Jump to content

Mercs/Nature: CDF Assassins With a Side of Choom-Boom


Decaying Rose
 Share

Recommended Posts

(edits:  spacing and color formatting)

(edit: ADDENDUM in the Mace Mastery section with info about +absorb limitations on pets)

(edit:  ADDENDUM in the Breaking Up the Band (of Brothers) section about grouping by name)

I’m @Decaying Rose, formerly that crazy “Mastermind guy” from Virtue back on Live, and now that crazy “Mastermind guy” on Torchbearer.  Feel free to look me up on Torchbearer!  I’m a dab hand at training Masterminds as well and don’t mind helping folks out.

 

Today’s subject?  Mercs.

 

MERCS:  CDF ASSASSINS

 

Ah, Mercenaries, the most terrible-ist of all Mastermind primaries.  In any rigorous analysis of MM sets, this one always comes out the worst as far as mechanics go.  Heavily-resisted damage type, not enough AoE, controls that take forever to recharge, wonky animations that cut into DPS, redraw issues, the most sucktacular pet-buff power in the game, earsplitting noises, pretty crappy built-in defenses, and oh yeah, terrible DPS.  Literally every other MM primary is better than Mercs--the math’s been done and the charts have been drawn, right here on the forums.   We all know it, we’ve all seen it.  

 

….but, dangit, Mercs are just cool.  When one hears the word “mastermind”, the idea of a cadre of loyal soldiers is one of the first images that comes to mind.  It’s a crying shame the set isn’t better.

 

We can’t make the set better (ahem, devs, and more on that at the end) but what we CAN do is apply all the tricks of the Mastermind trade to make them a valuable contributor to any team.

 

So, What IS Mercs/Nature, Exactly?

 

Well-rounded is I suppose the best term for it.  All of the other MM primaries tend to have a specialization, (ST, AoE, exotic damage, crits, etc) but Mercs is the odd man out.  They’ve got a little bit of everything--AoE, single-target, heals, buffs, controls, debuffs, the works.  I suppose that stems from how, as I’ve heard it, they were the very first set designed for Masterminds. 

 

Nature’s the same way.  It’s packed full of layers.  There’s direct heals, a rez/heal, comprehensive resist shields, +absorb shields, long-term +damage/+toHit buffs, endurance discounts, lots of +regen, some -toHit/-dam/-regen debuffing, and even some -def/-res debuffing.  None of them are devastatingly strong examples of those things, taken singly, but meshed together they work incredibly well.

 

Combine the two and you get layers and layers of, well, stuff.  This is unlike a lot of other MM combos, where the primary and secondary combine to spike one or two particular aspects of each set through the roof. Thugs/Force Field, for example, really leverages that +defense, while Beast/Kin is a high-damage critical-spewing machine.  

 

Mercs/Nature is just kinda “there”.  You can park ‘em somewhere, buff ‘em, and what you get is an entirely reasonable fire-support backstop for any team.  They aren’t going to prompt a lot of “wtf lol” moments from your team (unless you arrange things juuuuuust right) but what they are going to do is be there, pretty much continually, blasting the crap out of things, debuffing the snot out of stuff, and forming a bulwark of buffs, bullets, and hot brass your team can rely on.  

 

 

This sounds kinda bleh, Rose.  What’s it really GOOD at?

 

Providing a challenge, firstly.  There’s dozens of other MM combos that can outstrip entire teams just on the strength of their built-in powers, and Mercs/Nature isn’t that combo.  Pick something with Storm Summoning if you want some flash.  Mercs/Nature requires some really tight slotting and some sacrifice in service to that slotting, along with a firm grasp of the MM controls and a full understanding of just how all the bits and pieces intermesh.  Even with all that, you’ll have to be fast and think ahead of the team and the tactical situation in order to make these guys work.

 

That said…


CDF Assassins:  Mercs/Nature gets to exploit a long-hated game mechanic that’s often used by high-end critters against players.  That mechanic is known as “Cascading Defense Failure”, or CDF.  If you’ve fought the Underground Resistance as a +defense character and gotten shredded once they started landing hits, then you know just how painful CDF can be.  It’ll turn super-expensive IO builds into cheap crunchies at the drop of a hat.

 

Now you get to turn the tables on ‘em.  Five out of six of your mercs have -defense attached to all of or almost all of their single-target attacks.  The sixth, Commando, has it in one.  You have it in the form of Corrosive Enzymes.  Once your boys land a good hit or two, they’ll KEEP hitting, and between all of you there is enough -defense to either totally negate or take vast chunks out of even T9 powers like Elude or Moment of Glory.

 

This means you and your guys are just about custom-built for quickly destroying really annoying enemies, like Fortunata Mistresses, Night Widows, Ruin Mages, Sky Raider FFGs, and so on.  If there’s a downside to this ability, it’s that you’ll draw aggro from those same annoying enemies since you have higher threat than almost all other ATs and you will have been hitting them first and hardest before the team gets to join in thanks to your debuffs.  I’ve peeled more than my share of MoG’ing Paragon Protectors off of tanks like this.


Long-Term Damage:  Mercs don’t have high spike damage.  They’re all about Damage over Time (moar dots!), and therefore switching targets or having to move with a fast speed-running team really cuts into their potential.  But, with this build, what they ARE good at is providing steady damage on the long-term.  You’re made for chewing through lots of long, defeat-all missions and making them go smoothly.  You’re made for parking somewhere near an AV and unloading a consistent stream of DoTs that’ll make that health bar go down.  Yeah, it ain’t flashy.  This is a game full of fire-blastin’, foot-stompin’ demigods and you’re just a bunch of dudes with guns.  But it works, and well.  It’s just subtle.


Hot Doors:  On a lot of teams, zoning into a mission with a hot door (enemies fighting you the moment you come in) is pure hell.  The team isn’t ready, the buffs aren’t out, and chaos ensues.  

 

Mercs’ Spec Ops go a long way toward making hot doors a non-issue.  Fully upgraded, each of them gets access to long-recharge AoE holds and stuns, the Mag 3 Tear Gas and the Mag 2 Flashbang.  When you zone into a mission, all the pet powers are recharged and they’re in bodyguard mode.  Spec Ops will reliably unload those two controls into the first available enemy that attacks, making a hot-door ambush into a pack of reeling, coughing targets.

 

You’ll have access to chunks of this from L12 on, with your first Spec Ops and the Equip that gives them Flashbang.  Yeah, it’ll just be one guy and one AoE Mag 2 stun, but that’s all the minions sent reeling in one shot, and that’s a big help.  As you get the other Spec Ops and then get Tactical Upgrade, this gets way more effective.


Discipline:  The recent AI changes to MM henchies turned Mercs from a wild pack of suicidal brawlers into a disciplined cadre of soldiers.  Park ‘em somewhere with GOTO and then nail ‘em in place with a Stay/Aggressive order and they’ll hold their ground.  This means that you can set up a killbox with these guys and expect it to work reliably.  Solo, that lets you herd rooms with Spore Cloud, and on a team with a Brute or Tank that’s willing to work with you, they can bring critters to you for easy disposal.

 

In a long AV fight, this lets you safely park them on the back side of an AV so they can shoot without getting hit.  That frees you to roam around and use your Nature powers for the team.


WTF LOL:  Surprisingly, this combo can, in fact, dish out some pretty painful AoE.  You just gotta work for it, and hard.  It’ll take practice.  But when you do it right, it’s glorious.  You’ll have to keep half a mind on your henchies’ power recharges, and the other half on the perfect start point for their cones, and a third half on giving the attack order on just the right guy in the spawn to aim them well.  Do it right, and you’ll unleash: a Corruptor-strength Full Auto, two mini Full Auto clones, the Medic’s dinky little M30 clone, your copy of M30, the Power and Glory that is Mace Beam Volley, and...oh, hang on, everything but the bosses just dropped.

 

This won’t happen all the time.  Combat in Homecoming is just too fast, which is why sets like Thugs and Bots, with their wide and quick-recharging AoEs, are the preferred delivery vehicles for Mastermind AoE.  But Mercs/Nature does have it in them, and as an added bonus, when it goes off right, it sounds AWESOME.  It’s loud and crunchy and attention-getting, especially for any melee characters that are in the thick of it with the bullets whizzing all around them.

 

If you’ve ever taken an Electric Blaster to the high end and mystified a team when you let Thunderous Blast off the chain and everything shakes for a while and then drops dead, that’s pretty much the same feeling when you get a Mercs/Nature WTF LOL moment.

 

Well-Rounded Support:  Again, Mercs/Nature doesn’t have interesting spikes in control, damage, debuff, or buffs.  It’s just got a bit of everything, and because of that, it’s a good hole-filler for any team.  There’s hardly a thing in the game this combo can’t make easier.

 


All right, that sounds at least interesting.  How’s this work?

 

 

There’s a lot of moving parts to go over, each in their own sections below.

 

The Slowest Clown Car In The World

 

If there’s one thing Mercs really, really suffers from, it’s their totally average runspeed.  These guys hoof it everywhere, and they aren’t quick like Beasts or Ninjas.  If you play reactively and follow a team, especially with Homecoming’s fast-paced combat, your guys are going to show up late to the party every time.  That’ll only reinforce Mercs’ crappy reputation, and by God, we are doing this for personal challenge reasons and we are going to show everyone how good this set can be.

 

So you gotta get proactive.  On a team setting, figure out who’s taking the alpha strike and shadow them.  Get their rhythm down, and once you have done so, give GOTO orders such that your boys arrive right as that alpha-soak lands his first shot, or shortly thereafter.  Once you’ve got that down to a science, fold in GOTO orders that put your guys in good positions for their AoEs.

 

And then, realize that sometimes YOU are gonna be that alpha-soak.  Now, you can certainly do that with the typical bodyguard setup--everyone in def/follow and you open up with MBV or M30 or Spore Cloud or something.  It’ll work, but it’s not ideal.  The real fun comes when you survey a spawn, slap down a couple of GOTO orders for your fireteams, and then you and they arrive and all fire something at the same time.  Most of the time that’ll throw out enough knockback to keep all of you safe.  If chance and your recharge timers favor you, it can even be a full-on WTF-LOL moment where you drop 70% of the spawn in one go.

 

And yeah, you can actually do this.  Nature’s shields are good enough to keep you and your guys alive.  Once you pick up Clarion Incarnate, this gets a LOT easier, too.


You And Your Two Teams

 

When you play as a Mercs/Nature on a team, you aren’t on one team, you’re on TWO teams.  One team is the other players, and the other team is your mercs.  Your mercs are a fire-support crew for the player team, and you are the support guy for those mercs.

 

Two of your powers make this playstyle work--M30 Grenade and Regrowth, Nature’s cone heal.  M30 can serve to knock things away from your guys or to add in a little AoE when it’s needed by the player team.  Regrowth works best if you’re behind everyone, so you can see the whole battle and aim it properly.

 

When you’re leveling and don’t have all your slots, it’s even a good idea to slap a little range enhancement into Regrowth so you can cover more area with it.  Once you get a fair amount of global +recharge and all your buff powers and experience using them, though, you can swap to the full set of Preventive Medicine.  By that time, your Wild Growth and Wild Bastion will be doing most of the work of keeping your soldiers and the other players on their feet, and Regrowth will usually be delegated to “spot heal” territory.  Mind you, it’s a really great heal and has all kinds of use, but Nature buffs are so comprehensive you usually don’t have to rely on it.

 

What Do You Mean, “Be The AoE?”

 

Look, I’ve talked up Mercs’ AoE potential here, and it does exist, but only in ideal circumstances.  That’s why I filed it under the WTF-LOL section.  Most of the time you just aren’t going to be able to arrange for clean AoE given Homecoming’s fast combat pace.  Get yourself on a team that does a little herding and you get to show off, but most of the time?  Nah.

 

So in order to help out with your mercs’ damage potential, you need to supply some AoE.  You get two powers to do that with, M30 Grenade and Mace Beam Volley.  (Make sure you select “No Redraw” for M30 in the power customization when you make your costume, btw)

 

M30’s kind of unusual for MM primary AoE attacks in that it’s a full-range (80’) targeted-AoE type.  The only other set that gets a long-ranged AoE is Robotics--everyone else gets a short-range cone or a utility power for their third attack.  That range is M30’s saving grace, because you can fire it off from waaaaay in back and still catch an entire spawn with it. (And you don’t have to move out of optimal Regrowth positioning to do it, another subtle little bonus)  Proc it out as this build does and you’ve got a good-sized AoE you can fire off every 6-8 seconds, and that does pretty respectable damage.  Not Blaster-level, of course, but combined with your soldiers’ attacks?  Yeah, it totally works, and you can keep using it all the way down to level 3.  It really makes those early levels and low-level exemplar sessions way less painful.

 

Now, as for Mace Beam Volley...wait, do you hear angelic singing?  ‘Cause I do.  Man, those guys are loud.  Anyway… MBV is your personal shotgun.  Get it, six slot it, proc it out.  Point it at problems that need solving and brother, they’ll get solved.  MBV’s long animation and redraw also mean that it all-but-guarantees that procs will go off.  You can slap four damage procs in it, and I fully recommend dropping the cash for all of them, even the expensive PVP one.  You will NOT be disappointed.

 

MBV has crunch, because it sounds and looks great when it goes off, and with all those procs, it IS Blaster-level damage. Not like a BU+Aim Nova, but a hard-hitting AoE.  It’s super easy to fire off MBV and then immediately follow up with a no-redraw M30 Grenade for a one-two punch that’ll take great whacking chunks out of a spawn.  Kind of a choom-boom sound for that combo, very distinctive. 

 

Man, "Choom-Boom" is just kinda fun to say.

 

With the kind of global +recharge that Nature demands as a secondary, you’ll have these available often, which is good.  There will be plenty of times where you need to defend yourself when your mercs haven’t caught up with you yet (buff runspeed!), and a couple of easily-chained high-knockback AoEs are perfect for keeping things busy until they do show up.

 

These two are also part of the chain for a WTF-LOL moment.  I’m not kidding, when you do pull one of those off, it’s stupidly impressive and all the more so because it’s Mercs doing it. 

 

Procs and Other Weird Slotting Tricks

 

As noted at the beginning, Mercs is a sub-par set.  That means that in order to make it par, you gotta slot carefully.  This isn’t a set where you can slap in three full copies of Blood Mandate and call it good--all that will get you is a pack of guys with water pistols.  

 

No, you’ve got to get a little weird.  While the full build in the spoiler tags has all the slotting, I’m going to go over each primary slotting here in detail, with reasoning.

 

SOLDIERS:

(A) Achilles' Heel - Chance for Res Debuff: Level 20
 (3) Touch of Lady Grey - Chance for Negative Damage: Level 50
 (3) Overwhelming Force - Damage/Chance for Knockdown/Knockback to Knockdown: Level 50
 (5) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (5) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (7) Sovereign Right - Resistance Bonus: Level 50


So what you get here is the ability for your guys to up their damage and your team’s via Achilles’ -res debuff.  They’ll get that juicy negative damage proc to help with lethal-resistant enemies.  Overwhelming Force turns these guys into little knockdown artists--the constant pelting of fast-recharging KD impulses does a great job of keeping dangerous things on their butts.  Superior Marks top off their damage and accuracy and gives ‘em just enough endredux, and Sovereign Right gives ‘em a resistance bonus that’ll stack nicely with your shields.  Superior Marks, of course, have that lovely 2-slot recharge bonus, which is the main reason I split the set up.

 

Now, on something like a Mercs/Storm (which I’ve run to 50 as well), you’d be able to move the Sovereign Right elsewhere and have another slot to put in the Shield Breaker Lethal damage proc.  But Mercs/Nature doesn’t have that room, so you have to compromise.

 

The first big compromise is that until you get to 50 and can use the Superior Marks, your soldiers will be lacking full damage enhancement, provided you use this slotting while leveling.  However, Achilles and Lady Grey will make up for that, so when you DO get to 50 and can catalyze your ATOs, you get a nice little damage bump as a bonus.  Frankly, I didn’t really notice any big lack while leveling with this slotting.  

 

The less-than optimal accuracy slotting really isn’t that big of a deal when leveling, thanks to Mercs “CDF Assassins” status.  You’ll have Leadership and Supremacy to round that off anyway.

 

I did try swapping out the Achilles’ for the Shield Breaker proc.  That does improve these guys’ raw damage, but it turns out I liked being able to reliably spread around that -res a little more, especially with the way I have the mercs divided into fireteams.  More on that in the Breaking Up the Band section.

 

SPEC OPS:  

(A) Touch of Lady Grey - Chance for Negative Damage: Level 50
 (13) Shield Breaker - Chance for Lethal Damage: Level 30
 (13) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Damage: Level 50
 (15) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Endurance/Pet +Resist +Regen: Level 50
 (15) Blood Mandate - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (17) Blood Mandate - Accuracy: Level 50

 

With these guys, I went double-procs for damage; with the way I have the fireteams laid out I can already spread Achilles’ Heel around to these guys’ target, so I wanted some extra kick.  Superior Marks for the damage and endredux and +resist/+regen aura, then Blood Mandate to round out the accuracy and damage and provide a wee bit of recovery for myself.  Nature can be surprisingly greedy on the blue bar, and you’ll also be passing out personal attacks.

 

Like with the Soldiers, you won’t have full damage enhancement until catalyzed, but again, you won’t notice it much.

 

This slotting turns Spec Ops into handy little damage machines.  Turn ‘em loose on a secondary target and forget about it--they’ll handle it.  I miss the days when we could slot in exotic sets and cut the recharge on their controls, but we’ve got what we’ve got and have to work with it.

 

COMMANDO:

(A) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (27) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage/Recharge: Level 50
 (27) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (29) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Recharge/Pet +AoE Defense Aura: Level 50
 (29) Soulbound Allegiance - Chance for Build Up: Level 50
 (31) Expedient Reinforcement - Resist Bonus Aura for Pets: Level 50

 

This is a little more conventional.  I didn’t go with the left-overs from Superior Marks because I could get the same benefit (the +recharge) from the four-slot arrangement here, get Commando the acc/damage/endredux he needs, and I’d pick up that lovely AoE +defense aura.  Combined with a slotted Maneuvers, that’s roughly 19-20% Def(AoE), and 20% is enough to be blunt the worst of it so the Nature shields don’t have so much to soak up.  Soulbound is here to crank Commando’s damage--I wasn’t kidding about “Corruptor-strength Full Auto”.  He’ll land FA’s with 13-17 damage per tick pretty reliably.  And we have the last part of the trio of resist aura IOs here.

 

Note that Commando is NOT slotted for Knockback-to-Knockdown.  You’ll actually need it.

 

M30 GRENADE:

 (A) Detonation - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (9) Positron's Blast - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (9) Positron's Blast - Chance of Damage(Energy): Level 50
 (11) Javelin Volley - Chance of Damage(Lethal): Level 50
 (11) Bombardment - Chance for Fire Damage: Level 50
 (17) Explosive Strike - Chance for Smashing Damage: Level 20

 

M30’s not strictly a pet, but it’ll get a lot of use.  It’s proc’ed to the gills and slotted for acc/dam/endredux so your endurance doesn’t go poof when using this.  Since it recharges decently fast on its own, the procs aren’t quite as reliable as MBV, but you still tend to get at least two of them going off per activation, which isn’t shabby at all.

 

Like Commando, it’s not knockback-to-knockdown converted.


Embrace The Knockback

 

On a lot of Mastermind sets, Robotics in particular, there’s a lot of call to slot in a Knockback-to-Knockdown IO in the pets to keep them from throwing things every which way.  And, truth be told, I’ve done that on other Mercs/* MMs.  The Commando can really throw ‘em around, since he’s got Buckshot, Slug, and M30 grenade on pretty quick cooldowns.

 

Don’t do it, not for this setup.  You don’t have enough controls to keep things from getting into melee range of your soldiers.  Sure, Web Envelope will help with that, but the AoE’s kinda small and the draw and animation time means it’ll often web ‘em in place after they got to punching distance.

 

So embrace the knockback.  Use M30 to clear things away from your guys, or to keep them from getting there in the first place.  Place Commando so he can be useful with that knockback, usually by throwing things back into the fray by your team’s tank.  Frankly, these guys are all ranged, so a little scatter isn’t going to hurt their output much.  You generally only need a tight pack of critters when you know a WTF-LOL moment is coming up.

 

Mercs doesn’t do the insane amount of knockback that Robotics does, and I’ve found that most teams really don’t notice Commando’s handiwork all that much.


Breaking Up The Band (of Brothers)

 

When it comes to making Mercs/Nature work, you gotta break ‘em up.  That is, you don’t want to command all six of them as one group.  Even with Mercs’ small size compared to other pets, if you give all six a GOTO order to the same spot, they’ll spread out enough to make aiming their cones a real chore. I went with two groups, divided like so:

 

Group One is Commando and both of the Soldiers.
Group Two is both Spec Ops and the Medic.

 

Group One is your damage team--all they do is damage, and all of their AoE except for Commando’s M30 Grenade are cones.  Granted, the Soldiers only have one AoE, their super-narrow Assault Rifle Auto Fire cone, but you want to aim them like you do Commando, so here they go.  

 

Group Two is your secondary damage and control team.  Spec Ops have the controls and the ST damage, while the Medic backs them up.  Medic also gets better -defense numbers on his attacks, so he’s useful in helping the Spec Ops land hits.  Plus, these guys are range-matched.  While the Spec Ops main attacks all reach out to 100-150’, their controls all have a range limit of 70’, which is the same range as the Medic’s attacks.  That means that anything that gets within the Medic’s attack range is also within the Spec Ops control range--this does a lot to keep your Medic on his feet.

 

With just three guys in each group they tend to stick to your GOTO targets much more reliably.  This is important for Group One, as they all have cones for you to aim.  You’ll want to practice aiming those cones, both the short-range ones from Commando (Buckshot, Flamethrower) and the long range ones they all have (Full Auto and Assault Rifle Auto Fire).  With enough practice, you’ll know how close to get them to a spawn for Commando lay out his short-range stuff...and how FAR to put them from a spawn so that the Soldier’s Assault Rifle Auto Fire will actually hit more than one guy.  

 

...and it’s further away than you think it is.  Seriously, back it up.  Take your guys to Perez Park or Boomtown and line ‘em up against those hazard spawns.  Do it with just the Soldiers at first, so you can get a proper feel for how far away to move them so that narrow-ass cone (seriously, 5 degrees?) hits a few guys.  Generally speaking, once you get good at aiming their Assault Rifle Auto Fire, you’ve gotten good at aiming Commando’s Full Auto, and moving all three to that spot will get you some nice results.

 

(If you’re feeling an intense bout of jealousy regarding the Battle Drone’s Full Auto Laser Fire power and it’s big-ass cone, well, that’s perfectly normal!)

 

As for Group Two, well, you can use them in various ways.  Primarily, you’ll have them fighting the same target as Group One, especially in your “CDF Assassin” role.  A great secondary use is parking them near your team’s Defenders and Controllers--they have enough damage to hurt or kill whatever breaks through to the back lines, and the Spec Ops will generally lay out some kind of control in the process, making it safer still.  (It’s great when they can stack controls with Controllers, too.)  Since the Spec Ops have extended range on their ST attacks, they can still reach out into the battle and contribute damage when parked back there...and if you get the distance right, the Medic can’t, which will prevent him from drawing so much aggro.

 

On the subject of Spec Ops controls, you want them both in the same group for one very important reason--they tend to fire off their controls at the same time if you do that.  This isn’t so important for their Web Grenade ST immobilize, and it’s not quite that important for Tear Gas, since it’s long-recharge and Mag 3, which means it’ll handle everything from Lieutenants on down.  But it’s vitally important for their Flashbang power, which is Mag2.  One copy of Flashbang will stun all the minions in a group and nothing else...but two copies of it fired at the same time combine into Mag4, and that’s enough to goober the whole spawn, bosses included.  Flashbang comes back just rapidly enough (two minutes) that you want it to be effective when it does go off.

 

You can micromanage Spec Ops controls.  Generally this is done by keeping them out of control range during fights--Spec Ops gun attacks reach out to 100’ at a minimum, so they can still damage stuff.  When you want them to fire a control, give ‘em a GOTO that puts them a little less than 70’ from the thing you want controlled, then give ‘em an attack order.  Most of the time that’ll result in a Flashbang or Tear Gas getting thrown, often both.

 

Last but not least, dividing them like this means that the Achilles Heel in the Soldiers power is copied over to both groups.  The Soldiers bring it to Group One and the Medic brings it to Group Two. The two soldiers in One can spread it around, and the Medic makes sure it gets applied when you send Two after something nasty.  (This also applies to Overwhelming Force’s knockdown, adding a little safety to both groups)

 

ADDENDUM 21 MAR 2021: 

 

I divide into groups by name.  Like so:

Group One are named:  Kaff, Kevyn, Karl

Group Two are named:  Charles, Darcy, Maurice

 

Then I have attack and goto macros:

One Attack is:  /petcomname K attack

Two Attack is:  /petcomname C attack

One GOTO is: /petcomname K goto

Two GOTO is: /petcomname C goto

 

Usually I put the attack macros in the 1 and 2 slots of the first tray, then the GOTO macros right above them, in the Alt-1 an Alt-2 slots.  Quick and easy to move 'em around or issue attack orders.  Since MM commands take no animation time, I can issue these orders while other powers are animating.  I'll often start my buff cycle (Growth, Bastion, Overgrowth) and give the GOTO commands in the middle of the last buff, so they're starting to move right as the effect lands on them.

 

I use Sandolphan's to set stances, and I've got a dedicated "all pets stay/aggressive" button for when I want to set up a killbox after having moved them into position with GOTO.


Go Aggressive

 

With Homecoming’s fast combat, you can’t always assign targets for your guys with attack orders.  I mean, you can, but tabbing through to that perfect aim-point target isn’t something you always have time to do. (Though one of those target-anything target binds is a big, big help in this.)  

 

And that’s fine!  Mercs work plenty fine on that Old Reliable, GOTO>Aggressive.

 

Just put ‘em in Aggressive mode and slap down a couple of GOTO orders for your groups that place them near the spawn, preferably in WTF-LOL range like you practiced, just in case the stars align.  They’ll pick targets on their own, leaving you plenty of time for your own decision-making.

 

In fact, on a fast team, this is a good way to do things at the start of each battle.  Move ‘em in and they’ll spread their damage around.  While they do that, you tab through the spawn and find something that merits their CDF Assassin mode.  Once you do, issue both groups attacks orders on that thing and they’ll work it over.  Once they’re done, they tend to work over the next nearest target, and with the time it takes to kill their Assassination target, that generally means whatever’s left is more clumped up, making their AoEs more effective.


Mace Mastery Ain’t Just About Shields Oh Wait It Is

 

I covered the Power and Glory that is Mace Beam Volley earlier, and I’m going to reiterate: get it, slot it, love it.  It hits stupidly hard once proc’ed out, and it and M30 Grenade will make Mercs’ AoE that much less of a poor showing.  

 

Embrace the Choom-Boom.  Love the Choom-Boom.

 

...there’s other powers in Mace Mastery, too.  Scorpion Shield’s the usual suspect, of course.  It’s a great shield!  Smash/Lethal/Energy defense, just the thing you need for a late-game filled to overflowing with Smash/Lethal/Energy attacks.  Get it, slot it, use it.  The build also uses it to hold some damage-resist IOs, which you really want.  You could put those in Maneuvers, if you wanted, no biggie.

 

But you’ve got your Nature powerset to think of, and if there’s one epic power that Nature just loves, it’s Power Boost.  Power Boost really cranks up Wild Bastion’s +absorb, and having really big +absorb shields combined with comprehensive damage resists and +regen  from the auras and Wild Growth makes you and the mercs way, WAY more durable.  I mean, there’s a reason Bio Armor works so well, and Nature gets to replicate a big chunk of it.  

 

Combine Power Boost and Clarion Radial with Wild Bastion and things get even sillier.  Now add in all the +HP accolades.  Doing that gets you +absorb shields with about 850 HP.  Your Soldiers at 50 will have 574 HP, so that more than doubles their life.  Spec Ops have 790-ish, so you’ve doubled it there.  Commando runs around 960, so you not-quite double it.  It’s really, really effective at keeping those guys alive, and man does it work a treat on your player teammates, too. 

 

And then there’s Web Envelope.  I wish it animated faster, but you can keep the mace out before the start of a battle to make the animation shorter.  Be proactive and use it before you think you need to.  The build also uses it to six-slot Enfeebled Operation to stack on some more (4%) Smash/Lethal defense to go with Scorpion Shield.  Slotting it like that also solves its recharge pretty neatly, so you can apply it liberally.  You could forgo the six-slot bonus and slap in the various Immobilize IO procs, but I found the +defense a better match.

 

ADDENDUM 21 MAR 2021:  Now that we have an +absorb monitor on the Test server, I went and checked the effects of the +absorb shields on the pets.  Sadly, you can only apply as much +absorb as the pet has base maximum HP.  

 

Tier 1 @ 50: 574 HP, can get 574 HP +absorb shield.

Tier 2 @ 50: 768 HP, can get 768 HP +absorb shield.

Tier 3 @ 50: 963 HP, can get 963 HP +absorb shield.

 

Power Boost will easily let you hit the 574 HP cap for Tier 1s, and if you've got enough +HP boosts and use other +special buffs, you can also cap out the Tier 2s at 768.  I haven't yet been able to hit 963 for the Tier 3, but I can land 800+ with Power Boost, Clarion, and the various HP accolades.

 

So Power Boost isn't strictly necessary for the build, as 450-ish +absorb shields is still a whole lot of survival boost for your pets, but stronger +absorb shields work just fine on your teammates.  I'm still gonna keep it as it's nice to throw out some really big +absorb numbers with PB/Clarion, and they really help out the teammates.

 

I also tried using Rebirth Core Epiphany (T4) to up the pets' +MaxHP, after which I immediately applied Power Boosted Wild Bastion.  They got about one second's worth of the increased maximum shields, after which the combat monitor said it went back down to their base MaxHP value.


RECHARGE RECHARGE RECHARGE

 

You want global +recharge.  I didn’t go completely crazy with it, but this build has enough to get Wild Bastion, Wild Growth, and Overgrowth into the minute-and-change range while Hasten is up.  Without Hasten, they’ll recharge in about a minute and thirty.  That means you’ll have their effects going more often that you don’t, and it’s these three powers that make the pets durable and powerful enough to work properly.

 

You can bolt on enough +recharge to make those powers permanent, but frankly, you’ve got a lot of other things to worry about as a Mercs/Nature, and slavishly rebuffing every minute or less will get old, real quick.  Having some gaps in the coverage adds to the excitement and challenge.

 

If a minute-and-thirty sounds good enough for you, by all means strip out the Speed pool and slap in your travel of choice.  You’ll still be pretty effective, especially for Mercs.


General Notes

 

Your personal defenses, once fully buffed out, are going to fall in the “respectable” range.  37%-ish Smash/Lethal defense, 26% Energy defense are the notables, with 25-30% resistance to everything and mid to late 30s for Energy, Negative, and Toxic.  350% +regen when Wild Growth is active, plus your big +absorb shields and Clarion if you can use it.  The build also uses Celerity’s Stealth and Super Speed’s stealth to keep you from drawing aggro until you lay out a Choom-Boom.

 

Your mercs’ defenses will generally be 60 Smash/Lethal Resist with about 30 percent to everything else, plus the 20-ish Def(AoE) from the auras.  They’ll get back around 17 HP/sec from your Wild Growth, too.

 

Don’t discount your debuffs in Nature.  Corrosive Enzymes is what lets you stack -res with your guys’ copies of Achilles’ Heel, and while it ain’t Rad Defender levels of debuff, it’s more than enough to make bosses go down quick.  Same deal with Spore Cloud--it’s your hard-target de-fanger and your primary source of -regen against AVs.

 

I recommend using a powexec_location bind for Lifegiving Spores.  I fiddled around with having it go to a target, under my feet, or to a specific range, and settled on that last one.  I use /bind g  “powexec_location forward:40 lifegiving spores” to easily place it a fair bit ahead of myself.  This lets me get near a battle and drop it under the melee guys without having to get in range of hostile AoEs, but it’s close enough I don’t have to drop back a huge distance to set it under the feet of my mercs, either.  I also spent the moolah to drop the Panacea HP/End proc in Lifegiving Spores, which lets it actually DO stuff for your teams other than that “top off” heal.

 

I also recommend binding Regrowth to a key or mouse button combo.  This makes it far, far easier to fire off in battle.

 

You’re going to love Overgrowth.  It’s this power, combined with Assault and Supremacy, that really brings Mercs up a level.  While it’s up, they’re all sitting at ~80% damage boost over their slotted enhancement values and that is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Commando’s Soulbound Allegiance stacks with that, and that stack is where “Corruptor-Strength Full Auto” comes from.  Soulbound Allegiance is often slotted in Tier 1 pets (like Soldiers or Battle Drones) in order to make them reliably hit and damage in late-game content, but Merc’s CDF Assassin status makes hitting just about a non-issue, and let’s face it, Soldiers’ damage isn’t much to write home about.  Commando, on the other hand, is your main pet-based AoE source, and he’s got so, so many attacks that Soulbound is on more often than it’s not.  It just works better in him, and having it slotted there frees up your Soldiers to be knockdown artists with Overwhelming Force.

 

Mercs/Nature also really benefits from Incarnate powers.  Interface goes off a LOT, mainly because all your guys have some really fast-charging attacks.  I went with Degenerative to round out their damage types (it’s got Toxic) and because a -MaxHP debuff multiplies their damage.  Lore, I went with Vanguard Core for theme, and arranged it so the Magician went with Group One (for AoE) and the Sergeant with Group Two (to buff their ST damage).  Destiny is Clarion Radial to amplify +absorb effects and to provide some much-needed status protection.

 

Hybrid’s a mixed bag.  The safe and easy choice is Support Core Hybrid, which is basically a super-charged Leadership pool for you and the pets.  More defense, more damage, a nice endurance discount.  You really can’t go wrong, and it’s easy to use and works every time without any fiddling around.

 

However, I also recommend picking up the later tiers of Assault Core Hybrid.  When you go into what you know will be a long, long mission, swap that one in beforehand.  Dismiss your guys before you enter.  After you enter, toggle on Assault Core and resummon/upgrade while it’s active.  So long as the pets don’t die, every time you toggle on Assault Core for the rest of the mission, they will benefit from its effects.  If they do die, resummon the next time Assault Core is active.

 

Assault Core Hybrid give each attack of theirs a chance to apply a +damage buff...and since you’ve got Overgrowth and Assault and Supremacy going already, this stacks amazingly well.  I ran some tests and Commando basically runs around at the pet damage cap (300%) about half the time when this is up.  The rest of the time he’s sitting pretty at 200-230%-ish.  It’s super-effective.

 

I also checked out Assault Radial as well, and it does provide DoubleHit, even on the Soldier’s dinky little attacks.  Works out to about 30-40 damage per DoubleHit for those guys.  If you want to diversify damage types (DoubleHit does smashing or energy, depending on the tier) then Assault Radial will work.  If you want to go all-in on raw damage, go Assault Core.  I hang my hat on Core, though, at least for Mercs/Nature.

 

One cool bind trick you can do is make a rotating set of “inspexec_pet_target” bind files.  You’ll need six, one for each pet.  Set each up to chow down on a red inspiration of any size and to rebind the key for the next file in the loop.  When you’ve got a bunch of red candy to spare (and you will, you’re a Mastermind), tap the bound key in a slow rhythm (about once a second) to distribute reds to your entire pet lineup.  If you jam the key quickly, it won’t cycle through everyone properly and some of the inspirations will get lost in the void.  Having this around basically lets you clone Overgrowth, or have its effects when you’re too low a level to use it.

 

I wouldn’t skip out on the Leadership pool.  You definitely want Assault for +damage stacking, and Tactics makes CDF Assassin mode that much more effective.  Maneuvers is small, but stacks with any other sources of Defense and helps the whole team.

 

Build is in the spoiler-block below.


Oh Yeah, What About Fixing Mercs?

 

There are a LOT of great suggestions on the forums for doing that.  I particularly like the ideas of getting a third Soldier and replacing Serum with a dedicated Medic, and the one about replacing Serum with a “everyone throws a grenade” power.  Super thematic.

 

But, development time is precious.  My proposals are all about just altering some numbers without changing the powers or animations out.  They are:

 

1:  Buff runspeed.  This should really apply to all pets, but Mercs super needs it.  Maybe not quite Ninja-fast, but just below.  That’d solve a bunch of problems.

2:  Widen and lengthen cones.  If nothing else, the Soldiers’ Assault Rifle Auto Fire should at LEAST be as wide as the cone Battle Drones get.  Commando’s Buckshot, Flamethrower, and Full Auto should be wider, and the first two could stand another 20’ of range or so.  It would be one thing to do this to the player versions of the power, but since we have to aim these pet powers from at least one level removed, making them easier to aim would be nice.

3:  Cut the recharge on Spec Ops controls.  In half.  If you gotta cut down the duration to do it, fine--they’re more about slapping a momentary pause-button on a battle or detoggling an annoying power than locking down a spawn.

 

Just those three would go a long, long way to making Mercs a whole lot better without cutting into their style.  I wouldn’t say no to some raw damage buffs for the Soldiers and Spec Ops either, especially if changing the animations wasn’t an option.

 

 

Spoiler

 

This Villain build was built using Mids Reborn 3.0.4.7
https://github.com/Reborn-Team/MidsReborn

Missing In Action II: Level 50 Natural Mastermind
Primary Power Set: Mercenaries
Secondary Power Set: Nature Affinity
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Leadership
Ancillary Pool: Mace Mastery

Villain Profile:
------------
Level 1:    Soldiers    
 (A) Achilles' Heel - Chance for Res Debuff: Level 20
 (3) Touch of Lady Grey - Chance for Negative Damage: Level 50
 (3) Overwhelming Force - Damage/Chance for Knockdown/Knockback to Knockdown: Level 50
 (5) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (5) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (7) Sovereign Right - Resistance Bonus: Level 50


Level 1:    Corrosive Enzymes    
 (A) Accuracy IO: Level 50
 (36) Accuracy IO: Level 50


Level 2:    Regrowth    
 (A) Preventive Medicine - Heal: Level 50
 (7) Preventive Medicine - Heal/Endurance: Level 50
 (23) Preventive Medicine - Endurance/RechargeTime: Level 50
 (25) Preventive Medicine - Heal/RechargeTime: Level 50
 (25) Preventive Medicine - Heal/RechargeTime/Endurance: Level 50
 (31) Preventive Medicine - Chance for +Absorb: Level 50


Level 4:    Super Speed    
 (A) Blessing of the Zephyr - Knockback Reduction (4 points): Level 50


Level 6:    Equip Mercenary    
 (A) Endurance Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 8:    M30 Grenade    
 (A) Detonation - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (9) Positron's Blast - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (9) Positron's Blast - Chance of Damage(Energy): Level 50
 (11) Javelin Volley - Chance of Damage(Lethal): Level 50
 (11) Bombardment - Chance for Fire Damage: Level 50
 (17) Explosive Strike - Chance for Smashing Damage: Level 20


Level 10:    Wild Growth    
 (A) Unbreakable Guard - Resistance: Level 50
 (19) Unbreakable Guard - RechargeTime/Resistance: Level 50
 (19) Unbreakable Guard - Resistance/Endurance/RechargeTime: Level 50
 (21) Preventive Medicine - Heal/Endurance: Level 50
 (21) Preventive Medicine - Heal/RechargeTime/Endurance: Level 50
 (23) Preventive Medicine - Heal: Level 50


Level 12:    Spec Ops    
 (A) Touch of Lady Grey - Chance for Negative Damage: Level 50
 (13) Shield Breaker - Chance for Lethal Damage: Level 30
 (13) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Damage: Level 50
 (15) Superior Mark of Supremacy - Endurance/Pet +Resist +Regen: Level 50
 (15) Blood Mandate - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (17) Blood Mandate - Accuracy: Level 50


Level 14:    Spore Cloud    
 (A) Dark Watcher's Despair - To Hit Debuff/Recharge/Endurance: Level 50
 (34) Dark Watcher's Despair - To Hit Debuff/Endurance: Level 50
 (34) Dark Watcher's Despair - Recharge/Endurance: Level 50
 (36) Dark Watcher's Despair - To Hit Debuff: Level 50


Level 16:    Lifegiving Spores    
 (A) Panacea - +Hit Points/Endurance: Level 50


Level 18:    Assault    
 (A) Endurance Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 20:    Wild Bastion    
 (A) Panacea - Heal/Endurance: Level 50
 (33) Panacea - Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (33) Panacea - Heal/Recharge: Level 50
 (33) Panacea - Heal/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (34) Panacea - Heal: Level 50


Level 22:    Maneuvers    
 (A) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Increased Global Recharge Speed: Level 50
 (45) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Endurance: Level 50
 (45) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50


Level 24:    Tactics    
 (A) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (37) Adjusted Targeting - Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (37) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Endurance: Level 50
 (37) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Recharge: Level 50
 (40) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff: Level 50


Level 26:    Commando    
 (A) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage: Level 50
 (27) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage/Recharge: Level 50
 (27) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (29) Superior Command of the Mastermind - Recharge/Pet +AoE Defense Aura: Level 50
 (29) Soulbound Allegiance - Chance for Build Up: Level 50
 (31) Expedient Reinforcement - Resist Bonus Aura for Pets: Level 50


Level 28:    Rebirth    
 (A) Recharge Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 30:    Hasten    
 (A) Recharge Reduction IO: Level 50
 (31) Recharge Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 32:    Tactical Upgrade    
 (A) Endurance Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 35:    Scorpion Shield    
 (A) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Increased Global Recharge Speed: Level 50
 (40) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Endurance: Level 50
 (43) Luck of the Gambler - Defense/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (45) Shield Wall - +Res (Teleportation), +5% Res (All): Level 50
 (46) Reactive Defenses - Scaling Resist Damage: Level 50


Level 38:    Overgrowth    
 (A) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Recharge: Level 50
 (39) Adjusted Targeting - Recharge: Level 50
 (39) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (39) Adjusted Targeting - Endurance/Recharge: Level 50
 (40) Adjusted Targeting - To Hit Buff/Endurance: Level 50


Level 41:    Mace Beam Volley    
 (A) Detonation - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (42) Positron's Blast - Accuracy/Damage/Endurance: Level 50
 (42) Positron's Blast - Chance of Damage(Energy): Level 50
 (42) Javelin Volley - Chance of Damage(Lethal): Level 50
 (43) Bombardment - Chance for Fire Damage: Level 50
 (43) Explosive Strike - Chance for Smashing Damage: Level 20


Level 44:    Web Envelope    
 (A) Enfeebled Operation - Accuracy/Recharge: Level 50
 (46) Enfeebled Operation - Endurance/Immobilize: Level 50
 (46) Enfeebled Operation - Accuracy/Endurance: Level 50
 (48) Enfeebled Operation - Immobilize/Range: Level 50
 (48) Enfeebled Operation - Accuracy/Immobilize/Recharge: Level 50
 (48) Enfeebled Operation - Accuracy/Immobilize: Level 50


Level 47:    Power Boost    
 (A) Recharge Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 49:    Entangling Aura    
 (A) Basilisk's Gaze - Endurance/Recharge/Hold: Level 30
 (50) Basilisk's Gaze - Accuracy/Endurance/Recharge/Hold: Level 30
 (50) Basilisk's Gaze - Accuracy/Hold: Level 30
 (50) Basilisk's Gaze - Accuracy/Recharge: Level 30


Level 1:    Supremacy    
Level 1:    Brawl    
 (A) Accuracy IO: Level 50


Level 1:    Sprint    
 (A) Celerity - +Stealth: Level 50


Level 2:    Rest    
 (A) Recharge Reduction IO: Level 50


Level 2:    Swift    
 (A) Run Speed IO: Level 50


Level 2:    Hurdle    
 (A) Jumping IO: Level 50


Level 2:    Health    
 (A) Miracle - +Recovery: Level 40


Level 2:    Stamina    
 (A) Performance Shifter - EndMod: Level 50
 (36) Performance Shifter - Chance for +End: Level 50


Level 50:    Musculature Core Paragon    
Level 50:    Vorpal Radial Final Judgement    
Level 50:    Degenerative Radial Flawless Interface    
Level 50:    Vanguard Core Superior Ally    
Level 50:    Clarion Radial Epiphany    
Level 50:    Assault Core Embodiment    
Level 1:    Soldier    
Level 26:    Commando    
Level 1:    Medic    
Level 12:    Spec Ops    
------------
------------
Set Bonus Totals:
8% DamageBuff(Smashing)
8% DamageBuff(Lethal)
8% DamageBuff(Fire)
8% DamageBuff(Cold)
8% DamageBuff(Energy)
8% DamageBuff(Negative)
8% DamageBuff(Toxic)
8% DamageBuff(Psionic)
4.06% Defense(Smashing)
4.06% Defense(Lethal)
2.5% Defense(Energy)
2.5% Defense(Negative)
4.38% Defense(Melee)
1.25% Defense(Ranged)
15% Defense(AoE)
3% Enhancement(Immobilized)
18% Enhancement(Accuracy)
6.25% Enhancement(Max EnduranceDiscount)
87.5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)
7.5% SpeedFlying
GrantPower Preventive Medicine (0% chance, if Scourge)
96.38 HP (12%) HitPoints
7.5% JumpHeight
7.5% SpeedJumping
Knockback (Mag -4)
Knockup (Mag -4)
MezResist(Confused) 30%
MezResist(Held) 30%
MezResist(Immobilized) 30%
MezResist(Sleep) 30%
MezResist(Stunned) 30%
MezResist(Terrorized) 30%
13.5% (0.23 End/sec) Recovery
180% (6.02 HP/sec) Regeneration
47.5% Resistance(Smashing)
47.5% Resistance(Lethal)
46% Resistance(Fire)
46% Resistance(Cold)
53.5% Resistance(Energy)
53.5% Resistance(Negative)
43% Resistance(Toxic)
43% Resistance(Psionic)
7.5% SpeedRunning

------------
Set Bonuses:
Superior Mark of Supremacy
(Soldiers)
  10% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Sovereign Right
(Soldiers)
  10% Resistance(All)


Preventive Medicine
(Regrowth)
  2.25% Resistance(Smashing,Lethal), MezResist(Immobilized) 3.75%, MezResist(Held) 3.75%, MezResist(Stunned) 3.75%, MezResist(Sleep) 3.75%, MezResist(Terrorized) 3.75%, MezResist(Confused) 3.75%
  15.06 HP (1.88%) HitPoints
  3% Resistance(Fire,Cold), MezResist(Immobilized) 5%, MezResist(Held) 5%, MezResist(Stunned) 5%, MezResist(Sleep) 5%, MezResist(Terrorized) 5%, MezResist(Confused) 5%
  3.75% Enhancement(EnduranceDiscount)
  8.75% Enhancement(RechargeTime)
  GrantPower Preventive Medicine (0% chance, if Scourge), GrantPower Preventive Medicine (0% chance, if Scourge)


Blessing of the Zephyr
(Super Speed)
  Knockback (Mag -4), Knockup (Mag -4)


Positron's Blast
(M30 Grenade)
  2.5% (0.04 End/sec) Recovery


Unbreakable Guard
(Wild Growth)
  2.5% Enhancement(EnduranceDiscount)
  2.25% Resistance(Energy,Negative), MezResist(Immobilized) 3.75%, MezResist(Held) 3.75%, MezResist(Stunned) 3.75%, MezResist(Sleep) 3.75%, MezResist(Terrorized) 3.75%, MezResist(Confused) 3.75%


Preventive Medicine
(Wild Growth)
  2.25% Resistance(Smashing,Lethal), MezResist(Immobilized) 3.75%, MezResist(Held) 3.75%, MezResist(Stunned) 3.75%, MezResist(Sleep) 3.75%, MezResist(Terrorized) 3.75%, MezResist(Confused) 3.75%
  15.06 HP (1.88%) HitPoints


Superior Mark of Supremacy
(Spec Ops)
  10% Enhancement(RechargeTime)
  15% Resistance(All), 150% (5.02 HP/sec) Regeneration


Blood Mandate
(Spec Ops)
  1.5% (0.03 End/sec) Recovery


Dark Watcher's Despair
(Spore Cloud)
  12.05 HP (1.5%) HitPoints
  2.5% (0.04 End/sec) Recovery
  5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Panacea
(Wild Bastion)
  2.5% (0.04 End/sec) Recovery
  2.25% Resistance(Smashing,Lethal), MezResist(Immobilized) 3.75%, MezResist(Held) 3.75%, MezResist(Stunned) 3.75%, MezResist(Sleep) 3.75%, MezResist(Terrorized) 3.75%, MezResist(Confused) 3.75%
  10% (0.33 HP/sec) Regeneration
  MezResist(Repel) 1000% (10% chance)


Luck of the Gambler
(Maneuvers)
  10% (0.33 HP/sec) Regeneration
  9.04 HP (1.13%) HitPoints
  7.5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Adjusted Targeting
(Tactics)
  2% DamageBuff(All)
  3% Resistance(Energy,Negative), MezResist(Immobilized) 5%, MezResist(Held) 5%, MezResist(Stunned) 5%, MezResist(Sleep) 5%, MezResist(Terrorized) 5%, MezResist(Confused) 5%
  9% Enhancement(Accuracy)
  5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Superior Command of the Mastermind
(Commando)
  4% DamageBuff(All)
  24.1 HP (3%) HitPoints
  10% Enhancement(RechargeTime)
  15% Defense(AoE)


Expedient Reinforcement
(Commando)
  10% Resistance(All)


Luck of the Gambler
(Scorpion Shield)
  10% (0.33 HP/sec) Regeneration
  9.04 HP (1.13%) HitPoints
  7.5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Shield Wall
(Scorpion Shield)
  5% Resistance(Lethal), 5% Resistance(Smashing), 5% Resistance(Fire), 5% Resistance(Cold), 5% Resistance(Energy), 5% Resistance(Negative), 5% Resistance(Psionic), 5% Resistance(Toxic)


Reactive Defenses
(Scorpion Shield)
  3% Resistance(All)


Adjusted Targeting
(Overgrowth)
  2% DamageBuff(All)
  3% Resistance(Energy,Negative), MezResist(Immobilized) 5%, MezResist(Held) 5%, MezResist(Stunned) 5%, MezResist(Sleep) 5%, MezResist(Terrorized) 5%, MezResist(Confused) 5%
  9% Enhancement(Accuracy)
  5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Positron's Blast
(Mace Beam Volley)
  2.5% (0.04 End/sec) Recovery


Enfeebled Operation
(Web Envelope)
  3% Enhancement(Immobilized)
  2.25% Resistance(Energy,Negative), MezResist(Immobilized) 3.75%, MezResist(Held) 3.75%, MezResist(Stunned) 3.75%, MezResist(Sleep) 3.75%, MezResist(Terrorized) 3.75%, MezResist(Confused) 3.75%
  2.5% Defense(Smashing,Lethal), 1.25% Defense(Melee)
  3.75% Enhancement(RechargeTime)
  3.13% Defense(Melee), 1.56% Defense(Lethal), 1.56% Defense(Smashing)


Basilisk's Gaze
(Entangling Aura)
  2.5% Defense(Energy,Negative), 1.25% Defense(Ranged)
  2% (0.03 End/sec) Recovery
  7.5% Enhancement(RechargeTime)


Performance Shifter
(Stamina)
  7.5% SpeedJumping, 7.5% JumpHeight, 7.5% SpeedFlying, 7.5% SpeedRunning


| Copy & Paste this data into Mids Reborn : Hero Designer to view the build |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
|MxDz;1509;724;1448;HEX;|
|78DA4D934B4C13511486EFF441A514DB5AA03CFAAE505AA0C2D6470CA221156A483|
|046E3828C65AA939469D316234B97BE1535EE4420BA7061E246C09DD1185DB8D368|
|D48D3B45411331BAAB87393F9D3669BED3FFDEF3ECB9E973071D8F86CFEF17926B2|
|827974A1369B954568A53AA36693B2297A78B72CE2C84F0A4D592AA9D0EA5B4D060|
|A6ACE6B5502A6523DD6F5C9F189F9E9ACA6BC9B452CC289A5C549552B0E6F4C0743|
|69BD4232A1383D9ACAAA9E519611FCBE773C9F182A24C3A75735491279562E98C5A|
|706CFD2E505EB7FE23A59DA52A4EA93972F51D2AA899644DFCB49C5150FC4C2B551|
|6A7EF9C55E053B18A67266AC3224C6F8803C42F669D966316E67166DD1FA1F363B4|
|EA2B8976D6A2E0273A93248E2B7DE53875DF982DABCCD6EFE00F66608D19A5B1993|
|9AE307FE65AE6A94E2BC713D630E75820CD861CB6C7AC6D5B029799F608C7B49BAC|
|3A5D33DCE305AAAF1EBEF51B7C67C75FF01FB309F536A1BE16F4B148A11A30B306C|
|CCA5147677EE2519ED1F613E02AD7E15A675EA4BC8DEC6B6E5C66DFF0537085197D|
|C2BC44779DE8D919466D341B373437E67099EE7958B3787C7C2FE407036090190E3|
|1DD14A7997D4CCD9B0669BD2ED0C3F4D01D2FE27AEF714D3BE7C105708E19BBCBBC|
|4FB369C35CDB5E70AEF697E02BA6EF3538C43E810DE615EAA303FF7B470FF716A11|
|AFC1C4FF2430B800F285710B3086216CB143A829A23E82B86BE12E8AB7784F3F7FD|
|665EA3BC9DF0E9443F5D8B20FAEE42DF31F4BD42AEDDE8B31BBB17C7EEC5B17B71E|
|C5E02BB97C0EE2D91DC83FDE9B9CE35F5DD006799BB6E82B7C0DBCC75871049F49C|
|C41CAE52FDFDAC99FBDF9BF43D1CF800BE05DF31D396EA9BADF80C5B6CBDDFD14D0|
|DF1453DF73A6681449A849C6BF6EAFB16521F6BEBB55A376B3F6BB5C364C42CE297|
|A149D22C76FE0E73C443E0B34AC94B366A1DF61AFAC966C37EE831EE3C8F18F6EE8|
|4D1E73EB2DB60EFA9D1F726AAEFB8F21F8A40EC63|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

 


 

Edited by Decaying Rose
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made a merc-nature before reading this and I a must agree with most of it. +1 for putting overwhelming force in the T1. I do that on most of my MM's with the exception of Bots, AssBot burn patches with KD added are just hilarious.

 

If I run an Assault Hybrid, I prefer the Radial. The pet damage cap is fairly low and Nature gets their +damage pretty high as it is. If you end up on a team with a /kin or even another plant, it's very easy to run up against the cap. The double hit nature of Radial gets around that. You get your damage and still have some ceiling left to use outside buffs.

 

Lastly, you didn't mention Entangling Aura. It is an excellent form of CC and is capable of locking down large groups. I am been tinkering with the idea of using Fold Space to group things around me to get held. The real beauty of it is that Overgrowth gives such a large endurance break that the end cost isn't prohibitive even before you get Incarnates and IO's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These can't individually control each pet, but they are a pretty good set of binds for controlling each Tier of pets.

I don't have any macros, unfortunately, but I know you can find some by searching the forums or Google.

 

Global: @Valnara1; Discord Handle: @Valnara#0620

I primarily play on Everlasting, but you may occasionally find me on Indom. 🙂

Notable Characters: Apocolyptica - Demons/Storm MM; Lurking Monster - Human-Form WS; Environmentabot - Bots/Nature MM; Miss Fade - Ill/Traps Controller; Sister Apocalypse - Beast/Dark MM; Dr. Elaina Wrath - Plant/Rad Controller (Join the House of Wrath, and spread the word of science!); Ruff Ruff Boom - AR/Devices Blaster

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I divide into groups by name.  Like so:

Group One are named:  Kaff, Kevyn, Karl

Group Two are named:  Charles, Darcy, Maurice

 

Then I have attack and goto macros:

One Attack is:  /petcomname K attack

Two Attack is:  /petcomname C attack

One GOTO is: /petcomname K goto

Two GOTO is: /petcomname C goto

 

Usually I put the attack macros in the 1 and 2 slots of the first tray, then the GOTO macros right above them, in the Alt-1 an Alt-2 slots.  Quick and easy to move 'em around or issue attack orders.  Since MM commands take no animation time, I can issue these orders while other powers are animating.  I'll often start my buff cycle (Growth, Bastion, Overgrowth) and give the GOTO commands in the middle of the last buff, so they're starting to move right as the effect lands on them.

 

I use Sandolphan's to set stances, and I've got a dedicated "all pets stay/aggressive" button for when I want to set up a killbox after having moved them into position with GOTO.

 

---

 

ADDENDUM:  Now that we have an +absorb monitor on the Test server, I went and checked the effects of the +absorb shields on the pets.  Sadly, you can only apply as much +absorb as the pet has base maximum HP.  

 

Tier 1 @ 50: 574 HP, can get 574 HP +absorb shield.

Tier 2 @ 50: 768 HP, can get 768 HP +absorb shield.

Tier 3 @ 50: 963 HP, can get 963 HP +absorb shield.

 

Power Boost will easily let you hit the 574 HP cap for Tier 1s, and if you've got enough +HP boosts and use other +special buffs, you can also cap out the Tier 2s at 768.  I haven't yet been able to hit 963 for the Tier 3, but I can land 800+ with Power Boost, Clarion, and the various HP accolades.

 

So Power Boost isn't strictly necessary for the build, as 450-ish +absorb shields is still a whole lot of survival boost for your pets, but stronger +absorb shields work just fine on your teammates.  I'm still gonna keep it as it's nice to throw out some really big +absorb numbers with PB/Clarion, and they really help out the teammates.

 

I also tried using Rebirth Core Epiphany (T4) to up the pets' +MaxHP, after which I immediately applied Power Boosted Wild Bastion.  They got about one second's worth of the increased maximum shields, after which the combat monitor said it went back down to their base MaxHP value.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edits made to the original post to add in the above.

While I've been applying the lessons learned here to a Thugs/Nature (doing a full Growth/Bastion/Overgrowth cycle on Gang War really turns those dudes into a raving pack of terrors, I must say), I keep coming back to Mercs/Nature for my "fun time Mastermind" these days.

 

Part of it is the sheer loudness--you cannot possibly ignore the mercs when they start firing from the back line due to their volume, so teams always know I'm there and doing something.  Stuff just steadily melts, even in +4x8 content.

 

Part of it is the mix of damage and controls and buffs--these guys are great for destroying or delaying ambushes, and I've had more than a few times where I'm soloing one or more ambushes while the team moves on, then they come back when they realize things got quiet up front, only to find mountains of brass and a battle raging on they didn't even know about.

 

Part of it is indeed those glorious WTF LOL moments--there's a huge burst of intense rifle fire and mace beams and grenades and then everything goes quiet. 

 

And part of it is just the smoothness this combo enables for a team--Overgrowth is some seriously good buffage, as are the rest, and things just work out.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Decaying Rose said:

Then I have attack and goto macros:  [snip]

Thanks for the help with those; I have a real aversion to keybidns in that I really don't want to look away from my screen.  One of the toons in my sig down there is a Merc/Nature and after dragging him out for few simple tip runs I've realized he could use a new coat of paint via a solid respect and this sort of planning (also his macros weren't well set up the first time).  I just hiope I can find a way to make the already assigned pet names line up (he's something of a concept character, so they have to work OR ELSE) ha ha).

Edited by Clave Dark 5

_____________________________

Hi, I'm Clave Dark 5!  You may remember me from such characters as King Pumpkin Spice, Stupid Like A Fox, Capt Sam's Space Zoo, The Pink Bamfer, Trash Ghost, Maid Of Metal... as well as a few really stupid AE arcs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...