City of Heroes Fusion Guide

It’s not long after you’ve delved deep into City of Heroes character customization that you come to realize that there’s more to powers than just all the different kinds of things the different power sets can do. A truly comfortable character has to do more than have a batch of effective powers: they have to have a batch of effective powers that work together well.

In order to do this, it’s good to visualize where you have to be in order to use the powers properly.   No matter how quick your character is, if you have to dash back and forth in combat, you’re losing a great deal of efficiency and (more importantly) comfort in playing your hero.

Ever looking for a new character myself, I think I’ll write up a comprehensive list of the different power sets on the primary Heroic archetypes and where they’re most comfortable operating at.


In general, Blasters need to avoid melee range unless conditions are ideal (melee is a lot more dangerous and so a distraction or control is needed for a Blaster to survive) but some power sets operate more comfortably at longer ranges than others.

  • “Close Range” sets are built with Point Blank Area Of Effect attacks in mind, which require Blasters to actually slip into the midst of the enemy to use most effectively.
  • “Cone Range” sets require the Blaster to set up just outside of the enemy in such a way as to form a cone of fire between them and a select group of foes.
  • “Any Range” sets do not have any particular requirements because they’ve neither cones or PBAOE effects to worry about.

Nukes with a long recharge timer are generally not considered because they are not used often enough for it to be a concern.  Melee attacks, while they can be effective, are for the purposes of determining where fusions exist a finisher or emergency attacks, and not the main focus of the blaster, and are similarly factored out of the secondary sets in terms of determining optimal range operate.  (Otherwise, all but Devices would be listed as “Close Range.”)

Another aspect to consider that Blasters can benefit from relief from the most dangerous of the common foes: “Bosses.”  This requires the same control effect be stacked up to at least magnitude 4, and that often is not present unless a good fusion is in place.  Knockback can offer some respite, but generally can’t be relied heavily upon.  In secondary sets, only “sure bets” are listed, no “60% chance of stun.”

If you omit the power listed in parentheses, or are planning on using it on a highly situational basis, you can think of the set as being “Any Range” for you.

Primary Power Sets

Archery: Cone Range (Fistful of Arrows) Mag 3 Stun (Stunning Shot)

Assault Rifle: Cone Range (Buckshot, M30 Grenade, Flamethrower, Full Auto) Mag 3 Stun (Beanbag).  (No “Aim” effect, but this is made up for in part with unusually powerful cone DoT attacks.)

Electrical Blast: Close Range.  (Voltaic Sentinel, Short Circuit) Mag 3 Hold (Tesla Cage)

Energy Blast: Cone Range.  (Energy Torrent), Heavy Knockback

Fire Blast: Cone Range. (Fire Breath)

Ice Blast: Cone Range. (Frost Breath)  Close Range. (Chilling Embrace) Two Mag 3 Holds (Freeze Ray, Bitter Freeze Ray)

Psychic Blast: Any Range.  Mag 3 Stun (Scramble Thoughts), Mag 3 Sleep (Will Domination), Heavy Knockup/Back (Telekinetic Blast, Psionic Tornado)

Sonic Blast: Cone Range. (Howl, Shockwave, Siren’s song) Area Mag 3 Sleep (Sirens Song), Mag 3 Stun (Screech).

Secondary Power Sets

Electricity Manipulation: Close Range. Mag 3 Hold (Shocking Grasp).

Energy Manipulation: Any Range.  Mag 3 Stun (Total Focus).  (The only secondary without a single target Mag 3 immobilize, replaced with Knockback (Power Thrust).)

Fire Manipulation: Close Range. (Fire Sword Circle, Blazing Aura, Consume, Hot Feet)  (Hot Feet and Burn have an afraid effect, but overall no hard controls outside of the typical Mag 3 Immobilize.)

Devices: Any Range.  (The traps are best employed ahead of time and the enemy dragged into them, rather than “toe bombing” – placing them in the heat of combat.)  Caltrops has a fear effect that can be easily used to keep most enemies out of melee range.  (Combines well with knockback.)  Smoke Grenade can break apart loose groups by avoiding complete aggro.  Mag 3 Stun (Taser).  (Overall, a very defensive set – the only set without a Build Up effect.)

Ice Manipulation: Cone Range. (Shiver)  Placable continual knockdown (Ice Slick), Single Target Mag 3 Hold (Freezing Touch), PBAOE Mag 2 Sleep (Frozen Aura).  (Overall, an unusually effective control set.  The 65% recharge reduction on Shiver should not be underestimated, either.)

Mental Manipulation: Cone Range. (Psychic Scream)  Close Range (World of Confusion, Drain Psyche)  (This set conflicts with itself by having Cone and Close Range powers.)  Small chance Mag 2 Confuse Aura (World of Confusion), Mag 3 Fear (Scare), Knockback (Telekinetic Thrust).  (A weird but fairly defensive set.  As far as boss-stacking is concerned, you won’t find anything to match that Fear.)

Notable Fusions:

Generally speaking, there’s a good fusion between any matching set (e.g. Ice Blast and Ice Manipulation, Electricity Blast and Electricity Manipulation).  If the primary has a control effect, the matching secondary will likely have one to stack on a boss.

Electricity carries an endurance sapping effect that is best matched to zero out the enemy’s endurance, leaving them only able to brawl (Short Circuit + Power Sink).

Assault Rifle and Devices go together well because the Caltrops power keeps the enemy at cone range, taser and beanbag stack, and the Targeting Drone provides a boost to Sniper Rifle damage.

The later additions (Archery, Sonic Blast, Mental Manipulation) don’t have a clear cut fusion, but one can be mixed and matched fairly effectively with this guide.


Scrappers and Tankers are perhaps the easiest of the overall archetypes to develop fusions for because they are developed to operate in melee range.  A cone or ranged attack, while not nonexistent, are generally highly situational.  So, in considering fusion potential, it’s good to consider other aspects.

Primary Power Sets

Broadsword: Additional Lethal/Melee Protection (Parry)

Claws: Good Endurance Efficiency

Dark Melee: Self-Healing, Endurance Recovery, Control Mitigation, Accuracy Debuff Mitigation, No AOE

Dual Blades: Poor Endurance Efficiency

Fiery Melee: None

Katana: Additional Lethal/Melee Protection (Divine Avalanche)

Martial Arts: Control Mitigation

Spines: High AOE, Poor Single Target

Secondary Power Sets

Dark Armor: AOE Damage Toggle, Control Mitigation, Self-Heal, High Endurance Demands

Fiery Aura: AOE Damage Toggle, Self-Heal, Damage Boost (Bonus Fire)

Invulnerability: Self-Heal (Dull Pain)

Regeneration: Endurance Recovery, Self-Heals, Lacks Mitigation

Shield Defense: Self-Teleport.  Lacks Healing.   (Can not be used with claws, katana, spines or dual blade.)

Super Reflexes: Lacks Healing.

Willpower: Endurance Recovery, Self-Heals

Notable Fusions

Fiery Melee and Fiery Aura as well as Dark Melee and Dark Armor are made for eachother.  Aside from that, Scrappers are remarkably piecemeal.  For best results:

  • Match the sets that lack mitigation or healing with ones that provide more.  E.g. Broadsword and Shield.  Dark Melee and Super Reflexes.
  • Match those with high endurance requirements with a set that recovers it, or bank on sacrificing three powers for Stamina (or a ton of influence for endurance recovery invention enhancements).
  • Match Dark Melee with an AOE damage toggle set, or be consigned to monotonously hunting down every foe.


A big concern for tankers is whether or not you’ll have a defense against Psychic damage.  Only Dark Armor, Ice, Stone, and Willpower do.  However, no fusion can save you from this.  Considering that, there’s really no wrong combination for a tanker.  At most, you may want to consider pairing an endurance-heavy set with one that restores your endurance.  Fortunately, endurance recovery methods are in relatively frequent supply amongst Tanker primaries.


A Controller’s primary and secondary power sets rarely work hand in hand.  The primary is dedicated to keeping the enemy from attacking, while the secondary is dedicated to supporting the group.  Trick Arrow is the main exception, being as much control-based as it is support based.  As with the Blaster, you’re going to want to keep in mind where you’ll be to be at your most effective, with the same classifications of Close Range, Cone Range, or Any Range.

The Knockback Preventing Area Immobilize is worth noting because it can be used to hold foes in place for wracking with Storm Control’s Lightning Storm and it will also directly conflict with trying to use Sonic Resonance’s Liquefy as mitigation.

When soloing, doing satisfactory soloing damage with a Controller is often a matter of waiting for your epic power pools. Compared to a Blaster, even before Buildup and Aim get involved, the Controller has about four times less damage potential.   Double their damage with Containment, and they’re at about Defender damage but with a lot less area-of-effect: not great.  Pets help, but Controllers generally aren’t made for doing damage.

Thus, Controllers who are looking to avoid long and boring soloing missions prior to their epic power sets must find ways around this.  Kinetics can be such a godsend, but outside of Fulcrum Shift you’ll find most buffs/debuffs to be substandard compared to the Defender versions.   Use of confuse (available to Mind Control, Illusion Control, Plant Control, and (debatably) Ice Control) can help make up for this by allowing the enemy to help out with damaging themselves.

Primary Power Sets

Earth Control:  Any Range.  Knockback Preventing Area Immobilize.

Fire Control: Close Range. (Hot Feet, Cinders) Knockback Preventing Area Immobilize.

Gravity Control: Any Range.   Knockback Preventing Area Hold.  Repositioning.  (Wormhole)

Ice Control: Close Range (Arctic Air)  Cone Range (Shiver). Knockback Preventing Area Immobilize.

Illusion Control: Close Range (Flash)

Mind Control: Cone Range (Terrify).  Repositioning (Telekinesis)

Plant Control: Cone Range (Seeds of Confusion) Knockback Preventing Area Immobilize.

Secondary Power Sets

Empathy: Any Range. Prefers to stay near group for Healing Aura, Recovery Aura, and Regeneration Aura.

Force Field: Any Range. Repulsion Field must be used from far enough back to prevent enemies from perpetually triggering it and to allow melee heroes to operate.

Kinetics: Close Range.  (Fulcrum Shift and Transference)  250% damage boost when Fulcrum Shift is achieved at level 38.

Radiation Emission: Any Range.  Prefers to stay amongst group for Radiant Aura , Accelerate Metabolism.  Situational Close Range (Fallout, EM Pulse).

Sonic Resonance: Any Range.

Storm Summoning: Cone Range.  (Gale)  Repositioning (Hurricane) Supplemental Damage: Lightning Storm

Thermal Radiation: Any Range.

Trick Arrow: Any Range.  Knockback Preventing Single Target Immob & Hold

Notable Fusions

Fire Control/Kinetics is a very popular controller combination specifically because of the range in which the controller operates in as cooperating well with the Kinetics powers.  Cinders, Hot Feet, and Fire Imps love to get up close and personal, and that’s just the right place for Fulcrum Shift to operate.

As mentioned, keep knockback preventing in mind when utilizing certain powers such as Liquify, Earth Quake, Ice Slick, and Lightning Storm: it may have beneficial or (usually) harmful implications.

Force Field’s Force Bolt followed immediately by a Sleep effect is a good way to keep a foe asleep for the entire duration, well outside of the range of your group’s aggression.

Repositioning goes together well with some kind of area of effect immobilize because it allows you to scoop the groups together and then lock them down there while your group or pets go to work.  Consequently, Storm Summoning is an interesting combination to go with Gravity, Earth, Ice, or Plant.

Plant Control’s Spirit Tree can be used to shore up the lack of healing in Force Field, Trick Arrow, and Sonic Resonance.  Alternately, you could take Aid Other from the medicine pool.


Though the official documentation may lend you to believe Defenders are half party supporter, half blaster, the truth of the matter is that Defenders are mostly party supporter with a bit of substandard attack added in.  Their buffs and debuffs are capable of single-handedly turning a dangerous situation into a pushover, but this doesn’t help them when soloing.

Generally, the difference between you and a Blaster in terms of damage is about 50-60%.  To solo comfortably, you might want to bridge that gap by at least that much.  This can be done either by getting something that massively decreases the enemy’s resistance or increases your own capability to do damage.

Again, a major focus on the fusion is to try to keep the ranges in mind.  A large point behind this guide is that dashing back and forth between several ranges makes for a very uncomfortable playing experience.

Primary Power Sets

Cold Domination: Close Range (Arctic Fog), -60% Foe Resistance (Sleet + Heat Loss)

Dark Miasma: Cone Range (Petrifiying Gaze).  Prefers to stay near group for Twilight Grasp healing.  -30% Foe Resistance (Tar Patch)

Force Field: Any Range. Repulsion Field must be used from far enough back to prevent enemies from perpetually triggering it and to allow melee heroes to operate.

Kinetics: Close Range.  (Fulcrum Shift and Transference)   Up to 400% damage boost when Fulcrum Shift is achieved at 32.

Radiation Emission: Any Range.  Prefers to stay amongst group for Radiant Aura , Accelerate Metabolism.  Highly Situational Close Range (Fallout, EM Pulse).  30% resistance debuff (Enervating Field).

Sonic Resonance: Any Range.  30-60% resistance debuff in a single foe (Sonic Siphon) additional 30% AOE resistance debuff with the help of an ally/pet (Disruption Field)

Storm Summoning: Cone Range.  (Gale)  Repositioning (Hurricane) -35% Foe Resistance (Freezing Rain).  Supplemental Damage: Lightning Storm

Trick Arrow: Any Range.  -30% Foe Resistance (Acid Arrow + Disruption Arrow)

Secondary Power Sets

Archery: Cone Range (Fistful of Arrows)

Dark Blast: Cone Range (Tenebrous Tentacles, Night Fall, Torrent)

Electrical Blast: Close Range.  (Voltaic Sentinel, Short Circuit)

Energy Blast: Cone Range.  (Energy Torrent)

Ice Blast: Cone Range. (Frost Breath)

Psychic Blast: Any Range.

Radiation Blast: Close Range (Irradiate)

Sonic Blast: Cone Range. (Howl, Shockwave, Siren’s song) High Resistance Debuff Secondary Effect (avg 20-40% in play at a time).

Notable Fusions

Basically, whenever you can get the resistance debuff or your damage buff up into about the 50-60% point, you have a pretty solo-viable Defender.  Of course, if you’re patient, perhaps that’s not necessary, maybe you’re perfectly content taking a long time defeating foes.  You’ll certainly be safe enough, especially with a set such as Dark Miasma, which couples extremely powerful debuffs and healing.

If you’re planning on grouping a lot, don’t worry so much about a fusion of primary and secondary power sets, because you’re going to be leaning heavily on the primary set with the secondary being little more than a minor afterthought.  You might want to take Sonic Blast just because it tenderizes your targets to ease your group’s defeating them quicker.  For the same reason, Radiation Blast is a good pick.

Note that because many secondary effects are more powerful in a Defender’s hands, the Blasting sets should be considered along those lines.   Sonic Blast’s Siren’s Song has a fairly standard 36 second duration in the hands of a Blaster, but in the hands of a Defender it’s a ludicrious 45 seconds — twice as long as a Mind Controller’s Mass Hypnosis!  While Electric Blast may have the same endurance drain, it can be combined with Lightning Storm to really keep that boss drained.


Remember, again, that the point of this guide is to ease the understanding of where you’re going to be in combat so you can pick two sets that match.  Tankers and Scrappers are handled differently from the other three because those two archetypes are always intended to be in melee range, but it’s quite possible to design a Blaster, Defender, or Controller that wants to simultaneously be in Close and Cone ranges, and be disappointed in your inability to do so.

It should go without saying that certain Invention Enhancements and tactics might undermine the generalizations in this guide.  That wasn’t my point.  The point was that establishing a satisfying flow of combat is even more important than the numbers.  Keep that in mind, and perhaps an end to your alt-a-holicism is in sight.

Props and Extras

  • Props to Weatherby_Goode for pointing out Gravity Control’s immob does not induce knockback prevention and that I needed to clarify some wording about why Blasters should avoid melee and in what way Defender damage may be found lacking.

Weatherby_Goode also recommends the following Synergies:

  • Use Energy Manipulation’s Boost Range to increase not just range but cone length for cone-heavy sets such as Assault Rifle.
  • Use Energy Manipulation’s Power Boost to increase the secondary effects.  For example, Siren’s Song will sleep for much longer. Energy’s Power Boost will increase Short Circuit’s drain high enough to sap effectively.
  • Mental Manipulation can stack Scare with Intimidate from the presense power pool.
  • Consider the Ancillary/Epic pool for more synergies.
  • Sonic Blast’s Siren Song can sleep an entire spawn (especially with Sleep Grenade) providing an effective means to “toe bomb” with /Devices.
  • Assault Rifle’s Ignite works well with any Immobilize, holding the enemy in the flames regardless of the Afraid effect, and this works even better with something like Ice Patch from Ice Manipulation.

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