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Choco
2009-11-03, 04:39 PM
As the title suggests, what are the "best" 13 maneuvers (and 4 stances) for a lvl 20 warblade? Substituting lower lever maneuvers for higher level ones as the char levels up is of course a given. I am thinking a Diamond Mind/Iron Heart warblade here, who will probably use a mace and shield.

And another semi-related question: Is there any way a character can make AoO's while flat footed? And if there is, and the character DOES make an AoO (or does a defensive maneuver like wall of blades) then does this count as the character having acted and is thus no longer flat footed?

Tavar
2009-11-03, 04:42 PM
Combat reflexes does, though I don't think it changes you're flat-footedness.

Keld Denar
2009-11-03, 04:43 PM
Best maneuvers really depends on your weapon/play style. A TWF Warblade will have different manevuers than a 2hander, or someone focused on Diamond Mind/Iron Heart will be different from someone focused on Tiger Claw or White Raven or whatever.

Go reread Combat Reflexes. It allows you to make AoOs while flatfooted. Its like, the 2nd line of the feat. No, it wouldn't stop you from being flatfooted. Only thing that can do that is Uncanny Dodge, which, consequently, Warblades get relatively early in their career!

Citation (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#combatReflexes):


Combat Reflexes [General]
Benefit
You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity equal to your Dexterity bonus.

With this feat, you may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.

Normal
A character without this feat can make only one attack of opportunity per round and canít make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.


Bolded for emphasis.

Choco
2009-11-03, 04:50 PM
D'oh! I completely forgot about that part of Combat Reflexes... damn, I spent forever looking cause I knew I saw it somewhere....

Anyway, wouldnt making an AoO by default no longer make you flat-footed? I dont have access to the books right now, but isnt the definition of flat-footed basically "hasnt acted in combat yet"? Wouldn't making an attack kinda nullify that?

Also, I was thinking Diamond Mind/Iron Heart warblade.

Sinfire Titan
2009-11-03, 05:03 PM
D'oh! I completely forgot about that part of Combat Reflexes... damn, I spent forever looking cause I knew I saw it somewhere....

Anyway, wouldnt making an AoO by default no longer make you flat-footed? I dont have access to the books right now, but isnt the definition of flat-footed basically "hasnt acted in combat yet"? Wouldn't making an attack kinda nullify that?

Also, I was thinking Diamond Mind/Iron Heart warblade.

I doubt it. The term "until they have taken an action" in the Flat Footed term seems to imply Standard, Move, or Full Round. Furthermore, AoOs aren't an action in their own right, they're a limited-use non-action.

Draz74
2009-11-03, 06:05 PM
Let's see. For a weapon-and-board, Iron Heart/Diamond Mind-focused Warblade 20, I'd probably end up with a maneuver selection like:

Stances: Punishing Stance, Hunter's Sense, Pearl of Black Doubt, Stance of Alacrity
Diamond Mind: Moment of Perfect Mind, Greater Insightful Strike, Rapid Counter, Avalanche of Blades, Moment of Alacrity, Diamond Nightmare Blade, Time Stands Still
Iron Heart: Wall of Blades, Iron Heart Surge, Adamantine Hurricane, Iron Heart Endurance, Strike of Perfect Clarity
Tiger Claw: Pouncing Charge, Raging Mongoose

You can see I couldn't resist mixing in some Tiger Claw. It's just too good with two-weapon fighting (and a shield is a weapon; for goodness' sake, take Improved Shield Bash and Agile Shield Fighter! And STORMGUARD WARRIOR!)

It might also be worth spending 3000 gp on an Amulet to get the Devoted Spirit "Shield Block" counter, even though Maneuvers Readied are already a scarce resource.

It's a pity to miss out on White Raven Tactics, so you could consider squeezing it in.

If you don't like Strike of Perfect Clarity (some people say it sucks), you could take Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip instead.

Tavar
2009-11-03, 06:12 PM
Do you actually have to ready maneuvers granted by items? I thought that they were automatically granted.

FinalJustice
2009-11-03, 06:15 PM
I'd try to squeeze Leaping Dragon Stance in as well. I find jumping really high way more flavorful then having a magic item to fly (if you are naturally winged, that, of course, is irrelevant).

jiriku
2009-11-03, 06:27 PM
Avalanche of Blades is just stupid good, especially when combined with some basic tricks like the crusader stance that lets you take 11 on attack rolls (acquired through martial stance or an item) and effects that grant you dramatic increases in your accuracy, like stormguard warrior, wraithstrike (from a wand), or even just a friendly summoned creature providing you a flanking bonus and an aid another bonus.

Tokiko Mima
2009-11-03, 08:53 PM
If you absolutely do not want to be flatfooted, and can't raise your initiative high enough, you could always custom make an unlimited use item of Foresight?

Noodles2375
2009-11-04, 01:57 AM
I really like diamond defense also for those fort and reflex saves that you really don't want to miss.

I'm not a huge fan of greater insightful strike if you have a high strength. I've had some success using Finishing Move as a follow up to a Nightmare Blade or a strike of perfect clarity, or a Time Stands Still. It can actually be pretty sick!

I've also found Lightning Throw to be a solid manuver which I like better than rapid counter or the insightful strikes.

Ganurath
2009-11-04, 02:45 AM
Isn't there a Diamond Mind stance that gives you an extra swift action? With stuff like Rapid Counter, Manticore Parry, Iron Heart Surge, Iron Heart Focus, and the Concentration Save line, you're going to want all the swift actions you can get.

Also, I personally have a weak spot for the Nightmare Blade line.

Emmerask
2009-11-04, 03:05 AM
I would still use atleast Island of Blades (Shadow Hand stance) best stance there is in my opinion ;)

Ganurath
2009-11-04, 03:31 AM
I would still use atleast Island of Blades (Shadow Hand stance) best stance there is in my opinion ;)Warblade, not Swordsage. To get Island of Blades, a Warblade would need to use Martial Study to get a Shadow Hand manuever to qualify for the Martial Stance feat. Given the benefit, it isn't worth the effort. Shield Block from L3 Martial Study into Thicket of Blades at L6, on the other hand...

Tokiko Mima
2009-11-04, 03:34 AM
Isn't there a Diamond Mind stance that gives you an extra swift action? With stuff like Rapid Counter, Manticore Parry, Iron Heart Surge, Iron Heart Focus, and the Concentration Save line, you're going to want all the swift actions you can get.

I think you're thinking of Stance of Alacrity. You get an extra immediate action, which you can only use for martial Counter maneuvers. Only problem is it's an 8th level stance, and hard to access.

Choco
2009-11-04, 09:33 AM
Alright, thanks a lot guys, now I have a much narrowed down pool of maneuvers to consider.

Also, the flat-footed thing is to get around Iaijutsu Focus cheese. I didnt explain it earlier cause the setup is LONG and I was running short on time, but I got time now... We are playing in a very low magic campaign (only thing stopping me from getting a Foresight item, even a 1/day use one.. that was an awesome idea though) and have a houseruled Quick Sheath feat. Of course, this lead to someone having a Samurai2/Warblade4/Iaijutsu Master 10 with 18 charisma, max ranks and skill focus in Iaijutsu Focus, an insane initiative modifier, and whos very limited selection of magic items includes a belt of battle and a katana with the haste enchantment. The way a lot of disputes are settled in our region of the game world is through "gentlemen's duels", and in these duels the opponents start out right next to eachother...

So as you can see, everything is in the Iaijutsu Master's favor... She gets her free surprise round no matter what, and for a Iaijutsu Master that is an extra 2 attacks, then that is followed by 10 attacks should she win initiative (2 standard actions at 5 attacks each from the haste and belt of battle), all of which have Iaijutsu Focus due to the opponent being flat footed and roughly 7 of them hit reliably. Iaijutsu Focus nets her an average of 8d6 + 32 (+4 to each dice from charisma modifier) of damage for each of the strikes that lands. Even if she loses init and only the first 2 from the surprise round land, that is still A LOT of damage. If for some reason the opponent survives the first round (hasnt happened so far) she has Sapphire Nightmare Blade to lean on the rest of the fight.

So I am trying to find a way to beat this character in a duel as described above (else I would just use an ubercharger...) using only a martial class and really just need a way to not be flat footed to pull it off. Since the Iaijutsu Focus skill specifically says "flat footed" and not "whenever they dont get their dex bonus to AC" like Sneak Attack does, I don't think Uncanny Dodge applies. So yeah, any help would be appreciated and all 3.5 books are allowed in this, I would be interested in seeing what some of y'all can come up with :smallbiggrin:

p.s. I am trying to avoid using a clone or better Iaijutsu build for this, but if anyone does have a better one I would love to see it for "future reference" :smalltongue:

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 10:07 AM
Get a Weapon of Legacy with the Cunning property (they also help you win the initiative; ~+20 from Moment of Prescience goes a long way). Ta-da! No flat-footedness. Also, I recall you are no longer flat-footed when you take an action so if you have Stance of Alacrity, which specifically can be used while flat-footed, and use a Counter (Immediate Action), you should no longer be flat-footed.

It doesn't hurt that Stance of Alacrity is just about the best Stance in the books (some arguments could be made for Immortal Fortitude and a variety of awesome lower level stances) so you don't lose anything by maintaining it constantly. And with Dual Stance, you can keep something else like Hearing the Air, Press the Advantage [20' worth of steps if you can make DC 40 Tumble to 10' step instead of 5'!], Wolf Fang Tactics, Tactics of the Wolf, Leading the Charge, Assassin's Stance, Blood in the Water or similar up in the process.


But yeah, a single Weapon of Legacy as your only magic item seems incredibly appropriate and can cover a crapton.

Choco
2009-11-04, 10:49 AM
Get a Weapon of Legacy with the Cunning property (they also help you win the initiative; ~+20 from Moment of Prescience goes a long way). Ta-da! No flat-footedness. Also, I recall you are no longer flat-footed when you take an action so if you have Stance of Alacrity, which specifically can be used while flat-footed, and use a Counter (Immediate Action), you should no longer be flat-footed.

It doesn't hurt that Stance of Alacrity is just about the best Stance in the books (some arguments could be made for Immortal Fortitude and a variety of awesome lower level stances) so you don't lose anything by maintaining it constantly. And with Dual Stance, you can keep something else like Hearing the Air, Press the Advantage [20' worth of steps if you can make DC 40 Tumble to 10' step instead of 5'!], Wolf Fang Tactics, Tactics of the Wolf, Leading the Charge, Assassin's Stance, Blood in the Water or similar up in the process.


But yeah, a single Weapon of Legacy as your only magic item seems incredibly appropriate and can cover a crapton.

Thanks a lot! Stance of Alacrity is PERFECT for what I need. AoO's apparently dont count as "actions" for getting rid of flat-footedness, but using Stance of Alacrity to use Wall of Blades as an immediate action will not only help me avoid getting any Iaijutsu damage (good luck beating my attack roll AC) from the first attack, but since an immediate action is classified as an action, I will not need to worry about any further Iaijutsu damage! Sapphire Nightmare Blade is about my only concern, but I can live with that. I think you just solved my entire problem here!

I will also look into a legacy weapon, those might actually be worth it in low magic campaigns.

Iku Rex
2009-11-04, 10:56 AM
No, it wouldn't stop you from being flatfooted. Only thing that can do that is Uncanny Dodge,...Nope. You're still technically flat-footed with uncanny dodge.

***


Also, I recall you are no longer flat-footed when you take an action so if you have Stance of Alacrity, which specifically can be used while flat-footed, and use a Counter (Immediate Action), you should no longer be flat-footed.Stance of Alacrity lets you use a counter without taking an immediate action. So I don't see how you can't use that to avoid being flat-footed.

Master_Rahl22
2009-11-04, 11:07 AM
If you can manage the Tiger Claw prereqs (with stuff like Hunter's Sense or Sudden Leap that doesn't require TWF) Swooping Dragon Strike is an excellent 7th level maneuver. Extra damage and save or stun, with the DC being your Jump check. At level 13, I've had Jump as high as +30, so they get to make a DC 31-50 Fort save. :)

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 11:13 AM
Stance of Alacrity lets you use a counter without taking an immediate action. So I don't see how you can't use that to avoid being flat-footed.

Hm. Pestersome RAW. Well, at least it does enable you to interact pre-combat. I guess that just leaves the Cunning Legacy Weapon then (Weapons of Legacy are, while clunky, quite effective).

Choco
2009-11-04, 11:14 AM
Stance of Alacrity lets you use a counter without taking an immediate action. So I don't see how you can't use that to avoid being flat-footed.

Ah drat, if all else fails maybe I can just convince the DM to rule common sense over RAW. I personally believe that making an AoO (the equivalent of a standard action IMO) or doing an immediat action, whether or not you use up a slot or not, still counts as you having acted, and you are obviously reacting to combat just fine as opposed to standing there confused going "WTF is going on?"

Or just rely on Cunning Legacy Weapon as Eldariel stated to make sure I win initiative, though that still leaves the 2 strikes from the surprise round to deal with.

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 11:20 AM
Cunning-property on Legacy Weapon means you're basically never flat-footed. It's like Foresight. Moment of Prescience helps with the Initiative. You can get both from a Legacy Weapon. Note though that Cunning is a Lesser Legacy while Moment of Prescience is a Greater Legacy so Cunning is available far earlier. You can eventually have both on the same weapon though.

Choco
2009-11-04, 11:30 AM
Hey, I can get away with this just using Wall of Blades. I already get Uncanny Dodge as a class feature, and Wall of Blades only limit is it cannot be used whenever I am denied my dex bonus to AC. Since being flat-footed no longer denies me a dex bonus to AC, I can use an immediate action to do Wall of Blades and get rid of my flat-footedness that way, using just that one maneuver!

Now that I was able to read it, Cunning would be the perfect solution though, it flat out says "you are never considered flat-footed". Would this even counter Sapphire Nightmare Blade? Also, would I be able to get a legacy weapon that would be universally useful to me (given the costs) instead of just in this one fight?

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 11:47 AM
Whenever optimizing a high-level warrior-type, I get a Legacy weapon simply because of the laundry list of immunities and difficult-to-replicate abilities you can get for relatively low cost. Stuff like:
Mind Blank
Heal
Skill Enhancements
Intelligence (which comes with Blindsight and Darkvision; very useful as a detector for normally-not-so-high-Spot melee types)
Dispels
Mirror Images
etc.

just have tons of uses. They've also got the Creature Compass ability on level 1 and so on. The trick is making it something other than your primary weapon. A gauntlet works fine. A weapon of legacy is great as a support item but miserable as your primary weapon; enhancing it just costs too many Legacy ability slots.

And for what it's worth, Cunning is OMGWTFBBQ important for any character with immediate actions.

Choco
2009-11-04, 12:09 PM
Ah, guess that makes sense. I can live with things like minor attack/save/HP penalties anyway, since those are simple enough to get around.

Draz74
2009-11-05, 12:09 PM
Alright, thanks a lot guys, now I have a much narrowed down pool of maneuvers to consider. [snip] So I am trying to find a way to beat this character in a duel as described above (else I would just use an ubercharger...) using only a martial class and really just need a way to not be flat footed to pull it off.

Ah, for a duel. Hmmm, my favorite tact to use for a Warblade in a duel, then, is:


Setup: Somehow start your turn adjacent to your enemy, and with a lower initiative count than him. Easiest way is probably losing initiative in the first place (:smallconfused:) and letting him charge and attack you, since you know he's going to be melee.
Full-round action: Avalanche of Blades, dealing no damage using Combat Rhythm. Since these are touch attacks, you should make a LOT of them before you miss one.
Swift action: Moment of Alacrity. Now you get another turn before he gets a turn.
New turn, swift action: Raging Mongoose
Full-round action: Time Stands Still. Attack him a bajillion times, with a bajillion bonus damage on each attack thanks to Combat Rhythm.

lord_khaine
2009-11-05, 01:02 PM
Ah, for a duel. Hmmm, my favorite tact to use for a Warblade in a duel, then, is:

Setup: Somehow start your turn adjacent to your enemy, and with a lower initiative count than him. Easiest way is probably losing initiative in the first place () and letting him charge and attack you, since you know he's going to be melee.
Full-round action: Avalanche of Blades, dealing no damage using Combat Rhythm. Since these are touch attacks, you should make a LOT of them before you miss one.
Swift action: Moment of Alacrity. Now you get another turn before he gets a turn.
New turn, swift action: Raging Mongoose
Full-round action: Time Stands Still. Attack him a bajillion times, with a bajillion bonus damage on each attack thanks to Combat Rhythm.

I think you missed the part where he described the Iaijutsu master that would take him down in the first action, making all of this pretty obselete.

As for the Iaijutsu master, according to my copy of Oriental adventures, both of you get a surprise action, regardles of who wins initiative, and while its hard to avoid your opponent getting his 2 strikes in, then it should be survivable, after that you should get a standard action, where i would recomend the disarming strike, to prevent your opponent from slicing you appart with a full attack.

Also, it was not quite clear from your post, but do remember you can only use Iaijutsu on the attack where you draw your sword, and you cant sheathe it again as a free action with quickdraw (this is a mistake i have seen other people make in the past).

Choco
2009-11-05, 01:16 PM
As for the Iaijutsu master, according to my copy of Oriental adventures, both of you get a surprise action, regardles of who wins initiative, and while its hard to avoid your opponent getting his 2 strikes in, then it should be survivable, after that you should get a standard action, where i would recomend the disarming strike, to prevent your opponent from slicing you appart with a full attack.

Also, it was not quite clear from your post, but do remember you can only use Iaijutsu on the attack where you draw your sword, and you cant sheathe it again as a free action with quickdraw (this is a mistake i have seen other people make in the past).

Heh, if it were a Iaijutsu duel :smalltongue:

However, this is really just a normal duel where the opponents start out standing within striking distance of eachother (as opposed to opposite ends of an arena like a boxing/gladiator match), so the only one that gets a surprise round is the Iaijutsu Master cause of her class ability.

As for the sheathing:


...We are playing in a very low magic campaign (only thing stopping me from getting a Foresight item, even a 1/day use one.. that was an awesome idea though) and have a houseruled Quick Sheath feat...

That was taken care of as well :smallbiggrin: The character was designed to rock in 1v1 duels, but isn't overpowering at all in a regular combat (at least compared to the uberchargers and such), which is why the DM allowed it.

edit: Also, while we are already here... I am considering changing this character to just use a big 2-handed mace (refluffed greatsword), so was wondering what kinda feats I should take to be the best overall warrior possible. This char will be human, so an extra feat at 1st level.

Stegyre
2009-11-05, 01:18 PM
Do you actually have to ready maneuvers granted by items? I thought that they were automatically granted.
Yes, you do. All that the item does is give you knowledge of the maneuver. If you are not a martial adept, you are then able to use that maneuver once per encounter. If you are a martial adept, it is like any other maneuver that you know: it must still be readied; it becomes expended when used; and it may be refreshed by whatever mechanic your class uses to refresh (and if you have more than one martial adept class, you get to choose which one the item maneuver belongs to).

Draz74
2009-11-05, 03:46 PM
I think you missed the part where he described the Iaijutsu master that would take him down in the first action, making all of this pretty obselete.

No, I caught the massive-Iajustsu-damage thing, and I don't deny that the OP still needs others' suggestions about how to avert being flat-footed. (I was forgetting the part where they start out next to each other.) And my suggestion for how best to counterattack is still quite valid.

Another thing to look at is the Shifting Defense stance. Difficult to acquire without a Swordsage level, but wow, it (along with Combat Reflexes) could do terrible things to the number of attacks that the Iaijutsu Master can make against you in one round. :smallamused:

Choco
2009-11-05, 03:59 PM
No, I caught the massive-Iajustsu-damage thing, and I don't deny that the OP still needs others' suggestions about how to avert being flat-footed. (I was forgetting the part where they start out next to each other.) And my suggestion for how best to counterattack is still quite valid.

Another thing to look at is the Shifting Defense stance. Difficult to acquire without a Swordsage level, but wow, it (along with Combat Reflexes) could do terrible things to the number of attacks that the Iaijutsu Master can make against you in one round. :smallamused:

Your counterattack was excellent and will probably be used often. I already know how I will not be flat footed (Cunning ability on Legacy Weapon makes it so you are never flat footed, and/or a Wall of Blades in response to the first attack will make me no longer flat footed anyway). Your attack pattern is overkill in this situation (this char does crap for damage without Iaijutsu Focus and has rather low HP) it will be very useful outside of duels.

crazedloon
2009-11-05, 04:12 PM
I just thought of this and I am AFB so I may have this all wrong but how does this strategy work?

Have the feat which allows you to make a AoO whenever you are hit (its ether karmic strike or Roblier's (however you spell it))
Now have combat reflexes so you can make AoO while flat footed
get a sparing dummy of the master umd it (I am pretty sure that works or the feat which allows a 10 foot step again AFB so I may be making that up)
get the feat which allows you to make 5ft steps instead of AoO

with this his first attack should hit causing a AoO which you than replace with a 10ft step out of his threat range and his remaining actions fail to really effect you (he could move and attack 1 more time max)
your turn 10ft step and choose your attack action to be most effective


Is my lack of book making this combo seem to good (as really it is a good strategy with any combat)

lord_khaine
2009-11-05, 04:39 PM
Your counterattack was excellent and will probably be used often. I already know how I will not be flat footed (Cunning ability on Legacy Weapon makes it so you are never flat footed, and/or a Wall of Blades in response to the first attack will make me no longer flat footed anyway). Your attack pattern is overkill in this situation (this char does crap for damage without Iaijutsu Focus and has rather low HP) it will be very useful outside of duels.


I cant comment on the Cunning weapon, but Wall of blades is not enough, the SRD specificaly mentions you taking your turn in the initiative count on when you are no longer flat-footet.

Gametime
2009-11-05, 04:44 PM
I just thought of this and I am AFB so I may have this all wrong but how does this strategy work?

Have the feat which allows you to make a AoO whenever you are hit (its ether karmic strike or Roblier's (however you spell it))
Now have combat reflexes so you can make AoO while flat footed
get a sparing dummy of the master umd it (I am pretty sure that works or the feat which allows a 10 foot step again afb so I may be making that up)
get the feat which allows you to make 5ft steps instead of AoO

with this his first attack should hit causing a AoO which you than replace with a 10ft step out of his threat range and his remaining actions fail to realy effect you (he could move and attack 1 more time max)
your turn 10ft step and choose your attack action to be most effective


Is my lack of book making this combo seem to good (as really it is a good strategy with any combat)

It could work, but there are a lot of obstacles.

First, Sparring Dummy of the Master requires you to have one level of monk, which isn't great for a lot of characters. Barring that, you MIGHT be able to use it with a successful UMD check (the description seems to indicate that you can emulate a character of any level of any class with a high enough check, but the heading only refers to emulating the class features those classes get at those levels - ask your DM if "being a monk" is a monk class feature).

You'll also need to emulate a lawful alignment to emulate a monk if you aren't actually lawful, which is a DC 30 check. Since you need to use the Sparring Dummy for weeks without fail, this means you need to succeed on a 1, and thus have a +29 UMD modifier if you aren't lawful. If you are, you only need +20 (to hit the 21 for level one monk). Either way, you'll definitely need UMD as a class skill, which warblades don't get.

Now, if you CAN get the 10-foot 5-foot step, the strategy works fine. The build would be pretty darn feat heavy, though, and weak against things with longer reaches, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you knew you'd be going toe-to-toe with a lot of humanoids without reach weapons.

For some builds, the DC 40 Tumble check to take a 5-foot step (from Oriental Adventures) is easier to achieve than the DC 21 UMD check for Sparring Dummy, albeit never until mid-to-high levels.

Gametime
2009-11-05, 04:48 PM
I cant comment on the Cunning weapon, but Wall of blades is not enough, the SRD specificaly mentions you taking your turn in the initiative count on when you are no longer flat-footet.

You also can't use Wall of Blades while flat-footed because it's an immediate action. (Wall of Blades specifically states that you also can't use it while denied your Dex bonus, but that doesn't change the limitations on immediate actions as a whole.)

Cunning Weapons do work, though, as they just prevent flat-footedness.

Fluffles
2009-11-05, 04:49 PM
I cant comment on the Cunning weapon, but Wall of blades is not enough, the SRD specificaly mentions you taking your turn in the initiative count on when you are no longer flat-footet.

Not to mention that you cannot take Immediate actions while you are flat footed.

EDIT: Stupid ninjas...