Dead Cells: How to beat Mama Tick
Dead Cells’ new DLC, The Bad Seed, introduced us to one bad mother. Here’s how you can bring her down.
Mama Tick has four attack phases. When you first see her, she’s just an eye staring at you from the water, in what I’m pretty sure is meant as a reference to the garbage compactor in Star Wars: A New Hope.
You can smack that eye with whatever you want - your biggest, most damaging attack is preferable. Her claws will pop up from the ground and strike you if you stand in one place for too long, but the damage isn’t too bad. You can parry if you’re feeling brave, or just keep moving. This is the “free shot” phase of the fight before things get tougher. Damage her enough and the next phase starts. Note: Mama Tick never returns to this state after she leaves it.
During the next phase, Mama Tick raises her ugly mass out of the water and sprays damaging green gunk at you in an arc. When that gunk hits the ground, it’ll create small AoE explosions. Your best bet is to start this phase far from her, so she arcs these gunk shots towards the far side of the area, then run or roll towards her to slip under them and avoid the explosions.
Her scythe claws are not hurt boxes, but her entire… torso (?) is. Keep in mind that the claws, when in this position, will lance out across the screen to strike you. You can jump up to avoid them, parry, or roll. Keep in mind, they move fast.
In this next phase, Mama Tick hides and shoots her scythe claws directly upwards at you randomly. You will just want to roll back and forth here. This section looks dangerous, but it’s easy to avoid the claws if you keep rolling. You can’t deal any damage here so just keep moving to save your hit points.
This is the last and most dangerous phase. If you get in close, the scythe claws will down slash you extremely quickly and they will hit multiple times. However, this is a very good opportunity to get in and deal damage. If you’re feeling a bit cagey or you’re low on health / potion draughts, you may want to keep away, use turret traps, and hit her from range.
If you don’t kill her after she cycles through her phases, she cycles through them again. She’ll also pop up on the left side of the screen as well, following the same attack patterns.
Your loadout is half the battle against Mama Tick. The first thing you should notice is that you’re fighting her in an area of knee deep water. All the regular issues related to water apply. You can’t ignite Mama Tick with fire attacks; she’ll still take damage if you hit her, but most of the damage from fire weapons comes from post-hit damage over time, and none of that applies here.
Fire is often the One Ring of Dead Cells, but for this fight, it’s nothing compared to electricity and cold damage, which get damage bonuses due to the watery environment. Consider Ice Shards, the Ice Bow, or the Electric Whip. Frost Blast’s damage is minimal and requires getting in close, so it’s less preferable than the other two. The Ice Crossbow is not bad, but you don’t really want to stand in one place for too long when fighting a boss, even a comparatively sedentary one like Mama Tick.
If you can’t get your hands on any of these items, the Marksman’s Bow is surprisingly good, because it’s easy to control your distance from her and land repeated criticals. The Quick Bow isn’t bad either because it’s easy to lay at least two arrows into her and start dealing critical hits.
As far as melee weapons go, Valmont’s Whip is terrific. It’s really easy to space yourself properly to land repeated critical hits. Giant Killer is good if you feel like getting close. While cold damage is good against Mama Tick, I’d avoid the Nutcracker. Since she’s a boss, you can’t freeze, stun, or immobilize her easily, so you won’t be dealing any extra damage with it to compensate for its molasses attack speed. Keep in mind that if you bleed her, when she ducks under the water, the bleeding stops, making bleed builds suboptimal for dealing with Mama Tick.
In terms of traps, this Mama’s also a sucker for a Sinew Slicer, Heavy Turret, or Double Crossb-o-matic. Unlike Conjonctivius, she doesn’t move much, and thus is always in the kill zone. There’s no roof in this level, so give the Barnacle a pass. The Cleaver is okay, because if you throw it on one side of the screen, it’ll stay there for quite a while - usually long enough for Mama Tick to return to that location and get hurt by it again. But that’s still only 50% of the time, which is a lot less damage than you’d be dealing with any of the turrets.
The Infantry and Powerful Grenades are both good, especially if you have a good way to reduce their cooldown. You can’t yank Mama Tick to you or get behind her, so skip Grappling Hook and Phaser. The Great Owl of War is good if you feel confident that you won’t get hit and lose it.
The Assault Shield is nice if you want to use it to get close safely, but Mama Tick isn’t dangerous enough to warrant it. Given how effective ranged weapons are on her, it’s better to fill your secondary slot with really good ranged weapon than worry about parrying.
I hope that helps you beat Dead Cells newest boss! What’s your favorite strategy for handling her? Let us know in the comments!