Best Wizard At-will Powers?

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What would be the best at-will powers for a control wizard to take assuming I only have 2?

At the moment I'm leaning towards using Scorching Burst (ranged at-will AoE = win) and either Thunderwave or Ray of Frost. In the campaign I'm currently engaged in I can expect to be in good sized battles (using 6+ enemies at once) although there are few minions.

Anyone have enough experience with both thunderwave and ray of frost to tell me which would be better?
You want one aoe and one single target spell for variety. Everything else won't make much of a difference in the long run.
Thunderburst for area, push, and not providing an OA by adjacent enemies.
I personally am a fan of cloud of daggers. 1d6+int+wis and the potential for more. it lacks the range of magic missile and the area control of scorching burst and thunder wave but it can provide some well needed battlefield control
Scorching Burst + Cloud of Daggers ( + Magic Missle) is the best combo in my opinion.

AoE damage or single target and an obstacle.
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having thunderwave with cloud of daggers is nice too because you can push them back through the cloud
But that's just to good man, it's like cheating. :P
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Ray of Frost (slow spam at range) + Thunderwave (put them back at range) + Cloud of Daggers (Push multiple foes THROUGH Cloud of Daggers with Thunderwave)
Here are some things you want to consider:

1) You want one multiple target spell, and one single target (this was already mentioned so props to confirm_trash.).

2) You want to target different defences. I took ray o' frosst and thunderwave and quickly had to retrain.

3) You want a close up spell and a range spell.

4) If you are a control wizard you will likely have a decent wisdom - use it.

Those lead me to suggest: Thunderwave - a close blast that is small enough to fit between allies in most cases, targets fort and pushes according to wisdom modifier. To go with it I recommend cloud of daggers, ranged spell that targets reflex and does int and wis damage. If you are not taking sleep as your daily (I prefer flaming sphere for controller) and if your DM is okay with it I would recommend Illusory Ambush from the dragon mag over cloud of daggers. It targets will! In heroic teir the wiz has only two spells that target will - sleep and colourspray, unless you bring in the illusions. Frankly, illusory ambush is enough.
If you have a warlord, Magic Missile is a very good choice, since it counts as a basic attack.
A single-target alternative is Illusory Ambush, from the wizard class article in Dragon a few months ago (one of the free issues). While it doesn't provide as much direct control, the attack penalty it imposes is significant against elites and solos, and the fact that it targets Will is also advantageous.
From what I've read I'll probably be using Thunderwave and Cloud of Daggers now. I can't use illusionary ambush since my DM doesn't like Dragon magazine but that really shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for advice guys
Thunderwave is an awesome spell, simply because it can save your butt when things get rough. I can't tell you how many times my brother has used thunderwave to cut his way through swarms of enemies. Its the only at-will wizards have that doesn't provoke an OA, so I highly recommend it.
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having thunderwave with cloud of daggers is nice too because you can push them back through the cloud

I... I never saw that. ever.

Thats awesome.
Also depends on how you want to specialize your Wizard. I prefer a Force/Thunder/Lightning combination Wizard, and although Magic Missile has an insidious range, I like Cloud of Daggers more, along with Thunder Wave, very effecive if you decide to use it along a Stormsoul Genasi... :P
Btw, aside from the power selection, have a look at the wands in the AV...some offer a nice boost to specific at-will powers plus being an implement, and they are low level.

E.g. a Master's Wand of Cloud of Daggers +1 (p.109) is a level 3 item and adds twice your WIS bonus to damage instead of once, while the thunderwave version can turn the spell into a close burst 1.

Vatras

 

I started a wiz with scorching burst and thunderwave, and that was a big problem not having a single target spell.

Secondly, I completely agree that it is important to target multipe defenses - you'll be in big trouble otherwise.

I prefer scorching burst for AOE since it allows me to stay away from multiple baddies. If I couldn't choose illusioinary ambush, I guess I'd take ray of frost... Not a huge fan of it, but slowing isn't half bad.
If you have a warlord, Magic Missile is a very good choice, since it counts as a basic attack.

Depends. Core Warlords only grant (at least, early on) Melee Basics, AFAIK.

IF they use Brash Assault over Commander's Strike, then YES. Magic Missile FTW, unless you have a Greatbow weilding Ranger as your striker. (d12>2d4).
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The only must-have is Scorching Burst. AoE at range is just too good to pass up. Plus, you can always clip a baddie with a corner to make it work as a single target spell (although lacking any useful control effect).


Other than that, it really depends strongly on your build. A staff wizard will definitely want TWave in order to have a close spell. Other wizards can just shift and shoot, or hide behind the warriors. It is nice to have, but not versatile enough to take up a precious at-will slot. An orb wizard may be an exception because his WIS lets him push baddies an obscene distance in paragon levels... especially with a few items to support this.


Cloud of Daggers is solid for an orb mage as well, especially early on where the extra damage is more useful. (As you level, the extra damage from increased WIS just can't keep up with monster HP gains) You will likely retrain it after heroic though.

Illusionary Ambush is excellent if you take Psychic Lock. That usually goes along with a Divine Oracle path and lots of other psychic spells.

Ray of Cold is pretty good actually. I was surprised at how good it is for preventing runners, keeping a big melee guy from reaching our party for a few rounds, and generally being useful.
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If you have a warlord, Magic Missile is a very good choice, since it counts as a basic attack.

Magic Missile also benefits from Eagle Eye Goggles (AV, giving bonuses to hit with ranged basic attacks), and Bracers of the Perfect Shot (PH, giving bonuses to damage with ranged basic attacks). Magic Missile also has a range of 20, which has come in handy (or would have come in handy) several times in our games.
My wizard uses Illusory Ambush and Thunderwave and they've been outstanding so far.

Illusory Ambush targets Will, so it hits a lot and the -2 Penalty helps your tanks quite a bit.

Even though it targets Fort, Thunderwave is a must have, IMO. You will get attacked at melee eventually and it's good to have a spell to use in those situations. Plus pushing enemies comes in handy very often due to terrain or a hazard or just the positioning of your allies. Once, I used Thunderwave against a table & pushed it against an enemy who was outside the blast area. DM ruled it as a Int vs Ref attack with damage as an improvised weapon.
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What would be the best at-will powers for a control wizard to take assuming I only have 2?

If you're a high-WIS orb wizard, Thunderwave and Cloud of Daggers are the obvious choices. Both benefit from your WIS bonus. CoD is a zone that can be extended for another turn by the orb. Thunderwave pushes and gives you an AE option. CoD is also technically an area attack, making it useful in bypassing cover/concealment and deadly to swarms, but only affects one square, so it's useable like a single-target attack when your allies are clustered around a solo or the like.

The other one to consider might be Ray of Frost - it's one-turn slow can be extended with the orb power. IMX, RoF's /slow/ is rarely ever worthwhile, as the vast majority of the time, the target doesn't really lose any actions to the reduced movement. It might charge instead of moving and attacking (which, for a monster is rarely as disadvantageous as it is for a PC, because a monster's primary attack power is generally useable as a basic attack), or or simply shift or not move at all - and attack (possibly at range).

Scorching burst as the only ranged area at-will is still pretty attractive, even if it doesn't directly synergize with a typical orb 'control' build.

Magic Missle is usually the high-damage/single-target option for the wizard, but with a good WIS bonus, Cloud of Daggers matches or beats it's damage potential. It's range and 'basic attack' status are still positives, but, again, nothing about it synergizes with a 'control' build.

 

 

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Magic Missile also benefits from Eagle Eye Goggles (AV, giving bonuses to hit with ranged basic attacks), and Bracers of the Perfect Shot (PH, giving bonuses to damage with ranged basic attacks). Magic Missile also has a range of 20, which has come in handy (or would have come in handy) several times in our games.

This falls under the turd-polishing category.

While this is all true, it is using resources to pump up an inferior attack. Since the MM has no real control ability, it is not all that great. You are better off using items that help your initiative or do other things of benefit instead.

By using magic missile, you are basically saying that you have failed. You were unable to do any real controlling, or at least damage multiple targets. So, you are gonna settle for doing about half the damage of a real striker.


Note: You CAN hold a master's wand of magic missile +1 offhand and all your MMs gain a Push 1 ability.
Then use the 2 Ram items to crank up the push distance to 3. Its lots of fun, but is STILL a relatively poor use of your wizard.
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Well, if you've succeeded as a controller (or the enemy controller has succeeded) and a battle has been reduced to an artillery exchange at 11+ square range, magic missle will serve you better than all those other at-wills that don't have the range. If you don't have a WIS bonus, magic missle is your single-target damage champ, and, by the end of a tough combat, you inevitably find yourself down to one enemy to target (and, often, down to your at-wills, as well). There's a lot of situations where the multi-target nature of Scorching Burst or Thunderwave isn't just valueless, but an outright liability, and it shines, there, as well (with CoD it's only rival - afterall, if you don't want to launch an AE into melee, chances are the enemy is pinned down by your allies, so Ray of Frost is no particular help, just a (very) little damage).

And, of course, there's the basic attack thing. That helps you synergize more effectively with some warlord builds and magic items. Great if you happen to have those synergies available, but, I agree, probably not worth paying a high oportunity cost to /make/ them available.

 

 

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If you have a warlord, Magic Missile is a very good choice, since it counts as a basic attack.

Magic Missile sucked before Martial Power was released. Back then, the ranged basic descriptor was worthless, now it is very awesome.

FYI: War Wizard of Cormyr has a paragon feature that lets you designate a non-area spell as a ranged basic attack.

The Warlord At-Will Power Melee Basic At-- I mean "Brash Assault*" gives a basic attack.

Lead by Example because it is Shift 1, then Str vs. AC for 2[W]+Str + grant CA to allies until start of your next turn. Or if you miss two allies can each shift 1 then make a basic attack (no restriction on targets). I can't wait until I can lead by my missing example.
A single-target alternative is Illusory Ambush, from the wizard class article in Dragon a few months ago (one of the free issues). While it doesn't provide as much direct control, the attack penalty it imposes is significant against elites and solos, and the fact that it targets Will is also advantageous.

This is it.. vs. Will, -2 to hit.. can't beat that. Way better than Cloud and Ray, I have used them all.
Scorching Burst is overrated.

It's very difficult to pull off if you have other PC's moving to flank to gain CA.

It's also fire damage, which is far and away the most resisted damage type.

Thunderwave has a number of advantages over scorching burst. It has a push effect, which can set up a number of interesting combos with the wizards other powers. It's a close attack, so it doesn't provoke an OA. It can be modified with a Master's Wand to become a close burst, which lets the wizard clear his adjacent squares. Several feats synergize with it, allowing for greater area of effect or increased defense (Solid Sound.)

It may be a little less spamable than Scorching Burst, and requires a bit more work to be positioned, but in the long run it's far better than Scorching Burst. Wizards have plenty of AOE effects through their daily and encounter powers that they don't need a Ranged AOE At-will.

Ezz
This falls under the turd-polishing category.

While this is all true, it is using resources to pump up an inferior attack. Since the MM has no real control ability, it is not all that great. You are better off using items that help your initiative or do other things of benefit instead.

By using magic missile, you are basically saying that you have failed. You were unable to do any real controlling, or at least damage multiple targets. So, you are gonna settle for doing about half the damage of a real striker.


Note: You CAN hold a master's wand of magic missile +1 offhand and all your MMs gain a Push 1 ability.
Then use the 2 Ram items to crank up the push distance to 3. Its lots of fun, but is STILL a relatively poor use of your wizard.

I think this is incorrect. There are a lot of nifty things that you can do to control your opponent but the bottom line is still that the only way to kill anything in 4th edition is to reduce its hit points to zero. There is a lot of grindspace in 4th edition where you have run out of encounter powers and either have used your dailies or are not willing to spend them. For those situations, and they are frequent, having higher at-will damage available is a big deal.

There are two at-will spells that can potentially fill that role: magic missile and cloud of daggers. Cloud of Daggers only fills that role if you have a 16+Wis. (Assuming just bracers of the Perfect Shot, and really, what else are you going to use your arm slot for? (I guess Couters of Second Chances are an option)) If you decided not to focus on Wis, magic missile is the better choice. It also benefits significantly from post Martial Power Warlords. Bravura Presence, Brash Assault, Lead By Example, and several other powers or combos (such as War of Attrition+Hail of Steel) and being able to capitalize on those abilities is significant.

You still have a second (and possibly a third) at will power to exercise your control aspects. (One of them should be scorching burst or thunderwave so you DO have that area attack). And with the Master's wand of magic missile, magic missile has as much control as any other wizard at-will.
It may be a little less spamable than Scorching Burst, and requires a bit more work to be positioned, but in the long run it's far better than Scorching Burst. Wizards have plenty of AOE effects through their daily and encounter powers that they don't need a Ranged AOE At-will.

I started out with scorching burst and found it very useful at low levels when you only have 1 or 2 encounter powers, but by levels 4-6 was barely using it and at 7 went through three encounters in a row one day where I never used it. I switched to thunderwave at 8 since there have been times when I really regreted not having an at will close power, such as when our paladin who was trying to protect me went prone and all of a sudden I was flanked and immobilized and had to get out of it by using a ranged power since that was all I had left which drew two opportunity attacks that almost dropped my wizard.

Thunderwave also has the benefit of giving you much better control as your character advances and raises his wisdom and gets items that help him push. The other powers tend to stay about equal in their effectiveness over time compared to each other, but thunderwave gets relatively better as the push effects get longer.

I also second the praises for illusionary ambush which hits single targets the most and gives a useful debuff that can be combined with psychic lock for an even better debuff since they stack with each other. That debuff once stopped us from getting a TPK in our hardest battle by making a couple of enemies miss towards the end.
I think this is incorrect. There are a lot of nifty things that you can do to control your opponent but the bottom line is still that the only way to kill anything in 4th edition is to reduce its hit points to zero. There is a lot of grindspace in 4th edition where you have run out of encounter powers and either have used your dailies or are not willing to spend them. For those situations, and they are frequent, having higher at-will damage available is a big deal.

There are two at-will spells that can potentially fill that role: magic missile and cloud of daggers. Cloud of Daggers only fills that role if you have a 16+Wis. (Assuming just bracers of the Perfect Shot, and really, what else are you going to use your arm slot for? (I guess Couters of Second Chances are an option)) If you decided not to focus on Wis, magic missile is the better choice. It also benefits significantly from post Martial Power Warlords. Bravura Presence, Brash Assault, Lead By Example, and several other powers or combos (such as War of Attrition+Hail of Steel) and being able to capitalize on those abilities is significant.

You still have a second (and possibly a third) at will power to exercise your control aspects. (One of them should be scorching burst or thunderwave so you DO have that area attack). And with the Master's wand of magic missile, magic missile has as much control as any other wizard at-will.

I do agree that damage is everyone's job. You don't ignore it just because you are the 'controller'.

However, the extra damage from MM just is not sufficient in my opinion.

At 30 with maxed out equipment, 30INT, assume 50% hit rate, staff of ruin +6, Psychic Lock

Magic Missile: 10 (4d4) +10 INT +12Staff +6bracers = 38 *1.1 = 42.
(the eagle eye +1 attack bonus roughly translates to 10% more damage relative to the baseline character. (55% hit vs 50%))

Scorch = 7 +10 INT +12 Staff = 29 per foe.

Ambush = 29, same as scorch. Maybe +10% due to that +1 Psychic attacks headpiece = 32. -4 AB for foe.


A scorch that hits 2 foes does 58. It is more spread out, but definitely does more damage.

A -4 penalty to AB lowers the enemy's potential for that turn by about 40%.

If he normally hits 50% and is now at 30%, thats a 40% reduction in effectiveness.


In my opinion, the Ambush ability to hoze a foe is more valuable than the extra damage premium of the magic missile.

I will admit that when you get a midlevel TacLord that gives basic attacks to MULTIPLE party members, then maybe MM gets the nod.
Note that several warlord abilities give ONE person the attack (which will always be the guy with the big axe/sword), or a basic MELEE attack.
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Scorching Burst is overrated.

It's very difficult to pull off if you have other PC's moving to flank to gain CA.

That can be an inconvienience, but any affects-all-creatures in area, multiple-square power has that issue. It goes hand-in-glove with the advantage of being able to attack multiple targets, interdict areas, and/or discourage enemies from supporting eachother in melee.

It's largely a matter of timing. If you occassional ready or delay, you can often get around the issue of your party getting in the way. And, of course, though it's a stretch, you /can/ even resort to coordinating tactics with them.

It's also fire damage, which is far and away the most resisted damage type.

Yeah. Fire is fun and classic but it's also so widely-resisted it's almost silly. Poison has it bad, too. Nearly as widely resisted, plus more than a few things (including ordinary objects) are flat-out immune. There /is/ the 'irrestible flame' (or whatever it's called) feat, though.


Thunderwave has a number of advantages over scorching burst.

Sure, and one huge disadvantage: no range. There is that arcane reach feat, though. If you think scorching burst is hard to set up, thunderwave must be a nightmare. Let me put it this way: /every/ time you could use thunderwave without hitting your allies, you could use Scorching Burst from up to 9 squares further back, instead. Plus all the times there are two or more enemies less than two squares apart within 10 squares of you.

The only power strictly superior to Scorching Burst is the Invoker's 'Vangaurd Lightning,' and that's just old-fashioned power inflation.

 

 

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I... I never saw that. ever.

Thats awesome.

Re: Pushing people through a Cloud of Daggers with Thunderwave

It's not actually terribly awesome. You do the same damage, and get a push, which is nice. Realistically, you could have just cast Cloud of Daggers again, unless you could hit more than one enemy.

Still, combos in at-will powers are neat.
Actually, its inspiring warlords and especially bravura warlords that start handing them out. (Bravura warlords start at level 1). Bravura presence gives a free basic attack when you spend an action point (if you hit) and the bravura style at-will (Brash Assault) can give a basic attack (and it may be useful to give it to the wizard in a variety of situations though a barbarian or fighter will often be better). Hail of Steel, Lead By Example, and (IIRC pincer movement) are also better (comparitively) for them and, of course, War of Attrition is only good for inspiring warlords. Of course, when Victory Surge and Relentless Assault come out to play at high paragon/early epic, all warlords get in the act.

I will admit that when you get a midlevel TacLord that gives basic attacks to MULTIPLE party members, then maybe MM gets the nod.
Note that several warlord abilities give ONE person the attack (which will always be the guy with the big axe/sword), or a basic MELEE attack.

My vote is thunderwave. But wizards have so many great at-wills. Consider a human for that extra at-will goodness.
Looks like we still have no clear winner

Vatras

 

Pick an AoE and a single target. Then pick whatever for human bonus.
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Looks like we still have no clear winner

That's because people play in different styles. One plays more impulsive, others use tactical positioning. It really depends on the person what he likes best or not. Others just like to hit as much targets as possible with their powers to avoid minion swarming...
Exactly. Your best at-will powers will vary depending on whether you are human (3 picks instead of 2), and ESPECIALLY your build.

TWave is essential for close combat armored staff wizards, but an eladrin wand wizard will probably never use it. It is nice to have a Close power, but you want your 2 at-wills to be as versatile as possible.

Even the much maligned Magic Missile can be a decent choice with a tactical warlord and a few items. I personally don't like it, but I can appreciate its usage.
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I think the keys in regards to wizard at-wills:

1. Pick 1 multi-target and 1 single target
2. Pick powers that target different defenses
3. Pick powers that aren't similar (MM vs CoD)
4. Choice depends on party composition
5. Depends on stats

In regards to party composition, Warlords make MM go from hot garbage to decent. Fire resistant tanks makes scorching burst amazing. We got a fire genasi SM and our wizard just bombs right over him.

In regards to stats, if you got a high wisdom, you might as well take CoD and Twave. The side benefits are too juicy to pass up. Twave is a great escape move.

In sum, humans are awesome wizards because they get 3.
Pick an AoE and a single target. Then pick whatever for human bonus.

And also pick different defenses.

My human wizard (Staff, but pumping WIS for second implement Orb) has Illusory Ambush, Thunderwave, and Scorching Burst to cover close, ranged, AoE, Single Target, and all 3 non-AC defenses.

The only think I would think about switching is Scorching Burst to Cloud of Daggers.

GH
Thunderwave and Cloud of Daggers.

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