City of Heroes Illusion/Radiation Controller Guide

City of Heroes Illusion/Radiation Controller Guide by Local Man

When I first rolled up Area Man, an Illusion/Radiation controller, he was supposed to be a sidekick to my main-character-at-the-time, Local Man, a Dark Miasma/Electric Defender. But Area Man was so much fun to play that he became my main character and my first to hit level 50. Ill/Rad continues to be my overall favorite character in the game and I have even rolled up additional Ill/Rad controllers on other servers. I also have several other Illusion Controllers and Rad secondary controllers at 50. This is my second guide; my first was “A Local Guide to the Earth/Rad Controller.”

This guide has five sections (these are links):

  1. Introduction to the Ill/Rad Controller
  2. The Illusion Control Powers
  3. The Radiation Emission Powers
  4. Suggested Builds, incluing Leveling and IO Builds
  5. A Perma-PA Build
  6. Strategies and Discussions

As a bit of a warning – this guide is quite long. I have tried to include a lot of strategy suggestions and information I have picked up. Feel free to skip to whichever sections interest you. I hope that this guide will also help folks interested in the Illusion primary or Radiation secondary, even if they don’t have an Illusion/Radiation. I intend to continually update the guide to match changes in the game as long as I’m still around.

Introduction to the Illusion/Radiation Controller

An Illusion/Radiation controller is the Jack-of-All-Trades in CoH. He can do a little of everything, and there are a few things he can do better than anyone. With Phantom Army, he can be a tank. With Spectral Wounds, and later with the Ancillary Powers, he can be a blaster. With control powers of Blind, Flash, Spectral Terror, Lingering Radiation, Choking Cloud and EM Pulse, he can be a controller. And with the various Radiation debuff and buff powers, and even Group Invisibility, he can buff and debuff as a Defender. Add in a melee pool power or two, and he can be a Scrapper, too. Some folks might say that Khedians are the Jack-of-All-Trades in CoH, but they lack in the buffing/debuffing area, and really are better blaster-tank-scrappers. An Ill/Rad can be a Blaster-Controller-Defender-Tank.

Ill/Rad’s flexibility makes it a great all-around character, both for solo and for small and large teams. Ill/Rad has long been considered one of the best builds in the game. Folks have posted on the Boards many times how they were able to overcome Arch-Villians (AVs) or even Giant Monsters (GMs) with just their single Ill/Rad controller. Even if you don’t seek those lofty goals, there is no question that Ill/Rad is one of the most effective builds against the higher level content in the game, including AVs. It is pretty darn effective in the low levels, too. However, Ill/Rad’s strength is mainly geared to attacking single targets – it has no area damage powers, unless you count Phantom Army, until the Ancillary Power Pool (APP) power sets. If you are looking for a build to do “farming,” Illusion is probably not the best choice.

Illusion has fewer “control” powers than other controllers, but makes up for it in other unique ways. Illusion mainly controls by distraction and other forms of “soft” control. This allows Illusion controllers to team well with other Illusion controllers and all other types of controllers. Other controller sets may have powers that invalidate another’s favorite power (for example, Earthquake or Ice Slick are made almost useless by applying Stone Cages, Frostbite or Fire Cages), but more Illusion controllers usually add to the team without having any conflicts. Also, other controllers often have so many control powers that another controller’s powers become unnecessary or become interfering. (What happens if a Earth Controller uses Volcanic Gasses just when a Gravity Controller uses Wormhole? One or the other has probably wasted his effort.) The single most important power in Illusion is Phantom Army. PA is unique in that it is three unbuffable and invulnerable pets that last for 60 seconds.

Radiation fills some of the control holes in Illusion with additional controls, and with debuffs that make Illusion’s controls more effective. As explained below, Phantom Army (“PA”) cannot be buffed, which is why Rad goes so well with Illusion – the Rad Defense and Resistance debuffs make Phantom Army much better and the Recharge in Accelerate Metabolism helps PA come back faster. Radiation is the only secondary that offers all three benefits. The Defense Debuff in Radiation Infection helps PA hit with higher accuracy, and the Resistance Debuff in Enervating Field lets PA do more damage. Of the Controller Secondary sets, Cold, Thermal, Trick Arrow and Storm have substantial debuffs to make Phantom Army better, but have no recharge buff. Also, Trick Arrow doesn’t have the versatility of Rad, Therm’s debuffs come very late in the set and Storm’s Freezing Rain and Cold’s Sleet (virtually the same power) are a targeted AoE click power. Sonic has Resistance debuffs only. Kinetics has Siphon Speed to help with PA’s recharge, but no debuffs to make PA better – Fulcrum Shift doesn’t affect PA. Force Field and Empathy have other good powers, but nothing to make PA better.

This guide incorporates information from two wonderful sites, Red Tomax’s, “City of Data,” and ParagonWiki, as well as information from other guides written before this one. Many, many thanks to the folks at the Titan Network for maintaining this wonderful resource for CoH players. I did not spend time testing and calculating, but just compiled the great work done by others. Two previous guides deserve special mention: Q_Arkhan did a solo-oriented Ill/Rad guide in I-6 that was very good, and Tal_N has an excellent Illusion/Storm Guide.

There are several general statements to start off:

(A) I like lists. I think lists make things easier to understand.

(B) This is guide will say very little about PvP – I don’t particularly care for PvP and spend almost no time in those zones. What I know about PvP is from reading the boards, not from actual experience.

(C) This is a guide for an Ill/Rad who can both solo and team. Some power choices and slotting would be different for a solo-only controller. There is a pretty good guide out there, Tom Foolery’s Solo Ill/Rad Guide, focusing on building a solo Ill/Rad, but it pre-dated inventions. This guide will mainly focus on a team build, but will include some discussion about solo as well.

(D) Various terms are used to describe the enemy – foes, enemies, bad guys, baddies. I don’t use “mob” because it is confusing. Old MMO lingo uses “mob” to mean “Mobile Object,” representing one bad guy. To most people, a mob is a group of bad guys. It is confusing, so I don’t use “mob.” I use “bunch,” “group,” “gang” or “a spawn” to describe a group of baddies. The developers appear to use the term, “critters,” but that sounds like animals to me, so I don’t use it.

(E) Maximizing Invention Origin (“IO”) sets is complex and subject to personal taste. There are a lot of options, and I will not cover them all. I will discuss some sets or special IOs, but I will also discuss slotting in the context of Single Origin or standard single aspect common IOs. When you are leveling up and building a character, you need the basic enhancement concepts. You can get fancy with IOs later — Most folks start in the 30’s or may wait until the 40’s or at 50. IO sets give you a lot of options depending upon your play style and the particular attributes you want to enhance. As the new Incarnate abilities develop, there will be a wider range of options for slotting your character, too. While different people have different philosophies on how they like to use IO sets, the most common attribute that an Ill/Rad controller will want to enhance is Recharge, mostly to get Phantom Army to recharge faster. Some folks are enamored by the Procs (special enhancements that will occasionally add damage or some other attribute), while others find it a challenge to maximize this attribute or that attribute. There is no “ultimate IO build,” as there are many ways to build a Perma-PA Ill/Rad. If you have an IO build you particularly like, feel free to post it. A lot of folks want an IO build that will give Permanent PA – and I offer anyone to post those builds here to add to the discussion. I will discuss enhancements that improve recharge and the goal of an expensive “Perma PA” build.

(F) There are a lot of standard terms and abbreviations are in this guide because I’m lazy. Here are some of the terms used:

  • PB AoE” stands for “Point Blank Area of Effect,” meaning a power that has an affect in the area immediately around the caster. Flash, Group Invisibility, Radiant Aura, Accelerate Metabolism, EM Pulse and Choking Cloud are examples of PB AoE powers. Some affect teammates while others affect foes.
  • A “Targeted AoE” power is where you choose a foe as a target and the power will affect an area around the target. One example is Fireball from the Fire APP set.
  • A “Location-targeted AoE” or “LT AoE” is a power where you choose a spot on the ground, and the power will have an Area of Effect around that location. When you activate it, white rings appear wherever it is proper to place the power. You then pick a spot on the ground in range, and click that spot on the ground. Using that spot as the center, the effect appears in a circle (more or less) centered on the spot you clicked. If you are using a pet power, the pet is summoned to that spot. These pet summon powers include Phantom Army, Spectral Terror and Phantasm.
  • Toggle” powers are ones that you turn on, and they keep operating until you turn them off, or until some other event turns off the toggle. Your toggle can be turned off (a) if you are defeated, (b) if you run out of endurance, or (c) depending upon whether it is an offensive or defensive toggle, if you get mezzed (held, stunned or slept). Examples include Superior Invisibility, Rest, Sprint and most travel powers.
  • An “anchor” is a target upon whom a power is cast. The power will have an effect in the area surrounding the “anchor.” Usually anchors are foes, but there are a few powers, like Fallout, that use teammates as anchors. “Anchor” powers are important to Rad’s Radiation Infection, Enervating Field and Lingering Radiation powers.
  • Anchor Toggle” powers are ones that you cast on an anchor and they keep operating until you turn them off, or until some other event turns off the toggle. Your toggle can be turned off (a) if your anchor is defeated, (b) if you are defeated, (c) if you run out of endurance, (d) if your anchor goes out of range or (e) if you leave the zone. Examples include Radiation Infection and Enervating Field.
  • Click” powers are powers which activate when you click on them or push a button, but they finish their animation and then recharge until ready again. Most of the powers in the game are click powers.
  • AV” is Arch-Villain, and “EB” is Elite Boss, two high level enemies that usually require special tactics and powers. You may be able to handle an EB solo, but it takes something special to handle an AV solo. “GM” is Giant Monster, a huge beast who usually needs more than one team to fight.
  • XP” is Experience Points, which is how the game keeps score of your progression. You get XP mostly for defeating foes, completing objectives and completing missions.
  • AI” is Artificial Intelligence, or the programming of how a pet or foe is supposed to act.
  • Enhancements can be one of 6 types:
  1. TO” is Training Origin, and these are the weakest type of enhancements, available to you at level 1. The amount of enhancement varied depending upon what is being enhanced, but the most common amount is 8%.
  2. DO” is Dual Origin, and these are limited to one of two types of origin. If you are Magic origin, you can only use Magic/Mutant or Natural/Magic DOs. A “DO” is roughly twice the strength of a “TO,” around 16% for the most common type.
  3. SO” is Single Origin, and these will only work for characters of the same origin as the type of enhancement. If you are Science origin, you can only use Science SOs. An “SO” is again twice the strength of a “DO” and four times the strength of a “TO.” The most common amount of enhancement is about 33%.
  4. IO” stands for “Invention Origin,” and fit into two sub-categories, “common IOs” and “set IOs” Common IOs work for any origin, like TOs, except they start at level 10, they never expire and they increase in strength as the level goes up. Level 25-30 common IOs are functionally the same as SOs, in that they enhance for 32-33%. Common IOs level 35 and up are slightly stronger than SOs. At level 50, most common IOs are worth about 42%. (Some enhancements provide lower benefits, based on type. Defense enhancements are
  5. Set IOs” usually, but not always, enhance more than one attribute, but the the ones that enhance two or three attributes add up to enhancement for a little more than common IOs. For example, Slotting two set IOs that enhance Accuracy/Damage will be a little better than a common Accuracy and a common Damage. When Set IOs of the same set are used to enhance the same power, the set IOs will give some additional attributes, called “set bonues.” These have become very important in the game. There are also enhancements that do something unique or special, called “procs.” If you need more information on Set IOs, look in other guides or ParagonWiki.
  6. Finally, “Hami-O’s” or “HOs.” are a last, somewhat rare type that can only be earned by doing certain trials, like the Eden Trial, the Abandoned Sewers trial, the Hamidon raids and the Statesman’s Task Force and Lord Recluse Task Force. These have a few different names. These are the equivalent of two or sometimes three SO enhancements. Although the Eden and Abandoned Sewers Trials give HO-like enhancements, those are lower level and expire three levels past their number. Most of the HOs available are either Hamidon or Synthetic Hamidon enhancements at level 50, so they can’t be slotted until level 47 but they won’t expire. HOs and Synthetic HOs are identical other than the name.

Some Basics About Controllers

All other archetypes have at least one power set that is designed for damage. Controllers may have individual powers that do damage, but they do not have a power set focused on damage. Controllers are designed to limit the enemy’s actions, thereby making it easier to do damage to the enemy. Some Controllers do a lot of damage as well, while others don’t do much damage but do a greater amount of damage prevention and enhancement. Ill/Rad is considered to be one of the higher damage controllers. In general, Controller powers fall into two categories: Control Powers (in your primary mostly) and Buff Powers (mostly in your secondary). The secondary for controllers are (mostly) copied from Defender’s primaries, but the strength of the powers is often different – control powers are usually stronger while buff powers are usually weaker.

(A) It is important to understand the various powers that provide “control.” A Power that reduces or eliminates the enemy’s ability to attack is usually a control power. Control powers, some of which are referred to as “Mez” powers, are Hold, Stun (also known as Disorient), Sleep, Confuse, Intangible (a/k/a Phase), Fear, Immobilize, Slow and Knocks. Each of the above powers has factor designating its strength, which are referred to as “Mag,” (for magnitude). “Mag” determines how effective the Mez power is against types of foes. The “mag” can be often, but not always, be cumulated, or “stacked,” from most powers so that a lower “mag” power can affect a higher level foe by adding several together. If you want to understand how the various forms of “mez” work in the game, and what “Mag” is, take a look at this old Guide on Magnitude. The general rule is that Minion level foes require the effect of the power to reach Mag 2 to take effect, Lieutenant level foes require Mag 3, and Boss level foes require Mag 4. AV’s are a special case – but there are other guides that discuss the “Purple Triangles of Doom” (PToD) and how to deal with AV’s.The Ill/Rad combination does not have Immobilize, Stun, or Intangible, but it has all the other kinds of Control powers.

  • A Hold will keep the foe in one place, unable to attack or defend or do anything. This is the “hardest” kind of control. Holds in Ill/Rad are Blind, Flash, Choking Cloud and EM Pulse. Holds get Containment, which is why you generally want to attack with Blind before Spectral Wounds.
  • A Stun or Disorient will also keep the foe from attacking or defending or do anything other than wander around, but some stunned foes can move pretty fast. A Stun added to an Immobilize has the same effect as a hold. Ill/Rad doesn’t have a Stun/Disorient, but if it happens, you can still get Containment. Other controllers and a lot of other characters have powers that stun, and if a foe is stunned, you can take advantage of Containment for extra damage.
  • Confuse is a unique power. When a foe is Confused, he stops attacking you and your team, and instead attacks other foes in his range. If there are no foes around, he just stands there and ignores you and your team, even if you attack him. Deceive is a Confuse Power. Confuse powers do NOT set up Containment. There are lots of special aspects to Confuse powers, discussed below.
  • Fear or Terrorize powers allow a foe to do one thing before the foe begins to cower in fear. If anyone attacks that foe, the foe will again get to do one thing before going back into the cower animation. The “one thing” is often an attack, but may be something else. Sometimes foes who are terrorized will run away a short distance. Fear powers do NOT set up Containment. Spectral Terror is a fear power.
  • A Sleep will act just like a hold, until the foe receives any attack. Then he will “wake up” with no other effect. Sleeps usually last longer than Holds or Stuns, but are not very helpful if your teammates have lots of AoE powers that will wake them. Blind has a somewhat rare secondary effect that is a Sleep. Sleep sets up Containment, but only for a single attack.
  • Immobilize will keep the foe in one place, but he can still attack, defend or take any action that does not involve moving. Ill/Rad doesn’t have any Immobilize powers, but they cause Containment.
  • Slow powers will slow the movement rate of enemies. Some slow powers can also reduce the recharge rate, or speed at which the enemy can keep attacking you. Sometimes, enemies can run out of the effect of a slow. Slow enhancements only affect run speed, and not the other effects of the slow power. Also, slow powers do NOT set up Containment. At most, you can slow a foe to 10% of his standard movement speed – this is called the “slow cap.” Lingering Radiation is a Slow power.
  • Knock powers include Knockback, Knockdown and Knock-up. Knockback powers usually send the bad guy flying back. Knockdown is where the foe falls down where he is, and Knock-up is where the bad guy flies up into the air, and then falls down. During the fairly short time that the bad guy is getting up, he cannot attack. Some powers, like Earthquake, Ice Slick, Freezing Rain and Oil Slick Arrow, keep knocking the foes down over and over again, preventing the foes from doing anything. Knock powers do NOT set up Containment. Phantasm does a lot of knock-back with his attacks. In general, if the magnitude of the knock power is less than 1, the foe will be knocked down. If the magnitude is greater than 1, the foe will be knocked BACK (which is often disliked by some people).
  • Intangible or Phase powers make a foe or group of foes unable to attack or do much of anything, but you and your team are unable to attack them or affect them. Imagine putting the foe or foes in a 30 second “phantom zone” or making them into a ghost for 30 seconds, and you get the idea. This kind of power is often hated by many players because the players don’t notice the change in the foe and just attack without doing anything — wasting endurance. There are no phase powers in the Illusion or Radiation sets (fortunately).

(B) It is also important to understand “Containment” and how it works. Containment is double damage (usually) done by a controller’s attack if the target is held, stunned, slept or immobilized. Containment works for damage directly caused by any controller – no matter who may have caused the hold, stun, sleep or immobilize – so you can get containment bonus damage even if the foe has been held by a blaster or stunned by a tank. The Containment buff for Spectral Wounds is handled in an odd way, making it appear as though it gets a lot less Containment bonus than other powers. That is explained with the power, below. For the most part, powers that are considered “pets” do not get containment, so Phantom Army, Spectral Terror, Phantasm, and Fallout do not get Containment. If you want to find out more about a controller’s “containment,” take a look at Enantiodromos’s Controller Damage Overview.

(C) Controller “Buff” powers are the same sets as most of the Defender’s primary power sets, but many of the powers have different values than when the powers are used by Defenders. Powers like Accelerate Metabolism will “buff” up you and your team, improving you and your team’s attributes like accuracy or ToHit, damage, recharge, recovery of endurance, regeneration of health, etc. Radiation Aura is an AoE heal. Radiation has three core “debuff” powers that will decrease similar abilities of the enemy. In addition to what you will find below, there is a lot of information on these types of powers under the Defender Guides.

On slotting powers: I try to give the basic slotting first, so folks can see the most important aspects of a power to slot. I generally don’t slot many TOs other than accuracy, will buy DOs at 12 and SOs at 22. Then I usually try to slot common IOs at level 27 (for level 30 IOs) or 32 (for level 35 IOs), but don’t really look at adding IO sets until the late 30’s or 40’s with some exceptions. Some people are enamored with IO set bonuses, and are willing to sacrifice the effectiveness of the power for better set bonuses. Others prefer to slot the power for its most effective uses first, and then see if they can fit in a few set bonuses as, well, bonuses.

One of the nice advantages to IO sets is the ability to “Frankenslot,” which means to mix Set IOs from different sets to try to get more enhancement from fewer slots. (For example, two Acc/Dam Set IOs from two different Ranged Damage sets of the same level will give you more accuracy and damage than a single Accuracy common IO and a single Damage common IO. One great example is to slot a bunch of Acc/Hold/Rech from different sets in Flash or EM Pulse.)

Another important part of slotting is understanding “Enhancement Diversification,” generally called “ED.” This puts a cap on the amount of enhancement a power will take before additional enhancement has a substantially deminished effect. Other guides will tell you the details, but all I’m going to say here is that you get full benefit from two SO-level enhancments. The third one has a slight loss. Slotting any more than the equivalent of three SO-level enhancements has very little effect, so it would most likely be better to use that enhancement slot for something else, or move it to a different power. To put it simply, any more than three SO-level enhancements won’t provide much benefit. Two level 50 common IOs use up most of the ED cap, and the third one only gets the benefit of about half.

To most people, the most important bonus on an Ill/Rad is recharge because you want to shorten that recharge for Phantom Army. Some folks are willing to spend a lot of time farming to put full sets of Purple enhancements in their Ill/Rad. (“Purple” means the unique level 50 Ultra-rare sets that are extremely expensive but give the best bonuses and strongest enhancement.) I have a lot of Hami-O’s from back when I used to participate in frequent Hami Raids, and my first Ill/Rad originally had Hami-O’s in just about every spot that could effectively take one, so I will tend to mention Hami-O’s more than others might. A lot of people forget about Hami-O’s, but sometimes they can give you a very effective slotting option.

The “Perma PA” Build: Phantom Army is the key power for an Illusion Controller. While you can have a very effective character with normal and reasonably priced IOs, the goal of the “min-max” type player with an Ill/Rad is the “Perma PA” build. The goal of the “Perma PA” build is to make sure that you have enough recharge that PA is always available. With Perma PA, a single Illusion Controller can keep the attention of an AV or a group of foes on the Phantom Army, allowing the character (or a team) to attack the AV or group of foes with little fear of drawing the attention of the AV or foes. This is an “end game” type of build.

To have Perma PA, you have to get enough global recharge to reduce Phantom Army’s recharge from 240 seconds to 60 seconds or less. Each of the three PA appear one second apart and disappear one second apart, so there is debate on whether you can go slightly longer than 60 seconds if you want. Some people feel 63 seconds is adequate. Max slotting PA with Recharge (around 95%) cuts that recharge time almost in half. With Hasten and Accelerate Metabolism, an Ill/Rad can achieve Perma PA more easily than any other Illusion build (other than Kinetics which has to rely upon siphoning speed off of a foe at least twice).

Hasten gives 70% recharge on it own and affects its own recharge. Accelerate Metabolism gives another 30% recharge. The total needed is just over 200%. (On my build in Mid’s Hero Builder, it seems to require 203.8% to get PA to exactly 60 seconds total recharge. Discussions on the Forums often throw around numbers like 180% to 190%, but I’m going to use 203.8%.) So, to get “Perma PA,” you need approximately another 103.8% recharge over and above Hasten and AM — and that assumes that you will be able to cast Hasten and AM again before they run out. A Perma PA build also has Perma Hasten and Perma AM.

One important question is, at what point is the recharge “good enough” even if it isn’t permanent? Additional recharge actually has diminishing returns, so adding more at the end does less. To reduce the cost, it may be that Phantom Army total recharge of slightly more than 60 seconds, such as 62 seconds, may be enough for you. Because Phantasm uses its Decoy, you can often “get by” during the short gap that Phantom Army is recharging. You can cut out one or two of the expensive Luck of the Gambler 7.5% Recharge IOs or some purple sets to get “near Perma PA.” If you choose the Spiritual Boost for the Incarnate Alpha slot, you get some additional Recharge over the ED cap. That is for you to decide.

One important factor to remember when putting together a Max-type build — the “Rule of 5.” Only five of the same bonus will count. (The game determines this by the name of the bonus.) If you have more than five, that sixth bonus will do nothing. The “Rule of 5” applies differently to set bonuses vs. bonuses from IOs. In other words, you can have up to five Luck of the Gambler +7.5% recharge IOs, and up to five IO sets that give a 7.5% Recharge bonus. More on this later.

In the listings below, I will indicate IO sets that provide Recharge as a benefit. Because these enhancements are in high demand for all controllers, not just Ill/Rads, a Perma PA build is very expensive and takes a lot of work to make. There are some ways to keep the cost down. I also have provided a Perma PA build, but an Illusion/Radiation controller can be very effective without having Perma PA so if you don’t want to put in the effort to get there, it will not make your character ineffective. There are plenty of other effective IO set bonuses other than Recharge that will make your character better. These include Recovery, Regeneration and Defense (especially Smashing/Lethal or Ranged Defense).

There are many ways to build an effective Ill/Rad controller. If you have a build you like, feel free to post it in this thread and explain why you like your build compared to others. My Perma-PA build included some choices that not everyone would make. My goal was to make a character who was effective both solo and on teams, and still have enough recharge for Perma-PA. I also tried to keep the cost mostly reasonable or at least achievable for most players.

OK, let’s start with the powersets, and then get to my suggested builds. I will try to explain why I chose each power when I did, and you can decide if those factors matter to you. Each power will be described by its “in-game” description, and then its various attributes will be listed. All durations of Mez effects and damage amounts are for a level 50 character, as listed in City of Data. (In lower levels, those numbers will usually be much less, but I listed them all at level 50 for easy comparison.) After those come my suggestions, strategy and suggested slotting.

The Illusion Control Powers

Level 1: BlindSingle Target Hold with Damage and Small AoE Sleep.
Painfully Blinds a single targeted foe so severely that he is rendered helpless. Blind is so bright that additional foes may also be blinded, though they will not take any damage, and attacking them will free them from the effects.
Accuracy: 1.1
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 8.3
Recharge: 9 sec.
Cast time: 1.67 Sec.
Damage Scale: 1.0 Psionic Damage (2.77778 BI)
Damage: 30.59 (at level 50), doubled with Containment
Duration: 18.625(at level 50) at Mag 3 Hold, 20% chance for an additional 1 Mag for 12.423 sec.
Additional Effects: Summons a pet creating a 14.9 second (at level 50) sleep within a 2 ft radius of foe blinded.

Blind is an essential power, and I strongly recommend taking it at level 1 or no later than level 2. It is almost the same as other controller’s single target holds, with a couple of small exceptions. Blind trades a slightly shorter duration for an odd and somewhat rare ability to sleep another foe standing very, very near your target. Both bad guys will look like they are held with Blind, but the second one will “wake up” with anything that would disturb a sleep power. The Sleep is not something you can count on, and happens only rarely. Don’t bother enhancing for it and it is not worth taking extra steps to make use of the sleep. When it happens, just think of it as a nice, unexpected bonus. (From various discussions on the forums, my understanding is that Blind summons a momentary pseudo-pet that sleeps foes within a 2 foot radius of where it was summoned.)

Blind will normally hold minions and lieutenants with one shot (assuming it hits — and you will get misses). It has a 20% chance of holding a boss-level foe with one shot, but that hold will be shorter than the normal duration hold. (If you ever see “Overpower” float over your target, that means that the extra mag of hold hit.) Most of the time, you will need to stack two applications of Blind on a boss before he is held.

Blind and Spectral Wounds are the two powers you will use the most from 1 to 50. Because Blind sets up containment, Blind is your lead-off single target attack as well as a control power. You should get used to using Blind-Spectral Wounds as your 1-2 attack. I like to put Blind in slot 3, for easy access, with Spectral Wounds in slot 2. Frankly, any controller who doesn’t take Blind shouldn’t be a controller.

Slotting: 2 Acc, 2 Hold, 2 Recharge is the “standard” slotting for control on a team-oriented build. 2/2/2 is the default slotting for all holds and most other mez powers. I suggest starting with 1 Acc in the default slot, then add 1 Hold, 1 Recharge within the first 5 levels, then try have Blind 5- or 6- slotted eventually. Slot Recharge and Accuracy in slots 4 and 5, with Hold in that last slot. Under ED, the default slotting gives you the most “bang” for your slots. Some folks like using 3 Hold, while others prefer 3 Recharge. That third Recharge only gets you about .5 seconds faster recharge, so I suggest that you try the default slotting above, and then you can adjust according to your preference. Even though Blind has a 10% bonus to accuracy, I suggest eventually using 2 Accuracy because you want it to hit higher level foes.

Another good option is to slot Blind with Damage. That is a reasonable choice, especially if you mainly expect to solo. With the smaller number of foes you see when solo, use Blind as an attack and to set up Containment for Spectral Wounds, as hold duration rarely does you that much good. Slotting Blind for damage will help you take down foes faster. However, because Illusion has so few control powers, I prefer to slot Blind for control when I mainly expect to team, allowing the team to do more damage. If you want to slot for Damage, I suggest 1 Acc, 2 Dam, 1 Hold, 2 Rech unless you are going up against higher level foes – then make it 2 Acc, 2 Dam, 2 Recharge. If you are using Blind mainly as a damage and containment power, then hold duration is less important.

IO Sets: Hold, Ranged Damage, Sleep. There are a lot of options for slotting IO sets in this power, and even more options if you consider HOs. Some people slot Blind as a Hold power, while others slot Blind as a damage power. Most of the time, I’m using Blind as a lead-off attack to set up Containment and control the foe while I beat on him, and I’ll probably be firing off Blind again as soon as it comes up again on the attack chain. Some folks like to slot up the Ghost Widow set or at least the GW Proc for Psi Damage. I’m not a fan of putting damage procs in a power that does so many things, including damage. Using those slots for damage enhancements will get you more benefit than a proc that only hits one out of every five times. In other words, you will generally get more damage from a Damage enhancement than a proc that does damage.

The best options are, of course, very expensive. If you don’t want to go for the mega-expensive route, then you generally want to slot for Accuracy, Recharge and Hold duration on a team-oriented build, and try to fit in some damage if you solo a lot. Of the Hold sets, the Lockdown set has good bonuses, including 3.75% Ranged Defense. Plus, the Lockdown +2 Mag proc can allow you to hold a boss in one shot if it hits. (The problem with this is that you never know when it might hit.) The other hold sets have mediocre bonuses. A good amount of recharge is the highest priority, followed by accuracy. If you solo a lot, Thunderstrike has 3.75% Ranged Defense total (1.25% for 3, 2.5% for 6), and also gives some Recovery and Accuracy. This power can benefit from “frankenslotting” Acc/Hold/Recharge from multiple sets if you are willing to give up set bonuses. To get a nice mix of capped Accuracy, Recharge, some Hold and good Damage, try Acc/Hold/Rech from Ghost Widow and Essence of Curae, Acc/Hold/End/Rech from Lockdown, Acc/Dam/Rech from Thunderstrike and Devastation and a common Damage IO.

Another good option at levels 47-50 is using Hamidon Origin enhancements. I like 1 Acc/Dam HO, 1 Acc/Mez HO, 2 Dam/Mez HOs and 2 Recharge Common IOs. This is the slotting I currently use on one of my two builds, since it gives good accuracy, capped damage AND hold, and very good recharge, but I give up IO bonuses. Personally, I think I get more out of the damage from my HO slotting that I would from most bonuses . . . unless I was trying to do a Perma PA build.

Slotting for sleep is a mistake since you are giving up the primary purposes of the power, Hold and Damage. The Sleep is a rare side effect. Some people like to slot the purple Sleep set in Blind, however, because the Sleep set is one of the cheapest purple sets.

Leveling up, I suggest you fit several Acc/Hold/Rech IOs from several sets (at least 3), then finish out Blind with Damage with a little bit of optional Acc or Rech if needed.

Recharge: Of the Hold IO sets, 4 of the Basilisk’s Gaze is good because you get 7.5% Recharge out of 4 of them. Then, you might want to either supplement the Acc, Hold and Recharge from other sets, or maybe add some damage by using an Acc/Dam and Dam/Rech from a ranged damage set. The PvP set, Gladiator’s Net, gives 7.5% Recharge for 5 of them, but are so expensive that only the richest can afford them. The purple hold set, Unbreakable Contstraint, gives 10% Recharge for 5 and is less expensive than most purple sets. (My suggestion is that if you have the Unbreakable Constraint set, put it in Flash, or maybe EM Pulse. If you keep the Baz Gaze set here, you have room to include Damage in Blind.) If you solo a lot, you may want to use a damage set. 5 from the Decimation set has 6.5% recharge. Then add a common Hold in the 6th slot.

My Perma-PA build has 4 Basilisk’s Gaze, an Acc/Dam Hami-O and a common Damage. The Bas Gaze quad is often expensive, so you can get by with the triple with this slotting since the Hami-O adds more accuracy.

Level 1: Spectral WoundsSingle Target Ranged Damage with Heal-back.
Spectral Wounds convinces the target that he has taken severe damage. The illusion is so convincing that the victim can fall from the Spectral Wounds. However, the damage is not real, and if the victim survives long enough, the illusion will fade and some of the wounds will heal.
Accuracy: 1.1
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 6.86
Recharge: 6 sec.
Cast time: 1.07 Sec.
Damage Scale: 1.0 Psionic Damage (2.77778 BI), not including spectral damage
Damage: 50.16 initial damage, less heal-back of 19.57 after 10 seconds (30.59 net damage), plus 30.59 Psi Damage for Containment (at level 50).
Additional Effects: 0% Run Speed for 10 Seconds (This listed in City of Data, but I believe it relates only to the graphical appearance of the power. Spectral Wounds puts smokey ghost faces floating on the target until the healback.)

Spectral Wounds (“SW”) is both simple and complicated. SW is a single target “blast” power. The initial damage from SW is pretty impressive for a level 1 power on a controller, and as long as you can finish off the foe in 10 seconds, you get to keep that damage. However, if the foe survives longer than 10 seconds, then some of the damage heals back. The underlying concept of the “heal-back” is that SW deals “spectral” or “illusory” damage – you have fooled the foe into thinking that he has been hurt, and after 10 seconds, he realizes it was not real and some of the damage heals back. Defeating foes before the Illusory Damage heals back will significantly increase your overall damage.

If you look for such things, you will notice that (1) Blind and Spectral Wounds have the same base damage after the heal-back, and (2) Containment with Spectral Wounds seems to be substantially less than it should be. Containment is supposed to be double damage. Containment with Spectral Wounds is based only on the base damage that does not heal back, or the non-spectral damage. This makes it seem that Spectral Wounds is getting short-changed, but the game only gives Containment on the “real” damage. However, the damage that comes from Damage enhancements is “real,” so it is important to slot up Spectral Wounds with Damage enhancements right away. (If you got Containment on the spectral damage too, as nice as that would be, it might be overpowered.)

The spectral damage component gives Spectral Wounds a lot of burst damage, and due to the heal-back, you generally want to take down your enemies as fast as possible so that you get to keep that spectral damage. This is why I suggest slotting recharge in SW in later levels, and why having a good attack chain can make you more effective. The best way to have a decent attack chain in lower levels is to add Air Superiority, but that forces you to go into melee. If the foe is blinded, that generally is not much of a problem. Eventually, when you get to the APP levels (Level 41 and up) you can add one of the APP blasts in place of Air Sup, and then you can stay at range to blast. If you expect to solo much while leveling up, you may want to plan on using Air Superiority. There is more about using Spectral Damage in the strategy section.

Slotting:Spectral Wounds should be slotted with 1 Accuracy, 3 Damage immediately. The remaining slots are optional. The damage for enhancements is not subject to “heal-back,” so enhancing SW with 3 damage enhancements immediately provides a large benefit. The last two slots can either be 1 Acc, 1 Recharge or 2 Recharge. I like 2 Recharge, as it helps with a Blind-SW-other attack-SW attack chain. Since SW has a 10% Accuracy bonus, that second Accuracy isn’t needed badly.

IO Sets: Ranged Damage. SW can be slotted with any ranged damage set, and several of them have good bonuses. The Thunderstrike set gives bonuses of Recovery, Accuracy and Ranged Defense. If you are willing to trade Ranged Defense for some Regen, you can replace two of the Thunderstrike set with two from Devastation, giving 12% Regen along with 2.5% Recovery and 9% accuracy from Thunderstrike. Another option is the “Chance for Hold” proc from Devastation, but since Blind usually leads off to get Containment, the benefits of that proc are minimal. It mostly shows a benefit if you were lucky enough for the proc to hit on a boss, as proc would stack with Blind to hold the boss.

Another option: you can get better accuracy and save one slot by using HOs but giving up set bonuses, by slotting 3 Acc/Dam, 2 Recharge.

Recharge: Decimation set gives 6.5% Recharge for 5. This is a good power to put the “Chance for Build Up” proc into since you will probably use SW a lot. You may want to 6-slot this to cap out the damage because it is only at 89% on its own. Slot the entire the Decimation set except Acc/End/Rech and replace it with Acc/Dam/Rech from Ruin, Thunderstrike or Devastation to cap your damage — this is my perma-PA slotting. Entropic Chaos also has 6.25% recharge, plus 10% Regen and a Chance for Self Heal proc — but it will also need an Acc/Dam to cap damage, and even with the 10% extra accuracy in SW, the accuracy is a little low (which is not a problem if you have some decent global accuracy bonuses).

For the rich folks, five of the purple Apocalypse set gives 10% Recharge and other nice bonuses. Using the purple set also frees up a slot (under the “Rule of 5”) for a different power to use 6.25% Recharge.

My personal slotting is 5 Decimations (with the Chance for Build Up proc) and an Acc/Dam Hami-O in the last slot.

Level 2: DeceiveSingle Target Confuse.
You can Deceive an enemy into believing his friends are not who they appear to be. If successful, the enemy will ignore you and attack his own allies. If you Deceive someone before they have noticed you, your presence will continue to be masked. You will not receive any Experience Points for foes defeated by a Deceived enemy.
Accuracy: 1.2
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 8.528
Recharge: 8 sec.
Cast time: 1.67 Sec. (It may be 2.0 now)
Duration: 37.25 at Mag 3 Confuse, 20% chance for additional 1 Mag for 27.936 sec.

Deceive is, in my opinion, one of the better powers in the illusion set. It is also subject to wide and varying opinions. Some folks just love it, while others just hate it. Deceive is functionally the same as Confuse for Mind Controllers.

Deceive is a single target control power that causes the Confused Foe to use his powers against other foes. You can tell the foe is confused by the purplish-pinkish spots that flicker around his head. While the foe is deceived/confused, he will attack any other foes in the area, often switching targets. You may see a deceived/confused foe run off to attack a nearby baddie. (For the sake of convenience, let’s refer to a Deceived/Confused Foe by “CF.”) If the CF has an AoE attack, he may use it on his buddies. If the CF has a hold, sleep, slow, other mez or debuff power, he may use those on his buddies, too. If CF has a buff power, he may use it on you or your teammates. If there are no other foes in the area, CF will just stand there, doing nothing even if you attack him. Deceive lasts longer than Blind, recharges slightly faster, and uses the same amount of endurance. Deceive has a 20% accuracy bonus, 10% higher than Blind, and has the same range as Blind. Just like Blind, you have a 20% chance to get an “Overpower” extra mag that will allow you to Confuse a boss in one shot, but it lasts a lot longer than Blind. Some players get confused (pun intended), and think that Deceive is better than Blind – while that is true to some degree, Blind is more essential than Deceive mainly because of its fast activation time and Containment.

Most importantly, Deceive does not draw aggro. If you attempt to Deceive a foe and miss, or cast it on a Boss-level foe (who usually needs to be hit twice to stack the mag), you will not cause the foe to attack you – as long as you stay out of his perception range or stay invisible, he won’t even know you are there even if you miss. Because of this, you can cast Deceive over and over again without drawing attention to yourself. Given enough time, you can make all of the baddies in a group fight among themselves until only one badly wounded foe is left – all in complete safety. While you probably won’t want to, as explained below, this is an option for wiping out a room full of foes who could otherwise wipe out your team – or a fun way to spend the time waiting while someone on the team runs to make it to the mission. On occasion, I have entered into bets with my teammates about which foe will survive the longest.

So why do some people dislike Deceive? (1) It does not set up Containment to substantially increase your damage. (2) The overall animation is pretty slow, and the “haters” feel that using Deceive slows down a fast team. (3) Most importantly, however, is the fact that if your CF defeats another foe, then you and your team do not get XP for the defeated foe. If your CF does some of the damage and you, your pets or your team does the rest to defeat the foe, then you don’t get full XP for the defeated foe. There is a odd formula to determine the amount of XP that gets allocated to you, but it is not a straight pro-rata share. The “haters” view this as “lost XP.” Well, it is not actually “lost” since you never earned it. You actually lose the opportunity to earn some XP, so a more accurate term would be, “lost potential XP.” (Semantics, semantics . . .) The truth is that when a CF does some of the damage, you get XP credit for the damage done by you, your team and your pets PLUS some of the damage done by the CF, but not all of it. So you actually get some bonus XP that you did not earn.

To get full benefit from Deceive, it is very helpful if you know how the power works, and how to get most of the XP from Deceive. There are a few helpful people on the boards who have carefully calculated that using Deceive/Confuse actually helps you to get more XP over time, even though you may miss out on a small amount of potential XP from a few foes. In other words, you may get less XP per foe defeated, but you can defeat more foes in the same time using Deceive. See “Confused about Confuse and Deceived about Deceive?” in the Strategy section for a lengthy discussion about the use of Deceive, strategies and how to get more XP over time.

I strongly recommend using Deceive and getting it early – I prefer to take it at level 4. Deceive makes the early levels stupidly easy if you take your time. Think of it as a long-lasting, fast-recharging single-target control that draws no aggo. I find that Deceive has saved me and my team from debt many times. It will be more useful solo and on smaller teams than on large, fast moving teams, but Deceive is still a wonderful tool for your toolbox for taking out tough and annoying foes even on large teams. A lot of people wait on taking Deceive until level 35, and then say they don’t use it a lot . . . . and I think it is because they are not used to using it. Deceive is one of those powers that you have to kind of “buy into,” and look for the best ways to use it. However, if you do, it is awesome.

Slotting: Variable, depending on how you want to use it. Deceive is effective with only an Accuracy in the default slot, as it has an inherent 20% accuracy bonus, it lasts a long time and recharges pretty quickly. You can get by for a while with 1 Acc, 1 Rech, 1 Conf. More recharge makes it easier to stack or use on more foes. Heavy users may want the standard balanced mez slotting of 2 Accuracy, 2 Confuse Duration, 2 Recharge. Start with 1 of each, then add a second Recharge, a second Accuracy and a second Confuse Duration as slots become available.

IO Sets: Confuse. Five of the Malaise’s Illusion set is great with 2.5% Recovery and 6.25% Recharge, but make sure to leave out the Damage Proc – that may mess up the aggro-free nature of the power which is one of Deceive’s most valuable attributes. Unfortunately, it takes six of the set to get Ranged Defense. If you want Regeneration or Accuracy bonuses, look to the Perplex set. Fortunately, confuse sets are usually inexpensive. Leveling up, it is easy to Frankenslot this power with Acc/Conf/Recharge from several sets because the recipes are so cheap they are almost free.

The purple Coercive Persuasion is one of the most affordable purple sets, and I recommend slotting at least 5 of them once you hit level 50 — you can leave out the one that is pure Confuse. The sixth from that set adds 5% ranged defense, which is a lot if you are going for a Ranged Defense build. I strongly recommend the Contagious Confusion proc from that set, even if you don’t get any of the others, as it turns Deceive into an erratic Mass Confusion, allowing your single target confuse power to hit multiple targets one third of the time. Once I got that proc, I find I constantly use Deceive with hope that it will hit a bunch of foes. Putting that proc in Deceive is one of my favorite procs in the game.

Recharge: Five of the Purple set, Coercive Persuasion, includes a 10% recharge bonus — I skipped the one that only enhances Confusion. Malaise’s Illusions also has 6.25% recharge for 5. However, watch out for the “Rule of 5,” as there are quite a few sets with 6.25% Recharge. One big advantage to using the purple Coercive Persuasion set is that you free up one more 6.25% slot to use in another power. There are lots of sets available to an Ill/Rad that give that amount of recharge, and it is easy to hit the “Rule of 5″ cap.”

My personal slotting is 5 Coercive Persuasion.

Level 6: FlashPoint-blank AoE Hold.
Generates a brilliant flash of light around you that blinds nearby foes. Flashed foes are rendered helpless and unable to defend themselves.
Accuracy: 0.8
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 15.6
Recharge: 240 sec.
Cast time: 3.0 Sec.
Radius: 30 ft.
Duration: 14.9 sec. Mag 3 Hold at level 50, 20% chance of an additional 1 Mag for 11.175 sec.

All controller sets have an Area of Effect hold. Fire, Ice and Illusion have PB AoE versions, while Mind, Grav, Electric, Plant and Earth all have ranged AoE holds. The PB AoE versions have a larger radius to make up for the fact that you have to go into melee to use them. Flash will hold a group of minions and lieutenants with a 20% chance of catching a boss (look for “Overpower” floating overhead). Most of the time, you will need to use Blind, EM Pulse or another hold on a boss to stack holds. Notice that Flash, like most AoE powers, has a 20% Accuracy penalty. Always slot 2 Accuracy in this power.

Many people make the mistake of taking Flash early. I recommend waiting on Flash until no sooner than level 28, and I suggest taking it at level 30 or 35. A lot of people suggest that Flash should be skipped entirely, but I feel it is useful on an Ill/Rad. Flash has one major problem, and another smaller one. The major problem is that Flash comes too early in the Illusion set – If you take it at level 6, you will think that Flash stinks. That is because (1) Controller AoE holds have poor accuracy, a short duration and a long recharge. At level 6, the duration is only 10.6 seconds, and you can’t enhance that very well with only Training Origin enhancements. (2) The 20% accuracy penalty is easy to fix with two SO level Accuracy enhancements, but TOs are ¼ the strength of SOs, so it would take eight for the same level of enhancement – not only do you only have six slots to work with, but it would leave nothing for Hold or Recharge. And you would have to use way too many of your few slots in the power. (3) Other controller sets have some other kind of AoE control for when the AoE hold runs out – but not Illusion. All the other sets have an AoE Immobilize available fairly early, except Mind which has Mass Hypnosis, an AoE sleep. Illusion has no AoE control powers other than Flash until Spectral Terror at 26, so when that too-short hold runs out, you have nothing left with which to protect yourself. This means that at low levels when you use Flash, you will miss a lot of guys, the ones you hit will only be held for a short time, and all of them will be targeting YOU. And, you won’t be able to use it again (as if you’d want to) for a long time. If you take it early, your experience will tell you that Flash absolutely stinks. However in later levels, slotted with SO-level enhancers or Frankenslotted for Accuracy, Hold and Recharge, Flash is a decent power for taking out minion and lieutenant foes reliably for a reasonable period of time and setting up AoE Containment.

The secondary problem is that Flash has a 3 second animation. It seems to take forever to go off, but the hold takes place at the beginning of the animation. The reason this is minor is that you can cast it while invisible. Any foes held will be held at the beginning of the animation. However, the bad part is that foes not held may aggro on you before you can complete the animation. Another good reason to use plenty of accuracy.

A lot of folks skip Flash, and I agree that it is probably the second most easily skipped power in the Illusion primary. However, I still think it is worth taking, especially for an Ill/Rad – it gives you a control power to use for those “panic button” moments or when Phantom Army is recharging. Some people say that since EM Pulse is a better PB AoE hold, that Flash should be skipped. I feel that having two such powers make BOTH of them more usable – when you use one, you still have the other available for “panic button” moments, and you can alternate them for much more frequent use if you want to. I find that I use Flash frequently, while I save EM Pulse for emergencies or those times when EM Pulse’s unique properties will make it more effective. While EM Pulse is overall a better hold, I use Flash more often because Flash is usually adequate for what I need and there is no 15-second period where I stop generating endurance.

With Issue 19 and inherent Fitness, Flash is easier to fit into builds. If you are really short on slots, you can get by with just 2 Accuracy and it will still be functional. But I feel Flash is worth giving at least 5 slots.

Slotting: 2 Accuracy, 2 Hold, 2 Recharge. Because of the 20% accuracy penalty, the Accuracy should be slotted first. If you get Flash, plan on 6-slotting it.

IO Sets: Hold. The Lockdown, Ghost Widow or Essence of Curae sets work well, depending what set bonuses you want, but generally Lockdown has the best bonuses including Defense. While several procs can go into Flash, you won’t cast Flash often enough for those procs to have much of an effect. This is another power where “frankenslotting” Acc/Hold/Recharge can be a good idea. At level 50 on my non-perma PA build, to save a couple of slots, I have been using 2 Acc/Mez HOs, 2 Recharge. That gives the functional equivalent of six slots in four.

Recharge: For IO sets, the Basilisk’s Gaze set has 7.5% Recharge for 4 of them, but they are expensive. Also, you may want to add another slot or two to enhance Accuracy, Hold or Recharge, such as an Acc/Hold/Rech from any hold set or an Acc/Mez HO. The Purple Hold set, Unbreakable Constraint, is more expensive, but it has good bonuses – five of them will give you an all-important 10% Recharge bonus.

My personal slotting is 4 Baz Gaze, 1 Acc/Hold/Rech from another set. I may eventually replace this with the Unbreakable Constraint set.

Level 8: Superior InvisibilityToggle Self Invisibility with Defense.
You can bend light around yourself to become completely Invisible. While this power is active, you are all but impossible to detect, and have an extremely high Defense bonus to all attacks. Superior Invisibility is the only toggle invisibility power that allows you to attack while it is active, although you will lose some of your defense bonus if you do so. Superior Invisibility cannot be used with any other self affecting Concealment type power. Recharge: Slow.
Duration: Toggle
Range: Self only
Endurance: 1.04 per second (.52 per .5 second tick)
Recharge: 15 sec.
Stealth: +1000 Stealth, Suppressed when Attacked, for 6 seconds, Suppressed when HitByFoe, for 6 seconds, Suppressed when MissionObjectClick, for 10 seconds
Additional Effects: 4.5% Defense to all, but suppressed to 2.25% for 6 seconds when attacked or hit by foe, or for 10 seconds when click on object.

Superior Invisibility (SI) is one of the two invisibility powers available in Illusion. The other comes next, Group Invisibility (GI). For a standard build, you should choose one or the other, but not both. It is a pretty simple power – click on the toggle, and you become invisible until (a) you turn the power off, (b) you run out of endurance, or (c) you get killed. There are a few foes who have special perception, and can see you through invisibility like Rikti Drones, any kind of Snipers, and the giant Eyeballs of the Rularuu (that one makes sense). But for any foes who do not have special perception, you can /e Dance in their faces and they will not see (or hear) you . . . until you do something that will draw their attention, like attack, apply a debuff or click on a glowie. However, summoning pets or casting Deceive will not make you visible. This makes Deceive even more valuable.

Superior Invisibility uses a bunch of endurance for a toggle. If you get it, you should plan to slot it with a minimum of 2 EndRdx. If possible, slot EndRdx to the Cap. I generally run SI most the time when in missions unless I get into a fight where Endurance may be an issue. Then I turn it off to save endurance. You will also have to turn it off if you want to lead a hostage out of a mission. Your pets, however, will follow you while you are invisible — foes see them but not you.

In general, I prefer SI over GI because of the convenience of a toggle compared to a click power. Both types give you full invisibility in the PvE game – There is a “stealth cap” of 600 in the PvE game, and both SI and GI exceed that level, so you will be fully invisible to most foes unless you attack or click on a glowie. Stacking more stealth with other invisibilities, other stealth powers, super speed or a stealth IO won’t do you any good most of the time. However, if a foe has a perception bonus, then foes can see you – With GI, that foe can see you a fair distance away, but with SI, you have to be fairly close to that foe for it to see you – which is why SI is “superior.” With GI, you have to keep casting it every so often whenever the Invisibility wears off, but SI is a toggle so it is always on. Granted, the endurance cost of SI is about 12 times that of GI, but it is easier to manage the endurance usage of SI than to have to keep re-casting GI every four minutes. SI is fully useful as soon as you get it at level 8, while GI needs 2-3 recharge SOs before the recharge is fast enough that you can re-cast it as soon as it expires (called becoming “perma”). If you plan mainly to solo or PvP, then SI is the clear choice. If you mainly plan to team, or especially plan to team with the same group, you may want to consider GI. For the most part, you can skip either SI or GI, but I recommend you take at least one. I feel that one of the two invisibility powers is the most “skippable” power in Illusion, but if you really want to fit in other options, then both invisibility powers can be skipped. However, some folks take both powers, most often as a “mule” for another Luck of the Gambler +7.5 Recharge IO. With Inherent Fitness from I-19, more people are taking both to use GI as a mule for a LotG Recharge.

Because Illusion has Invisibility as part of its power set, Illusionists don’t need those Stealth IOs, the Stealth Power Pool or the stealth component of Super Speed. Both SI and GI are superior to anything in the Stealth pool.

Slotting: 2-3 Endurance Reduction, and Defense if you have slots to spare.

IO Sets: Defense. Several of the Defense sets give desirable bonuses. If you want Recovery, look at Gift of the Ancients. If you want Regen and Accuracy, look at 4 from Luck of the Gambler. Red Fortune has a bonus of Recharge for 5 and Ranged Defense for 6. SI can also hold a Karma 4 Mag Knockback Protection. Remember that SI is an endurance hog, so you want to slot as much EndRdx as you can. The Defense in SI can make a difference if you have other defense to stack with it, but most of the time, the effect is minimal — and half of it supresses when you attack.

Recharge: SI can be used to hold one of the most desired and expensive IOs for your build: the Luck of the Gambler 7.5% Global Recharge. Five Red Fortunes will give an additional 5% Recharge. So, if you can spare the slots, you can get 12.5% recharge out of SI (and GI, which will take the same slotting). Another nice thing about the Red Fortune set is that you can maximize EndRdx in SI, making it better to use. If you don’t use the Red Fortune set, make sure you get enough EndRdx in this power or it will be unusable.

I have the LotG 7.5% Recharge and 5 Red Fortunes, with capped Defense and EndRdx.

Level 12: Group InvisibilityClick PB AoE Invisibility for Team.
Makes you and all teammates around you Invisible. While Invisible, you and your teammates are almost impossible to detect. Even if discovered, Group Invisibility grants a bonus to your Defense to all attacks, although you will lose some of your defense bonus if you attack. Group Invisibility has no movement penalty.
Duration: 120 Sec.
Range: 25 ft.
Endurance: 10.4
Recharge: 240 sec.
Cast time: 2.03 Sec.
Stealth: +667 Stealth, Suppressed when Attacked, for 6 seconds, Suppressed when HitByFoe, for 6 seconds, Suppressed when MissionObjectClick, for 10 seconds.
Additional Effects: 1.875% Defense to all.

Group Invisibility (GI) is a good power choice instead of SI if you mainly expect to team. Its endurance cost, over time, is about 1/12 of Superior Invisibility. In the PvE game, both SI and GI put you over the “stealth cap” of 600, making you fully invisible to any foe unless that foe has some kind of perception power. Rikti Drones and Sharpshooter/Marksmen are the biggest problems in this area. As a click power, you cast it and then have to pay attention to when it is going to run out – which can be disastrous at the wrong time. This is the main reason that most Ill/Rads choose SI over GI – SI is easier to use, even with its higher endurance and the “selfish” nature. SI also has a higher stealth level, so even those +perception foes will not see you as soon – you have to get fairly close before they see you.

It takes some practice to get used to the timing for GI. When you re-cast, you become briefly visible, so you want to find a spot not too close to foes (or behind their backs). Keep an eye on that icon on the screen, so when it starts blinking, find a safe spot to re-cast. GI needs slotting with SO level enhancements before it can become permanent, so it may not be a bad idea to put off taking GI until the 20’s. One benefit of GI is that since it is not a toggle, it is not subject to getting dropped. If you get hit by an AoE sleep or stun, you will still be invisible. It also does not run out if you run out of endurance.

As a team buff, GI is useful but not essential. There are two main benefits: (1) It lets the team get in position for the initial “alpha” strike on groups of baddies without fear of being seen and starting before everyone is ready. (2) The entire team can help with “glowie hunts” until GI runs out . . . at which time it might be dangerous. In general, I recommend SI over GI unless you are planning a mainly team build. But I have used both, and both are effective. In all but a few extreme cases, there is no reason to take both invisibility powers, so the most skippable power in the Illusion set is either SI or GI; generally take one or the other, but not both.

There is an odd quirk on how the game handles aggro – if you use both SI and GI together, you can attack a foe while invisible, and often not draw aggro from other foes around your target, as long as you only use single target attacks. Personally, I don’t think that this quirk makes it worthwhile to take both invisibility powers, but some folks recommend it. I can see taking both if you are trying for a maximum recharge build and need another place to put a Luck of the Gambler +7.5% recharge, but I avoided having to take GI by taking Combat Jumping. With the I-19 change to make the Fitness Pool inherent, more folks may be taking GI as an IO mule.

Slotting: 2-3 Recharge, but I prefer 3. The defense is small, and I normally would not enhance it. However, it does grant that small amount of Defense to the team. I was on an Ill/Rad superteam for a while where we all took GI slotted for Defense, and 8 of them added up to decent defense.

IO Sets: Defense. Several of the Defense sets give desirable bonuses. If you want Recovery, look at Gift of the Ancients. If you want Regen and Accuracy, look at 4 from Luck of the Gambler. It can also hold a Karma 4 Mag Knockback Protection. Remember that GI needs a lot of Recharge to be available as soon as it runs out.

Recharge: Like SI, GI can be used to hold one of the most desired and expensive IOs for your build: the Luck of the Gambler 7.5% Global Recharge. Five Red Fortunes will give 5% Recharge. With enough global recharge, you don’t need to worry much about slotting this power for recharge. This power is sometimes taken as a “mule” just to hold another LotG Recharge IO.

I added GI to my build with an I-19 Respec, to put an extra LotG Recharge to boost the Recharge a little. The other advantage is that during long battles, I could hit GI to maintain invisibility and then turn off SI to reduce my consumption of Endurance. It also let me give Invis to the team. However, with the Spiritual Boost from the Alpha Slot, I may drop this again to add Rise of the Phoenix.

Level 18: Phantom ArmyCreates Three Invulnerable Phantom Pets at Targeted Location.
You can fabricate 3 Phantom heroes around a targeted foe. These Phantoms are not real, and are indestructible. Their attacks are similar to Spectral Wounds. Though they deal damage, it is illusory and will heal if the victim survives long enough. Phantoms are short lived and cannot be buffed or healed. The Phantoms have a strong taunting effect on critters.
Accuracy: 1.0
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 26
Recharge: 240 sec.
Cast time: 3.1 Sec.
Duration: 60 sec.
Pet Powers:
Three Phantoms are summoned 1 second apart. They each have a “threat level” of five, so they have a taunt effect. Damage calculations for PA are complicated because:
(1) PA appear to do eight different kinds of attacks, but in reality, the three ranged attacks are the same and the five melee attacks are the same. The attacks appear to have several types of damage, but regardless of appearance, all attacks do Psi Damage.
(2) All attacks have a Spectral Damage component that heals back after 5 seconds. However, damage from enhancements is not subject to Spectral Damage, so all of the damage from enhancements counts as regular damage and does not heal back. This means that Damage enhancements are very important to the damage done.
(3) The Ranged attacks appear to do 75.63 damage at level 50, of which 31.14 (41%) is Spectral and will heal back. The Melee attacks do 130.13 damage at level 50, of which 56.72 (43%) will heal back as Spectral Damage. But with enhancements, that percentage of Spectral Damage is a lot lower. Plus, Enervating Field will further enhance the “real” damage by 22.5%.
(4) Ranged attacks recharge in 4 seconds, but Melee attacks recharge in 6 seconds. Damage calculations will vary widely with the types of foes and the types of attacks made by PA.

Phantom Army (“PA”) is the single most important power in the Illusion powerset. When you get it at level 18, and you absolutely should, it will substantially change your playstyle and make your character much better. You get three invulnerable white “phantom” pets who randomly can be male, female or huge body types. They arrive one second apart, and begin attacking any foes in the immediate area for sixty seconds. They attack both at range and in melee, and appear to have a variety of damage types . . . but all the damage is actually Psi damage. If they run out of foes to attack, they will come back to you, waiting for you to lead them into battle. After sixty seconds, they disappear one at a time, one second apart. The only thing in the game that can kill Phantom Army is Hamidon (and I still hate that it can).

Phantom Army is key to Illusion’s “distraction rather than hard controls” strategy. The PA have a high threat level, so they taunt the foes to keep them away from you and your team. In this way, PA act as an AoE control power by keeping you and your teammates from taking damage in the same way that a good tank will pull aggro to himself. It is important to remember, however, that you can still be hit by AoE attacks even while the PA absorb the single target attacks. This is one reason that I feel Illusion is better played at range.

Phantom Army is also Illusion’s only AoE damage power, other than the torrent that can be used by Phantasm. (OK, it’s not really an AoE power so much as up to three single target attacks at the same time.) While the primary purpose of PA is to provide distraction, the damage is also important. Some of the damage, like Spectral Wounds, is spectral damage so it will heal back. Therefore, it is useful to keep an eye on the targets that PA attacks so you can use Blind-SW to take down foes quickly before the spectral damage heals back. See “Maximizing your Damage” in the Strategy Section. When you send in Phantom Army, you can focus on the easy-to-kill foes being attacked by PA to maximize your benefit from spectral damage. Also, if you help kill off the lower level foes, PA will then be able to concentrate on higher foes.

As a trade off for PA’s invulnerability, Phantom Army cannot be buffed by anything other than enhancements slotted in the power. Your Accelerate Metabolism, Kinetic’s Fulcrum Shift or Siphon Power, the Empathy buffs and the full range of other buff powers will not work on PA. Therefore, the only way to boost Phantom Army is through debuffs of the foes. A Defense Debuff works like a boost to Accuracy. A Resistance Debuff works like a boost to PA’s damage. This is one of the main reasons why Illusion and Rad go together so well — the Defense Debuff in Radiation Infection and the Resistance Debuff in Enervating Field will make PA substantially better. (Plus, the recharge boost in AM helps PA recharge faster.) Therefore, you will generally want to apply your debuffs as soon as you can after PA is cast.

NOTHING is better in the game for absorbing the initial or “alpha” strike of a group of foes or even an AV, GM or EB than Phantom Army. It is common that the foes use their “big hitter” attacks first, and these attacks will have no effect on PA. This will sometimes irritate Tanks, but good tanks will learn to adjust and actually appreciate PA’s ability to take the hits so no one else has to. Normal strategy is to send PA in first, then cast your Rad debuffs, and then look at your other powers to see what is needed next. You have a total of 60 seconds to take down that group before PA go away and the bad guys aggro on you or your team, so you want to do as much damage as you can in that time. If you have a tank on the team who wants to take the “alpha” strike in order to herd up the bad guys, hold off on casting PA until the group is gathered — in this situation, PA becomes more of a damage power than a distraction power — but use it anyway in most cases. For strategy and more details on Phantom Army, please take a look at the “Phantom Army” part of the Strategy section.

Slotting: Two main options are (A) 3 Recharge, 1 Accuracy, 2 Damage for maximum recharge, or (b) 2 Recharge, 1 Accuracy, 3 Damage to maximize Damage. Slot it for Recharge first, and then add the Accuracy and Damage. The Recharge slotting with SOs will allow PA to recharge in about 123 seconds, not including Hasten and AM, and the Damage slotting will recharge in 144 seconds, not including Hasten and AM — when those are active, the difference will be smaller. The question you need to ask yourself is whether the shorter recharge is worth less damage. I recommend the first, the Recharge slotting, unless you regularly team with a good tank or otherwise need the tanking less and the damage more. Then go with the Damage slotting.

IO Sets: Pet and Recharge Intensive Pet Sets. Your goals are to maximize your Recharge first, then Damage with some Accuracy. Then, you can choose various aspects for bonuses. Before some of the newer sets, our options were limited before level 50. I used to go with 2 Acc/Dam from two of the pet sets, and one Damage. Before the Recharge Intensive Pet sets became available, I thought the ultimate slotting for PA was 3 Acc/Dam HOs, 3 Recharge, and that was only available starting at level 47. However, Tal_N showed us that there is another choice fitting in the Chance for Build Up from the purple set, since the purple set has recharge for pets. This is the slotting I have on my Ill/Rad’s old build, which I kept to be team-friendly (but on my Perma-PA build, I used to the third slotting below).
Level 18: Phantom Army S’bndAl-Acc/Rchg(A), S’bndAl-Build%(19), S’bndAl-Dmg/Rchg(19), BldM’dt-Acc/Dmg(21), BldM’dt-Dmg(21), RechRdx-I(23)
All three Phantom Army guys have a chance to trigger the Build Up.

Recharge: The Recharge Intensive Pet sets have decent bonuses, and you can get them as soon as you want. You can start using Call to Arms, and then switch later for higher enhancement amounts. Four of either the Call to Arms or Expediant Reinforcement set give you a 6.25% Recharge; Expediant Reinforcement also has good bonuses including a 3% Damage buff, and a fifth one gives 10% Regen. The sixth enhancement from Call to Arms gives 5% defense to pets, or from Expediant Reinforcement provides 10% Resistance to pets, both of which are worthless on PA because they are invulnerable. (Granted, those bonuses will extend to Phantasm, but he stays flying and away from the action.) Unless you are willing to use a slot for 3.13% Ranged Defense and lose out on full Recharge in PA, you need to put something else there. The question is what are you looking to get out of Phantom Army, and what bonuses are you looking for? My preference is to maximize Recharge first, then damage with decent accuracy. I would like to get some recharge as a bonus, and my second need is Recovery. I can get this by using four of the Expediant Reinforcement set, leaving out the Dam/End and the 10% Resistance to Pets, and using the two triples from Call to Arms:
Level 18: Phantom Army ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(19), ExRmnt-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(19), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(21), C’Arms-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(21), C’Arms-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(23)
This gives the 6.25% recharge and Recovery of 2.5%. If you prefer 10% Regeneration over the recovery, you could give up some damage to go with:
Level 18: Phantom Army ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(19), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(19), ExRmnt-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(21), ExRmnt-Dmg/EndRdx(21), RechRdx-I(23)
Another better option uses two purples in place of the last two, gives 16% Regen, and gives you higher damage for slightly less accuracy by using two of the purple Soulbound Allegiance IOs. The Chance for Build Up gives you the potential for even higher damage. Of course, you can only use this slotting at level 50. This last one is the slotting that I think is “best.” The Chance for Build Up proc has a chance to activate with each attack by the PA, so three pets firing off attacks means that it hits fairly often. When it hits, the proc boosts ALL your pets, including Phantasm, so it can add some pretty good damage.
Level 18: Phantom Army ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(19), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(19), ExRmnt-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(21), S’bndAl-Dmg/Rchg(21), S’bndAl-Build%(23)

My personal slotting is the 4 Expediant Reinforcement with two Soulbound, the last of the options mentioned above.

Level 26: Spectral TerrorLocation-targeted Non-mobile Pet which casts AoE Fear Aura.
You can create an illusion of unspeakable Terror. The manifestation is so horrible that it caused most foes to tremble helplessly in terror. The Spectral Terror may also Terrify individual foes, causing them to run away in panic.
Accuracy: 1.0
Range: 60 ft.
Endurance: 16.64
Recharge: 45 sec.
Cast time: 3.2 Sec.
Radius: 20 ft.
Max Targets: 10 (plus single target)
Duration: 45 sec.
Effect: Mag 3 Cloak of Fear every 6 seconds for 7.45 seconds at level 50 (before enhancement), single target Mag 3 Terrorize for 22.35 sec (after 2 sec delay, at level 50) that may cause foe to run short distance away.
Additional Effect: 15% ToHit Debuff

Spectral Terror (“ST” or “Spooky”) is arguably the second best power in Illusion after Phantom Army. It is a ranged AoE control power that is not only effective, but is available constantly – it lasts for 45 seconds and recharges in 45 seconds even before enhancement and recharge buffs. It is one of the few powers that is fully effective as soon as you get it without additional slots. Not only is it a very effective power, it even looks cool doing it.

Spooky is an immobile “pet” that appears a few feet off the ground. ST creates a strong fear aura in a decent area when it is cast, causing minion and lieutenant foes affected to cower in place. Also, Spooky fires off a single target terrorize which will catch any foes who come into the area after it has been cast, causing that foe to either cower in fear or run a short distance, and then cower in fear.

Fear is not as good as a hold but is effective AoE control as long as the foe is not resistant to fear (like Nemesis). When first cast, a foe affected will get the chance to do one thing, which often includes an attack. Thus, if you use Spooky as your initial “alpha” attack, expect to get some damage. After the initial action, the foe will cower until he or she is attacked, when that foe will again get to do one thing before going back into the cower animation. Also, Fear does NOT set up Containment, so you do not get double damage from foes who are cowering in fear. Also, Spooky will not control bosses – some control powers have a 20% chance to add a one additional mag, but not Spectral Terror — so you will have to deal with the bosses separately. However, you do get a 15% ToHit Debuff, to reduce the chace of a foe hitting you if he breaks out of his fear to take a shot at you.

Except for fear-resistant foes and its lack of Containment, Spectral Terror far outshines Flash as AoE control mainly because it provides a way for continual control. Other control sets have some kind of AoE control power that can be re-cast before it expires like an AoE Immobilize – this is Illusion’s “always available” control power. Spooky is also cast at range, allowing you to cast in relative safety. Also, Flash needs 6-slots to be effective, while Spectral Terror needs no additional slots to be effective. However, because the foes get one attack because of the nature of fear control, I prefer to use Spooky as a second attack rather than a first, especially if there are foes who can catch me with a mez power. Using Spectral Terror as a back-up form of control before Flash’s hold runs out or before Phantom Army disappear is an effective strategy. Then you have time to clean up the stragglers. ST can also be used to stop an incoming ambush or at a choke point.

Spooky is also one of my favorite looking powers. I remember one time I was playing my Ill/Rad, and I was teamed with a friend using Ventrilo for voice chat. At one point he started laughing and suddenly went AFK. When he came back, he explained that his 3-year-old daughter was watching him on the game. When I cast Spectral Terror, the ghostly image and the wail sound scared her so much that she went running from the room! He had to go assure her that everything was safe.

Slotting: Variable, as Spooky works great with no slotting at all. I start with 1 Recharge or an Acc/Fear/Rech. Recharge lets you re-cast it sooner when you move. The initial Fear Aura seems to have little trouble hitting everything, and the subsequent single target terrorize has high inherent accuracy. Also, the fear pulses or the single target Terrorize may last a little longer with a Fear enhancement. Any of those three choices are appropriate. In some illusion builds, I have put in 1 Acc, 1 Fear, 1 Recharge. They all do something, but you may have better places to put the slots.

IO Slotting: Fear sets. Some people put a five of Glympse of the Abyss in Spectral Terror for the 6.25% Recharge and 9% Accuracy. If you want to spend the slots, the GotA set has nice bonuses. If you are not going for a Perma PA build, it is easy to leave only the default slot or maybe a second slot. You could use a single Acc/Fear/Rech, or the Glympse of the Abyss damage proc, even if you don’t use the rest of the set. Some people have expressed concerns that this proc will, if it hits, allow foes to take one shot at you. I haven’t seen the problem and I generally use the proc.

Recharge: Five of the GotA set gives 6.25%, or five of the Unspeakable Terror set gives 5% Recharge (in case you already have 5 of the 6.25% Recharges). Spooky doesn’t really need Enhancement, so the main reason to 5-slot ST is for the bonuses.

My personal slotting is 5 Unspeakable Terror. That’s because the Glympse set would have put me over the “Rule of 5.” If I ever put a purple set in any of my attack powers, then I can change this to the Glympse of the Abyss set . . . but the difference is not significant.

Level 32: Phantasm Flying Energy Blaster Pet
You can construct a powerful entity composed of pure light. Although made of light, the Phantasm is tangible and has powerful Energy attacks. The Phantasm can also fly and summon duplicates of itself. The duplicates are intangible, and cannot be harmed. The duplicates’ attacks deal illusory damage similar to that dealt by Spectral Wounds. Only the original Phantasm can be healed and buffed. Type “/release_pets” in the chat window to release all your pets.

The real Phantasm is slightly resistant to Lethal and Energy damage, but vulnerable to Negative Energy damage. The duplicates have a strong taunting effect on critters.
Range: 60 ft.
Endurance: 26
Recharge: 240 sec.
Cast time: 2.03 Sec.
Duration: As long as you are in the same zone.
Pet Powers:
(1) Energy Torrent: 40 ft. 45° Cone attack, 1.07 cast time, Recharge 8 Sec., 17.35 Smashing, 44.49 Energy, for a total of 61.84 Damage at level 50, 60% chance of 6.231 knockback
(2) Power Bolt: 70 ft. Ranged single target attack, 2 sec. cast time, Recharge 4 Sec., 8.9 Smashing, 31.14 Energy for 40.04 Damage at 50, 30% chance for 1.454 Mag knockback.
(3) Resistance to Damage: 20% Resistance to Energy Damage, 10% Resistance to Lethal, but 40% weakness to Negative Energy Damage.
(4) Decoy: Casts a Decoy for 30 sec. Cast time is 2.03 Sec. and Range is 60 Ft. The Decoy has Energy Torrent and Power Blast like Phantasm, but does 58.72 Psi spectral damage that heals back after 5 sec. The Decoy’s blasts also have a 13.5 sec. Mag 4 Taunt. The Decoy is invulnerable to attack, flies and has a +5 threat level.

All of the controller sets except Mind have a permanent Pet as the final power, and Illusion’s is Phantasm. Phant is a flying energy blaster who follows you around, using a single target blast and a cone “torrent” against any foes who enter his aggression range. One of the best parts about Phant is that he can spawn a decoy who looks the same as him but is actually invulnerable like your Phantom Army. Also notice that Phantasm does Smashing and Energy Damage rather than Psi — great for those pesky Robots who are psi resistant.

One aspect of Phantasm is both a blessing and a curse. Phanty’s Power Bolt and Torrent have a high chance of knockback. A lot of people complain about this, and you may get complaints from tanks or scrappers to not use Phantasm. That mostly becomes a problem if you tend to play a lot in melee, but if you stay back a bit or hover overhead, then Phantasm’s knockback becomes less of a problem. The nice thing about the knockback is that Phanty often acts as your bodyguard, knocking back foes who decide to attack you directly. The knockback is also an aspect of control, since foes can’t attack while they are getting up. Occasionally, Phantasm may knock foes out of your Rad debuff auras. I find that Phanty’s knockback has more benefits than detriments, but not everyone agrees.

You will no longer need to cast Phantasm whenever you enter a zone or mission — cast him once and he will not need to be re-cast unless he dies or gets stuck somewhere. Because he uses his Decoy and he flies out of harm’s way most of the time, Phantasm does not die very often. Those few times he takes damage, you can heal him. I would estimate that his survival is up with Grav’s Singularity and Earth’s Animate Stone, so he rarely needs to be re-cast unless you cast him in the middle of crowds of baddies or allow him to draw most of the aggro (more on that later). If you are stealthing a mission, be sure to dismiss Phanty or he will get into trouble along the way.

Don’t underestimate Phantasm’s Decoy. It draws aggro to protect you and Phant. All the damage it does is Spectral Damage, so it will all heal back in 5 seconds, but if the foe is defeated before the heal-back, you get to “keep” that damage. Most important, when Phantom Army expires or is recharging, Phantasm’s decoy can do the job of drawing the aggro of a foe or an AV, giving you time to get PA back.

NOTE: As of I-18 and I-19, Phanty and most other pets have an AI bug that causes pets who are supposed to stay at range to run into meleel. This means that Phanty gets himself killed on a regular basis. The Developers are aware of the bug, and it is on the list to get fixed. Until then, expect Phanty to run into melee whenever he gets close. You can reduce this by staying more at range, but then it is harder to get Phanty to attack a target.

Slotting: 1-2 Acc, 3 Dam. Start with 1 Acc, 3 Dam. Add a second Accuracy when you can. The other attributes are minor, and not worth enhancing. Recharge is a luxury since Phantasm rarely dies, but you could add a Recharge if you don’t have anywhere else to put that slot. However, I never slot this power with common SOs or IOs since by the time you get Phantasm, you can easily slot IOs from sets.

IO Sets: Pet, Recharge Intensive Pet and Knockback Sets. When I first get Phantasm, I usually slot Acc/Dam and Damage from Blood Mandate, Acc/Dam and Acc/Dam/End from Brilliant Leadership as soon as I get the power. That gives you 1.5% Recovery, 4% Regeneration, with capped damage and decent accuracy in 4 slots. You can trade it out later as you maximize your build. Overall, the Pet IO sets are somewhat lacking. Sovereign Rights give some mez resistance, but that is minimal overall. The purple Soulbound Allegiance set has good Regen, Hit point and a damage buff for 4. One good option is Damage, Acc/Rech, Acc/Dam/Rech and Chance for Build up from Soulbound Allegiance, and Acc/Dam from any other set. For max slotting at 50 in only three slots, use 3 Nucleous (Acc/Dam) Hami-O’s. This works great if you are short on slots, but you give up getting any IO set bonuses.

Recharge: 4 Expediant Reinforcement (all the ones with Damage) gives 6.25% Recharge, but you won’t cap Damage — add a Acc/Dam/End from a pet set to get to Damage cap or a Acc/Dam HO. Call to Arms also provides the same 6.25% Recharge for 4, but the enhancement amounts aren’t as high.

My personal slotting is 4 Expediant Reinforcement and an Acc/Dam Hami-O.

Now the Secondary set:

The Radiation Emission Powers

Level 1: Radiant AuraPB AoE Heal
You can use Radiant Aura to heal some of your wounds, and the wounds of your group. This power has a small radius, so your allies need to be near you if they wish to be affected.
Endurance: 13.0
Recharge: 8 sec.
Cast time: 2.03 Sec.
Radius: 25 ft.
Heal: 117.799 (at level 50)

Radiant Aura (RA) is your heal, pure and simple. You have to take it at Level 1, which is a good thing, since you would want to take it anyway. Only */Rad, */Thermal and */Empathy have a self heal that does not require a ToHit, and the power is the same with different names. You provide a moderate heal to yourself and any other heroes or pets (or some NPC’s) in range. Slotted up, it provides a heal of around 230 HP.

Radiant Aura is one of the reasons I feel that Radiation is the best overall secondary. Having a heal is valuable, and because it is both a self- and team-heal, it is effective both solo and on teams. However, the heal is moderate compared to Kinetic’s Transfusion or the Empathy heals, not big enough to let you be the team healer. Since RA does not require a ToHit, unlike Transfusion, it can reduce down time between battles as well as heal during the fight. To have quick access to RA, I have it set up with a bind on button 4 of my 8 button mouse. If you don’t have a mouse with extra buttons, you can easily bind it to the “+” key on the keypad, so you can fire off RA with a flick of your right thumb. Here are the two binds:
/bind button4 powexecname Radiant Aura
/bind add powexecname Radiant Aura

Slotting: 1-3 Heal, 1-3 Recharge. I like RA slotted 3 Heal, 1 Recharge.

IO Sets: Heal Sets. The Numina’s and Miracle sets have nice bonuses. Save those Numina, Miracle or Regenerative Tissue Uniques, however, for Health. Another option is Golgi Hami-Os, which provide enhancement to both Health and EndRdx. Three Golgis and a Recharge work well.

Recharge: Five Doctored Wounds gives a 5% global recharge bonus. This is my slotting and works great.

Level 2: Radiation InfectionFoe-anchored AoE Accuracy and Defense Debuff
Infects a targeted foe with deadly radiation, severely reducing his Accuracy and Defense. All foes that come near the target will also become infected. The Radiation Infection will last until you deactivate it, or until the original target is defeated.
Accuracy: Autohit
Range: 70 ft.
Endurance: 0.52 per sec (0.26 per .5 sec. tick)
Recharge: 8 sec.
Cast time: 3.1 Sec., Activates in 0.5 Sec.
Radius: 15 ft. from Anchor
Max Targets: 16
Duration: Until Anchor is defeated, goes out of range, toggle is turned off, caster is defeated or caster runs out of endurance.
Effects: -25% ToHit, -25% Defense (before enhancement)

Radiation Infection (RI) is another key power in the Rad set, the first of Rad’s “holy trinity” of debuffs. RI is a toggle, so it can be a “set it and forget it” power. When you cast RI on a chosen foe, the foes near your “anchor” are much less likely to hit you or your team very often, and any foes in the Area of Effect will be much more easily hit by you and your team. That target is the “anchor” for the ToHit and Defense debuff, and a green glow becomes centered on the “anchor.” Once you cast RI on a foe, the power continues until the “anchor” is defeated, until you run out of endurance, until you are mezzed, until you are defeated or until you turn it off. However, it will aggro every enemy affected by the power. (In fact, casting RI can be an effective pulling technique.) It is incredibly useful in low levels, before your team has been able to develop their defensive powers, and continues to be useful in every level. It is a double debuff that never misses. The endurance usage is moderate, about half that of Enervating Field.

The main complaints about RI are: (1) As a power anchored on a foe, teammates often (actually, usually) kill off the anchor, causing you to have to re-cast it or miss out on the debuff – it’s frustrating to have the team keep killing your anchor. See the “Choosing your Anchor” section under Strategies. (2) RI has a long animation – on fast moving teams, it takes so long to cast RI that the baddies may be defeated before the animation finishes. This is one of the trade-offs for a great debuff power – but the benefits are usually worth it. Since RI is an accuracy debuff, it can be effective as an opening “attack.” RI will make it less likely for any first attack, the “Alpha Strike” – which is usually the strongest attacks – will hit you and your team. If you have a Tank on the team, it is usually better to let him or her take that duty, but it can be effective to cast RI just as the Tank enters battle. The agro effect of RI happens at the end of the animation, after the power takes effect.

Because RI is a debuff, it will increase the likelihood of hitting even for powers that cannot be enhanced for accuracy, like veteran attacks, temp powers and Illusion’s Phantom Army. Therefore, it helps to cast RI before attacking with Sands of Mu or any of the many temp power attacks you can get in the game. It is also a good idea to try to cast RI before your team’s blaster fires off his AoE Nuke to increase the chances that all foes are hit.

Defense Debuff or ToHit Debuff? I often see people slotting RI for Defense Debuff. Slotting for ToHit Debuff is better. There is a long explanation for this related to the way the game handles accuracy and defense and ToHit, but the bottom line is that your accuracy plus the base Defense Debuff in RI will get you to the 95% cap most of the time; adding more Defense Debuff will not help. In some rare cases against very high level foes and AVs, more Defense Debuff may help, but those situations are fairly rare. However, slotting for ToHit Debuff will almost always provide a substantial benefit by making it harder for foes to hit you (and your team). Ideally, with special slotting mentioned below, you can slot for ToHit Debuff AND Defense Debuff. When I first get RI, it gets slotted for ToHit Debuff and EndRdx, and I don’t worry about Defense Debuff.

Another tip: Casting RI (or EF) on a foe using an interruptable power will interrupt him. This includes Vahzilok Embalmed Cadavers (they won’t blow up), Sky Raider Engineers (they won’t call the Force Field Generator), and those Malta guys who make a turret.

Slotting: 3 ToHit Debuff, 0 or 2-3 Defense Debuff, 0-1 EndRdx. Whether you include the EndRdx depends on whether you are having endurance problems. I suggest slotting the 3 ToHit Debuffs and an EndRdx right away, then the Defense Debuffs as slots become available in higher levels only if you have slots to spare (which you shouldn’t).

IO Sets: Defense Debuff, ToHit Debuff Sets. At levels 47-50, the ideal slotting for RI is 3 Enzyme Hami-O’s. RI is the perfect power for Enzymes (ToHitDebuff/DefenseDebuff/EndRdx), and no other power makes better use of Enzymes than RI. The other nice thing about using Enzyme HO’s is that you can take 3 slots out of RI and put them in some other powers without any loss whatsoever (other than set bonuses). If you want set bonuses, both the Dark Watcher ToHit Debuff and the Lady Gray Defense Debuff sets have nice bonuses. Overall, ToHitDebuff is more important than Defense Debuff. You want to make sure you get as much EndRdx as you can, but Accuracy and Recharge do nothing in this power. My usual slotting for RI as soon as I begin slotting sets is 4 Dark Watcher. If you are looking for Recovery, use three of Dark Watcher and three of Lady Grey each. For Regen, go with four from Lady Gray. Some folks like to put various procs in this power. They include the Lady Grey Chance for Negative Energy and Dark Watcher Chance for Recharge Debuff (I would say don’t bother with this one), but the best is the Achilles Heel Chance for Resistance Debuff. It gives a 20% chance of further boosting the damage that Phantom Army, Phantasm, you and your teammates can do.

Recharge: Four Dark Watcher ToHit Debuff enhancments gives you 5% Recharge. This is pretty good slotting since the Defense Debuff is less important than the ToHit Debuff.

My personal slotting is 3 Enzymes. On other Rad characters, I use 4 Dark Watchers. If you have an extra slot, use the Achilles Heal Chance for Resistance Debuff first.

Level 4: Accelerate MetabolismSelf-centered AoE Team Buff
Activating this power emits radiation that increases the running speed, attack speed, Endurance recovery, and damage potential of all nearby allies. Affected allies’ metabolisms are increased so much that they become resistant to effects such as Sleep, Hold, Disorient, Immobilization and Endurance Drain.
Endurance: 15.6
Recharge: 422 sec.
Cast time: 2.03 sec.
Radius: 25 ft.
Duration: 120 sec.
Buffs: 20% Damage
30% Recharge
30% Endurance Recovery (can be enhanced)
30% Increase to Run Speed and Fly Speed
173% Resistance to Hold, Stun, Sleep, Immobilize (Shortens duration)

Accelerate Metabolism (AM) is widely considered to be one of the best buff powers in the game, and for good reason. Instead of buffing one or two things a lot, it buffs a bunch of things a little. AM boosts Recharge, Endurance Recovery, Damage, Run and Flight Speed, and reduces the time needed to recover from Hold, Sleep, Stun and Immobilize. The main benefits are a substantial boost in Recharge and Endurance Recovery – not as much as Speed Boost from Kinetics, but this is an AoE buff that needs to only be applied once, and not to each team member. Thus, you don’t feel like a “buff-bot,” which is a frequent complaint about Kinetics. And it boosts Damage, too. And if you have more than one character on the team with Rad, stacked AM is wonderful. Stacking AM is one of the main reasons that Rad superteams are so popular.

It is a good idea to create a bind or macro to tell your team when AM is available, suggesting that anyone who wants the buff should gather near you. You can set it up as either a Macro or a keybind. Something like:
/macro AM “group Gather here for AM in about 5 seconds!”

I then have a bind for when I fire off AM, so that I can use the 4th button on my 8 button mouse:
/bind lshift+Button4 “group Feel the Glowing Green Goodness of AM!$$powexecname Accelerate Metabolism”

Slotting: 3 Recharge, 3 EndMod. This is common wisdom as the best slotting for AM – anything else is less effective. Get the 3 Recharge slotted ASAP, then add in the 3 EndMod when you can. You want AM up as frequently as possible.

IO Sets: Endurance Modification, Run and Universal Travel Sets. I really like the Efficacy Adapter set – use all of it except replace the EndMod/Acc with a common Recharge IO to maximize both Recharge and EndMod with some nice bonuses. Some folks also put the Performance Shifter set here. I see little benefit to slotting AM with Run or Travel enhancements.

Recharge: If you have enough global recharge in your build to make AM perma or close to it, you can put that Efficacy Adapter EndMod/Acc back in for an extra 5% global Recharge.

My personal slotting is 6 Efficacy Adapter.

Level 6: Enervating FieldFoe-anchored AoE Damage and Damage Resistance Debuff
While this power is active, you irradiate a targeted foe, and all foes nearby, with a deadly dose of radiation. This radiation weakens exposed targets, decreasing the damage of their attacks. It also significantly weakens their resistance, so they will take much more damage from other attacks.
Accuracy: Autohit
Range: 70 ft.
Endurance: 1.04 per sec (0.52 per .5 sec. tick)
Recharge: 8 sec.
Cast time: 1.5 Sec., Activates in 0.5 Sec.
Radius: 15 ft. from Anchor
Max Targets: 16
Duration: Until Anchor is defeated, goes out of range, toggle is turned off, caster is defeated or caster runs out of endurance.
Effects: -20% Damage from foes in area, -22.5% Damage Resistance (cannot be enhanced)

Enervating Field (EF) is the second of the “holy trinity” of Rad debuffs. Like RI, you pick a target to “anchor” the debuff, and the anchor carries the debuff with him, aggroing every bad guy in range. Instead of reducing Accuracy and Defense, EF reduces Damage done by the foes, and their resistance to your damage. Reducing Damage Resistance has the same effect as increasing your team’s damage, but it is not limited by damage caps. And because it is a debuff, it has the effect of increasing the damage done by powers that cannot be enhanced for damage, like veteran attack powers, temp powers and Illusion’s Phantom Army. EF uses a lot of endurance – if you are running low, EF can be the first thing you turn off.

Because EF activates fairly quickly, about half the time of RI, you can use this power in most fights even if the team is moving fairly quickly. Try to pick the foe who you expect to last longest as your anchor. See the “Choosing your Anchor” section under Strategies. I recommend holding off on EF until after Stamina since EF uses so much Endurance. But it is a great power. Like RI, EF will interrupt powers used by foes that are interruptable.

Slotting: 2 Endurance Reduction. That’s all, as the debuff cannot be enhanced. Slot two as soon as you can, as EF uses a lot of Endurance. A third EndRdx only saves .05 endurance per second, so slot that third one if you feel that makes a big enough difference.

IO Sets: None.

My personal slotting is 2 EndRdx.

Level 16: MutationAlly Resurrection with Buff
Using a concentrated burst of radiation, you can revive a fallen ally and Mutate him into a killing machine. The Mutated target has increased damage, Accuracy, Endurance recovery, and attack speed and is protected from XP Debt for 90 seconds. The entire experience is very taxing on your ally, and he will soon be severely weakened. All effects of the Mutation will eventually wear off.
Accuracy: Autohit
Range: 15 ft.
Endurance: 26.
Recharge: 180 sec.
Cast time: 3.2 Sec..
Effects: Full heal to 100% for both Health and Endurance. Buffs to target for 90 Sec.: 200% Recovery, 100% Recharge, 40% Damage and 30% Accuracy. After 90 Sec., -40% Damage, -30% Accuracy for 45 sec.(cannot be enhanced) Debt Protection for 20 Sec. after Rez.

Mutation is one of the best ally Rez powers in the game. (Howling Twilight, which allows a Dark Miasma Defender, Corrupter or Mastermind to rez multiple teammates at once is pretty nice, too.) It is a great battlefield Rez, but you can only rez one teammate at a time and cannot use it on yourself. It not only provides a Rez, it also is a substantial buff for 90 seconds. Your teammate needs to understand that there is a kind of “crash” after 90 Seconds that lasts for 45 seconds. In effect, as soon as your teammate gets raised, he or she has 90 seconds to avenge his or her own death (“By Grapthar’s Hammer, you shall be avenged!” — gratuitous “Galaxy Quest” reference) before the adrenaline wears off and he or she is weak for a short time. As good as Mutation is, it is an optional power. It is nice to have, but not essential (unless your team has a few suicidal blasters). Fit in Mutation if you can, but with the ability to combine Inspirations to get Awakens, rez powers are needed less. If you choose to take Fallout, it would be impolite not to have Mutation as well. Obviously, if you expect to mainly solo, Mutation will be of no benefit to you. (No, you can’t use it on your Phantasm.)

With Inherent Fitness, I have been able to fit Mutation back into my build. It is nice to have in a team-focused build but can be left out for other desired powers (such as Leadership, Fighting Pool, etc.). If you like to make multiple builds, this is one of the powers that can be included in one build but not in another.

Slotting: 1 Recharge. Up to 3 Recharge if you have spare slots or have teammates who die a lot . . . or like to hang out with Blasters.

IO Sets: Endurance Modification. Don’t bother. Just slot it with a common Recharge. Your demand on slots should be too tight to put anything else here.

Recharge: 6 Efficiency Adapter give 5% Recharge — but I can’t imagine doing this.

My personal slotting: 1 Recharge.

Level 20: Lingering RadiationFoe-targetted AoE Slow, Attack Rate and Regeneration Debuff
You can emit Lingering Radiation that reduces the attack rate, movement speed, and Regeneration rate of the target, and all nearby foes.
Accuracy: 1.0
Range: 80 ft.
Endurance: 15.6
Recharge: 90 sec.
Cast time: 1.5 Sec..
Radius: 25 ft. from Anchor
Max Targets: 16
Duration: 30 Sec.
Effects: -75% Run Speed, -75% Recharge, -500% Regeneration.

Lingering Radiation (LR) is the third of the “holy trinity” of Rad debuffs. It is a nice slow power, with a debuff to Recharge and a huge debuff to the foe’s Regeneration. LR is the only one of the three Rad debuffs that is not Autohit – it needs accuracy to hit. Also, unlike RI and EF, LR is not a toggle; it is a one-shot slow with a duration of 30 seconds and a recharge of 90 seconds. With Recharge enhancements and Hasten, you can reduce that recharge time to about 40 seconds. With enough global recharge, it can be made perma. Also, LR only affects baddies in its range at the time it is cast – LR does not continue to “infect” other foes who later come into the area near the bad guy who was your target. On an Ill/Rad, LR is your only AoE slow, a nice addition. Do not skip LR, as it does some very nice things. LR has an attack rate debuff, substantially reducing the rate at which foes can attack you and your team. Most important is the -Regeneration. LR reduces an AV’s regeneration so that the AV can be defeated sooner. On some low-damage teams, LR can make the difference between defeating an AV or having to give up. Even though the effect of debuffs on AVs are substantially reduced, LR still seems to make a difference. It is also one reason that Rads are in demand on TFs. In recent times, I have come to appreciate LR more. That -Recharge can have a huge effect.

This power has -75% run speed. Slow enhancements only affect run speed, and have no effect on recharge or regen. Slotting just a little bit of slow in this power should get you up to the 90% slow cap, but as foes go higher in level compared to your level, they are affected by slow less and less. Also, some foes, like Council Wolves, are resistant to slows. Note that -75% recharge is the cap for even-con foes — not that it matters since you can’t enhance it anyways. (If you go with the Spiritual Alpha enhancement, one aspect of the Spiritual Tree can enhance Slow. That means you have even less of a reason to slot this power for Slow.)

Because LR requires a “tohit,” you will have a better chance of LR hitting if you cast it after RI. However, LR casts quickly, and can also be effective to keep bad guys in the area while you are waiting for the slow animation of RI. So, part of the strategy of knowing how to use LR is knowing your likelihood of hitting. If you are up against higher level foes or foes with a lot of defense, cast RI first. Choosing an anchor is an important part of the strategy of using LR, but less important than with the other two debuffs since you can cast it again in 40 seconds. See the “Choosing your Anchor” section under Strategies.

Slotting: 1-2 Acc, 3 Recharge, 0-2 Slow. I prefer 2 Acc, 3 Recharge. However, if you have enough global recharge and global accuracy, you may be able to get by with as little as a single Accuracy in the default slot.

IO Sets: Slow Sets. Unfortunately, the Slow sets have very little recharge. Leveling up, you can use just two of the Tempered Readiness set, Acc/Slow and End/Recharge/Slow. Add that to common 1 Acc, 2 Recharge and you get good Accuracy, capped Recharge, a little slow and a 1.5% Recovery bonus. If you have enough recharge in your overall build, you may be able to reduce the recharge and add more IO sets here. A Perma PA build can use just a single Accuracy in the default slot.

Recharge: 5 Tempered Readiness give 3.75% Recharge. That is not the best use of your slots, however, since you can get more recharge from other powers.

My personal slotting is 1 Accuracy common IO. With my global Accuracy bonuses and RI, LR doesn’t seem to have any problem hitting. If I had a spare slot, throwing a little bit of Slow enhancement in here might be nice since LR does not drop foes to the slow cap. Note that the Spiritual Boost for the Alpha Slot includes Slow in the upper levels, which will mean you get some slow enhancement anyway.

Level 28: Choking CloudPB AoE Toggle Hold
While active, you generate toxic radioactive gas around yourself. Any nearby foes may be overcome by the gas, leaving them choking and helpless.
Accuracy: 50% (cannot be enhanced) for Mag 2 hold, 80% for Mag 1 hold.
Range: 15 ft.
Endurance: 4.16 per 5 sec. (0.832 per sec.)
Recharge: 90 sec.
Cast time: 2.03 Sec., Activates in 5 Sec.
Radius: 15 ft. from Anchor
Max Targets: 16
Duration: 7.45 sec Hold, Mag 2, every 5 seconds (at Level 50)
Effect: ToHit Check, then 80% chance of Mag 1, 50% chance of Mag 2.

Choking Cloud (CC) is one of two toggle AoE holds in the game. (The other is Mind Control’s Telekinisis.) CC is one of the two Rad powers that requires you to be in melee range. It can be very effective and it works automatically. However, I recommend against taking Choking Cloud on an Illusion/Rad. Why?

CC is a PB AoE hold power with pulses every 5 seconds. How it works is that your character runs/jumps into the middle of a gang of bad guys. After anywhere from 0 to 5 seconds, the power makes a ToHit check for each foe. If the god of averages is with you and the power hits, then it makes a second check. 80% of the foes will be hit with a Mag 1 hold, which does nothing, and 50% of the foes will be hit with Mag 2, which holds minions. These two types of hold stack, resulting in a combined percentage chance of:
10% chance of no hold at all,
40% chance of only Mag 1 that will not hold anything (other than maybe Rikti monkeys),
10% chance of Mag 2 that will hold minions only, and
40% chance of Mag 3 that will hold Lieutenants or Minions.

So, for each pulse, there is only a 50% chance that a minion will be held and a 40% chance that a Lieutenant will be held. Any foe actually held will have a green puff of gas show up at their face, showing that they are choking and held. Any foes not held will have another 5 seconds to attack you or do whatever before another pulse. All foes in the area will make the check again, where some new ones will get caught by the hold, and others previously held will then not be re-held in the next tick, so when the hold runs out, they will be free. So, basicly, CC takes a while to hold most of a group, and then the group won’t stay held for very long.

Choking Cloud draws aggro, which can result in a faceplant because any foes not held are likely to attack. It uses a HUGE amount of endurance, substantially reducing other things you can do. You won’t have the endurance to chain single target attacks to take down bad guys for very long while running CC. This means that even if you can hold them, you can’t take them down – and Phantasm is very likely to knock foes out of the Cloud, making it useless. At a minimum, you have to slot it with 5 slots. (With some IO slotting at level 50, you may be able to cut that to 4.)

CC provides minimal benefit for lots of risk for an Ill/Rad. I tried it once and absolutely hated it. On the other hand, I LOVE CC for a Fire/Rad. With Imps, Hotfeet and Choking Cloud, a Fire/Rad is an AoE damage machine. Ice Control has Arctic Air, which can combine with CC to keep the baddies slowed and confused until CC can take hold. Electric Control can combine Conductive Aura and Static Field with CC to provide layers of control. All of these other sets have some other kind of PB AoE power to supplement Choking Cloud in order to make it effective.

Since Illusion does not have any power to back up Choking Cloud, it is very skippable. However, some people like it, so if a toggle melee hold appeals to you, try it out. You will probably not want Phantasm around because he WILL knock the foes out of the cloud. On the other hand, if it hits, CC then has a 90% chance of hitting foes with a Mag 1 hold. This does nothing by itself, but will stack with Blind, Flash or EM Pulse to be able to hold bosses.

If you take Choking Cloud, it is important to fully slot it for hold. At level 50, the hold lasts for 7.45 seconds, and the pulses happen every 5 seconds. That means that if a foe is held in one pulse, you only have the second pulse to try to continue the hold while the first hold is in effect, with only a 40% or 50% chance of continuing the hold. That initial hold will run out before the third pulse. If you slot it to the 50%-80% range, you can get it to last through two subsequent pulses, but once you get that hold past 10 seconds, there really is no difference until you can get it extended to the fourth pulse. If you fully slot Choking Cloud for hold duration (95%), it almost doubles the duration of the hold to just short of 15 seconds. That means that you get the first, second, and third pulses after the initial hold to try to continue the hold. This increases your likelihood of continuing the hold to somewhere over 80%. Therefore, I do NOT recommend giving up Hold Duration for damage procs — slot up that Hold Duration first.

Slotting: 3 EndRdx, 3 Hold. However, you really don’t need to use SOs or Common IOs — At the level you get this, you can easily start with some set IOs.

IO Sets: Hold Sets. Because of the high endurance demand of CC, a full Hold set will not be that helpful. You want to “frankenslot,” mix and match sets to maximize Hold duration and EndRdx. Leveling up, my cheap slotting for my Fire/Rad was 2 EndRdx IO’s, 2 Hold IO’s, 1 Ghost Widow End/Hold IO, and the Ghost Widow damage proc, “Chance for Psi Damage” to add some damage.

Even better than the chance for damage procs is the Lockdown “Chance for +2 Mag Hold” proc, which is wonderful for this power. The proc has a 20% chance to add +2 mag to a hold. Since CC has a 90% chance of getting a mag 1 hold — when that +2 mag hold hits, it will hold bosses. For foes hit with Mag 1, which means they are not held, the proc adds an extra 20% chance of being held. The Lockdown proc should be a priority after capped slotting for Hold and EndRdx.

There is also some discussion that although the power does not take accuracy enhancements, the accuracy can be enhanced by use of Hold set enhancements with Accuracy, so you could go with EndRdx/Hold from Ghost Widow, Neuronic Shutdown and Essence of Curae, Acc/Hold/EndRdx/Rech from Lockdown and Basilisk’s Gaze, plus a damage or hold proc.

At level 50, one nice slotting is Unbreakable Constraint End/Hold and Chance for Smashing Damage, Lockdown Acc/End/Hold/Rech and Chance for +2 Mag Hold, Ghost Widow End/Hold and Essence of Curare End/Hold. Or even better, 4 of the purple Unbreakable Constraint, the Lockdown proc and a common endRdx. (This is the slotting that I have in one of my Fire/Rads.) Replace the Lockdown proc with a 5th Unbreakable Constraint if you really want that 10% Recharge bonus over the benefits of the proc.

Recharge: Four Basilisk’s Gaze gives 7.5% Recharge. You will need to add more EndRdx and Hold, however — if you take it, which you shouldn’t. Why would you need Choking Cloud for a Perma PA build? If you really want it for the Recharge, then 5 of the purple Unbreakable Constraint will give you 10% Recharge.

I did not take this power, so I don’t have personal slotting on my Ill/Rad.

Level 35: FalloutDead Teammate Corpse Bomb Thingy
After an ally falls in battle, you can activate this power to extract the energy from their body to deal a massive amount of Energy damage to any nearby foes. All affected foes are extremely weakened by the Fallout, and their Accuracy, Defense, Damage and Damage resistance is severely reduced.
Accuracy: Autohit to ally’s corpse, 2.0 to foes.
Range: 60 ft.
Endurance: 20.8
Recharge: 300 sec.
Cast time: 3.2 Sec.
Radius: 30 ft. from Anchor
Max Targets: 16
Damage: 222.44 (at level 50)
Effects: -30% ToHit, -30% Defense, -30% Damage, -50% Resistance (before enhancement)
Duration: 30 sec. for debuff to foes.

Fallout is viewed as being the first or second most skippable power in the Radiation set. A few deeply disturbed people love the idea of exploding dead teammates, and think the power is great. Fallout is very effective as both a damage power and a debuff. I have it on my Earth/Rad, and have kept it in his build as a bit of a novelty. I added it to my Fire/Rad with my I-19 Respec. The problem is that I rarely get to use it. It is, in my view, a very “situational” power. Why?

  1. You have to have a teammate die.
  2. You have to live (i.e. no team wipe).
  3. You have to have your teammate willing to sit there and do nothing while you abuse his dead body. (Most good players I team with want to actually play the game, and not lay there dead.) Any surviving teammates need to know not to use their rez so that you can play with dead things. If you are quick and notice your teammate’s death immediately, this may not be very long.
  4. Fallout has a decent-sized radius but your teammate must have died fairly near the bad guys, or you have to have Recall Friend to ‘port his decaying remains around . . . but the drop range on Recall friend is really short, so you either have to risk yourself to drop the body where it can do some good, or also have Hover or Fly to drop the body . . . all of which take time that your buddy is still not playing the game.
  5. You will probably need invisibility or a distraction of some kind so you can get close enough to activate Fallout.
  6. You should take Mutation so you can Rez your teammate after you use his corpse as a bomb. Not resurrecting your buddy after abusing his corpse would be impolite – unless you plan on teleporting his remains around with you to repeatedly use as a bomb.

Fallout does good damage and massive debuffs on any foes close enough to be affected. For those who take it, Fallout is a kind of nuke power. I view Fallout as a kind of “novelty” power. It is fun to have a power that makes a powerful bomb out of your dead teammates, and if you can make Fallout viable by building around it and getting the entire team to buy into using it as a regular strategy. Maybe even bring along a designated corpse (kind of like a designated driver) – someone who volunteers to die a lot to act as your bomb. Recall Friend, Hover, Fly or invisibility and Mutation, and even Vengence from the Leadership pool are helpful to use it effectively. My Earth/Rad was on a team where one teammate volunteered to run in to a group and die whenever Fallout was up . . . and I have to admit it was a lot of fun and very effective. But in general play, my Earth/Rad almost never gets to use Fallout — in some cases because I forget I have it.

Even with I-19 making it easier to fit in situational powers, I don’t feel it is worth sacrificing other abilities for this situational power. There are good reasons to like Fallout, however. It can be handy on really bad PUGs. If you do take it, unless you are teaming with the same folks on a regular basis, I suggest you set up binds to explain the power to your teammates, begging them to wait on using a rez or an Awaken until you have the chance to explode their corpse. (It doesn’t seem very “heroic” to use your teammate’s decaying remains as a bomb. What comic book hero would do this to a friend? On the other hand, it seems to fit pretty well with the theme on the villains side.)

Slotting: 0-1 Acc, 3 Dam, and then several options of recharge or debuffs. The inherent accuracy is so good, you probably don’t need accuracy. You could put some recharge if you expect to use it a lot.

IO Sets: Ranged AoE, Defense Debuff and ToHit Debuff, Accurate Defense Debuff and Accurate ToHit Debuff Sets. Slot it for damage first, as that is the most important aspect — it has very high accuracy. Then slot for Recharge. The debuffs are already pretty large, but you can slot for those, too. If you take this as a One-Slot power with the I-19 inherent Fitness, think of it as a powerful debuff that does some nice damage.

Recharge: The purple Ragnarok Targetted AoE Damage set has 10% Recharge for five. Five Positron’s Blast gives 6.25% Recharge. Four Dark Watcher’s Dispair gives 5% Recharge.

I did not take this power on my Ill/Rad.

Level 38: EM PulsePB AoE Hold with Minor Damage to Robots
You can unleash a massive pulse of electromagnetic energy. The EMP can affect machines, and is even powerful enough to affect synaptic brain patterns. It will drain the Endurance and HP Regeneration of all affected targets and leave them incapacitated and Held for a long while. Additionally, most machines and robots will take moderately high damage. However, this power uses a lot of Endurance and leaves you unable to recover Endurance for a while.
Accuracy: 1.0
Range: Area around caster.
Endurance: 20.8.
Recharge: 300 sec.
Cast time: 2.93 Sec.
Radius: 60 ft.
Max Targets: 16
Duration: 27.938 Sec. before enhancement.
Effects: -40% Endurance, -1000% Regeneration to foes, -1000% Recovery to self for 15 Sec.
Damage: 50.16 to Electronic foes (at level 50).

EM Pulse (EMP) is one of the three “best holds in the game,” along with EM Pulse Arrow from TA and Earth’s Volcanic Gasses. This one is fast activating and centered on you, so it works perfectly as a “panic button” power. Compared to other PB AoE holds including Flash, EMP is superior. The radius and hold time is twice the others. Keep in mind that EMP causes you to not regenerate endurance for 15 seconds – a lot of people read the description and think this means that EMP drains your endurance like a Blaster/Defender nuke, which is not true. It means only that your recovery of endurance will stop for 15 seconds, which is not that big a thing considering that it is likely that every bad guy near you will be held for a long time. Just keep in mind that if you are doing anything that uses a lot of endurance, like running EF or SI, you may want to stop or you might run out of endurance.

I recommend EM Pulse for your Ill/Rad. Some feel that once you have EM Pulse, that Flash is useless – that might be true if EM Pulse had a much faster recharge. But because of the long recharge for both Flash and EM Pulse, having both is the best way to get good AoE control that sets up Containment. I often use one or the other while Phantom Army is recharging. I personally use Flash far more than EM Pulse because Flash doesn’t have the -Recovery — If Flash is good enough for the job at hand, then I can save EM Pulse for when I REALLY need it. However, because I usually have EM Pulse as a “panic button” power, I can feel free to use Flash whenever it is up. I mainly use EMP in those few situations where its unique characteristics will help – damage to Robots, -Regen against AVs, or if I want to hold bosses. For example, during the Imperious TF, when that huge bunch of Robots come to life while everyone is beating on the generator, hitting EM Pulse is great because it does damage to Robots. I will often use EM Pulse when we run into an AV surrounded by a bunch of other foes, as it will make it easier to focus on the AV or take down the riff-raff without worry.

Slotting: 2 Acc, 2 Hold, 2 Recharge is the default slotting for an AoE hold. However EM Pulse is so good but will be rarely used, that you can vary this easily, and even skimp on a slot or two. Start with 1-2 Acc, and then add hold or recharge as you see fit. Do not bother slotting EM Pulse with EndMod.

IO Sets: Hold and EndMod Sets. On the cheap, use the Lockdown, Essence of Curae or Ghost Widow sets leveling up, or you can frankenslot with Acc/Hold/Recharge. Another option is 2 Acc/Mez HOs, 2 Recharge common IOs at Level 50.

Recharge: Four Basilisk’s Gaze gives 7.5% Recharge. If you use this, you may want to add some more Accuracy and Hold, but this power does not have the accuracy penalty of other AoE powers, so just the 4 Baz Gaze works fine.

My personal slotting is 4 Baz Gaze.

Suggested Leveling-up Build (in Three Acts)

With the addition of Inherent Fitness, the Ill/Rad has a much more flexible build than before. This is a suggested leveling-up build, but you should adjust it to your playstyle. The objective of this build is to develop control for a team-oriented build that also will solo well. We’ll discuss the power choices and a few strategies. First, we’ll start with the first 11 levels, before Dual Origin Enhancements become available. The main goal is a build that will get you through these lower levels quickly and safely, especially if you have to solo. This is intended to be a build where you do not need to use a respec until you make your final Level 50 build.

Hero Plan by Mids’ Hero Designer 1.91
Click this DataLink to open the build!
Illusion-Radiation Guide: Level 11 Mutation Controller
Primary Power Set: Illusion Control
Secondary Power Set: Radiation Emission

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Blind Acc(A), RechRdx(3)
Level 1: Radiant Aura Heal(A), Heal(9)
Level 2: Spectral Wounds Acc(A), Dmg(3), Dmg(5), Dmg(5)
Level 4: Deceive Acc(A)
Level 6: Accelerate Metabolism RechRdx(A), RechRdx(7), RechRdx(7)
Level 8: Superior Invisibility EndRdx(A), EndRdx(9)
Level 10: Radiation Infection ToHitDeb(A), EndRdx(11)
Level 12: [Empty]
Level 14: [Empty]
Level 16: [Empty]
Level 18: [Empty]
Level 20: [Empty]
Level 22: [Empty]
Level 24: [Empty]
Level 26: [Empty]
Level 28: [Empty]
Level 30: [Empty]
Level 32: [Empty]
Level 35: [Empty]
Level 38: [Empty]
Level 41: [Empty]
Level 44: [Empty]
Level 47: [Empty]
Level 49: [Empty]
Level 1: Brawl Acc(A)
Level 1: Sprint Run(A)
Level 2: Rest RechRdx(A)
Level 1: Containment
Level 4: Ninja Run
Level 2: Swift Run(A)
Level 2: Hurdle Jump(A)
Level 2: Health Heal(A)
Level 2: Stamina EndMod(A), EndMod(11)

Level 1: Containment

  • It doesn’t really matter whether you take Blind or SW first. I chose Blind first because it does both damage and control. You can take as long as you need to take a foe down if he is just standing there blinded, but either SW or Blind will get you through the first level or Tutorial. Level 2 gives you Spectral Wounds, setting up your 1-2 punch combo using Containment that you will continue to use up to 50. Put a slot of Recharge into Blind and Damage into SW at level 3.
  • I like Deceive at 4, as it makes going solo amazingly easy – just stand back, Deceive all but one foe, and take that one out with Blind-SW, refreshing Deceive as needed. Add two slots for Damage to SW at 5, as it is your main source of damage. That will help you take down foes faster.
  • At 6, Accelerate Metabolism helps you with endurance in the low levels, while helping you run a little faster, do a little more damage, etc. Add two Recharge to AM at level 7.
  • Superior Invis at 8 if you mainly solo early, but you may want to swap that with Radiation Infection at 8 if you are teaming through the low levels. If you decide to take Group Invis instead of Superior, you can take RI at 8, your travel pre-requisite at 10, and then GI at 12 – or wait on GI until later. At level 9, add a second EndRdx to SI and a second Heal to Radiation Aura.
  • Radiation Infection at 10. At 11, add an EndRdx to RI and throw a second EndMod into Stamina.

In the low levels, it feels like you are more of a blaster than anything else. You don’t have any AoE controls, so you focus on single target control and damage. Take advantage of the non-aggro aspect of Deceive, by taking out threats from range before they have a chance to become threats. Bosses will take two or more applications, but since you are not drawing aggro, it just takes a few seconds longer.

In your first twelve levels, you have to choose your travel power pre-requisite if you plan to take a travel power by level 14. (Of course, with the temp travel powers that from the Atlas and King’s Row Safeguard missions, it is possible to skip travel until later.) Let’s take a quick look at the travel powers, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. Each travel power also has secondary factors that you can consider when choosing one. This is one area where different play styles really becomes important.

  • Fly: I chose Air Superiority/Fly for this Ill/Rad sample build. Air Sup is the best attack of the pool powers, in that it not only does decent damage but also knocks down your opponent most of the time. The knockdown is also a nice form of short-term control for when Blind misses or was just used — by the time the foe gets up, Blind should have recharged. Once you have a target controlled, Blind-SW-Air Sup can make a decent attack chain, especially if you expect to solo. Some people prefer Hover as a way to fight while staying out of melee. Fly is the best, most flexible travel power, but it is slow. Also, Fly and Hover provide knockback protection. I like Fly for its versatility – it can get you anywhere, and can often be used as an effective escape. Fly can get you across zones with lots of hazards. Fly is great for those open-air “Search for XXX” missions. I mainly recommend Air Superiority/Fly for this build while leveling up, but other travel powers are a viable choice. Once you get an APP blast, you won’t need Air Sup for an attack chain. In that case, Air Superiority can be replaced by Hover, to allow you to fight from the air. Hover can be used as another place to put a Luck of the Gambler Recharge IO if you want to aim for Recharge bonuses. NOTE: As of I-19, Fly automatically travels at the cap for Flight Speed. Slotting Flightspeed Enhancements are a waste. Fly only needs EndRdx. Hover will benefit from Flightspeed Enhancements, however.
  • Speed: Hasten is strongly recommended for this build eventually, so by going with Hasten/Super Speed, you can save one power choice and a power pool. (You could choose Flurry instead of Hasten as your pool power attack, but I would strongly recommend Hasten.) Super Speed has one large disadvantage, which is not too difficult to overcome, and some really nice advantages. The clear complaint about Super Speed is the lack of vertical movement – but getting the Jump Pack from the “Good vs. Evil Edition,” combined with the Raptor Pack and the Zero-G pack from the early Safeguard missions or the even the Ninja Run power, will allow you to get that little vertical boost when you need it. Super Speed gives you stealth and the fastest way to move around in missions, but can be really annoying in those Orenbega-type caves with lots of levels and walkways where Fly is better. If you can get one of the Celerity Stealth IO’s and you combine it with Super Speed to give you full invisibility, you could drop both Superior Invis and Group Invis if you really want to . . . it would not be as good as SI, but it would get you by for most of the PvE game. This might be a choice for a high-defense build to fit in some additional powers.
  • Teleport: Recall Friend is one of the handiest, team-friendly pre-requisite powers out there. Recall Friend lets you stealth missions and bring the team through to the goal – a huge benefit for a team-oriented Illusion controller. Recall Friend is worth considering even if you do not choose Teleport for travel — and with Inherent Fitness, it is not hard to fit in. Teleport takes some practice as a travel power, but you can get used to it. My first Ill/Rad used Recall Friend/Teleport for travel mainly because I started him out often teamed with my wife, who often got lost. I needed Recall Friend to ‘port her around for Domestic Tranquility. I became accustomed to Teleport as a travel power. When I later added Hover at level 49, Teleport became quite easy to use to get anywhere, and Hover’s recent speed increase really helps. I don’t recommend it, but I suppose Teleport Foe also could have some nice strategic uses especially solo, like grabbing one guy, defeating him and then going on to the next, but if you aggro the entire group, you may have a bit of a problem. Teleport has some unique advantages — Teleport allows you to move into position without moving through the intervening space, which can give some strategic advantages. (Teleport allows you to get past blocked hallways and doorways, and go through narrow slits that other characters cannot go through!) It is the only travel power that lets you move even when Immobilized or slowed, which can be very, very handy to get out of Caltrops or escape while trapped in tenticles. Teleport is the most difficult travel power to use and unless you take Hover, it is difficult to use for those “Search for” missions. Teleport can be the fastest travel power for long distances. If you take Teleport, use “the bind” to make it easier to use:

/bind lshift+lbutton powexecname Teleport

This will let you teleport by holding down the left Shift key and left-clicking where you want to go (in 100 yard jumps).

  • Jump: Combat Jumping gives you protection against Immobilization, some combat maneuverability while jumping and a small amount of defense. If you plan to maximize your recharge for a Perma PA build, Combat Jumping also gives you another place for one of those Luck of the Gambler 7.5% Recharge IOs. Super Jump is a fun travel power, but does not give you any secondary benefits. However, it also doesn’t have much of a downside either, and SJ gives you access to Acrobatics if you are concerned about knockback. (Take Hurdle over Swift from the Fitness Pool to make jumping better.) Personally, I felt that knockback was rarely a significant problem since Ill/Rad controls from range, and the control usually took over before the bad guys could shoot knockback powers at me. My rare knockback problem was solved by using Hover, or you could obtain one of those nice -knockback IO’s. Jumping is my least favorite travel power for an Ill/Rad, but some folks love it.
  • A new option arose with the option of purchasing the Ninja Super Pack (it costs $10). Ninja Run provides a really nice secondary travel power, starting at level 4, and you can actually use it as a primary travel power. Combined with Hurdle, Ninja Run is actually slightly faster for horizontal travel than Super Jump, even if it is not nearly as high. Ninja Run will work with Sprint (or any of the prestige sprints), but it automatically turns off other travel powers (except teleport). Ninja Run can be used at the same time as your invisibility powers, so an Illusion Controller is able to overcome one of the downsides of using Ninja Run for travel (being seen and getting clobbered). You still should take Hasten, but if you want to fit in an extra power, then you can go with Ninja Run as your travel power.

OK, now you have reached Level 12, and can start using DO level enhancements (or IO’s). Here is where I suggest you go from Levels 12-22:

Hero Plan by Mids’ Hero Designer 1.91

Click this DataLink to open the build!
Illusion-Radiation Guide: Level 21 Mutation Controller
Primary Power Set: Illusion Control
Secondary Power Set: Radiation Emission
Power Pool: Flight
Power Pool: Speed

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Blind Acc(A), RechRdx(3), Hold(15)
Level 1: Radiant Aura Heal(A), Heal(9)
Level 2: Spectral Wounds Acc(A), Dmg(3), Dmg(5), Dmg(5)
Level 4: Deceive Acc(A), RechRdx(15)
Level 6: Accelerate Metabolism RechRdx(A), RechRdx(7), RechRdx(7)
Level 8: Superior Invisibility EndRdx(A), EndRdx(9)
Level 10: Radiation Infection ToHitDeb(A), EndRdx(11)
Level 12: Air Superiority Acc(A), Acc(13)
Level 14: Fly EndRdx(A)
Level 16: Hasten RechRdx(A), RechRdx(17), RechRdx(17)
Level 18: Phantom Army RechRdx(A), RechRdx(19), RechRdx(19), Acc(21), Dmg(21)
Level 20: Enervating Field EndRdx(A)
Level 22: [Empty]
Level 24: [Empty]
Level 26: [Empty]
Level 28: [Empty]
Level 30: [Empty]
Level 32: [Empty]
Level 35: [Empty]
Level 38: [Empty]
Level 41: [Empty]
Level 44: [Empty]
Level 47: [Empty]
Level 49: [Empty]
Level 1: Brawl Empty(A)
Level 1: Sprint Empty(A)
Level 2: Rest Empty(A)
Level 1: Containment
Level 4: Ninja Run
Level 2: Swift Run(A)
Level 2: Hurdle Jump(A)
Level 2: Health Heal(A)
Level 2: Stamina EndMod(A), EndMod(11), EndMod(13)

  • Take Air Superiority at 12, or you can take Hover if you don’t want the melee attack. The melee attack is really helpful solo, but needed a lot less if you are mostly on teams. If you choose a different travel power, take the pre-requisite at 12. Or if you decided to go with Group Invis and took your travel pre-requisite first, you can take GI at 12. At 13, add a second Accuracy in Air Sup and a third EndRdx for Stamina.
  • You get your travel power (Fly) at 14. Add a slot for Recharge to Deceive and a slot for Hold to Blind. If you mostly solo, you can make that Hold into a Damage.
  • Hasten at 16. That way, you have it before Phantom Army. Add two slots to Hasten for Recharge at level 17.
  • The most important power in the Illusion set, Phantom Army (PA) should be taken at 18. Period. At level 19, add two more Recharge to PA.
  • At level 20, you finally get Enervating Field. Put both of those slots for Level 21 into Phantom Army for an Accuracy and Damage.

Now comes the final SO level build. I have left this as SOs for the folks who don’t use IOs (yes, there are a bunch) and to help folks see the main focus of slotting. Of course, most folks will switch to IO sets long before level 50. Using set IO will allow you to add in other enhancement (like more EndRdx) while fully enhancing the powers. I usually slot a combination of some common IOs, some sets starting at 30 and 35, and start mixing in inexpensive set IOs as soon as I can.:

Hero Plan by Mids’ Hero Designer 1.92

Click this DataLink to open the build!
Illusion-Radiation Guide: Level 50 Mutation Controller
Primary Power Set: Illusion Control
Secondary Power Set: Radiation Emission
Power Pool: Flight
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Teleportation
Power Pool: Leaping
Ancillary Pool: Fire Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Blind Acc(A), RechRdx(3), Hold(15), RechRdx(29), Acc(31), Dmg(36)
Level 1: Radiant Aura Heal(A), Heal(9), RechRdx(27), Heal(40)
Level 2: Spectral Wounds Acc(A), Dmg(3), Dmg(5), Dmg(5), RechRdx(29), RechRdx(36)
Level 4: Deceive Acc(A), RechRdx(15), Conf(27), RechRdx(31), Acc(40), Conf(50)
Level 6: Accelerate Metabolism RechRdx(A), RechRdx(7), RechRdx(7), EndMod(34), EndMod(34)
Level 8: Superior Invisibility EndRdx(A), EndRdx(9)
Level 10: Radiation Infection ToHitDeb(A), EndRdx(11), ToHitDeb(25), ToHitDeb(34)
Level 12: Air Superiority Acc(A), Acc(13), Dmg(37), Dmg(43)
Level 14: Fly EndRdx(A)
Level 16: Hasten RechRdx(A), RechRdx(17), RechRdx(17)
Level 18: Phantom Army RechRdx(A), RechRdx(19), RechRdx(19), Acc(21), Dmg(21), Dmg(23)
Level 20: Enervating Field EndRdx(A), EndRdx(23)
Level 22: Lingering Radiation Acc(A), RechRdx(50), RechRdx(50)
Level 24: Flash Acc(A), Acc(25), Hold(31), Hold(36), RechRdx(37), RechRdx(37)
Level 26: Spectral Terror Acc(A), RechRdx(40)
Level 28: Recall Friend Range(A)
Level 30: Mutation RechRdx(A)
Level 32: Phantasm Acc(A), Dmg(33), Dmg(33), Dmg(33)
Level 35: Combat Jumping DefBuff(A)
Level 38: EM Pulse Acc(A), Acc(39), RechRdx(39), RechRdx(39)
Level 41: Fire Blast Acc(A), Dmg(42), Dmg(42), Dmg(42), RechRdx(43), RechRdx(43)
Level 44: Fire Ball Acc(A), Dmg(45), Dmg(45), Dmg(45), Acc(46), RechRdx(46)
Level 47: Fire Shield EndRdx(A), ResDam(48), ResDam(48), ResDam(48)
Level 49: Rise of the Phoenix Dmg(A)
Level 1: Brawl Empty(A)
Level 1: Sprint Empty(A)
Level 2: Rest Empty(A)
Level 1: Containment
Level 4: Ninja Run
Level 2: Swift Run(A)
Level 2: Hurdle Jump(A)
Level 2: Health Heal(A), Heal(46)
Level 2: Stamina EndMod(A), EndMod(11), EndMod(13)

| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Hero Designer to view the build |

Illusion/Radiation is a tight build in that you want to take most of the powers from both sets, but Inherent Fitness has opened up the build to allow you to make a few strategic changes – the almost mandatory power choices at level are Spectral Terror at 26 and Phantasm at 32.

  • Lingering Radiation at 22. EF and LR are very important choices, but if you are concerned about the endurance cost of EF, then you could take LR at 20, or several other powers, and save EF until after Level 22 and SO-level slotting. At level 23, finish out PA with a 6th slot for Damage, and add a second EndRdx for EF.
  • Flash at level 24. I used to recommend taking Flash later, after Spectral Terror. I still don’t think it is all that useful before Spectral Terror, but at this level you have to take something and Flash is a useful power once it gets slotted up. You can certainly substitute something else here, like Recall Friend or Mutation. At level 25, Flash needs a second slot for Accuracy, and Radiation Infection gets a second ToHitDebuff. Flash has an accuracy penalty of 20% like most AoE controls, so it needs that second Accuracy to be functional at all. I wish I could have slotted more ToHit Debuff in RI sooner, but it gets it now.
  • Spectral Terror at 26. This is one of those “get it the moment it is available” powers. Immediately useful and has a huge impact. You can use Spooky on almost every group (depending on how fast your team moves and how big the group is). At 27, add a Recharge to Radiation Aura and a Confuse to Deceive — more slots that I wish could have been fit in sooner.
  • Recall Friend at 28. This is one of the power choices that is very flexible and optional. If you mostly solo, you can find something else here. You could move Flash here, or Mutation, or several other things. Recall Friend doesn’t need any slots, so the level 29 slots can go to a Recharge in Spectral Wounds and a Recharge in Blind. Those are also slots you could take earlier.
  • Mutation at 30. Another optional power choice that could be moved around or omitted, especially for a mostly solo build. Since there are so many ways to rez teammates in the game now, Mutation isn’t needed but is nice to have. Level 31 gets 3 slots, so I added a Hold to Flash, a second Accuracy to Blind and a Recharge to Deceive. Blind has an accuracy bonus, but you really want it to hit so a second Accuracy will help it hit higher level foes. Recharge in Deceive helps you stack it on bosses or re-cast it if Deceive misses.
  • Phantasm at 32. Slot Phanty with a minimum of 1 Accuracy, 3 Damage at level 33. The other three slots at level 34 can go to adding 2 EndMod to AM and a third ToHitDebuff to RI.
  • Level 35 — this is a really, really optional power choice. There are lots of other things you could throw in here other than Combat Jumping. I put CJ in there because (a) it provides Immobilization protection and battlefield maneuverability, (b) it has a very low endurance cost and does not need additional slots, and (c) it can be used for a high recharge build to hold a Luck of the Gambler Recharge IO. You could choose Fallout on a team-oriented build — it can provide a huge debuff even only using its default slot. Another option is GI if you want to provide Invisibility to the team. Or you could go with Stimulant from the Medicine Pool to provide Mez protection. On a more solo build, you could take a second travel power, or have this slot be part of building up personal Defenses by taking one of the Fighting Pool powers or Maneuvers. If you want to keep Air Sup but also want Hover, you can take Hover here. At level 36, I added a second Recharge to Spectral Wounds, a Damage for Blind and a second Hold for Flash. Level 37 adds 2 Recharge to Flash to finish slotting it, and a Damage to Air Sup. If you mostly solo, you will have wanted to add that Damage to Air Sup sooner.
  • EM Pulse at 38. I like having the combination of Flash and EM Pulse on my Ill/Rad, but both are optional. I use Flash far more often to avoid the 15 Second -Recovery from EM Pulse, but EM Pulse is actually better. (Notice that I slotted less in EM Pulse because I use it less. If you prefer to use EMP, then you can put more slots there.) I feel comfortable using Flash since I usually have EM Pulse in reserve. Flash is often used when Phantom Army is recharging – just go invisible, run into the middle of the crowd and hit Flash. Once you get Phantasm, it becomes a little trickier – Phanty likes to knock away any foes near you with his Torrent attack, so you need to move fast. If you need to hold bosses, you can always use Flash + EM Pulse. Add a second Accuracy and two Recharge at level 39. Level 40 adds a second Accuracy to Deceive, a Recharge to Spectral Terror and a third Heal to Radiation Aura — all optional slots that could be moved around.

I am not a big fan of Leadership on an Ill/Rad, as the build is already tough on endurance. With RI buffing your chance to hit, EF and AM buffing your damage, I just don’t feel it is needed. I also feel that other powers will benefit my team more than the Leadership toggles. But with Inherent Fitness providing a lot more flexability, Leadership is not a bad choice, especially if you can stack it with others. If you really want to take leadership, the powers to drop might include Combat Jumping, Mutation or Recall Friend. Vengence is certainly a nice buff if you want to fit it in.

Choosing an APP set: Each Ancillary Power Pool (APP) set has one or two powers that really define the set. Choosing which you want depends on what you want out of the set. Fire is focused on damage, but adds an endurance recovery power and the only self-rez available to Controllers. Psi’s best power is Indomitable Will, which provides part-time protection from mez. Primal’s jewel is Power Boost, to enhance control and buff powers, and has Conserve Power to reduce use of Endurance. Earth has a great heal with a hit point buff, and recently added a great melee single target attack with a hold built-in. Ice has Hibernate, a “time-out” power to let you regenerate both health and endurance. Ice and Earth have defense-based shields, while the shields for Fire, Primal and Psi are resistance-based. All the sets now have AoE damage powers: Ice actually has both a cone and a “rain” type AoE; Primal’s only AoE is a cone; Earth’s AoE is very short range but recharges quickly and adds a chance for stun; Psi’s AoE does its damage over time and has knock-up, and Fire has a strong initial blast with some additional damage over time. I considered certain factors in deciding which APP set to use with my Ill/Rad:

  1. Adding a single target blast to Blind-Spectral Wounds will allow you to have a great attack chain and take down single foes more quickly. Fire, Ice, Primal and Psi have single target blasts that recharge quickly enough. Earth’s Hurl Boulder is too slow. (I consider this to be a very important factor. The Blind-SW-Blast-SW attack chain can put out a lot of damage. See the Strategy section on Maximizing Your Damage.)
  2. Illusion does Psi damage, which is highly resisted by certain foe types like Robots. Thus, having a different type of damage can provide a benefit. The Psi set, obviously, does Psi damage. (There are a lot of missions against robots in the upper levels, especially in the AV arcs and the newer missions and TFs involving Praetorians. Having a different damage type makes a BIG difference.)
  3. Illusion lacks any AoE damage, so getting some AoE damage would be nice. It is better if that AoE damage is more “up front” fast damage. (See the Strategy section on Maximizing Your Damage.)
  4. Illusion has very few AoE controls and no Immobilize to keep foes in the area of a “rain” power. Spectral Terror won’t work for that purpose since the rain will break the fear. Ice’s Ice Storm is a “rain” power.
  5. Because of the “spectral” or “illusory” damage in Spectral Wounds and Phantom Army, you want to be able to kill things fast to take advantage of that damage before it heals back. (This is another important factor. Wiping out low level foes quickly can make a big difference to an Ill/Rad. See the Strategy section on Maximizing Your Damage.)
  6. Rad has a self heal, so a heal power is not essential. Rad also has a Recovery buff, so a Recovery power is not essential – but the Rad toggles can gobble up endurance pretty quickly.

Psi is a great overall APP set for most controllers due to the mez protection in Indomitable Will, Psi protection in the armor and a decent AoE attack. Many people recommend the Psi set for an Ill/Rad. Psi has a single target blast, but the need for a different damage type is important to me — you need that different damage type because foes who resist Psi resist it by a LOT. Indomidible Will is the jewel of the Psi set, and will take a LotG Recharge since it provides Psi defense. However, the “distraction” from PA and Phantasm’s Decoy means my Ill/Rad didn’t get mezzed all that often. Also, Psi Tornado is Damage over Time, which does not help with fast killing. The lack of a different damage type is mostly why I didn’t choose Psi.

Earth lacks that important fast single target blast — Hurl Boulder is too slow. The AoE, Fissure, recharges quickly but has a very short range. Seismic Smash is a great melee single-target attack with a hold built in . . . if you want to stay in melee — which I don’t. Earth’s Embrace is nice, but not essential. Earth’s armor is ugly, but defense based so it can take a LotG Recharge and it is possible to slot-cap Smash/Lethal Defense. Earth was eliminated mostly due to the lack of a single target blast.

Primal’s key power is Power Boost, but Illusion has few powers that will capitalize on Power Boost. The single target blast is good, but the only AoE is a cone. Conserve Power is nice to have, but AM fills that hole most of the time. I chose to skip Primal due to the lack of a good AoE and because there aren’t many powers that benefit from Power Boost. Admittedly, Power Boosted EM Pulse will last for a very long time . . . but do you need a hold to last that long?

Ice has a good blast of a rarely resisted damage type, and a great panic button power in Hibernate. It has two AoE damage powers, Ice Storm and Frost Breath. But Ice Storm is DoT, which means that you may lose some spectral damage to the heal back. Ice also has a defense-based shield, which can take a LotG Recharge. Ice is my second choice, mostly because the main AoE is DoT and recharges slower than others.

I chose the Fire APP set for my Ill/Rad because it has a fast single target blast that is not Psi damage and is slightly higher damage than the other APP sets. It has Fireball, a fast AoE damage power that comes early with most of its damage up front, and Rise of the Phoenix, the only self-rez for Controllers or Consume, a handy endurance recovery power for when AM is not up. However, if you need a place for a LotG Recharge in your perma-PA build, you may want to go with Ice.

Some folks on the forums have stated that they went with (or intended to go with) the Patron Power Pools from the Villain side by using the Morality system to go Villain and running the Patron arcs. The Mace PPP is the one most often mentioned. I haven’t tried it, but I can certainly see the appeal. Poisonous Ray is a single target blast with -Resistance. Scorpion Shield is a Defense-based shield. Disrupter Blast is a targetted AoE blast of Smashing/Energy Damage. And you have access to another pet. The biggest problem I see is that Poisonous Ray has a much longer recharge than Fire or Ice Blast (24 sec vs. 8 sec.). While that recharge can be significantly shortened, you still give up the Blind-SW-Blast-SW attack chain that I feel is so important. But there are some nice benefits to that option, like another pet, that may offset the reduction in damage.

Incarnate Alpha Slot: There is no “right answer” for which boost to slot in the Incarnate Alpha slot. It really depends on your build and your needs. The Alpha Slot boost will provide the most benefit to an attribute that is not already capped.

My Ill/Rad has sufficient accuracy that I don’t notice many misses. My damage is capped on most of my damage powers (I think Blind is the only exception.) I have good Recovery and rarely notice a drop in endurance. And my recharge is up there easily exceeding the perma-PA level.

So . . . I went with Spiritual Radial, thinking that a little bit more Recharge is always a good thing, and several of my powers other than PA are not capped to Recharge. Plus, there is that little bit of Recharge that goes over the ED cap. However, Cardiac is certainly worth considering to help when you are trying to run all those toggles.

Since the top two tiers are becoming available in mid February 2011, we can look at the other benefits from the various options in the Alpha slot for an Ill/Rad:

  • Cardiac offers EndRdx (good), Range (somewhat helpful but not significant), Resistance (good if you have the resistance shield), Fear (can help Spooky, so OK), Sleep (useless except the secondary effect of Blind) and Intangibility (useless).
  • Musculature offers Damage (good, mostly for the part over the ED cap), Immob (useless), Defense Debuff (helps RI, but my slotting is at ED cap and more doesn’t really add much), EndMod (AM and Stamina? could be helpful), RunSpeed (somewhat helpful but not significant) and ToHit Debuff (in RI, good for the amount over the ED cap. The ToHit Debuff in Spooky cannot be enhanced.)
  • Nerve offers Accuracy (Kind of OK, might be helpful for those high level TFs), Hold (good, since none of my Holds are capped), Defense Buffs (good for a Defense build, mostly useless otherwise), Taunt (useless), Confuse (OK, but I have enough already), FlySpeed (only useful for Hover).
  • Spiritual offers Recharge (more is always good!), Stun (useless except for an epic set with Stun like Fissure in the Earth APP), Heal (OK for the part above ED cap for RA and Health), Slow (Good! I have LR with only an Accuracy so this will help), Jump (OK, nice to have but not significant), ToHit Buff (useless).

Overall, I think the Spiritual or Musculature set has the most benefit for me. However, I may try to work up a Cardiac to have on hand if I start to have endurance issues. For solo, the Musculature would probably be best, while Spiritual lets you control more often for teams.

Next, I have included some information about a build with IO sets and a “Perma PA” build. There are huge numbers of possible combinations for IO set builds, depending upon what you want to focus upon. I don’t claim to be an expert on max building with IO sets. So, we’ll take a look at a couple of builds and others can contribute as they see fit.

Moderate Expense IO Build

Here is an IO build that should be reasonably priced. No purple sets, no expensive LotG Recharge IOs, no Basilisk’s Gaze, no Hami-Os. The sets will buff some Regen, some Recovery, some Recharge without really giving up the functionality of the powers. My goal in making this build was to (a) make sure that the powers are properly enhanced and (b) keep the set IOs mostly cheap while adding a few decent bonuses. This kind of build could be used when you first reach level 50, as a way to keep playing your character while you save up for a really, really expensive build. Or just use this kind of build if you don’t want to do a really expensive build. Note that if you are running SI and the other toggles, plus the toggle debuffs of RI and EF, you may have some endurance problems for long battles like AV fights — turning off SI in battle should solve that — which doesn’t really hurt much since stealth doesn’t help much once you have attacked.

Hero Plan by Mids’ Hero Designer 1.92

Click this DataLink to open the build!
Illusion-Radiation Guide: Level 50 Mutation Controller
Primary Power Set: Illusion Control
Secondary Power Set: Radiation Emission
Power Pool: Flight
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Teleportation
Power Pool: Leaping
Ancillary Pool: Fire Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Blind Lock-Acc/Hold(A), Lock-Acc/Rchg(3), Lock-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(15), Thundr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(29), Thundr-Dmg/Rchg(31), Thundr-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(36)
Level 1: Radiant Aura H’zdH-Heal/Rchg(A), H’zdH-Heal(9), Mrcl-Heal/Rchg(27), Mrcl-Heal/EndRdx(40)
Level 2: Spectral Wounds Thundr-Acc/Dmg(A), Thundr-Dmg/EndRdx(3), Thundr-Dmg/Rchg(5), Thundr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(5), Dev’n-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(29), Dev’n-Hold%(36)
Level 4: Deceive Mlais-Acc/Rchg(A), Mlais-EndRdx/Conf(15), Mlais-Acc/EndRdx(27), Mlais-Conf/Rng(31), Mlais-Acc/Conf/Rchg(40)
Level 6: Accelerate Metabolism Efficacy-EndMod(A), Efficacy-EndMod/Rchg(7), Efficacy-EndMod/Acc/Rchg(7), Efficacy-Acc/Rchg(34), Efficacy-EndMod/EndRdx(34), RechRdx-I(50)
Level 8: Superior Invisibility EndRdx-I(A), EndRdx-I(9)
Level 10: Radiation Infection DarkWD-ToHitDeb(A), DarkWD-ToHitdeb/Rchg/EndRdx(11), DarkWD-Rchg/EndRdx(25), DarkWD-ToHitDeb/EndRdx(34)
Level 12: Air Superiority C’ngImp-Acc/Dmg(A), C’ngImp-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(13), C’ngImp-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(37), C’ngImp-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(43)
Level 14: Fly EndRdx-I(A)
Level 16: Hasten RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(17), RechRdx-I(17)
Level 18: Phantom Army ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(19), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(19), ExRmnt-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(21), C’Arms-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(21), C’Arms-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(23)
Level 20: Enervating Field EndRdx-I(A), EndRdx-I(23)
Level 22: Lingering Radiation Acc-I(A), RechRdx-I(50), RechRdx-I(50)
Level 24: Flash Lock-Acc/Hold(A), Lock-Acc/Rchg(25), Lock-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(31), G’Wdw-Acc/Hold/Rchg(36), G’Wdw-EndRdx/Hold(37), G’Wdw-Acc/Rchg(37)
Level 26: Spectral Terror Abys-Acc/Rchg(A), Abys-Acc/Fear/Rchg(40)
Level 28: Recall Friend Range-I(A)
Level 30: Mutation RechRdx-I(A)
Level 32: Phantasm BldM’dt-Acc/Dmg(A), BldM’dt-Dmg(33), BriL’shp-Acc/Dmg(33), BriL’shp-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(33)
Level 35: Combat Jumping Krma-ResKB(A)
Level 38: EM Pulse EoCur-Acc/Hold/Rchg(A), G’Wdw-Acc/Hold/Rchg(39), NrncSD-Acc/Hold/Rchg(39), Lock-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(39)
Level 41: Fire Blast Thundr-Acc/Dmg(A), Thundr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(42), Thundr-Dmg/Rchg(42), Thundr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(42), Dev’n-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(43), Dev’n-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(43)
Level 44: Fire Ball Det’tn-Acc/Dmg(A), Det’tn-Dmg/Rchg(45), Det’tn-Dmg/Rng(45), Det’tn-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(45), Det’tn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng(46), RechRdx-I(46)
Level 47: Fire Shield TtmC’tng-ResDam/EndRdx(A), TtmC’tng-EndRdx/Rchg(48), TtmC’tng-ResDam(48), TtmC’tng-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(48)
Level 49: Rise of the Phoenix Dsrnt-I(A)
Level 1: Brawl Acc-I(A)
Level 1: Sprint Run-I(A)
Level 2: Rest RechRdx-I(A)
Level 1: Containment
Level 4: Ninja Run
Level 2: Swift Run-I(A)
Level 2: Hurdle Jump-I(A)
Level 2: Health Heal-I(A), Heal-I(46)
Level 2: Stamina EndMod-I(A), EndMod-I(11), EndMod-I(13)

| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Hero Designer to view the build |

There are plenty of other ways to use IO sets. You could make a build that tried to focus on Ranged Defense. Or maximizes Regen or Recovery. But the one that most people want to talk about is the build that maximizes Recharge to get “Perma PA.” The next section contains two “Perma-PA” builds, but there are lots of ways to make one.

The Perma Phantom Army Build

The best power in Illusion is Phantom Army — for most folks, the “max” build for an Illusion/Radiation involves “Perma PA,” or getting the recharge on Phantom Army so high that you will be able to cast a new set when the previous set is just expiring. This is ideal for fighting AVs, because the Perma PA will draw the aggro of the AV, allowing the controller and his Phantasm to blast away in relative safety. Generally, any build with enough recharge to get Perma PA will also have some other attributes enhanced significantly.

To get enough recharge, you need to look for every power that can possibly fit in an IO set that includes some recharge. The recharge on Hasten and AM will be high enough that both of those powers will recharge before they run out (i.e. “Perma-Hasten” and “Perma-AM”). Because this is a very desirable build, it is very, very expensive. The IO sets needed are some of the more expensive ones in the game. To get a Perma-PA build, you had better be prepared to (a) spend a lot of time playing the market, (b) farming, (c) doing a lot of Tip Missions to get the expensive recipes needed, or (d) running lots of Task Forces to get merits, or (e) doing whatever else you can to generate hundreds of millions of influence. It depends on “Luck of the Gambler +7.5 Recharge” enhancements in powers that can take Defense enhancements, “Basilisk’s Gaze” sets in the Hold powers, several sets that provide 6.25% recharge like Decimation (Ranged Damage) and Expediant Reinforcement (Recharge Intensive Pets) and it may need one or more of the purple sets that give 10% Recharge.

There are lots of ways to make a Perma PA build. I have come up with a build for discussion. I have tried to make a Perma-PA build that is not overly expensive by avoiding the expensive purple damage sets. I’m offering this build as a way to get Perma PA without giving up much to get there. Some builds I have seen posted on the Forums take useless powers just as a “mule” for IO sets. However, I’ve been able to get Perma-PA without having to take any powers that I consider useless — except for taking Combat Jumping and Group Invis for extra LotG Recharge enhancements, and even those are not entirely useless. Combat Jumping’s added mobility and protection from immobilization is quite nice. Group Invis lets you share invisibility (and a small amount of defense) with the team, and can be used in place of the endurance draining Superior Invis. This build only has one of the expensive purple sets — and it is generally one of the cheapest sets to buy, the Coercive Pursuasion set for Confusion. However, the build does need the expensive Luck of the Gambler Recharge IOs. You may want to consider running lots of TFs or Tip Missions to purchase the LotG Recharges with Merits if you are low on Influence. This is the current build that I use:

Hero Plan by Mids’ Hero Designer 1.92

Click this DataLink to open the build!
Illusion-Radiation Guide: Level 50 Mutation Controller
Primary Power Set: Illusion Control
Secondary Power Set: Radiation Emission
Power Pool: Flight
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Teleportation
Power Pool: Leaping
Ancillary Pool: Fire Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Blind BasGaze-Acc/Hold(A), BasGaze-Acc/Rchg(3), BasGaze-Rchg/Hold(15), BasGaze-EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(29), HO:Nucle(31), Dmg-I(36)
Level 1: Radiant Aura Dct’dW-Heal/EndRdx(A), Dct’dW-Heal/Rchg(9), Dct’dW-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg(17), Dct’dW-Heal(27), Dct’dW-Rchg(40)
Level 2: Spectral Wounds Decim-Acc/Dmg(A), Decim-Dmg/EndRdx(3), Decim-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg(5), Decim-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(5), Decim-Build%(29), HO:Nucle(36)
Level 4: Deceive CoPers-Conf/Rchg(A), CoPers-Acc/Conf/Rchg(15), CoPers-Acc/Rchg(27), CoPers-Conf/EndRdx(31), CoPers-Conf%(40)
Level 6: Accelerate Metabolism Efficacy-EndMod(A), Efficacy-EndMod/Rchg(7), Efficacy-EndMod/Acc/Rchg(7), Efficacy-Acc/Rchg(34), Efficacy-EndMod/Acc(34), Efficacy-EndMod/EndRdx(50)
Level 8: Superior Invisibility LkGmblr-Rchg+(A), RedFtn-Def/EndRdx(9), RedFtn-EndRdx/Rchg(13), RedFtn-Def/EndRdx/Rchg(34), RedFtn-Def(37), RedFtn-EndRdx(43)
Level 10: Radiation Infection HO:Enzym(A), HO:Enzym(11), HO:Enzym(25)
Level 12: Hover LkGmblr-Rchg+(A)
Level 14: Fly EndRdx-I(A)
Level 16: Hasten RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(17)
Level 18: Phantom Army ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(19), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(19), ExRmnt-EndRdx/Dmg/Rchg(21), S’bndAl-Dmg/Rchg(21), S’bndAl-Build%(23)
Level 20: Enervating Field EndRdx-I(A), EndRdx-I(23)
Level 22: Lingering Radiation Acc-I(A)
Level 24: Flash BasGaze-Acc/Hold(A), BasGaze-Acc/Rchg(25), BasGaze-Rchg/Hold(31), BasGaze-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(36), EoCur-Acc/Hold/Rchg(37)
Level 26: Spectral Terror U’spkT-Acc/Rchg(A), U’spkT-Acc/EndRdx(37), U’spkT-Fear/Rng(40), U’spkT-Acc/Fear/Rchg(50), U’spkT-Stun%(50)
Level 28: Recall Friend Zephyr-ResKB(A)
Level 30: Mutation RechRdx-I(A)
Level 32: Phantasm ExRmnt-Acc/Rchg(A), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg(33), ExRmnt-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(33), ExRmnt-Dmg/EndRdx(33), HO:Nucle(46)
Level 35: Combat Jumping LkGmblr-Rchg+(A)
Level 38: EM Pulse BasGaze-Acc/Hold(A), BasGaze-Acc/Rchg(39), BasGaze-Rchg/Hold(39), BasGaze-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(39)
Level 41: Fire Blast Decim-Acc/Dmg(A), Decim-Dmg/EndRdx(42), Decim-Dmg/Rchg(42), Decim-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg(42), Decim-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(43), Dev’n-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(43)
Level 44: Fire Ball Posi-Acc/Dmg(A), Posi-Dmg/Rchg(45), Posi-Dmg/Rng(45), Posi-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(45), Posi-Dam%(46)
Level 47: Fire Shield ResDam-I(A)
Level 49: Group Invisibility LkGmblr-Rchg+(A)
Level 1: Brawl Acc-I(A)
Level 1: Sprint Run-I(A)
Level 2: Rest RechRdx-I(A)
Level 1: Containment
Level 4: Ninja Run
Level 2: Swift Run-I(A)
Level 2: Hurdle Jump-I(A)
Level 2: Health Numna-Heal(A), Numna-Regen/Rcvry+(46), Mrcl-Rcvry+(48), Mrcl-Heal(48)
Level 2: Stamina P’Shift-EndMod(A), P’Shift-EndMod/Rchg(11), P’Shift-EndMod/Acc(13), P’Shift-End%(48)

| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Hero Designer to view the build |

I made a number of choices here that differ from other Perma-PA builds. This is mainly because I wanted the powers themselves to be as functional as possible. But there are still a lot of variations that could be added. Here are a few notes on some of the choices I made, and where you can make different choices:

  • The “Rule of Five” for enhancement bonuses — You are only allowed five of the same kind of enhancement bonus, and the sixth of the same kind will not work. This is determined based upon the name of the enhancement bonus (“Large Recharge Bonus”) that you see when you look at somebody’s build. You can only have FIVE of the same kind of bonus. For example, there are a lot of sets that give 6.25% Recharge (Decimation, Expediant Reinforcement, Positron’s Blast, Glympse of the Abyss); only Five of them will count. Keep this in mind, as it is quite easy to get five 6.25% recharge in an Ill/Rad. However, they have to be the same kind of bonus . . . You can have up to five Luck of the Gambler (LotG) +7.5% Recharge IOs, and then up to five more set bonuses of 7.5% Recharge (found in Basilisk’s Gaze and a few other sets) — even though they are the same amount of bonus, they are not the same name. AND, some sets have uniques that can only be slotted once, so you can only slot one full set of that type of enhancement.
  • In the build above, I had to change the slotting of Spectral Terror from Glympse of the Abyss (6.25% Recharge) to Unspeakable Terror (5% Recharge) because I had five other sets with 6.25% Recharge. If you replace the Posi Blast set in Fire Blast with the purple Ragnarok set (much more expensive), you can use Glympse of the Abyss in Spectral Terror and get overall 4% more Recharge.
  • Basilisk’s Gaze is the obvious choice for Blind, giving 7.5% Recharge. They have become quite expensive. Also, 4 of them provides OK but not great enhancement. I wanted more Accuracy and as much damage as I could get out of the power (since it is the lead off for my attack chain). Thus, Blind got a Hami-O Acc/Dam and a common Damage in the last two slots. You could go with a couple of Thunderstrikes, but that would give up some damage and that damage really adds up in the long run.
  • Radiant Aura gets 5 Doctored Wounds for the 5% Recharge, and it slots the power well.
  • Spectral Wounds get 5 Decimations for the 6.25% Recharge. I used the Chance for Build Up here because SW gets used a lot and recharges quickly. An Acc/Dam Hami-O makes sure that I get capped damage and great accuracy.
  • Deceive gets 5 of the Coercive Persuasion purple set for 10% Recharge. The Malaise Illusions set is good, with 6.25% Recharge, but you start to run into a problem with the “Rule of 5” pretty quickly with an Ill/Rad. One huge advantage of using the purple set is that you free up another power to use a 6.25% Recharge slot. The Contagious Confusion proc is highly recommended, as it can turn the single-target Deceive into an occational multi-target confuse. I left out the pure Confuse one because the duration is already plenty long.
  • Accelerate Metabolism gets 6 Efficacy Adapter for the 5% recharge. This set also has some other nice bonuses.
  • Superior Invis gets 1 LotG Recharge and 5 Red Fortunes including the EndRdx. If you are a player who keeps SI on all the time, this is a very good idea since 5 Red Fortunes can cap EndRdx.
  • In Radiation Infection, I kept my favorite slotting of 3 Enzymes, but 4 Dark Watchers will give another 5% Recharge. You could also put an Achilles Heal Chance for Resistance Debuff in there.
  • Hover gets a LotG Recharge. However, it is also nice to have so that you can fight from the air. Because I use the “Speed on Demand” binds, I have no need to slot Hover with Flight Speed. If you do want to use Hover for battle and don’t want to use those binds, then you may want to bind a key to let you quickly toggle between the two. A bind that would work is:
  • Fly gets an EndRdx because it is already at the Flight Cap — no need to slot for Flight Speed as of I-18. Of course, you could put a Blessing of the Zephyr -Knockback here.
  • Hasten — two Level 50 Recharge are enough for Perma-Hasten in a Perma-PA build.
  • Phantom Army — 4 Expediant Reinforcement, 2 Soulbound caps Damage and Recharge with other nice bonuses.
  • Enervating Field — 2 EndRdx. A third one provides very little benefit (about .07 less endurance use per second).
  • Lingering Rad — with the global Recharge and Accuracy of this build, a single Accuracy is sufficient. The most important benefits of this power are the -Recharge and -Regen, neither of which can be enhanced. The -Recharge is great for normal foes, and the -Regen is very important for AVs.
  • Flash — Level 24 is a good place to fit it in, although it can be moved back later. 4 Basilisk’s Gaze for the 7.5% Recharge, then a Acc/Hold/Rech from any set to help the slotting be more effective.
  • Spectral Terror – 5 Unspeakable Terror only because I had already capped out my number of 6.25% Recharge bonuses under the “Rule of 5.” If you don’t want to put five slots into Spectral Terror (because it really doesn’t need that many slots other than for the Recharge bonus), you can find other Recharge bonuses to make up for the Glympse of the Abyss or Unspeakable Terror sets . . . but it is one of the less expensive sets in the build. The Fear sets are dirt cheap on the Market.
  • Recall Friend — one of the fully optional choices. Recall Friend is nice to have on teams. Good place for a Blessing of the Zephyr -Knockback, since most slotting in this power does little. The only areas where Range are helpful are the length of Independence Port and in the Shadow Shard.
  • Mutation — another optional choice. A single Recharge is all this needs. Anything else is probably wasting slots.
  • Phantasm — it just needs some Acc and capped Damage, so 4 Expediant Reinforcement for the 6.25% Recharge and an Acc/Dam Hami-O to finish it out.
  • Combat Jumping — another really optional power pick. I chose Combat Jumping for an extra spot for a LotG Recharge.
  • EM Pulse — 4 Basilisk’s Gaze. This power has standard Accuracy, not the 20% Accuracy Penalty that most AoE controls have. It lasts a long time on its own. With the various global bonuses, this can get by with just the 4 Baz Gaze. Although I love having EM Pulse, I mostly use Flash because Flash does not have the Recovery Penalty.
  • Fire Blast, Fireball are pretty self-explanatory.
  • I added Fire Shield just to help reduce the damage I take, making it easier for my heal to handle my damage. Wish I had more slots. (The Cardiac Boost will add some more Damage Resistance to this.) However, this is another optional choice.
  • Finally, the last pick is pretty optional. I put in Group Invis for another LotG Recharge, but with the Spiritual Boost, I’m getting more and more tempted to change this to Rise of the Phoenix. It can be handy to have a self-rez that does damage and stun.

There are a number of power choices I made based upon personal preference: Recall Friend and Mutation in particular. Both are handy to have, especially since I do a lot of Task Forces. They are certainly not necessary powers, and if you want to fit in Leadership or Defensive powers, these can be the first ones to go.

Fire Shield and Group Invisibility are also powers that can be swapped out. In fact, Fire Shield with only a single Resist IO isn’t doing a heck of a lot, other than somewhat reducing the damage I take. I included Group Invis mostly as a “mule” for set a LotG Recharge. I already had enough Recharge without it, but just wanted more. Group Invis has several benefits, so that is a personal choice. That last power choice has a lot of options, actually, and I am very, very tempted to swap it out for Rise of the Phoenix (which I have on a few other characters). The Leadership toggles would be a good choice, but you may have some endurance issues. The Cardiac Boost in the Alpha would probably solve those issues. (In fact, my friend, Call Me Awesome, did exactly that with his Ill/Rad — leadership and the Cardiac Boost.)

I could have put in more purple sets or fewer — a Ragnarok in Fireball would be expensive, so I got by without it. I have so much recharge as it is, that a Ragnarok Set will not really add much to Fireball. Some people chose the Psi Set and put a LotG Recharge in Indomidible Will. For the reasons I explained earlier, I felt the Fire APP set would provide more benefit.

If you choose to use the Ice APP instead of Fire, then I would suggest Ice Blast, Frost Breath, Ice Shield and Hibernate. Ice Storm will cause foes to run away and has a very long recharge. If you want to go for a build that tries to get a lot of defense in addition to the recharge, I suggest you start with the Ice APP, since Ice Armor gives a good amount of Smash/Lethal Defense. You could add more Defense with Combat Jumping, Maneuvers, the Fighting Pool and various sets that provide Smash/Lethal Defense bonuses.

In the thread below, some people have posted builds with high defense. Some were posted before the recent changes of Inherent Fitness and the Alpha Slot, so they omitted important powers. In some cases, these problems can be improved with newer builds.

I invite others to post their Perma PA builds or otherwise discuss their opinions on the Ill/Rad build in further comments to this guide.

Strategies and Discussions:

Strategy varies widely with a player’s own playstyle. Some folks like to play aggressively and get in the middle of the action. Others prefer a more cautious style, staying back and taking more time to avoid taking damage and faceplants. I must admit that I tend more towards the cautious style on my Illusion/Radiation. If I want to play melee, I tend to switch to a Tank or Scrapper.

When looking at these strategy tips, keep in mind that I try to play to the strengths of an Illusion/Radiation controller . . . I use confusion, invisibility and distraction to allow me to take down foes with a minimum of risk to myself. Solo, I can take as long as I want to work my way through missions. On teams, I adjust my playstyle to the team — I still stay back to provide my controls, buffs and debuffs, but how I use my powers get changed to adapt to the team.

General Team Strategy. First, use Deceive to take out any problem foes before the fight begins — usually you will have time for only one or maybe two before somebody from the team is ready to rush in to battle. Try to get them to wait for your opening move — throw out Phantom Army and cast your Rad debuffs. Teammates can run in a second or two after PA to let them establish aggro. The order for the debuffs can vary depending upon the situation, but a good order is EF, RI, LR — cast RI before LR if possible so LR gets to take advantage of the -Defense in RI. In some cases, like when a Tank is able to gather the aggro, you can choose to fire off RI before casting the other debuffs to reduce defense and improve your ToHit odds. On some fast moving teams, the bad guys will not last long enough for you to even bother casting some of your debuffs. If you are on that kind of team, use EF first and then LR, and then only use RI when up against something that will last long enough to merit the effort. Decide whether Spectral Terror or any other AoE control powers are needed.

After putting out your AoE controls and debuffs, Pick a foe, and take him down with Blind-SW-Air Supp, or later Blind-SW-APP Blast. I usually go after foes who are attacking my squishier teammates. If PA are about to expire, then cast Spectral Terror to hold the foes in place.

If you move on to the next group while PA are still out, you may want to run into (or past) the group of foes to lead PA into battle. This is where invisibility comes in quite handy. If PA are recharging, you can use that same invisibility to run into the middle of the group of foes and fire off Flash or EM Pulse. You won’t have very long before Flash expires, so plan to cast Spectral Terror after about 10 seconds — about enough time for you to take down a minion or two.

In general, Spectral Terror is not the best Lead-Off power — fear powers allow the foes to take an action before going into the “cower” animation, and often that action is to shoot at you. However, it can work if the tank gets aggro first. If you have a Tank who runs in to take the initial aggro, then you can freely use Spectral Terror after he has gathered up the available aggro . . . but not before. Let the Tank do his job before you throw out Spooky. If you are waiting for the tank to gather up a tight group before casting Spooky, try to hit an outlying foe with Deceive . . . he will hopefully group up with the rest of the group.

Spectral Terror becomes a less effective power when teammates use AoE damage powers with DoT (like Rain of Fire or Ice Storm) because each bit of damage breaks the fear for one action, so the fear gets repeatedly broken. Try to time using Phantom Army rather than Spectral Terror at those times.

General Solo Strategy. Mostly the same. I use Deceive more and PA and the debuffs less. In low levels, it is common to run into 2-3 foe groups. Deceive one or two, then take out the remaining foe with Blind-SW-Air Sup. You don’t even need Phantom Army for these small groups. Save PA for larger groups or several groups near each other. You can save the debuffs for Bosses other than EF — EF helps you do more damage and casts quickly, but the other debuffs take too long for most foes, except for really tough foes.

Spectral Terror is very effective when solo. One nice aspect of Spectral Terror is that because your attacks are all single target, you don’t have AoE powers to break the fear. When a group is cowering thanks to Spooky, you pick one and hit him with Blind — he’s now held instead of afraid, so you can beat on him until he drops. The others aren’t affected, so they continue to cower. If one runs away, he’s your target for your single-target attack chain since he could run out of Spooky’s range.

When dealing with groups of foes, rely on Phantom Army, Spectral Terror and Phantasm’s decoy to keep the attention off you. You can spread Deceive and Blind around to several foes. Remember to try to take the minions first for the reasons explained below in the section, “Maximizing your Damage.”

Stealth Missions. Illusion’s powers make it best at stealthing missions. You can go invisible to “find the Glowie” or hunt down the named foe or group leader who is the object of the mission. For Glowies, remember that touching the glowie will remove your invisibility for a few seconds, so you want to distract any foes around the area. Deceive and Phantom Army are perfect for this — Deceive if there are one or two near the glowie, or Phantom Army if there is a group. That should let you get the glowie in relative safety. For the missions where you have to defeat a boss or group at the end, again Deceive and Phantom Army will keep attention off of you.

If you want to be the team spy, seriously consider adding Recall Friend to your build early. If you have Recall Friend or the Team Recall Temp or Vet powers you can find a safe spot to bring in the team — and if you can’t find a safe spot, just Deceive the foes who are in the way.

Maximizing your Damage. One unique aspect of Illusion is “spectral” or “illusory” damage — damage that heals back after a few seconds. If you can defeat a foe before that spectral damage heals back, you get to keep that damage. Therefore, the faster you can kill foes, the better chance you have to keep that damage. Making sure you get the benefits of spectral damage can increase your overall Damage Per Second (DPS). The key is to defeat foes before the heal-back. You can get more bang from your spectral damage by keeping a few strategies in mind:

  • Defeat Minions first. With the large amount of “burst” damage from Spectral Wounds, it is easy to defeat Minions quickly. It usually takes only one or two attack chains to defeat a minion, so you have a better chance of keeping that spectral damage. Past level 41, you can get a fast Single Target Blast from the APP sets. This will allow you to have a quick attack chain of Blind-SW-Blast-SW to take down minions (and then lieutenants) really fast.
  • Watch foes being attacked by Phantasm, Phantom Army and Confused foes, so that you can use Blind-SW to finish off that last little sliver of health. Phantom Army and Phantasm’s Decoy also do spectral damage, so you want to make sure that the foes being attacked by them go down as fast as possible. For Confused Foes, you want to make sure that you get some XP, so making the killing blow is a good way to make sure of that.
  • Reduce the number of foes as quickly as possible to allow Phantom Army and Phantasm to concentrate on the big targets. Common strategy for other builds is to concentrate on the tough guys first, as they are the biggest danger. But for Illusion, Phantom Army should be drawing the aggro so you can take down the weaker foes first. This will allow PA and Phantasm all to focus on the tougher foes, keeping them off your back.

As a result and contrary to many other builds, an Illusion controller will be more effective by taking out the weakest foes first, then working your way up to the tougher guys. By following that order, you have a better chance of increasing your damage with spectral damage and concentrating the attacks of your pets on the most important targets.

Phantom Army Strategy. The other members of your team make a big difference on how and when to use Phantom Army. In general, PA is best used to take the “alpha strike” and draw aggro away from the rest of the team, so whenever possible, PA should be sent in before any other attack that draws aggro. (This means that you can Deceive one or two foes who have mez powers, especially AoE mez powers, first.) But sometimes, that is not the best strategy.

  1. Most of the time, you want PA to be the aggro sponge, soaking up all the attacks so you can freely cast your debuffs and the team can make their attacks. In this case, you will often cast PA right in the middle of the group you want to attack, especially if casting them outside the group might aggro another group. Casting in the middle is more effective for larger groups, as you have a better chance of drawing aggro from the entire group. Remember you have very little control over the PA once they are cast, other than your invisible and stretchy leash — if you get too far from the PA, they will run to you, often bringing unwanted friends with them.
  2. If you don’t have another group nearby and the group is not too large, try to cast the PA on the far side of the bad guys, and let the Army guys run toward you. They will probably start attacking from range, rather than closing to melee, and they will cause the foes to face away from you and your team. PA do a little more damage at range than in melee. Even though the ranged attacks do less damage, they recharge 1/3 faster. Also, if the foes have cone or ranged AoE attacks, casting PA on the far side of the group will aim the cones and AoEs go away from you and your team. This is especially true for some AVs. (This is the same trick that many experienced Tanks use.)
  3. You may have a tank on the team, and he may want to herd. Very few tanks are willing to let PA take their role . . . until some AV with a huge initial attack comes along. For most general groups, hold off on PA until your tank herds up the group. Then you need to decide if it is worth using PA at that point, or if the team can handle the group easily enough without PA. If you need PA or just want to use ’em, cast your three buddies beyond the group or off to the side, so that they have to fight at range. In this situation, you are using PA more as a damage power than as an aggro sponge, so you want that greater damage from range.
    Some good tanks play an aggressive style, where they are running from group to group — it is often hard to keep up with such tanks, and PA are usually relegated to a role as a damage power. Some good tanks are more strategic, pausing before each group to let everyone prepare their best power for the situation at hand. For this kind of Tank, you will want to save PA to take the Alpha whenever you are up against a tough foe, and this kind of tank will usually bring foes towards the PA while they are out. Some tankers sometimes get frustrated with Phantom Army, but really good tanks know how to use them to tank more effectively.
  4. You may have another controller who has a good opening attack. Try to encourage the other controller to let you use PA first when needed, to avoid letting aggro through. This is especially a good idea when there are a lot of bosses, since most AoE controls usually only affect minions and lieutenants. PA is one of the best powers in the game against bosses.
  5. Generally, PA is only going to be available every other group for a normal speed team. So, if the next group looks like it will be easy to handle without PA, you may want to save them for the group after that. Do your best to look ahead.
  6. It is not uncommon for PA to easily outlast one spawn. Your invisibility is quite handy since PA can follow you while invisible. Use your invisible leash and lead them into the next spawn. However, be careful . . . when PA despawn, the aggro goes to you — you only have PA around for 60 seconds. That may be a good time to use Spectral Terror (if you have it by then).

Choosing your Rad Debuff Anchor. Choosing an anchor and choosing when to cast RI, EF and LR is an important part of the strategy of Radiation. Know your team, and figure out which foes are likely to be the last to be defeated and where the debuff will do you and you team the most good.

  • Many people complain about Radiation’s anchor-based debuffs because of the problem of teammates killing the “anchor.” The Rad debuffs add a green glow to the target that seems to subliminally say, “Hey guys! Kill me first!” You need to understand right up front – your team WILL kill off your “anchor,” and usually before you want them to. It may be frustrating – get over it, and just re-cast the debuffs on the next soon-to-be-corpse. Some people recommend setting up a bind to identify the anchor, hoping that the team will pay attention. I have done that in the past, and don’t bother anymore. Just re-cast.
  • Scrappers will often go for the bosses first. Blasters with lots of AoE powers will often wipe out the minions quickly. Often the best choice for your anchor is a lieutenant-level foe, and one near the back of the group. Of course, remember that the debuffs will then aggro him and all the foes around him, causing him to run up to the front and bring friends.
  • Your anchor will be free to run around, debuffing other baddies while drawing aggro, unless you restrict his movement with some kind of mez or slow power. Therefore, you may want to plan to use Blind or some other way to restrict the movement of your anchor(s). If you don’t, your anchor may run off. This is BAD. Not only do you lose the debuff, but as he runs away past other groups, he will aggro them to you. If this happens, turn off RI and EF, and find another anchor. I suggest whenever possible, cast LR with EF and RI to prevent the anchor from running away very fast. Or, you can Blind the Anchor. In rare situations, you may leave the toggles on after a foe runs away if you need to use the green glow to mark or track the baddie, mainly if this was the guy you needed to kill to free a hostage or some similar situation.
  • If the boss is a tough one, I usually cast the debuffs on the boss, and don’t worry if he gets killed off. A dead boss is worth having to recast. If you are fighting an AV, EB or GM, the AV, EB or GM is almost always the best anchor. Although AVs have high resistance to debuffs, it will still affect all the foes in the area and have some effect on the AV.
  • One interesting choice to try is to cast the debuffs on a foe who has been Deceived or Confused. He will move around to attack his friends, carrying the debuffs with him. But if he runs off with your debuff, you may want to turn it off.
  • I suggest you NOT choose a teleporting foe, like a Tsoo Sorcerer or Sky Raider Porter, as an anchor, as that bad guy will teleport away. You will lose your debuffs on the baddies nearby, and he will aggro more baddies to attack you.
  • One option is to use different foes as your anchor for each of your three debuff powers. I mainly see this as aggroing more baddies. If any bad guys are aggroed, I would prefer that RI be in effect to keep them from hitting me. However, since LR has to be re-cast every 40 seconds or so, it is easy to change anchors for LR.
  • Sometimes, especially in lower levels, RI and/or LR can be used to pull part of a group, who will then come to attack you while being debuffed. This works best on foes who prefer melee attacks. This is a great way to do a “corner pull,” using a location-based control like Earth’s Quicksand or Earthquake, Ice’s Ice Slick or Dark Miasma’s Tar Patch at the corner.
  • If there is a foe with annoying mez powers, he is often a good choice for RI if you haven’t Deceived him, to reduce his chance of hitting his mez – but of course, he will probably be attacking YOU first with that mez.

The bottom line is to try to pick the foes who will last longest, and don’t get upset if you picked wrong.

Confused about Confuse and Deceived about Deceive (This is a long discussion about Deceive. Feel free to skip it if you already like the power, but there are a few strategy suggestions at the end.)

I am a big fan and strong advocate of Deceive. There have been heated debates about Deceive on the Boards, and I have often participated. If you compare the numbers between Blind and Deceive, Deceive actually looks better. However, an Illusion controller without Blind is gimped, but you can certainly make an effective Illusion Controller without Deceive. (Deceive is the same power as Confuse from the Mind Control set.)

How does the power work? As stated in the description of the power, when you cast Deceive on a foe, the Deceived foe stops attacking you and your team, and will attack the other foes. Apparently, he is confused into thinking that his friends are now his enemies. If there are no other enemies around, then he will just stand there, doing nothing even if you attack him. Deceive takes one foe completely out of the battle for a long time. Deceive does not draw aggro, so it can be cast over and over again from a distance without the foes even knowing you are there. For the sake of discussion, let’s call the enemy who is confused a “CF,” for “Confused Foe.” Any of his buddies he beats on can be called a CFT, for “Confused Foe’s Target.” All other enemies will be referred to as “foes.” The description for the power explains that if a CF defeats a CFT, that the team will not get XP for the CFT.

The debate over Deceive and Confuse has been going on as long as I have been reading these forums: Someone complains that he or she was kicked off a team or was criticized because a Mind controller used Confuse or an Illusion Controller used Deceive. (Recently, the same debate has come up for Plant Controllers and Seeds of Confusion.) Someone gives a sample build that excludes Deceive because the person doesn’t like the XP loss. Someone else then responds, saying that Deceive actually increases XP rather than decreasing it, so the person critical of Deceive is clearly an ignorant buffoon who does not understand the real facts.

What are the benefits of Deceive?

  1. Deceive is a long lasting single target control power that lasts longer than Blind.
  2. Deceive has an 80 ft. range and does not draw agro, so you can take foes out of the fight before the fight begins. Since you can stack it without drawing aggro, it is perfect for removing the most troublesome foe. Deceive easily lasts long enough to allow you to cast it on several foes to take several out of the battle before the fighting begins.
  3. Deceive activates quickly, at the beginning of the animation, and recharges quickly.
  4. Deceive has a 20% accuracy bonus, even more than Blind’s 10%, so you can hit higher level foes more easily.
  5. Deceive is Mag 3, so it will hit minions and lieutenants with one cast if it hits. It has a 20% chance of being Mag 4, which will confuse a boss in the first shot. But if you don’t get that extra mag with the first cast, you can easily cast it again in a few seconds to stack it.

So, if it is such a good power, then what is the downside?

  1. The underlying basis for the main complaint against Deceive is that if a CF defeats a CFT all by itself, then you and your team do not get any XP for the defeat of the CFT. However, if a CF (Confused Foe) does some of the damage, and some of the damage is done by you or your pets or your teammates, then you get the XP you earned from damage done to the CFT (Confused Foe’s Target), and you get some of the XP for the damage done by the confused foe, but not all of it. See cforce’s Guide to Confusion for the detailed math. Also see Enant’s Guide to Confusion and XP/Time.
  2. Deceive has a long animation, even though the effect takes place early in the animation. Therefore, on a fast moving team, it is not worth spending that much time controlling one foe when you could be doing something more effective.
  3. Deceive does not set up Containment. If your focus is on damage, then Blind will set up containment for you.

I find that most people who complain about Deceive, don’t fully understand how it works — They see the description and have heard that confuse powers cause you to “lose XP,” so they react to that. My opinion is that everyone should stop worrying about XP and simply look at the benefits of the power and how it fits into the player’s playstyle. Is it fun? Does it provide a benefit that makes it worthwhile to take as a power? Personally, I find Deceive to be one of the most fun powers in the game.

The use of Deceive and its effect on XP is a grey area, and depends on many factors other than simple calculations. The overall effect is that in some situations, you may get more XP over time, while in others, you may get a little less. The more you know about how to use the power, the better chance you have of the getting more XP over getting less XP. There are some facts that are not disputable about Deceive. (We are talking about the single target version, Deceive for an Ill/Rad, and not Mind’s Mass Confusion or Plant’s Seeds of Confusion.)

The Truth:

  1. Deceive is slow to activate. — The animation is so long that it may not be effective during some kinds of battles. Some people complain that Deceive is useless for fast moving large teams. However, this depends greatly upon the team, the kind of opponent, and the team’s strategy and style. The change in I-7 to eliminate the length of the post-deceive inactivity has made Deceive more viable as a tool in battle. On large, fast moving teams, I find that I have little time to use Deceive unless there are “special” targets. However, solo, on small teams, or even on larger, slower moving teams, Deceive is almost always a great power to use. I have to admit that there have been a few times that I have used Deceive or Confuse in the middle of battle, and been caught in a mez, knocked down or otherwise clobbered because of the long animation — but it doesn’t happen often. Also, at level 50, when I put a Contagious Confusion proc into Deceive turning it into a Mass Confusion power one third of the time, then Deceive becomes very much worthwhile to use in all battle situations because of being able to mez several foes in one shot.
  2. Deceive is a long lasting single target power that takes any mob it hits and stops that mob from hitting you and your team. In this manner, it acts as a hold. It also lasts substantially longer than its recharge time even at the lowest levels, so it can be stacked easily even without recharge enhancements, but recharge lets you stack it or spread it around faster.
  3. Deceive does not draw aggro. No aggro is one of the most important aspects of this power. This allows the caster to stack it on bosses or any other foe without fear of “retribution.” You can cast Deceive while invisible without drawing attention to yourself. This also means that regardless of the long animation, Deceive can be effective before the fight begins either to remove foes from the battle, or to benefit the caster and his team by getting the CF to use his controls and debuffs on other foes. For example, I was recently on a small level 20-21 team made up of a tank, a warshade and one of my lower level Illusion controllers. We were fighting Orange, Red and Purple Lost in Faultline. While PA was recharging, I was able to use Deceive to take the mezzing lieutenants and bosses out of the fight before the fight began, which substantially increased our survival. Those Anathenas and Pariahs not only throw arround mez powers, but they also hit very hard. Deceive worked where other powers would not have.
  4. A CF (Confused Foe) will usually attack other foes if any foes are in aggro range. However, the caster has no control over the CF. Sometimes, the CF may run off for no apparent reason. If there are no other foes in aggro range, the CF will usually just stand there and let himself be smacked for as long as the confusion lasts. With enough applications, the caster can sometimes Deceive an Arch-Villain for a short time, causing the bad guy to blast away at the minions surrounding him, and then stand there while you and your team attack. But beware – it doesn’t last long.
  5. A CF with buff/debuff or mez powers will sometimes use their debuff or mez powers against their own kind, or may use the buff powers to buff the caster’s team. This is one of the best and most effective uses of Deceive. There are many discussions of the best foes to Deceive, but they include Vahz Embalmed Cadavers, Tsoo Sorcerers, Sky Raider Engineers, Banished Pantheon Shamen, Malta Sappers and Rikti Guardians.
  6. When a CF attacks a CFT (Confused Foe’s Target), and the CF does damage to the CFT, the caster and the caster’s team do not get some of the XP for the CFT when the CFT is defeated. If the CF completely defeats the CFT with no damage done by the team, then no XP is awarded. However, the complex formula for calculating the XP means that if the caster or the caster’s team do some damage to the CFT, the team will get a larger share of the XP than they would if, say, another player not on the team were to do the same amount of damage to the CFT as the CF did. The net result of this means that the team clearly gets a larger amount of XP per point of damage imposed by the team on the CFT. For example, if you and the team do 50% of the damage on a CFT, and the CF does the other 50%, then you and the team get about 80% of the XP rather than the 50% you “earned.” If the CF does 75% of the damage, and you and your team only do 25%, you get about 50% of the XP.

The False:

  1. If you use Deceive, you will lose XP.

You cannot “lose” XP that you have not yet earned. You and your team will not earn XP for a CFT killed entirely by a CF, but you will not “lose” XP. Actually you will reduce the amount of XP you could have earned if you and your team had killed all the foes yourselves and not used Deceive. Your only “loss” will be that the maximum amount of XP available in the mission will be less. Since you never earned that XP, you haven’t lost it. In other words, you actually get an XP bonus for using Deceive, rather than “losing XP.” Granted, this is really more a semantics and point-of-view statement. Most supporters of confuse powers say that any loss of available XP is easily offset by the ability to earn XP faster, allowing you to do more missions in less time.

The Half-truths:

I) If you use Deceive, you will earn less XP.
II) If you use Deceive, you will get more XP/hour and more XP overall.

Both statements have some truth and some un-truth, depending upon the situation. Enantiodromos and others presented some wonderful calculations to prove #2. And in an ideal situation, it probably would be true. Yes, if you were operating with robot-like efficiency and there were an unlimited number of foes, then the numbers clearly show that you will get more XP/hour, since Deceive lets the team receive part of the XP for the damage done by the CF. Plus, by completing missions faster, you get mission bonuses faster. If you are earning more XP/hour, then you will earn more XP overall for the time you play, right? Why is it a half-truth? Since most of us are people seeking entertainment and not robots seeking to churn out XP/min, most of us do not play this game trying to maximize every second. Most of us play missions. In most missions, there is a limited number of foes, and therefore a limited amount of XP (even if there are an unlimited number of missions and the foes on the streets keep re-spawning). This means that if you use Deceive, some of the XP will be taken by the CFs. You may be able to do the mission a little faster, but you will still earn less XP per mission than if you did not use Deceive. Shaving a few minutes off the time needed to complete a mission will not necessarily mean that you do more missions. For example, if you just finished a 45 minute mission and you are 10 minutes past when you should have headed off to bed, the fact that you reduced the time of the mission by 5 minutes will not mean that you are going to do another mission. You earned a little less XP but got to bed 5 minutes earlier.

There are a lot of other factors as well.
A) Deceive is fun. There have been a few times where my team has sat back and watched while I deceived a foe and we watched what happened. This can happen on everything from Embalmed Cadavers to AV’s. There is a certain delight to making a foe use his own debuff powers on himself and his buddies. I remember the first time I Deceived an Avalanche Shaman — I laughed out loud when he put down an Earthquake that then knocked himself down. One of my favorite pastimes while waiting for a teammate to return to a mission is to Deceive two baddies, and then take bets on which one will last the longest. It is kind of like the so-called sport that Michael Vick got in trouble for hosting, but nobody gets hurt. It is fun to try to Deceive a Rikti Guardian into “tricking” him into giving AM to you and your team.

B) Deceive, if used well, may be able to reduce debt for you and your team. This can be especially true when you use Truth #3 above. Taking out Sappers or Shamen can certainly have a major impact on a battle, depending upon your team. I have used Deceive many times to prevent a team wipe, by stacking Deceive on the big bad guy from a distance while not drawing aggro. Less debt will certainly increase your overall leveling from earning XP, far, far more than any XP lost to Deceive.

There are a few times when you should NOT use Deceive.
i) If a teammate is targeting a particular foe to pull, then casting Deceive on that foe is a bad idea. The pulled foe will, when the confuse hits, turn around and attack his buddies. Yeah, he’s out of the fight for a while, but eventually that confuse wears off and then he can attack you again. If he was successfully pulled and was then eliminated, then he can’t come back (unless he is a Freakshow . . . ).
ii)If you are in a battle surrounded by the enemy who are attacking you in melee, then using Deceive to take one baddie out may not be a good idea, because while you are caught in the somewhat long animation, the others can pound on you. Deceive is best used before the fight begins, or while the foes are distracted from you. It can also be used effectively to stop one foe from attacking, but you need to know whether being caught in the long animation may result in other bad things happening, like getting mezzed or killed.
iii) Be careful about using Deceive on an anchor of a debuff, like Radiation Infection or Enervating Field. A deceived anchor will usually run around to find playmates, thereby aggroing any foes in range of the debuff. Sometimes this is a good strategy, but sometimes it may result in getting too much aggro while your debuff runs off leaving the foes mad at you AND at full strength.

Strategy for using Deceive: My general strategy for using Deceive on teams is the take out the foe who will be the most trouble, usually before the fighting begins. Because Deceive lasts longer than a regular hold and has higher accuracy without drawing aggro, it is one of your best defensive powers. When playing solo, I will often use Deceive even against a single foe that I expect to hold with Blind, just because Blind can miss, which would then free the baddie to begin attacking me if he wasn’t already Deceived. If I deceive him first, then if Blind misses, I can still beat on him without concern until Blind Recharges.

As early as level 4, Deceive can be key to making it easy to take down foes while taking no damage at all when playing solo. For the usual spawn of three foes, you can Deceive two from outside of aggro range before the battle begins. Remember that Deceive does not draw aggro! Then use Blind-Spectral Wounds on the third, and refresh Deceive on the first of the two DFs, Blind-SW on the third, refresh Deceive on the second DF, Blind-SW until defeat. If you want to reduce missing out on XP, you can Blind the DFs, every other round, while Blind’s hold stays on that third un-Deceived foe, using only SW while you still have containment. Basically, spread around Deceive and Blind while focusing SW on one foe at a time to try to take out that foe as quickly as you can before SW’s spectral damage heals back. You can take all three down without being hit a single time . . . but it is not real fast.

During the battle, I will often use Deceive to refresh the confusion on some foe who was confused before the fight began, and also:

  1. To encourage a straggler to return to the rest of the group. When he is Deceived, he will usually (but not always) turn around and go back to the group of foes to attack one of his former buddies.
  2. To protect myself or a teammate from being attacked. When the team attacks a large group, single foes may run past the tanks and other front line fighters, and directly target the squishier folks in the back, like blasters, defenders and controllers. Deceive can be used to turn that foe around and have him attack his friends instead of you and your teammates.
  3. To take out a troublesome foe shooting off ranged attacks from the back. We might as well turn him to helping us out while the rest of the team work their way back to him.
  4. To handle a foe who runs into the fight after it has begun.

When you start running into difficult foes with special abilities, you can Deceive those particular foes before the battle begins to turn those special abilities against the bad guys. This is one of the most powerful aspects of confuse powers. In general, it is a good idea to use Deceive on foes with Mez or Debuff abilities. Here are some of the foes that are effective as targets of Deceive:

Vahzilok: When Deceived, Embalmed Cadavers will shamble up to other Vahz and explode, doing substantial damage and often killing off several other Vahz. Remember that you will not get XP for those foes killed, but it’s so much fun, it is worth passing up the XP. However, a debuff like Radiation Infection will disrupt the ability of Embalmed Cadavers to explode.
Mortificators, if Deceived, will still raise the dead Cadavers and Embalmed Cadavers, but then will try to kill them, then rez them, then kill them, etc. as long as the Deceive lasts. Morts will NOT rez your dead teammates.
Eidolons are bosses, so they will usually take at least two casting of Deceive to confuse them. They will use the Rad blasts (with some -Defense), Dark Blast (with some -Acc) and the Tenebrous Tentacles against the other Vahz.

Clockwork: The Clocks have several guys who can put you in a Tesla Cage. (Remember that the Tesla Cage from Clocks is a SLEEP and not a hold. Just cast Radiant Aura to break teammates out of it!) Deceive them, and they use the Tesla Cage on their clanky brethren. Deceiving the big guys who spawn Gears will not make the Gears work for you . . . the effect of Deceive ends at death.

Lost: Aberrants and Parishes have sleep and hold powers, so using Deceive to take them out of the fight before it begins is a good idea, especially in low levels where few players have mez protection – even Tanks and Scrappers, who will get mez protection eventually, may not have it at the time you have to deal with the Lost.

Circle of Thorns: You can stack Deceive on Mages to take them out of the fight before it starts. Deceive Earth and Air Thorn Casters to make them use their powers against the other CoT. Deceive the Spectral Demon Lords to turn their -ToHit Debuff against the enemy. CoT have lots of troublesome foes, so there are lots of opportunities to use Deceive. You can stack it on the various Mages.

Tsoo: Tsoo Sorcerers are troublesome since they can teleport in and heal up the foe you have almost defeated, and then turn on their Hurricane to make sure you can’t hit anything. Deceived, the Sorcerers will sometimes heal your team members and often use Hurricane to debuff the accuracy of the bad guys. However, because the Sorcerers will teleport away even if Deceived, I suggest that you do NOT use a Sorcerer for a Radiation anchor. Other Tsoo have various mez powers too, and those annoying Caltrops. If you deceive the Caltrops guy before he throws the caltrops, they will affect the other Tsoo and not you and your team.

Freaks: Freaks have Stunners, who can put you or teammates to sleep in a Tesla Cage. These are a good target for Deceive. Freaks are generally easy to Deceive. Unfortunately, they lose the Deceive when they die and rez.

Council/Fifth Column: The vampiri have mez powers, so they are good targets for Deceive. Wolves move fast and can do a lot of damage, so they are good targets, too. Wolves are resistant to immobilize and slow, so they often frustrate other controllers, but they are easy for an Illusionist.

Banished Pantheon: I love to Deceive Storm, Avalanche and Death Shamen, so that they turn their control powers against the other BP. Watching an Avalanche Shaman cast Earthquake, which then makes he himself fall down, is highly amusing.

Sky Raiders: Casting Deceive on the Engineer before he calls the Force Field Generator will give you and your team added defense when in range of the Generator.

Croatoa: There are a few troublesome foes in Croatoa, especially the bosses. Stacking Deceive on the bosses may save your team.

Devouring Earth: Lots of options here. The buffs/debuffs cast as stationary pets by DE (Cairns planted by Granites or Sentries, Fungi planted by Fungoids or Herders, Tree of Life planted by Herders, and Quartz planted by Guardians) can be devastating to some teams. You can cast Deceive either on the foe casting the stationary pet or the pet itself, and Deceive will neutralize the buffs/debuffs – unfortunately, they will not turn them to your benefit as they only affect the DE.

Carnival of Shadows: Several options here. It is fun to Deceive the Illusionists before they use Flash, as then Flash will hold all the other Carnies. The Ring Mistresses have holds and sleeps that can be turned on other Carnies. The Strong Men have an attack that stuns.

Crey: Deceiving a Paragon Protector will not only make it fight for you, but also keep it from going into its “protective mode” of MOG or Elude.

Nemesis: An often asked question is whether deceiving Lieutenants will allow your team to get the benefits of the Vengeance that these guys cast when they die. Unfortunately, No. The confusion effect stops when the foe dies, so the Vengeance still will go to the other Nemesis. Deceiving a Fake Nemesis will prevent it from going into its Personal Force Field. (I don’t recall if they will actually share bubbles with your team, however.) Also, Nemesis are resistant to Confuse, so you will probably have to stack it on them. (I hate Nemesis when on my Illusion controllers!)

Malta: One of the most hated foes for melee fighters is the Malta Sapper. Deceive turns that Sapper into a sapper of the bad guys. I believe this is one of the best ways to deal with Sappers. Also, if you Deceive an Engineer before he builds a turret, then the turret will shoot at the Malta until the Engineer dies. At that point, it will attack your team. Deceiving a Gunfighter may cause him to turn his hold on other Malta.

Rikti: The obvious target are Mesmerists — to turn their holds against other Rikti. One of my favorite things is to Deceive a Guardian before he uses his version of AM, so that you get a free dose of stacked AM.

Shadow Shard/Rularuu: There are several foes that are resistant to Confuse in the Shadow Shard. Since the big eyeballs can see through your invisibility, you should be careful in the Shadow Shard.

Feel free to add more Deceive strategies in comments to this guide.

OK, That’s the end of this very long Guide, I hope some parts have been helpful. Feel free to post general questions, suggestions, builds or comments . . . it is nice to see when people find something worthwhile, or if they have valid criticisms.

Other City of Heroes Freedom Articles

Leave a Reply