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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guide?

    Thinking of picking up 4E D&D again, but it's been like two years so I'm rusty.

    Last time I ran a non-Hybrided wizard with the Shadar-Kai kit. The character took a few levels to get rolling, but holy crap was it strong once it got rolling. Some thoughts:

    1) Yeah, going Shadar-Kai again. Insubstantial and teleports helped immensely with survival despite my awful defenses. The Shadar-Kai kit was also very nice because no matter what power I used, it always felt like I was buying the party time. When I first played 4E D&D almost a decade ago, one problem I had with lower-level controllers is that they really ran out of gas. At-Will powers just didn't cut it out of the box. I faced the same problem last time I went through Heroic tier, too, though the problem really started to abate by level 9.

    2) I'm really thinking about rolling Blood Mage again as my PP. There are a lot of great powers in Paragon+ that double-tap or even triple-tap on damage.

    3) I'm torn on whether or not I want to Hybrid. Hybriding with Psion would give me access to Forceful Push and a decent RBA. Forceful Push is really freaking strong; does a ton of damage with zones in an encounter. Hybriding with Monk would saddle me with a bunch of useless powers, but Dazing Fist would be ridonkulously strong once my character could start recycling daily powers with stuff like Manual of Expansive Learning -- of course, either option will require me to lay down more money for a Book of Spells and to spend a yet another feat on Expanded Spellbook. And another feat on Hybrid Talent: Orb of Imposition because the Orb of Heightened Imposition is OMG good as a magical item. But c'mon. At-Will Dishearten that applies a -6 penalty to attack rolls for near-zero cost in Paragon. Or a Grease or a Visions of Avarice that can mass-daze (and prone, slow, and 3 squares of forced movement) every round without eating up your actions.

    4) Consumables are godly in 4E. I'm surprised at how little guides talk about it. Potion of Spectral Form bailed me out of more situations (see point 1) than I can recall. Yeah, I know people are down on consumables because it's a permanent cost, but c'mon. Money scales exponentially in 4E D&D.

    5) I'm also surprised at how little attention Deadly Trickster gets. The L26 feature is the best in the game, matched only by Godmind. I probably won't be able to go that route because Shadar-Kai Wizard is rough as hell on your stats. But I do know people at the server I plan to play on who have reached Epic.

    6) No one I know seems to play by the actual magical item rules. In my experience, both pre-Essentials and post-Essentials, everything with a price tag seems craftable or buyable aside from overpowered Rare-tier items. Not that I really mind, the setup of 4E D&D makes it really hard to slot in permanent magical items that don't fit your build.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    A 132

    1. Twofold curse paragon feat is the only basically inarguable way I know to do this, and it's only one more target per encounter.
    2. If you have a pact boon somehow, a rod of corruption will work. MCing as both a binder and a warlock gives you a pact boon with a trigger, but don't expect that to fly at a real table, especially since the Binding Initiate feat only says it gives you the pact boon's powers. But maybe it'd go over with a permissive DM.
    3. Arguably, hexer PP's level 11 power hexblast will do the trick, automatically cursing all enemies in a blast5 ... arguably. Even more arguably, it doesn't use up the 1/encounter curse that you get from Student of Malediction.


    No idea about Q131, sorry.
    I asked this question on the Q&A thread because I'm toying with a build (not necessarily wizard) that uses effects and feats like Curse of Blind Stars and Flitting Shadows in conjunction with the encounter-RBAs of Eldritch Blast/Bolt from wands (along with other Warlock powers stuffed into wands) and with game effects that let me take RBAs off-option. Might have to settle for a proper Warlock Hybrid, though, the action clog and logistics (and especially the setup of Warlock's Curse) almost makes it easier to do that rather than dump a billion feats just to have the combo on a single class.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    4) Consumables are godly in 4E. I'm surprised at how little guides talk about it. Potion of Spectral Form bailed me out of more situations than I can recall. Yeah, I know people are down on consumables because it's a permanent cost, but c'mon. Money scales exponentially in 4E D&D.
    Potions of spectral form are a favorite of mine, too. As are catastrophic dragon eggs and four-sided caltrops -- great bang for the buck, especially if your class features aren't doing much to add to your attack powers.

    I have no real advice; I'm not much of an optimizer. (You people in the Keep On The Shadowfell game can quit looking at me like that. One build that's good at level 2 doth not an optimizer make.)

    My preferred shadar-kai build is Ardent|Ossassin to take advantage of Darkness's Wings and Darkening Mind feats so you can basically have your Doom/Drowning/Dread stuff trigger on each of your turns during a 4-round combat. I'd use Veiled Alliance theme attacks to target multiple enemies while skipping friends.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    At-Will powers just didn't cut it out of the box.
    I find that Thunderwave or Beguiling Strands are two of the best at-wills in the game.

    2) I'm really thinking about rolling Blood Mage again as my PP.
    Yes that's a very good PP, but if you want to play something else I recommend Spellstorm Mage.

    5) I'm also surprised at how little attention Deadly Trickster gets.
    In practice, not a whole lot of people play epic.

    everything with a price tag seems craftable or buyable aside from overpowered Rare-tier items.
    Those are the actual magic item rules from the PHB1, yes. Nobody likes the random rules printed much later for HOFL.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I find that Thunderwave or Beguiling Strands are two of the best at-wills in the game.
    They're good when you get to trick them out. Thunderwave/Beguiling Strands + Shadow Jaunt BS + Orb Expertise (given to me for free) robbed melee enemies of actions... when I had slow up. When I didn't have slow? Not so much. Now, Howling Wall was decently more reliable, but it also didn't do any damage so if the enemy was able to do something like, say, charge someone four squares away I pretty much just wasted my turn.

    Those powers started getting good once I banked up enough money to buy potions of Spectral Form. Dread of Sakkors (which isn't dependent on Shadow Jaunt, thank God) + Orb Expertise pushed and slowed enemies with Thunderwave/Beguiling Strands/Freezing Burst (I cycled through my powers, I eventually settled on Freezing Burst) enough that they became reliable go-tos when I ran out of Color Spray, Illusory Obstacles, Watery Sphere, and Visions of Avarice.

    But they're not that good on their own.
    Last edited by Deathtongue; 2021-08-17 at 02:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    But they're not that good on their own.
    They're also excellent when (1) you push enemies next to the defender, or (2) your DM uses terrain obstacles in encounters; or (3) you throw up your own obstacles with zone powers (and the wizard gets zone encounter and daily powers at first level). On occasion it's even beneficial to push your allies around.

    I mean obviously the point is not that TW/BS denies an action all by itself. But shoving an enemy into a fire hardly counts as "tricking out" a power.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    They're also excellent when (1) you push enemies next to the defender, or (2) your DM uses terrain obstacles in encounters; or (3) you throw up your own obstacles with zone powers (and the wizard gets zone encounter and daily powers at first level).
    That's the other thing, at low levels defenders have trouble being sticky with more than one or two enemies. Either because their defenses haven't diverged enough from the baseline to make them actually tanky or they just don't have the actions to keep monsters in check. As far as (2) goes, again, that's not something I can really control and terrain obstacles at low levels tend to be stuff like 'patches of difficult terrain', 'streams and brooks', and 'fences'. Not exactly stuff that will help you out if you exploit it. My experience is that more interesting terrain definitely starts showing up later on, but not at levels 1-4. And as far as (3) goes -- Flaming Sphere is fairly decent, Watery Sphere was really good. But you still only have one encounter out of three per extended rest where you have a daily. And the L1 and L3 wizard zone-creating encounter attack powers are weak AF, to say the least, unless you trick them out as mentioned before. Conduit of Ice in conjunction with the Shadar-Kai Kit robbed a large number of enemies of charges, shifts, and thus melee and ranged actions when it hit. If I had ended up keeping it rather than retraining it after completing the kit, it'd be one of the best 1st-level encounter zones with support. But by itself, it doesn't stop a move + charge.

    It's just rough being a controller until you get to level 7 or so, and I was playing an S-tier class I imagine if I was playing a Seeker or a Druid it'd be even worse. You don't have the feats and magical items to trick out your powers.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yes that's a very good PP, but if you want to play something else I recommend Spellstorm Mage.
    Getting an extra daily attack power right when you get to level 11 is OMG good, I'm just concerned that the PP doesn't scale very well. Its goodies other than the two L11 features are pretty weak and it's not like wizards have a hard time recycling their daily powers come level 21; pick the right epic destiny, the right magical item powers, and Arcane Recovery and you could already be looking at 6-8+ daily powers in a three combat-encounter workday without help from the Spellstorm Mage.

    Yeah, I know 95-99% of people don't get to play in epic, but it still sucks getting to level 11 and knowing that's as good as it's ever going to get for you. If only 4E D&D allowed you to retrain into and out of Hybrids and PPs.

    Speaking of which, while I would really like to try a hybrid, feat clog makes it so that you don't really get your best tricks until mid-paragon anyway. For example, I would love to try out an Invoker/Wizard with Power of Skill: Divine Bolts and a bunch of powers that let me use RBAs as minor actions. The problem is that it's two extra feats down the drain (Hybrid Talent: Orb of Imposition and Power of Skill), then three extra feats if I want to use Expanded Spellbook -- which I do, because Manual of Expansive Learning is almost mandatory for any optimized wizard. And of course White Lotus Dueling Expertise isn't going to work with non-Arcane hybrids. Which sucks, because there are a lot of magical items that have really good on-hit powers (like the Precise Wand of Color Spray) that are behind just -1 or -2 in enhancement and can be

    Other option I considered was Serene Archery. There are a lot of reasons why you'd want to roll with a Shortbow regardless (Bracers of Archery, Ammunition magical items, Mindiron Bows, just having a ranged option that can go further than 10 squares) but the problem is that if I'm combining it with the Shadar-Kai kit my Wisdom score is going to be Garbo.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Basic Dilemma: I want a wizard (or mostly wizard) who has access to: Orb of Imposition, Magical Item Recharges via Divine Channeler + Creation Secret and abusing the hell out of cheap Channel Divinity recharging items, and the Shadar-Kai kit to include Darkening Mind. So I came up with some possibilities.

    Plain Wizard
    Pros: Cantrips and Ritual Caster access for free. These are really, really good benefits. Gets access to the best powers in the game without having to compromise. Don't have to do weird and janky things with the Deck of Spells/Expanded Spellbook to abuse Manual of Expansive learning or Tomes in general. Very easy on feats.
    Cons: Have to give up recharges for magical items altogether because we're locked into grabbing a Psionic feat for Darkening Mind unless we want to go Traveler's Harlequin AND the DM allows me to worship multiple deities.

    Wizard/Cleric Hybrid
    Pros: Monstrously better AC than any other option. Some of the cleric utilities and dailies are really good. Servitude in Death gives my wizard some really good flavor even if it's not all that good without temporary hp cheese. Gives a melee basic attack, for what it's worth.
    Cons: Requires giving up one of:
    A) Paragon Path, because we're going Hybrid Paragon to get both Channel Divinity and Arcane Implement. Unless my DM allows me to worship multiple deities, then that opens Traveler's Harlequin as an option while sill allowing Cretion Secrets.
    B) Arcane Implement Mastery: Orb. This is a non-starter.
    C) Creation Secrets recharging.

    Wizard/Artificer Hybrid:
    Pros: Arcane Empowerment is generally straight-up better than Creation Secrets. Could start with a 20 in INT.
    Cons: See Wizard/Cleric, replacing Creation Secrets with Impart Item. This will absolutely lock me into Paragon Hybrid.

    Wizard/Monk Hybrid
    Pros: Basic idea is to grab Dazing Fist ASAP. But because Monk is a Psionic class, there's no problem grabbing Darkening Mind. Then in mid-paragon grab Divine Channeler and Creation Secret while also.

    Wizard/Psion Hybrid
    Pros: Allows going Deadly Trickster, hands out a RBA, and in addition gives a monstrously powerful option. Could start with a 20 in INT.
    Cons: Requires either giving up on Forceful Push cheese or locks me into Paragon Hybrid. Giving up on Forceful Push isn't the end of the world.



    Decision Criteria: Right now I'm leaning towards Plain Wizard. If Focused Talent AND Discipline Adept allows my single-classed wizard to use Forceful Push twice an encounter, there's no contest -- we're going straight wizard. But I have a feeling that's not legal.

    If that's not possible, then I'm waffling between a Wizard/Cleric Hybrid and a Plain Wizard. If I go Wizard/Cleric I'm probably going to give up on recharging Creation Secrets to keep my PP open. You give up a lot of goodies this way, namely two feats, but you get an OMG huge bonus to AC that while not sexy still can't be overlooked.

    I'm open to other perspectives, though. Is there a way to recharge magical items prior to level 21 without Impart Item/Creation Secrets? Is recharging magical item dailies before Epic overrated? Is there some way to boost my wizard AC sky-high without doing weird things with the Healer's Lore feature from the cleric multiclass feat? Is there some ridiculously powerful paragon path power that makes Traveler's Harlequin so good that it's worth convincing the DM I can worship multiple deities? Is there some way to snag Creation Secrets without multiclassing?

    EDIT: Going by the Rules Compendium, you don't lose paragon path powers (or anything) if you fail to meet the prerequisites. You could take Traveler's Harlequin and then use Reordination to change to a deity with the Creation domain. Cheesy as hell, but if there's one deity I think would appreciate the cheese it'd be The Traveler anyway.
    Last edited by Deathtongue; 2021-08-17 at 02:32 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Reading through this, my impression is that you want to be totally self-sufficient and this is pushing you into undesirable compromises. As far as I'm concerned, you should pick among your options based on what your party can help cover for you. If your party already has an Artificer then there's a lot less pressure on your ability to recharge items. If your party is going to have two top tier strikers then you don't need much focus on your personal damage. If your party has two sticky defenders the value of forced movement skyrockets, and you don't need as much investment in your personal defense. Etc.

    Beyond that I don't have much advice on your optimization path; I'm not familiar with the interactions and I don't have time to dig into the details. But I have played a lot of Wizards, mostly in heroic and early paragon tier, and a lot of that play was in LFR with random groups. I've also DMed/played with multiple other Wizards including epic tier play. This has given me many opinions about powers that does not always line up with the standard thinking.

    First, there are two global considerations: how much emphasis do you need to put on ally-friendly targeting, and how much do you care about your damage output? The first is going to depend on the tactical skills of your party members, their willingness to potentially be caught in an unfriendly AoE, and your skill level at evaluating the risk/reward ratios of including allies in AoEs. The lower any of those are, the more you need ally-friendly stuff. For the second, I think the correct answers lie between "some" and "a lot but not too much". I don't like most of the no-damage control spells, because I don't think they offer enough increase in control to offset the lack of damage. I also don't believe a Wizard should go all-in on damage at the expense of control because you can retain a lot of control with minimal sacrifice to your damage level.

    At Will powers: you should absolutely have forced movement and you should absolutely have long-distance AoE capacity (and Enlarge Spell ASAP). The powers worth consideration are: Winged Horde, Freezing Burst, Stone Blood, Thunderwave, and Beguiling Strands. Pick two that cover forced movement and distance AoE, and be sure to grab a Close power if you don't have a way to avoid OAs. My default is Winged Horde + Thunderwave but I've done other combinations.

    Encounter powers: in heroic tier I think Immobilize is much better than Daze; melee enemies with no counters to Immobilize are more common, and creatures with meaningful actions outside their primary standard action are less common. I most commonly take Grasping Shadows at L1 because Slow is often a great opener to a fight and you can usually double up on the effect with forced movement next turn. A few other powers are ok, most notably Twilight Falls, but overall I'm not a big fan of the L1 selection. At L3 I strongly favor Icy Rays. Color Spray gets all the publicity at this level but see above on the merits of Daze (it's still a great power and I wouldn't blame anyone for taking it). Maze of Mirrors is one of the few damageless spells that I think is worth consideration. At L7 I strongly favor Twist of Space. Unlike L1, there are a lot of L7 options that I like but Twist of Space is just too good at both control and setup.

    My thoughts on daily powers are pretty much in line with the general thinking, so I won't go into detail there.

    edit to add: my general thinking on control in heroic tier is that heroic controller powers rarely have enough impact to really shut down enemy controllers and artillery--but those enemies tend to be weak to having a strong melee presence in their face. Therefore the job of handling enemy ranged units falls to your melee strikers and your defender. Your job is most commonly a) shutting down significant melee enemies for a few turns and/or b) helping your melee get to enemy range by clearing minions/moving melee out of the way/letting your team walk past melee safely by shutting off their OAs/moving enemy range to your melee. For the fights where these considerations don't apply, you have dailies.
    Last edited by tiornys; 2021-08-18 at 11:50 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    you could already be looking at 6-8+ daily powers in a three combat-encounter workday without help from the Spellstorm Mage.
    Well that depends on how much time you're getting in epic tier vs paragon tier. I have good experiences with the Spellstorm's Storm Cage encounter power, because (a) it autokills minions in a huge area, (b) it works nicely with forced movement, and (c) thunder/lightning have a lot of support.

    Quote Originally Posted by tiornys View Post
    overall I'm not a big fan of the L1 selection.
    Orbmaster's Incendiary Detonation is another good pick. I agree with the rest of your assessments, except I dislike Maze since it is unaffected by Enlarge Spell (and Enlarge Spell is just too good to pass up on).
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    I want to get my AC reasonably and consistently high as a non-hybrid Wizard without investing too much in the way of resources (either in terms of themes, powers, items, feats, minor/move actions, whatever), unless the payoff is huge. I count consistently and constantly applying penalties to my enemies' attacks against me as part of this. What options do I have?
    Last edited by Deathtongue; 2021-08-24 at 12:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    I'll note again - 4E is the edition that least allows any PC to "do it all". It's hard, bordering on impossible, to have a master controller with great out-of-combat- utility and strong damage and also an unhittable AC.

    That being said, I think the cheapest investments from a build perspective are...

    - FEAT: Armor Proficiency Leather/Unarmored Agility - +2 AC for a single feat is about as good a deal as you can find.
    - POWER: Shield (U2) - the classic. +4 AC and Reflex for a whole turn including turning a hit into a possible miss is one of the best defensive powers in the game. It's even "End of your next turn" to help your AC versus OAs if you were cornered and need to jet but don't have a teleport/shift handy. Never leave home without it.
    - POWER: Insightful Warning (U6; Requires Arcana): A mere +2 and only versus Area attacks, but it's on an encounter basis and affects the whole squad. Shows just how ridiculous Shield is, but still good.
    - POWER: Puckish Sprite (E7, HotFW): Hit or miss, that slaps a -4 attack penalty onto a creature if they don't move. That's a bit narrow, but fortunately the hit effect (radiant damage, slide, and a charm attack) make it pretty good still.
    - FEAT: Psychic Lock (Paragon) - This is a -2 penalty to attack when using Psychic attacks, which makes Beguiling Strands and Winged Horde into massive attack debuffer as well as a massive push/OA-denier + minion popper, and makes Illusory Ambush a -4. Note this does not combo with Blood Mage's Bolstering Blood F11, since it causes you to deal extra psychic damage but doesn't impart they keyword on the power. Personally, this seems less exciting to me especially for a Blood Mage as by the time it gets online you should be at a point where you are rarely using your at-wills more than a few times a day; this is a large numerical boost but not necessarily a large one in practice. But if you find ~50% of your Dailies/Encounters are dishing out Psychic Damage anyways, this can be very worthwhile (and if you are married to Blood Mage, its D20 does indeed deal Psychic and have the keyword).

    If you are playing with themes, Scholar (D399) and Devil's Pawn (NWCS) have level 1 powers with a chance to impose attack penalties on enemies or grant defense boosts to you.

    I think from there, we're down to +1 defense territory or we're looking at much less reliable Daily Powers.

    EDIT: If you like the idea of spending your Utility slots in Heroic on survival, which isn't terrible, HotFW also has Charm of Protection as a U2. Charm only gives a +2 instead of a +4 and only against the triggering attack, but it boosts all defenses and also grants THPs equal to your Wisdom (which should be decent, as a Orb of Imposition Wizard). And there's Oracular Maneuver for a reaction Shift 1 at U6 (for you and the whole party), which can shut down a melee monster especially one you've already slowed/proned. You could easily take Skill Power as a feat for Insightful Warning and also have one of the above in your pocket, for three encounter reactions to help you live. If you are drawing more than three attacks per combat - your defender needs to get on this forum and learn to be better at their job probably
    Last edited by Hawk7915; 2021-08-24 at 10:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    In your experience, what's the maximum saving throw penalty you can consistently apply to monsters without ticking off the DM? I have the feeling that the number is around -6 to -7. Higher than that imposes auto-lockdowns on all of the standards, but that's the arrangement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk7915 View Post
    I'll note again - 4E is the edition that least allows any PC to "do it all". It's hard, bordering on impossible, to have a master controller with great out-of-combat- utility and strong damage and also an unhittable AC.
    I'm aware. However, the setup of the game I'm playing at (rotating groups with no fixed party members or balanced role distribution) makes it so that specialization can really screw me over. I've played in such games before and I've had the unenviable experience of playing a glass cannon with no defenders or other controllers in it. Or playing a low-damage controller in which everyone else picked grindy classes. Sure, long-term and stochastically I'd be better off with specializing but it really, really sucks to not be able to do much of anything just because I had a group arrangement that didn't fit with my specialty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain
    However, there may be other ways of doing it. Basically, any character can spend feats to add conditions to their attack. A classic one is Rushing Cleats item + Polearm Momentum (to add prone to any pushing attack), or Rune of Storms (to add push), or Hindering Shield (to add slow), or Githyanki weapon + Psychic Lock (to add -2 to hit). I'm sure there's other examples. For what it's worth, when I made a shadar-kai character I decided to go with Polearm Momentum + Hindering Shield instead, as I found this more effective. YMMV.
    What's Rune of Storms?
    Last edited by Deathtongue; 2021-08-24 at 12:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    In your experience, what's the maximum saving throw penalty you can consistently apply to monsters without ticking off the DM? I have the feeling that the number is around -6 to -7. Higher than that imposes auto-lockdowns on all of the standards, but that's the arrangement.


    I'm aware. However, the setup of the game I'm playing at (rotating groups with no fixed party members or balanced role distribution) makes it so that specialization can really screw me over. I've played in such games before and I've had the unenviable experience of playing a glass cannon with no defenders or other controllers in it. Or playing a low-damage controller in which everyone else picked grindy classes. Sure, long-term and stochastically I'd be better off with specializing but it really, really sucks to not be able to do much of anything just because I had a group arrangement that didn't fit with my specialty.
    Fair enough. I mean, most wizards should be taking Shield and Unarmored Defense anyways. I think for you, spending one other utility slot known on your favorite of Oracular Maneuver, Charm of Protection, or Insightful Warning isn't too bad. From there - I think unless all your allies are Wizards/Psions, you should hopefully have enough friendlies to also soak attacks that those are enough, but Skill Power is my favorite next best option.

    To get back to your optimization path - no, the Focused Talent + Disciple Adept trick you're hoping for 100% doesn't work. The RAW of Focused Talent is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Focused Talent
    Benefit: Choose a psion Discipline Focus. You can
    use each power granted by the Discipline Focus once
    per day.
    And Discipline Adept says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Discipline Adept
    Benefit: You can use each power granted by your Discipline Focus twice per encounter.
    So RAW - Focused Talent lets you use Forceful Push and Far Hand 1/day each assuming you go telekinetic, but doesn't grant you the Disciple Focus class feature. Thus, it has no interaction with Discipline Adept. If I was your DM, I'd probably rule RAI/mercy and fun ruling you can use it twice a day, but I can't imagine any sane DM ruling that the text of Disciple Adept "overwrites" Focused Talent to suddenly let you Forceful Push 2/encounter even though that trick costs you 3 feats (and a 4th, if you wanted Anchoring Push).

    I also see you are all hyped by Darkening Mind - but isn't Devious Jaunt (DR379) just better? That's gonna add way more distance onto your Shadow Jaunt (+4 by base, to get it to 7 squaes) and doesn't require you to find some way to get your hands on Power Points. I think both is overkill; how often are you gonna need to teleport more than 7-8 squares? There's plenty of magic items that can extend your teleportation distance anyhow. True Darkening Mind also keeps you insubstantial slightly longer in case you need it while you provoke a bunch of OAs, but again - feels like overkill as that's a pretty narrow circumstance with such a big teleport (one that'll just keep getting bigger as you keep pumping Int, topping out at a 11-13 square one at 30th before magic item boosts). If you were a Psion, and thus had a massive Intelligence and baked-in power points, that'd be a bit more enticing to combine the two.

    I think the cost of all these feats make me lean Straight Wizard, possibly with the Cleric Multiclass if you can convince your DM that Divine Healer lets you swap into Battle Cleric's Lore. That puts you down to 5 movement, but up +2 AC overall. You can fix that speed problem by either staying in Cloth with Unarmored Agility or by taking Heavy Armor Agility - or you can suck it up, to dedicate your other five feats to Enlarge Spell, Orb Expertise, Devious Jaunt, and then pick-your-poison from among a bit more accuracy (Vicious/Distant Advantage, Superior Implement Training), a bit more utility (Skill Power), a bit more survival (Skill Power technically but also Improved Defenses or Superior Will) or better initiative (Battlewise, Improved Initiative). This built just feels better for a Shadar-kai then messing around with a hybrid build or any other multiclass trickery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    I suspect that's a reference to Mark of Storm (EPG), which can be combined with Lightning weapons or a character using tons of Lightning and Thunder based powers to knock enemies around.
    Last edited by Hawk7915; 2021-08-24 at 06:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk7915 View Post
    True Darkening Mind also keeps you insubstantial slightly longer in case you need it while you provoke a bunch of OAs
    The extended duration also lets you use your shadar-kai control-oriented feats during another one of your turns: Doom of Jiksidur, Drowning of Nhalloth and Dread of Sakkors all trigger off that condition. Dunno if Deathtongue intends to pursue that path, but it's a reasonable assumption for a shadar-kai controller.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk7915 View Post
    I also see you are all hyped by Darkening Mind - but isn't Devious Jaunt (DR379) just better?
    The purpose of Darkening Mind is not for the distance, it is to stay insubstantial through your next turn, giving you 2 turns of the Shadar Kai control kit (Drowning of Nhalloth, Doom of Jiksidur, and Dread of Sakkors) instead of 1.

    Deathtongue, you mentioned it earlier, but bear in mind that our group rules that Dread of Sakkors only works with Shadow Jaunt, not all forms of insubstantial.

    Also, both specialist and generalist builds can work extremely well, both in Guild play and out of it. I should know, I've played both in both areas. But the god tier control wizard is a specialist that requires making sacrifices to generalize. If you want general strength, you have to give up your specialization. That's how generalization and specialization work.

    I'll end by saying that you'd likely have a much more productive conversation within the Guild, where people know the environment and the rulings, and where there's a large community, compared to the sadly kind of barren gitp. I remember when you joined last time after having gotten a bunch of information about the demonomicon from here that we ruled differently to.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    Deathtongue, you mentioned it earlier, but bear in mind that our group rules that Dread of Sakkors only works with Shadow Jaunt, not all forms of insubstantial.
    Just a note, not a ruling either, but by RAW because that's what the text in the source says it only works with.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    The purpose of Darkening Mind is not for the distance, it is to stay insubstantial through your next turn, giving you 2 turns of the Shadar Kai control kit (Drowning of Nhalloth, Doom of Jiksidur, and Dread of Sakkors) instead of 1.
    Got it, makes more sense - I'm dusting the cobwebs off and wasn't familiar with those feats. I apologize.

    I gotta say (back to OP) - that feels like an awfully heavy investment for a 2/encounter trick for a Wizard.

    Let's break it down. If you buy all three of the Shadar-kai Package powers, then 1/encounter your attack inflicts Slide 1, Push 2, Prone, Slow, and -2 Attack. This combination of effects is as good as a stun for a melee enemy, and still fairly nasty for a ranged enemy.

    Still, by itself you are spending 3 feats (a full 50% of your heroic-tier feats) to ruin an enemy's day 1/encounter if you hit. True each one does something on its own and gives some minor skill bonuses.

    As a Psion (or other Psionic class, but Psion has stats that better align with Shadar-kai stats), from there it makes total sense to invest a feat in Darkening Mind to slightly extend your teleport and double the up-time of the DDD combo. In Heroic Tier, that leaves you two feats which means you can buy your two big feat taxes (Unarmored Agility/Divine Healer/Leather Armor Prof. + Expertise, probably) and be super functional outside of your Jaunt turns. Functional but still not optimal, mind - the investment means you can't take any extra accuracy or defense feats and you have to totally ignore fixing your Initiative (which is often a major issue for Controllers especially). One could argue it makes more sense to instead avoid the Shadar-kai package and wait for 11 to grab Anchoring Push (with Discipline Adept among your Heroic Feats) for a 2/encounter free action Slide + Slow that always works, no attack roll required.

    As a Wizard though, the combo costs you all 6 Heroic feats - since you also have to spend a feat on Multiclassing, and then spend a feat on getting Power Points, and then spend a feat on Darkening Mind. A theme like Noble Adept saves you a feat but is its own cost compared to being able to take a more wizard-friendly theme (plus has some setting implications to run by your DM). I feel like even if your DM is giving out free Expertise, that is too high a price. Because the DDD only works if you hit, you'll have some amount of combats where you just whiff without any accuracy-boosters.

    Wizard//Psion Hybrid doesn't fare too much better (although I think it's for sure better than the multiclass route!) - you can now get the combo online for the original 4 feats, but also owe a feat on Hybrid Talent if you want Orb of Imposition online, and have to surrender your Paragon Path if you want to be able to nab both Discipline Focus (to get the Anchoring Push engine online in Paragon) and have Orb of Imposition.

    But it sounds like the goal is to staple together effects to get some big forced movement + slow/prones/attack penalties, so that you can ruin enemies day. And a few cheaper investment alternatives would be...

    • Orb Expertise + Enlarge Spell + Freezing Burst power: Burst 2 attack that Slides 2, at-will. (And, any other bursts/blasts you take can be Enlarged, and any other forced movement you take is +1 square).
    • Enlarge Spell + Stone Blood power: At-will Area Burst 2 Slow. Add World Serpent's Grasp for a Prone on repeat.
    • Mark of Storms + Orb Expertise + Thunder Wave power: At-will Blast 3 that pushes WIS+1 squares, then Slides 1 square. Can also nab Arc Lightning as an accurate at-will double tap that slides each creature 1, and this combo works with any other Lightning/Thunder powers. Combines very nicely with Resounding Thunder, Arcane Admixture, and Enlarge Spell as well.
    • Orb Expertise + World Serpent's Grasp + Howling Wall power: A very precise At-will Wall 6 that deals no damage but slides 3 + Slows + Prones on repeat. Superior Implement (Petrified Orb) is unusual compared to an accurate Orb, but gets you to Slide 4. Forceful Orb (Magic Item) gets this to a Slide 5, which should effectively make any melee opponent completely unable to function.
    • Orb Expertise + Psychic Lock + Beguiling Strands: (In Paragon Tier): You have a friendly Blast 5 that Pushes 4 + hands out a -2 attack penalty, at-will. Combines with any other forced movement or Psychic powers you take, too, and makes Winged Horde or Phantom Bolt a great "Plan B" at-will for more attack penalties and possibly more slides at range.


    All of these are less than the feat investment to get the Shadar-kai package online. All of them are at-will, not 2/encounter. All of them involve taking feats that you want to take anyways as they combine with stuff beyond just your at-will attacks (4/5 take an Expertise feat and get it out of the way early, even). Several of them even combine pretty well - for instance, taking Orb Expertise, Enlarge Spell, and World Serpent's Grasp as your first 3 feats for a character with Stone Blood + Freezing Burst as your at-wills.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath
    I'll end by saying that you'd likely have a much more productive conversation within the Guild, where people know the environment and the rulings, and where there's a large community, compared to the sadly kind of barren gitp. I remember when you joined last time after having gotten a bunch of information about the demonomicon from here that we ruled differently to.
    No offense, but I have absolutely no desire to play in your Guild after my first go around. The difficulty is way, waaaaaaay too much to the point where that's the first thing I warn other people about your game. The relentless, Gygaxian stress I'm still vexed from is a big reason why I'm posting on boards looking for CharOP tips rather than just throwing caution to the wind playing something I'd like on another server.
    Last edited by Deathtongue; 2021-08-25 at 11:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtongue View Post
    No offense, but I have absolutely no desire to play in your Guild after my first go around. The difficulty is way, waaaaaaay too much to the point where that's the first thing I warn other people about your game. The relentless, Gygaxian stress I'm still vexed from is a big reason why I'm posting on boards looking for CharOP tips rather than just throwing caution to the wind playing something I'd like on another server.
    In general, Shadar-Kai Wizard tricks are not a great idea unless you're:
    Expecting a huge level of difficulty and you're super amazingly on the ball in terms of communicating to the DM what's happening and why
    Wanting the game to end abruptly due to the DM and/or table not having fun
    Have a table where no one cares about the outcome, just that the monsters get wiped out quickly.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by MwaO View Post
    In general, Shadar-Kai Wizard tricks are not a great idea unless you're:
    Expecting a huge level of difficulty and you're super amazingly on the ball in terms of communicating to the DM what's happening and why
    Wanting the game to end abruptly due to the DM and/or table not having fun
    Have a table where no one cares about the outcome, just that the monsters get wiped out quickly.
    You're indicating that S-K wizards are overpowered. Do you think the Doom/Dread/Drowning stuff is 'too much' or is there some other reason? I don't see any wizard-specific material worth taking for shadar-kai.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    You're indicating that S-K wizards are overpowered. Do you think the Doom/Dread/Drowning stuff is 'too much'
    I'd be interested in hearing this too; I have a wizard build that I never got to play, that basically adds push 8 + prone + slow to his attacks (at least, after shadow jaunt). It sounds pretty good but I'm not sure how it turns out in practice.
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Speaking as someone who has run for it quite a lot (it's pretty popular in the group i play and run with), there's a lot of classes that carry the SK package very well, with Wizard being one of the best due to powers like Visions of Avarice letting you apply the conditions in a sustained Area Burst 5. Invoker is probably the most heinous due to Fourfold Invocation of Doom, but a VoA sustain that has slide 3, push 4, pull 6, slowed, -2 to hit, and prone (assuming orb expertise and either orb of forceful magic or petrified orb) can more or less stun any melee enemy (using the combined pull/push/slide to slingshot enemies to wherever you want them on the map). Fundamentally, once you have all 3 feats, you have
    1. Prone (they need to spend their move action standing up)
    2. Slowed (they only have speed 2)
    3. Force moved 3 squares
    together, these three factors mean that with no further investment, anyone you hit needs reach in order to stand up and charge if they are melee.

    I've got a friend who has 2 characters who are SK opped controllers who hybrid Assassin purely to get access to Shade Form and the Darkness's Wings feat to allow them to recharge Shadow Jaunt. I've seen it done very potently with Invoker, Rogue, and Monk hybrids to turn them all into highly potent controllers. Ardent, Battlemind, Druid, and Shaman can probably pull off the hybrid as well, I've seen it done with Cleric, Fighter, and Sorcerer, I've done it with a pure assassin (using the templar theme to get a bunch of bursts). It's absurdly versatile that can turn any class into a pretty respectable controller, independent of that class' native access to control. As long as you have decent sized bursts or other multitarget powers (like Monk's spinning leopard maneuver), it can do fairly wild things.

    The main thing is that it's also very frustrating to run for on virtual tabletops, since, for example, on roll20, you need to mark 3 condition trackers per enemy hit (slowed, prone, and penalty to hit) on top of having 2-3 instances of forced movement to resolve. I've routinely seen experienced players take longer to resolve a single attack with full SK kit than some characters take to resolve their entire turns (and I'm not just talking about chargers, I'm talking about other controllers).
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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    You're indicating that S-K wizards are overpowered. Do you think the Doom/Dread/Drowning stuff is 'too much' or is there some other reason? I don't see any wizard-specific material worth taking for shadar-kai.
    As Keledrath notes, the problem isn't whether or not S-K wizards are overpowered so much as they're:
    Optimized control wizards with a combo of both hard and soft control on every S-K attack usually
    Turns are complicated and can go really long unless the player is super on the ball. And the more of those feats you have, the more complicated it gets.

    So basically, not something you take to a table unless you know the DM is great at dealing with optimization, you want to get kicked out or destroy the fun of the game, or it is a game where no one cares anyway.

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    Default Re: Tips for Heroic/Paragon Wizards wanting to focus on control -- beyond the 4E Guid

    Moonstride is in class (Wizard utility 2) although I suppose as a reaction it might not be ideal.


    Alternatively and to preserve Creation Secrets, Hybrid Avenger offers Armor of Faith and a few other defensive powers.


    But wanting to move around with defenses up kind of screams Warlock for Ethereal Stride.

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