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Looking to build a Solo Defender


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Morning all.  As I sit and look at my stable of heroes I realized I do not have a single Defender in the barn.  I do not even think I had one in the original game. I am thinking there maybe a reason for all that but am going to ignore that and build one but I have no idea what to build.  I mainly solo when I play so I am looking for a great solo defender build for my first one.  I did some reading and searching but for some odd reason the talk/threads got from defender to making Corruptor or Doms.

 

Now with that said lets hear and see what you suggest for a Solo Defender.

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Your best bet for a solo Defender would be Dark Miasma, Radiation Emission, or Time Manipulation.  All three are very safe (especially Time Manipulation), and have decent debuffs, (Radiation Emission is best in that department).  For secondary, a lot of people like Sonic, but I would not go that way if you intend to solo.  Instead, I'd recommend Beam Rifle (which has decent debuffs in its own right), Dual Pistols (nice mix of single target and ranged damage and versatile), or Water Blast, (a lot of AoE and very safe).

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You should probably try running a traps defender.  It's the only primary other than trick arrow where you don't have to skip powers because they only work on friendlies, and unlike trick arrow you get some buffs to work with. Secondary could be anything, although thematically beam rifle is usually picked. If you want even more control though, dark blast is probably the best secondary for that. Personally I'd skip the first power and start with caltrops instead, that and try to slot a stealth IO as soon as possible to give you more setup time against opponents.

 

Edit: I guess dark miasma also doesn't have friendly powers either, although I don't have any experience playing that set.

Edited by Gwyrddu
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Dark Miasma, Storm, Time, or Traps for me when soloing.

Sonic, Dark Blast, Water Blast, Dual Pistols, or Ice Blast would be my choices on the blast side.

Also, some other choices may work like Fire Blast paired with one of the stronger defensive sets (Dark, Time).

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Dark Miasma/Fire Blast is a great combo; Traps/Dark blast or Beam Rifle; Storm/energy for the force feedback procs); Storm/water blast is formidable; Rad/rad is a classic good solo build as is Radiation/Dark Blast. I would also point out you can have up to 3 alternate builds to switch between and using SOs or generic IOs on your alternate build isn't too expensive. In short you can have one build for solo you tweak out and another build for teams when you want to knock around in groups or friends.

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For a soloist Defender you probably want a mix of good -Resist and defensive abilities in the primary set and lots of ability to proc attacks in the secondary. 

 

For primaries, Dark Miasma, Trick Arrow, Time, Storm, or Traps lead the pack for me. 

 

For secondaries, I would lean towards Dual Pistols, Beam Rifle, Water Blast, or possibly Dark Blast. One thing to consider is how much you care about entering PBAoE range to nuke. For ranged nukes, look to Beam Rifle or Water. Otherwise one of the others.

 

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Here are some thoughts on primaries. First theory, then personal experience. TL/DR: Time is amazing; Pain is underrated.

 

For any defender, but especially a solo defender, I find I want soft-capped defenses (ranged and either S/L or melee). Some people have done impressive things with resist-based builds that don't soft-cap defenses, but I'm not skilled enough to play such a character well. It is possible to get soft-capped defenses on any defender powerset combination, but some primaries make this easier than others.

  • Time and Traps give you big defense boosts. This allows for a lot of build flexibility. You can take a resist-based epic armor instead of Scorpion Shield. You can take an Alpha slot power that doesn't boost defense. There will be room in your build for recharge bonuses and procs.
  • Force Field also gives you a pretty big defense boost.
  • Cold, Dark, and Storm give you more modest but still helpful defense boosts.
  • Electrical Affinity , Nature, Pain, and Sonic do not boost your defense, but they give you some resistances, so taking Scorpion Shield rather than a resist-based epic armor is less of a sacrifice.

I think all of these are viable solo primaries. Other sets are certainly possible to solo with, but your build will be more constrained.

 

Here are some thoughts on the defender and corruptor builds I've taken to 50:

 

Time/Water defender: This is a great combination for three reasons: you can easily get your defenses well over the softcap (from Farsight), you have lots of AoE (from Water), and you can stay at range (since Water's nuke is ranged AoE and since you can use Distortion Field to slow enemies' approach). I'm still working on incarnate powers for this toon. It will almost certainly end up being my strongest solo ranged character. That said, I wouldn't use it to take on AVs. There's not enough single-target damage.

 

Rad/Sonic defender: Described as the "classic AV killer." I find this toon solos well at low levels; the toggles provide good protection. At level 50, -tohit is no substituute for softcapped defenses. Achieving softcapped melee and ranged defense is possible without relying on Agility Alpha, but the build is tight. I recently respecced this toon and haven't fully tested its capabilities. I think the Time/Water will end up better for solo play. Rad/Sonic is ideal for teams fighting hard targets. (If you want to make the first mission of Katie Hannon go fast...)

 

Pain/Sonic defender: Pain is an underrated set. With the combination of +res and the PBAoE healing toggle, you can build a tanky defender. You get a useful self-buff in World of Pain and a good debuff in Anguishing Cry. On a fast-moving team, Pain/Sonic is a great combination. Pain is less clicky than other "healing" sets, so it's possible to focus on the secondary most of the time. Playing solo, this toon's main limitation is the secondary: Sonic Blast is the best defender secondary on teams, because it's a damage multiplier for other players, but it's bad for soloing, since it does relatively little damage itself. With a different blast set (water?), I think Pain would solo well: not S-tier, but solid.

 

Beam/Empathy defender: I rolled this toon for PVP kickballs. Beam is a solid PVE set. Empathy doesn't solo well, for me. (I know that solo emps have done amazing things.)

 

Ice/Thermal corruptor: Intended for PVP but never used there. Ice is an amazing blast set; the secondary effects provide much-needed protection in the middle levels. It's arguably better on a corruptor than on a defender because of the rains. Thermal is a great set on teams (better than Empathy, I'd say), but it's not great for solo play. The "dark fire" theme is less distracting than the original animations.

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1 hour ago, Artillia said:

Great replies guys, thanks a lot.  Looks like I am leaning towards Time for sure just need to choose between Water and Ice.

 

Time/Water and Time/Ice would both be good choices! Water is better for AOE. Ice is better for single target. Both have useful secondary effects and room for procs.

 

I should have mentioned...if you want defenses way over softcap, you do that by combining Farsight with Power Build Up. If you just want to get to the softcap, any epic power pool will do.

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I'm just going to add that Trick Arrow/Dark Blast defender is ridiculously good solo (as well as on teams). And the goodness starts off right away at low level.

 

Also strong nods to Time/Pistol and Pain/Ice.

Edited by Force Redux
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@Force Redux on Everlasting

----- (my current roster of Incarnates) -----

Agent Wong (DP/Ninjutsu); Android Assassin (Beam/Devices); Atomic-Warhead (Rad Armor/Rad Melee)Hell-Spawned (Demons/Dark); Holosmith (Illusion/Traps); Mechanista (Robots/Force Field); Moon Caller (Dark Control/Savage); Shadow-Spider (Trick Arrow/Dark); Willow Thorn (Plant/Nature)

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

Gather the Shadows: A Dark Miasma Primer for Masterminds

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I'll just throw this in the mix: A couple of weeks ago, I was pushing my Elec/Elec Fender from mid 30s to 50s. Went on the Patron unlock arc, bumped into Silver Mantis. I was surprised that he could stand toe to toe with her. Not a lot of my toons can.

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On 12/31/2020 at 11:56 AM, Artillia said:

Now with that said lets hear and see what you suggest for a Solo Defender.

My Strom/ice has been great. At this point (veteran 20+) I solo +4/8 with no difficulties. Of course, stormies are a bit of an acquired taste...  

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On 1/2/2021 at 12:16 PM, Six-Six said:

I'll just throw this in the mix: A couple of weeks ago, I was pushing my Elec/Elec Fender from mid 30s to 50s. Went on the Patron unlock arc, bumped into Silver Mantis. I was surprised that he could stand toe to toe with her. Not a lot of my toons can.

So worth sticking it out?

Mine's been sitting in his 20s for a long time. Wasn't sure if it was set not working well or just the level 20 something defender blues.

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totally depends on you as well as several factors. I usually cough up new toons like there's no tomorrow. but for every 10, only one or two make the cut. I usually test drive them to see if they "feel" right (complete package: powers, costume, concept, etc.). Anywhere from level 5-15, I can usually tell if a toon is worth it to go until 50. so if one of my toons makes it to 20, most likely they'll see end game stuff.

Then again, I've "parked" toons at various levels. sometimes, an aspect feels off and the fix eludes me. so it just sits there until I have a solution. sometimes the solution is the same concept and costume, and powers but on a different AT.

The elec/elec fender is my 2nd ever defender. my first one was FF/Energy and it blew me away on how strong and fun it was. elec/elec knocked the ballpark out of the state! I was surprised to see it perform solo and in teams. 😃

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AE 801 (link) is a variety of missions for fun and challenge, and is designed for a team of 5+ Incarnates.  Just search '801' in AE.  Difficulty Varies: 801.0 Easy, ..., 801.2 Standard, ..., 801.5 Hard, ..., 801.8 Extreme, ..., 801.A Epic, ... 801.F Death.

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I have a Dark/Dual Pistol that is AMAZING. I want to play another defender, but I set the bar so freakin' high with my Dark/DP that I'm afraid any other will be "eh".

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If you're going to solo, might as well pick the set that groups complain about -- Storm.  Storm is really great and even better solo.  I have a Storm/Dark at 50 and I literally didn't look at defense numbers when slotting him for endgame.  Turns out he runs about 17% Ranged defense, but it doesn't matter, since slotted Hurricane floors everything's to-hit.  On top of having floored to-hit, enemies are slowe3d (so they attack less often) and ragdolled (so they attack even less often), so it's actually safer than merely being soft-capped.

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Defenders have quite a few good choices for soloing, as others have suggested. 

 

In the storm options, one combination worth considering is storm / water / electric. Storm helps to overcome the limitations in single target damage of water, while the heal in water makes storm sturdier. Plus, electric provides a single target immobilize that helps quite a bit when enemies are feared and would prefer to run all over the place. Plus, electric mastery has an endurance management power that helps a *lot* and allows taking clarion as the destiny incarnate pick. It's a very solid combination. Finally, the armor in electric mastery allows for high resists in the categories of damage most plentiful in endgame.

Edited by EnjoyTheJourney
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My main ended up being a Time/Fire defender. I usually tell groups that I am not a healer bot but that if they stick close enough to get the buffs, they probably will not have to worry about heals anyway. For solo play I do almost the same chain and when it comes to attacks, I just lay down my two patches, fire off the hold, and then AOE everything to turn it into ash. I mean to knock the baddies unconscious and arrest them. Yeah, definitely that second one.

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