Kitru's Totally Objective Guide to Kelvin

Kelvin is an incredibly unique, incredibly strange, and incredibly amusing character. Unique amongst the Eldrid, he actually has a shield; unique amongst every non-Eldrid, Kelvin has both negative shield regeneration (which means that he loses shield over time) and a 0 second shield recharge delay, which does some extremely weird things for him.

Kelvin is also extremely weird insofar as he has the most mutable hp in the game. Even though he lacks the “Tank” descriptor, he is most definitely a tank. His default hp is on the high end up moderate by default, but, if you are vigilant about getting kills with Chomp throughout an entire match, Kelvin can have an almost absurd amount of hp at the end of a game. While you start with only ~2k hp, you can end with in excess of 10k hp (which is almost synonymous with “unkillable”). Of course, if you don’t get Chomp kills continually, you’ll have less than 3k hp (which, considering Kelvin’s lack of other survivability mechanisms, is almost synonymous with “laughably easy to kill”).

Because of Kelvin’s mutable hp, he is an extremely late game character: his effectiveness starts off low but he snowballs (pun intended). His early game involves simply trying to survive while getting as many Chomp kills as possible. His late game involves terrorizing everything since, if you’ve been Chomping like you should, he’s virtually unkillable and will be dealing tons of damage with Chomp.

Another note to consider: in the late game, Kelvin can have absolutely absurdly high max hp but he can’t increase his damage recovery mechanisms (i.e. healing received, health regen) to anywhere near the same degree, even with gear: at 10k hp, even if you stack up as much regen as possible (28/sec from gear, 7 from Eldrid, 7 from helix; that’s 42/sec), it will still take you 4+ minutes to go from nearly dead to full hp. However, in PvP, if you Teleport to Base (if you’re not sure what button it is, check your keybindings), you are restored to max hp immediately. This can be extremely useful and is probably the most efficient method of healing a late game Kelvin (even if you’re out of the fight for 30 seconds for running, that’s way more than anyone else can mange for him). In PvE, you’ll rely primarily on picking up health orbs.

Beyond his hp, Kelvin is a very powerful controller. Sublimate is a very powerful tool for stunning and Ice Wall can, and often will, close off a lane or prevent an enemy from escaping. Of course, “control” isn’t the only thing that his skills do: Sublimate is quite possibly the best escape tool in the game, and Ice Wall can be used to give you cover from an attack (though keep in mind that it prevents you and your allies from passing through it as well).

Beyond his early game weakness and reliance upon eating minions to get rolling, Kelvin’s greatest weakness is is complete and total lack of ability to effect at range. His melee attacks and Chomp are limited to melee range (and a short melee range, at that), Sublimate requires him actually move through an enemy, and Ice Wall is, at best, short range, but suffers from a delay that makes it basically impossible to hit someone that’s moving. If it seems as if someone is going to starting kiting you, run away because there’s nothing you can really do about it (you can force an engagement by charging them with Sublimate, but don’t count on that advantage lasting). Highly mobile characters like Benedict, Caldarius, and Mellka are going to be extremely good at making your life difficult; instead of trying to force an engagement upon them, make sure your allies are able to counter them.

For his abilities, things people probably don’t realize or should know from the start.

[details=Icy Fists]
Kelvin’s basic attack. It’s a quick, low damage combo that involves Kelvin clawing at his opponents. The reach on it is incredibly short and the damage is so low that it’s doubtful that you’ll get many kills with it. The primary use of this is reducing the hp of enemies so that you can get kills with Chomp (you get no hp if Chomp isn’t the killing blow); beyond that, it’s only really useful as a fall back when you have nothing else.[/details]

[details=Ground Pound]
Kelvin’s alt-fire. Lower damage than Icy Fists, the ground pound is a short range AoE that pushes enemies back. There are 2 components to the attack. The first is the ground pound, in which Kelvin hits the ground with his oversized right arm: this can deal damage to targets that are extremely close to you (and is capable of even capable of critting, though it is extremely difficult because of the attack being so close range and straight down). The second is the shockwave created by the ground pound; this travels along the ground, making it difficult for enemies to block with carried shields, and pushes back any enemy that happens to be hit by it. It’s simultaneously great for killing clusters of enemies (because it’s AoE damage) and bad for it (since the pushback can spread them out, making it harder to hit all of them).[/details]

Kelvin’s passive. Not so much a passive as it is a trait of all of his skills. At the completion of any of his skills, Kelvin gains some shield (which immediately begins fading because of his negative shield regen). The amount of shield you get increases as you level up, starting at 98 and capping out at 165 at level 10. Rather than being a static amount, this is actually provided as a percentage of your max shield, such that increasing your max shield (by using max shield gear) will increase the amount of shield you get per use. Keep in mind that Kelvin still has max shield (default 300): if you use a skill while you’ve got 280 shield, it will cap out at 300. If you reduce your max shield (via a gear penalty), you’ll cap out lower.[/details]

Skill 1. After a very quick animation time, Kelvin transforms into a cloud of cold that hovers above the ground and can pass through both enemies and allies (you can still be hit by attacks, including stuns, silences, and knockbacks). He can remain in this form for up to 3 seconds (pressing the activation button ends it early), and any enemy that he touches will take a very small amount of damage and be stunned for 2 seconds. While in this form, you cannot attack or use any other skills, your viewpoint shifts to third person over-the-shoulder, his movement speed is dramatically increased, and you cannot strafe or mouse turn (you have to keyboard turn). In addition, a target can only be hit by this ability once, so, if you’re trying to stun a single target to attack them, you’re best served by ending the effect as soon as you stun them since, otherwise, they’ll no longer be stunned by the time you’re back to normal form and able to attack again. If you’re escaping, go straight through your enemies in order to stun them but keep moving to get as much space between you as possible.[/details]

[details=Chomp]Skill 2. After a slight delay, Kelvin lunges forward and bites a single target (even if there are a bunch of enemies grouped up). The damage it deals is based upon the target’s hp: there’s a very small amount of damage you do as a minimum that increases as you level up but you also deal additional damage equal to 15% of the target’s max hp. The sum of these two values is what I refer to as the “base” damage. The “base” damage is capped at 500, regardless of what level you are, but it can be improved via Skill Damage gear as well as some helices.

Because of the short CD (a mere 5 seconds), Kelvin can do absolutely incredible damage against targets with a lot of hp (PvE bosses, Sentries, enemy BB): from level 1, you’ll be doing 500 base damage per Chomp against any target with at least 2833 hp and, by level 10, it’s down to 2353 (which all but the squishiest BB are going to have with gear by level 10). Chomp is incapable of critting and cannot be blocked (it goes right through carried shields).

In a special case, if you use Chomp against a minion (skulks, blade bots, gun bots, primal thrall, boom bots, or swarmers), the target will die instantly (it takes 500 damage automatically). Against anything bigger, you need to get the target down low before biting them (in general, aim for 15% of max).

If Kelvin gets a killing blow with Chomp, his max hp will increase by 75 (and he will maintain the increased hp even if he dies); it doesn’t matter if the killing blow is against an enemy BB, a minion, or a boss: it’s always 75 hp. Keep in mind, his current hp isn’t increased so you have to heal it up (which, by default, takes ~11 seconds).[/details]

[details=Ice Wall]
Ultimate. Kelvin chooses a spot within close range and, 1 second after picking it, he creates an impassable (by both allies and enemies) Ice Wall that lasts 7 seconds. Any enemy standing on top of the chosen spot when the Ice Wall appears will be stunned for 2 seconds. The Ice Wall can be broken (it has hp) but it has so much hp that it’s basically unbreakable since it would vanish before it’s destroyed (if you’re facing a Kelvin, don’t bother attacking the Ice Wall). There’s a slight curve to the wall (it’s concave towards Kelvin), so, if you place it right behind an enemy, they can be caught in the curve and find themselves unable to move backwards if they’re not paying attention.[/details]


[details=Level 1: The Big Chill v. Density v. Coldclock]

Recommendation: The Big Chill

Density is a trap. 360 hp basically means nothing to Kelvin (it’s less than 5 minions worth of Chomping). The only reason you’d want to use this is if you’re playing a mode that doesn’t have a lot of stuff to kill with Chomp (e.g. Capture).

TBC doubles Kelvin’s default regen, allowing you to recover from damage faster. It takes 52 seconds for TBC to equal Density for purposes of TTK though TTK isn’t really Kelvin’s issue (and you can pretty easily get to that 52 second point toward the end of the game) but recovering from the damage you know you will take makes it extremely good.

Coldclock’s value is inhibitied primarily by the general crappiness of Kelvin’s melee attack (it doesn’t apply to the ground pound) and its slow attack speed. Kelvin’s melee combo is a 4 part attack (there are 2 variants he alternates between but they’re effectively the same) and the helix actually adds a 1 second slow debuff to the final hit of the combo. The attack speed is so slow that, at best, you’ll manage 50% uptime and only if you hit with the finishing attack every time.[/details]

[details=Level 2: Quick Bite v. Diffusion v. Strong Wind]

Recommendation: Diffusion

SW is bad because the shield it provides is still capped by Kelvin’s max shield and it starts disappearing immediately because of his negative regen.

Quick Bite gives a short burst of increased movement but only if you get a hit; the mobility just isn’t worth the opportunity cost of not taking Diffusion.

Diffusion is amazing because it is additional damage: it is not limited by the normal 500 damage cap. Towards the end game, it can provide more than a 50% increase to Chomp’s damage (10k hp = 300 additional damage), though it’s based off of current hp so you need to have some damage recovery to keep it viable in combat.[/details]

[details=Level 3: Swelling Wind v. Icemaker]

Recommendation: Swelling Wind

Icemaker is a trap. A 3 second slow is not worth sacrificing a 2 second stun. The Swelling Wind movement speed increase allows you to hit even more targets with it or get away even further. It’s awesome.[/details]

[details=Level 4: Mastication Restoration v. Shield Snacker v. Slow Food]

Recommendation: Mastication Restoration

The reason for this is simple: this is one of the only ways to effectively and reliably keep Kelvin topped off while in combat. Without it, you’ll have an extremely hard time keeping him at max hp.

SS is a trap. It seems like it would be good because of the higher value but remember: Kelvin has negative shield regeneration and he’s getting shield from skill use already. Even if you use shield regen gear to get back to positive, you’ll routinely hit the max shield cap and waste it. The ability to recover more hp is much more valuable than the ability to get even more overkill on your shield.

SF is amazing for damage, since it isn’t capped by the 500 but Kelvin doesn’t have strong and reliable sources of the slowed condition. There are some builds that can capitalize on it, but you’re sacrificing a lot for an, admittedly powerful, conditional improvement.[/details]

[details=Level 5: Ice VI v. Blue Ice]

Recommendation: Blue Ice

Even though it says “Permafrost”, it actually refers to any time you’ve got shield active (which, admittedly, will only really happen via Permafrost). BI is better mainly because it makes the shield you get more effective rather than trying to get you more shield (which will be wasted if you’re capped on shield). 30% DR translates into a ~43% improvement, which is way above what Ice VI provides. Because of this, Ice VI is a trap.

The only advantage to Ice VI is that the additional shield it provides will take slightly longer to be drained by your negative shield regen, which will only happen if you aren’t being attacked (which begs the question of why you even care about shield if you’re not being attacked).[/details]

[details=Level 6: Windchill v. Consume]

Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Consume

Wc is absolutely amazing in PvP. Each major enemy (enemy BB, miniboss, or boss; very few of these are in PvE and even fewer are in close enough proximity to make this worthwhile) extends the duration of Sublimate by ~1 seconds (it can’t extend the remaining duration to longer than 3 seconds) such that you can double the duration of Sublimate if you take 3 targets. With this, you can stun the entire enemy team if they’re nicely grouped up, which can be extremely satisfying (for your team; it’s exasperating for your opponents). If you save up Sublimate to hit a bunch of enemies all at once, Wc is the way to go.
Consume, on the other hand, will allow you to use Sublimate a lot more often. Every time you increase your hp with Chomp, the remaining CD on Sublimate will advance by 5 seconds (which is a lot, especially if you’ve got CD reduction since it’s a static 5 seconds, even if you’ve got so much CD redux that the CD is less than 10 seconds). In PvP, if you find yourself leaving Sublimate early often (and you’ve got minions around to Chomp; of course, if you don’t have minions to Chomp, you really shouldn’t be playing Kelvin), this is the best option (generally means that you’re stunning a single target and then trying for a kill). In PvE, since there aren’t enough major enemies, much less in tight concentration, Wc is basically worthless.[/details]

[details=Level 7: Groupthink v. Iceheart v. Icy Force]

Recommendation: (PvP) Iceheart or Icy Force; (PvE) Groupthink or Icy Force

Ih is amazing, but, of course, it’s only useful in PvP because there aren’t enemy BB in PvE. Keep in mind, it only applies when an enemy BB dies and you recently helped out, though that shouldn’t be too hard. It helps you recover from the inevitable damage you’re gonna take.

Gt only works when you’ve got allies and only when they’re right next to him. It’s a paltry 7 hp/sec (which is what the level 1 helix gives without any conditions) and is binary: it’s 7 hp/sec whether you’ve got 4 allies or 1 ally near you. It’s useless if you’re playing solo and inferior to Ih in PvP (you have to stick to an ally for 22+ seconds to exceed the value of Ih, and Ih gives better burst healing).

In general, the healing from Gt or Ih is better, but they require either nearby allies or reliably getting kills/assists in PvP. If you’re running solo or having problems getting kills/assists, IF is best because it’s actually giving you something.[/details]

[details=Level 8: Hibernation v. Windy Season]

Recommendation: Windy Season

Hibernation is a paltry 21 hp/sec while you’re in Sublimate. By default, that’s 63 hp; at most, with a perfect Windchill, you’ll get 126. Considering you’d be using it every ~20 seconds, that’s ~6 hp/sec and only if you’re constantly spamming it and only if you’re constantly hitting a bunch of major enemies. 21 hp/sec seems like a lot, but you can’t hang out in Sublimate long enough to make it worthwhile.
WS, on the other hand, reduces the CD on an incredibly powerful escape and control tool. Even if you don’t use it on CD all the time, a lower CD allows you to engage with Sublimate and still have a chance of it coming back if you need to escape (especially if you can get some minions with Chomp and Consume). Only if you never use Sublimate on CD will Hibernation be more useful (and that’s only because a reduced CD is useless if you never use it that quickly).[/details]

[details=Level 9: Overeater v. Sawtooth]

Recommendation: Overeater

Sawtooth is a trap. A 15% increase in damage seems like it would be good but you have to consider that it only applies to the maximum health bonus damage and doesn’t increase the damage on Chomp’s base damage (i.e. it will still only do 500 damage before extras). A 15% increase to the 15% of max hp you’re doing is 17.25% damage; by level 9, you’re already limited to only 361 additional damage from their max hp since you get 139 default damage. That’s just reducing the max hp needed to do max damage from ~2.4k to ~2.1k.

On the other hand, reducing the CD on Chomp from 5 seconds to 4 seconds is extremely useful since you will almost always be waiting on Chomp to come off of CD: it’s the best source of damage and it also means getting more hp faster.[/details]

[details=Level 10: Walled In v. Great Wall v. Absolute Zero]

Recommendation: Any

The most popular of these, by far, is AZ: a 3 second slow on anyone that gets close to your Ice Wall is extremely powerful. Popularity does not mean that it’s the only viable option. WI and GW have their uses as well. Ice Wall is on a long 48 sec CD and WI will reduce that to just over 38 seconds, which is a major reduction. If you find yourself waiting for Ice Wall to come off of CD, WI is a powerful option, especially if you’re trying to stun or provide cover. GW is the least popular option, in my experience, because most people are already fine with the size of it by default. This doesn’t mean it’s not useful. GW basically doubles the size of Ice Wall, which can allow it to completely block entire lanes in PvP or stun a lot of enemies all at once in PvE (you’ll rarely have enemies lined up properly in PvP). It’s also important to remember that you and your allies are blocked by your Ice Wall as well; making it bigger or being able to use it more often will inhibit your own group just as much (if not more) if used improperly. AZ will simply hurt your enemies even more.[/details]

Gear Stats:

Kelvin is weird. Offensively, he’s pretty bland for a skill damage character since there isn’t a huge amount of play there; defensively, however, he’s dramatically different than anyone other character. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.

(Skill Damage>Attack Damage>Attack Speed=Cooldown>Critical Damage>Shield Pen>Recoil=Reload)

A majority of Kelvin’s damage is going to come out of Chomp so making Chomp chomp-ier is your top priority. Skill damage is applied to the total base damage, so, with this, expect to regularly see more than 500 damage against hard targets.

Attack damage only barely beats out attack speed because it gets higher values on gear though neither is particularly good because Kelvins damage is all about the Chomp. The problem with stacking these is that you will sometimes accidentally kill a target you were just trying to weaken.

Cooldown is bad offensively because it has a crappy value. It would be absolutely amazing (and some of the legendaries are awesome) but, as a stat, it’s mediocre even though Kelvin does great things with it.

The only thing Kelvin can do that crits is his basic attack and his basic attack is bad. To make it worse, Kelvin’s basic attack isn’t particularly precise so it’s hard to crit and get the benefit in the first place.
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. Recoil and reload are only useful as penalties to take on gear since they do absolutely nothing to him.[/details]

(Damage Reduction<Shield Regen<Health Regen=Healing Received<Max Shield<Max HP<CC Duration<Shield Recharge)

Damage Reduction is the absolute best stat for Kelvin because he can so very easily get so friggin’ much hp: all it takes is 3333 hp+shield for DR to trump max hp (and even more for max shield) at providing superior TTK and that’s a pittance to Kelvin; if you’re using Chomp like you’re supposed to, you’ll have more than that before level 5. It also makes his recovery mechanisms more effective, which is why it trumps those as well.

Shield Regen is normally a junk stat. For Kelvin, it’s the only way to avoid constantly losing his shield. This makes it extremely valuable. A single piece of gear with shield regen as a secondary is all it takes to bring him to the positive, which is all I recommend (though I highly recommend it); anything more than that will be wasted by Permafrost and Chomp spamming.

Health Regen and Healing Received are extremely valueable because otherwise you’ll have a hard time keeping Kelvin topped off. Healing Received is more potent but requires you have a healer paying attention to you, which is problematic; Health Regen is weaker but reliable.

Turning the universe on its head, Max Shield is better than Max Health because Max Shield improves the contributions of Permafrost. It also makes it harder to waste that extra shield and makes options like Blue Ice even more awesome.

Max HP is irrelevant because you’ll get more than gear can possible provide via Chomp. This is probably the least efficient option for stats you can take.

CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.

The delay on Kelvin’s shield recharge is already 0 and you can’t reduce it to lower than that. As such, it’s worse that CC duration because CC duration at least does something.[/details]

(Cooldown>Attack Speed)

The options here are less about which is better than which are you actually using. Cooldown is more powerful because it means more Sublimate and Ice Wall (and more Chomp can translate into more Sublimate with Consume).

Attack speed gives you faster Ground Pound, which is nice damage but also means more shockwaves to push your enemies around. It’s weaker control, but it’s available on demand.[/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 Sublimate 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)

Attack damage isn’t really recommended because it’s not amazing for Kelvin but some people might like his basic attack enough to build around it. Pacifier is the only one I’d recommend because it makes it harder to break your shield (and beefs up Permafrost) and makes you much harder to kill because all of your recovery and raw hp is acting on less incoming damage.[/details]

[details=Watches (cooldown)]
Aria’s Encore (thrall ops), Firmware Update 1.51c (algorithm), Borrowed Timer (upr)

It’s important to remember that AE is only useful for ops runs and only if you are going for a high number of ops points. Without either of those, the legendary effect is basically a waste. However, if you are farming ops for commander packs, this can be absolutely devastating because it’s a crapton of skill damage to beef up Chomp (and it has CD redux to let you use it more often too). Firmware Update is amazing because Kelvin has the perfect skill set for it: Chomp is on a 5 sec default CD and you should be spamming it all the time; because of how the proc works, when it goes off, this will reduce Chomp to 3 seconds (and give you the other skills faster too). It is amazing. Borrowed Timer is only really for PvP; Kelvin’s massive hp makes it less of a risk (10% hp when you have 10k hp is 1000 hp, which is as much as some squishy characters consider to be "perfectly fine*) though it’s still only good for escaping because Kelvin doesn’t really have a problem with long CD timers.

I’ll mention Chrono Key here to warn people against it. The secondary stat is worthless and, even with Chomp spam, Kelvin can’t do enough damage to make it worthwhile (since Chomp is single target).[/details]

[details=Goggles (critical damage)]
Heliophagic Goggles (heliophage)

If you can manage to get crits reliably as Kelvin, you can add some more control to your already impressive repertoire. Neither stat is particularly useful, but 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)]
“Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm), Burning Sunset (rogue)

Alamo-7 Armor has a worthless secondary stat and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long, it is extremely powerful (2 seconds of total immunity); combine this with the Borrowed Timer for excellent emergency recovery (since you’ll be immune when your skills recharge). Since Kelvin has so much hp, the long CD isn’t too bad since you’re not likely to get taken down that low too often. Burning Sunset is probably the most useful because Kelvin’s massive hp allows him to stay in combat for long periods and CCs are extremely annoying. Of course, the fact that he doesn’t really get much from the others doesn’t hurt.

For most characters, Blissbeast is one of the best pure survivability tools in the game. For Kelvin, it is not; because Kelvin has so much hp, the legendary effect of the BSP will be very rarely triggered. As such, you’re better off just using an epic instead since you’re not paying twice as much for a legendary effect you’ll probably never see.[/details]

[details=Amulets (healing received)]
All-4-One Morale Booster (upr), Leechsteel Brooch (renegade)

The All-4-One brings an amazing secondary stat and will help keeping your nearby melee allies alive (which probably includes your pocket healer). Leechsteel is awesome even if you don’t have a healer: Skill Damage makes Chomp more powerful and Kelvin does Chomp so much that he’ll really respond to the life steal.[/details]

[details=Injectors (health regen)]
Medical Nano-Colony (llc), Song of Vigor (sentinel), Emergency Auto-Medic (upr)

Medical Nano-Colony normally sucks but, on Kelvin, it’s ridiculously good: the secondary shield regen pushes his shield regen just barely into the positive and, because Kelvin has a 0 sec shield recharge delay, it will pretty much always be charging, giving him the legendary effect additional regen in the process.

Song of Vigor is normally pretty bad, but it can work on Kelvin: it helps healers heal him and provides a reason for healers to stick close to you (even better with Groupthink since them being close buffs you too). The same is true of Emergency Auto-Medic, though moreso because of the DR; of course, the legendary effect won’t trigger too often, so you’re paying a pretty high premium for it (since you can get an epic with DR secondary for a much lower activation cost).[/details]

[details=Armor (max hp)]
Plasmite-Infused Plating (lore), Vigilance Link (sentinel), Pain-2-Gain Re-knitter (upr)

Max hp is really low priority but some of them have extremely good legendary effects. I wouldn’t both with non-legendary max hp gear, but a legendary with a good secondary stat and legendary effect can definitely be worth it. PIP has an awesome secondary stat and, if you routinely miss with Chomp, it will help immensely; however, like every lore legendary, it suffer from having a mandatory junk roll. Unless you really want the legendary effect, go with a different legendary. 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. Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter is probably the best max hp gear for Kelvin because he’s such a large target that he’s going to get hit often enough to double the +hp but it also comes with his best defensive stat: DR.

I caution against both Natural Order and Vampiric Vestments. NO has a good secondary stat but it only applies against Eldrid, making it much less useful, especially since it also makes it harder to kill them. VV might seem like a good idea but the secondary stat isn’t that great and you’ll get the same hp more reliably with P2G since only major enemy kills count.[/details]

[details=Batteries (max shield)]
One-4-All Shield Array (experiment), Modernista (saboteur), Voxis Core (jennerit)

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, while Shield Pen is an incredibly sub-par stat, that’s not why you’re using the legendary. Voxis Core is amazing for dealing skill damage since it makes AoEs deal 15% more damage, in effect, and skill damage is an amazing secondary stat. Be warned: if you’re trying for max hp, kills from the Voxis Core legendary effect aren’t going to get you max hp.[/details]

[details=Boots (move speed)]
RDC Ground Pounders (upr), Boots of the Brute (saboteur)

Excellent for Kelvin, the RDC GPs help him stick to enemies and there’s a nice bit of conditional DR if he takes damage from the side (which can happen with players a lot since most people don’t want to be in front of Kelvin’s might jaws of doom; it also helps that your healer will almost always be to the side or rear of you so stray shots/attacks from assassins trying to kill your healer will trigger this). The secondary stat is worthless, but that’s the price you pay for getting some DR with your movement speed. Similar to Heliophagic Goggles, with BotB you get to increase your access to control effects: the secondary stat is terrible, but you’ll be able to harass and inhibit your enemies very easily. If you opt into Slow Food, this is amazing since you can just tap someone on the shoulder right before you bite them, just remember that the CD on the legendary effect is 8 seconds and the slow only lasts 3 seconds.[/details]

[details=Capacitors (shield recharge)]
Comeback King (rogue)

The only capacitor I would think of using on Kelvin, it comes with a good secondary stat and provides him with some AoE damage when his shield breaks. The primary stat is worthless since Kelvin already has a recharge delay of 0, but the legendary effect can be useful to provide some AoE damage. Keep in mind, it will only explode after a full charge so you will only want to use this when you’ve got some shield regen gear so that you can actually keep your shield.[/details]

[details=Generators (shield regen)]
Vibro-Core Module (archive)

The only generator I’d bother with for Kelvin. It comes with an awesome secondary stat and will help keeping your shield topped off in combat. Of course, not that many enemies in PvE have shields and you’ll be breaking player shields pretty quickly with Chomp so it’s not as good as you might think.[/details]

[details=Pins (skill damage)]
Bola’s Target Finder (experiment), Shield Web Interdictor (algorithm), Lorrian Skill Spike (archive), Codex Fragment (archive)

In most cases, Bola’s Target Finder is the be-all end-all of skill damage gear. For Kelvin, it’s amazing but not the only thing you want to consider, especially in PvP. Bola’s gives a basically worthless secondary stat but increases damage the target takes after skill damage, which is great for when you Chomp someone after you tap them with Sublimate for a stun (or Chomp them after Chomping them because the CD is so wonderfully short). Shield Web Interdictor will give Kelvin a much more useful secondary stat and help Kelvin with shielded enemies even if they manage to get away from him. Lorrian Skill Spike is largely there because Chomp is on low CD and high damage: you’ll use it often enough that you’ll notice the proc and it can be a nice surprise when someone thinks they’re about to escape. Codex Fragnment is normally pretty terrible compared to the other options here because you have to almost continually take damage (the stacks fade after 5-6 seconds), but, for Kelvin, it can work: he’s got the hp (and continually refreshed shield) to stay in combat for a long time. The secondary stat is mediocre at best but it’s not as if you should say no to more hp.[/details]


[details=General PvE]
Medical Nano-Colony, Firmware Update 1.51c, Codex Fragment

You get positive shield recharge from MNC, sustain from MNC, Chomps all over the place from FU, and CF gives you a bit more hp and makes your Chomps hurt.[/details]

[details=Pure Damage PvE]
Bola’s Target Finder, Voxis Core, Firmware Update 1.51c

This is all about spamming Chomp. More damage via Bola’s and VC, AoE via VC, and spamming like crazy with FU.[/details]

[details=Pure Survivability PvE]
Medical Nano-Colony, Pain-2-Gain Re-knitter, Blissbeast Skull Plate

P2G gets you DR and hp, BSP (probably better to just use an epic with health regen) gets you a bunch of DR and some regen, and MNC gets you positive shield regen and regen.[/details]

[details=General PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Medical Nano-Colony, Codex Fragment

The free shard gen (with a penalty that doesn’t affect you at all) allows you to afford the other 2. MNC gets you positive shield and CF gives you some hp and hard hitting Chomps.[/details]

[details=Pure Damage PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload) Bola’s Target Finder, Firmware Update 1.51c

The free shard gen (with a penalty that doesn’t affect you at all) allows you to afford the other 2, which are all about spamming Chomp for huge damage.[/details]

[details=Pure Survivability PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Medical Nano-Colony, Pain-2-Gain Re-knitter

The free shard gen (with a penalty that doesn’t affect you at all) allows you to afford the other 2. MNC gets you positive shield regen and regen, and P2G gets you a lot of hp and some DR. You can replace the P2G with either Blissbeast Skull Plate or some epic pauldrons to really push the DR home.[/details]

[details=Pure Control PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Boots of the Brute, Firmware Update 1.51c

The free shard gen (with a penalty that doesn’t affect you at all) allows you to afford the other 2. BotB gives you some nice slow and FU allows you to spam Chomp for lower CD on your other skills. Heliophagic Goggles are also a viable option if you want a reliable blind instead of a slow.[/details]

[details=Fast Leveling PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Erratic Tempestian Cred-Stick (-reload), 1 legendary

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. The legendary is there for when you hit level 5 (or 10, whatever your goal level is) and don’t need to build for xp any more. I don’t mention any specific legendaries because there are a crapton that can fit in depending upon what you want and how you want to do it: Firmware Update for Chomp spam, some pauldrons for DR, Medical Nano-Colony for regen and positive shield recharge.[/details]


So a few questions/contentions:

  1. You state Kelvin has a shield recharge delay of 0. I’m curious where this number came from, in my own testing I found he had a shield recharge delay, though I never measured it. As soon as a Kelvin with a positive shield recharge takes damage, in fact, he begins suffering from his natural -20 sp/s decay until his delay is up and his positive charge kicks in. Furthermore, the same thing happens on Permafrost procs for a slightly different reason - Permafrost shields always decay at -20 sp/s until all shields gained are gone. It’s difficult to notice this during play as if the shields are destroyed from outside damage he doesn’t suffer much from this drawback. However, when this decay is done, yes, he immediately resumes recharging his shields (assuming he wasn’t taking any outside damage).

  2. I’d contend Density being a trap option - the mediocrity of the other two options and the fact that Kelvin starts with a pretty small starting HP/Shield pool for a large target tank, means he can have difficulty being in the action, getting minion Chomps for health stacks, throughout the early game. Adding another 1/4th of his starting hp or so on at the very beginning alleviates this, and combines nicely with Mastication. To put things in another perspective, you stated that it’s the equivalent of 7 Minion chomps: in my experience it’s difficult to chomp more than 2 minions in a single wave (usually because the rest of your team has killed the wave within 15 seconds, sometimes even within 10 depending on the composition). So that’s 4 waves Kelvin has to wait for to reach about the same HP bonus as what he gets from Density immediately. You could supplement it with player kills (more difficult) or Bonecrusher camps (less difficult but Kelvin is not an optimal Bonecrusher grabber even if he likes to do it more than most characters), but it’s still a lot of time to waste when you are trying to reach your late game as early in the match as possible.

  3. More a nitpick than anything, but Blue Ice only procs on your shield after a Permafrost has been triggered. If you just let your shield regenerate from 0 with the aid of shield regen gear, you will not have the damage reduction until you complete a skill (after which it will remain so long as you have shields), and if your shields are depleted after this and regenerate again, you will have to complete a skill again to refresh the damage reduction.

And on the note of gear, I’m not numbering these since I haven’t tried these loadouts myself yet so I don’t have any personal experience to the contrary, but on paper a couple of your recommendations seem odd to me. The Nano-colony is a clever idea, but to me the shield recharge is an unnecessary conditional. After all, he can just take a Survivor’s Regrowth Serum for half the cost and get the same benefits so long as he doesn’t die - except being able to initiate combat at full shield without having to dedicate a shield recharge piece, but it takes roughly 38 seconds without taking damage to get to full with a base 300 shields, so that is also very conditional. Second, I don’t see shard generation as necessary on Kelvin just as I don’t see it as necessary on naturally high mobility characters, with the common thread being they teleport back to base often instead of waiting for a healer, providing lots of opportunities to gather shards on the way back.


I thought it did apply to ground pound?

I’m pretty sure it does too

How did a miss this thread?

Coldclock is lame. I’ve tried using that and boots of the brute and I didn’t like it one bit.

On paper a ton of slows on melee sounds awesome but in action it just gave Kelvin less survivability gear/helix’s.

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I pretty much agree with everything you said.

Kelvins survivability comes from his passive, permafrost and chomp stacks.

Kelvins role is to chomp minion waves and prevent the enemy front line from advancing by CCing the ■■■■ out of anyone who comes near his allies. While Kelvin himself doesn’t secure a lot of kills, he will be setting up easy kills for his teammates.

Kelvin is a carry and needs to be played defensively until he reaches lvl 5 and then his damage mitigation really starts to kick in.

I’ve found that the best build for Kelvin is to use his legendary and stack damage reduction and max shield. With this load out you’ll be able to soak up well over 500 damage without actually taking health damage every 5 seconds.

My exact load out is Kelvins legendary, 1800 cost +240 max health + 3.6% damage reduction. Special effect resets chomp cool down for 1 immediate reuse after a miss.
Rare damage reduction, 924 cost +8.4 damage reduction + 4.2 damage reduction for 10 seconds after using a skill.
Rare max shield, 630 cost +140 max shield +98 max shield for 10 after a minion kill -21% reload speed.
I’m not home so I don’t have exact numbers on gear cost right now, I’ll correct it when I can.

The helix’s I’d recommend are:
Lvl 10 helix doesn’t really matter.

Noteworthy helix’s are:
lvl 2 quick bite which gives Kelvin 30% movement speed for 2 seconds after a chomp hit. This is very useful as it enables Kelvin to retreat quickly after a minion kill of quickly body block an enemy to secure a kill. I will typically chomp a minion and jump backwards or diagonally to avoid unnecessary damage.

Lvl 4 mastication restoration gives lifesteal on chomp. Since minions now get stronger and stronger as the match progresses that means that Kelvin gets more and more health from minions as time goes on. Early match Kevin chomps minions for health stacks, late match Kelvin chomps minions for excellent health regen.

Lvl 5 blue ice is easily one of Kelvins best helix’s. 30% damage reduction when shield is active and his shield is almost always active. Combined with Kelvins legendary and a rare damage reduction piece of gear Kelvins damage reduction with shield is 46.2%.

Lvl 9 over eater makes Kelvin an unstoppable monster. Reducing chomp from 5 seconds to 4 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot but at lvl 9 and with max shield gear Kelvin gets around 300 shield per chomp and 2 chomps with the legendary plus a 4 second cool down means Kelvin will hardly take any health damage.

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Another mildly interesting thing about Kelvin gameplay is to take advantage of frame cancelling.

For those who don’t know what frame cancelling is, it’s the ability to cancel the end lag of one of your moves by activating another move.

Kelvin has end lag on his melee attacks, ground pound especially but it can be cancelled with chomp. I try to activate chomp the second one of my melee attacks land. By doing this I remove the melee lag and chomp immediately. It only slightly increases Kelvins DPS but it’s a noteworthy trick that a lot of battleborn can take advantage of.


Kelvin has a glitch where if you chomp immediately after getting out of sublimate the permafrost won’t activate.

This has killed me multiple times and I would really like for it to stop happening.

My Kelvin load out has changed a bit since the legendary gear rework but my build still centers around Kelvins legendary and now I also use firmware update and a zero cost +max shield gear.

If anyone wants to get good with Kelvin and has any questions I’m always available.

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I’ve had that build used against me. It’s disgusting.

It is a pretty nasty load out.

I don’t use legendary gear much and I can’t in league. I don’t play kelvin as much as some of the other tanks and could use some advice on gear. I’ve been using blue flawed(neg recoil) CD reduction, blue flawed(neg reload) max shield, and green flawed(shield charge delay) DR. The DR piece I’m thinking of swapping out for health Regen or maybe a free DR instead. I don’t have the epic eldrid DR piece. What do you think?

It depends on the game mode you are playing.

For capture I like using DR, HP regen, sprint speed.

For incursion I usually don’t use HP regen because the focus fire is so intense it makes the regen almost do nothing.
My overgrowth/monuments load out is my most expensive with 2 legendaries and a zero cost common. I do use HP regen on echelon because that stage doesn’t have the shards for expensive load outs, imo, and is open enough to not be focused down so easily.

For meltdown I usually use HP regen, DR, Kelvins legendary but if you don’t want to use legendaries I would go with a rare DR with secondary active for 10 seconds after skill activation, 0 cost HP regen, epic max HP with secondary of DR. Or drop the epic in favor of a 0 cost to help with elite bots.

I believe Kelvins job is to take less damage via gear and his healers job is to keep him at max HP, which is why I generally favor DR over HP regen.

I personally don’t think CD reduction is great for Kelvin if it isn’t firmware because firmware + Kelvins legendary = OP.

Also, Kelvins legendary is what makes max shield sooooo good on Kelvin, without it the max shield is still good just not amazing.


I use that same CD reduction gear on Rath and gally. On a character that relies heavily on his skills I’m suprised about your opinion of CD gear on him. I fully understand how broken the combination of firmware and his legendary is. That combo is centered around CD reduction. Could you elaborate on why you don’t think it is a good option?

I do think I’m going to drop the battery. It helped sometimes but not always and I really only liked it because of the +max shield after minion kill works pretty good with chomp.

CD reduction isn’t bad but I guess it’s all a matter of preference. I’d rather stay in the fight a little longer instead of coming back to the fight a little sooner.
Sorry for the late response.


Just for shiggles I’m trying load outs that don’t use legendaries and so far I’m really liking, rare DR with secondary for 10 seconds​ after activating a skill, epic max HP with secondary DR, 0 cost max shield.

At lvl 7ish the max shield gear gives Kelvin around 100 more shield per permafrost. And all that DR works on the shield too.

So who else is a Kelvin main here? I love the guy and probably the only character I can do well with competitively. He’s the only non-Orendi main I feel very comfortable with in a competitive setting.

I seem to be a bit on the different side from the OP’s Kelvin suggestions as I prefer certain helices and gear that Kitru doesn’t seem to prioritize much, but I have seen success with.

Best Eldrid right here.

Kelvin is the only character I’m comfortable with in a competitive match. Over 350 hours of gameplay with just Kelvin.

I’m super curious as to what helix’s you choose. And load out too.

I go:
Diffusion OR Strong Wind depending on whether I want to be aggro or defensive.
Swelling Wind
Usually go with Shield Snacker
Blue Ice
Absolute Zero

I usually go with 1 of 2 load-outs for Kelvin depending on the mode and shard availability.

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and the above Eldrid Flawed DR gear.

(I’ve tinkered with the 2 Legendaries + Free Shard thing, but it’s not that practical compared to the two load-outs I have above. Borrowed Timer + Burning Sunset/Bola’s Target Finder/Blissbeast Skullplate/etc etc are strong, but meh).

My favorite loadout for Kelvin is the 2nd one though. With a good team supporting you it’s close to impossible to die unless you’re facing all of Kelvin’s counters all in one team (which I have done before and only died like 2-3 times).

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