DDAL Re-Optimizing my Eldritch Knight
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  1. #1
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    Re-Optimizing my Eldritch Knight

    Ok, been thinking about this some more and considering how our regular group tends to perform.Since i haven't yet played at level 5 (just to level 4 now), I can still change him.

    I'm having difficulty getting clear answers on filling a ritual book and it sounds like it comes down to table variation. So, I'm gonna skip Ritual Caster even though I like it. We have plenty of guys in our regular group that send out some major damage. Sorcerer, Ranger archer, hit-and-run rogue, etc... I think getting and staying in the way of the bad guys is gonna be my niche. So I'm going for a pretty tanky build. But I still need to be able to hit and do damage when required.

    Still doing the Eldritch Knight thing. I just can't see me playing a game that has magic as a central part of the game and my character not having any magic.
    Dragonborn doesn't really fit perfectly with the build theme, but I've kinda already built his personality around it. So I'm keeping Bronze Dragonborn.

    Intimidation skill is charisma based and not my strong suit, but it is very dragon-ish.
    Not sure about the fighting style. Defense would make me more tanky. However, I've had protection up until now and it has several times helped the guy next to me not get hit. But protection does compete for my 'reaction' on a given turn. Opinions?

    Bronze Dragonborn, Chaotic Good, worships Mystra
    Fighter, Eldritch Knight, Soldier background, Protection fighting style
    Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, History, Perception, Intimidation
    Str 16(14+2), Dex 8, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 10(9+1)

    Chainmail, Shield, Warhammer, Handaxe (for throwing)
    Cantrips (did have true strike and blade ward, but have found almost no use for either)
    Chill Touch and Minor Illusion
    1st level
    Chromatic Orb (if we encounter someone with specific vulnerabilities), Feather Fall (not 100% sure on this one), Protection from Evil and Good, and Shield (duh)

    Thinking of switching Feather Fall (or maybe Chromatic Orb) for Absorb Elements. It is not in the players handbook. Anyone know which book that comes from?

    My first 2nd level spell at level 7 will probably be shatter for an area affect of yet another damage type. My 8th level spell is leaning toward Mirror Image. Not sure about spells after that.

    Feats:
    4: Resilient - Wisdom (makes that an even 14 and makes me proficient in the very dangerous wisdom saves.
    6: War Caster
    8: +2 to strength
    12: Alert
    14: Lucky
    16: Sentinel
    19: +2 to strength

    So how does that sound to you optimizing masters out there?

  2. #2
    I highly recommend Absorb Elements on an Eldritch Knight, especially since you're one of the few classes that can consistently use the damage bonus. I believe it's in Elemental Evil, but it's definitely in Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

    Warding Wind is a good 2nd level Evocation spell from Xanathar's that doesn't require Intelligence. It creates a 10-foot radius of Difficult Terrain (for creatures other than you) that also shields you and your allies from ranged attacks.

    If you want to play a protector/frontline character, I recommend taking the Sentinel feat at level 4, which not only means you don't need Protection style and can take another style like Dueling, but it gives you a free attack against the target instead of just allowing you to impose disadvantage, plus it lets you stop enemies from moving out of your reach to attack your backline companions. Once you have that, I'd reccomend taking your next two ability score increases as Strength bonuses to get your 20 Strength, and delay the rest of your feats until later. Eldritch Knights usually don't need to be concentrating on spells until level 14 when they get Haste, so I don't think you need War Caster this early.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin O. View Post
    Eldritch Knights usually don't need to be concentrating on spells until level 14 when they get Haste, so I don't think you need War Caster this early.
    This EK build uses a shield, so if he's going to be casting Absorb Elements (and Shield), he will need War Caster that early because of the somatic component with both hands occupied.

  4. #4
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    My EK took War Caster and raised Str to 20 with his first 3 ASI's and will take Resilient(wisdom) next. I wanted to have my Str maxed out by the time I get 3 attacks at level 11. After that I'm planning to go with Con increases to go from 16 to 20. Con affects so many things that matter - hp, hit dice after a rest, a proficient and common saving throw, and concentration. Alert and Sentinel are also good, but I would pass on Lucky. Indomitable provides some of the benefit of Lucky, and by that time you'll have 3 attacks so re-rolling any single attack is less important.

    At 8th level I would suggest taking Blur instead of Mirror Image. I had a warlock with Mirror Image and I found that by Tier 2 a lot of monsters have multi-attack which tears through those images very quickly. A manticore once took down all 3 in one round. Blur requires concentration, but don't worry about maintaining it - you are built to make those saves. Disadvantage on attacks against you, a high AC, a Shield spell to back that up, and if you do get hit you have advantage on a proficient saving throw to keep concentration. You'll have a better chance of concentrating on Blur than keeping up those AC 9 mirror images. My EK routinely casts Prot from Evil/Good if he is fighting one of the types that spell works on, or Blur if it is one of the other types of monsters.

    I know you want to play a protector, but since you asked about optimizing I think Defensive or Dueling are better fighting styles for an EK since they are always active and don't compete with other uses of your reaction. With War Caster and your spells you already have 3 good uses of your reaction - an opportunity attack spell, Shield, Absorb Elements. Assuming you have your reaction available, if you are engaged with the enemy there may not be anyone around you to protect, or if there is, in all likelihood it's another martial PC just like you and doesn't really need the protection.

    Finally, since you are taking War Caster you might think about how to take advantage of the third feature of the feat and what cantrips you can cast instead of an opportunity attack. A Chill Touch attack would be at disadvantage because it's a ranged attack against a target within 5 feet, but Shocking Grasp is a melee attack. Shocking Grasp also works well with War Magic since you'll most likely want to make some sort of melee cantrip attack.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volund View Post
    Finally, since you are taking War Caster you might think about how to take advantage of the third feature of the feat and what cantrips you can cast instead of an opportunity attack. A Chill Touch attack would be at disadvantage because it's a ranged attack against a target within 5 feet, but Shocking Grasp is a melee attack. Shocking Grasp also works well with War Magic since you'll most likely want to make some sort of melee cantrip attack.
    Booming Blade would be a significantly better cantrip choice for a War Caster EK to use on Opportunity Attacks than Shocking Grasp.

    -Better damage (Weapon+STR+Spell damage, rather than just spell damage)
    -Greater chance to hit (since the attack roll is keying off STR instead of INT)
    -Additional damage if they continue to move (and considering that trying to move away from you is what triggered the OA to begin with, that extra damage will be almost guaranteed)
    Last edited by RogueJK; Monday, 29th October, 2018 at 09:01 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogueJK View Post
    Booming Blade would be a significantly better cantrip choice for a War Caster EK to use on Opportunity Attacks than Shocking Grasp.
    Absolutely agree with you. Based on another thread by the OP on the same character, I was assuming that this character was still being built for Adventurer's League play and he would have to choose between XGtE or SCAG for his PHB+1. In AL you can have Absorb Elements or Booming Blade, but not both, unfortunately.

  7. #7
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    Yup, this one is for AL. It was supposed to have the AL tag on it. Don't know if I can add that anymore. So can't use both books. And I think I like the defensive benefits of Absorb Elements more than the Offense of Booming Blade.

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