Lately, I’ve been bringing a new companion to missions. The good little boy/girl happily follows me around as I blow things up. And, despite all the carnage around me, it rarely dies and instantly revives itself. I’m of course talking about Vulaphylas. You know, the hideous fox-like cat-like companions from Deimos.
But one particular breed of Vulpaphyla does way more work than the others.
Let’s talk about our friend the Panzer Vulpaphyla.
Panzer Vulpaphyla are the uncommon breed of mutated Kavat out on Deimos. But when it comes to usage, they are by far the most common. This is mostly because Panza Vulpaphyla have an ability that can proc viral damage. And everyone loves viral damage.
Viral Quills funnily enough only have a chance to apply a status effect. The Panzer’s quill attacks are affected like most other pet attacks, via the Maul and Bite mods. You can also stick Status/Status Chance mods on your Panzer. But the interesting thing is that Viral Quills have a chance to create Spores.
You know, like Saryn’s Spores.
It’s actually kinda weird that an infested fox cat thing has such a similar ability. To be fair, the Panzer’s spores aren’t anywhere near as strong, nor can they be modded. But they still work in basically the same way – you pop them to spread viral damage around. You can’t mod the Panzer’s spore damage the way you can a Saryn. However that doesn’t really matter.
If this was most other types of damage, spores wouldn’t be so strong. But Viral is basically extra damage to anything with health. It sproc amplifies damage taken to a target, meaning things die more quickly. And everything has health. So you get a ton of extra damage for basically nothing. Even better, you have an infested cat doing this for you.
There are other benefits to a Panzer Vulpaphyla too.
Normally, companions are used for utility rather than damage. Both Smeeta and Adarza Kavats can buff crit chance, for example. What damage that can come from animal companions is spotty at best. Even the pretty neat mod Sharpened Claws, which removes armour, can be tricky to use. Animal AI can’t be controlled, and they’ll just attack targets at random. They’ll also miss a lot because, well, animals attack slow and guns shoot fast. But since Viral Quills is a ranged attack, you don’t need to rely on that spotty AI. Those attacks will probably hit no matter what.
And, on top of all this, Vulpaphyla overall don’t really die. Instead of bleeding out, Vulpaphyla turn into cute little squiggle worms and act like Sentinels!
Really, the bigger problem is that they’re still Kavats.
And kinda ugly Kavats at that. This means that breeding them is very expensive. Okay, sure, you can just grab a weakened Panzer Vulpaphyla off the ground from Deimos, but they are rather uncommon. Breeding one though is even more expensive and not really worth it – all you do is make one tankier. Doing so costs the same amount as a normal Kavat though. And, currently, there are no real cosmetics for Vulpaphylas. They can’t wear any Kavat skins or cosmetics at all and have limited colour channels.
And, of course, they tend to get… stuck in weird places. A lot of times, I’ll notice that my Kavat is no longer by my side and is half-way across the damn map. So I have to stop and wait for them to catch up.
Actually, there’s one more problem. Unlike Kavats, Vulpaphyla don’t have kittens. They have a larval stage. The larval stage is fucking adorable. But these poor things can’t actually move around. So they just sit in the incubator, staring at me menacingly…
Still, having a miniature Saryn on 4 legs is very handy. I just wish the other Vulpaphyla were as good…