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Underrated: Earth/Cold

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Some recent discussion about weak control sets made me consider putting up some combinations that are considered in some way ineffective, and explaining how it may be possible to build solid characters despite the deficiencies. First on the list is Earth/Cold... actually, both of these sets are considered good, but only for teaming.

Earth puts out a lot of AoE control, and so is useful on teams at all levels (though of course at high level, actual control is not all that useful).

Cold puts out a lot of defense, which is very useful at low levels, and at high levels it remains useful with high -Resist (and good -Regen, though this is less relevant).

 

But... the usual complaint is that Earth is too low damage to solo well. However, I have a build that I've started, which looks as if it will be able to solo well enough... it lacks AoE, and it is hard to add much of that to an Earth build. But single-target damage is surprisingly good, when built properly. The keys to the build are:

1: Fossilize with 3+ Damage procs. There are two good versions, both start with a single Acc/Dam/End (which could be changed to Acc/Dam if preferred). Because both Earth and Cold put out a lot of -Def, more Accuracy is not needed. With 3 Procs (1 Purple) at level 50, Fossilize does about 230 damage with Containment (still 200 without), putting it at over 100 DPA. This base, before any -Resist effects. I have 3 Damage procs to leave room for 2 Chance to Hold procs in order to have about an 80% chance to 1-shot Hold a Boss (because /Cold doesn't have much personal defense boosts), but there is an option to add another two Damage procs and improve the damage by about 82.

2: Arcane Bolt with 3 Damage procs (1 Purple, which is why Fossilize only has 1). This does about 274 damage, putting it about 120 DPA. It also has a Force Feedback for more Recharge, leaving 2 slots for Acc, Dam, and End.

3: Infrigidate (yes, I'm serious) with 3 Damage procs and Achilles Heel. The power goes from 0 DPA to about 160 DPA (190 damage with 1.188 Activation Time). And it procs Achilles 90% of the time, for an average -18 Res. And with good Global Recharge, it's up often enough to refresh AH before it drops.

 

We round out the single-target attack chain with the weak Stone Prison, which brings up the rear at about 60 DPA. The overall chain, repeating each power once, does right about 100 DPS before -Res effects. And, unlike the usual problem with single-target attacks from Controllers, the great majority of the damage is immediate, so no need to wait 6 seconds for that minion to slowly get crushed to death. It could also be improved, as noted above, by swapping Chance to Hold procs out for Damage procs.

 

So, overall, a known solid team combination and terrible soloer... is not all that bad at soloing. I wouldn't put it near the top of Controller builds for soloing, but it's not that bad, and especially at lower levels, all of the -Def really makes up for the lack of Accuracy from set bonuses that you don't yet have room to slot. It can certainly solo most AVs since Stoney can take 2 Resist and 2 Defense IOs, making him extremely tough with the Ice shields up and he'll hold aggro, it can solo at +2 starting early and up to +4 before Incarnate level (just don't go above x2 or a kill-all mission will be painful), and while it doesn't have much for personal defenses its Controls should be enough against most foes.

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I agree. Great combo. Discovered it on my path to roll one of each Controller primary. I was impressed on how well it works together and continues to grow stronger on the road to 50. The DEF and RES works well together, and I was especially surprised on how effective its combined mitigation can be. I can't imagine Animate Stone with the two /Cold Shields, now combine that with Maneuvers, the two Pet DEF IOs and the two Pet RES IOs. JUST NASTY!


 


-Main Controllers-

Dark/Time/Primal   Earth/Thermal/Ice   Electric/Poison/Mu   Fire/Dark/Fire   Gravity/Kin/Mace   Ice/Rad/Ice   Illusion/Traps/Mace   Mind/TA/Psionic   Plant/Storm/Ice


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Updated to show my current build.

Some changes from the original plan:

1: Fossilize up to 5 damage procs right now. I'll see if I want to drop it back to having the Chance to Hold procs as I hit some nastier Bosses... one-shot Holding them is a big advantage, but with Earthquake usually knocking them down and with good Recharge there is usually a good opportunity to layer 2 holds without taking many attacks.

2: Project Will as a backup blast instead of Arcane Bolt. It's a weaker attack, but the pool allows me to take Force of Will for a regular FF proc opportunity, allowing all of the long-recharge powers to come back faster.

3: Found good AoE damage in the epics and slotting Stalagmites as an AoE. This allows for an every-spawn AoE cycle of:

Stalagmites (about 300), Stone Cages, Sleet, Force of Will (used early before mobs die to get more chances for the Recharge, 130), Frost Breath (about 400), <alternate power>, Force of Will.

It's a long sequence, so it may not be worth finishing with the last two, but having a 800 AoE opener with good control is unusually good for Controllers. The <alternate power> is alternating Ice Storm and Volcanic Gasses and pushes the damage to over 1000 AoE (though with Dot).

 

This is a low-defense build for me, so it takes a bit more care defensively in order to open up more damage... other versions I looked at with more defense felt a lot safer, but a Controller is usually pretty safe and needs to seek damage more than defense.

 

Spoiler

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