Aetherian Archive, along with Hel Ra Citadel (HRC) and Sanctum Ophidia (SO), were among the first trials introduced to the Elder Scrolls Online. Though not as difficult as later trials, they introduce many ideas used elsewhere. Aetherian Archive is excellent for newer raiders, those looking to refresh their skills, or those wanting a less intense experience.

Note: PC players can use addons that will provide information and alerts to help their gameplay. This guide will not assume addons are being used.

Item Sets

6 item sets can be found in AA. 3 of them are unique to the trial, while 3 others are shared with the other Craglorn trials, Hel Ra Citadel and Sanctum Ophidia.

The 3 sets unique to AA are Resilient Yokeda (also called Defending Warrior), Mending (Healing Mage), and Celerity (Quick Serpent).

The sets common among the Craglorn trials are Eternal Yokeda (Eternal Warrior), Infallible Aether (Infallible Mage), and Vicious Ophidian (Vicious Serpent).


Aetherian Archive Completed (Normal Clear)Defeat the Celestial Mage, freeing her from the Serpent’s control.50Dye: Julianos White
Aetherian Archive Conqueror (Veteran Clear)Defeat the Celestial Mage in Veteran Aetherian Archive.50Title: Mageslayer
Aetherian Archive Difficult Mode (Hard Mode Clear)Defeat the Celestial Mage after taunting her by smashing the Aetherial Orbs.50
Time Trial: Aetherian Archive (Speed Run)Completed the Aetherian Archive within a time limit of 33 minutes.50Dye: Aurora Green
Craglorn Trials Conqueror (Hard Mode Clears of all Craglorn Trials)Complete Hel Ra Citadel, Aetherian Archive, and Sanctum Ophidia at their highest difficulties.50

Reaching the Trial

Aetherian Archive is located in the southeastern end of Craglorn. It can be walked to or ported to directly. The location of the entrance be found on the map of Craglorn below:

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Players gather in a chamber before entering the trial itself. NPCs in the area include the quest giver Mighty Mordra, the merchant Mad Zebba, and a mystic Ilmindil the Incendiary. The merchant and mystic can be used to repair gear or buy and sell items. Stations for all crafts except jewelry are nearby.

Trial Preparations

The ideal party composition for the trial includes 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 8 DPS. More advanced groups may have only 1 tank, replacing the other with another DPS. During the trial, the party will need to split into 3 groups of 4 each. It is suggested to decide who goes where ahead of time.

If using 2 tanks, a possible split could be

  • Left: 1 tank, 1 healer, 2 DPS
  • Center: 4 DPS
  • Right: 1 tank, 1 healer, 2 DPS

If using 1 tank, a possible split could be

  • Left: 1 healer, 3 DPS
  • Center: 1 tank, 3 DPS
  • Right: 1 healer, 3 DPS

Initial Add Pulls

Upon entering the trial, the party proceeds up the stairs. Fire traps will spring to life, blanketing the stairs. At the top, the party encounters a pack of 7 fire atronachs. The atronachs do not have any new mechanics from normal atronachs, aside from more health.

The tank should move forward and begin taunting each of them and drawing them to one side. It is possible that the atronachs can all attack the same person at the same time, so groups may wish to have the tank move in first to gather taunt before they proceed forward. Even so, they will want to move off of the stairs to avoid the fire.

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*Map of the entry into Aetherian Archive, courtesy of @OutbreakGT

After killing the fire atronachs, the party proceeds through a double door into a library. Ice whirlwinds travel across the floor and immobilize people walking through them. Roll dodge to break free and continue on.

The group should pause before opening the next set of doors, as a pair of frost atronachs wait just beyond. Let the tank open the doors, then taunt the atronachs and turn them around to point them away from the party. Again, the frost atronachs do not have different mechanics, but be careful of the hoarfrost fist attack, which can catch people in its cleave.

Proceed up the stairs to find a glowing golden circle on the ground with lightning striking around the area. This is to teach mechanics used in the first boss battle, but the lightning is harmless.

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*Map of lower level of the initial add pulls, courtesy of OutbreakGT

Large Add Pull 1

Opening the doors, the party will encounter the first group of adds with noteworthy enemies. The enemies of concern in this pull are the firstmage overcharger and the firstmage chainspinner. The overcharger carries a staff and has 2 flags on their back. The chainspinner dual wields and has a single flag on their back.

The overcharger has 2 main abilities to be aware of: Call Lightning and Overcharge.

Call Lightning: An ability cast on a person in the group, causing them to drop lightning AOEs at their feet for 15 seconds. These AOEs have a 2 meter radius and damage anyone in them. A person with call lightning will need to step out of group and continually move to keep from hurting themselves or anyone else. Call Lightning appears to end when the overcharger that cast it is killed.

Overcharge: Cast on a person within 30 meters of the overcharger. The person will emit a lightning AOE that will hurt them and anyone within a 5 meter radius. This AOE lasts for 15 seconds and will persist even after the overcharger or the person it is cast on is killed. A group should be able to manage having a single person with Overcharge stacked with them. If more than one person has it, they should step out of group so they don’t hurt anyone else.

The chainspinner’s main abilities to be aware of are Strike of Terror, Illusionary Chains, and Fury Unleashed.

Strike of Terror: A chainspinner points their weapon at a person as they cast Strike of Terror, striking the person 6 times with physical damage during the 2.5 second channeling period. If the person is not immune to CC, they will be temporarily incapacitated as they scream in agony. A person can break free to escape it early. This ability has a 15 meter range and a 20 second cooldown.

Illusionary Chains/Fury Unleashed: Illusionary Chains works like a Dragonknight’s chaining ability, pulling a person within 20 meters to the chainspinner. The chainspinner follows with Fury Unleashed, an AOE growing outward from the chainspinner. The AOE explodes when it reaches an 8 meter radius, damaging everyone in it and knocking them to the ground. Block if you are in the area when it goes off.

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*From left to right: Firstmage Overcharger, Firstmage Chainspinner

This add pull has two chainspinners and two overchargers, accompanied by smaller adds:

  • Front row, left to right: chainspinner, overcharger, overcharger
  • Second row: 6 thundermauls
  • Third row: 4 battlemages
  • Back row: chainspinner back center

Enemies in this pull tend to rush forward at the start of combat, which could cause them to separate from each other as they move toward different people in the group. To keep them more tightly packed, the entire group could move as a unit to engage the enemies all at once to keep them from straying too far in search of their foes.

Following the add pull, the party moves on and drops down from a ledge to meet the first boss.

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*Map of the large add pulls, lightning atronach boss, and stone atronach boss, courtesy of @OutbreakGT

Lightning Storm Atronach (Boss 1 | 46.6 Million Health)

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The lightning storm atronach waits in a clearing for any challengers...

The lightning storm atronach uses relatively simple mechanics. It uses a Bash or Strike as basic attacks, occasionally chaining them together in quick succession. It also uses Storm Bound to send a ball of lightning to a person, decreasing their movement speed and dealing increasing damage over 8 seconds.

Periodically, the atronach will gather itself and unleash Impending Storm, a lightning AOE that quickly expands to a 15 meter radius and explodes. It does a single tick of damage to all people in the area, though it may also deal an additional tick. What causes the second tick of damage is unknown. Blocking or dodging will not mitigate the damage, but damage shields help.

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*The Lightning Storm Atronach charges its Impending Storm

Lightning Storm

The most notable mechanic of this fight is the Lightning Storm. The atronach rears back to begin channeling the ability. At the same time, one of 5 pads around the area will begin to glow golden. The glow may be subtle on some runs, so groups will need to pay close attention.

After a couple seconds, the atronach calls lightning down on everyone in the area, striking approximately every 0.65-0.75 seconds. This attack cannot be blocked or dodged, but damage shields do help.

The lightning does increasing amounts of damage to anyone who is not standing on one of the golden pads. The amount of damage appears to be based on the number of stacks on a character, with stacks gained per strike of lightning they receive. A character may clear their stacks by standing on the golden pad for a couple seconds. It is not based on how late in the phase a character gets hit.

Lightning Storm lasts for 10 seconds. During this time, the atronach is channeling and will not move or use any other abilities. Tanks should leave the pad just before this phase ends so they can refresh taunt on the atronach and prevent it from moving from its spot.

The atronach most often follows a Lightning Storm with an Impending Storm. It will occasionally use Storm Bound first, followed by an Impending Storm.

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*The Lightning Storm Atronach prepares its Lightning Storm. Groups should seek the glowing golden pads for shelter.

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*The Lightning Storm Atronach is fully channeling the Lightning Storm.

The golden pads that may glow during Lightning Storm are always in one of 5 locations. Which one becomes active appears to be random.

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*Map of possible locations of golden pads during Lightning Storm. Each pad is given a name some groups use to let people know which pad to go to. Courtesy of @OutbreakGT.

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*Location of the “Left” golden pad

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*Location of the “Front” golden pad

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*Location of the “Pads” golden pad

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*Location of the “Right” golden pad

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Location of the “Back” golden pad

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:49 Trash, Elite Adds, Mob Priority
  • 2:33 Lightning Storm Atronach
  • 4:22 Foundation Stone Atronach
  • 5:53 Varlariel the Wispmother
  • 7:35 Pre-Mage Trash (2 Waves)
  • 8:31 The Mage
  • 11:38 The Mage Hard Mode

Boss Positioning

Groups often position the atronach on the circular stone pad at the center of the area and keep it stationary so the group can parse on the boss. Another option is to position the atronach as close as possible to the outcropping in front of it, so that it is within melee range of the Left and Back pads during Lightning Storm.

Regardless of where the atronach is positioned, the tank should make sure that it does not move from where it stands throughout the fight.

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*Tanks may move the atronach next to the flat side of the rocky outcropping (shown here on the far left) so that melee characters may damage the boss during Lightning Storm if on the Left or Back pads.

Group Split 1

Upon defeating the lightning storm atronach, the sets of pads will activate and start to glow. Divide into the groups already decided, with the left group taking the left set of pads, and so on. Some raid leads will have the center group stealth before stepping onto the pads to try to avoid pulling after porting into the next area.

Each person will stand on one of them to teleport to the next area when everyone is in place. If the pads don’t register that someone is on it, try jumping in place. The pad should squeak and lower slightly if it’s triggered.

Each of the side groups will have a small group of enemies to fight through. The left group will have a chainspinner with four illusion healers. The right group will face an overcharger, two illusory thundermauls and two illusory menders. Focus first on the chainspinner or overcharger.

The center group will face groups of illusory adds that will continually spawn until the left and right sides have defeated all enemies. If they had stealthed before stepping onto the pads, they can try sneaking backwards a bit upon arrival and the enemies may not notice them.

Once the left and right sides are done, bridges will form at the back to connect each side to the center area. Meet up in the center and kill any remaining enemies. Another set of pads will activate that the group will use to return to the area where they fought the lightning storm atronach. A bridge will form, leading away from the area between the left and center pads.

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*Map of the first group split after the lightning storm atronach boss, courtesy of @OutbreakGT

Large Add Pull 2

A new noteworthy enemy appears in the next encounter, the firstmage nullifier. The nullifier is a healer and damage dealer, and they can be spotted carrying a staff with four flags on their back. Two abilities of note that the nullifier uses are Healing Links and Null Pain.

Healing Links: The nullifier raises their staff to channel Healing Links, sending a beam of energy to an ally within 28 meters. The energy heals that ally, with ticks about every 0.45-0.55 seconds. Healing Links can last up to 10 seconds, unless the nullifier is bashed or otherwise interrupted. It has a 7 second cooldown.

Occasionally, Healing Links can chain from the enemy which was healed to one of their allies, including back to the nullifer which originally cast it. This ability is called Healing Links Arc, with healing ticks coming about every 0.165-0.300 seconds and each tick being about 25% of those from Healing Links.

Null Pain: A circular AOE of swirling dark energy on the ground. Null Pain has a radius of 5 meters, lasts for 4.5 seconds, and ticks about every 0.45-0.55 seconds. A single cast of Null Pain does cause a good amount of damage, but a healer should be able to get the group through it. Two or more stacked AOEs should be avoided.

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*A firstmage nullifier kneels before the Mage

After crossing the bridge from the lightning storm atronach’s area, the party encounters a large swarm of illusory adds. They will soon be joined by waves of more adds as the fight goes on.

Everyone (including the tank) will move to a large, flat rock in the left part of the area and remain there for the entire fight. Do not leave the group, even if you get overcharge. The tank will taunt and pull everything in, especially focusing on overchargers.

The fight has 3 main waves of additional adds:

  1. A nullifier at the back, then 2 chainspinners at the back, then an overcharger at the left.
  2. A nullifier on the left, followed by 2 chainspinners in the back.
  3. An overcharger at the left rear, then a nullifier on the left, then a chainspinner at the rear.

Once everything is dead, another set of pads to the right will activate. The group can use them to teleport into the next area with the second boss. Some groups also like to mount up and jump the gap.

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*Gather on the flat rock to fight off the waves of enemies

Foundation Stone Atronach (Boss 2 | 37.3 Million Health)

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*The Foundation Stone Atronach bars the way forward...

The foundation stone atronach is another boss that doesn’t move too much and lends itself to parsing. It has 3 main abilities of note: Big Quake, Minions, and Boulder Storm.

Big Quake: Beginning at about 5 seconds into the fight and every 30 seconds after, the atronach casts Big Quake. The atronach spreads its form outward and begins to pound the ground with the center of its body. There are 5 hits every 1.65-1.70 seconds which will damage everyone in the area. Damage shields help, but blocking and dodging are not effective.

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*Big Quake sends shockwaves through the area.

Minions: Starting at about 15 seconds into the fight, and approximately every 40 seconds after, the stone atronach will cast Minions, which will spawn 2 adds to attack the group. Most often these adds will be a chainspinner and a nullifier, but 2 nullifiers may also appear. The spawn points appear to be random about the area.

Boulder Storm: Starting at about 35 seconds, and every 30 seconds afterward, the atronach casts Boulder Storm. The atronach turtles up, gathering its form into itself. Boulders spawn into the area that hurl rocks at random people, doing damage and possibly knocking them to the ground. These boulders can be dodged, but the timing is very difficult. Blocking prevents being knocked down, but not the damage. Damage shields can prevent the damage, but not the knock down.

The boulders are thrown in 5 waves, just over 2 seconds apart. The first wave has 4 rocks thrown, then 2, then 3, then 3, and then 4. It is possible for a person to be hit by multiple rocks in the same wave.

Once a person is hit by a boulder, whether or not they blocked, the boulder creates an AOE around them called Boulder Shrapnel. This one-time attack hits anyone in a 5 meter radius that is not the original person hit by the boulder.

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*The atronach has turtled up to cast Boulder Storm

Stone Atronach Strategy

The tank runs in first to taunt the boss and turn it to face away from the group. The rest of the group stacks on the back of the atronach and commences parsing. The group will remain stacked during the Big Quake, as the healers will help them through it. They can also tolerate a single Null Pain AOE from the nullifier. Multiple AOEs, or AOEs along with a Big Quake, may be too much to take at the same time.

When the boss begins to turtle up to cast Boulder Storm, the group will want to spread out in a loose stack around the boss so they don’t hit anyone around them with the shrapnel AOE. Keep at least 5 meters between each person where possible. Melee fighters should be closer to the boss and ranged behind, so they can continue fighting. Everyone can then block while casting to avoid being knocked down, or they can break free if they do get knocked down.

Don’t ignore the adds, either, as they continue to spawn. A tank may wish to taunt them and stack them with the boss so they can be brought down in cleave.

  • 0:00 Why AA?
  • 7:09 Pre-Storm Atronach Trash Explanation
  • 10:08 Pre-Storm Atronach Trash Results
  • 11:57 Lightning Storm Atronach Explanation
  • 16:58 Lightning Storm Atronach Results
  • 19:24 Pre-Foundation Stone Atronach/Stone Atronach Explanation
  • 28:11 Pre-Foundation Stone Atronach/Stone Atronach Results
  • 32:46 Pre-Varlariel/Varlariel Explanation
  • 45:09 Varlariel Results
  • 47:39 The Mage Explanation
  • 06:34 The Mage Results

Group Split 2

The party heads up the ramp behind the stone atronach, where they find another 3 sets of 4 pads. Split up into your groups again for left, right, and center, and step on the pads to port to the new area. Some groups again have the center group stealth before stepping onto their pad to try to avoid getting noticed.

The left group will encounter 3 illusory menders standing near a cliff edge to the right, overlooking the center group’s area. Use a taunt or a ranged attack to get them to follow and head to the back where a chainspinner and a nullifier wait. Whoever has taunt of the chainspinner should move to stack it with the nullifier so they can be brought down at the same time. The menders should have followed so they can also be killed quickly. The chainspinner sometimes will reset if it is brought too far toward the front of the area.

The right group will encounter a flock of about 8-10 imps scattered around the area. Having some method of chaining them will be useful to gather them together.

The middle group will again encounter illusory enemies that will continually respawn if all are killed. Leave one alive to keep them from respawning.

As before, bridges will appear at the back of the three areas when the enemies on each side are killed so that everyone can continue on. Group members often choose to mount up so they can ride up the ramps leading to the next boss.

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*Map of the second group split, courtesy of @OutbreakGT

Varlariel (Boss 3 | 55.9 Million Health)

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Valariel awaits those who encroach in her glade...

Varlariel is a creature appearing much like a wispmother and with very similar abilities. She floats above a cluster of mushrooms in the center of a clearing, surrounded by six pillars which play an important role in the fight.

Varlariel’s most common attack is the Frost Breath, and it has two different types. One type is focused on a single target within 50 meters, which will usually be the tank. This single target form of the attack can be dodged. The other is an AOE surrounding her with a 2.5 meter radius. Because she doesn’t move during the fight, this AOE will also not move. Blocking and damage shields are effective against both forms of the attack.

Varlariel will occasionally summon a Rain of Wisps to fall around the area. When they strike the ground, they create a 2 meter radius AOE that will damage anyone in them. A single AOE should not be enough to cause too much issue, but players should be wary of stacking damage from multiple AOEs. Damage shields help mitigate the damage. This ability has a 15 second cooldown.

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*Rain of Wisps creates many small AOEs which only last a few moments.


Varlariel’s final mechanic involves her creating clones of herself, which separate from her and move to specific locations. These clones will need to be killed before Varlariel uses them to detonate an explosion in the area.

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*Varlariel’s clones move toward their designated pillars.

Varlariel casts Mother Clone at about 17 seconds into the fight, and every minute after that. The first time she casts it, she creates 3 clones of herself. She creates 4 clones the second time she splits, and 5 clones the third time. Every time after that, she creates 6 clones.

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*Map of the area of the fight with Varlariel showing the location of the six pillars, courtesy of @OutbreakGT

In her first split, Varlariel’s clones will each move to pillars 1, 2, and 3. The clones move to pillars 1-4 in the second split. They move to pillars 1-4 and 6 in the third split, leaving pillar 5 without a clone. The clones move to all 6 pillars in every split after that.

The clones can cast targeted and AOE versions of Frost Breath. They remain in place once they have reached their pillars.

About 21.5 seconds after creating the clones, Varlariel casts Cone Blast Origin, causing her to glow as she draws energy from the clones. 7 seconds later, she explodes and damages everyone in the group.

Varlariel’s explosion has two parts which fire off simultaneously, Combustion and Infused Combustion. Combustion damages everyone, but damage shields may help reduce the damage. Infused Combustion does oblivion damage which cannot be shielded, but it can be avoided. If all of the clones are killed before the explosion, Infused Combustion will do no damage to the group. The more clones which remain alive, the more damage it does. Even leaving two alive can be a one-shot for some players.

Killing all clones and using a damage shield for the group, such as barrier, will minimize the damage from this explosion.

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*Varlariel draws power from one of her clones to power Combustion and Infused Combustion.

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*Varlariel combusts, damaging everyone in the area.

Strategies for Fighting Varlariel

A few strategies can be used against Varlariel, depending on the group’s experience, comfort, and preference.

If the group wishes to focus on killing the clones before the explosion, it is very common to assign 2 DPS to each pillar. When the clones spawn, the DPS go to their assigned pillar to kill the clone there. If there is no clone or if it is killed, they then go to other pillars to make sure all are dead.

It is also very common for groups to ignore one of the clones entirely by specifying a specific pillar that the DPS will not go to. Pillar 1 is a common choice for this. The idea is that the group should be able to survive an Infused Combustion powered by a single clone, so they will prioritize damaging the boss, rather than the clone that will die anyway.

For fighting Varlariel herself, a group may choose to split into two halves and position themselves to the left or right of the boss. By splitting up, they should take less damage from the Rain of Wisps. Other groups may take it a step further and form a circle around the boss to reduce the AOE damage as much as possible.

Some more experienced groups may have the tank to turn Varlariel around for the rest of the group to stack behind. The group would parse on her like they had the earlier bosses, and the clones are brought down in cleave as they are created.

Regardless of the strategy used, players are advised to keep at least 2.5 meters away from Varlariel to stay out of her Frost Breath AOE. A common word of advice is not to step on the mushrooms growing below her.

The Mage (Boss 3)

62.1 Million Health (Veteran) | 77.6 Million Health (Hard Mode)

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*The Mage, flanked by her attendants

After defeating Varlariel, the group heads down a path and up a ramp to a final set of pads. Nearby are three orbs on pedestals. Destroying all of them will set the final boss to hard mode.

Breaking the orbs cannot be reversed, so make sure that’s what you want!

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*Break the orbs, and there’s no going back!

Initial Adds

The group steps onto the pads and teleports to the final area, where the Mage looks down from a ledge above. To be able to face her, the party must first defeat two waves of adds. The first wave consists of 2 overchargers, 2 nullifiers, and 2 chainspinners. The second wave has 3 overchargers, 2 chainspinners, and 6 imps.

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*Wave 1 adds, from left to right: chainspinner, overcharger, nullifier, nullifier, overcharger, chainspinner

Wave 1: The first wave of adds has two groups, left and right. The tank will need to range taunt the overcharger and nullifier in the left group and run to the edge of the floor to the right of the pillar to the right of where the Mage sits. This will help stack them together with other enemies.

At the same time, the rest of the group will run toward the adds as a unit to keep them from separating. Anyone with aggro on the chainspinners should position themselves so the enemies stack with the rest of the adds and the group can take everything down. Just remember to take call lightning out of group and don’t stack two overcharges together.

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*Wave 2 adds: overcharger left, chainspinner front left, chainspinner back left, overcharger back right, overcharger front right. 2 imps fly near each overcharger.

Wave 2: Overchargers will spawn in three locations for the second wave. A common method of gathering them is for the group to withdraw to the rock they initially stand on when porting into the area. The tank taunts the overchargers on the left and back right (close to the Mage) and joins the group, causing them to come towards the middle where the group can then focus on them. The tank also taunts the overcharger on the front right to stack with the others.

Another method of stacking the overchargers is for the tank to taunt the ones on the left and front right. The tank then runs behind the pillar to the right of the Mage to line of sight them. In the meantime, the rest of the group rushes in to focus on the third overcharger in the back right. The rest of the adds should follow.

Tanks should be aware that imps will also spawn in, which may get in the way of taunting overchargers.

Once the adds are defeated, the Mage will descend from her perch and stand at the center of the circular area. She will not move from that place for the rest of the fight.

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*The Mage waits for you in your final fight.

The Mage's Abilities

Chain Lightning: The Mage’s most common attack which has a 1 second cast time. She will cast it on someone she can see who is within 2.5 meters of her and in front of her 180 degree field of view. The lightning will then arc to someone within 5 meters of them, if there is anyone close enough.

The lightning will continue arcing for as many targets as it can find, but it will not hit the same person twice. The damage increases with each jump it makes, to the point where it may become a one-shot for groups which are not prepared. Single casts have been seen to hit at least 10 people, but it may hit the entire party if they are grouped too tightly. Shields will help to mitigate the damage, but blocking does not seem to help.

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*The Mage prepares to cast chain lightning.

Conjured Axe: The Mage conjures axes that hover around the area and attack people. Conjuring the axes takes 4 seconds to complete. She begins summoning two axes 7 seconds after the fight begins, one to either side of her. She begins summoning a third axe 25 seconds after the first pair, and a fourth axe 180 seconds after the third.

If a group has wiped while fighting the Mage, the first conjuration of axes will begin 30 seconds into the next fight, rather than 7 seconds.

The axes use Slam and Strike attacks, each of which can be blocked or dodged. Damage shields also help. The attacks can stun or apply the hamstrung debuff.

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*The Mage’s conjured axes search for their targets.

Conjured Mines: The Mage will lay a series of mines around the area 21-22 seconds after the fight begins. These mines persist until triggered, when someone enters its 2.6 meter radius AOE. Upon triggering the mines, a character takes moderate damage and is immobilized for 1.5 seconds. Roll dodge to get out early. Damage shields help to mitigate this damage, but blocking does not appear to help. The Mage will lay mines three more times, each 30 seconds after the previous cast.

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*Watch your step around the Mage’s mines!

Black Hole: 140 seconds (2 minutes 20 seconds) into the fight, the Mage starts summoning black holes. Black AOEs appear around the edge of the area, but they grow in size until they begin to block off entire sections of the field. Their exact size, however, is not known. They fade after a time, but the Mage summons an additional black hole approximately every 17 seconds.

Characters coming into contact with the black holes take damage from the ability Daedric Corruption. Tanks may be able to withstand the damage.

If a party wipes to the Mage, she may begin summoning black holes 90 seconds into the next fight, rather than 140 seconds.

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*A black hole gets a bit too close for comfort on the group’s left.

Conjured Reflection: 64 seconds into the fight, the Mage will begin summoning conjured reflections. These shadowy copies of the Mage appear in random locations in the central area. They may show up along the edges, near the pillars, next to the Mage, or even in the group.

The Mage will turn to face the direction where she will be summoning a reflection. It is possible for her to cast chain lightning while she is turned in a direction to summon a reflection. If she turns toward the group when this happens, chain lightning may hit the group.

An AOE will appear on the ground before the reflection spawns in, with a small pink-purple glow at the center. Anyone in the AOE when the reflection spawns will take damage from Cosmic Impact and will be knocked back and to the ground.

Once spawned in, the conjured reflections raise their staves and begin to channel Consume Life. Every 1.5 seconds, this ability will hit 4 people in the group. It can be blocked, and damage shields are effective, but it will continue so long as the conjured reflection remains alive.

The Mage will continue to summon conjured reflections every 36-38 seconds. Unless they are killed, the group can have multiple active at any one time.

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*A conjured reflection casting Consume Life

Execute Phase: When the Mage reaches 15% health, she slams her staff to the ground four times, 3 seconds apart. Each time, everyone is knocked to the ground and may not have time to cast any abilities. Existing player effects still continue. Any conjured axes disappear. Conjured reflections should also disappear, but they may remain on rare occasions.

The Mage then casts Arcane Vortex and summons a huge and brilliantly glowing sphere above her. This ability does damage to the entire group every 1.5 seconds. It can be blocked and shielded, but the damage will continue for the rest of the fight and will ramp up over time. The Mage will not move or take any other actions.

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*No holding back for execute phase!

Strategies for Veteran

There are many different strategies for this fight, but the foundation of most is to have the tank stand in front of the Mage, with the rest of the group behind her. The Mage will only cast chain lightning on group members she can see, and her vision is roughly 180-190 degrees from side to side. If the tank is the only person in front of her, they are the only target for chain lightning. The tank may also keep at least 2.5 meters distance away from the Mage to keep her from casting chain lightning at all.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group is behind the Mage, out of sight, and at least 5 meters away from the tank. That way, if chain lightning is cast on the tank, it doesn’t spread to the rest of the party. Groups may choose how they wish to stack behind her, such as a single stack behind her, or two stacks angled diagonally backward. Above all, groups should remain out of the Mage’s sight and within range of the healer.

A tank will not need to keep the axes on the rock the group stands on as they enter the area. Instead, they should remain within range of the healer, but not so close to anyone to spread chain lightning if they happen to get it.

Depending on group preference and experience, they may choose to ignore the conjured reflections in regular veteran mode. Instead, they will focus their damage on the boss and let the healers carry them through. Groups that choose to kill the reflections should use ranged abilities if the reflections are within the Mage’s sight so they aren’t susceptible to chain lightning.

Hard Mode

Activating hard mode adds a few new mechanics to the fight, in addition to increasing enemy health.

Meteors: Meteors fall around the area about every 4.6 seconds and create an AOE with a 5 meter radius. Anyone in the AOE when the meteor hits the ground will take damage and be knocked to the ground. If the meteor is inbound, block to keep from being knocked down. Their locations appear to be influenced by players, though they might not always hit the group. If a group stacks up on each other, meteors will strike the group much more frequently.

Storm Atronachs: Beginning with the initial add pulls, storm atronachs will spawn in random locations. The atronachs usually appear roughly every 25-30 seconds, but they may be delayed to 40 seconds or more. No observed spawn time was shorter than 25 seconds. It is possible to have more than one atronach active at any one time.

The storm atronach will only use the Bash and Strike abilities until it reaches 20% health. It then begins to detonate with an Unstable Explosion, ticking damage approximately once per second to everyone in the group. The only way to stop this damage is to kill the atronach as soon as possible.

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*A storm atronach’s Unstable Explosion can be devastating if it is not killed quickly.

Execute Phase: In addition to knocking everyone to the ground, the Mage will heal each time she strikes the ground with her staff. The amount she heals will often vary, but on average it is 1.9-2.1% of her max health. She does not heal to reach certain health levels.

Strategies for Hard Mode

Strategies for hard mode are similar to those for regular veteran, but the positioning of group stacks becomes more important with meteors. Some groups may split into two or more stacks spread at least 5 meters apart to keep from hitting each other with meteor AOEs. More experienced groups may choose to stack very tightly behind the Mage in a single stack. With greater heals, they may be able to withstand the meteors, especially if they are able to block to keep from being knocked to the ground. Doing so will burn through stamina, which can be hard on stamina DPS.

In hard mode, conjured reflections cannot be ignored. Groups should have at least some ranged capability to kill them before they do too much damage.

Once the atronachs get to low health and begin their unstable explosion, they should be focused down to prevent too much damage to the group.

In addition to maintaining taunt on the axes and the Mage, the tank should also bring the atronachs to the Mage so they can be brought down in cleave.

Axes should disappear with the first staff slam to begin execute. Conjured reflections and atronachs may not disappear, so tanks should keep an eye on the Mage’s health to prepare for any incoming damage they may take from adds when they are knocked to the ground.

  • 0:00 Mage Hard Mode Explanation
  • 27:59 Mage Hard Mode Results