Full Breakdown of Kelvin's Hidden Shield & Permafrost

Kelvin is the only Eldrid with a shield. At a glance you wouldn’t think he has one, but it’s there, it’s simply degenerating constantly.

It has 300 capacity by default and you can actually overcome it’s constant degeneration by simply activating an item with [+Shield Regen Per Second]. This causes him to naturally regenerate his Shield after a short delay upon taking damage, just like every other character.

Items with [+___ While Shield Is Depleted] normally do not work on Eldrid with no shield (since the shield must exist in order to be considered “depleted”), they do work with Kelvin, because Kelvin has a Shield–all the time–even when it looks like he doesn’t. It’s just empty most of the time.

One other thing worth noting is that taking damage forces Kelvin’s Shield to degenerate by a base of 100 and there seems to be no way to prevent this.

The following video illustrates the effects of Permafrost–pay attention to what his Shield does when abilities are used:


Permafrost gives Kelvin about 100 Shield (level 1, scales per level–tooltip text is incorrect) temporarily every time he uses an ability.

  • note: for clarity, Permafrost activates when Sublimate ends, not when it begins.

The amount of Shield gained is not absolute, it’s relative to his Max Shield, being roughly 33% of it, meaning that increasing his Max Shield increases his Permafrost Shield.

The Shield gained from Permafrost will always degenerate unless his Shield is already at Maximum; as far as I have tested, no amount of [+Shield Regen] will stop Permafrost’s degen, but when his Shield is already at Maximum, no degeneration occurs due to Permafrost.

It’s also worth noting that after Permafrost is activated, his Shield will degenerate for the full amount, and regardless of the amount actually gained by Permafrost; for example, if his shield is already at 280 when Permafrost is activated, he will only gain 20 Shield from it before reaching his Max of 300 Shield. It will then immediately begin degenerating by 100 (level 1), not 20. All Shield Regen is apparently paused during Permafrost’s degen.

So how can we apply these mechanics in a practical way? It means that [+Shield Regen] and [+Max Shield Strength] items are more valuable for Kelvin than perhaps any other Battleborn, since he gains unique bonuses from these effects, which others do not.

Particularly, if you want to build him for survivability, I think it’s good to grab just one [+Shield Regen] effect for around +35 or +40 per second, and then stack as much [+Max Shield Strength] as possible, while using his Chomp and Ice Wall essentially on cooldown during combat in order to maintain maximum uptime on Permafrost (Sublimate being situational–you could use it on cooldown if you deem it safe, or keep it as an emergency escape).

It’s not the only viable way to gear him though. I think you can make a strong argument that things like [+ Skill Damage] are very strong due to the power of Chomp, [+ Attack Speed] may be strong if combined with Coldclock Helix choice, etc… it could easily be the case that Kelvin is already very tough to bring down, and that what he really needs is more burst damage.


Chomp would be skill damage, not attack damage.

Nice write up.

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Fixed it, thanks.

I’d been thinking about doing a more coherent write up of the effects of Permafrost and gear effects on it, but this is quite thorough and brought some stuff up that I still hadn’t noticed, like the fact that you are always stuck with the degenerating 100 points of shields.

Excellent work!


This is an excellent post, I’ve been looking for max stat +shield regen and +shield strength gear to annoy my enemies with a constant shield on Kelvin. Might even go as far as -shield recharge delay to keep it up as often as possible.

Interestingly, Kleese’s Energy Rifts charge Kelvin’s invisible shield though without +shield regen it degenerates of course. Great way to complete Klese’s lore challenge for recharging 50,000 points of ally shield, I did it in one PvE mission with an allied Kelvin.

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There’s still not all that much on Kelvin on the forums, really. I know I’d appreciate any wisdom you might have to offer on using Kelvin in various situations, dealing with different types of characters in pvp, interesting helix combos, etc. if you wanted to do something else instead.

This completely changed the hit and run tactic I use when I don’t have a dedicated support. You’re my hero.

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Yeah, I keep hearing people talk about how surprised they are that Kelvin is not as Tanky/durable as they thought, so they end up using him almost like an assassin.

The actual problem is he just isn’t as straightforward as people expect. He doesn’t have a Shield as a Secondary Weapon to soak damage like Gal or Boldur–you have to abuse his unique Shield mechanics for that.

I find him tons of fun because his style is super engaging. There is a lot of decision making and a plenty to do. Very creative design by Gearbox with Kelvin.

Having a ton of fun playing Kelvin backed up with my friend playing either Miko or Alani ( yay ! ), and I was unsure what to grab as my third piece of loadout. I use atk speed and +health, both with another layer of +health after 180 sec, making my Kelvin a damn, fine, big, bullet sponge. Hell, I can even taunt in the middle of a melee and stay alive.

Anyway, thanks for those tips. I was precisely wondering how that shield was working. Thought it was somewhat similar to Boldur’s overshield or something. Will try some shield gear… Now to find an item that gives both +max shield AND +shield regen… :smiley:

Nice I was just realizing all this about kelvins recently but didn’t know all the specifics. I did find out that without any +shield strength his permafrost starts at 95 and seems to add 7.5 per level. I’m also not sure what his natural regen (or degen) is but it’s pretty low as it can be overcome with a +28 shield recharge. As such, I think plasmite transducer is a good item on Kelvin.

if you get his level 5 helix for reduced damage when peremafrost is active and the +shield regen you get a damage reduction the whole time your shield is up I think.

if you get his level 5 helix for reduced damage when peremafrost is active and the +shield regen you get a damage reduction the whole time your shield is up I think.

That can’t be right…or intended if it is. Anyone?

Did some quick testing, not very reliable as I didn’t have someone on the other end of a private match and had to use bots damaging me, which is a bit hard to control.

Hit the Blue Ice upgrade and took it.

Had a Phoebe bot going against me, checked the damage on her primary attack, a single thrust took about 60 hp.

Activated a shield regen gear, let my shield regen, and again, 60 damage to my shields from a single thrust.

But the really weird thing was, I built up some permafrost shields, and let her hit me again. 60 damage to my shields.

There shouldn’t have been any variables, she never hit me with True Strike at any point, and these damage points all came within a minute of each other with the Phoebe following me around like a puppy until my shields were ready.

So my thought is this, though I will do more testing to confirm when I have someone to help me on the other end with more solid testing conditions: Blue Ice does not affect shields resulting from shield regen, and as a result, taking shield regen gear ruins the effect of the Blue Ice helix choice. I did the test for permafrost damage reduction AFTER I had already activated the shield regen gear, however, so the best way to confirm it would be to test damage reduction from Blue Ice before activating the shield regen gear, and then checking the damage again after activating it.

Hmm that would be quite weird and frankly a bit sad. Ironically I was asking about Blue Ice in another topic, or more specifically how Permafrost worked ( does its values vary to compensate for taking, say, Strong Wind ).

But now if using Shield Regen Gear could mess up Blue Ice, a whole new batch of maths should be considered : is it worth it then to have shield regen at all, when you loose something as powerful in a way as 30% damage reduction as often as every 4 sec ?

try waiting for full shield then activate chomp so permafrost activates

Alright, tested again. Used Oscar Mike this time.

Base damage is 27 with a single round. Took Blue Ice, checked permafrost shields to see what damage reduction I got, 19 damage per round. Activated shield regen gear, back to 27 damage. Depleted the regenerating shields, gained Permafrost shields, back down to 19 damage.

So I must have been misjudging the damage I was taking in my initial test to think the regenerating shield gear had a negative effect on Blue Ice proccing, as I said it was not a very easily controlled test when I first tried it.

Oh, I did some other testing too, and I actually have to point out that Liberty_Prime is mistaken on one point:

He’s absolutely correct about the way Permafrost works when your regenerating shield works when you activate Permafrost and you aren’t at full shields - you will degenerate 100 points of shields at base level, then begin regenerating them again.

However, with testing I’ve found that the initial impression is correct: Kelvin will continually lose shields in “combat” (meaning he has recently taken damage and his shield recharge delay has reset), regardless of whether or not he has activated Permafrost. Negative shield regen has no delay, it is always in effect, while the positive shield recharge gained from gear still has the shield recharge delay before it kicks in and gives us a net positive shield recharge.

Yeah that’s true, there is some forced degen that happens when getting hit for some reason, I’ll fix that.

Seems like the most relevant topic for it, so I thought I’d make a post about the approaching influx of characters gaining the Wound debuff in a major update to the game.

Wound causes a character to suffer a 60% reduction of all sources of healing for the duration of the debuff. This includes normal healing, lifesteal, and even life regen. I have yet to hear anything stating it affects abilities granting shields, so Kleese and Reyna have the benefit of providing damage ablation that cannot be affected by Wound.

Similarly, our friend Kelvin has the luxury of damage ablation via shield generation. While he can be built for strong regeneration and a decent amount of lifesteal as well, those builds will be impacted by Wound debuffs, and shield focused builds will not.

Food for thought.

Good thing I’ve had my 550 shield build saved for a while lol. I’m more anxious to see the sublimate change… was there ever anything specific said about it? I missed the stream so trying to find bits and pieces on these forums

The overshield wouldn’t, presumably, but both her shield and health helices are healing.