Most survivable melee strikers?

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Combo of AC, defenses, tricks, and healing, which are the 3-4 most survivable melee strikers? Which classes can get in there and mix it up and survive?
#1 by a mile is the blackgaurd, huge ability to stack temps, plate from the get-go defender HP 19+ con surges and a natural +1 to all NADs 

the other mentionables are artful dodger rogue, slayer, iron soul monk and barbarian, you have to spec for them to be as survivable but they can do it well.

 
I'd rate Avenger over AD Rogue.  Like the Barbarian, it has Defender level HP and can be built to exceed normal Defender defenses.  Unlike the Barbarian, building the Avenger for high defense is fairly intuitive.  Avenger has access to some solid survival utilities and can access temp HP through the Religion skill power Deliverance of Faith.

Vampires are highly survivable as well--but as this is basically the only thing they're good at (by CharOp standards), I don't recommend using one.

t~
Blackguard > Slayer > specific Warlock builds that manage perma-invisibility > specific Rogue builds that manage perma-stealth.

The Vampire is an honourable mention as it's probably the most survivable class in the game, but does ghastly damage.
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Artful Dodger Rogues?!?!  Really?  I personally consider Brutal Scoundrels to be the most survivable if Riposte Strike is used frequently because it provides a huge incentive for the enemy not to attack you.  Enemies that do attack you go down twice as fast, and killing stuff quickly is a great way to prevent incoming damage. 

Artful Dodgers can skirt around OAs, but I'm not seeing how they can reliable avoid standard action attacks.
To narrow it down a bit, how about between the strikers in PHB, PHB2, and PHB3, so:

Ranger
Rogue
Avenger
Barbarian
Sorceror
Monk
Warlock
Sorc has NO right being on this list. XD It's a great damage output, but low defenses in everything but Will (the least attacked defense) it is the archetypal "Glass Cannon"

In terms of mixing it up, its always going to heavily depend on on support. Barbarians can go for HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS with a good leader, but on their own they can be pretty meaty meat shields. I had an big encounter where I killed one thing, and spent the encounter soaking up fire from most everything in the room. 

Back when Hide Armor prof was still a decent choice Barbs could get SOLID AC with a hefty temp AC boost while still supporting what should be for them their 2ndary stat. It left them a little weak in Reflex and will still (what with having your eggs in one NAT basket of Fort) but you normally had time to deal with that.

These days they are still tough, and hopefully the Heros of the Fey Wild will FINALLY bring them some new options (it's only been 2 years Wizards, if you'd stop Mearls from essentially pleasuring himself with the martial class we might actually have some more effective classes. @_@ FIVE DIFFERENT BOOKS for Martial stuff... I know 2 of them were essentials... barbarians have had all of 2 to draw from from their book pool and you errata'd 2 of the things that made barbarians REALLY tough and left us with a poor Paragon selection.) 
*is still really saddened by the Hide Armor debeef.*
Hybrid monk/cleric.

Battle cleric's lore lets you wear scale armour and have a +2 shield bonus on top of that. You gain an additional +2 to AC by wielding a parrying dagger (the defenive property provides and untyped bonus) with the rhythem blade enchantment (which let you increase your shield bonus by 1). Once you reach paragorn, you increase your AC even further by going warpriest (level 11 feature is +1 AC, and its level 11 powers contains an Effect: You and and all bloodied allies can spend a surge) and choosing armour special isation scale and I believe there were some monk AC-boosting feats that might be of interest.

Being half-cleric, you can take a number of encounter utility powers which let you spend a surge as a minor, meaning that you can take as much, if not more, damge than most defenders. If you have wisdom as a secondary ability, you get can a level 3 cleric encounter attack power which has Effect: You or an ally can spend a healing surge. (And no, you don't need to hit with this one.) There are even more of these powers up at level 13.

Naturally though, you'll never have the surges of a defender. But wait! You also have access to surgeless healing utility powers, which will serve just as well. Also, being half-monk you can use monk mobility powers to get out of trouble as well.

Really, the only drawback to this class is that it really isn't the strongest in the single-target striker department. But in terms of survivability, it rocks!

Dwarven cleric/ranger is my current top pick for melee striker. BCL + Scale + defensive off-hand (gauntlet axe ftw) is crazy good AC, and Str+Wis means Reflex is the lowest defense, which in reality isn't very far behind the others. Between cleric healing word/utilities and minor action second wind, you don't need to slow down the dps much, and the ranger off-action attacks (love those immediate interupts), and now you have a very durable striker (with decent off-leader capabilities).

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ShakaUVM's sorcerer|barbarian - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... has an AC of 71 all day long.

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ShakaUVM's sorcerer|barbarian - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... has an AC of 71 all day long.




but its a level 30 only build....

however a hybrid sorcerer barbarian with barbarian armored agility will have defender style AC
because they get to use their strength modifier in place of dex for AC determination, this is 18-19 AC at level 1 normally, and it will go up at a fast clip as well as encounters and utilities that boost defenses. like sudden scales, fog form, wellspring of renewal or relentless surge if were talking heroic this class becomes a great striker with great AC, fort and will

 
Conlocks can be surprisingly durable.  Conlocks that get perma-stealth are just silly.

Ye-olde infernal hexhammer gets a steady supply of temps, has more surges than any use for, a fair number of HP just from being Con-primary, and access to a number of temp-hp granting powers.  You've also got tools to crank away at your armor class and other defenses.

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ShakaUVM's sorcerer|barbarian - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... has an AC of 71 all day long.




but its a level 30 only build....

however a hybrid sorcerer barbarian with barbarian armored agility will have defender style AC
because they get to use their strength modifier in place of dex for AC determination, this is 18-19 AC at level 1 normally, and it will go up at a fast clip as well as encounters and utilities that boost defenses. like sudden scales, fog form, wellspring of renewal or relentless surge if were talking heroic this class becomes a great striker with great AC, fort and will

 



how does one accomplish this. @@

I have mostly ignored making Hybrid Char's but this might be worth it.

Cheesy and gimmicky, but I love this build. Not my idea by a long shot - but I took the base build for my Avenger, and adapted it. Never have used it in a campaign (the look DMs get on their face!), but I've played it at the table in "one offs" with my son and his friends at home. It rocks, 'nuff said.

Of course, you can change some powers and maybe some equipment, but I wouldn't go too far astray. This guy just gets stronger and stronger the more you knock him down to bloodied, 0 hp, or below. Any
one who stands next to him will be punished *hard*, without the Avenger even hitting him. Swap out your lev29 power for Temple of Resolution and keep your Oath target there for even more dmg mahem.

= = = = = = Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder = = = = = =
Venn D. Etta, level 30
Revenant, Avenger, Horizon Walker, Raven Consort
Build: Pursuing Avenger
Avenger's Censure Option: Censure Of Pursuit
Versatile Expertise Option: Versatile Expertise (Axe)
Versatile Expertise Option: Versatile Expertise (Holy Symbol)
Outlaw level 5 Feature Option: Forest
Choose your Race in Life: Shadar-Kai
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Outlaw

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 17, DEX 24, INT 12, WIS 26, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 8

AC: 45 Fort: 39 Ref: 43 Will: 47
HP: 217 Surges: 10 Surge Value 62

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +27, Athletics +21, Perception +28, Religion +21, Stealth +27

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +22, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +23, Endurance +20, Heal + 23, History
+16, Insight +23, Intimidate +25, Nature +23, Streetwise +17, Thievery +22

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Outlaw Attack: Surprise Attack
Revenent Utility: Dark Reaping
Avenger Feature: Abjure Undead
Avenger Feature: Divine Guidance
Avenger Feature: Oath of Enmity
Hunter's Quarry Power: Hunter's Quarry
Avenger Attack 1: Overwhelming Strike
Avenger Attack 1: Radiant Vengeance
Avenger Utility 2: Resonant Escape
Religion Utility 6: Deliverance Of Faith
Horizon Walker Attack 11: Worldly Strike
Horizon Walker Utility 12: Fey Strider
Avenger Attack 15: Aspect Of Fury
Avenger Attack 15: Inescapable Justice
Avenger Utility 16: Refire The Forge
Avenger Attack 17: Vengefuly Parry
Avenger Attack 17: Lethal Intercession
Horizon Walker Attack 20: Elemental Chaos Smite
Avenger Utility 22: Indomitable Resolve
Avenger Attack 23: Sacred Arena
Raven Consort Utility 26: Vitality Eternal
Avenger Attack 27: Inevitable Endurance
Avenger Attack 29: Merciless Nemesis

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Execution Axe)
Level 2: Weapon Focus (Axe)
Level 4: Versatile Expertise
Level 6: Unarmored Agility
Level 8: Melee Training (Wisdom)
Level 10: Warrior Of The Wild
Level 11: Painful Oath
Level 12: Improved Defenses
Level 14: Fierce Vitality
Level 16:Stormhawk's Vengeance
Level 18: Restless Dead
Level 20: Reserve Maneuver
Level 22: Halo Of Warding
Level 24: Slashing Storm
Level 26: Superior Initiative
Level 28: Superior Will
Level 30: Ghostly Vitality

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit
Potion Of Healing (Heroic tier)
Ring of Circling Fangs (paragon tier) x 1
Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness (epic tier) x1
iron Armbands of Power (epic tier) x1
Bloodthread Mindpatterned Armor +6 x1
Strikebacks (heroic tier) x1
Life Charm +6 x1
Boots of Teleportation (epic tier) x1
Siberys Shard Of Radiance (epic tier)
Shadow Band (epic tier) x1
Crown Jewel of Chessenta
Symbol of Scorned Fate +6 x1
Rending Execution Axe +6 x1
Iron of Spite (epic tier) x1
Resurgence Tatto (epic tier) x1
= = = = = = End = = = = = =

From my experience- Avenger, Con Warlock, Monk, Barbarian if you pump THP. I say Avenger first cause its easy to isolate youself from enemies and punish the ones who try to attack you.
 


ShakaUVM's sorcerer|barbarian - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... has an AC of 71 all day long.




but its a level 30 only build....

however a hybrid sorcerer barbarian with barbarian armored agility will have defender style AC
because they get to use their strength modifier in place of dex for AC determination, this is 18-19 AC at level 1 normally, and it will go up at a fast clip as well as encounters and utilities that boost defenses. like sudden scales, fog form, wellspring of renewal or relentless surge if were talking heroic this class becomes a great striker with great AC, fort and will

 



how does one accomplish this. @@

I have mostly ignored making Hybrid Char's but this might be worth it.




Shaka can also show you how a normal sorc can be very good at defense.  I believe draconic has most of the boosts if I recall correctly.
Avengers are 1 on 1 strikers. They are survivable,but if you crowd then they're screwed as they lose their striker feature. I have killed a couple avengers that way.

Monks, of all kinds, can push defences through the roof. Monks are made to fight surrounded,so they are very different than other strikers. Iron soul get more surges, but they are the only monks with a bad NAD.

Barbs with dex also can be very survivable. Halfling barb/fighters can get some sick ac. I have dropped a lot of con based barbarians.

Blackgaurds using a shield also are highly survivable out of the box. They are paladin with more damage and no marks, and they play like that.

Vampires also are very survivable, but they have poor damage past low heroic.

Con based warlocks, especially infernal pact warlocks are also extremely durable. They may or may not have great defenses depending on the build, but the large thp amounts and the ability to go ranged makes them hard to kill regardless.
Lord Duskblade's Trailblazer build is very survivable while still dishing out the damage.

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

here's a link to the more detailed description:

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

If you wanted even more survivability, you could go for a strength/con version with craghammers and hammer rhythm. It would sacrifice some punch and defense, but the hp and surges would add up to some fairly impressive survivability.
Avengers are 1 on 1 strikers. They are survivable,but if you crowd then they're screwed as they lose their striker feature. I have killed a couple avengers that way. .



Hmm....do you really understand what that build does?

A Rogue's hit points and healing surge count is too low to go on any "most survivable" list.
Avengers are 1 on 1 strikers. They are survivable,but if you crowd then they're screwed as they lose their striker feature. I have killed a couple avengers that way. .



Hmm....do you really understand what that build does?




I think you thought I was talking about your revenant build.  I wasn't.  Of course I know that revenant are cheesy broken undead win regardless of their class.  

I was talking about avengers that can die, and particularly about the two I've killed when DMing in LFR.    Avengers have powers that allow them to escape and move around without provoking.  If you crowd them, and the player didn't take some of these powers (and a lot of normal lfr players don't) and didn't invest a ton in defenses (again, a lot of normal lfr players don't), then they lose their striker mechanic and quickly get pummled to death as they can't win the 2 (or more) on 1 damage race.   Of course, you can make survivable avengers (like LDB's old master of defense build), but that isn't what I've seen in play. 
Ah, since the topic was about survivable strikers, I just assumed you were, sorry!

Not to derail this thread, but what level were those 2 Avengers? There are literally
dozens of ways to avoid those results. I know my Avenger has always made anyone
not his Oath target regret (hard!) coming after him (and at lev21 with Halo Of Warding,
it really becomes dangerous for them!). I use a Knockback hammer with the Hammering
Iron feat.   Were those 2 players unfamiliar with the Avenger? That would explain a lot.

Anyways, sorry about the misunderstanding. Cya.
Battlerager Vigor Fighter

level 8
20
16
10
10
16
8-

Chainmail
Mordenkrad
Throwing Hammers

Crushing Surge
Brash Strike

Crushing Blow
Insightful Strike
Echoing Assault

Villains Menace
Comet Fall Charge

Horned Helmet
Avalanche Hammer
Meliorating Armor
Goblin Stompers
Bracers of Mighty Striking


Dwarven Weapon Training
Devoted Challenge
Weapon Focus
Potent Challenge 
Student of Divine Runes

It's just STUPID the damage this build can deal and with the ability to pop 2 surges as minor actions it make taking the charactor down REALLY hard.  Plus he's using a FIGHTER MARK to deal even more damage when it's not his turn and this isn't some feather weight D10 + 7 or what most basic melee attacks dish out this is a SERIOUS beating. +2 for the Bracers + 8 from the feats +5 for strength +2 because the charactor is in chainmail and using a +1 magic hammer. That's 2D6 + 18 WITH A COMBAT CHALLENGE, 5D6 +12 on a charge with a basic melee, and Echoing Assault is no slouch either granting a FREE basic melee attack if the target of the attack is adacent to the charactor at the start of the turn. It's WIN WIN violate the mark POUND HIM don't and get two attacks next turn for a total of like 6D6 + 27 damage.       
Dwarven Weapon Training
Devoted Challenge
Weapon Focus
Potent Challenge 
Student of Divine Runes

The bolded feats don't stack, as they are both feat bonuses.

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Dwarven Weapon Training
Devoted Challenge
Weapon Focus
Potent Challenge 
Student of Divine Runes

The bolded feats don't stack, as they are both feat bonuses.


Thanks what feat should take the place of Weapon Focus
Thanks what feat should take the place of Weapon Focus

I'd recommend bludgeon expertise.

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Thanks what feat should take the place of Weapon Focus

I'd recommend bludgeon expertise.



Say that is pretty good and it would apply to the Throwing Hammers too Cool
It also retains the viciousness of the build
Not the biggest damage dealing striker, but a monk can easily have the highest defenses.  My monk, at 30th level, will have:

50 AC (Okay, that's including the new Elven Chain Shirt from Mordy, but still....) 
45 FORT
51 REF 
50 WILL

(Alternately, AC could be 51 with a 49 Will, based on armor choice)

This is pretty costly in terms of feats, but still, it's pretty darn high across the board.  Can it be beaten... I am not sure?  Maybe, but probably not across the board.

Plus, as a bonus: [i]amazing mobility[/i].  With equipment, he has Fly speed, Burrow Speed (one encoumnter per day),  Swim Speed [i]and[/i] Climb Speed.  Also, Speed 10.  Plus, as Grandmaster of Flowers, at 30th level:

Your movement never provokes opportunity attacks, and when an effect allows you to shift, you can instead move your speed. You ignore difficult terrain. You can move across and end your movement on any vertical or liquid surface. Finally, whenever you walk, run, or charge, you can spend any or all of that movement flying. If you are still flying when you end this movement, you land safely in the nearest unoccupied space.
I usually play a halfling thief optimized to take advantage of his racial second chance power.  I have survived many battles as a ranged striker without taking a single hit, even when most others in the party were bloodied or unconscious.  I believe a halfling thief can be quite survivable if second chance is optimized.  Also, the thief has many escape-type powers such as "Slip Aside" and "Cunning Escape" which boost your defenses or allow you to take half damage from attacks against AC or Reflex.

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Apparently with a really good Stealth skill - even the stats on his character sheet succeed in hiding.

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Revenant Bleak Disciple Assassins are extremely durable (much more than barbarians), due to insubstantiality, THP generation, invisibility, ability to stay conscious at negative HP, high Con...

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I like artful dodger It's not for the opp. attacks it's for things like parry(enounter utility lv 5) and other tactics to keep your oppents off you like push/slide equal to your charisma mod.


And if you give it a light sheild they go insane I've had my halfline at over +60 all defenses it's something to spec., but once done correcty you can make a fun class. ( newest build multi-classed palidin for the mark and more dmg. though such mark)  
 
Dex pumped warlock, perma stealth!!
I think a half-orc arid berserker mc skald can be pretty survivable with high AC with unarmored agility ,skald healing, temp hp's from racial power and berserker vitality, a good stealth chack with no penalties, and can defend as well as dish out damage. Take utilities like tumble so you can avoid attacks, rages that grant temp hp or help regain hp's, and items to help your survivability and you're good to go.
Blackguard, Avenger, and Slayer are way up there.
Avenger isn't that hot.  Good AC, decent NADs, but when you do hit them, they tend to go down quickly, and are very susceptible to being swarmed.

Blackguard and Slayer set the benchmarks here.  A CON-primary Eldritch Striking Slayer is probably the silliest you can get, but loses his nova in exchange.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Avenger isn't that hot.  Good AC, decent NADs, but when you do hit them, they tend to go down quickly, and are very susceptible to being swarmed.

Blackguard and Slayer set the benchmarks here.  A CON-primary Eldritch Striking Slayer is probably the silliest you can get, but loses his nova in exchange.



Avenger has higher AC and NAD's than most strikers, as well as higher hp, and more surges. They're quite tough.
A small Iron Soul Monk.

Halfling with +2 unarmored AC bonus feat and the lost in the crowds feat. More armor than all defenders and your resistances are great aswell. It makes you unhitable.

Warning; this strategy makes your DM cry.
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