Ultimate Defenders Ho!

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Ultimate Defenders: Between a Rock and a Hard Place





You Shall Not Pass!    -Gandalf the Grey, Ultimate Defender



This thread is a compilation of certain builds that I have dubbed Ultimate Defenders.  To give some background as to the criteria I use, we must first discuss some Defender Theory:

We all are aware of what a defender is.  Or at least, we think we are.  Your Defender is the guy who takes the blows so you don't have to.  Sort of.  See, in MMOs this is the role of a Tank: make sure the enemies only attack you, and make sure they don't hurt you either.  It is easy to believe that this translates directly to D&D 4e, as the creators have designed a role parallel to the Tank.  However, there is no "aggro" to manage in D&D.  Your foes are controlled by an intelligent DM rather than a computer, and most DMs know better than to attack the meatshield just because he insults them.  This was a problem in 3.5e, as the big dumb brute didn't have much by way of means to keep things attacking him.  So the designers of 4e tacked some abilities onto the meatshields that enabled them to accomplish that purpose.  

This leads to the First Principle of defender theory:

Defenders are Specialized Controllers.


Defenders are Controllers
Consider the one thing all defenders have in common: a marking mechanism.  The basic mark simply says: as long as the target is marked, it takes -2 to hit on attacks that don't include you.  This serves two purposes:
1.  Reduce the impact the enemy has on your allies.
2.  Direct the enemies to attack you rather than your friends.
Both can occur in a regular encounter.  Everyone who has played a 4e defender for long has seen their marks obeyed and disobeyed.  An enemy disobeying the defender's mark does not mean the mark has failed.  After all, the enemy is less likely to hit with that attack.
Next consider that most defenders also raise their defenses as high as they can, to become the "meat shield."  +2 to all defenses is effectively a -2 to hit you.  -2 to hit your allies + -2 to hit you = -2 to hit.  That's a controller debuff.  By the same token, inflicting -2 to hit on a target is as good as gaining +2 to defenses against that target AND increasing your mark penalty on that target by 2.
There are a LOT of examples of this same principle, but the conclusion is clear: Defenders are controllers who specialize in a narrower range of control.  Specifically: keep your allies alive by directing enemy actions and blunting enemy effectiveness.


The Second Principle of defender theory follows right on the heels of the first:


Defenders Control Primarily through Catch-22 Tactics



Defenders use Catch-22
Let's look at the classic mark punishment model.  If you, as a defender, mark an enemy, you have some means to punish disobedience to that mark.
It's easy to see that if your punishment is strong enough, no enemy will want to disobey your mark.  But at what point does that happen?  When you're dealing 100 damage?  200?  50?  Suppose it's 50.  If everyone is now attacking you and never triggering your mark, doing 60 instead of 50 clearly does you NO GOOD, because you never get to deal the extra 10 damage.  If the extra 10 damage took a feat to get, you're better off spending the feat on something else.  In particular, the usual wisdom is to boost your defenses.  Now your enemy is facing the choice between 50 damage, and -2 to hit you.  Maybe now 50 damage ISN'T enough to make them attack you.  So now you can crank up your damage to 60.  But then they won't disobey your mark, so now you boost your defenses.  And so it continues.

The direct conclusion of this analysis is that an effective defender will balance the punishment he gives out on mark disobedience against the punishment for attacking him directly.  Make no mistake, +2 to defenses is as much a punishment for attacking the defender as the mark's -2 penalty is to attack the defender's allies.  
This is control.
It is giving your enemies no good choices, and making them choose between them.  Even the defender's higher hit points are part of the catch-22: given the choice, would you rather attack the squishy(but hard-hitting) ranger, or the beefy(but weaker) warden?  The same problem with too much stickiness occurs if you are TOO durable: they won't go after you, and your excess durability is wasted.

So working the defender catch-22 consists of this general process:
1. Improve the "attack me!" until it outstrips the "don't attack me!"
2. Improve the "don't attack me!" until it catches up to the "attack me!"
3. Repeat until you run out of resources.

In practice, the sticky is easier to come by for some defenders, while others find it easier to be more durable.  Furthermore, boosting both sides of the equation often takes some creativity, and it's difficult to know from the build alone whether your sticky is stronger than your anti-sticky or vice versa.  The game is so complex that many (myself among them) believe you should err on the side of the sticky...at least that way you can tone it down in-game if you need to, and if the monsters are focusing on you, you don't have to wonder WHICH of your squishy allies they'll be headed for.

As a sidenote, just what kind of catch-22 you impose only determines what kind of defender you are, not whether you are a defender or not.  For example, if you are using immediate interrupts (like pre-nerf White Lotus Master Riposte) to damage enemies for attacking you, that simply hastens their demise, which limits the amount of time they can be harassing you or your allies.  In that case you are a Defender/striker.  If your catch-22 is all about improving your defenses and your mark debuff, you are leaning more heavily into your defender/controller roots.  If your catch-22 heals your allies, you find yourself dipping into leader.  And so on.  All are valid methods of protecting your allies.

TL;DR Version
1. Defenders are controllers.  Very specialized controllers.  In fact, they specialize in blunting monster attacks.
2. Defenders use Catch-22s.  Make all your enemies' choices terrible, and you've done your job.


So What's an Ultimate Defender?


There are a lot of good defender builds out there.  I don't want to give the impression that the builds I am labelling in this thread are the only good defenders.  Nor necessarily that they are the best defender builds ever made.  A high-dpr fighter is accomplishing his objective of defending his party by ending the encounter faster.  But that makes him a Defender/striker.

Rather, Ultimate Defender builds leverage defender tactics to an extreme degree.  In the end, an Ultimate Defender defends his allies by optimizing his catch-22 and controller aspects.
Common aspects of a good Ultimate Defender include: multimarking, heavy mark punishment, high defenses, reactive damage, strong debuffing, lockdown, action denial.

This thread exists to highlight such builds, and encourage players and optimizers to do likewise.  What explanations I give for my inclusion of certain builds will be brief at best.  If you have a build that you feel qualifies, post it and I will have a look.  I reserve the right to reject builds for utterly arbitrary reasons based mostly on my own perception of defenders (which is admittedly changing often).  I don't expect to need to exercise that right often.


The Builds


Darth Vader, Warlock|Swordmage/Avernian Knight/Sage of Ages - AlphatheGreat
  
The Gist
Darth Vader combines defenderlock and swordmage abilities to impose debuffs and a heavy catch-22 between strong marking and high defenses.

Davy Jones, Paladin/Hospitaler/Ceaseless Guardian - Imperii
  
The Gist
Paladins have good debuffing, and Hospitaler+Weakening Challenge is arguably the most powerful mark punishment in the game.  Shielding Swordmages prevent damage.  An enemy tagged by your DC stands a good chance of HEALING your allies more than they hurt them.

Mr. Smith, Fighter/Kensei/Ceaseless Guardian - Lordduskblade
  
The Gist
Mr. Smith takes it and deals it.  Dazes at-will, slows, debuffs, is very nasty to be around...for the enemy

   Variants:
      Super-Scrag, Fighter/Pit Fighter/Demigod - Herid_Fel
          
The Gist
Essentially a higher-damage variant of Mr. Smith.  Still an ultimate defender, though.


Beowulf, Brawler Fighter/Kensei/Ceaseless Guardian - Lordduskblade
  
The Gist
Beowulf grabs enemies, knocks them prone, and keeps them with him.  His unbreakable (I'm not kidding) iron grip on up to two enemies of your choice makes him well worth his spot here.

Crimson Legion Champion, Paladin|Warlock/Questing Knight/Legendary Sovereign - Inferenz
  
The Gist
Combines defenderlock tactics with paladin debuffing, marking and durability to make for one nasty catch-22 build.

Ioun Grey Stone Marker, Battlemind|Fighter/Daring Blade - Mommy_was_an_Orc 
  
The Gist
Battleminds and Fighters both have generic marks.  But Battleminds have more durable marks with weaker punishment, and fighters have temporary marks with strong mark punishment.  The hybrid of these two is a match made in heaven, especially with Blurred Strike fixed.  Try getting away from him.  I dare you.

Dr. No the Sigil Cartificer, Artificer|Swordmage/Sigil Carver/Ceaseless Guardian - Ytterbium_Dragon 
  
The Gist
The Sigil Carver has one of the best multimarking punishments in the game: opportunity attacks against violators of your mark.  Don't let the "adjacent ally" requirements fool you, this is both one of the first Ultimate Defenders and one of the best.  I have posted the build here with the author's permission.  I may repost his explanation as soon as I have it properly formatted.
*note: The build here written assumes that free melee training and expertise are given as a houserule, which is fairly common.  As the originator of the build is no longer on the forums, that's the version available.  Just keep that in mind, you'll need to do some adjusting in any game without the same houserules.

  
The Build
 Sigil Cartificer (aka Dr. No), level 30
Shadar-kai, Artificer|Swordmage/Sigil Carver/Ceaseless Guardian
Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 24, Dex 15, Int 28, Wis 12, Cha 10
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 16, Dex 11, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 8
 
AC: 49 Fort: 47 Reflex: 46 Will: 42, resist 5 all w/ 2 enemies marked
HP: 182 Surges: 15 Surge Value: 45
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana, Endurance, Perception
 
FEATS
Free: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blades, Light Blades)
Free: Melee Training (Intelligence)
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: White Lotus Riposte
Level 4: Shield of Hestavar
Level 6: Mark of Warding
Level 8: Devious Jaunt
Level 10: Improved Initiative (retrained to Enhanced Resistive Formula at level 11)
Level 11: Psychic Lock
Level 12: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at level 21)
Level 14: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 16: Greater Aegis of Shielding
Level 18: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at level 23)
Level 20: Improved Swordmage Warding (retrained to Swordmage Implement Expertise at level 22)
Level 21: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 22: Strength Through Challenge
Level 24: Triumphant Attack
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Epic Fortitude
Level 30: Epic Reflex
 
POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Hybrid at-will 1: Static Shock
Hybrid encounter 1: Scouring Weapon (retrained to Sword of Sigils at level 7)
Hybrid daily 1: Punishing Eye
Hybrid utility 2: Channeling Shield (retrained to Swift Mender at level 14)
Hybrid encounter 3: Transposing Lunge
Hybrid daily 5: Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Regeneration Infusion (retrained to Swordmage's Decree at level 10)
Hybrid encounter 7: Repulsion Strike
Hybrid daily 9: Radiant Sigil
Hybrid utility 10: Healing Figurine
Hybrid encounter 13: Hypnotic Swordplay (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 15: Hunter's Pursuit (replaces Shielding Fire)
Hybrid utility 16: Iron-Hide Infusion
Hybrid encounter 17: none taken
Hybrid daily 19: Hellfire Sigil (replaces Radiant Sigil)
Hybrid utility 22: Oni's Gift
Hybrid encounter 23: Prismatic Strike (replaces Repulsion Strike)
Hybrid daily 25: Planar Shock (replaces Hunter's Pursuit)
Hybrid encounter 27: none taken
Hybrid daily 29: Astral Thunder Blade (replaces Planar Shock)
 
ITEMS
+6 Shared Valor Starleather Armor (2,125,000), +6 Githyanki Silver Longsword (2,625,000), Opal Ring of Remembrance (2,625,000), Siberys Shard of the Mage (epic, 425,000), Shadowfell Gloves (epic, 1,125,000),  Dice of Auspicious Fortune x2 (18,000), Diamond Cincture (paragon, 125,000), +6 Cloak of Distortion (2,625,000), Ring of Giants (17,000), Iron Armbands of Power (1,125,000), Eye of Awareness (425,000), Planestrider Boots (85,000)

Inexhaustible Dragon Sovereign, Paladin/Questing Knight/Legendary Sovereign - Litigation
The Gist
Apply Divine Sanction to everyone nearby, consistently.  Now heal your allies a little, grant some saves, get them out of trouble, make your sanction weakening, be able to take a beating...Litigation's build does a whole lot of marking and a fair bit of everything else.  Watch the variants section for interesting variations...

The Man of Steel, Warden|Battlemind/Gladiator Champion/Topaz Crusader - BaronSengir
The Gist
As the first (I think) Dizzying Mace+Intellect Snap builds, this definitely deserves a place here.  Full defender hp, con-build surges, immunity to most of the worst effects, decent to high defenses, standard resist all, synergy between the warden and battlemind marks, robust multimarking all make this a very good defender.  But it's the "and more" that makes him Ultimate.
Intellect Snap dazes at-will, onto which Dizzying mace adds a -conmod to hit penalty.  On top of your mark, that's a massive at-will hit penalty worthy of the very best UDs.
Gladiator Champion and warden plug the holes from being a hybrid Battlemind, by making sure that nothing can get away from you.  
He is sticky, he is tough, he applies massive penalties and he has strong multimarking.

The Anointed Knight, Knight/Anointed Champion/Ceaseless Guardiant - I33
The Gist
The first essentials character I am adding to the Ultimate Defenders, this build has certainly earned its spot.  As a line defender, the Anointed Knight is arguably the very best.  Solid defenses, Come and Get It and some other miscellaneous tricks make him durable and sticky.  By grabbing Sonnlinor's Hammer for his mba(inflicts -cha to enemy damage), and boosting that with further penalties to hit, dazing, and granting thp to allies, not only is his main attack a brutal debuff, but he gets to use it as his "mark" punishment as well.  And that is the final cap: his punishment is against ALL adjacent enemies(no need to mark), and is an opportunity action.  Right from the gate, he's unbound by the immediate-action starvation faced by so many other defenders.  One of the very best Ultimate Defenders on the market, and he is totally item and campaign-setting neutral to boot!

A Save Haven, Swordmage|Warlock/Sigil Carver/Sage of Ages - billyh
The Gist
Like Dr. No, Save Haven leverages the ability of the Sigil Carver to punish more enemies in a round than the usual Immediate Interrupt defenders allow.  Building on the highly versatile Swordmage|Warlock base like Vader, he capitalizes on his mark punishment by specializing in slides.  Like Dr. No you want your party to gather round, but then, so do Magic Weapon Artificers.  High defenses and strong mark punishment make this an excellent addition.

The Inescapeable Fisherman 2.0, Battlemind|Swordmage/Gladiator Champion/Destined Scion - SongNSilence
The Gist
The concept behind the fisherman is simple: keep your enemies close.  It uses extreme stickiness as its main defender schtick.  Enemies can't shift away, if they try to move away they get knocked prone and slowed before they get there.  Expanded Swordburst and Thundering Vortex drag enemies in, and once they are in they stay there.  For those occasional enemies who are still able to attack your melee allies, you're still a Swordmage and Battlemind, with solid marking ability and Immediate Interrupt attacks.  Add solid defenses, defender hp on top of that, and you'll be dominating the battlefield as defenders are mean to do.  As a bonus, you're fairly item independent.  Most effective if your game allows both dragonmarks and dark sun themes, but still doable otherwise.

Set Hammers to Stun, Paladin|Fighter/Adroid Explorer/Reincarnate Champion - GelatinousOctahedron
The Gist
A shining example of using power selection as the primary route for defending your allies.  Stunning enemies again and again on top of the already decent defense package available for a hybrid Paladin|Fighter ensures solid disruption of the enemy's ability to target your allies.  With full defender hp and defenses, he loses little by way of durability.  In epic the stuns turn to dominates with the utterly abusive Royal Command of Asmodeus.


Thanks to Qballony and Ytterbium_Dragon for the builds that first tipped me off to the Ultimate Defender phenomenon,  to everyone in ##4e for the discussions that developed it further, and to everyone who has created Ultimate Defender builds.
Technical Notes

--To be considered, builds should be functional Ultimate Defenders for at least 1/3 of their career.  Less than this, and they aren't really useful to players looking for defenders.  So if it works all through epic, that's good enough to be listed.  Less than that and not so much.

--Accordingly, I plan to add in notes about when the build functions as an Ultimate Defender, when it functions reasonably as a normal defender, and when it is non-functional.  If you have a build you want added, please let me know when it is effective beforehand so I don't have to scour your build myself.

--Some builds will be too heavy in a different role.  That's not bad for the build, but it won't merit UD status necessarily.  Striking Paladins and Fighters aren't Ultimate Defenders...they are strikers who can defend.  An Ultimate Defender is a specialist.  If I reject a build, I will give my reasons in my reply.

Glossary:

Catch-22, noun: 2. any illogical or paradoxical problem or situation; dilemma  --Dictionary.com
Defenderlock: A class of warlocks that use defender tactics, see Defenderlock by AlphatheGreat
Sticky: how well a defender keeps enemies from escaping punishment, especially by preventing or limiting movement.
Excellent! It's finally up.

I liked the initial treatise that described what a Defender did and how optimization of these aspects worked. I also like the description of what an Ultimate Defender is. Last but not least, I really like the lineup of concepts that made the list (yay! 2 of mine did, too).

A thread along these has been long overdue, and it's about time you staked your claim as the inventor of the Ultimate Defender phrase.
Thanks, ldb!



Fixed the links, added Ytterbium_Dragon's Sigil Cartificer build (modified by him to accommodate the latest rules updates).
This thread makes me happy in the pants.  No joke.
[20:53] [SadisticFish] yeah Llamas convinced me
Added some technical notes in the second post.
Gah I hate seeing Catch 22 so many times in one post.  It's used incorrectly on the boards, and everytime I run across it I have to take a second and remind myself it actually means something different here.  I'm not trying to change it, that's an uphill battle I can't win.  Ah well.

I do like the deeper analysis of Defender's here, although I disagree on some of the way things are characterized.  While doing damage back to the enemy for attacking you (or even with mark punishment if they attack someone else) is useful towards ending the battle and I respect that it in a secondary fashion does reduce the damage intake of the battle, I don't think of that as a product of being a defender anymore than I think of the Leader roles damage as a way to end battles faster.  I see that extra damage as just increasing the overall strikerness of the team.

The defender role is about reducing damage and controlling the flow of incoming damage.  This overlaps somewhat with the controller role, but I do think that there are aspects of what a defender does that is more specialized and entirely separate.  A major factor of that is convincing or forcing enemies to attack the defender, another major factor of that is surviving it.  Reflected damage doesn't directly boost your survivability (except in a roundabout fashion).  If you are sticky enough to cause every enemy to attack you, no amount of damage return is going to save you if your actual survivability is low.  Rather than lumping survivability and damage reflection mechanics I think they be separated out.

Edit:  I do want to mention that my points are more nitpick than criticism, and as a whole I think this will be a truly epic collection of characters and concepts that will be a more useful resource then any other collection of characters on the board.
I know I didn't come up with a fancy name (I call him Super-Scrag after the character I based him on), but I've got a variant of Mr. Smith that looks like it works rather well. I don't get to daze with OAs in epic, but I've got slightly better defenses and a good capability to get some nasty damage off. The link is here.
Gah I hate seeing Catch 22 so many times in one post.  It's used incorrectly on the boards, and everytime I run across it I have to take a second and remind myself it actually means something different here.  I'm not trying to change it, that's an uphill battle I can't win.  Ah well.

I do like the deeper analysis of Defender's here, although I disagree on some of the way things are characterized.  While doing damage back to the enemy for attacking you (or even with mark punishment if they attack someone else) is useful towards ending the battle and I respect that it in a secondary fashion does reduce the damage intake of the battle, I don't think of that as a product of being a defender anymore than I think of the Leader roles damage as a way to end battles faster.  I see that extra damage as just increasing the overall strikerness of the team.

The defender role is about reducing damage and controlling the flow of incoming damage.  This overlaps somewhat with the controller role, but I do think that there are aspects of what a defender does that is more specialized and entirely separate.  A major factor of that is convincing or forcing enemies to attack the defender, another major factor of that is surviving it.  Reflected damage doesn't directly boost your survivability (except in a roundabout fashion).  If you are sticky enough to cause every enemy to attack you, no amount of damage return is going to save you if your actual survivability is low.  Rather than lumping survivability and damage reflection mechanics I think they be separated out.

Edit:  I do want to mention that my points are more nitpick than criticism, and as a whole I think this will be a truly epic collection of characters and concepts that will be a more useful resource then any other collection of characters on the board.


How is it you feel catch-22 is being misused? It means a no-win situation; or, "damned if you do, damned if you don't". It originates from a novel, and from that, here is the origin...

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle."

If he was sane, meaning he didn't want to go into danger, he had to go into danger. If he was crazy, meaning he didn't care about danger, he didn't have to go into danger..

As I see it being used on the boards here primarily, a defender sets up a similar situation for a target - he either wants to attack the defender but can't (or such an attack is made meaningless), or he wants to attack the defender's allies but can't (or such attacks bring him damage, status effects, or reduced damage to his target)... meaning he has no good choice.

I suppose it isn't 100% the same, but it is so similar that I don't see any rationale to complain about the usage.
Added a Glossary, with a dictionary definition of Catch-22.
Absolutely awesome.  Thanks, Alpha.
Great stuff Alpha. Pity this wasn't up before the WLMR nerf. I'll have to update my Swordmage Teleporter build and see if it can't reach these standards.
How is it you feel catch-22 is being misused? It means a no-win situation; or, "damned if you do, damned if you don't". It originates from a novel, and from that, here is the origin...

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle."

If he was sane, meaning he didn't want to go into danger, he had to go into danger. If he was crazy, meaning he didn't care about danger, he didn't have to go into danger..

As I see it being used on the boards here primarily, a defender sets up a similar situation for a target - he either wants to attack the defender but can't (or such an attack is made meaningless), or he wants to attack the defender's allies but can't (or such attacks bring him damage, status effects, or reduced damage to his target)... meaning he has no good choice.

I suppose it isn't 100% the same, but it is so similar that I don't see any rationale to complain about the usage.


Your quote is correct, but the terminology is generally used to describe a situation where you cannot succeed because you must have already succeeded to do so.  For instance, a Catch-22 situation could be the one I commonly used to run into with programming jobs.  They all seem to require 3 years of experience, but without being able to get a job I couldn't get the experience.

A D&D version would be if a Defender had 100 AC until someone hit his AC, at which point it would drop to 40.  Now the enemies are in a Catch 22, they can't reasonably do it until they've done it.  In the quoted example you used, by trying to prove his lack of sanity he proved his sanity.

Catch-22's refer to that exact idea, not to being forced to make a bad decision.  Even the glossary that was added to the post somewhat support the idea.  The monsters are not faced with an illogical or paradoxical situation.  It certainly isn't paradoxical, and while it isn't a good decision, the situation itself isn't illogical.  There are names for it, but I don't know any offhand, and none have the simplicity that makes the Catch-22 so prevalent.  As I said, it's an uphill battle of semantics, and I'll just have to adjust.
Pointless semantic discussion aside, what part of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" ISN'T paradoxical?
It doesn't put the monsters in a paradoxical position, it just puts them in a bad one.  Catch-22s are used to describe situations where you cannot make a choice or meet the requirements because it's generally so impossible or difficult to do so that it's paradoxial or illogical.  The monsters CAN still choose one or the other.  They're simply punished for doing so.

And yes, I'm sorry, I had no intention of derailing a good thread with an issue of semantics.  The Catch-22 things has been bothering me since I started lurking some time ago, and I had to get it out.  I'm all for dropping it now that I've got it out of my system.  I'm certainly not going to convince people to change it, and most people reading this will probably disregard what I've said as they will think I'm wrong anyway.

The important part of communication is making sure that the point is understood, and on these boards it's common enough that I don't think anyone is actually misunderstanding it, so there's no harm done even if I'm right (or wrong for that matter). 
It doesn't put the monsters in a paradoxical position, it just puts them in a bad one.  Catch-22s are used to describe situations where you cannot make a choice or meet the requirements because it's generally so impossible or difficult to do so that it's paradoxial or illogical.  The monsters CAN still choose one or the other.  They're simply punished for doing so.

And yes, I'm sorry, I had no intention of derailing a good thread with an issue of semantics.  The Catch-22 things has been bothering me since I started lurking some time ago, and I had to get it out.  I'm all for dropping it now that I've got it out of my system.  I'm certainly not going to convince people to change it, and most people reading this will probably disregard what I've said as they will think I'm wrong anyway.

The important part of communication is making sure that the point is understood, and on these boards it's common enough that I don't think anyone is actually misunderstanding it, so there's no harm done even if I'm right (or wrong for that matter). 


Catch-22 is used because it caught on, not because it's the most accurate description.  Technically, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" would be more accurate because it doesn't have the history that catch-22 does.  But no one is going to type that out every time they want to refer to it, especially in a thread title.  That's the first reason: use what people recognize, where reasonable (and no, I no longer consider frostcheese to be a reasonable title).

The second point is more simple: catch-22 has come to be used by the general populace(of the United States, I dunno about other English nations) to refer to ANY situation where all choices are bad.
So while you are definitely correct about the term's origins, common parlance has it used as we use it, so it is a legitimate term to use here.  
Sticklers don't like it when phrases or words change meaning or adopt new ones, but that doesn't change the fact that if you say "catch-22," the vast majority of people will recognize the way we are using it as valid.  Not because they are uneducated, but because that's how it's used.

It's kind of like "cool" which has very little to do with temperature anymore.

Edit: that's all I will say on the subject.  How willing you are to accept that Catch-22 now bears both its original meaning and a new, broader meaning in the eyes of the people is up to you, and I won't condemn you for your viewpoint.  Either way, Catch-22 is valid in the CO because it is a tagline that people recognize and will easily use. 
Sticklers don't like it when phrases or words change meaning or adopt new ones, but that doesn't change the fact that if you say "catch-22," the vast majority of people will recognize the way we are using it as valid.  Not because they are uneducated, but because that's how it's used.



This is so true. I'm sure most young people are unaware that the word 'gay' actually means 'to be happy', but eventually became a more common term to refer to someone who is homosexual. More recently it has become a term to verbally abuse people on the internet and I expect that the current understanding will eventually fade into the mists of time as the new version becomes more widely accepted.

Edit: As you also said about the difference of the meaning between England and the US is to look at the word ****. As far as I know over there you use generally use it as a derogatory term to refer to someone who is homosexual, however over here it is used as a nickname for a cigarette.

So if an Englishman asks you if he can 'Bum a ****' or mentions that he's 'Just going outside for a quick ****' please don't misunderstand Tongue out

"You keep saying that word.  I don't think it means what you think it means..."

Awesome builde collection/guide.  Definately gave me some ideas to work with.  I'd love to see this theme expanded and more detailed guides for specific role "builds".

This going to be added to the CharOp Wiki?

The usage of Catch-22 seems fine to me.  Language is a funny thing...

Idioms & Phrases
Catch-22


A no-win dilemma or paradox, similar to damned if I do, damned if I don't.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.


Edit: As you also said about the difference of the meaning between England and the US is to look at the word ****. As far as I know over there you use generally use it as a derogatory term to refer to someone who is homosexual, however over here it is used as a nickname for a cigarette.

So if an Englishman asks you if he can 'Bum a ****' or mentions that he's 'Just going outside for a quick ****' please don't misunderstand 



Completely off topic, but both the meanings of both the US and British "****" come from prety much the same place:  small pieces of wood that were called '****.'   The American usage comes from the fact that they used to burn homosexuals on them.   I've heard it was because they didn't think homosexuals deserved being burned at the state like heretics.
Your quote is correct, but the terminology is generally used to describe a situation where you cannot succeed because you must have already succeeded to do so.  For instance, a Catch-22 situation could be the one I commonly used to run into with programming jobs.  They all seem to require 3 years of experience, but without being able to get a job I couldn't get the experience.

I'm not sure where you picked up on that usage of the term, but it is in no way what I have experienced as the usage for the term. The quote I gave you is the actual origin of the term; between the title of the book and its them, plus that quote within the book which directly defined it... well there you get the term Catch-22.

In my personal experience, the actual usage of the term has not been altered from this original intent. When I hear someone talk about catch-22, they simply mean (as I said in my previous post) "damned if you do, damned if you don't" (referring to the catch that if you are sane, you're damned because you are forced to go into battle, if you're insane you're damned because you go into battle willingly).

A D&D version would be if a Defender had 100 AC until someone hit his AC, at which point it would drop to 40.  Now the enemies are in a Catch 22, they can't reasonably do it until they've done it.  In the quoted example you used, by trying to prove his lack of sanity he proved his sanity.

Catch-22's refer to that exact idea, not to being forced to make a bad decision.  Even the glossary that was added to the post somewhat support the idea.  The monsters are not faced with an illogical or paradoxical situation.  It certainly isn't paradoxical, and while it isn't a good decision, the situation itself isn't illogical.  There are names for it, but I don't know any offhand, and none have the simplicity that makes the Catch-22 so prevalent.  As I said, it's an uphill battle of semantics, and I'll just have to adjust.

While I believe your personal experience and belief of the meaning for the term is skewed, I'll agree that fighting battles such as these is . . . quixotic at best. I've run into so many perversions of terms and phrases that just irritate the hell out of me, but have made virtually no impact on the masses with all my efforts. I haven't given up yet, but I have learned to pick my battles...
@DM_Ken:  We're just interpreting the source text and usage differently I suppose.  My circle uses Catch-22 as I've described it exclusively.

Although I did remember the term we used for these situations, Sophie's Choice, it refers to having to choose between a set of horrible choices.  Given it's relatively terrible origins however Catch-22 just seems, nicer.

Edit:  Adding links to these two.  Not the most credible source, but it's the most accurate examples of how I've always seen the terms used.
www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=...

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=...

Anyway, how about them defenders?
Sophie's Choice, as per the Penny Arcade Guys:

www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/10/7/

I actually have been wondering about the wisdom of the "Catch-22" style of defending.

Using pre-nerf WLMR as an example, you get out of the realm of giving the monster no choice but bad ones, and quickly enter the state of actively pushing your marks onto your squishier allies.

If you punish your marked target no matter what he does, it makes sense that he would make the tactical decision to take out the source of damage (player) that is easiest to take down.


 


You want to make the decision less complicated then that.


 


If the monster attacks the defender, they are not taking down the source of most damage to them, which is bad.


 


However…


 


If the monster attacks the striker, then they will take enough damage from the defender that the defender is putting out striker like damage, and is less likely to hit because of the mark.


 


This is the type of Catch-22 you want to encourage.  If you are putting out striker level damage no matter what the target is doing, then you will be treated as a “beefier” striker, not as a defender.


 


The best marks are the ones that not only hurt your target when violated, but also put a status effect on the target that could prevent them from even reaching or hurting their target (fighter’s Combat Superiority or shielding swordmage’s Aegis).

This is the type of Catch-22 you want to encourage.  If you are putting out striker level damage no matter what the target is doing, then you will be treated as a “beefier” striker, not as a defender.


In general, the concern is not actually about the marked target. The concern is about who the enemies choose to try to focus fire on. When the Defender gets promoted to being a beefier striker, that's really bad for the enemies, because he is not the target of choice usually.

What most of the Ultimate builds do is attempt to be that beefier striker *and* really incapacitate the enemy when that happens.

As an example, my Ioun Grey Stone Marker build will get a combo of Combat Challenge, Blurred Step, Combat Superiority, Slide 6/Slow on a melee basic, and +3 total to all defenses against his marked target. It has an interrupt that gives +4 to defenses just in case his mark targets him. This all happens by 11th.


What's the good decision if you're marked by him? What's the good decision if you and your friend are marked by him? It isn't at all clear.
Im not sure what you are doing with that build to affect the ranged monsters.  Although it does a good job of defining the battle field front line, the lich standing behind his front line has full reign to go hog wild on your back line.

And if you are treated as a "beefier" striker, then it would make sence to attack the less beefy squishy behind you, as taking him down should be easier, and he is doing the same level of damage you are.

Also I'm not sure what the catch-22 is against your character unless I somehow have to go through you.  You are going to start out with the highest defences, and adding +7 to that makes you all but impossible to hit.  I would either attack the rogue standing behind me, or use one guy to engage you, while I move the entire rest of my team into position around you.
Im not sure what you are doing with that build to affect the ranged monsters.  Although it does a good job of defining the battle field front line, the lich standing behind his front line has full reign to go hog wild on your back line.

And if you are treated as a "beefier" striker, then it would make sence to attack the less beefy squishy behind you, as taking him down should be easier, and he is doing the same level of damage you are.

Also I'm not sure what the catch-22 is against your character unless I somehow have to go through you.  You are going to start out with the highest defences, and adding +7 to that makes you all but impossible to hit.  I would either attack the rogue standing behind me, or use one guy to engage you, while I move the entire rest of my team into position around you.



Melee basic that slides 6 and slows?

Your guy attacking the Rogue just lost his attack because he's no longer in melee range next to the Rogue via the Combat Challenge interrupt. If someone is next to me to try to keep me away from my desired target, I melee basic them and then they slide 6, end up next to my desired target(+any zones that might be in the way), slowed. I then move up to them both, use Battlemind's Demand to mark them both. Sure, I don't have the super defenses at that point, but I think my controller is going to be quite happy.

That's something really important about what my build does - when not doing the mark of death, he's consolidating the enemy into burst 1 formations and skittering them through zones...

And in any case, I have Lightning Rush - the guy in front of me who has the big penalty to attack me isn't at all likely to hit me on an OA - I can Lightning Rush around him to go after someone else...
Excellent guide. Defenders were the only character type I hadn't looked at until recently, but they're definitely one of the most fun.

 Next campaign I have a chance to, I'm planning on playing a Warforged Warden. Because what's more fun than surrounding yourself with difficult terrain, forcing the enemy to either attack you and miss (25+ AC at Level 6), or walk away from you and take an opportunity attack that will slow them? Nothing
I wish so many CO builds were not hybrids. I dislike Hybrid's so much.
I don't know if a statted out version is floating somewhere around there, but there's a variation on Davy Jones that has a little more defensive oomph:

Changes:

Dilettante: Eyebite, not Guiding Strike

Feats:
Bardic Dilettante->Beguiling Charm


This small alteration pretty much gaurantees the enemy setting off your mark (which heals on average and is therefore better than them attacking you which causes damage on average). With eyebite, the enemy is looking at -9 to hit you (invis, psychic lock, beguiling charm) and the usual other negatives to hit your ally. Food for thought.
Is Dr. No the Sigil Cartificer even legal? It has free feats, but no description as to why it gets them?
Is Dr. No the Sigil Cartificer even legal? It has free feats, but no description as to why it gets them?


In many home games, melee training and expertise feats are given to all characters for free to better balance the game and remove unfair feat taxes. For a stricter game, he would need to drop 2 feats somewhere.
I would say that any builds linked here should have at least a version of them that doesn't require house rules to function.  The CO board generally operates under the assumption of RAW.  Failing that, the link to it should mention that the build uses houserules to get everything.
I wish so many CO builds were not hybrids. I dislike Hybrid's so much.


Agreed, but since Hybrids get more options, can pick the better ones, and then gain the others from item properties/paragon paths later on, and can still MC to get a 3rd classes feats, something MCing can't ever fully get you.  This isn't saying that Hybrids need a nerf (ok, it is), but more that most MC options are horribly weak and only serve as a feat tax to create a combo or get a PP, much like True Believer was for the Pious Templar in 3.5 (among a multitude of others)

A good example of this is Vader, Swordmage Hybrid gets you useless swordbond and Mark 1/enc, Warlock hybrid gets you pack kickers and warlock curse, and you get the broken duo of Swordburst and Eldritch Strike as well as powers that Mark, Teleport, and give Temps; everything a defender could want.  You also get to use whatever implement you want from either class, which is basically a free feat or two.  Hybrid Talent gets you Warding, Twofold Pact gets you another At-Will, more kickers, and a Boon (it's actually better to have your first pact be the one you only want for a couple kickers like Star or Vestige), and an item gives you Shadow Walk.  You don't quite have the HP or Surges of a full Swordmage, you can't mark willy nilly, and you lose Prime Shot.  Not exactly a painful loss given the gain.

Part of the problem that I see with Hybrids currently is that the abilities you get versus the ones you have to pick Hybrid Talent for are not particularly balanced, some classes lose almost everything that makes them special (Warlords), while other classes lose nothing that can't be gained back (Swordmages).

That being said, a shielding Swordmage MC Warlock can be very viable, as can Battlemind MC Fighter (though I wouldn't do the reverse until we see Psionic Power or Dragon Articles make MC Battlemind worth it)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
I would say that any builds linked here should have at least a version of them that doesn't require house rules to function.  



I have to agree.  If houserules are allowed, it opens up a lot of different kinds of brokeness.  It also is frustrating to discover your new character can't do something you thought they could because the model you're basing things on was not following RAW.
Notes like build requirements and what levels they are effective at are things I've already been planning to include, once I find the time.  I request your patience.
Not a single Warden build up there, ouch. Might have to see what I can do about that.
Posted a thread proposing a distinction between sticky and lure.  I feel it's an important issue in how we discuss defender theory, so please head on over and give your 2 cents.


And in any case, I have Lightning Rush - the guy in front of me who has the big penalty to attack me isn't at all likely to hit me on an OA - I can Lightning Rush around him to go after someone else...




I actually hadn't considered Lightning Rush.  I have never played a Battlemind and neither have any of the people I have played with.  That one power really makes that build alot more tactical than I was giving it credit for.  Even if one monster can lure you away from the front line, you can use it to get back to it, as long as you and your team don't spread out too far.
I wish so many CO builds were not hybrids. I dislike Hybrid's so much.



I agree, which is why mine aren't.
Added Litigation's Inexhaustible Dragon Sovereign to the list.