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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    After looking at some feats I thought that maybe sword and board could challenge the PAM for a defender build.

    Sentinel is mandatory in both cases.

    PAM allows you to keep 5ft between you and one opponent thanks to the reintroduction of the trigger for AoO from 3.5 and is also good for damage with a possible use for your bonus action that some classes don't get.

    Blade Mastery offers a general +1 to hit with all swords and advantage on OA so you have pretty good chances of triggering sentinel if someone tryes to get away. The use your reaction to gain +1 AC is situational but useful against multiple enemies or against a single enemy that has is trying to kill you already.

    We could throw in the mix also GWM and Shield Master, the first provides a good DPR bonus and the second offers a situational bonus, evasion but the 3.5 version and a melee support use for your bonus action.

    So is this a viable feat build for a defender/tank or is PAM unmached?
    Last edited by Trandir; 2019-10-22 at 06:20 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    My vote is for Spear and Shield with PAM and Sentinel.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Well if we're talking only between SwM+ShM and PAM+GWM...
    Paladins/Sorcadins are very good with S&B, but I imagine you mean fighter...
    Does eldritch knight + shadow blade count? Maybe even EK+Wizard?

    That aside, if you mean to play a champion 20 or something without special effects/spells, PAM+GWM is definitely the best for damage and for active defense (threaten with more attacks, control an area). S&B has better passive defense (AC) and can support other melee by giving advantage with shove.

    On a champion, battlemaster, samurai, barbarian... PAM+GWM is more powerful. There are other builds that can compete while using S&B however (again: Paladin, Sorcadin, EK, battlemaster/swashbuckler, swashbuckler...).

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by GlenSmash! View Post
    My vote is for Spear and Shield with PAM and Sentinel.
    That's kind of mhe, with the spear the enemy would still reach you, and the regular OA is enough to stop it from reaching your companions. Could you also provide a reason for your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by CheddarChampion View Post
    Well if we're talking only between SwM+ShM and PAM+GWM...
    Paladins/Sorcadins are very good with S&B, but I imagine you mean fighter...
    Does eldritch knight + shadow blade count? Maybe even EK+Wizard?

    That aside, if you mean to play a champion 20 or something without special effects/spells, PAM+GWM is definitely the best for damage and for active defense (threaten with more attacks, control an area). S&B has better passive defense (AC) and can support other melee by giving advantage with shove.

    On a champion, battlemaster, samurai, barbarian... PAM+GWM is more powerful. There are other builds that can compete while using S&B however (again: Paladin, Sorcadin, EK, battlemaster/swashbuckler, swashbuckler...).
    Truth be told I was talking about PAM+Sentinel and Blade Mastery+Sentinel, and no I meant in general, for barbarians, paladins, fighters etc... So every possible build that uses weapons is considerated.

    Ok I already knew that PAM is better for damage (and with GWM it gets even better). Anyway what's your position about those feats for a defender build?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    After looking at some feats I thought that maybe sword and board could challenge the PAM for a defender build.

    Sentinel is mandatory in both cases.

    PAM allows you to keep 5ft between you and one opponent thanks to the reintroduction of the trigger for AoO from 3.5 and is also good for damage with a possible use for your bonus action that some classes don't get.

    Blade Mastery offers a general +1 to hit with all swords and advantage on OA so you have pretty good chances of triggering sentinel if someone tryes to get away. The use your reaction to gain +1 AC is situational but useful against multiple enemies or against a single enemy that has is trying to kill you already.

    We could throw in the mix also GWM and Shield Master, the first provides a good DPR bonus and the second offers a situational bonus, evasion but the 3.5 version and a melee support use for your bonus action.

    So is this a viable feat build for a defender/tank or is PAM unmached?
    Hey ;)
    You open quite a few threads these days, are you creating your collection of backup optimized characters? (0 critic in here, I love those threads as anyone else anyways)

    I'm not sure I get you here though. Isn't "Defender" taking beating (or at least threat) for others and try to disable enemies as strongly as possible kinda the point?
    This completely screams Shield Master + Sentinel (+ possibly Booming Blade) to me.
    Not only because of the "Shove as bonus action" benefit: although this is handy at times, since it requires "Attack" action, it won't do the trick if you wanted to use any other action (like a cantrip) AND Shove.
    Mainly for the Evasion like effect and the +2 defense, as well as the enabling of the Protection fighting style.

    Sure, it creates competition for reaction, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. As much as you'd try to always stick to an enemy to trigger Sentinel effect, sometimes there will be simply no enemy in range, or the priority not that but try and avoid a downing blow on a close-by friend.

    After all, in my view as a Defender, you DO want the enemy to stay close to you, you DO want him to try and hurt you first... And you DON'T want to get hurt anyways. XD --> Self-defense and ways to deprive enemy of movement, senses or action economy.

    Also, Blade Mastery (which I discover thanks to you) seems very worthy to me.

    So as a Defender I'd probably pick an Eldricht Knight with a few dispersed dips (1 level very early, another after Extra Attack, 3rd around char level 11, more if you feel it) in either...
    - War Wizard (yet another reaction, but makes you very solid against psychic effects targeting CHA/WIS, and otherwise get several solid defense/mobility spells or control spells with same attribute) or
    - Cleric for heal/support spells: Strength (UA) (+10 to attack roll OR STR check/saving throw, nice versatility), Order (divert attack to ally is nice), Grave (max heal from 0, Spare the Dying as bonus action), Forge (bland but +1 is always nice early, and you get great spells every step).

    Or: a plain Ancients Paladin as a Variant Human. That works great too and it's simpler. Only problem is being a with ASI-hungry, which if it feels really problematic can be resolved with a single dip into Hexblade Warlock.
    Last edited by HiveStriker; 2019-10-23 at 04:01 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by HiveStriker View Post
    Hey ;)
    You open quite a few threads these days, are you creating your collection of backup optimized characters? (0 critic in here, I love those threads as anyone else anyways)
    I do now that you make me notice it. Tho it's mainly because I am "new" to 5e so I am trying to get a good grasp of the machanical part of the game so I don't waste everyone's time at the table, and I also deeply love optimization (if everyone bring broken things or underpowered ones I want to be able to be on a similar level). But yes I am also stacking some backup characters: the "Tank", a goliath rune warrior and a SAD Sorcadinlock (A sorcadin with a dip in hexblade to avoid Str and Dex dependance)

    Quote Originally Posted by HiveStriker View Post
    I'm not sure I get you here though. Isn't "Defender" taking beating (or at least threat) for others and try to disable enemies as strongly as possible kinda the point?
    It is the point of the thread, PAM (and possibly GWM) are on another level in terms of DPR.

    I kind of prefer Blade Mastery over PAM to keep an enemy locked in position but I like to ask this sort of things to the playground.

    Also having multiple choices for the reaction is great.
    You get 3 uses:
    +1 to AC perfect against hordes of when an enemy is actively trying to kill you and not the mage;
    Getting a use of 3.5 evasion;
    The good old opportunity attack for when an enemy really need to stay in place (Blade Mastery+Sentinel is probably an almost guaranteed success).
    Last edited by Trandir; 2019-10-23 at 07:54 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    I do now that you make me notice it. Tho it's mainly because I am "new" to 5e so I am trying to get a good grasp of the machanical part of the game so I don't waste everyone's time at the table, and I also deeply love optimization (if everyone bring broken things or underpowered ones I want to be able to be on a similar level). But yes I am also stacking some backup characters: the "Tank", a goliath rune warrior and a SAD Sorcadinlock (A sorcadin with a dip in hexblade to avoid Str and Dex dependance)



    It is the point of the thread, PAM (and possibly GWM) are on another level in terms of DPR.

    I kind of prefer Blade Mastery over PAM to keep an enemy locked in position but I like to ask this sort of things to the playground.

    Also having multiple choices for the reaction is great.
    You get 3 uses:
    +1 to AC perfect against hordes of when an enemy is actively trying to kill you and not the mage;
    Getting a use of 3.5 evasion;
    The good old opportunity attack for when an enemy really need to stay in place (Blade Mastery+Sentinel is probably an almost guaranteed success).
    Well, in the context of a Defender, while PAM does have benefit (namely because it incites the use of a reach weapon) I really prefer just Sentinel or Sentinel + that Blade Mastery for the following reasons.

    1. Bonus attack with quarterstaff while wielding a shield is perfectly RAW, but kinda immersion-breaking and cheesy to me.
    2. PAM locks you up in a specific array of weapons, whereas without you're free to switch and use whatever weapon suits situation the most (or simply whatever "best current" magic weapon you get).
    Of course, Blade Mastery has the same drawback, so the same heh? Well, not quite imo...
    - While I'm far from knowledgeable in magic weapons, my feeling is that magic swords ("standard" or "unique") are far more common in variety and availability than quarterstaffs and spears.
    - Technically Blade Mastery works with Flame Blade (sadly it's not a good spell) and Shadow Blade (luckly it's a great spell).
    - Blade Mastery also means you could, should you wish so, pick up Defensive Duelist at late levels (although if you stack everything you're investing quite much into creating heavy competition on reaction use, possibly overkill).
    - Blade Mastery also means you could (and possibly should) be a DEX Elf or Half-Elf so you can pick Elven Accuracy, elevating you in the top five of all martial defenders when combined with either Booming Blade, War caster or Sentinel (or two of them).
    Bringing to the other drawbacks of PAM to me:
    3. If you want to use it with Elven Accuracy, you have to either dip into Monk (which has big limitations of its own AC-wise and does not really profit from PAM anyways since he has many bonus actions of its own) or grab Shillelagh (which implies going WIS main or going even further away as a Warlock/Bard to get it CHA-based).
    4. Bonus action should really not happen that often:
    - If you have Shield Master, whehter you're allowed to use it before or after an Attack, it will usually be better to Shove an enemy prone: as a defender your priority is reduce threat: whether you have melee pals around to gang it or only backliners, unless the latter can finish creature off, by putting it prone you reduce its range of action AND weakens risk of being damage if you move away for whatever reason.
    - If you want to use Booming Blade (preferably paired with Shadow Blade), both Shield Master and PAM bonus action become moot.
    - If you want to be a great defender, chances are you'll get either some Healing Words/Sanctuary/Shield of Faith/Healing Spirit, or Dash (Rogue/Barbarian), or Help (Mastermind Rogue), or Heal (Thief + Healer), or Caltraps (Thief) as bonus action.
    And I probably forgot 60% of all you can do as a bonus action.
    Last edited by HiveStriker; 2019-10-23 at 09:12 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    After looking at some feats I thought that maybe sword and board could challenge the PAM for a defender build.

    Sentinel is mandatory in both cases.

    PAM allows you to keep 5ft between you and one opponent thanks to the reintroduction of the trigger for AoO from 3.5 and is also good for damage with a possible use for your bonus action that some classes don't get.

    Blade Mastery offers a general +1 to hit with all swords and advantage on OA so you have pretty good chances of triggering sentinel if someone tryes to get away. The use your reaction to gain +1 AC is situational but useful against multiple enemies or against a single enemy that has is trying to kill you already.

    We could throw in the mix also GWM and Shield Master, the first provides a good DPR bonus and the second offers a situational bonus, evasion but the 3.5 version and a melee support use for your bonus action.

    So is this a viable feat build for a defender/tank or is PAM unmached?
    All this is very table and DM dependent. Some games are ran that if a player want to be a defender they need some if not all of the in game mechanical means to do so where on the other end just being up front will be enough. Most games fall somewhere in the middle.
    what is the point of living if you can't deadlift?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    That's kind of mhe, with the spear the enemy would still reach you, and the regular OA is enough to stop it from reaching your companions. Could you also provide a reason for your preference?
    I want them to stick next to me. If enemies can see that they can't even get next to me they are more likely to not target me at all and head toward the squishies. My dM would have to be roleplaying some pretty dumb enemies for them to just keep getting kited by my PAM Reach combo.

    Ultimately I like that PAM provides the most attacks and a shield lets me keep AC at 20(21 with Defense Fighting Style) without spells or magic items. It's the best of both worlds. If I had a character that had lots of good uses for reactions and/or bonus actions (like the Rune Knight) I'd be more likely to drop PAM. And attacks are good on a Defender. You have to give your enemies a reason to want to target you after all.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Defender build: Polearm vs Sword and Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Ok I already knew that PAM is better for damage (and with GWM it gets even better). Anyway what's your position about those feats for a defender build?
    Overall: PAM is good if you get special accuracy boosts or extra reactions. SwM is good for getting enemies to focus on you (makes you sticky) so you need extra resilience to back it up.

    Barbarian: either. PAM+rage inflicts status: dead, GWM goes with reckless attack, SwM + Sentinel keeps the big guy right where you want them - focusing on the damage resistant barbarian.

    Cavalier: PAM. It's just too good at level 18. But before that SwM ain't bad because you get extra resilience in warding maneuver.
    Samurai: either. GWM + fighting spirit advantage (though bonus attack is a no go) vs THP + SwM.
    Champion: SwM. Advantage gives you better crit chance, regeneration and extra fighting style make you resilient.
    Battlemaster: PAM. Precision attack can replace advantage and synergizes with GWM. Best chance of keeping enemies 10' away. No special resilience, unless you count riposte or the maneuver that reduces damage you take.
    Eldritch Knight: SwM. Shield spell/absorb elements for resilience, ask your DM about SwM+shadow blade and SwM+warcaster+booming blade. RAW on both is no combo but they might be generous.

    Paladin: SwM. Advantage means extra smite crit chance (do you feel lucky, bub?). Auras, spells, & lay on hands make you resilient. Smite means you don't need GWM for good damage. Oath of Conquest is the Friday Fright special case: you want a reach weapon and a sword doesn't give that.

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