The first boss of Wing 4, Cairn the Indomitable, is a great place for beginners to raids. The vast majority of its mechanics and attacks are easily recoverable after fails, and the Enrage mechanic is extremely forgiving if a group happens to have low DPS. However, there are still enough mechanics to deal with for new raiders to get a feel for how much they need to pay attention to during raid encounters. To begin, speak with Glenna and they run down the slope towards the boss arena. Jumping off the cliff and gliding to the boss will cause the fight to begin, so remember to wait for the rest of your squad and the commander’s ready check!
As you pass through the waterfall on the path to the boss arena, you will have gained a special action key ability. This is Celestial Dash, and it is incredibly useful to move around the boss arena and to hit key mechanics. Make sure your special action key is bound to something easy to use. Celestial Dash, as the name suggests, is a ground targeted dash skill with a short evade and a long range. It also has a very short cooldown, so you should feel free to use it as much as you need during the fight.
Being hit by Cairn's attacks will cause you to gain stacks of a debuff called Unseen Burden. Each stack of this debuff will decrease your movement speed by 1%, up to 99%. This will not have an effect on your Celestial Dash, so you will still be able to move by using it. These stacks can also be cleared by correctly handling the Spatial Manipulation mechanic.
Before even beginning, it is important to determine which strategy for this fight your squad will be running. There are two main mechanics that are dealt with in different ways: the first is Cairn’s third auto attack (Meteor Swarm), and the second is his green circle mechanic (Spatial Manipulation). Cairn’s main attack is a chain of two swings- Impact- followed by a ranged, expanding fan of shards called Meteor Swarm. This attack will be focused on whoever is furthest from the group when he begins the chain, and being hit by any of the shards will cause a small knockback, damage, and will give the hit player some stacks of Unseen Burden. The two main strategies for dealing with this are to either have someone assigned to kite this or not.
If your group chooses to have a shard kiter, this will in most groups mean that one person- usually a healer- will be staying out of the group with most of the squad staying on the opposite side of Cairn. The pros of this strategy are that the group has more room to stand without having to worry about being hit by the shards, and tends to be more forgiving for recovery from other mechanical fails. However, it also means that one member of the group shoulders more responsibility while limiting their own potential by being off stack. Note that if you decide to run with a kiter and that kiter is you, you will often need to be much more aware of some of Cairn’s attacks- especially any that cause knockback- and you may wish to take skills to help with self-sustain and projectile destruction or conversion to give yourself breathing room. The other possible strategy is to run without a kiter. This requires the group to stay stacked close to Cairn so that the projectiles from Meteor Swarm will fly over their heads instead of hitting them. This will mean that players have to be more careful not to fail other mechanics, as most of them will leave them in a position where shards will hit them, while simultaneously making it more dangerous for others to help them if they are downed. Ultimately, which of these two strategies you use depends on your group’s preference.
One thing that is important to note is that while projectile destruction skills are fine, projectile reflects will interact strangely with Meteor Swarm, oftentimes simply reflecting them into your team. It is therefore important that players either time their skills well enough that they are not lining up with the shard throw, stay close enough to the boss that the shards are flying over their heads and therefore not being reflected, or to simply remove any skill or trait that might cause a reflect. Common offenders include: Medic’s Feedback or Phantasmal Warden for Mesmers Shattering Blow for Berserkers Staff auto attacks for Daredevils
Throughout the fight with Cairn, beginning after the first multi-circle Spatial Manipulation, the player furthest from Cairn will be picked for the Shared Agony mechanic. This is an effect that will give the player chosen a large red AoE around themselves that will over time do minor damage to the player themself, but will cause heavy damage to any other player within the ring. Each individual application of this will last for 1 minute, and after the first there will be another player chosen every 20 seconds; so, there can be 3 total players with this mechanic at any time. Particularly in more experienced groups, players on specific classes will often be tasked with baiting the Shared Agony, as they lose the least by needing to be slightly off stack. However, do not worry too much if you fail at this as beginners. Mistakes happen, and it is very easy for the wrong person to gain the mechanic from a teleport or knockback at the wrong time. It is very important that players understand how to deal with Shared Agony, but it will be different depending on your strategy: if you are running with a kiter, players with Shared Agony should try to spread out behind the group’s main stack; if you are not running a kiter, players with Shared Agony should spread around the boss, as 3 corners of a square with the main stack as the last. Try not to overlap your agony AoE on the group. If you need to deal with the green circle (Spatial Manipulation) mechanic while you are suffering from Shared Agony, attempt to get to a circle that no other person with Shared Agony is on. It is okay to share a circle with other players briefly as long as there are not multiple stacked agonies.
Every 4 seconds, 3 small red circles will appear close to Cairn’s hitbox. Players standing in these after a second will be teleported to a random spot in the arena. These are very easy to deal with, as they can be stepped out of, dodged, or blocked, and give the player a yellow screen border when they are in range. However, if you are teleported, do not panic; simply use Celestial Dash to quickly return to the stack, and adjust accordingly if you have picked up Shared Agony while out of the group.
Periodically, Cairn will spawn green circles around the arena. This is Spatial Manipulation, and it is vital to understand this mechanic If a player is not standing within a valid circle at the time they end, that player will take damage, be floated, and will gain stacks of Unseen Burden. However, if the player does succeed, they will cleanse 25 stacks of Unseen Burden. Some more experienced groups will use a “no greens” strategy. This is not recommended for newer players to the encounter, but it is achieved by having chronomancers share Stability to the group. This allows players to ignore the Spatial Manipulation and continue attacking the boss, as they will not be floated. They will still take damage and gain stacks of Unseen Burden, so it is important that healing is handled well and the squad must be comfortable with their lowered mobility. However, most groups will just handle the Spatial Manipulation as intended, so it is important to understand the three variations of the mechanic that will appear. All of these variations, however, have set circle placement, changing every 25% of Cairn’s health. The first variation of the circles are 3 different sizes, with glowing orbs above. These numbers indicate the number of people required to be inside the circle for it to be valid to give protection from the Spatial Manipulation: 1 (small circle), 2 (medium circle), or 4 (large circle). Please note that this is handled by each individual circle; there is no need for all of the numbered circles to have players within them, and the same is true for each of these variants. It is advised that you mostly aim to be in medium circles with other players unless you have Shared Agony, in which case it will likely be safer for you to head to a small circle alone. The second variation will be entirely medium circles, and they do not have any limitations on the number of people who must be within each. Cairn will teleport around the arena, leaving behind circles as he goes, in an attack called Energy Surge. Wait until he returns to the center before going to a circle yourself, as behind hit by him will cause you to be knocked back and you may either struggle to reach a circle or be knocked out of the arena entirely. Of note is that above 50% of Cairn’s health, the final circle he spawns will be directly in the center of the arena, which is a very convenient place to be. The final variation can also have any number of players within it. Cairn will stop, slam his arm onto the arena, and spin counterclockwise (Orbital Sweep). Being hit by this will knock players down and backwards, so everyone should either have Stability, or dodge left to easily avoid it. Afterwards, large green circles will appear. Note that the activation for these is quicker than the other variants, so players must reach them quickly.
The final of Cairn’s attacks is, very simple, a Gravity Wave that he will begin to use below 25% of his health. Players in the center of the arena will be unaffected, but those further out will have to contend with 3 shockwaves that ripple out from the middle of the arena, causing a large knockback and minor damage if they are hit. To deal with this, either stay in the center or roll inwards upon seeing the wave begin.
Make good use of Celestial Dash if you need mobility at any time during the fight! Regardless of which strategy you are using, stacking on the group when you have Shared Agony is highly likely to cause you to wipe; watch your positioning when you have this mechanic. Unless it is agreed beforehand that you will be skipping greens, always prioritize completing the Spatial Manipulation circles correctly. It is safer to head to small or medium circles, and if you have Shared Agony you should try to be alone. Wait until Cairn returns to the center of the arena after Energy Surge to avoid being knocked back. When Cairn is spinning, dodge either towards him or to the left. Watch your feet and your screen border when close to Cairn. If you are standing in red or see yellow edges, move out immediately. Keep your reflects under control or simply do not use them. If in doubt, staying beneath Cairn and dodging towards him is a safe strategy for most mechanics as long as you do not have Shared Agony. Even if you go down, you will be in the most convenient place for your teammates to help you up.