Firepower Mod Discussion, Part 2 (Grey, Juno, Kaigin, Lockwood, Nev:3)

Grey

Grey

  1.  Hunt Them (2) — Infrared (2) — Overdose (2) — Agile (2) — Caught/Zapper (2)
  2.  Hunt Them (2) — Vicious (3) — Overdose (2) — Agile (2) — Prison Roster (1)

Grey’s builds are very straightforward for me.  I do see the occasional Double Dart, which I think is decent against comps where you’re likely to get multiple hits, but in general I think the mods are pretty set in stone, with only a bit of variance.  I actually don’t think the other mods on primary are terrible — they’re all OK, just none of them are particularly amazing either.  Hawk Drone targeting invis is just good, as it hits enemies in camouflage (brush) and in general you want reliability with Rio as well as the information it provides by letting you know that an otherwise invisible enemy is standing there.  And the slow on your tranquilizer is quite nice as well.

That said, with the new catalyst that grants vision, you may not need Infrared quite as much, and Vicious can actually be decent.  I’m also fond of a few other mods (Shelter on dash, Catch the Scent on primary even though everyone says it’s terrible, and Prison Roster on ult).  Prison Roster is very good for a 1-point, as it provides guaranteed vision of the target.

Recommended Catalysts:  Second Wind, Fade, Your Choice.

Grey tends to stay far back and may have a free turn to Second Wind, and having a little sustain is nice.  She doesn’t benefit tremendously from the other catalysts, as she’s really more about consistency than having a huge burst turn.  Fade is my preferred dash catalyst on most lancers.  Blast phase catalyst is up to you and may depend on comp.  I like to pick Adrenaline vs. knockback / root, and Chronosurge or Probe otherwise.

Juno

Juno

  1.  Minigun (1) — Stockades (3) — Knockout (2) — Battery (3) — Indiscriminate (1)
  2.  Concentrated (2) — Stockades (3) — Nothing (0) — Battery (3) — High Intensity (2)

Disclaimer:  I really don’t play Juno, so take this with a super grain of salt.

Basically, you want Stockades and Shield Battery in most situations.  Having an extra turn on your shield is very nice because hey, sometimes you guess wrong or don’t take that much damage and it’s just a real disincentive for enemies to go on you.  Stockades is great because Scramble is very strong.

I think you want to decide whether you want to focus one target or will be hitting multiple targets, and pick your 1 mod accordingly.  I think Minigun Mayhem is nice because Juno really has the ability to hit a lot of targets for a lot of damage.  Her strength isn’t focusing a single target.  Play to your strengths.

Beyond that, I have no idea what mods are good on her 3 and ult, so we make something up.

Recommended Catalysts:  Second Wind / Brain Juice, Fade, Adrenaline.

Second Wind is good on anyone who is expecting to take some damage, and Juno isn’t great at the whole “avoiding damage” thing.  Brain Juice is also reasonable, though, as having your knockback and Lockdown back up is fairly nice and, more importantly, your Shield comes back up a turn sooner, which is…I don’t know…sort of like a heal?  Fade is my preferred dash catalyst on most lancers.  Adrenaline is good on Juno, I think, because even though you have Unstoppable while you’re ulting, you’re otherwise very vulnerable to knockback-type effects as you have no dash.  But like, if they don’t have any hard CC, you would take something else instead.

Kaigin

Kaigin

  1.  Focused (3) — Stalker’s (2) — Elusive (2) — Nothing (0) — Eclipse (3)
  2.  Focused (3) — Unyielding (1) — Nothing (0) — Preparation (3) — Eclipse (3)
  3.  Focused (3) — Stalker’s (2) — Elusive (2) — Cover of Night (1) — Phantasmal Fury (2)
  4.  Essence Drain (1) — Stalker’s (2) — Elusive (2) — Thick Smoke (2) — Eclipse (3)

Kaigin is one of my mains, and I’ll be writing an in-depth guide to him soon.  That will cover a lot more about his gameplay and why I make the various choices I make.  But I’ll give a quick run-down just the same.

Focused Assault is probably the only really “good” mod to run on his 1.  If you’re melee attacking someone, you aim where they are.  Simple stuff.  It’s very rare on someone like Kaigin to have multiple targets in different parts of the cone.  Sure, it happens, but it’s not what you’re focused on anyway.  You’re not Asana.  So you don’t really care about the size of the frontal code or the damage dealt to side targets.  And for Feed on Fear, you don’t really need the health — Kaigin is about not taking damage in the first place.

Stalker’s Mark is the only really good option on 2, though for both this and his 1 there’s a cheap 1-point energy option that works in certain builds.  The reason we don’t take Flurry of Knives is because we don’t miss our shurikens.  Sure, it occasionally lets you take a guess or gives you options if your target dashes, but Kaigin needs to know his moves in advance and you can’t have uncertainty like that clouding your future.  Stalker’s Mark is very nice — not only is it good against invisible targets (Nix, your favorite prey), but it also gives you vision for next turn if the target pops into brush, as you need to be able to see them if you want to dash on them.  The reason we don’t take Honed Edge is because it’s relatively rare that we have (a) a void marked target that (b) is behind cover, and it’s expensive at three points.  The reason we don’t take Void Empowered is…well, I used to run this mod way back when.  And I thought I was pretty clever, because wow if you spread out the shurikens on 3 targets that’s 75 damage holy moly!  But realistically, it’s relatively rare that you can hit multiple targets with shurikens in the first place, and if you can, you already have a really good turn.  60 damage is still excellent.  Plus, and I see the rare Kaigin that runs this mod make this mistake all the time, you can’t just spread out your shurikens to cover more space if you’re only planning to hit one target “just in case.”  That’d be nice, right?  But you miss out on 4 energy!  That’s right, you still only get 8 energy for the first hit, so you may as well hit the target with all 3 to get your 12 energy.  So that’s not great.  And I’ve been in situations where I actually really need 30 damage on a single target and I can only do 25.  So overall this mod is not that great, especially at three points.

The options on his dash are all fairly decent.  Damage, weaken, haste, range.  I don’t have a strong leaning here, but I favor Elusive for the flexibility it gives you with movement, whether that’s chasing a speedy target, stealing a powerup, or getting into an uncertain spot in brush.

The options on your smoke are also fairly decent, but nothing essential.  Cover of Night is what I used to run — good if you’re opening with invis.  Soothing Shadows is a bit situational — you don’t necessarily want to stay in your cloud, plus if the enemies realize you’re running it, they’ll AoE your cloud.  And you don’t need hit points, remember?  Kaigin doesn’t take damage.  Thick Smoke, Suffocation and Preparation are all fairly good — more discussion about that below when I explain the loadouts.

Ult options…Phantasmal Fury is what I used to run — very nice if you can get a multi-person ultimate.  But that’s kind of rare.  I’ve moved to Eclipse now for the elusiveness it offers.  Even though inevitably I want to use my ultimate THE TURN my invis comes up (and so you know, if you invis on the ult turn it does NOT reset it, even though the reset doesn’t let you invis on the same turn as the ultimate if it wasn’t otherwise up…as an aside, I really think it should be one or the other, even though I understand why it works this way from a coding perspective).

So:

#1 is a flexible generalist build.  You could take Suffocation on 4 instead of Elusive on 3 if you value slowing enemies over hasting yourself.  I run this build on Flyway Freighter as it’s a large map and having the general utility of Stalker’s Mark and the haste on Elusive lets you sort of get around the map and keep track of people.

#2 is my special energy build.  You can read more about this in my upcoming Kaigin guide!  Basically you take Regenergy with this and set up a big regenergy + dash + invis combo into energized attack from preparation and get a quick ultimate.  Recommended for advanced players.

#3 is the build I used to run.  It’s not terrible.  Typically you open with smoke on Turn 2 to stealth you and then sprint (so you get the cooldown reduction from Cover of Night).  This lets you be very aggressive with your early positioning, but be careful for enemies who may anticipate where you’ve run to.  I like this option if your team needs early vision in major areas, say if for whatever reason you don’t have a frontliner who can provide it.

#4 is an experimental build with Thick Smoke.  Basically you use the smoke to stay out of sight for longer periods of time.  More on this in my upcoming Kaigin guide!

Recommended Catalysts: Might / Brain Juice / Second Wind / Regenergy, Fade / Fetter, Probe / Chronosurge / Adrenaline.

Wow, such catalysts!  Here’s the breakdown.  Might is good if you need to focus down a single target that you’re isolated with.  More damage = target dies faster.  However, I don’t typically run this, as the amount of raw damage you get from the Might isn’t that high compared to someone like a Zuki or Nix or Elle.  (Zuki gets unnaturally high bonuses from Might, but even someone like Nix — two man ult = 50 damage boosted to 62 –> 12 times 2 = 24.  Even if Kaigin boosts an ult on 1 void-marked target, that’s only 60 –> 74* (50 boosts to 62, 10 boosts to 12) = +14.  And it’s difficult to hit multiple targets with your ult, otherwise we’d be running Phantasmal Fury and going to town like we used to in casual PvP.  Okay, so Regenergy is useful for my special energy build.  And Brain Juice, even in its nerfed form, is actually quite good on Kaigin because he’s very cooldown-dependent.  Your cooldowns are everything — your damage, your mobility, your survivability.  In particular, you get to do the very nice Shuriken + Brain Juice –> Shuriken again next turn!  (While reducing your dash and invis cooldowns as well.)  As for Second Wind, I know I said Kaigin doesn’t take damage, but sometimes you do, and after scoring a kill you may want to heal back up…take a few turns off and go grab a heal powerup while your cooldowns come back.  Second Wind is nice for that.  I generally take it on Flyway Freighter, as it’s a large map with lots of running around and heal powerups to grab, and I take it when my support is a Helio (since he doesn’t actually heal).

Fade is my preferred dash catalyst on most freelancers.  However, Fetter is actually quite good on Kaigin as well.  It pops void mark for 20 damage (though it does not apply it for the following turn).  And it can help you pin down a target to finish them off.

As always, Adrenaline is good vs. a team with lots of knockbacks or roots.  Chronosurge is nice on a dash turn, particularly if you aren’t running Elusive, as it sort of doubles as an Elusive mod plus a slow on the enemy.  And Probe is very good because it can reveal enemies in camouflage, which you need to be able to target them with your dash.  All good options.

Lockwood

Lockwood

  1.  Extra Tricky (2) — Quickfingers (3) — Throwing (2) — Nothing (0) — Burst of Speed (3)
  2.  Extra Tricky (2) — Phospho (1) — Insta / Trapwall (3) — Kinetic (1) — Speed (3)
  3.  Extra Tricky (2) — Quickfingers (3) — Nothing (0) — Slippery (2) — Speed (3)
  4.  Impaling (3) — Quickfingers (3) — Nothing (0) — Kinetic (1) — Speed (3)

As you can see, I favor certain mods quite heavily on Lockwood — namely Extra Tricky, Quickfingers, and Burst of Speed.  That leaves two points to do with what you like.  Extra Tricky is really good because it’s 2-4 extra damage basically for free.  It’s extremely common to be able to bounce the shot off at least one wall, and indeed many times you’ll need to do that anyway to get the shot you’re looking for.  Quickfingers gives a lot of additional energy and reduces the cooldown, which lets you spray even more.  And Burst of Speed lets your ult hit or threaten more enemies, or can get you really far away from danger.  I note that there are some decent alternatives to all of these — in fact, all of the mods on each of these abilities are pretty good, so if you prefer cover reduction or Errant Assault or additional dashes from main attack, go for it.

#1 is my go-to loadout on small maps (read: not Flyway).  Throwing Arm is actually quite good to get the trap where you need it when you’re trying to predict a dash, so it’s a nice use of the spare two points.

#2 is my anti-invis loadout.  Mostly just for Nix, and even then sometimes I’ll leave the Nix duty to my teammates and get greedy with Quickfingers.  If you do pick up Phosphorus Rounds, though, you open up some points for other good mods.  I like putting 3 points into my trap, and favor Insta-Trap for the burst potential (hitting a shot for 36 plus a trap for 20 = 56, quite a nice way to finish someone off) but Trapwall is good too if you like it — makes it a lot more reliable.  That leaves 1 point left for Kinetic Dash, which is really not bad — you get an extra 4-5 energy off it, typically.

#3 is my Flyway loadout.  There aren’t a ton of walls, so I drop Throwing Arm to pick up Slippery.  The extra 1 range is nice on a large map.

#4 is an Impaling Shot loadout.  I think Impaling Shot is at its best on Cloudspire and wouldn’t really consider it on any other map.  Even on Cloudspire, I take Extra Tricky lately, but if enemies are lined up Impaling Shot gets a lot of value.  (32 + 14 = 46, not bad at all.)  You can combine Impaling Shot with Quickfingers (the loadout I show above) or with Phospho Rounds (in which case use #2 above but drop Kinetic Dash).

Recommended Catalysts:  Second Wind, Fade, Your Choice

I like Second Wind on Lockwood as a sustain option.  It’s just a safe choice.  However, I think Might is a reasonable option for a big ult, and I may actually try out a Regenergy build for a big Quickfingers turn.  It also depends on your support, of course.  If it’s a Helio, you take Second Wind.  Fade is my preferred dash catalyst on most freelancers.  Blast Phase catalyst is up to you — don’t think any of them are especially good on Lockwood.

Nev:3

Nev:3

1.  Meowch (3) — Collar (3) — Nothing (0) — Catwalk (2) — Catnip (2)
2.  Meowch (3) — Nothing (0) — Feline Good (1) — Disc Fever (3) — Feral (3)
3.  Kitten Mittens (2) — Fat Cat (2) — Nothing (0) — Disc Fever (3) — Feral (3)

The first build takes Collar for the root — depends how much CC you need on your team.  It’s good in spots where you need someone to be exactly there.  You also take Catwalk and Catnip for extra mobility — basically a kiting-heavy build.

The second build takes Meowch, Disc Fever and Feral for a burst turn.  This is currently my preferred build!

The third build takes Kitten Mittens and Fat Cat for survivability.  This does let you play quite a bit more aggressive if you don’t have support help.

Recommended Catalysts:  Might or Second Wind, Fetter / Shift / Regroup, Your Choice

Basically, don’t take Fade because the return disc will reveal your position.  Fetter honestly isn’t bad — pin someone down for an extra turn, and again the return disc reveals your position anyway.  Second Wind is a fine choice of course, but Might is pretty good as well.  The issue with Second Wind is that ideally you’re throwing a catarang every turn and just going down in a blaze of glory — there isn’t much time for a turn to Second Wind.

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