Miniguide to Genesi Lightning/Thunder Blaster Wizard (06-2010)

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Joe's Miniguide to the Genesi Thunder Blaster Wizard



Purpose of this guide

This guide was specifically made to address a genesi thunder-based wizard focused on dealing damage to a large number of enemies, but retaining reasonable control abilities.  This build seeks to mimic the second edition wizard, who was more of a glass cannon artillery piece.  Instead of trying to tackle an entire wizard guide, this lets me stay focused on a single build, but look at many permutations of the build. Plus it will be a lot easier for me to keep up with.  I simply can't stay up with an entire class anymore...


Why not just play a sorcerer?

Good question!  In theory, sorcs are supposed to be AoE strikers with a bit of control.  This is quite similar to what we are trying to accomplish here.   Well, this is my reasoning:

1) Sorcs have lousy control.  They can push things and have the occasional slow, but it is pretty weak compared with the capabilities of a wizard.  We want a build that has decent control, or at least the option of control.

2) Wizard powers are simply better.  The utilities are similar but wizard dailys are unquestionably superior to sorcerer powers.  With the ability to summon and use sustainable powers, their dailys have much more of an impact.  Wizard encounter powers are typically larger and better at hitting many foes and also have significant status conditions attached.  Sorcs start off good in heroic, but in paragon and epic, their encounter powers really lag behind.

3) Wizards have much better support.  Sorcs have been nerfed into oblivion and their class acts gave them MELEE powers of all things! Wizards were much less affected by the round of nerfs and have been given pretty decent support (well, relative to sorcs anyways...).

4) Better (or at least different) freebies.  Sorcs get an elemental resistance and pierce and a minor ability and more HP/surges.  Wizards get a significant implement mastery, cantrips, and free Rituals or Alchemy.  This build still winds up with some elemental resistance, and the elemental pierce becomes meaningless once we can pile up multiple keywords on our powers.

How bout a fire-based blaster?

Apparently there are some cool new feats for fire-wizards.  However, I haven't played them nor do I know exactly how they all work together.  Soo, you are stuck with the thunder/lighting version.

[u]The Basic Formula for the Genesi Thunder Wizard[/u]

Many may not know exactly what makes the genesi blaster wizard so special.  I am going to quickly go over the main elements of the build that allow it to compete favorable with sorcerers.

1) Elemental Empowerment - This feat adds STR-mod damage to all elemental keyword powers which are Fire, Cold, Acid, Lightning or Thunder. Obviously this feat is much more valuable than the standard +1 damage per tier bonus that many feats provide.  This one feat pretty much mirrors the damage bonus that sorcs get as a class feature (for heroic anyways) and thusly all genesi blasters will take STR and INT as their primary stats (which are also their racial bonuses).

2) Promise of Storm - This is a free racial ability that stormsoul genesi receive, in addition to lightning resist and their racial defense boost.  It is a minor action usable every encounter and boosts all powers in three ways until the end of your next turn. (2 rounds worth of usage)

  a) Any lighting OR thunder power that hits will gain +1d8 additional damage per tier. Does not work with secondary damage type effects that don't technically 'hit'.

  b) Any lighting or thunder power will gain BOTH KEYWORDS!  This is a bit obscure, but since this power has both keywords, it will add both of these keywords to any attack that qualifies.  i.e. Lighting or thunder powers become lighting and thunder.  This can cause powers to be harder to resist or be immune to, trigger effects related to either keyword (such as resounding thunder), or other interesting interactions discussed later.

  c) ALL powers will indirectly benefit from Promise as shown below.

In any case, you will ALWAYS want to use your action point when Promise of Storm is active to reap these extra benefits.

3) Elemental Echo - A racial feat that adds +1 AB and +2 damage per tier to ALL powers whenever promise of storm is active.  This means 2 rounds of a stackable double strength weapon focus and superior implement bonus, every encounter!  It provides very strong and controllable nova capability and I believe it to be far superior to the average feat.  Especially when you cram an extra attack from an Action Point, a quickened spellcasting attack, and an immediate interrupt attack into these 2 rounds also!

4) Static mods - Wizards can benefit from just about all the same static damage mods as sorcerers.  This includes Dual Implement Spellcasting, Weapon Focus, Sibarris Shard of the Mage, Staff of Ruin, Echoes of Thunder, and so forth.  Since wizards can generally hit more foes per round this means wizards gain more advantage from these boosters than sorcerers.

5) Thunder conversion - Wizards have slightly better capability to convert their powers to Thunder-based through various means.  Sorcerers can convert to various other elements, but cannot do Thunder without a great deal of difficulty.

Why Thunder?

The main elements we are looking to exploit are as follows:

1) Thunder is difficult to resist or be immune to. However, see my elemental keyword discussion below.  Just adding 1d4 thunder does not magically cause all dealt damage to be thunder-based.

2) Resounding Thunder - This feat boosts the size of ALL blasts or bursts with the thunder keyword by 1. This can be key in targeting as many foes as possible or increasing size of controllish zone effects.  Especially when combined with party-friendly powers or Enlarged spells.  This is really the major reason to go thunder.  Bigger bursts is a big deal.

3) Echoes of Thunder - Once a big deal, now a minor consideration.  Anytime you hit with a thunder power, you get +1 damage per tier to that power.  It used to stack with itself for big damage.  Now it is effectively a 'weapon focus'.

4) Works with Promise of Storm.  As long as we get lighting or thunder keyword added to the power, we are in business.

Why do we convert our powers?

We have three goals, each less desirable than the last.  All of them involve 'converting' a power, which is a bit of a misnomer.  In fact, all powers will keep whatever keywords they previously had.  We simply want to add the appropriate keyword in addition to what is already there.  So actually there is the true converter which turns all damage dealt into a certain element.  Then there is an adder which just tacks on a keyword onto the power, dealing minor or no damage of that particular element. For the rest of this guide, I am defining 'convert' or ability to convert as adding an elemental keyword to a power to accomplish one of the goals below. I am referring to converting the POWER, not necessarily the damage type.

a) Converting powers to thunder is our ultimate goal in order to benefit from resounding thunder, Promise, and elemental empowerment (+STR-mod to damage).

b) Converting powers to Lightning is a secondary goal.  Lighting works with Promise, Empowerment and can be converted to thunder easier.

c) Converting powers to fire,cold, or acid will at least get us the Empowerment bonus.

d) Ok new goal.  An actual damage conversion will allow us to avoid getting our damage resisted.  For example, Stinking Cloud rules but the Poison damage type sucks.  Converting the damage to another element makes it far more likely to not be resisted or worse yet, immunized against.

Conversion Techniques

1) Mal-ec Jannissary Paragon Path - This is a swordmage Paragon path.  At level 16, they have the awesome ability to add 1d4 of any element to ALL of their powers permanently!  Obviously, we always choose Thunder.

This is crazy good because you can now pick ANY power, regardless of keywords.  It dramatically increases the capabilities of certain powers.   Take Stinking Cloud.  It is a great power but suffers due to not being an elemental power . All the sudden this power is Thunder/Poison, a burst 3, and adds ALL your static mods.  Sick!

If you are starting at 16 or above, this is definitely the way to go!


2) Arcane Admixture - At level 11, this is a good bet.  It only works with one power, but we choose an at-will which is highly used.  We pick Winged Horde which is a nice spell: being a party friendly ranged burst 1 (9 squares), dealing 1d6 but with no INT mod added. It also prevents foes from making AoOs, and can be enlarged.

When admixtured and enlarged, this goes from a 9 square area to a 25 square area party-friendly power. You now add Promise of Storm, Empowerment and all your big mods.  It is basically your Go-To spell.   In addition, if you are going with the Janissary path above, you can retrain Admixture at 16 and take something else.

Note that admixture actually changes the damage type such that it is now Whatever and Thunder, which is extremely hard to resist.


3) Promise of Storm - As mentioned earlier, any power with either lighting or thunder will gain both keywords when used with Promise.  This means for 2 full rounds you automatically 'convert' any lighting power to thunder-based.  This is used in combination with various other approaches and is easy and low cost. From what I understand, this just adds the keyword. The damage dealt is of whatever type dealt by the power.


4) Take lightning or thunder powers - Captain Obvious to the rescue.  You really just have to take enough lighting or thunder powers so that you can get in 2 full rounds worth of benefit from Promise of Storm. A shock sphere and lightning bolt will cover you nicely.  Remember that ANY lighting power will gain the Thunder keyword when used with Promise of Storm which can be useful for resounding thunder.


5) Lightning Weapon - This is a so-so main approach. You'd take Swordmage Multiclass to use a heavy blade as an implement.  Then use a lightning weapon as an implement.  This converts all powers to lightning.  When used with Promise of Storm you add Thunder keyword.  However, thunder doesn't really do much good until Paragon when you can take Resounding Thunder and by then you have better options.

The reason this is weak is because you lose the impressive damage bonus granted by a Staff of Ruin and possibly staff mastery too.  However, it does convert the actual damage to 100% lightning which is great for getting around resistances.  Even carrying a low-level version for this purpose isn't a bad plan.


6) Stick to Elemental powers - Remember that until you hit paragon, thunder has no real advantage.  Furthermore, you only need 2 lighting or thunder powers to make use of Promise of Storm to the fullest.  Hence, as long as your other powers are elemental-based, you can use your big Empowerment bonus damage.


7) Summon Stormstone Fury - A subpar summon power, but it allows you to add 2d6 Thunder damage to all your area attacks.  Plus, any foe in the origin eats an additional 2d6 thunder when hit.


8) Whetstones - You can use level 7 frozen whetstones or level 10 tempest whetstones to add 2 points of cold or lightning damage to all your powers, which adds the keyword to the power.  All it takes is a minor action at the beginning of the encounter to gain the benefits for the entire encounter.  This is a good approach if you are starting in paragon, but are shy of level 16 needed for Janissary.  This can get expensive, and whetstones now were changed to be a daily item usage, so you can't use em every encounter.


9) Avatar of Storms - epic destiny.  This lets you convert everything to lighting.  This isn't super impressive though since you ideally want thunder for all your powers...especially by epic!  It does let you take a better paragon path than Janissary which is nice.  However, it requires some suboptimal feats to qualify which is almost as bad. (Divine Channeler multiclass feat and Storm Sacrifice feats)


10) Voice of Thunder - Bardic paragon path converts any Close Blast to thunder.  You really don't want to be limited to close blasts though.  Especially since several of your close blasts ARE thunder anyways!  We avoid most of them (exception Thunderwave) because they suck and will get you killed.


11) Devoted Orator - Invoker PP who's level 16 feature lets you add 1/2 INT-mod damage to all close powers and grants thunder keyword.  That is less restrictive than the Voice of Thunder.  However, the Orator is WIS-based and thus the powers aren't even as 'good' as the Janissary!

12) Gloves - There are a handful of permanent items that can modify powers.  Gloves of Eldritch Admixture can be used 1/encounter to add fire,cold or acid to a power.  There are some other gloves and items with daily powers that add damage/keyword.  While not reliable they do potentially add another method of conversion.


A primer on exactly how elemental keywords work

Actually I don't think I even have it figured out, but I am going to do my best.

A power when used contains all keywords in that power.  For example, a blazing starfall sorcerer power has keywords of radiant and fire.  The damage dealt by the power is ONLY radiant however.  Therefore, the foe would resist the power based on radiant only.  Furthermore, effects that boost fire damage would not work.  However, all effects that trigger based on keyword WOULD work.  Theres that feat that adds +1 damage with any power with the fire keyword.  It would still work even though no fire damage is actually done!

If you deal extra damage of a particular keyword, then that keyword is effectively added to that power.  Say you add 1d4 thunder damage to all your powers like the Janissary.  Your blazing starfall(I promise to look for a better example) would now deal X amount of radiant damage, 0 fire, and 1d4 thunder.  The power would have radiant, fire, and thunder keywords.

The baddie hit would now seperately take damage from the radiant part and the 1d4 thunder part.  I really thought it was all combined damage with multiple keywords, but apparently not.  So if they are immune to radiant they would take 1d4 thunder damage.  All your static modifiers went into Blazing Starfall, so its 1d4, NOT 1d4 plus mods.

Now you use Promise of Storm.  It appears to be hotly debated, but from threads I have read, it is a racial power with Thunder and Lightning keywords.  When a power is used with either thunder or lightning keywords, then Promise of Storm deals bonus damage of d8 per tier.  This leads to some interesting things.

The Blazing Starfall above now deals X radiant damage, PLUS D8 from promise of storm(!?) radiant damage, plus 1d4 thunder, plus 0 fire.  The power now has keywords of thunder, radiant, fire, and now Lightning is added by Promise!  It now qualifies for Resounding thunder, among other feats.

What is really awesome is that your promise of storm appears to add damage which will match whatever the damage type is, which isn't really awesome.  It is very confusing.  Weapon focus or elemental empowerment for example adds damage that matches whatever damage type is dealt according to the power. It doesn't deal 'untyped damage'.  However, Janissary adds 1d4 thunder damage to all attacks.
But what about Promise of Storm?  Which way does it act? Does it add untyped damage of d8 per tier, or does it add d8 lighting and thunder damage, or does it just add d8 to the existing damage type?  I really don't know, but believe it adds damage of the existing type.

Another question is: If Promise of Storm does not add its keywords to the power, and does not add its keywords to the d8 damage type, then where are its keywords possibly even used?  They would basically be 'decoration'.

Some powers deal multiple damage types.  For example, Frostburn deals X 'fire and cold' damage.  This means the 1 chunk of damage has 2 keywords not just associated with the power but with the damage.  Hence, the baddie would have to resist fire AND cold to resist the frostburn damage.  There are a couple of methods to create this, such as Admixture which actually causes the damage to have both keywords and not just the power.

There are also converters.  A blazing starfall that is cast with a lighting weapon used as an implement will deal 100% lightning damage, even though it retains the fire and radiant keywords.    Unlike the Janissary adding 1d4 damage example above, a foe that is immune to radiant is out of luck because all the damage is lightning based.  This is important when converting lousy damage types such as Poison or Fire which are commonly resisted/immunitized.

Clear as mud?
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Building the Character

Now that you have the general idea of how the whole thing works, we are going to look at how to actually build the character.  I hope my discussion is not too unfocused, but I am really trying to look at how to build a character from many different aspects such as various starting levels, campaign durations, what to do if certain things are disallowed by the DM, and so forth.

Keep in mind also that I go for a balanced approach between offense and defense.  Many of my utility picks are defensive and some of my item choices assist saving throws.   It is up to you to decide an appropriate balance for your character.


Hybrids?

A recent addition to this guide attempts to address the advantages and disadvantages of hybriding as opposed to staying as a straight wizard.  I will have a special hybrid section later in this guide.


Character Arrays

The most common array will be a 16 INT and 16 STR, both of which are boosted to 18s by the racials.  The 4 points leftover will be allocated based on several factors to meet feat prerequisites.   This gives you a +8 damage mod with elemental powers at level 1 which is pretty competitive with a sorcerer.

Is it worthwhile to go for a 20 INT?

You would have to go with a 18 INT,14 STR array with 1 point leftover.  This would ensure you have the same damage mods with an extra +1 AB, +1 AC.  Even dumping DEX, you would still not be able to qualify for Enlarge spell which is a big deal.  This might work if you started in Epic since you could retrain some feat at 21 to Enlarge.

If you dropped to an 18,12 array you would have 4 points leftover which works for feat qualification.  You would gain +1 AB, +1AC but lose 1 point of damage, 2 points of fort defense, and your marginal Attack of Opportunity really goes downhill.  Note that your STR-mod will ALWAYS get added to your damage rolls, whereas INT will not in some cases (such as Winged Horde or some secondary damage rolls) so you will lose 2 damage in those cases.
This is a viable option, but I do not believe it is obviously superior to the more standard 16/16 array.


So where do we put our 4 leftover points?  This depends.  There are 2 primary feats we would like to qualify for, as well as boost our non-ac defenses (NADs):
a) Dual Implement Spellcaster - Requires 13 DEX. Potentially a double-strength weapon focus (up to +2 damage per tier).  We really don't want this anyways until paragon levels.
b) Enlarge Spell - Requres 13 WIS. Size boost adds over 50% to the area of most bursts. Generally more valuable than DIS.

IF you are starting in early heroic and don't plan to get far into paragon, I would take 13 WIS, 11 DEX for the possibility of taking Enlarge Spell.

IF you are starting in or close to paragon, take 12 WIS, 12 DEX. Both get bumped to 13 at level 11 and you can retrain heroic tier feats as needed to get both DIS and Enlarge.

IF you are starting in or close to epic, consider taking a starting 16INT,15STR, 13 WIS, 13 DEX.  The 15 WIS/DEX will qualify you for Wizard Implement Expertise for more crits.  You are taking a 100% chance of losing 1 damage (from lower STR) and replacing it with a 5% chance of extra critting which generally does quite a bit more than 20 bonus damage in epic. (A +4 staff of ruin = 4d10 bonus by itself)


How about Odd Attribute Values?

This is a good idea under certain conditions.  If you are starting on an odd-attribute boost level such as 4, 11, 18, 24 AND you don't expect to progress very far past the next attribute boost level, then odd-attributes can be a good idea if you can still meet your feat prereqs.

A change from 16/16 to 17/15 will cost 1 attribute point.  Lets say you are starting at level 4 and you won't get past level 8 or 9.
In this case, a 17INT, 15STR, 13WIS, 10 DEX would be a good call.  You'd get a free +1 AB, +1 AC, +1 damage from the extra INT-boost and it would cost you nothing.

On the other hand, if starting at 11, this requires more thought.  A 17/15 would mean you couldn't qualify for both DIS and Enlarge.  You might ditch DIS though and just use weapon focus instead. You'd still gain +1 AB, AC and break even on damage.

In epic levels, you might try to do something to get 15 WIS, 15 DEX at epic to get the Wizard Implement Expertise feat.

For a level 16 ongoing character you would?...

I'd take a 16 INT, 16 STR, 12 DEX, 12 WIS, 10 CON, 8 CHA array.


Skills, Implement choice, and stuff

I generally take all the INT-based skills since that is what I am best at then pick one of the WIS-based skills.  Note that unlike most wizards, your Athletics skill won't be all that bad.  You could always take one of the special backgrounds to let you take Athletics if desired.

Speaking of backgrounds, the one that uses INT or STR instead of CON for starting HPs would be a nice boost. (Either Thay or Auspicious Birth). If you actually think you might use a lighting weapon as an implement, then it would be a good idea to take the background that gives you proficiency with various heavy blades such as longswords.  You won't need the 'take multiple Multiclass feats' background. You won't have the feats anyways.

As for implement mastery, I would recommend Staff mastery.  It requires no secondary stat and gives you a nice defensive boost both active and passive.   You will likely be using a staff anyways with this build.

Alternatively you could take Tome of Readiness mastery. The swap-a-roo effect is nice, but you really don't want to be stuck with a book as your primary implement.  I think if you do tome-swap that you have to use the tome as the implement for that power.  If you plan on abusing Improved Tome of Readiness then you will casting a utility, so the usage of a tome implement won't matter. (A feat that lets you use a Daily Utility every encounter)

You aren't really cut out for traditional Orb usage, but there are a couple of nice encounter powers (The Orbmaster series) that you can use the Imposition extension effects on to good effect.  The Orb of Deception can also be good to turn a miss into hitting another foe as long as you have an illusion power or two. There are a couple of fantastic offhand orbs that you can get a lot of use out of anyways.  You don't actually have to use the orb as the primary implement, just have it wieldable.


My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Power Selection
Note that I am not going over every single power.  I will point out the significant ones that I have something to say about and you can use that as a general guide.

Remember that there are several selection criteria:
  -- If you have permanent conversion to thunder, then you are all set.  Pick any power regardless of keyword.  You might consider psychic or illusion ones if you have items/feats that will benefit you.  The only restriction is that every power MUST have an actual damage roll!

  -- If you have permanent conversion to lighting then you are pretty much set.  You can still use Promise to convert any power to thunder for 2 rounds and gain resounding thunder benefits.

  -- If you can convert maybe a single power to cold or fire (say with Eldritch gloves) then you can pick a single encounter power without an elemental keyword and use it effectively.

  -- With no conversion, you will want to stick with elemental powers only to apply your Empowerment bonus.  You will also want 1 or 2 fairly versatile lighting or thunder powers to apply your Promise of storm bonuses every encounter. You don't want to pick a complete turd just because it is lightning/thunder, but you don't want to leave d8 per tier bonus damage for 2 rounds unused either.


At-Wills

Scorching Burst - Generally overshadowed by most other at-wills, this is your first choice for an AoE burst which is your primary spell.  You MUST have a ranged burst though and at heroic this is your best option.  It is elemental based so you add your STR-mod as well as normal INT-mod, resulting in 1d6+8 at level 1.  As soon as you have some way to permanently add some element (preferably thunder of course), you will want to retrain this to Winged Horde.

Winged Horde - By far one of the best ranged burst at-wills in the game.  Party friendly, and it shuts down enemy AoOs against you and all allies for the entire round, and deals 1d6 damage and attacks will.  Note that your INT-mod is NOT included so it will certainly be lower damage than scorching burst.  It is also not elemental, so you get no STR-mod either!  This leads to an unimpressive 1d6 at level 1!
 That said, by the time you can permanently add some elemental keyword to this, you will get your STR-mod back.  Since it does inflict a damage die, all your static mods start stacking up.  When enlarged and resounding thundered, it is a burst 3 that works with Promise.  Since it is a psychic keyword, you can use a Headband of Intellect for an ongoing permanent +1 AB.  You can even take Psychic Lock for -2 AB vs all foes hit.

Chilling Cloud - This is a tempting choice for a ranged burst.  Automatically drops a -2 AB on foes targeted, deals INT-damage, party friendly, and is elemental based even.  It is a TRAP though.  There IS NO DAMAGE ROLL!  That means none of your mods will ever be applied.  At level 30 it will deal about 9 damage, period.  Epic Fail.

Thunderwave - I recommend thunderwave because it covers many areas.  You can use it vs melee baddies for a push 1 which is enough to be able to move without AoOs made against you. It also does not provoke an AoO and will be one of the few spells you have that is Close.  It is naturally a thunder power and works with promise of storm in a pinch.  You can also technically cast it 'over your head' to hit Tall monsters and avoid allies if your DM doesn't whine.  Arc Lightning, if allowed provides some competition for your situational slot.

Arc Lightning - Brand new from Wizard Essentials, this is a ranged lightning based power that can hit 1 or 2 targets for 1d6 each.  Normally this is fairly unimpressive.  However, it is an excellent spell for low level players using this build because it is one of the few ways to actually utilize Promise of Storm's damage bonus early on. 
Its ablility to guarantee 2 targets is useful because the foes might not make life easy on you and clump together.  If you are in heroic using scorching burst, this is especially true if your party members love to flank and mix it up in melee.  
If you feel pretty safe and don't see the need for a close power, this spell makes a nice complement to your scorching burst.  By level 12 though, Winged Horde will be used 90% of the time due to its better coverage, party friendly nature, and control effect.  You might keep it for when foes are spaced very far apart, but may also choose to keep thunderwave or Storm pillar as your situational spell choice.
Note that it has no control element, doesn't improve via Resounding thunder and enlarge, and its advantage of being Lightning is not particularly useful after mid-paragon.

Ray of Frost - Slow as an at-will is tempting.  It is also elemental-based making it a good 1-target power.  That said, you can almost always clip a single foe with the corner of a scorching burst for the same damage with concealment-busting bonus goodness. This is an ok choice if you are pretty much guaranteed not to ever need thunderwave. Slow is also a pretty good effect to continue with Orb Mastery.  It is a passable second at-will choice for low heroic.

Storm Pillar - This seems like a shoo-in.  Lightning based, ranged burst (sort of), party friendly, great control.  Unfortunately it has a few problems.  First, you never actually HIT with this power, so promise of storm doesn't apply.  Also, it is not enlargable or resounding thunder-able so no good cheese there.
It also got errata-ed so you can't have allies force them around the pillar for massive damage. It only works on their turn.
However, you can still employ some rules-cheese and conjure it right above the bad guy's head.  That way if they move, they will automatically eat damage equal to a normal scorching burst hit. That makes it a good choice for a single target power effectively and still makes a 3x3 no-move-or-eat-damage zone.  Just remember to always cast it 1 square off the ground.


Level 1 Encounter

Grasping Shadows - With conversion capability, this your best level 1.  Enlargeable, slows, and makes a slowing zone.  By the time you can convert though, you are probably close to retraining it to a level 13 encounter power.

Burning Hands - This spell sucks.  Not party friendly, no control, close, hard to target. It is just not worth the +5 damage or so that it deals over a solid control spell.

Icy Terrain - Nice to give combat advantage to your melee guys and keep foes from shifting. Very good enlarged.  This would be my standard choice assuming no special conditions.

Orbmasters Incendiary Detonation - If you took orb mastery this is your power. It knocks prone like Icy Terrain, but creates an auto-damaging flaming zone.  I prefer the difficult terrain of icy terrain.  However an orbmaster can use their encounter ability to continue the effect and expand it to a burst 3 party-friendly fry-zone which makes it superior to Icy especially vs minions.

Level 1 Daily

Flaming Sphere - Your best choice.  Sustainable auto-damage that adds your impressive mods is ridicously good.  At level 1 it deals d4+8 = 10.5 damage automatically to all baddies next to it. Thats as much damage as your fighter does on a hit!  Even better, it only takes your minor action and maybe your move action to do it; freeing you up to use your standard action!  It also has some decent control and blocking applications.  Quickly wears down hard to hit solo and elites.

Rolling Thunder Just because it says Thunder, do NOT enter dummy-mode and auto-pick it!!  Remember that thunder isn't all that handy at heroic outside of triggering promise of storm.  You want ENCOUNTER powers that work with Promise every encounter, not dailys.  Sphere is much better.

Level 2 Utility

Shield - +4 AC/reflex as an interrupt. You need the defense at low levels and this is your best option.  Even at higher levels this is still a basic and solid boost.

Mystical Debris - At will minor action.  Create 1 square of difficult terrain at 5 range. Up to INT-mod maximum per encounter.  At some point you may decide you have enough interrupts and not enough minor action stuff to do.  This provides a low-cost alternative.  With a few rounds advance notice before a fight and defensive party members, one could create a makeshift 'barrier' in front of the party to prevent charges and to mess up enemy shifting once they cross the barrier.

Level 3 Encounter

Icy Rays - Being able to hit multiple baddies anywhere on the map as opposed to just when they are in clumps is very valuable.  Immobilize is a great effect, especially vs fliers and this adds your empowerment damage too. Slowed melee foes can still hobble and then charge for a reach of 4.  Immobilized ones just have to sit there and waste their turn.

Shock Sphere - Not particularly good but at low heroic it might be all you have to trigger promise of storm with.  The big AoE plus heavy damage means you will probably take it, then retrain it once you have better lighting/thunder powers or can convert powers.

Fireshroud - Tempting due to party-friendly nature and enlargeable if needed. I prefer a power with some control elements, or one that covers Promise of Storm usage early.

Level 5 Daily

Stinking Cloud - If you cannot convert, this is a good power but limited due to non-elemental and highly resistable poison damage.
When you can convert this to lighting or thunder it is one of the best spells in the game due to being practically unresistable, burst 3 potentially, heavy damage and strong control.  You can also use a reagent to expand the burst size by 1.  I would think long and hard before retraining out of this one.

Thunderstaff Push, damage and daze a baddie as an interrupt. Nice when Promise is up since you can squeeze in a bonus zapping on your off-turn.  Off-turn attacks are key for many damage dealers.  Still it is a single target power and they have to attack you.  It is also a bit weak for a daily in that there is no sustainable or lingering effect.

Acid Mire - If you cant convert, this will be your biggest damage power.  Retrain to Stinky as soon as you gain some conversion to elemental ability.

Level 6 Utility

Fire Shield - Hot and cold resistance and you delivers one heck of a beating when foes even try to attack you. However, you are a bit weak to really abuse it like a human staff wizard can.

Wizard's Escape - Interrupt that defeats ANY melee attack and repositions you.  One of the best defensive spells around and it is usable every encounter.

Level 7 Encounter

Lightning Bolt Much maligned by most, but lets you hit 3 baddies anywhere on the map just about. It is a very versatile way to pretty much ensure that you get your Promise of Storm attacks in.  You will likely retrain it when you can convert.

Twist of Space - When you can convert at higher levels, this is your likely choice.  You can enlarge/resound it to a burst 3 and teleport all the bad guys 3 squares.  Make sure to teleport them up in the air so they eat another 1d10 and are prone in addition to slowed. :-)

Corrosive Mist - Elemental spell that deals solid burst damage and then auto-hits foes again for INT-mod damage.  The highest damage dealer, at the cost of not being lighting/thunder and having to hit a clump of foes to work.
 
Level 9 Daily

Summon Succubus - This is so not theme, but it is such a sick beating that I had to include it as an option.  The succubus at-will attack is a ranged vs will that DOMINATES enemies and deals damage.  Left alone she dazes you which is bad, but attacks enemies automatically and won't kill your buddies.  Your at-wills add a -4 attack penalty to target you which offsets the daze.

Ice Storm - If you win initiative this can be devastating.  It is nice to have an AoE immobolize effect.  Can be increased in size in a few ways which can cover the baddie's entire map with difficult terrain.

Wall of Fire - Sustainable spells are good, especially when you add a ton of mods to your auto-hit damage.  Really good control and fantastic if your party has push/slide effects.  Probably your best pick before Conversion ability.  Very good afterwards too even.  The only bummer is that it gains no benefit from resounding thunder conversion.

Mord Guardian Hound - Provides a minor-action attack, no sustain needed, and applies an attack roll penalty vs you.  It is extremely tempting to take this as an anti-solo/elite power.  Most of your powers hit many foes, but you are relatively weak against a single strong one.  This power changes all that as you now can conjure this bad boy and spam TWO attacks per round for the rest of the fight.  Take this if your party hates teamwork and/or doesn't have any real push/slide powers to use with Wall of Fire.

Summon Stormstone Beast - Noteworthy because it lets you add 2d6 thunder to all your area attacks.   It has its own burst 2 thunder attack that does extra damage vs origin.  Has some nasty intrinsic behavior though and is not party-friendly.

Level 10 Utility

Illusionary Wall - This crazy utility creates a wall that you and your allies disregard completely.  It is impenetrable by foes though and they actually have to walk up next to it to have a chance of disregarding it!  If you want to really make your DM mad, use Improved Tome of Readiness to use this every encounter.

Blur - Basically makes you immune to ranged attacks and gives you Combat Advantage vs anything more than 5 squares away from you.  A good offensive and defensive choice, at the cost of some control gained by the Wall.  An even better choice if your DM metagames your Illusionary Wall such that artillery still tosses amazingly well-placed AoEs through it...

Feywild Spellsurge - Reroll a missed attack.  Might be worthwhile if you have Prismatic attacks since you really really want those to hit.


Level 13 Encounter

Mesmeric Hold - Hits up to 3 baddies and immobilizes.  An upgrade to Icy Rays IF you have convert ability.  Immobilize is really good vs the all-too-common fliers you will encounter, as it forces them to crash. Has a +4AB when used vs 1 foe which is a minor bonus vs solos.  It is also psychic and gains +1AB from Helm of Intellect which you will likely have anyways.

Prismatic Burst - Unfortunately radiant does not count as 'elemental'. However if you have conversion, this power inflicts one of the best status conditions (blind) on a huge burst 2 at range 20. You can enlarge and resound to a burst 4!  Attacks will for good accuracy.

Orbmasters Umbral Assault - A great pick for orbmasters predictibly.  Hits a burst 1, automatically blinds all foes within it, and you can extend the effect and make it a burst 3 enemy-only blind with Imposition!  The bad news is that they can simply move outside the zone to negate it.

Arcane Chastisement - Not elemental by default so youd need to convert.  This only hits one foe, but is pretty easy to trigger (they attack you or an ally). It gives you another way to attack bad guys during your off-turn which is definitely valuable.  You have a fantastic at-will by now so using encounter powers as off-turn attacks is not a bad plan.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Level 15 Daily

Prismatic Beams - Your best choice.  Close burst 5 and party friendly (more with Thunder).  It actually attacks three times, 2 of which deal damage.  This means applying your fat mods twice over (plus Promise potentially!) in addition to nasty status effects.

Wall of Ice - If you want more control, this is a good choice.  You can wall in baddies or seperate artillery from their friends.  You deal big auto-damage when they break the wall down or stand next to it thanks to your huge mods.  Unfortunately, you gain no benefit from resounding thunder.

Level 16 utility

Insightful Riposte - This is a good reason to train Insight.  Its an encounter free action to add +3 to any attack roll. It's basically Wand Mastery in a utility!  Can be incredibly good if you have taken massive attack powers like Prismatic Beams/Spray and/or have some nasty status condition effects.

Level 17 Encounter

Force Volley - With lightning/thunder this is a nice multi-hit power.  Daze is more versatile than immobilize and useful in melee too.  This power can be used vs one foe for a +4 AB which makes it stronger vs a nasty solo.  Knocking out the solo's minor and move actions can be pretty strong in addition to combat advantage for all.

Crushing Titan's Fist - Big AoE immobilize.  A strong opener but you need to be able to convert to elemental.

Desert Furnace - Ranged burst 2 that does have an elemental keyword and creates a zone that automatically blinds.  The bad news of course is that the baddies can simply exit the zone.  If enlarged/resounded you can make that much more difficult though.

Level 19 Daily

This is kind of a weak level. I'd go back to level 15 powers and choose something.  Or just keep your stinking cloud.

Level 22 Utility

Mass Fly - Pretty much the pick of choice.  It provides a leader-ish benefit that is very hard to duplicate by any other means.  At least until level 27ish when everyone has flying-boots.

Level 23 Encounter

Chain Lightning - Guaranteed to attack every foe on the board no matter where they are. This is pretty nice as an encounter power. Even better if you didn't go Janissary for some odd reason and can't convert. No control effect whatsoever though, so unless you regularly fight giant hordes of baddies you are probably better off with one of the triple-target powers.  Or a big fat enlarged, resounded AoE with Spell Mastery.

Freezing Bolts - Hits up to 3 baddies and immobilizes. Solid, but mesmeric hold does the same thing and is level 13!  By now you ought to be able to enlarge,resound huge AoEs for more effect.  I'd probably prefer Crushing Titan's Fist instead unless your foes are usually flying and not bunched up often.

Orbmasters Insuperable Lethargy - The last orbmaster series power. Ranged burst 2 that weakens or immobilizes, your choice.  In addition, you can extend the effect against 1 foe and it will inflict both effects for 1 more round.  Since you can Resound/Empower by now, this is likely to hit more foes than Freezing Bolts.


Level 25 Daily

Elemental Maw - A nice big AoE with solid control and ability to move foes more than 20 squares; plus prone and daze!  Make sure your DM lets you teleport up in the air which is definitely legal now.  That lets you effectively add 10d10 to every foe that isn't flying or hovering.  The spell also works as a double attack, though gains little benefit from Resounding thunder.

Prismatic Spray - Close Blast 5, party friendly, delivers three attacks each with a nasty effect and 2 of them inflicting damage for a double-dose of your huge static mods.  The will-one is a save-ends stun!

Summon Abyssal Horde - I believe the Janissary's d4 thunder added to 'all your attacks' still works through summons unlike the lightning weapon-style cheese.  This particular summon lets you control THREE guys and attack three times over with 1 set of actions!  Every round!  For the rest of the encounter!  Adding your static mods and even promise of storm for a few rounds makes this incredibly damaging.  Plus having 3 expendable dudes to move around, block, and flank with is pretty good control.

Level 27 Encounter

Steal Time - Accurate vs Will, Stuns, and gives you an extra standard action which means yet another free addition of Promise of Storm and mods.  A solid 1-target power.  Your best choice and I can't imagine picking anything else. Make sure to use any reroll or AB booster stuff you have to ensure this hits as you must hit to get the extra standard action!

Level 29 Daily

Legion's Hold - Pretty much the best power in the game. Be sure to remind your DM that with resounding thunder it's a close burst 21.

Summon Living Mountain - Summon this guy and you can make 'at-will' attacks which are close burst 5(!) that attack enemies-only and knock them prone.  Because of this thing's size, its close burst 5 is quite a bit bigger than yours would be!  Technically it reaches the 9th square high and can definitely swat low-altitude fliers.

Prismatic Wall - Sustainable wall that blocks line of sight, slightly harder to move through, and you get to make a nasty triple-attack (2 with damage rolls) against any baddie that is in, moves through, or adjacent to the wall.  Making such triple attacks every round on your off-turn is very impressive.

My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Feat Selection

There are pretty much in the order that I would take them in, with some additional feats discussed later.  I don't discuss any bad feats here and there is little extra room to consider other feats.

Heroic Tier

Elemental Empowerment - Adds STR-mod to all elemental powers, which means all your powers. This should be taken at level 1 without a doubt.

Leather Armor or Unarmored Agility - You can decide how important this is.  If you are going to take it, you will want it early. Since you hide behind the party and use ranged attacks and you get some defense from utilities and staff mastery, it is hoped that you don't need this.  See the armor section for determining the differences between leather and cloth+agility.

Elemental Echo - +1 AB and +2 damage per tier for 2 full rounds (following Promise) to ALL your powers, elemental or not. Three times as good as your average feat, but only for 2 rounds.  Still, it is really good and delivers the damage.

Versatile Expertise - Basically a feat tax in that every character in the game takes this same feat.  Many DMs will give it for free since it is a math-fix.  Don't forget to ask cuz you need all the feats you can get!  Take versatile expertise over Implement or focused expertise since it gives you staff as well as some implement. That way you can make better Attacks of Opportunity too.

Superior Implement - A +1 AB is better than any +1 or even +2 damage boost, hence I would use the Accurate implements.

Weapon Focus - A constant +1 feat damage bonus per tier for all powers using your staff (or sword).

Destructive Wizardry - If you hit more than 1 foe, adds +2/+3/+4 untyped damage.  More of a gain than weapon focus, but limited.  Even though you typically attack multiple foes, this won't help for things such as secondary damage from a wall of fire, etc.  As such, I prefer Weapon Focus since it is more constant.

Multiclass Swordmage - It is very important to take this feat if you are going to go Janissary!  As a bonus you might consider using a lightning sword since this feat grants the ability to use a heavy blade as an implement. Don't forget that this feat also gives you a Warding ability for one encounter per day.  Hey, its a free +1AC but ONLY if you are using a blade.

So, we don't have enough feats for all this stuff!  I presume that you will skip the Armor Proficiency/Unarmored Agility, or drop either weapon focus or destructive wizardry, or get Expertise for free.


Paragon Tier

Enlarge Spell - Technically heroic tier, but most builds will qualify around paragon. You will likely retrain weapon focus or destructive wizardry at 11 to take this.  If playing at heroic, you will take this around level 4 or 6.

Dual Implement Spellcasting - Technically heroic tier but most builds qualify at paragon and it becomes better than weapon focus around mid-paragon.  You will retrain weapon focus or destructive wizard at 12 to take this if it breaks even.  Otherwise you take it later.

Arcane Admixture - You will want to retrain Scorching Burst to Winged Horde at 11 and thus take Admixture(thunder) on it.  Note that if going Janissary, you will get to retrain out of this for free at level 16 when it is no longer needed.

Resounding Thunder - Once you have Winged Horde as a thunder power, you will want to enlarge it for free.  It is well worth a feat since Horde is your go-to power.  Remember that enlarge doesn't work on dailys, but this feat does!

Paragon Defenses - Optional, if you are getting beat up too much.  Hopefully by now you have enough defense to not need this.  An offhand defensive staff will boost all NADs by 1.  Improved Staff of Defense will give untyped

Weapon Focus - At level 14 this and/or Destructive Wizardry will return.

Echoes of Thunder - At level 16 as a Janissary this is as good as Weapon Focus and you will take it in addition to Focus since it is untyped.

Mark of Storm - If you have a leftover feat, being able to slide baddies when you hit with all your powers is very good.  Especially when you have nasty stuff like Wall of Fire, Thundering Stinky Cloud and other auto-damage sources.

Psychic Lock - Another way to pimp your Winged Horde by tacking on -2 AB onto every foe you hit.

Improved Tome of Readiness - If allowed by your DM this is very strong. You do some questionable rules-cheese to switch an encounter utility power with the daily utility power in your tome every encounter.  Now you can use the godlike Illusionary Wall every battle!  Or Fire Shield every battle to deal massive damage to anyone that even thinks about attacking you.

Epic Feats

Quickened Spellcasting - Use on your Winged Horde of course.  This lets you get yet ANOTHER usage of Promise of Storm and corresponding Elemental Echo into those 2 rounds...

Robust Defenses - Be sure to retrain Paragon Defenses you might have took to this.

Wizard Implement Expertise - Normally this is quite hard to get. A standard 16/16/12/12 array won't cut it, so you'd have to plan to get this feat.  It is only worth doing if you are starting in or very close to epic levels.

Spell Accuracy - This lets you exclude 2 good guys from every AoE for free.  If you prefer lots of big bursts instead of multitarget powers, this is a good way to go.  Heck, when you can crank out AoEs that cover half the board like an epic wizard, this is probably superior to multi-targeting.

Arcane Mastery - Regaining a daily is really nice since wizards have the best Dailys in the game.  It is definitely worth an action point, especially for those nasty level 25 and 29 dailys!



Paragon Path

If you are starting at high enough level to need a paragon path, then there is really only one choice, the Janissary.  


On the off chance that you are starting in paragon but are guaranteed to NOT ever hit level 16, then you need to shop around.  Or maybe you just hate the Janissary or your DM said 'no way hose', or you are using some other conversion method(s).  Here are a few choices:

Spellstorm Mage - Pretty thematic with a nice lightning encounter power.

Academy Master - Boost your pimped Winged Horde even more.

Blood Mage - It is a very good path.  No real synergy per se, but has some strong features and powers.


Let's go ahead and take a detailed look at the Malec-Keth Janissary from Master of the Plains:

Devshirme Training (11 feature) - Get an extra class skill or 2 languages. So-so.

Malec-Keth Action (11 AP feature) - On AP, ignore resistances.  Basically worthless since pretty much all your powers at 16 are going to have multiple keywords anways making them very hard to resist. Useful at early paragon though.

Chant of War(11 feature) - Boosts your Aegis.. which you don't even have.  Completely worthless.  If you went with the hybrid option though, this has some marginal use.  It is still pretty lousy though.

Primordial Blade(16 feature) - Here it is!  At the end of each rest, pick one of 4 elements.  Add 1d4 of that element to ALL your attacks.  Obviously you will always pick thunder unless there is a really good reason not to such as tons of vulnerable baddies vs an element. Win!

Loyal Unto Death(11 encounter) - A 3W STR vs AC arcane attack. You and a buddy switch places, get CA vs adjacent foes and you attack.  It sounds kinda cool but consider that you are trying to beat something with a stick.  This is generally not a good use of a standard action.  It might be worth squeezing in the Reserve Manuever feat to rid yourself of this turd and replace with something decent.  I can see it being handy but not every encounter.  Especially when you will likely be using a Staff 1 handed and carrying an offhand implement! So you either dump your offhand implement or attack with an 'improvised weapon'. Yay.

Ever Present Escort(12 encounter util) - Interrupt a vs-AC attack, teleport next to the buddy attacked, give em +4 AC till end of turn.  This is actually pretty nice and can help you get next to your defender if youve strayed, plus win friends when you bail em out of that stunning attack.

Elemental Scourge(20 daily) - Party friendly close burst 5 with 4 keywords. 4d8 vs all baddies and all allies can teleport 3.  While not quite up to wizard standards this is still pretty good. It is big enough that being Close won't really hurt.


Epic Destiny

Honestly guys, I really don't know a whole lot about epic level play.  Heres my initial thoughts though.

Avatar of Storms - If you really hate Janissary you can MC Divine Channeler and take Storm Sacrifice to qualify for this one.  Then all your lighting powers are now thunder too.  That still means you have to convert to lightning though...

Archmage - Extra use of dailys, and your Thundering Legion's Hold eventually becomes an encounter power? Awesome!  Especially when you keep recycling it every round with Torc of Power preservation, Power Salve, etc.

Demigod or Chosen - A decent choice for boosting attributes.  +2 INT is king.  +2 STR is only +1 damage and isn't super impressive.  Still, it beats nothing and you get it right at 21.

Archlich - THE choice for level 21 limited runs if you can stand the flavor because you get a TON of cool stuff right at level 21.  Start with +2 INT. Then, if you get killed you and all possessions rematerialize at your phylactery. You get a massive 5+ 1/2 lvl necrotic and poison resist.  Finally, you auto-zap any bad guy within 3 squares of you for 5 necrotic or radiant!

My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Considering a Hybrid

Now that you know how the build generally works, I wanted to include a section that explores the possibility of hybriding.  I only explore the swordmage hybrid option here since it is the logical choice.  We are taking a swordmage PP and the attributes like up perfectly.   It is possible to take other hybrids but their benefits will almost definitely be overshadowed by the drawbacks.  For example, a fighter|wizard could get +1 attack bonus by taking 2handed weapon mastery or whatever, but that is definitely not worth the losses.

Swordmage|Wizard Hybrid Tradeoffs

There are a fair number of tradeoffs to consider, some minor and some very significant.  You can either play it identically to the wizard-only build and accept the losses which is what I recommend.  Or, you can lose some damage potential and use a heavy-blade exclusively and play more like a swordmage.

Things that are improved over the base wizard build:

HPs - You get 5 HPs per level instead of 4!  That is a 25% gain and very worthwhile.

Surges - You get an extra healing surge.

[b]Aegis[b] - You get a 1/encounter-ish version of the Swordmage Aegis. Basically you mark a foe within 2 squares and then can reduce damage(my pick) once per encounter when that foe hits an ally.  When that foe dies, you can mark someone else and reuse the Aegis power.  Note that this is an interrupt though, so careful not to reduce someone else damage by 5 points and then eat 40 damage yourself that you are unable to interrupt that round. Also, marking foes is generally done by the real defender and can interfere with their operation.  Don't overwrite their marks!

Free feat - You don't have to take the multiclass swordmage feat to qualify for Janissary.  Since feats are so tight, this is actually a pretty big deal.

Free proficiencies - You are proficient with military weapons which is a definite step up from wizard.  It is quite helpful if you might use a lighting blade as an implement and you don't have to use dubious background benefits to know which end of the blade to hold.

Definite Implement proficiency - The rules are a bit vague regarding taking a MC-feat to pick up implement proficiencies whether you can use those implements with wizard powers.  As a hybrid, there is no question that you can definitely use light and heavy blades as implements.  This ranged in importance from insignificant to a pretty big deal if you did want the option of using a lightning weapon.

Swordmage at-will - You have access to Swordmage at-wills. This is kind of a good-news, bad-news thing.  Mostly bad.

Swordmage enc,util,daily - This is a stretch but you have the um... opportunity to choose an encounter power, daily, and utility from Swordmage.  The utility might be nice, but you are almost guaranteed to get shafted on the daily and encounter picks.

Warding Access - You can take a hybrid talent to gain Swordmage warding.  Since you generally want DIS and thus 2 implements, this is only good for +1AC.  However, you might consider only using 1 implement and taking full advantage of the +3 AC.  This will better enable you to use the swordmage powers that you are forced to take. However it will cost some static mods as well as the utility of an offhand implement property, plus the fact that you have to use a light/heavy blade instead of a staff of ruin.



Things lost relative to the base wizard build:

Skills - A hybrid only has 3 skills instead of the usual Arcane +3.  The good news is that you can take Athletics, courtesy of swordmage.  I would still just stick to the 3 INT-based skills and let the melee guys take athletics.  Your athletics is decent enough anyways with your high STR.

Implement Mastery - No free Staff Mastery for you.  That effectively means -1 AC and another -1 item bonus to AC typically gained from the Defensive Staff.  Hence, you will take a different offhand.  It also rules out Thunderstaff as a possible 5th level daily choice.  Note that you could take a hybrid talent to get this back.

Maybe not allowed - Some DMs don't like hybrids and will disallow them.  Kinda puts a crimp in the hybrid Swordmage|Wizard plan...

Rituals - No more free Ritual Casting.  Generally not a huge deal, but as the wizard you will probably be expected to be the ritual guy or gal.

Loss of at-will - You are stuck with a swordmage at-will. Melee combat really isn't your thing and thunderwave or even storm pillar would be better choices.  Especially if you are trying to wield a staff and some other implement, leaving you with no actual weapon to attack with!  In any case, losing your second wizard at-will really lessens your versatility.

Loss of encounter,daily, utility - As a hybrid, you have to pick one swordmage encounter, daily, and utility power.  They are guaranteed to be worse than your normal wizard choice. Especially since your Elemental Empowerment won't work with them. And they are usually focused on chopping on things...  Anyways, this is a pretty big deal since you only get 4 of each encounter and daily.  Janissary PP already ensures you get at least 1 crappy encounter power and a mediocre daily and utility, so losing another one of all three is hurtful.

Swordmage|Wizard Hybrid Powers

Since you have to take 3 swordmage powers, you want to make the best of it.  I am not going over every swordmage power, but will provide my thoughts on some general guidelines and then give my quick picks.

1) Avoid weapons - You have even worse AC than the baseline build thanks to loss of Staff Mastery. Therefore being close to the bad guys is a terrible idea.  Also, you will likely use a staff of ruin and an offhand orb of nimble thoughts, which you have to stow to even MAKE a passible melee attack (for 1d8 W damage with +2 proficiency which is lousy).

2) Consider element - Thunder blasts/bursts will still be resounded which is good.  Lighting and thunder still trigger Promise of Storm damage.  However, elemental empowerment does NOT WORK at all!  Therefore, pick untyped damage over other elemental damage if all else is equal.  Mine as well not give the bad guy a chance to resist/immunize your damage.

3) Ranged=good - Along the lines of 1, you want to avoid melee.  Fortunately, swordmage does have some ranged attacks, as well as some party friendly blasts and even some ranged bursts.  The ranged bursts seem to suck and you'd likely rather use Winged Horde instead, but some of the close bursts and blasts have promise.

4) Out of Turn=good - There are several attacks which are interrupts.  These are quite nice because they give you free extra damage and really boost your Damage Per Round(DPR).

5) Pick Wizard First - Wizard powers are almost always better.  Hence you would never say, hit level 3 and look at the level 3 swordmage powers.  Instead you'd retrain your level 1 wizard power to a swordmage one and then take a wizard 3 power.  The swordmage power should typically be your lowest level power you've got, with a few exceptions.

These are my quick picks

at-will:  Swordburst - Implement party-friendly close burst 1 attack. This is similar enough to thunderwave, minus the push and Promise of Storm benefits, but a lot safer to aim.  Lightning Lure looks good at first, but is dubious because you have to teleport a bad guy right next to you! It does trigger promise of storm though and with the right party it might work.

Enc 1: Falcon's mark - Range 5 attack. Weapon-based throw-attack vs Reflex for extra accuracy.

Daily 1: Frost Backlash - Immediate Reaction weapon vs reflex attack against a foe that hit you. It is an out of turn attack that is very accurate and hits hard.

Util 2: Mythal Recovery - Enc util to make a saving throw.

Enc 3: Dimensional Vortex - Imm Interrupt when a foe hits an ally.  You can 'hit' to force the foe to teleport somewhere and hit their ally instead of your ally!

Daily 5: This level just sucks.

Util 6: Unicorn Touch - daily minor util touch for you or ally to make a save. It is pretty lousy compared to Mythal, but at least you can assist another player with it.

Enc 7: Dazing Rebuke - Interrupt to hit and daze a foe that hits your ally and give em -2AB (which might make them miss). A very nice out-of-turn implement ranged attack with a passible status condition.
 
Daily 9: Nothing good at this level.

Util 10: Nothing good at this level.

Enc 13: Ensnaring Bolts - Close blast 5, party friendly, lightning based. Slows foes if you happen to be Ensnaring Aegis.  This is a very solid power.

Daily 15: Reapers Challenge - Immediate Interrupt when foe hits ally. Close burst 5, implement attack vs that foe and Weaken them for 1 round if you hit (before they damage ally!).  Hit or miss they are auto-weakened if they EVER attack and not include you, for the entire encounter!  No save or nothing.  This is crazy good vs a solo.

Util 16: Borrowed Confidence - Enc minor action.  You get to roll TWICE and take the best result for all attacks and saving throws until start of next turn.   Wow, this is one of the few swordmage powers I'd take OVER a wizard power.  Especially since you have out-of-sequence attacks, AP attacks, and even a minor-action attack at epic.

Enc 17: Surprising Transposition - Just like Dimensional Vortex, except you don't have to 'hit' the foe to transport them.  It automatically works.
 
Daily 19: Ward of Scales - Death's Resurgance - When bloodied or 0HP use this interrupt to use a healing surge and close burst 2 implement attack vs enemies only.  This is a nice power to have in your pocket.

Util 22: Eyes of the Mage - Daily. Big perception boost, see everything within 5 squares. The strength is that you can sacrifice it to force an enemy to reroll an attack.  A bit harder to use

You should not for any reason take a swordmage power at higher than level 22. The wizard spells are just WAY superior.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Equipment

Implement

You generally want a main implement and an offhand implement of 1 plus lower (for DIS).  In addition, you might even consider a plethora of low level 'utility implements' that have useful encounter powers or properties that you can pull out as needed.

Staff of Ruin - Use 1-handed as your main implement.  Big crit dice and good bonus damage.

Defensive Staff - Use in your offhand. Get +1 to AC and all 3 NADs. Nice, but remember that these are ITEM bonuses which won't stack with many other sources.

Lightning Weapon - An alternative way to make all your powers lighting based, and indirectly thunder-based with promise of storm.

Orb of Nimble Thoughts - Even a low level version of this is enough to add +INT-mod  item bonus to your initiative.  This is a big deal for a controller like you and is an excellent offensive-minded off-hand implement.  It even has an encounter move action to shift INT-mod!

Staff of the Architect - A utility implement for epic level players.  Use this if you love walls to boost their size and the daily to reposition a wall.

Armor

Stoneskin Armor - Cloth only.  As an encounter minor action, gain temp HPs.  A minor but low cost and versatile defensive boost.

Warmage uniform - Cloth or leather.  when you hit with an arcane power, use daily item power to give an ally a fat power bonus to hit that foe equal to the enhancement bonus of the armor.  A very nice  leader-ish nova setup that will make your party like you even more.

Battle Harnass - Cloth or leather.  Kind of expensive, but provides a rare POWER bonus to initiative equal to its enhancement.  Also lets you quickdraw things such as reagents, offhand implements, and is really helpful for shuffling around 'utility implements'.

[b]parchment armor[/] - Cloth or leather. Has charges equal to its enhancement everyday.  You can use a free at-will action to use any number of charges to add an attack bonus to any arcane power.  If milestone is hit, you can do this AFTER the roll like a Wand Mastery.  This is a nice offensive choice, especially interesting for an armor.

Irrefutable - Cloth, leather.  As a free action daily item power,  reroll a missed will-targeting attack. Add the armor enhancement as an attack bonus.  This is a more powerful version of Parchment armor, but requires a daily item power and cannot be split up.

Veterans armor - Only +1 level cost above baseline.  Even after nerf, it still provides a +1 item bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and defenses when you use an AP.  Another option to squeeze out a bit more AB and defense.

genesi soul armor - Leather only.  For a minor action and daily item power, you can re-use your Promise of Storm.  That's kinda cool by mid-paragon when pretty much all your stuff can trigger Promise.  An extra 2 rounds worth of it can add up to a TON of extra damage and attack bonus making this one of the best Daily item power uses ever. It is kind of expensive though and this is all it does.  Maybe use a version 1 plus down and wear it for your first fight then swap?

Snakefang - Leather only. A cheap way to resist poison.  Also has a lame daily to poison a foe.

Shimmering armor - Cloth that removes enemy AoOs for casting ranged powers in melee.  Wait...why are you wearing cloth and casting ranged powers in melee?


Neck

Cloak of Distortion - Nerfed to death. Adds an item bonus equal to its enhancement to your AC and reflex vs ranged attacks. These are certainly what you are most vulnerable to, but the item bonus will NOT stack with defensive staff if you use one.

Timeless locket  Item bonus to initiative equal to its enhancement which is quite good for a non-helm.  You can use a minor action and daily item power to get a standard action which you cannot attack with.  Basically you can use it to get another move action.  

Raven's - Resistance to necrotic and cold.  Daily to boost saving throws by +5.

Displacement cloak - Not to be confused with distortion.  Expensive but provides +2AC and reflex untyped until you are hit.  Since you are less likely to be attacked and have many interrupts to avoid getting hit, you ought to be able to keep this bonus up indefinitely.  Hopefully.  To help with that end, it has a daily item power to force a reroll of an attack against you.

Cascading health - Straightforward and powerful (and expensive). As an encounter power minor action you end any condition that a saving throw will fix.



Arms

Phylactery of action - Encounter item power to reroll a save vs daze, immobilized, petrified, restrain, or stun. Good stuff and pretty cheap.

Warded vambraces - Encounter power to give adjacent allies a boost equal to your warding feature for 1 round.  Ya know, due to your MC feat you actually HAVE a warding feature which is good for +1 AC. During this 1 round, I'd stow your offhand to boost it to +3AC.  Not sure if YOU have to actually be using your 1/day warding feature for it to work with allies.  Logically yes, but rules-wise it is dubious.  Ask your DM if you wanna try this approach as otherwise it is pretty weak since it would only work 1/day.

Bracers of escape - Daily item power interrupt to  daily teleport 2 and escape a melee hit.  Another wizards escape basically, though consider that NAD-attacks are more likely than melee.


Feet

Boots of the Fencing Master - Encounter shift power and lets you shift back and forth for a nice defensive bonus.

Boots of Eagerness - Free move action every encounter.  Great for moving your zones, sustaining, etc. Also very good for that opening round when you might want to apply a whetstone, move, apply promise of storm, quickened spellcasting, plus your standard action. This helps squeeze more in.

Zephyr Boots - High level true flight boots.

Time Jumping Boots - Super high level boots that do something.  Yeah, I don't have the latest DDI download yet.



Hands

Gauntlets of Blood +2/4/6 damage bonus vs bloodied opponents.  Free damage is always appreciated.

Resplendant Gloves +1/3/5 damage with powers that target Will.  Such as your winged horde! If you found any decent illusions,  they now give you Combat Advantage for 1 round.  This is a decent reason to take a harder look at more will-targeting powers.  It works with Prismatic Spray/Beams too.

Gloves of Eldritch Admixture - Might be warlock only so ask your DM. It is an oddball because I think it is one of the ONLY items in existence that have a class-prerequisite to even equip.  If usable, it lets you add elemental damage to 1 power per encounter. Really good when you want to take things like Stinking Cloud but also want to at least add your Elemental Empowerment bonus (and get around doing crappy poison damage).  Your DM might be cool and let you use this if you are playing at levels before you can use better ways to convert powers.

Gauntlets of Arcane Might - Um...  Yeah, need to look this up.

Gloves of Piercing - Super cheap option to get around resistances for the price of a daily item power.

Forgemaster - Gain resist fire.  As a daily item power minor action, add some fire damage to your next attack.  Basically a very limited converter plus a handy resistance all in one.

Accuracy level 16.  At-will minor action:  Ranged attacks this turn ignore cover and concealment for 1 turn.  You can usually place the AoE to avoid cover anyways, but this is an option.


Head

Casque of Tactics - Good low level item that adds minor initiative bonus and lets you swap initiative rolls with a party member. Wizards love going first before the clump of baddies can disperse...

Headband of Intellect - +1 item attack bonus for all psychic powers such as your favorite, Winged Horde!  Any other psychic powers you take and convert are just bonus.

Circlet of Mental Onslaught - Will defense bonus and +1 AB to ALL INT-attacks for 1 encounter per day.  This is a decent use of a daily item power.

Eye of Awareness - High level hat.  Tasty +5 initiative bonus on top of +2 will defense.

Circlet of second chances - Cheap daily power to reroll a saving throw.

Helm of able defense(14) - +1 will defense.  +2 untyped bonus to all defenses for every encounter until you take damage.  Very odd wording, but its similar to the cloak of displacement.  If you have one or two ways to force the baddie to reroll then with your interrupts you ought to be able to keep these defenses up for most of the encounter.


Rings

Premonition Ring - +2 item bonus to Initiative.  Cannot be surprised. Init bonuses are always nice, if you don't already have them.

Shadow Guard - Resist cold and necrotic.  Daily: damage adjacent foes.  Two solid resist types.

Ring of Protection - Boost to saving throws and +2 defense vs 1 attack as a daily.

[b]Ring of Action Reversal[b] - +4 item init which is a pretty big bonus.  Has a daily to regain use of a missed encounter power which can be useful for your 1-target powers such as Steal Time and your off-turn attacks.

Ring of Wizardry - Regaining an arcane encounter power is good. Lots more useful of a power than Action Reversal, but lacks the big init bonus.

Greater Ring of Invisibility - 2 rounds of invisibility for every encounter is really good and gives you free combat advantage. With a milestone you get concealment for the rest of the encounter.

Opal Ring of Remembrance - Level 29 epic win!  +2 item attack bonus for ALL powers!  And daily power to reuse a daily utility like Illusionary Wall.  If you are playing at 28+, this is a mandatory take!

free time - Resist 5 vs everything.  An encounter free action to get a minor action which is usable every turn with milestone.  Another high epic strong pick.



Tattoo

Fireheart - Cheap free temp HPs when you use an AP which you will usually do early in the fight.

Eager Hero - Free temp HPs anytime you rest!  A great way to get more survivability at low cost.


Waist

Belt of Vim(AV) - Heroic tier.  Untyped Fort bonus.  Simple but effective.

Belt of Mountain Endurance (Dragon 365) - Level 18.  Adds STR to healing surge value. As daily, on AP, get +2 all defenses. Since you actually have high STR, this boosts your surge value significantly more than equivalent items that only give a static +1/2/3 to HPs from surges.

Viper - Level 4. Cheap resist poison property.  Enc: Bonus save vs poison.  It's cheap and helpful vs a common element.

Belt of the Witch King - +2 fort AND surge-free healing.  It is an item bonus, not untyped though.



Wonderous Items

Restful Bedroll - Free temp HPs every day for a level 1 item.

Ebony Fly - Flying mount for cheap.

Solitare - Effectively a unique slot item.  Well worth getting one if 10 levels lower than your current level or so.

Dice of Auspicious Fortune - Complete cheese.  You get to roll 3 D20s and 'store' them.  Assuming you have 1 or 2 decent rolls you can use them for free during the day for an important attack roll to ensure a hit.

Ritual Candle - You have rituals for free anyways so this is useful at higher levels.

Fortune Stones - Reroll for a daily?  Yes!  Really good for Prismatic blasts potentially.

Syberis Shard of the Mage - Not a wonderous item per-se, this is added to your implement.  It then adds bonus damage to ALL your powers.  It is about like having a free weapon focus added yet again to all your mods.  It is untyped and stacks.  There is no reason NOT to take this.  If you cannot afford the current version, take one of the next level down which will be dirt cheap.

Syberis Shard of Lightning - This shard is 1 level cheaper than the Mage one if you happen to qualify for using it instead.

Whetstones - Another way to add elemental damage to various desirable powers such as Stinking Cloud, psychic powers, etc.  You can choose the level 7 Frozen one or the superior level 10 Tempest one (adds Lightning).  It is kind of an all or nothing approach: You either use em every encounter, or never. Well, except maybe occasional use of a frozen one vs cold-vulnerable baddies.

Consumables

Spell Reagents can come in pretty handy.  If you are high enough level for these to be cheap, definitely consider carrying some for special occasions.
  -- Rewagent flash flower.  A lighting power gains the ability to blind.  Nice! Remember that with Promise of Storm active, all your thunder powers are ALSO lighting ones.
  -- rust bark.   A level 5 power gains +1 AoE size.  Fantastic for Stinking Cloud!
  -- There are various other ones that let you roll-twice for certain power types.  Use these depending on your power selection.  Being able to reroll a Prismatic attack is extremely valuable.





Example Build

Note that I cheated on the items and did not follow conventional cost rules.  I have a lot more paragon level stuff which would be typical for a built-up adventurer.


GenesiWiz, level 16
Genasi, Wizard, Malec-Keth Janissary
Arcane Implement Mastery: Staff of Defense
Devshirme Training: Gain Training in a skill
Elemental Manifestation: Stormsoul
Background: Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Janissary Element Cheese:  1d4 Thunder added to all attacks.
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 22, Con 11, Dex 13, Int 22, Wis 13, Cha 9.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 10, Dex 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Base Defenses are 18 +mods.

AC: 29 = Base +6INT +3_enhance +1_staff +1_defensive staff. +2_extra Displacement. +warding +interrupts.
Fort: 30 = Base +6STR +3_enhance +1_defensive staff +2belt
Reflex: 28 = Base +6INT +3_enhance +1_defensive +2_displacement
Will: 26 = Base +1WIS +3_enhance +1_defensive +2Class +1Race?
HP: 92 (helped by Background, with various temp HP sources)
Surges: 6
Surge Value: 23
Initiative: Base +1DEX +3Harness +4Ring

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +19, Dungeoneering +14, History +19, Religion +19, Insight +14

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +9, Bluff +7, Diplomacy +7, Endurance +10, Heal +9, Intimidate +7, Nature +11, Perception +9, Stealth +9, Streetwise +7, Thievery +9, Athletics +14

FEATS
Wizard: Ritual Caster (don't forget to pick your Rituals)
Level 1: Elemental Empowerment
Level 2: Elemental Echo
Level 4: Implement Expertise (Staff)
Level 6: Superior Implement Training (Accurate staff)
Level 8: Whatever -> Retrained to Enlarge Spell at 11.
Level 10: Blade Initiate
Level 11: Resounding Thunder
Level 12: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 14: Destructive Wizardry
Level 16: Weapon Focus (staff)

POWERS
Wizard at-will 1: Thunderwave
Wizard at-will 1: Winged Horde
Wizard encounter 1: Icy Terrain
Wizard daily 1: Flaming Sphere
Wizard daily 1 Spellbook: Arcane Whirlwind
Wizard utility 2: Shield
Wizard utility 2 Spellbook: Mystical Debris
Wizard encounter 3: Shock Sphere (retrained to Grasping Shadows at Level 16)
Wizard daily 5: Stinking Cloud
Wizard daily 5 Spellbook: Thunderstaff
Wizard utility 6: Wizard's Escape
Wizard utility 6 Spellbook: Fire Shield
Wizard encounter 7: Twist of Space
Wizard daily 9: Wall of Fire
Wizard daily 9 Spellbook: Mordenkainen's Guardian Hound
Wizard utility 10: Illusory Wall
Wizard utility 10 Spellbook: Blur
Wizard encounter 13: Mesmeric Hold (replaces Icy Terrain)
Wizard daily 15: Prismatic Beams (replaces Flaming Sphere)
Wizard daily 15 Spellbook: Wall of Ice
Wizard utility 16: Insightful Riposte
Wizard utility 16 Spellbook: Displacement

ITEMS
Spellbook, Accurate staff of Ruin +4, Defensive Staff +3, Battle Harness Githweave Armor +3, Cloak of Displacement +3, Headband of Intellect (heroic tier), Phylactery of Action (heroic tier), Resplendent Gloves (paragon tier), Ring of Protection (paragon tier), Ring of Action Reversal (paragon tier), Girdle of the Umber Hulk (paragon tier), Boots of Eagerness (heroic tier), Eager Hero's Tattoo (heroic tier), Frozen Whetstone (heroic tier) (5), Rust Bark (paragon tier) (15), Mind Dust (paragon tier) (5), Restful Bedroll (heroic tier), Ebony Fly (heroic tier), Handy Haversack (heroic tier), Salve of Power (heroic tier), Dice of Auspicious Fortune (paragon tier), Solitaire (Citrine) (paragon tier), Syberis Shard of the Mage(paragon tier)

------------------Capabilities------------------

Attack Bonus: Base +6INT +2expertise +4Implement +1Accurate +1Echo +1Headband(if psychic) = Base +15
 =  +23 potentially. +2 more from Combat Advantage when invisible/blurred/etc.

Damage Bonus: +6Int +6Str +4Staff +4Ruin +3DIS +4ElemEcho +3Shard +2Wpnfocus +3Destructive(vs 2+foes) +2EchoThunder +3Resplendent(if psychic) +2tempest/frozen whetstone(maybe) +2d8Promise +1d4Janissary
= +42(max) +2d8 +1d4

So, Winged Horde enlarged = burst 3, party friendly, +23 AB, Damage: 1d6 +34(no INT-mod, -2 enlarge) +2d8 +1d4 ~= 51 plus no AoOs allowed.


End of Guide
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
One extra reserve just in case of expansion or something.   Ok, fire away!


By the way, the 'ratings' are really only there to call attention to certain particularly good or bad things.  I don't really intend to fully try to 'rate' every single bolded item.   Anyway, keep that in mind when making comments and suggestions.  Thanks!
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Hopefully Elemental Empowerment will be "adjusted" soon.  Making it one attack per encounter seems about right, or maybe just a flat +2 damage.

Having a single feat replicate the feature that makes another class decent is just not right. 
Hopefully Elemental Empowerment will be "adjusted" soon.  Making it one attack per encounter seems about right, or maybe just a flat +2 damage.

Having a single feat replicate the feature that makes another class decent is just not right. 



Considering it's the only thing that makes one of the most classic D&D archtypes a viable option in 4E, it damn well better not be nerfed.

Anyway, nice build guide.   I've been working on a cold based blaster one myself focusing on using a frost short bow and bracers of archery.  

Oh and a great ring option you missed:

Ring of Radiant Storm -Allows you to reroll the damage on any lightning (or radiant) power you use. This is can work out to be quite a damage boost over the course of an encounter.

A couple of nits to pick-
"Any lighting or thunder power will gain BOTH KEYWORDS!  This is a bit  obscure, but since this power has both keywords, it will add both of  these keywords to any attack that qualifies.  i.e. Lighting or thunder powers become lighting and thunder.  This can  cause powers to be harder to resist or be immune to, trigger effects  related to either keyword (such as resounding thunder), or other  interesting interactions discussed later."

Only item powers add their keywords to powers they modify; other power types, including racial, don't.  Since the damage the power adds is untyped, it won't add any keywords.

Also, you make mention of adding typed damage to make something harder to resist, but that's not how it works.  If you would normally do 15 damage with Stinking Cloud and add 3 from your Jannissary feature, you're doing 15 poison and 3 thunder damage, not 18 poison and thunder damage.  Poison resist will apply to the poison part, thunder resist will apply to the thunder part, and if you're unlucky enough to fight something with poison and thunder resist it will get to apply to both.  It does add the keyword since you're adding typed damage, though.
I guess I should include that Ring.  I looked at it, but at its level I liked other stuff better.

I figure that most of your damage comes from your big mods, not your dice.

On the other hand, if it allows you to reroll damage for Promise of Storm that would give it a boost.  Plus, even if it gets you an extra 4 damage that is still worth 2 weapon foci.

So I think you are right.  Ill go ahead and look at it again.

-----------

Racial feats like this are generally stronger than normal to encourage unusual playstyles.   STR is otherwise completely worthless for a wizard.
  This feat starts out quite good, but consider that unlike the Sorc ability, it does not get a +2/+4 tier-scaling mechanism.   Therefore by epic, its +6 to +8 bonus is only twice as good as the lowly weapon focus.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
A couple of nits to pick-
"Any lighting or thunder power will gain BOTH KEYWORDS!  This is a bit  obscure, but since this power has both keywords, it will add both of  these keywords to any attack that qualifies.  i.e. Lighting or thunder powers become lighting and thunder.  This can  cause powers to be harder to resist or be immune to, trigger effects  related to either keyword (such as resounding thunder), or other  interesting interactions discussed later."

Only item powers add their keywords to powers they modify; other power types, including racial, don't.  Since the damage the power adds is untyped, it won't add any keywords.

Also, you make mention of adding typed damage to make something harder to resist, but that's not how it works.  If you would normally do 15 damage with Stinking Cloud and add 3 from your Jannissary feature, you're doing 15 poison and 3 thunder damage, not 18 poison and thunder damage.  Poison resist will apply to the poison part, thunder resist will apply to the thunder part, and if you're unlucky enough to fight something with poison and thunder resist it will get to apply to both.  It does add the keyword since you're adding typed damage, though.




Yeah, I dont know about this.  Where does it say that only item powers add their keywords?  I mean, why else would it even HAVE keywords if there was no possible way they would get used?


I believe elemental damage used to work as described but it was changed.  I don't believe that each damage type is individually resolved anymore but that they add up the keywords.   I could be wrong though.
Anyone else wanna chime in?
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
A couple of nits to pick-
"Any lighting or thunder power will gain BOTH KEYWORDS!  This is a bit  obscure, but since this power has both keywords, it will add both of  these keywords to any attack that qualifies.  i.e. Lighting or thunder powers become lighting and thunder.  This can  cause powers to be harder to resist or be immune to, trigger effects  related to either keyword (such as resounding thunder), or other  interesting interactions discussed later."

Only item powers add their keywords to powers they modify; other power types, including racial, don't.  Since the damage the power adds is untyped, it won't add any keywords.

Also, you make mention of adding typed damage to make something harder to resist, but that's not how it works.  If you would normally do 15 damage with Stinking Cloud and add 3 from your Jannissary feature, you're doing 15 poison and 3 thunder damage, not 18 poison and thunder damage.  Poison resist will apply to the poison part, thunder resist will apply to the thunder part, and if you're unlucky enough to fight something with poison and thunder resist it will get to apply to both.  It does add the keyword since you're adding typed damage, though.







Yeah, I dont know about this.  Where does it say that only item powers add their keywords?  I mean, why else would it even HAVE keywords if there was no possible way they would get used?


I believe elemental damage used to work as described but it was changed.  I don't believe that each damage type is individually resolved anymore but that they add up the keywords.   I could be wrong though.
Anyone else wanna chime in?




I'm not aware of any change to how adding together different typed damage works, but if there was an update I missed I'd like to see it.  It'd become pretty difficult to get multiple damage types since weapons that changed damage types (flaming weapons, etc) were updated to override the old type completely.

As for where it says that item powers add their keywords:  PHB p. 226, "When you use a magic item as part of a racial power or a class power, the keywords of the item’s power and the other power all apply."  There's nothing that says the same about other power types and no general rule that would apply to all power types.  As for why have the keywords- there are some things that trigger off the use of a power of a particular type; if you have something that triggers off "use a lightning power" or "use a thunder power," Promise of Storms triggers it.  I don't know if there are any abilities worded like that would benefit Promise of Storms (or just give a generic benefit after using a lightning or thunder power), but having the keywords isn't entirely pointless.
Edit: Here's one from the good ol' PHB, Solid Sound: "Until the end of your next turn, you gain a +2 bonus to Fortitude, Reflex, or Will after you use any power that has the thunder or the force keyword. Choose the defense when you use the power."  Promise of Storms would trigger that because it has the thunder keyword.

Yeah Ive read that from the PHB FAQ.

I refuse to believe that the Promise of Storm has the Lightning and Thunder keywords but NEVER makes any use of them for any reason.  That is what you are basically saying.

Also, it even specifies 'racial power' or 'class power' as things that do affect keywords.  You are saying that the racial power's keywords are not used based on this FAQ entry. Why wouldn't they be?  You certainly wouldnt say that 'class power' keywords are not used either would you?  But this rule puts them in the same category.

I suspect the rule is that ANY power (class, race, paragon path, or feat-based) keywords are to be used when using that power.


The reality is though that if you asked 10 different people exactly how keywords interacted, you would get about 4 or 5 different answers.   You'd also get 4 different answers from 10 Customer Service reps too.  I didn't just dream this up on my own.   I have read several long posts about this, including Ybberiums Guide (which prompted me to at least 'save' this build).
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Yeah Ive read that from the PHB FAQ.

I refuse to believe that the Promise of Storm has the Lightning and Thunder keywords but NEVER makes any use of them for any reason.  That is what you are basically saying.

Also, it even specifies 'racial power' or 'class power' as things that do affect keywords.  You are saying that the racial power's keywords are not used based on this FAQ entry. Why wouldn't they be?  You certainly wouldnt say that 'class power' keywords are not used either would you?  But this rule puts them in the same category.

I suspect the rule is that ANY power (class, race, paragon path, or feat-based) keywords are to be used when using that power.


The reality is though that if you asked 10 different people exactly how keywords interacted, you would get about 4 or 5 different answers.   You'd also get 4 different answers from 10 Customer Service reps too.  I didn't just dream this up on my own.   I have read several long posts about this, including Ybberiums Guide (which prompted me to at least 'save' this build).


You may have missed it since I edited it in after the initial post, but I did point out an example of something that can make use of PoS's keywords (Solid Sound).  There are probably more.

The mention of "a racial power or a class power" in the PHB is saying that an item power can transfer its keywords to a racial power or to a class power; there's no way to read that sentence as racial powers transfering keywords to class powers.  That sentence parses out as "When you use a magic item as part of a racial power, the keywords of the item’s power and the racial power all apply.  When you use a magic item as part of a class power, the keywords of the item’s power and the class power all apply."  There is no rule that applies keywords from a non-item power to another, except for specific rules contained in feats/PP abilities and the like that directly says that feature adds a keyword (and, of course, adding a keyword through a damage type change, per the March errata).

I'm not saying you made up this ruling, just that it's wrong.  A lot of people get it wrong, generally because they assume that what works for item powers works for all other powers.  A lot of people got damage not adding keywords wrong before the errata wrong, too.  There's just no rule that actually says that powers, in general, transfer keywords that way.
CS says it works that way because of the errata, for what it is worth. Promise of Storm does Thunder+Lightning damage because it has those keywords, and therefore rolling the extra dice adds the keyword.
Hopefully Elemental Empowerment will be "adjusted" soon.  Making it one attack per encounter seems about right, or maybe just a flat +2 damage.

Having a single feat replicate the feature that makes another class decent is just not right. 




Considering it's the only thing that makes one of the most classic D&D archtypes a viable option in 4E, it damn well better not be nerfed.






If that were true it would be even more reason to nerf it.

Not every class plays the same in this edition as it did in the past.  Not even close in many cases. 
If nothing else, it's needs to stay off the nerf list , simply because there's just not enough caster based strikers in the game and it's a niche that needs as many options as it can get.
I'm not in favor of nerfing EE which is a racial feat.  However I'd definitely be in favor of making each stat modifier a typed bonus that couldn't stack with itself.  That was the problem with the pre-nerf Battle Engineer Fleeting Dweomer imo; it should have been based off of a non-primary stat.  WotC is doing some things to "fix" double-dipping stat modifiers however such as restricting Pit Fighter to fighter powers only (no more avengers double-dipping Wis modifier damage!).

Back to the main topic.  This is a well thought through guide and much appreciated!  I do think that the pro's of making a hybrid genasi wizard|swordmage tend to outweigh a straight wizard.

Pro's: Striker-like hitpoints/healing surges, weapon as implement (granted staff works too), freed up feat if accessing Malec-Keth Jannisary PP, swordmage aegis shenanigans.

Con's: No Arcane Implement Mastery by default but accessible by hybrid talent (and arguably no Improved Tome of Readiness option without the spellbook class feature); requirement to have one Swordmage At-Will, Encounter, Utility, and Daily that can't be substituted by generally superior wizard powers; and Elemental Empowerment doesn't boost swordmage powers.

All in all I'd lean towards the hybrid option if building a "blaster wizard" archetype.
As a bit of tooting my own horn, you may want to take a look at my Marilith Summoner, page 59 of the DPR Kings 2.0 thread - kind of an epic level 'all a genasi blaster can be' style character.

Incidentally, I'd much rather pick up Fighter instead of Swordmage as a hybrid option if you want to make a Blaster Wizard - Swordmage only offers hit points/surgers and defender abilities, plus a free feat (Arcane Implement Prof) assuming you don't want a staff.  The Fighter also offers access to Weapon Talent for extra bonuses to hit, which actually boosts the strikery-ness of the blaster wizard.  And since you're pumping strength anyway, the fighter powers won't go completely to waste (and will see about as much use as most of the lowly swordmage ones too.) 
This is my attempt at a similar build with a wiz/sm hybrid. Lately i've been gravitating towards chosen of Eratis because the anthem of progress is just too good (16-20 crit for your whole party until end of encounter).

The at will is a bit of a loss though pulling a target closer can be useful. But the encounter 3 imm int teleporting an enemy away from your friend to twack his own friend is about as awesome as you can get. The daily at low level isn't all that but the one retrained into at lvl 17 seems decent for the build. And there's quite a few decent utilities to pick. All in all the hybrid seems better to me than the mc for picking up janisary.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Zappy, level 30
Genasi, Wizard|Swordmage, Malec-Keth Janissary, Chosen
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Staff)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Orb)
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Thunder
Devshirme Training: Gain an additional two languages
Hybrid Talent: Arcane Implement Mastery
Arcane Implement Mastery: Orb of Imposition
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Intelligence
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Strength
Elemental Manifestation: Stormsoul
Arcane Admixture Power: Winged Horde
Quickened Spellcasting: Winged Horde
Background: Thay (Thay Benefit)


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 26, Con 12, Dex 15, Int 28, Wis 15, Cha 10.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 10, Dex 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 8.



AC: 41 Fort: 40 Reflex: 40 Will: 39
HP: 185 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 46


TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +33, History +33, Arcana +33


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +17, Endurance +18, Heal +17, Insight +17, Intimidate +15, Nature +19, Perception +17, Stealth +17, Streetwise +15, Thievery +17, Athletics +23


FEATS
Level 1: Elemental Empowerment
Level 2: Elemental Echo
Level 4: Versatile Expertise
Level 6: Superior Implement Training (Accurate staff)
Level 8: Enlarge Spell
Level 10: Destructive Wizardry
Level 11: Arcane Admixture (retrained to Weapon Focus (Staff) at Level 16)
Level 12: Resounding Thunder
Level 14: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 16: Echoes of Thunder
Level 18: Hybrid Talent
Level 20: Mark of Storm (retrained to Arcane Reach at Level 21)
Level 21: Wizard Implement Expertise
Level 22: Quickened Spellcasting
Level 24: Spell Accuracy
Level 26: Arcane Mastery
Level 28: Epic Resurgence
Level 30: Superior Initiative


POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Thunderwave (retrained to Winged Horde at Level 11)
Hybrid at-will 1: Lightning Lure
Hybrid encounter 1: Icy Terrain
Hybrid daily 1: Flaming Sphere
Hybrid utility 2: Channeling Shield (retrained to Shield at Level 17)
Hybrid encounter 3: Dimensional Vortex
Hybrid daily 5: Lingering Lightning
Hybrid utility 6: Wizard's Escape
Hybrid encounter 7: Twist of Space
Hybrid daily 9: Wall of Fire
Hybrid utility 10: Repelling Shield
Hybrid encounter 13: Prismatic Burst (replaces Icy Terrain)
Hybrid daily 15: Prismatic Beams (replaces Flaming Sphere)
Hybrid utility 16: Borrowed Confidence
Hybrid encounter 17: Crushing Titan's Fist (replaces Twist of Space)
Hybrid daily 19: Death's Resurgence (replaces Lingering Lightning)
Hybrid utility 22: Ghost Walk
Hybrid encounter 23: Prismatic Burst (replaces Prismatic Burst)
Hybrid daily 25: Prismatic Spray (replaces Wall of Fire)
Hybrid encounter 27: Steal Time (replaces Prismatic Burst)
Hybrid daily 29: Legion's Hold (replaces Prismatic Beams)


ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Staff of Ruin +6, Orb of Nimble Thoughts +6, Timeless Locket +6, Opal Ring of Remembrance (epic tier), Ring of the Radiant Storm (paragon tier), Bracelet of the Radiant Storm (paragon tier), Belt of Mountain Endurance (paragon tier), Eye of Awareness (epic tier), Magic Mindpatterned Armor +6, Dice of Auspicious Fortune (paragon tier) (3), Stone of Storms (paragon tier), Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier), Resplendent Gloves (paragon tier), Boots of Unchecked Passage (paragon tier), Fireheart Tattoo (paragon tier)
RITUALS
Make Whole, Secret Page, Endure Elements, Knock, Transfer Enchantment, Disenchant Magic Item, Mordenkainen's Ascent, Secure Shelter, History Revealed, Plane Shift, Ward the True Name, Stasis Shell, Fantastic Recuperation
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Thanks for the replys everyone.

I will investigate and play with hybrid fighter and swordmage vs the original and see what I come up with.

At the very least I can add a section listing these as alternatives and the tradeoffs involved.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
If you're playing with Winged Horde, you would be amiss not to pick up resplendent gloves. Nice stackable +5 damage.
A nice little scaling heroic tier feat I found recently is Clever Control.  It seems made for a controller turned striker like the blaster wizard.    It's great for turning the depressing 'you miss most of your targets' moment into a nice bit of burst damage on the one poor baddie you did hit.

If your DM gives you expertise feats for free, I'd totally suggest taking it at heroic and keeping it forever.
Elemental Empowerment is -fine- -- it gives you a sub-striker ability for an offstat investment (and you're giving up the good arcane implement optiosn for it).  There's  a problem in that Sorcerers don't get enough full-striker stuff to keep ahead of a Genasi Empowerment wizard, but that's really a problem in the sorcerer design.

The comment on a swordmage multi giving you free AIP with heavy blades is wrong.  There was a comment to that effect in the Player's Guide, but it's been disavowed.  Swordmage multi only gives you the ability to use swordmage implements for -swordmage- powers.

This is a nice write-up - thanks!

The comment on a swordmage multi giving you free AIP with heavy blades is wrong.  There was a comment to that effect in the Player's Guide, but it's been disavowed.  Swordmage multi only gives you the ability to use swordmage implements for -swordmage- powers.



That is true for Multiclass Feats, but not for Hybrids. Hybrids allow both classes of the hybrid to use all implements for both classes. Under the Hybrid Class features of each Hybrid class they get the implements listed for the class as normal. Unlike the MC feats, there is no clarification that they are for that class only.

Ive heard both ways regarding the multiclass feats.  Especially with the new wording which simply says that you can use bla-class implements.

I am working on the hybrid section and that definitely removes any rules issues.  I also added some wording that the Multiclass thing is a bit dubious.


Keep in mind that this is not a computer RPG.   No matter what I write, some DM somewhere is going to protest about something.   Therefore, I want to discuss as many options as possible, as many DMs would probably be ok with it.  It still a good idea to make note of the legality issue though.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Updated.   I love how I cannot change the title to show the update date...  :-(
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29

Swordmage at-will - You have access to Swordmage at-wills. This is kind of a good-news, bad-news thing.  Mostly bad.



Aww, c'mon. You're gonna be using Winged Horde 99% of the time. Trading Thunderwave for Sword Burst Rolling Thundered isnt that much of a change.


Swordmage enc,util,daily - This is a stretch but you have the um... opportunity to choose an encounter power, daily, and utility from Swordmage.  The utility might be nice, but you are almost guaranteed to get shafted on the daily and encounter picks.



The utility switches are sky blue, there are some decent encounter options....dailys? Well, the Swordmage 19 dailys can be competitive with WIZ 19 dailys...course WIZ 1-15 dailys blow them all away.


1) Avoid weapons - You have even worse AC than the baseline build thanks to loss of Staff Mastery. Therefore being close to the bad guys is a terrible idea.  Also, you will likely use a staff of ruin and an offhand orb of nimble thoughts, which you have to stow to even MAKE a passible melee attack (for 1d8 W damage with +2 proficiency which is lousy).



Or you could just take Staff Mastery and save your money instead of keeping up a second implement. This also makes the Janissary encounter a viable power.

These are my quick picks

at-will:  Swordburst - Implement party-friendly close burst 1 attack. This is similar enough to thunderwave, minus the push and Promise of Storm benefits, but a lot safer to aim.  Lightning Lure looks good at first, but is dubious because you have to teleport a bad guy right next to you! It does trigger promise of storm though and with the right party it might work.

Enc 1: Falcon's mark - Range 5 attack. Weapon-based throw-attack vs Reflex for extra accuracy.

Daily 1: Frost Backlash - Immediate Reaction weapon vs reflex attack against a foe that hit you. It is an out of turn attack that is very accurate and hits hard.

Util 2: Mythal Recovery - Enc util to make a saving throw.

Enc 3: Dimensional Vortex - Imm Interrupt when a foe hits an ally.  You can 'hit' to force the foe to teleport somewhere and hit their ally instead of your ally!

Daily 5: This level just sucks.



Eh, Lingering Lightning is effectively Close Burst 5 1d8+INT+Ongoing. Not great, but serviceable, especially with PoS.


Util 6: Unicorn Touch - daily minor util touch for you or ally to make a save. It is pretty lousy compared to Mythal, but at least you can assist another player with it.



What? You dont like a Teleport power?


You should not for any reason take a swordmage power at higher than level 22. The wizard spells are just WAY superior.



Agree here.
I agree that winged horde will be used most of the time.  Id rather have thunderwave than a swordmage at-will though.  Hence it is a rather dubious advantage.

Utilities are sky blue?   Wizards have some very nice utilities which formed my rating.   You aren't gaining a utility, you are sacrificing a known-good wizard utility for a swordmage one.   Even getting a good swordmage utility is a break-even and thus a purple or red (because your net gain is zero).
You'd have to find a really friggin awesome utility to come out ahead.   I found some decent ones sure, but not much that is obviously superior to what the wizard already gets, which is how I arrived at this rating.  It does open up your power selection though which is always a good thing.
(maybe I mis-read the unicorn one?)

There are some decent powers for swordmage though.  In fact I do like that you can take a level 7 out-of-sequence attack, vs the wizards level 13 one.  There are many more out-of-sequence choices too, at the cost of being 1-target.  Also, you lose your empowerment bonus with all swordmage powers.

The dailys are a problem, but I friggin love that level 15 interrupt one.  In fact, since you are NOT a defender, you can really abuse the heck out of certain powers which expect that you are in melee forcing enemies to attack you.  By hiding in the back you can really boost how good these powers are.


Take staff mastery?   Hmm?   Yeah you could spend a hybrid talent feat to get it back, but its only a +1 AC, so I didn't feel it was worthwhile.  The idea is to have 2 implements, a main one, and a +1-less powered one for Dual Implement Spelclaster.  You could take Staff Fighting and do this with a staff of ruin, but I prefer the second implement's cool bonus over having to take another feat.  Feats are pretty tight.

The lingering Lightning was decent, but it was not party friendly.  I wanna keep this build out of melee as much as possible and therefore try to stick to party-friendly blasts/close-bursts.  Hence, I preferred the out-of-sequence attacks as I'd rather spam Winged Horde than use a sub-par blast where I don't get empowerment.

My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
The advantage of Swordburst is that it ends up a party friendly burst 2 vs an unfriendly Blast 4 with a push(with little-to-no WIS). I think "break-even" should measure a black in this section.

Swordmages have quite a few very nice utilties themselves. Even one level of Swordmage Utility outshining a Wizard equivalent puts the option to take it at sky-blue.
Unicorn is probably the worst of the level 6 swordmage utilitys, which include an encounter teleport, fly, defense booster, double speed move and a daily save penalty power all of which are on-par with Wiz utilities at that level.

Along with using the powers in unintended ways, you take being a "chicken-defender" to a whole new level. Drop your Aegis on a mob with no range and then duck behind the rest of your party. You've just boosted all the partys defenses by 2 and you have the option to apply your aegis effect if it looks like a good idea. I'd suggest shielding, unless you plan on going assault and using those out-of-sequence attacks alot. Your defenses arent going to be that bad.

Oops, meant to say take "staff fighting" instead of mastery. Your one Staff of Ruin is now a full strength off-hand implelement, your AC is +1 for the defensive property and you now have a viable melee attack to use with the Jannisary powers. Your off hand slot can still be filled with a second option that you can drop/switch out at will, but your primary pick is full DIS.

Lingering Lightning is Range 5, One, Two or Three targets. The only thing unfriendly about it is it draws OAs if you're not careful. Not a great option, but its not a wasted slot for a blaster with PoS available.

Ive heard both ways regarding the multiclass feats.  Especially with the new wording which simply says that you can use bla-class implements.


Check out the FRPG FAQ. That should remove any confusion.

Also, it's a moot point, because you can just take a lightning quarterstaff--according to the example in the errata and PHB3, that works just fine.

The whole issue of whether adding a damage type adds a keyword is also still up in the air.  It seems that even the dev team is giving inconsistent clarifications on that one.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

I thought the keyword adding was pretty much a done deal.   Much talk about this has already been done.  I know ybberium thought it was so, along with everything Ive seen about whetstones, eldritch gloves, etc.  I have heard nothing to the contrary.

Marshall, I think I do agree regarding swordburst.   I like Twave early because of its damage and ability to trigger Promise.   But at later levels, swordburst is definitely superior when you can resound it and thunder it.  At epic with spell mastery, Id probably prefer TWave again though.

I agree about the chicken-defender.  It can cause some marking issues with the real defender, but would be a fun playstyle and can be advantageous.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
joemama, i am glad to see you writing again.  good guide.  still not sold on the thunder plan vs standard cold builds but i does look good just the same.
Hey joe, two things:
In your swordmage section, you forgot the close the color code tags for three powers. (Need to have "blue" rather than "blue).
Also, have you taken a look at the Heir of Siberys ED? Much like how Chosen = FR Demigod, it seems Heir of Siberys = Eb Demigod. The Mark of Storm choice (doesn't require the actual dragonmark) is kind of nifty - difficult terrain, anything that's flying you control their move, you fly, and +1d10 damage to lightning and thunder powers.
Yeah I need to fix the formatting.

I don't have enough experience with epic to really offer recommendations.  I mentioned that in the section and just tossed in a few that look good.    That Heir one looks pretty sweet though.  Ill have to look at it and toss it in too.


I need to update to include Arc Lightning from the wizard essentials.   Its an at-will lighting 2 target 1d6 power.   Crappy for the most part, but pretty nice for heroic tier wizards due to triggering Promise of Storm as early as level 1.   It might replace Scorching burst early on, or thunderwave if they expect to be able to avoid needing Close powers altogether.

At level 1, Arc is a sick beating.  Promise, and hit 2 dudes anywhere on the map for 1d6 +4INT +4STR +1d8 each!   (16 ave dmg) for 2 rounds worth!  And that is just using at-wills.

Once you hit paragon, you'd use Winged Win as your at-will of course.  But Arc definitely helps those who try this build starting at very low levels.


===============

I see Cold being better for single target types.  Since winterhoze was nerfed to 1 baddie that hurts the AoE cold users.  Ease of conversion is definitely a plus, but I love being able to take advantage of Resounding Thunder for size increase and the free Promise of Storm damage.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Any thoughts on the Simbarch of Aglarond Paragon Path? What about Illusory Ambush instead of Winged Horde? I know Winged Horde is very useful when you need to move around a lot, but what of the merits of a good Thunder Arcane Admixtured and Psychic Locked Illusory Ambush? Also I think the Shimmering Armor could be rated higher. Just because the other party members can handle enemies doesn't mean they'll be willing and/or able to handle all of them at once. Having it as a precaution against larger groups of enemies or foes that get by all your allies could prove useful. Also there was an update for the Gloves of Eldritch Admixture. You do have to be a warlock to use them. The Tattoo of the Wolverine gives almost the exact same benefit as Elemental Echo when you are first bloodied, stacking them seems like a good idea if you are willing to wait until you are bloodied to use Promise of Storm. Speaking of stacking bonuses the Bravo multiclass feat gives a minor action two turn +2 to attack and damage rolls for better nova-ing. I know most skill utilities are a bit less powerful than other class utilities, but seeing as you have so few hit points some of the higher level Endurance Utilities might come in handy. I think its also worth mentioning for those that might not know yet that Staff Fighting not only means a double weapon, but another free enhanced implement in your off-hand for Dual Implement Spellcaster. Speaking of Double Weapons what of taking Two Weapon Fighting and Two Weapon Defense? Just a few things to consider for this mighty wizard build.
Illusory Ambush is a single target power. It kind of entirely misses the point of Winged Horde, which is a 5x5 enemy-only burst.

It is not a good replacement by any means, since it fulfils an entirely different role. It may be something to consider for your other at-will, but it does not replace Winged Horde.

Dear lord man, paragraph breaks! I can't make it through the wall!
Illusory Ambush is a single target power. It kind of entirely misses the point of Winged Horde, which is a 5x5 enemy-only burst.

It is not a good replacement by any means, since it fulfils an entirely different role. It may be something to consider for your other at-will, but it does not replace Winged Horde.

Dear lord man, paragraph breaks! I can't make it through the wall!



Winged Horde is awesome, but the fact that it doesn't deal quite as much damage as the other spells, that its effect is a little on the situational side, and that you have to take Resounding Thunder, Enlarge Spell (which reduces its damage some more unless its been updated), Arcane Admixture, and Psychic Lock to get it to that point seems a little expensive and counter productive to blasting. Illusory Ambush requires only Arcane Admixture and Psychic Lock for some good control and damage on par with other spells, albeit single target.

I'm not saying you should never take Winged Horde though. I am saying Illusory Ambush strikes me as a slightly better choice for both control and damage. I'd rather deal normal damage compared to my other spells and stab a foe at a -4 rather than hit a bunch of other foes and put them at a -2, deal less damage, and take away an attack they may not use anyway. For killing a whole bunch of minions, that's great. For other things, not quite as good.