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Lambent Wretches, also known as Dark Wretches, are a unique form of Wretch that have become Lambent after direct - and prolonged - exposure to Imulsion. The effects that Imulsion has on the Wretch's physiology are profound: they become faster and tougher. Lambent Wretches are easily-identified - they have a jet-black carapace and their eyes and mouths glow with yellowish light. Lambent Wretches have more health than normal Wretches on Hardcore and Insane, and they deal more damage in close-combat as well. Lambent Wretches also appear smarter; they are prone to ambush-style attacks out of seemingly nowhere. This tendency to ambush emphasizes the need for Gears to remain vigilant and keep active tabs on one's surroundings.
In addition to being considerably tougher, sneakier, and more powerful than a normal Wretch, Lambent Wretches are extremely volatile; if slain, the Imulsion infused in the Wretches body causes what appears to be a biological meltdown. This triggers an incandescent explosion capable of causing considerable damage to anything within a 10-foot radius - friend or foe. It is quite possible to cause a chain-reaction if an explosion occurs in proximity to another Lambent Wretch; this can clear entire rooms if a Gear is particularly canny with distributing damage amongst an entire pack of Lambent Wretches. Lambent Wretch explosions are lethal to the Locust as well; triggering a Lambent Wretch to explode can destroy several Locust at once given a lucky blast.
While most anti-wretch tactics work on their Lambent counterparts, one important caveat remains - naturally, due to the innate volatility of Lambent Wretches, close-combat is not recommended, especially using the Chainsaw Bayonet; the exploding Wretch can cause heavy - if not lethal - damage to, not only the Gear doing so, but all within range.
Lambent Wretches appear to be the only form of Lambent Locust not innately hostile to non-lambent Locust - they are used by the Locust on the Tyro Pillar in much the same way as their non-Lambent counterparts. How the Locust Horde was able to do this is unknown.
Destruction of Halvo BayEdit
- "I'd heard other units talk about the glowing Wretches, but I thought that was just soldiers telling stories. Turns out it's not."
- — Damon Baird commenting on his knowledge about the Lambent Wretches
When Kilo Squad was ordered by Colonel Ezra Loomis to help guard a COG convoy through Old Town, a group of Lambent Wretches attacked and destroyed the convoy. Kilo found the convoy and half of the company of Gears dead. After being ordered back to the Museum of Military Glory, the squad had to fight several Lambent Wretches around the site before entering an underground wine cellar. Kilo found more Lambent Wretches inside the archives room of the Museum, along with some Serapedes. They were the first to enter Kurt Elliot's mansion once the outside defenses were deactivated and destroyed the door that led to the library of the mansion but were eventually slain by Kilo Squad.
Large packs of Lambent Wretches attacked Kilo Squad through the streets of the parade grounds, along with another Serapede and a juvenile Corpser, on their way to the Museum of Military Glory to deploy the Lightmass Missile. A large number of Lambent Wretches would later storm the courthouse where Kilo Squad was put on trial.
The reasons as to why Lambent Wretches were present at the city remains unknown but it could be due to a large amount of Imulsion somewhere or perhaps the refinery along the coast attracted and/or created them.
- "Control. We've got what looks like glowin' Wretches out here."
- — Marcus after seeing the Lambent Wretches for the first time
Reports of glowing Wretches had been given to the COG even before the Lightmass Offensive and it was thought that they had mutated due to direct Imulsion exposure that turned them into very volatile foes. Sgt. Marcus Fenix had no knowledge of them but Anya warned him about their high volatility. They at first only saw them around the Lethia Imulsion Facility's surroundings but soon they got closer and, as a Lambent Wretch began to screech, a large pack unexpectedly began to attack Marcus and Dom; they confirmed their volatility as they killed one after another. As Delta Squad tried to find the Cart Control Room, they found what appeared to be a carnage of the Stranded that were probably taking shelter in the facility with no sign of the Wretches that did it. Their foot-trails were on the floor, leading to the belief that they did it, but one Stranded was still alive and was used as a guide by the Gears to take them to the Control Room. However as they arrived to a part of the facility where they had to pass through fallen debris of wood, the Stranded fell through and was quickly killed by the Lambent Wretches below. Delta managed to pass through the wood floor and continue their journey. As they advanced through the Imulsion Facility, more packs of Lambent Wretches ambushed them from the ceiling and on the floor, appearing in large numbers and screeching very loudly each time. Several Wretches attacked the carts that the Gears used to reach the mining facility of the factory. More packs ambushed them in the Inner Hollows as they advanced through the darkness; they became a real inconvenience for the Gears as they even bugged them as they dealt with a much bigger problem.
During Cole's team Mission to Hanover to try to find supplies, Lambent Wretches were part of the Lambent forces infesting the city and attacked the Gears inside a park, and inside the Cougars Stadium.
The next day, while searching for a fuel shipment in the city of Char, a Gear group, comprised of Marcus Fenix, Anya Stroud, Samantha Byrne and Jace Stratton, encountered several Lambent Wretches and other Lambent lifeforms that infested the refinery. The Gears managed to overcome their aggressors and continue their search.
Inside the city of Halvo Bay, Lambent Wretches laid siege to Paduk's camp and forced the survivors to retreat. When Paduk returned with a group of Gears led by Damon Baird, they took down some packs of Lambent Wretches before leaving the camp.
When the Maelstrom device was destroyed by Fenix's squad, the Lambent were able to assault the island of Azura. Several Lambent Wretches attacked Delta while they called a pair of elevators inside Pinnacle Tower. They managed to hold them off until the elevators got down. After Adam Fenix activated the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, all Lambent and Locust lifeforms across the surface of Sera died, Lambent Wretches included.
- In Gears of War 2, although never seen, Lambent Wretches are referenced once as the Brumak is mutating into the Lambent Brumak, which gives Marcus the idea to use the Lambent Brumak to replace the lost Lightmass Bomb to sink Jacinto.
- They return in Gears of War 3 as enemies in both Horde 2.0 and during Lambent attacks in the campaign.
- They also appear in Gears of War: Judgment, attacking Kilo Squad at several points during the campaign.
- Although they are Lambent, they do not attack the regular Locust.
- Unlike all other Lambent enemies, Wretches will explode in front of you after you chainsaw them in Gears of War 3 and Judgment.