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TAG1 Ultra-Nightmare Experience and Tips

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I just completed Ultra-Nightmare for TAG1 yesterday and I wanted to share it here along with some tips I learned along the way. I stopped counting attempts after a while but it probably ranged from 15-30 attempts. Unlike Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal Ultra-Nightmares, this one doesn't get easier in the late-game. I could feel my heart thumping in the final phase of Samur, haha. Although since the DLC is shorter than either of the campaigns, dying isn't that big of a deal since the run is about an hour and a half on average. A lot of practice and familiarity goes a long way. I started Ultra-Nightmare attempts after five playthroughs of the DLC - first playthrough, two 100%s, and two Extra-Life runs. The sooner you start trying, the better. Practicing for specific fights on a separate Nightmare save is a good idea too, be sure to restart checkpoints right before finishing a fight so you can practice it again immediately after.





Played with Empowered Demons enabled. I actually think this makes things easier since killing them drops ammo for all your weapons and their extra health doesn't matter as much really.


Weapon Mods: Sticky Bomb (useful for clearing frozen burning enemies as it's a safe explosive to spam with), Precision Bolt (useful for picking apart fodder or weak points, optimally should be used in quick-swaps but I didn't trust my aim enough), Microwave Beam (can be used to destroy Shield soldiers reliably as well), Lock-On Burst (go-to for dealing with Heavies and Spirit-buffed enemies), both Ballista mods (Arbalest for Cacodemons and Marauders, Destroyer Blade for Giant Tentacles and Whiplash Spectres), and Energy Shield (can be useful for approaching Mancubi for a Blood Punch, also can use to avoid fall damage).


Runes: Air Control, Equipment Fiend, Saving Throw. I ended up not needing the Saving Throw, though there were a couple of close call situations. Air Control feels essential for some platforming skips and general enemy attack avoidance. It's so useful. Equipment Fiend is also nice to combo with frequent Flame Belches, Ice Bombs, and Frag Grenades. I also think it reduces Flame Belch cooldown with burning Meat Hook uses, but I didn't test to be sure. I took the Break Blast Support Rune as well (shockwave on destroying weak points). I picked up the Support Rune in the Blood Swamp since that's just a easy-to-get collectible and not a Slayer Gate.


I watched speedruns/gameplay from ZeroMaster, ByteMe, DraQu, FrostyXen, and Xiae for learning various strategies. This led me to use Precision Bolt and Destroyer Blade more often, optimal tactics for dealing with certain enemies, general areas to use BFG in, platforming skips in Blood Swamp, and the strategy for Samur's final phase. I would highly recommend watching their gameplay to learn the best strategies.




(1) You can Ice Bomb Buff Totems to disable them briefly, even the buffed Marauder one in the cage at Blood Swamps. This is a trick I saw on Reddit earlier, but I ended up wasting it during the run by missing my shot against the would-be buffed Marauder.


(2) To kill Marauders easily: Arbalest shot followed by Frag Grenade followed by Lock-On Burst. You can also fire a second Lock-On Burst if you toss a second Frag Grenade as well, but I forgot about that. This technique takes a fair bit of practice but is fairly consistent if you have the right set-up.


(3) Blood Punch is surprisingly useful against Barons since it almost always falters them. You need to follow with SSG and Ballista though, since getting in too close can be risky. I usually Blood Punched frozen Doom Hunters twice to ensure they get off the sled, sometimes they would remain on the sled even after declaring "Critical damage", which can be annoying.


(4) Ideally, you want to include Precision Bolt in your quick-swapping rotations, but my aim is terrible so I seldom used it except for killing the odd fodder or breaking a weakpoint on a Mancubus.


(5) Energy Shield from Chaingun can negate falling damage, so keep that in mind when platforming.


(6) I practiced the Holt and various arena fights within it several times just to familiarize myself with spawns and become comfortable with how to approach encounters. In general, I would do one or two Ultra-Nightmare attempts per day. Taking breaks would make me really rusty. The day before my first successful run, I actually reset my a few runs several times because I kept triggering Saving Throw on UAC Atlantica Facility, even on fights that weren't normally dangerous. Practicing arena fights over and over and and being familiar with spawning order goes a long way. After that, it's practicing on how to kill various demons as quickly as possible. Try to avoid improvising.


(7) To ensure I would have two BFG shots for the final phase of Samur, I would sparingly use BFG and only use it during certain fights. I would not use it as a panic button unless you can reliably kill the buffed Pain Elemental in Samur's final phase reliably without it. In UAC Atlantica Facility, I used it twice since there were to ammo available: (1) at the start of the big arena fight that you return after collecting the Red Key (you refill by finding the secret BFG in the water later) and the other time (2) can be against double Marauders or double Tyrants. I screwed up when shooting at the Marauders, wasting the shot. In Blood Swamps, I used the BFG four times: (1) against the Spirit-buffed Arachnotron in the foggy pathway, (2) against the Tyrant + Whiplash Spectres area, (3) in the left-side arena trial (when Spirit-buffed Baron spawns) and (4) in the right-side arena trial (when the final Arch-Vile and Doom Hunter spawns). In the Holt, I used the BFG five times: (1) in the electrifying pillars fight (after killing the Spirit-buffed Hell Knight and the Cyber-Mancubus after), (2) in the third last fight with multiple Blood Maykrs (in the final wave to headshot the Blood Maykr and weaken the three spawned Barons), (3) in the Spirit-buffed Tyrant fight (after ridding the Doom Hunter of his sled), and (4 & 5) against the Spirit-buffed Pain Elemental at Samur's final phase.


(8) I also tried to ensure I would get a Heavy Chainsaw kill for the first two levels whenever I could, though this isn't as important as the BFG tactic. It just saved time and effort against certain fights (best targets are usually Pain Elementals or Cyber-Mancubi). In the Holt, you can headshot Maykr Drones and Blood Maykrs to refill ammo instead.


New Enemies


Giant Tentacle - You can kill them easily if you charge up Destroyer Blade and then follow with SSG.  You should be able to kill them before they can attack.


Whiplash Spectre - Prepare Ice Bomb just in case, but otherwise a fully charged Destroyer Blade deals with them in one hit.


Turrets - You can kill them in a single cycle if you Sticky Bomb + Precision Bolt immediately after. I couldn't do it consistently but it is possible if you're skilled enough.


Spirits - Lock-On Burst spam usually with the occasional Chaingun to finish. Toss some Frag Grenades for good measure. I don't believe Blood Punch is reduced in damage but that's a riskier one to use against a Spirit-buffed enemies. You can skip one of the buffed Barons in Blood Swamp by leaving a Mancubus and Hell Knight alive earlier in the level, but I opted not to do that. You can Ice Bomb some demons before they become Spirit-buffed (I only ever did this to Arachnotrons), making it considerably easier to Lock-On Burst them.


Blood Maykr - I used Ballista to headshot easier and tried to remain still while aiming - but this is a bit risky since if you miss, his AoE attack deals a lot of damage and slows you too, which is a death sentence most of the time. Be aware of their position at all times. If you can hear their attack sound, make sure you're out of sight if you're busy with other enemies. If you miss a shot, it's better to just avoid trying for a second shot. His attacks are way too deadly to dance around with. If your aim is good, these enemies can become quite trivial. A lot of Holt fights can last long or short depending on your mileage with Blood Maykrs, so definitely an enemy to practice for.


Trial of Maligog - Use Precision Bolt + Ballista to damage the Eyes. If you do this, you only need to hit the Eyes for three cycles each. Use Meat Hook to quickly move to the fallen box. You can also Ice Bomb to stop Hell Knights and Pinkies in their tracks. I usually Chainsawed a Zombie at the start of the final phase to ensure I would not run out of ammo in the middle of the fight. Interestingly, if a demon is Empowered, they will drop ammo when they automatically die as a fallen box is punched.


Samur - Ideally, you want to use Ballista + Precision Bolt, but my aim sucks so I used SSG instead of Precision Bolt. You can also use Energy Shield if you're low on ammo or rather close to him. I two-shot the summoned Eyes with Precision Bolt + Ballista, anything else would keep these things alive for too long. During the second phase, the Spirit-buffed enemies have more health than their usual Spirit-buffed counterparts. Kill the Hell Knight first and then the Mancubus - but be aware of the Mancubus' increased attack speed and tracking accuracy. In the third phase, you can either Sticky Bomb the Cacodemons to keep them staggered or just go around Glory Killing them if you trust your platforming skills. It can be a bit risky though since you can lose all your gained armor pretty quickly from a single mistake. This phase is on a 60 second timer, so the number of Cacodemons you kill doesn't matter. In the fourth phase, I tried to headshot the Blood Maykr when I could to avoid having him harass me. Be careful when entering portals, I died twice before by having Samur on the other side of the portal, ready to inflict 100+ damage with his melee attack. Try to stay on the upper platforms and avoid keeping him alive for too long, the nerves got to me on the last two attempts by playing too defensively and ended up dying from the pressure. For the final phase, shoot two BFG shots against the Pain Elemental. If both shots hit, you can use Lock-On Burst once to finish it off. Then Chainsaw a Zombie and hunt down the Dread Knight. You can notice where the Dread Knight is by looking at the blue beam at Samur is projecting to it. Use Lock-On Burst spam to kill the Dread Knight. Make sure you have Plasma ammunition before entering this phase, I lost a practice attempt by not having the Plasma cells needed to kill the Spirit from the first Pain Elemental, which is a disaster since that's just two wasted BFG shots when it re-possesses the Pain Elemental. Throw down an Ice Bomb if necessary and make sure you're in a safe position from the Blood Maykr when Microwave Beaming a Spirit.


UAC Atlantica Facility


- In the arena fight with the Quad Damage, I would save it for the return when the Barons spawned in. You can kill both Barons fairly quickly.


- Not a big fan of the first arena after you collect the Seraphim's key. There's a lot of cover and it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose momentum quickly. You can pick up the Haste and use the Unmaykr on the Tyrant that spawns. If you're fast enough, you can use it on the Baron beforehand.


- The final arena fight can be really tricky. I started playing badly against the double Marauders for the past few days. Plus the actual fight itself can be quite overwhelming. I found fighting on the ground level to be easier to manage incoming enemies.


- While this level isn't too bad compared to the other two, I always found myself triggering Saving Throw in the last few fights on my other attempts. Not sure why, maybe it's the geometry of the level since you can get boxed pretty easy. Otherwise, most of the fights here are just a step up from the base campaign's fights, so there aren't too much in the way of surprises. You just need good fundamentals to pass the level.


The Blood Swamps


- There's a few platforming skips but they aren't necessary. You can skip the Spirit-buffed Baron on the left-side arena by keeping a Mancubus and Hell Knight alive after fighting the Tyrant and Whiplash Spectres (it's the secret with the extra BFG ammo). I'm not sure what's causing the Spirit-buffed Hell Knight to be skipped near the platforming gate, but it's always been skipped for the past several runs of mine.


- I did the left-side trial first mostly because I found it harder so it was nice to get it out of the way. Killing the Barons in the final arena trigger the Spirit-buffed Baron, so I focused on the Tyrants first. In the foggy pathway fight, after killing the Spirit, I would climb the ledge and charge up a Destroyer Blade to kill any incoming Spectres that jump up. For some reason, two of them remained on the ground in my run so I had to jump down for them.


- On the right-side trial, the wolf path isn't too challenging. There's enough Chainsaw fuel provided for you to prepare for a Heavy Chainsaw kill if you want. Make sure you're at full ammo before the Marauder fight. I usually kill the Turret before the Marauder. You can deal some significant damage to the Spirit-buffed Baron by carefully firing the Cueballs at it - though this can be tricky because of the surplus of Imps beforehand and the harassing Turret. Don't accidentally waste the Cueballs. The right-side final arena fight isn't too tough compared to the left-side one, but I made sure to save Ice Bombs for the Spirit-buffed Arachnotron (you can freeze it before the Spirit buffs it) and the Arch-Vile that spawns after.


The Holt


- The first big arena fight that spawns a Tyrant and Marauder at the end can be pretty tricky. Killing the second Blood Maykr triggers the next wave, so be sure to kill the Whiplashes before then. I would focus on the Tyrant first since it's easier to burst down than the Marauder. The Marauder can be really tricky because of the geometry of the arena and the oncoming Imp fireballs, try to fight him in an area with a lot of space.


- The small chamber with the Whiplash Spectres can be really deadly, as the environmental fireballs do a lot of damage and there's not much space to create distance between you and the enemy. Use Destroyer Blade to kill the Whiplashes, use Sticky Bombs to kill the incoming Imps as they spawn, and then make your way to the other side as you kill the Dread Knights - I like to make sure that the spawned Carcass is forced to wander in closer.


- For the pillar fight right after, I make sure to avoid using Rockets and Plasma cells before the ground wave since they become pretty crucial then. You definitely don't want to spend Arbalest shots on Cacodemons and the Pain Elemental before running out of Plasma for the exposed Spirit, which happened to me once before. The rest of the fight is trivial with a well-timed BFG after killing the Cyber-Mancubus.


- The third last fight can be pretty challenging, mostly because of the terrain and the constant Blood Maykrs. Definitely clear Heavies before taking on a Blood Maykr, it'll cut down on the pressure. There are no Maykr Drones in the final wave, so keep that in mind if you're trying to preserve Chainsaw fuel for the next fight after.


- The second last fight is also pretty hard. Focus on the Tyrant before the Spirit-buffed Tyrant. After that, destroy the Doom Hunter's sled. Ideally, I try to BFG once the Blood Maykr is here to remove its shielding and kill it quickly. Hide behind the pillars to avoid damage from the Spirit-buffed Tyrant. His attacks are extremely fast.


- For the last fight, I picked the Shield room because I find it easier than the Pinky room. Plus, the Haste is nice to combo with Unmaykr one last time. Make sure you pick up the Haste before firing the Unmaykr, I got bodyblocked by a Zombie Security once and fired prematurely, wasting precious ammo. During my run, I also realized I forgot to pick up BFG ammo the fight before, so I had to fast-travel after this to pick it up (jumping down the platform just damages you and respawns you back on top, which I found out the hard way many attempts ago).




Hope you enjoyed the read and found it helpful.

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Good insights. I've adapted a range of your strategies the hard way, dying many times and trying to learn haha. Trial of Maligog was a real challenge for me on Nightmare until I learned to hop around with the meat hook.


I didn't know about ice bombing totems, although I would only consider it for the Marauder encounter. However it only makes the Marauder slightly deadlier than usual imo.


I didn't know about destroying the turrets at one go either, although I haven't found them too much a bother to consider it. My aim with precision shot is pretty good as it was a go-to weapon of mine since Doom 2016.


For everyone else, I can't stress enough to follow's AtimZarr1's recommendation of weapon swapping for Marauders, but also during the entire game. Takes a bit of practice but it's worth it. Start with SSG and Arbalest combination which Q can quickly swap. When facing general hordes, switch between 4 (RL), 5 (SSG) and 6 (Arbalest) and you will down Heavy demons in seconds.

Edited by Chezza

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