Champions Online – Crowd Control Guide

A guide to the role of Crowd Control (CC) in Champions Online. Includes Cosmic encounters.

Guide to Crowd Control

Note: Credit goes to Shapey

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While there is Ranged Damage, Melee Damage, Healers, and Tanks in this game, there is a fifth role that serves a vital purpose to certain encounters. If you’ve ever been to the endgame encounters, aka Cosmics, you’ll no doubt have heard the call for a CC. As many different things as this means in Champions Online, in this context it means Crowd Control, and it’s the final role they definitely don’t teach you about. In this guide I will go over what a CC is, what it consists of, how to build one, and what one should do during encounters, including Cosmics.

So What is a CC?

A Crowd Controller is a person who has power(s) to stop their foes dead in their tracks. Typically this is established in two different means; completely disabling a foe, or simply holding them in place. However, given every foe on Champions has a ranged attack, the latter tends to not be especially useful, especially if you or your team are engaging that target.

How Does It Work Here?

There’s several different types of CC in Champions and they all work differently, but all of them have one thing in common: they’re all categorized as a Hold effect. Regardless of the type of CC you use, any type of enemy will build up Hold resistance the more they are Held. The same applies to players and thankfully enemies are subject to the same rule. Hold resistance is a stacking buff on targets that lasts 15 seconds and can stack up to 3 times. During this timer, any more Holds applied to the target, once the duration is up, will add a stack of Hold Resistance; a stack will refresh the 15 second timer, and at 3 stacks, the target will be completely immune to Holds for 15 seconds, but the timer will no longer refresh from further stacks. Though it’s not common, there are scenarios where an enemy being at 2 stacks of Hold Resistance causes the next Hold duration to be diminished.

There are four types of Hold, and they are as follows:

  • Paralyze
  • Sleep
  • Stun
  • Incapacitate

While not Holds, there are also two other lesser types of control:

  • Root
  • Confuse
  • Corrupt

Paralyze, Sleep, Stun, and Incapacitate are all forms of Holding that will completely prevent an enemy from performing action. Each individual type can be applied to a target, but all will add to Hold resistance when the affect ends. Each types’ duration is also affected by damage being dealt to the target, with the exception of Telepathy DoTs; dealing damage to a Sleeping target will instantly end the Hold. Incapacitates have a small damage threshold and will be ended from fairly minimal damage, while Paralyze has a higher damage threshold and will show it’s duration diminished by damage. Stun is the only one of the four that is not affected by damage, and will hold regardless.

Meanwhile, Root is an affect that completely immobilizes your enemy. While duration is roots tend to be fairly high, it has a lower damage threshold than Paralyze and attacks will very quickly end it’s duration. Like regular Holds, Root has it’s own unique resistance type that builds stacks the more it’s applied and grants immunity at 3 stacks. As most enemies in this game have ranged attacks and higher ranking enemies are innately immune to Root, this typically isn’t an ideal type of control. Another lesser type is Confuse, which causes an enemy to attack targets at random. While it sounds good on paper, confusion does not prevent the enemy from attacking your allies, only causes a chance that they will instead attack their own allies. Like the aforementioned Root, higher ranking enemies are innately immune to this; that, in conjunction with it not preventing harm to your allies, makes this a less desirable type of control. Corrupt is the last kind, which causes your target to become an ally for a short duration, then take significant damage at the end of the duration. This only works on low rank mobs, so it tends to not be worth going out of the way to get.

An honorable mention goes to Knock, as I’ve always felt Knocking is simply a glorified Stun. They have their own resistance that function nearly the same as Hold, only differing that stacks of Knock resistance are applied on attempts of Knock, as opposed to the end of their duration. Enemies will be unable to perform actions during a Knock, and will only regain control once they’re standing upright again.

How are These Applied?

Each type of hold, with the exception of Sleep, can be found on several powerframes. Most melee-oriented frames have stuns, most ranged-oriented frames have a paralyze or incapacitate. Sleep can only be accessed via Ego Sleep from Telepathy. Certain powers also have advantages that give them the ability to stun or paralyze when certain conditions are met, with some of these advantages removing previous functions of the power; for example, Concussion Grenade will normally knock back targets, but can can be opted in to remove the knock effect to instead Stun targets. While not all follow these exact rules, Hold types generally adhere by the following rules:

  • Paralyze: When a power is fully charged
  • Stun: On tap
  • Incapacitate: After maintaining power for 1 second, holding longer when maintained longer
  • Sleep: On tap, with a rising AoE component with a max of 15ft depending on charge time

Duration and How to Increase It

Though one might think based on the damage threshold that the lower it is the longer the hold; however, the order of strength is as follows: Sleep > Paralyze > Incapacitate => Stun. This is due to the fact that Incapacitate is barely, if at all, affected by hold duration multipliers, and mostly functions on the idea of “holds as long as you maintained,” while Stun has the lowest base but is more easily affected by multipliers. If you have little to no increases, Incapacitate is stronger. But how do you increase it?

  • Presence is the stat that innately increases Hold strength. Having more Presence increases how long your Holds will last alongside increasing Hold resistance and Healing Power. These factors are what encourage Support players to also have some type of CC, as stacking Presence will increase the potency of their healing and holding. Presence, when taken as the primary superstat, even has a specialization called Dominion that increases the Hold Strength granted via Presence by 25/50%. It also has a specialization called Vulnerability that increases the damage an enemy receives by 5/10% for 5 seconds whenever you Paralyze or Sleep them (this includes attempts, so it works on higher ranking enemies immune to such Holds)
  • Sentinel specialization tree has two things worth mentioning; Torment, which increases the duration of your Holds by 10/20%–any holds, of any type, and Wither, an affect similar to Vulnerability in that it increases the damage a target takes by 5/10%; however, Wither can also be applied with Stuns, and it’s duration will be 8 seconds if used on lower ranking targets, as opposed to the flat 5.
  • Sentry specialization tree has Stalling Tactics, which increases the duration of your Sleep, Stun, and Snares by 5/10/15%. Though it doesn’t help with Paralyze, Sleep duration can be stacked with other sources, making it valuable to consider the option even if that is the only thing it’s buffing.
  • Sentinel’s Brooches (and Control Core) increases your Hold Strength when slotted in Utility Cores. The diminishing return on this stat can get harsh, but when every second counts, they can make a crucial difference. Most dedicated CCs will have 2 Hold Strength mods.
  • Intelligence when taken as Primary Superstat has Battle of Wits, which causes your Intelligence to grant you Hold Strength. Though it doesn’t innately help, Expertise, when Presence is a secondary superstat, increases the amount of Hold Strength granted via Presence, like a lesser version of Dominion. When combined with Battle of Wits, it can function as a substitute for Presence stacking (though it won’t be quite as strong).
  • Manipulator is a Form from Telepathy and is the dedicated CC form. Like other forms, it will increase your Hold Strength (including lesser holds) by a percentage that scales with either Presence or Intelligence, whichever is higher, while increasing melee and ranged damage by a lower amount. This form also carries the implication that your build is dedicated to crowd control, so it is best to know your capability when people initially elect you to perform an important task, such as CCing cosmics.
  • Support Role increases your innate Hold Strength by 25%, which is a significant increase. It is worth noting that either damage role decreases your hold strength by 20%, so be sure to have your role set for the right job.

Where Can I Apply These (General)?

Crowd Control can work in many scenarios where a lot of mobs are involved, controlling a number of them so a group can take them one by one or reduce the amount of damage going out to each teammate can help a lot. It can also be employed to control enemies while an objective is handled when they aren’t easily defeated or respawn too quickly. Most notably however, a CC is needed for some Cosmic encounters. It is important to note as well that Legendary and Cosmic rank enemies cannot be controlled.

In regular/Alert/Lair content, you can use crowd control to minimize the amount of targets that are engaging you/your team, as most content will have enemies in clusters. You can begin an encounter by controlling an enemy and picking the ones you’d like to fight first, or stopping a distant enemy from shooting you at a range while a melee unit is being engaged. Take care not to control airborne enemies, however, as they will be stuck up there until your hold duration is up, unless Nailed to the Ground is used. Controlling an enemy can also help them snap targets as it interrupts whatever input they had up to that point, which helps if a tank has done enough to obtain aggro but the enemy is in the middle of an action and won’t change targets. It will also stop an enemy entirely, in case they’re running away for what ever reason and you wish to stop them.

Where can I Apply These? (Cosmics)

At Cosmics, they take on entirely different roles.

  • At Kigatilik: This will vary based on what kind of CC you are, but the general concept is to stand on one side (traditionally, the right) of the area, make the four dogs come over to you, and control them for as long as you can. The trick of this is that you need to keep them controlled at all times and you cannot overlap one control type (aka, you can’t paralyze a target that is already paralyzed by you), so you need to have a method of controlling them with two different types of CC. The most common approach is having Paralyze, Sleep, and Incapacitate. Grasping Shadows or Electrocute, Ego Sleep, and Ego Storm with the Malevolent Manifestation advantage. Using Ego Storm once the dogs start approaching you allows you to hold Block while the dogs surround you and fall under control, mitigating any wandering bites they may do from a distance, and once all 4 are incapacitated, you can use Ego Sleep on them. When your Sleep is around 10 to 15 seconds left on the duration, you use Grasping Shadows/Electrocute on them. Once your Paralyze is around 15 to 20 seconds left in the duration, you fully charge Sleep once again. Since these are all different types of hold, you can keep them controlled indefinitely. However, this is just phase 1 of Kiga. Phase 2 involves more intricacy, as the CC here traditionally handles the pull. This means taking ranged shots from Kiga while the dogs come around you to be controlled by Ego Storm. Blocking is important at that stage, and many CCs will have a second set build to slot a Defense Passive to be able to survive the shots until the tank gets the attention of Kiga. Watch Kiga’s shots and make sure nothing is coming towards you before targeting a dog and using Sleep. Masterful Dodge is an extremely useful tool for the pull if you rank it up fully, as activating it before running into aggro range will heavily decrease the amount of damage Kiga will do to you, and any dogs should they be late. After this, the goal is simply to survive while continuing the cycle of control on dogs. A CC typically has some form of self-heal, with the most popular being Mental Leech, as Dependency will heal you per stack per target and it will hit each dog. Another extra task is keeping up your Manipulation stacks (assuming you are using that form), which requires you to stand away from the dogs and use Ego Storm. This all can vary based on your build, but this covers the most common tactic of a CC. To do any of this, you need enough CC Strength to keep dogs controlled long enough to avoid letting them reach 3 Hold Resist stacks.
  • At Qwjibo (aka Ape): A Psionic Accelerator device is highly recommended for this encounter, but not required if you are quick enough or have enough Hold powers. CCs have a much more laid back role here and normally can do what ever else they might have powers to do (damage, healing). Ape, once reaching 2/3s HP and performing a ground slam, will spawn 3 hearts; one in front of him, one to the left, and one to the right, in a complete 180 degree cone if possible. A CC must keep these hearts under control at all times, and Ape will re-spawn the hearts every 2nd ground slam, freeing them all from control affects and repositioning them. It is the tank’s job to keep the Ape centered so that the hearts spawn at a consistent far distance. The best way to handle the hearts is simply to use Ego Sleep on each one; if you have enough CC Strength, you won’t need to apply Sleep again until they respawn, unless another player hits them. However, Sleep has a cooldown. This is where the Psionic Accelerator device excels, as you can paralyze 2 hearts if you angle yourself to Ape correctly, giving you some leeway while your Sleep recharges. If you do not have this device, you will have to get up in range of the other hearts and use them manually. The Hearts will only start benefiting Ape after being uncontrolled for 5 seconds, so as long as you do not get up to 3 Hold Resist stacks on a heart, it’s okay to overlap. From there, you only need to keep an eye on the hearts and control them again should a player hit them and cause them to wake. You can cycle targets to check the status of hearts, or you can target Ape to see if any hearts are currently active, after which you can find which one is uncontrolled. Keep Zone chat open as well, as some players will announce active hearts or when they accidentally hit one. Be careful when moving to control the heart in front of ape, as his Fire Breath can very easily kill you if you aren’t blocking, and his Roar can incapacitate you long enough to be caught by an unblocked Ground Slam.

I would recommend having a Sleep duration of around 1 minute, Paralyze duration of around 32 seconds, and/or Stun duration of around 5 seconds for endgame activities. Whether this is achieved through Manipulation Form stacks or through Gear/Stats doesn’t matter, as long as you can manage those times consistently.

Do I Need to Only be a CC?

You absolutely do not need to be. A majority of CCs are dual-role, with many of them taking Compassion to double as a healer, as most CCs will have some fashion of healing power and have Presence as a superstat. Likewise, with the right build, you can also perform a DPS role outside of CCing; better done with Intelligence than Presence, but plausible no less. There’s a degree of required powers when it comes to CCing (depending on the level of content you want to use them for), but there isn’t enough to completely fill a build unless you want to completely fill up on different Hold powers. On top of this, there’s a variety of ways to have enough CC Strength to do up to Cosmic content, so specializations can be flexible and changed for your sub-role. The easiest, however, is simply to be a dual CC/Healer, and I would recommend doing that before trying other kinds. Once you’re more comfortable and familiar with the mechanics of being a CC, it’ll become a lot more clear how you can be creative with a CC build. If you have access to the Public Test Server, I’d highly recommend trying any build there (Kiga’s phase 1 is always available) to check out your Hold duration and how much it varies based on the gear/spec choices you make.

You Mentioned Requirements?

A Cosmic-grade CC does have requirements in terms of powers and equipment. A lot of it is only for the sake of being able to CC for Kiga, but can have other encounter applications.

A Cosmic CC (That can do both bosses) Must have the following:

  • Ego Sleep and at minimum 1 other Hold type with at least 15ft sphere range.
  • A Passive/Power that significantly reduces damage taken (Aura of Radiant Protection, Invulnerability, Masterful Dodge)
  • A consistent self-healing power (Mental Leech, self-targetable heals. Heals with cooldowns are typically not safe)
  • Enough Defense/HP/Healing to survive being hit by Kiga at least twice

Cosmic-grade CCs will almost always have Constitution as one of their superstats and I would recommend likewise so that all your defenses don’t fall to your gear. Another expectation to have is that you will very likely die a lot. The more you do it, the better hang of it you’ll have, but it’s best to get used to having no stars or asking constantly to be revived.

Closing Notes

CC is a high priority role when it comes to Kiga and Ape, so another thing to get into the habit to is waiting for someone to revive you instead of recovering–the longer it takes for you to return to your role, the more likely Kiga is to wipe and more Ape will recover. Do not be afraid to ask for a revive: announce whenever you’re defeated if someone else doesn’t do so first, and know that a run isn’t necessarily over just because you were defeated. The dogs at Kiga will stay asleep if you manage to activate the power, so ask for a revive if they are asleep and simply resume from there. Likewise, your powers’ cooldown will count down even while defeated, so if you’re revived at ape, you can immediately use a control if you fell next to a heart.

The other Cosmics do not require a CC, so unless you are dual-role and do well with your sub-role, it’s recommended you don’t bring one to the likes of Dino or Eidolon.

Bottom Section

Crowd Control is a bit of a niche here, but one that is definitely encouraged to be explored in some capacity. Some players would insist that CCs aren’t necessary for anything but Cosmics, but I personally believe that is too narrow-minded. There’s always merit in characters that can control mobs, and the flexibility to be dual-role gives them the ability to make certain Lair encounters even easier.

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 831 Articles
A lifelong gamer Jan Bakowski, also known as Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. He lives in Poland (Wrocław). His passion for games began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Proud owner of Steam Deck, which has become his primary gaming platform. He’s been making guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job.

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