ANNO: Mutationem – How To Defeat Varanus

Quick Links

  • Varanus' Attacks
  • The Boss Arena
  • Varanus Boss Strategy
  • Tips

Well, if it isn't the game's very first boss, back to take another venomous bite. Varanus is the tutorial boss in ANNO: Mutationem. While he doesn't have all the same attacks that he had in that initial combat encounter, Varanus comes packing a whole host of new tricks in this late-game encounter.

He will fight you from a distance, but he isn't afraid to get up-close and personal. Worse yet, you will be battling him while on top of an unstable platform that shifts throughout the encounter. Thankfully, despite him being a pretty imposing enemy, we have all the details on how to fell this foul beast. The days of you eating poisonous projectiles are over. Today is the day Varanus meets his match.

Varanus' Attacks

Varanus has a wide variety of unique attacks. He has two unique approaches that he will slip between during the encounter. He likes to use poisonous projectiles when he is at a distance, and then he will close the distance by rushing at you. The majority of this battle will be a consistent push-pull between fighting, dodging Varanus' multiple projectiles at range and contending with his various melee attacks after he closes the distance.

Tail WhipVaranus will raise his tail and bring it down on you. This is a pretty easy move to avoid. You can parry it, but you are probably better just rolling past the tail and wailing on him.
Tail SpinWhen Varanus pauses, he is about to spin around and hit you with his tail. This move is tricky when you don't catch the pause, but once you get used to seeing it, you will easily be able to jump this attack.
Rush AttackHere, Varanus will charge at you. Before he does it, he will roar. When he does, get some distance and prepare to double jump over him.

In the second phase of the fight, the charge is substantially faster, but it is still very easy to jump over.

Bite AttacksAnd here we have the parry bait. Varanus will rear back his head, and come in for a bite. The timing is very predictable with these attacks, and he will often do many of them in a row. The telegraphed nature of the bite attacks make them extremely easy to parry.

However, if you hate parrying, you can roll past his head and get some attacks in instead.

Backward HopVaranus will take a little hop backward. If you are currently attacking his butt, it will knock you back. It does very little damage, and Varanus doesn't follow it up with anything. So, it isn't an attack you need to be concerned with.
Claw SwipeVaranus will rear back and take a big swipe at with you his claw. The range is really stubby on this attack, so often it won't be a threat. However, if you are close enough for it to hit, you can roll away or parry; both approaches will work fine.
Acid RainVaranus shoots a number of poisonous globs into the air, which come raining down on you. This attack is easily avoided if you simply start in the middle of the platform and run to the opposite end as Varanus fires into the air.
Acid ProjectileVaranus will typically follow the Acid Rain attack with this projectile. It is easy enough to double jump over. Especially if you are at a distance.

During the second part of the fight, Varanus will fire two projectiles instead of one.

Slow Acid ProjectilesIn the final phase of the fight, Varanus will start firing these extraordinarily slow acid projectiles. They stay on the screen for a long amount of time and are, generally, pretty hard to deal with if you let them group up on you. Just be mindful of them and don't let yourself get utterly surrounded.
Burrowing AttackThis attack sees Varanus burrow into the ground and pop up and take a bite. The ground visibly deforms where he will pop out (making it pretty easy to avoid). So, the best thing to do here is to throw an FM HE Grenade at him as he emerges. This will freeze him and give you a chance to land a damaging attack.

Otherwise, you can just sit back and shoot him, as well.

Underground Claw AttackAfter Varanus burrows into the ground, he will pierce the platform with his claws and attack you from below. As long as you are airborne, you will be safe. So, just hop into the air and away from where the claws currently are.

The Boss Arena

The Varanus battle has one interesting gimmick: the fight takes place on a platform that is floating in a pool of acid. This needs to be addressed, as it is the factor that is most likely to cause you problems. If Varanus is constantly on the edge of the platform, it can make it hard to hit him as he will be partially submerged in acid. So, when possible, you are going to want to draw him to the center. The best way to do this is to not always run to the edge when preparing to dodge his attacks (such as his rush attack). Instead, go to the center of the platform and jump over him there. This will cause Varanus to stop shorter.

If you are fighting Varanus when he is at the edge of the platform, don't follow him into the acid. You won't survive long in there. You are better off trying to clip Varanus with the tip of your greatsword. You should have enough range to attack safely if you get your spacing right (even if you won't be doing tons of damage).

Varanus Boss Strategy

Varanus will switch between firing acid projectiles at you and rushing you. For the projectiles, make sure you start in the middle of the platform and run to the other end as Varanus fires them. Then, prepare to double jump the projectile he will fire directly at you. When you jump over the projectile, you will want to be jumping toward the center of the platform. We want to draw Varanus to the center and want to try to avoid the edges of the arena. After firing the last projectile, Varanus will rush at you, jump over him and start attacking his butt.

He will try to slap you with his tail, swipe with you a 360 spin, or bite you. Just move to the other side to avoid the tail, try to parry the bites, and prepare to double jump the spinning attack. If you get too far away, Varanus will rush you. Eventually, he will probably try to fire his projectiles at you again. However, just stick to him and keep walloping him, and you will eventually break his shield.

If Varanus' shield is low, and he is standing in the acid, make life easy on yourself and draw him to the center of the platform. You won't be able to deal as much damage if you are trying to contend with the acid.

Eventually, Varanus will burrow into the ground. He will pop out of the ground and try to bite you, but the ground deforms where he is going to emerge, so it is very easy to avoid. Shoot Varanus from a distance, or freeze him with an FM HE Grenade and get some big hits in. After that, he will try to slash you with his claw from under the platform. Double jump away and stay off the ground and away from where the claws are. You can also swing your greatsword in the air to keep airborne even longer.

Finally, Varanus will reemerge. Once he does, he will fight you in the same way he did during the first two phases of the fight. Shooting projectiles, rushing you, and burrowing into the ground. He will be much faster, but much faster than extremely slow still isn't really anything to worry about. Just repeat all the above strategies, and you will take him down in no time.


  • Draw Varanus to the center, don't fight him in the acid.
  • Watch out for the 360 degree tail spin. This is likely to be the attack that will get you more often than not, but if you are paying attention to Varanus, it does have a pretty obvious tell.
  • His bite attacks are the best opportunity you have to parry him.
  • Remember that you can pause the battle and heal from your backpack; in a pinch, that is a huge lifesaver.
  • Due to Varanus giving you a decent amount of space, the particle cannon can actually be pretty effective in this battle.
  • Use your transformation attack after Varanus reemerges from the ground. You don't want to risk popping it and having him be unhittable throughout the transformation's duration.

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