Pathfinder - Wild Talents Breakdown
Last Updated: August 24th, 2017
I support a limited subset of Pathfinder's rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder player options not covered here, please email me and I am happy to provide additional assistance.
I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
The most important feature of a Kineticist is their "Wild Talents". These talents are the tools in your toolbox. You want a diverse set of talents to handle a variety of challenges, but you also want enough talents to keep your blasts useful and interesting.
This breakdown follows the format of the class description for easy reference. If you're having trouble finding a specific talent, press Ctrl+F (Command+F for Mac users) to bring up text search.
Your choices of blasts are extremely limited. You get one a 1st level, and you don't get another until 7th level. The choice between an energy blast and physical blast is an important strategic choice. If you go for energy blasts, you'll face increasingly common energy resistances after low levels, but you get to make ranged touch attacks, largely guaranteeing that you will hit afte rlow levels. If you go for physical, you'll do more damage, but you'll face damage reduction which you may be unable to bypass since "magic" weapons don't bypass things like DR/adamantine, and you need to make regular ranged attacks instead of ranged touch attacks.
Air Blast (Sp): Only deals bludgeoning damage, so it can't compete with Earth Blast or Telekinetic Blast. Regular ranged attack.
Cold Blast (Sp): Cold damage is fine, but it's resisted by many creature types. Ranged touch attack.
Earth Blast (Sp): You can choose among any of the three physical damage types, allowing you to bypass many forms of damage reduction with ease. It's the best basic physical blast, but it's also a regular ranged attack, so it's not as reliable as an energy blast.
Electric Blast (Sp): The least commonly resisted type of energy blast. Ranged touch attack.
Fire Blast (Sp): Fire is the most commonly resisted type of energy damage. However, it's also extra effective against plants and it affects wooden objects easily. Ranged touch attack.
Telekinetic Blast (Sp): The most complex of kinetic blasts. The basic usage is functionally identical to Earth Blast except that you need to launch a pre-existing object (oh look, convenient rocks on the ground). The complex usage of the blast involves real weapons. However, this method is largely useless. It allows you to use the special properties of weapons, which could be helpful for bypassing DR, but by the time this would be useful you will deal more damage using the basic version of the blast and suffering the damage reduction. Either way, it's still a regular ranged attack so it won't be as reliable as an energy blast.
Water Blast (Sp): Essentially identical to air blast, but with water. Regular ranged attack.
At 7th level you get access to composite blasts, which double your damage dice (and the +x bonus for physical blasts). However, most composite blasts also have a Burn cost. Until you pick up Supercharge or Composite Specialization, there's no good way to get around this Burn cost without pointlessly wasting turns on Gather Power, so your Composite Blasts represent more of an occasional spike in damage output and less of a spammable option than your Basic Blasts. Unfortunately, almost all of the composite blasts are physical, so your options are extremely limited if you want to stick to reliable ranged touch attacks.
Some of the blasts do multiple damage types (like Blizzard Blast dealing cold and piercing). Since this damage is split between the two types, you may suffer twice as many issues with damage reduction and energy resistance. However, it also means that you won't be shut down by a single energy immunity.
Aetheric Boost (Sp): The bonus damage is far too small to justify two points of burn. In theory this is a way to keep the utility of whatever Basic Blasts you've chosen while boosting their damage. In reality, your choice of Composite Blasts is limited based on your Basic Blasts, so you're still dealing the same types of damage. Even when you get the 15th-level advancement, the Burn cost may still be too high to justify using this frequently.
Blizzard Blast (Sp): Half cold, half piercing. Skeletons will be a serious problem, and it's still a regular ranged attack.
Blue Flame Blast (Sp): It's literally the same as Fire Blast, but with more damage. It's really boring, and doesn't add any of the versatility that you'll sorely need to deal with the fact that fire is the most commonly resisted energy type. Ranged touch attack.
Charged Water Blast (Sp): Half bludgeoning, half electricity. A fun combination of damage types, but it's a physical blast, so it's a regular ranged attack.
Force Blast (Sp): Force damage is amazing, but this only does as much damage as a basic blast. You need the extra damage output more than you need to be able to hit ghosts. Ranged touch attack.
Ice Blast (Sp): Identical to Blizzard Blast, but more damage. AIt's less commonly resisted than fire damage, so it's probably a better choice than Blue Flame Blast.
Magma Blast (Sp): Half bludgeoning, half fire. A fine combination of damage types, but it's still a regular ranged attack.
Metal Blast (Sp): Any of the three physical damage types. Regular ranged attack.
Mud Blast (Sp): Only bludgeoning damage.Regular ranged attack.
Plasma Blast (Sp): Half bludgeoning, half fire. Functionally identical to Magma Blast. Regular ranged attack.
Sandstorm Blast (Sp): Piercing and slashing means that it's automatically treated as the most effective of the two. Unfortunately, it's still a regular ranged attack
Steam Blast (Sp): Half bludgeoning, half fire. Functionally identical to Magma Blast. Regular ranged attack.
Thunderstorm Blast (Sp): Half bludgeoning, half electricity. Functionally identical to Charged Water Blast. Regular ranged attack.
Defense Wild Talents
You only get one of these most of the time, and it's a crucial defense on top of your armor class.
Enveloping Winds (Su): Once you pick up Wings of Air this becomes very useful. Enemies shouldn't be able to reach you, except with ranged attacks, spells, or considerable effort. Of course, this offers no protection against melee attacks and non-ray spells.
Flesh of Stone (Su): DR/Adamantine is among the best forms of DR in the game. Almost nothing bypasses it except Iron Golems and manufactured weapons, so it should work nearly any time you're attacked.
Force Ward (Su): Even better than normal temporary hit points, and they regenerate fast enough that you can easily recover all of them between fights without needing to waste Burn to accelerate the recharge rate. You get to treat hits as misses if they don't pierce your bubble, which is especially useful against things like poison. You can also rapidly refill the pool any time you accept Burn, so you can reliably get through an entire day without taking a serious amount of actual damage provided that you manage your bubble well.
Searing Flesh (Su): Kineticists usually do not do well in melee, and this is only useful if you're getting hit or grappling. You should be avoiding being hit, and you should probably never be grappling.
Shroud of Water (Su): Pick the shield option. It's basically a free animated heavy shield with no armor check penalty. The armor bonus option can be easily and inexpensively replicated with a modestly enhanced chain shirt, and you can massively outpace the bonus if you pick up heavier armor.
Infusion Wild Talents
Infusions are what make your blasts interesting. Remember that you can combine one form infusion with one substance infusion, though the Burn cost for doing so many be difficult until you have Infusion Specialization.
This section is organized by effective spell level to help selecting the best options at each spell level. Remember that Infusions may be limited to certain elements, and they only work with the specified "Associated Blasts", so your options may be more limited than you think. Be sure to thoroughly check the original entry for any Infusion you're considering.
Spell Level 1
Burning Infusion: An excellent boost to your damage output, especially at low levels, setting a creature on fire can be a death sentence. The target is forced to waste a turn extinguishing itself only for you to set it on fire again the next turn, or it can continue to slowly burn to death.
Draining Infusion: A fantastic way to overcome damage resistances if you went for energy blasts. You deal full damage (though I think this may be an error), or 1/4 damage if the target successfully saves (which is why I think that the full damage is an error). On top of that, you get a free point of Burn to spend on the following turn. Combined with Gather Power you could get two free points of Burn on the following turn, or 4 once you pick up Supercharge. Unfortunately, it requires that the target have the subtype of your energy damage, which means that many creatures with resistances, including those with resistances from spells, won't be affected.
Extended Range: As a class focused very heavily on ranged combat, additional range is excellent. When you have the space, stay as far away as you can manage. Use Gather Power to offset the Burn cost and wear your foes down from afar.
Fan of Flames: Cones are great low-level AOEs, but at 15 feet you're not going to hit more than one or two creatures at most. If you pick this infusion, retrain it as soon as possible.
Gusting Infusion: Too situational.
Kinetic Blade: Tempting, but risky. You can make a full attack, potentially allowing you to apply your blast multiple times in one turn. However, with 2/3 BAB this will take quite a while to get additional attacks. You can't use this with two-weapon fighting because the Infusion specifies that you create "a light or one-handed weapon", so you can't create two weapons or a double weapon. Elemental Overflow will grant a crucial bonus to your attack rolls, but you don't get the damage bonus.
Kinetic Fist: Kinetic Fist provides additional damage on top of your unarmed strike damage. Since kineticists don't have built-in unarmed strike bonus, this is objectively worse than Kinetic Blade for a vanilla kineticist. If you want to use this, take the Elemental Ascetic archetype. You'll get it for free, its burn cost will be removed, and its effectiveness will be improved.
Pushing Infusion: You're still stuck using your 2/3 BAB, and the 5-foot push limit without spending additional Burn is absurd.
Quenching Infusion: Too situational.
Thundering Infusion: Too situational.
Spell Level 2
Bowling Infusion: Tripping an enemy can be very useful if you have melee allies, but you're bad at it. With only 2/3 BAB you can't compete with a fighter. You do get to use your Constitution bonus, which is nice, but it's still not enough.
Entangling Infusion: An excellent crowd-control effect with a good duration, especially if you combine it with a Form infusion that makes your blast an AOE.
Spell Level 3
Eruption: The AOE is excellent, but the damage is halved for physical blasts.
Extreme Range: Fights rarely take place at distances great enough that this will be useful. The Burn cost is low enough that with Infusion Specialization 1 and Gather Power you can use this every round at no Burn cost.
Flurry of Blasts: Do not combine this with Composite Blasts: it's a huge waste of Burn. This is a hard infusion to use. It sets your effective level to 1st for damage purposes, so your best bet is to use a physical blast to deal 1d6+1+Con damage to each target. If you hit the same target you don't get the +1 or your Constitution bonus, so you'll deal 2d6+1+Con total with two hits. Unless you're trying to get around spell resistance or trying to force the target to fail a save, an AOE Infusion would be a much better way to handle multiple targets.
Foe Throw: Damage two targets, knock one of them prone and reposition it. This can be very powerful if your clever. However, it allows a save and requires an attack roll so you have two chances to fail, and if you miss the attack roll the target has a lot of flexibility to position themselves.
Force Hook: Melee is very hard for kineticists, but this is a great way to move around.
Impale: Functinally a line AOE, but you need to successfully attack and damage everything in the line to get the full effect.
Kinetic Whip: If you're building for melee, this is a must. By the time you can pick it up, you have Infusion Specialization 2 so the Burn cost is negligible, allowing you to make full attacks with two attacks at no Burn cost. The reach doesn't prevent you from attacking adjacent enemies, so there's little reason to use Kinetic Blade unless you want to mix in other Infusions.
Magnetic Infusion: If you have melee allies, a +4 bonus is extremely significant. The bonus is untyped, too. This is an excellent go-to Infusion option if you don't need anything else because it's almost always useful and the Burn cost is low enough that Geather Power and Infusion Specialization can offset the cost.
Mobile Blast: This both increases your per-round damage output and provides a small area denial effect. However, it has some strict limitations. If you want infinite duration, you're limited to unmodified Basic Blasts, and the damage will be poor. In addition, the move action usage will mean that you can't rely on Gather Power to reduce your Burn costs every round. Your default usage should be to create a Mobile Blast based on your Basic Blast and walk around with it all day. If you have a good reason to do so, spend some Burn to throw a Substance Infusion onto your Mobile Blast and use it for a few rounds. If you can hold enemies in place by tripping and/or entangling them, you can set the Mobile Blast on top of them and deal a huge amount of damage.
Rare-Metal Infusion: Critical for melee kineticists and for physical blast users. This allows you to bypass any DR except DR/- and aligned DR.
Snake: Amusing, but too situational.
Torrent: Unlike Impale, this is a real line effect. However, it deals half damage with physical blasts, so physical blast users may want to use Impale instead.
Spell Level 4
Cyclone: Half damage, and you need to be really close to multiple enemies for this to be appealing.
Flash Infusion: Blinding an enemy is massively crippling. By the level you get this, you can use Gather Power and Infusion Specialist to reduce the Burn cost to 0, allowing you to use this every round. You won't be able to use a Form Infusion for free until you get Infusion Specialist 3 at 11th level, but blinding a single foe every round is an excellent use of your time, especially if you have other allies to capitalize on the handicap.
Spray: A 30-foot cone is considerably more manageable than the 15-foot cone allowed by Fan of Flames.
Spell Level 5
Chain: Nothing about the blast rules dictates that your targets need to be creatures, so if you need to bridge a gap wider than 30 feet you can target a square or object in the intervening space and "bounce" the chain closer to the target at the expense of a die of damage. Because you're attacking in a chain, this is a great way to affect multiple foes without worrying about thinks like hitting your allies.
Chilling Infusion: A fantastic debuff for enemies that rely on full attacks, but often worthless against enemies that rely on spells or special abilities.
Grappling Infusion: This is fantastic, though very difficult to use. You need to combine this with one of the three listed Form infusions, making the Burn cost high, and The Form infusions are all at least as high level as Grappling Infusion so you'll probably need to spend a feat on Extra Wild Talent to pick up Wall if you want to use this as soon as it's available. If you can get over the hurdles it takes to bring this online, it's absolutely amazing. You use your class level and Constitution instead of your 2/3 BAB and your Strength, and the Blast is treated as a Huge creature, making your total CMB very impressive. You don't get to apply Searing Flesh because the blast is doing the actual grappling, but you could in theory jump into the grapple yourself if you wanted to do so. Grappling the target would also allow you to plant Mobile Blast on top of them for easy damage.
Unraveling Infusion: A weird way to add utility to your blast. Even out of combat, this is really fantastic. Need to get through ongoing magical effects? Stand around and blast them until you manage to pass the caster level check. Out of combat you can afford to use Gather Power for a full turn to allow yourself a bunch of free Burn. In combat you'll likely reserve this for occasional use against spellcasters and their allies, but in those cases it's pretty fantastic.
Wall: AOE, area control, and you can add in Substance Infusions to make the effect really scary. Grappling Infusion is an obvious combo, but there's lots of room for creativity. You'll want to use an energy blast for the most damage, of course. A lot of people have trouble getting their head around the placement for effects like this because of the "appears within 30 feet" wording. You can't place a 120 ft. line within a 60 ft. diameter circle. It's not possible. The description of the effect doesn't say that the wall can change direction, so I would assume that it can't. The way I read it, you only need to have one square of the wall's area within the 30 ft. range. A cautious GM might reasonably require that the middle square of the wall is used to place the effect, which seems like a reasonable compromise.
Spell Level 6
Brilliant Infusion: Extremely situational, and the Burn cost is ridiculous. Since it's effectively a 6th-level spell it will overcome most magical Darkness effects, but they're rare enough that you probably can't justify spending one of your extremely limited Infusion slots.
Deadly Earth: A decent AOE, good range, and it causes difficult terrain. The 1/4 damage is disappointing, but it doesn't allow a save. If you can force enemies to remain in the area, you can brings foes down very quickly.
Disintegrating Infusion: Force Blast's biggest problem is that it does half as much damage as other Composite Blasts. This brings its damage in line with other Composite Blasts and adds the non-damage benefits of the Disintegrate spell. However, the Burn cost is extremely high and it allows a save to reduce the damage.
Spell Level 7
Cloud: The same radius as Deadly Earth, but it's spherical, can be placed in the air, and does more damage to creatures stuck inside the effect. It lacks the difficult terrain component, but it also blocks line of sight. Combine this with Deadly Earth, and you can do an absurd amount of damage to foes who will have a lot of trouble doing anything about it.
Explosion: No frills, no complications. Just an AOE Blast with a Reflex save for half damage. Allowing you to alter the AOE means that you can select the size you need to hit as many foes and as few allies as possible.
Fragmentation: If you want a 20-foot AOE, Explosion will cover that need. Adding Fragmentation's attack mechanic introduces an additional point of failure and reduces the potential damage you could deal.
Pure-Flame Infusion: You need to take Spell Penetration. If you take Spell Pentration and Greater Spell Penetration, you should be reliable enoguh that this is a massive waste of resources.
Spell Level 8
Many Throw: This only works with your basic Telekinetic Blast, which is unfortunate, but it's still pretty good. Aether has almost no area effect options, so this is a must.
Utility Wild Talents
A lot of the Kineticist is built around their Blast abilities. In fact, everything on this page until this point is about using Blasts to kill stuff. While blasts are neat, many problems can't be solved with damage. That's where utilities come in.
This section is organized by effective spell level to help selecting the best options at each spell level. You get a talent at every even numbered class level, so expect to have one talent of each spell level, plus your "basic" utility talent(s).
Spell Level 1
Aerial Adaptation: Altitude sickness almost never comes up in a campaign, but electricity resistance is nice.
Air Cushion: Falling damage is an annoyance at any level, and this makes you permanently immune to it. However, once you get Wings of Air this is totally useless, so retrain it into something else.
Air Shroud: Unless your campaign involves a lot of time underwater, this is too situational.
Air's Leap: Potions of Jump cost 50gp and provide a much better bonus. Alternatively, get Wings of Air.
Air's Reach: The 30-foot range on blasts can be a problem, and locking yourself into Form Infusions which extend range greatly limits your options. 60 ft. range is enough to keep you relatively safe from enemies at no Burn cost. However, this requires that you use blasts which include Air, so your options may be limited if you have access to multiple elements.
Basic Aerokinesis: Both options are very situational, though I admittedly love the idea of having your hair constantly blowing in the wind despite a complete lack of actual wind.
Basic Geokinesis: Situational. If you pick up Seismic Master, you can use this to unbury things you kill so that you can loot them.
Basic Hydrokinesis: Situational, but the ability to create water at will can be extremely useful if you're clever.
Basic Pryokinesis: Light is extremely useful, but the fact that this version produces heat may actually make it worse. No more casting light on your hat unless you enjoy the smell of burning hair.
Basic Telekinesis: Mage hand is great, and this adds some interesting uses and a scaling weight limit. This is the only basic utility that scales, too.
Cold Adaptation: Crucial in cold climates, and cold resistance is really nice.
Earth Walk: Too situational.
Fire Sculptor: If this doesn't work on magical fire, it's garbage. If it does work on magical fire, you can use to reshape things like Wall of Fire or blasts which use the Wall Infusion. Unfortunately, I think the intent is that it only works on natural fires.
Fire's Fury: Who needs utility? Get more damage! This won't do anything until 3rd level, unfortunately.
Heat Adaptation: Useful in deserts, but the real draw is fire resistance.
Icewalker: Too situational, unless you start making lots of wet or icy surfaces on your own using Slick, or your campaign takes place in frozen climates.
Kinetic Cover: This does not appear to have a duration, and does not appear to end if you use it again. Throw it up to prevent enemies from getting an attack of opportuntiy on a retreating ally. Use it to force enemies to move if they want to attack. Use it to box in enemies and prevent them from moving. There are a lot of options here, so get creative.
Skilled Kineticist: The class skills granted by your choice of Element are almost all terrible, with the exception of the Knowledge skills.
Slick: Grease is pretty great at any level. Few creatures are decent at Acrobatics checks, especially big lumbering monsters, so this can grant you an excellent tactical advantage.
Telekinetic Finesse: "Any sort of fine manipulatin" is an exceptionally vague description. Can you use magic items like wands? How about weapons? I honestly don't know how flexible this is, so I can't asses its value.
Voice of the Wind: Situational. This allows you to replicate a 2nd-level spell as a 1st-level spell-like ability, which is weird, but not especially interesting.
Spell Level 2
Earth climb: If you can't get flight, a Climb speed is a close second. Unfortunately, limiting you to earthen surfaces is a serious handicap in most campaigns.
Kinetic Healer: The healing scales nicely since it follows the same progression as your Blast damage. Being able to offload the Burn cost onto your allies also means that you can continue to use this without cutting into your own daily resources. Of course, you could also get a wand of cure light wounds and fill the same need without spending a talent slot.
Searing Flame: Fire is the most common resistace in the game, so you need every opportunity you can find to get past resistances. This may take some time to build up, and it won't work on creatures with immunity. Tracking the effects become a problem pretty quickly, especially in encounters with multiple enemies, because you need to track the durations of each round in which the reduction is applied to know when each "stack" of the effect expires. Once you have enough class levels that the duration is passable, this will allow Burning Infusion to kill enemies who would otherwise ignore it, provided that they die before Searing Flame expires or that you are able to re-apply the effect periodically.
Skilled Kineticist, Greater: Kineticists are sorely lacking for useful class skills, and Knowledge (The Planes) really makes sense for such an elemental-focused class. The additional skill to receive the Skilled Kineticist bonus can be any of your class skills, including those gained from traits or multiclassing. I suggest Use Magic Device or a Knowledge Skill unless you picked up some class skills from outside the class.
Telekinetic Haul: No serious combat utility, but the ability to lift hundreds or even thousands of pounds of objects is massively useful.
Veil of Mists: Buy a Hat of Disguise.
Spell Level 3
Aerial Evasion: Spend a point of Burn to get Evasion for the day. It's roughly equivalent to taking Evasion as a feat since 1 point of Burn will offset the effects of the Toughness feat, but you can get Evasion from a ring, and damage is easily fixed.
Celerity: Haste is one of the best buffs in the game, and if you don't want to take the Burn you can still use this to help your allies in fights where your blasts aren't effective.
Cold Snap: -4 to Dexterity is a minor annoyance to most creatures. You might be able to use it freeze bodies of water, but that's extremely situational.
Elemental Grip: Due to the subtype requirement, this is too situational.
Engulfing Wings: Too situational.
Firesight: The sight mechanic is situational, but the ability to ignore concealment against creature that are on fire is deceptively useful. If you apply Burning Infusion to your blast and hit a concealed creature, it's no longer concealed to you. Can't find the creature? Use an AOE. The ability to see through smoke will also be useful if you buy an Eversmoking Bottle, granting you a constant tactical advantage as long as you keep the bottle unstoppered. Your allies will be really annoyed, but you'll be effective.
Flame Jet: Buy a potion of Jump if you need vertical movement. If you need horizontal movement, you can run. If it's available to you, Wings of Air is clearly better. If you can't get Wings of Air, you'll want to pick this up so that you can get Greater Flame Jet later.
Heat Wave: Better than cold snap, especially since it doesn't affect your allies unless they're adjacent to you. 120 degrees is miserable for extended periods of time, but for the duration of a fight it's not going to matter much. The real draw is 20% miss chance. You can't use this to hide, unfortunately, but a 20% miss chance is still an excellent defense.
Jagged Flesh: Couldn't decide between Flesh of Stone and Searing Flesh? Here's the compromise. It's really bad. The damage doesn't scale and only triggers when enemies attack/grapple you, so it's difficult to bring it into play reliably.
Self Telekinesis: Flame jet minus the neat fire visual.
Smoke Storm: Combine this with Firesight and you have an easy tactical advantage. Sickened is a good debuff, too. If you're worried about your allies, use Greater Air Shroud and they'll be immune to the sickening effect. They'll still have trouble seeing, unfortunately.
Telekinetic Invisibility: In combat you still get all of the benefits of Invisibility, though it's easier to locate your position. You can also hide from some creatures with blinsight and blindsense, which is nice since those creatures typically negate the advantages of invisibility.
Touchsight: One of the Kineticist's only ways to get around invisibility.
Tremorsense: One of the Kineticist's only ways to get around invisibility.
Water Manipulator: Too situational unless you're in an aquatic campaign.
Waterdancer: Situational. The 10 foot speed bonus is nice, but probably not enough to justify taking this.
Windsight: Situational, and extremely dependent on the DM and how much they care about weather.
Wings of Air: If you can get this and you don't, you are a foolish person and you should strongly reconsider the way you go about living your life. This is just insanely good. Persistent Fly with no Burn cost. I would happily pay a point of Burn every day for this and still rate it blue.
Spell Level 4
Enduring Earth: There aren't a lot of earth talents with durations for which this matters, but many of your Infusions can benefit greatly from this in long fights.
Expanded Defense: Many of the defense talents are absolutely amazing.
Ice Sculptor: Unless your campaign takes place in cold climates or you do some shenanigans, this may be hard to bring into play. If you've got time for some suggestions, here's what I suggest: Use Basic Hydrokinesis to create water, then use Cold Snap to gradually freeze it, then use Ice Sculptor to shape it into something useful. At the -10 degree temperature cap for Cold Snap, water freezes very quickly. Not "spit goes clink" quickly, but still very quickly.
Shift Earth: Usable in a wide variety of environments. Basically anywhere that isn't a worked structure or in the air, you should have some usable ground that you can raise.
Telekinetic Maneuvers: Telekinesis is worded so that it's not immediately clear, but you do not apply your own size modifier to the CMB check here. You use caster level instead of your CMB (CMB normall includes a size modifier), and add an ability modifier on top of that. This means that you're doing combat maneuvers as effectively as a Figher, assuming neither of you have related feats. The ability to do Dirty Trick at range if you have Telekinetic Finesse is massively useful, adding a long list of potent status effects which you can apply.
Watersense: This would be really great underwater, but unless your campaign is heavily aquatic, it's too situational to consider.
Spell Level 5
Aether Puppet: Pets are great. This has no burn cost, no maximum duration, and there's nothing preventing you from having more than one except the action economy. Animate an object, make it carry you around, and animate another one to fight. Spend two move actions on your turns to make both of them do stuff. You barely need to participate. The one limitation is finding an appropriate object to animate, which isn't always a guarantee.
Air Shroud, Greater: Too situational.
Earth Glide: Flight is the best movement type, but it has the annoying issue of being blocked by solid objects like the ground. Earth Glide resolves this greatly by allowing you to move through the ground. You won't be able to breathe, but the rules for holding your breath are absurdly generous and by now you have well over 20 Constitution, and can hold your breath fur insane amounts of time.
Flame Jet, Greater: If you can't get wings of air, this is a close second. You can only move up to 60 feet, and it needs to be in a straight line, but even crude flight is better than walking.
Flame Shield: This is only tempting if you're built for melee, and even then it still carries all of the problems of Searing Flesh. You need to be hit for the effect to trigger, and you really need to invest a lot of effort into not getting hit if you want to survive in melee.
Force Barrier: This is unfairly good. If you're in a pinch, you can walk away from enemies, put up a force barrier, and be largely unassailable for the round. Next round, walk a little further and put up a fresh sphere. Unless you spent your turn attacking, there's essentially no reason for you to be targetable in a given round.
Kinetic Form: There is very little reason to use this for most kineticists. Large size makes you a bigger target and gives you an attack penalty. The big draws are the CMB bonus and Strength, but you don't get the Strength bonus. Unless you're grappling, skip this.
Self Telekinesis, Greater: See Flame Jet, Greater.
Shimmering Mirage: 20% miss chance all day long.
Spark of Life: All of the best parts of Aether Puppet, but you don't need to worry about finding an object to animate.
Stone Sculptor: Stone Shape is one of my favorite spells, and its limited only by a spellcaster's spell slots per day. You face no such limitation. There isn't even a Burn cost. Render a mountain into neat blocks. Dismantle a castle. Burrow through dungeon walls. If your GM isn't furious, you're not being creative enough.
Touchsight, Reactive: Basically a bad version of Uncanny Dodge.
Trail of Flames: Wall of Fire is a fine deterrent, but the 1-round duration won't get you much. You could make yourself tiny and run through enemy's squares to get the most damage possible, but at that point just get the Wall Infusion and use a blast.
Tremorsense, Greater: Too situational and too limited.
Waterdancer, Greater: Too situational unless you're in an aquatic campaign.
Windsight, Greater: Seeing and hearing at a safe distance is very useful, especially if you can see around obstacles.
Spell Level 6
Ice Path: Quick, make a Frozone joke. You know you want to. The ability to walk in the air is functionally flight. Air users get Wings of Air, and Aether/Fire users can use Greater Flame Jet and Greater Self Telekinesis (both of which require you to sink two talents). Ice Path costs less than Greater Flame Jet since it only takes one talent, but it's also not as good because you can't move as quickly and you get it later.
Ride the Blast: This is essentially teleportation. Combine this with an Infusion which extends your Blast's range, and you can cover great distances in one shot. Melee Kineticists absolutely want this to close large distances and get themselves into melee.
Suffocate: The slow suffocation mechanic is bad. The rules for holding your breath are too generous, and you'll spend minutes chasing enemies around trying to maintain line of effect. However, if you spend a point of Burn this becomes a save-or-suck effect. Even if they only fail the first save, they're at 0 hit points. One of your allies can surely manage to deal 1 point of damage to finish off your target.
Wind Manipulator: Create the eye around yourself and your allies, and turn up the wind force high enough to push your enemies out of attack range. Maintain the effect until your enemies fall unconcious.
Spell Level 7
Shift Earth, Greater: Situational. Unless you're in a war campaign, I can't think of a case where you would need this on a regular basis.
Spell Deflection: I wouldn't use this unless you're willing to accept the Burn cost to extend the duration. Using this without the Burn cost is a waste of a turn, and the chances of actually turning a spell are random and unpredictable.
Spell Level 8
Reverse Shift: Being ethereal is fantastic. Walk through walls, spy on enemies, look inside chests. Get creative; you're basically a ghost. Unfortunately you can't attack into the material plane, even with Force Blast, so this won't have offensive applications in combat.
Telekinetic Deflection: This could be useful if you're in melee and have a really good AC, but most Kineticists can't make good use of this.
Telekinetic Globe: The sphere is really small, unfortunately, but it can still be useful. Use this to trap an enemy, lift them as high into the air as you can manage, and drop them to their death. If your party needs to get around and not everyone can fly, use this to carry your party around in a nice safe bubble.
Weather Master: Situational. You could probably use this to get some complicated benefits in certain situations, but that's heavily dependent on both your DM and the style of campaign you are playing.
Spell Level 9
From the Ashes: This will absolutely save your life. Be sure to leave space for 2 points of Burn to use this in a pinch.
Seismic Master: Cast an 8th-level spell at will. It's not always usable, but when it's usable it's very exciting.
Tidal Wave: A fairly good 9th-level spell at will, though it carries a modest Burn cost. This can clear whole encounters, not to mention cities.