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.