FFXIV Raid Guide – Asphodelos: The Fourth Circle (Savage) Part One

P4S kicks things off with a door boss, but Hesperos’s opening act may be just as challenging as his encore.

This Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker-era encounter drops your party into a showdown with one of Pandaemonium’s biggest baddies, Hesperos. The good news is you’ve already defeated Phoinix and its notorious red-orange arena; the bad news is that Hesperos is no pushover, and he’s got two separate forms. So, take a deep breath and crank his weird theme song up – there’s a lot going on in Lahabrea’s hellish basement.

Since it’s a two-parter, this guide will cover part one of Hesperos’s performance — it’s best to think of it as a separate fight which shares the same instance as part two. After defeating this first version of Hesperos, you’ll get an in-duty checkpoint, meaning you won’t have to fight him again if the party wipes in part two. However, you will have to restart from the beginning should the party leave the duty.

Beware — there are raid spoilers ahead for The Fourth Circle (Savage). If you prefer to best Hesperos without reading his script first, come back here after a few party wipes because this one can be tough.

Requirements and Preparation

Before you can go toe-to-toe with Hesperos, you’ll need to reach item level 580. Of course, this isn’t mandatory for a premade group queuing into the duty, but we recommend it to make sure you survive some of Hesperos’s nastier hits and contribute enough DPS to clear. The Endsinger Extreme encounter is an easy way to acquire an item level 595 weapon. We’ve also got an explainer on picking up other item level 590+ pieces.

Waymarkers

This setup uses all available waymarkers and should give players reliable references for mechanics such as Pinax, Belone Bursts, and Belone Coils. You can also move everything into a circle around the middle, so positions for Belone Bursts are clearer, but this gives a nice reference for Pinax. This guide will assume you use the above suggestion.

Position Assignments

Pinax targets healers for a stack marker. Divide your party into two groups of four, separating both healers and establishing a position around Hesperos to prioritize for melee uptime during the mechanic.

For Belone Bursts, everyone should have a role position based on the diagram above. Use the four waymarkers to position players around Hesperos. This order is strict for the strategy used in this guide.

Belone Coils spawns four towers, and one role group will have to soak the damage. If you’re using our waymarker suggestions, every tower should have a number inside.

Assign spots 1 – 4 for tanks+healers, then again for DPS. Their number corresponds with their tower for this mechanic.

Phase One – Role Call & Tethers

Hesperos begins the show with heavy raid-wide damage and then swaps focus to hitting just four party members at a time. With a busy opening number, he demands a thoughtful mitigation plan early on and some flexibility around his randomized mechanics. Pay attention to the party members he targets for Bloodrake, and make sure you clearly understand Hesperos’s Role Call debuff and tether mechanic. You’ll see this gimmick throughout the fight.

Decollation: This is Hesperos’s hard-hitting AoE, but since it’s so early in the fight, barrier healers can prepare for the damage with beefy pre-pull shields. Don’t waste too much here, and instead focus on surviving the subsequent two casts of Bloodrake.

Bloodrake: Hesperos casts Bloodrake on four party members after his Decollation opener. He uses this move twice and will indicate his targets with red tethers stretching from himself to the character.

For both casts, he targets groups of four, either tanks+healers or all DPS – Hesperos’s selection is random every time and can mark the same group twice. Typically, his targets are fine to ignore if he splits the Bloodrake casts between both groups, but if Hesperos chooses the same players twice, they may die without heals and shields.

The party must remember the order and groups targeted for Bloodrake. Players who incorrectly resolve Hesperos’s subsequent debuff mechanics (which are tied to this order) may die.

The two Bloodrake casts assign which group takes the Role Call debuff and which group takes tethers. Again, this can target the same group twice or mix up in any order. Role Call and tether mechanics do not factor into the fight until a bit later, which we will address in Director’s Belone. Just remember this for now:

  • Aetheric Chlamys: This cast establishes tether assignments. Hesperos uses this after the first Bloodrake to ‘store’ that information, but it doesn’t actually do any damage, so don’t panic. The first four players selected for Bloodrake will die if tethers resolve on them, so the group not targeted in the first cast must intercept the tethers and take the damage.
    • For example, if Hesperos uses Bloodrake on tanks+healers, DPS must remove the tethers from the tanks+healers by intercepting the tethers during Director’s Belone and run away with them before the damage goes off.
  • Bloodrake goes off for a second time for damage on four players, establishing who will take Role Call⁠ during Director’s Belone — you may also see this referred to as Rot or Virus in some groups. This works just like the last Bloodrake, so the group Hesperos does not target must later pick up the Role Call debuffs from party members he marked with Bloodrake.

Director’s Belone: Remember the order and roles of Hesperos’s two Bloodrake casts? That’s now important. The boss always requires the party to resolve Role Call first and then tethers, meaning your second Bloodrake determines how you must resolve Role Call at the start of this mechanic. Conversely, the first Bloodrake cast determines the second half of Director’s Belone (resolving tethers).

  • Role Call: As soon as Director’s Belone casts, four random players receive Role Call. It always spawns on two players who should hold onto the debuff and two who should not.
    • The two party members who were targeted by Bloodrake second and holding Role Call will need the two players without Role Call and not marked by the second Bloodrake to run into them and transfer the effect.
    • Example: If the second Bloodrake marks your DPS, the two players from the tanks+healers group must run into the two DPS selected for Role Call to remove it.
Diagram 1 shows initial positions, and Diagram 2 shows the next steps for party movement (click to enlarge).
Diagram 3 shows the next step for party movement, Diagram 4 shows final positions to resolve the mechanic (click to enlarge).

There are plenty of ways to resolve this, but an easy approach has the Role Call group stack south of the boss at max melee range. The other players who need to pick up Role Call spread out nearby and should not touch each other; then, one at a time, run into the stacked group so they can grab the debuff in organized fashion.

Note: If you still need to pick up Role Call, do not run into a player in your group who needs to keep theirs. This results in a penalty, and the debuff cannot be transferred again. A mistake here leaves someone who should not have Role Call stuck with it, killing them.

The group stacked up at max melee range and waiting for Role Call to be passed off may receive a status marker for Miscast. Don’t panic. Miscast means you can no longer receive Role Call; it’s the status a player is left with after they have passed their debuff onto someone else. Miscast does not deal damage, but if a player who needs to pick Role Call up passes it off and is left with Miscast, someone is gonna die.

  • Tethers/Inversive Chlamys: Once Role Call transfers finish, the party must pass Hesperos’s tethers off during Inversive Chlamys. At the end of his cast, everyone tied to Hesperos takes damage from a small, circular AoE around them. If a player marked by the first Bloodrake still has a tether at the end of this cast, they will die.
    • Resolve this by moving the group who needs to pick up tethers (not marked by the first Bloodrake) between Hesperos and the group attached to tethers (the group marked by the first Bloodrake).
    • Hesperos will always attach the tethers to the four characters he marked with the first Bloodrake, so you can pre-plan for the way the party stacks. Have the intercepting party stand south, inside of Hesperos’ hitbox. The players who need their tethers picked up should also stand south but further out in max melee range — now the intercepting party is directly between Hesperos and the southernmost party. Both parties should be stacked up tight.
    • This should result in no one fighting over tethers and losing them. Once everyone picking up tethers has one in the stack, separate and run out from the boss. Make sure your AoEs do not hit other players.
  • What if one group must take Role Call and tethers? It’s possible to see a scenario, for instance, where tanks+healers are marked with both Bloodrakes. That means DPS must pick up Role Call from any tank or healer and remove their tether.
    • In this scenario, tanks+healers remain stacked south at max melee range the entire time, never moving in. DPS must move in one at a time, grabbing Role Call, then stack together for tethers between Hesperos and the tank+healer group.
Diagram 1 shows initial positions, and Diagram 2 shows the next steps for party movement (click to enlarge).
Diagram 3 shows the next step for party movement, Diagram 4 shows final positions to resolve the mechanic (click to enlarge).

Decollation hits for another raid-wide AoE once this resolves; shield and heal through the damage.

Elegant Evisceration: Hesperos targets the main tank for a two-hit buster. If a tank takes both of these hits, they will die. Arrange for a tank swap to pass the buster between hits or have one tank use their invuln ability.

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Phase Two – Setting the Scene / Pinax

This Setting the Scene cast signals the start of a pretty big roadblock for many Party Finder groups. Hesperos divides the arena into four elemental quadrants, just as he does in the normal version, but now they’re executed faster and coupled together. Don’t get discouraged if Pinax takes you a while, and try breaking down how elemental quadrants work when paired together. Pinax, along with its cape and sword mechanics, will appear again at the end of the fight.

Setting the Scene: This doesn’t deal any damage but does signal a phase change for Hesperos. Now, the arena is divided into four elemental quadrants, each with a unique effect.

Pinax: Surviving Hesperos’s elemental fury may work in some parts by eyeballing it, but it’s important for the party to agree on strategies early on as stack markers and botched knockbacks can leave some folks dead.

Before you plan on how to resolve Pinax, remember the following about the arena’s elemental effects:

  • Fire – Both healers are targeted with stack markers; they cannot stand together.
  • Lightning – Proximity-based damage from the arena’s center; stand close to the arena’s edge.
  • Water – Knocks players back from the arena’s center; can use Arms Length or Surecast for knockback immunity.
  • Poison – Hits every player with a small, circular AoE; spread to avoid overlap.

As the stage changes during Setting the Scene, the tank should quickly drag Hesperos to the arena’s edge between the fire and lightning quadrants. When it’s time to start resolving Pinax mechanics, you’ll need to heed a few other important rules:

  • You cannot stand inside an elemental square as it activates, or you will die.
  • Each element will only trigger once, but the order isn’t always the same.
  • Pinax resolves in two pairs of elements with limited combinations. The first hit will always be water or lightning. The second hit will always be poison or fire.
Positioning for Setting the Scene and Pinax mechanics.

First Pinax Hit: Watch to see which two squares light up from the party’s position between the lightning and fire tiles. Your possible combinations for mechanics are:

  • Lightning + Fire – Stand against the edge for the lightning hit. Assign one healer group to move into the boss’ hitbox for the fire hit, so the other can stand just outside.
  • Lightning + Poison – Run along the edge to avoid the lightning proximity damage, spread out further once the hit resolves to avoid overlapping AoEs from the poison tile.
  • Water + Fire – Take the hit from the middle or use your knockback resistance. Light parties (with one healer each) should agree to their own position around the boss and return to the spot to soak damage. The healers and their groups cannot overlap.
  • Water + Poison – Take the hit from the middle or use your knockback resistance. Quickly spread out to make sure no one overlaps.

Only one of these combinations will happen in the first half. After the first pair of attacks finish, pre-position in the center of the arena to make resolving the next mechanic easier, and note whether or not your knockback resistance is available.

Northerly, Southerly, Westerly, or Easterly Shift: After the first set of Pinax tiles go off, Hesperos picks a cardinal direction to use his Shift attack from (depending on the cast name). The type of attack depends on whether he imbues his cape or sword with a purple glow. While this is being cast, the boss will channel the remaining Pinax tiles and trigger one to go off. He will teleport to his Shift attack position and perform the corresponding cape or sword attack after the cast timer finishes.

  • Glowing Cape – Hesperos knocks players back, with the push originating from his position. Stand in front of the boss, so you aren’t pushed diagonally into the spiked border. If you used your knockback resistance for a water tile just before this, it should still work here.
  • Glowing Sword – Hesperos hits players in front with a cone cleave for a hefty chunk of damage. Stand to the side against the spiked wall to avoid this.

Second Pinax Hit: Again, the same element will never occur twice in a Pinax sequence, so you should know what to expect based on the first pair. The Shift mechanic goes off between the two elemental tiles in this second sequence. Hesperos begins with either lightning or water; plan on resolving either with these strategies:

  • Lightning – Start running in the direction indicated by the Shift ability’s cast name. Stay against the arena’s edge to minimize proximity damage while adjusting to resolve either the cape or sword glow.
  • Water – Use your knockback resistance in the middle of his Shift cast to avoid a cape push or take the hit from the center. If you are taking a cape knockback here, make sure to line up directly in the middle, so Hesperos does not send you into the spikes.

After one of these hits, Hesperos will jump to the direction of his Shift cast and use the cape or sword ability. There’s a bit of a delay, so you can adjust to one of the following after:

  • Fire – Split into your healer light parties; groups can assign a position around Hesperos to meet at. Even if the party is pushed apart, there’s enough time to sprint back into proper positions around the boss.
  • Poison – Players should spread out for this final hit. Catching the knockback from Hesperos’s cape can be helpful with quickly gaining distance away from the group and melee players.

Elegant Evisceration queues up again. Have your tanks agree to swap between hits here or use another invuln ability.

Bloodrake: Hesperos shakes things up a bit with his tethers, and this time you’ll notice them on all players. They deal heavy raid-wide damage, so heal and shield through as needed, and also watch for his tethers tied to three of the elemental squares.

Only one element will betether-less during this Bloodrake; remember which it is because it’s the only safe spot at the end of the next phase.

Phase Three – Role Orbs/Acting Tanks, Healers, and DPS

Adjusting for this phase requires some pre-planning before the encounter. The arena keeps its elemental quadrants, but there’s no more Pinax for now. Instead, you’ll stay busy popping Hesperos’s Belone Burst orbs in a specific manner and watching for the safe spot.

Setting the Scene: This cast doesn’t return the floor to its original state but instead shifts the elemental quadrants around. Remember that Bloodrake Hesperos just used? Keep a mental note of where the untethered element tile winds up. Later on, you will need to run to that quadrant during the boss’ Periaktoi cast for safety.

Vengeful Belone: There’s no damage here, but Hesperos is queuing his debuffs for later mechanics during Belone Bursts. Use this cast and the next to bring the boss to the middle and move the party into their clock positions assigned at the beginning of the fight. When Vengeful Belone hits, Hesperoes gives all players an Acting [Job] assignment following these rules:

  • Tanks – Receive Acting DPS.
  • Healers – Receive Acting DPS.
  • DPS (2) – Receive Acting Healer, chosen at random.
  • DPS (2) – Receive Acting Tank, chosen at random.

Before Hesperos spawns his orbs for Belone Bursts, everyone must be in their assigned position. The orbs tether to players based on proximity, so anyone standing in the wrong position can ruin the setup and wipe the group.

Elemental Belone: Again, no damage from this cast, but this gives everyone an Elemental Resistance Down debuff. (This debuff is why players standing outside of the safe square in Periaktoi die, as you’ll see later.)

Bloodrake: The boss marks everyone with this Bloodrake cast and signals it’s time to deal with the orbs. There are two ways parties tend to handle this mechanic: one method has everyone rotate clockwise to soak hits, and another has players crisscrossing through the boss. This guide will explain the clockwise method. A few things to note:

  • This method leaves no room for error if everyone stands in their pre-assigned position around Hesperos. You will run the same way every time, don’t bother to adjust based on your Acting assignment.
  • Each orb must be soaked by two players; ideally, pairs should have one ranged and one melee player for uptime.
  • The orb soak explosions are big, have the ranged player move out to run into the orb and trigger the explosion while melee jobs stay closer to the boss.
  • Every pair will eat two orbs together. Healers should use instant casts between the first and second hit to keep the party alive.
Diagram 1 shows initial positions for Belone Burst, and Diagram 2 shows the movement pattern.
Diagram 3 shows the last positions to resolve the mechanic, Diagram 4 is an example for positioning for Periaktoi (safe quadrant depends on Bloodrake).

The idea behind the clockwise strategy is to have no one flexing based on their Acting assignment. Safely resolve the mechanic by soaking orbs tethered to players who match the Acting Job Hesperos has given you. Sticking to this strict setup ensures DPS hit one tank orb and one healer orb every time — there is no adjusting, no surprises. Everyone always follows the same path.

Belone Bursts: Start in your assigned position, rotate clockwise once with your partner, and soak the orb. Pause for just a moment to allow for recovery, then rotate clockwise as a pair again to soak your second orb. Hesperos doesn’t give you long between explosions, so mitigations and shields must go out quickly.

Periaktoi: Now it’s finally time to scurry to the safe elemental quadrant Hesperos assigned via Bloodrake before the phase began. The hit still does damage, but it shouldn’t be lethal if you’ve healed up from orbs and stand in the right element.

Phase Four – Towers, Role Call, & Tethers

This is the last phase where Hesperos introduces new mechanics, but thankfully they’re mixed with concepts he’s taught you by now. Assignments will again be split by Job groups, so pay close attention to the role icons and have the healer+tank and DPS groups move accordingly.

At the end of phase four, Hesperos reintroduces his Role Call and tether pass, but Bloodrake does not assign mechanics this time. Instead, those tasks depend on who’s targeted by Inversive Chlamys and Belone Coils.

Bloodrake hits all eight party members again for AoE damage. This Bloodrake cast does not assign anyone Role Call or tether positions for Director’s Belone, but tanks should use this time to pull the boss north to make upcoming tower mechanics easier.

Belone Coils: At the end of the Belone Coils cast, look at the four towers spawning in a square pattern south of Hesperos. Pay attention to each tower’s role icon, either DPS or tanks+healers. The opposite Job must soak towers. Think of the role icons as big “this role cannot stand here!” signs.

Hesperos will cast Inversive Chlamys as the meteors descend for the Belone Coils tower mechanic. Party members in this tower set will also need tethers pulled off of them. The group not taking the tower hit will intercept tethers and run away with the marker, so damage doesn’t overlap. This can get messy if you aren’t prepared, so here’s how we set things up.

Diagram 1 shows initial positions for Belone Coils when DPS icons are in tower AoEs, and Diagram 2 shows proper party movement.
Diagram 3 shows next steps for party movement, and Diagram 4 shows positioning for when tank+healer icons are in tower AoEs.

Begin with everyone stacked tight behind Hesperos inside his hitbox while he’s standing north. When Belone Coils begins, note whether tanks+healers or DPS must take the towers. The group headed to the towers should run behind the tightly stacked, opposite group, placing those players between them and Hesperos.

Do not run away and into your tower too fast. Make sure all of the players responsible for picking up a tether have one. This cuts down on the risk of passing them off again to the wrong player.

Players not taking the towers may find it useful to wiggle back and forth in front of Hesperos to make sure they grab a tether. They should take it north and to the east or west, making sure not to pass it back to a player standing in a tower.

  • Inversive Chlamys goes off during this sequence. It’s the same mechanic you saw indicating tether hits from the first phase, so once the cast finishes, circular AoEs trigger around targeted players.
    • This cast indicates who will take tethers in the upcoming Director’s Belone. The Job group responsible for taking the mechanic here will also need to pick them up later.
  • Aetheric Chlamys stores that information and does no damage. Tanks can drag Hesperos back to the middle during this cast.

Hesperos follows up with a Bloodrake that does raid-wide AoE damage. Belone Coils spawns another four towers, but no tethers this time. Again, the icons in the towers indicate which roles cannot soak the damage, so have the opposite Job group resolve the mechanic. Players not standing in a tower will be responsible for taking Role Call during Director’s Belone.

Director’s Belone begins immediately after towers resolve, so be careful not to mess up your Role Call debuffs as you readjust. The party should resolve this mechanic in the same way as phase one. Remember the few details here that made the mechanic slightly different:

  • Role Call always resolves first. The group of players who did not soak the second set of towers must pick up the debuff.
  • Inversive Chlamys signals your tether group. Anyone who had a tether during the first set of towers will also pick them up here.
  • Remember, these patterns are random. One group may need to pick up both Role Call and intercept tethers, depending on the sequences you’ve dealt with.

Decollation hits again for raid-wide AoE. Elegant Evisceration goes out for another two-hit tank buster. If you had a tank use their invuln on the first Elegant Evisceration, that same tank should have their cooldown back by now.

Phase Five – Pinax & Enrage

It’s the beginning of the end when Hesperos begins his attacks in this phase, but thankfully these are all mechanics you’ve seen before. You’ll have to deal with one more Pinax, Shift, and cape/sword slash to close out this first form before he AoEs the party into his enrage. Don’t be too stingy with cooldowns during this phase — there is no need to save them because Hesperos must be below 50% HP to clear this part of the fight.

Setting the Scene transitions the stage into four elemental quadrants again. Position just like before with the party between lightning and fire tiles.

Pinax will begin with the first pair of elements, sticking to the same combinations established earlier. Hesperos goes into the same Northerly, Southerly, Easterly, or Westerly Shift and combos the move with his remaining Pinax mechanics and cape/sword attack.

None of that should be unfamiliar, but the boss immediately begins his enrage sequence when Pinax resolves.

Decollation hits three times here for AoE damage, and Hesperos strings the casts together quickly. This is where the party should “kitchen sink” mitigations. Anything you can easily weave, without sacrificing damage, should go out to keep everyone alive. There’s no sense in holding abilities for later; Hesperos either kills you if he’s over 50% HP or begins Act II (which gives you a chance to reset).

After Decollation’s three casts, Hesperos has three auto attacks left before becoming untargetable. Congratulations if you cleared! If not, practice makes perfect, and you’ll get it in no time, so keep it up.

There is no reward for kicking vampy-butt this time, but if you’re ready for the next part of this fight, hang on tight for our Pandaemonium Asphodelos: The Fourth Circle (Savage) Part Two guide coming soon.

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