The core of this build includes three mods: Charm, Tek Enhance, and (Primed) Animal Instinct. The reason you'd want to use the Smeta Kavat in the first place is for [Charm] which has the potential to grant effects such as Critical Chance Bonus (sets critical hit chance to 200%, making all attacks orange critical hits) for 30 seconds or Doubled Pickups and Affinity (any pickups collected or affinity earned are doubled) for 2 minutes. The Doubled Pickups and Affinity effect also stacks with other resource doubling effects which allows you to make the most of every rare resource you pick up. In total, there are 6 different buffs you can gain from [Charm] (full descriptions and durations can be found here):
- Critical Chance Bonus
- Energy Refund
- Doubled Pickups and Affinity
- Instant Reload
- Reinforced Shields
- Rare Resource
You can slightly control the randomness of this mod by unequipping both your primary and secondary weapons. In doing so, the Instant Reload buff will be removed from the pool of possible buffs you can get. This will reduce the number of random buffs that can occur from 6 down to 5. As a side note, the Reinforced Shields buff will still occur even on warframes without shields despite not granting any bonus shields; you cannot further reduce the randomness of [Charm] by equipping a warframe without any shields.
If [Charm] is our bread, then [Tek Enhance] is our butter. [Tek Enhance] extends the duration of all effects granted by [Charm]. A 30% increase to duration isn't a lot but it certainly isn't nothing. [Tek Enhance] allows [Charm]'s Doubled Pickups and Affinity effect to last an extra 36 seconds. If you don't value the extended duration granted by [Tek Enhance], consider swapping it with a different mod listed in the Other Considerations section at the end of this guide. I highly value the extra time granted by Tek Enhance but it is worth acknowledging that of the 5-6 possible effects granted by [Charm], only 3 have a timed duration and thus affected by [Tek Enhance].
Finally, don't overlook (Primed) [Animal Instinct]. The ability to see all loot on the ground and enemy locations within a decent radius around you is far more useful than you'd initially think. When [Charm]'s Critical Chance Bonus activates, you'll want to know the location of every enemy around you in order to get the most of it and you'll definitely won't want to miss any loot while [Charm]'s Doubled Pickups and Affinity buff is active.
For survivability, Link Health and Link Armor are essential whereas (Primed) Pack Leader provides unrivaled healing. In every scenario I've tested, link mods are always more effective than the mods that offer flat bonuses (such as Enhanced Vitality or Metal Fiber). Should that ever change in the future, the polarity of [Link Health] and [Link Armor] match that of their flat bonus counterparts. [Pack Leader] will heal your companion whenever you deal melee damage. With high melee damage output, [Pack Leader] is easily the best option when it comes to healing your companion. As a side note, many people get confused between the effects of [Pack Leader] and Hunter Recovery. While [Pack Leader] allows you to heal your companion whenever you deal melee damage, [Hunter Recovery] only allows your companion to heal YOU when your companion deals damage. Since [Hunter Recovery] doesn't help with our Kavat's survivability, and because our Kavat's damage output is low in the first place, [Hunter Recovery] shouldn't even be a consideration for this build. A primed version of [Pack Leader] also exists but isn't really needed.
Tek Assault is another Survivability mod that can really help you in a pinch. [Tek Assault] will save your Kavat from certain death more often than not and can be a decent last resort to keep your Kavat alive. Although every 2/5 times this mod will do nothing, thinking like that is a glass half empty mentality (or glass 2/5ths empty mentality). Synth Fiber is quite popular but I'm actually not a fan. The true potency of this mod can only be seen when using a select few warframes/builds and this guide is meant to be all-inclusive. However, its usefulness will improve substantially with both [Synth Deconstruct] and [Fetch] (which are later acknowledged under Auxiliary Mods). My personal feelings aside, there aren't many mods left to choose from that will help keep our Kavat alive and [Synth Fiber] is a better option than the others left to consider.
The last two mods I have equipped are Synth Deconstruct and Fetch. [Synth Deconstruct] isn't necessary but combos well with [Synth Fiber] and [Fetch]. Your Kavat will naturally attack anything that gets near you and Fetch will help you gather up any health orbs that drop- thus keeping your Kavat alive for longer. The automatic reload of holstered weapons can be a nice bonus as well! [Fetch] is strictly a luxury, but an addictive luxury at that. Not needing to walk over every resource you see will save you time and headaches. You'll be grateful you have [Fetch] when [Charm]'s Doubled Pickups and Affinity buff is active. As previously mentioned, [Fetch] will also help maintain the buff granted by [Synth Fiber].
Other mods not used in this build but worth considering include: Medi-Pet Kit, Link Shields, Hastened Deflection, and Mischief. [Medi-Pet Kit] is decent, but in arbitrations you cannot revive your Kavat after it goes down (for this same reason, Loyal Companion shouldn't even be considered). Although it cannot heal your companion as fast as Pack Leader, [Medi-Pet Kit] will help keep your companion's health topped off after every fight. I like the idea of having this mod but I can't justify adding it to the final build when [Pack Leader] will easily outpace the healing it provides. I dislike [Link Shields] because of how inconsistently useful shields are; however, the buffer of improved shields will help your Kavat stay alive longer which is the end goal for this build. [Hastened Deflection] holds some merit thanks to shield gating. Shield gating is "an effect that occurs when shields are fully depleted, which prevents any excess damage leaking into the health pool. warframes, companions, and necramechs gain 1.3 seconds of invulnerability upon hitting the shield gate, only resetting when shields are allowed to fully replenish" (Warframe Wiki). Gaining some invincibility frames every time your Kavat's shields are depleted is nice but a tad inconsistent in usefulness. Lastly, [Mischief] is a bit of an odd duck. It's difficult to ascertain the usefulness of this mod but I've been told that by equipping this mod, [Charm] will proc less often as your Kavat will be split between trying to use both abilities. I have no way of testing this but according to the Warframe Wiki:
Companions will use their precepts in a prioritized order, where the top left slot is the highest priority and the bottom right slot is the lowest. Precept mods do not need to be installed in the respective polarized slot to be used. Companions will check to see if the conditions to use the highest priority precept are fulfilled, and will continue to use that precept until the conditions are no longer met. Then they will check each other precept in priority order. Companions will also interrupt the usage of lower priority precepts to use higher priority precepts.(citation needed)
If your interested in using [Mischief], I'd encourage you to do your own research and experimentation.
This build took me several hours to research, test, and write. As I'm sure you can see, I've linked every mod mentioned and have cited various sources to help you understand both how and why these mods are good or bad. Additionally, I've had seven of my friends review and approve of this guide. Personally, I plan to go the extra mile with my Kavat and forma them one additional time in order to apply [Primed Pack Leader] to them. I hope you find this guide useful and I thank you for reading this far.