Goliath Fighter vs. Goliath Warden - PEACH

63 posts / 0 new
Last post
Starting in a new 4E campaign with a new character.  Haven't played a Defender yet, so I thought I'd play around with a couple builds for what I wanted.  I had originally wanted a Warden for the stickiness, since I'll be playing with some 4E noobs who will likely need time to learn some decent combat strategy, but then while tinkering with the Fighter I came up with something.  Essentially, its a potentially more striker-ish (if potentially less sticky) build.  I can't seem to build a Warden that I feel will be quite as effective as this Fighter...

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Kavaki, level 1
Goliath, Fighter (Weaponmaster)
Build: Tempest Fighter
Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents Option: Tempest Technique
Dark Sun
Tyr - Freed Slave (+2 to Endurance)
Theme: Guardian
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 12, DEX 14, INT 8, WIS 11, CHA 10
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 10, DEX 14, INT 8, WIS 11, CHA 10
 
 
AC: 18 Fort: 17 Ref: 13 Will: 11
HP: 27 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 6
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +11, Endurance +7, Streetwise +5
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +1, Arcana –1, Bluff +0, Diplomacy +0, Dungeoneering +0, Heal +0, History –1, Insight +0, Intimidate +0, Nature +2, Perception +0, Religion –1, Stealth +1, Thievery +1
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Guardian Attack: Guardian's Counter
Goliath Racial Power: Stone's Endurance
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Wild Talent Cantrip: Body Equilibrium
Fighter Attack 1: Dual Strike
Fighter Attack 1: Footwork Lure
Fighter Attack 1: Funneling Flurry
Fighter Attack 1: Tempest Dance
 
FEATS
Two-Weapon Defense
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Double sword)
 
ITEMS
Double sword x1
Chainmail x1
Survival Day x3
====== End ======

...I realize its only a Level 1 character, but I've looked through the Handbooks and tried quite a few builds, and this Tempest Fighter just seems better all around than the Earthstrength Warden I was working on.  I figure I probably won't have more than 2 enemies on me very often, so Dual Strike & Funneling Flurry should come in handy for multi-marking, and when there are more than 2 I can still get a 3rd sticky from my Tempest Dance.

So, what say Ye?
ok for a tempest i would have thought half orc would be a better option

For Goliath maybe a battle rager or a two handed talent fighter with Goliath Weapon Prof, Maul, Brash Stike, Hack and Hew and Driving Attack. With more con and less Dex. Yes your Ref will be lower but you will make it up in temp HP and Resistance
  I can't seem to build a Warden that I feel will be quite as effective as this Fighter...

That would be because that isn't possible. Also Fighters are much sticker than Wardens.

You should wear Scale. The +1/2 damage bonus is a trap, it isn't worth what you give up. If you want it, you really need to go Str/Dex on a Str/Dex race and wear Hide.
Fighter Weapon Talent > Tempest.

Go Scale, use Wis as your secondary (and stat bump).  Enjoy being awesome.

Don't go Brash Strike unless you have some way of getting around the downside.  Giving CA to everyone for +2 to hit on an at-will is really not worth it in many cases (especially at low level). 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
  I can't seem to build a Warden that I feel will be quite as effective as this Fighter...

That would be because that isn't possible. Also Fighters are much sticker than Wardens.




I had the exact opposite expectation on stickiness, based on the Warden's free-action burst-1 marking.  Do you believe Fighters to be superior Defenders to Wardens, all-around?
I'm not a char-op expert, but I'd say definately.  Better features, more support, better paragon paths, and better powers make for a better defender.

Edit:  Also keep in mind that just marking adjacent enemies does very little to actually keep them on you.  There has to be a movement stopping mechanic.  And while wardens get the feat Sudden Roots, that effectively puts them down a feat slot on a similarly built fighter.
  I can't seem to build a Warden that I feel will be quite as effective as this Fighter...

That would be because that isn't possible. Also Fighters are much sticker than Wardens.




I had the exact opposite expectation on stickiness, based on the Warden's free-action burst-1 marking.  Do you believe Fighters to be superior Defenders to Wardens, all-around?



It depends on whether or not your DM understands tactics. The goal usually should be to take out the Leader or Controller, maybe the Striker. But most importantly, to try to focus fire on a single PC if possible - without being malicious about it.

Now if your DM always responds to marks, the Warden gets a lot better. But your DM shouldn't be doing that - shift+charge is a very effective way to escape a Warden's default marking capabilities. But with a Fighter with the Mobile Challenge feat, it might mean, shift(whack), Fighter shifts, charge, Fighter gets an OA, movement stops and enemy is done for the turn.
Fighter Weapon Talent > Tempest.

Go Scale, use Wis as your secondary (and stat bump).  Enjoy being awesome. 



+1

Also semi-random suggestion:

Since you already have Footwork Lure, consider grabbing a flail and flail extpertise for some at-will proning.

FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
  I can't seem to build a Warden that I feel will be quite as effective as this Fighter...

That would be because that isn't possible. Also Fighters are much sticker than Wardens.




I had the exact opposite expectation on stickiness, based on the Warden's free-action burst-1 marking.  Do you believe Fighters to be superior Defenders to Wardens, all-around?

It isn't a belief. Wardens have no method of dealing with Shift+Charge and have to lose a feat to get a worse version of Combat Superiority. A Mark does not make you sticky. Punishing things for moving away from you makes you sticky, as does being able to get things next to you in the first place (Come and Get it). The Fighter can do that, the Warden can't. This is why every Warden build takes Form of Winter's Herald as their D1, because for one encounter a day, stuff can't just ignore you.
Ok, I get it all alot more now.

But I don't entirely get Fighter Weapon Talent > Tempest.  Here's why I don't get it...as a Tempest with Chain, I get -1 AC in exchange for +2 damage compared to One-Handed Weapon Talent with Scale.  To me, that means I get hit when I would have gotten missed 5% more, while I'm dealing out +2 damage with every hit I make (which hopefully should be at least 50% of my attacks).  That seems like a worthy tradeoff (although I realize I could just be missing something that's obvious to CharOp experts).

My top priority tends to be my own accuracy to-hit, since if I don't hit then my powers are really pretty worthless (aside from marking & having Miss Effects), if that helps to understand my thought process a little more on the tradeoff.
Bonus damage isn't really worth it. Unless it pushes you over the line into .5 or 1 KPR (it doesn't, for the record). Far better to have the AC.
Your job is to get hit, or at least have monsters attempt it. Wearing scale armor and a shield, raises your AC by only 1 point, but it will free up your points in Dex to go to Wisdom, which will make you a better defender, since those boost your punishment.

The damage boost of 2 points that you are currently looking at is a poor trade-off, since you're not aiming to be the parties damage dealer.  

You will be able to use a bigger weapon when using weapon talent instead of tempest, which compensates for the loss off the extra damage.

Sorry for being OT, but what does "PEACH" stand for in this context? I have read it many times before, when someone posted a build.
Sorry for being OT, but what does "PEACH" stand for in this context? I have read it many times before, when someone posted a build.

It's "Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly".

Thanks, man.
Ok, I get it all alot more now.

But I don't entirely get Fighter Weapon Talent > Tempest.  Here's why I don't get it...as a Tempest with Chain, I get -1 AC in exchange for +2 damage compared to One-Handed Weapon Talent with Scale.  To me, that means I get hit when I would have gotten missed 5% more, while I'm dealing out +2 damage with every hit I make (which hopefully should be at least 50% of my attacks).  That seems like a worthy tradeoff (although I realize I could just be missing something that's obvious to CharOp experts).

My top priority tends to be my own accuracy to-hit, since if I don't hit then my powers are really pretty worthless (aside from marking & having Miss Effects), if that helps to understand my thought process a little more on the tradeoff.



You also have to realize that it isn't +2 damage v +1 AC.  It is +2 damage v +1 hit.  If you start looking at dpr calculations you will find that +1 hit is worth more dpr than +2 damage on almost every character.  So you are actually getting more damage out of one handed talent than you would out of tempest.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
He's using an offhand weapon, so he gets +1 to hit with tempest. 
He's using an offhand weapon, so he gets +1 to hit with tempest. 



To be fair I didn't notice that.

But on the flip side that means he is using a weapon with 1d6 as a damage die instead of using something like a longsword in his main hand.  Which means he isn't actually getting +2 damage because he is using a weaker weapon. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
He's using an offhand weapon, so he gets +1 to hit with tempest. 



To be fair I didn't notice that.

But on the flip side that means he is using a weapon with 1d6 as a damage die instead of using something like a longsword in his main hand.  Which means he isn't actually getting +2 damage because he is using a weaker weapon. 



Which is more than made up for with the light blade feats.  The W difference is negligible.  Arena Champion could do wonders for stopping the shift charge tactic, but it's a corner case, and otherwise a meh PP.

You can always use a rapier and a shield if you want to use light blades. That's still the better damage die.



Basically Tempest makes you either use DEX instead of WIS as secondary or use a weaker armor or lose damage.

It isn't a belief. Wardens have no method of dealing with Shift+Charge and have to lose a feat to get a worse version of Combat Superiority. A Mark
does not make you sticky. Punishing things for moving away from you makes you sticky, as does being able to get things next to you in the first place (Come and Get it). The Fighter can do that, the Warden can't. This is why every Warden build takes Form of Winter's Herald as their D1, because for one encounter a day, stuff can't just ignore you.


Wardens can be better than fighters against skirmishers (shift x and attack everyone) where the defender is not the first one being attacked. 

They also have a E3 Burst of Earth's Fury - cb1 to prevent enemies shifting.

Preditary Guardian E3 - if an enemy shifts, you can shift after them, which makes them eat an OA if they try to charge after that (which won't go down well if the warden uses a flail).

U6 Treacherous Ice - enemies cannot shift while adjacent to you ueoe.

Also the D15 Form of the Crushing Mountain prevents adjacent enemies from shifting.

Creating difficult terrain:

E1 Hungry Earth - close burst 1 difficult terrain usont.
D1 Form of the Winter's Herald - aura 2 of difficult terrain ueoe
D5 Clutching Mire - blast 3 of difficult terrain and slowed (sustain minor)
D5 Earth-Shaking Rend - blast 3 of difficult terrain and prone (sustain minor)
D5 Rampant Forest - aura one around the target of difficult terrain (sustain hitting)
E13 Drown in Mud - close burst 1 difficult terrain and prone ueont
D25 Form of the Entangling Spider - aura 3 of difficult terrain ueoe 

E7 Guardian's Pounce - move (3 or 3+wis for wildbloods) and attack to inflict a -5 penalty to hit is also very nice as an immediate.

D15 Form of the Hunting Tiger - When a marked enemy makes an attack roll against an ally, you can shift 2 squares as a free action. It is depatable whether this would then let you use your MBA-mark punishment if this brought you into reach.

E17 Leap of Relently Hunter - Allows you to move over to where an ally is being threatens and slide the monster away from said ally. They could of course continue their movement, but you are now threatening the squares around your ally.

So a correctly built warden can be perfectly sticky and saying they have no way of dealing with shift+charge is misleading and untrue. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
You forgot treacherous ice, which isn't difficult terrain, but makes enemies unable to shift away.

You don't use a rapier as a tempest because it isn't offhand.  You use 2 short swords.
Thanks also added a few more powers that any warden should consider if trying to be a good defender.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Thanks also added a few more powers that any warden should consider if trying to be a good defender.



I'm gonna say no on hunting tiger's attack, since it's resolved as a reaction, so the trigger for the II would have already passed.
@Fardiz: No, not really. Yeah, yeah, Grasp can end the attack chain for the small number of skirmishers with attacks like that, but it isn't as if it is safe to pull that on a Fighter.

Has to hit. Wardens have inherently lower accuracy than Fighters, so that is less likely. Which sums up a lot of problems with Wardens, their stickiness is entirely based on powers rather than feats or features, and if you miss, well, you're not sticky that round. So you're an effective defender anywhere between 55-75% of the time. Not higher than that, because you have zero access to accuracy boosters. Whereas a Fighter is effective 100% of the time and more effective.

Fighters get this as a feat that is on all the time. So way ahead.

Daily. You're now up to two encounters a day where you can't just be ignored (versus the Fighter, who can never be ignored).

You would never pick anything but Form of the Crushing Mountain at D15, since it is Winter's Herald 2.0.

I love Wardens and know literally everything there is to know about the class. They in no way compare to Fighters and, in terms of optimization, have very narrow choices just to be good defenders. Shift+Charge is a very real problem for Wardens. It is something I do to literally every Warden I've ever DMed for and a great deal of the time they have no method of dealing with it. You have to build very specifically to cover it as a base weakness of the class. You get zero real choice in your powers if you want to optimize a Warden as a defender. Just the way it is.
^ That's one of the things I don't like.  It's not like you can pick the best powers for each level, you HAVE to take the one that makes you more sticky, where the fighter can take something for extra damage here and there, or something for mobility.
Saying "It doesn't compare to a fighter" is the defender equivalent of saying "It doesn't compare to a ranger" when talking about any other striker class.

Yes, if you are going to build the most optimal defender (pre-epic) it is probably going to be a fighter, but that in no way means that a warden is unusable, or that an optimised warden cannot keep pace even in wellOPped games. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Saying "It doesn't compare to a fighter" is the defender equivalent of saying "It doesn't compare to a ranger" when talking about any other striker class.

Yes, if you are going to build the most optimal defender (pre-epic) it is probably going to be a fighter, but that in no way means that a warden is unusable, or that an optimised warden cannot keep pace even in wellOPped games. 

For nigh on two years there was an Ultimate Defender of every flavor, except Wardens (despite a concerted effort by a number of regulars to build one, myself and LDB worked on it after the Pit Fighter change and agreed it couldn't be done with current options), and the only one that comes remotely close, right now, to qualifying is a very specific Wildblood build. Wardens, in medium to low op games, are middle tier. In high-op games, they are bottom of the barrel, behind everything but Cavaliers. So they aren't just behind Fighters and in terms of optimization they are pretty far down the list.

The only reason Wardens are perceived as good is 1.) DMs who make poor tactical decisions/respect marks. In those scenarios they are basically bags of HP who shrugg off the occasional save-ends effect, which is fantastic. 2.) People who think they do "a lot of damage" because of their feat support that adds statics, not realizing that the accuracy boosts/multi-taps/etc available to other classes actually make them do much higher DPR even with lower statics, especially since all the Warden support is for weapon groups that all have only +2 Proficiency.
 My warden does just fine in our mid op game.  More than fine, it's become a meme that I can't die, even the DM admits that if he were to throw something at the party that could kill my warden, everyone else would be greasy paste long before he would. 

 Wardens can be decent defenders, but IMO they bring a lot more to the table and give you more to work with as far as RP.  Fighters are kinda like the Kensei PP to me, mechanically better, but just kinda... plain.
"Just fine" would be middle-tier though.

Also, fun fact: If not dying as a defender is what you want to do, other builds do it better, mathematically. Their defenses can be be higher enough across the board that the effective HP you have is higher than a Wardens, especially with MM3 damage expressions. Bonus: You do this by getting hit less often, so less status effects. This is primarily due to Primal being so poorly supported vs Martial/Divne/Arcane and just being the least supported O-Defender in general, aside from the Battlemind (which has all of two tricks, but those tricks are so effective that whole builds are based around them and due to the nature of Psionics they are at-will).

Again, I love Wardens and have played every flavor of them, but in the optimization forum you really have to face their weaknesses compared to other defenders, and those weaknesses are substantial.
Hide and heavy shield and secondary to AC gives you a perfectly decent AC (especially with a chain shirt). Being wis-secondary and a class bonus to will is also nice, as that's where the nastiest effects come.

They are definitely better than berskers (which are a defender, honest) and I would say better than knights, despite the fighter support that knights get off the bat. 

You complain that the warden has to hit to be an effective defender? Well the same is exactly true with the battlemind, even when using their one spammable defender trick (lightning rush).

If I sat down at an LFR table (especially as the LFR I play tends to be with people from CharOP) I would not be disappointed if someone announced that they were bringing a warden (as I would be if they said they were bringing a berserker, cavalier, stradin etc).

Yes they have weaknesses but those can be overcome to create a perfectly decent defender. Not ever party needs to be Warlord/Ranger/Fighter/Wizard. Sometimes we want variance and a Shaman/Barbarian/Warden/Invoker party would not do that much worse than the former and (if built to the same standard, e.g. by the same people) would probably be able to takeon pretty much the same encounters. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I'm pretty sure after all of this, I'm going to with Fighter...make myself hard to hit, sticky, and punishing.
Decent =! top tier. I said they were decent. Wis secondary for only one build (I say one because Lifespirit is so bad taking it is automatically not acceptable for even a medium-op game). And, indeed, as mentioned, a Wildblood build is the only one that comes close to qualifying as the lowest tier Ultimate Defender in all of CharOp.

Not really. Are you kidding? Knights are way better. Knights are capable of 1+ KPR while being a full Defender. No comparison at all. Knights have multiple Ultimate Defender builds. Even without the exploitive damage levels, Knights are incredibly sticky and very, very tough.

Battleminds have more tricks to increase accuracy, not the least of which is they can start with a 20 Con and can use +3 Prof weapons with no drawbacks. So minimum of 10% more accurate. Which makes them roughly 10% better, except their trick is so much better than anything the Warden has and is quite likely to trigger every round.

LFR modules are trivial for any optimized character, so.. yeah, I could see that.

Overcome by taking very specific options, yes. Limited options. Which, even when you take them, leave you behind the power curve of most other defenders, even if they didn't take every top-tier choice available to them. If you have to take every top tier choice to be in the middle, where are you if you didn't take every top tier choice? Oh, right, near the bottom.
Most of what you is true.

My final point before I go to bed is that the warden (like the fighter and knight), is a strength-based character who relies on a melee-attack for his primary defender mark punishment. This gives them a good reason to be increasing their melee damage, giving making them a usefully character to have around when the warlord is setting off Hail of Steel.

Because this is his one point of focus, he can afford to put in the resources to make his MBA better than that of a SM or Paladin. Of course the fighter's will be pretty much identical and the knight's likely better (as everything about the knight is wrapped up in his MBA) but I thought it was a point worth making while I was defending wardens.

If we take an arbitary point (e.g. level 11) then I would place the defenders in this order:

Fighter
Swordmage
Paladin
Knight
Warden
Battlemind
Berserker 
Cavalier

As you rise towards epic, the SM and Paladin become the only classes capable of defending and the battlemind also rises up the list due to the built-in movement of his 'defender feature'. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
"Have an MBA" is party-op, that any SM is one feat away from having a slightly better MBA than a Warden (Intelligent Blademaster+20 int). Also Arcane/Martial/Divine have better support, which puts near every defender ahead of the Warden's potential MBA boosts. Though Hail of Steel has a positional requirement that defenders locking down the targets you're not focusing aren't super likely to meet (i.e., being defenders).

Not sure how I'd rank defenders at 11 (except to say the Berserker isn't one, any more than the Binder is a controller just because it says so on the box). The Epic comment I agree with. Fighter is at the top and Knights usually find a way to deal with their Paragon weaknesses. Maybe...

Fighter
Paladin (Honored Foe+Multiple multi-marks is better than most Swordmage tricks, and their E11 PP powers and AP features are usually very strong).
Swordmage
Knight
Battlemind
Warden
Cavalier

So.. second from the bottom. Even on your list they are mid-tier though, which is what I said from the beginning.
Yes, but that doesn't mean they ought to be dismissed out of hand.

The differences between a midranking and a topclass defender are nowhere near as marked (so to speak) as the difference between a mediocre and top-tier striker).

I think we are on the same wavelength but I was just pointing out, for those that might not have played as much as we have, that a warden can be a functional character and you generally won't hurt your party by choosing one.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
And I want to add again that they have a ton more flavor.  It's a lot more fun for me to visualize a dude who morphs into a small walking mountain who keeps enemies from moving away with fissures cracking around his feet and miniature landslides than a dude who hits something with a sword if they shift, or hits something with a sword if they move, or hits something with a sword if they hit someone else.
E1 Hungry Earth - close burst 1 difficult terrain usont.

I have never understood the use of powers like this.
Could someone explain why CB1 difficult terrain is ever useful on a defender? Or just how to use it tactically?
Wall of warden, I think. Forces bad guys that want to get to the squishies to go around you. Potentially useful for clogging up bridges, corridors, etc. That's six movement to get by the warden (in addition to the OA, which might slow if they have sudden roots).

In practice, I don't find it to have tremendous impact (the main one that I set off all the time is Stone Panopoly, and that's more for it's close burst than the difficult terrain, as well as the damage resist). It's fun for my warden to be a bottleneck at doors and bridges, but it seldom comes up. 
E1 Hungry Earth - close burst 1 difficult terrain usont.

I have never understood the use of powers like this.
Could someone explain why CB1 difficult terrain is ever useful on a defender? Or just how to use it tactically?



If you can expand the burst (e.g. MKJ + resounding thunder) then you prevent enemies from shifting away from you.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein