A Look at Companion Options With the New Bonding Mechanic

*** UPDATE 06/11/16 *** Thanks to excellent feedback both here and in our forum, I’ve revised the post and added quite a few companions. Major props to our knowledgeable community!

*** UPDATE 02/13/17 *** Due to the fact that Underdark Rings will no longer proc in Module 11, parts of this article are outdated.

With Maze Engine: Alliances the mechanic of Bonding Runestones got a slight rework that drastically increases companion choices for all players. One issue of the mechanic was that it was very dependent on the companion’s attack speed and allowed some ridiculous overstacking. Only very few pets could compete for a spot next to adventurers.

[su_quote cite=”terramak” url=”http://forum.arcgames.com/neverwinter/discussion/1216931″]Bonding Runestones now grant their combined effect in a single stack.

  • For example, if a summoned companion has two Bonding Runestones (Rank 12, 95% each) equipped, the related buff now gives the player 190% of the summoned companion’s current stats.
  • This effect no longer stacks. This gives the effect a maximum of 285% of the summoned companion’s current stats (with three R12s equipped).


While people are claiming the new system is even more overpowered than the old one, because it allows for a constant huge buff instead of small burst ones, terramak added that it’s intended for now.

One obvious advantage of the change is that you can now freely choose from companions as all should perform the same. The focus shifts from attack speed to the actual powers of the companion, which undoubtedly makes more sense. So I dug through companions and present intriguing options that haven’t been a factor so far.

Earth Archon & Galeb Duhr

With three Defensive Runestone slots and one Ring slot for the Ring of Sudden Defense both could develop into premier choices for Guardian Fighter’s looking to maximize their buff potential. At BiS level our character simulator adds 35k defense to the player, but also on lower levels the companions should be more effective than other options. Please note that you need at least the Sudden Ring +4 to outperform the Loyal Defender. Useful active bonuses and some tanking potential complete the purpose of these pets.

Rust Monster & Harper Bard

An intriguing choice for tanks or tanky builds are the Rust Monster and Harper Bard. Their active bonuses and powers debuff targets and empower owners in multiple ways. The Bard might be impossible to get at the moment though, but be on the lookout.

Young Yeti

The Young Yeti might not have a strong utility power like others, but it is the strongest tanking pet available and can take on Orcus. If you want to test solo capabilities as a DPS, this one is going to be helpful.

Shadow Demon

The counterpart to the Yeti is the Shadow Demon, which offers little from his powers but deals major damage. Also has three offensive slots.

Jagged Dancing Blade & Lillend

Contrary to Guardian Fighters the Clerics might be looking for three offensive slots now to maximize their buffing potential and/or healing. Both of these pets fit the theme as the Jagged Dancing Blade adds another debuff and Lillend some more healing and protection. The latter however does not proc Protector’s Camaraderie.

Black Death Scorpion, Blink Dog & Dancing Blade

These three could have situational use as they deliver Combat Advantage. In most cases though a GF and/or Renegade CW should have that one covered. The Scorpion has three offensive slots and is a good fit for DCs and DPS. As a limited promotional item it’s expensive, but those that own it have an account unlocked version. The Dancing Blade comes with three offensive slots for DPS as well, adds Critical Severity through the active bonus and was available as account unlock in a Humble Bundle pack.

Ambush Drake

In case you’re looking to add a debuff to your fold, look no further. The Ambush Drake has the strongest available for companions at 20% through its Deadly Infection power.

Con Artist, Sellsword & Rebel Mercenary

These three are easier to get than the Drake and come with a 10% debuff, that unfortunately is not available until level 30. So you need to invest a few ADs for the upgrades. Con Artist might stand out in this group because it has two offensive slots and three Ring slots for Underdark Rings. If you’re interested in theory about the new mechanic and Sudden Underdark Rings, make sure to read “dupeks” comments in this thread. It’s solid data and some context.

Greenscale Bowman

Last but not least the companion from the Trickster Rogue Booster Pack offers a 5% debuff at epic level.

Stalwart Golden Lion

Players report the Radiant Weapon damage bonus from the recently introduced Lion is easy to stack and adds up to the max 16% quickly. Please note that the Aurulent Roar power also buffs nearby allies. With two defensive and no ring slots it’s not the best fit for DPS and DCs though.

Priestess of Sehanine Moonbow

The Priestess has already been an early favorite right after the introduction of Bondings, but like many others fell victim to its slow attack speed and proc rate. It could be up for a comeback as its Moon Beams power can buff the Critical Chance of nearby allies by a whopping 20%. With three Defensive Runestone slots it’s unfortunately not the best fit for DPS, but MoF buffers could utilize the pet for example.

I’m sure you have your own opinion on companions and your favorite choices. Share them in the comments below or on our message board!



j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

8 thoughts on “A Look at Companion Options With the New Bonding Mechanic

  • June 10, 2016 at 7:17 am

    No mention of the Harper Bard?

  • June 10, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Lightfoot thief? works great with my Tr.

  • June 10, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Con Artist/Rebel Mercenary/Sellsword (At rank 30+, so you’d have to upgrade a couple of times) have a debuff that causes enemies hit to take 10% more damage.

  • June 12, 2016 at 3:41 am

    What about Repentant Dragon Cultist ? Its acidic Stab ability with 1s CD reduces targets defense without upgrading its level

  • July 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Shield maiden is also a fantastic option 3 defensive slots and 2 ring slots.

  • December 22, 2016 at 12:16 am

    What about the dancing shield? 3 def slots and rumor has it posting a debuff as well?

  • February 12, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    So you can get plus 35k def with a Galeb dir with 3 plus 12 bonding and a ring of sudden def? What about a frozen galeb dir?

    • February 13, 2017 at 12:03 am

      Please note that Underdark Rings will no longer proc with Companions in Module 11. We have edited the article to label it outdated.

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