Striker Mechanic Discussion

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Ok, so I wanted to go through the different striker mechanics, weigh the pro's and con's, and determine a ranking between them.

So, the striker mechanics

Hunter's Quarry
Warlock's curse
Sneak Attack
Sorcerer's bonus
Shroud's
Attack Finesse
Barbarian's rampage
Avenger's Oath
Bladesinger's spellsongs
Slayer/Vamp/hexblade +second stat mechanics
Scout's DWA
Blackguard's bonuses
Monk's Flurry

(I think that's it, let me know if you think of any I missed.)


So yeah, thoughts on which is the best, pro's and con's of each, your favorite's, or any other comments on the mechanics themselves is much appreciated.

(PS: This is purely to be a discussion on the mechanics themselves, not the feasibility of the striker it comes from.)


Reserved just incase.  ;)
Sneak attack is my personal favourite because
it's more damage and sits nicely with frost cheese.

Pros: bigger damage

Cons: more situational at lower levels.
You forgot to add Censure's to the Avenger, Oath isn't their only striker mechanic. Same thing with the e-classes and Stances.

Adding Barbarian's Powers is ... not a striker Mechanic. Are you going to add Rangers Powers (more multi-attacks than anyone else), Rogues Powers (more minor actions), Sorcerers Powers (zone abuse), Defender Marks and Powers (reliable off-turn attacks). Point being that once you start involving powers, you're basically looking at "who is a better killer" and then you need to add what feats, items, PPs, EDs, and party synergy, and then it's just another "which class is better" thread. Don't head down that road.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Dual-Weapon Attack is the only one that's really significant in its own right.

If you take feat support into account, Warlock's Curse and Sneak Attack are probably best. If you don't, Oath beats those, I think.
The stances are not a striker feature they are effectively the at will power for classes like slayers.
Sorcerer-like fixed extra bonus damage is my favorite by a mile. Don't have to worry about conditions, don't have to worry about more/different dice, don't have to worry about minor actions (quarry/curse), combat advantage, charging, once per turn mechanics, and all that jazz. It's the fastest mechanic to resolve, and I have a hard time caring about much else these days... If the end result is going to be the same (i.e. striker level damage), just give it to me straight up.

Having said that, my second favorite is probably the monk flurry. Spreading striker overkill damage to another target is a fantastic mechanic.
Really, a lot of these are the same thing.  You could reduce the list down to:

  1. Extra damage dice 1/turn (Hunter's Quarry, Warlock's Curse, Sneak Attack, Attack Finesse)

  2. Extra damage dice on specific powers (Barbarian at-wills, Berserk Fury, Dual-Weapon Attack)

  3. Secondary stat on all attacks (Spell Source, Heroic Slayer, Pact Reward, Hidden Might)

  4. Secondary stat on specific conditions (Censure, Dark Menace, Spirit of Vice)

  5. Secondary stat on target of your choice (Flurry of Blows, Bladesong)

  6. Triggered Pool (Shrouds, Darkspiral Aura)

  7. Accuracy Boost (Oath of Emnity)

Group 1 is the best type.  There's an action and feat cost associated with it (except in the case of Attack Finesse where the cost is you have to make a weapon attack), but the reward is an average increase in damage of 13.5 points by epic (18 for sneak attack).  Contrast that with the cap of 8 (9 if you take a stat-boosting ED) for group 3 (assuming you start with an 18 in the stat and boost it every chance).  You pay for that ease of use and lack of swingy-ness.

Interestingly enough, both of the classes that get group 5's method of bonus damage tend to (intentionally or otherwise) stress a strong secondary controller role.

Also, both of the bonus damage types in group 6 tend to be difficult to use effectively.  It's not such a big deal for a Dark Pact warlock since that's extra damage on top of their curse, but it effectively stymies the Ossassin.

(Aside: I wonder if the easiest fix to the Ossassin would be just to give it Attack Finesse and Shrouds.)
Really, a lot of these are the same thing.  You could reduce the list down to:

  1. Extra damage dice 1/turn (Hunter's Quarry, Warlock's Curse, Sneak Attack, Attack Finesse)

  2. Extra damage dice on specific powers (Barbarian at-wills, Berserk Fury, Dual-Weapon Attack)

  3. Secondary stat on all attacks (Spell Source, Heroic Slayer, Pact Reward, Hidden Might)

  4. Secondary stat on specific conditions (Censure, Dark Menace, Spirit of Vice)

  5. Secondary stat on target of your choice (Flurry of Blows, Bladesong)

  6. Triggered Pool (Shrouds, Darkspiral Aura)

  7. Accuracy Boost (Oath of Emnity)

Group 1 is the best type.  There's an action and feat cost associated with it (except in the case of Attack Finesse where the cost is you have to make a weapon attack), but the reward is an average increase in damage of 13.5 points by epic (18 for sneak attack).  Contrast that with the cap of 8 (9 if you take a stat-boosting ED) for group 3 (assuming you start with an 18 in the stat and boost it every chance).  You pay for that ease of use and lack of swingy-ness.

Interestingly enough, both of the classes that get group 5's method of bonus damage tend to (intentionally or otherwise) stress a strong secondary controller role.

Also, both of the bonus damage types in group 6 tend to be difficult to use effectively.  It's not such a big deal for a Dark Pact warlock since that's extra damage on top of their curse, but it effectively stymies the Ossassin.

(Aside: I wonder if the easiest fix to the Ossassin would be just to give it Attack Finesse and Shrouds.)



Small correction, Hunter's Quarry is still 1/round.
Accuracy is silly important.  I think Oath might be the most powerful raw striker feature.  But ...  There are other ways to get silly accurate, and most of them have a smaller opportunity cost than "your class".  So Oath has heavily diminishing returns.

Also, I disagree with Zathris that the censure bonuses should be considered a striker feature.  IMHO, those are just soft-control features to force the DM to let you get your Oath on a regular basis.

I also tend to think of Sneak Attack as equivilent to +Nd6.  Yes, you get an extra die, but that just balances out the requirement for smaller weapons (and fails to properly balance that out on big-W powers).

So:


  • Static
    No setup cost, easy to manage
    Not maximized on a crit

  • +Nd6, with a targeting action (Curse, Quarry)
    Feat/Item support to supplement mark action can be significant
    Action cost can get prohibitive

  • +Nd6, with a condition (Sneak Attack)
    Usually ends up looking like "Static", except maximized on a hit, and costs you a few more build options to negate the condition.

  • Accuracy, with a targeting action (Oath)
    Easily replaceble.  High opportunity cost for declining benefit.

  • Splash (Flurry of Blows)
    Saves overkill, but harder to focus when overkill is not an issue

"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
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Really, a lot of these are the same thing.  You could reduce the list down to:

  1. Extra damage dice 1/turn (Hunter's Quarry, Warlock's Curse, Sneak Attack, Attack Finesse)

  2. Extra damage dice on specific powers (Barbarian at-wills, Berserk Fury, Dual-Weapon Attack)

  3. Secondary stat on all attacks (Spell Source, Heroic Slayer, Pact Reward, Hidden Might)

  4. Secondary stat on specific conditions (Censure, Dark Menace, Spirit of Vice)

  5. Secondary stat on target of your choice (Flurry of Blows, Bladesong)

  6. Triggered Pool (Shrouds, Darkspiral Aura)

  7. Accuracy Boost (Oath of Emnity)

Group 1 is the best type.  There's an action and feat cost associated with it (except in the case of Attack Finesse where the cost is you have to make a weapon attack), but the reward is an average increase in damage of 13.5 points by epic (18 for sneak attack).  Contrast that with the cap of 8 (9 if you take a stat-boosting ED) for group 3 (assuming you start with an 18 in the stat and boost it every chance).  You pay for that ease of use and lack of swingy-ness.

Interestingly enough, both of the classes that get group 5's method of bonus damage tend to (intentionally or otherwise) stress a strong secondary controller role.

Also, both of the bonus damage types in group 6 tend to be difficult to use effectively.  It's not such a big deal for a Dark Pact warlock since that's extra damage on top of their curse, but it effectively stymies the Ossassin.

(Aside: I wonder if the easiest fix to the Ossassin would be just to give it Attack Finesse and Shrouds.)




Have to disagree. Type 3 is better. As Mengu stated it's fairly unconditional, working for both AoE and multi-attacks. Also, as actually realized, the minimum is the sorcerer which reaches 4+ Stat which is either 12 or 13 in late epic, for Hexblad it's 6+Stat at 25th, and for the Slayer it's 8+Stat in mid epic, so the average damage is equal to or higher than 3d8 , with zero feat investment.
Estlor, you forgot that your group 3 get set mods (2/5/7 I think?) as they level, raising that maximum in the end game above just the stat mod of +8/9.
I agree that Group 3 has the best type.  Most strikers will average 2 or more attacks per round by epic through multi-attacks, minor attacks, intterupts and reactions.  That alone doubles the staic value of Group 3 surpassing Group 1 by a significant margin.
I agree that Group 3 has the best type.  Most strikers will average 2 or more attacks per round by epic through multi-attacks, minor attacks, intterupts and reactions.  That alone doubles the staic value of Group 3 surpassing Group 1 by a significant margin.



The immediete action and opportunity powers are not a boon to the type 3 as long as type1 is once/turn (unless you get multiple attacks on that one turn which would be rare).  Quarry is the exception but it doesn't matter since quarry is the least of what rangers have.
I like curse for the sheer number of options you can add to it, and trade it in for.
Ok, going to remove the barbarian powers listing.

So, looking so far like the static mods are on top, from ease of use, and multiattack use.  Flurry of blows and Curse coming in next for splash(Flurry) and verstitility (Curse).  
Sorcerer for the Multi-defense miss match,escapability vs. Wizard builds,and fixed bonus. Dragon magic is great for spearheading encounters without the damage exchange of melee types,Cosmic for most versatile. Muti-target at-will is pure gold. I've gone entire encounters bombing with Blazing Starfall and collecting insubstantial from Cosmic Spellfury. Essence Mage defensive essence,dark fire serpent,lightning daggers. Check out the 20th level Winter Mage with this same build for even more fun.
My personal favorite is Flurry of Blows, though I tend to dislike strikers in general and appreciate the status effects that Centered Breath and Iron Soul Monks can inflict with it (in addition to extra damage).  Centered Breath in particular is difficult to compare with the others because you can situationally eke extra damage out of forced movement (zones, hazards, etc.), and you might as well tack on "and the target grants CA" for the price of just one feat.  I also like how bonus damage won't be "wasted" as long as you stick close to multiple enemies.

As far as what's objectively most powerful, I'd say it's probably between Oath of Enmity and the +secondary stat (and flat mods) to damage.  At high levels once you factor in leader buffs, item bonuses, permafrost, and all of your other static mods a straight damage bonus doesn't make that much of an impact, but a re-roll does because it gives you the opportunity to apply all of those other static mods more frequently (and maximize your damage by critting more frequently).  If it weren't for the fact that the Avenger's Oath can be denied, I'd call it the best hands-down at higher levels. 

At lower levels IME a Brutal Scoundrel's Sneak Attack reigns supreme (it helps that he likely has very high accuracy to boot, and Riposte Strike gives him the opportunity to either discourage attacks or apply those insane modifiers a second time). 
That doesn't make the flat ones suck in use, though, just makes them a sucky idea if you want to support racial diversity. It does bug me that sorcers don't have a secondary stat, just two primaries. Especially when there are all of TWO races with STR/CHR

I'm in the party that thinks oath is best, altough the amount of support curse gets is pretty hilariridiculous. Hunters quarry is pretty bad, but rangers don't really care.  
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Eh? Sorcs are CHA primary and either strength or dex secondary?
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Eh? Sorcs are CHA primary and either strength or dex secondary?

Sorcs are Str/Cha or Dex/Cha, both primary. Their "secondary" is required for AC and their striker mechanic. I wouldn't call it two primary necessarily, though I see TheBringer's point, but it is basically retarded to play any Sorc without two 18s.
1 point of difference in AC and extra damage won't make or break a character.
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Yeah, most classes with the second stat flat damage really are duo primary in essence if not in fact.  That is one of the reasons I personally like Curse.

I also like Shrouds, but they are entirely counter productive as a striker mechanic.  Why would I want to waste 4 turns (Feats and other abilities not withstanding) to ramp up my striker damage to full.  ;)  Should start out at 4 and each attack lowers the number on the target, imo.

Quarry is sad, but even without it rangers would still be at the top of the heap.

SA is great, and getting CA is fairly simplistic this late in the design run.

Oath is probably my favorite over all though, I do not like to miss, hyper accuracy means you do the damage when you need it, which is every time I attack.

I've not seen anyone really mention much about rampage, does anyone consider this a legitimate striker feature?  Or just an after thought? 
rite over all though, I do not like to miss, hyper accuracy means you do the damage when you need it, which is every time I attack.

I've not seen anyone really mention much about rampage, does anyone consider this a legitimate striker feature?  Or just an after thought? 



Barbarian's don't really have a striker feature. They're just good strikers.
rite over all though, I do not like to miss, hyper accuracy means you do the damage when you need it, which is every time I attack.

I've not seen anyone really mention much about rampage, does anyone consider this a legitimate striker feature?  Or just an after thought? 



Barbarian's don't really have a striker feature. They're just good strikers.


This is why it's tough to compare striker mechanics in a vacuum.  It's telling that most people agree that Quarry is one of the worst striker mechanics, and yet Rangers are top-tier strikers.  Barbarians by design have their striker mechanic baked into their powers, and yet once powers are included we're no longer comparing just striker mechanics.  Curse seems to have a lot of fans (I actually really like it as well), but comparing a non-hybrid Feylock with a Hellish Rebuke spammer demonstrates that it takes more than curse to make a good striker.  Most of the time powers, items, feats, etc. simply have a much bigger impact than bonus striker damage (which, incidentally, is why I like striker mechanics that do more than just damage, i.e. Flurry of Blows, Oath of Enmity, and Curse if support is assumed).
I feel its important to note with Flurry of Blows, while its not quite like group 3, it grows to be situationally better than it. In paragon tier a Monks Flurry of blows will alows get triggered on two targets, regardless if they hit both targets with the actual attack. In epic, it hits everything around them (or further with the appropriate set up). It also has a scaling effect as well. 
I have to say:

Oath is best.
Rampage is second best.
Flat damage is next.
Everything else is shmeh.

Reasoning:  Strikers hit things.  You will have good accuracy if you play a striker correctly.  You will do good damage if you build your striker correctly.  Things will die.  So what will make YOU stand out as a super cool striker?  Criticals!  Being able to say 'holy crap I killed that brute in one hit, without any set up!'  is just -AWESOME-.  Everyone can be good - I want to be memorable.

Oath provides more crits.  Therefore, it is best.
Rampage makes your crits rock, right out the bat.  Therefore it is second best. (In low heroic, arguably Rampage is better than Oath, since if your crit is too wimply, no one cares if you do it a lot)
Damage is damage is damage (even if it might be better or worse damage or have cool feat support), so give me damage that I don't have to think about please.
Memorable is not a valid scale for judging how good things are, how good things are is the only valid scale; Rampage is just not that good, especially not when put next to Dual Weapon Attack, an extra attack every round is almost unarguably the best striker mechanic there is, just look at Kulkor.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Ah but OP didn't ask for how good they were; he asked for a ranking.  I ranked them.  Also note, Oath is better than Rampage - and Oath makes better use of KAM than any other striker mechanic.  KAM avengers are silly good.  So if you go with 'good' meaning 'more damage' then since Oath gets more damage out of KAM than anyone else, and KAM is that good, then Oath is best.  I will admit freely that rampage is pretty terrible.  But I prefer fun over pure numbers any day.  And my barbarian CAN singlehandedly win otherwise unwinnable battles at low levels; everyone else just wins the other 19+ battles faster.  And since, as I said, anyone can do normal awesomely, I'll take Rampage for it's once-in-a-lifetime-screw-the-dm instead of any other mechanic with their 'beat-the-monster-faster-most-of-the-time' ability.
I think attack Finesse is one of my favorites since it stacks with several of the others. Two mechanics for hybrid usually works out as a win in my book. Just not sure which Executioner| to play next...
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I think attack Finesse is one of my favorites since it stacks with several of the others. Two mechanics for hybrid usually works out as a win in my book. Just not sure which Executioner| to play next...



Arguably the best option for hybrids.
Sorcerer-like fixed extra bonus damage is my favorite by a mile. Don't have to worry about conditions, don't have to worry about more/different dice, don't have to worry about minor actions (quarry/curse), combat advantage, charging, once per turn mechanics, and all that jazz. It's the fastest mechanic to resolve, and I have a hard time caring about much else these days... If the end result is going to be the same (i.e. striker level damage), just give it to me straight up.

Having said that, my second favorite is probably the monk flurry. Spreading striker overkill damage to another target is a fantastic mechanic.

Me, too.  Prefer to keep it simple when I can.

Regarding Oath of Enmity, while it undoubtedly increases overall DPR via accuracy, I tend to think of "striker" as including some element of nova.  I add a striker to my group so that we can take out a particular target quickly when the situation demands it.

For that reason, I tend to see monks and avengers not as classical strikers but as.. I dunno, numerical stikers?  Same with AoE damage-oriented invoker and wizard builds, which don't even nominally claim to be strikers. Some of those builds even include an Oath of Enmity equivalent via Divine Oracle. That's not to say they are any less effective at laying down damage. 



Small correction, Hunter's Quarry is still 1/round.



How do you figure?  Quarry states, "If you have dealt Hunter's Quarry damage since the start of your turn, you can't deal it again until the start of your next turn."

I'm new-ish to 4e and if there's some way of getting Quarry on out-of-turn attacks, I'd love to verify it.

I think you're missing a key point here, in that good stiker mechanics are not even close to what makes good strikers.  Multi-attacks make good strikers, more than any class mechanic.  The reason the Ranger is king, isn't Quarry, it's Twin Strike, to oversimplify a little.  The more attacks you get, the better a striker you are.  Then, the more damage you do per attack (taking into account miss chances, which is where accuracy comes in), the better a striker you are.

There's little else to say about it really.  Slayers, for instance, are not broken-tier strikers mainly because they get very few non-standard-action attacks.  Their statics are often the biggest available, but they don't ascend the heights because of their powers, or lack thereof.

Discussing only the 'striker mechanics' is ignoring a huge part of what makes good strikers good.
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.
I think you're missing a key point here, in that good stiker mechanics are not even close to what makes good strikers.  Multi-attacks make good strikers, more than any class mechanic.  The reason the Ranger is king, isn't Quarry, it's Twin Strike, to oversimplify a little.  The more attacks you get, the better a striker you are.  Then, the more damage you do per attack (taking into account miss chances, which is where accuracy comes in), the better a striker you are.

There's little else to say about it really.  Slayers, for instance, are not broken-tier strikers mainly because they get very few non-standard-action attacks.  Their statics are often the biggest available, but they don't ascend the heights because of their powers, or lack thereof.

Discussing only the 'striker mechanics' is ignoring a huge part of what makes good strikers good.



+1. The reason Ranger is so powerful is that they can expect to get 3 attacks for every encounter power option usually - Twin Strike + interrupt or minor action options. At 7th level, when a Ranger now can easily expect to have 4 rounds of 3 attacks and then follow it up with Twin Strike on an encounter basis, that's really difficult to beat with stacking modifiers not based on # of Ws 
Since I rarely play strikers, I'm going to go with the warlord's Combat Leader bonus, combined with the Combat Commander feat. All the strikers can enjoy applying their mondo damage first, before the monsters. Sealed

Not that that's remotely useful to the conversation. Have fun with this one folks. Tongue Out
Since I rarely play strikers, I'm going to go with the warlord's Combat Leader bonus, combined with the Combat Commander feat. All the strikers can enjoy applying their mondo damage first, before the monsters.

Not that that's remotely useful to the conversation. Have fun with this one folks.


Warlords in general are the best striker feature ;)
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.
Sorcerer-like fixed extra bonus damage is my favorite by a mile. Don't have to worry about conditions, don't have to worry about more/different dice, don't have to worry about minor actions (quarry/curse), combat advantage, charging, once per turn mechanics, and all that jazz. It's the fastest mechanic to resolve, and I have a hard time caring about much else these days... If the end result is going to be the same (i.e. striker level damage), just give it to me straight up.

Having said that, my second favorite is probably the monk flurry. Spreading striker overkill damage to another target is a fantastic mechanic.

Me, too.  Prefer to keep it simple when I can.

Regarding Oath of Enmity, while it undoubtedly increases overall DPR via accuracy, I tend to think of "striker" as including some element of nova.  I add a striker to my group so that we can take out a particular target quickly when the situation demands it.

For that reason, I tend to see monks and avengers not as classical strikers but as.. I dunno, numerical stikers?  Same with AoE damage-oriented invoker and wizard builds, which don't even nominally claim to be strikers. Some of those builds even include an Oath of Enmity equivalent via Divine Oracle. That's not to say they are any less effective at laying down damage. 




Bear in mind avengers get a bonus to damage from their censure as well, that and the Oath come as a package. With Unity, it's easy to set up a nova round with the help of the rest of your party (+(3-5 + summons)*tier if everyone piles in), Retribution and Pursuit are harder to get reliably and constantly, but tend to be higher damage in normal play, and each has associated daily/encounter powers to help you get the bonuses, or to raise them higher. Painful Oath adds an extra striker feature via feat (of the +stat variety), and at Epic, with 19-20 crits, your critical hits are coming often enough that they add significantly to your DPR by themselves.

And you get this on all your attacks, and by the time you hit 17th, you have a minor action attack, and two easily triggered immediates for your encounter powers if you want them.

"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
I just realized how good Unity Avengers are going to start getting, what with all the Fey Beast Tamers cropping up everywhere.
The stat-dependent damage bonuses all exacerbate statistical, systemic, and racial imbalances, and you should never force players to select the One True Race in order to use their basic class features. So yeah, those suck.

I have to disgaree here. Sure, +1 to hit is valuable, but a mere +1 static damage for selecting an non-optimal race is negligible
It will make every race that can't get it (barring some hugely imbalanced advantage, such as the Tiefling's extra +2 to-hit from racial feats) an idiot's choice.

Characters of a race without bonus in the primary stat of their class (or starting with a 16 after bonus) are not an idiots choice, a static -1 damage is almost untaceable
Why isn't Twin Strike on the list?
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