R-4 Anomaly Story Mode Guide

Even the story mode version of the new operation, R-4 Anomaly is still incredibly difficult and mechanics-focused. This is not an operation to run “with a pickup group” and requires a lot of teamwork even in story mode.

Thank you to player Admiral Maximus from The Remnants of Hope for your contributions to this guide to help teams in SWTOR!

You will need to have competed the Nature of Progress story and operation before you can pick up the R-4 Anomaly story quest. Once you complete the Nature of Progress story quest, fly to a different planet, then check your Companions & Contacts for a new alert from Lana Beniko. You can also play the Operation itself without being caught up in the story. (You must be level 80 and subscribed, like all operations.)

Getting around the operation itself is a bit of a maze with lots of hidden enemies. If you are forming up a group, send a few players in early to clear the way.

The entrance to the operation can be found in the Slugfall Harbor on Mek-Sha, on the right-most platform. There is no weekly mission for it. The recommended team composition as of update 7.2 is either 1 Tank, 5 DPS, 2 Healers, or 1 Tank, 6 DPS and 1 Healer if your healer is able to manage that, as that will make the DPS checks of the first and last bosses a lot easier. It is a very difficult operation to solo-heal, so the second method is not recommended if your healer lacks the experience.

IP-CPT (First Boss)

It is worthwhile to note that, if the boss goes through the floor as soon as the fight begins, even for just 1 party member, the team should ‘stuck’ it (by typing “/stuck”), as that party member will not be able to target the boss throughout the fight, likely leading to the DPS check at the end not being passed. As you first enter the room, it is normal to see the boss move from the floor to the ceiling. For anyone who sees the boss still on the floor before pulling, they will likely see the boss go through the floor and will require the reset.

IP-CPT has two main mechanics. The first is to stay out of as much stuff on the floor as possible (fire, lasers, red circles) and the second is the “shapes” mechanic.

Tanks / Healers / Damage – This boss has an incredibly heavy damage check at the end and very few tanking mechanics. As far as I can tell you barely need one tank (for the Enforcer droids that hurt a lot), and you may even want to try no tanks at all if you have good DPS / good healers, though you probably will want two damage-with-taunts.

Fire / Lasers / Circles – During the first part of the fight, your team will watch the floor for a fuzzy orange animation – indicating where fire will appear on the squares the ground. There will also be an orange laser beam that blasts through the orange laser marker lines. If a player finds themselves in a situation where they must choose between stepping into a laser or fire on the ground, they should go into the laser, as the debuff and damage the fire applies can be much more devastating than the one the laser applies. A player will be randomly selected for a large red circle – they will need to take that away from the group the best they can. The smaller red circles will ideally not overlap onto other players’ bodies, as they hurt anyone they overlap onto when they explode, however they do minimal damage in story mode.

Shapes – The difficult mechanic for this fight is the shapes. Partway through the fight, the boss will float up into the air. Some smaller shielded droids will show up, in pairs of two or three, spread across the room. These droids will have a shape appear over their heads – green circle, purple triangle, blue square, and red hexagon. These correspond with the four buttons, one in each side of the room, which become clickable during this phase. The goal is to click the terminal that matches the currently displayed shapes over the droid’s heads as quickly as possible. If you aren’t fast enough, and the droids finish their cast, they will heavy group-wide damage, and multiple casts will be certain death. If you click the terminals enough times, the shield will go down, and you can kill and/or interrupt the droids. It’s quite fast – so you will want to assign a player to each terminal to help click. If you are on voice communication, which helps a lot, have players call out what shapes they see as they pop up, for example “circle. hex. square. square again.” Other groups might call out colors – “green. red. blue. blue again.” The shapes can repeat at random, and the timing is not always consistent, so your team needs to stay aware. There will also be turrets around the room, have your team try and take them out between button clicking wherever possible, but button clicking comes first. For the second round, where there are three shape droids, the same logic applies, keep clicking until all are unshielded. There is also a little red light indicator above the button terminals when it is time to click.

Shapes Button Mashing Strategy – The most efficient strategy for story mode is to just assign for players to click the terminals as quickly as possible over and over, ignoring how the mechanic is “supposed” to work. Just have someone call out to your button pressers when it’s time to stop – when all droids are unshielded.

Enforcer Droids – Taunting players will need to grab the two large droids that come up – Inferno and Overload, turn it away from the group and keep them busy until the DPS are done with their buttons and ready to engage the droids. These large droids hit quite hard so make sure the people assigned to taunt them are ready to use their defensives and healers are ready to heal them. Once the center starts cooling down you can carefully bring the droid to the center where the boss is once it comes back down to the ground. The droid won’t cast while it is running. Prioritize the Overload droids first, followed by Inferno. Before burn phase, ranged (or one unlucky melee) DPS can also clean up the turrets to help healers, while the rest go back to the boss.

Burn Phase – At about 30%, the boss will enter its burn phase. It will be casting a long ability called “Disproportionate Intrusion Response”. If you don’t kill the boss before the cast finishes, it kills your entire group. You will need to keep avoiding fire and lasers, but there are no other mechanics except damaging the boss in a big burst. It is wise to save DPS buffs or raid buffs for this moment, and running only one tank can make this part easier.

Watchdog (Second Boss)

Watchdog is the second boss, and has a large focus on colors for its mechanics.

Missiles – The boss will cast Missiles. You can have your teammates group up to start to drop missiles in the same spot then step out of them once they are on the floor – they look like simple red circles. This can only work the first time the boss shoots missiles at the group, as right after that each group member is assigned a color.

Colors – The boss will randomly assign each player in the raid a color – blue or orange, which shows up as a glowing circle around your character.

Stacking Circles (not recommended)– If you want, during the first time it happens, you can stack up with a player of the same color, and you’ll take some damage and delete each others colors making it easier to move around, but this can make the fight take longer as keeping your colors can help damage the boss later. If you stack up with someone of the opposite color you’ll kill each other and deal heavy raid-wide damage to the rest of the team, so move carefully.

Colorful Floor Scan – If the floor is orange, and you are orange, don’t move. If the floor is blue, and you are blue, don’t move. You should be rooted to the floor when you match its color, but things like Force Speed with Egress might let you move… but if you move while you match the floor color, the boss’s scan will be triggered and he’ll pounce on you and immediately kill you. So stay still, make sure to use any defensive cooldowns if you get stuck in a missile. You are still able to attack the boss though, and should do so, just without moving. Other players who either don’t have a color, or the opposite color of the floor, should move and give you space while you match.

Tank, Run Away! Team, Spread out! – After the boss changes the color of the floor, and then flips it to the other colors, and then does Missiles on the floor twice – He is about to cast Degauss. The tank needs to keep their distance during the next phase, so they should start running away now. The team should spread out to a good spot for their floating color things to drop on the floor. One strategy that is often used is to place the blue circles into the yellow rectangle that can be seen on the top-right area of the boss room, and the orange circles in the red rectangle, the one which you jump into upon entering the boss area. That way, the tank is able to guide Watchdog through the correct colors much easier than if they were all scattered around the area.

Boss’s Circle Color – Later in the fight the boss gets a colorful circle as well. If the boss is blue, and you are orange, STAY AWAY. Do not let your mis-matching colors overlap with the boss or you will kill your entire group.

Degauss – When the boss casts Degauss, anyone who has a blue or orange circle will drop their color onto the floor in the form of a little glowing floating ball. It will drop roughly where they were standing during Degauss. The boss needs to “eat” the colorful balls that are the same color as he is – if he eats ones that are a different color, it will deal heavy raid-wide damage. Whoever has the boss needs to very carefully lead the boss around the room – away from opposite colored floating balls, and towards ones that match the bosses color. The boss will consume the balls by walking over them or near them, and this will deal large chunks of damage to the boss – this is why stacking circles in the first color assignment phase is not recommended, as you will miss out on this damage.

Stalking – During the stalking phase, the boss will start chasing it’s target very slowly. The player just needs to stay away or take massive amounts of damage and die.

Arrows “Polarized Beam” – Later in the fight, the boss will create a colorful arrow between himself and another random player. A player who matches the color of the arrow will need to stand  BETWEEN the player being pointed at, and the boss. Standing just below Watchdog’s snout always works. So if the boss points an orange arrow at me, I would need another orange player to run between me and the boss. There are of course ways to cheese this mechanic for skilled tanks. It is recommended that the tank use a defensive and allow the boss to shoot him with the laser the first time around, regardless of the tank’s colors, as this will make it much easier later for people to run between the tank and the boss to ‘eat’ the laser shot – eliminating the chance of stacking colors with the tank and causing an explosion.

Nihrot Hallway (between 2nd and 3rd boss)

[[hallway pic here]]

What is the Nihrot Hallway The hallway is filled with Hardened Nihrot which will deal lethal damage to anyone trying to cross it without burning it away first. Furthermore, at the end of the hallway there are hostile devices called Attractors, which continually spawn enemies as long as they are alive, so it is important to clear the hallway as quickly as possible before your team is overrun by the enemies. Progress during the hallway is saved, so if your team dies at the last section of the hallway you will pick up from where you left off when you died; cleared Nihrot does not grow back.

How to clear the Nihrot HallwayThere are 3 pairs of rooms on the left and right sides of the corridor, with each pair of rooms becoming available as each section of the Nihrot hallway is cleared. One person should enter the room on the right, and click the console. As soon as the console is clicked, fire will die down in the left room, so another team member should enter the room on the left and click the valve there, and voila! The Hardened Nihrot in front of you is burning. Group members not assigned to button clicking in these hallways should be trying to stun and interrupt the Grey Reapers from channeling a stun move that will lock up your healers constantly. You could repeat this 2 more times, but upon reaching the last section of the hallway some groups prefer for their melee DPS to leap to the Attractors and the ranged DPS to target them from afar in order to stop the enemies from continuously spawning. 

Keep in mind, the Hardened Nihrot where the Attractors were still has to be cleared out, as it is technically an enemy mob, which means you will remain in combat until it is burned. 

Beyond the end of the hallway is an area with two big Drouks called Hulking Monstrosities. They have a lot of health and deal a lot of damage, so should be tanked by the group’s true tank.

Lord Kanoth (Third Boss)

Glowing Blue Box – There will be a glowing blue box before you enter the room. Your team can preview the main mechanic of the fight here by right-clicking the blue box.

Nihrot – The boss has a series of red vines that spread everywhere on the ground. The goal is to try and keep the boss in a cleared square, as he is buffed and healed by standing in Nihrot, so the tank will need to keep moving him, and the entire team will want to try and stay off of the red squares with Nihrot on them.

Grenade Ability – The group can help clear the floor of red vines by using grenades on the squares with red vines on them. This is a special grenade ability you can left-click to use on your temporary ability bar, then right click on the ground to choose where you want to place it. It can be done while moving. Try not to double stack grenades, as they have a cooldown of 15 seconds. He often puts the roots beneath him so the tank will need to keep moving him to clear squares.

Detonate Fire Probe – Later in the fight the fire probes floating around the room can destroy any of the roots in a cross pattern around itself, using the 2nd temporary ability. Try to time your fire probe detonations to clear at least 2 or more Hard Rots to maximize effectiveness.

Hard Rot – Only the fresh Nihrot can be cleared with a Grenade. The fresh Nihrot is thinner, redder, and more animated. The Hard Rot can only be cleared with a Fire Probe. The Hard Rot is pinker, and thicker with spikes shooting through it. Don’t waste your grenade on the pinker hard rot. Hard Rot happens when Lord Kannoth puts rot on the same tile twice.

Hulking Monstrosity At around 70% health, Lord Kanoth will shield himself and begin casting an ability that, if completed, will wipe the entire group. At the same time, a Hulking Monstrosity will appear, which the tank should grab. A grenade must be thrown on the add to remove its defensive buff, and everyone should focus on killing the add. Upon death, the add will drop normal Nihrot on the tile it was killed on, so it is recommended to tank it away from the boss to not grant Kanoth a buff and healing while he is casting the ability. Once the add is dead, everyone should move on to Lord Kanoth, and after sufficient DPS his shield will break, and his cast will be interrupted. Hulking Monstrosities will continue spawning throughout the fight, and they must be prioritized as soon as they do.

Apparitions – At around 30% health, Kanoth will channel an ability called “Choking Growth”. Start moving to the middle, as the whole arena will fill with Nihrot. At the same time, 4 Fire Probes will be deployed, which can be used to clear the arena of most of the Nihrot. At this point, Kanoth splits himself into 3 apparitions, each standing in one corner of the room, with one corner having no apparition. It is here where Kanoth will cast either Shockwave or Blastwave

Shockwave – If Lord Kanoth ends up channeling Shockwave, everyone should make their way to the empty corner. Clearing the Nihrot in the corner with a grenade while waiting for the ability to finish is always helpful. 

Blastwave – If Lord Kanoth ends up channeling Blastwave, the only safe place in the room is behind the middle apparition. Clearing the Nihrot in the corner with a grenade while waiting for the ability to finish is always helpful. 

If you find yourself unable to get to the correct spot in time, stand behind any apparition. You will still take some damage, but popping a defensive will make the damage minimal. To improve your chances, mark the player who has the easiest time with this mechanic and try to follow them.

Seed of Echoes – Lord Kanoth will make a “shiny” sound, and small subtle pink triangle arrows will appear over four players heads. If you get a pink triangle, spread out from your teammates who also have pink triangles, and make it so you are all on different squares rather than grouped on the same square while you have a pink triangle. If you successfully spread out, nothing will happen, your square will get a white outline and your pink triangle will disappear. If you instead are on the same square as another pink triangle when the effect runs out, then the square will get a white and orange outline, and then hard rot will appear there.

Directional Growth, Vertical Growth, Lateral Growth – All these abilities grow the Nihrot. Vertical and Lateral make a line, Directional makes the existing rot on the floor grow one square in the direction of the yellow arrows on the floor, as well as onto the edge tiles around the arena.

Arrow – There will also be a big arrow placed on a player – they can run to the edges of the room, as the arrow will place red vines on every square it touches when it wears off.

Lady Dominique (Final Boss)

Lady Dominique is the final boss, and seems to be a group-killer. Many groups get stuck on her and her many mechanics.

Recovery Jetpack – You will see an ability on your temporary ability bar – you don’t need to click this. This jetpack will automatically save you if you fall off a platform. It will only save you once every minute.

Location – Fight her near where she starts, standing close to her on the walkway. Tank should stand on the outer edge of the intersection, while everyone else stands behind Lady Dom on one of the two walkways. For the sake of this guide, the top walkway’s half on the right from where you enter will be called “Entrance”, and the other half of the walkway on the top level will be called “Exit”, but feel free to name the platforms however you see fit during your runs.

Concussive Blast – If you get a yellow arrow and circle on your character, you’re going to be knocked backwards – so make sure to aim your character’s back towards the generators, so you hit them instead of being knocked off. The yellow arrow won’t affect your teammates. If you have an ability that nullifies the effects of knockbacks, like Hold the Line or Hydraulic Overdrive, using it will completely negate the effect of the knockback.

Disturbance – If you get a medium-sized orange circle with a little orange box over your head, take it away from the group. Go to a lower platform and wait there until it falls onto the floor and turns into a red-orange lightning circle. This will happen in the first and second phases, so everyone must be mindful to not place an orange circle in the middle of the group, especially in the second phase, as that could lead to a wipe.

Shadow Mass – Purple circles will be applied to the tank (or anyone who takes 4 attacks). Staying outside of the purple circle if it is not on you will save you a lot of damage taken and most melee DPS should be able to continue DPSing while staying out of it. Saber reflect can send it’s damage back to the boss, and Sonic Rebounders also work.

First PhaseThe first part of the fight involves destroying the two generators on the lowest walkway. This is done by friendly droids that walk to and hack the generators one by one. After each of the two first generators are destroyed, or Lady Dom spots the droid hacking one of them and kills it, a big white circle will appear. At this point everyone in your group should stack up on the very edge of her corner. She will push everyone down a level, and everyone must run back to her, as Lady Dom will have a shield that needs to be broken by dealing enough damage to her, all the while dealing raid-wide damage to your group. Leaping back is tricky, however if you are not able to leap back to her while you are falling or while standing in front of the lights on the bottom walkway, just run back the old-fashioned way. During this phase the team will have to stand on the opposite walkway-half from whichever of the two lowest generators is being hacked, as Lady Dom switches aggro while casting quite often, and if someone is standing in the same direction as the generator being hacked, Lady Dom will see the droid and kill it, and the knockback phase will repeat. So if the generator in the same direction as the Entrance walkway is being hacked, everyone should stand on the Exit walkway, and the tank should move slightly to the Exit walkway on the corner to physically face Dom away from the generator. After both generators are down, the second phase begins.

Second Phase – In the second phase, Lady Dom will be able to move around. The tank should move her to one of the two remaining generators and await Drouk enemies called Grey Detonators. At 5-6 stacks of the shadow slash debuff Lady Dom will apply to the tank, there must be a tank swap. It is recommended that a DPS with Taunt does it, as bringing two tanks into the fight will almost certainly lead to not being able to meet the DPS check at the end of the fight. Each stack of the debuff leads the person with it to receive 10% less healing, so at 10 stacks you will receive no healing at all, which is why this tank swap is crucial. The DwT and Tank should keep swapping throughout the duration of this phase.

Once a Grey Detonator is next to a generator, all DPS must focus it down, as once the Detonator dies it explodes, damaging the generators and all enemies around it. Keep in mind that orange circles will keep appearing during this phase, so do not place an orange circle in front of the generator. Healers should also be wary of AoE healing, as the generators you have to destroy can be healed, and Sonic Rebounder can also accidentally shield it. After two Detonators are killed near the generators, the generator will be destroyed, and the team should move to the generator on the other side of the walkway and destroy it with the same method. Once that is done, the most difficult part of the fight begins.

If Lady Dom reaches 40% health before all 4 generators are destroyed, she stops taking damage. The team has 10 minutes to destroy all 4 generators, otherwise the team will wipe.

Attractors – Once all 4 generators are destroyed, all melee DPS should make their way to the lowest walkway ASAP in anticipation of Attractors from the Nihrot hallway appearing. Ranged DPS, Healers and the Tank should stay on the top walkway – if the person with aggro of Lady Dom is too far away from her, she will continually cast Force Blast to deal heavy raid-wide damage. Two attractors will spawn, one on each end of the lower platform, kill them ASAP, and make your way as quickly as possible to the walkway Lady Dom is on. Lady Dom will be casting an ability during this time, with a shield around her that cannot be broken with DPS, so everyone should focus on the Attractors. Once the Attractors are dead, everyone should make their way up top to Lady Dom. Attractors will spawn two times.

Recursive Blast Instead of one yellow circle going out that knocks back the person with it, now four yellow circles are placed on four different players in the group over the course of a 6-second channel, with arrows pointing from one player to the next. At the end of the channel, Lady Dominique sends out a knockback that ricochets through each player and gets emitted in the direction of the arrow. The direction of the arrow is determined by the current position of the previous player with the yellow circle. Furthermore, these circles will knock back other players inside of the circle. There are differing strategies on how to deal with Recursive Blast, but for groups doing Lady Dom for the first time or do not have a lot of experience with the fight, I will recommend the “Standing in a straight line on the other walkway” strategy. If at any point during the entire fight you or anyone else gets knocked back into the Mass Shadow Generator behind Lady Dom (the huge machine with green lightning), it is an instant kill, so either pop an ability that grants immunity to knockbacks if you think that will happen, or position yourself so that you will not get knocked back into the Mass Shadow Generator.

Have everyone in the group stand on the Exit walkway during the final phases. As soon as the yellow circles begin appearing, anyone with one should make their way to the opposite Entrance walkway in order of who got the yellow circles first. So if you get the first yellow circle that went out, you should be the first to move to the Entrance walkway and run straight towards the generator at the end of the path – stopping when you are knocked back. The next person who gets a yellow circle stands between you and Lady Dom, just outside your own yellow circle. Stay put after you are knocked back, until you’ve knocked the next player behind you back, then you are free of recursion and ready to get back to the boss. It is imperative that nobody else gets caught up in your yellow circle. If you are the tank and you get a yellow circle, stay where you are and either pop a knockback-immunity or position yourself to leap back immediately, because if you are too far away from Lady Dom, she casts an ability called Force Blast that heavily damages the group.

Burn Phase – If Lady Dom has more than 30% health when the second set of Attractors spawn on the lowest platform, it is not burn phase yet. All DPS will have to switch to the Attractors as before, and this phase remains the same until Lady Dom reaches 20%-25% health. If your team’s DPS is high enough, and Lady Dom is below 25% health when the second set of attractors spawns, do not drop down to the attractors, as they are now invincible. You will have to kill Lady Dom before the adds overwhelm you, while Recursive Blast will keep going out, as well as the purple circles, and enemies called Grey Reapers and Hulking Monstrosities, will begin spawning.

Additional Enemies – Grey Reapers pin you in place, with a light-yellow ‘aura’ emanating from them to you. Hulking Monstrosities have a massive amount of health and could potentially deal catastrophic amounts of damage to whoever has aggro on them. If Grey Reapers pin you in place and you get a yellow circle, everyone else will have to run out of it as you will not be able to. Hulking Monstrosities have high health, which means damaging them is not advisable. Everyone should be targeting Lady Dom in the burn phase, as you will quickly get overwhelmed by dozens of adds. There are two approaches to this. 

The first option is a full burn on Lady Dom, managing only yellow circles. The tank and some others will likely die quickly due to damage from Lady Dom and the two Hulking Monstrosities, but if Lady Dom is near death focus her down and hope for the best.

The second option is to have the tank use their group taunt when both Hulking Monstrosities are on the top walkway and run away from them around the room, while a DPS with Taunt grabs aggro on Lady Dom and tanks her for the remainder of the fight. The tank will likely die shortly from all the adds following them, and the DwT will die quickly from the purple circles Lady Dom will be putting out (although rebounders and reflects help this effort immensely), so in both cases it is just a race against time.