A greybeard’s tips on fighting dreadnoughts of all kinds.
Guide to Dreadnoughts
The purpose of this guide is to try to convey some good tips and experiences I’ve had in my favorite mission type, elimination. I’ll avoid covering the basic info as that’s all in the DRG wiki and instead focus more on qualitative things and strategies.
This guide will primarily consider dreadnoughts as they are at Haz 5, just because that’s the hazard level I have the most experience with, but I assume most of this will apply at lower hazard levels.
I’ve tried to highlight the key notes in the guide so you can skim it if you wish.
Lastly, this isn’t a definitive guide, just a greybeard trying to sell his book while on R&R after getting hamstringed by a slasher, again.
Build your loadout for fighting dreads, not for everything in-between. While periodic mini-swarms and environmental hazards are still a threat your team shouldn’t have too much problem with them even after specializing for dread fighting. You’ll see better returns from killing dreads easier than clearing caverns easier. It’s also more fun because there’s a lot of unique cool builds you can experiment with that only work when fighting against dreads. Just dedicate a preset slot for elimination missions and go crazy.
Don’t bring blow-through rounds. They are of little value against any of the dreads and are far more likely to put holes in your allies who might be on the other side of the dread you’re shooting, either trying to shoot the dread too or acting as a decoy for you. If you have to bring blow through, e.g. if you’re a driller with the flamethrower or cryo-cannon, just remember to aim down so you don’t shoot through the dread to your allies on the other side.
Avoid brining fire damage if possible. It’s almost impossible to set a dread on fire while cryo is very useful against a couple of the dreads. If you bring fire, e.g. an incendiary grenade or a fire gatling gun, you’ll do minimal damage and ♥♥♥ block your driller or scout who might be trying to freeze the dread to give you extra damage. It’s usually better just to stay neutral.
Beware of using AoE against dreads. Not only do you chance hitting your allies but dreads also have pretty significant explosion resistance, which will take the bite out of your boom. If you can it’s usually better to do direct damage.
With the same reasoning as above I generally advise to avoid using the driller’s C4. It can be effective, particularly against the Hiveguard at phase 2 to hit all the weak points at once, but dreads move fast and it’s really easy to miss the dread and/or down yourself or your allies. If you want to weaponize your C4s anyway then at least don’t take the dig area mod, as creating a giant hole in the ground only makes it harder to kill the dread and does more harm than good.
Elimination maps are always the same, they always consist of three random caverns in a U shape with the spawn room on the inside. If it’s a long mission there will be a dread in each of the caverns or adjoining tunnels. If there is only two I’d recommend going for the cavern without a dread in it so you can clear it of resources before moving on to the next.
Finding a good place to fight helps a lot. The bigger and flatter the cave you can find to battle in the better. Small, irregular, arenas usually favor the dreads. Dreadnoughts and Hiveguards can easily clip into the ground when it’s uneven, hiding their weak points. Uneven ground is also hard to run across and can make it more difficult to kite the dreads. Fireballs that otherwise might have missed can impact the ground or wall and get you in the AoE even if you weren’t in the way of the actual projectile.
To fix this drillers can make space (great alternate use for your C4) and engies and put down plats to even the floor and patch holes. This is why the spawn room is such a popular choice to fight as it’s pretty consistent between missions and can be patched up to be an A-tier arena (Just remember to open all the tunnels before fighting a Hiveguard to let the Sentinels in).
While tunnels do make for a nice continuous line to run away from the dread they don’t allow for a lot of room to get past, plus your allies might do more running than shooting as they try to keep up. So I’d advise to fight in caverns over tunnels.
The Resupplier passive perk is great. It gives you extra health every resupp and lets you do it faster. Great under normal circumstances, fantastic when you’re on deaths’ door and need to get health and ammo before a dread catches up with you. Synergizes well with Iron Will.
The Dash active perk is great. Whether you need to get out of range of a Dreadnought’s slam down, need to GTFO before a Hiveguard’s fireballs land on you, or just want to reposition to the other side of the cavern, Dash will help you (Unless you’re a scout and already have a better dash in the grappling hook.).
The Field Medic active perk is great with it providing both an active and passive benefit. Reviving people is very important in a dread fight as every downed dwarf is one less teammate to take aggro while another revives. Some aggressive dreads punish downs really hard and can make it near impossible to get revives when you’re the last dwarf standing. As such reviving is high priority and doing it faster reduces the risk of being interrupted (Plus the fear effect does work on dreads!). Even in a worst case scenario where you’re the last dwarf standing the activatable instant revive has your back too.
Consider Friendly as a good passive perk. Yes. I know. People laugh at friendly. But just think, how many times have you been downed by an ill-thrown C4? Clipped by a full firing gatling gun? Blasted by a Fat Boy grenade launcher? Or just otherwise lost a chunk of health in the scramble that fighting a dread entails? In my experience elimination missions are the worst for friendly fire. This perk protects you from your allies and your allies from you, win win! In a perfect world you won’t need Friendly, but in a perfect world you won’t need Field medic or Iron Will either.
Oh yeah. Iron Will. While Iron Will is undeniably powerful and can save missions I prefer to avoid needing it if I can. Dash can save you more times than Iron Will can, you just need to use it before rather than after. For me Iron Will is my 3rd choice for an active perk and since you only get to pick two I never bring it. But do what works for you. That said since scouts don’t need Dash and can get a lot more use from Iron Will due to their high mobility I definitely take Iron Will on my scout.
Leave Steve on the space rig! The Beast Master perk lets you tame a Glyphid but while Steve is a good bug he’s not cut out for this mission. Dreads ignore Steve so he can’t act as decoy and he does basically no damage to them. Worse Steve will often trail behind the dread blocking shots to their weak points. (Something Steve probably picked up from Molly… >_> ) So best case scenario Steve does nothing during the fight and you’ve wasted a perk slot, even if Steve is the bestest bug, yeah, who’s a good bug, you ar- cough What was I talking about?
- Complexity: 2/5
- Aggressiveness: 3/5
The original dreadnought is well balanced, simple to conceptualize, and my favorite. It has powerful melee and ranged attacks while still telegraphing them for you to respond.
Unique among the dreads it doesn’t punish downs that hard. Mostly due to the way it clearly chases one decoy at a time but also if you’re ever the last dwarf standing the dread will give you a roar every now and then instead of attacking, giving you extra time to get a revive off. Very generous.
The primary weakness of the vanilla dreadnought, aside from overwhelming damage, is that stacking slowing debuffs is exceptionally effective. These include: Nurotoxin, scout’s slow grenades, electricity arcs from the scout’s crossbow or engie’s turrets (different from the electrocution status effect as they’re immune to that), the direct and puddle debuff from the sludge pump, sticky flames, cryo, breach cutter, microwave gun, and more! Each gain more value for every stack you apply.
A scout with slow grenades, electricity bolts, and a driller with neurotoxin grenades, sludge pump can basically immobilize a dreadnaught between their debuffs, it’s hilarious! Not only does these slows make the dread easy to trivial to kite it also means their weak point is staying nice and still for a lead storm gunner to just shred away. I like this approach because you don’t need a full combo for it to be effective, even just one slowdown can help in kiting the dread considerably and let your allies deal damage. Even more so with the slow grenades as, don’t forget, they apply a 30% damage vulnerability to effected enemies!
Unfortunately slows do little to help with the other dreads so this strat won’t save you against them.
A second but also effective strategy is to use cryo to freeze the dread, either through a cryo driller or a frost grenade scout, and then have the team be ready with a bunch of burst damage. Not only do frozen targets take more damage from direct damage but you don’t even have to hit their weak point, making getting an angle a lot easier. A good team can kill dreads ridiculously fast doing this, with the star being engie with a hyper propellent grenade launcher, taking double digit percentages out of the dreads’ health with one click. Be warned however, this assumes a good team spec-ed for burst damage and a cryo driller might find themselves disappointed in results of random lobbies.
- Complexity: 4/5
- Aggressiveness: 2/5
Hiveguards are the least aggressive of the dreads due to their low movement speed, however don’t underestimate them as their ranged attacks are more formidable.
In the first phase they summon a crowd of Sentinels you need to kill. After the summon it wanders around shooting fireballs at whoever it’s aggroed to till the adds are killed.
The sentinels though slow are tanky and hit surprisingly hard. The key is to either freeze them or maneuver them around so your allies can hit the weak spots. Lures/pheromones work great on the Sentinels and can make dealing with them trivial as they group up and turn their weak spots towards you.
A word of warning however, don’t use gunner shields in this phase if you can help it. It causes all the sentinels to freak out and start using their digging attack which has a massive AoE and increased damage, it can kill you through the shield.
An often occurrence is that sentinels get lost on the way to the arena. To avoid having one take the scenic route to the battlefield make sure to open up any tunnels nearby as they can spawn on the other side of walls. This saves time and also prevents the possibility of them digging their own way in.
As for the fireballs the hiveguard is shooting during all this, just always assume it’s aiming at you. Due to how slow the hiveguard is it can aggro to you and start shooting fireballs before it’s given any visual indication it’s aggro has changed. If you’re too close or in rough terrain you’ll already be dead if you wait to see if the fireballs are aimed at you. While one fireball can’t one shot you from full health it’s a near thing and it can shoot 3 at a time.
When the weak points come out that’s the best time for slow, as hitting them can be difficult and slow debuffs also slow down their animations, making the weak points move less. If the dread is aggroed on you then try to lead them in a straight line, as that also makes them easier to hit. Preferably towards the center of the cave in preparation for phase 3.
Because the weak points are so close together they’re vulnerable to small scale explosives which can hit all three at once, like the gunner’s sticky grenade. Just be careful because a lot of people will get up close to try and hit the weak points too and might end up in the blast radius.
Cryo is not good in this phase since if frozen they’re invulnerable, if I’m not mistaken.
Other than that no real tips besides just get in there with a fairly precise weapon.
With their actual weak point now exposed at the back the hiveguard will orient itself towards whoever it’s aggroed to and repeatedly perform it’s slam down attack. As you probably know the projectiles will one shot unlucky dwarves. Getting above or below the dread is a great way to avoid them.
The real magic besides just doing tones of damage is for whoever the hiveguard is aggroed on to maneuver to the opposite side of their teammates and STAND STILL. This will keep the dread still for everyone to get an angle and do the damage. Even if you’re the damage dealer just accept you won’t get a good shot and don’t move to give everyone else a chance. If they don’t deal enough damage fast enough the aggro will shift to someone else, they’ll have to stand still and you’ll get your chance. It’s hard enough to get an angle as it is while dodging the slam down without having the dread spinning like a top too.
You can cryo the dread but it’s risky due to the slam down projectiles. If you can get it off it’s great because that means everyone can shoot the dread, even if they wouldn’t otherwise have an angle on the weak spot. Similar to the vanilla dreadnought a burst damage team can blitz through a hiveguard and kill it in only one or two cycles.
Scout slow grenades are great here, not for the slow but for the damage vulnerability it applies. All the real damage gets done in this phase and it can’t move during it so you’re basically giving a flat 30% buff to everyone’s damage for the whole phase for the low cost of one slow grenade. Now that’s value.
Glyphid Dreadnought Twins
- Complexity: 3/5
- Aggressiveness: 5/5
By far the most aggressive and the ones I once mistakenly believed to be the most dangerous dreadnoughts are the twins. However on further experience the key to dealing with these dreads is primarily just knowing how to split your attention.
Unfortunately that really is all the tricks, slow can help make the dreads easier to hit and make the lacerator easier to dodge but their ability to teleport prevents you from locking them down. Cryo can work if you do it fast enough but if you try to bliz down one twin the other just regenerates it’s health. Burst damage like that can work if you have a coordinated team that bursts both at the same time to keep the damage even but good luck doing that in a random lobby.
The key pretty much is just to dodge their attacks and shoot both of them equally till they’re dead.
To stay alive you need to make sure you’re keeping track of both of them at all times. Did the lacerator just go underground? Better start moving so you can get out of the blast range if he pops up under you. Is the arbalest targeting you? Keep moving and never stop as even the timed explosives generally don’t give you enough time to escape them unless you are already moving. The twins really punish situational un-awareness but if you learn their patterns and keep track of them they’re no harder to kite than a vanilla dreadnought.
As for the shooting part medium range armor shredding weapons are best so you can shoot either of the twins and not waste ammo tearing through their armor. The sludge pump is actually good at this because the direct corrosion effect does base armor shred that can rip all their armor in 10-20 seconds if you can keep it applied, though you’ll need an OC or mod to give the pump enough shot speed to hit the arbalest at even medium range.
Try to kill the arbalest first. It’s hard because the lacerator is such a good target but the arbalest lets out a wave of timed explosives when the other twin is killed which is very dangerous, if you kill the arbalest first the lacerator has no such attack when it rages and is much less lethal.
Beware however! Do not sleep on getting revives. The twins punish downs harder than any other dread. With their rapid attacks and ability to knock you back even gunner shields won’t guarantee a safe revive. If you’re the last dwarf standing you better have an instant revive from Field Medic lined up or pray to Karl because it will be a toss up if they’ll let you get a revive off.
Elimination is my favorite mission type because fighting dreads really does feel like fighting a boss your party has to take down. Where you can show your skill by anticipating the boss and dodging it’s every attack while your allies capitalize on your distraction. I remember the first time I fought a dread and came out the other side without a scratch while the rest of the party was significantly the worse for wear, I felt like a god. …Then there are games where it feels like every fireball goes out of it’s way to hit you and you spend most of the fight on the ground. But I suppose it’s only just for my hubris.
What this guide really misses the most is that public comps lack the focus for Elminiation missions. Prioratizing the first egg before the first wave is able to kick in is key. Focus should be shifted arround getting nitra for your resupply and if you happen to meet stragglers that block the way towards your first egg pull em deal with it quickly and pop the first egg. When the egg is popped the game wont spawn any timed swarms. Many times teams will struggle with the waves in between because there setup is not their comfortable one to deal with swarms of bugs.
bulk detonator:am i a joke to you (the bulk detonator can kill a dreadnaught with one blow
I haven’t crunched the numbers but I don’t think a det can do enough damage to kill a dread, at least not on Haz 5. It’s like the same story with machine events, where ones that kill the enemies at the end also hit dreads too but also don’t do enough to kill.
A bulk can kill a dreads no biggy on Haz 5.
OG dread and hive momy (cracked) within 5m and twins with ease
I strongly recommend players do in fact bring at least one dedicated swarmclear weapon, or at least a hybrid. Bad rooms on high haz or event’s swarms is an easy way to wipe, especially so if you have two single target dps weapons; even more so when you also recommend against blowthrough.
Rest of the guide is good, but I can’t allow telling people to actually run double single target weapons. One is more than enough
Fxal0x, I agree, the Cryo-cannon used correctly is by far the best weapon the driller has against any dread and saves a ton of ammo for the team. I think I subconsciously (ilke the author) de-emphasized it just because it’s a risky play style with a high skill cap and driller is my least played class. So it doesn’t work out as well when I try it. ;D
And yeah, using AoE on the weakpoints gives marginal benefit given the explostion resist and chance of friendly fire AoE entails.
I’d actually recommend Cryo Cannon on hiveguard but with Ice Storm & cold radiance. Not only is it able to freeze Sentinels but it’s crazy good at destroying hiveguard’s weakpoints on phase 2, just point at them and let the blowthrough frost damage do the work. By the time its on phase 3 its already frozen, letting you and your team do extra damage right away. Its extremely effective, and really fun. I highly recommend you to give it a try.
The main problem with it is that the OG Dreadnought and Arbalest can give you trouble, as getting close to them is difficult and very risky, but Ice Storm can still absolutely shred them if you can catch them.
Very good guide! Really good advice here, but I’d like to add to the hiveguard bit:
Explosives IMO aren’t that great on Hiveguard’s second phase as the immense area damage resistance on the weakpoints + the dreadnoughts base explosion resistance absorbs nearly all of it. Driller’s C4 with all the damage mods however does enough damage to almost destroy all the weakpoints at once, so its not a completely useless thing.