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Hard Modes / Challenge Modes & YOU!


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Hard / Challenge Modes?

Hard or Challenge Modes are a reference to an optional 1-4 star setting for two task forces (as of this post) - The Aeon Strike Force & The Imperious Task Force.

This guide is a quickfire & constantly updated post to introduce you to each Challenge Mode and what they offer. It will go over their introduced mechanics and fights ONLY. Team compositions will be covered in a future update with reccomendations but NOT requirements.

This will be getting constant updates as I figure how to describe and detail things.


  • Scaling stats from 1 to 4 star
  • New abilities for familiar mobs (Goldbrickers, Cimerorans, Arachnos, etc)
  • Additional fight(s) - some optional
  • Scaling disables for inspirations up to No Insps bar Wakies at 4 stars
  • Length will vary from 1 to 4 star - with 4 stars taking 2-3 hours at first.



Aeon Strike Force:

  • Introduces: AU-Rifters, Smelters, and Brickernauts
  • Description: Smelters are a boss class mob that uses Melt Armor that stacks, AU-Rifters do a pull-in that acts as high damage field, and Brickernauts Self-Destruct at a low level. Brickernauts require Line of Sight movement to not be gibbed.
  • Optional Fight: Vanguard Fight [ Requires Master Of badge by the team leader ], 4-star/Relentless
  • Details: A future update
  • Other Details: This SF has several ways to be skipped that are easier at lower stars.


The Aeon Strike Force primarily pits us against Goldbrickers, but you will see buffed enemy groups across the board - Arachnos, Crey, 5th Column, Devouring Earth, and Vanguard. 


Imperious Task Force:

  • Introduces: Dwarf/Nova Alphas, Hostless Nictus, Colossi Fight, Vandal, Revamped Romulus Fight
  • Details: The thing to know the most about is the Hostless Nictus Aspects. These are body-snatching doppleganger spawners. You have a small window (15 seconds?) to hold them OR defeat them to interrupt them. They spawn off Bosses/EBs as a chance. If you fail to stop them someone will die and then that Hostless transforms into that player. They inherit almost everything from that player.
  • Colossi Fight is...something special. It's a two Monstrosity/AV fight with an ambush from Vandal. Dexero and Laeva (will edit with proper names) do cold/fire damage and makes that damage hurt from the other. They can be kited around, but that has its risks. They will spawn on the beach of Mission 3.
  • The Romulus Fight is better to be seen first, but an edit will explain the fight in detail. Essentially, you are now also taking on Barrier Nictus that prevent him from being damaged. He also GAINS new abilites every time he revives - which can and will one shot you now when he does it.
  • There's a second phase. I'll keep that secret for now. It will be pointed out on the map though.


New Abilities to Cim Traitors:

  • Rage
  • Teleport (Surgeons) / Teleporting YOU
  • Void Judgement (Shadow Crystals/Cysts)
Edited by Shadeknight
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i am entering my unhinged villain era.

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Thank you for this guide start, I'd be interested to see it become updated...

My little input from 2-star/rugged/vicious:



Tanks: expect lots of neg-energy damage from enemies... and fire/cold from colossi... if you are not resist capped on these, you're in trouble.

Expect this to take 2+ hours on non-optimized and discovery teams, likely 3+ hours on pug...



- the hold applied on the player/victim during the countdown is mag >200 for the first 2 sec, then mag 120..., no breaking out with insp or clarion... or you need lots... so having 2-3 hostless taking over people can seriously screw a group of people (don't aggro more than you can handle)

- we decided the best strategy to be: the hostless victim targets his nictus, everybody else click the player/victim and target through the player... fast & easy take-down... when we see "xyz" hostless red warning on screen everybody immediately starts dps-ing that hostless! works like a charm, even without voice chat

- there is a very short 1 second window to get away from the "purple fx coming out of dead enemy" before the hostless grabs the nearest player as his victim... so you can just let the purple mini-geyser-cloud hover over the dead body "forever"... (30ft range or so... I think, eyeballed...)

- the hostless can be CCed to break the superhold early and free it's victim, works like a charm


Romi in last mission (Barrier Squids)
Barrier Squids work much like the tower in the Recluse fight in Miss Lib TF... except... they respawn after a short time (2minutes?)! so you'll have to kill them over and over... so, much like Cathedral of Pain, if your group's dps is not good enough, you will not be able to kill him (unless there is some trick... last time we were kinda able to draw romi away from his squids, but he really did not want to and this seems like it is not intended and I expect Homecoming Devs to fix this if people try too hard to drag romi away)


Barrier Squids have colors... Red/Yellow/Blue/Green

each color is vulnerable to different things (much like Mitos in Hami)...

from memory: blue/sapphire = ranged, red/ruby = aoe, yellow/topaz = melee, green/emerald = CC

You can confirm what each needs by reading it's info...

The info on the green squid says something about using confuse to "reverse its effect" on romi... I tried... while the beam (squid---romi) changes when the squid has the little confuse effect on him... that squid then proceeded to nuke the hell out of my squishy... so it affects the beam, not their ability to shoot me. Will need more testing to see how this can be improved upon.

As the green Squid seems to be responsible for romis regen, it is likely best to take that squid out first... or if you have sb who can CC that squid (and survive the punishment for doing so) and "reverse the effect", then you kill it last...


Especially the Squid+Romi fight requires a team that can fill: ranged dps, melee-dps, enough aoe from dps people and CC for the green Squid.


To still be tested:

Romi will still has his trusted "3 nictus purple-ball friends"... especially the auto-hit one... even on that difficulty (2-star)

- can you kill the purple-balls when the barrier squids are up? negative, they are invulnerable

- will the death of the purple-ball-nictus trigger the insta-LOS-death (in normal ITF, when romi's nicti die they trigger a mag 30? stun... on 2-star, that turns into a massive LOS-insta-death... (moot as they are invuln) if you are halfway across the map -way beyond the courtyard- and have LOS... it WILL kill you...) on normal ITF the mag-30ish? stun triggers on romi rezz (nictus sacrifice)... hide behind the walls/columns: break line of sight!

- can the massive LOS-insta-death be avoided by hiding in a gravity control dimension shift bubble? (that thing basically is a sort of "break LOS"...)


Also, great info to be found in below link... wish the knowledge from that beta-thread would get transferred here:



Edited by Spectral
typo, green squid ; self-answering questions after more testing
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Ok, I tried reading up on the barrier squids, as these really seem to be key to do this HM-ITF

(the rest can be done with try&error, this part has to be done with enough understanding of the mechanic, if dps of the team is rather low)


From City of Data:


all 4 barrier squids do:

-10000% Confused, Afraid, Terrorized, Held, Immobilized, Stunned, Sleep, OnlyAffectsSelf (all affected targets) for 1.25s

my reading of this is: the Squids are way easier to mezz than your typical EB... so maybe mag 6 is not needed on these guys? but why do they blast even when confused (the ray changed and it had the confuse-effect-pink-spots in it's maw, yet nuked me like it did not care...)


the red/yellow/blue barrier squids do:

-33.33% Regeneration (all affected targets) for 1.25s
+1000% Damage Resistance (All) (all affected targets) for 1.25s


 the green barrier squid does:

-50% Regeneration (all affected targets) for 1.25s (so a bit more than the 3 others...)

+1000% Damage Resistance (All) (all affected targets) for 1.25s if (source>cur.kConfused <= 0) && (source>cur.kHeld <= 0) && (source>cur.kIntangible <= 0) && (source>cur.kOnlyAffectsSelf <= 0) && (source>cur.kSleep <= 0) && (source>cur.kTerrorized <= 0)


sooo.... If you use any confuse/sleep/fear/hold/phase powers on the Green (mag >0), the damage immunity on romi goes away, but the -50% regeneration stays...

stun does _not_ work (a Dev posted about that: too many meleeAT have stuns in their attacks... so stun got excluded)

but since these squids are EB, you still need to stack enough +mag (6?)

-> how much mag needed for the ray?

-> can squids nuke you even with 6+ mag? (I'm quite sure I had 6+ mag and it was still nuking me...)


My takeaway: everybody should take out "their color-squid" at the same time to maximise the -regen from barriers... (2 people designated for each squid?)


A Dark-Melee with Touch of Fear does terrorize... and will have a waaay easier time surviving the green squid's happy nuke-while-mezzed, as dark-melee ATs are a lot less squishy than your typical CC-ATs



My conclusion: the fact that you only get a -50% regen out of mezzing the green Squid... I feel like killing it and getting back to romi is a better time-investment, considering the CCing teammember will likely be spending at least 50% of his time keeping magnitudes stacked on the Squid...

Edited by Spectral
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