GW2 Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon guide

Hey everyone, this is a guide/walkthrough to the first dungeon you will encounter in Guild Wars 2: GW2 Ascalonian Catacombs or AC for short. . It is located in Plains of Ashford (Charr starter area) around the NE corner of the map. There is a storymode designed for players of level 30, and an explorable mode designed for players of level 35. Higher level players will have their levels scaled down to 30 and 35 appropriately.


Navigation Aid

Some general pointers

A word on storymode and explorable mode

All of the dungeons have 2 modes: storymode and explorable mode. Storymode must be completed first before you can attempt explorable mode. Storymode its just a standard dungeon run with only one path and one story. Explorable mode, on the other hand, will usually have multiple paths (i.e. 3) and continues the story from storymode. Bosses in explorable mode drop a form of a currency that can be exchanged for gear unique to that dungeon. This combination of multiple paths and gear currency allow one to run the dungeon multiple times on explorable mode for unique dungeon armor without feeling too repetitive.

General things you should be aware of

  • There is a waypoint at the entrance with a place where you can repair your armors. If you die and your armor is broke, make sure to travel to the waypoint and repair. Also, be prepared to have lots of coins for repair  as you will die quite a lot.
  • This dungeon is not melee friendly, make sure you have a good ranged weapon ready and all the skills on it unlocked. Professions that can impair ranged mobs (i.e. daze/stun/transform) should have their skills/traits ready. Mesmer elite skill Moa Morph (transform enemy into a moa) comes very handy here, especially when dealing with multiple ranged mobs on a pull. Traits that remove conditions from allies are also useful as some of the ranged mobs here and bosses have some nasty conditions if not removed promptly.
  • There are traps all around the place, I will point out some places where traps exist but in general, don’t just run into an open area or into a doorway. Wait a second or two and see if you see any traps along the way. The traps are deadly and will instantly one shot you on explorable mode (on storymode they are slightly more forgiving).
  • Party leaders, make sure you use assist targets, all you need to do as a party leader is to select a mob, press ctrl + t to set target, this will put a targeting icon on top of the mob and display a message in your party member’s chat screen that they can then press t to select your target. Focusing the DPS to kill one mob at a time is a key strategy that will be very useful when you pull multiple mobs.


  • Red circles are bad, white circles are good. Don’t stand in red circles, they are the mob’s AoE.


Trash & traps before the first boss

Trash Mobs breakdown

You will encounter a wide variety of trash mobs in this dungeon, some of them are very painful to deal with (i.e. ascalonian rangers and elementalists) so here is a quick primer on them.

Priority of targets: Ranger >Elementalist> Monk> Mesmer> Necromancer> Warrior

  • Ascalonian Ranger: Probably one of the worst trash mobs to deal with; later on, you will encounter a group of 3 of these guys and that is probably the worst pull you can get in the dungeon.  These rangers have two skills: the first one is an AoE spike trap that will cripple you (-50% movement speed) and apply 3 stacks of Bleed (DoT) on you. The second skill is their poison arrows (another DoT) , a condition removal ability comes in handy here. If you see a ranger in a group of trash mobs, target them and have your party members assist to take them down first. Also use line of sight to block their attacks.


  • Ascalonian elementalist: the next most annoying mob after the rangers, they have massive AoEs that will apply Burning (DoT) to you and do a lot of damage. Basically don’t stand in their red circles and kill them asap.


  • Ascalonian Mesmers: Reflect projectiles, attacking them while they have their little bubble up will apply conditions to you. Not too bad otherwise.


  • Ascalonian monks: they will heal other mobs in the area but not too bad to deal with. Stun/daze them if you can. If there are no rangers or elementalists around, kill them first.
  • Ascalonian warriors/necromancers: these are fairly harmless mobs and not really worth mentioning.
  • Ascalonian Captain: Beware of knockdown.


In the first area you enter, you will see a a bunch of coffins and a locked door. Each of the coffin will spawn a mob when clicked so make sure only one person click it at a time and kill the mob before you click another coffin. If multiple people click it at once, it is likely going to be a wipe.


Gate Guardian Napa

You will need to keep killing mobs and clicking on coffins until you get Gate Guardian Napa to pop out. He isn’t too tough but he does have a very nasty knockdown for melees. Once you are knockdown, he will keep pounding you with his hammer until you go to the downed state so make sure to get out if you get a chance.



2 trash

As the door opens, don’t run off the stairs as there are traps down there. Have a melee person jump down to the left of the stairs and use the lever to disable the traps, this will cause two trash mobs to spawn (elementalist and monk for us).


3 trash

The next pull after that features 3 trash mobs in a narrow corridor, one of them being an elementalist. This is very annoying as the AoE will cover the width of the corridor and making dodging it very difficult. This is a very tough pull and should not be handled lightly.


2 rangers

Once you beat the 3 trash mobs, you will need to go up the stairs, which is guarded by two rangers. Using line of sight to your advantage here and hide behind the corners if you need to dodge attacks from them.


Once you defeat the rangers, you will encounter the next trapped area up the stairs.

Captain & Traps

Straight ahead is a lever to disable the traps guarded by an Ascalonian captain, who has a knockdown similar to Gate Captain Napa. Use the lever quickly while dodging the captain’s attacks. This will disable the traps and give your party more space to move around, away from the captain’s knockdowns. There is a boulder to the left that one person should grab to open the door to the next section once the fight is finished.


Fire traps

Once you dealt with the captain, head back down the stairs as the door near the captain does not open. Instead, head to the other door in the opposite direction from the stairs. Make sure you grab a boulder and put it on one of the glowy thingies near the door. This will keep the door open – don’t move it.


Right behind the door is a fire trap. Wait for it to go off and then quickly run through. The next section has a lot of traps so you can either play it safe by killing the trap thingies that spew fire or just run through.


After you disable the initial few traps, you will see a stair to the left. Do not go there, instead, head straight.


Graveling Event

The next area has a graveling event, just use AoEs!


Ascalonian Captain and Eir

You will encounter another group of 3 trash mobs (one of them a ranger) before arriving at the spot where Eir is. There is an Ascalonian captain with knockdown ability you must defeat before Eir joins you.

Ascalonian Lieutenant


Mechanics Strategy
Summon bunch of weak adds AoE them down, fight below the stairs if possible for a “choke-point
Knockdown Stay away from melee range, used ranged attacks if possible or have a heal ready when you are knocked down

Ascalonian Lientenant is the first real boss encounter in this dungeon. He is at the top of the stairs and will spawn a whole bunch of adds (Ascalonian mages, mesmers, monks, rangers, etc) when you first engage him. Thankfully, these adds don’t have a lot of health (not the same trash mobs you encountered on the way to this boss) and die fairly quick.

A strategy I perfer, especially if the group have a lot of AoE abilities, is to actually stand at the bottom of the stairs and have one person (i.e. guardian) go up and trigger the encounter. The adds will run out first and stop at the top of the stairs. This bascially funnel all the adds to a “choke point” where you can just pile AoEs in that small area where they are all clustered and finish them off quickly. I find it less chaotic than having the entire group going up top and getting surrounded by adds. This method may not work so well if you lack AoEs or melee heavy.


There is only one mechanic to this boss and it is something you should be familiar with after killing the Gate Guardian and the captains – Knockdown.

If you are squishy light armored profession, you should not go near the boss at all as you might be knocked down and then the boss can run to you and pound you into the downed state. Run in circles and kite the boss if he is after you. Professions using melee weapons (if you must) will just have to deal with the knockdown and have a heal ready when you get up. Cripple/immobilize conditions are good to apply to the boss if you have them to slow the boss down so that you can DPS safely.

Once you defeat the Lieutenant, you then need to defeat 3 more bosses and a final boss at the end.


Master Nente

Mechanics Strategy
Ranged attacks Dodge the bad circles, use ranged attacks to damage attack
Teleport to the ledge to melee and summon wolf adds – “we’ll do this face-to-face!” First wolf pop around ~ 70% (kill asap), second wolf pop around ~30% (either control it or kill it)

Master Nente is a fairly easy boss and most groups tend to start this one. There are some issues getting to the boss though as one of the trash pulls you encounter will contain 3 rangers. The best plan for this trash pack is to fight in the big room where the rangers are standing, this give you a much bigger room to move away from the AoEs and you are not being “choked” at the doorway/bridge.


Master Nente will be standing on a rock in the middle of the room but he will teleport to the ledge that you are standing twice during the fight and summon wolf adds. Don’t bother using the boulders nearby to damage Nente, he is immune. The wolf adds, however, are not immune and you can throw boulders at them to knock them down.


This fight is all about balance between ranged and melee as certain parts of the fight favors ranged while other parts favor ranged. For the first part,  Nente will be standing at the middle rock and ranged is favored but if you like to melee, you can climb up on the log leading to the central platform. He will have some AoE circles you need to get away from but they don’t hurt much. At around 70%, he will say “we’ll do this face-to face!” and teleport to the ledge where your group is standing. This part of the fight allows the melee characters to really shine. Make sure you apply cripple/immobilize conditions to him at this stage so he doesn’t run wild (his melee attacks do hurt quite a bit).


He wil also summon a ghost wolf called Fang and your group must deal with this add. Burning Fang down asap is a good strategy as otherwise he will chase random group members down and kill them. Fang will also cripple (-50% movement speed) with his attacks, making dodging Nente’s attacks annoying.


Nente will teleport back to his rock at ~ 50% and teleport down at 30% to summon another wolf called Shadow. A lot of groups here will focus on Nente and ignore the wolf add, causing a potential wipe as the wolf will roam unchecked and hunt down party members. Either kill the wolf or keep it in check by throwing boulders, cripple/immobilize it, etc.


Kasha Blackblood

Mechanics Strategy
Summon a bunch of adds: Leech life from minions if theya re too close/not killed Kill minions first, have least 2 people on add duty, use AoEs when you see adds pop.

Kasha is another easy boss (probably the easiest unless you lack AoE damage), the trick here is to deal with the minions she summons ASAP as she will leech life from them and heal up if they are not killed quick enough/get too close to the boss.  AoE damage is very good here as you can both damage Kasha and her minions at the same time. Dedicate one or two people on add duty if needed.


She has an occasional fear but there is really no other mechanics to it. Kill the adds, kill Kasha, and loot the chest!

One warning: do not stand on top of the stairs as there is a fire wall that will damage you if you stand there. There is platform directly behind Kasha with a statue that ranged characters can stand.



Ralena and Vassar

Mechanics Strategy
They deal more damage when they are close together Keep them apart, they are immune to knockbacks etc but you can kite them/use LOS or use the door trick.
Ralena has a lighting ball aoe that stacks confusion + deals damage Avoid it, use condition removers if you got them
Vassar has a pretty nasty AoE and reflects projectiles when he got his bubble shield on

This fight is probably the hardest in this dungeon (even harder than the final boss). I definitely recommend doing this fight last as it can be demoralizing and cause the groups to split apart.  One thing you should keep in mind is that when your group wipe, your progress on the boss do not reset so you can just keep running back and finish the fight off.

Ralena is an elementalist and Vassar is a mesmer. They will deal more damage if they are close together so the trick is to separate them apart. You can either kite one of them around using line of sight to force them to move apart or use the door trick. Even if you separated them, they will occasionally port to each other – this is preceded by Together we cannot fail! and you will see them together with hearts popping out as a sign that they are together and stronger.


The door trick is fairly simple, you see that stone on the ground? If you stand on it, the door opens. If you pop a boulder on it, the door opens until that boulder is removed. What you can do is gather outside the door, have one person stand on that stone so the door opens, and then another person go in to pull the two bosses out. Once one of the bosses is out, step off the stone and close the door shut.


This trick is temporary as during the fight the two will teleport to each other. When that happens, you will need to redo it.

Ralena is an elementalist and likes to throw lighting balls at you that damages you + put confusion condition on you (hurts you when you use skills).


Vassar is a mesmer with 3 abilities you should be aware of: 1) Nasty AoE circle that damages and put cripples + chills + vulnerability conditions on you. 2) Purple bubble shield that reflects projectiles 3) Summon little adds that will swarm to you and damages you (especially if you are trying to hide and heal up)


Overall, this is a long and chaotic fight. Just remember that if you beat this boss, the next one is a loot pinata compared to this fight!


King Adelbern

Mechanics Strategy
Pulls you in If you are using ranged attacks, run out
Summons Foefire (red AoE circle) Avoid the circles, dodge out of them ASAP

King Adelbern is actually a pretty easy fight. The availability of a waypoint right next to the fight location means that you can essentially “graveyard zerg” it, respawning and quickly run back to join the fight.


There are two ways you can do this fight if you are a ranged character. You can either run around the fight area, dodging the AoEs and get pulled in everytime Adelbern does his move or you can hide behind a pillar and get pulled in maybe 50% of the time.

I personally prefer the pillar method as I seem to die less (actually never died on the fight using this method, as you can see below in the video). You don’t have to move as much (move only when an AoE circle is placed directly on top of you)and therefore have less of chance to run into someone else’s circles.

For the pillar method, you will want to find one of those big pillar and position yourself such that you can DPS without being obstructed but also able to sidestep into the pillar if need. This allows you to to prevent getting pulled in if you sidestep quick enough.  Here is where I am standing to give you an idea.


When Adelbern pulls you in, there isn’t much of a warning and he does it quite quick. He will spin his sword around and does a swirling thingie. If you get pulled in, no biggie, just run back to where you were standing.


What will probably kill you is the Foefire. He places red circles on the ground and you barely have time to move out before the sky will rain fire on that location. Dodging out of it is very important if you want to survive. If you are standing near one of the pillars, the chance of you getting a circle is pretty small (only happened once to me the entire fight when I used the pillar method) and you can just run out of it to the other side of the pillar.



Article is co-owned and first published at

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

9 replies on “GW2 Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon guide”

I really wanted to like this game, but the more of it I see (and from my hands-on experience with the beta weekends) the less I want to play. The PvE in this game just looks dreadfully chaotic and actually kind of dull. I just can’t get over the lack of a trinity, as well. I mean, if essentially *everyone* is just DPS… then I suppose either mobs will need to be weak enough not to kill anyone too fast, and thus pose little real sustained threat, or encounters will turn into a big kite-fest, and neither scenario sounds fun.

My thoughts exactly, the removal of holy trinity tend to make fights alot more chaotic as everyone is for themselves. On top of that, the bosses in dungeon literally one shot people if you get too close. On one of the fights in explorable mode, my group literally died like 8 times zerging the boss down because he one shots anyone that doesn’t dodge his aoe (big radius as well). Hopefully on release this will be more polished or it is going to be a pain heh.

I tend to find it liberating more than anything else–yes, it’s chaotic, but a good group mitigates the chaos, and when people know their classes well it’s actually quite controlled.

While the traditional Holy Trinity is dead, it should be noted that there’s a new trinity in place–support, control, and damage. Having a support or two in the group vastly increases the group’s survivability, though not through direct healing so much as providing survivability boons. Control helps immensely as well: turning King Adelbern (or perhaps Ralena or Vassar) into a Moa with the mesmer elite for a few seconds gives you a few seconds in which your group can get off tons of free damage with little to no risk. We don’t really know how this trinity works yet; give it some time to settle out and for effective group compositions to develop before passing judgement.

I was in a pickup group in BWE3 that fought our way through the dungeon in story mode (I didn’t get up to level 35 to try explorable). We beat it easily; I was probably the weakest link with a full three deaths to my name. The group had two warriors and two guardians, and myself as a mesmer. One of the warriors and one of the guardians were running support/utility specs, and one of the guardians was running a control build. I ran nearly pure DPS, but I switched one of my weaponsets to a staff to provide more control and support via boons and conditions, while reserving my sword/focus set for pure DPS. We all used melee weapons primarily (sword/focus was my primary weapon set), though several of us used ranged weapons to continue dealing damage while we dropped back to heal after taking a hit or two.

In short, yes it’s chaotic. There often doesn’t seem to be a cohesive plan going into individual fights, much less the dungeon as a whole, but in my experience group organization (or lack thereof) can make or break the run for a group.

Agreed the traditional trinity is gone and its no longer about a single role but being a good player of your class and reacting to the events, bye bye single
role rotations. A team of players who know their class, defensive, offensive and support skills will have no problems.
This is also a welcome change as it requires each player to watch the entire raid and see what is happening to know what they need to do. As an ele traditionally Im a dps bomber but throw in my invulnerability and a few boons and I’m holding the boss while the melee regen than I drop back and bomb away again.

Honestly it feels more like a battle should rather than a tank and spank with a few move your ass out of circle mechanics.

I agree with your last statement very much. No one ever said MMO’s must have set roles such as tank/healer/dps. I would much rather have something that breaks the mold completely.

It probably takes some time for people to learn but as far as I have seen it is possible to position your group in a way that melee characters can be supported by casters in a way that they can hold their position without kiting too much. There is no direct healing but tons of skills have healing effect or push back enemies or block so it takes pressure off from front line melee. I think the key here is like anet has stated that you cannot just simply sit there but you need to learn how to move in a way. This far it has felt ok to me. I do agree that sometimes bosses just one shot you too easily though, I think it is sometimes because of being in minimum level for event/dungeon whatever and it becomes much easier later with better armor and stuff. I tried to do one level 10 story instance at level 8 and my character was practically not doing anything on bosses there so I needed to go level up and at level 10 it was piece of cake.

[…] In my endless travels of browsing through Guild Wars 2 content (something I do when I can’t play GW2) I discovered a short write-up on all the bosses for Ascalonian Catacombs for the Storymode difficulty which we were on. If you’re interested in PvE and the amount of detail developers put into the creativity for each of the bosses, feel free to head over to Dulfy’s blog here. […]

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