Chill Bruh, He's still a good character (A Kelvin PvP Guide)

So it’s no surprise that Kelvin is probably the least picked Tanks and one of the few picked characters in the game right now since the nerf, and people feel that he is not as good as the other tanks. Well I’m here to right this guide to give another “THAT’S NOT TRUE” like always, but this guide is to help inspiring Kelvin’s to do better with the char with a series of helpful tips to give the ice golem some wrecking.

Ok so first I’ll start with his idea

Kelvin is what I like to call a control tank, being able to control an area while teammates are either around him or providing support to him as he moves/controls the target area. He has three ways of doing this, His Sublimate, Chomp, and Ice Wall Ult. Outside of these uses he can get the biggest health pool in the game and receive an insane amount of health regeneration. Out of the two control tanks in this game (Attikus and Kelvin) Kelvin and perform his job with more sustainment than Attikus, who’s more of a brawler in the same department and pinpoints a target/targets to try and remove them from the area. While Attikus can do more damage overall, Kelvin has the better sustainment and options to lock characters down.

I won’t put Kelvin on a tier list persay, but I will give the characters he are good against and characters he are bad against. When you are about to engage with these characters know rather or not you have an advantage or disadvantage

Characters Kelvin are strong against (Can approach with minimal danger): Ambra, Deande, Miko, Melka, Pendles, Oscar Mike, El Dragon, Reyna, Shayne & Aurox, Orendi, Phoeboe
Characters Kelvin are weak against (Approach with caution): Montana, Benedict, Marquis, Kleese, Galilea, Ghalt, Caldarius
Characters Kelvin are neutral with (Approach to your accord): Thorn, Whiskey Foxtrot, Attikus, Boldur, Alani, Isic, another Kelvin, Melka

Now I move on to gear (Pics included)

Now I’ll start with pics of gear that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND (In no particular order other than the first) when using Kelvin as they will give you extremely well success with him. They compliment him in such a way that while seeming a little more benign with other characters, have him flourish. Here they are:

Get this, get this, GET THIS! This, in my opinion, is the best tanking piece of gear for Kelvin (Even better than his legendary!). At first glance you’d think it’s not good, but seeing as Kelvin has a shield just -20 Sheild recharge rate this is the perfect gift. On top of Health regeneration this piece of gear removes his -20 recharge shield rate, effectively having Kelvin be able to charge shield. In a since this piece of gear alone can give him the effect of getting +13 Health recovery a second once the shield recharge kicks in. And if you are engaged running both lanes, building infrastructures, or just running the field it is amazing. It also kicks in the damage reduction at level 5 while you are in permafrost. Just an amazing piece of gear overall.

This imo is the best damage dealing piece of gear for Kelvin. While the shield damage isn’t added to bite the shield penetration is, giving you more damage to unload with each bite. It also gives health regeneration to boot so you can stay in the fray chomping people

I’m not a fan of running Attack Speed with Kelvin as majority of his damage comes from chomp, but if you just have to get your attack speed fix this would be the one. Seeing as Kelvin benefits greatly from Movement speed this piece of gear on top of of the attack speed is great for him. It can help with minion clears very well and give you a little buffer to get to the next area or controlling an area.

Don’t feel like running legendaries? Then get you one of these. This, combined with Kelvin’s legendary and Right Helix choice at level 5 can give kelvin up to 43% damage reduction when shields are active! Not bad, not bad at all.

Despite it’s secondary stat not doing much for you, the sprint speed and health globes will. When trying to control an area this will keep you sustained for a long time and seeing as you can chomp while dashing the effect can be extremely beneficial. You can think of it as +20 health regeneration while sprinting for 10 seconds (small health globes give you 200 or so)

Combined with Nano Repair injector this piece of gear is amazing. I haven’t had a chance to test it without it, but this will basically give you an +490 HP once you are control tanking. Combined with a Miko or strong health regenration this piece of gear will feel OP. This is recommended if you are going for a low shard build or do not have Kelvin’s legendary unlocked yet.

These are for those who don’t run viridian root tea cause they either don’t have it or don’t wanna have the extreme shard costs. These will give you the same effect just without the health if you continue to dash. These however, give you more control power as when you are using your alternate ground pound you will be able to cover and area faster.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, but boots of the brute also works really well when going for the slow chop to increase damage, I hardly use that unless I know I have another Tank on my team and I can focus a little more on damage.

Ok now that gear is out the way let’s talk about execution.

When you are playing PvP there’s one thing you need to think about over all else, CHOMP! Chomp everything, Chomp Minions, Chomp enemies, chomp turrets, chomp the air, CHOMP…EVERYTHINGGGGG!

His chomp is probably the best solo skill in the game, it can do insane amounts of damage (I’ve chomped players for 600+ damage) it activates a shield boost (can increase if your chomp damage increase with a mutation choice!), and can be used every 5 seconds, EVERY 5 SECONDS! You can also sprint while holding the chomp giving you the chance to get a successful chomp. Killing enemies with chomp also increase your health pool, so with the right gear and shield penetration, you can chomp unsuspecting players to death!

Other than chomping everything you want to control a given area with sublimate, and ground pound (his alternate attack) Stunning and body blocking an opponenet with ground pound is an extremetly good tactic once a teammate is in the area. The ground pound is a good wave clear too, BUT IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE FOR SOLO ENGAGEMENTS AS HIS MAIN MELEE ATTACK. I never understand why Kelvins use that, ground pounding a turret will not have you take it down faster.

It is wise when control tanking to build as much health regeneration as possible. Seeing that Kelvin is wide character he can get hit by a fairly wide range of attacks so in order to sustain stack as much health regeneration as possible. Helix choices and gear can really help with this. Staying engaged and soaking up damage for the team as long as possible before having to sublimate out is the idea (in the cases that you cannot get a successful sublimate into a KO) while chomping in the process and move consistently. Kelvin’s Legendary really helps with this.

Ok now we come up to the fun part, helix choices. I recommend these helix choices over all others and what I’ve seen to have given the most success in PvP

Level 1 Left helix (+ 7 Health Regeneration) - This is a must if you want to stay engaged, this is a must in almost every case unless you going for more damage with Chomp, which isn’t much more or isn’t worth the loss of the +7 health regeneration

Level 2 Mutation (Additional Chomp based of HP) - This, is just amazing. Seeing as Kelvin can get a huge HP pool you can successfully increase his base chomp damage up to 200%+ depending on how long the match is.

Level 3 Left Helix (Speed increases the longer you in sublimate) - This helix choice is amazing late game and is much better than using slow in terms of controlling opponents (seeing as slow has now gotten nerfed and you cannot distrupt ults with it).

Level 4 Mutation (Chomp damage gives Kelvin 30% shield) - Now unless you have boots of the brute or another character than can put apply slow on your opponent it’s highly recommended to go with the shield buffer on chomp damage. Towards the end of the game you can get 60% of your shield back from one chomp, which is insane for the level 5 damage reduction helix choice

Level 5 Right helix (Damage reduction while permafrost is active) - This is just amazing when you combine it with Bite increase shield and some form of shield regeneration. You basically have 30% damage reduction as long as shields are active (at least it feels that way) and damage taken is significantly reduced. Combine that with some damage reduction gear and health regeneration and you will never die in a 1v1 encounter (outside of getting stunned that is).

Level 6 Varies (both are really good) I tend to cop out to the left choice more often than not due to the nerf so I just want health regeneration to hurry and get back into the fight but the right helix choice is still good for incursion or players with multiple stuns if you just sublimated. If I were to break it down, left if you want to get back in the fight sooner and right if you want to stay in fights longer.

Level 7 Mutation (150 health upon killing/assist killing a player) The health regeneration is really good don’t get me wrong and you will receive more in the long run if you have a dedicated healer, but seeing as you are a tank you want to stay as engaged as possible and kills/assists will give you that burst needed to stay active. I have often found myself in a sticky situation where I sublimated an opponent and got the assist or double assist and received an 540 health bonus in 6 seconds being able to have almost full health by the time opponents were coming back from respawns or engaging. Or you could be like me half the time in meltdown and recieve no assistance until you almost kill an opponent. You even get the health from buildables and just marking a target, very very good.

Level 8 Left Helix (21 Health regeneration) - seeing as I can get up to 3 seconds additional or just sublimate away, that extra 21 a second is a really good buffer for escaping. Pair that up with a double bite from my legendary and there’s almost no situation I can’t escape with Kelvin. This one to me feels like a no brainer since the nerf.

Level 9 Right helix (More health damage on chomp) - Usually by this time the amount of health I got from chomp is more than sufficient enough to tank so I try to max out it’s damage. I will admit chomping every 4 seconds is crucial, but I want to be able to chomp players and have them feel hurt to help with my tanking, so the squishy’s can feel the damage that the tanks have been feeling.

Level 10 Really haven’t seen much a difference - This one varies, depending on stage I am on. On Almost every meltdown stage the bigger wall have seemed more suffiecient, completely blocking off players who commited to going for the minion push. In Incursion, however, I’ve found the slow more beneficial as they usually have multiple ways of escaping the wall reguardless of the circumstances. The reduction is also good, but there’s to few inbetween where I have had to consistently use the icewall, but that may change.

And all of this would not be complete without a video of this setup in action (up until the end of the match anyways) so you can watch that here:

Hopes this helps you guys that are interested in Kelvin.


Just started playing as kelvin last night. I had found out that chomping inbetween fights is the single most importatnt thing you can do because of the shield bonus you get. I didn’t know that increasing his shield recharge can negate the decay, thank you!

I like Bola’s target finder for him since it increases his chomp damage, attack speed and increases his basic attack damage as well (along with chomps damage on a second use and your allies damage). With his short cooldown it is a very good damage gear for him.

Hey, nice to see another Kelvin guide.

I’d like to clear up some misconceptions you have about how Kelvin’s skills, helixes, and shields work.

First though, I just want to double check on this, as back when I was testing removing Kelvin’s shield recharge, I wasn’t seeing results until the gear I activated had around 34 shield regen per second. If it’s as low as 20, that’s good information to have. Moving on…

Unfortunately these are untrue. Kelvin’s shields operate in two states - Permafrost or no Permafrost. If Kelvin is currently degenerating the shields gained from Permafrost (even with positive shield regen, he can never keep the shields gained from Permafrost, they will always disappear), he gains damage reduction from Blue Ice. If Kelvin simply has a shield from regenerating it with the assistance of gear (or from an overshield), he does not get the damage reduction.

Another misconception due to slightly wonky wording on Gearbox’s part. Sawtooth does not directly increase Chomp damage universally, it increases Chomp damage against targets whose max health would mean Chomp hits the 500 damage cap for that portion of the damage calculation. Sawtooth increases that maximum health limit by 15%, meaning Kelvin will deal up to 75 additional damage to those targets. Compared to increasing Chomp frequency by 20%, this is paltry.

Aside from those, a few other thoughts:

I admit you’ve got me curious about building shield penetration on Kelvin for using Chomp. It’s something I hadn’t thought about before, mostly because I assumed shield penetration only affects basic attacks and not skills (I’ve never tried testing it).

The Sportsman’s Haute-Couture Kevlar is an odd choice especially since you recommend the Nano Repair Injector along with it - you’ll be in a fluctuating state of +280/+490 hp throughout every encounter as you use your skills to regain the shield that just got shot away.

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I think a patch made it so Kelvin does not gain shield item benefits anymore, so you wont gain the bonus HP from “not having a shield”. Havnt tested it but i always ran with an item like that in the past.

He still benefits I tried it

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Interesting, i wonder what they meant by "Kelvin no longer received conditional effects that activate on shield depletion by default"
I wonder if that exploding-shield legendary works on him too

Yup I was quite happy, also the helix choice ice vii and blue ice are just a matter taste don’t you think, I go with blue ice though

Even if the changes to Kelvin did make him less useful it’s not like the developers would leave him like that. They’ll test out the changes and analyze the data. They’ll come up with other ways of making adjustments to him that are not just number tweaks. Like changing how a power works so it’s no longer a broken/overpowered/opverperforming ability but is now useful again. Or adding new abilities to already exisitng powers. If a numbers tweak doesn’t work they’ll try something new. Gearbox is very creative, passionate and dedicated and they’re not about to leave one of their characters sitting in the dust. They love these characters as much as you guys do. But kudos to the OP for finding interesting ways of making them viable in their current form.


How are you neutral vs Whiskey Foxtrot the tank killer?

How exactly do you not get gunned down for free by his ultimate?

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Well to be honest (and this is from someone who plays him) whiskey can have trouble with melee even if he took the slow on nades or push back on scrap cannon, I personally am careful around melees as whiskey and have an easy time taking him down as one, and kelvin can just sublimate to get out of it

Yea it doesn’t give extra damage to bite, which is why I said the squishies can feel the damage that the tanks take (meaning that they will take additional damage like high hp characters). Of course it’s not a full amount but it’s more which is why I go for that option. The shield Penetration works for bite, I tested it on Ambra and killed her during her Overshield. I was so hype.

The Haute-Couture Kevlar I recommended due to the speed of shields being taken away for Kelvin. With a dedicated healer it’s really good, being able to bite for higher damage way more often with an extra 480 buffer. It’s a nice substitute for his legendary imo and I had amazing results with it, pushing me up to the 4k in PvP often around endgame to get those insane chomp damages. I believe with the update that you get that extra 210 hp has health once it kicks in but I haven’t tested that portion yet.

And awwwz, I could’ve sword I was taking less damage with the shield as long as sublimate is up. I might have to reword my guide then and recommend it once you get his legendary, cause that 260 or so buffer every 5 seconds is nice.

In the Kevin/Whiskey Match up it basically boils down to one thing, who gets the drop on the other first.

If Whiskey is flanked by kelvin he’ll be dead by the time overdrive and abilities take him out due to his high hp pool (I’ve eated almost a full Overdrive from whiskey and survived). Whiskey, however, has the advantage when sticky has caught him off guard (if you have slow sticky and stick and sap) making whiskey safely unload on him. In a face to face encoutner it boils down to the location, open area whiskey, closed quarters kelvin. This is why I gave them about the same rating when against each other.

Nah man, you’re still misunderstanding.

A character with 1500 HP would give you 225 damage added to the rest of the damage calculation for Chomp, with or without Sawtooth, because 15% of their maximum health doesn’t hit the maximum cap that Sawtooth increases.

Sawtooth will only affect the damage on targets with roughly 3400 HP or more, because 15% of their maximum health is more than 500, the maximum cap before Sawtooth raises it to 575.

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Ahhhh ok i get it now. So basically bosses or other kelvins

Pretty much. It’s one of those helix choices where you look at it and go, “Ok but why?” and then auto pick the opposite every time.