Swordmage Implement Suggestions

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Pretty sure this is the right place for this. Anywho, rolling up a level 12 sword mage for a friend's camapaign and need some implement advice. Since i'm playing a warforged, I can embed implements into my arms (rod, wand, dagger) or chest (orbs) and still wield them (keeping my off hand free for warding), giving me some fair potential and versatility for wielding a bunch of implements simultaneously. While I probably don't need five I am considering using my sword as well as an embedded superior implement. I'm playing around with some resoudning thunder/arcane admixture/sword burst fun and the resonating dagger looks like a good fit for that, but I'm open to other suggestions, particularly where enchantments are concerned, both for the superior implement and for my main weapon. (While I'm currently rocking war wizard's expertise, I could switch to white lotus dueling expertise to take advantage of a stellar rod, wand, or orb). 

The swordmage guide didn't really talk about dedicated implements super much, so that's why I'm coming to you.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank Ya Kindly.
If you want a superior implement + warding, just use a Dagger. The 2 damage per hit difference with a Longsword on Weapon Attacks is negligable to +1 hit on implement attacks.

White Lotus is a great expertise feat to gain an orb, but you really just want one for utility and not to attack with - the traditional favorite is Orb of Nimble Thoughts to give you an Init Bonus and some extra mobility if needed.

Having your weapon also being your implement, instead of having a 2nd implement, saves on upgrade costs, and allows you to benefit from Typed Damage support, like Lasting Frost+Gloves of Ice+Icy Heart, on all your attacks.
"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.
Thanks for the suggestion. We're running inherent bonus so I'm not AS worried about upgrade costs. You raise an excellent point regarding damage support (Though in this case I'm going with thunder over frost with support from the Malec Keth Jannisary PP).
I wouldn't waste a PP on doing negligable more damage on a Swordmage, going Frost is fine, but then just go Frost Weapon. The Big Swordburst is a neat trick, but it's only that and nothing more, the Swordmages desired feats leave little room to spend 2 on increasing the size of an at-will.
"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.
Would you mind posting a build so we can give some more specific and targeted advice?  Thanks.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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So just to provide some context: No dragon marks allowed to start (may be able to acquire them in game). The intent of the setting is for magical gear to be on the rarer side, so we're using inherent bonuses. To start we get one item of level 11 or lower free as well as 4500gp. 


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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Legato, Shielding, level 12


Warforged, Swordmage, Malec-Keth Janissary


Swordmage Aegis Option: Aegis of Shielding


Devshirme Training Option: Gain Training in a skill


Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Thunder


Inherent Bonuses


Psiforged (+2 to Insight)


Theme: Ironwrought


 


FINAL ABILITY SCORES


STR 12, CON 19, DEX 11, INT 23, WIS 11, CHA 9


 


STARTING ABILITY SCORES


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


 


 


AC: 26 Fort: 24 Ref: 26 Will: 23


HP: 100 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 25


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Arcana +17, Athletics +13, Endurance +18, Insight +13, Intimidate +12


 


UNTRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +6, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +6, Heal +6, History +12, Nature +6, Perception +6, Religion +12, Stealth +6, Streetwise +5, Thievery +6


 


POWERS


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack


Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack


Ironwrought Attack: Inevitable Strike


Warforged Racial Power: Warforged Resolve


Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Shielding


Swordmage Attack 1: Booming Blade


Swordmage Attack 1: Sword Burst


Swordmage Attack 1: Sword of Sigils


Swordmage Attack 1: Lashing Asp


Swordmage Utility 2: Host of Shields


Swordmage Attack 3: Transposing Lunge


Swordmage Attack 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire


Swordmage Utility 6: Armathor's Step


Swordmage Attack 7: Thunderclap Strike


Swordmage Attack 9: Troll Rampage


Swordmage Utility 10: Impenetrable Warding


Malec-Keth Janissary Attack 11: Loyal Unto Death


Malec-Keth Janissary Utility 12: Ever-Present Escort


 


FEATS


Level 1: War Wizard's Expertise


Level 2: Intelligent Blademaster


Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Resonating dagger)


Level 6: White Lotus Riposte


Level 11: Improved Defenses


Level 11: Double Aegis


Level 12: Arcane Admixture


Level 12: Resounding Thunder


 


ITEMS


Adventurer's Kit


Leather Armor of Aegis Expansion +2 x1


Delver's Light


Rubicant Blade Resonating dagger +2


Orb of Nimble Thoughts +2


Orb of Nimble Thoughts +1


Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier) x1


Boots of the Fencing Master


Subtle Rapier +2


Farbond Spellblade Rapier +2


Farbond Spellblade Rapier +1


====== End ======



And as long as I've got your attention, any thoughs on Enter the Crucible vs. Impenetrable Warding at U10?

Thank ya kindly 
Would you mind posting a build so we can give some more specific and targeted advice?  Thanks.



it was a pretty simple question(s). First was over implements, then over PPs. We don't need a full build, Zathris was perfectly helpful without one since the questions by the Op were specific.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
It really doesn't bother me any. If I wasn't interested in feedback I wouldn't have come here in the frist place, you know?

@zathris- Out of curiosity's sake, if you consider Malec Keth a waste of a PP what do you consider to be a more solid option? 
If you are going to do the defender role and you are a shielding swordmage, you cannot beat sigil carver.  The L16 feature of being able to make mbas from 5 squares away is unbeatable.
Sigil Carver is pretty slick, but as the party's second defender (the other is a paladin) I was looking to go for a slightly more aggressive build. I know I'm not going to match a striker or controler, but I think with the right set up I can get close (particularly since the party is pretty casual in terms of hard core optimizing).

I was considering going the aegis of assault route, but found the power and feat support for shielding to be far more appealling. Seems like the best way to take advantage of the assault aegis is by going hybrid.
Sword of Assault is more aggressive yes.  But being able to punish on an opportunity action is huge.  That is every turn rather than every round.

You could go for warlock|swordmage/sword of assault with eldritch strike or even do warlock|swordmage/sigil carver.  Your two stats would be Con and Int since you can choose to build warlocks with nothing but con.  You would use eldritch strike(con) as your mark punishment and it would trigger your warlock's curse.  Just do a search on these boards.  There are a quite a few builds out there for it. 
Paladin and Swordmage don't work well together, both are multi-marking ranged defender classes, and neither do Strikefender very well without Hybriding (Hybrid Warlock makes both Paladin and Swordmage better Defenders AND Strikers imnsho)

Regardless, when doing a 2 Defender party, you want to look for non-overriding synergies. You basically end up fighting back to back (well, diagonally so enemies can't just shift 1), marking the creature that is adjacent to the other guy while attacking the one adjacent to you with some sort of power that makes them not want to leave - Booming Blade is the Swordmage one though you have some decent Encounter Power options, the Paladin would probably want to be Proning or something (Battle Awareness to MC Fighter, Dragging/Lashing/Flail Expertise to make MBA with a Flail Slide+Prone.) Meanwhile longer range marking powers and stuff like Dimensional Vortex and Sigil of Safety will keep your allies safe as well.
"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.
Well, in the interests of being thorough I've attempted to build an assault swordmage|warlock. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Legato Hybrid, level 12
Warforged, Warlock/Swordmage, Umbral Cabalist
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Infernal Pact (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Will
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid) Option: Aegis of Assault
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Twofold Pact Option: Vestige Pact
Proficiency: Implement Proficiency (Orb)
Inherent Bonuses
Arcane Student Who Saw Too Much (Arcane Student Who Saw Too Much Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 13, CON 21, DEX 11, INT 21, WIS 13, CHA 9

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 16, DEX 10, INT 16, WIS 12, CHA 8


AC: 25 Fort: 25 Ref: 25 Will: 24
HP: 89 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 22

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +16, Endurance +18, Insight +12

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +6, Athletics +7, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +7, Heal +7, History +11, Intimidate +8, Nature +7, Perception +7, Religion +11, Stealth +6, Streetwise +5, Thievery +6

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Warforged Racial Power: Warforged Resolve
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Assault
Swordmage Attack 1: Booming Blade
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Warlock Attack 1: Chains of Levistus
Warlock Attack 1: Armor of Agathys
Warlock Attack 1: Eyes of the Vestige
Swordmage Utility 2: Host of Shields
Swordmage Attack 3: Dimensional Vortex
Swordmage Attack 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Warlock Utility 6: Chaos Armor
Swordmage Attack 7: Thunderclap Strike
Warlock Attack 9: Vestige of Ilmeth
Warlock Utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Umbral Cabalist Attack 11: Command of the Abyss
Umbral Cabalist Utility 12: Clarifying Rebuke

FEATS
Level 1: White Lotus Dueling Expertise
Level 2: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 4: Improved Initiative
Level 6: White Lotus Riposte
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 11: Psychic Lock
Level 12: Double Aegis
Level 12: Improved Defenses

ITEMS
Githyanki Silver Fullblade +2 x1
Leather Armor of Dark Majesty +1 x1
====== End ======



A few things:

Regarding background and theme, I"m not attached to anything in particular, so suggestions are welcome. As far as theme goes i'm looking at ironwrought, infernal prince, and firecrafter.

Regarding Pacts: I went the way I did so I could get access to Eyes of the Vestige. As I have no practical experience, I'm not sure if having access to Eyes and its ability to curse is more useful than the Infernal's Pact boon and Hellish Rebuke. I realize that I could make my life simpler by being human, but in this particular instance Warforged is non-neogtiable. 

And finally, a question regarding damage keywords. If i've got my githyanki silver weapon in psychic mode, does it remove all other element keywords when it converts the damage to psychic? (Based on the implement rules, I am assuming this would affect my implement attacks as well as my weapon attacks).

Thanks for all of your help! 
On the topic of the psychic weapon:  Yes, it makes all damage psychic if you use that weapon in the attack with the power turned on.

 As to the eyes of the vestige vs hellish rebuke, it comes down to play style.
With two defenders who can off-mark punish:

U2: Dimensional Warp
U6: Fey Switch

The Paladin Sanctions his guy, you mark yours, then swap places. Rinse and repeat.

Stick with Shielding for your Aegis. Academy Master is a good, no-nonsense PP.

Stick with Longsword, save the feat and the AC. Where in god's name is Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding? A +3 AC is nothing to sneeze at.

You want Protective Hex as a feat at 11, 12 at the latest.

Double Aegis can wait. It's more important to curse two enemies (especially with the greater range) than mark them with another Defender on board.

For Pacts I prefer Sorcerer King Hybrid (Mindbite Scorn instead of the Fullblade feat) and then Infernal at Paragon for the Pact Boon/riders.
Academy Master is horrid, I don't know why you'd even suggest that.

"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.
Because it's simple and has a nice re-roll as there's a lot going on to keep track of if you're playing mark shenanigans, especially if you can get your hands on Armor of Dark Majesty and a Cloak of Translocation. Eldritch Strike with Mindbite Scorn is once/encounter 6d8, otherwise 4d8. It's also nice to have an Encounter Power like Dimensional Vortex be (essentially) reliable.

If you're used to the characters and how they interact there are other choices but he's starting this character cold at Level 12.
Academy Master is horrid nonfunctional, I don't know why you'd even suggest that.




Assuming you make the reasonable adjustment and turn its powers into things structured like Power Strike, it's actually not bad.  But by RAW, it just doesn't work.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Nope, its still terrible.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Yes, I'm assuming a DM will make the reasonable adjustment/interpretation.
It is most certainly not terrible.  If you're heavy into at-will op, then it's not far off most of the other +striker PPs.

Your at-wills, however, are not opped nearly well enough, so for you, it is terrible.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
SM at-wills are horrendous.
Bard at-wills are horrendous
Sorcerer at-wills besides ESB are horrendous
Wizard at-wills are meh, and you shouldn't be optimizing them
Artificer PPs like Spell Commander or BE destroy Academy Master

So yeah, how is Academy Master any good? 
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Warlock at-wills aren't too bad and I was suggesting simplicity as the OP is starting cold, which was a major concern with what he was describing. Had they been playing these characters together from earlier, then yeah, something different would be my choice as well.
Well, the last time I looked at it was for a charging Hexblade, so, that.  Hexblade at-wills can be pretty nasty.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You just proved my point, they "aren't too bad." I don't pick PPs to enhance meh options. I pick them to make my PCs more powerful. Starting cold this is still a really bad PP.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Straight-up shielding swordmage really should pick either Coronal Guard or Sigil Carver.  Especially if you're new.  They're straightforward, and they get the job done.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Any Swordmage should pick Coronal Guard or Sigil Carver over Academy Master. There are at least a dozen PPs to choose over Academy Master.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
You really know how to make someone agreeing with you feel welcome.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I gotta agree with Gunthar, if you really, really like your at will powers (and they are op'ed), Academy Master is a reasonable choice.  The PP has accuracy, rerolls, extra damage, power recovery and an increase of the duration of a special effect; these are all the hallmarks of a good PP.  Unfortunately, these options are sort of all over the place in terms of party role, so it is for more of a 'jack of all trades' sort of character.  

 
It is most certainly not terrible.  If you're heavy into at-will op, then it's not far off most of the other +striker PPs.



It is terrible.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I gotta agree with Gunthar, if you really, really like your at will powers (and they are op'ed), Academy Master is a reasonable choice.  The PP has accuracy, rerolls, extra damage, power recovery and an increase of the duration of a special effect; these are all the hallmarks of a good PP.  Unfortunately, these options are sort of all over the place in terms of party role, so it is for more of a 'jack of all trades' sort of character.  

 



Nearly every Arcane Class except Artificers don't Op at-wills. Therefore its not good. Miss recovery isn't as good as pure power recovery, and going from EonT to (save ends) is rarely as impressive as it seems. Its simply nowhere near a "good PP"  
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
You really know how to make someone agreeing with you feel welcome.


Eh, he's always like that.  You get used to it after a while.
There is no reason to sugarcoat untruths with niceties, especially with people I will never meet on the internet.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Except we do meet on the internet.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Stop intentionally warping my words, the internet is inherently a different place than reality. Plus, nowhere was I rude, merely forceful.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
There is no reason to sugarcoat untruths with niceties, especially with people I will never meet on the internet.


Agreed.  But one notes that you could get said blunt truths out into the open while being far less abrasive than you sometimes can be.  I wonder how many people argue with you actually thinking you're incorrect, and how many simply because they want to prove you wrong.

Or, to put it another way, bluntness gets people's attention, but abrasiveness just makes them quarrelsome.  ;p 
I'm glad I could inspire such enthusiastic debate, though since we're long beyond the topic of implement choice, should I perhaps start a new topic more relevant to my current needs (I.e. talking about swordlocks.) ?

To answer an earlier question about my lack of swordmage warding: as I was attempting a build with a two handed weapon, I did not feel that the +1 AC warding would have given me justified a feat expenditure.

On the topic of Academy Master, I've never used it before, largely because it looked bland.

I also understand that this particular hybrid is not simple, I'm looking forward to playing a class that is going to require a bit of focus from me to play right. If I wanted simple, I'd just roll a ranger and twin strike my way to victory. (Please don't mistake my tone though, I really appreciate all of the feedback)
If people argue with me simply because they want to prove me wrong that is just sort of pathetic. It also means its not entirely my fault. See how I weasled that
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
If people argue with me simply because they want to prove me wrong that is just sort of pathetic. It also means its not entirely my fault. See how I weasled that


A lot of the internet is pathetic.  Has been for a very long time now.  Also largely irrelevant to the point at hand.  If you choose to be abrasive when you could very well get your point across simply being blunt, well, that's just a little bit pathetic as well.  And if you use "it's the internet, we'll never meet" as your excuse to remain abrasive, well, that's just a little bit more pathetic.  =D

Just saying. 

@Ambisinister:  Nah man, should be alright to keep it in this topic, no real need to make a second when it's all relevant to your character anyways. 
True, but with the plethora of nice Immediate Action Encounter Powers (Dimensional Vortex, Transposing Lunge, Killing Flames, etc.) you may end up using your at-wills quite a bit anyway.


That's hardly a reason to optimize At-Wills, though.  I'm quite sure a number of other PPs are still going to offer you more overall.  ;p
To answer an earlier question about my lack of swordmage warding: as I was attempting a build with a two handed weapon, I did not feel that the +1 AC warding would have given me justified a feat expenditure. On the topic of Academy Master, I've never used it before, largely because it looked bland. I also understand that this particular hybrid is not simple, I'm looking forward to playing a class that is going to require a bit of focus from me to play right. If I wanted simple, I'd just roll a ranger and twin strike my way to victory. (Please don't mistake my tone though, I really appreciate all of the feedback)




Academy Master is rather bland, but with the nice array of Immediate Action powers available to the class (es) (Dimensional Vortex, Transposing Lunge, Killing Flames, etc.) you may find yourself using your at-wills a lot anyway (I do, I shift and charge a lot also) so it's easy to remember.

I like Coronal Guard and the L11 is nice, but it's another Immediate (not that you can't take it in place of another, I have Dimensional Vortex and Killing Flames but not Transposing Lunge, for example). I also have the Armor of Dark Majesty and Cloak of Translocation, so another fiddly defense adjustment borders on ridiculous.

Also, with SK as my Hybrid I can increase damage with the extra curse die (Mindbite Scorn) and my Pact Boon for Infernal (at Paragon) so far gives me enough temporary hit points that the others end up being overkill. That way I still have a damage boost as well as the full warding bonus and temps.

I play with another defender and the mark shenanigans are great fun, especially when I curse/he marks and even in it's simplest form the enemy takes the penalty to attack even the guy who has it marked.
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