The Cleric's Bible (Making a 4e Cleric)

169 posts / 0 new
Last post

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/RacesNClasses_Gallery/111127.jpg)


The Cleric
The 4e Cleric is arguably the most multifaceted class in 4e. Although build as a leader, a role that it does fill quite well, it also has strong control overtones with many powerful debuffs, and area control powers. These same control powers make them more cerebral defenders: the cleric's repetoire is full of powers that can help your party better take your opponent's attack and help prevent your vulnerable party members from taking damage.

As a cleric, your job is to save the vulnerable party members such as the wizard and strikers who don’t like being next to nasty brutes. Meanwhile, you get to amplify everyone else’s damage (with buffs) and reduce the enemy’s damage. You’re decently tough, and certainly one of the most well rounded and versatile 4e classes.

The defining choice you'll make when playing a cleric is your abilities. Not only are they they the only aspect that you can't retrain (besides Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies), they also have a dramatic impact on your strengths and weaknesses as a cleric, and thus the type of cleric you want to play.

Ability Scores
The Cleric has two key attributes: Strength and Wisdom. That means that both Strength and Wisdom can be equally important to a cleric. Luckily, 4e makes it easy to keep boosting two abilities, so it's quite possible to have both a strong strength and wisdom.

Does that mean that you have to focus on both stats? Not really. If you neglect one side or the other, you won't get to use some of the best powers, since the wisdom based and strength based powers aren't necessarily equal. Still, there isn't much synergy between Strength Powers and Wisdom powers, so you're really just opting to take subpar powers. At the same time, you get more benefit from the powers you do take if you push just that one stat. It's entirely feasible for a cleric to buy an 18 before racial attributes, and end up with an 18/12/12/12 or 18/13/13 array.

Especially at lower levels, strength powers are a little more effective. This is for the most part balanced out by the limitation that they're almost all melee attacks. The cleric seems to be balanced on the assumption that [W] =d8 damage, so you can beat the odds a bit by taking weapon proficiency (bastard sword) or the like. Also, Strength powers use a weapon, so you add your proficiency bonus to hit. Although the fact that strength powers usually target the slightly higher AC value mostly balances this out, occasionally a strength power targets Will or Fort, which gives it a bonus. Still, all of the paragon paths will punish you for neglecting wisdom, so if you do decide to do so, you probably want to multiclass out. Most of the better control powers are wisdom based, as well as almost all of the better higher level powers, so in my opinion, Wisdom is the more powerful of the two, though Strength Clerics have their own distinct advantages (especially when you consider multiclassing) and are quite viable options to play.

So, those considerations leaves the following options:

Balanced
A choice not much touched upon above, a Balanced cleric is ostensibly the best of both worlds: you can pick and choose between the best powers of both stats. This shouldn't be understated: however, keep in mind that keeping up to implements (your weapon and your holy symbol) is expensive and will cause at least one of your implements to be a bit below your level all the time, and likewise, it's not always easy to flit in and out of melee combat to use your powers (a reach weapon is recommended to alleviate this concern). Balanced builds also work well as strength builds, as they get all of the perks of a strength build and still get the bonuses (from Healer's lore and the like) from Wisdom. All in all, it does give up the edge of specialization for versatility, but that's not necessarily a horrible trade off.
16S/16W/12Cha (Dex/Con for the final points)
Good Races: Longtooth Shifter (MM) Elf, Dwarf, Dragonborn, Human, (MM: Minotaur, Bugbear)
Considerations: Longtooth Shifter gives a bonus to both Strength and Wisdom, giving you a nice boost with whatever you use, as well as giving you a healing power. Humans boost one of them (wisdom probably), and the others give a bonus to one or the other and a useful secondary stat. Minotaur and Bugbear increase weapon size, so [W] powers do more damage.
Sample Balanced Builds:
Here's an Elf Balanced Cleric by Martag. It makes good use of a polearm to remain a strong second rank fighter, as well as aiming for as much radiance as possible to get holy avenger+radiant servant to get a nice synergy there.

Wisdom Based
The wisdom based cleric (also known as the laser cleric, for all its radiant attacks) is probably the strongest option (depending on the layout of your party). Focusing on Wisdom means that all your attacks will hit more often, you only need one implement, and you can pump a secondary attribute to multi-class or just for its own benefit. Your secondary stat is either charisma or dexterity, though constitution remains a passable option as well. Wisdom is important enough to you that you should fork over the 16 points for the 18/20 Wisdom, and then either go a 13 Dex/13 Cha (putting a discretionary stat point in the one you aren't boosting at some point) or a 12/12/12 Dex/Cha/Con.

Notable Sub-build: The Elf Archer Cleric
Almost all of the Cleric's attacks are short ranged. This presents a problem when you want to stay out of the attack range of a monster, but still do something. An Elf Cleric with 18 Wisdom 18 Dex doesn't sacrifice that much in order to get a fairly powerful ranged basic attack with a good chance of hitting. This build is very nice at low levels: unfortunately, it doesn't scale up all that well (though ranger multiclassing does help).

Good Races: Elf, Dwarf (MM: Githzerai, Razorclaw Shifter)
With Wisdom, you sit back and debuff. The better high level powers are mostly Wisdom, and since you're not stuck on the front line, you can move around and get better positioning to set them up. You don't want to sacrifice your defenses too much, as you probably are still the toughest or second toughest member of the party.
Sample Wisdom Builds (through Heroic Tier):
Human Cleric of Erathis(Wis/Cha)
Str 8/Con 12/Dex 12/Wis 20/Int 10/Cha 12 (Stat increases go to Wisdom and Charisma)
Skills: Religion, Diplomacy, Insight, Heal
Feats: Action Surge, Human Perseverance, Improved Initiative, Harmony of Erathis, Skill Training (Perception), Toughness, Durable
Powers: At Will:Lance of Faith, Sacred Flame, Priest's Shield Lvl 1 Encounter:Divine Glow Lvl 1 DailyBeacon of Hope Lvl 2 Utility:Sanctuary/Divine Aid Lvl 3 Encounter:Command Level 5 Daily:Consecrated Ground Level 6 Utility:Bastion of Health Level 7 Encounter: Searing Light Level 9 Daily:Blade Barrier Level 10 Utility: Mass Cure Light Wounds

Elf Cleric (Wis/Dex)
Str 8/Con 10/Dex 15/Wis 20/Int 10/Cha 13 (Stat increases go to Wisdom and Dexterity (with one point to charisma)
Skills: Religion, Arcana, Insight, Heal
Feats: Improved Initiative, Elven Accuracy, Skill Training (Perception), Skill Training (Stealth), Toughness, Durable,
Powers: At Will:Lance of Faith, Sacred Flame Lvl 1 Encounter: Divine Glow Lvl 1 Daily: Guardian of Faith Lvl 2 Utility:Sanctuary Lvl 3 Encounter:Command Level 5 Daily:Spiritual Weapon Level 6 Utility:Cure Serious Level 7 Encounter: Searing Light Level 9 Daily:Blade Barrier Level 10 Utility: Astral Refuge

Strength Based
If you're paying attention to strength, you want to multiclass, both because all of the Cleric Paragon Paths have wisdom in mind, and because a lot of other classes have strength based powers that you should be able to snatch up. If you want to take advantage of the strength based powers, I'd be more inclined to play a balanced cleric with a heavy emphasis on the strength ones: otherwise you're probably better playing a devout Warlord and multiclassing back in.

Other Considerations
Wisdom Clerics: Charisma vs Dexterity
Charisma gives a bonus to a lot of cleric spells. That said, that's about all it does: the bonus to will is eclipsed by wisdom, and the bonus to diplomacy isn't really that impressive (although, if you are playing in a social/ intrigue heavy campaign, the combination of diplomacy and insight makes your cleric into the ideal party face). There are about 4/5 powers that, when you have Charisma, become better than any of the other options of their level. Dex gives a higher reflex save, ties well with some useful skills that you might pick up, and boosts initiative (and since winning initiative is about equivalent to an extra action, this is very nice). Both are viable options.
Multiclassing
If you have a decent strength you might consider multiclassing into a melee class. More on this later, but how you're multiclassing can affect your choice for ability scores.
Feat Requirements
Certain feats require certain ability scores, which is something to keep in mind when deciding where to throw your extra points. For example, Astral Fire gives +1 damage on all fire and radiant powers, but requires 13 Dex and Cha. The Cleric doesn't have any must have feats with steep requirements, but some feats do still bear considering (Armor and Shield Feats for one.)

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/row_gallery/86639.jpg)

Choosing Powers
When choosing powers, there's more to think than just whether or not the power is a good one. You want to choose powers that synergize well with each other, and powers that give you different options.

What do they target?
You want a good mix of powers that target Will, Fort, and Ref, so you can choose what your opponents weakest defense is and target that.

Does it give me a new tactical option?
Sometimes it's nice to knock people prone, other times it's nice to slide them, and other times immobilizing them does the trick. You might have a favorite strategy, but odds are you're better off having the option to do any of them to a foe.

How often can I use it?
For both ensuring a good mix of powers, and when considering utility powers, it's important to keep in mind whether you have a range of options in all battles, or just one. Daily Powers are nice, but with the chance of facing two tough fights in the day, you might rather a similar, less powerful encounter power.

Am I tearing through healing surges like mad?/ The Role of Healing
Certain people might be tempted to turn their cleric into a walking medic. It's important to remember that powers that allow characters to use healing surges just help them survive the battle: they don't add that much to the party's day long endurance. That said, don't waste healing on the toughest member of the party unless you think he's at risk of going down: you don't want to heal the fighter just as the monsters start to focus fire on the rogue, and find out you're out of healing. Likewise, consider your other opportunities to reduce the damage your party takes: especially with higher damage monsters, pushing them away or penalizing their attack rolls can be more useful than healing your party members, especially since it saves healing surges.

With those points addressed, it's time to consider the Cleric's powers.

Rating System:
Red: One star-- either completely eclipsed by another power or a just flat out bad choice. There aren't a lot of these, but the ones that are are pretty notable
Purple: Two Stars-- Low on the power scale, but either situationally useful or not a bad power, but just a bad choice given other options.
Black: Three Stars-- Solid. Not a bad choice, but there might be better ones. You are never digging yourself into a giant whole with a black power, but you'll probably have more effect with a better one (if one exists at this level)
Blue: Four Stars-- A very nice power. The types of powers that you can point to saying "this is what makes a cleric awesome", these powers are never a bad choice.
Sky Blue: When you use these powers, you shine. You dictate the flow of the battle, tipping the scales with these single powers, shouting "I AM CLERIC! HEAR ME ROAR!" Or something to that effect.

At Wills:
Wisdom:
Lance of Faith: This is the wisdom version of Righteous Brand, and is strictly worse (except it does apply to ranged, which might make your wizard very happy). If you’ve chosen strength as a major stat, take Righteous Brand instead. Does d8 damage, which is comparable to [W]. 4 stars

Sacred Flame: The temporary hitpoints are probably fairly lackluster, but the bonus save has the potential to be very nice. You’ll use either lance of faith or righteous brand more often, but regardless of your choice this should be your second pick. Also, if you focus on charisma, this power becomes better. 4 stars

Strength:
Righteous Brand: As mentioned above, this is probably the clerics best at will. The scalable bonus to hit is quite nice, and with proper weapon choice it does just as much damage as Lance of Faith. 5 stars

Priest’s Shield: Lackluster. A Strength/Wisdom character will probably want Sacred Flame instead. Unfortunately, this is a human wisdom based clerics best third choice. 2 stars

Level 1 Encounter powers
Wisdom:
Cause Fear: This is a decent power, partially for the opportunity attacks, but mostly because it can force a melee monster away from your squishy party members, letting them take a move in the opposite direction. It also targets will, which mixes things up. 4 stars

Divine Glow: It’s like Lance of Faith, except area of effect and to get the bonus attack you have to maneuver so that your party member is in it. If your party needs AOE, this is 4 stars, but as soon as you get better options it drops fast. You'll want to retrain it. 4/3 stars.

Strength:
Healing Strike: The most damage for the level 1 encounter powers, and you can heal. If you forsee tearing through healing surges like a two year old through candy, this could be a better choice than Cause Fear, but I doubt it. 3 stars

Wrathful Thunder: Dazing is nice. The foe can’t take oppurtunity attacks, so it lets the squishies move away, and it does damage, unlike Cause Fear. However, it targets AC, and your party’s opportunity attacks will probably be better than this damage. 3 Stars

Level 1 Daily
Wisdom:
Beacon of Hope: The weaken scales very well with levels, and the healing scales with the amount of healing powers you have When you get it, it's probably 3 stars, but it scales better than any other dailies of the level. 4 stars

Cascade of Light: It does slightly more damage than avenging flame, and targets will, but is otherwise strictly worse. If you have multiple attacks per round, it gets much better. 2 stars

Guardian of Faith: It’s slow, and you give up your move actions to move it around. That said, it does decent damage, is a wisdom based that targets fortitude. Due to Errata, it no longer blocks movement. 3 stars

Strength:
Avenging Flame: Less initial damage than Cascade of light, but forces the opponent to not attack to get about a 50% chance of throwing it off. If you want to do damage, this is the power for you. 5 stars

Level 2 Utilities:

Bless: +1 to hit for an encounter is very nice, but it a) doesn’t stack with your at wills, and b)is a daily. 2 stars

Cure Light Wounds: If you took Beacon of Hope, then you might as well take this, but it’s probably better to just stop an ally from being hit, which sanctuary does with a reasonable chance of success, and is an encounter power. 3 stars

Divine Aid: If you have a really good Charisma, by all means take this. Otherwise, just use Sacred Flame. 2 stars

Sanctuary: A +5 (unnamed) bonus to all defenses is nice. If the monster’s initiative falls between you and your ally, then there is no penalty, otherwise your ally might want to delay. Still, stopping whatever nasty effects (including damage) the monster might layer on 1/encounter is nice. 4 stars

Shield of Faith: +2 is a nice sized bonus, and power bonuses to AC are rarer than power bonuses to hit. Still a daily. 3 stars

Level 3 Encounters
Wisdom:
Command: Like Cause Fear, except more versatile, more range, and the movement is worse. Having both isn’t horrible, and it’s probably a bit better than Daunting Light. 4 stars

Daunting Light: The damage is nice, and combat advantage can be nice to set up someone else’s daily (or help the rogue). 3 stars

Strength:
Blazing Beacon: Nice for setting up someone elses daily. If you have a healthy amount of ranged opponents, this is a solid choice. 4 stars

Split the Sky: Command, except you do damage, it targets fortitude, moves them less, and knocks them prone. 4 stars

Level 5 Daily
Wisdom:
Spiritual Weapon: Wisdom vs AC is a bit harder to hit, but it does decent damage and gives your allies bonuses to hit, and it lasts a while. 3 stars

Strength:
Rune of Peace: Strength vs Will, and a save ends to be unable to attack. It can buy you a round or two of respite, so definitely a solid choice. 3 stars

Neither:
Weapon of the Gods: This power is quite lack luster: unless you have someone in your party who can make multiple attacks per round on a regular basis (ranger/fighter). In that case, it can become a powerful damage dealer, with a mild debuff. 2->5 stars, depending on your party

Consecrated Ground: In your average battle, this is a fairly lackluster power: 1d6 damage + your charisma modifier a round will add up slowly to do decent damage, you do get lackluster healing, and you don’t need to roll to hit. However, given the nature of healing (and the fact that it is healing and not regeneration) it is practically impossible to die on the consecrated ground (you need to be reduced to your negative bloodied value), since healing automatically brings you up to 0. Synergizes very well with Beacon of hope, and charisma gives it a very nice boost. 5 stars

Level 6 Utility:
Bastion of Health: So healing word, except once per encounter, more range, and +charisma rather than the d6's. If your party needs more healing, it's good, but I would be inclined to say that Cure Serious is better. 3 stars.

Cure Serious: Heal half health. Nice enough. 3 stars

Divine Vigor: If you’re in a party of dwarves, this looks nice. Otherwise pass. 1 star

Holy Lantern: +2 Perception and Insight, light, but it no longer blocks enemy movement. You move it up to your speed as a minor action. If your DM almost exclusively uses lurkers, or the campaign revolves around people trying to assassinate you, you might consider taking it. Further note: the (rather idiotic) way that traps are set up is that your passive perception score of the highest member of your party determines whether you see anything. Thus, if the highest lvl 1 perception score in your party is an 18-21 (at lower levels at least), if traps appear, this power saves a lot more hitpoints than Cure Serious or Bastion of Health. 2/3 stars

Level 7 encounter:
Wisdom:
Break the Spirit: Other than being vs will and doing 2 more damage, this spell is identical in every way to Searing Light, except worse (unless you have a 20+ Charisma, where it becomes 3 stars) 1 star

Searing Light: Blinded is -5 to attack on all ranged and melee attacks. Excepting AOE, this spell completely overshadows the one above. 3 stars

Strength:
Awe Strike: Strength vs Will is nice, and so is immobilized. It can help you save a squishies life. 3 stars

Strengthen the Faithful: Another way to spend healing surges. It affects a lot of people, so it could be a decent choice. 3 stars

Level 9 Daily
Wisdom
Astral Defenders: Another conjuration... but it doesn’t block movement. What it does do is decent damage for opportunity attacks. It’s not really nasty enough to serve as a good deterrent, but the damage isn’t horrible. 2 stars

Blade Barrier: Giant wall of swirling blades with damage that IS a deterrent. 3d6 damage and 5 ongoing. To top it off, it’s difficult terrain if anyone is stupid enough to wander through. 5 stars

Flame Strike: Area of effect with nice damage. Solid, but nothing awe inspiring. 3 stars

Strength:
Divine Power: Strength vs Fort, and shove the enemy AOE. Decent. Then you and allies get +2 AC, and you get regeneration 5 till the end of the encounter. Nice. Probably your best defensive buff. 4 stars

Level 10 Utility:

Astral Refuge: Save someone from death, but take them out of the battle. It’s a lot nicer than forking over the money for raise dead. 5 stars

Knights of Unyielding Valor: 4 conjurations that block movement. Once per day, you can probably protect someone from melee attacks if you have a wall or the like. Can be a cruel but effective strategy when combined with Blade Barrier. 3 stars

Mass Cure Light Wounds: A lot of healing, especially if you have a good charisma. 4 stars

Shielding Word: An immediate interrupt that gives +4 to AC, and it’s an encounter power. Definitely useful (more so if your party has high ACs, less so if they don't). 4 stars

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/excerpt_4E_trap1.jpg)

Level 13 Encounter Prayers
Wisdom:
Mantle of Glory: Giant AOE blast, and allies get to spend a healing surge. Useful. 4 stars

Plague of Doom: Wisdom vs Fortitude, decent damage, and a penalty to all defenses = to your charisma modifier. If you have a decent charisma, this power is better than Mantle of Glory (4/5 stars). 3 stars

Strength:
Arc of Righteousness: Mediocre damage to one enemy, poor damage to another. I guess it does more damage total (if you hit twice) than any other encounter power, but it lacks any of the snazzy bonuses that your cleric has grown to love. 2 stars

Inspiring strike: Decent damage, and someone heals 15+ Charisma modifier. An encounter heal that doesn’t use healing surges? Sign me up. 4 stars

Level 15 Daily Prayers
Wisdom:
Purifying Fire: Nice damage. Then I got to the healing when next to enemies. Save ends doesn’t last that long, but that still makes this a solid spell (plus you have spell focus). 4 stars

Seal of Warding: More nice damage, and if you place the zone right, you give +4 AC against range. Since the zone is difficult terrain, it’s not a bad way to stop people from shifting and running after your squishies. Not exactly flashy, but a solid spell 3 stars

Strength
Holy Spark: Strength vs will, with the potential to decimate a grouping of enemies. 4 stars

Level 16 Utility
Astral Shield: Another Conjuration, this one an encounter power that grants +2 unnamed bonus to AC. If your party clumps together, it's decent. 3 stars

Cloak of Peace: Like Astral Refuge, except not invulnerable and your party member can’t come back after healing 3/4 of his health. Still, it could be useful if you have a wizard who focuses on creating walls and the like. 3 stars

Divine Armor: Resist 5 is nice, and the AC isn’t something to complain about. 4 stars

Hallowed Ground: A lot of bonuses. If you’re party likes to sit around and whack things, this is a very nice power. 4 stars

Level 17 Encounter
Wisdom:
Enthrall: Passable damage, the targets can’t move, and they can’t attack you. Lackluster. Then remember it’s a long distance AOE. Nice. 4 stars

Thunderous Word: Decent AOE damage, and move the targets around a couple squares. Allies in the blast get to move as well. 4 stars

Strength:
Blinding Light: Like Searing light, except more damage and strength vs Fortitude. 3 stars

Sentinel Strike: Nice Damage, and make one ally invulnerable to damage against your target. Save a life, or with clever positioning, waste their turn. 4 stars

Level 19 Daily
Wisdom:
Fire Storm: Decent Area of Effect damage that keeps damaging the area with a minor sustain. Nice Damage, no snazzy bells and whistles. Becomes better if your party has lots of ways to keep foes in place. 4 stars

Knight of Glory: A conjuration that attacks for 3d10+Wisdom damage a round if you use a minor (though doesn’t dissapear if you don’t) and you can move around at a decent clip with move actions. Nice. 4 stars

Strength:
Holy Wrath: Damage is meh. Regeneration 10 (and +2 to hit) is awesome. 4 stars

Indomitable Spirit: Decent damage, and everyone heals without spending healing surges. Another nice choice. 4 stars

Level 22 Utility
Angel of the Eleven Winds: Flight 8, a bonus against opportunity attacks, and you can change who’s flying as a minor action. 3 stars

Clarion Call of the Astral Sea: Heal all hitpoints, and dissapear for a round, and pop back up again anywhere within 5 squares. Save someone’s life (Raise Dead has become even more expensive by now) 4 stars

Cloud Chariot: A 2 by 2 conjuration that lasts all day, can carry your party, and grants cover while you all fly around. Turn your party into a flying gunboat. 5 stars

Purify: End status effects for everyone. Very Solid. 4 stars

Spirit of Health: Just as I thought this level had too many good choices to choose from, I reached Spirit of Health. It’s not bad, but compared to Cloud Chariot, and Clarion Call of the Astral Sea, a bunch of healing that eats up healing surges doesn’t seem inspiring. (Especially since it’s immobile and you must be next to it). 1 Star

Level 23 Encounter: This level, you do damage. You might want to look at level 17 encounter powers again.
Wisdom:
Astral blades of Death: 21 Hp average + Wisdom to one creature doesn’t really seem like death at epic. Still, it beats using an at will. 3 stars

Healing Torch: Ok damage, and everyone can spend a healing surge. Minus the AC bonus and a little more damage, that’s a little like Strengthen the faithful: a seventh level encounter power. If you pump charisma, this is 5 stars. 3 stars

Strength:
Divine Censure: -2 attack, though not earth shattering, is nice, and the damage isn’t bad. 3 stars

Haunting Strike: You gain a +2 to hit, and a +2 on your next hit, so it’s a decent prelude to a better power. 3 stars

Level 25 Daily:
Wisdom:
Sacred Word: Passable AOE damage, and the targets are stunned. 4 stars

Seal of Binding: So, Wisdom vs will, and you get to duel the baddie with hitpoints. You’ll loose, unless you can be healed. If you’re fighting multiple monsters, as long as you’re safe, your party can dismember the others. Fun, flavorful, and effective. Demigods can pretty much turn this into an instakill with their regeneration. Stacks well with other regeneration as well. 5 stars

Strength:
Nimbus of Doom: Do lots of damage, and the enemy is easier to hit for a couple rounds. 3 stars

Seal of Protection: Nice Area of Effect damage for strength, can maybe stop some foes from attacking. Nice in dungeons and the like, and the +2 unnamed bonus to AC is always nice. 3 stars

Level 27 Encounter:
Wisdom:
Scourge of the Unholy: Very nice range, nice damage, and an always useful penalty. 3 stars

Sunburst: Passable AOE damage, and healing hitpoints and making spare saving throws are always nice, especially in an encounter. Most importantly, it can be used to heal outside of combat to full, without using healing surges. Very Nice. 5 stars

Strength:
Punishing Strike: So Somebody looked at Haunting Strike, decided that it was a wonderful power, and removed the +2 you get with the next attack. Bizarre. 2 stars

Sacrificial Healing: Oooh... nice flavor text. In combat blood sacrifices are always nice. Everyone spending a healing surge, and lackluster damage, doesn’t quite inspire any awe. 3 stars

Level 29 Daily
Wisdom:
Astral Storm: Long Range AOE for nice damage, with a Sustain for even more. A nice power. 4 stars

Strength:
Godstrike: A single target, but a lot of damage. Nothing else special. Astral Storm is probably better, even if you have a higher Strength. 2 stars

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/intheworks_20080214_1.jpg)

Feats
Clerics don't have that many must have feats (compared to, say, wizard). Still, there are a couple good feats.
General Feats
Heroic Feats
Improved Initiative: Initiative is good. Feats are cheap. Going first lets you maneuver in position, drop some of your demobilizing feats before melee monsters close in, and lots of other generally fun stuff.

Astral Fire: If you meet the Dex and Cha requirements, this is an easy way to get +1/tier damage on a lot of your powers.

Durable/Toughness: Both Make you tougher. Durable gives you more healing surges, which can help support more powers that burn up healing surges.

Armor Proficiency(Scale/Plate). They give you better AC, so if you meat the requirements (and you aren't pumping Dex) it's a good way to get AC.

Shield Proficiency (Light/Heavy): Another good way to boost your AC/Reflex

Paragon Feats
Armor Specialization (What you wear)/Shield Specialization/Combat Anticipation/Great Fortitude/Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes: Be careful about getting feat bonuses: they don't stack. Still, boosting your defenses is a good use of feats.

Danger Sense: Initiative is good. Improved Initiative is better, but the two stack. (Note: this doesn't stack with Divine Oracle, so obviously don't take it if you go Divine Oracle).

Evasion: If you have the Dex, grab it.

Fleet Footed: Mobility is good.

Mettle: As evasion, except more likely to kick in and no pre-req.

Point Blank Shot: Ignoring cover is good: that can be a nasty penalty to hit.

Seize the moment: If you have the dex, grab it. Combat advantage is nice.

Uncanny Dodge: Denying opponents a +2 to hit a fair deal of the time can be very nice.

Epic Feats
Epic Resurgence: Not brilliant, but most of the epic feats aren't for you.

Font of Radiance: You have enough powers with the radiant keyword that this can come into play. Radiant Servants take this power.

Unfettered Stride: If you've feats to spare, you might consider skill training (acrobatics) and taking this to ignore difficult terrain.

Feats if you have Wisdom
Heroic Feats
Skill Training (Perception): You have a good wisdom, so put it to use. Stacks well with holy lantern, and being an elf. If you're not otherwise multiclassing, take Warrior of the Wild for Perception + Hunter's Quarry

Alertness: Not high on the priority list, but denying combat advantage can be nice. Swap this out if you go divine oracle and probably if you get Uncanny Dodge.

Paragon and Heroic Feats
None in particular.

Feats if you have Strength
Heroic Feats
Weapon Focus: A free point of damage for almost all your strength powers.

Paragon Feats
Back to the Wall: It's an unnamed bonus, so if you do a lot of dungeon crawling, this feat is definitely worth it.

Blood Thirst: Bonus damage if your foe is bloodied. Nothing to complain about.

Epic Feats
Blind-Fight: Ignoring concealment and invisibility for adjacent creatures is nice.

XXX Mastery: If you meet the requirements for mastery with your weapon take it. The prerequisites can be steep though.

Triumphant Attack: The penalty is very nice.

Racial Feats
Human: Action Surge is a great way to boost to hit on a daily: Human Perseverance is the only feat to boost saving throws. Both are good for all characters.
Elf: Elven Precision is very good: the reroll lets you line up your dailies and the like, and Elven Precision makes through they go through when you use it. Very good for Wisdom clerics. Running Shot is risky (you still grant combat advantage), but a decent choice with uncanny dodge.
Dwarf: Dodge Giants is an unnamed bonus to AC and reflex against a lot of creatures. Dwarven Durability is very nice. (Dwarves might also want to consider improved second wind).
Dragonborn: Dragonborn Frenzy is free damage when bloodied. The rest you might want, but don't particularly synergize with cleric.

Divinity Feats
Most of the Divinity feats seem to be at about the same level. Erathis' Corellon's, Moradin's, Melora's, Pelor's, and Ioun's seem to be the best, though Sehanine's seems fun. Definitely feats to consider, though nothing awe inspiring.

Multiclassing
Because of the either a cleric's singular focus on Wisdom, or a focus on strength that's shared by a lot of classes, Cleric is one of the best classes to multiclass to and from. When multiclassing, look to what powers you want (and if you have the stats to support them), what implements/weapons the class uses, and whether or not there is some synergy with the powers you already have. Strength based Clerics will want to take non-cleric Paragon paths, wisdom based clerics will not, because cleric paragon paths are good.

Student of the Sword (Fighter): If you have a high strength and a good weapon, you'll be at no disadvantage to hit over the average fighter. You won't have the stats to get a lot of the weapon bonuses, but there are a few that don't rely on stats. Fighters have a lot of powers to stop enemies moving, so this synergizes well with a Strength based cleric.

Soldier of the Faith (Paladin): The paladin is very similar in stat dependencies to the cleric, except Cha and Wisdom are switched. If you multiclass as a paladin, you probably want to pump Str and Wisdom and ignore Cha powers, though you could in theory pump Cha and Wisdom and ignore strength powers.

Warrior of the Wild (Ranger): Ranger keys off of either Str or Dex, with wisdom tertiary. This means that a balanced build will be happy to use two weapons and grab all the melee feats, and a wisdom build can pump dex and use the archery feats. Wisdom builds suffer, as their wisdom will hit better than their dex, and they need a weapon, but wisdom powers and ranged attacks synergize better than most wisdom powers and melee attacks.

Sneak of Shadows (Rogue): Rogues want dex. The rogue is similar to the ranger, except rogues don't get synergy with wisdom and melee rogues don't get synergy with strength. Still, if you want to be a sneaky cleric, rogue utility exploits are rather nice.

Pact Initiate (Warlock): If you have Charisma, this can be decent. Warlock utility spells can give you some nice options, so if you're not multiclassing elsewise, you can pick up some decent options there.

Student of Battle (Warlord): Your fellow leader, all of the Warlord attacks are Strength based. Occasionally a few powers give a bonus based on Cha, but that certainly isn't necessary. It's a lot more of the same for a Strength based clerics, but you can definitely get some nice powers by multiclassing here.

Arcane Initiate (Wizard): If you decide to pump Int instead of Dex, a wisdom based caster can make a decent showing multiclassed to wizard (though a Wizard multiclassed into Cleric are a lot more powerful thanks to the Orb). You probably don't want to grab many of the attack spells, but the wall and area denial spells are very good picks, and there are some utility spells worth grabbing.

Paragon Paths
Angelic Avenger: Designed for strength/wisdom clerics. Astral Vibrance requires a decent charisma, but is not that impressive. Astral Wave is a huge area of effect, and decent. Angelic Prescence is a decent defensive buff, but not awe inspiring. Blood and Radiance is nice, giving a decent bonus to hit when you're hit. Angel Ascendant is definitely nice: flying can't be underestimated. 3 stars

Divine Oracle: Incredible. Foresight is great, Prophetic Action is great, and Terrifying Insight is awesome. Prophecy of Doom is good, especially with daggermasters or for feats the key off of critical hits. Good Omens is very nice, and Hammer of Fate is solid. 5 stars

Radiant Servant: If you fight against undead and demons a lot, this is an incredible Paragon Path. Without it, the class is still nice, mostly because of Radiant Action and Radiant Brilliance. 4 Stars

Warpriest: If you are a Wisdom/Con or balanced character, this is a decent path for you. Extra Damage Action can give a very nice amount of extra damage, and warpriests strategy is nice as well. Warpriest's training is a free bonus to AC if you aren't boosting Dex or Int, and Warpriest's Challenge is nice as well. Battle Cry is nice, and although Battle Favor is decent if you make enough melee attacks. Battly Pyres, on the other hand, is probably the deadliest of the Cleric Paragon Paths level 20s. 3 stars, if only because you want to be Wisdom/Con or balanced.

Strength Based Paragon Paths: These depend on how you multiclassed. Most of the Fighter classes are good (though Iron Vanguard wants Con), Rangers want to take Pathfinder, and Paladins want to take Astral Weapon (though Champion of Order is an incredible path, but you have trouble taking advantage of all the abilities that key off marking someone).

Epic Destinies

Deadly Trickster: If you pump dex or charisma and take skill training, you can qualify for this epic destiny. Rerolls are good, and Trickster's Control can be nice. Epic Trick is a very nice boost to survivability, and Trickster's Disposition is just fun. If you qualify, it's a decent choice. 4 Stars

Demigod: Ability Scores are very nice, Divine Recovery is a great survivability booster, and Divine Regeneration is incredible. With divine regeneration and Seal of Binding, you can kill any monster-- an autokill once per day is definitely a nice class feature. 4 Stars

Eternal Seeker: If you're heavily multiclassing, this can be a nice choice. The real reason to take this class is for the multiclassing, so it's not a bad choice for Strength/Balanced clerics (or Elf Archer Clerics). The bonus standard action is very nice, and there are more than a few nice lvl 22 utilities, though the epic destiny utilities are by and large better. 3 Stars

Items in 4e:
In 4e, a decent few of your items won't be of your own choice. The way that magic items sell means that if you're given an item that you can use, you'll probably use it. You'll still get gold, and as a Cleric, you get the ritual casting feat and can make your own items, so you do get a little bit of choice. Furthermore, it's quite possible that your DM might metagame a little and drop items that you've expressed an interest in, so it's always worth it to peek at what you might want.

Armor:
All clerics are proficient in Hide and Chainmail (as well as lesser armor types). Most clerics will want chainmail, though balanced/strength clerics who have a decent enough Con will defenitely want at least Scale and possibly plate as well. I've divided up Armor into 3 sblocks: Hide (for Dex clerics), Chain (for most players), and Scale and Plate (for those with the stats to get the relevant feats).

Hide:
Magic Armor: Your basic, cheapest armor. A good deal, especially the +4 and +6 varieties, which upgrade the type for a bonus bit of AC. 4 stars
Barkskin Armor: The daily power isn't bad: it's a rare boost to AC that slowly deteriorates each time you get hit. 3 stars
Bloodcut Armor: The power itself is decent, but from a pure efficiency standpoint, it doesn't warrant a healing surge to renew: except for when you first get the armor eat each level, a healing surge will save more hitpoints, especially if you do it with a healing word or the like. However, it is a minor action, and you can only spend so many healing surges per battle, so depending on how much endurance you need for the entire day. Better if you find yourself getting mobbed a lot. 3 stars
Dark Leaf: I like powers that don't get expended, and for a wisdom based cleric, you probably don't want to expect that many attacks, so this is really nice. Probably one of the better armors, though I don't actually see that much of a spread in them. 5 stars
Deathcut: If you're pumping charisma, this is especially nice armor. The resists are very useful on their own, and the damage to those who hit you look to be very nice. However, if you're pumping Charisma you should be in chainmail. 3 stars
Delver's Armor: It's fairly cheap, and saving throws are often very important You get to see the result before you add the bonus, so it will never be wasted. 5 stars
Elven Battle Armor: How many monsters slow or immobilize you with save ends? Not that many, but the bonus is really nice for when it does happen to you. More notably, however, the power is an encounter power, so you don't need to worry about choosing daily powers with it, and bonus speed is always nice. 4 stars
Sunleaf Armor: The resistance to Radiance is nice, but probably not the most common damage type. The power only triggers off an opportunity attack, which your character may or may not ever allow opponents to take. 2 stars
Sylvan Armor: If you pump dex, you might consider learning stealth, and this gives a nice bonus on that, and athletics checks which have more than a few uses (escaping traps, grabs, and dealing with various difficult terrains). If you enjoy being stealthy this is a great armor, otherwise I might choose another. 4 stars
Trollskin Armor: Regeneration until the end of the encounter is nice: it can be the equivalent to a lot of healing, and it especially synergizes with Seal of Binding. 5 stars
Chainmail:
Magic Armor: Your basic, cheapest armor. A good deal, especially the +4 and +6 varieties, which upgrade the type for a large bonus bit of AC. 4 stars
Angelsteel Armor: The monster is attacking you. You get a rare +2 bonus, to whichever defense it's attacking. Versatile and very nice. 4 stars
Curseforged Armor: At low levels this is pretty much eclipsed by Angelsteel Armor, but at higher levels it, unlike Angelsteel, scales up. It applies to your entire party, but has save ends, so decent but not awe inspiring. 3 stars.
Delver's Armor: It's fairly cheap, and saving throws are often very important You get to see the result before you add the bonus, so it will never be wasted. 5 stars
Dwarven: It's cheap, and it gives a constant bonus to Endurance, and a healing surge as a free action can be pretty nice. 4 stars
Eladrin: Movement is nice. You probably won't use the teleport, but no ACP or Movement penalty makes this definitely nothing to complain about. 3 stars
Exalted Armor: You heal stuff. This helps you. This armor was designed for you. You might consider making this armor, even if you have other nice armor. With an action point you can: Exalted Armor boost (minor action), healing word (minor action), and two other healing powers to heal a heck of a lot of damage. Only downside is it doesn't scale that well with higher levels. 5 stars
Tomb Forged: Resist Necrotic is nice, and healing as an immediate Interrupt is very nice. Another one that's worthy of making yourself. 5 stars
Scale and Plate:
Under Construction

Tactics:
General Tactics:
In the first two or three rounds of combat, you want to be directly involved in either layering your own battlefield control/long duration encounter and daily powers, or buffing other members (w/ lance of faith/righteous brand and the like), making sure that their powers hit. Once the initial flurry starts, you want to heal anyone who needs healing and use Sacred Flame on anyone who needs an extra saving throw. As the battle progresses, be sure to coordinate your buffs to hit with your allies encounter and daily powers.

Movement:
You don't want to be hit except when you have to. If you're using strength powers, you'll always be in melee range, so you'll be next to the melee enemies. In either case, you want to avoid allowing your fragile allies get locked in place. Parking right in front of your controller or striker limits the alleyways that enemies can take to move up next to them, without taking an Opportunity attack at least.

Combos
Blade Barrier: This is ostensibly an area denial power, but with other powers, this can become very nasty. Powers that move your foes (such as command) or immobilize them (such as Enthrall) force them to take extra damage. Command also dazes them meaning they can only take one action, so it stops them from attacking as they leave next turn. And since it's difficult terrain, make sure your allies are in position to make Opportunity attacks as they leave the area. What's just flat out sick is combining it with knights of unyielding valor, a wall, and an ally. You lock them in, and they can't escape. Nasty.

Items, Combos, and Tactics under construction

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/cd_gallery/81345.jpg)

First off:

Weapon of the Gods: If all goes well, this does 1d6 radiant damage a round, + oppurtunity attacks. If you think that you have a fighter who can take a lot of opportunity attacks, this might be worth it, but I doubt it. 2 stars

This becomes a 5 star power if you have a ranger in your party, especially an archery ranger. All of a sudden it's doing 2d6-3d6 a round of radiant damage and the ranger can split the attacks up and give -2 penalties to AC to whomever he feels like.

This power alone makes multiclassing into a cleric from a ranger worthwhile (though it isn't all he picks up along the way), and providing it right there for him is fantastic.

Also

Seal of Binding: So, Wisdom vs will, and you get to duel the baddie with hitpoints. You’ll loose, unless someone else in the party can heal you. If you’re fighting multiple monsters, as long as you’re safe, your party can dismember the others. Fun, flavorful, and effective. 5 stars

I'm assuming in the following post about PPs and the like that you'll mention the Demigod Epic path for Divine Regeneration (regenerate more damage than you take from SoB every turn).
There is a possibility that I am not sure you are taking into account; the player that puts Wis primary and Cha secondary, ignoring Str. The Wis build you have up ignores Cha and Str. The main reasons you might want to note this in your handbook are:

1) Some people like playing healers, this build optimizes the roll. A Wis primary Cha secondary stat array stacks all of your mods into your healing. Healing Lore adds Wis while most healing powers add Cha.

2) Many of the powers that you list as suboptimal are massively better using this array. For example Divine Aid, normaly adequate at best, suddenly becomes a 75% chance for an ally to save. Against a Medusa, that extra and superior save is massive. As another example, Break the Spirit suddenly becomes an encounter version of sanctuary versus a single creature, one that allows the allies to attack and effects everyone.

3) This stat array allows for a face, which asks for both high diplomacy(Cha) and insight(Wis)

Obviously Fort defenses are badly hurt by this, but the synergy may be worth considering; after all, you can always heal yourself of the extra damage you take (with all that +Charisma healing)
Actually, I think that if you are going Wis based, it's not a terrible idea to go Wis/Int+Cha (resembling a wizard) or Wis/Dex+Cha. I note that I think that going Wis/Str for a cleric is sub-optimal because you have to invest in two seperate implements (weapon and holy symbol) to get the use of your powers and many will be redundant anyway.

Given this, I think the cleric is a solid class to "multiclass" from (never paragon but simply splash). Ranger (for some of those neat archery powers) and Wizard seem very solid choices. If doing wizard, I note that the cleric can smeg some of the control powers he normally doesn't get (generally terrain exclusion powers) which syngergizes nicely with his normal powers (and don't cost much) and don't require a stellar roll to hit to be effective (as much as any wizard power is effective but that's another matter).

If I were going the Wis based route, I'd forgoe heavy armor altogether and wear hide. It's almost as good if you pump Dex or Int.

-Polaris
First off:

This becomes a 5 star power if you have a ranger in your party, especially an archery ranger. All of a sudden it's doing 2d6-3d6 a round of radiant damage and the ranger can sp...

I went ahead and mentioned both of these in the power descriptions. Thank you.

There is a possibility that I am not sure you are taking into account; the player that puts Wis primary and Cha secondary, ignoring Str. The Wis build you have up ignores Cha and Str. The main reasons you might want to note this in your handbook are:

1) Some people like playing healers, this build optimizes the roll. A Wis primary Cha secondary stat array stacks all of your mods into your healing. Healing Lore adds Wis while most healing powers add Cha.

2) Many of the powers that you list as suboptimal are massively better using this array. For example Divine Aid, normaly adequate at best, suddenly becomes a 75% chance for an ally to save. Against a Medusa, that extra and superior save is massive. As another example, Break the Spirit suddenly becomes an encounter version of sanctuary versus a single creature, one that allows the allies to attack and effects everyone.

3) This stat array allows for a face, which asks for both high diplomacy(Cha) and insight(Wis)

Obviously Fort defenses are badly hurt by this, but the synergy may be worth considering; after all, you can always heal yourself of the extra damage you take (with all that +Charisma healing)

I was never really impressed with the bonus that charisma has on a cleric. Most of the bonuses seem minor, and you don't loose that much by choosing different powers than the ones that become good with Charisma. I'll go ahead and expand my little note on Charisma to take this into account, but for a pure healer, I'd rather Wisdom based with Dex or Con, for the tougher character.

Actually, I think that if you are going Wis based, it's not a terrible idea to go Wis/Int+Cha (resembling a wizard) or Wis/Dex+Cha. I note that I think that going Wis/Str for a cleric is sub-optimal because you have to invest in two seperate implements (weapon and holy symbol) to get the use of your powers and many will be redundant anyway.

I definitely agree with you that there is little synergy for being Wis/Str. Ultimately, you're probably giving up a +3 to hit on both sides with the cheaper implements. Still, the option of using some of the better powers of the other side makes it not a bad idea, though I will make a note under wisdom promoting it more highly.

Wis/Int+Cha is passable if you're multiclassing to wizard, though you suffer a lot of the same problems with Wis/Str as you need a second implement and probably aren't hitting that well with wizard powers. The Cleric/Wizard Multiclass works a lot better from the other side, IMO. The terrain powers could definitely make it worth it, though.


Given this, I think the cleric is a solid class to "multiclass" from (never paragon but simply splash). Ranger (for some of those neat archery powers) and Wizard seem very solid choices. If doing wizard, I note that the cleric can smeg some of the control powers he normally doesn't get (generally terrain exclusion powers) which syngergizes nicely with his normal powers (and don't cost much) and don't require a stellar roll to hit to be effective (as much as any wizard power is effective but that's another matter).

The terrain powers are nice for a cleric, and definitely deserve a mention once I get to multiclassing.

If I were going the Wis based route, I'd forgoe heavy armor altogether and wear hide. It's almost as good if you pump Dex or Int.

-Polaris

I completely agree with you. In the guide I talk about pumping Con for a wisdom based character, which is sort of a lazy optimization route (Or if you really want a dwarf), since Dex for the initiative or Int with the Wizard area denial spells will have a larger impact for the party. If you did pump Con though, heavy armor is definitely a valid route.

And thank you for the feedback. It is much appreciated.
Holy Lantern doesn't block enemy movement any more. In other words, it's now 0 stars; take a power that does something. (I guess if you're fighting a ton of invisible guys...)
Danger Sense: Initiative is good. Improved Initiative is better, but the two stack. (Note: this doesn't stack with Divine Oracle, so obviously don't take it if you go Divine Oracle).

Is there RAW for this? I've seen people claim no stack, three rolls, and four rolls.

Nice start for a cleric guide, well done.

Peace,
Necky
I was never really impressed with the bonus that charisma has on a cleric. Most of the bonuses seem minor, and you don't loose that much by choosing different powers than the ones that become good with Charisma. I'll go ahead and expand my little note on Charisma to take this into account, but for a pure healer, I'd rather Wisdom based with Dex or Con, for the tougher character.

I guess it depends on your idea for your character. I am still conflicted. There are a few powers that become major for a cleric with a high charisma. For example, as far as I can find, Divine Aid is the best roll a new save power in the game if used by a high charisma character. Healing Touch is massively powerful buff for a high Charisma character. Plague of Doom is a great debuff for high charisma. However, those powers can easily be avoided by a cleric that does not max charisma. The question, I suspect, is whether the cleric does more in enhanced healing and effects than he will cost the party by having lower defenses.

The two things I can say about a high charisma cleric is that he makes a better face and healer than anyone else. The only class that get any synergy between wisdom and charisma is the cleric and the best faces prefer a high charisma for diplomacy/bluff and a high wisdom for insight. That isn't to say a person cannot be a face without one or the other (many 3.5 characters took up the face role even though they were horrible as sense motive), but I feel they are better off with both. No other class should even think about taking both. Simultaneously, a cleric will heal his wisdom in extra points for all his healing powers + his charisma in most of them. The difference will be significant at higher levels.
Is there RAW for this? I've seen people claim no stack, three rolls, and four rolls.
Necky

The RAW is the way these are worded. Danger Sense and Divine Oracle both say roll 2 dice, neither says roll an extra die. Consequently, when using both simultaneously, you roll 2 dice, the same amount of dice you roll with one ability. Improved Initiative, meanwhile, provides a feat bonus to the roll, (which does not stack with quickdraw but does with the warlords ability) which has no effect on the die roll and consequently works with the multi-roll abilities.
1) I disagree with your assessment of Sacred Flame. I don't see how the hitpoints are lackluster at all, assuming you have decent Charisma. If you focus on Wis and Cha, then you'll start with it giving 3, which is about a minion hit, but quickly goes up. Towards the end, it could give 20-24 temporary hit points, which is anything but lackluster for an at-will. Even if you don't have much Cha, it still gets up to 15, which is still not insignificant. Also, while it isn't enough to barricade your ally from too many hits (if even more than one), that doesn't matter: You've used one at-will (which even did some damage, only 1 point less than Lance of Faith, which only gets more and more insignificant as the game goes on) to negate an enemies hit. This prolongs the life of your defender(s) by a lot, and minimizes the need to waste their healing surges. All in all, I'd say Righteous Brand is awesome if you have the Str, but Sacred Flame definitely merits mentioning (especially the save part). I think the others are kind of crappy compared to these two.

2) I also disagree with your rating of Beacon of Hope. It effectively makes each Healing Word at level 1 into almost a full-heal (1d6+5+Wis+Surge Value). I do agree that Avenging Flame is hilarious, though.

3) Mass Cure Light Wounds doesn't spend their healing surges, which may raise its rating by 1 star. I'm not really much of a fan of Astral Refuge, but if someone *is* going to die without it, *and* you can survive without them for three rounds, then it can definitely be useful.

4) Healing Torch becomes massively more useful if you're focusing on Cha, as it provides probably somewhere around +6-7 to AC (and that much to healing surges, but that hardly mattes). Also, it's area burst 5 (!) That's an 11x11 square of effect, so you can hardly miss your party unless you were very separated. Also, you don't *have* to spend a healing surge. It provides massive boost to AC and let's those who are hurt spend one.

5) Sunburst also allows you to effectively be at full hp whenever you have a decent amount of time in between battles, because it's an encounter power that heals without healing surge use (or having to hit something).
1) I disagree with your assessment of Sacred Flame. I don't see how the hitpoints are lackluster at all, assuming you have decent Charisma. If you focus on Wis and Cha, then you'll start with it giving 3, which is about a minion hit, but quickly goes up. Towards the end, it could give 20-24 temporary hit points, which is anything but lackluster for an at-will. Even if you don't have much Cha, it still gets up to 15, which is still not insignificant. Also, while it isn't enough to barricade your ally from too many hits (if even more than one), that doesn't matter: You've used one at-will (which even did some damage, only 1 point less than Lance of Faith, which only gets more and more insignificant as the game goes on) to negate an enemies hit. This prolongs the life of your defender(s) by a lot, and minimizes the need to waste their healing surges. All in all, I'd say Righteous Brand is awesome if you have the Str, but Sacred Flame definitely merits mentioning (especially the save part). I think the others are kind of crappy compared to these two.

I rerated it, mostly because all clerics should take it. It's another one of the powers that does get better if you focus on charisma, but at low levels you won't be keeping up with the damage done to your party, and at high levels a +2 to hit amplifies everyone else's powers (and you still won't be keeping up with the damage to your party). Still, you should always take it, and it will definitely be used.

2) I also disagree with your rating of Beacon of Hope. It effectively makes each Healing Word at level 1 into almost a full-heal (1d6+5+Wis+Surge Value). I do agree that Avenging Flame is hilarious, though.

I updated it, because I forgot about healing word. Still, it does compare favorably with the remaining two daily prayers

3) Mass Cure Light Wounds doesn't spend their healing surges, which may raise its rating by 1 star. I'm not really much of a fan of Astral Refuge, but if someone *is* going to die without it, *and* you can survive without them for three rounds, then it can definitely be useful.

I took into account that it doesn't spend healing surges. It's a solid power, though if 4e is like my general experience for 3.5, in combat healing is only for saving peoples life, and usually is only needed on one or two targets.

4) Healing Torch becomes massively more useful if you're focusing on Cha, as it provides probably somewhere around +6-7 to AC (and that much to healing surges, but that hardly mattes). Also, it's area burst 5 (!) That's an 11x11 square of effect, so you can hardly miss your party unless you were very separated. Also, you don't *have* to spend a healing surge. It provides massive boost to AC and let's those who are hurt spend one.

I assume by default in rating that you aren't focusing on Cha, but if you are, it does become a nice power.

5) Sunburst also allows you to effectively be at full hp whenever you have a decent amount of time in between battles, because it's an encounter power that heals without healing surge use (or having to hit something).

Very nice point. Boosted it's rating to 5 stars: anything that boosts your party endurance indefinitely (-daily powers) is well worth the slot, not to mention it being a solid in combat spell.

Thank you for the feedback: I made some adjustments in the ratings to address your points.
Thank you for the feedback: I made some adjustments in the ratings to address your points.

No problem. Happy to help.
Level 1 Encounter powers:

Cause Fear: This is a decent power, partially for the opportunity attacks, but mostly because it can force a melee monster away from your squishy party members, letting them take a move in the opposite direction. It also targets will, which mixes things up. 4 stars

Divine Glow: It’s like Lance of Faith, except area of effect and to get the bonus attack you have to maneuver so that your party member is in it. Pass. 1 star

Healing Strike: The most damage for the level 1 encounter powers, and you can heal. If you forsee tearing through healing surges like a two year old through candy, this could be a better choice than Cause Fear, but I doubt it. 3 stars

Wrathful Thunder: Dazing is nice. The foe can’t take oppurtunity attacks, so it lets the squishies move away, and it does damage, unlike Cause Fear. However, it targets AC, and your party’s opportunity attacks will probably be better than this damage.

Divine Glow 1 star? Its AOE damage. Have you heard of minions? Yeah, they wreck you pretty hard and AOE takes them out fast. Considering 3rd level and under its one of the best AOE in the game since it also buffs ally within it. You might wanna reconsider...

Level 1 Daily
Wisdom:
Beacon of Hope: Half damage for one turn is meh, but the hitpoints are nothing to complain about. If you’ve picked powers with the healing descriptor, it could be good, otherwise it still boosts Healing Word, which is nice. 3 stars

Cascade of Light: It does slightly more damage than avenging flame, and targets will, but is otherwise strictly worse. 2 stars

Guardian of Faith: It’s slow, and you give up your move actions to move it around. That said, it does decent damage, is a wisdom based that targets fortitude. Due to Errata, it know longer blocks movement. 3 stars

Strength:
Avenging Flame: Less initial damage than Cascade of light, but forces the opponent to not attack to get about a 50% chance of throwing it off. If you want to do damage, this is the power for you. 5 stars

Avenging Flame 5 stars but Beacon of Hope 3 stars? Might wanna cut down on the pipe weed. ;)

Beacon = AOE Weaken + Heal + 5 bonus to all heals until end of the encounter? It is incredibly better than Avenging Flame which is basically a 2[W] melee attack.
Divine Glow 1 star? Its AOE damage. Have you heard of minions? Yeah, they wreck you pretty hard and AOE takes them out fast. You might wanna reconsider....

If your party is short on the area of effect... I'll go ahead and upgrade it. I still don't think it's that great: clerics get a decent amount of area of effect, and it's all better than this.

It is incredibly better than Avenging Flame which is basically a 2[W] melee attack.

Except for the 5 damage a round that you have to give up attacking to get a chance at removing it, while Beacon of Hope ultimately heals an additional... 10 hitpoints? 15 if you took Healing Strike? Maybe eventually you should swap out Avenging Flame if you take a lot of healing prayers, and as Avenging flame starts eating away a smaller percentage of their damage per turn, but at least when you're choosing the powers, Avenging Flame is fairly sick.
Avenging flame is very useful at the very beginning in dealing with a "boss battle" when hp totals are low and the 5 ongoing damage means a lot more in terms of % of hp eaten away a round. At that time Beacon of Hope is less useful because your healing powers heal a large % of hp anyway as your totals are low. Cascade of Light is alright, but still worse than Avenging Flame. Guardian of Faith is just not worth it.

At first level, take avenging flame. Retrain it later to Beacon of Hope when hp totals start to rise. Get Cascade of Light if you're a laser cleric.
Re: Avenging v.s Beacon: The AOE weaken also halves all damage from all monsters in it for 1 round. The best healing is damage never taken.

At 2nd level the +5 heal will apply to: Healing Word *2, Healing Strike, and Cure Light. If you are WL multi-class it will apply to the Inspiring Word as well. That's +25 healing possible in one fight even at 2nd level.

Ehh I dunno, depends on your campaign I guess. We are running the KOTS module now with 4 characters and it's pretty challenging. Basically, if I didn't have Beacon there were two fights the party would have been wiped for sure. If you aren't the only Healer in the group I suppose Avenging flame might work.

Bottomline:

Avenging: 2W +5 damage ongoing does not scale. Especially considering we've fought stuff with 200+ hps at level 3.

Beacon: AOE Weaken scales and is useful no matter what level. Also, the higher level the more heals that are boosted by the heal bonus.

I don't see how a non-scaling spell can be 5 star while a scaling spell useful at all levels is 3 star.
Here's another that definitely needs revision:

Level 5 Daily

Wisdom:
Spiritual Weapon: Wisdom vs AC is a bit harder to hit, but it does decent damage and gives your allies bonuses to hit, and it lasts a while. Much more solid than Consecrated Ground, if only because it keys off of wisdom. 3 stars

Weapon of the Gods: This power is quite lack luster: unless you have someone in your party who can make multiple attacks per round on a regular basis (ranger/fighter). In that case, it can become a powerful damage dealer, with a mild debuff. 2->5 stars, depending on your party

Weapon of the Gods (WOTG) should be 3 stars and Spiritual Weapon (SW) should be 5. Why?

WOTG: It only gives +1d6 to 1 weapon, if it hits. Who attacks more than once per round? Rangers? But Twin Strike attacks with *2 different weapons*. So its still only 1d6. The -2 AC debuff, if it hits, is also inferior to SW.

SW: Gives combat advantage to all allys, and that effect cannot "miss". That's -2 to all defenses, not just AC like WOTG. That +2 sure would be nice for anyone trying to land a Daily/Enc power. If a Rogue is around they can Backstab with impunity. Even at level 5 they can be doing +2d8 dice. Not to mention the SW itself, swinging for 1d10 per round.

So it adds up to:

WOTG: -2 AC debuff that can miss, +1d6 to 1 weapon that can miss

SW: unavoidable -2 debuff to all defenses (Combat Advantage), 1d10 free attack that can miss

There is no question SW is superior.

Anyway, I might have a few more suggestions. Shaping up to be a decent Cleric build guide so far though.
Weapon of the Gods is fine for a ranger via bow, same weapon, 2 strikes.

I still enjoy spiritual weapon more tho
There are more than a few rogue/fighter attacks that target more than one attack, occasionally in an area of effect. If a character stacks up on them, it can become a massive debuff and very impressive damage boost.

Spiritual weapon annoyed me because it's against AC, which makes it less likely to hit (as AC averages a few points higher than the other defenses, and you don't get proficiency bonuses to average it out.) Also, combat advantage can be gotten lots of other ways, which won't stack. Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, if your opponent moves, you need to spend a move action and a minor action to keep it working.

It does nice damage, but can be decently annoying to move around.
I really like what you've got going on so far! I have a few suggestions & requests:

4E has taken the role of healer to a secondary role, but your guide as a whole seems to shy away from it almost entirely. Powers that heal are usually marked much lower than pure damage/control powers. The cleric is a powerful class, but many players still enjoy pursuing the healing role. Would it be possible to include information about characters with a strong healing ability (both through damage mitigation and raw healing talent) taking either the path of melee or lazer?

Also, you don't really delve into any of the paragon classes for the strength based cleric. You make a point to say that neither of the cleric paragon paths are worth pursing, and tell your readers to multiclass out- but to what?

And lastly, coming up with a few sample builds would be amazing!

Great work so far. I really enjoyed reading it, and found it incredibly helpful.

Xeo
I am not generally impressed with the power rankings. Two general points:

(1) Pumped, Charisma is amazing for Wisdom clerics. Getting Charisma on d20 rolls is a huge buff given 4e's math (where you have a reliably have a roughly 50/50 shot without the buffs, so a +5 to hit is about a +50% damage, and a +5 AC is about -50% damage taken). In general, in 4e, getting extra stats to d20 rolls is very good (and makes me dubious about the high-level playtesting 4e received, as extra-stat-to-d20-roll goes from merely good in the Heroic tier to absurdly good in the Epic tier).

(2) With the ease of retraining, Power Scalability (or lack thereof) is not that important. Divine Glow, for example, is amazing at lvl 1. AoEs FTW. Sure, at higher levels you might swap it out for Cause Fear (or more likely a higher level ability), but at lvl 1, Divine Glow is a "must have" for Wisdom clerics. Similarly, Cascade of Light is very good at lvl 1 (no padded-sumo yet=damage rules), but will likely get swapped out for Beacon of Hope (or even more likely, a higher level ability) later on.

Some specific ranking notes:
Consecrated Ground is superb for Wis/Cha clerics (and I feel all Wis clerics should be Wis/Cha). Because of the auto-hit feature, unless you sacked Cha this spell outdamages the other spells of its level AND heals quite nicely (1+Wis+Cha on bloodied allies for no healing surges. Be creative and beat up allies below Bloodied+1+Wis+Cha to exactly Bloodied after the fight is over to maximize the healing....).
Firestorm: Better than Meteor Swarm. Poor wizards. The sustained damage is better than Knight of Glory (no to-hit required trumps 2d10). The zone can't be moved, unfortunately, but the spell doesn't hit friendlies, so you can hide out in the (very big) zone if you want to. Knight of Glory looks lackluster in comparison.
Healing Torch: If you have been pumping Cha (and as a Wis cleric, you should have been), this will give the party nearly unhittable ACs for 1 round, AND does decent AoE damage AND allows for emergency AoE healing. This spell is simply astounding. Charisma pumping FTW!
I reconsidered healing and decided to boost a bunch of the spells up a rating or too.

I am not generally impressed with the power rankings. Two general points:

(1) Pumped, Charisma is amazing for Wisdom clerics. Getting Charisma on d20 rolls is a huge buff given 4e's math (where you have a reliably have a roughly 50/50 shot without the buffs, so a +5 to hit is about a +50% damage, and a +5 AC is about -50% damage taken). In general, in 4e, getting extra stats to d20 rolls is very good (and makes me dubious about the high-level playtesting 4e received, as extra-stat-to-d20-roll goes from merely good in the Heroic tier to absurdly good in the Epic tier).

I count 3 +charisma to d20 spells (or -charisma for AC buffs and debuffs): Divine Aid, Plague of Doom, and Healing Torch. They're all encounter spells that have either an instantaneous effect or last one round.

Charisma makes:
Healing Torch considerably better than Astral Blades of Death
Plague of Doom better than Mantle of Glory
Consecrated Ground decently better than Spiritual Weapon
Divine Aid comparable to Sanctuary
Sacred Flame more useful than Lance of Faith more of the time

Charisma also moves people further with a couple spells, which should be noted for completeness, but since usually a single square is enough to let people move away, never seems to make that much of a difference.

Charisma to healing is the final bonus, though most of the charisma to healing spells are competing with better spells. Furthermore, Cha to healing drops off as levels advance, since healing from healing surges advances at more than 10 times the rate of healing from charisma.

The Charisma bonuses +x compare to a continual +x bonus from dex to your own AC, Reflex and initiative. By letting your AC suffer, you're hurting the party by letting yourself take more damage: by 30th level, the +4 bonus a dex based character has over a charisma based character (since the charisma based character is in chainmail) means about a 10% increase in damage taken by the party (assuming you're targeted about a quarter of the time). Add initiative bonus, and a much nicer list of relevant skills. Is the difference in power between the 3-4 powers that a charisma based character would take and the 3-4 powers a dex based character would take, plus the assorted minor bonuses for the powers that they both would take, and does that really account for the lost defense?

Defending my own decisions behind, there are a few points to consider. If your party contains enough defenders that they'll be taking most of the damage on a regular basis, the loss of charisma does not justify the initiative alone (as well as the fact that a few of the powers that charisma buffs become better with a larger party). I think, however, that your implied message that Charisma is the way to go is misleading. (then again, rereading my guide, it's probably just reactionary to my dismissal to charisma).

(2) With the ease of retraining, Power Scalability (or lack thereof) is not that important. Divine Glow, for example, is amazing at lvl 1. AoEs FTW. Sure, at higher levels you might swap it out for Cause Fear (or more likely a higher level ability), but at lvl 1, Divine Glow is a "must have" for Wisdom clerics. Similarly, Cascade of Light is very good at lvl 1 (no padded-sumo yet=damage rules), but will likely get swapped out for Beacon of Hope (or even more likely, a higher level ability) later on.

Correct. I'm going to go run through the list and double check for any ones that deserve mention to be scaled out.

Firestorm: Better than Meteor Swarm. Poor wizards. The sustained damage is better than Knight of Glory (no to-hit required trumps 2d10). The zone can't be moved, unfortunately, but the spell doesn't hit friendlies, so you can hide out in the (very big) zone if you want to. Knight of Glory looks lackluster in comparison.

Knight of Glory does 3d10+wis and can move, but is not area of effect. It depends on your DMs style, I know some DMs who expect the party to use tactics and sets up encounters in such a way that Firestorm would be worthless without a way to immobilize your foes, others would just charge forward the enemies and let them burn. Still, updated it so they're both 4 stars.

And thank you for the feedback. Even if I do stubbornly prefer the solid bonus of dex to a decent charisma, everyone objecting to it is slowly whittling down the resolve in the "Role of Charisma" paragraph to near equality.
...

Charisma also moves people further with a couple spells, which should be noted for completeness, but since usually a single square is enough to let people move away, never seems to make that much of a difference.

...

Not pumped, 3+Cha<1 move (1 move \simeq 6 to 8 squares)
Pumped, 3+Cha>1 move or even 1 run once into the Paragon tier, which does make a big difference.

Forced movement, while measured in squares, has effect based on the number of moves. The first move still leaves your foes with a standard action after re-closing. The second move, while arguable less important in many ways, costs melee foes their standard action.
True, though that really only applies to Thunderous Word, since for command, the prone option looks more appealing the majority of the time. Cause fear, as long as you have at least a +1 charisma, puts them outside a move+standard action.
I know that Charisma is not always the way to go. I do, however, find that there is another reason to go for wisdom/charisma that was not mentioned:

Cleris are the only class that can reasonably get away with pumping charisma and wisdom. This, besides the above listed benefits, also means that clerics can make the best faces. With wisdom for insight and charisma for diplomacy and bluff, a charisma cleric is probably going to be the only person that can maximize all of the face skills.

I am also curious about the 10% stat that was given. The bonus spiritmail grants is much larger than the bonus that elderhide provides. A cleric that chooses to go straight Dex needs a Dex 14 higher than the chainmail wearing Cleric just to break even. At best, the cleric will have, at 30th, assuming demigod, a 26 Dex and +6 elderhide armor for AC 29 versus a cleric with a Dex of 10 and +6 spiritmail with an AC of 28. The chain-mail cleric will also have a reflex defense 5 lower. Assuming that 1/4 of attacks hit the cleric (I tend to assume 1/6 or less since a Wis/Cha is a ranged attacker not a frontliner), 1/2 of those attacks target AC and 1/6 of them target each other defense, the cleric will increase the party damage by 1.66666%. This is still substantial, but easily made up for by the higher healing. Moreover, the increased susceptability to Reflex will not have as high a susceptability increase to status effects since most reflex powers tend to be all damage.
I missed that heavy armor scales up faster with more heavily enchanted armor than light armor.

That means that a dex and charisma character will have very comparable ACs.

I'm beginning to think that Charisma might be the stronger choice over dex. Winning initiative can be the equivalent of an extra action, and the bonus reflex and extra movement speed are nice, but spells with charisma pumping are also really nice. I'll have to ponder it a little further, but I'll probably revise the guide to that effect.
I missed that heavy armor scales up faster with more heavily enchanted armor than light armor.

That means that a dex and charisma character will have very comparable ACs.

I'm beginning to think that Charisma might be the stronger choice over dex. Winning initiative can be the equivalent of an extra action, and the bonus reflex and extra movement speed are nice, but spells with charisma pumping are also really nice. I'll have to ponder it a little further, but I'll probably revise the guide to that effect.

4e's combats are going to be longer in straight round-count, which might be expected to drop the value of initiative (going first in a 3 round epic combat>>going first in a 20 round epic combat). On the other hand, 4e combats may very well turn out to be decided in the first 3-5 rounds (dailies+encounters decimating the enemy), followed by a lengthy mop-up with at-wills. If it is the former, cleric initiative=meh. If it is the latter, initiative keeps its 3e value.
I see clerics wanting initiative for 4 major reasons:
1) Laying down their own battlefield control prayers (Blade Barrier, Enthrall etc.) or fragmenting the enemy attack (Command, Cause Fear)
2) Letting loose a buff for the other members of the party while they let loose their powers that have best effect at the beginning of the encounter (mostly for the wizard, but other classes have a few nice powers, that either because of their nature as debuffs, their difficulty to pull off, or their long duration, are best used at the beginning of an encounter)
3) Maneuvering to deal with the threat. In many ways like 3.5e, the initial position of combatants has a tendency to stay in place. If your cleric doesn't want to be stuck in the front lines, or wants to make sure that the wizard isn't stuck in the front lines, a well timed movement at the beginning of the battle can make all the difference.
4) Minions, regardless of their type, have a very high damage output/ survivability ratio. An AOE, before the minions can go, can save the party a decent amount of grief.

I don't see 4e battles, even at epic, being over in 3/4 rounds, though they might be decided by then. If one did find oneself in battles where everyone was expending all their dailies, Initiative of course becomes more important.
1) I disagree with your assessment of Sacred Flame. I don't see how the hitpoints are lackluster at all, assuming you have decent Charisma. If you focus on Wis and Cha, then you'll start with it giving 3, which is about a minion hit, but quickly goes up. Towards the end, it could give 20-24 temporary hit points, which is anything but lackluster for an at-will. Even if you don't have much Cha, it still gets up to 15, which is still not insignificant. Also, while it isn't enough to barricade your ally from too many hits (if even more than one), that doesn't matter: You've used one at-will (which even did some damage, only 1 point less than Lance of Faith, which only gets more and more insignificant as the game goes on) to negate an enemies hit. This prolongs the life of your defender(s) by a lot, and minimizes the need to waste their healing surges. All in all, I'd say Righteous Brand is awesome if you have the Str, but Sacred Flame definitely merits mentioning (especially the save part). I think the others are kind of crappy compared to these two.

2) I also disagree with your rating of Beacon of Hope. It effectively makes each Healing Word at level 1 into almost a full-heal (1d6+5+Wis+Surge Value). I do agree that Avenging Flame is hilarious, though.

3) Mass Cure Light Wounds doesn't spend their healing surges, which may raise its rating by 1 star. I'm not really much of a fan of Astral Refuge, but if someone *is* going to die without it, *and* you can survive without them for three rounds, then it can definitely be useful.

4) Healing Torch becomes massively more useful if you're focusing on Cha, as it provides probably somewhere around +6-7 to AC (and that much to healing surges, but that hardly mattes). Also, it's area burst 5 (!) That's an 11x11 square of effect, so you can hardly miss your party unless you were very separated. Also, you don't *have* to spend a healing surge. It provides massive boost to AC and let's those who are hurt spend one.

5) Sunburst also allows you to effectively be at full hp whenever you have a decent amount of time in between battles, because it's an encounter power that heals without healing surge use (or having to hit something).

2 Where does it add wis when healing with beacon of hope and healing word combo?
Healer's Lore Class Feature (p61). All Cleric's get +wis to healing powers.
Healer's Lore Class Feature (p61). All Cleric's get +wis to healing powers.

Thanks for telling me.
Thanks for the guide, it's been a great help in making my character.

I've been following this DEX vs CHA discussion for a few days now, and I was convinced that WIS/DEX was the way to go. It seemed totally crazy to pump two stats on the same couplet, but now I'm not so sure. The difference between DEX+Hide armor and Chainmail is nothing at level 30 (assuming Elf Demigod), and for most of the advancement Chainmail is actually higher by 1 or 2 points. So the actual trade-off looks something like this:

You lose:
3 or 4 points of Reflex (over 28 levels)
3 or 4 points of Initiative (over 28 levels)
1 square of movement (for heavy armor)

You gain:
3 or 4 points (over 28 levels) on all the Charisma affected powers. That's generally Healing, Pushing, Buffing and Debuffing, which is nothing to sneeze at. Most notable among these are Divine Aid, Plague of Doom and Healing Torch.

This doesn't take into account skill bonuses, but that's a matter of preference. Some people prefer Acrobatics and Stealth, and others prefer Diplomacy and Bluff.

I'm paralized with indecision. I might ultimately be swayed by which combo has the better multiclass options, which is probably WIS/DEX for those lovely Ranger shifting powers.
There is great synergy between the CHA cleric with the divine oracle paragon path and warlock multiclassing. The 16th level Divine Oracle ability allows two attack rolls on an attack vs. will and there are a bunch of warlock powers that are cha vs. will. If you adjust starting wisdom down to paid-for-16, 18 for humans, elves & dwarves, you can bump up charisma to 15, easily. Especially attractive are the warlock powers that are ongoing with successful attacks vs. will in succeeding rounds.

Here's a few to consider:

Crown of Madness (W D5) compared to zero vs.-will options
Mire the Mind (W E7) which makes party invisible for one turn
Thief of Five Fates (W D9) ongoing chance to negate target's attacks compared to zero vs.-will options
Cures of the Golden Mist (W D15) ongoing chance to deny standard actions
Delusions of Loyalty (W D19) ongoing chance for target to attack allies or do nothing
Curse of Twin Princes (W D25) ongoing chance to split damage with target
The 16th level Divine Oracle ability allows two attack rolls on an attack vs. will and there are a bunch of warlock powers that are cha vs. will. If you adjust starting wisdom down to paid-for-16, 18 for humans, elves & dwarves, you can bump up charisma to 15, easily.

It's risky with a CHA that low, you're likely to daze yourself often.
A minimum of 15 charisma, to start, I meant.

Human: S8, D12, Co12, I10, W18, Ch16
Elves & Dwarves get those same numbers with two points left over.
I remain unconvinced that it's an optimal multiclass option. 18 is as low as I'd go for an attack stat, otherwise it's barely worth taking the powers. All you're doing is decreasing your primary stat for an even weaker dip into Dr. Mindbender territory.

If you want the Warlock/Divine Oracle synergy, you're better off approaching it from the other side.
I remain unconvinced that it's an optimal multiclass option. 18 is as low as I'd go for an attack stat, otherwise it's barely worth taking the powers. All you're doing is decreasing your primary stat for an even weaker dip into Dr. Mindbender territory.

If you want the Warlock/Divine Oracle synergy, you're better off approaching it from the other side.

I agree. There are such few ways to gain +attack that it's not worth falling below 18, but really I'd be pushing for 20 as often as possible.
Not to mention that you also need another implement, which means half the time you'll have an even lower bonus for charisma.

This is another case where you're better off starting warlock and multiclassing to Cleric for Divine Oracle.