Into The Breach: A Warlord Handbook

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Into The Breach: A Warlord Handbook


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With his army scattered in disarray, he fled up through the Eye of Tharsis and into the very bowels of the earth. I can hardly blame him. The sight of Alric hacking his way through the enemy, Balmung flashing in his hand, caused many of our own men to stand aside in awe. –Unnamed Narrator, Myth 2: Soulblighter

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
[...] Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
-Henry V, Henry V

In the middle of a furious battle, as arrows fly by and swords clash, a man stands alone, his eyes closed while his mind races. After a moment, he opens his eyes, and instructs his aide: “Tell the Fifth Batallion it is time to strike. The Scourge of Andural will be wiped off the face of the earth today”. Then, drawing his through brief, efficient orders.

In another place, another man battles an orc invasion, him and his companions the only hope of the small mining town of Menir’s Reach. Laughing, he engages another orc. A quick sidestep to the right, a feint to the left, and the deed is done: the orc steps backwards, clutching his throat as his life pours out of him. Grinning, he leads his friends forward, as he proclaims: “See! I told you they wouldn’t be a challenge! What kills one orc will kill a hundred!”. Inspired by his confidence and bravado, his allies charge forward, determined to obtain victory at any cost.


---


Welcome, everyone, to my humble attempt at creating an up-to-date Warlord Handbook. While the legendary Lordduskblade and SCRuLooSe have both done excellent, spectacular handbooks before me, they are somewhat out-of-date, and I believe that a new, fresher source of information is needed. Without further ado, let us proceed to the Handbook itself.


Rating Scheme:
Throughout the guide, I’ll use several different colors to denote the worth of different options. Each color means:



Red: This isn’t just a suboptimal option, it’s an actively bad one, and taking it when ANYTHING else is available is gimping your character. Avoid this like the plague.


Purple: Either suboptimal or very situational options. Taking this won’t kill you, but there’s always better options out there.


Black: Solid, dependable choices that you won’t regret taking. Nothing spectacular, but you’ll never hurt yourself badly, if at all if you take black options.


Blue: Very strong options, the kind that should always be considered. These have a lot going for them: not a single one of them will disappoint you, I guarantee that.


Sky Blue: Spectacular options, some of the best you can get. Taking a single one of these might significantly boost you character, and they will impress when the time comes to put them to the test.


Gold: What? Something above Sky Blue? How? Basically, gold options aren’t just good, or amazing: they’re mandatory. NOT taking this is nothing short of a severe gimp to the character, something you MUST get sooner or later. These are rare. Maybe one or two feats/powers/items/flying monkeys will be gold for each build, but whenever one of these pops up, TAKE IT.

Version History:
0.1: Created the Handbook, finished the mechanics overview and conundrums, finished the PHB and MP powers up to Heroic Tier.
0.2: Added the Paragon Tier of powers from PHB and MP, fixed massive formating errors.
0.3: Major power overhaul and general corrections. Added another good quote to the start of the guide.
0.7: All races added, most Dragon articles added.

Thanks to:
Lordduskblade, for all his amazing work and setting the groundwork for so many handbooks that came afterwards.


SCRuLooSe, for creating the first Warlord’s Hanbook ever.


Dictuum Mortum, who created the original color scheme that this handbook uses in a reworked form.


 




Logistics of War: Class Overview, Ability Scores, and Races


Baseline Mechanics:


HP, Surges, and Proficiency:

HP:
Merely standard. Not bad, but not spectacular either.

Healing Surges:
Again, standard for Strikers and Leaders. Nothing to go crazy about, but not as bad as a Wizard’s.

Weapon Proficiencies:
Much better. No military ranged options for free is a pity, but it’s not like you’re going to focus on those either.


Features:

Combat Leader:
Bonuses to initiative are always nice. Nice, but not vital or spectacular.

Inspiring Word:
Distinctly average as far as the Leader series goes…at first.

Commanding Presence:
Ahh, the meat of the class, the thing that defines it. The Warlord is unique in that, besides the two original V shaped build paths, it has two paths that play with traditional class building, one of them rarely requiring a secondary stat to be competitive, while the other one wants TWO secondary stats at a high level. The presences are:

Tactical Presence:
Hailed by many as the most powerful Leader ever since the beginning of the edition, the Tactical Warlord has since seen that domination challenged by other Leaders, but most still think it retains the crown. Battlefield repositioning, damage in some cases, the all-important Attack Bonus in most, and best of all, free actions to tip the action economy in the party’s favor, the Tactical Warlord can do it all. Except healing. Leave that to other Leaders…

Inspiring Presence:
…Such as this one. Originally, Inspiring Warlord were looked at with disdain, the younger, weaker, dumber little brother of the Tactical Warlord who had no niche it filled particularly well that someone else didn’t do better. Ever since Martial Power entered the mix, however, this build has done nothing but rise to heaven, becoming more and more competitive as time goes by. While still not quite at the level of the Tactical Warlord, who has also increased in power (though at a slower rate), the Inspiring Warlord is now a fearsome character in battle.

Bravura Presence:
Power at a price. That’s the motto of the Bravura Warlord, who specializes in taking gambles and testing his luck to come ahead. Due to how its powers work, the Bravura Warlord is easily the least stat-dependent presence of all, many time eschewing Charisma, it’s theoretical secondary, for a high Constitution. Therefore, it is particularly suited to those who wish to try unique trick builds, such as Polearm Gamblers, or those who like to take risks in exchange for a big payoff.

Resourceful Presence:
Now here’s an odd build. The Resourceful Warlord is, as far as I know, the only build that is intentionally made with the idea of splitting points between two secondary stats at the same time. In practice, it’s usually better to pick one of Intelligence or Charisma and focus on powers of that variety, and enjoy the advantages of another build thanks to its choice PP, the Infernal Strategist. Overall, the flexibility of the Resourceful Presence is excellent: it pushes it to a very strong blue, almost a Sky Blue rating in my opinion.


Ability Scores


Strength:
If you don’t hit, you simply are not getting your effects off and are consequently nothing more than a semi-squishy target for your enemies. Strength is easily the most important stat for a warlord, as it influences your hit chance, something you want to keep as high as possible for as long as you can.

Constitution: Solid, but it doesn’t add anything special to the class. Warlords are melee Leaders, and thus want some of this to hang tough in battle, but this is not a priority. The exception to this is Bravura Warlords: Since you’re going to take extra hits, more HP and surges is key.


Dexterity: The dump stat of this class. Besides some (admittedly nice) feat options, Dex adds nothing to your build that you couldn’t get elsewhere. If you want some, pick up just enough to get whatever feats you want –nothing more.

Intelligence: The secondary stat for Tactical Warlords and most Resourceful Warlords, as several of the latter build’s best options are Int based. For all but a handful of builds for either of those, a 16 Int post-racial is a bare minimum. Bravura and Inspiring Warlords have no need for this besides a couple feats, however.

Wisdom: The other potential dump stat. I consider it slightly better than Dex because it is the lynchpin of some weapon-based builds, but this doesn’t mean it’s not a very good dump either.

Charisma: The secondary ability of Inspiring Warlords and Bravura Warlords who choose to use their Charisma Riders, Charisma even has some excellent feats for Tactical and Resourceful Warlords. Additionally, it boosts many skills and your Will defense, two things that always come in handy.



Races
Races, PHB:

Dragonborn:
Perhaps the definitive Bravura Warlords, and some damn fine Inspiring Warlords too. With amazing feat support, doubly matching stats, and good racial features, you can’t ask for much more than this.


Dwarf: +2 Con is nice, but +2 Wis ain’t that good. The racial features are good, and they don’t make half bad Bravura Warlords, but not having matching stats hurts Dorfs in my opinion.


Eladrin:
The +2 Dex is almost worthless, but oh my, this race has so much and so awesome feat and PP support. Many of the best Taclord options, such as the Spiral Tactician PP, are only available to Eladrins, and while not having Str as a bonus stat sucks, the rest is so good I’ve no choice but recommend it.

Elf: Two dump stats, many strikerish features, and not particularly spectacular feat support. Elven Accurracy is golden, of course, and that alone pushes it out of the red, but this is still not a spectacular choice.

Half-Elf: +2 to Con ain’t too shabby, and +2 to Cha is excellent for Bravura and Inspiring Warlords, of course, but the real bonus of this race is in its feats. In particular, I’m talking about Versatile Master, which lets you trade one of your at-will powers for that of another class. I don’t think the power of this needs to be discussed in detail, considering it’s the selling point of Paragon Multiclassing. A Warlord with something like Righteous Brand is a very scary thing, indeed.


Halfling: +2 Cha is nice, of course, the feat support is mostly there, and Second Chance is amazing, but +2 Dex does nothing for you and being Small hurts your weapon selection, something that closes several options to you. Good, but not amazing as I see it.

Human: Only one stat, but you get to place it where you want it to be, and an extra feat and a +1 bonus to defenses are quality stuff. The real bonus here is the extra at-will, though. Warlords crave options more than almost any other class, and an extra at-will increases your options tenfold. That what feat support there is (WotC seems to believe Action Surge is enough to compensate for not getting a single usable offensive feat for non-arcane characters ever) is quite good only sweetens the deal.

Tiefling: The Resourceful Warlord par excellence, Tieflings get terrific feat support, good PP options, and of course, double secondary stat bonuses. I think those who preceded me said it best: “When you’ve got a square hole and no squares pegs left, a triangle peg fits best”. The only reason they don't get a Sky Blue rating is that they lack a way to compensate for not having a Str boost, but other than that, extremely good.



Races, PBHII:


Deva: Think of an Elf with a stat that actually helps some warlord builds and better feat support. That's the Deva, in a nutshell.


Gnome: Gnomes are kinda funny. They really, really try to be a viable alternative to halflings, but they have less support, a less useful stat allocation, and a racial powerset that doesn't mesh with the stats.


Goliath: Goliaths are mostly intended to be Big Stupid Fighters, but they actually make for pretty good Warlords. Their feats are generic but solid, their racial power is excellent, and they have an all-important Strength bonus. If they had good Warlord-specific feats, they might even hit Sky Blue.


Half-Orc: Half orcs don't really have anything that makes them amazing warlords. They have a bonus to Strength, which helps, but that's about it.


Longtooth Shifter: Passable, due to a strength bonus and a kickass racial power.


Razorclaw Shifter: Terrible, due to lacking the stuff mentioned above.



Races, Forgotten Realms Player's Guide:


Drow: You get a boost to Charisma, but Dexterity is useless for you and Llothtouched, the power that defines this race, doesn't really help Warlords.


Genasi: Very few races are as well suited to be Taclords or Intelligent Resourceful Warlords as the Genasi. With ideal stat boosts and good feats and powers (especially the Stormsoul, Watersoul, and Windsoul's), they're very well suited for the role.



Races, Eberron Player's Guide:


Changeling: The ex-Doppelgangers have a pretty good setup for the rare breed that is the balanced Resourceful Warlord, and their racial power, while fluffy, is amazing for a Warlord who can use his head. Overall, while not stellar at anything, this is a very solid race.


Kalashtar: They have a bonus to Charisma, but Dex is a dumpstat and their feat support isn't exactly stellar. Solid, but nothing spectacular, really.


Warforged: An excellent choice for a Warlord, as they get a bonus to their main stat, and their feat support is second to none. Not having ideal stats or a feat that SCREAMS "This is a warlord feat that you WILL take!" is the only thing that keeps them from Sky Blue, but they're really good regardless.

Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).

Battlefield Conundrums: Frequent Warlord Dilemmas


There’s a number of questions you need to answer when playing a warlord, most of which are likely to greatly influence your build choices. Below, I’ve compiled a number of them and tried to answer them to the best of my ability. Keep in mind that I am not infallible: in fact, you could say I’m a distinctly average optimizer. The reason I feel compelled to tackle these questions is that, while I can’t hit targets others can’t see, I’m very good at preserving records of what others have done, AKA I’ve lurked many threads and participated in many discussions. Additionally, if this helps a newbie warlord, I feel that this handbook will have done it’s job, even if everything else has failed.




Dilemma #1: What Build Should I play?


Ah, the first question we all ask ourselves when surveying every class. As you probably suspect, the first thing I have to make clear is that there’s no right answer here. The warlord is luckily one of the few classes who have many different builds, all of relatively equal strength, and all quite different. With that said, here’s my opinion on the matter.


As you might have noticed while reading the Class Overview, I am somewhat biased towards Tactical Warlord. Being the type of player who is an obsessive wargame fan (and having actually invented a couple minor wargames for private use), the sheer variety of options of this build appeals to me. That most of them are very powerful is just icing on the cake.


The Bravura Warlord is up next. Similarly to the Taclord, the Bravolord’s gambles are something that is extremely enticing, and I tend to mix a dash of Bravolord powers into most every build I make. That they can be flexible thanks to not needing to pump a secondary stat sky high is also quite nice, and opens up some combos that you’d be strained to pull off with a Taclord or Bardlord (that’s the Inspiring Warlord, in case you’re wondering).


Speaking of which, the Bardlord is interesting. It used to be the most “vanilla” Warlord, i. e. one that preferred defensive buffs and healing over offensive buffs and repositioning, and this first impression left me with a distaste for it. This is due to how most of it's powers were reactive, not proactive. However, post-MP, the Inspiring Presence found its niche, providing multiple Charisma-based bonuses, the classic one being +Cha to damage. That, plus some absolutely amazing Inspiring-only powers make this a very good option right now.


Lastly, there’s the Resourceful Warlord. Haven’t you ever felt like you wanted to try two characters at once? The Reslord can do that, in a way. Its buffs are somewhat less potent than the Bardlord or Taclord’s but it makes up for it big time with how it almost always has a trump card for every situation by utilizing the multiple options powers like Instant Planning give it, and being capable of cherrypicking powers from other presences thanks to their main PP. They take some time to get used to, but once you get the hang of them, Reslords can almost always hit an enemy’s weakspot…FOR MASSIVE DAMAGE. Meme aside, this is no joke, as the damage bonus Reslords provide to AP-fueled novas is massive, on the order of 30ish extra points a hit. Combined with a multiattack, it makes them capable of absolutely ridiculous damage novas.




Dilemma #2: Which Weapon Should I choose?


Heh, what a tough question. Debates rage to this day over what style a warlord should use. While something resembling a consensus has been reached, the answer isn’t truly set in stone. Let’s get out the obvious things first.


First off, Warlords should NEVER pick a +2 weapon. I’m serious here: damage is merely a nice bonus for your powers, hitting and applying the riders is what counts. High accurracy options beat the stuffing out of low accurracy ones in the Warlord’s case. This is not up for debate.


Next, Bravolords tend to prefer leading from the front while Reslords like leading from the back. This is because Bravolords usually have to expose themselves to make their powers work, while Reslords like doing their thing uninterrupted. This doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a polearm and swing it around as a Bravolord, or that a Reslord is “doing it WRONG!” when he hacks enemies to pieces with a fullblade, but keep in mind that some of your powers will prefer certain ranges.


The next part is somewhat less certain, but still somewhat accepted. Bardlords like leading from the front like Bravura Warlords, as some of their powers are close bursts, and they can divert some attention from the big meatshields and dispense their healing efficiently.


And then, we reach a big debate on which nobody can agree on: what should Taclords use? Lately, there’s been a movement towards Reach Weapons due to Commander’s Strike and other similar powers, but I say bollocks to that. Taclords, in my opinion, take a page from the Bravolord book, and should ALWAYS play to the strengths of their party. Therefore, being up close and personal and attracting attacks your defender buddies can punish while diverting attention from the strikers is something I consider wise. Of course, if your party doesn’t have a defender who can punish attacks heavily (looking at YOU, Assault Swordmage), your natural frailty can make you bite the dust, but in general, I think Taclords should try to melee and hit the enemies themselves, instead of just having others attack. Which leads us to the next dilemma…




Dilemma #3: Should Taclords prioritize Intelligence over Strength?


Did you think the other dilemma was complicated and debated? It has nothing on this. For a long, long, LONG time this has been discussed, and no consensus has been reached as of yet. My opinion on this is as such:


For a while, this WAS the best option, and obviously still is for races like the Eladrin. However, recently, feats and other options have come out that have made ultra-high INT less useful. For instance, what is the difference between a +9 bonus to hit and a +12? Unless you’re incredibly outmatched, either of them is an instant 95% hit rate.


Further, is a small extra effect worth that much over to-hit? Sure, Commander’s Strike is awesome and we all love it, but is adding an extra point of damage or two worth sacrificing you ability to hit with everything else? The selling point of Commander’s Strike is capitalizing on the buffs you place down an extra time or two, not building up damage by the bucketload. The increase you can hand out can be quite noticeable, so a Taclord with a high Int will definitely do better than one with a slightly lower one in the at-will front.


And lastly, there’s the issue of encounter and daily powers. Yes, you’ll grant an extra +1 or +2 with Warlord’s Favor or Lead The Attack, but those are now more likely to miss, leaving you with a grand old +0 when you needed that bonus the most. Even so, a 65% chance to add a +5 bonus tends to beat a 70% chance to add a +4. The situation changes, however, when you consider how many spectacular powers care not a whit for your Int. Powers such as Hail of Steel, Warlord’s Doom, or Diabolic Stratagem are all winners that couldn’t care less about things such as Int bonuses or the like.


Therefore, my verdict on this issue is this one: Int is, right now, about as important to Taclords as it Strength is, possibly even moreso at low levels. As you climb in level, however, Int becomes less important, as more and more non-Int options that you really want surface. Thus, at Epic, Int is less important than Str, while the opposite is true in Heroic (and possibly Paragon).


And with that, enough rambling. On to the powers, the meat of the class!

Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
General's Orders: Warlord Powers

Skirmishing Tactics: Heroic Tier


At-Will Powers
Level 1 Powers, At-Will:

Heh, we’re barely starting and the good stuff is already beginning to show. Let’s take a look here.

Commander’s Strike:
Ahh, good ol’ CS, perhaps the most overhyped power ever. This is not to say the hype is unwarranted, mind: this IS an excellent, versatile power, just that all the raving about it has exaggerated its worth to the point it seems like Gold is too little for it. Still, giving a teammate a free attack is quality, especially with a bonus tacked on top. An excellent choice for Taclords and Reslords, and the Number 2 power for many builds.

Furious Smash:
If CS got overhyped as time went by, this power got buried. While admittedly it’s not as good as it seems at first glance (most damage bonuses are gone due to not having an attack roll, targeting Fort is worse than targeting AC most of the time), this is still a +Stat bonus to damage AND attack rolls, and that’s something nothing can take from it. A good choice for Bardlords and Bravolords who go with the Charisma route.

Viper’s Strike:
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, that’s the premise behind this power. And I can’t deny it works. This isn’t QUITE as good as having a fighter, and is obviously not as good if there’s one pressuring the enemy already, but getting to smack your foe for doing anything but staying in a bad position and fighting can’t be anything but good.

Wolf Pack Tactics:
For some reason, some people now consider this power a third choice, sometimes a fourth. This I’ll never understand. Increasing the mobility of a teammate is HUGE. This lets you set up flanking, which grants CA to both the flankers and those with Distant Advantage in the ranged crowd, it lets you sneak a barb or fighter into a crowd to wreck the enemy with a burst attack, it lets you bail out a rogue who got in too deep from trouble…the uses are endless. Take this every time…

Opening Shove (MP):
…Unless you’re going to take this. First off, doesn’t this SCREAM Resourceful Warlord? Two options, both of them excellent, it’s accurrate, and all you give up is damage. That’s and not being as consistently generally useful as CS or WPT are the power's only holdups, as it's otherwise very good and even open to push hijinks. Either this or WPT are good second choices, but don’t take both of them. After all, that’s a bit like picking up another Procol Harum album after A Whiter Shade of Pale, and honestly, who does that? :P

Br
ash Assault (MP): An easy contender for “most situational power ever”, Brash Assault is heavily dependent on your DM. If he likes to play recklessly or to play dumb monsters dumb, and if your party has a good Basic Attacker, this power is an excellent pick. If he’s cautious or you don’t have one, it’s garbage. It’s honestly THAT variable, though there’s one feat that makes it a lot more dependable…

Rousing Assault (Player's Handbook Heroes, Series 1): This is an interesting power. Besides the obvious applications ("Heals a little bit more on Inspiring Word, will ya?"), this power has other, more interesting uses. In particular, it absolutely shines when used in conjunction with mass-healing powers. Stand Tough is a good example of a power that MASSIVELY benefits from Rousing Assault. It requires tailoring a bit of your build to it, but this power can be quite useful.

Inevitable Wave (Player's Handbook Heroes, Series 2): This power is binary: if your party doesn't really do charging, it blows. If there's a charger or you have the right powers to go with it, it's BRILLIANT. A perfect example of this is Lambs To The Slaughter. Combine this with that power, and enemies well into paragon tier are going to get razed by the daily. Bottom line: if there's someone who likes charging in your party, this power is excellent. If not, skip it.


Level 1 Encounter Powers
Level 1 Powers, Encounter:

Here’s where each Warlord begins to differentiate himself. The options are all still very good for the most part, but now your Presence starts being important.

Guarding Attack:
I honestly didn’t know this power existed until I found it in the PHB. It ain’t bad, for sure (the big AC bonus opens up delicious movement hijinks), but it isn’t as good as the standouts that conform the rest of the level.

Hammer and Anvil:
And so we see the first of many free attack powers. These boys basically forfeit special conditions and buffs for giving a friend (or several) the chance to whack an enemy around. This one, while pretty basic, is nonetheless very useful, as it’s accurrate, adds damage, and has a good rider. A very good choice for the Bardlord or the Bravolord, IMO.

Leaf on The Wind:
This one, meanwhile, is the first Firefly reference tucked into a power, which was even reused for the Monk. :P

Aside from that, this power is…meh. Swapping places with the target ain’t that hot unless you got trapped in a 1-square wide alley and your buddy or you are about to be massacred by combo attacks. Sure, the damage is nice, but that’s all this power has going for it.


Warlord’s Favor:
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the defining Taclord power. This baby is probably the thing that converted us all to the Taclord when the PHB first came out, and it’s still as good today. EVERY Taclord takes this, and keeps it for a damn long time, because guaranteeing another ally a hit with an encounter or daily power is absolutely amazing. Join the crowd, we’ve got a spot waiting for you!

Hammer Formation (MP):
This would be good, but then you realize it has a craptastic weapon requirement and it suddenly doesn’t look so hot anymore. The very nice Reslord rider keeps it away from purple, but it’s certainly not too impressive.

Myrmidon Formation (MP): Same as above, ‘cept the requirement isn’t as bad but the rider isn’t as good. You’d be hard-pressed to find a power that defines Middle Tier better than this one: No great strengths, and no outstanding weaknesses.

Nimble Footwork (MP):
Jeeze, what’s with MP and the underwhelming powers? This is like a double WPT in almost all senses, except it doesn’t impress because an encounter power should do more than this. If this had Opening Shove’s shift + the normal shift for you, then we’d be cooking, but as-is this is just outshined.

Diabolic Stratagem (Dragon 369): What a nice power. It's definitely a gamble, as you have to take a hit for it to trigger, but it's accurrate, it's setup is easy to trigger (just sacrifice your OA and take a move action next to the target)
, and multiple focused attacks can shred a foe at the level you get it. Before the second Warlord article came out, this used to be a nearly de-facto choice for several warlord for the level 3 Encounter slot.

Coordinated Offensive (Dragon 381):
Even at this level, just a normal shift and a conditional bonus to your attack roll doesn't cut it. Skip.

Provocative Order (Dragon 381): One ally gets to charge and adds a W to their damage, which is a pretty decent boost at this level. Good enough.


Level 1 Daily Powers
Level 1 Powers, Daily:

Weird bunch. The first gold, but it goes way down to purple too. Still, this set is pretty solid, and this is a placeholder description considering how Dragon makes this into a very good set of dailies.

Bastion of Defense:
Nice. This power doesn’t wow, and never will, but getting two decent bonuses that affect several party members has to count for something. That it has 3 W is also pretty good.

Lead The Attack:
If Warlord’s Favor made everyone like the Taclord, this power converted them into fanatics. Few powers of any level swing fights as much as this one does, letting allies make very short work of a tough enemy. It takes until level 25 for anything even close to it to show up, and even then a replace is unlikely until level 29. This baby is THAT GOOD.

Pin The Foe: Meh, like Viper’s Strike minus punishing the enemy for taking the wrong choice. Good damage, but that’s about it for this one.

White Raven Tactics: Fun repositioning hijinks, and hey, it’s another reference to The Best 3.5 Book! It even has a nice miss effect! If Pin The Foe is a weak black, this is a strong one. I’d almost say it pushes blue, if it weren’t for the fact that Bastion of Defense makes it look weakish.

Calculated Assault (MP):
*Sigh* And the underwhelming MP power parade continues. Why you’d take this when it isn’t even a full-party buff is beyond me. Gets a point for Reliability, but everything else is uninspiring.

Concentrated Assault (MP):
Aha, now we’re cooking. At last, an MP power that is unquestionably good. Free attacks are always good, and near-guaranteed hits with extra damage on top along with a nice, powerful smack is all very nice for piling on the burst damage. Consider this the Bastion of Defense of Intelligence Warlords: a bunch of nice little effects that, stacked together, make the end product better than each buff would be individually.

Fearless Rescue (MP):
See, now this here power is one that defines situational. It’s actually pretty good, but it’s trigger is pretty punishing right now, and at level 1, if you take OA’s to boost the healing, “you gon’ get wrecked, mah boy”. If only it’s trigger was damage instead of unconsciousness…but alas.

Lead By Example (MP):
Blargh. This power IS BETTER BY MISSING. I’m not sure what to say here. Seriously, when a power is better when you miss you know something’s wrong. If the miss effect weren’t so nice, this’d be the first Red ever, and hell, I’m still tempted to give it that rating.

Lamb To The Slaughter (Dragon 381):
Excellent. Reliable, accurrate, and it gets you up to THREE attacks at level 1. THREE! That's enough to DESTROY several monsters! If you're not a Taclord, this is the power to pick at this level.


Level 2 Utility Powers
Level 2 Powers, Utility:

Only utility powers this level, and they ain’t half-bad. Some stinkers, yes, but some gems too.

Aid The Injured: I think my handbook-making peers were too harsh on this power in their previous handbooks. Yes, a standard action is a steep cost, but a downed ally is an even steeper one. At this point, extra healing can’t hurt, so it’s not a bad pick. That said, it’s prime fodder for retraining when better options show up.

Crescendo of Violence:
Just as situational as Fearless Rescue, but worse. Skip it.

Knight’s Move:
Whoa, nice! Once you get into position, it’s unlikely you’ll need to move that much. This power capitalizes on that, letting squishy characters make moves that normally would cost them with impunity, knowing you can bail them out later. Overall, a very flexible power, one which can even be used to smack enemies if the chosen ally happens to have a minor action attack power.

Shake It Off: The first in a long line of save-granting powers, this is solid but not spectacular. That’s kind of the problem that plagues most of these powers, actually: being sorta limited AND reactive, they aren’t too impressive. As a history lesson, this was kind of the Bardlord’s schtick before MP hit the shelves, and it earned him a bad rap. Thankfully good options came out and rectified that.

Adaptive Stratagem (MP):
Sort of like Shake It Off, but less situational and handing out TWO nice bonuses if you’re a Reslord. Damn good power, allowing very heavy damage spikes, particularly for Taclords, who don't get much in that department most of the time.

Covering Maneuver (MP): Free shifting is always good, and marking an enemy ain’t bad either. It’d need something more to push it over the edge, but it’s still a fairly strong, solid Black power regardless.

Heroic Effort (MP): Absolutely awesome power name (For those who don’t know, in the Warlords PC series, when your hero kills a TON of units, you’ll gain extra XP and a voice will congratulate you by saying “That was a heroic effort!”), but a mediocre effect. An encounter-long damage buff is nice, I guess, but it puts you, the healbot, at risk, which is a double-edged sword.

Inspired Belligerence (MP):
Garbage in most cases, but absolutely glorious for the Bardlords, the people SUPPOSED to use it. The moment this goes off, most enemies’ life expectancy will be shortened considerably, because there’s no better time to pile up on one enemy than when this power’s working. The best pick of the level for Bardlords.

Motivated Recovery (MP): Fairly nice bonus, but the ally has to be bloodied and has to have spent their second win, something you probably won’t see at this level. There’s better choices right now, but the sheer power when it works correctly can’t be ignored.

Reckless Opportunity (MP):
Meh, this just doesn’t do it for me. Spending an encounter power for CA is not my idea of a good trade unless I get to deliver like three times my normal damage if I have it.

Repositioning Command (MP):
The problem with these shifting powers is that they assume all allies have a better spot to move to with a shift. They don’t. No reason to make the wizard shift from one out-of-danger spot to another one once per day.

Rub Some Dirt On It (MP): Sure, this is a fairly minor boost, but it’s cheap at the price of one minor action and it can help you or the tank stay alive for a turn. Not bad at all.


Level 3 Encounter Powers
Level 3 Powers, Encounter:

Pre-Dragon, this is a very meh-ish level, to the point taking another level 1 power ain’t a bad idea. Post Dragon, some good stuff is now available, turning this level into a much better one.

Hold The Line:
Forced movement immunity is cool, but the ally has to be adjacent and the damage is underwhelming.

Inspiring War Cry: After some consideration, I've decided to change my stance on this power. While MAS isn't as good as other benefits, some enemies can debuff you extremely hard if they strike your party members, and Inspiring War Cry helps shake that off.

Steel Monsoon: See Repositioning Command, only this time you get some damage to make it slightly less underwhelming and offset the cost of an encounter slot.

Warlord’s Strike:
Lead The Attack for damage rolls. Not bad! A very good choice, this can help shorten encounters considerably.

Bloody Ending (MP):
Nice damage, and it’s a mini-Lead The Attack. The trigger is kind of annoying, but still, very nice combination of effects!

Dicey Predicament (MP): The trigger is annoying once again, and the riders aren’t that good, but it’s not bad either.

Flattening Charge (MP): Hitting Fort is a no-no, but having a pseudo at-will encounter power ain’t bad either. Also, this has the novely of being one of very few encounter powers with a Miss effect.

Follow Me In (MP): Nice bonus for a party with, say, a barb or a fighter, and the damage isn’t bad. A stronger black than most, but still no match for some of the other options of the level.

Shielded Retaliation (MP):
If this power only required provoking an OA, it'd be very good. But it needs a hit, and thus the best you can do is break even using it. Bad.

Devastating Offensive (Dragon 381):
At this level, two hits plus minor repositioning is beastly, even though this is just a new version of Hammer and Anvil for a different crowd. If you are a Tactical or Resourceful Warlord, don't think twice about taking this.


Road To Victory (Dragon 381): Granting free movement when you heal is pretty nice, but the rest of the power is rather lacklustre, and certainly doesn't even compare to Devastating Offensive.


[sblock=Level 5 Daily Powers]Level 5 Powers, Daily:

Nice batch here. Some filler’s cluttering things up and there’s the first red ever here, but for the most part the powers are good, a welcome relief after the very lacklustre Level 3.

Stand The Fallen:
So good, even a Taclord or Intelligence Reslord should consider it. There’s nothing particularly special going for it past the base effect, but when said effect is so good, who cares?

Turning Point:
Ugh. MAS was only decent as an encounter or utility power, and would be hard pressed to gain a black as a level 1 daily. As a level 5, it’s completely unacceptable. Get this trash out of here and let us never use a MAS-only power again.

Villain’s Nightmare: Acurrate, and it can REALLY screw an enemy up if there’s a good defender on standby, especially if it’s a fighter and you cancel the enemy’s movement after it moves a square and the fighter whacks it. Not as amazing as it’s Fighter Villain counterpart, but still quite good.

Pike Hedge (MP): The weaker, kiddie version of Polearm Gamble, and it’s not up to snuff IMO. It IS extra damage for cheap, sure, but with stuff like Stand The Fallen around, you need more than that to impress.

A Rock And A Hard Place (MP):
Nerfed to oblivion by errata updates, along with the stance fighter.

Scent of Victory (MP): Shoot, so close to greatness…the bloodied requirement lowers its effectiveness drastically, but even so, this daily can create a glorious party nova. It just needs to be used at the right moment.

Situational Advantage (MP): The heavy thrown requirement come back, and once again it fails to impress, though it’s improved a lot and very nearly hits the mark. It’s not bad at all, but the weapon requirement is annoying. Reslords should heavily favor this if they have a lot of weapon users in their party, as the bonus they give becomes magnificent in that case.

Staggering Spin (MP):
Tricky to set up, and targeting Fort is bad as usual, but done correctly this can cut an encounter’s duration in half. Can be really powerful if pulled off successfully.

Bait The Hook (Dragon 381): A nova signal for an ally. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rousing Call (Dragon 381): Compared to Stand The Fallen, this is just sad. Skip it.
[sblock]


Level 6 Utility Powers
Level 6 Powers, Utility:

A solid batch this time. Nothing reaches the heights of greatness (one power USED to, but it got nerfed into oblivion), but there’s some hella good stuff here anyways.

Guide The Charge:
Too minor a bonus for such a situational thing, really. If it was open to more stuff, things would be different.

Inspiring Reaction:
Now THIS is what I’m talking about! Most reactive powers aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny how useful reactive healing is. A power to pick up if your party members have a tendency to get pummelled.

Quick Step: The bonus is kinda minor, but hell, it’s encounter-long. Hard to deny you’ll find some uses for that.

Stand Tough:
Surgeless healing is good healing, especially if it’s party-wide. It’s a little on the weak side for being a daily, but this still refreshes allies nicely while only costing a minor action and a utility power. You would probably do well by replacing this at level 10 when Bolstering Shout and Defensive Rally become available to something like Rousing Words, though.

Encouraging Stance (MP):
Turn a bloodied ally into a Battlerager 2.0, basically. I think you can see how this kicks all kinds of ass.

Forward Observer (MP):
Ultra-underwhelming, but it’s still at-will. Still, not something I’d pick up.

Guileful Switch (MP): This power USED to be godly, and an instant gold, but WotC nerfed it hard. Now it’s merely a decent power.

Phalanx Formation (MP): Does this bring back Sacrifice memories for anyone else? Anyway, it’s a cute and useful bonus, not great but not terrible either, and always useful. Not much more you can say about it.

Rousing Words (MP):
HOLY TORINO, that’s a lot of healing! THIS is what healing powers are about: cheap, reusable, and heals a CRAPTON of HP, especially if you’re a Bardlord. Nice!

Tactical Supervision (MP): Not particularly stunning due to Guide The Charge Syndrome, but the bonus is way, WAY better. Plus, it combo’s wonderfully with Follow Me In, so that’s something.

Tempting Target (MP): Compared to Encouraging Stance, getting CA is totally underwhelming, but this ain’t bad. Just…uninspiring.

Polearm Vault (Dragon 369):
Moving through difficult terrain unhindered is nice, and going past enemies is pretty good, but at this point you have some REALLY GOOD choices that mesh directly with your role. Skip, I say.

Leader's Intercession (Dragon 381):
Why would you want to take the hit instead of just healing it with another power?

Stand Fast (Dragon 381): Can really throw a monkey wrench into the plans of an enemy group that abuses forced movement. Otherwise, it's a nice power, if a bit situational.


Level 7 Encounter Powers
Level 7 Powers, Encounter:

Woohoo! EXCELLENT batch this time, including the second gold! Let’s jump right into them!

Lion’s Roar: Nice damage + Healing is a nice setup. That it has a rider is icing on the cake. Not amazing, but you could do far worse than pick this power.

Sunder Armor:
Also known as Pileup Signal, this power is a very nice opening move to get rid of an enemy quickly if you have a party capable of attacking multiple times per turn. Otherwise, it's merely decent.

Surprise Attack:
A free autohit is a free autohit is a free autohit, etc. This is a bit of a striker power in disguise, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

Surround Foe:
Grrr, and we were having such a nice streak. Totally boring and weak power, nothing work picking considering all the good stuff on this level.

Deadly Returns (MP):
Like Surprise Attack, minus the guaranteed hit, plus 1 W and discouraging retaliation. I think they’re about even, but YMMV. It DOES require some setting up, though, and it's somewhat easy to foil it, though it's still very much worth it if you can prepare it correctly.

Phalanx Assault (MP):
I liked this a lot better when it was a stance and didn’t eat up a precious encounter slot on a really good level. This might have been good at Level 3, but at 7 it’s just annoying.

Provoke Overextension (MP):
A gamble that’s guaranteed to succeed. I like this idea a lot. Incidentally, if you hadn’t noticed, this is the level where all the extra attack powers begin to show up, and, as you can see, these are amongst the best a warlord has.

Sacrificial Lure (MP):
A minor penalty in exchange for good damage and an attack roll buff? Sign me up!

Stirring Force (MP):
While I prefer to leave save-making to items, it's hard to deny that two or three saves can throw a monkey wrench into a controller's plans. Decent pick.

War Of Attrition (MP):
What a way to finish a spectacular level. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The Bardlord power to end all Bardlord powers. For a turn, all your allies get to see their at-wills turned into fantastic killing machines. Priceless, a bonafide classic.

Withering Courage (Dragon 381):
If your allies pile up on the target, he's basically useless for the duration of the turn. How many times are your allies going to be capable of piling up like that before the target acts, though?


Level 9 Daily Powers
Level 9 Powers, Daily:

As a cap to the daily fun for Heroic, a bunch of powers that really begin to show you what a Warlord can do. Could you ask for more?

Iron Dragon Charge:
Until the end of the encounter, two attacks for the price of one assuming you zip around like a squirrel. Excellent in spite of the obvious drawback. Simply magnificent if a Shielding Swordmage is watching your back.

Knock Them Down:
Remember what I said in the level introduction? I was talking about this mean old man. Good damage, good repositioning (AT LAST!), and an encounter-wide debuff. What more could you ask for?

White Raven Strike: After the awesomeness of Iron Dragon and Knock Them Down, this power has a distinctly underwhelming vibe. THP ain’t what it used to be now that Skeletal Tomb Guardians are starting to show up, to name one monster who’ll eat through the THP in a flash.

Blood Designation (MP):
Pfft, don’t gimme this drek after the two opening powers. It’s not worthy of a level 5 spot, let alone of competing with those two giants.

Denying Mark (MP):
A massive return to form after Blood Designation, this can totally cripple a solo or elite. Sure, they’ll save soon, but even one turn where the pummelling is reduced will have a huge effect most of the time.

Disheartening Flurry (MP):
Way too weak to do much at this point. I suppose it’s better than Blood Designation, but not by much.

Stay on Target (MP):
The Heavy Thrown series finally gets vindicated by an excellent power, which allows for a bunch of hits that are relatively easy to set up and get a nice buff to top it all off. I’m impressed by how far this set has come. What a bunch of troopers! Keep in mind that heavy party coordination is required to make it worth, though. When it does, expect dead enemies, however.

Warlord’s Recovery (MP):
Can be killer, can be a waste. Totally party-dependent, but when it works, it works big time.

Caging Glaive (Dragon 369):
Just slowing and granting CA as your last Heroic Tier daily? How about no.

Awakened Wrath (Dragon 381): Situational, and attacking different enemies isn't that hot. Skip.

Teachable Moment (Dragon 381): Throughout the duration of the encounter, every single attack you make becomes a mini-buff. Very good IMO.


Level 10 Utility Powers
Level 10 Powers, Utility:

The last hurrah before Paragon, the utility powers also finally show their chops here, with a bunch of them being extremely good picks even when in Epic. Without further ado…

Defensive Rally:
Piling up nearly all the defensive bonuses I can think of into a single power is a recipe for an instant classic. While this doesn’t QUITE deliver, it’s still very good and a solid choice.

Ease Suffering:
ARGH. This is it. This is the one dude that always crashes the party and ruins the fun for everyone. Among a set of decent-to-spectacular powers, you’ve got this major stinker. Get this outta here, NOW.

Tactical Shift:
Once per day, screw over an enemy by taking one of their bigger powers and making them waste it. Nice tradeoff.

Bolstering Shout (MP):
Finally, a power to make all those Second Winds viable. This was long overdue, I say, but now it’s here and it works.

Instant Planing (MP):
Let’s see…choose between a big bonus to attack rolls, a big bonus to speed, or a big bonus to defenses. Instant Planning? More like Instant Awesomeness IMO.

Marked Revelation (MP):
I lied. Ease Suffering isn’t the only party crasher. This sucker is horrible too. At first, it seems fine, not particularly powerful but good for a couple laughs…and then you realize it’s a standard action. Ugh.

Rallying Deflection (MP):
Now here’s an incentive for using a shield if I ever saw one. Nice reduction, AND the attacker gets sucker-punched. Classic.

Strider Stance (MP): Sort of like a mini-Knight’s Move that lasts for the whole encounter, I suppose. The again, Knight’s Move happened 8 levels ago, so I’m not sure this speaks well of this power.

Unintended Feint (MP):
Rerolls are ALWAYS good. ‘Nuff said.

Draw Their Eyes (Dragon 381):
Just a damage buff against one target and you have to impose multiple penalties on yourself for it? Only for niche builds. Everyone else shouldn't even look at it.


Warlord's Denial (Dragon 381): MAS can be good. As a close range daily, not that much, though it's still solid.

Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).

Battle Stratagems: Paragon Powers



Level 13 Encounter Powers
Level 13 Powers, Encounters:

It's been a while since you've seen normal powers, eh? For the last two levels, you've been swamped with PP features and powers, but now it's time to return to the good ol' essentials and give your encounter powers a much-necessary upgrade. Fortunately, the Paragon Tier begins with a bang: a spectacular set of powers ensures you'll not be disappointed with your Warlord once the time to upgrade comes. But enough of my babbling. On to the powers!

Beat Them Into The Ground:
Holy...if this doesn't convince you that the Paragon Tier is a significant jump from Heroic, I don't know what will. This is Knock Them Down, but as an encounter power and even better for Taclords. Make sure you can retrain on this level, because rarely do you see an encounter power reduce a daily (an EXCELLENT daily) to obsolesence. Just...wow.

Bolstering Blow: Can't all be winners, can they? This is just your basic beat-and-buff power, handing some meager THP and whacking the enemy well. Solid, but there's so much better you could do with this slot...

Denying Smite: Perfect immunity. An ally of yours cannot be attacked by one monster and is free to dance circles around him. A ridiculously powerful blue, borderline Sky Blue levels IMO. It's rated lower than BTITG because it's more party dependent, but if you've got a character who stands to gain a lot from blitzing past an enemy in most battles, this is just as good or better (assuming you're not a taclord. BTITG is just bestial for them, it crushes the competition here, and it's damn good competition).

Fury of The Sirocco: Urgh. This power isn't that bad, the issue is that the instances where you gain maximum benefit from it are where your defender failed you hard and you NEED to bail. Never plan for failure: always aim to succeed.

Befuddling Cry (MP): Oh boy. Situational, but if a power has to be, this is the way. See, the trick is that, while most monsters deal FAR less damage than you dish out, even their basic powers tend to pack debuffs of some sort. Hit an enemy and immobilize another one, for instance? Hell yes! Sign me up! This power does nothing but increase in power as you level up. As I said, it has to be set up, but if you can use this reliably, this is pretty easily Sky Blue. The pride of the Cha-based Reslord, that rare breed.

Grim Mark (MP): Movement, debuffing, and possibly even a nice damage bonus...and yet, for some reason, this power doesn't wow me. Maybe it's the fact that, considering the existence of BTITG and BC, it feels like even such a combo is passé, but it just doesn't impress as much as it would have in the face of Level 7 opposition (yes, that sounds like an insult, but it isn't, considering that was War of Attrition's level and I'd see it favorably at that level).

Headstrong Bravery (MP): Suffers from Grim Mark syndrome, except using the power on a charge isn't a good trade compared to Daze. Like the power immediately above, but somewhat weaker.

Pincer Maneuver (MP): Aww yeah, two hits with extra damage is good stuff. Bravolords might consider this over BTITG or BC if they've got two "big hit" characters like a Fighter+Barb combo, as their presence can let them turn those two hits into autohits. Not QUITE on the same level, but still a strong blue.

Unified In Blood (MP): At this point you gotta figure that someone intentionally built this tier of encounter powers to impress. A smaller, more situational version of Defy Death, this nonetheless is quite useful, and worthy of a spot. If only it hadn't been on a level where AAA choices are more common than stinkers...

Ventured Gains (MP): Trash. Playing Guess the HP is not a fun game to play, or a wortwhile one.

Withdrawal Gambit (MP): The save ain't too hot, but the massive shift is quite good. A choice you should take into account.

Invitational Assault (Dragon 381): Two hits, repositioning, and a buff on the second attack. Solid enough.

Jarring Assault (Dragon 381): Pretty meh usually, but Resourceful Warlords render an enemy useless with it.


Level 15 Daily Powers
Level 15 Powers, Daily:

Wow, it's been six levels since the last time you saw new dailies. This update was LONG overdue. As usual, some good stuff, some bad stuff, and some middle-of-the-road choices. Lesse...

Make Them Bleed: ...THIS was what we had to wait six levels for? Seriously? Only being an encounter-long debuff is what keeps it from being red. What a disappointing return for dailies...

Renew The Troops: That's more like it. This is like a supercharged Stand The Fallen, utilizing surgeless healing instead of the usual HS expenditure. A worthy upgrade of a worthy power.

Warlord's Gambit: The Bravolord power before Bravolords existed. Set up some tasty bait for a monster and hope your allies can punish him hard enough for taking it that it pays off. The issue is, even the dumbest monster is unlikely to keep mauling you after getting nailed once, maybe twice. So it's basically a big W power plus one or two attacks. Not that impressive in perspective, is it?

Anticipate Attack (MP): The enemy wastes its turn, gets pummelled HARD, there's a bonus to the damage rolls, AND it's accurrate. What more could you possibly ask for? Simply spectacular.

Arkhosia's Fury (MP): Two attacks, and against different targets. Meh.

Formidable Smash (MP): Cute debuff, but it's hit dependent, and at this point you could just slap a -2 with Psychic Lock and a Githyanki Silver Blade if you wanted to. And trust me, a daily power is far more valuable than an item and a feat.

Grim Instruction (MP): As above, but worse. Somebody got lazy and did the Copypasta dance with minor tweaks here...

Infectious Determination (MP): Ah, another MAS power. Time to slap a red our purple on it and move on...hold it. It hits twice? It has nice riders? IT DOESN'T SUCK? I'm in awe here. Really nice power if you can guarantee a hit, what with completely renewing your allies AND dealing good damage due to multiattacking. Nice step up for the MAS chain!

War Master's Assault (MP): Charges fall, everyone dies. Brutal for Cha-based warlords with a good melee party behind them.



Level 16 Utility Powers
Level 16 Powers, Utility:

Another group that took a six-level break, the utilities return, but their return isn't quite as triumphant as that of the dailies or encounters due to action costs.

Hero's Defiance: Oh joy, yet another MAS power, but this one auto-succeeds a save. Pity you're giving up a turn of attacking for that, AND it's a daily. If this were an encounter power, it'd be barely, BARELY worthwhile. As is, it's trash. Bring back Infectious Determination!

Warlord's Banner: Mass healing, AND an attack buff. Nice! Usually, the standard action cost is steep, but here it might, just might be worth it.

White Raven Tactics: Party-wide Knight's Move, long after Knight's Move ceased being the new hotness, and it's DAILY. Oh, and it's a standard action, AGAIN. Yet more crap for the power chains.

Decisive Timing (MP): Did the rogue blow his roll by getting a 1 while you rolled a 20 and thus have to delay? Not anymore. Situationally useful, but it's still at least USABLE. And hey, it's a No Action, a welcome relief amonst the Standard Action mediocrity.

Encouraging Remark (MP): Like a mini-Instant Planning, except it's a standard action. That's a REALLY steep cost for a weaker, one character version of a level 10 power. Such a waste...

Flanking Stance (MP): Encounter-long bonus to damage for half of a Bravolord party at a minor cost. Good stuff.

Side By Side (MP): Break even with flanking and gain an AC and Reflex bonus. Not amazing, but considering the level, it looks like a total winner by comparison.

Warning Shout (MP): Shoot, so close to being amazing here. Were it encounter, this would be THE pick for the level. As-is, it's good, but not as good as other options of this level, or heck, options from PREVIOUS levels.

Kyton's Battledance (Dragon 369): This greatly enhances your mobility, but Warlords have some pretty damn awesome stances available to them. It's still a worthwhile pick, though.



Level 17 Encounter Powers
Level 17 Powers, Encounter:

After the awesomeness of level 13, the powers have calmed down somewhat. Still, this doesn't mean there isn't some absolutely brilliant stuff here, and it's a massive comeback from the debacle that was Level 16.

Battle On: MAS returns, as a party-wide effect. Same ol' same ol'.

Hail of Steel: OH. MY. GOD. What a total beast of a power. You're basically giving your party an extra round of attacks right here. This is a quantum leap in power from every other option before it, and even the other options of this level. Take this. NOW. NOW! The sole universal Gold choice, and what a choice it is!

Thunderous Fury: Warlord's Favor bigger brother, with a nice debuff on top. Pity it had to run into the Hail of Steel juggernaut, but even then it's so good it's worthy of consideration for Taclords. Personally, I think HoS' ease of use and comboability with buffs push it over the edge, but this is still a damn fine power.

Warlord's Rush: It has a miss effect, which is odd, but it's just...unimpressive. If you wanted movement you could do better than this. Skip.

Bloody Termination (MP): FINISH HIM! An odd power, this one. A self buff and a multiattack, Warlords don't get many of these. And it's not even half bad, but...well, HoS, juggernaut, etc.

Warlord's Determination (MP): War of Attrition for the scrubs who did not take Inspiring and have lots of weapon using buddies. Meh.

Girding Strike (MP): Hey, this is a really nice second wind power. Renewing the party's healing resources could be killer on a tough, drawn-out slugfest. You know what happened to it and all the other scrubs that happened to be in this level by now, though.

Into The Breach! (MP): No, the guide didn't draw it's name from this power. It comes from Myth 2, specifically a level with particularly kickass music for the story interlude that precedes it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=exbHYq9y78Q. Amazing, isn't it?

Sadly, the power doesn't live up to the name and the exclamation point. It's good, sure, and better if you trigger the rider, but why settle for two attacks when you can get four, five, or six?



Level 19 Daily Powers
Level 19 Powers, Daily:

After HoS' arrival, the bar for all powers has been raised. Now, the dailies are put to the test. Can they manage to comfortably top HoS before the jump to Epic, or will The Encounter Power To End All Encounters make them look like chumps?

Break The Tempo: ...And the level passes with flying colors on the very first attempt! If this hits, it basically lockdowns an enemy almost as effectively as if they had been permastunned by a pre-errata wizard. Just remember to keep your Immediates at the ready and you'll trivialize encounters with this.

Victory Surge: Clearly, the dailies took the challenge seriously. Look at how they're rising up to it! Follow up hits to all attacks for one round, then for all the encounter for an ally? Holy hell, this is amazing. If you don't face solos or elites regularly, this DESTROYS Break The Tempo, while if you do and have the Int, that one's better. It's been a long time since the powers have been this good, but it was worth the wait.

Windmill of Doom: This is the copycat band of D&D. Two levels after HoS comes out and shows everyone how it's done, this loser tries to ride its coattails...but it's weaker, less useful, and it's right next to two monsters which could make a whole level on any tier. Get this outta here!

Exhorted Counterattack (MP): Not bad, but after HoS and the two winners with which this level opened with, this is badly outmatched. Pass.

Inspiring Charge (MP): What the...after 19 levels of playing, A CHARGE AND SOME SURGE BASED HEALING? Who the **** snuck this in here?

Storm of Carnage (MP): A consolation prize after botching one of your good attacks? No, no, no! Plan for success, not failure!

Unleash Hell (MP): The Heavy Thrown line of powers return, and the power is decent...but benefiting half the party  when you could throw down a Victory Surge and proceed to kick ass and take names is just lacklustre. Bad draw for the Comeback Kid of the Warlord power series'.

Glasya's Stride (Dragon 369): Like Windmill of Doom, it's a HoS copy, but this one's a lot better, as it also repositions the enemy. Just make sure that your allies all focus their OA's on one target for maximum effectiveness.

Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).

Originally a courtesy post. I have reposted Armisael's analysis of the epic powers in order to enable him to spread feat analysis out over two posts.


Campaign Ploys: Epic Powers

Level 22 Utility Powers
Level 22 Powers, Utility:

The last time we saw utility powers, it was in a rather atrocious level. Thankfully, what with this being the last hurra for class-based utilities, they bring out the big guns, so there's lots of good stuff here. Onwards!

Heart of the Titan: Gain an extra layer of tankiness and more protective effects than you can shake a stick at. It's likely to vanish quickly, but while it lasts, it's one heck of a power.

Heroic Surge: This isn't BAD, per se, but...it's just very, very underwhelming, compared to the other options of the level. Solid, for sure, but you can do better than daily healing by now.

Own The Battlefield: Owned, indeed. Bring an enemy to your defender so that he can lock it down, cluster the rest so that your controller can pulverize them with a good encounter power, or keep the enemies out of your striker's face. Very good power, and it can really change the battlescape in a flash.

Avenge Me (MP): No. A Heroic Surge that is far more situational and only offers a piddly attack bonus in compensation? NO. Terrible, just terrible. You don't take anything assuming you'll flop, period.

Bloodthirsty Offensive (MP): Meh. At this level, +Cha to damage against a half-dead target ain't that hot, and the AP bonus, while nice, is still pretty minor. Skip.

Quickening Order (MP): The wise man to whom this post is dedicated remarked on this very thread about how Taclords have very little in the way of full-party buffs. This rectifies that very well, allowing the party to come out guns blazing once a day and utterly WASTE the enemy. The taclord pick of the level IMO.

Rush of Battle (MP): Two Hails of Steel on the same turn per character if used correctly. Excellent. If you're a Resourceful Warlord, you don't need any other choices.

Stirring Shout (MP): After all the options that have come so far, this has a somewhat underwhelming feel. Sure, MAS is better than usual when it's party-wide, but it isn't so hot when compared to the the Heart of the Titan super buff or Rush of Battle, even when aided by THP. There's just other powers which do what this can at lower levels, that's all.



Level 23 Encounter Powers
Level 23 Powers, Encounter:

The last batch of powers included some real classics, like the mighty Hail of Steel or Thunderous Fury. With this being the second to last tier of encounter powers, expectations are high. Let's see if this level lives up to them...

Great Dragon War Cry: A solid debuff and a solid buff...but dang, it has the Fear keyword, and there's a good amount of enemies immune to Fear at this level. This knocks it down a peg from blue to black.

Pillar to Post: A good ol' fashioned three-hit beatdown. Nice, but it requires a liiiiiittle bit too much in the way of set-ups to gain the full benefit from it.

Rabbits and Wolves: ...Eh? At this point, it figures you've got a better way to give movement than an encounter power. Pass.

Sudden
Assault: An extra encounter power at the beginning of the encounter? Amazing! This is even better for Taclords, who can make it almost certain to hit.

Blood Begets Blood (MP): Even for Resourceful Warlords, this power is far too conditional in my opinion. It's not even on the level of a basic Hail of Steel and it comes 6 levels after it! Bah.

Daring Display (MP): CA and a little extra damage is all they can do at this level? What?

Quickening Force (MP): Vanilla MAS, Reslord version. Why would you take this again?

Ringing Clarity (MP): Situational SAS and mark elimination. Whee.

Shutdown Smite (MP): Finally, a good MP power. And what a power it is! At this level, Elites and Solos are starting to become the bread and butter monsters, and denying them from using their best powers is excellent. Oddly, this power is ALSO better for Taclords. While it's more situational than Sudden Assault, it's one of the best powers out there if you have a controller or striker specialized in (save ends) powers.

Wounding Focus (MP):
It's pretty late for a mere +Int damage at this point, I think.

Pit Fiend's Fury (Dragon 369): At this point, proning is basically nothing. Avoid this.


Level 25 Daily Powers
Level 25 Powers, Daily:

Just like the encounter powers, the Dailies ended the Paragon tier with a bang. Just like the encounters, though, most choices just don't wow here.

Relentless Assault: Until the end of the encounter, HoS can be invoked by crits. While it was recently nerfed so that cascading barrages of attacks cannot happen, it's still one heck of a power.

Stir The Hornet's Nest: Until the end of the encounter, ranged-allies only gain Lead The Attack plus damage against a single enemy. Blech.

White Raven's Call: Does what encounter powers did in previous levels. Urgh.

Precision Stance (MP): Until the end of the encounter, an ally will pretty much always hit at the cost of remaining adjacent to you. Good, I suppose, but I'm sure there's something better to be done with this slot.

Primordial Surge (MP): A burst attack and a bunch of slides. That's it.

Sleeping Dragon Lure (MP): For a turn, assist your defender. Decent, I suppose.

Victorious Destiny (MP): Lead The Attack with 6 W...for those who were not Taclords. Why are we getting so many bad rehashes at this level?

Warlord's Resurgence (MP): Can be quite good nova material when combined with stuff like Relentless Assault, but still, it takes a long time to set this up.

Wave of Defeat (MP): HoS plus a bunch of pushes. Not too good, but in the face of the opposition, it looks almost amazing.



Level 27 Encounter Powers
Level 27 Powers, Encounter:

This is it. The last time you get to pick between a new set set of encounter powers. Luckily, there's some excellent choices here. Let's see what's the best the Encounters have to offer.

Chimera Battlestrike: Used correctly, it can take the melee enemies out of the action and put them in a position where a controller can wreck them. The change from Minor to Standard really hurt this power, though.

Devastating Charge: It's far, FAR too late for +Cha to matter at this point, especially since it only applies when charging.

Incite Heroism: Just a bunch of THP and a decent-sized hit. Totally inadequate.

Warlord's Doom: Excellent. Time this power correctly and an enemy can be trivialized for a whole encounter. At this point, SOMEBODY has to have a good (save ends) power, so that is not an issue.

Abrupt Skirmish (MP): If the attacks were free actions, this power would probably be worth the immense setup it requires. As-is, it's trash.

Brutal Setup (MP): Another nice debuff, but the Dazed condition is easy as hell to inflict, so this can almost become +Int to hit all enemies until the end of the encounter. A good choice.

Eye of the Storm (MP): Just a couple decent defensive effects, nothing more.

Uplifting Assault (MP): With all the ridiculous bonuses you can stack on your Inspiring Word, this can potentially be a spectacular power.

Warlord's Indignation (MP): How the heck did I misread this power and give it just black before? This is a whole round of attacks out-of-turn, and that's just glorious. If you do not have a character who packs potent (save ends) effects, this is the power of choice at this level.



Level 29 Daily Powers
Level 29 Powers, Daily:

This is it. The last tier of powers. Your class capstones. Fortunately, barely any choices are bad here: most of them are excellent.

Defy Death: Good damage, free healing, and you can waste an enemy's best attack. Nice.

Stand Invincible: Until the end of the encounter, you and your pals are much, much harder to hit, and when you ARE hit, the damage is cut down somewhat. Excellent.

Deific Rallying (MP): HoS plus THP and a buff to attack rolls...as a daily. There's much better stuff to do with your dailies at this point.

Flawless Snare (MP): HoS, except conditional and requiring you to expose yourself. Enough with the rehashes already!

Inexorable Surge (MP): An encounter-long damage buff. Solid, though there's better choices here.

Perfect Front (MP): For Taclords, this can basically make every ally autohit for the duration of the encounter, and it still works for half your party even when you aren't one. Brilliant.

Wake of Devastation (MP): Just some ongoing damage and CA. Pitiful.

Asmodeus' Gambit (Dragon 369): At this point, a small bonus and conditional attacks are pretty bad. At least it's not as terrible as Wake of Devastation, and it allows for more strikes than Flawless Snare, theoretically.
This post is dedicated to Elder Basilisk. Thanks for helping me get around the annoying post restriction!

Campaign Ploys: Epic Powers

Level 22 Utility Powers
Level 22 Powers, Utility:

The last time we saw utility powers, it was in a rather atrocious level. Thankfully, what with this being the last hurra for class-based utilities, they bring out the big guns, so there's lots of good stuff here. Onwards!

Heart of the Titan: Gain an extra layer of tankiness and more protective effects than you can shake a stick at. It's likely to vanish quickly, but while it lasts, it's one heck of a power.

Heroic Surge: This isn't BAD, per se, but...it's just very, very underwhelming, compared to the other options of the level. Solid, for sure, but you can do better than daily healing by now.

Own The Battlefield: Owned, indeed. Bring an enemy to your defender so that he can lock it down, cluster the rest so that your controller can pulverize them with a good encounter power, or keep the enemies out of your striker's face. Very good power, and it can really change the battlescape in a flash.

Avenge Me (MP): No. A Heroic Surge that is far more situational and only offers a piddly attack bonus in compensation? NO. Terrible, just terrible. You don't take anything assuming you'll flop, period.

Bloodthirsty Offensive (MP): Meh. At this level, +Cha to damage against a half-dead target ain't that hot, and the AP bonus, while nice, is still pretty minor. Skip.

Quickening Order (MP): The wise man to whom this post is dedicated remarked on this very thread about how Taclords have very little in the way of full-party buffs. This rectifies that very well, allowing the party to come out guns blazing once a day and utterly WASTE the enemy. The taclord pick of the level IMO.

Rush of Battle (MP): Two Hails of Steel on the same turn per character if used correctly. Excellent. If you're a Resourceful Warlord, you don't need any other choices.

Stirring Shout (MP): After all the options that have come so far, this has a somewhat underwhelming feel. Sure, MAS is better than usual when it's party-wide, but it isn't so hot when compared to the the Heart of the Titan super buff or Rush of Battle, even when aided by THP. There's just other powers which do what this can at lower levels, that's all.



Level 23 Encounter Powers
Level 23 Powers, Encounter:

The last batch of powers included some real classics, like the mighty Hail of Steel or Thunderous Fury. With this being the second to last tier of encounter powers, expectations are high. Let's see if this level lives up to them...

Great Dragon War Cry: A solid debuff and a solid buff...but dang, it has the Fear keyword, and there's a good amount of enemies immune to Fear at this level. This knocks it down a peg from blue to black.

Pillar to Post: A good ol' fashioned three-hit beatdown. Nice, but it requires a liiiiiittle bit too much in the way of set-ups to gain the full benefit from it.

Rabbits and Wolves: ...Eh? At this point, it figures you've got a better way to give movement than an encounter power. Pass.

Sudden
Assault: An extra encounter power at the beginning of the encounter? Amazing! This is even better for Taclords, who can make it almost certain to hit.

Blood Begets Blood (MP): Even for Resourceful Warlords, this power is far too conditional in my opinion. It's not even on the level of a basic Hail of Steel and it comes 6 levels after it! Bah.

Daring Display (MP): CA and a little extra damage is all they can do at this level? What?

Quickening Force (MP): Vanilla MAS, Reslord version. Why would you take this again?

Ringing Clarity (MP): Situational SAS and mark elimination. Whee.

Shutdown Smite (MP): Finally, a good MP power. And what a power it is! At this level, Elites and Solos are starting to become the bread and butter monsters, and denying them from using their best powers is excellent. Oddly, this power is ALSO better for Taclords. While it's more situational than Sudden Assault, it's one of the best powers out there if you have a controller or striker specialized in (save ends) powers.

Wounding Focus (MP):
It's pretty late for a mere +Int damage at this point, I think.

Pit Fiend's Fury (Dragon 369): At this point, proning is basically nothing. Avoid this.


Level 25 Daily Powers
Level 25 Powers, Daily:

Just like the encounter powers, the Dailies ended the Paragon tier with a bang. Just like the encounters, though, most choices just don't wow here.

Relentless Assault: Until the end of the encounter, HoS can be invoked by crits. While it was recently nerfed so that cascading barrages of attacks cannot happen, it's still one heck of a power.

Stir The Hornet's Nest: Until the end of the encounter, ranged-allies only gain Lead The Attack plus damage against a single enemy. Blech.

White Raven's Call: Does what encounter powers did in previous levels. Urgh.

Precision Stance (MP): Until the end of the encounter, an ally will pretty much always hit at the cost of remaining adjacent to you. Good, I suppose, but I'm sure there's something better to be done with this slot.

Primordial Surge (MP): A burst attack and a bunch of slides. That's it.

Sleeping Dragon Lure (MP): For a turn, assist your defender. Decent, I suppose.

Victorious Destiny (MP): Lead The Attack with 6 W...for those who were not Taclords. Why are we getting so many bad rehashes at this level?

Warlord's Resurgence (MP): Can be quite good nova material when combined with stuff like Relentless Assault, but still, it takes a long time to set this up.

Wave of Defeat (MP): HoS plus a bunch of pushes. Not too good, but in the face of the opposition, it looks almost amazing.



Level 27 Encounter Powers
Level 27 Powers, Encounter:

This is it. The last time you get to pick between a new set set of encounter powers. Luckily, there's some excellent choices here. Let's see what's the best the Encounters have to offer.

Chimera Battlestrike: Used correctly, it can take the melee enemies out of the action and put them in a position where a controller can wreck them. The change from Minor to Standard really hurt this power, though.

Devastating Charge: It's far, FAR too late for +Cha to matter at this point, especially since it only applies when charging.

Incite Heroism: Just a bunch of THP and a decent-sized hit. Totally inadequate.

Warlord's Doom: Excellent. Time this power correctly and an enemy can be trivialized for a whole encounter. At this point, SOMEBODY has to have a good (save ends) power, so that is not an issue.

Abrupt Skirmish (MP): If the attacks were free actions, this power would probably be worth the immense setup it requires. As-is, it's trash.

Brutal Setup (MP): Another nice debuff, but the Dazed condition is easy as hell to inflict, so this can almost become +Int to hit all enemies until the end of the encounter. A good choice.

Eye of the Storm (MP): Just a couple decent defensive effects, nothing more.

Uplifting Assault (MP): With all the ridiculous bonuses you can stack on your Inspiring Word, this can potentially be a spectacular power.

Warlord's Indignation (MP): How the heck did I misread this power and give it just black before? This is a whole round of attacks out-of-turn, and that's just glorious. If you do not have a character who packs potent (save ends) effects, this is the power of choice at this level.



Level 29 Daily Powers
Level 29 Powers, Daily:

This is it. The last tier of powers. Your class capstones. Fortunately, barely any choices are bad here: most of them are excellent.

Defy Death: Good damage, free healing, and you can waste an enemy's best attack. Nice.

Stand Invincible: Until the end of the encounter, you and your pals are much, much harder to hit, and when you ARE hit, the damage is cut down somewhat. Excellent.

Deific Rallying (MP): HoS plus THP and a buff to attack rolls...as a daily. There's much better stuff to do with your dailies at this point.

Flawless Snare (MP): HoS, except conditional and requiring you to expose yourself. Enough with the rehashes already!

Inexorable Surge (MP): An encounter-long damage buff. Solid, though there's better choices here.

Perfect Front (MP): For Taclords, this can basically make every ally autohit for the duration of the encounter, and it still works for half your party even when you aren't one. Brilliant.

Wake of Devastation (MP): Just some ongoing damage and CA. Pitiful.

Asmodeus' Gambit (Dragon 369): At this point, a small bonus and conditional attacks are pretty bad. At least it's not as terrible as Wake of Devastation, and it allows for more strikes than Flawless Snare, theoretically.

Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
The Commander's Resources: Feats

Ahh, feats. While not as obviously flashy and dramatic as powers, they shape a Warlord's capabilities to a nearly equal degree. For the sake of my sanity, I will only cover traps or Warlord suited feats. Without further ado:

Heroic Feats
Heroic Tier, General:

Armor Proficiency: Scale is not a bad choice for Charismatic warlords, who need to be sturdier (actually, I'll go out on a limb and say it's basically mandatory if you intend to use gamble attacks) and Intelligence-based warlords who wish to use Tactician's Armor. Those interested might even consider picking up Plate in Paragon and Epic, respectively, as some extra AC points never hurt.

Durable: TWO Healing Surges? That's going to come in VERY handy someday. You'll very likely take this somewhere down the line to fill up your slots.

Improved Initiative: What? Good ol' Improved Initiative a purple? Yes, actually. Most warlords prefer to go last, so that they can take advantage of all the party members assuming appropriate positions to unleash their powers. Some of them actually can use going early, but for most, this should be skipped.

Mounted Combat: This can potentially be very effective, but only to the extent that you're willing to sink resources into it. With appropriate item support, it can be brilliant. If not, get an Ornithopter for all your
riding needs and nothing more.

Power Attack: You should NEVER use this. EVER. If you have to deal damage, do it through your allies, and for god's sake don't sacrifice your attack bonus.

Powerful Charge: Good if you like to join in on the loonies who jump into the fray screaming, but nothing amazing.

Shield Proficiency: Less important than Armor or Weapon Proficiency, as the bonus is smaller and most of the weapons you want are two-handers. Sword and Board builds are by no means unplayable, though, and benefit from this.

Tactical Assault: An excellent feat, this turns your already potent presence bonus into an all-out nova. Once you've got your basic self-improvement feats, take this and go wild.

Toughness: As a meleer, you're going to take hits. Sooner or later, you'll almost definitely want this.

Weapon Focus: More damage never hurt anyone. A nice pick once you've got your essentials sorted out.

Weapon Proficiency: Let's put this bluntly: only a moron sticks to military weapons. You WILL take this feat somewhere in Heroic, once the absolute necessities have been obtained.

Wintertouched: Near-permanent CA is a truly excellent thing. This is one half of what makes Frost weapons so appealing.

Improved Bravura (MP): Bonuses to attack rolls = good. Ultra limited and small bonus to attack rolls = terrible.

Improved Inspiration (MP): Just 2 HP? Meh. Should have been a scaling bonus. Every little bit helps, though.

Improved Inspiring Word (MP): If you're Charisma focused, you're taking this. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Improved Resources (MP): Like Improved Inspiration, but make sure you get something better by Paragon. And who uses the AP benefit for THP?

Improved Tactics (MP): See Bravura, but remember this is the equivalent of a whopping FOUR extra points to Int for the purposes of your presence and that it applies to all attacks taken during the turn. An excellent choice for your fourth, sixth, or eighth level slot.

Restful Healing (PHBII): The in-combat utility of this is nonexistent, but this can let your whole party fight an extra battle or two each day, which is amazing. Gets even better when combined with stuff like Gloves of the Healer.

Timely Respite (PHBII): There's much better ways of making a save than wasting an action for it.

Weapon Expertise (PHBII): You WILL take this. Period.

Lend Might (MP): Attack bonuses = good. Repeat until it sticks. :P

Saving Inspiration (MP): Obsoleted by the feat immediately below, which is a shame because it was a damn good feat.

Mark of Healing (EPG): ...And MAS powers just became a whole lot weaker. This feat is just awesome, and something every Warlord should take sooner or later.

Bold Gamble (Dragon 381): CA for one enemy every two encounters? No thanks!

Courageous Word (Dragon 381): Excellent. Your ally exposes himself by granting CA (Pfft!), and in exchange gains a +Cha bonus to ALL ATTACKS against one enemy until your next turn. Very good!

Covered Retreat (Dragon 381): The movement is very nice, but it's far too situational, and in most cases an extra attack does more than repositioning an adjacent ally.

Emboldening Presence (Dragon 381): If an ally Second Winds, he/she can autosave on top. Combine with a certain utility power that lets allies SW as a minor action or a dwarven party for maximum benefits.

Imaginative Reaction (Dragon 381): Put your allies right where you want them in the initiative order, and set yourself up to boot. Solid choice.

Inspiring Aid (Dragon 381): Turns Aid Another into something that is not a total waste. If an attack absolutely, positively needs to hit and you don't have your encounter powers available, this could be useful.

Prepared For Anything (Dragon 381): The lasts just for a turn. A TURN! This means it doesn't protect against anything but immediate and OA attacks!

Resourceful Donation (Dragon 381): The idea is really awesome on paper, but requiring you to be adjacent to the target kills much of its usefulness.

Risky Charge (Dragon 381): Tacking a debuff on top of a power is pretty good just for a feat, but it's still a gamble considering how you'll get smacked if you fail. Still, combined with mass charges, this can be pretty good.

Rousing Charge (Dragon 381): Sacrifice a bonus for yourself in exchange for a bigger (but still small) bonus for your ally. Not bad, really.

Rousing Resurgence (Dragon 381): Yet another feat for buffing SW's, this one adds a nice amount of THP on top. As usual, combine with a level 10 utility or a dwarven party if you plan on using it with any frequency.

Shrewd Positioning (Dragon 381): Put your allies a little closer to position before the battle even starts. Minor addition, but can still be quite nice.

Stirring Word (Dragon 381): Too little an amount of THP's to matter when Improved Inspiring Word exists.

Tactical Adjustment (Dragon 381): Right after an ally novas, this lets you give them an easy escape. Situational, but can be quite good.

Tactical Feint (Dragon 381): You nova, and an ally gains a good benefit from it! Excellent!




Paragon Feats
Paragon Tier, General:


Armor Specialization:
Verdict = not worth it unless it's Plate or you have a bonus to the appropriate stat. The rest just have too annoying stat requirements.

Back To The Wall: Ultra situational, but damn, is that a nice bonus. Get it if you see lots of indoor combat.

Blood Thirst: This is a decent feat, but you're not there to do damage by attacking for the most part. A constant bonus like Weapon Focus is fine, but a situational one just doesn't cut it.


Combat Anticipation:
With the amount of attacks from the types the feat covers getting thrown at you, a blanket bonus to defenses can't be bad. Just get your vital feats first.

Combat Commander: Aww yeah, extremely good way to let your allies blitz the enemy and set them up for you to bring the pain with one of your powers. You probably will want this by...say, mid-Paragon.

Deadly Axe: Why would you use axes?

Devastating Critical: While a bonus to any weapon you use is nice for a change, this is too situational and small IMO.

Fleet Footed: Some extra speed is nice, but there's a bunch of feats you want first.

Great Fortitude/Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes: Made obsolete by a feat I will evaluate later.

Heavy Blade Opportunity: Sucks that it has a very annoying stat requirement, because the feat is rock solid and very good. Only niche builds will want it as-is.

Improved Second Wind: If you're down to your Second Wind, someone screwed up mightily.

Lasting Frost: The other half of the Frostcheese combo. Better yet, your allies can capitalize on it just by using Frost Weapons, with no need to take a feat! If you don't have a particular weapon in mind, take this and Wintertouched and abuse Frost.

Mettle: The bonus is nice, but in most cases there won't be enough of the requisite attacks coming your way to make it worthwhile.

Polearm Gamble: Ouch for the requirements, but it can be used VERY well by some niche builds, and even by some that aren't quite that nichey.

Psychic Lock: Use in conjunction with a Githyanki Silver Blade to gimp all enemies you hit. Very nice.

Shield Specialization: Garbage. Don't put a point into this.

Spear Push: Pushes are nice and all, but again, requirements, just not as heavy as usual. You also have very few push powers to boot.

Sweeping Flail: I don't think there's a more situational feat out there. Skip.

Uncanny Dodge: Very, very tough requirements for the most part. Probably not for you.

Defensive Surge (MP): *Looks two feats up* Hey, Sweeping Flail, I found you a buddy!

Impetuous Charger (MP): The nice charge support makes this a viable choice. Getting CA is good, and if you can find a way to get it constantly, it's even better

Phalanx Warrior (MP): So very situational.

Reliable Resources (MP): Why wouldn't you want your allies to use their AP's to attack?

Warlord's Formation (MP): Oh, gee, you can provide a minor bonus to two allies instead of one, even when you're still wasting your action! Joy!

Paragon Defenses (PHBII): A feat tax, but one that isn't as necessary as WE.

Quick Recovery (PHBII): Trash. Restful Healing comes earlier and does this job better.

Reserve Maneuver (PHBII): A brilliant and ultra-flexible feat. Is your PP power bothering you with its mediocrity? No problem, swap it for one of your class powers! An absolutely delicious feat for those who don't belong to classes with perfect encounter powers like the Shock Trooper or Symbarch of Aglarond.

Vexing Flanker (PHBII): Of the many, many "give allies CA" feats, this is one of the best out there. It basically extends normal CA to the whole party, which ain't bad.

Unfailing Courage (Dragon 377): I honestly didn't expect to see a good feat in a throwaway article such as Disciples of Vengeance, but this pleasantly surprised me. If you don't use AP's to pull a start-of-battle nova, this is pretty great, as it's free healing along with your normal attack.

Defense of the Inspired (Dragon 381): Don't be fooled by the big bonus. There are very few situations where giving up your attack is worthwhile. This will just encourage the less enlightened allies to waste actions in situations where it seems like this might be a good idea.

Tactician's Word (Dragon 381): This is one of the best, if not THE best Warlord feats out there, in my opinion. Attack bonuses are amazing, and handing them out with your healing opens up some really good combinations. It also makes Battle Captain less of a mandatory Taclord path, allowing you to explore other options. Retrain to it at level 11, period.

Versatile Word (Dragon 381): Depending on your build, this either lets you bail out an ally after he/she gets beaten up or make it so the beating doesn't happen again this round (assuming you go after them and before the monsters). Very good.



Epic Feats
Epic Tier, General:


Blind Fight:
Shaking off annoying penalties never hurt anyone, so this is a nice pick.

Epic Resurgence: This is situational, but regaining an encounter power is glorious.

Triumphant Attack: If you crit, the enemy gets nerfed for the rest of the encounter. What's not to like?

Unfettered Stride: It costs you two feats since you need to get Acrobatics, but ignoring difficult terrain is great.

Weapon Mastery: Ignore these feats. You quite simply lack the stats for them. If you use Heavy Blades and get a natural Dex bonus, though, You might want to consider this.

Action Grant (MP): If another ally has a very good nova trick and has spent his AP in a previous encounter, this'll let him do it again, potentially allowing the combo to be used every encounter. That they also benefit from your presence bonus while you (usually) don't is icing on the cake.

Aggressive Leadership (MP): A global bonus is nice, but there's better feats out there.

Bold Spirit (MP): Kicking you while you're down becomes difficult for the enemy when you have this. Nice.

Call To Glory (MP): If you pick the right powers, this is basically an extra 15 HP to all allies for most of each encounter.

Martial Mastery (MP): Almost certainly THE epic feat for martial characters. You want this. ASAP.

Martial Resolve (MP): The 15 Con is not for all builds, but this is a great bonus anyway.

Protective Leadership (MP): Nailing your weakened allies becomes harder to do. The bonus isn't big, but it's nice.

Supreme Inspiration (MP): If you can take this without weakening your main schtick, do so. Handing out Inspiring Word-based bonus to allies two at a time is incredible.

Tactical Cunning (MP): Going out of the way to take sliding powers due to this is a bad idea, but if you happen to get some, be sure to pick this feat up.


Epic X (PHBII): If you've got a defense that's absolutely atrocious, picking this up to boost it won't hurt.

Defense Boosters (PHBII): Indomitable Will and its ilk suck. Robust Defenses renders them basically obsolete.

Robust Defenses (PHBII): Speaking of which, this is the upgrade for Paragon Defenses, so make sure to retrain that out in favor of this.



Power Modifying Feats
These feats are...different, to say the least. Introduced in Dragon 368 in the Arena Fighting article, and further expanded upon by other articles and books, they don't provide a direct benefit, but rather buff your at-will powers in some way or another. Obviously this can be very useful, but they tend to have odd prerequisites, so be careful about picking whatever looks good. It might not be that good later. Since each feat buffs different powers, a special key will be used to mark each one.

+: Commander's Strike.

-: Furious Smash.

*: Viper's Strike.

/: Wolf Pack Tactics.

%: Brash Assault.

$: Opening Shove.

Arena Specialist (Dragon 368)$: If you use OS to reposition your ally, he gets a minor buff to AC. A bit too niche for my tastes.

Arkhosian High Style (Dragon 368)$: The stat requirement is counterintuitive, but Charismatic Warlords take CS occasionally. The real issue is, why would you want to shift when using CS? You're presumably already where you WANT to be to use it.

Battle-Scarred Veteran (Dragon 368)*: Constitution, of all things? Why would you focus on that? Spending a feat to add two points of damage to a situational attack is just terrible.

Catspaw Style (Dragon 368)/: Critical hits aren't too common, and the benefit would still be only standard if it were on a hit. Skip this.

Daring Performer (Dragon 368)%: IF your enemy crits, and IF your ally hits, a basic attack becomes a crit. Very substandard bonus most of the time.

Exotic Fighting Style (Dragon 368)%: No warlord skips a superior weapon, and this helps make BS more appealing, but another fighting style feat obsoletes this completely.

Expert Charioteer (Dragon 368)+: The bonus is great, but the requirements are super steep and situational. What a missed shot at stardom.

Fluttering Leaf Style (Dragon 368)*: Wis is a dump stat for you, but this makes Viper's Strike more appealing by making the punishment your enemy takes absolutely useless, as you automatically follow him.

Grudge Style (Dragon 368)-: At last. It took its sweet time, but an unquestionably good mod has arrived. Wis is, again, a basically useless stat, but getting to hit more easily with Furious Smash after being hit is a very easy to fulfill condition and makes the power more appealing.

Hunting Spider Style (Dragon 368)*: It's conditional on a hit, but making the enemy easier to hit after smacking it is a pretty nice offer. Using a dump stat as a requirement and not activating just by triggering the attack makes it somewhat weaker, though.

Menacing Brute Style (Dragon 368)%: Conditional, as BS always is, but the mod required lines up and giving an ally CA just for using the power as intended is good. Just remember that this is BS we're talking about, so this feat's usefulness depends on the DM.

Mocking Knave Style (Dragon 368)$: The requirement doesn't line up, AND it's crit dependent for a minor boost to the effect. Pass.

Nerathi Vanguard Style (Dragon 368)+: Sword and Board Warlords aren't exactly damage machines, so using CS fits them, and granting a bonus to AC just for using your powers intelligently is pretty nice, even if it's kinda small.

Spear and Shield Style (Dragon 368)$: I doubt the spear + shield combination is very common (or useful), but following your enemy after smacking them so that you can do it again without eating a move action is decent.

Spirited Rider (dragon 368)+: Why you'd want to have a mount attack and not an ally is beyond me, unless you're riding Orcus.

Trickster's Blade (Dragon 368)*: Reposition an ally, just by hitting. Solid.

Turathi Assault (Dragon 368)-: The required stat doesn't match, it requires yet another stat to use, and it only triggers on a crit. Could it get worse than this?

Untamed Berserker Style (Dragon 368)%: Bravura Warlords actually have a reason to use Con, so the bonus isn't totally useless, but there's much better stuff to spend a feat on.

Warborn Fury Style (Dragon 368)+: Sure, putting points into Con hurts, but turning CS into a mini-WPT? YES!

Warding Shield Style (Dragon 368)$: Wow, this is pretty good. It's a pity that it's a feat bonus, but still, an easy to get to-hit bonus to a power that you'll use a lot is nothing to scoff at. The fact that OS is already pretty acurrate reduces its effectiveness a little, though.

Corellon's Wrath Style (Dragon 373)+: Talk about wasted opportunities. This targets a small subset of enemy groups to be useful, which sucks, as the bonus is downright amazing.

Cruel Cut Style (Dragon 373)-: There's no reason to even consider this. You don't have the Wis for it.

Executioner's Style (Dragon 373)+: You'll only put a bare minimum of points into Con, if any, and the bonus is niche except in unique party combinations. Skip.

Harlequin Style (Dragon 373)%: Basically takes out the "gamble" part out of the BA equation. The only remaining question is whether the enemy will take it, but that is DM dependent and has nothing to do with this excellent feat.

Hunting Wolf Style (Dragon 373)/: The usefulness of allowing a shift to allies who aren't adjacent to you is debatable, but this costs you nothing but a feat slot and is a dependable upgrade for an already good at-will.

Impending Doom Style (Dragon 373)%: A small upgrade for BA, this allows it so slap a debuff on top of the hit if your enemy takes the gamble.

Lolthdark Style (Dragon 373)/: More like 'lol'thdark style. A once-per-encounter boost is very, very minor.

Precision Ambush Style (Dragon 373)$: A once-per-encounter benefit once again, and just as situational as before.

Serpent Fang Style (Dragon 373)*: So you have to find a way to deal a poison to the enemy (and while your party can contribute, the number of powers which use poison is slow), he has to shift, and all you get is combat advantage?

Vigilante Justice Style (Dragon 373)+: The condition here is relatively simple and easy to satisfy, but just granting CA at the cost of a feat to one ally doesn't cut it for me.




Racial Feats:


To avoid going mad from tackling this herculean task (you wouldn't BELIEVE the amount of racial feats that get printed out constantly) and make this tidier, I have opted to mark a feat's tier by using symbols.

*: This symbol represents Heroic.

+: This represents Paragon.

!: Quite obviously by now, this represents epic.


Now, let's see what each unique Warlord had up his sleeve.


Dragonborn Feats
Racial Feats, Dragonborn:

Dragonborn Frenzy*: A +2 bonus to damage is nice, but there's way too many good feats to take it right now.

Dragonborn Senses*: Flavor feat. Skip.

Enlarged Dragon Breath*: This isn't as good for you as it'd be if you were, say, a Fighter, but it's still quite solid. Hitting more targets is never a bad thing.

Bravura Spirit (MP)*: Like Improved Bravura, but better and somewhat more situational. I'd say it leans ever so slightly in this feat's favor, though opinions may vary on this.

Avowed Dragonfoe (FRPG)*: An attack bonus...against a tiny subset of enemies. No thanks.

Broken Shackles (FRPG)*: A +1 bonus to a defense and a +2 to some saving throws for a feat? There's much better stuff you can do with the slot.

Adaptable Breath (Dragon 365)*: Your breath is a useful tool. This helps make it more difficult to resist, which is nice.

Hurl Breath (Dragon 365)*: Simply brilliant for minionkilling. Knock 'em out before the melee starts and focus on the big guys unmolested.

Bloody Inspiration (MP)+: You have to take a beating AND have good Con. Pass.

Dragonbreath Warrior (MP)+: A bonus to your damage right after inflicting some pain is good. Just 1 W per encounter is a bit underwhelming though.

Improved Dragon Breath+: This is a very minor buff. Nice if you have the feats to burn, but you shouldn't consider this a priority under any circumstances.


Adaptable Breath (Dragon 365)+: It costs two feats, which hurts, but your breath is now basically impossible to resist.

Dragonborn Zeal (Dragon 365)+: The bonus is really nice, but you shouldn't be dropping to 0 HP in the first place.



Dwarf Feats
Racial Feats, Dwarf:

Dodge Giants*: A bonus that you'll see plenty of times and buffs two defenses you're likely to get smacked on? Why not?

Dwarven Weapon Training*: Usually, this is a spectacular feat, but Warlords shouldn't use these two weapon groups. I can't deny it's effectiveness, though.

Bolstering Inspiration (MP)*: Wow! Extra HP or a saving throw, WITHOUT sacrificing healing! Excellent! Pity Dwarven Warlords are still so difficult to make good, even when they get stuff like this...

Gold Dwarf Pride (FRPG)*: You shouldn't fall unconscious in the first place.

Shield The Fallen (FRPG)*: Strengthening your weakened allies ain't bad. You DO have to be adjacent, which ain't that good, but it could be far worse.

Mror Stalwart (EPG)*: Like using a decent weapon, but worse.

Dwarven Durability+: Durable plus a small bonus to your HS values. The choice between the vanilla version and this one is clear.

Steadfast Tactics (MP)+: All allies you heal with Inspiring Word becomes dwarves for the purposes of forced movement for the encounter. Somewhat situational, but it's effect can be very noticeable against the right monsters.



Eladrin Feats
Racial Feats, Eladrin:

Eladrin Soldier*: Considering how spears are a very nice option for warlords, this feat is very good.

Fey Command (MP)*: A really nice way to bail out a squishy teammate, who can put himself in position, then nova the next turn and still be capable of bailing out. It's a little on the situational side, though.

Tactical Inspiration (MP)*: Eladrin, and only Eladrin, get to heal as well as Charisma-based Warlords with this feat. Take it!

Moon Elf Resilience (FRPG)*: What kills this feat is that it requires that no allies be near you. If this weren't the case, it'd be pretty good.

Sun Elf Grace (FRPG)*: If you use Fey Step to get into position early in the fight, you become a little harder to hit. Not bad, considering it doesn't require any actions you wouldn't take.

Feywild Protection+: A +2 bonus to defenses that you can pretty much get to use when you need it ain't half bad. Much better for Feychargers (those who multiclass Fighter for Fey Charge) though.

Fey Tactics (MP)+: Once per encounter, give your ally an extra move action at no cost. How could you NOT like this? If you multiclass fighter and take Fey Charge, though, This is a must.


Fey Step Trailblazer (Dragon 366)+: This is situational, though nice if you're thinking of picking up Fey Tactics. Plus, it's like a free move action for your ally.

Reactive Fey Step (Dragon 366)+: Garbage. Most of the time, forced movement will move you less than you'll move with your Fey Step. No reason to spend a valuable and useful power to negate an easily counterable "condition".



Elf Feats
Racial Feats, Elf:

Elven Precision*: It's kind of overkill after rerolling, but this can still turn a near miss (and a desire to kill yourself of the dice) into a hit.

Light Step*: Fluff feat.

Leading Fire (MP)*: Garbage. You're a meleer, why, why would you use a bow?

Wild Elf Luck (FRPG)*: One out of four times, this is worse than Elven Precision. Another time, it's just as good. The rest, it can turn a nasty secondary miss into a hit. Solid.

Wood Elf Agility (FRPG)*: I don't know whether you could make a worse feat if you tried, and I hope I never see a contender.



Half-Elf Feats
Racial Feats, Half-Elf:

Group Insight*: Too small a bonus to be of any use, sadly. Skip.

Inspired Tactics (MP)*: As always, attack bonuses = good.

Vital Inspiration (MP)+: A blanket bonus with no extra conditions is good. Pity second wind is rarely used unless you've got a party of dwarves...


Versatile Master (PHBII)+: One of the most powerful feats in the game. Suddenly, you get Righteous Brand to use as you see fit. Or Astral Seal. Or Magic Weapon. Brilliant!



Halfling Feats
Racial Feats, Halfling:

Hafling Agility*: What better way to make the most use out of your racial power than by slapping a penalty to the attacker's rolls? A very good feat you'll want to take sooner or later.

Lost In The Crowd*: Really easy to get bonus, and it's a very good one. Once you've got your class feats, get this!

Bold Command (MP)*: This likely won't happen too often, but a +1 bonus to attack rolls is damn solid regardless.

Ghostwise Heritage (FRPG)*: Ultra-situational bonus. 'Nuff said.

Talenta Warrior (EPG)*: Having been errata'd to be Small, the Talenta weapons aren't bad options for a Halfling. Not spectacular, either, but not bad.

Underfoot+: HUGELY increases your mobility, allowing you to go where other warlords can't. A quality feat.



Tiefling Feats
Racial Feats, Tiefling:

Ferocious Rebuke*: There aren't very many situations where a 1 square push per encounter is very useful.

Hellfire Blood*: If you can find a way to obtain one of the keywords reliably (other than flaming weapons), this is basically a +2 to Str.

Unbalancing Wrath (MP)*: This feat stops being relevant quite quickly, as CA isn't exactly impossible to procure.

Scion of the Gods (FRPG)*: Doesn't stack with Paragon and Robust Defenses. That's all.

Diabolic Transformation (Dragon 381)*: Blanket regeneration, more resistance, more damage...is there ANYTHING else you could want from this?

Hellish Defiance (Dragon 381)*: Turns Infernal Wrath into a mini-Diabolic Stratagem. Brilliant!

Fiery Rebuke+: There's many, many enemies who are fire resistant, but even so, this is a very big damage bonus that scales with your level.

Infernal Warrior (MP)!: Not bad. Not bad at all! Combined with Fiery Rebuke, this is an amazing way of getting payback at an enemy that critted you.



Human Feats
Racial Feats, Human:

Action Surge*: Somewhere down the line (likely before Heroic ends), you WILL get this feat. The sole generally offensively useful Human feat, it's almost good enough to compensate for the lack of competition in the area.

Human Perseverance*: You'll likely be struck with (save ends) powers many, many times over your career. Thus, a 5% increase in your chances of saving is quite good.

Inspired Defense (MP)*: Your Inspiring Word becomes better, and thus, YOU become better. Simple as that. Sadly, the bonus is small and comes in only once in a while, though this by no means makes the feat bad.

Stubborn Survivor (FRPG)*: A little conditional, but once you spend your AP's this is a better version of Human Perseverance.

Action Recovery+: Combined with Action Surge, this turns AP's into a massive rebound with which to stage a comeback (well...more than usual, I mean). A very nice pick once you've got your essentials.

Bloody Tenacity (MP)+: It only works once per encounter, but still, making you hardier when you're weaker is a good combination.

Avenging Spirit (MP)+: If one of your allies got downed, that means you botched something. Worse, since this feat doesn't circumvent the AP-per-encounter limit, this will be useless every other fight.

Timely Revival (MP)!: Death sucks, as does not acting, but I'm not convinced an extra 5% (or 10% or so if you boosted your saved and Death Saving Throws) is up to the level of an epic feat.


Deva Feats
Racial Feats, Deva:

Auspicious Lineage (PHBII)*: Up the average value of MoaTL by 1. Amazing. /sarcasm

Potent Rebirth (PHBII)*: You shouldn't drop to 0 in the first place.

Battle Intuition (Dragon 374)*: This is basically a +1 bonus to initiative, since you won't pump up Wis. Skip.

Deva Heritage (Dragon 374)*: A free stance, and a pretty damn good one, as it basically buffs your AC by 2. Not bad.

Heavenly Heritage (Dragon 374)*: You shouldn't put points into Wis. That's all.

Immortal Skill (Dragon 374)*: If you use MoaTL for skills, you likely succeed in them. Not bad.

Radiant Recovery (Dragon 374)*: See Heavenly Heritage, except you have a reason to put points into Con.

Scourge of the Fallen (Dragon 374)*: Ultra-situational damage bonus.

Upright Revival (Dragon 374)*: You shouldn't fall to 0 HP in the first place.

Ascendant Lineage (PHBII)+: If MoaTL fails you, this ensures you can still get something out of it. Not bad.

Astral Renewal (PHBII)+: If you face lots of monsters that use necrotic or radiant attacks, this can be really good, as it's a dependable bonus. If not...well, it should be obvious.

Immortal Resilience (Dragon 374)+: As Immortal Skill, but for Saving Throws and costing you two feats.

Remembered Mother Tongue (Dragon 374)+: Fluff feat.

Transcendent Lineage (PHBII)!: Gives a good increase in power to MoaTL, but you could do much better than this with an epic feat.

Immortal Prowess (Dragon 374)!: As Immortal Resilience, but for attack rolls and costing you THREE feats.

Winged Revival (Dragon 374)!: It costs you two feats, and you shouldn't fall to 0 in the first place.


Gnome Feats
Racial Feats, Gnome:

Fey Trickster (PHBII)*: Fluff feat.

Group Stealth (PHBII)*: So you give your allies a +2 bonus to Stealth...a skill you likely aren't proficient with, and it requires you to tag along with them, likely giving them away. Skip.

Fade Ally (PHBII)+: Not bad. Cloaking an ally and giving them a big bonus to defenses after being hit is pretty good.

Surprising Disappearance (PHBII)+: If you really want to give your group CA, there's better ways to do it, like Vexing Flanker.

Vanishing Act (PHBII)!: Not only do you become invisible when hit, you get some good repositioning. Not bad.


Goliath Feats
Racial Feats, Goliath:

Goliath Greatweapon Prowess (PHBII)*: You turn a military weapon into the equivalent of a superior weapon...minus the special characteristics that push them over the edge. Skip.

Markings of the Blessed (PHBII)*: You're very likely to make the first save of the encounter. A little situational, but in the higher levels this is grand.

Markings of the Victor (PHBII)*: You reroll your first attack of the encounter. Open with a daily or your strongest encounter power and let 'er rip.

Unyielding Stone (PHBII)+: Doubles (or more) the power of Stone's Endurance by giving you THP to go with your resistance. Excellent.

Ancient Stone (PHBII)!: Extends Stone's Endurance by a round. The power is already damn solid, this makes it even better.


Half-Orc Feats
Racial Feats, Half-Orc:

Anger Unleashed (PHBII)*: The bonus is nice, but coming in at a time when you might not need it is not so good.

Savage Assault (PHBII)*: Lets you slap a mini-debuff on an enemy for your party to use. Not great, but not bad either.

Thirst for Battle (PHBII)*: A mix between Improved Initiative and Durable. Since the former isn't too useful for Warlords and the latter is cut in half for this, it isn't as good.

Strength from Pain (PHBII)+: Mostly useless, but consider if you are a Battlelord of Kord or poach powers from Rangers.

Unrelenting Assault (PHBII)+: Trash, since it's just W damage without any modifiers.

Ferocious Critical (PHBII)!: BADASS boost from a crit, which shouldn't be THAT hard to obtain with a Jagged Weapon. Not a bad feat all in all.


Shifter Feats
Racial Feats, Shifter:

Blurring Claws (PHBII)*: Razorclaws only, a buff to damage that lasts for half an encounter ain't bad.

Gorebrute Charge (PHBII)*: Situational and not even always available. Pass for the Longtooths that can take it.

Wild Senses (PHBII)*: Fluff feat, plus a bonus to initiative you don't need or want. Pass.

Shifter's Agility (EPG)*: Fluff feat, really.

Sturdy Shifter (EPG)*: A bunch of THP ain't all that impressive, but at least they scale somewhat decently and don't require actions to use.


Beasthide Shifting (PHBII)+: The bonus is small, but blanket resistance is not something to overlook in any case.

Cliffwalk Shifting (PHBII)+: Why are you spending combat turns climbing a cliff?

Burst of Savagery (PHBII)!: Your racial power is good. Ending it is not a good idea.


Drow Feats
Racial Feats, Drow:

Clutch of Darkness (FRPG)*: The Darkfire boost doesn't really matter, but the size increase for Cloud of Darkness can be pretty nice, if used correctly.

Shield of Shadows (FRPG)*: It only boosts one defense for a short time. Blegh.

Xen'drik Weapon Training (EPG)*: Neither of the weapons this feat offers are good for Warlord. Skip.

Master of Fire and Darkness (FRPG)+: Increases your versatily quite a bit, which is pretty nice.

Merciless Killer (FRPG)+: Big boost to damage against half-finished foes with an easy to fulfill condition. Solid enough.

Venomous Heritage (FRPG)+: Enemies use poison, but a bonus to niche saving throws and some minor resistance doesn't cut it.



Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
War Machines: Warlord Items

Swords. Ships. Colorful glass marbles. All of these share one thing in common: they aid a Warlord in achieving his goals. Throughout this section, items which particularly enhance a Warlord's capabilities or hinder them to a similar degree will be evaluated.


First, your most important tools: your weapons.


The Arms beyond the arms: Choosing your Weapon


All weapons are divided in Weapon Groups. We'll run through these first, noting which ones a Warlord should be partial to.

Axes: Something else does everything axes do better. If you're utterly obsessed with damage, though, there's some merit to the superior axes to consider. Then again, damage is a secondary concern for you.

Bow: At least axes let you, you know, USE YOUR POWERS. Maybe they're not such a bad choice.

Crossbow: See above if you really, REALLY must now.

Flail: Flails could be halfway decent, but they get basically nonexistent feat support. Poor guys. That said, the Spiked Chain ain't half bad.

Hammer: Axes with EVEN MORE Constitution investment and less returns. Yay?

Heavy Blade: Now we're talkin'! Heavy Blades are the Warlord mainstay. Almost all the weapons you'd want to take belong to this group. You really can't go wrong with them for the most part. Just avoid stuff like Khopesh and Broadsword and you'll be fine.

Light Blade: Weaker, less useful Heavy Blades whose only benefit is a couple nice feats that are countered by similarly good HB feats. Skip unless you're multiclassing.

Mace: Think of worse hammers. Maces are pretty much that in all respects.

Pick: Ugh. Ugh. Ughughugh. This group is widely considered the bastard child of all weapon groups, and for good reason. The designers seem to like pretending it doesn't exist, so its support is ridiculously small.

Polearm: Ahh, nice. Polearms aren't QUITE as good as their spear cousins, but they have access to some very nice feats which are worth considering. Having a group that only works as a hybrid is odd, though, and the only real choices are the glaive and greatspear.

Slings: See bows... but I don't think I've EVER seen a sling-focused feat, power, or item. EVER.

Spears: The other real choice for Warlords, in my opinion. Several warlord types thrive on reach, and spears deliver it extremely well. Just make sure to snag Weapon Proficiency: Greatspear ASAP.

Staff: The last weapon group (let us ignore Unarmed, please), it's basically there for Wizards to get some cute toys. Nothing more.

With that out of the way, let us jump right into the real meet of the section: magic items (and their cousins, wondrous items and mundane/transportation items)!



From the Lion's Skin to Excalibur: Magical Items for the Warlord


While far less crucial than in earlier edition, magic items remain an integral part of the character, enhancing or adding abilities to your boy/girl. Due to the sheer amount of magic items, only notable traps or exquisite choices will be noted.


Armor
Magical Items, Armor:

Barkskin Armor: Not a bad choice for Hide users, the power works nicely in that the triggering condition to weaken it is precisely what it tries to prevent. The amount of attacks coming your way still makes it weaker than it seems at first glance, but you could do far worse than this.

Battleforged Armor: Only dwarves would even want to look at it, and even then the bonus is too situational. Pass.

Black Iron Armor/Many Others: I'm lumping the Armor of Resistance/Dragon Scale Armors here with Black Iron. These are somewhat campaign dependant, but provide an extremely nice reduction in damage if you fight many foes that use those attacks. Buy it only once you're sure the DM is sticking to a certain theme, but you'll enjoy them once/if that happens.

Bloodcut Armor: Terrible, terrible, terrible, and the beginning of a mechanic that was thankfully killed in its infancy due to massive (justified) whining about it. Ignore this and save your healing surges for something productive.

Dwarven Armor: Good healing if you pack heavy armor, and it's surgeless to boot. You could do far worse than this.

Deathcut Armor: Necrotic resist is nice, and the little extra damage can help for minionkilling, I suppose. If only it had something better than Poison as its secondary resist...

Exalted Armor: Not as hot as it looks. Remember, even at its best this is just Cha+1d10 to the party AND it requires a sucky armor proficiency. Skip.

Hydra Armor: A hard to obtain bonus, but hot damn can it be good if you get it before the encounter is about to end. It's basically Resist 5/10 all.

Trollskin Armor: One use regeneration, in comparison to Hydra Armor's. Personally, I think this one's the stronger of the two, but not quite so much that a rating jump is warranted.

Armor of Exploits (AV): Using an encounter power twice on one encounter is a damn good trade for a daily and an action point, I think.

Bloodiron Armor (AV): As your enemy weakens, you become tougher. What's not to like?

Displacer Armor (AV): Make yourself MUCH harder to hit for a whole encounter. Excellent.

Meliorating Armor (AV): As you go through more battles, you become harder to hit. Good, but hardly excellent unless you go through ten encounters a day regularly.

Mithral Armor (AV): Should actually be Mithril, but cutting the damage of an attack is pretty good. There's better properties available to you, however.

Reinforcing Armor (AV): Get hit and you're less likely to be hit afterwards. The bonus is small, though.

Salubrious Armor (AV): Not that good at first, but a +2 or +3 bonus is nothing to scoff at when you can obtain it just by receiving healing.

Tactician's Armor (AV): This used to be an unappealing choice, but Resourceful Warlords and Taclords who utilize Tactician's Words will appreciate the bonus. It is easily usable by the time you reach the Paragon tear if you start with a 12 in Con, or even right off the bat if you start with a 13, and the global boost to all powers is quite useful. While not a must-take due to requiring feats to make good use of it, it's definitely the armor of choice if you take armor proficiency feats.

Verve Armor (AV): When you absolutely, positively cannot affod to fail a save, this can be extremely handy.

Veteran's Armor (AV): Do note that this armor got nerfed through errata, and thus only has its property. Taking that into account, a +1 bonus once every other encounter is rather small, though it applies for a decent number of attacks.


Armor of Sudden Recovery (AV2): Very meh most of the time, but if you get hit by ongoing damage, you gain some (probably) nice regeneration.

Demonscale (AV2): Scale only, but you can reactively nullify one elemental attack per encounter. Not a bad choice if you don't know what to expect.

Genasi Soul Armor (AV2): Genasi racials are usually very nice. This lets anyone use one of them (and lets Genasi use two powers each encounter).

Healer's Armor (AV2): Unlike it's arms version, this armor is horrible. Don't be fooled by it, it's just plain terrible.

Weapons
Magic Items, Weapons:

Berserker Weapon: The defense penalty is downright deadly, which is a shame because the weapon is otherwise very solid.

Dancing Weapon:
You give up an expensive, high level weapon for an extra basic attack. This is a bad trade considering your powers are what makes you special, not your damage.

Dragonslayer Weapon:
Ultra-niche, which sucks because its daily power is soooooo good. Skip unless all you do is fight dragons.

Flaming Weapon:
Pricey, and all you get is the chance to use the most commonly resisted energy type AND a weak power. Skip.

Frost Weapon:
Much better. Only two levels above the base, and combined with Wintertouched and Lasting Frost, it can grant your whole party CA. If your party prefers to use different enchantments, though, this isn’t quite as good.

Lifedrinker Weapon:
Gain a liiiiittle THP when you kill an enemy. Meh.


Lightning Weapon: Somewhat better than Flaming, but still costly, and being less resisted ain’t worth the price and lacklustre power.


Terror Weapon: A defense penalty is nice I’ll admit, but as (save ends) and daily? No thanks.


Thundering Weapon: If this had an element-adding at-will power, it’d be pretty amazing. As-is, it’s terrible.


Vicious Weapon: A decent enough increase without drawbacks, but you won’t get to see it very often. There’re far better options available to you.


Vorpal Weapon: It’s not your schtick, but the damage increase is pretty good. There’s better stuff out there, though.


Battlemaster's Weapon (AV): It's easy to see how getting an extra use of Hail of Steel or War of Attrition rocks. The only thing keeping this weapon from sky blue is that it does not have anything else to add.


Bloodclaw Weapon (AV): Nerfed by errata, and killing yourself is not a good idea in the first place.


Dessicating Weapon (AV): Each hit weakens the enemy's defense to further attacks. I think you can see how this is good. Targeting fortitude makes it worse than its AC-attacking cousin, however.

Grasping Weapon (AV): A Warlord whose enemies escape from is a useless Warlord. This nifty weapon ensures that you'll always have someone to whack. A good choice for spear wielders.


Inescapable Weapon (AV): Less useful than it seems because your accurracy should already be amazing if you're doing things right. Skip.


Jagged Weapon (AV): You might not be a critfisher, but some very awesome powers and features trigger off of crits. You could do much worse than increasing the odds of triggering those.


Mace of Healing (AV): Don't use this in battle, but carry one around to benefit from the bonus. Even the weakest version adds up quickly to the healing you do.


Radiant Weapon (AV): If there's an Arms Slot item that you absolutely cannot do without, this item helps make up for the loss of the Iron Armbands.


Reckless Weapon (AV): Heavily nerfed, so there's no reason to take it now.


Subtle Weapon (AV): CA comes pretty easily as you level up, a +enhancement to damage is nothing to scoff at. It's not as dependable as the Reckless of yore, though, which is the reason it's rated blue instead of sky blue.


Tenacious Weapon (AV): Solid, but by the point you can get it you almost certainly have something better available to you. Still, rerolls are rerolls.


Withering Weapon (AV): With each attack, the (likely) majority of your part finds it easier to hit. If several party members use this, you can hit the enemy with obscene easy each turn. Even when that's not the case, though, this is basically a +1 to all attack rolls against the target every turn, with the possibility of going even higher sometimes.

Hungry Spear (AV2): For spear wielders, this makes for a nice backup weapon.


Arms
Magic Items, Arms:

Bashing Shield:
Pretty bad at low levels, but the push can get ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS at high levels. A decent choice for those who like shields.

Bracers of Defense:
BIG damage reduction once a day. If it were an encounter power it’d be almost too good. As-is, it’s still quite viable.

Bracers of Mighty Striking:
Rendered obsolete by an item I’ll evaluate later.

Dragondaunt Shield:
Think of niche, weaker Bracers of Defense with a small part of the reduction available anytime at the cost of only applying to a few attacks. Not a worthy tradeoff.

Guardian Shield:
This is a pretty nice defender shield, but absolutely terrible as a Warlord one.

Shield of Defiance:
Crits are bound to happen, and you’ll probably need to patch up after one, so that’s pretty good. As a daily, though, it just feels rather underwhelming.

Shield of Deflection:
All ranged attacks are now weaker. Very, VERY nice. If shields weren’t simply a somewhat-niche build for Warlords, this’d be nearly mandatory.

Shield of Protection:
Protecting both yourself and a buddy ain’t a bad deal. It doesn’t impress either, though, and a standard action cost is veeeeeery steep.

Shield of Warding:
The reactive version of the Shield of Protection. The reduced action cost makes it more competitive, though still unimpressive.

Bloodsoaked Bracers (AV): While strikers LOVE this item, you don't really care about it. Letting the leader remain bloodied is a bad idea, and the damage, while very high, doesn't work well with a single attack per round.


Bracers of Iron Arcana (AV): Becoming unhittable for two turns is definitely good. Best of all, basically every warlord benefits from this.


Counterstrike Guards (AV): Don't bother with it before level 14, but afterwards, it's a pretty decent item.


Couters of Second Chances (AV): As you level up, the reroll this grants becomes better and better. A very solid choice.


Flaring Shield (AV): If an attack misses you, you can disable the enemy for a round. Very good.


Iron Armbands of Power (AV): Unless you find a way to obtain a similar bonus on top of the damage you'd do normally through another item, take this.


Rapidstrike Bracers (AV): Replacing a run of the mill attack with Commander's Strike, Furious Smash, Opening Shove or Brash Assault is solid gold. Only the issue of being usable only once per encounter keeps this from sky blue.


Shield of Eyes (AV): Not having to fear OA's can greatly enhance your movement. A very solid choice.


Stonewall Shield (AV): Erecting a wall massively alters the battlefield. This little toy can let you force enemies to come to your party at the pace you choose, making the battle much more manageable.


Trollhide Bracers (AV): Until the end of the encounter, you become insanely tough. Pity fire is such a common element, but this still doesn't diminish the value of this itme greatly.



Feet
Magic Items, Feet:

Acrobat Boots:
Stand up from prone and get a tiny bonus to a skill. Whoo. /UPDATE: Good points have been made about the value of the boots. They have been upgraded from Red to Blue. While there are better options available later, they're quite good early on.

Battlestrider Greaves:
A bonus to speed in heavy armor. Solid, but not impressive.

Boots of the Infinite Stride:
Made irrelevant by another set of teleporting boots.

Boots of Spider Climbing:
The power ain’t bad, but another item can do it better. Climbing faster ain’t bad though.

Boots of Striding:
See Battlestrider Greaves, three levels early and much less costly if you want ‘em later.

Boots of Striding and Springing:
See Boots of Striding but more costly and with a minor bonus tacked on top.

Dwarven Greaves:
As a daily power, negate torced movement. Considering how badly that can screw you at times, there’re far worse options you could choose.

Eladrin Boots:
Like the Boots of the Infinite Stride but 12 levels earlier, with a minor bonus for Eladrin and Warlocks instead of a speed bonus. Considering the boots that make the BotIS irrelevant, have yet to arrive, this isn’t as bad. Still, there’re better options available.

Elven Boots:
Increase your speed by a fair amount once per encounter. Good for getting into position on your first turn.

Wavestrider Boots:
Very nichey option, with nothing particularly awesome to add in most situations. Skip.

Winged Boots:
Flying is nice at the level you can get these, even for a single turn. Solid, but not spectacular.

Boots of Eagerness (AV): If you can't think of all sorts of delicious stuff to do with an extra move action, then I'm afraid you've got to go back to Tactics 101, ASAP.


Boots of Quickness (AV): A constant bonus to a defense is extremely good. What's not to like about a 5 (10, 15) % reduction to the to-hit chance of all reflex-targeting attacks?


Boots of Teleportation (AV): Teleportation is quite likely the best form of movement out there. When you can, take this and don't look back.


Boots of the Fencing Master (AV): Shifting makes you flat-out harder to hit against the majority of all attacks. Making an already good option even better is a winner in my book.


Goblin Stompers (AV): Capitalizing on your enemy's failures to maximize your effectiveness is good, but the circumstances where you can use this are a tad nichey.


Sandals of Avandra (AV): Having supercharged shifting is excellent, but this item has a small shelf life before the Boots of Teleportation take over.


Steadfast Boots (AV): The opposite of the Boots of the Fencing Master, these babies give you a bonus for staying put. Naturally, the bonus only works once per encounter, and forced movement can ruin your day, but when it works, you can slice a neat 10% off the enemy's chance to hit you.


Hands
Magic Items, Hands:

Gauntlets of Destruction:
Gain Brutal 1, and it was out before Brutal even existed. Not as good for you as it is for other martial characters, but still not bad.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power:
WHOAOMG DAMAGE BONUS! …But it’s a daily. Ehh, at the level it comes out a +5 bonus is pretty good. You should buy this for your Striker buddy, though.

Gauntlets of the Ram:
Adds +1 to the distance you can push people. Now, if only you had some more push powers…

Gloves of Piercing:
If you’re using imbued attacks, you’ll be glad you’re packing this when you meet an enemy who resists your attacks, and they’re super cheap. Skip them if you’re not using an imbuing weapon (such as Frost), though.

Antipathy Gloves (AV): You are relatively squishy, and being able to pick your fights and prevent shifts towards you is very good. Not top tier, but certainly nothing to scoff at.


Breaching Gauntlets (AV): In case you missed the Gloves of Piercing above, these come later, provide pitiful piercing most of the time, and their daily power is far worse. No reason to take them.


Elemental Gauntlets (AV): This refers to gauntlets such as the Frost, Holy and Burning gauntlets (But not the Storm Gauntlets), which can once per day add extra damage to all of your attacks and convert them to an elemental type, and whose bonus increases if you've obtained a milestone that day. Among the general mediocrity of Hands items (which have always seemed like the little brother of Arms items to me), the Elemental Gauntlets stand out as being all-around great.


Gauntlets of Blinding Strikes (AV): Once you're out of encounter powers, these babies can let you finish a monster relatively easily. They're strictly inferior to your own powers, though, so save them until you've spent them all.


Gloves of Missile Reflection (AV): A blanket bonus to AC against all ranged attacks is pretty good, and the daily power can massively reduce the damage you take. This is definitely a solid choice.


Gloves of the Healer (AV): An invaluable asset for your party, this item can reduce the number of surges spent per combat noticeably. Specially when combined with Improved Inspiring Word or the Eladrin's ability to add their Int to Inspiring Word, these can make your party much more durable. An excellent choice.


Green Thumbs (AV): Create an absolutely massive wall to restrain enemies. Unfortunately it's DC based and high-leveled creatures will make that save in their sleep, but this can still add a big dose of battlefield control to your arsenal.


Strikebacks (AV): When an enemy hits you, you get to hit back. Warlords don't have much use for Immediate actions, so you'lll seldom find yourself unable to capitalize on this nifty item.


Far Hand Gloves (Dragon 365): Increasing your reach without any costs besides an item slot is pretty good, but this only works once per encounter, which limits its usefulness, and it comes very late.


Head
Magic Items, Head:

Basilisk Helm:
Immobilize the dunce who attacked you, no way to get out unless they succeed the save. A nice way to screw over ranged attackers.

Goggles of Night:
There’s better ways to see in the dark.

Halo of Fallen Stars:
The damage is inconsequential here, but blinding the enemy means they’ll almost certainly miss their attack. Sure, they’ll save by the end of the turn, but if you managed to botch the usage of a once-per-encounter power, this item has fulfilled its purpose.

Helm of Battle:
If you don’t want to put a feat on Combat Commander, I suppose this is a decent substitute. Why WOULD you do that, though?

Helm of Ghostly Defense:
Being insubstantial cuts all damage you take in half. Decent as an immediate interrupt, and resistance to necrotic damage is very nice.

Helm of Heroes:
Brilliant! Considering how many powers you can get that grant basic attacks (even the humble Commander’s Strike), this is just excellent. Hell, you might even consider lugging around spare copies of the level 10 version at high levels, that’s how good it is.

Horned Helm:
Let your barbarian buddy have this. That said, if your build involves lots of charge powers, this isn't a bad choice.

Iron of Spite:
Punishing all attacks against you is awesome in theory, but Necrotic is well-resisted, and the damage is very minor. If it were something like a stat bonus, it’d be great anyways, but as-is? Skip.

Carcanet of Psychic Schism/Coif of Focus/Coif of Mindiron (AV): All of these do the same thing: botch a set of status effects and stop them from hitting. Personally, I'm partial to the Carcanet, because a 1 blanket bonus to Will is good stuff and it stops the statii, no questions asked, but the Mindiron Coif is also pretty good (it has a bugged action cost, though, as it's listed as Standard Action alongside Immediate Interrupt). Regardless, stopping nasty status effects is good stuff. Carcanet>Mindiron>Focus is my pick here.


Eye of Awareness (AV): A +2 bonus to Will is just excellent. Warlords don't care much for going first, but hey, it's still a neat bonus which you can take advantage of with the right utility power.


Eye of the Earthmother (AV): You automatically suceed on a low-level knowledge check against any enemy. This is quite nifty, if not particularly amazing. Additionally, you can dominate beasts, which IS excellent. Pity there aren't many of those at the level you can get this.


Goggles of Aura Sight (AV): SPECTACULAR. Simply spectacular. You can learn one of the most important things about a monster: their HP. If your DM uses a single mob type once in an encounter, this is great. If he uses it multiple times, this is Gold.


Goggles of the Bone Collector (AV): Eye of the Earthmother, once per encounter and many levels lower, minus the domination power. It also helps a lot with the real knowledge checks, to discern powers and the like, which is nice.


Hat of Disguise (AV): Purely flavor item, but this baby enables all sorts of awesome ambushes. You're a master commander, use those skills here.


Headband of Intellect (AV): Usually trash...but combine it with a Githyanki Silver Blade and suddenly you're extra accurrate, no questions asked.


Ioun Stone of Regeneration (AV): Costly, but this is good regeneration, and basically DR 10 against one attack while bloodied. Quite good.

Golden Crown of Battle Command (AV2): Perfect for the warlord who likes to use Commander's Strike or powers that grant MBA's.


Neck
Magic Items, Neck:

Amulet of False Life:
Just when you’re weakest, you can bounce back and gain a nice buffer to put between you and your enemy. A solid choice.

Amulet of Health:
Poison’s quite common against traps, though mostly limited to human enemies among monster. Like all other elemental resistance items, take it if you know you'll need it.

Cloak of Feywild Escape:
It constrains your movement, though it DOES make you unattackable. I personally don’t like it, but this can be good if you’re hurting and your party is willing to move for you.

Cloak of Invisibility:
Usually, I’d bemoan the Standard Action cost, but when you get such a good bonus? Hell no. Just make sure you keep your foes guessing about your location.

Cloak of Resistance:
Steel yourself and weaken all attacks directed against you preemptively. Not a bad choice, all in all.

Cloak of Survival:
An almost incidental bonus and resistance to two common damage types (though cold ain’t as common as Necrotic). Not a bad choice in all.

Guardian’s Cape:
Can allow for some pretty spectacular repositioning hijinks if the party works together, but this is better for a defender. Let him get this.

Periapt of Wisdom:
Negate a will attack if you’re a Charismatic Warlord (Intelligence based Warlords need not apply). Solid.

Scarab of Invulnerability:
For a turn, you can survive getting Locate City Bombed by a 3.5 Wizard. Nifty.

Stormwalker’s Cloak:
The resists are pretty meh, but against any enemy who multiattacks, you can inflict some pretty nasty damage.

Abyssal Adornment (AV): For all intents and purposes, completely nullify all elemental attacks of one type for a round. Excellent.


Amulet of Resolution (AV): When a save screws you over, this can put you back on your feat. A very nice vanilla enchantment.


Brooch of Vitality (AV): Like toughness, except it can be even better. This is basically like getting free level-ups when it comes to HP.


Cloak of Displacement (AV): Until you're hit, you have a pretty nice bonus to Reflex and AC, and you get to make a halfling impression once per day. Very solid.


Cloak of Distortion (AV): Nerfed, so now the penalty to ranged attacks is equal to the enhancement bonus instead of 5, but this is still really good deterrence for ranged attackers, especially at high levels. A very worthy pick, though no longer a must-take.


Torc of Power Preservation (AV): Renew an encounter power at the cost of a daily item power. More than amazing tradeoff, and it even saves you from spending the daily if you don't make the roll!

Medic's Amulet (AV2): If you don't have the feats to spend on Mark of Healing, or it's verboten in your campaign, this can make for a nice substitute.

Amulet of Vigor (AV2): An interesting item, this buffs your healing surge value...significantly so at high levels. Not a bad choice for this slot, in spite of the heavy competition.

Timeless Locket (AV2): "You take a Standard Action". That says it all.


Rings
Magic Items, Rings:

Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords: The big draw here, in my opinion, is the extra Healing Surge. The movement negation is something you can get from other, less precious slots.

Ring of Flight:
Flight for a turn is pretty nice. Flight for two turns is quite good.

Ring of Freedom of Movement:
Unless you expect to be grabbed more than an American Football player making a mad dash to score, skip this. Its bonuses aren’t that good.

Ring of Invisibility:
Meh. Compared to the Cloak of Invisibility, this just doesn’t look that good. I’d pass if I were you.

Ring of Protection:
I don’t think playing “guess the attack bonus” is exactly a good idea, and there’s very few situations where you’ll get to use this successfully. Pass.

Ring of Regeneration:
Excellent. This lets you keep going longer, and the milestone bonus is just brilliant. Very good choice.

Ring of True Seeing:
There’s a wondrous item for this.

Star Opal Ring:
A speed bonus, once-a-day teleportation, and a meh attack. Pass.

Ring of Heroic Insight (AV): You hit more and harder, no questions asked. Damn good use for a ring slot.


Ring of Tenacious Will (AV): Your toughness goddamn skyrockets if you're a Charismatic Warlord and pick this up. This is mandatory for them, no exceptions.


Shadow Band (AV): Permanent Concealment, and possibly total concealment for a whole encounter. Can't ask for much more than that.

Ring of Greater Invisibility (AV2): Now this is an impressive ring of invisibility. A very worthwhile choice.

Ring of Traded Knowledge (AV2): Warlords are usually starved for options. This ring helps remedy that somewhat, as it lets you obtain a new at-will power in exchange for one of your usual ones for an encounter.


Ring of Draconic Zeal (Dragon 365): Make an extra attack, no questions asked, and the only thing it costs you is a daily item power. Solid enough.


Ring of Fury (Dragon 366): Like the Ring of Draconic Zeal, but more situational and noticeably more powerful. You give your enemy some serious payback for blooding you, which is pretty nice.



Waist
Magic Items, Waist:

Belt of Giant’s Strength:
Like the Gauntlets of Ogre Power, except by this point a +10 to one attack’s damage is inconsequential.

Belt of Sacrifice:
The power sucks, but a bonus to everyone’s Healing Surge Value can add up pretty fast.

Belt of Titan Strength:
Like the Belt of Giant Strength, but even worse because by this point creatures are swinging 1000 HP around like it’s going out of style.

Belt of Vigor:
Much smaller a bonus than the one the Belt of Sacrifice provides overall, and there’s an item that does this better to boot.

Ironskin Belt:
The power is solid, but not that many creatures use weapons.

Belt of Blood (AV): There's a certain belt that just plain increases your healing surge value anytime, and thus obsoletes this belt.


Belt of Vim (AV): When you absolutely, positively cannot stand being hit by fortitude attacks, pick this. With your naturally high fort, you'll laugh at any such attacks thrown your way.


Cord of Divine Favor (AV): Once per encounter, you can get twice as much bang for your buck from your Inspiring Word. Brilliant.


Healer's Sash (AV): Heavily nerfed in the December update. It now works only once per day, though it affects two characters at once at level 21. It's now solid, but not amazing.


Totemic Belt (AV): A major, MAJOR incentive for opening an encounter with a charge. A blanket +1 bonus to all attack and damage rolls at the cost of just charging? Sold!

Diamond Cincture (AV2): Ridiculously useful item. Surgeless healing is usually hard to come by, but this baby gives it to you, no questions asked, no powers expended, up to three times per day. Eat your heart out, Dwarven Armor!


Belt of Mountain Endurance (Dragon 365): Ridiculous. Suddenly, you become MUCH tougher, as each healing surge you spend heals you a lot more. It's purely a self-buffing item, but damn, is it good at what it does.



Wondrous Items
Magic Items, Wondrous Items:

Bag of Holding/Handy Haversack/Portable Hole:
A classic. The loot’s not going to be easy to carry most of the time, but this fixes that issue somewhat.

Dimensional Shackles:
You’re NEVER hitting with this. Skip it.

Dust of Appearance:
Remember the item I mentioned while talking about the Ring of True Seeing? This is it. Completely killing invisibility for the encounter, every encounter beats the CRAP out of a two-turn duration that only works for you, doesn’t it?

Everlasting Provisions:
Flavor item, though it can have some uses.

Feather Boat:
Lasts WAY too little time to be useful for the price. Buy yourself a ship if you need to traverse water.

Flying Carpet:
This isn’t good for you only because you melee, and can’t do it that well while swooping around. Otherwise, a fantastic item in my opinion (though it’s beaten by the Best Vehicle Ever when it comes to out-of-combat flight IMO).

Keogthom’s Ointment:
Ending a disease or regaining a healing surge? Nice.

Revenant Ankh: If your ally died, you screwed up terribly and this is a poor consolation prize. Better to just avoid the situations where you benefit from this altogether.

Ritual Candle:
Leave this to someone with skills better suited for it, I say.

Golden Rope:
Kickass utility. Not too useful in combat, but dammit if it isn’t nice out of it.

Sending Stones:
If you ever have to split the party for some reason, make sure you have these walkie-talkies available. You’ll be glad you invested in a four or five-person set.

Ornithopter (AV): Yes, this isn't actually a wondrous item, but it's too good to pass up like most other vehicles. For just 3400 gold, you get permanent out-of-combat flight. Do I need to explain how good this is? The uses are practically endless, and five Ornithopters are a pretty wise investment for a party who wants to eschew normal forms of traveling and avoid interference. I can't mark it as gold in good conscience, but the amount of stuff you can do with an easily obtainable flying craft is immense.


Exodus Knife (AV): Rope Trick returns in the form of an item. Don't buy this for yourself: get everyone to pay for one of these.


Foe Stone (AV): Now your allies know where to hit to hurt the most. An extremely strong item; this almost pushed gold.


Gem of Auditory Recollection (AV): Just like the hat of Disguise, this is a flavor item, and once again, it can really allow you to make the enemy play with your rules.


Immovable Shaft (AV): A million uses for this. Be creative and reap the benefits.


Power Jewel (AV): If there's an encounter power at these levels that you absolutely can't live without, this is a good way to play it again, Sam.


Salve of Power (AV): Almost every build has a power in that range they dearly love. Packing this lets you use it again when you think you'll need, at the low cost of a healing surge and a daily. Don't spam them, but one or two just in case don't hurt anyone.


Solitaires (AV): Solitaires give you big bonuses on a crit and are slotless. You'll always want one, culminating in the Violet Solitaire. That's pretty much it.


Battle Standards (AV/Various Sources): Battle standard are an interesting tradeoff: an attack for a bonus all-encounter long, no questions asked. This can be as small as a penalty to damage rolls for marked enemies or as amazing as a +1 bonus to attack rolls. They aren't always worth it, mind, but it's something every Walord should look at. Particularly interesting Standards are the Standard of Might, of the Vanguard, and of the Stalwart.

Map of Unseen Lands (AV2): Nothing says "clever mastermind" better than knowing where potential danger is located and thus being prepared for it.

Seed of War (AV2): A brilliant, brilliant item. This can seriously amp your party's damage per round, as every single attack made against an enemy has an extra 10 damage tacked on it. It's a bit tricky to use, but besides that this is solid gold.

Backlash Tattoo (AV2): When you're bloodied, you get a free attack, plain and simple. All it costs you is a little gold, so this tattoo is great.

Demonskin Tattoo (AV2): Like the Demonskin Tattoo, but more powerful and versatile. And all that's needed is the expenditure of an Action Point!

Fireheart Tattoo (AV2): While this tattoo isn't as good as the two above, it does have the advantage of not having much overlap with other items (as most other THP granting items are just plain terrible, while this one isn't). If you've got your resistances covered, or you don't find yourself becoming bloodied all that often, consider taking this.

Stone of Earth (AV2): A slotless reroll. Really, what else do I have to say?

Dragonshard Augments (EPG): Every single character can stand to gain from picking up an appropriate Shard (except those who use Withering Weapons, perhaps). There's no reason not to take one, especially if you utilize Frostcheese or Radiant Weapons.


Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Masters of War: Paragon Paths

As a warlord, your PP can make you or break you. It's a singularly tricky and important choice, one that will likely mark your style for the rest of your adventuring career. For that reason, a clear understanding of the paths available to you is necessary.


PHB Paths:

Battle Captain: So good, it used to be Gold, but recent developments have made it less mandatory. It is still, however, THE classic Taclord path, what with the ease with which it confers attack bonuses. Let's analyze the features...

Combat Veteran: The "I'm confused and scared and can't decide what to take!" path. It's a mishmash of various abilities, with the features not being too impressive and the powers being somewhat better. It's nothing that'll wow you, but at least it's not so bad taking it is a gimp.

Knight Commander: Strange paragon path. It's probably supposed to be the Bardlord PP, but it ain't that good at it. At least it compensates by giving a +2 to all allies adjacent to you, which allows for interesting tactics involving swarm attacks where even the ranged attacked pile onto an enemy. The powers ain't too shabby, either.

Sword Marshal: The other two "filler" PHB PP's were weak, but they had something good to compensate for it. Not so in this case. The Marshal is just plain weak, and there's no getting around it. At least it's not as bad as, say, taking Borderlands Marshal while thinking it's a Warlord PP, but you just can't look at this trying to be powerful with a straight face.

Battlelord of Kord (MP): Wow, what a way to start the MP section of this chapter. The features are all solid, and all but the level 16 feature are very good. The encounter power is somewhat weird, but it can make for a spectacular minion-killing tool (or standard-killing if you somehow get multiple standard to such low HP levels that a basic attack can kill them). Blood-Tested Inspiration, meanwhile, is this PP's Bolt of Genius (perhaps this is a pattern among good PP's that distinguishes them? :P), though it costs you your inspiring word, so it's something you have to think over. The best part of the PP, however, is the daily power, hands down. Path of the Storm is absolutely spectacular, letting you unleash a barrage of attacks that makes the most optimized ranger green with envy. Put up a couple buffs on yourself, and you will turn the tide singlehandedly in a tough battle. Really, the PP is excellent. The only bad part is having to worship a deity in the flavor, but that's a small price to pay for such good features.

Borderlands Marshal (MP): This is really a ranger PP in disguise, and a bad one at that. Avoid it.

Commando Captain (MP): Besides the terrible daily power, all of this PP is pretty good. Nothing absolutely impresses (except the encounter power, maybe), but it's all very nice. Setting allies up for flanking, granting concealment, and doubling the effect of your basic shifting action is all good.

Concordant Leader (MP): The special Genasi PP does not impress. It's all focused around your manifestations and using them more times, but that really doesn't cut it when stuff like the Battlelord of Kord, Infernal Strategist, and Battle Captain are around. Even if you're obsessed with manifesting your racial powers more than usual, avoid this.

Dujun of Erathis (MP): The Dujun offers an interesting tradeoff: your own resources in exchange for those of the party. For the most part, this works pretty well, I think, as it lets you manage resources more effectively and get ahead of the opposition. The action point advantage in particular is very intriguing, as it grants the whole party move actions at the cost of your standard. The at-will power is also quite interesting, and particularly tempting for Inspiring Warlords in spite of the pretended Intelligence focus of the class due to how well it combines with War of Attrition. A good choice, all in all. Just remember to take Durable so as to better use your level 11 feature.

Earthfast Brigadier (MP): This really feels like a Fighter PP in disguise more than anything, but unlike the Borderlands Marshal, it ain't half bad at its intended role. It's just not really suited to you, is all.

Flamebrow Commander (MP): This PP is all based around the bloodied and dying conditions. Personally, I prefer slightly more reliable features, and they aren't that good either to boot. However, the powers are pretty good for the most part, and redeem this significantly.

Infernal Strategist (MP): If you're a Resourceful Warlord, you'll take this. End of story. Then, you'll proceed to poach awesome powers from your second presence like mad and live large. That's it, really. That bonus is just too useful and versatile to ignore, especially when the rest of the PP is quite good.

Longarm Marshal (MP): The features aren't bad, really, and they help make attacking you a somewhat more difficult proposition, but the powers are pretty meh. There's better options out there, in my opinion, but this isn't a crippling choice by any means.

Platinum Warlord (MP): None of the features and powers that compose this PP are above average. Conversely, none of them is absolutely terrible except the scale proficiency, mostly because it's missing a clause to swap the feat for something else if you already have it, but you can get around that easily enough. But really, there's always something better to pick up.

Spiral Tactician (MP): Most of this PP is pretty meh, but doubling the benefit allies gain from your tactical presence is absolutely golden. It singlehandedly pushes the PP from black to blue. A solid choice for Eladring Taclords.

Twiceborn Leader (MP): You gain a lite version of Supreme Inspiration early at no cost, there's a nice AP benefit, and an ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR utility power. A very solid choice in spite of a wonky encounter power and daily.

Purple Dragon Knight (FRPG): This is a very weak, very vanilla pp. Neither of these things is good.

Adroit Explorer (PHBII): The Action Surge of Paragon Paths, though its competition is obviously much tougher here. All the features are solid and versatile, and this path is definitely a good choice for any warlord who does not want to take a path like Battlelord of Kord or Battle Captain. After all, who wouldn't like using War of Attrition twice per encounter?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Another courtesy post, just in case.
Lords of Battle: Epic Destinies
At a certain point in your career, you'll be ready to trascend the bounds of mortality, to rise so far beyond your war colleagues as to seem a different entity altogether. Epic Destinies is how that occurs. Let's see what they have to offer...

Demigod: The quintessential Epic Destiny, every single feature of this path is at least good or better. Getting a +1 boost to your attack rolls, riders, and two defenses is excellent, if a bit bland, getting back up when you get knocked down no questions asked is pretty good, Divine Regeneration makes you almost unkillable once a day, and as for Divine Miracle...well, I think you can realize just how good it is without me adding anything, even post-nerfing.

Eternal Seeker: This ED is quite strange. It's usefulness is directly tied to the number of books you own and your creativity. It certainly opens some particularly amazing combos, and can let you poach absolutely amazing powers from other classes, and the rest of the features (besides the capstone for the most part, as almost all ED's have their comeback features at level 24) are all very good. Suddenly, you can get both Rush of Battle and Quickening Order on your Taclord and absolutely SHRED the opposition, for instance. Or you can spend an action point and launch all of your encounter powers in one shot, thus benefiting from "until the end of your next turn" in a noticeable way. Overall, this ED is extremely solid. It just depends greatly on your creativity and ability to find useful power combinations.

Adamantine Soldier (MP):
Why you'd take this ED is beyond me. This is not an ED for Warlords, but for Fighters, Constitution-based fighters at that. Ignore it.

Legendary General (MP): Now here's a Warlord ED. The level 21 feature is pretty meh, but the level 24 feature lets you juggle AP's around as necessary, the utility power recharges everyone's best encounter/daily power, and the level 30 ability basically lets you win any combat, no matter the odds, or you get your money back.

Martial Hybrid (MP): This has the steep, STEEP requirement of Paragon Multiclassing, but it's otherwise pretty good...for other classes. It's best suited for critfishers, who can really use it to reach absurd levels of power by healing themselves, regaining powers, and making extra attacks whenever they crit. For you, though? Nah, it's too difficult to use effectively. Pass it for something else.

Warmaster (MP): This ED is all about surprise rounds and action points. It lets every single AP the part spends count for two, and you give all your allies an extra turn, along with yoursef. However, the level 21 and 30 abilities aren't that impressive. Removing the AP cap is nice, but how are you going to generate the AP's to spend? And how many times is a surprise round going to pop up? In spite of this, though, the incredibly usefulness of giving your allies extra actions can't be overlooked. Thus, nobody should be scoffed at for picking this path.

Champion of Prophecy (EPG): There's nothing this ED does that others don't do better.

Dispossessed Champion (EPG): A weaker Warmaster or Legendary General ripoff. Ignore it, there are much better options out there.

Mourning Savior (EPG): Setting specific, situational, and WEAK. Blech.


Mythic Sovereign (Dragon 367): Tucked away in a forgotten article is this little gem of an ED. While not specifically made for Warlords, it has a bunch of excellent abilities for them, besides being awesome fluffy. In particular, this is a very good choice for Inspiring or Bravura Warlords, as the  utility powers keys off of Charisma. Besides that, you get a mini Relentless Assault that's always on and kicks in when you crit (so you might consider a Jagged weapon if you're taking this ED), and eventually learn how to spam an encounter power of your choice until you miss. While the benefits are not incredible, this is still a very good, solid ED.

Planeshaper (Dragon 372): What a surprise to see this here, isn't it? It is, however, an actually good destiny for Taclords and Resourceful Warlords. Right off the bat, you get a +2 to Int (not bad) and, most importantly, a big fat extra use of any encounter power of your choice each encounter. This is excellent, as it means an extra HoS, for instance, or another Warlord's Doom or whathaveyou. You then get a crit-based ability that removes the target for a round (which means its basically an unsaveable stun of sorts), a decent full recharge power for the party, and finally, a tasty capstone which lets you alter the terrain as you please. All in all, a really solid destiny, if an unorthodox choice.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Argh!  You beat me to it!  I wanted to include gold in the color scheme first! 

Lol, I'm just razzing you.  It's my fault for being such a laggard with my guides ;).  Good luck with this one. 
Builds and Guides The Cosmonaut a build that teleports foes into space. November Errata Item Guide a guide to equipping Avengers and Strikers after the November errata. 100% Crit Rate Ardent Champion an Avenger combo that autocrits and/or inflicts infinite damage at level 11.
Post to take up space which will later be deleted!
I am...highly skeptical over your renaming of the Inspiring Warlord to "Bardlord." Previously this had been used, where I'd seen it, in multiclassing and hybridizing the Warlord and Bard. I just don't like to see linguistic conflation where it can be avoided...

That said, thanks for taking this up. It needs doing.
The Great Gray Skwid Humblest Mollusk on the Net
I am...highly skeptical over your renaming of the Inspiring Warlord to "Bardlord." Previously this had been used, where I'd seen it, in multiclassing and hybridizing the Warlord and Bard. I just don't like to see linguistic conflation where it can be avoided...

That said, thanks for taking this up. It needs doing.



I will add this: I think that the you need to reasses your opinion of the inspiring warlord that leads you to term it the bardlord (presumably in reference to the idea that the inspiring warlord primarily plays a healing and support role to the party).

Here is how you describe the inspiring warlord: "Speaking of which, the Bardlord is interesting. Probably the most “vanilla” Warlord, i. e. one that prefers defensive buffs and healing over offensive buffs and repositioning, it’s probably my least favorite option. This is due to how most of it is reactive, not proactive. After all, healing someone who’s at full health is a waste. Nevertheless, when it decides to take off the Cleric hat and do it’s own thing, this build tends to hit it out of the ballpark. War of Attrition is one of the finest powers I’ve ever seen, and it shows what a compentent Bardlord can do."

The problem with this assessment is that, post martial power, the only thing that would lead one to believe that an inspiring warlord prefers "
defensive buffs and healing over offensive buffs and repositioning" is their presence bonus and the lack of a charisma based DPR boosting power. (No, furious smash does not count--in terms of DPR, it is often inferior to a basic attack and is almost always inferior to commander's strike with no int-bonus; in short, it is a complete and total failure in the DPR department; any defenses of the power need to focus on the necessity to land secondary effects and, in truth, there just aren't that many applicable secondary effects that are worth losing DPR to gain). Looking at their good powers at every level, they are more focused on offensive buffs than any other warlord type. In fact, the primary factor that distinguishes them from taclords is that their buffs tend to be party-wide rather than benefitting only one individual. For instance, based on what you've written so far, a 10th level inspiring warlord would have:
1. Hammer and Anvil. and bastion of defense. 2. Inspired belligerence. 3. Warlord's Strike. 5. Stand the fallen or staggering spin. 6. Rousing words. 7. War of attrition. 9. Iron Dragon charge. 10. Instant Planning.

Other than the lack of Lead the Attack, that is a more offensively oriented set of powers than you would find on the standard taclord: 1. warlord's favor and lead the attack. 2. Adaptive stratagem or Knight's move. 3. Inspiring war cry or steel monsoon. 5. stand the fallen or rock and a hard place. 6. inspiring reaction. 7. surprise attack. 9. Knock them Down. 10. Tactical shift.

Instead, for the post-martial power inspiring warlord, it would be more accurate to say that inspiring warlords tend to boost offense by granting bonus damage or extra attacks to multiple targets while tactical warlords are more likely to grant attack bonuses to a single target or repositioning to multiple targets.

WotC may still think that inspiring warlords are about healing, but if they print suites of powers that are obviously better for kicking ass and taking names, I don't think we are obligated to join the designers in their delusions.

One last suggestion, purple is a bit hard to distinguish from blue. I would consider using another color (maybe magenta? or violet?) for bad options that are not complete and total losers.
Excellent! It's great to see a fresh warlord guide. Just one thing - whatever color you're using for purple - and this may be my eyes/monitor - seems less distinguishable from blue than the more typical pinkish-purple that people use.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I'll also agree that Bardlord is confusing terminology. I play an inspiring warlord and there is nothing "bardic" about it.

Also I think along with Resourceful Warlords, Inspiring Warlords are "balanced" when it comes to offense and defense. One class feature does not really define the whole class, since power selection plays a huge role on how a warlord plays out.

And for the utility powers in general, I'd like to say this, *always* take a look at the lower level utility powers when gaining a new utility power. What you need may not be available for the level you're at, but a lower level probably has exactly what you're looking for. Again as an inspiring warlord, I started with Knight's Move, and I wouldn't change that choice for anything else, it's been golden for me. I have a more offensive than defensive build, so at 6th level I looked at the utility powers, and didn't see anything that jumped out at me, but looking at 2nd level utilities, Inspired Belligerence was just what I needed. For 10th level, I'm debating between the 6th level powers Dragon's Tenacity, and Guided Shot. The power-level for utility powers is kind of weird, in that a higher level power is not necessarily better. probably part of the reason for this is that utility powers are kept through 30 levels, so they have to maintain their usefulness.
There's something you could consider for you power section. Many Leader powers and especially Warlord powers are not easily rated red-golden. Circumstances and party composition play an absolutlely major role here. So rating rather under which circumstances which power works well instead of a flat color would be a nice addition, if only for the powers that really stand out regarding their situational usefulness.

Nevertheless, good work.
Good suggestions all around. I'm working on the Paragon Powers right now, and all I can say is I'll remember to take this into account when I'm double-checking the list.

E_B: The bardlord term is mostly something I use to avoid saying Inspiring Warlord every two seconds. You've got to admit Inspiringlord or Insplord suck as abbreviations compared to Taclord, Reslord, and Bravolord, hence Bardlord, but I must concede that Inspiring Warlords are much more offensive than I thought when I look at them again. Once I'm done with the Paragon Powers, I will edit the previous sections to reflect the change.

PS: Incidentally, if anybody has a better abbreviation than Bardlord, feel free to put it forward. Something that dissasociates the Inspiring Warlord from other classes would be nice.

PSS: Also, a couple nice pictures that didn't transfer from a Word Document to the forum have been reuploaded. Check 'em out. ;)
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
PS: Incidentally, if anybody has a better abbreviation than Bardlord, feel free to put it forward. Something that dissasociates the Inspiring Warlord from other classes would be nice.

I'd just ditch the "lord" and say Inspiring, Tactical, Resourceful, or Bravura. For instance "... this power is blue if you are Tactical..."

And on another note, Bravolord is kind of confusing too, since Bravo is a multiclass feat as well. The term previously used was Bravelord, if you want to use that abbreviation, but as I said, I'd ditch the "lord" altogether, and just use the proper build name.
Finished the Paragon powers. Opinions?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
While we're discussing the warlord builds, I don't think that resourceful warlords are actually any more flexible in play or more likely to have the right tool for the given situation than any other kind of warlord.

The only place that resourceful warlords are more flexible than other warlords is in construction. You can build an Int focused resourcelord or a Cha focused resourcelord. Especially with infernal strategist, you can combine your natural strengths with the strengths of any other kind of warlord. But you still pick one power and one feat per slot. A 3rd level resourceful warlord may end up with wolf pack tactics, commander's strike, hammer and anvil, lead the attack, adaptive stratagem, and bloody ending as his powers. Alternately, he could have rousing assault, furious smash, myrmidon formation, bastion of defense, knight's move and inspiring war cry (though he'd probably want different stats from the 1st resourcelord if he were really going to go that route). But neither of those are any more likely to have the right tool for the situation than a tactical warlord with commander's strike, wolf pack tactics, warlord's favor, lead the attack, adaptive stratagem, and inspiring war cry.

What really separates resourceful warlords from the other kinds of warlords is the ability to mix and match presences with infernal strategist and poach the best powers from other presences and the absolutely brutal action point damage bonus. A tactical warlord makes action point attacks more accurate and grants a good damage bonus too. However, a resourceful warlord has the potential to be granting a 33 point (+15 1/2 level, +8 Int (normal, including tactician's armor), +8 Int (tactical assault--due to tactical presence as second presence), +2 improved resources) untyped damage bonus on action points by level 30. Apply that to powers like path of the storm (battlelord of Kord 20) or even blade cascade and monsters that would otherwise be standing for a round or two will be dead before the action point is over. Apply that to larger area attack power and it also adds up very quickly. Obviously, charisma focused resourcelords won't generate nearly the novas that int based ones do and the ability to still get something on a miss (temp hp) is not to be taken lightly, but the massive damage bonus is a gamechanging ability that resourcelords can get and other warlords can't.
All true, but then you look at the Warlord Essentials article and the flexibility suddenly translates into something that can be used in-game. It's too early to tell if Warlord powers will use the two-presence method from now on, but if they do...well, the Resourceful Warlord is suddenly much more capable of switching stuff on the fly, doubly so if he's a balanced Cha/Int build. That said, once I get to the feat/PP section, I'll make a note of emphasizing the ridiculous nova power of Resourceful Warlords.

Edit: Also, I'm correcting the dilemmas and build descriptions as we speak. Make sure to take a look at it in...say, 10-15 and tell me if you agree. ;)

Edit Strikes Back: Done. Anything else that should be changed about the presence overviews and presentation on Dilemma no. 1?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
I was going to wait for all the powers to be up before making suggestions on the substance of powers, etc, but here goes for what I can see this far:

1. Weapon proficiencies--you say that it's a pity you don't get military ranged weapons. Actually, warlords couldn't care less about that. All of the military ranged weapons use dex to hit and damage. Given that dex is a dump stat for warlords, they're better off with javalins (and tratnyrs for the eladrin) than military ranged weapons anyway.

2. Commanding presences. I would actually rate inspiring presence as the best of the bunch at the moment. Throughout heroic tier, inspiring presence consistently gets powers that are as good or better than anyone else. They have access to the battlelord of kord paragon path (or, if human, adroit explorer which opens up the possibility of using war of attrition twice in every combat). What's more, they can effortlessly combine their best builds with supreme inspiration and call to glory to double up on the battlelord of kord damage bonus and make hail of steel even better than it already is. And they combine it with better healing abilities than any non-eladrin taclord. If you already have another leader, I might well go with tactical, but for my money, I think inspiring warlords are the best all-around leaders WotC has put out thus far.

3. Races:
A. Half-elves deserve the same rating as humans--they can duplicate the optimal human stat array (IMO, post racial Str 18, dex 8/10/11, Con 13, Int 8/10/11, Wis 8/10/11, Cha 16. The ability to diletante+versatile master for righteous brand or another power more than makes up for the lack of a third at-will power, and warlords have good enough paragon paths that you can make do without adroit explorer.
B. Tieflings do not deserve sky blue. First, since the best resourceful warlords will focus on Str and either Int or Cha rather than trying to focus on both at the same time, tieflings have no advantage over other races in that arena. In fact, genasi and dragonborn are better at it than tieflings since they can get Str 18, Int/Cha 16, tertiary 14 stat arrays and have a 13 left over for Con or whatever. If the tiefling wants 18 str, 16 secondary, they're stuck with a 13 in the tertiary stat with no points left over. Additionally, while they do have some good racial feats, I don't see any that are particularly good for warlords. They're blue for most warlords. Sky blue for none.

4. Str or Int for taclords?
I'm of the opinion that taclords who have to choose--and that's really only human taclords since everyone else made their choice when they picked their race--should usually go for Int. (Taclords should go for 16 str, 16 Int before racial bonuses). The combination of the extra +1 bonus from lead the attack or warlord's favor combined with the extra damage on commander's strike makes up for the slightly reduced chance to hit and initial damage. Additionally, you net yourself a higher armor class by taking the 18 Int and wearing hide than you would get at 16 Int (where hide or chain mail is an even trade).

And for the record, since you brought up the level 1 warlord's favor bonus issue, +4 70% of the time works out to 2.8; +5 65% of the time works out to 3.15

5. At wills.
Commander's strike may be overrated by some people but it should still be sky blue. It is the only power that will let your taclord put out at-will damage on par with a striker (provided that you at least have a defender with a good melee basic) and it is a key ingredient for capitalizing on any short-duration buffs you hand out. Really, its only competition in the good powers department is inevitable wave.

Furious Smash. I'd put this at black (or maybe purple). The problem with furious smash is that you need a starting 18 charisma for it to be worth buffing anything short of avalanche strike--and with a 16 charisma, buffing avalanche strike barely works out better than commander's striking the barbarian (assuming no Int mod) and then letting him make the avalanche strike unaided. It won't always suck, but it has the potential to be worse than simply making a basic attack and even when it is better than a basic attack, commander's strike with no bonus will frequently beat it out. If you have to roll all of your own dice and are willing to get a situational at-will, it may be occasionally useful, but I think the situation will come up much more often for wolf-pack tactics, rousing assault, or viper's strike.

Viper's Strike. This is another black one. It does deny options to your opponents, but most of the times those options weren't that effective anyway. (If your opponent was going to shift out of a flank, odds are good your party could just move and get the flank back--or you could wolf-pack tactics the flank back into existence). I don't think I would pass up a DPR increase to get this.

Wolf Pack Tactics. I agree with this is good, but I still think it is a second choice--and sometimes a third. Increasing the mobility of your team can be huge, but often enough your team can get where they need to go without your help.

Opening Shove. This definitely does not deserve sky blue. (Black or purple). The problem: it is a DPR decreasing power. Unless you are heavily specialized in abusing this power (draconic arrogance, polearm momentum, etc), it will deal less damage to the enemy than a basic attack. And, while it is accurate, it only grants its shift if you hit, unlike wolf pack tactics which grants the shift hit or miss. So, for DPR, it will never compare with commander's strike (except possibly in the draconic arrogance+polearm momentum build). And if you want the shift, you have to ask how often an Int mod shift is actually better than a one-square shift. IMO, it will rarely be enough of an improvement to justify sacrificing the damage and certainty of wolf-pack tactics.

not yet rated powers:
Rousing Assault: (D&D minis: PHB heroes I) I would put this at blue for charisma warlords. Adding your charisma bonus to any warlord healing powers until the end of your next round can set up big healing novas--especially with multitarget healing like stand the fallen or non-inspiring word healing like rousing words.

Inevitable Wave (PHB Heroes 2). I would put this at blue bordering on sky blue for Int warlords. (It is more situational than commander's strike, but when people in your party like to charge, it is potentially a much bigger power boost. Also, it combines very nicely with iron dragon charge. You charge the target and give allies who charge it a damage boost then you let your ally charge as a reaction.

Utility 2:
Adaptive stratagem deserves sky blue for Intlords. Who cares if taclords don't give a bonus to saving throws. They let the wizard add their Int to all damage for a round. Or they can give it to the ranger, set him up with warlord's favor, and action point to let him smack the target with commander's strike. Basic attack +Int to hit, +2x Int damage.

Likewise inspired belligerence deserves sky blue for inspiring warlords. If giving your whole party combat advantage and +cha to damage against a target isn't sky blue at level 2, I don't see what could be.

Encounter 3: You're right that this is a pretty weak and boring level. However, there is some distinction.
Hold the line: purple/magenta. Two weapon and who cares.
Inspiring war cry: Black but MAS, hit or miss is actually pretty nice. Often it will result in an ally getting a useful action instead of not getting one.
Warlord's Strike: Deserves blue for Inspiring warlords. (1+Cha mod) damage vs. a target for your whole party will dramatically shorten the target's life expectancy. (Combine it with inspired belligerence for 1+2x cha mod if you want the target to die really quickly).
Bloody ending: The requirement is annoying, but I think this is still blue. Bonus damage and party-wide attack bonus. Only problem is that most bloodied targets you hit with this won't stay alive long enough for the attack bonus to amount to much.
Follow Me in: This is not really a strong black. It's 2W and requires you to charge. OK, so you can make an ally immune to OAs but it's not as though it grants an extra attack.
Shielded Retaliation: Red. Your ally has to provoke an OA in the right situation for you to even be able to use it. Odds are good he wouldn't do that if you didn't have this power. So essentially, you take a hit to get a free attack on the enemy. If you hit, you break even. If you miss, congratulations: you just provoked and took a hit for nothing.

Level 5 Daily

Situational Advantage: This probably deserves blue for resourcelords. It's a big damage bonus and it doesn't really care if you hit or miss, so all the warlord needs to do is own a javalin to be able to use this.

Level 7
Sunder Armor: not a bad power, but unreliable. If you like critfishing, you will love the power, but even if everyone in your party attacks your target, it will only do anything about half the time. For that reason, I'd rate it black. Setting up ideal circumstances and then flipping a coin to see if you get anything out of it is a gambler's move not a tacticians.

Deadly returns: Deserves black. It needs more setup than surprise attack (ie if the enemy has a third ally he can attack and/or is not marked, it doesn't do much). Also, it is damage later rather than damage now and you can't combine it with the helm of heroes to give your wizard an "any power you want, autohit on every target."

Stirring force: You're still dramatically underrating MAS. Especially a party-wide MAS power. Especially as you edge towards paragon, it seems every other encounter starts with half the party dazed, immobilized, and/or taking ongoing damage, save ends. A power that can make those party members useful is at least black--probably blue.

Level 9
Stay on Target. This one should probably be black. Yes, it's a great effect. But the problem is that your party all needs to have a basic ranged attack to make this one effective. If your fighter has a sword and shield, he doesn't have a basic ranged attack. Unless the barbarian has quickdraw, he probably doesn't have one either. So this is going to be very situational.

Also, I think you overestimate Knock them Down. It's the expected amount of single target damage and automatic proning for your target, which is good but not spectacular. For your allies it's a mixed bag too. Unless their initiative comes up before the monster, the monster they knocked prone will just stand up and smack them like it was going to do before. If you have the right situation, it can be devastating. If you don't, it's rather meh.

Level 13:
You've reversed the ratings for ventured gains and withdrawal gambit.
Withdrawal Gambit should be blue. It offers solid single target damage (3W) combined with mass MAS and mass mobility. Charisma modifier doesn't mean much to taclords, but it's good without the bonus.
Ventured Gains, on the other hand, is garbage. Red all the way. If you have a foe stone and if you save it for when the target is almost bloodied (or add up your party's damage) and if you hit, and then if you guessed right about how much damage you would do, you very good effect. Or you could just take Pincer manuever or headstrong bravery and get a good effect every time with no combos or guessing required.


Level 17
into the breach: you should probably reference Shakespeare's Henry V rather than Myth 2 for this. It's where Myth got the phrase: www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/269700.html

Thunderous Fury: Most posters have actually prefered this to hail of steel for taclords. It is takes longer to deliver the damage, but it packs the debuff, requires less positioning, doesn't require the party to have basic attacks (the artful dodger rogue and the no-magic missile wizard say thanks), and can be used to set up encounter or daily powers. As a consequence, it has the potential to result in more damage than hail of steel. Of course, the dirty secret of taclords is also that they don't really have any party-wide damage powers to combo with it and their only party-wide attack power is still lead the attack. An inspiring warlord could smack the target with inspired belligerence, war of attrition, and then action point to deliver a hail of steel with +CA and +Cha to hit and +2x cha to damage on all the basic attacks. A bravura warlord could do something similar with headstrong bravery and a resourceful warlord could use grim mark to similar effect. The taclord? He could give one ally an attack and/or damage bonus but that's it.
All true, but then you look at the Warlord Essentials article and the flexibility suddenly translates into something that can be used in-game. It's too early to tell if Warlord powers will use the two-presence method from now on, but if they do...well, the Resourceful Warlord is suddenly much more capable of switching stuff on the fly, doubly so if he's a balanced Cha/Int build. That said, once I get to the feat/PP section, I'll make a note of emphasizing the ridiculous nova power of Resourceful Warlords.

Edit: Also, I'm correcting the dilemmas and build descriptions as we speak. Make sure to take a look at it in...say, 10-15 and tell me if you agree. ;)

Edit Strikes Back: Done. Anything else that should be changed about the presence overviews and presentation on Dilemma no. 1?



WRT dilemma 1, I still think the resourceful warlord is more flexible in construction but not significantly more flexible than the alternatives in actual play. You're right that the warlord essentials style multipresence powers might change that, but in order to actually do so, they will need to print multipresence powers with bonuses for resourceful and another presence which are better than the powers we already have. At some levels (3, for instance), that won't be to hard. However, at paragon and epic levels, that is a pretty darn high bar. Odds are pretty good that the warlord is just going to take beffuddling cry (or beat them into the ground) and hail of steel (or thunderous fury) anyway. Maybe they can get more flexibility, but if there are obviously better choices out there, it won't matter much.
I was going to wait for all the powers to be up before making suggestions on the substance of powers, etc, but here goes for what I can see this far:

1. Weapon proficiencies--you say that it's a pity you don't get military ranged weapons. Actually, warlords couldn't care less about that. All of the military ranged weapons use dex to hit and damage. Given that dex is a dump stat for warlords, they're better off with javalins (and tratnyrs for the eladrin) than military ranged weapons anyway.

2. Commanding presences. I would actually rate inspiring presence as the best of the bunch at the moment. Throughout heroic tier, inspiring presence consistently gets powers that are as good or better than anyone else. They have access to the battlelord of kord paragon path (or, if human, adroit explorer which opens up the possibility of using war of attrition twice in every combat). What's more, they can effortlessly combine their best builds with supreme inspiration and call to glory to double up on the battlelord of kord damage bonus and make hail of steel even better than it already is. And they combine it with better healing abilities than any non-eladrin taclord. If you already have another leader, I might well go with tactical, but for my money, I think inspiring warlords are the best all-around leaders WotC has put out thus far.

3. Races:
A. Half-elves deserve the same rating as humans--they can duplicate the optimal human stat array (IMO, post racial Str 18, dex 8/10/11, Con 13, Int 8/10/11, Wis 8/10/11, Cha 16. The ability to diletante+versatile master for righteous brand or another power more than makes up for the lack of a third at-will power, and warlords have good enough paragon paths that you can make do without adroit explorer.
B. Tieflings do not deserve sky blue. First, since the best resourceful warlords will focus on Str and either Int or Cha rather than trying to focus on both at the same time, tieflings have no advantage over other races in that arena. In fact, genasi and dragonborn are better at it than tieflings since they can get Str 18, Int/Cha 16, tertiary 14 stat arrays and have a 13 left over for Con or whatever. If the tiefling wants 18 str, 16 secondary, they're stuck with a 13 in the tertiary stat with no points left over. Additionally, while they do have some good racial feats, I don't see any that are particularly good for warlords. They're blue for most warlords. Sky blue for none.

4. Str or Int for taclords?
I'm of the opinion that taclords who have to choose--and that's really only human taclords since everyone else made their choice when they picked their race--should usually go for Int. (Taclords should go for 16 str, 16 Int before racial bonuses). The combination of the extra +1 bonus from lead the attack or warlord's favor combined with the extra damage on commander's strike makes up for the slightly reduced chance to hit and initial damage. Additionally, you net yourself a higher armor class by taking the 18 Int and wearing hide than you would get at 16 Int (where hide or chain mail is an even trade).

And for the record, since you brought up the level 1 warlord's favor bonus issue, +4 70% of the time works out to 2.8; +5 65% of the time works out to 3.15

5. At wills.
Commander's strike may be overrated by some people but it should still be sky blue. It is the only power that will let your taclord put out at-will damage on par with a striker (provided that you at least have a defender with a good melee basic) and it is a key ingredient for capitalizing on any short-duration buffs you hand out. Really, its only competition in the good powers department is inevitable wave.

Furious Smash. I'd put this at black (or maybe purple). The problem with furious smash is that you need a starting 18 charisma for it to be worth buffing anything short of avalanche strike--and with a 16 charisma, buffing avalanche strike barely works out better than commander's striking the barbarian (assuming no Int mod) and then letting him make the avalanche strike unaided. It won't always suck, but it has the potential to be worse than simply making a basic attack and even when it is better than a basic attack, commander's strike with no bonus will frequently beat it out. If you have to roll all of your own dice and are willing to get a situational at-will, it may be occasionally useful, but I think the situation will come up much more often for wolf-pack tactics, rousing assault, or viper's strike.

Viper's Strike. This is another black one. It does deny options to your opponents, but most of the times those options weren't that effective anyway. (If your opponent was going to shift out of a flank, odds are good your party could just move and get the flank back--or you could wolf-pack tactics the flank back into existence). I don't think I would pass up a DPR increase to get this.

Wolf Pack Tactics. I agree with this is good, but I still think it is a second choice--and sometimes a third. Increasing the mobility of your team can be huge, but often enough your team can get where they need to go without your help.

Opening Shove. This definitely does not deserve sky blue. (Black or purple). The problem: it is a DPR decreasing power. Unless you are heavily specialized in abusing this power (draconic arrogance, polearm momentum, etc), it will deal less damage to the enemy than a basic attack. And, while it is accurate, it only grants its shift if you hit, unlike wolf pack tactics which grants the shift hit or miss. So, for DPR, it will never compare with commander's strike (except possibly in the draconic arrogance+polearm momentum build). And if you want the shift, you have to ask how often an Int mod shift is actually better than a one-square shift. IMO, it will rarely be enough of an improvement to justify sacrificing the damage and certainty of wolf-pack tactics.

not yet rated powers:
Rousing Assault: (D&D minis: PHB heroes I) I would put this at blue for charisma warlords. Adding your charisma bonus to any warlord healing powers until the end of your next round can set up big healing novas--especially with multitarget healing like stand the fallen or non-inspiring word healing like rousing words.

Inevitable Wave (PHB Heroes 2). I would put this at blue bordering on sky blue for Int warlords. (It is more situational than commander's strike, but when people in your party like to charge, it is potentially a much bigger power boost. Also, it combines very nicely with iron dragon charge. You charge the target and give allies who charge it a damage boost then you let your ally charge as a reaction.

Utility 2:
Adaptive stratagem deserves sky blue for Intlords. Who cares if taclords don't give a bonus to saving throws. They let the wizard add their Int to all damage for a round. Or they can give it to the ranger, set him up with warlord's favor, and action point to let him smack the target with commander's strike. Basic attack +Int to hit, +2x Int damage.

Likewise inspired belligerence deserves sky blue for inspiring warlords. If giving your whole party combat advantage and +cha to damage against a target isn't sky blue at level 2, I don't see what could be.

Encounter 3: You're right that this is a pretty weak and boring level. However, there is some distinction.
Hold the line: purple/magenta. Two weapon and who cares.
Inspiring war cry: Black but MAS, hit or miss is actually pretty nice. Often it will result in an ally getting a useful action instead of not getting one.
Warlord's Strike: Deserves blue for Inspiring warlords. (1+Cha mod) damage vs. a target for your whole party will dramatically shorten the target's life expectancy. (Combine it with inspired belligerence for 1+2x cha mod if you want the target to die really quickly).
Bloody ending: The requirement is annoying, but I think this is still blue. Bonus damage and party-wide attack bonus. Only problem is that most bloodied targets you hit with this won't stay alive long enough for the attack bonus to amount to much.
Follow Me in: This is not really a strong black. It's 2W and requires you to charge. OK, so you can make an ally immune to OAs but it's not as though it grants an extra attack.
Shielded Retaliation: Red. Your ally has to provoke an OA in the right situation for you to even be able to use it. Odds are good he wouldn't do that if you didn't have this power. So essentially, you take a hit to get a free attack on the enemy. If you hit, you break even. If you miss, congratulations: you just provoked and took a hit for nothing.

Level 5 Daily

Situational Advantage: This probably deserves blue for resourcelords. It's a big damage bonus and it doesn't really care if you hit or miss, so all the warlord needs to do is own a javalin to be able to use this.

Level 7
Sunder Armor: not a bad power, but unreliable. If you like critfishing, you will love the power, but even if everyone in your party attacks your target, it will only do anything about half the time. For that reason, I'd rate it black. Setting up ideal circumstances and then flipping a coin to see if you get anything out of it is a gambler's move not a tacticians.

Deadly returns: Deserves black. It needs more setup than surprise attack (ie if the enemy has a third ally he can attack and/or is not marked, it doesn't do much). Also, it is damage later rather than damage now and you can't combine it with the helm of heroes to give your wizard an "any power you want, autohit on every target."

Stirring force: You're still dramatically underrating MAS. Especially a party-wide MAS power. Especially as you edge towards paragon, it seems every other encounter starts with half the party dazed, immobilized, and/or taking ongoing damage, save ends. A power that can make those party members useful is at least black--probably blue.

Level 9
Stay on Target. This one should probably be black. Yes, it's a great effect. But the problem is that your party all needs to have a basic ranged attack to make this one effective. If your fighter has a sword and shield, he doesn't have a basic ranged attack. Unless the barbarian has quickdraw, he probably doesn't have one either. So this is going to be very situational.

Also, I think you overestimate Knock them Down. It's the expected amount of single target damage and automatic proning for your target, which is good but not spectacular. For your allies it's a mixed bag too. Unless their initiative comes up before the monster, the monster they knocked prone will just stand up and smack them like it was going to do before. If you have the right situation, it can be devastating. If you don't, it's rather meh.

Level 13:
You've reversed the ratings for ventured gains and withdrawal gambit.
Withdrawal Gambit should be blue. It offers solid single target damage (3W) combined with mass MAS and mass mobility. Charisma modifier doesn't mean much to taclords, but it's good without the bonus.
Ventured Gains, on the other hand, is garbage. Red all the way. If you have a foe stone and if you save it for when the target is almost bloodied (or add up your party's damage) and if you hit, and then if you guessed right about how much damage you would do, you very good effect. Or you could just take Pincer manuever or headstrong bravery and get a good effect every time with no combos or guessing required.


Level 17
into the breach: you should probably reference Shakespeare's Henry V rather than Myth 2 for this. It's where Myth got the phrase: www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/269700.html

Thunderous Fury: Most posters have actually prefered this to hail of steel for taclords. It is takes longer to deliver the damage, but it packs the debuff, requires less positioning, doesn't require the party to have basic attacks (the artful dodger rogue and the no-magic missile wizard say thanks), and can be used to set up encounter or daily powers. As a consequence, it has the potential to result in more damage than hail of steel. Of course, the dirty secret of taclords is also that they don't really have any party-wide damage powers to combo with it and their only party-wide attack power is still lead the attack. An inspiring warlord could smack the target with inspired belligerence, war of attrition, and then action point to deliver a hail of steel with +CA and +Cha to hit and +2x cha to damage on all the basic attacks. A bravura warlord could do something similar with headstrong bravery and a resourceful warlord could use grim mark to similar effect. The taclord? He could give one ally an attack and/or damage bonus but that's it.



Ahh, exactly what I wanted to see. People like you make this wortwhile, E_B.

Anyway, let's tackle these issues...

1) The proficiencies were looked at from an objective standpoint. Logically, having the best standard proficiencies or better would be Sky Blue. Therefore, since Warlords lack one of those proficiencies, they're knocked down a peg. The distinction is meaningless, really, but I think that, since HP and Surges are gauged on an inter-class standard, so should WP's.

2) Talk to me about this a month ago and I'd probably have agreed. With the release of Tactician's Word, though, I think Taclords have jumped back to the top, if only momentarily. With an (admittedly weaker) version of the Battle Captain's ability available, lots of amazing combos suddenly open up for the taclord, who gets to pick from more than one useful PP choices, two if you were an Eladrin. For instance, if you're a human, you suddenly get to pull of two BTITG's or Denying Smites without sacrificing much of your attack boosting capability. That's just a very basic and crude example. I'm sure you can see the potential for that, something which I plan to discuss further on, even. Heck, the Essentials article's provoked a whole bunch of adjustments in my head. For instance, Resourceful Warlords suddenly got a really nice toy to play with in their own paragon feat. I won't deny that Inspiring warlords are more versatile, but as the TF2 engineer would say: "The solution? Use a gun. And if that don't work? Use more gun.". :P

3)A) Agreed. I considered Sky Blue for them, actually, but hesitated and decided to wait for opinions.

B) Have you considered Flaming Weapon combos? I consider it mostly assumed that tieflings get a sneaky +1 to STR that way, at the cost of less damage and weapon flexibility. Thus they don't need to go for an 18, since they can duplicate it through other measures. This has its costs, of course, so it's something to consider.

4) Hmm...didn't I put 60%? I thought I did. Huh.

5)A) I disagree there. Pre-feat empowering, CS is Blue. Yes, the damage is good, but if you have nothing better to do than damage, something's gone wrong somewhere. I honestly can't think of one case where I wouldn't have benefited more from the mindgames of VS, or the repositioning of WPT and OS or, if I was playing with a reckless DM, from Brash Assault (though this last one was very rare). Okay, I CAN think of one case: when I have a barbarian or a tweaked Great Weapon Fighter with me, or another similarly powerful meleer. But that's just two, maybe three out of...what, 30ish potential basic builds? 50? That's asking a lot from the party.
B) Again, I disagree. As I see it, Furious Smash's damage bonus is a trap. If you're thinking about applying that, then your party made some rather gimpy choices for their powers. No, as I see it, FS functions as an enabler for disabling powers, like those of an assassin, rogue, or potentially a fighter. You don't take it to do damage, you take it to make sure that that pesky skirmisher or artillery does not annoy your party. I'll be the first to concede its usefulness is greatly decreased when fighting fort-heavy enemies, and that as more and more Cha-based attack roll buffs pop up it becomes more likely that retraining is a wise choice, but for a good third, maybe a half of your career, FS is a terrific lockdown enabler.
C) Viper's Strike. This might be a matter of playstyle, possibly. Again, I don't see this power as being something you utilize to fight a Brute or Soldier: this is something you use to tie down a ranged attacker, or an annoying skirmisher. When applied to enemies who depend on their mobility or range, VS is an absolutely terrific power, and that's what I think you should be doing when using it.
D) Opening Shove is positively Sky Blue, maybe Blue at worst. As the power name suggests, this is a first round, maybe second round power. You don't use it to deal damage, you use it to make your rogue or ranger fly through the battlefield up to the artillery or controller and rip 'em a new one. It requires a solid grasp of tactics and a good sense of opportunity to avoid getting your strikers massacred by the enemy, but as far as provoking disruption among the enemy ranks, it's absolutely unmatched.
E) I'm...not quite sure about Rousing Assault and Inevitable Wave. I think I'll have to take a good look at them and ponder their uses before doing anything about them. At first glance though, Rousing Assault sounds about right and Inevitable Wave sounds like a total enigma.

6)A) I don't think Adaptive Stratagem has what it takes for the sky blue tier. At its absolute peak, it is, at most, a +50 to damage, assuming a total nova. Maybe +80 if you feel like giving it to a wizard, but that damage is spread amongst several targets, which means it isn't as good as it first appears. Compare that to a power like Warlord's Favor or Encouraging Stance, which drastically alter your team's position on the battlefield, and it just isn't worthy by comparison.
B) Inspired Belligerence, however, DOES earn Sky Blue when you put it that way. Across all levels, its a consistent and significant spike in damage.

7)A) I...didn't quite understand what you meant when talking about Hold The Line. Mind explaining?
B) The problem is that, at the level you get this, MAS gets you to shake off Daze, at most. Status effects haven't quite come into their own yet. Additionally, this rating was looking towards the future, knowing that some powers I haven't reviewed yet would rate highly. This is kind of underhanded, I admit, but it'll save me quite a lot of trouble, so I tried to compare to as-of-yet unrated powers that showed promise so that, if my judgement on them was correct, I wouldn't have to redo whole batches of powers.
C) I'm not sure about this. I'll have to check to see when the Padded Sumo effect begins to come into effect and thus these bonuses start to lose their oomph. For now, let's assume I'll edit its writeup to mention how its one of the stronger options at its level.
D) You make a good case for Bloody Ending. At this level, the bonus is nigh useless because 2 W + 2 stats is going to butcher most standards and Elites, but since you can't replace until Level 13, this gains a lot of luster. I'll see if I'll rate it blue or mention it's a strong black. Gimme some time to mull over it.
E) Hmm...I misread Shielding Retaliation as saying the attacked is ROLLED against you, not that it hits you automatically. Alright, Red it is.

8) Nah, I think it's WORSE for Resourcelords, now that I look at it. Depending on how you look at it, only Weapon attacks gain the bonus when the rider comes into effect, which means you're sacrificing a party-wide buff to slightly increase the damage of some players. If there's rulings to support this isn't the case though, I'll agree it's blue for Reslords.

9)A) Out of curiosity, which party composition are you using? At a rough estimate, the chances of landing a crit with an average party that is decently optimized are higher than half. Admittedly though, this is a power for critfishers. Didn't I say that it's mostly to be used if your party has one or more of those, though? I might have forgotten to put that into paper.
B) I've got to disagree here. Maybe this has to do with me being a player who tries to make intangibles work for him (which is why I hold Opening Shove in such high regards, for instance), but having the other party members disengage and focus on another enemy isn't exactly an insanely tough setup, certainly not enough to affect the rating.
C) The problem is that, as you approach Paragon, items that let you take extra saves are dime a dozen. Further, to call Stirring Shout a party-wide MAS is...well, it assumes very ideal circumstances where you've got 4 people clustered all around you. It'd be more accurrate to say you'll grant 2 saves on average, and even that might be a little generous. If your party likes to bunch up like that, I'll admit the power is much, much better, but usually spreading out to avoid excessive AoE damage is a wiser idea.


10)A) Nah, Stay On Target doesn't require nearly as many ranged attacks as you think it does. Just two of them already turn it into a very, very profitable power, as you're piling up three attacks, all benefiting from an Int buff. That's quite competitive for a long while.
B) Again, I think I must disagree here. Knock Them Down is basically useless for soldiers and brutes, I agree, but against Artilleries, Lurkers, Skirmishers, and Controllers, it is MASSIVELY useful. Suddenly, you reposition your party and put it in a position where the squishiest and most annoying threats to the parties have lost their main methods of defense. This is HUGE. It's a spectacular way to shift the balance of power.

11)A&B) First off, I must admit I kinda glazed over Withdrawal Gambit and was tired. It IS a much better power than I thought, because the tactical repositioning it permits is almost at Own The Battlefield levels much earlier. This will be corrected, and I think Blue is a good spot for it.
As for Ventured Gains, I must confess I made a mistake. I confused Foe Stone with another item that let you know an enemy's HP. I'll re-rate the power once my searching is successful or I am sure that the item doesn't exist.

I'll answer the rest tomorrow. Have to leave now.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).

Follow Me in: This is not really a strong black. It's 2W and requires you to charge. OK, so you can make an ally immune to OAs but it's not as though it grants an extra attack.


Actually, you don't have to charge to use Follow Me In -- it's an option though, and it gives your ally a temporary speed boost as well.  My Eladrin Taclord has had good luck with this power in LFR play.  It's great for getting the defender right into the thick of things at the start of combat or helping a striker make it to the back row to take down the caster or archer.
A couple of power ratings that caught my eye, and that Elder_basilisk didn't already address:

Tactical Supervision is at least blue and possibly sky blue if the party has a strong charge-usable encounter power or two, such as those frequently possessed by Barbarians.  It basically makes those powers auto-hit for your immediate action, which is very close to being for free.

Marked Revelation has one good combo that I'm aware of:  it's actually worthwhile if you have a Justiciar in the party because it is amazing with Just Radiance.  Less useful than it used to be because Paladins now have easy multi-marking on their utilities, but maybe worth mentioning.

Beat Them Into the Ground does not straight outclass Knock them Down, because it doesn't grant movement, and that movment is essential to the battle-shifting potential of Knock them Down.  Otherwise, the same things EB said about Knock them Down apply here too, since BTItG is much harder to set up against the artillery, skirmishers and lurkers that you call out as the best targets.

Decisive Timing ranges from near meaningless to amazing, depending on the party.  It's at its best in a party that has multiple characters with strong control effects.  Obviously, it can be nice to help the Wizard always go first, but the Wizard is probably heavily invested in going first anyway.  Picking which of the Chaladin, Wizard, or Warlock goes first to best fit the situation?  Now the power is pushing sky blue territory.

t~
Ahh, exactly what I wanted to see. People like you make this wortwhile, E_B.



2) Talk to me about this a month ago and I'd probably have agreed. With the release of Tactician's Word, though, I think Taclords have jumped back to the top, if only momentarily. With an (admittedly weaker) version of the Battle Captain's ability available, lots of amazing combos suddenly open up for the taclord, who gets to pick from more than one useful PP choices, two if you were an Eladrin. For instance, if you're a human, you suddenly get to pull of two BTITG's or Denying Smites without sacrificing much of your attack boosting capability. That's just a very basic and crude example. I'm sure you can see the potential for that, something which I plan to discuss further on, even. Heck, the Essentials article's provoked a whole bunch of adjustments in my head. For instance, Resourceful Warlords suddenly got a really nice toy to play with in their own paragon feat. I won't deny that Inspiring warlords are more versatile, but as the TF2 engineer would say: "The solution? Use a gun. And if that don't work? Use more gun.". :P



I suppose I haven't fully digested the warlord essentials article, but I think you're jumping the gun a bit on the tactician's word feat. +1/2 int to the target's next attack is not nearly as good as +Int to hit until the end of your next turn. Good, but I don't see it making battle captain less attractive for taclords. Also, I think you are overestimating the attractiveness of adroit explorer for taclords. They don't get to take a second denying smite or BTITG until epic tier and even then, I wouldn't trade war of attrition for either power. War of Attrition (along with curtain of steel and the level 13 storm of blades power) are powers that make you want to take adroit explorer. Taclords just don't have level 7 powers that are quite that compelling and I don't think their level 13 powers are quite as compelling at level 21 either.

3)A) Agreed. I considered Sky Blue for them, actually, but hesitated and decided to wait for opinions.

B) Have you considered Flaming Weapon combos? I consider it mostly assumed that tieflings get a sneaky +1 to STR that way, at the cost of less damage and weapon flexibility. Thus they don't need to go for an 18, since they can duplicate it through other measures. This has its costs, of course, so it's something to consider.



I think hellfire blood is overrated for tieflings--not just because of the flexibility and feat cost but also because flaming weapons are level +4 enhancements. A tiefling could have a +1 flaming weapon... or he could wait a level and get a +2 magic weapon. Thus, vis a vis a magic weapon the hellfire blood combo only yields its +1 to hit and damage for one out of every five levels. That's not the same as having the extra strength which yields its bonus to hit and damage for 100% of the character's career rather than 20%. And it doesn't cost a feat.

4) Hmm...didn't I put 60%? I thought I did. Huh.



You did put it at 60% but that's not really the choice. The difference that most taclords will be discussing is not 14 Str/18 Int vs 18 Int/14 str but rather 16 Str/18 Int vs 18 Str/16 Int. (If you are buying 20's, it would be 20/14 for humans and non-humans don't really have a choice which way to go. So the difference in attack bonus is 5% rather than 10%.

Commander's Strike
5)A) I disagree there. Pre-feat empowering, CS is Blue. Yes, the damage is good, but if you have nothing better to do than damage, something's gone wrong somewhere. I honestly can't think of one case where I wouldn't have benefited more from the mindgames of VS, or the repositioning of WPT and OS or, if I was playing with a reckless DM, from Brash Assault (though this last one was very rare). Okay, I CAN think of one case: when I have a barbarian or a tweaked Great Weapon Fighter with me, or another similarly powerful meleer. But that's just two, maybe three out of...what, 30ish potential basic builds? 50? That's asking a lot from the party.



I think you underestimate the utility of commander's strike. For high damage two-handed weapon wielders, you have:

great weapon fighters
barbarians
avengers (with melee training)
Great weapon wardens
Great weapon beastmaster rangers
great weapon paladins
melee warlocks
assasins with melee training
Great weapon battle clerics
Great weapon warlords

Obviously, it is very highly damaging with those allies on the field.

But it will also do moderate striker damage with a with a variety of other characters
sword and board defenders
two weapon fighting rangers
Swordmages
Any other sword and board leader class with melee training
brutal scoundrel rogues (especially ones with rapiers or the new sneak attack with one handed heavy blades feat)

It's a rare party that doesn't have at least one ally that makes CS into a damage machine.

As for the idea that you will usually have something better to do than damage, I disagree. Most of the time, your party is in the position they want to be in or is close enough that more movement won't matter much.

B) Again, I disagree. As I see it, Furious Smash's damage bonus is a trap. If you're thinking about applying that, then your party made some rather gimpy choices for their powers. No, as I see it, FS functions as an enabler for disabling powers, like those of an assassin, rogue, or potentially a fighter. You don't take it to do damage, you take it to make sure that that pesky skirmisher or artillery does not annoy your party. I'll be the first to concede its usefulness is greatly decreased when fighting fort-heavy enemies, and that as more and more Cha-based attack roll buffs pop up it becomes more likely that retraining is a wise choice, but for a good third, maybe a half of your career, FS is a terrific lockdown enabler.



I think you overestimate the amount of useful lockdown abilities in characters' arsenels as well as the challenges of the positioning needed to bring furious smash to bear in the situations you describe. You need to be in melee range of the target to use furious smash. Your ally needs to be adjacent to you to receive the bonus. Your ally needs to attack the same target you attacked in order to apply the bonus. If you can manage all of that against a skirmisher or artillery monster, it's probably because you've already locked them down.

C) Viper's Strike. This might be a matter of playstyle, possibly. Again, I don't see this power as being something you utilize to fight a Brute or Soldier: this is something you use to tie down a ranged attacker, or an annoying skirmisher. When applied to enemies who depend on their mobility or range, VS is an absolutely terrific power, and that's what I think you should be doing when using it.



Again, I would suggest that if you are in a position to use viper's strike on a ranged attacker or skirmisher, odds are good that they are already locked down (obviously both you and a character with a good melee basic attack are both adjacent to it). Also, most skirmishers I have encountered seem to have a variation on mobile melee attack or mobile ranged attack rather than a shift power. Thus, viper's strike is useless to lock them down because they aren't shifting anyway.

D) Opening Shove is positively Sky Blue, maybe Blue at worst. As the power name suggests, this is a first round, maybe second round power. You don't use it to deal damage, you use it to make your rogue or ranger fly through the battlefield up to the artillery or controller and rip 'em a new one. It requires a solid grasp of tactics and a good sense of opportunity to avoid getting your strikers massacred by the enemy, but as far as provoking disruption among the enemy ranks, it's absolutely unmatched.



I'll stick with my opinion that: A. If your rogue or ranger can't get there on their own, they probably don't want to be there. B. Giving up the possibility of either dealing damage yourself or setting up an ally to deal damage with an encounter or daily power in the most essential round of combat (the engagement round) is a sucker's bet. C. The strategies you are proposing depend on optimistic assumptions about the party's position (at low levels, it will be rare that a shift 4 will get the striker past even a disrupted enemy front line before his turn and thus he will still need to provoke OAs in order to break the line or the striker has already gone, in which case, you should probably be building on the damage he did on his round rather than sending him to a new target).

A lot of people who write about warlords seem to imagine themselves as grand chessmasters who can make a difficult battle easy with a move action or a shift. I haven't seen that in any of the LFR games I've played and didn't see it in the minis game either (especially not with similarly valued pieces--a cheap tech piece that could move a titan around was valuable but a D&D 4e warlord is definitely not a lower value piece than anyone else on the board).

E) I'm...not quite sure about Rousing Assault and Inevitable Wave. I think I'll have to take a good look at them and ponder their uses before doing anything about them. At first glance though, Rousing Assault sounds about right and Inevitable Wave sounds like a total enigma.



Inevitable wave has several functions. First, it is a great power for the opening stages of a battle if your party is far enough away from the enemy that you need to charge. You charge and rather than doing a little damage and having that be it, you give all your allies a sizable damage boost for their charges. Mission accomplished.

Second, it is a power that you can use in rounds when you are out of actions and want to attack. If you need to drop an inspiring word and a knight's move or another minor action (perhaps instant planning or shake it off), it gives you a bonus along with the charge you were going to be doing anyway.

Third it is a tremendous combo with iron dragon charge--and fey charge (or strider stance) if you go that route. You charge an enemy, hit and give a damage bonus which your ally uses with their immediate charge. If you have fey charge and fey command, your ally can also teleport into a position where they can charge without reprecusions when you use your fey step to charge. If you use strider stance, you can use it to shift you or your ally into a position to charge and get a damage bonus at the same time.

Finally, if you combine it with mounted combat and a griffon, it is heinously ugly. You charge and grant a +5 or +6 bonus to damage, then your griffon makes two charge attacks that both get the bonus. Ouch.

6)A) I don't think Adaptive Stratagem has what it takes for the sky blue tier. At its absolute peak, it is, at most, a +50 to damage, assuming a total nova. Maybe +80 if you feel like giving it to a wizard, but that damage is spread amongst several targets, which means it isn't as good as it first appears. Compare that to a power like Warlord's Favor or Encouraging Stance, which drastically alter your team's position on the battlefield, and it just isn't worthy by comparison.



I'm not quite sure why you would compare adaptive stratagem to warlord's favor. It's a utility power; I don't expect it to do the job of an attack power. Now, encouraging stance is a fairer comparison and I think adaptive stratagem wins hands down. The problem with encouraging stance is that:
A. it is a daily rather than an encounter power
B. At any given time in a combat, you probably won't have that many allies who are bloodied. If you do have allies who are bloodied and no healing to give out, odds are good that it is the latter stages of the combat and this is the point that you realize that you should have used encouraging stance early in the combat--only it's too late now.
C. You're wrong about the peak for adaptive stratagem. If we are looking at an absolute peak, you might assume level 30 with a +9 Int bonus and tactician's armor, a total nova would deliver considerably more than 50 damage. If we are assuming a ranger, the nova could easily be: (on your turn: Sudden Assault: armor splinter 1+follow up blow/armor splinter 2+follow up blow); action point (recover sudden assault) commander's strike (turn to standard with helm of heroes): twin strike 1/follow up blow; twin strike 2/follow up blow; ally's turn: minor action attack/follow up blow/trip up/follow up blow; action point: blade cascade/follow up blow/trip up/blade cascade 2/follow up blow/blade cascade 3/follow up blow/blade cascade 4/follow up blow/blade cascade 5/follow up blow; recover trip up with torc; stunning steel 1/follow up blow/trip up/stunning steel 2/follow up blow; trade move for a minor action attack/follow up blow; your next turn: sudden assault again and watch your ally repeat twin strike 1+follow up blow; twin strike 2+follow up blow. That's about 270 damage. It is admittedly a pretty gruesome nova (modeled on my memory of Lord Duskblade's ranger/pit fighter nova) but I think it demonstrates the potential--for it to be much more significant than you give it credit for. The 5 applied attacks that you started with (your action point commander's strike or sudden assault, your normal CS or sudden assault, your ally's normal action, your ally's action point, and your next turn commander's strike) is more of a minimum number of attacks in a high level nova than a standard. (Heck, at level 7, it is somewhat trivial for a ranger to crank out 9 attacks with the bonus).

B) Inspired Belligerence, however, DOES earn Sky Blue when you put it that way. Across all levels, its a consistent and significant spike in damage.

7)A) I...didn't quite understand what you meant when talking about Hold The Line. Mind explaining?



I mean that it's a power that gives 2W and that's about it. Allies adjacent to you are hard to forced move? Who cares. That's hardly a problem that shows up in all encounters and most of the time it does it's on recharge or encounter powers so by the time you figure out you need it it's already too late. And if you did figure out you needed it and used it early, the monsters would just wait a turn before unleashing their forced movement powers. And if the monster's powers are at-will, it's not as though being immune to them for a turn will help much.

Likewise, a +2 power bonus to AC is rather unimpressive. It is unlikely to make a difference in whether or not they get hit over a single round of combat.

B) The problem is that, at the level you get this, MAS gets you to shake off Daze, at most. Status effects haven't quite come into their own yet. Additionally, this rating was looking towards the future, knowing that some powers I haven't reviewed yet would rate highly. This is kind of underhanded, I admit, but it'll save me quite a lot of trouble, so I tried to compare to as-of-yet unrated powers that showed promise so that, if my judgement on them was correct, I wouldn't have to redo whole batches of powers.



I think you underestimate the status effects that show up in early to mid heroic tier. Vine horrors toss out save ends restrained, goblin hexers do save ends blinding from level 1. Ongoing damage and immobilization are pretty common too and by late heroic tier (level 7 or so), you're starting to see save ends dominates showing up.

Even if you expand the list of powers, black is still a safe rating for inspiring war cry. The guaranteed save is a very nice effect and 2W is standard damage for the level. It's a solid power choice. It may be that it's not a high level pick but there's still room to rate other powers blue or even sky blue.

C) I'm not sure about this. I'll have to check to see when the Padded Sumo effect begins to come into effect and thus these bonuses start to lose their oomph. For now, let's assume I'll edit its writeup to mention how its one of the stronger options at its level.



Padded sumo is something that powers like warlord's strike can help you overcome. Let's imagine that you move into a flank, tag the monster with inspired belligerence then smack him with warlord's strike and action point for hammer and anvil with your flanking ally. All your allies are adding 1+2x cha to damage against the target for the round. If they blow their action points, that's likely to be 8+16x charisma (some allies won't make it but some may have multiattack powers).

Let's compare this briefly to a power you rated highly: sunder armor. Sunder armor adds two potential critical hits to every d20 roll your party makes. So, if four of your allies pile on with action points, that's 8 attacks and therefore roughly 80% of the difference between a critical and a normal hit contributed to your party's DPR. If we (generously) assume that the weapon to land the crit is a +2 vicious fullblade using a 2W power, that's 30.5 extra damage. (+11 for the difference between average 2W and max, +13 for 2d12 crit dice and +6.5 for high crit). 80% of that extra damage is 24.4 Now, let's assume that a 18 charisma inspiring warlord uses warlord's strike and allies pile on 8 attacks, 5 of which hit. That's 25 extra damage which is pretty comparable. (Especially considering that there is almost no way that your party's average pile on crit was going to be with a +2 vicious high crit weapon--the wizard won't have high crit and is unlikely to have d12 crit dice and that alone will bring down the average significantly). What's more, warlord's strike will achieve this result reliably. If your party hits, they get the extra damage. There is no chance that your party will hit but that the power won't accomplish anything.

D) You make a good case for Bloody Ending. At this level, the bonus is nigh useless because 2 W + 2 stats is going to butcher most standards and Elites, but since you can't replace until Level 13, this gains a lot of luster. I'll see if I'll rate it blue or mention it's a strong black. Gimme some time to mull over it.



I think you can stand to have a few blues at this level. Even if you accept all my advice, most of this level will be black. Also, while 2W+Str+Int may butcher bloodied standard monsters, I think it's unlikely to butcher bloodied elites. Even for an 18 Str/16 Int resourcelord with a +2 fullblade and iron armbands of power, the power is only doing an average of 24 points of damage. Early heroic tier elites frequently have over 100 hit points--there's plenty of room for the bonus to come into play.

8) Nah, I think it's WORSE for Resourcelords, now that I look at it. Depending on how you look at it, only Weapon attacks gain the bonus when the rider comes into effect, which means you're sacrificing a party-wide buff to slightly increase the damage of some players. If there's rulings to support this isn't the case though, I'll agree it's blue for Reslords.



I think the errata to hammer formation indicates that you probably have the right interpretation of it. Still, if your party is mostly weapon wielders, that could add up to a lot of damage very quickly. For example, a party with a greatbow ranger, an bastard sword fighter, and a rapier rogue would net a possible total of 2d12+1d10+1d8+4x Int (assuming a 16 Int, 36 potential points of extra damage); if they spent action points, the rogue used low slash, and you used commander's strike on the fighter on your next turn, that would be 4d12+3d10+3d8+10x int bonus (potential 86 points of damage). If you were to plan it meticulously and they all readied an action to attack when you gave them situational advantage, they could potentially add it up to 6d12+4d10+4d8+14x Int (122 extra damage).

Now if your party is mostly implement wielders, then it's not for you, but it has a lot of force multiplying potential.

9)A) Out of curiosity, which party composition are you using? At a rough estimate, the chances of landing a crit with an average party that is decently optimized are higher than half. Admittedly though, this is a power for critfishers. Didn't I say that it's mostly to be used if your party has one or more of those, though? I might have forgotten to put that into paper.



I'm assuming that you have four party members, each of whom attacks once, rolls once for the attack and ordinarily crits on a 20. Each has a 10% chance of landing a crit due to this power (20s would be crits anyway) and a 90% chance that the power does nothing. Therefore, the chance that the power does nothing is 90^4 or 65.61%. Now, if we have everyone in the party spend action points as well, you get a 43% chance that the power does nothing and a 57% chance that it generates at least one critical hit.

Now you'll notice that I'm using discrete probabilities rather than DPR to analyze this. That is because I think the problem with the power is not the damage that it adds to the party but rather that it is unreliable at best. If I use a power and all of the party piles on, I would like to know that the power is going to do something rather than only having a 34-57% chance that it will have an effect.

Also, while the effect of the power is to enable party members to fish for crits, I don't think it has much synergy with actual crit-fishers. First, crit-fishers generally find ways of increasing their critical percentage on their own. So, if you have the classic daggermaster avenger critfisher in your group, he doesn't benefit from sunder armor at all--he already has 18-20 crits full-time. And if you are not a hard-core critfisher who is happy to suck except on the rare occasions when you get a crit (which IME is usually when it is either superfluous or insufficient to make up for the suck that preceeded it), then you probably didn't invest in the vicious/bloodiron high crit combos that would be needed to make the most of this combo.

B) I've got to disagree here. Maybe this has to do with me being a player who tries to make intangibles work for him (which is why I hold Opening Shove in such high regards, for instance), but having the other party members disengage and focus on another enemy isn't exactly an insanely tough setup, certainly not enough to affect the rating.



Not exactly a tough setup. But it's not no setup either. And it will sometimes be counterproductive setup because the best strategy is usually to focus your damage on a target until it dies. IMO, if the setup for this will sometimes preclude what would otherwise be the best strategy then it starts at a deficit because it doesn't just need to be better than the alternatives; it needs to be sufficiently better that it is still an improvement after you take into account the otherwise suboptimal strategy required to use it.

I will also add that the enemy can sometimes--perhaps often--circumvent the setup. If the enemy shifts so that it is no longer adjacent to the ally but is still adjacent to you, it can make the attack without triggering the deadly return. Now, if your ally is a fighter who marked the target, you are pretty much guaranteeing a combat challenge, but not all defenders are fighters. I just don't see this as blue material. It doesn't suck but most warlords have clearly better options available (inspiring have war of attrition, tactical have surprise attack, bravura have provoke overextension). That's pretty much the definition of a black power.

On Stirring Force:
C) The problem is that, as you approach Paragon, items that let you take extra saves are dime a dozen.



I'm not sure what those items are. Off the top of my head, I can think of a neck slot item that lets allies reroll a save, but it's hardly an optimal item (resistance neck slots like the brooch of shielding, amulet of health, or cloak of survival seem much better). There is delver's armor that adds to an existing save, but it's rather weak armor (dwarven, black iron, tactician's etc are far better) and it won't prevent a character from losing the first action to a condition.

Further, to call Stirring Shout a party-wide MAS is...well, it assumes very ideal circumstances where you've got 4 people clustered all around you.



Either that or that you can move to a position where you are within two squares of the necessary targets.

It'd be more accurrate to say you'll grant 2 saves on average, and even that might be a little generous. If your party likes to bunch up like that, I'll admit the power is much, much better, but usually spreading out to avoid excessive AoE damage is a wiser idea.



Two saves on average is probably pretty reasonable when you add in the possibility of moving in order to maximize the granted saves. Still, especially with the resourceful presence rider, it is a solid power that does not deserve to be rated red. Black is where it belongs.

10)A) Nah, Stay On Target doesn't require nearly as many ranged attacks as you think it does. Just two of them already turn it into a very, very profitable power, as you're piling up three attacks, all benefiting from an Int buff. That's quite competitive for a long while.



OK, I'm convinced on this. It's a 1W power itself, probably with a secondary weapon--but, even so, your allies attacks can make it fairly damaging. For example, if you assume that you have a +2 grasping javalin and a 20 str/20 Int and two 20 dex greatbow rangers with weapon focus and +3 greatbows, your potential damage is 1d6+7+(1d12+14)x2. That's a potential of 51.5 damage on the immediate interrupt. If we assume that waiting for the power and using your allies immediate actions had no ill effects, then we may add the damage from commander's strike to that (let's assume a fullblade fighter with a 20 Str, +3 weapon, iron armbands, and weapon focus). That's another 1d12+16 damage for a total potential damage of 74. That's not bad, but it's only part way to the potential that situational advantage has. You've convinced me that it's not as situational as I thought, but and though it is an idealized situation the damage doesn't suffer much from dropping the 2d12 to 2d4 (a thrown dagger and a magic missile).

The challenge of this power--and what would make me hesitant to rate it blue or use it with my warlords--is that you need to get the enemies within three squares of you without the power's beneficiaries being in a position to provoke OAs. So you need some party coordination to get it to work.

B) Again, I think I must disagree here. Knock Them Down is basically useless for soldiers and brutes, I agree, but against Artilleries, Lurkers, Skirmishers, and Controllers, it is MASSIVELY useful. Suddenly, you reposition your party and put it in a position where the squishiest and most annoying threats to the parties have lost their main methods of defense. This is HUGE. It's a spectacular way to shift the balance of power.



I can see potential there, but it's still movement rather than a shift or slide and thus provokes OAs. Is that really enough to get your melee characters into position (it is of course useless to your ranged characters)


I like your "Gold" standard - once upon a time, Sky Blue meant "basically mandatory", but there has been a significant inflation in blueness since the early days of this forum. Gold really makes things stand out, saying "this is it".

In fact, the mere presence of anything golden almost certainly means that there is something wrong with the power/feat/race/whatever. Nothing should be this dominant in a balanced game.
I'm glad you like it, Ankh.

Personally, I've got nothing against golds for the most part. My beef comes when something that WASN'T intended to be build-defining is a gold. For instance, Lead The Attack as a gold, or War of Attrition? Makes a lot of sense, those are THE powers for their respective builds. Tactician's Word? Hell no, that's a feat that's basically mandatory for a taclord because of the huge bonus it provides, and yet it does not add ANYTHING to the build. It's like pre-errata Marked Scourge, something everyone who can take it takes, but doesn't actually change anything about a build other than inflating the numbers.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
I do have something against Golds, namely this: When something is Gold, it invalidates all other competing choices. Games are about relevant and emaningful choices and options, so the mere presence of Golds means that the options have been reduced (made irrelevant).

Being a Gnome with the Gnome Phantasmist feat is arguably Gold for Illusionist builds, from which follows that non-Gnome Illusionst builds are substandard.
Took me some processing, but I've figured out what bothers me about your ratings for the at-will powers.  Succinctly put, I think you're rating them as if they were encounter powers, and I think that's throwing off your ratings.

When picking your at-wills, there are basically three ways you can go.  You can pick a highly spammable at-will (Twin Strike, Brash Strike) alongside a more situational one (Hit and Run, Cleave).  You can pick two situational at-wills that together cover any situation you're likely to find yourself in (Thunderwave + Winged Horde).  Or, you can pick two situational at-wills and accept that you'll be making basic attacks a decent amount of the time (being Human obviously gives you many more options here).  Since at-will attacks are generally superior to basic attacks, most characters want to wind up with one of the first two options rather than the third.  That means the best at-will powers are either those that are spammable, or those that are very powerful in their correct situation, as they must be worth the opportunity cost of having them.

Now, all of the Warlord at-wills from PHB and MP are at least somewhat situational.  However, only one of them gives you both an easily controllable situation alongside an effect that is worth spamming:  Commander's Strike (Brash Assault also applies if your DM is cooperative).  That's enough in itself to make CS worth blue, and when you add its ability to 100% reliably combo with your other +attack and/or +damage powers, the power is absolutely sky blue for any Int-based warlord who has a solid melee basic attack in the party.  As pointed out by EB (especially with the existence of Melee Training) that should mean the vast majority of parties.

Wolf Pack Tactics and Opening Shove can be very nice in a variety of situations, I agree.  However, letting an ally shift 1 square isn't really an effect worth spamming, and while Opening Shove's effect is worth spamming, the DPR hit you take for it (unless combo'ing) makes it far less attractive as a spam power.  Neither power's effect is strong enough to warrant sky blue given their limited application and at-will status.

The situational nature of the powers is why EB's analysis of Furious Smash and Viper's Strike is essentially correct, although it's worth noting that Furious Smash is worth Blue for a Warlord with 18 starting and always pumped Charisma.

t~
Continuing from yesterday...


Level 17
into the breach: you should probably reference Shakespeare's Henry V rather than Myth 2 for this. It's where Myth got the phrase: www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/269700.html

Thunderous Fury: Most posters have actually prefered this to hail of steel for taclords. It is takes longer to deliver the damage, but it packs the debuff, requires less positioning, doesn't require the party to have basic attacks (the artful dodger rogue and the no-magic missile wizard say thanks), and can be used to set up encounter or daily powers. As a consequence, it has the potential to result in more damage than hail of steel. Of course, the dirty secret of taclords is also that they don't really have any party-wide damage powers to combo with it and their only party-wide attack power is still lead the attack. An inspiring warlord could smack the target with inspired belligerence, war of attrition, and then action point to deliver a hail of steel with +CA and +Cha to hit and +2x cha to damage on all the basic attacks. A bravura warlord could do something similar with headstrong bravery and a resourceful warlord could use grim mark to similar effect. The taclord? He could give one ally an attack and/or damage bonus but that's it.


That's a really nice quote. Since it's two sides of the same coin when combined with the Myth quote (One of them shows a glorious comeback from near-total devastation while the other one is a leader motivating his troops), I think an abridged version would work nicely there.

As for Thunderous Fury, I don't see it as being as good as HoS mostly because HoS is an incredibly easy, consistent and rather damaging spike. It's a rare day when you don't have at least two characters with good basic attacks (and it's any type of basic too, so this means ranged attackers can join in on the fun easily) who can help you capitalize on it. That said, I agree that Thunderous Fury is better than I give it credit for. D'you think a Sky Blue rating and suggesting it's a worthy choice even in the face of HoS be better?



I suppose I haven't fully digested the warlord essentials article, but I think you're jumping the gun a bit on the tactician's word feat. +1/2 int to the target's next attack is not nearly as good as +Int to hit until the end of your next turn. Good, but I don't see it making battle captain less attractive for taclords. Also, I think you are overestimating the attractiveness of adroit explorer for taclords. They don't get to take a second denying smite or BTITG until epic tier and even then, I wouldn't trade war of attrition for either power. War of Attrition (along with curtain of steel and the level 13 storm of blades power) are powers that make you want to take adroit explorer. Taclords just don't have level 7 powers that are quite that compelling and I don't think their level 13 powers are quite as compelling at level 21 either.

B) Have you considered Flaming Weapon combos? I consider it mostly assumed that tieflings get a sneaky +1 to STR that way, at the cost of less damage and weapon flexibility. Thus they don't need to go for an 18, since they can duplicate it through other measures. This has its costs, of course, so it's something to consider.



You did put it at 60% but that's not really the choice. The difference that most taclords will be discussing is not 14 Str/18 Int vs 18 Int/14 str but rather 16 Str/18 Int vs 18 Str/16 Int. (If you are buying 20's, it would be 20/14 for humans and non-humans don't really have a choice which way to go. So the difference in attack bonus is 5% rather than 10%.

Commander's Strike

I think you underestimate the utility of commander's strike. For high damage two-handed weapon wielders, you have:

great weapon fighters
barbarians
avengers (with melee training)
Great weapon wardens
Great weapon beastmaster rangers
great weapon paladins
melee warlocks
assasins with melee training
Great weapon battle clerics
Great weapon warlords

Obviously, it is very highly damaging with those allies on the field.

But it will also do moderate striker damage with a with a variety of other characters
sword and board defenders
two weapon fighting rangers
Swordmages
Any other sword and board leader class with melee training
brutal scoundrel rogues (especially ones with rapiers or the new sneak attack with one handed heavy blades feat)

It's a rare party that doesn't have at least one ally that makes CS into a damage machine.

As for the idea that you will usually have something better to do than damage, I disagree. Most of the time, your party is in the position they want to be in or is close enough that more movement won't matter much.

Viper's Strike:
I think you overestimate the amount of useful lockdown abilities in characters' arsenels as well as the challenges of the positioning needed to bring furious smash to bear in the situations you describe. You need to be in melee range of the target to use furious smash. Your ally needs to be adjacent to you to receive the bonus. Your ally needs to attack the same target you attacked in order to apply the bonus. If you can manage all of that against a skirmisher or artillery monster, it's probably because you've already locked them down.

Again, I would suggest that if you are in a position to use viper's strike on a ranged attacker or skirmisher, odds are good that they are already locked down (obviously both you and a character with a good melee basic attack are both adjacent to it). Also, most skirmishers I have encountered seem to have a variation on mobile melee attack or mobile ranged attack rather than a shift power. Thus, viper's strike is useless to lock them down because they aren't shifting anyway.

Opening Shove:
I'll stick with my opinion that: A. If your rogue or ranger can't get there on their own, they probably don't want to be there. B. Giving up the possibility of either dealing damage yourself or setting up an ally to deal damage with an encounter or daily power in the most essential round of combat (the engagement round) is a sucker's bet. C. The strategies you are proposing depend on optimistic assumptions about the party's position (at low levels, it will be rare that a shift 4 will get the striker past even a disrupted enemy front line before his turn and thus he will still need to provoke OAs in order to break the line or the striker has already gone, in which case, you should probably be building on the damage he did on his round rather than sending him to a new target).

A lot of people who write about warlords seem to imagine themselves as grand chessmasters who can make a difficult battle easy with a move action or a shift. I haven't seen that in any of the LFR games I've played and didn't see it in the minis game either (especially not with similarly valued pieces--a cheap tech piece that could move a titan around was valuable but a D&D 4e warlord is definitely not a lower value piece than anyone else on the board).

Card Powers:
Inevitable wave has several functions. First, it is a great power for the opening stages of a battle if your party is far enough away from the enemy that you need to charge. You charge and rather than doing a little damage and having that be it, you give all your allies a sizable damage boost for their charges. Mission accomplished.

Second, it is a power that you can use in rounds when you are out of actions and want to attack. If you need to drop an inspiring word and a knight's move or another minor action (perhaps instant planning or shake it off), it gives you a bonus along with the charge you were going to be doing anyway.

Third it is a tremendous combo with iron dragon charge--and fey charge (or strider stance) if you go that route. You charge an enemy, hit and give a damage bonus which your ally uses with their immediate charge. If you have fey charge and fey command, your ally can also teleport into a position where they can charge without reprecusions when you use your fey step to charge. If you use strider stance, you can use it to shift you or your ally into a position to charge and get a damage bonus at the same time.

Finally, if you combine it with mounted combat and a griffon, it is heinously ugly. You charge and grant a +5 or +6 bonus to damage, then your griffon makes two charge attacks that both get the bonus. Ouch.

Adaptive Stratagem:
I'm not quite sure why you would compare adaptive stratagem to warlord's favor. It's a utility power; I don't expect it to do the job of an attack power. Now, encouraging stance is a fairer comparison and I think adaptive stratagem wins hands down. The problem with encouraging stance is that:
A. it is a daily rather than an encounter power
B. At any given time in a combat, you probably won't have that many allies who are bloodied. If you do have allies who are bloodied and no healing to give out, odds are good that it is the latter stages of the combat and this is the point that you realize that you should have used encouraging stance early in the combat--only it's too late now.
C. You're wrong about the peak for adaptive stratagem. If we are looking at an absolute peak, you might assume level 30 with a +9 Int bonus and tactician's armor, a total nova would deliver considerably more than 50 damage. If we are assuming a ranger, the nova could easily be: (on your turn: Sudden Assault: armor splinter 1+follow up blow/armor splinter 2+follow up blow); action point (recover sudden assault) commander's strike (turn to standard with helm of heroes): twin strike 1/follow up blow; twin strike 2/follow up blow; ally's turn: minor action attack/follow up blow/trip up/follow up blow; action point: blade cascade/follow up blow/trip up/blade cascade 2/follow up blow/blade cascade 3/follow up blow/blade cascade 4/follow up blow/blade cascade 5/follow up blow; recover trip up with torc; stunning steel 1/follow up blow/trip up/stunning steel 2/follow up blow; trade move for a minor action attack/follow up blow; your next turn: sudden assault again and watch your ally repeat twin strike 1+follow up blow; twin strike 2+follow up blow. That's about 270 damage. It is admittedly a pretty gruesome nova (modeled on my memory of Lord Duskblade's ranger/pit fighter nova) but I think it demonstrates the potential--for it to be much more significant than you give it credit for. The 5 applied attacks that you started with (your action point commander's strike or sudden assault, your normal CS or sudden assault, your ally's normal action, your ally's action point, and your next turn commander's strike) is more of a minimum number of attacks in a high level nova than a standard. (Heck, at level 7, it is somewhat trivial for a ranger to crank out 9 attacks with the bonus).

Hold The Line:
I mean that it's a power that gives 2W and that's about it. Allies adjacent to you are hard to forced move? Who cares. That's hardly a problem that shows up in all encounters and most of the time it does it's on recharge or encounter powers so by the time you figure out you need it it's already too late. And if you did figure out you needed it and used it early, the monsters would just wait a turn before unleashing their forced movement powers. And if the monster's powers are at-will, it's not as though being immune to them for a turn will help much.

Likewise, a +2 power bonus to AC is rather unimpressive. It is unlikely to make a difference in whether or not they get hit over a single round of combat.

Inspiring War Cry:
I think you underestimate the status effects that show up in early to mid heroic tier. Vine horrors toss out save ends restrained, goblin hexers do save ends blinding from level 1. Ongoing damage and immobilization are pretty common too and by late heroic tier (level 7 or so), you're starting to see save ends dominates showing up.

Even if you expand the list of powers, black is still a safe rating for inspiring war cry. The guaranteed save is a very nice effect and 2W is standard damage for the level. It's a solid power choice. It may be that it's not a high level pick but there's still room to rate other powers blue or even sky blue.

Warlord's Strike:
Padded sumo is something that powers like warlord's strike can help you overcome. Let's imagine that you move into a flank, tag the monster with inspired belligerence then smack him with warlord's strike and action point for hammer and anvil with your flanking ally. All your allies are adding 1+2x cha to damage against the target for the round. If they blow their action points, that's likely to be 8+16x charisma (some allies won't make it but some may have multiattack powers).

Let's compare this briefly to a power you rated highly: sunder armor. Sunder armor adds two potential critical hits to every d20 roll your party makes. So, if four of your allies pile on with action points, that's 8 attacks and therefore roughly 80% of the difference between a critical and a normal hit contributed to your party's DPR. If we (generously) assume that the weapon to land the crit is a +2 vicious fullblade using a 2W power, that's 30.5 extra damage. (+11 for the difference between average 2W and max, +13 for 2d12 crit dice and +6.5 for high crit). 80% of that extra damage is 24.4 Now, let's assume that a 18 charisma inspiring warlord uses warlord's strike and allies pile on 8 attacks, 5 of which hit. That's 25 extra damage which is pretty comparable. (Especially considering that there is almost no way that your party's average pile on crit was going to be with a +2 vicious high crit weapon--the wizard won't have high crit and is unlikely to have d12 crit dice and that alone will bring down the average significantly). What's more, warlord's strike will achieve this result reliably. If your party hits, they get the extra damage. There is no chance that your party will hit but that the power won't accomplish anything.

Bloody Ending:
I think you can stand to have a few blues at this level. Even if you accept all my advice, most of this level will be black. Also, while 2W+Str+Int may butcher bloodied standard monsters, I think it's unlikely to butcher bloodied elites. Even for an 18 Str/16 Int resourcelord with a +2 fullblade and iron armbands of power, the power is only doing an average of 24 points of damage. Early heroic tier elites frequently have over 100 hit points--there's plenty of room for the bonus to come into play.

Situational Advantage:
I think the errata to hammer formation indicates that you probably have the right interpretation of it. Still, if your party is mostly weapon wielders, that could add up to a lot of damage very quickly. For example, a party with a greatbow ranger, an bastard sword fighter, and a rapier rogue would net a possible total of 2d12+1d10+1d8+4x Int (assuming a 16 Int, 36 potential points of extra damage); if they spent action points, the rogue used low slash, and you used commander's strike on the fighter on your next turn, that would be 4d12+3d10+3d8+10x int bonus (potential 86 points of damage). If you were to plan it meticulously and they all readied an action to attack when you gave them situational advantage, they could potentially add it up to 6d12+4d10+4d8+14x Int (122 extra damage).

Now if your party is mostly implement wielders, then it's not for you, but it has a lot of force multiplying potential.

Sunder Armor:
I'm assuming that you have four party members, each of whom attacks once, rolls once for the attack and ordinarily crits on a 20. Each has a 10% chance of landing a crit due to this power (20s would be crits anyway) and a 90% chance that the power does nothing. Therefore, the chance that the power does nothing is 90^4 or 65.61%. Now, if we have everyone in the party spend action points as well, you get a 43% chance that the power does nothing and a 57% chance that it generates at least one critical hit.

Now you'll notice that I'm using discrete probabilities rather than DPR to analyze this. That is because I think the problem with the power is not the damage that it adds to the party but rather that it is unreliable at best. If I use a power and all of the party piles on, I would like to know that the power is going to do something rather than only having a 34-57% chance that it will have an effect.

Also, while the effect of the power is to enable party members to fish for crits, I don't think it has much synergy with actual crit-fishers. First, crit-fishers generally find ways of increasing their critical percentage on their own. So, if you have the classic daggermaster avenger critfisher in your group, he doesn't benefit from sunder armor at all--he already has 18-20 crits full-time. And if you are not a hard-core critfisher who is happy to suck except on the rare occasions when you get a crit (which IME is usually when it is either superfluous or insufficient to make up for the suck that preceeded it), then you probably didn't invest in the vicious/bloodiron high crit combos that would be needed to make the most of this combo.

B) I've got to disagree here. Maybe this has to do with me being a player who tries to make intangibles work for him (which is why I hold Opening Shove in such high regards, for instance), but having the other party members disengage and focus on another enemy isn't exactly an insanely tough setup, certainly not enough to affect the rating.



Not exactly a tough setup. But it's not no setup either. And it will sometimes be counterproductive setup because the best strategy is usually to focus your damage on a target until it dies. IMO, if the setup for this will sometimes preclude what would otherwise be the best strategy then it starts at a deficit because it doesn't just need to be better than the alternatives; it needs to be sufficiently better that it is still an improvement after you take into account the otherwise suboptimal strategy required to use it.

I will also add that the enemy can sometimes--perhaps often--circumvent the setup. If the enemy shifts so that it is no longer adjacent to the ally but is still adjacent to you, it can make the attack without triggering the deadly return. Now, if your ally is a fighter who marked the target, you are pretty much guaranteeing a combat challenge, but not all defenders are fighters. I just don't see this as blue material. It doesn't suck but most warlords have clearly better options available (inspiring have war of attrition, tactical have surprise attack, bravura have provoke overextension). That's pretty much the definition of a black power.

On Stirring Force:
I'm not sure what those items are. Off the top of my head, I can think of a neck slot item that lets allies reroll a save, but it's hardly an optimal item (resistance neck slots like the brooch of shielding, amulet of health, or cloak of survival seem much better). There is delver's armor that adds to an existing save, but it's rather weak armor (dwarven, black iron, tactician's etc are far better) and it won't prevent a character from losing the first action to a condition.

Further, to call Stirring Shout a party-wide MAS is...well, it assumes very ideal circumstances where you've got 4 people clustered all around you.



Either that or that you can move to a position where you are within two squares of the necessary targets.

It'd be more accurrate to say you'll grant 2 saves on average, and even that might be a little generous. If your party likes to bunch up like that, I'll admit the power is much, much better, but usually spreading out to avoid excessive AoE damage is a wiser idea.



Two saves on average is probably pretty reasonable when you add in the possibility of moving in order to maximize the granted saves. Still, especially with the resourceful presence rider, it is a solid power that does not deserve to be rated red. Black is where it belongs.

Stay On Target:
OK, I'm convinced on this. It's a 1W power itself, probably with a secondary weapon--but, even so, your allies attacks can make it fairly damaging. For example, if you assume that you have a +2 grasping javalin and a 20 str/20 Int and two 20 dex greatbow rangers with weapon focus and +3 greatbows, your potential damage is 1d6+7+(1d12+14)x2. That's a potential of 51.5 damage on the immediate interrupt. If we assume that waiting for the power and using your allies immediate actions had no ill effects, then we may add the damage from commander's strike to that (let's assume a fullblade fighter with a 20 Str, +3 weapon, iron armbands, and weapon focus). That's another 1d12+16 damage for a total potential damage of 74. That's not bad, but it's only part way to the potential that situational advantage has. You've convinced me that it's not as situational as I thought, but and though it is an idealized situation the damage doesn't suffer much from dropping the 2d12 to 2d4 (a thrown dagger and a magic missile).

The challenge of this power--and what would make me hesitant to rate it blue or use it with my warlords--is that you need to get the enemies within three squares of you without the power's beneficiaries being in a position to provoke OAs. So you need some party coordination to get it to work.

Knock Them Down:
I can see potential there, but it's still movement rather than a shift or slide and thus provokes OAs. Is that really enough to get your melee characters into position (it is of course useless to your ranged characters)






1) I agree that Tactician's Words is not "WHOAOMG SUPAR HAX FAETZ > BATTLE CAPTAIN LOLOLOLOL", which was the way it probably sounded, and I probably am a bit overenthusiastic about it, but what I was trying to say is that it opens up a bunch of options that Taclords didn't get before and are now very useful. For instance, Tactician's Armor is suddenly looking a LOT better than it used to, as it's the equivalent of FOUR Int points when regarding that feat. Likewise, a combo of the feat and Battle Captain can enable a Supreme Inspiration build to work very smoothly, compared to the rocky road it had beforehand. Giving two allies a +6/7 bonus to attack rolls is simply magnificent, for instance. Time will tell if I'm overrating the feat or not, though.

2) Agreed on Tieflings. I'll knock 'em down a peg when I review the handbook, which should be right as you read this. :P

3) Okay, that's convincing. Commander's Strike earns a Sky Blue, and the writeup will be edited to reflect this.

4) Viper's Strike is very party dependent now that I look at it. Hand it to, say, a party with a fighter defender and a rogue striker, and it's unimpressive. Give it to a party with an Assault Swordmage or Barb and it suddenly starts looking good. I don't think it deserves to be knocked down to black, but I'll make a point of noting how it requires a party that works with it.

5) Good points all around. One thing to note though, since we're discussing disruption, is that Opening Shove allows for attacks on any enemy an ally is adjacent to, not just those YOU are adjacent to. Considering how you mention Inevitable Wave as being very good due to how well it works with charging allies, this is something to consider, as it lets an ally get in, get his normal hits in, then tack an extra one on due to OS. Still, it's clearly not Sky Blue. Blue seems more fitting due to the unique situations where it can do stuff neither CS or WPT can even though it's not as good. Opinions?

6) 'Kay. Inevitable Wave is likely a Blue then. Maybe Sky Blue if it impresses hugely.

7) Good case for Adaptive Stratagem. Sky Blue it is.

8) What you say about Hold The Line is true. What do you think of a downgrade from Black to Purple?

9) Hmm...I had forgotten about those. I'll peruse the MM1 and 2 and see if Inspiring War Cry is better than I thought. Right now it seems like it is, but I want to double-check just in case.

10) Alright, Warlord's Strike is lookin' good. It deserves a buff to its rating.

11) Hmm...true. Yes, Bloody Ending is looking like a fine Blue choice.

12) Heh, true. Maybe I should make Situational Advantage a Black/Blue power, explaining how it's excellent if you've got a part of weapon users and not that hot if you don't?

13) Alright, it looks like Sunder Armor is weaker than I thought. While I kind of assume a standard party has a ratio of attacks that is higher than 1 (for instance, a Wizard/Cleric/Fighter/Rogue/Warlord party swing a guaranteed extra attack for the first three rounds due to the Rogue, and possibly another one for a round or two due to the Fighter), it's not as good as I thought. Black it is, then.

14) A good case for a nerf to Deadly Returns' rating. Thinking a strong black is a good gauge for it. What do you think about it?

15) Alright, Stirring Shout looks better than I gave it credit for. Black sounds like a good level for it: Solid, but not impressive.

16) I'll make sure to edit Stay on Target's writeup to mention how it requires party coordination to pay off. Without it, it looks a lot worse, admittedly.

17) Admittedly, being movement is sort of a limiter to Knock Them Down. The question is, is that a sufficient knock it down (har har) to Blue?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
A nice sideline build for Resourceful Warlords is MC Bard to pick up Daring Blade. Use CHA for attack and damage and never look back!

Builds, especially Tieflings, can get by with a 16/16/16 spread post-racials, and never bother with STR ever after, pushing INT/CHA all the way. Heroic will be tight, but with a +3 Flaming weapon and Expertise, it's doable. Hell, if you're playing a Paragon campaign, go 18/18 and have fun with your huge riders.
I do have something against Golds, namely this: When something is Gold, it invalidates all other competing choices. Games are about relevant and emaningful choices and options, so the mere presence of Golds means that the options have been reduced (made irrelevant).

Being a Gnome with the Gnome Phantasmist feat is arguably Gold for Illusionist builds, from which follows that non-Gnome Illusionst builds are substandard.



This is very true, I'll admit. What Taclord is not going to take Lead The Attack, after all? In a sense, though, it doesn't bother me because it's SUPPOSED to be the case. You could say that, if Sky Blue is a bunch of generally excellent options, Gold is a mandatory option...for certain builds. It's when a power, or feat, or item is necessary for ALL builds, to the point you'll be laughed out of the room if you play anything that does not get said abusable power/feat/whatever that is so powerful that I think is too far. A good example of this would be pre-errata Blade Cascade: Any ranger that did NOT take it was laughable. Perhaps that is why I'm not opposed, at least not in principle, to golds: as long as they're just gold to certain builds, I have no issue with them. It's when they begin to overshadow everything else to the point of turning similarly powered choices into something you'd never take that I feel it's too much.

Took me some processing, but I've figured out what bothers me about your ratings for the at-will powers.  Succinctly put, I think you're rating them as if they were encounter powers, and I think that's throwing off your ratings.

When picking your at-wills, there are basically three ways you can go.  You can pick a highly spammable at-will (Twin Strike, Brash Strike) alongside a more situational one (Hit and Run, Cleave).  You can pick two situational at-wills that together cover any situation you're likely to find yourself in (Thunderwave + Winged Horde).  Or, you can pick two situational at-wills and accept that you'll be making basic attacks a decent amount of the time (being Human obviously gives you many more options here).  Since at-will attacks are generally superior to basic attacks, most characters want to wind up with one of the first two options rather than the third.  That means the best at-will powers are either those that are spammable, or those that are very powerful in their correct situation, as they must be worth the opportunity cost of having them.

Now, all of the Warlord at-wills from PHB and MP are at least somewhat situational.  However, only one of them gives you both an easily controllable situation alongside an effect that is worth spamming:  Commander's Strike (Brash Assault also applies if your DM is cooperative).  That's enough in itself to make CS worth blue, and when you add its ability to 100% reliably combo with your other +attack and/or +damage powers, the power is absolutely sky blue for any Int-based warlord who has a solid melee basic attack in the party.  As pointed out by EB (especially with the existence of Melee Training) that should mean the vast majority of parties.

Wolf Pack Tactics and Opening Shove can be very nice in a variety of situations, I agree.  However, letting an ally shift 1 square isn't really an effect worth spamming, and while Opening Shove's effect is worth spamming, the DPR hit you take for it (unless combo'ing) makes it far less attractive as a spam power.  Neither power's effect is strong enough to warrant sky blue given their limited application and at-will status.

The situational nature of the powers is why EB's analysis of Furious Smash and Viper's Strike is essentially correct, although it's worth noting that Furious Smash is worth Blue for a Warlord with 18 starting and always pumped Charisma.

t~



I kinda discussed this in the latest wall of doom, but yes, Opening Shove is situational and is thus getting knocked down a peg. WPT, however, is PRICELESS. The number of times you don't gain any benefit from it is nearly nil. It is very much a sky blue power, and there's a reason every single warlord should take it: it's effect allows for subtle, but very important changes in battlefield positioning. It gets even better when feats come into the equation, as its power does nothing but go up. There's very few cases where another power is worth taking as your second choice over it.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Using WPT for CA is a waste, as Commander's Strike (with not INT) is still superior.  Using your at-will slot for the situational get an ally out of trouble isn't worth it when you can easily take an encounter or utility power that will take care of it.  PC's generally can get around by themselves.
My Warlord Handbook: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/21004845/Leading_the_Attack_Warlord_Tactics My Feycharging Taclord build: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/21817401/My_Eladrin_Feycharging_Tactical_Warlord
If you're using WPT for CA, then you are, quite simply, doing it wrong. It's true uses are setting up maximum power efficiency, the aforementioned bailing out allies, and conserving actions that can be used in better ways.

PS: Guide has been massively overhauled, and epic powers will be coming soon. Check it out!
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Having played an Inspiring Warlord for a bit, my experience is:

"Shake it Off" is very, very strong. Not brilliant at low levels, but it keeps getting better as you level, and status-conditions get worse. With a decent Cha, it is almost an automatic save, often applied to an ally outside of his turn, allowing him to start his turn cleared of nasties.

"Inspiring Reaction" is not as good as it looks. I tried it, but it is too situational. The "Range: Touch" is really what kills it. Those times when you really, really need it, it is often an Avenger that went off by himself, a Rouge that got into the fray, or a Wizard that an enemy got to that needs it. And it is a reaction, so you can't easily position yourself for using it unless you know in advance you're going to be needing it.
Maybe if your party like phalanx fighting a lot.

"Rousing Words" is exceptionally good.

Half-Elf: +2 to Con ain’t too shabby, and +2 to Cha is excellent for Bravura and Inspiring Warlords, of course, but the real bonus of this race is in its feats. In particular, I’m talking about Versatile Master, which lets you trade one of your at-will powers for that of another class. I don’t think the power of this needs to be discussed in detail, considering it’s the selling point of Paragon Multiclassing. A Warlord with something like Righteous Brand is a very scary thing, indeed.


Actually, Versatile Master gives you a third at-will power from any class. You trade in your Dilettante power. Plus some other stuff.

It is worth noting that my opinion is colored by having had no Cleric in the party and being the main healer.
Argh, Epic powers won't be going up today. I'll probably squeeze a double whammy of powers and feats in tomorrow, though. Sorry for the delay, everyone.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Just a few opinions. I'll preface by saying, I think your scale is a bit high for my tastes, as there is too much "awesome" and not enough "junk" to graduate the scales a bit finer. So take these opinions with a grain of salt.

Why is Bravura Presence Blue? Suicidal powers on a leader just make other party members want to punch you. It should be black at best. Especially in small parties, a bravura warlord is down right a liability, while any other build still holds up his own.

Races - other than Dragonborn, I would not give any PHB race sky blue. Blue, yes, sky blue, not really. Tieflings would be black, halflings would be purple, elves would be red.

Wolf Pack Tactics - I love the power, it's the bread and butter for my character, a solid, versatile power, but why Sky Blue? I can certainly see a warlord surviving without it, relying on Commander's Strike, and maybe just picking up Inevitable Wave as a nice little charge power to anticipate where the barbarian is going, and lead him there by the nose. And also no adjacent ally required, unlike Wolf Pack Tactics or Commander's Strike.

Lead the Attack - Why is this gold? I mean it's a waste on any standard monster that takes a few hits to tear down anyway, and there are so many elite/solo lock down/destruction powers that every character has access to, I don't really see this as anything but a run of the mill anti-solo power. And if you miss with it (which can easily happen since the big bosses you really need this power for are hard to hit), it has a very small benefit. It's sky blue at best. I'd be tempted to leave it blue. But Gold? It's hardly a must have. Total junk if you are not an Int-lord.

Level 5 powers - I felt this was one set where you were overly generous with ratings. When I read through these the first time around for my warlord, I thought to my self, don't want that, don't want that, and by the time I had read everything, there was nothing I wanted and started looking at level 1 powers to see if there was something better. I seriously considered Fearless Rescue, but went with Stand the Fallen. Stand the Fallen, and Staggering Spin are decent powers. Black, maybe blue. The rest I feel should be purple or red. I've got my fingers crossed for something better at level 5 from MP2.

Maybe I'm a bit on the conservative side for rating, maybe you're just shifting the scales up and that's why you added the gold level. I don't know. But I do think some of the ratings need to be taken down a notch, with maybe a footnote for an increased rating on certain builds. A lot of powers, like Rock and a Hard Place, are not good universally, for instance that one is only good if you are a tactical warlord with a fighter in the group, and/or frequently use Viper's Strike. Otherwise, the power is quite sub par.
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