Is Rath's Helix Tree Lacking?

(jafortune) #1

So I’m aware people have a problem with Dreadwind. And in many of the discussions brought up about it I see that people comment how his kit is lacking without Dreadwind. So I’m going to attempt to breakdown his Helix Tree in comparison to Phoebe’s, a character of similar range and playstyle who is generally considered balance, and see how much of each category of skill they both get. The categories being:
Direct Damage, any helix that directly or situationally increases the dps of a character or damage of their skills, Attack Damage/Damage increasing debuffs/Upgraded basic attack combos.
Indirect damage, any helix that makes it easier to deal damage or in some way alters damage, Shield penetration/Cool down reduction/Projectile Speed.
Survivability any helix that helps a character recover from, take, or avoid damage, Lifesteal/Shield Recharge/Speed Boosts.
Crowd Control, helix additions that apply debuffs like stun/slow/silence or strengthens their effect.
I will be ignoring Rank 10 in this calculation because it focuses with Dreadwind which is not part of the lacking kit problem. Although this was a bit tricky for Phoebe because Phasegate and many of its Helixes are far more flexible in application and improve potentially two or more of these categories. Points were distributed and rounded out for her. The same with Rath’s Smash AoE altering skills that go both in to Indirect Damage and Crowd Control.

Chara: Rath/Phoebe/
DirectD: 5/9/
Indirect: 6/5/
Survival: 6/5/
Crowd: 5/3/

So I think this shows the big issue. Having 80% more direct damage options is a huge increase between two assassins. And Rath innately has better survivability with his Siphon, but gets more survival and CC helix options. I also did a quick tabulation on Deande and would say she has 7-8 skills that in some way directly increase her damage output, still well above Rath’s 5.
More so, 2 of Phoebe’s damage options directly increase her Basic attack and 3 increase True Strike, her most available sources of damage, and 1 increases the damage of all her skills. Rath however has 3 skills that only boost the damage of Crossblade, and none that boost the damage of Catalytic Smash. Rath’s not only has less damage options, but they are more limited options.
While it can be difficult to add new options, expanding the scope of his current options should be fairly easy. Some suggestions would be Brutal Blades only boosts Crossblades damage but could also boost his Smash. Softened Target could make enemies more vulnerable to all damage or at least to Rath’s Basic attack. And Zealous Smash could also affect the cooldown of crossblade.
More complex ideas would be to have Swordsman’s Salve be replaced with something else entirely, maybe Attack Speed to increase his Direct Damage count by 1, as SS is rarely ever a justifiable helix in any build, giving up range healing with Crossblade and the healing performance of Dreadwind. It’d also be nice to see the phasing blades helix from the promotional site, allowing Crossblades to pass through a number of enemies and boosting his wave clear. I don’t think either of these options would make him substantially more complicated either, letting him retain his ‘easy’ descriptor while also boosting his combo potential.

(wisecarver) #2

I’m maxing Rath right now, over 400 hours in Story mode, have maxed many characters.
I’d make more of a comparison to Deande.
In the broad sense she is more survivable.
Rath can keep alive by dishing out damage but Deande does that great escape, which also benefits the team.
Thing is, when you are CC’ing with Rath it’s like you don’t see what you are fighting, very well.
I just joke for the most part that once you complete a charge you can then see what you killed.

So, all of that aside, is his Helix lacking? From what I see so far that isn’t the problem when playing him.

(jafortune) #3

Actually, Deande still offers more upgrades that boost her skill or basic attack damage output than Rath 7-8 as opposed to his 5. And has a passive that offers extra damage to boot. With half of them working on her basic fan combo or thrown fans.
Although I don’t play her much so I’m not sure how much weaker or stronger her basic melee attacks are compared to Rath’s to compensate for that, if she wants to greatly decrease her TTK she can. Much more so than Rath.

(Pelikins) #4

IMO Rath’s helix is pretty solid. It adds a considerable amount of damage and utility to Rath.

Personally I build Rath with heavy skill damage (plus a pair of boots) on gear and go for all the upgrades that improve X-blade. I also go for the spell vamp over the life steal.

By doing so I can chunk people at long range and slow them with X-blade, which really helps round Rath’s kit and also helps him contribute to his team in situations when an “all in” is not favorable. Skill damage also increases the damage of Deadwind which makes Rath an even more effective assassin and by going for the spell vamp he is basically impossible to remove with damage while he spins to win and he can also regain health off targets from range with X-blade.

I don’t think there is a single tier of the helix tree where I am disappointed about what I get building him this way…

(wisecarver) #5

I got him to level 15 and learned a lot about the best ways to use his Helix, ending up with this:

  1. L
  2. L
  3. L
  4. L
  5. R
  6. L
  7. R
  8. L
  9. L
  10. M

:sunny: PvE

(Magic is everything) #6

Might want to clarify that that’s a PvE build. I was confused for a moment with some of the decisions until I saw that you skipped the silence. (edit: fixed now :slight_smile: )

I guess I’ll start with the PvP build I run with.

Helix 1. Left: The slow is immensely more helpful than any of the other options. I know there are some people who can make the middle helix option work, but I personally find it to be the weakest option considering that you lose all your range on Catalytic Smash in addition to the loss of the head bouncing technique.

Helix 2. Right: It’s basically 50% bonus damage on crossblade. 60% shield pen in the middle helix is completely pointless, and the shield steal rarely becomes useful in PvP.

Helix 3. Right: More DPS, and double jump is literally useless with very niche exceptions.

Helix 4. Right: 3 second silence on Catalytic Smash. Nothing else really needs to be said.

Helix 5. Left: This may be one of the very few helix options where Rath truly has a choice (PvP wise). The only thing I’d say to actively avoid is the middle option because losing life steal on dreadwind is absolutely stupid. Either of the other two options work just fine, but I prefer the bonus life steal on skills for that burst healing with his ult.

Helix 6: Left: More range on E is pointless. Damage on crossblades is significantly better.

Helix 7: Right: This may be another where none of the options are objectively terrible compared to others. I’d say that 7/10 times the bonus damage will prove more useful, but each skill seems to be able to give actual worthwhile bonuses to Rath. The extra movement speed can help with Rath’s escape options as he has none outside his base movement speed, and Spin to Slow is an interesting option with my reasons for not using it being purely that I just haven’t bothered to give it a shot yet.

Helix 8: Right: Sniping an enemy Battleborn with Crossblade is like trying to catch an observant Caldarius with Alani’s Geyser while blinded. Needless to say, it’ll never happen. Cooldown is much better.

Helix 9: Left: Catalytic Smash rarely kills anything. Bonus damage on Crossblades is just better in nearly every way.

Helix 10: Left: The other options in PvP are nearly pointless. The movement speed allows you to combat quick melee more effectively in addition to keeping your ult on targets even while slowed. While the other options aren’t necessarily bad (and the overshield is actually incredible for advanced PvE), they simply cannot stand up to the ability to guarantee that your ult will stay on a target unless you’re hit with hard CC.

I’m gonna have to agree with Pelikins here and say that Rath’s helix grants him some pretty useful abilities. The silence is amazing, the level 1 slow is his best means of securing kills early on, and the bonus life steal can allow Rath to completely reset a fight by using his ult and getting 400 health back in an instant. I don’t think the good options of his helix are the real problem with Rath’s kit, his problem lies in a lack of choices.

Out of his 10 helix branches only 2 of them really gave him an option. Every other level had an objectively superior choice in nearly every regard. Double jump is pointless, more range on Catalytic Smash is pointless, shield pen on crossblade is pointless, etc.

Rath definitely needs a rework, but not in the way that some people seem to believe. His kit is not completely useless without dreadwind like many have claimed. In fact, I’ve found that head bouncing is a generally more effective way to get kills than the mindless spin2win that everyone complains about. If they nerf Dreadwind, I won’t mind. But at least fix the rest of his helix so Rath actually has options when leveling up.

(Ka-Klaw) #7

Rath’s Helixes are not bad but they are to simply put “that’s nice but already have (x positive trait enough)” like longer knockup reach or “x why do I need x?” for double jump because I think most places he would want to double jump to are still too high.