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Ill/Dark or Thermal and why?


ZeusMagnus
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I would go for Ill/Dark. It’s a combo known to be able to solo loads of content, including AVs. you have the staying power of unkillable Phantom Army pets, plus a self-recovery/regen power, the best stealth power outside of a Stalker’s Hide, solid ST damage, an AoE Stun/Rez, and a helper pet that throws out even more -ToHit and -Regen on top of the debuffs you throw out yourself. Also it has the strongest PBAoE heal in the game (with a ToHit check, which means it can miss, but it also debuffs enemies). 

 

Also Tar Patch.

 

Ill/Dark is NUTS. 

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Either one depending on what you want out of it.

 

Illusion/Dark is a strong soloist with a lot of utility for teams. And probably the winner based on raw power.

 

Illusion/Thermal is a very strong support character, more of the classic buff character type who (mostly) stays out of the fight.

 

FWIW these two sets are IMO more evenly matched on Masterminds. People dump on "heals" a lot, but they got a long way on classes with pets. Illusion's pets mostly don't need healing.

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If you solo a lot, Ill/Dark is way better. If you team, then Ill/Dark is still better but it's a lot closer.

Dark is very much a debuffer, other than Fade even its team buffs and heals are oriented on draining from the enemies. Thermal has more normal out-of-combat buffs, so if you prefer to buff it may suit you better.

 

Thermal generally works better with sets that have good pets... that need protection. Earth is my main choice for /Thermal, but Fire also appreciates making the Imps less squishy.

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As great as Dark Affinity is, one of its key powers will make your character model invisible-ish with glowing eyes, so factor in whether that matters to you. Some people get really upset when their costume is obscured. (On Defender/Corruptor you do not get this power).

Edited by oedipus_tex
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Say, what does Ill/Dark NOT have (functionally) that Ill/Cold does, aside from Benumb? As far as debuff stacking goes, at least on paper it seems comparable, but for the life of me I could not achieve nearly comparable DPS on a test Ill/Dark controller.

 

It's a lot sturdier for sure (heals, and hitting the caps with Fade is a cinch), but doesn't seem to kill quite as fast.

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Sleet and Tar Patch have comparable -Resist with comparable duration... but Sleet has a 60 second recharge while Tar Patch has 90. When you're in an AV fight where you get to stack -Res fields, being able to summon an additional -Resist field earlier adds up to a lot more damage in the long run.

 

Also, with Cold, you can proc Infrigidate and have a 90% chance to apply Achilles Heel, for an additional average -18% debuff. So you probably end up around 30% more -Resist on the average, leading to about 30% more DPS. Note that if I ran Ill/Dark, I would take Weaken Resolve, which puts out about -30% Resist... but eats up a lot more of your attack chain.

 

Lastly, Cold applies its -Regen once in a while, while Dark has to spam Twilight Grasp in order to match -Regen values. Even if you proc out TG it will still remain a low-damage attack with just two damage procs, so your -Regen debuff is eating up a lot more of your attack chain, while Ill/Cold has more free time to throw out Spectral Wounds or Arcane Bolt.

 

In the end, you can come close with /Dark if you take Weaken Resolve, but you're still using about half your attack cycle on Weaken Resolve and Twilight Grasp, which aren't adding much to the actual damage, just applying important debuffs. So I don't see how /Dark would completely match up to /Cold on the offense side.

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On ‎11‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 12:03 PM, oedipus_tex said:

As great as Dark Affinity is, one of its key powers will make your character model invisible-ish with glowing eyes, so factor in whether that matters to you. Some people get really upset when their costume is obscured. (On Defender/Corruptor you do not get this power).

Well as an Illusion controller he might be running Superior Invisibility anyway ~ total fade out just like a stalker.

 

Illusion/Dark out of the box is probably going to have a more "magical" vibe for a magician, both in terms of powers and appearance; however, or course, you can customize both sets to ramp up the magician vibe in whatever way that means to you. But for me, the biggest issue with a controller secondary is how much of it can directly benefit you. If you're a controller with a standard pet, and you are in this case when you get Phantasm at 32, then any power that is a direct ally heal or buff can at least be used eventually. But in Thermal Radiation the only power you can benefit from until level 32 when you get your pets is Warmth. You can heal yourself with the AoE, and that is entirely it. You cannot affect yourself with thermal shield, plasma shield, cauterize, or thaw, and Power of the Phoenix is ally-only as well. At levels 35 and 38 you get Heat Exhaustion and Melt Armor, incredibly powerful debuffs you will use on your foes. But that's 30 levels of your secondary doing not a damn thing for you until you get a pet - unless you team, of course. And nothing in that part of your set helps you be a controller. I'm not saying no controller should ever take these choices and for the record I took not one but TWO Illusion/Empathy controllers to 50 one of them solo and the other with a fixed team, so I think I have a good perspective on this.

 

Now, in comparison, Darkness Affinity is pure love for yourself or your team. Every single power is something that will directly benefit you. You can heal yourself with twilight grasp, and debuff the enemy's tohit and regen (autofire it on elite bosses and AVs). Tar Patch weakens your foes. Darkest Night nerfs your foes' tohit and damage output. (I soloed skull elite boss Veles at level 10 on a Dark/Dark controller because he basically couldn't hit me thanks to that.) Does Howling Twilight help you? Well you can't rez yourself but how useful is an autohit stun that also applies slow, and 500% regen debuff? Especially since Illusion doesn't get an AoE stun this is a nice control supplement. Shadow Fall gives you and your team stealth (which you have covered in Superior Invisibility and Grant Invisibility) but it also has significant defense (to all, including psi, and about twice the value of Grant invisibility) as well as damage resistances to psi, dark, energy, and fear. Fade is a second helping of defense buff but this time as a click power and even more powerful.  Soul Absorption is a massive regen/recovery buff that affects you, Black Hole is … well it's a panic button and honestly an Illusion controller is so lacking in soft holds you might actually want to take it. Finally Dark Servant lets you fulfil your dreams of RPing as a Carny Mistress while it spams a few controls including an immobilize and extra twilight graps good both for some supplemental heals and the -tohit and -regen debuffs.

 

Anyway if you are teaming all the time you will be very engaged with either choice, but even if you are teaming I rather think that Illusion/Dark will benefit it more while leveling than Illusion/Thermal but I think both are great choices. 

See me on Excelsior as Eridanus - Whisperkill - Kid Physics - Ranger Wilde - The Hometown Scrapper - Firewatch - and more!

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One sometimes overlooked feature of sets like Thermal, Empathy etc paired with Illusion is that because most of their powers do not affect enemies directly, and some of Illusion's powers do not alert enemies and/or divert their attention, it is possible to play on a team without taking very many risks (enemies will not even bother to attack you if you are invisible). This may appeal to players with slower reflexes or who have an impairment that makes it difficult for them to play. 

Edited by oedipus_tex
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7 hours ago, Coyote said:

Sleet and Tar Patch have comparable -Resist with comparable duration... but Sleet has a 60 second recharge while Tar Patch has 90. When you're in an AV fight where you get to stack -Res fields, being able to summon an additional -Resist field earlier adds up to a lot more damage in the long run.

 

Also, with Cold, you can proc Infrigidate and have a 90% chance to apply Achilles Heel, for an additional average -18% debuff. So you probably end up around 30% more -Resist on the average, leading to about 30% more DPS. Note that if I ran Ill/Dark, I would take Weaken Resolve, which puts out about -30% Resist... but eats up a lot more of your attack chain.

 

Lastly, Cold applies its -Regen once in a while, while Dark has to spam Twilight Grasp in order to match -Regen values. Even if you proc out TG it will still remain a low-damage attack with just two damage procs, so your -Regen debuff is eating up a lot more of your attack chain, while Ill/Cold has more free time to throw out Spectral Wounds or Arcane Bolt.

 

In the end, you can come close with /Dark if you take Weaken Resolve, but you're still using about half your attack cycle on Weaken Resolve and Twilight Grasp, which aren't adding much to the actual damage, just applying important debuffs. So I don't see how /Dark would completely match up to /Cold on the offense side.

I'm chiming in to say that I basically agree with everything that @Coyote wrote.

 

That being said, I find Darkness Affinity more fun to play than Cold Domination or Thermal Radiation.

 

At the lower levels, I didn't find Cold Domination's powers to be very helpful. The shields only affect allies, and I found them tedious to apply. Infrigidate is a surprisingly good T1 power. Snow Storm was never useful at any level. Frostwork was similarly ineffective. The set's best powers, Benumb, Sleet, and Heat Loss, are the last three powers in the set.

 

In comparison, Darkness gets Twilight Grasp as its T1 power. Tar Patch, Darkest Night, and Howling Twilight are also very helpful at all levels. Fade is far more convenient than the ice shields. Soul Absorption provides a PBAoE +regen and +recovery buff, and I find that far more helpful than Frostwork. The only powers that I do not enjoy in this set are Black Hole.

 

I'm not as familiar with Thermal Radiation, but on paper it looks fun at all levels.

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The first hero I made coming back to CoH was a ill/dark troller, but I haven't gotten her past 10th lvl yet. But its all been solo missions , and only time I got worried during a encounter was when I ran into a high lvl mob by mistake while looking for some gang members.  Its been a pretty interesting ride so far, since Illusion is new to me but I have a lot of experience with Dark. 

 

Once I get my fire brute up there for some influence to share, I will go back to playing her.  Live kinda spoil me in that way, use to having a few million to play with at the lower levels before gifting $200 to 300 mil for end builds.

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