Garuda Hard Mode

Garuda Hard Mode

Level 50, 8-person

While Garuda was the hardest of the three story-mode Primals, she is the intermediate challenge in the hard mode primals.  This instance is an 8-person instance.  Successful completion of Garuda hard mode brings 15 Tomes of Philosophy, 10 Tomes of Mythology and an item-level 70 weapon.  The weapons from Garuda are highly desirable and should be a focus of your character advancement prior to engaging Titan hard mode.

You must have completed the Ifrit Hard Mode and attune to this fight before entering.  Attunement begins in the Walking Sands in the side storage room.  Once pickup up the attunement quest, teleport to Coerthas Highlands and attune at the Beastman Aetheryte Crystal on the eastern side of the zone.

This instance is a relatively easy challenge, but it does present a few spots where wipes are possible.  An over-geared team can complete this instance in 4-6 minutes, while an Ifrit weapon and il-60 team (AK gear) can reasonably complete the instance in 9-11 minutes.  While you can complete this instance in your artifact gear, it will be very painful to do so.  Having a few pieces of il-60 gear from Amdapor Keep and perhaps an Ifrit weapon makes this fight a good bit easier.

The battle arena for Garuda is a circular arena.  The fight begins with a rock formation on the northern border of the zone and four pillars shaped into a square in the center of the zone.  The northern rock formation stays up throughout the fight, the four pillars are only there for the first stage of the fight.

Garuda Hard Mode

This fight is a coordinated movement fight.  There are a number of points where your entire team has to move in sequence.  Additionally, Garuda dishes out a good bit of area of effect damage.  Keeping your ranged players distant from Garuda is recommended.  To this end, we always mark a healer with an X or Triangle shape and use that person as the “ranged stack” person.

Throughout the fight, Garuda cycles a pair of attacks that can be deadly.  The first of these is Slipstream.  This is a column attack without a red ground effect.  The tank should side-step or joust through Garuda to avoid taking this hit.  Slipstream does a high amount of damage and inflicts a stun.  This attack is easy enough to avoid when Garuda is alone, but it can become part of a nasty Slipstream cross-fire when the Garuda clones begin appearing in Stage 2!

Her second damaging attack is her whirlwind point blank area of effect attack.  This attack does moderate damage to all melee characters.  In general it is easy enough to heal through, but this attack can be problematic with the Garuda clones who begin to appear in Stage 2!.

Her final damaging attack is her ranged feather.  She targets these at a single person, but they do splash damage to teammates (and pillars) nearby.

Stage 1 – Story Mode All Over Again

The first stage of Garuda Hard mode is reminiscent of the story mode fight.  During this stage, Garuda will periodically teleport.  Immediately after her teleports she will Shriek.  This shriek is a zone-wide area of effect which will typically kill non-tank players instantly.  All players need to use the pillars to avoid the shrieks.  Garuda’s pattern for shrieks is always the same.

You should begin this fight having the tank pull Garuda to the northern rock formation.  We setup the ranged DPS near the Northwest pillar, far enough away to avoid Garuda’s whirlwind attacks.

  • Teleport 1 – North rock formation (hide on south side of pillars)
  • Teleport 2 – Center of the pillars (hide to outside of pillars)
  • Teleport 3* – East side of map (hide on west side of pillars [she can skip this teleport]
  • Teleport 4 – Center of pillars, but she does NOT shriek on this cycle
  • Teleport 5 – Center of pillars for Reckoning (transition to Stage 2)

On the first three teleports, your strategy is always the same.  Avoid the shriek by positioning your team on the opposing side of a pillar.  We always use the northernmost pillars for our hiding during this stage.  Depending on your group’s DPS, you may not see the third teleport.  Generally Teleport-3 only happens with Grand Company and Ifrit weapon equipped teams.

After each of the first four teleports, the tank should reacquire Garuda and bring her back to the northern rock formation.  Once this happens, Garuda causes a series of Plumes to rain from the sky.  These plumes will attack the four rock pillars, which reduces their effectiveness during your hiding stages.

We only defend the two western pillars.  We use the NW pillar to primarily hide from teleports and we use the SW pillar to transition to stage 2.  The eastern pillars can be sacrificed.  However, plumes do an area of effect burst when they finish their attack.  Plumes attacking an eastern pillar, but close to a western pillar may also need to be destroyed if your team DPS is a bit low.

Garuda’s final teleport in this stage is the Reckoning.  This is a high damage area wide attack that destroys all remaining pillars.  The attack can easily hit for close to 3000 damage even with pillars up, it’s absolutely lethal to a low-geared group if pillars are down.  We use the SW pillar for the reckoning.  Healers should begin casting group heals immediately, in particular this can be an advantageous time to use interrupt prevention abilities.  Your DPS should stay in the SW stack until group healing is done while your tank should immediately pickup Garuda and move her to the just west of the Northern rock formation.

Stage 2 – Garuda’s Clones Appear

Following the reckoning, the tank brings Garuda to just west of the northern rock formation.  Ranged players should move to the western point of the circle (roughly 9:00 position).  Shortly into this stage, Garuda will spawn cyclones across the map.  The northwest corner is the only safe zone at this point.

The tank should drift Garuda in relatively tight to the eastern-most cyclone. Ranged players should drift themselves back tightly to the southernmost cyclone.  This helps minimize the risk of damage from Garuda’s whirlwinds, but more importantly it gives the tanks plenty of room to pickup the adds that will soon spawn!

Managing the add spawn is very important.  Healers should eliminate regens just prior to the adds spawning.  Additionally, Scholars can position their egi over near the eastern cyclones.  The adds will often come in and make a beeline towards scholar pets.  Even if the tanks acquire agro, the clones will often finish their attack on the pet.  Given the aoe nature of Garuda’s, this can be deadly if the scholar pet is sitting in with the ranged players.

Garuda teleports away and then spawns a pair of clones, Suparna and Charada.  At this point, we typically have melee DPS run back to the ranged DPS until the tanks have the clones under control.  One clone always enters from the northeast.  This should be picked up by the off-tank who should position her near the intersection of the two eastern cyclones.

The other clone spawns in the NW side of the map, typically right in front of the main tank.  The main tank should pickup this clone.  Garuda spawns on the southern side of the map and then travels back towards the main tank.

One of the clones will heal Garuda, this is evidenced by a green beam traveling from that clone to Garuda.  It is random which clone does this effect, so you have to watch for it and then focus-fire down that clone.  Once that is done, kill the other clone quickly and then return to fighting Garuda.

Garuda and her clones perform the same cycle of normal attacks.  This includes splipstreams, whirlwinds and the targeted feathers with the aoe splash.  Melee dps, in particular, can be devastated if caught in the cross-fire of several aoe’s.

Stage 3 – Moving along the northeastern perimeter

Shortly after defeating Garuda’s clones, Garuda changes tactics and begins moving her cyclones in a clockwise fashion.  This means the party’s safe spot in the NW quadrant is no longer safe.  During this stage you engage in a coordinated movement, clockwise, along the northern perimeter.

While in motion, a series of plumes will spawn.  The satin plume must be killed as it will sleep and damage nearby players if it is allowed to live for too long.  The remaining plumes can be ignored as they simply do a bit of area of effect damage that is easily healed through.

Your party needs to move reasonably briskly during this stage while making sure to avoid Garuda’s slipstream and whirlwind attacks.  The tank needs to run ahead and let Garuda come to him/her.  Healers need to stay far enough advanced to maintain heals on the tank while avoiding Garuda’s aoe’s.  This movement stage ends once Garuda reaches roughly the eastern side of the map.

Stage 4 – Fighting in the Eye of the Storm

This stage requires a fairly quick, coordinated transition.  When Garuda’s cyclones dissipate, she immediately turns the outer ring of the map into a deadly hurricane.  Only the middle of the map is safe.  The party needs to quickly move to the center with the tank bringing Garuda to the southern side and the ranged players moving and clustering on the northern side.

This stage features another set of Garuda clones.  The tank should pickup the clone to the east and then move back south to position Garuda.  The off-tank should pickup the clone to the west.  Once again, pay attention and focus fire on the clone with the green beam.  The tank may take quite a beating during this stage, we often find that it is useful to use up an invulnerability if the tank has to hold Garuda and one clone for a prolonged period of time.

Shortly after killing the clones, Garuda ends the hurricane and returns to placing cyclones on the map.

Stage 5 – Moving along the southwestern perimeter

When the eye of the storm ends, the tank should move west and the remainder of the party should move to the southwest.  This begins a movement phase similar to Stage 3.  The party will once again have to kill a Satun plume while ignoring other plumes.  This stage ends with the tank and Garuda at the northwest side of the northern formation.

At this point, the fight returns to stage 2.  Depending on your team DPS you should be able to kill Garuda during the second stage 2.  If not, simply keep iterating steps until you kill her.

Final Thoughts on Garuda Hard Mode

One of the key questions in this fight is where and when to use your limit break.  We do not recommend using the archer limit break, even if you have several dead party members. Unfortunately, the archer limit break respawns your teammates right where they died.  GIven the nature of the cyclones present throughout the fight, this is nearly always a bad thing.

Really the question is whether to use the monk/dragoon single-target limit break or the summoner/black mage aoe limit break.  This really comes down to how much health Garuda has, prior to her clones spawning,  the second time you get to stage 2.

If Garuda is below 10% health before the adds spawn, use the single target LB and end the fight quickly.  If not, wait for the adds to spawn, cluster them and use the aoe limit break.

Raise is a tricky spell in this fight given the movement.  Raise brings players back at the point of the caster, when the Raise was cast.  For this reason, it is often best to wait to raise until you are back to a static part of the fight (Stage 2 or Stage 4).

Additionally, Garuda uses a ranged attack that does aoe damage during the fight.  This will instantly kill a raised teammate.  It is always best to wait for the ranged feather attack to finish before accepting a raise.

Finally, Garuda is a very important fight.  The Garuda weapon should be considered a must-have going into Titan and really makes your end-game play much easier.  It is a substantial upgrade to the Grand Company or Ifrit weapons.  Further, Garuda pays out a reasonable amount of Philos and Myths for what can be a very fast fight.  I can get pre-Relic players through it in about eight minutes if all goes well and Relic players can easily finish this fight in four minutes.


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