Part 23: Darkest Dungeon: Belly of the BeastNew Update - Episode 60: Belly of the Beast
The third Darkest Dungeon mission tasks us with a simple mission: Activate the Locus Beacon. However, there's a catch: This is the only mission that is labeled as Exhausting, giving us 4 campfires to work with. Preparing for this mission is simple enough, though odds are you will be maxing out your inventory simply by packing enough food and torches to fit this expedition. If you find yourself pressed for inventory space, I would recommend prioritizing Antivenoms and Holy Water once you get your basic provisions out of the way. In terms of team composition, there's actually no new enemies around here but we will be facing more of those polyps and flesh hounds; I would highly recommend a plague doctor for this area to counter all the DoTs you'll be facing, a Houndmaster to fight all the beasts in the area, and/or whatever bleed-mans you enjoy working with since everything here is weak to bleed. Finally, if you completely ignored things at this point, camping skills are pivotal for this mission: Make absolutely sure you have encourage for stress management, any skills that buff blight resist, any skills that buff accuracy, and if you can afford it any skills that buff damage vs Size 2+ enemies.
The gimmick of this dungeon will readily make itself apparent no matter what path you take at the beginning since every possible path will lead you to the "Boss" of this zone: a fight with the Mammoth Cyst and his buddy the White Cell Stalk. The Mammoth Cyst gets 2 actions per turn so things such as debuffs and marks won't be as effective against him compared to say bleed or blight. His moveset however is pretty damn impressive. His main attack is Digest, which hits relatively hard but also has a hefty blight proc attached to it. This is probably the main reason why I recommend packing a stack of antivenoms and/or a plague doctor. His second attack is Bulging Gaze, which can hit 1-2 random people for decent damage alongside Stress damage. This is honestly the move you hope happens often, since with all the camping skills you can actually manage stress relatively well in this dungeon. His third attack is Revivify, which is not only a hefty self-heal but also buffs his damage by +25%. The Mammoth Cyst itself is relatively benign, however its the White Cell Stalk that's the big issue. The White Cell has a weird move kit that doesn't make it lethal but extremely threatening. The White Cell's main attack is Displace, which does light damage but also shuffles and displaces a target. The White Cell can also heal the main Cyst with Reconstitute, alongside buffing its speed and PROT. Its big kick-in-the-balls maneuver however is the skill Teleport, which removes you from the fight, sticks you in a random dead end in the dungeon, and odds are into another encounter. If you think killing the White Cell will stop the teleportation, the Mammoth Cyst's next action is guaranteed to be Summon, which revives the White Cell with its action. So you'd be merely delaying the inevitable.
Now here's where the gimmick comes into play: Your objective isn't to kill the Mammoth Cyst, its merely to find the Locus Beacon, wherever it may be. In terms of Mammoth Cysts, you will be fighting at least two but you will only need to kill the one guarding the Locus Beacon. The dungeon itself however has these Mammoth Cysts scattered at random points in the map as well, with the most localized near the start of the dungeon. This is why the dungeon is labeled as "exhausting;" While the dungeon itself isn't as huge once you get a good look at it, odds are you will be re-treading paths and getting worn down by fights just from being constantly teleported. Now the kicker: Mammoth Cysts don't get their HP back if you get teleported, and White Cells absolutely cannot use Teleport on the first round and the odds of them doing it goes up incrementally each round. Depending on what you've explored and how worn down you are, it would be better to play defensively against Mammoth Cysts and just bait the teleport until you unwittingly find the actual Locus Beacon. Once you find it, you can just react to wherever you wind up getting teleported to and just headbutt the boss to death. The main difficulty of this dungeon lies in finding the Beacon, being able to endure long missions, and plain old RNG.
The dungeon itself is rather unremarkable. The dungeon is packed with Flesh Hounds and Polyps, and there's really only three "new" enemies. Two of them are reskins of an old enemy: the Templar Gladiator and Templar Sniper are basically the boss fights of the second Darkest Dungeon mission, however they don't have Revelation at all and only have one action. They also guard very specific locations, so if you're lucky you will only fight them once. The actual new enemy is rather unimpressive: Antibodies are a rather simple creature that only has the attack Stunning Secretion in order to stun and deal moderate damage to a hero. The only treasure in this dungeon is in the top-right of this map if you didn't do every fight ever before this and not get all the ancestors accessories.
The video itself is a testament to the dumb amount of luck I have. If you noticed, the video's less than 30 minutes long. If you look up these up on youtube, you will typically see that this mission is anywhere between 1.5-2 hours long. The reason why is two-fold: Not only did I know where the Locus Beacon is, I both get teleported to possibly the safest dead end among the ones you can get teleported to, and when the final Cyst teleported me it sent me to that very same dead end. That alone saved a boat-load of time since I wasn't bogged down by encounters. As for team composition, I honestly feel like the team I used was the best possible layout: Hellion, Houndmaster, Plague Doctor and Vestal. The Hellion was drafted mainly because of her high damage output and the capacity to do bleed damage, however you can use any tanky DPS in this slot such as the Leper or the Abomination. Houndmaster is an obvious choice since, much like the last mission, pretty much everything here has the Beast type and is also susceptible to bleed. Plague Doctor doesn't add much in terms of offense since everything has high blight resist, however with all the blight damage you can take here Battlefield Medicine is a godsend for making the long trek bearable. Finally, Vestal because Vestal. Unlike the last mission however, things go swimmingly here since I have access to all my accessories and this teamcomp is quite robust in general. I feel like I prepared incredibly well for this mission and could've endured a two hour run, but thankfully my luck kicked into overdrive here and we manage to have a quick romp through this trial of a mission.
Next mission is Hell is in the Heart. It won't have a writeup since I don't want to spoil it. Also the LP ends technically.