STRIKE MISSION 05: Cerberus Vae III
Recommended Level: 18
Objective: Access the defense net
Directly ahead of you when you hit the red dust of Mars, is a cabal vehicle depot. Inside are several psions and outside a few legionaries to make things interesting. Inside is a control terminal to activate to obtain your next objective.
Objective: Find valus ta'aurc
What follows is a short over world jaunt through regular enemies until you reach the tunnel network. When you reach the ambush location from the story mission (large open room with a huge hatch on the back wall lit by green light), you will reach the first strike level enemies. A large group of legionaries, psions, phalanxes and a centurion will be waiting to make your acquaintance. Use the cover near the entrance to kill of the initial group.
More enemies may arrive from around the corner to the left (while standing at the entrance). Several more legionaries, psions, phalanxes and a colossus make up the additional troops. If they don't head towards you, they will just wait until you deal with the first group of enemies. Just be careful the colossus doesn't surprise you as his mini-gun does large chunks of damage per shot.
Once the large room is deserted, head through the access tunnel in the back (not through the huge hatch this time). As you trek onwards, your objective will update and you will enter a darkness zone.
Objective: Kill ta'aurc's guard
As the small hatch opens and you glimpse the outside air again, you will spot a centurion floating towards you. Alongside him is a colossus (oh, joy!) as well as phalanxes, legionaries and psions. Want the good news? There are interceptors in the rooms beside you that you can use to take care of the enemies quickly. Just be more cautious when you move outside in them as there are several groups of enemies around.
Enemies in the area include two more centurions on the left side of the area, another colossus directly ahead and one yellow health phalanx in the communications tower behind the colossus. The phalanx is the first of ta'aurc's guards you must kill. Regular enemies are also scattered around the area (legionaries, phalanxes, psions) to make things difficult. Take your time, work together, use the right weapon for the right enemy and you should be fine.
Word of warning about the guard though. Don't engage him in melee if you can possibly avoid it. The guards can sometimes bend the laws of physics and launch you out of the tower at the speed of sound with a single melee swipe (if you are unlucky enough, you'll see what I mean. Watch the video: It happens to me at the 13:36 mark).
After the first guard and his... guards, are down a drop ship will arrive with another two and their support staff. Retreat back to the entrance of the area for cover from the centurion and colossus and repeat the process.
Once the third guard bites the dust, a final guard (slightly brighter than his fellows) arrives in a tank. Yep, a tank.
Objective: Destroy the goliath
New enemy: Goliath tank (cabal)
Weak spot: Thrusters (the four small engines on the corners that spout flames).
Similar to the first strike mission, this "mid-boss" is just as difficult (if not more so) as the final strike boss. The tank has three attacks, a close range barrage of what look like mortars that deal massive damage to any nearby guardians. The second attack is a mid range machine gun, similar to those used by a colossus. Third is the most dangerous, a long range shot from the main gun barrel of the tank.
This long range shell is scarily accurate, instant kills easily and has a large blast radius. This makes it impossible to move out of the tanks range and still maintain line of sight. In other words, if you can see the tank, it can kill you.
The best strategies revolve around constant movement at mid range. Staying back at the communications tower and sniping or using a scout rifle and driving an interceptor down to take potshots from behind a cliff.
Destroying one of it's thrusters will deal a large chunk of damage to the tank, so focus on damaging them. Out of the other minions in the area, the only real threat is the centurion and he can be avoided by just moving away from him. Or shoot him, it's a free country (or so I assume, it is Mars after all).
With enough coordination and revives, you should be able to bring down the tank. Then realize the strike boss is just as hard. With a lot more minions.
Objective: Get to the land tank
Kill any remaining minions and then jump back on your sparrow to follow the new marker. Down some more rock strewn valleys to the land tank. The area is guarded by a colossus and centurion. Along with a number of legionaries, phalanxes and psions as well.
Keep pushing further inside, dealing with the enemy squads (and a lone centurion) until you reach the deepest part of the land tank. A large chamber with overlooking balconies on each side and a gigantic doorway at the back.
Kill the two lost looking legionaries and our strike boss for the evening will show himself.
Objective: Kill Valus ta'aurc
Boss: Valus ta'aurc
Weak spot: Head
Imagine Valus as a colossus with a metric butt-tonne of health. He uses the same mini-gun weapon (with the usual insane dps) as a colossus. He also fires salvos of rockets like a colossus (except he fires six instead of three). He also has a melee attack. Except his is a massive AoE that instant kills any guardians silly enough to get close.
All in all he is a pain to deal with. You can't fire on him for more than a couple of seconds without him bringing your health down to red. Unless you use good positioning and tactics to minimize his chances of hitting you. You can do this by positioning something between you (such as a pillar) making his rockets useless, or by using the platform itself to prevent him firing his mini-gun at you (essentially from your viewpoint you can only see his head, but that is what matters).
Grenades and sniper rounds also work well (using the chest high walls on the upper platforms is a great way of keeping safe while rising up for a shot or two). The main problem for most groups is that they get blindsided by the incoming minions because they are so focused on the boss.
Once Valus takes enough damage he will summon psions, legionaries and phalanxes to attack nearby guardians. These can be tough to deal with while you attempt to stay out of sight of Valus. My advice is to pick a side as a team and move around on that side only (preferably the right side as you enter). This means a revive is only seconds away and your team can coordinate its attacks better.
Hunters with the invisibility skill are invaluable as medics here as a quick stab will give them a good five or more seconds to heal their team mates without being fired upon. Mages with the self revive skill are also handy to have. Save your melee or close range supers for dealing with minions. Let those with ranged supers hammer Valus instead.
As usual, with enough skill and coordination you should be able to take down this annoying boss and dance a victory jig on his corpse.