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    Nov 2011

    Default Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    [will be updated for prettiness and readability later on]
    [work in progress]
    Standard:
    Green is pure money
    Blue is good
    Purple is situational
    Red is a trap


    Spoiler: Barbarian
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    Spoiler: Ancestral Guardian
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    How much this class is frontloaded at level 3 is insane. Part of that is the fact that Barbarian is front-loaded itself. You have 3 Rages per day, you get Unarmored Defense, you get Danger Sense, and you get Reckless Attack. Then at 4 you get an ASI. Ancestral Barbarian has an odd relationship with Reckless Attack; hitting more helps kill enemies faster but it also makes your 4E defender ďauraĒ drop when you go to 0 faster. Conversely, Reckless Attack also means youíre drawing the hate and protecting your allies. Somewhat ironically, Ancestral Guardian works best with other tanks; it works especially well with tanks that take the Sentinel feat. That said, if built as an AC tank in addition to Rageís damage resistance who guards melee DPS, Ancestral Guardian can really punish enemies with the Sentinel feat by leaving them no good options to attack.

    Oath of Ancients Paladin is the gold standard to multiclass with. In most cases, Ancients Paladinís Aura gives you Bear Barbarianís resistance to everything. Youíll likely want to play a medium armored sword and board pally. With Half-Orc as your race, you can get 3 ways to prevent dropping to 0 between the racial, Death Ward at Paladin 13, and Undying Sentinel at Paladin 15. Alternatively, you can rely on Relentless Rage to keep you going; however your power curve is far less linear and will plateau more often. Additionally, youíll lack the spike damage that Paladin can bring. Endgame, you really want to be hitting people in the face with a Staff of Power while everyone huddled around you. Donít get me wrong, Holy Avengers are fantastic, but a static AC of 25+ with saves that are 6+ before stats will really help you grind enemies down.
    Spoiler: Build 1
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    Paladin 7 -> Barbarian 3 -> Paladin 6 -> Sorceror 1 -> Paladin 2

    Spoiler: Build 2
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    Barbarian 7 -> Paladin 7 -> Barbarian 4 -> Sorceror 1


    It should be noted that Cavalier Fighter also pairs quite well. While you lose out on absolutely insane survivability, the pseudo Sentinel feat you get from Cavalier at 3 and 10 while Warding Maneuver at 7 letís you protect allies from mooks is quite good.


    Spoiler: Storm Herald
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    DO NOT WANT!
    Long story short, all of this archetypeís abilities are worse than other options available. The best ability the class has is the 10' damage resistance aura to either Fire, Cold, or Lightning; realistically, that's a terrible imitation of Oath of Ancients Paladin. The class also lacks abilities that synergies with other classes.


    Spoiler: Zealot
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    While Zealotís level 3 damage boost Divine Fury is fantastic. Iím likely overrating it since compared to the other good Barbarian level 3 abilities (Bear Totem, Wolf Totem, and Ancestral Protectors) itís probably the worst of them. Itís still free extra damage and the Dead condition is always the strongest condition to give an opponent. The real reason to take Zealot is for the absolutely bonkers capstone Rage Beyond Death. Itís literally 3E Frenzy Barbarian on steroids and without the risk. Rage Beyond Death kicking in after Relentless Rage fails says you only die in TPKs or when youíre alone. Mechanically, you really want to hit 14 ASAP; past that though itís less clear. Barbarian 15-20 is mediocre in its benefits at best and Rage really limits your ability to have other self damage increases. Battle Master Fighter 6 is solid. Paladin 6 is reasonable for better saves. Glamour Bard 3 is reasonable for repositioning your team, Expertise, and Jack of All Trades initiative. Champion Fighter 3 for critfishing is fine. Swashbuckler Rogue 3 for Initiative and Expertise is fine. Gloom Stalker Ranger 3 for Dread Ambusher extra attack and movement is fine. Monster Slayer Ranger 3 for Slayerís Prey extra damage is fine. Hexblade Warlock 3 for Devilís Sight darkvision and temporary hit point increases is fine. War Cleric is ok. Thereís no super synergy here so play what you like.



    Spoiler: Bard
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    Spoiler: Glamour Bard
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    Glamour Bard is a bit surprising in how amazing it is at level 3. The temporary hit points are irrelevant; the mostly free team positioning mid battle is amazing. Itís slightly better on round 2 of combat as everyone will be able to use their reaction to move. Mantle of Majesty at 6 would be potentially useful, except it costs your concentration; additionally, bonus action command really limits what you can cast. Unbreakable Majesty at 14 is interesting. Itíd be good if it was Lost Action vs disadvantage on saves, but making the save and being vulnerable may still be worthwhile. Really though the breakpoints for multiclassing Glamour Bard are at level 3 for Mantle of Inspiration or level 5 for inspiration on a short rest.

    Overall, Glamour Bard mixes best with Paladin as the spell slots, utility from spells, etc. Glamour Bard also mixes well with Battlemaster as a build-your-own 4E Warlord.

    Spoiler: Sword Bard
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    The real question of of Sword Bard is where to stop. Level 3 gives you Defensive Flourish which is about as good an ability as you could possibly have. Level 5 gives d8 Inspiration Dice, third level spells (and Hypnotic Pattern), and Font of Inspiration for short rest recharges. Level 10 brings Magical Secrets for fifth level spells. Level 14 brings Magical Secrets for 7th level spells and Masterís Flourish which allows for unlimited (ab)use of Defensive Flourish. The real goal of Sword Bard seems to be a defensive DPS/tank with some utility; but how to best multiclass it is very much going to depend on which aspects you really intend to focus on. Starting [color=green=Paladin[/color] and going to second level is almost required; but going as deep as 7 is quite strong. Hexblade Warlock is phenomenal for a dip as short as 1 for Charisma to attack, as medium as 3 for Pact Blade shenanigans and invocations, or as deep as 5 for Eldritch Smite. Dragon Sorceror, Shadow Sorceror, and Divine Soul Sorceror are great for 2-6 levels for Quicken Spell, Twin Spell on Haste, and for spells you're otherwise lacking. Barbarian 2 (or Bear Barbarian 3) is reasonable for critfishing builds or ones that want to play more as a medium armor tank. Eldritch Knight Fighter 3 is solid for additional spells (and slots) while gaining Action Surge. Regardless of which abilities you want to mix and match, I think any sane build for Sword Bard is going to include Paladin 2 and likely include either or both of Hexblade Warlock 1 and Divine Soul Sorceror 2. All that said, the best build may just be Paladin 2 into Sword Bard 18; it's a little boring, but you maintain your utility and your high level spell slots still matter because you actually learn high level spells.

    Spoiler: Build 1
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    Paladin 2 -> Sword Bard 6 -> Hexblade Warlock 1 -> Sorceror 2 -> Warlock 1 -> Class by abilities you want


    Spoiler: Whisper Bard
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    Whisper Bard probably has the most badass ability in the game in Shadow Lore. Psychic blackmail where you can basically force the person to do your bidding on a failed save. Yet everyone is going to know this class as Rogue Bard because of the level 3 Psychic Blades ability. The more I think about it, the worse this class is in my mind because you come to be pulled between wanting Charisma for Inspiration dice, wanting Constitution for survivability and Concentration Saves, and Strength/Dexterity for increased odds to hit in order to do your psychic sneak damage. Because you can only use Psychic Blades on your turn, it really limits what actions you can take to take advantage of it. Plus, you don't have any built in methods for attacking multiple times or gaining advantage to make it more likely to do psychic sneak damage. In that evaluation, the question is whether it's better to just hand out Inspiration Dice to increase odds that allies hit with their attacks. Until you hit 15 for 8d6 psychic damage, I'm pretty sure that bumping your allies attacks is just far superior.

    Overall, I think this archetype is an absolutely amazing, flavor-filled TRAP of a class that's filled with really cool abilities. If you start Whisper Bard, then you'll probably want to take it straight to 18 and then take Paladin 2 (for Smite), Hexblade Warlock 2 (for MAD), or Fighter 2.

    Spoiler: Bard Spells
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    Thunderclap - 0
    Earth tremor - 1
    Pyrotechnics - 2

    Warding Wind - 2 I really value this spell. It's random gas dispersal will be amazing at points. It's a 10' radius sphere protection vs ranged weapons that moves with you. It's properly costed and nice utility
    Skywrite - 3
    Catnap - 3
    Enemies abound - 3
    Notably an Intelligence Save, but being Concentration and single target downgrades it
    Charm Monster - 4
    Skill Empowerment - 5
    Synaptic Static -5 a 20í radius Intelligence Save with decent damage is a good type that on a fail has a strong debuff and doesnít cost concentration
    Mass Polymorph - 9 Beasts arenít good at 17th level no matter their CR
    Psychic Scream - 9 Multitarget with a good range with ok damage with an Intelligence Save vs stun

    Spoiler: Magical Secrets Spells
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    Absorb Elements - 1 Too good
    Healing Spirit - 2 Amazing OOC healing, and really strong in combat healing based on the timing of when it works
    Shadow Blade - 2 Potential for huge damage for Valor/Sword bard; especially good for small bards who aren't interested in dipping Hexblade
    Find Greater Steed - 4 If Find Steed can be used and abused, then Find Greater Steed is even better
    Dawn - 5 In theory, this isn't terrible recurring damage for Bards. That said, the large AoE area makes me think there are better options
    Far Step - 5 Lots of mobility
    Wall of Light - 5 The damage isn't great, but an AoE save vs Blind (despite being a Con save) isn't bad and you can burn segments for more damage when the wall isn't useful
    Holy Weapon - 5 Strong damage on Fighters and Polearm users, the ability to dismiss it is just gravy
    Bones of the Earth - 6 Lots of options with how you can use this spell despite the damage being bad
    Tenser's Transformation - 6 Best for Whisper Bard, but advantage on attacks, two attacks and attacks dealing +2d12 force damage can make you a back up tank; Not being able to cast spells does hurt though. Really strong with PAM. It should be noted that it's quite possible that a stronger option is to grab Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter, and/or Elven Accuracy to be a substitute DPS. You'll want to add Sorceror 2 so you can quicken Tenser's though and Fighter 2. Overall PAM and GWM is likely better as you don't actually need to invest in Strength because of Gauntles of Ogre Power and Belts of Giant Strength.
    Illusory Dragon - 8 Recurring damage of whatever type you choose plus a free AoE frighten, downside is that the damage is very poor for level




    Spoiler: Cleric
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    Spoiler: Forge Cleric
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    Forge Cleric is mediocre at best. The spell list only includes Elemental Weapon and Animate Objects. Blessing of the Forge is an ability that's great at 1, ok at 5, and poor at 10. It will always have a use as someone will be missing a magic bonus to AC, but for the most part this isn't worth it. Soul of the Forge is nice; but as a multiclass build, 6 levels is pretty late for +1 AC and Fire resistance. Divine Strike is the worst available as you won't be attack and the damage type (fire) is commonly resisted.

    The best build for this is to take 1 level of it and then use AL's free rebuild until 5 policy to head back to your regularly scheduled build.

    Spoiler: Grave Cleric
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    Grave Cleric is really interesting. The Domain spell list irrelevant except for Ray of Enfeeblement. Circle of Morality is mostly useless as it will make your Healing Words heal 4 + modifier; it should be noted that this affects Life Transference which can let you heal 64 or 80 if you can afford to lose 32 or 40. Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave is the hardest ability to rate in 5E imo. It's bad because it takes an action to use, but that also lets you be really specific to ready an action to use it. At 10+ and with a Paladin or Rogue, you can really maximize the damage; Elven Accuracy Hexblade Paladins make the desire to use this even stronger. It could even be used in coordination with high level single target spells and Tempest Clerics. I think this is going to be an ability that's only as good as how you set it up. But at 10+ I can easily see this adding 1d8+5d8+4d8+3d6+6+10 for ~70 damage. Most people I expect will poorly use this and be disappointed in it. Sentinel at Death's Door is phenomenal. Getting Potent Spellcasting instead of Divine Strike is a nice bonus.

    Overall, the best multiclass with this Abjurer Wizard. Abjurer Wizard already plays a bit closer to back line support than any other wizard. As a 1 level dip, Grave Cleric gives medium armor, shields, and Healing Word. Once you hit 6th level the Abjurer can cast Life Transference so he can get the Tank into a super safe range at the cost of your own HP.

    Spoiler: spells
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    Toll the Dead - 0 It targets a generally weaker save (Wisdom) and does good damage but has a mediocre damage type
    Word of radiance - 0 It's an AoE, but it's a con save and does poor damage while not giving you a chance to help you become unsurrounded
    Ceremony - 1 The bonuses are great, but basically one shot
    Life Transference - 3 This has the potential be a large midgame heal that's pretty needed; it combos nicely with Death cleric and Life cleric.
    Dawn - 5 The repeating damage is relatively low but on par with Spirit Guardians; it's both great and bad for the same reasons, it's an absolutely massive AoE but at least you can move it as a bonus
    Holy Weapon - 5 This has potential to be gold, but it really doesn't pay off until the target hits with the weapon 6 times; on a Polarm Fighter this is gold because you can likely get 4 attacks with it on the first round.
    Temple of the gods - 7



    Spoiler: Druid
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    Spoiler: Dreams Druid
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    Balm of the Summer Court is fantastic; prima facie, it's just a longer range Healing Word. Realistically though, because this isn't a spell this lets you continue casting various spells in coordination with the ability. It's especially strong from 7-10 when you can heal someone and then Polymorph them with your action. Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow is useful, but will rarely come into effect. Hidden Paths is ridiculously strong. If you roll high initiative you get to bonus action position the tank where he needs to be. Walker in Dreams is an interesting GTFO during a short rest from a Battle Interactive or section of a dungeon.

    The obvious combination is with Life Cleric 1 to bolster Goodberry and Healing Spirit (though YMMV with each DM). Glamour Bard 3 is really interesting as a 3E Marshall who focuses on the team; but the loss of spells is tough; but it could be useful as levels 18-20. The most interesting build to me is Redemption Paladin 7 -> Life Cleric 1 -> Dreams Druid 3; you can mix up the order in a variety of ways, but the idea of having a Shillelagh-based tank healer seems really strong to me.

    Spoiler: Shepherd Druid
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    In theory Spirit Totem is the best second level ability. It's at worst a better Inspiring Leader where you give your team 5 + level hit points per short/long rest. Hawk Spirit is overall the weakest, but still makes sure that your Rogue is going to be able to Sneak Attack. Unicorn Spirit is the one everyone is going to go gaga over. The problem I see with Unicorn Spirit is that you're still limited by casting a single healing spell in a turn. Out of combat it's strong healing, but you already have Healing Spirit for that. In combat it's WoW Treeform Druid of sorts, for a slightly better Mass Healing Word on each spell cast. Unicorn Spirit I think will end up super overrated initially and for a while because it looks like a capable AoE healer but if you try that you're likely to end up out of spell slots quickly just trying to keep up instead of actively killing or debuffing enemies. Mighty Summons is quite strong mostly because your summons won't get their damage cut in half; that said, Conjure Animals scales poorly as things progress.

    My gut instinct was that this was a class that really wants Life Cleric 3 for Warding Bond to helps spread damage, although Paladin 5 or 6 could be quite strong in that regard.

    Spoiler: Spells
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    Control Flames - 0
    Create Bonfire - 0

    Frostbite - 0
    Gust - 0

    Infestation - 0
    Magic Stone - 0
    This spell is a trap because of how many action it will eat up
    Mold Earth - 0
    Primal Savagery - 0
    Shape Water - 0

    Thunderclap - 0
    Absorb Elements - 1 No need for explanation
    Beast Bond - 1 Useful for specific things, notably mounts but doesn't scale well as beast damage doesn't scale well.
    Earth Tremor - 1
    Ice Knife - 1 Really strong at low levels
    Snare - 1
    Dust Devil - 2
    Earthbind - 2

    Healing Spirit - 2 I could even create another color just for this spell, it's more action efficient than Aura of Vitality. Out of Combat it's 10d6 to allies and combos with life cleric
    Skywrite - 2
    Warding Wind - 2 I really value this spell. It's random gas dispersal will be amazing at points. It's a 10' radius sphere protection vs ranged weapons that moves with you. It's properly costed and nice utility
    Erupting Earth - 3
    Flame Arrows - 3
    Tidal Wave - 3 Save vs Prone with poor damage and type, interesting shape though and oddly a Dex save vs prone
    Wall of Water - 3 Another Spell that's far better for DMs than players, overall though, it's mostly bad
    Charm Monster - 4
    Elemental Bane - 4

    Guardian of Nature - 4 If your DM allows this to work for natural attacks then this is a nice little buff for Moon Druid, but mostly meh
    Watery Sphere - 4 It can be good, but it's only Save vs status effects really
    Control Winds - 5 Not really worth it to impose disavantage on Ranged weapon attacks, but could be of some use.
    Maelstrom - 5 Best used with other AoEs to lock opponents in with multiple saves and damage types
    Transmute Rock - 5
    Wrath of Nature - 5 There will be times that this can be absolutely amazing, this will be best for DMs who can create the battlefield to make things rough for their PCs
    Bones of the Earth - 6 The damage isn't great (if you get any), but I love that this can be used in many ways
    Druid Grove - 6
    Investiture of Flame - 6 Immunity can be useful but it's extra costly and rarely better than Fire Shield
    Investiture of Ice - 6 Immunity can be useful but it's extra costly and rarely better than Fire Shield
    Investiture of Stone - 6
    Investiture of Wind - 6
    Primordial Ward - 6 Just not worth it
    Whirlwind - 7 This can be good with lots of ways to create forced movement



    Spoiler: Fighter
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    Spoiler: Arcane Archer
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    Arcane Archer is so disappointing because of how strong the UA looked. Arcane Archer Lore is a nice little benefit, but it's one that you're unlikely to be able to really take advantage of because your Intelligence is likely to be average at best. Arcane Shot is a bit of a mixed bag. First, it's only twice per short rest with a slow scaling improvement. Banishing Arrow is really strong mostly due to being a Charisma Save which is quite weak; however, it's Save or Suck, does no damage, and only throws an opponent out of combat for a single round. [b]Beguiling Arrow requires specific setup; it does damage, but the save or suck and force the enemy to disengage to waste a turn. It's not quite as strong though because it's a Wisdom save which isn't quite as good. Bursting Arrow is a trap; at level 3 it's good because the AoE then is strong but it scales exceptionally poorly often being bad once you hit 5. Enfeebling Arrow is an exceptionally strong effect. The damage type (while less than ideal) is far less relevant than the fact that it's a Constitution save which is likely to be made by creatures you want the effect against. Grasping Arrow is okay. The initial damage type (poison) is pretty poor and the recurring damage will often be subject to magic resistance. At level 3 it's likely to be really strong, but past that the effect isn't worth it even if you have a kiting method. Piercing Arrow is a poor Lightning Bolt. Seeking Arrow is strong because you can find invisible targets to help hunt them down; but the effect is needed relatively rarely enough. Shadow Arrow just isn't as good as it seems; it's great for nailing opposing ranged attackers with, but past that it's unlikely to find use even if you have a front line with reach. Magic Arrow is good if you can't get a magic bow, but for the most part by seventh level it's likely unneeded. Curving Shot may have competition for bonus actions; however, it's worth a third of a feat at least.

    In reality, Arcane Archer is going to want a Headband of Intellect. The way Fighter is setup you really want to be leaving at 4, 6, 8, or 12 due to the ASI benefits. Arcane Archer is a bit of an exception, you can cut out at 3, 8, 11, or 12. The best pair for Arcane Archer is going to be Rogue; you can get some nice albeit temporary effects to add to your ranged Sneak Attacks while also gaining Action Surge. Ranger is another good option for its additional bonus damage options; however, the additional Fighting Style is a waste.


    Spoiler: Cavalier
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    Cavalier really should've just been called Knight. This archetype has next to nothing to do with being mounted because there's a single mounted ability and, unlike Paladin, there's class ability to gain a mount. Thematically, there's no reason they shouldn't gain Find Steed and later Find Greater Steed. Born to the Saddle is ok; the increased movement mounting or dismounting is nice. Overall, it's a nod toward theme that's unlikely to be used. Unwavering Mark on the other hand is absolutely fantastic. It's target enforcement; while I was never a huge fan of WoW-style Taunts in 4e, they're effective. Warding Maneuver is equally good especially as you're going to be protecting someone who was already at disadvantage to be attacked. Offering resistance to damage is wonderful gravy. Hold the Line is good; it's about a third of a feat. It gets downgraded as you're likely to want to grab Sentinel somewhere along the line.

    The real breakpoint for Cavalier is at level 3. The best combination interestingly is actually Sword Bard; it gives you the best means to take advantage of getting a Mount. You're equally likely to want some levels in Paladin; it gives you a mount at a much slower rate than Bard, but if you go bard the 2 level dip for Fighting Style and Divine Smite is even better. The sad odds of things are though that you're just simply much better off staying straight Fighter because all the abilities are good.


    Spoiler: Samurai
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    Samurai is a bit of a mixed bag. Bonus Proficiency is an extra benefit but mostly poor. Without Expertise, it's unlikely any of the skills you're be good enough to be consistent in. Fighting Spirit is decent. The real issue with it is that it's a constant use of your Bonus Action making it hard to really take advantage of Great Weapon Master. Elegant Courtier looks worse when you just eyeball it because you'll mist the second half. Gaining Wisdom to Persuasion checks is weak. But gaining proficiency in Wisdom Saving Throws (or Intelligence/Charisma at your choice) is fantastic; Wisdom saves historically are the death knell of tanks, and getting to grab Resilient (if you want it) in something else entirely is a nice benefit. This ability is half a feat and that's about as strong as you can ask for when the feat is almost always one you want. Tireless Spirit is a little benefit as it only gives you resources, but it also encourages you to waste your Fighting Spirit. Don't waste resources because you can get more later; use them wisely. That said, it does encourage you to always use the last Fighting Spirit because you'll have one for the next fight. Rapid Strike is amazing, but it really begs for Rage or a similar effect.

    The gold standard for Samurai multiclassing is going to be Rogue; you take 3 levels to get Action Surge, Fighting Style, and Fighting Spirit (so you can always have Advantage when you really need it). However, once you hit Samurai 15, then you're going to want to go Barbarian; at will Advantage without the constant need to spend your Bonus Action is key.




    Spoiler: Monk
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    I will preface this by saying that I think that Monk in general is a really terrible class because it's equally between Striker and Utility without really having tools to be good at either. You're a less than effective striker because your bonus action is so strictly tied to making Unarmed attacks to keep up DPR-wise, but also want a Hex/Hunter's Mark effect So my view of these archetypes is going to be heavily skewed by my view of the class as a whole being not worth taking (from an optimization standpoint).
    Spoiler: Drunken Master
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    Drunken Master is really a mishmash of abilities. Bonus Proficiencies is weak; Performance and Brewer's supplies are unlikely to ever get much use in gameplay. Drunken Technique is the equivalent of gaining mobile when you spend ki to Flurry. This is somewhat important because it helps fix one of the major issues that monk has is that it needs to be in the middle of the fray in order to maximize it's damage between Flurry of Blows or at least get your bonus action Martial Arts unarmed strike. If you aren't doing one of the two, then quite frankly you're just a bad striker. Yet at the same time, Monk doesn't really get the defensive bonuses or abilities to let it stay in the middle of the fray. So being able to get a free feat your level times per short rest is a nice benefit. Tipsy Sway is a tough one to judge. The decreased cost to stand up is a nice little bonus, but it's rarely to come into play. The issues with Redirect Attack are pretty clear. First, you need a second enemy within 5' of you for it to come into play. Second, you need a high enough AC for you to be likely to be missed reasonably often.

    Mechanically, dipping into Arcane Tradition Wizard for two levels is going to be your best bet. This gives you access to use Staff of Power which gives you added spell utility while also buffing your AC and saves. The class itself gives you a free slight bonus to AC that you can use in coordination with Drunken Technique as well as access to Shield. You'll likely want to end up incorporating Battlemaster and/or Ranger with a Monk 8/ Wizard 4/ Fighter 8 build where you include Ranger for Hunter's Mark for increased damage and Battlemaster as a means to gain advantage and increase damage. This also maximizes your damage. Note however that Hunter's Mark is a bit tough to incorporate effectively as it conflicts with spending Ki to Flurry. Alternatively, you could dip into Sword Bard; you get an AC and damage boost. Unfortunately, unless you get a Dragon Mask it's highly unlikely that mixing things up with Bard is better as Arcane Mage can benefit from a Headband of Intellect allowing staying at 13 Intelligence whereas Bard requires you actually invest in Charisma in addition to Dexterity, Wisdom and Constitution. If you get access to Gauntlets of Ogre Power or a Belt of Giant Strength, mixing in some levels of Barbarian can be useful for both a damage bump and letting you focus more on Constitution over Wisdom.


    Spoiler: Kensei
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    DO NOT WANT!!!!
    Kensei is another trap archetype that in my opinion accentuates the flaws that monk has. While you can increase your base weapon die from 1d8 to 1d10; the damage boost isn't really relevant. If you choose to be ranged, while there you again increase your base weapon die from 1d4 to 1d6, then you lose out on your rather important Flurry of Blows attacks to keep your DPR at an equal level. Unlike Rogue, Ranger, or Warlock, you don't really get the skills, spells, or class abilities to act as support in any realistic manner.



    Spoiler: Paladin
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    Spoiler: Conquest Paladin
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    I really don't understand why Conquest Paladin seems so popular on these boards because it looks awful to me. The spell list has highs and lows; Armor of Agathys is solid, Spiritual Weapon is only mediocre for Paladin, Bestow Curse isn't bad, and Fear is good. The real issue is that you're not bumping your Charisma unless you're dipping Hexblade Warlock. Channel Divinity is a mixed bag for Conquest. Conquest Presence is a large AoE fear; but again the save is even worse as it's a Wisdom Save instead of a Charisma Save. But it also costs an action. Guided Strike is obviously good. Aura of Conquest in theory can lock down opponents at 10' distance and abuse Polearm reach when they don't have it and are stuck doing nothing. Scornful Rebuke is just terrible.

    The gold standard for Conquest Paladin will absolutely be Hexblade Warlock; you become SAD and get to keep Strength at 13-14. I think you're likely to end up with a build along the lines of Paladin 2 -> Warlock 5 -> Paladin 2 -> Sorceror X. That said, I really think that any other Paladin Archetype is just flat out better; the real draw is Guided Strike and it isn't strong enough to make it worth more than existing options.

    Spoiler: Redemption Paladin
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    Redemption Paladin is an odd one for sure. The spell list has odd points. You get Sleep at 3 right as it's still good but on the verge of being bad. Counter Spell and Hypnotic Pattern are great. [purple]Emissary of Peace[/color] is good, but really limited. Rebuke the Violent is solid; much better at high levels where you'll be bouncing a crit back for 60/30 or more. The real strong ability is Aura of the Guardian; when smart DM's start hitting the squishies, you get to protect them. Protective Spirit is fantastic as well but as it relates to multiclassing you're not going to ever see it.

    The real question for Redemption Paladin is where to stop and what to use. There are a few basic cut-offs available. First, level 3 for Channel Divinity; but this seems bad as unless you're taking Paladin late the Channel Divinity isn't that strong. The next cut off is Level 7 as I can't see how anyone can stop at 5 (for extra attack) or 6 (for Aura of Grace); but if you're going to 7 then I think you'll want to go to 9 for an ASI and third level spells. Most builds will want to go Hexblade Warlock for 1-2 levels so they can Sword and Board more effectively because you don't want to be easy to hit on top of using your Guardian Aura.

    Spoiler: Spells
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    Ceremony - 1 The benefits are great, but they're also one-shot
    Find Greater Steed - 4 The real issue is that the mounts have ~35hp; but flying mounts, and better CR2 mounts. The real advantage is how you can abuse spell sharing.
    Holy Weapon - 5 To get value out of this, you have to hit at least 3 times in order for it to be better than using the slot to smite (for 5d8), likely worth it but it's close



    Spoiler: Ranger
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    Spoiler: Gloom Stalker
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    Gloom Stalker is phenomenal. The spell list is solid give you Disguise Self, Fear, Greater Invisibility, and Seeming which are useful. Dread Ambusher is fantastic; it's only 1 extra attack, damage, and 10' of movement. It's about as good as it can be for a 3rd level ability. Umbral Sight is amazing. It's free invisibility in darkness and either Darkvision or extended Darkvision. Iron Mind is fantastic; not only do you usually have a decent bonus to wisdom, but you also get proficiency in the save making you far more resilient to most problematic spells and effects. Stalker's Fury is often an extra attack once per round and similar to advantage for GWM/Sharpshooter. [color=red]Shadowy Dodge[/color is a trap there's better things in most cases to find something to use your reaction for; that said, if you have nothing better then this is better than nothing.

    The question for multiclassing is whether you're a Gloom Stalker main or dip. The base class doesn't really promote any specific breakpoint either. As a dip, Gloomstalker is phemonenal as a Fighter base (likely to 11) that dips 3 into Gloomstalker and 2 into Barbarian. As a Gloom Stalker main class, a Fighter 2 or 3 dip is strong because you can abuse Action Surge with Dread Ambusher. Despite mechanically being a great pair for melee ranges, Paladin is a trap because you'll need a 13 in Strength, Dexterity, and Wisdom while also wanting Constitution.


    Spoiler: Horizon Walker
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    Horizon Walker is an archetype that looks better than it actually is. The spell list is strong with Misty Step, Haste, and Banishment; but self-casting Haste when you have Extra Attack is a [b]TRAP as it doesn't . Detect Portal is basically useless except in very niche campaigns. Planar Warriro is an exceptional waste of actions. It's extra damage, but it costs your Bonus Action and is in a limited range. For the most part, Hunter's Mark is just better. Ethereal Step is unique. Almost never do you get a to cast 7th level spell as a bonus action as a class ability; that said, it's limited to working for a single turn per short/long rest. It will have uses, but I wouldn't expect to get much value out of it other than randomly scouting through doors. Distant Strike is a mixed bag; in the least it's at least 20' of free movement that avoids AoOs which is a nice little benefit. It can be used as Extra Attack 2, but then you're pissing you're likely pissing your damage between 3 targets. Spectral Defense is likely better than I'm rating it as it is basically Rogue's Uncanny Dodge which is a rather useful ability. That said, it should be rare that Spectral Defense ever comes into play because the class is so good at kiting already unless you're a melee Ranger.

    For the most part as a ranged attacker Horizon Walker is a trap, but there is room for it to act as a party tank. In that regard, it pairs well with Cavalier Fighter and Ancestral Barbarian. Both have upsides and downsides; Ancestral Barbarian gives you Rage, Reckless Attack, and a better mark; however, it's single target and requires you to be raging preventing you from having Guardian of Nature. Cavalier Fighter gives you Action Surge while also letting you mark multiple targets; however, for the most part your marks are only useful if you stay within 5' of the target.


    Spoiler: Monster Hunter
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    Monster Slayer can be strong. The spell list only has Banishment on it as a good spell. Hunter's Sense gives a load of useful information, but if you can't activated it outside of combat then it's a waste of an action. Slayer's Prey is good but not great; it's free damage but it's only once per turn. It costs a bonus action so you won't be choosing between it and getting Hunter's Mark down. Supernatural Defense is a free d6 bonus on things; that said, it's not quite as good as it could be. Magic-User's Nemesis is exceptionally flashy and will have really strong peaks. Casters tend to have a solid Wisdom Save and your DC will be moderate at best. You'll be lucky to have this work 40% of the time. Slayer's Counter is fantastic; it gives Ranger a good use for its reaction which is something the class (which is often a ranged weapon attacker) rarely gets use out of. There will be times that your reaction will be better spent on Absorb Elements as you can stack resistance with a successful save.

    If you're in Monster Slayer, then you're almost automatically in it specifically for the 15th level ability Slayer's Counter; once you're that deep, you're likely best off staying until 20 for Feral Senses and Foe Slayer. That said, various ranged Rogue builds can benefit from between 3-5 levels of Monster Slayer.


    Spoiler: spells
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    Absorb Elements - 1 Obviously great
    Beast Bond - 1 There are situations where this can be useful, but for the most part it's a waste of a spell slot and an action.
    Snare - 1 perhaps useful for DMs, but you're more likely to catch your allies than anything useful
    Zephyr Strike - 1 Advantage from it is nice to utilize GWM or Sharpshooter, the damage is nice, and the movement is good; this is a "Ranger Smite" spell
    Healing Spirit - 2 Once you hit 5 and definitely once you hit 7, you should be keeping one of these up on the tank most combats; out of combat the healing is great, but you really relieve pressure on the healer
    Flame Arrows - 3 Costs an action, terrible damage type, and costs concentration
    Guardian of Nature - 4 It doesn't matter which aspect you take, gaining advantage for your attacks is great. Even better when you get a variety of useful effects on top of it
    Steel Wind Strike - 5 It's okay damage and it has selective targeting, but it also puts you into the fray which is bad if you aren't a tank in most situations. It also requires you being "in the fray" to start with.
    Wrath of Nature - 5 Better for a DM, the damage and effects aren't good enough for a Druid who gets it 8 levels before you



    Spoiler: Rogue
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    Spoiler: Inquisitive
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    Inquisitive is a big pile of poo. Ear for Deceit is an exceptionally narrow Reliable Talent; the problem isn't that it gets replaced later on or that the guaranteed roll is worse, but that it's only useful in exceptionally niche situations. Eye for Detail is a nice little bonus, but it's relatively rare in combat. Insightful Fighting is just bad; it's often easier to just hide and you get the advantage of advantage (pardon the wordplay). Steady Eye is okay; there are other ways to gain a bonus to Perception and Investigation, though not both at the same time. Mostly though, this is the equivalent of a Sentinel Shield in many cases; thought it does help you find traps better (in many cases). Unerring Eye is pretty terrible as an archetype "capstone;" sure, technically Eye for Weakness is the capstone but when we're talking about multiclass level 17 isn't going to happen.

    On reason why Inquisitive is a trap is because the level 3 is just terrible in comparison to other options. Thief gives you Use an Object as a bonus, Mastermind lets you Help Action as a bonus, Arcane Trickster gives you spells, Swashbuckler gives you an Initiative bonus, Assassin gives you critical hits (rarely) and advantage often enough to matter. It's really sad because the theme of the class is absolutely amazing.


    Spoiler: Scout
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    Scout is a relatively odd class that is obviously going to play best as a ranged attacker. Skirmisher doesn't let avoid attacks exactly, but it also does. It (hopefully) gets you out of range of the second attacker being able to approach you. That said, it is relatively at odds with Uncanny Dodge. Survivalist gives you proficiency and expertise in two skills that are often useful but highly unlikely to get expertise in. Superior Mobility is really strong as it both builds on Skirmisher but also lets you increase the speed of spells like Fly. Ambush Master looks bad in general because the effect is so easy to get by so many other means, but when you consider that if you're going as deep as level 9, then you're almost always going to go to 13 for two ASI's, Reliable Talent, and +2d6 Sneak Attack. It's not Thief's Use Magic Device, it's pretty close to Mastermind's Misdirection.

    The best Scout builds are going to stop at level 3 or 4 I think. Rangers are the best pair in general so that you can continually kite away. That said, there could be a really interesting Hexblade Warlock build where you meander into Scout 3 then Battlemaster 2-3 before finishing Hexblade 12. I'm not sure it's more effective than other options, but grabbing Sneak Attack while maintaining range advantage. My guess is that it's better to just stay rogue more than not.



    Spoiler: Sorceror WIP
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    Work in Progress


    Spoiler: Warlock WIP
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    Work in Progress


    Spoiler: Wizard
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    Spoiler: Arcane Wizard
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    Arcane Wizard either the best or second best wizard archetype to dip into (the other being Divination). [b]Arcane Deflection is an absolutely insanely powerful ability. Using your reaction for +2 AC or +4 to a saving throw is great. The fact that it has no short/long rest limitation is a glaring oversight. The "drawback" that you can't cast spells other than cantrips on your following turn is basically irrelevant for a most multiclass builds. This ability can actually be used every turn of combat. It's great. Tactical Wit gaining Intelligence to Initiative is great; normally it will only be a +2 bonus but that's the equivalent of bard's Jack of all trades from level 9 until 17. Power Surge is weak sauce; it's based off of Wizard level, is unlikely to gain recharges outside of short rest, and relies on dealing spell damage. While it's free damage, it's relatively weak damage. Durable Magic is mostly relevant as +2 to saves for straight wizards; for multiclass build it's a little harder to judge. It's 10th level so it won't come into play early; plus, if you're going some sort of melee/ranged DPS who can cast it isn't likely to come into play until near endgame (or after most campaigns end). Delflecting Shroud is bonus damage, but for the most part it's a trap. If you're wizard 14, then you want to be casting spells.

    For multiclassing, the obvious breakpoint is at level 2. You could go to 10 or 11, but I doubt there's a strong reason to do so. It pairs well with Paladin, but that's a combination that's hard to swing stat-wise due to needing Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma. It's surprisingly good on Barbarians just for +4 to saves whenever you need it even if you're highly unlikely to ever use your spell slots. Generally speaking though, it's best on non-Eldritch Knight-Fighters; you get to supplement your resources with Shield, Absorb Elements, and Arcane Deflection and get to be a build-your-own-EK. Rogue (especially Arcane Trickster and Swashbuckler) can benefit well enough from 3 levels to add being able to get Shadow Blade.


    Spoiler: Spells WIP
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    Work in Progress

    Last edited by agnos; 2017-11-17 at 02:35 AM.

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    Default Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Reserved for op

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    Reserved 2 for op

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    Reserved 3 for op

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Reserved 4 for OP

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    Reserved 5 for OP

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Is storm herald worse than frenzy barb? And how is he flavor wise?

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    I would advise a darker gold, I currently find it hard to read in front of light backgrounds.
    English isn't my first language, so I will likely express myself poorly.
    Please assume that I'm arguing in good faith, and that I mean no offense to anybody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacehamster View Post
    Is storm herald worse than frenzy barb? And how is he flavor wise?
    Yes. Frenzy Barb has good abilities that you want to use sparingly. Iirc, they get immunity to charm effects while raging which shores up their weak wisdom save. Storm Herald 3 give a tiny benefit when you Rage or spend your Bonus Action while raging to activate. The best effect is 2-6 temporary hit points. Level 6 gives you and only you one of the 3 common damage resistances. Level 10 expands the damage resistance to creatures of your choice in your Aura. Level 14 is a way to waste your reaction. Storm Herald 10 isnít terrible, but itís not great either. Itís almost always a much worse Oath of Ancients Paladin. At least Paladin bring lots of utility; a Barbarian with a useless Aura is just a big dumb ball of average stats.

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Quote Originally Posted by Lombra View Post
    I would advise a darker gold, I currently find it hard to read in front of light backgrounds.
    Yes please!

    And Iím looking forward to this completed project!


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    Yes please!

    And Iím looking forward to this completed project!
    Iím off today so expect a bunch more updates in 24. Iíll try to switch to light blue, but no promises as content > color.

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    Daemon

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    Quote Originally Posted by agnos View Post
    Iím off today so expect a bunch more updates in 24. Iíll try to switch to light blue, but no promises as content > color.
    Haha, nice.

    #FFD700 works for a better visual on gold.


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Sorry, I've been trying to get more of this done, but I'm also trying to get through Sanderson's new novel so... it'll likely be slow going. Trying to get at least one class done a day.

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Fighter and Ranger are the next two I'll update, then I'll tackle Sorceror and Warlock. I may just cover Sorceror and Warlock archetypes and worry about their spells later so I can just do a spell review and copy/paste them around as needed. That way the ridiculously long Wizard spell list will be much easier to finish. If anyone has any questions are wants to express thoughts (either agreements or disagreements), I'd love to hear them if you can keep them constructive.

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    Planetar

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    I think you may be underrating the Oath of Conquest. It doesn't really come online until level 7 when you get your aura, but it has incredible synergy with the fear mechanic. It doesn't offer the same upfront damage as Vengeance or the mitigation of Ancients, but it can make you a competitive tank. For most characters you can easily get 16 or 18 CHA by level 7. That's going to give you a spell save DC of 14 or 15, which at level 7 will make your fear spells pretty reliable. Once you have Aura of Conquest, Conquering Presence becomes one of the best openers in the game against groups of enemies. On a short rest, pick anyone within 10ft. They are now probably stuck, have disadvantage when attacking you, and are taking damage every round. And unlike most fear spells, it doesn't require concentration. At level 18 you can paralyze an entire room without much effort. You're never going to get the full minute, but that kind of lockdown for just two rounds can really make a difference.

    Your aura also turns Wrathful Smite into a strong and reliable spell for single-target control. For a 1st level spell slot, you can get up to a minute of keeping an enemy rooted, disadvantage on attacks against you, and ticking damage every round. At level 7! Meanwhile, you get Spiritual Weapon, which offers great passive damage. Paladin spell economy suffers because you have a lot of good options competing for your concentration, but Spiritual Weapon doesn't use concentration. You cast it and just get some easy damage for a minute. Scornful Rebuke isn't as shiny as something like Undying Sentinel, but it fits perfectly with the subclass. You are an offensive tank designed to frustrate groups of enemies.

    And just a word about the Frightened condition in general: keep in mind that it imposes disadvantage on all ability checks and attack rolls while the source of the fear is within line of sight. That source is you. You are the wall of fear. Once they are rooted in your aura, you are stuck in their line of sight, dramatically reducing their chances of breaking it on subsequent turns. If they want to attack you or anyone else, it's going to be with disadvantage. In the early game spells with WIS saves are weak because most creatures have decent WIS. But very few creatures sport high WIS scores. If something isn't outright immune to fear, chances are pretty good that you can frighten it. For example, at level 9 with 20 CHA, your spell save DC is a hearty 17. An enemy with +3 WIS (which is uncommon) has only a 35% of resisting your fear. If you succeed, disadvantage sets in, pushing its chances of breaking the fear down to ~12% each round. That wouldn't be significant if they could run away and hide, but they can't. They are trapped.

    You're right that taking a level in Hexblade really amps up this oath, since it'll reward you for investing in CHA early while giving you a pretty mighty damage boost. Since you basically won't need to invest in STR anymore, that frees up room for feats. It also gives you access to Booming Blade, which is simply terrific for tanking, and Hex, which can disadvantage WIS saves to make your fear even more reliable. If you want to optimize you'll multiclass, but I don't think it's a necessity. The only great weakness of the Oath of Conquest is fear immunity. If you're fighting a lot of undead or constructs, you're just a useless fascist paladin. Additionally, if your party has a lot of melee fighting alongside you, it's admittedly not as strong as other tanks because they will prefer to attack your teammates and not you (though this can be partially remedied with Sentinel). But I don't think this is a mediocre option by any stretch. In a lot of campaigns, it'll be extremely potent.

    EDIT: added some commentary on fear
    Last edited by Legimus; 2017-11-27 at 03:14 PM.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    I'm surprised Horizon Walker gets a lot of criticism in that summary. I know it is a very demanding subclass regarding bonus actions. But it should be ok. Cast Hunter's Mark as you close into combat and use it on an enemy with high HP. Until it goes down, you won't need to spend any more bonus actions on Hunters Mark and can instead start pumping it into your Planar Warrior attack.

    In our last fight my Ranger (Horizon Walker) 5 / Rogue 1 did that and it worked a treat. His first attack each round (with a +1 rapier and Duellist and 14 STR/DEX and sneak attack) hits for 2D8+5+2D6. If that missed, his second attack was the same - otherwise it was 1D8+5+1D6. So 3D8 +3D6 +10 if both hit (an average of 34 damage IF both hit, most of which is Force damage which is rarely Resisted)). It dips a bit while he's switching opponents (when he needs to decide if he used his bonus action on Hunters Mark or Planar Warrior) or when no one is around to help ensure he gets his sneak attack bonus.

    It's pretty cool, given that my character is as much of a skill caddy as he is a combat monster. I just need to make sure I get to prioritise quite tough opponents (yikes!) so that I'm not switching enemies too often.

    But I agree it might be best to cast Haste (which is currently beyond my ability) on someone else rather than yourself. Ideally a big dude with a greatsword. Although the +2AC from Haste makes it less likely you will get hit and lose Concentration.
    Last edited by rigolgm; 2017-11-27 at 06:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Guide to Xanatharís Multiclass Optimization

    Trying to determine what a Ranged Fighter/Gloomstalker dip would look like. Battle Master Fighter 5, then 3 into Gloomstalker Ranger, then pour the rest of your points into Fighter to keep grabbing more attacks?

    Not sure if there'd be anymore dips that would be worth losing the later fighter levels for.

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