Attikus is melee damage incarnate. When properly built, he has the best DPS in the entire game because he can stack an almost unholy amount of attack speed and attack damage onto already impressively robust stats. However, he’s not as hard to kill as other melee characters and often requires a bit of babying or pocket healing from an allied healer in order to really demolish his opponents. You can build for more sustainability but expect it to come at the cost of a lot of your damage (which is a viable choice: you can’t kill stuff if you’re dead).
While Attikus doesn’t really have any numerical weaknesses (in fact, his hp is second only to Kelvin’s), he’s got a truly massive frame with a posture that makes it very easy for enemies to get crits (he hunches over so that his face/head are basically in line with his chest; enemies going for head shots are going to get body shots when they miss) and, by default, none of his skills give him any survivability.
Furthermore, most of his survivability comes from lifesteal, whether provided via his skills as helix choices or as passives granted by helix choices (he’s actually extremely anemic to begin; he doesn’t become a rampaging beast until mid-late game). Attikus needs to be killing things in order to keep himself alive and healthy. Thankfully, his entire kit encourages this playstyle. In PvE, this isn’t too bad because you’re supposed to be a rampaging beast of destruction; as long as you don’t charge headlong into the waiting arms of an Elite bot, you’ll do fine. In PvP, it can be very risky since you’re liable to overextend and, if you do it continually, you’ll end up feeding the other team, taking you out of the fight (and not getting the xp you need/want) and giving them points/xp.
For his abilities, things people probably don’t realize or should know from the start.
Attikus’ basic attack. He punches. It’s pretty straightforward. There isn’t much swing to his punches (unlike some melee characters that have very wide swings) but they do come in alternating from the left and right. His reach is pretty standard. When you have 5 charges in your passive, your fist will grow laser claws and get 25% shield penetration (while they have shield, you’ll deal 75% of your damage to the target’s shield and 25% to their hp; this doesn’t actually do much since few enemies have low enough hp that you’ll kill them before you would break their shield in the first place).
Alt-fire. When you’re not actively trying to punch someone’s brains in, keep this charging. The DPS on it is actually quite pathetic (since you have to charge it up for it to not suck), but it doesn’t slow you down while charging (you can still sprint, even) and can provide you with a nice initial blow to get you started. Using any of your skills interrupts the charge, however, so keep that in mind when initiating.
Passive. Whenever Attikus gets a kill, he collects a charge. When he’s got 5 charges, he’s “fully charged” (and can’t collect any more charges). While fully charged, he gets shield penetration on his basic attacks. In addition, using a skill while fully charged will consume all of the charges to provide you with some bonus effects. Keep this in mind when using skills: if you use a skill while fully charged, you’re going to lose all of your charges. There are also some helices later on that give you bonuses depending upon the number of charges you currently have. For those fighting alongside/against Attikus, there is a visual indicator for how many charges he has: there are a set of spikes/plates on Attikus’ arm that light up for every charge he currently has collected and his fist will grow laser claws when he is fully charged.
Skill 1. Pick a spot and Attikus will attempt to jump there. The damage is bad, considering how hard he hits stuff with his fists normally, and, when fully charged, it simply increases damage to shields. It’s more of a mobility and (in PvP) control power, due to it silencing nearby targets (NPCs basically ignore the silenced condition so it doesn’t really do anything). It’s useful as both an opening ability and an escape ability. The jump Attikus does is an arc, so it helps to learn what he can fit over/under/etc. He’s bigger than you think and will often get hung up on bits of terrain. In general, give yourself more space than you think you’ll need.
Skill 2. Provides Attikus with an 8 second buff that causes his basic, alt, and quick melee to apply a short DoT and debuff to targets. The wounding is only useful in PvP (NPCs don’t heal so reducing healing doesn’t do anything) but the additional damage can be nice. When fully charged, he throws the DoT/debuff to everything nearby, giving him some pretty decent AoE damage.
Ultimate. Significantly worse than it used to be (it used to juggle enemies instead of slow them) and, honestly, it can end up being pretty dangerous to use nowadays even if the damage across an area is impressive. Attikus slams the ground in front of him 10 times, creating a narrow shockwave that deals damage with each slam. If he is Fully Charged when he activates it, everything hit by the shockwaves is slowed down a lot (making them easier to hit with more shockwaves).Your movement speed is glacial and your model is bigger than normal due to Attikus spreading his arms so you’re an extremely easy target while this is taking place. Expect to take more damage than your used to while its taking place. Furthermore, it’s not really a “fast” ultimate: it takes roughly 8 seconds to complete all 10 slams. If you want to end it early, hit the activation button for it again and it should take you out of it.
[details=Level 1: Hedronic Siphoning v. Energetic Burst]
Hedronic Siphoning is the first bit of life steal that Attikus can get, but it’s an altogether pathetic quantity. Only the additional damage dealt by Hedronic Arc (at level 1, a 22 DPS DoT) counts for the life steal and only 15% of that minute quantity is returned to you as healing: that’s a pitiful 3 healing per second per target you’ve hit with it. Conversely, Energetic Burst deals damage as you at the start of Pounce, and Pounce isn’t really an ability that’s used because it deals a lot of damage. Neither helix is particularly good, and I find that I tend to need life steal more than I need more damage from Pounce so I generally opt for Hedronic Siphoning (there are options later that improve the damage and DPS for Hedronic Arc which makes this better, but it’s still really bad for life steal).[/details]
[details=Level 2: Staggering Pounce v. Invigorating Pounce v. Energetic Pounce]
Recommendation: (PvE) Invigorating Pounce; (PvP) Staggering Pounce or Invigorating Pounce
All three of these helix choices are nice, but Invigorating Pounce is just amazing. 30% life steal on all damage dealt for 8 seconds after you pounce give Attikus truly impressive self-healing. Staggering Pounce is good for PvP initiating since it means that you can prevent your enemies from escaping as you wail on them. Energeting Pounce seems like it would do a lot, but the shield recharge only applies while you’re in mid-air, and you’re only in mid-air for a little over a second. It’s more of a “flight” than a “fight” ability, to make sure you don’t die while you’re getting the hell out of a bad situation.[/details]
[details=Level 3: Brawler’s Boon v. Tenacity]
These are game changers for Attikus. Brawler’s Boon gives Attikus a constant source of life steal (a vast majority of his damage comes from his melee attacks) and will make him a much tougher customer. Conversely, Tenacity provides an obscene increase to his melee damage (stacks are refreshed when you gain a new one) and is the main reason why he can get absolutely ridiculous DPS. It’s a decision between survivability and damage. Personally, I always opt for Tenacity since I also take Invigorating Pounce and Hedronic Siphoning (and some later hp tools) to keep Attikus propped up, so that I can beat on targets with abandon.[/details]
[details=Level 4: Dampening Field v. Quickening Arc]
Recommendation: (PvE) Dampening Field; (PvP) Quickening Arc
In PvE, enemies don’t tend to move around like crazy, allowing you to get close and then beat on them at your leisure. Of course, they’ll also suicidally keep attacking even when it’s obvious they’re gonna die so decreasing their damage dealt is valuable. In PvP, enemies tend to avoid making things easy for you. As such, the increased move speed will allow you to stick to an opponent as they try to run (since they’ll also likely be sprinting away while you try and punch them). Dampening Field also has a place in PvP, but movement speed is paramount for a melee character (especially one that relies on hitting opponents to stay alive).[/details]
[details=Level 5: Hedronic Regeneration v. Charge Efficiency v. Hedronic Haste]
Recommendation: Hedronic Regeneration or Hedronic Haste
Hedronic Regeneration and Hedronic Haste are both useful but which is better depends upon what your team situation looks like. If I don’t have a reliable healer, I will opt for Hedronic Regeneration: 35 hp/sec when fully charged is extremely good, especially since it doesn’t require you to be in combat to benefit from it. If I do have a reliable healer, Hedronic Haste means faster recharging on skills, so I’ll be able to life steal more effectively while in combat, when it’s harder to get healed. I’m not fond of Charge Efficiency but it can be a viable choice for players that want to capitalize on the “fully charged” state (you have to kill 5 targets to get fully charged initially but, after that, you only ever need 1). I don’t see much value in it since the “fully charged” state doesn’t really provide massive boons benefits and it’s not hard to get in 5 kills anyways.[/details]
[details=Level 6: Disruptor Field v. Chain Breaker]
Both of these are junk choices. Hedronic Arc is not a major DPS powerhouse and not that many enemies have shields in the first place so increasing the damage it deals to shields isn’t that useful. Chain Breaker encourages you to use Pounce as a finishing blow on major enemies (i.e. players, bosses, and mini-bosses) when it doesn’t do particularly impressive damage to start with. For me, Hedronic Arc wins but not by much.[/details]
[details=Level 7: Unstoppable v. Skull Crusher v. Swift Strikes]
Recommendation: Unstoppable or Swift Strikes
First things first, Skull Crusher is a trap. If you want damage, Swift Strikes is explicitly better. The reason for this is simple: you can’t score crits on shielded targets and you need to actually score crits to see the DPS increase. 20% increased attack speed means 20% more crits, which means just as much over time as 20% increased damage per crit. Swift Strikes just also helps you out when you’re not getting crits. Unless Skull Crusher gets a pretty massive buff, it’s never worth it.
Now, the choice between Unstoppable and Swift Strikes is a pretty obvious parallel to the choice you made at level 3 between Brawler’s Boon and Tenacity: one is for survivability, one is for damage. I always take Swift Strikes mainly because 20% increase in attack speed is effectively a 20% increase in DPS while 360 additional hp is a 10-15% increase in TTK and, while not dying is valuable, if you don’t dip to that 360 additional hp ever, it’s not really doing you any good. However, there’s no such thing as “too much damage” (since making stuff die faster means you take less damage anyways). It also allows you to cram in more attacks during Invigorating Pounce’s life steal duration and Hedronic Arc.[/details]
[details=Level 8: Big Splash v. Power Pounce]
Recommendation: Big Splash
Bigger area on Pounce v. more damage. Pounce doesn’t do particularly impressive damage in the first place so increasing it isn’t going to do much. However, making the area larger means more enemies hit (which means that it deals more damage) as well as a higher chance of hitting (and damaging/silencing) a specific target.[/details]
[details=Level 9: Hedronic Chain v. Greased Lightning v. Aftershock]
Recommendation: (PvE) Any; (PvP) Greased Lightning or Aftershock
All 3 of these helix choices are good but for different purposes. Hedronic Chain gives you a budget variant of the fully charged version every time you use it. Since there are some nice debuffs/effects attached to Hedronic Arc, being able to hit a bunch of enemies with it every time has some appeal when you’re fighting a large number of enemies. Greased Lightning basically doubles the DPS that Hedronic Arc deals (Hedronic Arc DoTs don’t stack so each additional hit while it’s active just refreshes the effect); it makes it a better damage tool but a worse debuff tool. Aftershock does the inverse of Greased Lightning: it doesn’t really do anything to make it better at dealing damage (since the new applications will overright before they can get to the extended duration) but it ensures that the target will be debuffed for longer.[/details]
[details=Level 10: Wake of Devastation v. Payback Time v. Unstoppable Rampage]
Recommendation: Wake of Destruction
As I’ve said before when describing Hedronic Eruption, the ult makes Attikus extremely easy to kill because he’s slow and easy to hit while using it. Extending the duration on it with each kill is just increasing the likelihood that you’ll end up dying while using it (unless you end it early, at which point you wasted this helix choice since it’s all about making the ult last longer). Payback Time seems like it would be good but Hedronic Eruption is already risky; giving you better damage when you’re closer to death pushes it a bit too hard, especially when there’s an option that’s liable to give you even better damage without the risk. Which is why Wake of Destruction is friggin’ amazing: if you’re fully charged, enemies hit are heavily slowed which means that they’re gonna be standing in the damage patch for even longer. Each slam leaves behind a separate damage patch and they actually stack with each other (like other damage patches) so you’re going to be getting a lot of bonus damage out of this. You get great damage and it makes it even better area denial.[/details]
Attikus is a power house that simply loves throwing out damage. He’s beefy, but most of his capacity to soak damage comes from life steal. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.
(Attack Speed>Attack Damage>Critical Damage=Skill Damage>Cooldown>Shield Pen>Recoil=Reload)
Attack Speed is the king of attack stats for Attikus, largely because of Tenacity: faster attacks mean that you get to max Tenacity stacks faster, which is better DPS. It also helps for Hedronic Arc since the DoT/debuff is applied on a per attack basis, so high attack speed means that you’re applying it more often.
Attack Damage is a close second and, even though the values are higher, only loses out because of attack speed working better with Tenacity.
Critical Damage and Skill Damage are tied because Attikus is melee. Since he’s melee, it’s harder to get to opponent crit spots and they’re liable to keep moving away from them. Attikus isn’t really a skill damage character, outside of Hedronic Eruption, so it’s lower priority.
Cooldown isn’t really worth it from a damage perspective since, as previously stated, Attikus isn’t a skill damage character.
Shield pen is utterly rubbish. It’s only useful in PvP because most enemies in PvE don’t have shields (and no bosses have them; Rendain’s shield doesn’t care about shield pen). Still, it actually does something unlike recoil and reload and, if you’re fully charged, you’re getting 25% Shield Pen on your melee attacks, which makes it more viable than for other characters. It’s still not a good stat, though. Recoil and reload are only useful as penalties to take on gear since they do absolutely nothing to him.[/details]
(Damage Reduction>Max Health>Health Regen=Healing Received>Max Shield>Shield Recharge=Shield Regen<CC Duration)
Attikus has a lot of hp/shield and good damage recovery thanks to his life steal. As such, he crosses the threshold where DR is better for him than Max Health (3333 eHP). It also improves the comparative value of his existing regen and life steal by decreasing the amount of incoming damage that they act upon.
Max Health is still useful for all of the reasons that it’s always useful.
Health Regen and Healing Received are good for Attikus because he likes to keep fighting. He’s a long haul fighter that needs sustain as well as TTK. Keep in mind that Healing Received doesn’t affect his life steal or regeneration at all. It will only affect heals he gets from outside sources.
Max Shield falls to the wayside because +shield values are small and Attikus tends to stay in fights too long to allow his shield to recover much. The same is true for the other shield stats.
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.[/details]
(Move speed>Cooldown=Sprint speed>CC duration)
Move speed is useful in combat and out of combat and is increased by sprint speed. Cooldown means more Pounce availability but that’s all it provides. Sprint speed is only really useful outside of combat. CC duration reduces the duration of slows and stuns but is still absolutely terrible.[/details]
Getting shards helps you buy gear as well as construct buildables. Buildable reduction makes them way cheaper, however. Something to consider is that I only find these stats remotely useful in PvP. PvE gives you shards like candy; unless you’ve got someone who bogarts all of the shards, every mission should provide a surplus of shards even if you have a triple legendary loadout (like I do for pretty much everyone). In PvP, however, these are absolutely amazing and can actually be the foundation of an effective strategy.[/details]
Legendaries of Note:
[details=Gloves (attack damage)]
Pacifier (algorithm), Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel), Vow of Vengeance (renegade), Lenore’s Lament (jennerit), Hedronic Amplifier (lore)
There are a whole slew of awesome attack damage legendaries. Vow of Vengeance is the gold standard since it provides attack speed in addition to attack damage and syncs up with Tenacity for even more attack damage as you maul targets. Pacificer and Symbiotic Gauntlet are both good compromises for more survivability and damage.
Lenore’s Lament and Hedronic Amplifier might seem like good options, but they provide skill damage, which is not Attikus’ forte. Furthermore, the life steal on Lenore’s Lament only applies to non-Jennerit and only to health damage dealt (you don’t get life steal for smashing shields). Attikus also has pretty decent life steal naturally, so it’s not that necessary. Hedronic Amplifier gives you some slow on Hedronic Arc but it’s not really worth the inferior stats.[/details]
[details=Swords (attack speed)]
Vow of Zealous Fury (heliophage), Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr (sentinel), Culling Spike (jennerit)
VoZF is the gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks last an extremely long time and are easy to acquire, and it provides an excellent stat in addition to the attack speed. It’s kind of a to get, though, because Rendain drops it. And Rendain sucks (longest mission in the game and he’s the very last boss). SEoA is much easier to get and is almost as good: the stacks can be stacked faster if you’re in combat and quick about it; move speed is, in my book, worse than crit damage though, but that’s personal preference. Culling Spike is also worth mentioning since it brings attack damage along with the attack speed and augments your Jennerit allies a bit. The total attack speed provided makes it inferior to VoZF imo but it’s a legitimate choice.[/details]
[details=Goggles (critical damage)]
Heliophagic Goggles (heliophage)
If you can manage to get crits reliably as Attikus, this is worth it. You get attack speed to go with the critical damage and the special effect is quite nice. In PvE, a blind is basically a stun and, in PvP, it’s extremely disorienting to players.[/details]
[details=Pauldrons (damage reduction)]
Blissbeast Skull Plate (void’s edge)
Damage reduction and a nice chunk of regeneration. Gotta love it.[/details]
[details=Armor (max hp)]
Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestments (jennerit), Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter (upr)
Vigilance Link gives you 2 excellent survivability stats and makes your team more durable as well. Excellent for team players and more support minded people. Vampiric vestments will give you hp, more hp when you kill things, and more attack damage so that it’s easier to kill things. However, because you lose them when you die, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP since dying is relatively common (and melee characters tend to be easy to kill in PvP). Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter is one of the only 2 max hp pieces with DR on it, which will make Attikus incredibly tanky; it also has the capacity to double the max hp increase, as long as you don’t die.[/details]
[details=Batteries (max shield)]
One-4-All Shield Array (experiment), Modernista (saboteur)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a decent secondary stat. A good way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. One-4-All Shield Array gives you more shield, your allies more shield, and can stack up some shield penetration if you want to push a shield pen build.[/details]
[details=Boots (move speed)]
Boots of the Brute (saboteur)
I wouldn’t use them for PvE since you don’t need to slow enemies, but they’re useful in PvP since they let you keep up with enemy players exceptionally well.[/details]
[details=Spikes (shield penetration)]
Bunker Buster (algorithm)
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend shield penetration gear but Bunker Buster turns Shield Pen into bonus damage against shields. With Attikus’ natural 25% shield pen while fully charged, you can melt shields incredibly quickly. It’s not particularly effective in general, but it makes an effective gimmick anti-shield build.[/details]
[details=Pins (skill damage)]
Bola’s Target Finder (experiment)
The gold standard of skill damage legendaries. Attack speed (amazing) in addition to skill damage and a bonus effect that makes enemies take more damage after being damaged by your skills. This is the only skill damage item I would dream of using on Attikus since it gives a useful secondary and allows skills to augment his more important attack damage.[/details]
Vow of Zealous Fury, Vow of Vengeance, Blissbeast Skull Plate
A blend of everything: a lot of attack speed and attack damage coupled with a good bit of survivability in the form of DR and health regen.[/details]
Vow of Zealous Fury, Vow of Vengeance, Bola’s Target Finder
Trade out the DR and health regen for more skill damage, attack speed, and damage on targets hit by your skills. Since Attikus relies heavily on life steal, you can still survive pretty well with an extreme focus on damage.[/details]
Blissbeast Skull Plate, Vampiric Vestment, Pacifier
Blissbeast gives you DR and regen, VV gives you a lot of hp and a bit of damage, and Pacifier gives you a but of damage, some shield, and reduces the damage dealt by your opponents. Attack damage increases survivability due to life steal.[/details]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Boots of the Brute, Vow of Zealous Fury
A shard generator ensures that you can afford the other 2 legendaries, BotB makes sure you can stick to your opponents, and VoZF keeps you punching as much as possible. VoV is a viable option instead of the VoZF but you should keep BotB because it makes melee more viable.[/details]
[details=Fast Leveling PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Erratic Tempestian Cred-Stick (-reload), Boots of the Brute
Build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. BotB is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more. VoV/VoZF are also viable legendaries, but, as previously stated, BotB is almost requisite for PvP.[/details]