Clawing your way to the top: The Intelligent Druid's Handbook
This guide is a work in progress.
This guide is about playing intelligently, about OPTIMIZING your class options, about exploiting the internal mathematics of the game to your advantage. I'm not going to mince words. I'm not giving points to Role-Playing when it's undeserved. I'm not going to list ridiculous options. This is an optimization thread.
Let's get started.
The druid's role is that of a controller. You will not be the most damaging combatant nor are you the most resilient nor the most adept at buffing or restoring hit points. However, through intelligent use of your abilities, you can control the battlefield so as to make the your allies' jobs much easier.
As per the hybridization of roles in the PHB2, in addition to your role as a controller, you can fulfill the role of either a secondary striker or a secondary leader. The most salient characteristic of a druid is the ability Wild Shape. This lets you change your form as a minor action into that of an animal. The animal you choose has no effect on game mechanics (a wolf is a panther is a bear), and as such if you choose a bird you can not fly, if you choose a rat you are not tiny, etc. Functionally and mechanistically, all uses of the wild shape power are the same. Some of your powers (those that have the beast form keyword) can only be used while wildshaped. Similarly, those that don't have the beast form keyword, can only be used while not wildshaped.
Playstyle: The true strength of the druid lies in versatility. You can jump into the melee fray and control anything that's getting out of hand, charge an enemy to peel them off your casters, then shift out (and I do mean shift :D ) of beast form and throw out AoE control. I will discuss playstyle more throughout the guide and in a gameplay section at the very end.
Rating system: Red: No. Purple: Limited situational use. Black: Unremarkable; why not take a blue instead? Blue: Great option, if you can't take sky blue, take this. Sky Blue: Optimal.
Sources: AV - Adventurer's Vault MP - Martial Power PHB - Player's Handbook PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
Everyone who posts suggestions/corrections/etc. in the thread. I'm greatly indebted to your hard work and I will be naming you individually at the bottom of this guide. This is as much the work of many as it is my own.
OVERVIEW: THE PREDATOR DRUID (Controller/Striker) Secondary stat requirement: Dexterity The Predator Druid is a fast agile melee controller. You gain a +1 bonus to speed while in beast form. All your powers which use the Dexterity modifier use it either as a shift, speed bonus, attack bonus, or damage bonus. The predator druid bonuses all occur in beast form and the Predator Aspect is designed to be partial to beast form to take advantage of these bonuses as well as the extra speed boost.
OVERVIEW: THE GUARDIAN DRUID (Controller/Leader) Secondary stat requirement: Constitution The Guardian Druid appears to be designed to be a well-balanced controller with slight buffing and healing; it turns the Predator does this just as well (read below). You can choose to replace your AC bonus from DEX/INT with your CON modifier instead. All your powers which use the Constitution modifier use it either for pushes, dmg, AC, or heals. The majority of these do not occur while in beast form; as such the Guardian druid will spend less time in beast form than the Predator Druid.
ANALYSIS & COMPARISON: Though you are forced to choose an aspect (Predator or Guardian) which is governed in its bonuses by a secondary stat (DEX or CON), the majority of a druid's powers have no secondary stat bonus and so it is possible to take a variety of powers regardless of aspect. In this way, the Predator Druid gains more versatility by broadening the types of powers chosen and their respective effects. The Guardian Druid gains some powers to be able to control better in melee.
OBSERVATIONS AS TO BALANCE BETWEEN THE ASPECTS (Read if you care about game mechanics): Mechanically, being in melee, the availability of Combat Advantage (CA) to the Druid gives him an advantage over the casting Druid. A casting Druid can only hope to compare by taking the Distant Advantage feat and, even with the Distant Advantage feat, the Guardian Druid requires two allies to already be flanking the target (something which is problematic given the propensity of burst powers) in order to gain CA. A melee Druid needs only one ally to gain CA. In this way beast form druid powers are able to both enter the melee fray as well as peel errant enemies adjacent to your ranged allies, gaining CA in all these situations.
All Druid attacks are against Non-Armor Defenses (NADs) and given that the distribution of attacks vs. these NADs is equal for both the beast and non-beast forms, it is clear that the melee beast form powers are more immediately reliable. However, the non-beast form powers can catch up in their bursts (thus targetting multiple enemies and allowing multiple rolls) and their effects (occuring irrespective of a hit). The caster druid can pepper his arsenal with more reliable beast form techniques, as can the melee druid add variety and large area control with non-beast form techniques.
Since both druids are able to gain CA from melee and both are able to use spells while not in beast form, both Aspects are equally able to perform the controlling functions of a druid. Interestingly however, the Predator druid gets a bonus which makes him a better melee combatant (+1 Speed) while the Guardian druid simply gets the ability to use his CON instead of his DEX/INT score for AC (this is so that Guardian druids can pump CON without sacrificing AC). Two druids therefore, who have switched equal CON and DEX scores, would have the same AC, but the predator would move 1 square faster. The faster druid has an advantage in all spells except those solely limited to CON. Since the CON derived spells are actually pretty poor (see below), this means that Predator druids are actually mechanically superior.
Unless otherwise stated I always assume a 22 point buy.
WIS: Wisdom is the most important stat for a druid. All your attacks rely on WIS, both in melee and ranged combat, in beast and non-beast forms. Your hit is your most important trait as it allows you to use your control powers when they are needed. It also adds to your dps. At level 1 you should have 18 post racial modifiers, so this will mean a 16 pre-modifiers assuming you take a class with +2 WIS (which you should)
DEX: Your secondary stat as a Predator druid, tertiary as a Guardian druid. This boosts your Predator-specific powers as well as boosting your AC as a non-Guardian druid. Ideally, as a Predator you'd like to end up with an 18 in this as well, 16 at least.
CON: Your secondary stat as a Guardian druid, tertiary as a Predator. This boosts Guardian-specific powers as well as boosting Guardian AC and HP/surges in both forms. You can deal with a 16 in this stat as a guardian, seeing as you're can choose to be keeping out of the melee action more often. For a predator druid, Con will help your FORT defense and your HP/Surges
INT/STR: WIS/DEX/CON or WIS/CON/DEX depending on your aspect are pretty much all you need. They allow you the greatest versatility in powers and boost all your NADs. There's really no good reason to take anything else. WotC seems to be shying away from stat reqs for Feats so if there's a feat in the future that you'd want, it probably won't have prereqs unless it's class specific. Of STR/INT/CHA, STR/INT are probably the most useful for Predator/Guardian druids respectively as STR can help grab in melee as well as offer MC options, and boosts your Fort if you don't take CON. Similarly INT will boost REF for Guardian druids.
CHA: CHA is fairly undesirable. Just wild shape into a puppy, isn't that automatically 18 CHA?
ELVES: Awesome. Nature/Perception bonus? Check. Already super-fast? Check. Reroll for accuracy on demand, either for DPS or Control? Check. Longbow proficiency in case of Ranger Multiclass? Check. Look good in a natural setting? Check. If I could supersede sky-blue I would. Unfortunately the CharOp police are strict about these things...I may have already said too much.
Razorclaw Shifters: A solid sky blue class. Great racial encounter power, very useful for a brute force druid that prefers to stay in melee all the time. Razorclaws have stat bonuses in all the right places; overall not as good as the elf, but a great race for Predators; also they're the most damaging druid by far as they can take both "Ferocious Tiger Form" and "Blurring Claws" (these untyped bonuses stack) for +4dmg on attacks with CA. This is the equivalent of changing your d8 at-will to a d16, other druids can only increase theirs to a d12. Shifters are the most damaging druids by far.
Humans: Not as fast as elves but they pick up an extra at-will (great for a druid, cover all your NAD targets) and an extra feat (great with PHB2). Also their +1 to all NADs is juicy. Their AC suffers because of a lower DEX.
Dwarves: You're slow. In fact this class can only really be blue if you take the Fast Runner which gives you +2 movement when charging. Your fort score is good though, but not better than a Human's.
Longtooth Shifters, Devas: The Deva reroll is good and so is the Longtooth racial regen, as is the Longtooth damage if that's what gets you your jollies. Really, though? This is an optimization thread.
Guardian Druid Races:
Dwarves: Most people would think Dwarves would by sky blue for this, but the 5 speed in hide armor with absolutely no incentive to take heavy armor (waste of feats given you won't boost your AC higher than what you could with CON) is really quite substandard. Also the lack of a good multiclass with the CON helps to keep the Dwarf unimpressive.
Elves: With a boost to your tertiary and primary it's incredibly easy to get an 18/16/15 WIS/CON/DEX for this class. Plus you have 7 speed, plus you get training in bows, plus elven accuracy, plus nature and perception bonuses. The Elf is a better option than the Dwarf unless you want 18 CON (which is really only justifiable for AC, and even then it's questionable).
Humans: Just as good as the elf in this role. Humans aren't as fast but they pick up an extra at-will (great for a druid, cover all your NAD bases), an extra feat (great with PHB2), and have +1 to all NADs (this more than makes up for a starting 18/16/13 WIS/CON/DEX). They are the most versatile druids compared to any other race. I would almost consider the human sky blue for this role. In fact, I think I will.
Razorclaw Shifters: Probably comparable to dwarves, they lack the nature/perception bonus and speed and reroll of elves, though their bloodied defense and speed make up for the reroll and passive 7 speed given the defensive nature of the Guardian.
Longtooth Shifters, Devas: Meh. The Deva reroll is good and so is the Longtooth racial regen, but the damage component is kind of unnecessary given your role as a controller/leader. Isn't this an optimization thread? Why are you looking at black options?
Overall Stand-out Classes:
Elves: Amazing. Optimal Predators. Great Guardians.
Humans: Their 4 at-wills and extra feat make you the most versatile druid in any aspect. Great class.
Razorclaw Shifters: Not as tactically sound as elves or humans due to a lack of options. Because of their speed+AC per encounter racial, Razorclaws are excellent in terms of brute force play. They are also the highest damaging druids by far.
Action surge For a Human, this is great when you're "going nova"
Combat Reflexes This will increase your chance to hit with your beast form control spells against adjacent oppoenents given you can use your beast powers as melee basic attacks. It's a decent feat but in general you don't want to be surrounded; there are better feats.
Defensive Mobility Good if you want to be charging from person to person but not really necessary with a good speed or the Fast Run feat. (In both instances you would just shift away and then charge). In terms of simply running away, this isn't that useful since you already can shift as a minor action to go from beast to human form.
Durable If you need this you should perhaps think about changing your playstyle. It's not a bad feat, but why waste it on this?
Elven Precision Statistically this is simply a +10% chance to hit (had you hit with the first one you wouldn't reroll). Hit is hard to come by but this has diminishing returns over multiple samplings the higher your hit chance is already.
Fast Runner Great feat. Allows you to catch almost everything. At a certain point a Predator's speed becomes slightly redundant but when you need it, it's always there for you. This is great for not worrying about AoO when you have to charge peel an enemy off your clothies since you can essentially move between any two points that are Run speed +3 apart. (shift the first square, charge the rest)
Improved Initiative Don't take it. There's a Paragon feat (Stalking Panther Form) that gives you this as well as +5 stealth and feat bonuses don't stack. I include this entry in case someone was considering taking it.
Powerful Charge [s]Overlap with "Enraged Bear Form" and they don't stack; they stack! The bonuses are untyped! Your charges roll the equivalent of d16 at-wills instead of d8s! (the bull rush is useless since you're not stacking Strength)
Toughness Never bad but you shouldn't rely on it.
Wintertouched + Lasting Frost Combo Really? Are you really going to waste two feats on this? You can't spam cold attacks enough to make this worthwhile. If you think you can't live without this take Distant Advantage from PHB2 and stop crying. (Seriously though, this is only useful in conjunction with Chill Wind spamming, which I feel is not even worth it with CA - see Chill Wind below - why would you spend two feats to make a sub-par caster at-will not even the best choice amongst the caster at-wills?)
Auspicious Lineage Why are you a Deva? This is an optimization thread.
Blurring Claws You don't attack with melee weapons unfortunately.
Combat Medic Good. You're the most mobile of your team. Take it and let the cleric run catch his breath.
Coordinated Explosion: This talent is basically conceding that your area attacks are going to hit your friends, so you may as well target your enemies better too. Not bad, but most of your powerful area effects should have an "effect", that is, they should occur regardless of whether you hit the target or not; there are better feats than this one.
Distant Advantage: Given your party composition this could be black. It requires two allies to be flanking your target. Also, this means it is only really useful against single-target ranged spells, while as most of yours are AoE. Hit is always good, but I would think twice about this. (Take it above a black feat though)
[INDENT]Edit: Distant advantage requires some coordination on the part of yourself and your melee when it comes to AoE attacks. To avoid hitting your allies they must flank diagonally (since AoEs are all square). Diagonal flanking however is inefficient because an enemy can escape in one shift. Square flanking requires a minimum of two shifts to not incur AoO attacks. This actually adds a welcome extra level of coordination to the game. When you're going to AoE, tell your melee to flank diagonally for a turn, then they can go back to square flanking.[/INDENT]
Implement Expertise: Best feat bar none. Hit is what makes you useful. Remember this works on all your attacks (they all have the Implement keyword).
[indent] Note: It is a common house-rule (as far as these fora would suggest) that everyone gets this feat for free, if that is an option for you, I would certainly take it.[/indent]
Improved Grab: Grab is good...but you'll probably have to run off somewhere to save a teammate. Slow is good enough to keep things in range of your defender. Also, why are you pumping strength?
Melee Training: Your beast form attacks can be used as AoOs, you only need this to AoO in human form, which is not useful since your human attacks won't impose conditions like your beast form ones will.
Timely Respite: Not horrible but you don't have unlimited feats. Take something else.
Wild Senses: No. The paragon +Ini druid feat is better.
Enraged Bear Form: Charges are your bread and butter, take it. Moreover its untyped bonus stacks with Powerful Charge.
Ferocious Tiger Form: Your role is not to damage but hopefully you'll have combat advantage most of the time, and this is equivalent to increasing your damage dice from d8 to d12. I'll explain in a future strategy section how damage is a form of meta-control when you force your enemy to control you or heal your target. You can take this, there aren't that many feats.
Primal Fury: Situational +1, but there aren't many +1s to hit. It shouldn't be one of your first heroic feats, but you'll likely have room for it.
Primal Instinct: If you're a guardian druid, take it. It's like getting Imp. Ini for one group member per encounter.
Martial Power: (requires Multiclass in a Martial Class) Spoiler:Show
Martial Alacrity: This initiative doesn't stack with any of the other feat bonuses and the shift bonus is pretty paltry on a first turn. I think their attempt is to let you set things up at the start, except because of initiative order your enemy may not be fully deployed and this kinda falls flat.
Martial Freedom: Slowing a druid is devastating. Unfortunately it requires Endurance training which is a waste of a good skill, or a waste of a feat; this it requires on top of MC into a martial class... It is good if you somehow have room for it. Your first save will be at 80% chance success, the following at 96% success.
Deep Gash: If you're a Guardian druid MC fighter...wait. If you're a Guardian Druid MC Fighter you should probably not be on the optimization boards.
Dirty Fighting: It's purely for damage and requires a condition which you don't really need. Skip it.
Offensive Resilience: +1 is nice but there are limits...you need to be bloodied and have expended a healing surge for this. Fighters are often in this position, you shouldn't be.
Opportunistic Accuracy: It's only for AoO but it's still pretty good.
Reaping Blade: Shift is nice but you shouldn't be the one concentrating on dropping enemies per se. Do your damage and make your point when you need to, but let someone else worry about dropping things.
Take Measure: You shouldn't rely on crits and you shouldn't be in the line of fire so much as to need this. If you're being targetted, get out.
Brutal Accuracy: This would be great for when you needed on-call burst except that your version of Hunter's Quarry only lasts a round and if you wanted the extra damage from this feat you'd have to expend Accuracy at the same time.
Camouflage: This doesn't stack with Stalking Panther Form. Skip it.
Hunter's Aim: You can only use this once when you use your per encounter Hunter's Quarry. It's good if your opponent is trying to avoid damage and you want to burst him down that last little bit, but otherwise you're blowing Hunter's Quarry unnecessarily.
Predatory Action: This could be good as part of your nova setup except that it requires you expend a standard action before you spend your action point. Depending on the bonuses conferred from the spending of the action point, this could be amazing or just good. Worth having in your arsenal though.
Prime Strike: Great. Increases your chance to charge (because you're sorely lacking on +hit to charge at this point right?) those silly ranged classes that think they're immune.
Avenging Action: Gain an action point at an opportune time. Ideally your teammates shouldn't be dying but hey, things happen.
Chainmail Agility: Why would you take Chainmail if it removes your DEX bonus to AC as you level up? For a guardian this is not bad. Then again, you're a Guardian Druid MC Fighter, it's all uphill from there.
Reckless Attacker: If you have room for it it's not horrible (increases burst); but relying on crits is dubious.
Hunter's Advantage: This is the better version of Brutal Accuracy. Again you'll only be able to do it once per encounter but at least you're sure sure it will work.
Hunter's Resurgence: You shouldn't be thinking about dropping enemies; or wasting healing surges for that matter. Still, if you need to use your healing surge, this is a relatively reliable way of getting one assuming you keep your enemies' hp hovering low.
Preternatural Senses: This could be blue if you don't value perception that highly. Still, it makes your perception fairly godlike.
Prime Slayer: You're very often going to be the closest to your targets given all your charging. Moreover this practically guarantees you +6 dmg onto a charge if you take Powerful Charge and Enraged Bear Form. Your at-will on a charge is now a d20 instead of a d8. You should probably still pretend you're a controller though, people may get jealous.
Roundabout Charge: This plus Prime Slayer above single-handedly put the Rogue MC on the map. This feat allows you to gain CA against any enemy adjacent to an ally since it allows you to charge to a flanking space instead of the nearest space.
Call of the Beast: Most people don't understand how to use this power. First it targets Will, which is excellent. Second, it's a mass CA denier. If your tank is getting swarmed this spell will reduce everyone's chance to hit him by 10%. Let's see anyone else do that with an at-will. On top of that, if they don't go for the tank, it's on average higher damage than any other at will and it scales. It's between this and a vs. FORT at-will for those who took two beast at-wills.
[INDENT]Further discussion on CotB: My interpretation of the RAI is that were you to cast this on your team mate, he would have to hit his closest enemy, just like your enemies have to hit their closest enemy. Several have pointed out though that this is not RAW. Ultimately it's up to your DM and WotC to decide, but my ranking is based on this and I wanted to make that clear.[/INDENT]
Chill Wind: Crap. It targets Fort which is bad enough. On top of that, it doesn't scale with level (no +WIS modifier to the damage roll). So you have an AoE slide 1 that can't hit melee classes with no scaling? Yeah, um...thanks for that.
[INDENT]Further discussion on Chill Wind: Despite the condescending tone above, I've had some earnest discussion on this forum about my dislike for Chill Wind; my argument is as follows: Melee classes have high FORT defense. If melee classes are on your tank, all is right with the world. Go into beast form and reliably (vs. REF) slide them without accidentally hitting of your teammates. If melee classes are on your ranged, a slide 1 is a far inferior peel to a slow, especially against a melee (even worse when the slide is vs. FORT and the slow is vs. REF). Using Chill Wind against ranged classes (who have low FORT) is fairly useless unless they're within 1 square of your melee; again you're better off slowing them.[/INDENT]
Flame Seed: Great. It's effectively an AoE that doesn't harm your allies! It targets Reflex which is not bad.
Storm Spike: Highest single-target damage at-will you have. Shoot it at someone beside your tank who can't move anyway. Profit. Choose between this and Flame Seed if you're already have a non-REF targetting caster at-will.
Thorn Whip: This is your vs. Fort caster power. It's not great since movement effects are better on melee classes and they usually have high FORT because of high STR/CON. Still, it scales with damage and is useful. It's between this and Call of the Beast for you guys who already have two beast form powers (since beast form powers target REF).
Pounce: Great for giving your allies +2 if you're about to leave flanking to go rescue some poor caster. Also great while damage spamming to increase your party's overall hit. Thirdly useful to prep your next attack if flanking isn't available. (Allows you to single-target flank). Targets REF, good.
Grasping Claws: Imposes a status effect, that's already enough for blue. Imposes slow, an anti-melee status effect...I bet it targets FORT. What? REF you say!? Get it. Oh yeah, it's also the best peel in the game. And it can be used as a basic melee attack. Godly.
Savage Rend: It's this or Pounce for your 2nd beast At-Will. Moves target and doesn't target FORT!?!? That should be Sky Blue!! It should be but Pounce played right can be more useful (especially considering you already have the godly Grasping Claws). This is a good warrior peel but the lack of slow means they can charge your caster then next round. Savage Rend vs. Pounce. It depends on your playstyle.
Cull the Herd: Targets WILL which is excellent. Moves the target, also great. Highest single-target damage of the lvl1s. Great peel.
Darting Bite: You need to be at least partially surrounded which is never good. High damage because of the two attack rolls, and you get to shift after. Not bad but you shouldn't set yourself up for these things. If you want to shift away for some reason, you should do it before and then charge someone, not expend your standard action on this. Take Cull the Herd.
Frost Flash: Immobilize is good but this targets FORT which bad if you're targetting targets against whom immobilize is actually worthwhile. Guardians get extra damage? Do you even know your role?
Twisting Vines: Pretty sweet, creates little areas of vines around each target (i.e. this could create a 5x5 square of vines against a full 3x3 squadron). Great for stopping marauding armies. Armies of 9 or less that is, that travel in squares.
Faerie Fire: AoE, targets Will, slows, grants CA, requires save to end. That's like a mass Savage Frenzy + Pounce that targets Will. Best AoE peel for a long long time. Oh yeah and when people save they take 3d6 damage. Sign me up. Oh by the way it grants CA and does damage on a miss. Mmmhmm I'm already writing it down in my spell book, shhh.
Fires of Life: Mediocre damage, targets Ref. Great effect upon targets dying, works even without the Guardian option! This is a good minion killer. Otherwise it's not that great. Remind me again why you read past Faerie Fire?
Savage Frenzy: This is a good attack but why are you surrounded? You shouldn't be in a situation where you would warrant the use of this power. It's an awesome mass peel though. You should have stopped reading at Faerie Fire though, this is much worse
Wind Prison: A superior mass peel to Savage Frenzy supposing that prone requires a move action. This effectively denies enemies swarming your cloth-wearing buddy the ability to follow him as long as getting up from prone is still a move action. Otherwise this is black. Yeah I can't really see this through the drunken stupor of Faerie Fire.
Barksin Great for a guardian druid. So-so for a Predator.
Fleet Pursuit At a certain point all your speed stalking is going to seem ridiculous. Still, in a huge battlefield with multiple attackers and shifting/difficult terrain obstacles this is great.
Obscuring Mist Someone did something wrong and you have to run away from the archers. Hang your head in shame.
Skittering Sneak One of the few instances where I allow Role-playing to take precedence over game mechanics. Neither Barkskin nor Fleet Pursuit is so invaluable that you should take them over this great scouting/prison escape mechanism. Loads of things you can do with this.
Battering Claws Solid double-peel. There's no reason to get this though considering Predator's Flurry is strictly better.
Call Lightning Comparable to Call the Beast except it damages your friend, and it targets REF instead of WILL. Who cares if it does a little more damage? Damage is a reward for a control job well done. Don't spend an encounter power on this when it's inferior to an at-will.
Predator's Flurry Better double-peel than Battering Claws.
Tundra Wind Blast 3 that knocks prone. Not bad but it targets FORT. Take it if you don't want Predator's Flurry.
Black Harbinger Another RP over mechanics power. Great flying scout.
Camouflage Cloak Decent peel. Also grants AoE CA. You can use this as a nova prep for yourself or an ally. Additionally it's an encounter power. Definitely sky blue.
Chant of Sustenance Very very good, especially when you get more zones/walls. You can hold off until later though. Camo Cloak will be more useful for a long time.
Stalker's Eyes There are three Sky Blue powers here. Move along.
Note: Given the three Sky blue powers to choose from I feel it necessary to differentiate them a little more. The Harbinger is purely for RP scout/escape purposes. The Cloak is great in combat as a pre-nova for an AoEer or for yourself. The Chant is the ultimate weather control spell but you can wait on it until you get more zones.
Latch On This is a candidate for "Overpowered" status because at high levels it will be an inescapable grab. It is effectively a permanent immobilize as long as you are willing to sacrifice your mobility as well.
Swirling Winds Very interesting in that you can target the enemy with the lowest Reflex and bring his friends along for free. The Guardian power here is crap. I notice a trend...
Tremor Great AoE peel if prone still requires a movement action to get up from.
Entangle Finally! 9x9 immobilize until saved. The effect creates terrain that slows ONLY ENEMIES until the end of the encounter. Additionally you crit on rolls of 18-20 while in the zone. It's the love-child of Faerie Fire, Savage Rend, and the Daggermaster path.
Feral Mauling -10% to-hit on one target until saved. Single-turn effect on a miss. This is decent but not when Entangle is available.
Primal Wolf WotC has this obsession with wolves and the prone status condition, oh well. Until the end of the encounter you inflict prone status on anything you hit, and you get CA from anything that's prone. This is a very good daily, I don't know if I would take it over Entangle though.
Sunbeam Good peel, especially against casters. Too bad there are two sky blue powers in this group.
Armor of the Wild Blue for Guardians, Red for Predators. If your tank dies you can throw this on and combined with your AoO Savage Rends, you can show him how to tank. Otherwise...why are you taking damage?
Feywild Sojourn Invincibility for a turn in which you can surge and wild shape + a 10 square teleport. Incredible. What?! It's an encounter power?! Hahah Eladrin, eat your heart out.
Roots of Rescue I get the mental image of someone pushing your friend off a cliff and roots erupting from the cliff to catch him. This is too situational to be that useful though. Also you have Feywild Sojourn, maybe you can find a new friend in the Feywild. At least he won't get himself pushed off cliffs.
Winter Storm Minor persisting 5x5 difficult terrain which grants cold vulnerability 5. Apart from granting you special favours from the Wintertouched crowd, it's also a great control power. *Sigh*, another category with two sky blues.
Howl of the Wild: Hey look, I have one of the best heals in the game and I don't need to be a Guardian druid. Wait...Guardians had a purpose right? (With a good healer or a leader multiclass, you should take the Wall over this)
Insect Plague: Insubstantial and fly on-command (take half damage and ignore terrain effects). Squeeze through practically anything with no movement penalty. Keeps you very mobile.
Primal Restoration: Umm...worse than Howl in almost every way. Sure it has the potential to heal more but the range is smaller and it expends everyone's healing surge. It can however cure status effects; but it still depends on you calling a huddle and waiting for the dwarf to get in range. Depending on your group composition this could be alright.
Wall of Stone: The stand-out of the bunch. Wall 12, height 6. Solid, 100 hit points per square. No need to sustain. Completely take two adjacent enemies out of the fight! Incredible. This sky blue agglomeration tactic is really getting annoying WotC, spread 'em out! Still, it's better than having to choose from crappy options. Carry on.
Entangling Thorns: 5x5 immobilization until saved, dps aftereffect, 1-turn immobilize on a miss. Sweet.
Lunge and Vanish: Ultimate nova starter. This is Camouflage Cloak on steroids.
Primal Bear: This is a very serious dps technique, saving vs. your REF is not easy. The +2 AC/FORT is not trivial either. (Oh and it favours the Predator Druid, in case you were wondering)
Winter Hailstorm: This is Winter Storm (lvl 19) on steroids.
Note: This is the exact same situation as the lvl 6 utilities. Your Hailstorm and Lunge are just dps versions of cloak and winter storm. I would have to say that since Cloak is Encounter, you should take either the Hailstorm or the Bear. Drop lvl 10 Storm if you took it and pick up the Feywild Sojourn.
Hmm...utilities...I forsee sky blues on the horizon.
Phantom Beast: Insubstantial and Phasing every other round (half damage and move through solid objects). You shouldn't be taking damage though so this is more of a hyper-mobility option.
Sky Talon: Flying beast form which only prevents you from using daily powers and boots your speed by 2. This is great.
Unseen Beast: CA + invisibility every other turn. Wow.
Unyielding Roots: 5x5 burst which negates forced movement on your team and gives everyone regen equal to your CON modifier. Minor sustain. (If you have a good healer or a leader multiclass, you don't really need this). Oh hey, a good power for the Guardian Druid. Let me jot that down somewhere.
Grasping Earth: Wow. 5x5 burst within 20 squares against WILL that gives me my DEX modifier as +hit?!? How broken is that. Oh yeah it's an encounter power. Sorry did I say Lunge was good Nova prep? Yeah I'm going to take that back, pop this, action point, drop a high dmg AoE, and then drop another high dmg AoE next turn. Controller/Striker...no kidding. If there are still any guardian druids out there send me a PM.
[indent]Edit: The +hit is only in beast form. This is still a great power but not as godly as I thought.[/indent]
Primal Roar: Good, but doesn't cut it for sky blue at lvl 23.
Stormburst: 5v5 Slow. Uhh...it's worse and does less damage than Faerie Fire.
Strength of the Hunt: You can spend a healing surge. Too bad there are no Guardians left, else an ally could also spend a healing surge. If they ever want to balance the Guardian Aspect they're going to have to put spells like this at way lower levels.
Ferocious Maul: Umm...a single-target a triple attack vs. all three NADs that at best imposes prone/weakened/dazed and does low lvl3 equivalent damage? I'll get right on that.
[indent] Edit: It appears the "Effect" line being excluded from the indent in the power description means it occurs even if the secondary and tertiary attacks do not hit. That means this is automatically 2d10 + WIS damage. Not horrible, but not where it should be.[/indent]
Fey Lure: A 7x7 vs. Will 3d6 AoE which allows me to slide any enemy 3 squares that I can sustain as a minor action? I don't know...Ferocious Maul looks so appetizing...
Primal Storm: 9x9 4d6 AoO that knocks everyone prone and allows me to make a vs. REF AoO to keep them prone if they try to stand up. Sustain Minor. Hmm...this is actually not as good as Fey Lure because enemies can crawl out of it and I can't affect those that never fell prone to begin with or weren't in the area to start.
Primal Tiger: 6d6 Burst 1 + DEX shift. Additionally AoO enemies that enter squares. This is really not that impressive. Sure the damage is high but the control is terrible for epic level.
Cleric: Excellent choice. It uses your primary stat so you're going to be able to take powers. Makes the Guardian aspect even more redundant (it's not like they're really much more of a leader than a Predator druid to begin with). On top of this you get excellent Paragon Paths: Divine Oracle, Warpriest.
Fighter: If the Implement as Weapon and Weapon as Implement issue ever gets decided, then Kensei could be sky blue. Otherwise this MC choice is bad.
Ranger: Excellent choice for the Predator Druid. Even better for an elf (you already have longbow proficiency). You'll be pumping DEX throughout and your WIS is obviously optimized so you can benefit from all utility/damage the archer has to offer. Also, the Battlefield Archer paragon path is your Kensei.
[indent]Edit: Apparently the Battlefield Archer is not your Kensei. It is there to taunt you with its "Archer fighting-style requirement". [/indent]
Rogue: This MC can be worth it for the 2 Martial Power Paragon Feats alone (see feats above). A predator druid will have enough DEX to make some of the rogue attacks worthwhile. None of the PPs are amazing though.
Wizard: The Spellstorm Paragon Path isn't horrible but it's nothing compared to the Cleric PP in the same vein. Also, you can never hit anything with INT. Not worth it.
Avenger: The class feature basically nets you Elven Accuracy/encounter. You will be able to use most of the Avenger's powers given they use WIS as an attack. Also the Unveiled Visage PP lets you fly (i.e. ignore difficult terrain) and gain +2 to defenses on a charge. There are better options though.
Invoker: All the attacks are WIS oriented so you could pick up some control spells, but the PP paths aren't spectacular.
Shaman: Wow. The primary stat is right, no problems there. The most ridiculous aspect of this MC is the spirit companion; I don't think I could have asked for more interesting tactical control. Spirit's Shield is great. Once per encounter when a creature moves away from your companion without shifting you can heal someone within 5 squares for WIS modifier hit points. This is probably one of the best healing mechanics in the game (I feel it is almost overpowered for the shaman since he has it as an at-will, no other class has the potential for unlimited healing small healing like this). To top it all off, it's an interrupt! Just stick your companion next to an enemy that's easy to force a move from (i.e. compel them to move by the presence of your melee, forced movement doesn't provoke AoOs) and profit! Even if they deny you the heal, you're forcing them to only move one space each turn lest they waste their standard action. Also, the companion is an object that blocks LoS and blocks movement to your enemies; he's also just as fast as you, and moving him is a free action upon moving yourself! Every other spell with an encounter-long object/effect is a daily. Great synergy. Great Bear Shaman is also an amazing PP if you love your defender.
Warden: The great thing about this class is that the Guardian forms don't require a STR roll so you don't even have to worry about hitting! Also, the PPs (Horned Champion and Verdant Lord) are very good for controllers and, again, you needn't worry about a low STR!
Blood Moon Stalker: This is purely a striker build. The only good thing is the reroll at level 12 and it's only a daily. Pass.
Guardian of he Living Gate: Not horrible. Entwining Evocation is probably the best part of this. But the rest is very single-target oriented.
Keeper of the Hidden Flame: You get Prime Shot and a group anti-charge. Good. The Lvl. 11 Summon the Beast power is a great peel (vs. WILL) and a great way to set-up your defender as well. Lvl 12 Utility: Spark of Fury: It's a group-wide +1 hit +2 damage nova setup at level 12. Sky blue for sure. The lvl 20 domination-type daily is very powerful single-target control. The only downside to this path is that it's exclusively caster-oriented; solid option regardless.
Sky Hunter: Extra move on an action point is great, and the lvl 11 encounter power is a very nice "predictive interrupt". Soaring Falcon can replace "Black Harbinger (lvl 6)" if you took it. It's also a great way to avoid AoO and difficult terrain. Primal eagle has a very large mass slow with good damage. On top of that you can fly on a shapeshift for the rest of the encounter. Solid path.
Angelic Avenger: +4 to attacks after your action point and a ridiculously large burst 8 vs. Will attack at lvl 11. Not horrible but there are much better choices.
Divine Oracle: Godly (pun intended). Roll twice for Initiative coupled with the two Initiative boosting feats means you'll practically always be near the top on initiative; immunity to surprise; delayed move on Action point; all excellnt. Roll twice on any vs. WILL attack is amazing, making it almost impossible to miss against that defense. At lvl 11 you get the ability to make any attack a crit (for you or an ally) every encounter. The level 12 daily allows everyone within 10 squares gets a +5 to all rolls for a turn. As if all this weren't enough you get a ranged 20 vs. Will 5d10 attack which, if it misses, isn't expended and allows you to regain the action point and try something else.
Warpriest: At 16th level you get to place a permanent mark on one enemy anytime they hit you with an at-will. Also you have a 5% chance of regaining a daily once per day. Not amazing as a whole, but you could do much worse.
[s]Battlefield Archer: I'm still in mourning over the fact that "Archer fighting-style is a requirement".
Horizon Walker: Exclusively a mobility path. The action point recovery on a move means you get one extra move per encounter. You are also able to teleport 3+WIS as an encounter power. Not that exciting overall, but not atrocious.
Ruthless Punisher: Unspectacular. Use an action point to reroll vs. humanoid targets, one slow attack against REF with your bow, and a daily burst 10 power that essentially gives you +2 to all defenses vs. anyone in the burst. Take something else.
Sylvan Archer: Ignore cover/concealment for the attack roll when you spend an action point, +2 perception, +WIS dmg to your Hunter's Quarry. Also you can Quarry two targets per turn. The best part of this PP is the per encounter interrupt vs. REF with your bow and the daily lvl 20 vs. Will stun (save ends). I don't know if these are enough to justify it as a path though. If you're going to take the Ranger PP though, this seems to be your best option for now.
Unveiled Visage Fly and get +2 to all defenses on a charge. This is amazing given all the charging you're going to be doing. Also, once per encounter, you get to shift your speed. At level 20 you get a Daily power that grants flightand a +2 bonus to AC. A good path.
Zealous Assassin: You get a chance at CA on a charge at level 16. It's better to just Rogue MC and take Roundabout Charge since most of the time you're going to be charging targets who are already on one of your allies (in which case you can use them to flank).
Angelic Aspect: You can fly on an action point and you have an encounter power that allows you to fly until the end of your next turn. The rest of this PP is fairly self-centered though; not a lot to help your allies or control your enemies.
Hammer of Vengeance: Thundering Summons (lvl 12 /Encounter Utility) allows you to telport two allies in burst 10 to your side. Additionally the lvl 20 daily daily ability is a fairly powerful protective "shield" for one person. I don't think these are enough to justify the path though.
Disciple of the World Serpent: Your spirit companion carries around a burst 1 of difficult terrain and on an action point you can allow anyone to spend a healing surge (just move your spirit companion next to them). Additionally you get a lvll 11 immobilize. You also get a lvl 12 encounter power that allows you or an ally, as a minor action, to ignore any cover or concealment, or line of sight or effect until the end of your next turn. That is powerful stuff. The lvl 20 daily is a vs. Fort immobilize + damage where you need to save twice against both conditions.
Ghost Panther: This PP is an interesting mix of offense and defense. Your spirit companion grants CA when you spend an action point; once per encounter you can halve a bloodied enemy's damage, once per encounter you can slide 3 squares when you're missed, and you get a great position-friendly daily at level 20. Unfortunately none of this is really strong enough by itself. There are far better abilities and feats than those offered by this path.
Great Bear Shaman: Defenders will give you their firstborn child with this PP. Your spirit companion gives them +2 damage on marked enemies and +5 to attack for AoO. Brutally good. You gain a mediocre encounter power at level 11 and an amazing one at level 12 that allows you to shift-2 everyone within 5 squares as a minor action. Your level 20 daily is also fairly crippling against one enemy (-2 to attack and d10+WIS dmg - save ends both)
Spirit Tempest: This PP is not meant for Multiclassing. Most of its abilities deal with class features you have no access to as a druid.
Daring Acrobat: The selling point of this class is the +1AC/Ref bonus when charging as well as the ability to perform actions AFTER a charge (while as normally all actions have to be completed before the charge). You also get a decent Daily which works off of one of your charges.
Shadow Assassin: Your action point gives your +4 to attacks until your next turn (Amazing for novas, and even more amazing for humans). You also deal DEX modifier damage when missed, and you get an OK daily interrupt and a mediocre Daily.
My colour choices in this section indicate, in the class list, what would be the best skills to take. In the non-class list, I rank the skills not based on their intrinsic value, but on whether, as a druid, you could benefit from training in them. As you'll see, this section is pretty straightforward, and the choices are pretty much made for you.
Arcana: The only use you get out of training this is "Detect Magic" and more than likely there's someone with enough INT in your group to fulfill that role. Otherwise feel free to roll on Knowledge checks.
Athletics: You're never really going to be excel at this and there is no benefit to training (save the +5). Also, all the other animals will laugh at you when they see that your fighter friend is a better athlete than you. Don't let them see you cry.
Diplomacy: There's no benefit to being trained in this; and, regardless, you may as well let some CHA-pumper handle it. Maybe you can help their roll by turning into a puppy.
Endurance: There's no need for either aspect to take this. Training confers no benefit; Guardians will be naturally skilled, Predators won't be.
Heal: Useful and you are great at it. Take it.
History: Stick to learning about Nature. Less dates to memorize.
Insight: Great skill; it's the psychological equivalent of Perception and you're amazing at it. It's your counter to Bluff. Enjoy.
Nature: This is what you're supposed to be good at. And you are.
Perception: Probably the most useful skill to have. It counters Stealth and helps you avoid surprise. It also runs off of your primary stat. Enjoy.
Acrobatics: For Predators, this is useful skill and your DEX as a Predator is right for it (this is purple for Guardians). The only benefit to training, however, is reducing falling damage and depending on your campaign that could be useful, or not.
Bluff: A useful skill but one that you really have no proficiency for. There's also no benefit to training.
Dungeoneering: There's no need to take this. You'll already be good at it because of your high WIS and training doesn't offer any extra options.
Intimidate: You won't ever be good at it and it confers no benefits from training. Move on.
Religion: Gods? Nature treats you just fine. Nothing to see here.
Stealth: There's no benefit to training and you essentially get training (+5) "for free" with the Stalking Panther Form feat at Paragon. This skill is more useful with the errata in PHB2 but there are much easier ways to get CA and they all have much more synergy with your other talents than this one.
Streetwise: Don't you live in the wild?
Thievery: Someone else is going to have this. As a predator you'll be naturally good at it anyway, no need to train it it regardless.