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Star Renegades - Darkest Dungeon in Space! Sort of!

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I resent Paragon, because unlocking him meant locking away Valkyrie, who was my mainstay.

I do appreciate that a lot of his passive skills draw attention to the fact that he's completely middle of the road
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
I don't have good character images for the two remaining characters that have writeups, so here, have what I stole off of TV Tropes.

MEET THE DRAGOON
KASCHE JCHOR




Shields: 65
Armor: 3
Health: 130
Gear Slots: Rifle, Implant, Device
Relationship Bonus: -3/-5 Fury costs
DNA Required for Levels: Very High

Damage: B
Armor Damage: C
Speed: C
Stagger: B
Regen: D
Support: A

The Dragoon is a versatile character with a primary focus on dealing damage, particularly through extra ways to use your Fury meter. Properly used, you've got someone who can outpace the hardier damage dealers, like Valkyrie or Enforcer, while still providing extra fun toys for your team to capitalize on. Improperly used, they're just a weaker version of the above classes, or worse yet, an active drain on your Fury meter to no benefit. As such, you need a good head for managing your resources when playing with a Dragoon.

Movelist:

Level 1:

Dispatch
Normal
Speed:
35s
Damage: 25
Crit Bonus: +9 damage, +3 armor damage, +20s stagger

A good, solid Normal attack, as reliable as any other. A little on the slow side, but not so much so that it's impossible to work with. Not a lot else to say about it, really, it works as well as any other normal attack do in a vacuum. Still, internalize those stats now, because we're going to see how they can be messed with later on.

Enfeeble
Light
Speed:
0s
Damage: 10
Crit Bonus: +4 damage, applies -15% damage for 1 turn

Uhhh are you sure about this one, bud? This is not a good move! This is in fact a bad move! Sure, it's great as a fast option that doesn't stagger if you're up against a foe that can't be launched down the timeline, and it doesn't burn a valuable stun doing it, but is that really a situation you're going to encounter often enough to devote this move to it? Answer: the debuff effect gets stronger under... certain conditions. You'll see what I mean soon.

Defend
Speed:
0s
Cannot be delayed
+40% defense, cannot be debuffed

There's certainly some instances where you might just want a Dragoon to defend, sure. They're kind of like Commando, where they don't have GREAT stats for frontline fighting, but can definitely make it work if built properly for it. I like that in a class.

Cancel Supercharge
Speed:
0s
Cancels all effects of Supercharge, free action

That's right, buddy, we've got ourselves another Sniper Mode situation. But instead of slowing the user down to increase their power...

Supercharge
Speed:
0s
All attacks cost extra Fury, but are 20s faster, gain Reach, +25% damage, and +50% stagger, free action

They instead spend Fury to sauce up all of their attacks! And that is some serious sauce, too. Supercharge lets you effortlessly take down a problem target from virtually anywhere, before they get anywhere close to react. It's a very attractive package for sure, especially if your other teammates' Fury moves are more situational, but be careful not to overspend and deny yourself the resources needed to bail yourself out of a sticky situation. Do note that Fury cost scales to the potency of the move, and that Supercharge does not apply to Combo moves.

Level 2:

Osmosis
Speed:
0s
Once per fight
Enemies give you 3 Fury whenever they hit any team members for 1 turn

So naturally, instead of getting a way to spend Fury at level 2, they instead get a way to earn it! It goes without saying that this is REALLY REALLY GOOD, especially if you're about to get a Random Targets spam move you can't easily weather normally. Osmosis is all about timing: used too late and you've probably spent your Combo moves already, but used too early and you'll barely get the chance to spend at all!

Level 4:

Fireball
AOE
Speed:
50s
Damage: 25
Crit Bonus: +9 damage, +10s stagger

Remember how I said to take Dispatch's values and internalize them for later, and then showed you the Supercharge move? Yeah, same principle here. On its own, Fireball is an okay-but-not-great AOE. Give it a Supercharge though, and you're looking at some excellent damage, stagger, and speed on an AOE move. Experiment with it based on what the rest of your team will do, and how much Fury you feel comfortable spending.

Level 6:

Aura (Vulnerable)
Speed:
0s
-25% defense for all enemies, free action, only one Aura available at a time

Yeah the Dragoon just ends up biting the Empath's style after a while too. The Vulnerable aura is, not to put too fine a point on it, amazing. Obviously, it's best on a team where everyone can contribute reasonably to damage, but it's also perfectly fine to help the numbers on a team that's flagging a bit in that respect. It's also a little bugged: you need to re-enable an aura after the Vulnerable aura's done a turn.

Aura (Stagger)
Speed:
0s
+5s stagger for all allies, free action, only one Aura available at a time

The Stagger aura is a little more situational. Assuming you've got a full team each armed with their own stagger effect, that looks like a free 25s of stagger on your turn, which is great! Except the problem is that that means five separate instances of stagger, which the enemies will absolutely be able to withstand before you actually use them all. Still good, but it's not a fire-and-forget way to win fights.

Level 8:

Mop Up
AOE
Speed:
45s
Reach, random targets
Damage: 52 (13x4)
Crit Bonus: +18 (5x4) damage, +4 (1x4) armor damage

Again: this move is good but underwhelming until you apply Supercharge, at which point it becomes a terrifying way of splatting even the biggest targets, or just clearing out the chaff at the tail end of a messy fight. As the name indicates, I wouldn't really rely on this as an opener, especially not when Fireball is right there... but Fireball IS a little slower. And against single targets, of course, you use Mop-Up when speed isn't an issue, that goes without saying.

Level 10:

Supercharge II
Speed:
0s
All attacks cost extra Fury, but are 30s faster, gain Reach, +40% damage, and +100% stagger, free action

This is the best capstone ability I have ever seen, and I've used Blitz II and Bonds of Faith.

Progeny Exclusive:

Osmosis II
Speed:
0s
Once per fight
Enemies give you 3 Fury whenever they hit any team members for 1 turn

Osmosis, but better. What do you even want from me.

Disrupt
Light
Fury:
15
Speed: 0s
Once per fight
Damage: 10
Crit Bonus: +4 damage, stun

A stun move on Dragoon, huh? Kind of weird, but hey, stun moves are good, I won't knock it. Not sure what, exactly, the situation would be where you'd want to Supercharge it. I'd say if you just needed some guaranteed instant super damage, but uh, my dog, Enfeeble is right there.

Aura (Health Drain)
Speed:
0s
+2 health drain for all allies, free action, only one Aura available at a time

Ordinarily, you need to rely on either gear or camping cards to get your actual raw health total up. The Health Drain aura is, outside of the Guardian, the only method by which you can recover your characters' health midfight regardless of your gear, and is useful on that account if nothing else. Course, it's VERY small amounts of health drain, so don't expect this to actually replace your camping cards or gear.

Progeny:

EVIR JCHOR
Shields:
75
Armor: 7
Health: 155
Damage: +20%
Crit Damage: +20%
Parent: Wynn Syphex (Valkyrie)
Learns Mop Up at level 4, learns Fireball at level 6, learns Aura (Health Drain) and Aura (Vulnerable) at level 8

An exceptionally hardy Dragoon with big damage boosts and earlier access to offense moves in exchange for Auras being pushed down later, and the Stagger aura being replaced with a Health Drain aura. Early Mop Up, in particular, is a fun toy to work with, since it's nearly as potent as the Enforcer's Burst Shot for single difficult foes like Behemoths. Just mind the delayed auras, and don't be afraid to bring a support character.

ZEVEN JCHOR
Shields:
80
Health: 95
Damage: -10%
Crit Damage: -10%
Parent: Xurx Nrza (Archon)
Learns Osmosis II at level 2, learns Aura (Vulnerable) and Aura (Stagger) at level 4, learns Mop Up at level 6, learns Fireball at level 8

Zeven is a more support-oriented Dragoon, with extremely quick access to Auras and Osmosis II to improve Fury generation even further. Also has some high shields for a Dragoon, which is nice if you have a way to regen that and bad if you don't since you give up armor and health in the process. And let's not ignore that you've got a damage penalty and delayed offense moves to contend with, most notably Fireball being shunted all the way to level 8!

KADER JCHOR
Shields:
65
Health: 110
Damage: -20%
Crit Damage: -20%
Parent: Senya Lanodora (Empath)
Learns Osmosis II at level 2, learns Aura (Health Drain) and Aura (Stagger) at level 4, learns Disrupt at level 6, learns Aura (Vulnerable) at level 8

The most support-oriented Dragoon on the market, and the only one capable of accessing all three Aura types. The costs are incredibly harsh, though: not only do you lose some health, armor, and a lot of damage, you lose almost your entire moveset for dealing damage at all! Your two techniques for the bulk of the fight are Enfeeble and Defend, and I seriously wish I was joking on that one. Use Kader on your team if you want to stack auras with the Empath for your three (at most) actually-fighting characters.

AEON JCHOR
Shields:
65
Armor: 3
Health: 110
Damage: +20%
Crit Damage: +20%
Parent: Tark Chanlo (Marksman)
Learns Disrupt at level 4, learns Mop Up at level 6, learns Fireball at level 8

If you don't care about the Aura support from the Dragoon at all, just go with Aeon. In exchange, you get Yet Another Instant Stun in the form of Disrupt, not to mention a beefy damage boost. This is ideal if you have a team ill-suited to capitalizing on the Auras in the first place, possibly because many of them simply aren't going to be doing attacks often enough to get those damage/stagger bonuses.
 
That said, that stagger claim is a bald-faced lie: his stagger game is weak as HELL.
The stagger claim is a lie, but it's actually because he's even better than advertised.

Siphon Stab is one of the best staggers in the game, you just need a bit of gear to support it. Just start with a 5s stagger sword or whatever, and star some other stagger gear. It's pretty easy to get it up to 30 seconds by the second planet, and that's really good for a pretty fast AoE. The shield drain also gives you a buffer for that turn even if you use it at full shields, and it's also extremely valuable on higher Entropy levels because you stop restoring all your shields after every fight. He's one of my go-to characters for Entropy V, and Siphon Stab is a large part of that.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Also Siphon Stab does some *crazy* Shield Damage, even if you discount it’s ability to restore them. Anything weaker than a commander is going to have their shields popped after a single turn on lower difficulties.

I have to begrudgingly accept that Paragon is a very good unit, but I still hate him.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
While that's definitely true, lots of moves are good with the right gear. I'm doing my best to evaluate the moves assuming you get absolutely no gear or bonuses to support them, and Siphon Stab, while not a terrible move, is definitely not a good move. Marksman's moves are really strong with some action speed boosts on them, but they're perfectly viable even at default speeds.

MEET THE GUARDIAN
RAV'N TYSANNO




Shields: N/A
Armor: 2
Health: 180
Gear Slots: Implant, Device, Device
Relationship Bonus: +30/60 health restored after fights
DNA Required for Levels: High

Damage: B
Armor Damage: C
Speed: D
Stagger: D
Regen: A
Support: A

And now for something completely different. The Guardian doesn't play by nearly any of the rules of the game you've seen so far: they cannot EVER gain shields, they restore all of their health after every fight, they have NO weapon slot, and they can passively apply elemental abilities to their attacks (normally only available as a property of weapons). They also have a unique resource, Spirit, that charges up to a max of 5 both when they're hit and after each round, which they can spend on different attacks, and they get a damage boost on enemies that have attacked them the last round. All of this adds up to the most unconventional tank class in the game.

Movelist:

Level 1:

Vorpal Storm
Flurry
Speed:
0s
Spirit: All
Damage: Variable (8xSpirit)
Crit Bonus: +Variable (3xSpirit) damage
Free action, spends all Spirit

Early on, this will be your big cashout option. Build up a nice healthy stockpile of Spirit, then unleash it on someone who attacked you last round. Lategame it'll pivot more to quick chip damage on an enemy that's thiiiiis close to being defeated. It's also ridiculously good for stacking damage over time or stealing health, once you have proper access to that from gear.

Defend
Speed:
0s
+40% defense, cannot be delayed, cannot be debuffed

For a tanking character, the Guardian, surprisingly, has pretty much no in-fight sustain capability, especially early on. You're at the mercy of your health pool and how much of a beating it can take. Furthermore, your active attacks are universally on the slow side. As such, your Defend action is your best friend for a large portion of the game.

Vorpal Strike
Normal
Speed:
35s
Damage: 25
Crit Bonus: +9 damage, +3 armor damage, +15s stagger

Notably low stagger and speed for a Normal attack, but that aside it's still pretty much a Normal attack. You won't often have the freedom to swing this around if you're tanking, but it's great for some extra damage if your team has everything staggered real good. Do note that enemies that attacked you last round become Cursed, which gives you bonus damage against them!

Level 2:

Stronghold
Fury:
20
Speed: 0s
Allies take no damage this round, +40% defense, cannot be debuffed, cannot be guarded

Now THIS is a cool move. Expensive Fury-wise, yeah, but being able to no-sell all of the damage your entire team takes is really, REALLY good, and I shouldn't have to explain why. Of course, this does nothing outside of a standard Defend action for your Guardian, so it's not foolproof, and it can't block status effects or the like from landing. Still super amazing, though!

Level 3:

Gain 3 Elements
Speed:
0s
Free action, applies pyro, nitro, or pulse damage and status effect to your attacks

That's right. Guardian gets stuff even on odd levels for combat! On the surface, this might feel like a consolation prize for not having weapons with these elements in the first place. Once you realize the versatility of being able to sling these status effects around midfight, as well as the damage types' properties against health/armor/shields, you'll start to really see what possibilities you can do. Pulse damage is a fun opener to quickly get shields down, and both pyro and nitro damage are powerful options for when the opponents' shields ARE down and you need to either slow them down or deal extra damage (and yes, you can get FIVE stacks of burning off of a single Vorpal Swarm).

Level 4:

Entity
Spirit:
5
Free action, +50% damage, all allies gain current element and +25% damage against Cursed enemies for 1 turn, once per fight

Once you have your opening, this is what you do with it. The raw damage output that the Guardian can dish out, not to mention everyone borrowing your meanest damage type on top of whatever other garbage they can pull, can end fights faster than you expect. Also, like with the Empath and Dragoon's Auras, you can switch your personal element after using this, so you could, say, give your team Pyro damage for loads of Burning stacks, then follow up with Concussion damage to soften them up for future turns.

Level 5:

Gain 1 Element
Speed:
0s
Free action, applies concussion damage and status effect to your attacks

The next damage type from the basic three is concussive, which is your way to do stagger fun. This is easier said than done for a Guardian, though: Concussion damage doesn't actually apply rattled unless the attack itself has stagger, which Vorpal Swarm does not. You'll need to A: wear down their shields first, and B: finish the job with an actual staggering move.

Level 6:

Vorpal Storm
AOE
Speed:
45s
Damage: 20
Crit Damage: +7 damage, +10s stagger

Ew. This is not a good move. This is in fact a bad move. Slow as hell with only okay damage and low stagger to show for it. That said, this DOES get to benefit off of Cursed enemies the entire field over, at which point the damage becomes decent, but it's still not great. It's still an AOE move with stagger, but lots of classes can do that at speeds higher than this. The most I can say about it is "well, at least it's there if you need it".

Level 7:

Gain 1 Element
Speed:
0s
Free action, applies antimatter damage and status effect to your attacks

Antimatter is the armor-wrecking damage type, with the matching Disintegrate status effect being the only damage-over-time in the game that applies to armor. Takes a while to get to, but if you're lacking teammates more capable of doing armor damage and are sorely in need of it, you could do far worse than having your Guardian chip it down.

Level 8:

Meld
Speed:
0s
Spirit: 1
Restores 25 health to user, free action

Ah, yes, our tank character finally gets their self-sustain option at uhhhhhh level 8 out of 10. Ehhh it's fine. Anyway Meld is still solid, especially during longer fights where your shield regen supports wouldn't be able to do anything for you. You can repeat this move as needed if you need greater healing, as long as your Spirit holds out. Just remember that it cuts into your ability to reliably wield Vorpal Swarm, to say nothing of Entity!

Level 9:

Gain 2 Elements
Speed:
0s
Free action, applies corruption or phasma damage and status effect to your attacks

Corruption damage is your new pyro damage, and phasma damage is your new pulse damage. They're extremely awkward to cycle through at this stage, but these are probably the two best damage types in the game. Use them well and enjoy the hax.

Level 10:

Vorpal Strike II
Normal
Speed:
30s
Damage: 35
Crit Bonus: +12 damage, +10 armor damage, +15s stagger

Hell yeah, better damage on the one attacking move you're most likely to use. I'm especially impressed by the massive spike in armor damage, that's considerably hilarious once you remember you can just get Antimatter damage on demand.

Progeny Exclusive:

Gift
Speed:
55s
+100 health restored to all allies, once per fight

Haha what? Just flat out "have a health kit" as a once per fight option? That's goofy as hell! I guess this makes any Guardian who has this the best friend of a low-shields team. Be extremely wary of the low speed of this move, because chances are if you need it, you're gonna need it a lot faster than "right as the enemies line up fatal blows".

Progeny:

BAV'N TYSANNO
Armor:
2
Health: 160
Damage: +10%
Crit Damage: +10%
Parent: Jens Malric (Enforcer)
Learns Meld at level 6, learns Vorpal Storm at level 8

On the surface, Bav'n looks like your straightforward +damage/-survivability progeny option, and that's basically true, yeah. EXCEPT that all the progeny versions of Guardian get an extra thing on their innate ability! In Bav'n's case, you get a free Mark effect any time you hit a Cursed enemy, which is to say, someone that hit you last turn. Only other change is the bump of Meld to earlier in the moveset, which means you can't leverage having a real AOE option early on. Ah well.

MARV'N TYSANNO
Armor:
4
Health: 180
Damage: -15%
Crit Damage: -15%
Parent: Aia Kur (Juggernaut)
Learns Meld at level 4, learns Entity at level 8

Marv'n looks even MORE straightforward: they are the even hardier tanking choice with much earlier access to Meld and significantly poorer damage output, not that Guardian's damage was great to begin with. They also get slightly more armor than usual, which goes a long way when you realize that your armor is what's going to do a lot of work keeping your health in play. Also, any time they get hit, bonus shields for your teammates! Not MUCH, but it's effectively a free Conduit effect that's just always active.

GAV'N TYSANNO
Armor:
2
Health: 150
Damage: +15%
Crit Damage: +15%
Parent: Sidara Kymon (Gunslinger)
Learns Vorpal Storm at level 4, learns Gift at level 6, learns Entity at level 8

And then there's the extreme option of Gav'n. At first glance, they appear to be Bav'n, but more so, especially with early Vorpal Storm and the same Mark effect on their innate. Don't overlook that Gav'n is the only one to have access to Gift! This might lend them towards being a backline support character for a low-shields team, letting them heal up with much more regularity than whenever you happen to find a health station.
 
Last edited:

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Hey this game is pretty damn fun. I bought it today and stopped playing for tonight right before the end of the 2nd planet. I think I know what I'm doing well enough now that I wish I could swap my shield generator guy for someone else who's maybe more DPS or debuff focused. Oh well, he's still fine.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Man, I could not disagree more. The shield guy (Archon) is my favourite class. He pretty much carried me to win my first run; I took basically no health damage for almost the entire game. Now that I'm on my second run and don't have him, I'm finding it to be much more difficult and miss him dearly. (Although I bumped up the difficulty and think that I may have elected to take a harder route for the second planet on this run, so that might be exacerbating the problem.)
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
There's just been plenty of instances in my run lately where I wish I had someone that could do more damage or cause some better disruption/debuffs, and I have no need for his shields a lot of the time anymore. I relied on his shields some early on, but once I figured out the day/night loop and camping, I stopped caring so much about letting some health damage get in, and now I just wanna alpha strike everything as much as possible, haha.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
And I finished my first run last night! This battle system is extremely aces and now I can't wait to start exploring all the new and different characters! I never really felt too much in danger, even for the final boss, but I could easily see how just tweaking the numbers to make it a bit less nice towards the player could really throw a wrench in how comfortable I would feel in future runs. I do want to call out the final boss specifically as being super cool -- it actually reminded me of a Dragon Quest final boss because there were more "phases" to it than I initially expected. First, there's the 4th Behemoth you beat, but he's then revealed as not the TRUE final boss. So then you fight the Overseer by himself, during the course of this fight, he recharges a bunch of Health and Armor and summons a couple adds. After beating THAT phase, he dies and then a Pod comes out that takes a turn trying to regenerate him, and it wasn't possible even with my DPS heavy party to destroy the Pod in 1 turn (though if I had left a Stun action on deck for that, I probably could've), so it managed to revive him. So that's the final stretch as long as you can manage to kill the Pod.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Second run is also in the bag, on Harsh difficulty. Started with Commando/Enforcer/Paragon and then my 2 choices later were: Marksman/Saboteur, then Marksman/Empath -- went with Saboteur and Empath. Saboteur wasn't really that needed for the most part and I only got him to level 6 by the end. Double Stun with him and Enforcer though was extremely useful, but with this party I definitely learned how important it is to be able to hit the back row because it had a lot of trouble with that. But anything single target just didn't even have a chance against me (except for the 2nd Behemoth who is immune to stuns, but he also wasn't as bad as I expected). Empath was pretty cool and I'm wondering how it would work out to start with her since her auras wouldn't be nearly as useful without a full party, but dang is her Fury action really cool! Enforcer was a little awkward because for most of the run he was my best damage dealer, but that meant it wasn't really worth it to Mark things for my other allies to get bonus CRIT. It wasn't until I got a piece of gear for my Empath that gave her Mark on Mind Knife when I was able to take advantage of it.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Picking Marksman at either point would have fixed your back row problems. I'm near the end of my 3rd run (on Extreme now) and he might have unseated Archon as my favourite class.

Also, my second run started with Empath, and she was fine. Mind Knife is useful right out of the gate, as is her speed aura, and her Fury power is great, as you noted. You definitely need a high damage class in your starting trio to help prop her up, though, since she deals very little.

I find Enforcer kind of meh. He can deal a lot of damage, but doesn't have much else to recommend him, and personally I just find him a bit boring.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Ah see, I had already used Marksman on my 1st run, so I didn't want to pick him again :p

I had a harrowing experience with my 3rd run yesterday (playing on Extreme) when I decided to try the ice planet. The roaming Behemoth ended up being a brutal slog that took 25 turns and I didn't even think I was going to pull out a victory at all. So then I was left with an Aegis at considerably low health and I still had a couple rooms to clear before camping, so even those fights felt like a knife's edge, and once I got to camp I had to have the Aegis use a health restore food card on herself since the ice planet didn't have a health station. And then, the actual Behemoth on the planet was not very nice for my party as well. I've got Enforcer/Aegis/Varangian/Gunslinger, and based on how much trouble I had with that planet, I'd say my weakness is when something summons adds. For my second ally I picked up a Paragon, but I'm not sure how well that's gonna fit in with everyone else.

I find Enforcer kind of meh. He can deal a lot of damage, but doesn't have much else to recommend him, and personally I just find him a bit boring.
Kind of same. I only have him this run to unlock a progeny character with the Aegis, but I've used him twice now and he's been fairly underwhelming. Like I'd rather have a Marksman in most cases I think. The only strong thing he brings is a Stun on his Fury action, but unlike Saboteur, that attack only hits the front row. His Marking mechanic still doesn't seem very strong or worth using his own turn on.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Honestly, my biggest problem with Enforcer is that while he's got a strong and varied moveset, all of those options are frequently not as good as just going "lmao burst fire". The damage on that sucker is without compare.
 
Enforcer isn't really set up to be a team's primary damage dealer IMO. He can be, but he gives some of the largest damage bonuses in the game with his relationship bonus and +15% damage to marked card, so he's much better as support for Specter/Marksman. I hardly ever start a run with him, but he's one of the characters I'm happiest to pick up afterwards. His damage outside of support stuff is just a bonus, and it's pretty easy to get it to a decent level even if you focus most of his gear on utility. Just throw a life steal gun on him and he's good to go.

Stun is always useful to have, and it's extremely easy to make it ranged if you need it to be. The implant that makes all light attacks ranged is one of the most widely useful pieces of equipment in the game, so just start a run with one of those unless your group really needs something else to function. Even a level 1 version of that is still useful at the end of a run.

Cover Fire is more useful for the 15% defense than anything else, because stacking defense gets absurd when you have a few sources. You can get the shield recovery to a respectable amount with gear if needed too.

Unload is pretty situational, but it's really good when it comes up. Canceling overwatch/covering fire/riposte is much more important against certain Overseers for obvious reasons, and it's a fairly rare effect. Plus it's an instant AoE attack, which will always have some use even if the damage is low.
 
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