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 third guide to AC, we take a look at route three: “Tzark'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 – “Tzark'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 unorganized 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.
The hardest part of the entire dungeon is The Lovers and requires parties to kill a series of spawning Graveling Burrows that are intent on destroying Tzark’s beacons. Without a high damage group you’ll not only find this encounter difficult but almost impossible. The key to success is to burst the burrows down one by one before they even spawn a single Graveling. This then provides enough time to wait for the next burrow to spawn without pressure. Burrows will spawn every 10 seconds with the burrow spawn pattern the same every time. If you fail and the beacons are destroyed the encounter will reset. Making use of Hundred Blades, Time Warp and high damage area of effect skills will allow you to kill the burrows incredibly quickly. Although some guides propose to split the group, this really isn’t effective and is incredibly prone to failure.
- Ensure your party has high damage output even if it means adjusting your traits, skills and weapon sets.
- Have all your party attack spawning burrows, ensuring that you burst it down in less than 10 seconds.
- Using Ctrl + LMB to call a target on a burrow is a good way of quickly coordinating your team.
- If you fail to kill the very first burrow in less than 10 seconds, resulting in the second appearing, it’s highly likely you’ll fail. It’s sometimes easier to let the Graveling’s just kill the beacons to reset the encounter.
Hall of Champions
Without doubt the quickest and easiest part of the dungeon is the Hall of Champions. Similar to the burrows you’ve just killed, you’ll need to kill four more. The difference here is that the four burrows have already spewed a large amount of Graveling’s you will need to battle through. All you need to do is ignore the Graveling’s and burst down each burrow before moving onto the next. The Graveling’s are tethered relatively tight to their location meaning when you have killed a burrow and run to the next, they won’t follow allowing you to repeat the process until all 4 burrows are dead. Simple.
- Follow the same principals as the burrows previously killed by bursting them down as quickly as possible.
- Ignore the Graveling’s and concentrate all members of the party on one burrow at a time.
- When you’ve killed a burrow, run to the next while still ignoring the Graveling’s. Eventually they will return to their starting location allowing you to freely kill the next.
As a sexed up version of the Howling king, Colossus Rumblus retains all the King’s skills, with the exception that he adds an earthquake to his repertoire. When Colossus Rumblus uses his earthquake skill, a series of rocks will fall from the ceiling at very high speeds. Being hit by one will almost certainly result in your death but the opportunity to dodge them is also very slim as the red warning circle on the floor only appears milliseconds before the rock, giving you little chance to dodge. The best tactic here is to keep your distance and keep moving constantly. It should be noted that his AOE scream is wider than the Howling Kings (or bugged) meaning he can kill you well past his 180 degree arc. Ensure you stand well back and behind him at all times.
- Keep an eye out for the earthquake attack or the falling rocks. You’ve very little time to react so will need to pay close attention to the red circles on the ground.
- Always ensure you are behind the Colossus Rumblus as his conal scream will kill you instantly, even if to the side of him.
- Be aware he can still tunnel so be sure to save a dodge for when he does.