One of the first bosses players will come across in Stoneshard is the Archon. This is a rather challenging fight for newcomers, as he has a few powerful abilities, and that’s before he turns into the Ascended Archon.
How to beat the Archon and Ascended Archon
For those players that dive into the tutorial (which should be everyone), the Archon marks a massive spike in difficulty. This boss is the one thing standing between players experiencing the full game. There are two stages to this fight, the first is against the Archon and the second is against the Ascended Archon. Let’s tackle each fight in turn.
Fight 1: The Archon
When you walk into the room, a few words will be exchanged between Verren and the Archon, at which point the Archon will be shielded. This fight is actually against the two statues on either side of the Archon, as well as against some zombies.
The left statue has two abilities:
- Blood Puddle – Marks an area and on the next turn, pours a puddle of boiling blood on it. The puddle lasts for 2 turns. This is a move for the left statue
- Blood Clot – Launches a clot of blood at the target. This is a move for the left statue.
The right statue also has two abilities:
- Summon Zombie – Reanimates one of the bodies in the corpse pile. This is a move for the right statue.
- Unholy Ritual – Replenishes 50% of Max Health to all zombies and grants them +50% damage. This is a move for the right statue.
It’s a good idea to target the left statue first, as it has the highest potential to damage you. As you step toward it, make sure you choose a tile that is outside of the Blood Puddle. When you get in close, continue to attack it, moving around to avoid the Blood Puddle attack. As zombies get closer, move away to allow yourself more room to fight.
When the first statue is destroyed, shift your attention to the next one. This should go do much easier, especially if the zombies are summoned on the opposite side of the room.
With both statues defeated, the Archon will shove the Stoneshard into his head and transform into the Ascended Archon.
Fight 2: Ascended Archon
The fight against the Ascended Archon is the real difficulty spike in the Stoneshard tutorial. This beast is fast, deals a lot of damage, and is able to heal huge chunks of health. It has five abilities you need to contend with, so knowing what they are is critical to your success:
- Bestial Charge – Charges forward in a 5 tile line. The first target in its path takes 666% damage. If it collides with an obstacle, it will be stunned for 2 turns
- Swipe – Performs a strike across three adjacent tiles with 100% knockback chance
- Jump Away – Jumps back 2 tiles or less, gains +66% dodge chance and -33% damage taken for the next turn
- Corpse Devourment – Devours a corpse, replenishing 33% Max Health and 33% Max Energy
- Phantom Bats – Marks an area and on the next turn releases a swarm of spectral bats at it, dealing 26 Unholy Damage and applying Curse for 13 turns
The goal of this fight is to avoid getting hit by its abilities at all cost. The other goal is to try and get it to stun itself by baiting its charge attack, causing it to smack into the scenery. This will give you an opening to get in some quick hits.
The Phantom Bats move does an outrageous amount of damage and is sometimes completely unavoidable. Always be on the lookout for how to jump out of the way, which sometimes requires shifting to an adjacent tile.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the Corpse Devourment ability. There are only seven corpses for it to consume , so just try to outlast its healing potential.
Recommended weapons and abilities
The Ascended Archon has resistances to basically everything, so you’re in for a rough time no matter your preferred playstyle. In saying this, the only spells available in the tutorial are pyromancies and geomancies. For this reason, it’s worth taking Fire Barrage for its range, Stone Armor for some defence, and Petrification for some crowd control.
Whenever you have the option, using Petrification on the Ascended Archon could have it locked in place for a few turns. This will let you either reposition, get in some attacks, or tend to your wounds.
For your weapon, this is entirely personal preference. I opted for the Greatsword, which has an excellent ability called Heroic Charge. Every tile travelled adds +8% damage and +5% crit chance. You can get some distance and then slide in for a big hit.
While there is a bow in the tutorial, there aren’t a lot of arrows. Any archer builds could run into trouble with endurance, so opting for a melee weapon could be the better option.
The fight against the Archon and Ascended Archon in the Stoneshard tutorial is, more than anything, all luck. With no healing items available, it’s about hoping the Ascended Archon stuns itself, doesn’t heal, and if it does do the Phantom Bats move, that it’s in a pattern that’s actually avoidable. There’s a very good chance you’ll be retrying this fight repeatedly.