"John McLane": a sample Crossbow Hunter build, with some Hunter commentary.

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Human (Crossbow) Hunter/Adroit Explorer/Destined Scion



"Yippie-ki-yay, mother****er!!!" --John McLane

Hunter Commentary

As most people are aware, Hunters have been beat up a bit because of their Control relative to other Controllers, and their damage output compared to Strikers. In a nutshell, the general consensus is that they can't really serve effectively in either role.

They do have some strong points, though-- some of which are considerable.

For starters, Hunters can get absolutely ridiculous Initiative marks right out of the box. I'm talking an effective +13 by Level 1, if you want it.

Second, they actually bring a pretty respectable amount of single-target, tactical control to the table. They can slide 2, Slow (save ends), or Prone At-Will, and their accuracy allows them to do so with an extremely high rate of success. They can also apply Blind, Immobilize (save ends), and Daze (save ends) on Demand, 1-4 times per Encounter, depending on Level and Paragon Path choice. These shouldn't be discounted. Being able to Blind an enemy Solo or Elite for 3 rounds can be quite powerful. Additionally, because they are able to Slow (save ends) At-Will, they make very good use of World Serpent's Grasp. These guys can absolutely ruin melee opponents' day.

Third, they aren't very Feat strapped, at all. While part of this is because they have fewer options around which to optimize/throw feats at, this actually becomes a feature, of sorts. Many of those very useful, very basic feats that people don't have room for wind up making it to a Hunter's character sheet-- and some of them do so really early in the Hunter's career.

Fourth, combined damage + control... While Hunters aren't All Stars at either of these things, and can't combine the two as well as a Rogue, they are able to provide a decent level of each, at the same time, all day long. Where a Wizard can use Beguiling Strands to screw up Team Monster's plans, the Hunter is able to slam an enemy Brute with an RBA that Slows it, dealing a solid chunk of damage in the process.

Finally, these guys really get around. Pinning one down and killing him/her can be a very tricky prospect.


Build Goals: Simple. Take what a Hunter already provides, add some extra staying power and damage, and create something fun to play.

Build Notes

Starting Stats:
Strength: 10
Constitution: 13
Dexterity: 20
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 13
Charisma: 8

Stat-Ups:
Level 4: +1 Dex, +1 Wis
Level 8: +1 Dex, +1 Con
Level 11: +1 to all
Level 14: +1 Dex, +1 Wis
Level 18: +1 Dex, +1 Con
Level 21: +1 to all
Level 21, via Epic Destiny: +2 Dex, +2 Wis
Level 24: +1 Dex, +1 Wis
Level 28: +1 Dex, +1 Con

Level 30 Stats:
Strength: 12
Constitution: 18
Dexterity: 30
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 20
Charisma: 10

Feat Progression:
Free-- Hunter 'gimmes': Crossbow Expertise, Speed Loader.
Bonus-- Human: Weapon Proficiency (Superior Crossbow)
Level 1: Weapon Focus (Crossbow)
Level 2: Improved Initiative
Level 4: Toughness
Level 6: World Serpent's Grasp
Level 8: Improved Defenses
Level 10: Primal Sharpshooter

Level 11: Primal Eye
Level 12: Steady Shooter
Level 14: Vicious Advantage
Level 16: Acolyte Power
Level 18: Superior Reflexes
Level 20: Grounding Shot

Level 21: Bow Mastery, retrain: Improved Initiative --> Superior Initiative
Level 22: Deft Aim
Level 24: Martial Mastery
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Epic Fortitude
Level 30: Epic Reflexes

Initiative Mod:
Level 1: +5 (+9)
Level 10: +15 (+19)
Level 11: +15 (+19)
Level 20: +21 (+25)
Level 21: +26 (+30)
Level 30: +33 (+37)
*parentheses show actual Initiative, including Aspect of the Pouncing Lynx.

Accuracy & Damage Notes:
+1 to hit, aquired L1
+1 to damage, aquired L5. Scales to +2 at L15, +3 at L25.
+ (Dex mod) damage @ RBAs, aquired L11.
+3 damage, Steady Shooter
CA vs Slowed or Immobilized, Vicious Advantage
CA for Turn 1, Superior Reflexes
+2 to hit during Turn 1, via Aspect
+1 to hit enemies without other enemies adjacent to them, via Aspect
+1/2/3 damage vs enemies without other enemies adjacent to them, via Aspect

Aspects:
Aspect of the Pouncing Lynx, aquired L1. This is your 'walk around' Aspect, for +Init.
Aspect of the Dancing Serpent, aquired L1.
Aspect of the Lurking Spider, aquired L7.
Aspect of the Seeking Falcon, aquired L17.

At-Wills:
Aimed Shot. You're not going to use this one much.
Clever Shot. This is your staple. In particular, you'll love the Slow.
Rapid Shot. Cluster attack. No control, but good damage distribution.
Nimble Strike. For close quarters. Great interaction with Aspect of the Dancing Serpent.

Encounter Powers:
Disruptive Shot. Uses/day, by Level = 1 (L1), 2 (L3+), 3 (L7+)
Disruptive Strike.

Utility Powers:
Invigorating Stride, 1/enc
Deliverance of Faith, 1/enc
Natural Terrain Understanding, 1/enc
Feywild Jaunt, 1/enc
Destined for Greatness, 1/enc
Daunting Agility, 1/enc

Skills:
Dungeoneering
Perception
Stealth
Athletics
Acrobatics
Religion (bonus, Human. Class Skill via Background)
Nature (Primal Sharpshooter, L8)


Playstyle Notes

1. Mobility
-- Because of 'Steady Shooter', you want to be in the habit of attacking before you move.

-- When you want to get around, you can do so quickly, and safely. Here's a sample turn:
(standard) Nimble Shot. Shift 1 before attack.
(move) move 6
(Free) shift 1

That's 8 squares of movement, starting and ending with Shifts, with only At-Will elements involved.

2. Turn 1/"T1":
You begin the Enc in Aspect of the Pouncing Lynx, which is awesome. For your entire career, you'll be at least +2 to hit for this turn, and you'll pretty much always go before anyone else on the grid.

(minor) Deliverance of Faith
(move --> minor) Natural Terrain Understanding
(standard) attack of choice

End result:
-- you're at 125% of your base HP
-- your frontline is ahead of you, and closer to their intended targets
-- you have a damaged and controlled target already.

3. T2:
You want to switch Aspects now.

(minor) Aspect of the Dancing Serpent
(standard) Disruptive Shot
(move) where you want to go
(free) ...and shift 1 more square, because the German guy who threw the desk wants to kill you for shooting his brother.

4. T3 & Beyond:
Playing turret is good for outgoing damage, but available obstacles give you a choice to trade that increased offense for increased defense. If you have an obstacle nearby, you can move behind it, and then do this every turn:

(move) shift 1 out from behind obstacle
(standard) attack
(Free) shift 1 back behind obstacle, Stealth check.

5. Have fun ordering off the menu.
While Clever Shot may not seem like the most incredibly powerful attack, it provides you with the ability to produce some strong tactical turns. Examples: knock flying enemies out of the sky with Prone. Slow enemy melee on T1. Slide an enemy into your Sorc buddy's kill box. Slide an enemy Soldier away from your Leader. Blind a Heroslayer Hydra 3 turns in a row (-5 to hit, times 5-8 attacks per turn = win).



****This post under constrution. Still have to add 'snapshots' for defenses and attacks.****




Special Thanks To:
Bruce Willis, for being Bruce ****ing Willis, and making John McLane the greatest Action Hero EVER.
lordduskblade, for Hunter conversation in IRC channel ##4eCO. It's nice knowing I'm not alone in loving gross Initiative and ridiculous accuracy.
all of the IRC group, for putting up with me being a goofball.
Wouldn't going half-elf with a seeker dilettante power make for a better controller from 11 onwards?

It seems like the only reason to be a human after level 10 is if you are doing some funky stuff with twin strike to let you play an imitation striker sometimes.

Auspex, this looks like a fine build.


In heroic I think you'd be better off starting with an 18/13/13, which will boost your Will more from the start. Considering you opt to boost it as you level, it's obvious you want/need a higher Will score, and those two points comes at a relatively low cost considering the high mobility of this ranged character.


Re: weapon focus. I understand you are not feat-starved here, but as your first pick I think any of the other ones you choose in heroic would suit this build better.

And obviously, I too love gross initiative and high accuracy.

Wouldn't going half-elf with a seeker dilettante power make for a better controller from 11 onwards?

It seems like the only reason to be a human after level 10 is if you are doing some funky stuff with twin strike to let you play an imitation striker sometimes.




Half-Elf with Grappling Spirits or Biting Swarm is definitely an option-- especially since Half-Elf can now start with 13 Con, 18 Dex, and 16 Wis at L1.

Having said that, it isn't strictly necessary, which was part of the point of excluding it. Set-ups like this are able to provide solid utility to a party without having to go Half Elf.

As for what Human provides-- extra Feat slot as usual, Nimble Strike to give you the ability to escape without giving up an attack, +1 to all NADs, access to Adroit Explorer (which results in picking up Disruptive Strike without spending a feat on Reserve Maneuver), and a spare Skill slot, as well as allowing you to jack Dex up to 20 at Level 1.


Drow is also a fantastic option, since it has +Dex/+Wis now, and provides Cloud of Darkness. Combined with Feywild Jaunt, you wind up with 2 rounds where Team Monster really can't do much of anything to you.


One thing to keep in mind, though-- this build doesn't pretend to be a top tier, fully optimized CharOp build. It's a sample build that I put down basically for the sake of modeling what a built Hunter actually looks like, and discuss how they run in actual play.

Auspex, this looks like a fine build.


In heroic I think you'd be better off starting with an 18/13/13, which will boost your Will more from the start. Considering you opt to boost it as you level, it's obvious you want/need a higher Will score, and those two points comes at a relatively low cost considering the high mobility of this ranged character.


Re: weapon focus. I understand you are not feat-starved here, but as your first pick I think any of the other ones you choose in heroic would suit this build better.

And obviously, I too love gross initiative and high accuracy.




Good point about the stat allocation, bald. I think I'm going to change that right now.

re: Weapon Focus-- that's basically there for fun
So how would you rate this Hunter compared to other, non-essentials controllers?

Hunters are the first 'real' essentials controller (since the Mage is pretty much just a Wizard+) In play, how much does the lack of game-changing dailies hurt?
So how would you rate this Hunter compared to other, non-essentials controllers?

Hunters are the first 'real' essentials controller (since the Mage is pretty much just a Wizard+) In play, how much does the lack of game-changing dailies hurt?



To put it simply, the lack of high-octane Daily attack power choices means that the Hunter isn't capable of blowing a typical encounter up on his first turn.

In a close quarters fight, a Wizard can use Stinking Cloud to bury all of Team Monster in -5 to hit penalties for an entire encounter. Similarly, an Invoker can slap Stun (save ends) on multiple targets, ensuring a victory for his allies. Even Seekers have Feyjump Shot (Enc power) and a few very strong, melee-crippling Daily attack powers that can end a combat before it has a chance to get started.


I have to head out to work, so I'm going to leave this with an analogy for now...

This is a lot like saying, "which is more deadly... 5 hand grenades, or 1 sword?"
Other big problem is that their encounter power never upgrades, aside from [W], as they level up, resulting in a quite frankly ridiculous disparity in effects they can dish out.

"Daze one target" simply does not keep up with "close burst 5 stun" (to list the effect of the first random Invoker encounter power I pulled out of the compendium).



This is true.

As far as scaling goes, I think they're actually pretty well off at Heroic, 'ok' at Paragon (with Disruptive Shot becoming a Blind, and gaining push 3 or splash damage, depending on build), and... fall behind badly at Epic.

An easy fix would be to allow Disruptive Shot the option of applying a single turn of Stun, or allowing you to combine either Immobilize (save ends) or Daze (save ends) with the single turn Blind, starting at L23.
Agreed, erachima.

On the bright side, I just put together a Level 17 rendering of this build, and ran its average DPR.

Factoring in only Magic Superior Crossbow +4 and Bracers of the Perfect Shot (paragon tier), and assuming Aspect of the Dancing Serpent, its At-Will DPR came out to 33.78.

Factoring in -2 penalties and loss of CA while using Rapid Shot, its per-target DPR is 26.48.

If you add Eagle Eye Goggles (paragon tier), the DPR on Rapid Shot hits 30.13.

The damage is a byproduct of the fact that this easily achieves a 95% hit rate for most turns, and piles up +31 in statics at this point.


Considering this DPR is sustained while applying control effects, I'm very happy with the numbers.
I am excited to play a Hunter, I haven't played a controller yet because the feel was like the classes don't know what their role is but the hunter seems to find itself. I am a bit disappointed that the encounter power seems weaker than the at wills with the loss of accuracy but the traps are pretty cool and I think they really add flavor and some minor action punch to the class. even allowing for a small nova if you want and leaving a creature nearly helpless afterward.

I like the miss effects added on with the built in paragon path enough to think the feat saved for disruptive shot might be worth losing in this build with it's lesser reliance on feats than some other builds. Sliding on a miss or half damage when attacking hard to hit targets is pretty solid, not to mention removing the penalty on the burst. 
I am excited to play a Hunter, I haven't played a controller yet because the feel was like the classes don't know what their role is but the hunter seems to find itself. I am a bit disappointed that the encounter power seems weaker than the at wills with the loss of accuracy but the traps are pretty cool and I think they really add flavor and some minor action punch to the class. even allowing for a small nova if you want and leaving a creature nearly helpless afterward.

I like the miss effects added on with the built in paragon path enough to think the feat saved for disruptive shot might be worth losing in this build with it's lesser reliance on feats than some other builds. Sliding on a miss or half damage when attacking hard to hit targets is pretty solid, not to mention removing the penalty on the burst. 



The trick with investing in misses is the incredible lack of return.

To put this into perspective, the L17 version I mocked up has a 90% hit rate without Combat Advantage, and gains CA At-Will.

I find that the ridiculous inherent accuracy basically chews up the -2 penalty on Rapid Shot, all by itself.
Yeah... I just mocked up my own Hunter, as prep for a paragon campaign I may be playing in the near future who needs a controller and... wow. Their accuracy is disgusting- it might even put Avengers to shame.
I will be starting at 17 as well (which is exactly liek your example)
 
Without going hard into dex (to focus on using biting swarm as the rba), I'm at +27 to hit... without factoring in CA (which my build has permanently, regardless of what happens thanks to my new discovery of the totally hax Armor of Dark Deeds + Hidden Sniper feat from HotFK). So +29 to hit AC... and once I get to 21, that'll be +29 v. Reflex. Plus I have permanent concealment too, so the defenses are quite nice.

This is before factoring in Aspects, which could easily add another +1 or +2.
In the words of Jem, it is outrageous. Truly, truly truly outrageous.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
I got to playtest this last night at Level 17, in a pretty awesome scenario. Encounter was L20, vs the L17 party. Composition was:

Runepriest/Dreadnought
Pacifist Cleric
Predator Druid
Invoker/Flame of Hope
Hunter/Adroit Explorer

Scenario:
starting at the end of a giant cavern, with a magma stream about 40% of the way in, dividing our side of the cavern from Team Monster's side. It was just 2 squares wide, and not surprisingly, was both damaging and difficult terrain. There were also a series of columns and walls on the far side, which hid Team Monster from us at the start of the Enc, while Team Hero was exposed, out in the open.

When this group runs delves, we treat encounters as though they are in a series-- we track our resources expended, and carry them over from one encounter to the next.

Because of the lack of a Defender or true Striker in the party, there was extra need for the Hunter to contribute damage *and* control, and I was very happy with how it performed at the table.

Highlights:

1. winning initiative, and using Natural Terrain Understanding to allow the party to 'spread out' a bit. We had no idea what was coming, but this wound up saving us a fair chunk of damage, because an L19 Elite Volcanic Dragon (and then 2 Efreet Flameblades) went before the rest of my party. The VD used an area burst 2 attack/zone as a Minor, and moved to pressure our Invoker. Because of using NTU, only 2 people were impacted by the zone.

2. I didn't roll especially well, but missed only 1 time all night-- with a nat '1'.

3. After slowing a target (save ends), I hit it on my next turn, knocking it prone (World Serpent's Grasp), and sliding it 2 squares away from our Cleric. This allowed her to escape, and cost the monster a turn, since it had to stand up with a move action, and was more than 2 squares away from anyone.

4. Rapid Shot proved to be a fantastic source of damage output. Any time I could hit 2 targets at once, I took advantage. The damage added up very, very quickly-- typically about 30-35 damage per target, and hitting both targets every time, except for the nat '1'.

5. Clever Shot's 'slide 2' was very valuable, and this was magnified whenever I was able to hit a Slowed target with it.

6. Mobility was ridiculous. One monster came after me during the fight, but I didn't even bother moving away. Thanks to the L9 feature allowing me to make ranged attacks without provoking, I shot it with Clever Shot while adjacent, then made a full move, plus the extra free action shift, ending 9 squares away from the target. I had also slid it adjacent to the Runepriest, so it was unable to come after me on the following turn due to being farther than shift + charge away.

7. Deliverance of Faith, Invigorating Stride, and the resist 10 all from my AP feature covered 100% of my HP needs, with room to spare.

8. Clever Shot and Rapid Shot gave me so much utility, I actually never used Disruptive Shot the entire encounter, and never felt like it was Groundhog Day. Disruptive Strike was very nice, and helped us put the first target down really quickly.
Yeah- that's one thing I sort of worry about too. Since Disruptive Shot is the only non-rba given to a hunter, and since there is so much support for the game to enhance RBA's, it really lessens the value of it (especailly when rapid/clever shot already have so much control built into them). When you add pmc seeker or half-elf to it, the discrepency just seems to widen (much in the same way Sentinels rarely find the need to use combined attack).

Thanks for sharing your experiences- really makes me want to play one now :D
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
More-so than the lack of daily attacks, it's the encounter power I find lackluster. If they errata it to function as an RBA then it's fine but giving up bonuses to hit and damage lessens it's overall usefulness and makes it inlikely to see much use in many encounters.

This leaves the hunter as a class with no dailies, few encounter powers, yet some very excellent at-wills. A very interesting departure from other controllers.
I am really suprised they did not make it an rba especially in the vein of power strike and the like.  That would be nice to do to update the power to be a rba.
I think they need to add alternative options so some of the forced encounter attacks... certainly disruptive shot as well as combined attack.

I'm still disturbed that leaders are forced into "dps" for all of their encounter powers... and it's inferior to an at-will (firehawk) both in damage and in accuracy (at least against artillery/controllers).

Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
It is not a better path but it is interesting, if you pick the shinaelelstran guardian paragon path you get a bonus +2 to AC essentially permanently.
It is not a better path but it is interesting, if you pick the shinaelelstran guardian paragon path you get a bonus +2 to AC essentially permanently.



That is a really great PP-- every bit as good as Adroit Explorer, IMO. Near-constant +2 to AC is no joke, and the 12U is absolutely awesome. The 11E is a passable placeholder while you wait to have an available feat slot for Reserve Maneuver, as well. Not a bad option.
Well then sweet.
The action point feature is actually superb as well.

But personally, I'm battling between Seven Fates Archer and Crimson Hunter.

Seven Fates Archer basically does what Peerless Hunter does... but better.
After an AP, you can use rapid shot and all enemies hit are immobilized and grant CA. You can take a -2 to hit(which a lot of hunter builds can sacrifice) in order to give +2 AC to an adjacent ally- so a quasi-benefit of shinaelstran guardian (but giving it to somebody who can probably make better use of it). And of course, you can make OA's with an rba. Definitely more of a mid-close range hunter though

edit: thought I'd add that the daily from Seven Fates is pretty ridiculous, as you get what amounts to a quintuple strike vs.reflex (5 attacks against the same target or separate ones... for the same damage a twin strike deals). In addition to knocking prone. That could amount to a pretty impressive nova for a controller (while simultaneously walling them off).
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
I would not think crimson hunter is worth it.  A +1 to hit is not worth much when you already have such high bonus to hit already and it does not help the one power that needs it (disruptive shot).  The crit effect also does not affect all your powers and to get it to apply to all powers requires one epic feat.  The utility power is not impresive and niether is the action point ability.  Are the other powers worth it especially since they require wis? 

Now seven fates is nasty on that daily but it has problems too.  Powers are good features are alright and you still need more wisdom which means you are likely not using a dex 20 build weakening other abilities.  It does have some nice things as you alluded to.

Also I think the standard paragon path is one of the better essentials paragon paths.  Rerolls on attacks on an action point is good especially since you likely only need to reload on 1s,  you get the oportunity shot abilty that seven fates gets, the utility is useful, and lastly you will always have CA saving you a feat and you make it more reliable.  On the meh side the boost to your at wills is minor as missing does not happen much though rapid shots boost is nice and the ability to slide on a miss is not bad though you wont use it much.  Lastly another use of disruptive shot probably does not excite you much either.  I think this is overall good and certainly better than most of the other essentials paragon paths.
Rangers don't poach Seeker PPs. Seekers poach Ranger PPs.
Though there are precious few PP they can take that are ranger paths that do anything (many do not require stuff like prime shot or quarry but their features still use those class abilities). 
this is for a theoretical hunter which uses the seeker's rba's... so the fact that they're wis attacks is an actual boon. I will be playing my Hunter at lvl 17, and likely won't reach epic (so the lvl 16 feature will be most beneficial). I really like the encounter power- it's an rba, does higher damage, and sets up for a nova for the party.

If the encounter has 3+ higher level enemies, some soldiers, or elites/solo's, the +1 attack is still going to be beneficial. +1 attack is still +5% chance to hit, regardless of if you're lvl 16 and have +18 to hit or +28 to hit. You also need to factor in conditions like being marked, prone, cover, concealment, blindness, etc. which all will penalize your attack rolls.  And as a controller, that's what you should be most worried about- hitting.

And we all recognize that disruptive strike is a rather ho-hum encounter power as it stands, so I don't mind crimson hunter not benefitting it (it's also the only thing in hunter which requires dex) or not gaining the crit effect from crimson hunter.

If all I'm using is rba's, I still see crimson hunter as offering enough to consider.
Peerless hunter is one of the better essentials PP's, you're right. Especially if you're making a traditional hunter. Considering the accuracy, I find the AP feature of Peerless hunter to be underwhelming (I thought it was amazing at first, and it still would be if it was more like avenger's OoE)
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
This builds demonstrates why I really like the Hunter. It's the sole build I find significantly more interesting than its base class (not discussing mechanical strength), in particular the still flexible set of attacks and stances. Wish they'd finally add it to the builder...
My sole letdown is that I don't really see how it deals well with multiple targets (in particular the the common problem of them beeing outside a burst 1), or is there anything I'm missing ? Thing is in practical play I found striking + control to be more effective if erred to the side of striking (to quickly bust the first mob) due the way target are assigned within the group.

@ WEContant:
Tongue out I think those are good choices, and you'll want to PP Seeker anyway for its obvious benefits.
I chose to make mine human and take twin strike for when enemies are outside a burst 1. I hate twin strike because it is boring but at least this version of ranger has reasons not to use it constantly. It's the fallback rather than the core attack of this character.
Nice. Lots of good discussion.

@ PPs--

Crimson Hunter: One of the things I considered when I looked at this PP was the fact that it is best used with a Half Elf poaching Grappling Spirits or Biting Swarm. This, then, implies the following:

a) your high stats are an 18 and a 16, put into Dex & Wis based on how you prioritize. As such, you sacrifice AC, Reflex, some accuracy, and damage, for obviously improved Control, and a bump in Will.

b) -1 feat slot vs Human, and another -1 feat slot for Versatile Master. This bumps a couple feats out, and pushes a couple feats back in your progression. This isn't to say that it isn't worth it, but it is the type of thing I would have to consider before running this type of set up.

c) subtle perks: dungeoneering, nature, and perception are all up.

d) you gain back a point of accuracy with the L11 feature (putting you back to even with a 20 Dex Hunter if you had an 18 in Wis), the AP feature has very little value, and the L16 feature is useful for 5 levels. The 11E is 'OK', and the 12U is bad. On the bright side, that 20D can be really handy. All in all, I'm not really a big fan of this PP at all.

Seven Fates Archer:

The L11 feature is interesting. The AP feature is hotness. That L16 feature is situationally useful, but not really something you're going to satisfy the condition for very often, if at all. The 11E is cute on paper, but actually sucks if you're already a Half Elf who is grabbing Grappling Spirits, because you get the exact same value out of Rapid Shot + Grappling Spirits. The 12U is cute if you're standing next to allies a lot. The 20D is pretty awesome. All things considered, it really shows most of its value when you use an AP, or use the Daily-- so you're really talking about the PP being impactful for about 1 turn in each encounter.

Peerless Hunter:

The AP feature is basically insurance, since your accuracy is already so high. Improved Disruptive Shot is situationally useful-- while Hunters sacrifice damage and accuracy to use the power, the control options are actually pretty good-- especially once you hit L13 with a Crossbow. So... the 4th use per Enc *can* be OK, but this is situational. Superior Archery's best function is clearly the negation of the -2 penalty to Rapid Shot. The 'on miss' functions are virtually zero return, since you really aren't missing with those much-- or even USING aimed shot, for that matter. Threatening Archery... same as Seven Fates' OA feature. Very situational. I really don't like the 12U as much as many folks do, and there is no 20D or 11E to speak of. So... no Reserve Maneuver, and 0 Daily powers. Not my favorite PP.


Personally, the options that I'm favoring at the moment are:

Adroit Explorer, Shinaelestran Guardian, Sharpshooter, and Bloodfury Hunter.


@ Langweile,

When multiples are outside of the hit box, poaching Twin Strike is really the only way to deal with them. Hunters are also not really able to apply control to multiples, barring Seeker power poaches. On the bright side:

1) when I was playtesting a Hunter, the per-target DPR with Rapid Shot was high enough that control wasn't much of a concern-- I was tagging each target for about 30-36 damage per hit at L17, and missed 1 attack the entire night, despite the fact that I really wasn't rolling all that great. The +hit and +damage are so high, you hit and deal strong damage even with bad dice rolls.

2) Clever Shot makes it fairly simple to set up Rapid Shots. The 'slide 2' was shockingly useful to have on demand.

3) Single target control-- especially against melee-- is basically awesome. 1st hit = Slow. 2nd hit = slide 2 + prone (via World Serpent's Grasp). Using that to eject melee from attack position is a lot of fun. Alternately, you can use it to prevent some from ever getting into attack position, in the first place.

I know that doesn't quite equate to the dramatic effect of Prismatic Spray (Wizard 13E), or an augmented Sudden Control, but when you combine it with the damage, it can be surprisingly effective. You can get them to around the 20/40/60 benchmarks without any items other than Magic Superior Crossbow +X and Bracers of the Perfect Shot. Combining that with the utility of Clever Shot is pretty awesome, IMO.

Sorry for the wall of text. Playtesting these has really built up my enthusiasm even further.
@ Langweile,

When multiples are outside of the hit box, poaching Twin Strike is really the only way to deal with them. Hunters are also not really able to apply control to multiples, barring Seeker power poaches. On the bright side:

2) Clever Shot makes it fairly simple to set up Rapid Shots. The 'slide 2' was shockingly useful to have on demand.

3) Single target control-- especially against melee-- is basically awesome. 1st hit = Slow. 2nd hit = slide 2 + prone (via World Serpent's Grasp). Using that to eject melee from attack position is a lot of fun. Alternately, you can use it to prevent some from ever getting into attack position, in the first place.



Oh I hear ya... That's the same principle Ms. No works like, ignoring some details in the particular mechanic.
I've just starting playing her again in a semi-regular campaign, and we started out at L6. That's just one level shy of Force Grasp, and I already feel the lack of a good true multi-target attack (we're very melee heavy). Next time I'd still consider taking Kinetic Trip right away, despite lacking the slow and having to delay the daze. But on the other hand I have two automatically ruined turns each combat (Forceful Push), my Dailys and all that jazz, that I trade in for my lower single-target DPR.

1) when I was playtesting a Hunter, the per-target DPR with Rapid Shot was high enough that control wasn't much of a concern-- I was tagging each target for about 30-36 damage per hit at L17, and missed 1 attack the entire night, despite the fact that I really wasn't rolling all that great.
The +hit and +damage are so high, you hit and deal strong damage even with bad dice rolls.

I know that doesn't quite equate to the dramatic effect of Prismatic Spray (Wizard 13E), or an augmented Sudden Control, but when you combine it with the damage, it can be surprisingly effective. You can get them to around the 20/40/60 benchmarks without any items other than Magic Superior Crossbow +X and Bracers of the Perfect Shot. Combining that with the utility of Clever Shot is pretty awesome, IMO.



Actually I'm not a too big fan of SC - but Prismatic Spray rocks on toast.
Your DPR is big, without doubt. But that's why I'd really like to see some way / variant for him to bring some kind of mini-nova. It's much less of a problem to be the master of single target DPR + control, if you can switch to your second target early. Now if you can catch an Elite within your trap, that's another story - but then again, those are often much harder to control, and you'll be drawing sticks with many Defenders who also like going for Elites to upgrade their impact.
Hence why I mentioned leaning on the Striker side of this combo (which I really like, btw) - you might bring somewhat less control, but its impact is so much higher if you bust your first target quickly.
Agreed, Lang.

Nova is a tricky thing to generate with Hunter, and is part of the reason why I love Adroit Explorer so much for this class. Being able to AP every encounter doesn't completely resolve the Nova issue, but it does help with both damage, and control.

As far as Nova options go, the best bet at the moment seems to be the AP feature from the Sharpshooter PP, combined with an Action Point recovery function of some sort (ally with Symbol of Victory, etc). Sadly, I can't find anything so far that appears to cover this without outside assistance. On the bright side, LFR players tell me somewhat regularly that they basically have APs available every combat, anyway. If that is the case, then you're in great shape-- you get to rip out Clever Shot, RBA, Clever Shot in 1 turn. While that's not going to kill many targets, Hunters are very reliable, and whoever you hit with that combination is slowed (save ends), prone, slid 2 squares, and out a bucket full of HP.
I guess my struggle is that I want to enhance the control potential of the hunter as opposed to the dpr (though admittedly striking is a form of control). I am not out to be the godslayer- which is why I looked to seeker PP's. The seeker is a controller... the ranger is not :/ . I personally like the idea of being in melee range and taking advantage of OA's as being a melee pressence is a bit of control, especially when you can slide/immobilize/prone at will to pincer enemies with your melee. For this reason, I can't see anything better than Seven Fates Archer...

And the Adroit Explorer's lvl 16 feature is largely dependant on how your DM runs games. If you see 2-3 encounters per day, then it's awesomesauce. If you see 6-7, it's pretty underwhelming.

Any suggestions for another PP that might be more control focused? Perhaps it would need to be racial...
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
Do the hunter's attacks count as rba when granted an rba by an effect. If I undestand something like clever shot that adds the control aspect is a normal at will that grants an rba then modifies what it grants. So if that is the case, you would not apply control effects if a warlord granted you an rba. Can't look it up right now to be certain.
I guess my struggle is that I want to enhance the control potential of the hunter as opposed to the dpr (though admittedly striking is a form of control). I am not out to be the godslayer- which is why I looked to seeker PP's. The seeker is a controller... the ranger is not :/ . I personally like the idea of being in melee range and taking advantage of OA's as being a melee pressence is a bit of control, especially when you can slide/immobilize/prone at will to pincer enemies with your melee. For this reason, I can't see anything better than Seven Fates Archer...

And the Adroit Explorer's lvl 16 feature is largely dependant on how your DM runs games. If you see 2-3 encounters per day, then it's awesomesauce. If you see 6-7, it's pretty underwhelming.

Any suggestions for another PP that might be more control focused? Perhaps it would need to be racial...



It is tough finding more control-oriented PPs. I've looked at the Githzerai, Elf, and Shifter racial PPs, as well as Human and Half-Elf, of course. The 4 PPs I listed were the ones that stood out to me the most.

Re: Adroit Explorer's L16 feature-- I know this may not be true for everyone, but my experience with DMs who run 5+ encounter workdays is that at least some of those encounters are lower challenge encounters-- which is generally immediately evident. This is why I always favor consistency and on-demand elements (favoring Encounter Utilities > Daily Utilities, etc), and emphasize At-Will effectiveness. When you run into those small encounters, you won't feel the need to AP.

I hope people do manage to stumble accross some more ways to increase control for Hunters, or that more material is released for them. Like everyone else, I also hope that they fix an obvious boo-boo, and make Disruptive Shot work with RBAs like Power Strike does.
Do the hunter's attacks count as rba when granted an rba by an effect. If I undestand something like clever shot that adds the control aspect is a normal at will that grants an rba then modifies what it grants. So if that is the case, you would not apply control effects if a warlord granted you an rba. Can't look it up right now to be certain.



This is the case. Clever Shot & similar are treated as attack powers.
Yeah. Personally, it gives me more reason to demand for seeker support, since hunters are likely to mc it anyways, giving them a nice control PP could benefit hunters as well.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
My bow wielding take on the Half-Elf Hunter everyone's been talking about.

Half-Elf Hunter MC Seeker/Crimson Hunter/Fury of the Wild

Skellington, Level 21
Half-Elf, Hunter, Crimson Hunter, Fury of the Wild

FEATURES
Hunter Archery Style: Bow Hunter Style
Level 1 Wilderness Knacks: Ambush Expertise
Level 1 Wilderness Knacks: Watchful Rest
Level 1 Hunter Weapon Talent
Level 4 Wilderness Knack: Herb Lore
Level 5 Hunter Weapon Mastery
Level 8 Wilderness Knack: Beast Empathy
Level 9 Close Combat Archery
Level 11 Accurate Arrow (Crimson Hunter PP)
Level 11 Crimson Hunter’s Action (Crimson Hunter PP)
Level 13 Improved Disruptive Shot: Volley of Arrows
Level 15 Paragon Hunter Weapon Mastery
Level 16 Keen Missle (Crimson Hunter PP)
Level 21 Fury's Strength: Wisdom (Fury of the Wild ED)
Half elf Power Selection: Dilettante
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 16, Dex 22, Int 10, Wis 26, Cha 12.

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

Initiative: +16 (+20 with Pouncing Lynx Stance)

DEFENSES
AC: 35(37)* Fort: 34 Reflex: 35 Will: 35 (Concealment for moving 3+ squares)
HP: 138 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 34
+3 bonus to saving throws**
+4 item bonus to defenses from ranged attacks more than 5 squares away (Cloak of Distortion +4)

TRAINED SKILLS
Dungeoneering +23, Perception +23, Stealth +20, Acrobatics +20, Athletics +16, Nature +23

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +10, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Endurance +12, Heal +18, History +10, Insight +20, Intimidate +11, Religion +10, Streetwise +11, Thievery +15

FEATS
Level 1: Improved Defenses
Level 2: Vicious Advantage
Level 4: Grounding Shot
Level 6: World Serpent's Grasp
Level 8: Improved Initiative (retrained to Versatile Master at Level 11)
Level 10: Primal Sharpshooter
Level 11: Primal Eye
Level 12: Armor Proficiency: Hide
Level 14: Weapon Focus (Bow)
Level 16: Defensive Advantage*
Level 18: Superior Reflexes
Level 20: Resilient Focus**
Level 21: Deft Aim

POWERS
Dilettante: Grappling Spirits
Primal Sharpshooter: Biting Swarm
Hunter aspect of the wild 1: Aspect of the Lurking Spider
Hunter aspect of the wild 1: Aspect of the Pouncing Lynx
Hunter aspect of the wild 7: Aspect of the Dancing Serpent
At-Will 1: Rapid Shot
At-Will 1: Clever Shot
At-Will 1: Aimed Shot
Encounter 1/3/7/13: Disruptive Shot
Crimson Hunter Encounter 11: Ravaging Shot
Level 2 Utility Power: Entangling Roots
Level 6 Utility Power: Thorn Ward
Level 10 Utility Power: Hunter's Thorn Trap
Crimson Hunter Level 12 Utility Power: Hunter’s Mobility
Level 16 Utility Power: Wall of Earth
Crimson Hunter Level 20 Daily Power: Bloody Despair

ITEMS (718,000 gp)
Eagle Eye Goggles (paragon tier C), Bracers of the Perfect Shot (paragon tier C), Ring of Giants (paragon tier U), Bloodiron Longbow +4 (U), Cloak of Distortion +4(U), Gauntlets of Blood (paragon tier C), Belt of Vim (paragon tier C), Phantom Chaussures (paragon tier U), Ring of Protection (paragon tier U)**, Magic Stalkerhide Armor +5(C), 82,000 gp


Grappling Spirits RBA

Ranged Basic Attack: Grappling Spirits
ATK MOD
+31 vs AC or Reflex
Conditionals
+2 combat advantage
+3 against a target with no allies adjacent to it (Dancing Serpent Stance)
+2 during your first turn of an encounter (Pouncing Lynx Stance)
Your ranged attacks ignore the penalty for attacking prone targets (Grounding Shot)
You can score critical hits on attack rolls of 19 or 20 with RBAs (Keen Missle)
When you hit a slowed or immobilized target with a weapon attack, you can knock the target prone (World Serpent’s Grasp)

DMG SUM
2d10+27 damage and the target is slowed and can’t shift until the end of my next turn.
Conditionals
+2 against prone targets (Grounding Shot)
+4 against bloodied targets (Gauntlets of Blood)
+4 with combat advantage (Lurking Spider Stance)
+3 if no allies are adjacent to the target (Dancing Serpent Stance)
+3 if no other creatures are adjacent to the target (Bow Expertise)
+8d10+8 on a critical hit (Bloodiron Longbow +4)
Gain Combat Advantage (Vicious Advantage)
+2 AC against the target while they grant you combat advantage (Defensive Advantage)

Pros:

No Weak Defenses:
AC: L+14 (L+16 with combat advantage)
Fort: L+13
Reflex: L+14
Will: L+14

Easily acquired on demand concealment.

Increased crit range L16 onwards.

Robust control with the RBA is effective in causing a loop of sliding proning slowing and shift prevention.

Rapid shot gains almost all the advantages of clever shot.

RBA targets AC or Reflex

+3 bonus to all saving throws right before epic tier.

Biting Swarm (Seeker MC) and Ravaging Shot (Crimson Hunter PP) provide additional controlling and debuffing RBA powers to supplement Disruptive Shot.

L20 Daily is great against solos who become more powerful when they are bloodied.
I'm partial to the Mindiron crossbow with Biting Swarm and Psychic Lock to impose a -4 to attack rolls to all hit (and -2 to everything adjacent).
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
If anyone is interested, I will be over here figuring out whether a Seeker|Ranger has a niche upon which the Half-elf Hunter that poaches a Seeker At-Will can't infringe.
Until they choose their paragon path.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
I might have missed it, but how did you use the Ambitious Effort for the Adroit Explorer PP
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