Alezander's Soldier Guide

Class: Soldier
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1. Introduction

First thing first, I would recommend giving Tepamina's Soldier Guide a quick read. This guide isn't meant to be a full replacement to the very comprehensive work already done by Tepamina but rather to be an annex/update to it with a heavier focus on endgame soldiering.

A recurring theme in this guide will be the question - What do you intend to do with your soldier?

There are several endgame paths you can choose.

  • Damage dealer
  • Tank/Damage Dealer with some limited PvP potential
  • Tank
  • PvP
  • PvP/PvE with the ability to tank.

This is something I strongly recommend you decide from the moment you create your character as it can have a meaningful impact on breed and IP choices. These can of course be changed at a later date, but it might be costly and time consuming. This guide is meant to help you with gearing, perking and itemizing choices for building the Soldier that can do what you want it to do.

This is primarily a PvE (player versus environment) guide, so while I will superficially go over some things that can have an effect on PvP (player versus player), I will not focus on PvP.

2. Breed

2.1. Atrox

The Atrox is currently the strongest breed for PvP/DD/tanking, but this strength comes at a substantial cost that comes in the form of gearing your soldier. Due to the breed's naturally lower Intelligence/Psychic and Sense cap (a full 180 points) you will have a much harder time equipping endgame Alphas, symbs and gear requiring Computer Literacy. Hot swapping certain pieces of gear will also be harder or outright non viable without external buffing and or reperking, casting certain buffs and nanos will also be more difficult or impossible without external buffs or swapping items. If you choose Atrox you accept to trade some flexibility in the roles you can take on for being somewhat better in a specific specialization. If your focus is on PvP, this breed is probably your best bet, this due to the 2 second Heal Delta and the Breed Specialization perks.

2.2. Solitus

The Solitus can do anything an Atrox can do, just very slightly less effectively. What you gain here though is the ability to adjust to various situations easier and faster than an Atrox via hot swaps, gear swaps and less dependence on external buffs. With LoX, PoH, DB3 and the new high level ToTW and Subway a whole selection of gear was introduced to the game, gear that is primarily Computer Literacy reliant and that can provide a lot of flexibility between defensiveness or damage potential. Much of this gear is more accessible for a Solitus than it is for an Atrox. Furthermore equipping endgame symbiants is noticeably easier for Solitus than it is for Atrox. The Solitus Primary Genome perk line also provides perks that are quite impactful and useful in PvP and PvE, notably the perk Sphere. You simply cannot go wrong with Solitus.

2.3. Opifex

This one is rather unremarkable. In game terms an Opifex plays pretty much the same way as a Solitus, offers mostly the same advantages and disadvantages. Opifex breed perks offer nothing worth mentioning. You will have slightly less HP than a Solitus and you will have slightly easier time equipping your Symbs/Alphas. Beyond that, there isn't much to be said. It's not a bad breed choice, but nor is it a particularly advantageous breed choice for PvE. On the other hand for PvP the Opifex Breed Specialization Blinded by Delights deserves a special mention. It reduces the nano skills of your opponent by 7% for 20 seconds with a 90 second cooldown. This can mean the difference between your opponent being able to cast their endgame nanos/nukes or not. Furthermore it reduces your opponent’s Attack Rating by 75, for what that is worth.

2.4. Nanomage

This one is interesting. Since LE and LoX, and especially with the addition of items from PoH and the new high level ToTW and Subway, Nanomage has evolved into likely the third best PvE choice for Soldier. Nanomages will suffer, notably, in the HP (Hit Points) department. This has a fairly notable impact on the Soldier's ability to tank as your HP will be low making you very fragile in those 40 second intervals between your AMS, but you can compensate for this with active defense options accessible via items and perk choices. The items/perks that stand out here are the Nanomage specific Dreadloch Endurance Booster - Nanomage Edition and the Nanomage Secondary Genome Notum Shield. These provide you with active defenses that you can rotate into the downtime between your AMS casts, reducing your fragility. Another item that comes in handy is the Desecrated Flesh. Further advantage of playing Nanomage is having a higher innate Computer Literacy for gear swapping and higher nano skills making it easier to cast endgame AMS and taunts/de-taunts. Be warned though; the leveling experience itself will be miserable due to your low HP until you start accessing endgame items.

3. IP

Here I would recommend you give Tepamina's IP guide section a read. Most of the information there is still as relevant as it was at the time when it was written. A handful of things have evolved since.

First thing first. Do not waste IP. IP reset points are in Short Supply, through the leveling process only invest IP in Attributes, Body Development, your weapon skill of choice and the associated specials, Treatment, nano skills needed to cast the highest level nanos available to you, especially TMS/AMS, Run Speed, Computer Literacy and Ranged Weapon Initiative (check Tepamina's guide for formulas on inits and specials). Maxing evades is not a priority, but you should keep them around 60% throughout the leveling process to avoid being critted. Once you get into the 170+ level range you can gradually begin maxing evades. Do not waste IP in Deflect or Nano Resist. Nano Resist is something you can consider raising if you intend to PvP.

It's recommended to level using only Assault Rifles, using Superior Perennium Blaster, Special Edition Kyr'Ozch Carbine and the Dreadloch Modified Shark to Anger of the Xan. Later you can reset Assault Rifle if you opt to go SMG or SMG/Shotgun. Do not invest in weapon skills that you currently aren't using.

The one ranged weapon skill line that you can invest in regardless of your chosen weapon is Ranged Energy. The Power Up perk line provides decent +damage and several perk attacks. The Power Up perk attacks check your Ranged Energy skill, so if you wish to land those perks reliably, you should invest in Ranged Energy.

Perception actually has some utility endgame. If you have chosen to go for a crit build for doing damage, raising Perception sufficiently to hotswap between a Viral Targeting Subunit and the Ancient Protective Drone is something worth considering.

First Aid is a mostly useless skill for Soldiers as the skill costs too much IP for the benefits it provides. Only invest enough IP in First Aid to be able to use the item Death's Door at 220/30/80.

Nano Pool; do not waste IP on this. During the leveling process if you can cast TMS three times in combat without needing to regen Nano you have enough Nano. Endgame you should raise your Nano Pool sufficiently to be able to use Rod of Dismissal at 220/30/80.

4. Weapons and Perks

Here you should circle back to the original question of -What do you intend to do with your Soldier?

The answer to this question determines both what weapons are optimal and with what perk layout. Tepamina's guide is unfortunately out of date in this area, since LE and LoX new weapons superseded the old AI and SL weapons. The abundance of +crit items have also made certain oddball choices viable again. The perk layouts and weapon choices are simply optimal examples. You should tailor your own build to your personal objectives.

Noteworthy endgame weapons worth looking into are the following. Envy of the Xan, Rhat'Ata Gun, Perfected Diamondine Kick Pistol, Illegally Modified Dreadloch Modified Shark, Anger of the Xan, Illegally Modified Dreadloch Thrasher and the oddballs Enchanted Waterfall Eye Wind Onehander, Premium Ultra-Light Missile Pistol Raid 9-X and Premium Supernova Mk VI.

I do not recommend pistol builds unless you are building a sub Title Level 5 twink (in which case The Dog of War and Jobe Portal Guard Personal Pistol make a potent pairing), nor do I recommend Heavy Weapons such as the Achaean Conqueror due the lackluster perk interaction and absence of buff support.

Special mention to the Skawt's Plasma Emitter, the premier froob weapon of choice which replaced the old Collaborator Assault Rifle/Spasmodic Assault Rifle for froob soldiers. The Skawt is a budget Perennium Blaster easily obtained from The Reck that uses Ranged Energy instead of Assault Rifle. For paid accounts this gun can carry you from TL4 to the Illegally Modified Dreadloch Thrasher. Using it will allow you to focus on the Power Up perk line, opening up other perk lines such as HP/Attribute or XP perks during the leveling process.

The weapons fall into 2 broad categories; those suitable for higher damage output/utility and those suitable for very defense focused builds. The higher damage output/utility choices will be very IP intensive, while the defense focused builds free up IP and perk points that you can sink into HP perk lines. Both options have viable PvP oriented weapon choices if that is an important consideration for you.

The weapons that fall into the higher damage output/utility category are the Envy of the Xan, Rhat'Ata Gun, Perfected Diamondine Kick Pistol and Premium Ultra-Light Missile Pistol Raid 9-X (more on this gun later). Here the Enchanted Waterfall Eye Wind Onehander provides the hotswap Aimed Shot option offhand for PvP. Dual SMGs are the preliminary step before adding Shotguns into the mix. The dual SMG+Shotgun invariably provides the highest damage potential. Which Shotgun you pair with your SMG depends on how much crit chance you have in your build or get from your team and whether you're tanking or not. If your crit chance is anywhere under 50% while running a +11% crit buff or you are your team's main tank you should pair your Envy of the Xan with the Perfected Diamondine Kick Pistol (PDKP main hand and Envy offhand). If your focus is purely on dealing damage and you can reach the +crit requirements, the Premium Ultra-Light Missile Pistol Raid 9-X will overtake the Perfected Diamondine Kick Pistol and will outperform it; the higher your crit chance is (especially if your team has a trader actively crit draining), the more the Raid X-9 pulls ahead (Envy main hand and Raid X-9 offhand). Beyond the higher damage output, the Shotgun layout grants you access to the perk Leg Shot. This is an incredibly valuable control tool/root that makes soldier tanks the premier choice for things such as DB3 and Collector.

4.1. Example Perk Setups

4.1.1. Dual SMGs

A standard optimal perk layout for Dual SMGs is as follows.

  • 10x SMG Mastery
  • 10x Special Forces
  • 10x Power Up
  • 10x Champion of Light Artillery
  • 10x Colossal Health
  • 10x Power in Numbers
  • 10x Champion of Nano Combat or Breed Perk specialization depending on your chosen breed

4.1.2. SMG+Shotgun

A standard optimal perk layout for SMG+Shotgun.

  • 10x SMG Mastery
  • 10x Special Forces
  • 10x Power Up
  • 10x Champion of Light Artillery
  • 10x Shotgun Mastery
  • 10x Power in Numbers.
  • 10x Champion of Nano Combat or Breed Perk specialization depending on your chosen Breed.

Note: You will trade off some HP and self heal from the SMG set up for a substantial damage boost in the Shotgun set up.

4.1.3. Assault Rifle

A standard optimal perk layout for Assault Rifle is as follows.

  • 8x Heavy Ranged
  • 10x Special Forces
  • 10x Power in Numbers
  • 10x Power Up
  • 10x Colossal Health
  • 10x Champion of Heavy Artillery
  • 10x Breed Perk specialization depending on your chosen Breed or Champion of Nano Combat
    Note: The attack perks in the Champion of Nano Combat line have an increased damage modifier interaction with the perk attacks from the Champion of Heavy Artillery line, namely the attack Nano Feast receives a bonus from Fuzz.
  • 2x SL perk points left over to spend as you choose

4.1.4. Tank/Ranged Energy

A somewhat unusual but viable Tank/Ranged Energy perk layout is as follows. This layout is built around the Illegally Modified Dreadloch Thrasher. For emphasis, this is not really an optimal build for anything specific. It allows you to be very tanky, but you will miss out on the benefits of the Leg Shot perk and you will need to be very much on point with your taunts if you intend to tank with this set up as your damage output will be significantly lower than previous alternatives.

  • 10x Special Forces
  • 10x Power in Numbers
  • 10x Power up
  • 10x Colossal Health
  • 10x Champion of Heavy Artillery

This will leave you with 10 AI perks and 10 SL perks unspent which open up various options you can pick from.

If you intend to maximize your HP you can take 7x in Enhanced Health for total of 1500 HP and 3x in either Freak Strength (best for PvP), Mountaineer, Enhance DNA or Genius (can help with casting those endgame Nanos), it's up to you which you'd find the most useful.

As for the remaining AI perk points, you can choose between your Breed Specialization of choice or Champion of Nano Combat.

5. Armor and Gear

This is a rather expansive topic upon which unfortunately Tepamina's guide is also really out of date.

As this guide is mostly focused on endgame setups I will not cover all potential leveling armors. As a rule of thumb any combination of OFAB and Combined Commando's/Combined Sharpshooter's armor would be your best bet. OFAB is fairly affordable and upgradeable, which makes them perfectly suitable for the whole leveling process. Try to update your armor around lvl 60, 100, 150, 175+ (if you equip the best thing you can at that level, it should carry you into the 215 range for when Dust Brigade Operative armors become available).

A couple of pieces of gear you should obtain as you are leveling are:

Once you hit 215 you gain access to the Dust Brigade Operative armor. You can match various pieces of Operative with Combined Commando's/Combined Sharpshooter's armor.

Keep in mind the distinction between Commando's and Sharpshooter's is that Commando's is the better option for dealing damage while the Sharpshooter's is the better option for PvP. Unfortunately neither is really suitable for tanking as soldiers simply do not benefit enough from evades for it to be a tanking stat for us. While evades are important, HP will always take priority for PvE tanking.

5.1. Example Equipment Setups

Note: The IP distribution in the AOSetups profiles is built around the items equipped in the profile on a Solitus. Adjust your own IP distribution especially in the Nano Skills section to your own gearing choices, IP choices and perk layout.

Please only spend as much or as little IP as you need to equip your gear and to cast your nanos (more on this later).

Adjustments can be made to further specialize for each role. More on that later.

5.1.1. Level 215 Assault Rifle Soldier

An example of a 215 optimal gear layout would look something like this:

Link to Equipment Setup on AOSetups

This setup does not include perks/symbs. You can technically twink into Xan Beta symbs by 215, but if you choose not to bother with it, TL5 QL 170-186 Artillery Symbs will be perfectly sufficient. The empty slots you can use any gear of choice. For emphasis, this is an optimal set up, there are weaker but viable alternatives for most slots. At level 216 you gain access to the Enhanced Dustbrigade armor pieces from DB1 and DB2 which are easily farmable, and are a perfectly viable alternative.

Once you hit 220 it is time for you to decide which final gearing path you will follow, which will determine which items you should start aiming for. If you wasted IP prior or you have chosen to pick a different weapon than Assault Rifle, now is the time to start using IP reset points to clear skills you won't be needing, also at this point you should be able to put in your Xan Beta Symbiants (Alphas if possible). If you haven't wasted IP until this point and you have been leveling with an Assault Rifle, the transition to SMGs and Shotguns can be easily achieved with simply resetting your Assault Rifle skill and replacing it with SMG. You can begin IPing Shotgun too as soon as you got your hands on either -50% crit in your build or on a PDKP.

5.1.2. Level 220/30 Shotgun+SMG Soldier

Here is an example for an optimal 220/30 Shotgun+SMG Soldier layout.

Link to Equipment Setup on AOSetups

Note: the way IP is distributed in this setup will mean you will have to give some thought to which nanos you will be using, as you won't be able to cast many endgame nanos without external buffs. More on this later in the Nanos section. Furthermore Perception is IPed to allow you to hotswap between your Viral Targeting Subunit and your Ancient Protective Drone. Your Utility and Hud item layout is set up to allow you to easily hotswap Patchwork Defensive Drone into Hud1 without losing stats or needing external buffs to re-equip items.

Additionally, if you have all the crit items listed in the set up and you are running an 11% crit buff, the Premium Ultra-Light Missile Pistol Raid 9-X becomes a viable DD option, but if you are actively tanking stick to the Perfected Diamondine Kick Pistol as the weapon will perform better.

If you choose to use the Raid 9-X swap the Envy into your Right Hand weapon slot and equip the Raid 9-X in your Left Hand slot to allow Burst to fire from the Envy. This will also allow you to easily hotswap into Enchanted Waterfall Eye Wind Onehander if you choose to PvP.

5.1.3. Level 220/30 Assault Rifle Soldier

Here is an example for an optimal 220/30 Assault Rifle soldier built to be suitable for DD/Tanking and PvP.

Link to Equipment Setup on AOSetups

There isn't much to be said about this layout as it's a pretty standard fare. Perhaps it's worth mentioning that the new Illegally Modified Dreadloch Modified Shark is currently the highest damage output option for AR soldiers, above the Anger of the Xan due to the Anger missing Fling Shot. The reason why the build is built around crit chance is because Fling Shot can in fact crit as well, which makes it a higher damage option than gearing for +damage.

Your hotswap Aimed Shot weapon choice for PvP in this build is the Premium Supernova Mk VI.

Note: The Illegally Modified Dreadloch Modified Shark has 2 “hidden” proc effects. Frostbite and Rigor Mortis. These are primarily PvP oriented, but can affect monsters and NPCs. A potential problem with this might occur in fights such as the Artillery Commander in S42. You do not want to accidentally root a boss that requires kiting and movement, so in such scenarios I'd recommend you keep an Anger of the Xan in your bags and swap to it, just to avoid potential issues.

5.1.4. Level 220/30 Ranged Energy Soldier

Here is an example of an optimal 220/30 Ranged Energy soldier build.

Note: As I have mentioned before, this an oddball build. It can be done, it works, it is not absolute garbage, it is by far the tankiest build you can have, but it's not going to be good at anything specific.

Link to Equipment Setup on AOSetups

This build steers away from crit chance due to the low crit modifier of the Illegally Modified Dreadloch Thrasher. Furthermore as the build uses a Ranged Energy weapon, the Xan Alpha Ocular and Brain symbiants will be preferable over the EoE and Ado Brain symbs that feature in all the other builds.

Your PvP weapon of choice will once again be the Premium Supernova Mk VI. Note that this weapon has a 67% RE and 33% AR skill check, so you might consider investing some points in Assault Rifle if you intend to PvP. The Illegally Modified Dreadloch Thrasher also has a hidden proc effect, Particle Meltdown, which does not really have any downsides.

5.2. Additional Endgame Gear for Tanking Purposes

Extra endgame gear worth getting for possible tanking purposes:

5.3. Additional Endgame Gear to Swap

Extra endgame gear worth getting for gear swapping purposes or as second best in slot or temporary substitutes:

6. Nanos

Here I unfortunately have bad news for you. If you intend to self some of your very best nanos, you will be actually making yourself weaker. Some of the endgame nanos have requirements established around the expectation that you will be using Xan Beta/Alpha Symbiants in your Eye and Brain slots, even though better options exist, together with the Champion of Nano Combat perk line to be able to be cast them on your own.

The problematic nanos in this area are:

The biggest issue in this area is likely Gazump Fight. The Matter Metamorphosis of 1650 is obtainable, but the IP investment skill will be too costly, forcing you to sacrifice skills in other areas. This is frankly not worth it as simply downgrading one step in the nano line gives you access to Augment Fight (Team) for only 1370 Matter Metamorphosis and you will only lose +8 damage, which will be offset by the value of the IP invested in other areas.

Depending on your chosen breed and item layout, you might actually be able to cast this, but don't waste IP on it if you find yourself short.

The same applies to your AMS. The difference in damage reduction between MK 4 and MK 5 is only 2%. If you find yourself having to downgrade don't feel bad, you ought to be fine.

Not being able to cast Offensive Insult (your best taunt), Unmistakable Victim or Desist Me (your best threat reduction nano) is fairly normal and to be expected. If you are using the Ranged Energy build, you should be able to cast these too. Keep an eye out for having Composite Mochams or a Trader's Umbral Wrangler as those might allow you to cast them. Nevertheless always use the highest taunts and de-taunts you are able to cast.

A couple of other nanos worth mentioning and discussing are:

  • Adrenaline Rush
    This is your bread and butter heal. It becomes accessible pretty early on and it scales with you as it is a percentage heal. It heals for 3% of your total health per tick, healing for a total of 45% of your total health over 30 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown. A key tactical use for this is using it to cover one of your 40 second down time gaps between your AMS casts. I'd recommend you only pop it after you lost at least 10% of your total healthpool and you expect further damage, to prevent wasting heal ticks.

  • Don't Fear the Reaper
    This is a simple 30% heal on a 180 second cooldown. It is the alternative to Adrenaline Rush. It heals for less, but it can be helpful to avoid instant death in certain scenarios. I'd argue in general it is more useful in PvP than it is in PvE.

  • Notum-Charged Grenades
    This is your main source of AoE (Area of Effect) damage, a significant single target damage bonus and a passive minor single target/AoE taunt. Note: The problem with this nano though, it being an uncontrollable proc, is that it will break Roots/Snares/Mezzes. This can be a significant source of problems on the Artillery Commander in S42 or if your team relies on any form of crowd control for doing whatever it is doing. Turn off this nano if you expect this to be an issue.

  • Release Me Now
    This nano will get you out of any Root or Snare effect. Unfortunately it has a rather long cooldown, but it can be very handy in places like the Subway raid and the Temple of the Three Winds raid. It is also invaluable in PvP. This combined with Rod of Dismissal can get you out of a lot of annoying situations.

  • One Foot in the Grave
    This is primarily a PvP nano meant to prevent enemy combatants from casting Complete Heals, but it does have a PvE use as well. It can be cast on monsters such as the boss in the 12man raid where the boss can mind control healers and cast Complete Heal on itself or on the third boss in PoH where the same can happen. If you keep it up on your target it will prevent them from healing themselves.

  • Remedy Inhibitor
    PvP nano that prevents Heal Over Time effects. Less useful in PvE.

  • Pierce Nerves
    Debuffs Piercing skills. Primarily used in PvP, especially useful against Piercing Shades and Enforcers, if you can land the nano. Limited PvE use, but you can use it to debuff the Cultist Silencers in PoH.

6.1. Buffing Others

You will be expected to be able to cast Riot Control, Offensive Steamroller, Full Automatic Targeting, Reactive Reflective Field (Extended) and Composite Heavy Artillery on others.

Furthermore you can cast a damage buff that is typically more commonly associated with Fixers; Improved Semi-Sentient Augmentation Cloud. This nano is rather expensive and is inferior to our SL team damage auras, so most soldiers won't bother getting it. If you are a completionist or have credits to burn, you might as well pick it up.

6.2. How to Buff Yourself

This might come off as a rather pointless section, but nevertheless it is important.

When you join a team it will be expected that you will be running two aura buffs for your team, the reflect Pre-Nullity Sphere and your best +damage aura, which can be either Gazump Fight (Team) or Augment Fight (Team) (see above).

Pre-Nullity Sphere is preferable over RRFE, but if you expect you might die in combat in a fight, consider casting RRFE on your teammates to avoid leaving them without a reflect aura if you die.

Total Combat Survival is preferable over Improved Behemoth.

If you are using SMGs, Shotguns, Ranged Energy weapons, get the best buffs for the respective weapon type and cast them on yourself. If you have taken the Power Up perk line always buff your Ranged Energy. Even if you aren't using an Assault Rifle you should still use Art of Peace or Art of War as they have secondary buff components such as +damage and Burst. Buff your special attacks and cast all your Composite Masteries (except the Melee ones and Trade Skills), including Attributes, Nano, Ranged, Special Ranged, Utility and Martial Prowess.

Phalanx is worth casting as it gives you that extra 350 AC while only using 4 NCU, this is especially notable when compared to Heavy Assault Absorption Shield which only gives 530 AC for 49 NCU. If you are tight on NCU, consider using Phalanx over Heavy Assault Absorption Shield.

7. Research

There isn't much to discuss here. You will need to do all your research. This is especially true for the Atrox breed for which equipping all their Alphas and casting endgame nanos might be completely impossible without it.

For an overview of your research buffs, see here.

If you wish to prioritize one line it will be Strategic Planning as it provides you with both of your damage procs, namely Graze Jugular Vein and Furious Ammunition.

The only other noteworthy proc is Fuse Body Armor, which increases your reflect amount. It is of limited utility but can come in handy if you are tanking and have multiple enemies hitting you.

Prioritize getting the first 5 levels of Apotheosis for substantial defense and combat buffs.

8. Fighting as a Soldier

Soldiers fall into an interesting niche. They are both excellent damage dealers (just behind Crats and Engis and arguably potentially on par with NTs and Shades) and potentially really good tanks. In some cases better than Enforcers.

Unlike Enforcers or professions that have access to the Bio Shielding perk line, Soldiers are naturally quite fragile outside their AMS/TMS window, and have relatively small health pools. A Soldier's ability to tank is derived from a smart use of his AMS, cooperation with the team's healer and good synergy with certain classes.

Soldiers have a remarkable defensive synergy with Keepers (Watch Ward really helps during AMS downtimes, as do the various passive heals and defenses provided via Auras), and excellent offensive synergy with Traders (via crit/AC drains and umbrals). Other professions worth mentioning are Bureaucrats (AAD and AAO aura) and Adventurers (stacking Damage Auras and team Perks).

Use your offensive perks on cooldown, look out for potential perk synergies. If you find yourself pulling agro when you aren't intended to be tanking, simply try to cast your best de-taunt (see above) every time you fire off a Full Auto.

Be careful with your Notum Charges Grenades (see above) to avoid breaking crowd control effects in situations when those are necessary (S42 and sometimes 12man or Inferno Old Missions.)

More on tanking in the next section.

9. Tanking as a Soldier

This is what separates a good soldier from an average soldier. As I have mentioned before and have repeatedly alluded to in the various sections tanking is relatively easy to do with limited gear swapping. Nevertheless, our ability to AoE tank is very limited, which makes Enforcers a much better option for things such as Pandemonium, S13, S28, S35 and S42.

There are a handful of items you should try to get and equip if you expect to find yourself in a situation where you are tanking. Three items that stand out are Patchwork Defensive Drone, Ancient Protective Drone, Clan Merits - Awakened Defense Paragon (or Omni equivalent, or whatever you can get your hands on as a Neutral). These are easy hotswaps that provide you with significant buffs to your survivability.

Another key item that you will need is an Infused Computer Deck Range Increaser as the range on our taunts is almost point blank, and this fixes that in one fell swoop.

To grab agro, open with a Fling shot if you have it, or Burst+Full Auto while simultaneously casting one of your timed taunts, like Offensive Insult or Intrusive Insult. We have 2 taunt lines, one where the agro generated by the taunt vanishes after a certain time and one normal one. Then AMS if you must or you haven't cast AMS before pulling, or else cast one of your normal taunts like Unmistakable Victim or Undeniable Victim. You should continue doing normal damage, using your offensive perks on cooldown (our primary means of holding agro is our damage potential), while you cast your normal taunt every 5 to 6 seconds, and you refresh your temporary taunt roughly every 1 minute.

Stop spamming your taunt 5 seconds before your AMS is about to expire in case you expect you will need to use Adrenaline Rush or Don't Fear the Reaper (see above), if not you can continue using your taunt on cooldown throughout the AMS downtime if you feel like you're about to lose agro. If not, you can slack a bit, but you should nevertheless cast at least one taunt every 10 seconds or so. Once again stop spamming your taunts 5 seconds before your AMS becomes available again, in case you expect you need to immediately recast it.

Note: Practice reloading while moving, this will allow you to tank bosses like the last boss in PoH which requires plenty of kiting. This is actually easier than it appears, all you need to do is keybind your perks and get used to using them instead of clicking your actions bars. Perhaps this can be via clicking as well, but I don't recommend it. Essentially you briefly stop moving, just long enough to use your special attacks such as Fling Shot, Burst, Full Auto. As you do that, press and use any attack perks you might want to trigger. This will queue the perks and begin to trigger them on target, even if you stop targeting whatever you are fighting, simply stop your auto attacks, which will allow you to reload while running as the perks continue hitting whatever you queued them up on, once you have completed the reload cycle you can start attacking again.

How to cover the gaps between your AMS? First thing first; get either a pair of AMS macros:

/macro Down /tell <insert name of your healer> AMS Down for 40


/macro UP /tell <insert name of your healer> AMS UP

...or an AMS script.

Scripts can be annoying, I prefer macros. If you are using a macro try to notify your healer 2-4 seconds before your AMS will actually go down, allowing them a bit of time to decide what to do about it.

Then, as mentioned above, you have at your disposal several possible tools. Adrenaline Rush would allow you roughly 200 seconds of uninterrupted coverage of self cooldowns by doing an AMS > Adrenaline Rush > AMS cycle. When your second AMS comes off cooldown, your Adrenaline Rush would still be on cooldown unfortunately and this is where items like Desecrated Flesh and Dreadloch Endurance Booster - Nanomage Edition and Death's Door, or perk cooldowns such as Notum Shield or to a lesser extent Sphere come in handy. If you survived that window you will have another 200 second cycle of uninterrupted cooldown coverage.

Special thanks to in no particular order Tepamina, Saavick, Ginsold, Nephron.

Last updated on 01.10.2021 by Saavick
Written by Alezander.
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