With the recent adjustments in the difficulty of the Level 35 Skolas Challenge, guardians face a new challenge; you are no longer able to use the Burn Skulls modifiers to your advantage.
During Week 1 of Prison of Elders’ Level 35, Gjallarhorns and Black Hammers dealt devastating damage to Skolas due to the Solar Burn; during Week 2, Patience and Time and an Arc Against All Odds or Deviant Gravity A achieved similar results due to the Arc Burn; while LDR 5001s or Iron Banner’s Efrideet’s Spears void damage (combined with Word of Crota and Void Jolder’s Hammers) granted less painful victories against this final boss during Week 3.
We all got used to beating Skolas’ final fight between 40 seconds to 2 minutes (at the most), with the aforementioned weapons, by taking full advantage of the constantly changing burns; however, with the recent launch of Destiny’s Hot Fix 22.214.171.124, things have become more challenging (and a little more difficult).
Hot Fix Notes:
“- Skolas’ health reduced (from 27000 to 15000) to compensate for lack of burn skulls
– Reinforcement spawns are now based on Skolas’ health instead of a timer”
Let’s start with the basics. First off, the party needs to go to the left in order to destroy the first Servitor that will spawn. Make sure to use shotguns, grenades, or a rocket to take him down quickly since Skolas is right behind your party.
After destroying the Servitor, you can either make a Titan use his/her Ward of Dawn with Weapons of Light or Blessing of Light. This way, your team can start engaging Skolas within a time frame of 20 seconds using either Black Hammer’s (precision shots will flinch Skolas) or Gjallarhorns. Hide within the shield when reloading since Skolas will be shooting his Scorch Cannon consistently.
After the Servitor’s Bond Weakened time frame is gone, or if Skolas gets too close to your team, you will need to rotate farther to the left, onto the other platform. The second Servitor will spawn below that area, so make sure to take him down quickly. Once the timer starts again, try to do as much damage to Skolas as possible. Also, by staying on this other platform you will avoid direct contact with the other spawns (they rarely jump into this one).
Once it is time to move again (you will know when it’s time), make sure your party always rotates to the left. Enemies will always be after you and they will mostly try to engage you from the right, so this is a good way to keep a safe distance from Skolas and take down as many Dregs, Vandals, Elders Captains and Shanks as possible. I consider the upper bridge areas as Safe Zones, and they are shown in the following map:
Continue the process of destroying the Servitors and shooting Skolas as many times as possible, until you have done a total of 60 percent damage to Skolas’Health. Once his health hits that 60% mark, you will hear a kind of broken glass sound, which means Skolas’ bonds with the Servitors are broken and you no longer need to destroy Servitors in order to do massive damage to Skolas health.
Getting Skolas’ health down this much as means you will also face a new challenge; Skolas will start tainting a Guardian’s light for 30 seconds (this is a sort of poison that will kill the affected guardian if it is not transferred to another within that time-frame).
However, only one of the two remaining guardians can absorb the essence because the other one (the one who had it last) will receive immunity to the essence for 40 seconds. This process of absorbing the escence between guardians must be done until Skolas is defeated, so make sure your team sticks together and are communicating well. It is important for everyone to know who is going to be the next one to grab the essence, as only one of you is going to be able to take it next.
As you continue transferring the essence between guardians, you can take advantage of the safe zones in order to wipe out enemies and, if Skolas is near, continue shooting rockets and/or sniping him. Once Skolas’ health reaches about 50 percent he will activate a new objective, which is “Defusing Splinter Mines”.
Since splinter mines will now start appearing, your best strategy for this one is to have your team divided in two; one team should include two guardians (one guardian with the essence and the other guardian who can take the essence), while the other team is the only guardian who is immune to the essence. This way, you can cover more ground and dismantle the mines that appear at the two opposite sides of the map.
If you are dismantling mines, make sure to take advantage of the Titan’s Ward of Dawn with Blessing of Light or Armor of Light. If you are using a Warlock, Radiance is a good pick (in case you get overwhelmed). Lastly, Hunters are ideal for dismantling mines, since Bladedancer’s invisibility perk is the best way to ensure enemies won’t see you while doing the job (using Don’t Touch Me gauntlets make it even easier).
Quick tip: If you have Blink Strike on your Hunter, you can quick jump and stab the mine in order to become invisible. When you feel like you are about to be visible again, just crouch. If you have also the “Stalker” perk activated as well, you will became invisible again, on top of the Blink Strike.
After this first critical objective is done, you can continue with the same routine of rotating clockwise (to the left) in the arena; shooting minions and Skolas as much as possible, and making sure you always transfer the essence between guardians. Once Skolas’ health reaches about 15-10 percent, he will activate the mines objective again.
Follow the same strategy as before, making sure you divide your team again. After one side is clear, and the other side is finished with the dismantling process, you can start shooting Skolas with rockets or sniper rifles again to take down that last bit of his health. If you succeed, you have a chance of receiving one of the primary weapons that Variks sells, but with the variant that these ones deal elemental damage.
Quick tip: Always make sure you have your Bounty Inventory with at least two open spaces. This way, you guaranty a better chance of receiving an exotic bounty by defeating Skolas. Or, sometimes, even receiving two bounties at once.
In a nutshell:
– Always rotate clockwise (to the left) unless you get intersected by Skolas during your run
– Make sure to destroy Servitors with rockets or shotguns before engaging Skolas
– Servitors Bonds Weakened will last 20 seconds
– Skolas will break his bonds with the Servitors after losing 40 percent health
– Skolas will start tainting a Guardian’s Light after losing 40 percent health
– Devouring Essence last 30 seconds
– Immunity lasts 40 seconds
– Make sure to communicate your respective Countdown and Immunity Timers for the essence with your team
– Defusing Splinter Mines’ first objective is activated at 55-50 percent of Skolas Health
– Split your party in two in order to effectively dismantle Mines
– When away from Skolas, make sure you clean the arena of as many spawns as possible
– Defusing Splinter Mines’ second objective is activated at 15-10 percent of Skolas’ Health