The Wizard Handbook II: Electric Boogaloo

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Welcome to the newest Wizard handbook, a handy guide for those of you looking to build a Wizard in 4E. Unfortunately for us Wizard enthusiasts, the other handbooks have gone out of date with the release of the Player's Handbook II and Arcane Power. This guide will attempt to cover those gaps.

For now, there will be no fancy intro, just because I haven't written one. Anyone who wants to can feel free.

This guide will be written with the assumption that the player is familiar with 4E mechanics.

There will be six general build types used in this guide, naturally these will have some overlap. (The colors used here are just to make things look nicer, not a reflection of their overall abilities)

The [color=Red]Bleed Mage[/color] - This build type was started in Squirrelloid's Wizard Handbook, and is continued here, it is based around dropping enemies using ongoing damage effects and other powers that steadily leech the life out of your enemies.

The [color=Purple]Blast Mage[/color] - Also one of Squirrelloid's, this build is designed around doing as much damage as possible in a given round, though usually spread over an area instead of focused on one target

The [color=Green]Zone Mage[/color] - This build controls the battlefield itself, creating areas of difficult terrain, or crackling energy, that your enemies will do their best to avoid/escape

The [color=Blue]Mind Mage[/color] - All this wizard cares about is status effects applied directly to their enemies. Less concerned with damage, more about denying the enemy actions. Will have some overlap with the Zone Mage

The Summoner - This one is all about the new summon powers introduced in Arcane Power

The Illusionist - This specialized build focuses on the Illusion subset of spells, and will have plenty of overlap with other builds, but gets access to several special feats

This is the scoring metric used during the guide:

[color=Red]Red[/color] - Bottom of the barrel, avoid
[color=Purple]Purple[/color] - Highly situational, you can probably do better
Black - Middle of the road
[color=Blue]Blue[/color] - You could do worse than to take this
[color=DeepSkyBlue]Sky Blue[/color] - You want this

Damage for damage's sake - One of the things that gets obsessed about in many of the Handbooks and Optimization threads is how much pure damage you can have a character crank out in a single round. For Blast and Bleed Mages, this is fine, however, the other builds will be less interested in damage, and more interested in what other effect the spell has (notice that I said less interested in damage, not totally disinterested). Some of the Wizard's best spells don't do damage at all! Something to keep in mind as you read this Handbook
What makes the Wizard?: Stats and Implements

Implements

Wizards are unique in that what they wield has a huge impact on what they can do in combat. There are a handful of implements that you can choose from. It is best to decide which implement you want to wield before determining your stats.

Orb of Deception – Keys off of CHA, requires Illusionist build, can redirect a miss on an Illusion spell to another target.

Orb of Imposition – Keys off WIS, can either extend duration of at-will powers (or some new Arcane Power spells) for one round, or add a penalty to saves equal to your WIS modifier. Along with certain items and feats, can create save penalties impossible to overcome, many consider this implement "broken" at higher levels of play.

Staff of Defense – Keys off CON, grants a +1 to AC, and can boost any defense once per encounter equal to your CON mod. Good for smaller parties, or gish builds, or for those that just like having high defenses.

Tome of Binding – Keys off CON, summoner builds are the only ones who will consider this, as it grants a bonus to damage of summons, and a boost on some of the new summoning spells. Most will ignore this option

Tome of Readiness – No stat, free action allows you to switch out an encounter power for another one of that level, and a feat at paragon lets you do this with daily powers. This is what the Spellbook class feature should have been. Most will ignore in Heroic tier, but many will consider this for a second implement at paragon

Wand of Accuracy – DEX mod bonus to one attack per encounter. Blaster types will want this. Can be used after you are informed if the attack hits or misses, so you can use it if you know it was close.

Stats

Arcane Power has drastically changed things for Wizards. It used to be that a Wizard would use 2 stats (Intelligence, and whatever stat their implement used) and be done with it. Thanks to Arcane Power though, there are a lot of feats that require stats that are all over the place.

Strength – Genasi get some good use out of this stat thanks to Arcane Power, otherwise only those that want Hide will have this stat higher than an 8

Constitution – Staff wizards and summoners will use this as their secondary stat. Those that don’t use those implements would do well to put a 12 here if they can afford it, extra HP and an extra surge are always useful, and your fortitude defense will usually be the lowest, so a decent initial investment here is not a bad idea.

Dexterity – Wand wizards will make this their secondary stat, many will want a 12 here as there are a number of feats that key off of it. Also used for Initiative.

Intelligence – Hello, meet your primary stat. Everything you do is keyed off of your intelligence stat. This will be increased at every opportunity, and there is no reason for you to start with less than an 18 (after racial mods [exception: Half-Elfs, see below]). Some will even consider putting a 20 here, which is a viable option, though you will struggle to meet feat requirements that don’t line up with your secondary stat.

Wisdom – This is likely to be most wizards’ secondary stat. Orb of Imposition users use this stat, and there are several spells that use your Wisdom modifier to determine secondary effects (Cloud of Daggers and Thunderwave, as examples). This will also likely determine your Will defense

Charisma – Before Arcane Power, CHA was limited to only being useful for Spell Focus at Paragon, now it is the stat used for the second Orb implement. Those that do not take Orb of Deception will either leave this at 10, or 12 if they want Spell Focus (recommended for Orb of Imposition users)
Auspicious Birth: Wizards are born as much as made

Races

For now, we will ignore Monster Manual and Dragon magazine races and focus on those available through the player's guides.

[u]PHB I[/u]

[color=Red]Dragonborn[/color] – Bad choice, CHA only lines up for Orb of Deception, will be unable to use the secondary racial traits because that stats don’t line up (For example, Dragon Breath uses STR/CON/DEX, which you won't have much of). If you really want to play a Dragonborn caster, the Sorcerer is right up their ally

Dwarf – CON and WIS line up for either staff or Orb of Imposition, 2nd wind as a minor is incredibly useful, buying the 18 INT sucks, but you can get your main secondary to 16.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Eladrin[/color] – an excellent choice for any wizard, though the excel as a wand wizard. New feats in Arcane Power make DEX one of the more important secondaries, even if you aren't a wand wizard

[color=Blue]Elf[/color] – WIS makes for natural Orb of Imposition user, and their speed means you can keep out of range just that much better. Elven Accuracy is huge for landing daily powers.

Half-Elf – tricky choice, stats line up for either Staff or Orb of Deception, but if the investment is made into WIS, then Dilettante used for the Invoker’s Divine Bolts is very potent. Only scenario I would recommend a 16 INT, and Implement Expertise at level 1 is a must.

[color=Red]Halfling[/color] – sub-par choice, not much to offer since they don't have an INT bonus, those that build these will likely go the illusionist route, but Gnomes are a better choice. Purple, verging on black as an illusionist

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Human[/color] – an excellent choice, +2 racial goes into INT, can put a 16 in secondary stat for 18/16/12/12 or go 18/14/14/12/11. Extra feat always a plus, can get into leather at level 1, as well as expertise. Gishy types may go melee training instead. Can use any implement well, and the extra at-will gives them coverage on all defenses, which is exceptional in the early levels, when you are using your at-wills a large percentage of the time.

[color=Blue]Tiefling[/color] – very good choice, love the INT bonus, and CHA can now be a secondary stat instead of tertiary. Bloodhunt and Infernal Wrath make you very accurate, and fire resist is very nice, they work very well as fire theme wizards.

[u]PHB II[/u]

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Deva[/color] – the new top choice for Orb of Imposition wizards, as they allow 18 INT and 18 WIS, with 12s in 2 more stats. Racial power bonus to an attack roll is great for when you need to land something big and know you just barely missed, but really need it to hit, not quite as good as Elven Accuracy, as it does not allow a re-roll.

[color=Blue]Gnome[/color] – Fade Away gets them out of trouble once a fight, but they SHINE as illusionists.

[color=Red]Goliath[/color] – STR and CON bonuses … umm yeah… the Fighter school is over that way

[color=Red]Half-Orc[/color] – STR and DEX, and a racial for an extra 1d8 once per encounter. Not much here to like, but you might be able to make a half decent wand wizard out of it, with terrible defenses

[color=Purple]Longtooth Shifter[/color] – STR and WIS, and regeneration when bloodied. Not much here to like either, but a little more hope than the Half-Orc or Goliath

Razorclaw Shifter – DEX and WIS, bonus to AC and Reflex when bloody. Same stats as the Elf, but the Elf gets better options

[u]Forgotten Realms[/u]

Drow – decent stat line-up for secondary abilities, CHA now viable thanks to Orb of Deception, darkvision may be useful based on where you are, better than the halfling since no penalty for being small
Feats
[u]Heroic Tier[/u]

[color=Blue]Clutch of Darkness[/color] - Increases the size of your Cloud of Darkness, which can be very handy when you need to escape
[color=Purple]Darkfire Implement[/color] - Darkfire gets to double the damage from your implement
[color=Red]Ruthless Hunter[/color] - Why are you using a crossbow?
Shield of Shadows - Boost to Reflex in your Cloud


[color=Blue]Genasi[/color] – Elemental manifestations are very potent, and work well with elemental theme builds
Feats
[u]Heroic Tier[/u]

Elemental Echo - Small boost to your next attack after using your manifestation power
Elemental Empowerment - Turns you into a pseudo sorceror when you cast with a specific element
Manifest Resistance - an additional resist 5 for your element
[color=Blue]Versatile Resistance[/color] - Resist 5 to a bunch of elements, doesn't stack though, sorry
Spell School: Finally getting to the part where we destroy things with our minds

Something to consider when selecting powers, both when creating a Wizard, and when about to use them in combat, is the enemy itself. Big brutes in heavy armor tend to have high Fortitude (FORT) defenses, shifty types or ranged attackers tend to have high Reflex (REF), and casters tend to have high Will defenses.

At Will powers
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[color=Blue]Chilling Cloud[/color] – very good at-will, if the DM allows it, comes from the mini packs. Only targets enemies, and gives them a –2 to attack rolls if they stay in the area it was cast, even on a miss, also deals damage equal to your intelligence modifier. Drop this on top of your front-line guy that is on the verge of being overwhelmed. Also good for minions

[color=Purple]Cloud of Daggers[/color] – Auto-hit spell, good for those with high WIS. Also creates a small zone (its square) that the enemies won’t want to enter, though that doesn't mean much when not in tight quarters

[color=Blue]Illusory Ambush[/color] - -2 to a single enemy’s attack roll for a turn, and it targets Will, which tends to be the lowest defense. An [color=Orange]Illusionist[/color] favorite

[color=Purple]Magic Missle[/color] – damage only, but feats can tune it up a bit. Best single target damage of the at-wills, and very good range. Better with a Warlord in the Party (until paragon, where War Wizard of Cormyr lets you use any single target at-will as a basic attack)

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Phantom Bolt[/color] – one of the top at wills, targets Will, slides the target, which means you can break flanks on your allies, or knock an enemy into a fire or off a cliff, or move them into a place where they are flanked by allies, plenty of places where a slide on your enemy is useful. True control spell, and can fit into any build.

[color=Purple]Ray of Frost[/color] – slows a single enemy, and targets FORT, not much to be excited about. Situational, but useful when that situation comes up.

Scorching Burst – area attack power at range. Decent, but not exceptional, mostly used for minion clearing, check if your DM allows Chilling Cloud. Real downside is that it does not distinguish between friend and foe. Rating gets higher if Chilling Cloud isn't allowed, or as a fire theme wizard with the right feats

Storm Pillar – wall and zone with auto-hit damage when an enemy enters a zone. Good for blocking a small corridor, requires very precise placement out in the open, otherwise enemies can just go around it. Does not do damage to those who start their turn in the zone

Thunderwave – only close attack power that wizards get at-will. Pushes enemies based on your WIS, which is good for getting you out of melee. Downsides: targets FORT, and allies can be hit as well


Level 1 Encounter powers
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[color=Red]Astral Wasp[/color] – designed to keep a single enemy in a specific square, but unless you have a high CON, it will likely move if it was planning on moving anyway. Also targets FORT, note for summoners: this is a Conjuration, not a summon, so no bonus

[color=Purple]Burning Hands[/color] – Close power that only does damage. Only good for theme wizards with a feat to boost fire damage. Hits allies as well

Chill Strike – Dazes an enemy for a round, which is good for getting an ally out of a tough spot, or giving your rogue combat advantage. Targets FORT

[color=Purple]Empowering Lightning[/color] – damage and a push, but only 1 square. Wand wizards get a bonus to the attack roll, non-wand wizards will want to pass

[color=Purple]Force Orb[/color] – damage only, with a splash attack. Blaster wizards only

[color=Blue]Grasping Shadows[/color] – damage and slow in a burst 1, creates a zone for a round that eyeryone will want to avoid, since it slows those that enter. Good power to set up an encounter, [color=DeepSkyBlue]better[/color] in a tight area, but can also hit allies with attack.

[color=Blue]Icy Terrain[/color] – knocks enemies prone, and creates a burst 1 zone of difficult terrain for a round, can also hit allies.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Orbmaster’s Incendiary Detonation[/color] – burst 1 zone that damages those that enter or start their turn there, making it auto-hit. Can use OoI on it, which also expands the zone and makes your allies immune to it. Can hit allies until OoI used, which does not repeat the attack, just expands the zone.

[color=Red]Ray of Enfeeblement[/color] – single target, vs FORT that weakens for a round and damages. Targets that need to be weakened will likely have high FORT.

[color=Purple]Staffstrike Corrosion[/color] – good power for use on ranged enemies, as those more than 5 squares away get concealment for a round. Staff users can also tack on extra damage to the target. Situational


Level 3 Encounter Powers
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[color=Blue]Chill Claws[/color] - A slightly stronger version of Illusory Ambush, targets 2 creatures, and hits Reflex

[color=Blue]Color Spray[/color] - Dazes a decent sized area, and does radiant damage. Downsides are that it's a close power and can hit allies as well.

Fire Shroud - Ongoing damage and only targets enemies. Another close power, targets FORT, for blasters

Hypnotic Pattern - This power pulls your enemies towards the origin square, and slows them. Good for getting your allies out of a jam in tight quarters

[color=Blue]Icy Rays[/color] - Immobilizes and does decent damage to 2 targets

[color=Blue]Maze of Mirrors[/color] - Immobilizes and puts a hefty penalty on attack rolls (INT mod) for a round. Does hit allies

Pinioning Vortex - Wacky power that does a lot to a single target. You float them in mid-air, where they are dazed and immobile, and all your allies get combat advantage while they're up there. [color=Blue]Good[/color] if you have a ranged attacker or two in your party, or just want to have fun suspending your enemy in mid-air, [color=DeepSkyBlue]Even better[/color] with a rogue. Good damage too, targets fort though

[color=Purple]Shock Beetle Swarm[/color] - Burst 1 power that will deal some extra CON damage to those in/next to the area. Damage gets a nudge if you have Tome of Binding

Shock Sphere - Purely a damage spell, burst 2, good for blasters/lightning theme wizards


Level 7 Encounter Powers
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Concussive Echo - very interesting power that I'm not quite sure how to rank, decent damage to a single target, but when that target attacks on their next turn, it damages itself and other enemies near it. Wand types might like it more, given that everything rides on one attack roll

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Enemies Abound[/color] - burst 1 with good range and good damage, but the real fun is that it allows you to use targets hit as allies for flanking. Obviously less useful if there are only 1 or 2 enemies, but if you drop it on top of a frontline ally who is about to be overwhelmed, there's plenty of combat advantage to go around

[color=Blue]Fire Burst[/color] - essentially Fireball as an encounter power, burst size is only 2, and no miss damage, but plenty of bang for your buck. Blasters and fire theme types obviously will [color=DeepSkyBlue]love[/color] this

Lightning Bolt - Another pure damage spell, but this one is targeted instead of being an area power. Good for those that want to do damage, but don't like hitting allies, or when facing several spread out enemies

Spectral Ram - damage and a push that knocks a single target prone, not much to write home about

Tomebound Ooze - Big damage to a single target (higher than any single attack made by the level 5 dailies, though they can last longer and do more damage over time), with a little extra damage tacked on when it attacks next turn. [color=Magenta]Summoners[/color] will get [color=Blue]much more mileage out of it[/color] with the splash effect from Tome of Binding

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Twist of Space[/color] - Targets a small area for small damage (1d6), but a great way to ruin the enemy's tactics, as you get to teleport each target hit, and slow them. Good spell to get your allies out of a jam, or to dump the enemy into hazards on the battlefield

Winter's Wrath - decent damage spell in a burst 2, creates a zone for a round that will sweep minions out of the way with automatic damage, also lightly conceals the area, which could be a [color=Purple]bad thing[/color] for your ranged attackers

[color=Red]Worms of Minauros[/color] - single target spell that only does damage, with extra damage if they stay within 2 squares of where this was cast, targets Fort, and doesn't get a benefit from ToB like Tomebound Ooze does


Level 13 Encounter Powers
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Earth Brute - Damage and a slide to a single target, and then blocks a space and knocks everything away from it for a turn. Not much damage, but could be useful for messing up the enemy's plans for a round. RAW suggests that the secondary effects only kick in on a hit, but most DMs will likely rule that it does all the secondary stuff on a miss

[color=Blue]Entangling Force[/color] - Area power that damages and slows. If you can position it right when you have allies in the enemy's face, you can practically lock them in place for a turn, as shifting will provoke OAs, but then they won't care about being slowed, as they'll just attack in melee, making it better against casters/ranged enemies. Wand users gets some damage thrown in on a miss

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Frostburn[/color] - Difficult terrain and automatic damage for a turn, a good spell to drop at the start of an encounter to wipe out minions and allow your allies a chance to get set up

Illusory Assailant - Flanking partner for a round and an attack against a single enemy. Sorry [color=Magenta]Summoners[/color], it's an illusion, not a conjuration

Mesmeric Hold - A very versatile spell that can hit up to 3 targets, and gives a bonus to the attack roll if you only choose one, with damage and an immobilize effect for a round

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Mirror Sphere[/color] - A nasty spell that only hits one enemy, but will violently discourage the target from attacking for a round, as they will be subject to all the effects of the attack they make, even if they are resistant to those effects under normal circumstances. Great for solos/big bads

[color=Purple]Orbmaster's Umbral Assault[/color] - Weak damage and an effect that only lasts while the enemy is in the area of effect, meaning as soon as they move out of it, it's clear sailing. Orb of Imposition users can get some [color=Blue]extra mileage[/color] out of it, getting an extra round with it in effect, expanding it, and making allies immune, giving your team a round to do some beatdowns

Prismatic Burst - decent damage and a blind effect for a round. Obviously more useful at the start of a fight so the enemy can't just swing aimlessly and possibly hit you

[color=Blue]Thunderlance[/color] - A close blast power that can get you out of trouble, it's effectively a souped up version of Thunderwave that targets Reflex, though your allies might be miffed if you push them off a cliff, so take care where you aim it


Level 17 Encounter Powers
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Combust - Blast spell, plain and simple

[color=Blue]Crushing Titan's Fist[/color] - Damage and a zone of VERY difficult terrain for a round

[color=Blue]Force Volley[/color] - Great range, and precision targeted daze power, can also get a boost in accuracy if you only go for one target, very versatile spell

[color=Blue]Furnace of Sand[/color] - Blinding zone for a turn, with some damage thrown on for those that enter the zone (but not those that start in it). Base attack damage for this power is weak, but the other effects are great for a round of confusion

Gripping Chains - The contradictory effects mean you'll be taking this power for one side or the other, either the opening round slow, or the chance for your allies to make OAs when the enemy shifts

[color=Blue]Ice Tomb[/color] - Stun is the 3rd best status in the game (behind DEAD and helpless), even if it means you can't target that enemy for a round like in this power

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Phantasmal Horror[/color] - Ok, so YOU won't do any damage with this spell, but since your allies can wail on the target with impunity for a round, it's worth it, meaning this spell can be used against Solos (where Ice Tomb cannot), hence the higher rating

[color=Red]Shard of the Endless Avalanche[/color] - Sorry, slide effects just don't stack up compared to what else there is at this level


Level 1 Daily Powers
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Acid Arrow - Ongoing damage and a splash attack. Range is good, but it's rare to get more than 2 or 3 enemies clumped up. This is the kind of power that is used right at the start of a fight.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Flaming Sphere[/color] - Arguably the one of the best powers at this level. Automatically does damage to those that start their turn next to it, sweeping minions out of the way with ease, and if you use your standard action, it consistantly attacks for 2d6 damage, though some will just sustain minor, using their standard for other control powers. What puts this over the other summon is that it can't be killed by attacking it, meaning as long as you have a minor action, it sticks around the whole fight. Blast Mages will also consider this.

[color=Red]Freezing Cloud[/color] - The zone only lasts for one round, only does damage, and it targets FORT. Nothing here to like

Grease - Zone of difficult terrain that lasts the entire encounter, and can knock targets prone, or slide them around. Excellent area control.

Horrid Whispers - Burst 1 attack that only hits enemies, giving them a -2 to attacks and slowing them, then once they save, dropping them prone? Yes please. Illusionists love this even more. Extra bonus: targets Will. All types will consider this.

Phantom Chasm - This power has been a subject of heated debate, it will at least pin those you target in place for a round, and depending on how your DM rules, could keep your enemies prone for a round as well

Rolling Thunder - Good damage, with a slide effect, and as long as you burn your minor action, you keep the targets in place, since moving can result in damage.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Sleep[/color] - Say hello to what some people consider the most powerful spell in the game, at level 1 no less! No damage, but those that fail their first save fall unconscious. Orb users will love this more than most, but pretty much anyone will get mileage out of it. Talk to your DM, as some rule that attacks on unconscious targets wake them up.

[color=Purple]Summon Fire Warrior[/color] - About the only thing that this spell has to offer that Flaming Sphere doesn't is that it can draw a few attacks away from your party.


Level 5 Daily Powers
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Acid Mire - A small zone (as Dailies go, just a burst 1) with automatic damage, and a strong initial attack that targets Fort. [color=Blue]Better[/color] if you or your allies have powers that can knock the enemy prone

Bigby's Icy Grasp - A giant, magical hand erupts from the earth to grab a single foe, great imagery, adds automatic damage when you Sustain Minor, downside is that they can attempt to escape against Your Fortitude, which is likely your weakest defense

Fireball - The old Wizard standby, Fireball, it's exactly what it sounds like. The spell itself is just pure damage, and with a pretty good Area of Effect (burst 3) and good range (20). Decent spell to open a fight with while the enemy is still packed together, but a Bad Idea once the battle is joined, as it can hit allies too. Obviously good for fire theme builds

[color=Purple]Glitterdust[/color] - Blinds a burst 1 for a round and does radiant damage. Not impressive as a Daily, and it's rider effect is situational

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Grasp of the Grave[/color] - Good sized power that only targets enemies, dazes on a hit and still deals damage on a miss, and has a lasting zone that deals auto damage AND inflicts daze? Sign me up. Only drawback is that you can't move the zone, but that's not too bad given you don't need to spend any actions (not even a minor) to sustain.

Phantasmal Assailant - single target spell with ongoing damage and combat advantage. [color=Red]Bleed[/color] and [color=Orange]Illusionist[/color] types will like this

[color=Blue]Stinking Cloud[/color] - Another zone spell with automatic damage, but it targets Fort, and your allies might get annoyed by the fact that it blocks line of sight, so they can't target enemies inside the Cloud

Summon Abyssal Maw - Your Summon spell for the level, this one is a bit better than the Fire Warrior from level 1 in that it effectively marks enemies that it's adjacent to

[color=Blue]Visions of Avarice[/color] - a non-damage spell that draws enemies towards it as a minor action. Useful if you need the enemy lumped up so another ally (or you yourself) can drop an area power on them

[color=Blue]Web[/color] - Another non-damage spell, but this one actually creates difficult terrain, and immobilizes those hit by the initial "attack" or those that end their turn in the zone


Level 9 Daily Powers
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[color=Red]Animate Dead[/color] - This is a case where the concept is better than the application. It is incredibly fun to turn the DM's weapons against them, but this spell hits a few snags after that. Problem is, you have to cast it on something your team has killed, whereas most Wizard Daily spells are designed to be dropped in the first round or two of the fight, and you don't get to use those cool powers that it was using against you, just the attack granted by this power

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Face of Death[/color] - Similar to Sleep in that it can lead to a helpless enemy (or several), targets a smaller area than Sleep, but has a better Miss effect. Like Sleep, cannot use Enlarge Spell (no damage roll)

[color=Blue]Ice Storm[/color] - good size (burst 3) spell, that does decent damage and creates difficult terrain for the whole encounter (can't be moved though)

[color=Purple]Lightning Serpent[/color] - Single target spell that deals slow and ongoing damage, [color=Red]Bleed Mages[/color] will [color=Blue]like it[/color] but most will ignore it

Mordenkainen's Guardian Hound - A solid summon in that it attacks as a minor action, and discourages the target from attacking you (but does not actually Mark the target, or discourage attacks against your allies, or the summon itself), also can't take Opportunity attacks

[color=Red]Mordenkainen's Sword[/color] - Inferior to the Guardian Hound in every way

[color=Blue]Summon Arrowhawk[/color] - The top Summon for the level, this one actually marks the target, can make opportunity attacks, and can shift as part of the attack itself, limiting the number of move actions you will need to burn on it. Downside is that it attacks as a Standard

[color=Blue]Taunting Phantoms[/color] - A very satisfying spell in that you can make enemies attack each other (or themselves), though obviously mileage will vary based on how strong they are. (Note: does not cost the enemies any actions, as it happens on your turn)

[color=Blue]Visions of Ruin[/color] - This power can effectively shut down a creature until it saves, as they can't leave the zone, or attack anything outside of it, but in the meantime, your ranged attackers can turn anything under the effect of the spell into a pincushion. Orb of Imposition users who can lock down a target thanks to save penalties [color=DeepSkyBlue]will want to marry[/color] this spell

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Wall of Fire[/color] - This spell has something for everybody, the wall squares themselves are extra difficult terrain (3 extra squares of movement, meaning each square costs 4 to move through), damages those that move through it or start next to it. The wall lasts as long as you Sustain Minor, which is very likely to mean the entire fight


Level 15 Daily Powers
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[color=DeepSkyBlue]Ball Lightning[/color] - Meet your upgrade to Flaming Sphere, this one's aura slows instead of damage, but since it attacks as a minor action, I don't think too many people will complain, especially since the attack is a close burst 1

Bigby's Grasping Hands - An upgrade to the old Bigby's spell, this one can grab two enemies, and you can have fun bonking their heads together for extra damage. Still suffers the same drawback as the old spell in that they can escape against your Fortitude defense, but you will probably at least get a round or two where they're out of the fight

[color=Blue]Blast of Cold[/color] - This spell is an eye opener, with the best base damage of this level (6d6), in a close blast power that only hits enemies and immobilizes them. Great if you're getting overwhelmed and need to beat a retreat, but trumped by Prismatic Beams at this level

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Evard's Dreadful Mist[/color] - Similar to Stinking Cloud this spell blocks line of sight, and does automatic damage to those that start their turn in the zone. The kicker is that the initial casting of the spell doesn't do damage, but attempts to immobilize the enemy, meaning they could be locked in place and forced to take damage for several rounds, making this spell even more desirable if you've taken Spell Focus, or Orb of Imposition

[color=Purple]Otiluke's Resilient Sphere[/color] - If this spell hits, it puts the target in time-out until the sphere is destroyed or until you stop sustaining it. The drawback is that you can't hurt the enemy while they're inside it, meaning if they have a healing potion or something along those lines, you've done them a favor. Better used as a defensive spell, giving an ally a chance to kick off a surge or two

[color=Blue]Prismatic Beams[/color] - Another close blast power? This one's fun in that it can hit any (or all) of the defenses of those targeted, for different effects. If you roll well, the enemy is really hurting, roll poorly and they'll just laugh. The real kicker is that this spell might give you a feel for which defenses are higher if you are having trouble figuring them out, which can be an advantage as the fight goes on.

[color=Purple]Shunt Between Worlds[/color] - Damage and a chance to scatter the enemy, not bad but there are other options at this level that are more impressive

[color=Blue]Soul Puppets[/color] - A sneaky power that damages and immobilizes, and dominates undead, meaning your DM will be loathe to throw undead at you while you have this power. (Dragon mag power that your DM might not allow)

Stonewrack - area spell that damages and knocks prone targets that try to move within the zone, but doesn't do anything to those who hold their ground, meaning your primary targets for this spell are the melee types, not the casters/ranged attackers

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Summon Chainbearer[/color] - This is a summon that makes you pay attention. Large size, threatening reach 2, and a slide effect on its attacks. With good attack rolls, you can effectively be the bully on the playground, putting your hand on the smaller kid's forehead while they flail wildly at you as you are just out of reach

[color=Red]Vertigo[/color] - This power is phrased a bit roughly, but it basically forces the target to move at least 4 squares on each move, or be knocked prone, from which they can't stand up. The drawback is, unless you have a power to knock them prone, this isn't going to do much

[color=Blue]Wall of Ice[/color] - An upgrade to Wall of Fire, with the drawback that the wall itself is weak to fire damage, a common element


Level 19 Daily Powers
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Acid Wave - A solid close power that deals plenty of damage, with ongoing thrown on, even on a miss

[color=Blue]Cloudkill[/color] - A jaw-dropping burst 5 upgrade to Stinking Cloud, this one doesn't block line of sight, so your allies can get in on the fun, but they may be less than pleased if they take too much of the automatic damage thanks to the sheer size of the zone

[color=Purple]Disintegrate[/color] - Single target spell that only does damage, with some ongoing thrown in for good measure

[color=Blue]Entombing Earth[/color] - Single target stun spell, similar to Icy Tomb in that you can't target the enemy while they're stunned, making it less desirable for solos, though this does have some ongoing damage thrown in too

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Evard's Black Tentacles[/color] - burst 4 zone of difficult terrain, the attack itself immobilizes when it hits, and you attack again when you sustain minor, meaning you can really rack up the damage and lock down a pretty hefty chunk of the enemy

[color=Purple]Evard's Ebon Bindings[/color] - This is a spell for the lucky, since you need a series of failed saves to get the good effect of this spell. Most of the time you're only going to immobilize the target for a single round

Oppressive Force - Decent single target spell given that you know you're going to eat at least 2 rounds of the target's move actions (1st round prone, and whenever they save, standing up from prone), with some ongoing damage thrown in for good measure

[color=Blue]Plague of Illusions[/color] - Wow, lots of single target spells this level, this is another one that makes things worse for the target as they fail saves, but the best effect is actually the first, locking down attack actions

Summon Black Devourer - While the grab effect is nice, it's a double edged sword, as it will encourage the enemy to wail on your summon until it's gone, which will hurt you. It's not a bad power, but there are other powers at this level that can pin the enemy in place without putting you in danger


Level 2 Utility Powers
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[color=Red]Daunting Presence[/color] - Unless you're an Orb of Deception type, your Intimidate isn't likely to be anything special (not to mention you can't train this unless you're an Eladrin or take a background with it), and Shield offers a better defense bonus

[color=Blue]Expeditious Retreat[/color] - Great power to get yourself out of trouble once a day, getting you far enough away most of the time to give you some breathing room for a round or two

[color=Purple]Featherfall[/color] - Very situational, hard to know ahead of time that you're going to fall in a hole

Float - Good if you have to deal with a lot of difficult terrain

[color=Purple]Guardian Blades[/color] - Gish type wizards will enjoy this power, most other wizards will not want to be in melee enough for this to be useful

Jump - Situational, but it can be used to give an ally a move on your turn. Fun if you like treating the rest of the party like your puppets. (They are, but we don't need to tell them that.)

Phantasmal Terrain - Very useful if you use powers that create difficult terrain, otherwise completely useless

[color=Blue]Shield[/color] - Will likely save you from a few hits, which can be a lifesaver if those hits would have secondary effects. Also fun to correct the DM and tell them their attack no longer hits, bonus in that it's an encounter power. Better if the DM tells you the attack rolls so you know whether or not it will be useful in preventing a hit.

Summon Shadow Serpent - Good for scouting ahead, take it if your party has no stealthy types


Level 6 Utility Powers
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[color=Blue]Dimension Door[/color] - A great teleport to get out of a jam. Redundant if you have Expeditious Retreat, though if you take this, you can retrain your Utility 2 into Shield

[color=Red]Disguise Self[/color] - RP spell that serves no function in combat, and uses your Bluff skill, which likely won't be high

Dispel Magic - A good Spellbook spell to have in reserve. Situational, but very potent when needed

Emerald Eye - The RP aspects of this spell are unimpressive, but [color=Orange]Illusionists[/color] will [color=DeepSkyBlue]LOVE[/color] this spell as it is effectively a Wand of Accuracy

[color=Blue]Fire Shield[/color] - Resist 10 fire/cold for the whole encounter is pretty good on it's own, gish types [color=DeepSkyBlue]will take this[/color] and not look back thanks to the healthy 2d6 it deals when something attacks you. Currently under some debate as to whether it is an Encounter or Daily power

[color=Purple]Invisibility[/color] - More useful as an RP spell than a combat one, as it requires a Standard to sustain and cast, and is broken by attacking

[color=Purple]Levitate[/color] - Just what it sounds like, but gives a penalty to AC and Reflex, so you're better off cheesing with Tenser's Floating Disk

Spectral Hound - Used for flanking and gives a small bump to defenses, not impressive, but not useless

[color=Blue]Summon Iron Cohort[/color] - Takes an attack for you, potentially more than one depending on how well the DM rolls

Wall of Fog - Your first wall, the archmage would be so proud. Not much to be excited about compared to some of the other powers here, but does the job it's supposed to

[color=Blue]Wizard's Escape[/color] - Teleports you away from an attack, making it a miss


Level 10 Utility Powers
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[color=Blue]Arcane Gate[/color] - At first glance, this looks like a useful teleport spell for combat, but would actually fail to pull you out of the fire in practice, as the enemy can follow you through the gate (unless you sit on the other end), and you still need to actually use your move to go through the gate, so you might take an OA or two. Better applications out of combat for ruining your DM's day, need to get into the castle? Just put the gate on the battlements and your party can waltz right in. In jail? Here's your "Get out of Jail Free" card.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Blur[/color] - The perfect spell for the cautious wizard who hangs behind the lines, boosting your defenses and making you invisible to those far enough away.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Feywild Spell Surge[/color] - This is the equivalent of giving every Wizard Elven Accuracy, Eladrin like it even more

[color=Blue]Illusory Wall[/color] - A good spell to hold enemies at bay for a while, letting your range focused allies pepper away at the enemy. Melee heavy parties will probably get less use out of this spell, as they will want to charge right in. Arcane Power teased us by listing this as an Encounter, but sorry folks, it's a Daily

Mass Resistance - A Leader-ish power that gives (likely) your whole party resistance to a specific element for the encounter (by the time you get this, your INT should be 20, if not more, so resistance will be 10+). Obviously useful if your enemies are all using the same element, but there will also be cases where there is no element associated with your enemy's attacks, hence the lower than expected rating.

Mirror Image - Gives a healthy bump to AC which slowly bleeds out as you are attacked (as a small consolation, you don't lose any of the boost when you're hit), it can be a lifesaver, but must be used wisely, as non-AC attacks can bleed off the benefit of this spell before you get any use from it

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Repelling Shield[/color] - Our old friend Shield gets an upgrade, by doing the exact same thing as Shield and adding a push 1 effect, which will be useful for keeping you out of melee for a round so that you can beat a hasty retreat

[color=Purple]Resistance[/color] - Gives a higher boost than Mass Resistance, but only to one target

[color=Red]Summon Hammerfist Crusher[/color] - So you want me to do WHAT with my spell? Smash inanimate objects? Let the Fighter do that

True Seeing - Darkvision and can see invisible creatures within range, a good spell to have as your backup if you have a Mnemonic Staff, you won't need it often, but when you do, it will be huge


Level 16 Utility Powers
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[color=DeepSkyBlue]Clever Escape[/color] - Teleport as a minor action, that's all you need to know about this power, the rest is superfluous if you attack during the round you use this

[color=Purple]Displacement[/color] - Doesn't work on area powers, and not a guarantee that you or your ally won't be hit anyway

Fly - Can be used to keep you out of range of the enemy's thugs by floating about the battle, but eats up a minor action, which you might need to use to sustain your daily powers, and you can still be targeted by ranged powers

[color=Purple]Greater Invisibility[/color] - Target is invisible as long as they don't attack, and are in range, meaning you either have to be the scout (Bad Wizard! Bad!), or the scout can't go very far, or the ally gets about one round's worth of use out of it before they attack and break the spell

[color=Purple]Phantom Mask[/color] - Disguise your entire party, which can be good if you're all wanted criminals, or need to impersonate a squad of guards, but you can find better uses of your powers, consider as a spellbook spell rather than your primary

[color=Red]Phase Shift[/color] - Insubstantial and phasing, but only for a round. There are better options at this level, especially since this is a Daily

[color=Blue]Spectral Vision[/color] - Your imagination is the limit on this power. Create the illusion of a wall of spikes in front of you so that the enemy is afraid to engage, or try and funnel the enemy through a hazard on the battlefield

Stoneskin - resist 10 for the whole encounter, not bad, touch range means you probably won't use it on your allies as much

Summon Diamond Falcon - Can be used to carry your party over hazards, obviously more effective outside of combat where you don't have to worry about being attacked. Would be more fun if it could be used to pick up enemies, but it's a utility, so it can't


Level 22 Utility Powers
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[color=Purple]Globe of Invulnerability[/color] - Only useful as a one round shield against damage, otherwise you effectively take yourself out of the fight as it's a sustain standard

Mass Fly - Exactly what it says on the tin, solid power

Mordenkainen's Lucubration - One power to handle all your sustain powers for you, not bad if you're in the habit of dropping more than one daily in a fight

[color=Red]Mordenkainen's Mansion[/color] - A level 22 spell to offer you a good night's sleep... Yeah...

[color=Blue]Phantom Legion[/color] - Create a bunch of fake targets to draw some attacks away from your team. Pretty solid control for a utility

[color=Blue]Time Stop[/color] - Gives you a few extra actions to get you out of a jam, if you need to second wind and do an extra move, this power is for you

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Wall of Force[/color] - Walls are excellent control, this is an encounter power wall that will allow you to shape the battlefield for a few rounds til the enemy brings down the wall, giving your team some time to mop up some of the enemy before things get too thick
Accomplishments: Learning to do things better

There are a great many feats available to players in 4E, but with just 6 feats per tier, you have to choose carefully. Before the PHBII and Arcane Power, there were very few feats that Wizards were highly interested in, that has now changed. (Racial feats will be covered in the Race section, this area is just general feats available to all wizards, stats permitting)

Class Feats, Heroic Tier

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[color=Purple]Careful Summoner[/color] - non-summoners can ignore this, some summoners may as well

Destructive Wizardry - Extra damage when you hit multiple targets. Wand Wizards are the only ones likely to have the DEX needed for this feat in the Heroic tier

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Enlarge Spell[/color] - increases the size of your powers, at the cost of damage. Blaster types will hate this, but those that are all about area powers (Zone and Mind Mages, I'm looking at you) with extra effects will love it. It's those debuffs that make a wizard what they are

Expanded Spellbook - Since you still have to prepare your spells at the start of the day, there is little use in having extra spells to choose from. If you chose your spells properly when building your wizard, you will have little need for a 3rd spell. With all the extra feats from PHBII and Arcane Power, there is no longer room for this feat. If you still want this, and actually want it to be useful, take Tome of Readiness as your implement

[color=Blue]Phantom Echoes[/color] - Illusionists will love this, as it means they will get lots of combat advantage. Non-illusionists can ignore this feat


General Feats, Heroic Tier

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Alertness - Depending on the campaign, you might get decent mileage out of this, or it might be of no use at all

Arcane Fire - Sets up an excellent combo, if you have taken the powers that go with it. Combo with Wintertouched

Arcane Implement Proficiency - useful for those that want to go with crazy sword wielding wizard builds, otherwise, skip it

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Armor Proficiency - Leather[/color] - No requirements, no penalties to checks, no reason not to

[color=Red]Armor Proficiency - Hide[/color] - Gives you +1 to AC over Leather, but comes with too many drawbacks, including needing a 13 STR, which is a waste for non-Genasi wizards

Astral Fire - Good for fire theme wizards

Burning Blizzard - Also good for theme wizards

[color=Purple]Combat Reflexes[/color] - Only useful if you have taken Melee Training, but even then it is unlikely to come into play too often

[color=Blue]Coordinated Explosion[/color] - More accuracy when an ally is in the area of effect, this becomes pure gravy for powers that are area of effect, but only hit enemies

Dark Fury - the split between CON and WIS mean that not many wizards will take this, also limited to theme builds

[color=Red]Defensive Mobility[/color] - Most wizards will be behind the lines enough that they won't take enough OAs to make this worthwhile

Distant Advantage - Nice to have if you have room for it, but not a top priority

Dual Implement Spellcaster - Useful for blaster types, but only wand wizards will qualify in heroic

Durable - Extra surges are nice, but you hopefully won't be taking a lot of hits to make them necessary, this can wait until you have a spare feat to spend

Echoes of Thunder - another theme feat

[color=Red]Expert Ritualist[/color] - bonus when you perform rituals, meh

[color=Red]Fast Runner[/color] - Wizards don't charge much, and not many situations where you'll need the extra movement beyond what a normal run offers

Ghost Touched - One of the feats that tries to give Magic Missle some power, but is very situational

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Implement Expertise[/color] - Scaling bonus to your attack rolls. This is useful 100% of the time. Some argue this isn't needed until around level 14 or so, but there's no reason not to take it earlier.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Improved Initiative[/color] - It is good for Controllers to go early in the round, especially the first round, you can drop spells on the enemy while they are still bunched up. Costing the enemy actions in the early going can turn the tide of a lot of battles

Jack of All Trades - take it if you want to be a skill monkey

[color=Red]Linguist[/color] - Good for RP, otherwise useless, can be covered by taking the Comprehend Language ritual

Melee Training - Useful if you don't take Thunderwave as an at-will and need to get yourself out of a jam, but it can wait until after other things have been taken

[color=Purple]Mounted Combat[/color] - Not many situations where you would be better off using your mount powers instead of your own

Oncoming Storm - another theme spell, this one gives a bonus to subsequent attack rolls

Quick Draw - Useful for potions and the like, otherwise not much help

Raging Storm - another theme spell, boy there sure are a lot of these for thunder types

Reaper's Touch - Gives you a melee option, though you have to take Magic Missle

Staff Fighting - Great for staff users, as it gives an extra +1 to AC, and opens up Two-Weapon Defense for an additional +1 to AC

Surging Flame - Great for fire theme wizards, helps deal with those pesky creatures resistant to fire

Timely Respite - Useful if your DM throws a lot of powers that require saves at you

[color=Blue]Toughness[/color] - Extra HP that scales with each tier

Wintertouched - Part of a great combo, and good for theme wizards
Career Day: What do wizards want to be when they grow up?

Rankings in this section will be done a little differently. The Paragon Paths themselves will not be ranked, but each ability granted by it will be

[u]Paragon Paths[/u]

Arcane Wayfarer
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[u]Features[/u]

Blink Strike - Teleport the target on a crit, obviously your mileage will vary on how much use this is

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Wayfarer's Action[/color] - Free teleport when you AP, nice

[color=Blue]Wayfarer's Step[/color] - You can teleport 2 squares as a move at-will. It can get you just enough room to cast a spell without getting OA'd, but not enough room to get you completely free, as the enemy will probably keep bearing down on you

[u]Powers[/u]

Hammerfall Step - close blast power that shuffles around enemies and allies to your liking

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Wayfarer's Evasion[/color] - Teleports you out of getting hit, unless you're in a tight area, it's likely to be far enough to keep you safe for a bit

[color=Blue]Terrifying Journey[/color] - Small area for a power at this level, but when it hits, it can put several enemies in time out until they save. Great if there's one or two enemies that are clear threats, allowing your party a round or two to mop up some of their support


Battle Engineer - Artificer (Contributed by Gelarshie)
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[u]Features[/u]
[color=Red]Aggressive Action[/color] - This will go completely unused by your wizard, even if you are set up to use Greater Magic Weapon.

[color=Red]Brutal Enchantment[/color] - This will also be unusable by your wizard, unless you are using Greater Magic Weapon or using Fleeting Dweomer on your allies (unless they are a ranger, why?). If you do plunder a lot of artificer powers through multiclassing, [color=Purple]it'll only barely bring this up a notch in rating[/color]. Emphasis on barely. Brutal weapons increase average damage of .5 per damage die rolled.

Accurate [color=Red]Enhancement[/color] - Again, it depends on how much plundering of powers you do. But the bonus is freakishly large.

[u]Powers[/u]
Greater Ma[color=Blue]gic Weapon[/color] - This power is really weird. It's either completely unusable by your wizard (and is thus a prime candidate for Reserve Manuever) or one of the best damn encounter powers ever. It requires an attack with a melee or ranged weapon at an Intelligence + 3 vs. AC attack bonus. Which means that it can hit real nice if you want it to. But since you're a blaster wizard and have Dual Implement Spellcaster (which means that you either can't use weapons in melee and/or are too squishy for it) it's probably still barely usable.

However, there is hope. If you are using a dagger or a drow long knife (also in this book, +3 1d6 Heavy Thrown/Off-hand weapon) as an implement, it means that you can throw the weapon, which means that you don't have to forgo Dual Implement Spellcaster nor regularly put yourself into melee. And for those who can pull it off, here is the effect:

Effect: Each ally adjacent to you gains a power bonus to attack rolls and to damage rolls equal to your Wisdom modifier or your Constitution modifier until the end of your next turn. That is very, very nice, even if it comes at the expense of you being able to control at the beginning of combat. Or you could use it after combat has settled in, but that's risky and you probably want get all of your friends. It requires a lot of coordination with your party, but if you can pull it off you're in like Flynn.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Fleeting Dweomer[/color] - Select a weapon or implement. Choose a damage type: acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, or thunder. You deal extra +INT damage of that type until the end of the encounter. When you score a critical hit, target takes 10 ongoing damage of that type until the end of the encounter (save ends).

Do I even have to explain why this is so good? This is the reason why your blaster mage picked this paragon path, which would otherwise be completely unusable for your character. This means an extra 10 damage right out of the gate if you picked cold. If you have a power that hands out extra attack/damage rolls (like flaming orb), you will easily be doing striker-level damage for the rest of your life.

Can be 'enhanced' (abused) with various game effects that let you recycle utility/encounter powers, such as Battlemaster Spiked Gauntlets. Unless you have a ranger in your party, you will probably want to use it on yourself since you'll be making the most attack rolls, which means that you'll be doing the most damage. By the way, this power is one of the rare ones that add 'extra damage', not a bonus to attack rolls. Which means that you can use it on effects like Freezing Cloud or Grasp of the Grave and watch the fun.

Persistent [color=Purple]Spheres[/color] - Very marginally usable by your wizard (just make an improved attack). While it does create a 2-square zone that does automatic damage and grants combat advantage, the problem is that this power lasts until the target saves--but at least both the hit and miss versions have a save ends effect. This should strictly be used for those times when your wizard can't break free to use a spell but you still want to make an attack and you have absolutely no encounter or daily spells left for the day.


Battle Mage
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=Red]Arcane Riposte[/color] - Lets you take Opportunity attacks using your DEX score, completely useless now that Melee Training has been introduced by PHBII

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Battle Mage Action[/color] - Extremely potent, +4 to all attacks when you burn an action point

Battle Edge - By the time you reach level 16, At-Wills have been massively overshadowed by everything else you can do, but getting a free casting when you are bloodied isn't bad

Powers

Forceful Retort - Decent emergency spell if you find yourself getting overwhelmed in melee

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Arcane Rejuvenation[/color] - Once per day, you don't die

[color=Blue]Closing Spell[/color] - Good damage over a great area (burst 5!), and doesn't target allies, meaning you can throw it whenever. Ramps up to 8d10 if you have no other dailies left. The fact that this is a damage only spell is the only thing keeping it from a top rating


Blood Mage
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Features

Blood Action - Action Point to tack on ongoing damage on a hit, obviously more useful if you target more enemies, careful where you aim though, allies can take this as well

Bolstering Blood - Hurt yourself to hurt your enemies. The drawback here is obvious, as a Wizard, you tend to have less HP than the rest of the party. If you are confident your Leader will keep you on your feet, go nuts, but make sure to hit multiple enemies with it, otherwise it's not really worth your time

[color=Blue]Burning Blood[/color] - Automatic damage in a huge area around you, so say bye-bye to the minions. This is where Bolstering Blood gets it's mileage, by allowing you to use your second wind right off, requires some investment in CON though

[u]Powers[/u]

[color=Blue]Blood Pulse[/color] - Area damage and an incentive for the enemy to stay exactly where they are

Soul Burn - If you frequently have healing surges to spare, this isn't a bad power, but it becomes obsolete once you hit Epic

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Destructive Salutation[/color] - Ok, start with an area stun, add in good base damage, solid ongoing damage, and the fact that it still stuns on a MISS and targets Will, and you have one lovely power


Bonded Summoner
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=Blue]Summoner's Action[/color] - Free minor action for your summon(s) when you use an AP, though it is unlikely that you will have more than one summon on the field at a time

Summoner's Slip - Gives you a teleport after you use a conjuration, meaning you still take an OA if someone is in your face when you cast, but still useful. It has been pointed out that Mage Hand is a conjuration, giving you an escape as a minor action, don't abuse it too much though, or your DM might get annoyed.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Summoner's Might[/color] - If there were a rating above this, it would have it. Your summons automatically gain regen 10, no actions needed. Given part of the appeal of summons is to soak up some of the enemy's fire, giving them this much extra staying power is almost unfair

[u]Powers[/u]

Planar Gateway - Creates a zone that can attack with a slide effect for a round, nothing special, but not bad

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Enduring Summons[/color] - Heal a summon as a minor action, yes please

[color=Blue]Summon Bonded Protector[/color] - A solid summon, with the drawback that the standard action attack can daze your allies as well as the enemy, so be careful where you aim


Hermetic Saboteur
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Attune Target[/color] - Nifty power that lets you use any area power as range 20 1/encounter. This opens up your spell choices, as those builds that want to stay behind the lines can still take a close power, but use it at range

Saboteur's Action - CA against those you target with an Action Point. Not bad, but you don't rely on CA like some other classes do

Attune Adjustment - More CA, good if you multiclassed as a Rogue

[u]Powers[/u]

[color=Blue]Psychic Detonations[/color] - A chance to use traps against your enemy for once. Depending on the battlefield, can be a very effective way to funnel the enemy, or just plain keep them at bay

Sabotage Trap - Designed to work with Psychic Detonations, allows you to switch who gets hit by the trap, meaning you can soften up the Big Bad even if he is deliberately staying back until his minions clear the traps for him. Much less useful if you have no clear priority targets. Can also be used on your party members if the foolish Rogue trips something nasty so that one of the meatshields can take the hit.

[color=Purple]Saboteur's Ward[/color] - Designed to punish those that hit you, but between your own control powers and the defender(s), you shouldn't need to use your daily for this. Only upside is the automatic daze, regardless


Spellstorm Mage
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=Purple]Extra Damage Action[/color] - Damage for damage's sake, and only on an action point

[color=Blue]Storm Spell[/color] - Obviously this is only for Orb of Imposition users, as it runs on Wisdom, but is exceptionally potent if you roll well, if you put points in Wisdom at each level up, by the time you get this, you will always be able to at least recharge an encounter attack power

[color=Purple]Storm Fury[/color] - Similar to Burning Blood, unfortunately you don't get to decide when to use this, as it triggers when you are bloodied, making it less useful in minion sweeping

[u]Powers[/u]

[color=Blue]Storm Cage[/color] - Solid damage and creates a wall for a round

[color=Red]Sudden Storm[/color] - Basically a Wall of Fog that you can't shape, with difficult terrain thrown in

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Maelstrom of Chaos[/color] - Close burst 10? Yikes. The damage isn't much, but it basically lets you scramble the field if you hit, completely disrupting battle lines, letting you dump the enemy's squishies right next to your melee companions, or dump them into hazards on the battlefield


Unseen Mage
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=Red]Enhanced Invisibility[/color] - Not very useful in combat as you're gonna want to attack each round, and the actual Invisibility spell has a sustain minor for when you're slinking around

[color=Blue]Unseen Action[/color] - Useful if you need to escape from melee the round you burn your action point

[color=Purple]Unseen Advantage[/color] - Extra damage against invisible foes... uhh, thanks? Better if your campaign's main villain is an empire of gnomes.

[u]Powers[/u]

[color=Blue]Vanishing Act[/color] - Usually not a big fan of single target spells, but one that also gives you an escape route is pretty useful

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Guillaume's Veil[/color] - Group invisibility that will drive your DM nuts as your crew constantly pop in and out of being visible, making it much harder to target you.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Vanishing Legion[/color] - Invisibility to the target(s) that last until they save, meaning you can whack them with impunity


Wizard of the Spiral Tower - Requires longsword proficiency
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[u]Features[/u]

[color=Purple]Corellon's Implement[/color] - Gives you the longsword as an implement, which is redundant with the implement proficiency feats

Spiral Tower Action - Recharge an encounter power instead of getting an extra action with you burn an AP. Can be worth it at times, but becomes redundant when you reach Epic

[color=Red]Radiant Censure[/color] - In the very explicit case where an enemy attacks your Will defense, you hurt them for CHA damage. Given that you likely won't have much Charisma unless you're an Illusionist, and given how low the damage will be even if you ARE an Illusionist, this doesn't really do much

[u]Powers[/u]

[color=Purple]The One Sword[/color] - Weak damage against a single target, and requires two successful attack rolls to apply a status effect to that enemy. The only plus side is that if you DO get the two successful attacks, you keep the power

Shape the Dream - Gets you out of a hit on your Will defense. Downside is that the enemy can just try again with the same power next round

[color=Blue]Corellon's Blade[/color] - Damage in a close burst, that puts those you hit in "time out" for a round, which might buy you and your allies the time they need to recover if the fight is turning against you. The real plus to this spell is the staggering boost to the attack rolls you'll have, it has a built in +4, and has the weapon keyword, meaning a total of a +7 to the attack roll, targeting Will.


[u]Epic Destinies[/u]

Archmage
Show
[color=DeepSkyBlue]Spell Recall[/color] - Wizards make their money on their daily spells, a free extra casting of your favorite daily? Yes please

Arcane Spirit - Once per day, you become a ghost instead of getting dropped, it heals you to the top, but you lose your daily powers, would rather have the leader bring you back, since you also lose your magic item uses, which can be crippling.

[color=Blue]Shape Magic[/color] - This whole ED is about regaining spells, I don't like that you have to burn a standard to regain a spell, but with action points it won't be so bad, and this, combined with Spell Recall allows for some serious amounts of spamming of your favorite powers

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Archspell[/color] - WOAH, turn a daily into an encounter. Between this and Spell Recall, you'll be dropping at least two daily powers each fight of the day


Demigod
Show
[color=DeepSkyBlue]Divine Spark[/color] - To-hit is god for wizards, this is an extra +1 to-hit and +1 damage, as well as a little boost to your favored implement

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Divine Recovery[/color] - Get healed up to half when you get dropped once per day. Better than the Archmage option given that you don't lose access to any powers

[color=Blue]Divine Miracle[/color] - Never run out of encounter powers, plain and simple
Thanks a million! finally someone has taken the initiative! ;)
I'm down with helping out with this guide. PM me with what you'd like to do and what you'd like to delegate.... or make a post if to let other people know how they can join in the fun.
I'm down with helping out with this guide. PM me with what you'd like to do and what you'd like to delegate.... or make a post if to let other people know how they can join in the fun.

There are a few things that people can do if they want to chip in. I plan on working on the Heroic tier first, so if someone wants to do a breakdown of the paragon paths or epic destinies that would be great.

Also if someone wants to work on the racial feats (not the generic ones any race can take, just the racially exclusive ones) that would be great too.
I think you are completely wrong in your evaluation of the illusion-centric build. Granted, it is situational in that gnomes make the build shine, but other races are solid picks also. I think it deserves a much higher rating, some color blue for sure. Same goes for gnomes. Take a look at the racial feats if you need more proof they should be a blue color.

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I think you are completely wrong in your evaluation of the illusion-centric build. Granted, it is situational in that gnomes make the build shine, but other races are solid picks also. I think it deserves a much higher rating, some color blue for sure. Same goes for gnomes. Take a look at the racial feats if you need more proof they should be a blue color.

I think gnomes should be pretty high all the way around, blue for wizards and sky blue for an illusion build. Arcane Power shot gnome wizard viability into the stratosphere. Their racial feat Gnome Phantasmist gives +1/+2/+3 to hit and damage for illusions that stacks with Implement Expertise for +6 to hit illusions at epic tier.

When the highest-level illusion spells are Dominating spells, that's significant.

The +CHA bonus means that even if the gnome doesn't go the illusion route, he never has to touch CHA to qualify for Spell Focus. The +2 Arcana also can't be denied, particuarly for those who wish to select the Sage of Ages epic destiny.

The Orb of Deception is pretty weak, however. It does get a lot better, however, at paragon tier with the Improved Orb of Deception feat.

[THREAD="1183465"]Gnome Illusionst Builds[/THREAD]
I think you are completely wrong in your evaluation of the illusion-centric build. Granted, it is situational in that gnomes make the build shine, but other races are solid picks also. I think it deserves a much higher rating, some color blue for sure. Same goes for gnomes. Take a look at the racial feats if you need more proof they should be a blue color.

I think I would have to chime in on your analysis of Genasi / Elemental Empowerment builds. A wizard can quite easily become an effective striker / with some controller powers, if they take the correct feats from Arcane Power.
I'll cover the racial feats. I'll have it posted by mid next-week at the latest.
General feats have been posted, let the Expanded Spellbook debate begin

My apologies to the Gnome folks, their rating will be addressed in due time
What about races covered by Dragon Magazine - Shadar-kai, Warforged, Minotaur for example? This is a good thread for those who like Optimizing, however that doesn't mean that a player can't play to a concept instead of simply optimizing.
For Orbmaster’s Incendiary Detonation, is it the effect (the zone) or the entire area of the power that is expanded?

I hope the expanded spellbook debate does not get restarted here.

I also think gnomes need to be sky blue. The illusionist build is extremely good.

And the orb of deception is a good choice for an illusionist since you probably have a decent charisma if you are a gnome and you only have to invest in one type of implement if you use the orb of imposition as well. You can use the same orb for both masteries. And if you want the epic level feat where you daze on a crit then you will want a high charisma as well. With divine oracle, the improved crit feat,and the dazing feat you are going to be dazing your enemies around 19% of the time.
Really. People still believe DEX-using wand wizards have major defense penalties? People still really believe that? When it's trivial to fire up the character builder and see how easy it is to have competitive defenses?

We're still going with that, eh?
Really. People still believe DEX-using wand wizards have major defense penalties? People still really believe that? When it's trivial to fire up the character builder and see how easy it is to have competitive defenses?

We're still going with that, eh?

I think that with the new spells in AP that trigger off using a wand it is a perfectly fine choice, especially for races that get a bonus to dex. I would probably keep dex as my third highest stat if went with wand. You get to apply the bonus after the DM says whether or not the attack hit and that makes it definitely useful almost every encounter.
[color=Red]Strength[/color] – completely useless to a wizard, only thing you have to use it for is how much you can carry. If you get close to that limit, have the Fighter carry some for you, or get a bag of holding. Put it at 8 and forget about it

I agree in general, but a Staff Wizard would be tempted to get a STR 13 for Armor Proficiency (Hide) and Shield Proficiency (Light).
The Staff Wizard can have better AC (not to mention NADs) than a typical defender

+1 on the Gnome bump to blue (sky blue for illusionist build)

Also about Phantom Chasm, I guess you are correct since PHB pg 277 says

IMMOBILIZED
✦ You can’t move from your space, although you can
teleport and can be forced to move by a pull, a push,
or a slide.

Standing up from prone doesn't require that you move from your space (square).
However, I would house rule that immobilize=no move actions at all, I find the "from your space" part rubbish
First off, I want to say that I think this guide is something sorely needed, and you're noble man (woman?) for taking it on. Here's my thoughts:

On Gnomes: I really have a hard time considering any race with an Int bonus to be worse than black. Hitting is just really important for controllers. Small is a pretty trivial penalty for wizards. So you can't use your staff as a melee weapon, but you'd never hit with it to begin with; the number of situations where using your staff as a melee weapon is a good idea at all is generally irrelevantly small. Fade Away is not at all useless for Wizards; while it's fair to assume that your wizard is not too likely to get smacked as often as most characters, being able to fade away when he is is exceptionally valuable. (Certainly way, way more valuable than being able to smack people with your staff will ever be.)

Gnomes have the perfect stat bumps for illusionists, and also make exceptional wizards of any kind just for their int boost (certainly better than either of the shifters, for instance.) Gnome Phasmatist is such a good feat that even if gnomes had no other beneficial traits whatsoever, they'd still be at least blue for illusionist on the strength of that feat alone. Similarly, even if gnomes had no other traits besides +2 Int, that would make them at least black, bordering on blue for any wizard. You mention that starting with less than 18 int is rarely desirable, and that's true, but any race that doesn't get an int boost will be sinking its other stats into the toilet to get that, and Gnomes don't have to. If a Dwarf or Elf buys an 18 in int and wants a 16 in their secondary stat (let's say it's Wis), thier other stats are going to look something like 13/10/10/8, where the 13 is their other racial boost. If a gnome wants 18 in int and 16 in a secondary stat - Cha, maybe - their other stats look like 14/13/10/8. Even if they want Con as their secondary stat, they can get 18 int/16 con and have 14 Cha/12/10/8 for their other stats. Heck, even if they're going Wis - which diminishes the value of their cha boost - they can still get 18 int/16 Wis and then 12/12/10/10 or 13/11/10/10, if they're dumping Cha. Even with the secondary stat that synergizes the least with them - Wis - gnomes still look pretty nice compared to Elves and Dwarves in the stat department. (The elven racial power is very nice, but dex is just a +1 initiative for a Wis Wizard, and for anything that's not a Wis Wizard, Gnomes clearly have a significant stat advantage since they don't have to pay for an 18. (Eladrin are also much better than elves and dwarves for the same reason.)

As it is, gnomes are blue or maybe even sky blue for any wizard, and are clearly far and away the best choice for illusionist (possibly barring weird combos, but just playing things straight, gnomes are hands-down the best illusionists.)

----------

Right now, the guide and ratings seem a bit slanted toward orbizards. I can't and won't deny that orbizards do some sick things, but rating things based on their value for an orbizard seems less useful than rating them based on their value for a wizard built to take advantage of them. Obviously Tome of Binding is useless or near it for many wizards; it should be judged on what it brings to the sort of wizard who would bother to take it: a dedicated summoner wizard. Now, it may be the case that the feature is a trap and that summoner wizards are often better off with some other feature (similar to how archery rangers can often benefit more from having a beast than from the class feature for archery), or it may be the case that dedicated summoner wizards are just totally unworkable for some reason. If these are the reasons that Tome of Binding scores a poor rating, it should be noted; calling out something as subpar because it doesn't do anything for characters that aren't built to use it seems less helpful. I'm not saying that ToB is necessarily an awesome feature; it might legitimately be poor, especially at low levels where you're not getting much out of it with it affecting so few of your powers, to the extend that even a dedicated summoner wizard would be better off with something else; I just believe that it's more useful to judge things based on their value to characters that might consider taking them.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Elves and Dwarves are good choices, but Eladrin only average how does that even work?

Many builds will need to start with 12 dex anyway for vital feats so the bonus isn't a complete waste, even Orbizards will need to pump their Int as high as possible, and Fey Step is at least as handy as 2nd wind (and becomes outright awesome with some AP feats).
I have always played melee characters. I just think they're fun. But, I started playing a 4E wizard a few weeks ago in my newest campaign, and it seems that there's only one light blue selection I didn't take.

Is all the good stuff this obvious?
Right now, the guide and ratings seem a bit slanted toward orbizards. I can't and won't deny that orbizards do some sick things, but rating things based on their value for an orbizard seems less useful than rating them based on their value for a wizard built to take advantage of them. Obviously Tome of Binding is useless or near it for many wizards; it should be judged on what it brings to the sort of wizard who would bother to take it: a dedicated summoner wizard. Now, it may be the case that the feature is a trap and that summoner wizards are often better off with some other feature (similar to how archery rangers can often benefit more from having a beast than from the class feature for archery), or it may be the case that dedicated summoner wizards are just totally unworkable for some reason. If these are the reasons that Tome of Binding scores a poor rating, it should be noted; calling out something as subpar because it doesn't do anything for characters that aren't built to use it seems less helpful. I'm not saying that ToB is necessarily an awesome feature; it might legitimately be poor, especially at low levels where you're not getting much out of it with it affecting so few of your powers, to the extend that even a dedicated summoner wizard would be better off with something else; I just believe that it's more useful to judge things based on their value to characters that might consider taking them.

I agree with this assesment, and things may seem slanted towards one build or another, but I will say that they are not slanted based on Implement selected, but towards the ability to perform CONTROL, as that is the role of the wizard.

Tome of Binding offers an increase to damage done, damage for damage's sake is not control, that is why it received such a poor rating. If someone makes a case for ToB being useful for control features, then I would be glad to change the rating.

Now, someone will point to this, then my rating of Flaming Sphere, but I will point out that Flaming Sphere does not need to hit in order to do damage, meaning it will automatically clear minions. This is more the idea of control, limiting what actions/damage your enemies can deal out. Yes, the ultimate control is them being dead, but leave the damage increases to the strikers.

I greatly appreciate everyone's input on this, I make no claim to being an expert on all things Wizard, and have obviously already made mistakes. Anyone who wishes to contribute should feel free, I know there are a few people who would love to write the new Gnome section
Tome of Binding offers an increase to damage done, damage for damage's sake is not control, that is why it received such a poor rating. If someone makes a case for ToB being useful for control features, then I would be glad to change the rating.

Summoned creatures offer control by being a legitimate threat in combat, increased damage and more pointedly increased damage on OA's makes them harder to ignore. Also it's a pretty long lasting bonus, it applies to whichever creature you summoned with it the entire combat.

On a seperate note, I believe you should bump Illusory Ambush up one and Phantom bolt down one.

Regarding Phantom Bolt, forced movement of 1 is situational and very often will be completely useless. In order for forced movement to good in most situations you need to have a lot of it like a thunderwave that you've piled on wisdom for. The damage is ok and it hits will so it's still a great power, but definately not a top choice everyone should be picking.

Regarding Illusory Ambush, attack penalty is almost always beneficial especially when you consider this power stacks with Psychic Lock. The damage difference minimal and avg of 1 point and it too attacks will. Definitely the sky blue choice of the two.
Some other suggested changes.

Dex deserved to be bumped up at least on par with chr. This is the stat that give you an init bonus and access to Arcane Reach, those are both huge and IMHO worth more in the long run than a -2 to saves. Consider how much value a wizard gets out of shaping the field of battle before the baddies have had a chance to get mixed in with your allies in terms of placement. Heck stealth could give you two opportunities at this with a surprise round. Dex needs some more respect I think.

Tieflings should be bumped down IMO, chr bump isn't anything to write home about, you yourself rated the chr implement extremely low, and there just don't seem to be many powers that benefit from chr. Their +hit with fire really doesn't synergize well with the bump to illusion from chr buildwise.

I agree with the rating of Eladrin but feel you should mention the strong new racial feats, and the fact that they get to cherry pick any extra skill (perception or stealth anyone?) for free.

Halfling deserves at least a bump IMO, they definately have more to offer than Half-Orcs. For the frail wizard the ability to get out of being hit is a great boon, and Nimble Spellcaster is pretty good, I think.

Force Orb deserves a bump, especially for those wizards out there that tanked their init. One of the few AoE's that is enemies only.

Sleep should come down a notch. It's OP in some specific builds, and is great when it works, but failing two saves means its extremely hit or miss. It is not reliable at all, you're gambling if you're depending on this spell.

Shield should be sky blue, seriously what wizard doesn't use this spell.

Arcane fire should come down a peg or two, way two situation you really have to build for it to be worthwhile, better off going for the consistent cheese of Wintertouched/Lasting Frost.

Improved Initiative should be sky blue, going first heavily favors a wizard so much its not even funny. Having the first move or not can determine whether a combat is hard or easy.
Shield should be sky blue, seriously what wizard doesn't use this spell.

My heroic level human wizard holds up her hand. Every time I got hit I found the monsters had such high attack bonuses they hit me by more than 4. I found Expeditious Retreat much more useful. Sometimes you really want to be 12 squares away from the enemies, right now.
[color=Blue]Genasi[/color] – STR bonus not useful at all.

Elemental Empowerment from AP changes that to "STR bonus potentially very useful."
My heroic level human wizard holds up her hand. Every time I got hit I found the monsters had such high attack bonuses they hit me by more than 4. I found Expeditious Retreat much more useful. Sometimes you really want to be 12 squares away from the enemies, right now.

If you haven't upped your AC, this occurance becomes increasingly likely, the higher the base defense the smaller the range of numbers that the enemy can still hit on, making powers like this and staff of defense better and better.

The fact that it's an encounter power gives you much more potential damage saved than a daily

Shield also comes out ahead in action economy. Shield waste your opponents action, expeditious retreat just redirects it to one of your teammates.

On the flip side Expeditious Retreat always does what it says it does it won't be useless just because your opponent rolled particularly well and there certainly is merit in that.
I agree with this assesment, and things may seem slanted towards one build or another, but I will say that they are not slanted based on Implement selected, but towards the ability to perform CONTROL, as that is the role of the wizard.

Tome of Binding offers an increase to damage done, damage for damage's sake is not control, that is why it received such a poor rating. If someone makes a case for ToB being useful for control features, then I would be glad to change the rating.

That's an extremely valid point, but for the heck of it, I'll continue to play devil's advocate. Note that I'm not necessarily convinced that ToB is very good, I'm just arguing for it. Also, grinning-oni beat me to the punch in some places.

----

In the most abstract, summoned creatures provide the following:
- Flanking.
- An option for an attack that uses the wizard's actions. (Typically a poorish option for many summons.)
- Getting in the way.
- Disincentives to move for the enemy in the form of opportunity attacks.
- Soaking attacks from monsters.

The big, big wildcard is the last one. If an enemy creature uses an attack to hit the summoned creature rather than a player, that's an action that he's more or less lost, and if they used an encounter or recharge power, so much the better. The question is: can the summoned creature be made a tempting target for single-target attacks? And does giving it an additional 3 damage (scaling) to its attacks affect this? To a lesser extent, threatening opportunity attacks encourages creatures not to do things that would provoke them, which is weak control. Again, the question is how often the extra damage is going to be the thing that changes a creature's mind. These sorts of things depend a lot on DM style and the makeup of the rest of your party, but my inclination is that there are some scenarios where it's the tipping point. (Ironically, the Bonded Summoner PP arguably makes your creatures less tempting targets, since it does nothing to make them more threatening but does make them substantially harder to dispose of. While you don't want your creatures to be vanquished, you do want your creatures to be eating enemy attacks, rather than being ignored for being too robust. The Rimetongue Caller path does a much better job at making your creatures hazards that seem like they're worth dealing with.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
1. You should also post this handbook on the character optimization boards. More people will see it there and you'll get feedback from all the guys who spend their time min/maxing for fun and profit.

2. Illusory Ambush should be rated at least as high as phantom bolt. -2 to attacks is extremely important and a great debuff. At paragon level this becomes -4 to attacks with psychic lock. Your party will thank you for casting this spell when all the BBEGs attacks miss. Don't get me wrong, I love phantom bolt and it deserves a good rating. If forced to choose though I'd take illusory ambush.
If you add a builds section, mind adding my wizard build? It does stupid stuff with magic missile. It can be found here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1174762&highlight=missile+madness

/shameless plug]

P.S. - I'm glad you got this started! I'll add suggestions as I read through it more.


Personally, I think Tome of Readiness should be higher. Not only does it add versatility to the wizard, but every variant can benefit from it. Also, the paragon feat Improved Tome of Readiness is horribly broken.

I think that Genasi should be rated higher. Wizards don't care too much about their secondary stat if they're not orbizards, and the genasi feats can add a ton of damage. Strength is also a great multiclass stat.

Storm Pillar with forced movement does a ton of damage. An easy combo is to thunderwave them through this. As far as I know, this is legal.

Cloud of Daggers should get honorable mention as it's the best single target at-will that the wizard has. It might be enough to bump it up a notch.

Wizard's Fury alone makes Magic Missile not red.

For Force Orb - if it has any use at all, then it's technically not red. Red means "never take this."

For mounted combat, most of the bonuses aren't powers, but little perks. Each perk is roughly equal to a feat, but the perk depends entirely on the mount and is quite a bit too situational, so I'd leave it red.

IMO, Improved Initiate is sky blue for controllers.

Also, it would be a good idea to tag the source of all powers/feats. I.E. list it as Thunderwave (PHB) or Storm Pillar (AP).


Hopefully I'll have more time later to sift through. Good work so far!
I'd suggest two sections: How to be a team player and how to have fun.

4E is all about an optimized group rather than being a group of optimized individuals. PCs should always be helping each other out. The wizard plays with the battlefield more than anyone else. They need to watch more than even the leader. This book book do well to include ideas on keeping the battlefield team-friendly.

I'd also like a section on having fun as a wizard. Most books are about how to maximize damage, but that's not always what's fun. There should be an overview of races, feats, skills, etc. that are more than just mechanical edges, but also add fun angles to the game.
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It's always great to see a new handbook, and the large majority of it is sound. I have some comments, though (all IMO, of course):

Orb of Deception: Blue, IMO. You don't need to pump your Charisma very high, since the re-roll is a very important part of the power (and hard-core illusionists are going to have a decent Cha anyway, to qualify for feats). The Illusion line is also very useful. This is better than Wand, in my opinion.

Tome of Binding: Black. Yes, it's only at all useful for focused Summoners, but Wizard Summoning has received an unfairly bad rep. The D25 and D29 summons in particular are outstanding.

Dexterity: Should be black, or even blue. There are a lot of feats that have a Dex requirement, including the amazing Dual Implement Spellcaster. Think twice before you start with a Dex lower than 13. If you don't start with Dex 13, you won't qualify for the Epic crit feat, unless you raise Dex along the way (of course, the same goes for Wis). Starting with Dex and Wis at at least 13 is virtually mandatory post-AP.

Dwarf: I love Dwarves, but I don't think they deserve to be Blue. Perhaps for a Blood Mage build, but not otherwise.

Eladrin: Sky Blue. Teleportation is excellent, and if you want a weapon as an implement, Eladrin is the best race for it. As I said above, you need a bit of Dex in most builds, so that's not wasted.

Gnome: Having it as blue is silly, IMO. Gnome should be sky blue the way. Gnome Illusionists are outstanding becuase of their racial feat. They also make for superb Unseen Mages. One of the absolute top picks.

Genasi: If Tieflings are Sky Blue, then Genasi should be as well. Both are for niche builds - Tieflings do Fire and Fear, while Genasi achieve Striker-level damage with Thunder and Lightning.

Magic Missile: You should note that while it's a very poor power in itself, it's massively abusable with the correct support of features.

Scorching Burst: Blue. It's a very sound at-will, and can benefit greatly from Arcane Admixture at paragon.

Shield: Sky Blue, IMO.

Dual Implement Spellcaster: Sky Blue.

Toughness: Always a nice feat, but Blue or Black IMO, not Sky Blue.

(And then, of course, there are those feats that aren't listed yet. Gnome Phantasmist, for instance, has the same "if there were a colour better than Sky Blue, it should have that colour" that Orb of Imposition does.)

It's always trickt to handle the 'weird but good' races in this kind of handbook, the ones that require completely different builds than a general Eladrin or Human wizard. Gnomes should be made as illusionists, and Genasi as blasting thunder wizards. Tieflings kinda count this way as well, since they should focus on fire and brimstone (i.e. fear).

One thing that's worth mentioning in the handbook is that the Wizard is one of the few classes that can really benefit from maxing out their main stat. Starting with Int 20 is eminently possible, and if you have access to FR backgrounds, the Thay background is superb. You could easily start an Eladrin, Gnome or Tiefling with Int 20, Dex 13, Wis 13, Cha 12 (although the Gnome probably wants more Cha than that, in most cases).
1. You should also post this handbook on the character optimization boards. More people will see it there and you'll get feedback from all the guys who spend their time min/maxing for fun and profit.

I suggest that you don't go down this route. It's refreshing to see a build handbook targeted at players rather than min/maxers.

Also, small point but worth correcting, you should change the word 'zone' to 'area' in the cloud of daggers entry to avoid confusion.
All we know is.....he's called The Sig
A bit of feedback based on the wizard character I've played. I actually find myself agreeing with most of the things you're saying, but there are a few suggestions I'd like to make.


Orb of Deception - the problem is not that it turns a miss into a hit, because you will miss on occasion (that's why elven accuracy is so great). The problem with this ability is that there are too few illusion spells that involve hitting people. I agree with purple.

Orb of Imposition - brokenly awesome in paragon, but really not all that impressive in heroic. And also, in paragon you don't really need the orb any more, just grab all the save-penalty items and feats you can find. I disagree that it should be light blue.

Staff of defense - solid, even if you're not a smaller party or a gish build.

Tome of binding - as with orb of deception, the problem is that there are too few good summon spells to use it on (considering that several summon spells are inferior to other spells of the same level)

Wand of accuracy - I disagree that "most will ignore" this, or that it is only for blasters; the problem here is that some players don't realize that you can use it retro-actively. With a minimal investment in dexterity (particularly if you use a dex-boosting race), you can turn a near-miss into a hit once per encounter. And that's very good.

Constitution - should be black, not blue, considering that (unless you're a staff wizard or summoner) it doesn't synergize with anything. Note that (in the forgotten realms, at least) selecting Impiltur or Thay as your starting region is a good substitute for a constitution score. If lack of surges bothers you, take Durable.

Eladrin - should be sky blue, because you get assorted nice goodies (skill bonuses, charm defense) and an intelligence boost in addition to the fact that Fey Step is extremely useful. It substitutes for climb and jump checks in a pinch, lets you move without provoking, and there are several racial feats that make it even better. This is much better than being a tiefling.

Storm Pillar - I'd argue that this is better than Cloud of Daggers. The only strong point of COD is that it automatically kills one minion (but any area attack does a better job at minion killing anyway); if you want area denial, SP is much better.

Scorching Burst - it's still pretty good if you grab Enlarge Spell. A 5x5 area as an at-will power... ouch!

Jump - many people overlook how nice this little gem is, because as written it lets you move people on your turn. It doesn't give them a bonus to their next jump check whenever, it lets them move and jump right now, just like the Warlord's Knight's Move. Given that as a ranger character, you often don't need your move action for anything else, you can use this to get allies into position, over chasms, or out of trouble. If you have a good defender in your party, this will see more use than Shield. This one deserves a blue mark.

Astral Fire, Burning Blizzard, and so forth - by the present rules, you can wield a staff implement and grab Weapon Focus for the same bonus. That makes all these "+1 damage if..." feats not worth investing in (and even without that, they were pretty unimpressive giving their prereqs). Should be purple.

Distant advantage - considering most good wizard spells are area effects, this really isn't all that useful. Purple, imho.

Jack of all trades - should be at least black, probably blue; considering how many skills you won't be training and that it gives +2 to all of them this is excellent in any skill challenge, and sometimes even in combat.

Quick draw - should be sky blue. Why? Read the guide in my signature for why this is so great. It lets you carry any number of implements with funky powers, and draw them at need. This is the way to capitalize on a wizard's versatility.

Staff fighting - To a ranged character, +1 to AC isn't worth a feat.

Surging flame - It's only good if you focus your build on damage, and irrelevant if you focus on debuffs instead. Most wizards will want a variety of elements in their repertoire, rather than just fire.

Toughness - it's overrated. Assuming your defenders are doing their job, you really won't be hit very often; that makes the only time this feat is worth it the first two or three levels. You can safely train out of it at level 3.
I suggest that you don't go down this route. It's refreshing to see a build handbook targeted at players rather than min/maxers.

Also, small point but worth correcting, you should change the word 'zone' to 'area' in the cloud of daggers entry to avoid confusion.

Min/maxers are players (and DMs) too!
Orb of Deception - the problem is not that it turns a miss into a hit, because you will miss on occasion (that's why elven accuracy is so great). The problem with this ability is that there are too few illusion spells that involve hitting people. I agree with purple.

This is one the tricky things to judge. If you are an Illusionist (this means being a Gnome), it's an excellent specialtiy, easily blue or even sky blue. You will focus heavily (or even exclusively) on Illusions, and at least one of your At Wills will be an Illusion power.

If you're not a heavy-duty illusionist, then it's a bad pick. How to rank these things that are excellent for some builds but unimpressive for most is a real challenge.

Orb of Imposition - brokenly awesome in paragon, but really not all that impressive in heroic. And also, in paragon you don't really need the orb any more, just grab all the save-penalty items and feats you can find. I disagree that it should be light blue.

I think Sky Blue is correct - you get brokenly awesome a bit earlier, and locking down Solos without the Orb is a bit of a chore.

Staff of defense - solid, even if you're not a smaller party or a gish build.

And just as with Wand, you don't need an extreme Con score - 14 is plenty, and even 12 isn't bad. It also opens up the superb and dirt-cheap Defensive Staff, and the good Improved Staff Specialization.

Tome of binding - as with orb of deception, the problem is that there are too few good summon spells to use it on (considering that several summon spells are inferior to other spells of the same level)

Yeah, very much like the Orb of Deception. If you're a summoner, it's definitely worth it. Wizards get their good summons at very late levels, though.

Wand of accuracy - I disagree that "most will ignore" this, or that it is only for blasters; the problem here is that some players don't realize that you can use it retro-actively. With a minimal investment in dexterity (particularly if you use a dex-boosting race), you can turn a near-miss into a hit once per encounter. And that's very good.

Agree. The only downside is that you have to use a wand, and they're usually unimpressive. This can be fixed through the Eladrin Sword feat.

Eladrin - should be sky blue ... This is much better than being a tiefling.

Agree.


Storm Pillar - I'd argue that this is better than Cloud of Daggers. The only strong point of COD is that it automatically kills one minion (but any area attack does a better job at minion killing anyway); if you want area denial, SP is much better.

Storm Pillar is extremely situational. It's most useful with Thunderwave (we'll ignore CS for now), but if you do take it with Thunderwave and you're not a Human, then you suddenly have no long-range attacks.

Scorching Burst - it's still pretty good if you grab Enlarge Spell. A 5x5 area as an at-will power... ouch!

It's also a good starting spell for Arcane Fire, and a good candidate for Arcane Admixture with either Cold or Thunder in Paragon.

Jack of all trades - should be at least black, probably blue; considering how many skills you won't be training and that it gives +2 to all of them this is excellent in any skill challenge, and sometimes even in combat.

Black, I think. It's usually better to have a few peaked skills than a high average, since you have some choices among your skills in skill challenges. And take a look at Sorcerous Vision from AP - that's amazingly good!

Quick draw - should be sky blue. Why? Read the guide in my signature for why this is so great. It lets you carry any number of implements with funky powers, and draw them at need. This is the way to capitalize on a wizard's versatility.

Disagree, Black (or even purple). It doesn't let you stow items, only draw them, and only as part of an attack. Battle Harness Armour or one of the Hand familiars are vastly better.

Staff fighting - To a ranged character, +1 to AC isn't worth a feat.

The real problem with Staff Fighting is that you can't dual-wield implements any longer.

Surging flame - It's only good if you focus your build on damage, and irrelevant if you focus on debuffs instead. Most wizards will want a variety of elements in their repertoire, rather than just fire.

Yeah, it's for Tiefling Fire Wizards. The useful and stupid thing with it is that you get the plus to damage even if your damage isn't actually reduced.

Toughness - it's overrated. Assuming your defenders are doing their job, you really won't be hit very often; that makes the only time this feat is worth it the first two or three levels. You can safely train out of it at level 3.

I like to train it in and out. In some cases, Toughness will increase your Healing Surge value by 2 instead of 1 (at Heroic) or 2 instead of 3 (Paragon, and so on...). If you have good defences (High int, Leather, Staff/Defensive Staff, Shield spell, Wizard's Escape), you can get tough enough that you don't require much tanking, and you can take a lot more risks (especially relevant if you have Close Burst powers, such as Flame Shroud or a Burstified Thunderwave).

It's never a core feat, though.
And just to join the discussion, I'm going to respond to what other people were saying. All IMHO and YMMV, of course.

By the way, perhaps it is worth giving two rankings for some options, one for wizards in general and one for specific builds. For instance, "orb of illusion: black, but sky blue if you're a gnome illusionist".

Really. People still believe DEX-using wand wizards have major defense penalties? People still really believe that?

I agree. Putting two points in dex rather than (say) con gives you -1 to fort defense, but +1 to initiative. It pretty much cancel out. Sure, 18 int / 18 dex is a waste, but nobody's suggesting that; wand wizard is feasible with just a 14 dex (which is easy for any +dex race).

Right now, the guide and ratings seem a bit slanted toward orbizards.

I had the same impression.

Halfling deserves at least a bump IMO, they definately have more to offer than Half-Orcs. For the frail wizard the ability to get out of being hit is a great boon, and Nimble Spellcaster is pretty good, I think.

I disagree; halflings just don't synergize very well. There are plenty of options to avoid being hit that you don't really need second chance.

Force Orb deserves a bump, especially for those wizards out there that tanked their init. One of the few AoE's that is enemies only.

I don't agree with this, either. It doesn't do anything but damage, and fairly unimpressive damage at that, its secondary damage only triggers if the first one hits, it doesn't stack with enlarge spell, it requires that enemies clump up, and you can generally aim AOEs to avoid hitting allies anyway. Pretty much every wizard/1 encounter is better than that.

Sleep should come down a notch. It's OP in some specific builds, and is great when it works, but failing two saves means its extremely hit or miss.

That's failing one save, not two. And it's a huge area effect (and targets what generally is the lowest defense), so what you do is drop it on four enemies, which gives you excellent odds of dropping one of them. Unconscious equals dead, because all your allies can line up and crit him.

Shield should be sky blue, seriously what wizard doesn't use this spell.

I'm afraid I disagree with that as well. I for one never use it, because I take care not to get attacked all that often, and when I do the +4 is generally not enough. I use jump all the time, instead.

Arcane fire should come down a peg or two, way two situation you really have to build for it to be worthwhile,

That I do agree with.

Improved Initiative should be sky blue, going first heavily favors a wizard so much its not even funny.

That's generally true.

2. Illusory Ambush should be rated at least as high as phantom bolt. -2 to attacks is extremely important and a great debuff.

I'm afraid not. -2 to attacks is completely irrelevant exactly 90% of the time.

Personally, I think Tome of Readiness should be higher. Not only does it add versatility to the wizard, but every variant can benefit from it. Also, the paragon feat Improved Tome of Readiness is horribly broken.

I agree with that. Even at heroic, being able to swap between e.g. color spray and fire shroud is nice. I don't think ITOR is broken, but it is very useful (and makes the situational utilities like Dispel and Gate so much better).

Cloud of Daggers should get honorable mention as it's the best single target at-will that the wizard has. It might be enough to bump it up a notch.

I disagree with this one. It only does damage, and three points of guaranteed damage isn't all that great. Plus, I'm not convinced that a wizard needs to use single target spells at all, ever.

Wizard's Fury alone makes Magic Missile not red.

Purple, probably, but given that that level 1 dailies include Flaming Sphere and Sleep, I don't like WF all that much.

Red means "never take this."

Really? I thought red simply meant "very bad". Every option at least does something - even Careful Strike does damage. It's just that every other option is better (and frankly, every other option does seem better than Force Orb to me).

Tome of Binding: Black. Yes, it's only at all useful for focused Summoners, but Wizard Summoning has received an unfairly bad rep. The D25 and D29 summons in particular are outstanding.

Maybe so, but most (all?) of the lower level summons are pretty bad. Most campaigns don't play at level 25 and up, and being stuck with a poor option for 24 levels doesn't really appeal to me.

Starting with Dex and Wis at at least 13 is virtually mandatory post-AP.

I'm not convinced of that. Critting on 19+ is nice, but the main thing it does is more damage, and I feel that damage is not a priority for wizards. However, this does become awesome if you use the kind of implement that adds conditions on a crit.

Dwarf: I love Dwarves, but I don't think they deserve to be Blue. Perhaps for a Blood Mage build, but not otherwise.

Agree.

Gnome: Having it as blue is silly, IMO. Gnome should be sky blue the way.

Agree.

Genasi: If Tieflings are Sky Blue, then Genasi should be as well.

I'd turn that around: neither tieflings nor genasi should be sky blue, because humans, gnomes and eladrin really are better (as they're all rounders rather than niche builds).

Dual Implement Spellcaster: Sky Blue.

At heroic, surely not (it just boosts your damage by a little). At paragon, and assuming you want to focus on damage rather than status effects, it's good. But that doesn't warrant a sky blue rating.

Toughness: Always a nice feat, but Blue or Black IMO, not Sky Blue.

Agree. I'd call it black, even. Several regions (Impiltur/Thay) can also cover for this one.

One thing that's worth mentioning in the handbook is that the Wizard is one of the few classes that can really benefit from maxing out their main stat.

Yes, absolutely! Most wizard builds don't even get all that much mileage out of their secondaries. I would certainly not go below 19 in my primary for a wizard.

Yeah, very much like the Orb of Deception. If you're a summoner, it's definitely worth it. Wizards get their good summons at very late levels, though.

I'm not convinced of that. The orb is indeed excellent for illusionists, but a summoner could do without this tome (and indeed, a focused illusionist is a much more viable build than a focused summoner).

Agree. The only downside is that you have to use a wand, and they're usually unimpressive. This can be fixed through the Eladrin Sword feat.

Yes, but many staffs and orbs have properties that work even if you hold them, rather than use them to attack.

if you do take it with Thunderwave and you're not a Human, then you suddenly have no long-range attacks.

Except for all your encounter and daily powers. At low levels, this is problematic, but starting from level 5 or 7 it's no problem as you won't be using your at-wills nearly as often.

Disagree, Black (or even purple). It doesn't let you stow items, only draw them, and only as part of an attack. Battle Harness Armour or one of the Hand familiars are vastly better.

Not only as part of an attack, also as part of using the item. I agree that the Hand familiars are better, though, but battle harness is a bit dubious (as you can use your armor slot for something awesome as Bloodcut).
1. You should also post this handbook on the character optimization boards. More people will see it there and you'll get feedback from all the guys who spend their time min/maxing for fun and profit.

What this person said.

Other than that, this handbook looks great. Nice to see the wizard's options finally updated.
Scorching Burst - it's still pretty good if you grab Enlarge Spell. A 5x5 area as an at-will power... ouch!

I'll second Scorching Burst's usefulness. I have found I can almost every round get 2 people in this, and easily with a little help from teammates. Even more at times with Enlarge Spell. Grab Destructive Wizardry and your 5x5 at-will doesn't even lose damage! This spell keeps your damage up if there are not control options, (usually later in a combat).

If you only have 2 at-wills, as I do (Eladrin), you might prefer it over Thunderwave. I have never found myself pining for that spell actually as enemies get so quickly intermixed in our combats and it can be hard to use, as well as compromise your range.
First of all, thanks for your work and keep it up !

Two points:
It would be better if changed the sky blue color to deep sky blue, it's much more readable.

Any chance you could more closely adapt lordduskblades formatting (like this)? It has grown over time and is quite good now. Also makes it all more readable by including spoiler text.

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to this guide and the content looks great so far!