A quick pre-text on plurality/singularity as it applies to Miko. Miko is a plural organism, meaning that the single entity that you see as Miko is actually comprised of numerous smaller entities, much like Legion from Mass Effect. However, Miko is also a single actor that doesn’t separate (and doesn’t have gender either, even if it has a somewhat feminine identity). The lore isn’t particularly consistent on the proper usage: sometimes Miko is referred to in the singular, Miko always refers to theirself in the plural, and oftentimes it’s played for laughs that the speaker/writer isn’t sure what terminology to use. In this guide, for simplicity’s sake, I will be referring to Miko in the non-gendered singular, because avoiding confusion is more important than pedantic attention to lore based semantics.
Miko is, first and foremost, a healer. While it is not completely worthless as a combatant (in fact, a well played Miko can do a lot of damage), the primary value in having a Miko is that they can keep everyone near them topped off and healthy. If you elect to play Miko, *keep this in mind*. Your first priority should be keeping your team alive and healthy. It’s only when you’ve done this that you should go out and throw kunai into the faces of your opponents.
Now, just because healing is your first priority doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and do damage. Any time your healing isn’t needed (generally because no one has taken enough damage to justify it; keep in mind, some characters need to have their hp topped off to be as dangerous as possible, so you need to bear that in mind), you should be killing things. If you’re ignoring Miko’s damage for any reason, you’re doing your group a disservice.
Miko’s main weakness is that it is *not* a durable character. While it has higher hp (or hp+shield) than any of the other healers, it has an incredible large crit spot (the entire mushroom cap) and extremely limited self healing capability: by default, Miko’s only way to heal itself is Biosynthesis (which is a paltry 200 over 5 seconds) and standing in its ult. Helices can fix this and make Miko much more capable of recovering from damage taken, but it will never be able to heal itself as easily as any of the other healers.
Furthermore, Miko does not do burst healing; Miko does sustained healing over time. Unlike Alani or Reyna (and to a smaller extent Kid Ultra), Miko doesn’t throw out a single massive amount of healing at one time; Miko gives a large number of comparatively smaller heals. Over time, it often adds up to more (especially since you can’t “waste” a tiny heal on a little bit of damage like you can waste a big heal) but it definitely takes more of Miko’s time. Also, by this same token, Miko’s healing is on demand so, if needed, she can heal *constantly*, unlike any of the other healer characters.
Miko’s basic attack.
For those unfamiliar with the term, kunai are simply throwing knives. You get 6 of them per reload, and Miko throws them alternately from its right and left hands, resetting with each reload. The projectiles are slow and heavy, following a parabolic arc as they fly. They are only accurate over short and mid-ranges and are almost worthless at long range because of loss of accuracy as well as the parabolic arc. The damage is moderate and is only really noticeable in PvE if you’re good with crits (since crits against players are worth a paltry 50% additional damage and crits against NPCs are worth 200% additional damage). Thankfully, the reload is fast to make up for the shallow ammo pool. Probably the most important use of this is applying the DoT supplied by Miko’s passive.
Any target that takes damage from Miko’s kunai (you can also apply it some other ways with some helix choices) also gets hit with a DoT that deals additional damage equal to roughly the same damage as its kunai deals over 2 seconds. Multiple applications do not stack, though the damage is increased by attack damage gear so it scales with your basic attack.
Listed by Miko’s scientific name of “A. mikollopria” on her character screen, this ability has Miko reach out and put a green tether on a targeted ally. The initial range is only slightly more than melee range, but, once the tether is applied, the max distance is about 33-50% greater than the initial range, as long as they stay within your line of sight. If you want to swap targets (which can happen quite often, since ally movement and the targeting of the ability mean that you will quite often accidentally get tethered to someone unintended), either break LoS (by looking/turning away) or release the alt-fire button and try again. If you don’t have an ally in range, Miko will remain ready and the tether will simply latch on to the first valid target to get close to the targeting area. While healing, Miko can run at full speed (so you can follow an ally running into battle without being left behind) but cannot sprint (so an ally running away from a fight will outrun you). The healing ticks at half second intervals.
A 5 second self-buff that heals Miko for an unimpressive amount and increasing healing done by the Healing Beam by 25%. It can be activated while Miko is currently tethered to someone with its Healing Beam without interrupting anything. Presented as a self-heal, it’s way more useful as a buff for Healing Beam, especially with some helix choices.
Cloud of Spores:
Miko throws a large, slow projectile in a shallow ballistic arc. When it hits something, it deals a little bit of explosive damage (i.e. can’t crit and ignore’s carried shields) and leaves behind a patch that lasts 4 seconds and slows any enemy inside of it. Too slow and unwieldy to be an effective damage tool, this is most useful for the control provided.
Fungus Among Us:
In a very shallow ballistic arc, Miko throws a mushroom with a very small hp pool. As long as it remains alive (it will not despawn until it dies or you place a third mushroom), Miko and any allied entity (NPC or player) that stand near it will be healed; it ticks twice per second and each heal is roughly 50% stronger than Healing Beam’s. This is an *extremely* powerful healing tool but is very fragile and will draw fire from both players and NPCs. It’s so fragile that it can only really be used effectively by placing it in a protected location.
Level 1: First Responder v. Breathe Deep
Recommendation: Breathe Deep
Neither of these is particularly potent but First Responder is too conditional to be particularly valuable: increased movement speed while healing someone and using Biosynthesis allows you to keep up with fast/fleeing allies (but only while using the skill, which is meh) or avoid enemies (assuming you don’t break the tether). Breathe Deep doubles the magnitude of the slow, which will make it extremely easy to hit targets.
Level 2: Regenerative Aura v. Heal Thyself
Recommendation: Heal Thyself
RA is incredibly unimpressive because it’s just turning an already anemic self-heal into an anemic AoE heal. Heal Thyself, on the other hand, gives Miko some *extremely powerful* self healing because Miko gets healed for the same (augmented) amount that it heals its target, even if that target is at max hp. With this helix, if you need healing, you can simply find an ally, tether them with Healing Beam, and activate Biosynthesis to top yourself off within just a few seconds.
Level 3: Evolutionary Emergence v. Plentiful Healing v. Swift Draw
Recommendation: Evolutionary Emergence
While a static ~25% increase to Miko’s Healing Beam seems pretty powerful, being able to use Biosynthesis (and Cloud of Spores and Fungus Among Us) more often is way more valuable because of all of the other tangential benefits that come with those skills. Swift Draw makes Miko reload extremely quickly but, as I’ve said before, Miko’s first priority is keeping its allies alive and healthy (and Miko’s reload is already pretty short).
Level 4: Trail of Spores v. Sticky Spores v. Sporeshock
Recommendation: Trail of Spores or Sporeshock
Stick Spores is basically worthless. It allows you to create a slowing (and a tiny bit of damage) trap, which just isn’t worth it compared to the awesomeness of the other 2 options here.
Trail of Spores allows you to cover an absolutely *huge* area with the slow patch, especially if you aim high and go for a long ballistic shot: any ground that it passes over gets a copy of the slow patch that the spore creates at the end. If you take Breathe Deep at level 1, it’s devastating. Spore Shock is powerful because stuns are powerful. Keep in mind, however, that the stun only occurs on a direct hit (i.e. the spore actually contacts an enemy and explodes), stuns *only* the target directly hit, and does not create the slow cloud if it directly hits a target. In effect, you’re exchanging the AoE slow for a single target stun (only on a direct hit; you still get the slow patch if you hit the ground).
Level 5: Toxic Transfusion v. Pervasive Poison v. Pandemic
Pandemic is amazing: it turns Miko’s kunai into an AoE. It isn’t a massive AoE but it will spread the DoT to every enemy within melee range of the target you hit. It gives Miko decent waveclear and allows you to deal collateral damage, which adds up.
PP is basically worthless, especially compared to Pandemic. Pandemic allows you to DoT up a massive number of enemies in a short period of time. Since Miko’s only sources of damage are its kunai (which already apply the DoT) and Cloud of Spores (which makes it incredibly easy to hit targets with the kunai), I see absolutely no reason to take this (there’s a level 10 helix that allows your ult to deal damage, which makes PP much more poweful but it still can’t compete with Pandemic).
TT is pathetic because it’s simply 15% on a small DoT that you can apply. If you could take both TT and Pandemic, TT would be way more useful but, since you’re limited to applying the DoT to a single target (or a small number, if you spread your kunai out), the amount of healing you’ll get is negligible (since it’s a DoT, even if you keep a single target constantly affected, you’ll only barely double your natural regen).
Level 6: Probiotics v. Healer’s Oath v. Spore Strike
Probiotics and SS augment the parts of their skills that we don’t really care about: the self-healing from Biosynthesis isn’t going to make a huge difference, and the impact damage of Cloud of Spores is secondary to the control elements. HO, on the other hand, directly improves the primary useful functionality of Biosynthesis. The only reason not to take HO is if you are running solo and don’t have anyone to heal with Healing Beam (at which point, I have to wonder why you’re playing Miko).
Level 7: Fight or Flight v. Bladeslinger
In PvE, increased mobility isn’t really all that useful while being able to throw more kunai (and deal more damage) is. In PvP, since Miko is such a popular target, FoF will save your life extremely often, as it will allow you to outpace melee fighters unless they slow or otherwise impede your movement.
Level 8: Biosynergy v. Residency
Residency doubles the duration while Biosynergy simply allows you to use Biosynthesis more often by having it recharge faster (mechanically, it just increases your cooldown speed by 30% while you have a target tethered with Healing Beam). If you rarely use Healing Beam, Residency will be more useful but, if you’re doing that, you’re playing a *really* weird Miko.
Level 9: Spore Storm v. Resilient Strain
Spore Storm increases the total area of the skill’s slow patch by 225% while Resilient Strain increases its duration by 150%. Increased area means that an enemy player will take longer to get out of it, be more likely to be affected by the slow in the first place, and have more enemies hit by the slow. Increased duration means that you will be denying the space to enemies for longer. At its most fundamental, it comes down to whether you want to improve performance over the initial few seconds (Spore Storm) or allow it to function for longer (Resilient Strain).
Level 10: Barkskin v. We Are Many v. Vicious Strain
Barkskin is bad because doubling its hp just means that it can survive an extra second or so of being attacked. The secret to making the mushroom effective is placing it where it won’t be attacked since it will die under any kind of intentional assault so allowing it to survive an additional attack won’t really amount to much.
The tooltip is erroneous with the numbers. We Are Many reduces both the hp and the cooldown of your mushroom by 50%. Since it’s already going to die just by being sneezed on, you’re not really losing anything. If you’re using your mushroom as a mobile medical station, this is excellent since it allow you to replace it twice as fast since enemy players enjoy killing it asap.
Vicious Strain turns your mushroom into a doom shroom (which is my nickname for this, in fact). The DPS is *amazing* and, because it’s limited by hp rather than a static duration, if you protect it, it can do *absurd* damage. In PvE, if you place it right where enemies are going to spawn, you can quite often kill enemies before they actually do anything. In PvP, it will punish melee characters for having the audacity to approach your precious mushroom.
Attack Damage improves Miko’s DoT and its kunai. Since, with the exception of Vicious Strain at level 10, almost all of Miko’s damage is improved by this, Attack Damage is the best way to make Miko more deadly (and by a massive margin).
Critical Damage only improves Miko’s kunai hits and only if you’re accurate with them. It’s not going to do nearly as much as Attack Damage, but it’s the next best.
Miko has to spend time reloading after every 6 kunai thrown and a significant portion of its damage comes from its DoT, which attack speed is worthless for; as such, attack speed, normally an amazing stat, is mediocre at best.
Skill Damage is basically worthless since, by default, Miko’s only source of skill damage is the pathetic explosion damage on Cloud of Spores. It would be so low as to not bother were it not for Vicious Strain at level 10. If you plan on getting to 10 and taking it, Skill Damage will be extremely powerful. If you don’t, don’t bother at all.
Cooldown is basically lower contribution Skill Damage though it won’t really improve your doom shroom unless it keeps dying (which you should be trying to avoid).
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). Recoil and reload are on par with shield pen because, while they technically do something, they contribute so little as to be ignored.
Max health is the mother of Miko’s defensive stats because it has so little hp that, unlike everything else here, it has an extremely noticeable impact on Miko’s TTK. Max shield is a close second and has its advantages and disadvantages: while shield is up, you cannot be crit (though you can’t really stack enough shield to make it withstand more than a couple blows); 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 Miko has Biosynthesis and has natural regen.
Just like for every other non-tank, damage reduction is terrible for Miko. For DR to be worth it, you need to have an extremely large hp + shield (3333 combined). Miko does not. Even if you assume that Miko will self heal, it doesn’t have enough.
Healing received is worse than either of the true TTK improvements because it only works when Miko is healing itself. Since it can only heal itself with Biosynthesis and its ult, which will generally be more than enough by default, it’s not as amazing as it could be.
Shield recharge and regen are only useful to Miko if it’s got other gear with max shield on it. You’ve pretty much got to be building for shield for it to be useful, so it’s more of a gimmick stat to take. If you don’t have shield, these are complete and total junk stats that you can ignore.
Health regen is on par with the shield support stats because Miko already has health regen (thanks to being an Eldrid) and can self-heal well enough. Health regen is tiny in comparison to their self healing, so you’ll never really notice it in combat.
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.
Miko heals a *lot* so heal power is awesome. More heal power means less time needed to heal allies, which translates into more time you can spend on dealing damage. Cooldown time will give you a bit better support but not that much.
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.
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.
These are some specific legendaries to keep in mind for Miko.
Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel), Pacifier (algorithm)
Attack damage beefs up kunai and the DoT, which is good. Both of them also contribute to your survivability with Miko’s best defensive stats. SG is great because it’s pretty trivial to keep Miko at max health and double that attack damage increase while Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever Miko damages an enemy (including damage with the DoT). Personally, I err on the side of Symbiotic Gauntlet because I like hp more than shield and the attack damage debuff is kind of weak (only 10%).
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on Miko. The stacks only apply with its quick melee and the stacks fall off very quickly (matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, and, while Miko tends to be close to the action, it is not a melee character.
Swords (attack speed):
VoZF is the gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks last an extremely long time and are easy to acquire, and it provides an excellent stat in addition to the attack speed. It’s kind of a ♥♥♥♥♥ to get, though, because Rendain drops it. And Rendain sucks (longest mission in the game and he’s the very last boss). SEoA is much easier to get and is almost as good: the stacks can be stacked faster if you’re in combat and quick about it; move speed is, in my book, worse than crit damage though, but that’s personal preference.
Orbital Tracking Spike is only mentioned because it’s got useful stats (attack speed and shield) though the additional attack speed is conditional upon you standing still… which can easily get you killed and you’re not liable to do often. This is more of a sniper legendary though I can see some people liking it (or using it until they get one of the other 2).
Firmware Update has a low value secondary stat, but Miko’s abilities have CDs that are low enough (and enough CD in its helices) to get some good mileage out of Firmware Update’s legendary effect: just make sure you use Biosynthesis on CD (and, when you get Biosynergy, keep Healing Beam up to get Biosynth back even faster),
I only mention these others to caution player against using them since I can see the gears turning in some minds. Cooldown is useful, but none of the legendaries are really worth it since the legendary effects don’t properly sync with Miko’s functioning. If you want a cooldown item, use a non-legendary since you’ll get similar use at a much lower cost.
Chrono Key has good primary and secondary stats for Miko, but I would never recommend it because the legendary effect requires an obscene amount of damage dealt to see any returns (you’ll only see damage on par with this if you’ve got Vicious Strain and your ult safely placed in the middle of an extremely active spawn point). Aria’s Encore is another trap, mainly because it’s only good in ops, where basic attacks are way better, since that’s the only time you’ve got Ops Points to fuel the legendary effect. Borrowed Timer isn’t really worth it because Miko can easily be bursted down past 10% and Miko’s skills and healing can’t really *save* it with burst healing.
Crit Damage (goggles):
VPS gives you a lot of hp in addition to that crit damage and gives you a big bonus to your next attack’s damage when you do crit. If you chain crits, it’s a truly impressive increase to damage. PMC gives you move speed (nice but not stellar) and turns crit kills into explosions. It’s amusing but not that effective since the critsplosion is pretty mediocre. Does make Miko a bit more AoE viable with its basic attack (which is the only attack she has that can crit).
Pauldrons (damage reduction):
Alamo-7 Armor provides 2 functional stats and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long, it is *extremely* powerful (2 seconds of total immunity) and can give you the time you need to avoid dying. Still, much like the Borrowed Timer, Miko doesn’t have a lot of hp and can be bursted down past the proc range. Burning Sunset makes it a lot harder to screw with you when you’re enabling an ally’s rampage because it allows you to ignore the damage from one skill every 30 seconds (only useful in PvP; this does nothing in PvE). The CC duration fits with the theme of ignoring opponent’s trying to screw with you.
Med Kits (heal power):
So many absolutely amazing options here. VR provides a largely worthless secondary stat (it does absolutely nothing unless you stack some shield elsewhere) but getting healed for 7% of all healing you provide gives you a poor man’s Heal Thyself (useful for keeping yourself topped off when you don’t have or want to save Biosynthesis).
SoM gives Miko some burst healing and rewards it for a damage/healer fusion playstyle. The legendary effect is either uncapped or extremely high so, if you end up using Pandemic to DoT up a lot of enemies, you can very reliably get a massive burst heal.
Symbiotic Spores is the strongest single healing item. The range on the legendary effect is roughly the same as the range limit on Healing Beam, which is where a vast majority of your healing comes from anyways, so it can be considered equated with simply being additional raw heal power pretty easily.
Dr. Fist’s Medic Bag will help you keep allies alive more effectively than any other legendary. Since Miko can heal at-will, it can provide the max hp to any ally you want. Solar Sustainer is similar with an offensive bent instead of survival.
Pins (skill damage):
The gold standard of skill damage legendaries. Attack speed (decent) in addition to skill damage and a bonus effect that makes enemies take more damage after being damaged by your skills. It can help in setting up kills with Cloud of Spores but, honestly, it’s only really going to do much if you are going for maximizing Vicious Strain.
All 3 of these give you decent increased damage, SG and VPS provide you with a very nice hp cushion, and Solar Sustainer makes you heal better and buff you allies to boot. If you want more survivability (for yourself and allies), replace the Solar Sustainer with Dr. Fist’s Medic Bag. If you want more damage, replace VPS with Vow of Zealous Fury.
Pure Healing PvE:
Pretty simple. You’re just trying to maximize healing, probably to the point of overkill. Dr. Fist’s Medic Bag will probably be more useful, but it won’t crank your healing numbers up as high.
Pure Damage PvE:
If you’re going solo, this will work well, though you’ll need to be good at crits to be effective.
Vicious Strain Abuse PvE:
Bola’s and Voxis will make your doom shroom a death trap, which gives you the damage to make Chrono Key worth it. This is only useful in situations where a *lot* of enemies spawn in tight quarters over and over (e.g. final encounter of Renegade) and you’ll only notice it being useful at the very end. It’s basically a gimmick build but can be amusing.
Free shard gen so that you can afford the legendaries and reduced skill power because it’s not like Miko does much skill damage. SoM will give you some burst healing combined with SG giving you damage and survivability. If you want more healing, go with Solar Sustainer, Dr. Fist’s Medic Bag, or Symbiotic Spores (depending upon your preference).
Pure Support PvP:
Free shard gen so that you can afford the legendaries and reduced skill power because it’s not like Miko does much skill damage. Dr. Fist’s and VL will give you allies a lot of additional hp, giving them very nice TTK improvements.
Fast Leveling PvP:
Build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible and reduced skill power because it’s not like Miko does much skill damage. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. Symbiotic Gauntlet is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more. If you prefer more healing, choose one of the legendary med kits of your choice.