Ascalon Catacombs (AC) is a level 35 dungeon that is the first players can undertake in Guild Wars 2. Like the other dungeons in Tyria, there are 3 paths with several bosses overlapping between them all. In this second guide to AC, we take a look at route two: “Detha’s”.
I’ve placed this here, under “The Basics” because Burrows (which spawn Gravelings) make up a huge portion of Ascalon Catacombs. You can identify Burrows because they erupt from the ground as muddied tunnel with a gaping entrance. As soon as you see one beginning to appear (there is a clear rumbling animation on the ground) head straight to the location and use area of effect skills. If the Burrow surfaces, have your melee places strafe round it while attacking to ensure they hit it (it is sometimes bugged) while your spell casters continue to AOE.
Gravelings are small lizard like creatures that follow the larger variants. They are relatively easy to kill but can overwhelm in large numbers. Using Area of Effect skills is the best course of action for dealing with these.
These are large Gravelings that have the ability to spawn their smaller counterparts. If left unchecked they can quickly spew out dozens, making your parties life incredibly difficult. If you can keep the Breeder in one place, using AOE attacks on it will quickly kill any Gravelings that come out its mouth.
Pro-Tip: If you have a mesmer in your party, tell them to equip Feedback Bubble. If they cast this over a Breeder, any Gravelings they spawn will be under YOUR parties control. How cool is that?
Howlers are similar in size to Breeders and let out Area of Effect conal “shouts” that can cause considerable damage. The best thing you can do in this situation is watch for their animation (their arms spread out and their mouth opens) before dodging out the way. Alternatively, attack the Howlers from behind to avoid it all together.
The equivalent of a hammer warrior with their knockdowns, it can be difficult to escape a Scavenger if you’re repeatedly knocked to the ground. Attacking these from behind similarly to Howlers is effective, alternatively keeping them at range works just as well. I would add that killing Scavengers first should be your top priority as they really can hurt.
Small and poisonous these tend to arrive in large numbers with some being silver elite versions. If you don’t have a conditional removal skill it’s highly likely you’ll suffer considerable health loss in a very short space of time. Like Gravelings, using area of effect skills here is incredibly effective while saving your condition removal just for the right moment.
I’ve placed these here, as opposed to under the “Bosses” section because the Cave Troll might not always appear. You’ll know when it does because it’s large, bursts through a random wall and will run straight towards you. What I will add is that they’re incredibly easy to fight against, simply keep them at range and burst them down.
Not all paths in Ascalon will see you encounter Ghosts however, you definitely should be aware of them as they are the hardest enemies in the dungeon. All of the Ghosts replicate one of Guild Wars 2’s eight professions and have a set of skills from said profession. For example, the ranger has a knockback, the elementalist a Firestorm and necromancers life drains. In terms of kill priority, always ensure you kill the rangers and elementalists as these hit hard and fast and are more than capable of wiping out your entire group. Where the melee Ghosts are concerned, leave those until last as they can be easily kited.
Bosses – “Detha's Route”
All paths in Ascalon Catacombs lead through the Spider Queen and although experienced groups can avoid her with a little skill, it’s necessary to know what to do as she provides coin and tokens. In reality, she is little more than a “tank and spank” encounter but tricky based on her being very heavy on poison. Before the encounter, ensure everyone in the party has condition removal, in addition when you enter her room (either leaping over the fencing from the stairs above or through the entrance) move straight to the back of the room away from the exit. This will attract the smaller spiders which also poison. After killing them, target and kill the gargoyles on the walls to the right to prevent them from spewing fire. Once these are killed and the spiders are dead, the Queen will descend from the ceiling. The only thing you need to watch out for is her area of effect poison blasts which she spews out onto the floor. If you dodge these you should remain poison free. Other than that, ensure that melee players stand behind her to avoid any of her direct attacks.
- Ensure your party has condition removal skills before entering the room.
- I’d recommend attacking the smaller spiders, using Area of Effect skills, from the top of the stairs. After they are dead you can leap over the fence to the room below.
- Target the Gargoyles after the spiders as their flame blasts are easily avoided.
- When the Spider Queen descends, have melee players position themselves behind her as they can then easily avoid her poison spray.
- As a ranged player, prepare to dodge her Area of Effect poison attack to remain condition free. It can be difficult however as the AOE overlaps and has a very large radius.
I’ve included this under bosses based on the fact it can be as difficult as one. After killing the Spider Queen you have to exit the room up a ramp. The tunnel however is littered with spike traps and patrolling is a pack of 4 Gravelings (2 Scavengers, 1 Howler and 1 Breeder). The easiest method here is to have all but one of your party stay in the Spider Queen room, with one individual tasked to pull the pack. Once pulled, simply focus the Gravelings in the following order: Scavengers, Breeder, Howler. After killing the Gravelings, have one member of your party who can gain swiftness run up the tunnel after the traps disappear. Once at the top of the tunnel on your left is a chain which will disable the traps. An elementalist is exceptional here due to their speed and ability to leap distances with skills such as ride the lightening. After the traps have been disabled the rest of your party can join you.
- Pull the pack of Gravelings into the Spider Queens room.
- Focus on the Scavengers first, then the Breeder and lastly the Howler.
- Task one of your party with running through the tunnel once the spike traps have rescinded. Using swiftness and movement abilities is key here.
- Once at the top of the tunnel, pull the chain on the left-hand side of the exit to disable the traps.
I will stress now that Kohler can be avoided completely. If you want to keep your run time to a minimum simply climb the stairs and jump onto the edge and move around him. If however you’re a completionist and are seeking an extra chest of goodies, as well as bag of coin, you’ll have to fight him.
First and foremost, for unorganised groups it’s highly likely you will wipe a few times. Although for the most part he is a tank and spank, his Area of Effect scorpion wire can kill a party in seconds. First and foremost and contrary to many guides, killing his two ghosts makes life so much easier, as it gives you less to worry about and more space to move. Focus on either of his two ghosts and quickly kill them before returning your attention to Kohler.
The main thing you need to be aware of, as just mentioned, is his scorpion wire. When he draws his arm back and inwards he will unleash the hooks, pulling all players towards him and 99% of the time killing anyone effected. If you dodge just prior to him releasing you can avoid the pull or if you dodge just after being pulled you’ll avoid his subsequent damage. As a third method of defence you can utilise the pillars surrounding Kohler as a blocking object or skills such as Wall of Reflection.
Kohler’s second attack is a melee leap though this is easily identified (it has an extravagant animation) and easily avoided by just dodging out the way. If you can perfect the avoidance of his Area of Effect pull, you will easily kill him just don’t expect to have a perfect run on your first time.
- Kill the ghosts flanking Kohler as quickly as possible. This frees up space to move and leaves you with less to worry about.
- Pay attention to Kohlers animations. If he pulls his arm back and inwards, he is about to pull you all to him.
- Time your dodges at this point to avoid the pull or stand behind nearby pillars.
- If you get pulled, dodge at the point of impact and you should avoid most of the damage.
- Using skills such as Wall of Reflection will also save you from the pull.
- Be aware of his second leap attack. This has a clear animation similar to a rangers sword skill (viper striker). Just dodge out of the way when he does it.
Room Of Pits
This encounter might appear difficult at first but it’s incredibly easy and incredibly quick. After defeating Kohler you’ll head down into a long rectangular chamber that has an altar towards the back and a series of pull chains. Interacting with these chains results in a series of spikes erupting from the floor, in the water below. When the encounter begins, Gravelings with rush from the back of the room towards the altar (and thus over the spikes) to attack Detha. All you and your party need to do is keep the Gravelings in the middle of the room (away from the altar) so that the spikes, operated by your party, can kill them.
The best tactic here is to have 3 members of your party operate the spikes (one to the front left lever, one to the middle and one to the front right) while the remaining 2 stand in the water in front of Detha. The two tanking at the front will then distract the Graveling’s long enough for them to be spiked, providing Detha enough time to do what she has to do. You will need to keep this up for 20 seconds before the encounter is considered “complete”, at which point you can loot the chest and exit the room, even if there are Graveling’s left.
- Place 3 members of your party on the chains (front left, middle and front right).
- Have 2 members of your party stand in the water, in the middle to hold the aggro of the Graveling’s.
- Time the activation of the spikes for when there are large amounts of Graveling’s present as the recharge time is quite long.
- While your chain is recharging, if you have ranged AOE skills it’s a good idea to use them on the Graveling’s before re-using the chain.
- Once you’ve survived the onslaught for 20 seconds, the chest will appear for you to loot.
- You can exit the room and ignore any remaining Graveling’s.
Easily the most difficult part of the dungeon is the final part before the end boss. As with the previous encounters, you have to defend Detha while she repairs three cannons. When Detha fixes a cannon (roughly 30%) a series of ghosts, of varying professions, will spawn. At this point I’d sincerely suggest you kill the Elementalists and Rangers first followed by monks, mesmers, necromancers and warriors. Personally, I always target the Rangers immediately as their single target attacks really hurt and can kill players in seconds. I then target Elementalists because although they hit hard, their attacks are easier to avoid. When the first wave of Ghosts are killed, Detha will finish the repairs and work her way to the next cannon, where she will once again begin the repairs, with more ghosts appearing for a total of 3 waves. Once all the cannons are repaired, the encounter is finished and the final boss will appear.
- Detha will always repair the lower left hand cannon first, followed by the lower right and upper middle.
- Target the ghosts in the following order: Ranger, Elementalist, Monk, Mesmer, Necromancer and Warrior.
- The Elementalist and Necromancer ghosts can cause a great deal of AOE effects so ensure you stay out of their fire.
- If Detha dies, you will have to start again so ensure you protect her.
- Using skills such as Feedback are an excellent way of combating the heavy hitting Rangers.
- Don’t forget to loot the chest!
The Ghost Eater
The easiest boss in all of Ascalon Catacombs is very similar to the Howling King in Hodgins path with the exception that he doesn’t have his shout, but retains his burrowing attack. Replacing the shout is a skill which causes oozes to appear that do little or no damage. All you and your party need to do here is tank-and-spank, while killing any oozes that appear. It’s also useful if one of your party members uses the Frost cannon to keep the Graveling chilled.
- Have one member of your party man the Frost cannon
- Attack the Patriarch
- Kill any spawned Oozes