Theory Build - Rocketeer Athena

I’ve had an idea for a build in mind ever since I first started playing Athena at launch - namely, involving the skill Elemental Barrage. After maxing that skill and picking up a Vladof launcher that I found, I realized that rocket spam could be a viable playstyle given the low ammo consumption of vladof launchers and the insane reductions in chance to use ammo available with high(ish) maelstrom stacks. However, I’d like some ideas for how to complete/play the build, and how to gear up for it.

Basic structure of build:

The points in CS should be self explanatory - Gathering Tempest and Unrelenting for mag size and fire rate on the launcher, and smite and zeus’ rage for insane buffs to basic actions.

As for the Phalanx tree, I grabbed some of the basic buffs for when the Aspis is up to help maintain survivability (Ephodos for evasion, Hold the Line and Vanguard for healing when necessary, Prismatic aegis and clear! for more damage from the throws).

What I’d like to know:
Would it be worth it to grab points in either Gun Kata or Clarity to get O-S and mercurial? If so, which? The tier two Xiphos skills are both very good buffs from my experiences, but I’m unsure which tier 1 skill to dump points into - Gun Kata offers nothing AFAIK, but Clarity’s supposed to be pretty weak…

I’m trying to figure out whether I should get a skill like Overload or Superconductor for faster Maelstrom stacking/better maelstrom retention - which would be better for this?

I want to get down to Wrath for the combo of that and Zeus’ Rage, but am unsure of what to spec into to get there - I was thinking Invictus for better aspis throws, but Return Fire also seems appealing to me.


Which COM would best suit this build? I was thinking a blue Raging or Surging Storm might be good with a shock launcher, but other suggestions would be good.

IDK if this one will fit what you’re looking for. You can modify it if you don’t like :smiley:

Might be fun with high % absorb shields so you have a chance at recovering any lost rocket ammo while running up to enemies with the aspis out and spam rockets point blank.
I put points in United Front and Conduit for better survivability, at least for your shield. Between Overload and Superconductor, I went with Superconductor because with Defender COMs you can max that so it shocks people 100%. I couldn’t see COM that buffed Overload, and Superconductor seems like it would be used more - all you need is the aspis out, while Overload feels like a conditional kill skill.

For Phalanx tree I went with both Invictus and Return Fire instead of Ephados/Hold the Line, but that’s more of a preference thing, my aim and evasion weren’t great in the first place and instead of having the aspis out longer each activation I’d rather have deflection when I do have it out and just activate the aspis as many times as possible. Also this means (slightly) more activations of Wrath/Zeus’ Rage combo.

If you were thinking of grenades I’d say either Storm Front or Quasar/other shock singularities if you don’t have. I really like the singularity effect of the Quasar over extended range of Storm Front because it usually stuns weaker enemies from shooting/attacking you and bunches them up so each nova from Smite or Zeus’ Rage hits multiple enemies. Also I find Quasar to be an easier farm from Felicity.

I forgot to mention anything about the Xiphos tree. For Tier 1, I didn’t put too much thought into it, so that’s more up to you. I just went with Gun Kata because it at least has a flat gun damage boost, and you said you were going more for Vladof rockets than melee.

I don’t have much experience experimenting with mercurial so I don’t know how much I’m missing out by taking O-S over that, but my version of the build didn’t have much room left for both, and O-S looks like it has a broader range of use. Still, there’s one point left after all that and I’m not sure where to put it. Maybe Mercurial so there’s a little bit of a boost or Prepare for Glory just for the aggro effect.

Gun Kata is always better than Clarity of purpose.

Also, don’t fall for the Elementa Barrage/Unrelenting combo, if you are using a Vladof rocket launcher. I kid you not, i had recoil so bad i was shooting backwards. A bandit launcher is more manageable, and there’s such thing as the Badaboom

Here’s what i would do with the remaining points, or at least some of them, if i was a madman who didn’t want Bloodrush.

Beyond that, you can pretty much improvise. Also, a good com for any build is the Celestial Gladiator, although a Surging Storm is also good.

Superconductor is the better of the two skills at passive Maelstrom stacking.

You’re on the right track with the basic idea of your build but if you really want to quickly build up stacks you need to find a shock Practicable Thinking. Check out my Perfect Storm topic for the details.

I’m not disagreeing with the stacking provided by Superconductor. I have points in that and Overload. Overload I have seen the results easily - Superconductor I haven’t. Can someone show me or explain why it would be the better choice if you only could go with one? I know it doesn’t work without the Aspis being out, that’s why I prefer full points in Overload instead.

It largely comes down to your playstyle and preference for active or passive stacking skills. While Superconductor is Aspis dependent, it isn’t a kill skill like Overload, and doesn’t limit its function exclusively to shock or incendiary weapons. Of course, playing CS Athena, you’re going to be using those weapons anyways but it allows a bit more freedom when you’re using Cryo, Explosive, and Corrosive weapons too. Also, given the short cooldown and time between enemy engagements you’re pretty much going to have the Aspis up when you need it active.

But if you’re really having trouble deciding, throw on a Hologram mod and have fun with both!