Optimizing your party for Warlord's free attacks

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Introduction

Warlords (especially the Tactical variant) are notorious for granting their allies free attacks by the bucketful.

The effectiveness of this approach is very much dependent on party composition.

While it's nice to imagine a perfect Warlord party with awesome basic attacks, in real play the composition of your party is usually out of your hand. Forcing your party members to play certain classes and builds just to take advantage of the free attacks ... that's likely to get you uninvited from the campaign.

But there are low-cost methods to optimize your current party for free attacks, methods that you can subtly (or not so subtly) suggest to your party members.

I'm proposing three categories of free attack optimization:

Optimize power
MBAs (melee basic attacks) are the most commonly granted free attack. Most melee classes have decent MBAs out of the box, but there's still room for improvement.
RBA (ranged basic attacks) are not as commonly granted as melee ones, but they are often the only choice for many classes and builds. As a Warlord gains levels, his/her powers (e.g. Hail of Steel) starts granting basic attacks, which allows non-melee classes to join in the fun.
This category refers to how to improve the ally's MBAs and/or RBAs. Specifically, improving the attack bonus, improving the damage, and improve the rider/add-on effects.
  • Melee Training (heroic feat) allows you to use a non-Str stat for MBAs. This is especially useful for classes with non-Str primary stat (e.g. Wizard).

  • Magic weapons with always-active, on-hit properties. E.g. Challenge-Seeking weapon. This improves your free attacks as the weapons's properties do not require activation. Free daily action weapons are another option, although not as optimal.

  • Weapons with high base damage. E.g. Brutal weapons, high-die weapons. This one is obvious, but sometimes your ally needs a bit of a nudge.

  • Weapons with high proficiency. Again, obvious, see previous method. A subclause: wield weapons that you are already proficient with, even if they have lower damage.

  • Class powers that counts as MBAs. Since powers are almost always better than a basic attack, this one is a no-brainer. See the class-specific list for more details.

  • Weapons with heavy-thrown property is great for melee allies, as they use Str. Such weapons are often passable melee weapons as well. Magic weapons are even better as they automatically return whent hrown. Note that Melee Training cannot be used for ranged attacks, so non-Str allies will have to consider light-thrown weapons or other options.


Optimize reach and response
No matter how optimized your basic attacks are, they are entirely wasted if they cannot reach and hit the enemy. Hail of Steel, for example, allows the party to make basic attacks against a target. If you're a guardian fighter and you're not next to the target, you can't attack, because the power does not grant you movement. If you're a crossbow user and it's not loaded, you can't attack.
The Warlord may have powers to move allies into position prior to granting attacks, but that's not always the case. Triggered powers are especially cruel in this regard because they are more difficult to predict and setup.
This category deals with improving the party's reach and response, so that they can actually utilise the free attacks when they are granted.
  • Speed Loader (heroic feat) allows you to prep 'load minor' crossbows as a free action, allowing you to make RBAs with with such crossbows.

  • Quick Draw (heroic feat) allows you to draw a weapon as part of the attack. Allies who don't usually wield thrown weapons can use this to draw a backup thrown and make a RBA. Caveat: if you don't have a free hand, you'll have to drop your current weapon since sheathing a weapon is a minor action.

  • Reach weapons (e.g polearms, spears) means that you don't have to be adjacent to make a MBA.

  • Weapons with heavy-thrown property has been mentioned before, but is worth repeating as this is probably the least disruptive method for melee allies to utilise free basic attacks. Sure, it won't be as lethal as their melee attacks, but it's better than nothing in scenarios where they cannot be in position to unleash melee attacks.

Optimize charge
Quite a number of Warlord attacks grant free charges. Iron Dragon Charge comes to mind. Most classes have some charge options, although a few like Druid and Barbarians stand out as abundantly blessed in that department.
Charges are unique in that they combine power and reach in the same package, and relatively easy to optimize.
  • It's hard to go past the cheap Badge of the Berserker, which allows to you charge without provoking OAs. Charge-happy builds will probably have this anyway.


Class/build specific methods

(Special thanks to Mengu74 for a massive list of methods)

Avenger
  • Power of Skill (as with all Divine Classes) is great here - turns Overwhelming Strike into MBA. [Ignis_Fatuus and Mengu74]

  • Great out-of-the-box support from crit effects and censure effects [Ignis_Fatuus]

Barbarian

  • Consider focusing on charge-happy attacks.

Cleric
  • Strength Cleric - They already have good basic attacks, but Power of Skill can help improve even that with a basic attack Righteous Brand. If your DM allows it, go first with your basic attack so that all subsequent party members gets the Righteous Brand attack buff. Nasty. [Mengu74]

Druid
  • Savage Rend can be used as RBA.

  • Totems are one-handed, so wielding an off-hand thrown weapon gives you reach and response, although probably not much power. Quick Stow is then required to keep the weapon between shape shifts, alternatively Quick Draw can be used to draw and attack.

Fighter

  • Tempest Technique allows you to wield an off-hand thrown weapon and still have good defenses, which means you can respond to free attacks even if you're not adjacent.

  • Bonus: Fighter will automatically mark the target with the free attack. [Mengu74]

  • Wicked Strike (Dragon Mag) is good for a 2-handed fighter. [Mengu74]

  • Several nice charge options, e.g. Knockdown Assault and Hunting Wolf Style. [Mengu74]

Invoker
  • Avenging Light can be used as RBA.

  • Sun Strike can be used as RBA.

  • Divine Bolts can be used as RBA with Power of Skill. [Mengu74]

Paladin
  • Virtuous Strike can be used as MBA.

  • Power of Skill allows Valiant Strike to be used as basic attack. [Mengu74]

  • Ardent Strike is a good charge option for Cha-based Paladins. [Mengu74]

Rogue
  • Dagger should be the weapon of choice (and usually is). If they're magical, then the Rogue is fully covered in terms of power, reach, and response.

  • Adaptable Flanker makes it easier for you to apply Sneak Attack damage (if you haven't already in this round).

Sorcerer
  • Dragonfrost can be used as RBA.

  • Acid Orb can be used as RBA.

  • Sorcerous Blade Channeling may be able to convert RBAs to MBAs, which means that your Sorcerer can join in the free melee attack fun. I said 'may' because the rules seem quite open to interpretation and controversy, so check with your DM first. [Merlin the Tuna]

Swordmage
  • Eladrin + Fey Charge + Eladrin Swordmage Advance = Teleporting double attack when granted a charge. Scary. [Mengu74]

Warden
  • Some Guardian Forms give you fantastic basic attack support [thanks to Mengu74 for pointing this out]. Here's a quick list:
    • Fearsome Ram - push 1 on hit

    • Oak Sentinel - reach +1

    • Rowan Sentinel - reach +1

    • Sand Sentinel - ally gets THP on hit

    • Autumn Reaper - extra damage

    • Blood Wolf - prone on CA hit

    • Jungle Lord - slide 2 on hit

    • Chimera - push or prone on charge hit


Warlock
  • Eldritch Strike can be used as MBA.

  • Eldritch Blast can be used as RBA.

  • Pact weapons improve the power of your basic attacks.

Warlord
  • Inevitable Wave is a hilariously effective charge option if you happen to have two Warlords in the party. [Mengu74]

Wizard
  • Magic Missile can be used as RBA.

Notable Magic items
  • Eagle Eye Goggles - +1 bonus to RBAs.

  • Rapidstrike Bracers - Once per encounter turns your basic attack to any of your level 1 at-will attacks. Fantastic, but the arm slot is very competitive.

  • Badge of the Berserker - Charge without provoking OAs.

Warlord Buddies(tm)

While this thread is focused on helping any class and build to better take advantage of Warlord's free attacks, it's worth mentioning that some classes and builds don't need that help. If you happen to have these Warlord Buddies in your party ... lucky you (and lucky them).
So, if your group actually volunteers to fully optimize themselves to take advantage of your free attacks, you know which classes to start with. Or, if you are invited into a party that just happens to have a high concentration of Warlord Buddies, that may just sway you into choosing to play a Warlord.
  • Most Avenger builds, especially with MBAs. They are accurate (oath of enmity), have access to good on-crit effects, and can benefit from censure effects. They also have good access to feats and powers that power up their MBAs. Note: Melee Training, or better yet, Power of Skill, is compulsory.

  • Strength-based Rogues, especially the dagger-using variety. Solid MBAs and RBAs, and because dagger is both melee and ranged, they have reach and response covered by default. Free attacks also allows them to retry Sneak Attack if their normal attack for the round missed.

  • Rangers. The archer builds have great RBAs with great power and range, allowing them to really utilize any free basic attacks. Can't really utilize MBAs, though. The 2-weapon builds naturally tends toward MBA-enhancing options to maximize mileage out their multiple attacks, and therefore a default good choice for free attacks. Just like Rogue, free attacks allow Rangers to retry Hunter's Quarry damage if their normal attack for the round missed.

  • Barbarians, especially the 2-handed weapon variety. Big damage on MBAs and loads of charge options. Nothing more need to be said.

  • Fighter, especially the 2-handed weapon variety. Big, accurate damage on MBAs. They are usually next to enemies, which gives them reach. The free attacks lets them mark more enemies, which is always a bonus. Some feats like Pinning Challenge is icing on the cake.


A couple of magic items strengthen basic attacks, most notably Eagle Eye Goggles.  Other items include Bracers of Mighty Striking/Perfect Shot and Rapidstrike Bracers, although the arm slot is usually occupied by other items.

t~
Warlords have almost nothing that can grant an ally a ranged basic attack, so there is not much advantage a warlord can grant to a wizard or warlock on that front.
Actually the warlord, from paragorn and up, can both grant ranged basic attacks or generic basic attacks (mean melee or ranged) whit ease, it's just matter of power choice.
Just look at Warlord Indignation (encounter) or, to point an high level daily, Relentless Assault. And there are lot more, ever at lower level.
Actually Play'ng: Nothing. My old party is full of short-sighted racists and sexists (on their own admission), so I left.
Warlords have almost nothing that can grant an ally a ranged basic attack, so there is not much advantage a warlord can grant to a wizard or warlock on that front.

Brash Assault, Concentrated Attack, Lead by Example, Provoke Overextension, Surprise Attack, Stay on Target, Unified in Blood, Ventured Gains, and Beat them into the Ground all ganged up on you with ranged basic attacks.  They didn't even bother inviting their level 15+ companions to the party.

t~

Avengers are great for granting basic attacks too as they really profit from the extra chance to get a crit and if the granted attack is timed so as to coincide with the censure bonus being just triggered, all thye better.

Avengers don't have a power that can be used as an MBA, but almost all will take melee training anyway. Followers of certain gods gain access to the feat Power of Skill which makes Overwhelming Strike into an MBA, now they can shift and slide on the attack you granted!
I think there is something every class can do to help gain some benefit from a warlord granted attack. Strength primary or secondary classes already have it easy. I've seen a dragon sorcerer stab someone in the eye with a dagger for the kill. If strength is not your primary or secondary stat, it can start to get a bit tricky but counts as basic attack is available to a lot of such classes. Here is a quick look (skipping some leader classes since it's not likely to see them side by side).

Strength Cleric - they already have good basic attacks, but power of skill can help improve even that with a basic attack Righteous Brand.

Wisdom Cleric - unless you're on odd elf build with high dex who can do decent basic ranged attacks, not much the cleric can do, other than get melee training, but even that is probably not worth it since your laser cleric should be safely in the back for the most part.

Fighter - fighters mark with basic attacks. What more do they need? Wicked Strike could be interesting for extra damage. And Knockdown Assault and Hunting Wolf Style Crushing Surge are good for the charge happy warlord. And battleragers will have an easier time getting temp hit points, or their bonus damage with a warlord around to grant them extra attacks.

Strength Paladin - Power of Skill again is not bad for a basic Valiant Strike.

Charisma Paladin - Virtuous Strike is obviously good. But Ardent Strike can be a better choice, if you have a warlord who likes to grant charges instead of basic attacks.

Ranger - Out of the box, these guys are already optimized for basic melee or ranged attacks. For versatility, quickdraw may be a good option.

Strength Rogue - not much to do.

Charisma Rogue - I think it's worthwhile for a charisma rogue to get melee training dex, if they have a warlord in the party.

Warlock - Eldritch Blast or Eldritch Strike takes care of the basic attack part.

Warlord - Two warlords in the same party is pretty unlikely, but they can get some interesting synergy going with on focusing on charge granting powers, and the other with Inevitable Wave.

Wizard - Other than Magic Missile, not much going on there, though I have seen one wizard who liked to whack people on the head with his staff.

Avenger - Power of Skill or melee training is nearly mandatory for the avenger any way. As for basic ranged attack, they just got one of those too.

Barbarian - they like to charge, so the warlord should look for powers that give them charges. But their basic attacks are quite brutal out of the box as well. And when they kill/bloody targets, they can do free action stuff to boot, not to mention when they crit. They don't really need any extra attention or help.

Druid - if there is a warlord in the party, the druid should definitely grab Savage Rend (or Grasping Claws if you must), and/or possibly Pounce. These are good powers any way, so no reason to ponder. If I were a druid with a warlord in the party, I'd also look at grabbing a summon power. When all alies get free basica attacks, the summoned critter can join the party too.

Invoker - Avenging Light is good. Divine bolts with power of skill would have been good, if Hand of Radiance hadn't trumped it. Forget basic melee.

Sorcerer - Already mentioned dagger in the eye. Strength Sorcerers are already good in basic melee, but could consider Acid Orb or Dragonfrost. Dex Sorcerers can throw their dagger if they have to.

Warden - strength primary means they are doing fine. If they are in a guardian form, they sometimes do fun stuff with their attacks, so there is again enough synergy there. Warden's Lunge might be worth a look with a charge granting warlord.

Assassin - They already have good basic ranged attacks, so quickdraw might be handy. And they need melee training if they want to be able to charge anyway, so they're set.

Swordmage - the Assault swordmages are already set. Others need a form of melee training anyway. And, Fey Charge + Eladrin Swordmage Advance. Enough said.
tiornys - Thank you for the tip, I'll start a Magic Item section.

Ignis - I'll add that to the Avenger section.

Mengu74 - Wow, fantastic list. I'll add them next time I have the chance to sit down and edit. Power of Skill blew me away, I never knew that feat existed. A definite must for divine classes wanting to optimize their basic attacks. Righteous Brand as a basic attack? Nasty. And great call on summoned critters. Again, fantastic list.
Added feedback from other posters, especially from Mengu74.
Actually, the Bravura build is the one that finds it the easiest to give out free attacks (he can take Commander's Strike too, and his Commanding Presence does it).

Also, I believe you should mention characters that are well suited to be a "Warlord buddy" (Barbarians and Rangers come up big time).
Some powers tempt or force an enemy to attack you, allowing defenders to use their free punishment. A perfect example is using Provoke Overextention on a target marked by a fighter/warden. To a lesser extend this works with a swordmage with Transposing Lunge or one of a cha paladin's many immediate interrupts, but it uses resources that might get used anyway.
Actually, the Bravura build is the one that finds it the easiest to give out free attacks (he can take Commander's Strike too, and his Commanding Presence does it).

Also, I believe you should mention characters that are well suited to be a "Warlord buddy" (Barbarians and Rangers come up big time).



I actually think that avengers are a much better call than barbarians for warlord buddy status--especially in the context of granting extra attacks. Their accuracy makes them hands down the best target for a granted basic attack and when it comes up the ability to milk censure is pure gold. Fighters (especially great weapon fighters) are just as good as barbarians for granted attacks--in fact, their various class features will often make them better targets than barbarians.
Thought I'd mention another Paladin option: Hold Fast (Enc. 3). Can be taken to attack with STR or CHA, immobilizes on hit and can be used in a situation that calls for an MBA. I know it's just once/enc, but hey, immobilization on a Warlord grant is pretty damn good.

And speaking of immobilization, Paragon Tier 2HW Fighter with Pinning Challenge = lol. What a broken feat. I hate that it applies to all MBAs, rather than just, say, CC.
Thought I'd mention another Paladin option: Hold Fast (Enc. 3). Can be taken to attack with STR or CHA, immobilizes on hit and can be used in a situation that calls for an MBA. I know it's just once/enc, but hey, immobilization on a Warlord grant is pretty damn good.

And speaking of immobilization, Paragon Tier 2HW Fighter with Pinning Challenge = lol. What a broken feat. I hate that it applies to all MBAs, rather than just, say, CC.



Once per encounter but it happens outside your turn. Action economy. I'll add this.
Actually, the Bravura build is the one that finds it the easiest to give out free attacks (he can take Commander's Strike too, and his Commanding Presence does it).

Also, I believe you should mention characters that are well suited to be a "Warlord buddy" (Barbarians and Rangers come up big time).



I actually think that avengers are a much better call than barbarians for warlord buddy status--especially in the context of granting extra attacks. Their accuracy makes them hands down the best target for a granted basic attack and when it comes up the ability to milk censure is pure gold. Fighters (especially great weapon fighters) are just as good as barbarians for granted attacks--in fact, their various class features will often make them better targets than barbarians.



The thread is more about how to make any character a better Warlord buddy, but good point I should point out classess/builds who are good Warlord buddies by default.

I think there is something every class can do to help gain some benefit from a warlord granted attack.



Alas you left out the one class that does not really make any basic attacks: the shaman.  You can take melee training if you want to and use a weapon/implement like a totemic spear, but that is about it.

Also Shamans can now grant a basic attack as an at will and eagle shamans grant ranged basic attacks as an OA so I will be linking to this thread for my handbook.  Edit: plus a substantial number of shaman encounter powers and daily powers revolve around giving party members charges or other ways to make basic attacks.


Also, I believe you should mention characters that are well suited to be a "Warlord buddy" (Barbarians and Rangers come up big time).



Other than good basic attacks, what makes a Ranger good 'Warlord Buddy'? Archer Rangers I can see, it's one of the few strong ranged classes so they have power and reach by default.

Avenger, Sorcerer (for BAs, not MBAs), Warlocks (again BA), Fighters (gives a new mark, lets Pinning Challenge and other such feats set in).

Hrm. I feel like I'm missing some.
Very much agree with SadisticFishing on 2-handed fighters.

Also, very important to consider the interaction with strikers when they miss their bonus damage. Giving them a 2nd chance to do extra damage is very nice! Rogue, Warlock, Ranger, etc.


Also, I believe you should mention characters that are well suited to be a "Warlord buddy" (Barbarians and Rangers come up big time).



Other than good basic attacks, what makes a Ranger good 'Warlord Buddy'? Archer Rangers I can see, it's one of the few strong ranged classes so they have power and reach by default.




I was referring to Archer Rangers, but here's some advice on how to make Melee Rangers better Warlord buddies.

Some Melee Rangers will gravitate to Paragon Paths with damage bonuses (Pit Fighter, for instance). Add in the Prime Punisher feat tree for more bonuses, and your Melee Basic Attack may not have the [W] damage most Warlord buddies have, but you have a lot more bonus damage. A Reach Warlord has a ball with Commander's Strke and a Melee Ranger, or if he grants him attacks against another enemy.
Sorcerers can get in on MBAs as well.  Dragonfrost and Acid Orb can be used as RBAs, and the Sorcerous Blade Channelling feat lets you turn ranged powers into melee powers, turning them into MBAs.
Sorcerers can get in on MBAs as well.  Dragonfrost and Acid Orb can be used as RBAs, and the Sorcerous Blade Channelling feat lets you turn ranged powers into melee powers, turning them into MBAs.




I'm not 100% sure that Sorcerous Blade can convert RBA to MBA. Anyway, if it is so, then it's useful. I'll add it.
Sorcerers can get in on MBAs as well.  Dragonfrost and Acid Orb can be used as RBAs, and the Sorcerous Blade Channelling feat lets you turn ranged powers into melee powers, turning them into MBAs.




I'm not 100% sure that Sorcerous Blade can convert RBA to MBA. Anyway, if it is so, then it's useful. I'll add it.



I'm 100% sure that it does not. Why would it? It was an RBA. Now it is a simple melee attack. No where is there a 'basic attack' descriptor that carries over.

I'm not 100% sure that Sorcerous Blade can convert RBA to MBA. Anyway, if it is so, then it's useful. I'll add it.




There's a lot of debate over this, but it's really fodder for a different thread.




As a warlord, watching your striker buddies can increase the effectiveness of granting BAs.  If you have a power that grants a BA, wait until the Rogue or Ranger misses on their turn, so that they can use Sneak Attack or Hunter's Quarry.  If they've already used their striker bonus damage that turn, then they won't get it again, so either save your granted attack or give it to someone else.  (Some other strikers have different conditions or no conditions on their bonus damage, so watch for when they can use them.  Not much point in giving the avenger the bonus attack if he's not getting his oath reroll at the moment.)

I'm not 100% sure that Sorcerous Blade can convert RBA to MBA. Anyway, if it is so, then it's useful. I'll add it.




There's a lot of debate over this, but it's really fodder for a different thread.




As a warlord, watching your striker buddies can increase the effectiveness of granting BAs.  If you have a power that grants a BA, wait until the Rogue or Ranger misses on their turn, so that they can use Sneak Attack or Hunter's Quarry.  If they've already used their striker bonus damage that turn, then they won't get it again, so either save your granted attack or give it to someone else.  (Some other strikers have different conditions or no conditions on their bonus damage, so watch for when they can use them.  Not much point in giving the avenger the bonus attack if he's not getting his oath reroll at the moment.)



It is good to watch your strikers for rounds when they missed their bonus damage, but waiting for that until using attack granting powers will often be pennywise, but pound-foolish advice. Yes, you get more damage out of hammer and anvil if you wait until the ranger missed both his attacks. But if you wait, you will also miss the opportunity to kill the monsters earlier and will often end up taking more damage as a party due to this tactic, even if you deal more damage than you would have otherwise done. Likewise, an avenger without his oath re-roll may not be better than the other options any longer, but he is still about as effective as a fighter or barbarian (more if his censure is active).

It is good to watch your strikers for rounds when they missed their bonus damage, but waiting for that until using attack granting powers will often be pennywise, but pound-foolish advice. Yes, you get more damage out of hammer and anvil if you wait until the ranger missed both his attacks. But if you wait, you will also miss the opportunity to kill the monsters earlier and will often end up taking more damage as a party due to this tactic, even if you deal more damage than you would have otherwise done.



That depends on what other powers you're choosing to use for each given round.  You still may be able to kill the monster as quickly using a different attack.  Many powers that grant extra BAs come with one less [w] of damage from you, so you can wind up doing less damage with these than with comparable powers if you're not careful.  Suppose that you have the choice between a power that does 1[w] and grants an attack (like Hammer and Anvil) and one that simply does 2[w] (and some non-damage ability, like maybe Steel Monsoon).  Hammer and Anvil theoretically does more total damage, since it'll be 2[w]s+2xStr+cha, but it involves an additional attack roll, so it might be just 1[w]+your Str.  Whether that's better than your typical encounter power's 2[w]+str+some other benefit depends on your ally's [w] and Str and such.  If they do bonus damage, granting the attack will almost certainly be better.  Without it, it could be worse, if you're granting an attack to a rogue without Sneak Attack or something.
I think there is something every class can do to help gain some benefit from a warlord granted attack.



Alas you left out the one class that does not really make any basic attacks: the shaman.  You can take melee training if you want to and use a weapon/implement like a totemic spear, but that is about it.

Also Shamans can now grant a basic attack as an at will and eagle shamans grant ranged basic attacks as an OA so I will be linking to this thread for my handbook.  Edit: plus a substantial number of shaman encounter powers and daily powers revolve around giving party members charges or other ways to make basic attacks.



Is there any powers/feats that allows Shamans to do MBA or RBA through their spirit companion?

It's a bit tricky trying to do that--especially as a warlord. Warlord powers generally do one of five things:

A. Buff allies
B. Grant extra attacks to allies
C. Grant saving throws to allies
D. Grant movment to allies
E. Grant healing to allies

The last three of those are very situational and they will thus generally either be the best choice regardless of whether or not you have the option to grant an attack to a striker who missed his bonus damage or not needed. (If everyone is where they want to be already, do you really want to use steel monsoon just to get a 2W attack in?).

Thus, if you are choosing a power to use pro-actively, it will generally either be a buff power or an extra attack power. The problem, however, is that those two types of powers are generally synergistic to a degree that it makes more of a difference to grant the extra attacks while the buff is up than it would to grant an extra attack to a character when he missed his striker bonus damage. Would you pass up an opportunity to use hammer an anvil while warlord's strike and inspired belligerence are active in order to (maybe) give the rogue sneak attack damage in a round when he misses his sneak attack (if he ever does)? You could, but you would usually be taking a bad gamble by doing so.

In any event, the math works out such that, if the ally is even an acceptable beneficiary for a bonus attack, it's almost always better than the extra 1W you would get from a bigger damage buff/heal/MAS/movement encounter power. For example, a 4th level warlord using steel monsoon probably does around 2d10+5 damage. That same warlord using Hammer and Anvil does 1d10+5 damage plus an ally's attack (let's say it's a 16 strength brutal scoundrel with a rapier which we'll assume hits roughly 60% of the time for 1d8+7 damage including the warlord's charisma). Even with a mediocre basic attack buddy and no bonus damage (and not calculating the possibility of crits), hammer and anvil still delivers a significant 1.4+ DPR advantage over steel monsoon. If you have a ranger, great weapon fighter/paladin/warden, avenger (even w/out OoE), melee warlock, etc available, the advantage will be even greater.
I think there is something every class can do to help gain some benefit from a warlord granted attack.



Alas you left out the one class that does not really make any basic attacks: the shaman.  You can take melee training if you want to and use a weapon/implement like a totemic spear, but that is about it.

I intentionally left most of the leader classes out (and made a note of it) because it's not as likely to have multiple leaders in a party. It happens, but is not the norm. A cunning bard or tinkerer artificer would have trouble benefiting from warlord granted attacks as well, so the situation is not unique to the shaman.

Is there any powers/feats that allows Shamans to do MBA or RBA through their spirit companion?



Not that I have seen.  All of their spirit OA's are intentionally not melee basic attacks and either do damage, stop movement or let someone else make a ranged basic attack.

Technically you could do something like charge while using rapidstrike bracers and instead use claws of the eagle.  That works RAW but is pretty silly.

Most Avenger builds, especially with MBAs. They are accurate (oath of enmity), have access to good on-crit effects, and can benefit from censure effects. They also have good access to feats and powers that power up their MBAs. Weakness: Since many MBA-granting Warlord powers require the Warlord to hit the target, Avengers won't be able to use their oath of enmity because they won't be the only adjacent ally. Unless the Warlord use reach weapons.


This is actually incorrect, Oath of Emnity is only denied by enemies being adjacent to the Avenger, allies do not interfere in any way.  In fact all Avengers have a Channel Divinity power that lets them force a reroll for an ally's attack on their OoE once per encounter, handy for letting that Warlord attack hit in the first place.  Avengers, particularly those with Censure of Unity have useful abilities for improving allies damage against an OoE target.

The proper weakness for avengers is: Avengers lack a built in MBA and must take Melee Training or, better still, Power of Skill to have one of any use.  (Barring abberent builds.)

Most Avenger builds, especially with MBAs. They are accurate (oath of enmity), have access to good on-crit effects, and can benefit from censure effects. They also have good access to feats and powers that power up their MBAs. Weakness: Since many MBA-granting Warlord powers require the Warlord to hit the target, Avengers won't be able to use their oath of enmity because they won't be the only adjacent ally. Unless the Warlord use reach weapons.


This is actually incorrect, Oath of Emnity is only denied by enemies being adjacent to the Avenger, allies do not interfere in any way.  In fact all Avengers have a Channel Divinity power that lets them force a reroll for an ally's attack on their OoE once per encounter, handy for letting that Warlord attack hit in the first place.  Avengers, particularly those with Censure of Unity have useful abilities for improving allies damage against an OoE target.

The proper weakness for avengers is: Avengers lack a built in MBA and must take Melee Training or, better still, Power of Skill to have one of any use.  (Barring abberent builds.)



Doh. Thank you for picking this up. Fixed.
Great post. You put a lot of thought into this.
I just wish the Bravura Warlord in our party was a better drinker. One beer, and he forgets to remind his allies of their free attacks. What can be done about this?
Remember that you get basic attacks when you hit on an action point :D give it a few levels, it'll be obvious. Yay Bravura Warlords.

I still think Avenger is your best bet, or Reaper's Touch Shadar-Kai Sorcerers. Basic attacks that get the striker damage are going to be the highest possible damage.
Invokers at paragon can take the feat 'Staff of channeled invocations' this turns ranged attacks to melee attacks.
+ 'Power of Skill' and 'Divine Bolts' allows the invoker to make both RBA & MBAs with a staff hitting two targets wis vs reflex
Not to shabby.
It may be worth adding the fact that Sorcerers can get a fairly solid MBA too - Ensorcelled Blade - which should make them a less tempting target, too, because if it hits, the enemy takes damage if it attempts an attack on the sorc UEONT.

Adding in the E-classes may well also be worth it, with the focus many of them have on basic attacks, they play very nicely with Warlords (and other attack-granting leaders) 
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.

I love free attacks. My favorite Warlord Buddies comprise:

1. Paladin/Morninglord with Virtuous Strike. In a Morninglord-centered radiant mafia, the Morninglord painting the target is essential to the bonus DPR. With this radiant MBA, a Paladin can get a second chance if he misses on his turn. Also, it's not real cost-effective for a Chaladin to invest in a radiant weapon, but it's also not real cost-effective to choose only radiant powers. With a Warlord backing him up, on some turns where he hits with his free MBA (which can be augmented by Power of the Sun before Burning Radiance comes into play), the Chaladin then has the option of unleashing something like True Nemesis without stepping on the group's mojo. (In this particular party, the melee Ranger would be the perfect striker, though strangely he would not receive the Warlord's extra attack very often.)

2. Thief. The revised Sneak Attack is just a chunk of cheddary goodness. Slather in a molten Velveeta layer of light blade feats and sprinkle with the Parmesan crumbs of Essentials damage bonuses to MBAs. I doubt that there's any two builds that can outdamage a Thief-Warlord pairing.

3. Avenger. In heroic, Censure reroll and Overwhelming Strike repositioning compete with the Thief. At Paragon, Painful Oath is a great DPR bump ... but Deft Blade means the Thief hits a bunch of targets at close to reroll rates. The Essentials striker pulls way ahead. The Avenger should close the gap when the party faces much higher than level appropriate monsters, which in turn should be real common for a party this optimized, and vs a high-level high-Reflex target the Avenger can pull ahead, so there's a lot of situational modifiers to the comparison.   

4. Wisdom fighters. While single-target focus fire usually is the optimal tactic, the opportunity to lay down another mark can be a lifesaver in certain circumstances. Sons of Mercy and Pit Fighters can stack the static modifiers much like a striker, and a second chance at Marked Scourge never hurts, either. 

5. Invoker. Sun Strike and Power of the Sun are a super-potent RBA for a radiant mafia that doesn't want to rely on the setting-specific Morninglord PP or a Paladin's ability to close to melee with the focus-fire target. One could argue that the most ideal radiant mafia would consist of a ranged Warlord using RBA-granting encounters then Direct the Strike on this Invoker, who fires his encounters on rounds when he hits with the free RBA. A ranged Ranger and a Battlemind, each with Pervasive Light, would fill out the foursome nicely. That is a party of four that at level 13 could routinely open an encounter with On My Mark plus Glyph of Imprisonment plus Biting Volley plus Brutal Barrage for nine attacks inflicting 5 damage each from radiant vulnerability plus 10 damage if the target moves or plus a potential tenth attack (Forceful Reversal) if it stays in melee with the Battlemind.

I'm a little hazy on item bonus stacking.
 Our DM runs a fairly conservative campaign with no FR, or Dragon Mag options.
My character is a 16th lvl Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer/Paragon Essence Mage/Multi- Student of the Sword.
I'm working up my RBA Dragonfrost.
 My relevant feats are:
Dragonborn Arrogance( STR 22) 
Impement Focus
Dual Implement'
Arcane Admixture: Lightning(adds a D6 for PP) is my breath weapon type. 
 My relevent magic:
Bloodiron Dagger +4
Mordant Dagger +3 
 And I'd like to add Bracers of Perfect Shot 13th lvl and was wondering if this can or cannot stack?
Doing it for the Warlord who has the MPII at-will I believe is called Call The Shot.
 Thank you in advance.  
it should be noted that psions get a few RBAs, including mind break, which is self-stacking and a good debuffer for githyanki silver weapons. That and the ability to buff your psychic damage makes for a pretty solid RBA
Just a point - a recent errata changed rogue sneak attack to once per turn instead of per round, which makes them dramatically better targets for a warlord to grant attacks to and also invalidates all the advice about giving them a second chance to hit with sneak attack.
not quite all advice, but it is once a turn, which is dramatically different than once per round.

Another bit... if you have another party member with a free attack granter, that's a pretty good choice for giving the free attack to. For instance, in my group

warlord (me) -> warlord's recovery
to grant
bard -> Blunder (slide and free attack from buddy)
to grant
rogue -> sneak attack MBA

also, careful noting the difference between free action attacks, immediate interrupt attacks, and opportunity attacks. In some cases, this can result in more actions than you expected, or perhaps you run into a conflict. For example

W = warlord
X = enemy (marked)
D = warden

WX
D

is the setup. Warlord hits provoke overextension. Target is forced to attack warlord at -2 (mark) or maybe substantially more if he's a bravura (and very likely he is). Warden gets an attack because he's marked and attacked the warlord as an immediate interrupt (Warden's Fury) and hits, granting combat advantage to himself and allies. He then takes advantage of the warlord's granted free attack from provoke overextension, which is a free action attack. He gets combat advantage on top of whatever bonuses he gets from PO.

also note extra effects that you can get out of the free attacks, particularly in how they synergize with other things that you can do in a round. For example

warlord -> warlord's recovery
to grant
rogue -> sand in the eyes (which blinds)
warlord -> AP -> provoke overextension at some ridiculous bonus to AC