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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    When trying to establish a versatile and powerful illusionist, who reigns supreme? The Illusionist Wizard? The Bard? A Sorcerer of some description? I've googled around and haven't found much of a consensus.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    The Illusionist and it's not even close

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Yeah. Illusionist wizard. The other two can use them effectively and be better at other things at the same time, but for straight use of illusions the one with illusionist in the name is a walk away.

    Edit: Clarification: It's not BECAUSE it's in the name. I've seen other games where the 'illusionist' just had the most illusion options but wasn't always the best at using them.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-05-22 at 08:32 PM.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    A dog in a wizard costume.
    "Who's a good illusionist? Who's the best illusionist?"

    Echoing illusionist wizard. As far as I know, wizards get the good illusion spells and then can add more stuff to them.
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    The Gnome Illusionist ô

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Illusion Wizard 14 and then just go sorcerer for Subtle Spell IMO.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Illusionist Wizard has the strongest feature in the game, bar none, and the sheer number of shenanigans Malleable Illusions opens up is insane.

    Like "hat of disguise for a level 1 spell slot" insane. Dumping all their 4th and higher level slots on 24+ hour duration non concentration spells that they can move around at will for the next day without a slot is insane. Hell, my illusionist keeps a full sized lake and a rowboat in her pocket between Mirage Arcane and Creation, and can scout perfectly at 500 mile ranges through redeployed Project Image uses. I've also used Illusionary Script as psychic paper and uses it to pass secret messages to people at will.

    And can redeploy all these illusions without verbal or somatic components, giving effectively free Subtle Spell.

    Just... Illusionist.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    2 levels of warlock can get you the invocations for at-will Disguise Self and Silent Image. At-will. Pretty handy if you plan on using those frequently.
    15 levels of warlock can get you the invocation for at-will Invisibility. Comes pretty late, but definitely useful.

    3 levels of sorcerer can get you the Subtle Spell metamagic, which combos nicely with using illusion magic in public without being noticed.

    2 levels of Illusionist wizard lets you create both sound and image with one casting of Minor Illusion.
    6 levels of Illusionist wizard lets you modify an illusion after you've already created it. At-will.
    14 levels of Illusionist wizard lets you make part of your illusion real for a short time. At-will, but can't deal damage.
    18 levels of wizard lets you get Spell Mastery, allowing you to choose a 1st and 2nd level spell to be at-will, which could include an illusion spell.

    I think this covers most of it.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    I think Warlock 2/ Illusionist Wizard18. Getting unlimited casting of illusions early in your career is strong.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Late game: Illusionist Wizard.
    Early game: warlock (Archfey) with right invocations/feats.

    That being said neither are bad at any time.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eragon123 View Post
    Late game: Illusionist Wizard.
    Early game: warlock (Archfey) with right invocations/feats.

    That being said neither are bad at any time.
    I half agree. Early game, the Warlock is the best illusionist, hands-down, with at-will silent image and minor illusion for sound. The Illusionist actually doesn't get to feel like an Illusionist in comparison until level 9, when he finally can make permanent major images. At that point, however, he completely overtakes the Warlock, with Malleable Illusions outstripping the Warlock's need to keep Concentration on his silent image, and ability to have only one at a time. Worse, the Warlock never progresses in skill at illusion, while the Illusionist has finally hit his stride and keeps getting cooler toys.

    Here is a good analysis (if I do say so myself) of what makes Illusionists awesome. Mirage arcane is nuts with Malleable Illusions, for instance.

    But low level, the Illusionist doesn't feel like an illusionist the way a Warlock does. Maybe trying to fix that should be my next homebrew project.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Multiclassing Wizard and Warlock would be IDEAL for an illusionist build, but keep in mind that the former uses Intelligence for spellcasting and the latter Charisma.

    Iím saying this because itís generally advised to only multiclass into other spellcasting classes if they share the same spellcasting ability (i.e. Cleric/Druid, Bard/Sorcerer, Wizard/EK), and Wizard/Warlock in general has too much MAD to be truly optimal.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Multiclassing warlock on your illusionist also delays the illusionist coming into his own until 11th level.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    And here I go again answering the question but not the question asked...

    From the DM perspective, it's the player with the best imagination.

    The rules may say you have the potential to be great, but it's the better player that realizes that potential in a way that entertains everyone.
    Last edited by Kurt Kurageous; 2019-05-23 at 08:10 AM.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Subtle Metamagic. Don't look back again.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Kurageous View Post
    And here I go again answering the question but not the question asked...

    From the DM perspective, it's the player with the best imagination.

    The rules may say you have the potential to be great, but it's the better player that realizes that potential in a way that entertains everyone.
    Actually, this brings up just how DM-dependent the utility of illusions is. "Creativity" in the part of one DM's player is "munchkinry" on the part of another's, and it is consistently amazing how rarely illusions go unexamined and are not found "obvious" fault with even by DMs who normally are pretty good at not metagaming.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZagiMellody View Post
    Subtle Metamagic. Don't look back again.
    Oh, good point. This would actually be a good upgrade for the Warlock Illusionist. Get Warlock 2, Sorcerer 3 for Misty Visions and Subtle Metamagic to be able to cast your at-will silent image without giving away the game. (It gets expensive in SP to use Subtle on both that and the minor illusion for sound, but is also doable.)

    Once the Illusionist Wizard has hit level 9, though, he doesn't need Subtle Spell to do his thing: he has permanent major images he's cast earlier that day (if not days ago) which he can alter at will. No need to cast a spell at all if he doesn't want to in order to have an illusion tailor-made for the situation he finds himself in.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Actually, this brings up just how DM-dependent the utility of illusions is. "Creativity" in the part of one DM's player is "munchkinry" on the part of another's, and it is consistently amazing how rarely illusions go unexamined and are not found "obvious" fault with even by DMs who normally are pretty good at not metagaming.
    All very true. Is your DM in the DM v. PCs camp? Does your DM hate when you creatively wreck their well-laid plans? DON'T PLAY ILLUSIONS.

    My self-check as a DM: Even if there is a chance the foes would have reason to doubt, it has to take an action to investigate. That means being in a position to look calmly at the illusion. If the party is influencing the action, the foes will be busy and won't have time to investigate or even think to question the situation. Self-preservation is a much higher priority than critical skepticism in most brains. Maybe not for a Beholder or Illithid, perhaps, but for most foes certainly.

    But if the action stops and the foes have a chance to rally and go, "Heeey. Wayyyyyyyytaminit, where'd THAT come from?" then they will take an action to WIS (Investigate) the illusion.

    A creative illusionist understands deception must include at least some element of plausibility to be effective. A water elemental in a lava lake ain't it.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Kurageous View Post
    All very true. Is your DM in the DM v. PCs camp? Does your DM hate when you creatively wreck their well-laid plans? DON'T PLAY ILLUSIONS.

    My self-check as a DM: Even if there is a chance the foes would have reason to doubt, it has to take an action to investigate. That means being in a position to look calmly at the illusion. If the party is influencing the action, the foes will be busy and won't have time to investigate or even think to question the situation. Self-preservation is a much higher priority than critical skepticism in most brains. Maybe not for a Beholder or Illithid, perhaps, but for most foes certainly.

    But if the action stops and the foes have a chance to rally and go, "Heeey. Wayyyyyyyytaminit, where'd THAT come from?" then they will take an action to WIS (Investigate) the illusion.

    A creative illusionist understands deception must include at least some element of plausibility to be effective. A water elemental in a lava lake ain't it.
    One of the DMs I've played with who is generally an "on the players' side" DM nevertheless typically had his monsters ignore illusions that didn't have mechanical consequences. Not even as a conscious "screw the illusionist" thing, but just because his valuation of the threat level or importance of the illusion always seemed to find reason why it was lower-priority than real threats. I don't think he did this on purpose. I think it was something subconscious. I've never had a DM who didn't have, on some level, a tendency to treat illusions like they were meaningless scenery at best.

    I mean, you'd think an ogre charging out of a dark cave and landing on a nest full of eggs, squishing one or two beneath his feet, would draw the attention of the things guarding the nest, but...well, apparently not.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I mean, you'd think an ogre charging out of a dark cave and landing on a nest full of eggs, squishing one or two beneath his feet, would draw the attention of the things guarding the nest, but...well, apparently not.
    Wow. Yeah, I can't agree with the ruling that the nest guardians wouldn't care or attempt to interact in some way with it. That 'ogre' would count in my mind as an ally for sneak attack reasons in the first round at least.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The Illusionist actually doesn't get to feel like an Illusionist in comparison until level 9, when he finally can make permanent major images.
    11 actually. It takes a 6th level slot.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalebert View Post
    11 actually. It takes a 6th level slot.
    Ah, drat, been too long since I looked at it. Thanks for the correction!

    Point stands, though: until moderately high level, the illusionist wizard just...doesn't feel very good at being an illusionist. As soon as he gets permanent-duration illusions, though, Malleable Illusions makes him amazing.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Probably a half-orc Barbarian with Magic Initiate and the Entertainer background. Absolutely no one would see it coming- and that's the hallmark of a great illusionist.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    I agree it depends on the level.

    I've been playing my Archfey warlock as a master of illusion and enchantment and have been loving it. Right from level 2 being able to cast Level one Silent Images at Will feels really powerful. No wizard would be able to keep up with the number of times I dropped one of those in any given day. Because I wasn't burning a slot I could also use them for pure entertainment value and not worry about using a resource.

    Using disguise self with the friends cantrip or charm person spell can take a lot of the sting out of the after effects.

    Upcasting invisibility as the warlock slots increase, controlling encounters with hypnotic pattern, etc...feels like a good and powerful illusionist to me.

    Now I recognize a wizard illusionist will pull away in tiers 3 and 4 (I can't even get illusionary dragon as an arcanum what is up with that?), but I find most play is in tiers 1 and 2 anyway so that is where I want to feel the power.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    The Sorcerer King, there's nothing about his power that isn't illusory.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by tieren View Post
    I've been playing my Archfey warlock as a master of illusion and enchantment and have been loving it. Right from level 2 being able to cast Level one Silent Images at Will feels really powerful. No wizard would be able to keep up with the number of times I dropped one of those in any given day. Because I wasn't burning a slot I could also use them for pure entertainment value and not worry about using a resource.

    Using disguise self with the friends cantrip or charm person spell can take a lot of the sting out of the after effects.
    I'm also trying out an archfey warlock with the actor-friends-mask of many faces combo. I feel like a social illusionist, but perhaps not the sort of "I control the horizontal and the vertical" illusionist you think of when you're looking for the "best" illusionist. Though an illusionist wizard wouldn't have hit his stride yet either.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Someday I may have to make an illusionist just to loony toons. Create an illusion of an anvil over someone's head and then make it real just long enough for the cartoon to play out
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    Someday I may have to make an illusionist just to loony toons. Create an illusion of an anvil over someone's head and then make it real just long enough for the cartoon to play out
    It even specifically canít hurt them!

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    As soon as he gets permanent-duration illusions, though, Malleable Illusions makes him amazing.
    Can confirm. I have a level 20 illusionist in AL. And with Mirage Arcana they're basically a Stranger from Dark City who can tune!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    Create an illusion of an anvil over someone's head and then make it real just long enough for the cartoon to play out
    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    It even specifically canít hurt them!
    True, but you could be making sounds with Minor Illusion so you can certainly make the "bonk" sound followed by birds tweeting.
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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    I very much want to play a post-level-11 Illusionist. From carrying around "pet" illusions I can remake at a whim to rewriting entire cities, it'll just be so much fun.

    I just wish that the choice wasn't "good at low level, okay-ish at high" or "meh at low level, amazing at high." The 2nd level feature needs something to make the ability to illusion at will a bit better. Either that, or minor illusion is supposed to be better than most people treat it as.

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    Default Re: 5E: Who is the best Illusionist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Kurageous View Post
    From the DM perspective, it's the player with the best imagination. The rules may say you have the potential to be great, but it's the better player that realizes that potential in a way that entertains everyone.
    This. So much this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Kurageous View Post
    My self-check as a DM: Even if there is a chance the foes would have reason to doubt, it has to take an action to investigate.
    That means being in a position to look calmly at the illusion. If the party is influencing the action, the foes will be busy and won't have time to investigate or even think to question the situation. Self-preservation is a much higher priority than critical skepticism in most brains. Maybe not for a Beholder or Illithid, perhaps, but for most foes certainly.

    But if the action stops and the foes have a chance to rally and go, "Heeey. Wayyyyyyyytaminit, where'd THAT come from?" then they will take an action to WIS (Investigate) the illusion.
    Nice point, italics mine.
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