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    Default [4E] Assassin Class Question

    I've been reading through the assassin class out of Dragon #379, and there is something off about it. The "assassin's shroud" at-will power seems to say that as a free action you can target any enemy you can see within 10 squares, "shroud" them 4 times at no cost to you, and deal an additional 4d6 damage to them on your next attack. Am I reading this correctly? Because if this is the case... why wouldn't you shroud them 4 times every time?
    Last edited by TroubleBrewing; 2010-11-24 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    If you read more closely you see it says "as a free action, but not more than once per round" or something along the lines of that.

    Personally I think this is the reason why the assassin is one (if not the) worst striker.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Ahhhhhh i get it now. It takes you 4 rounds to build up the shrouds necessary to deal good damage. That's kind of rough. Is the D&D Essentials version any better?

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey McBannert View Post
    Ahhhhhh i get it now. It takes you 4 rounds to build up the shrouds necessary to deal good damage. That's kind of rough. Is the D&D Essentials version any better?
    Much better. Not my favorite class but more effective no doubt. The weapon proficiencies and pre-reqs for certain at-will powers seen a little wonky though
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    It's actually not as bad as it first seems. If you wanted, you could put a shroud on someone, attack them, and invoke the shroud, so you'd be getting +1d6 damage on each attack (similar to other strikers). However, it also gives you the option of laying down shrouds on one person for a while while you're dealing with other issues (killing minions, disabling traps, etc), and then expend them all at once for a really big hit.

    In addition, one of the advantages of building up shrouds is that you're guaranteed a minimum damage, so if you have 3 shrouds on someone, even if you miss you can still do 2d6. To make the most out of your assassin, I'd recommend always waiting til you have at least 2 shrouds on a target before spending them. This will significantly increase your average damage output since you'll be doing damage even on a miss.

    When paired with powers & feats that allow you to lay down multiple shrouds at once; or the feat that allows you to lay down shrouds without the target's knowledge (this is especially useful if you're in the type of game where you can scout ahead and lay down 4 shrouds before the combat ever starts), you can be a very effective striker.

    Assassins also have the option to take the poison line of feats, so after 2 or 3 feats, you're doing exclusively poison damage to every target you attack, and you ignore all resistances or immunities to poison. This is very nice because this means you never have to worry about a creature with a resistance to a particular damage type like other classes would.

    The essentials Assassin is interesting. It was recently re-vamped from the initial release, and I feel like the new version is actually much weaker than the previous. I honestly would recommend sticking with a classic assassin. They can be very powerful when played right, and can easily fill the striker roll.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    In terms of filling any roll, the Assassin presented in Dragon #379 can't find its way out of a wet paper bag. Period, end of story. They just tried to shoehorn too many different ideas into one class, with the result that said class can't do a blasted thing.

    As for the Essentials version, it is much, much, MUCH better in every possible way, provided you stick with #391's playtest version until they release the un-neutered version in #394. I still wouldn't recommend it as a primary or solo Striker, though.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    The assassin is not a terrible class, just more difficult to play than other strikers due to the unusual way its damage-boosting abilities work. It's not the most damage-dealing class out there, but it pulls its weight. There are no sucky classes in 4e, even the "weak" ones are useful.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    The assassin is not a terrible class, just more difficult to play than other strikers due to the unusual way its damage-boosting abilities work. It's not the most damage-dealing class out there, but it pulls its weight. There are no sucky classes in 4e, even the "weak" ones are useful.
    Speaking from experience: Only as an HP sink.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    The assassin is not a terrible class, just more difficult to play than other strikers due to the unusual way its damage-boosting abilities work. It's not the most damage-dealing class out there, but it pulls its weight. There are no sucky classes in 4e, even the "weak" ones are useful.
    Quote Originally Posted by vasharanpaladin View Post
    Speaking from experience: Only as an HP sink.
    I think there's sort of a middle ground between you two. In my experience, the Assassin is the worst class. However, it's also (at least according to everyone I've spoken with who has played one) the most fun class to play. The tricks they get are completely awesome and just full of win. Well, if win is determined by having fun, and since D&D is still a game, it should be.

    But yeah, Assassin's are weak as a class and could really use an upgrade or five.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    A player in a past game used one. He seemed able to carry his weight, but the assassin only played in a few sessions towards the end, and the player did like to go solo every now and then
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by vasharanpaladin View Post
    Speaking from experience: Only as an HP sink.
    I've never seen an assassin in play, but from the Dragon article alone I can imagine that it can be a pretty effective class: unlike a rogue, you can pick a strong superior weapon, like the fullblade. If you're a Night Stalker, all of your attacks deal +charisma damage on enemies that aren't adjacent to any other enemies, and moving targets around to ensure this will always (or almost always) be the case is not that hard. At level 30, you can easily deal 2d12+1d6+30 damage as an at-will power without any powerbuilding. That's not so bad.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    I played an Assassin at the one D&D encounters game I was able to make it to; and it was a blast. As far as weapons went I switched between a Glaive and a Longsword, and I was able to sit behind the front lines and destroy things. The class is a ton of fun. I really recommend playing one.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Having played an assassin in several campaigns and Encounters, I will echo what has been said here: they are weak, no getting around it. I never found their damage output to be lackluster, rather their survival abilities- I got dropped a lot, often because I over-extended myself with a teleport. But, assassin is one of the most fun classes I have ever played, and _definitely_ the most fun I've ever had with a striker.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    I think people don't realize that for the Assassin class, as is, you're supposed to pick the least assassin-y weapons. No short swords or rapiers, you need execution axes and the like.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    I've never seen an assassin in play, but from the Dragon article alone I can imagine that it can be a pretty effective class: unlike a rogue, you can pick a strong superior weapon, like the fullblade. If you're a Night Stalker, all of your attacks deal +charisma damage on enemies that aren't adjacent to any other enemies, and moving targets around to ensure this will always (or almost always) be the case is not that hard. At level 30, you can easily deal 2d12+1d6+30 damage as an at-will power without any powerbuilding. That's not so bad.
    At level 30. That's the qualifier. The point at hand is that, for the 379 Assassin, you have to powerbuild your butt off just to reach par with another Striker. And I don't mean a Ranger, nobody can hope to match them, I mean an Avenger.

    That means, get this, half the class (the Bleak Disciple build) is useless, and the other half is crippled by its schizophrenia. The Bleak Disciple doesn't get a static damage boost, all its damage comes from riders. Okay, fine, but the Battlerager Fighter still does it better. Night Stalkers? Want simultaneously to be in melee and as far away from it as possible, because to say Assassin ranged powers suck would be an insult to vaccuum cleaners, and Controller HPs means one good hit and you fold like a cheap deck chair.

    Now, considering that last statement, you're probably thinking something along the lines of "well, that's what Shade Form is for," right? Wrong. Truthfully, Shade Form would be a mitigating factor, if it didn't stop you from contributing to the battle in any meaningful fashion to keep it up. Shadow Step's pretty much the only saving grace, but it's pretty much a ribbon on the dog pile at the moment.

    In summary, I honestly hope that there's someone at WotC working around the clock to fix this mess, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Easier to take the Essentials version and have done with it.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by vasharanpaladin View Post
    At level 30. That's the qualifier. The point at hand is that, for the 379 Assassin, you have to powerbuild your butt off just to reach par with another Striker. And I don't mean a Ranger, nobody can hope to match them, I mean an Avenger.
    Well, the same build deals 1d12+1d6+8 damage on first level as an at-will, without any magic items. Not that terrible. A rogue gets an at-will that gives +charisma to damage too, but it's only that one at-will power, while assassin can add it to all powers.

    But yeah, Bleak Disciples suck, and all assassins are terribly squishy. This class requires a lot of cooperation and tactics to be effective, while all other strikers are much simpler to play.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    But yeah, Bleak Disciples suck, and all assassins are terribly squishy.
    I've played a Bleak Disciple Gnoll assassin, and this seems contradictory. They generate temp hit points constantly, have Con as a secondary stat (boosting HP), and have base HP and AC comparable to a rogue. The damage output may be low, but being a gnoll helps that quite a bit. Assassins are definitely on the low side of striker damage, but I don't agree that they're all "terribly squishy."

    I also love the idea of the thing popping out of the shadows being a snarling seven-foot-six monster with a fullblade instead of a halfling with a dagger.

    Strange assassin story: In the big final fight of an LFR game, the party wizard used a big damage zone power, and warned us all to keep out. The enemy had a controller, and forced me to slide into the zone and attack myself with a melee basic attack. The zone bloodied me, which made my Gauntlets of Blood and the Gnoll bloodied damage bonus kick in. I hit myself (due to melee training, pre-nerf), and knocked myself out. If I didn't have the bonus damage from the item and racial feature, or if I hadn't taken melee training, I would have been fine.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by vasharanpaladin View Post
    At level 30. That's the qualifier. The point at hand is that, for the 379 Assassin, you have to powerbuild your butt off just to reach par with another Striker. And I don't mean a Ranger, nobody can hope to match them, I mean an Avenger.
    Why are you citing the highest damage striker class as "only an Avenger"?

    Avengers have the only class feature striker mechanic that scales with CharOp.

    (Low-charop avengers are, admittedly, mediocre -- but a Ranger without static-bonus tweaking isn't that good either.)

    ---

    The 4e assassin (pre-essentails) needs work. And there is less in the way of power options than other classes, which makes it harder to find good ones.

    Still -- shadow darts type powers (top-notch crit-fishing, ridiculous accuracy). Sneak-up, multi-shroud isn't bad (the feat that lets you do this should be "free", honestly). You have an at-will teleport.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    Why are you citing the highest damage striker class as "only an Avenger"?
    He isn't. He's saying to put it as par for a new Striker class's damage output, since an optimized Ranger is pretty much impossible to beat in single-target damage.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    But, avengers are top-tier strikers damage-wise. They outdamage rangers.

    Admittedly, making a mid-tier damage output ranger can be easy (get every static damage source you can, only pick minor action/immediate encounter attack powers, and you are done). Easier than other strikers.

    Assassins problem is that they are both hard to get up into the mid-tier (you have to do pretty heavy charop to get there), and beyond that they simply peter out.

    Their baseline "pick random powers and feats and items" power level is no better or worse than other strikers. Rangers are no better than Avengers at this baseline level.

    (Avengers are the only striker class whose class feature scales with increased character optimization. The generous interpretation of the first avenger MC feat lets non-avengers be an avenger relatively often, with a 2 turn encounter oath that still recharges when they drop their target...)

    Baseline twin-strike ranger:
    1.0 W + 0.75 HQ + 1.0 static + 0.1 crit

    Static =~ 0.3*level, with no item bonuses because you are baseline.
    W =~ 5 (10 epic)
    HQ =~ 4 per tier
    crit =~ level+4

    Total: (level is "levels into the tier")
    Heroic: 8.4 + level*0.4 DPR
    Paragon: 15.4 + level*0.4 DPR
    Epic: 27.4 + level*0.4 DPR

    Baseline clever strike brutal rogue:
    0.65 W + 0.65 BS + 0.65 static + 0.05 crit + dex+str
    W =~ 3 (4 paragon, 9 epic)
    BS =~ 9/14/23
    dex+str =~ 7+level/4
    static = 0.3* level
    crit =~ level*1.5+6 (backstab improves this)

    Heroic: 0.65*(3+9+0.3*L+7+0.25*L) + 0.05*(level*1.5+6)
    = 0.65*(19+0.55L) + (0.3 + 0.075 L)
    =~ 12.65 + 0.43 L DPR

    Paragon: 20.85 + 0.43 L DPR

    Epic: 34.25 + 0.43 L DPR

    What makes the Ranger pull ahead is the ease of static damage boosts, for which you get a better leverage factor than the rogue.

    Then you double-down on the static boosts by stocking up on non-standard action attacks. Which pulls you ahead.

    Avengers aren't that far off either of the above.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    But, avengers are top-tier strikers damage-wise. They outdamage rangers.
    Wait, what? I think the entire charop board disagrees with you on this one.

    Baseline twin-strike ranger:
    1.0 W + 0.75 HQ + 1.0 static + 0.1 crit
    This math seems way off. Two to-hit rolls don't give you 1.0 W; there's no reason for not having HQ every single round; and static is way more than 0.3 per level (for example, at high heroic you can get +2 armbands, +1 gloves, +2 magic weapon, +1 feat and +1 whetstone, which is 0.8 per level without even trying hard)

    Baseline clever strike brutal rogue:
    0.65 W + 0.65 BS + 0.65 static + 0.05 crit + dex+str
    This doesn't seem right either. Rogues are way more accurate than hitting 0.65 of the time, and you'd do more damage with riposte strike, and a common rogue paragon path lets them crit on an 18.

    What makes the Ranger pull ahead is the ease of static damage boosts,
    No, what makes the ranger pull ahead is that his static damage boosts count twice. He gets the same boosts as pretty much every other melee striker.

    (edit) simple proof that Rangers outdamage Avengers: suppose you have 60% chance to hit. Then both have a 16% chance that both rolls miss, 48% chance that one roll hits, and 36% chance that both hit. In the first case, both do zero damage. In the second case, both do equal damage (1W+mod+ability for 'venger, 1W+mod+quarry for ranger). In the third case, the 'venger still does 1W+m+a, but the ranger does 2W+2mod+quarry, which is clearly more.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2010-12-03 at 12:57 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Do note that you can't compare the damage-dealing ability of various classes just by comparing their at-will powers. At paragon and epic levels you have so many encounter and daily powers that on average you use maybe 1-3 at-wills each fight.

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    Default Re: [4E] Assassin Class Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Do note that you can't compare the damage-dealing ability of various classes just by comparing their at-will powers. At paragon and epic levels you have so many encounter and daily powers that on average you use maybe 1-3 at-wills each fight.
    Sure. But the principle holds. The ranger has many encounter and daily powers that give him extra attacks, from Disruptive Strike to Blade Cascade, and the avenger much less so. Hence the ranger will outdamage the 'venger.
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