A Friendly Rat Turns Evil
Welcome, Pirates, from every corner of the spiral near and far! Reflecting back on 2019, it was a year full of fun, excitement and of course, a new adventure. Speaking of adventures, this guide will feature the second new skeleton key boss fight after Black Annie Rackham, Verminus Blightbeard! You can check out the update notes for the patch here.
Yikes that’s quite the neck injury for the night..
As we know, Obsidian bosses are the manifestation of nightmares from alternate realities. This one introduces Ratbeard, but asks what would happen if Ratbeard didn’t join your crew, instead growing in power and seeking vengeance. He can be found in the same Obsidian door instance in the Scrimshaw docks. Walk all the way to the left once you enter the door, then take the first right. He should be right… there!
- Blightbeard has nearly 9k health. Combined this with his high armor stat, and you’ll notice that it’s a little tough to take him down with physical, melee attacks (meaning melee companion attacks and non-Dreadnaught or non-Armada pack melee weapons).
- In addition to his health, this boss has annoyingly strong base stats across the board: his weapon power, dodge (200+), accuracy (200+), strength, and armor are unprecedentedly high. And by annoying, I really mean it…
- Let’s not forget, he has a load of epic talents that will rapidly kill unprepared melee units, as you can see here.
- Verminus Blightbeard has access to special powers, just like you. So far, I’ve witnessed Revive and Super Charge.
- Blightbeard will be accompanied by a collection of the following minions: Waponi Obeah (Witch, 4600 HP), Wharf Rat (Swash, 3100 HP), Haywire Dragoon (Bucc Miniboss, 8300 HP), Cat Swashbuckler (Swash, 4600 HP), Undead Houngan (Witch, 4200 HP), and Purrrgha Soldier (Swash, 4300 HP)
- These minions have powers as well. For example, the Purrgha soldier can use Assassin’s Shroud and Reinforce and the Undead Houngan can spam ocuboros and Mojo Storms.
- Each round, after the first time the Purrgha Soldier takes damage, he will use Reinforce as an interrupt.
Keys to Win
The simple answer? I could just tell you to spam Blood flames and Moo Manchu’s Tide boots. But that’s no fun and not really worth your time reading. Instead, let’s talk about strategy when you don’t have flames and tide.
Cooperation as a Full Team
The ultimate key to this fight is definitely cooperation; a team that lacks communication and simply uses a bunch of random powers won’t find success. You need a good team combo, for instance, Swashbuckler, Privateer, Buccaneer and a Witchdoctor/Musket. The most important thing is having a Privateer. They must zeal round one to blunt the Super Charge-fueled chains from Blightbeard and then focus on using group heals to prevent companion losses or spam bombs to clean up the board.
I recommend the following companions:
- Privateers: Scratch/Gracie/Bonnie Anne
- Buccaneers: Scratch/Gracie/Barnabus or Peter
- Swashbucklers: Scratch/Gracie/Fan Flanders
- Musketeers: Scratch/Gracie/Chantal
- Witchdoctors: Scratch/Gracie/Mormo
Early Fight Strategy
This strategy will depend on Scratch and Gracie Conrad. Although using Scratch and Gracie isn’t essential to win the battle, it’ll make the battle shorter.Â However, it’s simplest to use this strategy (the pirates should join in this order whenever possible):
- Privateer: Join first, cast Battle Zeal round one, use Scratch’s 100% buff, then drop Gracie’s golem minion in Blightbeard’s path.
- Buccaneer:Â Cast Whale’s Might or another buff, put htl3 Barnabus up front to stop Blightbeard’s charge, cast Scratch’s 100% buff, and place Gracie’s mine.
- Swashbuckler: Use black fog, activate Fan’s agility buff and Scratch’s 100% buff, and then cast Gracie Conrad’s Mine trap near Verminus Blightbeard and his minions. It should be one square in front of him to deal more damage to his minions as well.
- Musketeer: You should be using a wand to maximize the effect of Scratch’s buffs on your pirate. If you do this, dropping bombs on round one can easily do 1000 damage per bomb. Knocks are ideal, as they provide another line of defense against Blightbeard’s rush. As for your companions, you know the drill: use Scratch’s 100% buff, Chantal’s Cloud Spirit, and Gracie’s mine.
- Witchdoctor: You’ll have enough spell power here to launch a deadly assault with an AOE attack on round 1Â from your pirate (or mournsong if that’s impossible). You also have the option of using your 100% Juju buff to prepare AOEs to clean up the remaining minions, use your 100% scratch buff, and then place Gracie’s mine.
Results? Blightbeard charges blindly like the mad vermin he is, loses 5k health from the mine traps and/or bombs, steps into a htl3 unit, stopping his charge. Then his minions walk into your range, to their deaths.
A Meltdown Gives You an Opening
Now is the time to strike! The privateer should be able to fort the buccaneer pirate to protect them from Blightbeards high-accuracy chains. Then, the buccaneer pirate will reduce blightbeard, allowing the swashbuckler to abuse their riposte chains after attacking in fog. Your musketeer and/or witchdoctor should spam AOE attacks on the minions and/or Blightbeard to clear the battleboard. This should eliminate Blightbeard, but be sure to have enough units attack him.
As for companions, everyone should use Scratch’s Jobu’s Kiss on as many foes as possible (if that’s impossible, just use a buff). Then, use Gracie’s mine or golem, whichever she has remaining. Everyone’s third companion should take aim at whatever enemies they can. This is an amazing strategy against Verminus Blightbeard that takes advantage of the chaos that a Scratch-buffed Gracie can create!
Other Strategies/Class Combos
Many other combinations are also effective. However, having multiple pirates that can take solid advantage of Old Scratch’s buffs is a huge plus, as he’s the best way to deal burst damage against a unit that chains as well as Blightbeard. For example, I’ve had a lot of fun with 4x Privateer teams. However, I’ve found well-balanced teams, like Privy/Bucc/Buckler/Witch to be the most effective, as each class brings something unique to the table.
Is it Soloable?
In my experience, as a melee, I don’t recommend you to solo it (unless you do it for the challenge). This fight wasn’t really designed to be soloed. The massive amount of health Verminus Blightbeard has, his insane stats, and small army of minions make it very clear that you’ll want a team. So if you’re going to try to solo it, be careful. It’ll be a tough one.
First of all, if you fight him 25 times, you get to unlock him as a companion in the crown shop for 7.5k crowns.Â Decent for PvE, but don’t expect to see him much in PvP. But that’s another story for another day. Or shall I say, another Companion Spotlight?
Now for the part we’ve all been waiting for! Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a fight that drops Verminus Blightbeard’s unique coat, fancy sword, or topper, you won’t find that here. However, it drops the gear and Grimblade weapons from the newly released Pirate Nightmare Pack.
If you’re still struggling to get haywire weapons from the dreadnaught, then good news for you! This fight (namely, the dragoon) drops each and every Haywire weapon. So get your keys and start fighting!
My Overall View
- This is a nice, new, challenging fight that requires cooperation, a concept that doesn’t exist in many other boss battles.
- The drops are underwhelming, unfortunately. This makes the boss pretty lackluster once you unlock him as a companion or get your haywire weapons.
- Obtaining a new companion is always a great feeling, especially from such fights like this. However, the companion needs some tweaks and buffs to be viable outside of joking around in PvE.
Have you farmed Blightbeard yet?
Did you like such a challenging difficult fight?
Let us know in the comments below!