If you’ve beaten the main story of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, then you’ve many more adventures ahead. Not least among them are the challenging eight-player boss battles known as the extreme trials. While you may be familiar with these from previous patches, now is your chance to jump into the current endgame. This requires learning these perilous fights at their freshest and most difficult time in the expansion’s cycle. While two of the fights are available at present, this guide will be for Endwalker extreme trial 2. Of course, this will involve mentioning a rather key spoiler from the expansion’s story. If you’ve yet to encounter the original trial during the narrative, it’s advised you don’t read on.
If you are still reading then you are aware that extreme trial 2 is called “The Minstrel’s Ballad: Hydaelyn’s Call.” It is a more advanced version of the Mother Crystal primal fight from the story, with more emphasis on positioning. You will be looking to go in with a minimum average item level of 560. However, it’s advised you do as much as you can to increase your DPS before joining a run. I’ve seen many groups master the mechanics and still barely beat the boss in time before enrage wipes everyone. If you ensured you’ve melded materia and eaten before the fight, it will make those last moments less sweat-inducing.
Another important thing to do before engaging the boss is to split into two groups of four. Endwalker extreme trial 2 involves a stacking mechanic targeting the two healers. As such, the healers should each be highlighted with a number marker to make distinguishing them easier. It’s also advised you have one tank per group for balance. I would also suggest placing melee DPS into group 1 for reasons that will be apparent later. It’s also a good idea to place number markers just to the east and west side of the boss’s hitbox. The tanks should try to keep the boss facing north and as close to her starting position as possible. As for what job you should use, don’t worry about that. Feel free to go in using any of FFXIV’s available jobs.
Heroes Radiance and Shining Saber
This phase will introduce you to the primary attacks Hydaelyn will be using against the party throughout the fight. Many of these reoccur regularly so it’s important to remain vigilant for them from beginning to end. Two such attack are Heroes Radiance and Shining Saber. The former is a group-wide AoE, so healers be ready. The second is also an AoE but it instead requires the group stack together to reduce the damage. There is no stack up marker, so you need to do so with only the attack name prompting you.
The next major mechanic to prepare for is Crystalize. This is actually an ability the boss uses to prepare an elemental attack that will hit you later. As such, it is important to remember which version she uses to move accordingly afterwards. There are three elements from the elemental wheel associated with the move: Water, Ice and Earth. There is another attack she will use prior, but let’s explain the Crystalize elements first.
- Water – This is an attack that will hit both healers once the next attack resolves. This is why you split into two groups. You need to stack up to absorb the damage. If too few stack together, the healers will die. If the healers overlap then everyone will die. The position you will be expected to stand in is usually indicated by floor markers placed before the raid. You can guarantee her first Crystalize attack is Water.
- Ice – This attack also hits automatically after Hydaelyn’s next move. It hits everyone regardless of position with an ice attack from below. This will require everyone in the group to spread out to avoid overlapping damage. Two players stood too close during this attack will likely wipe.
- Earth – In contrast to the ice attack, this move requires the group huddle together. Again, there is no stack up marker, so be sure to stick close together.
These attacks will also occur regularly throughout Endwalker extreme trial 2 and will require you to memorize their safe spots. The colour of the symbol that appears above Hydaelyn indicates the area she will target. It’s also followed immediately by Crystalize, so it’s important to take where you need to stand afterwards into account.
- Red – This is a donut AoE with a circular safe-space within the boss’s hitbox.
- Green – A circular AoE cast directly beneath Hydaelyn. Simply run a few paces away from her to easily dodge.
- Blue – A cross like attack in all four cardinal directions. As such stand between these lines, often diagonal from the boss.
Magos’s Radiance, Mousa’s Scorn, Lateral Aureole and Aureole
Next, she will hit the group with Magos’s Radiance, which is yet another unavoidable group-wide AoE. Healers should be ready to give the party a quick heal, but you should still be just fine. What’s more crucial is determining the appropriate positioning for her next attack. You will either need to stand directly to the right or left of Hydaelyn if she used Aureole. If she casts Lateral Aureole, you must stand directly north or south of her hitbox.
This is why it was advised the tanks keep her facing north in the centre. It will make it much easier for the group to identify the safe spots for every previously mentioned attack. However, it will also make it less challenging for the tanks when she casts Mousa’s Scorn. This is a heavy-hitting tank buster that both tanks need to share. She will use all of the above-mentioned attacks in sequence until she has cast all three coloured symbols.
Phase 2 (Crystal Phase)
This next phase will be a slight reprieve from targeting the boss. Instead, it will require players to act fast to destroy summoned crystals of light. There are a few tricky complications however that can see groups wiping within seconds if they falter.
I’d advise the group simply pick a side at the beginning of the raid with a letter marker. It should be placed in the middle on either the far east or far west of the arena. Once the crystal phase begins, everyone but the tanks should move to that marker. When the crystals appear, begin destroying them, targeting the ones that are glowing first. There will be six in total lined in a circle, with 3 on each side of the arena. The glowing ones will charge up Hydaelyn much faster, so destroy them immediately. Work your way in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction based on the glowing side. Each player should be targeting the same crystal.
However, this is where the tanks have a distinct role in Endwalker extreme trial 2. Two adds will spawn and provide a defence buff to any crystal they are close to. Therefore, the two tanks need to lure the adds away from the crystals, circling around the arena opposite the group. If the DPS is in the southwest, the tanks should be in the northeast. They should then rotate in the same direction, keeping the adds clear at all times. Healers need to remember to keep the tanks alive while also helping to damage the crystals. This phase will then end with a group-wide AoE that can be weakened by stacking with shields.
Phase 3 (Lightwave 1-2)
Halo and Lightwave 1
The first new attack to contend with is Halo, which is a simple AoE that will hit the entire group. After this, the next major new mechanic will be the lightwaves. Hydaelyn will summon four light crystals, three on one side of the platform and one more at the opposite end. She will then spawn in two light waves that will slowly roll forward towards two of the crystals. The party must identify which crystal is safe and which of the others will be hit first. One of the waves moves faster than the other, but both cause an explosion upon touching the crystals. To avoid the damage, players must stand behind the safe crystal and position themselves to face the crystals hit by the waves. The group will have to reposition slightly for the second crystal as it requires you line of sight them both.
This attack consists of three separate cleaves that will target a random healer, DPS and tank. They must be soaked by multiple players to avoid being killed. Additionally, the fourth crystal from before is about to be hit by one of the lightwaves. As such, players need to break into three role groups assigned to each of the crystals. As with much of Endwalker extreme trial 2, there are no markers to signal this attack. It’s really a matter of muscle memory. You must stand in such a way that the cleave attacks don’t overlap, but also remain shielded by the crystals. Here is the general rule I have seen most parties use for this mechanic:
- Crystal 1 – the crystal you used to avoid the two lightwaves will be used by the healers, so they should stay put.
- Crystal 2 – The middle crystal is usually assigned to the DPS. As such, simply move one crystal along and stand behind it to hide from the fourth crystal explosion.
- Crystal 3 – The tanks are expected to run the furthest to hide behind the third crystal. Try not to position yourself in such a way that the oncoming Infralateral Arc cleaves overlap. Healers and tanks should try to have Hydaelyn strike almost entire east and west.
Lightwave 2 and Hero’s Glory
After the first lightwave, the boss will immediately commence the second. Much like before it is your job to avoid the explosions that occur when waves hit the crystals. This time, Hydaelyn will summon five crystals with one in centre of the other four. She will also summon three waves, although the middle one is much more delayed. Identify which of the eastern and western waves is moving faster and be ready to rotate around the middle crystal for cover. You will have to dodge the impacts to the first two crystals before then dodging the southern ones.
However, before the lightwaves hit any of the crystals, the boss uses Hero’s Glory. This attack is a front facing AoE that hits everything in front of the boss. You must wait for her to teleport before standing behind her to avoid the attack. This is immediately followed by rushing to the middle crystal to avoid the first four lightwave explosions. She will then cast Hero’s Glory again, while simultaneously the third lightwave moves towards the middle crystal. Hydaelyn should be positioned so there is a crystal behind her. Move to that crystal and hide behind it to dodge the splash from the middle crystal.
After the second lightwave phase concludes, expect a few rounds of reoccurring mechanics from before. The boss will cast Halo, hitting the entire group. She will then use Hero’s Sundering on the main tank. This is a tank buster and also a cleave AoE, so the tank must face her away from the group. Healers should also shield and heal the tank during this attack. She will then use Shining Saber that must be stacked by the group, followed by two coloured symbol attacks. This phase will conclude with Mousa’ Scorn, so both tanks must stack together.
Parhelion and Parhelic Circle
This phase will introduce two new one-off mechanics that are devastating if they land. They are also used in combination with prior mechanics such as Crystalize and the Aureole attacks. The order in which she uses these two new mechanics is random, so be ready for either one. Regardless, Hydaelyn will use both of them before moving to the next phase.
This mechanic is perhaps the most disorientating for players new to Endwalker extreme trial 2. Hydaelyn will summon her chakrams, deadly disc weapons that will cut three lines across the arena. These will be launched one at a time and then create three distinct triangular safe spaces. You will want to have the entire party stand in the safe space between the first and second line to appear. The boss will then cast the water Crystalize attack, so split into your two healer groups. The first group should be stood as close to the boss as possible, while the second stands at the back. This is why Group 1 should consist mostly of melee DPS players so they can still hit the boss.
Those lines on the arena are now about to launch back across their marked paths. Due to your current safe space, the first line of chakrams will miss. However, you need to start running right away to dodge the next two. You should run in the direction of the first line to launch. You need to run in a rotating fashion around the boss, so you are heading forward and sideways simultaneously.
Post-Parhelion or Parhelic Circle
Following her first chosen attack, she will hit with a few previously seen mechanics. First, she will use Lateral Aureole or Aureole. Remember, the former requires north or south positioning, while the latter is east or west. This launches almost immediately after the previous attack so be ready right away. She will then cast two attacks using the coloured symbols, followed by the group-wide AoE Magos’s Radiance. As a quick reminder, a targetted boss’s hitbox has arrows that make identifying these safe spots easier.
First, Hydaelyn will cast ice Crystalize that requires players to spread out. The boss will then create a giant bubble in the centre, from which sprout green lines along the arena. The end of those lines marks where a smaller bubble will appear and subsequently explode. Since the ice Crystalize move will also hit directly after this, players cannot stack. This will require some careful spread out positioning to avoid both the explosions and the ice AoEs.
As with the previous point, Hydaelyn will then hit with the same sequence of attacks in the post-Parthelion section. Remember the Aureoles and the coloured symbols and you’ll be fine.
Hydaelyn will once again commence this next phase with a group-wide AoE called Radiant Halo. This is then immediately followed by a new set of four lightwaves. This time there is nothing quite so complicated as using crystals for cover. All you need to do is identify a safe spot near the edge of the arena and lure the boss. Two of the waves have a wider gap between them so the safe space will be between them. The whole party should occupy this same safe space as a stacking mechanic is incoming.
The boss will cast a group wide AoE called Echoes, which needs to be soaked by everyone. What’s more important is sticking together to soak multiple hits, as it impacts five times. Players are then highlighted with individual markers. The two tanks need to share their hits, but DPS and healers need to spread. Don’t be tempted to run away too soon, as you need to soak all of the Echoes hits first. The tanks typically then stay where they are while everyone else runs in separate directions to avoid overlapping. There are still waves to worry about; however, a safe spot always opens up in the centre of the arena.
Hydaelyn will cast Crystalize, however it won’t go off until she hits with Shining Saber, which requires a group stack. This will then be followed by multiple uses of Dawn’s Mantle. This then leads into lightwave 4, which is entirely identical to lightwave 3. Simply enter the safe space and stack for Echoes. Be warned that Echoes will hit for one additional time, so don’t run away too soon. Then meet in the centre after the spread damage to enter the final stage of Endwalker extreme trial 2.
You’ve now seen all the mechanics the fight will throw at you. After the fourth lightwave she won’t use any of the bigger abilities. Instead, she will start spamming smaller attacks until she hits enrage. It’s imperative that you take her out as quickly as possible here. The enrage timer for the fight is roughly 11 minutes, otherwise it’s a wipe. I’ve also only seen groups succeed after using a DPS Limit Break 3, sometimes twice in a single fight.
This is why a Endwalker extreme trial 2 guide should recommend DPS and mechanic mastery. If the party members are regularly dying and being revived, the damage will suffer. Players need to be hitting their rotations fairly regularly, never letting up. Don’t be tempted to stop attacking while dodging lightwaves for example.
Beyond that the fight is fairly smooth sailing. Compared to some other fights, the mechanics aren’t overly punishing. Given the lack of tank swaps or healer debuff removals, you only have to worry about positioning and damage. Beyond that, you should figure it out pretty quickly after a few practice runs. As for gearing up, its also been made easier recently with the addition of newly available crafting gear.