The duelist queen - An advanced in-depth guide to Phoebe for PvP

Hey everyone Slif here, sorry for the long wait and thanks to those who waited. As there isn’t much love for Phoebe on these here forums I have decided to write up my own guide for one of my favourite and most played characters. This guide will be long - I’ll try keep it as short as possible where I can - and will cover a great deal of detail about the Prickly Princess. As an advanced character naturally Phoebe isn’t the sort of character everyone will master the first time they play, but it is my hope that with this guide you will have a better understanding of how she works and how to use her efficiently. Let’s begin!

#The character
Phoebe is listed as an assassin and a brawler, while these two classifications may seem contrary to one another she pulls off both roles better than any character who is listed as one or the other and one big reason for this is her secondary attack and passive ability, True Strike. With True Strike Phoebe can dance around her enemies and disorient them, but it’s also difficult to use as you have to adjust your movement for the direction you want to dash and predict where you’ll end up so you don’t dash too far or in the wrong direction. Once you master the use of True Strike however you’ll be able to master Phoebe herself as you’ll be able to win almost any 1v1 fight, dueling is Phoebe’s specialty and only a few Battleborn can withstand a tactful Phoebe assault. However, careful use of True Strike and Phasegate are required as these abilities are integral to Phoebe’s kit and without them she will suffer from her own squishyness and slow movement speed.

#The abilities
You likely know all of Phoebe’s abilities and what they do by now, but what you may not know is how they really work and when best to use them. Let’s cover this briefly and we’ll go more in-depth during the build section, if you know this part just scroll down to the next bold heading.

Phasegate - Phasegate is Phoebe’s primary ability and her most important. Phasegate is everything to Phoebe and without it she’s nothing so it’s important to understand when and how to use it effectively. The ability to teleport is one of the things that makes Phoebe unique as it works quite differently to most character’s lunges/dashes which are often used as escapes. While Phasegate does provide Phoebe with an escape when needed, it also provides her with an offensive edge over her opponent and should always be used as an initiator as your targeted opponent should either die or try to escape themselves rather than be able to fight back and force you to run. In the build section, I’ll cover how to augment and use Phasegate in more detail.

Blade Rush - This ability has a bad reputation in Battleborn and sadly it is deserving of this reputation, but I’ve found a way to use it as a last resort ability. As Phasegate is your initiator, so Blade Rush should be your counter-escape tool. If an enemy manages to survive your assault and attempts to flee, hit them with Blade Rush. It’s Phoebe’s only ranged attack and as she moves quite slowly she has a hard time pursuing without Phasegate. Even if it’s not your target, if you see a fleeing enemy with low health hit them with Blade Rush, I’ve gotten many kills this way and surprised myself several times at how effective this seemingly ineffective ability can be. There’s no such thing as “kill stealing” in this game, Phoebe is an opportunist so if you see an opportunity take it, better to secure the kill then let the enemy escape and return at full health.

ULTIMATE: Blade Cascade - The only thing better than an AoE ability is an AoE ult, and that’s exactly what Phoebe gets at level 5. Incoming minion wave? Need to capture mid thralls? Or a collector in Capture? Low on health and under attack with Phasegate on cooldown? Blade Cascade. Enemy with full health running at the sight of you? Phasegate in their way and use Blade Cascade. There are many used for Blade Cascade, and many more than the ones I suggested here. Phoebe’s ult is a utility skill that can be used to secure a quick kill, defend yourself, or as a makeshift escape. Don’t overuse it, but don’t underuse it either. Knowing when is the right time to use it comes down to experience and skill, and with enough every use of Blade Cascade will be a good use. AoE doesn’t just mean kills, it means area denial, and can allow Phoebe to control narrow spaces long enough to do what she came to do and get out safely.

PASSIVE: True Strike - As mentioned above, True Strike is both Phoebe’s passive ability and her secondary attack. True Strike essentially adds another hit to Phoebe’s melee combo without interrupting it, but that’s not where the strength of this attack lies. By being able to dash in any direction, Phoebe can avoid the attacks of an enemy while fighting or cut off an enemy escape by dashing in their way. This attack can also be used to lunge towards a fleeing enemy without interrupting the attack sequence, instead of breaking the combo to give chase or just letting an enemy go Phoebe can continue to attack. True Strike is integral to Phoebe’s kit and this build will have a heavy emphasis on consistent usage of this attack.

#The build
This will be the longest and most important section of this guide, some characters can do just as well with one build as another but as Phoebe is a pure melee character she relies on her skills more than most and a wrong selection can mean a big loss in DPS and a change in playstlye/approach. I’m not saying that this is the best or most effective build for Phoebe, but mathematically this set of skills will provide Phoebe with tremendous DPS and in practice you’ll notice a change in performance too.
I also wont be covering all helix choices per level, just the ones I choose and a brief explanation why, but if you’d like me to add the full helix let me know and I’ll edit this guide to include that.

LEVEL 1: Aggressive Advance - Of the two options here, one might think the silence from Preparation is the better choice, at least in theory it might be. In practive however, Blade Rush is inaccurate and unreliable even at close range and the requirement of landing the last hit of Phoebe’s melee combo AFTER hiting with Blade Rush is very hit-and-miss, and every time you miss is essentially a waste of this helix. 30% movement speed however is reliable as it will always activate upon using Phasegate, this also gives Phoebe extra escape or closing capability as Phasegate has a short cast range and her movement speed is on the slow side, 30% is a large increase no matter where you’re going. This will also stack well with our level 6 helix.

LEVEL 2: Phase Distortion - I don’t think this choice needs much explanation, but I’ll provide one anyway. Six seconds is a LONG time. No matter your DPS or your opponent’s health, six seconds is a long time in any engagement and when you’re slowed for those precious seconds it can feel like minutes. This is the longest CC in the game and just to top it off it’s a small persistent AoE field so any enemy rushing to the aid of their duressed ally is going to have a hard time reaching you (Unless they have a gun). Having your shields recharge after every use of Phasegate from Shield Resonators is a good defensive tool but since Phasegate’s primary function is offense you wont get a lot of use out of it and you’ll be wasting Phasegate if you use it primarily as an escape. Shield Resonators may also stack well with out level 6 helix, especially when using shield recharge rate gear, but the loss of the slow field is just too much to pass up. This may seem counter-productive due to the fact that we have a haste at level 1, but the increased movement speed will aid in closing on enemies out of reach of Phasegate as well as escaping when needed and overall map traversal when farming shards.

LEVEL 3: Crosscut - This is Phoebe’s first mutation, and the first of three we’ll be taking with this build. At first glance 18% melee damage from Sharpened Blades may seem like the better option, especially considering that the 18% bonus is applied to True Srike, but 150% is huge. That’s 2.5x damage applied to True Strike. Mathematically this is the better option for total damage output, 150% damage applied to one atack versus 90% over five (Four attacks in Phoebe’s melee combo + True Strike). Worth noting is that Crosscut activates upon landing the final hit of Phoebe’s combo, even if it’s the only attack that lands. You’ll know when Cross Cut is active as Phoebe’s rapier will glod gold for a few seconds. I don’t see any reason to take Shield Stabilisers in favour of either of these skills, +240 shield strength and +105 shield recharge rate makes for a good defensive skill but if you’re after a shield tank you may as well play Shayne & Aurox or Kleese.

LEVEL 4: Unintended Innovation - Another quick explanation, Blade Rush already has a short cooldown and unless you opt to use the silence and level 1 you wont be using it a lot so there’s no reason to take Rappiopio, adding a small splash zone to Blade Rush however means you can aim it at the ground by an enemy’s feet and hit with all four strikes instead of risking missing with a few or all shots, and Unintended Innovation also increases Blade Rush’s base damage by 12%. It’s also particularly good against minions and enemy Battleborn who are grouped together.

LEVEL 5: Blade Sweep - Phoebe’s second mutation, Blade Sweep adds a second attack to True Strike similar to Reprise. The main difference is that Blade Sweep adds a small AoE which is good for wave clear and is easier to hit than Reprise. Unlisted is the damage increase, the second attack from Reprise deals 40% more damage than the first attack of True Strike while Blade Sweep deals 50% more. Both of these attacks stack with Crosscut, meaning 190% extra damage to Reprise and 200% to Blade Sweep AFTER +150% to the first hit of True Strike. Not only is that an extra attack, combined with Crosscut that’s a total 350% damage increase from True Strike’s base damage. 30% damage reduction for 3 seconds from ** sounds great and it is, this increases Phoebe’s survivability and can be chained indefinitely while in combat, but you have to sacrifice a lot of DPS and if you’re good with True Strike you can avoid most of your opponent’s attacks so there will be no need to take Passato Sotto.
NOTE: This is important, when you take either Blade Sweep or Reprise and add a second attack to True Strike this also effects Phoebe’s melee combo. Instead of four strikes her combo will only strike twice with the last two hits of the combo, which are also the highest damaging and fastest strikes. Also, only the final hit is necessary to activate Crosscut. If you first start your combo then interrupt it with True Strike and hold both attack buttons, this will be persistent. However, if you attack with True Strike first then hold both buttons, Phoebe’s four-hit combo will complete but the second attack of True Strike will not activate. I believe this is a bug, in fact I’m almost certain of it, but if you take any skill other than Passato Sotto at level 5 this is something you will have to contend with. If you’d rather not deal with this by all means take Passato Sotto instead, but if you do I’d recommend to use Sharpened Blades over Crosscut at level 3. This little bug will also affect our level 7 choice, hopefully this is fixed at some stage so I can take the level 7 helix I’d prefer over the one I’m forced to take with this bug. As I play on PS4, I’m not sure if this is present across all platforms.

LEVEL 6: Contingency Plan - This is Phoebe’s third mutaion, the third and final we’ll be taking with this build, and perhaps the most important skill in Phoebe’s arsenal. While 20% cooldown reduction from Phasegate v2 is appealing and very useful considering how frequently you’ll use Phasegate, this mutation essentially gives you a double use of Phasegate. Now instead of using Phasegate as either an initiator or an escape we can use it as both. Get in, get the kill, get out. This allows you to play more recklessly as you’ll be able to teleport into danger, i.e. a group of enemy Battleborn, pick off the weakest enemy and teleport back to safety. It’s also useful for tankier Battleborn and those with escapes as you can Phasegate and drop your slow field a second time after they’ve exhausted their escape. The other helix option here is Disruptor Blades which gives 60% shield penetration to Blade Rush. 60% shield penetration is a lot, but we wont be using Blade Rush often with this build so we’ll avoid augmenting it unless we have to. Besides, DOUBLE PHASEGATE!
NOTE: Phoebe’s shield must fully recharge before Contingency Plan will activate, Phasegate will be ready to use again immediately upon Phoebe’s shield reaching 0 from full capacity.

LEVEL 7: Core Overload - Taking into account the note at level 5, Flurry is a redundant selection as attack speed doesn’t effect True Strike and the final two hits of Phoebe’s melee combo strike very quickly. If you take ** at level 5 instead however, by all means take Flurry because 20% attack speed is HUGE. If you do take Flurry then this is when Phoebe becomes her most dangerous, she’s a late-game destroyer and with this skill and combined with Sharpened Blades at level 3 her base DPS is by far the highest in the game at this point. Unless, that is, you follow this build guide instead. If/when the True Strike bug noted at level 5 is fixed, I’d suggest to take Flurry instead to further increase her already radical DPS. For now however, we take this skill simply because the other option doesn’t currently synergise with our build, which is a real shame. Besides, 15% skill damage isn’t so bad and synergises well with our next two options.

LEVEL 8: Phase Stability - I prefer this skill as Phasegate has a small cast range already so even a 100% increase from Scientific Method isn’t a lot, and increasing the damage AND all buffs imparted means even more movement speed from our level 1 helix choice. This also synergises well with Core Overload at level 7, further increasing Phasegate’s damage can sometimes make the difference between a kill and an escape and you will occasionally kill enemy Battleborn at low health just by Phasegating on them which will allow you to move straight on to the next target. Of course this can happen without this skill, but you never know when even a slight damage increase will be just enough. This one really comes down to personal preference and doesn’t affect the build a whole lot, if you’d rather be able to Phasegate from longer ranges then by all means take Scientific Method, but the way I see it if you’ve come this far without it you wont need it now. Besides, it puts me off when I try to quickly activate Phasegate and end up going further than intended.

LEVEL 9: Refined Technique - As I stated earlier I mainly use Blade Rush as a finishing attack against fleeing enemies, for this reason increasing Blade Rush’s damage over distance is a better option than the mutation which is good for using the silence at level 1. I see no reason to use The Conduit here, stripping shields for an attack is always dangerous and 12% isn’t a lot of extra damage unless you’re using Shield Stabilisers at level 3 and +shield capacity gear in which case Blade Rush becomes a powerful tool but you have to sacrifice a lot to make it so.

LEVEL 10: Swordstorm - Sadly, this is where Phoebe’s run of great mutations comes to an end. The mutation here, Stormbringer, is very poor and I don’t think it works as intended. It creates a very small radius around Phoebe that ticks for 30 damage every second over 5 seconds. This not only takes away Phoebe’s AoE, it also drastically reduces damage output. The description claims that damage is reduced by 50% but # rapiers that deal # damage is actually #% less total damage from the mutation. Swordstorm however both increases Blade Cascade’s radius by 50% AND increases Phoebe’s movement speed by 30% when she enters the field. This double effect is fantastic, increasing the damage radius and causing a movement speed buff means few enemies will escape this field and Phoebe wont have to worry about dropping her ult then leaving it behind when pursuing enemies. As far as wave clear and area denial go, this becomes one of the best skills in the game and rivals even Oscar Mike’s ult, Air Strike. The other option here is great too, Calamitous Cascade inflicts a debuff to any enemy hit by Blade Cascade causing them to take extra damage from all sources. ALL sources, not just Phoebe, this is essentially like Reyna’s Priority Target and increases the damage of Blade Cascade by 16% against any enemy who takes more than one hit. But, for this effect to be on an ult with a long cooldown and to only be accessible at level 10, it feels like a good skill in an unfortunate place on the helix.

#The gear
No guide would be complete without an analysis of the gear needed to enhance or synergise with the build. I will be suggesting alternatives to the gear I’d prefer to use as there are a few different loadouts that can work well with this build, really it will come down to what you prefer and what you feel you need.

Gear slot 1 - 0 cost shard generating gear. Shards are important across all modes, and they will be particularly important to this loadout as we’ll be running two legendaries. Flawed gear means any gear with a negative effect, white rarity flawed gear will always have a 0 cost attached to it meaning you can activate he gear before leaving the gates at the start of a match. Max stat shard gear will be capped at 2.10 shards per second, just make sure that the negative stat is not one that will effect your character and you’ll be good to go.

Gear Slot 2: Vow of Vengeance - At max stats the Vow of Vengeance provides 9.80% attack damage, 5.60% attack speed, and the unique effect is +.98% attack damage after landing a melee hit. After ten hits, that’s a total 19.60% attack damage which is a LOT. As mentioned in the notes at level 5, attack speed isn’t necessary with this build, but on any other melee character or Phoebe with Passato Sotto at level 5 and Flurry at level 7 the 5.60% is noticeable and increases Phoebe’s DPS to outrageous levels. Regardless, almost +20% damage is a very large increase and is very noticeable.

ALTERNATE: Uncommon (Green rarity) Jennerit Gauntlet - For a cheaper alternative, an uncommon Jennerit gauntlet will have the same stats for less than half the cost but without the unique effect. The exact stats are (at max) +9.80% attack damage, +5.60% attack speed for 5 seconds after landing a melee hit. Since Phoebe is a melee character the secondary effect will always be active in combat, this is a far cheaper alternative to an epic rarity item with the same stats which will be ~300 shards more expensive. Since attack speed isn’t really an important stat with this build, another alternative to this is just a common (white rarity) gauntlet from any faction, with a negative effect (flawed) this becomes a free activation of nearly 10% extra damage, FOR FREE!

Gear slot 3: Boots of the Brute - This item drops from Foreman Grall, the final boss of The Saboteur. At max stats this item provides 5.60% movement speed, 5.60% attack speed, and the unique effect slows enemies hit by your melee attacks every 3 seconds. Phoebe has slow movement speed so any item or buff that boosts movement speed is welcome as is any debuff that slows enemies, Phoebe already has skills that hasten herself and slow enemies after executing Phasegate but the effects on this item are passive and always active, so long as the gear is active. Being able to consistently slow enemies is as good as increasing damage or attack speed, if not better, and with Phoebe’s already high DPS this item will ensure that Phoebe can pursue fleeing enemies and prevent those she’s engaging from escaping.

ALTERNATE: Blade Dancer’s Shoes - Phoebe’s unique legendary, the Blade Dancer’s Shoes add 4.80% movement speed, -3.60% cooldown time, and stack 5% damage after every CONSECUTIVE hit with True Strike. As this build already heavily emphasises True Strike this may seem like a great gear choice, but as I said above I already think Phoebe’s DPS is more than sufficient, also it’s really easy to miss with True Strike if you dash in the wrong direction. This item stacks incredibly well with the Vow of Vengeance and further increases Phoebe’s outrageously high DPS, but I prefer being able to slow enemies consistently over increasing damage output. If you prefer the Vow of Vengeance in your second gear slot and want extreme DPS over constant debuffs, and if you’re good enough to consistently land hits with True Strike, then this is the item you want.
NOTE: The second hit of True Strike from Blade Sweep and Reprise will activate the unique effect of this item.

SECOND ALTERNATE: Rare (Blue rarity) Jennerit Boots - If you don’t have the Boots of the Brute or just want a cheaper alternative, rare Jennerit boots will have (at max) +5.60% movement speed and +5.60% movement speed for 5 seconds after landing a melee hit. As mentioned with the gauntlets, Phoebe is a melee character so the secondary effect will always be active during combat.

Every character has their strengths and weakness, pros and cons. This means that some characters are more effective against others. There are no true counters in this game, but some characters function as counters to others and to best understand your character you must understand which enemies to engage and which to avoid or wait for back-up.

As a melee character naturally Phoebe is good against most ranged characters when she can close the gap, and with Phasegate she’s one of the best closers in the game. However, many ranged characters have some form of CC, AoE, or escape, and these can be used at close range to counter Phoebe’s attack or force her to retreat. Don’t approach ranged enemies directly, try to flank them and land on them with Phasegate from behind to apply your slow debuff. Be mindful of your life bar and AoE such as Oscar Mike’s napalm or Thorn’s Blight which can be placed at your feet, it’s easy to get distracted while you’re fighting and dancing with True Strike and not realise that you’re about to die until you do. Turning a fight in your favour is all about positioning and timing, any good match-up can easily become a bad one if you’re caught out of poistion or a potential target spots you scouting them.

ISIC - ISIC is a ranged disruptor and he can tank a lot of damage from range, he’s also one of the few Battleborn who can fight out of position and win or cause enough damage to have a big impact before he escapes. Against a high-DPS melee like Phoebe however, he’s fodder in almost every engagement. ISIC’s only solace is his escape, Plasma Dash, without he’s easy prey but be sure to fight him on your terms, not on his ground, as he’ll take a while to kill and if he has nearby allies they’ll save him or kill you. His quick melee has the furthest knockback in the game, but it’s almost as slow as he is and easily avoidable with True Strike. His large hitbox makes it easy to land True Strike consistently until he’s dead, even face-to-face his crit is large and centred on his body so it’s easy to just stab him in the face.

Kleese - Kleese’s Energy Rifts pose a problem for Phoebe, but once she breaks his defenses he’s done. You can teleport through his defensive line and the only thing to worry about then is his secondary attack, at early levels his Shock Taser will melt Phoebe but mid-late game his high capacity shield wont save him from your boosted True Strike and high DPS. Just make sure he’s alone, Kleese often floats around the backline behind the cover of his allies while placing Energy Rifts in front of them, if his allies are dead or have scattered take him out quick before they regroup or he’ll rebuild his rift network. If you have your level 6 skill active, sometimes it’s worth the risk as Kleese can be a game changer late-game when he gets his heal chair augment at level 5.

Marquis - There seems to be a trend here, Phoebe is a good match-up against members of her own faction. Marquis is annoyingly fast and can both slow you and hasten himself, when ambushed however Phoebe’s slow cuts off his escape and his shallow health pool means certain death. Beware his quick melee, use True Strike to dance around Marquis and avoid his quick melee and don’t be afraid to sit inside his Temporal Distortion field unless he takes the damage helix, especially after level 6 when you can jump in and jump out after the kill.

Whiskey Foxtrot - He’s slow, has a shallow health pool, and his weapon fires in bursts. Unless he takes the helix that allows his Flak Cannon to propel himself back, he’s almost certainly dead even if he knocks you back as you’ll have your haste and the slow field from Phasegate to make up ground.

Alani - Since being nerfed, or rather balanced, Alani is now killable and s particularly susceptible to Phoebe’s attacks. Her self heal does little to protect herself against Phoebe’s high DPS and her movement is less than fast. She does have a lot of CC though which she can use to escape, but unless you’re caught in her bubble Alani should be no trouble.

In a direct 1v1 Phoebe’s strength lies in her ability to ambush and debuff her opponent, there aren’t many Battleborn who can walk away from a well timed Phoebe attack but there are a handful who are capable of fending off Phoebe or surviving her assault even when ambushed from behind and slowed.

Montana - Having the highest health pool in Battleborn makes up for Montana’s large hitbox. Montana is easily countered by many ranged characters, but Phoebe has a hard time fighting him in a 1v1. With three abilities that have different CC effects, two that also add damage reduction, and one that can be used for an escape, Montana takes a lot to bring down even with Phoebe’s high DPS, he also has among the highest DPS in the game at close range where he is most accurate and where Phoebe has to be to fight and can rival Phoebe for damage output. All of these things make Montana a bad match for Phoebe, even if you do get the jump on him he can tank a lot of damage and dish out just as much. Approach with caution, avoid when at full health, only engage when his attention is elsewhere such as fghting a ranged ally.

Boldur - Boldur is the tank’s tank, his ability to soak up damage with his high health pool, health regeneration, and physical shield make Boldur even harder to kill than Montana in most engagements. He can also use his dash ability to knock back and stun as well as escape much like Montana, he can generate an overshield just by using this ability (If he takes the appropriate helix, which most Boldurs do), and increase his health regeneration by absorbing damage with his shield while his ult is active. When fighting Boldur you often spend more time attacking his shield than actually damaging him and wasting your abilities. If you see Boldur at full health just continue doing what you’re doing and keep an eye on him, his DPS is low so he wont kill you from full health if you just ignore him but if you concentrate on him for too long you’re likely to get killed by him or one of his allies.

Ghalt - Ghalt is one of the most dangerous Battleborn, and he’s an excellent counter to melee characters. He has higher health than he ought to and does a lot of damage at close range, he also has the fastest quick melee in the game and can spam it to keep you out of attack range while he destroys you with his shotgun. You also know that he always has a Scraptrap somewhere nearby, if you teleport into it you’re dead. Better to avoid this guy and beware of his hook as he’ll be looking to pull you in knowing that you have little chance of survival unless you escape with Phasegate, and if you do it wont be by much.

Benedict - Benedict has the lowest base health in the game (Tied with Orendi) but in order to kill him you first have to get to him, and that’s never easy for a melee character. Between his ability to double jump, glide, and his Liftoff ability, Benedict is hard to reach and he can combine all of his aerial aptitude to escape or rain rockets down upon you from heights you can’t reach. Even if you manage to teleport to Benedict and slow him he can still escape with Liftoff and hover above you or fly away. Killing Benedict is all about timing, if he’s just landed after using Liftoff you wont have a better chance to kill him but he’s usually on a high perch or an area with a long line of sight so you have to be sneaky and flank him or he’ll see you coming then either fly away before you get close enough to engage or tag you with Hawkeye. Avoid entering a direct engagement and stay out of his line of sight, be patient and wait out your assault or you’ll waste Phasegate and be left with no escape. Benedict is difficult to use so you might find yourself dominating him more often than not, but when against an equally skilled player you’re gonna have a bad time.

These are the Battleborn who pose a threat to Phoebe and provide a tough 1v1 fight but aren’t direct counters to her playstyle, their playstyles are more about harrassment and if they get the jump on you or feign an escape and lure you out of position they’ll kill you every time.

Mellka - Mellka is perhaps the toughest Battleborn to kill, she’s bouncy and fast and bouncier still. Both of her basic abilities can be used offensively, as escapes, or combined for either prupose. Mellka’s knack for chaining her abilities is her strength and her weakness when an observant player is monitoring her activity. If you get the drop on Mellka what happens next all depends on a number of factors. Her helix choices, her cooldowns, and her willingness to chain her abilities to escape or fight back. When slowed, Mellka’s Spike and Claw Lunge will only propel her a slight distance, but if she takes the slow helix for Spike and/or the increased Spike height helix she’s quite likely to escape, and maybe even fight back, but with the level 6 mutation you can counter her counter attack. When you engage Mellka, you have to commit to the fight and go all out if you want the kill. I kill enemy Mellka more easily and more often with Phoebe than any other character, so far Phoebe is the only character I’ve found who is capable of consistently winning against Mellka, but only about half of my attacks are successful. The other half result in escapes, and when Mellka gets the drop on you she tends to chase relentlessly and eventually her venom will finish you off. This really comes down to skill, if you’re not well practiced with Phoebe I’d suggest avoiding Mellka at all costs.

Attikus - This might surprise some of you as Attikus is commonly considered to be the weakest character in the game (I strongly disagree with this) but Attikus makes for a great fight against Phoebe. His high health and access to life steal gives him a little bit of survivability and sustain in a fight, combined with his hard hits and his large offensive hitbox (Seriously, try MISSING with those fists) make for a good 1v1 if he gets the drop on you. You can often count on Attikus using Pounce to escape, but if he’s exhausted that ability jump him and finish him quickly before he flees and returns later with full health. On the contrary, if Attikus jumps you with Pounce you’re in trouble, especially if he has five Hedronic Collector stacks. Some of the best 1v1 fights I’ve had as Phoebe have been against Attikus, I wouldn’t say he’s a direct counter but an equally skilled player can make a match hard for Phoebe and you’ll really have to work for your kills against him.

Orendi and Caldarius- These two are nothing if not pains in the butt to a melee character. They have among the lowest health pools in the game (Orendi has the lowest base health tied with Benedict) but they can also deal large damage in bursts and their mobility makes them particularly difficult to keep track of as they run and bounce around the map. Caldarius can double jump in any direction and is one of the fastest characters in the game as well as having the longest range escape (When augmented), Orendi can spam her Shadowfire Pillar while bouncing around (She’s one of few characters faster than Caldarius) and can bounce away with Nullify whenever you get close then either turn and run or continue to attack. Winning against these guys doesn’t always mean killing them, if you force one of them to flee take that as a win and go on to do something else, Don’t get tunnel vision when they’re backing up or they’ll bait you into over-extending then you’ll end up dead, and don’t stay in the same spot for too long or they’ll harrass you and chip away at your health then chase you down when you’re weak.

Well that brings us to the end of this guide, I was going to include another short section entitled The playstyle but as I was typing it turned out to be a lot longer than expected so I was constantly editing it and deleting sections until I had nothing. Hopefully by the end of this guide you will have an understanding of Phoebe’s playstyle and the way to effectively ustilise this build. This is an advanced build for an advanced character so I wouldn’t recommend it to a new player or someone who is new to Phoebe, and if you are new to Phoebe you wont have the three mutations that we’ll be using here which are very important to this build.
I have been considering typing up a simpler build for newer players, one that is shorter and does not include the use of mutations or a heavy emphasis on True Strike, similar to the build I was using while in the process of leveling up and completing lore challenges. If you like this build and would like to see a beginner guide for Phoebe let me know in the comments. Any and all input, suggestions, and questions are welcome. Thanks for reading to those who did, please let me know what you think of this guide and if it was helpful in any way!

  • Slif_One

NOTE: I’ve recently changed my gear loadout since I wrote this guide, I now use health regeneration and maximum health over damage and movement speed as Phoebe’s DPS is already outrageously high and she can hasten herself as well as slow enemies. I’d still suggest using the gear mentioned here until you get the hang of playing Phoebe.

Really nice Guide! Well written!

But dont you think that Phoebes Legendary kinda sucks? AFAIK It only stacks the 5% Dmg boosts if you ONLY use True Strike and nothing else. As soon as you use other attacks or skills it resets. It’s so impractical


Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile:

I actually did not know that, Phoebe’s DPS is so high I seldom even notice damage increases, it was hard enough to find a target to test Crosscut and Blade Sweep on lol. I spent a LOT of games trying to see damage numbers and get all of her skills activating, most enemies die too quickly and at such close range it’s hard to follow damage numbers especially when you’re dancing around so much. I could try running further tests. I’ve ran her legendary a few times but never actually tested it the way I did her skills, I just took it at face value. Guess it sounds better than it is :frowning:

Reviewing the guide ( I swore I’d do it from work as I’m quite bored these days ) right now ! Already a few things I either didn’t noted myself or I’m not completely agreeing with in the Build, but I shall re-re-test myself in a proper environment before pointing them out :slight_smile:

At any rate great job, it must require patience and dedication to write all this ! I hope it will help newcomers to Phoebe, the little poking brat ! :stuck_out_tongue:

I suck at melee characters as I never know when to commit and I’m used to playing ranged characters with a dedicated escape (why I was initially interested in Pheobe). Hopefully this guide helps me as it gives me a lot of insight on “up close and personal”.

I look forward to hearing what you find after further testing. Shame we’re on separate platforms, we could show each other how we play and utilise our builds.


Kudos…! wonderfully written guide…! I was about to make a post on how “Boots of Brute” seems tailor made for Phoebe and how it could’ve been Phoebe’s character specific legendary over blade dancer’s shoes (still no luck in getting boots of brute :frowning: ), I am glad you have that item as one of the main gears in your build…

It’s so hard to farm, it only drops on advanced and we all know how hard The Saboteur is, then there’s the long grind just to get to Foreman Grall… I played against an Attikus using it, it was so brutal… I think maybe that item needs looking at, you can survive Vyn’s Quiver but the Boots of the Brute is just madnesd, one of the few legendaries worth the 1,800 shard activation cost though I think it should be higher.

Preparation is a great skill as well & makes those hard battles you mentioned a bit easier.

I always found aggressive advance (helix 1) great in the beginning but once everyone levels up… There is more fighting than running away which then you should be able to get the helix skill that basically doubles your phasegate distance. Agressive advance would be almost useless at this point but still good for only escaping but contingency plan should be enough. Preparation will be great and extremely clutch throughout the entire match. Just my thoughts. Very nice guide though

Preparation is also our best counter to a Phoebe vs Rath fight as it will silence him allowing you to stop his knock up silence.

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You can also stop rath during his Ult w/ it. Stop a kelvin before he turns into a ball to run away, take an Isic out of his Ult mode, stop a gal from going into the ground, stop a Benedict from taking flight, stop a Montana before he CCs… You get the point. That’s why I believe it’s clutch.

I couldn’t see it working against Dreadwind, you’d have to mark him then attack him, at which point you’d die or waste precious seconds and be cery low on health even if you succeed, at which point he’d likely kill you anyway. Better just to Phasegate away. And therein would lie the usefulness of Aggressive Advance, you’d ensure your escape from his large radius and high movement speed.
As for your other examples, a good Benedict wont be so easy to hit with Blade Rush and will be gone before you complete your combo anyway, if not he’s dead either way. ISIC’s ult makes him an easy target for melee attacks so I’m not worried about his ult, Gali still has her shield, and Montana… Well, I concur with that. I understand your points, I guess it comes down to personal preference really, I find Preparation unreliable and in many cases unnecessary while Aggressive Advance is a useful tool for map traversal and escaping plus it’s free movement at level 1 while increased Phasegate distance doesn’t come until level 8 if you choose it.

I agree with you too. Aggressive advance is great but I just felt like it lost its usefulness in later levels. It’s hard to hit w/ blade rush… I only use it when I’m already attacking someone so it’s point black range in the beginning or the end of the enemies life. With my gear loadout which is based on attack speed and damage, I have no issues whipping out the last attack for silence on phoebe… You can even start the combo before even hitting the enemy to make sure you pull off the silence. That’s exactly what I do w/ facing Benedict. Sometimes he flies away on time and sometimes he don’t… It’s like flipping a coin, but if it does silence he is basically done since 3 seconds is enough time to finish him off.

With raths Ult… I basically mean it like if you see him Ult on a allies while you are around. You can attempt the blade rush, if you see it land… Jump in and silence him… No way he can kill you that fast w/ full life and shield. It is kinda hard if you find yourself getting Ult directly though

Level 1 :
I feel like with experience, Preparation would become a better, more useful tool to have than Aggressive Advance. Movement, Sprint, and Attack speed are very powerful in this game and even more so for Phoebe, but Silence is a b*tch. The biggest difference is that you can virtually always be under the Agrressive Advance speed buff ( did you try the Infinite Phasegate build by the way? :smiley: ) while Blade Rush will always remain on a pretty “long” timer.
Aggressive Advance will always be a strong helix choice nonetheless, but Preparation would give another soft control tool to Phoebe.

Level 5 :
Hm, that’s the thing I really need to test :slight_smile: Blade Sweep having a better damage mod than Reprise sounds incredible to me, and frankly a completely OP mutation if that’s indeed the case. I mean, an AoE with a better damage output than Reprise that still benefits from Crosscut ?
To be honest I’d think Blade Sweep does 50% damage of True Strike, meaning HALF the damage rather than +50% damage. Or just 100% damage of a True Strike with no further damage bonus.
I couldn’t find the spare time to go and test, but I’ll invoke my right of disbelief for now if you don’t mind. Because as it stands, I always saw Blade Sweep as a great wave clearer / beginner tool but Reprise as the “expert” tool. And since Phoebe’s role is hardly to clear minions, well, I always envisions Blade Sweep as a little off topic Helix choice :wink:

Level 7 :
I’d also be a very strong advocate of Flurry, too. While indeed Phasegate ( and Blade Rush ofc ) deal damage, I feel like 20% more attack speed beats the 15% occasionnal additionnal damage. Unless playing with the infinite teleport build, one can never have too much attack speed with Phoebe - I actually consider getting flurry is the ultimate turning point in a game : if I was already above, I will definitely deny everyone any kill on me, and if I was late, I will get the edge I needed to become a monster.
One thing I have to check is whether atk speed affects True Strike. You say it doesn’t, but I’m quite sure I tested some time ago and felt it did. I may be wrong, though, as I only tested by weaving Primary and Secondary together, resulting I felt in more True Strike / Reprise/Blade Sweep since they always fire up at the end of the 4hits combo. In a way TS doesn’t have to wait as much for the primary combo to complete and as such it fires up more often. I don’t find chaining only True Strike any kind of useful even with the Legendary ( maybe to try and get more dashes forward though ), so I don’t recall testing ATK speed in such a scenario…

Level 8 :
Scientific Method I’d mostly blindly take in any situation. With a character whose role is to ambush and skirmish, I feel like the sooner you can jump into action the better. Also, it helps to get to cover faster when a really annoying ranged character ( Montana, Benedict … ) comes into the fight, as well as generally retreat better when the odds aren’t in your favor or you manage to kill enough people but are badly wounded. It just helps navigate the map faster. Also, amping the speed buff of the slow effect is rather meh as they already are quite powerful, meaning Phase Stability is only here for the damage buff…
However, if everyone in the opposing team is slow or average, I may grab Phase Stability. Works if everyone in the opposing team is rather squichy too.

Level 9, 10 : nothing to add. 9 is basically up to everyone’s choice. None are very powerful ( The Conduit is pretty weak in a PvP setting though ). Either grab the Shotgun or the Sniper. I tend to go with Sniper too, it’s still a bit of damage and the AoE effect may probably be enough to activate Preparation with the 4th combo hit. Just fire it, jump into the melee with Phasegate, hit. They’ll probably be silenced just as they realize where the damage are coming from, leaving you with an extended window of opportunity ( time they took to realize, plus 3sec silence ).
At any rate, it won’t improve Blade rush damage a lot, so…
And the ult, well, yeah, there is only really Swordstorm here. Move along :stuck_out_tongue:

And the rest I have nothing to add at all !

I shall delve into the gearing section later for now! Work is calling =)

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Nope, it’s +50%, tested it before writing this and found myself surprised.

I did too, before I discovered Crosscut and Blade Sweep, and the note at level 5.

Wow really, blade sweep gives 50% increased damage. I didn’t even know that. I’ve been mostly using passotto sotto (30% damage reduction) with sharpened blades and flurry for my main source of damage. Only reason I went with 30% damage reduction is because to better battle heavy hitters which I find myself winning most of them and 2v1s with that skill.

I always learned that a good offense requires a better defense and of course if someone kills you easily in game they will basically go at you every time they see you. In game I usually have heavy hitters back off until they get help before attacking me which gives me precious time to Shepard minions but I gotta try that blade sweep sometime

Passato Sotto is indeed great for those long fights against big guys like Montana, but consodering that Blade Sweep reaps the benefits from Crosscut I choose them over Sharpened Blades and Passato Sotto

It all depends whether you prefer more DPS or sustainability, if you’re confident with True Strike I’d suggest these changes, if not stick with your current build and practice precision with True Strike before augmenting it. If you miss a lot, it’s noticeable when your build is focused around it.

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I’ll definitely try that. Thanks!! That’s the great thing about this game, different builds you can do with your character

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