Beyond Bodily Brutality: the Basics of Building Battleminds

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In reality, Lightning Rush has no Charisma dependence, since you'll never use anything but the Augment 2.  Forceful Reversal will mostly be used with the no-rider Augment 1, but since the Augment 2 can be used to interrupt multi-part hits and close attacks, Charisma does benefit it.

It's definitely feasible to go without Cha or Wis secondary from the perspective of powers.  However, the general rule of thumb is that Will is the most important of the defences for defenders, as the role-crippling status effects (dominated, dazed, and stunned) tend to be most commonly against Will.  Starting with a 10 in both and then not using either as a secondary is necessarily going to leave you more vulnerable  to being dazed etc than other battleminds no matter what you do.  I would advise starting with one of the scores at post-racial 14, to pick up Superior Will in paragon (to get that extra saving throw against dazed more than the defensive boost).  

So generally, my experience is that you are better off using Cha or Wis as a secondary.  However, the starting score doesn't need to be that high -- a starting post-racial 14 will still put you in the situation of having strong Fort and Will scores.
You may want to point out that the lowly level 2 utility Dimension Slide becomes quite potent if the ally you could slide has Agile Opportunist.

Also Psionic Ambush at level 6 provokes OAs.

Just a few things I noted while working on my recent battlemind. 
I think Mercenary is blue. The Encounter power is nice, if you're based on Charisma the two skills at level 5 wont be wasted, and an additional +1 to all defenses is what really puts this power on par with the others you rank at blue.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I've put a section at the top of the theme section expanding on my theme rating scheme.  Basically, I'm only using three tiers, and to get the top tier the theme needs to provide something that the battlemind really wants and can't get from its own class.  The Mercenary doesn't really provide this, so I've rated it black. 

On a related note, I've updated the guide to include the new material from NCS and all the Dragon themes up to the present. 
So, having a little trouble here.  Rolling up a level 7 battlemind I was thinking of using.  Party already has a shielding swordmage.

I was trying to think whether Forceful Reversal or Lightning Rush would be better.  One idea was to use Lodestone Lure to drag the aegis'd target to me and keep it there.  Hopefully, that would force it to attack me and I'd use Forceful Reversal.  And the swordmage could use her aegis, too.  It has the benefit of only really requiring 1 PP for Reversal to work.

The other idea was to just use Lightning Rush Augment 2 on the aegis'd target even if it attacks the Swordmage.  That would force me to be the target, allowing the swordmage to trigger her aegis... or even use powers like Dimensional Vortex.  Costs 2 PP, though.  One the plus, I have more actions free to use Conductive Defense.

The basic idea is the same, to force enemies marked by the swordmage to attack me, and to gain double punishment.  My only question is which one works better.
It depends on DM. Does your DM respect your mark or does he actively violate it?
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
It depends on DM. Does your DM respect your mark or does he actively violate it?

A little of both?  It depends on things like if the swordmage is standing next to her marked target.  The idea was to basically force him to violate it by either dragging it out of melee range with LL or just making myself the target with LR.

Also, curious if using a flail with Mark of Storm and the new Flail Expertise is a good idea.  Seems like that would make Conductive Defenses knock prone, nevermind that I was building a half-elf with Eldritch Strike.
Battleminds can do great things with Mark of storm if its allowed. Terrible, terrible things if done properly.

I like LR if you have two defenders, as you can force both the SM's mark to go off, and use LR. For example, SM has marked a solo/elite (technically anyone), and that elite hits the SM. You use LR, the elite attacks you, takes the hit, AND the damage gets reduced/SM gets an extra hit. It's fun. 
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I was trying to think whether Forceful Reversal or Lightning Rush would be better.  One idea was to use Lodestone Lure to drag the aegis'd target to me and keep it there.  Hopefully, that would force it to attack me and I'd use Forceful Reversal.  And the swordmage could use her aegis, too.  It has the benefit of only really requiring 1 PP for Reversal to work.

The other idea was to just use Lightning Rush Augment 2 on the aegis'd target even if it attacks the Swordmage.  That would force me to be the target, allowing the swordmage to trigger her aegis... or even use powers like Dimensional Vortex.  Costs 2 PP, though.  One the plus, I have more actions free to use Conductive Defense.


You get what you pay for.  Forceful Reversal can be done with only 1 PP, but it is a reaction - which means you could be stunned, dazed, dominated...I'd rather have a power that interrupts, so I'm guaranteed to use it.  LR also has a move built in, which gives more mobility in combat.

The new themes in Dragon 404 added.  The Sohei deserves a look as a good damage-boosting theme that helps deal with nasty status effects.
Couple o' cents.

On a level 25 one-off my DM decided to do to explain a bit of his main campaign's backstory (plus for him to get some experience with handling epic characters), I decided to go with a Battlemind (Wasteland Nomad Dragonborn Battlemind/Quicksilver Demon/Topaz Crusader) to partner the Fighter as a Defender.  Joined with us was a pacifist Cleric, an Assassin, and a Scout.

Put it this way: thanks to the composition of the team, and thanks to this handbook especially, I may just have found my favorite class.  I have solutions for almost any dilemma; I have no problems zipping around the battlefield; I have a couple neat interrupting tricks up my sleeve; and even the "can't-punish-without-being-adjacent" was not much more than a minor obstacle, as I could usually whip mobs back to my side next turn.  I had control of the battlefield, and my damage wasn't terribly shabby either... just how I like it.

Thanks to Dedekine, and to the posters here, for creating this handbook.  The class is a hell of a lot of fun, and I'm glad I found this.
Is there a reason that Shattered Time really justifies a Sky Blue rating? I've been playing around with it and I really don't see Sky Blue quality of it. Anyone who can't get themselves outside the zone isn't getting away from blurred step anyway. Lightning Rush often will duplicate the special attack if you have an MBA. And worst of all, it requires a minor to sustain, which makes it really difficult to get going early on in the combat where you likely have options for all your available actions.

Now if you have another Defender with mass-marking capabilities and some control, there's a useful power - either they violate the mark and go after you or they don't and you go after them.

I'm not saying it is Black - it obviously has some strong uses, but a base 2w/half damage with no riders other than party situationals doesn't seem very Sky Blue.
I've seen it break enough encounters to understand the sky-blue rating.  The issue tends to be melee-centric encounters where the PCs can force the monsters to fight inside the zone.  Lightning Rush at least has the good grace to take your immediate.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

As kilpatds alludes, the point of Shattered Time isn't mass-marking or sticking close the to the enemy -- it's "mark" punishment as opportunity attack, which means a mini-Lightning Rush every turn plus you can still do a full Lightning Rush.

There's some formatting issues with the power in the Compendium/CB that make it look like you can only do the secondary attack once, but the power in PsP is quite clear: as long as you are sustaining Shattered Time, you can keep doing the secondary attack. 
As kilpatds alludes, the point of Shattered Time isn't mass-marking or sticking close the to the enemy -- it's "mark" punishment as opportunity attack, which means a mini-Lightning Rush every turn plus you can still do a full Lightning Rush.

There's some formatting issues with the power in the Compendium/CB that make it look like you can only do the secondary attack once, but the power in PsP is quite clear: as long as you are sustaining Shattered Time, you can keep doing the secondary attack. 



I'm taking that into account. That still really doesn't seem Sky Blue unless you have a non-tactical DM or you have a party capable of locking down an enemy into a small area with heavy incentive to not attack you.

I had the power for 2 levels and I only once saw a situation where it seemed likely to provide me with an extra attack - and this is speaking as someone whose character can usually go invisible. 

I'm taking that into account. That still really doesn't seem Sky Blue unless you have a non-tactical DM or you have a party capable of locking down an enemy into a small area with heavy incentive to not attack you.

I had the power for 2 levels and I only once saw a situation where it seemed likely to provide me with an extra attack - and this is speaking as someone whose character can usually go invisible. 

In general, though, the problem a battlemind has is in providing enemies with an incentive to attack him, rather than his allies. Even if you don't get any extra attacks out of Shattered Time, it's still a great defender power if you are being targeted where you would previously have not been.

It's true that it requires some positioning and control to keep the Shattered Time zone relevant, so it's not an every-encounter power. On the other hand, it's pretty much as big as zones get. Are the parties you play with ranged heavy, or do the maps lack choke points? Much like kilpatds, my play experience is that Shattered Time can completely change the flow of an encounter, so I'd like to know exactly where the difference comes between our experiences.
I'm taking that into account. That still really doesn't seem Sky Blue unless you have a non-tactical DM or you have a party capable of locking down an enemy into a small area with heavy incentive to not attack you.

I had the power for 2 levels and I only once saw a situation where it seemed likely to provide me with an extra attack - and this is speaking as someone whose character can usually go invisible. 

In general, though, the problem a battlemind has is in providing enemies with an incentive to attack him, rather than his allies. Even if you don't get any extra attacks out of Shattered Time, it's still a great defender power if you are being targeted where you would previously have not been. It's true that it requires some positioning and control to keep the Shattered Time zone relevant, so it's not an every-encounter power. On the other hand, it's pretty much as big as zones get. Are the parties you play with ranged heavy, or do the maps lack choke points? Much like kilpatds, my play experience is that Shattered Time can completely change the flow of an encounter, so I'd like to know exactly where the difference comes between our experiences.



It is a mix - we have ranged and melee. Plus I tend to play Zone Defender rather than Choke-Point Defender. But from a tactical PoV, here's my problem:
Guy marked by Battlemind shifts away from Battlemind to a point where he's not adjacent to other enemies nor to a place that the Battlemind can be adjacent to other enemies. If the Battlemind follows, all the other enemies can move and attack. If he doesn't, the guy marked by the Battlemind can charge someone else.

In any case, it is a close burst 2 zone, so regardless of what the Battlemind does, the enemy can shift out of the zone on the next round unless some other kind of control is happening.

It may be that I might be looking through the lens of what I'd do as a DM to work around it and that most DMs wouldn't see this - but I'm used to LFR where planned coordination in terms of other PCs, particularly where powers are concerned is often hard to realize.

It is a mix - we have ranged and melee. Plus I tend to play Zone Defender rather than Choke-Point Defender. But from a tactical PoV, here's my problem:
Guy marked by Battlemind shifts away from Battlemind to a point where he's not adjacent to other enemies nor to a place that the Battlemind can be adjacent to other enemies. If the Battlemind follows, all the other enemies can move and attack. If he doesn't, the guy marked by the Battlemind can charge someone else.

I think this comes down to an LFR vs fixed group difference, because my question basically boils down to: why are the other PCs in your party doing providing viable targets outside the zone? If the enemy doesn't have to stand in or pass through the Shattered Time zone to make his attack, then the power isn't going to do anything, but I'm a lot more inclined to blame that on the party than on the power.

Still, it's a fair point, so I'll add a note that Shattered Time really needs good party coordination to use effectively.
It is a mix - we have ranged and melee. Plus I tend to play Zone Defender rather than Choke-Point Defender. But from a tactical PoV, here's my problem:
Guy marked by Battlemind shifts away from Battlemind to a point where he's not adjacent to other enemies nor to a place that the Battlemind can be adjacent to other enemies. If the Battlemind follows, all the other enemies can move and attack. If he doesn't, the guy marked by the Battlemind can charge someone else.

I think this comes down to an LFR vs fixed group difference, because my question basically boils down to: why are the other PCs in your party doing providing viable targets outside the zone? If the enemy doesn't have to stand in or pass through the Shattered Time zone to make his attack, then the power isn't going to do anything, but I'm a lot more inclined to blame that on the party than on the power. Still, it's a fair point, so I'll add a note that Shattered Time really needs good party coordination to use effectively.



It is a close burst 2 zone. An enemy outside the zone can attack a PC inside the zone and the Battlemind doesn't get do an OA. In order to force the enemies to attack inside the zone, it basically requires the party to be in burst 1 formation centered on the initial position of the Battlemind.

That's its own kind of problem, particularly if the guy trapped in the zone has his own close burst 1/blast 3 option. Not to mention, Con/Cha Battleminds usually have Speed of Thought, which strongly encourages them to not be in burst formation at the start of combat...
To address the last point first: Speed of Thought is irrelevant, as Shattered Time is not a power you use at the beginning of an encounter. In my experience, it's a power you use when the encounter is in full swing and there's an established area in which enemies want to be. That could be because of terrain, or your controller, or whatever, but you then move into the area and use Shattered Time to force enemies into either sub-ideal positioning or into absorbing your punishment.

That desired area can be established by packing your allies in close, but as you point out, that's a bad idea. Rather, your better bet is to set up a chokepoint. If the enemy has a choice between standing in the Shattered Time zone and trying to pass through your melee line, crossing through a Grease or Mirage Arcana zone in hopes of flanking, or taking a really long route around both zones, then Shattered Time shines.
Messing around a bit in the builder, and I noticed that CON/DEX Battleminds in Hide can actually get the Level+18 rating that's desired by Defenders with a shield equipped and without feats spent into Scale or Plate improvements.  With that in mind, and assuming I'm using the Persistent Harrier Psionic Study and Unbound Nomad paragon path, could a CON/DEX Battlemind go from 1 to 16 be an effective Defender throughout its career?
Hide with a +4 is the same as scale.  It's nice for the lack of the speed penalty, but Scale Spec gets rid of that and gives you +1 AC.  Worth using Hide in heroic tier, but scale becomes just as good if not better with specialization.

Dex is a perfectly good secondary stat.  Many of the good Battlemind powers don't rely on having a good wis/cha, and you can absolutely make a good defender without them.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Hide with a +4 is the same as scale.  It's nice for the lack of the speed penalty, but Scale Spec gets rid of that and gives you +1 AC.  Worth using Hide in heroic tier, but scale becomes just as good if not better with specialization.

Dex is a perfectly good secondary stat.  Many of the good Battlemind powers don't rely on having a good wis/cha, and you can absolutely make a good defender without them.

Excellent, thanks.

From what I can tell, I'm already gaining some empty feat slots: I use Dexterity for initiative (and I'm a Harrier anyway, so using Charisma to jackhammer my initiative into the correct postition isn't necessary), I can optimize teleport distance and thus take away the need for Harrying Step at level 16, the aforementioned Scale Spec is completely unnecessary (especially as the Elven Chain Shirt is available to me, and would actually allow me to use a two-handed weapon while still maintaining a level+18 AC once I get the +2 version).  My Reflex would be a tad underwhelming, but having a high DEX would again fix that.
Unfortunately, you'll still need to pick up Hide Specialization at some point, so that won't be entirely a saved feat.

As Mand12 said, Dex can definitely be made to work.  I'm not personally a huge fan of the option, largely because it makes Will your worst defense, which leaves you that much more vulnerable to immediate-deying status effects.  On the other hand, you're not likely to be any worse than a fighter or warden in this respect, so yes, definitely doable.
Unfortunately, you'll still need to pick up Hide Specialization at some point, so that won't be entirely a saved feat.


Ah, very true. 
My DM almost always respects my marks, what are some of the best ways to exploit that?  I have Forceful Reversal, and I always spend a PP on it, so I get two attacks per round.  Is there anything like White Lotus Riposte for Psionic classes?
My DM almost always respects my marks, what are some of the best ways to exploit that?  I have Forceful Reversal, and I always spend a PP on it, so I get two attacks per round.  Is there anything like White Lotus Riposte for Psionic classes?

You'd take a bit of a hit to your defenses, but if you're a CON/WIS Battlemind with some STR to spare, and you have a Polearm, you could perhaps try Polearm Gamble?

Sorry to double-post(ish), but I just realized something...

There's another perk to being a CON/DEX Battlemind: opportunity attacks.  With the new MC Monk feat, I both gain access to a unique set of enchantments (Rain of Hammers could be super fun), and unpenalized Melee Training Dexterity.  Would have to wield nothing in my hands except for a heavy shield, but that's fine - there're feats to help make the Unarmed Strike worthwhile.
That sounds awesome thematically.  Dunno if it's optimized or not, since MC fighter has so many good things to poach.

But the idea of a really touch guy who beats you with his fist powered by his mind is just sweet.
[EDIT] Actaully, no, it wouldn't work.  I have to be a hybrid Monk|Battlemind to make it work (since I need the Flurry of Blows feature as well).  It would allow me to take MC Fighter, but it's not as fluid as I hoped.

Ah well.
This might be the best Captain America build yet!
[EDIT] Actaully, no, it wouldn't work.  I have to be a hybrid Monk|Battlemind to make it work (since I need the Flurry of Blows feature as well).  It would allow me to take MC Fighter, but it's not as fluid as I hoped.

Ah well.



Couldn't you just take that monk multiclass feat that gives you flurry of blows in addition to Master of the Fist? It's kind of feat intensive, but it gives you a respectable OA, something that most Battleminds lack.

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

Couldn't you just take that monk multiclass feat that gives you flurry of blows in addition to Master of the Fist? It's kind of feat intensive, but it gives you a respectable OA, something that most Battleminds lack.

They're both Multiclass Feats.

You can take multiple multiclass feats as long as they're from the same class.
You can take multiple multiclass feats as long as they're from the same class.

Whoa wait, what?  I had no idea you could do that O.o

[Edit] Apparently wouldn't work either.  I need the *feature*, not just the power. 
Just a quick update.  Adding the Heroes of the Feywild stuff will probably not happen until late November due to other time constraints, but it will happen.
Heroes of the Feywild has been added, along with Moonshae Isles themes.  I'd be very interested in hearing any play experience people might have with pixie battleminds.  My impression is that they don't have quite as much to offer to battleminds as fighters or wardens, but experience will tell.

On other notes, I've bumped the rating for halflings up.  They were mostly held down by the lack of good weapons, and with that no longer as much an issue, their defensive options merit serious consideration.  Also, I feel that the theme section is getting a bit unwieldy, and there's little sign that the rate of new themes is slowing down.  Do people feel that having a rating for all themes from a battlemind perspective is useful?  Alternatively, I could just link to dedicated theme handbooks, and (perhaps) include a list of particularly worthwhile themes for battleminds?
Do people feel that having a rating for all themes from a battlemind perspective is useful?  Alternatively, I could just link to dedicated theme handbooks, and (perhaps) include a list of particularly worthwhile themes for battleminds?

Maybe just a quick glance and listing those that would be rated black/blue/skyblue, or would look like a trap option?
On other notes, I've bumped the rating for halflings up.  They were mostly held down by the lack of good weapons, and with that no longer as much an issue, their defensive options merit serious consideration.

You know... now that I think about it, the weapon situation for Halflings is still a little awkward.  Rapiers are great, and their native DEX will really help with making a Light Blade something to fear, but on the Pick side of things, they cannot get a die size higher than d8 without being a two-hander or a Superior weapon.  

The Heavy Warpick is a great weapon for them, especially with the accelerated damage from Pick Expertise and the fact that they're automatically proficient in it, but this means they lose their Shield bonus to AC.  The Serrated Pick is kind of nice, but it basically amounts to spending a feat to throw high-crit and +1/2/3 damage on a Battleaxe, and trimming off the Axe support (of which there's plenty).

However, there's still Lost in the Crowd, a feat that, while not really patching up the Battlemind's derpy Reflex, will supplement the missing 2 AC from not having a Shield while wielding a Heavy Warpick.  Against a solo, Level+16 AC may be dangerous, but in a crowded battlefield, a Battlemind is going to want to have creatures surrounding him, giving him the bonus very easily and allowing him to have his L+18 AC while being able to hit with a d12HC weapon.  In any case, the extra DEX will allow the little guy to qualify for Scale Spec. in Paragon, so that's a bit more patchwork in the long run.  
As far as I can see, the weapon of choice for the halfling is actually the War Pick.  With Pick Expertise, Scrappy, and Small Warrior's Defense, you now have a +2, 1d8+3/5/7 weapon at no penalty in AC or Reflex.  Ignoring accuracy, that's average damage of 7.5/9.5/11.5.  For comparison, the gouge is also +2 with average damage of 8.  Obviously that's a bit of an unfair comparison, as the feat support for gouges is miles better, but a halfling can use picks to pile on damage while keeping his AC and Reflex up.