I. Maximum Armor stacking Guide/Numbers- I DID NOT INCLUDE RIOT SHIELD as I assume combat character would prefet to two-handed Assault Rifle or at least 2x Pistols/SMGs, no a shield and cut his damage. Of course Octo/Takko morphs could have multiple shields, but I focused here on standard humanoid morphs. If you want to add Riot Shield please add to end results 3/3 armor values per Riot Shield.
1. Steel Morph/Fierce Kite:
8/8 base + 16/16 (Heavy Combat Armor) = 24/24
Second Skin 1/3 = 25/27
Smart Skin 3/2 = 28/29
Spray Armor 2/2 = 30/31
Full Helmet 3/3 = 33/34
Abalative Patches 4/2 = 37/36
Fireproofing +2/+0 = 39/36
Reactive Coating 5/5 = 45/41
Refractive Glazing 3/0 = 48/41
2. Guard Morph 12/12 base (+4 compare to Steel + above) = 52/45
3. Reaper Morph 16/16 base (+4 compare to Guard + above) = 56/49
0/0 Base + Bioweave (Heavy) 3/4 = 3/4
Heavy Body Armor 13/13 = 16/17
Second Skin 1/3 = 17/20
Smart Skin 3/2 = 20/22
Spray Armor 2/2 = 22/24
Full Helmet 3/3 = 25/27
Abalative Patches 4/2 = 29/29
Fireproofing +2/+0 = 31/29
Reactive Coating 5/5 = 36/34
Refractive Glazing 3/0 = 39/34
Maximum Armor stack for Steel Morph/Fierce kites= 48/41. With Structual Enchanced Steel has 50 Durability (can still be increased) so armor is fully ok.
Maximum Armor stack for Guard Moprh = 52/45. With Structual Enchanced Guard has 50 Durability (you need to increase DUR to 55 with another mod to fully use max stack, use Respirocytes +5 DUR 1 CP). Guard Deluxe has 50 DUR so with Structural Enchancement it will be 60 so no problems here.
Maximum Armor stack for Reaper = 56/49. Reaper has SE included and DUR of 70 with it so no problem.
Maximum Armor stack for Biomorphs = 39/34. Most combat biomorphs have 40 DUR so no problem here. Fury has 50 DUR so even less problem.
III. Armor on Average:
Steel/Fierce Kite/Guard vs Biomorphs. On average PC will have (after naked egocasting, without blueprints for every armor mod) will have base + Heavy Body Armor/Heavy Combat Armor (or Light Body Armor/Crasher Suit).
So Steel 8/8 would have on average 21/21 with Heavy Body Armor, 24/24 with Heavy Combat Armor.
Guard 12/12 - 25/25 or 28/28.
Biomorph - 13/13 or 16/17 with Bioweave (Heavy) if morph has it.
The above stacking is not that expensive, however if you egocast to some other habitat you will either have to buy everything or have blueprints for every armor/mod.
Also while you can bluepring and craft Body Armor and simple wear it, as a Syth you need to get your Combat Armor to be applied to your body. So I guess you'd require also a Healing Vat (or Character with high Robotics) here or else you need to rely on Body Armor.
When you compare Steel/Fierce Kite Morph to Biomorphs the difference in armor is not THAT big. It's 9/7 difference at max stack. However that difference is becoming bigger with Guard and Reaper.
III. Your Combat synthmorph.
Steel vs Guard vs Fierce Kite for Combat Character. In my opinion based Guard is better because it costs only 10 (steel) or 5 (Fierce Kite) CP more and is equiped with Neurachem Lvl 1 (which is 5 CP cost) and more armor and Synth Mask. Steel with Neruachem would Cost 55 CP + Synthethic Mask 1 CP (so same as Fierce kite basicelly). So we have 56CP Steel vs 60CP Guard vs 55 CP Fierce kite (also have Neurachem). Is 4-5 CP difference worth 4/4 more armor? In my opinion yes for a combat character. However keep in mind Takko morph- beast for ambidex build with 8 Arms and 8/8 armor. 4 Assault Rifles please? CP cost 60. I would take it over Guard only if I'd like to make ambidex build. But if I egocast to humanoid.. well, all that abi traits go to waste.
Fierce kite is DUR 50 WT 10 for 55 CP with Neurachem (1). 55 CP. Very worth motph, but it's slow when it's not flying Walker (2/8) so I tend to prefer Guard here or Steel. Not that Fierce Kite is bad, but you have to pack into Flight here, and I strongly prefer Freefall over Flight and Freerunning.
Then we have Guard Deluxe which costs 75 CP (same as Fury). Is it worth to have 10 more durability and 2 more Wound Threshold for 15 CP more? Imo no, but is Guard Deluxe better than Fury?- yes, absolutely. But Fury is general the least worth money for it's cost. +12/+12 armor and other synth advantages + nacroalgorithms + robotic enchancments makes Guard Deluxe MUCH better investment of 75 CP than Fury.
But in my opinion you should never buy morph for more than 60CP (though I think 50 is where the best for buck ends). It's better to use those 15 CP to buy software and drugs/nacroalgorythms and weapon/ammo/drug/implants blueprints.
IV. Biomorph vs Synthmorph for Combat Character. I prefer synthmorphs and I think overall they are better at Combat oriented PCs. Reasons:
1. Higher Base Armor without having to invest time and money for Bioweave each time you egocast.
2. Immunity to Shock Weapons - that is huge really. If you get hit 3-4 times by zap rounds- you risk every turn to just fall down and lie there and even if you succeed- you will suffer -30 to all tests just for being HIT by zap.
3. High G, vaccum sealed, high temp tolerance, 1 wound ignored- again, saving money and time when you egocast
4. Immunity to toxins, pathogens, chemicals etc. Again- that can be mimic with Toxic Filter/Medichines etc but again- money and time saving. Also you don't have to eat or sleep, you do not get tired etc. - always good for soldier, no?
5. Robotc Enchancments- things like Structural Enchanement (2 more WT and +10 DUR is huge, especially 2 more Wound Threshold is great when combined with higher armor), Weapon Mounts (doesn't count as off-hand), concealing weapons inside your limbs, mobility systems, 360 degree view, magnetic, Combat Armor etc. all really help combat based char.
6. 2x DUR as oppesed to 1,5x DUR for meatbags. Again- this is great for frontliner.
7. Narcoalgorithms - they are software so they egocast with you. Bum. And they last longer than chem-based ones. If you have a hacker PC in your party- he can work with them too. Still recommend to have Drug Gland blueprints.
8. Easier to make/produce. Even Reaper is easier to find than Remande morph, due to Synths being made in hours.
9. -30 to Kinesics for everyone. It helps.
10. Small but still +2 DV to unarmed attacks. Always something.
11. You can combie that above with Psi Sleights due to Brain Box. If you want.
12. Faster and easier resleeving (cyberbrain).
13. Naked synth vs Naked bio (same CP range) if you egocast= synth will always be better by default for combat.
1. Social Stigma, generally lack of social acceptance etc etc= well, combat char usually don't give a dam anyway about it.
2. Cyberbrain Hacking. That can be huge, BUT it's really not. Have your Hacker friend ride in your ghostrider module and he will protect you (with his insane infosec tests). Buy Firewall + Ectos and you are also good to go. OR just buy a Brain Box (Moderate only) and be immune to hacks while still taking whole advantage of Synth body.
3. Drug addictions are mental so be sure to have at least 20-25 (I like 25) WIL to be good with narcoalgorythms. And high WIL is NEVER bad.
Morph Recommendation: Guard or Steel. Reaper is just too expensive. Guard Deluxe is not worth extra 15 CP. Fierce Kite is worth if you don't mind having to fly/levitate all the time and having to pack skill point into Flight to fully use it.
V. However Biomorphs take credit of having absolutely imo the most worth and best worth your bucks morph ever: THESEUS.
That biomorph is absolutely the best biomorph. It costs ONLY! ONLY! 30 CP (!!!!). Have 30 Max AP, 40 DUR, 8 WT, +5 SOM, +5 WIL (WIL is ALWAYS good), +5 to other apptitude. It has for it's cost absolutely great agumentations pack: medichines, nanophages, Bioweave (Light), Toxin Filters, Temp. Tolerance, low pressure tolerance, T-Ray, Radiation Sense, Emergency Farcasterm Oxygen reserve, Enhanced Vision. This is SO WORTH IT!
If you want to be Biomorph Combat Character- Theseus is best what you can get. For 5 CP you can have Neurachem, and for 1 CP you get High-G Augmentation +5 DUR and +5 SOM and 1 CP Respirocytes for another +5 DUR (50 DUR total now) and have basicelly a Fury morph for 37 CP (50 DUR, +10 SOM, Nurachem). Your WT is 2 lower but you still have 33 CP difference to play with ;). Theseus vs Steel/Guard costs respectively 20 and 30 CP less. That can be 20-30 CP worth of blueprints or software/skillsofts.
As Biomorph (simillar to Synth) you want to build around using Combat Drugs like Kick + MRDR (plus Drive and Klar if possible since they have no downsides). Always buy posion glads blueprint (so you don't need to pay for them in Healing Vat, just for installment) and drugs blueprints. As a Biomorph be sure to take Drug Exception trait (Ego) - 10 CP. This will give you +20 to tests vs addicion on one drug. I would suggest Kick or MRDR. If you also take Psychosurgery (recommended for both Synth and Bio) you can use Behavioural Control to cure yourself from addiction if necessary using Alpha Fork/s. Combat drugs are imo better than spending money on Reflex Booster or Neurachem lvl 2. Neurachem lvl 1 + Kick + MRDR = 4 Speed at MUCH lower cost plus +10 to SOM, +10 to REF, +10 to DUR and ignore 1 wound. Narcoalgorythms are even better because they are software so you always have them when you egocast. And drugs give more unique touch to combat PC :). With 25 Wil (and maybe +5 from morph) you have 75-90 throws against addiction as Synth and 95-110 as Bio with Drug Exception trat vs either Kick or MRDR.
Hope it will help some people who plan for Combat Character! All above is only how I see it (as GM and combat chars fan)!
MORE min-maxing guides in my posts below!