“There need not be a boundary between passion and compassion.” ― What was taught to a wise old tiger.
This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:
Red - You aren't going to lead anyone with these choices (1/5)
Purple - Your inspiration is weak (2/5)
Black - You can make yourself be heared but not loved (3/5)
Blue - I can feel your thunderous voice! (4/5)
Sky Blue - OK BOSS!! YES SIR, AS YOU WISH, SIR! (5/5)
Gold - A rare rating that shows mandatory choices (mandatory)
What is the Ardent?
The Ardent is a Psionic Leader: Psionic is the new power source from PH3, which focuses obviously on powers based on the power of the mind. The Ardent is definitely a melee leader: all his powers are weapon based, and this favours multiclassing towards the Martial Source (and expecially Fighter Multiclass) for weapon and tactical feats. I'll write the best MC options for the ardent in my handbook in the next posts.
The Ardent is a Leader which can focus on any leader's area of expertise:
Enabling: starting from ire strike, arriving to fate exchange, forward thinking cut, revelatory slash and so on. You can be a great attack enabler, at the level of the warlord.
Healing: you can be really good, you expecially focus on temporary hit points. You don't have yet the support to challenge the best healers in the game, but you aren't too far.
Debuffing: demoralizing strike says all. You are good at debuffing
Buffing: you are very good, generally, at buffing your allies
Saving Throws: you have to make choices to be good at this, but you can be one of the best
Defender: you can be good at this. You have 3 marking powers and not too shabby defenses. Striker: you can deal decent damage. Controller: some daily powers offer good controlling kickers.
So, why choose the Ardent when you can play the tactical winner Warlord or the "you cannot die" Cleric?
Versatility is NOT a joke: Your augment 1 are often situational powers... but are situationally overpowered. They give great bonuses in a narrow time. AND you have the unaugmented power if you aren't in that time Don't envy other builds: Most ardent powers depend only from charisma. Are you enlightened and you want a power with a constitution kicker? You can take it, no problems, because there aren't hidden class features. You're free to play an ardent with pumped strength and con wielding a two handed hammer, with polearm gamble or with shield specialization and plate. You just need personality... a LOT of it. Your powers are cool to play: You're not the twin-striker ranger or the classical flanking rogue. You teleport people, you make foe share damage. The ardent class rarely has two identical-looking power, and this enables infinite possibilities. You are cool.
Armor proficiencies: good but not so good. you should definitely upgrade and you can easily have the stats to do it. Imho the Ardent class is slightly based on two handed weapons. If you don't agree with me you have the stats to take shield proficiency. Hafted Defense (PHB3) is a good solution if you want to hit hard and be defensive at the same time, expecially for Enlightened.
Weapon proficiencies: you get military melee and that's just enough to be good. Simple ranged is icing on the cake
HP and surges: standard for leaders, but remember that half of you are Con based.
Defenses: +1 fort and will is good expecially for Enlightened
Ardent Weapons: the tool of your fury
I generally suggest to use two handed weapons because ardent powers are inherently highly damaging: yes, PHB3 leaders strike very hard. However Enlightened builds usually support better more defensive weapons like polearms and both builds can use sword&board. I usually suggest the superior version of the weapon: you can find these weapons at page 9 of adventurer's vault.
Axe: (no stats needed) Expecially useful for euphorics: execution's axe from adventurer's vault is good because it has good damage, brutal 2 and high crit. You don't have to take deadly axe from paragon feats. Last but not least axe is the only "weapon mastery" epic feat without prerequisites so you will take Cleaving axe from PHB3. Add headsman chop, again from phb3 to add some spice to your mix. All in all a very good choice. Flail: (no stats needed) the triple headed flail is an highly-damaging precise and versatile weapon. A very good choice, but flais don't have much support Hammer(You need 17 constitution and 13 strength for hammer rhytm) E: mordenkrad from adventurer's vault is brutal 1 and has a base damage superior to the execution's axe. Add Hammer Rhytm (phb) and you have a superior damaging weapon, that doesn't need even a great strength investment. A very good weapon, expecially for euphoric builds who can add also hammering iron from phb3 to get VERY damaging opportunity attacks. Heavy blades (15 strength and dexterity by paragon): the main feature of this weapon it's that you gain a +3 proficiency instead of the usual +2. The Fullblade is a very good, damaging and heavy crit weapon. For the shield-users, nothing is better than the bastard sword: it's a heavy-starved feat build, but you can choose a bastard-sword user with scale, light shields specialization, and heavy blade opportunity. This nets you great defenses and it's a great build expecially for those who doesn't have a defender in their groups. Pick (no stats needed): use hammers instead Polearm (depending on feat choices you may need 15 strength, 15 dexterity and/or 15 wisdom):THE enlightened weapon, gets MANY good feats and comes 3 flavoured: Lemon-axe, Orange-sword and Cola-spear: - If you want the spear (you like cola, don't you? ^^) you may want to take the Weapon Proficiency feat for Greatspear (AV page 9), and spear push from PHB - If you want the solid axe you may stick to halberd and get axe feats (deadly axe, for example): this requires a good constitution investment and it's the usual root for euphoric ardents - If you want the sword you use the glaive that needs a good dexterity again (15, by paragon) but nets you the great heavy blade opportunity feat. Whatever choose you make, you can opt to multiclass Fighter for the Polearm Momentum feat: this requires 15 dex in the heroic tier but it's really a good feat (most consider it mandatory for a polearm build). The choice is yours, but to have 15 dex at lower levels you need to make a good race/stats choice, so pay attention. Remember that there are few options ready for at will sliding effects: if you want to pick Polearm Momentum as an enlightened ardent it's better that you wait level 17 or take a +con race (like the dwarf or the half-elf). The reason is that ardents don't have a sliding effect apart from Unnerving shove and that requires at least a +2 modifier to be effective. Spear (15 dexterity by paragon): this is a good weapon, but the polearm has more options: unless you want to use a shield, but you will do subpar damage. If you don't care about damage, take this: you won't even need a good strength score and you can take shield specialization if you want. Again, you may want to take polearm momentum: read my comment above.
Ardent features: how to dominate
A little note: as i said before, you could potentially build an Ardent without putting leveling points in the secundary stat. Ardent features only depends on the secundary stat you choose(wis or con), not on which feature you choose at the start of your career. So i suggest you humbly to choose your weapon and then you build
This is the charisma AND wisdom based Ardent. This is a little weakness, because these two stats share a defense, but this issue is balanced by the defensive-flavour powers and feat and by the superior movement granting features the Enlightened Ardents possess.
This build suffers from MAD issues, and its powers are usually a little inferior than the Euphoric Build powers. The general CO board consensus is that the Mantle of Elation build is, at least for now, superior. But this build has also its selling points:
Mantle of Clarityis situationally good expecially if you have more ranged than melee in your party. The bonus to checks is VERY good, perception and insight are two of the best skills in the game (and a nice feat enhances this bonus).
The PHB 3 says that this build is a good sub-defender: i can't see why it should be a good defender at all (unless you choose one of the two marking at will the class has). Actually i like this build for the polearm-ish flavour, and its powers are usually more defensive than the powers of his constitution-based brethen: they usually give +defense, movement and temporary hp. So i think this can be help your team with a good bit of control, expecially because they favour heavy blade and polearm use.
Misma actually sees them as a true off-defender: Spoiler:Show
The reason, as I see it, that the Enligthened Ardent is a sub-defender is that there are many powers which requires good wisdom that indirectly say "attack me". There two parts of being a defender (as I see it) is
To make enemies want to target you instead of other party members.
To make sure you surive the pain they can dish out.
Marking is just one way to ensure that enemies will target you. On its own, a mark is only a -2 penalty to attack anyone but you. All defenders have ways of enforcing their marks (punish the enemy if they don't attack him/her). On his or her own, a defender is a low-threat target, because of his (usually) low to average damage and high defenses. So defenders get a lot of abilities that demand that he is targetted all the time.
On the other hand, a leader is by default a high threat target. He or she doesn't deal a lot of damage, but he makes the rest of the party perform better and last longer. Second, he has lower defenses, sometimes substantially lower, than the defender. An ardent is even higher priority, since he almost always is within melee range of the enemy party.
What makes the Enligthened Ardent an even higher threat target is the powers he can choose that are based on wis. He has several powers that boost allies' defenses (Psionic Shield, Revelatory Strike, Illuminating Strike). Though it's not wis-based, Energizing Strike also boost allies defenses - temporary hit points works towards that end.
The reason he is only a sub-defender is that he can't enforce his mark (even if he picks the power) and that he can't survive a lot of pain. Interestingly enough, the higher defense a given character has, the less reason it is for the enemies to target that person.
Finally Ardent Alacrity: every time you're bloodied, your party moves. It's quite good, maybe even very good.
This is the charisma AND constitution based Ardent. Its defenses are really in a better shape.
The PHB 3 says that this build is a good sub-striker and i quite agree, but i'll add a thing: you have an hard-hitting (wielding a 2h hammer or a 2h axe) character with high HP: this is a brute, not just a striker. The powers of the build often gives +hit, +damage and grant basic or opportunity attacks to the other memeber of the party. The mantle of elation feature offer a good bonus if your party is composed mostly of melees (and if your defender is a fighter). The bonus to check (+2 to intimidate and diplomacy) is situationally good.
The Ardent Outrage feature, finally, offers a good amount of nova when you're bloodied. THAT is the time you want to use your action point.
Ardent Surge: it's the typical minor action heal, and can be augmented by one feat (improved ardent surge at paragon tier). The bonuses based on your mantle aren't gamebreaking but nice. You don't heal as much as a cleric does, you don't have the versatility of the artificer, but you surely heal more than a warlord with inspiring word.
Strength: A good 13 is needed for scale and light shields. 15 is needed in paragon for heavy blade opportunity. A starting score of 13 is good.
Constitution: secundary stat for euphorics, you need a 17 in paragon for hammer rhytm and 15 for plate profinciency. Always useful, since you will take some beating in melee. Do not bump even if you are enlightened
Dexterity: nice for heavy blades and scale specialization.
Intellect: you can bump it, or dexterity. Initiative is not so crucial for a leader
Wisdom: good secundary stat for enlightened, you need 15 in paragon for polearm gamble
A lot of races are good for the ardent class, but three races shines among them: the half-elf, for the obvious stat bonus for euphoric builds (and they may also get some good paladin-bard-warlock powers), human for the very good +1 to NADs, the bonus at will and the bonus feat (yes, you are feat starved) and the Kalashtar for the enlightened builds.
Other good races are the Tiefling (expecially for the +1 to fear (and fire, but you have only 1 at the moment) powers and +cha to damage in your nova round), The Dragonborn for its natural stickness and good racial support, and, in a bit lower bracket Gnome and Halflings (because they're small)
Dragonborn: as i wrote i'm still undecided if they're blue or skyblue. Surge bonus is VERY good for Euphorics, they get good synergy with Paladins and their encounter power is great. They also likes to take some beating. All in all a very good choice. They're also well equipped for Enlightened polearm builds.
Dwarf: bonus to both secundary, they also like to wear good armor and surge bonus is good. A solid choice.
Eladrin: dex is situationally useful, as intellect. Fey step is good but you have other ways to teleport. They get a good bonus with spears but it's not enough
Elf: bonus to secundary and dex, good movement: they make solid enlightened.
Half-elf: they're THE euphoric ardent race: stat bonus, good feats, good skill bonus and the extra power makes them all you may want.
Halfling: it's not good being small... they've got nearly all to excel, except the size.
Human: stat bonus only to charisma, but that's enough. You want that defenses, you want that extra feat and skill bonus, and expecially the third at will.
Tiefling:with that int bonus you're probably not going to use heavy swords. But good stat synergy, bloodhunt and infernal wrath gets you up to the Olympus.. expecially if you stick to your fear powers (hello, demoralizing strike and unnerving shove)
Drow: it's not in the PHB but i'll add it here. It's good, very good. Expecially for the dark glamour and for the racial powers. A good choice.
Changeling: get a charisma bonus and social fluff. Definitely a good choice, expecially for polearm momentum builds: the dex bonus is absolutely needed.
Kalashtar: this race was created to be an enlightened ardent. +cha, + wis, dual soul for will defense. Simply the best choice for your enlightened friendexpecially if you don't want to be dependent on which weapon you wield.
Warforged: i can't simply rate this race lower, because they're built to wield a weapon. Good str and con bonus always help and a power that sinergize well with the bloodied status. A solid pick., good for hammerers.
A little note: augment 1 (or 2 later on) powers are more situational but powerful in that case, i'll point out when they're totally useless. Unaugmented powers and augment 2 (and 4) usually have the same effect, obiouvsly better on augment. I'll write if a power is more appropriate for a CON build (EUPHORIC), for a Wis build (ENLIGHTENED) or for BOTH. I'll also write useful keyword (expecially fear and charm, for feats and paragon paths). Furthermore, if you see a little arrow (--->) near a power, this means that this power pushes, slides or pulls enemies and it's more useful for some specialized builds A little note: naturally all these powers are in PHB 3
Demoralizing strikeEUPHORIC; FEAR: -2 all defenses is nice, augment 1 is wonderful in the right party. Augment 2 for total enemy annihilation. The best offensive pick for euphoric, too good to pass on, one of the best 1st level at will in the game. The augment 2 targets all creatures in the burst: it's probably an error, but if you have a strict DM pay attention!
Energizing strike BOTH: the only healing at will of the level 1 at will power choice. Unaugmented has good scaling, augment 1 is VERY good at the right time, augment 2 is good damage+surge. Overall a very nice pick, take it.
Focusing strike ENLIGHTENED: if you feel low on the save granting side this can save literally your day; augment 1 for saving vs controllers (charm and fear aren't common keywords though) augment 2 for AoE save. Good expecially if you are a human as 3rd at will. You may want to take this power by retraining at higher levels if you see that your DM likes save-end effects (usually given by enemy controllers). In this case, this power is definitely a good choice
Ire strikeBOTH: the vulnerability is good but this power unaugmented has movement issues: the target has to be adjacent to you and you need to be adjacent to your ally. The augment 1 is VERY conditional, the augment 2 is great and elminates the movement issues, giving vulnerability 5+ at first level isn't common. I daresay that you should use this power only augmented 2. Psionic Shield ENLIGHTENED: not this great power, it gives good but not overpowered bonus to defenses. The augment 1 is very good if you fight many ranged or controller enemies. The augment 2 is cool but not something you can't live without.
Adrenaline strike BOTH: nice for hit and run tactics, expecially when you have a ranged-based small party. Battleborn acuityEUPHORIC: get very nice +1 to attack and +dmg bonus for being adjacent to you. You need to expend a minor action every round though, this lowers the rating
Implanted suggestion BOTH, CHARM: dazed and partially dominated, the target is going to be raped by your defender and your melees, expecially if you are euphoric. I love this power
Mental turmoilENLIGHTENED: a very defensive power, it stops an enemy with a -3 (or -4) penalty to attacks at 1st level. Pay attention: he's going after your wizard friend after you use this daily
Wormhole PlungeENLIGHTENED: a big "stay there" power, expecially if the target is a large or larger creature. Good and controllerish. Edit: Errataed and it works as thought. A good power, maybe your best bet for your enlightened ardent, but in my opinion Implanted Suggestion is better
Bend space (encounter) ENLIGHTENED: +1 range is ok, but adding wis to range for ranged powers isn't gamebreaking. I don't think this power is so useful.
Dimension Swap (encounter) BOTH: sweet teleport to save your controller from being surrounded. you have surely movement issues, this is an encounter power that can terribly help you in your job. You have plenty of good healing utilities in the next levels... but you have really few movement granting powers and this is one of the best (Thanks to Misma for the review) Mind over matter(daily) BOTH: i love this power: you are bloodied but not bloodied, and you can use it actually BEFORE your defender is hit to help mitigate damage. A lovely choice.
Psionic Conduite (encounter) BOTH: good in a full psionic party, but overall not so great
Wellspring of vigor(daily) EUPHORIC: regeneration 4 or 5 at first level is something unexpected. Euphoric should prefer this to Mind over Matter
Arcane Mutterings (Arcana): a big NO is painted over this power Bounding Leap (Athletics): a bit meh Scrambling Climb (Athletics): can be useful at lower levels but it's nothing to search for Battle Feint (Bluff): nice to get CA once per encounter as a minor action False Bravado (Bluff): marked isn't a terrible condition for you Soothing Words (Diplomacy): the bard has a similar feature. It is better than most people think, since you give often TMP hp. Endure Pain (Endurance): nice interrupt but it's a daily Invigorating Presence (Endurance): Omg this is good. You will use your second wind during encounters. The amount of TMP hp gained is ridiculous Healer's gift (Heal): nice if you have a large party Anticipate Maneuver (Insight): battle feint is better Ominous Threat (Intimidate): a passable power City Rat (Streetwise): this is not made for you Nose for trouble (Streetwise): again, initiative isn't so important for ardents.
Distracting strikeBOTH: a very nice (blue) power if you lack a defender, or if you have a large party and only one defender. Even unaugmented is quite cool, since you don't have to be adjacent to your defender friend. The augment 1 effect takes out some pressure from your strikers, and the augment 2 "aoe marking" changes your defender into a marking machine. Not for all campaign, but good for those who need it
Impatient strikeEUPHORIC: the initial shift is very nice for a class which can have movement issues. With an augment 1 you change a possibly fatal proning into a correct flanking. The augment 2 is great, also good damage.
Prescient Strike ENLIGHTENED: this is GREAT against solos and elites. The penalties stack with the mark giving a -5 or -6 to hit. The augment 1 is even better: remember that the most horrible penalties derive from a successful will attack. The augment 2 add extra marinara
Unnerving shoveFEAR, EUPHORIC, --->: take that little friend that is flanking you and send him into the middle of the melee where your friends are waiting to cut him. It's even more accurate (charisma vs. fortitude). Imho is a little inferior to impatient strike for euphoric, but it may be better if your party stack forced movement powers, and if you are a polearm or a hammer wielder.
Empowered arsenal EUPHORIC: ok this is the power every leader wants. As always positioning is dramatically important for the ardent class, and you should try to be adjacent to your melee strikers. A very good power, all in all maybe skyblue
Enlightening PulseENLIGHTENED: i don't think you ever need a saving throw stream like this power allow. A little situational: i just don't like it.
Fate exchangeBOTH: teleport, 2 attacks with bonus, potentially 2 surge spent and 2 saving throws. Why should you take enlightening pulse? This is the best power in this level for both builds, it's the "leader compendium"
Persistent veil CHARM, BOTH: poor damage, but the blinding condition is crippling. Nice if you have a stealth-based party, but inferior to fate exchange in all meanings.
Battle link (daily) BOTH: i don't like this power, it's too situational to be useful, and it's a daily.
Body Adjustment (encounter) BOTH: the old psion 3ed power strikes back. Melee touch isn't an issue, minor action is good, it's Mind over matter big brother. Imho wellspring of vigor it's still better for euphorics.
Evade attack (encounter) BOTH: one of the few movement granting ardent power... and it's quite normal. The ally is protected from 1 attack of opportunity/encounter, i don't think it should be taken over body adjustment or mend wounds but it's not a terrible choice.
Mend wounds (daily) BOTH: This is a lay on hands on steroids and i like very much. Surgeless healing is the cleric's room, and with this power we can knock knock his door.
Thought shield (encounter) BOTH: the damage resist isn't enough at 6th level, the saving throw bonus is meaningless and the duration is horrible. Finally i gave one red rating.
Experienced Arcana (Arcana): meh at best Insightful Warning (Arcana): i like it very much. Expecially at higher level it becomes really nice. Blue because the skill is really bad, generally, for you. Mighty Spring (Athletics): quite a good movement power Sudden Leap (Athletics): i don't like it too much but it can be useful Confusing Blather (Bluff): opportunity attack denial Dirty Tricks (Bluff): probably better than confusing blather Fast Talk (Bluff): in many campaign this is very nice Haggle (Diplomacy): fast talk is strictly better. Stirring Speech (Diplomacy): this is nice if you know when to use it. Third Wind (Endurance): if you want an healing power, there are better choices Walk it off (Endurance): nicer if you are off-defender. Delay Poison (Heal): bad unless you constantly fight venomous enemy Physician's Care (Heal): no, please. Body adjustment and Mend Wounds are better Swift Recovery (Heal): this is nicer expecially if you have a warden. Emphatic Read (Insight): at the level of fast talk, but probably a little better Insightful Counter (Insight): you don't really need it Prescient Maneuver (Insight): nice movement power usable when you need it. Demoralize Foe (Intimidate): not really bad Everybody Move (Intimidate): nice if you specialize in sliding Try the Stick (Intimidate): there are better power City Dweller (Streetwise): would be viable if it wasn't a daily Slow Pursuit(Streetwise): from really bad to great: depends from the adventure.
Courageous strikeENLIGHTENED: good AC bonus, if you are near an hard hitting striker. The augment 1 is even nicer and not situational. The augment 2 is AoE and potentially very good damage. A good pick for defensive enlightened.
Forward thinking cut EUPHORIC: charging with a two handed weapon is always a good idea. Here you have a great tool to add to your arsenal. With the augment 1 you add mobility with a free shift, The augment 2 is GREAT when your strikers have finished one job and are starting another one (aka: focusing a new enemy). A very solid, warlord-ly choice for euphorics.
Mindlink strikeBOTH: one ally can make an attack of opportunity (with the mantle bonus to damage if you are euphoric) and you both shift. The augment 1 has the subtitle "stay near to the defender". The augment 2 can potentially deal a ton of damage. Imho forward thinking cut is a little better but this one is a very good choice.
Rewarding strikeHEALING, EUPHORIC: a healing power for euphorics as an attack? Nice but not needed: all the best utility powers are healing based. Augment 2 is very nice if you're near the total party kill chasm.
Unhinging Strike CHARM, PSYCHIC, BOTH: a nice puppeteer power, useful in many situations. You can live without though. Misma wrote: If your GM allows a bit of roleplaying to happen, such as the seed of doubt you sow in your enemies' ranks when one of them starts hitting another, this can be very powerful. Particularly the augment 1 can be devestating if the other enemy characters don't know about it before it happens. This may raise the power to blue
From the brink (daily) HEALING, BOTH: surgeless healing, minor action, burst 10 and a bonus if you're dying? And the target can stand up if he's prone? Ok, waiting for errata. This power is simply great, if you want healing. If you want true power and control take tower of iron will
Incite bravery (encounter) BOTH: this power is good, but it has so many competitors. The burst is a bit little though.
Reactive resistance (encounter) BOTH: good scaling, can save a lot of damage each encounter.. but from the brink is much better
Tower of iron will (daily) BOTH: my first gold rating and it's justified. +4 to will, +2 to all defenses, free saves against the most gruesome and horrible conditions, huge area and a good resist. This is the utility power you want, unless you really focus on healing.
Confusing strike BOTH: a very nice defensive debuffing power. Augment 1 start to cost very little at this level, so a -2 penalty to attacks and will defense is quite nice for 1 pp. For 4 pp you get aoe dazing and debuffing zone Field of alacrityBOTH: allowing allies to shift as a minor action is great. The augments don't raise the rating, it remain good but not much more
Hope's audacityBOTH: this is great if your allies don't have already a wider critical range, and most striker builds already has it. Augment 1 is nice but isn't gamebreaking Revelatory strikeENLIGHTENED: this is psionic shield big brother combined with focused strike. Nice but not overpowered, AC bonus are always good but players tend to prefer (with a good reason) enemy AC penalty. Victorious urgingBOTH: it IS good but demoralizing strike is a bit better. What save this power is the push: you push the enemy in the middle of the fray and each target gets the bonus.
Extermination urgeCHARM, ENLIGHTENED: i don't know how to rate this power. Absolutely gruesome against solos and elite if you grab a cunning weapon (but it's a kind of a waste). Quite good in normal encounters, you can surely do worse. Imho black is a good rating for a good but not extraordinary power Imminent demisePSYCHIC, BOTH: a power with a good effect but the area is a bit too small to be really effective.
Mountainfall strikeBOTH: this is Dulled reflexes bigger brother, and it sucks as its little brother. Unless you are a psionic binder, in that case is very solid Unchecked aggressionEUPHORIC: superior damage, +con to damage and +2 to attacks for Combat Advantage. I ask myself: where's the little bar "sustain minor: the zone persist"? Forgotten or not from the writer, we'll see in the future, but this is why the power isn't skyblue. Vigorous Offensive BOTH: i don't like very much this power because not always you have 4 enemies to attack in short range. Obiouvsly better for polearm wielder.
Bountiful Life (daily) BOTH: nice idea and great range, but leaders usually don't heal themselves. And you've got so many powers that must be sustained that's hard to find minor actions also for utilities. Fortunate Recovery (encounter) EUPHORIC: it does grant a bonus to saves, but doesn't even grant a save. I totally don't like this power, waste of ink.
Mental Rejuvenation (daily) HEALING, BOTH: surgeless healing is always good. I rated it skyblue even if you have to waste your standard action because healing two healing surges is impressive: only the cleric can overcome these numbers.
Reform Mind (daily) BOTH: in a normal campaign this is red. You may want to take it for roleplaying reasons.
Uncanny awareness (daily) BOTH: you have few movement-granting powers. This one is quite good, but you're usually last or next to last when you roll initiative, so you may not find anyone in the burst. Also, the movement is subject to attacks of opportunity and the power is a daily. Better for ENLIGHTENED.
Diamond defense assault PSYCHIC, BOTH, --->: distracting strike's big brother has become a great power. The unaugmented version is finally ridden from the "adjacent sickness" as i like to call it. The augment 1 is great, granting MBA as free for only 1 point is absolutely great: no charge for you, evil foe! The augment 2 works surprisingly well for such a little zone and has a sliding kicker. A very good pick, maybe even skyblue for enlightened ardents.
Illuminating strikeRADIANT, ENLIGHTENED: you become a cleric-lite with this power. Actually you can join the "radiant mafia", as it is called, getting vulnerability to radiant damage with multiclassing. It's not a great power, overall. Resistance 4 at 17th level isn't something to be taken in consideration. Resistance 7-8 is better, but it costs you 4 power points. Good attempt, at least.
Temporal strikeBOTH: i find this power a little underwhelming. This can be useful only for euphorics, because englightened already add a good +wis to AC vs opportunity attacks and thus are less subject to opportunity attacks. The augment 4 is very nice, but it costs 4 pp... it's not something you want to waste.
Terrifying delugeFEAR, BOTH, --->: good for some builds based on sliding, like polearm wielders, it must be party-optimized to actually be useful. The augment 1 is actually WORSE than the un-augmented power (obiouvsly needs an errata). The augment 2 offers a good board control
Chains of affinityPSYCHIC, BOTH: initial damage is huge. Stick to your defender and watch your enemies go down. Be sure to place yourself correctly before using this power. Deflecting diskCONJURATION, BOTH. --->: a quite good power, you don't have to do anything to maintain the disk up. I love expecially the sliding. The disk bonus is nice but not great. Good for specialized builds. as usual
Shared vigor HEALING, BOTH: nice if you need another push to your healing power. The zone is large and doesn't need any minor action to be sustained, but you can't move it. Vitality transfer is better, though Temporal accelerationBOTH: i just don't like these slowing ardent powers, like Mountainfall strike and dulled reflexes. At least you can use this on charge and the zone is bigger, so maybe it deserves a black rating Vitality transferRELIABLE, HEALING, BOTH: reliable, accurate (vs. fort), good damage and surgeless healing to ALL your party. If you need a healing power, absolutely take this over shared vigor.
Flood of madnessCHARM,PSYCHIC,BOTH: pseudo-domination power (this is madness!). Augment 2 is nice, expecially after ardent outrage. Augment 6 is quite useless, i think.
Perception shiftPSYCHIC, BOTH: nice for defensive enlightened builds, it works nicely against skimisher and brutes. I like it very much, expecially the augment 2 which is finally strong enough to not to be a niche power.
Revealing strikeBOTH: imho demoralizing strike, except for damage, is strictly better. Secundary penalties are good but not gamebreaking: i see this as the possible "enlightened demoralizing strike". Blindsight, from the augment 6 is quite good to raise the power to black
Revelatory slashEUPHORIC: nice range, nice effect (free CA), not for all parties but good for them. 15 temporary hp are good enough after 2 good at will attacks (your ranger friend will love you). As you have seen this power is 3/4 light blue and 1/4 dark blue... You need a dedicated party to use this power correctly. Just this.
Blistering aversionFIRE, BOTH: after a little radiant apparition, we've now a fire power. The damage is good, if you find some way to get a penalty to the enemy save (cunning weapon, for example). The area is VERY large and dangerous... but, alas, can't be moved. And fire damage is often resisted.
Corona of battleHEALING, BOTH: you may want this. Regeneration 5 isn't that great thing (but it stacks with rapid recovery, since that isn't true regeneration), but a +2 to attacks and +1d10 to damage is. The zone is huge and moves with you.
Intellect bombPSYCHIC, BOTH: sliding power for polearm builds. The secundary attack is also nice (minor or free action!) and dazes is very good. You should have now many psychic powers... let's talk about a friend named psychic lock... The only badside it's that there's the little gold power below...
Revealed AssetsBOTH: nice, but the zone can't be moved (and it's smaller than corona of battle's one).
Summons to doomPSYCHIC, CHARM, BOTH, --->: hilarious. EACH enemy gets pulled near you (you're near your defender, right?) gets 4w+cha with a very accurate attack, and then it's pushed back OR it gets a penalty to attacks. Simply hilarious... What? You may wield a polearm? What? You have psychic lock? Well, that's enough, i think.
Dismissive strikeBOTH: you can teleport the target in the air and send it prone near an ally. This is a strange but useful power. I the first augment is nothing more than an AOE proning effect. The augment 6 gives plenty of movement
Exhilarating strike ENLIGHTENED: it's strange to see a 27th level weaker than a 23rd one. Revelatory slash unaugmented power is much stronger than this... but this is wisdom based and grants a save. The augment 6 option is very good: since most strikers and defenders have something to use after a charge i can safely admit that the augment 6 could be (i) on par with revelatory slash. or even superior.
Restorative bastion BOTH: if you really want a power that grants saving throws take the level 1 (!!!) Focusing strike. It's really the same, but you lose the 4w hit on augment 6... but with augment 2 you get your aoe save and it's accurate so maybe i can save something about this power
Unnerving disruptionPSYCHIC, EUPHORIC: why, why, why this power hasn't got the fear keyword? It was perfect! By the way a -4 (-2 for the attack, -2 for psychic lock) is very good, even at level 27. The augment 6 means that 2/encounter your burst 1 area is unhittable and your party gain a good bonus to damage rolls.
Empathic Projection BOTH: i like this power. Good starting damage, good effect and you have to do nothing to maintain. Obiouvsly better for a polearm build, as usual with the push.
Image of doom FEAR, BOTH: better for stygian adept, since it's a fear power. Not the best power you can choose, imho
Undeniable weakness ENLIGHTENED: your party is immune to damage for 1 round. Good deal. But that static zone, i don't like it at all, since it's very small.
Violent spark BOTH: yes, i know it's a wisdom based power, but it's good also for euphorics. Even if you are euphoric you may have a +1 mod in wisdom. And free AT WILL attacks are always a good idea. Warlords, for example, get a 7w out of turn attack. If you are in a 5 man party you can do possibly the equivalent of 13w with this attack, and grant movement, saving throws, debuff to enemies, marking... This is good, maybe even GOLD
Since the available feats are innumerable, I'll put here only the best feats for ardents to spare a little time. I'll start with class and general feats. Then i'll add racial and multiclassing feats. At the bottom you will find a list of skill powers (related to feats) and hybrid build feats.
Most feats are useful for both builds. I'll write a little C near mantle of clarity-only feats (Enlightened build) and a little E near mantle of elation-only feats.
The ardent has very few class feats and i will list all of them. Most aren't desiderable, though. All these feats are in PHB 3
Bolstering mantle: one or two free saves or temporary hp per encounter. I like it but it's a small bonus Clarified instincts C: it can be very good. Constant +wis to perception means that your friends are immune to surprise rounds. Elated emotions E: this is a little less useful, unless you want to make every foe surrender. Heartening surge: the bonus is something nice, but not gamebreaking. Better for Euphorics Mantle of readiness: nice but not a top choice
Alacrity of fortune C: shift after making save (not succeed, just make). A nice pick Elation of fortune E: +1 to hit after making a save. Again, very good. Improved ardent surge: finally a good scaling factor to ardent surge. Widened mantle: usually it's not needed.
Armor proficiency (scale)(PHB): you need this for your AC: leader's enchantments are common on this type of armor Armor proficiency (plate) (PHB) E : this is better for euphorics Beguiling enchantment (PHB3): you have exactly 5 charm powers: this may become better with the add of new psionic powers. 3 of these charm powers are also psychic, at higher level you may want both beguiling enchantment and psychic lock. Blade opportunist (PHB) : may prove useful expecially if you use a glaive Combat intuition (PHB3): a nice option, not too bad but not too nice. Do your best not to miss with your attack Coordinated explosion (PHB2): this feat is really nice... but you use a weapon, not an implement Deadly draw (PHB3): you usually don't pull. You may want to slide, instead, and this can help some builds Hafted defenseC (PHB3): this is gold (not gold rating, but very nice) for polearm builds. +1 AC and +1 reflex for wielding your favourite armor is good. Hammering iron E (PHB3): very nice for hammer builds, you can push him near your defender's square Headsman's chop (PHB3): yes violet. But if i see a Turathi Highborn with a execution axe proning bloodied enemies, with overwhelming critical... well, it becomes at least blue! Impending victory(PHB3): this is worth its weight in gold. +1 attack against bloodied foes with at wills? But you only use at wills! Take this after weapon expertise Melee training (PHB2): this is needed, or at least very useful... I know that most players hate this feat, and i hate it too. Usually you don't grant melee basic attack to yourself but some powers does (fate exchange, for example). Polearm flanker C (PHB3): +2 to attacks and you are still a square away? It gets BETTER in paragon with polearm gamble. Powerful charge(PHB) : you may want it for forward thinking cut Shield proficiency (light) (PHB) : some of you will like it. Strike and shove (PHB3): you don't crit too often, but pushing enables all kind of tricks with a polearm and so on... Toughness (PHB) : Very good for enlightened builds, you gain 1 level per tier. Versatile expertise (no rank) (PHB3): gold if you multiclass. Useless if you don't. See below Weapon expertise (PHB2): this is still gold. You don't need versatile expertise unless you multiclass to an Implement class. Weapon focus (PHB) : you're not a striker but soon or later you may want a little bonus to damage Weapon proficiency(PHB) : this is not an option: superior weapons are a great tool in your hand. Take Mordenkrad, Greatspear, Glaive or Bastard Sword Wintertouched (PHB) : you don't have any cold-based power, but you may want to use a cold weapon. This is better when you also take Lasting frost in paragon
Armor specialization (chain) (PHB): You may want to keep chain for some good enchant: this is the answer to get more AC oomph Armor specialization (plate) (PHB) E: probably only euphorics can take this feat, good but absolutely non mandatory Armor specialization (scale)(PHB) : another bump to AC and you lose all your scale penalties, expecially to speed. Necessary if you use scale, one of the best armor feats Critical reserve (PHB3): as for strike and shove, you don't crit enough. But this may be good for Argent souls Expansive Burst (PHB3): this can be good, ignoring cover for your augmented powers Deadly Axe (PHB): 17 strength is really too much. Take Weapon proficiency (execution axe) instead Gritty determinationE (PHB3): nice for euphorics, add a minimum of 8-9 temp hp each time you use a daily. Toughness is better but this one scales with your level. Great fortitude/Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes (PHB) : take paragon defenses, instead Hammer Rhytm (PHB) E : great for hammer wielders! Lasting Frost (PHB): couple this with wintertouched for always CA enemies. I'll warn you: most DMs hate this trick. Opportunistic Withdrawal (PHB3): very nice and it opens movement options Overwhelming critical (PHB3): yes, you know, you don't crit enough blah blah... good for some builds (axe, for example) Paragon Defenses (PHB2): if you want to raise your defenses, take this feat. Polearm Gamble (PHB) : best for enlightened builds, needed for good polearm wielders Psychic Lock(PHB) : you have enough Psychic powers to make this feat useful if not great. Misma analyzed the current situation in this post: Spoiler:Show
I tried to look at the possibilities of combining Beguiling Enchantment and Psychic Lock, using an at-will power with both to impose a serious attack penalty on my target every round.
I only found two powers with both the Charm and Psychic keyword: Unhinging Strike (lvl 7) and Flood of Madness (lvl 23). Both are unaugmented Cha vs Will (very handy), only Cha damage (no weapon at all) and the target makes a melee basic attack against a target of your choice.
Now, the inherit problem with these powers are that they require enemies close to each other, or with reach and slightly less close. Adding the two feats turn the powers into a nice -4 penalty to all attacks, appreciated. However, is it worth it? You deal very little damage. I'm not sure if you can add any modifiers for a magic weapon, weapon focus/racial weapon feats or any other goodies at all. I'm fairly certain you can add vulnerability damage, such as Frostcheese (Everlasting Frost + Wintertouched).
The upside is that you'll hit very often against non-spellcasters. However, the secondary effect, that the enemy hits a target of your choice, is actually diminished by the two feats. Most GMs will interpret this as the enemy having -4 penalty to that attack as well. It's not useless, but makes the secondary effect even less reliable. Without the feats, its still dependent on both you and the enemy hitting in the same round to deal serious damage.
I came to the conclusion that I don't think it's worth it. It's a nice side effect, but it's not good enough on its own to ignore all other effects you can impose on enemies. It might be worth it with only Psychic Lock and Diamond Defense Assault at level 17, since it deals decent damage and has a fairly useful secondary effect.
If you want to impose attack penalties, I'd say you should instead go Stygian Adept. The -2 penalty on all attacks while in your zones is a reliable penalty - no need to hit to apply it unlike the formerly mentioned feats - in addition to whatever else you can do with your attack actions. Combine that with the two encounter-long close burst 3 zones you can have already at level 12 (Tower of Iron Will and Haunting Shadows), and you have something that is almost guaranteed to impose a -2 penalty on several enemies each round instead of a -4 on one when you hit.
Of course, nothing prevents you from adding psychic lock and beguiling enchantment on top of Stygian adept. Combine it with the concealment from Haunting Shadows, and you have a -8 penalty to attack anyone other than you, and a -6 penalty to attack you. If the target is marked, it's -8 penalty to attack you too. Very nice indeed. However, you're suddenly a secondary controller instead of a secondary striker... practically no damage.
Reserve maneuver (PHB2): take this if one of your PP powers is very bad Spear Push (PHB) : another piece of the polearm mafia, use this with your greatspear Vexing flanker (PHB2): very nice, since you're always in melee. Even nicer if you have a rogue in your party
Cleaving Axe (PHB3): finally a good epic weapon-based feat for ardents. Epic fortitude C (PHB2): skyblue for enlightened ardents, euphoric should not need this Epic reflexes (PHB2): gold for both builds +4 to your lowest defense... the leader should not die. It's better for the party Epic will (PHB2): if you need this feat, you've done something wrong Long step (PHB3): shifting 2 squares is not weaksauce Mastery feats (PHB) : you don't have the stats for these feats, and you don't need them. If you have the stats to get them, probably you're doing something wrong with your character. Rapid regeneration E (PHB3): some of your best utility powers grant regeneration. VERY good for euphorics Robust defenses (PHB2): good for every character. Be sure to retrain out paragon defenses since these two feats don't stack. Euphorics should get this and epic reflexes. Enlightened ardents should get instead epic fortitude and epic reflexes
FEATURES: 11: Restoring critical: RNG rocks, but always nice. 11: Vitalizing action: you have many temp-hp giving powers... be sure not to waste them 16: Argent devastation: as i said, critical hitting isn't skyblue, but it's nice, expecially for restoring critical hits POWERS: 11: Argent strike HEALING, RADIANT: damage is ridiculous but temp-hp are nice. With this kind of power, you may want to take Shared vigor at level 19 12: Burgeoning reserves (daily) HEALING: no. Please no. 20: Argent flood HEALING, RADIANT: nice healing, good damage, you may really want shared vigor
PSIONIC BINDER: the idea is nice. But i've checked and you have only one power that immobilize, and that power not only is high level (15) but is also bad: i'm pointing at you, mountainfall strike. This is a ENLIGHTENED ardent paragon path, so you can't even MC warden and wield a hammer.
I've been thinking about how best to make use of the Psionic Binder. Constant Jailer can lead to a no-save lockdown: hit with an immobilize (save ends) power, use action point to hit again with a melee power to prevent a save on the monster's next turn, and then simply keep hitting it to keep it immobilized. The problem is, as the guide says, that the Ardent gets only a single immobilizing power, and at level 15.
There's been a previous build that muticlassed to Invoker or Avenger to get immobilizing powers. This isn't ideal, as it means keeping Wis high and needing to keep up an implement, both of which effectively lower your to-hit bonus, which we want to keep high to make sure we keep hitting to continue the lockdown.
An even better option, I will argue, is to multiclass Artificer (!) and take Icebound Sigil. This no-attack power allows us to convert any ardent power at all, once per day, into one that inflicts save-ends immobilize. Combined with a Skewering Greatspear, that makes it possible to do a Constant Jailer lockdown twice a day starting right at level 11.
Another item worth mentioning in the context of the Psionic Binder is the Tattoo of Bloodied Chains, which inflicts immobilized (save ends) once per encounter on the first enemy to bloody you. This isn't as reliable as the action point method, since the enemy will have a chance to save, but it's still a level 7 item that gives you the status you need.
I don't think this should really impact the ratings the guide gives to Psionic Binder or to Artificer multiclassing. With the right party and a DM who favours the right types of encounter, this lockdown could be very useful, but it's still situational.
FEATURES: 11: Constant jailer: if you have a friend that can immobilize this can crush them 11: Imprisoning action: restraining is good, expecially if you push them far away. 16: Crushing walls: complete constant jailer POWERS: 11: Binding strike PSYCHIC: this obiouvsly immobilize... you want this as an at-will power, not encounter... 12: Executioner's summons (encounter) TELEPORTATION: VERY nice moving granting power, but the condition is steep. You have to immobilize them... and you can't most of the time. So you depend on your party, and you're most of the time a dead weight. Who loves to be a dead weight? 16: Perfect prisonFEAR: this one could be even a good stand-alone power... but it don't immobilize. But, hey! You can move the zone -.-
STYGIAN ADEPT: you see a tiefling wielding a poleaxe: just forget him. This PP is tailored on brutal Goliath, Warforged, half elf or human EUPHORIC ardents wielding a Mordenkrad. There are exactly 2 fear powers in the heroic tier: Demoralizing strike and unnerving shove. The latter is a good choice if you want to mix up with sliding powers, the first is a power you may want to keep till level 30. This and only this keep this PP up. If Wizards nerf Demoralizing strike, you can really forget this paragon path until they add more fear powers (there are more in the epic tier, though).
FEATURES: 11: Fleeing fear: nice, but you don't wield a polearm. Sliding with your demoralizing strike is good though. It works well with the Hammering Iron feat 11: Unraveling action: CON vulnerability, and you want to use that fear power with your Action Point. You say that Demoralizing strike augment 2 is AoE? You want that. 16 Fearsome zone: this is one of the best features, and it stacks with psychic lock. -4 to hit you, -6 if the target is marked... And quite any daily ardent discipline creates a zone (and also some augmented at-will powers).
POWERS: 11: Stygian strike FEAR, PSYCHIC, --->: very precise, good push (add 1 square), the augment 2 is great since you add your mantle of elation bonus. If you use this power with your action point, you can add 2 times your con mod to damage. Add the usual melee ranger and watch your enemy explode like in mortal kombat. 12: Haunting shadows (daily): a zone that creates concealment, and that moves with you. Enemies already has a -2 to hit in your zones, add another -2 from concealment... 20: Subconscious horror FEAR, PSYCHIC: i love this power. Really love it. It rapes expecially elites because you make one flee around the field and smash the other one. Eating psychic damage each round is dangerous because you get a constant -2 to hit and you grant CA. An extraordinary power, with great fluff.
TALARIC STRATEGIST:I don't love this PP but some guys from the 4e IRC channel made me think about it, and it's effective, but not flashy. Subtle to use and requires good team strategy. This path can be used by any type of ardent and gives a tactlord-flavour to your ardent.
FEATURES: 11: Anticipating action: you can use a daily as an interrupt, this is great for a leader 11: Battle instinct: +2 to initiative is very good, even if it's a power bonus. Thanks to Misma for pointing out this feature goodness 16: Tacticial surge: as i said more than one time, ardents are mediocre movement enabler. This really changes things: 3/encounter you can make each ally shift as a free action. Really really good. POWERS: 11: Anticipation tactics: the target attacker is badly injured, and you give a basic attack to the ally with bonus to damage. Augment 2 is even finer. 12: Insightful command (daily): i love choices, and +3 to defenses isn't something to be undervalued. 20: Combined effort: accurate, but nothing more.
Racial Paragon Paths
All these paragon paths have a race requirement. I'll rate only those suited for Ardents. I was told that you don't get those 2 psionic power points at 11th level (thanks, again, to Misma). This may change some PP ratings.
Adroit Explorer: (phb2, human) BOTH: this is a great, great paragon path... but you don't have encounter powers. So, unless errata (and we're waiting for that errata) this is a kind of a waste for you.
Ancestral incarnate (phb2, deva) ENLIGHTENED: imho is pretty meh overall, and i don't like the powers
Fey beguiler (phb2, gnome) BOTH: i can't rate this lower because it's too fun. And you may like getting Mirror Image as an ardent ^^
Halfling scoundrel (phb2, halfling) BOTH: this one is really really good, even if the flavour is a little roguish and then striker-ish: features aren't that great, but powers are really lovely and weapon based. Expecially Halfling's Taunt: this one has really good damage and a strong board control if you are near your defender.
Nature's avatar (phb3, wilden) BOTH, more ENLIGHTENED: powers are REALLY good, tied to your at will. Also the utility powers is great. A good choice for wildens.
Scion of Arkhosia (phb2, dragonborn) EUPHORIC: powers are not exceptional but, hey, you can fly!!
Turathi Highborn (phb2, tiefling) BOTH: this PP seems tailored for the ardent. Knocking prone bloodied enemies with a bonus to damage 1+charisma, a good ranged power (finally) and a true DOMINATION (you don't have any dominating power in 30 levels). The stance is also really really good. I love this PP
Multiclass Paragon Paths&Builds
For time reasons, only black or better rated Paragon Paths are here.
Remember that you don't gain 2 power points at level 11 unless you multiclass to a battlemind or a psion (and i don't know why would you do that) paragon path.
Artificer (BOTH): you share the secundary stats, but nothing more. Healing infusion is maybe the best leader heal in the game, but you can't replenish and that's a pity. I won't list Paragon Paths because they use intelligence as main stat, and it's a wasted stat for you.
Avenger (ENLIGHTENED): the avenger has a good synergy with enlightened offensive builds, don't expect sky-high riders, though. Most PP have a class requirement (censure). I ranked only true MC options
Hammer of Judgment(PHB2): pushing holy crow! Take this for an optimized slider euphoric hammerer! This path is good even for polearm wielders!!!
Oathsworn (PHB2): good but not incredibly good, since you have only 1 oath of enmity/encounter Favored Soul (DP): favored action is incredible for a leader, and most player love to fly (who doesn't love to fly???) The powers are good. Relentless Slayer (DP): a little too much striker-ish, but some people may like it anyway. Powers are a little too "suicidal" for a leader
Bard (BOTH): the bard may have perfect stat sinergy with the enlightened ardent. You may have again an implement problem, but you gain some very good ranged powers (and Vicious Mockery as encounter power, which is a very good 1st level Psychic at will)
Voice of thunder (PHB2): there are actually ZERO thunder powers in the ardent list, but you may like very much the 11th level feature voice of thunder which increase the size of any burst you create. Powers are actually lovely. Not a too bad choice Half-elf emissary (AP): The level 11 ability lets you add your chr mod to Diplomacy(instead of the +1 granted by half-elf) and any other chr based skill that you have trained. That's 5+Chr+Chr+Con for the con-based ardent. The powers are not too bad either. By THE ONE Life singer (AP): the 20th level daily is a true power! Others are quite passable
Battlemind (EUPHORIC): the entry feat is quite underwhelming: 1/encounter you can mark the target, and the mark lasts only until the end of your next turn. Nothing you can live without. The Paths aren't impressive, but you may rank them higher because they give you that 2 power points.
Eternal blade: the path is very good if you are heavy armored. Feature are a little subpar, but the powers are VERY good, expecially the 20th level daily (which is, frankly, overpowered). Iron guardian: violet because the 20th daily is wasted, but the feature could prove useful for an axe-proning build Zephyr blade: nice for sub-defenders because you need to mark an enemy to use all powers of the path
Cleric (ENLIGHTENED): the cleric can buff easily the healing output of the ardent with many very good feats and help with debuffing. They also may add a good mix of ranged powers. Very good for enlightened ardents (the stat synergy is perfect) the MC feats gives you a great healing and enables some goodness. You want to use that holy symbol: it is good, doesn't occupy a space and gives you great leader bonus. A very nice pick overall.
Divine oracle (PHB): VERY nice, you can't be surprised, you deal automatic critical and you have a good will-hitting power. Warpriest (PHB): this is VERY hot for a sub-defender build. When you hit with an at-will, the target is marked (so you may retrain all these "mark" powers). You get bonus damage and AC. A very good, solid path. Anointed Champion (DP) : nice, but not so great. The 16th level feature is nearly wasted Compassionate healer (DP): i don't like this PP too much, but it greatly increases your healing skills. Messenger of peace (DP): it's one of the best PP in the game, but it's not for you as... Miracle worker (DP): .... as this PP. Too much divine-based
Fighter (BOTH): this MC feat has very good and intriguing feats. You gain nearly nothing from the entry feat, but you have a great number of options open for you as a weapon user: expecially when you favor a polearm. As i already said, the feat polearm momentum (heroic, mp) can greatly increase the polearm build potential, but also need a very good stats and power planning, favouring powers which slide or push enemies. Fortunately you don't have to get that feat to create a good polearm ardent, but it's nice overall. Fighter feats are in the feat section. Unfortunately fighter Paragon Paths are not so desiderable, because all powers obiouvsly key off Strength.
Paladin (BOTH): VERY good stat synergy, again, expecially for enlightened ardents. Obiouvsly paladin paragon paths add a hint of defense in your build
Champion of corellon (DP): finally a good PP for sword&board user. You gain great AC for you excess dexterity (+2), you lose all bad conditions for scale armor and add further mobility. The path is blackbecause, frankly, powers are underwhelming. But features are nice for a niche build. Dragonslayer (DP): nice but not really made for a leader Justicar (PHB): again, very nice for sub-defenders again. The save reroll is real goodness, you must have a marking power (there are two and aren't so bad) and a good implement. A choice comparable to questing knight, but a little more leader-ish Knight of the chalice (DP): an underwhelming choice Questing Knight (DP): very nice, expecially for sub-defenders: nice save and second wind bonus, very nice powers (weapon based, so you don't have to wield a good implement). A good choice, more defender-ish than justicar.
Shaman (ENLIGHTENED): for one feat you gain: a skill help; a meatshield which can serve for multiple purposes (pillar, block road, attack spounge, etc...); a good Attack of opportunity encounter power OR a good scaling healing encounter power. The only backlash is that you need to have your totem out if you want to deal Aoo damage (but you can use a totemic weapon, there are many). Simply a great choice for all enlightened ardents (also flavourly, you can set for a "omg, what's talking in my head" character)
Disciple of winds (PP): the 11th level feature is wasted, but you gain some oomph for your polearm builds. Not so bad as you may think. Disciple of the world serpent (PHB2): nice, but you'll waste some features. Not the prime pick. Ghost panther (PHB2): great fluff, good skill bonuses, and the power grants a VERY GOOD mobility side, expecially the 20th level daily Great bear shaman (PHB2): very good leading stuff, bonuses to hit and opportunity attacks, good static bonus for your defender. A very nice tactical pick Season's herald (PP): the 11th level power is devastating. The features are great, other powers are a little underwhelming but playable. A nice choice
Warlock (BOTH, but more EUPHORIC): maybe that thought that came to your head is more evil than you predicted. You have no problems with implements because you can wield a pact blade, and you can use the full array of warlock PP as euphoric ardent. Don't expect skyhigh riders, though, because they are based on intellect
Agile Armor (AV1): nice for a good AC bonus for some builds who uses dexterity (sword&board, spear) Angelsteel Armor (PHB): Expecially if you activate the effect VS ac it's very nice Armor of Durability (AV1): nice for enlightened ardents to get some extra durability Armor of Sacrifice (AV1): very nice for a leader Armor of transport (PHB3): nice for additional teleport effect. For augment 1 teleport all adjacent allies. VERY good. Assassinbane Armor (AV1): it's nice not being autokilled Bold Victory Armor (PHB2): Nice buff for defensive builds Bolstering Armor (AV1): all allies can spend surge when you second wind. High level, but it's good Champion's Armor (AV1): a strong disincentive to hit you Curseforged Armor (PHB): Nice debuff for enemies Dwarven Armor (PHB): It's always one of the best enchants Eladrin Armor (PHB): now it's quite meh... but maybe with psionic powers adding some teleports.. Exalted Armor (PHB): good for your healing novas Gleaming Armor (PHB3): nice to gain concealment again and again Hydra Armor (PHB): there's a way to exploit this enchantment with the Rapid Regeneration feat Irrefutable Armor (AV1): there are some good attacks that target Will Joyous armor (PHB3): nice but remember that t.hp don't stack Luring Withdrawal Armor (PHB2): very nice for sliding builds Martyr Armor (AV1): very nice if you aren't fire-focused Quicksilver armor (PHB3): again very nice for your movement issues Reflexive Armor (AV1): your reflex defense is usually your worst defense. Reinforcing Armor (AV1): tailored for a defender, but always nice Screaming Armor (AV1): nice debuff expecially stygian adepts Shared Valor Armor (PHB2): You gain half temporary points you grant to your ally. VERY good. Tombforged Armor (PHB): Very useful expecially for euphoric ardents to use your excess surges
Battering Weapon (AV1, hammer): nice, even if you don't have MBA powers Battlemaster's Weapon (AV1,any): recovering an encounter is always great Communal Weapon (AV1, any melee): changing a non-hit to an hit up to 6/day is very good Controlling Weapon (AV1, polearm): maybe the best polearm enchant. Cunning Weapon (AV1, any melee): you have some good save-end effects Dancing Weapon (PHB, heavy and light blades): nice but you need to use your minor action to sustain your zone, very often Dislocation Weapon (PHB3, heavy and light blades): you usually don't stay far from your friends, this can be useful for some setups Guarding Weapon (PHB3, any melee): expecially for enlightened ardents, they gain stupid bonus to AC against opportunity attacks. Inertial Weapon (PHB3, flail, hammer, mace): this is more for euphoric hammer wielders Inspiring Weapon (AV1,any): good for nova rounds Jagged weapon (AV1,axes, heavy and light blades): this make critical with axes really painful Lilting Songblade (PHB2, heavy and light blades): you are not a bard but scaling damage bonus is great Mindcrusher Weapon (PHB3, hammer, mace): very nice if you have many psychic attack (stygian adept, for example) Overreaching weapon (AV1,polearm): this solves your reach problems with a polearm Rending weapon (AV1,axe): this and jagged can destroy an enemy Staggering weapon (AV1,Axe, flail, hammer, heavy blade, mace): for sliding builds this is the best choice. Terror Weapon (PHB, axe, hammer, heavy blades): use this with augmented demoralizing strike for absurd penalizing effects. Weapon of shared wrath (PHB3, any melee): add this effect to your bloodied effect for nova rounds with both builds.
Angelsteel Shield (AV1): nice bonus to the defenses but it's a daily Bracers of Bold Maneuvering (AV1): free moving 1/encounter and saves you from 1 opportunity attack. Very nice Bracers of defense (PHB): a nice defensive effect. Bracers of Iron Arcana (AV1): good bonus to AC daily Bracers of Respite (AV1): sweet help for your healing Bracers of Tactical blows (AV1): euphoric hit VERY hard on opportunity attacks with these Couters of Second Chances (AV1): reroll THAT daily attack that doesn't have to miss Feyleaf Vambraces (AV1): better at lower level, free daily teleport to flank position Guardian shield (PHB): nice for sword&board defensive enlightened ardents Healer's Shield (AV1): nice for very defensive builds Iron Armbands of Power (AV1): you're not a striker but they're good for some builds Mindiron Vambraces (AV1): very nice, gets better when you level to 18 or 28. Shield of deflection (PHB): you hate ranged attackers, they're difficult to punish decently. Resist 5 or 10 is good Shield of Eyes (AV1): nice and cheap, avoid flanking and makes you move easily Shield of warding (PHB): even nicer than bracers of defense Shimmerlight Shield (AV1): quite nice, better at lower level Wyrmguard Shield (AV1): at higher level critical hits can destroy your day.
Acrobat boots (PHB): if your DM likes prone effects, these are cheap for you Battlestride Greaves (PHB): i love bonus to speed, these are as good as an epic feat Dwarven Greaves (PHB): nice to negate sliding and pushing and to stay in melee Eladrin Boots (PHB): these may become blue if Psionic Power adds some new teleportation powers
Basilisk helm (PHB): nice against skirmishers Helm of Battle (PHB): scaling bonus to initiative is always very good. Maybe Skyblue for enlightened ardents Helm of Heroes (PHB): you grant many attack, use this item on augmented forward thinking cut, or fate exchange Horned Helm (PHB): you charge enough and this item adds extra punishment Iron of Spite (PHB): discourage enemies to hit you and autokill minions
Amulet of False life (PHB): nice but remember that t.hp don't stack (already read? sorry) Cloak of Feywild Escape (PHB): add another teleport to your arsenal Cloak of Resistance (PHB): classical and still good Guardian's Cape (PHB): lovely movement effect
Ring Of mental power (PHB3): very nice for any psionic power, you have 1 more PP for encounter and you can regain power points spent for one power which missed the target Ring of Protection (PHB): nice passive bonus Ring of Regeneration (PHB): +surge value, regain surges. Very very nice Star Opal Ring (PHB): add speed, teleport and damage. A top choice