|Active Skills||Corona, Battlecry, Demoralize, Phalanx, Blink|
|Passive Skills||Adaptive Armor, Retribution Field, Inspire, Irradiate|
Predator is a powerful melee tank. The most notable talent is Adaptive Armor as it gives you an armor buff every time you are hit, stacking up to +15 Armor. Adaptive Armor can be further upgraded with talents like Ballistic Foam and combined with Block Mastery, allowing Predator to tank even bosses and Ultralisks. Combined with the Phalanx skill and the Irradiate talent, it can give you the power you need early game to survive and kill enemies just by staying close to them.
When playing Predator in a group you are responsible for protection of more squishy teammates. Positioning and timely switching aggro of enemies from teammates to you is crucial for success.
Predator has one of the highest aggro priorities in the game, only behind Odins and Captain Smoker. It means you have to be extra careful when dealing with powerful enemies as Extremely Big Guns won't save you.
If you can't directly tank an enemy or a group of enemies, you may often kite them in circles, while damaging enemies with Corona, Irradiate, help of Crap Patrol structures and units as well as teammates when playing in the group.
You may also kite them to Captain Smoker, who who will take over tanking duties from you. Especially after you pick up the Defense Damage Artifact. But be careful - even though he's very powerful and tanky, strong enemies like ultralisks, bosses and Hive guardians deal a lot of damage to him. So you can't just let him handle everything.
Predator has low point damage, but don't underestimate his area damage from Corona and Irradiate (especially with Toxic Waste perk). Good Predator's damage score can be easily comparable with most of other heroes.
Sun God Mastery increases Corona's damage by 50, its range from 6 to 8, its beam count by 1. It also causes Predator to passively fire a single Corona beam every 5 seconds.
Each stack of Weapons Research Mastery increases the damage of Corona by 10, Retribution Field by 1, and basic attacks by 2, for a total of +100 Corona, +10 Retribution Field, and +20 basic attack damage.
This mastery is important because it reduces the cooldown of Corona - it's also nice to have the other abilities' cooldown reduced.
Gives more damage to your Corona against Massive targets (40 per beam).
Adaptive Armor Mastery increases the duration of Adaptive Armor stacks from 8 seconds to 11, and causes each stack of Adaptive Armor to increase Predator's maximum hitpoints by 1%.
Block Mastery applies a passive buff causing all standard attacks to deal no more than 125 damage per hit. This gives Predator unique near-immunity to damage from bosses and Ultralisks. Block does not affect spell damage, however it does affect the attacks of the Hybrid General, allowing Predator to fight the General head-on even without the shields of an Odin.
Nuke Mastery increases the blast radius of Nukes from 8 to 11, gives them +600 damage against Heroic targets (including Hatcheries, Lairs, and Hives), and allows them to be fired anywhere on the map within vision. This is not always extremely useful as the increased blast radius can cause friendly fire problems, but with other Nuke talents it allows players to shred the final Hive cluster and cut off the flow of reinforcements heading across the bridge.
Unstoppable Force is Predator's Score Unlock Mastery. It increases Predator's energy regeneration, movement speed, Inspire's target count, and Corona's damage by 100, beam count, and structure damage. While it is not available in the early game when such enhancements would be most useful, it can provide useful additional pressure starting from Omegalisk area.
Mastery pick order Edit
Order 1 Edit
- Sun God. The passive shots alone make this generally the best first Mastery.
- Weapons. It is an effective second mastery largely because of the extra Corona damage.
- Lightweight Equipment. It's a good mastery to take after the [[Sun God Mastery]] and [[Weapons Research Mastery]].
- Big Game Hunter. It's a very strong mastery, since you will be dealing with [[Ultralisk]]s at level 40.
- Adaptive Armor. On its own, it is not extremely useful, however it is a prerequisite for Block Mastery. We get this mastery late because we need [[Block Mastery|Block]] in order to tank the late game [[Ultralisk]]s and [[Leviathan]]. The reason we get these talents so late, is because [[Ultralisk]]s can easily be kited earlier on and tanking them with a low health pool is suicidal.
- and 8. Nuke and Unstoppable force.
Order 2 (without Energy mastery) [opinion by Partisan] Edit
- Sun God. Useful during the whole game and especially helps with early damage output.
- Adaptive Armor. Allows to tank spine crawlers for a reasonable amount of time and thus push quicker. Also, it is a pre-requisite for the Block mastery.
- Block. Really helps dealing with ultralisk waves and ultralisks spawning from Lairs. You still won't be able to face tank multiple ultralisks, but kiting becomes much easier and forgiving, especially when dealing with multiple string enemies at a time. Also, it helps to clean the Omegalisk area faster as you don't have to run from Noxious Ultralisks all the time. Also, allows face tanking Omegalisk all the time or decent amount of time (depending on adaptive armor talents). It doesn't allow face tanking Brutalisk for a long time though.
- Lightweight Equipment. Corona is main Predator's damage dealer, so 2x cooldown decrease from Lightweight is definitely helpful. In this section I'd assume that you have more energy regen than just for spamming Corona by 20s cooldown. If your energy regen is low, read the adjustments in the section below.
- Unstoppable Force. Boosts your Corona damage significantly. Movement speed and detection are small bonuses, as I always play with Air Support perk. I won't recommend playing as Predator without this perk in solo game. Not only because it's one of the best perks in the game, boosting your damage output significantly, but also providing detection early, which would make you deal with invisible units much more efficiently without the need to kite them back to the base or get stuck in Broodlord's broodlings.
- Weapons. Boosts your Corona beam damage from 200 to 300.
- Nuke. Essential to chain-nuke ultralisk caverns on the Brain Bug's and Hybrid General's bases, simplifying push a lot. I usually get it after killing Leviathan (on Mental). If have a chain-nuke skills before fighting Levi, you may take this mastery earlier and start chain-nuking Levi's base as soon as he appears. If done correctly, after killing Levi the rest of the base will be an easy clean-up.
- and later. By this time you have core masteries to finish the game quite easily. There are different preferences from here.
Allrounder. Take it if you lack some important talents, e.g. some of nuke talents for chain-nuking or nuke damage.
Blink. I haven't found a big use of it except sometimes escaping Primal Ultralisks wave from the last General's wave. It allows you to teleport on the ledge of the last base, but I usually just nuke it and spend time elsewhere.
Big Game Hunter. I often take it to kill enemies faster.
Immovable Object. Don't take it and wasn't unhappy about it. By the end stage you will be tanky enough to face tank almost everything, with exception of final wave Ultras and Queens (if not under Odin shields). Kiting works fine though, as you are still taking a lot of time to kill.
Iron Man. Same arguments as for Immovable object.
Energy. By this point you shouldn't have any problems with energy.
Order 2 (with Energy mastery) [opinion by Partisan] Edit
It's very similar to above one, but makes an adjustments if you don't have enough energy regen.
- Take Energy mastery instead of Lightweight. Low cooldown is useless if you can't afford to cast anything that fast.
- Still take Unstoppable force next. I find its extra Corona damage output more helpful than lower cooldowns at this point.
- Take Lightweight instead of Weapons next. 2x lower cooldown will make your Corona dps 2x higher, while Weapons will "only" increase it by 1.5x.
- Still take Nuke, as you may need to chain-nuke before getting the next mastery.
- Take weapons and other masteries of your choice.
Order 3 (Nuke!) [opinion by Partisan, borrowed the idea from Tankz] Edit
Start with nuke mastery and Mercenary talent. Use nukes early to push faster. Use them wisely though. My main goal with this mastery is to chain-nuke Leviathan's base early, when he just spawns. To achieve this, Nuke mastery has to be taken instead of some other mastery early. I haven't found a better than Sun God. Also, blast range increase slightly helps with clean-up speed and getting more experience. I take Sun God after Unstoppable Force before the Weapons. Sun God and Weapons provide similar dps boost, but Weapons costs money. If you have enough bank to chain-nuke, it doesn't matter much.