The Art of Striking

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The Art of Striking

-- A beginner's guide to the Striker role --



You've read the build guide for making the perfect Rogue, Ranger, Warlock, Avenger, Sorcerer or Barbarian. Good. Now let's talk about how to use your character in the game to be effective.

ShanFR created an amazing French version of this guide, called L'art de l’attaque (PDF).

After The Art of Defending, this is part II of the tactics by role guide series. Also have a look at The Art of Leading.

More than a DPR machine

On the Character Optimization boards, there is an ongoing competition for the highest DPR - the damage a build can do round after round after round. Of course, DPR is a very important measure for a good striker. But don't assume it's the only one. At the table, you're not playing under laboratory conditions. You're not teleported next to your target at the start of combat, where you can whack at it and it never hits back.
You'll be bloodied by archers until you even reach your enemy. A brute will soak the first round of attacks, then push you over to his controller friend who'll leave you prone and immobilized. Your DPR is down to zero while you scramble to make your saves... With a good build, that does not happen. At early heroic levels, when monsters don't deal much status effects, and the DMs does not throw in terrain like endless chasms and lava pits, pure DPR is what counts. But later, versatility, tactical skill and defenses become equally important.










I The Three Important Abilities of a Striker

Let's get a better definition of the Striker role than simple "do damage". The job of the striker is to reduce the power of the enemy quickly by removing the major threats among his ranks. Their specialty is concentrated firepower against single enemies. If the defender is the shield of the group, and the leader it's head, you're it's weapon.
A party with good strikers can decide combats quickly: Within a few rounds, the hardest-hitting opponents are down, and the party has gained the upper hand and can clear up the remaining foes pretty easily. On the other hand, a party where the strikers dominate has very swingy combats: If they don't manage to take down a few enemies quickly, or if they are up against a single, very tough foe, the strikers go down quickly, and all that is left for the rest of the party is to organize a coordinated retreat.

1. Reach / Mobility
First, the ability to select his targets freely. He can achieve this either by range, with attacks that can reach all across the battlefield, or mobility, going right to his target unhindered by the enemy defense line.

2. Damage / Debuff
Hit point damage is most important, because a dead foe is off the board (most of the time). But don't underestimate the effectiveness of debuffing effects like status effects, and the tactical advantages gained from pushing, pulling and sliding enemies.

3. Survivability
As a striker, you're the main damage dealer of the party. All enemy troops with some sense of tactics and coordination will try to concentrate fire on you. You need some way to survive, while you have the attention of all enemies on the battlefield.

Different Striker classes have very different strengths and tactics to achieve this, and also different weaknesses. To better illustrate these, I'll use monster roles as an analogy. You can find an explanation of these in the DMG p. 54. When the game designers laid out the classes, they used the same categories as the monster roles, with a difference: the diverse bunch of skirmisher, lurker, brute and artillery was lumped together as the strikers. I'll go into more detail when I look at individual classes.


II The Classes


Ranger

Difficulty: Archer * / TWF, Beastmaster **

The ranger is either a skirmisher or artillery, depending on his fighting style.

Fighting Styles
The two-weapon Ranger wades into melee and hacks his enemies to pieces with powerful double attacks. His AC is fairly low, so he has to rely on mobility to get out of range of enemy attacks. Melee rangers have the best pure damage dealing potential against single enemies of any class, but their ability score requirements are spread out: They need Strength to attack, Constitution to survive, Dexterity for AC and Ref defense as well as ranged attacks if melee is not possible, and Wisdom for the secondary effects of most powers. If you don't boost Dex, you'll either have to be extremely mobile or spend feats on armor proficiency. Refer to the Ranger handbook for ways to resolve this MAD (multi-attribute dependency) problem.

The Archery ranger stays out of melee instead, and uses his range to pick off selected targets. The Bow Ranger has no MAD problems, he's fine with boosting Dexterity and Wisdom. As long as you stay out of the thick melee, you also don't have to worry about defenses too much. The only complaint about Bow Rangers I've ever heard is that plucking enemies with arrows round after round is boring... but sometimes the boring tactics are the most effective.

You can build a ranger for versatility, who can do well both in ranged and melee. Such a build has the advantage that he can attack enemies strong in melee from range, and those strong in ranged combat in melee, gaining a tactical advantage. Versatile Rangers have to keep Strength and Dexterity high, so Con and Wis will suffer. They also need to spread their other resources like feats, powers and items between melee and ranged, so they won't be as effective in either like a pure melee or ranged build. This is the price for broader tactical options.

As the beast master Ranger (MP 38), you get a pet, which adds one to the number of your party. The pet can act as a flanking partner for you and your allies, and you can use it for special attacks. Beast master rangers can be melee, ranged, or versatility builds. The weakness of the Beast Master ranger is the low survivability of his pet. It just does not have the defenses, hit points and healing surges of a full character. Keep your pet around the defenders to make it last longer.

Damage
The damage output of a ranger depends on two sources: Twin Strike (PHB 105) and their Hunter's Quarry (PHB 104). Hunter's Quarry is among the easiest of all striker bonus damage class features: Pick a target, and increase your damage against it for one attack each round. Note that the target has to be the nearest enemy to you. If you want to bring down an enemy in the back row, you'll have to move around the defenders first. One more reason to increase your mobility.

So what about Twin Strike, and how could a simple at-will be the main source of damage for a class? With Twin Strike, you get a guaranteed two attacks per round, every round. In effect, you get all hit and damage bonuses from everything twice: Combat Advantage, Weapon Focus (PHB 201), Iron Armbands of Power (AV 117) etc. And it even helps with your Quarry damage, because it increases your chance to benefit from it from 50% to 75% each round.
Notably, many of the Ranger's better encounter and daily powers are essentially beefed-up Twin Strikes, such as the amazing Attacks on the Run (PHB 108). The other good type of powers are minor actions, immediate counters and reactions. They allow you to Twin Strike and do even more damage on top of that. And the crown of Ranger powers are his high-level stances like Follow-up Blow (PHB 113), that give him even more free attacks. In fact, I haven't seen a Ranger encounter power that's a standard action single attack and still beats the damage of Twin Strike for a well-optimized Ranger.

Survivability
Regardless of the build the main defense of a ranger is his mobility. Many of his attack powers allow hit and run tactics with free movement before or after the attack. He can move in, attack, and shift away to avoid attacks. His best protection is a nearby defender to punish enemies for attacking him, and a leader to provide defense boosts and healing.

Living For The Hunt: The Ranger's Handbook


Rogue

Difficulty: **

Like the Ranger, the Rogue is a skirmisher, and many of the melee Ranger tactics also apply to the Rogue. The Rogue's specialty are a very high chance to hit, a sizable bonus damage class feature and a good number of debuff attacks.

Damage
Rogues are the kings of accuracy. A first level Rogue with a dagger and Piercing Strike (PHB 118) can achieve an attack bonus of +5 (Dex 20) + 3 (dagger proficiency) +1 (Weapon Talent) +1 (Weapon Expertise (Light Blade), PHB2 190) + 2 (Combat Advantage) = +12 against Ref 13, the a standard value for a first level monster. Yes, you read that right, he'll always hit unless he rolls a 1. Not every Rogue needs to push his attack bonus that high to be effective, but you get the idea.

If you compare to Rangers, they get two attacks each round where they have the chance to deal their bonus damage, so the Rogue needs to keep up with accuracy. Since the rogue is restricted to a smaller set of weapons with a lower [W] value, so he compensates with higher bonus damage on his Sneak Attack.

Sneak Attack!
The Rogue's class feature is special because it needs some tactical setup. Every Rogue player should know all the basic ways to get Combat Advantage (PHB 279). See the notes in chapter VII and the link below on how to get it.

The easiest way to get Combat Advantage is to flank. The larger your party, the more flanking partners you have, the easier it gets. Flanking with a defender is especially useful for you, because the defender makes it hard for the monster to retaliate against you. In situations where flanking is not possible, try powers that cause conditions. Dazed and prone are the most common. If you run out of them, an ally might help. Some very unfavorable circumstances aside, you should always be able to get Combat Advantage.

Tactics and Weapon Choices
There are three published Rogue tactics, the Brutal Scoundrel, the Artful Dodger and the Ruthless Ruffian (MP 72). Brutal Scoundrel is an expert at high damage against single targets, while the Artful Dodger is more mobile and gets a number of burst/blast attacks, debuffs and powers that move enemies. The Ruthless Ruffian is a single-target debuffer.
The best weapon choices for Rogues are the dagger, the rapier and the cheesy double sword (AV). For ranged attacks, carry a dagger or a hand crossbow (great for drow). The rules for cover, concealment, stealth checks and (in)visibility are rather complicated, but if you know how you can use the rogue as an effective ranged sniper.

Survivability
For defense, the Rogue needs to stay mobile just like the Ranger. Since Dexterity is his main attack stat, even in melee, at least it is easier for him to keep his AC up. On top of that, there are a number of defensive feats which are perfect for rogues, such as Defensive Advantage (remember you want to have Combat Advantage against the enemy you're attacking as much as possible anyway).
A second method of defense for the rogue are his powers that deal status effects, which reduce the enemy's ability to hit back.

Weaknesses
The Rogue's weakness is his low ability to take damage. If an enemy manages to corner him and get his attacks through, the rogue will go down fast.

The Manual of Rakes, Sneaks and Thugs


Warlock

Difficulty: ***

The Warlock is a lurker. Where a skirmisher only moves a way and hopes the defender will keep the mob from following, the lurker completely robs the enemy of his chance to hit back.

Survivability and Debuffing
Not only can he get concealment simply by moving, there are many ways for him to become invisible, or teleport away. He can also sabotage the enemy's ability to attack with a status effect like blindness, immobilizing or stun. Warlocks are the kings of debuffing. Other strikers kill their enemies as quickly as possible. Death is the ultimate debuff, because the monster can't attack anymore, but a Warlocks makes the enemy feel useless while he is still alive. Death by Warlock is slower and more humiliating. They have debuffs that other classes, even controllers, simply can't match, like strealing actions with Curse of the Golden Mist (Daily 15, PHB 136), or removing the enemy from the battlefield for a few rounds with Wraith of Acamar (Daily 19, PHB 138).

Even if the enemy can manage to close up to the Warlock, and even hit him, he still has powers to punish that.

Warlocks work best in a larger group. With your debuffs and damage from another striker or a hard-hitting defender, you can tag team and take down even elites pretty quickly. You can use your stealth and teleporting to zip around groups of weaker enemies, drawing and punishing their attacks.

The Warlock has gained some bad reputation from the "DPR or bust" crowd. If vanilla high damage is all you're after, don't look at the Warlock. That does not mean that Warlocks aren't effective. You'll just need to use them in a different way.

A Warlock Guide (needs an update)


Barbarian

Difficulty: Rageblood * / Thaneborn **

The Barbarian is a true brute. His AC is rather low for a melee fighter, but his hit points are high. He doesn't get the hit bonus of other classes, but he uses a big mean weapon and when he hits the target bleeds.

Damage
The Barbarian doesn't have single extra damage feature like the PHB classes. Instead, his high damage comes from a combination of using a big, two-handed weapon (anything under 1d12 just doesn't cut it), extra attacks for critical hits and reducing an enemy below 0 hp (Rageblood only), extra damage on his at-will powers, and bonus effects on a rage that last the whole encounter.

At the table, barbarians are pretty straightforward to play: Rage, charge the first squishy you can get to, cut him down, charge the next... Barbarians don't need tactical acumen, they should never worry and never think too much. As long as you're not running into an obvious ambush like some Leeroy Jenkins impersonator, you're effective and in character.

Survivability
With your high hp, you don't have to worry about defenses as much as other classes. A few feats like Toughness (PHB 201) or Armor Specialization (Hide) (PHB 202) won't hurt, though. An alternative is dumping Dex and spending two feats on chain and scale armor.

Destruction Manifest: The Barbarian's Handbook


Sorcerer

Difficulty: **

The Sorcerer is artillery. But he is not specialized on single targets, he's the king of blasts and bursts. A rocket launcher rather than a sniper rifle.

Damage
The Sorcerer's bonus damage ability gives less than the one of PHB strikers, but it is the only one that works on every attack and every target. Following the philosophy that it's easiest to play classes to their strengths, it's better to embrace that.

The powers of the Sorcerer are pretty straightforward, with notable differences to the Warlock. The Warlock is good at the big debuff that locks down a solo, while the Sorcerer is a straight blaster. His debuff effects are weaker ones like slow. He does get a fair bit of slides and enemy teleports, so he should be on the lookout for tactical advantages, like sliding enemies into flanks or reshuffling enemy lines to drag the squishy artillery in front of the brute. Use your forked attacks (ranged against two enemies) to blast the foes that are already engaged with the front line of your group. Target the area spells on leaders surrounded by grunts.

Survivability
The main tactical choice for your sorcerer is the amount of risk you wish to take. You can play classic artillery, pick ranged and area powers, and avoid being attacked by staying well behind the defender. You spend your resources on blasting better.

The sorcerer does have a fair share of close burst and close blast powers, though, and can even do melee attacks with Sorcerous Blade Channelling (PHB2 189). But he's still a glass cannon. You can spend feats and items to enhance your survivability in melee, or at least at close range. But even the Warlock has at least concealment, effective punishment and leather armor, you don't. Consider the opportunity cost of beefing yourself up. Try this only if you have a defender you can rely on, and always have an escape like Thunder Leap (PHB2 141) ready.

Joe's Sorcerer Guide


Avenger

Difficulty: ****

The Avenger is a skirmisher, with a hint of brute.

In the game, he works pretty different from other skirmishers like Ranger or Rogue. He gets a high difficulty rating not because he is hard to play, but because he is difficult to understand and build correctly.

Tactics
Ranger and Rogue rely on teamwork a lot. With the rogue and his need for flanking, it's obvious, but the ranger needs a defender too because of his lower AC. The Avenger, on the other hand, is build for soloing monsters. You pick a target, and then the combat is all about you and that enemy.

There are two different so-called censures, Pursuit and Retribution. The Pursuit Avenger tries to force his target to move away from him to isolate it from its allies. The Retribution Avenger works the other way around, he wants the target to stay where it is and its allies to leave him alone.

Pursuit
Pursuit works best against enemies who would want to run away from you anyway. Skirmishers and lurkers, because that's what their standard tactic is, and artillery and ranged controllers, because you disturb their ranged attacks. Pursuit is also effective against leaders, because many of them need to be within a certain range, often 5 or 10 squares, of their allies to use their special powers.

Retribution
Retrovengers should think about their class feature as a defensive option. You punish enemies for attacking you by dealing more damage against their boss.
For Retribution to work, you need to be able to take a lot of damage, and you need to deal more damage than you take. Powers that grant temporary hit points, like the Radiant Vengeance at-will power (PHB2 35), help a lot.

There are two traps with Retribution:
Avengers can push their AC to stellar levels, but in case of the Retrovenger, this backfires because enemies can't hit you anymore and you won't get the bonus damage.
The other trap is overdoing it. If you get hit too often because you get too cocky, you'll take more damage than you dish out with the power, even if you have temp hp. Don't plan on taking more than one or two hits per turn, unless against minions. And watch out for lurkers and controllers, because you don't want to be poisoned or similar.

When you take on monsters on your own, you can't rely on a defender or leader to help you out. Once you've selected a target, you're pretty much on your own to bring it down.

Damage
So where is the bonus damage? Your Oath of Enmity (PHB2 34) lets you roll twice for melee attacks. This translates into a higher to-hit chance. If you hit more often, you deal more damage.

Note that this reroll only works when there is no other enemy adjacent to you. Again, this is where your Pursuit / Retribution comes in, because both powers make it more likely that you face off against the enemy alone. With Pursuit, you chase the Oath target around the battlefield, and position yourself in a way that no other foe comes adjacent to you. With retribution, you have a strong incentive that enemies except for the oath target don't attack you, so they have no reason to stay next to you.

Boss fights
A weakness of the Avenger is that his class features are of not much use in boss fights, when the party is up against a single solo 2 or 3 levels higher. Pursuit is useless because the solo is unlikely to run away from you, and retribution is completely pointless because the target simply has no allies to attack you. On the other hand, there are no enemies around to deny your attack reroll.

When optimizing Avenger damage, two thing come to mind: A really big weapon and critical hits. Since you don't need a shield, and two-weapon fighting difficult to build for (start as Ranger and multiclass into Avenger for that), avengers should pick a favorite from the list of big mean 1d12 weapons. Since you roll twice, it's a great idea to increase your critical hit range, for example with a jagged weapon, and load up on feats and other effects that trigger on crits. See the build guides for details.

Survivability
So what about defenses? As a Pursuit Avenger, you want your defenses to be as high as possible. If the enemy has no chance to bring you down, the incentive for him to run away is even higher. You already have Dexterity as a secondary attribute. Get proficiency in leather armor and the Improved Armor of Faith feat (PHB2 185) as soon as you can afford them.

As a Retrovenger, you kind of do want to get hit. You can't lower your defenses too much, because then you would take too much damage from your Oath target. Your Intelligence bonus + Armor of Faith comes out around 16-17 AC at first level, which seems about right. At later levels, you can pick up proficiency with leather armor, but save money by wearing armor with a low bonus.
Instead of AC bonuses, pile up on resistances and save bonuses. After all, you must be hit for Retribution to kick in, but it's perfectly fine if you take no damage.

Righteous Wrath: The Avenger's Handbook
III Target numbers

So, how much damage should a build do to be good? How much AC should a build have to survive?

Let's look at average monster numbers to see what you will be up against. There are guidelines for monster stats in DMG p. 184

The average monster has:
Hit points: 8+Con+Level *8
AC: Level+14
NAD (Fort, Ref, Will): Level+12 (monsters typically have high Str and Con and low Wis and Cha, which raises their Fort and lowers their Will)
Attack bonus: Level+5
Attack vs. NAD: Level+3

Note how monster statistics go up by one with each level. For PCs, your stats only go up at level/2, and you have to compensate with increased ability scores, feats and magic items. The higher you rise in levels, the more important combat advantage, leader boosts, power synergies, marks and other teamwork benefits become.

The "average" hero is assumed to have an attack bonus of level+5 vs. AC, and AC of level+15. Monsters are assumed to go down in about 4 hits (average damage of a hit at lvl 1: 8; at lvl 11: 30; at lvl 21: 50; at lvl 30: 70).

These values aren't that hard to reach, and good builds exceed them by far. The question is, where do you want to surpass these minimum requirements?
  • Higher at-will damage
  • Higher nova damage (burning dailies against a solo)
  • Higher mobility
  • Secondary controller / debuffs and status effects
  • Secondary controller / distributed damage against groups
  • Secondary controller / stop enemy movement, slide, push, pull
  • Versatility: target different defenses
  • Versatility: switch between ranged and melee
  • Secondary defender / better survivability
  • Stealth
  • Secondary leader / buff your allies, heal


When you plan a character, consider which points in the list should be his specialty. In general, each class excels at one or two of them. A good build concentrates on these. Optimizing against your class often ends in a build that wastes a lot of resources only to become mediocre at something.


IV Combat tactics

Strikers have to choose between three main tactics: taking on a single enemy in melee alone, teaming up with another character, or hanging back and sniping. Which tactic is best depends on your class and build. Remember to stay competent at a backup tactic if the first is not possible in an encounter. For example, a bow ranger should still make sure he can draw a melee weapon and hold enemies off if the party is attacked in a confined space where each shot would draw an opportunity attack.

Isolating a single enemy

You concentrate on a single enemy, drive him away from his allies and take him down alone. You rely on the rest of the group to keep the other enemies busy.

This tactic is the mainstay of the Pursuit Avenger, and they are most effective this way. Rogues who can force their own combat advantage, for example with the Wintertouched (PHB 201) - Lasting Frost (PHB 203) - Frost weapon combo, can use it too.

This tactic is most effective against enemy leaders. If they get isolated from their companions, they can't support them effectively. As a mobile striker, you can often circumvent the enemy defense line and go for your target directly, while defenders have to take on the enemy brutes and soldiers first.

This tactic also works well against artillery and controllers, who are easy to take down when they lose their meat shields, and they have trouble to fire off their ranged attacks when you are adjacent. It can work well against skirmishers and lurkers, but be careful that they don't outmaneuver you.
The tactic does have its disadvantages, though. If you work together with another against one enemy, you can take them down faster. And you'll need good defenses, as you won't have a defender nearby to take attacks for you. Worse, if you go down, a leader may have difficulties to reach you. Against a strong elite, this is high-risk play. Against a solo, this is suicide.

Melee Teamwork - with a Defender

The best tactic for Rogues and Melee Rangers. Skirmisher and Defender try to keep the enemy in a flank. While both of you cut away its hit points, the enemy has a dilemma: attack you, and be punished with the defender mark, or attack the defender and fail at his high AC. If possible, you should always try to get your enemies in this position.
Unless the group is outnumbered, it is simply the best way to quickly take down one enemy after the other.
How well this works does depend on class, though.

Melee Teamwork - with a Leader

With a melee leader such as a warlord, you can use a similar flanking tactic like with a defender. The leader won't be able to draw enemy attacks on himself, but he can use powers to buff your attacks and defenses, allow extra strikes, provide flanks and heal you before you go down. In the best case, the added strength from the leader allows you to take the enemy down fast enough that neither of you takes much damage.

Melee Teamwork - with another Striker

An enemy flanked by two strikers can get down fast. When two strikers concentrate their attacks on a single foe, they can bring down most monsters, even elites, within a few rounds.
Against frontliners like brutes or soldiers, a team of defender-striker or leader-striker is more effective, but for all other enemies, a striker tag team is a quick death.

Hit and Run

Against strong enemies like a dragon, its is often too dangerous to stay in melee. Let the defender stay close to the enemy. Use powers that allow movement or shifts before or after the attack to move in, attack and pull back.

Sniping

You rely on ranged attacks to take down your enemies from a safe distance. With enough range, you can safely pick any foe in the enemy ranks. At the same time, you are protected behind the party defense line and out of reach of enemy attacks. That way you can survive even with low hit points and defenses. For your own safety, stay out of range. Remember that most enemies can move and charge to get to you.
It's also a good idea to have an item for protection against ranged attacks, so you can win an archer duel.

Solo fights

If you're a Striker, solo fights, especially boss fights against solos two or more levels above the party, demand different tactics than usual. If you're ranged, you can take a safe spot with cover and throw your best attacks while the defenders hold the monster off.
As a melee striker, prove your hit & run abilities. Move away from the enemy every second turn, or if you have the right powers move in, strike, and move out in the same turn. Just shifting will not keep you out of melee range.

Drawing attention

If the defender goes down, it's the striker's job to jump in. He can keep a monster busy for a few rounds, but only if he relies on his mobility. The trick is to stay mobile, force the enemy to reshuffle positions, keep them away from even weaker party members like a wizard, and keep doing damage with hit and run tactics.


V Analyzing enemies

The most important question in every combat is, which enemy you should focus on first.

At the start of each combat, assess the opposition. Don't forget Perception checks for hidden enemies or traps. Don't hesitate to ask in-game questions. After all, your character will try to understand the combat situation. You will have to work with the in-game clues you get. For example, you can ask whether any opponent looks tougher, stronger, more confident, more battle-hardened (higher level or elite). You can ask if any opponent gives commands (leader). Or whether any opponent looks like grunts that will easily go down with a hit (minion). Also check for obvious spellcasters (artillery or controller) or archers.

Read PHB 180: Monster knowledge checks. These are very important. With a DC 15, you can learn a monster's name, type, and keywords. With a DC 20, you can learn about its powers. With a DC 25, you will know about its resistances and vulnerabilities. I don't think I have to explain how knowing that a monster is vulnerable to fire helps you to kill it... And the best about it? It's not an action!
The relevant skills are: Arcana (Elemental, Fey, Shadow), Dungeoneering (Aberrant), Nature (Natural), Religion (Immortal, Undead). In a good party, each skill should be picked by at least one character, and you should have at least one of them on your own. Don't hesitate to ask the Cleric or Paladin if he can tell you anything about this strange creature that just dug itself out from the grave. Share information in the party. Shouting hints is a free action.


VI Monster priority list

Ok, the minis are on the battlefield, you've checked what you are facing, you've checked there isn't anything waiting in the shadows, and it's your first turn. Which monster do you attack? There are four standard choices. Which one is correct depends on the combat situations. This is where your tactical skill comes in. I'll list enemy choices in the order you would normally take them down, but individual combats, your groups composition, terrain and many other factors can change priorities a lot.

Leader

Leaders are a prime target because they buff, heal and even resurrect other enemies. When the leader is down, or at least busy and isolated from his companions, the enemy force is weakened and likely to lose the fight. With a melee leader in the front line, try to get him into a flank with a defender buddy. With a ranged leader, try to circumvent the enemy defense line and go straight for him. Be careful, often leaders are elite monsters. It might take a while to take him down, but hey, that's what you have all the shiny high-damage powers for.

Controller

Worse than enemy leaders, a controller can weaken your party to give his allies an advantage. An enemy controller in the back row can really ruin the day for the party unless he is dealt with swiftly. Use your mobility to circumvent the enemy defense line and take them down as quick as possible.
Note that this also applies to monsters which are not controllers, but still have nasty attacks. Take the Clay Scout, it's only a Lurker Level 2 but with a nasty daze effect.

Low-hanging fruit

Low-hanging fruit are weaker monsters (but not minions) that you can take down easily. Different monsters can fall into this group, maybe it's lower level than the others, or a skirmisher that is not as mobile as you, a lurkers with an ineffective stealth method, or artillery in a bad position. In any case, if you see a monster that you can take down easily, go for it. One less monster on the field means one less attack against your party next round, and one less flanker for your opponents.

Example: Bow Ranger against Slaad Tadpole (Lurker). The Slaad only has a melee attack. To lurk, it needs to hit with a melee attack to become insubstantial, and the effect ends on its next turn. It also has a free shift to avoid melee attacks. If the slaad is pestering your defender, hit it with two quick arrows if it misses its attack. If it hits with the attack, just delay until the start of its turn, when the insubstantial ends.

Defense line

If there are no immediate threats in the back row, or if they have been dealth with, it's time to take down the enemy defense line (Soldiers and Brutes). Your defenders can hold them off, but you don't want your defenders to be completely locked down. If you are a melee combatant, flank whatever your defender is fighting and help him take it down, then both of you move to the next. If you are ranged, move to a safe position from where you can't be charged and attack from there. When the enemy front line is down, your defenders are free to chase and lock down more mobile enemies like skirmishers or lurkers, which makes your job easier.

Remaining monsters

When you're done with the leaders, controllers, easy kills and defense line, it should be easy to team up on whatever is left on the battlefield because your party should have the upper hand now.

Minions

They look like an easy kill, but they are mainly a waste of your actions. Even as a Sorcerer, you mainly kill minions when they happen to stand in the burst that was targeted at a bigger threat. A Retribution Avenger can even benefit from minions who are still alive, because they hit him for low damage to fuel his Censure. Warlocks can use them as a cheap trigger for their pact boon. All other classes should just ignore minions and let the wizard deal with them.


VII Optimization Techniques


Gaining Combat Advantage

For Rogues, this section is a must-read, but every class benefits from an easy +2 to attacks.

  • flanking
  • surprise rounds and the first strike class feature
  • enemy can't see you (invisibility, stealth skill)
  • powers that cause the blinded, dazed, prone (melee only), restrained, stunned or unconscious (causes prone / helpless) conditions
  • Rogue powers that make the target grant combat advantage: Easy Target (Daily 1, PHB 119), Setup Strike (Enc 3, PHB 120), Crimson Edge (Daily 9, PHB 121), Hounding Strike (Enc 17, PHB 124), Ghost in the Wind (Daily 25, PHB 125),
  • class features of other classes: Warden's Fury (PHB2 154)
  • powers from other classes that make the target grant combat advantage to all allies
  • the Bluff skill
  • enemy is balancing, climbing, running or squeezing
  • feats: Distant Advantage (PHB2 184), Wintertouched (PHB 201) (combine with Lasting Frost (PHB 203) and a Frost weapon (PHB 234))


More on gaining combat advantage

Use all your actions

So you can move and attack, right? Not only. In D&D, you have the following actions per round:
  • 1 standard action
  • 1 move action
  • 1 minor action
  • 1 immediate action
  • 1 opportunity action per other combatant's turn
  • any reasonable number of free actions

As a Warlock, Ranger or Avenger, you will frequently need your minor action to curse / quarry / oath targets. Still, you can profit from powers that give you an attack as a minor action. Powers that work as immediate counters or immediate interrupts are more situational, but if the trigger is common enough they are even better.
Also, grab as many items or feats as you can that grant free attacks on criticals, when pushed, when killing an enemy and in many other situations.
(thanks to ophite)

The Power of Surprise

Surprise rounds can decide a battle. A free attack at the start of combat can deal hit any force hard enough that they don't recover. Use Stealth to surprise monsters. Use Perception and common sense to avoid traps and ambushes. Boost your initiative. Carry a ranged weapon because often, enemies will be out of charge range during the surprise round.
Especially Rogues should take note, because surprise and initiative can give them two free rounds of Sneak Attack.
(thanks to ophite)

Critfishing

Every Striker is happy about a critical hit, but there are some builds that focus completely on it. To fish for crits, you need:
  • Increased crit range: Normal crits only happen on a natural 20, but there are feats, powers, paragon path abilities and item enchantments to increase that. The Jagged Weapon enchantment and the Daggermaster PP are just one of many.
  • Multiple attack rolls: Rerolling your attack (almost) doubles your crit chance. This is why many crit fishing builds are avengers.
  • Bonus damage on crit: These come from feats and weapon enchantments.
  • Bonus effects on crit: Debuff your enemy with every crit to hinder counter attacks against you
  • Extra attacks on crit: Start a chain reaction by getting another attack, critting again... Sane DMs will limit these to one extra attack per turn, but there are some nasty combos in the rules as written...


At-will pileup

Another optimization technique for high damage round after round is to pick a strong at-will power, preferably one with a multiattack like Twin Strike, and use every ressource to pile bonuses onto it.

Multiattacking

Similar to the at-will pileup and based on using all your actions, this build relies on a strong melee or ranged basic attack and then tries to attack as often as possible with it. There are too many ways to gain extra attacks to list here, so check the Character Optimization boards for ideas.

Appendix

Suggested Reads

Axioms of Striker Construction
Updates:
Apr 26 - Changes and fixes after first comments.
Good work!

I would ask anyone with a striker guide to give mkill permission to add a link to it, hopefully this will be a good go-to place for striker tactics
You have my permission, though I don't think you had to ask. ;)

I liked the Art of Defending, I'm looking forward to this.

One Ranger style that you seem to have left out is the isolationist Ranger; Prime Punisher and the attendant feats (Called Shot, Improved Prime Shot, Prime Hunter) allow the Ranger to demolish lone enemies in short order. Although this sort of build requires the Ranger to dedicate a smidge to his defenses, you can accomplish this with little effort (Pit Fighters buy Scale and Scale Specialization, Stormwardens buy Hide Specialization, etc., etc.).
Agree with most of the advice. Disagree on Barbarians.

There are a lot of subtleties to playing a barbarian, especially a Thaneborn. I'd rank the Thaneborn's complexity at least with **, if not ***. It's definitely more complex than a * archer ranger.

Also a barbarian unsupported by a defender goes down fast like a sack of potatoes. Their headlong charge and damage output draws a lot of enemy fire. So you really need to learn to wait for the defender to get in position. Barbarians are very mobile, being able to move 10-14 squares in a turn and attack (move/charge), so they can switch flanks very easily depending on where enemies and defenders are.

Barbarians do need to think before they act. Otherwise they become a huge drain on healing resources very quickly. The old "you're a barbarian, you can take anything the enemy dishes out" mentality doesn't work too well for the 4e Barbarian. The 4e Barbarian has to be more cunning and surgical, and more aware of their resources, than their historical brethren. Especially the Thaneborn is often charged with figuring out how to place himself to give the optimum number of bonuses to his allies, so he not only is dishing out the hurt, but is letting his allies do it better too. When teamed up with a warlord or bard, they really can focus on teamwork to increase overall party effectiveness.
Call for sticky'd, or at least sig'd. Much better formatting than the first one.

(minor nitpick time!):P

Table of Contents does not include VII. Advanced Tactics, or the Appendix.

Hunter's Quarry is among the easiest of all striker bonus damage class features: Just pick a target, and increase your damage against it for one attack each round.

Remember that (at time of targeting) it has to be the closest enemy to you, which can be a problem if the enemy has a strong defensive line. Mobility is good, but don't expose yourself needlessly.

What is this "Quicksilver Stance" of which you speak? I assume it's from Martial Power, but I can't find it referenced anywhere in LDB's handbook.

Rogue: "Melee Expertise" should be "Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)."

You cite the page#s for the Warlock attacks and Rogue CA attacks, but not the others. Was this a conscious formatting decision?

a rage that last the whole encounter.

Which is a Daily, and should be rationed as such. Shouldn't change tactics tremendously, though. See LDB's Barb handbook, "Tactics: The Way Of The Destroyer: 4. Apply force judiciously."

Also note that you may be expected to off-tank, both because of your high damage and lack of squishiness relative to other Strikers (which may be bad for you, but good for your party overall). Plan accordingly.

There are two different so-called convenants,

Censures. Covenants are Invokers.

Sniping

It should go without saying that all snipers should focus fire, except when needing to debuff a different, annoying enemy.

The relevant skills are: Arcana (Elemental, Fey, Shadow), Dungeoneering (Aberrant), Nature (Natural), Religion (Immortal, Undead). In a good party, each skill should be picked by at least one character, and you should have at least one of them on your own.

Rogues and Barbarians, especially, may not have the space or stats for this. It doesn't help that so few classes have Dungeoneering on their list.

Example Combat: Orc Chieftain (Leader, Elite), Orc Bloodrager (Brute), 3 Orc Warriors (Minion) and 2 Dire Wolves (Skirmisher)

Was this supposed to frame an example strategy or something?

Minions: for Warlocks, if you have a minor action you're not using, curse a minion. Turns the Controller/Sorcerer into a pseudo-leader for one turn.
Wonderful writeup.

As a Feylock player, you made me swell with pride on your Warlock entry. 'King of the Debuff.' Indeed, screwing with my enemies minds is what I do and I like it!
Nice write up. Good to see a more general and non-DPR optimized striker guide.

Couple of notes:

As mentioned by Mengu74, not all Barbarians are alike. Ragebloods can play a bit like Pursuit Avengers, running down single targets, but both do well on the front line, side-by-side with the party defender. Thaneborn also offer some nice leader-like damage buffs and enemy debuffs.

About Retribution Avengers, they don't really suffer from having their AC too high. Their damage is consistent enough and while getting hit by other monsters can increase their damage, you can also be a resource drain on the party leader. It's a delicate balance as to which effect you want to draw upon: Extra damage, or Extra Survivability.

Also you may not want to forget skills! Rogues and Rangers especially come with very useful skills that are applicable outside of combat as well as within. Thievery, Perception, and knowledge skills are very useful to the entire party.
Thank you for all the comments so far. I'll update the guide and address the points as soon as I have the time.

@Lordduskblade: Good point, but the Ranger chapter is already long enough as is. I'm sure there are a lot of builds that I just can't cover here.

@Mengu74: I admit the only Barbarian I've seen so far was a Rageblood, and that one seemed simple enough. The points you make are noted for an update.
Table of Contents does not include VII. Advanced Tactics, or the Appendix.

Fixed.

Remember that (at time of targeting) it has to be the closest enemy to you, which can be a problem if the enemy has a strong defensive line. Mobility is good, but don't expose yourself needlessly.

Added.

What is this "Quicksilver Stance" of which you speak? I assume it's from Martial Power, but I can't find it referenced anywhere in LDB's handbook.

Ahh, it's a Fighter Daily 15. It's still excellent for a Ranger, but multiclassing isn't really the focus of this guide. There are a lot of good Ranger stances, so I replaced it with Follow-up blow.

Rogue: "Melee Expertise" should be "Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)."

Fixed.

You cite the page#s for the Warlock attacks and Rogue CA attacks, but not the others. Was this a conscious formatting decision?

Lack of time.

(Using Rages)
Which is a Daily, and should be rationed as such. Shouldn't change tactics tremendously, though. See LDB's Barb handbook, "Tactics: The Way Of The Destroyer: 4. Apply force judiciously."

Starting from Level 9, you have 3 rages. For the usual number of encounters per day, you can rage every second encounter, or even all of them. It's a better use of resources than Rage Strike.

Censures. Covenants are Invokers.

Fixed.

It should go without saying that all snipers should focus fire, except when needing to debuff a different, annoying enemy.

Sure. Didn't I mention that?

(Knowledge skills)
Rogues and Barbarians, especially, may not have the space or stats for this. It doesn't help that so few classes have Dungeoneering on their list.

As with everything, the reader needs to judge for himself where the resources of his PC are best spent. I can only point out to things he may have not thought about.

(Example combat)
Was this supposed to frame an example strategy or something?

Yes. I hope I find the time to yank that out and add some example combats when I have the time.

Minions: for Warlocks, if you have a minor action you're not using, curse a minion. Turns the Controller/Sorcerer into a pseudo-leader for one turn.

Hehe. Nice
Very good work -- lots of valuable advice here!

The one thing I would not completely agree with is the (lack of) importance of killing minions, for three reasons.

1. They may only have one hit point, but their attacks can still do enough damage to make them dangerous. I consider the minimal effort required to kill them vs. the potential harm they can inflict to be a good return on investment.

2. They increase the numerical advantage against the PC's, especially with regards to critical hits. Every minion on the field gives the GM an extra chance at a critical hit for every round it survives. The fewer attack rolls the GM gets, the better off the PC's will be. Culling the minions is often the easiest way to balance this equation.

3. This applies only to Warlocks, but since I play one it's a key factor for me: minions are the fastest, easiest way to activate my pact boon. I curse minions, they go down with one hit, and BAMF! I'm misty-stepping all over the field. I don't go out of my way to kill minions, but I make sure to curse as many as I can. Gotta love those minions.

Given a choice, minions aren't anyone's number one target, but in my experience a good GM will use them well, and either make the PC's fight their way through, or else regret ignoring them.

PtM
Your house-rules suck.
just a thing on minions, I agree that killing them is cool. but not that raise the chance of critting . nothing happens when a minion crits, they have no dice to maximise. unless I've missed something?
Very good work -- lots of valuable advice here!

The one thing I would not completely agree with is the (lack of) importance of killing minions, for three reasons.

1. They may only have one hit point, but their attacks can still do enough damage to make them dangerous. I consider the minimal effort required to kill them vs. the potential harm they can inflict to be a good return on investment.

2. They increase the numerical advantage against the PC's, especially with regards to critical hits. Every minion on the field gives the GM an extra chance at a critical hit for every round it survives. The fewer attack rolls the GM gets, the better off the PC's will be. Culling the minions is often the easiest way to balance this equation.

3. This applies only to Warlocks, but since I play one it's a key factor for me: minions are the fastest, easiest way to activate my pact boon. I curse minions, they go down with one hit, and BAMF! I'm misty-stepping all over the field. I don't go out of my way to kill minions, but I make sure to curse as many as I can. Gotta love those minions.

Given a choice, minions aren't anyone's number one target, but in my experience a good GM will use them well, and either make the PC's fight their way through, or else regret ignoring them.

PtM

theyre nice for a warlock to tigger their pact boon, but other than that, i wouldnt care much about them as a striker, since youre wasting your great amount of damage potential on 1 hp of enemy. maybe take a round to curse one of them, kill it and spread your curse all over the place with a rod of corruption.

but that should be the maximum attention, they get from you - even as a warlock. like mkill stated, its better to let them be handled by your party wizard, since he can take out masses of them simultaneously with his huge arsenal of (even at-will) area attacks. maybe a sorceror might want to take a round to drop one of his own area effect spells in, to clear the place up faster. but in general, strikers should concentrate on more important targets.
On the topic of minions, strikers should not shy from killing them if they have the means.

Barbarians have a few burst attacks, and if you can catch a few minions in the burst, why not do some clean up, and remove some of those flanks they are providing. Barbarians don't like being surrounded by minions.

Sorcerers with their many AoE's, should definitely target at many enemies as they can every time, and often this will include minions. Close blast Sorcerers also don't like being surrounded by minions.

Archer Rangers with their second shot after the first has dealt quarry damage should consider taking out a minion, especially an artillery minion who is not clumped together with other minions for the controller to take out easily.

Warlocks do like to occasionally kill a minion to reap the boon benefits, but they probably typically just curse them, and let others do the killing.

Rogues, Avengers and melee Rangers can pretty much ignore minions except for the odd time they may be using a burst or blast power, in which case including a minion or two in the area would be desirable.
I added a note about minions as pact boon triggers for Warlocks. As for everything else, Mengu74 pretty much said it. If your DM is using minions in a smart way (cheap artillery with 4 attacks per turn) and if your character has the means to deal with that (burst / area attack / autodamage) then yes, kill them. It's the exception to the rule that minions are not high enough on the threat scale to bother.
It's everyones responsibility to kill minions. The striker probably has a better target for his high-damage attacks but it's a mistake to think ANYONE is above killing a 1hp minion. They attack each turn dealing some damage, it adds up over a battle and they help a lot with giving CA to monsters, a Solo with 4 minions is a Solo with 4 flanking partners (until they go down).

Off-Topic but I usually make my minions do about 1d6 more than the MM damage formulas. My first adventures the minions did 3-4 damage, pathetic, so I boosted it since then and they don´t feel like cannon fooder anymore. It's not overwhelming, but at least they get a benefit from critting and there is a chance that they deal at least SOME damage to the resident battlerager on a good roll.
It's everyones responsibility to kill minions. The striker probably has a better target for his high-damage attacks but it's a mistake to think ANYONE is above killing a 1hp minion. They attack each turn dealing some damage, it adds up over a battle and they help a lot with giving CA to monsters, a Solo with 4 minions is a Solo with 4 flanking partners (until they go down).

Off-Topic but I usually make my minions do about 1d6 more than the MM damage formulas. My first adventures the minions did 3-4 damage, pathetic, so I boosted it since then and they don´t feel like cannon fooder anymore. It's not overwhelming, but at least they get a benefit from critting and there is a chance that they deal at least SOME damage to the resident battlerager on a good roll.

nobody said, thats above a striker to kill minions. its just, that the wizard in general can do it way better than the striker. and what good does it to your group, if youre using your amazing damage to take out one minion with one hp, if there is still a enemy leader or controller on the field?

especially, if your party wizard would have fireballed that minion, you just took out anyway. its just a waste of recources. nobody is saying, thats always a good idea for a striker to ignore minions. but in general, yes it is. everyone has to play his roll in the party and its the job of the controller, to kill the minions and to prevent them from surrounding you, because hes just the best man for the job.
Mathematically, minions should be priority targets for the party. You'll reduce the monsters damage per round more quickly by killing off the minions first, all things being equal.
Basing this off 1st level minions / skirmishers such as kobolds or goblins... (exact numbers not checked as not relevant...)
Assume a minion does 2hp/r, while a kobold or goblin skirmisher might do 5hp/r. Assume it takes two rounds on average to kill a minion (one miss, one hit) and eight on average to kill a skirmisher. If you kill the minion in the first two rounds and then the skirmisher in the next eight, you take 2*7 + 8*5 = 54hp. (That's ignoring the fact that the skirmisher's dpr might be reduced when it no longer has the chance to get attack bonuses from combat advantage.)
If you kill the skirmisher first, you take 8*7 + 2*2= 60 hp. Also, both minion and skirmisher benefit from combat advantage for longer.

If it take N hits to kill the non-minion, that non-minion must be doing more than N times as much damage per round as the minion (or its equivalent in terms of status effects) before it's worth ignoring the minion.

However... just because it's in the party's interest to take out the minions first, doesn't mean that it's necessarily the striker's job. Strikers specialise in high damage, and that is wasted on a minion. A defender can kill a minion just as effectively as a striker. If the controller can take out lots of minions in one go, and the striker specialises in high damage or debuffs to a single target - a rogue or warlock, say - then the striker might well be better advised taking on the monster's leader or controller at the back.

The division of monsters into low-hanging fruit, defence line, and others is in practice correct. To expand on it a bit...
All things being equal, the striker wants leave the soldiers and brutes till last. Their hp or defences are high in relation to their expected dpr.
However, that is exactly why the soldiers and brutes want to get in the striker's way. Just like you, the monsters want you to waste attacks on their defender types rather than on their striker/leader/controller types.

The reason why you will take down the monster defence line before any other monsters is that it's a defence line - it's defending the other monsters from you. Any time you get the chance to get round or pass through the defence line without undue risk, you should take it.
Hoard: may earn you gp; Horde: may earn you xp.
exactly. i dont even know, why i brought up the fireball spell in the first place (maybe just because its the iconic wizard-area spell). in my opinion spells like web can be much more powerful. it can be a pain for the entire group of your enemys and give your melee striker a free pass to go around and attack wherever he likes.

even if enemys manage to make their save, there is allways the possibility to use ray of frost, to prevent them from getting out of the zone or to thunderclap them right back into the mess. thats a really nasty tactic and will render most of the enemy melees completely useless, regardless of their remaining hp >: D
Starting from Level 9, you have 3 rages. For the usual number of encounters per day, you can rage every second encounter, or even all of them. It's a better use of resources than Rage Strike.

Ah. I will admit to not having play experience with anything above low Heroic.

(Focus fire)
Sure. Didn't I mention that?

Might've. I just remember that our DM had to call out the three Strikers in our third-ish combat on not doing precisely that.

Page citations for most everything, cherry-pick as needed:

Show
Beastmaster Ranger - Rgr Build - MP 38
Twin Strike - Rgr At-Will 1 - PHB 105
Hunter's Quarry - Rgr CF - PHB 104
Weapon Focus - H Feat - PHB 201
Iron Armbands of Power - AV 117
Attacks on the Run - Rgr Daily 9 - PHB 108
Follow-up Blow - Rgr Daily 29 - PHB 113

Piercing Strike - Rog At-Will 1 - PHB 118
Rogue Weapon Talent - Rog CF - PHB 117
Weapon Expertise - H Feat - PHB2 190
Sneak Attack - Rog CF - PHB 117
Ruthless Ruffian - Rog Build - MP 72
Double Sword - AV ???
Defensive Advantage - P Feat - PHB 202

Toughness - H Feat - PHB 201
Armor Specialization (Hide) - P Feat - PHB 202

Sorcerous Blade Channeling - Sor H Feat - PHB2 189
Lightning Leap - ???
* There is a similarly named power, Thunder Leap - Sor Daily 5 - PHB2 141.

Radiant Vengeance - Avn At-Will 1 - PHB2 35
Oath of Enmity - Avn CF - PHB2 34
Improved Armor of Faith - Avn H Feat - PHB2 185

Wintertouched - H Feat - PHB 201
Lasting Frost - P Feat - PHB 203

Distant Advantage - H Feat - PHB2 184


Re: Minions: This discussion amuses me in light of all the "Controller is the least useful role in the party!" vibe on the CharOp board.
In what book is weapon expertise in???
In what book is weapon expertise in???

PHB2
I think the conclusion for strikers and minions depends on the striker:

Sorcerors should certainly be taking down minions first.

If the rest of the party are in a position to take down all the minions in one turn, then other strikers may ignore minions. Of course, it's unlikely that the minions are conveniently bunching themselves for the controller/sorceror/cleric. Even then, it's better in dpr terms for the defender to kill the minion and the striker to hit the standard monster, than for the striker to kill the minion and the defender to hit the standard monster.
However, if the defender is a fighter, it normally makes more sense for the striker to kill the minion and the fighter to mark the standard. (The defender wants to mark other monsters in preference to the minions. Paladins and wardens don't need to attack to do this if they can position themselves right.)

Rangers should normally be looking to prioritise minions (taking out two minions per turn with twin strike will reduce the monsters' expected dpr faster than anything else).

Warlocks have more single-target control powers. A warlock could be in a position to impose a control or lock-down effect on an elite monster, or even a squishy standard monster or strategically placed soldier. That might have a large effect on the monster's overall combat effectiveness. Getting off an attack with a strong status effect on the monster squishies should be a priority. In the mean time, the warlock wants to curse minions whenever they can. High damage attacks should wait until the minions are dead and the leaders can help with the buffing.

Rogues and barbarians fall somewhere between rangers and warlocks.

Avengers are a special case, and I don't have any experience with avengers, so I don't know how they play. My theory is that their ability to isolate targets places them closer to warlocks. An avenger does not want to be swarmed by minions - (if all you can hit is a minion, it's irrelevant that the other minions have boosted your damage to epic levels), and teleporting a minion out of the main battle is a waste. But even an avenger should kill a minion if the other alternatives don't give much control or lock-down value.
Hoard: may earn you gp; Horde: may earn you xp.
if there is a ret avenger in the party, wait for him to pull attacks from all the minions, then kill them. he just has to run around all of them carrying a shield [to lower his ac by at least 4 I kid you not] get ridiculous flat damage throw away his shield an wail on an appropriate target.

also if there is a warlock it can be worth it to wait on the minion killing so he can get his curse on as many of the suckers as possible[using that rod of curse spreading goodness]

results may vary of course but those two classes adore minions, at least for a round to power themselves up. Worth thinking about anyway
3. This applies only to Warlocks, but since I play one it's a key factor for me: minions are the fastest, easiest way to activate my pact boon. I curse minions, they go down with one hit, and BAMF! I'm misty-stepping all over the field. I don't go out of my way to kill minions, but I make sure to curse as many as I can. Gotta love those minions.

In the two sessions we've had so far, our party's tiefling feylock has exploited this quite well. She drops curses all over the place, then purposefully moves into positions that will tempt enemies to flank her or take opportunity attacks. Her Shadow Step concealment gives her a reasonable chance of avoiding the hits, getting close lets her drop more curses, and pretty soon she's Misty Stepping practically at will.

I'm the DM for this group, so I'm impressed, but I'm also trying to refine my tactics to counter her.
This came up a while ago when our group first did Scepter Tower of Spellgard. Our Warlock (tiefling, Dark Pact) was able to clear out a room full of minions before the second round. The fighter and cleric took out two first. He then moves into the room and cursed one then killed it with an eldritch blast. Because he used his rod of corruption, instead of gaining a spiral point he chose to mark all other enemies within 5 of the original cursed target. from where he was he basically only missed out on 3-4 enemies in the back of the room. Action point (although he didn't need to) and used Curse Bite (or grind, whichever is the level 1 Dark pact Encounter power). He only missed one of the minions and had something like 7 Dark Spiral points.

Leave minion clearing to the ones who can attack multiple targets.
Not sure if it's too much variation/hassle, but maybe add a section of the best ways to up the static damage of each type of striker (but erm...mainly the ranged/melee types for a rogue:P)? I've noticed I'm falling behind on my added damage on my rogue compared to other strikers, especially the avenger and ranger and would love some ideas on this.
@tcg_researcher: Wow, thanks for looking up all the pages! You earned it. I'll copy them in soon, but I need some sleep right now.

Not sure if it's too much variation/hassle, but maybe add a section of the best ways to up the static damage of each type of striker (but erm...mainly the ranged/melee types for a rogue:P)? I've noticed I'm falling behind on my added damage on my rogue compared to other strikers, especially the avenger and ranger and would love some ideas on this.

Sorry, but this thread is about how to use that great damage, not how to get it. But I've linked a Rogue guide right in the Rogue chapter, where you will find a wealth of great information on how to add all the bonuses.
Warlocks with both a Rod of Reaving/Corruption is essentially a Minion clearer.

He has a minor action power that could be called Death to Minion that is a burst 5.

The warlock in my campaing killed 7 minions and cursed 3 more monsters in the first minor action of combat...nothing to sneeze at.
PHB2

thanks bud!
Is the rogue not a lurker?

Awesome series, btw. Can't wait for other roles!

-Drillboss
@tcg_researcher: Wow, thanks for looking up all the pages! You earned it.

Hey, thanks. *munches greedily* It's like we've been saying, you let the skinny guy in the dress with the funny book clear out the easy grunt work, so you can focus on the more important objectives.

BTW, Joe learned to spell sorcerer, so you can remove the note.

Is the rogue not a lurker?

Awesome series, btw. Can't wait for other roles!

-Drillboss

I might consider a dedicated ranged rogue to be a lurker (using Stealth and sniping with a crossbow), but most will go for the flank to get CA.

For those looking for the other roles, alien270 has a guide on [thread=1172135]Controlling 101[/thread]. (I could have sworn there was one for Leaders as well...)
BTW, Joe learned to spell sorcerer, so you can remove the note.

Wow, someone cares about spelling on the Internet?

I might consider a dedicated ranged rogue to be a lurker (using Stealth and sniping with a crossbow), but most will go for the flank to get CA.

ACK. A rogue can lurk, but his main shtick is skirmisher.

@DrillbossD: I might get around to doing Leaders and Controllers one day, we'll see.
Great guide! More, more!

I play two strikers.

I greatly enjoyed reading of the Warlock as a lurker. I had not thought of them that way, actually, but it makes sense. You could also mention that they have means to punish being attacked (Darklock is famous for this... they can be invincible once DMs decide not to attack them!). You could specifically mention the various pacts and how they mitigate damage, deal it back, avoid it by teleporting, and raise accuracy. Tactics-wise, each pact plays a bit differently, and there is an art to choosing how much of one approach to push (damage, conditions, defense, control, etc.).

My rogue is a ranged crossbow build, so certainly a lurker. I did enjoy the guide, as I see many squishy melee rogues that could benefit from improved tactics. (Most of them learn). For a ranged rogue, the tactics are all about ensuring you get that precious CA. This requires heavy reliance early on with Deft Strike, and thus reading terrain carefully. It can benefit from the Dragon Magazine's Bravo multiclass feat (extending and improving upon Deft Strike to add conditions and more damage) or use Hide In Plain Sight and various items to maintain cover/concealment. I see a lot of posts where players need help on how to maintain CA from a range, or even how to gain it with a charge. I have a tactics section for my ranged rogue at the end of the first post here, and there is a similar explanation for one of the posts in the Rogue Crossbow Sniper guide by Faytte. The guide is a bit dated, but still really useful.

One area the guide could grow is in discussing how best to pick targets. Another could be in how best to work with other party roles. I play three leaders, and with each one (Taclord, ranged Cunning Bard, Prot Shaman) I am constantly striving to get strikers to understand how I can vastly improve their damage output. The striker's DPR is a leader's damage output! At high levels, my Taclord's DPR is fantastic... and very little of it comes from his own weapon! It comes from the bonuses to hit, the movement, setting up a target, power bonuses to damage, AP boosts, etc. Strikers should be looking for how the other roles help them. A striker wants to know if the defender will block when they need to skirmish out, if the leader will boost that awesome power, and if the controller/striker/leader can give them CA or set up a condition that helps execute their plan.

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Another great guide! I hope you are working on Leader and Controller guides as well. Especially Controller - it's a nebulous concept in general, so more specifics would be really helpful.
The Art of Striking

-- A beginner's guide to the Striker role --

You've read the build guide for making the perfect Rogue, Ranger, Warlock, Avenger, Sorcerer or Barbarian. Good. Now let's talk about how to use your character in the game to be effective.

I The Three Important Abilities of a Striker

1. Reach / Mobility

2. Damage / Debuff

3. Survivability

to you!

I think this first section is really important. Know your role and understand how you class works is huge! This may sound obvious, but I can assure you, it is not.

I play in a group with a rogue that never sneak attacks and a 2-blade ranger who talked about how much damage he could do, yet that never took twin strike and always used careful attack (This had nothing to do with character thematics either) - and got so frustrated with the lack of damage he did, that he changed class, to become a Shaman, because "of the huge damage they do"... ??? The cleric gets it and our fighter is getting better at marking and tanking. The rogue and ranger/turn-druid are nice guys, but sometimes yesh...

I played another class for a long time and just got tired of watching the Rogue never sneak attack, that I switch classes in an attempt, by example, to show how you could SA every round. To be fair, I lost CA 1 round in three combats (16 turns). The other rogue had CA 3 times in 3 combats: twice for winning initiative and once because I moved to give him flank.

I would recommend this thread to them


McSmashin
McSmashin
Note the Ranges do not get Dex or Str bonus on Twin strike. Its still a great attack however.
I did a minor update today, mainly some cleanup and reformatting and a link on the brand new Art of Leading.

It would be nice if someone could check the Art of Striking whether any information in here was outdated by recent published books like Arcane Power or Divine Power.
Good Stuff. I don't think Arcane Power changes this much. I haven't seen DP yet.

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I'm going to second Alphastream in that you probably should mention the crossbow sniper rogue. Main disadvantage? It requires more skill than the bow ranger to pull off effectively, typically just enough for you to realise that it's actually very boring.