Neural Simulation Spotlight: Hela

Tips and tricks to help you fell this giant Titan.

The Titans that formed from Ymir's body are both vast in number and threatening. They appear to have no self-awareness.

Hela is a large Titan boss that acts as the chapter 6 boss as well as the boss of the starting tutorial. It brings a large arsenal of attacks that can quickly overwhelm unprepared players, but can be countered with a sufficient amount of returning firepower.

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Attacks and Behaviour

Hela has breakable armour covering its arms and legs.

They can be broken to cause Hela to enter a downed state. As well, it has two antennae and a rear armour plate with tubes sticking out of it that can be destroyed to disable some of its attacks.

Ow.

Also if you get too close, Hela will smack you. Keep your distance.

Missile Barrage

Hela fires a large amount of homing missiles towards you. These do not stagger. At higher difficulty levels, it will also fire several larger purple missiles as well.

Casual players: While each missile doesn’t do a lot on its own, taking too many hits can very quickly kill you. You can dodge the bulk of the projectiles with a single well-timed dodge.
Speedrunners: If you wiggle around, you can sometimes dodge a surprising amount of the missiles. Try to time a reload to when they approach so you can reposition without losing DPS.

Headache

Hela releases a… laser? (yes, that’s apparently what it is), dealing damage and knocking you back if hit. At higher difficulty levels, the area of effect of this attack is map-wide. It’s as annoying as it sounds. I called it “Headache” for a reason. You can use invincibility frames from dodging to avoid being knocked back, but anyone looking for a good time should consider resetting until they get a run where Hela doesn’t do this attack, or does it at a time where it can be avoided by using a support skill.

Laser Sweep

Hela fires a set of lasers from its left antenna that sweeps outward towards you, dealing damage and knocking you back on hit. It’s highly telegraphed, giving you ample time to sidestep or dodge forward through it if you’re paying attention. Destroying the left antenna will stagger Hela and disable this attack.

Cannon

Hela fires a stream of bullets from its right antenna, with each bullet doing a small amount of damage. You can sidestep its tracking, but it doesn’t do enough damage to be worth worrying about most of the time. You can destroy the right antenna to disable this attack (and stagger Hela), but there’s little value in doing so as this is arguably one of the lower-threat attacks that Hela can do.

Leg Stomp

Hela stomps with its leg, dealing damage and knocking you back if you’re too close. After the stomp, it fires projectiles that expand outward from that point. At higher difficulty levels, it will also spawn several additional purple projectiles towards you as well. This attack is relatively trivial to dodge with a relatively lax punishment for getting hit, as each individual projectile doesn't do a lot of damage and doesn’t stagger.

Spawn Changed

Once Hela’s HP reaches 60%, it will interrupt its current attack to spawn several Changed enemies. The spawning process also releases a map-wide stagger. Four melee Changed enemies and two ranged Changed enemies are spawned, with them all being buffed into enhanced states due to a Titan (Hela) being on the field. This means that the ranged enemies will perform targeted snipes that can stagger. At higher difficulty levels, all spawned enemies are immune to Control effects. Destroying Hela’s rear armour plate with the tubes will cause Hela to enter a downed state and disable this move.

Casual players: If you’re struggling to deal with these spawned enemies, you can take out the two ranged ones and any melee enemies that get too close. However, make sure to leave at least one melee enemy alive, as killing all the enemies will allow Hela to spawn in a new wave of enemies if it is able to do so.
Speedrunners: Kill Hela faster before the spawned enemies become an issue. No, seriously. As long as you keep your distance from the melee enemies, you should be able to dodge the targeted snipes of the ranged ones and continue DPSing down Hela, the actual objective of the battle.

Strategy

Talking about strategy for Hela is a little weird, for multiple reasons. It might sound counter-intuitive, but the best way to play the Hela fight is to not actually play the fight. Let me explain. Looking at its design, one would think to destroy its antennae and armour panels, whittling down Hela before eventually taking it out. Perhaps that’s what the developers intended.

But this is the real world, and that strategy just isn’t worth pursuing. It simply takes too long to break parts, and it’s not a required mechanic like with some other bosses. Yes, destroying its antennae can disable some of Hela’s attacks, but it actually disables some of the more desirable, low-threat attacks that it can do. Downing Hela by destroying its armour panels sounds like a good way to get a safe DPS window in, but Hela’s attacks on their own are pretty manageable, and it has ever-present weak spots you can shoot (its head, lower torso, and anywhere the blue crystal-y insides of Hela are exposed, really), so why bother? Interacting with Hela’s mechanics adds unnecessary time to the fight, which is especially bad when you consider Hela’s spawned enemies. Don't bother trying to destroy the rear armor panel that disables enemy spawns, by the way; trying to get behind Hela to do so is way more trouble (and time) than it's worth.

The spawned Changed horde that Hela spawns is essentially a ticking time bomb in that it eventually will be a problem if left unchecked. To deal with this, you have more or less have three options: thin out the spawns enough that they aren’t an issue (don’t kill all of them or Hela will just spawn more), kill Hela, or restart the fight if either of the first two aren’t done fast enough. So in a sense, being able to kill Hela fast lets you kill Hela faster. If you can kill Hela fast enough that the spawns don’t have time to be a threat to you, you don’t have to spend more time dealing with them, with the opposite also being true.

One of the most important factors to being successful in Neural Sim is being in the correct state of mind, one where DPS is king and effectively solves all problems (this is also true for the rest of Snowbreak, though it’s much less of a big deal due to non-Sim content not really being that hard). And to that end, Hela is one of the best examples. Every second you cut from the fight is a second where Hela can’t charge up its global knockback or where you don’t have to worry about getting swarmed by enemy spawns. Kill it fast to kill it faster.

You could also just freeze Hela when it tries to spawn in enemies and cancel the move altogether, though. However, the execution of this does present a few hurdles as every option has its own drawbacks:

  • Lyfe - Wild Hunt’s freeze is either not directly controllable (standard skill) or has relatively limited range (support skill/ultimate), the latter of which may prove to be problematic in slower runs due to having to get closer to Hela.
  • Katya - Blue Bolt’s freeze cannot be directly controlled, as it is applied either through stack buildup on her passive or ultimate. You could also use her support skill, but that’s quite frankly a waste of resources.
  • Tess - The Magician’s support skill requires an external source of Frost damage, and can be difficult to get the timing down properly.

Your mileage may vary, but it’s generally preferred to put resources towards more DPS unless you can already kill Hela extremely quickly (less than 15 seconds), in which case it may be worth considering.

Speaking of DPS options, you’ll generally want to keep your distance from Hela as it’ll give you more time to deal with attacks (and prevent you from getting swatted away). This means you should primarily be looking at sniper, crossbow, and assault rifle operatives, though Wild Hunt gets a special mention due to not being entirely reliant on her weapon for damage and having an innate damage bonus towards Titans due to being a Frost DPS. High investment comps built around Yao - Winter Solstice and Katya - Blue Bolt will easily shred through Hela, but the original tried-and-true“cheat code” is and will always be Chenxing - Ethereal Cloud. Having all those breakable parts means that Chenxing can easily max out her scan targets and get huge chain damage to easily get times well below 60 seconds for relatively little investment.

Players with lower DPS setups may want to consider a healer, as the fight will likely become more of an attrition-based affair for you. Siris - The Goldfish can also do quite a lot of work here as her support skill can block almost everything that Hela will throw at you.