SWTOR Heirad Ciphas and Kel’sara Nightmare TFB guide

A guide to defeating the Dread Guards Heirad Ciphas and Kel’sara in SWTOR Nightmare Terror from Beyond (TFB)

General information & Video


  • HP: Heirad –1.31 million, Ciphas – 1.72 million, Kel’sara – 1.39 million
  • Enrage: 7 minutes and 20 seconds.
  • Loot: 1x Kell Dragon Relic, 1 random Shadowed item (L75 stuff without set bonus), 8 Elite Commendations, 6 Ultimate Commendations, 1 Mass Manipulation Generator, 2 Exotic Element Equalizer on 8m.

Video (Live, pre-nerf)

Main Differences from Hardmode


This fight is tightly tuned for nightmare and is a step up in difficulty from The Withering Horror. Phase 3 especially put a lot of stress on healers.

Phase 1 – Heirad

  • Try aim for 2 Lighting Fields only to help with enrage.
  • Lighting Field now slows you and Heirad’s Surging Chain reflects damage.
  • Lighting Field hits hard, but certain classes have abilities to negate damage (i.e. snipers/assasins/sorcerers & republic equivalents)

Heirad’s attack cycle abit faster and as a result you have a shorter time between Lighting Fields. This means you will need a much higher DPS to ensure that you only get two Lighting Field in this phase. . Having three Lighting Fields may cause you trouble with the enrage.

Heirad’s Lighting Field attack will also slow player, making getting to your position much more difficult.

Our typical Lighting Field configuration is this on 8m. This allow healers to top off anyone that is low on HP before the Lighting Field hits. Ranged DPS and healers stack in the middle after Lighting Field hits for AoE heals (be sure to not stack directly on the boss since he has a knockback when he casts Surging Chain that can interrupt your heals/DPS). The explosion at end of Lighting Field hits for ~16k on unprotected players.

  • Snipers/Gunlingers can time their roll ability with about a second left on the Lighting Field. If done correctly, they won’t take any damage from the Lighting Field
  • Assassins/Shadows can use Force Shroud to block the damage from Lighting Field.
  • Sorcerer/sage Force Barrier also works in blocking all the damage from this attack.

swtor-heirad-ciphas-kel'sara-nightmare-tfb

Also, it should be common knowledge but control your collateral damage to Ciphas and Kel’sara this phase as otherwise they will buff Heirad and increase his damage. 

Lastly, the Surging Chain attack by Heirad will reflect any damage done to him so make sure you jump on Ciphas right away to break the shield.

Phase 2 – Ciphas

  • Doom is now 6 stacks, if you accidently eat more than 1-2 circles, you are likely to wipe the raid
  • Ciphas usually choke players that are far away from him so if you are low on HP stay near Ciphas (his smash+ strangle combo will kill anyone under 50%)

The big change to this phase is that Ciphas’s Doom is now six stacks. This means that you want to try avoid accidently eating a green circle when you don’t have Doom on you as that can get the “doomed” person killed. The player with Doom will probably need to consume all the green circles and then wait for new circles to pop up to remove all six stacks.

  • Sorcerers/Sages with their Force Barrier ability can avoid the damage from Doom, allowing them to not bother with Doom and giving the raid a few extra green circles.
  • Snipers/Gunslingers can also time their roll ability with end of the Doom to not take any damage once the Doom stacks expires.
  • Ciphas tend to strangle players that are furthest from him so if you are low on HP (<60%) try stay near Ciphas so you don’t get strangled and killed.

swtor-heirad-ciphas-kel'sara-nightmare-tfb-2

When Ciphas dies, all Doom stacks are removed so you do not need to worry about dying to Doom afterwards.

Phase 3- Kel’sara

Phase 3 is the most challenging part of this fight and is very healing intensive due to several new mechanics,

  1. Force Leach hurts if tanks receives an accidental heal. Make sure tanks are shielded if you have sorc/sage healers to prevent any collateral damage.
  2. Players will now drop red circles (Expiatory Motes) on the ground in a similar manner to phase 2. These circles cannot be removed and put a long lasting DoT on anyone that touched them that ticks for ~7k damage every 3 seconds (lasts for 15 seconds or more). While most players are able to move away from these circles, you will have to watch for knockback from Kel’sara and her adds. You want to place these red circles on the outer edges of the room to prevent players from accidently stepping or getting knocked into them.
    • You can remove the DoT you get from stepping into the red circles by running into a green circle from phase 2.
    • Like in phase 2, watch for swirling orbs around your character. If you see swirling orbs, start running so you don’t have a red circle spawn under your feet.

swtor-heirad-ciphas-kel'sara-nightmare-tfb-3

3. The three Dread Guard Legionnaires that Kel’sara summons all have ~50K HP each and hit a bit harder. They should be tanked if possible to avoid having them running rampant and killing the DPS/healers.

Reminder of Hardmode mechanics


If you are not familiar with the hardmode mechanics, here is a quick brush up for you. For a more detailed guide, please consult this guide.

Phase 1

  • When Heirad casts Surging Chain, he is immune to damage and you must attack Ciphas to remove his Empowered Barrier on Heirad
  • Heirad’s Lighting Field attack hurt less if everyone is spread out.

Phase 2

  • Ciphas dooms random players. Doom stacks can be removed by running into green circles dropped by other players.
  • Ciphas will also leap and strangle random players. Tanks/melee DPS will need to interrupt Ciphas ASAP.

Phase 3

  • Kel’sara casts Force Leach on main tank, tank swap and stop healing the tank with the debuff as any heal will translate to damage.
  • Kel’sara will also put a Death Mark on a random raid member and chase them. She will likely one shot anyone if they don’t run away.
  • Lastly, Kel’sara casts a DoT called Withering Terror on a random raid member that hurt quite a bit, make sure they get healed.
  • Dethis

    More fun for melee!

  • Anon

    Anyone know if Force Barrier works against one shots like Doom or Color Deletion Protocol?

    • aj

      It works against color deletions but I don’t know about Doom

    • Vlk

      I know it works against Doom in Hardmode but it might not work in Nightmare.

    • Anon

      For anyone else curious, our healer tried it. It won’t clear the Doom debuff, but if you’re in it when the debuff runs out, you’re safe.

      • ivan

        did you try in HM or nightmare mode?

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      It works on Nightmare, just tried it.

      • Whattie

        i confirm

  • meatshield

    On live your health figures are way off

    Heriad has 1.3million
    Ciaphes has 1.7 million

    Kel’Sara has 1.39 million

    • meatshield

      And Heriads sheild reflects damage, and the lightning field does a stacking slow

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Ya they buffed the HP on live.

      • Lirel

        Is it even possible to do it with their health at this amount? I highly doubt a kill before a second lightning field is possible for Heirad,

        • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

          Our best attempt is 40% on Kel’sara with possible enrage at 15% if we didn’t die off. It sounds possible in theory but seems really overtuned atm.

          • Lirel

            Yeah,it seems that way on the reports on forums as well. I can only hope they don’t do what they did to LI HM to this.I love this challenge ! It’s going to be a close call even with a great group.Haven’t seen this challenge in SWTOR for too long.GL on downing in! ~Lirel,DWBI guild ,Beregen Colony

            • Lirel

              *it

  • Evonella

    Dulfy,

    You shouldn’t release your guides from the “test server” because as our guild found out tonight, IT’S NOTHING LIKE THE PTS. Like the lightning phases on the Dread Guards, It’s impossible to do it on 1 attempt. 30% we were on our 3rd. Don’t release your guides until you have checked and done it on the live server as it throws a lot of people off…

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Fights are subjected to change on live server, that is something you should expect. If the fight gets changed, the guide gets updated.

      Those of us who did it on the PTS were thrown off too by the sudden increased in diffculty so you are not alone in that.

      • MiddleDarkness

        Oh boo hoo you’re on even footing with people that don’t use PTS

  • Zouma

    our Enrage was yeterday set at 6:40 min, anyone know how to deal with it? we got the third lightning field from hierad, but i must say we had 1 sentinel 1 vanguard 1 guardian and 1 commando ^^ and the enrage started at kelsara with 70% and 1 dd and 1 tank died in p3

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      The enrage here is not normal. It is due to them buffing the HP too much. To my knowledge no one has beat this encounter yet due to enrage.

      • Zouma

        yes i know, worlds best try was 28% enrage as far as i know. but no one from the “yellow” admins wrote anything about that problem. but nobody knows some extra mechanics in this encounter which wasnt on the pts?

  • Ich

    @Evonella- you are so funny^^Its not The Bible,I think- It will give
    people some hints,Most people (expect U?) who read this kind of guides
    knows that something can be differend- and, maybe they will find an
    other way to “Rome”

    Dont release your comments until U think about , what “B.S.” U writeThank 4 the guide

  • MiddleDarkness

    I’ve been wondering of a different way of doing the Dread Guard fight in Nightmare TFB. I know everyone says Heirad HAS to go down first but that doesn’t seem to work very well. I say take down Kel’sara FIRST, guide says “Kel’sara – Dark Bond – As Kel’sara takes damage, Ciphas occasionally becomes more and more empowered with Blood Vengeance, significantly increasing the damage he deals.” the keywords there are “occasionally becomes” but if you wait till Ciphas hops over and casts Empowered Barrier on Heirad you won’t have to worry about him because no one will stop him until Kel’sara dies. If that worked it would be so easy, no Force Leach, no players dropping red circles (Expiatory Motes), no Lighting Field, no Force Leach. It should be worth a shot :-P maybe try it out on a Normal or Hard mode to see what happens. Just because Dulfy says something has to be done doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find an easier or better way of doing things. I’ve read many strats here that are just backwards or retarded

  • Lirel

    I heard some EU guild downed it,they had their tanks attack heirad for the first phase and had them use aoe moves to maintain aggro on the two others.Smart thinking and insane dps.Hopefully this helps other guilds get through until patch,however this did take them more than 100 tries.Cheers Europeans,being more efficient than us Americans again QQ.

    • Murder Toys

  • Murder Toys

    DILIH kill video of dread guards TFB NIM ^-^ on LIve Server

  • Zap

    post-nerf questions: We have been working on this fight the past couple days and are getting through phase 1 pretty well right now, before the 3rd lightning field. (beating it only by a couple seconds ~15% when surging chain 3 happens). How are we doing for the enrage timer? If we lose to the enrage timer is it because of DPS lost in phase 2 and 3 then? This is my feeling but there isn’t a lot out there on the fight yet. We have 2 melee dps (jugg and mara), so the movement in the later phases might be a big issue for us…

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Having two melee can hurt a bit with the extra movement etc as you said. It should still be killable though. Can you guys push any faster in p1? Maybe killing Heirad before the 3rd surging chain? That would save you a ton of time to cover mistakes in p2/p3

  • Tearra

    Sentinels/marauders can also use their guarded by the force to not get killed by doom.

  • Elkana

    One of my guild mates recently discovered that Mercs/Commando chaff flare/diversion can absorb Doom if used at the right time and if you have the two talent points in “decoy” (arsenal/gunnery tree).

  • Novyk

    New HP numbers, for anyone who’s wondering:

    HP: Heirad –1.28 million, Ciphas – 1.50 million, Kel’sara – 1.38 million
    HP: Heirad –1.31 million, Ciphas – 1.72 million, Kel’sara – 1.39 million (old)

    Damage reductions seems to be quite slight – but noticable. Just on the forgiving side on red puddles, for instance – quick grabbing of green puddles and they’re now survivable.

    • Blitz
    • Novyk

      My bad, accidently added 10k to Heirad and Kel’sara :p

      Heirad –1.18 million, Ciphas – 1.50 million, Kel’sara – 1.28 million

      • bunions

        no you “accidentally” added 100k to both of them which is a huge difference lol

  • Commando

    I have a question about healing mechanics in phase 3. As a commando healer, can I put my Trauma Probe on the tank or will it instantly kill him if the other tank is late with their taunt? As it seems commando healing is really challenging here as I cannot use my Hammer Shot either since it cannot be interrupted by jumping or moving. Any tips from other commando healers?

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  • Dms

    Been trying this one lately. First two are easy, but red puddles just destroy us. Looked from your video like there weren’t very many puddles and puddles didn’t appear under tanks, allowing them to hold still and letting melee maximize DPS. Also noticed the healer who was making the video stood where the adds appear and not one red puddle appeared under her. Is there a way to encourage puddles to appear in a certain way?

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      We tend to stand on the outer edges of the room so if we do get puddles, we place them away from rest of raid. As for me not getting the puddle, that is just RNG I think.

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