As a Mastermind, you excel at using others to do your dirty work. Perhaps you build killer robots, command deadly ninja, order hardened soldiers or street thugs, or summon the undead to do your bidding. Whatever your choice, you have an army of minions at your beck and call. You can summon them when needed, order them to work your will, and even use your powers to enhance them or weaken your foes. The Mastermind is a difficult class to play, often demanding constant attention to control your minions and stave off the retribution of your enemies.
The Mastermind's power sets are:
The Mastermind has Low Hit Points and Medium Damage
Primary Power Sets
A Mastermind's primary power sets are designed specifically for summoning. All of the Mastermind primaries have a common structure. Masterminds gain access to their first type of Henchman at level 1, their second type at level 12, and their third type at level 26. They also gain access to one Henchman upgrading power at level 6 and another at level 32.
Unlike other pet-summoning powers, Henchman-summoning powers change as the Mastermind gains levels. Specifically, once a Mastermind hits level 6, their first Henchman power stops summoning one minion at the Mastermind's level and starts summoning two at the Mastermind's level -1. Then, at level 18, the power changes further and instead summons three minions at the Mastermind's level -2. The second-tier Henchman power also undergoes changes like this – it begins by summoning one equal-level minion, then changes to summoning two -1 Henchmen at level 24. This behavior depends on the Mastermind's Combat Level, not his Threat Level, so Lackeying and Malefactoring can affect it.
The Mastermind Primary sets are:
Masterminds were the only Archetype not to get a new Primary powerset in Issue 12.
Secondary Power Sets
A Mastermind's secondary power sets are designed for buffing and debuffing. They are:
- Dark Miasma
- Force Field
- Pain Domination (Issue 13)
- Storm Summoning (Issue 12)
- Time Manipulation
- Trick Arrow
Patron Power Pools
Henchmen vs. Pets
Henchmen are different from traditional pets in several ways.
- Commands. This is the obvious one. Only Henchmen may be given orders and aggression stances. Also, only Henchmen may be made to speak or use emotes.
- Resummoning. Using a pet-summoning power automatically dispels any pets still alive from the last use and creates a brand-new pet, or a full set of pets, with no buffs or debuffs. Using a Henchman-summoning power only replaces missing Henchmen that have been defeated or dispelled.
- Warping. Henchmen will warp and reappear directly at their creator's location if he gets too far from them. Pets always travel normally.
- Inspirations. Henchmen can be given Inspirations to use by dropping one onto either the Henchman itself or its name in the Mastermind's pet list window, or by using the slash command implemented for this purpose. Pets, in general, cannot be buffed with Inspirations. (Some Masterminds may be able to give Inspirations to some of their own non-Henchmen pets. This feature may be removed some day.)
- Names Pets keep whatever generic name they are given but Henchmen can be renamed by their Mastermind.
The Mastermind can be a difficult archetype to use effectively due to a large number of considerations introduced by the Henchmen. However, when used well, a Mastermind can solo in some situations that other archetypes find taxing at best, such as facing an Elite Boss or even some early Archvillains.
Quite possibly the most powerful controls for your Henchmen were first published on the Official Forums by Sandolphan. Link to Guide. Check out the Paragonwiki article on Mastermind Numpad Pet Controls, which includes minor improvements on the original controls.
Another excellent form of Henchmen control comes from Monorail in the form of City Binder (link is to a Sourceforge.net project). Monorail also keeps updating his thread on the Official Forums in the Player Guides section (link to thread), as well as in the City Game Tracker forums in this thread.
There is also an excellent offering from Master Zaprobo on the U.K. forums that offers a great general play guide and explanation of the main features of the archetype plus an alternative Henchmen control system. You can check it out here MZ's Guide to the Modern Mastermind v2.0
All systems use bind files (text files to bind actions to certain keys) that allow you to quickly change which Henchmen you wish to control.
Effective control of your henchmen is essential. Many team mates get upset all to often because a mob was aggro'ed by accident.
Issue 7 brings with it a a new defensive feature for Masterminds, Bodyguard.
- Mastermind Bodyguards: You can set any Mastermind pet to Bodyguard by selecting the Defensive Stance and the Follow(*) Orders. Your pets must be within Supremacy range for this function to work.
- Bodyguard Damage Mitigation: When set to Bodyguard mode, the Mastermind and his pets share damage from any attack that the Mastermind takes damage from. Each pet takes one 'share' of the damage, and the Mastermind himself takes two 'shares'. This is in addition to any damage that the pets themselves might incur from Area attacks.
- Example: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with a 100 point attack, each pet will take 20 points of the damage, and he himself will take 40 points.
- Example 2: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with an Area Effect attack for 10 points of damage, then each pet will take 2 points of damage, and he himself will take 4 points. Pets that were also in the Area of Effect will take an additional 10 points each, as normal.
(*) Defensive/Goto and Defensive/Stay also work.
Since NPCs – with the exception of those ambushing the character – treat a Mastermind's Henchmen as individual entities, Henchmen can be used to direct aggro from a group of enemies with no considerable risk to the player or team. This is especially helpful in solo play, where larger groups can easily overpower the low hit points and damage mitigation of the archetype. Keeping aggro on the Henchmen and picking off individual targets will yield a much lower threat to the Mastermind and enable him to take risks that would be foolish to take with other archetypes.
In addition to the various directions from which damage can originate toward an enemy, Henchmen are completely expendable. If one is defeated, it can be respawned. While the benefits of Supremecy will not be available unless at close range, a Mastermind can defeat crowds of enemies from dozens of feet away. This tactic ensures that the Mastermind rarely draws aggro himself.
All Mastermind primary powersets provide three ranged attacks and three types of Henchmen. Using either exclusively will yield a generally adequate but unimpressive amount of damage output. However, when a Mastermind works with his Henchmen to deal damage to foes, the combination of attacks can be brutal. Since equipped Henchmen have multiple attacks that recharge quickly, they alone provide a consistent onslaught of damage pouring in from multiple sources. Coupled with the Mastermind's personal ranged attacks, which deal significantly greater damage than a single Henchman does, an enemy can find itself with low hit points after just a single round of attacks.
One controversial method of building a Mastermind is completely skipping the level 1 pets and using all three attack powers actively. Removing the 3 level 1 pets un-clutter small maps, as well as refocus attention away from keeping your tier one henchmen alive. This has the advantage of freeing up slots and powers which can be used for secondary buffs/debuffs. Robotics tend to have the best synchronicity with this build due to protector bots having less targets to heal. The one obvious drawback is without 3 out of your 6 possible pets bodyguard mode will mitigate the incoming damage significantly less.
This build is not recommended for low level characters or characters that plan to PvP.
The concept of the Henchman is often intimidating for newer players, and a mindset develops where the Henchmen are the only effectiveness that a Mastermind possesses. The truth is quite the opposite, as the Mastermind's secondary power sets are geared towards buffing allies and debuffing enemies. While it's desirable to remain close enough to one's Henchmen for Supremacy to affect them, a Mastermind shouldn't be afraid to stray from his Henchmen in order to aid allies or hinder enemies. With the exception of PvP, a Mastermind is typically free to wander around the battlefield while the NPCs attack the Henchmen and teammates.
Taking the above into consideration, a Mastermind can function effectively in a combined role of both offense and team support, like a Defender or Corruptor. (And, just like those archetypes, the exact nature of that support will depend on the Mastermind's powerset.)