What is Hand Kiting
Hand Kiting is a common term used to describe the act of kiting the Soul Feast (the "hands") mechanic at Deimos. This involves being the most distant player from the boss and using multiple survivability skills to stack the AoEs in neat piles, such that they aren't a threat to the group and aren't absorbed by Deimos.
For the entire encounter (after Deimos spawns), every 10 seconds the most distant player from the boss will be targeted by Soul Feast. Every second for five seconds, a small cluster of hands will spawn under the player, ticking damage every second. After the last one drops, there will be a gap of five seconds before a new target is selected and another set begin to spawn. The job of the hand kiter is to always be the target, and drop the hands at a safe distance from the rest of the group. In a perfect world, the hand kiter can stack each set of five at the same location without dying, then move slightly and recover health before the next set appear. The most important thing though is to ensure you survive, so move as much as you need to stay alive as if you get downed you will be very difficult to save.
In addition to dealing with the hands, you will not be able to return to the safety of the bubble for Mind Crush, and so you need to have some method to survive it: Blocks or damage negation will do the job, invulnerability will not.
At a bare minimum:
- Substantial self-healing and/or damage reduction
- Enough blocks or damage negation that you can use one every ~35 seconds
- Make sure your toughness is lower than the tank's!
- You will likely need the "Character Model Limit" in the options to be at least set to medium, as any lower can result in culling the hands
Once you've sorted out the basics, you can fill out the build with other powerful options:
- Even more blocks or damage negation to allow you to stack up as many hands as possible
- Sources of Protection and Regeneration
- Healing skills that convert incoming damage to healing
- Traits that automatically trigger to prevent you being downed
If you are confident in your ability to survive, you can then look at ways to provide benefits to the rest of your party - this could be something as simple as having a ranged CC to help them deal with Saul, or ranged healing to provide extra support. Some builds are even able to function as a subgroup's boon support while hand kiting!
Every class has at least one spec that can successfully hand kite, but some are certainly stronger than others. First, we will outline the decisions that go into the builds.
Traits and Skills
The first place to look is for traits that offer damage reduction, and those that provide healing. It is quite common for a class to have specific traitlines for each of these, which makes them easy choices to take. Similarly, look for skills that offer healing, defensive boons, or damage reduction.
- All your gear should have healing power, and you will typically want some concentration as well.
- Toughness will make things easier, but be sure not to have more than the tank (it can even be beneficial to make sure there is a second player with more toughness than you, in case the tank dies).
- Vitality can help, but it is a double-edged sword as Mind Crush deals 70% of your max health as damage over 10 seconds after it hits. So the higher your health, the more you will have to heal.
- It is very possible to just re-use gear from a heal build, but you may wish to run something safer while learning the role.
Runes and Sigils
Similar to gear, you can reuse your healer's runes (probably , but be aware that the bonus healing does not apply to you). Some popular options:
- offers loads of boon duration
- can save you from death once every 90 seconds, which can be very helpful while learning
- is very potent on classes that use a lot of blocks
- is useful on classes that predominantly rely on healing rather than damage negation
Food and Utility
Since the introduction of ascended food it is very easy to get a -10% damage effect, but are good on a budget.
As mentioned before, outgoing healing modifiers don't affect you so the choice of utility consumable is not too important. Just pick something that converts into concentration and/or healing power.
While any class can hand kite, the three presented here are particularly noteworthy.
Herald is probably the safest and most capable hand kiting build, easily able to stack 5 hands every time and has incredible damage reduction and healing. The downside is that it requires fairly active play to maintain all its boons and getting stuck on low energy when Mind Crush starts can spell your doom.
Soulbeast is much less capable of stacking hands and so has to rely more on movement to survive. On the other hand, it only really needs to use three skills off cooldown to survive, and its tools for surviving Mind Crush are always available.
The other build is Mechanist. This build is able to handkite while also providing boon support to their subgroup from range, allowing you to bring an extra DPS in their place.
Regardless of the build, the playstyle is the same:
- Stand still and allow hands to spawn underneath you
- After two or three ticks, activate a block or damage negation to survive the rest
- If you do not have such a skill available, move slightly to the side instead and stack the remaining hands in a second pile
- Once all five hands are spawned, move slightly to a free space, heal up, and wait for them to start again
Every ~35 seconds (starting at 90%), Deimos will begin swinging his maces as he charges up a devastating attack. As this happens, Saul will summon a protective ward in the center of the platform and give every player a speed boost called Form Up and Advance! He also shouts “Stand in the ward! Quickly!” Approximately five seconds later the attack will down anyone who doesn't block or negate the damage. You will need to make sure you have one of these options available for each one. After the initial hit, you will get a debuff called Weak Minded that ticks for 7% of your max health every second for 10 seconds, so you may need to have some healing for this or be more careful with stacking hands until the debuff wears off.
If your tank hates you, they may bring Deimos close enough that you're in range of Annihilate (sometimes called the "pizza attack"). If this happens, run around the edge of the arena away from the tank until you reach a safe spot - don't worry about being neat with hands.
When the group returns from being teleported to the demon realm, all your stacked hands will move towards Deimos and disappear after a few seconds. They still do damage until they disappear though, and if you get caught in front of them they can easily down you. When you see the group get teleported away, try to make sure that you're not in a spot between hands and Deimos.
This mechanic is also a strong reason to remain far from Deimos - if the hands reach Deimos before they disappear, he will consume them and gain a buff that increases all damage he deals by 2% per stack, including damage from hands.
Approximately every 30 seconds, Saul will drop a Banner (see right) on the most distant player, which is almost guaranteed to be you. This banner heals everyone in its AoE for 5% of their max health every second for 20 seconds, so it is very helpful to try to remain in its AoE while it is active.
Any of the other mechanics can affect you, but your response to them isn't particularly different from any other player's. See the Deimos guide for details.
Thanks to flamboroughpilot for providing the images.
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