Tips on Kelvin before level 5

Once I reach level 5 with 30% damage reduction and that beautiful Ice Wall that now gives me 2 stuns, I’m pretty good and can hold a front line quite well.

The problem lies with my game plan up until then. I feel like I’m playing him right for the first 4 levels but I never acquire much damage.

Typical Lvl 1-4 game plan:

  • Flank the enemies and put in a quick chomp and a few melees until I start taking damage.Then sublimate anyone near me and on my way back to my team.

  • While back with my team, I pop out around corners and chomp minions to get my max health up until sublimate is ready to go again.

  • Rinse and Repeat


  • Medical Nano-Colony - 1470 shards

  • Free Shard Gen - 0 shards

  • Cooldown w/Cooldown while skills are on cooldown (-heal power) - 630 shards


  • Sprint w/Sprint while skills are on cooldown (-heal power) - 630 shards

I know he’s a slow start character, but I feel like I should be doing more. Any tips on how to make him more powerful/useful for the first half of his game?


I’m not a kelvin expert but I’m starting to pick him up.

I’d say that you should turtle and play pretty passively for the first few levels. Hide and run out to chomp minions when you can, stun chomp anyone that over extends.

You could play more aggressively if you have a good healer and another tank on the team for CC.

Also, I’m not fan of legendaries so I would go for a different build. Right now I’m running Blue Regen with extra regen after 3 mins, blue max health with more health after 3 mins, and a green skill damage with extra health after 3 mins. All have negative shield recharge to make them cheaper. with this loadout, I can have all my gear up before level 4, which makes for an easier early game.

You might be able to get better use out of something other than skill damage, but I like the extra chomp damage to help finish off stunned targets


Pretty much what I was going to say :joy:

For the most part you shouldn’t be stunning more than 1 person unless they’re REALLY grouped up, even after level 6 (if you take the duration). Stay relatively passive but be very aware to catch out people out of position, and make sure the enemy team is well aware of your presence as Kelvin is very intimidating to other melee characters :stuck_out_tongue:


i stack max shield on kelvin and get that lvl 2 or 3 right where sublimate gives more shield- you miss out on early level chomp damage, but i dont play him chomping people more often than i need to.

in incursion i love to go around the back of the opposing team to sublimate forward. safe, early plays if the enemy will let you. and i can chomp minions on my way outwithout exposing my crit spot.


Neither of you go with the Medical Nano-Colony? I couldn’t survive without it!!! 42 health regen (L1) PLUS he actually keeps his shield instead of it always depleting. That’s why I run a shard gen to get that gear asap and then the cooldown or sprint speed only cost 630 after that.

Do you run any shield regen on him?

I guess I described it wrong because this is my typical play style for the first few levels. I flank, do 2 or 3 seconds of damage to get their attention and then sublimate and head straight to my team. That’s what I meant by “sublimate anyone near me”. Then I cower behind corners and pop out to chomp minions until sublimate comes back.


I see people stacking shield on him all the time but I’ve never tried it because I have a hard time letting go of Cooldown or Sprint gear to help with that early game “Flank and Run” style.

Does the R2 helix (+50% Permafrost Shield Strength) only give 49 more shield no matter what level or amount of health? It wouldn’t stack with the shield gear, correct?

3% Chomp damage would give 61 extra damage at a minimum. And say you get up to 3,500 health that’s 105 extra damage on each chomp (5 seconds).

Not trashing your helix choice, just trying to talk through and see if it’s something I need to invest in or if Chomp and Cooldown is what I should stick with.

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I don’t really run many/any legendary gear, but I do run a shield recharge rate on him!

No this isn’t what I do, but I may have explained it wrong. I’ll sublimate into someone who’s out of position slightly, get out of sub, chomp and bodyblock, which usually secures a kill.

Is usually not the most effective way of playing Kelvin (in my opinion), as it usually just stuns someone but doesn’t really do much other than that. I can’t remember a time someone has done that and actually made a play from it!


Well, it’s difficult on some level to describe a playstyle briefly and concisely in words, so I’ll link a gameplay video of how I play him at least in Meltdown:

It’s a hit-and-run strategy in the true sense of the word. Chomp, run around until you can chomp again and rinse and repeat. Kelvin takes enough
damage just for being himself, running away early on from the AI will allow you to soak up more damage from players which is key.

But I take it you mean Incursion, so I’d say;

You’re there to set-up, deter, interrupt & punish.

Set-up kills/plays for your teammates, deter possible pushes, interrupt dives & punish players out of position.

With that in mind;

  • Use Sublimate offensively. Too many Kelvin’s I’d say use it defensively rather than offensively, effectively removing a key-aspect of why Kelvin’s such a desired character in comps.

  • Don’t go for team stuns for the sake of stunning them. What I mean by that is that it’s often, if not even most of the time, more beneficial to just stun one or two targets and then manually cancelling Sublimate to Chomp the target(s). The stuns are worth nothing if

A) No one can capitalise on them.

B) It’s not interrupting.

C) It’s not vitally delaying.

  • Be smart about your lane presence. Most healers will struggle to keep a Kelvin going, inclduing Miko early levels. While you want to be the bullet-sponge, staying mindlessly in lane will hurt your team. The healer can’t re-direct focus to heal others, the chances for an enemy counter-push increases when the tank gets low on health and it may force you to use Sublimate as an escape which should be a last resort. If the enemy senses that Kelvin is weak without Sublimate ready, they will engage given that no other tanks are present.

Primarily be in lane to soak up damage for other players, not minions. This goes back to the hit-and-run aspect of Kelvin. Soak up damage from players, not minions. If an enemy Elite Bot enters lane, leave it to the team. It’ll do unnecessarily high damage to you for virtually nothing, leave it to your team for the most part. If you have to engage it, you’ll likely have to use Sublimate to not lose most of your health.

  • Make sure to have awareness. Are the enemy flanking, preparing for a push etc. Being able to interrupt effectively is central to Kelvin’s playstyle, and need awareness of both player positioning but also ability management. What do the enemy have ready at their disposal as opposed to our team?

For gear, I currently run;

+14.00 Health Regeneration
-42.00 Shield Recharge Rate
0 cost

+140 Shield Capacity
+98 Shield Capacity for 10 seconds after killing or assisting in killing a minor enemy
-21.00% Reload Speed
630 cost

+8.40% Damage Reduction
+4.20% Damage Reduction for 10 seconds after activating a skill
924 cost

The health regeneration helps a considerably early on with the self-sustain.

Permafrost grants you shield based on yor max shield, meaning having increased shield capacity will make you receive more shield after completing a skill.

The damage reduction’s fantastic, largely because you can have the secondary up and running at all times. You can Chomp before engaging to get the extra damage reduction and then maintain it throughout the engagement.

With this build however, I typically pick up Shield Snacker at level 4 to truly utilise all the shield capacity from the loadout.

My old loadout was almost the same as this, but the 0-cost equivalence of the shield capacity and the rare equivalence of the health regeneration, at which point I took the lifesteal.


Considering the two sources that these quotes came from, I think I’m going to try a more assassin approach early on.

This is always my game plan as soon as I hit level 5, but I haven’t had much success early with it. Looks like a matter of practice, practice, practice.

With a -62 Shield Recharge, wouldn’t this just deplete any shield you get in a matter of a few seconds? And that’s on top of enemies pelting you with bullets.

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Also, does Sprint Speed affect Sublimate or is that only Movement Speed?

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Maybe. The thing about Kelvin is that he heaily relies on his teammates. You can be doing everything perfectly as Kelvin, but if the team can’t capitalise because they’re doing their own thing for instance, then that’ll (sadly) reflect onto Kelvin’s performance as well.

No. Kelvin’s Shield Recharge Rate doesn’t affect Permafrost. The decay will still be at the same pace, and in the same sense, having a positive shield recharge rate will still cause the shield capacity gained from Permafrost to deplete.

Not sure, my guess would be that Sprint Speed doesn’t affect it.


Considering I play Solo Pubs half the time and with my buddy the other half, this could explain a lot. That and the fact that I’ve been disrupting for the first half of the game when I should have been assassinating the whole time.

When I have Shield Recharge Rate on my gear his shield actively charges at a very slow pace (difference between the negative standard rate and positive gear effect) making Medical Nano-Colony highly effective +42 health regen a majority of the match.

I get that the 98 Permafrost shield will always deplete at the same rate no matter what, but the shield AFTER Permafrost is done depleting would be taking -62 damage every second, wouldn’t it?

Maybe I’m not thinking of this correctly?

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i havent done a dry run to ensure this is true, but im fairly certain permafrost is always relative to his max shield.

as far as 2m helix goes, it helps in early game chomp damage, but becomes too easy to cap out late game, hence i started testing max shield and 2r. i like the max shield since kelvin is getting shields so often, i find it better than regen on him.

im by no means a master of kelvin though. he was one of the many characters i couldnt use on my bad internet pre-3 months ago :stuck_out_tongue:
ill look into recording a dry test of max shield to determine exactly how max shield affects him.


Yes, but there’s no shield to deplete since the natural shield recharge is -20.00, thus preventing any “natural” shield to recharge. If you have a shield recharge rate value (such as the Nano-Colony) which makes it positive, then you’ll have a “natural” shield, but the excess shield capacity gained from Permafrost will still deplete normally.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve Kelvin actively though and tested how his shield works. It acts pretty weirdly because of how Permafrost operates, so I can simply give you the advise to go into the Dojo and try different loadouts and/or the negative shield recharge rate to see how it affects the kit.

Edit; I went in and did some rough, quick testing, and it doesn’t quicken the decay, but not a significant amount. From ~6.50 seconds down to ~5.70 seconds. The shield usually dies within that time-span anyway (at least when I play him). Though it makes me realise how weird his ahield acts…


Something I’ve seen that’s really awesome with the Icewall but not utilized enough is teaming with Alani.
No player can survive that deadly combo if done properly.


oooohhhh, I see now. Great explanation!!!

Yep, I was under the impression Permafrost was a set number and not relative to max shield so I can definitely see how this is beneficial now.

Are you talking about putting up an Ice Wall and Riptiding people into it? Because that does sound pretty fun.

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@Supernovasnipe could :smirk:



That was the tankiest tankness I’ve ever seen.

Thank you all for contributing to this. Great reference points to help improve my game!!!

Whatever the slow build is; take THOSE options… :smirk:

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