Although the Bladesinger is a widely despised class here at here Char-Op due to bad design choices, I have something of a weak spot for the class. I can't resist tinkering with something that's broken but can be fixed up to something decent. Call it the Seeker-fallacy, if you will.
Anyway, here's a list of several Bladesinger builds I've come up with that each have a different schtick. Enjoy if you like 'em , criticise 'em if you don't. Thanks for reading!
The Arcane INTimidator
This build goes for an explosive opening round by immediately trying to intimidate one bad guy out of the fight. It does so by using the Yakuza theme encounter power (roll an Intimidate check as a free action against an enemy you bloody to make it surrender) in combination with the Spook cantrip (use Arcana for Intimidate checks once per encounter), an unreal Arcana score and a nova turn that looks like this:
Minor action: Activate Bladesong. Move action: Fey Step next to an enemy. Free action: make a melee basic attack (Eladrin Swordmage Advance). If you hit with your Frost Weapon, inflict cold vulnerability (Lasting Frost) and gain combat advantage (Wintertouched). No action: Lightning Ring, Arcane Admixtured to cold for extra cold damage. Standard action: make a melee basic attack with combat advantage, doing extra cold damage. No action: Unseen Hand, Arcane Admixtured to cold for extra cold damage, which also triggers Lightning Ring for even more cold damage.
Thanks to the damage bonuses from Bladesong, frostcheese, Light Blade Expertise, Weapon Focus and Bracers of Mighty Striking, most standard monsters should be bloodied after this. If not, just use an action point. If you miss with an attack, just reroll it with Life's Losing Hand (Yakuza utility 2).
Although enemies get a +10 bonus to Will vs your Arcana check, you can usually make them surrender on a roll of 5-10.
Build: (only relevant information shown) Spoiler:Show
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== level 21 Eladrin, Wizard (Bladesinger), [any paragon path], Sage of Ages Blade Magic Option: Rapier Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Cold Arcane Admixture II Option: Arcane Admixture Cold II Theme: Yakuza
FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 13, CON 12, DEX 22, INT 26, WIS 10, CHA 12
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 11, CON 10, DEX 14, INT 18, WIS 8, CHA 10
ITEMS Runic Leather Armor +5 x1 Frost Rapier +5 x1 Bracers of Mighty Striking (epic tier) Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) ====== End ======
Thanks to your high INT-score you have a full choice of Wizard encounters in your second turn to back up your nova turn, and you can follow those up with minor action MBAs to milk your Bladesong for all it's worth. Finally, Sage of Ages does its thing as always.
The Lightning Monk
Wouldn't it be cool if you could use Lightning Ring and Unseen Hand simultaneously so Lightning Ring's damage would trigger immediately? Well, there is a way to do so on every melee basic attack. Paragon multiclass into Monk and at level 11 switch out your Magic Missile at-will power for Centered Flurry of Blows.
Whenever you hit with a melee basic attack, you first set up a Lightning Ring around the enemy and then Flurry of Blows to immediately move them out of it again. Deadly Draw gives you combat advantage, and the new Babau Gauntlets (Dragon 408) let you make DEX-based MBA's. Because come on, who needs INT anyway?
FEATS Light Blade Expertise Level 2: Monastic Disciple Level 6: Novice Power Level 8: Acolyte Power Level 10: Adept Power Level 11: Deadly Draw
ITEMS Babau Gauntlets
====== End ======
Because of the intensive multiclassing, you gain access to different Monk powers, some of which are just delicious. You compensate for your low INT by only taking Wizard encounter powers that don't require an attack roll.
Be aware that although the strict wording of paragon multiclassing lets you take any at-will power from your multiclass, the Character Builder only lets you take a level 1 at-will attack power. So if your DM adheres to the CB, you're out of luck.
The Blade Cascade
I hope you like your Bladesingers with liberal application of cheese, because this build takes Dilettante and Paragon Multiclassing and stretches it to its thinnest. It attacks no less than 3 times per turn, using the following sequence:
1. Throw and Stab lets you attack one enemy at range with your Drow Long Knife 2. T&S then lets you move to another enemy to make an MBA 3. You make your MBA with your Drow Long Knife 4. Cast a Bladespell 5. Because you attacked with an MBA, you can attack the enemy again with your off-hand Drow Long Knife using Dual Weapon Attack. You qualify for DWA because you also wield Wrist Razors in your arm slot.
You get T&S from your Dilettante, which becomes an at-will thanks to Versatile Master. You paragon multiclass to Ranger for some spiffy powers and to swap Magic Missile for Dual Weapon Attack. Adept Dilettante lets you use your CON for the Throw part of Throw and Stab, and Babau Gauntlets let you make your MBA using DEX instead of STR. So statwise, you only have to put points in CON and DEX.
FEATS Level 1: Superior Weapon Training (Drow Long Knife) Level 2: Expertise Level 4: Adept Dilettante Level 6: Novice Power Level 8: Acolyte Power Level 10: Adept Power Level 11: Versatile Master
ITEMS Wrist Razors Drow Long Knife Babau Gauntlets
====== End ======
Because Lasting Frost only lets you apply vulnerability to the first enemy you hit with a cold power each turn, and Throw and Stab forces you to attack 2 different enemies, frostcheese won't work. Instead, you could use Shadow Sever and Headman's Chop for extra damage on Dual Weapon Attack. Or get creative, replace your Drow Long Knife with a Throwing Hammer, and use Dazzling Sunray and Hammer Shock to accompany your MBA with a hefty -4 attack penalty.
Like the Lightning Monk, the Cascade gains access to different Ranger powers, among which a minor or out-of-turn encounter attack power. This build also compensates for its low INT by only taking Wizard encounter powers that don't require an attack roll.
Lastly, this build also won't work in the Character Builder.
The Wand Collector
This isn't a build, as much as it uses a fun trick. Not many people know the wand creation rules as they're written in the Player's Handbook (page 242):
"You can design your own wand. A wand can contain an encounter power of any class capable of using wands. When you craft a wand, you can choose any encounter power that you know or that is available to your class. You can’t choose anything other than a class power (you can’t choose a paragon path power, for instance)."
See where this is going? Bladesingers can use wands, and Bladesong is a class encounter power. So if you take the Ritual Caster feat and invest a little money in the Enchant Magic Item ritual, then you can construct a bunch of Wands of Bladesong. Each of those lets you use Bladesong one more time per day. After you've created your wands, retrain Ritual Caster and enjoy your new collection!
POWERS Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack Purple Dragon Utility: Focused Discipline Wizard Utility: Suggestion Wizard Utility: Spook Wizard Utility: Mage Hand Wizard Utility: Bladesong Wizard Attack: Lightning Ring Wizard Attack: Frost Bite Wizard Attack: Unseen Hand Wizard Attack 1: Beast Switch Wizard Attack 1: Burning Hands Wizard Attack 1: Ray of Enfeeblement Wizard Attack 1: Magic Missile Wizard Utility 2: Memory to Mist Wizard Utility 2: Jump Wizard Attack 3: Call the Night Winds Wizard Attack 3: Color Spray Wizard Utility 6: Dimension Door Wizard Utility 6: Warp in the Weave Wizard Attack 7: Charm of the Defender Wizard Attack 7: Phantom Foes Wizard Utility 10: Mirror Image Wizard Utility 10: Arcane Gate War Wizard of Cormyr Attack 11: Lightning Ripple War Wizard of Cormyr Utility 12: One-Way Barrier Wizard Attack 13: Prismatic Burst Wizard Attack 13: Thunderlance Wizard Utility 16: Fly Insight Utility 16: Words of Truth
FEATS Level 1: War Wizard's Expertise Level 1: Dual Implement Spellcaster Level 2: Superior Implement Training (Accurate dagger) Level 4: Silvery Glow Level 6: Improved Defenses Level 8: White Lotus Riposte Level 11: Arcane Admixture Level 11: Lasting Frost Level 12: White Lotus Master Riposte Level 14: Battle Awareness Level 16: Arcane Admixture II Level 18: Wintertouched
ITEMS Vanguard Accurate dagger +4 Bestial Leather Armor +4 Bracers of Mighty Striking (paragon tier) Acrobat Boots Horned Helm (paragon tier) Orb of Spatial Contortion +4 Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier) Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) Steadfast Amulet +3 ====== End ======
- Beast Switch and Lightning Ring are both Arcane Admixtured to cold for Lasting Frost, Wintertouched and Gloves of Ice - Attack with an Accurate Dagger and use a Headband of Intellect for accurate Beast Switch - DIS, Silvery Glow, Lasting Frost, Bracers of Mighty Striking, Siberys Shard of the Mage, Horned Helm, Vanguard Dagger and Gloves of Ice pump static damage - Thanks to White Lotus (Master) Riposte and Battle Awareness (not to mention the fact that the enemy is prone), you are all but guaranteed to deal damage out of turn. Steely Retort gives you an OA as well when your Bladesong is active
Lightning Ring increases the damage by 2 + 5 (dex) + 5 (cold vulnerability) = 12. The target is now prone, adjacent to you. If it moves before the end of your next turn, it takes another 12 damage (which happens when you hit it with Beast Switch again).
Out of turn damage:
White Lotus Riposte: 6 (int) + 5 (vulnerability) = 11.
White Lotus Master Riposte/OA: 46.5 (see above, minus Horned Helm and Vanguard Weapon), but no Bladespell. However, you do trigger Lightning Ring's movement effect for 12 damage when you slide with Beast Switch.
So assuming that you hit with Beast Switch, you deal a minimum of 128.5 damage (2 Beast Switch + 1 Lightning Ring + 1 Lightning Ring movement effect) if the enemy moves away from you. This increases to 186 when the enemy attacks and hits you thanks to the Riposte and the OA of Steely Retort. This is enough to kill any standard non-brute enemy at level 18.
Other stuff: - Orb of Spatial Contortion has got to be a lot of fun with Color Spray, Burning Hands or Lightning Ripple. War Wizard's Expertise makes it so you won't hit your allies. - Frostbite and Unseen Hand could be situationally useful against enemies other than your Beast Switch target
The Generator aims to combine Lightning Ring and the elemental feats Lightning Soul and Fiery Blood to damage itself multiple times per turn, thereby discharging a boatload of lightning and fire damage on nearby enemies.
For this, you only need the Lightning Soul feat, the Fiery Blood feat and the Arcane Admixture feat to make Lightning Ring also deal fire damage. The Purple Dragon theme helps immensely for the free shift after hitting with an MBA, but you can also use White Lotus Master Evasion if you can spare the feats.
This is how it works:
Hit with an MBA.
Target yourself with Lightning Ring. Ideally, your Dex mod is only 1, so you deal 1 lightning and fire damage to yourself.
This damage triggers both Lightning Soul and Fiery Blood, so you deal another 15 damage to the enemy.
Now you shift 1 square as a free action thanks to the Purple Dragon stance. This triggers the secondary effect of Lightning Ring, so you take another 1 lightning and fire damage.
Finally, this triggers Lightning Soul and Fiery Blood again, so you deal another 15 damage to the enemy.
Your MBA is now 1[W]+INT+30, with the investment of only 3 paragon feats. But we can do better than that.
Jay_Ibero_911 pointed out to me that Wardens have the Breach Warden paragon path, with the Elemental Breach level 11 feature that lets you deal damage equal to your Constitution to a marked enemy every time you take damage of a certain type of your choice. Fortunately, Lightning is among those types you can choose, so if your Constitution is high enough, this could mean even more damage. But how to mark consistently?
That's where the Half-elf comes in. The Defending Dabbler feat lets you mark any enemy you hit with your Dilettante power. And it just so happens there's an awesome Dilettante power you can poach: Eldritch Strike, which is not only Arcane but also lets you use Constitution as your attack and damage stat.
Here's a skeleton for a Half-elf Breach Warden Generator build: (only relevant information shown)
The Intelligence score of this build is high because you need AC (you're marking enemies, after all) and it's nice not being restricted to Wizard powers without attack rolls. You can't choose Dex because otherwise you're only damaging yourself needlessly with Lightning Ring.
White Lotus Riposte creates a small Catch-22 that punishes marked enemies for attacking you.
The only "problem" with this build is that you trade your paragon path for what basically amounts to 2xCon extra damage to all your basic attacks. The rest of the path is close to useless.
Genasi have the lovely Shocking Flame feat, which adds 2 fire or lightning damage to all attacks when manifesting Firesoul or Stormsoul. This conveniently turns your MBA into a fire or lightning attack, so it not only benefits from Lightning Soul/Fiery Blood's feat bonus to damage, but can also be increased in the following ways:
The Lyrandar Wind-Rider paragon path gives you +1 to attack and +Con to damage when manifesting Stormsoul.
The Gifts for the Queen item set increases your damage rolls by 1 point for every item you have of the set (minimum 2) when manifesting Stormsoul.
Firewind Blade lets you deal extra damage to adjacent enemies when manifesting Firesoul.
The Elemental Tempest paragon path or the epic feat Double Manifestation lets you manifest both souls at once, but you do have to find a way around your fire & lightning resistance, otherwise the damage from Lightning Ring won't trigger. Burn Everything is the only way I could find.
You could also be a Magmasoul Genasi. Then you get this little racial trait that lets you add 1d6 to all melee attacks until EONT if you take fire damage.
By using a Lightning Weapon or Spellsoul Blade, your MBAs also gain the Lightning keyword. This lets you boost them with Lightning Soul and opens up the Mark of Storm feat. Mark of Storm lets you slide the enemy one square, which you can then change to prone if you use a Lightning Flail and Flail Expertise.
By the way, you can tack this combo (minus the Genasi part) on the Blade Cascade in the previous post, since that build doesn't have a clear-cut Bladespell to go with it yet. This lets you really deal obscene amounts of damage.
This build starts working at level 11 and comes to fruition at level 16. It's yet another Half-elf Versatile Master build, but this time it's centered around using a Druid at-will power and the Blightbeast paragon path.
Your Dilettante power here is Savage Rend, an implement MBA that slides the target 1 square. Since you can use light and heavy blades as implements for your attack powers, you can use Savage Rend and still get a Bladespell when you use it.
If you pick up Initiate of the Old Faith, you get the Druid's Wild Shape power so you can actually use Savage Rend and qualify for Blightbeast.
The Blighted Wild Shape level 11 feature of the Blightbeast path lets you deal extra necrotic damage equal to your Constitution with powers that have the beast form keyword. The Blightborn level 16 feature inflicts vulnerable 5 necrotic to enemies without necrotic resistance when you hit them with a beast form power. This gives you a nice doubletap with Shadow Sever, a Bladespell that deals necrotic damage.
Shadow Sever also prones. Combined with the slide from Savage Rend, you can prone + slide any enemy you hit to position them in such a way that they can't charge you and draw an opportunity attack when they charge your allies.
FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 11, CON 16, DEX 20, INT 12, WIS 22, CHA 9
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 10, CON 13, DEX 16, INT 11, WIS 16, CHA 8
POWERS Wizard Utility: Bladesong Wizard Attack: Shadow Sever Dilettante Attack: Savage Rend
FEATS Level 1: Melee Training: Wisdom (retrained to Versatile Master at 11) Level 2: Versatile Expertise Level 4: Superior Will Level 6: Cunning Stalker Level 8: Improved Defenses Level 10: Enraged Boar Form Level 11: Ferocious Tiger Form Level 12: Stalking Panther Form Level 14: Implement Focus Level 16: Resilient Focus
ITEMS Claw Gloves
You can choose your feats pretty freely. I went with a bunch of interesting Beast Form feats, because why not. Your theme should be Werebear so you get an AC and Fort bonus.
Too bad that you can't pump your Constitution, because your AC will suffer otherwise. Fortunately pumping Dexterity increases your damage by the same amount and it raises your AC and Ref at the same time so you won't have a bad NAD. Another drawback is your low Intelligence, which means you can only choose Wizard powers that don't require an attack roll. You could of course pump Int over Dex, but that means no damage with your Bladespells. Up to you, but I choose Dex.
Alternatively, you can pick the Blood Moon Stalker paragon path for the sweet action point feature that lets you make no less than 3 melee basic attacks (or 2 MBAs and 1 daily, or 2 dailies and 1 MBA, but you get the idea). Get proficiency with holy symbols for the Symbol of Victory power so you can get an additional action point per day if you score a critical hit, which shouldn't be a problem with the level 16 feature that grants you a doubled crit range with beast form powers.
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way. Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken. Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken. King Fisher Does an excellent job at keeping an enemy disabled in a few ways. Strong. Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading. Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered. Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square. Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong. Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked. Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic. Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation. Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses. Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat. Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent. Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof. Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it. Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways. Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful. The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken. Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken Unnamed Avenger|Runepriest/Hammer of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered. Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5. Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong. Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight, only far more broken. Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken. Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.
Another variant/tweak you could consider is a cross between 'Lightning Monk' and 'The Blade Cascade.' Half-Elf, PMC to get the monk's flurry of blows, T&S/Versatile Master for Dilettante, Blurred Strike Ki Focus. Now you can get 2 attacks from T&S, 1 Bladespell, and 2 FoB's every round. Probably not as damaging as The Blade Cascade, but may allow you to strike more opponents (especially if you can attack with FoB at range) with additional positioning control.
With the KAM nerf, looks like Blade Cascade got further elevated in its ability to spam attacks compared to peers...
I have a Half-orc Bladesinger who just made it to Paragon in LFR. I am having a hard time deciding on his paragon path, due to his INT stat being 11. I am thinking of the Half-orc racial paragon path but I am also considering the Fighter PP, Kensai, it get a good bonus to hit with my MBAs.
I am going to take him down the Lasting Frostcheese feat path, so he'll be doing lots of damage with arcane admixtured Chill Lightning Ring.
If you want to take a wizard path, Spellstorm Mage is very decent. It's one of the few PPs where no feature or attack is wasted because of your low INT, and it even recharges Bladesong once per day. Traveller's Harlequin is cool for multiclass shenanigans. Otherwise you should probably stick to Kensei, yeah.
Going to revive this thread a bit as I begin to look at my options for a Dwarven Bladesinger. Initial thoughts include going with a khopesh, dwarven weapon, and dual implement spell caster to beef up a str based mba. But Im looking at level 6-8 so I am short on feats and still want to boost skills. My other thought is not stressing about damage and trying to go with a heavy out-of-combat Arcana user.
I like the idea of being able to use whatever mba I want to trigger things, but the lack of stat overlap is going to suck.
Do you really, really want to deal a lot of damage? If that's so, DIS and DWT seem pretty good. Also be aware that none of the Bladesinger's class features actually require you to use a Blade, except for the implement part. You could just as well use a Waraxe or a Craghammer, which also opens up other avenues. That does mean you lose out on DIS though, since axes and hammers aren't considered implements for Bladesingers.
On the other hand, if you do go with DWT and a khopesh, it means you lose out on 1 point of accuracy (only +2 prof) and Nimble Blade. Since hitting is everything to a Bladesinger (Bladespells, Bladesong), I'm not sure you should be doing that.
Also, you say you're going with an Arcana user. First off, check out the Arcane INTimidator for a good in-combat use of the skill. Second, that means you can't use a STR-based MBA. High INT, STR and DEX is impossible for a Dwarf. So you have to choose: STR-MBA or high INT. If you want both, then you just dump STR because your MBA already works off your INT anyway.
It does. The problem with going Int though is that it costs me +1 to hit so via Str I can get +12 at lvl 6 (without magic weapons) while Int leaves me at +11, this means trying the Khoepsh route is even worse because that would drop me to +10.
It's going to be a tough decision because I'm stuck with a non-optimized race so that really limits what my potential is. I'm thinking I will avoid Heavy Blade Ex. since I already get the OA protection. The hard thing to decide is whether I want to hit harder, or be more useful out of combat. It seems like the Bladesinger has the potential to be very effective both in and out of combat which is nice to see!