Tier list for PF classes, or summary of each?




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  1. #1
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    Tier list for PF classes, or summary of each?

    Although I've dabbled in the past, it looks like I'm about to get into Pathfinder a lot. I will be selecting a character to play every other week, for probably the next 4 years, and I'll probably only be level 13 or 14 when it ends. I need to pick a class that will remain interesting throughout.

    In the game that just ended for me, I played a cleric, D&D 3.5, and he made it to level 11. It took 5 years of real-world time. Until the last few months, playing the cleric was pretty fun. There were lots of spells and feats and alternative class features to enjoy.

    So, I am hoping those who have played Pathfinder could give me something like a power gamer's guide to the classes. I can use any class from a Paizo Pathfinder product, so things like the APG are fair game. I'd love to see just a few sentences about why particular classes are fun to play and capable. If you can write out something for each class, great, I'll read it. If you are only motivated to write about your few favorites (or loathed) then that's great too.

    Basically, help. I need to decide now about what will be fun/useful to still be playing 2 or 3 years from now.
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

 

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    Frankly, I think pretty much every PF class is interesting for the full 20 levels now. Classes like Fighter, Bard, etc. got some nice upgrades and just about every class gets something neat every single level up. I like the way Fighters have changed, personally. They get weapon training every few levels, which gets them bonuses to hit and damage with certain weapon types, and armor training to reduce Armor Check penalties and movement restrictions. Get a hold of the Core book and just peruse the classes.
    Spoon!!!!

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    Well, I have very little experience with a lot of the new classes, but some I've either seen in play for a while or thoroughly examined myself, just due to my own interest in them. So, here is my incomplete list. There's gonna be a lot of tiers, I don't like the idea of vast groupings, the difference between adjacent tiers may be small.

    Tier:

    1
    Wizard
    Cleric

    2
    Sorcerer
    Druid
    Summoner

    3
    Oracle
    Magus

    4
    Alchemist
    Bard

    5
    Inquisitor
    Paladin
    Ranger

    6
    Fighter
    Barbarian

    7
    Ninja
    Rogue
    Monk

    I don't know much about Cavalier/Samurai other than they seem really boring (IMO), I'd guess they're slightly below Fighter in the same "tier."

    My only experience seeing a witch in play, the character was utterly pathetic and worthless, though that player, upon making 2 new characters later, proved to simply be atrocious at optimization and battlefield tactics (I don't mean like a newbie picking weak options, I mean a guy who was multiclassing like mad and digging into 3rd party stuff and STILL somehow failing badly). So to be fair to the Witch class, it was likely just him. Still leaves me without a clear picture of what it can do.

    Gunslinger I don't want to touch with a 10 ft pole, I hate the class and the UC gun rules more than I even hate 4E, and that's saying a lot. I was actually willing to try 4E, I would outright leave a game if someone tried to bring that garbage in. So, I can't rate it terribly acccurately.

    Magus I've seen in a gestalt game and its spell combat seems to dish out a lot of pain, and the spell pool thing is obviously very awesome. My view still might be skewed due to it being gestalt, maybe it should be dropped a tier. But seems pretty amazing to me.

    Summoner I've seen lots of, and I'm positive it belongs where I put it. Damn class gets 1, 2, even 3 (!!!!) levels reduced on like 80% of its spell list at level 3 and up, that's nuts! The lots of summoning per day and the eidolon that can out strength and outdamage the Fighter by a wide margin, and the action economy advantage such things provide are icing.
    My Ninja class Fighter Variants Monk additions
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    In my experience it breaks down like this, granted I have not played all of them so some of them may be better than I thought after watching other people play them.
    (power rating + to +++++)
    Tier 1 [does everything well] - Cleric(++++), Druid(+++++), Wizard(++++),

    Tier 2 [does multiple things well] - Bard(+++), Inquisitor(+++), Magus (+++), Oracle(++++), Sorcerer(++++), Witch(+++),

    Tier 3 [does one thing well] - Cavalier(+++), Fighter(+++), Gunslinger (++), Ninja(++++), Paladin(++++), Samurai (++++), Summoner (+++++)

    Tier 4 [someone does your job better than you] Alchemist(+++), Barbarian(++), Ranger(++), Monk(+), Rogue(+++)

    The best way to look at the above is look at how much you want to do, then pick how good you want to do it. A Wizard, Oracle, and Paladin all work great in the same party but the Paladin needs to stick to fightin and the Oracle needs to pick only one or two things and let the Wizard handle the rest. You also don't all have to be at the same power level if your ok with not doing everything and sticking to your thing. Try to keep it within 2 so you get to contribute in a meaningful way. Fighter & Wizard = ok, Barbarian & Wizard = not so great but still passable. Id also like to point out the Gunslinger is really hard to judge on power rating, they are great against mook/minons as they regain their grit points quickly against those foes but against the BBEG you may find you are not contributing in a meaningful way. If you want to play something that encourages you to spend your "spells" (grit points) as quickly as possible hoping you roll well enough to get them back, you have the chance to be +++ or even ++++ but because its all on your die roles you could end up with only + as well. You do get to refill them daily but your pts don't go up as you level, you simply gain better stuff to spend it on.
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; Monday, 19th September, 2011 at 08:46 PM.

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    re

    Well... every class in PF can be fun and powerful.

    Generally martial/fullBAB classes are really boosted-up so unless you are rly focused on such a build you will rarely be reaching their capability (such as with CoDzilla). Druid is the only class clearly NERFED in PF, if you seek optimazation only and you could care less about flavor dont play one.

    Spontaneous casters (mainly the Sorcerer and the Oracle[Spontaneous Cleric]) got a HUGE buff with the APG, allowing you to pick an !extra spell known! of the second highest level you can cast instead your favored class bonus HP/skill rank. That said, they tend to be specialized though. Humans and half-elves only pull this trick though.

    I've only played Alchemists and Oracles in PF so I can only advice you on these:
    If you play an alchemist dip into bombs, at lvl 6 you can make a full-attack with bombs dishing out lotsa damage, plus you hit touch AC. At 10th you get force bombs (BB elemental resistances :P). Also take the preservionist archetype from UM, allowing you to effectively cast Summon Nature's Ally IX as 6th level spell and as standrard action (1d4+1 Tyrannos or Rocs can never be bad :P) After lvl 6 you take all the extra atk feats (Rapid Shot, TWF etc) but you will probably run out if you NOVA-Bomb every fight. Bombers get a nice boost at 16 with Transformation (you can still make the summons :P if needed in trans :P)

    Oracles can be very diverse on the other hand. Each oracle gets a curse (on the long run the best one is Haunted [more extra spells :P]) which has some negative effect but provides bonuses as you level up. If you dont care much about high level power pick either Tongues (might hurt you later when you get Greater Command) or Wasting.
    Oracles also select a mystery, sort of like a domain. A mystery gives you extra spells and a list of class features to pick as you level up. Mysteries kinda specialize you so I'll tell you about those I've played.
    Life --> Best healer in game (ridiculously powerful, get Mass Heal as 8th)
    Heavens --> Perhaps best mystery for offensive caster builds. Plays with Illusions early levels and switchs to Evocation at higher.
    Metal --> Very good if you want to play with a bow. Not great otherwise.
    Fire --> Nice BAM-BOOM early levels. Of course, you suck vs immune fire.
    Time --> Good at 18th+. Moderate up to that level.
    Winds --> Not great spell BUT! you can actually do SOMETHING in an antimagic-field (my DM loved that one :P), look the thunderstorm revelation
    Combat --> Probably the best for Melee-based combat. However, Divine Power has been nerfed (A LOT).

    Paladin is ridiculously OPed in PF. Gunslinger also becomes ridiculously OPed at 6th.
    Last edited by Varthol; Monday, 19th September, 2011 at 10:22 PM.

  • #6
    The tiers are pretty much the same as they've always been in the core, except everything is significantly better, playable 1-20 and can contribute in a party so you have less to worry about with tiers.

    I'd say of all the core classes that got taken into Pathfinder, Paladin got lovvvvvvvvvved up. They are so, so, so much better than they used to be. Everything got lots of tweaking and more power except Druids I would say.

    These went from markedly weaker than most all core classes to real assets. By tenth level you can have a 16 or 18 Charisma and have jacked saves and also be healing something like 30d6+ on a daily basis. Not only does Lay On Hands heal, it also fixes things like Disease, Blindness/Deafness and all other sorts of status effects. It is so nice.

    You bond with a weapon which gives you modifiers above pure plusses to weapons way above market value and you can change the abilties. This is phenomenal for a Paladin who doesn't want a mount.

    You cast at a higher caster level, sooner, get more spells and they are keyed off Charisma instead of Wisdom which is great for MAD issues and will give you so many more bonus spells.

    Smite lasts for an entire encounter, not one hit. Its basically like giving the Paladin another 10 smites a day or better. AND IT WORKS AT RANGE.

    Everybody got something from Pathfinder but Paladins got the works.

    Edit: Response to Aboyd
    My general rule of thumb, if you want straight power you go for something with full casting, then there is debate between d8 6th level casters and the full BAB Martials fighting with one another, with everybody contributing (all equal, some more equal than others). The d8 3/4 attackers who don't have spells are probably the weakest. D8, no spells, and 3/4 seems to be a rough spot to be in Pathfinder nowadays. P.P.S. on the Paladin, Lay on Hands is a swift action. Yep. 30d6 healing a day by level 10 assuming 16 charisma, as a swift action and it can resolve status effects. In other words, totally effing bonkers.
    Last edited by Fishbone; Monday, 26th September, 2011 at 02:21 PM.

  • #7
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    Not having played a lot of pathfinder yet this is a bit of theorycraft but I think it's pretty reasonable, although some classes require more optimisation than others and they can all be wrecked by bad builds...

    (not in order in tiers)

    1st tier
    Wizard, Cleric

    2nd tier
    Sorceror, Druid, Oracle

    3rd
    Bard,Inquisitor

    4th tier
    Ranger, Barbarian, Fighter, Alchemist, Paladin

    4th tier
    Monk, Rogue

    (not rated Summoner, Magus, Gunslinger, Ninja, witch, cavalier, samurai, anti-paladin)

    Wizards and clerics are the flexible, full casting classes and clerics still have a fair amount of hth and self buffing potential.
    The range of spells they have and options they have to change them daily makes them unmatched IMO

    Druids I don't think have quite the same flexibility in their spell lists so I see them as a bit behind but I could well be wrong as I haven't seen one in play.
    Sorcerors & Oracles have the restricted list of known spells but have more spells per day, not as flexible but commonly still up there.

    Bard and Inquisitor have a balance of spells, buff and self buff abilities that make them flexible, typically they're both pretty useful in social and skill situations as well.

    Ranger, Barbarian, Fighter, Alchemist, Paladin all have strengths and weaknesses (and the alchemist could go up or down a tier pretty easily not having seen one in play)
    The rest of the ones in the tier are combat based and all do that well, the fighter has a large range of tricks they can add with their feats, the paladin has a lot of defensive ability and some large offensive boosts (smite evil, bond to weapon), the ranger has a fair amount of skill support and favoured enemies can be huge. The barbarian's rage and rage powers give them a fair bit.

    The monk and rogue are worse in combat than the previous tiers and the skills of a rogue don't really make up for it, nor do the monk abilities & defences make up for the lack of offence or flexibility with power.

    (Ninja is probably around here, might move up to the previous tier)
    (Magus is probably low 2 or 3)
    Summoner and Gunslinger I'm not sure about.
    I've seen a level 13 character who was largely a gunslinger in action for a session and it was powerful but it had a few levels of rogue a revolver and I don't think it would have stayed as effective given a bit of time for the GM to figure it out.
    Summoner I haven't figured out yet. It's probably 2nd, maybe 3rd.

    The other classes cavalier, witch, samurai & anti-paladin I haven't looked at

    I will say that I think any class is playable and capable of having fun with and how well a party works together and how much other characters are willing to do to help out can make a huge impact on effectiveness (a buffing wizard can make a rogue very powerful once he has greater invisibility for instance) but I'd expect that getting a straight rogue or monk to be effective requires a lot more work than other characters.

    I think the traditional power breakdown of full casters, partial casters, non-casters is still pretty close.

    Of course that's dependent on a 'standard' campaign. In a low combat espionage based campaign then the fighter would be less useful (as would the paladin & barbarian) and the rogue and ninja would probably go up and a sorceror who focused on blast spells wouldn't be that much use...
    Last edited by Mad Hamish; Tuesday, 27th September, 2011 at 06:48 AM. Reason: clarification and mentioning some missed classes

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    I will say Stream is pretty much right overall, however number crunchers have chrunched and wizard normally kills cleric (its like a 52/48 thing) and the only class that can consistantly kill one of those is the Barbarian, if you use the exact build... which makes u all but useless at killing non-spellcasters

  • #9
    The good thing is though, even though there are tiers, it still isn't this GIANT EFFING GAP where a full spellcaster is just so much markedly better than a less frequently played 3.0/3.5 class that as a Full BAB class you'd have to be really digging for feats and equipment to be within a million miles of them by the time they get 4th and 5th level spells.

    It is totally, totally valid to go Fighter 10. Not Fighter 2/Crazy Crap 3/2/XY 2 with a Level Adjustment buyoff and crap from 3.0 and Dragon Magazine.
    Fighter 10 works. Also, the tier thing isn't in a vacuum. It depends on party composition. There are lots of parties with D6/d8 guys, no full attacking, and they'd probably be thrilled to have a Fighter or a Paladin or a Ranger with a bad ass companion.
    Last edited by Fishbone; Tuesday, 27th September, 2011 at 01:31 PM.

  • #10
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    When I see those lists, I have to think of the archetypes that really start to mix some of this stuff up. The Arcane Duelist is arguably as-good-or-better than the Magus at the same job (and then the Bard has 40-odd spells that are gained early while the Magus gets one).

    There's some Ranger archetypes that throw his tier for a loop (you can open up some versatility, or hamper yourself even further). Also, there's the "treat anyone like a favored enemy" spell.

    The summoner is being listed low on some peoples tiers, however seeing one in play, the combination of minutes long, level appropriate summons + standard action to cast can really scare up some versatility on the spot. Having 4 mephits toss out their cones of fire, then unsummoning them and immediately bringing in a bralani to blast a lightning bolt is a terrifying round of actions (:true story!. At least a tier 2 character.

    The Zen Archer monk is a scary character to behold, and a completely viable option for a ranged fighter, despite using Monk as a base. I wonder what style feats does to that kind of build...

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