Maxwell is in very good spot and he really doesn’t need much except of a little QOL change to his puppets. Despite that I came up with some interesting ideas that I want to share with you.
Changing old stuff
Make Shadow Workers and Shadow Duellist toggleable between active and passive mode. In passive mode they cancel all action they are doing and will follow you only.
Shadow Duellist now cost one spear, three nightmare fuels, 35% max sanity and additional 5 max HP (with two summoned Shadow Duellist you have 65 max HP).
First variation: They have 75 HP and 80% damage reduction instead of passive HP regen (the reduction can be lower based on the following points). The Duellist have “visual” armor that cracks up more the lower their HP is. At 15 HP the armor breaks apart.
Second variation: They share the same HP pool that has 150 points, which once is depleted then both dies. The armor breaks at 30 HP and reduction is still 80%.
Maxwell can heal 33% of their HP with nightmare fuel (25% for the second variation), this can be done by right clicking on Codex Umbra with nightmare fuel.
In passive mode they keep away from enemies and follows you from a distance the same way as workers do.
In active mode they try to keep strict close formation around Maxwell (similar to how Gem Deers stands around Klaus) and they rather tank then trying to kite. If possible, they attack the same target as Maxwell.
This allows Maxwell to have better control above them, it also prevents him from sending them in for tanking purposes. They should help Maxwell in dealing damage to one target, not in tanking huge waves of enemies. Their attack period and damage reduction can be adjusted for balance. (For every 2,5 Maxwell's attacks they do one each?)
The current Duellists we have are fine but their AI can’t keep them alive long enough in more chaotic fights.
Shadow Pain Killers
Cost: 4 nightmare fuels.
Makes target immune to “hurt” animation for next 40 hits.
Maxwell can cast this from Shadow Tab on himself or allies.
If applying new one and the first one is not spent yet, it only refreshes.
Indicator for how many hits left can be intensity of dripping nightmare fuel from characters.
Cost: 1 blue gem, 5 nightmare fuels.
First variation: When health of affected character gets below 20%, a freezing blast happens underneath them that will freeze enemies. (similar to Klaus freeze blast)
Second variation: Completely negates fatal damage and creates the freezing blast underneath.
Maxwell can cast this from Shadow Tab on himself or allies. Lasts until it’s triggered. Upon triggering, the Chilling Touch buff gets spend and it needs to be reapplied by Maxwell to grants this protect to the player again.
Indicator for if it’s active could be a snowflake that occasionally falls from player.
Cost: 5 nightmare fuels.
If affected armor breaks, the wearer gains 10% movement speed, leaves a trail that slows enemies and is immune to negative effects (freezing solid, getting cold, overheating. etc.). Lasts 10 seconds.
Maxwell applies this to an armor similarly to how Warly applies seasonings to food.
Since Maxwell is fragile, I think that his new things should be around gadgets that can somewhat prevent death. E.G. Shadow Pain Killers can save you from a swarm of enemies that can stun lock you, Chilling Touch from unexpected attacks (e.g. Bunnyman), Shadow Flusher can be used both aggressively and for fleeing, this will also make you want to use the 2% armor leftovers from previous fights. All those new recipes can be locked behind prototype wall so Maxwell isn’t wasting nightmare fuel in early game before shadow manipulator is build.