Reworking Kelvin's Helix

This seems to be a notion that’s gaining some popularity, and I’ve commonly seen people stating that Kelvin’s helix choices are either dull or trap options. And with the upcoming patch notes released with no Kelvin changes included, I figured I’d try my hand at reworking some of his helix options as a creative exercise.

[details=Level One](Left) The Big Chill - Kelvin gains +21 Health Regeneration per second when Permafrost activates, for 5 seconds. Right now, Kelvin is very mono-build when it comes to their sustain options. They have a couple of very powerful helix choices among several other low performance ones, and The Big Chill is one of the worst. Rather than giving it a flat increase, I’ve decided to make it a more dynamic choice.

(Mutation) Density - Kelvin’s maximum health is increased by 360 hp. Next to the revised Big Chill, this looks like a less attractive choice, but still a desirable one depending on your team composition, so I’ve elected not to make any changes here.

(Right) Coldclock - Removes the knockback effect on Kelvin’s secondary fire. Kelvin’s secondary fire now applies a 3 second moderate slow on hit. A 6 second cooldown is added to this effect. This may be a bit too powerful, but it felt important that very early on Kelvin has to make a definitive decision about how the rest of their build is going to be - is this a sustaining Kelvin, or a controlling Kelvin? Controlling Kelvin is thus given a stronger version of their basic control tool.[/details]

[details=Level Two](Left) Strong Wind - Kelvin gains an Overshield for 4 seconds after activating Sublimate. A bit of a cop-out, there are lots of characters with overshield effects on their skill activations, but there’s very little to do with this helix choice to make it more viable. Also, the position on the helix has flipped, as it was my impression that Frost Gigas was Kelvin’s tree for increasing sustain, and Icy Sentinel was their damage/control tree. Purely a cosmetic change, obviously.

(Mutation) Diffusion - Chomp deals bonus damage equal to 3% of Kelvin’s maximum health. Not much of a change here, and while this is a popular choice already I never understood why the bonus damage had to be so finicky - it’s still hard capped at 500, and at level 1 that’s only an 8% damage increase on Chomp, with the potential to go up to around a 25% increase. Not at all unusual for a late game helix option, which this effectively is given how long it can take Kelvin to reach 4500+ hp (barring the aid of HP gear, but as I already pointed out - 500 damage cap).

(Right) Quick Bite - Damaging an enemy with Chomp gives Kelvin a 30% movement speed increase for 2 seconds. Nothing to change here, this is a bit of a sleeper choice that would get stronger when combined with the new Coldclock.[/details]

[details=Level Three](Left) Swelling Wind - Kelvin gains up to a 60% movement speed increase the longer they remain Sublimated. Nothing to change here.

(Right) Icemaker - Removes Sublimate’s stun. Sublimate now creates a persistent field of frost wherever Kelvin travels. Enemies within this field are moderately slowed for 3 seconds, enemies directly hit by Sublimate are heavily slowed for 2 seconds. The field dissipates after 5 seconds. Basically just expanding the utility of this choice, it was strange to me that the trail Kelvin leaves disappears well before an enemy trapped in it would have the slow reapplied. What’s not clear in the description is that the area around Kelvin that is covered in frost is now about 30% larger than before, allowing him some leeway as they shape their slow field.[/details]

[details=Level Four](Left) Mastication Restoration - Kelvin gains 15% lifesteal on the damage dealt by Chomp. I’m seeking to redistribute some of the sustain Kelvin currently has stacked in a couple of helix choices. This is still a very powerful sustain choice, but may have been too much coupled with some of the other sustain choices I’m altering/introducing with this rework.

(Mutation) Shield Snacker - Kelvin gains additional shields when damaging enemies with Chomp, equivalent to 30% of the damage dealt. Shields gained this way in excess of their current maximum shield are converted into Overshield, calculated after any other modifiers to Permafrost. Permafrost shield gain being, well, impermanent, typically ends up being inferior to lifesteal or health regen. This adjustment is an attempt to give a shield build Kelvin something unique over other Kelvin sustain builds.

(Right) Slow Food - Kelvin deals an additional 25% damage to Slowed enemies with Chomp. Nothing to change here, this option is buffed by the increased viability of a slow control Kelvin from earlier helix choices.[/details]

[details=Level Five](Left) Blue Ice - Kelvin gains 30% damage reduction while Permafrost is active. This effect no longer applies to any shields not generated by Permafrost. So another nerf here to a strong sustain choice. It’s still very powerful but requires Kelvin to be more active in retaining it, as they were able to receive this damage reduction after Permafrost was no longer active but they still had a shield. Also the position once again has been swapped to suit the theme of each tree.

(Right) Ice VI - Nearby enemies are moderately slowed for 1 second while Permafrost is active. Continuing the theme of control Kelvin trading out for a bunch of slow effects, and keeping our tree theme intact. Note that the same effect that applied to Blue Ice applies here - Kelvin needs to be ticking down shields for this to work, but they will be continually slowed 1 second at a time while they are until they escape the range (which is about their normal melee strike range).[/details]

[details=Level Six](Left) Windchill - While sublimated, damaging major enemies increases the skill duration by up to 3 seconds. No changes here. Like level three, there wasn’t any good way to preserve the tree themes, as both are levels focused solely on Sublimate, which is a control skill.

(Right) Consume - Killing an enemy with Chomp reduces the cooldown time on Sublimate by 5 seconds and Ice Wall by 3 seconds. A buff here, to give control Kelvins something to think about instead of just auto-picking Windchill.[/details]

[details=Level Seven](Left) Iceheart - For every 100 hp in his maximum health, Kelvin gains +1 health regeneration per second. So this is a bit of a doozy, because by now Kelvin could easily be rocking 3500+ hp or likely better with the assistance of HP gear. I’m tempted to give it a hard cap of +40 hp/s but I think health regen builds are going to be dramatically affected by Beatrix, so it will probably be fine to leave it as is.

(Mutation) Icy Forge - Increases the bonus shields granted by Permafrost by 20%. Here we have the relocated and renamed Ice VI. Given that it’s been removed from the same tier as Blue Ice, it was important to put it on a level that competed with another sustain option so that you can’t have a 30% DR Overshielding Kelvin with like +68 hp/s so that you can’t easily hybridize shield and regen build Kelvin to get the best of both.

(Right) Groupthink - Kelvin gains an additional 2.5% movement speed bonus while near a friendly Battleborn. This effect may stack. These bonuses persist for 2 seconds after moving away from friendly Battleborn. Basically turns their allies into mini-accelerators. The stacks are tracked by each Battleborn, so if they’re following a string of allies all placed exactly 2 seconds apart, they only gets the 2.5% increase. If the allies are closer together they enjoy the speed boosts stacked until they’ve been outside the range of the first one for two seconds, the second for two seconds, etc.[/details]

[details=Level Eight](Left) Hibernation - Kelvin’s health regeneration is doubled while Sublimated, up to a maximum of 80 hp/s. Didn’t want this one to get out of hand, but at the same time even with the other health regeneration buffs, it was still a weak choice compared to the right hand side.

(Right) Windy Season - Decreases Sublimate’s cooldown time by 20%. No changes to make here.[/details]

[details=Level Nine](Left) Overeater - Reduces the cooldown of Chomp by 20%. No change to be made here.

(Right) Sawtooth - Chomp now wounds the target for 1 second. Ah, the king of Kelvin trap choices. This now lets Kelvin dip their icy toes into a different form of battlefield control than they typically use.[/details]

[details=Level Ten](Left) Great Wall - Increases the width and height of Ice Wall. For sustain Kelvin we have a more damage denial oriented version of Ice Wall, allowing them to cut off sight more effectively to protect themselves and their allies with an increased height. This would be about a 50% height increase, so characters with a lot of vertical prowess will be able to get around that.

(Mutation) Walled In - Reduces the cooldown on Ice Wall by 20%. No changes to be made here besides tree position for theme.

(Right) Absolute Zero - Enemies near Ice Wall are moderately slowed for 3 seconds. We’re increasing the range on this, the area should be about 30% larger.[/details]

Alright well, I may have let myself get a little out of hand. Control Kelvin with these choices is capable of being fiercely territorial, carving out chunks of the map with chained slows, several of which they can’t be silenced out of using. As I said, a creative exercise more than a true attempt to achieve balance, my main goal was to dig up the roots in the established builds and provide more options, even if it ended up being an overall buff to Kelvin.

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I typically choose this helix over having sublimate last longer because sublimate loses its stun ability very early when it lasts longer, I don’t know if it’s intentional but I freaking hate not being able to stun someone I thought for sure I was about to stun.

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The op buff to shield snacker seems a little excessive in comparison to the nerf that mastication restoration got.

Combined with blue ice, shield snacker would be the clear choice for damage mitigation.

The only reason I don’t pick shield snacker now is because it loses it’s effectiveness in later levels because permafrost already takes Kelvins shield to about max.

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The big chill needed a buff considering it was a minor HP regen going up against a more than major max HP but the change is very powerful. Maybe too powerful.

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Kelvins level 7 choices have always been lack luster for me, I really like the changes you did there.

Altogether I’d say you did I really good job of buffing Kelvin.

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Thanks for the responses.

I’ve never extensively tested this but I feel like I may have noticed that, but always chalked it up to latency or me simply missing a small target. Might have to look into it and bring it to GBX’s attention if it’s a legitimate bug.

Coming off of trying to find some way to get Comeback King to constantly explode off using Chomp, I can tell you you’re maybe overestimating just how much Overshield you’d end up getting from this. Also bear in mind that I also nerfed Blue Ice - you can’t get the benefit from an already charged shield.

Mastication nerf largely had to do with the fact that it was buffed so strongly by an outside factor (minion wave buff) and received no adjustments of its own to compensate.

I think what I like about what I did with The Big Chill is that it’s an active regeneration rather than a passive one. It gives Kelvin regen as a reward for being proactive in combat and using his skills (primarily Chomp) to maintain the regen, whereas if he’s out of combat he has to constantly keep a skill on cooldown if he wants to keep it going.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and give feedback!

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Because of Chomp’s low CD, this is insanely strong. It’s on par with WF’s Killer Regen helix.

To elaborate on how you’d allowed this to get out of control, consider this:

Via your versions of Big Chill (21 hp/sec w/ Permafrost), Shield Snacker (extremely easy overshield that protects Permafrost), Blue Ice (30% DR with Permafrost), Iceheart (40 hp/sec), and Hibernation (double health regen), you’re talking about requiring, without any gear whatsoever, a Kelvin that has to take at least ~430 damage (Shield Snacker gives you 30% of Chomp + 165 base Permafrost; Blue Ice provides you with 30% DR) every 5 seconds before he starts even taking damage and, on top of that, will have, depending upon how you intend Hiberation to be interpreted, either 122 (if it’s capped at providing 80 additional, you get 21 + 40 = 61 * 2) or 80 hp/sec of regen (if capped at 80 outright; if you do this, you don’t even need Big Chill because you’ll have more than enough just from Iceheart).

Without even getting into his actual hit points, you’re making him functionally unkillable because he’s just got to constantly Chomp in order to have a shield that’s too thick to break and an amount of constant passive regen that would.

Kelvin really needs a reexamination and rebuild of how his hp grows because, without his, his hp is just too unpredictable to balance. There’s a few ways of doing this that I don’t see as being too programmatically complex that allow the devs to find a maximum plateau for Kelvin’s hp (like 8k) while accelerating early game performance so that he’s more likely to actually get there (e.g. the earliest Chomp kills provide 200 hp while the last provide a mere 20 hp).

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The “shield Kelvin had prior to activating permafrost” are you referring to shield gained from a positive shield regen and or kleese rift or does that include shield gained from a previous activation of permafrost?

Meaning, would Kelvin lose the DR on the second half of his shield if he chomped twice to get to full shield?

It’s not diffusion that makes Kelvins sustain skyrocket, it’s being able to insta-kill overshielded minions. If a late game overshielded minion gets chomped at full health it will give Kelvin a ton of health back. They are like little walking health stations for Kelvin.

Which I feel is fine for a large target melee character. Killer Regen is great on Whiskey because he’s a smaller target and ranged - he sustains well because he doesn’t have to take a lot of damage and what he does take is removed quickly. As a point of comparison our good friend Boldur gets the same amount of HP regen simply from hitting enemies in melee at level 7. True, a much later game choice but Boldur has many other means of damage ablation, and in case you missed it the first time I mentioned it - he gets it just from hitting things in melee.

I feel like I once again need to thoroughly test Chomp (or maybe we’ll get solid answers in the Chomp thread in this subforum). I went from thinking that was the case as well, to testing it in PvP matches and finding only skill damage gear affected the Chomp cap.

The issue with Mastication Restoration is that there is something else that ignores Chomp’s damage cap, and that the helix choice bases the lifesteal on that number. When Kelvin Chomps a minor enemy, he automatically does however much damage is needed to instantly kill that enemy - and then he gets lifesteal based off that damage. Kelvin self heals significantly off minion waves with this helix choice as a result of that, far more than 75 hp.

Skipping over the balancing against MR stuff since I addressed that above, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s harder than you think for Kelvin to maintain enough shields to be wasting them from permafrost activations unless you are taking his lore legendary. It definitely happens though, and the goal was to alleviate that waste and make it a more attractive option in comparison to MR. I’m wondering if maybe I was being misinterpreted in regards to the overshields granted by Shield Snacker? It’s not that he would automatically gain a 300 pt overshield the moment he tipped over his shield max from Chomping something, he gets the difference of his current shields + permafrost and Shield Snacker bonus vs. shield max as overshields. So we’d be looking at something like 200 + 150 = 300 maxed shield and 50 points of overshield over that. That doesn’t seem that out of control to me.

That being said, it’s occurred to me that what I explained about how MR works against instant-killed minions would make this automatically the stronger choice - since the 30% derived from the Chomp damage is double that of MR and isn’t likely to be wasted going into his overshield. I’ll have to think about that.

I’m not certain how those numbers got away from me, that was never the intention. It ought to be more like a 1 hp/s per 100 hp stack. I’ll amend that now.

Some of the helixes tied to Permafrost I can agree I am likely being generous with the durations in regards to Chomp. It’d likely be better to shorten the duration on The Big Chill to maybe 3 seconds.

Referring to shields gained from outside sources, including gear activations. My own wording is at fault here, which I will correct to “This effect no longer applies to any shields not generated by Permafrost”.

I’ve never tested it but I assume sublimate stops stunning as soon as the timer is maxed. That’s like 1 or 2 “major” targets. I don’t want sublimate to stop stunning at any point so I pick the other option. And taking 5 seconds off sublimate is pretty useful too.

The reason I ask is because I typically use Kelvins legendary to sustain his shield. I don’t use shield regen gear because Kelvins legendary does that and so much more. The most notable added effect is more shield while trying to run away and the obvious second chomp if you miss.

Having shield snackers excess converted into overshield will make Kelvins 30% DR very powerful especially when chomping an overshielded minion.

The only reason shield snacker isn’t better than mastication restoration is because shield snacker has a cap that is easily met late game.

It just straight up breaks the skill regardless of time spent in sublimate. It’s a flip of the coin on whether or not you’ll stun someone.

On paper a longer sublimate seems amazing but it turns sublimate into an escape only. I’m not a fan.

DEVS PLEASE READ!

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.