Part 22: Darkest Dungeon: Lighting the WayNew Update - Episode 59: Lighting the Way
The second of the Darkest Dungeon quests finds us in a rather odd scenario, and I honestly find it to be the hardest mission bar-none.
To start off this write-up, I should mention that the game doesn't tell you one very important thing: This is the mission where you will probably want to use those Talismans of Light. They aren't mandated, but using them will save you a huge headache in general. This throws a huge wrench in the works, mainly because now you are effectively at 5/8ths capacity if you decide to use those trinkets. With that in mind, I would recommend gearing up for the defensive when loading up for this mission just because you still have an entire rest of the dungeon to deal with beyond the gimmick this dungeon prepares.
The mission itself is a long-tier one where you need to activate three curios in order to progress. The map itself is three "circular" zones, each linked by the T-intersection at the start and two corner-hallways on the north-west and north-east parts of the dungeon. Your target objectives lie on paths in the south-east/west junctions of the area along with the absolute north of the map. There is no absolutely safe path in this area sadly since there are encounters at every fork in the road to wear you down. To note, the north-east corner hallway holds a treasure chest that would hold an Ancestor Trinket for anyone who hasn't gotten them all, however for me it would be just cash so I don't bother with it. There are a couple new enemies in this area alongside the Cultists: We saw it once in the past dungeons but Malignant Growths are in full swing here, hitting your heroes with either high damage with high bleed DoTs, or a medium-damage stun at anyone. We also begin to see Defensive Growths as regular encounters, and much like their debut in the Shuffling Horror fight, they will mainly protect a target whilst getting a +PROT buff along with stealing the Bolster skill from the MaA, having their own heal-skill, and a full-party stress attack. That being said, the encounters here are tame compared to what follows up.
The three objectives are guarded by boss encounters of differing compositions; each one will either have a Templar Warlord or a Templar Impaler, alongside some new faces with the Flesh Hound and the Polyp. The big issue however is that the south-east objective has both the Warlord and the Impaler as its encounter, and its generally considered the hardest encounter in this map. I would generally recommend doing this fight first since you can either camp beforehand in order to buff up and hedge your bets, or camp afterward to cure all the injuries suffered in the fight. Either way, the Templars are the enemies that possess the skill Revelation, which is why you need the trinkets for this mission. Revelation will do heavy HP damage and Stress damage to anyone without a Talisman of Light, generally sending someone to half HP and halfway to a resolve test. Talismans of the Flame are also the only trinket that will protect against that skill at all, so any trinkets with -Stress or PROT will do nothing to that. Revelation also has the interesting quirk of (usually) being the first attack the Templars use, so stuns can be useful in manipulating the damage output of these guys. Outside of that awful skill, both templars have Torment which wears down your front row with high damage, the Warlord has Body Slam for a high damage move that stuns and sends people flying backward, and the Impaler has Stinger Shot for a full-party AoE with some blight damage to boot. MEANWHILE, the other two objective fights have a Warlord with two Polyps, or a Impaler with two Flesh Hounds. The Flesh Hounds have a basic attack with Gnash that does hefty damage at a threatening crit rate, alongside Fetch which acts as a stun that also pulls a target forward. Polyps are a bit more threatening imo, mainly because their primary attack Venomous Phlegm doing medium damage, high blight damage and also marking a target. Polyps also have Banish for decent damage and a two-space knockback, and also a pitiful move that they use at rank 1 called Violent Hack which is mainly used to get them in the back rows. These new ads are moderately powerful, but if you follow the RPG rule of killing minions first then they wont stick around to complicate things.
In terms of the team composition in todays update, I feel like it was the best possible team but with some minor hitches. Since you only have three Talismans and a team of four, naturally you want people with the Guard ability to protect the poor sap without a trinket. A thing to note in general that is *very* important: while Man at Arms and Houndmasters both have a guard ability, the HM's guard only lasts until the next turn while the MaA's will last two turns, so you should be using the MaA's first and foremost and only use the HM's as a backup plan. That being said, a Houndmaster is very good here because the big encounters here are all beasts and they come with an innate favored-enemy trait against beasts. While there was an innate synergy with the Houndmaster and the Arbalest, I never had the opportunity to exploit this during a boss fight because each of the Templars get two actions which results in marks fading away much sooner. On a minor note however, I would not recommend using the spiked collar on a Houndmaster like I did because this is a long mission and the heal debuff is kind of a pain when you need to endure across two camps and three boss fights. Another thing to note: much like the last mission, everything here is susceptible to Bleed damage, however I couldn't quite figure out how to muscle in bleed damage onto this team so if you have an idea for that I would recommend going for it. In general though, this team was perfectly robust for the circumstances, however in the video itself I kept getting hit with crits which forced me into a more defensive mindset.
Following this mission comes Belly of the Beast, which has the potential to be the longest mission in general.
One final note: The wiki is rife with outdated info, and I don't know if this happens personally, but be absolutely sure to activate the shrines once you get to them. Supposedly if you leave a mission objective without activating it, you cannot interact with the curio at all which makes the mission unbeatable. Which also means one person on your team will die since you are forced to retreat. If this is patched out I'll edit this out, but this is a bullshit glitch of the highest degree and should be known about.