operator in the squad is usually important for this mode, and that most Operators on the level will die from being frozen, this can quickly sap your reinforcements until the boss wipes out your squad and you find out that you have nobody left to stop her.
    • Meanwhile, Gravestone is a variant of Skullshatterer with much higher stats to make him even deadlier. He retains the AoE ranged grenades that deal much heavier damage than Skullshatterer's did (although they lose the DEF-shredding property), as well as a melee attack that can take down most melee operators in a few hits at most. In addition, he adopts Mudrock's regenerating Deflector Shields, which now withstand damage equal to 10% of his max HP and protect him from all damage types instead of just Arts (although he doesn't get any buffs while it's up). But the kicker is that his stage has a challenge condition that halves all operator ATK and DEF, cuts DP regen in half, and doubles all redeployment times. It's like having to fight an already powerful boss with an array of Contingency Contracts active - suddenly, all your units are severely crippled, and Gravestone goes from hard to nigh-unstoppable unless you got yourself a team built to counter him, and even then expect him to tear through a good chunk of your team before going down. Fortunately, his backup is usually not a problem as long as you kill off Gravestone before the last few stronger waves start advancing.
  • Talulah, fought on JT-8-2, is extremely dangerous as expected of Reunion's leader.
    • While her ranged attacks only deal 40% of her ATK as Arts damage, she deals true damage on her melee attacks, on a significant minimum attack stat of 1500. Defense and Resistance are both useless here, so you best hope you never let her get close enough to strike lest she instantly cut down your Defenders like they aren't there.
    • She will periodically use Corona, which deals very heavy Arts damage in a wide radius around her. The massive radius of 2.5 tiles combined with her 1500-1800 attack will severely cripple anything hit, but it's especially damning to ranged operators who, unless heavily buffed, are liable to get one-shotted due to their Low HP Pools.note 
    • She will periodically apply Burning Breath to any one of your operators not already under its effect for 30 seconds, where the affected operator will take true damage over time which rapidly escalates in intensity as the debuff lingers. This attack has a global range and will kill just about any operator if they're not backed up by medics.
    • Once she falls under half health, things get even more hectic, as her defense will be doubled to 1400 and her RES boosted to 90%, making her almost as bulky as Patriot (While her DEF isn't as high as Patriot, very few sources of physical damage can actually continuously deal more than Scratch Damage to a 1400 defense Talulah) On top of that, her cooldowns for Corona and Burning Breath are significantly reduced, meaning your healing will be swiftly overwhelmed while Talulah spams wide-range Arts on everything nearby.
      • In the Challenge Mode condition of JT-8-2, she starts off in this enraged state. Not only does this mean she can instantly spam Burning Breath like no tomorrow before even engaging combat (and later spam Corona to instantly wipe your team), but it's even harder to kill her since she'll have her inflated defenses for the entire battle.
    • When she's first battled, there is also an Active Originium tile on her path. And if she reaches it with a reasonable amount of HP in stock, you're done for, because the +50% ATK and +50% attack speed will let her swiftly obliterate any defense you can muster, particularly once she's enraged and spamming nuclear Coronas.
    • We also haven't discussed the fact that Talulah is fought on the left half of the map. The right half is dedicated to fighting mooks, and there are also a lot of them. You need to leave behind at least 2 and possibly more operators to take care of the Marauders and Shock Troopers coming from the right, leaving you with less operators to fight Talulah with.
  • As the True Final Boss of the Reunion arc, The Deathless Black Snake on JT-8-3 takes everything that made Talulah difficult Up to Eleven and becomes a borderline SNK Boss.
    • Her basic attacks can hit Melee or Ranged operators, deal massive amounts of true damage, and apply Burning Breath on hit, dealing increasing true damage over 30 seconds.
    • Your operators affected by Burning Breath deal half damage to her. Not only is this a problem because she now has many ways to inflict the debuff (including her basic attacks), this means that her HP is effectively doubled unless you can carefully time and position units to avoid her attacks and abilities. Considering that her HP is already among the highest of all the bossesnote , this makes an already bulky boss even more difficult to take out, letting her shrug off attacks from things that'd normally instantly kill any other enemy, and outright laugh off anything less.
    • Her global Burning Breath attack now targets two operators at once, and she can now cause all friendly units with Burning Breath to explode, dealing massive Arts damage to them and other operators near them. Operators hit by the explosion get afflicted with Burning Breath, though operators that explode lose the Burning Breath effect. She can also use this detonation alarmingly often considering how much havoc it can inflict, and if she has a large number of units affected with Burning Breath when she detonates them, you can say goodbye to about half your lineup since the explosions can overlap.
      • Oh, and on H8-4, if The Deathless Black Snake doesn't have an operator (or summon) to apply Burning Breath to, she will apply it to the civilians which can lead to them swiftly dying and effectively failing the mission.
    • Once she's killed for the first time, Endless Inferno triggers, summoning 10 waves of fireballs (one fireball per horizontal lane, coming from the left) that hit friendly units for obscene amounts of Arts damage. If you don't have Nightingale then expect your entire deployed squad to be wiped off the map. While this is happening, the enemies will gleefully try to sneak through, which is deadly because any operators you deploy to block them will get roasted by the fireballs.
    • Phase 2 begins here, with The Deathless Black Snake reviving to full and getting a 50% HP and ATK boost, as well as becoming invincible for 10 seconds. She also starts to summon energy crystals that explode into more fireballs (though this time applying Burning Breath and dealing more damage) unless they're taken out first.
    • When you kill her a second time, she gives you a final proverbial middle finger right before she dies for real, triggering Endless Inferno again and potentially wiping your squad out a second time. Not to mention that at the same time, more Hounds try to sneak past and the second wave of enemies starts to spawn in, which will likely be able to overpower your defense after it's been crippled by Talulah and the Endless Inferno.
    • Despite the SNK Boss nature of this fight, that is not to say it is completely impossible or require E2 Nightingale. It is fully possible to beat the stage using solely 3 or 4* rarity operators. In fact, someone has done it before, however note , as most 3 and 4* operators on their own are not as good as 5 or 6*, players will most likely require advanced knowledge of pattern and timing of the stage down to a tee as well as some skill masteries. In short, prepare for a difficult fight regardless.
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