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Dark Armor / Savage Melee Tanker Build (I think I am finally happy with this one)

Mythical Creature

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I think I may have finally figured out my Dark Armor / Savage Melee Tanker Build. 


I was able to defeat all the enemies in the trapdoor mission on 8x/+4 settings in under 10 minutes, good for a tanker I think (video included).


Let me know what you think about it, always open to improving things but I think I might finally be there in terms of improvement with this one?






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<Witch> of Everlasting

<Mythical Creature> of Excelsior
Global Name: @Mythical Creature
"Monsters are real and they look like people." - Unknown

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Your slot-efficiency is absolutely horrible. You're spending far too many slots on small resistance bonuses, resulting in a build that has poor offense for its class. When designing a build, slot-efficiency is the primary concern because extra slots can then be invested in achieving your build goals, or directed towards additional build goals.


I do like, however, the fact that you have built for slow resist - always important on a resist-heavy primary with click sustain. Unlike most of the terrible dark armor tanker builds on this forum I've seen, you will not walk into a moonfire TF, eat 1 volley of blasts from council galaxies, and then die because every power stops recharging. good job on that front.


Here are some examples of ways to boost your slot-efficiency.


Clear all slots in maiming and vicious slash and replace with the below.

  • Maiming slash: 2x blistering cold, 3x gauntleted fist
  • Vicious slash: 6x hecatomb
  • Boxing: 2x blistering cold

Note that despite losing 2 procs from maiming slash and 1 from vicious slash, this is a dps gain due to higher enhancement values and the low procrate of non-purple damage procs as you have them slotted.


For the same number of slots, you gain: 3% EN res, 6% FC res, 3% Tox/psi res, 15% acc, 10% rech, 4% recovery, 3.6% max end. You're being scammed, my man/woman/other. The game ripped you off! You can keep the extra res or trim back resist bonuses elsewhere to save slots.


Moral of the story: When seeking a 2-slot bonus, consider using filler powers as mules (brawl/boxing/kick being a good example). These powers come with a default slot which effectively means you pay only 1 added slot for a 2-slot bonus. However, paying the 2 full slots in a useful power is not always a loss if you get a damage proc or necessary enhancement values out of it. Also, 2 sets of 3x gauntleted fist gives 12% EN res total, the hardest res to build for. It is worth considering on tankers with an EN hole, although 5-6x gauntleted fist for a melee def build is also pretty good.



Delete the 2x Launch from Mighty Leap.

  • Add 1 slot to Sprint and slot it with 2x Celerity. Same SL res, but you save a slot.
  • Actually, don't do that. Instead, add 1 slot to Physical perfection and slot it with 2x preventive med for the same result, and more regeneration besides.
  • Celerity also goes in prestige sprints. You can take all 4 prestige sprints and use this trick on them as necessary if desperate for SL res (rarely necessary on tankers, but I am here to educate).


We are now going to perform a complex switcheroo. Watch carefully.


Reslot death shroud, Dark regeneration, Taunt and rending flurry as follows.

  • Death Shroud: 5x might of the tanker, 1x gladiator's fury proc
  • Dark regen: 5x Doctored wounds, 1x +5 common acc IO
  • Rending flurry: 3x gauntleted fist, 3x avalanche (incl proc)
  • Obsidian shield: 3x unbreakable guard
  • Brawl: 2x Blistering cold

This will use up the free slot we gained from the optimization above.


You lose: 3.75% FC res, but FC is still capped at 90%.

You gain: 1.5% Tox/psi res, 15% (!!) rech, 3% HP, 4% dmg.


Note that, despite losing a damage proc in rending, this is still a slight dps gain because the procrate in rending is low.


But you may be thinking, "wait! I want my theft of essence/absorb proc in dark regen!" However, the proc only restores 10 end. When slotted as above, dark regen not only costs 6 less end than before, it also heals about twice as much (1132 vs 562). Even if we generously assume the absorb proc, worth 15% of maxhp, has a 100% procrate, (which it does not) then that decreases to "only" 30% more on a single target (1132 vs 562+313). That means you use it less, saving even more end, and the absorb proc goes in a different power, further enhancing overall survivability.


Moral of the story: procs are not Jesus. Compare the effect with or without procs instead of assuming that any proc is a net gain. Specialized procbombing builds work because they specifically optimize with the PPM system in mind, and even then, there are many terrible ones.


Finally, at this point, your FC res is still overcapped. You could remove a slot of winter's gift, and add back a damage proc that we lost earlier to maiming slash.


Frankly, there is still much potential room for improvement in your build. From experience, I can tell you that it is possible to plug the energy hole completely while significantly increasing dps, and possibly also gaining a bit more recharge. But then we start getting into things that are less playstyle-agnostic such as taking different epics and so on. I personally wouldn't put the Gladiator's fury proc in death shroud, for example - I know from experience that in a damage aura it has little effect on clear speeds - and that would change the way I slot the aura completely. I've presented only the most straightforward optimizations that require no playstyle change on your part, while maintaining what I perceive to be your personal preferences as much as possible, as a lesson in optimization. I encourage you to further experiment and look up examples of high-dps savage melee builds to see what can be adapted.


The build with my suggested modifications above is as follows.


| Copy & Paste this data into Mids Reborn : Hero Designer to view the build |


Edited by Zect
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Traditionally, the Theft of Essence proc could fire on multiple targets in Dark Regen, reducing endurance cost of Dark Regen not by 10, but by 20, 30, or even making it endurance positive.


I haven't played dark armor recently, and it's possible that the proc was changed to no longer fire on multiple targets.  However, I can see no sign of that in CoD.  If the proc can still fire multiple times in a single power activation, @Zect's analysis above seems incomplete.

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5 hours ago, aethereal said:

I haven't played dark armor recently, and it's possible that the proc was changed to no longer fire on multiple targets. 


It does still.  If the goal is to have Dark Regen available as often as possible then it makes sense to keep ToE in there just to at least pay the cost of it, if not return some end.  I don't have Mid's in front of me so I can't see if there is recharge enhancement in Dark Regen.  If not, the proc rate is 56%.  With 100% recharge, it's around 30%.  Unless I've botched the math.



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This is true. However, tankers are rarely threatened by swarms of weak enemies. Those are quickly debuffed and slaughtered, and we heal more when using dark regen on them. When you need click sustain the most is typically when confronted by a single, very high damage foe, and in that case you cannot benefit from a theft of essence multi-proc. Defensive optimization should consider how to mitigate weakness against the most disadvantageous situation.


That said, I freely admit this is one of the less playstyle-agnostic assumptions I make. Single, very high damage foes are not common in regular play, after all. You can argue that it is better to optimize for the much more commonly encountered situation, in which case the proc is indeed valuable. Or, attempt to enjoy the best of both worlds by sourcing enough global acc/tohit that you can afford to drop that common acc for the proc. 

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Thanks for your insight. It sounds like this build is definitely on the right track, but I could see how with your suggestions I could squeeze out a little bit more recharge and resists.


Though it doesn't seem like a glaringly urgent reason to respec, I do think I will take your suggestions and put a new respec on my radar in the future, this is my project tanker after all, may as well plan the next respec.


Out of curiosity, what suggestions would you make outside of the play style presented? Just curious if there is some utility I am missing? I tried to make it so my to-hit and slow resist were capped because my survivability is essentially the heal and my resistance, so I wanted it up as often as possible. There is no way to get -regeneration resistance that I know of.


I didn't realize you could also slot the prestige sprints. I mostly just put that stuff into Mighty Leap to make traveling more fun but they were essentially leftover slots. If I put the +jump io in a sprint will that combine with Mighty Leap when toggled on, I guess so? Maybe that could go into beast run or something.


Thank you

<Witch> of Everlasting

<Mythical Creature> of Excelsior
Global Name: @Mythical Creature
"Monsters are real and they look like people." - Unknown

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