Battlemind suited to our party?

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So, we're trying to continue a game at level 2 after half the party's players left. 
We're down to...

1) a charging Half-Orc Barbarian with a Fullblade and THW Expertise, 18s in Str and Dex,
2) a Human Storm Sorceror with some Expertise, Sorcerous Blade Channeling, and Arcane Reserves, 20 Cha and 14 Dex, and
3) a Human Warlord|Artificer with Master at Arms, Greatspear proficiency, and Melee Training (Intelligence), 20 Int and 14 Wis. 

Our DM prefers to have at least 4 PCs so he can throw more complex/interesting encounters at us. 
We might have someone else joining us who'd probably play a controller, but they're not reliable at this point, and the DM would like us to have a defender anyway, so I starting thinking of what would suit our party best...

As I see it, we've nobody with good Constitution or Wisdom, so ideally our defender would have both. 
So... a Battlemind.  By the way, we're not using themes or backgrounds.  We'll also be levelling at an accelerated pace. 
Here's what I've got: 

Beef Cobain, level 2
Mul, Battlemind
Psionic Study: Persistent Harrier

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 18, Dex 13, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 8.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 16, Dex 13, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.


AC: 21 Fort: 16 Reflex: 15 Will: 18
HP: 39 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Heal +10, Insight +10, Endurance +10, Perception +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics, Arcana +1, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering +7, History +1, Intimidate, Nature +5, Religion +1, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery, Athletics -1

FEATS
Level 1: Melee Training (Constitution)
Level 2: Monastic Disciple

POWERS
Battlemind at-will 1: Iron Fist
Battlemind at-will 1: Conductive Defense
Monastic Disciple: Centered Flurry of Blows
Battlemind daily 1: Aspect of Elevated Harmony
Battlemind utility 2: Dimension Slide

ITEMS
Manifester Alhulak +1, Meliorating Scale Armor +1, Heavy Shield, Amulet of Protection +1, Adventurer's Kit

High Wisdom and Monk MC are to get a decent Perception bonus; we've been ambushed twice getting halfway through level 1 already. 
The plan would be to get Flail Expertise at L4, and eventually switch to a Ranger MC if we still have nobody who can notice things or ideally a Fighter MC if someone dies/switches characters to fill that gap and start taking martial Dwarf feats. 

So. 
Am I on the right track?  Is a Battlemind well-suited to our party? 
Assuming so, will this one be effective?  I suspect Beef will be tough enough, but perhaps not very sticky. 
Assuming no, what would be more appropriate?
#1 The warlord|arti with a greatspear is a travesty.
#2 You don't really "need" con, anything with a con secondary will do fine.
#3 Battleminds are strikers who happen to mark.
Yeah, there's no particular benefit to having a high-Con party member. Don't worry about that. Having someone with good Wis can be nice though.

So with that in mind, I'd recommend either a polearm fighter or a wildblood warden over a battlemind. In my opinion, the only way to make a battlemind good *as a defender* is to hybrid it, and most good hybrids aren't con/wis.
#1 The warlord|arti with a greatspear is a travesty.


You miss out on 1 decent power by not having Range, and the Xbow build is a Feat more expensive. The bad part is having Melee training that early in the game.
"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.
Yeah, its just Killswitch with a (hungry?) greatspear instead of SXB. Its not optimal, but it's not like a Killswitch variant was ever not-good.
Okay.  Here's Flail.  (Was going to post a polearm fighter too, but couldn't get his spoiler working.  He used the same ability scores anyway.)  ..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />
Show
Flail, level 2 Longtooth Shifter, Fighter Fighter: Combat Superiority Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon Talent FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 18, Con 13, Dex 15, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 8. STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 16, Con 13, Dex 15, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8. AC: 21 Fort: 18 Reflex: 16 Will: 14 HP: 34 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 8 TRAINED SKILLS Heal +8, Endurance +7, Athletics +10 UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics +1, Arcana +1, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering +3, History +1, Insight +3, Intimidate, Nature +3, Perception +3, Religion +1, Stealth +1, Streetwise, Thievery +1 FEATS Level 1: Flail Expertise Level 2: Dragging Flail POWERS Fighter at-will 1: Footwork Lure Fighter at-will 1: Shield Feint Fighter encounter 1: Serpent's Coil Fighter daily 1: Tempest Dance Fighter utility 2: Pass Forward ITEMS Amulet of Protection +1, Heavy Shield, Meliorating Scale Armor +1, Staggering Alhulak +1, Adventurer's Kit


He's rather more accurate than Spear (theoretical polearm fighter).  Slides instead of pushes.  Won't be able to prone on combat challenge or opportunity attacks during Heroic tier though.  That's as much of an issue as it is for Beef, though, because Flail has Combat Superiority and can acquire Shield Push. 

Relative to Beef, Flail has lower hitpoints, fewer and smaller healing surges, no resist all -- he's much less tough. 
His Perception (and Insight) are much weaker.  However, he can slide/prone his enemies at will and stop attempts to move past him. 
Flail is also two points more accurate now and remains a point more accurate after level 4. 

Then, Storm.

Show
Storm, level 2 Longtooth Shifter, Warden Build: Wild Warden Guardian Might: Wildblood FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 18, Con 13, Dex 11, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 8. STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 16, Con 13, Dex 11, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8. AC: 21 Fort: 17 Reflex: 14 Will: 17 HP: 37 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 9 TRAINED SKILLS Nature +10, Perception +10, Dungeoneering +10, Athletics +9 UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics -2, Arcana +1, Bluff, Diplomacy, Endurance +1, Heal +5, History +1, Insight +5, Intimidate, Religion +1, Stealth -2, Streetwise, Thievery -2 FEATS Level 1: Mark of Storm Level 2: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade) POWERS Warden at-will 1: Tempest Assault Warden at-will 1: Resilience of Life Warden encounter 1: Thunder Ram Assault Warden daily 1: Form of Mountain's Thunder Warden utility 2: Eyes of the Hawk ITEMS Delver's Hide Armor +1, Staggering Alhulak +1, Heavy Shield, Amulet of Protection +1, Adventurer's Kit, Handaxe (3)


Storm has the best skills, the ability to slide OR knock prone at will, and toughness, stickiness, and accuracy somewhere between Beef and Flail/Spear.  In time, I'll have to get him a Lightning weapon, then I can pick whatever powers're best rather than lightning/thunder-based. 

Flail or Storm or ...?  Suggestions for improvement?
Flail or Storm or ...?  Suggestions for improvement?


Use a random name generator ffs!
"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.
Assuming so, will this one be effective?  I suspect Beef will be tough enough, but perhaps not very sticky. 
Assuming no, what would be more appropriate?


Battleminds can be plenty sticky, but not as a Mul. What you want is a Minotaur with Opportunity Gore. Check out this build in the pregen characters thread.

In short: your OA is accurate enough during heroic, deals enough damage and it prones. Just switch the CHA for WIS if you want a high enough Perception, and you're good to go.
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky. Attack negation does. And BMs don't get that until 7. Op Gore is Overrated, melee training works fine.
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!
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky.


If an OA that prones doesn't make you sticky, I don't know what does. There's a reason Flail defenders are a thing. 

For Battleminds, Lodestone Lure makes you more sticky than any L7 power. And that's an L3 power. 
You need a way to stop 'shift+charge'.
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
Battleminds have blurred step
Sapphire - Swormage Dragon Guardian - Dont touch my allies build. Swordmage / Sigil Carver / Draconic incarnation The Holy Slayer - A Striker - Defender Fighter | Cleric / Barbarian - Paragon of Victory WEREBEAR BATTLEMIND: You wont go where you want. - A Battlemind (Druid) / Unbound Nomad / Topaz Crusader
Ah, and they updated it to stop being a opportunity action, interesting. So as long as they can't shift more than one, you're sorted.
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
Ah, and they updated it to stop being a opportunity action, interesting. So as long as they can't shift more than one, you're sorted.


Shift 1 yes, like the mighty fighter, but the fighter must spend a feat for that. BM can shift 2 with a feat (Blurred speed) or Teleport adjacenct (Harrying Step) if you are persistent harrier. 

Fighter is superior on this because his OAs stop movement, but minotaurs can do that too
Sapphire - Swormage Dragon Guardian - Dont touch my allies build. Swordmage / Sigil Carver / Draconic incarnation The Holy Slayer - A Striker - Defender Fighter | Cleric / Barbarian - Paragon of Victory WEREBEAR BATTLEMIND: You wont go where you want. - A Battlemind (Druid) / Unbound Nomad / Topaz Crusader
Well, the fighter also smacks you with an MBA (combat challenge) if you shift at all.
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
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky. Attack negation does. And BMs don't get that until 7. Op Gore is Overrated, melee training works fine.


Attack negation makes you a good defender.  It does not make you sticky.

As an example, Shielding Swordmages have phenomenal attack negation.  They're not sticky in the slightest.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky. Attack negation does. And BMs don't get that until 7. Op Gore is Overrated, melee training works fine.


Attack negation makes you a good defender.  It does not make you sticky.

As an example, Shielding Swordmages have phenomenal attack negation.  They're not sticky in the slightest.


Booming Blade, which is of similar effect to Lure.

The issue with BM vs SM is that Booming Blade is a regular level 1 at-will but Loadstone Lure is a level 3 augmentable, DV/TL are level 3 encounter powers while LR is a level 7 augmentable, Fire Seed is a level 13 encounter power while BB is a level 13 augmentable. SMs get all 4 powers, Battleminds get 2. The Battlemind Defender is either as sticky/negatey, or as damaging (well, more) as the Swordmage Defender, but it can never be both, and also has round 4 issues where the SM can still fall back on "your attack did Minion Damage"
"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.
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky. Attack negation does. And BMs don't get that until 7. Op Gore is Overrated, melee training works fine.


Attack negation makes you a good defender.  It does not make you sticky.

As an example, Shielding Swordmages have phenomenal attack negation.  They're not sticky in the slightest.



You mean Aegis of Shielding alone (or is there any feat to enhance it)? That's no attack negation, it's a damage reduction, isn't it? Aegis of Assault with a sliding MBA is an attack negation, for example.
No, I mean Shielding Swordmages, with their substantial set of attack negation powers.

I did overlook Booming Blade, that is a nice sticky-enhancer (though not so much if you don't optimize damage, which can be low priority on a swordmage).  Been a while since I played my swordmage.

Note that I'm not claiming that either battleminds or swordmages are better or best, I'm just saying that attack negation and stickyness are two independent things that defenders can be good at.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
A good OA doesn't immediately make you sticky. Attack negation does. And BMs don't get that until 7. Op Gore is Overrated, melee training works fine.


Attack negation makes you a good defender.  It does not make you sticky.

As an example, Shielding Swordmages have phenomenal attack negation.  They're not sticky in the slightest.



You mean Aegis of Shielding alone (or is there any feat to enhance it)? That's no attack negation, it's a damage reduction, isn't it? Aegis of Assault with a sliding MBA is an attack negation, for example.


Assault is a Reaction to the ally getting hit, so it in no way negates. That feat for the slide is mostly useless unless you're running with a Lightning Fury sorc.
"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.
Assault is a Reaction to the ally getting hit, so it in no way negates. That feat for the slide is mostly useless unless you're running with a Lightning Fury sorc.



It immediately procs the second damage line from Booming Blade, assuming you used it before, or using it in place of a MBA as a Sword of Assault (assuming you're playing BookishBarb or some variant thereof). I would imagine that would actually make them slightly more legit than what charop gives them credit for, if you're threatening punishment with a double-tap, even if as a reaction.
Hit: 1[W] + Intelligence modifier damage, and if the target is adjacent to you at the start of its next turn and moves away during that turn, it takes 1d6 + Constitution modifier thunder damage.


Sword of Assault doesn't work the way you describe.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Yep, I'm wrong. 
I've really liked Swordmage|Battlemind in play. Booming Blade on marked target and the following can easily happen in one round:
1: Booming Blade initial hit
2: Booming Blade trigger
3: OA
4: Lightning Rush

When you toss in some means of invisibility... 
Yes Hybrid makes both classes better
I've really liked Swordmage|Battlemind in play. Booming Blade on marked target and the following can easily happen in one round:
1: Booming Blade initial hit
2: Booming Blade trigger
3: OA
4: Lightning Rush

When you toss in some means of invisibility... 


And your DM will just add bursts options to all enemies.
"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.
People vastly underrate the number of bursts in Paragon
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've really liked Swordmage|Battlemind in play. Booming Blade on marked target and the following can easily happen in one round:
1: Booming Blade initial hit
2: Booming Blade trigger
3: OA
4: Lightning Rush

When you toss in some means of invisibility... 


And your DM will just add bursts options to all enemies.



And your DM is doing close burst attacks against the individual adjacent Defender who can have multiple targets marked next to him? How is that not a win for the Defender? In any case, if your DM is going to metagame against you in that way, you replace Lightning Rush with Forceful Reversal.

i.e. one of the following two things happen:
1: Booming Blade initial hit
2: Booming Blade trigger
3: OA
4: Aegis

or

1: Booming Blade initial hit
2: Forceful Reversal(part of which is a push, which means moving away on its turn)
3: Booming Blade Trigger
The case of LR and Bursts is annoying, and I know very few DMs in LFR that are willing to let it retarget a close/area attack, for good reason.

And you never said anything about a 2nd defender, sorry I didn't interpret "Booming Blade on marked target" as "on a target marked by someone else". Yeah, SMs and BMs paired with other defenders are effectively melee blaster/controllers, I've had the pleasure of seeing an encounter with a Fighter using Dust Storm Assault, my Sigil Carver, and a Battlemind - sufficient damage between the 3 IAs and 2 OAs to kill 3 targets off-turn.

Regardless, a DM who intentionally triggers Booming Blade's Secondary, an OA, and an IA just to possibly attack someone other than you (because if you hit with LR or just Guardian's Counter, they'll still eat the Mark Punishment they were trying to avoid) is rather incompetent.
"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.
The case of LR and Bursts is annoying, and I know very few DMs in LFR that are willing to let it retarget a close/area attack, for good reason.

And you never said anything about a 2nd defender, sorry I didn't interpret "Booming Blade on marked target" as "on a target marked by someone else". Yeah, SMs and BMs paired with other defenders are effectively melee blaster/controllers, I've had the pleasure of seeing an encounter with a Fighter using Dust Storm Assault, my Sigil Carver, and a Battlemind - sufficient damage between the 3 IAs and 2 OAs to kill 3 targets off-turn.

Regardless, a DM who intentionally triggers Booming Blade's Secondary, an OA, and an IA just to possibly attack someone other than you (because if you hit with LR or just Guardian's Counter, they'll still eat the Mark Punishment they were trying to avoid) is rather incompetent.



What are you talking about?

Battlemind|Swordmage has marked the enemy with Aegis, is adjacent to them, and invisible to it. And used Booming Blade. If the enemy is always using close bursts in that situation, you take Forceful Reversal instead of Lightning Rush. Then when you get hit, you react, you tap and push, and your target then takes damage for moving on its turn. Or if your target moves away from you, you get your tap from Booming Blade, shift with them, OA when they attack/move, then gain the Aegis benefit whatever that is.

And your DM is doing close burst attacks against the individual adjacent Defender who can have multiple targets marked next to him? How is that not a win for the Defender?


My reply was to this. The only possible way that's a win for the Defender is if that Defender is not the SM|BM because the later gets to LR/GC and take the hit instead, with a slide to trigger Booming and possibly cancel the attack, and then the "Defender" gets to potentially punish as usual. Or did you actually think I meant a Burst 1 just to negate the invis? Because those don't exist past level 8ish. Beyond Burst 1 is negating your effectiveness as a Defender, which I'll be honest, is true of nearly every defender, but that's why bursts are so common.

Picking Forceful Reversal over Lightning Rush means you're no longer a Defender, as your IA is tied up in adding to you doing par-Striker Damage, and the rounds in which you use DV/TL you can't use your 'trick' to kick off the extra damage. It's an overall worse character in basicaly every manner than one that just uses BB to deal Striker Damage and has their IAs available for Defending, the one thing it would be better at is pissing off the DM. You can't win the metagame if you're pissing off your DM, so relying on an Invis Striker play is not table friendly much less tactically strong.

My mistake for thinking we were remotely on the same page tactically, and that your replies would follow any semblance of how the metagame works, I keep forgetting who I'm talking to since your avatar vanished. As Alcestis would say, Keep Up.
"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.
The issue with BM vs SM is that Booming Blade is a regular level 1 at-will but Loadstone Lure is a level 3 augmentable, DV/TL are level 3 encounter powers while LR is a level 7 augmentable, Fire Seed is a level 13 encounter power while BB is a level 13 augmentable. SMs get all 4 powers, Battleminds get 2. The Battlemind Defender is either as sticky/negatey, or as damaging (well, more) as the Swordmage Defender, but it can never be both, and also has round 4 issues where the SM can still fall back on "your attack did Minion Damage"


That's not quite true.

At level 13, BMs can have LL (level 3 power), LR (level 7 power) and BB (level 13 power). The sticky power (LL) doesn't cost any power points to control an enemy, and BB only takes 1 power point to make it very damaging. BMs only have to pay 2 power points per round for LR.

So BMs can actually use their standard to be either sticky or damaging, and still have their IA for attack negation. That only has to cost 2-3 power points per round (they have 10 if they take Escaped Thrall and a psionic paragon path), so they can keep it up for four rounds. If you add an OA that prones into the mix and remember that they have the option of repeatedly using an augmented power for multiple rounds, you have quite a well-rounded defender.

I'm not saying they're better than Shielding Swordmages of course, just that they have plenty of options to be good defenders.
What does a BM|SM do for AC?  Hybrid Talent seems the only option here, but I wonder which is the better way to go, BM armor prof or Warding?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Con-Int joint primaries+leather+warding, I would guess.
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
Well anyways I hope all this was helpful, OP. :P
Well anyways I hope all this was helpful, OP. :P


He lives?
"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 anyways I hope all this was helpful, OP. :P



The extended discussion on defender competence started out useful, but soon veered beyond what I can use at this point. 

I'm going to talk to my DM and see if I can use his enthusiasm to see the Battlemind in play to throw get him to throw me free decent Melee Training and some way to train Perception without spending a feat.  If so, I'll take Lodestone Lure next level (as I'd planned to), use my feats for Mark of Storm and Flail Expertise, and knock prone with Conductive Defense while trying to stay next to another marked target, and try to acquire a +1 Lightning Alhulak as soon as possible. 

If not, I'll go with a Wildblood Warden.  They seem to be slightly better-rounded defenders, can natively train Perception (as well as Nature which our party's missing too) and using the same feats, I can still play at knocking enemies prone with most of my powers until I acquire a Lightning weapon. 
Well anyways I hope all this was helpful, OP. :P



The extended discussion on defender competence started out useful, but soon veered beyond what I can use at this point. 


This is rather common in CharOp.  The initial question gets answered, and then the rest of us get sidetracked into odd contingencies.

Oh and on Perception, can you use a background to get it as a class skill?  Wait, you said you don't use backgrounds at all, didn't you...
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Mark of Storm ... siiiigh. If that's on the table, just play a Battlemind, make sure you MC Fighter with Battle Awareness.
"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.
This is rather common in CharOp.  The initial question gets answered, and then the rest of us get sidetracked into odd contingencies.

Oh and on Perception, can you use a background to get it as a class skill?  Wait, you said you don't use backgrounds at all, didn't you...



It's not unexpected.  I've lurked awhile. 

Sadly, no backgrounds.  Most of my party has a hard enough time choosing feats/powers/etc. as it is and I think the DM wants to keep things as simple as possible.  But we'll see what I can talk him into. 


Mark of Storm ... siiiigh. If that's on the table, just play a Battlemind, make sure you MC Fighter with Battle Awareness.



Would you recommend this even if I have to play a couple levels without one of Melee Training, Mark of Storm, and Flail Expertise?
Well, just don't take Mark of Storm till you get a Lightning Weapon. Simple enough. Everyone is short on feats if you're actually starting in early Heroic and Battleminds don't really get good till 7 anyway.