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This quest is available around the midgame, and tasks you with killing 5 Blazing Lophids in Cauldros. Specifically, they're located at White Phosphor Lake. I'm having a lot of trouble with this - the Lophids themselves are around Lv25 and shouldn't be any problem in a skell (or too much trouble on foot). However, White Phospher Lake is home to Trueno, The Cataclysm, a giant Lv60 Tyrant who has a sound-detection range across the entirety of White Phosphor Lake when in a skell, and is a one-hit kill against Lv40 skells. On foot is also unfeasible, as white phosphor deals 1,200 damage per second (Trueno also often aggros when fighting occurs around it).

There are only 3 Blazing Lophids in White Phospher Lake, making me believe the brute-force option (come back at Lv60, kill Trueno, kill the three Blazing Lophids, repeat) is not the intended path, as it would require killing an endgame tyrant twice to complete a midgame low-reward mission. Is there a better way to approach this mission?

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I've encountered the same problem with the tyrant as you. While I did not find any plausible 'intended' solution, I did find one that worked well enough for me.

If you approach him the area from behind the giant flower jerk (I believe from the north), there is one of your marks floating around near the wall covering one side of him. I found that I could get to, fight, and kill this guy before the tyrant woke up in five of seven attempts. I would fly up to it, burst it as hard as I could, attempt to drag it away as I was fighting, and mostly just hope I didn't wake the tyrant up. Most of the time, he would not wake up until AFTER I killed my mark. This means I could kill it, then immediately get out of my skell and tell my team to do so as well. I would then stand in the white phoshor and accept my death as the party gets one shot. I would then respawn very close by, and be able to repeat this.

This setup most likely will vary in use greatly depending on how quickly you can kill the mark, and how willing you are to possibly go back to the barracks between kills to repair your teams skells if they do not exit quickly enough. I didn't actually need them to kill the things quickly enough. The back attack scythe and G-Busters help greatly here.

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It is possible to do this while fighting in ground gear, as mentioned in this GameFAQs post.

If you take a shot at the first Lophid and pull it towards you (prevent your team from approaching it by issuing an "Assemble" command, while backing up), you can pull it back a safe distance. Depending on how far you are able to backtrack the Lophid, it might also be best to use single target artes to be safe, as the Tyrant has a VERY large hitbox.

Again, for safety sake, only pull that first Lophid, as the others are too near to the Tyrant and will bring him into the fight. Killing that one repeatedly, even though tedious, will allow you to complete the mission.

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Augments

You can significantly reduce the tyrant's detection range using Skell Armour augments. The Cloak.SOUND XX augment will reduce his sound detection range by 40%, allowing you to easily fight the lophids without setting him off. I recommend still luring the lophids a little away though, as stray shots and AoE attacks will still aggro him if they make contact.

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