First off, to answer the first question most people ask, Shayne (the human) is female. She’s a teenage punk tomboy; Aurox (the alien) is an energy sucking rock alien. Interestingly, the internal file name for S&A is “BoyAndDjinn”, which suggests that, early on, they were probably inspired by Aladdin and were given a complete and total makeover later on. Furthermore, the devs weren’t even sure that S&A’s unique mechanic (Aurox separating from the damageable character model) was technically feasible.
Gameplay-wise, S&A are hard to define. They’ve got the hp+shield to qualify as a tank (the only character with more hp+shield is Attikus, and only barely) as well as the body type (because Aurox is massive) and an extremely tank type skill in Fetch; on the other hand, their other skills are decidedly non-tank-y, she has high run speed, and a mutable body type that makes it very easy to get away. They’ve got reasonably decent ranged functionality but are primarily melee fighters.
While you can probably play S&A effectively without ever really focusing on it heavily, a truly good S&A player is going to learn to master and capitalize on S&A’s changing states. Without Aurox, Shane is extremely fast and her model is about a third of the size that it normally is but her melee DPS is reduced significantly and you are effectively silenced (since you need to have Aurox to use your skills). Knowing how and when you’ll change state and how to capitalize on that can make a lot of difference.
For their abilities, things people probably don’t realize or should know from the start.
S&A’s passive. There are multiple elements to this. First off, as a passive effect, S&A have 20% damage reduction while their shield is active (even if Aurox isn’t present). More importantly, Aurox will separate from Shayne when they use their skills. While separated, only the Shayne model can take damage and Shayne’s movement speed is increased by 30% (and continues to be increased for 2 seconds after Aurox returns) but you cannot use any skills.
[details=Unnamed Melee Attack]
S&A’s basic attack. A pretty standard melee swipe: Shayne alternates between slashing with her boomerang (using it like a kukri in reverse grip, because it’s not like reality should get in the way of what looks cool) and punching with her bare fist. If Aurox isn’t separated, he shadow’s Shayne’s attacks, dealing the same damage with slightly better reach, doubling the number of attacks made. Aurox’s claw swipes are slightly off from Shayne’s, so they won’t hit the same spot.[/details]
S&A’s alt-fire. Shayne spends about half of a second opening her switchblade boomerang after which she will continuously throw boomerangs. They’re slow projectiles, and they’re heavy (so they fall), but, if they hit terrain, they’ll bounce and they’ll keep bouncing until they travel their max distance or hit something and deal damage to it. The damage per swing is slightly lower than Shayne’s melee attack. If Aurox isn’t present, the difference in DPS between their melee and ranged attack is negligible; if he is, however, the ranged attack will do a pittance compared to what would be dealt in melee.[/details]
Skill 1. Aurox vanishes into the air and Shayne goes invisible for up to 5 seconds. While you are capable of reviving downed opponents, building buildables, and capturing locations while stealthed, you cannot attack, though you can reappear earlier by pressing the activation button again. When the time is up or the effect is ended early, Aurox comes crashing down while Shayne does a rude gesture, dealing a bit of damage to and temporarily slowing any nearby enemies. Because Aurox vanishes when you use this, Shayne’s movement speed is improved so you can use this as a getaway or opening skill.[/details]
Skill 2. Shayne sends Aurox forwards to grab a target and bring them to her. It also deals a little bit of damage. Aurox doesn’t move particularly quickly and the range is only middling so it takes some practice to be able to hit moving targets reliably. Aurox disappears as soon as you activate the skill but returns immediately if you hit something that can’t be grabbed (like the air, a buildable, or a giant shard); if you do hit something that can be grabbed, Aurox will pull them back to you. In general, it’s fast enough that you won’t notice him missing, unless you hit a target at extreme range.[/details]
Ultimate. Shayne sends Aurox to the designated location to deal a signficant amount of damage to anything nearby over 5 seconds. After that 5 seconds, Aurox explodes, knocking all nearby enemies into the air and returning to Shayne. Using this will occupy Aurox for the entire 5 second duration, meaning that Shayne will be running around crazy fast with a tiny model but have a mediocre melee attack. Before using it, remember that you cannot end it early and cannot use any of your skills while this is resolving: you won’t be able to stealth and gtfo if the situation goes bad.[/details]
[details=Level 1: Aura of Annoyance v. Welcome Committee]
AoA allows you to deal damage while stealthed, and WC gives you a shield whenever you grab someone. It’s a pretty obvious choice between more damage and more survivability.[/details]
[details=Level 2: Wait for the Drop v. Surprise Party]
Recommendation: (PvP) Any; (PvE) Surprise Party
In PvE, slows aren’t really that useful because NPCs are too dumb to try and escape and easy enough to hit without slowing; in PvP, slows can prevent an enemy player from escaping and make it extremely easy to hit highly mobile and annoying characters (like Mellka).
The choice between these two in PvP comes down to whether you think more attacks or an easier target would be better at guaranteeing kills.[/details]
[details=Level 3: Boomerang Bounce v. The Power of Two v. Hulk Out with Your Djinn Out]
This is a choice between being better at range damage (bouncing towards an enemy makes it better for multiple targets though it is possible, on occasion, for the bounce to hit the original target, dealing additional damage), better at melee damage (conditional upon keeping your shield up), or harder to kill.
Considering how large S&A’s shield is by default, it takes quite a few hits to break it and quite a long time for the default shield charge to fill it back up. At level 5, there’s an option that makes both of these much more viable.
I play a very melee focused S&A so I never take BB, though, if you’re going as a ranged or fusion S&A, it’s an excellent choice.[/details]
[details=Level 4: What’s Yours Is Mine v. We’ll Take Everything v. Holding It Down]
Recommendation: We’ll Take Everything or Holding It Down
Personally, I always take HID because a 2 second stun is incredibly powerful and useful in both PvP and PvE. Aurox is separated from Shayne for the entire 2 second stun duration (since the stun is basically Aurox hugging the target for 2 seconds, stopping them from doing anything), so keep that in mind. However, if you prefer to keep the pulling functionality, WTE is better. The primarily value in WTE isn’t that it allows you to grab/pull multiple targets (which is nice) but rather that it allows you to grab targets hiding behind other enemies (or still grab your primary target if something runs in front of you).
There is a slight “penalty” associated with WTE: Aurox grabs on his return to Shayne rather than when leaving her. As such, if you are trying to grab a target that is close, you will sometimes miss as Aurox goes all the way out before heading back in.[/details]
[details=Level 5: The Immortal Aegis v. Don’t Stop Running]
TIA allows you to start your shield recharging with any skill use, which has excellent synergy with both PoT and HOwYDO, at level 3. Keep in mind, your shield begins recharging as soon as the skill resolves (i.e. as soon as Aurox returns to you) so you’ll need to remember that timing.
DSR lets you move faster for longer (it doubles the duration of Fleet-footed, which is active while Aurox isn’t attached, so it doesn’t quite double the duration overall).
Personally, I like the synergy and survivability afforded by TIA with the previous helices, but for more mobility minded people, DSR is the choice to go with.[/details]
[details=Level 6: Sneaky 'n Resilient v. Shield Smasher]
Recommendation: Sneaky 'n Resilient
In PvE, shields aren’t common enough to bother with any kind of shield penetration. Furthermore, Fetch is an extremely low damage attack so giving it shield penetration doesn’t really amount to anything, even PvP.
Conversely, SnR isn’t particularly powerful and really just serves to make Stealth Strike a more effective escape tool, but it’s important to remember the sheer amount of AoEs that you’ll see in PvE and how a stealthed/cloaked character still leaves behind a telltale shimmer, so perceptive players will still be able to hit you.[/details]
[details=Level 7: Alone Time v. Boom Goes the Boomerang v. Bigger, Badder, Djinn]
Recommendation: Boom Goes the Boomerang or Bigger Badder Djinn
For AT, it’s important to note that this only applies while you have 0 shield. As such, as soon as your shield starts recharging, you lose the regen. Since BBD is a flat 240 shield, unless you plan on spending at least 11.5 seconds without any shield between every full charge of your shield, AT just isn’t worth it.
BGtB is only for those who are already seeking a ranged centric build. BBD is for melee fighters and anyone seeking more survivability.[/details]
[details=Level 8: Sustained Stealth v. Long Arm of the Lawless v. Djinn to the Face]
If you took Aura of Annoyance at level 1, Sustained Stealth is probably your best option here unless you’re noticing that you keep ending the skill early to explode (at which point I’m wondering why you took Aura of Annoyance). Conversely, if you’re using Stealth Strike as an escape tool more than an opening attack, Sustained Stealth is going to help you out much more than either of the others.
LAotL and DttF is a question of whether you want to hit more targets (or be able to hit other targets more easily) or if you want to hit them harder. If you’re not having issues hitting whoever you want to hit with Stealth Strike, go with DttF; if you are having issues, LAotL.[/details]
[details=Level 9: Quite Fetching v. Got 'Em v. Sic 'Em, Aurox!]
Recommendation: Quite Fetching or Got 'Em
As I’ve said before, Fetch is not a skill you use for the damage. As such, improving the damage is a waste.
The choice between QF and GE is determined largely by how effect you are hitting your target with it. If you need help hitting targets, GE is the way to go because, if you can’t hit a target, you’re not getting all of the various awesome effects to go along with it. If you are already hitting plenty of targets (and/or the target you intend to hit), QF means more Fetch, which is even better (especially if it’s stunning the enemy or giving you shield).[/details]
[details=Level 10: Aurox Hungers v. Aurox Beckons]
Recommendation: Aurox Beckons
AB will guaratee significantly more damage to a large number of enemies than AH will. The pull extends out a fair bit from the normal area of effect and, coupled with the slow, will guarantee that a large number of enemies take the full damage.
AH is primarily crippled by the need to wait until the effect ends before seeing any of the self healing. If you can survive the entire duration of Tag Team without getting the heal (especially since it’s not going to be as damaging of a Tag Team since you won’t have as many targets in it and they can escape without issue), you’d probably be better served with other mechanisms for staying alive.[/details]
S&A are generalists built on a tank chassis: they’re extremely durable but can do a lot of different things. If you build for basic attacks, they can really rip their opponent’s apart; if you build for skills, you can take out minions and screw with enemy players very effectively; if you build for survival, it will take a lot to kill you. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.
(Attack Damage>Attack Speed>Cooldown=Skill DamageShield Pen>Recoil=Reload)
Attack Damage is the most powerful contributor to S&A’s basic attacks. It’s better than Attack Speed (the second best) purely because it has higher values, and S&A don’t have any “per attack” benefits like other characters do.
Cooldown is normally pretty bad but it’s tied with Skill Damage because Stealth Strike and Fetch aren’t really valuable damage dealers though they are extremely useful for other (offensive) reasons.
Critical Damage is low value because S&A aren’t really accurate: their melee attack targets a number of different points and their ranged attack is large and unwieldy. Even a skill player is going to have a hard time reliably scoring critical hits enough to make stacking it worthwhile.
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 S&A.[/details]
(Max Health=Damage Reduction<Max Shield<Health Regen<Cooldown<Healing Received<Shield Recharge=Shield Regen<CC duration)
By default, at level 10, S&A have 600 shield (worth at least 720 because of the 20% DR passive) and 2303 hp, which is 310 shy of the 3333 necessary for DR to be explicitly better than Max Health. However, S&A can get an extra 240 max shield as well as immediate shield recharge coupled with an extra 105 shield regen. If you take all of those helices, DR becomes explicitly better than Max Health. If you don’t, Max Health is best.
Max Shield is inferior to both max health and DR because the values are just so small.
Health Regen is the only really reliable way for S&A to recover lost hp, so it’s extremely important.
Cooldown helps you survive by giving you more time cloaked (which means getting out of dangerous places as well as recharging your shield) as well as Fetch (assuming you took Immortal Aegis).
Healing Received is only useful if you have a party healer and, since S&A tend to run off to do their own thing, you can’t really plan on having one on you that often.
Shield Recharge and Regen are low priority because the values on gear just aren’t enough to make a dint compared to what they can manage with helices. If you want Shield Recharge and Regen, take the helices, not the gear.
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.[/details]
If you want to make S&A a better controller, the only option is to grab Cooldown. They can be pretty effective at it with the right helix choices, but, if you don’t, it’s not really worth it, since Cooldown doesn’t speed things up as much as you might like.[/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 helps because you get Fleet-footed every time you use a skill so more skills = more speed. 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)
Pacifier makes it harder to break your shield and start dealing hp damage to you, on multiple fronts in fact because it’s reducing damage dealt and increasing your shield. Symbiotic Gauntlet syncs well with S&A’s massive shield (as well as potential for shield recharge/regen) and makes them harder to kill. VoV is just pure face melting because it increases attack speed and, as a melee, you’re going to be generating those increased damage stacks like crazy. Keep in mind, the VoV stacks only last 3 seconds; as such, if you’re playing a ranged S&A (or even a melee/ranged fusion S&A), you will not be benefiting from the legendary effect. If you’re going as a ranged S&A, use Pacifier or SG.[/details]
[details=Swords (attack speed)]
Vow of Zealous Fury (heliophage), Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr (sentinel)
VoZF is the gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks last an extremely long time and are easy to acquire, but it provides a low priority 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 but probably not as good because S&A aren’t particularly good for critical hits; move speed is better for them than crit damage, though, but that’s personal preference. It can be worth it, though, if you need some help sticking to your opponents (like in PvP) or staying away from them (if you build for ranged attacks).[/details]
[details=Goggles (critical damage)]
Heliophagic Goggles (heliophage)
While you’re not going to be chaining crits for uber damage, S&A’s flurry of melee attacks means that you will sometimes get lucky. 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), Burning Sunset (rogue), “Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm)
Blissbeast Skull Plate provides damage reduction and a nice chunk of regeneration. Gotta love it. S&A has a really thick shield and decent amount of hp, so you’re not liable to get the legendary effect super often, but it’ll help recovering from big attacks. Burning Sunset makes it a lot harder to screw with you when you’re on a rampage because it allows you to ignore the damage from one skill every 30 seconds (only useful in PvP; this does nothing in PvE). The CC duration fits with the theme of ignoring opponent’s trying to screw with you. “Alamo-7” Armor should probably also be mentioned here because it’s a reasonable option to consider. A7A provides a useless secondary stat, but 2 seconds of immunity gives you all the time you need to Stealth Strike and flee before you die.[/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 can be quite a lot) is given to your allies as life.[/details]
[details=Armor (max hp)]
Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (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. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP, but S&A are pretty durable and, with Stealth Strike, hard to kill. Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter has both of S&A’s best survivability stats, though, as a character with little damage recovery and a on of shield, it’s hard to take enough hits to your hp to make P2G really worth it.
Premium Health Plan bears mentioning here because S&A have the largest shield in the game, which makes it seem pretty inviting. Don’t bother with it. They don’t have the recovery tools to get back from taking hp damage and the amount of shield recharge on this is a pittance compared to what you can get through your helices. As I said before, if you want shield regen, get it from the helix.[/details]
[details=Batteries (max shield)]
Modernista (saboteur), Executive Insurance Policy (llc)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a good secondary stat. An excellent way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. EIP is only really legit in PvP where you need the extra shards, but, if you build around S&A recharging their shields (with the helix choices), you can have an overshield extremely often.[/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=Generators (shield regen)]
“Smack Attack” Slinger (lore)
The only generator I would bother with but only for a true melee/ranged fusion build. The primary stat is meh (marginally better if you elect out of certain helices but into others), and the secondary stat is excellent (though held back by the fact that, as a lore legendary, it’s going to have junk-y stats compared to a max roll of any other). The legendary effect isn’t as awesome as you would hope since it only refers to the last melee strike that hit: even if you’ve dealt 10k melee damage with 200 damage claw swipes, you’ll only get 40 additional damage on your next boomerang attack (and only on that next one, which is really crappy).[/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 (absolutely incredible with Stealth Strike and Fetch). This is the only skill damage item I would dream of using on S&A since it gives a useful secondary and allows skills to augment their more important attack damage.[/details]
Vow of Zealous Fury, Vow of Vengeance, Blissbeast Skull Plate
A lot of damage and attack speed with a bit of DR and regen from Blissbeast.[/details]
[details=Pure Damage PvE]
Vow of Zealous Fury, Vow of Vengeance, Bola’s Target Finder
Also known as the “I’ll kill you before you break my shield” build, you’re going for pure damage and attack speed. It’s risky, but the payoff is worth it if you can avoid taking health damage too often (generally by using Stealth Strike to escape).[/details]
[details=Pure Ranged PvE]
Symbiotic Gauntlet, Vow of Zealous Fury, Oath of the Sustained
SG instead of VoV because you don’t plan on doing melee attacks. OotS will keep you topped off and adds to your attack damage (and also heals your allies). VoZF is just too awesome to not take.[/details]
[details=Melee/Ranged Fusion PvE]
“Smack Attack” Slinger, Vow of Zealous Fury, Symbiotic Gauntlet
Since you plan on mixing it up a bit more, SAS is more viable, though it still doesn’t add too much. It’ll help taking out runners or getting a decent opening attack with the Boomerang, but I wouldn’t focus too heavily on it. Honestly, you’ll probably get better results out of the Pure Ranged build unless you’ve got a healer on your team.[/details]
[details=Pure Tank PvE]
Blissbeast Skull Plate, Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter, Modernista
Tons of DR and hp with a bit of regen. The Modernista could feasibly be replaced by an Executive Insurance Policy, but the cooldown is going to be more useful in PvE than the additional shards will (unless you run with people that don’t know how to share).[/details]
[details=Pure Damage PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Vow of Zealous Fury, Vow of Vengeance
A shard generator ensures that you can afford the other 2 legendaries. While BotB is necessary for most other melee PvP builds, Shane can slow with Stealth Strike and bring targets back with Fetch so it’s not as necessary. VoZF + VoV are going to give you the most bang possible (and, if you need to catch runners, remember that the stacks for VoV last 3 seconds, so you can still tag them with your boomerang fully buffed); if you have problems getting to/sticking to your enemies, trade either of them for BotB.[/details]
[details=Fast Leveling PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Erratic Tempestian Cred-Stick (-reload), Vow of Zealous Fury
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. VoZF is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more. BotB and VoV are also options for the legendary (BotB if you’re having problems keeping up; VoV if are having no problems as pure melee and want to absolutely maximize your damage with a single leg), though VoZF is the most generally useful (since it makes you better at both ranged and melee).[/details]