Swordmage/Blade of Cendriane

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Now, here are some paragon path features that an assault swordmage can really sink teeth into:

Call of Cendriane (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you can teleport 5 squares before or after your extra action.

Fey Step Assault (11th level): When you use a power that has the teleportation keyword, or when you use the Call of Cendriane path feature, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with powers that have the weapon keyword until the end of your next turn. As far as I can tell, it stacks, which means that you can use this to get some very high to hit bonuses if you can just spam teleportation powers.

Aegis of Assault has the teleportation keyword. Given that it's a minor at-will, this means that you can give yourself +2 to hit in a round where you're not planning to do anything else. You also get +2 to hit NEXT round, so, if you're just hanging out and whacking away with your sword, that's +4 to hit; by far the highest any paragon path can grant.

But that's not all; as an eladrin swordmage, you can probably manage a fair number of teleports for moves to keep up the bonus, and, of course, there are some standard action teleport attacks, which will let you get to +5 to hit on rounds after you use them. In order to keep up the damage bonuses (always the weakest part of a swordmage), you are going to have to go with a Fullblade and power attack when you have a high to hit bonus, which, I suspect, you often will. With reactive, free, and interrupt teleport powers (available from items) this can get comfortably over +10 to hit in a round.

You can usefully poach off a couple of ranger powers, too, as a swordmage. Blade Cascade and Death Rend, for example, both seem like wonderful powers if you can just get +5 to hit or so; this build can get to +7 on top of the fairly high base attack without having to do anything truly unusual (or even have a flanker), which is enough to rely on Blade Cascade. I plan to carry around two swords for the multi-attack ranger powers. Given the to hit bonuses, they don't have to be especially good swords...

Here's my build:

Eladrin Assault Swordmage/Blade of Cendriane/Demigod

STR 13 -> 22
CON 10 -> 12
DEX 15 -> 18
INT 20 -> 30
WIS 10 -> 12
CHA 8 -> 10

Skills: Arcana, Athletics, Endurance, History, Insight, Perception, Acrobatics

At will:
Greenflame Blade
Aegis of Assault
Booming Blade (although if you prefer Lightning Lure at low levels, that's fine)

Encounter:
Foesnare(1) -> Seed of Fire (13) -> Death Rend (27)
Transposing Lunge* (3) -> Disruptive Strike (12) -> Two Weapon Eviscerate (17) -> Spider Silk Slash (27)
Spikes of Agony (7) -> Meteor Strike (23)
Forcing the Portal* (11)

Daily:
Burning Blade (1) -> Blade Cascade (15) -> Astral Thunder Blade (29)
Deep Freeze (5) -> Bane Blade (19)
Lightning Strider* (9) -> Quicksilver Blade (25)
Feywild Tempest* (20) there are no bad powers that say 1W + STR, 6 times.

Utility:
Dimensional Warp* (2)
Armathor's Step* (6)
Dimensional Dodge* (10)
Ethereal Hunter* (12)
Sudden Escape* (16)
Giant's Might (22)
Divine Regeneration (26)

Feats:
Intelligent Blademaster (1)
Weapon Proficiency: Fullblade (2)
Warrior of the Wild (4)
Weapon Focus: Heavy Blades (6)
Lethal Hunter (8)
Power Attack (10)
Double Aegis (11) -> Total Aegis (21)
Novice Power (Transposing Lunge for Disruptive Strike) (12)
Feywild Protection (14)
Adept Power (16) (for Blade Cascade; might as well use all these bonuses) ->
Quick Draw (18)
Iron Will (20)
Heavy Blade Mastery (21)
Prime Hunter (22)
Epic Resurgence (24)
Martial Mastery (26)
Feywild Warrior (28)
Heavy Blade Opportunity (30)

At 11th level, assuming a bloodclaw weapon, other +3 stuff and 6th level armbands, we'll have:

STR 16
CON 11
DEX 16
INT 23
WIS 11
CHA 8

AC: 27
FORT: 21
REF: 24
WILL: 21

HP: 86

For the DPR calculations here, I've assumed that I'm attacking a creature of my level +14 AC. All of the intelligence based attack calculations assume that I will use power attack; all of the strength based calculations assume that I will not. The teleport bonus damages are almost correct for the at-wills but a bit low for the dailies. I feel that, at 11th level, this build can push out a reliable DPR of 25-27 per round using only at wills, spiking up to 33-55 DPR with encounter powers. This is a pretty good DPR for a striker; if I get to use the Aegis of Assault it gets silly; if I don't, well, enemies who're chasing a teleporter around a battlefield aren't being fully effective.

If one of the marked enemies can be induced to attack one of my allies, that would add another 27 DPR that round; the wrath of an assault swordmage is not to be trifled with. It's about to get better; at 12th level, I add an encounter power that teleports, gives me combat advantage, and designates every adjacent enemy as my quarry (for free), giving me an attractive +11.3 DPR that round and +8 DPR the next round.

The defenses are...not totally adequate. The build has been forced to dump CON, so the healing surges suck, and it's not getting full benefit from the Swordmage warding, so the AC (although decent) isn't wonderful. Feywild Protection (+2 all defenses after Fey Step), Disruptive Strike, Dimensional Dodge, and Sudden Escape will help a bit, but the actual survivability of this build lies in positioning and mobility.

Aegis of Assault: minor, marks 2 targets, allows teleporting attack, +1 to hit this turn and next turn with Weapon attacks - DPR: +1.7 this round and next
Greenflame Blade: +15 (or, often, a lot more) vs AC, d12+28 (+6 INT, +2 Weapon Focus, +9 Bloodclaw, +3 Enhancement, +6 Power Attack, +2 Armbands) 3 to all enemies adjacent to target - DPR 20
Booming Blade: +15 vs AC, d12+28, d6 if opponent tries to move away - DPR 20

Fey Step: teleport 5, +1 to hit this turn and next turn with Weapon attacks: DPR: +1.7 this round and next
Foesnare: +15 vs AC, d12+28, immobilizes enemy & can be used on charge - DPR: 20
Transposing Lunge: teleport to adjacent square, +1 to hit this turn and next turn with Weapon attacks, +15 vs AC, 2d12+28; DPR: 25 + 1.7 next round
Spikes of Agony: +15 vs AC, 2d12+28, target takes 8 damage if it moves before my next turn; DPR: 23.1
Force the Portal: +14 vs AC (two targets), 2d12+22 (as this is a STR power, I won't generally be power attacking when I use it), teleport each target 2 squares, +1 to hit this turn and next with weapon attacks - DPR: 43.5, +1.7 next round
Dimensional Warp: trade places with willing ally, +1 to hit this turn and next with weapon attacks - DPR: +1.7 this round and next
Armathor's Step: teleport 6, +2 to attack, +1 to attack this turn and next with weapon attacks - DPR: +5.1 this round; +1.7 next round
Hunter's Quarry: +2d8 damage this round and next: DPR - +6.75 this round and next

Burning Blade: +15 vs AC, 2d12+28, +3 damage until end of encounter on melee attacks - DPR: 23.1, +2.25 per round afterwards
Deep Freeze: +15 vs AC, 2d12+28, enemy does d10 until end of encounter to adjacent enemies - DPR: 23.1
Lightning Strider: teleport 4, +15 vs AC d12+25, teleport 3, +15 vs AC d12+22, teleport 2, +15 vs AC d12+22, +1 to hit this turn and next with weapon attacks - DPR: 57.4 + 1.7 next round
Dimensional Dodge: reactive teleport. I'm not totally certain that it works this way, but it's my belief that I get to attack a ranged attacker. If that's not what it does, oh well - DPR: 22; +2 next round

The maximum extra to hit bonus, as far as I can see (and without using items), comes from a turn where I start with +3 to hit (perhaps I used Dimensional Warp, Aegis of Assault, and Transposing Lunge in the previous turn), and then go: action point (teleport from Call of Cendriane) attack with Force the Portal at +5 to hit, move action to Armathor's Step next to an opponent (+8 to hit that opponent), minor action to Aegis of Assault from new position (+9 to hit), Lightning Strider (+10 to hit first opponent). This would give me a bonus of +27 to hit, which is better than the average AC of an 11th level monster - and this is why I feel Power Attack is worthwhile.

I would want as much equipment with free and encounter teleports as possible, as well, of course, as the range increasing teleportation stuff. By 11th level, there isn't all that much, but it's about to go into crazy mode, and I suspect that I can manage +10-15 to hit for a couple of rounds by late Epic.

I need a feat like Greater Power Attack, or Epic Power Attack!
nice one=) but why did you choose demigod? 0_o
Demigod, well, there just aren't that many epic destinies that a swordmage does better with. I thought about Radiant One - +8 damage on melee attacks with combat advantage is pretty good - but I just don't really believe that it's better.
Two questions:

1) Where's Blade of Cendriane from?

2) Why aren't you replacing Double Aegis with the feat that lets you mark EVERYONE in range at epic?
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Blade of Cendriane is from Manual of the Planes. It's a prestige class for Eladrin Rangers only; the powers go (I'll paraphrase, so as to not step on any intellectual copyrights):

Attack two opponents (STR, 2W+STR) and teleport them both (11th)
Move action teleport 5, gain combat advantage to adjacent enemies and (this is the best part for a swordmage) designate them as your quarry until the end of the next turn. (12th)
Teleport 5, three times, and make two attacks against each enemy (one with each weapon, and not the same enemy more than once with each weapon) (20th).

On the theory that there are no bad attacks that say 1W, six times, I'm happy to have access to Feywild Tempest. The 16th level class power is +1 damage with longswords, which is enough to make me not want to spend a feat on bastard sword, but not fantastic.

On question 2, obviously you are right and I should choose to replace it with Total Aegis. A lack of concentration would be my answer.
The only huge incentive I see for a large Str score is Heavy Blade Mastery, so I would probably stat the character out with:

Str 13 / 21
Con 10 / 14
Dex 15 / 17
Int 20 / 30
Wis 10 / 12
Cha 08 / 10

Bump Str/Int all the way through 21, then Int/Con after. You'll still reach Hide in epic and HBM at 21.
The only huge incentive I see for a large Str score is Heavy Blade Mastery, so I would probably stat the character out with:

Str 13 / 21
Con 10 / 14
Dex 15 / 17
Int 20 / 30
Wis 10 / 12
Cha 08 / 10

Bump Str/Int all the way through 21, then Int/Con after. You'll still reach Hide in epic and HBM at 21.

That wouldn't be crazy, or anything, but one of the things I've noticed about high level swordmages is that they lag badly behind fighters in damage output; I decided to pick a high strength in order to both maximize the paragon path powers and allow me to grab what I regard as the cream of the ranger powers for characters who don't miss, Blade Cascade and Death Rend. I suspect that if I were to put a bit more effort into it I'd have grabbed another ranger encounter power a lot earlier, too; swordmage encounter powers are...unexceptional.

Edit: I changed my mind and now think that Xolro is correct about starting with a 20 INT. After all, I think I can hit with Ranger powers even if I have a strength seven points lower - I can just focus on getting up to a +12 bonus to hit (which I can do with a flanker) before I start Blade Cascade. I'd rather bump STR and DEX in Epic than raise CON to qualify for Hide proficiency though.
Hi

Thanks for posting this build!

As far as power attack goes, though, I don't think you can double-grip a one-handed or versatile weapon and gain the 2handed damage bonus from power attack. I think you must be wielding a 2handed weapon to gain this bonus, per the reading of the feat.
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
These are such crazy results... I love it.
Hi

Thanks for posting this build!

As far as power attack goes, though, I don't think you can double-grip a one-handed or versatile weapon and gain the 2handed damage bonus from power attack. I think you must be wielding a 2handed weapon to gain this bonus, per the reading of the feat.

Hm, a compelling point. Power Attack is generally such a bad feat that I think I just assumed I knew what it did, but...not so much.

This character, unlike most characters, can expect to hit with a lower level weapon very consistently from the second round of the combat onward. I suppose I could try to slot in Fullblade Proficiency and Quick Draw and rotate weapons...hard to say if that's worthwhile.
*bump*

Massively changed the build to two-handed wielder, added 11th level snapshot, much commentary.
This deserves a bump for being such an awesome build.
Wow, they really did get rid of the rule that a bonus from the same source doesn't stack with itself. Crazy.
Swordmages aren't supposed to be damage dealers, though... Still, I like the way you made it all teleporty and stuff. I'd probably just stick with the good ol' Longsowrd, but that's just me.
Have you looked at Fey Charge (Fighter, from Martial Power)?
The Fighter multiclass feat off MP is good as well, so you don't lose too much grabbing Fighter Multi for Fey Charge.
Have you looked at Fey Charge (Fighter, from Martial Power)?
The Fighter multiclass feat off MP is good as well, so you don't lose too much grabbing Fighter Multi for Fey Charge.

But after multiclassing Ranger, one cannot multiclass Fighter...
But after multiclassing Ranger, one cannot multiclass Fighter...

...
*facepalm* :P
Right, it's needed for Cendriane.

How would an Eldarin Fighter/Ranger Blade of Cendriane fare? The Fighter has (somebody else said) 11 powers that can be used on a charge.
It would be all right, I think, but nothing close to being as reliable at getting attack bonuses as this build. The fighter may miss on a charge, and, even if he never does, won't get as many teleport power actions by a large margin.

Giving yourself +1 to hit for two rounds as a minor at will action (that also allows you to teleport in to smack the target and gives him a penalty to hit other people) is, well, I'm not sure how to put it. It's pretty good.

Swordmages may not be the best class for damage, but nearly any class can be good at doing damage if you stop worrying about hitting.
I just thought Fey Charge was a way of getting more Teleporty goodness, is all. :D
I'm surprised nobody mentioned this yet. One class feature is +1 to hit when you teleport or use a class feature. The 16th class feature is +1 damage with longswords. Therefore whenever you get, you get +1 to hit (as you're using a class feature to do +1 damage with longsword).


Cheers
Its not when you teleport or use ANY class feature. You get +1 to attack rolls when you use a power with the teleportation keyword or use the Call of Cendriane path feature.
The Call of Cendriane path feature allows you to teleport when you spend an action point to take an extra action.
The +1 damage with longswords path feature is called Blademaster of Legacy.
Swordmages aren't supposed to be damage dealers, though... Still, I like the way you made it all teleporty and stuff. I'd probably just stick with the good ol' Longsowrd, but that's just me.

You could certainly do that, and you'd have a character with better AC - a good character, too, since there are a lot of status effects in there. The thing is, though, you're walking away from a lot of damage by doing it.

In Paragon, that's d12 vs d8 (2 points per hit) 4 against 6 on power attack (another two - and power attack will often be a slight loser for a longsword on the first round and against very high AC opponents), no high crit (another .7 damage per swing), and reduced Bloodclaw effectiveness (another 3 points).

A quick calculation suggests to me that the fullblade does 25-30% more damage than the longsword at 11th level with this build. Myself, I think it's correct to choose that much damage over two points of AC.

After all, why shouldn't a swordmage do damage? In the case of this particular build, the assault feature does enough damage that I suspect marked monsters who can't reach you (and you can be hard to reach) may choose not to attack anyone. It's like a quarter of an 11th level monsters hit points when you hit them...enough that you are doing a better job, in my opinion, of being a defender by choosing to do more damage.

Lastly, of course, you can always switch to a longsword for a fight or two a day if it seems to you that the main priority in that fight is to conserve healing surges. Even a +1 hand-me-down longsword will hit reliably with this build. No reason not to have it both ways!
Had a chance to actually play this build last night in our 12th level group; my regular fighter was off on a side-mission.

We had three fights; against yuan-ti on a broken bridge, yuan-ti and a mummy lord in a temple, and then a blue dragon with some yuan-ti cultists.

My conclusions: I have seriously underestimated how good assault swordmages in general are at higher levels. Just about every round, I was able to actually attack with my Aegis of Assault - or prevent an enemy from making any attacks - by just marking, teleporting, and then attacking someone else.

The result was that I averaged nearly 60 damage per round (I did, by my count, 1143 damage over 20 rounds, not counting rounds where I was stunned - I found some traps in the traditional defender fashion). The damage was very spread out, but, really, it all counts in the end. It certainly felt as though I was doing more damage than any of the strikers; and it's startling to power attack successfully on a roll of 5.

I did run completely out of healing surges during the third fight. Low AC, low CON, massive damage, multiple marking, and the bloodclaw weapon were maybe a bit too much to put into one package. If I should happen to play another version of the character, I would take Durable and Toughness over Lethal Hunter and the first powerswap feat. I don't know if I _would_ play this build again, unless the other players were indulging in similarily tricky builds; it was a bit overpowering.
How do you think this would play out at low levels? I like the concept but would probably be starting out at 1st level.

Also, I don't play with people who are completely optimized. I was thinking of starting with an 18 INT instead of 20 and using it to cover the CON deficiency by starting with CON 14 instead of 10... again, for low level viability.

Finally, what is your rationale for starting with WIS 12 instead of leaving it at !0?
How do you think this would play out at low levels? I like the concept but would probably be starting out at 1st level.

Also, I don't play with people who are completely optimized. I was thinking of starting with an 18 INT instead of 20 and using it to cover the CON deficiency by starting with CON 14 instead of 10... again, for low level viability.

Finally, what is your rationale for starting with WIS 12 instead of leaving it at !0?

Well, to take the last question first, I didn't start with a 12 wisdom; that's just where it will end up after the tier increases to stats.

At low levels it would be an amazingly standard assault swordmage. Until you can teleport a bit, assault swordmages aren't all that good in my experience. The stats I picked are in no way unusual; the only thing that is a bit unusual is the choice of weapon. Power Attack and Lethal Hunter would be a bit sub-optimal at 10th and 8th level, but the build does want both feats eventually.

Starting with an 18 INT would be fine offensively - you'll still hit a lot - but I'm not sure that you'll be happier having more natural healing surges than you would have been having the higher AC. If that's the way you want to go, a higher CON would let you take Hide Armour Proficiency (and, eventually, specialization), but, myself, I'd rather have the AC from the INT (which also gives +Reflex, to hit, and damage) than from the feat, and the healing surges from the feat than from the CON (which only has a minor effect on a few of the powers).

If your group doesn't optimize much, this build may be a bit of a shock to them at 11th level, too.

If you are still thinking of starting with an 18 INT, I guess the stats I like best are STR 14 CON 14 DEX 15 INT 18 WIS 10 CHA 8.
The concept is fine at low levels, especially in not really optimized party. Still there is one thing to consider - this is definitely NOT a defender build and if you don't have another dedicated defender in the party - you are asking for trouble even in not optimized party.
It works best with a fighter as a prime defender because you can either ease the heat on him or pick a loose mob going bananas on the squishier targets than you. You don't actually TANK the target you have marked - you mark it and stay away from it so it has two choices - 1) do almost nothing 2) attack someone else with -2 penalty and if successful - eat a sword in the back.
With that in mind your Con is fine. And you totally need every bit of attack bonus especially at the beginning because if the monster you have marked manages to hit its target and you miss it with the aegis attack - you have more or less failed. If you are worried about your defenses at the beginning - start with a bastard sword and toughness instead fullblade and weapon focus. Latter you can retrain those feats but there is no retraining of ability scores lost on constitution.
Also - he is starting with 10 Wis, not 12. It gets 12 at lvl 21 with the two +1 all stats increases.
Lightning Strider, where does this come from?
This is an interesting build, but with those starting stats looks like a horrible defender and I am not seeing the damage being that good until at least Paragon tier.

Wouldn't you just be better off with some kind of warlock/swordmage multiclass or... something else?

I think it is neat, but just not convinced it is really playable unless you start out 11th+ level.
Just a quick note...

"Changing the number of hands you are using to hold a weapon can be done as a free action." -- Player's Handbook FAQ

This allows for double-gripping a Bloodclaw lonsword or bastard sword when attacking to gain more damage from its item property and then switching to single gripp for increased Swordmage warding when not attacking.
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
Lightning Strider, where does this come from?

Lightning Strider is from a Class Acts article in a Dragon magazine.

This is an interesting build, but with those starting stats looks like a horrible defender and I am not seeing the damage being that good until at least Paragon tier.

Wouldn't you just be better off with some kind of warlock/swordmage multiclass or... something else?

I think it is neat, but just not convinced it is really playable unless you start out 11th+ level.

Assault Swordmages aren't especially good defenders until they can teleport enough times in a battle to get away from the monsters they mark, this is true. They're not awful, though, because low-level swordmage powers are pretty good, and because if you start with a 20 INT and swordmage warding, you've got a good AC.

Later on, the swordmage powers begin to sort of suck - but by that point this build will be doing respectable damage with a Fullblade, and will have enough teleports to do the swordmage schtick a bit each combat.

Certainly you're not going to establish yourself as the best heroic level character ever (assault swordmages are generally felt to be a bit weak at lower levels - it's very annoying that the Aegis triggers only on a hit), but this is certainly playable.

The concept is fine at low levels, especially in not really optimized party. Still there is one thing to consider - this is definitely NOT a defender build and if you don't have another dedicated defender in the party - you are asking for trouble even in not optimized party.

Well, I've played the build exactly once; the rest of the party consisted of a tiefling dark pact warlock/swordmage, a dragonborn inspiring warlord, a human staff wizard, and an orc barbarian. I felt that the build did about as a good a job of defending as my fighter normally does - except that, as noted, I did run out of healing surges. It would have been nice to have had a fighter around, for sure.

It works best with a fighter as a prime defender because you can either ease the heat on him or pick a loose mob going bananas on the squishier targets than you. You don't actually TANK the target you have marked - you mark it and stay away from it so it has two choices - 1) do almost nothing 2) attack someone else with -2 penalty and if successful - eat a sword in the back.
With that in mind your Con is fine. And you totally need every bit of attack bonus especially at the beginning because if the monster you have marked manages to hit its target and you miss it with the aegis attack - you have more or less failed. If you are worried about your defenses at the beginning - start with a bastard sword and toughness instead fullblade and weapon focus. Latter you can retrain those feats but there is no retraining of ability scores lost on constitution.

It's certainly true that you would do better at heroic levels to take more standard swordmage feats and then retrain two feats at 10th and 11th levels, when the build wants to start power attacking. Having played the character once, I would never want to get rid of toughness. I got attacked a LOT playing this.

1st of all, GREAT build!


This build actually gave me the inspiration to do it for myself and retrain my character. Currently, I'm playing a 7th level Tempest Fighter (Eladrin of course!)


I even ran it through with my gaming buddy who's playing a Half-Elf Paladin that's been built to be *UBER*-sticky...


The reactions from my other group members, however, was... Less than enthusiastic, to say the least! Our party leader (Goliath Bravura Warlord, though I'm not sure if he changed that!) said I'm a lost cause and will be the 1st to die and other comments to that effect and that his Warlord-influence would not be able to help me, neither would he be willing to risk his neck to save my character!


He also said this build is nothing but a One-Trick-Pony. I've gotta admit, I did have that fear from the start, but this build is sooo fluffy and COOL!


So, what I'd be extremely keen to know is how can I best play this character to avoid being stuck as a One-Trick-Pony AND to best make use of the rest of the party:


Our 2nd Leader is a Half Elf Cleric of Sune, we have an irregular-attending newbie Elf Archer Ranger and lastly, we have a Revenant-Drow Assasin-Rogue...


The absolute LAST thing I need is where the DM throws EVERYTHING that can stun, daze, blind, or similarly inconvenience me, right? What can be done about that? Our DM also likes to throw monsters that target non-AC defences...


Any and all help would be highly appreciated!

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