In 3.5 I wrote about the party roles, and referred to the role of Battlefield Control/Buff and Debuff as God. God didn't get his hands dirty, that was the job of the Big Stupid Fighter and the Glass Cannon. God simply changed reality so that they would win rather than loose.
God did not need to be a Wizard, in fact, spellcasting was so versatile in 3.5 there were a number of classes that made decent "God's". The Archavist, the Spirit Shaman, the Sorcerer - they could all technically fill the role - it was simply that Wizard's did it best.
Now in 4E - the classes are more pigeonholed. Furthermore, there are less Battlefield Controls available to players than ever. The Wizard however, gets the lion share of those powers, and they do it significantly better than other classes - so now, it is questionable whether any one else can fill the role at all. This may change as 4e splatbooks are released (in fact, I may at some point take "wizard" right out of the title of this guide if other equivalent options present themselves.)
That is not to say the wizard did not take a dive in power compared to other classes. All spellcasters did. Wizards are not weak compared to the other classes - but neither are they the most powerful (as they arguably were in 3.5). However - the role of God unquestionably still belongs to Wizards at this time. If you wish to play God in 4e - at this time, Wizards really are the only choice.
In addition: This is a work in progress! My experience with 4e - as you might imagine, is virtually non-existant. However, after reading the rules - I've come to some opinions and am sharing them here. I reserve the right to change those opinions (and edit this work) as I learn with experience! :D
So what am I offering that's different? Squirrelloid's handbook really is like 8 in 1. He goes over how to make a blast mage, a bleed mage, a status effect mage, a terrain mod mage etc. These builds do one thing and that's it - every decision made adds to that one specialty.
I like my God to be more Buff/Debuff/Battlefield Controllers. Now that it's 4e more like Buff/Debuff/Battlefield Control/Blasters. In my God builds - if Scorching Burst is better than Cloud of Daggers (oh - and it's SO much better) - I will suggest it regardless of the slight Battlefield Control application of Cloud of Daggers - this will result in a less specialized build - but should net you the best options (IMO) at each junction.
It's more about optimizing your Wizard overall than optimizing one aspect of your wizard. If that's what you want - read on.
Naturally, this is just the beginning (and I expect both Squirrelloid and myself will have changes of opinion as we build our experience with the game) – but as always – this is CO, and when it comes to CO, viewpoints differ.
Options are good. That's the one (and only) point I'll make on this entire thread that I will claim is indisputable. The rest is all based on perspective and opinion and can all be questioned and debated.
Feel free to disagree with me - you won't be alone. Long as you understand that you are wrong :P (just kidding). So without further ado - let’s get into it.
A little side note about style Be prepared for me presenting a black-and-white D&D world. These are opinions - and I'm presenting them strongly, intentionally. Really no point in presenting what is essentially an opinion paper and being wishy-washy.
A guide to color: Due to restriction in number of images (including smiley's) that can be used in a single post - I will often be using color to identify good options from poor ones. Here's a rundown:
Blue: This is a great option - and my personal preference Green: This is a good option - not my favorite - but still worthwhile Black: This is a so-so option - not terrible, but not good enough to recommend. Red: This is a bad option - you should avoid this choice.
Treantmonk: This looks like your last handbook doesn't it?
Welcome to 4e! With a new edition the old work becomes obsolete – or does it? My old handbook discussed roles in the party, a Wizard’s role (battlefield control), and build options to work well with that role. The mechanics have changed – but the role remains. Therefore – there is repetition here, intentionally.
What do you mean God?
In my previous handbook I redefined the party roles in my own style. The iconic Tank/Skillmonkey/Healer/Arcane blaster went obsolete with 2e I suggested, replaced by new roles. Those roles were Big Stupid Fighter, Glass Cannon and God. Anything else was a waste of space.
I was surprised as any when 4e revealed an epiphany by the designers that the party roles were Big Stupid Fighter, Glass Cannon and God. Really they did! They just used different terminology – and, as you might expect, they realized the “God” role was so important – it needed double designation.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]So here’s your 4e to Treantmonk translation dictionary:[/FONT]
The Defender:This role involves two things: Doing HP damage to BBEG, forcing BBEG to attack you with his viscous weaponry. Sound familiar? In my world I call this the Big Stupid Fighter. The Big Stupid Fighter is not always a fighter by class, though he always is by description. Consider “fighter” to be flavour text. In order to qualify as a Big Stupid Fighter he should be any character that actively tries to be the target of enemy attacks. For those who wonder why I would label this character as "stupid" regardless of their INT score - reread the previous sentence.
The StrikerThis role involves one thing: Doing HP damage to BBEG. Sound familiar? In my world I call this the Glass Cannon. The Glass Cannon is like the Big Stupid Fighter except he does not want to take damage. Usually this is not due to superior intelligence - but instead due to inferior HP or defences (or in most cases - both). The 4e PHB suggests that Rogues (or Rouge for our young readers) and Rangers are strikers. In this one case I need to disagree. A wizard can also be a Glass Cannon. They are called “Blaster” wizards.
Leader:: This role usually means being a Big Stupid Fighter who rally's allies with religious rant or inspired speeches (Does anyone else picture a Drill Seargent for a Warlord? "Soldier! On your feet! Only two types of creatures go down on all fours when hurt - queers and steers - and I don't see no horns on you boy!"). Basically a very loud Big Stupid Fighter. These guys buff - which is a useful role, and help to God. You could call them God's avatars.
Controller:: This role entails making adjustments when reality would entail the above three meeting a rather messy end – so instead the above three to meet glorious victory. Sound familiar?
Yes - there you go – Controller and Leader are both “God” roles. In my previous thread – Battlefield Control was the primary role of a “God” wizard – while buffing and debuffing were secondary. Now Buffing is a role all on it’s own according to the PHB. Debuffing is a minor trait for wizards, which means your role is more clearly defined. You must be a Battlefield Controller first, a buffer second. (yes – it can be done)
Are Clerics and Warlords "God"'s? In a word - no. However, their buffing abilities make them closer to "God" than the other classes. However, buffing alone does not a god make - especially when you are spending the majority of the battle smashing the enemy on the head with your big weapon. Cleric's and Warlords fill the "Big Stupid Fighter" role mainly, with a bit of godliness to back it up. Both are useful classes - but neither will successfully fill the "God" role in your party.
Aren't all Wizards "blasters" now? In 3.5 we called a spell that had both a battlefield control effect and did damage a "dual threat" spell. My suggestion to all players back then who still wanted to blast with their wizards to look for these spells. The blast effect is nice - but not the primary purpose of your spells.
What about the Waste of Space? The horrible multiclassing options of 3.5 are gone, so is “healer” as a primary role. This means that the Waste of Space no longer exists as a party role (hooray!). That doesn’t mean that a character will be good at its role – only that the role it is supposed to do is relevant to the party's success.
Can the Wizard still cover all the roles? I don’t think so. Classes are far more pigeon-holed in 4e. Through straight blasting you can be a glass cannon – and through Battlefield Control you can be God – but I think Wizard’s as the Big Stupid Fighter are effectively gone in 4e.
Being a God:
This is the role this thread is based upon. Mortals live and die, all never appreciating that it is the Gods who determine their fate. Gods do this through three methods, in order of acending importance:
In order to be effective at buffing - you turn your Big Stupid Fighter into a Colossal, Stupid Fighter on crack, and your Glass Cannon into an Adamantium Chain Gun. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.
In order to be effective at debuffing - you turn your enemies into immobilized, weakened, dazed, stunned helpless critters so your Big Stupid Fighter and the Glass Cannon win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.
In order to be an effective battlefield controller - you should consider your primary goal to line up your enemies flanked by your Glass Cannon and Big Stupid Fighter one at a time and backwards, all while standing on their heads. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.
On 4e Battlefield Control: Treantmonk’s rant:
So, in 4e full-attack is gone, so everyone gets a move action every round. Guess what? That means manvouverability just got more important than ever. At will/encounter/daily powers also increase the requirement for both sides of a battle to control the tactics in order to win the battle. Suddenly Battlefield Control has gone from important to necessary.
It gets even better than that. In 3.5 the standard encounter involved one enemy. In such battles – Battlefield Control options were limited because there was nobody to separate. However – in 4e, the standard encounter has multiple enemies. Once again Battlefield Control is more important than ever before.
Initiative optimization has previously been derided as a waste of investment – but the truth is, often if the enemies move first – controlling the battlefield doesn’t just become more difficult – it can become next to impossible. Going first is huge. Therefore – do not shy from initiative optimization – embrace it. Going first will give you a battlefield advantage before the enemy gets a chance to coordinate. This will give your Big Stupid Fighter and Glass Cannon an advantage that they will never realize the importance of – after all, they are just mortal.
For the same reason, it is important that you beat enemy controllers to initiative as well, especially if you can put yourself in position to cut them off with a wall/immobilization or other effect that will prevent them from undoing your good work.
Furthermore – the first round is usually going to be the optimal time to use your action point. It may be anti-climactic to blow your wad before your enemy shouts “charge!” – but you can potentially have the battle won before anybody else goes – they just won’t know it yet.
Imagine it this way – You and the Enemy Controller are sitting at a chess board. The game is just about to get interesting. Do you want it to be your move or theirs? How about getting 2 moves in a row? How about blocking off his power pieces with your pawns (spell effects)? Suddenly the game just got easier didn’t it?
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Enough Theory! How do you make a Wizard a God?[/FONT]
I didn't get this right at first, but here's one of the most important things about wizards in 4e. You do not choose your Race first. You do not choose your Attributes first. You must choose your Implement first - because your choice of Implement will affect all your other decisions.
You have three Implement choices - and they are all good for God. Each has distinct advantages over the others. I ask you now to ignore all the Huey you've heard that one type or the other is a must for a controlling wizard. That's all horse-pucky. The choice of any works quite well if you work your build towards advancing that implement.
Now at Paragon levels with a single feat you can take a second Implement mastery. Since your attributes and other build decisions will not be geared towards that second implement (as much) you may not get as much use from it - but it's still a strong choice as a Paragon Feat.
Finally - remember that a Wizard has 2 hands. That means you can hold an implement in each hand. So if you are a Staff Wizard but get a nice magic Orb - simply carry them both. You do not need "mastery" in any implement - you can automatically use them all.
Your choice of Implement Mastery will make you either a Staff Wizard, a Wand Wizard, or an Orb Wizard. I will refer to these three types from now on based on your initial implement choice. A Wand Wizard who finds a kick-butt staff and is using it for attacks is still a Wand Wizard - he's just a Wand Wizard who uses a staff.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Implements and You – a God’s guide:[/FONT]
The Staff WizardStat Requirement: Constitution
The Staff of Defense gives a permanent +1 AC which is a nice power. Also - once per encounter you can use an immediate interrupt when you are hit by an attack. This interrupt adds your Con modifier to the all your defense scores retroactively.
This is an awesome ability, but probably only so if you have a good Con bonus which will require a specialized build. The staff of defense is your choice on any build that places a priority on Con - or any build that dumps both wisdom and dexterity.
If either wisdom or dexterity are dumped - this is a good choice as a second implement for an Orb or Wand Wizard just for the +1 AC.
If you use the Staff Implement, you should consider Con as your choice for "+1 to two stats of your choice" levels along with Int.
The Wand WizardStat Requirement: Dexterity
The Wand of Accuracy allows you to add your Dex modifier to a "To Hit" roll once per encounter. This means that this power is really good for any wizard with a good Dex score and useless if you dumped Dex.
This should make it pretty easy to decide whether you want wand or not. To Hit is very important for all wizards, not just "war" wizards as the text implies. If your Dex is good - take this implement. However, without a good Dex modifier - it's a waste.
If you use the Wand Implement, you should consider Dex as your choice for "+1 to two stats of your choice" levels along with Int.
The Orb WizardStat Requirement: Wisdom
The Orb of Imposition allows you to give a negative equal to your Wisdom modifier to one creature's saving thow versus one of your spell effects (good) or extend the effect of one of your at-will powers by one round (not so good).
Keep in mind that the first (and best) power of the Orb will require you to be using daily powers (which are the only powers which impose "save ends" effects) so you may not have that use every encounter.
The Orb is a good implement - but tends to be better at higher levels once you have more "save ends" effects. This implement will require a good wisdom score to be effective. This makes the Orb a strong choice as a "second implement" for wizards who have a decent Wisdom score for other reasons.
If you have the Orb Implement Mastery - you should consider Wisdom as your choice for your "+1 to two stats of your choice" along with Int.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]What ABILITY SCORES does GOD have anyways?[/FONT]
4e has suggested 3 methods of determining ability scores:
Random Roll: Call for an end to random character generation! Let your DM know that 1e is dead – let it rest in peace. If you are stuck with this - use the prioritization system below with whatever you roll up.
Standard Array: Take 16, 14, 13, 12, 11 and 10 and arrange them any way you want. Put the 16 into Intelligence, the 14 into your secondary score, your 13, 12, and 11 into your tertiary scores - and 10 into strength.
Customizing Scores: 22 points to spend on statistics - lets look at each option.
Int: This is the primary stat in every Wizard build. Your "To Hit" and damage will be reliant on your Int - so a low int wizard sucks. In addition your AC and Ref defense will rely on a high Int score. Furthermore, Arcana and Religion (two of your most important skills) are Int based. Every wizard build will start with at least a 16 Int, though Int scores as high as 20 (after racial mods) are possible.
Wis: If you are an Orb Wizard, this is your secondary stat. If you are any other kind of wizard, it is tertiary. Certain spell effects are dependant upon wisdom (such as Thunderwave or Confusion). Your wisdom will also contribute to your Will defense and a number of secondary skills. A moderate wisdom score will also be required to get the Divine Oracle Paragon Path - which is a very strong choice for wizards of all kinds. For Orb Wizards, a 16 starting Wisdom is sufficient, for all other wizards, anywhere from 10 to 14.
Dex: If you are a Wand Wizard, this is your secondary stat. If you are any other kind of wizard, it is tertiary. Your Dex score will contribute to your Initiative score - which is very important for wizards. Also, several good feats require a decent dexterity to qualify. For Wand Wizards, a 16 starting Dexterity is sufficient, for all other wizards, anywhere from 10 to 14.
Con: If you are a Staff Wizard, this is your secondary stat. If you are any other kind of wizard, it is tertiary. Your Con score will contribute to your Hit Points as well as your Healing Surges. For Staff Wizards, a 16 starting Constitution is sufficient, for all other wizards, anywhere from 10 to 14.
Cha: Your Charisma score is always tertiary. The main reason you may not want to dump Charisma is the Spell Focus feat available at Paragon Tier (which requires a 13 Charisma). The Spell Focus feat is most important for Orb Wizards, but is a good feat for all wizards. Since your Charisma will go up at level eleven, a score of 12 is sufficient to start with. If you don't care about Spell Focus - then you can dump this.
Str: Your Strength score probably won't help you with anything. Dump away.
What Race is GOD?
What Kind of Wizard is an Eladrin?
The Eladrin is suited for all kinds of Wizards, but the Dex bonus makes it best suited as a Wand Wizard. The starting weapon proficiency makes Eladrin a decent choice for Staff Wizards who wish to enter the Wizard of the Spiral Tower Paragon Path as well. Eladrin are not your best choice for Orb Wizard.
Why it's good: +2 Int: As a key stat for wizards, this bonus is nice Fey Step: 5 square teleport available at level 1 as a move action 1/encounter +2 Dex: Especially good Wand Wizards, intiative, and feat qualification Elven Education: Training in one extra skill. Note that this can be a non-class skill too. Skill Bonuses: 2 +2 bonuses to skills, the arcana bonus is v. good. Will bonus: +1 to will defence - is OK
Why it's not: No drawbacks
What Kind of Wizard is a Human?
The human has a flexible stat bonus that should be put into Intelligence. That means the Human is a decent choice for all 3 kinds of wizards. Because other races often have a Wisdom or Dexterity bonus, the Human tends to be a very strong choice for Staff Wizard.
Why it's good: +2 to any stat: Probably for Int except for very specialized builds. Bonus at will power: Add some versatility +1 to defences: Will, Fort and Ref bonus of +1 is also nice Feat selections:Humans have the best racial feat options Extra Skill: Always nice Extra feat: Not as great as 3.5 but an extra feat is still decent
Why it's not: No drawbacks
What Kind of Wizard is a Tiefling?
Firstly, yes, after playing with builds I've come to the decision that I was wrong not recommending the Tiefling. The Int bonus is too good, and the Cha bonus gives you two more points to play with (assuming you were going to dump 2 points into Cha for Spell Focus). The Tiefling also has 2 racial abilities that help "To-Hit" rolls - which is good. Fire resistance can also be helpful for placing fire-based AOE's. Flanked? Scorching burst your forehead.
Tieflings work well for any kind of wizard, though I've found Wand Wizard is my favorite build for them - working off optimizing the bonuses to hit.
Why it's good: +2 Int: As a key stat for wizards, this bonus is nice Bloodhunt: To hit is important for wizards, +1 against bloodied foes is decent +2 CHA: Easy qualify for Spell Focus Infernal Wrath: Small bonus to hit and damage once/encounter Skill Bonuses: 2 +2 bonuses to skills, the Stealth one can synergize well with wand wizard. Fire resistance: Hang out beside your flaming sphere.
What Kind of Wizard is an Elf?
Without an Intelligence bonus the Elf will be spending alot of points on that stat, which means that it tends to be best suited for wizards that make use of its other stat bonuses. This means the Elf makes a good Wand or Orb Wizard. It is probably least suited as a Staff Wizard.
Why it's good: Elven Accuracy: One reroll to hit per encounter is a key selling feature +2 Wisdom: For Orb Wizards this is great, for others, OK. +2 Dexterity: For Wand Wizards this is great, for others, OK. 7 Speed:Manouverability in 4e is a big deal Wild Step: Actually very nice synergy with 7 speed Skill Bonuses: Not my first choice of skills -but still OK Group Awareness: Minor buff for your perception specialists
Why it's not: No drawbacks
What Kind of Wizard is a Dwarf?
Without an Intelligence bonus the Dwarf will be spending alot of points on that stat, which means that it tends to be best suited for wizards that make use of its other stat bonuses. This means the Dwarf makes a good Staff or Orb Wizard. It is probably least suited as a Wand Wizard.
Why it's good: +2 Wisdom: For Orb Wizards this is great, for others, it is OK. +2 Con: For Staff Wizards this is great, for others, it is OK. Stand your ground:Push/pull effects are common - this will be useful
Why it's not: 5 move: Manvouverability is important in 4e
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]GOD will not suffer de-FEAT: ("Stop Treantmonk!!! - our ribs are breaking from the laughter")[/FONT]
4e separates feats into Heroic tier, Paragon tier, Epic tier and Multiclassing.
Improved Initiative:: +4 to initiative. You want this – take it. Never trade it out – ever.
Action Surge: Human Only - get +3 to all attacks made with the extra action from an action surge.
Elven Precision: If you went elf, this is a decent deal. +2 to your second roll using the Elven Accuracy racial power.
Jack of all trades:In 4e, getting a +2 to non-trained skills shouldn’t suck. That’s only a -3 from being trained.
Durable: Anyone who tells you that you have no use of extra healing surges is misinformed or lying. 2 extra healing surges is what 4 more points of Con would give you.
Toughness:Get 5 HP at level 1, and 15 by level 21. Not a huge amount – but decent.
Human Perseverence: Human only. +1 to all saving throws. Being that saving throw bonuses aren’t all that easy to get – this is a good feat.
Armor Proficiency: Leather: Not a must, but +2 AC is nothing to sneeze at. No arcane spell failure to worry about anymore either.
Armor Proficiency: Hide: Only Staff Wizards should consider this as it requires Strength and Constitution. The real attractive point here is that Hide is still adding Int bonus to AC, and a Staff Wizard will be able to get Armor Specialization (Hide) at Paragon Tier - increasing their defence further. Think carefully before assigning a 13 Strength score - but builds I've made can make this work.
Expanded Spellbook: A decent feat, but in the builds I’ve played with, not as good as it sounds. You already have a fair bit of versatility in your daily attacks – and the 3rd choice ends up being a little bit redundant. However, if you do get a bit extra ability to prepare for a known situation.
Wintertouched: Grants combat advantage against creatures vulnerable to cold. On its own - not worth it, but you can give creatures vulnerability to cold with Lasting Frost (paragon feat - requires you to hit enemy first)
Skill Training: You get a non-class skill trained. Perception, Stealth - I'm sure you can find something nice.
Burning Blizzard: This one is bad. +1 damage on cold/acid spells. Yawn. Damage is secondary unless you are a Glass Cannon. Are you a Glass Cannon?
Spell Focus: You need CHA 13 for this – which is why you took 12 CHA – so take this. -2 to all saves vs your spells is awesome. If for some reason you didn’t take a 12 CHA to start (like random ability generation) – it is worth using stat bonuses at level 4 and 8 here to qualify.
Seize the Moment: For Wand Wizards. This requires a 17 dex, but offers combat advantage (ie +2 to hit) in the surprise AND first round if you win initiative. Well, you have a 17 dex, and have been optimizing initiative - so there is some synergy here. Orb and Staff Wizards will likely not qualify.
Second Implement: If you have a good wisdom - consider Orb. If you have good Dex - consider Wand. If you have a good Con - consider Staff. Also note that staff gives a permanent defensive bonus that isn't stat dependant - so it can be a worthwhile choice anyways.
Arcane Reach: If you went Eladrin or Elf with at least 12 base Dex – you should be able to qualify for this. In this case – it is a great choice – all your close powers can be initiated 2 squares away. All Wand Wizards should be able to get this. Staff and Orb Wizards may be able to depending on their dexterity.
Resounding Thunder: Make all your thunder keyword spells one size bigger. Yes – bigger is better.
Danger Sense: Excellent choice – Initiative is important. The way I read it, with Divine Oracle and this feat you get 3 initiative rolls – taking your best result. With improved initiative – you should expect to go first.
Fleet Footed: Your speed increases by 1. I think this is a decent investment.
Armor Specialization: Hide: For Staff Wizards who took Armor Proficiency: Hide. Improve your defence yet further you greedy Staff Wizard! Laugh at squishy Wand and Orb Wizards.
Combat Anticipation: +1 to all defenses against most of the attacks you are likely to be targeted with.
Defensive Advantage: +2 AC vs everyone you have Combat Advantage against.
Solid Sound: For Staff Wizards, get a +2 to a single defence after you use a thunder or force power. You can choose the defence when you use the power.
Lasting Frost: Gives an enemy you hit with a cold power vulnerability (cold) 5. By itself this is so-so, but if you have wintertouched you get combat advantage against that enemy hereon.
Feywild Protection: Eladrin Only. When you use your Fey step racial power – all your defences are at +2 until your next turn. If your fey step power did what it was supposed to do – you hopefully won’t be targeted for at least a turn.
Epic Tier Feats:
Spell Accuracy: Omit friendly squares from your nasty spells. Good choice – in 3.5 we called this “extraordinary aim”
Arcane Mastery: Personally, I think giving up an extra action is incredibly painful – however, this still may be a useful reserve.
Irresistable Flame: You have a number of Fire powers - reducing resistance by 20 may be critical.
Initiate of Faith:: Awesome. Divine Oracle is a fantastic Paragon Path for Wizards that is available by taking this feat. That alone is worth it – but I won’t begrudge free skill training or a healing word once per day. Qualifying for Cleric feats is worthless – since you don’t have the Channel Divinity class feature to go with it.
Sneak of Shadows: (Wand Wizard only) Nice choice. Master Infiltrator is a very nice Paragon Path for Wand Wizards. You will need to pick up a weapon proficiency to take full advantage (crossbow is a good choice). You may even want further multiclassing feats to get some of the other nice rogue features.
Divine Oracle: This is my Paragon Path primary recommendation. It is a Cleric Paragon Path – which will require you to take the Initiate of Faith feat.
Recommended for Orb, Wand, or Staff Wizard
It offers some excellent synergy with the Wizard class:
Foresight (11th level): You and each ally within 5 squares cannot be surprised. Wow. In addition - you get 2 rolls for intiative - which duplicates Danger sense feat and saves you a feat slot (Custserv says they don't stack).
Prophetic Action (11th level): When you spend an Action point to take an extra action - you get an additional move action that you can use later in the encounter. That's a get out of melee free card.
Terrifying Insight (16th level): Make two rolls whenver you make an attack against Will and take the best result. If you miss, you are dazed until the end of your next turn. Note that you can still take a standard action when dazed. This is a nice ability, and should be optimized by showing a bias against Will targeting spells.
Prophecy of Doom (11th level encounter attack): As a standard action you set up a condition where you or an ally who hits the target in the next round can choose to make it a critical hit.
Good Omens (12th level utility daily power): You and every ally within 10 squares get a +5 power bonus to all d20 rolls for a round, but you can't score critical hits. Boo-Hoo - +5 to hit but I can't score a critical? That's a fantastic deal!
Hammer of Fate (20th level daily attack): Only good for the Orb Wizard. An attack that uses Wisdom and targets will for good damage, and if you miss, you can rewind time and use a different power instead.
Blood Mage: The path features don’t excite me overly, but the spells are nice – especially the level 11 and level 20 spells.
Recommended for Orb or Staff wizard
Blood Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, and you use to to make an attack that hits, that attack deals ongoing 10 damage (save ends). I think this works on AOE's against everyone in the area. Increases your blast - OK power.
Bolstering Blood (11th level): Give yourself damage (1d10 or 2d10) and the power you use does an equivalent amount of psychic damage to anyone who is hit with your following attack. With HUGE aoe's this could have merit, but I'm just not that into wounding myself. Appparently CustServ says this works with Blood Pulse every time the target moves - but I would not count on your DM agreeing.
Buring Blood (16th level): When you use a second wind, enemies within 10 feet take psychic damage equal to your Con modifier. If they are currently suffering from an effect you caused they take Int modifier instead and get 5 ongoing damage (save ends). Once again, blast enhancement.
Blood Pulse (11th level encounter attack): Int vs. Will that does OK damage and for a round every square it leaves it takes 1d6 damage. Not only does it give the enemy thought before it uses it's own movement - you can push him around the battlefield for extra damage. Your allies can push him too.
Soul Burn (12th level daily utility): You can use a healing surge to get back an encounter power (like Blood Pulse). You better take Durability with your blood mage!
Destructive Salutation (20th level daily attack): Int vs Will attack that does good damage, does 10 Ongoing damage and Stuns (save ends both). Stunning is a very good status effect. You still stun for a round on a miss which is excellent.
Spellstorm Mage: One of the path features allows you to regain a used spell – this is a wisdom based ability. All 3 spells of this path are really good.
Recommended for Orb wizard
Extra Damage Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to get an extra action - you add one half your level to damage of any of your standard action attacks this round. This will add to both your "extra" action and your regular action - but not to ongoing effects like Mordenkainen's sword.
Storm Spell (11th level): Once per day you can regain a spell. You make a wisdom check and can get an Encounter Utility/Encounter attack/Daily Utility/Daily attack back based on your roll. With a 21 or higher you can pick any. It doesn't say which kind of action this requires so I'm guessing it's a free action? Better check with your DM.
Storm Fury (16th level): When you first become bloodied in an encounter - you do some crappy damage to enemies within 10 squares.
Storm Cage (11th level Encounter attack): You do decent damage in a burst 2 range 20 effect. It attacks Ref and creates a wall around the burst effect that does a bit of damage to anyone moving through (and takes an extra movement point). It also does some damage to anyone starting their turn adjacent. Pretty good for an encounter abiltiy.
Sudden Storm (12th level daily utility): Burst 2 within 20 squares that creates difficult terrain and light obscurement that you can sustain and move. Note that light obscurement is not nearly as good as total.
Maelstrom of Chaos (20th level daily attack): Close burst 10 that targets only enemies. It attacks Fort which is a definite minus. Damage is OK, but if you hit you get to teleport anywhere in the burst - which is nice.
Wizard of the Spiral Tower: For Eladrin’s who want to enter melee or the Staff Wizard – you can use a longsword as your implement –as well as use INT attacks with it that cause both damage and a secondary effect. Definitely some decent powers – but they require you to get in close – which is a big drawback.
Recommended for Staff Wizard or wand wizard.
Corellon's Implement (11th level): You can choose to treat a longsword as your specialized implement. This can stack nicely with flaming or frost weapons - allowing you to make your spells fire or cold spells. (Thus stacking with relevant feats - this can potentially be done with regular implements as well - but less clearly). Otherwise - it's just handy to be able to use your weapon as your implement as well.
Spiral Tower Action (11th level): You can spend an action point to get an encounter ability back. Not sure this is a good deal.
Radiant Censure (16th level): When an enemy attacks your Will - they take crappy radiant damage. Yawn.
The One Sword (11th level encounter attack): Melee attack that uses Int vs Will (nice). If you hit you get a second attack against that target that will cause it to become dazed for a round if you hit. Very nice melee attack - geared towards a wizard build. Here's the best parts - as a "weapon" keyword attack - you get to add a +3 proficiency bonus to hit - and if you hit twice - the power is not expended. Whew! Awesome!
Shape the Dream (12th level daily Utility): As an immediate interrupt, whenever you are hit on your Will Defence - you can prevent the attack - and the enemy loses the action. Sweet! This will be a nice backup for Wisdom dump builds.
Corellon's Blade (20th level daily attack): Another melee attack - this one attacks every enemy in a close burst 1 (so you actually want to get in the ugly of melee). This will be well worth it as this attack is sick. You attack Will (which is nice) using Int (which is necessary) and you get +4 to hit against all targets (Awwwwe-Some!) - oh wait - make that +7 (you get weapon proficiency bonus as well - Expect to hit pretty much automatically). Targets hit take good damage and are teleported to the Fey World for a round. Wow.
Battle Mage: 2 of the three path features (Battle mage action and battle edge) are both good features for God. The level 11 and 12 spells are both decent.
Not a primary recommendation - but works with Orb, Staff or Wand wizard.
Arcane Riposte (11th level): When a creature provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can make an attack with one of your hands (Dex vs. AC - Not great - even for a Wand Wizard - bascially expect to miss.) and do OK damage.
Battle Mage Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action - you get +4 to hit on all attacks until your next turn. Fantastic ability.
Battle Edge (16th level): When you first become bloodied in an encounter - you can use any at-will power you know as an immediate reaction. Basically - do some damage back (though if you are stuck in melee - thunderwave might be helpfull).
Foreful Retort (11th level encounter attack): [/] Close burst 1 that targets enemies only and does OK damage - pushes a square and knocks prone. Requires you to get in close and doesn't finish the enemy off. Decent, but not great.
[b]Arcane Rejuvenation (12th level daily utility): Immediate Interrupt if you fall below 0 HP - you regain HP equal to your level + Int modifier. This is a good backup that may save you a death save.
Closing Spell (20th level daily attack): Burst 5 within 20 squares that targets Ref. Damage is so-so and has no secondary effect. However - if this is your last daily spell - it does really good damage. (8d10 + Int good). Closing spell - get it?
Master Infiltrator: This is a multiclass option that only a Wand Wizard should consider. It will patch the pathetic nerf that invisibility spells have taken in 4e giving you a couple invisibility powers that aren't broken by attacking (though they both have short durations). It will also give a couple nice attack abilities that can be used in melee or ranged and are based of Dex (which is why you want this only for a Wand Wizard). This path will give you some scouting options - so you would be wise to pick up stealth.
Recommended for Wand Wizard
Infiltrator's Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action - you get an additional move action. This is like the Divine Oracle's prophetic action without the versatility. OK but not great.
Skillful Infiltrator (11th level): +2 to Stealth, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Probably the +2 stealth is the only one you will use much. Not great.
Invisible Infiltrator (16th level): This is nice - any time you drop an enemy to 0 hp - you turn invisible for a round. This has no limit.
Distracting Wound (11th level encounter attack): Use a Crossbow, Sling or Light Blade (you will use a dagger) against a creature you have combat advatage against (you took Seize the moment right?) - attack Dex vs AC (but you get proficiency bonus) and the target takes OK damage and you and your allies get CA against the creature for the next turn. Good ability that adds a buff to an attack. You can use the dagger with a melee attack or toss it.
Impossible to catch (12th level encounter utility): You turn invisible for one round as a minor action. Note this is an encounter ability - and you can attack without breaking it. In a couple ways this is superior to greater invisibility.
Painful Puncture (20th level daily attack): Again Crossbow, Sling or light blade using Dex against AC. This time the target takes OK damage and 10 ongoing. OK ability - but not up to par with 20th level attacks IMO.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Wizard Powers: The Rules[/FONT]
1) Have powers that target every save. Fort, will and Reflex. (Note that Fort is almost universally higher for most creatures - so go heavy on Will, Ref. Thanks Dan2!). Especially be careful with At-Wills - which you will use most often. 2) Make sure you have versatility in ranges amongst your powers 3) Some powers should target areas, some should target multiple creatures, and some should target single creatures. 4) You need at least some Walls or Battlefield Controls that require no attack roll for enemies with impressive defensive scores. 5) Terrain modification needs to be in your list (hampered terrain, vision blocks, line of effect blocks) 6) Status modification needs to be in your list (weaken, prone, immobolize etc) 7) Position modification needs to be in your list (Push, Pull, Shift, Teleport etc.) 8) Give preference to encounter utility over daily utility options. 9) Orb wizards should have a bias towards "Save Ends" spells 10) Wand Wizards should have a bias towards spells that work best when Initiative is won 11) Staff Wizards should have a bias towards close blasts (being less squishy)
Scorching Burst: The only ranged AOE At-Will in the game. Attacks Ref which is often a weak defence. Blast only, but for an At-Will - it is a good one.
Ray of Frost:The only ranged attack in the game that imposes a Status condition. Slow isn't great, but it gives this power circumstantial use over a straight blast. The Fort targeting hurts.
Thunderwave: The only clost blast AOE At-Will in the game. The range is a problem unless you've planned for Arcane Reach - in which case - this could be a very good choice. It targets Fort which is a problem. The opponent recieves a push equal to your Wisdom modifier - so if you don't have a decent wisdom - Scorching burst will be better in pretty much every way.
Cloud of Daggers: A one-square cloud that does moderate damage in the first turn, and then terrible damage on the target's turn. Since one square area determent isn't much use in 4e due to 1x diagonal movement - this really has only will do damage to the creature in the square already, and isn't a deterrent at all. Half the range of magic missile but will ignore cover and concealment. They each share the same weakness in that they are single target only damage only powers.
Magic Missile: Pretty much every class has the single basic attack and this is the wizards. Not too bad (basically superior to the Warlock's eldritch blast). Range is very good for an At-Will, and damage is 2d4+Int. It's more of a Striker-style ability though.
Burning Hands: The size is good (close blast 5), but range blows unless you get Arcane Reach (and if you get arcane reach, you are probably within 2 levels of replacing this power). It targets Ref and does straight damage (OK damae for AOE).
Chill Strike: Striker-style spell. Targets one enemy and does decent damage and dazes them for a turn. Dazed in 4e is like a 3.5 slow effect. Good, but not incapacitated type good. Targets Fort which isn't great. Interestingly, this is a pretty much superior single target status-creating encounter spell than the Warlock choices of equivalent level. However, if you have a warlock in your party - this is still likely redundant.
Force Orb: Pure blast. Looks like a single target spell, but really it's a conditional burst 1. If you hit the guy in the centre - all those around him become targeted. Damage is good on the centre target, and so-so on the secondary targets.
Icy Terrain: Blast/BC. Burst 1 spell that does so-so damage and knocks targets prone. Targets Ref and creates difficult terrain in the effect for 1 round. It's like a short duration grease spell with a blast side effect.
Ray of Enfeeblement: Striker style spell. Very similar to Chill Strike except the damage is slightly worse and it weakens rather than Dazes. If the opponent is not relying on manouverability, this is better - otherwise, I consider Chill Strike the better choice.
Color Spray: Close blast 5 targets Will and dazes targets in addition to so-so damage. With Arcane Reach this will be great - without, it's OK.
Fire Shroud: Close burst 3 that only targets enemies. Targets Fort which isn't good - and is pure blast. Damage is So-so but also has an ongoing damage effect. More of an emergency spell - not sure I want to set this up every encounter.
Icy Rays: Target one or two creatures (Ref) for OK damage and Immobilization. This isn't a total screw-over but can still cramp their style.
Shock Sphere: Pure blast. The burst 2 is a nice size effect and it targets Ref for OK damage.
Fire Burst: Pure blast - decent damage in a nice sized burst 2 range 20.
Lightning Bolt: Pure blast - OK damage against primary, and so-so damage against 2 secondary targets within 10 squares of original target. Lets you do multiple enemy attacks without requiring the cluster - but damage suffers.
Spectral Ram: Decent damage and pushes 3 squares and knocks prone. Targeting Fort is a weakness, as is the single target.
Winter's Wrath: Decent damage burst 2 that targets Fort. This spell also grants concealment, and does crappy damage to creatures within on their turn. Lasts for a round. Your first encounter spell that gives concealment.
Frostburn: 20 square ranged burst 2 that targets Fort and does OK damage, and creates difficult terrain for a round and does additional crappy damage to anyone starting their turn in the effect.
Mesmeric Hold: Does so-so damage to 1, 2 or 3 targets and immobilizes them for a turn along with so-so damage. Grants a +4 bonus if you choose one target. So here's a hint - never target 2 enemies! Attacks Will which is a nice feature.
Prismatic Burst: Range 20 burst 2 that targets Will, enemies hit are all blinded for a round and take decent damage.
Thunderlance: Close blast 5 that targets Ref. Pushes the target 4 squares and does decent damage. This goes very nicely with Arcane Reach.
Acid Storm: Burst 4 within 10 squares that targets Fort. This is your biggest encounter effect, and blocks line of sight. Those within are attacked for OK damage, and if they start their turn within they take some more crappy damage.
Chain Lightning: Pure blast. Target one enemy in range 20. If you hit, target 2 secondary targets within 5 squares of primary target and all enemies within 20 squares of you as tertiary targets. The damage is OK - to Crappy overall - but you are always adding Int to damage and that's a lot of targets - and only enemies.
Thunderclap: Target one creature's Fort within range 20 for OK damage and stunning for a round.
Acid Arrow: Pure blast, has a nice range and attacks Ref. Does good damage to the primary target with a (save ends) repeating damage effect. Those adjacent to the enemy get a secondary targeting for OK damage that also has the (save ends) effect. Technically if you miss, you still do damage, but it’s so pathetic it’s not really worth anything. Personally – if you want to blast – I think you are better with flaming sphere.
Flaming Sphere: Blast with possible light BC applications. Attacks Ref for Decent damage up to a range of 10. The nice feature is it can be sustained with a minor action and moved with a move action – allowing round after round attacks. At low levels this is quite effective – especially with the length of battles in 4e. Any creature that starts its turn next to the sphere takes so-so damage without a to hit roll – another nice feature of the spell.
Freezing Cloud: Blast with possible light BC applications. Attacks Fort for so-so damage with a burst 2 within range 10. Anyone who starts their turn in the cloud is subject to another attack. The radius is nice, as is the ½ damage on a miss – but this is far from your best blast available.
Sleep: Every bit as good as you’ve been told. Oh my *wipes tear* - OK, however, it’s still a very solid spell even if not completely broken. Hit a burst 2 (nice size) in 20 squares and attack Will (nice defence to target). All creatures whether hit or missed are slowed a round (slow isn’t great in 4e – but I’ll take slow on a miss any day). Hit creatures make a save at the end of their next round or they fall unconscious (save ends). By RAW nothing but a successful save can wake them up. However, DM’s using common sense often trumps RAW – so better see how your DM plays that one. Either way, this is a solid spell even if the best effect has a save before coming into effect and that effect is delayed a round.
Bigby’s Icy Grasp: A personal favourite. Range 20 attack on Reflex, if it hits, it deals decent damage and grabs the opponent. You can sustain the effect with a minor action. If the opponent escapes the grab, you can use a move action to move the hand and a standard to attack again. Creatures held take OK damage every round they are held. Very nice effect that you can have last the battle.
Fireball: Naturally fireball is back. The area is nice on this pure blast (burst 3 within range 20). The attack is naturally on Reflex and those hit take good damage. On a miss you still deal half damage. For blast specialists only considering the nice options at this level.
Stinking Cloud: A nice dual threat blast/BC. Burst 2 cloud within 20 squares that attacks Fort (not so great) for Ok damage. However, you can maintain the effect with a minor action and move it with a move action. It also blocks sight – so the battlefield control applications just became numerous. Creatures that enter the zone or begin their turn there take OK damage with no to hit roll. This is a nice effect to have between enemy melee types and their archer buddies. The archers lose line of sight unless they go through the cloud (in which case they are in melee), and Big Stupid Fighters can push the melee types into the cloud for damage over and over again.
Web: Pure Battlefield Control spell. Burst 2 within 20 squares that attacks Ref. Targets hit are immobilized with a (save ends) duration. The Web is considered difficult terrain and anyone who ends their turn within is immobilized. Also – no anchor points necessary.
Ice Storm: Creates a burst 3 effect within range 20 that targets Fort. Those within that are hit take OK damage and are immobilized (save ends). Those missed take half damage and are slowed (save ends). The area is considered difficult terrain for the rest of the encounter. The area covered by this spell is respectable – and creating a large area of difficult terrain for the rest of the battle (no sustain necessary) is also useful. The effect on a miss is a nice consolation for a miss. Overall – the spell has lots of nice features.
Lightning Serpent: Pure striker style blast. Hit one target for good damage and he takes ongoing damage and is slowed (save ends for both). On a miss the target is still slowed (save ends) and takes half damage. Leave the striking for Warlocks. You have too many options at this level to invest in a one shot single target blast.
Mordenkainen’s sword: Creates a sword within range 10 that attacks Reflex for so-so damage. The sword is maintained with a minor sustain. The significant feature of this spell is sustaining the spell alone allows it to attack again on your turn. Still – not your best choice at this level – and it is questionable whether this spell is better than Flaming Sphere at all. Circumstantially it will be since technically you can move and attack with this weapon and still use a standard action to cast another spell. Still – not that impressive.
Wall of Fire: Creates a wall 8 within 10 squares. Any creature next to the wall at the beginning of its turn takes so-so damage (no to hit roll necessary). Those who go through the wall take good damage. Also – going through the wall takes 4 squares of movement. Finally, the wall also blocks line of sight. This is a superior blockade between enemy melee types and their archers than Stinking Cloud. A very good investment at this level.
Yes - I have two FAVORITES at this level. Honestly, how could you expect me to choose betwen Bigby's Grasping Hands and Wall of Ice? My suggestion is pick up both and alternate preps until you figure out your personal favorite.
Bigby’s Grasping Hands: Like Bigby’s Icy Grasp except twinned. Also – if both hands are grabbing opponents they can bash them together for decent damage (and a great mental image). I like Bigby’s Icy Grasp – so it stands to reason that I love the double version. A single minor sustains both hands. The damage is slightly increased from the single version as well.
Blast of Cold: Close blast 5 that targets Ref. The damage is very high and the target is immobilized (save ends). If you miss, you do ½ damage and they are slowed (save ends). Basically – this spell is inferior to Prismatic Beams other than doing slightly more damage. If you have Arcane Reach and want a good close blast – pick that one.
Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere: Conjure the sphere we all remember around a single target (to hit against Ref – range 10). As we are used to – you can’t attack them and they can’t attack anyone else (except the sphere itself which has 100 hp). You can also use this on your allies or yourself for a defensive bubble. Here’s an interesting side note – if you miss – the target is immobilized (save ends) which is a pretty nice consolation for missing. You can sustain the sphere as a minor action.
Prismatic Beams: Close burst 5 that targets Fort, Ref and Will (3 attacks). The attack that targets Fort does so-so damage with an ongoing (save ends) damage. The attack that targets Reflex does so-so damage and also has (save ends) ongoing damage. The attack that targets will Dazes (save ends) – daze is good! The nice thing about this spell is that it targets all three defences, which is nice if you don’t know what defence is weakest. Also – the will attack is the best, which is nice as well.
Wall of Ice: Your first solid barrier spell. Creates a wall 12 within 10 squares (big). Any creature that starts its turn adjacent to the wall takes OK damage automatically. Each square of the wall has 50 HP that must be defeated before the square can be entered. Creatures that make melee attacks against the wall take a bit of damage (pretty crappy actually). The wall will last the entire encounter if not destroyed.
Acid Wave: Close blast that is in most ways actually worse than the lower level Blast of Cold (which I still didn’t recommend). This is a bad spell – just skip it.
Cloudkill: Oh I miss my 3.5 cloudkill. This spell creates a burst 5 (big!) within 20 squares that targets Fort (yes it does – it was errated), for lousy damage. Those that begin their turn in the effect take lousy damage with no to hit roll. You can move the effect with a move action. Note that cloudkill does not block line of sight. The only real selling point is that it is sustainable and a large AOE. Otherwise disappointing. Unfortunately – with the lack of good choices at this level, this is probably going to be your second pick.
Disintegrate: Attack Ref within range 10 for good damage and ongoing damage (save ends). The first save actually only halves the ongoing damage and a second save is required to end it. On a miss you do a bit over half damage and half the ongoing damage (with only one save necessary). If you target an object – no to hit roll is necessary. Pretty crappy striker style attack. Skip this.
Evard’s Black Tentacles: Burst 4 within 10 squares that targets Ref. Damage is so-so, but the target is immobilized (save ends). The tentacles can be sustained with a minor action and can repeat the attack on any creatures in the zone that aren’t immobilized, and do some lousy damage to those that are. This spell is probably a much better choice than cloudkill.
Elemental Maw: Burst 4 within 20 squares that targets Ref. Damage is quite good and you can choose the damage type as well. In addition the opponent is pulled 2 squares towards the centre of the effect. Those missed take half damage and aren’t pulled. The nice feature is creatures pulled right into the origin square (easy enough – just make sure the origin square is within 2 squares of those your main enemies) take OK secondary damage (once again you choose the type) and you get to teleport them anywhere within 20 squares of you. They are also dazed for a round. Lots of fun, and there are some serious circumstantial or tactical options with the teleport effect.
Maze: Single target takes OK damage and is trapped until they make a successful Int attack against your Will defence, with a +5 per round bonus starting on round 2. Range is 10 and targets Will. This just isn’t that much better than Otiluke’s (maybe worse) – and only removes a single target. Skip this.
Necrotic Web: Web but with OK damage attached and it’s bigger (burst 3). Any creature beginning its turn in the web takes so-so damage. Overall – a decent Battlefield Control.
Prismatic Spray: Close burst that targets much like Prismatic Beams. However, this spell does more damage, stuns instead of dazes, has more ongoing damage, and slows as well. With Arcane Reach this is a decent spell.
Greater Ice Storm: This spell operates much like Ice Storm except it is significantly bigger (burst 5 within 20 squares) and it does more damage (still average for the level of spell). Like Ice Storm – the difficult terrain lasts until the end of the battle.
Legion’s Hold: The best spell in the game, the best attack in the game, and win for wizards. This is a close burst 20 that only targets enemies. They take so-so damage and are stunned (save ends). The spell targets Will. On a miss the targets take half damage and are still dazed. Makes you wonder why they even printed other spells of this level, when you would be a fool not to memorize this one exclusively.
Meteor Swarm: Burst 5 that targets Ref for good damage. Half damage on a miss. Why did you take this instead of Legions Hold again???
Level 2 Utility Spells:
Utility spells of wizards are REALLY good. As such - I've used BLUE often more than once in one level of powers. In such cases - consider the powers to be in a virtual tie of awesome.
Dimension Door: Teleport 10 squares as a move action. Teleport actions are very useful - unfortunately this ability is daily. Still, a decent choice.
Disguise Self: Perfect visual disguise (although other senses are not fooled). This is very much an out-of-combat utility. This could be a very good power but will be dependant on the adventure. You likely won't use this once/day.
Dispel Magic: Dispel a conjuration or a zone. The big weakness of this power is the attack roll required (Int vs will) to make it work.
Invisibility: You or another creature can be targeted (range 10) and you become invisible. Attack rolls will make you visible. As always - indirect stuff (like moving around stinking clouds) are not attacks. The serious nerf here is sustaining requires a Standard action.
Levitate:Personal spell allows you to levitate 4 squares off the ground (you can still move horizontally 1 square). While aloft you have a -2 to AC and Ref (though hopefully you should be targeted by less attacks). Very useful defensive ability.
Wall of Fog: Size 8 wall blocks line of sight and is sustained with a minor action. This can also be used to throw the wall over your allies granting them concealment without penalty to their attacks. I've always been a fan of fogs - this is no exception.
Arcane Gate: It's like teleportation circle if it could be applied to dimension door. Use this to give allies fast move, or go through walls, other solid barriers - etc. By remaining in the square after the teleport - nobody else can get through - making this spell ideal for quick escapes as well. This spell is a mere minor action to activate.
Blur: +2 bonus to all defenses and essentially improved invisibility to anyone over 5 squares away. This is a mere minor action to activate and it doesn't require sustaining. Possibly broken - definitely awesome.
Mirror Image: Minor action gives a +6 to AC for an hour - every attack that misses you reduces this by 2 until it is gone. The "hour" duration means that this can be up for multiple encounters. However, it is really easy to take this power down.
Resistance: Pick one kind of damage - and you have resistance of 5+Int until the end of the encounter. Certainly a big step down from blur defensively, however, this can also be used on an ally.
Displacement: Immediate interrupt that makes an opponent reroll an attack against you or an ally - ONCE PER ENCOUNTER! Crazy good - practically immunity to one critical per encounter. The once per encounter feature sells this ability as super-awesome.
Fly: You can fly 8 until the end of the encounter if you sustain as a minor. Obviously this spell has some wonderful applications - better than levitate - but not by leaps and bounds.
Greater Invisibility: Range 20 ability that gives invisibility to yourself or an ally. You need to sustain the ability - but now it's only a minor action. Direct attacks still break the invisibility (NERF!). Not that much better than blur for yourself - but on allies this can be very good.
Stoneskin: Give an ally touched resistance 10 to ALL DAMAGE until the end of the encouter. At high levels - this could result in hundreds of points of damage avoided easily.
Mass Fly: Probably the best utility of any class in the game. Give the entire party fly 8. Sustain as a minor action. Sometimes this spell will win the battle - sometimes it will turn inevitable defeat into a fighting chance - in all cases - it will be highly signficant.
Mordenkainen's Mansion: Pretty much the only 100% safe extended rest sactuary. Can hold up to 50 creatures (probably overkill). This ability is good - but probably too late - and pales in comparison to its competitors at this level.
Time Stop: Give yourself 2 extra standard actions that can't be used to attack other creatures. Very good power - but not as good as Mass Fly IMO.
How good are the powers in Dragon 364? They are stupid-good. They are so good that you would be a fool not to take most of them. Personally, I won't even be allowing them in my campaigns - but for those that do - here's the rundown:
Illusionary Ambush (Level 1 At Will): The only wizard at will to target the will defence - which is often the weakest. Ranged 10 single-target attack that does OK damage and gives the enemy a -2 on attacks for a turn. Probably better than Ray of Frost 9 out of 10 times.
Grasping Shadows (Level 1 encounter): Ranged AOE that targets will. Similar effect to Icy Terrain (except slow instead of prone) but better because opponents who enter the area also take damage and are slowed without a to-hit - making this superior Battlefield Control.
Phantom Chasm (Level 1 daily attack): Ranged 20 AOE that targets Will with a burst 1. If you hit the targets are damaged and immobilized for a round. If you miss - they are still immobilized (wow).
Phantasmal Terrain (Level 2 Daily Utility): Creates an area of difficult terrain that lasts the encounter (OK). Hazards and traps gain an attack bonus equal to your Int modifier - which is very circumstantial - but very good in that circumstance. This may actually NOT be your best level 2 utility (shock).
Maze of Mirrors (level 3 encounter): Enemies hit with ranged burst 2 (targeting will) all are immobilized and take a penalty to hit equal to your INT modifier. That's sick! One round duration.
Phantasmal Assailant (Level 5 daily attack): Single target in range 20. Targets Will and does pretty good damage with ongoing damage and grants combat advantage to all your allies (I assume you on later rounds too). Save ends effect on both.
Spectral Hound (Level 6 daily utility): Getting rid of the fluff - this spell gives you +1 to all defences and grants a flank effect to one enemy (you can switch). Sustained with a minor action.
Enemies Abound (Level 7 encounter): Range 20 burst 1 that targets will. Damage is OK and enemies are treated as allies for flanking for a round. This spell only targets enemies which means it can be blasted into melee.
Illusionary Wall (Level 10 Daily Encounter): Why would you ever take wall of fog with this available? This spell creates a wall that blocks line of sight TO ENEMIES ONLY. It then grants you a to hit roll whenever an enemy tries to move through - if you hit they can't get through the wall - BUT YOU AND YOUR ALLIES CAN MOVE THROUGH WITHOUT HINDERANCE. Brokenly good - and yes - the original incarnation even had this spell an encounter spell!
As a Wizard you begin with 3 trained skills, Humans will add an additional class skill, and Eladrin will add a skill regardless of class availability. Futhermore, taking the skill training feat will give you training in an additional skill whether class or not.
Keep in mind that 3.5 skills became more or less impossible to use untrained after a few levels. However, in 4e, an untrained skill will always be exactly 5 less than a trained one (unless you took Jack of all trades – in which case it is 3 less). That means that you still have a reasonable chance to succeed at a skill check even if you are untrained.
The Class Skill List:
Arcana (Int): Knowledge of arcane, Monster knowledge (elemental, fey, shadow), and detect magic as well as identify is all arcana now. It is also used for several rituals. You will be expected to cover this one by your party for sure.
Religion (Int): If there is a Cleric in your party this may not be a high priority, however, if not, Religion is used for Monster Knowledge (Immortal, Undead), as well as many rituals. Furthermore, with it being based on Intelligence, you will be very good at it.
Dungeoneering (Wis): Dungeon crawls are a staple of the game, so being knowledgeable about underground construction, monsters and plants is probably a good idea. Monster Knowledge (Aberrant) is included as well as the ability to Forage underground. Since creating food and water is no longer a standard ability for characters – this has a good chance of being useful.
Nature (Wis): Actually a very similar skill to Dungeoneering, except for above ground. Forage for food, handle animals, and Monster Knowledge (Natural). Probably not as useful as Dungeoneering in the average D&D campaign – still, a pretty good skill overall.
History (Int): This will likely come up occasionally to recognize a backstory of a certain family or place, or a bit of cultural information. Most of it will likely be flavour, but some good hints sometimes find there way into that stuff. Besides, although this is CO, a bit of flavour is OK too. It is certainly appropriate for the intellectual of the party to be the history major.
Insight (Wis): This is largely a reactive skill. Someone tries to bluff you, and your insight will give you a chance to catch on. Usually social dealings is someone else’s game – but you can always be the lie detector in the background. A little unusual for the wizard types I’m used to – but nevertheless could be a handy skill.
Diplomacy (Cha): Whenever you deal with any NPC on a verbal level, diplomacy is likely going to help you out. However, expect your Paladin, Warlord, and Cleric to all be better at this than you because of the Cha dependency. Probably redundant for the most part.
My recommendations for the standard wizard are: Arcana, Religion, Dungeoneering and Insight. If you plan to go Initiate of the faith to take advantage of Divine Oracle – I suggest taking Nature instead of Religion (since you will get Religion with the Initiate of the Faith feat).
Non Class Skills to look into (for Eladrin or those taking Skill Training):
Perception (Wis): Perception is the culmination of Spot, Listen and Search. Those were 3 of the most used skills in previous editions – furthermore, they were the skills that everyone had to roll whether trained or not (since they were often reactive). This is your best choice by far IMO.
Heal (Wis): If you don’t have a party Cleric – this may be a worthwhile investment. The ability to allow others to use a second wind as a free action can be done easily from the back line, and you need someone to have this in the party for treating diseases and the like. With a Wis modifier – you will be decent at this.
Stealth (Dex): If you have made a strong Dex character – this is also an option. With their versatile utilities, wizards can make a pretty good scout – furthermore, being sneaky can grant surprise and combat advantage. Unfortunately, the BSF is likely to prevent a whole party of stealth experts. By RAW you do not need to be unnoticed to hide in concealment or cover during combat - a quick way to gain Combat Advantage - however, your DM may "common sense" this unless you can come up with a reasonable excuse why you would succeed at the hide.
Thievery (Dex): Once again, if you have a good Dex character, and there is no party rogue – you can be decent in the role. Thievery adds several abilities including disabling traps, pickpocketing, opening locks, and sleight of hand (swiping).
Overall: First off - we must be careful not to confuse 4th edition rituals with 3rd edition spells. Rituals are less verstatile, take longer to perform, and all cost gold for the material components.
However - in 4e the spellbook of a Wizard is much thinner, so rituals offer a chance for some between-combat utility. Furthermore, unlike spells, rituals are not limited by memorizations or preparations.
Aquiring: As a wizard you begin with 3 Rituals, and then you add 2 more at levels 5, 11, 15, 21 and 25. That’s a total of 13 rituals. In addition you can expect to get more rituals through Scrolls or Ritual Books. Other than that – Ritual purchase should be considered a party endeavour.
Distribution: Basically almost all the rituals are low level. In fact there are twice as many first level rituals as there are through the entire Epic Tier. We assume this will change as splatbooks are released - but for now, rituals tend to largely be available in the heroic tier.
Types of Rituals: The PHB has it's own ritual types - but there are certain types of rituals that deserve their own designation:
Commune: These are the various rituals that are reminicent of the "Commune" spell from previous editions. In all cases they involve asking the DM a question that you should either not need the answer to, or you should have some other method of determining the answer to. Also - in all cases - the price of these rituals is like a high priced ransom.
Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: These are the various rituals that are reminicent of the "Clairaudience/Clairvoyance" spell from previous editions. In all cases they involve spying on another location for a very short period of time. Also - in all cases - the cost is going to require you to put a mortgage on your magic staff.
Level 1: Most Level 1 rituals are dirt cheap at 10 gp. This means that they can be cast fairly often without worrying about an empty pocketbook. They also have a number of quite useful utility applications.
Animal Messenger: Relies on a non-Int skill you may not have (nature). However, Clerics don’t get nature as a class skill – so you are still the best choice for this ritual. Like a slow message spell.
Comprehend Languages: Very useful divination for your wizard. Note that if your Arcana roll is high enough you can speak and write the language as well.
Gentle Repose: Protects a corpse for a Raise Dead ritual for 150 days. No skill check is required.
Magic Mouth: Pretty much the magic mouth you remember. Touch an object, and when the conditions you specify are met – the magic mouth conveys the verbal message you command. The ritual gives no maximum duration of the spell or the message.
Make Whole: Like mend except you are paying 20% of the items cost to fix it. Possibly useful but potentially expensive.
Secret Page: You can make secret writings that others can’t see. I’ve always felt this was circumstantial at best and my opinion hasn’t changed.
Silence: More expensive at 30gp. Creates a cone of silence where you can talk to others within and those outside are unlikely to hear. OK application – but the cost makes it less attractive.
Tenser’s Floating Disk: A 3 foot wide dish that can carry progressively impressive quantities depending on your Arcana roll. Your party will love this to throw every little piece of junk that could possibly be sold. At 10gp per casting (each casting lasts one day) – this will likely pay for itself plus create dividends.
The price of rituals essentially doubles – so still not prohibitive, but becoming more significant. At higher levels, these spells can still be cast with little concern of cost.
Endure Elements: Allow the party to endure extreme weather. This works on the whole party (up to 5) and lasts 24 hours. Well worth it so the Big Stupid Fighter can wear plate armor in the desert.
Eye of Alarm: Your party will want this ritual. For 25 gp you are going to have eyes watching the camp using your Perception +5 (naturally works best if you have the perception skill). The higher your Arcana roll – the more eyes you create – up to 5 sets. They also get darkvision with an arcane roll over 20, and tremorsense with an arcane roll over 40. A good deal.
Water Walk: Ouch – 20 gp per target. The effect lasts for one hour. This may be your only option to get across large bodies of water at low level – but highly expensive. For a party of 5 it costs 100gp!!!
Detect Secret Doors: Basically will give a wizard pretty much a 100% chance to find secret doors (add your Arcana check to your perception check for that purpose). However – you need to spend 25 gp adn 10 minutes to do so. OK – not incredible.
Arcane lock: I’m not sure how good locking a single portal after 10 minutes of casting is for most campaigns. However, the duration is permanent (and you and your allies will be able to pass freely) – it may be OK for certain campaigns. 25 gp to cast is hardly a huge investment for a permanent effect.
Enchant Magic Item: This is the ultimate magic item shop in one ritual. You spend the cost of a magic item and you get it (in one hour). You want this – no question about it. However – if you get this, your Cleric need not get it, and vise versa. Someone in your party needs this though.
Hand of Fate: A light divination that is somewhat expensive (at 70gp). Follows the “commune” style where the DM needs to determine the answer to your questions and tells you whether the magic hand gives the “thumps up” or flips you the bird.
Knock: Open a single lock for 35 gp in 10 minutes. It isn’t automatic, but instead allows you to use Arcana+5 in place of thievery. OK – but if you already have a character with the thievery skill – not all that important.
Traveler’s Feast: For 35 gp you create enough food and water to feed the party for 24 hours. Maybe you should have spent the 35 gp on more food and water? The only time I could see this as a decent choice is after you have disenchant magic item as an emergency source of food.
Brew Potion:Create a potion for it’s value. Basically the same as Enchant Magic Item but for elixirs. I can't see any reason a Wizard can't make healing potions as well as a Cleric.
Hallucinatory Item: Create a stationary silent illusion that lasts up to 24 hours for 25 gp. The size is based on your Arcana check but can be up to Huge in size on a 40 or higher. If you get a chance to prep for a battle – this could be more than awesome. Otherwise, there are also utility uses of this beyond what we can imagine at the moment. Nice ritual.
Magic Circle: Create a circle that prevents crossing by a type of creature specified at casting. If the creature type is of higher level it can pass through (breaking the circle) but takes damage. The effect lasts until broken. Here’s the thumb’s down part – it costs 100gp.
Commune with Nature: Another commune style spell. Now the costs are becoming to the point where you need to think carefully before performing. 140 gold per casting. This spell allows 1-5 questions (based on a nature skill check) about your environ within 1 mile. Nowhere in the ritual does it suggest you need to be outdoors or in nature. However, the DM is allowed to screw with “cryptic” responses.
Cure Disease: The Cleric is likely the one who should have this spell. However, if you have the Heal skill you should still be pretty good with this spell. A cost of 150gp is heavy – but to get rid of a disease – very possibly worth it. Keep in mind that this ritual can be dangerous if the level of the disease is high – even causing death to the target.
Discern Lies: Can be useful in the interrogation process. Add your religion check to your insight check to discern lies for a 5 minute duration. Make sure the information is important because this costs you 140 gp.
Disenchant Magic Item: For 25 gp you drain the magic out of a magic item gaining 1/5th the items value in residuum. You definitely want this. Allows an instant (one hour actually) selling of magic items (so you don’t need to cart them through the whole dungeon) for 25 gp commission. Also – that Residuum can power rituals as you continue on. A fantastic ritual.
Leomund’s Secret Chest: The use of this ritual is stated clearly in the text “Explorer’s use this ritual to ensure they have enough supplies or to cart treasure away from a dungeon more easily. You summon the chest from any location and then dismiss it. The chest doesn’t seem to have a maximum size – nor does it say you can’t put creatures in the chest – so you can effectively use this as an early-entry linked portal unless your DM laughs and points.
Phantom Steed: For 70 gp you create phantom steeds for the whole party using your Arcana skill. Purely for travel purposes (any hit destroys the steed). Note that on an Arcana check of 40 or higher you can create up to 8 flying steeds for 12 hours – worth 70 gp easily.
Sending: For 50 gp (not bad) you can send a mental message distances of progressive amounts depending on your arcana check. In any case the distance is huge. The message can have up to 25 words and a response of equivalent size is allowed.
Speak with Dead: Expensive spell (140 gp) to ask the dead up to 3 questions based on your Religion check. A skill challenge requiring diplomacy may be required. Very expensive and circumstantial.
Linked Portal: Allows you to use teleportation circles for 135 gp. You can create your teleportation circle as part of the ritual, but you must teleport to another teleportation circle already in existence. You may want to make sure there is one wherever your party calls home. Nice spell.
Raise Dead: A progressively more expensive resurrection – but there is no lasting penalty for being raised. Yes you want this ritual, it’s basically True Resurrection 4e style at level 8.
Remove Affliction: Works much like Remove Disease but works on many other afflictions (charm, curses, petrification etc.) Your party wants this spell (though the Cleric does it better) – even though it costs 250 gp per casting.
Water Breathing: For 135 gp you give your whole party the ability to breathe water up to 24 hours (based on your Arcana roll). Much better than water walk. Much, much better.
Wizard’s Sight: 4e style Clairvoyance except the range is very short (20 squares). The cost is also nasty (270 gp plus 200 gp focus). The power is decent – but the cost is prohibitive.
Consult Mystic Sages: Ugh. 400 gp Commune style spell that lets you ask the DM a question that gives you one piece of information.
Detect Object: Wow – 400 gp cost to know the direction of one object for 5 minutes as long as the object is in range (range dependant on arcana check). Way too expensive for the benefit.
Drawmij’s Instant Summons: Summon one previously attuned item to your hand as a minor action and it only costs 500 gp. Other than extremely circumstantial stuff – probably not worth it.
Hallucinatory Creature: Now 500gp gives you an illusionary creature that can move, make noise, and perform actions. The creature is limited to 20 squares from the spot of origin and lasts for 24 hours. Now – this might be worth the cost. Don’t want the enemy to enter the castle – how about a giant fire breathing dragon on the roof roaring and billowing fire?
Passwall: Do what Arcane Gate was able to do at level 10 except not as far, as good, and it costs 1000gp and takes a minute to cast. Wizards have better options to do the same thing.
Shadow Walk: For 500gp, you and your allies multiply their overland speed by 5. The cost is high, but as far as I can see – this could be used in conjunction with Phantom Steed for very fast overland travel. However, that speed needs to be important to justify the cost.
Eye of Warning: For 800 gp you can detect scrying for 24 hours. Detecting scrying is good – but the cost hurts a lot.
View Location: View a location you’ve been before for...wait for it...1600 gp. That 1600 gp buys you up to 5 rounds of viewing said location (except you also need a 1000gp crystal ball).
Consult Oracle: The ultimate “Commune” spell. Only 3600 gp to get information you could likely get for free or don’t require. Yes, I’m biased against these spells.
Planar Portal: As the text says – this is like Linked Portal except you can travel to other planes. The cost is huge (5,000 gp), however, at high level, planar travel is likely a must. The skill check is based on Arcana.
View Object: 7,000 gp plus a 5,000 gp focus. View an object for up to 5 rounds. Wow – rituals are basically prohibitive. The only time you want to use this is if it is absolutely required.
Forbiddance: Make an area (size based on arcane check) immune to scrying for 5,000 gp and 5 healing surges (definitely a group ritual). The effect lasts a day and can be extended by a day by spending a healing surge – spending a year of healing surges makes it permanent. The duration possibilities mean that over extended durations – this may be more cost effective than Eyes of Warning.
Loremaster’s Bargain: The “Commune” chain continues with Loremaster’s Bargain. If you have 13,000 gp to spend – this is the next step up. Spend more money and get more information. Meh.
Observe Creature: The next step up in the “View” spells – for more money you can now view a creature – duration is the same as other versions of this spell.
Voice of Fate: Here it is. “Commune” at it’s apex with a mere cost of 45,000 gp to ask questions of the DM that he wasn’t thinking you needed answered this way when he designed the adventure. However – maybe at level 26 45,000 gp is chump change. I doubt it though. You may be able to ask up to 7 questions.
True Portal: Mass Greater Teleport but costs a hefty 50,000 gp. You no longer need teleportation portals – so this spell may have some important applications.
In this post we will take the various information in the guide and see how it plays out when applied to the creation of a Wand Wizard.
So an example build can be created - I will be making choices for Racial, Attribute, Powers, Rituals, Feats choices based on my primary choice for this type of wizard. That is not to suggest this is the only build possible for a Wand Wizard - but gives an example as to how one can be made - and how it plays out.
I will be restricting the build to the Players Handbook, which will make the build legal in most campaigns. For Attributes I will be using the "Customizing Scores" method - though the Standard Array system could be easily substituted.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Race:[/FONT]Eladrin
With a Wand Wizard, Int is your primary stat and Dex is secondary. With a bonus to each stat - an Eladrin plays perfectly as a Wand Wizard. Furthermore, some nice racial features make certain this will be an effective wizard on and off the battlefield.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Attributes (after racial modifiers):[/FONT]
The attributes have been placed with a strong emphasis on Intelligence. This build would work fine with an 18 starting Int if you wanted to have a bit more strength in another attribute.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Implement:[/FONT]Wand
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Paragon Path choice:[/FONT]Blood Mage
Mostly a blast-mage style path, but a very nice blast-mage paragon path. Blood Pulse should work nicely with Spectral Ram. Sould Burn works nicely with Blood Pulse. Destructive Salutation is a hard hitting blast spell. Blood Action and Bolstering Blood as far as I read should work very nice with AOE spells, and burning blood works nicely with encounter-spell status effects which are always up on your next turn.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Epic Destiny:[/FONT]Archmage
Currently the best choice for Wizards IMO - as such, it is my primary choice for all 3 wizard types.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Starting Skils:[/FONT] (including bonus Eladrin skill)
Arcana (Int), History (Int), Religion (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Stealth (Dex)
Arcana is the base skill for wizards, History, and Religion were chosen due to this character's especially strong Int score. Diplomacy was chosen as a tertiary skill - taking advantage of the slight Cha bump. Stealth was chosen to take advantage of a strong Dex score. Stealth will be a skill that can prove quite advantageous to wizards, both in and out of combat.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Starting Rituals:[/FONT]Tenser's Floating Disk, Animal Messenger, Comprehend Languages.
The Rituals are all based on skills this character has trained - and are all strong choices for first level.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]At Will Powers:[/FONT]Scorching Burst, Ray of Frost
These powers are solely dependant on Int, which is strong for this character - and provide very different effects (Single target blast + Status / AOE damage) The effects attack different defense scores.
Init: +20 (2 rolls - take best) HP: 105 Healing Surges: 8 AC: 29 (32 vs. most attacks) Fort: 22 (23 vs most attacks) Ref: 27 (28 vs most attacks) Will: 25 (26 vs most attacks) To Hit: +17 (+19 most of the time, extra +6 once per day)
Normal Daily Preps: Destructive Salutation, Evard's black tentacles, Wall of Ice, Wall of Fire Normal Utility Preps: Soul Burn, Displacement, Arcane Gate, Wall of Fog, Shield
Other relevant data: Low light vision, +5 to saves vs charm effects, Fey Step, Trance, combat advantage when using Cold powers vs creatures vulnerable to cold, Creates vulnerability to cold when creature targeted with Cold power, Movement 7, -2 save vs status effects