Dungeon Defenders Propeller Cat Guide by Mang
Today we’ll examine Propeller Cats, and whether they’re the right choice for YOU in your journey to max your DPS.
While a seahorse spits poison at things, fairies heal you, and genies gives you a ton of mana, a propeller cat multiplies any damage you do with your hero, while only providing mediocre stats. Depending on various circumstances, a propeller cat can be a sub-optimal idea, or big time damage, and it’s not always as simple as “every barb should use a prop cat”.
A propeller cat can also be upgraded to buff other nearby heroes, and the damage that their pets do. This is a big deal for doing huge damage as a team.
Example Stats of a Prop Cat:
Here is a random prop cat with 117 boost, 90 range, and +1 heroes, as well as 245 upgrades and overall great stats. It is really quite nice, except for the lack of skill2.
A propeller cat’s boost can be upgraded every 3 levels (when (CurrentLevel-1)/3 returns a remainder of 1)), so on levels 2,5,8,11, etc. The easy way to figure out how many possible upgrade boosts is (MaxLevel-1)/3, rounded DOWN. If you want to leave the cat unnamed as well, then it’s (MaxLevel-2)/3, rounded DOWN.
So our example cat above will have exactly 81 opportunities to upgrade its boost, for an end result of 81+117 = 198 boost. That sure sounds nice, but WTF does that even mean? Big deeps? Sort of big deeps?
Whipping up the DunDef source code, the formula for the buff a propeller cat provides is as follows:
BaseBoost + ( BoostStatMultiplier*( ( EQS_CLIPAMMO / BoostStatBase ) ^ BoostStatExponent ) ) BaseBoost=1.1 BoostStatExponent=0.835 BoostStatBase=20 BoostStatMultiplier=0.145
which boils down to
So here’s a nifty table of what this means for you:
|Boost on your cat||Your damage is multiplied by|
AND A CHART!!!? OVERKILL?
Which shows pretty clearly that boost scales quite well! Just going from 200 to 210 boost is an extra 4% base damage. (An actual self increase of (2.1329/2.0917)-1 ~= 2%) which is like going from 4000 to ~4100 attack. This clearly demonstrates that even without buffing any other players, boost is far superior to hero attack.)
Our 198 boost cat from before will multiply our damage by 2.083, so more than double damage!
Our cat also has 90 range on it, which it spawned with (cats have a decent chance, perhaps 20%, to spawn at 90 range), and 90 is the cap, so we can’t spend any upgrades on it.
This range is how far a Propeller Cat will buff ANOTHER hero — the cat will always buff you, and technically the range of the propcat does not stem from the cat floating beside you, it is calculated from the center of your character. FYI, 90 range is about the distance from the NorthWest corner tavern dummy (the one that pets will actually shoot at) to the forge — pretty much the same range as Hero Boost — not super great, but tolerable.
You’re only allowed to upgrade range on every 4th upgrade level, so 3,7,11,15 etc. and your range ONLY matters if you have more than +1 heroes — YOU always count as that first hero, and there is 0 range between you and you.
Finally, our cat has +1 heroes, so far meaning it will always only buff the person equipping it. This can be upgraded every 30 levels (on level 29, 59, 89 etc) up to a max of +4. Because of the maths, this means you will always be choosing between a boost or a +hero on those upgrades — if the cat already has good range then you should seriously consider choosing this over boost, as providing 100% bonus damage to your nearby friend is probably a much bigger deal than ~0.4% more damage to yourself, regardless of how cool you think you are.
If you really only ever play solo, or if your cat has horrible range, or if you never expect to be near another player ever, or if you’re trying to lose the map on purpose, or if you’re simply a huge jerk, then feel free to ignore +heroes.
So… how do I get a Propeller Cat? :
Reach wave 25 on Sky City Survival to receive a propcat at the beginning of the Wave 25 build phase (i.e. complete wave 24). You can start on wave 23 and still receive it, and you can even pull in AFK characters after wave 24 has started (indeed, even seconds before you’re about to receive the prop cat) and you’ll still get one for each character. There is no other way in the game to receive a propcat, it is never a random reward at the end of a campaign, like many pets potentially are.
There are guides with builds all over this forum of how to set up to earn a propcat (even a 15min “box of devastation” wave 23 farm build that is quite good).
If it’s not on NM difficulty you have essentially zero chance of getting a propcat with over 70 boost at spawn. This is not a situation like Kobolds on a Treadmill where InsaneHC is the way to go, it’s NMHC or bust.
How to Upgrade:
The vast majority of the time, your upgrade priority will be heroes>boost>range>attack, and the pattern will look like this:
boost (range? probably not.)
boost (range? probably not.)
+HERO (boost? selfish…)
So eventually our example propcat above would end up at 195 boost, 90 range and +4 heroes, and the other 163 upgrades will end up going into attack, or whichever stat pleases you. This result is WAY better than just a 198 boost propcat with only +1 hero (which would be a tragedy), and I hope everyone realizes why.
Which characters benefit greatly from a PropCat? :
Well, anyone who personally does a lot of damage, whether with their weapons or directly with damage skills (i.e. not just hero or tower boost, but something like Hawk Stance or Piercing Shot).
The classic example of huge benefit from a propcat is with a Barbarian, because they have excellent personal damage, and doing double damage is very often much better than equipping a 20k seahorse, primarily due to the double-weapon slash multiplier, and Hawk Stance.
While a Jester has no real damage skills or special multipliers, if you have a great weapon, you still might do more damage with a propcat than with a seahorse, and it can potentially be focused, long-range damage, while a mere seahorse would just spit at random nearby things like it has ADHD. Fighting Cupid, for example, you’ll almost certainly prefer a propcat or a monkey over a seahorse, due to the bad range / spread of the seahorse.
Most people say that Monk+Seahorse is a godly combo due to Hero Boost, and that is generally very true. It is also true that Hero Boost stacks with the buff from a Propeller Cat, but realistically it is far far easier to get a mediocre seahorse that will provide more personal DPS than even the best Propeller Cat, regardless of your stats or weapon.
However, there is the specific circumstance where you build your monk to focus very heavily on Hero Boost (priority even more than attack) in which case you can be the team’s propcat wielder also, providing all of the team’s buffs for them, and allowing the very high ATK heroes use legit damage pets. In an organized team setup, this may very well be the most optimal team DPS setup, assuming everyone will fight near the ultra-boost Monk.
[This is a pretty legit idea for a not-super geared player to get into high level games easily, as you will make other more geared players do enormous amounts of damage, and allow them to use damage pets rather than propcats. Any team that turns down a monk with like 2.5k hero boost and a 150+ prop cat with 90 range and +4 heroes, is a pretty stupid team.]
We have an organized team – just use 1 prop cat? :
If the map requires huge DPS at one specific point in time AND everyone will be very near to each other (Akatiti boss comes to mind) then you can absolutely just run one prop cat, as long as it has decent range and +4 heroes.
To be truly optimal, the person least suited to use a damage pet should use the prop cat (like a dedicated boost monk, a summoner, or someone with low hero atk and no self boost like Blood Rage, which would buff a damage pet), and everyone else should use their best damage pets (likely seahorses). It’s unlikely that random pickup groups are gonna swap pets around, so this is really meant for organized teams or a solo player with AFK alts.
If there are multiple areas that need big DPS at the same time, you might still want to run more than one Propeller Cat, but it depends on the heroes and their gear and stats how to maximize the DPS.
The buff from a prop cat multiplies your hero’s damage (including any damage from a pet), which stacks multiplicatively with Hero Boost. A prop cat by itself can provide more than double damage, but stacked with super high tier hero boost can be over 9 times unbuffed damage.
DamageMultiplier = (((TheBoostOnYourCat/20)^0.835)*0.145)+1.1
The most important stats on a prop cat are the boost, range, and max upgrades. The hero stats are less important.
Upgrade priority is generally +heroes > boost > range > attack. But if you have justification, you could ignore range and +heroes entirely.
If there are least 2 DPS heroes, one of them should DEFINITELY have a prop cat with at least +2 heroes stat on it, and as much boost as possible. If they don’t plan on spending much time near each other, they BOTH might want propeller cats.
While prop cats help Barbarians the most, it’s even better if the worst damage-pet-user holds it (as long as they stay near the Barbarian), as a seahorse would do more damage coming from the high atk hero.
If there are X heroes fighting near each other, the optimal setup would be:
1 x dedicated boost monk + prop cat — high hero boost, high propeller cat boost
(X-1) x damage dealer + seahorse or other damage pet — high attack (and relevant damage skill stat)
Hope you learned something today!
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