Solstice of Heroes: Conquering the EAZ
The European Aerial Zone is a temporary battleground Guardians can step into only during the Solstice of Heroes, and, during the Season of the Splicer, the new armor sets have spurred plenty of Guardians into battle on the floating island versus the enemies of the Last City.
With these new armor sets requiring a certain number of runs in the EAZ as well as a specific number of Solstice Chests being opened, Guardians will have to be able to navigate through the floating island in order to maximize their spoils during the event.
The European Aerial Zone is divided into 6 different areas: The Courtyard, the Town, the Mall, the Factory, the Ruins, and the Garage. Out of these 6, you will be primarily hunting minibosses in the outer 5, and fighting bosses mostly in the Courtyard. Certain enemies will spawn during Public Events in the EAZ and will be noted as residing in a specific area so Guardians will know where to head when looking for them.
While hunting down the minibosses on the map, be aware that you can make use of your Sparrow to close the distance between yourself and your quarry.
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Typically you will find one type of miniboss per run but there may be different types mixed in. The only thing set in stone is that they will always belong to the same enemy race and are divided based on the time setting of your EAZ run.
Making use of Elemental Empowerment can make your runs much more successful depending on what it is you’re trying to get out of the European Aerial Zone. It’s very likely that by now most Guardians have seen the tiny elemental orbs that have been spawning around the system. These same orbs are the things you will need to collect in order to fill up your Elemental Charge buff, and give you Elemental Empowerment according to the day’s Singe. If the Singe for the day is Solar, Arc, Void, or Stasis, typically you will want to be using the subclass the day corresponds to as it will make picking up elemental orbs for it that much easier. On Prism Days, however, all elemental orbs will count towards the 30 stacks of Elemental Charge and once you reach the limit, you will gain Empowerment matching whichever subclass element you are currently on.
Each element will give you different buffs and builds can be made around these specific Elemental Empowerments, but remember that most high-tier content will not include these buffs as they can be insanely strong.
Solar Empowerment - "While empowered, Solar Supers have extended durations. You radiate damaging Solar energy. Damage resistance increases. You heal passively."
This buff is best for close-quarters combat and will help Guardians making use of weapons such as Shotguns or Submachine Guns. The additional Solar energy aura will also help clear enemies much faster and single out minibosses in order to take them down quickly.
Arc Empowerment - "While empowered, Arc Supers have extended durations. Air and ground speed increases. Slide distance increases. Weapon handling and reload speed increases. Melee damage increases. Sword damage and lunge range increases. Sword ammo is granted every second while equipped."
More than anything this buff will increase a Guardian’s movement capabilities, but the additional melee damage can make certain Strength builds that much more viable. The sword recharge rate is also incredibly strong when paired with hard-hitting swords such as Falling Guillotine, Crown-Splitter, or the Lament.
Void Empowerment - "While empowered, Void Supers have extended durations. Void grenades and melee attacks deal increased damage. Crouching grants invisibility, Truesight, increased energy regeneration, and increased mobility."
This buff will work well with both Strength and Discipline builds, and when using the Seasonal mods Impulse Recycler and Ashes to Assets, Guardians will find themselves chucking grenades for days while filling up their Supers quickly. The invisibility and Truesight when you crouch also provides decent utility that is usually reserved for Hunters.
Stasis Empowerment - "While empowered, Stasis Supers have extended durations. Defeated combatants spawn Stasis mines."
While not providing as many passive buffs as the Light subclasses, Stasis provides a strong alternative when it comes to clearing enemies. Any damage done with this buff that defeats an enemy will release mines that do decent damage to surrounding enemies and will also freeze anything that hasn’t been shattered or destroyed. Essentially, it will create chains of enemy-clearing bombs that would be excellent when taking on bosses while defeating their nearby minions.
Be on the lookout for Elemental Crystals and destroy them whenever you find them around the map. They will be emitting a golden glow and, when shattered with weapon damage, will drop a large number of Elemental orbs corresponding to the Elemental Singe of that day or whatever subclass you are running if you break them on a Prism Day.
At times, a random Public Event will pop up and give you the option to hunt down Prismatic Taken. For the most part, it is best to ignore these enemies unless your pathing takes you through the area they are in.
When defeated, Prismatic Taken will drop an orb that grants the Guardian that picks it up enough energy to immediately activate the Elemental Empowerment of that day or a random Empowerment on Prism Days.
Prismatic Taken may show up around the boss phase as well, and it’s at this point that they’re worth hunting down as the Elemental Empowerment buffs will make taking down the boss of the run that much easier. The only unfortunate part about hunting the Prismatic Taken is that they will spawn in one of the 5 main areas surrounding the Courtyard and will require Guardians to leave the area to find them and waste some of the buff’s timer getting back to the boss.
The best strategy for taking this pair of bosses is to get them down to low health and try to finish them off simultaneously. Normally, if you kill one of the two sisters, the other one will also get a boost from the former’s death, including additional health. If you kill Vrag first, Tluam will make her way over to the east, somewhere along the Ruins and the Garage. Likewise, if you kill Tluam first, Vrag will move to the west towards Town and Mall. Once you have killed both of them, any remaining Cabal fighters will despawn and you will be able to claim the main boss chest.
Unlike the previous Cabal bosses, the Unbowed Legion do not get any additional bonuses from any of their allies dying, so taking them out one at a time will probably be the way to go. As their strategy is mostly trying to overrun the Guardians they’re fighting, most fireteams can focus on clearing out all smaller enemies before focusing down any of the three bosses at a time. All three of them must be taken down before you’re able to claim the boss chest, at which point all other enemies, including Ultras such as the Engineer Psion, will also despawn.
This boss encounter is unique in that a large quantity of enemies must be taken down before being able to claim your rewards. In total, 21 targets will have to be destroyed: the main Servitor, Mavaks-12; four normal-sized Servitors, Eraks-6; and 16 total mini-Servitors, Seleks-1. When fighting against just Mavaks-12, most fireteams will want to stay away from the massive Servitor in order to avoid its melee attack, which can take down most Guardians in just a few seconds. After Mavaks-12 splits, it is possible to take on its smaller spawn from up close, but it is advised not to try to split all the Eraks-6 at once since higher numbers of enemies will be able to overtake your fireteam. Another thing to be wary of is that the smaller Servitors are capable of shielding each other, which makes it that much more important to avoid creating too many enemies to fight at once. Once all 21 of the Servitors have been destroyed, Guardians will be able to claim the boss chest.
The fight itself is pretty straightforward, fireteams will only have to be aware of the direction Phensis decides to move in and chase them down. Every time a break in the health bar (about a third) is lost, Phensis will teleport to the next area it has decided on. The only important strategy to have is to make sure the Skiff that Phensis comes out of has no turret guns shooting at you so you can deal with the Fallen boss with more ease. If any smaller Fallen get in the way, they should be simple enough to take out while fighting Phensis but for the most part don’t pose enough of a threat to warrant actually having to focus on them. It is possible to burst down Phensis in one given area, but, for the most part, you will have to deal with at least two teleports before being able to take out Phensis and claim the boss rewards in the Courtyard below.
When fighting the forsaken Brood Queen, it is important to note that her first shade will appear when she’s lost about a third of her health. Ir Abassin is capable of re-conjuring the shade after it gets taken down and usually will make another after losing another third of her health. The shades will have less health and it is recommended to take them down before focusing on Ir Abassin once again, but, if it takes too long or is using up too much ammo, sometimes it is better to turn your attention to Ir Abassin exclusively. Once she dies, all the surrounding shades and lesser Hive should also go down and you will be able to claim the boss chest and begin the next phase.
Resembling an Ogre from the now Darkness-engulfed Mars, Asbel is a relatively simple enemy as its only special feature is to be able to make itself invulnerable whenever it has an ally within the circle it has around it. Before Asbel spawns, two major ogres will spawn as its vanguard and will be the main enemies that will help bring up the invulnerability shield for their massive counterpart. Both Asbel and these major Ogres will all show up in the Courtyard initially.
The best way to get rid of Asbel is to target the two Ogres that spawn ahead of it with Heavy weaponry, and then wait for it to appear. As soon as Asbel appears, the fireteam taking it on can potentially burst it down by debuffing the Hive boss before unleashing all their Supers and bursting it down before any other enemies come to back it up. If for whatever reason the fireteam can’t destroy Asbel before Thrall begin to spawn and make their way over to their champion, it is imperative to take down all lesser enemies that are in the vicinity even if they aren’t inside Asbel’s zone of influence. Any miniscule enemy will be able to shield Asbel, so in order to avoid any damage from being negated, it’s important to isolate the Ogre. Once it is by itself, any remaining abilities should be unleashed before more Hive spawn in to prolong the fight. Asbel is the sole target that needs to be taken down in an instance and as soon as it goes down, Guardians will be able to claim the boss chest around the area that the boss had first spawned.
After opening the first chest, a few seconds will go by and a message will prompt, telling you that additional chests will spawn, and this will allow fireteams to collect additional Solstice Packages and possibly some key fragments to open them with each chest opened. These chests will always correspond to the number of minibosses that you slayed in the 5 minutes before the run’s boss. Currently, the max number of chests that can spawn is 21 and, unlike previous years, all the markers that show the chest locations will remain around the map so fireteams have an easier time collecting their extra rewards. There is a time limit of 2 minutes, however, that Guardians will have to race against in order to collect all their spoils.
In order to maximize the chests that you get in one run, it is important to coordinate with your fireteam, both in the miniboss stage as well as the treasure hunting stage. In both of these timed sections, it is usually best for the fireteam to separate into three different corners of the map, with the usual split being one Guardian going north to the Factory, another going southwest to the Town, and the last one going southeast to the Garage. The important thing is to position yourself in a spot where you can rotate quickly and find any outlier chests on the outside of the map before turning map back in to loop around and grab any additional rewards closer to the Courtyard, and, finally, make use of teleporters and gravity lifts in order to find the last chests that your allies may have not gotten to yet, all before time runs out.
After either 2 minutes have run out or your fireteam has found all chests, the mission will end and you will be taken back to orbit. Be sure to make the most of each run and maximize the objectives given to you during your run or whichever bounties and armor unlock requirements you may still be aiming to finish.
Lastly, during the Season of the Splicer, be aware that there is a secret Triumph that unlocks for going to the bottom of the map, off to the left of where Guardians initially spawn. Going down the rift between the Courtyard and the Town you will find a sewer entrance that leads to a dark area with a cat statue and a teleporter. Interacting with the cat statue allows you to “feed” it and will unlock the Triumph “Solstice Cat Snacks” and give each Guardian a random roll of