Why use Ancient Covenant of Nessus?

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The handbooks says this is a good feat. I don't understand why it's a good feat. Basically a monster can choose to gain a free basic attack and take 5+Int Mod damge or not take the attack. So most monsters just won't take the attack unless it benefits them. Why is this a good feat?
Best guess:  If you get a mixed group of enemies and allies in the effect of a blast or burst, you can have your ally make the attack.  And since you know this can happen, your ally can acquire Fire Resistance so the drawback doesn't sting so much.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Still not a good feat, since you have to attack your allies to make it work, which means you're having to also invest in mitigating feats for that.
Or your Defender has it set up in a catch22. Or a defender has it marked, and someone else nearby is a Guardian. Or your party is properly set up and has a triggered ability to interrupt the power and punish the monster. 
The feat is mediocre in a vacuum. But potentially great with a modicum of party coordination.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

Invokers have 109 powers that are target creature rather than target enemy. You might be able to get some use of it.
Or your Defender has it set up in a catch22. Or a defender has it marked, and someone else nearby is a Guardian. Or your party is properly set up and has a triggered ability to interrupt the power and punish the monster. 
The feat is mediocre in a vacuum. But potentially great with a modicum of party coordination.



For that, we have Agile Opportunist optimization, which can grant two MBAs per round in paragon and doesn't require you blast your allies or damage them.
I didn't mention blasting your allies. Let the monster attack an ally, and someone uses Disruptive Strike/White Lotus Master Riposte/Hellish Rebuke/Guardian Counter/Battle Awareness/catch the theme yet?

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

Enemies already attack my allies without my intervention. It's rather their job.
Use it on a monster that is marked, that may not be able to hit the defender.  Use it on the mob who is only adjacent to your white lotus master riposte defender/striker.  It just adds another layer of tactics to the class is all.
Are people reading this right?

It's not going to help catch-22s. If you add another reason NOT to attack, then the creature simply isn't going to take the attack.

If the creature took the fire damage if it DOES NOT take the attack, then things would be WAY different. It only takes the fire damage if it takes it. A creature in a catch-22 has to be absolutely moronic to take that attack.
Are people reading this right?

It's not going to help catch-22s. If you add another reason NOT to attack, then the creature simply isn't going to take the attack.

If the creature took the fire damage if it DOES NOT take the attack, then things would be WAY different. It only takes the fire damage if it takes it. A creature in a catch-22 has to be absolutely moronic to take that attack.



Early in the fight the monsters don't know about the Catch22. If you never get a chance to use Guardian's Counter + Hellish Rebuke + Combat Challenge, your DM is probably cheating.

And it's not just good for catch 22. The monsters don't know the Ranger has Disruptive Strike, and they don't know the Barbarian has Guardian's Counter, and they don't know the Fighter has Strike Backs etc...

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

Are people reading this right?

It's not going to help catch-22s. If you add another reason NOT to attack, then the creature simply isn't going to take the attack.

If the creature took the fire damage if it DOES NOT take the attack, then things would be WAY different. It only takes the fire damage if it takes it. A creature in a catch-22 has to be absolutely moronic to take that attack.



Early in the fight the monsters don't know about the Catch22. If you never get a chance to use Guardian's Counter + Hellish Rebuke + Combat Challenge, your DM is probably cheating.

And it's not just good for catch 22. The monsters don't know the Ranger has Disruptive Strike, and they don't know the Barbarian has Guardian's Counter, and they don't know the Fighter has Strike Backs etc...

Surprise! Gouge powered Curtain of Steel, plus the fire damage!
Again, they will trigger those things anyway. The feat is a waste to use on enemies because they will only make attacks that benefit them, and counterproductive to use on allies.

Remember, good options add to what you can already do, not replace what you can already do with worse or highly situational things.
It's kind of a strange little feat, and honestly may have been a victim of very bad wording.

It boils down to these steps:

1) You choose the benefit of Ancient Covenant of Nessus instead of your Divine Covenant benefit.
2) You select Jimbob the Goblin to grant an attack.
3) Jimbob could do two things:
3a) Jimbob does not attack.  A grand total of nothing happens.  There is no punishment for not attacking.  The enemy is not coerced to attack.  There is no effect preventing him from not attacking.  End result?  You have lost your Covenant, and Jimbob maintains the status quo as if nothing happened to him.
3b) Jimbob does decide to attack.  However, this must be done in several key ways:
3ba) The benefit of attacking another target must be worth taking a scaling amount of fire damage.  If Jimbob was somehow immune to Fire, or has resistance, this becomes more attractive.
3bb) It also must be worth provoking Defender punishments, and probably should provide a benefit onto Jimbob outside of reducing someone's HP (a status effect, knocking someone unconscious, buffing them for their turn).  This then begs the question: why are you buffing your enemies?
3bc) Jimbob must also be oblivious to said Defender punishments (or other said punishments).  Once he sees this in action, he will be much less likely to do it again, routing back to 3a.  At that point, you have emulated... a level 1 Monk encounter power.

This entire weird little graph could have been thrown out the window had it been written that Jimbob gets punished for NOTattacking.  But that isn't the case.  There's so much to consider when deciding whether or not to delegate an attack like this, and oftentimes it'll come out for the best for little Jimbob: just not doing anything, making the feat's effect less than useless.  (Because useless assumes that no net gain or loss came out of it.)                     

It's actually not a terrible feat, but it takes the mind of a general to crack this open properly.  Anything less than perfect timing will ruin you.              












A particularly charitable DM might allow you to employ the effect on a Dominated monster to make him take damage and attack himself/his buddies, which would make it significantly more useful. But that's against the rules a couple times over.
Are people reading this right?

It's not going to help catch-22s. If you add another reason NOT to attack, then the creature simply isn't going to take the attack.

If the creature took the fire damage if it DOES NOT take the attack, then things would be WAY different. It only takes the fire damage if it takes it. A creature in a catch-22 has to be absolutely moronic to take that attack.



Early in the fight the monsters don't know about the Catch22. If you never get a chance to use Guardian's Counter + Hellish Rebuke + Combat Challenge, your DM is probably cheating.

And it's not just good for catch 22. The monsters don't know the Ranger has Disruptive Strike, and they don't know the Barbarian has Guardian's Counter, and they don't know the Fighter has Strike Backs etc...



So the monster might take the attack against the PC who has it marked, so maybe WLMR goes off. Unless that attack is going to change the tide of battle, that scaling fire damage just isn't going to be worth it (without some way to mitigate the damage). I can say without much doubt that 9 out of 10 times, most DMs are not going to take that attack (depending on play style of course). If the feat was worded to deal damage when the creature chooses not to take the attack things would be much different. As is, I just don't see this as being useful except in very specific circumstances that won't be easy to setup.
All in all, it's basically waiting for a time when the enemy would be most advantageous in taking the attack (he shouldn't be granted this when he's surrounded by full-HP defenders, etc).  You pretty much have to wait for the timing to be right, which is actually very weird flavor for a Tiefling Invoker (I'm going to wait for the situation to look pleasing, instead of suggesting or coercing the enemy that attacking the enemy is good in the face of dire straits).
One of many situations in which this feat works out well
Step 1) Use Ancient Covenant of Nessus on a monster who is only adjacent to the fragile Ranger who has been turning it into mince meat.
Step 2) Monster attacks Ranger, because a) Ranger has to die, b) Ranger has low HP/poor defenses, and c) Monster isn't marked.
Step 3) Ranger uses Disruptive Strike, and monster misses. It also takes extra damage because of ACoN.

There are many situations in which a monster will think the extra attack is a good idea, and it will turn out to be a bad one. If your DM is cheating the monsters will not fall into your trap.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

The only reason to use it is to grant an ally an extra basic attack. Fire resistance is a desirable stat anyway, so mitigating the damage is a fairly minor issue. Furthermore, if you pick the right ally to use it on, an extra basic attack is entirely capable of preventing that much damage from being dealt by monsters, resulting in a net gain.
Erachima you are correct, if the party is terribly built. As long as the party has the standard number of interrupt powers (i.e. lots) the situation I described can happen repeatedly.
At no point did anyone claim ACoN is a sky blue feat. It's at best black, and probably purple. The situational requirement for purple is of course that the party has optimized their power selection. 

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

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