|Heart of Darkness|
|Actions per round|
Behold the heart of the world! Progenitor of life, father and mother, alpha and omega! Our creator... and our destroyer.
|~ The Ancestor.|
The Heart of Darkness is the final form of the final boss of the Darkest Dungeon. Classified as COSMIC, it has a terrible ability called Come Unto Your Maker, which instantly kills a hero - regardless of HP or stress. The player must select which one of your heroes dies, meaning you have to be strategic as to who should stay and who should die.
The Heart of Darkness is the final phase of the Ancestor fight, symbolizing the pinnacle of his ambitions, and represents the embodiment of the mystical forces that were responsible for the corruption of the Hamlet and its surroundings. In true Lovecraftian style, it is a slumbering, ethereal, and omnipresent deity manifested through your Ancestor's misdeeds, whose form became a vessel for the creature to cross over. It is the being that is revered by the cultists and priests of the Darkest Dungeon who have, under the influence of its cosmic power, become distorted entities of multiple mouths, eyes, and tentacled appendages. So terrible is its influence that the inhabitants of the Hamlet will appear momentarily disfigured in similar fashion to the Darkest Dungeon fiends after the first mission is completed.
Come Unto Your Maker
Although it may seem that the final boss wantonly decides to make one of your party members instantly die, the skill "Come Unto Your Maker" will always trigger on two instances if the conditions are met:
- First Time: After the boss has been downed to 2/3 of his total health (168 or 202), and your total number of party members is exactly 4.
- Second Time: After you reduce his health bar to 1/3 of its total HP (84 or 101) and your total number of party members is exactly 3.
- If you are able to cross both thresholds with one set of blows without killing the boss, it will cause him to trigger Come Unto Your Maker two consecutive times if you have a full party.
That means that after your characters inflict a blow that reduces the boss' HP under said thresholds, he will immediately deal a deathblow to one or more of your party members on his next turn. It should also be noted that stunning is also not an effective prevention method.
There is only one way to stop the Heart of Darkness from using the ability, which is detailed in "Surviving Come Unto Your Maker".
Dissolution, Puncture, Know This
Each one of these skills inflicts a different status ailment. "Know This", being a stress attack, will prioritize already stressed-out heroes, while the other two are based on your Heroes' resistances:
- Puncture: Prioritizes heroes with low Bleed resistance.
- Cooldown Feature: Every skill may not be used twice in a row. That means that after the first turn, the number of skills (not including insta-death) are reduced to two.
As mentioned above, this fight will get progressively harder as you reduce the enemy's HP and therefore lose more party members. The exact amount of HP for every one hit KO are 170 and 83 HP. Although it is impossible to exactly predict the exact amount of damage your heroes deal, it should be in your best interests to make the member who is about to be sacrificed deal the last blow to optimize damage output. Beware that if the HoD reaches the HP threshold on its turn due to DoT, it will still cast "Come Unto Your Maker".
Another thing worth noting is if you kill the previous phase instead of letting it shift to the final form, the excess of damage dealt to that form will carry over and be dealt to the Heart of Darkness, thereby starting the fight effectively with less extra HP.
If you are using healers or other support characters like a buffing/stress reducing Jester, it would be advisable to let them die first, while letting your main damage dealers focus on the Heart of Darkness for the second and third parts of the fight.
In essence, this is pretty much a rush-down boss-fight. You will want to deal as much damage as fast as possible, especially during the last third of the fight where you will only have 2 heroes available. Skills that benefit from marking are therefore invaluable for dealing high amounts of burst damage.
During the early portion of the third part of the fight, you may want to consider healing up/reducing the stress on afflicted heroes, as his attacks, while powerful, will not usually put your characters immediately on death's door. Due to the Heart of Darkness's relatively low Stun resistance, this would be an ideal time for stalling time and recovering.
Considering this boss's mechanics, you may make your last heroes have lower bleed than blight resistance, as his blight attack can also trigger the stun effect.
The Heart appears to restore one action by killing anyone by other skills than "Come Unto Your Maker". This may be a glitch.
As the battle progresses, you should become more aggressive, since this is the last mission and no retreat is possible. Moreover, the fewer characters you have, the less you will be able to keep up with the Heart of Darkness's onslaught.
If you manage to defeat the Heart of Darkness, congratulations! You will be greeted with a cinematic epilogue and have beaten the game.
Good luck and keep your guard up!
|Come Unto Your Maker||Ranged||1, 2, 3, 4.||1, 2, 3, 4.*||223.75% but impossible to dodge%||12%||11-23||Instant Deathblow**||No Effect|
|Know This||Melee||1, 2, 3, 4.||1, 2, 3, 4.||113.75%||0%||0||Stress +22 (24 on Stygian)||No Effect|
|Puncture||Ranged||1, 2, 3, 4.||1, 2, 3, 4.||113.75%||12%||13-16|| 150% Bleed 5 (6 on Stygian)
Stress +10 (12 on Stygian)
|Dissolution||Ranged||1, 2, 3, 4.||1, 2, 3, 4.||113.75%||12%||13-16|| 160% Stun
150% Blight 5 (6 on Stygian)
Stress +10 (12 on Stygian)
* The player chooses the target for Come Unto Your Maker.
** Come Unto Your Maker kills a target instantly, disregarding damage and crit values.
Surviving Come Unto Your Maker
As it is used at 2/3 and 1/3 health, with careful manipulation of the boss's mechanics, it is possible to circumvent Come Unto Your Maker if you can destroy the Heart in one fell swoop before it reaches one of those HP thresholds. The best way to do this is to equip powerful +DMG and/or +CRT on someone that can hit extremely hard (Leper is ideal), whittle the Heart down to 2/3 or 1/3 health, while stacking buffs on a hard hitting character, or stack defence-reducing debuffs on the Heart, and then hit them for one massive, shattering blow.
While saving one character by surpassing the second Maker is relatively trivial, saving everyone is far, far harder. It requires absolute precision calculation, best in slot gear, and a lucky crit to have all four of your characters walk out alive, and if you fail, you will likely endure back-to-back instant deaths from pushing the Heart to low HP. The first documented instance of an "Everybody Lives" was achieved by three Plague Doctors stacking Emboldening Vapours on a Leper, while the Leper stacked Revenge on himself, resulting in a 268% damage buff and obliterating the Heart with a fatal critical hit of 173.
The second way of achieving this incredible goal is documented in this video, done by buffing the Jester with two Plague Doctors, one Man-at-Arms and four uses of Shard Dust, resulting in a destructive 199 damage critical hit.
It is also entirely possible to embark on this quest with just 2 characters to prevent Come Unto Your Maker completely, however it would make the Ancestor fight much harder. In order to accomplish this, you're going to need your heroes to be able to heal each other and still do high enough damage to prevail, which is much harder with just 2 characters, but it is possible, such as with the Hellion and the Flagellant, using the Flagellant for healing damage and stress, while using the Hellion as the main damage output. Such a feat was demonstrated by youtuber Fourtwoflow, who also defeated the HoD with a Leper and a Crusader, two heroes who can heal themselves and inflict high damage; the task was heavily aided by the presence of virtues, which was induced by Hero's Rings and the Valiant Spirit town event (65% virtue chance, though the Crusader can reset stress to 0, should an affliction be drawn instead of a virtue). This method is, oddly enough, less luck dependant than bringing the entire 4-man party. It is also possible to beat the Heart with the Houndmaster and the Flagellant, having the former constantly guarding the latter and dodging almost all hits, while the second stage AoE attacks will still hit the Flagellant and make him use his low HP skills. Another possible 2-man party capable of defeating the Heart consists of the Crusader and the Highwayman, with the Crusader as the main healer and de-stresser and Highwayman as the main damage dealer, especially thanks to his riposte. Another method is using a Man-At-Arm together with another hero which is preferably a damage dealer who can deal damage from rank 1 or 2, both should have at least 30-40 dodge, and buy all the shard dust. By using shard dust to refresh and stack Bolster buff, both heroes can get up to 100+ dodge. Be wary though, using shard dust bulids up high amount of stress even with Bolster stress buff, and a few turns are needed to stack Bolster, so the second hero might need to have healing ability and Man-At-Arm should never join darkest dungeon quests before (in Radiant Mode).
Creatures from the Darkest Dungeon
- Ascended Brawler
- Ascended Witch
- Rapturous Cultist
- Cultist Priest
- Malignant Growth
- Defensive Growth
- Flesh Hound
- Templar Gladiator
- Templar Sniper
- Templar Impaler
- Templar Warlord
- Mammoth Cyst
- White Cell Stalk
- Shuffling Horror
- Perfect Reflection
- Imperfect Reflection
- Absolute Nothingness
- Gestating Heart
- While the name "Heart of Darkness" is a reference to Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, the creature itself is a reference to Nssu-Ghahnb/The Heart of Ages from the Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game. This is supported by Nssu-Ghahnb being trapped within an alternate dimension and being responsible for spawning all the monsters in the known universe, just like the Heart of Darkness.
- Heart of Darkness seems to be restoring one action per every killed person with a skill other than "Come Unto Your Maker". If it does so it will use two different skills in one round and the third in the second forcing it to pass its turn, because all of its regular skills are cooling down. It is possible that this feature is a glitch, because the sound effect of passing its turn is anticlimactic and reveals that the boss has its fear reversing limits.
- It is believed by some that the monologue in the gloomy and baleful ending, which includes similar imagery to the opening cinematic and concluded by the lines "Ruin has come to our family" implies that you, the in-game direct blood relative, will be directly responsible for the rebirth of this great and terrible evil at some point in the future. However, the earliest verses of the monologue establishes the understanding of the thing as the originator of all Earthly life; furthermore, it continues with the line "The great family of man." As such, any subsequent lines- including that signature quote- referring to family and lineage actually refers to Earthly life as a whole, not just your bloodline.