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Looking to come back to COH for a while, can yall help me pick my controller?


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Hey everyone!  Im getting that COH itch again.  I need to level a new controller lol. I want to play something totally different than what I have in the past though, so im trying to figure out the best combo to go with before I build my hero theme around it.  What would you suggest for a controller that wants to do "enough" damage, and be capable in solo/duo play?


Primary:  Ice, Earth, Electric, or maybe Dark


Secondary: Cold, Electric, FF, Pain, Poison


So.. any suggestions on what I might pair up from those choices and end up with a strong controller that can solo and duo well? Thank you!

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Ice, Earth and Elec are probably the lowest damage primaries. That said, its not like it used to be, and you can make any of them solo-able with say the Sorcery pool's Arcane Blast and  Sands of Mu, Plasmatic Taser and other free powers.

Earth is a pretty good choice, in that it adds a lot of -Def to help those temp powers hit. (But doesn't let you slot Lady Grey or Shield Breaker damage procs, which would have been even better.) 


Out of the secondaries you listed:

Cold is great - you can use everything except the ally shields on yourself.  A procced-out Infrigidate becomes your snipe, kind of.

Electric likewise, if you take the pet to bounce chains off.

Force Field is better than it used to be, with -Res in Force Bolt and Repulsion Bomb these days, and obviously the best self protection set out of these.

Pain and Poison are both decent.


I'd choose between Earth/Cold and Earth/Poison if you're planning a solo and duo character.


(Empathy is the ultimate duo powerset btw, but tied with Sonic for the worst solo set)



Edited by MonteCarla
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I have a Dark/Electrical Affinity and it's one of my favorite characters for PuGs and whatnot.  Dark is a great primary for all the reasons it always has been, and Electrical Affinity is a top tier support set for zone events/leagues with its ability to drop heals/buffs on dozens of people per shot, in any direction up to ~160' apart.


And maybe it's just the way mine is set up, but the workflow of offense/defense on Dark/EA is really a FLOW.  It's almost like scrapperlock, but with 2x as many powers and more objectives than *just* damage/survival.  It's a pretty fun ride.

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He doesn't HAVE an ass.  That's one of the things we're transplanting!

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I will always shill for Dark as a fantastic do-all set if you don't hate the Haunts and learn to embrace HoD as a proc bomb. Earth is also a great pick in primary too, probably the most CONTROLery of the Controller primaries if that's what yer looking for, it's a very safe set to play... if you don't mind how slow the damage can be.

Ice and Electric (no matter how desperately I want to love the latter) just don't feel... good. Especially if you want to solo as a controller. Ice has it's merits, it's a lot of fun on Dom, but doesn't have a lot going on. Very set and forget, which is great if you want to focus on your secondary... but not so much when you want to be able to actually kill things soloing. Elec is the opposite, very busy, but little payout in dps. Great if you want something to play in a group, much harder to feel good solo.


I will second what @roleki says and say EA secondary is a lot of fun, and controller sidesteps the awkward fact that you need someone else to chain off of for your abilities by having pets to work with. It is a very busy set, but also a very good one. I would definitely pair it with Dark over Stone, especially since you have extra pets to make use of those chains.

Cold Dom and FF are also great, lots of good debuffs and a few shields to keep your pet alive, and the -res effects in the sets helps you bring down enemies quicker. Of the two I'm more partial to Cold's grab bag of tools, like the stealth aura and heat loss.


Pain Dom is... not a bad set, but it loses a lot of it's luster without other players to use it on. If the intent is to solo things, your pet will only get so much benefit from it. In a duo though, it's a great pick. Especially for a more DPSy party member who can really take advantage of the buffs.

Poison is a fantastic set too, but I've not played it since Live and so probably am not the best person to talk about it. Great debuffs, but a bit of a one trick pony and needs a lot of setup time... people will love to have you when an AV pops up, though, and the Hold aura will help stack the magnitude for things like bosses.


Hope this helps!

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For soloing/duo, I would do Dark/cold or Dark/ea. Of the sets listed, I like Earth next, but the damage is low. It is just stellar on a team though. 

Top 10 Most Fun 50s.

1. Without Mercy: Claws/ea Scrapper. 2. Outsmart: Fort 3. Sneakers: Stj/ea Stalker. 4. Waterpark: Water/temp Blaster. 5. Project Next: Ice/stone Brute. 6. Mighty Matt: Rad/bio Brute. 7. Without Pause: Claws/wp Brute. 8. Emma Strange: Ill/dark. 9. Nothing But Flowers: Plant/storm Controller. 10. Obsidian Smoke: Fire/dark Corr. 


"Downtime is for mortals."

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Dark/cold would probably get you the most potential damage of those choices.  Definitely the most damaging primary out of those.  Cold then gets you a proc'd out infrigidate for another 'attack' and the very nice resistance debuff from sleet, and the AV killer called benumb if you want to hunt those.

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Earth/Cold would be my choice.

  • Rocky is one of the few pets that taunts with his attacks and with Seismic Smash his damage is none to shabby either
  • Proc your single target hold Fossilize and it'll ratchet up your single target damage quite nicely especially combined Arcane Bolt and epic attacks
  • Rocky with shields plus Benumb, HL, Sleet makes solo or a duo more than capable of taking down AVs particularly if the partner also has strong regen or resistance debuffs and do so potentially well before end game
  • Cold is well Cold.  There's a reason you'll see so many doing endgame content.  Benumb, Heatloss, Sleet and Shields and more oh my.
On 12/9/2023 at 9:34 PM, MonteCarla said:

(Empathy is the ultimate duo powerset btw, but tied with Sonic for the worst solo set)

As someone with thousands of hours between HC and Live running Empaths I can say this is largely true in a generic sense.  On the otherhand we've got multiple Empaths who've solo'd the ITF at +4/×8.  Give an Empath someone to buff such as Lore pets etc. and worst becomes rather relative.  And heaven help the foes if the other half of the duo is also an Empath.  

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