Author Topic: Swordmage Handbook  (Read 48814 times)

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PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2008, 10:24:47 AM »
What do we think about non-Swordmage paragon paths?  I heard Simbarch of Aglarond (FRPG) as one (2 extra surges for your low base total).  Wizard of the Spiral Tower is a no-brainer, but looking a little further afield, the Kensai (+1 attack/+4 damage, decent powers), Swordmaster (Crescendo Sword doesn't limit you to Fighter powers, although the other abilities/powers kind of suck), and the Battle Mage (Battle Mage Action, Battle Edge, Forceful Retort and Arcane Rejuvenation) seem somewhat interesting, if only for thematic reasons.  Thoughts? 

GawainBS

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2008, 10:41:49 AM »
I'm wondering what the Star of Selune (FRPG) would be combined with Swordmage.

ImperiousLeader

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2008, 07:00:39 PM »
The Warlord Paths Sword Marshal and Combat Veteran are solid options for a Swordmage that offer some nice options. The other two ... not so much. Knight Commander requires proficiency with Heavy Armour, which you don't have and shouldn't burn feats for, and Battle Captain is good only if you can actually get the Warlord's Tactical Presence feature.

Paladin Paths ... Champion of Order. Divine Challenge + Certain Justice is as awesome a combo for multiclassed Paladins as pure Paladins.

ETA: The latest errata makes Certain Justice even better ... the dazed and weakened conditions last for as long as the enemy is marked by you. So you can apply your Aegis instead.

Note, all these paths kind of assume you're playing an Assault Swordmage, as they've got STR attacks.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2008, 07:32:11 PM by ImperiousLeader »

X-Codes

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2008, 10:45:32 AM »
You just have to kinda step back and stand in awe of Wandering Swordmage + Total Aegis.  There just isn't a lot that can compare to that outside of the Swordmage class.  For non-Swordmage paths, Simbarch of Aglarond is good (especially considering how crappy the PPs in the FRPG are.  I'm looking at YOU, Elemental Tempest!).  With the new stuff like the Vampiric Weapon in the Adventurer's Vault, Blood Mage is an easy PP for anyone with high Int.

PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2008, 10:41:51 PM »
Finally getting back to this.

I also noticed the Radiant weapon (Adventurer's Vault) - pretty cool.

MittenNinja

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2008, 02:43:09 AM »
I'd argue the usefulness of Lightning Lure. I've found numerous situations where it comes in very handy (pulling foes away from your allies, pulling foes off of structures/ladders/etc.) plus it's one of the few attack vs Fort the swordmage gets.

Also, have you looked at the class acts article from the wizards website that adds a few more powers? Dimensional Thunder has to be one of my favorites.

PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2008, 03:48:43 AM »
I'd argue the usefulness of Lightning Lure. I've found numerous situations where it comes in very handy (pulling foes away from your allies, pulling foes off of structures/ladders/etc.) plus it's one of the few attack vs Fort the swordmage gets.
I just have a generally negative view of ranged attacks for defenders.  I can see where its handy, but the trouble is that it competes against Booming Blade (HBO-capable, helps make you sticky, which is something non-Fighter defenders have trouble with) and Sword Burst.  I think its better than Greenflame Blade and if I was a Human, it would be the 3rd at-will, and I guess its also good before you get Solid Sound in the Paragon tier.

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Also, have you looked at the class acts article from the wizards website that adds a few more powers? Dimensional Thunder has to be one of my favorites.
I did, but I haven't really thought about them.  Dimensional Thunder is nice, although Dimensional Swap is an Utility encounter power one level later.

MittenNinja

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2008, 08:35:05 PM »
True, I guess I just don't think it should e labeled a "trap."

Dimensional Thunder is a short range t-port, 2[w] damage, plus ongoing 5 to all adjacent, plus it's thunder damage. I'd say that it's pretty awesome.

Lokathor

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2008, 09:08:59 PM »
I just have a generally negative view of ranged attacks for defenders.  I can see where its handy, but the trouble is that it competes against Booming Blade (HBO-capable, helps make you sticky, which is something non-Fighter defenders have trouble with) and Sword Burst.  I think its better than Greenflame Blade and if I was a Human, it would be the 3rd at-will, and I guess its also good before you get Solid Sound in the Paragon tier.

None of the swordmage At-Wills other than Greenflame Blade matter much for HBO, because Swordburst can't be used with HBO, Lightning Lure if Ranged, and Booming Blade and Frigid Blade both require that the foe starts their next turn next to you, which is somewhat unlikely. Also, your mark effect goes off at range man, you're perfectly sticky from 10 squares out. Oh, and the ability to attack skirmishers/controllers/lurkers/artillery against their weak defense is great.

Shielding Swordmages should probably take Booming Blade and Lightning Lure to start out. If you get arcane reach switch Lightning Lure to Swordburst. If your ConMod gets up to +6 or +7, consider getting Frigid Blade instead of Booming Blade.

Assault Swordmages should probably get Greenflame Blade and then either Booming Blade or Lightning Lure, depending on how often you face Fort weak foes.

DemonLord57

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2008, 05:58:57 AM »
I just have a generally negative view of ranged attacks for defenders.  I can see where its handy, but the trouble is that it competes against Booming Blade (HBO-capable, helps make you sticky, which is something non-Fighter defenders have trouble with) and Sword Burst.  I think its better than Greenflame Blade and if I was a Human, it would be the 3rd at-will, and I guess its also good before you get Solid Sound in the Paragon tier.

None of the swordmage At-Wills other than Greenflame Blade matter much for HBO, because Swordburst can't be used with HBO, Lightning Lure if Ranged, and Booming Blade and Frigid Blade both require that the foe starts their next turn next to you, which is somewhat unlikely. Also, your mark effect goes off at range man, you're perfectly sticky from 10 squares out. Oh, and the ability to attack skirmishers/controllers/lurkers/artillery against their weak defense is great.

Shielding Swordmages should probably take Booming Blade and Lightning Lure to start out. If you get arcane reach switch Lightning Lure to Swordburst. If your ConMod gets up to +6 or +7, consider getting Frigid Blade instead of Booming Blade.

Assault Swordmages should probably get Greenflame Blade and then either Booming Blade or Lightning Lure, depending on how often you face Fort weak foes.
Booming Blade can be quite good on an OA, simply move next to them when it comes to your turn and it's the same situation as if you'd hit them normally. It's just a round delay as worded.

Lightning Lure is often pointless; if there's someone next to you then you don't want to use it, but if there isn't, why aren't you moving next to them instead? I think Lightning Lure would be of more use if you were not really tanking, but that would likely require at least one other Defender and at least one other melee-heavy beyond that taking a good bit of the heat, and still seems... inefficient, as you're now a Striker with health that doesn't do very good striking. Lightning Lure pulls them towards you, which is often counter-productive in any build that can use it effectively the first time (wants to not be near enemies and use ranged attacks.) It seems like it could be very useful in certain situations, but not often enough to even necessarily warrant being used every encounter as an encounter power. Booming Blade/Frigid Blade makes you very sticky and Sword Burst makes you painful and a good minion sweeper.

Sword Burst is amazing. It's the same reason that the Ranger is so good, multiple attacks are awesome for damage. Simply getting two enemies in that burst with  ~18 Int and a +1 magic weapon will be much better than any damage a single target attack will give you. 1 attack, 2[W]+stuff, [W] = 1d8, 2d8+4+1 = 14 average. 2 attacks, 1d6+stuff each, 2d6+2*stuff = 7+10 = 17 average. This only gets worse as your modifier becomes higher, and and becomes the dominating factor in your damage. Level 30, ~28 Int with +6 weapon and WF, 6[W] attack = 6d8+stuff = 27+9+6+3 = 45, 2 attacks = 2*(2d6+stuff) = 4d6+2*18 = 50. With only 2 targeted. Without things any other bonuses to damage factoring in. 3 attacks does about as much on average as a single 12[W] attack... Every additional creature you target adds 1 to the multiplier of your damage. Multi-targeting is very good for Defenders, because it's unusual and outside of their role. Something important to note is that the damage is spread throughout multiple targets, which is not as valuable, but the dampening effect of this is not as dramatic as the ridiculousness of this. You're not giving up half your damage against each target to do this, you're giving up 1 or 2 damage.

Besides that, it averages the same as a minion clearer vs. Greenflame Blade. Greenflame Blade needs the first attack to hit to hurt everything else for Str mod damage. Sword Burst makes a separate attack. Greenflame Blade will be more swingy, hitting everything when it hits, but missing everything when it misses. Sword Burst will have a separate attack vs. everything, and be much more likely to hit some and miss some. Greenflame Blade's extra damage is likely to be complete craptastic against anything besides a minion, Sword Burst's is not (since it's all the same damage, and likely only 1 or 2 less than the primary of Greenflame Blade.) Greenflame Blade effectively hits in a burst 1 centered on your target, which is most likely going to be a close burst 1 offset by 1, which will hit behind the target but miss behind you (relative to the target.) Sword Burst will hit all around you. I find it much more likely that you'd miss targets when not hitting behind you than you'd miss targets when not hitting behind your target (not adjacent to you so probably ranged, but really close to the party's melee for some reason..) If you only have one target, Greenflame Blade is likely better, but if you only have one target, why aren't you using Booming Blade?

In conclusion: I don't think Lightning Lure is likely to ever be that useful, as it both provokes and pulls enemies closer (seemingly both only useful in one build at a time, at least as an at-will) and
I don't see why even Assault Swordmages would take Greenflame Blade unless they were planning on using it with HBO a lot, and for some reason didn't like Arcane Reached Sword Bursting, as Sword Burst is almost strictly better. It (with more than one target, which is assumed for either power) does much less damage, (so much so that it's mostly on useful on minions, which are likely to be easier to hit and therefore easier to kill on average with a separate attack targeting them) is swingier, (which is generally only considered beneficial to the underdog) hits a less useful area, (arguable, but I definitely think so) has a much better benefit from feat, (also arguable, but I also definitely think so) and, though roughly equivalent on average, attacks a defense, giving more ability to tailor your attacks to weaknesses in enemy defenses (you've got enough AC targeting things, like say your melee basic attack...)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 06:22:32 AM by DemonLord57 »

PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2008, 06:10:03 AM »
... and Booming Blade and Frigid Blade both require that the foe starts their next turn next to you, which is somewhat unlikely.
No its not.  I'm almost always in base-to-base contact with something.  I mark something and then base something else.  And only the extra damage is triggered when they're in adjacent to you.
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Also, your mark effect goes off at range man, you're perfectly sticky from 10 squares out.
No - Swordmages are absolutely NOT sticky.  They do not force enemies to stay next to you - only Fighters are truly sticky.  Booming Blade helps.
Quote
Oh, and the ability to attack skirmishers/controllers/lurkers/artillery against their weak defense is great.
Fair enough, but I don't consider that to be significant enough to not take Sword Burst.  Attacking up to 8 enemies is much more useful to me than pulling something back.

EDIT: DemonLord57 says it so much better than I did.

DemonLord57

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2008, 06:30:56 AM »
EDIT: DemonLord57 says it so much better than I did.
Thanks, I try  :D
Though I'm often a bit wordy in my explanations, ( :blah) and may end up saying something extremely similar in multiple ways, as I try to make certain concepts abundantly clear, as it's hard to tell what is and isn't fully elucidated yet.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 06:32:44 AM by DemonLord57 »

Lokathor

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2008, 12:46:39 AM »
I admit that my At-Will advice is tempered by the fact that my DM uses brutes and soldiers barely half the time. I can only really speak to my experience.

As to stickyness, fighters aren't much stickier than other defenders. If the target shifts away, you get your 1 attack, and then that's it. Combat Challenge doesn't cancel movement, so how is the fighter so super sticky? The paladin mark is guaranteed 3*Tier+ChaMod damage if they attack anyone else (which is slightly less than a MBA, but no attack roll required). The Assault swordmage teleports after them as part of the attack, which sets up easy flanking, and they also have 6 different encounter powers that can be used in place of the MBA. The shielding swordmage reduces their mark's damage by 5*Tier+ConMod from anywhere within 10.

If your foes have high defenses (Level+4, soldier of level+2, solo, etc), then fighters and assault swordmages start to suck a lot because they miss with these mark granted attacks. Paladins and Swordmages can't "miss" in this way, so against bigger stronger foes they're actually more likely to have an impact on the actions of the foe. Low defense creatures (brutes) will probably stay near a fighter/assaultmage and attack them. High defense creatures (skirmishers and soldiers) won't necessarily mind shifting away from a fighter/assaultmage when the chance to attack a much weaker target presents itself. Against Paladins and Shieldmages, the foe will probably chase specifically after the marker, because even when the marker runs they can activate their effect from range.

PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2008, 04:41:51 AM »
Combat Superiority stops movement (when the OA connects) and Combat Challenge deters shifting - so the opponent is largely stuck adjacent to the Fighter.  That is stickiness.  Divine Challenge and Swordmage Aegis are merely deterrents.

Lokathor

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2008, 06:12:16 AM »
Did you perhaps not read anything I just said about how the shifting deterrent isn't strong enough? Assault swordmages get to make their mark attack almost always with flanking (and it can be stronger than a MBA), and paladins never ever ever miss with their "mark attack". Shielding Swordmages don't attack to stay sticky, but if the mark attacks anyone else they'll deal next to no damage on top of the fact that they're less likely to hit (they also might take damage if Shielding Fire has been used on them, and they might grant the swordmage temp HP).

Oh, and I only noticed it because it's at the top of the 2nd page, but Wizard of the Spiral Tower is a wonderfully un-helpful paragon path for swordmages to take (any non-wizard really). You get the ability to count longswords as an implement you already specialize in, but you have to have wizard base to specialize in an implement at all.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 06:19:19 AM by Lokathor »

veekie

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2008, 06:30:03 AM »
But, as far as 'stickyness' goes, damage is a good deal less sticky than stopping movement altogether(with Combat Superiority), especially with the padded sumo effect. The monster can afford to ignore your damage a lot more than it could afford the -2 to attack from the mark alone.

The point is to trap your opponent after all.
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PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2008, 07:03:16 AM »
Did you perhaps not read anything I just said about how the shifting deterrent isn't strong enough?
Of course, I did.
1) You're confusing deterrence with stickiness.
2) A few points of damage or reduced damage isn't much of a deterrent either.
3) I never claimed that Fighters were better defenders - just stickier.

Quote
Oh, and I only noticed it because it's at the top of the 2nd page, but Wizard of the Spiral Tower is a wonderfully un-helpful paragon path for swordmages to take (any non-wizard really). You get the ability to count longswords as an implement you already specialize in, but you have to have wizard base to specialize in an implement at all.
That's not why Wizard of the Spiral Tower is a good paragon path.  The One Sword is an awesome power, and worth a feat to get.

Lokathor

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2008, 08:43:50 AM »
I will agree that the fighter has the best OAs, but I question how often a creature will ever provoke an OA from a known melee type regardless of if they know you'll be able to cancel their movement or not. It seems to me that if they're intent on attacking someone else, they'll shift then ranged/charge. I'll take such musings elsewhere, because they are not Swordmage specific, and they distract from the main purpose of this work.

On the other topic: You'd take WotST just for the encounter power, even though you're practically throwing away your 11th level path feature? And your 16th level feature is mostly ineffective too for that matter. If you balk at the "few points of damage" from divine challenge, surely the ChaMod of a Swordmage in damage is deemed equally worthless. Now The One Sword is like a strange kind of Demigod 19 levels early, but still...

PhoenixInferno

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2008, 09:00:52 AM »
They'd still eat the -2, and took a melee attack to do it - reasonably fair action exchange.

On the other topic: You'd take WotST just for the encounter power, even though you're practically throwing away your 11th level path feature? And your 16th level feature is mostly ineffective too for that matter. If you balk at the "few points of damage" from divine challenge, surely the ChaMod of a Swordmage in damage is deemed equally worthless. Now The One Sword is like a strange kind of Demigod 19 levels early, but still...
I think The One Sword is so awesome its worth anything the other Swordmage PPs give you, with the notable exception of Coronal Guard.  Coronal Guard is just so plain superior to Anarch of Shyr, Umbriri and Wandering Swordmage its ridiculous.

I suppose if you wanted an attack that Dazes, you could use Wandering Swordmage, but you'd have to start cranking WIS - and that's like cranking CHA for Wizard of the Spiral Tower, but Four Corners Attack doesn't recharge like The One Sword does.  So Wizard of the Spiral Tower is worth thinking about for Assault Swordmages, less so for Shielding Swordmages.

Lokathor

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Re: Swordmage Handbook
« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2008, 11:13:15 AM »
For Paragon level, the 4 options that really stick out to me are:
Shielding -> Coronal Guard (this works as a melee or range focused build)
Shielding -> Paragon Wizard (works better for ranged)
Shielding -> Paragon Warlock (Star or Infernal works very well for ranged)
Assault -> Wandering (a good melee build, if that's what you're into)

The range oriented Shielding Swordmage works out quite well, but it takes a very special technique to go about it.