Alter-Ego: Five powers that make Ice nice

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Alter-Ego: Five powers that make Ice nice
Last week we took a look into the Fire powerset in DC Universe Online, one of the two tanking powersets available to heroes and villains who want to spend their time at the front lines of the fight. As noted last week, the Fire powers make tanking a snap by simply soaking damage through the use of self-healing. Ice, by contrast, is all about mitigating damage through armor abilities, which help tanks shrug off smackdowns that would leave other players knocked out and drooling on themselves.

While my Ice tank is just shy of DC Universe Online's endgame at the moment, I have spent time running her in groups, reading just about anything I could put my mitts on about tanking powerset suggestions, and fiddling with my own build as I progress. I feel pretty comfortable recommending five great powers to consider for an Icy-tanking hotbar, since I've seen these oft repeated. I find them useful in my everyday play now -- even if I'm not quite up to smacking the biggest baddies around yet. So if you're curious as to what much research (and faceplanting) has unearthed as five of the best Ice tanking powers, then join me behind the break!

First off, I'd like to note one of the more critical things I've discovered while playing an Ice tank in DC Universe Online: This is absolutely not the class for people who like mashing buttons! What I mean is simply this: If you're intending to play an Ice-based character, crazed button-mashing is going to drain your energy in nothing flat. In turn, having no energy means you're going to waste a lot of time dying and running back. This will obviously royally piss off your group. (Honestly, you'll probably spend a lot of time running back from repeated deaths when soloing, which should teach you that you need to watch your power long before you hit a group!) By contrast, when I'm careful and conserving power -- only using enough powers to keep my defenses and aggro up -- I find Ice to be incredibly fun to play, making objectives much easier to complete.

So trust me on this, if nothing else, about Ice tanks: Watch your power usage! Every bad guy in the game knows that if he can get past your frosty shell, you are a tasty treat that can easily be chewed up. With that said, if you can get into a good group with a Controller who keeps your energy flowing, you're going to have a lot more leeway to monkey around. (Even then I still tend to play Ice more conservatively than I do my Fire tank.)

I'd also note that unlike Fire, Ice has an armor that will pop up when you manage to stack Chill on yourself five times. This is the frosty-white crystalline body-covering that you'll see on many Ice tanks. As such, effectively playing an Ice tank is not only about paying attention to power but being aware of Chill stacking as well, which can be a bit tricky to learn at first.

Now that I've covered the basics, let's take a look at some of the powers that I believe Ice tanks should consider having in their arsenal:
Cold Snap -- I like this one as an opener. Not only does it cause damage, but it gives you one tick of the Chill effect, damages nearby enemies, and reflects damage you take back at your attackers. In the Tank role, it grants +100 to resisting control, so this is a great all-around power in my opinion.

Bitter Winds -- I've seen a lot of people suggesting that Bitter Winds is best for general grouping and Cold Snap is more effective against bosses. Having not yet faced off against a nasty endgame boss with this power, I'm reserving judgement. It is very handy, however, much like Cold Snap above, and it offers a freezing effect to frostbitten enemies. In either case, it's a solid way to get the attention of nearby nasties and keep them off your friends.

Inescapable Storm -- While it doesn't provide the healing of Backdraft in the Fire tree, Inescapable Storm does offer a similar ability to pull mobs back to you while damaging them and inflicting Frostbite. This is great as part of a one-two punch with your opening volley or as a way to make sure that guy running at your healer doesn't make it.

Reflection -- Don't leave home without it! This is my primary damage-taking ability, since whenever you activate Reflection, the next three attacks you take are reflected back at whoever is smacking you around. It also grants the Chill effect, so it's very much an essential to stacking Chill for Ice Armor.

Ice Elemental -- I've seen some people who add this to their builds and some who tend to go toward Hibernation as an "oh crap" power instead. Personally, I like Ice Elemental because it's fun to turn into a funky ice monster. It also offers a temporary boost to your stats, can be used while controlled, and negates most control effects, making it a great power when you're getting the crap beaten out of you. It does carry a 100% Supercharge cost, so I'd definitely note that the utility on this one is in the eye of the beholder.

As with all power suggestions, the best thing you can do is to test them out for yourself. The ability to add in skills, movement powers, and iconics can change what will work best for you, so your best teacher is always going to be your own experience. Nonetheless, hopefully this will give you food for frosty thought as we all wait expectantly for Update 2 to hit live servers!

Every week on Saturday, strip off the mask of your Alter-Ego and soar through the world of DC Universe Online with Krystalle, then catch up with Larry on Wednesdays as he showcases the superhero game on the Alter-Ego livestream. Send up a bat-signal to ping Krystalle or Larry with your burning questions. (Packages wrapped in green with a purple bow will be returned unopened.)
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