Whenever I see other people play the Whiskey or read guides about him, he’s always played and/or built as a hybrid skirmisher/sniper. However, my sniper game is absolutely horrid and even though I love our friendly neighborhood failed clone I could not make him work with the steps that those guides provided. So I started experimenting a bit and putting together a build that pushes him more into the skirmisher/brawler style over the sniper.
If you love consistent, never ending pressure and the feeling of shanking anyone that comes too close this just might be the build for you!
There are two things that this build revolves around: moving and shooting. Sounds dumb, but this is more true than any other character/build I’ve played so far. Your primary job is damage support and suppression, and as such you should always have bullets flying everywhere. It doesn’t matter if your enemies are hiding around a corner, as you want them to stay there where they can’t affect the lane or your allies. And few things do that better than a constant stream of bullets to the face the moment they peek out. Of course, it’s always better if you actually hit them (whether or not that is in the face) but leave the killing for the Assassin/Pusher, with you just complimenting their output.
Because the idea is to always be spewing bullet after bullet, enemies (especially snipers) tend to try and get rid of you. And this is where the ‘always be moving’ part comes from. You’d be surprised how easy it is to dodge shots and skills when you’re constantly moving and never in a straight line. Do stay aware of your surroundings though, as a wild Rath/Phoebe/El Dragon can appear out of nowhere and start punching your butt into paste. However, if you catch them in time and drop a slow on them they’ll usually bail before even touching you.
It’s important to note that this is not a killer build. It’s meant to create and maintain space for your team, supporting them and making their jobs easier. It’s the build you go for when the Assassin/Healer/Pusher/Tank roles have been filled, as he can temporarily take over for any of them (except Healer of course) but will never be as effective as them.
Quick Melee, a.k.a. THE SHANK
While technically not a skill, it is an essential part of playing Whiskey, especially with this build. Besides the fact that it knock back it also does a whopping 130 base damage! This gives it amazing offensive and defensive capabilities and allows you to take some ‘riskier’ Helix choices that wouldn’t be feasible otherwise.
As you are not the team’s primary carry (damage dealer) Combat Rhythm takes a bit of a step back and only comes into play after hitting level 5 and you unlock Killer Regen. Don’t forget about it though. You can use it as a surprise boost after hitting an enemy a couple of times and they start to think they can face tank your damage easily. This often leads to either a kill or them being forced back to base.
Your primary zoning skill, bread and butter and all that jazz. Most players are very familiar with the glowing indicator of the Sticky and will avoid the area like the plague. Stick it on walls, ceilings, floors, any place you want your enemy not to be for a couple of seconds. It’s also both your safety and setup with the slow attached to it early on.
The Scrap Cannon has gotten extremely strong ever since the rebalance patch, and an essential part of your supporting duties. With a bit of experience and Scrap Bank at level 2 you can keep someone wounded for 12 seconds straight. Even with the relatively high time to kill in Battleborn this is an eternity. And with proper alignment you can spread this out over multiple targets, increasing the pressure even more.
Instant pressure in a can, Overdrive is your ‘surprise mutha-thumper’. Anytime you need to push people away from a location NOW, start spraying away. While it can be used to secure kills that threaten to get away, it’s primary purpose in this build is to zone. If none of the bullets hit but the enemy’s fled behind a corner, it is an ultimate well spent.
Your selection of what gear to take affects some of your helix choices, especially in regards to some of the legendary options. A number of rarely used legendaries do find a great place within this build and tweak the required playstyle a little bit, giving it some flexibility with regards to the gear in your possession and personal preference.
The single most important stat for this build. Whiskey’s reload speed is abysmal and you want to be firing pretty much all the time. Having his lore legendary Galahdric Gun Grease is by far the best option as it makes him do what he does best even better: shoot lots and lots of bullets. If lacking this, a max roll Reload Speed and an epic with Reload Speed as a secondary stat are decent substitutions, though the 33% that Gun grease provides is a lot more powerful in every case.
Shards per Second
Not only does the loadout require a lot of shards to activate, you’ll be lacking in experience as you will mostly get just assist experience, which is significantly lower than the actual kill xp. A shard generator provides you with the means to build turrets and elite bots, supporting your team while gaining xp at the same time. Try to leave the Shock Turrets for a carry that needs to level quickly, as those give the greatest xp per shard. Your job should be all the other things that provide a presence in base and lane.
[details=All-4-One Morale Booster]
- +14% Healing Received
- -2.80% Damage Reduction
- Grant 9.80% Healing Received to nearby allies. Does not stack
A slightly different approach, the Morale Booster allows you to function as a strange sort of healer. Proccing Killer Regen over and over again grants a steady supply of health to your allies, which is further reinforced if any healer targets you. [/details]
[details=Bola’s Target Finder]
- +9.10% Skill Damage
- +5.04% Attack Speed
- Damaging enemies with Skills increases damage dealt to them by 5.60% for 10 seconds
This makes Scrap Cannon an absolute monster, both reducing heals with the inherent wound and increasing damage with BTF. Sticking a Napalm grenade to an enemy drags this effect out even longer, as the timer is reset with every tick of damage.[/details]
- -1.05 Second Shield Recharge Delay
- +5.46% Skill Damage
- Gain 12.60% Attack Speed for 5 seconds when your shield depletes after a full charge
Both damage and a little survivability in one package, the Doomsday Key allows for quick swing plays and makes it a little more rewarding to be a little more up front with the tank. Not to mention the fact that it’s a life saver when you’re attacked by a melee character and struggling to get them off of you. [/details]
- +9.10 Attack Damage
- +98 Maximum Shield Strength
- Damaging enemies lowers their Attack Damage by 10% for 5 seconds
The 10% Attack Damage debuff doesn’t sound like much, but works wonders against Assassins that need their target to die in a certain amount of time before they need to run to survive themselves. It also works extremely well against pushers that require on their standard attacks to clear the wave.[/details]
[details=Oath of the Sustained]
- +7 Health Regeneration per second
- +5.46% Attack Damage
- 2.80% of damage dealt to enemy health is returned to allies as healing
More of a sustain option, OotS is a good source of supplementary healing. While your damage output will not be crazy high, it is consistent and if done right can give your entire team a proxy Eldrid regen effect. [/details]
[details=Shield Web Interdictor]
- +9.10% Skill Damage
- +98 Maximum Shield Strength
- Skill hits prevent enemies’ shields from recharging for 8 seconds
As if Scrap Cannon wasn’t annoying enough already, SWI makes it even worse as it allows your enemy to be vulnerable just a little bit longer. Blocking off paths with Napalm also makes them more vulnerable for snipers especially as their crit spot will be exposed for longer.[/details]
- +280 Maximum Health
- +5.46% Attack Damage
- Killing a major enemy stacks +28 Maximum Health until death. Max 10 stacks
The tankiest option in the list, Vampiric Vestment makes you a lot more survivable in fights and makes it easier to fill in as an off tank. Important thing to note is that Thralls and Elite bots also count as major enemies, so you can use those to gather the necessary stacks[/details]
Of course not everyone has access to a full bank of legendaries and need to make do with other rarities. Here are the stats to keep an eye out for:
Shorter cooldowns mean more grenades and more Scrap Cannon shots. Especially the last one is important as the chance is relatively big that you’re the team’s source of wound.
Maximum Shield Strength
I prefer Shield Strength over health because of Killer Regen. A lower health total means Killer Regen is a little more effective on a percentage basis, requiring you to get less kills to get back to full health. Maximum Health becomes better as soon as you play with a dedicated healer, but that cannot be guaranteed in PUGs.
Moar bullets moar quick. Nothing to add there.
This is the default helix build with the choices based on a loadout consisting of Galahadric Gun Grease, The Pacifier and a Sketchy “Easy Money” (+2.10 Bonus Shards per Second // -14% Heal Power).
I will point out where you should make different choices when using one of the other suggested legendaries.
Level 1: Weighed Down (left)
Hands down the best option of the three. It gives you a slow to setup your team or an escape when placed on an Assassin and Shanked back with a quick melee. Shield Scrapper is too situational and Flak Off is easily replaced by the quick melee as its only purpose is to get characters away from you. Using Flak Off as a setup is hit or miss at best or requires you to circle around the enemy, which is risky with Whiskey’s lack of mobility.
Level 2: Scrap Bank (right)
Again a no brainer. You want to use Scrap Cannon to wound enemies as much and for as long as possible and Scrap Bank can stretch the wound out for a whopping 12 seconds! Swiss Cheese is an Assassin option and that is not the goal of this build.
Level 3: Red Dot Sight (left)
This is a mid- to close range build that requires you to be moving all the time while firing. Removing the move penalty while aiming is just too good to pass up. Scoped Up is purely for long range and will hinder your effectiveness.
Level 4: Sticky MIRV (mutation)
This choice is entirely based on the fact that the loadout runs The Pacifier, which is more effective when continuously firing. The launch animation for Sticky MIRV is significantly shorter than that of Triple Threat while still allowing for a good spread of Napalm in two levels.
If you’re running Bola’s target Finder or Shield Web Interdictor in your setup, Triple Threat is better because it offers more control over the direction of your grenades.
Level 5: Killer Regen (mutation)
By far the safest of the three, Killer Regen boosts your survivability by an insane amount, almost cutting out the healer completely. However, both Reload Burst and Speed Burst are good situational options if you’re playing with a competent healer you can trust. Reload Burst can make your reload speed ridiculous when paired with Galahadric Gun Grease, while Speed Burst gives you the mobility to play more aggressively and reposition yourself quickly mid-fight.
If you’re running Oath of the Sustained choosing Reload Burst might be a better option as it slightly increases your DPS and thus the healing you’re providing for the team.
The health increase from Vampiric Vestment slightly reduces the effectiveness of Killer Regen as each proc heals a lower percentage of your total health. If you have a dedicated healer in your team, Speed Burst might be a better option to quickly reposition yourself.
The opposite is true if you’re rocking the All-4-One Morale Booster, as that needs the healing from Killer Regen to function as intended.
Level 6: Napalm (mutation)
Surprise, surprise. Without a doubt one of the best options in Whiskey’s Helix and an insta-pick every time, regardless of build or purpose. If not yet unlocked, Sticky Speed allows you to land the slows more easily and realiably.
Level 7: When Three Just Isn’t Enough (right)
This one is just personal preference, as both When Three Just Isn’t Enough and Duct-taped Mags are viable options. I’d recommend Duct-taped Mags if you don’t have Galahadric Gun grease unlocked yet, as every bit of reload speed helps. Shield Pen is extremely situational and there are better options later on to deal with shielded enemies.
Level 8: Spread Shot (left)
MOAR FLAK! Kidding aside, more flak means a greater chance of applying wound to multiple enemies in one shot, providing a bigger swing in the team fight. Long-Distance Flak isn’t as useful as you’ll be pretty close to the fight, so the extra range will go to waste.
Level 9: Swift Stickies (left)
More Sticky Grenades equals more slows, more procs of skill based items like Bola’s Target Finder and is overall just the preferred option. Damage isn’t your priority so the increased damage from Stronger Stickies isn’t as effective.
Level 10: depends!
The default choice here is Overdrive, because it is simply more flexible. However, the moment you are facing a Reyna, Kleese, Boldur or Shamrox What Shields is far more valuable as it negates their survivability completely.
If there are any questions or things I’ve missed, let me know and I’ll amend the guide asap.
I hope you guys enjoy this build and try to run a different approach to the man we all wish to see Tango.