Colossus is a very versatile javelin. It can be built as a tank-style support player, a trash-mob clearing room sweeper or a single target damage monster. It can even be all 3 if you have the right gear. Colossus is probably the easiest javelin to get to a point where it can survive and contribute to a group in GM3. It is also the least maneuverable javelin, and every move it makes feel ponderous in comparison to the other javelins. Colossus gets a 475% bonus for all additional armor added to base, (still in effect as of Patch 1.7.0) which mainly compensates for the fact that it only has a manually deployed shield and has no dodge mechanic.
As of 1.7.0 The current meta builds for Javelin as as follows:
This guide serves to give a detailed breakdown of all the gear available to you and how each piece might fit into a play style. For more in depth and complete builds, see our Build Guides section, or find the links at the bottom of this page.
Once you have a handle on the basics and are feeling more comfortable in your Javelin, check out the next step in our Advanced Colossus Mechanics Guide to take things to the next level.
While addressing individual abilities and their respective Masterworks, it's good to remember that these are opinions. It's not a be all, end all, detailed list. Feel free to try things and see how they fit your style of play. So let's just touch on everything this Javelin has to offer in terms of skills, components and how they all handle and interact.
We'll start with the quickest section, Support Skills.
With Colossus, there is a clear, objectively superior option for most circumstances that you are going to encounter in game. Battle Cry is the support ability that you are going to use most often, because it has massive benefits to both your and your team’s damage output. Surging Shield is a purely defensive ability that is mainly only good for situations where you and your whole team are in over your heads. As you progress, you will find fewer and fewer circumstances where Surging Shield is the optimal option. The MW perks only increase the gulf between the two.
Effect: Forces enemies to attack the Colossus end reduces enemy resistance to damage by 33%.
Masterwork - Berserker's Cry: Additionally increases melee damage by 200% and reduces melee cooldowns.
Also known colloquially as “The Taunt”, “The Yell” and “The Honk”, this is the clearly superior support option for Colossus. At present, Battle Cry and the MW/Legendary version Berserker’s Cry, don’t appear to actually force enemies to attack the Colossus. It does reduce enemy resistance to damage by 33%, which is significantly more valuable as it increases the damage that you and your team do to any enemy affected by the yell. The MW perk also gives 200% extra melee damage to your javelin and any teammate who happens to be in the path of the yell. The cooldown reduction also allows you to melee much more frequently
Effect: Fortified effect reduces incoming damage by 33%.
Masterwork - Surging Shield: Additionally regenerates shields through damage. Increases regeneration rate by 50%
The red-headed step child of the Colossus support is not a huge liability until you get into endgame content, at which point it is basically worthless. Reducing damage taken is useful while you are leveling, but after that regaining health is more important than reducing damage taken. And stacking armor on other items means you don’t need to worry about taking damage as much as other classes. The MW perk of regenerating shields through damage can be useful for other classes in your team, which makes Surging Shield an option if you are running a pure support / tank build. But until content difficulty exceeds its current state, there is little need for this.
Damage Type: Fire
Combo Type: Primer
Masterwork - Meteor Smash: Cracks the earth, igniting flames around your feet that burn nearby enemies.
A great fire primer that ignites anything in its radius. Can also be used to knock flying enemies out of the air once their shields are down. The fire DoT can be pretty significant if built for. It’s a slow attack, like everything else with Colossus.
Damage Type: Kinetic
Combo Type: Detonator
Masterwork - Earthshaker: Sends out a shockwave that damages enemies in front of you.
A good detonator that allows you to use a priming weapon like Sentinel’s Vengeance or Ralner’s Blaze with whatever gear you choose. The shield bash attack can be used with both melee weapons, but it’s slower than Seismic Glove/Earthshaker and significantly less reliable.
Most of the abilities in this group will be AoE primers or detonators. With the exception of one (Shock Coil / Voltaic Dome) they tend to be ranged options.
Ability: Launch a volley of mini-mortars to blast everything in a huge area.
Masterwork - Titan’s Hail: Creates a large physical explosion for each enemy hit.
Cataclysm - Venom Storm: Fires a volley of 8 acidic rounds.
Burst Mortar and Titan's Hail are trash, because they don’t prime and they don’t detonate, which effectively makes them useless for the higher level difficulties. Venom Storm makes up for both of them, though. It is an acid mortar stream that will both prime and detonate. It’s one of the components for a meta Colossus, and probably the easiest for beginners to use and feel powerful.
Ability: Light the battlefield on fire with a huge wall of flame.
Masterwork - Rubidium Furnace: Applying fire effect to 2 enemies refills a charge. Can occur once every 20 seconds.
My personal disdain for this ability runs extremely high. Because the flames last a long time, and are relatively high, it can block vision to a large part of the map, especially when there are extra charges involved. It’s also made relatively redundant because Meteor Smash performs the same function (AoE fire prime) for a similar duration, without occupying a gear slot or affecting visibility on the field. That being said, it is a reliable fire primer.
Ability: Bomb anything in your way with an explosive projectile that deals heavy damage to a small area.
Masterwork - Final Judgment: Demolisher's Wrath: Hitting (2) enemies increases all damage by 35% for 20 seconds.
This is basically a single shot version of Titan’s Hail, except it actually detonates primes. Not a great damage dealer by itself, but the MW perk affects ult and combo, so if you’re chasing the highest combo and ult damage you can do, you will need this gear. But the recharge on it is insanely long for what it does, especially in comparison to Venom Storm (14 seconds for Final Judgment vs. 6 seconds for Venom Storm). If you’re not chasing a max number, leave it in the forge.
Ability: Give your enemies a shock with an arc of electricity that targets a random enemy.
Masterwork - Vassa's Arc: Multiple hits of 3 strikes cause a large electrical explosion.
This has been part of the Colossus meta since the beginning of the game. The Lightning Coil is a 360° detonator that pairs well with flamethrower to prime and detonate enemies from distance. It is now more commonly used with Meteor Smash and Solvent Green (discussed later) in endgame builds. As standalone gear, it’s not that great because you can’t really aim it. But as a detonator, it is fantastic. It’s also the only Colossus gear that can be active while your shield is deployed.
Ability: Give your enemies a shock with an arc of electricity that targets a random enemy.
Masterwork - Voltaic Dome: Enemies are frozen once hit.
Final example of meta build with combo focus. This item will prime enemies with electricity in the base ability, but will freeze as part of the MW perk. This allows for both an ice and electric prime. Typically is paired with Seismic Glove / Earthshaker as the detonator. Can be paired with Meteor Smash with the shield bash as the detonator, as the freeze will immediately reset the fire effect, allowing multiple fire primes from a single Meteor Smash on a single enemy. Very useful for high HP enemies.
In the MW version of this group, there’s Solvent Green, and then there’s things you shouldn’t use. These are typically your ranged attacks with a single target focus, although some do have a bit of AoE. Some of the more useless items in the game can be found here.
Ability: Put your opponents down with a short-range scattershot blast.
Masterwork - Black Powder: Regain a charge after defeating an enemy.
Like a shotgun, but worse. Doesn’t prime and doesn’t detonate. Is an armor breaker damage type, but the amount of damage it does is so low, that the MW perk “regain a charge after defeating an enemy” seems like a cruel joke.
Ability: Turn up the heat with a continuous blast of pure fire.
Masterwork - Fist of the Crucible: Hitting an enemy increases Flamethrower damage by 24% for 10 seconds, stacking to 10.
Is great in early game, especially when paired with Lightning Coil for combo detonations. Once MW levels are achieved, the opportunity cost of using this is simply too great, as it doesn’t do enough damage on its own, even with the extra 240% damage possible and the 0 recharge rate. Can be functional in GM1 of even GM2 with a good build, but is just not enough for GM3.
Ability: Hit one enemy hard with a destructive kinetic projectile.
Masterwork - Garred's Hammer: Railgun permanently gains an extra charge.
One of the only single target weapons that the Colossus has. The base damage is one of the highest in the game, but it’s still not enough to make it worthwhile, despite being a detonator. Possibly the worst Colossus gear.
Ability: Equip this classic and hit your enemies with a hefty rocket.
Masterwork - Best Defense: Hitting an enemy with a rocket restores 35% armor.
Cataclysm - Again and Again: Detonates another explosion briefly after the first.
Base version is a detonator, but the recharge rate is very long. MW Perk for Best Defense is useful when survival is a chore, as it does blast damage, and each enemy hit by the blast will give 35% armor back. Again and Again can trigger 2 combos on a double primed enemy. But ultimately, the slow recharge rate makes this less desirable. Also, mainly suffers from the fact that it occupies the same slot as Solvent Green, which we will discuss next.
Ability: Unleash multiple arcing shots of acid down on your enemies.
Masterwork - Solvent Green: While equipped, Combos deal 200% more damage.
The Venom Spitter is an underwhelming ability. It can prime, but the acid effect is very low. Until MW level is reached, there are better options. However, the MW perk for Solvent Green might be the most OP perk in the game. 200% combo bonus as a passive feature simply for having it equipped makes all other options in this category subpar. Simply equipping Solvent Green on a javelin with no other combo damage will cause the base combo damage to triple. Nothing else even comes close to that kind of damage increase from a single item. It is possible to run a Colossus on GM3 without Solvent Green, but there is no way that it can be as effective as one with it, because the main source of damage for a Colossus is combo damage.
For the sake of fairness, these will be in alphabetical order, by Base Component Name. There’s a lot to cover, so things will be kept brief.
Effect: Increases combo damage by 50% of base damage.
Masterwork - Catalytic Overdrive : Detonating a blast combo increases ability damage by 40% for 20 seconds.
Almost an essential component for every build. A 50% increase in combo damage is very large, and more than you are likely to get from inscriptions even at the legendary levels. The MW perk is nice, but not as important as the primary effect.
Effect: Adds specialized storage for enhanced autocannon ammunition to increase damage by 5% of base damage.
Epic Quality and Lower only!
If you run an autocannon, this can be useful. But not at any of the difficulty levels beyond Hard.
Effect: Increases maximum magazine size of all guns by 35% of base value.
Masterwork - High-Capacity Munitions: When a status effect is cleared, damage is increased by 33%.
Can be useful in early stages of the game, where weapons are more useful and therefore magazine size is important. MW effect of all damage increase is one of the few in the game that increases ultimate and combo damage, which can be useful in late stage, but will eventually be replaced by a universal component that will give an always on version of the desired damage type.
Effect: Increases maximum ammo capacity by 35% of base capacity.
Masterwork - Stalwart's Badge : When hit with a status effect, increases all gear damage by 40% for 10 seconds.
Ammo capacity only refers to reserve ammo, not the actual amount of ammunition in the magazine, so the effect of this is minimal. A 40% gear damage increase is not particularly useful in most circumstances.
Effect: All blast damage is increased by 15% of base damage.
Masterwork - Emblem of Destruction : Performing a multi-kill 5 with your Ultimate will increase Ultimate charges by 33
Lots of Colossus damage is blast (AoE) damage. A 15% increase isn’t much, but as far as “always on” damage increases, it can be useful in early stages. The MW perk isn’t described particularly well. The Colossus ultimate allows you to shoot 3 rockets at enemies. With Emblem of Destruction, you will get an additional rocket every time one of your rockets kills 5 enemies. This can be useful when you are trying to clear large amounts of trash mobs.
Effect: Increase duration of support abilities by 50% of base value.
Masterwork - Grand Entrance : Upon hard- landing, creates an explosion at the point of impact.
In early stages, increasing the duration of your support ability can be useful, especially if you are using the MW version of Berserker’s Cry, where enemies will be debuffed, and your melee damage and cooldown are improved. The Grand Entrance MW perk looks cool, and can make dropping out of flight directly into melee fun, but it’s not a particularly useful combat strategy. But fun is important, too.
Effect: Enhances the heavy-assault launcher to increase damage by 5% of base damage.
Masterwork - Synchronized Frame : Hitting an enemy increases [E]/[RB]/[R1] damage by 60% for 10 seconds.
5% base damage increase is nothing you will notice. Only reason to use this is in early game if it’s your highest level component and you want to up your gear score. For most endgame builds, the gear that gets the 60% increase will not be gear you are using to do damage, anyway (ie Solvent Green and Best Defense).
Effect: Increases damage of Colossus shield damage while sprinting by 300% of base damage.
Masterwork - Demolition Tribute : Melee hits will cause enemies to restore 20% armor when defeated
There will come a time when you are playing Colossus that you will experiment with, and discover the joy of, yelling “GET OFF THE TRACKS WHEN THE TRAIN IS COMING THROUGH!!! CHOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!”, as you put up your shield and sprint through clusters of red bars and watch them rag doll away as you hit them. And it is at that point that you will be grateful for this component. Fun fact: It was by doing this that I discovered that GM3 Tesilars have more health than GM1 Elite Outlaws. The MW perk of 20% armor restoration on melee defeat is very nice when you have to worry about survivability, as if you use a melee to detonate a combo to defeat an enemy, you will receive the armor.
Effect: Enhances the ordnance launcher to increase damage by 5% of base damage.
Masterwork - Shock Treatment : Taking damage increases all damage by 8% for 10 seconds, stacking to 10.
Again, 5% damage isn’t anything that you are going to notice. However, the MW perk is probably the best of any javelin specific component in the game. Since you have no shield unless manually deployed, you’re pretty much always going to be taking damage, and when fully stacked, Shock Treatment increases all damage by 80%, including combo and ultimate damage. Pro-tip- using Berserker’s Cry support item will add a stack to and refresh your Shock Treatment.
Effect: Increases lightning and fire damage by 35% of base damage.
Masterwork - Vanguard Emblem : A shield break creates an explosion around you.
Can be useful in early stages when combined with Inferno Glove / Meteor Smash to increase damage from the fire effect. Lightning is from gear is used mainly for priming or detonation, not for its own damage. An explosion on shield break is one of those more useless effects on anything relating to Colossus.
Effect: Heavily reinforces the Colossus armor and shields.
Masterwork - Ablative Shielding : A shield break increases damage resistance by 40% for 10 seconds
The extra armor and shields are very useful in early game, and when combined with Softened Blows, you can get complete immunity to physical damage for 5 seconds when your shield breaks. Considering that a Colossus shield break generally includes a stagger which locks you in place for a very short time, this can be useful. However, like most defensive options, its utility gets lower as you progress further in your build. The best defense is a good offense in the endgame, because enemies can’t kill you when they are dead. Except for Titans, because they explode. Jerks.