“He was a song. An ageless relic. Poetry in flight… Caldarius was a surgeon of combat. An antigen seeking a tumor. He was fury, retribution, and death incarnate.” - FAN_OF_THE_EMPIRE, “Reflections on the Caldarius Effect”, 19742.216
I will preface this guide with this: No, Caldarius does not need any buffs. Caldarius is an interesting character. Certainly, he’s a hard character to get the hang of and to truly “master”. Though I earned the title ‘Master of Caldarius’ I think I’ve still got a loooooot to learn before I can really say I’ve mastered him. I would describe Caldarius as a hit-and-run character, but not as you might think.
After playing him for awhile I can safely say that the key to Caldarius is his TMP AND energy blade. His entire playstyle revolves around switching quickly between the two to deal damage while minimizing damage to yourself. Whether you prioritize the TMP or energy blade depends on your build, but for “The Kemessian” build we will be focusing on the energy blade first and foremost.
Level 1, BLIND AND BLOODIED - Obviously this is an energy blade focused build as I stated above so we will not be needing the TMP focused upgrade. I also think Blind and Bloodied is the better choice here in general due to synergy with a later augment but that is just my opinion.
Level 2, ZEALOUS FRENZY - Integral to the entire build. This will allow you to deal MASSIVE damage once you have your full gear set. In addition we will be taking options later that will increase your energy blade effectiveness several fold. Gravitic Burst will slowly become your primary engage skill instead of sitting useless as an escape-only skill.
Level 3, OVERDRIVE - Again, good synergy with Gravitic Burst. This allows you to go in and stay attached to your victim for three seconds. Very few characters will be able to escape once you get in range with the burst.
Level 4, FLASH BARRAGE - Now, you will just have to take my word for this: I have done the math and this is statistically the worst choice for raw DPS but the best choice for utility. Each flashbang you fire will not only re-apply the bleed from level 1, but it will also re-apply the blind effect of the flashbang, allowing for longer blinds and longer bleed damage on targets. This can also take out around half the HP of an entire minion wave if you land every flashbang.
Level 5, ENERGY TRANSFUSION (Mutation) - I had to wrestle with this choice for awhile. Yes, the lateral thrusters are amazing for mobility. Yes, the vertical thrusters are amazing for utility (on certain maps). Yes giving both of those up hurts your mobility greatly. However, the lifesteal is amazing for once thing: sustenance. You will want to be in energy blade range most of the time with this build so you will also need something to keep you alive in that range. That something is this augment.
Level 6, GRAVITIC ANOMALY (Mutation) - Going along with the trend of Gravitic Burst synergy, this will apply a slow whenever we hit someone with Gravitic Burst. It can be hard to aim it sometimes, but this augment makes getting those burst hits very worthwhile. With the increased speed from level 3 it will be almost impossible for your victim to run.
Level 7, ADAPTIVE HARMONICS - Flat 18% damage increase to your energy blade. Yes.
Level 8, GRAVITIC AMPLIFIERS - Flat 15% damage increase to your Gravitic Burst. Yes.
Level 9, BRIGHTBLASTER - Frankly the only option worth taking at this level. The other options really are pretty much useless once you learn how to aim your flashbang.
Level 10, TUNED ACTUATION - Again, the only worthwhile option. Flat 20% decrease to your ultimate cooldown and it gets rid of the pesky launch time. With this augment you will pretty much be able to escape any situation (where you are not CC’d) instantaneously with Aerial Assault.
I run full offensive gear all the time. You will want +attack speed, +attack damage, and +critical damage. If possible, you should aim for an uncommon on the attack damage gear that has +attack speed upon melee hit attribute for maximum effectiveness. This gear combination along with the helix choices will make your energy blade VERY potent, to the point of actually doing very respectable damage for the amount of mobility Caldarius has.
With this build Gravitic Burst is not only your best escape but ALSO your best engage. It allows you to chase fleeing enemies incredibly effectively and later on when you have the +damage and slow for it, it becomes a great offensive asset.
Using your energy blade requires good situational awareness. It will be up to you to judge whether or not you can get hits off with your energy blade. You will want to move in for energy blade hits, double jumping around your target, and get out when you start taking heavy damage. I’ve been able to 1v1 assassin characters with flashbang+energy blade combos and a lot of kiting. It took me a lot of practice to really get the hang of using Cald’s blade. Requires a lot of finesse to say the least.
That being said, you will want to use your energy blade whenever possible. Do not rely on your TMP to deal damage. You will simply want to use the TMP to poke at enemies, keep their shields offline, and occasionally secure a kill when someone is running from you. While using either weapon, make sure you go for critical hits to maximize your damage (though note, you can’t crit someone who has their shield up). By the time you hit level 5 your energy blade should be your primary weapon.
You are the reaper of your team. When your enemy least expects it, you strike with a literal bang. You turn the tides in fights and make sure foes never escape. Ambushing is one of the greatest tools in your toolbox. In the words of Deande, you are The Kemessian- death incarnate.