Holistic Kid Ultra Guide – Battleborn

Holistic Kid Ultra Guide - Battleborn
Holistic Kid Ultra Guide - Battleborn

Overview

Kid Ultra is quite possibly the least accurately labeled character in the game.

According to the game, KU is a “Pusher”, a “Healer, and “Easy”. Pusher is a vague descriptor he shares with Benedict, Ernest, and Oscar Mike; considering what each of these characters does, I have no clue what they actually intend it to mean. Healer is true, in a binary sense, since 2 of his skills are explicitly heals; the problem with this, however, is that the way he heals is very different from other characters. Easy is also highly questionable (not that the Easy/Complex/Advanced assignment has ever been particularly valid) considering the tactical weirdness of all of his skills; if you compare him to other easy characters like Rath, Miko, and Oscar Mike, it doesn’t really seem right to place him in that category.

Instead, I find it more useful to see KU as a versatile support character. He’s not a strong healer but he can provide a wide array of different buffs with his drones, based upon his helix choices, as well as through his ultimate. He can get some decent control and damage as well, with the right choices.

In addition to his versatility, KU is fast and small, which makes him surprisingly hard to kill. Of course, he’s got a huge crit spot that’s centrally located so he’s going to get crit pretty often.

Seeing as KU is a generalist, he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He can only provide support for a limited number of players at a time, due to the limited number of drones he can have active, and his basic attack will spend a lot of time reloading due to ammo restrictions. Both of these can be mitigated to some extent with helix choices.

Index

Abilities

Rocket Gauntlet:

KU’s basic attack.
KU fires an explosive projectile. As an explosive, it can’t crit but, by that same token, it also ignores obstacles like shields (not the blue bar; the kind used by Brutes, Boldur, and Galilea) and can hit multiple targets with a single projectile if they’re tightly packed. The alt-fire simultaneously fires 3 rockets that spiral towards your target; each of the rockets does 70% of the damage of rockets fired individually with the main fire mode so it’s not as efficient on a per-ammo basis but, unless you gear for a lot of attack speed and no reload speed (since you spend more of your total time reloading using the alt-fire), the alt-fire actually ends up being better DPS:
By default, the continous fire will give you ~25 reloads/minute with alt-fire and ~17/minute with the main fire; 25 * .7 = 17.5 and 17 * 1 = 17, so the alt-fire is just barely better. The increased ammo helix that you can take increases this gap: the alt-fire will put out ~20 reloads/minute while the basic will do ~13/min; 20 * .7 = 14 while 13 * 1 = 13, so the alt-fire still ends up being better.

Aura of Justice:

KU’s passive.
Whenever KU gets a kill or assist (against any target, player or NPC), he gains a temporary aura that buffs nearby allies (it was changed in the WU to affect KU as well as his allies, which is awesome). The aura lasts longer (20 secs) and is stronger (10% +damage) for major enemies and shorter (5 secs) and weaker (5% +damage) for minor enemies. In PvP, pretty much everything except for the minion waves and buildables is a major enemy; in PvE, pretty much nothing except bosses and minibosses is a major enemy (all bosses are major; of the common non-bosses, Enforcers, Bonecrushers, Defilers, Disruptors, Bulwarks, and Elite Bots are the only major enemies)

Support Drone:

Skill 1.
KU fires a drone that follows a shallow parabolic arc; the projectile doesn’t travel particularly quickly so you’ll need to lead your target if you want to hit someone moving. If you hit an ally, they immediately get the drone; if you don’t hit an ally, the drone will remain on the ground, waiting to be picked up. You’re allowed a maximum of 2 drones; if you fire another drone while 2 are already active, the oldest drone vanishes as soon as you activate the skill (even if you hit nothing). Drones can (and often will) be destroyed by enemies.
When a player gets a drone, whether they’re hit by one in flight or pick one up, they gain a buff that increases their max hp by 250 (this doesn’t increase with level) and will provide 61 hp/sec (which increases as you level) as long as you’re not at max hp, up to a max of 420 (the drone ticks twice per second for a maximum of 7 ticks). As soon as the drone maxes out on its healing, the drone vanishes, taking the 250 max hp with it. Multiple drones stack, such that a single character with 2 drones will have their max hp increased by 500 and received baseline 122 hp/sec, up to 840.
KU’s drones originally suffered from an extremely strange slew of weird effects because of how they were implemented. With the Winter Update, however, they were fixed such that the Support Drones are affected by heal power (and skill damage) gear, just like the rest of his helices as well as his ult. Still, some strange things persist, such as a target hit by one of the drones is still considered to have been healed (for the purpose of procs) when they are hit by the drone even though they aren’t actually healed (though the drone ticks *don’t* count as healing procs). Furthermore, because the max hp increase doesn’t come with an equal amount of instant healing (as max hp increases through gear provide), you’ll also end up seeing healing numbers from the drones that don’t precisely match what they’re supposed to heal for.
The drones can be tweaked *very* heavily as you level.

Bola Snare:

Skill 2.
KU fires a wide and thin lateral projectile that travels quickly and has extremely long range; it pierces all targets and will only collide with level geometry (e.g. walls, floors, ceilings, furnishings, etc.). Targets hit take a bit of damage and are slowed for 3 seconds; it *can* crit, but the projectile shape is oblong so it’s not especially reliable at scoring crits. There are some truly powerful and impressive helix options you can take to make this a very powerful attack.

To The Rescue:

Ultimate.
KU transforms into a hoverjet, incapable of attacking, for up to 10 seconds. While in this form, KU’s accelerates while moving with a surprisingly high top speed. Furthermore, KU creates a bubble around him, with a radius based upon his current velocity (the faster he’s moving, the larger it is). Any time after transforming, you can press the activation button again to end the transformation. When the transformation ends (whether manually or automatically), every enemy in the bubble is knocked away and every ally in the aura (including KU) is healed for a significant amount (the larger the bubble, the more the heal; at minimum move speed, KU heals for 50-66% of his max possible heal).
With the Winter Update, the devs addressed most of the annoying control issues with this ability (you can now mouse turn and don’t lose speed as much while turning). The only real problem still present is that you still collide with enemies (even minions) which can stop you in place if any enemy gets in the way.
In general, I find this to be a more reliable “healing” ability than his Support Drones. The Support Drones are more appropriately viewed as pre-healing or abstract “support” rather than an explicit healing mechanism, especially once you get helices for them.

Helices

Level 1: Signal in the Sky v. Pain Compliance

Recommendation: Pain Compliance
The primarily limitation on Support Drones isn’t the cooldown; it’s the max number that you’re allowed to have out at one time. Since the effects are over time, they’re not really particularly useful mid-combat, when a faster CD would actually be useful.
Pain Compliance, on the other hand, makes Bolas do significant and useful amounts of damage: the DoT is so short it barely qualifies as a DoT, and it amounts to a 160% increase in total damage dealt.

Level 2: Shield Coil Module v. Search and Destroy v. Vigilance Protocol

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Shield Coil Module or Search and Destroy
Vigilance Protocol completely changes Support Drone. Rather than being applied to a specific ally, they create a zone that heals and buffs all nearby allies (they’ll increase hp while a player stands in the zone which disappears as soon as they leave). The healing is still capped and can be destroyed, so they won’t stick around for long. Strangely, the drones will tick heals, but not as quickly, as long as someone is standing in them so they have a much more limited duration than the normal drones. In PvE, this isn’t really useful since they’ll get destroyed extremely quickly by NPCs.
If you want to have your Support Drones stick to their normal manner of function, SCM gives you shield “healing” by allowing you to allow ally shields to instantly recharge while SaD gives you better damage. For SaD, the drone has to run out of healing naturally for it to fire; if it is destroyed or despawns by being replaced, it won’t do anything.

Level 3: Missile Massacre v. Retro Rockets

Recommendation: Missile Massacre
KU is already fast and doesn’t have much reason to get close in the first place so I wouldn’t bother (Mellka, who has Air Stall, which is almost identical, actually benefits from this because mobility is *way* more important to her). His basic attack, on the other hand, runs out of rockets pretty quickly and a 50% increase to the number of rockets you get per reload is extremely nice.

Level 4: Reassembling Drones v. Bank Shot

Recommendation: Bank Shot
Once again, reduced CD on your Support Drones isn’t that helpful. Bank Shot, however, is extremely powerful (even post nerf; originally, it allowed for 3 bounces): the bounce is intelligent and will attempt to bounce towards enemies; in addition, the bounce can hit targets that were already hit by the initial shot, doubling your damage.

Level 5: Hero in Training v. Power of Friendship v. Swarming Nanites

Recommendation: Hero in Training or Power of Friendship
Swarming Nanites replaces the 5 seconds of 5% increased damage dealt with a paltry 10 hp/sec regeneration so it’s not worth it. If you really want to heal multiple targets, just use Vigilance Protocol.
If you don’t have a problem getting kills and assists within the existing durations (20 secs for major kill; 5 secs for minor) and you’re not running around alone all the time, PoF is better. PoF will also be better if you reliably have your friends grouped up. If you do notice your aura fading, HiT will be more useful.

Level 6: Danger Drone v. Snare Spread v. Reactive Capacitor

Recommendation: (PvP) Snare Spread or Danger Drone; (PvE) Danger Drone
Reactive Capacitor is terrible because it only applies to shield damage, is only useful when KU doesn’t have shield, and doesn’t even restore a *lot* of shield since it’s only 30% of damage dealt.
In PvP, Snare Spread combined with Bank Shot allows you to hit the same target multiple times with the same skill activation (and multiple targets even, since the projectile pierces everything but the level geometry). The damage penalty only applies to the initial damage, so, if you took Pain Compliance at level 1, you’ll see a massive damage increase. Snare Spread is still good in PvE, but not as good as Danger Drone.
Danger Drone gives whoever is currently getting buffed by the drone (or standing in the patch if you took Vigilance Protocol) a 16% increase in damage, both skill damage and attack damage. What makes this truly devastating is that the drones *stack*. In addition, they don’t stack additively: they stack multiplicatively. If you take the additional 2 drones in a couple levels, this means that you can give a single player (possibly even yourself) an 81% increase in damage dealt. This is absolutely *amazing* though it is a very fragile bonus since, as soon as you take any significant damage, you’ll start losing the bonus.

Level 7: Smart Rockets v. Off-Screen Reload v. Turbo Mode

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Smart Rockets
In PvE, your basic attack is going to be the biggest source of damage and it’s easy to plan around the need to reload so Smart Rockets is best. In PvP, improved move speed and instant reloads can be more situationally useful so it’s about playstyle.

Level 8: Heal-splosion v. Support Network

Recommendation: Any
Heal-splosion gives you some viable burst healing (which is normally what KU sucks the most at) while SN will allow you to buff/heal more targets (or a single target more effectively). SN is basically worthless if you wouldn’t normally be replacing drones so, if your drones keep dying, go with Heal-splosion.

Level 9: Frag Astra v. Tranq Shot

Recommendation: (PvP) Tranq Shot; (PvE) Any
Dramatically nerfed with the Winter Update, Tranq Shot is still extremely powerful because hard CC is just *that powerful*, especially in PvP. Keep in mind that it only applies to the *first target hit* so you need to be smart amount aiming. Frag Astra is mainly useful because it makes Bola Snare absolutely devastating against a group of tightly clumped enemies: each target hit triggers a separate explosion and, if you have Bank Shot, a rebound shot will trigger another series of explosions.

Level 10: Stick With Me v. Friendly Skies v. Explosive Entrance

Recommendation: Stick With Me or Explosive Entrance
Slowing down your fall speed doesn’t really do much in my experience so Friendly Skies just seems like a useless gimmick to me.
Choosing between SWM and EE is as simple as asking yourself whether you want more healing or more damage. SWM will heal any of your allies in your bubble (so moving faster increases the reach of the heal) and EE will deal a bit of damage to go with the knockback. Neither is particularly game changing, but they round out the skill a bit, making it more useful.

Gear Stats

Kid Ultra has some very strange gear priorities. He can’t crit, he doesn’t suffer from recoil, he’s got a shallow pool of ammo that he can burn through insanely fast with his alt-fire, and he’s got heals which he can use on himself very easily. He can be surprisingly durable when you build for it and surprisingly destructive, too, if you build for that. I’ll go over all of those stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.

Offensive

(Attack Damage>Reload=Skill Damage>Attack Speed>Cooldown>Shield Pen=Critical Damage>Recoil):
A vast majority of KU’s damage is going to come from his basic attack and the best way to beef that up is attack damage because he’s got a long reload time and a shallow ammo pool: it’s best to make his shots stronger rather than making him throw out more of them.
Reload is the next best for the same reason: long reload time and shallow ammo pool means that reload is going to increase your overall rate of fire more than attack speed will. It becomes especially valuable if you use his alt-fire since you will clear out his ammo pool in only 2-3 shots.
Skill Damage is good because KU’s Bola Snare is *amazing*, but it also happens to be the only skill damage that KU brings, which brings it down. You can build for Skill Damage in PvP to finish people off with Bola Snares but it’s only good for finishing people off: you’ll have mediocre damage when not using Bola Snares. A non-offensive side benefit of this is that Skill Damage also increases KU’s heals.
Attack Speed is low value for the reasons pointed out before with reload: attack speed just makes you blow through your tiny ammo pool faster and spend more time reloading.
Cooldown is sub-standard Skill Damage.
Shield pen is utterly rubbish. It’s only useful in PvP because most enemies in PvE don’t have shields (and no bosses have them; Rendain’s shield doesn’t care about shield pen). Critical Damage only applies to Bola Snare, and only applies to Bola Snare’s initial damage, so it’s extremely low value (Bola Snare is only really good for damage if you took the DoT helix at level 1, which can’t crit).
Still, both of those actually do something unlike recoil, which is only good as a penalty.

Defensive

(Max Health<Max Shield<Heal Power=Healing Received<Damage Reduction=Shield Regen>Shield Recharge<Health Regen<CC duration):
Max health is the king of KU’s defensive stats because he doesn’t have enough hp to make Damage Reduction the best, even with 4 drones stacked up on him. Max shield is a close second and has its advantages and disadvantages: while shield is up, you cannot be crit and KU has a helix that allows him to cause shields to immediately begin recharging with a drone; max shield values are way lower than max health values so they don’t add to TTK as much and the fact that they regenerate is irrelevant considering KU can just drone himself for self healing when needed.
With the Winter Update, Heal Power affect all of KU’s heals and KU is extremely good at healing himself, so this definitely rates highly. Healing received is worse than either of the true TTK improvements because it only works when he’s healing himself. However, because he can heal himself by aiming downwards with a drone, it’s still very good.
Just like for every other non-tank, damage reduction is terrible for KU. For DR to be worth it, you need to have an extremely large hp + shield (3333 total). KU does not. Even if you assume that he’ll self heal and drone stack on himself, he doesn’t have enough (especially since the max hp will rapidly fade under a concentrated attack when the drones vanish).
Shield Regen is valuable, moreso than Shield Recharge, mainly because of the helix that allows him to use drones to allow shields to begin recharging instantly. If you don’t take it, they’ll be commensurate.
Health Regen is low value because KU can self heal very effectively with his support drones and ultimate.
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.

Support

(Heal Power=Cooldown>Skill Damage):
Heal Power is normally much more useful for healers than cooldown is because it’s simply more powerful, but KU doesn’t really behave like any of the other healers so it’s expected that he would be different. If you’re only focused on healing, Heal Power can be worth it. The drones do significantly more than just healing, and you shouldn’t discount the value of Bola Snare’s slow (and, at level 9, stun), which, in PvP, can be used to interrupt enemy skills (since it’s so fast) and set up some really devastating kills if your party concentrates fire so cooldown is still up there in usefulness.
Skill Damage improves KU’s heals but, because the value is lower than Heal Power’s, it’s less efficient at pure support. Of course, you’re also improve his damage so in general utility I would rate it higher than either Cooldown or Heal Power.

Mobility

(Move speed>Sprint speed>CC duration):
Move speed is useful in combat and out of combat and is increased by sprint speed. Sprint speed is only really useful outside of combat. CC duration reduces the duration of slows and stuns but is still absolutely terrible. I don’t mention cooldown here, since it technically allows you to use To The Rescue more often which improves mobility, because To The Rescue has never been useful as a mobility power, for me. It helps you move quickly but you never really use it for that purpose,

Economy

(Shards>Buildable):
Getting shards helps you buy gear as well as construct buildables. Buildable reduction makes them way cheaper, however. Something to consider is that I only find these stats remotely useful in PvP. PvE gives you shards like candy; unless you’ve got someone who bogarts all of the shards, every mission should provide a surplus of shards even if you have a triple legendary loadout (like I do for pretty much everyone). In PvP, however, these are absolutely amazing and can actually be the foundation of an effective strategy.

Legendaries

These are some specific legendaries to keep in mind for KU.

Gloves (attack damage):

Pacifier (algorithm), Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel)
Attack damage beefs up his basic attack in the most effective way possible, which is good. Both of them also contribute to your survivability with his best defensive stats. SG is better offensively since KU can keep himself topped off with Support Drones; Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever he damages an enemy.
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on KU. The stacks only apply with his quick melee and the stacks fall off very quickly (a matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, which KU is not.

Watches (cooldown):

Firmware Update (algorithm), Aria’s Encore (thrall ops)
Pre-WU, I wouldn’t have recommended Firmware Update because it has low value secondary stat and KU’s abilities have CDs that are too high to really make much use out of the legendary effect (for Firmware Update, you want at least 1 skill with a low CD that you will spam as much as you can), but the huge buff to both the legendary proc chance and the proc chance itself makes this a legitimate choice. While KU isn’t really a skill damage focused character, Aria’s Encore has a place (if you’re doing high point ops runs) mainly because this happens to be the most powerful item for improving his heals in addition to increasing his skill damage due to Skill Damage augmenting both of those attributes for KU.
I only mention these others to caution players against using them since I can see the gears turning in some minds.
Chrono Key has good primary and secondary stats for a support minded KU, but I would never recommend it because the legendary effect requires an obscene amount of damage dealt to see any returns. Even if you’re chewing through enemies, you’re not going to see enough to really make it worthwhile. Time Killer has an almost worthless secondary stat and, while you should be using Support Drone and Bola Snare as much as possible, To The Rescue is best kept in reserve so you’re not liable to benefit from the legendary effect as much as you might think.

Pauldrons (damage reduction):

“Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm)
Alamo-7 Armor provides 2 nice stats and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long, it is *extremely* powerful (2 seconds of total immunity).

Med Kits (heal power):

Solar Sustainer (jennerit), Symbiotic Spores (experiment), Dramatic Rescue (lore)
KU’s Support Drones do really weird things especially when interacting with the various heal power legendaries.
Solar Sustainer gives you more damage from the secondary effect and provides allies affected by your ult as well allies hit by your Support Drones (keep in mind, the proc activates when the target is hit by the drone, not when they’re actually healed by it).
Symbiotic Spores will actually improve your healing significantly since it provides healing received, which affects the drones normally, but only if your allies stay close (which they already have a reason to due because of Aura of Justice), so it’s the only truly good healing option.
Dramatic Rescue bears some mention since it’s his lore legendary but I wouldn’t both with it: it has sub-max stats, even if they’re both useful stats, and the legendary effect turns your ult into a short term buff. Of course, the buff is contingent on wasting time in your ult form, in which you can’t attack and need to constantly move to really be useful with it, so it doesn’t work particularly well.
Dr. Fist’s might be considered a viable option since it gives a nice but not amazing secondary stat but, since the duration of the legendary effect is 10 seconds and KU can only stack the effects when hitting a target with his Support Drone or Ult (both of which are on longer than 10 sec CDs), you won’t be able to stack up the legendary effect as you might want to.

Healing Received (necklaces):

All-4-One Morale Booster (upr), Arcship Buoy (llc)
The All-4-One is great for keeping your allies in your Aura of Justice alive. The DR makes you harder to kill too, which helps a lot. Arcship Buoy is kind of strange and generally not recommended. However, because KU can give himself healing with a Support Drone while stunned, you can abuse the Arcship Buoy in PvP by ensuring that you always have a Support Drone on yourself in case you’re hit by CC (likely, given the extreme CC meta at the moment).

Max hp (armor):

Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (jennerit), Premium Health Plan (saboteur), Squad Goals BDU (mike ops)
Vigilance Link gives you 2 excellent survivability stats and makes your team more durable as well. Excellent for team players and more support minded people. Vampiric vestments will give you hp, more hp when you kill things, and more attack damage so that it’s easier to kill things. However, because you lose them when you die, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP since dying is relatively common (though you can do a good job of staying alive as KU by staying far away). If you use Shield Coil Module to start recharging your shields with Support Drone, Premium Health Plan can be very powerful, since the self healing from Support Drones make it easy to stay at max hp and double the shield regen.
If you’re running ops, SG BDU is the best survivability item that can be taken because it provides more hp than any other legendary while also providing a bit of DR: if you’ve got at least 56 ops points, SG BDU is better than even a fully stacked VV.

Max shield (battery):

Modernista (saboteur), One-4-All Shield Array (experiment), Co-opetition Inducer (llc), SKNK-WRK Decoherence Refractor (montana ops)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a decent secondary stat. A good way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. One-4-All Shield Array gives you more shield, your allies more shield, and can stack up some shield penetration if you want to push a shield pen build, not that it’s very good.
Co-opetition Inducer used to be complete junk but was revamped in the Winter Update to be extremely potent. The new legendary effect allows you to get stacks that increase your max hp on any non-LLC enemy that you kill, which includes minions (the minion robots aren’t LLC aligned either). It’s almost trivially easy to cap out the stacks and double the shield contributions from the legendary. Furthermore, if you took Shield Coil Module, you’ll find the increased shield recharge incredibly useful.
If you’re doing ops, SKNK is absolutely incredible since it provides the most DR possible on any single item (19.2%) if you’re running for 100 ops points: 19.2% DR is a 23% increase in TTK, which means that it’ll provide more survivability than anything else except for the SG BDU.

Stocks (recoil):

Stable Executioner (renegade), Starkweather’s Oscillator (llc)
While recoil is absolutely worthless on KU, the legendary effects of these items make them legitimate contenders for a slot in your loadout. SE was buffed hugely in the Winter Update (though it no longer applies to skill damage, sadly) but averages out to a 10% increase in attack damage, over time. If you’re going for max DPS, this can be quite useful even if the stats are basically worthless (remember that an attack damage primary is a mere 9.1%). Starkweather’s Oscillator has a somewhat useful secondary stat to somewhat offset the useless primary, but the legendary effect was changed in the Winter Update to be absolutely *amazing*: 15% of your damage (both against shields and hp) is converted into shield, which is incredibly powerful.

Magazines (reload):

Hidden Charger (llc)
Reload is extremely valuable and, considering how often KU reloads due to his shallow ammo pool, the legendary effect of this will dramatically reduce your Shield Recharge. I wouldn’t bother if you’re going to take Shield Coil Module (since that’s about circumventing the delay before your shields recharge), but if you’re not, this can be very powerful.

Shield Capacitors (shield recharge delay):

Philotic Pylon (llc)
Yet another basically worthless legendary that was buffed to usefulness (though not necessarily top tier status) in the Winter Update. A heavy shield regen build and Shield Coil Module can allow KU to provide a lot of free shield to his allies. Conversely, if you use this along with a Hidden Charger and a Vacuum Energy Converter, you’ll have a mere 1.77 sec shield recharge delay and be able to restore 159 shield to all of your allies over ~6.2 seconds, which is pretty impressive considering it wouldn’t require the use of any skills.

Shield Generators (shield regen):

Vacuum Energy Converter (llc)
One of the extremely nice Demon Bear legendaries, it provides you with every single shield stat in useful amounts. If you’ve got one or more allies with an active Demon Bear legendary (which is actually pretty decent advice since the Demon Bear legs are all pretty awesome), you’ll get primary stat value for the max shield as well, which is extremely good. Keep in mind, this works in both PvP and PvE, but you need an ally using a matching piece of gear.

Pins (skill damage):

Bola’s Target Finder (experiment)
The only skill damage item I would actually recommend. Skill damage isn’t stellar for KU, nor is attack speed, but the proc is amazing, especially after it was improved in the Winter Update. If you’re aiming for a Skill Damage build for PvP, this is basically a must take, especially since Bank Shot + Snare Spread virtually guarantees that at least 1 target will get hit every time you use Bola Snare.

Non-Legendary Gear

Since legendaries generally require extensive PvE to acquire (even the loot pack legendaries are easier to get via PvE due to the ease at acquiring commander packs via the ops), most PvP players won’t have ready access to many of them. Of course, because they require so many shards to activate, many PvPers don’t bother using them in the first place (they’d rather activate cheaper gear and use spare shards on buildables). It should also be mentioned than many newbies won’t have ready access to a full spread of gear either so this provides them some stuff to look out for.

Keep in mind that all of these items can be acquired from Core loot packs; each item also has a relevant faction listed; if you’re looking for a specific item, your best bet is to open faction or commander packs of that type so that the loot table is smaller.

This list will not be comprehensive. I’m only mentioning those items that I feel are most relevant/important. I’ll also be labeling them based upon faction, rarity, and if you want the version with a penalty if possible (items with penalties are cheaper to activate; in general, only use gear with a penalty that doesn’t affect your character since it’s basically a free cost reduction).

Gloves (attack damage):

LLC (epic), Eldrid (all)
First and foremost, the Eldrid gloves are all awesome because max hp is absolutely amazing and the conditional effect on the rare and uncommon versions are extremely easy to activate. KU does have a shield so you don’t want to reduce it with the penalized versions.
The LLC epic glove is good because it provides some more shield. The other gloves aren’t worth it because of bad conditional requirements.

Wrenches (buildable cost):

Any (common), Rogue (common, penalized)
Excellent for PvP building loadouts, KU is somewhat problematic because he actually uses all of the stats that the wrenches penalizes, preventing him from using one that doesn’t penalize him whatsoever. The Rogue common wrench (-healing received) penalizes him the *least*, but it’s still pretty nasty so you may want to consider just using one of the non-penalized common wrenches (they’re all identical) and spending the 420 shards before building anything.

Med Kits (heal power):

Eldrid (rare), LLC (rare)
If you want heal power, these are the only real options. The Eldrid option is bad if you plan on dying a lot though the LLC variant will be able to provide you with more healing when you really need it. Don’t go for the penalized versions because he uses the stats they penalize.

Armor (max hp):

Eldrid (rare), LLC (rare)
The LLC rare is one of the best max hp items in the game for PvP. As soon as your shield breaks, your max hp and current hp both increase by 210. As soon as you have a shield again, your max hp and current hp are both reduced by 210 (though no less than 1). It’s extremely good. The Eldrid variant is basically a bridge gap until you can get the LLC one.

Battery (max shield):

Rogue (common, penalized)
Excellent for cheap PvP loadouts, the common Rogue battery allows you to trade off 14% healing received for 140 max shield. The other batteries tend not to be worth it because of bad conditionals. The epic LLC battery might seem like a viable option, but, compared to the free Rogue battery, you’re having to delay activation and then spend 1040 shards in order to gain 1.4 shards/sec; that’s time at the beginning without advantage and ~12 minutes after buying before you break even on the cost. The short duration of PvP matches means that you’re screwing yourself over that way.

Magazines (reload speed):

UPR (rare), Eldrid (rare)
If you’re trying to deal damage with KU, one of these is virtually a necessity. It takes ~1.5 secs to unload 3 alt-fire volleys so you can maintain the full 30.8% reload speed improvement with the UPR rate trivially as long as you keep firing. The Eldrid variant is also pretty good, since you can just throw a drone at your feet to keep yourself working.

Shard Gen (free shards):

Any (common)
Virtually required for most PvP loadouts, free shard gens are absolutely amazing, but they require the character to not find that stat remotely useful. Sadly, KU finds all 4 of the stats that free shard gens penalize useful to some degree: he uses his skills often to CD reduction isn’t viable, he reloads *a lot* so reload speed isn’t viable either, he provides a lot of healing so both skill damage (which affects his healing as well as Bolas’ damage) and heal power are out. The higher rarity shard gens tend to not be worth it because you’re having to wait to activate it before starting to generate shards, effectively doubling the cost.

Loadouts

General PvE:

Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Solar Sustainer
An excellent blend of everything you might need: survivability (shield regen, heal power, max hp), offense (lots of attack damage, reload speed), and support (heal power, attack damage with heals).

Pure Offense PvE:

Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Bola’s Target Finder
Solar Sustainer can be kind of questionable because of weirdness in implementation so it’s been traded out for something to make your Bola Snare nastier.

Pure Healer PvE:

Solar Sustainer, Chrono Key, All-4-One Morale Booster
Not that I recommend it, this is just taking the best stuff to improve your support capabilities.

Shield Focused PvE:

Philotic Pylon, Vacuum Energy Converter, Hidden Charger
As mentioned in the legendary section, this is about giving you a lot of shield, recharging it quickly, and restoring it to your allies.

Mike Ops:

common shard generator, Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet
The Mike ops is so stingy with shards that you really need a shard generator for it. Of course, it’s not so stingy that you’ll be screwed by taking a non-penalized common shard generator. Hidden Charger and SG are all about cranking up your damage and survivability.

Legendary PvP:

common shard generator, Solar Sustainer, Bola’s Target Finder
KU finds value in *all* of the penalties from free shard generators, but they’re virtually necessary for PvP so you have to decide what you’re most willing to lose out on (even if what you decide to lose out on is “420 shards and however many shards you might have earned before getting that much”). Solar Sustainer gives you better support and a bit of offense; Bola’s Target Finder helps with killing and makes your Bola Snare really nasty.

Fast Leveling PvP:

free shard generator, Janked “Screwdriver” (-healing received), Solar Sustainer
The same problem with a free shard gen as with the previous PvP loadout. The -healing received wrench is basically the best of a bunch of bad options since the wrench penalties are identical to the shard generator penalties, otherwise. Tactically, build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. Solar Sustainer is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more, though you could also take Bola’s Target Finder for a more skill driven/offensive set up or Symbiotic Gauntlet or Hidden Charger for more DPS and personal survivability.

Cheap and Functional PvP:

3 of (Stout Ekkuni Wristguard, Sportsman’s Haute-Couture Kevlar, Rifleman’s Hailfire Mags, Survivor’s Remedy Box)
Since there aren’t any legendary items, you don’t really need a free shard gen (though you could replace either the glove or the pin if you really wanted). The Eldrid uncommon glove can be replaced by the epic version if you’re worried about dying, but it will increase the price a fair deal (the loadout with it currently costs 2562; going from uncommon to epic would cost an additional 336). The glove and chest improve your survivability, the glove and magazine improve your damage, and the med kit improves your healing, so you need to pick the one aspect that you feel most comfortable not improving (in general, the med kit is probably the least noticeable).General PvE: Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Solar Sustainer
An excellent blend of everything you might need: survivability (shield regen, heal power, max hp), offense (lots of attack damage, reload speed), and support (heal power, attack damage with heals).

Pure Offense PvE:

Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Bola’s Target Finder
Solar Sustainer can be kind of questionable because of weirdness in implementation so it’s been traded out for something to make your Bola Snare nastier.

Pure Healer PvE:

Solar Sustainer, Chrono Key, All-4-One Morale Booster
Not that I recommend it, this is just taking the best stuff to improve your support capabilities.

Shield Focused PvE:

Philotic Pylon, Vacuum Energy Converter, Hidden Charger
As mentioned in the legendary section, this is about giving you a lot of shield, recharging it quickly, and restoring it to your allies.

Mike Ops:

common shard generator, Hidden Charger, Symbiotic Gauntlet
The Mike ops is so stingy with shards that you really need a shard generator for it. Of course, it’s not so stingy that you’ll be screwed by taking a non-penalized common shard generator. Hidden Charger and SG are all about cranking up your damage and survivability.

Legendary PvP:

common shard generator, Solar Sustainer, Bola’s Target Finder
KU finds value in *all* of the penalties from free shard generators, but they’re virtually necessary for PvP so you have to decide what you’re most willing to lose out on (even if what you decide to lose out on is “420 shards and however many shards you might have earned before getting that much”). Solar Sustainer gives you better support and a bit of offense; Bola’s Target Finder helps with killing and makes your Bola Snare really nasty.

Fast Leveling PvP:

free shard generator, Janked “Screwdriver” (-healing received), Solar Sustainer
The same problem with a free shard gen as with the previous PvP loadout. The -healing received wrench is basically the best of a bunch of bad options since the wrench penalties are identical to the shard generator penalties, otherwise. Tactically, build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. Solar Sustainer is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more, though you could also take Bola’s Target Finder for a more skill driven/offensive set up or Symbiotic Gauntlet or Hidden Charger for more DPS and personal survivability.

Cheap and Functional PvP:

3 of (Stout Ekkuni Wristguard, Sportsman’s Haute-Couture Kevlar, Rifleman’s Hailfire Mags, Survivor’s Remedy Box)
Since there aren’t any legendary items, you don’t really need a free shard gen (though you could replace either the glove or the pin if you really wanted). The Eldrid uncommon glove can be replaced by the epic version if you’re worried about dying, but it will increase the price a fair deal (the loadout with it currently costs 2562; going from uncommon to epic would cost an additional 336). The glove and chest improve your survivability, the glove and magazine improve your damage, and the med kit improves your healing, so you need to pick the one aspect that you feel most comfortable not improving (in general, the med kit is probably the least noticeable).

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