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  • The one up-to-date Defensio guide

    Provoke update (why does taunting blow not taunt???)

    Get provoke if you tank I guess... Overclock also heals you for over 10%. Sorry, it's hard to be excited about Defensio/DN lately.

    Updated for the Awakening update!

    I don’t claim to be the best Defensio in NA because I am neither as geared nor ancient as some veterans. What I do claim is that I play the most optimal Defensio and know a lot of silly details about her skills. This is because I love testing and analyzing everything. I also love playing this class in both PvE and PvP (got to Platinum in Theano!).

    I wrote this guide because ALL Machina guides on the internet are outdated. Up-to-date pieces of information are scattered, so it’s difficult for players to learn this class (I certainly struggled). I hope even veteran Defensio players find one or two trivia from this guide. If you find anything to add or fix, please post on this thread! I am open to any discussion.

    This guide is long and has a lot of stupid info irrelevant to playing a functioning Defensio. Ctrl-F to sections you are interested in.

    tl dr; memorize "Awakening: Combos DPS Ranking"

    # Overview

    + tank class with the best DPS and party DPS buff
    + nearly infinite block and many escapes
    + high superarmor if played right
    + fluid, fast-paced gameplay
    + CUTE

    - defensive buffs are not as strong as other tank classes
    - underwhelming awakening

    In short, contrary to the class name, Defensio is the offensive tank class. With limited party saving potential, you cannot save (noob) parties like a Guardian. However, you may be favored by experienced parties who just want more DPS (important in timed nests like Green Dragon Time Attack).

    # Skills

    Machina has a beautiful, fluid combo system. For each skill, I will include its properties (such as SA - superarmor) and notable skills that it combos from/to.

    > Machina

    Tumble: The universal dodge. You can cancel anything on ground with it.

    Fly-by: Why Machinas have good mobility. If you hit anything mid-flight, you do a rolling attack that you CANNOT cancel until you land (except [Beat Down EX instant]).
    • If you use retro charge (left click) near the end of the flight, you can fly again. Wheeee!
    --- low SA
    --- From: tumble, retro charge
    --- To: any air skills, [Lariat] (right click), retro charge

    Lariat: Always use the left click stomp (lv 6+) because it does 100% of the skill’s board damage, essentially doubling the damage.
    • Only moves forward, so useful under confuse debuff.
    --- high SA
    --- From: [Fly-by]
    --- To: [Taunting Blow]

    > Patrona

    Ducking: What makes Machina so fluid and fun. You can cancel nearly every Defensio skills on ground into [Ducking], which in turn cancels into almost everything. Use it to cancel animations, move around, and dodge attacks while DPSing to look cool.
    --- iframe
    --- From: easier to list skills that do NOT cancel into ducking
    --- * Most Machina skills (CAN cancel [Body Check], [Charging Gear])
    --- * Buffs: [Overclock], [Pressure Release]
    --- * [Pneumatic Reflex] (left click counter attack)
    --- To: any ground skills

    Gear Steps: [Stomp Shuffle], [Steam Release], [Step Up]

    These skills are your openers. As soon as a gear step starts, you get a 10 sec 25% action speed buff. You WILL feel slow without this buff, so remember to use gear steps periodically.
    • With Class Mastery 1, you also get a 5 sec superarmor buff, which boosts all skills’ superarmor up a level.
    [Steam Release] applies a debuff that increases all damage.

    [Ducking] essentially resets cooldowns of all gear steps. With [Pressure Release] buff setting [Ducking] CD to 0, you can loop gear step[Ducking]... infinitely.
    • The loop with [Steam Release] used to be called ‘invincible missile’ combo, but trying to use that to DPS is a terrible idea. First, you aren’t actually invincible because [Steam Release] does NOT have iframe. Second, [Steam Release] damage has been nerfed after reworks, so whatever DPS you will get is terrible. However, gear step loops are still useful for building steam.

    --- high SA (very high with CM1)
    --- From: [Ducking]
    --- To: any ground skills, [Ducking]

    Link skills can be activated with left or right clicks after gear steps.

    1) Follow Up: Ruina side skill. Not useful for Defensios outside PvP.
    --- medium SA
    --- From: [Stomp Shuffle]
    --- To: 3 normal attacks

    2) Exploding Palm: Ruina side skill. Not useful for Defensios outside PvP.
    --- medium SA
    --- From: [Stomp Shuffle]
    --- To: 3 normal attacks

    3) Flying Knee-kick: TIGER KNEE. Ruina side skill but notable for being air usable. In fact, its main usage for Defensios is gaining a bit more air time while also moving forward. NEVER use this on ground, as you will be kneeling on the ground for a quality vacation before launching.
    --- medium SA, air-usable
    --- From: [Steam Release] (but please don’t)
    --- To: 4 normal attacks

    4) Kidney Blow: Ruina side skill. Not useful for Defensios outside PvP.
    --- high SA
    --- From: [Steam Release]
    --- To: 4 normal attacks

    5) Beat Down EX: MACHINA SMASH. One of your main DPS skills. The fist charging in air does 100% of board damage. You can use the air time to avoid stomps, but you will usually punch down early so that you can use stronger skills.
    • You may also use this just as a super high jump... to climb things.
    --- medium SA, air-usable
    --- From: [Step Up]
    --- To: 2 normal attacks

    6) Twister Kick EX: RISING STORM... oops wrong class. The charging breakdance does 150% of board damage. Since the breakdance deals high damage and ends fairly quickly, letting this play the whole animation is actually decent unlike [Beat Down EX], unless a stronger skill is ready.
    • You take 20% reduced damage during the charge, which might be useful in emergency.
    • You can cancel the kick and leap backward by pressing spacebar.
    --- medium SA
    --- From: [Step Up]
    --- To: 2 normal attacks, (after spacebar cancel) any air skills

    Aerial Parry EX: Spammable block that you can use almost any time. Beware of the short vulnerable start-up before the block frames begin. Once the block frames kick in though, you block all hits until you land back on ground.
    • You can cancel the backward skid after landing with [Ducking].
    • For each hit blocked, you poop out 3 healing fields (more details in [Reverse Order]).
    • With awakening, this may activate automatically when hit with 15% chance.
    • You get 2 steam for simply using this and 3 more steam if you block a hit (CM1).
    • For whatever reason, it is disabled under confusion debuff in Rune 3rd stage.
    --- block, air-usable
    --- From: ANYTHING!
    --- To: (after successful block) any air skills

    Beyond the Wall EX: Air-only skill. First, you shoot forward with smoke blowing out of your ass. Then, left click to grab enemies and deal damage. If the grab hits, you get a 5 second buff that boosts damage of Defensio air skills. The grab also applies a 20% attack reduction (all tanks can apply this debuff).
    • After the grab, you do a backflip. You may then press spacebar to shoot forward again, which could be useful for additional air time and mobility.
    --- medium SA, air-only
    --- To: [Beat Down EX instant], any air skills

    Overclock: A buff skill that doubles as your tank bubble skill. First, your physical damage is boosted by 10%. Then, you get 40% of your phys dmg added to physical defense. When you are well-geared, you can easily cap phys def with this buff and tank through most stomps like nothing.
    • With awakening, casting the buff also applies bubble barriers to all allies in a fairly large AoE. The bubbles shield allies from damage up to 30% of their max HP.

    Deus ex Machina: Ruina ult. The tornado follows you no matter what you do, so this skill simply gives you some additional DPS for 20 seconds. At lv 3, it deals around 30000% total damage, which is more than the Defensio ult. Generally not worth because you rarely get to DPS for 20 seconds straight.
    • This has a super long iframe during cast time, which could be useful for dodging certain mechanics.
    • Also makes you incredibly annoying in PvP.
    --- iframe

    Strike of the Martyr: Defensio ult. At around 24000% (with [Beyond the Wall] buff), this deals less total damage than the Ruina ult, but because it's 1 hit, this is better for burst.
    • This also generates a field that gives you a buff that grants 25% damage reduction and +25% defenses. The field and buff both last 10 seconds, meaning the buff effectively lasts 20 seconds.
    • This also has a long iframe during cast time but only while in air. Always use this in air after [Beyond the Wall].
    --- iframe, air-usable

    > Defensio

    Pressure Release: The buff that should be on you at all times. It gives final damage, 15% action speed, defense, and 0 CD [Ducking]. You WILL feel slow without this buff.
    • This buff also activates automatically when you use a gear step at 20 steam. If you are using gear steps periodically as I told you to, you should have no problem keeping this buff up. Otherwise, you can jump-start yourself with the active skill, but that has a fairly long CD, so save it for beginning of fights and buff wipes.
    • Unlike most buff actives, the [Pressure Release] skill animation does not need to finish for you to get the buff. Animation cancel it!

    Auto-repair: The ultimate panic button that you can ACTUALLY press at any time. Gets rid of debuffs, puts you on your feet, and takes 7 sec off all active skills’ CD (including [Auto-repair] itself!).
    • Remember how [Aerial Parry] was only "almost any time"? That’s because you can’t parry while in hit stun or knocked down. Well, [Auto-repair] is usable even then. Thus, you could use it to recover then mash [Aerial Parry] to block until you are safe.
    • Disclaimer - There’s one exception to ‘any time’: even [Auto-repair] is silenced by silence debuff.

    Want to look cool? Like many other skills, [Auto-repair] can combo into [Ducking] into gear steps, so when you get hit, you can transition back to offense and pretend nothing happened.
    • Or, if you do [Auto-repair] → [Ducking] → [Tumble] with right timing, you get 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.6 = 1.6 seconds of continuous iframe!
    • If you are experienced enough to live without the panic button, you can also use [Auto-repair] offensively to reset [Taunting Blow] CD.

    --- iframe, air-usable
    --- From: ANYTHING!

    Taunting Blow EX: Defensio's signature skill that takes care of both DPS and aggro. You do a short hop, punch, and place a bomb that somehow aggros. If you then right click, you press a trigger (during which you have iframe... somehow) that explodes all your bombs. Pressing the trigger makes you lose aggro, however.
    • Each bomb creates 3 explosions, which do 50% of the skill’s board damage.
    • Stacking bombs and exploding them at once used to be a thing but became totally unnecessary with CM3.
    • With Awakening, you can use this in air, but that neither aggros nor places a bomb. I have yet to figure out how to use that in PvE...
    --- medium-low SA, iframe (trigger), air-usable
    --- From: [Lariat]
    --- To: 3 normal attacks

    Class Mastery 2 (CM2): [Beyond the Wall] → [Beat Down EX instant]. The instant version does FULL damage of [Beat Down EX] without the charging animation, so it does higher DPS.

    Class Mastery 3 (CM3): [Lariat] → [Taunting Blow]. When used after [Lariat], the [Taunting Blow] bomb explodes immediately 4 times, BUT you keep the aggro.
    • Without CM3, each cast of [Taunting Blow] does 3800% (punch) + 3 * 0.5 * 3800% (explosions) = 9500% total damage. With CM3, each cast does 3800% (punch) + 4 * 0.5 * 3800% (explosions) = 11400% total damage. Thus, ALWAYS use [Lariat] → [Taunting Blow]. Don’t bother with stacking.
    • Note that exploding a bomb with CM3 does not trigger any existing bombs.

    > Awakening

    Reverse Order: With awakening passive Air Current Mastery, using left/right click link after [Step Up] makes you poop out a small healing field (gives +20% defenses and heals 1% per 2 sec) in random directions. Blocking a hit with [Aerial Parry EX] creates 3 fields. [Reverse Order] makes all fields explode.
    • Because the fields last 8 sec, you can only get 2 explosions at most without [Auto-Repair]... but [Auto-Repair] is better used to reset CM3 and CM2.
    • BUT, with 3+ fields, the explosions deal more damage than CM3. Thus, using [Reverse Order] is good after blocking.
    [Reverse Order] also triggers any [Taunting Blow] bombs. This has some PvP uses, but in PvE you should be using CM3, not stacking bombs.

    Ruination: Why do we get a skill named RUINAtion? Just some generic hard-hitting awakening active. With enough action speed (gear step + pressure release), you can use this while doing the CM2, which is the optimal way to use this skill: [Beyond the Wall] → [Ruination] → [Beat Down EX instant]
    --- air-only

    # Skill Build

    This base build includes everything I believe Defensios absolutely need:

    Some tips for spending leftover SP:
    • Max your favorite gear steps since you will use them a lot.
    • Get [Flying Knee-kick] to channel Sagat. Decent filler for getting in before [Beyond the Wall].
    • Get Aerial Parry awakening if you are a scrub who can't time block.

    > Crests

    Saves you and boosts DPS
    --- [Auto-repair] CD

    Reduce the CM3 combo cooldown from 10 to 8. Now, you can essentially reset the CD with [Auto-repair]
    --- [Taunting Blow] CD
    --- [Lariat] CD

    Your best filler skill
    --- [Beat Down] dmg

    If you don't want to use [Auto-repair] offensively, you may get
    --- [Twister Kick] dmg

    # Gameplay

    Note that this all assumes an ideal DPS situation. In reality, you have to be flexible to various situations, especially if you are tanking. It's better to memorize a priority list. See # Awakening: Combos DPS Ranking.

    (0. [Steam Release] for the action speed buff and damage debuff if needed)

    1. CM3: [Lariat] + left click → [Taunting Blow] + 1 left click (to jump instead of [Ducking] next)

    2. Jump, CM2+: [Beyond the Wall] → [Ruination] → [Beat Down EX instant]

    3. [Step Up] → [Twister Kick] → [Ducking]

    4. CM3 → [Ducking]
    --- Add [Steam Release] → [Ducking] if you need to apply damage debuff

    5. [Step Up] → [Beat Down]
    --- Crash down early unless you have a lot of action speed buffs (shard, Lencea)

    6. [Reverse Order] (2 explosions)

    7. Jump, CM2: [Beyond the Wall] → [Beat Down EX instant]

    8. CM3

    After 3rd CM3, you are in a pretty awkward situation where all your main DPS skills are on cooldown. There are two ways of playing from here:
    Offensive: Use [Auto-repair] and repeat from 1.
    Defensive: Use the 6 seconds before next CM3 to apply buffs like [Overclock] and build steam. If that's not necessary, you may do a [Step Up] link into 1 explosion [Reverse Order].

    • Don’t forget to use your 2 buffs in the beginning: [Nitrous Overhaul] and [Pressure Release].
    • If a blockable attack is about to hit you, just mash [Aerial Parry] since it can cancel any skill.
    • After blocking any hit, do [Ducking] → [Reverse Order] for some fast damage.

    # Gearing

    I am not going to go into details about this because Defensio is a straightforward AGI class. Check ‘Gearing’ section of Foxy’s Sniper guide to get a rough idea of how to gear AGI classes.

    Some Defensio notes:
    • Like Snipers, you get 50% AGI boost from CM1, but at 95 cap, raw physical damage is better.
    • You get 20% free final damage (10% from both [Nitrous Overhaul] and [Pressure Release]). Don't sacrifice too much physical damage or crit damage for FD.

    # References

    • Vara's Defensio guide (outdated info and gameplay sections, but most other stuff are still relevant)

    • Foxy’s Sniper guide (95 cap gearing info)

    • Dragon Nest general skill info spreadsheet
    Last edited by Aqua.Soo; 09-20-2018, 05:17 AM.

  • #2
    # PvP

    Defensio is a gorilla/UNGA type rushdown class with both Merc-like superarmor and Acro-like mobility.

    + Highest superarmor per second
    + Good mobility and options in air
    + Taunting blow mark is very spooky
    + Auto-repair is a Get Out of Jail Free card
    + Low CD skills

    - Little to no ranged options, prone to getting kited
    - Relies on superarmor to get in, which means eating damage
    - Relatively weak "big" skills

    This guide will focus on more general PvP tips, not exact combos you should use. If you know what combos into what, it's pretty easy to combo with Defensio, so just try stuff in combo practice.

    A lot of info in PvE skills section is even more relevant for PvP, especially superarmor level, iframe, air use, and combo from/to, so check the # Skills section again.

    Awakening: With the loss of normal attack damage transfer, we lost a big source of damage, but awakening gave even more options in air and 2 semi-ranged skills.

    > Superarmor

    Check this spreadsheet for more detailed info and an explanation about superarmor.

    High Superarmor (SA) with CM1
    • Lariat
    • Kidney Blow
    • Charging Gear

    High Superarmor Break (SAB)
    • Lariat
    • Kidney Blow
    • Exploding Palm
    • Beat Down
    • Taunting Blow explosions

    It's very important to remember that CM1 gives a 5-sec SA boost (1.5x) every time you use a gear step. Doing a quick gear step before charging in with [Lariat] could mean the difference between you beating them up and them beating you up. This is also why it's important to use [Ducking] often to reset gear step cooldowns.

    Also, while you get constantly high SA with spammable gear steps, you don't have any guaranteed "I WIN" SA skills like Destroyer's [Maelstrom Howl] or Gladiator's [Coup de Grace]. If you want to be a serious PvP Defensio, you should become familiar with what you can and can't beat with SA (900 on the spreadsheet is your limit). The same applies to SAB.

    > Iframe

    If you can't SA through something, you want to iframe through it. You can tell when you have iframe by a white outline on your character.

    • Tumble
    • Ducking
    • Auto-Repair
    • Taunting Blow trigger (right click)

    Every ground skills can be cancelled with [Tumble]. See the PvE skills section for what doesn't cancel into [Ducking]. You can use [Auto-Repair] almost any time.

    One nifty combo is [Auto-repair] → [Ducking] → [Tumble], which gives you very long continuous iframe to get through almost anything. Or, if you want to stay on the safe side, you can use [Aerial Parry] instead. Another fun one is [Auto-repair] → [Ducking] → [Steam Release] → [Kidney Blow], which lets you SA through whatever was hitting you and hit them instead.

    > Air

    • Fly-by
    • Kidney Blow
    • Beat Down (ground)
    • Twister Kick (spacebar cancel)

    • Flying Knee-kick
    • Beat Down (charging)
    • Beyond the Wall

    • Beat Down
    • Taunting Blow (air)
    • Ruination

    Besides looking cool, air mobility lets you dodge quite a lot of skills and swoop back down.

    > Damage

    Go open DN Skill Sim, change to PvP descriptions, and look at the damage % numbers. In PvP, you do more damage with simpler skills. While skills like [Beat Down] and [Ruination] still hit pretty hard, you can get that much damage with just two lv 6 [Steam Release]!

    • Gear steps hit pretty hard, especially [Steam Release] (516%).
    • A full [Lariat] with left-click stomp can deal up to 1100%.
    • Among your big skills, [Twister Kick] does the highest damage with 612% x 2 (EX charging).
    • [Charging Gear] can deal up to 800%.
    • The rolling attack of [Fly-by] does 321% PER HIT. While getting many hits is usually impractical, you may surprise people.

    Remember the "invincible missile" thing with [Steam Release] > [Ducking] spam? If you can get [Pressure Release] buff up somehow (20 steam or the active), you have 15 seconds to do massive damage in PvP. thanks to [Steam Release] doing 516% damage so quickly.

    So the lesson is this: don't be afraid of "wasting" big skills like [Ruination] if it might let you catch them without escapes and start comboing.

    > Gameplay

    Your big skills (lv 50, awakening) are weaker than most other classes' in raw damage and SA/SAB, but your core skills have low CD. Thus, your ideal game plan is being a mad dog (cat?) that relentlessly pursues opponents and gives them no space to breathe.

    • [Lariat] is the main skill that lets you play your game. It has SA, SAB, low CD, and high damage. Use it as often as possible.
    • Gear steps not only have high SA but easily lead into combos.
    • Don't forget [Steam Release] inflicts damage amplification debuff and does high damage.
    • [Taunting Blow] puts people on a timer. Even if they get away or attack back, their turn only lasts until the bomb explodes, after which you can resume your pursuit. You can also trigger the explosion manually with [Reverse Order].
    • Use your various air options for catching aerial evasion.
    • You can cancel into [Auto-Repair] or [Aerial Parry] any time to dodge something big. Beware of [Aerial Parry]'s low SA startup though.

    • [Ruination] has massive frontal AoE and is mostly useful for catching people who escape.
    • After blocking a multi-hit attack, you get a lot of healing fields to explode with [Reverse Order]. However, the skill has long startup, and experienced PvPers know to avoid the exploding fields of doom.

    > Build

    The base skill build is the same as PvE.
    • Take at least 1 level in essential SA/combo skills [Follow Up], [Exploding Palm], [Flying Knee-kick], [Kidney Blow].
    • Max [Steam Release].
    • Take a level in [Body Check], [Smashing Blow], [Charging Gear] for utility.
    • Max MP regen passive for long fights.
    • Do NOT level [Aerial Parry] awakening if you want more control over when you use it.

    Crests (bolded ones mandatory, I mean they are used for PvE too)
    [Auto-Repair] CD
    [Lariat] CD
    • [Kidney Blow] action speed (your best SA/SAB skill)
    • [Taunting Blow] CD

    For extreme tryharding, craft a [Lariat] +1 ring for that lv 26 damage jump.

    > Example Video
    Best Awakening Defensio PvP video. 0:22 shows how insane [Steam Release] combos can get (175k damage in PvP is almost 100% most classes' HP).
    Last edited by Aqua.Soo; 06-09-2018, 10:48 AM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Aqua.Soo View Post
      Note that exploding a bomb with CM3 does not trigger any existing bombs.
      Does this mean that something like the following can happen?
      Taunting blow (non CM3) for a taunt (don't explode)
      Lariat->Taunting Blow (CM3 style) for dps

      In order to hold aggro as a tank but spit out some good dps as well.

      EDIT: nvm I read two sentences above it xd. Still an interesting idea though
      Last edited by AjiBuster499; 12-02-2017, 12:25 PM. Reason: I derped
      Ruina: Sharshenshua
      Dragoon/Flurry: Shenaiki
      Questions? Comments? Queries? Like my attempts to troll bots? PM me on disco(rd) @AjiBuster499#6021


      • #4
        Awakening removed damage transfer and heavily nerfed [Auto-Repair] cooldown.

        I have to completely rethink how to play Defensio.

        Here is a preliminary skill build I have in mind for now.

        # Awakening: Big Changes

        * Normal attacks no longer get damage transfer
        * [Auto-Repair] cooldown increased from 22 to 35
        * Tank barrier moved from [Beyond the Wall] to [Overclock]

        * CM1 and CM2 give 40% physical damage instead of final damage
        * [Beyond the Wall] is an attack that boosts your aerial skills' damage
        * [Overclock] is a simple buff that increases physical damage and adds 40% of physical damage to physical defense (like old [Beyond the Wall]).
        * [Follow Up] debuff moved to [Steam Release]

        * [Deus ex Machina] (Ruina ult) always lasts the full duration.
        * [Strike of the Martyr] (Defensio ult) no longer redirects damage to you. It just gives you damage reduction and defense buffs.
        Last edited by Aqua.Soo; 05-13-2018, 07:50 AM.


        • #5
          I'm not completely sure about the optimal rotation yet, but here's some test results. Overall, awakening makes Defensio less of "Taunting Blow the Class" for better or worse.

          # Awakening: Combos DPS Ranking

          1. 3+ explosions [Reverse Order]
          2. CM3: [Lariat] + left click → [Taunting Blow]
          3. CM2 + Ruination: [Beyond the Wall][Ruination][Beat Down EX Instant]
          4. CM2: [Beyond the Wall][Beat Down EX Instant]
          5. 2x [Step Up] links → 2 explosions [Reverse Order]
          Last edited by Aqua.Soo; 05-25-2018, 10:14 PM.


          • #6
            If anyone is willing to play this class, I would make a video showing my rotation and my skill build for Defensio, just for PvE (I don't pvp).


            • #7
              One thing to keep in mind now is to Stop.Holding.Left-click after a skill.
              And lean more about Ducking after a skill.