Heart of Darkness
|Heart of Darkness|
The Heart of Darkness is the final form of the final boss of the Darkest Dungeon. Classified as COSMIC, it has a terrible ability called Come Unto Your Maker, which instantly kills a hero - regardless of HP or stress. The most terrifying part of this attack is that you, the player get to select which one of your heroes dies, meaning you have to be strategic as to who should stay and who should die.
The Heart of Darkness represents the embodiment of the mystical forces that were responsible for the corruption of the Hamlet and its surroundings. As per Lovecraftian Lore, it is a slumbering, ethereal and omnipresent deity that manifested through your Ancestor's misdeeds, who in the process became a vessel of the creature himself. It is the being that is revered by the cultists and priests of the Darkest Dungeon who have, under the influence of this cosmic power, become distorted and now bear resemblance to Cthulian entities of multiple jaws and tentacle appendages. Such is the reach of this eldtrich horror that the inhabitants of the Hamlet will appear momentarily disfigured in similar fashion to the Darkest Dungeon fiends after the first mission is completed. This detail, together with the gloomy and baleful ending, hints that the entire purpose of your crusade and all the sacrifices made along the way was merely to foster and herald the impending transformation of the world into a Cthulhian abomination.
Moreover if one is to believe what the Ancestor tells us prior to the fight, the mere understanding of a sliver of the nature of this antediluvian evil caused him to transform into the entity that you will afterwards have to fight. Therefore it is also heavily implied that the player will meet the same fate as the Ancestor, thus beggining the cycle anew, until one day the Heart of Darkness may be unleashed unto the surface. This cyclical tendency of the story is accentuated by the fact that the last words of the Narrator were also his first: "Ruin has come to our family...".
As for the fight, the Heart of Darkness is the final boss of the Ancestor fight and may also symbolize the pinnacle of your ancestor's ambitions, as he wanted to seek knowledge and power despite the terrible consequences that his actions were causing.
Come Unto Your Maker
Although it may seem that the final boss wantonly decides to make one of your party members instantly die, the skill "Come Unto Your Maker" will always trigger on two instances if the conditions are met:
- First Time: After the boss has been downed to 2/3 of his total health, and your total number of party members is exactly 4.
- Second Time: After you reduce his health bar to 1/3 of its total HP and your total number of party members is exactly 3.
That means, that after one of your characters inflicts a blow that reduces the boss' HP under said thresholds, he will immediately deal a deathblow to one of your party members. Strategies are discussed below.
Dissolution, Puncture, Know This
Each one of this skills inflicts a different status ailment. "Know This", being a stress attack will prioritize already stressed out heroes while the other two are based on your Heroes' resistances:
- Puncture: Prioritizes heroes with low Bleed resistance.
- Cooldown Feature: Every skill may not be used twice in a row. That means that after the first turn, the number of skills (not including insta-death) are reduced to two.
*The player chooses the target for Come Unto Your Maker.
**Come Unto Your Maker kills a target instantly, disregarding damage and crit values.
As mentioned above, this fight will get progressively harder as you reduce the enemy's HP and therefore lose more party members. The exact amount of HP for every OHKO are 170 and 83 HP. Although impossible to exactly predict the exact amount of damage your hero's deal, it should be in your best interests to make the member who is about to be sacrificed deal the last blow to optimize damage output. Beware that if the HoD reaches the HP threshold on its turn due to DoT, it will still cast "Come Unto your Maker".
Another thing worth noting is if you kill the previous phase instead of letting it shift to the final form, the excess of damage dealt to that form will carry over and be dealt to the Heart of Darkness, thereby starting the fight effectively with less extra HP.
If you are using healers or other support characters like a buffing/stress reducing Jester, it would be advisable to let them die first, while letting your main damage dealers focus the Heart of Darkness for the second and third parts of the fight.
In essence, this is pretty much a rush-down boss-fight. You will want to deal as much damage as fast as possible, especially during the last third of the fight where you will only have 2 heroes available. Skills that benefit from marking are therefore invaluable for dealing high amounts of burst damage.
During the early portion of the third part of the fight, you may want to consider healing up/reducing the stress on afflicted heroes as his attacks, while powerful, will not usually put your characters immediately on death's door. Due to the Heart of Darkness's relatively low Stun resistance, this would be an ideal time for stalling time and recovering.
Considering this boss's mechanics, you may make your last heroes have lower bleed than blight resistance, as his blight attack can also trigger the stun effect.
As the battle progresses, you should become more aggressive, since this is the last mission and no retreat is possible. Moreover, the less characters you have, the less you will be able to keep up with the Heart of Darkness's onslaught.
If you manage to defeat the Heart of Darkness, congratulations! You will be greeted with a cinematic epilogue and beaten the game.
Good luck and keep your guard up!
- The Heart of Darkness may be a reference to Nssu-Ghahnb or the Heart of Ages from the Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game.