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New to Defenders -- Debuffing beast suggestions?


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6 minutes ago, BurningDezire said:

Hello all,

As the title states, I'm new to Defenders and I'm looking for an effective end game debuffing beast build. I want to completely undress the baddies' def and resists. Want to contribute to melting AVs and GMs. Fire away! Influence is no object. 

I think Cold/Sonic defender can do the job.


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I would go with Cold/Beam Rifle, though to be honest Cold takes a lot of IO work to make good, and (IMO) any time you stray outside the sets with a self heal it requires justification. Radiation/Beam might be easier despite not matching Cold in top performance -Resist stripping.

 

Thermal/Beam can be a surprisingly good single target debuffer as well, although it is primarily a team buffing set.

 

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Sonic is let down by its limited proc opportunities, so your single-target damage might feel a bit flat solo. However, you end up doing a substantial amount of -res in your normal attack chain, which will passively increase your teammates' DPS, which generally more than makes up for the extra damage.

Edited by Gulbasaur
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Beam Rifle has one power that strips resistance, and multiple powers that strip defense, which can then slot a -Resist proc. In function, a well built Beam Rifle character will strip single targets of Resistance about as much as a Sonic Attack character in single target, give or take 20%, but not match it in AoE. (Note that the -Resist proc does not stack. It's probably best to put it in 1 or 2 powers.)

 

However, Beam Rifle also has -Regen, and most importantly of all a ranged nuke. 

 

Beam Rifle is IMO easily among the best Defender primary sets. I personally greatly prefer it to Sonic.

Edited by oedipus_tex
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Currently there are 3 different IO's offering -resist procs I believe.  I believe the 3 different IO's should stack with each other but not themselves.

 

Edit: Not familiar enough with Beam to know if it can slot each of them or not

Edited by Doomguide2005
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2 hours ago, Doomguide2005 said:

Currently there are 3 different IO's offering -resist procs I believe.  I believe the 3 different IO's should stack with each other but not themselves.

 

Edit: Not familiar enough with Beam to know if it can slot each of them or not

Yes, there are three. Yes, they stack with each other, but not themselves. They are -def (Achilles), AOE (Annihilation), and PBAOE (gladiators fury). Still, even though you can slot all these procs, you will still get more -res out of sonic blast in practice. I'd still put the gladiators fury one in dreadful wail, sonic has no -def so no Achilles, and I never found the annihilation proc very appealing, especially in cones (where you'd put it in Sonic blast). You could put some in /cold, but only if you are using infrigidate, the proc chances in rains are lame. 

 

YMMV

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34 minutes ago, Darkir said:

Yes, there are three. Yes, they stack with each other, but not themselves. They are -def (Achilles), AOE (Annihilation), and PBAOE (gladiators fury). Still, even though you can slot all these procs, you will still get more -res out of sonic blast in practice. I'd still put the gladiators fury one in dreadful wail, sonic has no -def so no Achilles, and I never found the annihilation proc very appealing, especially in cones (where you'd put it in Sonic blast). You could put some in /cold, but only if you are using infrigidate, the proc chances in rains are lame. 

 

YMMV

Although sonic doesnt have -def, all ATs have access to Weaken Resolve, which is a great power for procs and it offers -resistance as well. You can achieve some incredible debuffs with sonic using Weaken Resolve in an attack chain, although it's mainly single target debuffing.


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One point in favor of Sonic is that if you roll Cold Domination specifically, the T1 power Infrigidate has a -Defense component that allows you to slot the Achille's Heel -Resist proc, and it has a very high chance to fire. Since the proc doesn't stack, it means at least in terms of single target Cold/Sonic can execute the -Resist proc despite there not being any -Defense in its blasts, eliminating Beam Rifle's supposed advantage.

 

Infrigidate loaded with procs is a surprisingly high damage power: 1 second cast time, with 3 possible damage procs. On a high global Recharge build its up every 5 seconds and the procs have a 90% chance to fire. At that point it competes with your "real" blasts for damage. This matters more to Sonic than to Beam, because Sonic's single target damage is notoriously trash.

 

Sonic also has better AoE -Resist. It has two sources: Howl (a 50ft x30 degee cone) and a PBAoE nuke. The nuke really stands out because it provides -20% Resist for 20 seconds, which is an uncommonly long time. It also has a Mag 3 stun, making it a true "control nuke."

 

The question is do you really want to leap into the center of enemies to nuke them or are you more likely to take advantage of the ranged nuked in Beam Rifle? Having played both I find the Beam nuke more convenient. Moving into melee range to execute the Sonic attack has an opportunity cost.

 

Also Sonic has no -Regen at all. I am unsure how much the -Regen in Beam Rifle matters in the big picture. However a nice thing about is it provides cushion if Benumb misses, which it will always have a 5% chance to do. Its more likely than not to miss at least once during an AV fight.

Edited by oedipus_tex
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My Cold/Sonic Defender has 50% Defense to S/L/E and Ranged, doesn’t have a heal and has some pretty good resists as well. I can tank entire mobs if I pay attention to Mez. A self heal would be amazing, but I hardly notice it even with my aggressive support play style. If you still want the heal, Rad/Sonic is going to be your best bet. Dark/Sonic would be great too!

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On 2/15/2020 at 2:35 AM, Gulbasaur said:

Sonic is let down by its limited proc opportunities, so your single-target damage might feel a bit flat solo. However, you end up doing a substantial amount of -res in your normal attack chain, which will passively increase your teammates' DPS, which generally more than makes up for the extra damage.

I’ve watched Scrappers and Blasters hit Romulus in the ITF for over 2-3k damage when I have all my debuffs  active with my Cold/Sonic Defender. If you count the extra damage being done because of your debuffs, you become the highest damage dealing member in the team! Love debuffing, had to get used to being proud of my teammates damage instead of my own though! 😎

Edited by cazden121
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3 hours ago, cazden121 said:

Love debuffing, had to get used to being proud of my teammates damage instead of my own though! 😎

The best mindset shift I can recommend for DPS moving to support sets is to view it like this. You are responsible for the highest DPS in the game, but you outsource it to others. If a buff/debuff player goes down, the whole thing drops.

 

Support aggressively. Tell people they're miles away from the debuffs. Tell people that you did not give them your permission to be defeated. Deny them the opportunity to fail.

 

If you've got a scrapper off licking the wallpaper or something, reel them back by pointing out that their DPS will be much higher if they stay in the big chaotic particle effects cloud. I've been levelling a storm/water defender and I can do fairly substantial damage to a group of enemies over time. I can lock enemies down like a controller and nuke like a blaster. DPS players add value. Support players multiply it.

 

I also make it very clear that my only heal is Vengeance, so if they go down at least their corpse will be useful. That usually drives the point home.

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I'm a bit with Gulbasaur on the selection choice. I have a Storm/Energy Defender that may be a little mad, cuckoo, insane, off its rocker... You get the idea. The ability to run into a mob, control it, toss down -Res, -Def, and alternatively provide support (via inherent powers or pool powers like Leadership), creates a pretty wide dynamic. I've lead my share of teams with it at 50, and there's a fundamental rule going in with that build: "I'm not here to keep you alive, I'm here to speed up the transition of walking enemies to fallen enemies." That level of playstyle can be taxing on the player though, as you're constantly on your toes about staying alive one spawn to the next. A false movement, a miss-click, so many things can result in a dirt nap. For as battle-field driven as Storm can be, if it dies, you might be watching others fall too.

 

Beyond that I think I'd agree with the consensus on Cold/Sonic or Cold/Beam. Personally find Beam Rifle more engaging and fun than Sonic, and the audio effects for Sonic have been known to frustrate some players (or so I hear, badum-pish, but apparently Beam also sounds like the last sparkle of fire coming off a dead sun as it whimpers out blasts, again so I hear).

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I'm partial to Rad/Sonic, you'll be able to do a number on -def, -res, -tohit and -regen.  It has good damage, a great team buff in AM and an emergency heal to go along with the debuffs.

 

The defender capable of tossing out the highest level of debuffage is probably the Dark/Dark defender... it's mostly -tohit but it's capable of insane amounts of -tohit along with a dash of -res (Tar Patch) and -regen (Twilight Grasp/Howling Twilight).  My Dark/Dark Defender on Live was, pre-IO, capable of maintaining over 100% of -tohit debuff on a single target and something close to 60% on an entire spawn.  It gave the entire team over soft capped defenses.

Guardian Survivor, occasional tanker and player of most AT's.

Guides: Invulnerability Tankers, The first 20 levels.  Invulnerability Tankers Soft Cap defense

Spoiler

 

 

 

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/sonic may be outpaced by /beam, but I sort of doubt it if you were to add in dominate from psy mastery and proc it out a ton.

scream>shriek>scream>shriek>dominate should be possible with a high recharge build. Or some variation of that. Maybe put in screech if needed.

800 damage dominate should be within reach

 

I like the idea of beam, but it has a weird flow imo. I couldn't get in to it.

 

One other nod to sonic is that if you have a source of -dam in your primary then all that -res you are stacking will boost it significantly. Something like benumb+sonic blasts will absolutely neuter the damage output of your target. That is true for any -res, but sonic excels at it. 

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Dark/Sonic, as Frosty says, but with both Petrifying Gaze and Dominate procced out, using a Shriek - Scream - Shriek - HOLD cycle for single-target DPS, and enough -Res boosting the effects of all of the -Dam to make AVs hit like a Hellion. No, like a Hellion's girlfriend.

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Some alternative choices - for fun. 😉

 

Radiation Blast is fun for lowering defenses. 

 

Dual Pistols is a big tool kit of debuffs with its ammo system.  Standard ammo (basically not using any of the Swap Ammo options) includes defense debuffs in a few powers.  Piercing Rounds has a resistance debuff that can hit a few targets.  Cryo ammo converts those previously mentioned debuffs into slow effects.  Chemical ammo changes the base debuffs into a negative damage effect.

 

I have a Dark Miasma/Dual Pistols Defender that's just a fun configurable debuffer.  Rad/Rad is also classic, but X/Sonic is hard to beat.

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People seem to really not like Poison, and only one person mentioned it here to no fanfare.

I have a Poison/Pistols 50 with Psionic mastery... ton of debuffs, 3 ST holds not including Poison Trap. Super fun to play. Put all those -Res procs in this set and its great. +Chemical ammo... Yo!

Someone mentioned Weaken Resolve. I have it on my Plant/Sav Doominator for just that reason, and while I usually don't get picky about animations and such, and while it is prolly stronger on a Defender, the animation time is lengthy and I find it difficult on that AT/toon to use and get a flow going. Was considering speccing out of it the other day.

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3 hours ago, ChetManly said:

People seem to really not like Poison, and only one person mentioned it here to no fanfare.

I have a Poison/Pistols 50 with Psionic mastery... ton of debuffs, 3 ST holds not including Poison Trap. Super fun to play. Put all those -Res procs in this set and its great. +Chemical ammo... yo!

I have a poison/fire that will do great things once it is finished. It was a chore to play prior to getting 25%+ defense onto the build though.

I originally eyeballed pistols heavily for chem rounds because you can still -dam +level AVs into the ground with the combo. But losing out on aim and a good nuke turned me off. The synergy is good though for poison/pistols

 

 

That said I wouldnt recommend poison to a new player. You need to be in melee and you dont  have much to keep you alive there. plus mez ruins the set.  The issues can be overcome, but it is a lot of work to extract the potential. 

 

 

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I have a few defenders:  Poison/Dark (very impressive), Cold/Ice (hold machine), Trick Arrow/Archery, and Storm/Sonic.  Of these, one set clearly stands out as the most helpful in team debuffing situations.

 

One set is what people really come to see:  T and A... that is:  Trick and Arrow.  (What were YOU thinking?)

 

Do not underestimate Trick Arrow.  On a defender it is MASSIVE debuffs ALL THE TIME:

Entangling Arrow:  I skip this, but often miss having it.  -Fly, -Movement, -Recharge in single-target form.

Flash Arrow:  A lot skip this, and they're probably not too bright (pun intended!).  ALWAYS take the -percep / -tohit / non-aggro power.  ALWAYS.  4 Cloud Senses.  Done.

Glue Arrow:  Simple tool to keep things huddled so they can't flee as easily.  It is also 20% -Recharge on mobs.  Great utility, always up (easy to perma).

Ice Arrow:  a hold, take it or leave it  proc it out or 4-basilisk for the recharge bonus

Poison Gas Arrow:  Don't be fooled because it says "sleep" this is a nice -Damage power, easily perma'd and/or proc'd.  I usually go 5 Call of the Sandman. YMMV.

Acid Arrow:  Out of the box perma already, -Def / -Res (slightly less than Freezing Rain, but it's up ALL the time for that multi-mob goodness), does tiny ticks of toxic.

Disruption Arrow:  Why have ANOTHER -Res power that's easy to perma (2 rech. IO's is all I put in there).  Another -20%... hey, that's 40% -Res all the time in 2 powers.  Why Yes!  Yes it is.

Oil Slick Arrow:  Well, well, well.  What have we here?  Basically a NUKE.  Up every mob or so (I usually have it around 70s rech) and it does Knock DOWN and -Def and... HEY!  Would you look at THAT?  MORE -res!  Granted it's only 12.5% -Res, but didn't you just drop 2 arrows for 40% total?  Well, shoot, we're now at 52.5% -res.  Not too shabby... Oh, and you can SET THIS ON FIRE with an energy and/or fire power (those inherent magic or tech ranged things, or something from your blast set, e.g. blazing arrow).  My current build (TA/Archery) has 6-slotted Annihilation (ooo, is that a -res proc?  Sure is!) and it ticks for a TON of damage.  Between the KD and the glue arrow, mobs tend to stay in it for the duration or their death.  Great power.  Simply great.

EMP Arrow:  Finally, tier9 and you get -Regen.  1000% -regen!  And -Recovery 1000%, as well as draining 55% of their endurance (lol, end drain on mobs) AND an AoE hold.  OK, I can see why it's T9.  It's nuke-worthy (though it only damages robots, which on an ITF at the computer is fun!)  I actually often skip this one, too, as my builds are pretty tight and I either take this or ice arrow, never both.  Ice adds to survivability, it's up often and it's a decent hold, thus has more use.  For big AV fights, I'd lean towards EMP for the -regen/-recovery.

 

People ALWAYS forget about Trick Arrow.  People ALWAYS underestimate it.  Well, the experienced players know all about TA.

 

In short, TA brings the following debuffs:

-Fly

-Perception

-ToHit

-Recharge (x2)

-Movement  (x2)

-Damage

-Defense (x2)

-Resistance (x3)

+KD AoE (-standing debuff?)

-Regen

-Recovery

+Damage patch (-living debuff?)

 

So it has a few.  But please.  It's also pretty fast cast/activation times.  Acid Arrow and EMP Arrow are the LONGEST activations with cast times of 1.83s each.  Most things are 1s-1.16s activation.  Not too shabby!  Will make sonic attacks seem like you're held a lot of the time.  TA/Fire will feel FAST.  Probably the fastest defender out there, as far as activation goes.

Edited by r0y
Poison Gas Arrow does aggro because of the -DMG debuff. Revised.
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