Build Title: Hawkeye
Class: Talon Mercenary
Map Difficulty Rating: This build has the potential for Platinum gameplay
Cain Trip Mine: (4) Damage, (5) Armor Damage, (6) Damage
Concussive Arrow: N/A
Armor-Piercing Arrows: (4) Damage, (5) Armor Damage, (6) Arrow Count
Elite Mercenary: (4) Power Damage, (5) Power Damage, (6) Power Regeneration
Fitness: (4) Omni-Bow Damage, (5) Shield Recharge, (6) Omni-Bow Damage
Primary: Acolyte with Melee Stunner and Power Magnifier
Secondary: A shotgun with Omni-Blade and High Caliber Barrel
There’s a huge game play choice to be made here. Take Grenade Capacity or Shocktrooper for the ability to spam Cain Trip Mine on bosses. Use Geth Scanner to place Trip Mines more tactically on the fly. Hydraulic Joints or Juggernaut Shield allow you to one shot Dragoons using Armor-Piercing Arrows. Stronghold Package in conjunction with Shield Power cells can greatly increase survivability.
If a weapon enhancement is used, equip Strength Enhancers.
The Talon Merc has been greatly improved since being rebalanced. His heavy melee is now just as fast as his light melee, Killing Spree (5) is no longer a necessity for a melee build, AP Arrows now get 3 arrows per quiver, his grenade regeneration time has been cut by more than half and shooting his bow from left handed cover no longer has such serious hit detection issues. With all that being said, we simply must play him as a melee character since he’s just so unique.
Cain Trip Mine – It’s your crowd control and defensive ability. Instead of using it to destroy enemies coming straight at you I recommend using your limit of 3 mines to fortify a piece of terrain. Place the mines so their beams cross hallways, doorways, ramps, ladders and any other choke points that provide access to where you are. A single mine will kill ANY foot soldier, warn you of approaching enemies and give you the opportunity to replace the mine. Eventually you’ll be overrun. Simply fall back through the unexploded mines and head for another location you can fortify. Enemies will hit the rest of your mines as they pursue you, providing you with enough time to set up the next deathtrap. Another effective way to employ Trip Mines is to shoot them in the path of or at the feet of bosses. Wait for the 3 second arm time and BOOM or keep on shooting more than 3 mines. Deploying more than 3 mines at a time will cause your mines to start exploding one at a time, starting with the oldest.
Concussive Arrow – While it is great fun to launch enemies out of the map with a single shot, ultimately this ability is a gimmick. Armor-Piercing Arrows will kill infantry just the same while weakening armor and doing WAY more damage to bosses.
Armor-Piercing Arrows – Your bread and butter. Always refresh your stock of arrows at the beginning of a wave. Don’t forget that shooting an armored target lowers its damage reduction by 50%. With an Omni-Blade equipped, both melee damage and AP arrow damage is increased by 50%, allowing Hawkeye to one shot nearly any mook. But the heavy melee still takes a second to employ and at close range we need a way to buy that time. The Disciple will stagger anything but the biggest boss, fires quickly, has respectable damage, is the lightest shotgun and is decently accurate. Attaching the High Caliber Barrel increases the likelihood of the Disciple staggering its target. The Acolyte adds 25% melee damage, buffs power damage, is super light, trashes boss shielding and stuns infantry while stripping their protection, which sets them up for a one shot follow up from the AP arrow enhanced Omni-Bow. AP arrows’ one shortfall is they don’t penetrate cover making Guardians a bit of a pain. Counter this with either level 1 AP Rounds, level 1 Drill Rounds, cryo ammo and aim for the feet or lure the slow moving enemy into a trip mine.
Elite Mercenary – Hawkeye dishes out his damage mostly with his powers so focus on Power Damage. Maintaining a light weapons load and taking Power Regeneration (6) permits a very fast 17 second grenade recharge. That’s 1 AP arrow every 6 seconds. This makes his grenade supply nearly endless, without taking trips to ammo boxes. The biggest tactical edge this gives Hawkeye is his ability to strongpoint anywhere on any map. Freed of the need to tether himself to an ammo box or run wildly about the map bouncing from box to box, Hawkeye can focus on setting up and maintaining his defensive perimeter. This increases his survivability immensely.
Fitness – Omni-Bow Damage is a no brainer but be sure to skip Killing Spree. You’ll still one shot mooks with the Omni-bow and anything bigger is going to take 2 or 3 shots anyhow. Shield Recharge reduces the recharge time to almost 3 seconds which is the time it takes for the shield gate to reactivate. Other than trip mines, the shield gate mechanic is your biggest defense but it requires at least 1 point of shields to work so getting that gate back up sooner is far better than 25% additive damage that amounts to nothing.
3 – He’s very easy to use because there is no need to think about power combos. But he’s hard to use because he is pretty squishy. But then he stands up pretty well when he remains in cover and Trip Mines are used as a defense instead of an offense. Just know where some good strongpoint locations are on every map.