Part 20: Miniboss Guide: The Shrieker
The Shrieker is a strange and unique fight in Darkest Dungeon compared to everything else in the game. The big thing to note about this fight is that you do not get to choose when to fight it; fighting the Shrieker is entirely based on town events, one of them involving it stealing 8 trinkets lying in your storage, and the other one an active hunt in order to get a unique accessory. Either way, the Shrieker tends to throw a wrench into your plans as it swoops in to ruin your day.
Since the Shrieker itself is a mission you deploy for, there's an opportunity to prepare for the fight. One major thing to note though: The mission itself leads right into the fight, so packing things such as Food, torches, shovels and keys are generally worthless. Pack items such as medicinal herbs, holy water and band-aids to make the fight much easier. In terms of team-comp, this is one of the few fights where I highly recommend gearing toward the offensive: Hellion/Bounty Hunter/Man at Arms on front for a durable pointman with versatile ranges, Graverobber/Houndmaster for your high speed ranged damage, Occultist/Arbalest for a good back-row offense that can also panic heal, and naturally a Vestal because of course you bring a vestal.
The Shrieker itself is a unique and threatening boss: It has high HP values, stupidly high DODGE, and the kicker being that he has three actions per turn. Because of this, Marks and Debuffs are wholly worthless since they burn out super quickly, to the point where stacking them is practically impossible. There's also a Shrieker Nest on the field, but it does absolutely nothing so don't worry about it. The shrieker itself has 5 attacks, with one of them being a devastating gimmick. His first attack is Peck, which hits anyone with a high amount of damage, a bleed proc, a stupidly high crit rate, and moves him to the front row. His second attack is Caw, which hits anyone for a bunch of stress damage. His third attack is Regurgitate, which can hit 1-2 targets at random for low damage, a Debuff that reduces ACC, and also has a 15% chance to disease you. His fourth attack, which admittedly I have yet to see, is Call the Murder, hits everyone with a chance to do mild stress damage, moves the Shrieker to the back row, and boosts his speed by a ludicrous amount. His final attack however, which will only be done as his final action on the 4th turn, is Shrieking Flight, which does a boatload of stress damage to everyone guaranteed and has the Shrieker escape from battle.
Now while the fight does seem overwhelming with his action economy and huge dodge, there's one fact that the game never tells you: Victory doesn't demand killing the Shrieker. If you merely survive all the way to when he uses Shrieking fight, which is technically a punishment for not killing him, you still win the quest. Killing him also doesn't stop the mission from spawning anymore like it does with Brigand Vulf, so this mission is basically an endurance trial against a volley of devastating attacks. You don't even get a cool reward for killing such a busted boss, so there's really no incentive to killing him. There's one more nugget of information the game doesn't tell you: Remember the Nest I told you not to worry about? Well if you kill that, you get anywhere between 1-5 Puzzling Trapezohedrons after the fight. With these plot twists in mind, the real fight in a Shrieker mission is surviving the onslaught of attacks while trying to break the nest for sweet monetary rewards.
As mentioned before, the two opportunities for fighting a Shrieker involve getting your stolen accessories back, or hunting it for a unique accessory. If you're lucky enough to get the shrieker accessory town event, you have a chance of getting one of 4 unique accessories, all of them sharing a theme of promoting low-torch/dark runs:
Distended Crowseye: +10 ACC, +33% Disease Resist @ <75 Torch, +18% Scouting @ <50 Torch, +16% Stress
Callous Talon: +5% Crit, +33% Disease Resist @ <75 Torch, +18% Bleed Chance @ <50 Torch, +16% Stress
Molted Wingfeather: +10 DODGE, +33% Disease Resist @ <75 Torch, +33% Move Resist @ <50 Torch, +16% Stress
Molted Tailfeather: +4 SPD, +33% Disease Resist @ <75 Torch, +33% Stun Resist @ <50 Torch, +16% Stress
Shrieker missions also offer a chance at getting one of 6 unique quirks, known as Corvid's Quirks:
-Corvid's Eye: +8 ACC, +8% Scouting Chance
-Corvid's Grace: +6 Dodge, +25% Move resist
-Corvid's Resilience: +33% Disease Resist
-Corvid's Blindness: -10 ACC @ >50 Torch
-Corvid's Appetite: +33% Chance to auto-examine food curios
-Corvid's Curiosity: +27.5% Chance to auto-examine every curio
Compared to the other midbosses in this game, I feel like Corvid is the easiest midboss out there and has way better rewards by comparison than the Shambler and the Collector. This may be why it only appears at random since he feels more like a prize to seek out rather than a boss that actively tries to ruin your day.