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Mercs: Secondary


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So, Mercs are the last MM set that I haven't run yet (because I ran one to 50 on Live), and I don't like to duplicate sets if I can manage it. So a lot of GOOD secondaries were used for other primaries, or used on Controllers. That leaves me with Emp and TA as my main choices, and Sonic or FF as backup. What should work best?

 

Emp seems like the overall strongest set defensively. I can keep at least the top two tiers with Fortitude, run Andrenaline on the Commando, and have a lot of healing. And it leaves the character free to shoot, which is okay with Mercs... the attacks aren't great but can slot Achilles Heel or Force Feedback so they're useful.

 

I like TA in general but it's too busy. I prefer it with Robots or Ninjas since those really have poor personal attacks. However, it is decent overall, procs nicely, and has a strong -Speed debuff which normally doesn't matter much but will help keep mobs away from the ranged Mercs.

 

I don't like FF normally. But it is strong defensively, and an area denial bubble is nice for Mercs. However, Mercs are a Resistance-based set and would do better with a Resist-buffing set. They can almost soft-cap with Maneuvers, so that's not too bad, though. I don't like it because I find it a bit boring, but a MM who is busy with both attacks and pet controls may be busy and interesting even with a fire and forget secondary. Thinking about it, I can get the Mercs softcapped with Power Boost and add the Medicine pool for Healing, so it could end up solid.

 

Sonic works well with their base Resists, having them capped for S/L and 75% against other damage types other than Psi. Very solid base numbers, but no healing and no Defense means getting hit a lot and debuffed. While it provides mez protection it doesn't protect against knockback, and has no slow or area denial powers. I mean, do I bother taking Liquefy? The -Res toggle debuff would work better with a melee group. I think I'm leaning towards taking a pass on this, or maybe redoing the Necro/Rad as a Necro/Sonic.

 

Does anyone have experience with one of these combinations that they are willing to share?

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7 hours ago, Coyote said:

That leaves me with Emp and TA as my main choices, and Sonic or FF as backup. What should work best?

Mercenaries/Electrical Affinity ...?

Mercenaries/Nature Affinity ...?

 

However, if you're limiting yourself to Empathy/Trick Arrow/Force Field/Sonic, I would honestly go with Empathy ... although that then begs the question of whether or not you've got Pain Domination available as a secondary.  Having Suppress Pain available as a +Regeneration TOGGLE to keep your Mercenaries healed up around you would seem to be a better option than relying on Regeneration Aura in Empathy for the same service.

 

Second best choice would be Sonic because the -Resistance debuff powers in Sonic will help you Mercenaries overcome their ... limitations ... as damage dealers (as well as any teammates you happen to fall in with).  Of course, if you do go with Sonic you will want to pick up the Medicine pool for Aid Other, Aid Self and Field Medic ... because relying on the Mercenaries Medic for all your healing will be ... inadequate ... to the task.  The Mercenaries Medic is certainly better than nothing, but not by much.

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I'm in agreement with Redlynne. /Nature, /Electric, or /Pain would all work well with Mercs. I'm not sure I'd pair TA with Mercs, even with the medicine pool. Mercs don't have great defense or damage resistance, and IMHO they work best with a strong buffing secondary. Empathy actually might not be too bad with mercs, but I prefer Nature to Emp. 

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I've been trying Mercs/Cold just keep everything knocked down with M30 Grenade and Sleet. Its fun but nothing serious and I have to resummons stuff regularly when more than 1 mob gets aggroed:

 

http://www.cohplanner.com/mids/download.php?uc=1531&c=715&a=1430&f=HEX&dc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FF + Mace PB will keep your Mercs alive the best at the cost of being rather one dimensional. With pets' lower base hit points and Mercs' poor resists (unlike demons), they don't have much to build off of, so you might as well aim to boost Def to avoid them taking damage in the first place. 

 

FF does offer area denial as you mentioned. That can help the mostly ranged set. The further away the targets, the more likely the Mercs' cones will capture targets.

 

For attacks, a procced out Force Bolt can be useful not just for KB, but can add some damage, too.

 

If you don't go Mace, however, then I would recommend Cold (although it may be you have already used it and care not to repeat). You'd pick up defense of course, plus some resists, stealth, debuffs and some replacement soft control. And Infrigerate is also procable. Cold will keep you a bit more busy than FF if that helps in your gameplay  Call them snow troopers for theme.

@Force Redux on Everlasting

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I'd go with FF, not because it would be better, but because you could have more fun with it. You have already committed to a non-top tier build so fun is the only factor here.

 

You only really need 4 powers from FF, force bolt, the 2 shields, and dispersion bubble. Combine with Maneuvers, Nerve or Agility, and the 2 +5 IOs and your mercs are soft capped. 

 

Assuming you take the medicine pool for heals, and 6 slot the heals (which is definitely not required), that would leave you 11 powers and 34 slots to play with pool and epic/patron powers.

 

You could take presence and fighting and tankermind with crosspunch, repulsion field, and maybe thunderstrike + charged armour or KO Blow + shark skin.

 

Or you could take Hasten, Force of Will, and Field Mastery and take a bunch of force feedback procs in ranged attacks to get Unleashed Potential up as often as possible.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of other options to play around with.

 

Would it be "good"?    No

 

Would it fun? Yes, well..., until you ran out of endurance but recovery serum and ageless are a thing

 

 

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Nice suggestion. I keep forgetting about the new pool powers myself.

 

Almost anything could work here. After all, I can farm at reasonable (for a non brute) rate on my Bots/FF/Mu at +2/x8.  Not as quickly or at +4 like my Thugs/Time/Mu, but it's more relaxing and can get the job done. Plus I enjoy the visuals, concept and safety of the build.

 

YMMV, but the beauty part of CoH is that it's highly idiomatic and much if it is what you make it it. After all, there's this high Veteran level Empathy/Fire defender on Everlasting who absolutely solo wipes TF mobs and blows away my expectations on the times I've been grouped up. 

Edited by Force Redux

@Force Redux on Everlasting

----- (read my guide) -----

Gather the Shadows: A Dark Miasma Primer for Masterminds

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17 hours ago, Knottewe said:

You could take presence and fighting and tankermind with crosspunch, repulsion field, and maybe thunderstrike + charged armour or KO Blow + shark skin.

Bah.

Take Group Fly so your Mercs/Force Field Mastermind can show Sky Raiders just how badly they're DOING IT WRONG ... with your Mercs as ... Airborne Rangers ...

 

Once your Mercs are so much less vulnerable to melee attacks (only fliers can reach them), they'll be a lot more survivable ... and you'll be able to concentrate on Ranged+AoE Defense for them, while Melee Defense becomes less of a priority (not zero, just less).

 

In order to get to Group Fly, I would honestly recommend taking Hover, Air Superiority(!) and Group Fly.

By switching from Group Fly to Hover, you "airdrop" your Mercs into ground combat.

Air Superiority allows you to (melee) guard your Mercs against fliers who come up to melee you and your Mercs as you "Keep Away" move.

Group Fly keeps your Mercs up in the sky where most attackers can't get up to in order to melee them.

 

Combine with Force Field so as to take the T9 Force Bubble that your Mastermind and Mercs stay within (it's a 50ft radius!) to make incoming melee damage even less of a possibility.  The radius on Group Fly is 60ft ... so as long as your Mercs stay within the Force Bubble, they're within Group Fly radius at all times (making it a nice demarcation field to tell you when they're about to drop out of range).

 

You'd even be able to combine the whole air vs ground movement thing through use of Force Bubble.

Keep your Mastermind some 15-30ft above the ground (when you're not dealing with low ceilings) with Force Bubble toggled on.  Use Group Fly to move around, but then toggle Hover on and Group Fly off (to save endurance), so as to "airdrop" your Mercs to the ground but still within the Force Bubble you've still got toggled on, when you need to engage in combat.  Force Bubble then ensures that EVERY fight from Exemplar Level 33+ is a RANGED battle with little to no melee in it, and for Exemplar Levels 5-32 (if taking Hover at 4, Air Superiority at 8 and Group Fly at 10, because the Level 6 power pick is automatically chose for you) you'd be able to fall back on use of Group Fly to keep foes at a distance for your Mercs to shoot up in relative safety.

 

Take Stealth and Grant Invisibility from the Concealment pool to make VERTICAL ENVELOPMENT a reality ... especially when keeping Force Bubble toggled OFF until you're ready to impose DEATH FROM ABOVE onto whatever it is you're fighting against (so toggle on to begin the battle).  You can then use Force Bubble to "press down" onto a location by moving your Mastermind so as to impose a CONTROLLED spreading of $Targets below you, if that's useful to you (and sometimes, it will be).

 

 

 

So it wasn't until the last couple of posts that I seriously considered this idea of going 3D movement Mastermind with Mercenaries/Force Field.  Might be worth doing a little more research into because the combination sounds REALLY versatile, and you'd be able to stack SO MANY Force Feedback procs into the build that you might even be able to leverage long recharge powers such as Serum to much greater effect than you'd otherwise expect.

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I've been leaning towards Force Fields... Mercs can use extra defense more than the stronger defensive sets, and Force Bubble is exactly what they need for melee protection (that, or Caltrops... but I ran Mercs/Traps on Live, and it was excellent, but I'm not repeating it). Gettting it late was going to be a problem, but I've never used Group Fly... running it on one character might be different enough to be fun. A different playstyle is making the NinKin Tankermind very interesting, so a completely different style might make Mercs/FF interesting while also making them as effective as possible.

 

Repulsion Bomb + M30 Nerf Grenade with FF procs do look interesting. Although... Serum? Actually spend the time and Endurance to activate that power? BLASPHEMY!!!

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2 hours ago, Coyote said:

Although... Serum? Actually spend the time and Endurance to activate that power? BLASPHEMY!!!

So is taking (and using) the personal attacks in your primary.  Coincidence ...??

 

Or to put it another way ...

 

PAGANISM.  It's not just for Heretics anymore!  😁

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5 hours ago, Redlynne said:

So is taking (and using) the personal attacks in your primary.  Coincidence ...??

 

Or to put it another way ...

 

PAGANISM.  It's not just for Heretics anymore!  😁

 

I may be a pagan blasphemer, but only a True Heretic would even suggest taking Serum. Much less actually clicking on it more than once. 😛

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My first level 50 villain back on Live was a Merc/FF mastermind.  Take the medicine pool as a way to heal and just turn em loose.  Bubbles keep em safe for the most part and if anything does get through, their resistance helps mitigate.  At higher levels, if things got too hairy, the repulsion bubble gave me a moment to breathe before releasing the boys again.  I highly recommend it.

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Alts galore. So...soooo many alts.

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  • 2 weeks later
On 5/27/2020 at 8:13 AM, Redlynne said:

So it wasn't until the last couple of posts that I seriously considered this idea of going 3D movement Mastermind with Mercenaries/Force Field.  Might be worth doing a little more research into because the combination sounds REALLY versatile, and you'd be able to stack SO MANY Force Feedback procs into the build that you might even be able to leverage long recharge powers such as Serum to much greater effect than you'd otherwise expect.

Yes please 🙂

 

Seriously though, if you ever come up with a build I'd love to see it. 

 

As an aside... "raining" perma gang war sounds fun

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On 5/28/2020 at 3:45 PM, Skyhawke said:

My first level 50 villain back on Live was a Merc/FF mastermind.  Take the medicine pool as a way to heal and just turn em loose.  Bubbles keep em safe for the most part and if anything does get through, their resistance helps mitigate.  At higher levels, if things got too hairy, the repulsion bubble gave me a moment to breathe before releasing the boys again.  I highly recommend it.

Funnily, my very first character and 50 was a Merc FF as well! As special as that character is to me, I reconceptualized him and would definitely not remake a merc ff again. Just such low damage. You can probably punch them up with procs more than I had but with no meaningful debuffs in FF to fill in for the mercs low and highly resisted damage, it leads to a very tanky sort of build that feels outdated nowadays.

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Alright, I think I've decided on a general build. I may adjust the slotting on the henchmen in order to squeeze out more damage or based on whether they're endurance draining themselves.

Achilles Heel went into the Spec Ops rather than the Soldiers so that it activates at one level higher, but I may swap it with a defense IO from the Soldiers in order get AH up more often on the targets if the Spec Ops don't push it out enough.

 

Burst and Slug are both over 100 DPA and I have not much to do besides add to the shooting, so that will help with the low Mercs damage.

 

Repulsion Bomb and M30 add over 300 AoE damage for fight openers to help get rid of minions faster.

 

Henchmen are softcapped with Power Boosted shields, and a bit better once the Alpha slot is active.

 

It looks reasonable and should put out a steady stream of low and annoying DoT damage as well as a metric ton of shell casings littering the office building from the door to the last boss.

 

Spoiler

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3 hours ago, shrikefire said:

Funnily, my very first character and 50 was a Merc FF as well! As special as that character is to me, I reconceptualized him and would definitely not remake a merc ff again. Just such low damage. You can probably punch them up with procs more than I had but with no meaningful debuffs in FF to fill in for the mercs low and highly resisted damage, it leads to a very tanky sort of build that feels outdated nowadays.

True, but I soloed him all the way to 50 and have never had the min/max mentality.  It was fun with a challenge.  

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7 hours ago, JayboH said:

Threads like this make me sad.  How to get around a terrible imbalance basically.  😩

With a significant IO investment, incarnates, and clever abuses of game mechanics?

Red Tomax/Way Back: https://web.archive.org/web/20140625171903/http://tomax.cohtitan.com/data/powers/

 

DSorrow: “Give a man a build export and you feed him for a day, teach him to build and he's fed for a lifetime.

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9 hours ago, JayboH said:

Threads like this make me sad.  How to get around a terrible imbalance basically.  😩

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Edited by Redlynne
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14 hours ago, Nyghtmaire said:

With a significant IO investment, incarnates, and clever abuses of game mechanics?

Will that still make Mercs the bottom of the barrel when all the other primaries use those same investments, incarnates, and clever abuses of game mechanics?

 

I couldn't believe how bad they were when I would make instant 50s with all the bells and whistles on the closed beta test server.  I had been toying with a Mercs/FF and would only go back to him every few months if that because it was so painful to level.  Now sure, part of it is the secondary choice, but I had no idea just how bad Mercs were until I started playing with them on test.

image.png.440bd3ba66421192ca1fb954c5d313c2.pngspacer.pngFlint Eastwood

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Still have yet to try it, but I always thought mercs/storm would be the way I'd go.   They are ranged pets so storm's keep away powers would work well, hurricane and knockdowns to help keep them alive, plus it adds a bunch of extra damage and -res to make up for mercs being on the relative lower damage end for MM's.  It'd definitely be on the active side to make sure you kept things knocked down and debuffed and then there's the usual AV problem who mostly ignore all that stuff (time to pull out the team inspirations for those).  Sounds like it'd be a fun chaotic ride though.

 

Bonus: You'd get to see a tornado full of shell casings. 

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1 hour ago, Riverdusk said:

Bonus: You'd get to see a tornado full of shell casings. 

That sounds like a good way to clean up the mess after the fact. Environmentally conscious soldiers.

 

image.jpeg.bd241f70b18d55fb27d7d4a04b60eaaf.jpeg

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Red Tomax/Way Back: https://web.archive.org/web/20140625171903/http://tomax.cohtitan.com/data/powers/

 

DSorrow: “Give a man a build export and you feed him for a day, teach him to build and he's fed for a lifetime.

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On 6/15/2020 at 5:41 AM, shrikefire said:

Are mercs candidates for a rebalance/buff? I will make a Mercs/Traps in a heartbeat if Mercs become competitive. 

they are in dire need of it, as do ninja's to a degree. 

 

their base damage is low and they have too many cc's on their tier 2 and 3 that are essentially useless when you can't control then when and how of using them. these cc's take away from additional damage powers that the other sets have instead. 

 

if you want to play it for a theme go for it, but I recommend picking a secondary that is going to help you kill things faster not one that is super defensive in nature. traps or something along those lines.

 

TS fixed mercs by giving tier 1's a third soldier, making medic a separate power while taking it's attacks away and removing a chunk of the cc powers replacing with damage powers. it's quite good there.

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