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Lobster's Guide to Mastermind Epic Pools

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Lobster's (Rambling) Guide to Mastermind Epic Pools


(I'll be editing this to fix formatting and update as time permits, apologies for any errors in the initial post!)


Background info:

This is in part a guide to the mastermind epic pools, it's also prep for another post I'll make with suggestions for improvement, hopefully providing good examples as to why they are semi-terrible and, in my opinion, the worst collection of epic+patron powers (compared to the other ATs).


Incarnate 50s on live: Bots/dark, Nec/dark, Nec/pain, Demon/pois, Merc/storm, Nin/Time, Beast/traps
Non 50s on live : 30 level 30+ of varying combos.

Current MMs: 50 Thug/cold, 50 beast/time, 38 nec/nature: 20s-mid 30s: Merc/rad, Demons/dark, merc/storm, demon/kin.

What do *I* think an epic/patron (hereafter I'll just say "epic" for both) pool should provide?  At least one of the following:

  • It should give the AT access to something they can't typically do that affects how they can play and what they can do: for example blasters getting armors, controls and debuffs, scrappers getting ranged attacks, debuffs and controls, etc.
  • It should provide a compelling and distinct reason to pick a given set over another.    There is a marked difference between choosing Body Mastery (conserve power, focused accuracy, physical perfection) or Leviathan Mastery (snipe, ranged attacks, hold, pets) on a scrapper, or Ice Mastery vs. Leviathan master on a dominator, for example.

What should it NOT do?

  • Give the AT worse versions of what they already have (most attacks in the MM pools).
  • Give the AT access to something they can't typically do in a sub-par fashion that doesn't let them do anything they couldn't do before : the attacks in the MM epics also fall in this category for me.
  • Give them things that archetype doesn't want or need (more taunts for tanks, armor "nukes" for masterminds)
  • Be basically the same as another epic pool but with a damage/element type shift.


Mechanical background :

MM attacks, ROUGH stats:

  • T1 blast : ~30/3-4s/5.5-6.5 end
  • T2 blast: ~50/6-8s/9.5-10.5 end
  • Cone: ~45/14s/17 end
  • Aoe:  ~27/16s/19 end


Energy Defender ROUGH stats for comparison.  Note that other other than the sort of weird higher cone damage (For more end and more recharge), defenders do more damage across the board, and are a low damage AT.

  • T1 blast: 36/4s/5end
  • T2 blast: 60/8s/8.5end
  • cone: 35/12s/12end
  • aoe: 33/16s/15end


The pools

So, what does each having going for them?


  • Charge
    • Cone: 28/12s/15   
    • 1T HOLD
    • 66% duration godmode (31% uptime with 155% global recharge)
    • Melee (with minor pbaoe): 60/36s/12.7
    • Aoe hold (EMP: comes with penalties, huge recharge)
  • Chill
    • Range: 31/8s/10.6
    • Aoe sleep
    • Long timer dull pain  [25s downtime with 175% rech)
    • ARMOR: S/L defense, C/F res
    • Hibernate
  • Field
    • Range: 31/8s/10.6
    • ARMOR:  S/L res
    • Cone: 29/24s/14.8
    • Aoe: 27.5/16s/19
    • 66% duration godmode (31% uptime with 155% global recharge)
  • Heat
    • Bonfire
    • Range: 40/8s/6.5
    • Aoe: 38/32s/19
    • 1t HOLD
    • Self Res
  • Leviathan
    • Cone immob
    • Cone: 36/32s/19
    • Melee: 109/40s/23  (for comparison, tanker KO Blow s 158/25s/18.5, and they can pair it with Rage)
    • ARMOR:  S/L/C res
    • 1T Hold
  • Mace
    • Aoe immob
    • ARMOR:  S/L/E defense, tox res
    • Aoe: 30/32s/19
    • 1T hold
  • Mu
    • Cone: 30/32s/19
    • ARMOR:  S/L/E res
    • Aoe immob with -KB
    • Melee: 60/36s/12.7
    • 1T HOLD
  • Soul
    • Cone: 33/20s/16.4
    • ARMOR: S/L/N/T res
    • Oppressive Gloom
    • Cone immob
    • 1T HOLD

You'll note that I bolded some powers.  These powers are the powers *I* label as the defining powers in a set - the powers (or power in some cases) that make that set  unique and worth taking.    These are the powers that either bring something new or unique to the table or are just plain good or fun.


Digression: I DO NOT CONSIDER "DAMAGE VIA ATTACKS" as a thing for masterminds.  I know some people like to use the attacks, or play crazy petless MMS, but I would argue that those people are playing against type (which is fine, but don't expect special consideration for it, it would be like a tank trying to play without their armors and focusing on soft controls or something).  


Therefore, if an epic pool is going to have attacks in it, it should provide them in a way that do significant damage, letting us do something we wouldn't normally do.  A good comparison is the single target holds in the scrapper epics : they are pretty usable if you want to take them and, while worse than controller/dominator holds, when slotted they are very good at what they do.

I would argue that all the attacks in the mastermind epics are garbage in the sense that while they do provide that attack, they don't provide it at a significant level to be relevant.  I would be totally fine with an epic pool that had 2-3 attacks, mean for MMs who really want to attack, that were significantly stronger than the base mastermind attacks (in the same way that pool attacks - I've heard - are better than you would think because they don't suffer the mastermind damage penalties).


The powers

  • Armors: The resist armors are "fine" - and if you are taking a set with the armors and have room there's no reason not to take them, but they're not letting you do things you couldn't before.   You were already tanky if you make the best use of bodyguard.  They just make you a bit better at that.   The defense armors (of which there are only TWO for 8 sets, we'll come back to that) however, are great, because they can let you hit the defcap for smashing and lethal, which is a new thing and can have a noticeable effect on play.
  • Aoe immobilizes : There are a lot of them, so I don't consider most of them as set defining (except for  Mu's, which has -KB which can be amazing to counter your pets knockback and keep enemies in bot burn patches for example), but they do give most sets access to a new, useful tool and are worth taking.
  • Single target holds: These are sort of a middle ground in the sense that they do let some sets do things they couldn't, and make others much better at locking down bosses.  However, they are present in many sets (like resist armors) so I don't rate them as set defining.  However, I definitely recommend taking those whenever you have one available.
  • The godmodes I have rated as unique and set defining but I personally view them as a waste except as set mules, but I understand others might disagree so I highlighted them in case that's your thing.   Probably more relevant to tankermind builds who don't mind having the right inspirations available to offset the annoying crashes.
  • AOE controls: the sleep from chill and EMP from charge : limited though these are, they are still aoe controls - something most secondaries lack - so they can be useful.  That being said, I have never felt a need to take EMP (or the energy pool in general…), but I have use the sleep on occasion to aid with split pulling or to keep a second spawn from aggroing.  Not much use in mid to late game teaming, basically a soloing aide.  
  • Hibernate & Rise of the Phoenix are unique and if you like them, worth taking the pool for.
  • Power boost is amazing for many secondaries (goes great with /time's Farsight!).   Strange that it is missing from the Energy pool, as it was a signature power in the blaster energy secondary to start….  It's also frustrating that it's only in a set that was already very good.
  • KO Blow : I have never taken it because 23 end for an attack that does less damage than a Scrapper T1 (to give you an idea of how much of an enemy's life% you will hit for) is silly to me, no matter how cool the animation is. E
  • very set has a terrible damage cone power, and some also have terrible damage blasts or single target attacks (yes, TF looks huge compared to our other attacks, but it's less than a scrapper T1).

Tl;ndr: Why pick one pool over another?


  • Charge - Pick it if you want EMP.  For me, I can't think of a non-thematic reason why I would pick this pool - I don't think EMP is good enough to be worth the drawbacks and recharge.  Also, as I said above, I don't think the attacks or godmodes - as they are - are good mechanical options for masterminds. 
  • Chill - pick it if you want to cap S/L defense and don't want mace.  Dull pain and hibernate are also solid and more like the kind of long recharge defensive power I would want on an MM (compared to the godmodes), so overall it's a solid defensive set.
  • Field - Don't pick this set?  The only thing it has going for it is a godmode…  It looks like it wants to be the ranged attack set, but the #s on these attacks are so bad I can't recommend them.  This set should have had at least power boost or boost range going for it.
  • Heat - Pick this for Bonfire.  The attacks are crap, luckily you can skip them and grab Char (and Rise of the Phoenix if you really want a self rez).  Bonfire was good before, now with the kb->kd proc it's an amazing control for MMs, with some damage (probably more if you run a bunch of procs).
  • Leviathan -  Take it for theme?  I dunno, unless you want to throw sharks or spit vomit, I don't see anything special about this set.  KO blow would be cool, except for the whole "less that T1 scrapper damage".  Shame we didn't get the Arctic Breath option from brutes, that at least has -def and -res debuffs.  One thing you can do with this set is use KB blow for the hold and get two holds from the set…I mean, that's something?
  • Mace - pick this for Power Boost AND capping S/L defense.  It also has a solid aoe immob and a hold - oh and a random skippable cone (same damage as your existing aoe but double the recharge!).   If there's a "best" set for raw power, this is it.
  • Mu - Pick this for Electrifying Fences (what??).  Seriously.  It's the only aoe immob we have access to that has -kb on it.  Meaning that it will hold enemies in your Bots burn patch instead of letting them get knocked out of it by all the other blasts.  It's also good to a lesser degree with mercs and thugs/ for the same reason.  If you don't want to spend precious slots slotting KB->KD procs, and you're bots/, and none of the other epics scream out at you, grab the armor (b/c you have to and it's not bad), the aoe immob and the single target hold.  Attacks are garbage. 
  • Soul Mastery - Pick this for Oppressive Gloom.  If you're going to be in melee all the time (/time, /nature, etc.) having a permanent pbaoe stun aura is great!  It only takes out minions, but that's still a decent amount of damage negated and can mag stack with other stuns (/storm's Thunderclap is the main one that comes to mind, but some pets have stunning attacks as well).



Thoughts and hopes for the future


I'm not happy with where the MM pools are right now, compared to other AT's pool options, but it is what it is - and there are some solid options in there!


The recent dominator and snipe changes on the beta have given me hope for interesting balance changes going forward.  I'm not sure how sweeping they'll be, but who knows!  So I thought it was worth putting out my thoughts on these pools, after having spent ….way too many hours on too many masterminds on live and now.  With this in mind, I'm working on a suggestion post for later tonight or tomorrow.


EDIT: I finally got around to putting together and formatting my overhaul suggestions, which are here.


Edited by lobster
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  • 8 months later

Thanks for the guide. I'm new to MMs and having a hard time picking poools for my build. This has good info even though I don't test know what a burn patch is for my bots (guessing it's the last upgrade I don't have yet).

I was under the impression that all immobs in the game turned KB into KD? Sure seems to be true of fire cages for example.

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On 4/23/2020 at 12:58 PM, Papaschtroumpf said:

Thanks for the guide. I'm new to MMs and having a hard time picking poools for my build. This has good info even though I don't test know what a burn patch is for my bots (guessing it's the last upgrade I don't have yet).

I was under the impression that all immobs in the game turned KB into KD? Sure seems to be true of fire cages for example.

They did not use to.  Some did and some didn't - the fact that the fire one did gave it a specific use that the other ones didn't have.

I haven't kept up on all the patch notes, so they may have changed this.

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  • 4 months later
3 hours ago, Furiant said:

Has something changed recently? I hit 41 tonight and went to pick my Epic power, and the only options are Charge, Chill, Field, and Heat. What gives?

Did you unlock your patron epic power pools by doing the red-side patron story arcs that start in Grandville?

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3 hours ago, TheSpiritFox said:

The only guide you need to epics is this. 


"Do you need a shield? Take the shield. Do you need power boost? Take power boost. Do you not need a shield or power boost? Take bonfire."


Good guide though lol 

I dunno, there might still be some players out there who aren't min-maxing! 😉

Also, keep in mind that I consider this guide/post laying the groundwork for my epic overhaul/rebalance suggestion post here.

Edited by lobster
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As a contrary opinion, while Scorpion Shield is a great option it’s not the only path. Achieving 60% resistance is functionally 90% resistance when in bodyguard mode. At 75% resistance, functional resistance = 93.75, better than a tanker. So, it depends on the primary/secondary combination. 


And since damage can continue (via pets) even when mezzed, the impact of any mez is less critical. 

But bonfire? That’s stupid levels of amazing... 


(And if Heat Mastery has a resistance shield, there would be a clear winner winner 🐔 dinner)


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


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

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