Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
This is patently false and a look at the average saves for stuff at that tier shows why. Anything CR28 with average for CR or better save will pass any save any 17th level party can dish out on anything but a natural one. Miricale/Wish aside.
Why does that make that false?

"Parties can defeat level-appropriate challenges without level 9 spells" and "Parties with tier 1s can defeat higher CRs" are not exclusive. Use things that don't require saves, there are plenty.

Besides, a wizard can easily have a save DC of 40 or more by this point, and average will saves for CR28 is only +31.5. 9th level spell, spell focus is DC 20. 18 starting int, +5 Tome, +6 Enh, +2 race, +3 age, +10 horseshoes of flame, +5 levels, then get your artificer to give you +1. Or use the cold DC combo, snowcasting, wear icemail armor, dragontouched, draconic aura (cold), spell focus/greater (cold), easily makes up a difference. Or be a killer gnome casting illusions.

So yeah, tier 1s can do whatever they want. But the best stuff isn't just save-or-die. That's what being batman is all about. If you can't solve ELH challenges with Shapechange you've failed as a gamebreaker.