Optimizing a Mul Cleric|Ranger for heroic, need good opinions:

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I'm trying to balance offence with defense but now I'm focusing on maximizing damage within the Ranger|Cleric hybrid. I'm set on having him be melee focused, but I don't mind having some flexibility with throwing weapons if it's worth going that route instead of dual-wielding two waraxes. I've followed advice on the board, got a Mul for the sweet racials and feats. Was thinking of the benefit of going STR/DEX + gouge and spear feats, but its too ability point intensive I think. Need some good advice, let me know if I should change race or go a completely new direction.

Only common enchantments are on the table in my game (thinking of getting a Hammer of victory at some point), also there's a bard and a warlord that like to give me MBAs (hence the Power of Skill feat that turns my Righteous Brand into an MBA). Everybody loves proning so I'm considering Hobbling strike + world serpent's grasp to splice in with twin-strike (+ potentially headsman's chop if I'm still wielding an axe).

Glaring weakness is the relatively weak to-hit, would like ideas on how to improve but the warlord can hand me to-hit bonuses.

Argan The Bloody, level 1
Mul, Ranger/Cleric

Hybrid Ranger Option: Hybrid Ranger Reflex
Hybrid Cleric Option: Battle Cleric's Lore
Born of Two Races Option: Dwarf
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Sohei

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 12, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8

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


AC: 20 Fort: 15 Ref: 11 Will: 13
HP: 32 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 8

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Athletics +10, Endurance +8, Perception +7

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +0, Bluff –1, Diplomacy –1, Dungeoneering +2, Heal +2, History +0, Insight +2, Intimidate –1, Nature +2, Religion +0, Stealth +0, Streetwise +1, Thievery +0

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Sohei Attack: Sohei Flurry
Mul Racial Power: Incredible Toughness
Hunter's Quarry Power: Hunter's Quarry
Cleric Utility: Healing Word
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Cleric Attack 1: Righteous Brand
Ranger Attack 1: Off-Hand Strike
Cleric Attack 1: Moment of Glory
Lv2 Util: Invigorating Stride
Lv3 Enc: Healing Strike
Lv5 Daily: Snarling Wolf Stance
Lv6 Util: Bastion of Health
Lv7 Enc: Ruffling Sting
Lv9 Daily: Attacks on the Run
Lv10  Util: Enter the Crucible
PP: Paragon of Victory

FEATS
Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training
Feat 2: Hybrid Talent (TWF style, probably replace gauntlet axe by another Waraxe to get 2d12 per Twin Strike)
Feat 4: Axe Expertise / master at arms / Bludgeon Expertise
Feat 6: Hobbling strike (temporarily: resilience of stone)
Feat 8: World Serpent's Grasp (+Hobbling Strike, to be used with Twin Strike)
Feat 10: Headsman's Chop or Battle awareness or swift recovery OR Power of Skil
Feat 11: Agile Opportunist


ITEMS
Waraxe x1
Gauntlet axe x1
Scale Armor x1
I would switch out healing strike, probably for mighty hew. 

You might consider weapon of astral flame over moment of glory.

And I would do divine power over attacks on the run.  You will probably hit more enemies with that and it gives you a nice boost for the encounter.

Word of vigor is probably better than enter the crucible, escpecially since you have battle clerics lore and its a +2 to hit for a round each encounter.
I would switch out healing strike, probably for mighty hew. 

You might consider weapon of astral flame over moment of glory.

And I would do divine power over attacks on the run.  You will probably hit more enemies with that and it gives you a nice boost for the encounter.

Word of vigor is probably better than enter the crucible, escpecially since you have battle clerics lore and its a +2 to hit for a round each encounter.


I admit that moment of glory does not well fit a action hungry striker-like build like mine, but its effectiveness in the first levels of the game is ridiculously high. But i definitively will consider switching out from it and into astral flame eventually, point noted.

You've sold me on Divine Power over Attacks on the run though.

Word of Vigor is definitively a nice utility, and it's encounter long over just daily, so point taken there for sure. I think I'll chose it over enter the crucible, even though I'm big on damage prevention/resistance, you make good points.

Not sold on Mighty Hew over Healing Strike yet. In a pinch, I'd rather heal myself + hit (then get a to hit bonus for a minor attack), but I don't know, maybe the immediate interupt is better to save actions, but if I have snarling wolf stance active, it won't be as useful for example.
Healing Strike is a round you're not using Twin Strike. You have Healing Word for when you're "in a pinch."  To get the most out of hybriding ranger, you need to take as many non-standard actions as you can. 

Mighty Hew also keys off a different trigger than SWS, so with both available you present the enemy with two options - 1) hit me, I hit you  2) hit him, I hit you.  If you have a few other melee in your party, I'm pretty sure you'll get plenty of milage out of MH, even in the encounters you're using your stance.
Alright, sold! Keep 'em coming, especially feat-wise

I would definitely stick with Axes. Axes have tons of striker support. I looked at the hobbling strike chain that looks good especially with minor action attacks and off turn attacks. That means I agree with Mighty Hew as your cleric power. Since that is 1st level you might also look at Disruptive strike for a ranger power. As it stands now you have 4 minor action attacks and only 1  off action (unless you are in your stance, but that is a daily) That switch will give you 3 minor action and 2 off action attacks.  When you get Battle awareness (and you should probably at 12, you can retrain back to off hand strike. Also you take battle awareness, you can get the 2nd level power bonus to damage fighter power to stack on more damage until you spend a surge.


 As far as your to hit, you should be about level +6 most of your career  (maybe depending on when you get magic items level +5 at 7th) which isn’t too bad (ok level +5 is bad). Also you will typically have combat advantage against your prone targets, so that also is a benefit.


 


I would definitely stick with Axes. Axes have tons of striker support. I looked at the hobbling strike chain that looks good especially with minor action attacks and off turn attacks. That means I agree with Mighty Hew as your cleric power. Since that is 1st level you might also look at Disruptive strike for a ranger power. As it stands now you have 4 minor action attacks and only 1  off action (unless you are in your stance, but that is a daily) That switch will give you 3 minor action and 2 off action attacks.  When you get Battle awareness (and you should probably at 12, you can retrain back to off hand strike. Also you take battle awareness, you can get the 2nd level power bonus to damage fighter power to stack on more damage until you spend a surge.


 As far as your to hit, you should be about level +6 most of your career  (maybe depending on when you get magic items level +5 at 7th) which isn’t too bad (ok level +5 is bad). Also you will typically have combat advantage against your prone targets, so that also is a benefit.


 





Gotta say I agree with this seeing as how my minors could be filled up with healing and whatnot. I'm assuming you counted hunter's quarry as one of my minor attacks on top of Sohei Flurry, Off-hand strike and Ruffling Sting? I can see Disruptive Strike + Mighty Hew is a good combo.

Yeah Axes are more striker oriented with axe expertise making all axe attacks brutal 1-ish (not just MBA), the hammer of victory common magical hammer enchantment was very enticing with the idea of burst 1 proning upon killing an enemy (if I ever get to Paragon, the PP Paragon of Victory also pushes enemies in a burst 2 upon killing a non-minion, prone+push burst is a nice crowd scatterer, but that's a ways off).

Anyway I'm made the adjustments with the suggestions in this thread and decided to replace the Snarling Wolf Stance with Two-Wolf Pounce, here's the new version:

Argan The Bloody, level 1
Mul, Ranger/Cleric


Hybrid Ranger Option: Hybrid Ranger Reflex
Hybrid Cleric Option: Battle Cleric's Lore
Born of Two Races Option: Dwarf
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Sohei

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 12, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8

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


AC: 20 Fort: 15 Ref: 11 Will: 13
HP: 32 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 8

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Athletics +10, Endurance +8, Perception +7

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +0, Bluff –1, Diplomacy –1, Dungeoneering +2, Heal +2, History +0, Insight +2, Intimidate –1, Nature +2, Religion +0, Stealth +0, Streetwise +1, Thievery +0

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Sohei Attack: Sohei Flurry
Mul Racial Power: Incredible Toughness
Hunter's Quarry Power: Hunter's Quarry
Cleric Utility: Healing Word
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Cleric Attack 1: Righteous Brand
Cleric Attack 1: Mighty Hew
Cleric Attack 1: Moment of Glory (eventually retrained to Astral Flame)
Lv2 Util: Invigorating Stride
Lv3 Enc: Disruptive Strike
Lv5 Daily: Two-Wolf Pounce
Lv6 Util: Bastion of Health
Lv7 Enc: Ruffling Sting
Lv9 Daily: Divine Power (retrain Bastion of Health to Stream of Life?)
Lv10 Util: Word of Vigor
Lv11 PP: Paragon of Victory

FEATS
Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training
Feat 2: Hybrid Talent (TWF style, probably replace gauntlet axe by another Waraxe to get 2d12 per Twin Strike)
Feat 4: Axe Expertise
Feat 6: Hobbling strike (temporarily: battle awareness)
Feat 8: World Serpent's Grasp (+Hobbling Strike, to be used with Twin Strike)
Feat 10: Battle awareness
Feat 11: Agile Opportunist


ITEMS
Waraxe x1
Gauntlet axe x1
Scale Armor x1
Elemental Initiate is another solid choice on a theme here.  You get an out of turn attack on an easy trigger, and Ki Focuses can help you keep equipment costs down.

I'm also a huge fan of Enter of the Crucible, and the good news is you can pick it up with a feat via Skill Power later if you want.  The damage reduction from it trivializes pretty much any ongoing damage through Paragon, and can make many traps/encounters painfully simple.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
As far as your to hit, you should be about level +6 most of your career  (maybe depending on when you get magic items level +5 at 7th) which isn’t too bad (ok level +5 is bad). Also you will typically have combat advantage against your prone targets, so that also is a benefit.

Eh, level+6 is pretty low by CharOp standards, as you're only hitting 65% of the time on even-level enemies before CA.  You should definitely strive for more accuracy beyond that.
As far as your to hit, you should be about level +6 most of your career  (maybe depending on when you get magic items level +5 at 7th) which isn’t too bad (ok level +5 is bad). Also you will typically have combat advantage against your prone targets, so that also is a benefit.

Eh, level+6 is pretty low by CharOp standards, as you're only hitting 65% of the time on even-level enemies before CA.  You should definitely strive for more accuracy beyond that.


There is an alternative and let me know what you think:

I take Mountain Thunder Student feat which lets me target a NAD (i think fortitude) with Marauder's rush (+STR +WIS damage) and drop Twin-Strike and axes in favor of hammers (since that feat requires it). Hitting a NAD would increase my accuracy by about 10-15% I suppose, at the cost of damage. Worth it or not?
The go-to for accuracy is usually light blades.  Rapier is +3 prof, Nimble Blade gives you an extra +1 with CA, Deft Blade lets MBAs target Reflex, and there is probably more that escapes me at the moment.  I'm not sure if this is best for the typical TWF Ranger though, and Dwarven Weapon Training muddies the water a bit. 

If you want to stick with dwarven weapons, I'd probably stick with axes over hammers.  Axe support is better for you and Twin Strike is better than Marauder's Rush in most cases.
yeah woulda picked half-orc if i was thinking of going light-blade, need dex for most of those feats i think. I guess I'm stinking it with the mul dwarf.
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