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Path Of Exile Black Star boss fight mechanics

Dissecting the icy-hot arena

Need a hand with the new Black Star boss fight in Path Of Exile? The Siege Of The Atlas expansion has arrived, bringing four new endgame bosses to Path Of Exile. There’s a new story progression that will walk you up through the Atlas and into these new fights, each of which has some deadly new mechanics. The Black Star is particularly unique, and can easily crush the unprepared. If you want a primer before entering the Polaric Void, we’re here to help.

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The Black Star arena mechanics: The Polaric Void

The entire Black Star fight hinges on the center of the arena. When you load into the Polaric Void, you will immediately notice the center globe. That globe emits two lines of flame which divide the arena into a fiery-red half and an icy-blue half. The globe will rotate throughout the fight, shifting the halves with it. Each side inflicts the player with a stacking debuff, which makes them more vulnerable to that type of damage and its related ailment. However, they will also take less damage of the opposite type. This is the key to surviving the Black Star’s most dangerous attacks.

Note that the pillars around the arena also block attacks but sometimes break. This is also related to the rotating arena dial and will be important later. Just remember that fire attacks break pillars on the cold side of the arena but not the fire side, while cold attacks break pillars on the fire side but not the cold side.

The Crushing Darkness debuff in Path Of Exile

The Black Star has two extremely powerful abilities; Astral Avalanche and Solar Storm. These attacks will near-instantly kill you if you have their matching debuff. However, with the opposite debuff, they do far less damage. In the quest version of this fight (your first encounter with The Black Star) most builds can just tank these abilities using the opposite debuff. See the images below for examples.

The Astral Avalanche attack from the Black Star in Path Of Exile

Here I’m able to tank an Astral Avalanche unscathed by standing in the fire half of the arena. The fire debuff is stacking up, as indicated by the green arrow.

A Solar Storm attack from the Black Star boss in Path Of Exile

The same plan works for Solar Storm’s deadly beams. Because I’m in the cold half of the arena, I take very little damage.

In the more difficult, repeatable version the Black Star fight, things aren't so simple. Even with the appropriate debuff, Astral Avalanche and Solar Storm will deal a lot of damage. You won't be able to outright tank them without significant regen or increased maximum resists. If that doesn't apply to you, you will need to take advantage of the pillars. Hide behind pillars on the cold side during Astral Avalanche and the fire side during Solar Storm to avoid these attacks. This puts you at risk of getting one shot due to the debuff stacking, but it is the only way to avoid damage.

The Black Star’s other attacks, including those used by its clones, also deal large amounts of fire and cold damage. Thankfully, you can reduce that too by sticking to the right part of the arena. The Black Star seems to switch elements after Astral Avalanche and Solar Storm, so jump to the other half of the arena when they end. You should also make sure you’re either immune to Freeze or have a way to remove it before starting the fight. Otherwise, one cold attack on the wrong side of the arena will doom you.

How to access the Black Star fight

Accessing the Black Star fight is, thankfully, pretty straightforward. To fight the Black Star for the first time, just follow along with the quest steps given to you by The Envoy and Kirac as you progress through the Atlas. All this requires is completing maps of progressively higher tiers with the Searing Exarch’s influence activated on your map device. Once you defeat a Tier 12 or higher map boss with the Searing Exarch’s influence, you will receive a Polaric Invitation. Pop it into your map device to start the fight.

This first encounter is the “story” version and is significantly easier than the farmable version you’ll encounter later. Once you’ve progressed further and defeated the Searing Exarch, you can repeat these boss fights by simply completing more maps with the Searing Exarch’s influence. Completing 14 maps grants access to the harder version of the Black Star.

That’s everything you need to take on the Black Star in Path Of Exile! The Polaric Void mechanics can be frustrating if you’re going in blind, but once you understand the arena the fight isn’t too difficult. If you’re still trying to decide on your build, check our guide to Sentinel league starters. For new players that need a hand gearing up, see our rundown of how to trade in Path Of Exile.

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