MY take on a Fighter/Wizard

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Like many of you, I was a bit...dismayed when I read the Dragon article describing the "ultimate fighter/wizard." However, the basic mechanical concept--using area-effect spells, including paragon MCing to get an area at-will, to mark a ton of people every round--was very intriguing to me. Especially because I'm currently playing a dragonborn fighter who's getting a lot of mileage out of his breath weapon. It's also something a swordmage cannot do.

My goals for this build:
1. NO MECHANICAL ERRORS (hopefully!).
2. Emphasis on maximum marking potential from round to round + the ability to survive the hits that will be incurred from this. This is as much a priority from level 1 as at any other level, as you'll see from my race choice.
3. Battlefield control--he'd make a great partner for a rogue and a warlord, because the space around him as well as zones he creates are very unhealthy for foes to be in.

The character is a dragonborn fighter. This is suboptimal in some ways, as he completely dumps Charisma and his breath weapon eventually becomes rather redundant. However, the Strength bonus is always useful and I wanted to be area-effect marking multiple times per encounter all the way from level 1. It also rewards his tertiary stat of Constitution. Note that a half-elf is just as good, with a little tweaking, assuming that you take Scorching Burst as his Dilettante power. Genasi is of course an obvious pick, ad perhaps stronger than the other two, but he doesn't have two area-effect powers right from the start, meaning his tactics are a bit more conventional until paragon tier.

He uses an halberd, for reasons which will become apparent.

Str 16
Con 14
Dex 10
Int 16
Wis 13
Cha 10

Trained Skills: Endurance, Heal, Intimidate, Arcana

A note on notation: an asterisk (*) means the power has been swapped out, either through leveling or through use of a power-swap feat. An exclamation point (!) means the power was regained, though replacement of the power-swap feat as detailed on PHB 209.

Level 1
Racial:
Dragon Breath
At-will:
Reaping Strike
Cleave
Encounter: Covering Attack*
Daily: Villain’s Menace*
Feat: Arcane Initiate: Thunderwave
Notes: Twice per encounter he has a blast 3. Javelins can be used for marking at greater range. Magic implement not really a concern yet. Covering Attack is good for the reasons listed in the Dragon article, and Villain's Menace is kind of neat but really could be any Fighter Daily 1.

Level 2
Utility: Get Over Here
Feat: Ritual Caster
Notes: From now on he has access to the Arcana and Heal rituals, which are a pretty big chunk of the available ones.

Level 3
Encounter: Sweeping Blow*!
Notes: The first level where he gets a non-wizard burst.

Level 4
Feat: Novice Power: Color Spray*
Stats: +1 Str, +1 Int
Notes: Color Spray gives us yet another close blast!

Level 5
Daily: Rain of Steel*

Level 6
Utility: Battle Awareness*!
Feat: Quick Draw
Notes: This is about the level when he's going to really want a magic implement: hence, Quick Draw. It's not as hard to deal with a two-handed weapon + wand as it is a weapon + shield + wand. And it just sucks a bit to limit yourself to a one-handed weapon or a staff, at least until new supplements come out.
The only real sticking point is if you find yourself out of minor actions to re-sheathe the wand when you need to swing your halberd, and are forced to drop it. This sucks, but it only weakens your spells rather than eliminating them from your tactics. Once we get to paragon tier, we'll get an at-will close spell that makes it even less likely that you'll be forced to drop your wand in order to attack.

Level 7
Encounter: Come and Get It*

Level 8
Feat: Acolyte Power: Wall of Fog*
Stats: +1 Str, +1 Int
Notes: I just think Wall of Fog is darn neat for this concept.

Level 9
Daily: Shift the Battlefield*!*

Level 10
Utility: Into the Fray*!
Feats: Adept Power: Wall of Fire*
Acolyte Power: Resistance*
Notes: One could argue that something like Sleep is a better pick, but the wall is a better choice for canalizing your opponents where you want them to go, and of course it's just fun to combo with Thunderwave.
Now that we have a new wall, we are replacing Wall of Fog (getting back the terrific Battle Awareness) and the meh fighter utilities at this level with Resistance, which is really quite good for this tankish character. Also a good combo with Wall of Fire.

Level 11
At-will: Thunderwave
Encounter: Winter’s Wrath
Feats: Solid Sound
Retrain Arcane Initiate: Thunderwave for Arcane Initiate: Scorching Burst
Notes: Ok, this takes a bit of explaining. Thunderwave is essential at all levels for this build. Therefore, you retrain the Arcane Initiate feat for an alternate so that you don't currently have Thunderwave, then you take Thunderwave as your at-will as you paragon multiclass Wizard. AFAIK, this is completely legal, as feats are selected before powers according to PHB 27. Then Solid Sound bolsters your defenses every time you use it.
Scorching Burst and Winter's Wrath are both distance blasts with pretty good marking potential. If you want, you can take Illusory Ambush or some other power instead of Scorching Blast, as it is a little bit redundant.

Level 12
Utility: Mirror Image
Feat: Uncanny Dodge
Notes: Mirror Image may save your ass if you've convinced a crapload of enemies to swing/shoot at you. You'll see in two levels why I picked UD.

Level 13
Encounter: Giant’s Wake*
Feats: Novice Power: Thunderlance
Notes: You're finally dropping Color Spray for Thunderlance, which is like a super Thunderwave that you will use whenever possible. BTW, your Dragon Breath is pretty much redundant at this point, but you can't retrain your race and it served you well for awhile. So shut up.

Level 14
Feats: Polearm Gamble
Stats: +1 Int, +1 Wis
A big level. Sadly, you must take a point of Wisdom instead of Strength to qualify for Polearm Gamble. However, it's worth it. Now, every sound you can mark and push in a blast 3, then OA them for trying to get close. Uncanny Dodge and Solid Sound make you even harder to hit than usual when they do move in. And if they choose not to attack you, well, they eat their -2 penalty and they still might have to get past you.

Level 15
Daily: Unyielding Avalanche*
Notes: And this stance punishes people that you don't push, and gives you a needed durability boost.

Level 16
Utility: Iron Warrior
Feat: Deadly Axe
Notes: Deadly Axe is just neat, obviously. Iron Warrior is another essential survivability increase.

Level 17
Encounter: Warrior’s Challenge*
Notes: A non-wizard way to mark en masse.

Level 18
Feats: Iron Will
Stats: +1 Str, +1 Int
Notes: Despite that Wis bump, Will will still be by far your weakest defense. I suppose you could take Improved Init. or Danger Sense here instead.

Level 19
Daily: Devastation’s Wake*
Feat: Adept Power: Evard’s
Notes: You're finally turning in the wall for a damn nice zone. But on top of that, you are potentially marking a ton of people at a distance, and the ones that you hit are immobilized. Artillery monsters obviously won't care much, but this cripples brutes and soldiers for a round. Hope that ogre remembers how to use his javelin.

Level 20
Daily: Acid Wave
Another close burst, but one that really hurts.

Level 21
Eternal Seeker Epic Destiny
Feat: Spell Accuracy
Stats: +1 all
Notes: I thought about this, and wound up going with Eternal Seeker, like the original article. Demigod is good and all, but in this case opening up Own the Battlefield and Legion's Hold is totally worth it.

Level 22
Utility: No Surrender*
Feats: Epic Resurgence
Acolyte Power: Time Stop

Level 23
Encounter: Hack ‘n’ Slash

Level 24
Feats: Axe Mastery
Stats: +1 Con, +1 Int
Notes: Despite failing to increase Str, I couldn't resist bumping Con for Axe Mastery, especially with Deadly Axe already under my belt (and two more epic feats key off crits). Plus, this boosts Hack 'n' Slash, which I picked up last level. Finally, increasing Str here would net me an undesirable 23 at level 28 anyway.

Level 25
Daily: Necrotic Web
Notes: Another zone, and a beautiful one. Note that thanks to Eternal Seeker my highest level powers can be a wizard power. Elemental Maw is also a tempting choice due to movement and sheer damage.

Level 26
Utility: Own the Battlefield
Feat: Weapon Focus
Overdue? Perhaps, but a nice damage boost nonetheless. Own the Battlefield is one of the better ideas from the original article.

Level 27
Encounter: Adamantine Strike
This isn't an essential power or anything, but it's my only Str. vs. Reflex power and it deals good damage. An alternative is Cruel Reaper, which has better marking/control potential.

Level 28
Feats: Triumphant Attack
Stats: +1 Str, +1 Int

Level 29
Daily: Legion’s Hold
Not only is Legion's Hold one of the greatest powers in the game period, but it's uniquely well-suited to this build, as a close burst power with incredible range. The worst-case scenario is still marking and dazing everyone within 20 squares of you! Holy ****!

Level 30 Blind-Fight
Notes: Whatever.

The build really comes into its own when it hits mid-paragon or so and combines its new at-will Thunderwave with Polearm Gamble. So at will, he can mark anyone in a close blast 3 and push them back 2 squares. If they close to attack him, they will get an opportunity attack (and he's protected by Solid Sound). If they don't, they take a -2 penalty and still are presented with the problem of trying to get around him, especially if he's been able to set up Walls or Evard's Tentacles. Quick Draw improves his initiative (really, he should go before anyone who's not a rogue...the party might want to delay actions if his crappy Dex screws him over) and more importantly, lets his use his wand and halberd in combination fairly well. His Str and Int top out at only around 22, but I think it's worth it for putting enough in Wis and Con for Polearm Gamble and Axe Mastery.

Please do rip this apart...I'm a total newbie at 4E optimizing and since I whipped this up in an afternoon, there are likely some mistakes. However, I still think it is stronger than Mr. Schaefer's effort.

I'm also thinking of trying a build with Dex tertiary (instead of Con) and using a longspear, with Spear Push and a greater focus on zones to emphasize battlefield control.
Hmm, apologies on the poor formatting...it wasn't supposed to come out that way. I'll edit the OP with a better format when I find one.
So...is this just too obvious/stupid for anyone to comment on, or what? The doctrine around here seems to be that very few instances of Paragon MCing are worth it, but this is the only way I'm aware of to mark large groups at will, and in my experience that can be a powerful influence on enemy actions. Is it just not worth the trouble?
So...is this just too obvious/stupid for anyone to comment on, or what? The doctrine around here seems to be that very few instances of Paragon MCing are worth it, but this is the only way I'm aware of to mark large groups at will, and in my experience that can be a powerful influence on enemy actions. Is it just not worth the trouble?

The build is nice... but with the swordmage...

To be honest: the build is nothing special... in no way.
It's not stupid, and it's a fine build.

Historically speaking, though, the loudest amongst the CharOp boards usually don't comment on anything unless they think there's something they can argue about. ;) If anything, take it as a compliment - your build is clean and relatively interesting.

As for power, well, the build only has so much potential given the material we have available to us. It serves its purpose well, but I get the feeling it will be completely suboptimal once the Swordmage has been released in its entirety. Marking a lot of opponents is only so valuable after all.
This Build has a lot going for it. I would probably not go with Dragonborn, for reasons similar to the above. Eladrin is pretty tempting (Perception, Teleport ot set up your blasts) and Genasi probably ideal (go with the water shifty one).

I guess Mainly I question the efficacy of multi-marking in the first place. If you aren't in melee with someone you mark, you can't take AoOs against them so al they lose for avoiding you is a -2. Using a reach weapon does make it a low more useful, which I hadn't considered before.
^ That's a valid point. I guess it's sort of situational. My main 4E play experience has been as a dragonborn fighter in a tight corridor-filled dungeon with a friendly warlord and lots of strikers in the party. I typically start an encounter by marking four or five enemies in one go, so they spend a round concentrating on me while everyone else gets into position, nails some leader-looking guy for lots of damage, etc. At times I've tied down half or more of an enemy force, allowing the rest of the party to essentially blow through two mini-encounters for the cost of healing me up afterwards.

In a different setting and with smarter enemies, I admit this kind of thing would be less useful, but it's still just as burly as a normal fighter with great minion-slaying potential who gets an extra debuff on all his area attacks...essentially more like the monster definition of controller than the PC definition.

And the thunderwave/Solid Sound/Polearm Gamble combo just tickles me, rewarding Wisdom and presenting foes with a crappy choice every round.

Edit: New thought regarding race...warforged would give Strength and Con, plus let you embed a wand for better weapon + wand action. If your DM is strict about your wand antics, this is clearly a worthwhile choice, and it would let you take Improved Initiative rather than Quick Draw.
I'll admit that I love Polearm Gamble. My Favorite Build was a Dragonborn or Dwarf Fighter/Combat Veteran who used warlord powers to slide enemies into his AoOs.

Although, recently someone argued that push/pul/slide effects can't trigger Polearm Gamble. Thoughts?
I suppose it depends on how valuable you believe marking is. It does nothing if the monsters attack you, and its a mild penalty if the monsters attack someone else if you aren't there to take your immediate attack against them to cancel their action. I don't think marking is valuable unless you can apply immediate pressure to them, so marking at range isn't that great.

You'd do better either going Wizard/WotST, or being a more traditional fighter. Two of the best fighter PrCs give you bonus damage based on good secondary attributes (wisdom or constitution), and kensei gives you a hit and damage bonus independent of stats, plus other advantages beyond that for each of them. Its hard to pass all of that up for marking at range, especially as you're restricting yourself to Axes with your build, and you'll have to burn a level up point for the 17 con to get axe specialization.
I'll admit that I love Polearm Gamble. My Favorite Build was a Dragonborn or Dwarf Fighter/Combat Veteran who used warlord powers to slide enemies into his AoOs.

Although, recently someone argued that push/pul/slide effects can't trigger Polearm Gamble. Thoughts?

PH, p. 285

"No Opportunity Attacks: Forced movement does not provoke opportunity attacks or other opportunity actions."

And "forced movements" are push, pull and slide. (see p. 285)
PH, p. 285

"No Opportunity Attacks: Forced movement does not provoke opportunity attacks or other opportunity actions."

And "forced movements" are push, pull and slide. (see p. 285)

This is actually ambiguous, because the specific beats general rule means that should be read as "Forced movement does not normally provoke opportunity attack or other opportunity actions." Polearm Gamble is clearly not a 'normal' opportunity attack, because moving adjacent to someone doesn't normally provoke one.

Thus, its a question of whether the Forced Movement rules or the Polearm Gamble rules are considered more specific. I honestly have no opinion on the matter.
^ I'd be inclined not to let forced movement directly trigger Polearm Gamble. That wasn't what I was going for anyway.

As for the build being suboptimal compared to a kensei...well, sure, but it's not trying to do the same thing. I just wanted to make a decent fighter/wizard. And he certainly doesn't have to use the halberd, as the basic concept works fine with any reach weapon.

Note that the use of thunderwave and other close blasts means I'm not marking at extreme range just for the hell of it. He's just as sticky and threatening as any other fighter, he just has some close-range marking as well. He's also quite good at clearing minions without having to slog through them, letting a party wizard focus on control and hitting a Big Bad with status effects.

Regarding WoST...I'm a big fan of that, but it results in a comparatively fragile character without any real ability to defend. He's just a close-in controller. Again, not the same thing or even the same goal.
I can't believe you guys made me stop lurking to do this. Seriously, that's just impolite.

Quick draw requires Dex 13.

That is all.
Ouch. I knew there had to be something I was screwing up on.

Guess this is officially a warforged-only concept. Unless you can talk your DM into allowing a magic item analogous to the pact blade or holy avenger, for wizards.
Minotaur could do it too, along with Orc. That race really is under appreciated. +2 str/con, +2 speed on a charge, and an encounter attack that lets you spend a healing surge is pretty sweet, imo.

Seriously though, if you want to, you could switch dex and con. This hurts survivability, i know, but if you switch to a glaive, it opens up Heavy Blade Opp + Polearm gambit. Being able to cleave on an OA when you are surrounded with enemies ain't bad at all. Probably not feasible as a 1-30 build, but in a game starting higher it might work.
Oh I agree, I fully intend to Orc it up one of these days.

I'm too lazy to do it at the moment but I fully intended to make a Dex-tertiary version of this guy. Unfortunately, as you say, he'll be much more easily hurt, and since he's essentially provoking as many people as possible to come hit him...
nice build, I like it and will hopefully take some stuff from it.
I like the 4e gish possibilities. a fighter with full power high level spells? wow!

my problem with multi-class builds in 4e:
the sheer amount of powers, I just can't get them in my head to get
a good overview for synergies.
So these sample builds help.
I'm still looking for a good powers spreadsheet to get an overview...

AKW
I have been trying to figure out this same sort of thing lately and it is tough since you need 4 decent stats. The easiest solution(I haven't seen warforged, but it looks as if they work well, too) that I found was using dwarf as the race for the con and wis. With a starting array of 16 14 14 12 11 8 you can still end up with 14 wis and int while maintaining a higher str and con. Int isn't really all that useful since marking doesn't require actually hitting, so there's no reason to waste a lot on it. I was surprised to not see Blur or Stoneskin on there as Utilitys, but I think the nice thing about the fighter/wiz interaction is that there is a lot of flexibility because so many of the powers have similar effects and areas. If you like having big blasts, Resounding Thunder works really well with Thunderwave as an at-will.

I don't think that the Wizard/WotST can really do a good enough job at this sort of role. With the fighter not needing a high int, it makes the synergy a lot easier especially if the fighter chooses powers which don't require hits at all(like Cloudkill & Wall of Fire).

Overall this guy won't fight quite as well as a pure fighter, but he will have a pretty nice bag of tricks up his sleeve when necessary.
-AS-
I really like this build, and i totally disagree with all of you guys that are stating that other PPs would be better as they provide more damage. The reason for this is because this character is not meant to damage much, he is meant to control, and that is exactly what he does.

This is also a good example of how multi-classing can work, and work well. I personally would love to be in a party with this guy, as he essentially provides me with a minimum of +2 to my AC, at worst, and at best its +infinity, as they don't attack me.

You could build a party around this guy...You probably wouldn't require a wizards, so you could have Him, his personal cleric, and 3 strikers....Ouch.

Ray
So between Cleave and Reaping Strike, which are you getting rid of at 11th level? I ask because paragon multi-classing lets you replace an at-will, not get an extra one.

Most people swear by Cleave, but I've found Reaping Strike to be preferable in my own experience.
I suspect that he will want to keep cleave because there will be A LOT of things that want to kill him, many of which may be minions. Mind you, there is argument for Reaping Strike, as he is using a two handed weapon, and therefore will be gaining maxium benifit from it.

Ray
You're on my list now.
Can you be more clear where you retrain a feat and where you take a feat?

Also: You are playing to mark as many people as possible, but you don't take resounding thunder? A feat that will make that at will thunder wave a burst 4?

I suggest fighting with a quarter-staff. You lose fighter encounter bonuses on many things, but don't need to quickdraw. And you gain some awesome abilities like the staff of power.

If not. go one handed with an orb of reversed polarities in one hand and a one handed weapon in the other. The orb works on any attack you make... even the fighter powers.

Concentrate less on save ends powers and more on zones. Especially zones that make an attack. Once you get evards, don't let it go. Anyone not immobilized you will mark!

When you pick your paragon multi-classed level 20 power you don't have to pick a level 19 daily. Drop down to 15 and pick up wall of ice or bigbys grasping hands. 5d6+int isn't much for an AoE, bigbys marks as a move action at range, and wall of ice is a freaking wall of ice.

He should be dumping Cleave. Cleave is mainly good for killing minions(otherwise its the same average damage as reaping strike, but less efficient since its against two targets). Which becomes extraneous when you have a burst 3 AoE to let loose on the minions.

For race, remember you don't need something with a strength bonus. You can also use something with an int bonus. Tieflings get int and a decent encounter power Humans get int or strength and a third at will(the easier to trade for thunderwave). And an extra feat(which you should be short on when multi-classing heavily).

Eladrin get int and dex which gets you a bit closer to the heavy blade feats, quickdraw, and arcane reach.
Worked some on a similar build, and stats require some juggling. Ended up going eladrin with array: Str 16 Con 14 Dex 13(15) Int 13(15) Wis 12 Cha 8.

Eladrin trains perception, and the +2 dex works for some of the best fighter powers (Rain of Blows!!1), scale/chain and shield spec's, arcane reach, as well as the usual bonus to initiative. Another perk of Eladrin is their ability to *bamf* next to or behind his thunderwave-pushed foes to get the most of his combat challenge.

I second Ander's suggestion for non-attack wizard powers, because this guy will very likely want to invest all level-up points in str/con. Wall of Fire is amazing anyway. On the other hand, you could go all-in on the wizard powers, paragon multi, pump up Int, take toughness and durable with any spare feats and keep any Fighter powers with Effect: spend a healing surge and grab some of the great Wizard defensive utilities.

All in all, an interesting character concept to toy around with.
So between Cleave and Reaping Strike, which are you getting rid of at 11th level? I ask because paragon multi-classing lets you replace an at-will, not get an extra one.

Sorry if it wasn't clear: cleave is getting dropped.

Also: You are playing to mark as many people as possible, but you don't take resounding thunder? A feat that will make that at will thunder wave a burst 4?

Good call: that could easily replace any of the feats I have listed, assuming no problems qualifying.

The problem with using a staff is no Polearm Gamble, but it's certainly viable if you drop that part of the build. I wish WotC would come out with some feats and powers that make the staff not completely suck.

Thanks Collective: I'm flattered. I should revisit this and clean it up a bit, maybe add a Dex-build.
I suggest fighting with a quarter-staff. You lose fighter encounter bonuses on many things, but don't need to quickdraw. And you gain some awesome abilities like the staff of power.

If not. go one handed with an orb of reversed polarities in one hand and a one handed weapon in the other. The orb works on any attack you make... even the fighter powers.

Paragon Multiclassing (or any multiclassing for that matter) does not give you class features belonging to your "second class." That includes Implement Mastery, for Staves or Orbs. You may use staves/orbs as implements to add to attack rolls, etc., but mastery abilities are out of the question.

On the original topic: Nice build, I like to see people using Paragon Multiclassing, and having it do something.
Paragon Multiclassing (or any multiclassing for that matter) does not give you class features belonging to your "second class." That includes Implement Mastery, for Staves or Orbs. You may use staves/orbs as implements to add to attack rolls, etc., but mastery abilities are out of the question.

On the original topic: Nice build, I like to see people using Paragon Multiclassing, and having it do something.

I never said it did. The quarterstaff is so you don't have to keep changing weapons and the abilities of the weapon itself.
IMO, you have enough AOE marking abilities. Something like 4 to 6 or so. +1 if you stay a dragonborn. Combats last an average of 8 rounds, and probably by those last two rounds you won't be needing AOE marks so much, IMO.

Marking isn't that good unless you're next to them (so you can lock them down), so IMO the close radius attacks a fighter gets is all he really needs to tank, though I certainly wouldn't mind if a party fighter fireball marked all people at the start of combat before I ran up and attacked them...

I looked into making a fighter/wizard, but Int is a dump stat for fighters, so it gets pretty painful. Especially since with your 13 or 15 Int you're probably going to be missing everyone with your AOE spells anyway. A thunderwave mark is nice, but it sucks if you can't actually damage them.

Personally I'd ignore the Paragon Multiclass idea and go into Blood Mage instead, and take Psychic Lock instead. Then when you psychic fireball people, they get an additional -2 to hit on top of the -2 from the mark.
I looked into making a fighter/wizard, but Int is a dump stat for fighters, so it gets pretty painful. Especially since with your 13 or 15 Int you're probably going to be missing everyone with your AOE spells anyway. A thunderwave mark is nice, but it sucks if you can't actually damage them.

There are more than enough wizard powers that require no attack roll to function, as well as enough that do half damage on a miss, so Int is really a non-issue for the fighter/wizard MC.

In addition, if a fighter marks opponents at range, the opponent is forced to either suck it up and take the -2 to hit, or move straight to the fighter(which is what the fighter wants). The -2 to hit is not a massive penalty, but it can make a difference. If the fighter has polearm gamble, even those that rush up to the fighter get OAed.

It can be quite a functional MC(as can fighter/warlock).
-AS-
I never said it did. The quarterstaff is so you don't have to keep changing weapons and the abilities of the weapon itself.

Oi, my bad, I misread your post. Well, my only counterargument is that shields are so much fun.