Heart of the Wild: A Druid Handbook

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 Heart of the Wild: A Druid Handbook

druid picture


(Format shamelessly lifted from lordduskblade's fine handbooks)


So you want to journey into the heart of the jungle? Tame and manifest the wild beast within yourself? Go au natural?


For starters, I don't think that phrase means what you think it means. But also, it sounds like you might want to be a druid. Look no further then, this is the handbook for you.


This Handbook uses the following system for ratings:
Red: Not so great. Red means dead.
Purple: Could be useful... occasionally. Not a very good choice though.
Black: You could do worse. You could also do better.
Blue: These are things you want.
Sky Blue: These are things you really want.


This Handbook covers the following sources:
AV - Adventurer's Vault
D ### - Dragon Magazine, issue ###
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
MM - Monster Manual
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PP - Primal Power


References:
Further bulletins as events warrant.


Thanks to:
Lord Ventnor for the picture
Everyone that's posted


 

What happens to my clothes when I shapeshift? (basic class mechanics):

HP, surges, and proficiencies
Hit Points - You get 12 + Con and 5 per level. Pretty much par for the course, but better than other controllers.

Healing Surges - 7 + Con modifier. You can have an average number of healing surges as a Predator, or an incredible number of healing surges as a Guardian or Swarm(see below).


Proficiencies - You start out with hide, which is the heaviest armor you'd ever want to wear anyway. Here's a tip though: your weapon proficiencies don't matter, because you drop anything that's not an implement when you turn into beast form.


Class Features
Balance of Nature - This isn't so much a feature as a restriction. You need to take at least one beast form power, and you can't take more than two.

Primal Aspect
Primal Guardian (PHB 2) - This class path gives you better healing surges and better survivability overall than a predator. It tends to give you riders to humanoid form powers.  With the change to Hide Armor Expertise, Primal Guardians are no longer completely overshadowed by Primal Swarms in the melee department though.

Primal Predator (PHB 2) - This class path gives you a speed bonus, and tends to give you riders to beast form powers.  It is the offensive melee druid option.  The new paragon feat Pouncing Form is a huge boon to this build, as it gives you mobility with which the other two builds cannot hope to compete.  You will have much lower survivability and healing surges than a Swarm druid though. 


Primal Swarm (PP) - This path gives you resist all equal to your Con modifier in beast form against ranged and melee attacks.  Post March errata though, your AC is going to be lower than either of the other two paths.  If you plan on only playing the character during heroic tier it shouldn't be too much of an issue, but past that you might have to worry about both con and dex to the get something resembling the survivability you used to have.


Ritual Casting - Can't complain about this. Plus, Animal Messenger is one of those hilarious first level rituals that I just can't help spending gold on. But now I don't have to.


Wild Shape - This is really sort of the defining feature of the druid class. It has great tactical value because it allows you to shift as a minor action (and eventually a free action). As such, it's usually a good idea to end as many turns in beast form as possible, just in case someone catches up to you. Of course, you can only do it once per round, so be aware of that.


So you've got wild shape powers, and you've got humanoid powers. The question is, when do you use each one. As a general guideline, humanoid powers are better against multiple foes, and beast form powers are better against single foes. This is not an ironclad rule, but with your at-wills it is usually the case.


In addition, it is worthwhile to note that beast form powers tend to be more accurate. This is a result of the fact that it is relatively easy to gain combat advantage via flanking with melee powers, but not as easy with ranged powers (you need to rely on Distant Advantage for that for the most part). Of course, close and area powers in both forms suffer from decreased accuracy to one degree or another.


In addition to these general tactical considerations, there are a couple of cute tricks you can play with your at-will powers that will serve you very well if you choose said power:


- Don't be afraid to hit your friends with chill wind. The tactical benefit you get out of doing so can often outweigh the damage you deal to them.


- Pin enemies against walls. Basically, you can put an enemy in a position where it either has to provoke an opportunity attack or waste its standard action shifting away from you. Obviously, this works best against ranged attackers that don't want to provoke OAs by using their powers:


|XX
|MD
|XX


By positioning yourself like that (where M = monster, D = druid, and the Xs are spaces adjacent to the enemy), no matter where the enemy shifts he will still be adjacent to you. If you have Savage Rend, you can immediately slide him back against the wall on your next turn and put him in the same position. If you have grasping claws, you can instead pretty much stop him in his tracks if he provokes an OA to try to escape. Both of these at-wills work well with this tactic.


Healthy, Stealthy, and Wise, or how to pick ability scores:


Strength - Despite your penchant for running down prey and going for the jugular, you can pretty much ignore strength if you want. I don't understand the physics of it either, but count your blessings.  With the latest batch of errata, it's been made very clear that shields do not work in beast form.  Strength does tend to have better multiclass options than charisma as far as your dump stats go; barbarian and fighter both can provide goodies for you and both require strength (although some fighter MCs in MP2 don't, they're generally somewhat weaker than the 13 str/13 wis one is).(Recommended: 8-13)


Constitution - If you're a guardian or swarm druid, you need to keep yourself healthy (and as a side benefit, keep your AC high). It makes your powers do cool things, and plus being alive is sort of its own reward. You may want some of this even as a predator for Hide Spec and Healing Surges. (Recommended: 14-16 before racials (Guardian/Swarm); 12-14 before racials (Predator))


Dexterity - Predators want this stat for riders and to boost their AC. Guardians and swarms don't really need this very much; initiative is always nice but that's pretty much all you get out of this. On the other hand, there are a few utilities that are pretty good to have that rely on being quick. (Recommended: 14-16 before racials (Predator); 10-14 before racials (Guardian/Swarm))


Intelligence - Since you have ritual casting, I don't necessarily recommend dumping this stat (pick strength or charisma for that). But you don't depend on it for anything but skill checks, so don't worry about it too much either. (Recommended: 10)


Wisdom - Now we've come to the real thing that druids rely on: raw animal instinct. How surprising. Now me, I'm of the opinion that as a sometimes-melee class that relies on their secondary stat for AC, you don't necessarily want to push this all the way up. But it's always an option. (Recommended: 16-18 before racials)


Charisma - No one cares if you're pretty. Sorry. (Recommended: 8-10)


 


Races of the Wild:

PHB Races
Dragonborn - Hey, wow. A race that gets bonuses to BOTH your dump stats. Looks like we're off to a good start. If you're going to be a Dragonborn, definitely go Guardian or Swarm. But you're better off just picking something else.

Dwarf - OK, I guess you can come to the druid party. You have just the right stats for playing a guardian (you're probably too slow to be a good swarm). But you absolutely can't bring your hammer.


Eladrin - A Dex bonus and a slight boost to ritual casting is definitely not enough to qualify for top tier.


Elf - Unlike their studious cousins, elves have great visceral responses and quick reflexes. Plus, having 8 speed never hurt no one. There are other sky blue races here, but overall elves are the best predators bar none because of their racials, and they are strong contenders for the other two builds too despite not getting a bump to Con.


Half Elf - Just a single boost to a secondary stat. Not even close to their full elf brethren. But Versatile Master is the best thing to happen to any race, ever, so they get to stay black just because you can find SOMETHING to do with that 3rd at-will, I'm sure.


Halfling - A single boost to a secondary stat, and a bonus against OAs that you should be avoiding by shifting as a minor action. Not winning any druiding awards anytime soon.


Human - Humans make great controllers of any stripe, because controllers are defined by which at-wills they choose. Targeting all three NACDs is nothing to sneeze at.


Tiefling - Not a good choice. I never would have guessed that the offspring of diabolical pacts wouldn't have a strong connection to the wild.


PHB2 races
Deva - They get a bump to your primary stat, and they're far and away the best ritual casters. A decent choice.

Gnome - Say gno to gnomes. Sorry little guy, but your stats are just so bad that it hurts.


Goliath - Boost to a single secondary. If you want to go for a str/con race, warforged is a better pick.


Half-Orc - Nothing too special here. Despite their connection to primal classes, half orcs don't have the inner focus to be the best druids.


Shifter (Longtooth) - Not as good as their cousins, but with a +2 to wisdom they get the job done well enough.


Shifter (Razorclaw) - Great choice. Slower than elves to begin with, but faster when they're bloodied.



PHB 3 Races
Githzerai - Same stat layout as bladelings, elves, and razorclaws. Their racial is quite strong too, although it is more defensively oriented. The feats available for them are quite nice as well.

Minotaur - The advent of a wisdom based option makes minotaurs a pretty decent option.  Their racial is still garbage for a druid, but some of their at-will when bloodied/dying type of stuff ties in pretty nicely with druid at-wills (since Ferocity is an interrupt, it will sometimes save your bacon by preventing an attacking that would have KO'd you from occurring).  Too bad the str bonus does pretty much nothing.

Shardmind - They can choose to have a wisdom bump, so they perform decently.  Bonus points for have a racial fluff background that makes a good tie-in with the ability to shapeshift.  The intellect boost is pretty forgettable, but swarm druids will like it in place of dexterity if they choose shardmind.

Wilden- Their stats match up very nicely with Primal Guardians and Primal Swarms, and unlike dwarves they don't have a low speed.  Overall the PHB3 has been pretty good to druids, race-wise.

Supplement races
Changeling/Doppelganger (EPG) - Thematically great. Mechanically awful.

Drow (FRPG) - Sneakiness doesn't get you very far in this line of work if you don't have wisdom to back it up.


Genasi (FRPG) - A varied race, to be sure. You should be a Storm genasi if you want to be a Genasi druid; their lack of stat synergy is pretty terrible but Promise of Storm works extremely well with a fair number of druid spells.


Gnoll (Dragon 367) - Both secondary stats getting bumped and a high speed make gnolls a reasonable choice if you can get over the smell and the whole cannibalism thing. And as an added bonus, druids actually have a good reason to charge, so you can get some mileage out of that racial power. 


Kalashtar (EPG) - The boost to wisdom makes them viable for either path. Also, their racial trait that lets you potentially save against daze at the start of your turn is really nice, since this effectively cuts in half the average time you will spend dazed (save ends) during your turn.


Revenant (Dragon 376) - A boost to both secondary stats makes them semi-viable for either path. Being able to cherry-pick good racial feats and powers while having better stats than the parent race, plus the awesome power of having effectively 50% more hit points is pretty nice. There are a couple of nice Con-oriented feats for revenants too if you go Guardian.


Shadar-kai (Dragon 372) - Not much different from their Feywild counterparts. In fact, they're so similar they even get the same color rating!


Warforged (Dragon 364/EPG) - Another str/con race, but with some interesting side benefits. You can pick up warforged tactics to help alleviate your lack of a wisdom boost, and you can attach weapons so you don't drop them when you wild shape. Not great statwise, but there are probably some interesting combinations you can pull off as a warforged.



Other races
Bladeling (MOTP) - Same great stats as elves and razorclaws. The racial is pretty strong too, although it's more damage oriented.  No feat support though sadly.

Bugbear (MM) - Since they get no use out of their "killer app" as a druid, and they haven't got very good stat synergy, bugbears are nothing special. Half-orcs have a bit more feat support now too, although really the difference is pretty small.


Githyanki (MM) - No primary stat boost. Their racials are pretty good overall, but not enough to make them a serious contender.


Goblin (MM) - I think their racial is strong enough to make them a decent choice, despite their lack of a wisdom boost.


Hobgoblin (MM) - Meh. A pretty solid defensive racial, but if you want to use something with this layout for some reason, half elves are a way better choice.


Kobold (MM) - During heroic tier Shifty actually has relatively limited use since it overlaps with wild shape. Once you get wild shape as a free action though you can't match a kobold for mobility. No wisdom boost is a bummer, but still a very playable choice.


Orc (MM) - If you want their racial trait (fast charges) be a half-orc for better feat support. If you want their stat layout be a warforged for better feat support.

Playstyle Overview:

As you may have noticed, a large part of the druid's "thing" is its ability to shift into and out of beast form. This mechanic has a couple of consequences which I'll point out before going into the different playstyles:


- Charging is your friend! Unlike most melee classes, you can charge using any of your beast form at-wills, which means you can basically grant yourself an extra +1 to attack (+2 with a feat) whenever you want. Take advantage of that.


- You can make opportunity attacks without your friends laughing at you. Sometimes, the best way to control something (especially a ranged attacker) is to just slide it up against a wall and sit on it.


- You can shift as a minor action. And later on, as a free action.  So make sure you pop in and out as often as your action limit allows you in order to take advantage of that sweet, sweet minor action shift. Now that that's out of the way, there are three basic ways to play:


The Caster - You can focus mostly on humanoid form ranged and area spells. This is reasonably effective, as most of your humanoid form spells are pretty comparable to other controllers' arsenals. You'll most likely want to be a Guardian for this playstyle, since your speed will mean less and there's no reason to burn a feat on Hide Armor Expertise if you're not going to be in melee much.


The Rogue - It is also possible to forsake the ways of the staff and totem and just mangle things with your claws. With just the player's handbook 2, you're not going to get a lot of support for this.  However, new items and feats in AV2 and PrP have improved the viability of this option to an impressive degree.  A lot of times though you are still going to want to take powers with controller effects over straight damage powers, simply because the damage increase you get isn't good enough to justify losing the effect.


The Off-tank - This used to be an extremely strong option for Swarm druids, but after the HAE nerf you don't have nearly the same survivability as you used to.  It's still workable, but you're going to have to worry about dex as well as con in all likelihood if you plan on playing the character past heroic; at this point I wouldn't be surprised if Primal Guardians fare about as well in this role as Swarms do.  You will most likely want to pick Grasping Claws for this, because keeping enemies near you is actually the goal here.


The Opportunist - This is really what the druid was made to do. Shifting in and out of melee as needed; flanking with your allies and sliding enemies into position, and then moving back out of the fray and laying down some concentrated hurt. You'll either want to be a Predator or a Swarm for this; Guardians are relegated to supporting from the back.  I'm going to generally be assuming you'll be doing either this or the off-tank in terms of stating which powers are good. It's easy to ignore one half of the powers, it's a bit harder to figure out which powers to pick as an opportunist if I instead treated each of the first two playstyles separately.


Why is my cat-form so bad at climbing trees? (Skill overview):

Druid class skills
Arcana - You probably aren't smart enough to get the most out of this, but it's a good idea to pick this up if you're the only ritual caster in your group.

Athletics - Not a very good fit with your class stats. Unfortunately, you may still want to take it if you foresee yourself leaping across rooftops and bounding up trees after badguys. Hopefully you have some sort of fighter or rogue type that you can outsource those sorts of things to though.


Diplomacy - A corollary of the fact that no one cares if you're pretty is the fact that no one cares if you're eloquent.


Endurance - A decent pick, though you may have a hard time fitting it in. But it's always nice to not turn into a slime from the inside out, dying horribly.


Heal - This can either be priceless or not that useful in combat depending on the durability of your party. You'll also need it for things like cure affliction though, so you might want to take it regardless.


History - You don't need book smarts, and you don't need history for rituals. You can safely ignore this choice.


Insight - A good pick if you have a lot of social encounters.


Perception - Always a good choice. This can be a lifesaver.


Other skills
Acrobatics - You could do well with this if you're a Predator.

Bluff - No one cares if you're tricksy.


Dungeoneering - Keys off your main stat, but it's one of the less useful wisdom skills.  Maybe pick it up if no one else has it.


Intimidate - Somehow, no one is afraid of you.


Religion - You could consider this if you really want to round yourself out as a ritualist. It's probably not worth picking up unless you're getting it from a multiclass feat though; there aren't that many rituals that require religion.


Stealth - Predators can make good pretend rogues in a pinch.


Streetwise - No one wants to talk to you. Are you seeing a pattern here?


Thievery - Once again, you can make a good fake rogue if you're a Predator. Thievery has fewer combat applications than stealth, but disarming traps is also somewhat more urgent than occasionally getting combat advantage, so consider what your DM is likely to throw at you before you take this one.


Champions of the Wild (Druid stat layouts):

Under construction while I take in all the new options from Primal Power.

Call of the Wild: Heroic Tier Powers

At-wills
Call of the Beast (PHB 2) - You get a reasonably strong effect from this power, and since the 11/09 update it only hits enemies. The downside is that it's very low damage (or zero damage if the enemy chooses not to violate).  It does qualify for psychic lock at paragon tier, which is probably its saving grace.

Chill Wind (PHB 2) - Unfortunately, it targets fortitude (the silver lining to that is that you won't be able to hit your defender with it). Now that the bad news is out of the way though, this power is quite excellent in most other respects. It qualifies for wintertouched/lasting frost without having to jump through hoops with items, and the "controller effect" attached to it is pretty useful even if you hit your allies with it.


Firehawk (PP) - Easily the best single target ranged at-will that druids have access to.  Start of the fight and you want to keep a melee enemy away?  FIREHAWK.  Controller giving you a hard time with status effects?  FIREHAWK.  Artillery hiding from your melee and raining down hurt?  FIREHAWK.  Wine stains on your dress leathers?  FIREHAWK.  OK maybe not the last one, but the rest of them?  Yes.  This is absolutely the best at-will in the game for locking down distant artillery and controllers, so embrace its uniqueness and take this at-will just like every other druid is going to.  You should talk to your DM about this power though, because if they interpret "can provoke an opportunity attack" to mean "provokes an opportunity attack" that makes the power really weak.


Flame Seed (PHB 2) - A decent power that essentially punishes the target for movement. It could also work as a minion killer in a pinch if you don't like chill wind for some reason, although the fact that you need to actually target a creature makes it a little less versatile in that regard. On the other hand, you can rack up some decent damage if you combine it with slide effects (hint: chill wind is a good start!) or if you can manage to wall off corridors with it. It used to be the best single target at-will for druids, but now there is FIREHAWK.


Grasping Claws (PHB 2) - It's hard to say no to a power that slows the target and can be used as an opportunity attack. If only you were a defender, this would be the only power to even consider taking. As it is, it's a very strong choice, offering status control instead of the tactical control of Savage Rend.


Grasping Tide (PHB 2) - Another awesome choice for your area power. The downside over chill wind is that it doesn't apply for wintertouched and the secondary effect can miss; the upside is that knocking enemies prone is quite a bit more powerful than sliding them. Plus it does more damage.


Pounce (PHB 2) - You can mostly leave this one at home. It can't be used for things like opportunity attacks or warlord powers, and with the advent of the Distant Advantage feat getting combat advantage is pretty easy for just about any class. It would be an OK second beast form at-will, but at this point you should just take Swarming Locusts instead.  It wouldn't be a terrible choice if the other beast form options weren't just so much better.


Savage Rend (PHB 2) - Another solid power that can be used as a melee basic attack. It is probably more situational than Grasping Claws, but the tactical opportunities it provides can't be underestimated. It's also a very good way to run away from something without OAs if you get caught at the start of your turn in humanoid form.

Spirit Briar (D 386) - This is rarely going to be better than Storm Spike, and it relies on a secondary stat instead of your primary one.  Not terribly useful in my estimation.

Storm Spike (PHB 2) - This is kind of like Flame Seed in reverse. Use it on enemies that are flanked laterally (not diagonally) and it's essentially a strikerish power. You'll probably get more mileage out of FIREHAWK though.


Swarming Locusts (PP) - If you're in beast form a lot and so you feel like area bursts aren't for you, this is a great way to get some area damage into your life.  The blast hurts allies, but the effect only applies to enemies.  Basically obsoletes pounce.


Thorn Whip (PHB 2) - Pulling two really gives relatively little advantage in the vast majority of cases. If it were slide 2 or maybe pull 5 then we'd be talking, but really you should leave this sort of thing to wardens and avengers.


Level 1 Encounters
Call Forth the Spirit Pack (PP) - If you have a defender that can multi-mark this is alright damage and a good way to help your defender be sticky.  I would say the best level 1 pick for a guardian.

Close to the Kill (PP) - If this doesn't kill or bloody your target, you've just done 1d12 + wis damage.  Next.


Cull the Herd (PHB 2) - Another power that has a single target pull affect. Not very impressive.


Darting Bite (PHB 2) - There's no real control aspect to this power. You can always use multiattacks and mobility, of course, but this power is far from stellar.


Frost Flash (PHB 2) - The damage is pretty sad for an encounter, but immobilization is a decent effect, and later on setting up for wintertouched isn't anything to sneeze at.


Scattered Form (PP) - This is not a bad choice for a secondary defender.  Not a bad choice at all.


Stinging Cloud (PP) - If this didn't hit allies it would be fantastic, but as it is it is likely to just be 1d10+wis in a burst, as enemies will easily be able to move out of it most of the time.


Thorn Spray (PP) - This is your best pick as a predator at level 1; for some reason they've decided to give predators a leader-like bonus here but it's a pretty good one.  Note that this does hit your allies, so be careful.


Twisting Vines (PHB 2) - This power looks good on paper, but it's really hard to use in practice. If you use it on melee opponents, you're probably also slowing your friends down. If you use it on ranged opponents, they probably don't need to use their whole move action anyway.


Level 1 Dailies
Earth Roots (PP) - Pretty decent if you can lead off the fight with it and keep some of the enemies brutes and soldiers slowed for a round or two.

Faerie Fire (PHB 2) - As long as you can manage to avoid hitting your allies, this is a great power. Targets will, slowed (save ends), and does a more than reasonable amount of damage for an AoE power. Sign me up.


Fires of Life (PHB 2) - Less damage than Faerie Fire, but it also doesn't hit your friends. If you can manage to hit a few minions with this then the effects of the power are great.


Fog of Insects (PP) - The effect is nice for an off-defender, but notice that the power hits all creatures in a close burst.  That makes it pretty difficult to use unless you are in a very low melee group.


Form of the Primeval Ape (D 383) - A situational bonus that really doesn't provide very much to you and only lasts until the next time you switch out of beast form.  Not worth it.

Form of the Primeval Bear (D 383) - +1 damage isn't very much, and this only lasts until you shift out of beast form.  Might be decent for a grab based build with Constrictor's Grasp.

Form of the Primeval Boar (D 383) - The bonus isn't terribly strong for a daily and it only lasts until you shift out of wild shape.  No good.

Lightning Arc (PP) - Potent if enemies are bunched up, as you can daze + prone two enemies.  Not that great otherwise though, and pretty low damage.

Savage Frenzy (PHB 2)
 - Does less damage than either of the above options, although dazed is a nice condition. Overall it has the most true control of any of the options at this level, so it's a pretty solid choice. Of course, if you are in melee range with a bunch of dazed and slowed enemies, expect them to attack you.  Excellent option for swarm druids that want to play defender.


Summon Fierce Boar (PP) - I am really not a fan of instinctive actions that sometimes target your allies.  It is nice flavor, but not great strategy.


Summon Giant Toad (PP) - The toad is great at always attacking something, and a lot of times that something will be the thing you set it on in the first place.


Summon Pack Wolf (PP) - Not nearly as likely to target allies as the boar is.  Being able to prone things with an instinctive action isn't bad.


Wind Prison (PHB 2) - I'm not sure what to think of this power. On its own, knocking everything in 5 squares prone would be pretty nice, but since the enemy gets to choose when to end the effect it's less valuable tactically.


Level 2 Utilities
All-Encompassing Nature (D 386) - Usually there will be someone else in your party that can do these sorts of checks for you, so I would skip this unless you have absolutely no one with a high intelligence/training.  However, if you are the group's sole ritual caster then you might consider this for out of combat applications.

Barkskin (PHB 2)
 - This goes from decent at low levels to really really great at high levels. Obviously, this is not really a good choice for predators.

Ferocious Transformation (PP) - This doesn't confer a huge tactical advantage, and unlike Barkskin it isn't actually going to prevent you from taking damage.


Fleet Pursuit (PHB 2) - Unlike Barkskin, any class path can make good use of this if they start with a non-zero dex mod. At the upper tiers of play, this just gets absurd for Predators though. Do you REALLY need to be at 16 speed for anything?


Obscuring Mist (PHB 2) - This is a decent choice if you are in a melee heavy group. If not though, it's more trouble than it's worth.


Resist Energy (PP) - The nice thing about this power is that it affects allies, but you do have to be adjacent to them which is kind of a bummer.


Skittering Sneak (PHB 2) - Ah, your first wild shape utility. This one doesn't have very much combat use, because combat advantage is so easy to get without stealth. It can be a good choice if you're a Predator playing the part of the rogue though.


Sudden Bite (PP) - This can provide an enemy with a nice surprise, and if you're using wild shape as a shift-as-a-minor it's likely to come up almost every encounter.  Less useful for off-defenders, who want to stay in wild shape mostly.


Verdant Bounty (PP) - Most likely something that's useful out-of-combat for sneaking around, but if you have a heavily ranged party the stealth checks might be appreciated.


Warding Wind (PP) - Just take Barkskin instead of this power most likely.  If you could use this in beast form, it would be nice for Swarm druids, but you can't.


Level 3 Encounters
Battering Claws (PHB 2) - Another pseudo-striker power. At least this one slides the targets a little bit. Overall though, there are better options at this level.

Call Lightning (PHB 2) - A decent area denial type power. It does hit your friends, but at least they don't suffer from the afteraffects.


Feral Harrier (PP) - Mobility is nice, but only if you actually do something useful with it.  This just mediocre damage and has no effect attached.


Flowing Swarm (PP) - Pretty decent damage for a swarm druid, but at the end of the day that's all it is.


Ironbreaker's Claws (PP) - Not that great for most builds.  It would be nice for Swarm secondary defenders, but Roar of the Unbowed Beast is probably better at this level.


Roar of the Unbowed Beast (PP) - A power that marks as a druid is a bit odd, but given that Swarms often actually want to be getting attacked and Guardians have no real need to stay in melee range once this power is used, it can be a good choice for either build.


Predator's Flurry (PHB 2) - Dazing two targets is pretty decent, and if you're a Predator with a high dexterity then the two targets don't even need to be that close to each other. It's like Color Spray but without the ability to make your teammates angry at you.


Thorn Castle (PP) - If I'm reading this right people firing out of the thicket take a cover penalty to attack as well, which makes this a rare artillery control power.  Keep in mind that you'll also have trouble attacking the artillery.


Tundra Wind (PHB 2) - This does target fortitude, but it still has a very nice effect attached to it. Knocking everything prone is great; the slide you get if you're a Guardian is an excellent cherry on top to prevent the afflicted target from being able to charge.


Level 5 Dailies
Clinging Drones (PP) - This is exactly what you want as a pseudo-defender.  You might even want to keep this your entire career.  Real defenders only wish they had a power that did this.  Combine with Grasping Claws for a vortex of ultimate win, and this power can be salved too.

Hobbling Rend (PHB 2) - Another in the "target two enemies, debilitate them" line of powers. Not a bad choice.

Form of the Primeval Lizard (D 383) - The effect is alright for a secondary defender, but it only lasts until you shift out of beast form and Clinging Drones is much, much better at this level anyway.

Form of the Primeval Spider (D 383) - As a utility power this would be fun.  As a daily attack, not so much.

Form of the Primeval Wolf (D 383) - The effect here is alright, but only lasts until you shift out of beast form.  Not worth it overall.

Primal Spider (D 382) - A nice way to start off an encounter against melee enemies; open with this and then toss a Chill Wind or Grasping Tide on them next round.  The slow effect is a nice added bonus.


Primal Wolverine (PHB 2) - A primarily defensive power. It's alright for Guardians, especially if you find yourself getting attacked a lot.


Roar of Terror (PHB 2) - So... Color Spray, but with a save ends effect. If you can avoid hitting your friends, this is a good choice.


Summon Fire Beetle (PP) - This will probably hit your friends a fair amount of the time, but it will also probably hit a lot more enemies over the long run.


Summon Guard Drake (PP) - A fun defender-type summon.  Unconventional, but probably pretty useful.


Summon Shadow Ape (PP) - Concealment's a decent status infliction I suppose.


Summon Stalking Panther (PP) - Meh, just damage, and not really that much of it.


Vine Serpents (PP) - Not a bad way to start an encounter if you win initiative.  It will wreak havoc on allies too though if you wait too long to use it.


Wall of Thorns (PHB 2) - This is also another one of those things where if you cast it on melee then you're slowing your friends down too, and if you cast it on ranged then they don't care. At least it blocks line of sight; if you position it well you can perhaps entice ranged attackers to come closer. And of course walls are nice in conjunction with your wide suite of sliding powers.


Level 6 Utilities
Black Harbinger (PHB 2) - Another beast form utility. This one has some decent combat utility if your DM uses a lot of types of terrain. Plus, flying is fun.

Creeping Vines (PP) - More of an out of combat utility, but it could certainly have its uses.


Camouflage Cloak (PHB 2) - Lets you or an ally avoid an opportunity attack for casting a ranged spell once per encounter. More importantly though, it will let you get combat advantage against everyone you attack with your area attacks for a couple of turns.


Chant of Sustenance (PHB 2) - A weird metamagicky utility. Most of your zones are either sustain minor or not that great, but I'm sure there's some multiclass combination that can put this to good use.


Rebuking Thorns (PP) - Either you're a defender and you want to get hit or you're not and you don't.  This power either punishes things that are forced to hit you or convinces things not to attack you in the first place; either way it's a solid choice.


Rodent's Agility (PP) - Decent mobility, but if you're a mobile melee type this is probably going to be obviated in paragon by Pouncing Form.


Stalker's Eyes (PHB 2) - Can be useful if you fight opponents that use stealth or invisibility a lot.


Swarm Dispersal (PP) - A good utility to save your bacon when you're in trouble.  Combine it with defendery Swarm powers to force things to attack you while it's active for more fun.

Treetop Lurker (D 382) - Meh, I don't see a huge advantage to taking this over Black Harbinger; fly speed is better than climb speed 99% of the time.


Level 7 Encounters
Blood Spray Bite (PP) - A small amount of forced movement, but to a large number of enemies if you're a predator.  Combine with an Earthfall Totem for more fun.

Feast of Fury (PHB 2) - Another fake striker power that doesn't offer any real control. Skip it.


Latch On (PHB 2) - Because of the rider on this one, you can get your effective defenses against the escape pretty high if you're a Predator. This is one of the few druid powers you really can't use effectively as the "wrong" build; if you're a Guardian this is red or purple because your Reflex defense is going to be easy to break.


Plague of Locusts (PP) - The combat advantage probably isn't enough to make up for the mediocre damage unless you're a Swarm, and even then it's not amazing, but it could be useful.


Poison Sting (PP) - The good news is that it's a great way to convince your enemies not to reposition themselves.  The bad news is it's a great way to convince your allies not to reposition themselves.  If you can find a way to reliably pull this off without hurting allies though it's a pretty excellent power for a druid defender.


Swirling Winds (PHB 2) - Pulling one square isn't good enough to pass muster most of the time. This can be decent area damage if you set it up with Flame Seed though.


Tremor (PHB 2) - It does target Fortitude, but knocking lots of things prone is nice.


Wind of Blades (PP) - This is the type of power that is OK to use on your allies.  Notice that even if you hit them, the effect applies to your enemies adjacent to them.


Level 9 Dailies
Death's Bounty (PP) - Low damage and an effect that is completely unpredictable.  It could be great, but it hurts your allies too so most of the time it is going to suck.

Entangle (PHB 2) - A very delicious power. How can you say no to a zone that slows only enemies and lets you crit on 18s? The answer to that question is "Sunbeam", but this is still a good choice.


Feral Mauling (PHB 2) - Only works on a single target and the effect isn't as good as other options at this level. Not impressed.


Flurry of Stingers (PP) - Swarm druids seem to have a lot of close burst powers that hit allies.  That's pretty annoying, but the effect on this power is decent enough if you can get it off without harming your friends.

Form of the Primeval Cat (D 383) - A +1 speed bonus would be nice if it lasted longer than the next time you shifted out of beast form.

Form of the Primeval Raptor (D 383) - Accomplishes basically the same thing as a level 6 utility power, and doesn't even last as long.  Granted, it does provide better action economy but it's a daily attack power for crying out loud!

Form of the Primeval Serpent (D 383) - This is not even on the same level as the other Primeval X powers.  Swim speed is very situational, and the attached on-use power is very weak for its level.

Pain from Perseverance (D 386) - In a best case scenario this is vulnerable 5 (save ends), which is pretty weak for this level but not horrible.  However, unless you're really stacking a specific damage type it becomes a lot less useful.  Also, while giving powers keywords (especially thunder) can be the basis of a build, it's a lot less appealing when you can only take advantage of it for one encounter per day.

Primal Serpent (D 382) - This color code is pursuant to a couple of conditions:  if you have a hard time acquiring a Staff of the Serpent or you fight a lot of undead and don't have Venom Hand Master (from an assassin multiclass) then think twice about this one.  Assuming neither of those apply to you though, it's a substantial source of extra damage for a Con based melee druid.


Primal Wolf (PHB 2) - Another defensive daily power. This one has a lot more power behind it though, and the initial effect is pretty good too despite only targeting one creature.


Summon Crocodile (PP) - Pretty solid choice.  Your enemies will probably have an easy time escaping since one of your two defenses will be low, but even so it makes them waste their move action, and unless they move or charge away they'll just get attacked again next turn.


Summon Proud Bear (PP) - Performs pretty well against Large and larger targets because of its huge attack bonus.  I don't know if I'd pick it, but it does add a pretty significant amount of damage in those situations.


Summon Great Eagle (PP) - I'm of the opinion that combat advantage is relatively easy to get, but having this thing flying around granting it isn't the worst way to use a daily power.


Sunbeam (PHB 2) - This spell targets will, only hits enemies, and blinds (save ends). What more is there to say?


Level 10 Utilities
Animal Clan (PP) - This lets you attack twice with your summons using your standard and minor.  That's a pretty good deal, although you'll want to trade it out in epic tier when you can get Primal Summoning Expertise.

Animal Shapes (PP) - A fun out-of-combat utility.


Armor of the Wild (PHB 2) - This is not a good power for Predators.  It is good for Guardians and great for Swarms though (since the resistance stacks with your class feature).


Cleansing Rain (PP) - This one seems awfully specific.  I guess if you face a lot of fire or acid enemies because of your campaign then it's pretty good.

Diving Fin (D 382) - A situational power at best.  Nice for a water themed/seafaring campaign.


Feywild Sojourn (PHB 2) - Essentially a teleport spell with a long windup. Being able to spend a healing surge is nice too I suppose.


Goodberry (PP) - The HP options are small to the point of not being worthwhile, but the saving throws as a minor action are very nice.


Roots of Rescue (PHB 2) - This can be useful in a pinch, but there are better options at this level.


Swarm Swap (PP) - Turnabout is fair play.  Your damage reduction doesn't work against blasts and bursts so this is a nice way to get a freebie.


Winter Storm (PHB 2) - This is really just an incredible utility if you're going the wintertouched route. Not only does it work without requiring any attack rolls at all, but you can apply it to every enemy in an 11x11 square (eventually). Just be aware that the difficult terrain counts against you and your allies as well, so it will have some costs on a team that is primarily melee oriented.

Blessing of the Wild: Paragon Tier Powers

Level 13 Encounters
Claws of Retribution (PHB 2) - If you combine this with one of your difficult terrain zones, this can be pretty nasty. Get in the middle of a bunch of enemies, use this, and then deal out massive damage when they can't shift away. You'll have to worry a bit about your life expectancy though. The rider is helpful, but even Guardians may want to pick this power.

Floating Death (PP) - This can be quite a lot of damage if you time it right.  Just make sure you don't hit your allies with it, because it targets them too like most swarm close bursts.  I'm assuming the range on the secondary attack is close burst 1 as well, although it isn't printed anywhere.

Expose Weakness (PHB 2) - This can be a pretty great setup move for your allies. It only lasts for one attack though, so use it wisely.


Oak Skewer (PP) - Single target and requires a fairly specific condition to apply the immobilize.  There are better choices.


Rending Claws (PP) - Yet another Predator power with a leader type bonus.  Don't bother with this if you're a guardian or swarm, but this is pretty excellent for a predator with a team that can nova well.

Thunder Crash (PHB 2) - No damage at all, and it targets Fortitude. But stunned is a solid condition, so it evens out.

Tidal Surge (PHB 2) - Pretty similar to the level 3 encounter tundra wind, although sliding is a lot better than pushing. It's a functional spell nonetheless.


Twin-Horned Bolt (PP) - This could be nice if you have a lot of enemies in a line, but I don't see that coming up very much.  Note that this is a very low accuracy power if you use it as intended, since your enemy is always going to have cover.



Level 15 Dailies
Baleful Polymorph (PHB 2) - Targets Will, stunned (save ends). That's a tough act to follow.

Devouring Flies (PP) - A pretty decent leader-like pick for a caster.  This is one of those rare powers that doesn't affect allies, and the zone is pretty decently sized too.

Call Lightning Storm (PHB 2) - This would be nice if it didn't affect your allies. As it is, it's pretty annoying to use.

Devouring Ice (PHB 2) - Not anywhere near as cool as Baleful Polymorph, and it targets Fortitude. It gets some points for being reliable and benefiting from wintertouched though.

Primal Boar (D 382) - A good way to get a freebie charge in, and a substantial bonus to damage for the rest of the encounter.  Not bad.  Makes you wonder why all these strikerish powers they're adding aren't very good for predators though.

Primal Crocodile (D 382) - Another nice power for secondary defenders.  Even though your grabs are pretty easy to break, your enemy is going to have to give up their move action and provoke an OA if they want to attack someone else.

Revitalizing Pounce (PHB 2) - This is an incredible comeback move if you find yourself getting hit with status conditions frequently.

Slashing Claws (PHB 2) - No matter how hard you try, you aren't going to be a striker. This does decent damage, but that's all it does. Take something else.

Summon Lightning Drake (PP)
- Assuming that there are about the same number of monsters as players on the field, you can expect this instinctive action to deal about the same amount of damage to allies and enemies. Considering that monsters tend to have more HP than characters do, this is a TERRIBLE bet.  If you get Primal Summoning Expertise in epic tier then this is a way to use an AoE effect three times in one round, while getting to choose what area you're hitting.  At that point this power becomes alright.

Summon Razorclaw Bat (PP) - It does damage and nothing else, but at least it does a pretty decent amount of that. I think you can expect the savage tiger to end up doing more damage overall though, since it can attack with its instinctive action some of the time.  This one gets quite a bit better once you pick up Primal Summoning Expertise in epic tier, since with you controlling it the fact that its instinctive action doesn't do anything useful doesn't matter.

Summon Savage Tiger (PP) - Another damage only summon, but its output is the highest of the bunch so far.

World Warp (D 386) - The defensive aspect here is somewhat appealing, but at this level stunned (save ends) is a much more appealing effect than causing one round of action loss/enemy attack.



Level 16 Utilities
Darting Viper (PP) - You should probably have enough mobility at this point (if mobility is something your build is even interested in).  It's not bad, but the opportunity cost at this level is high.

Dryad's Trees (PP) - This is a nice tactical movement power.  Your strikers can spend every other turn completely out of harm's way by teleporting every turn, or you can find more creative uses for it.


Elusive Wind (PP) - The same thing pretty much applies here as it does to Darting Viper.  Not bad, but not that great compared to other things here either.


Feral Recovery (PP) - Saving throws as a minor action are always nice to have, although this power being a daily is kind of a bummer.


Howl of the Wild (PHB 2) - Spending a healing surge as a minor action is nothing to sneeze at, and the extra healing you generate for your party is great too.

Insect Plague (PHB 2) - The level 16 wild shape utility. As always, the power of flight is good, and this time it's hover and makes you insubstantial to boot. I would say pick this up for sure, except that wall of stone exists...


Phantom Beast (PP) - Another 1 turn mobility boost.  Same thing applies as to the other options like that at this level.

Primal Restoration (PHB 2) - A decent healing burst for a beleaguered party. Too bad it's pretty short range and takes a standard action.

Wall of Stone (PHB 2) - Once per day, you can immediately remove one or two enemies for most of an encounter by sliding them into a corner and making a wall that reaches the ceiling. Might not be much fun, but you can't say it isn't powerful. However, this power is DM dependent, and if you find yourself only fighting in sprawling meadows and vast auditoria, this power is purple for you.



Thanks to black-mage for the excellent observation that you can encase a medium sized enemy using only 10 squares. That makes this a great choice even outdoors.

How to trap an enemy
Diagram below: 0 is enemy, X is wall, - is blank space.

At floor height:
XXX
X0X
XXX

One square above floor height:

---
-X-
-X-



Level 17 Encounters
Cloud of Sparrows (PP) - A decent amount of damage and it doesn't hit allies.  No status effects attached to it though.  Could be decent if you feel like you need a get-out-of-jail-free card as a caster.

Devouring Swarm (PP) - At this point you are probably already getting a lot of temporary hit points from Bolstering Swarm if you are a Swarm druid.  So this is basically just damage for the most part, and it hits allies.


Hungry for the Kill (PP) - Nothing in the way of control and not much damage, but it's a pretty potent recovery power.  The predator rider is alright, but this works well enough for any build.


Inexorable Smash (PP) - Dazed plus a long slide is not a bad combination, even if it's only against one target.  Push something out of charging range and you've basically cost it a turn.


Lightning Cascade (PHB 2) - Another power in the "status effects on two targets" line. This one is pretty nice, since you effectively have the opportunity to add your damage modifiers three times, and as an additional bonus you get to slow both targets.

Scavenger's Prize (PHB 2) - You don't get much use out of the grab itself because one of your defenses will be easy to break out of. However, being able to shift with the target isn't bad if you're a Predator; you can set up an artillery or controller to get decimated by your teammates.

Shifting Rake (PHB 2) - I don't see this being that useful. It's like Viper's Strike, if Viper's Strike could only be used once per encounter.


Torrential Storm (PP) - Hits allies, doesn't do that much damage, and has a rather mediocre slide effect.  The aftereffect is alright but it also affects your allies that were hit with it.


Windstorm (PHB 2) - Yet another spell that slides but targets fortitude. It can slide them REALLY far if you're a Guardian though, so you might consider this power in that case.



Level 19 Dailies
Entangling Thorns (PHB 2) - A pretty good effect, but nothing awe inspiring and you have to worry about hitting allies. If you have a high initiative score and you can expect to go before all your opponents at least once per day, the effects are pretty nice though.

Lunge and Vanish (PHB 2) - This could be a cool effect on an encounter power, but on a daily for a class that doesn't require combat advantage for anything in particular and already has great ways of avoiding OAs, it's underwhelming.

Primal Bear (PHB 2) - This is an interesting option for predators; that boost to Fortitude means you might actually be able to sustain the grab for a reasonable amount of time. And even if it escapes, the +2 AC is nice.

Primal Lion (D 382) - The lasting effect isn't amazing (although it's not bad).  But the attack itself is absolutely devastating; you can probably attack more than half the enemies in the fight with a dazing attack.

Pummeling Hail (PP) - This power is kind of at cross-purposes with its intended build.  Swarm druids are OK with having things attack them, but this zone really incentivizes them to avoid the druid.  Overall though this is not a bad power and you can probably find one time a day to use to for good terrain-blocking effect; it just doesn't really work that well for swarms.


Summon Swamp Behemoth (PP) - This will be an extremely fun summon until it dies from opportunity attacks.  Note that it doesn't work very well with Primal Summoning Expertise since its good power only works once per round.  Still not bad though, and even it's "regular" attack is OK damage.


Summon Guardian Briar (PP) - A defensive aura sort of summon.  Not a bad bonus, but this is a daily slot we're talking about.


Summon Thunder Bison (PP) - If you want damage, just take the Swamp Behemoth power instead.

Thorns of the Hinterlands (D 386) - This is a pretty strong map control ability.  Use it to protect yourself and other area bursters, or just use it as a stumbling block for enemy artillery and skirmishers.

Tremors (PP)
- Combine this with something that causes difficult terrain or slows and you have a recipe for a bunch of enemies that aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Winter Hailstorm (PHB 2) - Another cool (get it?) power that suffers from hitting your allies. It can be pretty devastating with wintertouched though, and it's probably the best option for a Guardian at 19.

One with the Wild: Epic Tier Powers

Level 22 Utilities
Fey Circles (PP) - A very cool concept; too bad you can only use each circle once.

Phantom Beast (PHB 2) - You get several choices at this level for your beast form. This one is more defensive, but the phasing also gives you some mobility. Unlike most of the other utilities that affect beast form though, this only works for the turn you enter wild shape. On the other hand, it also doesn't restrict you from attacking.


Protective Whirlwind (PP) - A reasonably strong defensive power for casters.  Swarms can also use it to keep things close to them in combination with Grasping Claws; an enemy can only move a total of 2 squares inside this zone using two move actions while it is slowed, and you can then slide it adjacent to you at the end of its turn.  Rinse repeat.

Sky Talon (PHB 2) - Flying is great. Being able to attack while flying is even better. There are a lot of good utility powers at this level, but this one takes the cake.


Stonebones (PP) - Fifteen resist is a whole lot, especially if you are a swarm druid that is expecting to get attacked.


Tortoise Shell (PP) - If this just worked then it would be OK, but having to sustain it as a minor is fairly unimpressive.


Tree of Life (PP) - Regeneration 5 is not a whole lot at this point, although the fact that it applies to everyone is nice.

Unseen Beast (PHB 2) - There's just no shortage of good level 22 utilities. This works like Phantom Beast, but with a somewhat more offensive bent.

Unyielding Roots (PHB 2) - If you are a guardian, this is kind of like giving everyone in your party Boundless Endurance. Of course, it costs you your minor actions, so you'll probably need to be avoiding shifting, but it's still quite good.



Level 23 Encounters
Blinding Swarm (PP) - Nothing wrong with a power that blinds multiple creatures, even if you aren't a Swarm druid.

Fearsome Fangs (PP) - I have to admit, I don't get this power.  It's a respectable amount of damage, but all the other stuff attached to it doesn't seem that useful to me.

Fungal Eruption (D 386) - A save ends penalty on an encounter power is somewhat unusual, but you'll get no complaints from me.


Grasping Earth (PHB 2) - It suffers from the whole "targets my friends" thing, but if you're a Predator it's a great way to set up an action point combo with some beast form multitarget attacks.

Primal Roar (PHB 2) - This is a very good power. The fact that it only targets enemies and hits close blast 5 is just great, and the fact that it targets will is gravy.


Rain of Fire Needles (PP) - This is a huge amount of damage if you can combine it with something that immobilizes or restrains enemies to keep them in the zone.


Razor Snare (PP) - Less damage than Rain of Fire Needles, but it only targets enemies and it does add combat advantage if you're a predator.

Stormburst (PHB 2) - Another power that slows all targets in a burst. This one at least has a large enough area that if you use it on artillery or controllers they'll have a hard time getting out of the zone before they take damage twice.

Strength of the Hunt (PHB 2) - Spending healing surges is pretty good I suppose. If you have a lot of trouble keeping yourself conscious, then this could be an alright choice, but overall there are better options at this level. It's somewhat more appealing as a Guardian, even though it's really more of a leader power than a controller power.



Level 25 Dailies
Avian Cloud (PP) - Excellent power to combine with either caster powers that slow and immobilize or swarm powers that keep enemies adjacent to you.

Creeping Doom (PP) - The daze effect is nice, but sadly it only lasts for one turn.  The zone effect is not super impressive since it hits allies.


Ferocious Maul (PHB 2) - A huge amount of control against a single target. Probably somewhat better as a Guardian for that slide effect, but a good choice for either path.

Fey Lure (PHB 2) - A huge zone that only affects enemies, has a great damage type, and gives great tactical control. Sounds like fun.


Primal Ape (PP) - A cool defensive buff, but it only lasts until the next time you shapeshift.  At this point, everyone has feats that only happen when you shift out of/into wild shape, so it's hard to see the buff lasting for very long.

Primal Panther (D 382) - The attack isn't anything special, but the effect is very nice for both secondary defenders AND run-of-the-mill melee druids.

Primal Storm (PHB 2) - Uhh... yeah. Wow. Use this with some encounter powers that knock enemies prone for devastating effects. Bonus points if you have allies that can do the same.

Primal Tiger (PHB 2) - It's polearm gamble for druids. Absolutely great, especially if you have Grasping Claws.

Summon Proud Mastodon (PP) - Not only does this give you a prone at-will and a fair amount of damage, but it will do it as an instinctive action too. This has a lot of competition at level 25 but it's still a very strong choice.

Summon Razorclaw Behemoth (PPP) - Likely to do lower damage than the Mastodon and it doesn't have anything control related to it.  Skip.

Writhing Henge (D 386) - If you have Primal Summoning Expertise, you can get a ridiculous 18 attacks maximum out of this every turn.  Realistically you'll get fewer because of range issues, but nonetheless, this outputs a lot of damage and you don't have to worry about hitting your friends.



Level 27 Encounters
Behemoth Stampede (PP) - Push + prone is a nice combination; knock some things out of charge range and make them lose a turn.

Death Fangs (PP) - Excellent damage for a druid power.  Still, I would have a hard time picking this over Leaping Rake as a predator.


Disorienting Drone (PP) - If you want an area daze power and you're not a predator, this is the place to look.  Predators should take Leaping Rake.


Explosive Wind (PHB 2) - Hilarious name aside, this is a mediocre power at this point. If you really feel like you don't have enough powers that slide already then go for it, but there are better choices at this level.

Feral Whirlwind (PHB 2) - Just damage, no status. Kind of a waste.


Howling Doom (PP) - Area immobilize is pretty comparable to area prone + slide in a sense.  Solid pick.

Leaping Rake (PHB 2) - Not that great for Guardians or Swarms. But Sky Blue for predators; you'll probably be able to daze just about every enemy on the field for a turn if you've been keeping up with that dexterity modifier.

Polar Blast (PHB 2) - Finally, a Cold spell that targets Reflex. The rider here is pretty nice too as long as you can avoid your allies. Good choice for a Guardian overall.


Thunder Claw (PP) - Super low damage, but stunned is an excellent condition.



Level 29 Dailies
Blinding Blizzard (PHB 2) - Totally awesome. As long as you avoid hitting allies at the outset, you can use this zone to restrain enemies with relative ease. As a side benefit, every opportunity attack you hit with makes lasting frost go off, which makes wintertouched go off with the next opportunity attack, which makes... yeah.

Earth Maw (PP) - Unlike your summons, this can't be damaged, which means as long as you can sustain it it'll keep sticking around.

Gaze of the Beast (PHB 2) - Another level where I wish it made sense to give two powers a sky blue rating. This offers shorter lasting control, but it's dominated (save ends). That's really hard to argue with.


Hunter's Heart (PP) - A nice way to increase your accuracy against a solo or elite.  Viable for any build.

Lifeleech Thorns (PHB 2) - Not a bad power, there are better ones at this level.

Primal Archetype (PHB 2) - Shifting two as a move action is awesome for a class that likes to charge. Stunned (save ends) is nice too. Another solid choice, though I think not quite as good as Blinding Blizzard and Gaze of the Beast.

Summon Elder Pack Wolf (PP) - This is your only summon with an opportunity action, and you still get to use the instinctive action in conjunction with it.  There's a good chance that an enemy adjacent to the wolf isn't going anywhere.

Summon Storm Behemoth (PPP) - If you have primal summoning expertise, this will let you spam an AoE three times per round.  The instinctive action is terrible though.  Even if there weren't so many strong options at this level, this guy suffers from the same problem as the lightning drake: you can expect his instinctive action to do as much damage to friends as enemies.  If you don't have primal summoning expertise, don't even think about this.


Whirling Firestorm (PP) - OK from a damage standpoint I guess but it doesn't have any useful aspects other than that, and it's going to make your friends mad to boot.

Sharpening Your Claws: Recommended Feats

Now, we're not going to talk about every feat in existence here. Just things that are good, and things that might seem good but actually aren't.

General Heroic Tier Feats
Combat Reflexes (PHB) - You can get some mileage out of opportunity attacks, but they don't really come up often enough that you should think about getting this one.

Defensive Mobility (PHB) - You get a little less out of this than most melee classes, since you can shift as a minor action. It's not a terrible pick for anyone that plans to mix it up in melee though.

Durable (PHB) - More healing surges are always welcome, though there's a good chance you won't even need them, especially if you are a swarm or guardian druid.

Fast Runner (PHB) - You can probably charge fairly often, and you can even make decent use of the run action once you hit paragon tier and don't grant +2 for combat advantage. This is a pretty decent choice.

Improved Initiative (PHB) - Kill them before they can spread out! You may want to trade this out once you hit paragon and can get Stalking Panther Form.

Powerful Charge (PHB) - Consider this if you're a pseudo-striker; after all, charging is what you're all about. Otherwise, a +2 damage boost to your beast form at-will(s) probably isn't worth the feat slot or the strength expense.

Quick Draw (PHB) - You'll need this feat if you want to multiclass into a weapon wielding class. Otherwise don't bother, unless you have something specific in mind.

Shield Proficiency (Light) (PHB) - Check with your DM to see if this is going to work for you in beast form.  If so, it's about the only way to boost your AC with feats in heroic tier, so you might consider it as a melee druid.

Toughness (PHB) - More hit points = more better.

Weapon Focus (Staffs) (PHB) - The current wisdom is that this applies to implement powers channeled through staffs, so even though it's boring you may as well take this. It lets you sidestep the whole stupid elemental subtype feat set if nothing else.

Wintertouched (PHB) - Don't take this until the beginning of paragon when you can get lasting frost, but as soon as that happens grab it and don't look back if you are a caster. More on this in the tactics section, but even if the only cold spell you have is chill wind this is a decent investment.

Combat Medic (PHB 2) - I think this is a pretty nice feat just for the sake of hedging one's bets, but YMMV if you don't have people falling unconscious regularly.

Coordinated Explosion (PHB 2) - Hilarious and awesome in conjunction with chill wind and a party of Agile Opportunists.

Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - This helps ranged spells more than area spells, and the vast majority of your area spells can also hit your allies if they're flanking, but it's not awful.

Implement Expertise (PHB 2) - Yes, yes. Take it, you practically have to. Or better yet, convince your DM to give it to everyone for free since it's a secret math fix.  I suppose it's actually strictly inferior now to Versatile Expertise if you're using a staff or Alfsair Spear.  Or whatever.

Surging Flame (PHB 2) - A low level boost for Flame Seed is nothing to complain about, although depending on your campaign setting this feat may be largely unnecessary.

Timely Respite (PHB 2) - This feat isn't good enough to make second wind an appealing use of an action. If you're a dwarf this is probably black or blue though.

Battle Caster Defense (PHB 3) - This probably isn't strong enough to make it into every build at this point, but considering that you are a character that likes to (a) be in melee range and (b) cast area and ranged attacks, this isn't a bad choice.

Focused Mind (PHB 3) - This is a pretty nifty feat for druids.  The heavy action economy of shifting combined with our ability to generate zones and do cool things when we opportunity attack means that dazed is a bad condition for us to have.

Hafted Defense (PHB 3) - I'm guessing that this doesn't apply in beast form since you aren't really wielding a weapon at that point.  Maybe your DM thinks otherwise though, in which case this is a pretty nice defensive feat.

Superior Implement Training (PHB 3) - Accurate implements are probably the way to go for the most part.  You might consider something with Forceful too if you want to empower Chill Wind and its encounter power brethren.

Hide Armor Expertise (PP)
- For Swarm druids only; and even then probably only ones designed solely for heroic tier.  If you plan on playing past level 8 or so you're probably going to want to build your swarm druid with a mixture of Con and Dex.  Absolutely worthless for Guardians and Predators.

Reckless Charge (PP) - I could see taking this feat once you've capped out some other ones.  Druids don't have many great ways to boost their AC though, so the armor penalty is worrisome.  Note that at the very least Enraged Boar Form is strictly better for you unless you plan on charging in humanoid form.

Staff Fighting (D 368) - The benefit of this feat probably doesn't apply in beast form where you need it most, but it's the easiest way to increase your AC before paragon tier.



Racial Heroic Tier Feats

Deva:

Auspicious Lineage (PHB 2) - Memory is a solid racial power and this just improves it.

Focus of the Spirits' Lives (PP) - If you are building a beast form oriented druid, you might want this over Auspicious Lineage.  If you don't plan on being in beast form a lot or you care more about caster form powers, take Auspicious Lineage instead.

Potent Rebirth (PHB 2) - Something that requires you to fall unconscious to gain any benefits? I'll pass, because I am overwhelmingly self confident.

Radiant Power (PHB 2) - I sincerely don't understand why this feat exists. I guess for fighting undead.

Dragonborn:

Adaptable Breath (D 365) - If you want to spend an entire feat to marginally boost a single encounter power, I can't stop you. You've already chosen to be a dragonborn druid.

Admixture Breath (D 365) - The same thing applies if you want to spend two feats on it.

Dragonborn Frenzy (PHB) - This works well with the +1 attack you get when bloodied. Sadly, it doesn't scale at all.

Enlarged Dragon Breath (PHB)
- Don't get me wrong, Dragon Breath is a good encounter power, but enlarging the radius doesn't necessarily make it much better.

Hurl Breath (D 365) - On the other hand, THIS feat makes your racial quite a bit easier to use.


Spirits of the Primal Dragons (PP) - To make this worthwhile, you've got to have area powers or multi-attacks, but if you do then it's decent.

Drow:


Druid of Darkness (PP) - Take this after you've taken other damage boosting feats if that's the route you want to go.

Instinctive Darkness (FRPG) - You don't normally use immediate actions, so this can be a nice get out of jail free card.

Shadowslip (FRPG) - Not bad in conjunction with instinctive darkness, but it's pretty feat heavy at this point.


Spider's Swiftness (PP) - Excellent feat if you are a melee druid, since you will very frequently be getting the +2.  Skip it if for some reason you're a drow caster druid.

Dwarf:


Dodge Giants (PHB)
- Once you start running into more Large enemies, this feat gets more and more useful. Solid.


Spirits of Stone (PP) - Good times.  Note that it's attack ROLL, not attack, so it works better with single target powers.


Stone Step Spirits (PP) - Not only does this give you the most useful part of the coveted elven Wild Step, it also lets you charge really, really easily.

Eladrin:

Fey Charge (MP) - Notably, NOT a druid feat. It is a fighter feat. But since you're pretty good at charging, this can be fun.

Moon Elf Resilience (FRPG) - An extra second wind that doesn't cost a standard action is nice. Definitely better than the alternative of Sun Elf Grace.


Elf:

Elven Precision (PHB)
- A good choice for any class, but pick up wild elf luck first; it's a little bit better.


Eyes of the Spirits (PP) - Boost your allies' accuracy against targets with concealment, all of the time forever.  Not a bad deal.

Wild Elf Luck (FRPG) - A nice little boost for your nice little racial.

Genasi:


Earthshock Master (FRPG)
 - Reliable is a nice boost, the 1d8 damage is just kind of gravy.

Extra Manifestation (FRPG) - This is pretty decent, especially with Fast Manifestation

Fast Manifestation (FRPG) - You basically get an extra encounter power. Trade this out for dual manifestation at epic though.


Manifest Healing (PP) - Once you have two manifestations and fast manifestation this is a lot of THP, twice per encounter.  You want to pick those two up before this though, otherwise it's not that great.

Gnoll

Butcher's Lure (Dragon 367) - Not generally useful in combat, but SO COOL.

Gnome:


Fey Trickster (PHB 2)
- See butcher's lure, although you don't get these as at-wills sadly.

Group Stealth (PHB 2) - This can be pretty good if you have a subtlety oriented campaign.

Shadow Skulk (PHB 2) - This mixes well with your ability to start encounters hidden.

Goliath:

Markings of the Blessed (PHB 2)
- An extra chance to save every encounter is nice, though I don't know if it's really feat-worthy.

Markings of the Victor (PHB 2) - An extra attack roll every encounter... now we're talking.

Half Elf:

Group Insight (PHB) - A +1 initiative bonus for everyone is pretty nice if you're out of class feats. You can be one half of one heroic tier warlord.

Half Orc:

Anger Unleashed (PHB 2) - Use your resources wisely so that you can use this feat to kill them with damage.

Savage Assault (PHB 2) - -1 isn't enough of a penalty to justify taking this.

Thirst for Battle (PHB 2) - Is a gaining a healing surge worth losing one point of initiative? I'm inclined to say yes, but YMMV.

Halfling:

Halfling Agility (PHB)
- Kind of a trap feat to be honest. There are so many defense boosting feats that boosting your defenses by 2 against a SINGLE attack per encounter is not worth it.

Lost In the Crowd (PHB)
- This is just a great feat. Any halfling that plans on being in melee should take it. You are only in melee half the time, so you should... half take it?


Primal Halfling Counterattack (PP) - If you've got multiattack powers then this is pretty nice.  Otherwise you can probably skip it.

Human:

Action Surge (PHB) - Breaking News: This feat is good.

Human Perseverance (PHB) - Ah humans. So useful, so flavorless.

Stubborn Survivor (FRPG) - This works nicely with both the above feats.

Minotaur:

Their feats are mostly focused on Goring Charge, which makes them traps. You pretty much never want to use Goring Charge as a druid.

Revenant:

Soul Feats (D 376) - I'm not going to go into detail on these simply because there are so many of them and they basically mirror the power level of the racial abilities they mimic. Just read at the race rankings to get a decent idea of what's good.

Death's Quickening (D 376) - That minor action is pretty useful as a druid. It's quite a bit MORE useful in paragon when you can expect to get the benefit more than once though; I would rate this as blue once you have Fierce Vitality.

Shadar Kai:

Life on the Edge (D 372)
- A bit weaker than humans' action surge, but a strong pick nonetheless.

Shifter:

Blurring Claws (PHB 2)
- Read carefully: +2 to weapon damage rolls.

Gorebrute Charge (PHB 2) - Most of the same caveats that apply to powerful charge apply here. Yes, you can charge effectively, but do you do it frequently enough for +3 damage in those situations to matter?


Razorclaw Shifter (PP) - A defensive type of mobility talent for a race that is most likely going to be a predator is pretty good.

Tiefling:

Scion of the Gods (FRPG) - A pretty good deal for heroic tier if you're into that sort of thing. Outclassed by paragon defenses though.

Hellfire Blood (PHB)
- Take this if you have firehawk. And you should have firehawk.


Rites of Spirits' Blood (PP) - Equates statistically to half of a +1 attack bonus, plus a little extra, so it's not terrible.

Warforged:

Component Modification (D 364) - Extra temporary hit points are always good, but improved warforged resolve will most likely be strictly better unless you have a very high Con and lots of components. They stack, but pick this one second if you're taking them both.

Immutability (D 364) - Extra saving throws are lots of fun.

Improved Warforged Resolve (D 364) - Hooray for extra temp HP.

Warforged Tactics (D 364) - A nice bonus that applies to pretty much all your beast form powers.



Heroic Tier Class Feats
Agile Form (PP) - Yes, take this.  Combine it with pouncing beast armor for charge setup awesomeness.

Ape's Reach (D 383) - A decent feat, but keep in mind it only works while you're bloodied and it will make it impossible to charge into a flank when it's active.  In other words, it's good, but it's not for everyone.

Beast Form Eyes (D 383) - Someone else in your party probably has low light vision even if you don't already.

Cheetah's Speed (D 383) - This isn't a good as fast runner in my opinion since it's situational and the extra +2 is often going to be wasted.

Constrictor's Grasp (D 383) - They're really trying to make grab druids a viable build, but the defense issue is hard to get around.  If you have and use Latch On, this could be a pretty nice choice, but for most builds it isn't worth it.

Enraged Boar Form (PHB 2) - A nice boost to your charge attacks.

Ferocious Tiger Form (PHB 2) - Meh. If you're going to pick up feats that circumstantially boost your melee damage by small amounts, this is probably one of the better ones.

Monkey's Rush (D 383) - No.  Bull rush is never worth it for druids.

Patient Hunter (D 382) - So you've given me a feat to marginally boost an at-will to a level that makes it STILL not worth taking over Swarming Locusts?  No thanks.

Predator's Burst (PP) - Assuming the version in the text (as opposed to the table) is correct, it's OK but not great.  If you go by the table then it's blue, and combined with some other feats you're on your way to making your charge attacks hit on a 2.

Primal Fury (PHB 2) - Statistically this averages out to +.5 to your attack rolls. This one is a keeper.

Primal Guardian (PHB 2) - A more leader-like feat, but decent nonetheless. If you have a rogue in your party he'll love you for this one.


Quick Stow (PP) - A feat that lets you multiclass into weapon classes.  If you have that type of multiclass it's almost necessary.  Otherwise it's not terribly useful for the most part, unless you want to have super shoplifting skills or something.

Ruthless Killer (D 382) - Improves the power of an already great at-will.  Note that you need to remain adjacent for the immobilize effect to remain in place, so you may not want this feat if you are a predator or guardian; you should only be taking it if you want to be getting hit.  It's not useless for a predator or guardian (it's still quite effective against artillery and controllers) but you should really ask yourself if it's worth a feat slot.

Shifting Wind (D 383) - Second Wind isn't usually something you want to end up using, and this feat doesn't make it much more worthwhile.

Slithering Form (D 383) - Combined with Belt of Slave Fighting this makes being prone an actual valuable condition.  The only disadvantage is that charge builds won't work with this feat, but this is definitely something you could construct a build around.

Stinging Swarm (PP)
- A little bit of tertiary leader to go with your secondary defender.  No complaints here.


Strong-Willed Summoning (PP) - This gets better once you get to late heroic and can plausibly summon something every encounter or close to it.  Until then it's not that great.

Unstoppable Beast (D 382) - Gives you even more tactical options with Savage Rend.  I'm not sure whether it's worth a feat slot though.


Watchful Guardian (PP) - The first in a line of feats that will make you wonder why they want you to be adjacent to people as a Guardian.


Wild Bull Rush (PP) - This is a silly feat.  Just take Savage Rend, it's much better than a bull rush.



Paragon Tier General Feats
Armor Specialization (Hide) - There's a good chance you'll want this if you're in melee a lot.  You can get the con for it even as a predator by level 21 just by having a 13 in con at level one.  If you are a Guardian or Swarm, you'll want to replace this with Second Skin at epic tier.

Danger Sense (PHB)
- Not quite as good as Improved Initiative, but it stacks!

Defensive Advantage (PHB) - I actually like this feat quite a bit. You can flank with your teammates to up their damage, and boost your defenses at the same time.

Devastating Critical (PHB) - Take this feat later rather than sooner; it's one of the few damage boosts that applies to all of your powers, but you can't crit on 19s unless you're a Blood Moon Stalker so it ends up not being that great.

Fleet Footed (PHB) - This is decent, but you may want to consider Hunting Wolf Form as well. It only gives a bonus in beast form, but it also gives a +5 feat bonus to Perception.

Great Fortitude/Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes (PHB)
- Mostly obviated by paragon defenses, and completely obviated by robust defenses in epic tier. They used to be good, but not anymore!

Improved Second Wind (PHB)
- This feat is a trap, pure and simple. Get things like Toughness and Durable instead.

Lasting Frost (PHB) - If you have Chill Wind, get this and wintertouched and start doing some damage.

Seize the Moment (PHB) - If you take Improved Initiative/Danger Sense, this works well with them to decimate bunched up enemies at the start of a fight.

Uncanny Dodge (PHB) - This is a great feat for anyone who goes into melee and has the wisdom to qualify.

Paragon Defenses (PHB 2) - No reason not to take this really.

Quick Recovery (PHB 2) - Take this if you find yourself running out of healing surges at the end of the day, if not don't bother.

Reserve Maneuver (PHB 2) - This seems decent, but nothing to write home about. It could be nice if you don't like your paragon path level 11 though.

Vexing Flanker (PHB 2) - I'm really not sure if I feel like this is a feat that every melee attacker should have, or if every ranged attacker should just have Distant Advantage instead.

Eyes in the Back of Your Head (PHB 3) - Somewhat similar to Uncanny Dodge.  However, while this feat only applies to flanking, it removes combat advantage entirely, not just the attack boost portion of it.  So lurkers and skirmishers don't get their bonus damage.  Either one is worth taking; I don't know that I'd take both though.

Repel Charge (PHB 3) - This is pretty nice, especially since as a controller it will be your job to make sure enemies have to charge if they want to attack.  If you have Savage Rend and you follow a strict reading of the rules regarding interrupts, this is more or less a must have feat because it means you can (in addition to attacking) prevent the charge attack altogether by sliding the enemy away.


Paragon Tier Racial Feats
Deva:

Ascendant Lineage (PHB 2) - I haven't crunched the numbers on this, but it seems pretty decent.

Astral Renewal (PHB 2)
- This is a nice feat if you fight a lot of undead.

Dragonborn:

Dragonborn Zeal - A lot of prerequisites, but it's pretty damn good in a vacuum. It also takes away your level 12 utility though, so it's a pretty high price.

Empowered Dragon Breath (PHB) - This is somewhat better than most of the heroic tier feats because it actually boosts your damage in a way that doesn't depend on the specific encounter.

Drow:

Flickering Shroud - Reverse Darkfire? Not bad.

Highborn Drow - This is a pretty nice power if you are light on melee. As a minor bonus, you get a little bit better at ritual casting.

Master of Fire and Darkness - A free extra encounter power. I have no idea how this interacts with highborn drow, but maybe two free extra encounter powers.

Merciless Killer - Normally flat damage bonuses aren't the business of a druid, but +5 is a lot, and combat advantage is one of the easiest requirements to satisfy, especially with wintertouched.

Dwarf:

Dwarven Durability (PHB) - Like you had a choice.

Eladrin:

Fey Step Trailblazer (D 364) - A nice addition to the tactical suite that druids already have access to, especially if you're MCing fighter for Fey Charge.

Elf:

Running Shot (PHB) - You DO have ranged attacks, and you CAN use the run action, so this could be good.

Genasi:

Shocking Flame (FRPG) - Once again, while damage isn't really your thing, +4 is quite a bit, and being in melee is something you'll have happening quite often.

Gnome:

Fade Ally (PHB 2) - Very interesting tactical opportunities can arise here.

Surprising Disappearance (PHB 2) - Combat advantage is pretty easy to get already, but might as well make it a little bit easier.

Goliath:

Unyielding Stone (PHB 2) - This is a very nice effect if you're a guardian (which as a Goliath you probably ought to be).

Half Elf:

Versatile Master (PHB 2) - You want this. That is all.

Half Orc:

Unrelenting Assault (PHB 2) - Unless I'm mistaken, this gets all your passive modifiers (enhancement, feat bonus, etc) added on to it, so it's not half bad.

Halfling:

Underfoot (PHB) - One of the best mobility feats in the game. The only catch is you need training in acrobatics. You really probably don't need it as a druid, but it is great if you already have training in acrobatic for some reason.

Human:

Action Recovery - Turn an action point into a defensive tool. It still lets you take an extra action so no complaints here.

Minotaur:

Beast Within (D 369) - The attack bonus makes this a pretty good feat, especially if you are a Guardian or Swarm and have the HP and surges to not worry about getting bloodied every so often.

Revenant:

Death Scorned (D 376) - On the one hand, this does improve your life expectancy to some degree if you're a guardian. On the other hand, if you are given the opportunity to roll more than three death saving throws very often then this feat may not be able to fix what ails your party.

Fierce Vitality (D 376) - If you ever get reduced to 0 hit points, this feat is extremely good.

Reaper's Strike (D 376) - Not bad if you have a lot of single target powers. It only works on one attack roll though.

Shifter:

Beasthide Shifting (PHB 2) - If you've gotten bloodied, you can probably make use of 2 resist all. Solid.

Warforged:


Improved Immutability (D 364) - Costs you your level 12 utility. It's nice, but hard to justify that cost.



Paragon Tier Class Feats
Bolstered Swarm (PP) - This feat is incredibly good.  Now you get to add more than TWICE your con mod resist to some attacks.

Bolstering Guardian (PP) - Well this is at least something that's useful for your ranged attacker friends.  I'm not sure it's feat-worthy though; if it didn't require you to be adjacent then it would be nice.

Brutal Grappler (D 382) - I'm not a huge fan of grappler builds since druids always have one weak defense against escapes.  That being said, it's certainly an option, especially with the new Primal Crocodile, and it combines pretty nicely with Latch On if you're a predator.

Commanding Form (PP)
- Moving your summoned creatures costs them their instinctive, but if they weren't going to get one anyway then getting to reposition them as a free action is very cool for a class that has a lot of use for minor actions.

Fierce Thrasher (D 382) - An extra square of sliding improves Savage Rend's versatility dramatically, and this feat works with any encounters or dailies you might have too.

Hunting Wolf Form (PHB 2)
- This might or might not be better than fleet footed. The +5 perception bonus is very nice, and the beast form requirement isn't too arduous.


Pouncing Form (PP) - Wow this is an amazing feat.  Retrain Agile Form for this because it is redundant now.  Now you have no excuse for charging every time you use an at-will.

Quick Wild Shape (PHB 2) - This is an amazing feat; there's really very little excuse to not pick it up. It makes things that have a Sustain: Minor clause much easier to use.


Scattering Swarm (PP) - If this let you avoid the damage, it would be pretty nice, but I don't think it does.

Stalking Panther Form (PHB 2) - As long as you remember to always be in beast form at the start of a fight this is a good pick over improved initiative. If your campaign is such that you find yourself starting a lot of fights in humanoid form and/or you don't really need to use stealth, then stick with
II.

Scuttling Crawler Form (D 382) - Thematically this power is appealing, but mechanically how badly do you need to be able to climb well?

Turtle Shell (D 383) - Second Wind is not a good ability to be using unless you can do it as a free or minor action.  If you can, then this feat MIGHT be worthwhile if you take a lot of damage.

Venomous Fang Form (D 382) - There aren't actually that many things that are resistant to poison; most of the trouble with poison damage comes from undead, who are straight up IMMUNE, making this feat not terribly useful even if you deal poison damage regularly.

Vital Form (PP)
- Second Wind is usually a waste of a standard action, and this doesn't change that.  Absolutely great if you have some way of using your second wind as a non-standard action though (e.g. being a dwarf, being a Blood Moon Stalker, or having the epic feat Wild Surge).


Warning Guardian (PP) - It seems like they're trying to play up the secondary leader angle with these guardian feats, but it's a shame that they're only useful in melee where Guardians are not at their strongest.



Epic Tier General Feats
Blind-Fight (PHB) - This isn't bad, depending on what status conditions you end up encountering frequently in epic.

Epic Resurgence (PHB) - You most likely can't crit on 19s, but this still isn't a terrible feat if you've got nothing else to take. If you took the Blood Moon Stalker paragon path, this is probably blue.

Unfettered Stride - This effectively costs two feats, since you need training in acrobatics. Nonetheless, being able to completely ignore difficult terrain is potentially very attractive to a class whose whole deal involves being able to shift 1 as a minor action.

Epic Fortitude/Reflex/Will (PHB 2) - None of these is a bad choice, although you probably don't have the space to take all three.

Indomitable Will/Opportune Reflexes/Unyielding Fortitude (PHB 2)
- You'll probably just want to take Robust Defenses instead of these unless you have a LOT of feat real estate lying around.

Primal Resurgence (PHB 2)
- Uhh... yeah. Take this.

Long Step (PHB 3) - This feat applies to the wild shape shift, as well as just plain old shifting.  So if you charge at all then... yeah, take this.

Rapid Regeneration (PHB 3) - This might be decent for Con druids in conjunction with Primal Aspect Form.

Superior Initiative (PHB 3) - A clear upgrade from Improved Initiative.

Second Skin (PP)
- I would recommend taking this as a Swarm or Guardian.  If you're a predator, you can't afford it with a 16/16 spread and a wis/dex race, but if you didn't do that then pick it up by all means.


Epic Tier Racial Feats
Deva:

Transcendent Lineage (PHB 2) - Once again, I haven't done the math, but this seems like it's pretty decent.

Genasi:

Double Manifestation - An extra set of racial bonuses and an extra encounter power? Say yes to this (and retrain fast manifestation if you have that).

Goliath:

Ancient Stone (PHB 2) - A good boost to a good racial.

Gnome:

Vanishing Act (PHB 2) - Fey Step is a good racial power.

Revenant:

Eerie Resurgence (D 376) - The best part of this would normally be the ability to stand as a free action when you get a 20+ on a death saving throw, but since as a revenant you are most likely already standing it loses a certain amount of charm for you. The bonus to death saving throws isn't terrible though, given that fighting while dying is sort of your race's thing.

Ghostly Vitality (D 376) - This is another feat you should definitely consider picking up, especially if you also have Fierce Vitality. Make sure to retrain out of Death's Quickening if you have that, since this is just better.

Shifter:

Burst of Savagery (PHB 2) - I think the effects of shifting are usually going to be more attractive than the benefits you gain from using it up. The option is nice, but I don't think it's worth a feat slot.


Epic Tier Class Feats
Guardian Resurgence (PP) - Requires you to be adjacent AND requires an ally to use second wind.  Unless you have a party full of dwarves, expect this to basically never see use.

Primal Summoning Expertise (PP) - Another "made of glorious win" feat.  Even if you only have one summon a day, this is probably worthwhile.


Swift Predator (PP) - Even more mobility.  The only reason not to take this would be if you literally are never in a situation where you need more movement speed.


Primal Aspect Form (PHB 2) - Needless to say, the utility of this feat really depends on how much damage you find yourself taking. If you're bloodied fairly often, this is decent.


Wild Surge (PP) - Excellent survival feat.

Multiclassing as a Druid

Druids, unfortunately, are not great at multiclassing overall. You can do it, and it is often worthwhile, but you have to be sort of careful. There are a few considerations when multiclassing, both general and druid-specific:

- Make sure there is stat synergy. As we're going to see, there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking this is a good idea; if you want powers from another class you need to be able to hit with them. As such, if you plan on taking attack powers, you'll want to multiclass into a class that is either based on wisdom, constitution (guardians and swarms), or dexterity (predators). There is an exception here: you CAN choose an intelligence based multiclass and just ignore dexterity and constitution, because INT boosts your AC and your secondary stats aren't so important that you will be unviable if you forsake them. For the purposes of these ratings though, I'm mostly assuming you are sticking with wis/con/dex.

- Try to pick things that share implements. This isn't a strict mechanical goal, but it is cheaper if you follow this guideline. Unfortunately, you are pretty limited in your selection of implements so you'll often have to ignore this rule.

- You have a hard time wielding weapons. Anything you are holding that isn't an implement, you drop whenever you wild shape. So be aware that if you multiclass into a weapon wielding class, you'll either need to find a weapon that is also an implement, or pick up the Quick Stow feat. This is doable, so being a weapon wielding class isn't a death sentence for druid multiclassing, but you need to be aware of this restriction.

That being said, let's first get the bad multiclassing choices out of the way before we get to the good ones:

Poor multiclass options

Paladin - Takes both of your dump stats just to be able to multiclass and uses a weapon.

Warlord - Its three stats are intelligence, charisma, and strength, and it uses weapons. The perfect class to NOT multiclass into as a druid.

Wizard - See the caveat above about choosing int based classes, but generally if you want to get a second controller as your multiclass an Invoker is a much better choice.

Swordmage - Again, you CAN make intelligence classes viable, and in this case the fact that a Swordmage uses a weapon doesn't matter because they count as implements. It doesn't have any particular synergy though so there's no real reason to go for it.

Bard - Another Cha based class. Skip it.

Sorcerer - Yet another Charisma based class. The utilities are occasionally based on Dex, but not enough to make this useful.

Warden - Unfortunately, due to the new rules on Polymorph (only one active polymorph effect at a time) you can't really get very much out the warden. Some of the utilities are nice, but the feat itself doesn't do much (you will probably never want to mark). Hard to recommend, and it seems like it should work better than it actually does.

Ardent - Poor stat matchup and an easily replaced multiclass benefit (you can pick much better classes to grab a leader power from).  And they use weapons.  Next.

Psion - Poor stat matchup (aside from their weaker secondary stat, but that's largely irrelevant anyway since you won't be able to make attacks hit).  You could hypothetically poach some utility powers, but I don't think Psions have any that are worth spending two feats on.  As before though, see the caveat about intelligence classes being usable if you REALLY want them to be.

Runepriest - You can make use of both of their secondary stats, but using any of their attacks is right out, and there's the whole weapon wielding issue.

Seeker - Your stats line up pretty nicely (especially as a predator) but on the whole druids have stronger utility powers and stronger higher level attack powers.  You can work out the whole weapon-wielding issue by using an Alfsair spear, but overall this multiclass isn't worth it.


Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the things you may want to consider multiclassing into.

General purpose multiclasses
Cleric - A nice choice. You share your primary stat, and the cleric is not very reliant on secondary stats. If you just want to pick up the feat itself and maybe a utility, the cleric is the leader for you. If you want to trade out attack powers, shaman might be better because of the implement synergy, but clerics are still perfectly functional in that regard.

Fighter - A surprisingly viable choice. Stances like Quicksilver Stance work well with your ability to make "fancy" melee basic attacks, and the utilities will boost your survivability. Just don't try to trade out real attack powers. Multiclass feat of choice: Battle Awareness.

Ranger - Better overall for predators for obvious reasons (probably blue for them), but the utilities are often wisdom based, and hunter's quarry for two turns is not anything to frown at. Feat of choice: Warrior of the Wild

Avenger - Nominally slightly stronger for predators, but very few of their attacks actually have riders for multiclassers, so it's essentially equally viable from either side of the spectrum. This is a strong choice because you share an attack stat, they have a surprisingly large array of controller-like powers for a striker, and Oath of Enmity on one target per encounter is awesome for any class that can use melee attacks. You may also want to give the Unveiled Visage paragon path a look; it has some nice options if you're not interested in the druid ones. Feat of choice: Hero of Faith (until it gets an erratum that is).

Barbarian - The class feat itself and the fact that rages are awesome make this an option. In particular, Oak Hammer Rage, which knocks enemies prone whenever you hit them with a melee attack, is an excellent option. You will need to lower your dexterity to qualify early on for this feat as a predator, and guardians and swarms might be able to get more use out of utility-swapping, but overall a solid choice for either one. Again, like with fighters, just make sure you don't try and use their actual weapon powers.  Barbarians also got some nice multiclass friendly feat support for people that charge, so this is definitely one to look at.

Invoker - You share both an attack stat and an implement (and you share the better of your two implements, to boot). Having an Invoker at-will once per encounter is nice versatility, although the Divine Channeler option could be useful too.

Shaman - The first multiclass feat isn't impressive, but the second one is an encounter healing power, without having to trade out any utilities.  That's pretty good on its own, and you also share an attack stat and an implement.


Pseudo multiclass options
Bravo (Dragon 373) - This opens up a fairly decent daily power. It's questionable whether it actually is better than any of your in-class options though.

Cutthroat (Dragon 373) - You don't start out with the Bluff skill by default, which makes this a pretty costly choice. The daily is pretty good if you're a pseudo-striker though, as a lot of druid dailies aren't so strong for damage.

Poisoner (Dragon 373) - You don't really have anything with the poison keyword. Any class can make reasonable use of the power-swap feats, but you're basically giving up feats for no good reason.


Guardian and Swarm Multiclass Options
Warlock - The only class in existence with Con as an attack stat. The warlock has a lot of nice controller-like powers though. You do need to have 13 cha to take the feat sadly, but it's perfectly doable and opens up some nice options (especially for encounter powers, where druids tend to be a bit weak in my opinion).


Predator Multiclass Options
Rogue - You share dexterity, so this is an option. Roundabout Charge is a pretty nice feat to pick up once you have this MC.  Note though that you cannot get training in acrobatics from a Rogue MC, so you'll have to decide if you want to pay such a heavy feat penalty to pick it up.  Feat of choice: Sneak of Shadows.

Monk - The multiclass benefit itself is relatively strong here, and good stat synergy means you can also feasibly swap out attacks to gain a bit of melee prowess while in caster form.

Assassin - Again, the stat synergy matches up for predators, but you can't do anything too exciting as a druid/assassin.  It's there if you want it though.

Exemplars of the Wild: Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies

Druid Paragon Paths
Blood Moon Stalker (PHB 2) - This is a decent paragon path for you if you're a pseudo-striker. The nice things about it are the action point feature and the level 16 (crit on 19s in beast form).  The attack powers aren't that great, but if you're a pseudo-striker then they'll do.  I would say overall that Coiled Serpent has somewhat usurped this paragon path's role as a pseudo-striker PP.

Guardian of the Living Gate (PHB 2) - A more leader oriented paragon path. Guardian Action and Enduring Spirit are both quite nice features, and the first ward (the encounter power) is a great way to set up an area daily power on your next turn. The utility and daily are decent too.

Keeper of the Hidden Flame (PHB 2) - Keeper's Action is VERY nice for your single target powers, and if you have allies that like to charge then Leap to the Fray is also extremely good. Spirit of the Beast can be quite useful as well if you can manage to use it on controllers or artillery with weak melee attacks.

Sky Hunter (PHB 2) - It's a very cool theme. But nothing in this paragon path is really very standout; unless you're regularly having three encounters a day where you need to be able to fly just take Sky Talon and Black Harbinger and pick a paragon path with less situational powers. It does get better at epic tier when lots of enemies are able to fly and that +2 to attack kicks in more often, but still hard to recommend.

Blightbeast (D 373) - Pretty much a Guardian/Swarm only path, as a couple of its features are based on your Constitution modifier. This path offers some pretty significant extra damage once you hit level 16, as anything you attack in beast form will become vulnerable to all of your further attacks in beast form (and any attacks your allies do that cause necrotic damage of course). The powers are alright, but they're nothing special (aside from the utility, which is an awesome mobility power that you can use every encounter). This might also be a consideration if you're a swarm pseudo-striker, although I'm not really sure how the math works out in comparison to Blood Moon Stalker.

Coiled Serpent (PP) - The main benefit of this path is the 2d6 extra damage on beast form melee attacks, though the encounter and daily attacks are not bad either.  This is one of the stronger pseudo-striker PPs.  Keep in mind that it is poison damage, so if you're in an undead heavy campaign you may want to rethink it or multiclass assassin to pick up the Venom Hand Disciple feat.


Luminescent Swarm (PP) - An excellent daily power and a pretty nice aura combine to make this path worthwhile for Swarm druids.


Pack Lord (PP) - I would say that this is the weaker of the two summoning oriented PPs, although it isn't terrible.  The utility gets obviated in epic tier by Primal Summoning Expertise, and you miss out on the really excellent Primal Slayer summon.  That being said, it's not a bad choice; the +1 to attacks and defenses in particular is nice.


Primal Summoner (PP) - A great option for summoner druids.  The wording on Move as One doesn't imply that you are giving a command to your summon when you take advantage of it, so it can still take its instinctive action (though check with your DM about that).  The utility isn't very good until epic, but once you have Primal Summoning Expertise it is incredible.  In addition, Primal Slayer + Primal Summoning Expertise is a whole lot of damage; three multiattacks per turn in fact.  Combine that with your PP's encounter power and an action point and you are talking about a murderous summoning rampage.


Spiral Wind's Ally (PP) - If you want to downplay your primary role and take advantage of your leader secondary role as a guardian, this is the path for you.  A very healing oriented path, which is atypical for 4E druids but not bad mechanically.


Storm Speaker (PP) - This would be nice if druid thunder and lightning powers were mechanically strong on their own, but as it is to take advantage of this PP you are going to have to choose a lot of powers that are suboptimal to begin with and then boost them up to an acceptable level, rather than taking good powers and making them even better.


Whirling Samara (PP) - The daily power is pretty cool, but for the most part this paragon path has pretty underwhelming features.



Racial Paragon Paths
Adroit Explorer (PHB 2) - As with most things human, this is a very strong and versatile pick. Overall, I think druids tend to have weaker encounter powers and stronger daily powers than most classes, but the utility provided here is still quite potent, and being able to use an action point in the first three encounters of a day is stellar.

Ancestral Incarnate (PHB 2) - Kind of an odd path; a couple of the features are not necessarily weak but aren't really combat oriented. Could be decent if you are playing a less combat-oriented campaign.

Firstborn of Moradin (PHB 2) - Meh. Attacks based on strength. The level 16 class feature is pretty nice, but overall this isn't a great choice for a druid.

Moonstalker (PHB 2) - A high wisdom modifier and a lot of powers that have to do with knocking enemies prone make this a choice that synergizes well with druids. The level 20 is a weapon based power (so you'll want to be using a staff, not a totem), but it does target Reflex. And the rest of the features are quite nice.

Twilight Guardian (PHB 2) - The level 16 feature gives you Unfettered Stride 5 levels early and without having to take acrobatics, and Accurate Action is awesome. The only complaint I have about this paragon path is that its attacks can't benefit from implement mastery. Overall though, a very strong choice.


Multiclass Paragon Paths
Divine Oracle (Cleric, PHB) - If you're picking up powers that target will, this is a great choice. And of course Good Omens is an excellent nova power no matter what powers you're picking up.

Warpriest (Cleric, PHB) - Most of this path is pretty useless to you, but if you are a swarm secondary defender then the ability to gain a mark with a mark violation clause is absolutely incredible.

Unveiled Visage (Avenger, PHB 2) - This is really a much stronger path than Sky Hunter if you want some flying related options. The powers aren't very spectacular (though being able to make flying attacks in humanoid form with the level 20 is great), but Soaring Charge is awesome enough to carry this paragon path on its own.

Angelic Aspect (Invoker, PHB 2) - Its strange that Invokers seem to get better druid paragon paths than druids do. This is a more defensively oriented path, but it's still decently strong.

Flame of Hope (Invoker, PHB 2) - Your intelligence modifier is likely to be pretty weak, so this paragon path can't perform at full capacity, but its powers are strong enough to make it a worthy option.

Hammer of Vengeance (Invoker, PHB 2) - The great thing about this paragon path is Enduring Castigation. Note that the penalty applies to ALL save ends effects within 5 yards, not just your own. The daily power is pretty good too, as it combines controller area effect with leader-like ally protection.

Ghost Panther (Shaman, PHB 2) - This path is mostly notable for its daily (which is just obscenely useful tactically) and for the fact that if you want to get really good at Acrobatics and Stealth this is the way to do it.


Epic Destinies
Deadly Trickster (PHB) - Epic Trick is awesome. The rest of the stuff from this epic destiny is just kind of alright, but Epic Trick is awesome. You pretty much can only think about this epic destiny as a predator.

Demigod (PHB) - This is, as always, a good choice.

Eternal Seeker (PHB) - Versatility has its upsides. This option keeps getting stronger and stronger as more classes and epic destinies are added into the game. Overall, your best bet for the capstone is probably the level 24 from Primal Avatar.

Glorious Spirit (PHB 2) - This is an epic destiny mostly designed around choosing a single foe. As such, it's not very good for a controller.

Lorekeeper (PHB 2) - This epic destiny takes a little while to get going, but the fact that True Name is an encounter power is great, and having access to wall of stone every single encounter is awesome. It's no divine miracle, but then what is?

Primal Avatar (PHB 2) - All of the features here are decent, but nothing (aside from the level 24) really seem worthy of an epic destiny to me.

Reborn Champion (D 365) - Another one that is a slow starter but strong finisher. There is no restriction on the crits you make with the level 30 capstone, so using area powers gives you a great chance to get an extra standard action.

Prison of the Winds (D 371) - The capstone isn't spectacular compared to some, but the rest of the path is decent enough.

Planeshaper (D 372) - You have no real need for intelligence, but Astral Critical works well enough with area attacks, and of course the capstone has pretty much limitless potential.

Punisher of the Gods (D 372) - The feature that is completely broken in half for strikers is just decent for you, since you'll have area powers and most likely a relatively low crit rate. If you are a Blood Moon Stalker however, this path may be quite a bit more attractive.

Storm Sovereign (D 372) - The capstone essentially translates to "ignore all resistances", which can't be underestimated. The rest of the path is just kind of mediocre though.

Winter Sovereign (D 372) - If you've been focusing on spells that allow you to take advantage of wintertouched, even just the level 21 feature probably makes this a worthwhile path. If only it were applicable to non-Fey creatures.

Fury of the Wild (PP) - While your chance to crit per attack is pretty low, if you have a lot of area powers then your chance to crit per round is actually quite high, and the level 24 feature is pretty useful.  The utility is a nice nova power that is also quite good with area powers.

Honored Ancestor (PP) - The level 21 feature here is pretty strong, but you can replicate its most significant effect with Uncanny Dodge if you feel you need to be more defensive.  That being said, it does have its advantages against lurkers.  The utility is a nice second chance upgrade, but the 24 and 30 features are underwhelming.  Overall, not very strong.

Mythic Spirit (PP) - A very leader-like epic destiny.  It seems like where this path would really shine is in the hands of a warden though; the level 24 feature combined with Font of Life would be excellent.  For a druid, it's OK but nothing special.

Reincarnate Champion (PP) - I'm just going to leave this black for now, because if you just pick races randomly then it's not a super powerful option.  I'm sure there is some combination of feats, powers, and items though that will break the game and requires you to be a member of 3 different races though.

Sovereign Beast (PP) - A pretty good choice for beast form focused druids.  That +2 speed is very nice (although it does come with a cost; being Large size has implications for your mobility in and of itself) and getting to charge with an encounter power is great.  The utility isn't terribly strong, but it is at-will so it's passable.

World Tree Guardian (PP) - This is a great epic destiny for a defender swarm because of the level 21 feature.  In combination with swarm form itself and bolstering swarm, you're now up to 3*Con + 15 damage reduction against one attack every other round, plus your normal bonus for the rest of the attacks you take in beast form.  The level 24 feature means that even if you can't keep an enemy on you, you can die in place of an ally that died for basically no long term consequences.
 Does this hide armor match my shoes? (Druid Item Selection)

As far as armor goes, Hide is basically what you will want. Even if you start with a 16 in your AC stat, you'll need to take two extra feats to beat it by 1 with scale (and depending on your build, you'll lose 1 or 2 speed from this). You start out with hide proficiency already, so it works out nicely.

Staffs are going to be your implement of choice for the most part. They have the better itemization and in addition they qualify for weapon focus, which allows you forgo all those annoying elemental typed feats (e.g. Astral Fire).

Totems have gotten a decent boost with AV2.  Overall I would rank staffs as being stronger still since they qualify for weapon focus and staff fighting.

Magic Armor
Delver's Armor (PHB) - This is a pretty useful low-level armor, although at higher levels (a) there are better options and (b) one extra save a day is barely going to help you at all.

Elven Battle Armor (PHB) - Being slowed or immobilized is pretty much your bane, and the increased speed once per encounter is nothing to complain about either.

Trollskin Armor (PHB) - The regen can be quite useful, but this is at the high end of its tier so it's kind of expensive.

Bestial Armor (AV) - This is a decent low level choice. The extra melee basic attack can be nice for a nova turn.

Displacer Armor (AV) - The armor of choice for most light armor wearers. You're no exception.

Wildleaf Armor (AV) - Consider this if you are having trouble using your shift-as-a-minor because of difficult terrain.

Bloodvine Armor (PHB 2) - You probably shouldn't be getting hit that much, but if you are this is a nice way to remedy it.

Horned Tusk Armor (PHB 2) - If you have Savage Rend, this is a very potent survivability option. Since it's an interrupt, if you hit the target (and it doesn't have reach) then you can slide it away and the attack won't happen. And the fact that it effectively "doubles" your enhancement bonus for the attack means there's a very good chance it will hit.

Lifeblood Armor (PHB 2) - Another decent defensive armor, since druids don't have many ways to generate THP.

Pouncing Beast Armor (PHB 2) - The extra mobility you get from this is excellent. Now you don't have to worry about which form you're in at the end of your turn; you can always shift one square.

Roc Armor (PHB 2) - You can't use attack powers in this form, but be able to fly for an extra encounter a day is still very nice.

Armor of Enduring Health (AV 2) - Only applicable for dwarves and other non-standard action second winders.  People that need to use their second wind as a standard action need not apply.

Genasi Soul Armor (AV 2) - There are some pretty nice genasi racial powers.  I recommend Voidsoul for Rule of Cool.

Great Cat Armor (AV 2) - A pseudo-striker's dream.  Now you can stay in beast form indefinitely and charge every turn.


Magic Implements
Staff of Power (PHB) - If I understand this daily correctly, it works well with area encounters and dailies.

Staff of the War Mage (PHB) - You can probably put this to good use; although it's not an incredibly strong choice it can be tactically sound.

Staff of Winter (PHB) - The daily on this requires no attack roll, which makes it pretty nice.

Defensive Staff (AV) - Don't use this as your main implement, but if you aren't taking staff fighting then having a +1 defensive staff in your off-hand is not a bad idea.

Earthroot Staff (AV) - This can be an extremely powerful choice if you build around it at low levels. Your higher level powers tend not to inflict any of the necessary conditions though.

Staff of Corrosion (AV) - You do make melee attacks, but don't be fooled; unless you have some multiclass that gives you acid powers or your DM dropped this for you then just use a cheaper Staff of the Serpent.

Staff of Ruin (AV) - A timeless classic.

Staff of the Serpent (AV) - A good choice at lower levels if you plan on using mostly melee powers. Be aware though that once you get to +4 implements you should expect a Staff of Ruin to add more damage to even your melee attacks (though you can wield both for even more benefit).

Staff of Transposition (AV) - A nice tactical power on this staff if you have powers that you really don't want to hit your friends with.

Staff of the Sunburst (PHB 2) - Knocking everything prone once a day is nothing to turn your nose at.

Dire Totem (AV 2) - The daily power on this is pretty fun.  It stops working once you shift out of beast form, which means it could last a very short time or pretty much as long as you want it to.

Earthfall Totem (AV 2) - This is a very strong totem for druids.  It adds more damage than an equivalent Staff of Ruin to the powers to which it applies, and you might be able to add in the Staff of Ruin bonus as well depending on your DM's interpretation of it.

Razor Talon Totem (AV 2) - A solid choice for a pseudo-striker that didn't take Blood Moon Stalker as their paragon path.

Totem of the Night (AV 2) - Darkvision is one of those intangible benefits whose value varies heavily from campaign to campaign, but it's awesome when you need it.

Alfsair Spear (AV 2) - Only notable on the off-chance that your DM lets you use polearm momentum with implement attacks; then you can combine this with spear push and polearm momentum for awesome at-will proning.  Otherwise there's not much point.


Arms
Bracers of Mighty Striking (PHB) - If you're mostly going to use at-wills in beast form anyway, this is pretty solid and a lot cheaper than Iron Armbands.

Bracers of Mental Might (AV) - Not a bad choice if you find yourself needing to do things like make Athletics checks pretty frequently.

Counterstrike Guards (AV) - This can be a useful choice if you're in beast form enough to get attacked occasionally but not enough to justify Iron Armbands of Power.

Couters of Second Chances (AV) - A nice way to ensure that that powerful daily hits.

Iron Armbands of Power (AV) - Yup, they're pretty good for you if you have beast form powers. If you only have at-wills in beast form, check out the cheaper bracers of mighty striking.

Jousting Shield (AV) - This is one of your better options if you want a magical shield.

Trollhide Bracers (AV) - Regen is always nice to have.

Barrage Bracers (AV 2) - For pure damage they're not as good as Iron Armbands, but if you're more interesting in having your effects hit and you are in beast form a lot, these are a good pick.


Feet
Acrobat Boots (PHB) - Cheap and useful.

Boots of Striding (PHB) - Your basic speed boosting boots.

Boots of Striding and Springing (PHB) - Nominally an upgrade to the boots of striding, but not worth the extra cost.

Airstriders (AV) - Being able to fly at-will is always useful, even if there are limitations. However, Zephyr Boots are arguably a better choice since they don't require you to land at the end of your turn.

Boots of Adept Charging (AV) - Cheap, and very useful. Use them to set up flanks for people that go after you, or to get out of melee range of something after you charge.

Boots of Furious Speed (AV) - Hopefully you're not bloodied that often, but if you are then perhaps these are better than boots of striding.

Boots of Speed (AV) - A +2 bonus to speed is appreciated, but at this high a level you'd be better off trying to get Sandals of Avandra or something to that effect.

Boots of the Fencing Master (AV) - Your ability to shift pretty much every turn if you want to makes these your best defensive choice for your feet slot.

Boots of Teleportation (AV) - Get these if you can afford them, unless you want Zephyr Boots instead.

Phantom Chaussures (AV) - Class features from other classes that become item properties are fun.

Rushing Cleats (AV) - If you have Savage Rend, these are excellent.

Sandals of Avandra (AV) - If you can't afford Boots of Teleportation, these are a good substitute.

Zephyr Boots (AV) - Teleportation is nice, but so is flying.

Survivor's Boots (AV 2) - A nice way to get off some ranged or area attacks in a pinch.


Hands
Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB) - Definitely a good choice if you're using a lot of beast form powers.  Damage isn't exactly your thing, but on the other hand glove selection is pretty limited.

Gloves of Piercing (PHB) - Not spectacular, but they're cheap and pretty useful.

Antipathy Gloves (AV) - If you pin someone against a wall (see above) you can prevent your opponent from ever shifting with these. Plus, thematically these are exactly the sort of thing a melee controller should have.

Frost Gauntlets (AV) - I'm not exactly clear whether these actually add the Frost keyword to your melee attacks. If so, they probably deserve to be blue.

Giant Gloves (AV) - Kind of gimmicky, but this can combine well with things like Latch On.

Greatreach Gauntlets (AV) - A pretty solid tactical option.

Strikebacks (AV) - These have a decent effect for their level.

Claw Gloves (AV 2) - For beast form oriented druids, it doesn't get much better than this for damage.

Gauntlets of Blood (AV 2) - Pretty much equivalent to a +1 untyped damage bonus per tier; that's not bad, especially at lower levels where you won't have Gauntlets of Destruction.  If you're a primarily beast form druid though you'll get much better mileage out of Claw Gloves.


Head
Helm of Battle (PHB) - If you're primarily a humanoid caster, you don't have that many really good options for helms, so having this to grant all your allies an initiative bonus is a decent option.

Horned Helm (PHB) - This is the only head item you should even consider if you're a pseudo-striker. It's a good choice regardless though.

Phrenic Crown (AV) - You have a couple (save ends) effects that target will, so this is a strong choice.


Neck
Amulet of False Life (PHB) - THP equal to your healing surge value is really quite a lot.

Cloak of Invisibility (PHB) - If you've got a good stealth score and your DM isn't "cheating", this is practically permanent combat advantage for an encounter a day.

Amulet of Bodily Sanctity (AV) - This can be a pretty solid leader-like item in a fight with lots of ongoing damage.

Amulet of Elusive Prey (AV) - This works well with your tendency to move in and out of melee.

Amulet of Resolution (AV) - One of the stronger low-level enchantments, and it stays reasonably useful later on.

Brooch of Vitality (AV) - A passive boost to HP is nothing to complain about.

Cloak of the Pheonix (AV) - Quite expensive, but it is a reset button, after all.

Cloak of the Walking Wounded (AV) - This makes second wind seem more worthwhile, and it's a low level enchantment. Sky blue for dwarves.

Steadfast Amulet (AV) - A pretty good way to make sure you're not taken out of the fight.

Torc of Power Preservation (AV) - Can't complain about extra encounter powers.


Rings
Star Opal Ring (PHB) - If you've elected to go for boots that let you shift or fly, you can still get an item bonus to speed with one of these.

Blink Ring (AV) - It costs a minor action, but you can still probably get some use out of this, especially if you don't use wild shape that frequently.

Ring of Fey Travel (AV) - Another option to get an item bonus to speed. This one is quite a bit cheaper, although the milestone benefit doesn't make a lot of sense.

Ritualist's Ring (AV) - Don't wear this in combat obviously, but if you use rituals frequently this ring can probably save you money in the long run.  Note that it doesn't work with creation rituals anymore, so no more half-price magic items.

Shadow Band (AV) - Passive concealment, and total concealment for one encounter? Yes.

War Ring (AV) - Always useful, but unless you're a Blood Moon Stalker I think the benefits for a druid are relatively limited.


Waist
Belt of Blood (AV) - You'll usually want to spend healing surges while bloodied anyway. For obvious reasons, this is purple or red for Predators.

Belt of Vitality (AV) - Pick yourself up when you're down. I'm sold.

Cord of Foresight (AV) - Preemptive healing is awesome.

Stalwart Belt (AV) - You can crit fairly often with your area spells and if you're a Guardian your Con modifier should be high enough to work pretty well with this.

Vengeance Sash (AV) - A higher level version of Horned Tusk Armor, but only once per day. Still, saving yourself from falling unconscious is a good use of an item daily.
res final
I get the first post! Woot!

I look forward to seeing your take on Druids; I haven't been able to look into them very much.
Oooo, first time I've gotten to get in on a handbook right at the start! And I freakin love Druids, so here we go!
Haven't looked at the Druid in depth yet, but I'm sold on the Primal power source after reading the Barbarian and the Warden.
You forgot the Half-Orc in PH2 Races.
Oops... I can count, I promise, but there's actually 6 races in there, aren't there.
By the way, here's an image. You know, for the first post. I think it fits.

Cool, thanks!
I'm looking through the druid powers and noticing that the riders on the powers usually suck.

Primal guardian usually equals, "you slide the target a little bit more," or "you do Con modifier extra damage," (which is odd since the predator path is supposed to be more damage oriented). I don't see much that indicates that the primal guardian is a secondary leader.

Primal predator usually equals, "you can shift a little extra," or, oddly enough, "you get a bonus to grab checks."

I agree that the predator powers are overall weaker. On the other hand the powers with primal guardian riders often target fortitude which sucks quite frankly.

I actually don't see much reason to choose powers based on rider effects. The best powers at each level often aren't associated with either build and sometimes the powers are very good regardless of the rider (the rider is something minor tacked on).
I agree that some of the levels the riders are not very impressive, but most of the guardian powers are actually more like "you slide the target a LOT more", and some of the predator ones have decent effects too.

As for targeting fort, it's not as bad as people make it out to be, especially for area spells where you often aren't going to be able to target the soldiers and brutes anyway. In addition, a fair portion of the fort targeting spells the druid has are also Cold spells, which goes a long way to make up for it.
I agree that some of the levels the riders are not very impressive, but most of the guardian powers are actually more like "you slide the target a LOT more", and some of the predator ones have decent effects too.

As for targeting fort, it's not as bad as people make it out to be, especially for area spells where you often aren't going to be able to target the soldiers and brutes anyway. In addition, a fair portion of the fort targeting spells the druid has are also Cold spells, which goes a long way to make up for it.

Hmm, I didn't notice that. Lasting frost?
Why is my cat-form so bad at climbing trees? (Skill overview):

This made me laugh so hard that woke up my folks. I can't wait for the rest of the handbook. Keep it up!!
I would like to point out that it might be wise to have an 11 or 12 in str so that you can eventually get the 13 needed for powerful charge... since both powerful charge and enraged boar form add an untyped +2 bonus to damage, thats +4 damage on a charge...
Love it! Been dying for a source of druid knowledge! However, you are swear upon a stack of holy texts to maintain the book, and not abandon it like many from summer '08! Good luck, love it so far!
I would like to point out that it might be wise to have an 11 or 12 in str so that you can eventually get the 13 needed for powerful charge... since both powerful charge and enraged boar form add an untyped +2 bonus to damage, thats +4 damage on a charge...

+1.

I also like starting with 12 STR so that you can take shield proficiency, and gain that shield slot to use -- which works in beast form. +AC and +REF, potentially with properties.
I'm absolutely intrigued by your take on the controller aspect. In PHB2 I like the looks of the Druid and Invoker, whereas I never much cared for the wizard.
Awww poor kitty! I really want the beast form druid to be a good dpr contender but I just don't see it happening. Any thoughts on adding a critique for the other monster manuel races and bladelings? Also, half-orc wouldnt be TERRIBLE. They get a speed bonus to charge and +dex which is the secondary stat for primal predators, plus temp HP when bloody, which will happen with the pred's low defenses. It's a stable choice I think, though still outshined by dwarf and elf.
Now that I think about it, Bladeling would be really good for Primal Predator. But is the super spike power better or worse than the Elf's reroll?
I would like to point out that it might be wise to have an 11 or 12 in str so that you can eventually get the 13 needed for powerful charge... since both powerful charge and enraged boar form add an untyped +2 bonus to damage, thats +4 damage on a charge...

If you are going to get the strength anyway (for a warden or barbarian multiclass, most likely), you might consider picking this up, but I don't think it's worth the point buy points on its own. +2 damage is nice enough, but it really only affects your beast form at-wills, and regardless of what the PHB description says about Predators, you're not a striker.

I will edit in the description to point out that strength tends to have better "general purpose" feats than charisma though, because that's definitely something to consider. I'll probably go into some finer details on str and cha when I get to multiclassing.
OK, done with all of the heroic tier powers. I'll probably finish off the paragon tier powers sometime later today after I've had a chance to take in all of them and look over the paragon paths in more detail.
Camouflage Cloak technically means 2 rounds of CA. Why is it not in Sky Blue?

Question: Since a solid wall, such as a wall of ice, cannot be created in occupied squares, can a Wall of Thorns be created to contain enemies in it?
One thing I will say for Pounce--if you're an elf predator druid, you're probably the fastest moving character in your party. Since pounce works with a charge, you can reach an enemy 16 squares away and make him vulnerable to CAs when there's no chance that your party would be able to flank him. For a ranged rogue, or a rogue that has to use a charge to get there, that's definitely worthwhile. Heck, it's worthwhile for anyone, even if they don't get the rogue's extra damage. And if none of the rest of your party can get there at all, then there's nothing preventing you from being the one to take advantage of the CA (it works for whichever creature attacks him next before the end of your next turn--and that includes you).

Now, for dwarf guardian druids who can only move 10 on a charge, then I'd say it's purple (well, maybe black, but purple is fair). But for predators, especially ones with a higher than average starting speed (elves, razorclaw shifters), I'd rate it a bit higher.
It's two rounds of CA for yourself or one for your ally. But getting CA is now pretty easy to do with Distant Advantage anyway. It's useful for that purpose, but a maximum of two rounds of CA for a non-rogue at the cost of not being able to move is far from sky blue in my opinion. Edit: talking about Camouflage Cloak, I should have used quotes.

I don't know for sure about the wall question, but I presume that since an enemy is able to move through it it doesn't count as "solid".
One thing I will say for Pounce--if you're an elf predator druid, you're probably the fastest moving character in your party. Since pounce works with a charge, you can reach an enemy 16 squares away and make him vulnerable to CAs when there's no chance that your party would be able to flank him. For a ranged rogue, or a rogue that has to use a charge to get there, that's definitely worthwhile. Heck, it's worthwhile for anyone, even if they don't get the rogue's extra damage. And if none of the rest of your party can get there at all, then there's nothing preventing you from being the one to take advantage of the CA (it works for whichever creature attacks him next before the end of your next turn--and that includes you).

That's a pretty high opportunity cost for something that's only applicable during the first round of combat though. Also, if you get there a turn before the defender does, I'd be very worried about shortening my life expectancy.
This isn't really important, I don't think it changes the ratings, but since Flame Seed lasts until the ned of your next turn, you can Chill Wind people into it. Eh. Also, Storm Spike seems like it would be useful on someone marked by the defender.
It's two rounds of CA for yourself or one for your ally. But getting CA is now pretty easy to do with Distant Advantage anyway. It's useful for that purpose, but a maximum of two rounds of CA for a non-rogue at the cost of not being able to move is far from sky blue in my opinion. Edit: talking about Camouflage Cloak, I should have used quotes.

I don't know for sure about the wall question, but I presume that since an enemy is able to move through it it doesn't count as "solid".

Distant Advantage only applies to someone flanked while the cloak provide CA to all the targets in the area, and Druids generally don't have too many powers that do not include enemies as well as allies.
Plus, it is an encounter power, which makes it more valuable.
This isn't really important, I don't think it changes the ratings, but since Flame Seed lasts until the ned of your next turn, you can Chill Wind people into it. Eh. Also, Storm Spike seems like it would be useful on someone marked by the defender.

Yeah, Flame Seed + Chill Wind is a nice combo and most of the reason that I changed Flame Seed to blue. I should probably be more explicit about that combination though.

As for Storm Spike, it basically amounts to extra wisdom modifier damage. That's not terrible, but I think Flame Seed is better in more situations.
I personally love Call of the Beast, but that's because I play a Hexhammer, who is an awesome meatshield but a crappy defender. If the druid takes Call of the beast, now I can be a defender.

(so yeah, not so useful for a real party)

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

Yeah, Flame Seed + Chill Wind is a nice combo and most of the reason that I changed Flame Seed to blue. I should probably be more explicit about that combination though.

As for Storm Spike, it basically amounts to extra wisdom modifier damage. That's not terrible, but I think Flame Seed is better in more situations.

If they're minions, you won't need to use both AOEs, if they are not minions, it is usually better to focus on one enemy. 2 Storm Spikes has one more Wis damage, and two more potential ones (as Christo pointed out).

The reason Fire Seed should be at least blue is that if there's one character with a very high grab check and fast speed, or a predator that can grab and shift (the enemy) in and out of the zone...
I personally love Call of the Beast, but that's because I play a Hexhammer, who is an awesome meatshield but a crappy defender. If the druid takes Call of the beast, now I can be a defender.

(so yeah, not so useful for a real party)

The weakness of Call of the Beast, IMO, is that it is so very situational. It only works when you want the enemy to attack one of your allies, which really depends on a lot of variables.
The weakness of Call of the Beast, IMO, is that it is so very situational. It only works when you want the enemy to attack one of your allies, which really depends on a lot of variables.

And the damage is not that great, either. Without a Damage Roll, it won't get the enhancement from implement.
Finished with all the class powers. I'll probably stop updating until tomorrow so I have a chance to take a good look at all the feats and paragon paths.

Also, I know the archetypal build section is kind of weak, but I kind of feel like the druid doesn't have enough stat dependencies to really be forced into a specific build for a specific purpose, and I really don't feel like writing "13 in dex/con/cha/str/int depending on what you want to do" 4 times. Any suggestions on that front (or any other) would be more than welcome.
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