How is the Beserker and what are current builds for him?

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i just noticed the Berserker the other day and I don't think I got so pumped up over playing a class in a long time. I always like being a defender but being able to put some dps as a tank is sometimes hard to do. Anybody played them yet and if so how would you consider building him feat and skill wise. Half Orc seems to be the best choice for race with the racial stats and Furious Assasult.
Yeah, Half Orc's are ideal. 

As to Builds for him... he JUST came out yesterday (officially)...

That being said Frost cheese is still good for him, and so it charging.

Build wise.... like I said he just came out yesterday.

But here is my Heroic tier projection for my human Berserker.

Level 1


18         Hp:26 Healing surges: 8 Ac 20/18
11         +7 to hit, DPR (in Fury) 15. (6.5+4.5+4)
16
8
13
10 

Arid Desert Heartland Berserker, pack outcast.

At wills: Stalking Strike, Jaring smash, and Run Down.
Enc: Batter Down
Daily: Thunder Hooves Rage

Feats: Full Blade Prof, and Unarmored Agillity.




Level 10


20            Hp= 80, AC= 28/26 (15+3+4+2feat+ 2 enchantment+2defender Aura)
11            Fort= 21 Ref= 21 Will=17
18            To hit= 14 DPS= 1d12+1d8+5+1+2(enchantment)=19
8
13
10 

At wills: Stalking Strike, Aggresive Lunge (retrained at 5), and Run Down.

Enc: Batter Down
level 3: Brutal Slam
Level 7:Curtain of Steel

Daily: Thunder Hooves Rage
Level 5: Feral rampage
Level 9: Eye of the maelstrom

Utillity:
Level 2:Bite of the Wolf (Pack Outcast option)
Level 6: Cull Weakness
Level 10: Circle of Battle

 Feats:
Level 1:  Full Blade Prof, (Human)Unarmored Agillity
Level 2:  Berserk Vitality
Level 4: Two Handed Weapon Expertise (or Master at Arms... I can't decide..)
Level 6: Weapon Focus
Level 8: MC: Battle Awareness
Level 10: World Serpent's Grasp 

Battle Crazed Fullblade (+2)
Bloodthread


Tactic wise, my Defender tactic is to focus on slowing and  generally drawing fire to take advantage of my higher AC and pushing me closer to Bloody. When I no longer need to defend (because we have blunted their primary push, or because I am needed more as a striker.) Then i use Brutal Slam to enter my Fury. While in Fury I'll have 1d12+1d8+5+1+2+2d6=26 Base DPR, and I'll have the higher AC still. 

Bite of the Wolf is to prone anyone I like (what with now having CA against anything next to me)

Cull Weakness is for when I want to push my Damage up 4 points to finish off the weaker foes faster (the CA doesn't stack, so i am considering trading this for Run Rampant or Wilderness Step.)

Circle of battle is fun because it can get your friends out of harms way as well as giving you some movement cancelation. Sadly it's just against one foe... but that can be helpful still.

Feat Wise it should all be pretty obvious, World Serpent's Grasp is to add some more prone to things

My big issue from skimming the berserker is that it discourages you from raging.  And barbarian rages are very good.  By late heroic you should be raging most encounters, usually in the first round, assuming a 5 encounter day. 

And in Epic if you go with a barbarian paragon path you can rage 5 times a day, which means you should generally start off almost every encounter with a rage to get the full effect from it.

And you lose out on the good thaneborn and rageblood barbarian class features and power riders.

I don't see you getting enough to make those losses worth the trade. 
My big issue from skimming the berserker is that it discourages you from raging.  And barbarian rages are very good.  By late heroic you should be raging most encounters, usually in the first round, assuming a 5 encounter day.

And in Epic if you go with a barbarian paragon path you can rage 5 times a day, which means you should generally start off almost every encounter with a rage to get the full effect from it.

The berserker is discouraged from raging for as long as he wants to be a defender, but I think there's a good argument that you should open up every Berserker Fury with an immediate action or a rage, in order to maximize your striker-ness for the remainder of the encounter.
fyi, many of the encounter powers are primal powers and not all of the dailies are rages.

The concept does not "discourage" raging.  What it means is that raging has a mechanical, role-based impact.  The only reason you would be "discouraged" from raging is if you still value being a defender.  Which is fine.

Now, if you are one of those characters who may be a defender more often, then you can take the martial daily powers.  Hell, one of them is a L1 daily that's a 4[W] attack that can be used on a charge.  That's easily competitive with Rage Strike (which is only 3[W] for a level 1), even for a PHB2 Barbarian.  It could very well be a good choice to have more nova-this-encounter rather than another raging encounter.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You... get to be a pretty effective defender until you rage, as opposed to big and scary but more-or-less ignorable if you can shift.

I like the class for the flexibility it offers.  It can be a competent striker, or a competent defender (roughly on a part with the Knight, given its slowing martial at-will), and it can do both, at will, when you want it to.

Maybe it won't excel at either role if you build for both, but I get the impression from reading the class, that it will be better than most off-defenders at defending, and better than most off-strikers at striking.

Some jacks-of-all-trades can be useful and fun, despite what the more rabid among us oppers would have people believe.

I'm really looking forward to playing one.
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.
Precisely.  The Berserker is shaping up to be an excellent "fifth man" class.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I do have to say torrent of destruction is great for a regular barbarian to take, especially if he has boosted his speed at all.
Just to note:  a L1 18/18 str/dex Berserker with Defender Aura up has 19 AC.  With a 2h weapon.  For comparison, a L1 18/18 Warden has to use a heavy shield to get 19 AC.  This means a berserker can start out with a poelarm and not have an AC loss, and can get Hafted Defense to boost it further.  Within the constraints of being a defender aura defender, the Berserker is certainly no slouch.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
My only problem with him is if he ever wanted to nab a sweet guardian form (Winter's Herald anyone?) he would drop out of defender mode, which honestly just blows.
Arid Desert plus unarmoured Agility takes it up to 21 IIRC.  Stick on a Defensive weapon, and/or twd/rhythm blade, and you've got one of the highest ACs in the business.
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.
As someone already pointed out the Berserker has as much incentive to rage.

And I need to give Gelat. a big thank you, because i checked back into some of the barb Paragon powers and I fell in love with Winter's Fury.

Partly because his rage isn't a barbarian rage, so it doesn't set off my Fury and turns me into a retarded defender.  All good stuff, I can't wait.

Stonefire Rager is another good pick, but Winterfury won out so i can keep my Battlecrazed weapon AND keep frost cheese.  
My only problem with him is if he ever wanted to nab a sweet guardian form (Winter's Herald anyone?) he would drop out of defender mode, which honestly just blows.



No, not really. Berserker Fury is only activated by Barbarian Primal Powers. Warden Primal powers don't start a Fury.

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

Someone also pointed out that the Iron Wolf Warrior Encounter swaps make for better encounters than some of the martial powers.
Indeed.

Incidentally, I don't really see the issue Erachima has with the Martial powers.  They're pretty solid, for the most part, ranging up to strong defender powers - perfect, in essence, for what the berserker adds to the original barb, which is a strong side of true defender.

If you want to be all striker, all the time, nothing's stopping you - but if that's the case, the class probably isn't for you.  In that instance, you might just as well play a regular barbarian.
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.
Torrent of destruction idea:  A trikreen 7 base speed with mc monk and fluid motion (2 feat bonus), Swift strike shoes (5 untyped first round bonus), elven battle armor (2 power), ring of fey travel (1 item), & swift panther range (2 untyped).  Edit: add wildrunner paragon path for +2 untyped while raging.

A barbarian could minor action activate armor, standard action swift panther rage, and then action point torrent of destruction.  Shift 21 squares with a 4W attack vs every enemy he ended up adjacent to during the shift.

Any themes that boost speed?
After looking everything over, I find myself underwhelmed by the At-will situation. The Berserker At-wills are pretty meager, and you can't get much mileage out of Barbarian At-wills.


For example, Howling Strike is the OBarbarian's bread and butter. A berserker's MBA outclasses it while in a fury. It would have been great if you could use howling strike until you go until into a fury.


Or take the new martial at-will's aggressive lunge, and stalk and strike. Beyond the extra damage the two combined don't add up to pressing strike.


There are only a couple of Barbarian At-wills I would consider taking. I think the need to release a feat that says something like: Choose a barbarian At-will with the Primal keyword. That At-will gains the martial keyword and 1d6 scaling damage while in a fury. If the power already has scaling damage, increase the die size by 1 instead.
O...K.

So, what is misses, that the Knight has, is:

Slowing with the OAs.

Miss damage with the OAs.

Other than that, it's basically a Knight in its defender capacity, and can boost this significantly with things like World Serpent's Grasp in combination with Run Down, and with the various defender-aura-boosting dailies, most of which my Knight would kill for access to.  And why something like, say, the martial E3 (I chase you down as a free action if you move away from me, so works, for instance, if Dazed), or the E7 which Immobilises (and keeps things immobilised after you've gone away, unlike the equivalent on the hammer knight), or the E13 slide 2 and knock prone, or the e23 take a respectable, though not huge, chunk of autodamage for every square of voluntary movement...  are all crap powers?  Most of them are bettered by some fighter powers, but we all know fighters have stupid amounts of support.  Plus, fighters, IIRC, don't get access to an at-will power which slows out of the box, and that's solid for a defender.  The Berserker seems to have plenty of stickiness, and a decently scary punishment.

Can you point out what I'm missing here that renders it on a level with the second-most-dismal defender in the game, rather than what you yourself agreed was probably the third best?
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.
After looking everything over, I find myself underwhelmed by the At-will situation. The Berserker At-wills are pretty meager, and you can't get much mileage out of Barbarian At-wills.


For example, Howling Strike is the OBarbarian's bread and butter. A berserker's MBA outclasses it while in a fury. It would have been great if you could use howling strike until you go until into a fury.


Or take the new martial at-will's aggressive lunge, and stalk and strike. Beyond the extra damage the two combined don't add up to pressing strike.


There are only a couple of Barbarian At-wills I would consider taking. I think the need to release a feat that says something like: Choose a barbarian At-will with the Primal keyword. That At-will gains the martial keyword and 1d6 scaling damage while in a fury. If the power already has scaling damage, increase the die size by 1 instead.



I'd actually argue that Stalk and Strike is equivalent to pressing Strike. The push is nice and will be missed, but 9 times out of 10 I use pressing strike to posistion and the push just ruins what I so delicately set up (Ort I use it to abuse Thunderhooves rage). And agressive lunge is fun, because it is a good way to ruin an enemy flanking pattern on an ally not to mention its abillity to ruin other tactical situations. Also its a great way to push someone where you want them to be. (like off a cliff.)

I wouldn' say either is better then pressing strike, just that it offers some more versatillity. 
and Run Down/Jarring Smash are essentially gold Powers. Jarring Smash is a great way to set up your daily use (or a great way to keep beating the ever loving snot out of someone.) and Run down presents some  fun shenenigans with WSG. 


Personally I'm not that surprised if its martial encounters are not-that-great.
The problem as I see it, is that if, for any reason, its martial powers selection would be anything remotely close to what Figthers and Paladins have (on a defendery-effectiveness side), it would flat out make the Berserker the strongest defender in the whole game.
It already has one of the strongest punishments I've seen as it stands. It's basically the Knight's punishment with all the MBA goodness and extra damage on top, to make it even more discouraging. Plus it has access to solid dailies already. Aura 2 with a built-in shift at level 9? Yes please.

As things are, its design is to be a decent defender and a decent striker, not the best defender ever with also striker support. I honestly hope they don't go over-the-top with its martial support. Because it could really offset other "pure tank" classes.

Edit: yes Erachima, exactly. But think about giving the Berserker a built-in mechanic to slow/push/slide with their punishment. Paired with what it already has it could literally put fighters to shame. Not a good result imo for a multirole-designed class.
I always get confused as to which of the two non-Shielding Swordmages are worse tbh.

Push enhancers don't work on Hammer Hands, though.

But yeah, I'm not saying Berserkers are the best.  But relegating them to bottom three is pushing it a bit.  And they can still do a lot of similar tricks with their punishments anyway - flail tricks, specifically, should be reasonably accessible, albeit a little feat intensive, and WSG is always nice, or Overwhelming Impact at epic, etc.

The potential racial pigeonholing I can see as an issue, but that's much more of an endemic 4e issue than anything specific to the Berserker.  I don't see it as a massive problem, however, since half-orcs have some solid support available for both roles.

They're never going to beat a Fighter at pure defending.  They're never going to beat a straight Barbarian at pure striking.  But neither class will beat them at both thingswith the same character, I don't think.  They've got a lot going for them in small parties which lack defender and striker, and in large parties as strong and flexible 5th or 6th men.  Built right, you've got a competent primary defenderm, or a competent primary striker, or a flexible mixture of both.

And I'm still looking forward to playing one.
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.
If you want to defend well, a lot of effort should be going into tweaking that basic attack - specifically, adding control effects to it, not just damage.

The most basic combo is probably WSG + Run Down in the previous round.

But yeah, doing nothing other than damage with your punishment does not make for the strongest defender.  It's the most major criticism of the Cavalier.
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.
@Arel

Agreed

Personally comparing the berserker to the other defenders is like comparing the O-Barb to a Wizard. The Dual role fits a completely different need, versatillity. If you want to be a Defender, be a defender. If you want to be a striker, be a striker. If you want to be something unique, be a Berserker. 
It already has one of the strongest punishments I've seen as it stands.



It's a riderless basic attack. The extra 1/2/3d8 isn't doing a thing to discourage people except at very low levels.



It's not hard to add riders on a MBA. Lashing Flail and Flail Expertise, Mark of Storm, Polearm Momentum, and so on. At some points it HAS to be controlled. If they added built in riders like the Knight's auras, you'd have a stronger defender than the Knight. Plus the striker.

Edit for clarification: it's strong because it has potential. You can do little, if nothing at all, with a Cavalier's punishment. Or (ugh) Ensnaring Swordmage. But this is a MBA which doesn't take up your Immediate spot. I see that as a very strong starting point. Sure, you have to resort to external tricks while stuff like Combat Challenge has the whole fighter insanity to take strengths from. But it's not like you can't do it.


Anyway, there are other problems as well (like, say, getting Barbarian powers you can't use as a defender instead of defender class features) but the key difference is attack negation. The Knight's punishment snuffs attacks outright, from L1 if you feel like it. Hammer Hands, push and slide enhancers, and their MBA basis gives a ridiculous degree of control over where your targets end up, to the point where actions you dislike don't happen, provoke repeatedly, etc. Additionally, as they're heavy armored and entirely MBA-based, they don't suffer from being Dwarves, or pure CON half-elves, or other useful combinations rather than having their race selection dominated by the need to be STR/DEX or STR/INT.


Your argument for the Knight is Hammer Hands?  From what I've experienced of the Knight (which is admittedly little), I wasn't all that impressed with Hammer Hands.  As has been stated, push enhancers don't work on it.  Juggling Defend the Line (your sticky stance) and Hammer Hands (your alleged action-negating stance) is action-intensive, and if you have anything at all that requires a move or minor action you can't switch between the two during the same turn.  Finally, while you can negate an attack by pushing them away if the positioning is in your favor, you're also sending them right out of the aura by doing so.  Not good if you're trying to keep more than one enemy in your black hole of death (which is an aura-based defender's strength, since they can punish via an OA).  I usually ended up just staying in DtL and increasing my stickiness with WSG as a Knight, which is a strategy that Berserkers are perfectly capable of employing.  Knights do have some other strengths in their favor (hammer builds, mostly), but the Berserker's aura-buffing dailies give them and entirely different kind of tool.  Despite the similar chassis, the Berserker does diverge from the Knight's core playstyle even without taking Fury into account.
I think the overall issue is that the beserker doesn't do anything that another class doesn't already do better. It has a flexible playstyle and but has to pay much more to reach the same level of effectiveness in any one area than other classes.
Precisely. It's designed to be (as it's been said) the fifth man, in all those various situations where you can make use of extra flexibility. Char-opping speaking, it's not a good deal. But when "normal" games come into play, I can easily think of many groups that would appreciate such a role. It's also nice to see them trying that once in a while. Instead of giving us "yet-another-*insert role*-class" that will most likely be offset due to the lack of support that comes with being new.

As for the catastrophic impact of the Knight, I can't do anything but agree. The day they add a remotely viable hybrid version, hell will break free.
I don't know why, but picking a weapon and choosing between 20/16 and 18/18 STR/DEX is driving me crazy on this class.
I don't know why, but picking a weapon and choosing between 20/16 and 18/18 STR/DEX is driving me crazy on this class.



16+2/16+2, rapier, flail, or gouge.



Arid, so I guess I'll go Gouge. I wanted to stick to spears for flavor reasons, but hey, it is one! (Missing out on Hafted Defense this way, but that's not the worst thing). I was going to go Greatspear instead. I do like two dice with Brutal 1, though.
Someone also pointed out that the Iron Wolf Warrior Encounter swaps make for better encounters than some of the martial powers.

Yep. The Fury of Blows in my .sig argues that Iron Wolf Warrior has a better option than even the ever-present Curtain of Steel for barbarians.

I guess my main question about berserkers is why play one when you can turn a barbarian into a perfectly adequate off-tank anyway?
One-handed weapons are very poor choices.  Given that you only have Light Shield as default proficiency, going 1h/Shield isn't worth it.  Go 2h or go home.  18 dex gets you 19 AC in defender mode without a shield.  Plenty good enough.


Aside from that, I have to say that erachima's assessment seems cursory and incomplete.  There are several things that are simply incorrect.

Firstly, you mentioned one martial encounter power.  It's important to note that that's one martial encounter power per level, so it's at least possible to get only martial encounter powers.  Sure, you don't have any choices if you want to do that, since there's exactly one per level, but it does mean that should you want to you can be defender 100% of the time.  You heard me:  defender 100% of the time is possible, and it's not that bad.  Again, it means you can't poach any of the Barbarian powers if you want to do that, but it does mean that the full spectrum from full defender to full striker is available to you.  On that second part, yes, full striker is available as well.  You can take Primal powers at every single level, which means that you can open every single encounter ever with a Defender Aura until you get your first turn, and then turn on full striker mode.  On that note, some of the powers available are striker right from the start.  Savage Cut L1E deals 2[W]+1d8+Str, which yeah is a pretty boring power but it's got the full damage output.  You also can choose any other PHB2 Barb power in its place to kickstart things.  It's important to adequately recognize the distribution of barbarian and martial powers.

Second, you claim that full defender is worse than the Knight.  I'd argue that it's emphatically not, but it requires looking at the powers in order to come to that conclusion.  It's like saying "Wow, Warden's Fury and Warden's Grasp are pretty damn lackluster, who's going to care about 1[W]+Str and grants CA?" and ignoring the fact that the powers let Wardens completely lock down space around them and provide severe control. 

The at-wills for the Berserker are pretty much exactly the go-to defender at-will powers.  Yes, there's only four, but it's a new build.  There will be more.  Aggressive Lunge is Tide of Iron.  Run Down is Weight of Earth.  Stalk and Strike gives you defender mobility that many others, the Knight in particular, would kill for.  Moving on to the encounters, you get the martial encounter Batter Down, which is 2[W]+Str and prone.  The daily martial is a close burst 1 2[W]+Str and prone.  These are strong defender powers.  Could there be better ones?  Sure.  Do I expect more martial powers in Dragon articles in the future?  Absolutely.  The end result is a 'pure defender' that I'd put probably slightly behind most of the AEDU defenders (though competitive with the weaker defenders in that group) but definitely ahead of both the Knight and the Cavalier. 

Note that I haven't even mentioned Defender Aura yet, just how the powers are the sorts of things defenders like to use.  Defender Aura is not a bad defender mechanic.  It's not fantastic, but it gets the job done.  What's most important that distinguishes it from other defenders, though, is that even in full defender mode you're still way ahead in damage.  You have the same AC as a 1h/shield fighter/battlemind when using a 2h weapon.  Again I emphasize:  You have the same AC as a 1h/shield fighter/battlemind when using a 2h weapon.  A 2h weapon can be used for several things.  One option is a high damage 2h, and now you're a sword&board-fighter-AC doing as much damage as a greatweapon fighter.   That should not be underestimated.  People often dismiss defender damage, but this is a defender where a significant portion of the 'threat' they generate is due to them actually being threatening, rather than through vicious mark enforcement.  The other option is to go for a polearm, which you sacrifice no defense to get - something no other defender can claim.  Every single other defender gives up 2 AC from a heavy shield (or Swordmage Warding) in order to get a polearm.  Sure, you can't punish enemies at reach because you're not marking them, but there are many defenders that suffer that weakness. 

I find it odd that you whine about a "riderless MBA" as the mark punishment, despite the fact that that's exactly what Combat Challenge is.  Except the Berserker one hits harder.  A lot harder.  Yes, Combat Challenge has a stupid amount of feat support, but it's not exactly as if you can't turn that MBA into a vicious punishment.  And it'll still do a considerable chunk more damage.

To summarize:  cursory evaluation of the defender features doesn't tell the whole story.  You have to take the whole package into account, and the whole package is considerably better than you give it credit for.

Third, you claim that the full-Striker version is weaker than the existing Barbarian.  The only way it's weaker is that you don't get Feral Might.  But guess what?  Some of those don't even really add to the damage you do by all that much.  So going Berserker is about as bad as picking a less-than-optimal Feral Might option.  Not a huge loss.  Now, if you're really going full striker, then you basically ignore all martial encounter and daily powers, and you can get...every single Barbarian striker power ever published.  The Berserker at least calls out what is rightly the pretty much only secondary stat for barbarians, dexterity, which ensures that you'll maintain a decent AC and not get distracted by mediocre class features.

And all of this ignores the benefits of being able to go from defender to striker.  Without a doubt, the Berserker is the best second defender in the game.  Because if you ever don't really need more defendering, you can go striker mode and crush.  If you're planning on doing this, you basically need at least one primal encounter power, but that's not a huge loss to your defendering if it allows you to switch in every encounter.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I guess my main question about berserkers is why play one when you can turn a barbarian into a perfectly adequate off-tank anyway?


Because a berserker in defender mode beats the crap out of a barbarian off-tank.  And can go to full striker mode, whereas your off-tank barbarian needs to devote a fair bit of character resources in order to gain off-tank status.  The berserker gets it for free.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You're severely underrating Hammer Hands. The fact that Hammer Hands is a seperate action is a plus if you're after maximized distance: it limits the enhancers that work on it, but it also means they can add in twice. (I prefer it to Defend The Line most of all because it's not redundant to Hindering Shield.) The important thing is that it means Knights control who you get to attack even when you leave their aura.


You're going to have to be more explicit, because I'm not following.  How can the few enhancers that do work with Hammer Hands be added twice? 

Also, how is a Knight controlling who a monster can attack once it's out of the aura?  Hammer Hands can push an enemy that's in the aura from their target, but that also frees said enemy from the aura.  Once the enemy is free, how is Hammer Hands helping anything?

Hammer Hands also clashes with Staggering Hammer; if you Power Strike while in that stance you can't benefit from both.  The Berserker, OTOH, can use his E7 to immobilize an enemy and then go after someone else (so he can deny enemy actions when they're outside of the aura).
Yep. The Fury of Blows in my .sig argues that Iron Wolf Warrior has a better option than even the ever-present Curtain of Steel for barbarians.

It's at least competitive. Even the various Iron Wolf push effects are a nice option, though they wouldn't seem to be worth much to an aura defender. In practice, Monster A is likely to be dead real soon, so pushing Monster B close to Monster C so as to end turn with a move between them can be an aura defender's smartest play.

I guess my main question about berserkers is why play one when you can turn a barbarian into a perfectly adequate off-tank anyway?

The Berserker easily blows past the best practical AC for the parent class, and he's sticky out of the box. The Barbarian takes a while to get ramped up. It's rough playing a heroic Barbarian, nursing those one or two rages because maybe the next fight will be tougher.

In the meantime, the Berserker can easily bulk up his MBA, and add a d8 per tier to his reprisal attack, to the point that you can't really compare the build to a Knight in the way that some of this thread tries to do. Knight builds want the Monster to flail futilely at the Knight, such that 100% negation of attacks on the Knight's allies is a worthwhile build goal. The Berserker really wants the Monsters to attack his allies. They'll get dead a whole lot quicker that way. It's sort of defense by striking. The L12 build I posted on the other thread averages about 31 hits per defender OA, which is about 25% of the HPs of a L12 standard monster. That gives it real good odds of imposing the ultimate status effect -- dead -- as its attack negation.
@Arel

Agreed

Personally comparing the berserker to the other defenders is like comparing the O-Barb to a Wizard. The Dual role fits a completely different need, versatillity. If you want to be a Defender, be a defender. If you want to be a striker, be a striker. If you want to be something unique, be a Berserker. 


Something unique? Something new yes, but there are plenty of ways to play an "off-tank".

That said I generally like the class just because it kinda sets a benchmark for what that 5th man role can be. There was just a thread recently talking about the 2 Defender Party and what tactics could be used. I think Berserkers would do well in a party with a Paladin, Swordmage, or Battlemind. Abuse some catch-22 combos and when the encounter gets down to clean up time, or you just need the damage you can flip a switch.

But I think you really have to focus on that defender side of things, and know that you're the 5th man.  It promotes team work, that's for certain. Knowing you can kick in some fun striker damage is nice, but it's not something unique. Still I like the class, or at least I'd like to try one out.
One-handed weapons are very poor choices.  Given that you only have Light Shield as default proficiency, going 1h/Shield isn't worth it.  Go 2h or go home.  18 dex gets you 19 AC in defender mode without a shield.  Plenty good enough.


A 1-hander is actually competitive if you go with Temperate Lands, because you gain a +2 bonus to damage with it.  That's going to be slightly more damaging with 1[W] powers assuming a Bastard Sword/Fullblade comparison (for the +3 proficiency bonus), though the bigger damage dice of the 2-hander will come out ahead with 3+[W] powers.  Seeing as you'll probably be making more low [W] attacks even at higher levels (leader-granted MBAs, charging, Vengeful Guardian), the 1-hander might even have a slight edge.

In terms of defenses, the 2-hander (assuming Arid) takes Unarmored Agility whereas the Temperate guy takes Heavy Shield Proficiency.  Both will get you some of the best AC in the game.  Arid Polearm users might bump it further with Hafted Defense, but Temperate shield users will be taking Shield Specialization.  Because a non-Arid Berserker can't get Unarmored Agility, they'll either need to go sword and board or accept a lower (but still very respectable) AC. 

Third, you claim that the full-Striker version is weaker than the existing Barbarian.  The only way it's weaker is that you don't get Feral Might.  But guess what?  Some of those don't even really add to the damage you do by all that much.  So going Berserker is about as bad as picking a less-than-optimal Feral Might option.  Not a huge loss. 


To be fair, you also lose out on Rampage.  Once you get an expanded critical range, this will start to be more important.  So that's 2 sources of free attacks (assuming a Rageblood, anyways), even if Rampage isn't going to be triggered all that often.  Rampage also costs most Barbarians a feat to give them the option of charging with it, becuase it sucks to kill a guy with a crit and have no one to attack with Rampage. 

Looking at it from a pure DPR standpoint, the pure striker Berserker is going to be weaker than an O-Barbarian.  But then again, if you're going to make a pure striker you probably don't want to go with the Berserker anyways.  That's not to say that a pure striker Berserker is a weak striker, it's just that an O-Barb fits the same concept and is slightly stronger in that role.
@Arel

Agreed

Personally comparing the berserker to the other defenders is like comparing the O-Barb to a Wizard. The Dual role fits a completely different need, versatillity. If you want to be a Defender, be a defender. If you want to be a striker, be a striker. If you want to be something unique, be a Berserker. 


Something unique? Something new yes, but there are plenty of ways to play an "off-tank".

That said I generally like the class just because it kinda sets a benchmark for what that 5th man role can be. There was just a thread recently talking about the 2 Defender Party and what tactics could be used. I think Berserkers would do well in a party with a Paladin, Swordmage, or Battlemind. Abuse some catch-22 combos and when the encounter gets down to clean up time, or you just need the damage you can flip a switch.

But I think you really have to focus on that defender side of things, and know that you're the 5th man.  It promotes team work, that's for certain. Knowing you can kick in some fun striker damage is nice, but it's not something unique. Still I like the class, or at least I'd like to try one out.




But unless you are using a hybrid your Off tank is relying on "LOOK WHAT A BIG MENACING TARGET I AM". Berserker gets some punishment, and some debuffs and still works as a fully functional striker. 

Unique may be to strong of a word, different, and new are better. (Sorry I am very much in the Honeymoon period with this sub class. =D) 

In the meantime, the Berserker can easily bulk up his MBA, and add a d8 per tier to his reprisal attack, to the point that you can't really compare the build to a Knight in the way that some of this thread tries to do. Knight builds want the Monster to flail futilely at the Knight, such that 100% negation of attacks on the Knight's allies is a worthwhile build goal. The Berserker really wants the Monsters to attack his allies. They'll get dead a whole lot quicker that way. It's sort of defense by striking. The L12 build I posted on the other thread averages about 31 hits per defender OA, which is about 25% of the HPs of a L12 standard monster. That gives it real good odds of imposing the ultimate status effect -- dead -- as its attack negation.


That's a good way of putting it. 

It's also worth mentioning that it takes the Knight a while to build up his repertoire of tricks, but the Berserker is punishing via damage at all levels of play.  Since most play occurs at low levels, that's potentially a point in the Berserker's favor.  But you're right, despite the similar chassis of the two classes, they really do have different goals in combat (even if both will be utilizing slow + WSG).
I guess my main question about berserkers is why play one when you can turn a barbarian into a perfectly adequate off-tank anyway?


Because a berserker in defender mode beats the crap out of a barbarian off-tank.  And can go to full striker mode, whereas your off-tank barbarian needs to devote a fair bit of character resources in order to gain off-tank status.  The berserker gets it for free.

Things like Battle Awareness or Rage of the Death Spirit on a Barbarian quite empathetically do not compromise your damage output. =)

Sure, maybe you won't hit 100% of a pure striker barbarian, but being able to be able to off-tank while being a full striker is a very good build to run with.
Um, alien270, I left my books at home today but doesn't hammerhands have a shift after you push the mob? You know, so the knight can keep it in his aura and hopefully get others?
Warforged Berserker, paragon multiclass Fighter, pick up Battle Acumen and Warforged Superiority to increase stickiness. It'd give you a bunch of martial powers to cherrypick from. Or does losing your paragon path make it not worthwhile? Just a thought I had, now reflecting on it probably too feat intensive for the effect it gives.