Strategies for Barbarian Assault: Hard Mode
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Barbarian Assault's Hard mode has more Penance than regular mode, and they are tougher as well. In turn, this increased difficulty results in better rewards.
The Penance Fighters and Rangers are able to use special attacks, the poison of the Penance Healers hits harder, and Penance Runners explode upon eating the incorrect bait or dying in a trap. Instead of a Queen at wave 10, hard mode has a King, killing which is required to purchase Insignias.
To unlock this mode, you will have to complete Waves 1-10 of Normal mode—completion before hard mode was released does not count.
Equipment[edit | edit source]
First thing's first: start with the right equipment for a successful run of hard mode. The pocket slot is taken by your Role's icon, but all other slots are available to use.
Since you're not attacking, you instead need armour that gives the best possible defence against Melee and Ranged attacks. Thus, Melee armour is your best option. Refer to this article for a more detailed explanation of the Combat triangle and how armour bonus works. The Augmented flowers can be substituted for any augmentable melee weapon for use with Mobile and Venomblood.
Notes: Death Lotus darts are not recommended for those not in the Attacker role due to their extremely short range. It is advised for the Attacker to bring both chinchompas as well as a high level one-handed ranged weapon to go after stragglers. It is advised for the Healer, Collector, and Defender to bring Ranged armour switches so as not to lose accuracy when the Penance King is around; refer to the recommended Attacker equipment to find the setup right for you. For those not in the Attacker role, only armour bonus matters, in order to tank as much damage from the Penance as possible before the King arrives. Since the Penance King does damage equal to your maximum hp, lifepoints boosting armours are not helpful against him.
Inventory[edit | edit source]
Regardless of role, a few items are key to success.
- A shield for the King — necessary for Resonance and Barricade.
- A one-handed ranged weapon, to attack the King from afar — Sagaie are ideal.
- Enhanced excalibur can be very helpful to restore health when the Healer is far away.
Waves 1-9: Warming up[edit | edit source]
These role guides assume you have strong knowledge of the basics of Barbarian Assault and are to be seen as more of an intermediate guide. If you are unfamiliar with the minigame check out the Normal mode guide for the basics.
|1||3||3||3 + 3 (6)||3 + 3 (6)|
|2||3 + 2 (5)||3 + 2 (5)||4 + 4 (8)||3 + 3 (6)|
|3||4 + 2 (6)||4 + 1 (5)||4 + 4 (8)||4 + 4 + 1 (9)|
|4||4 + 2 (6)||4 + 2 (6)||4 + 4 + 1 (9)||4 + 4 + 1 (9)|
|5||5 + 3 (8)||5 + 3 (8)||5 + 4 (9)||5 + 4 (9)|
|6||5 + 4 (9)||5 + 4 (9)||5 + 4 (9)||5 + 5 + 1 (11)|
|7[W 1]||6 + 3 (9)||6 + 4 (10)||6 + 5 (11)||6 + 5 (11)|
|8||7 + 4 (11)||7 + 4 (11)||7 + 4 (11)||7 + 5 (12)|
|9||8 + 4 (12)||8 + 4 (12)||8 + 4 (12)||8 + 4 (12)|
|10[W 1]||6 + 3 (9)||6 + 4 (10)||6 + 5 (11)||6 + 5 (11)|
Attacker[edit | edit source]
Attacker is probably one of the easier roles to get started in and there's always a demand for them since there are 2 spots per team. There is a low skill floor but medium to high skill ceiling depending on how far you go with the role. Top Attackers are able to solo attack without calls, without heals, without the use of the Vampyrism aura, and they do it at the same speed of duo attackers.
Refer to the gear guide at the top of this page for what you should wear. Tank armour is generally better than Power armour at Barbarian Assault because with maxed stats and gear, you kill your Penance before the other roles kill theirs. Tank armour helps you stay alive for longer and could be the difference between you needing your healer to heal you or not.
For teams with 2 Attackers there are two different roles for each of the Attackers. One attacker will focus on tagging the Penance Rangers, and the other will focus on tagging the Penance Fighters. The person focusing on the Rangers should stand one square west of where the Rangers spawn, and the one focusing on Fighters should stand one square south of where the Rangers spawn. This way if a Ranger moves immediately when it spawns, there's a strong chance it will be tagged by an attack anyway as it can only move north or east.
While inside the waiting room, you'll want to face northwest so that when the wave starts, you can immediately Surge and be that much closer to the Penance caves. Never run through the middle of the arena, you'll likely lure the Penance Healers and make your teammates unhappy enough to restart the wave. Another technique you can use is to be running when the wave starts. What this means is that while in the waiting room you can run from corner to corner or north to south, and if your character was moving while the wave started you'll start to run northwest automatically, which can be helpful for slower computers. The timing for this is based on the person who is at the top of the scroll. If they are getting points per wave completion, then the timing is roughly 10 seconds after they close the points interface. If they are getting bonus experience, it should be the same timing every wave. There is a countdown timer in the top-right of the minigame interface but it does not always show.
The Penance spawn on a cycle of 6 seconds (10 ticks), and there will be 4 spawns before the first call change, and 5 for all subsequent calls assuming you can keep killing them quickly. A good way to keep track of when call changes will happen is by using a 30s cooldown ability like Sacrifice or Freedom so when you see these abilities off cooldown you know the call is going to change. Since you know what stance you were already on you don't really need another call when you get used to the role. Say the stance is Balanced, when the call changes you can switch to Aggressive, and if you see that you're still damaging the Fighters/Rangers, you got the call right. If you see yourself being hit by typeless 100's, you're on the wrong call and should switch to Defensive. It seems harder than it is but you just need to remember what the previous call was and you'll be fine with some practice.
The standard method to attacking involves a set cycle of abilities, Ability on new Ranger spawn -> Ability on new Fighter spawn -> Ability on stack of Penance -> wait one tick -> repeat
A sample rotation at the start of a wave could be:
- Fragmentation Shot the 1st Ranger
- Corruption Shot the 1st Fighter
- Needle Shot the stack, wait a tick (the stack in this case just being the 1st ranger)
- Binding Shot the 2nd Ranger
- Piercing Shot the 2nd Fighter
- Needle Shot the stack, wait a tick
- Tight Bindings the 3rd Ranger
- Tuska's Wrath the 3rd Fighter
- Snipe the 3rd Fighter (so that it hits on stack)
- Rapid Fire the stack (so that it tags the 4th Ranger)
And then so on. There's plenty of room for adjusting but the general idea is that you want to focus more on tagging and keeping the Penance all grouped up together. When making a rotation for BA you want to utilise the true power of Snipe and Rapid Fire to get them to tag new Ranger spawns so there's less room for error when attacking. Since Snipe takes 4 ticks to hit whereas all other abilities take 3 ticks, you can use this to your advantage to hit Rangers on the tick that they spawn, and you can also continue your Rapid Fire through the spawn to get heavy stack damage and tag at the same time.
This is a sample bar that you can use for Attacking. It is not perfect by any means, but it should get the job done for anyone learning the Attacker role. Revolution is not recommended but possible to succeed with, but make sure to manually activate any thresholds and binds.
There are a few other abilities that are strong that you can use that did not fit on the bar:
- Death's Swiftness
- Deadshot (only use if big stack and other thresholds on cd)
- Bombardment (switch to a 2h weapon or equip mh crossbow)
- Tuska's Wrath (good tagging ability, instant hit)
- Sacrifice (for keeping track of call changes)
Abilities that don't deal AoE damage with chins:
- Tips and tricks
- Binding Shot, Tight Bindings, and Rapid Fire all stun and/or bind the Penance Fighters/Rangers, so Piercing Shot is a great ability to use here as it can do a lot of damage to the stack.
- It can sometimes be better to let Rapid Fire continue to kill the stack if there are a lot of Fighters/Rangers stacked up rather than keeping up with newly spawned Penance. Well timed bleeds like Deadshot can also clear the stack and nearly heal you to full health when using the Vampyrism aura with chinchompas.
- Avoid using any binds on newly spawned Fighters, as it can interrupt your flow and cause you to miss other tags. However if you see any Penance trying to run east, don't be afraid to bind them so that they can re-aggro you. With that being said, don't go any further east than the pillar next to the Fighter cave, as you may catch the attention of the Penance Healers
- Shadow Tendrils can do upwards of 4000 lifepoints of damage to yourself, don't use it if you can't afford the HP.
- Try to avoid using bleeds near the call change as this can combo you out if you aren't careful, a Frag plus Corruption Shot through the call change could do more than 5000 damage if you aren't paying attention.
Collector[edit | edit source]
Much like normal mode, Collector has the lowest skill floor and the lowest skill ceiling. With that being said, the difference between a good Collector and a bad Collector can be almost 30 seconds a wave.
Upon arriving in the wave, the Collector will be given 3 eggs of each colour (you must have at least 11 free inventory spaces, if you have 8 you will not receive blue eggs and if you have 5 you will not receive green eggs either. If you have even fewer, the wave will refuse to start).
- If your Collector role is level 5 you can convert to random at the start of the wave (the animation takes awhile so watch your inventory for the eggs' colour to change), leaving you with 6 red eggs and 3 green eggs. Load these eggs into the hopper and shoot a green egg at the Defender.
- If your Collector role is level 4 or less, you should manually load the green eggs by using them on the hopper one at a time, shoot the Defender with a green egg and then convert the remaining eggs to red at the dispenser.
With the eggs loaded into the hopper, the Healer will have shot the other 2 green eggs at the Attackers. At this point the Defender will be close to bringing a stack of healers around the cannon for you to shoot with red eggs.
- On waves 1-5, the Defender will bring 3 Penance Healers around the left side of the east cannon, and on waves 6-9 the Defender will bring 4 Penance Healers.
- You'll still have 1 extra red egg, so you need to pick up 4 eggs from the Healers that you just killed and convert them to red eggs if the call was not red to kill the remaining stack of Healers at the end of the wave.
- NEVER pick up eggs from the runner trap, as you'll either mess up the Defender or aggro a Penance Healer, both of which can cause a minute to be added to the wave time if not on an experienced team.
- You'll still have 1 extra red egg, so you need to pick up 4 eggs from the Healers that you just killed and convert them to red eggs if the call was not red to kill the remaining stack of Healers at the end of the wave.
On experienced teams you might find that the team is having the Healer poison the first or second stack Penance Healers instead of shooting red eggs , this is done to generally speed up the lower waves and make the higher waves more consistent and efficient, as well as easier for the collector.
- On waves 1-4 the Healer will poison the second stack of Penance Healers that the Defender lures, and on waves 5-9 they will poison the first stack.
- This means that you'll shoot the first stack on waves 1-4, and the second stack on waves 5-9.
- Special notes
- Don't shoot the Penance Runners with red eggs unless there is only one runner left, as it will only do the full damage to the one that the red egg targets. However shooting the Penance Healers will do the full damage to any Penance hit in the splash.
- If your attackers are slow, don't be afraid to gather more red eggs (or blue/green and convert them to red) and shoot them at the Fighters and Rangers to help out the Attackers, if there are healers surrounding the Rangers/Fighters shoot the healers instead as it will deal full splash damage.
- After 2 minutes have passed in each wave you will no longer be able to choose which colour you want to convert eggs, and will only be able to convert to random. Random will consistently convert from Blue -> Green -> Red, with red eggs not being affected by the random conversion.
Defender[edit | edit source]
Defender is by far the most complex and hardest role to learn, so if new to hard mode, it is suggested to start with one of the other three roles. Defenders are in high demand especially during spotlight because of the difficulty. The difference between an experienced Defender and an inexperienced Defender can be multiple minutes per wave. Top Defenders are able to manipulate Penance Runners through the use of precise food placement and tick-perfect movement, creating orchestrated waves from start to finish.
There's no way to be taught everything as Defender through text, but here is a description of a basic lure that you should be able to follow to do the role sub-optimally, but well enough to do the role passably. For more information on Defender and for more advanced tactics it is recommended to watch a video on YouTube.
- Start out by using the Defender dispenser to get your lure food.
- Step one square northwest and use the Surge ability.
- Drop incorrect food in a straight line east towards the stairs of the cannon (alternate between the 2 wrong calls; if the call is tofu alternate between worms and crackers).
- Roughly 6 squares directly south of the trap (in line with the bottom of the stairs where the healers do not aggro you) drop 6 or more of the correct food. This next part happens quickly, so be prepared for the next few steps:
- Run to the square north of the trap and drop as much food as you can in 2 ticks (1.2s, don't hold down your keybind you'll want to hit/click it as fast as you can). You should be able to get around 6-8 or more easily.
- Click on the square 2 squares southwest from the runner spawn (the green circle by the cave).
- After about a second after clicking (when you're in line with the cannon north), hold down the correct food keybind until you get to the square you clicked on.
- Escape and click south on the minimap, and then as you get closer to the trap click on the square in the nook/corner of the cannon, so that the Healers are caught above the cannon.
- Depending on the wave you'll do one of two things:
- Waves 1-5: click about 2 squares southwest of the bottom corner of the stairs, so that the Healers get around the cannon and start coming to you.
- Waves 6-9: wait for a 4th Healer to spawn, if you are a little slower it may already be on you, and then repeat the process above.
- As soon as they start getting closer to you, run up the cannon and shoot the Healers with red eggs, or let the Healer poison them depending on what your team is doing.
- With the Penance Healers dead or while your Healer is blocking them, stand at the bottom of the stairs, then click on the square that is 1 west and 2 south of your position.
- Wait for the runner trap to be broken and then Escape and click on the broken trap immediately after using Escape.
- You will be 1 square to the east of the runner trap. Spam click on the square that is 1 square east and 2 squares south, so that the Penance Healers get caught north of you.
- At this point you should not move and you'll want to let your trap become broken again.
- Once a second Runner dies, drop one correct food underneath you, then wait for all the runners to have spawned and be targeting the food you placed under you.
- When the last runner joins the stack with the rest of the runners surrounding you (the tick that it steps on a square adjacent to you), click on the trap to repair the trap, and while you are running to the trap drop a few pieces of correct food under you if you ran out of the food at the square north of the trap.
- When you see the animation for fixing the trap start, spam your Escape keybind, so that you escape as soon as the trap is fixed, and the Healers do not tag you.
- From here run up to the cannon and use any remaining red eggs to shoot at the Healers.
- Things to keep in mind
The goal of the straight line of incorrect food is to catch any runners that go too far south, leading them either to the food near the runner cave and eventually the trap, or leading them to the food below the trap and then eventually the trap. If any runner should get past your defences and be further south than you have any food for, kill whatever Runners you have around you(assuming all Healers have spawned) and drop any food close to the runner. If the food that you dropped 6 squares below the trap is still there, the stray runner will target that food and you should have an easy time getting him onto the trap from there.
Penance Healers move one square at a time when they've aggro'd someone in their vision, and when they tag you start to move 2 squares at a time, so it is more important that you make sure you have control of the Healers. Runners can be fixed easier than having 8 loose Healers.
Defender is a hard role so don't be discouraged when everything doesn't click right away. It will take a lot of practice to become a top Defender.
Healer[edit | edit source]
Healer is probably the simplest role and casually is not much different than normal mode, but there are a few key differences that make it into an involved role to play on a less experienced team.
- Penance Healers after tagging the person they aggro-ed will now move at 2 squares per tick (same as a player's running speed), making them very tough to keep up with poisoning should they become loose.
- Penance Fighters and Rangers hit much harder so Attackers may need more healing.
- Penance Runners explode when killed at the trap and do damage eating wrong food, dealing 20% of players maximum lifepoints PER runner that died or ate wrong food.
At the start of the wave, use the Healer dispenser to get 50 of each poisoned food, as well as an empty healer vial, and then go west and fill the vial by using it on the pool or by right-clicking the pool.
For a team with less experienced Attackers, surge northwest from the pool to the west cannon and shoot a green egg at both of the Attackers to boost their stats. After shooting the Attackers if you were quick the call will change shortly after. If you were slow, the call might change while you are shooting the green eggs. From here, you can run down the stairs of the cannon, but stay behind the wall on the left side of the cannon so that the stack of Fighters and Rangers can't see you. When the Attackers need healing you can surge straight north to minimise how much the stack moves, and then heal the Attackers as needed. When done healing, stand under one of the two Attackers so that you don't obstruct the Penances' movement. Should you need to refill your vial, wait for one of the Attackers to use Binding Shot or Tight Bindings on the Fighters and Rangers so that when you leave they don't also all leave with you.
For a team with more experienced Attackers who will likely not need to be healed, you can surge northeast after filling vial to the east cannon. Shoot both Attackers with a green egg, and then shoot red eggs at the Healers when the Defender brings them around the cannon. Wait for the Collector to conjure up 5 more red eggs to shoot at the healers and when they've all spawned, kill the rest of the Healers with those eggs.
If you feel like helping out a little more than just that, you can poison one of the stacks of healers so that the Collector doesn't need to get more eggs. Coordinate with your team so that you can kill them in the most efficient way.
- On waves 1-4, you should help kills the first stack of Penance Healers with red eggs, and then when the Defender has lured the rest of them, go poison them to finish the wave. You have plenty of food so just continually feed each Healer until it dies, don't wait for the poison to tick down.
- On waves 5-9, you should poison the first stack of Penance Healers, again just kill them one at a time poisoning them as fast as possible. The second stack of Healers you will shoot with red eggs.
Should you find yourself with a non Level 5 Collector, you might need to also poison the second stack of Penance Healers as well as the 1st. Since a Level 4 or lower Collector can have some eggs lost when converting, you won't always have 5 red eggs to shoot at the Healers, and in fact might not have 3 green eggs to shoot at the 2 Attackers and Defender as well. Assuming the Collector doesn't try to convert their eggs to random (6red 3green), you will have 3 of each egg in the hopper. It's best to shoot the red eggs at the bigger stack of Healers to minimise the amount of Healers you have to poison. In addition to poisoning the 1st stack waves 5-9, you will also have to poison each of the Healers at minimum once, preferably twice so that the 3 red eggs can kill them. For this you want to go through each individual Healer in the stack and poison them twice before moving onto the next Healer. Because there can be up to 8 Healers in the stack on wave 9, it can be a little hard to keep track of which ones have and haven't been poisoned. Worst case scenario: you have a few left over after shooting the red eggs that you'll have to re-poison.
Wave 10: The Penance King[edit | edit source]
Wave 10 starts like any other wave. After 12 call changes (30 seconds each: 6 minutes total), the Penance King arrives. Do your very best to get your share of the Penance dead by then, because it becomes exponentially more difficult to clear them with the King running around. Until the King arrives, behave like it is any other wave. Once he arrives, you will no longer have access to the cannons or the Horn of Glory. Additionally, the King spawns that pop up will explode at you with a 3 square radius of damage—if you are in that radius, you will lose 25% of your maximum life points. Note that damage-reducing items such as spirit shields do reduce this damage, though since it is typeless, armour bonus alone will do nothing.
Preparing for arrival[edit | edit source]
Once your Penance are dead, you should run all the way to the east wall, with the exception of the Healer, who stays at the spring. This way, the King only sees the Healer when he spawns; it is the Healer's job to tank the King at the spring while feeding it 5 poisoned meat in order to spawn the flamethrower items.
The King — Part 1: Arms Race[edit | edit source]
With the use of Resonance/Preparation and their thirst-quenching spring, the Healer tanks the King's hits while the other players wait for them to feed the King and produce 5 items. During these items being produced, the Healer picks up their rusty buckets and processes them by using them on the puke, creating 5 buckets of acid. The Healer then leads the King to the Deposit point on the west wall, then back to the spring to heal, then to the safespot* (the square west of the south-west stairs), and only then does the Healer tell the other roles to get their items and process them on the east wall.
Only one person from the doubled up role (usually Attacker) should get that role's items. While it has been patched since the release of hard mode, it is still possible for each person in the role to deposit in the same tick and glitch the items into cancelling each other out, costing the team several stressful minutes while the Healer makes the King regurgitate more items.
Once the other three roles have processed their items, they deposit them on the west wall, by which time the Healer has lured the King from the safespot back to the spring and at which point flamethrowers become available from the deposit point.
The King — Part 2: Finish Him![edit | edit source]
Now that all the roles have flamethrowers, each person must attack the King, preferably with a Ranged weapon, to make him drop a scroll. Making sure to activate Resonance or Barricade in case the King notices you as you run up, grab your scroll from the ground and get away from the King. Inspect your scroll to find one of five words: Exuro, Debilito, Labefacto, Flamma, or Ignis. You will now see these same five words on your screen; they must be clicked, or called, in the correct order. E.G. if the order is Debilito, Labefacto, Ignis, Flamma, Exuro, the person whose scroll says Debilito must click on Debilito on their screen first; the person whose scroll says Labefacto must click on Labefacto on their screen next, and so on. When a word has been called correctly, it will become silver on the screen.
Once all five words have been successfully called, the King will become vulnerable to the flamethrowers for a short time. Everyone should immediately start attacking the King at this point, with their flamethrowers equipped—this is a good time for the Healer to heal everyone up. A good, practiced team can reduce the King's life points from 3.14M to ~1.8M by the time he breaks out of his vulnerability. You will know the King is about to lose his vulnerability when his front legs move and cracks appear on the ground. Immediately run 3+ squares away to avoid being hit 33% of your maximum life points. Now, the King is mad, and instead of hitting players for 25% of their life points, will hit them for closer to 35% of their life points (the spawns still hit 25%). After getting more scrolls and calling the words a second time, the King can be reduced to about 500K life points. The King will now hit you for 50% of your life points. Repeat the "scroll-and-toast" process one last time and finish off the King.
Note: If teammates repeatedly take too long to start attacking the King once he is vulnerable and the King's life points are not reduced to below ~1.1M by the end of the second "scroll-and-toast", this will necessitate the team getting a fourth scroll from the King, during which time making the mistake of getting hit by the King is very likely to result in death; extreme caution must be taken if this happens.
Once you successfully reduce the King's life points to 0, he will die and you will have beaten Barbarian Assault Hard Mode. Congratulations!
General tips[edit | edit source]
- Do not attack the spawns unless you absolutely must. You will almost always damage someone that you did not see, even though you made sure to take the time to check. Instead, activate resonance and tank the hit.
- On the other hand, you can build adrenaline on the spawns, potentially allowing you to drop an Ice Asylum while the King is vulnerable, which helps the Healer out.
- The Leviathan Ring can save your skin; occasionally it will cut a hit from a King or spawn in half. Similarly, Saradomin and Zamorak Warpriest armour can occasionally reduce a King or spawn hit to 1 life point; it could be worthwhile to experiment with this. Finally, spirit shields will reduce damage taken from the King and spawns like they would any other damage, making them quite useful.
- Anticipation can be quite helpful when Resonance is on cooldown, reducing damage by 10% for 10 seconds.
- Absolute life points do not matter when the King is around, as he and his spawns hit a percentage of your maximum life points. Consequently, if you forget to bring Ranged armour to switch to during the King, simply remove your Melee armour.
- The safespot only works when two or fewer people are standing there; any more, and the King and his spawns can reach you.
- The King has 3,141,592 life points. This should take three "scroll-and-toast" operations normally, but a good rule of thumb is that when the second round of "scroll-and-toast" is over, if he has less than 1.1M life points left, you will not need to undergo getting a fourth scroll.
- Do not risk death more than you are comfortable with. Nobody really cares if it takes you 30 extra seconds to get your scroll. Teammates get mad when a death sets everybody back 15 minutes.
- Work together as the team you are. If someone is having trouble getting their scroll, provoke the King and lead him away.