Ultimate Defenders Ho!

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I would like to submit a build for consideration. My most recent attempt at a defender build ended up with The Ice Storm. The Ice Storm is a Dwarf Stormheart Warden MCed into Fighter.

Link: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

About the build
This build revolves around the extreme amount of battlefield control granted by it's Paragon Path the Icewrought Sentinel. The 16th level class feature of the Sentineladds a Slide 2 effect to all the builds Primal Cold Attacks. With that in mind the build uses a Frost Weapon and then incorporates the fighters polearm feats to make every attack slide enemies as well as handing out action denial in the form of Knocking Prone, and Slow. While the build doesn't become an Ultimate Defender until level 16 it is able to preform its role from level 1 as well as any other Warden.

Meanwhile the build also has high durability due to massive healing from Second Wind tricks, and Solid Defense that it buffs on a regular bases. The build also incorporates all the usual Warden tricks to shutdown shift and movement allowing it to lock-down multiple enemies. This lock-downability combines well with its mobility to allow it to isolate multiple opponents if need be. It can also uses its mobility in a manner similar to a fighter to just get into the right position, and thanks to the Wardens easy Multimarking and the Builds Powerful Mark Punishment this build can easily play the same game a Fighter does.

From the damage point of view the build generates solid DPR thanks to strong item support for Cold attacks, and strong accuracy thanks to constant Combat Advantage. With its power selection it tends to spread around the damage in a mutitarget fashion but does have some strong single target options as well. Finally the build also incorporates several ability that allow it to protect allies in a more aggressive manners in the form of its Utilities most of which can be used to Actively protect allies from harm.

Basically the build has everything you could want in defender, Hard Control, Mobility, Toughness, Stickiness, Marking Ability, Mark Punishment, DPR, and Active Ally Protection. It then employs tactics that combine these factors in a variety of ways to make the enemies day a living nightmare and protect it's allies from harm. This creates a very versatile defender able to defend in multiple different ways and react to the encounterswith relative ease will still being a highly effective defender.


Could you perhaps add what level each of these becomes viable with their respective tricks? All of them have a level 30 version posted, which is nice, but it doesn't help someone who is starting off at a lower-level and wants to play an Ultimate Defender. (The exception to this statement being Ioun Grey Stone Marker, which I absolutely must give props to Mommy_was_an_orc for that amazing build. I played a level 12 version in a one-shot and was blown away by its awesomeness. Seriously.)

Beowulf and Mr. Smith offer snapshots at L1, L11, L21, and L30, and work well pretty much out of the box (L4 at the most to get it all together).
Could you perhaps add what level each of these becomes viable with their respective tricks? All of them have a level 30 version posted, which is nice, but it doesn't help someone who is starting off at a lower-level and wants to play an Ultimate Defender. (The exception to this statement being Ioun Grey Stone Marker, which I absolutely must give props to Mommy_was_an_orc for that amazing build. I played a level 12 version in a one-shot and was blown away by its awesomeness. Seriously.)



Thanks!

Could you PM me about how it did in play? I'm curious to know. 
I'd like to know too, so maybe you could post it in MwaO's Grey Stone Marker thread? I'm playing the build too in an ongoing campaign, but it's only level 10 right now, and the only fight we've had so far... wasn't very representative, so I don't have any insight yet.
Could you perhaps add what level each of these becomes viable with their respective tricks? All of them have a level 30 version posted, which is nice, but it doesn't help someone who is starting off at a lower-level and wants to play an Ultimate Defender. (The exception to this statement being Ioun Grey Stone Marker, which I absolutely must give props to Mommy_was_an_orc for that amazing build. I played a level 12 version in a one-shot and was blown away by its awesomeness. Seriously.)



My Super-Scrag build (linked here) is pretty straightforward, and doesn't require any particular equipment or crazy retraining. Now that we have Kirre's Roar from Dark Sun, that's a superior choice for a level 6 utility (especially since resist 3 all is nice down in heroic tier, and burst multi-marking as a fighter hasn't been easy before).

Thanks!

Could you PM me about how it did in play? I'm curious to know. 



I'd like to know too, so maybe you could post it in MwaO's Grey Stone Marker thread? I'm playing the build too in an ongoing campaign, but it's only level 10 right now, and the only fight we've had so far... wasn't very representative, so I don't have any insight yet.



I'll post it both here and in the Grey Stone Marker thread, since it's relevant enough here as well.

Basically, my group consisted of 2 leaders, 2 tanks (both of us primary tanks), 1 striker and 1 controller. I was kind of worried about the fact there were 2 tanks, but we had some really good synergy, so it worked out well.

Basically, the build worked exactly as promised: the monsters I was attacking with Brash Strike could not hit me due to the +4 to my defenses and I was able to keep multiple monsters locked down. The DM violated my mark a couple of times and ended up losing his monsters turn because of it, thanks to slow + slide 6. Twice a combat I was able to do the intercepting strike (the real name slips my mind right now) to run up and surprise a ranged attacker and then get an opportunity attack against them, then slide him into the other striker so he would get an opportunity attack. Overall, I am floored with how well this build managed to really control the front lines, while weaving around inside it and keeping several monsters focused in on him.

The other tank was keeping one locked down, but this build had several, and even a couple of times we were able to play ping-pong with a monster. "Oh, he's attacking my ally? Okay, well now I'm the focus of the attack... Oh, now he's betraying the other tanks mark? Well, there's another attack." Yes, this build would work beautifully with a martial ranger or a barbarian, but it worked equally as well with another primary tank.

At one point I did find myself unable to make the DC 15 athletics check to get up a small hill. I failed on my move action, then my standard, then my action point action. Having a athletics of 4 at level 12 isn't so great. It's very shameful for the hybrid Fighter to find himself stuck at the bottom of a small hill... haha, but we had some good laughs about it (or I did anyway). I did learn that I probably should have trained Athletics instead of Endurance... but hey, that's a personal choice anyway.

I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite characters I've ever played. It was highly effective at always keeping 2 (and usually 3, occasionally 4) monsters locked down at one time. It bounced around a lot, and had a unique flavor to it that I've not had with any other character. My only complaint is that I didn't come up with the build myself, so I feel guilty playing it!
I would like to submit Gravity to the UD list.  The build is valid at 1st, although it realy gets going at 16th.  It is significantly different than many of the other UDs in that it sacrifices damage for much more flexible control than the other builds.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
Here's a build I'm currently playing (at level 7 now) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/23216717/Awesomologists_Swordmage_Builds_Thread?post_id=450798581#450798581

The main theme is to pile as many penalties to attack on the target for attacking my allies while at the same time making it hard for them to attack or even find me.

Still trying to hammer out upper paragon/epic. 
Added The Man of Steel to the list.

To those who are still waiting for build approval, I'll get around to it eventually...I'm really busy of late though, so I don't really know how long it will take me to get it all done.  Just know that I'm not ignoring you.

Likewise, I WILL get in summaries of level effectiveness, it's just going to take some time.
I noticed that several of these builds don't really come on-line until later levels. Maybe you could add a marker, or even a little side section, for builds that work best at the lowest levels of play?

Like, you might use a different attribute spread and take different feats if you were optimizing solely for levels 1-5. I play mostly in heroic tier, so the builds that rock right from the get-go are a lot more relevant to me than those that depend on a paragon path or a level 13 power to really get going. Making those stand out a little would really be helpful.
I noticed that several of these builds don't really come on-line until later levels. Maybe you could add a marker, or even a little side section, for builds that work best at the lowest levels of play?

Like, you might use a different attribute spread and take different feats if you were optimizing solely for levels 1-5. I play mostly in heroic tier, so the builds that rock right from the get-go are a lot more relevant to me than those that depend on a paragon path or a level 13 power to really get going. Making those stand out a little would really be helpful.



In general, most ultimate defenders can't possibly come online until high heroic/low paragon. Before that, they're for the most part just defenders of a particular class(es) or builds with possibly an unusual focus. Ioun Grey Stone Marker works perfectly fine in low Heroic - it is basically a Battlemind with one less at-will and some unusual utilities.
What MwaO said.

There just isn't much you CAN do in heroic above and beyond the usual defender stuff. 
I noticed that several of these builds don't really come on-line until later levels. Maybe you could add a marker, or even a little side section, for builds that work best at the lowest levels of play?

Like, you might use a different attribute spread and take different feats if you were optimizing solely for levels 1-5. I play mostly in heroic tier, so the builds that rock right from the get-go are a lot more relevant to me than those that depend on a paragon path or a level 13 power to really get going. Making those stand out a little would really be helpful.



I don't know about most of these builds, but the Inexhaustible Dragon Sovereign has a lot of its tricks available early on. (multiple mass divine sanction)
Added The Anointed Knight, the first essentials Ultimate Defender on the list.
I'd like to nominate The Sliding Sigil Carver to the Ultimate Defenders list. 

I think that she's different enough from Dr. No and Darth Vader to be considered.  At her best, she can completely triviallize encounters against melee foes, and unlike most defenders, she doesn't need to be near her enemies to mess them up (well, within 5 squares), and she can defend against a whole bunch of enemies at the same time.

Most defenders offer the choice:  "Try to hit me, or hit an ally and eat some damage.  "

Her catch-22 is
"Try to hit me, or attempt to hit an ally and eat some damage and then completely fail to hit that ally since you are now on the other side of the battlefield*."

Additionally, she's quite strong from 16 on, and not bad before that.  Her defenses are up there with the best, with considerable effort put into non-AC, non-NAD defenses (surges, saves, resist damage, ThP).

(* and in the future, prone and slow)

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I second billyh's nomination.  She's a well-thought out Sigil Carver with high defenses and a top-knotch Action Denial schtick that is bound to frustrate many a DM.  This build is also found in what may be the best Sigil Carver guide to date...  Definitely worth consideration. 
I'd like to nominate The Sliding Sigil Carver to the Ultimate Defenders list. 

I think that she's different enough from Dr. No and Darth Vader to be considered.  At her best, she can completely triviallize encounters against melee foes, and unlike most defenders, she doesn't need to be near her enemies to mess them up (well, within 5 squares), and she can defend against a whole bunch of enemies at the same time.

Most defenders offer the choice:  "Try to hit me, or hit an ally and eat some damage.  "

Her catch-22 is
"Try to hit me, or attempt to hit an ally and eat some damage and then completely fail to hit that ally since you are now on the other side of the battlefield*."

Additionally, she's quite strong from 16 on, and not bad before that.  Her defenses are up there with the best, with considerable effort put into non-AC, non-NAD defenses (surges, saves, resist damage, ThP).

(* and in the future, prone and slow)



Even as much as I like swordmages, you also have to make the disadvantage clear - most of your catch-22 can only happen when you are adjacent to your ally, which can be quite a limiting factor depending on your party makeup. A group of all ranged people? Easy. A group of melee strikers? It gets really hard for them to fight against the same target, and you can kiss flanking goodbye.
From that thread:
"The Sliding Sigilcarver isn't the perfect defender for every situation.  No defender is.  But with a party designed and played with her strengths in mind, she can be one of the best."

I do mention that she needs to be adjecent to her allies, and some abilities (like shadow walk via assasin multiclass) are rejected because of this.


All Defenders need to position themselves.  The difference is that most of the time, Defenders have to reposition themselves relative to team monster and team hero.  The Sliding Sigil Carver is much more dependent on the team-hero part of that curve.  If the rest of your team consists of terrible players, she is much much worse.

Flanking is more difficult, but what level 16+ heroes are dependent on flanking?

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Added Super-Scrag as a variant of Mr. Smith
Added A Safe Haven
I would like to point out that Smith received a revamp, so his NADs are virtually the same as Super-Scrag's (he has -1 Will because he chose Ceaseless Guardian, basically). Also (outside of Opportunity Attacks, where Scrag enjoys a +2 edge to hit), their accuracy is the same, because while Smith is wielding a Hammer, he is also a Kensei, which cancels out. Scrag should be out-damaging Smith pretty easily, though.
I am wondering why no one has mentioned Riposte Strike here.  The power should still generate a lose/lose situation, similar to the old white lotus master riposte, for the DM.  Is there some build that takes advantage of it? 

Also, when using hybrid builds, remember to pay attention to the way hit points are added.  Ceratin combinations of classes produce low HPs.  An example would be a Warlock|Paladin.  This would produce medium or striker like, Hit Points instead of defender hit points.  One hybrid build that would avoid this is Warden|Rogue.  The combination of extreme HP from Warden and medium HP from Rogue produces typical defender HP.  Also Wardens have several ways to produce CA, which is useful if you can't get frostcheese from your DM.

Just an idea, I have started a build but not finished it, so I haven't run into reasons why this wouldn't work.  I also don't know if it would qualify as an ultimate defender or just an interesting build.
Riposte strike is great for damage dealing but has a few issues. First it limits your weapon selection to those of a rogue. Second and more important is that it gives a disincentive for an enemy to stay with you so you might get more damage but with the goal of defending your group, you give the enemy reason to ignore you.

Ultimate defenders are not the highest damage defenders, they are the ones who fill the combat role of defender to it's optimum. 

True, but it would still be interesting...wonder where the build would belong.

Two Annointed Knights could take on and beat Tiamat lol, albeit it would take about 35 turns since their damage output is so low. But their defenses are ridiculous.
As you may have noticed, it's been a long time since I added any new builds to the Ultimate Defenders.  I'm sure there have been more produced, I just don't know what they are!

So, I'm open to suggestions for good candidates.  These can be new archetypes, or simply strong variants of existing Ultimate Defenders that are different enough to warrant their own mention.

I will review candidates and run them by trusted friends. 

Here is my set hammers to stun build.  A human hybird fighter/paladin mc barbarian adroit explorer reincarnate champion.  There are some variants at the link.

Focuses on recharging single target stunning powers, which turn into domination powers in epic.  By 23 has an average of about 8.5 stuns each encounter.

I'd like to second Set Hammers to Stun. It is a solid defender that mixes in absurdly brutal condition applications. It also has a theme going that is different then other defenders posted. It stuns so hard it even stuns in percentages!
Here is my SAPPHIRE Swordmage Dragon Guardian Build. He is a shielding swordmage / Sigil Carver / Draconic Incarnation focused on protect allies with sigil carver optimization and other tricks to prevent hits.

The variant is even more powerfull with polearm tricks and planeshaper but more stat intensive.

The best thing is that the build is the funniest I played ever with lots of resources and options, and not racial/item/world dependant.

I didnt recieve feedback, but maybe now is more visible to the forum and feedback come.
Sapphire - Swormage Dragon Guardian - Dont touch my allies build. Swordmage / Sigil Carver / Draconic incarnation The Holy Slayer - A Striker - Defender Fighter | Cleric / Barbarian - Paragon of Victory WEREBEAR BATTLEMIND: You wont go where you want. - A Battlemind (Druid) / Unbound Nomad / Topaz Crusader
Fourthing set hammers to stun.

Also, if you want to check out my super knight, battlemind MC pronedaze, psilent guardian, and to a lesser extent the retalliator. They all do an excellent job.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

What about lower level builds? This thread should be similar to the DPR Kings, and list the ultimate defender of X (1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, 30) level...
That wasn't really the intention of this thread, and comparing defenders at those levels in a numerical sense is impossible compared to DPR.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I disagree... all you need to do is set a series of benchmarks, what makes one defender better than another basically, and have the various builds show how they hit those levels. AC and NADs, marking ability, punishment, and the various methods of control...

It might be harder to quantify than DPR, but far from impossible.
I disagree... all you need to do is set a series of benchmarks, what makes one defender better than another basically, and have the various builds show how they hit those levels. AC and NADs, marking ability, punishment, and the various methods of control...

It might be harder to quantify than DPR, but far from impossible.

How exactly do you compare a defender who can't be hit, because he doesn't exist, vs one who can be hit easily but is never going to be in range of anything he marks vs one who boosted defenses and stickiness and has retaliation, so he is both hard to hit and dangerous to even attack but you don't have a choice? I'm all ears. People have been trying to agree on consistent metrics for things besides DPR since 4e came out and there is always some fundamental flaw when people attempt to do so.
Not my build but I've been using it in a recent campaign and I think it's got what it takes to be in this list.
Face Fault Flailer -Human Knight/Adroit Explorer/Ceaseless Guardian. It has at will proning at 1, slide/slow/prone at 11, and can still punish while dazed in paragon and stunned in epic.
I disagree... all you need to do is set a series of benchmarks, what makes one defender better than another basically, and have the various builds show how they hit those levels. AC and NADs, marking ability, punishment, and the various methods of control...

It might be harder to quantify than DPR, but far from impossible.

How exactly do you compare a defender who can't be hit, because he doesn't exist, vs one who can be hit easily but is never going to be in range of anything he marks vs one who boosted defenses and stickiness and has retaliation, so he is both hard to hit and dangerous to even attack but you don't have a choice? I'm all ears. People have been trying to agree on consistent metrics for things besides DPR since 4e came out and there is always some fundamental flaw when people attempt to do so.


So how is this thread existant in any event? Obviously, it is possible to determine when a defender is an 'ultimate' defender by some means... even if it is not by some hard number scale but by a judgement call and general consensus.

So create some levels such as done in the DPR thread, and have ultimate defenders of each level - many of the so-called ultimate defenders suck at lower levels and are not in any way optimized until they gain a certain power, feat, item, or combination.
Metrics for what makes an ultimate defender different from a normal defender are in the first post. It is comparing ultimate defenders to each other that is impossible. Too many variables. Group composition being odd can make an "ultimate defender" early useless, depending on the build. Damage is always damage however, which is why DPR has some reasonable metric and nothing else does.

"General consensus" is not an objective metric and is something this thread already did. Heroic defenders are basically all the same. Paragon+ they get interesting and some become ultimate. When each build starts working is noted. Done. The judgement calls you're requesting have already been made and no further quantification is possible.
I disagree... all you need to do is set a series of benchmarks, what makes one defender better than another basically, and have the various builds show how they hit those levels. AC and NADs, marking ability, punishment, and the various methods of control...

It might be harder to quantify than DPR, but far from impossible.

How exactly do you compare a defender who can't be hit, because he doesn't exist, vs one who can be hit easily but is never going to be in range of anything he marks vs one who boosted defenses and stickiness and has retaliation, so he is both hard to hit and dangerous to even attack but you don't have a choice? I'm all ears. People have been trying to agree on consistent metrics for things besides DPR since 4e came out and there is always some fundamental flaw when people attempt to do so.


So how is this thread existant in any event? Obviously, it is possible to determine when a defender is an 'ultimate' defender by some means... even if it is not by some hard number scale but by a judgement call and general consensus.

So create some levels such as done in the DPR thread, and have ultimate defenders of each level - many of the so-called ultimate defenders suck at lower levels and are not in any way optimized until they gain a certain power, feat, item, or combination.



This is just false. Alcestis has it pretty much spot in, in Heroic everyone is pretty much the same. These builds are Paragon-->Epic superior. Objective mechanics are pretty much impossible, and therefore this thread exists because the 1/6/11/16/21/26/30 division is useless here.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!