Obikin89's Guide for Neverwinter
MOD 19

M19 Companions

⚠ Disclaimer !

Note that companions drop very rarely in dungeons nowadays, so green augments are much more expensive than they were in the past. Also note that a big rework on companions and bondings runestones went Live recently : Bonding Runestones & Companion Changes. So it may be wise to wait a bit before investing too much into companions (as they get balanced and people figure out which are best). Go exchange your bonding runestones at the exchange vendor in Protector's Enclave (not far away from Lord Neverember and Sybella, on the other side of the platform compared to Sybella) if you didn't already !

Companions are your main source of stat points thanks to bonding runestones, augment companions, and companion gear and runestones. There are two types of companions : Augment Companions, which only boost your stats and follow you around, and Non Augment Companions, which fight with you.

Augment Companions

Augment companions are companions which have the Augmentation and the Enhancement powers. They do not fight with you, but follow you around. The non augment companions usually have 2 active skills, 1 passive that enhance their skills and 1 passive that improves their stats (role expertise). They do fight with you but, with the exception of a couple of them, do not expect much from them.

The Augmentation skill is available at lvl 1 and makes your companion share their stats to you. You get all of their stats, including companion gear and runestones slotted in your companion gear (except HP from runestones for some reason). That’s about 3 rank 8 bonding runestones you get for free, on top of your own bonding runestones. Thanks to this skill alone, an uncommon (green) augment companion lvl 25 gives you more stats than a non augment epic (purple) companion lvl 35. And a rare (blue) lvl 30 augment companion gives about the same stats as a legendary (orange) non augment companion lvl 40. At lvl 40, a legendary augment companion gives an average of 8k more to all stats compared to a legendary non augment companion.

The Enhancement power (unlocked at blue quality, lvl 30) gives 1k bonus to 3 stats of your companion… Which translate to a 3.1k bonus to these stats for you (with rank 15 bonding runestones). The Enhancement power is what makes all the augment companions different. They would be strictly identical otherwise. And so they are, below lvl 30, which is why it doesn’t matter which augment companion you get for leveling.

In higher end dungeons, you need very high stats to be able to perform properly. But, in lower end dungeons, the scaling mechanic makes your stats melt. In both cases, a non augment companion will perform very poorly. You absolutely need an augment companion if you are going to play random dungeons. Otherwise, you are just a dead weight for your party.

Non Augment Companions

Most of the Non Augment Companions are useless. They deal very little damage, heal about nothing... But there are 2 companions which are actually good : the Abyssal Chicken and Xuna ! It is important to equip them properly, to max out their damage output. Alternatively, the Stalwart Golden Lion is also interesting, though it's not for its damage.

The Abyssal Chicken is extremely potent on single targets. It has a power that can deal millions of damage on a very small aoe (the aoe is too small to be very effective on multi targets), with a long cooldown (so it's not that great for solo). It has one huge problem though : if more than 2 people have it in the same group, there are pretty high chances for the game to crash for everyone in the group. It is awesome on an end game tank or healer who can have capped stats with it. Once properly equipped, it can deal more damage than many newer Damage Dealers.

Xuna is a multimillion AD prize which can deal huge damage in a big aoe. Her damage is not as high as the Chicken's, but the aoe makes her perfect for killing groups of monsters. Great for solo. Great for dungeons, as long as your stats are capped. And the game doesn't crash with her, so anyone can use her... as long as they can afford her !

To equip the Abyssal Chicken or Xuna properly, you should use the highest bonding runestones possible (to cap your own stats), and companion gear with Armor Penetration (as this is the only stat that really makes a difference for non augment companions). Empowered runestones are great on them, but Indomitable runestones are also an option (they will boost your companion's damage more, at the cost of you losing up to 24k Power).

The Stalwart Golden Lion is actually very good for solo content : it tanks very well, it gives a damage buff to you, and it gives combat advantage. There is no point trying to boost its damage to the maximum, as it's not that high (though better than nothing), so use whatever kind of companion equipment that are useful for you in priority.

Any other Non Augment Companion can be used to gain combat advantage in solo content if you have your stats capped, but keep in mind that most of them will be only good to give you combat advantage, and that you'll often be better with an Augment Companion. Never use them in dungeons, ever.

Ranking Up Companions

It is very important to rank up your active companion, for it will gain stats (and you will too through bonding runetones and the augmentation power if it's an augment). It is also necessary to rank up your campanions to improve their quality.

The easiest way to make a new companion rank up, is to put the companion as active when you complete a quest. You can even boost the experience with the “Experience Points Bonus” Guild Boon and with Azure enchantments. No need to have a ball at your feet all the time.

Always train your companions when you leave the game. Otherwise you won’t have access to them for the time of their training, or it will cost AD to get them back earlier.

Upgrading Companions’ Quality

The best way to upgrade your companions is to wait for a sale in the ZEN market (you can also get 25% coupons from time to time by invoking your god), and to buy Companion Upgrade Packs (that’s 75 tokens for a maximum of 375k AD when there’s no sale).

With a -20% coupon for Companion Upgrade Packs, upgrades cost a maximum of 4000 AD per companion upgrade token (depends on the exchange rate) :

When there’s no sale, a companion upgrade token costs a maximum 5k AD. So, it’s not worth it to upgrade an uncommon companion this way if the AD to Zen rate is at 750 AD/ZEN. But it’s still worth to upgrade a Rare companion to Epic (and of course better to upgrade an Epic companion to Legendary).

With mod 18, we can occasionnaly get 20 companion upgrade tokens from Juma bags (in Avernus, lvl 80+). It takes time, but it’s a good way to upgrade your companions !

With mod 19, we can now buy companion upgrade tokens for 3 Tarmalune Trade Bars each. You can obtain Tarmalune Trade Bars by opening lockboxes (for which you need keys, either bought in the Zen store or obtained daily with VIP).

Bonding Runestones

Now that we have established the fact that an augment pet is a necessity because they gives 100% of their stats to you… Consider the fact that Bonding Runestones can transfer up to 210% of your companion’s stats to you. Yes, they are absolutely fantastic, and an absolute priority for everyone. Get these to rank 15 as soon as possible. The only thing you should buy before upgrade your bondings is your active companion for your main role (and upgrading it to epic if it’s not already).

To upgrade your bonding runestones, better start with rank 9 (super cheap) while you are leveling, then buy rank 13 one after the other, then upgrade them to rank 14 and 15 with materials you will collect along the way. If you buy the next upgrade and sell the previous one, you will lose 10% of the value of each upgrade in auction house fees. By getting rank 13 directly, you will only lose 10% of the value of your rank 9 bondings when you sell them, and nothing else.

The best way to get wards for upgrading your rank 13 is to wait for a sale in the ZEN market and to buy regular wards (you need an average of 38 wards per bonding)… or wait to get free ones during an event ! The best way to get wards for upgrading your rank 14 is to invoke your god every day (on all of your characters) in order to get a Coalescent Ward. This will guarantee an upgrade, and you will get it for free ! The marks of potency can be acquired by completing weekly missions (which help completing your legacy campaigns) given by Sybella in Protector’s Enclave. The enchanting stones rank 6 can be acquired in the hardest dungeons (many of which are in the epic dungeon queue and are pretty accessible).

Bolster

Bolster improves your companion's base stats by up to 15% at maximum (with 5 companions at the legendary quality in the same category as your active companion). Each rarity improvement on one of your top 5 companion in a category gives you 0.5% Bolster. Let’s face it : 1% in Bolster with a legendary companion only improves your stats by about 134 points. Upgrading Bolster is not worth it. You will get plenty of companions along the way, there’s no need to spend AD for a useless companion.

Companion Influence

Companion Influence improves your companion's stats. Five rank 15 Dark enchantments (30% Companion Influence) give a total of about 1866 in all of your stats and 6726 HP (with a legendary augment companion and rank 15 bondings), or 2422 in all of your stats but no HP (with a legendary non augment companion). It’s really not a big stat.

Best Companion for Leveling

Make sure to have an uncommon augment companion (cat, watler, goldfish, goat, whatever), rank 9+ bonding runestones, 965+ item level companion gear, and empowered runestones, as soon as possible. Nothing can make you stronger than these while you are leveling (at such a cheap price too). Bonding runestones and most of the companion gear items can be transfered to any of your characters at any time. So, if you have a high level character, make your new Cleric happy with proper companion gear !

Best companions for a Tank

Active : any augment without HP or Awareness as a bonus

Awareness is useless if you position properly. And the HP bonus is acutally a malus, for some reason, because they couldn't code it properly, and it's been like this for more than a year... It doesn't matter which augment companion you use, as long as your stats are capped.

Passives

Main ones :

Options :

It has to be HP and Incoming Healing. What else ? Of course, capping defensive stats takes priority.

Best companions for a Healer

Active : Polar Bear Cub

The best active companion for a Devout Cleric is the Polar Bear Cub. It is an augment companion that gives a bonus to Power, Critical Strike, and Awareness. Power and Critical Strike are the two most important stats for you. The only other augment companion with a bonus to Power and Critical Strike is the Icosahedron Ioun Stone, but it gives Combat Advantage instead of Awareness, which is less useful to you. On top of being the best augment companion, the Polar Cub also is one of the passive companions you will have equipped all the time, making it the most important companion for you. The first companion you should buy and upgrade to legendary.

Passives

Of course, you want those sweet 3% Outgoing Healing bonuses (nerf from 10% in mod 19…). They will boost your healing more than anything else. There’s also one version of the Faithful Initiate that gives Outgoing Healing, but with Combat Advantage as a secondary stat, not too useful. And the Vallenhas Elite Soldier (which you can obtain as a random reward from the Box of Vallenhas treasures, and is equivalent to the Neverember Guard with 5% damage against Demons). The Quickling is very expensive but it’s also one of the best passive companions due to it giving Critical Strike, a stat you will hardly cap as a healer.

Note that with the huge healing nerfs in mod 19, the Deepcrow Hatchling is now a better option than a 3% Outgoing Healing companion until you reach about 155k Power. And the Alpha Compy becomes a better option once you reach above 200k Power. The Tamed Velociraptor is also a solid option if everyone in the group has it. Look at Janne’s website to get the exact values for you.

Enhancement

It works both with an augment or a non augment companion. The chance is pretty high too !

Potent Precision is better than Potency by a solid margin, even with relatively low Critical Strike.The Rebel Mercenary (which you want for its passive), has this enhancement. Enhancement scales on your summoned companion quality. The quality of the companion which has Potent Precision doesn’t matter.

Companion Gear

You can get these by completing the questline in the Stardock (12 days) on 3 different characters. That’s the easiest way, as it doesn’t rely on RNG. With these, you will easily cap your Critical Strike (unless you have tons of Power), and your Critical Avoidance. The Profane Runestones will help you cap Defense and the Empowered Runestones will give you 4k power each at rank 15, with Bonding Runestones at Rank 15.

If you do not have your Defense capped, it takes priority over Critical Strike or Critical Avoidance.

Best companions for a Damage Dealer

Active for solo : Stalwart Golden Lion / Abyssal Chicken / Xuna (if your stats are capped, any augment otherwise)

The Stalwart Golden Lion is a non augment companion. It can buff you, taunt, has a large HP pool, and is shiny ! Non augment companions are only good if you have your stats capped for the content you are running. That is, if most of your stats are above 60k (110k for combat advantage) in most places, or above 85k (135k for combat advantage) in Avernus (mod 18 area).

The point of using a non augment companion is to benefit from their buffs (if they have any), and from combat advantage. There’s also Xuna, who actually deals pretty good damage (but is super expensive) and the Abyssal Chicken, which is a lot more affordable (and is better for bosses rather than groups of monsters because its power has a pretty small aoe). But if your stats are not capped, it’s not worth it : using an augment companions will boost your stats a lot more, and you will end up dealing more damage and also being tankier.

Using a non augment in Undermoutain and in the Stronghold is a good idea if you have high bonding runestones. But it is a lot harder to use one in Avernus and you will have to trade a lot of Power to get your stats where they need to be. I highly recommand using an augment companion in Avernus unless you are a very end game player (even then, the difference between an augment and a non augment is not that big, and the augment is always better when you play with other people around).

Active for dungeons : Deepcrow Hatchling / Bulette Pup / etc.

Bulette Pup, Quasit or Icosahedron Ioun Stone have a better enhancement power for a dps and are considered best in slot (bis), but they are not a priority : you need rank 15 bondings first to really take advantage of their enhancement power anyway. Polar Bear Cub is also good, no need to buy another augment if your main role is healer. Deepcrow Hatchling is the best budget augment pet, as it is epic from the start, can be bought with tarmalune trade bars (vip rewards), and gives 8k power at legendary. So, get a Deepcrow Hatchling before even thinking getting a Bulette Pup or any other bis companion.

Passives

The only ones that really matter on these lists are the ones that give +% damage or Power (if you have your stats capped). All the others are only good if you need to cap your stats. As capping your stats for Vallenhas and The Infernal Citadel is harder than before, the Wolf, Staldorf, and Black Dragon Ioun Stone are much better than the others, and really helpful if you want to use a non augment companion in Vallenhas (for which you need rank 15 bonding runestones and very good gear) ! Stats are displayed for companions at Legendary quality (lower stats at lower quality). 4% Critical Severity is not as good as 4k Power, most of the time (thanks Janne for the Maths). Many companions can be used in many slots, but they can only be used once. You cannot use the Mercenary both in Offense and Utility at the same time, for instance. You have to choose, and pick another companion for the other slot.

Offense slot (2) :

Defense slot (1) :

Utility slot (2) :

List of all companions (thanks to Rainer)

Enhancement

It works both with an augment or a non augment companion. The chance is pretty high too !

Potent Precision is better than Potency by a solid margin, even with relatively low Critical Strike. Companions with the Potent Precision Enhancement are : Fire Archon, Hawk, Panther, Rebel Mercenary, Swashbuckler, Traveling Entertainer, War Boar, Werewolf, and Xuna. Pick the cheapest you can find (or the Rebel Mercenary for your Devout Cleric build). Enhancement scales on your summoned companion quality. The quality of the companion which has Potent Precision doesn’t matter.

Companion Gear

Any combination with 5k Defense, 7k Armor Penetration, 7k Accuracy, and as much Combat Advantage as possible is great. You do not need Combat Advantage if you are playing with an augment companion in solo content. But if you can cap your stats with a non augment companion, you should use one instead, for benefiting from Combat Advantage and doubling your damage output.

Only the single stat companion gear can be acquired from the questline in Stardock. You will have to farm WE’s (and Zok Boxes) quite a lot to loot the best pieces of Companion Gear. But there are slightly lesser pieces of gear with an item level of 990 instead of 1010 which are about as good. Worst case, non epic companion gear has very good stats too. You will only miss out a runestone slot, not as important as the stats on the items, really.