Aka Ada and Venks are two tank players that pushed themselves to the limit and downed a current content boss by themselves. We reached out to them, and here's what they had to say about it!

On December 20 of 2021, Square Enix released the first raid tier of the Circle of Pandaemonium. Like all previous Normal Raids in FFXIV, the Asphodelos fights require a full party of eight level 90 members to get them down. But a few short weeks ago, one Warrior tank decided to test his mettle against the first boss in the series of four by his lonesome; and after he beat it alone, he inspired a Paladin to try the same.

I reached out to Aka Ada (the Warrior) and Venks (the Paladin) to ask them a few questions about their experiences tackling the boss alone. First, let's hear from Aka Ada!

Q: What made you want to try it? 
AKA ADA: "I don't really have a good answer for that! It was just something I thought about doing when the tier first came out. I noticed that the fight was pretty lacking in damage, and my static and I always do the Normal modes together when they come out. When we did it, I noticed they didn't have to heal me too much, and I thought, "this might be doable." We wiped once, and it gave me a chance to time Holmgangs. So another one of my friends said, "I tried it, and the stack only did about 150k damage," so I did some FF math and with Thrill of Battle, I was able to survive. It just became a trial and error after that."

Q: Do you main WAR, or did you have a process to pick which tank you were going to use?
AKA ADA: "At current, I main WAR, and the only reason I main it over things like DRK or GNB is because it just feels good. I don't have any major reason about why WAR is better - it just feels good to me. Plus, Primal Rend! I see big flip, I see big damage, that's fun to me. Before this, I was a physical range main, BRD and MCH and such. I'd played that since Heavensward. I do raid lead my static, and I would tank sometimes to fill a spot for my static if one had to leave or couldn't show up. Right now, I'm kind of only WAR because my static needs me to be. Should the opportunity arise that another tank comes along and I can try something else, I'd probably do that. I'm currently a tank main, but more out of necessity than want."

Q: How much prep time or practice time did you take before you got it?
AKA ADA: "It took me about eight total hours of practice and getting mechanics down. I've been clearing the fight multiple times each week, so I know the fight, and it just became a thing of timing cooldowns and stuff like that. So with knowing how the fight goes, it took about eight hours of seeing what works where and getting cooldowns right...and that damn first phase."

Q: How did your static and FC react when they heard you downed it by yourself?
AKA ADA: "Some of them were watching the stream when it got downed, and one of our healers said she cheered so loud it scared her nephews. I've kind of got a joke reputation of having a big head or a big ego, so there were a few jokes about that, but really they were all supportive and excited at me being able to kill it."

Q: What was the most difficult part of the fight for you, and how did you work past it?
AKA ADA: "Like I said earlier, the big part of the fight is getting through the first two phases. After that, it becomes a rotation of cooldowns and things like that. If you watch the video, I shrink in my chair a little bit near the end... because I popped Thrill of Battle a little earlier thinking I needed it, but that made it unavailable for a stack later. I just knew I was going to have a .1% wipe, and it was going to tear me to pieces. By some grace of RNG at the end, I survived and was able to finish it off."

Q: Any plans to try P2N or the other Circles?
AKA ADA: "Yes! I already have. P2N I've gotten down to around 70%, and P4 I've gotten to around 80%. P2N has a lot of tankbusters and group stacks that are back to back and hard to survive without more mitigations and more health. My plan is to go back and try it when I get full 600 BiS. With P4, the roadblock is more that you have to have a perfect run because of the way the mechanics work with the orb and the puddles. The orbs have to have Holmgang used on them, so that's one less mitigation available for other things."

Q: Now that you've done it and the video is out there, would you do it again?
AKA ADA: "If I felt I had some reason to, I suppose! There's no reason to do it for an hour when I can go into party finder and have it take ten minutes! I definitely encourage anyone who wants to try to have at it. Go have fun - I'd love to see other people do stuff like this."

And now for the Paladin himself, Venks! (Pictured in Thumbnail)

Q: What made you want to try it after seeing that Aka Ada did it on a WAR?
VENKS: "I've always been interested in trying to solo content. I've seen a lot of people solo older content in Heavensward and Stormblood, and I saw that some fights were possible and some aren't. I wanted to see if it was possible in current content. I follow the FFXIV subreddit and saw that WAR was doing really well in terms of self-healing, I wanted to prove that yes, WAR can do it, but it's not the only tank that can. I wanted to show that WAR isn't so high above the other tanks defensively."

Q: Do you main PLD, or did you have a process to pick a tank other than WAR?
VENKS: "I'm actually a DRK main! I play all the tanks because it's the most fun role in the game to me. I played DRK through Shadowbringers, and DRK doesn't have a lot of self healing right now. It was between PLD and GNB, and GNB isn't a complicated class, but it has a little more going on. I just felt more comfortable with PLD. I also wanted to make sure I could do enough damage to finish the fight in time, and I felt like my damage on PLD would be more consistent."

Q: How much prep time or practice time did you take before you got it?
VENKS: "For P1N, all I did was go in the first time, and I was just curious, and asked myself, "Can Paladin do this?" So I went in there, and I was tapping my 1-2-3s to gauge how much the attacks were doing, in addition to seeing how many of my mitigations could block what abilities. As long as I juggled around my mitigations right, I realized it was doable after a few tries. I really didn't do that much practice."

Q: How did your FC react when you downed it by yourself?
VENKS: I haven't told them! I don't know if they know! I don't really like to brag. If they found it, then by all means, I'd talk about it. Outside of that, I didn't want to bring it up.

Q: What was the most difficult part of the fight for you, and how did you work past it?
VENKS: "Honestly, I don't think there's one part of the fight that's necessarily hard. The entire fight was a marathon and took me about 80 minutes to do. If there was one part that I was the most scared of messing up, it was when he takes you to the red and blue sections the second time. You have to do both left and right, and it's easy to get mixed up. I'm so used to doing Savage, so I was constantly second guessing myself in that section. I don't think anything specifically was too hard, but that spot scared me the most."

Q: Any plans to try P2N or the other Circles?
VENKS: "Yes. I'm not sure if P3N or P4N are possible, but two looks like it just might be possible. I've made a few attempts already and haven't made it thus far, but I'm making a guide for myself as I do it. I have a very precise idea of when to use my mitigations or healing so that I make sure I can cover some attacks with the same mitigation, or make sure I don't run out of MP. I have to figure out exactly where I have to heal at, and if I figure that out, I think I can do it."

Q: Now that you've done it and the video is out there, would you do it again?
VENKS: "I don't think I'd mind doing it again to see if I could do it better or faster than I did the first time." 

Both Aka Ada and Venks were delightful to talk to, and if any of you manage to end up in a party with them for roulettes or raids, you'll know you're in good hands.

You can find more of Venks' videos on his Youtube channel at SuperTwoU.

You can find more of Aka Ada's videos on his Youtube channel and Twitch channel, aka_ada.

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