Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Playing With Balls - Male Nen FAQ

Updated  08/07 for new EX passives (skill planner)


  1. Introduction
  2. Builds
  3. Skills In-Depth
  4. Gear

I. Introduction
This guide is a collection of spading and gameplay experience from the Male Nen community since release.
Big thanks to everyone who's been contributing data since the beginning, especially Raze and EnigmaticBlitz

ia. Why play Male Nen? 

  • Extremely active class. Every spare second you have is spent mashing x, press, and nen shot: you'll never wait for cds.
  • Natural defense is higher than plate, with a cloth user's speed.
  • 4x spirals and fast atkspd means M.Nen is one of the best classes in the game to abuse proc-on-attack items such as Black Rings in OV.
  • Heavily percentage-based class with natural light damage, funds very well.
  • Nen press against a single target is one of the highest dps moves in the entire game.
  • Electrocute procs on all your moves raise your entire party's dps.
  • Lion's roar and 10s cd nen guard are great tools to remove pressure off yourself or party.
Vs Female Nen
  • Almost all attacks do 2/3rds the damage of the female version, but nen conduit almost evens it. 
    Since revolution, we now finally outdps our female counterparts! Woooo!
  • Nen Conduit buffs magical damage party members, F.Nen's Khai buffs physical.
  • Less party support; you'll have to be really good at timing nen guards to help your team.
Vs Other Classes
  • No mobbing/large aoe skills apart from active awakening.
  • All cube nukes are less than stellar in damage, range, and utility (no super armor/invincibility frames)
  • EX actives are flashy, but damage is a little on the low side and both are easy to miss with.
  • Percentages are on the low side to compensate for electrocution damage. Problem with this is that Status effects are heavily nerfed in all end-game content.
  • Quite mana-heavy. If you're the type of player that hoards consumables, you'll gimp your dps by trying to be mana-efficient. (although Resh Shoes/Crom Pants will solve this)
  • With post-revolution arena nerfs, is a pretty mediocre pvp class that still carries a lot of stigma from the first 2 months when it was blatantly overpowered.

While at first M.Nen may seem like a mash x and cube your face off at boss class, it's actually a very interesting priority-based class. With many low-cd options, understanding what skills do more damage in what situations will increase your dps enormously, unlike many other classes who are simply waiting for cubes to come off cd.

II. Builds
The most recent patch introduced more alternatives for viable endgame builds. Until the skill planner is updated, this section won't be complete - so plan ahead! Standard build (minus current TP options) is still probably the most overall solid choice.

Standard Build: The all-around most versatile and highest damage path for those with or planning to obtain a +11 or higher weapon.
* 1 point haitai is the best option to sacrifice for 1 point neck snap if you do a lot of OV and ancients.

I Liek Lions: Probably the best build for players that want to max active awakening and aren't interested in much funding. Will do very good damage while levelling, and will still be decent @ 70 with a full set of magic sealed int armors.

DoppelBlasts: Somewhere in between the above two builds, I can only really recommend this if you have a dual build. It's really great for dungeons where enemies will cluster up (i.e. iron scale, ghost train) as well as ToDespair, but loses very badly to standard build in dungeons like OV3/Reshpon.
* The difference between Haitai max and Haitai 2 is a lot less than you'd expect.
** If you want 1 pt Lion of Suju for utility, dropping 1 pt stim breath might be best option.

PvP Build Skeleton: All the basic tools for fair arena. Many new players prefer things like iron physique and e.shield/roar cancels, but they're not essential.
Maxing AM is also an option for people that just poke and don't feel like learning juggles.

PvP Versatile: An example of a toolbox for players who understand other classes' movesets and have the reaction speed to counter.
* If you want to use necksnap vs light armor class, you'll need to buff to 5.
** The skill planner is currently bugged and forces level 10 poison throw. It should, of course, be only level 1.

*** With the massive nerfs to m.nen damage, it could be advisable to drop m.crit and nen conduit in favor of more striker approach skills. At that point, however, you may as well reroll a striker since they're currently a vastly better class for arena anyways.

III. Skills In-Depth

Legend: Recommended Max Situational/Preference Not Recommended

iva. Passives

Nen Conduit(Passive Awakening) : One of the redeeming features of this class. Effectively +30% non-piercing damage for your entire party vs the average hero's road/OV monster.
Of course, F.Nen's khai buff adds +40%...
Does not stack with itself.

Magical Critical Hit : Adds 10% that stacks with awakening passive. 

Nen Cannon : Truly amazing damage and size. 

Lightning Spike : Really great skill to max when levelling.
In PvE endgame, once you get a reinforced weapon it's not really worth having more than one point anymore (it does only 66% of the damage and electrocute that f.nen's suplex thunder does).
In PvP, electrocute does so little damage now that it's not really worth the SP.

Iron Physique : Now that our HP has been fixed in fair arena, maxing this only adds 2k hp and ~3% damage resist - not the best use of SP.
If you take this in PVE I just don't have the words to express my disappointment.

Magical Rear Attack : Only triggers on nen spiral during normal gameplay, unless you're gonna turn your back every time you hit an EX move. While you could pretend you're Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, you'd be better off dpsing more.


ivb. Buffs

Tiger Flash : Duration is much longer than the cd in PvE, making it the defining skill of our class. Electrocution only happens on the last hit, but until innovation rebalance it's guaranteed on anything in the game.

Spiral Nen : Should be self-explanatory.

Stimulating Breath : 24% spd is a pretty significant dps buff, especially since it's aoe when you're in a party.

Ancient Memory : Get into the habit of hitting your space bar every time you have room to re-cast. Very significant dps buff during dungeons. Unfortunately with revolution SP is so tight that this is now optional.

Leap : One point is quite useful in OV/PvP when you need to get out of a corner.

Nen Stone : 1 point for utility can have its uses, but otherwise this skill is a huge letdown. At max the duration is half the length of the cd.

Solar shield : Decent in PvP, but apart from the pre-req for Roar it's hard to justify SP use on it.


ivc. Active Skills 

Tornado Kick : Now that we can change conversion to magic (under general skills), this is our highest dps move (5504% on 7.2s cd). If you're having trouble landing all the hits on light enemies, use a high kick immediately before.

Nen Shot : Very good dps, worth spamming. Since revolution the fixed damage portion now applies correctly.

Nen Press : One of the highest single-target dps moves in the game, and it's homing.

Nen Guard : At max, it's 2s duration with 10s cd. +13 is enough to survive Grishun's bomb sequence, although you can do without it with clever use of timing and awakening.

Energy Shield : Including Spiral bonuses and EX, total damage comes to 5558%. Is a good juggle with a wide range that takes advantage of electrocution, and is nice to stack with nen spear and EES. Electrocute happens only on hits 12 and 13, both have separate chances.

Lion's Roar : If you max the EX, it's now a 3175% burst (More than nen spear!) with a stun level of 72, making it a far better damage output than Haitai. In PvE is the best pseudo-hold that m.nens have, since the entire time mobs are stunned (and it lasts quite a while on champions), you're free to do as much damage as you want as long as you don't nen spear.
In PvP it's now supposedly 65% stun, but feels a lot more like 40%.
If you do take this, you must max for the stun to work.

Nen Spear : Now that this is a SP skill, maxing it is a no-brainer. The hold is magnificent and you can follow up with E.Shield. 
If you're having problems landing it, try stunning with lion's roar first and moving slightly below them on y-axis

Electric Energy Shield : Stacks well with Nen Spear and E.Shield for electrocution nukeage, and is the best damage return per SP for the class.

Doppelganger/DoppelBlast : With the new EXs this is now quite a respectable option to cover our terribly lacking aoe damage. With 6pc Luminous Fist set, this becomes a 144k damage nuke on a 12s cd...
Even without, it'll likely outdps Haitai in most dungeons (excepting OV3 and Reshpon).

Haitai Summon : The shockwave alone is ridiculously strong, doing almost 1.5x the damage of a launcher's quantum bomb. Always nen guard before using - getting hit at any point during the animation will make the tiger disappear.
Revolution nerfed the size of haitai to the same range as e.shield, but improved its scaling with cast speed significantly.
Since the huge buffs to Lion's Roar, dropping roar to max haitai is no longer advised.

Pure Walk : 25SP for mobility isn't bad at all.

Lion of Suju(Active Awakening) : A 2+ second startup that since Revolution is both super armored and affected by cast time. While you are invincible after you get on the tiger, it does relatively low damage for an awakening (2/3rds that of f.nen's). 1 point into it is surprisingly useful.
Level 1: ~78k fixed damage Max: ~167k fixed damage

Crouch : 1 point is great in pvp to dodge nen spirals/emm/other ranged attacks that hit high. In PvE, there aren't many opportunities and it's easier just to nen guard.

High Kick : 
Neck Snap : 
Torpedo Elbow : It's probably better to leave high kick at 1 to avoid missing juggles with t.kick in PVE, and 1 point in neck snap helps interrupt attacks on monsters that can't be knee grabbed.
In PvP, max high kick is highly recommended for combo extending, neck snap is a great wakeup/anti-neil sniper, and torpedo elbow will stuff a lot of x-axis approach skills.
Note: Neck Snap requires ~3 points to be always safe in PvP; 1 will get you punished by fast players.

Seismic Stomp : Delay is huge on male version.

Sand Splash : Does all right damage, but I honestly don't know where you could find the SP. 

Tiger Chain Attack, other common Skills : Not really worth the SP since they don't work with tiger flash.


ivd. Cancels

Cancel - Nen Shot : You should almost always mash nen shot off cd, and this cancel is entirely safe.

Cancel - Nen Guard : The only way this could be more broken is if it was automatic.

Cancel - Knee Drop : Even though the damage is garbage (especially when lightning spike is dropped to 1), it's a quick and easy way to invuln when nen guard off cd.

Cancel - Nen Press : Not a fan personally, but there are people that swear by this. Be aware that there's enough recovery time you can be punished by anything not knocked down. (~0.5s)

Cancel - Lion's Roar : See above, except the vulnerable time is during the startup. (~0.7s)

Cancel - Energy Shield : No. Always nen guard, launch, or Nen spear before using this at melee range.


ive. TP 
Note: Only General EX skills work in PvP.

Comparison of Magical % Damage per TP Spent

T.Kick: 86% DPS/TP
Nen Guard: 75% DPS/TP (Level 1 only! Every additional level only 10% DPS/TP)
Nen Press: 43% DPS/TP (singletarget ONLY)
Nen Shot: ~23% DPS/TP (if using cannon off cd)
Nen Stone: 19% DPS/TP (Unfortunately Nen stone is still bugged, and all bonus will be lost when changing rooms)
Lion's Roar: 10% DPS/TP (+1 stun level)
E.Shield: 8% DPS/TP (+elec)
Tornado Kick EX: In terms of raw damage/TP, this is by far the best return per point. However in more difficult dungeons you'll often find yourself needing to cancel the move, meaning it gets wasted...

Nen Shot EX : The size and damage boost are huge to our most-used active skill, and it's our cheapest EX.

Nen Press EX : I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't want this.

Nen Guard EX : Level 1 adds a 1500% explosion, the other 2 levels are a huge waste of TP.

Tiger Flash EX : Makes it a little easier to attack groups/from safety, and is the only way to add elec chance/damage. Really rough choice here - if you're doing ov3 regularly with a black ring lightning by all means max it, otherwise 1 point is probably enough.
Size Comparison
DoppelBlast EX : Turns this crappy skill into something actually quite decent. Very hard to fit the SP into it though, you're going to have to give up some cubes.

E.Shield EX  : One of the worst returns for TP, but could be okay in a party for elec damage I suppose.

Thunder Knee EX : +30% of terrible damage is still terrible damage.

ivf. Recent/Upcoming (Important) Skill Change Notes
08/01 Patch

lion's roar: 1600% -> 2561% (3175 with max EX)
T.flash: +23%/27%/30%/33%/42% respectively
damage reduction nerfed from 50% to 10%
electrocution level nerfed heavily (no longer scales with level of skill; max 76 with EX)
Lion of Suju buffed considerably (about 1.3x of previous damage)

haitai EX: Works as advertised, but keep in mind this will likely become bugged at some point in the future and give MINUS 24% damage.

IV. Gear
Chron 3 Update
Individual Pieces: Best overall dps is from red t.flash + red nen shot. Red t.flash + red nen press best single-target burst.

  • Shimmering Onslaught still best 3pc set, not worth swapping to C3 unless you have a 6pc (or 3x double imbued C3)
  • If you have high piercing on weapon (+13 or higher), Nen Conduit[6] + Nen Cascade[3] is a very good option (dropping subequip or magic stone for set bonus), outdoing pretty much anything except the C3 [9] bonuses.
  • Blitz Shocker[6] is higher overall dps, Nen Cascade[6] is higher burst.
  • With a very good weapon Blitz Shocker[9] is probably the best all-round armor set. For those with good necklace/magic stone/subequip, Nen Cascade is potentially better on bosses, especially since the 9pc bonus is made for easy benefit from swapping.

Overall the chron sets benefit f.nens far far more than they do us.
Really hate how they stick nen stone onto everything we get, without even buffing anything useful on it like cd or duration.

va. Knuckles 
Keep in mind that on the higher end of gear (1500 in-dungeon Int and ~70 +light damage), 1 base damage equals about 2 piercing in OV/Ancients, more on normal dungeons. So the only way to justify a lower base damage weapon that's over-reinforced is if there's at least 200 piercing more than you would on a +10 65 pink knuckle. (which is around +230)

In ascending order:

Sealed Short Blow: If you're on a budget, one of these at +11 is the way to go. Try to get at least 1 (preferably 2) of M.Crit/+T.Flash/+light damage/Smash (only if no SC necklace)/armor break

Serene Green/Angelic Power/Ultimatum Battery/Dragon Scale: Yes, Serene Green has light damage and +nen shot damage, but it really doesn't make up for the lower m.atk and piercing values.

Death Game (55): Easily available from Grandis, piercing scaling of a 65 pink, light damage, +3 to tiger flash, and a +2 to lion's roar that brings that stun to 99% on almost everything.
The disenchant has no status level, removes 4 buffs at once, and combined with spiral nen's frequent attacks it becomes the most blatantly op knuckle n the game for PvP.

Iron Rock/Jerova's Fist : Garbage +skills, but a good choice if you have more gold than time and wanna over-reinforce something.

Air Bending Fist (60) : Trades in the disenchant and lion's roar on Death Game for 3% m.crit and some atk/mvspd buffs. Good base and piercing damage though.

Dark Vliger (55): The new Grandis epic, if you have 40%+ crit unbuffed and can get a decent reinforcement on this it will easily outdps death game/air bending fist.
The dark flame is just extra gravy, the big deal here is +crit damage and 65 pink piercing values.

Bright Grace/Sirebros Karis (65) : Despite Sirebros' higher piercing and base damage, Bright Grace's benefits are all good. For Ancients the +20% dmg to undead/demons on Sirebros obviously wins (or if we get Kiri's promise). Otherwise, Bright Grace is the better weapon, but when you could break 3-4 iron rocks for the price of one...

vb. Armor
Individual chron pieces should be force t.flash (or t.flash+ press/shot for C3).

Notable set bonuses (in roughly ascending order of strength):
3pc Nen Conduit
3pc Shimmering Onslaught
6pc Nen Cascade w/ swap to 9pc during haitai
6pc Nen Conduit + 3pc Nen Cascade
9pc Blitz Shocker

Note: If you were thinking of building like a necro with vallacre switching though, you're out of luck - not only are our percentages about half as good meaning less benefit from Force pieces, tiger flash is based off your current stats on attack.
Notable Offset pieces:
Black Plague Dark Hair
Top: +110 int at perfect stats as well as solid MP regen.
Shoes: The cd on this is only 3seconds - this one piece of gear alone will fix a lot of mp problems.
Shoulder: +8 light dmg on shoulder is good vs everything
Belt: 10% counteratk dmg from belt is HUGE for bosses, but overwritten by screaming necklace.

Crom's Mana Absorbing Pants are like Resh shoes... except for a higher proc, more often, and more mana restored to the whole party. Even though they're light armor, there's so much bonus int on these you'll lose only 5-10 compared to primal c2 pants.

Witch Amice/Blouse 5% crit on shoulders and +10% critical dmg from top are best in slot if you have a +12 pink or higher. Otherwise, C2set/Resh pieces are possibly a better option.

vc. Accessories 
C2 pieces should be your first stop to fill in blanks, just like armor.

Light Spirit Ring (50) : +10-16 light elemental damage. Easily available from Grandis, and the wisp has the bonus of doubling your nen cannons.

Ancient Elven Ring/Swirling Soul : Just like all other caster classes, these are swap pieces for us. With spirals they're both an easy 100% uptime, and swapping on cd will leave
you with +9% int/+7% m.crit in dungeons

Black Ring: Lightning : Lets you do ridiculously broken damage in OV up until the boss. Not much of a use anywhere else tbh.

Black Pearl - Mist: What most caster classes swap to for bosses. On regular mobs light spirit ring much more consistent damage, but overwritten by screaming necklace.

Generally the only accessory slot used to maintain Chron Set bonuses.

Saint Bracelet of Illusion : +1 to tiger flash isn't bad if you have lots of spare time to grind and no group for OV.

Soul Power of Phantom : Okay if you're in a party, I suppose.

Heartneck Mask : Pretty solid option, we can p.much have 100% uptime on two stacks.

Screaming Bracelet : 7pct crit probably best option with a +12 or higher, although the benefit over heartneck is somewhat marginal.

Brisingamen : Quite solid m.crit and int buffs as a placeholder before screaming neck.

Screaming Necklace : Annoying bug that doesn't proc the 8% dmg if you don't have aggro on a mob. Works with piercing though, and has no problems if you solo.

If you're somehow lucky enough to find a Soul Chaser, it'd be the best necklace piece unless you have over ~550 piercing.

Sub EQ: 
The +m.atk subequips (such as Black Pearl Training Glove and (Such as Wind-Swept Cloak) are generally the best choice.
The +Electrocution pieces just don't add enough damage to be worth it, and our EX boosters are something of a joke.

Somehow attaining Floo's Spirited Seal would make you beyond broken on bosses (In OV/Ancients, that + nen conduit is pretty much a 4x multiplier to non-piercing damage.)

Magic Stone:
Wisp's Tear
Alicia's Tear
Tear of Glarine

Ancient Ossuary Stone is only worth it over Alicia's if you're farming Ghost Train and have a high reinforcement on your weapon. 

vd. Avatars
Hat/Hair - Int
Face/Torso - Aspd for tiger flash.
Top - Tiger flash
Note: If you can afford it, a backup top for nen guard can be helpful for OV2 Grigun, but is in no way necessary.
Bottom - MP
Waist - Evasion. A dark resist swap piece can be helpful, but you'll never remember to do it.
Shoes - MSpd.
Skin - P.Def. Stacks with ridiculous spiral defense w/o having diminishing returns.


  1. Since the Revolution changes, TP has been really tight. With Lion's Roar, Nen Shot, Spiral Nen Press, and Tornado Kick Upgrades maxed, which TP Upgrade should I sacrifice: Energy Shield or Haitai Summon?

  2. the haitai EX will give you slightly more burst, but the e.shield is better dps and scales better with highly reinforced weapons/c3 6pcs anyways



This site is a collection of up-to-date guides, maintained by some of the most dedicated players of various classes in DFO.
While articles may contain the personal opinions of the writers, they are opinions based on hundreds of hours of gameplay and the general consensus of their respective communities.