A Safe Haven: Optimizing Sigil Carver to be an Ultimate Defender

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A Safe Haven
The idea of combining a Sigil Carver with a sliding basic melee attack has been around for a long time, but I don't think it gets the attention it deserves.  Basically, your party gathers around you, and it's extremely difficult for team monster to hit *anyone* on your team. 

Ultimate Defenders do the following:
1) The Defender has amazing defenses, so it's a bad option for team monster to attack the defender
2) The Defender can make it difficult to attack your teammates, so it's a bad option for team monster to attack your teammates

#2 is where defenders diverge.  Fighters (such as Mr. Smith) tend to control monsters in squares adjacent to them.  Straight Shielding Swordmages can "patrol" a larger area, but only prevent 1 attack a turn.  Inescapable defenders (such as Wardens or The Black Hole) make an area of the battlefield that can't be escaped from.  Other Defenders, such as Darth Vader, effectively increase the AC of all teammates against certain enemies by giving monsters they attack large penalties to hit.

The Sliding Sigilcarver actively prevents monsters from hitting your squad by sliding the monsters away just before their attacks can land.  She can do this with any marked monsters within 5 squares.  Provided she hits, every single melee attack is ruined, unlike the straight swordmage, who only partially ruins one.  Your allies are forced to group around you for most protection, but  provided that your party is OK with being adjecent to you, the Sliding Sigilcarver might be the best defender in the game.


Build
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Safe Haven, level 30
Human, Warlock/Swordmage, Sigil Carver, Destined Scion
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Will
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid) Option: Aegis of Shielding
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Hybrid Talent Option: Swordmage Warding
Epic Heroism Option: Constitution
Epic Heroism Option: Intelligence
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Proficiency: Implement Proficiency (Staff)
Dark Sun
Arcane Student Who Saw Too Much (Arcane Student Who Saw Too Much Benefit)
Theme: Gladiator

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 13, CON 28, DEX 12, INT 26, WIS 15, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 16, DEX 10, INT 16, WIS 13, CHA 8


AC: 48 Fort: 43 Ref: 42 Will: 45
HP: 186 Surges: 16 Surge Value: 46

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +30, Endurance +29, History +28, Intimidate +26, Religion +28

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +16, Athletics +16, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +17, Heal +17, Insight +17, Nature +17, Perception +17, Stealth +16, Streetwise +15, Thievery +16

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Gladiator Feature: Disrupting Advance
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Shielding
Wild Talent Cantrip: Telekinetic Grasp
: Arcane Defiling
Swordmage Attack 1: Sword Burst
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Warlock Utility 2: Shadow Blend
Swordmage Attack 3: Dimensional Vortex
Swordmage Utility 6: Swordmage's Decree
Warlock Utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Sigil Carver Attack 11: Aegis Sigil
Sigil Carver Utility 12: Sigil of Safety
Swordmage Attack 15: Reaper's Challenge
Warlock Utility 16: Painful Transference
Warlock Attack 17: Life Force Reclaimed
Sigil Carver Attack 20: Sigil of Enmity
Fighter Utility 22: Martial Supremacy
Swordmage Attack 25: Invincible Rampage
Destined Scion Utility 26: Epic Recovery
Swordmage Attack 27: Circle of Devastation
Warlock Attack 29: Doom of Delban
Destined Scion Utility 30: Undeniable Victory

FEATS
Hybrid Talent
Level 4: White Lotus Dueling Expertise
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 12: Bloodied Boon
Level 14: Psychic Lock
Level 16: Arcane Familiar
Level 18: Shared Pact
Level 20: World Serpent's Grasp
Level 21: Total Aegis
Level 21: Keep Them Close
Level 22: Acolyte Power
Level 22: Battle Awareness
Level 23: Superior Will
Level 24: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 24: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 25: Superior Initiative
Level 26: Warding Curse
Level 28: Strength Through Challenge
Level 30: Epic Will

ITEMS
Staggering Longsword +6 x1
Rhythm Blade Wrist razors +1
Cloak of Translocation +6 x1
Incisive Dagger Dagger +4
Rod of Corruption +1
Strikeback Tattoo x1
Rod of Brutality +2
Rod of Avernus +1
Adventurer's Kit
Familiar's Cowl x1
Siberys Shard of the Mage (heroic tier)
Foe Caller Gauntlets x1
Drake Leather Armor of Dark Majesty +6 x1
Eladrin Boots x1
Enshrouding Candle
Nullifying Ring x1
Baldric of Shielding x1
Staff of the War Mage +1
Ring of Action Reversal x1
Aegis Blade Longsword +1
Helm of Able Defense x1
Githyanki Silver Longsword +6
====== End ======




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.


Step 1: Be a bad target


Defenses

AC: 58 Fort: 51 Ref: 52 Will: 53

In addition:
+2 defenses if cursed (Warding Curse)
+2 defenses if cursed (Armor of Dark Majesty)
+2 AC/Reflex if teleporting (Normal movement is Teleport:7)
+2 defenses concealment (Ensnaring Candle and Shadow Blend) [except against burst/blast]
+2 Helm of Able Defense (Until they roll a natural 20 against hit you)
+1 AC/Reflex (Rythm Blade Wrist Razors, bugged in the CB)
-2 to enemies attacks if you hit them last turn with your Githyanki Longsword (not included)

It's easy to curse everything with Bloodied Boon and Rod of Corruption

Total Defenses:
AC 59, Fort 51, Ref 53, Will 53 

You want enemies to attack you, in addition to your defenses, you are the best member of team hero for taking hits:
Surges

HP: 186 Surges: 16 Surge Value: 46

Saves

+5 to saves, +6 vs. Daze/Stun
Ignore 1 effect/encounter (Painful Transference)
Save at beginning of turn for Stunned or Dazed (even if no save)

Other

Opens the fight with Life Force Reclaimed, which gives the Shielding Swordmage 46 Temporary Hitpoints if it hits
30 Temporary Hitpoints every time an enemy is bloodied or killed (or you can give it to an ally)
24 Temporary Hitpoints every you use Aegis of Shielding
Resist 5, as long as you have at least 2 enemies marked
Auto-miss one attack/day (Ring of Nullification)




Step 2: Make Allies a bad target



Prevention

If a marked enemy within 5 squares of you attempts to attack an ally, you get a counterstrike:
To hit: +37 vs. AC
Roll Twice

+37 to hit will hit a level 30 monster 91% of the time, a level 35 monster 70% of the time
Once you hit you get to do some damage and slide them 7 squares, presumably to somewhere where their hit fails.  Also they are slow and prone.

AlliedDefenses

If you miss they then get to try to hit your ally, at effectively -4 to hit (mark, Sigil Carver 11).  If you hit them and they are still able to attack (because they are a ranged attacker), they still will probably miss since they take a total of -8 for prone/Psychic Lock (obviously, you claw to Githyanki rather than Staggering Longsword vs. ranged).

AdditionalMeasures

If they do manage a hit, you get to negate the first 23 damage (twice a round)
Also, the first time that they hit in an encounter, you get to Circle of Devastation on them, which may also cause auto-miss
All Marked enemies are slowed.  So your allies should find it easy to get position.

UnmarkedEnemies

You have 3 encounter abilities that can prevent a (melee) hit each fight:
Sigil of Safety
Dimensional Vortex
Foe Caller Gauntlets




Some tricks:


Marking: Hybrid Swordmages can have difficulty getting every single monster marked, since they can't remark until their mark is overridden or the marked creature is killed.  However, with Double Aegis and Total Aegis, more than one enemy is marked.  To refresh these powers, use some other marking ability (such as a variety of swordmage encounter powers, Student of the Sword, or even a teammates mark) to remark a single enemy, then the entire marking ability can be used again.  It's not unreasonable to curse/mark/teleport on your first turn of a fight.

Beating Ranged Attacks, Blasts, Bursts: If your enemy has ranged attacks, they can still successfully attack your teammates, even if the enemies are inside 5 squares.  But if you have a zone or wall that blocks line of sight, such as Hunger of Hadar or Wall of Illusion, then you can stuff them in/behind the block, and the ranged attack will be affected by an additional -5 concealment penalty.  Additionally, when you punish them, they are prone and suffer an additional -4 to hit (Githyanki Sword).

Uncommon Items:  You desperately need a Sliding Weapon.  Otherwise, a creature with reach can spoil your day.  No other uncommon items are essential, but they do help your defenses.

Enemies that ready actions for your turn:  The bane of all defenders.  However, since you don't do much during your own turn, you can just refuse to take your turn by delaying.  You do lose out on a number of benefits (like making saves and teleporting), but if all of team monster readies and you delay, you've basically accomplished your goal.  Fixed:  Now you get the opportunity attacks at the time they ready an action that would draw an opporunity action during your turn.

Early Levels:


The feat/power/retrain list from the build above is appropriate for every level.  I've picked a couple levels to highlight (with items) so that the Sliding Sigilcarver can be compared to similar leveled characters:

Level 1

AC/Fort/Ref/Will 18/15/14/14
Feats: Hybrid Talent, Mindbite Scorn
Items: Longsword, Leather Armor, Adventuring Gear

At this level you can do a bunch of damage with your MBA, and you have decent defender qualities

Level 11

AC/Fort/Ref/Will 26/24/23/22
Staggering Longsword +3
Amulet of Protection +3
Armor of Dark Majesty +2
Bracers of Mighty Striking (heroic) [+2 MBA]
Boots of Striding [+1 speed]

At level 11 you can now mark two enemies, and bloodied boon + infernal pact gives you a huge amount of thp, making you very difficult to kill.  Note that Staggering Longsword is chosen even though it's mostly worthless until level 16...  you can always level up items, with item rarity you should always try to get the Uncommon Staggering Longsword even at lower levels.

Level 16

AC/Fort/Ref/Will 32/30/30/27
Staggering Longsword +4
Inix Leather Armor of Dark Majesty +3
Amulet of Protection +4
Belt of Blood [+Con mod to healing surge while bloodied]
Helm of Battle [+1 init to you + 5' allies]
Boots of Striding [+1 speed]
Strikebacks [enc: make attack back at enemy]
Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier) [AP-> 5 resist]
Rod of Corruption +1
Incisive Dagger +2

Finally!  We can use Punishing Sigil to prevent almost every melee attack on an ally.  Also at this level our arcane familiar can do tricks to allow us teleports and quick curses.

Level 21

AC/Fort/Ref/Will 38/35/34/32
Staggering Longsword +5
Baazrag Leather Armor of Dark Majesty +4
Amulet of Protection +5
Eladrin Ring of Passage [+1 teleport]
Belt of Blood [+Con mod to healing surge while bloodied]
Circlet of Arkosia [Save vs. stun/daze at beginning and end of turn]
Boots of Striding [+1 speed]
Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier) [AP-> 5 resist]
Rod of Corruption +1
Incisive Dagger +3
Rod of Avernus +1

Slowing all marked enemies is totally ludicrous, especially with Total Aegis as well

Level 24

AC/Fort/Ref/Will 41/37/37/36  (+ a whole bunch of bonuses)
Staggering Longsword +5
Ray Leather Armor of Dark Majesty +5
Cloak of Translocation +5
Eladrin Ring of Passage [+1 teleport]
Ring of the Fallen [+ Con Mod to most healing surges]
Belt of Blood [+Con mod to healing surge while bloodied]
Philosopher's Crown [+2 Arcana, Daily reroll]
Planestrider Boots [+1 speed]
Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier) [AP-> 5 resist]
Rod of Corruption +1
Incisive Dagger +4
Rod of Brutality +2
Rod of Avernus +1

At this level, the Sliding Sigilcarver is almost at full power.  She only lacks a couple of utility feats and some arcana boosting, but she has gained the Martial Superiority stance, which allows her to roll twice for MBAs.



Thoughts?  Suggestions?



Edits:
Fixed the build with suggestions so far:
Repel Charge, Epic Recovery -> Strength in Numbers, Rapid Aegis Reaction
Took Reaper's Challenge rather than Ward of Scales
Rearranged feats so the build is more playable throughout (especially 16+ when you get Punishing Sigil)
Fighter->Assassin, new feats
Updated the Defenses and Punishment sections
Removed discussion of Repel Charge, updated Beating Ranged Attacks
Assassin->Fighter, updated defenses and attacks
Updated to new character builder, added Keep them Close (for slow, then prone)
Added Early Levels
9/13/2012:  Went from Dwarf to Human, fixed items, Sage of Ages -> Destined Scion

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've been tinkering with a similar build, albeit a githyanki for the int/con bonuses. I also like Unyielding Sentinel for the ED, as it gives +con and a + to any other stat of your choice, roll twice on saves (so helps end daze/stun, which prevent interrupts/opportunities), and a stance that prevents all forced movement.

Some feats to look at:
Mark of Warding - makes your mark impose a -3 penalty
White Lotus Riposte & Master Riposte - foes you hit with an at-will take damage if they damage you before your next turn
Protective Curse - when you hit a cursed foe, it takes a -2 penalty to close/melee atks vs your allies
Strength Through Challenge - resist 5 all while you have 2+ foes marked
Rapid Aegis Reaction - you can use your aegis reaction twice per round (no more than once per triggering atk)

For the level 15 daily, you really want Reaper's Mark. It's like a mini-mark that stacks with one of your marks, or, for real hilarity, with an allied defender's mark.
This build screams White Lotus Hindrance/Master Riposte. Difficult terrain makes it a lot more difficult to get to you. I've been working on something extremely similar, except with Polearm Momentum for those free prones, and Hindering Shield by MCing Fighter for some extra slow. It's a strong concept, and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes up here. I'll give some more in depth advice when I'm not swamped.

Some feats to look at:
Mark of Warding - makes your mark impose a -3 penalty
White Lotus Riposte & Master Riposte - foes you hit with an at-will take damage if they damage you before your next turn
Protective Curse - when you hit a cursed foe, it takes a -2 penalty to close/melee atks vs your allies
Strength Through Challenge - resist 5 all while you have 2+ foes marked
Rapid Aegis Reaction - you can use your aegis reaction twice per round (no more than once per triggering atk)

For the level 15 daily, you really want Reaper's Mark. It's like a mini-mark that stacks with one of your marks, or, for real hilarity, with an allied defender's mark.



I'll think about how to get Reaper's Mark in.

I meant to put in Mark of Warding (rather than Shared Warding), in fact I mentioned it in my defenses section.  I fixed it above.

On the rest, I like Strength Through Challenge, it might be better than Hide Armor.

Rapid Aegis Reaction is less effective, since most rounds you won't have two marked enemies hitting your allies (You have to miss, they have to hit, etc.)

Protective Curse is OK.  It's more of the Darth Vader approach of just handing out big penalties.

White Lotus Master Riposte is terrible, since you can't use it on marked enemies.  White Lotus Riposte is OK, but you usually won't be able to hit a bunch of enemies at once (even with Sword Burst).  I'll post a "friend" build to this one next, which uses White Lotus Hinderance.  It's a great effect, but you really don't have the feat space.

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

Here's that githyanki build I was talking about. I went ahead and cranked out some items for it real quick:

Show
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 30
Githyanki, Swordmage|Warlock, Sigil Carver, Unyielding Sentinel
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Vestige Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding
Twofold Pact: Infernal Pact
Stalwart Guardian: Stalwart Guardian (Intelligence)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 28, Dex 12, Int 28, Wis 14, Cha 10.

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


AC: 49 Fort: 46 Reflex: 44 Will: 44
HP: 206 Surges: 16 Surge Value: 51

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +29, History +31, Arcana +29

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +16, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +17, Endurance +24, Heal +17, Insight +17, Intimidate +21, Nature +17, Perception +17, Stealth +16, Streetwise +15, Thievery +16, Athletics +17

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 2: Hybrid Talent
Level 4: White Lotus Riposte
Level 6: Mark of Warding
Level 8: Aegis Vitality (retrained to Twofold Pact at Level 11)
Level 10: Toughness (retrained to Greater Swordmage Warding at Level 12)
Level 11: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 21)
Level 12: Protective Hex
Level 14: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 16: Greater Aegis of Shielding
Level 18: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Level 20: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 21: Warding Curse
Level 22: Strength Through Challenge
Level 24: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Relentless Curse
Level 30: Student of the Athanaeum

POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Eldritch Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Luring Strike
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Hybrid encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Hybrid daily 1: Dimensional Thunder (retrained to Flames of Phlegethos at Level 5)
Hybrid utility 2: Ethereal Stride
Hybrid encounter 3: Fiery Bolt
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Armathor's Step (retrained to Swordmage's Decree at Level 16)
Hybrid encounter 7: Mordant Rains of Dis
Hybrid daily 9: Troll Rampage
Hybrid utility 10: Dark One's Own Luck
Hybrid encounter 13: Harrowstorm (replaces Fiery Bolt)
Hybrid daily 15: Reaper's Challenge (replaces Troll Rampage)
Hybrid utility 16: Aegis of Lost Souls
Hybrid encounter 17: Thundering Vortex (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 19: Caution of Dispater (replaces Flames of Phlegethos)
Hybrid utility 22: Giant's Might
Hybrid encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Mordant Rains of Dis)
Hybrid daily 25: Infernal Chains (replaces Caution of Dispater)
Hybrid encounter 27: Shattering of the Sword (replaces Thundering Vortex)
Hybrid daily 29: Hurl Through Hell (replaces Infernal Chains)

ITEMS
Voidhide of Dark Majesty +6, Staggering Longsword +6, Brooch of Vitality +6, Foe Binder Ring (paragon tier), Ring of Protection (paragon tier), Belt of Vitality (epic tier), Eye of Awareness (epic tier), Fey Warrior's Boots (epic tier), Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Gauntlets of Blood (epic tier), Strongheart Tattoo (paragon tier), Moradin's Blessing of Iron (level 23)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

[
White Lotus Master Riposte is terrible, since you can't use it on marked enemies.  White Lotus Riposte is OK, but you usually won't be able to hit a bunch of enemies at once (even with Sword Burst.



Oh wow, I didn't see that they'd added that. Well, it was a deserved nerf, it was a pretty nasty catch-22 when you could use it on marked foes.
On the rest, I like Strength Through Challenge, it might be better than Hide Armor.


Especially now that you can no longer be guaranteed to get a Ring of Free Time, sources of resist all are very valuable.

Rapid Aegis Reaction is less effective, since most rounds you won't have two marked enemies hitting your allies (You have to miss, they have to hit, etc.)


I am amused that such an important swordmage feat is so much less so for your build.
Keep in mind, though, that you won't always be able to keep your allies adjacent to you.  Rapid Aegis Reaction lets you maintain your Aegis effectiveness and still use those delicious immediate action powers.
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.

Protective Curse is OK.  It's more of the Darth Vader approach of just handing out big penalties.


Penalties don't lose value just because they're not your main schtick.  Protective hex is nice because it's a good -2 that only costs one feat.
Realize that because you are using Eldritch Strike, your Sigil Carver opportunity attacks are inflicting a -2 to hit on your enemies.  This protects your party against opportunity attacks, and creatures that make multiple attacks.  Since you can only make one opportunity attack per creature per turn, this lets your OAs have a more enduring effect on creatures with such creatures.


White Lotus Riposte is OK, but you usually won't be able to hit a bunch of enemies at once (even with Sword Burst).



Despite your ability to multimark and multipunish, you will still usually end up engaging one of the more dangerous foes in melee.  This is obvious if there's a Solo, but even if it's just an elite, most combats you will end up wanting to put some harsher smackdown on a particular enemy.  White Lotus Riposte is a great way to tighten up half your catch-22 against those monsters.

Looks like a fun build, one that I've pondered myself a couple times (I actually considered making Darth Vader a Sigil Carver for a while, but I like Avernian Knight for a number of reasons).  It will probably need to be added to the Ultimate Defenders list. 

My mistake, I meant to say Master Hindrance. With the 2 hindrance feats, every single square around you and your allies is hindering terrain, which I absolutely love.


Rapid Aegis Reaction I consider a must for all Swordmages. Being able to do it twice makes it a lot more beneficial. Just look at the new Rogue rules. Now that they can SA more than once per round, everybody's saying how broken and amazing they are.

For a half-elf Sigil Carver who multiclasses into warlock, you could try this build.


Half-Elf Sigil Carver

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Vari, level 30
Half-Elf, Swordmage, Sigil Carver, Sage of Ages
Swordmage Aegis: Aegis of Shielding
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Pact Initiate: Pact Initiate (star pact)
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Background: Aerenal (+2 to Arcana)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 26, Dex 12, Int 24, Wis 10, Cha 16.

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


AC: 47 Fort: 43 Reflex: 46 Will: 46
HP: 215 Surges: 16 Surge Value: 53

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +46, Athletics +22, History +37, Endurance +28, Religion +37

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +16, Bluff +18, Diplomacy +20, Dungeoneering +21, Heal +15, Insight +17, Intimidate +18, Nature +21, Perception +15, Stealth +21, Streetwise +18, Thievery +16

FEATS
Level 1: Versatile Expertise
Level 2: Intelligent Blademaster (retrained to Versatile Master at Level 11)
Level 4: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 22)
Level 6: Mark of Warding
Level 8: Pact Initiate
Level 10: Acolyte Power
Level 11: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 21)
Level 12: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 14: Greater Aegis of Shielding
Level 16: Superior Will
Level 18: Arcane Familiar
Level 20: Superior Reflexes
Level 21: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 22: Shared Warding
Level 24: Epic Will
Level 26: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 28: Epic Reflexes
Level 30: Strength Through Challenge

POWERS
Dilettante: Eldritch Strike
Swordmage at-will 1: Sword Burst
Swordmage at-will 1: Booming Blade
Swordmage encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Swordmage daily 1: Dimensional Thunder
Swordmage utility 2: Mythal Recovery
Swordmage encounter 3: Dimensional Vortex
Swordmage daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Swordmage utility 6: Armathor's Step (retrained to Channeling Shield at Level 10)
Swordmage encounter 7: Transposing Lunge
Swordmage daily 9: Troll Rampage
Swordmage utility 10: Impenetrable Warding (retrained to Ethereal Sidestep at Acolyte Power)
Swordmage encounter 13: Silverlight Strike (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Swordmage daily 15: Rubicant's Assault (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
Swordmage utility 16: Borrowed Confidence
Swordmage encounter 17: Thundering Vortex (replaces Silverlight Strike)
Swordmage daily 19: Ward of Scales (replaces Troll Rampage)
Swordmage utility 22: Giant's Might
Swordmage encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Transposing Lunge)
Swordmage daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Rubicant's Assault)
Swordmage encounter 27: Circle of Devastation (replaces Dimensional Vortex)
Swordmage daily 29: Astral Thunder Blade (replaces Dimensional Thunder)

ITEMS
Cloak of Translocation +6, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier), Opal Ring of Remembrance (epic tier), Foe Caller Gauntlets (epic tier), Greater Ring of Invisibility (epic tier), Eager Hero's Tattoo (paragon tier), Defiant Boots (paragon tier), Staggering Longsword +6, Incisive Dagger Dagger +4, Diamond Cincture (paragon tier), Runic Starleather Armor +6, Eye of Awareness (epic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======





If you don't care about the Cloak of Translocation trick, then the build works as a single-class swordmage. The defenses are a little lower since you can't get Armor of Dark Majesty/Warding Curse, but you have more hit points, more surges, and have stronger mark punishment against ranged attackers. The familiar is Coure Attendent (for Arcana boost and the ability to draw/stow the Incisive Dagger as a free action). I went with Skill Focus (Arcana) to increase the chance of getting three or four benefits from Trick of Knowledge. You only need to roll a 10 to get three benefits by level 30, and 15 isn't out of the question.

By the way, Foe Caller Gauntlets can be recharged by Cloak of Translocation. It's nice for punishing foes who manage to avoid the opportunity attack slide to get another chance to slide the enemies away.
I love the Sigil Carver, I've been building toward that while somehow managing to not see the PP.  Probably because I've been laughing maniacly over perma-invisibility/insubstantial.

One power you might want to consider is Arcane Deflection (Swordmage 9), it complements the Punishing Sigil nicely since it's an Immediate Interrupt and doesn't require the target to be Marked.  You'll know what they rolled before hand, so no wasting it on high rolls (You have Sigil of Safety, Dimensional Vortex, and your Aegis anyway)  Because it's a Weapon attack, it's that much better against attacks that target NADs like pesky dominates.

Also, your Aegis at level 30 will prevent (15+8) 23 damage, not 13.

If I understand the Intent, you want every enemies turn to look like:

Enemy within 5 targets ally adjacent to you.
Enemy attacks with a -3 penalty to hit.
Enemy Misses? End.  Enemy Hits? Continue.
You make an OA interrupting the hit.
You Hit? Slide Enemy far enough away to cancel the attack.
You Miss? Use an Interrupt (Arcane Deflection/Dimensional Vortex/Sigil of Safety/etc.) to cancel the attack.

My question here is if you could use the Interrupt first, specifically Transposing Lunge and Dimensional Vortex which both have Range 10 and thus could teleport the target into range of your Punishing Sigil.  The idea is to pull in those enemies with Range 10 who are standing 6-10 away from you, and then either bring them next to you for further punishment, or slide them to 12 away (and thus out of their range)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Nothing says what order an immediate interrupt and an opportunity action that are triggered by the same event take. You could use the immediate interrupt first if you so desired, and you give a good set of reasons why you might want to bring the target closer.

Another trick that you can use against ranged attackers who just barely hit is to move them to a location where your ally has cover (either from other PCs, or from terrain). That's effectively +2 to defenses, which can cause a ranged attack to miss.
and you give a good set of reasons why you might want to bring the target closer.


If you move a ranged attacker into melee as an interrupt, does its attack now provoke OAs?
If you move a ranged attacker into melee with your adjacent ally, does it now provoke OAs from both you AND your ally? 
Continuing that thought:

If you move a ranged attacker into melee with your ally(s) as an opportunity attack, does it now also provoke OAs from your allies?

From everything I can see, the answer to all these is Yes.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
and you give a good set of reasons why you might want to bring the target closer.


If you move a ranged attacker into melee as an interrupt, does its attack now provoke OAs?
If you move a ranged attacker into melee with your adjacent ally, does it now provoke OAs from both you AND your ally? 



No, as the trigger already passed without anyone adjacent to take OAs.
and you give a good set of reasons why you might want to bring the target closer.


If you move a ranged attacker into melee as an interrupt, does its attack now provoke OAs?
If you move a ranged attacker into melee with your adjacent ally, does it now provoke OAs from both you AND your ally? 



No, as the trigger already passed without anyone adjacent to take OAs.




Or, yes, because the interrupt effectively delays the targets action until after your interupt, basically triggering it again once it's in it's new position, allowing for basically a new round of checks to be made to see if the conditions are met.  

Anyone who has played Magic knows of the infamous stack.  While this isn't Magic, to me, this screams of a stack issue to me and a case where they probably took Magic rules and applied them to D&D.
Agreed, and in magic, the trigger only happens once.

Same as D&D - triggers happen once, then things happen, then it's over. Things don't retrigger - you don't make him start his attack again by interrupting, you've already used the "OA provoking" time.
In Magic, depending on what exaclty the trigger is, it checks to make sure it's still a valid trigger. So in some cases, the trigger would indeed check again to make sure if anything else needed to go off, or if any other interupts or opportunity actions would be allowed.

I see this as working like this:

1) Mob says it's doing a ranged attack.
2) Players check to see if they have actions to interupt or take OA's.
3) They do, in this case, the defender.
4) Defender interupts and pulls it closer (mobs action is set, but still on the stack)
5) Mob is now in new position, but still doing a ranged attack.
6) Check to see if any actions that could apply to a ranged attack in the new position can now apply.     Because the mobs action hasn't happend yet, it's simply on the stack waiting for things to resolve.
7) If yes, make them if you want.
8) If no, then the monster finally gets to finish making it's attack.
That's an incorrect way to read it in both D&D and Magic :P

1) Trigger begins.
2) Response.
3) Trigger finishes.

In D&D perhaps, in Magic, it's a perfeclty valid way, though perhaps not the exact normal way.

1) trigger begins
2) respond
3) trigger resolves

That's right most of the time, BUT, is incorrect if you change something fundamental about the nature of the trigger, or give yourself new ways to react to the trigger in your response.

This is just a hypothetical, but should illustrate my point.
As setup, it's important in this case to know that player A is at 3 life (or any life between 1 and 3).

1) player A plays a red spell.
2) player B already has a card in play that does something when player A plays a red spell.
3) player B plays a card that allows them to draw more cards.
4) Player B looks through the new cards to see if he can do anything else.
5) player B can, so he plays a spell that does 3 damage.
6) player A is now dead.
7) game checks to see if all the stuff on the stack can resolve.  All of player B's stuff does, but none of player A's stuff does, because when it checks, there is no longer a player A.

For a half-elf Sigil Carver who multiclasses into warlock, you could try this build
If you don't care about the Cloak of Translocation trick, then the build works as a single-class swordmage. The defenses are a little lower since you can't get Armor of Dark Majesty/Warding Curse, but you have more hit points, more surges, and have stronger mark punishment against ranged attackers. I spent the extra feats on Epic Fortitude and Alert Familiar (to prevent most of the disadvantage of CA), but they're basically free slots. I also went with Skill Focus (Arcana) to increase the chance of getting three or four benefits from Trick of Knowledge. You only need to roll a 10 to get three benefits by level 30, and 15 isn't out of the question.

By the way, Foe Caller Gauntlets can be recharged by Cloak of Translocation. It's nice for punishing foes who manage to avoid the opportunity attack slide to get another chance to slide the enemies away.




A couple of reasons to play a Warlock|Swordmage rather than a Half-Elf Swordmage:

You can play any race you want...  in particular, Dwarf.  Dwarfs are simply, the best defensive race.  As a result of Dwarf, the Warlock|Swordmage actually has more surges (17 vs. 16) and a higher surge value (54 vs. 53) AND you can use your (two) second winds as minor actions.  That's not even mentioning the stableness of dwarfs, which helps when they try to drag you away from your friends.

Warlock has a surprising number of defensive abilities outside of item buffs to defenses, from Painful Transferance (which basically gets you out of one save-ends per encounter for free), to Wakeman's Invokation (a daily which nullifies one hit on you per turn!!), to Etheral Sidestep (which fixes grab, restrained, and with items allows movement of teleport 6)

Additionally, I think there is the general misconception that the Sliding Swordmage can't handle ranged attackers, or handles them less well than a straight swordmage, which isn't true.  As long as they are marked, and within 5 of you, you simply stuff them inside your Hunger of Hadar and they auto-miss.

A bigger problem is ranged attackers that you can't mark since they are far away, but just about every defender has that problem (Unless you have a Bard with Misdirected Mark)

Better, of course, is if you have a Wizard party member with Improved Tome of Readiness and Illusionary Wall.  Now you can prevent ranged attacks every encounter.  As an added bonus, the Wizard can stick the wall 5 squares from the Sliding Swordmage in the direction of the artillery, and the artillery has to get in range to attack (and team hero can shoot them through the illusionary wall just fine!)

Another really strong party member is one with Polearm Gamble/Momentum and a push/slide 2.  Normally, Polearm Gamble is a trap, since by the time you get it everything has reach.  But if you can get your Polearm Gamble guy adjecent to the Sliding Swordmage but between the defender and Team Monster, then melee monsters are totally worthless...  They can't get close to the Sliding Swordmage (since they can't advance up-to/past Polearm Gamble guy or they get proned) AND they can't hit Polearm Gamble guy (since the Sliding Swordmage will scoot them out of there).  They could try to move way around the Polearm guy, then charge at the Sliding Swordmage, but then Repel Charge gets them and they can't do that either.  Only if they have reach 4 (where you still get cover) or teleport or something they might be able to get in there.

The Sliding Swordmage is more of a specialist defender.  She's a pretty good defender in a normal party.  But with the right party she's totally ridiculous.

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



A couple of reasons to play a Warlock|Swordmage rather than a Half-Elf Swordmage:

You can play any race you want...  in particular, Dwarf.  Dwarfs are simply, the best defensive race.  As a result of Dwarf, the Warlock|Swordmage actually has more surges (17 vs. 16) and a higher surge value (54 vs. 53) AND you can use your (two) second winds as minor actions.  That's not even mentioning the stableness of dwarfs, which helps when they try to drag you away from your friends.



You're also spending a feat to get that greater number of surges, and a nearly interchangeable healing surge value. I can spend the same feat to get Greater Swordmage Warding before level 14, and pick up other defensive feats later. While a second wind as a minor action is nice for wardens and parties with low healing, it's generally not that great if you've got a competent leader. You're spending two surges with no bonuses, whereas you can have an extra 12d6 of healing with those surges as a bare minimum with a leader.

Stability, I definitely agree. Sigil Carvers want to stay in place. My half-elf uses boots to stick around, but dwarves start from a better place.


Warlock has a surprising number of defensive abilities outside of item buffs to defenses, from Painful Transference (which basically gets you out of one save-ends per encounter for free), to Wakeman's Invokation (a daily which nullifies one hit on you per turn!!), to Ethereal Sidestep (which fixes grab, restrained, and with items allows movement of teleport 6)

Additionally, I think there is the general misconception that the Sliding Swordmage can't handle ranged attackers, or handles them less well than a straight swordmage, which isn't true.  As long as they are marked, and within 5 of you, you simply stuff them inside your Hunger of Hadar and they auto-miss.


I won't deny that those are all good powers, but swordmages get similarly useful powers. Bolstering Warding is better than Painful Transference in battles where nasty conditions get reapplied. Oni's Gift can keep you invisible for much of an entire fight, which definitely keeps defenses up. You can grab Ethereal Sidestep with a power-swap if you want, or stick with multiple encounter teleports (which have better range than ES to start). Ethereal Sidestep is definitely a nice power in that regard.

Hunger of Hadar is not enough for an auto-miss, by the way. Blocking line of sight just means that you have total concealment from the creature. It's also a bit disingenuous to claim that a level 29 daily power is enough to protect you from ranged attackers, especially since the enemies still have to be within 5 squares. Your build didn't make room for Rapid Aegis Reaction or Greater Aegis of Shielding. Both of those can help protect against ranged attackers, though you do need to mark the enemies in the first place.



Penalties don't lose value just because they're not your main schtick.  Protective hex is nice because it's a good -2 that only costs one feat.
Realize that because you are using Eldritch Strike, your Sigil Carver opportunity attacks are inflicting a -2 to hit on your enemies.  This protects your party against opportunity attacks, and creatures that make multiple attacks.  Since you can only make one opportunity attack per creature per turn, this lets your OAs have a more enduring effect on creatures with such creatures.



Except that most of the time (baring catching a bunch of creatures in a Sword Burst), you only get to hit one enemy with an Arcane power.  So you give a single enemy -2 to attack your allies...  I think most of the time that single enemy will just attack you.  Better is something that nerfs ALL enemies.

Multiple attacks are generally not a problem... Suppose as a standard action a monster attacks twice.  Before the first attack hits, you send them somewhere horrible, then their second (and first) attacks automiss.  Admitably, a monster with a minor action attack could swing with that, you move him elsewhere, and then he charges someone.  If you reallize that they are attempting to those shinanigans, you might just have to let the first swing go.



Despite your ability to multimark and multipunish, you will still usually end up engaging one of the more dangerous foes in melee.  This is obvious if there's a Solo, but even if it's just an elite, most combats you will end up wanting to put some harsher smackdown on a particular enemy.  White Lotus Riposte is a great way to tighten up half your catch-22 against those monsters.

Looks like a fun build, one that I've pondered myself a couple times (I actually considered making Darth Vader a Sigil Carver for a while, but I like Avernian Knight for a number of reasons).  It will probably need to be added to the Ultimate Defenders list. 



The ideal is to actually to not engage the enemy.  Cower behind your "front line".  Let the big bad mob try to run around team hero to try to engage you.  Doing a bit of extra damage (7 or 8 per attack?) is not really worth it; it probably will be taking Hellish Rebuke/Iron Spike damage as well, if it manages to hit you at all.

I eagerly anticipate someday making the Ultimate Defenders list.

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


Hunger of Hadar is not enough for an auto-miss, by the way. Blocking line of sight just means that you have total concealment from the creature. It's also a bit disingenuous to claim that a level 29 daily power is enough to protect you from ranged attackers, especially since the enemies still have to be within 5 squares. Your build didn't make room for Rapid Aegis Reaction or Greater Aegis of Shielding. Both of those can help protect against ranged attackers, though you do need to mark the enemies in the first place.



Hunger of Hadar is a level 5 daily.  I'm going to fix the order which I take it.

Blocking line of sight just means that you have total concealment from the creature.

Is that so?  I understand that total darkness -> total concealment, but I thought that you couldn't attack through a zone that blocked all line of sight to your target.

Another pretty easy thing to do in just about any dungeon is stuff a ranged attacker behind a solid object and block line of effect.




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 won't deny that those are all good powers, but swordmages get similarly useful powers. Bolstering Warding is better than Painful Transference in battles where nasty conditions get reapplied. Oni's Gift can keep you invisible for much of an entire fight, which definitely keeps defenses up.





Painful Transferance is an encounter utility that ends an effect as a no-action, which means you can use it when you get dominated or stunned.  Bolstering Warding is a daily utility that ends an effect as a minor action.  How is Bolstering Warding better in any way shape or form than Painful Transferance?

Oni's Gift is pretty good.  The problem with it (other than the fact that it requires a minor), is that as a sustain it can be only used once a turn.  So you attack without invisible, then you sustain to turn invisible, then team monster makes the first attack on an ally, you prevent with CA (and lose invisible), and then you aren't invisible and everything goes normal.  If you sustain in your turn before you attack, you get CA on your main attack, but not for the rest of your turn.

Wakeman's Invocation is totally ridiculous, especially against solos/elites.  They try to hit you.  One of them gets really lucky and gets through your defenses (+2).  You negate the hit by teleporting.  This happens once/turn and doesn't use a minor.  [but it does use your interrupt]

The Warlock|Swordmage COULD take those swordmage powers, but the warlock ones are better.  That's not even including curse damage 1/turn, temporary hp through infernal pact, a ranged attack that's also a catch-22, and curse/teleport feats/items that give +6 AC/+6 Ref/+4 Fort/+4 Will.

________________________________

Despite my overexited tone (Someone is wrong on the internet!!), I do appreciate your feedback and I'm starting to come around to the Rapid Aegis Reaction boat.  Probably I'd sub out Epic Recovery for it (I think second wind minor action is very strong, but I agree on your leader analysis).  Without Epic Recovery, you don't need Student of the Sword, so that gets another feat (for Strength of Challenge).


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

In D&D perhaps, in Magic, it's a perfeclty valid way, though perhaps not the exact normal way.

1) trigger begins
2) respond
3) trigger resolves

That's right most of the time, BUT, is incorrect if you change something fundamental about the nature of the trigger, or give yourself new ways to react to the trigger in your response.

This is just a hypothetical, but should illustrate my point.
As setup, it's important in this case to know that player A is at 3 life (or any life between 1 and 3).

1) player A plays a red spell.
2) player B already has a card in play that does something when player A plays a red spell.
3) player B plays a card that allows them to draw more cards.
4) Player B looks through the new cards to see if he can do anything else.
5) player B can, so he plays a spell that does 3 damage.
6) player A is now dead.
7) game checks to see if all the stuff on the stack can resolve.  All of player B's stuff does, but none of player A's stuff does, because when it checks, there is no longer a player A.



None of that disagrees - let's try something different.

Player A has an enchantment on the table - whenever a player plays a green spell, draw a card, as well as a card in hand that turns target spell or permanent green.

Player B plays a spell - player A plays said spell to turn the spell green. They never played a green spell, they played a spell that then turned green. Player A does not draw a card.

See? Same thing. Not in place for an OA, no OA.


Painful Transference is an encounter utility that ends an effect as a no-action, which means you can use it when you get dominated or stunned.  Bolstering Warding is a daily utility that ends an effect as a minor action.  How is Bolstering Warding better in any way shape or form than Painful Transference?



It depends on the fights that you typically find yourself facing. If you have more fights per day, but with relatively infrequent nasty status effects (stun, dominate, etc.), then Painful Transference is stronger. If you more often have one fight where a monster has at-will stun (save ends) or dominate (save ends), then the ability to auto-save at the end of each of your turns will discourage the attacker from targeting you in the first place, and decrease the duration of those effects if they do target you and hit.


To clarify, Bolstering Warding is a stance, so it lasts the whole encounter. PT will help for that first time (and will do so 1/encounter the entire day), but Bolstering Warding helps for the big battles that happen less frequently. I'm certainly not claiming that PT isn't good; it's a great utility, but there is another option at that level for a single-class swordmage.



Oni's Gift is pretty good.  The problem with it (other than the fact that it requires a minor), is that as a sustain it can be only used once a turn.  So you attack without invisible, then you sustain to turn invisible, then team monster makes the first attack on an ally, you prevent with CA (and lose invisible), and then you aren't invisible and everything goes normal.  If you sustain in your turn before you attack, you get CA on your main attack, but not for the rest of your turn.

Wakeman's Invocation is totally ridiculous, especially against solos/elites.  They try to hit you.  One of them gets really lucky and gets through your defenses (+2).  You negate the hit by teleporting.  This happens once/turn and doesn't use a minor.  [but it does use your interrupt]



Agreed on Oni's Gift. For this build, which makes a lot of OAs, it's not as good. Giant's Might could be better - it's giving the bonus to melee attacks and damage, adding reach, and giving your allies more squares to be adjacent to you. Of course, it also gives you a little less maneuverability since you take up that extra space.

The interrupt cost on Wakeman's is rougher than a minor, in my opinion. The single-class swordmage has fewer uses for the minor (no curses, fewer items), so it can suck it up. If you go with Rapid Aegis Reaction, then you'll not feel the immediate interrupt cost quite so much.



The Warlock|Swordmage COULD take those swordmage powers, but the warlock ones are better.  That's not even including curse damage 1/turn, temporary hp through infernal pact, a ranged attack that's also a catch-22, and curse/teleport feats/items that give +6 AC/+6 Ref/+4 Fort/+4 Will.

________________________________

Despite my overexcited tone (Someone is wrong on the internet!!), I do appreciate your feedback and I'm starting to come around to the Rapid Aegis Reaction boat.  Probably I'd sub out Epic Recovery for it (I think second wind minor action is very strong, but I agree on your leader analysis).  Without Epic Recovery, you don't need Student of the Sword, so that gets another feat (for Strength of Challenge).


Heh. I know I'm on the wrong board for it, but I'm not a big fan of most hybrid combinations from a story perspective. I suspect that the warlock/swordmage version of this character can be more powerful with the proper items and a bit more tweaking, but I like showing that you can get a character which is nearly as effective (and is a little less item-dependent) by going with the half-elf. I do wish that there were a way to get Eldritch Strike as a swordmage other than half-elf trickery, but that seems to be it.

Just to show that I can make a hybrid version of the Sigil Carver as Ultimate Defender, here's a variant with the choice of dwarf replaced with revenant. I had originally done it to try to get Shadow Initiate in paragon and pick up Cursed Shadow for what's essentially a second Hybrid Talent, but there were just too many other good feats.  I'd still like to fit in Greater Aegis of Shielding and Cursed Spells even before I look at Shadow Initiate/Cursed Shadow. I think Repel Charge isn't as useful by the time you get to higher tiers. Enemies are more likely to have reach, and if they don't get adjacent to you, you can't hit them out of the way.

I went with githzerai as the past race to get access to Githzerai Blademaster for more damage (bastard sword and +2/3/4 damage), but if you're more worried about survivability, you could go with dwarf as the past race and pick up Dwarven Durability. Of course, by the time you get Trick of Knowledge, you should be able to get +7 to all saving throws in most encounters. That makes failing two death saves pretty hard to do.

Swordmage Implement Expertise works pretty well for this build. It doesn't affect Hellish Rebuke, Zutwa's Incandescence, and Hurl Through Hell, but it does affect Eldritch Strike (which is the most important power to affect).

The Defiant Boots are much more key for a non-dwarf. Stand Your Ground is enough to keep you near your allies most of the time, but lacking that, you need something to prevent forced movement from destroying your nice aura. Similarly, the Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness works much better for a revenant than a Diamond Cincture. The Ring of Free Time is somewhat optional, depending on how much time you try to spend dying during each encounter. It is still nice for the extra minor actions; it's a free use of Warlock's Curse or your Aegis of Shielding if nothing else.


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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sigil, level 30
Revenant, Swordmage|Warlock, Sigil Carver, Sage of Ages
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Vestige Pact (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Twofold Pact: Infernal Pact
Choose your Race in Life: Githzerai
Background: Aerenal (+2 to Arcana)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 26, Dex 14, Int 24, Wis 14, Cha 10.

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


AC: 48 Fort: 41 Reflex: 40 Will: 41
HP: 184 Surges: 15 Surge Value: 46

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +37, History +37, Arcana +46

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +23, Endurance +25, Heal +17, Insight +17, Intimidate +23, Nature +23, Perception +17, Stealth +17, Streetwise +15, Thievery +17, Athletics +17

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Mark of Warding
Level 4: Versatile Expertise
Level 6: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 21)
Level 8: Githzerai Blade Master
Level 10: Durable (retrained to Twofold Pact at Level 11)
Level 11: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 12: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 22)
Level 14: Protective Hex
Level 16: Fierce Vitality
Level 18: Arcane Familiar
Level 20: Improved Swordmage Warding
Level 21: Warding Curse
Level 22: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 24: Swordmage Implement Expertise
Level 26: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 28: Ghostly Vitality
Level 30: Epic Will

POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Hybrid at-will 1: Eldritch Strike
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Hybrid encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Hybrid daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Hybrid utility 2: Ethereal Stride (retrained to Strategist's Epiphany at Level 6)
Hybrid encounter 3: Fortune Binding
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Armathor's Step (retrained to Mythal Recovery at Level 10)
Hybrid encounter 7: Dimensional Vortex
Hybrid daily 9: Troll Rampage
Hybrid utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Hybrid encounter 13: Killing Flames (replaces Fortune Binding)
Hybrid daily 15: Reaper's Challenge (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
Hybrid utility 16: Painful Transference
Hybrid encounter 17: Life Force Reclaimed (replaces Killing Flames)
Hybrid daily 19: Ward of Scales (replaces Troll Rampage)
Hybrid utility 22: Wakeman's Invocation
Hybrid encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Reaper's Challenge)
Hybrid encounter 27: Zutwa's Incandescence (replaces Life Force Reclaimed)
Hybrid daily 29: Hurl Through Hell (replaces Armor of Agathys)

ITEMS
Cloak of Translocation +6, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Rod of Corruption +1, Rod of Avernus +1, Rod of Brutality +2, Horreb Ritual Cube (paragon tier), Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier), Iron of Spite (epic tier), Incisive Dagger Dagger +4, Starleather Armor of Dark Majesty +6, Staggering Bastard sword +6, Opal Ring of Remembrance (epic tier), Ring of Free Time (epic tier), Foe Caller Gauntlets (epic tier), Defiant Boots (paragon tier), Eager Hero's Tattoo (paragon tier), Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


I think Repel Charge isn't as useful by the time you get to higher tiers. Enemies are more likely to have reach, and if they don't get adjacent to you, you can't hit them out of the way.



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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sigil, level 30
Revenant, Swordmage|Warlock, Sigil Carver, Sage of Ages
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Shielding
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Vestige Pact (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Twofold Pact: Infernal Pact
Choose your Race in Life: Githzerai
Background: Aerenal (+2 to Arcana)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 26, Dex 14, Int 24, Wis 14, Cha 10.

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


AC: 48 Fort: 41 Reflex: 40 Will: 41
HP: 184 Surges: 15 Surge Value: 46

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +37, History +37, Arcana +46

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Bluff +21, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +23, Endurance +25, Heal +17, Insight +17, Intimidate +23, Nature +23, Perception +17, Stealth +17, Streetwise +15, Thievery +17, Athletics +17

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Mark of Warding
Level 4: Versatile Expertise
Level 6: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at Level 21)
Level 8: Githzerai Blade Master
Level 10: Durable (retrained to Twofold Pact at Level 11)
Level 11: Greater Swordmage Warding
Level 12: Double Aegis (retrained to Total Aegis at Level 22)
Level 14: Protective Hex
Level 16: Fierce Vitality
Level 18: Arcane Familiar
Level 20: Improved Swordmage Warding
Level 21: Warding Curse
Level 22: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 24: Swordmage Implement Expertise
Level 26: Skill Focus (Arcana)
Level 28: Ghostly Vitality
Level 30: Epic Will

POWERS
Hybrid at-will 1: Sword Burst
Hybrid at-will 1: Eldritch Strike
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Hybrid encounter 1: Sword of Sigils
Hybrid daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Hybrid utility 2: Ethereal Stride (retrained to Strategist's Epiphany at Level 6)
Hybrid encounter 3: Fortune Binding
Hybrid daily 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Hybrid utility 6: Armathor's Step (retrained to Mythal Recovery at Level 10)
Hybrid encounter 7: Dimensional Vortex
Hybrid daily 9: Troll Rampage
Hybrid utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Hybrid encounter 13: Killing Flames (replaces Fortune Binding)
Hybrid daily 15: Reaper's Challenge (replaces Swordmage Shielding Fire)
Hybrid utility 16: Painful Transference
Hybrid encounter 17: Life Force Reclaimed (replaces Killing Flames)
Hybrid daily 19: Ward of Scales (replaces Troll Rampage)
Hybrid utility 22: Wakeman's Invocation
Hybrid encounter 23: Radiant Shield (replaces Sword of Sigils)
Hybrid daily 25: Quicksilver Blade (replaces Reaper's Challenge)
Hybrid encounter 27: Zutwa's Incandescence (replaces Life Force Reclaimed)
Hybrid daily 29: Hurl Through Hell (replaces Armor of Agathys)

ITEMS
Cloak of Translocation +6, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Rod of Corruption +1, Rod of Avernus +1, Rod of Brutality +2, Horreb Ritual Cube (paragon tier), Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier), Iron of Spite (epic tier), Incisive Dagger Dagger +4, Starleather Armor of Dark Majesty +6, Staggering Bastard sword +6, Opal Ring of Remembrance (epic tier), Ring of Free Time (epic tier), Foe Caller Gauntlets (epic tier), Defiant Boots (paragon tier), Eager Hero's Tattoo (paragon tier), Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness (paragon tier)
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Nice Build!

Enemies with reach (<7) don't really matter with Repel Charge...  they charge in, make their attack, you hit them and move them 7 squares away, and they miss their attack.  Unless they can just charge again????

It's definately situational...  it really depends on how well your party "defends" you by cutting off non-charging ways to reach you.

I wanted to mention in passing that if you are Half-Elf or Human, I highly recommend Persistant Threat, for those Daze on Hit controllers.


____________________________

Other Sliding Sigil Carvers I've mocked up: 

Half-elf Artificier|Swordmage:  You get to use Magic Weapon on your turn, which is completely awesome when we assume your whole team is next to you.  Stats line up nicely and things like Arcane Anchor are really strong powers.  Assuming your team has an additional leader, you can spread healing surges around nicely. Check out Dr. No, but imagine if he could slide people too.

Paladin|Swordmage:  Use Virtuous Strike and Lashing Flail to slide your enemies.  Take Paladin Armor (and shield) rather than Swordmage Aegis for your Hybrid Talent.  Somewhat MAD, as you need CHA>INT>CON.  Has superior defenses.  (Fighter|Swordmage might also work)

Avenger|Swordmage:  Take the Avenger Armor of Faith for your Hybrid Talent.  Use a Polearm and get Polearm Momentum so that you can slide and prone as your opportunity attack. Even more feat heavy.

I welcome builds of these, I don't know some of the other classes as well...

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

 

Nice Build!

Enemies with reach (<7) don't really matter with Repel Charge...  they charge in, make their attack, you hit them and move them 7 squares away, and they miss their attack.  Unless they can just charge again????

It's definitely situational...  it really depends on how well your party "defends" you by cutting off non-charging ways to reach you.



The issue is that your MBA doesn't have reach, and Repel Charge doesn't change the range on your attack. If they charge and don't end adjacent, you don't get to make your MBA to slide them away. By the time paragon comes around, many of the most threatening things that could charge you will have reach.



Penalties don't lose value just because they're not your main schtick.  Protective hex is nice because it's a good -2 that only costs one feat.
Realize that because you are using Eldritch Strike, your Sigil Carver opportunity attacks are inflicting a -2 to hit on your enemies.  This protects your party against opportunity attacks, and creatures that make multiple attacks.  Since you can only make one opportunity attack per creature per turn, this lets your OAs have a more enduring effect on creatures with such creatures.



Except that most of the time (baring catching a bunch of creatures in a Sword Burst), you only get to hit one enemy with an Arcane power.  So you give a single enemy -2 to attack your allies...  I think most of the time that single enemy will just attack you.  Better is something that nerfs ALL enemies.


I think you're missing that Eldritch Strike is an Arcane power, and thus gives an added protection for your allies against ranged attacks with Protective Hex, which is one of 3 weaknesses of this build.  It also helps with the 2nd weakness: Your ability to mark is limited both by range (tactic of stand behind other melee) and by use (1/encounter until overridden or target dies).  You already built with the ability to get a lot of marks out there, why not take advantage of it?

For me as an LFR player it's obviously replacing the Mark of Warding, but for those who are Eladrin or Half-Elf, or whatever, it can easilly replace the Dwarf feat.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
I believe you're using Versatile Expertise wrong.  If you want it to apply to heavy blades both for weapon and implement attacks, you need to take heavy blade/heavy blade.  Currently, you use one for your weapon and the other for your implement - and as your incisive dagger is only +4....

Also, while you could argue that having an ally overwrite a single aegis mark out of a multimark set allows you to refresh the mark power even as a hybrid (though this is arguably a bit of RAW abuse) I'm pretty sure that when you reuse your marking ability, anyone who was marked by your aegis mark stops being so.
I believe you're using Versatile Expertise wrong.  If you want it to apply to heavy blades both for weapon and implement attacks, you need to take heavy blade/heavy blade.  Currently, you use one for your weapon and the other for your implement - and as your incisive dagger is only +4....

Also, while you could argue that having an ally overwrite a single aegis mark out of a multimark set allows you to refresh the mark power even as a hybrid (though this is arguably a bit of RAW abuse) I'm pretty sure that when you reuse your marking ability, anyone who was marked by your aegis mark stops being so.



That is not how Versatile Expertise works. While it may have been intended to work in that fashion, you need only be using a weapon from the group "heavy blade" or an implement from the group "light blade" to get the feat bonus to attack rolls. You can use that heavy blade as an implement or the light blade as a weapon if you so desire. In fact, the character builder will not allow you to select a single group for both the weapon and the implement. In practice, the Dagger isn't being used for attacks, and if a DM rules as you did, it doesn't affect anything to go heavy blade/heavy blade.

For what it's worth, I agree that Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid) needs to have all of the marks inactive in order to refresh the power, so any reuse of the power starts with 0 creatures marked in any case.
I believe you're using Versatile Expertise wrong.  If you want it to apply to heavy blades both for weapon and implement attacks, you need to take heavy blade/heavy blade.  Currently, you use one for your weapon and the other for your implement - and as your incisive dagger is only +4....


As written, Versatile expertise enables +1/2/3 to hit on all attacks "with the chosen group."  If you are using a weapon as an implement, it's still that weapon(eg, heavy blade) and so gives you the bonus on all attacks with heavy blades...whether implement attacks or not.

A good example of this issue is weapon focus:
Before essentials: weapon focus called out a weapon group, but by RAW(both through wording and through FAQ), it added its bonus to implement attacks with the weapon.
After essentials: the essentials errata changed weapon focus to say "with weapon attacks," specifically to deny the previous usage.

Versatile Expertise is currently in the same boat Weapon Focus was in for most of 4e.

Also, while you could argue that having an ally overwrite a single aegis mark out of a multimark set allows you to refresh the mark power even as a hybrid (though this is arguably a bit of RAW abuse) I'm pretty sure that when you reuse your marking ability, anyone who was marked by your aegis mark stops being so.



That's no less than a regular swordmage has to face, though.  The limitation is really that ability to instantly refresh your aegis, which isn't as big a deal as it may seem(more so in heroic, obviously).

I think you're missing that Eldritch Strike is an Arcane power, and thus gives an added protection for your allies against ranged attacks with Protective Hex, which is one of 3 weaknesses of this build.  It also helps with the 2nd weakness: Your ability to mark is limited both by range (tactic of stand behind other melee) and by use (1/encounter until overridden or target dies).  You already built with the ability to get a lot of marks out there, why not take advantage of it?



The problem with Protective Hex is that it only works on a single enemy (assuming she hits only one enemy/turn) and it only protects against melee and close attacks.  (I'll note if she opportunity attacks an enemy, Protective Hex runs out at the end of her turn and doesn't do anything)

If some enemy is near her, she can mark them with Aegis (I agree that reusing Aegis un-marks previous Aegis usage).  So Protective Mark is useful if they are close-ish and she hits them with either Eldritch Strike or Hellish Rebuke.

If they are far away, then she can Hellish Rebuke them, but if they are far away I'm worried about them makeing ranged attacks vs. allies, not melee attacks.  I don't see how Protective Curse does much against far away ranged guys.

I'm in agreement with Herid_Fel that Repel Charge and Epic Recovery should leave in favor of Strength in Numbers and Rapid Aegis Reaction.  Good analysis there.

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've edited the original build with some of the suggested changes.  I wanted to get feedback on the power selection.  Keep in mind that at least one power of each power type has to be from either swordmage or warlock.

Encounters:
Dimensional Vortex (protection against unmarked enemies)
Life Force Reclaimed  (tons of ThP, good opener)
Radiant Shield (marking at range)
Circle of Devastation (heavy mark punishment, effectively free action)

Daily:
Hunger of Hadar (stick ranged enemies behind here to lose line of sight)
Reaper's Challenge (weaken one enemy for entire encounter vs. allies, great for solos)
Invincible Rampage (Regen 10)
Hurl Through Hell (Really not sure about this one...  what's the best daily here?)

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

In perusing the character builder, I came across an interesting fact:  Assassin feats are really good for tank hybrid-warlocks!

In particular:

Killer in the Crowd gives Cover.  All the time.  That's effectively +2 to all defenses for a feat (with the caviat that getting cover from your allies no longer gives you +2).

Cursed Shadow gives you Shadowwalk, which gives you concealment if you move 3 squares.  That's another +2 to all defenses.  Concealment isn't as easy to get, so unlike cover you won't get this bonus naturally, but moving 3 squares and staying adjecent to all of your allies is pretty difficult.

Acolyte of the Veil gives you Stealth and an encounter teleport.  The teleport is better than Etherial Sidestep maybe once per encounter (since the teleport range is much bigger).  Stealth is potentially useful if you stealth pre-combat, since you can maintain stealth (since you always have cover) until you attack.  Still, your stealth check is never going to be amazing; these are relatively minor benifits.


Still, all told Acolyte of the Veil(Assassin),  Killer in the Crowd is probably better than Student of the Sword (Fighter), Martial Resolve.  It's unclear whether Cursed Shadow is better than the +1 all the time AC you get from Hide Proficiency.

What do you think?

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 think Cursed Shadow comes down to whether your party will work with you on that. If they don't have a problem with repositioning every round so you can get concealment (better not, with all the protection you provide them *shakes fist*) then the +2 to all defenses from concealment blows hide's +1 AC out of the water. If they're ornery about it though, stick with hide, because this is not a build designed to move around.
I've updated the original post with the Assassin multiclass, but considering tylara67's feedback, stuck with Hide Armor rather than Shadow Walk.

On low level play:

Dwarves (+Dwarven Durability) make fantastic defenders:
minor action second wind
+2 surges 
+13 surge value
resistance to push/pull/prone 
+1 Will (from +2 Wisdom)

But many of these characteristics aren't available or important at heroic levels.

Humans get:
1 extra feat (2 if you count DD)
1 extra at-will
+1 to NADs

The extra at-will is amazing in heroic (since Hellish Rebuke is awesome on a defender, and you have no range at-will), but at level 11 you get Hellish Rebuke for free with Twofold Pact and the other choices are not as powerful.  Going from 1 feat to 2 feats is amazing at level 1, less amazing at 30 when you go from 18 to 19.  If you are starting from level 1 and you don't know if you are going to get to paragon, human is definitely a better choice.

White Lotus Riposte is similarly amazing at level 1, where you really can only shut down a single monster anyways, and less so at level 30, where the damage is lackluster and you are focused more on shutting down the entirety of team monster, rather than the one guy you hit during your own turn. 

I'm going to make a level progression (or at least, a couple of snapshots.... a CB dump gives everything you need for feat/power ordering), but I'm curious if people would prefer a dwarf or a human build, given the above analysis.

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

In perusing the character builder, I came across an interesting fact:  Assassin feats are really good for tank hybrid-warlocks!

In particular:

Killer in the Crowd gives Cover.  All the time.  That's effectively +2 to all defenses for a feat (with the caviat that getting cover from your allies no longer gives you +2).

What do you think?



I think you're misinterpreting Killer in the Crowd. It causes your enemies to give you cover against other enemies, and not provide cover to their allies. The latter isn't too important for you, since you don't have many ranged attacks and most of your close bursts won't run into that issue. The former is nice, but again, only really helps against ranged attacks. You aren't that scared of snipers.



In perusing the character builder, I came across an interesting fact:  Assassin feats are really good for tank hybrid-warlocks!

In particular:

Killer in the Crowd gives Cover.  All the time.  That's effectively +2 to all defenses for a feat (with the caviat that getting cover from your allies no longer gives you +2).

What do you think?



I think you're misinterpreting Killer in the Crowd. It causes your enemies to give you cover against other enemies, and not provide cover to their allies. The latter isn't too important for you, since you don't have many ranged attacks and most of your close bursts won't run into that issue. The former is nice, but again, only really helps against ranged attacks. You aren't that scared of snipers.






??

"You gain cover from your enemies.

This is ambiguous, but a simple interpretation is that you get cover from your enemies attacks (as opposed to your allies spells, falling rocks, etc.).  Compare it to another Wizards product:

"When Seht's Tiger enters the battlefield, you gain protection from the color of your choice..."
 
Or the power Creeping Brambles:
"While within the zone, you and your allies gain cover"


Do you have any evidence that your interpretation is correct?

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

 

??

"You gain cover from your enemies.

This is ambiguous, but a simple interpretation is that you get cover from your enemies attacks (as opposed to your allies' spells, falling rocks, etc.).  Compare it to another Wizards product:

"When Seht's Tiger enters the battlefield, you gain protection from the color of your choice..."
 
Or the power Creeping Brambles:
"While within the zone, you and your allies gain cover"


Do you have any evidence that your interpretation is correct?


Typically, you see it phrased as "you gain cover against" something, rather than "you gain cover from". For an example of the former, you can check out the Dragonscale Shield.


Saying that you gain cover "from" something leads me to say that your enemies can cause you to gain cover against attacks in the way that your allies or solid objects would.