Defender Defenses - How Much Is Too Much?

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I don't subscribe to the theory that defender defenses need to be kept within a particular range compared to the rest of the party to be effective.  I'm more concerned about wasting resources that could be better spent on something not directly related to pumping defenses through the roof.  At what point do you decide that enough is enough?

As an example, when I push my swordmage build out to level 30 I end up with the following:

Swordmage 30
AC: 55 (10 + 15 half level + 8 INT + 6 ENH + 2 Feat + 3 Warding + 1 Shield + 3 Armor +3 Item + 2 Trick of Knowledge + 2 Concealment)
FORT: 50 (10 + 15 half level + 6 CON + 6 ENH + 4 Feat + 4 Epic FORT + 1 Human + 2 Trick of Knowledge + 2 Concealment)
REF: 52 (10 + 15 half level + 8 INT + 6 ENH + 2 Feat + 4 Epic REF + 2 Armor + 1 Human + 2 Trick of Knowledge + 2 Concealment)
WILL: 53 (10 + 15 half level + 3 CHA + 6 ENH + 4 Feat + 4 Epic WILL + 1 Human + 2 Theme + 2 Class + 2 Item + 2 Trick of Knowledge + 2 Concealment)
Saves: +10 (+2 Feat + 3 Item +5 Trick of Knowledge)

Arcana: +49, re-roll if desired.  Relevant for Trick of Knowledge.

I've no experience in Epic Tier.  I just know that, based on the above, level 35 Lolth needs a 14+ to land a blow.  That strikes me as excessive, but I'm not entirely sure what the target ought to be. 
The epic defense feats (the extra +4s) largely make the game less fun. This is particularly true if the group has Mantle of Unity.

I also wouldn't waste your weapon enchant on +1 AC. 
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
There is no single way to answer this, as much of it depends on the psychology of your DM.

If your DM is actually weighing the hit chances of various targets when he runs the monsters, then even going above the 2-point difference from the mark may cause him to violate it, depending on how strong your mark punishment is.  If your DM is anything like the ones I've played with, they will favor adhering to the mark even when there may be a tactically superior option, in which case it's basically as much as you can get.

In short:  depends on how your DM runs monsters.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
As I understand it, for a defender, Level + 20 is considered optimal AC, with others being "as close to that as possible." I'd say anything higher than that and you run the risk of your catch-22 mechanic not being effective. Yeah, you can cheese out your defenses, but then (unless you have a DM like Mand12's), the monsters will just go after the other PCs, and you may not be able to effectively punish them for that, especially if you've spent all your resources on better defenses.

It definitely takes balance. You want very good defenses, but you also want the monsters to suffer if they do not attack you. 

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

It also depends on your playstyle and the party around you. For a while I ran my Swordmage with the Guardian Theme and Freedom Fighter Paragon path so the biggest enemy's choice was to either attack me or attack me still and get smacked for it so the high defenses were worth it.
The epic defense feats (the extra +4s) largely make the game less fun. This is particularly true if the group has Mantle of Unity.

I'm tending to agree, looking at the results.  Rather like the pre-essentials expertise feats, I feel bad for taking them but silly for not.  "This will help you not die" tends to trump other, more entertaining options.

I also wouldn't waste your weapon enchant on +1 AC. 

I'm not.  That's a Shielding Blade wrist razor.  I couldn't find an arms slot item that excited me, so I went with the generic (and non-controversial) static bonus.

I'd say if you can get sticky enough, are able stop forced movement on you and shake off dazed and stunned conditions easily there is no need to be shy about your defenses. The higher, the better. As soon as the opposition next to you has a serious chance of getting away from you your defenses shouldn't be higher than 2 or 3 over the other frontliners' defenses.
There is no "too much" (except by making the game unchallenging), but there is definatly diminishing returns and finite resources.  But you still never want to wear a +1 amulet if there's a +5 sitting in your bag.


But the more useful answer is pretty simple.

If your DM is mostly attacks you, then raise your defenses
If your DM is mostly attacks allies, then raise your punishement.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I'm with mellored; it really depends on the game you are playing.


A game I am in right now for Plot reasons I know I'll be targeted alot so I'm spending lots o-feats on defence


In a game where I NEVER get hit because of party comp, I focus talents on damage/punishments.


Honestly though; your a defender even if you have no punishment and are just an unkillable meat shield you can still do you job very well.


Even if the DM knows he can't hit you and targets other players; dosn't mean he can igone when your super-tank walks into the middle of his minion horde or runs up to the BBEG and starts smashing away on it.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

There is no "too much" (except by making the game unchallenging), but there is definatly diminishing returns and finite resources.  But you still never want to wear a +1 amulet if there's a +5 sitting in your bag.


But the more useful answer is pretty simple.

If your DM is mostly attacks you, then raise your defenses
If your DM is mostly attacks allies, then raise your punishement.


But the issue is that there's no small amount of zero sum situation going on, where you have a choice to either raise your defenses or raise your punishment, and you're left trying to decide which one to pick.  You may always wear a +5 armor over a +4 armor, but the question of whether to take a +1 AC feat or something else is a different one entirely.

And yes, you can raise your defenses too high.  If your defenses are too high, and your punishment too low (as I said above, they are connected), then you will simply be ignored, and the monsters will go turn your wizard into chunky salsa while you give them a mosquito bite.  You want to avoid that situation.

There is a feedback loop present:  if your DM mostly attacks you, and you raise your defenses, your DM may start going after your allies.  Which is why it's important to understand that optimal defending is always a moving target, one heavily dependent on DMing style.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I don't subscribe to the theory that defender defenses need to be kept within a particular range compared to the rest of the party to be effective.



Excellent, because that theory is deeply confused.

I'm more concerned about wasting resources that could be better spent on something not directly related to pumping defenses through the roof.  At what point do you decide that enough is enough?



You'd like the DM to be indifferent or ambivalent about the choice between attacking you and attacking the rest of the party.  The simplest way to do this is play it by ear and tweak your build if you find him preferring one or the other.

If you want specific numerical targets, I'm not sure that's really doable.  I mean, for a Shielding Swordmage you could try to find the average damage lost from attacking you vs the average damage lost from violating your Aegis, but even that's very incomplete (you have lots of ways to invalidate attacks entirely, etc).  For a character with damage-based punishment it's even less tractable. 
So you can spend 3 feats (well, ~7 in this case, but the extra 3 I mean) on crazy defenses, or you can pick up output feats (more damage, more aegis targets, rapid aegis, etc), initiative optimization (danger sense, superior initiative), flexibility options (arcane reach), etc.

I'm less sure of the optimal mix on a swordmage, especially without knowing its other details, but on my fighter I've a mountain of feats in front of Epic (Fort/Ref/Will): ones like martial mastery, mobile warrior, and long step all improve my effectiveness in play more than increasing my defenses to maximum.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I don't subscribe to the theory that defender defenses need to be kept within a particular range compared to the rest of the party to be effective.



Excellent, because that theory is deeply confused.


It's not confused, it simply recognizes that the correct answer varies based on specific circumstances.
You'd like the DM to be indifferent or ambivalent about the choice between attacking you and attacking the rest of the party.


If you're a mediocre defender, sure.

If you're a good defender, the DM actively hates having to pick between attacking you and attacking the rest of the party, because both options are awful and make him feel bad.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

It's not confused, it simply recognizes that the correct answer varies based on specific circumstances.



No, believe it or not there are people who disagree with mellored on the "always pick +5 over +1" claim.  Those people are confused.


If you're a mediocre defender, sure.

If you're a good defender, the DM actively hates having to pick between attacking you and attacking the rest of the party, because both options are awful and make him feel bad.



Cute, but I don't think you are disagreeing with me on any substantive point.  Also look up the definition of "ambivalent".
Even in a vacuum, you can make your defences too high. If you can pull infinite defences at no cost, then your mark punishment is basically added to your DPR. At that point you are a mediocre striker. You want to keep your defences low enough that your DM is spending resources attempting to hit them but it is less effective for him than to attack your allies. Having infinite defences is bad for the same reason as perma-stealth is bad (hence why we had a similar discussion on that last thread).

So yes, keeping your defences within x of your allies is important.

Honestly though; your a defender even if you have no punishment and are just an unkillable meat shield you can still do you job very well.



Rubbish. You add more monsters to the field and do not do the damage to remove them and do not help your allies stay alive. You're worse than a pacifist cleric. 
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
Cute, but I don't think you are disagreeing with me on any substantive point.  Also look up the definition of "ambivalent".


Since when does every post quoting you have to be a disagreement?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Cute, but I don't think you are disagreeing with me on any substantive point.  Also look up the definition of "ambivalent".


Since when does every post quoting you have to be a disagreement?



Since people had opinions and the post was authored by "AtG".
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
Cute, but I don't think you are disagreeing with me on any substantive point.  Also look up the definition of "ambivalent".


Since when does every post quoting you have to be a disagreement?



Since people had opinions and the post was authored by "AtG".

No, that's not it at all! Tongue Out

Even in a vacuum, you can make your defences too high. If you can pull infinite defences at no cost, then your mark punishment is basically added to your DPR. At that point you are a mediocre striker. You want to keep your defences low enough that your DM is spending resources attempting to hit them but it is less effective for him than to attack your allies. Having infinite defences is bad for the same reason as perma-stealth is bad (hence why we had a similar discussion on that last thread).



If your DPR + mark punishment = mediocre striker and that's it, then you're a horrible Defender build and it is always the best option for DM to take the mark punishment even if it doesn't look like it. Because you're ignoring the mediocre striker to concentrate fire on what must be a better target almost by definition. Either your Defender needs to be doing more total damage output than the equivalent Striker when his mark triggers or he needs to be making the odds of success while ignoring him really unlikely. Or some combo that deters him from the presumably 'correct' choice.

The reason it usually pays to keep your defences within X of your allies is that increasing defences has a cost and at some point, you'll turn into the mediocre striker who should always be ignored if you keep disregarding amping your mark or overall damage.
Put me in the boat of 'make yourself as tough as you make yourself a threat, after seeing how the DM reacts to you'
There are people who actually play non-LFR games without the houserule that you get an Epic NAD to feat to your lowest NAD and you ban the rest? Every single developer home game uses this houserule because they know they fubared the defense math, not sure why anyone in CharOp (the forum which proved they fubared the defense math) would do any differently.

But yeah, the answer is either DM dependent or level of optimization dependent, or both. This was recently covered in the Catch-22 thread (which had a lot of good things said in it, despite the chaff).
There are people who actually play non-LFR games without the houserule that you get an Epic NAD to feat to your lowest NAD and you ban the rest? Every single developer home game uses this houserule because they know they fubared the defense math, not sure why anyone in CharOp (the forum which proved they fubared the defense math) would do any differently.

But yeah, the answer is either DM dependent or level of optimization dependent, or both. This was recently covered in the Catch-22 thread (which had a lot of good things said in it, despite the chaff).



I can't believe people play their home games without that one house rule that you like?

The nerve of some people... 
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 believe people play their home games without that one house rule that you like?

The nerve of some people... 

It is a basic math fix that, literally, every developer home game uses. This forum is the one that proved that basic hole in defenses existed and is the reason WotC published the Epic NAD feats. I can be a little suprised that the forum responsible for both pointing out the problem and forcing the solution doesn't use the houserule the developers themselves adopted (and we tried to get enacted as official errata for nearly a year and a half with no success). When the developers are using CharOp's ideas for errata as houserules.... well, it doesn't make a lot of sense that CharOp isn't using them as houserules, now does it?

I'm the last person to suggest actually building a CharOp character as anything but RAW, but outside of LFR if you are aware of glaring errors in the system math (and everyone on this forum should be), just fix them in your home games. Not hard.
I can't believe people play their home games without that one house rule that you like?

The nerve of some people... 

It is a basic math fix that, literally, every developer home game uses. This forum is the one that proved that basic hole in defenses existed and is the reason WotC published the Epic NAD feats.


Technically, beta feedback was, though I'm sure there's people on this forum that were part of that.

As for the topic of defenses, another major consideration is how long you want combats to last. You can build a highly sucessful defender that effectively negates attacks vs allies as an OA on marked targets and has 2/round IA negation as well; this can be coupled with absurdly high defenses but lower damage just as effectively as it can with good defenses but really good damage. The former technically leads to more sucessful combats (less damage taken, fewer dailies used) but MUCh longer combats.
"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.
If you had an item that gave you infinite defenses, you always take it.
If you had an item that gave you infinite mark punishment, you always take it.

If you have to choose between the 2 (which happens 90% of the time)...  then you need to evaluate things.

Even in a vacuum, you can make your defences too high. If you can pull infinite defences at no cost, then your mark punishment is basically added to your DPR. At that point you are a mediocre striker. You want to keep your defences low enough that your DM is spending resources attempting to hit them but it is less effective for him than to attack your allies. Having infinite defences is bad for the same reason as perma-stealth is bad (hence why we had a similar discussion on that last thread).

If your DPR + mark punishment = mediocre striker and that's it, then you're a horrible Defender build and it is always the best option for DM to take the mark punishment even if it doesn't look like it.

Damage isn't the only thing defenders can throw around.  Attack penalties (basic mark), damage reduction (shielding swordmage, hospitaliter), and even action loss (polearm fighter) can all work.  Mediocer strikers + mediocer controllers = decent party member.


Void Defender enjoys his "infinite defenses" with a -8 mark penalty.  It's very very effective (as in, not recommended for real play), even if he does 0 damage in a fight.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

If all you're doing is giving out -8 to attacks, you may as well be a dishearten-spammer.
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
If all you're doing is giving out -8 to attacks, you may as well be a dishearten-spammer.

He still has his standards for real attacks, then he vanishes, making it impossible to attack him and if violate his mark (which you have to do or you're effectively stunned) you take damage and basically nearly auto-miss.
If you had an item that gave you infinite defenses, you always take it.
If you had an item that gave you infinite mark punishment, you always take it.

If you have to choose between the 2 (which happens 90% of the time)...  then you need to evaluate things.

Even in a vacuum, you can make your defences too high. If you can pull infinite defences at no cost, then your mark punishment is basically added to your DPR. At that point you are a mediocre striker. You want to keep your defences low enough that your DM is spending resources attempting to hit them but it is less effective for him than to attack your allies. Having infinite defences is bad for the same reason as perma-stealth is bad (hence why we had a similar discussion on that last thread).

If your DPR + mark punishment = mediocre striker and that's it, then you're a horrible Defender build and it is always the best option for DM to take the mark punishment even if it doesn't look like it.

Damage isn't the only thing defenders can throw around.  Attack penalties (basic mark), damage reduction (shielding swordmage, hospitaliter), and even action loss (polearm fighter) can all work.  Mediocer strikers + mediocer controllers = decent party member.


Void Defender enjoys his "infinite defenses" with a -8 mark penalty.  It's very very effective (as in, not recommended for real play), even if he does 0 damage in a fight.



Those are examples of not 'and that's it'

Any Defender build who can pick up infinite defences at no cost should do it. Any Defender build that is then just a mediocre striker in an ideal circumstance(the enemy triggers the mark) is a bad Defender build.  Because you could have chosen to be one of a number of good strikers with good defenses, such as a Barbarian and picked up a mark from somewhere and done the same thing.
If all you're doing is giving out -8 to attacks, you may as well be a dishearten-spammer.

He effectivly is.  But with close bursts, more HP, armor, and doesn't need to actually hit anything, (and it's -10, -10, -8, can't attack).  So it's slightly better.


I kinda want to make a paladin version though.  Since those will do damage even when your removed from play.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I like paladins for their no action punishment, as it is the easiest base to then get multi-marking, multi-punishing, punishment stacking happening from.  Alas my current game is Dark Sun.  Where is my personal porta-god divine power battery when I really need it :P
There is such thing as too much of a good thing. One time we had a defender with 52 AC at level 25 (or something like that), the monster rolled a 17 on the die and missed. Our DM shriveled up in the corner and died. Not to mention, the defender got so bored not being hit, he jumped into a river of lava and swarm the rest of the encounter. Having resist fire 25, he took no damage.
I think it's a matter of maximixing "goodness."  Absurd defenses come at a price, and that price is other stuff you could be doing aside from making sure you're only five percent vulnerable.  I get that some people enjoy that, and that's cool.  Personally, having never played Epic, I was totally lost to where the probable diminishing returns line kicks in, but I know - for me - it stopped short of being an immovable object.

Improved defenses, some form of improved AC feat (better armor proficiency, shield proficiency,  improved swordmage warding, etc), armor spec or equivalent, three superior defense feats, three epic defense feats, resilient focus, plus random stuff like Solid Sound - that's around or over half your feats, keeping in mind redundancy and other stacking defense feat options - are competing for limited space against to-hit, damage, and flavor feats.  The same concept holds for items and power choices.

Based on some of the insightful feedback, I think I've found a happy middle ground.  The key was finding a bit of flexiblity in a character plan to tweak the defenses up or down if need be.  Thanks!

For the sake of calling back to the OP, here's what I ended up with for my example character, including encounter-long buffs:

Swordmage 30

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Arden Wenn, level 30 LFR Character
Human, Swordmage, Malec-Keth Janissary, Sage of Ages
Build: Shielding Swordmage
Swordmage Aegis Option: Aegis of Shielding
Devshirme Training Option: Gain an additional two languages
Soul of Sorcery Option: Soul of Sorcery Necrotic
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Proficiency: Implement Proficiency (Orb)
Spellscarred
Waterdeep (Waterdeep Benefit)
Theme: Order Adept

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 13, CON 22, DEX 10, INT 26, WIS 12, CHA 17

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 15, DEX 8, INT 16, WIS 10, CHA 14


AC: 53 Fort: 49 Ref: 50 Will: 53
HP: 211 Surges: 14 Surge Value: 52

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +49, Athletics +21, Diplomacy +25, Endurance +26, History +38

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Bluff +18, Dungeoneering +22, Heal +16, Insight +49, Intimidate +18, Nature +22, Perception +49, Religion +33, Stealth +20, Streetwise +18, Thievery +15

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Order Adept Attack: Argent Rain
Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Shielding
Swordmage Attack 1: Frigid Blade
Swordmage Attack 1: Sword Burst
Swordmage Attack 1: Lightning Lure
Swordmage Utility 2: Dimensional Warp
Swordmage Attack 3: Dimensional Vortex
Swordmage Attack 5: Swordmage Shielding Fire
Swordmage Utility 6: Swordmage's Decree
Swordmage Utility 10: Impenetrable Warding
Malec-Keth Janissary Attack 11: Loyal Unto Death
Malec-Keth Janissary Utility 12: Ever-Present Escort
Swordmage Utility 16: Aegis of Lost Souls
Malec-Keth Janissary Attack 20: Elemental Scourge
Swordmage Utility 22: Ghost Walk
Swordmage Attack 23: Radiant Shield
Swordmage Attack 25: Waves of Languor
Sage of Ages Utility 26: Trick of Knowledge
Swordmage Attack 27: Circle of Devastation
Swordmage Attack 29: Astral Thunder Blade

FEATS
Level 1: White Lotus Dueling Expertise
Level 1: White Lotus Riposte
Level 2: Intelligent Blademaster
Level 4: Arcane Familiar (Coure Attendant)
Level 6: Linguist (Adventure Reward)
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Superior Will
Level 10: Resilient Focus
Level 11: Greater Aegis of Shielding
Level 12: Resounding Thunder
Level 14: Spellscarred Invigoration
Level 16: Thunder's Rumble
Level 21: Rapid Aegis Reaction
Level 21: Total Aegis
Level 22: Superior Initiative
Level 22: Epic Will
Level 24: Epic Fortitude
Level 26: Soul of Sorcery
Level 28: Sorcerous Vision
Level 30: Skill Focus (Arcana)

ITEMS
Baldric of Shielding x1
Runic Leather Armor +6
Periapt of Cascading Health +6 x1
Sunblade Longsword +6 x1
Nullifying Ring x1
Siberys Shard of the Mage (epic tier)
Eager Hero's Tattoo (epic tier) x1
Many-Fingered Gloves x1
Greater Ring of Invisibility x1
Elven Chain Shirt (epic tier)
Runic Swordwing Armor +6 x1
Zephyr Boots x1
Opal Ring of Remembrance x1
Eye of Awareness x1
Rhythm Blade Wrist razors +1
====== End ======




There is such thing as too much of a good thing. One time we had a defender with 52 AC at level 25 (or something like that), the monster rolled a 17 on the die and missed. Our DM shriveled up in the corner and died. Not to mention, the defender got so bored not being hit, he jumped into a river of lava and swarm the rest of the encounter. Having resist fire 25, he took no damage.



If the DM isn't an idiot, he's going to start mauling the squishies.  Monster is 99% going to die anyhow, may as well beat on a wizard or a rogue before it goes down.
Which is why Mantle of Unity bends/breaks the game
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Which is why Mantle of Unity bends/breaks the game



At least it is now not including temporary bonuses. Which could be a wide set of possible bonuses, such as defenses that only operate when condition X is true.
True enough. All sorts of temporary bonuses, like warlock's wrath. Or Helm of Able Defense? Golden Ring of Teros? Cloak of Translocation? Your enhancement bonus from neck (minor action to remove)? Shield bonus? AC bonus from Summoned Armor? ;)

Ah well, not every errata solves the entire problem, or works perfectly. 
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director