Benedict is a glass cannon, which makes sense considering he’s a flying bird (hollow bones) with a rocket launcher (massive ranged weapon). He’s got minimal hp (the lowest of the UPR characters and only 153 more than the lowest hp character, Orendi) and minimal increased survivability via helices (only 1 helix choice, in fact), but he’s got absolutely incredible damage and amazing vertical mobility. His projectile speed is so slow that it’s almost glacial, his ammo pool is tiny, and his reload speed is also painfully slow (he reloads one round at a time rather than all at once).
An important consideration for Benedict is that, with the exception of his quick melee (which you shouldn’t be using that often), Benedict is incapable of scoring crits. His basic attack, his Hawkeye skill, and his ultimate are all explosive. As such, they can’t score crits but, by that same token, they ignore carried shields (like Brutes and Boldur) and are capable of injuring multiple enemies are once. In PvP, this is quite the boon, since scoring crits isn’t particularly easy given players’ predilection towards bouncing around like crazy (that and crits only do 50% additional damage instead of 200% additional damage; also, you can’t score a crit on a shielded target and almost every player in PvP will start with a shield) while being able to still do damage on a miss is extremely valuable. In PvE, skilled players that are used to scoring crits will feel weaker than expected for these same reasons, but players that have problems hitting crit spots are going to love Benedict because almost hitting a target is just as good.
The secret to surviving as Benedict is capitalizing on his strengths to overcome his weaknesses. Benedict is squishy, but he can become airborne and remain airborne for an extremely long time. He can effectively trivialize melee combatants since he can simply get out of range of them (slows will prevent his double jump from managing it but it won’t impede Liftoff) and even ranged targets will often have problems because he can change altitude quickly. Remember that anything that you have line of sight to also has line of sight to you; in PvE, this means that enemies are liable to take pot shots at you and whittle you down and, in PvP, it means that players can do the same (though less likely, in my experience, unless you’re spending too much time in the air; staring at the air means that they’re not staring at everything down below that’s also trying to kill them).
Also, ammo management is always a major concern for Benedict. He reloads incredibly slowly and has a very shallow ammo pool. It generally works best to play the skirmisher: move in, unload on your opponents, and then run away to reload and recover. Any shot you fire is a shot you have to reload in a few seconds, so keep it in mind: if you don’t kill your enemies with your first volley, you’re a sitting duck (pun intended).
For his abilities, things people probably don’t realize or should know from the start.
[details=UPR-SM2 Rocket Launcher]
Benedict’s basic attack. Able to hold 5 rockets before needing to reload, the projectiles are slow and the reload time is extremely long, but the damage is absolutely incredible. As I stated before, it can’t crit, almost hitting someone is as good as hitting them straight on, and it can hit multiple targets with each shot (if they’re close together). Concerning reloading, reloading 5 rockets takes about 80% of the time it takes to fire 5 rockets. If you can, try to stay at max ammo as much as possible and only reload in combat if you absolutely have to. This thing is simultaneously Benedict’s greatest strength and his greatest weakness.[/details]
Benedict’s alt-fire. While it does absolutely nothing on the ground, holding down Benedict’s alt-fire while in the air will drastically slow how his descent. He can hover, strafe or move backwards slowly, or move forwards at normal speed. As long as you continue to hold down the alt-fire, you can reload and fire while gliding, too.[/details]
Benedict’s passive. Allows Benedict to double jump. For those unfamiliar with the term, if you press the jump button while in the air (whether by jumping, falling, or using Liftoff), Benedict will jump again. As soon as Benedict lands, you regain the use of your double jump.[/details]
Skill 1. Benedict fires a low damage rocket that acts just like his normal rocket (same radius as normal, same projectile speed). Any targets that take damage from this rocket are marked for 3 seconds. Any basic attack rocket you fire while a target is marked (as long as it’s in the general vicinity of a marked target) will curve to hit the nearest marked target. Since the rockets have a slow projectile speed, it’s actually possible to fire rockets while the Hawkeye rocket is in flight; any rockets you fire before the target is actually marked will not home in on targets. By that same token, you can fire rockets while targets are marked and have the mark fade in mid-flight; in this case, the rockets will still home in on the target, even after the mark fades.
Because it is an extremely short duration buff to your basic attack and your basic attack has long reload and a shallow ammo pool, I don’t recommend immediately opening fire after you use Hawkeye; wait until a target is actually hit before firing so that you don’t waste part of the homing buff reloading.[/details]
Skill 2. Benedict flies into the air. Can be activated while on the ground or in the air. Either use it to get additional air on a double jump (if you need to reach someplace very high) or as an instant escape when a melee jumps on you or you’re slowed (since slows will reduce your jump but not Liftoff).[/details]
Ultimate. A guided missile that deals a buttload of damage. Whenever you activate it, you stop controlling Benedict and instead control the missile. You continuously move forwards at a respectable rate and can’t turn particularly sharply, so plan ahead when you fire. As soon as the missile impacts something, it detonates, dealing a bunch of damage. The problem with this is that, because you’re controlling the missile instead of Benedict, you’re a sitting duck; unless you’re extremely good at controlling it, you need a reasonably clear line of sight while firing it, so you’re an easy target too. Furthermore, because you can’t shoot your basic missiles while controlling the Boomsday rocket, if you spend too long controlling the missile, it ends up being a serious DPS loss. In general, I don’t see it as being particularly worthwhile: it’s extremely risky and can easily end up costing you more than it contributes. The only time I’d use this is when you want to explode something right next to you (so that it explodes instantly) or something far away and around a corner or two (so that you couldn’t hit it otherwise).[/details]
[details=Level 1: Evasive Pattern Benedict v. Rejiggered Ordnance v. Persistent Projectiles]
Recommendation: Persistent Projectiles
Flying back and up with Liftoff instead of straight up isn’t a monumental boon, imo. Generally just getting into the air is all you really need. RO isn’t worth it because (1) Hawkeye doesn’t deal much damage by default and (2) it’s only useful on targets with shields. PP, on the other hand, gives you an extra second on Hawkeye’s duration (up to 4 seconds from 3), which will allow you to unleash a full volley of rockets with the homing buff rather than most of a volley. The extra 1-2 rockets with the homing buff is definitely worth it, especially in PvP.[/details]
[details=Level 2: Make Some Room v. Wind Chill]
WC’s slow will make it harder for enemies to catch up with you while MSR will get them immediately away from you. The slow only lasts 1 second, so it’s not that great, but Liftoff already does an awesome job of getting you out of there so pushing enemies away isn’t going to be amazing either. It’s up to you.[/details]
[details=Level 3: Ready Rockets v. Speedy Delivery]
Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Ready Rockets
SD increases the projectile speed of your rockets by a very noticeable amount, making it much easier to hit targets at range. In PvE, it’s doubtful you’ll need this mainly because enemies tend to not move fast enough to really dodge (if you have problems hitting enemies, aim for the floor so that you can’t accidentally shoot past them). In PvP, on the other hand, enemy players move like kangaroos on amphetamines, jumping around and juking like crazy; as such, faster projectiles make it much easier to hit enemies. Also, something else to note, while you can get reload speed on gear, you can’t get projectile speed. Something to consider.
Ready Rockets is amazing because long reload time is Benedicts biggest weakness. A passive 30% increase to his reload speed is going to make life much easier. In PvP, if you break away to reload, it’s not as necessary but, in prolonged fights like you see in PvE, drastically reduced reload will make life so much easier.[/details]
[details=Level 4: Rapid Reload v. A Murder of Rockets]
Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Rapid Reload
Rapid Reload will allow you to unload a full volley of rockets, immediately follow it up with a Hawkeye, and then have a fully volley of rockets ready to follow up on that Hawkeye. It’s truly amazing DPS. If you’re having problems hitting targets with Hawkeye, however, the additional 2 chances to mark a target can be more valuable: if you don’t hit anything, you basically wasted your Hawkeye.[/details]
[details=Level 5: Glide-iator v. Divebomb v. Tailwind]
Recommendation: (PvP) Glide-iator or Tailwind; (PvE) Any
Divebomb is weird. It gives Benedict an aerial charge to the ground, which is pretty fast but hard to aim and not particularly rewarding if it does connect. It is extremely fast and can get you out of harm’s way pretty quickly though the fact that it’s so unwieldy makes it less than optimal for most people.
Glide-iator or Tailwind is a choice between superior vertical mobility or superior horizontal mobility. It’s up to you.[/details]
[details=Level 6: Blastoff v. Heavy Bombardment]
Recommendation: Heavy Bombardment
Liftoff’s main use is getting the hell out of dodge (or getting really high). Dealing damage with it isn’t really of major importance, especially if you can crank the living hell out of the damage dealt by your already high damage basic attack that is basically guaranteed to hit your marked target while Homing.
The only possible reason to use Blastoff is if you just can’t manage to hit with Hawkeye, at which point I recommend you just practice with it more (since, if you can’t hit with Hawkeye, you probably can’t hit with Benedict’s basic attack as well).[/details]
[details=Level 7: Danger Zone v. Multiloader v. Surgical Strike]
Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Danger Zone or Surgical Strike
DZ is your best bet if you need to hit more targets (whether you’re having a hard time hitting your intended target or just want more collateral damage, more AoE is better for both). SS makes you much better at single target damage and worse at AoE and is also the best bet for maximizing burst performance after Hawkeye (since Multiloader requires you charge to fire multiple rockets; also, Hawkeye means you’re gonna hit so the reduced AoE doesn’t really hurt you if you’re going for a kill).
Multiloader is all about burst DPS: you’re reducing your average rate of fire in exchange for unleashing a bunch of rockets all at once. In PvP, this can help you take out targets without Hawkeye; in PvE, you don’t really need burst DPS all that often, so it’s not that useful. Remember, you can’t use Multiloader immediately after a Hawkeye because you have to charge up so you’re not getting better Hawkeye burst, just better non-Hawkeye burst.[/details]
[details=Level 8: Frequent Flyer v. First Class]
FC is not particularly strong: unless you’re gearing for shield regen (which I don’t recommend), Benedict is only packing 60 hp/sec of shield regen. Since it allows you to recharge your shield in combat (if you’re not in combat, you’re recharging your shields anyways), the value depends upon how long you can manage to not get shot: if you can avoid getting shot for 5 seconds (at which point your shield would have begun recharging anyway), you get the 300 hp worth. Of course, if you’re in combat, it’s much more likely you’re being shot at already, so you may only get 1-2 seconds worth while your enemies fix their aim on you again. In short, if you get the full value from FC, you probably didn’t need it in the first place and, if you do actually need it, you’re not getting much (but you’re still getting something, at least).
As such, this really comes down to how often you use Liftoff. Since the (combat) value is derived from the “gtfo” factor, if you find yourself getting attacked while waiting for Liftoff to recharge, Frequent Flyer is definitely preferable; if you aren’t using it on cooldown, you may as well make it protect you more since reducing the CD doesn’t really do you any good (and you might as well get the useful benefit, even if it is marginal, rather than the totally redundant one).[/details]
[details=Level 9: Less Talk, More Hawk v. Eyes on You v. Party Starter]
Recommendation: Less Talk, More Hawk or Eyes on You
Hawkeye’s damage isn’t the reason you use it, so increasing the damage it deals isn’t really worthwhile. Hawkeye is for buffing your basic rockets so that you’re basically incapable of missing, not actually killing things on its own.
Hitting multiple targets with Hawkeye doesn’t really do much good (and might even do some bad, since, if you’re trying to hit a specific target, having your rockets steer towards different ones that you might have hit is a bad thing), but, if you’re having a hard time hitting with them, a bigger AoE is excellent. Only do this if aMoR at level 4 isn’t good enough though. LTMH is amazing.
Since you should be taking Heavy Bombardment (and possibly have instant reloads on use), more Hawkeye means more time to have an incredibly powerful volley of rockets. In PvE, this is good because Hawkeye is a DPS increase; in PvP, this is amazing because Hawkeye hit + full volley of beefed up rockets can easily get you a kill (without even needing to aim much).[/details]
[details=Level 10: Hawkpocalypse v. Phoenix Protocol v. Rockets Launchin’ Rockets]
Anyone who has read this guide thus far should be pretty aware that I’m not fond of Boomsday. The fact that you have to guide the rocket yourself, preventing you from firing or avoiding any incoming damage makes it way too risky and not rewarding enough to justify using it most of the time.
Hawkpocalypse is useful if you need to hit more with Boomsday and will do an excellent job of that (increasing the radius by 100% quadruples the total area of effect). Phoenix Protocol will increase your damage on targets you already hit (and targets that move into the area you hit). Similar to the choice between DZ and SS at level 7, Hawkpoc is your choice if you need more targets hit and PP is your choice if you need to do more damage to the targets you’re already hitting.
RLR is only useful if you’re in the air for an extended period, which means that it’s only useful if you’re shooting around corners or over extremely long distances. If you can manage to use Boomsday effectively like this (more effectively than simply taking the shots yourself normally), this could be very good; I can never really use it like this, so I never take it.[/details]
Benedict is a glass cannon’s glass cannon. He’s squishy, extremely high damage, and survives by being hard to pin down. You can either gear to offset hit weaknesses or exploit his strengths. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.
(Attack Damage>Reload>Attack Speed>Cooldown>Skill Damage>Shield Pen>Recoil=Critical Damage)
Attack Damage is king here because making the rockets hit harder gives you better DPS as well as better burst damage, both of which are extremely important.
Reload is a close second because, while it doesn’t improve his burst, Benedict will spend so much time reloading that, even with the helix, it will make him unload many more rockets over the coarse of a long fight.
Attack Speed gives you better burst but is basically worthless for DPS as a whole because you’ll just spend more time, proportionately, reloading.
Cooldown is useful not because Hawkeye and Boomsday do a lot of damage but because Hawkeye is an incredibly powerful buff and every time it’s off CD is another chance to get an easy kill. It’s not as important as it could be because the values are just so low.
Skill Damage is low because, of all of your skills, only Boomsday really cares about its own damage and Boomsday isn’t nearly good enough to justify gearing around just it.
Shield Pen gets the standard disclaimer: 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).
Recoil and critical damage are at the bottom because, while Benedict does technically have recoil on his basic attack and can technically crit with his quick melee, you have to stack an insane amount of attack speed to even notice the recoil at all and there’s no reason to gear around his quick melee.[/details]
(Max Health<Max Shield=Health Regen<Healing Received=Damage Reduction=Shield Regen<Shield Recharge<CC duration)
Max Health is Benedicts best defensive stat by far: nothing else comes close to giving him the same increase to TTK. Max shield is nice but suffers from significantly lower values; even if it prevents crits and can recover (since Bene has no native regen), TTK is just so much more important to keeping his squishy self alive.
Health Regen is tied with shield for a very simple reason: Benedict has no other way to recovery his hp. His shield is only standard size so he will take damage so, unless you’ve got a pocket healer or can flee to a med station every time you disengage, you will need this to avoid dying to attrition. His TTK is still to low for this to really make a difference mid-fight, however.
Assuming you’ve got a healer, Healing Received can keep Benedict alive quite well (as long as it’s not Alani; Alani’s healing is so big and bursty that any increase to healing is just going to be wasted as overheal). Keep in mind, you need to stick close to your healers to get healed (and, for KU and Reyna, you need to be easy to hit). If you don’t have a reliable healer, Healing Received is worthless.
Damage Reduction gives you less TTK than Max HP or Max Shield but gives you the equivalent of an improvement to any recovery mechanisms you may have. It’s not great, but it’s not really wasted, assuming you put some gear towards other defensive stats.
Shield Regen is only really useful if you took First Class (and only if you get First Class). If you didn’t, it’s on par with Shield Recharge and should be dismissed in favor of more useful stats, like max hp or health regen.
CC Duration receives the standard disclaimer: 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 is increased by sprint speed, but Liftoff is simply amazing so Cooldown has some value. 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)
Attack damage beefs up the rocket launcher, which is good. Both of them also contribute to your survivability with his best defensive stats. SG is better offensively but you probably need to have some source of healing since Benedict can’t really keep himself topped off on his own; Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever he damages an enemy, which he should be doing all the time.
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on Benedict. The stacks only apply with his quick melee and the stacks fall off very quickly (a matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, which Benedict is not.[/details]
[details=Swords (attack speed)]
Talon of the Hawk (eldrid)
I only mention this because he’s the only character that can actually put it to any use since he’s the only character that actually manages to stay in the air this long while still functioning (Kleese can stay in the air as well but he really doesn’t have much need to and is a skill damage character). Of course, attack speed is terrible and you’re only getting a tiny bit of attack damage out of it; still, you get a lot of additional hp, so it’s not a terrible idea. It’s not a first string legendary, but it’s not junk either.[/details]
[details=Pauldrons (damage reduction)]
Blissbeast Skull Plate (void’s edge), “Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm), Porta-bUnkr Phalanx Rig (upr)
Blissbeast is one of the best pure survivability tools in the game. It gives a lot of DR and a lot of health regen, both useful stats if you’re trying to remove the glass from Benedict’s cannon. Alamo-7 Armor 2 nice stats and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long, it is extremely powerful (2 seconds of total immunity) which can give you time to Liftoff out of a bad situation (or use Boomsday to destroy it). Porta-bUnkr is similar: if you’re on a pure UPR team, you can group up and become almost unkillable, though I don’t advise it because Benedict is not the kind of character to group up with people (and it’s hard to find a pure UPR team).[/details]
[details=Injectors (health regen)]
Oath of the Sustained (renegade)
An excellent utility legendary that also helps out your team. You get health regen, increased damage, and a portion of all damage dealt (which should be a lot) is given to your allies as life. Considering Benedict’s excellent DPS and burst damage, this can be quite a boon.[/details]
[details=Armor (max hp)]
Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (jennerit)
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. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP, but, if you’re good at playing the skirmisher and choosing your engagements such that you don’t risk dying, it can be very powerful.[/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]
Hidden Charger (llc), Vyn’s Quiver (sentinel), “Air Mail” AGM Loader (lore)
These first two are about increasing survival while keeping you shooting. The only question is whether you prefer to top off your shield or top off your hp. If you don’t take First Class, go with Hidden Charger; if you do, take Vyn’s Quiver.
The lore legendary, however, is all about just making stuff explode better. It comes with attack speed to go with the reload, which is excellent (his two best attack stats) and, to make it even more awesome, the legendary effect is disgustingly good. It has junk stats, like all lore legendaries, but this is definitely a powerful tool since it means so much more Hawkeye (just make sure you’re flying when you shoot).[/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 (and gives you reload, which is awesome). Benedict’s damage is incredibly high, so you can melt shields incredibly quickly when paired with a Hawkeye. 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 only skill damage item I would actually recommend, not because skill damage is useful, but because it has absolutely amazing legendary effect (and decent secondary stat). If you want to build around making Hawkeye the bane of an enemy player’s existence, this will be a useful addition.[/details]
Symbiotic Gauntlet, "Air-Mail’ AGM Loader, Oath of the Sustained
A crapton of damage (it’s on all 3 pieces of gear), a bit of reload (not a huge amount so plan on taking the reload speed helix), a bit of hp, and some regen to keep you topped off. It’s the highest damage (overall) loadout you can get, but it brings enough survivability to not be “pure DPS”. If you really want pure DPS, replace the OotS with a Bola’s or Talon of the Hawk but I don’t see it being too much better (especially since you won’t have the regen to keep SG topped off).[/details]
[details=Pure Recovery PvE]
Blissbeast Skull Plate, Vyn’s Quiver, Oath of the Sustained
DR, a crapload of regen, a bit of reload and a bit of damage. If you avoid taking too much damage, which is Benedict’s forte, you won’t die any time soon. Your TTK won’t be too impressive, but you’ll be able to come back quickly. Of course, your damage won’t be too impressive either.[/details]
Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Symbiotic Gauntlet, “Air Mail” AGM Loader
Free shard extractor allows you to afford the other 2 legendaries, which give you survivability (+hp) and damage output (+attack damage, -reload). The lore legendary means you’ll be getting plenty of Hawkeyes for easy kills. You’ll need to rely on heal stations or a friendly healer to keep you topped off and dishing out max damage.[/details]
[details=Fast Leveling PvP]
Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Janked “Screwdriver” (-healing received), “Air Mail” AGM Loader
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. Losing healing received on the wrench isn’t that big of a deal since Benedict doesn’t have enough hp to need a lot of healing to get back into the fight. The legendary is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to spend shards on leveling up. If you need more burst damage and/or survivability, SG is a better option, but Hawkeye is simply amazing in PvP (and the lore legendary is amazing for it). It’s really “legendary of your choice” but there aren’t many competing for “best” for Benedict.[/details]