All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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  • Level 1 Encounters are not all that equal. Smothering Shadow is a bit of a trap for Bleak Disciples since being in melee often exposes you to counter attack. At these low levels, Slow + 2-3 extra damage isn't all that great. Gloom Thief is a better option if you want to stay in melee, especially since it lasts until the ned of your next turn.

  • Nightshade's Kiss really has an excellent rider. At low levels, sliding 2 every tie the target is hit is just a handy utility, even when your party doesn't use damaging zones and the like. Trapping an enemy in difficult terrain or pushing them off a cliff is just as effective.

  • Heart of Dust is nice. Right up until you fight undead and other poison immune enemies. Twilight Assassin lets you do your job of corralling an enemy and just beating him to a pulp.

  • For Bleak Disciples Shadow Jack is your level power of choice. Lets you stay right in the mix of things. With Gloom Thief, Shadow Jack, and Shade Form a Bleak Disciple should have little trouble staying in and around the front lines helping out a fellow striker or defender without being a tempting target for the DM.

I'd think Bleak Disciples' constitution would allow them to handle the damage while make use of Smothering Shadow, but since I've never actually played one, you might be right there.

Nightshade's Kiss has indeed a very good rider, but I'm not sure if it's enough to tip it into a sky blue choice (it's pretty close though...what do you think?)

That is mentioned in the end of the text, where erleni mentions that without Venom Hand Master it won't work against undead, though I agree it should probably be bolded.

I agree with you on Shadow Jack. 
Shadow Jack will be sky blue, no questions. It could even be Gold. I will bold the undead issue about Heart of Dust.

True that Smothering Shadow needs you to be in melee, but it has the highest damage potential and it's damage now compared to damage in the next round, if you hit. The main reason why I left Gloom Thief equal to the others is that to invalidate your invisibility the target just needs to move away from you. My master is fond of shift+charge one of my buddies and I'm visible again.

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Night Shade's kiss is probably fine at blue for Nightstalkers, but probably light blue for Bleak Disciples compared to the powers we have so far. Maybe thats just that I've had very good personal experiences with the power, your milage may vary.

Smothering Shadow doesn't do much to help you after you land the, hopfully big, blow. Gloom Thief does require that you work with an ally to keep the enemy from moving. I like to play my Bleak Disciple in the front lines near my Fighter and Barbarian, and they make for a pretty good detterent to moving around too much. Just watch out for enemies who can teleport or shift long distances. In the end though I think thats what keeps Gloom Thief from being light blue. Smothering Shadow however is just decent, a solid black power. I just give more credence to powers that deal good damage and have an interesting rider.

Heart of Dust is probably a solid black, but blue or better with the right feats and items (Spiderkissed weapon + Breaching Gauntlets). But if you're investing that much you're probably going Venomed Soul anyways...

Anyways just some insight from my experience with a couple Bleak Disciple builds. It's not the most effective striker, but I think thats just more about the short comings of the class as a whole. Its still a lot of fun to play and he always draws an "Ooooo... thats cool" at some point in the night. More imporantly he draws a little of the DM's attention away from what I just set the Barbarian up for... Laughing

I see your point too about the feats and agree. Infact I think I will rate them ok and explain that you may have to retrain them later on in your career. But here I was evaluating the race and you can't retrain that. Versatile Master is interesting. The warlock at-wills for example can be looked into and the Rogue ones as well. Twin Strike (ranged) can be an interesting option for a crossbow user. Once I will get to the multiclass section I would loke more in details into powers from other classes and maybe come back to the half-elf rating.



cool.
Upon thinking it over, it might end up being reasonably to rate them slightly lower than their potential would indicate after all, simply because of the complexity involved in getter the upmost benefit from one. That upmost benefit is pretty high (in heroic, and still good in paragon), but to keep it up you have to switch some things, as you helped me realize.
I'll have to look through the builder and see what I'd switch around in late paragon, very early epic...
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
also, it seems like half-elves make slightly better assassin/rogues than pure assassins. the same problems may occur in epic tier, but at least in heroic and paragon, you can get some sick spike out of a half-elf assassin/rogue.

You're right. i'm so fond of Venom Hand Master that sometimes I take it for granted....



it is made of win.


I could see a half-elf assassin poaching Eyebite or Hellish Rebuke, or maybe even a burst power from the monk (don't have anything on the monk with me, so not sure about this one).




sure. I'm a fan of guiding strike, but i'd probably retrain for it after taking versatile master. it's an awesome at will for action point rounds especially, but it's pretty damn nice the rest of the time, too.



Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Night Shade's kiss is probably fine at blue for Nightstalkers, but probably light blue for Bleak Disciples compared to the powers we have so far. Maybe thats just that I've had very good personal experiences with the power, your milage may vary.

Smothering Shadow doesn't do much to help you after you land the, hopfully big, blow. Gloom Thief does require that you work with an ally to keep the enemy from moving. I like to play my Bleak Disciple in the front lines near my Fighter and Barbarian, and they make for a pretty good detterent to moving around too much. Just watch out for enemies who can teleport or shift long distances. In the end though I think thats what keeps Gloom Thief from being light blue. Smothering Shadow however is just decent, a solid black power. I just give more credence to powers that deal good damage and have an interesting rider.

Heart of Dust is probably a solid black, but blue or better with the right feats and items (Spiderkissed weapon + Breaching Gauntlets). But if you're investing that much you're probably going Venomed Soul anyways...

Anyways just some insight from my experience with a couple Bleak Disciple builds. It's not the most effective striker, but I think thats just more about the short comings of the class as a whole. Its still a lot of fun to play and he always draws an "Ooooo... thats cool" at some point in the night. More imporantly he draws a little of the DM's attention away from what I just set the Barbarian up for... Laughing



Thanks for these suggestions. I like Bleak Disciples too (and I work with a Barb as well). I usually leave him the brutes/soldiers and try to focus on controllers/leaders.

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You say Promise of Retribution but I have it as an immediate reaction, which would mean it happened after the attack resolved...
You're right. In the beginning I thought it an interrupt and rated it blue, then downgraded it but forgot to update the description.Thanks!! 

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Paragon powers are up! Time for comments!!

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I believe Thief of Names should be green to conform to the color scheme you are applying
Hello,

I didn't rate Thief of Names that's why it's black. Look at the text for the reasons.

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Ok, so here goes:

- Shade Venom should get the same heads-up as Heart of Dust (you keep taking Venom Hand Master for granted) 

- Thief of Shadows could indeed range from purple to sky blue for most characters, but if you're changeling it's probably obsolete

- Given how common fire resistance is (this is late Paragon we're talking about, after all), and seeing as the power doesn't have that much going for it except the extra crit chance, I'd rate Shadow Fire as green

- Traitorous Shadow does force a slight lose-lose situation for ranged combatants. They either a) attack while adjacent to you, suffering an OA, and then get up, b) shift and attack, ending prone and granting combat advantage, or b) don't attack

- I'd rate Executioner's Blade as green at best. Phantom Assault's main benefit is an effect, so it triggers wether or not you hit, it attacks will, so it most likely will hit anyway, and even if you miss you'll deal half damage (while still benefiting from the effect) 
- Added a comment for Shade Venom.

- Traitorous Shadow still doesn't convince me, but I'll clarify it better.

- The good thing about Executioner's Blade is the reliability. But I see your point. Will look at the rating again.



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Gotta agree with most. Just a coupe of notes on level 17 Encounter powers:
  • Mob of Shadows can be a bit deceptive in its power. I found after a couple of uses the DM can grow wise to it. Great if you have allies that can push enemies into the damaging zone. However if nothing else its a deterent. Not very useful in combat with multiple ranged opponents and at these levels, large ceatures with reach aren't uncommon.
    So even with the extra damage the power stays Blue for Bleak Disciples.

  • Shadow Fire is your crit/shroud trigger power. Fire damage is a bummer (unless you're a Revenant-Teifling, which is a good option if you want to MC Warlock). But the increased chance to crit and get the full effect of your shroud damage dice as well as invisibilty make this Blue for me.

Epic Powers are up!

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Just a couple of things:

- Soul of Death is probably sky blue for Nightstalkers who like being in melee.
- you might make a note in Assassin's Eye that having this utility increases Shadow Fire's utility (probably enough to up it to blue)
- in Three Shadow Venoms note the Venom Hand Master (by this level it probably should have already become clear, but just for in case) 
Quick question:

Does the "this movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks" line in the shadow jack power description refer solely to the assassin's movement? Or does it also refer to the movement of the assassin's target? I assume the former (otherwise you'd kinda be buffing your target!)

Assuming that that's the case, Shadow Jack adds the additional benefit that your target is pretty much guaranteed to provoke an opportunity attack from you on it's turn if it moves. It can't shift+charge away from you, and you're super tough for that round. If you have your target alone (more than 2 squares from any of your allies, then this power alone is enough to give your target a fairly serious lose-lose situation).

Thus, I reckon that any assassin with Shadow Jack should seriously consider melee training (so that those opportunity attacks work well). 
I think that you're right in assuming that it's only the assassin's movement that does not provoke, but I never thought about the target provoking an OA from you. RAW I can say that your square is adjacent to your square and it leaves it so, yes it should provoke. Anyway the standard rules for squares and OA do not really covers such a case.

I totally agree about melee training is an important feat for an assassin, otherwise you'll lose a lot of damage over you career.

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I think you might need to go a little easier on venomous soul. Assassins don't have that many poison powers yet, but there's no reason you can't use items to achieve this. It's basically a given that any venomous soul will do exactly this. Consider the whetstone of venom, for example.

More assassin powers that inflict ongoing damage, of course, would be nice too.

Also, I don't think the class' other features are useless by any means. Master of Poisons is pretty flexible. Arguably, "after a short rest" applies to the few seconds just before you make your opening ambush attack, meaning that you can pick the benefit to suit the combat if you're smart. With an action point you get to use another. Note that the effects are fairly good when used intelligently. Immobilize that brute. Blind the artillery (although note this won't work as well against enemies with AREA, rather than ranged, attacks, as sight per se isn't necessary). I think there's a fair bit of potential here. It's not super powerful, but I think it's hardly purple!

 Lastly, venomous kiss seems pretty average, but I think it might be useful for a certain sort of front-loading damage ambush build. A build relying on stealth, 4 shrouds, careful application of several poisons (master of poisons plus venomous kiss plus a whetstone of venom plus venom hand assassin - they all stack), and that finds a way to make their initial attack highly likely to crit (perhaps adding things such as high crit and devastating critical into the mix), might be kinda nice. I'd really like to see if someone can make a build like that shine, but at the moment all I have is some musings on my part. The only thing that is difficult for a build like this to accomplish is that initial crit. It seems that sadly, assassins have a really hard time getting 19-20 or 18-20 crits, because they generally lack the strength. RRoT might be an option, or perhaps something like Trace Chance or Prophecy of Doom. Lucky Start (from the PHB3 preview; and this will depend upon how exactly the feat text is worded!) and/or avenger mc might be good choices too.

Anyway, all I'm trying to do is make a case for venomed soul not being a purple. Perhaps it's purple for someone that isn't build to take advantage of its features, but for others (not just duergar), I think it's probably blue; at the very least green.
RAW I can say that your square is adjacent to your square and it leaves it so, yes it should provoke.



Hmm, good point. I didn't think about that issue. IS your square actually adjacent to itself? Hmm!

RAI, it seems sensible that moving out of the square that someone is IN would  provoke an OA, but I'm not sure about RAW. Strictly speaking, I think I might have to concede that you're not moving out of an adjacent square in such a case.

P 283: "Moving into a nonhelpless enemy’s space provokes an opportunity attack from that enemy, because you left a square adjacent to the enemy. (Some powers let you move through an enemy’s square without provoking an opportunity attack.)"

...but it doesn't say anything about moving OUT of that creature's square. 
The definition of of adjacent squares (page 273 of the PHB) says:
Two squares are adjacent if a side or corner of one touches a side of corner of the other. Well, all sides and corners of your square touch all side and corners of your square. Honestly I think they never thought about such a case in the beginning.

Venomed Soul was green in the beginning and I'll restore that status.It would easily be blue if you could get an encounter ongoing poison damage. The Con bonus to attacks rolls on an action point is massive, it's the kind of bonus that will let you look into Barbarian/Ranger multiattack powers. Probably I'm so angry that it's difficult to exploit it that I get unreasonably angry with the PP itself.
They give you a nice ability but almost no means to exploit it.

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Rated all the 45 Assassin feats. Will move to the other feats now.

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Wow wall of colors! I still stand by Black > Green because of this. You may want to consider separating feats by tier or perhaps by color coding.

Couple of notes:
  • I know all you math nerds hate Brutal Shroud, but there is nothing better than turning a 1 into a 6, its especially useful when you roll multiple 1's. It's a feat where its mathematical value doesn't match up with its value at the table.

  •  Assassin's Cloak and Hidden Insight: Talk to your DM before taking either of these feats. The hiding rule for Stealth checks is lame. If you're invisible then just make a check to see if a mob can tell if you're still there. D&D is about fun, and feats like these just muddle the rules and bog down fun. If you're playing LFR then I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but LLFR ain't one. (My apologies to Jay-Z).

  • Crimson Eye Action, Grave Dust Advantage, Killer's insight, and any other feat that lets you add shrouds are always blue or better in my book. Anything that can add damage should be. Feats like these mean you don't have to wait 2+ rounds to be effective. With the right combo you can get up to 4 shrouds in 1 round. I know because I've done it several times. It's the only way to keep pace with other strikers IMO. Adding more shrouds means waiting less time to be effective. It really is that simple.

  • A note on the Nightmare line of feats: These are ridiculously good if you plan on MCing into Warlock and taking a few power swaps (looking at you Nightstalkers). Tieflings would also be wise to pursue this line.

Good idea about rearranging the feats by tier. Will do that.

I understand your emotional point about brutal shroud but cold mathematics tells us that and over the long run they are right. By the way I'm an engineer but I'm not a math nerd, not trusting mathematics so much once things get complicated like a D&D battle with hundreds/thousands of variables.


Assassin Cloak and Hidden Insight: I'm trying to follow the current rules. I totally agree about the fact that Hidden Insight should be built-in the Assassin's Shroud power and that Stealth rules are not the best thing around.

Shroud Adding feats: at heroic they are absolutely interesting (maybe blue) and for nightstalkers with Slayer's Endurance they have a sense even later. But from paragon onwards they're nothing special. You'd better use your feats to do something else (that comes from my evaluation of the bad scaling of assassin's shroud). I will add a note to each of them saying that they can be considered blue at heroic.

Good point about the Nightmare line of feats: I will stress it in the MC warlock section (which would probably be one of the main ones).

Please let me know if you want any special feat rated. I went through all the assassin feats but will only list other feats that I think are interesting (as there are currently 1824 feats in the Compendium!!). If you think I missed one let me know.

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Good idea about rearranging the feats by tier. Will do that.

Thanks!


I understand your emotional point about brutal shroud but cold mathematics tells us that and over the long run they are right. By the way I'm an engineer but I'm not a math nerd, not trusting mathematics so much once things get complicated like a D&D battle with hundreds/thousands of variables.

I wasn't trying to be emotional, I was trying to be funny. A frequent poster on the Wizard Community boards calling anyone a nerd is a little... hold on the phone is ringing... Oh hey what's up kettle, thanks for returning my call!
Kidding aside, the maths get too complex once you're at the table and Brutal Shroud shows its effectiveness. 

Assassin Cloak and Hidden Insight: I'm trying to follow the current rules. I totally agree about the fact that Hidden Insight should be built-in the Assassin's Shroud power and that Stealth rules are not the best thing around.

And you should play by the rules, I'm more making a note for players that realize that some of the rules are dumb and that changing some will not break your home game.

Shroud Adding feats: at heroic they are absolutely interesting (maybe blue) and for nightstalkers with Slayer's Endurance they have a sense even later. But from paragon onwards they're nothing special. You'd better use your feats to do something else (that comes from my evaluation of the bad scaling of assassin's shroud). I will add a note to each of them saying that they can be considered blue at heroic.

See I think they're just as useful, if not more so at Paragon and higher. I took Grave Dust feats at Heroic and i think Killer's Insight at 10 (I'm away from my sheet.) Crimson Eye Action was taken much later. Thats right i took three of them. Of the three, CEA is probably the least useful since it only comes into play every other encounter, although it's useful if you have a way of generating more AP's. At epic there's a Bard ED that basically lets the party swap AP's around but thats an isolated case. But I've opened combat after an ally has killed a minion and been able to invoke 4 shrouds on the first round. I can usually open with 2-3 shrouds followed by another 2-3 shroud round.
The maths show that you're usually better off invoking when you have 2 shrouds and not bother building them up, but if you can get an extra one or two in there it really can be quite useful to your DPR. Also since most combats rarely go above 5 rounds you really want to have access to as much damage as possible in that time.

Good point about the Nightmare line of feats: I will stress it in the MC warlock section (which would probably be one of the main ones).

Yeah the more I look at Nightstalkers the more I see Windrise Ports + Rouge and Warlock MC's as a beautiful thing.




Mmm... here's probably the root of our differences. Our fights usually last 5-10 rounds.  Mmm... more variables coming in.

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Also since most combats rarely go above 5 rounds you really want to have access to as much damage as possible in that time.

Mmm... here's probably the root of our differences. Our fights usually last 5-10 rounds.  Mmm... more variables coming in.

Getting a bit off topic here, but I think an assumption of 5-8 rounds is reasonable for most home run games (9+ is too long for my tastes). The fastest encounter I witnessed at level equivalent challenge for a home game was a 3 round encounter. However modules can be a different story. I've been in an LFR mod where we owned an encounter in round 1. And I've been through a few 2-3 round encounters. Easy encounters can go pretty quick. Many people see them as a pointless waste of time, but they can be a good exercise in efficient use of tactics to make sure you are not dipping into your daily resources too much.

I think optimizing for the longer fights in general is a good idea, because the short fights are probably fights your group will do well in anyway.
It can vary. Certainly Solo fights can drag into 10 rounds. If the DM throws in a skill challenge on top of combat things can go slower. But I've found most balanced encounters of level n to n+3 don't really go beyond 5 rounds. If they do, rounds 6 and 7 are just clean up the already bloodied monsters or "disable the trap already" rounds.

Kidding aside, the maths get too complex once you're at the table and Brutal Shroud shows its effectiveness. 



I am not sure that the maths for Brutal Shroud is all that complex at all.

In a nutshell, all it means is that your shrouds do 2-6 damage rather than 1-6. That's .5 damage per shroud. The real kicker is that it adds nothing to crits! 

Kidding aside, the maths get too complex once you're at the table and Brutal Shroud shows its effectiveness. 



I am not sure that the maths for Brutal Shroud is all that complex at all.

In a nutshell, all it means is that your shrouds do 2-6 damage rather than 1-6. That's .5 damage per shroud. The real kicker is that it adds nothing to crits! 


I understand where the .5 comes from, what I'm saying is that when you have 3 shrouds and you get to re-roll the damage on two of them you see more than .5 increase at that instance. Usually I'm only worried about the dice I'm rolling at the time, not the dice average over the course of my assassin's career.

While it doesn't help with crits it does help with misses.
Basically you're saying that on occasion it can very helpful, and that it feels awesome to turn 1s into 6s. But the math is the best way to objectively measure it's constant value and compare it to other options, and the truth is, it doesn't measure up to much...
 
I understand where the .5 comes from, what I'm saying is that when you have 3 shrouds and you get to re-roll the damage on two of them you see more than .5 increase at that instance. Usually I'm only worried about the dice I'm rolling at the time, not the dice average over the course of my assassin's career.

While it doesn't help with crits it does help with misses.

Sure, when you roll 3 1s, it feels like a lot. But even if you are making a 4 shroud attack, there's a good chance that you won't roll any 1s (your expected number of 1s is only .67!) For all those 4 shroud attacks where you didn't roll a single 1, the feat does nothing.

If you're saying that brutal 1 provides more subjective utility than the numbers do it justice, I'd be inclined to agree with you. Not rolling any ones isn't something that is particularly salient, so you'll probably relatively discount it. But I think the effect in terms of actual combat performance is fairly well summed up by ".5 damage per shroud".
It escapes me what is so great about Shadow Jack.  Can someone enlighten me with maybe some examples or some obvious truth about it that I am not seeing?

Great guide, erleni!  Maybe you might want to put a section on ki-focuses vs regular weapons? 
"Your knowledge of scientific biological transmogrification is only outmatched by your zest for kung-fu treachery! " "The Medusan Lords' Gambit" - Discord - Level 15 Iron Soul Monk
Shadow Jack makes you tough. It also makes enemies' attacks against you most likely help your party rather than hinder it (if they hit you they do half damage, but if they miss you they do full damage to your target). This means (in a way) you're better than invulnerable for a round. It also prevents your quarry from escaping you, and lastly, gives you a free shift at the beginning of your next turn.

On top of that, it seems that RAW, if your target moves without shifting during your turn, you get an opportunity attack against them, because technically, RAW, squares are adjacent to yourself. When your target moves, they move out of an adjacent square whichever way they go, and will therefore provoke.

Many DMs may disallow that last bit, because it's quite possibly not how the power was intended to work. But even without that, all the other things I mentioned in the first paragraph make it a pretty sweet power. 
I guess it's just a matter of whether or not you can fit Brutal Shroud into your build. If you can, I guarentee you'll never roll a ".5". I know the math objectively says don't take it, but around the table it just works.

Ideally I'd rather turn the d6 into a d8, but until that happens I'll take an extra .5.
Basically you're saying that on occasion it can very helpful, and that it feels awesome to turn 1s into 6s. But the math is the best way to objectively measure it's constant value and compare it to other options, and the truth is, it doesn't measure up to much...




i've been pondering this for a long time, and I'm pretty sure that the brutal property increases the chances of the die landing on the high half, rather than the low half, and is thus more useful than the .5.

Basically, the die has a one in six chance of coming up any given value, and a fifty fifty chance of coming up 4-6, or 1-3, normally. With the brutal property, you are engaging in that (now one in five) chance of coming up a given value again. In any given roll, the chances of the die coming up high are increased by more than that .5. It's not just that the die is now 2-6. it's not the same as rolling a hypothetical d5+1.

If you've ever had a group that rolls stats with a reroll ones method, over the course of many years, you have seen that the average end rolls are increased signifigently, not marginally.

Because you are less likely to roll low, your average damage is increased, while at worst keeping a similar chance of rolling high.

For one feat, it's worth it. It makes a noticable difference.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Shadow Jack makes you tough. It also makes enemies' attacks against you most likely help your party rather than hinder it (if they hit you they do half damage, but if they miss you they do full damage to your target). This means (in a way) you're better than invulnerable for a round. It also prevents your quarry from escaping you, and lastly, gives you a free shift at the beginning of your next turn.

On top of that, it seems that RAW, if your target moves without shifting during your turn, you get an opportunity attack against them, because technically, RAW, squares are adjacent to yourself. When your target moves, they move out of an adjacent square whichever way they go, and will therefore provoke.

Many DMs may disallow that last bit, because it's quite possibly not how the power was intended to work. But even without that, all the other things I mentioned in the first paragraph make it a pretty sweet power. 


  
But it doesn't last any real significant amount of time?  It seems intensely situational, especially considering the attacks have to be melee or ranged.  

What type of tactics can you set up with it that would make it useful?  There is no guarantee enemies will attack you.   

I suppose my real wonder is why its so HIGHLY rated. I suppose because the other level 7 encounters are worse... 
"Your knowledge of scientific biological transmogrification is only outmatched by your zest for kung-fu treachery! " "The Medusan Lords' Gambit" - Discord - Level 15 Iron Soul Monk
DBW, here's what the statistics would say regarding that:

You have a 2/6 chance of getting a 2-3.
You have a 3/6 (or a 15/30) chance of getting a 4-6.
you have a 1/6 chance of getting a reroll.
IF you reroll, you have a 2/5 chance of getting a 2-3, and a 3/5 chance of a 4-5.

1/6 * 3/5 = 3/30

So, while a 2-6 has a 3/5 chance of a 4-6, 

a brutal 1-6 has a...

15/30 + 3/30 = 18/30 = 3/5 chance of rolling a 4-6.

Rainemaker, if you assume that the best kind of encounter power for an assassin is one that does a decent amount of damage and allows you to lurk, unmolested, for the rest of your turn, then Shadow Jack is a brilliant power. Of course, there ARE other kinds of powers out there, that might be better for damage or control, but as far as "hit and lurk" powers go, this one's ace.

It only lasts a round, but it's an encounter power. How many encounter powers last longer than that?

There is no guarantee that enemies will attack you - that's the point. If they know what's good for them, they probably won't attack you. That's fine, because you have controller levels of hit points and avoiding getting hit is one of your higher priorities. 
Hello RainemakerNyc,

when I rate a power I compare it with its peers (same level powers),with what I would expect from a power of the same level and the evaluation is based on what is important for the assassin in general.

If you look at encounter powers they never give you a lasting bonus/effect. This is quite general in 4ed: long effects belong to dailies, while encounter powers usually have effects that last until the end/start of your next turn.

An assassin has two objectives: the first is to inflict damage, the second (the most difficult) is staying alive. Shadow Jack gives you a nice package:
- Solid damage: in line with other powers of this level
- Insubstantiality + misses hit your target: if monsters do not attack you for this then it's pretty good for you as you don't want to be attacked. By the way at 7th level the vast majority of monster attacks are still melee or ranged. And even if somebody attacks you with an area/close attack you still get half damage.
- A free shift: you can reposition yourself easily with this.

If you compare it with the other 7th level powers this one really shines.

There's a possible abuse of this power that I was looking at, but still have to work my way around how to do it. If you can pump up your defenses enough for one round you may want your allies to target you with their attacks instead of the monster you hit, especially if he has high defenses, as they will be much more likely to miss you than to hit him. You may have to eat up a crit, but insubstantial will help. 
If somebody can devise a strategy to exploit this trick, please let me know. I will add it to the handbook and give full credits. 

Edit: ninja-ed by Psk on many points, but at least we show that there's some agreement.

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