Heroic Character Optimization: The Scorpion Knight

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There is a lot of focus on level 30 builds, but many games are only heroic.  There is less attention paid to heroic-only builds, here is a striker that shines at low levels.  I've compared DPR against LordDuskblade's Hurricane, a Twin-Striking Ranger.

The Scorpion Knight (Warlock|Cavalier)

The short version:
Very high Defenses
Good/Great DPR
At-will prone starting at level 1
Strong MBA, doesn't need charge or CA to achieve high DPR.

Level 1 Snapshot
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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Jim, level 1
Human, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier)
Virtue: Virtue of Valor
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Reflex
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Fortitude
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)
Theme: Purple Dragon

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 20

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 18


AC: 20 Fort: 13 Ref: 15 Will: 16
HP: 33 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 10

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Endurance +2, Intimidate +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics –3, Arcana +0, Athletics –4, Dungeoneering –1, Heal –1, History +0, Insight –1, Nature –1, Perception –1, Religion +0, Stealth –3, Streetwise +5, Thievery –3

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Purple Dragon Utility: Focused Discipline
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack: Holy Smite
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
Warlock Attack 1: Decree of Khirad

FEATS
Level 1: Flail Expertise
Level 1: Hybrid Talent

ITEMS
Alhulak x1
Plate Armor x1
Heavy Shield x1
Adventurer's Kit
====== End ======


 

Discussion

At level 1, the Scorpion King has a number of desirable striker qualities:
1) Defender-level Defenses (AC: 20 Fort: 13 Ref: 15 Will: 16).  While a striker's first priority is doing damage, staying alive allows you to continue to inflict damage.
2) Prone on hit, which is fantastic control for level 1.  If you prone a ranged enemy right next to you, it can't shift away (since it has to stand up or crawl), and if you prone a melee enemy 1 space away from you, it might not be able to charge or effectively engage team hero.
3) Decent DPR (.75 * 13 + .05 * 19 = 10.7).  As a comparison, The Hurricane does 10.12 at level 1.
4) Great MBA (since your MBA DPR is your DPR)
5) Heroic Effort and Holy Smite allow a decent encounter nova
6) You can randomly do 8 extra damage to enemies that violate your aura to try to get past you to that squishy defender. 
7) Many DMs allow you to start battle with your Defender Aura on.  Your usual openning is curse + stance + charge
 

Level2

Changes: 
+5 HP
+1 to attacks, defenses, and checks
New Feat: White Lotus Reposte

New Utility Power: Vice's Reward

Magic Items (Expected GP = 1,920):
L3 (680 gp): +1 Vanguard Alhulak
L3 (680 gp): +1 Dwarven Plate Armor
L2 (520 gp): +1 Badge of the Beserker
TOTAL: 1,880 gp



Discussion: 
With White Lotus Reposte, you now have the full Catch-22.  If you hit your target, it is prone next to you.  It can stand up for its turn, but if it attacks you it takes WLR damage, and if it attacks someone else or shifts, it takes (even more) Righteous Randiance damage.

DPR at level 2: (.8 * 19 + .05 * 25 = 16.45).  This DPR assumes they attack your high defenses, you do even more if they attempt to engage someone else.

MBA does the same damage (without additional WLR damage).  Charging does a bunch more.

While you do not expect to charge every turn, you have the beginnings of the charge package (Vanguard Weapon, Badge of the Berserker)
With Vice's Reward and the Dwarven Plate Armor's Daily, you are even more difficult to stop.  Arguably, you could take the Bracers of Mighty Striking at this level rather than the Dwarven Plate Armor for even more damage.
 

Level3

Changes: 
+5 HP
New Encounter Power: Delban's Deadly Attention

Magic Items (Expected GP = 2560):
L3 (680 gp): +1 Vanguard Alhulak
L3 (680 gp): +1 Dwarven Plate Armor
L2 (520 gp): +1 Badge of the Beserker
L2 (520 gp): Bracers of Mighty Striking
TOTAL: 2400 gp



Discussion: 
Delban's Deadly Attention is something that should fire every encounter, since attacking you is usually slightly more attractive than attacking someone else.
Since your primary attack is also a Melee Basic Attack, Bracers of Mighty Striking are amazing.
 

Level4

Changes:
+5 HP
+1 to attacks, defenses, and checks

Ability Score Boosts: Charisma +1 (21), Constitution +1 (15)

New Feat: Mindbite

 Scorn

Magic Items (Expected GP = 3,200):
L3 (680 gp): +1 Vanguard Alhulak
L3 (680 gp): +1 Dwarven Plate Armor
L2 (520 gp): +1 Badge of the Beserker
L2 (520 gp): Bracers of Mighty Striking
TOTAL: 2400 gp



Discussion: 
Mindbite Scorn is another great damage feat, since we intent to hit them with Eldritch Strike again and again and again.


Level5
 
Changes: 
+5 HP

New Daily Attack Power: Hallowed Circle

Magic Items (Expected GP = 4,480):
L3 (680 gp): +1 Vanguard Alhulak
L3 (680 gp): +1 Dwarven Plate Armor
L2 (520 gp): +1 Badge of the Beserker
L2 (520 gp): Bracers of Mighty Striking
TOTAL: 2400 gp

Discussion:
Hallowed Circle can occastionally do more damage than your MBA, if you catch enough enemies in it.


Level6

Changes: 
+5 HP
+1 to attacks, defenses, and checks

New Feat: Killing Curse
New Utility Power: Mirror Darkly

Magic Items (Expected GP = 6,400): 
L8 (3400 gp): +2 Vanguard Alhulak
L3 (680 gp): +1 Dwarven Plate Armor
L2 (520 gp): +1 Badge of the Beserker
L2 (520 gp): Bracers of Mighty Striking
TOTAL: 5120 gp

Discussion:
This level has another feat that adds damage, and a good teleportation power

DPR: .75 * 27.5 + .05 * 47 = 23.0 (The Hurricane has a DPR of 18.27 at level 6)
More on charge of course.  Melee Basic Attack DPR = DPR (- WLR)
 

Levels 6-11
Show

6) Feat: Killing Curse
+2 damage to curse is a minor upgrade, but better than anything else at this level
7) Power: Touch of Command (retrain Delban's Deadly Attention to Holy Smite (additional use))
We get another Holy Smite (which now does more damage) for nova, and we get to exchange Delban's for a much stronger power (make your dominated creature run around and draw AoO)
8) Feat: Ki Focus Expertise (retrain Theme: Sohei into Elemental Initiate)
Another option is to take some other implement expertise and keep Sohei
9) Power: Command Insanity
Another powerful domination option
10) Power: Font of Healing, Feat: Improved Defenses
You can take something else rather than Improved Defenses, you will only have it for one level
11) Paragon Path: Morninglord, Feat: Twofold Pact (Elemental Pact), Retrain Killing Curse into White Lotus Reposte
You can now knock down your foe, then hit them back when they run, ranged, or hit you back
 

Level12

Retrain Improved Defenses into Arcane Admixture
Take the Lasting Frost Feat

Use elemental affinity to turn your Mindbite Scorn psychic curse damage to match your elemental affinity
Use Arcane Admixture to change your untyped Eldritch Strike damage into cold

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Jim12, level 12
Human, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier), Morninglord
Virtue: Virtue of Valor
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Reflex
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Fortitude
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Twofold Pact Option: Elemental Pact
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Purple Dragon

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 14, DEX 16, INT 11, WIS 9, CHA 23

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 18


AC: 29 Fort: 23 Ref: 26 Will: 26
HP: 91 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +17, Diplomacy +17, Endurance +9, Intimidate +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Arcana +6, Athletics +2, Dungeoneering +5, Heal +5, History +6, Insight +5, Nature +5, Perception +5, Religion +6, Stealth +5, Streetwise +12, Thievery +5

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Purple Dragon Utility: Focused Discipline
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack: Holy Smite
: Holy Smite (Additional Use)
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Majestic Halo
Warlock Attack 1: Chromatic Bolt
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Accursed Affinity
Warlock Utility 2: Ethereal Stride
Warlock Attack 5: Well of Shadows
Paladin Utility 6: Wrath of the Gods
Warlock Attack 7: Touch of Command
Warlock Attack 9: Command Insanity
Paladin Utility 10: Font of Healing
Morninglord Attack 11: Pure Glow
Morninglord Utility 12: Rising Sun

FEATS
Level 1: Flail Expertise
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: White Lotus Riposte
Level 4: Mindbite Scorn
Level 8: Devout Protector Expertise
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 11: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 12: Lasting Frost
Level 12: Arcane Admixture

ITEMS
Heavy Shield x1
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (heroic tier)
Bracers of Mighty Striking (paragon tier) x1
Bloodiron Plate Armor +2 x1
Badge of the Berserker +3 x1
Gloves of Eldritch Admixture (heroic tier) x1
Symbol of Victory +2 x1
Magic Alhulak +3 x1
====== End ======


 

Level16

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Jim16, level 16
Human, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier), Morninglord
Virtue: Virtue of Valor
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Reflex
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Fortitude
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Twofold Pact Option: Elemental Pact
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Lightning
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Purple Dragon

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 16, DEX 13, INT 13, WIS 9, CHA 24

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 12, DEX 12, INT 12, WIS 8, CHA 18


AC: 31 Fort: 28 Ref: 26 Will: 31
HP: 112 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 30

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +20, Diplomacy +20, Endurance +17, Intimidate +20

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Arcana +9, Athletics +6, Dungeoneering +7, Heal +7, History +9, Insight +7, Nature +7, Perception +7, Religion +9, Stealth +7, Streetwise +15, Thievery +7

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Purple Dragon Utility: Focused Discipline
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack: Holy Smite
: Holy Smite (Additional Use)
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Majestic Halo
Warlock Attack 1: Chromatic Bolt
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Accursed Affinity
Paladin Utility 2: Virtue
Warlock Attack 5: Well of Shadows
Warlock Utility 6: Mirror Darkly
Paladin Utility 10: Font of Healing
Morninglord Attack 11: Pure Glow
Morninglord Utility 12: Rising Sun
Warlock Attack 13: Devouring Dark
Warlock Attack 15: Armor of Summer's Glory
Warlock Utility 16: Warp Space

FEATS
Level 1: Flail Expertise
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: White Lotus Riposte
Level 4: Mindbite Scorn
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 11: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 12: Arcane Admixture
Level 12: Lasting Frost
Level 14: Improved Defenses
Level 16: Spiked Chain Training
Level 16: Mighty Crusader Expertise

ITEMS
Bracers of Mighty Striking (paragon tier) x1
Badge of the Berserker +3 x1
Crown of the Brilliant Sun x1
Dwarven Plate Armor +3 x1
Symbol of Victory +2 x1
Ring of the Radiant Storm x1
Siberys Shard of Radiance (heroic tier)
Gloves of Eldritch Admixture (heroic tier) x1
Necrotic Spiked chain +3 x1
====== End ======



 

DPR

(Calculations elsewhere in this thread)
Level 1: 10.7
Level 2: 16.45
Level 6: 23.0
Level 12: 59.7 [82.0]
Level 16: 86.4 [101.4] 
 

Variations

You could spend a feat for a better weapon.  Options include a Fullblade or a Spiked Chain.  Fullblade would do signifigantly more damage, but you lose the at-will prone.  Spiked Chain, like Fullblade, would lose the shield, but you can still prone and you can do it from range, which is nice if you are trying to pin something down.

If you do go with Fullblade, I recommend Mighty Crusader Expertise, which allows you to shoot Warlock spells through your Holy Symbol without drawing AoO.  This is particularly nice with Warlock D1: Crown of Stars.

Edit: At level 14 I take Spiked Chain and Mighty Crusader Expertise (with retraining)

Purple Dragon Knight is chosen as a theme because of the +1 to-hit, but Sohei is arguably better, since this character has great DPR and mediocre burst damage.

 

Edits:
added progression up to level 16 
changed level 16 build to use Spiked Chain to encorporate additional vulnerabilities
added DPR, fixed level 12 to match 16
DPR for 1,2,6,12,16

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Strong MBA, doesn't need charge or CA to achieve high DPR.



...You realize you're using a vanguard weapon, right?

Anyway, Killing Curse is So Not Worth It. The rest should work OK.
How are you doing 8 damage to aura violaters at level 1?  I count 7 (3 + CHA mod (4)).  Nevermind, I see the final stats after racial bumps is a 20 CHA for CHA mod of 5.  Got it.

Also, in your Variations spoiler section, it's Elemental Initiate theme, not Arcane Initiate theme, for Ki Focus.
I'd probably stick a 13 in dex, and pick up Monastic Disciple at level 2 (and switch to Ki Focus Expertise), then Mindbite Scorn, then WLR. Gives you the Ki focus you're looking for, gives you a better daily nova with something like Rain of Hammer Ki Focus, gives you an extra skill which you desparately need. Mindbite Scorn is damage now, which is better than damage later with WLR so should come earlier. I don't think proning is all that necessary because if they want to attack someone else, it's fine they take more damage.

For the level 6 utility, I'm a fan of Fey Switch for melee warlocks. When you're immobilized/restratined, etc, and can't get to where you need to go, just wait for one of your allies to go adjacent to an enemy and switch. It's also handy in situations where you have to climb, jump, or walk a skinny plank. Let the competent ally make the trip, then switch places, and let him do it again.
Strong MBA, doesn't need charge or CA to achieve high DPR.

 

...You realize you're using a vanguard weapon, right?

Anyway, Killing Curse is So Not Worth It. The rest should work OK.



I do realize that I am using a Vanguard weapon; it is simply the optimal enchant for this character.  The Scorpion Knight is a fine charger, but he does good DPR when not charging as well.  DPR (above) is calculated without charging, since I find "Charging DPR" rather disengenous in heroic, since its virtually impossible to continously charge the same enemy without drawing multiple opportunity attacks (even with the Badge of the Berserker, you still need to back up twice).

I'll post an addendum with "Charge DPR" and "MBA DPR".

Killing Curse:  Do you have a different recommendation?  Because of the interaction with Mindbite Scorn, it does more than +2 damage/hit (slightly higher because of crit), which is better than Weapon Focus (+1/hit) or Weapon Proficiency: Triple Headed Flail (~+1/hit).

Clearly, if you are going for Full Blade, Killing Curse is the worse damage feat and you should drop it.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I don't think proning is all that necessary because if they want to attack someone else, it's fine they take more damage.


Proning can be very very strong.  If you prone a ranged only guy he has to draw an AoO, since there is no other way to get away.  If you hit him with the AoO, you prone him AGAIN, with a bunch of extra damage (a full MBA damage).

If you prone a melee only guy and then shift one square away, you may leave him with no attacks at all.  He stands up, is unable to charge, finishes turn.  Or crawl and then eat more AoO.

I'll flesh out the non-proning build, but I think Full Blade and Mighty Crusader Expertise is the way to go.

 Mindbite Scorn is damage now, which is better than damage later with WLR so should come earlier.


Ordinarily I would agree with you, but it is likely that they take the WLR damage before their attack lands, so if it will kill them, their attack fails.  Also WLR does more damage.

I'd probably stick a 13 in dex, and pick up Monastic Disciple at level 2


Picking up Ki Focus Expertise or some other implement expertise is not a priority.  The only advantage up until level 6 is using the +1/hit on one encounter power.  I mention it as something to do in later levels.  I like Monastic Discipline as an option at higher levels.


For the level 6 utility, I'm a fan of Fey Switch for melee warlocks. When you're immobilized/restratined, etc, and can't get to where you need to go, just wait for one of your allies to go adjacent to an enemy and switch. It's also handy in situations where you have to climb, jump, or walk a skinny plank. Let the competent ally make the trip, then switch places, and let him do it again.



Mirror Darkly is probably one of my favorite utilities.  You can use it out of combat as a teleport 6 (one past the shade), which can let you get lots of places your allies can't and covers almost every situation you mentioned.  You can escape restrained with it.  You take half damage for two of your turns, or they can waste attacks on your shade.  You can choose a number of teleport destinations, or you can choose not to teleport.  You can place your shade one place in the battle, charge right into the middle of a overwhelming force, and then escape even if you get stunned or dazed.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Quite the contrary to what you posted earlier but a warlock, hybrid or not, gets stronger in paragon.

For this character I would suggest doing twofold pact elemental and adding bloodied boon.  Add on gloves of eldritch admixture and watch your damage jump.  You can have the pieces in place by 11.  Bloodied boon is a heroic tier feat and gloves of eldritch admixture is a L8 item for your hands.  And once you hit L11 you take twofold pact into elemental.  Swap your vanguard weapon for a lightning weapon and then the only damage type you can't do on command is thunder.  But you could get that if you swapped a feat for arcane admixture(thunder) to eldritch strike.


L8 -> feat: bloodied boon
L10 -> feat: whatever
L11 -> feat: twofold pact(elemental), one feat to pick up arcane admixture(thunder): eldritch strike
Item: alhulak +2, gloves of eldritch admixture 

Just at L11:
1d8(alhulak)
+2d6(curse)
+1d6(psychic which you use elemental affinity to match your vulnerability)
+6(cha)
+2(enhancement)
+2(bracers)
+10(vulnerability)
---------------------
1d8+3d6+20 per hit of eldritch strike

This is a very simplified version of what can be done with just what you already suggested.   
Quite the contrary to what you posted earlier but a warlock, hybrid or not, gets stronger in paragon.

For this character I would suggest doing twofold pact elemental and adding bloodied boon.



There is some debate over whether this works.  Twofold Pact states:
"You gain a second Eldritch Pact. You gain the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact."

The Elemental Pact, unlike the other pacts, has rules text other than the at-will spell and the pact boon
"Elemental Affinity: After each rest, roll a d10 to determine your current elemental affinity...."

Does "you gain a second Eldritch Pact" give you "Elemental Affinity", or do you only get the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact?

Without Elemental Affinity, the Accursed Affinity pact boon is useless, since you won't have a damage type matching your affinity. 

I'll consider how to build the character with Elemental Affinity added in, but I'll note that this may or may not be an issue. 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Elemental Affinity is part of the pact boon.
Elemental Affinity is part of the pact boon.



You may argue that with your DM, and it may be the Rules as Intended.  Not everyone agrees. The Warlock Guide notes

"NOTE: You gain nothing from Twofolding into the Elemental Pact at the time of this writing, as your Pact Boon relies on you having a feature that you don't gain, the At-Will power is subpar, and you qualify for no extra feats."

Elemental Affinity is assuredly NOT part of the pact boon.  The pact boon is ONLY what is in the Green Box labeled "Accursed Affinity", which doesn't say that you get Elemental Affinity.

That being said, Elemental affinity MAY be included in the Eldritch Pact, contrary to what the Warlock guide says.  If you or your DM interprets 

"You gain a second Eldritch Pact. You gain the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact."

To mean that you get everything associated with that pact, then you're fine.  If only the at-will spell and the pact boon are included, then you don't get Elemental Affinity. 

Basically, is the second sentence (You gain the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact) merely an incomplete reminder, or does it limit the first sentence? 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Elemental Affinity is part of the pact boon.



You may argue that with your DM, and it may be the Rules as Intended.  Not everyone agrees. The Warlock Guide notes

"NOTE: You gain nothing from Twofolding into the Elemental Pact at the time of this writing, as your Pact Boon relies on you having a feature that you don't gain, the At-Will power is subpar, and you qualify for no extra feats."

Elemental Affinity is assuredly NOT part of the pact boon.  The pact boon is ONLY what is in the Green Box labeled "Accursed Affinity", which doesn't say that you get Elemental Affinity.

That being said, Elemental affinity MAY be included in the Eldritch Pact, contrary to what the Warlock guide says.  If you or your DM interprets 

"You gain a second Eldritch Pact. You gain the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact."

To mean that you get everything associated with that pact, then you're fine.  If only the at-will spell and the pact boon are included, then you don't get Elemental Affinity. 

Basically, is the second sentence (You gain the at-will spell and pact boon of that pact) merely an incomplete reminder, or does it limit the first sentence? 



The part about elemental and twofold pact is wrong and it is mentioned that in the thread.

I bolded and underlined the important part.  You gain the pact.  You ALSO gain the pact boon and the at will.  What is the elemenal pact?  Elemental Affinity, Accursed Affinity, and Chromatic Bolt.

I am not the only one who thinks that you get all of the elemental pact.  Check here.  The thread needs to be updated.

For this character I would suggest doing twofold pact elemental and adding bloodied boon.  Add on gloves of eldritch admixture and watch your damage jump.   



Is there a reason that you need the eldritch admixture schenanigans?

Since Eldritch Strike with Mindbite Scorn is (I think) an arcane attack power that deals psychic damage, doesn't Elemental Affinity trigger?

I guess if you want to do off turn MBAs it could be useful, since Elemental Affinity works only on your own turn (for no good reason).

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Acid/Cold/Fire = Gloves of eldritch admixture
Lightning = Lightning weapon
Thunder = Arcane Admixture(thunder)

Unfortunately the only way to get thunder unless you want to do weird stuff such as MKJ(mc swordmage) for cold/fire/lightning/thunder or use the Thunderfist Ki Focus(needs ki focus training) to make your attacks thunder.    
Acid/Cold/Fire = Gloves of eldritch admixture
Lightning = Lightning weapon
Thunder = Arcane Admixture(thunder)

Unfortunately the only way to get thunder unless you want to do weird stuff such as MKJ(mc swordmage) for cold/fire/lightning/thunder or use the Thunderfist Ki Focus(needs ki focus training) to make your attacks thunder.    



I realize that you can use the gloves, the weapliment, and the feat to match your current affinity, but my question is "Can't you already match it?"

Eldritch Strike + Mindbite Scorn + Elemental Affinity (the part that turns psychic into your current affinity)

"On your turn, when you use an arcane attack power that deals force, necrotic, poison, or psychic damage, you can change the damage type to match that of your current elemental affinity" 

Why would you need all that other stuff? 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Off turn attacks.  Such as OAs or granted attacks.
After some analysis, I think that there are a number of problems with the Elemental Pact approach.

At first, I was very excited about the prospect of high vunerability + Flail Expertise + WLR + WLMR.

The plan was hit with Eldritch Strike, proning them, then if your allies stay away it's very difficult for an enemy to stand up and not attack you, so they draw an additional attack with WLMR.  This is a similar strategy to the Eldritch Avenger, except you get to exploit the vulnerability three times (ES, WLR, WLRM).  This kind of double or triple-attack is the way that you could stay competitive with a top notch striker like a Ranger.

Here are the problems as I see it:

1) Accursed Affinity only works after you/(team hero) kill/(bloody) a cursed enemy.  This delays your initial nova.
2) Accursed Affinity requires a Immediate Reaction.  This means that you can't use it with WLMR.  Even worse, if you kill them with the WLMR, you don't get another chance to apply your vunerability, you have to wait until team hero bloodies another cursed guy.
3) Accursed Affinity only works on the next enemy that you curse.  You can't curse enemies twice (with some leeway involving Bloodied Boon), so unlike a normal warlock you can't just curse everyone in the combat.  This means that you end up having to be much more careful with curse application and you end up having to use lots of minor actions cursing later in combat.
4) Elemental Affinity only can change your attack to the proper element on your own turn.  This means that your WLMR may not tap it.  As noted by Koshinuke, you could use your weapon enchant, your glove, AND a feat to fix this, but that's very expensive.
5) Since you don't know what your element is, it's very difficult to optimize around it.  You can do schenanigans involving using your second wind early in combat, but that has it's own set of difficulties. 
6) This is all complicated by the fact that you need to use a Flail (or a ki-focus), which is somewhat lacking in non-elemental enchant options.


"Quite the contrary to what you posted earlier but a warlock, hybrid or not, gets stronger in paragon."

I don't think that a Cavalier/Warlock/Flail Expertise/Elemetal Pact/White Lotus character is bad in paragon, I just feel like it is several steps down from a top striker, and I think it is a top striker in heroic.  It's not that it gets worse, as it clearly gets better, it's that top strikers get WAY better in paragon.

If people have suggestions for fixing the problems listed above I'm happy to build that direction, but I wonder if something like Lasting Frost is simply a better option. 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Accursed Affinity is not an immediate reaction.  In the book it comes in, Heroes of Elemental Chaos, it is not given an action.  The fact that is an immediate action in the compendium does not make it suddenly an immediate action.
Accursed Affinity is not an immediate reaction.  In the book it comes in, Heroes of Elemental Chaos, it is not given an action.  The fact that is an immediate action in the compendium does not make it suddenly an immediate action.



That is reassuring, as that was the death knell for this approach, but the other issues remain.

The counterarguement is that you could take Frost Weapon/Arcane Admixure + Lasting Frost, or Radiant Weapon/(Crown of the Brilliant Sun + Lightning Weapon/Arcane Admixure) + Morninglord, and get almost as strong vulnerability with much less build and tactical investment.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

The biggest advantage of elemental is that it stacks with any other vulnerability of its type.  For example, lasting frost+accursed affinity is vulnerable 15/20 cold rather than 10/15.

The suggestions I made are not PP specific.  There is nothing stopping you from doing elemental and morning lord with a crown of brillant sun while you do lightning damage.
You can choose a specific elemental and optimize around it, but then either your elemental affinity only works 1/5 of the time, or your optimizations only work 1/5th of the time (+ after you second wind).  This is on top of the tactical difficulties in actually landing the vulnerability, noted above.

I suppose that there is an argument for investing a single feat choice (you always want Twofold Pact anyway as a Hybrid Warlock) in elemental affinity, but landing the proper vunerability is not going to happen enough to count on it.

If you can find a elemental enabler that doesn't replace your entire damage with an element, that's another way to enable it more often.  For example, a Frost Weapon turns ALL your damage to cold, which (as I understand it, and I could be wrong) turns your psychic curse damage to cold, so you can't use Elemental Affinity to turn the psychic part to Acid, or whatever.

Arcane Admixture would seem to do the trick, since it adds a damage type.

So I'm imagining

Level 11:
White Lotus Reposte
Retrain something into Twofold Pact(Elemental Pact)

Level 12:
Arcane Admixture (Cold)
Lasting Frost
 
...

Possibly followed by changing Arcane Admixture into Lightning, retraining Lasting Frost, and picking up the Crown. 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Here's a preliminary level 12 build, along these lines:

Show


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Jim12, level 12
Human, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier), Morninglord
Virtue: Virtue of Valor
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Reflex
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Fortitude
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Twofold Pact Option: Elemental Pact
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Cold
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Elemental Initiate

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 17, DEX 12, INT 11, WIS 9, CHA 23

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


AC: 29 Fort: 24 Ref: 24 Will: 27
HP: 91 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 24

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +11, Bluff +17, Diplomacy +17, Endurance +10, Intimidate +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +3, Athletics +2, Dungeoneering +5, Heal +5, History +6, Insight +5, Nature +5, Perception +5, Religion +6, Stealth +3, Streetwise +12, Thievery +3

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Elemental Initiate Attack: Disciplined Counter
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack: Holy Smite
: Holy Smite (Additional Use)
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Majestic Halo
Warlock Attack 1: Chromatic Bolt
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Accursed Affinity
Paladin Utility 2: Virtue
Warlock Attack 3: Delban's Deadly Attention
Warlock Attack 5: Well of Shadows
Warlock Utility 6: Mirror Darkly
Warlock Attack 9: Command Insanity
Paladin Utility 10: Font of Healing
Morninglord Attack 11: Pure Glow
Morninglord Utility 12: Rising Sun

FEATS
Level 1: Flail Expertise
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: White Lotus Riposte
Level 4: Mindbite Scorn
Level 6: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 11: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 12: Arcane Admixture
Level 12: Lasting Frost

ITEMS
Devastating Ki Focus +2 x1
Bracers of Mighty Striking (paragon tier) x1
Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) x1
Bloodiron Plate Armor +2 x1
Badge of the Berserker +3 x1
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (heroic tier)
Alhulak x1
Heavy Shield x1
====== End ======


 


I'll note that Bloodied Boon doesn't make the cut.

I'm not sure what the best paragon class is...  Morning Lord is a possibility, but it doesn't kick in until level 16.

I will do a DPR analysis later, but it's hard to characterize the benifit of Accursed Affinity... as noted above it's difficult to set up.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

DPR analysis at level 12:

To Hit:
+19 attack + 6 (Chr) + 6 (level) + 3 (prof) + 2 (enh) + 2 (feat) vs. 26 (7 hits)

Damage (with Accursed Affinity)
1d8 + 6 (chr) + 2 (enh) + 4 (item) + 3d6 (warlock) + 5 (vulnerability) + 1 (half-bloodied) + 1 (shard) + 2 (gloves) = 4.85 + 12 + 21 = 37.85 (47.85)

Critical = 21 + 26 + 3d8 = 61.55 (71.55)


MBA = 0.6 * 37.85 + 0.05 * 61.55 = 22.71 + 3.0775 = 25.7875 (+ 6.5)
WLR = 6 (+ 10)
WLMR = 25.7875 (I'm assuming this is +0, which is lowballing it)


57.575 (74.075)


level 12 hitpoints = 120
KPR = 0.48 [13th] (0.62 [9th])

This is pretty good DPR, especially considering that
1) We took Ki Focus Expertise and Hybrid Talent (Armor) which make for a much more rounded character but aren't DPR efficient
2) Sticking with the LDB leveling guide, we are using a +2 specialty Ki Focus when a +3 focus (with no abilities) would do more damage 
3) This striker doesn't suck in heroic 
4) This isn't counting charge or stupid Whetstone tricks 
5) We take the Morninglord PP, which doesn't add to DPR until 16 

EDIT:
This DPR is wrong because it doesn't take into account the miss chance from the first MBA (which only sets up the second if it hits) 


 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Hmmm...  can you put a dragon shard into a non-magical weapon?

Can you use a shard in a weapon if you are attacking with a ki focus?

What I'm imagining is doing a weapon attack with a non-magical flail with an appropriate dragonshard attached to it, and what I'm hoping is that the following apply:

1) Magical Properties of the Ki Focus
2) Bonus Damage from the Shard
3) Proning effect from Flail Expertise

It's unclear to me whether using a Ki Focus is the most effective weapliment for this character.  It costs a background and a feat, but it means that I can use implement powers without investing in a holy symbol or losing feat bonuses to hit.

Another option is to pick up a holy symbol expertise feat, the most attractive of which is Mighty Crusader Expertise (since being a melee character I need something that won't draw AoO), but that requires either a +2 proficency weapon or Spiked Chain, another feat and the loss of a shield.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Hmmm...  can you put a dragon shard into a non-magical weapon?

No. (EPG p. 111).  But a +1 generic magic weapon is cheap
Can you use a shard in a weapon if you are attacking with a ki focus?

Weapon attack: I think so?  (" attacks that use the augmented weapon".  You seem to meet those requirements)  Implement attack: no.
1) Magical Properties of the Ki Focus
2) Bonus Damage from the Shard
3) Proning effect from Flail Expertise

As long as it's a weapon attack (see also, flail expertise) I think you're good.
it means that I can use implement powers without investing in a holy symbol or losing feat bonuses to hit.

Um ... Then you have both Flail Expertise and Ki Weapon expertise?

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

] Um ... Then you have both Flail Expertise and Ki Weapon expertise?



Yup, that's what I'm proposing.

Basically, the premise of this character is to use Flail Expertise, Eldritch Strike, and White Lotus (Master) Reposte to force an enemy to attack you and take damage (which is further enforced by the defender Aura).

This works fantastically in low heroic, since prone at-will is pretty stong and you don't have many encounter or daily powers.  I have played a similar character in LFR and it was extremely strong.

At higher level, you start to want to use encounter powers and most of the decent ones (the Warlock ones, since Holy Smite is fine) are implement powers.  You already have Flail Expertise but it only works on weapon attacks, so you have to pick up a different Expertise feat, hopefully one that will give some additional benifits.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Another question related to this character:

If I have Mindbite Scorn and Gloves of Eldritch Admixture, can I change the non-psychic curse damage to something else, or am I forced to also change the psychic damage?

Gloves:
When you deal extra damage as a result of your Warlock’s Curse, you can choose that damage to be acid, cold, or fire (or leave it untyped).

Mindbite Scorn:
Your Warlock’s Curse extra damage increases by 1d6, and this additional damage is psychic. 

The idea, if I can change the non-psychic damage, is that I can do 3(!) damage types
Gloves of Eldrich Admixture to turn (non-psychic) curse damage to Cold
Elemental Affinity, to turn Mindbite Scorn psychic damage to match affinity 
Arcane Admixture (Lightning) to turn my non-typed damage to Lightning, which is turned to Radiant by Crown of the Brilliant Sun

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I believe the Gloves overwrite all previous damage types of your curse, which would include Mindbite Scorn's psychic damage. The item lets you choose to change the damage type of all the extra damage from your curse. Mindbite Scorn also is extra damage, so it's also changed.
The item lets you choose to change the damage type of all the extra damage from your curse.



The thing is, the word "all" isn't in the description.  In many other examples, such as the elemental weapons, Wizards was careful to include the word "all", but not here.

Semantically, if I told you "When I give you an apple, you can choose what color apple you want", then I would expect that if I gave you three apples at the same time you would not be forced to choose the same color for all of them.

Is there other evidence one way or the other from some related ruling?

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

With regard to Char Op and Heroic builds, check out the DPR King Candidates 3.0 thread where you'll find numerous builds that focus on optimization with very tight budgets.  Take a peek and see if anything tickles your fancy. Link in my sig.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
With regard to Char Op and Heroic builds, check out the DPR King Candidates 3.0 thread where you'll find numerous builds that focus on optimization with very tight budgets.  Take a peek and see if anything tickles your fancy. Link in my sig.



While I like the DPR Kings thread as a basis of comparison (and I reference it several times in this thread), the builds there tend to be terrible for actual game play.  For example, of the top 10 DPR builds at level 6, 60% of them involve charging with a mount, which is completely unrealistic.

 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I've think I've found a solution to the problem of getting

A) Cold Damage
B) Radiant Damage
C) Elemental Affinity damage

which doesn't rely on the questionable interaction between Mindbite Scorn and Gloves of Elemental Admixure.

Spiked Chain Training (turns Spiked Chain into both a Flail AND a Light Blade, as I understand it)
Necrotic Spiked Chain (requires light blade, turns half of damage necrotic)
Elemental Affinity (turns necrotic damage into elemetal affinity damage)
Gloves of Eldritch Admixture (turns curse damage into Cold)
Eldritch Admixture (turns untyped damage into Lightning)
Crown of Brilliant Sun (turns Lightning damage into Radiant) 

build to follow... 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

The only slightly iffy part is applying the light blade enchantment to the spiked chain, which is kind of not explicitly RAW - but you could solve that by just using a proper light blade.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
The only slightly iffy part is applying the light blade enchantment to the spiked chain, which is kind of not explicitly RAW - but you could solve that by just using a proper light blade.



Unfortunately, a Flail is needed to prone with Flail Expertise.

From Spiked Chain Training: "...each end of the spiked chain is a light blade"

This seems pretty clear RAW.

Applying a light blade enchantment to a spiked chain via Spiked Chain Training seems to be common on these forums and is allowed by the character builder.  This is not to claim the CB as a rules source, but simply as yet another opinion that this is legal.

I've updated the level 16 build with the spiked chain.  Currently, Mighty Crusader Expertise is taken at level 16, but I'm trying to figure out how to take it earlier since Crown of Stars is so strong.

Do you get to apply curse damage with Crown of Stars minor attacks?  It has an attack roll but no damage roll. 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

Do you get to apply curse damage with Crown of Stars minor attacks?  It has an attack roll but no damage roll. 



"If you hit a cursed enemy with an attack, you deal extra damage. You decide whether to apply the extra damage after making the damage roll. You can deal this extra damage only once per turn."

 
The first sentence clearly states that you can. Since it doesn't mention a damage roll, I'd read the second sentence as "if the attack includes a damage roll, ..."
Extra damage is always in addition to other damage. No initial damage, no extra damage.
In the RC it states that the power needs to do damage in order to do "extra damage."  If it does static damage, then yes, you would do the extra damage.

However, as the Crown of Stars is not doing a warlock/warlock paragon path attack, it would NOT trigger the curse damage because you are a hybrid.
Extra damage is always in addition to other damage. No initial damage, no extra damage.



Irrelevant since the minor action attack from Crown of Stars deals damage.

Crown of Stars is not doing a warlock attack



That just seems odd. 
In the RC it states that the power needs to do damage in order to do "extra damage."  If it does static damage, then yes, you would do the extra damage.

However, as the Crown of Stars is not doing a warlock/warlock paragon path attack, it would NOT trigger the curse damage because you are a hybrid.

Crown of Stars is a warlock daily, not an item.

That is what I get for not looking it up.  Then it would trigger the curse.
Irrelevant since the minor action attack from Crown of Stars deals damage.

I was giving him a pole instead of a fish, to stretch an analogy.

Here are the DPR Calculations

DPR


24 to hit vs. 30
6 hits


2d4+16+3d6 + 5 + 10 + 10 + 1 (shard) [roll twice]


Average for M sided dice rolled twice (4M-1)(M+1)/6M
4 roll twice = 3.125
6 roll twice = 4.472222
8 roll twice = 5.8125


Normal =


6.25 + 16 + 13.416666 + 26 = 51.6666[61.666666]


Crit =
8 + 16 + 18 + 26 + 3(5.8125) = 75.4275[85.4375]


.7 * N + .05 * C = 43.16666 + 4.271875 = 39.938541[47.438535] in turn MBA


WLR = 7 + 25 * .75 = [24]


WLRM = 51.666666 * .7 + 75.4375 *0.05 = 36.16662 + 3.771875 = 39.938541 MBA * .75 = 29.9539


Total = 39.939+16.5 + 30 = 86.439 [47.43 + 24 + 30 = 101.39]


 
Total 86.4 [101.4] 

Hit Points at 16 = 8*16 + 24 = 152


KPR = 0.56868 [0.66705553125]

The first number is without Elemental Affinity damage, the second [in brackets] is with Elemental Affinity. In an earlier post I noted the difficulties involved in actually landing the additional damage, but being above 50% monster hitpoints and well above the 30/60/90 curve puts this on the upper end of strikers at this level, especially with strong defenses (and no mount/whetstone/charge tricks).

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

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