This article serves as a general guide on how to complete The Deep in hard mode.

Minimum skill requirements

Successfully clearing The Deep is not a complicated task when key skills are brought:

  • Knockdowns: Aspects of Kanaxai become immune to all damage unless they are knocked down at 75%, 50%, 25% health thresholds.
    • Kanaxai himself has slightly different thresholds of 80%, 60%, 40% and 20%.
    • At minimum, your team will require two knockdowns in order to complete the final encounter with Kanaxai.
    • If using nine or more heroes, two knockdowns may be sufficient for the entire run.
    • Otherwise your party will ideally bring at least four knockdowns; one for each of the first rooms.
    • Realistically most groups will attempt to bring a knockdown on each damage player.
    • The recommended skills are either "You Move Like a Dwarf!" or Great Dwarf Weapon.
  • Recall: The third section includes a mechanic where the original design intent was to leave 5 players behind due to a gate closing too quickly after the pressure pads are released.
    • The standard way to beat this mechanic is for five nominated players to bring Recall and synchronise ending the enchantment to avoid any players being trapped.
    • Recall can be combined with "You Move Like a Dwarf!" to greatly simplify the final encounter with Kanaxai.

These are the bare minimum requirements. Additionally groups may want to consider nominating a player to pull or tank foes beforehand, as this will influence the required backline (e.g. if using a tank player you wouldn't need an Imbagon).

Team overview

Adding a supportive backline to the above requirements will mean that a basic team will look as follows:

UA Heal
Unyielding Aura optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
2nd Heal
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
Blood is Power optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
Party Prot
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
Damage Dealers
Any / Assassin
"You Move Like a Dwarf!" optional optional optional optional optional optional Recall
Any / Assassin
"You Move Like a Dwarf!" optional optional optional optional optional optional Recall
Any / Assassin
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional Recall
Any / Assassin
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional Recall
Any / Assassin
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional Recall
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional optional
optional optional optional optional optional optional optional optional

Area guide


These tactics and builds are designed to combine relative velocity with ease of use and high reliability.

The Deep is a long chain of rooms, each constituting its own gameplay puzzle with different area designs, foe compositions and crippling environment effects. They are tied to the aspects of Kanaxai, mini-bosses found in each room; killing them will end the environment effects. However, their special trait is being immune to damage once they hit 75%, 50% and 25% health point thresholds. To break this damage immunity, they need to be knocked down. In order to kill aspects of Kanaxai knock downs are required.
In some rooms you'll find "flowers", interactive objects which attack your team. They can be turned off by activating them once. Note that interacting with them again will reenable them!

This guide features a basic main team approach which will work with any team built within this page's guidelines. Some player builds will open up additional opportunities for faster or more convenient solutions to some rooms. They will be listed separately in the respective room's guide section, marked in colour. These alternative tactics are optional but recommended to make full use of these utility builds. There are three groups of builds that enable extra tactics;

1) Full shadow form tank
  • Only the Shadow Form Tank qualifies as this. This build can face-tank any foe and also do all the extras that are open to semi tanks. The full tank's tricks are recorded on the map in pink.
2) Semitank
3) Dual IMS Paragon
  • A large area can be skipped by running through foes with permanent speed boosts, as seen on the map in paragonish colour. This requires party wide permanent IMS and healing, which is only available to the IMS Paragon Prot. See also: Video Section

Map of the deep; important places and special tactics marked. Click to enlarge.

Alternative Tactics with Tank
Alternative Tactics with IMS Paragon

Section 1: Initial Split

Flag heroes here for them to teleport to you later. Click to enlarge.

  • There are four rooms into which you can send three characters each.
  • If possible, send balanced teams into each room consisting of two damage dealers and either a backline or utility character.
  • In each room there's a small group of foes and a separate aspect of Kanaxai. The gate to the next room opens once the group of foes has been eliminated. To proceed with the deep at least one team has to be able to defeat this group of foes and the foes in the next room (groups of ripper carps, scourge mantas and darkened irukandjis). Clearing the next room opens the gates of all the previous rooms and allows to free player teams that were unable to complete their starting room. Ideally each of the player teams can complete the first room without help from the others.

Differences with heroes

  • Distribute the heroes across at most three players in the team.
  • Players with heroes go through the closed gate (it has no collision) uphill and flag their heroes into the rubble. (See picture)
    • The player has to go uphill with the heroes all the way before flagging them or they won't be teleported.
  • All players with heroes go through the portal to room 1.
  • If less than three players have heroes, send more player characters through.
  • Now unflag the heroes. They will teleport to you shortly after colliding with a wall. As a result, the heroes are in room 1 together with three players.
  • Refer to the video section for a video guide.

Section 2: Reunite

Your team is separated into up to four split teams which can fight their way to a hall that's connected to all other starting rooms. At least one team has to make it through to save the others. Ideally all team parts can free themselves without help to save time.
  • Kill the group of mobs in your room. This will open your gate.
  • If possible, kill the aspect of Kanaxai (requires knock downs).
  • Proceed to the hall. Multiple groups of foes are patrolling there. Lure as many as your team can handle; use your gate as a choke point.
  • Once the entire room is cleared, all gates open and you can rescue parts of the team that didn't make it through before.

Section 3: Puzzle Gate


  • One character uses recall on a team member, runs into the room, disables the fire flower and cancels recall. Now the team can enter the room and kill foes or lure them down into the previous room.
Preparation - semitank
  • Semitanks can go into the room, disable the fire flower, aggro the three collapsing groups of foes and drag the melees onto the ranged foes. The team can now spike them.

Clear the room

  • Kill the aspect of lethargy.
  • Kill all foes in the room.
  • Kill the first group of outcast behind the gate to the next room.

Recall game

  • To open the gate one character has to stand on each of the five platforms in the room. This is the job of all characters with Recall.
  • The characters standing on the remote platforms use recall on the one standing on the central platform.
  • The central gate character uses recall on one of the party members which pass through the gate.
  • Recall characters take their positions on the platforms. The gate will now open.
  • All non-recall characters go through the gate. They can already start killing the group of foes below.
  • The character which recall was used on by the central platform character moves far enough into the room for this instance of recall to end.
  • The central platform character is thus moved to his recall target. This will automatically cancel all other recalls, causing their users to be shadow stepped past the gate into the next room. The gate closes few seconds later.
    • If heroes are among the recall characters, make sure to unflag them once they've shadow stepped. Else they'll run back into the last room right before the gate closes again.
    • In case anything went wrong and you lose party members, finish the post-gate room. The gate to the previous room will open again and after spiking the nightmares you can resurrect your party members. If their positioning is good they can alternatively be retrieved with Unyielding Aura or Rebirth without having to fight the nightmares at all.
  • Refer to the video section for a video guide.

Section 4: Post-Gate

  • Kill the left and right groups with caster damage.
  • Kill the central group near the aspect of Kanaxai before dealing with the aspect himself.
  • Kill the aspect.

Section 5: Spell Failure

  • In this room spellcasting fails. Stay in the previous room, don't run through the gate.
  • If you have a semitank, send him into the room to collect the three patrolling groups of foes. Assassins have to cast Shroud of Distress in advance.
  • Without a semitank, send a character to lure one patrol at a time.
  • The patrols are lured to the team which is waiting in the previous room. They follow far enough to be killed on the stairs.
  • Once the three patrols are killed, one party member uses recall on another, enters the room and hides behind the large jade block right below the first group of outcast archers. All projectiles will be obstructed so you'll be safe there.
  • The rest of the team can now run through safely.
  • Run down both stairs, turn right and hide in the corner. There will be no environment effect affecting you.

Section 6: Leviathan

  • Stay in the corner you've run into coming from the previous room and kill off the Onis you're fighting.
  • Renew your enchantments, provide players with energy using Blood is Power on them.
  • Proceed into the room and keep right. The environment effect prevents applying enchantments.
  • The Leviathan will spawn and block the way. Kill him for extra Luxon rewards.
  • Keep right, kill spawning Onis and proceed into the next room.

Section 7: Teleport

  • There are a few fire flowers on the left. Turn them off.
  • The aspect will teleport you to foes once in a while. If you're separated from your team, return to it.
    • If you have heroes, make sure they don't end up in Maelstrom.
  • Kill all Onis in the room to open the gate to the next. Outcast can be fought if you aggro them.
  • Kill the aspect and regroup before advancing into the next room.

Section 8: Movement Punishment

  • In this room you'll take damage while moving. This can be countered with Seed of Life, "Incoming!", "Fall Back!" or "There's Nothing to Fear!".
  • Foes will spawn in the previous room and start chasing you. If you're fast, you don't have to worry about them. Players with spirit builds can leave their spirits behind to delay foes.
  • Behind each bridge a large group of Onis hides.
  • Turn off the flowers to stop them crippling your team.
  • Kill the aspect of Kanaxai at the end of the third bridge.
  • Proceed depending on your team's setup – see next section.

Section 9: Chaos Storms

NOTE: Using non-spellcaster weapons does no longer prevent foes using chaos storm!
  • Kill all foes from the previous that attack your team from behind.
  • Send one character to lure one or two groups at a time until all of them are killed.

With a shadow form full tank

  • The tank uses recall on a party member.
  • He should then collect all foes and place them such that the team can run past them.
  • Once the main team has made it past the aspect of Kanaxai the tank cancels recall.

With a semitank

  • Kill all foes from the previous that attack your team from behind.
  • Send the semitank into the room to grab as many groups of foes as possible, then lure them to the main team.
  • Spike the foes.
  • Regroup, then simply run through the foes in this room. Keep right. Heroes need to be flagged all the time to avoid that they get stuck.

Section 10: Flowers

  • Designate two players who turn off the flowers, one on the left and one on the right side.
  • Keep right, fight spawning foes. Proceed to the next room.

With a full tank or utility warrior

  • Use recall on a party member.
  • Apply all your protective enchantments. Shadow Shroud, if part of the build, has to be active before you're in range of the Onis, as they apply dazed.
  • Death's charge on the aspect from below.
  • Run further, keep right.
  • All foes from the room will now charge to the aspect and stay there.
  • Cancel recall.
  • The team can proceed to the next room without foe contact. Keep right.
  • Regroup, then simply run through the foes in this room. Keep right. Heroes need to be flagged all the time to avoid that they get stuck.

Section 11: Antechamber

  • Fight your way through.
  • Regroup, then simply run through the foes in this room. Heroes need to be flagged all the time to avoid that they get stuck. Pay attention that no one (heroes in particular) gets stuck.
  • Kill the outcast and aspect of Kanaxai.

Section 12: Kanaxai Boss Fight

Like his aspects Kanaxai has to be knocked down in order to kill him. His damage immunity thresholds are 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% of his maximum health points. However, when he is knocked down a large amount of nightmare creatures spawns in his area – and they respawn upon the next knock down if killed. However, there's a limit to their total number, which can be used to ease the boss fight enormeously.

Step 1: Derail Extra Spawns

  • The two players with both Recall and "You Move Like a Dwarf!" are now required.
  • Use recall on one of the other party members.
  • Run into the left corner of Kanaxai's chamber. His aggro range is extended, so he'll come for you without requiring manual luring.
  • The first player knocks Kanaxai down once he is in touch range. At this point recall has to be cancelled to return to the team.
  • Once Kanaxai had recovered from the first knock down the other player does the second one and cancels recall for a safe escape. A standard knock down lasts two seconds.
  • All extra foes have now spawned on the left side of the room and will stay there.

Step 2: Kanaxai Boss Fight

  • The entire team moves along the right wall and avoids the extra spawns. Kanaxai aggroes and comes for you.
  • Kanaxai's damage immunity thresholds are 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% of his maximum health points. As with the aspects of Kanaxai, a knock down breaks the current immunity.
  • He has the self-preservation skill Nightmare Refuge. It grants great defense and quite some healing. Ideally you interrupt it with mesmer spells or "You Move Like a Dwarf!".
    • The skill can alternatively be countered with enchantment removal. While the enchantment is active, spells used against Kanaxai have a 50% chance of failure, so this is less reliable than interruption. Obviously it is preferable to interrupt it, but an ideal enchantment removal skill for this purpose is Inspired Enchantment.


Hero Teleport
Recall Chain
Skips with Paragon
10 Hero Fullrun

Build suggestions

The sections below contain build suggestions suitable for all professions and teams between 2 and 12 players. When following the tactics in the area guide section, a tank is not required and run durations range from about 17 to 30 minutes. Experienced teams can play these builds without consumables.

The builds are stored in collapsible sections to ease page navigation. Click 'show' on their right side to unveil the content. For a quick navigation use the links below, else browse the page by scrolling.

Backline Utility Ranged Damage Melee Damage Hero Alternatives

Monk Unyielding Aura.jpg Unyielding Aura
Monk Glyph of Renewal.jpg Perma Seed
Monk Healer's Boon.jpg Healer's Boon
Monk Healing Burst.jpg Healing Burst
Monk Restore Condition.jpg Restore Condition
Ritualist Attuned Was Songkai.jpg Attuned Was Songkai 
Ritualist Ritual Lord.jpg Ritual Lord Healer
Necromancer Blood is Power.jpg Blood is Power Player Necromancer
Ritualist Soul Twisting.jpg Communing Prot
Paragon 'Incoming!'.jpg Paragon Support

Warrior Defy Pain.jpg Defy Pain Tank
Warrior Hundred Blades.jpg Hundred Blades Utility
Assassin Shadow Form.jpg Shadow Form Tank
Assassin Shadow Form.jpg Shadow Form Damage

Necromancer Spiteful Spirit.jpg Spiteful Spirit
Necromancer Icy Veins.jpg Icy Veins Support
Necromancer Icy Veins.jpg Icy Veins Damage
Mesmer Energy Surge.jpg Energy Surge
Mesmer Ineptitude.jpg Ineptitude
Mesmer Panic.jpg Panic
Elementalist Elemental Attunement.jpg Elemental Attunement Fire 
Ranger Barrage.jpg Barrage
Ritualist Barrage.jpg Barrage
Ritualist Signet of Spirits.jpg Signet of Spirits

Elementalist Shockwave.jpg Shockwave
Elementalist Star Burst.jpg Star Burst
Assassin Way of the Assassin.jpg Way of the Assassin
Ritualist Destructive Was Glaive.jpg Destructive Was Glaive 
Warrior Hundred Blades.jpg Hundred Blades
Dervish Vow of Strength.jpg Vow of Strength
Dervish Pious Renewal.jpg Pious Renewal

Monk Unyielding Aura.jpg HERO Unyielding Aura
Monk Healing Burst.jpg HERO Healing Burst
Necromancer Blood is Power.jpg HERO Blood is Power Healer
Necromancer Blood is Power.jpg HERO Second Blood is Power Healer
Ritualist Soul Twisting.jpg HERO Communing Prot
Mesmer Energy Surge.jpg HERO Energy Surge
Mesmer Ineptitude.jpg HERO Ineptitude
Mesmer Panic.jpg HERO Panic

Example full team overview

Patient Spirit Dwayna's Kiss Divine Healing Heaven's Delight Vigorous Spirit Seed of Life Aegis Unyielding Aura
Spirit Light Mend Body and Soul Rejuvenation Ritual Lord Life Recovery Recuperation Summon Spirits (Kurzick)
 Necromancer / Ritualist 
Blood is Power Blood Renewal Blood Bond Signet of Lost Souls Mend Body and Soul Spirit Light Insidious Parasite Mark of Pain
 Paragon / Warrior
"Save Yourselves!" "For Great Justice!" "To the Limit!" Holy Spear "Never Surrender!" "Incoming!" "Fall Back!" "There's Nothing to Fear!"
 Warrior / Assassin
"You Move Like a Dwarf!" Death's Charge "To the Limit!" Soldier's Defense Hundred Blades Whirlwind Attack "I Am Unstoppable!" Recall
 Necromancer / Assassin
"You Move Like a Dwarf!" Mark of Pain Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support Spiteful Spirit Enfeebling Blood Signet of Lost Souls Great Dwarf Weapon Recall
 Dervish / Assassin
Death's Charge Sand Shards Vow of Strength Staggering Force Eremite's Attack Mirage Cloak "I Am Unstoppable!" Ebon Battle Standard of Honor
 Ranger / Ritualist
Splinter Weapon Ebon Battle Standard of Honor Lightning Reflexes Barrage Ancestors' Rage Gaze of Fury Flesh of My Flesh Optional
 Mesmer / Elementalist
Glyph of Lesser Energy Arcane Conundrum Cry of Pain Ineptitude Wandering Eye Signet of Clumsiness Great Dwarf Weapon Drain Delusions
 Mesmer / Assassin
Energy Surge Cry of Frustration Unnatural Signet Spiritual Pain Mistrust Chaos Storm Inspired Enchantment Recall
 Mesmer / Assassin
Energy Surge Cry of Frustration Unnatural Signet Spiritual Pain Empathy Optional Optional Recall
 Mesmer / Assassin
Energy Surge Cry of Frustration Unnatural Signet Spiritual Pain Shatter Hex Optional Optional Recall

UA Healer (Pick 1)

Second Healer (Pick 1)

Note: If your BiP is playing a healer build another healer won't be required. You can bring a utility character or damage dealer instead.

Blood is Power (Pick 1)

Note: It is recommended that position 3 (BiP) is played by a hero, as the player builds aren't much fun and a player can't see other players' energy level.
Note: If using the recommended healer hero build, the party position 2, second healer, can be replaced with a utility character or damage dealer.

Party Protection (Pick 1)

Utility (Pick 0 to 1)

For teams which prefer a more traditional playing style with a tank. Allows for different tactics in a couple of rooms, most notably under the Aspect of Depletion. Only the A/D full shadow form tank can do all tanking jobs. The other builds are only considered semitanks which have a slightly more limited range of tricks. The warriors are the middle ground as they can do 50% of the full tank jobs.
Note that if you play with a tank you should instruct your team to actually wait for you to ball foes and to control their usage of skills that cause scattering, such as Chaos Storm. Such skills should only be used against the Leviathan and foes which have snapped away from the tank already.

Damage (Fill the Team)

Please note that some of these damage builds, particularly those featuring squishy caster players, depend on party protection such as "Save Yourselves!" and Shelter. Do not run those builds without the right support.