The Scent of Blood: A Panther Shaman's Handbook

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The Scent of Blood: A Panther Shaman's Handbook!
IMAGE(http://gi150.photobucket.com/groups/s104/J024QFD0XL/spirit.jpg)


Come, feel the warmth of the fire. The spirits are around us. They are here to help us unlock the primal powers that can be used to aid and empower our allies. Finding a connection with your spirit companion will help you start on your path. I am here to teach you how harness this power but it won’t be easy as there is much to learn.

This is my first handbook, so feedback in encouraged. This guide will focus on Panther Shaman’s as Wrylen has written a great Bear Shaman guide. The Shaman is a very versatile class and has many areas to cover, as such I will do my best to touch upon the complexities of the class from a Panther Shaman standpoint.


Ratings Found Within This Handbook
Poor: Terrible power, will always be better options.
Fair, Situational: Poor choice but may be of situational usefulness. There will usually be a better option available.
Average: Decent power by all standards but there are usually better powers to take.
Good: Strong power, you probably want this..
Excellent: Top Tier Power, should always be considered as a first choice

This Handbook covers the following sources:
AV - Adventurer's Vault
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
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

References
lordduskblade, for general layout
Seifalmasy's Guide to the Shaman for inspiration and ideas.
Wrylan’s guide to Bear Shamans

An Overview: The Hunt for Blood


Choosing the Stalker Spirit boon refers to playing a “Panther Shaman” as opposed to the Protector Spirit AKA “Bear Spirit”.

The Panther Shaman is great at putting allies and foes where she wants them, providing the party with an extra damage feature and dispensing liberal amounts of combat advantage while being more than capable at healing and defensive support. This diversity in powers is what makes the Panther Shaman a very versatile leader.

Due to this versatility the Shaman is not a beginner’s class and should not be played on auto pilot as you will lose effectiveness very quickly. It’s important to assess the needs on the battlefield every round and think about optimal usage of your powers and Spirit Companion (SC).

*Note that there are many questions surrounding exact functionality of the Spirit Companion. I will do my best to list the rules as is and I am open to discussion if there are some inconsistencies. Be aware that some of the listed functionality may change as these issues get clarified, I will update this document to reflect clarifications once we have evidence to support it.


Panther Shaman Strengths:
  • Stellar damage buffing.
  • Ability to grant some of the best tactical movement of all leaders
  • Ability to grant combat advantage fairly consistently
  • AoE healing
  • A versatile leader, with the spirit companion you can fill many roles, defensive, offensive, minor tanking, healing.

Panther Shaman Weaknesses:
  • Moderate healing capability, weak single target healing
  • You don’t have many powers that grant saving throws
  • Requires team play in order to gain the most benefit of class features.
  • Totems currently have weak support
  • Weak feat support, especially in Paragon


Powers
Your powers breakdown into a few categories:
1. Ranged powers - will generally be short ranged and will generate effects that are not dependant on the SC.
2. Spirit Powers –depend on your line of sight but the effect/attack occurs from the SC position. All spirit powers will channel an effect that either helps your allies or hinders foes.
3. Daily/Utility Powers - will vary but contain many zones that represent a variety of AoE effects including defensive and healing support.

Spirit Companion
Your spirit companion is central to your effectiveness; it affects about half your powers and helps with providing support defense. It has the spirit and conjuration keywords, therefore it’s important to understand how it functions. Below is a short breakdown but the Spirit Companion will be discussed at length in the tactics section.

Summoning: Minor action, Range 20 dependant on line of site. Summon one spirit.
Dismiss: Minor action or free action with Nimble spirit feat
Movement: When you move, you can move the SC the same number of squares.
Conjuration: Follows Conjuration rules. Is not affected by environment (difficult terrain). Does not need to be supported by ground and can float in the air.
Attacking: You make the attack through the SC. Line of site and effect are from the square of the SC, so it can be used at range, however it is considered a melee attack as the attack line specifies. “Melee Spirit 1”
Attacks of Opportunity: As a conjuration the SC can't make attacks of opportunity at all. Only with the power Spirit Fangs can you make the attack and then only under the listed trigger. "An enemy leaves a square adjacent to your spirit companion without shifting"
Defense:
uses your defense values. Can only be attacked be melee and ranged powers. No blasts or bursts.
HP: Once an attack does more than 10 + half you level. The SC is dismissed and you take damage of 5 + half your level. Otherwise all damage is absorbed.
Flanking: Cannot flank unless a power specifies that it can.


Filling the Single Leader Role
The notion that the Panther Shaman cannot fill the single leader role or provide adequate healing support is unfounded. In 4E more than any edition, healing has been spread out through the party and there are multiple ways to unlock them. If you are the only leader then you may want to pick up extra healing powers and items to adjust to party makeup. However, it is important to remember that you will never be a superior defensive leader and that’s ok. Instead remember to play to your strengths. Your advantage is that you have tools that help your party end fights sooner, thereby expending less resources. Even though you can achieve some impressive offensive support and steamroll the opposition, you and your party will eventually have some tough fights and unlucky rolls, therefore it’s important to diversify your powers, including defensive and control powers in order to provide the fallback support needed to ensure party survivability in case the party gets into trouble………and they will.

Striker Role
If you want to fill the striker slot, then you can load up on the offensive powers, items, and feats. Doing so will generally approach Warlock damage with the side benefits of leader effects, including party tactical support, healing, minor tanking. Multiclassing can yield some good results too. While this sounds somewhat attractive you will not be able to compete with pure strikers for damage. You can provide much more benefit to the party by enhancing their damage instead of your own, especially because you are not your own ally, and most of your power enhancements won’t apply to you. Finally, there is not a lot of support via powers, items and feats for pure damage.

Bear Shaman Comparison
While some people consider the Bear Shaman better, I personally don’t agree. While I won’t do an in-depth analysis of both varieties, they match up pretty evenly in overall effectiveness in their respective goals. The Bear Shaman is much more defensive in nature and has a slightly better opportunity action in spirit shield and a better At Will in protecting strike. The Panther Shaman makes up for this by having overall better powers and rider effects that directly support her spirit boon. Furthermore the Panther Shaman has a better supporting feat (Stalker Spirit Adept) and no armor class issues requiring feat expenditures to overcome.

In many ways this is an apples to oranges comparison. The Panther Shaman is more akin to a Taclord with slightly different focus and play style. Bottom line is if you want to be defensive/primary healing go Bear. You want to be primary offensive support then Panther Shaman is the ticket. If someone advises you to take the Bear shaman for the healing boon and spirit shield, and then loading up on offensive powers then stop. The Bear Shaman will not approach the offensive buffing capacity of the Panther Shaman.

Since this is a Panther Shaman guide, we want to whip our allies into a frenzy! Read on.

Class Features, Statistics, and Races: Spirit Basics


HP, Healing Surges, and Proficiencies

Hit Points - 12 + Con at first level and 5 for each level thereafter. Average

Healing Surges - 7 + Con per day. Average

Proficiencies and Implements - Leather armor, simple melee, Longspears, and Totems. Not good. There are no powers that take advantage of longspears and Totems currently don’t have much support.


Class Features

Companion Spirit
You gain the Call Spirit Companion at-will power. This key feature is central to everything any Shaman does. About half your powers have the spirit keyword. The spirit companion can fill many roles and your success at this role will heavily depend on SC positioning. In order to gain an initial grasp of what the SC is and what it can do, it’s important to read the Spirit and Conjuration keywords(PHB 2 – Page 219-220) and the Call Spirit Companion At Will (PHB 2 – Page 120)

Tactics with the spirit companion will be discussed in the tactics section.

Stalker Spirit
As part of choosing the stalker spirit you gain three benefits.
The Spirit Boon:
1. An ally adjacent to your SC that attacks a bloodied enemy gains a damage bonus equal to your INT modifier. This is a great boon for the following reasons:
  • Monster effectiveness is the same whether they are at full HP or have 1 hit point.
  • Elites/Solos can be bloodied for many rounds.
  • Reducing the opportunity for monsters to activate nasty recharging powers.
  • Total combat will generally last fewer rounds and therefore expend less resources.

2. Spirit Fangs At-Will power: Will be discussed in the At Wills section
3. You gain the Stalker’s Strike At Will: Will be discussed in the At Wills section. This is part of the two at-will limit.

Healing Spirit
Solid healing power. Applies the extra healing to a second ally. While a little low for single-target healing compared to other leaders, it provides solid extra healing.

Speak with Spirits
Skill bonus keyed off wisdom. Can reach up to +8 or +9 bonus on any skill check. Awesome.


Races: Inner Spirit



PHB Races

Dragonborn - The racial bonus and Dragon Breath are to off stats, move along.

Dwarf – Wis is good and Con is a tertiary stat. Racial features and feats are mediocre. The lower speed hurts your SC mobility a little.

Eladrin - INT is good for secondary stat, DEX is ok for initiative. Fey step has great tactical viability. Eladrin have a solid group of supporting feats. Pushing Eladrin to low blue.

Elf – Solid for the WIS, Dex is ok, Elven Accuracy is superb. The +1 speed applies to your spirit companion. The supporting feats are decent too.

Half-Elf – +2 to off stats is not good but access to human feats is solid as is the ability to access an at-will from another class (Sacred flame, Storm spike, vanguard’s lightning) are all very attractive. Overall a not a great choice unless multiclassing with Versatile Master.

Halfling – Not much going for it. Although second chance is not bad.

Human – Solid all around. Primary stat, extra at will is good for Shamans, good feats.

Tiefling – Int secondary stat is good, bloodhunt is nice but doesn’t have much else going for it.


PHB 2 Races

Deva – Stats match up perfectly, racials are excellent and feats are decent. Prime pick.

Gnome – +2 to INT is good, fade away if ok. Feats are not that great.

Goliath – Terrible choice, although some of the feats are not bad.

Half-Orc – Bonuses to off stats. Furious assault is ok for the damage minded and some feats are not bad.

Shifter, Longtooth - Bonus to Prime stat. The strength is ok if you are trying to get Hide. Racials and feats are decent.

Shifter, Razorclaw - Another good choice. Similar to the Elf. Dex is ok. Racials and feats are decent.


Other Races

Drow – Stats don’t match but racial features and feat are ok.

Genasei – +2 to INT is good, racial features will depend on manifestation and the feats are just ok.

Gnoll – Bonuses to off stats. Nothing else going for it.

Minotaur (Dragon 369) – Bonuses to off stats, feats are melee oriented as is the racial feature. However the Minotaur Kinspeaker PP is pretty good although not enough to offset everything else.

Shadar-kai (Dragon 372) – INT to secondary stat. Some good feats and excellent racial. Similar to Eladrin but racial and feats are a little better.

Warforged (Dragon 364) – Bonuses to off stats, feats are ok.

Ability Scores: A Leader in Born



A Shaman’s secondary stat is just as important as the primary because it impacts the boon, all riders which most are good, and AC/ref.

Strength - The only reason to put points into strength is to get armor proficiencies which is not really needed, although hide might be a good choice if you have feats to spare. (Recommended Starting Value: 8-13)

Constitution - A good tertiary stat. Contributes to HP and Fort Saves (Recommended Starting Value: 10 to 14 before racial bonuses.)

Dexterity – Although it helps initiative, is not really important (Recommended Stating Value: 8 to 13 before racial bonuses.)

Intelligence – Secondary stat for Panthers is as important as Wisdom, enhances boon all the riders and AC/ref (Recommended Stating Value: 16 to 18 before racial bonuses.)

Wisdom - This is your main stat. No exceptions. Boost it every chance you get. (Recommended Stating Value: 16 to 18 before racial bonuses.)

Charisma - The only use is for social skills, besides you have Speak with Spirits. (Recommended Stating Value: 8 to 10 before racial bonuses.)

Skills: Spirit Guide



Class Skills
Nature - You have to take this. But it's a good skill.

Arcana - Keys off INT, Solid skill, very good if picking up Ritual Caster. Can get this by multiclassing Wizard/Swordmage.

Athletics - Keys off a stat that you will at most have at +1. Stay away.

Endurance – Good skill overall, but it keys off your tertiary stat.

Heal - Incredibly useful skill for a leader, and works of wisdom. Solid.

History – Not a particularly great skill but keys off INT.

Insight - Works off Wisdom. Ok skill

Perception - Arguably the best skill in the game.

Religion – Keys off INT but you can also multi-class into Cleric/Invoker/Avenger will get this for free.

Multiclassing: External Spirits



Avenger (PHB 2) – Wisdom is attack stat. Oath is a great feature to have and opens up usage of your longspear and access to holy symbols.

Cleric (PHB) – Solid choice with access to an extra heal. Wisdom is attack stat.

Druid (PHB 2) – Wisdom is attack stat. Access to wildshape and an at will as well as Druid implements. Very thematic.

Fighter (PHB) – Requires investment in Strength but can yield a great high damage character especially if going Pit Fighter, if investing in con then Iron Vanguard can be good with your multitude of prone effects.

Invoker (PHB 2) – Stats match perfectly. Multiclass feat gives at will and access to invoker implements. Excellent combination.

Ranger (PHB) – Requires investment in Dex or Strength but can yield a great high damage character with the SC as a tank.

Swordmage (PHB 2) – Int is prime stat. Not a bad choice if going defender.

Warden (PHB 2) – Requires investment in strength, but not a bad class if gearing for some tanking.

Warlord (PHB) – Ok multiclass, good for the extra heal.

Wizard (PHB) – Int is prime stat, access to wizard implements. Solid choice.

Powers - Heroic Tier: Minor Spirits


Level 1, At-Will

Spirit Fangs: You gain this power as part of your boon. It triggers when an enemy leaves a square without shifting. Does a 1d10 + wis damage and scales at epic tier. Enemies wanting to engage your party may take damage from this power. With proper positioning early during the first round of combat you may be able to trigger this. You can also use Spirit Fangs to harass backline enemies but has a little less utility doing so as they can simply shift or cast freely as the trigger is on a move only. Not a bad power in itself, can help force some enemies to attack your SC instead of your party.

Stalker's Strike or Stalker Strike(Rogue): Panthers are stuck with this. It attacks Fortitude, but gains a bonus to the attack roll against bloodied foes and does a d10 of damage. More importantly, enables your SC the ability to flank until the end of your next turn. The goofy part is that even though there is a bonus to hit vs bloodied foes, you probably won’t want to flank at that point as you will most likely want to park it next to allies for the damage bonus. However, if you are flanking with your SC then it’s effective.

Note: While this power gets a lot of flak, it’s actually pretty good overall as a solid damage power and flanking enabler. Imo, the Fort targeting issue is overrated.

Defending Strike: Channel a +1 power bonus to AC. Defensive at-will of choice.

Haunting Spirits or Haunting Spirits(Rogue): Is not dependant on your SC, however it is sometimes redundant with stalker's strike. Generates Combat Advantage and can be combined with the Psychic Lock feat for a nice debuff.

Protecting Strike: Will generate temp HP for your allies adjacent to your SC equal to your con modifier. Since Con is a tertiary stat then this is not very good.

Watcher's Strike: Allies adjacent to your SC are granted an untyped bonus to attack rolls which applies to any enemy and a +5 bonus to perception checks, which can be useful vs traps. Solid power but can be a little redundant with Stalker’s strike.

Wrath of Winter: The other ranged power that attacks Fortitude, does a d10 cold damage and lets you move your SC next to the target. Can be coupled with Wintertouched/Lasting frost for a nice little addition. Moving your SC is not usually a big problem but it can have uses in some situations. A pretty good third feat for humans.



Level 1, Encounter

Call to the Ancestral Warrior – Low damage and allies gain +2 to all defenses while adjacent to spirit. Ok power.

Call to the Ancient Defender - ok damage, channels +5 to defenses vs Opportunity attacks while adjacent to spirit. Has some situational usage, but not that exciting.

Thunder Bear’s Warding – weak damage, targets fort. However channels resistance equal to con while adjacent to spirit. Is also a ranged power. Not a good power for you as you will have low con.

Twin Panthers – Ranged vs reflex – check. Two attacks that can be targeted vs one creature – check. Generates CA with each hit until the end of your next turn – check. Your rider also grants you an attack bonus while they are bloodied. This power is a striker level damage that also helps your allies. No reason to take any other power here.


Level 1, Daily

Blessing of the Seven Winds – Ranged vs Fort. Ok damage, single target slide. Generates a moveable zone that you can use to slide all creatures 1 square. Decent tactical usage.

Cleansing Wind of the North – Blast vs Fort, weak damage. Allies in blast get to make a Saving throw with +5 bonus. The saving throw bonus is good, but that’s about it.

Spirit of the Healing Flood – Burst 5 vs Fort, Weak damage. The effect helps cover one of your weaknesses. Generates Regen 2 while allies are bloodied. They then have a choice to end the effect to gain 10 hp. This power is sky blue for most of heroic when 10 HP is a lot but loses effectiveness by end of Heroic.

Wrath of the Spirit World – Burst 2 vs will. All enemies in burst and adjacent to spirit. Solid damage and prone. Pretty solid power but Healing flood should be the prime pick at this level.


Level 2, Utility

Bonds of the Clan – can potentially save an ally and take the edge off a crit or big hit. Even though Con is tertiary, you really have HP that is close to Bear Shamans.

Spirit Call or Spirit Call (At least 4 zones) - Don’t take unless you have many non moveable zones or conjurations. When you do then this can be very useful.

Spirit of Life - As a Panther Shaman, you could use some extra healing. Good first choice but you may want to retrain out when you get some extra healing powers/items.

Spirits of Battle or Spirits of Battle (with Spirit Tempest) – As minor action generates a burst 5 zone with +1 to attack. Ok power in itself, the real gem is if you have the spirit tempest PP, which will enable you to heal all allies in or adjacent to zone.


Level 3, Encounter

Call to the Savage Elder (Melee heavy) or (Caster heavy) – ok damage vs reflex, generates melee damage buff for allies adjacent to spirit. Solid ability which helps activate your boon quicker. While this is a good power, you may want to retrain out at 7th level when Call to the blood dancer is available because it’s strictly superior.

Lightning Panther Spirit – Low damage vs reflex, allies can shift as minor action when adjacent to spirit. Your rider let’s allies ignore difficult terrain. Overall solid tactical movement ability. Remember that this is addition to Stalker spirit adept.

Rimefire Spirit (Caster heavy) or (Melee heavy) – Ranged vs will. Ok damage. Enemies adjacent to spirit gain vulnerability 5 to fire/cold. This goes great if you have more ranged casters otherwise there are better options.

Spring Renewal Strike – vs Fort, let’s ally next to SC spend a healing surge. Ok power if you need extra healing but you can gain healing from other powers and items.


Level 5, Daily

Earthrage Spirit – Blast 5 vs ref, enemy targeted only. AoE Prone + anytime an enemy gets hit, it becomes prone – save ends. Solid low level control. Becomes awesome if you have a Rogue in the Party.

Spirit of the Hawk’s Wind – Single target Blind, generates moveable zone that let’s allies shift 4 and ignore difficult terrain. Excellent single target control and great tactical movement ability.

Spirit of the Shielding Fire – Ally gains 10 temp hp and resist fire 5. You can then as an interrupt deliver a mediocre damage power. I expect more than 10 temp hp from a daily. The resist fire and the attack are not very good. Pass.

War Chieftain’s Blessing – Ranged 10 vs will. Ok damage and generates +2 attack vs target for all allies. Just ok, you can already generate CA quite consistently, so this is not that great.


Level 6, Utility

Blessing of the Iron Tree – Bloodied ally gains resist 5 until end of encounter. Ok, but loses effectiveness very quickly.

Spirit of Dawn - Burst 5 zone that let’s allies ignore cover, and concealment but not Total concealment. Enemies have -5 to stealth check. A little better with Spirit Tempest PP but there better options this level.

Spirit of the Keeper – Minor action single target heal, allies adjacent to SC don’t grant CA. Can help bring up your healing a notch.

Sudden Restoration – 2 allies can make a saving throw. This sky blue because this is one of the saving throw generators that you have. Otherwise it’s just an ok power.


Level 7, Encounter

Call to the Blood Dancer – Target vs will, all allies can score a crit within an 18-20 range if adjacent to SC. And your rider channels a damage bonus equal to INT while adjacent to SC. Helps allies activate your boon quicker. Is a good time for allies to spend those actions points. This is better than Call to the savage elders because it applies to all allies and targets will.

Call to the Howling Storm – vs Ref damage + ally can shift 5 as free action next to SC. Not too exciting.

Thunderstorm Spirit - Ranged vs ref. Low damage but You and your allies can add 1d6 extra damage when enemies are adjacent to SC until your next turn. Solid Power, should be pretty easy to park your SC next to an enemy. Recommended if you have a caster heavy group or a group that spreads around a lot.

Winter Wind Spirit – Ranged vs Fort, As Interrupt you can grant +4 AC bonus to ally adjacent to SC. Ok power.


Level 9, Daily

Ancient Warlord’s Inspiration – vs ref, low damage. Creates a spirit that let’s allies in or adjacent to spirit a free basic attack as a free action. The spirit can be moved. Solid extra attacking power. Will require some coordination.

Clever Trickster Spirit – vs will, mediocre damage. Imposes a save end slow and CA. The aftereffect reapplies the slow and CA. You continue down the path of the CA dispenser but you already have quite a few options for this. The slow effect if just ok. If you have a Rogue then this is a little better.

Raging Storm Spirit – burst 5 vs ref. Ok damage. Any ally within than hits an enemy gains 1d6 extra damage. Potentially adds a lot of damage, especially with multiattackers. Doesn’t require the positioning of Ancient Warlord’s Inspiration.

Spirit of Autumn’s Reaping - Ranged 10 vs fort, ok damage. Enemy gains vulnerability 5 to all damage – save end. Allies gain 5 HP. Ok power but the 5 HP is very low.


Level 10, Utility

Primal Gust – Encounter power, any creature slide 3. Has a lot of tactical uses.

Rock Shield Spirits – Burst 1 moveable zone than channels +2 AC. Ok

Sacrificial Spirit (Dragon 372) – Dismisses SC for one turn but grants all adjacent allies recovery of a healing surge. Great if low on surges.

Spirits of the Shadowed Moon – Burst 3 moveable zone that provides concealment to allies and enables stealth checks. Ok but better with Spirit Tempest PP or Rogue.

Spirit Summons – Summon second Spirit companion. Effectively enhances the area of all your powers. Great power.

Powers - Paragon Tier: Major Spirits


Level 13, Encounter

Call to the Shaman Indomitable Defender – vs fort. All allies adjacent to SC gain resist 5. Pass

Call to the Laughing Fortune - spirit vs ref. Allies next to SC can reroll any missed attack and gain a bonus to attack equal to your INT! Wow! Basically as good as a large to hit bonus with the benefit of rolling twice.

Howling Gust – Ranged 5 vs ref. Slide enemy 2. Teleport Ally adjacent to SC 5 squares. More tactical movement.

Spirit of Cleansing Light – Ranged 5 Can target two creatures vs will. Let’s ally adjacent to SC roll a Saving Throw with +2 bonus. Oh why does this have to be of the same level as Call to the Laughing Fortune. Pretty good power as it covers your weakness, but it’s hard to pass up the effective and fun power on this level.


Level 15, Daily

Guardian of the Primal Copse – ranged 5 vs fort. Ok damage. Enemy Defense equals lowest – save end. Ok power. The real tough enemies will have higher saving throw bonuses reducing the effectiveness of this, but not bad for a one round shot.

Searing Wind of the South – Enemy only Blast 5 vs Fort. Slide all allies to another area in Blast. Excellent tactical movement ability.

Spirit of the Wolf Pack – Enemy only Blast 5 vs Will. Targets grant CA and Attacks deal extra 1d6 damage if target is flanked – save end both. Could potentially do a lot of damage but requires a melee heavy group. Rogues will love you for this though.

Storm Guardian Spirit – Ok damage vs ref. Choose an ally. Any enemy that attacks that ally gets 5 damage and is pushed 1. Has some potential as a defensive ability to protect squishies but 5 damage is really poor as a deterrent.


Level 16, Utility

Faces of the Fallen (Dragon 372) – Enemies adjacent to SC are weakened. Awesome debuff. Should be easy to park your SC next to an enemy every round for the encounter. Could potentially leads to enemies wasting attacks on your SC.

Fate Weaver’s Shield – One ally gains +5 AC until next turn or it attacks. OK

Forge the Chains of Life – If ally fails death saving throw, she gains HP equal to bloodied value. A good ace in hole, but should not happen very often. If you did not pick up much healing or have allies with poor tactics or a Retribution Avenger then this is better.

Spirit Binding – Let’s you channel you SC abilities an extra round. Let’s see…Call to the Blood Dancer, more damage and crit range, I’ll sign up. Call to the laughing fortune, yes please. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Spirits of the Dancing Zephyr – Burst 5 moveable zone. Let’s allies hit by attacks shift 1 as immediate reaction. Pretty decent power that becomes a better with the Spirit Tempest PP.


Level 17, Encounter

Call to the Lashing Behemoth – spirit vs fort and target falls prone. Any ally adjacent to SC can knock a target prone. Prone target gets extra 1d8 damage. Potentially a lot of damage to your foes. Rogues will love you for this. In conjunction with other prone generating powers/items, this can be devastating. Goes well with the Moonstalker PP.

Shackles of the Mountain – one or two creatures adjacent to your SC use the lower of their AC/FORT/REF (With Rider) to their AC. This defense debuff is very inconsistent. In some cases this will yield a large defense debuff in the range of +6 to +9 and in some cases will only yield only a +0 or +1. Panther Shaman’s have great riders but this one is the first disappointing one.

Spirit Bond of Vengeance – vs ref. Low damage. When an ally hits a target other than the primary target that is next to your SC. Then the primary target receives an extra 1d6 damage until the end of your next turn. Ok. Let’s you basically add damage to ranged, mobile or high defense enemy that won’t stay next to your SC.

Spirit of Spring’s Renewal – Ranged 10 vs will, All allies next to SC can spend a HS. Excellent power. If you need extra healing, this is it.



Level 19, Daily

Great Bear Guardian – Ranged 10 vs fort, push 2 and prone. Conjures moveable bear spirit than can flank and apply opportunity attacks. Solid.

Guardian of the Howling Wrath (Dragon 372) – Spirit attack vs will. Nice chunk of damage. When any enemy within 2 squares of your SC drops to 0 then you gain a +2 attack bonus. Solid but selfish.

Horns of the Undefeated Khan – Ranged 20 vs ref. Until the end of your next turn. Allies gain +2 to attack and +5 to damage against the target. Allies can also shift three and make a saving throw. Great, versatile offensive/defensive power.

Spirit of the Shield Breaker – Ranged 10 vs will. Generates -4 save end defensive debuff with an aftereffect of -2 AC debuff. You conjure a moveable spirit until the end of the encounter than generates a +5 damage bonus to allies while adjacent to it. Solid offensive buffing power.

Tendrils of the Fate Weaver – Ranged 10 vs will. Solid damage. Target can gain CA and is slowed – save ends with -5 to effect. If one chosen ally gets hit by any enemy then it is immobilized until the end of your next turn. This power has a lot of minor effects going for it but there are better options at this level.

Powers - Epic Tier: Legendary Spirits


Level 22, Utility

Bounty of Life - Burst 10 AoE regen 5 or 10 if bloodied. Minor action. Yes Please.

Call the Dead – Burst 5. Dead allies spend Healing Surge and considered to have failed no death saving Throws. Wow. Serious combat rez.

Doorway to the Spirit World – Burst 1 Zone. Grants insubstantial. Excellent defensive power and even better with Spirit Tempest PP.

Life and Death Struggle (Dragon 372) – All allies within burst 2 can spend a healing surge. Nice. Generates a zone that gives allies +5 to death saving throws, meh. Enemies cannot regain hit points, good where applicable. All around solid power

Spirit of the World Healer – One ally regains all HP. Best single target heal in game. Makes up for your ST healing deficiency.



Level 23, Encounter

Call to the Primal Protector – vs ref. All allies adjacent to SC take half damage from any source until next turn. Solid defensive power.

Call to the Relentless Hunter – Vs Fort. Allies adjacent to your SC that miss with an At will or Encounter will still damage foes equal to 1d10 + your int. Call to the Laughing Fortune is strictly better.

Spirit of the Death Raven – Ranged vs Will. Next attack vs target has 25% chance to be a crit. Very spiky. Mediocre if it doesn’t generate a crit.

Twin Tempest Spirits – Ranged vs ref. one or two creatures. Solid damage. Teleport allies adjacent to SC 10 squares. Excellent tactical power.



Level 25, Daily

Ironborn Spirit – Ranged 10 vs ref. Immob save end. Generates burst 5 zone that grants +2 AC to allies and negates forced movement. OK power.

Spirit of the Shaman - Ranged 10 vs will. Ok damage. Stun Save end. Aftereffect, enemy nearest gets Stunned with a save end. Solid control power.

Spirit of the World Serpent Shaman – Ranged 10 vs ref. Solid damage. Every time target stands up he takes a variety of save end damage. Furthermore, it and enemies within 3 squares get knocked prone save end. Nice AoE control effect. Rogues will have a field day. Furthermore Tack on Call to the Lashing Behemoth for more fun. This is a potentially very high damage power.

Western Wind of Storms – Enemy only Blast 5 vs Ref. Teleport Targets and allies 10 squares. A great encounter reset.


Level 27, Encounter

Blood Reaper Spirits - Ranged 10 vs Fort. You can make this attack three times against the same or different targets. Wow for a leader power. Your allies will generate Damage bonuses according to how many times you hit an enemy ranging from +2 +4 or +6 damage while adjacent to your SC. Your rider adds your INT to the bonus damage! So potentially generate +14/+15 extra damage to one foe! This power is awesome and helps you and your allies activate your boon quicker. Striker level damage for yourself too!

Call to the Cleansing Fire – Vs ref Radiant damage. Until next turn, allies next to SC gain +5 to Saving throws while adjacent to SC. Excellent power. If you need more saving throw support then this will help.

Call to the Great Hunter – vs ref. One ally next to SC gains +5 to attacks until next turn. Ok attack buff.

Spirit of Elder Wisdom – ranged 10 vs will. Dazed. Any ally that misses with an encounter, does not expend power. Good power, however Call to the laughing fortune is still better and 14 levels earlier.



Level 29, Daily

Death Spirit – Vs Fort. A lot of damage and when its allies drop then the target gains extra ongoing damage as an effect twice. While this could potentially add up to a lot of damage, it is still situational. Virtually useless vs a Solo. It also is a pure damage power and does not generate any buffs or control for your allies.

Sea of Serpents Shaman – Enemy only blast 5. Generates a zone. Allies can shift 3 as minor action. Gain CA against all enemies and can make opportunity actions against adjacent enemies that shift. Great choice for the offensive option at this level and works great with the Spirit Tempest PP.

Spirits of Mist - Ok damage vs one target vs Fort. Generates Burst 3 movable zone that grant insubstantial. The defensive pick at this level.

Spirit of the Unbroken Vow – Ranged 10 vs will. Ok damage. Only ally. Gains escalating attack bonuses vs target to a max of +10. Pretty good vs a Solo, otherwise there are better options.

Noteworthy Feats: Spirit Infusions


Currently there are not a lot of feats for Shamans and therefore you have much flexibility especially in Paragon.

Heroic Tier, General

Alertness (PHB) – Decent, perception is a good skill.

Armor Proficiency: Hide (PHB) – Not bad if you want the extra armor.

Armor Proficiency: Chainmail (PHB) – Overrides your secondary stat to AC, not worth it.

Combat Medic (PHB 2) – Solid power, might come in handy and is better as a minor action.

Astral Fire/Burning Blizzard/Dark Fury (PHB) – Not enough necrotic/psychic/fire/cold/acid powers to justify. Some require investment in off stats.

Coordinated explosion (PHB 2) – Not enough powers to justify. Does not work with the spirit keyword.

Distant Advantage (PHB 2) - Does not work with your melee spirit powers. This will be useless on the vast majority of your turns.

Durable (PHB) – Not a bad feat per say, but you should not necessarily need it unless your spirit get popped a lot.

Implement Expertise (PHB 2) – Hitting is good, take this.

Improved Initiative (PHB) - Initiative is very useful for Panther Shamans

Jack of All Trades – Great for RP purposes but you have Speak with Spirits.

Melee Training (PHB 2) – If you find yourself making many basic attacks, then this good. Can also be useful if multi-classing into melee builds.

Quick Draw (PHB) – This or Improved initiative as they don’t stack. It will depend if you need to pull items out a lot.

Restful Healing (PHB 2) - Healing Spirits heals one of its targets without forcing it to spend a surge, this conserves Healing surges.

Ritual Caster (PHB) – Good feat and you can take arcana as it is keyed to your secondary stat. Access to rituals will only become more powerful over time as new spells are released.

Shared Healing Spirit: An ally within two squares can gain the benefit of extra healing. Ok power, especially if you can’t position your spirit properly for maximum benefit or it can help heal a ranged ally. However it’s still somewhat situational. Not needed if you go Spirit Tempest PP.

Shield Proficiency: Light/Heavy (PHB) – Not really needed, requires feats expenditure and moderate strength score.

Spirit Speaker (PHB 2) - Speak with spirits can go to an ally. Sky blue if you many skill challenges per session, but has minimal combat application.

Stalker Spirit Adept (PHB 2) - Shifting as a free action every turn is good, both offensively and defensively. If your party spreads out or doesn’t have enough melee combatants then this loses some value.

Timely Respite (PHB 2) - Make a save when using Second Wind or total defense action. Good for the leader that needs to stay on your feet especially because you don’t have many save granters.

Toughness (PHB) – More HP, not bad.

Wintertouched (PHB) or With Lasting Frost – Grants combat advantage when using a cold power vs an enemy with cold vulnerability. Useless by itself. Retrain into this after getting Lasting Frost and combining with Wrath of Winter.


Heroic Tier, Racial

Dwarf:
Gold Dwarf Pride (FRPG) Gain bonuses if you reach 0 hit point and come back. As a leader, you really want to avoid 0 HP.

Shield the Fallen (FRPG): You increase the defenses of a bloodied, unconscious, or helpless ally. You stay back more, not that great.

Dodge Giants (PHB) (Heroic), (Paragon, Epic) Will heavily depend on your DM.

Dwarven Weapon Training (PHB): Your powers don’t currently use weapons. For multiclass only.


Eladrin:
Eladrin Weapon Training (PHB) – Gain damage bonus to spears and longswords. You don’t have weapon powers, however if you multiclass and take melee training then this is better.

Moon Elf Resilience (FRPG) – When you fey step with no allies within 5 squares, then you can spend a healing surge. Excellent tool in case you get into trouble or if your Spirit Companion gets popped a lot. You should not have trouble fulfilling the 5 square requirement. Can’t pick Sun Elf Grace feat.

Sun Elf Grace (FRPG) – When using fey step prior to being bloodied then you gain +1 to defenses. Can’t pick Moon Elf resilience feat.


Elf:
Elven Precision (PHB): +2 bonus to your Elven accuracy roll. Solid.

Light Step (PHB): Travel utility, not bad but situational.

Wild Elf Luck (FRPG): 1d4 bonus to Elven Accuracy roll, good. You can’t select Wood elf luck.

Wood Elf Agility (FRPG): Solid overall utility for Athletics and acrobatics. You have speak with spirits. Furthermore you can’t select Wild elf luck if you go with this.


Gnome:
Fey trickster (PHB2) RP or Combat – Gain Mage hand and Prestidigitation. Nice little feat with no real combat application.

Group Stealth (PHB2) – Will heavily depend on party makeup.


Half-Elf:
Group Insight (PHB) – grants allies +1 to insight and initiative check. Not bad.


Human:
Action Surge (PHB) Extra to hit when using an action point. Solid power.

Stubborn Survivor (FRPG) / Human Perseverance (PHB) As the person trying to keep everyone else alive, it’s good to have powers that help stay on your feet. Coupled with the shamans relatively limited saving throw granting ability, these have more utility to you than usual.


Tiefling:
Ferocious Rebuke (PHB) – When using infernal wrath then you case push foe an extra square. Ok

Hellfire Blood (PHB) - +1 to attack if using power with fire or fear keyword. Not enough powers to justify.

Scion of the Gods (FRPG) - +1 feat bonus to Fort/Will. Loses effectiveness in paragon if picking paragon defenses or robust defenses in epic.


Deva:
Auspicious Lineage (PHB2) Depending on how conservatively you use your racial power, this may or may not suit your fancy.

Battle Intuition – Use your Int for initiative and add an extra +2 feat bonus to initiative checks, does not stack with Improved initiative/quickdraw. Excellent feat.

Deva Heritage - +2 to perception vs angels, demons and rakshashas is situational. The astral splendor power is ok but has great fluff.

Heavenly Heritage – gain temp hp when damaged by cold or fire. Situational

Immortal Skill – not really needed as you have speak with spirits but is a prerequisite for other feats.

Potent Rebirth Enhance your damage when you get knocked out, on a leader? Pass.

Radiant Power If your party lacks access to radiant damage this might be useful to you. Generally speaking though, power attack is not your thing.

Radiant Recovery – If you hit with or are damaged by a radiant power then you gain temp hp. Not likely to happen very often and you don’t have many radiant powers.

Scourge of the Fallen – Must be good/lawful good. Add memory bonus to damage if used against evil immortal. Too situational.

Upright Revival – more death escapism. Try not to get to 0 hp.


Shifters:
Blurring Claws / Gorebrute Charge Offensive boost when bloodied. Not what you want to be doing.

Wild Senses If you track then this is good, otherwise pick improved initiative.


Genasei:
Earthshock Master (D367) – Earthshock gains 1d8 damage and Reliable keyword. Not bad but Earthshock requires off stat investment.

Extra Manifestation (FRPG) – Let’s gain and shift manifestation. Unfortunately some manifestation require off stats (Earthsoul, Firesoul)

Fast Manifestation (D367) – Switch manifestation as minor action, retain encounter power. Decent enough.

Firepulse Master (D367) – Gain 1d6 damage and Reliable keyword to Firepulse. Pretty good but Firepulse requires off stat investment.

Genasei Fire Afinity (D367) – Gain +2 fire resistance and creature gets -1 to saves vs ongoing fire damage. Firesoul is not a good manifestation for you.

Genasei Frost Affinity (D367) – Increase cold resistance by 3 and immunity to slow and immobilize effects from frost. Situational.

Manifest Resistance (FRPG) – Increases your current resistance by 5. Ok.

Primordial Surge (D367) – Gain temp HP equal to 5 + Str/Con/Dex modifier when using your racial power. Would be better if supported by your prime stats.

Versatile Resistance (FRPG) – Gain resist 5 cold/fire/thunder. Ok


Shadar-kai:

Benighted Birthright (D372) - resist 5 necrotic and a +2 to saves vs ongoing necrotic damage. Situational.

Deathly Disruption (D372) – Ignore first 5/10/15 necrotic resistance. You don’t have many necrotic powers, but not bad as necrotic resistance is pretty common.

Devious Jaunt (D372) - add INT to teleport distance shadow jaunt. Very nice range for your teleport now.

Life on the Edge (D372) – Using an action point while bloodied grants you a +2 to all rolls during the action. Pretty good overall.

Winter Favored (D372) - resist 5 cold and a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against ongoing cold damage.



Paragon Tier, General

Armor Specialization: Hide (PHB) – Extra AC, not a priority, requires 15 con.

Back to the Wall or Back to the Wall - there is current debate on how to read this power.
Discussion
One side suggests that because the Shaman is next to a wall then you should get the bonus when using spirit attacks. The other side of the argument says that the origin square is wher the spirit is and therefore no bonus is granted. Right now it's up to you and the DM to decide.


Danger Sense (PHB) – going first is good.

Fleet Footed (PHB) – Extra speed can be good, remember that it applies to your spirit companion

Lasting Frost w/Wintertouched (PHB) – Grants cold vulnerability 5.

Nimble Spirit Use your call spirit companion as a free action. Dismissing the SC is still a minor action. Great power, as a Shaman you have many uses for move/minor actions, so this is a big boon.

Paragon defenses (PHB 2) – Help the NADs +1, retrain to robust defenses in epic.

Psychic Lock (PHB) – Nice little debuff that can be used with Haunting Spirits, but otherwise there are not that many Psychic powers..

Quick Recovery (PHB 2)
– Can help conserve healing surges.

Reserve Maneuver (PHB 2) – Great power, enable you swap an encounter power.

Shield Specialization: (PHB) – Requires dex 15, and extra feats to gain proficiency with shields, not really needed.




Paragon Tier, Racial

Dwarf:
Dwarven Durability (PHB) Extra two healing surges, and value will increase by Con modifier. Pretty good.


Deva:
Ascendant Lineage (PHB 2) If you miss with Memory of a Thousand times, the power is not expended. Decent enough.

Astral Renewal (PHB 2) With a lot of radiant or necrotic damage, this is pretty solid. Otherwise pass.

Immortal Resilience (Dragon 374) – requires the immortal skill feat. Let’s you use the average when rolling low on a saving throw with memory of a thousand lifetimes. Good but requires burning a feat.

Remembered Mother Tongue (Dragon 374) – read/write supernal and people can understand you. RP feat.

Shared Channeling (D374) – For multiclass Shamans, let’s an ally trigger a channel divinity power that is personal range. RRoT can now be used by an ally.


Eladrin:
Feystep Trailblazer (D366) – can take an ally on your fey step. Pretty solid if trying to protect an ally or gain access to remote area.

Feywild Protection (PHB) – gain extra defense when using fey step.

Reactive Feystep (D366) – Can fey step as immediate reaction as a result of forced movement.


Elf:
Running Shot (PHB) You probably don’t attack while running very much.


Gnome:
Fade Ally (PHB 2) or W/Rogue - Grants Fade Away to ally. Not bad defensive power. If a Rogue is present then this becomes great.

Surprising Disappearance (PHB 2) or W/Rogue - Grants CA to your allies when using Fade Away.


Half-Elf:
Versatile Master (PHB2) – Gain your dilettante as an at-will. Check. While Paragon Multiclassing you can choose your powers from any class. Check 2. Can spend an action point to recover an encounter power. Check 3.


Human:
Action Recovery Extra saves for you. Solid.


Tiefling:
Fiery Rebuke (PHB) – Nice extra damage when using infernal wrath.


Shifters:
Beasthide Shifting (PHB2) Resist 2 to all damage while shifting. Pretty good.

Cliffwalk Shifting (PHB2) Gain climbing speed while shifting.


Genasei:
Shocking Flame (FRPG) – Unless multiclassing or using melee builds, stay away.

Stoneguard (FRPG) – +2 AC vs ranged attacks while manifesting Earthsoul. Not bad.

Stormrider (FRPG) – Extra speed and Hovering never hurt anyone.


Shadar-kai:
Ghostly Rejuvenation (D372) – When using a healing power, one target becomes insubstantial until the end of its next turn. Awesome extra defense skill.

Reactive Jaunt (D372) – Use Shadow Jaunt as an immediate reaction after getting damaged. Nice defense skill. Can be used when SC gets popped.




Epic Tier, General

Epic Fort/Ref/Will (PHB 2) – Big time NAD help. Stacks with robust defenses.

Indomitable Will (PHB 2) – Robust defenses is better.

Opportune Reflexes (PHB 2) – Robust defenses is better.

Unyielding Fortitude (PHB 2) – Robust defenses is better.

Primal Resurgence (PHB 2) – recover a daily, nuff said

Robust Defenses (PHB 2) – Stacks with Epic Fort/Ref/Will

Blind Fight (PHB) – can see adjacent enemies and do not gain concealment or invisibility, solid

Epic Resurgence (PHB) – Pretty good when it happens, but you don’t have an expanded crit range

Mighty Spirit: Your channeling powers now have some reach which can help tremendously if trying to apply powers to allies when they are not in perfect position. Doesn't apply to debuffs on the enemies.




Epic Tier, Racial

Deva:
Transcendent Lineage (PHB 2) Reroll Memory of a Thousand lifetime power and add to the result. Good power but requires taking the other two feats.

Immortal prowess (Dragon 374) – let’s you use the average when using memory of a thousand lifetimes to modify an attack roll. Pretty good power however requires you to burn two feats to get.

Winged revival (Dragon 374) – build upon upright revival and you gain fly speed. Pass


Genasei:
Double Manifestation (FRPG) – manifest two manifestation simultaneously. Pretty good power.


Gnome:
Vanishing Act (PHB 2) – Grants fade away power teleportation. Good get away skill.


Shadar kai:
Deathless Warrior (D372) – If reduced to 0 HP by melee or close range power then reduce damage by 5 + con modifier. Since your con is low, then this is not that great.

Spirit Jaunt (D372) – Gain Phasing while using Shadow Jaunt.


Shifter:
Burst of Savagery: Consume your shifting power to channel a 2d6 extra damage and 10 temp hp. Not a really good idea while you are bloodied.

Paragon Paths, Epic Destinies: Way of the Spirit



Shaman Paragon Paths

Disciple of the World Serpent
Nice all around features. This PP is brought down by mediocre 16th feature and 20th level power.

Features
Grasping Spirit (11th) – enemies treat squares adjacent to SC as difficult terrain, decent.

Spirit Shaman’s Bounty (11th) – spend action point and one ally adjacent to SC can spend a healing sure. Solid and helps with your healing.

Spirit Venom(16th) – When an enemy saves vs one of your dailies it gets 10 poison damage. Supports Crush of the Serpent. You have a moderate amount of dailies with save ends some of which have multiple aftereffects most of them are single target however. The juciest one is Spirit of the World Serpent which has the possibility of 2-4 aftereffects. Other than that it's black becuase it only applies to dailies and it's poison damage which is moderatly resisted. If more Shaman dailies appear in Primal Power with many aftereffect then this could be better.


Powers
Serpents Rebuke (11th) – Ranged 10 vs will. Enemy is immobilized. Any enemy enters a square next to the target gets 5 psychic damage. Ok power, can be combines with Psychic lock for a nice debuff.

Seal of the Serpent (12th) – You or an ally ignores cover, superior cover, concealment, total concealment and can make ranged attack without line of sight until the end of your next turn. Strong.

Crush of the Serpent (20th) – Ranged 10 vs fort. Immobilization and 15 damage save end both. Aftereffect = Immobilization and 5 damage save end both. Pretty weak for capstone PP power.



Ghost Panther –
Features are terrible unless focusing on a stealth based party. Powers are solid though.

Features
Ghost Panther’s Wisdom (11th) – You and allies gain +5 to stealth with adjacent to SC.

Ghost Panther’s Action (11th) – Spend an action point. All enemies adjacent to SC grant CA to you and allies. Not bad. Better with a Rogue.

Panther Ancestors(16th) – Gain wisdom modifier to Athletics, Acrobatics, and stealth. Great is the party is in to a lot of stealth, otherwise not very good.


Powers
Predator Spirit (11th) – Ranged 10 vs ref. Bloodied enemies are weakened while adjacent to SC. Decent.

Great Cat’s Dodge (12th) – Interrupt, attack missies, you can shift three. Ok defensive power.

Ghost Panther Spiral (20th) – Burst 5 vs will, generates zone. You and allies can use minor action to teleport next to an enemy within zone. Solid tactical maneuvering.



Great Bear Shaman –
The Bear fluff aside this is a solid path for the more defender focused. It’s also currently the highest damaging Shaman PP.

Features
Great Protector’s Prowess (11th level) – You and allies gain +2 to damage vs marked enemies adjacent to SC. Good with teamwork with your defender or if multiclassing defender.

Great Bear’s Action (11th level) – Spend an action point. Ally can make a melee basic attack as a free action. Pretty good power that is even better with someone with a large melee basic attack.

Looming Presence (16th level) – Allies gain +5 to hit with opportunity attacks while adjacent to SC. Not going happen that often, but decent.


Powers
Bear Fang Defense (11th) – Spirit vs Fort. Nice damage and target is marked. Any attack made adjacent to SC grants 1d10 damage and prone. Nice solid ability that works with your features.

Galvanizing Bellow (12th) – Encounter power burst 5. All allies can shift 2 as free action. Nice tactical maneuver.

Call to the Great Bear (20th) – Spirit vs ref. Nice chunk of damage. Target gets -2 to attacks. When target does attack it takes 1d10 + wis damage. Save end both. Decent debuff damage power.



Spirit Tempest –
Helps with healing, and frees up tactical positioning powers. Addresses issues with your primary granted at-will.

Features
Spirit Wind Action (11th level) – Spend an action point. All allies adjacent to SC can teleport 2 squares as free action. Solid tactical maneuver.

Healing Guides (11th level) – The central feature of this path. Whenever you use your healing spirit. You can apply the extra healing to all allies within or adjacent to any zone. This provide tremendous AoE healing capability without healing surge usage. Requires you to take many zone powers.

Spirit Combatant (16th level) – Gain combat advantage when using an at-will with the spirit keyword. Makes the Fort targeting issue with Spirit Stalker moot. Helps the other Spirit targeting at-wills become more accurate.


Powers
Spirit Tide (11th) – Spirit vs will. Damage and enemies within 5 squares get some damage too. Good minion clearer but not much else. A good candidate for Reserve maneuver.

Spirit Flow (12th) – Burst 20, one ally. Swap positions by teleporting. Minor action encounter power. Great possibility for tactical usage and squishy saving.

Spirit Storm (20th) – Burst 2 zone. Allies gain +1 to attack and damage rolls. Any ally can use move action to swap positions with another ally. Works with healing guides and provides a nice mix of minor offense and tactical positioning.



Other PPs

Adroit Explorer (PHB 2) – Nice choice of extra power. Personal saving throw granter. More actions points. Excellent power recycling. Of note you have many good encounter powers making this PP very good.

Ancestral Incarnate (PHB 2) – Regain lower level encounter is good as is the saving throw ability. The power are ok but nothing spectacular.

Fey Beguiler (PHB 2) – gain training in skill form Rogue or wizard list. Invisibility. Gain utility power from Wizard or Rogue. Extar use of Fade Away. Pretty solid overall.

Moonstalker (PHB 2) – Extra damage vs Prone targets for you when using a spirit attack. Allies gain extra damage = to your Wis when you are adjecent to a prone target of which you have many. Ok powers although Circle the prey requires Str or Dex.

Shiere Knight (PHB 2) – Some teleporting shenanigans and a pretty good capstone power in Imperious prescenece.

Turathi Highborn (PHB 2) – general extra damage features however Thrall of Turath is preety great for the domination effect.

Twilight Guardian (PHB 2) – Make two attack rolls and use either result with AP. Ignore concealement and difficult terrain. Some control powers. Not Bad

Abiding Reaper (D372) – Features are just ok. Deathly Action is pretty good with the ability to ignore resistances and insubstantial. The powers enable you to choose your ability attack stat. Reapers Repast let’s you unlock a healing surge. Not bad overall.

Whirlwind Genasei (FRPG) – Lots of tactical movement and enemy positioning.



Multiclass PPs

Divine Oracle – Wisdom is main stat. Can’t be surprised, two rolls for init. Grant crit and grant hit. Excellent features and powers.

Pit Fighter – Extra armor doesn’t hurt. Add a lot of extra damage, especiialy with Dirty fighting which adds your wis modifier to damage. The level 11 and 20 powers require Str though. If you want extra personal damage then this PP is hard to beat.

Hospitaler – Hospitalers Action and Blessing as well as healing font really help bring the Shaman’s healing capability up a notch. However the powers are basically useless.

Battle Mage – Battlemage action and Battle Edge are the main draws, the Powers are ok too.

Blood Mage – You don’t really a lot of ways to take advantage of the Blood Mage features, however some of the powers are decent.

Spellstorm mage – Some extra damage features. Storm Spell is great for you to recover a power because of your high wisdom. Some decent powers.

Hammer of Judgement – Pushing shenanigans. Minor AC debuff. OK

Oathsworn – Some extra accuracy for you and your team. Opens up usage of your Longspear. Focuses around oath mechanic which only lasts until your next turn.

Zealous Assassin – Lots of extra damage for you especially because you can generate CA.

Guardian of the living gate – Shore up some of your weaknesses. Two features grant saving throws, level 12 utility grants bonus to saving throws by tough enemy. Also some accuracy for you.

Keeper of the hidden flame – Attack reroll, extra to hit. Some control effects, ok.

Blightspeaker – Necrotic damage, control effects. Ok

Flame of Hope – Nice attack roll action for your party. A little extra saving throws for your party. Some temp HP. Sunburst Bulwark grants AoE Heal. Pretty good PP overall.

Hammer of vengeance – Extra damage features, enemies gain penalty to saves, teleportation. Not bad overall.

Silverstar – Saving throw bonus on hit. Attack stat can be Wisdom. Some surgeless healing and an encounter stun. Pretty good overall.

Simbarch of Aglarond - Extra healing surges and ability to spend one on behalf of an ally. Simbul’s tempest allows you to roll multiple saving throws per creature you hit. Intelligence is attack stat.



Epic Destinies

Demigod(PHB) – Bonus to two stats, recycle encounter power. Solid survivability powers. A prime pick.

Eternal Seeker (PHB) – Very flexible ED if multiclassing.

Glorious Spirit – Some extra damage and a movement power. Just ok.

Harbinger of Doom – Shield of Ill Fortune and Master of Ill fortune are golden, unfortunately the rest of the ED is mediocre.

Lorekeeper – Some extra damage features for you. Some ritual casting help(as Panther Shaman ritual casting is pretty good). The two gems of this ED in the 26 power and 30 Power. True name give all allies in burst 10 a bonus to damage = to you wisdom or Intelligence. Fit right in with you theme. Lorekeeper’s Revelation is crazy good with the ability to treat to daily utility powers as encounter powers. Just think Spirit of the Word Healer as an encounter power or if you are a Spirit Tempest you will only need one utility zone power so that you can have in every encounter. The only reason I rated this ED blue is because your two major power come in late.

Primal Avatar – Bonus to attack rolls and a nice suite of defensive powers. Decent

Chosen – As demigod but you can customize the Power.
Items...

Tactics: Putting it all Together



Spirit Companion

Overview
The spirit companion at its core is a Conjuration with the Conjuration and Spirit Keywords. It’s important to remember because one of the most common mistakes we all make is to consider it a creature, even if it seems that way according to fluff, it’s basically a spell effect. Taking it a step further, the spirit companion is an advanced conjuration with many applications that will be covered below. If it seems like rules don’t cover a certain area then you can always invoke the “Flaming Sphere” rule. If a flaming sphere can or can’t do it then the SC should or shouldn’t either because they are both Conjurations.

Initiative
Panther Shamans gain a lot from going high in the initiative order as it opens up many tactics such as blocking for AoO, harassing ranged characters or using ranged powers first. If you do not go high in the initiative count then it may be good to delay your actions until your allies are positioned and then go directly to supporting them.

Summoning/Dismissing
Summoning the spirit companion is a minor action, it has a range of 20 that is dependent on line of site. Dismissing your spirit is a minor action. During Paragon tier, pick up nimble spirit which will allow you to dismiss your SC as a free action. If you fall unconscious or die then the SC will end. Finally if an enemy reaches the damage threshold, then the SC will be dismissed as well.

Tactics - Basic Summon, Heroic Tier
Substitute your move action in order to dismiss the spirit companion. Doing so can provide tremendous benefit as you can then summon the SC in the range of 20 as a minor action.


Discussion
During heroic tier, some people suggest dismissing the SC if you have an action left. That will free up a minor action on your next turn especially if you are not channeling buffs. The problem with this approach is that much can happen during a round and enemies could become bloodied between turns.


Movement/Environment
Your spirit companion moves when you use a move action. It can move the same amount of squares as your movement. The SC is a Conjuration and is therefore not affected by the environment. That means that your SC can function is areas where fluff might dictate otherwise. The SC can move normally over difficult terrain or get to areas that you can’t reach. The SC does not need to be supported by ground and can float in the air.

Discussion/Debate
There has been some debate whether the SC can fly, but currently the rules don’t confirm or deny this ability. The rules do dictate that it doesn’t need ground supporting it and it can float in the air, so at the very least you should be able to dismiss and summon the SC in particular squares in the air.


Tactics - Wrath of Winter
Wrath of Winter lets you teleport your SC after you hit and enemy with a range of 5. On a large battlefield in order to gain maximum range, you can move to the other side of the battlefield and then hit an enemy there essentially turning this into a much longer range teleport.



Opportunity Actions
The Spirit companion doesn’t have any actions on its own and can’t make opportunity attacks. Your power spirit fangs enables you to make an opportunity attack if the target meets the trigger requirement. “An enemy leaves a square adjacent to your spirit companion without shifting”

Discussion/Debate
Previously it was not entirely clear if the SC grants AoO while moving, however according to the June Podcast, the SC does not grant an opportunity actions when moving because it’s a conjuration. You can always invoke the “Flaming Sphere” rule here.


Tactics - AoO positioning
If you act high in the initiative count then you can position your SC to block enemy brutes and soldiers, forcing them to make some tough choices:
  • waste attacks on your SC
  • eat an AoO from the SC
  • or possibly waste a move action.

Minions especially are wary of SC positioning because they can’t pop it and they can die trying to eat an AoO. In narrow corridors, you will effectively be able to block virtually guaranteeing some AoOs. This is much more difficult to do with Controllers and Artillery as they can simply use ranged attacks freely or shift and attack. In open areas, your enemies can always shift + charge.



Party Support
A key element of using your SC is positioning it to gain the maximum party benefit. The SC takes up a square that allies can pass through but enemies cannot. While I can’t cover every situation as groups and terrain are different in every encounter. I will however go over a few basic positioning tricks.

Getting the Most Benefit
Applying your benefits to the most allies will take practice and teamwork, the goal is to apply buffs to as many allies as possible.

Note: You are not considered your own ally. But Summons are.

Discussion
There is no golden rule to how many allies you should try buff, obviously as many as possible. Generally if you can get at least half your allies then are doing pretty good. In a 5 party group I try for three allies. Oftentimes though you may only be able to get 1-2 allies. However don’t get carried away with buffing the most allies, you are there to support them and let them do what needs to be done such as a Rogue Flanking or an Avenger isolating a target.


The following is melee heavy group. Very often allies will not think of the SC benefits, so it’s your job to remind them of the benefits.
E – Enemy
A – Ally
S – Shaman
SC – Spirit Companion

IMAGE(http://gi150.photobucket.com/groups/s104/J024QFD0XL/positition.jpg)


Controllers/Sliding – More teamwork
Allies with forced movement effects can really help reorganize the battlefield in your favor. By clustering the enemies and moving allies adjacent to SC can yield some good results. This can dangerous if there enemy controllers around as you are basically doing them a favor too, although if you are able to drag them right into melee then that would work really well.

Attacking
The range of your attacks are generally assumed by your line of sight. According to the Spirit Keyword once the SC is summoned then the line of sight and effect are from the square of origin of the SC. All attacks are made by you and are considered melee attacks as the line of attack is “Spirit Melee 1”.

Discussion/Debate
There are no rules covering a situation where the SC is not in your line of site. If for so some reason you are behind a wall or blocked from sight of your SC. The rules generally dictate that you are still able to make spirit attacks as the line of sight and effect are from the SC. You can read this a few ways. As always it’s up to your DM.
  • You can still make the attack but since you can’t see the target then the enemy is considered invisible to you and those rules should apply.
  • You can make the attack normally since line of sight and effect are from the SC.
  • In order to maintain the SC, you always need line of sight and therefore will not be able to make the attack.


HP, Absorbing Damage
Your SC can absorb tremendous amount of damage. It has a damage threshold of 10 + half your level that when reached will dismiss your SC and damage you. The damage you take is 5 + half your level. Your SC can only be targeted by Melee and Ranged attacks but not Blasts and Bursts. This is in place so that you don’t get into a situation that you take double damage from an AoE that catches you and your SC. The SC is only affected by initial damage and not ongoing damage.
The damage feature is tremendous because:
  • Many monsters will waste attacks on your SC without popping it. Minions can’t do it at all.
  • Even if a enemy does pop your SC, the damage you take is generally less than the attack itself and won’t transfer a nasty effect/control.


Tactics - Making a Nice Target
You should always consider to let your enemies pound on the SC. Parking it in their face and applying one of your enemy debuffs will usually anger them into attacking it. It can absorb quite a punishment and it wastes your enemy actions. Even if you get damaged, you will have something to use your own healing surges for. Don’t reach for a sky high AC, not saying it needs to be low, but your are leading from the rear and you generally won’t get attacked that much(at least in melee)


Defending
The SC makes a solid secondary defender of sorts, when being attacked on two fronts, the SC can effectively support and help your allies in case of only one defender in the party. It’s easy to reposition the SC to block effectively.
Defensive Tactic: In order to protect an ally, you can park the SC behind or next to the ally. The ally can then get away via Stalker Spirit Feat + their own movement, when doing so they should move through or behind the SC basically guaranteeing that an AoO will occur if the enemy is determined on focusing on the ally.

Tactics – Defensive Front
Sometimes the party will get ambushed or attacked from another direction. The SC is a great stand in to support the primary target on the second front, especially if you don’t have a second defender.


Tactics - Protecting an Ally
In order to protect an ally, you can park the SC behind or next to the ally. The ally can then get away via Stalker Spirit Feat + their own movement, when doing so they should move through or behind the SC basically guaranteeing that an AoO will occur if the enemy is determined on focusing on the ally.


Flanking
Your Spirit Companion cannot flank by default. While there is no specific rule saying this, your at-will power stalker’s strike effect is that you and your allies can flank after hitting with the power. Currently the only other Shaman power that allows flanking is the level 19 daily power Great Bear Guardian.
The only clear situation where flanking and gaining CA is allowed is:

Situation1: Spirit Companion is flanking and under Stalker’s strike. You or an ally that is flanking on the other side gains CA.

Discussion/Debate
Customer Service has not been unified in their responses, so at this point, we will have to wait for an official ruling on Flanking, however it’s up to you and your DM to decide on what works for you as there is nothing game breaking about any of these scenarios.

Situation 2: You flank with an ally, SC is adjacent to same enemy. You make an attack with the SC. By the rules you technically meet the requirements for flanking and therefore should gain CA. CS has ruled against this twice.

Situation 3: Spirit Companion flanks with Ally and is under Stalker’s Strike. Shaman is in another location and makes a spirit attack. CS has rule once for and once against this situation.
FAQs and Ongoing Debates. Last one.
Looks a good start. I like your brief description of the spirit companion, and I think everyone will be grateful if you include that spirit companions DON'T provoke attacks of opportunity. Looking forward to the tactics section.
Thank you. I added a section in there about AoO. I also updated most of the feats.
Tactics section has been updated.
Some discussion of the feat Back to the Wall should be included as your Spirit attacks (melee) potentially gain the bonus to attack if you are adjacent to a wall--an easy thing to arrange as a from-the-back leader.

Also, I think you are under-rating the Spirit Venom feature of the Disciple of the World Serpent PP. The Shaman has an unusual amount of Daily powers which have after-effects (save ends), and even has several Dailies which have after-after-effects (save ends). The bonus damage should trigger on all of those saves. If you optimize around this feature, you should get a hefty increase in damage--fitting for your secondary role of striker.
Some discussion of the feat Back to the Wall should be included as your Spirit attacks (melee) potentially gain the bonus to attack if you are adjacent to a wall--an easy thing to arrange as a from-the-back leader.

Also, I think you are under-rating the Spirit Venom feature of the Disciple of the World Serpent PP. The Shaman has an unusual amount of Daily powers which have after-effects (save ends), and even has several Dailies which have after-after-effects (save ends). The bonus damage should trigger on all of those saves. If you optimize around this feature, you should get a hefty increase in damage--fitting for your secondary role of striker.

Good catch on the Back to the wall, the guide has been updated in the Paragon Tier feats.

As far as Spirit Venom, i'm still not really seeing it. My concerns are that while there are many dailies with save ends, there are plenty without so it's not guaranteed to be used every encounter. I understand that this can take off a little with powers with aftereffects, however most of them are in epic or level 19+. Even if you do apply this every encounter then it's only 10 damage and poison at that which is moderatly resisted.

Am I missing something here?
As far as Spirit Venom, i'm still not really seeing it. My concerns are that while there are many dailies with save ends, there are plenty without so it's not guaranteed to be used every encounter. I understand that this can take off a little with powers with aftereffects, however most of them are in epic or level 19+. Even if you do apply this every encounter then it's only 10 damage and poison at that which is moderatly resisted.

Am I missing something here?

I'm not arguing that Spirit Venom is a good power, mind you. Just that while the feature would be purple for any other class, it actually synergizes pretty well for a panther shaman. No feature that only affects dailies is ever going to be great (IMHO), and personally I prefer dailies which have effects that last until the end of the encounter.

Nevertheless, shamans have lots of AoE (save ends) powers, and an unusual amount of aferteffect (save ends) which effectively lets you apply your bonus damage multiple times per daily. While there are many dailies that don't have (save end) effect, it wouldn't be hard to arrange that all of your dailies do. And while you can't really start triple dipping the damage until 19th level (I think...I'm away from books at the moment), you don't even get the power until 16th, so that doesn't seem like a huge drawback.

For comparison's sake, look at how much the Druids love Faerie Fire, which imposes a (save ends) effect and then drops a hunk of damage on them when they save. Spirit Venom essentially turns all of your (save ends) dailies into Faerie Fire.

As a Panther Shaman, adding extra damage to AoE powers, and then making the targets take the damage twice (or even thrice) helps a lot in getting bloodied enemies on the board so that your allies can start taking advantage of your Spirit Boon.

So to sum up: for any other class, yes--it would be purple. But for Panther Shamans, maybe high black.
Fair enough. I changed the power to black. Most of the powers are single target but there are a few gems in there such as Spirit of the Wolrd Serpent which has many save ends. Hopefully Primal Power will introduce more.

Thanks for the heads up.
Thanks for this guide! Excellent work. You gave me some good ideas here.

Has there been discussion on exactly how the Healing Guides feature of the Spirit Tempest PP works? On first reading, it sounds too good to be true. Then I realized that it's probably mainly intended for the Protector Spirit's Spirit Boon.
Awesome Guide!

one thing: the "Tactics - Protecting an Ally" section is already present in the paragraph above it :embarrass
Stupidity should be painful!
p.s. add to MC PPs: Life Singer (Bard, AP)
Excuse my ignorance, but where is the battle intuition feat from?

Also, you should really consider adding EPG to your guide. There is not that much for shamans there really, but what there is - it is really great.
Mark of Healing not only obliterates the shaman's main weakness (granting saving throws), but actually turns it into a strength - now each use of your healing spirit grant a saving throw to two allies (and that's before Spirit Tempest enters the field).
Jorasco Jadehand PP is not bad either - three solid healing powers (two of them mass, one - immediate interrupt), very solid save-granting feature, and too other somewhat decent features.
The only other thing that is worth mentioning is the artificer class that has Int/Wis build and two very potent feats in the face of Potent Restorables and Reinforced Healing that also gain a lot from the dual-target nature of your healing spirit.
Excuse my ignorance, but where is the battle intuition feat from?

Dragon 374.
Stupidity should be painful!
Nice work

I saw one mistake : Nimble Spirit change the summoning action, not the dismiss action. It's summoning the SC that become a free action

Another point, I'm not 100% sure of this, the Call spirit companion at-will power summons the SC, but it doesn't tell that you have to dismiss it to use the power again. you dismiss it if you don't want the SC by your side, but I think that you can just summon it as a minor action (free action at paragon) as described in the power. You just summon it from its previous location
Due to this versatility the Shaman is not a beginner’s class and should not be played on auto pilot as you will lose effectiveness very quickly. It’s important to assess the needs on the battlefield every round and think about optimal usage of your powers and Spirit Companion (SC).
.

YESSS!!! - I agree 100% - This class is probably the most difficult class to understand how it works and how to use it effectively. This difficulty is multipled, of course, by the make-up, powers, and tactical savvy of your other party members...


Great Guide


McSmashin
McSmashin
Has there been discussion on exactly how the Healing Guides feature of the Spirit Tempest PP works? On first reading, it sounds too good to be true. Then I realized that it's probably mainly intended for the Protector Spirit's Spirit Boon.

Any opinions on this? Are there any discussions of it anywhere. It's a fairly poorly written PP feature, IMO. I'm not quite sure how it's supposed to work.
Please do a global search and replace of "AoO". It is called OA in 4E.
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