Holistic Rath Guide – Battleborn

Holistic Rath Guide - Battleborn
Holistic Rath Guide - Battleborn

Overview

As much as Rath tries to tell everyone that he is not a vampire, it has been said by developers that he was the first character developed under the idea of having a “space vampire samurai”. They just kind of threw cool concepts into a blender and turned it on. Which is doubly amusing because that’s just what Rath does to hit opponents.

In PvE, Rath is all about killing stuff. To stay alive, he has to deal damage since he’s squishier than most other melee and relies on his natural life steal to make up for that. Of course, killing stuff also has the somewhat tangential benefit of actually stopping things from attacking him since dead stuff can’t try and kill you (since there are no zombies in BB, sadly).

Rath also has absolutely amazing AoE capabilities. His basic attack is a wide slash finished off by a devastating spin that damages everything near him. His abilities are similarly good at taking out numerous foes. Pretty much everything you do with Rath is going to end up killing stuff other than your actual intended target.

Of course, one of Rath’s main strengths (his life steal) is also his biggest weakness: if he can’t injure his targets, he’s way squishier than he’s supposed to be. Ranged enemies are his bane and, while he’s got decent close-to-mid reach with his skills, his only defense against long range attacks is “close the gap and kill them, preferably via a path with lots of cover”.

In PvP, Rath is less about killing stuff and more about setting up kills for his allies. His basic attack DPS isn’t stellar (it’s on par with baseline Alani), and he relies so heavily on his passive lifesteal to make up for his low hp/shield (his hp/shield is on par with ranged attackers and roughly 300-400 less than similar melee attackers) that he isn’t capable of standing toe-to-toe with most other PCs and tends to melt as soon as he’s focus fired. Furthermore, he lacks any closing/escape abilities so he is extremely at risk of overextending when he does decide to go for a kill. As such, the most effective strategy for him in PvP is to sit back and act more like a controller than a true assassin (using Catalytic Smash as a large AoE pseudo-stun).

An interesting note: if you think you recognize Rath’s voice, it’s probably because you’ve heard it before. Rath’s English voice actor is the same voice actor (pretty much the same voice, even) for the English language dub of Dragonball’s Vegeta. Rath has a lot of Vegeta’s personality and a few of his mannerisms, though there is no mention of “over 9000” and, for some reason, Reyna (the leader of the Rogues) has the taunt in which she goes super saiyan rather than Rath.

Index

Abilities

Axiom and Praxis:

Rath’s basic attack.
Named after the two smaller swords he uses for all but one of his attacks, Rath executes 3 quick, wide slashes to his front (they cover between 90-120* in front of him) followed by a slightly higher damage 360* spin. He’s got a naturally high attack speed that can get significantly better with gear. This is his bread-and-butter.Rath also has an untitled attack that he uses as his alt-fire: he throws one of his swords a short distance ahead of him, spinning parallel to the ground. The descriptor on his command page is somewhat inaccurate since it doesn’t actually do significantly better AoE damage than his basic attack: it’s the same width has his frontal attacks. What it does do is additional damage against shields, but the base damage is significantly lower than his basic attack so you will only *barely* be outdamaging his basic attack when taking out shields (~10%) and the distance it covers is only slightly further than melee range (roughly double melee range, which is just barely enough to clip a target at the top of the Catalytic Smash knock up). The only reason to use it is if you are fighting heavily shielded enemies in front of you with no enemies to your back or sides, which doesn’t happen often. Even then, the damage advantage is relatively minor. You can easily never use his alt-fire the entire time you’ve played Rath and never miss it (or feel like you’re missing anything, in fact).There is, however, one caveat to this: because of the tempo and timing of Rath’s main combo (there is a pause between the 3 attacks and the finisher), you can get roughly 20% more DPS by activating his alt-fire as you finish the last of the attacks and are about to enter into his main combo’s spin attack (the spin attack has a similar activation time but deals nearly half as much damage). The timing on this is *extremely tight* and requires a *lot* of practice (to such an extent that I don’t recommend it to anyone except *truly devoted* Rath players; you have to pay so much attention to the timing that you’re liable to miss other important things going on), especially since you can’t cancel out of the combo finisher spin once you enter it.

Genetic Syphon:

Rath’s passive.
Rath naturally has 8% life steal on his non-skill attacks and 10% life steal on his skill attacks. Keep in mind, as with all life steal, only health damage is factored in, so don’t be surprised in the least when you have a tougher time than you’d expect going up against heavily shielded enemies like Thrall Beastmasters and Ronin.

Crossblade:

Skill 1.
Rath’s only real ranged attack. He fires a pair of “sword beams” in an X shape directly in front of him. It activates quickly and deals a decent chunk of damage. It’s only mid-range, so don’t expect to snipe your enemies with it, and the projectile speed is relatively slow. Even so, it’s excellent for taking out lined up enemies and for taking out runners.

Catalytic Smash:

Skill 2.
The only time Rath uses Precept (the giant sword on his back). Rath smacks the ground with his giant sword, shorting out a ground based shockwave a short distance in front of him (it’s too long to really be “close” range but it’s not nearly as long as Crossblade, so I hesitate to call it “mid”) that deals a bit of damage and, more important, sends any opponents hit flying into the air. While Rath can only hit enemies knocked into the air like this with his alt-fire (and only if he’s already right next to them), it allows him to close the gap and/or reposition without being attacked. When they land, NPC enemies take a couple seconds to recover themselves and most players will also be slightly confused. Early on, you can take a helix that also allows it to silence enemies, which will really ruin a players’ day.

Dreadwind:

Ultimate.
Not nearly as good as it used to be but still pretty devastating. The wind up isn’t as long as the description suggests (I didn’t even realize there was one until I read it in the description), and the damage is actually extremely good: the damage per hit as listed is only slightly better than the base damage of your basic attack (at level 1, it’s 63/hit compared to 55/hit for your basic) however Dreadwind makes more attacks per second than your basic attack does and every single one of them is in 360*. Don’t forget that you can move at normal speed while Dreadwind is active, too. In PvE, I don’t recommend using it against bosses or the like, since they enjoy using knockback and other huge damage attacks that are liable to waste the duration (and you probably have plenty of gear that augments your basic attack without helping Dreadwind at all), but, in PvP, it can be decent for taking out enemy players that have overextended since it covers such a large area all around him that it’s hard to dodge (though you’re still very susceptible to CC effects, which will take you out of it).

Helices

Level 1: Slowing Strike v. Concussive Smash v. Waveform Smash

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Waveform Smash
Slowing Strike is better for PvP because it allows you to use your only real ranged attack to slow down opponents: used on a runner or as an opening attack, it allows you to prevent their escape.
Waveform Smash reduces the range of Catalytic smash by 33-50% but triples the width, allowing you to hit more targets in close proximity. In PvP, this makes it better at wave clearing as well as making it harder for players to avoid its nastiness. The loss of range isn’t too bad because Rath is a melee character.
In PvE, Concussive Smash sounds like an awesome idea except that it is contingent on hitting with both of your skills quickly in succession but in what is generally the wrong order. Catalytic Smash knocks enemies up and allows you to reposition so that you can use Crossblade to get as many of them as possible. Concussive Smash wants you to do it the other way around. In PvP, it is more viable since hard CC like a stun is noticeably more valuable than soft CC like a knock up (especially if you’re trying to set up a kill with allies) but it requires you consume both of your skills in rapid succession and hit with both of them.

Level 2: Shield Syphon v. Eviscerating Blade v. Anger’s Echo

Recommendation: Anger’s Echo
Shield Syphon is pretty worthless because it’s contingent upon your opponent having a shield while Rath does not, which tends not to happen. Eviscerating Blade is worthless because it provides shield penetration, which is worthless. Anger’s Echo can be seen as a 50% increase in damage (since a target can get hit by both blades) as well as a second chance to hit a target with Crossblade (especially useful if you took Concussive Smash at level 1 since that’s twice the chance to set up for the stun).

Level 3: Terror from Above v. Spin to Win

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Spin to Win
In PvE, TfA’s double jump just doesn’t do that much for a melee character since being out of range of an opponent also means that they’re out of your own range. In PvP, however, the additional mobility is extremely valuable especially since Rath’s role in PvP tends to deemphasize his melee attacks.
StW adds an additional spin to the end of Rath’s primary attack combo, increasing the time it takes but adding to the damage. The increased damage is proportionately more than the increased time, but tests (performed by myself and others) have generated greatly different results in prospective DPS increase: my own tests (counting number of combo attacks per minute before and after taking the helix) found there to be a ~15% increase to Rath’s basic attack DPS (against a single target; since the additional attack is 360*, just like the normal combo finisher, it’s much more powerful when he’s swarmed) though others (including people using the same methodology that I use) have found it to be a ~3-5% increase.
Of course, if you’re using the main + alt combo (3 basic swings and then alt-fire), StW is completely redundant. If you’ve mastered that, don’t bother with StW at all because you’re not going to be using it.

Level 4: Crimson Fastness v. Catalytic Flash

Recommendation: (PvP) Catalytic Flash; (PvE) Any
In PvP, the silence on Catalytic Smash provided by CF is one of the things that makes Rath dangerous: the knock up will interrupt attacks and movement and the silence will turn off or cancel special attacks while also denying many characters the chance to use escape skills.
In PvE, the question really becomes whether you want Rath to start jumping forward before using Catalytic Smash. Silence is basically redundant via NPCs with Catalytic Flash since they’ll be knocked in the air, consuming most of the time that NPCs would be dazed by the silence, if you don’t want Rath to start leaping forward when you’re trying to set up an attack, CF is better. It comes down to personal preference.

Level 5: Skillful Syphoning v. Swordsman’s Salve v. Not a Vampire

Recommendation: Any
First things first, unlike most percentage improvements listed in game, the listed increases to life steal provided by these helices are actually added to the life steal he gets from Genetic Syphon, not multiplied. As such, they are extremely noticeable and very useful. Which one you pick is governed primarily by how you plan on playing him.
Swordsman’s Salve increases the life steal on your melee attacks to a whopping *30%* but reduces your life steal from skills to 0%. Crossblade and Catalytic Smash activate quickly so losing out on the life steal from them isn’t a big deal since you’ll be able to resume wailing on your enemies with your basic attack in less than a second (and, with Catalytic Smash, they won’t be attacking you for a bit because they’re flailing around in the air and on the ground). The bigger concern here is Dreadwind: because of the wind up and 3 second duration, you’re basically incapable of self healing for 4 secs, which can be pretty dangerous. If you take this helix, Dreadwind should *only* be used if your current situation isn’t even remotely risky.
If you still want to be able to use Dreadwind without worrying about dying, Skillful Syphoning and Not a Vampire are still good options. Skillful Syphoning will basically make it impossible to die when using Dreadwind (and allow you to use your skills as powerful controlled self healing) while Not a Vampire is more about just improving your standard life steal. If you want more constant life steal, take Not a Vampire; if you want more bursty/controllable life steal, go with Skillful Syphoning.

Level 6: Brutal Blade v. Catastrophic Smash

Recommendation: Any
More damage on Crossblade or a longer range Catalytic Smash. Simple helices means it’s a pretty simple choice. It’s up to you and your preferred playstyle.

Level 7: Evasive Maneuvers v. Spin to Slow v. To the Point

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) To the Point
Here the question becomes what you need more of: survivability/mobility, control, or damage. In PvE, damage is king, though keep in mind that TtP only augments his basic attacks (i.e. non-skills) are considered “melee strikes” (the others are classified as “skills”). EM will help you get away when you’re attacked or, if you’re in a fight, it’ll help you stick to an enemy (or close the gap with a ranged attacker). StS will help you keep an enemy from escaping once you’ve engaged, especially since, with a bit of attack speed gear, Rath’s can manage to do his entire combo in less than a second (meaning you can perma-slow someone).

Level 8: Energetic Projection v. Quick Cross

Recommendation: Any
If you find yourself regularly coming up short with Crossblade, EP is obvious; if you find yourself always wanting it a couple seconds earlier, Quick Cross.

Level 9: Softened Target v. Zealous Smash

Recommendation: Any
This really comes down to how often you use Dreadwind. If you don’t use Dreadwind often, Zealous Smash is a waste. If you do, it’s amazing. Keep in mind, you have to use Catalytic Smash for killing blows to trigger Zealous Smash, and Catalytic Smash is your lowest damage attack. As such, you need to weaken enemies first and you’re still only liable to get the killing blows on minions.

Level 10: Dreadheart v. Unstoppable Assault v. Desperate Assault

Recommendation: Any
Dreadheart will allow you to keep up with enemies trying to escape and move on to additional targets after you kill them (which will happen a lot in PvP). If you often find yourself spinning with nothing to win against when you use Dreadwind, Dreadheart is the way to go. If you find yourself dying before Dreadwind resolves, Unstoppable Assault is the way to go: 225 overshield might not seem like much, but it can make the difference. If you just wanna skill stuff better, Desperate Assault is *amazing*: activate it while your shield is broken and your Dreadwind will be even crazier. Conversely, you can either step into some damage patch or just expect to get hit and your damage will suddently skyrocket. Either way, incredible damage.

Gear Stats

Rath is all about killing stuff. Offensive stats make him tougher to kill thanks to his native life steal but life steal doesn’t really do you much good if you die. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.

Offensive

(Attack Damage>Attack Speed>Skill Damage>Critical Damage>Cooldown>Shield Pen>Recoil=Reload):
Attack Damage is the most important stat for Rath since a majority of his damage is from his basic attack. If you want to go for a Skill Damage build (e.g. Dreadwind focused) for PvP, you can ignore Attack Damage, but you won’t have particularly impressive damage normally.
Attack Speed is second to Attack Damage only because it has lower values.
Skill Damage is the only way to make Dreadwind stronger, and Dreadwind is powerful.
Critical Damage is low priority because Rath isn’t stellar at scoring crits with his basic attack (he has a wide swing that will often hit the side of a target rather than their actual crit location if you’re too close) and his skills aren’t capable of scoring crits.
Cooldown means more skill uses, but the values are so low (and you tend to hold on to skills rather than using them right when they come back) so it’s not really a huge improvement to your 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). Still, it actually does something unlike recoil and reload. Recoil and reload are only useful as penalties to take on gear since they do absolutely nothing to him.

Defensive

(Damage Reduction=Max Health>Max Shield>Health Regen=Healing Received>Shield Recharge=Shield Regen<CC Duration):
Rath doesn’t have a lot of hp/shield but he’s got the best life steal in the entire game. While he doesn’t have the raw hp/shield required to make DR outright better than max health, max health is only going to be better over a short exchange. Especially after level 5, when his life steal gets improved, the longer a fight gets, the better DR gets since it means his life steal is acting upon smaller amounts of incoming damage.
Max shield is worse than max health more than it usually is: Rath tends to stay in combat for long periods and, as such, has few opportunities to recharge his shield while he’ll be constantly recharging his hp via life steal.
Health Regen and Healing Received are extremely low value because Rath already has loads of natural health recovery due to his life steal. The only real advantage these stats have compared to what he brings already is that it is out-of-combat recovery.
Shield Recharge and Shield Regen are low value because Rath tends to stay in combat for long periods of time. He’s small enough and deals enough damage to everything near him that he’s liable to avoid taking damage for long enough for his shield to recharge, so it’s not worthless, but it’s definitely not as valuable as everything else (especially since his lifesteal is generally going to be more than what you can get his shield regen up to).
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.

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.

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 Rath.

Gloves (attack damage):

Pacifier (algorithm), Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel), Vow of Vengeance (renegade), Lenore’s Lament (jennerit)
Pacifier makes it harder to break your shield and makes your life steal more valuable since it’s acting on less incoming damage. Symbiotic Gauntlet syncs well with Rath’s life steal since he’s able to keep himself at max hp pretty easily. VoV is just pure face melting because it increases attack speed and, as a melee, you’re going to be generating those increased damage stacks like crazy. VoV is better than SG mainly because your damage won’t drop when you take damage, which is liable to happen.
Lenore’s Lament gets special mention. It’s not really stellar for Rath because, while he does like attack damage and can be built for skill damage, he really doesn’t need the life steal: he brings plenty of it on his own. Furthermore, the life steal on Lenore’s Lament only applies to non-Jennerit and *only* to health damage dealt so it’s both weak and largely redundant.

Swords (attack speed):

Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr (sentinel), Culling Spike (jennerit)
SEoA is the current gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks are permanent and relatively easy to acquire, and it provides an good stat in addition to the attack speed. It’s also dropped from the Sentinel mission, which has 4 of the best legendaries in the game in its loot table.
Vow of Zealous Fury used to be absolutely amazing but it was gutted in the Winter Update. Don’t use it.
Culling Spike is also worth mentioning since it brings attack damage along with the attack speed and augments your Jennerit allies a bit. The total attack speed provided makes it inferior to SEoA imo but it’s a legitimate choice.

Watches (cooldown):

Borrowed Timer (upr), Firmware Update 1.51c (algorithm)
Borrowed Timer can be powerful in PvP if you build for skill damage and lifesteal. Being able to activate Dreadwind as soon as you drop to critical hp levels can be an incredible boon. The WU changed it quite a bit, increasing the internal cooldown to 60 seconds (up from 30) but also increasing the hp range from 10% to 25%, making it much safer to use. If you’re going to go with this, it needs to be part of a loadout built around it.
Firmware Update used to be terrible for Rath but, with the Winter Update changes (huge increase in both the proc chance and effect), it’s a somewhat legitimate choice, but only really for PvP: the improvements to damage are laughable compared to simply taking more direct control gear so the only real value is in the ability to get more knock up/stun/silence from Catalytic Smash.
I’ll mention a few others purely to caution people against using them since I can see the gears turning in some minds. Chrono Key was a popular option early on but, post nerf, I would never recommend it. Cooldown is useful, but the secondary stat is useless (heal power doesn’t affect life steal) and 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. 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.

Goggles (critical damage):

Heliophagic Goggles (heliophage)
If you can manage to get crits reliably as Rath, this is worth it. You get attack speed to go with the critical damage and the special effect is quite nice. In PvE, a blind is basically a stun and, in PvP, it’s extremely disorienting to players.

Pauldrons (damage reduction):

Blissbeast Skull Plate (void’s edge), “Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm)
Blissbeast is one of the best pure survivability tools in the game. It gives a lot of DR and, while health regen isn’t amazing for Rath, it’s not useless. Furthermore, because Rath doesn’t have a lot of hp, the legendary effect of the BSP will be triggered plenty often, without being problematic because you’re recovering from the damage through lifesteal too. Alamo-7 Armor has a worthless secondary stat and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long, it is *extremely* powerful (2 seconds of total immunity); combine this with the Borrowed Timer for excellent emergency recovery (since you’ll be immune when your skills recharge, for a very safe surprise Dreadwind).

Injectors (health regen):

Oath of the Sustained (renegade), Ziggurat Schematic Serum (phoebe ops)
OotS is an excellent utility legendary that also helps out your team. You get health regen, increased damage, and a portion of all damage dealt (which should be a lot) is given to your allies as life. Considering Rath’s DPS as well as his existing life steal, this is more about helping your team rather than helping out yourself. ZSS, on the other hand, is purely focused on keeping Rath alive: because he has so much lifesteal, Rath can keep himself at max hp even while taking an obscene amount of health damage, allowing ZSS to provide him with a massive overshield (at 100 ops, it’s 150% of the total health damage you’ve taken in the last 60 secs) for 6-8 seconds every minute. If you’re playing aggressively, you’re liable to get an overshield large enough to basically make you immune to all damage for that time period.

Armor (max hp): Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (jennerit), Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter (upr), 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. I would only recommend VV for PvP since an incredibly small number of “major enemies” show up in each mission (it’s basically bosses and mini-bosses); of course, only do this if you’re *extremely* good at getting kills with Rath since you need to deal the killing blow for it to count. Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter has both of Rath’s best survivability stats and, as a character with extreme damage recovery, he’s liable to ratchet up those additional hp very easily, especially while clearing out minions. If you’re running ops, SG BDU is better (and is actually the single best TTK item you can get) because it provides more hp than P2G with the exact same DR contributions: if you’ve got at least 56 ops points, SG BDU is better than P2G can possibly be.Batteries (max shield): One-4-All Shield Array (experiment), Modernista (saboteur), Voxis Core (jennerit), 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. Voxis Core is a requisite for a skill damage build, since the legendary effect is basically a 15% increase in damage if there’s more than 1 enemy nearby. If you dive into a big melee and use Dreadwind with a Voxis Core, you can be sure someone will be cursing and screaming about Rath being OP (especially if you get multiple player kills with it).
SKNK provides the most DR possible on any single item (19.2%) if you’re running for 100 ops points, which definitely makes it a good choice if you’re looking to bolster your survivability and already have a powerful +hp item: 19.2% DR is a 23% increase in max hp, which means that it’ll provide more survivability than anything except for a double stat max hp item (and DR comes with the side benefit of improving the comparative effectiveness of his lifesteal by a similar amount so an argument could be made that it’s better than SG BDU).Boots (move speed): Boots of the Brute (saboteur), Predator’s Step (jennerit)
I wouldn’t use BotB for PvE since you don’t need to slow enemies, but they’re useful in PvP since they let you keep up with enemy players exceptionally well. PS are absolutely amazing since, at a minimum, you get a primary stat and 2 secondary stats, all of which are extremely useful; if you’re in a coordinated group that also has someone using a piece of Demon Bear gear, you end up with 2 primary stats and 1 secondary.

Capacitor (shield recharge): Doomsday Key (heliophage)
The only shield recharge item I’d recommend because of the incredibly powerful legendary effect that’s liable to happen pretty often if you can get your shield to recharge. Skill Damage is somewhat less valuable if you’re building for attack speed (since attack speed is for a basic attack build and skill damage is for a Dreadwind build), but it’s a possibility.

Pins (skill damage): Bola’s Target Finder (experiment), Codex Fragment (archive)
Bola’s Target Finder is awesome, especially since it means enemies take more damage after you toss them in the air with Catalytic Smash. If you’re building for a Dreadwind assassin build, Codex Fragment is still worse (due to the absurd buff that Bola’s got with the WU) but is a decent option if you don’t have it. The hp will keep you alive while Dreadwinding and, unlike most characters, Rath will be fine taking damage to build up the skill damage from Codex Fragment (the stacks fade after 5-6 seconds if you don’t keep taking damage, which Rath can actually manage). It won’t provide more total damage to Dreadwind than Bola’s will (because 9.1% damage to all of your skill damage pales in comparison to 12.6% to everything but the first tick).

Drinks (spring speed): Improved Genetic Syphon (lore), Lunatic Stew (jennerit)
In general, sprint speed legendaries are worthless gimmicks. These two, however, at actually quite good, primarily because they bring extremely useful benefits without preventing you from taking a legendary sword or glove, which will provide more from a strictly numerical perspective. The lore leg gives you a useful attack stat and improves life steal, while the Lunatic Stew provides some increased mobility as well as a lot of attack speed and attack damage (even more if you’re surrounded). It’s basically an expensive Jennerit epic glove that you’re willing to spend more on because it isn’t a glove (it also gives you some sprint speed, but that’s basically an afterthought).

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. Rath 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.

Swords (attack speed):

LLC (epic), Eldrid (all)
The exact same stuff here as with the gloves, with a different primary stat. Same rules apply.

Wrenches (buildable cost):

Jennerit (common, penalized)
Excellent for PvP building loadouts, this is the only free wrench that doesn’t penalize Rath at all. The higher rarity wrenches tend to not be worth it because you’re spending shards to save the same amount on later purchases.

Pauldrons (damage reduction):

Rogue (rare)
12.4% DR after activating a skill is extremely good, given how much Rath likes DR and how he tends to use his skills as openers (10 secs gives you a lot of time). Don’t go for the penalized version because that’s -hp, which is bad: you end up losing more TTK than you gain.

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.

Boots (movement speed):

Rogue (common/rare/epic, penalized), Jennerit (common/rare/epic, penalized)
While you don’t really need the mobility in PvE, Rath can very much so use this in PvP. The penalties on both of these categories don’t affect him at all and the conditionals on the rare versions are actually quite easy for Rath to maintain (for the Rogues, just use his skills to open and trust to his greatly increased move speed to escape; for the Jennerit, Rath is a melee fighter so he’s totally gonna be getting it).

Shard Gen (free shards):

Jennerit (common, penalized), Rogue (common, penalized)
Virtually required for most PvP loadouts, these free shard gens don’t penalize Rath at all (lifesteal doesn’t count as healing). 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:

Improved Genetic Syphon, Vow of Vengeance, Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr
A crapton of additional damage/attack speed and beefed up life steal. Perfect for a basic attack driven slaughterfest.

Pure Damage PvE:

Bola’s Target Finder, Vow of Vengeance, Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr
If you don’t feel like beefing up your life steal and just want to crank out the damage even more (which, admittedly, will increase your life steal), this can work wonders: Bola’s provides more attack speed than the lore leg, too, and the extra 12.6% after hitting with a skill is extremely noticeable, especially with a team.

Pure Survivability PvE:

Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter, Pacifier, Blissbeast Skull Plate
Pacifier increases damage dealt and gives you shield; the main advantage is the legendary effect which reduces the damage of enemies hit by 10%. Pain-2-Gain gives you a *lot* of hp and DR, as does Blissbeast Skull Plate. You probably won’t be topping the damage charts for the group, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be dying any time soon (or even requiring outside healing, honestly). If you’re doing ops, replace the P2G with the SG BDU and the Blissbeast with the SKNK.

Mike Ops / Legendary Basic Attack PvP:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power) or Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Vow of Vengeance, Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr
Free shard gen (either of those penalties are good because neither affects him) to allow you to afford the other 2. VoV and SEoA are simply the best damage legendaries you can get. If you have problems keeping people around in PvP, Boots of the Brute is the way to go instead of either of those (VoZF is better front end damage; VoV is better back end). Symbiotic Gauntlet is also a viable option to replace VoV (especially if you don’t think you can stick in melee for long periods)

Skill Damage PvP:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power) or Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Bola’s Target Finder, 1 of (Voxis Core, Firmware Update)
Free shard gen with a stat that doesn’t affect you, like always. Bola’s is just disgustingly powerful. Voxis is for more powerful skills while Firmware is for more spammable ones. Your choice as to which is better for you.

Table Turner PvP:

Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power) or Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Borrowed Timer, “Alamo-7” Armor
Free shard gen allows you to afford the other 2 legendaries, which give you 2 seconds of invulnerability (once every 2 minutes) and instant skill recharge (once every 60 seconds) whenever you’re reduced to less than 25% hp. The point is to open with skills and surprise them with a Dreadwind immediately after you just used it to guarantee the kill (and recover from near death). If you really want to go nuts with it, you might consider replacing the shard gen with a Bola’s Target Finder (straight up cranking out damage) or Codex Fragment (additional hp makes it a bit safer). It’ll be incredibly expensive, however, so you’ll be spending a lot of time hunting down shards. You won’t be contributing much until late game, but your enemies will be raging so hard when you turn the tables.

Fast Leveling PvP:

Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Erratic Tempestian Cred-Stick (-reload), 1 legendary
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. The legendary is there for when you hit level 5 (or 10, whatever your goal level is) and don’t need to build for xp any more. I don’t mention any specific legendaries because there are a *crapton* that can fit in depending upon what you want and how you want to do it: VoV, SG, or SEoA for damage, Boots of the Brute for lockdown, etc. Erratic Internal Capacitor (jennerit battery with penalty) is also an option if you want a totally free loadout to focus on spending *all* of your shards on building and getting xp.

Cheap Functional PvP:

3 of (Sportsman’s Haute-Couture Kevlar, Stout Ekkuni Wristguard, Stout Aelfrin Warblade, Stout Golemic Sigil)
Since there aren’t any legendary items, you don’t really need a free shard gen (though you could replace any of them with one if you really wanted). The entire point here is staying alive while doing as much damage as possible. The Eldrid uncommon glove/pin/sword can be replaced by the epic versions if you’re worried about dying, but it will increase the price a fair deal (a full uncommon loadout costs 2142; going from uncommon to epic would cost 336 each). Erratic Internal Capacitor (jennerit battery with penalty) is also an option if you want a reduce the price and boost your early game survivability a bit.

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