Best Race for Tactical Warlord: a community discussion

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Hello, all. Some of you may remember seeing me debate in favor of the human as the best or one of the best options for creating a tactical warlord.

Well, those discussions didn't always go so great as they devolved into rants and sometimes insults.

I want this thread to be a genuine, positive discussion between any CharOp posters on which race is the best race for the tactical warlord; or perhaps a short list of the most viable races. I foresee similar threads like this in the future regarding other classes and builds.

What I want to discuss here is overall optimization-- the strengths and weaknesses of the best races for the warlord. I realize that some races will be optimized in different ways and they aren't all directly comparable; I definitely expect several races to compete for the top-of-the-pyramid spot.

It is my contention that the human is a viable contender for the best tactical warlord.

My reasoning is thus: the tactical warlord's role is first and foremost that of a tactician. The human is the only race (thus far) that grants the character a bonus at-will from his/her class's power list. This, by itself, is a great tactical advantage. For some classes this is less of a boon than it is for others; also, other classes have different roles, so while having a tactical option is great, it isn't necessarily optimal. But I argue that for the tactical warlord it is optimal, because the tac-lord's very job is to have the right tactics at just the right time. The best racial choice for this is the human thanks to the bonus at-will.

Further, humans get a bonus feat, which for the tac-lord should almost assuredly be Action Surge. While by itself this may not be quite as good as, say, Elven Accuracy, the human still has the benefit of that bonus at-will! These two combined traits of the human I feel more than make up for the lack of a +2 to a secondary stat that other races get.

I will admit though that an Earthsoul Genasi also competes for the #1 spot for the best tac-lord, and is currently the only race I consider "near equal" to the human (for best tac-lord, that is).

So, CO posters, what are your thoughts? Are humans viable, or no? What do you think is the #1 best race to choose for playing a tactical warlord?
Best: Genasi
Other Viable Contenders: Human and anything with either a Str or Int boost. I think that an Int boost is better than a Str boost, and that a Dex boost is good for achieving heavy blade feats, and so is a plus. I believe that Human is at the same level as Eladrin, and generally superior to anything that only provides Str or Int, and not Dex. (though the individual cases might be different based on really good racials) In any case, I believe that Human is right up there with Eladrin, better than Dragonborn, and either as good as or better than Tieflings.
IMO, Genasi are the best with a personal preference for Earth. I agree with Demonlord that Humans run about equal to Eladrin basically the decision between the two comes down to if you thing havening both Viper's Strike and Wolf Pack Tactics is grater then HBO.
IMO, Genasi are the best with a personal preference for Earth. I agree with Demonlord that Humans run about equal to Eladrin basically the decision between the two comes down to if you thing havening both Viper's Strike and Wolf Pack Tactics is grater then HBO.

Can't you get HBO even with a human?

EDIT: There seems to be a consensus that HBO is a great feat for the taclord. I realize it's good, and does offer a bit more battlefield control, but why is it so great (out of curiosity)? I mean, why HBO over, say, Polearm Gamble?

Part of the reason I ask is because I had a concept for a human warlord that was exceptional with polearms and had planned for him to take Polearm Gamble as soon as he could. Now this is largely due in part for just RP reasons, which itself was inspired by the Polearm Gamble feat that inspired the concept to begin with (that was redundant lol).

From a CO standpoint I figured taking Polearm Gamble allowed me to dump Cha and keep my defenses high while taking HBO sacrifices my Will defense (since Int and Dex both apply to Reflex). Also, the only other serious bonus to a high Dex, initiative, isn't as important to a warlord as it is to other classes (particularly the wizard).
IMO, Genasi are the best with a personal preference for Earth. I agree with Demonlord that Humans run about equal to Eladrin basically the decision between the two comes down to if you thing havening both Viper's Strike and Wolf Pack Tactics is grater then HBO.

Actually, I was including the entire package, but I think the most easily comparable part is the Action Surge, whose value is obvious.

Can't you get HBO even with a human?

Not unless you sacrifice some Str or Int for it (or boost Dex to 13 and wait until Epic, I guess) If you're sacrificing Str or Int, you're not going to be the best.
Not unless you sacrifice some Str or Int for it (or boost Dex to 13 and wait until Epic, I guess) If you're sacrificing Str or Int, you're not going to be the best.

Hm, you're right actually. I forgot that I was sacrificing some optimization for character flavor (as 4e seems more forgiving of sub-optimal characters than 3e was).

Well, schucks.
Hm, you're right actually. I forgot that I was sacrificing some optimization for character flavor (as 4e seems more forgiving of sub-optimal characters than 3e was).

Well, schucks.

Definitely.
Actually, I was including the entire package, but the most easily comparable part is the Action Surge, whose value is obvious.

I should have used a period and said I think that it comes down to that choice. I did not mean to imply you thought that. Personally I feel that Action Surge is mandatory for a Human warlord, without it a human wouldn't be in the same league as the Eladrin. So the decision to play a Human over an Eladrin dose not come down to Action Sure IMO.
Interesting. Personally I would have thought a Drow would have been the best choice for a Warlord with their DarkFire, Cloud of Darkness and +2 Cha.
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
I should have used a period and said I think that it comes down to that choice. I did not mean to imply you thought that. Personally I feel that Action Surge is mandatory for a Human warlord, without it a human wouldn't be in the same league as the Eladrin. So the decision to play a Human over an Eladrin dose not come down to Action Sure IMO.

Oh, okay. However, I don't understand the connect between: 'w/out this they're not in the same league, it's really good,' and 'this is not what it comes down to.'
Interesting. Personally I would have thought a Drow would have been the best choice for a Warlord with their DarkFire, Cloud of Darkness and +2 Cha.

This thread is about Tactical Warlords. Also, the best for Inspiring Warlords is definitely Dragonborn. They're custom-made for it.
Interesting. Personally I would have thought a Drow would have been the best choice for a Warlord with their DarkFire, Cloud of Darkness and +2 Cha.

A warlord needs to be seen to be effective. Darkfire is good but Cloud of Darkness is right out.
Also, as mentioned a Drow makes a decent Inspiring Warlord not Tactical.
The Cloud of Darkness is effective as a 'wall'. It helps Control the battlefield.
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
Oh, okay. However, I don't understand the connect between: 'w/out this they're not in the same league, it's really good,' and 'this is not what it comes down to.'

What I'm trying to say is that IMO the decision to play a Human over an Eladrin comes down to whether you would prefer the 3rd at will or easy access to heavy blade feat. Further more IMO Action Surge dose not play a role in the final decision because without it then human would not likely work. Now what I think might be confusing you is that Action Surge obviously plays a role in the decision but IMO its not what the choice boils down to.

Finally to put it another way your at a restaurant and they serve stake plates (Human) or chicken plates (Eladrin). The stake plate comes with stake, potatoes, and a piece of apple pie. The chicken plate comes with a fried chicken, salad, and a slice of chocolate cake. For me the choice dose not come down to stake and potatoes vs chicken and salad I like both. The choice comes down to chocolate cake (Heavy Blade feat) vs apple pie (extra at-will)and which I like better (and the restaurant is ran by Nazis who wont let you make substitutions.) Hopefully that analogy works.
Definitely.

Still though, my question wasn't answered.

Why Heavy Blade Opportunity over Polearm Gamble?
So, CO posters, what are your thoughts? Are humans viable, or no? What do you think is the #1 best race to choose for playing a tactical warlord?

I hesitate to call out the 'best' race as there are a variety of good aproaches to the tactical warlord.

Human is certainly in the running. As you point out, the extra at will is great for the warlord that has at least 3 desireable at-wills (maybe even all 4, depending on build). The problem you face is a starker INT vs STR choice than with other races (though, at least, it is a choice), if go INT, action surge can help you land important exploits, if you go STR, Tactical Assault makes your tactical presence less trivial. The very fact that you can choose to have a +2 STR makes the Human a (p.i.) strong candidate among the PH races.

Eladrin has a definite niche, too. You can go for a high INT and OK STR, and also enough DEX to qualify for the various heavy blade feats, making a good sword & shield taclord. The teleport, extra skill, and will save bonus don't exactly hurt, either. Eladrin Weapon Training can beef up the damage potential of a sword & shield or longspear taclord, making up for the lack of STR bonus at the heroic levels when it comes to damage. The only downside is that, unlike Human (action surge) or Tiefling (Hellfire Blood, etc) it has no racial feat or ability to make up for the lack of a STR bonus when it comes to actually landing exploits. The eladrin is thus often best off leaning on Commander's Strike and exploits that have desireable effects even on a miss.

Tieflings also make a go at it. Bloodhunt and Hellish Rebuke both give an attack bonus that can partially make up for the lack of a STR bonus, and Hellfire Blood can do the same in combination with a flaming weapon. And the CHA bonus isn't exactly wasted, there are plenty of good exploits that CHA figures into even if you don't have inspiring presence (Furious Smash, for one), and it helps your WILL.

I'm not that familiar with the Earth Gensai, but +2 STR /and/ INT is really all you need to know.

 

 

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Still though, my question wasn't answered.

Why Heavy Blade Opportunity over Polearm Gamble?

You know, there is a Heavy Blade that is also a Polearm. ;)

GH
EDIT: There seems to be a consensus that HBO is a great feat for the taclord. I realize it's good, and does offer a bit more battlefield control, but why is it so great (out of curiosity)? I mean, why HBO over, say, Polearm Gamble?

Part of the reason I ask is because I had a concept for a human warlord that was exceptional with polearms and had planned for him to take Polearm Gamble as soon as he could. Now this is largely due in part for just RP reasons, which itself was inspired by the Polearm Gamble feat that inspired the concept to begin with (that was redundant lol).

From a CO standpoint I figured taking Polearm Gamble allowed me to dump Cha and keep my defenses high while taking HBO sacrifices my Will defense (since Int and Dex both apply to Reflex). Also, the only other serious bonus to a high Dex, initiative, isn't as important to a warlord as it is to other classes (particularly the wizard).

Bear in mind that Polearm Gamble requires a significant investment in Wis, which leaves precious little for Dex or Con based weapon feats. That's fine for fighters who specialize in polearms, but the taclord's need for Int makes this problematic.

The nice thing about HBO is that the prerequisites are something you'll have anyway on your way toward Heavy Blade Mastery.
Back on the topic of races: I'm currently playing an Eladrin taclord in LFR and he's working out great. His stats are: Str 16, Con 11, Dex 15, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 8 -- the reduced Str hasn't been such an issue as he mostly uses Commander's Strike or Wolf Pack Tactics. When the vital encounter or daily needs to hit home I usually burn an action point to give him a +2 to hit (so net equal to an 18 Str, 16 Int warlord).

He also uses a longsword, which makes hitting a little easier. The feats Shield Proficiency (Heavy) and Toughness keep him on his feet for close melee and make him even more useful for setting up flanks. Unexpectedly, I've also found Fey Step to be tremendously useful for setting up boxing in foes or getting non-melee allies out of trouble with wolf pack tactics.
Bear in mind that Polearm Gamble requires a significant investment in Wis, which leaves precious little for Dex or Con based weapon feats. That's fine for fighters who specialize in polearms, but the taclord's need for Int makes this problematic.

The nice thing about HBO is that the prerequisites are something you'll have anyway on your way toward Heavy Blade Mastery.

How is a taclord getting Heavy Blade Mastery? With a non-Eladrin, a 13 means you need an additional 2 bumps to get to it...which can be done, but boy is that gonna kill one of your two main stats.

One of the reasons that I think people are overrating Genasi right now is that they're basically incapable of getting a 15 if they start out with 2-18s. And there will be feats out there that require a 15 Con or Dex.

But I don't think HBO is all that great for a Taclord unless they know they're getting opportunity attacks for some reason.
How is a taclord getting Heavy Blade Mastery? With a non-Eladrin, a 13 means you need an additional 2 bumps to get to it...which can be done, but boy is that gonna kill one of your two main stats.

Er, by playing a non-non-Eladrin (aka, an Eladrin)? Otherwise, you could try the following as a human:

Str: 18, Dex: 14, Con: 11, Int: 15, Wis: 10, Cha: 8

+2 bonus to Str, of course. Bump up Str and Int until 18th, where you bump Str and Dex. It shifts emphasis from tactics to melee prowess, but it's still effective. And if you're human you're most likely picking up Viper's Strike as well, which requires a decent attack bonus to be effective.
Back on the topic of races: I'm currently playing an Eladrin taclord ...When the vital encounter or daily needs to hit home I usually burn an action point to give him a +2 to hit (so net equal to an 18 Str, 16 Int warlord).

You don't get your own Tactical Presence bonus. It's one of those many 'allies' bennies, and you're not your own ally.

 

 

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Er, by playing a non-non-Eladrin (aka, an Eladrin)? Otherwise, you could try the following as a human:

Str: 18, Dex: 14, Con: 11, Int: 15, Wis: 10, Cha: 8

+2 bonus to Str, of course. Bump up Str and Int until 18th, where you bump Str and Dex. It shifts emphasis from tactics to melee prowess, but it's still effective. And if you're human you're most likely picking up Viper's Strike as well, which requires a decent attack bonus to be effective.

That's my point - at 14th-20th, you've got a +4 Int mod when your competitors have a +6. For what exactly? The ability to take a rare opportunity attack? The ability to have the same to hit chance as any other taclord with an 18 Str? The benefits of a slightly worse Con?

Yes, Eladrin can pull it off with a 15 starting Dex, but I think they're foolish to do it - 23 hp at 1st is not impressive...
Gonna toss my vote here with water genasi.

The racial is amazing for getting into better position to use your warlord stuff and escaping.

Spiked chain is probably the best weapon I feel, reach and +3 proficiency is nice. Swap to a heavy blade later if you want, or a polearm, but the bonus to hit is very handy along with the reach.
That's my point - at 14th-20th, you've got a +4 Int mod when your competitors have a +6. For what exactly? The ability to take a rare opportunity attack? The ability to have the same to hit chance as any other taclord with an 18 Str? The benefits of a slightly worse Con?

Yes, Eladrin can pull it off with a 15 starting Dex, but I think they're foolish to do it - 23 hp at 1st is not impressive...

But how much higher are you really going to get your Con by neglecting Dex? Two more hit points and 1 extra healing surge doesn't net you much, even at first level. I imagine most taclords have Toughness planned sometime along their build anyway.

In contrast, a 15 starting Dex nets you the ability to take Shield Specialization (you won't qualify for Armor Specialization: Hide, even with a starting Con of 13), Evasion, Heavy Blade Opportunity, Scimitar Dance (at epic), and Heavy Blade Mastery. A 13 Con doesn't open up nearly as many options.

Now, there's definitely more of a trade-off with Int. However, at the end of the day it's the difference of a +1 bonus. That may be important when party composition consists of at least two defenders and the warlord can concentrate purely on tactical mechanics. However, it's not uncommon for there to be only one defender, which leaves the taclord rolling up his sleeves and getting into the fray. Decent combat skills, backed up by weapon feats, will be necessary.

I've been surprised in my play experiences at just how often an OA can come up. A lot of adventures feature the players in tight quarters using difficult terrain or walls. As you'll likely be in proximity to your defender, an HBO with Commander's Strike provides a nice means of getting an opponent twice the maul pain from your fighter.
What I'm trying to say is that IMO the decision to play a Human over an Eladrin comes down to whether you would prefer the 3rd at will or easy access to heavy blade feat. Further more IMO Action Surge dose not play a role in the final decision because without it then human would not likely work. Now what I think might be confusing you is that Action Surge obviously plays a role in the decision but IMO its not what the choice boils down to.

Finally to put it another way your at a restaurant and they serve stake plates (Human) or chicken plates (Eladrin). The stake plate comes with stake, potatoes, and a piece of apple pie. The chicken plate comes with a fried chicken, salad, and a slice of chocolate cake. For me the choice dose not come down to stake and potatoes vs chicken and salad I like both. The choice comes down to chocolate cake (Heavy Blade feat) vs apple pie (extra at-will)and which I like better (and the restaurant is ran by Nazis who wont let you make substitutions.) Hopefully that analogy works.

What I'm trying to say is that it is foolish to gloss over the possible inequality between those two. In other words:
Action Surge = ~2 orders of magnitude
Some Stuff from Eladrin = ~2 orders of magnitude
At-will = ~1 order of magnitude
It is foolish to assume that Action Surge does not play a role in it simply because the orders of magnitude balance out. Just because it 'brings it to the same level' doesn't mean that it's equal. In fact, because it is on a higher level, it plays a much more important role than the at-will. For example:
Action Surge = 90
Some Stuff from Eladrin = 70
At-will = 15
Action surge plays a bigger role past the initial 'bringing up to the same level' than the at-will does. In other words, you're assuming that the two meats are equal because they're close to equal, while the fact that they're both large means that the actual difference between them is much larger than the relative closeness would otherwise seem to indicate.
Water Genasi - +2 Str +2 Int is huge,
I have been playing LFR with a Water Genasi Taclord.
Spiked chain is a great weapon choice expecially when enchanted with resounding and lead the attack.

I have given allies a net of +7 to hit a mob (Encounter Breaker) 5 from lead the attack and 2 from CA from resounding daily.

My stats where 18 10 12 18 8 12.

Water genasi gives you a shift = movement speed ignoring terrain.
and a +2 bonus to save vs ongoing damage
Colors
You know, there is a Heavy Blade that is also a Polearm. ;)

GH

Right, but you often can't have both HBO and PG. The only way to get it is extreme MAD (multiple attribute dependency) which I imagine would leave you with a pretty bad build.

So even with the Glaive, as a taclord you can still only opt for either Heavy Blade Opportunity or Polearm Gamble; not both. A fighter could do it, but not a taclord.


Bear in mind that Polearm Gamble requires a significant investment in Wis, which leaves precious little for Dex or Con based weapon feats. That's fine for fighters who specialize in polearms, but the taclord's need for Int makes this problematic.

The nice thing about HBO is that the prerequisites are something you'll have anyway on your way toward Heavy Blade Mastery.

Hm, now that's definitely a good reason to grab HBO instead of PG. Unless I missed something I don't think there is a Polearm Mastery feat.
What I'm trying to say is that it is foolish to gloss over the possible inequality between those two. In other words:
Action Surge = ~2 orders of magnitude
Some Stuff from Eladrin = ~2 orders of magnitude
At-will = ~1 order of magnitude
It is foolish to assume that Action Surge does not play a role in it simply because the orders of magnitude balance out. Just because it 'brings it to the same level' doesn't mean that it's equal. In fact, because it is on a higher level, it plays a much more important role than the at-will. For example:
Action Surge = 90
Some Stuff from Eladrin = 70
At-will = 15
Action surge plays a bigger role past the initial 'bringing up to the same level' than the at-will does. In other words, you're assuming that the two meats are equal because they're close to equal, while the fact that they're both large means that the actual difference between them is much larger than the relative closeness would otherwise seem to indicate.

If I had said Action Surge + extra At-Will vs Heavy Blade Feat would we be discussing this now?

Action Surge is much more powerful then having an extra at-will this is what I believe you are saying and I agree with. However that said I like the extra at-will it adds versatility and since as a human you will take Action Surge you don't have to focuses on Action Surge because you will have it. It's not that I'm dismissing Action Surge its that thats not where my focuses is at yours apparently is.
I don't think Humans make especially good Tactlords. You need to start with 16 str, 18 int, and 15 con or dex. Humans can't do it. So its a non-starter for me.

Why 16 str - its your primary attack stat, duh. Less than 16 to start is unplayable.

Why 18 int - because that's the whole point of a tactlord. You will be going Battle Captain, because you're not terminally stupid. You will make your party awesome. And to do that, you will start with an 18 int and straight pump it through 28th level. That high int mod will get applied to initiative and attack rolls - having it is non-negotiable.

Why 15 con or dex - because you want to take weapon specific feats and you want to end up with a weapon mastery feat, and you don't want to waste you valuable stat pumps on it (because they're worth more than your initial point buy). Your options are thus axe or heavy blade. Heavy Blade is better (HBO) by far.

At which point, we're mostly looking at Genasi, Eladrin, and Githyanki. HBO is better, so Githyanki is 3rd (he's also got less support with no racial feats as yet). Genasi ends up with the exact same stat-load as an Eladrin, because he needs to buy all that dex. At which point you're just comparing racials. Now, my impression currently is that Eladrin racials + racial feats are mildly better overall, but we haven't necessarily seen everything genasi are going to get yet. However, Genasi are not 18str/18int yay choices, because then you pass up on the weapon feats, and that's not a good trade.
I think before you can pick a best race, you have to determine the qualifications for "best". IMHO, the best taclord is the taclord that is best able to land a blow. Why? Because most of the party-buffing effects from the taclord's encounter and daily abilities require a hit. You can be the smartest guy in the world, but it won't matter unless you land that blow.

Since the encounter and daily abilities all start with "Str vs..." , that means Str is the taclord's most important ability score. Intelligence is certainly the second most important ability. That leaves Con for durability, Wis and/or Dex for weapon feats. Don’t worry about Dex for Init; you’ll pick up Combat Commander at paragon.

Based on that criteria, Genasi is the best race for a tactical warlord. Str 18 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 18 Wis 11 Cha 8. I'd go with Earthsoul, because 1/enc as a minor action you can knock all adjacent enemies prone (granting combat advantage and sucking away a move action if the enemies want to stand up).

Second place goes to human (with +2 Str). Str 18 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 16 Wis 11 Cha 8. The extra at-will and feat are more important than the dragonborn's +2 Cha and breath weapon.

Third place goes to Dragonborn. Str 18 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 16 Wis 8 Cha 12. Might as well get a full +1 Will defense out of this. And hey, you can now take Intimidate and have a reasonable change of success.

Fourth goes to a Tiefling. Str 16 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 18 Wis 8 Cha 12. With the Hellfire Blood feat and a flaming weapon (assuming that flaming weapons give the fire keyword to weapon powers), even with a 16 Str they’ll match the attack bonus of a 18 Str character.

Fifth goes to Eladrin. Str 16 Con 10 Dex 15 Int 18 Wis 11 Cha 8. 1/encounter they can teleport into flanking position, giving a +1 bonus over an 18 Str character. But it’s only 1/encounter. On the plus side, the +2 Dex helps with Blade Opportunist and HBO. Sure it won’t come up often, but when it does, you can use Warlord’s Strike and have your bruiser lay the smack down.

The other races don’t make for good warlords.

By the way, for taclord at-will’s I like Commander’s Strike and Wolf Pack Tactics. Commander’s Strike is especially good at Paragon levels, when many paths get “when you spend an action point to get an extra action, add X to Y until the start of your next turn”. With Commander’s Strike you can extend the benefit by granting an extra attack. It also helps when you’re fighting a monster with Vulnerable X, and only one party member has a weapon with X. Wolf Pack Tactics is just terrific. I’ve used it to put guys into position, such as a rogue who’d readied an action to attack when he got a flank, or a wizard who couldn’t get a clear shot for his close blast. I’ve also used it to get wounded party members off the front line, or shift innocents away from monsters. For the human bonus at-will, Viper’s Strike is the winner for taclords.

For weapons, anything with a +3 bonus is attractive. Spiked Chain is great because almost all Warlord powers are “melee weapon” (as opposed to “close burst 1”, or “melee 1”), meaning you can use them at reach. This is doubly true for Commander’s Strike. None of the above stat arrays allow for heavy shield proficiency, so that’s another argument in favor of a two-handed weapon (in other words, a reach weapon).

Speaking of feats: you’re a smarty, so you don’t have to spend any feats on heavy armor. Only the Eladrin can afford twf feats (for the extra damage and +1/+1 to AC and reflex). Seriously consider ritual caster + arcane initiate. Toughness, Durable, and Improved Initiative are also good choices. And of course your racial feats (hooray for action surge, hurl breath, hellfire blood, and eladrin weapon training!).
Genasi seem custom made for Taclords.

A) A tac lord needs 18 int - since their benefit is int mod/2 - you need the +4 int mod to make it worth while.

b) Every ability is str based, thus you really want an 18 if possible.

c) They have great and flexible racials. +1 save and a close burst 1 prone attack, or the ability to shift/fly. Also, the race description we have so far suggests that by spending a feat, a genasi can get multiple bonuses at higher levels. I especially like the earth genasi. You can risk a prone-stomping minor action that would hit your ally if you have a Knight's Move availble

Given those, the Genasi completely overshadows Eladrin, gaining most of the bonuses (abilty to shift is approximately equal to teleport most of the time). Human have some neat options, but I don't think it compares to Genasi - save for action surge which is amazing.
Why 15 con or dex - because you want to take weapon specific feats and you want to end up with a weapon mastery feat, and you don't want to waste you valuable stat pumps on it (because they're worth more than your initial point buy). Your options are thus axe or heavy blade. Heavy Blade is better (HBO) by far.

I don't see why the weapon feats are so important, though. I think I'd rather have +1 hit, damage, and Fort than HBO and Heavy Blade Mastery. I don't care about damage as much as a Taclord, so the damage part of critting isn't worth as much to me, so I guess it'd come down to the effects crits create. Maybe I just don't realize how good the effects are. (or what effects there are at all...) HBO is good, but I don't think it'll come into play enough for it to overcome the benefits of a higher Str. Also, there's the opportunity cost of two feats to consider. (not worth too much right now, though) Another thing to consider is the tier. Even if this is better in Epic, it obviously is much less valuable in Heroic, as you don't have any of the nice feats yet.
I don't think Humans make especially good Tactlords. You need to start with 16 str, 18 int, and 15 con or dex. Humans can't do it. So its a non-starter for me.

Why 16 str - its your primary attack stat, duh. Less than 16 to start is unplayable.

Why 18 int - because that's the whole point of a tactlord. You will be going Battle Captain, because you're not terminally stupid. You will make your party awesome. And to do that, you will start with an 18 int and straight pump it through 28th level. That high int mod will get applied to initiative and attack rolls - having it is non-negotiable.

Why 15 con or dex - because you want to take weapon specific feats and you want to end up with a weapon mastery feat, and you don't want to waste you valuable stat pumps on it (because they're worth more than your initial point buy). Your options are thus axe or heavy blade. Heavy Blade is better (HBO) by far.

At which point, we're mostly looking at Genasi, Eladrin, and Githyanki. HBO is better, so Githyanki is 3rd (he's also got less support with no racial feats as yet). Genasi ends up with the exact same stat-load as an Eladrin, because he needs to buy all that dex. At which point you're just comparing racials. Now, my impression currently is that Eladrin racials + racial feats are mildly better overall, but we haven't necessarily seen everything genasi are going to get yet. However, Genasi are not 18str/18int yay choices, because then you pass up on the weapon feats, and that's not a good trade.

Genasi tactical warlords who want weapon feats will still want to start 18 Str/18 Int for one reason, you are more optimized from levels 1-13

18 Str/18 Int Tactical Warlord that wants weapon feats should use the following stat pumps (axe users should switch dex for con)

Starting Stats: 18 Str 18 Int 13 Dex 11 Con 10 Cha 8 Wis
Level 4: +1 Int +1 Dex
Level 8: +1 Int +1 Str
Level 11: 20 Str 21 Int 15 Dex 12 Con 11 Cha 9 Wis
Compared to 16/18 Stats at Level 11
19 Str 21 Int 16 Dex 12 Con 11 Cha 9 Wis

Level 14: +1 Int +1 Dex

At Level 14 both will have the same stats, but 18/18 will be more optimized for levels 1-13
You'll also notice that an elf can go glaive with HBO + PAG, by going 16 int 14 dex 16 str 14 wis. I'm not sure it's worth it, but there it is. You've got the reroll and the 7 movement to help with accuracy and positioning, but the loss of int is really a kick in the soft parts. I'm of the opinion that int >>>> str. Tactical warlords just have so many int based passive bonuses and 100% accuracy powers that they can easily take the 1 point AB hit.

I'd also like to put in a vote for gnome. The Cha bonus lets to dip into inspiring powers, and the reactive invisibility is something many healers would die for (or without). The only downside is the amount of coordination required to insure your disappearance doesn't screw up the AP spending.

My favorite is probably still eladrin, though gensai are right up there. Human's just a hair below them and tiefling just a hair below that. They're all great.
None of the above stat arrays allow for heavy shield proficiency, so that’s another argument in favor of a two-handed weapon (in other words, a reach weapon).

Shield Proficiency (Heavy) only requires 15 strength (and prof. with light shields), so any of the above examples could take it.

http://ww2.wizards.com/dnd/insider/feat.aspx?id=161
Genasi.
I think it's worth considering nova capabilities versus average capabilities. In other words, I think that different races are good for different types of campaigns.

If your campaign involves lots of single fight days with "boss" encounters, then Human is by far the best. The reason being that they can always burn an AP to get the +3 to hit and land Leading the Attack on the big solo monster.

If the campaign involves lots of 4+ encounter days with average difficulty encounters, then Gensai by far. Humans are less likely to land encounter powers since they lack the +1 to hit that 18 str Gensai enjoy. You only get to use action surge on an average of 1/2 of your fights, and gensai get that +1 on every encounter power.

Eladrin are third in either type of game, because I don't see the draw of HBO that much myself (but I think that it's a cool feat to have). However, I'd still make an Eladrin just because I think it's a nice feeling to be able to get all the weapon mastery and shield feats.

I think Warforged are worth consideration. They dont get dex or int, but +2 con helps them qualify for Hide Armor Specialization at paragon tier and Axe Mastery at epic tier (easy if you start with 15 con). Also, in my campagin experience playing a Warforged Taclord I have found that the Warforged Tactics feat gives me a +1 to hit >80% of the time, which is huge. Their are also a bunch of great items that are Warforged only.

Real quick, I love the water Genasi as warlord.  I dont even have anything to add.

Genasi and eladrin are the only tier 1 races for tactical warlords.


Genasi: +2 Str/+2 Int with very useful racial encounter abilities (stormsoul, watersoul, and earthsoul are all very potent). This allows for a starting 18 Str/18 Int stat array. Racial feats also make multiclassing with wizard a very potent choice (add Str and Int to damage in addition to some extra dice as a stormsoul which makes the warlord/wizard competitive with sorcerers in the AoE striker category), but that is certainly not the only choice for a genasi warlord. If you want heavy blade mastery or axe mastery, genasi are able to gain the feat by effectively switching to an 18/16 or 16/18 stat array at level 22. (IMO, however, this is really only a good option for eladrin because they are stuck with the 16/18 or 18/16 stat array anyway).


Eladrin: +2 Int/Dex allows Str 18/Int 16 or Str 16/Int 18 stat arrays, but if that were all that eladrin had going for them as taclords, they would not be a top tier choice. A highly useful racial encounter power, extra trained skill, and, most importantly, access to a bevy of extremely strong racial feats and a good racial paragon path are what seal the deal. Tactial inspiration allows eladrin taclords to heal on a par with clerics or charisma based warlords. No other tactical warlord race is as good at healing. Eladrin soldier combines a damage bonus with longswords and greatspear proficiency/damage bonus with tratnyr proficiency thrown in for free. Access to fey charge through fighter multiclassing and the spiral tactician paragon path (one of the few paragon paths that might compete with battle captain) seal the deal. Additionally, unlike most other races, eladrin do not need to sacrifice either their primary or their secondary stat in order to gain heavy blade mastery. Unlike some other posters, I don't think heavy blade mastery is all that, but it's a good thing to have if you don't have to sacrifice your secondary or primary stats to get it.


 


It's actually quite a step down when you arrive at tier 2 races. Here is why I think they are tier 2.


Human. One of the better tier 2 taclord races, humans suffer from several drawbacks. 1. No second racial stat bump. Humans can go 18/16 or 16/18 but won't be able to qualify for weapon feats either way without further sacrifices in their core stats. 2. No racial encounter ability. Sure they get an extra at-will power, but it's not as though they are going to get much use out of it, and even when they do get to use it, it will usually not be that much better than the second best choice in that situation. Action surge is not enough to save humans as a tier 1 taclord race.


Dragonborn. Dragonborn come into their own as taclords in the paragon and epic tiers and they do so largely on the strength of draconic arrogance. Draconic arrogance is a key component in transforming opening shove from a sucker's bet into a strong power and makes dragonborn the hands down best choice for polearm gamble/opening shove builds. Additionally, the charisma bonus enables dragonborn to achieve the supreme inspiration feat (which is very good for a battle captain) with the same ending stats as a genasi. (And, given the level 11 encounter power, draconic arrogance is pretty nice for a battle captain too). A good minion clearing encounter power and enhanced healing surge value seal the deal for dragonborn as a high scoring tier 2 tactical warlord race.


Shadar Kai. Like eladrin but without all of the nifty racial feats or the racial paragon path. Tier 1.5 for you.


Tiefling. These are the low end of tier 2 tactical warlord material. Hellfire blood sounds like it might boost them until you look at the numbers again and see that using a level +4 weapon means that, in addition to forgoing other, more useful properties and powers and subjecting themselves to the most common resistance in the game, tieflings end up spending a feat to be at +1 to hit for only a few levels during their career. If the non-tiefling just gets a +(x+1) magic weapon one level after the tiefling gets his flaming weapon, he'll maintain the same attack and damage bonus as the tiefling without spending a feat or living with the other drawbacks of being locked into a flaming weapon. Still, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.


Str boosting races. These are all low end tier 2 tactical warlord races. Sure, they might be able to get axe mastery or sword mastery, but there are a number of problems for them. First, they can only swing the 16 Str/18 Int build (which IMO is superior to the 18 str/16 Int build) by buying the 18 Int which will leave them with the same stat array as a human except without the choice of where to put the 13 and without access to action surge or an extra at-will power.


 


Other notes:


1. Weapon mastery is worth about as much as +2 str in terms of personal DPR. (Of course, the str doesn't trigger crit dependent feats, powers, or abilities and weapon mastery doesn't deliver the on-hit effects of powers so there are other considerations.


2. Axe mastery, hammer mastery, etc are suckers' bets for warlords. Why? Because more than most other classes, warlords depend on the non-damage effects of their attacks in order to be effective. Using axe or hammer mastery means using a +2 proficiency weapon. And using a +2 proficiency weapon means that you will land those non-damage effects of powers less often than you would with a +3 profiency weapon. Even if your warlord qualifies for mastery and every other feat with a +2 profiency weapon, you should still be using the higher proficiency weapon instead. The DPR advantage does not offset the reduced chance of delivering non-damage effects.


3. Heavy blade opportunity is a waste of time for all warlords except polearm gamble/opening shove warlords. Why? Because other than opening shove (which is only useful in that very limited context), none of the other warlord at-wills are significantly better than a basic attack in the situations where you are going to get opportunity attacks. Viper's strike? It is almost certain that if the foe provoked an OA from you it is not shifting and therefore either already provoked an OA from your ally or will not do so later. Wolf pack tactics? Most of the time your ally is where he wanted to be anyway if he's a competent player. Shifting him on an OA will rarely change the tactical situation. Rousing assault or furious smash? If you had a charisma bonus you wouldn't be a tactical warlord. Commander's strike? If your opponent is provoking an OA from you while adjacent to an ally whose melee basic is good enough to give it a DPR advantage over a basic attack, odds are good that other circumstances make him resistant to damage. Enemies provoking OAs from two characters with good melee attacks (you are one and your ally is the other--otherwise you couldn't use commander's strike) are either terminally stupid (and therefore not a big threat) or have another reason not to fear the OA (perhaps they are insubstantial creatures with resist all or something). Inevitable wave? If your allies are going to charge the foe, you should have already used this. Opening shove? Unless you are a draconic arrogance/polearm momentum/opening shove specialist, this will actually reduce your DPR, even if you have an ideal ally standing by to take the melee basic.

Genasi for reasons listed by many.  The watersoul ability is amazing for getting into optimal position safely, and +2 saves vs ongoing damage is quite nice.  Earth is also great; minor action close burst KD, and +1 to all saves?  Awesome.  Stats line up great as well, and they make great multiclassers to boot.

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