City of Heroes Invulnerability Tankers and Defense Soft Cap Guide

City of Heroes Invulnerability Tankers and Defense Soft Cap Guide by Call Me Awesome

Issue 13 made some significant changes to the Invulnerability set, but even more importantly it made changes to the way typed defense worked with IO set bonuses. Now all typed defensive bonuses now cover two damage types, Smash/Lethal, Fire/Cold and Energy/Negative as well as providing half that amount in positional defenses of Melee, Range & AOE.

First, let’s look at what changed in Invulnerability for issue 13:

Resist Physical Damage went from 7.5% S/L resistance to 10% S/L resistance AND got a 25% resistance to defense debuffs.
Resist Energies went from 7.5% E/N resistance to 10% E/N resistance AND got 25% resistance to endurance drains
Resist Elements went from 7.5% F/C resistance to 10% F/C resistance AND got 20% slow resistance
Unyielding finally lost the 5% defense debuff
Invincibility lost a little defense per mob to compensate
Tough Hide gained 25% resistance to defense debuffs

The bottom line is that we’re significantly better off defensively than we used to be with 1-6 mobs in range of Invincibility and very slightly worse off with 10 mobs in range. Considering the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get more than 6-8 mobs in your aura unless you’re fighting Rikti Monkeys, that’s a big win for us. The debuff resistance in RPD and TH amounts to 50% and makes it much harder for mobs to knock down your defenses… previously, the Cimeroans in the ITF could completely eliminate your defense; now they can’t if you have RPD & TH.

Now let’s look at the changes to IO set defensive bonuses, probably the single biggest change. What does it mean to Invulnerability tankers? Well, it used to be very difficult to build defensive bonuses since IO sets only covered one type of damage. Prior to issue 13, an IO set might provide, for example, 2% smashing defense. Now that same set would provide 2% smashing AND lethal defense as well as 1% Melee defense. This is a very good thing for us since we can cover our defensive needs with only half the number of bonuses we used to need.

A small digression here about just how defense works in this game…

Defense works by making an attack miss you; if it doesn’t hit then you don’t take any damage. The mobs have a base 50% chance to hit you with their attacks; your defense directly reduces that chance. If you have 25% defense then the mobs have a 25% chance to hit you… 35% defense means they have a 15% chance to hit and so on to the “soft cap” of 45% reducing the mob’s chance to hit you to 5%. We call it the soft cap because while you can have a higher amount of defense you can’t reduce the mob’s chance to hit you to below 5%.

Now when a mob attacks you the game takes the highest defense amount you have to any part of that attack and uses that for your total defense… for example let’s take a fictional ranged power that does 100 points of energy damage and 100 points of smashing damage. You have 45% smash/lethal defense, 40% energy/negative defense and 20% ranged defense… which is roughly what this guide will aim for. Since the attack is ranged you have 20% defense to it… but it’s also energy so you have 40% defense to it… but it’s ALSO smashing and you have 45% defense to that. The game takes your highest defense, smashing, and therefore the attack has a 5% chance to hit you.

While not all attacks will have a Smash/Lethal portion, the vast majority do, so this is your most important defensive number; it’s the one we want to get to 45% the most.

Arcanaville explains things much better than I can so check out her Guide to Defense for a more detailed explanation.

OK, enough of the lecture! I just wanna know how to build my tanker!

Here’s your shopping list for Wentworth’s for your soft capped Invuln tanker:

  • 5 sets of Reactive Armor – you need 4 pieces in the set for the bonuses we want, which are 1.5% defense to E/N and 1.5% defense to S/L. I suggest the Resist, Resist/Endurance, Resist/Recharge and Resist/Endurance/Recharge
  • 3 sets of Smashing Haymaker – all 4 pieces of the set. (1.13% hit points and 1.88% defense to S/L) (Slot 4 sets if you use Mocking Beratement)
  • Full set of Perfect Zinger (10% regen, 5% recharge, 2.5% damage and 3.13% defense S/L) _OR_ full set of Mocking Beratement (1.8% endurance, 2.5% defense S/L, 3.13% F/C and 7.5% recharge)
  • 2 of the Zephyr universal travel set, the speed & speed/end IO’s… skip the knockback protection. (3.13% defense ranged, 1.56% defense E/N)
  • Steadfast Protection 3% defense/resist unique IO – this is the only expensive item.

With the exception of the Steadfast unique, the rest shouldn’t cost more than 10 million and probably quite a bit less.

  • August, 2009 update: Prices have increased on several of my recommended sets since this was written; but with some patience you should still be able to acquire everything for well under $30 million.

Why not use the Kinetic Combat set for the attacks?
Well, the reason for this is a simple one. At the time I’m writing this guide, there are two pieces of the Kinetic Combat set that are completely unavailable on the market. If that ever changes, then yes, the Kinetic Combat set is better than the Smashing Haymaker. But for now, I’m recommending what’s available.

  • August, 2009 update: These have started to become available on the market again, albeit at somewhat of a premium price. If you can get the Kinetic Combat sets they’ll be twice as effective as the Smashing Haymaker thus requiring fewer set bonuses.

Why not use Aegis instead of some of the Reactive Armor?
The reasoning here is simple. S/L defense will protect from most elemental attacks and pure elemental damage without a S/L component is extremely rare in the game. That being the case, I’d rather concentrate on the more common damage types. Additionally, the Reactive Armor set is considerably cheaper. If you’re taking Resist Elements in your build, then by all means slot Aegis there, as that makes 6 resist powers… you can only get the bonus from Reactive Armor 5 times.

Now that we have the IO’s we need, we need to put them somewhere. So, here are the powers you’ll need for this build:

  • Temporary Invulnerability – 4 Reactive Armor and the Steadfast Unique
  • Dull Pain – 3 recharge/3 heal or 5 of the Doctored Wounds set
  • Unyielding – 4 Reactive Armor
  • Taunt – full Perfect Zinger or full Mocking Beratement
  • Combat Jumping – 1 common defense or 2 Zephyr IO’s
  • Super Jump – 2 Zephyr IO’s
  • Invincibility – 3 common defense, 1 endred or, at level 47+ 3 Cytoskeleton Hamidon Origin enhancements. One common taunt if you have the slots.
  • Tough Hide – 3 common defense and it’s done
  • Resist Physical Damage – 4 Reactive Armor
  • Resist Energies – 4 Reactive Armor
  • Boxing _OR_ Kick
  • Tough – 4 Reactive Armor
  • Weave – 2-3 common defense, 1-2 endred
  • 3 single target attacks to slot the Smashing Haymaker set. You can finish out these attacks with the Acc/Dam and Dam/Recharge from Pounding Slugfest for an 8% regeneration bonus.

At this point you should have:
45% Smash/Lethal defense
40% Energy/Negative defense
30% Fire/Cold defense
20% Melee/Range defense (this covers most Psi damage)
13% Psi defense

Your resistances will be something like this:
Smash/Lethal – 90% capped
Energy/Negative – 30%
Fire/Cold – 17%

Very little damage will actually get past your defenses, and of what does very little will be Fire/Cold. This is the build I’ve been playing for the past several weeks and it’s nearly as durable as my Granite tankers.

My thanks to Local Man, Pep_Rally, Carnal, Rad_Avenger, and all the others who helped proofread and correct my mistakes. Thanks to issue 13, Invulnerability can once again be a great tanker.

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