So, as many other people, I am very excited about the new Helminth system. Any fears of power creep aside, I promise you poor Nezha is going immediately into the blender so that my Gauss can leave fire when he runs. But, as a friend and I were testing possible ability combos, we discovered that Grendel's Nourish Strike actively doesn't work how it should.
According to the in game ability tab and the wiki, " Nourished Strike provides additional Toxin damage for the buffed player's weapons and abilities by 1.2x / 1.3x / 1.4x / 1.5x. The toxin bonus is applied to weapons in the exact same manner as elemental damage mods, stacking additively with those mods and combining with other elemental types on the weapon when applicable. "
Therefore, Nourish should work like other damage buffing abilities, but instead of just purely making the number go up, it adds damage equal to 50% (or 1.5x ,at base) as toxin damage. Whereas Rhino's Roar would take a gun or ability that does 100 damage and it would go to 150, Nourish Strike would take the weapon/ability and add 50 extra toxin damage to it. A key thing to note is that since the bonus toxin stacks with other elementals, equipping a weapon with heat and then nourish strike actually causes gas damage to be applied. This important later.
Now, as far as weapons are concerned, nothing is out of place. But abilities are all over the place, and until the issue is fixed, Nourished Strike is a categorically weaker ability then it is advertised to be, and is weaker then other other provided damage buff that is coming to frames with the Helminth System.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZBmgOnk6kSbh2QVTsZcHZuZ1yS6yMdvm66QUMthUgd0/edit?usp=sharing <—– This link will take you to about 3 to 4 hours of work between myself and another friend, where we tested every ability with Nourished Strike to see which ones worked and which didn't. Of the ~170 abilities in the game, only 32 work with Nourished strike, 6 of which are conditional. That's 26%!! Meanwhile, 2 abilities cannot be tested due to dealing true damage, and 68 abilities that should work with Nourished Strike do not. If that wasn't crazy enough, that 68% of damage dealing abilities don't work with Nourished Strike, there seems to be no pattern for why abilities work or do not work. Every test was done on either level 145 Anti-Moas, or 145 Corpus Techs. These enemies were chosen either because they had high Shields and low HP or vice versa. Due to toxin damage as a whole ignoring shields (not the procs, the actual toxin damage itself) it is very easy to see if a target takes toxin damage, due to their shields not being affected by damage while their health is. Hydroid 4 and Trinity 2 could not be properly tested due to their abilities already dealing true damage and ignoring shields.
Starting out with frames that a properly working Nourished Strike would benefit, we have Ash. While his two cannot be tested due to dealing no damage, and his three also deals no damage without augment (at which point it just uses a weapon which we know always work with Nourish), His first ability does proc toxin damage. Even more so, it appears that because the Shuriken does damage straight to health, it sometimes will cause the slash procs to ignore shields like they did before the status rework. But Bladestorm cannot proc toxin at all. Bladestorm deals finisher damage, and while this ignores armor, it no longer ignores shields, hence why toxin damage would be good on him.
Then we come to Atlas, one of the 6 cases of a conditional Nourish Strike buff applying. If Atlas (or Khora, Gara or Excalibur) does not have a melee equipped, his (their) first abilities do not deal bonus toxin damage. Landslide, Shattered Lash, Whipclaw and slash dash do not benefit at all from Nourished Strike. However, If you apply a melee weapon to these frames, with no mods, you will see that the abilities will now be affected by bonus toxin damage due to their scaling off the melee. All exalted weapons, like Serene Storm, Exalted Blade, Peacemakers, Etc. work like this as well, and always are affected by the bonus toxin damage.
Then comes Ember. Embers fireball is affected by Nourish, and it actually changes to deal gas damage. But neither fireblast, nor her four gain any bonus damage from Nourish. Just this far into the list, we see a major issue Nourish works on both physical and elemental abilities, but not all physical or all elemental abilities. While it does work for some single target spells, and some AoE,it does work reliably for either. As if that wasn't weird enough, abilities like Volt Shock and Frost freeze are unaffected by the bonus Toxin, while Oberon Smite is affected. Even though it does very low damage, Nekros' soul punch gets bonus toxin damage applied to it, but mag pull, protea grenades, and more are unaffected by a damage buff that is supposed to buff abilities!
Some abilities don't even stay consistent within themselves. Garuda's first ability does not deal bonus toxin damage when you leap towards an enemy. However, the blood ball you can charge up afterwards does, leading to some insane damage, especially when Garuda's four gets the bonus toxin application. Meanwhile, Main from equinox (for either initial cast or nuke) is not affected. There is no rhyme or reason behind what works and what doesn't. As a fun little fact, Vauban's Tesla Neurvos deal damage if they directly hit an enemy on cast, and this damage is given bonus toxin, but the resulting damage from Tesla sticking to enemies is unaffected and stays electric. His flechette orb however is affected and is very potent.
Now, all the abilities work fine on Grendel when it comes to the bonus toxin application, and maybe it's as simple as the abilities only correctly working if the original caster used the combination, but this is still a poor argument when its mentioned that Nourished strike can be shared with allies. Unless you are an exalted weapon frame (or semi exalted), Garuda or Vauban, this damage buff means nothing to you, and that's a major shame when it's in the running against buffing abilities like Roar and Eclipse. While obviously you cant put roar on chroma, mirage or Octavia, every other frames will currently benefit more from roar then Nourished Strike, even though, if it worked right, Nourished Strike would be the better option for a few frames that enjoy the bonus toxin application. Hopefully DE can fix this issue sometime, and allow for Nourished Strike to not only be a team buff that actually works for most frames, but also be a option to choose over Roar when it comes to deciding Helminth abilities.
This has been my HEK talk, thank you for reading.
TL:Dr —> Nourished strike does not work on abilities properly, often either fat out not applying or only applying in specific cases when melee weapons are involved. To see which abilities work and don't work, check the google docs link.
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