The Akh Afah Amphitheatre (Unreal)
The Akh Afah Amphitheatre (Unreal)
The faux commander demands of you a tale to tear at the heart and grip the soul, and for this there is certainly no better inspiration than your fateful confrontation with Shiva. Turn your mind to that most tragic of primals, and find what dreams of ice may come...
— In-game description
- See also: Faux Hollows
- Complete the level 80 Fantastic Mr. Faux quest.
To be eligible for the Fantastic Mr. Faux quest, players must first complete the Shadowbringers main scenario and Keeping Up with the Aliapohs, then speak to the Painfully Ishgardian Man in Idyllshire (X:7.0, Y:5.9).
Abilities & Phases
Akh Afah Amphitheatre (Unreal) is a retelling of the classic encounter between the Warrior of Light and Lady Iceheart, who became a vessel for Shiva during the Heavensward main scenario questline. The battle bears many differences to the original version, though the arena and opening cinematic are entirely identical. Below is a list of mechanics and phases you will endure throughout the encounter.
One of the more notable factors of the encounter is Shiva's weapon-based attacks which she employs throughout the battle in a semi-random fashion; Frost Blade, Frost Bow, or Frost Staff. Players will need to react in certain ways depending on which weapon Shiva acquires - each one being indicated by different animations and involving different mechanical rotations.
Phase One: 100-80% Health
The first phase will persist for as long as Shiva retains higher than 80% health. During this time, Shiva will incorporate only two of her three weapon-based attack patterns: Frost Blade or Frost Staff. Bear in mind that Shiva will begin the encounter by randomly selecting one of the two weapons, each of which is followed by set mechanics, followed by going Unarmed (which also involves two set abilities) before switching to the other weapon. This process will repeat until Shiva has dropped below 80% health.
- Weapon: Frost Blade - will occasionally debuff her primary target with a stackable Blunt Resistance Down, which will only come into play whenever she equips her Frost Staff. Once Shiva equips her Frost Blade, she will typically utilize a rotation of Icebrand, Glacier Bash and Whiteout (peppered with Heavenly Strikes at different intervals depending on the current phase of the fight), all of which are described below. Assuming you are fighting Shiva with the typical two-tank format, it is wise to assign one tank per weapon, as having a single tank means they will take increased damage via Blunt Resistance Down when Shiva swaps to Staff.
- (Blade) Icebrand - causes Shiva to unleash a conal wave of sharp icicles for massive (shareable) damage. The raid will need to coordinate themselves throughout the encounter so that casts of Icebrand are shared by the group for minimal damage.
- (Blade) Glacier Bash - causes Shiva to fire a frontal cone of icy shards that deal tremendous damage and afflicts victims with Stun. The raid (including tanks) should avoid this attack as much as possible, which often conflicts with the need to share Icebrand. A simple method for tackling both is to have the main tank stand in front of Shiva whilst the rest of the raid stack directly behind her. Whenever she casts Icebrand, the tank should join the rest of the raid so that Shiva cleaves the entire group. However, when Shiva casts Glacier Bash, the tank can wait until Shiva begins hard-casting and then run through her towards the rest of the raid so that nobody is hit.
- (Blade) Heavenly Strike - spawns a torrent of large icicles that randomly erupt from the ground, dealing medium damage to anyone hit and knocking them back a moderate distance. As a result of this constant threat, Shiva should primarily be tanked in the centre of the arena for the duration of the phase, preferably with the entire group stacked directly behind her thanks to Icebrand and Glacier Bash (see above). Should players be knocked around, they will be a safe distance from the sides of the arena and can quickly move back into position.
- (Blade) Whiteout - essentially a donut AoE which causes Shiva to bombard the arena, mauling anyone who isn't close to her. As described above, keeping Shiva close to the arena centre and having the group stack close to her to deal with other mechanics means that Whiteout shouldn't pose too much of a threat, as both the tank(s) and raid will be stacked nearby to respond to Ice Brand and Glacier Bash, thus already being within range to avoid any casts of Whiteout.
- Weapon: Frost Staff - will occasionally debuff her primary target with a stackable Slash Resistance Down, which will only come into play whenever she equips her Frost Blade. Assuming you are fighting Shiva with the typical two-tank format, it is wise to assign one tank per weapon, as having a single tank means they will take increased damage via Slashing Resistance Down when Shiva swaps to her Frost Blade.
- (Staff) Hailstorm - similar to earlier versions of Akh Afah Amphitheatre, Shiva will simultaneously brand several players, who will find themselves with an icicle-shaped icon above their heads and a large, frosty-looking circle around their character, indicating that they will soon be blasted for medium damage and emit an AoE from their current locations. As you might expect, all players will need to spread out during this time so that other players don't take extra damage via overlap.
- (Staff) Absolute Zero - bombards the arena via unavoidable raid-wide damage.
- Weapon: Unarmed - after using one of the above-mentioned weapons and entering her normal (unarmed) state, the raid should always expect two mechanics to take place before she equips a new weapon.
- (Unarmed) Dreams Of Ice - empowers Shiva with a permanent (stackable) damage buff, essentially making it a soft enrage. Dreams Of Ice will continuously stack throughout the encounter, so be ready for higher volumes of damage as the battle progresses.
- (Unarmed) Icicle Impact - similar to earlier versions of Akh Afah Amphitheatre, the arena will be splayed with a pattern consisting of large circular telegraphs with white outlines, overlapping each other in several sections. In short, one circle in the arena centre, and several circles around the outer edges. Unlike earlier versions, one of the outer circles will randomly become a safe spot, and all icicles detonate simultaneously (compared to previous Shiva fights which involve circles exploding in the order they are summoned). Players can attempt to quickly identify the safe spot and move there as soon as possible, or resign themselves to an area where they will take (at most) one blast. Make sure not to stand in areas where circles overlap as you will take far more damage as a result.
Phase Two: 80-70% Health
Shiva will eventually summon four adds within the arena that will need to be gathered by a tank and burned down by the raid. The adds themselves do not utilize any special abilities nor hit for too much damage, so they can be safely collected by a single tank and pulled close to Shiva so that the raid can cleave them all together. Whilst dealing with the adds, Shiva will swap to her Frost Blade form, so if you're using the typical two-tank format, make sure the tank with Slash Resistance Down handles the adds, while the other handles Shiva herself without the risk of extra damage from the weapon-based debuff.
Bear in mind that because Shiva is brandishing her Frost Blade, the raid must still contend with Glacier Bash and Icebrand (just like earlier), so everyone must remain mindful of when to avoid her stun-capable cone-AoE (Glacier Bash) or stack together to share damage (Icebrand) whilst burning down the four adds.
After 60 seconds have passed, or if Shiva reaches a specific health threshold, she will begin to deep-freeze the entire raid via Diamond Dust much like she does in earlier versions of the battle. The raid must ensure that all adds have been destroyed beforehand, as failure to do so will result in a full raid wipe. Assuming the raid has successfully destroyed all four adds, the raid is treated to her popular face-stomp transition, stepping on a random raid-member to break the entire raid out of deep-freeze and inflict raid-wide damage in the process, initiating the third and final phase of the encounter.
Phase Three: <70% Health
Having reached this point in the battle, the outer ring of the arena will now become a hazard - freezing anyone who touches it into a block of ice that will inflict damage-over-time until the victim perishes, unless members of the raid break them out of their icy prison via sufficient damage.
Depending on previous damage done, Shiva will be floating around 75-70% health at this time, and the raid will now be in a race against her passively stacking Dreams Of Ice damage buff. From here on, everyone will need to contend with another semi-random turn of events based on which weapons Shiva utilizes, which will now also include her Frost Bow.
- Weapon: Frost Bow - unlike the other weapons in her repertoire, Frost Bow does not inflict a debuff of its own and gains no benefit from Blunt Resistance Down or Slashing Resistance Down, yet it does come with its own specific set of mechanics to watch out for, just like the others. However, Shiva's auto-attacks during Frost Bow will be far quicker, hit harder, and also be much more susceptible to critical strikes, thus tanks and healers should be ready for a higher volume of passive damage whilst the bow is equipped.
- (Bow) Glass Dance - as soon as Shiva equips her Frost Bow, she will prepare to unleash a vicious 720-degree cone attack all around her, mauling anyone who isn't standing directly behind her, which will be the only safe spot. To be safe, everyone should immediately move behind Shiva as soon as they notice her equipping her Frost Bow and remain there until Glass Dance has concluded.
- (Bow) Avalanche - places a blue marker above a random player who will soon be blasted with a moderate-sized straight-line AoE from Shiva herself, inflicting a tremendous knockback against the victim and anyone else clipped by the attack. Due to the outer arena wall now being a hazard, everyone - especially the marked victim - will need to be mindful of their positioning if they wish to avoid being knocked into the wall and turned into a slowly-dying popsicle. Seeing as Avalanche is typically not used until about 20 seconds after Shiva has equipped her Frost Bow, tanks can make a point of dragging Shiva close to the edge of the arena so that eventual victims of Avalanche have much more room to work with. It is also worth noting that the main tank will not be excluded from selection, meaning they may be marked for Avalanche themselves.
- Permafrost - can be executed regardless of which weapon Shiva is currently utilizing. Once cast, the entire arena will be coated in ice, making it slippery and putting players at risk of sliding into the dangerous outer wall. Simultaneously, a weak damage-over-time effect will be placed on all members of the raid.
- Icicle Impact - just like earlier, players will have to deal with the pattern-based Icicle Impact mechanics, except now, they involve two sets of patterns exploding one after the other. The first pattern always involves four circles at either cardinal or inter-cardinal positions (with no circle in the centre), which eventually explode, followed by patterns in whatever positions that weren't used previously (as well as an extra circle in the centre). In all cases, safe-spots will depend on where the first pattern exploded and will always be in cardinal or inter-cardinal positions. For example, if the first pattern involves circles exploding in the north, south, east and west, then the second explosion will involve circles in the north-east, north-west, south-east, and south-west, as well as a circle in the arena centre, leaving the far north, south, east and west of the arena as safe spots. Players are safe to use the centre as a safe-spot from first-pattern explosions and must avoid the centre for all secondary explosions.
- Icicle Impact - Staff/Sword Swap - bear in mind that Shiva will be swapping to a different weapon whilst the second pattern of Icicle Impact is forming, which may force the raid to utilize the limited safe-spot space to deal with weapon-based mechanics, such as Hailstorm (random players being marked for AoE's whilst Shiva brandishes her Ice Staff) or Icebrand (forcing the raid share damage whilst Shiva brandishes her Frost Blade). If Shiva swaps to her Ice Staff during Icicle Impact, just remember that patterns will provide four safe spots that can house two players each, giving just enough room for everyone to spread out during Hailstorm whilst also avoiding the floor patterns. If Shiva equips her Ice Blade during Icicle Impact, the raid must remember to share damage from Icebrand before running to safe spots.
- Icicle Impact - Bow Swap - one extra pattern that will only happen when Shiva is preparing to swap to her Frost Bow, which involves circles spawning and exploding in their spawn order, starting with one in the centre. To avoid, simply stand within the very last circle that spawned, then move into the centre as soon as the first centre-circle has exploded. Just remember that whenever Shiva equips her bow (even during Icicle Impact), she will always unleash her 720-degree cone attack (Glass Dance), so make sure to move behind her as soon as possible to avoid being maimed.
Now that you know what to expect, the fight will continue until Shiva has been defeated, or the raid wipes, keeping in mind the soft-enrage of her ever-stacking Dreams Of Ice buff throughout the entire ordeal.
- Access to Faux Hollows once per week.