I prefer Poison Cloud at level 1. Cobra Strike can be off-putting during Miasma/Injection spam, and since the lunge itself has a narrower hitbox than the actual attack it’s easy to miscalculate and fly straight passed a target while circle-strafing. But my main reason is wave clear, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be in and out of lane hitting whole minion waves with Injection then popping smoke inbetween kills and base clearing, you can kill minions and enemy BB who are attempting to wave clear simultaneously with this combo as Injection has that wide hitbox. It’s also great to drop smoke on a turret when you’ve been discovered clearing the enemy base knowing it’ll finish the job for you or being able to cloak and move on to the next thing earlier.
At level 5 I prefer Cloak and Cover for escapes but that choice is both situational and personal preference. If the opposing team has a lot of reveals and they’re seeking me out, I’ll take Escape Plan for panic moments.
At level 8 I take Acidic Blast for much the same reasons as Poison Cloud, I find From the Shadows counter-productive as you want to be smoking out not in, but it does synergise well with Escape Plan
For gear I run VoZF for so many reasons, but mainly because of the unique effect. During Miasma you’re spamming Injection which means you’re proccing the VoZF insanely, and faster attack speed means more activation of Relentless Strike as well as removing that irritatingly slow final strike of his combo earlier.
And the Bola’s Target Finder, more skill damage means more damage from Injection spam during Miasma, and also increases the damage from Savage Cut, and debuffing an enemy to take more damage after a skill means subsequent strikes of Injection during Miasma deal even more damage. It even buffs the DoT damage from Smoke Bomb both from the skill damage increase and the debuff, meaning even more reason to take Poison Cloud and Acidic Blast
And of course either a 0 cost shard generator or wrench. I think using three legendaries is reckless and selfish, sorry but that’s my opinion. Pendles is the prime shard gatherer, but to have all those shards and use them only on yourself is contrary to a team-oriented game. Building means earlier leveling but it also means assisting your team by putting up turrets which both strengthen your position and prevent the enemy from building, assuming you can defend them, as well as being able to drop back and repair lost nodes in base. As soon as I hit level 5, the gear goes up, but buildables should always be priority if you’re the one gathering shards on your team. Plus, a shard generator means faster activation of your legendaries, Pendles functions best as an early-mid game sweeper so getting him leveled early is crucial and he’s by far the easiest character to level. Wave clearing will only level him even faster.