Captains, akin to "Mini-bosses" in other games, are giant versions of Lieutenant enemies with some minor appearance and ability improvements. They are not as powerful as Destructors, but more powerful than Elites.
Like Destructors, Captains have unique names and titles, large amounts of Health, and high hit-points. However, Captains also have multiple Elite affixes (e.g. Regenerative, Reflective Aura, etc). Despite their affixes, they are not technically Elites.
They're only encountered inside a sector's boss-pit, and are accompanied by Enemy Hordes. All Captains are sector-specific, meaning every sector in every Difficulty Mode has its own unique Captain. This results in 72 different captains throughout the game.
Captains do not occur on X-4 Threat levels. But if that X-4 threat is being replayed on a planet who's Destructor has yet to be defeated, the game will default to that sector's Captain and Horde.
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