D&D 5E Are Wizards really all that?

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I'm not sure I see that. The Paladin is still swinging the same weapon, with the same Fighting Style and damage bonus as the Fighter.
Even looking at the Battlemaster and assuming the apparently rather unusual full two-short-rest adventuring day, the point at which a Paladin gets more d8s through smites as the battlemaster gets d8s through superiority dice is only 5th level.

The actual damage potential will vary with level. Depending on Action Surge and the extra ASI that the Fighter gets or the Paladin levelling into new spell slots. I don't see an equivalent Fighter "easily outpace" a Paladin.

I should have been more specific on my claim.

1. It assumes the proper number of rests (2 short between long rests). Not every campaign gets there all the time.

2. It assumes the "proper" number of encounters over the adventuring day. If you have very few the paladin can often nova which will put him over the top.

3. It assumes the fighter is actually built for damage, and that feats are used. Without feats I think the position will generally be higher damage. With feats such polarm master, great weapon master and sharpshooter - they really help the fighter. Yes the paladin CAN take them, but he's just a bit more MAD (though the fighter is more MAD then the wizard) and gets 1-2 less feats depending on level.

4. I kept track of damage at be level 11+ even the fighter gets the extra, extra attack. That likely makes a HUGE difference, especially when feats are used.

5. We're still talking only DPR. As a half caster the paladin gets A LOT more versatility than the fighter, especially in exploration and social
I'm not sure I see that. The Paladin is still swinging the same weapon, with the same Fighting Style and damage bonus as the Fighter.
Even looking at the Battlemaster and assuming the apparently rather unusual full two-short-rest adventuring day, the point at which a Paladin gets more d8s through smites as the battlemaster gets d8s through superiority dice is only 5th level.

The actual damage potential will vary with level. Depending on Action Surge and the extra ASI that the Fighter gets or the Paladin levelling into new spell slots. I don't see an equivalent Fighter "easily outpace" a Paladin.

I suppose "easily..." was overly hyperbolic.

The fighter will out DPR the paladin if:

1. You have the "proper" amount of rests (2 short between long). Not all campaigns stick to the structure.

2. You have the "proper" number of encounters. Too few and the paladin can NOVA way too often. And the paladin can NOVA more than the fighter can action surge.

3. I should have specified level 11+ when the fighter gets a third attack. That's where I kept track of damage.

4. The fighter has to be built for DPR, which generally means feats, and the big feats like polarm master, sharpshooter, great Watson master or crossbow expert. The fighter had just a bit more room for feats as levels increase as they get 1-2 more and are slightly less MAD then the paladin.

So, yeah, overly hyperbolic in on my part. As the fighter has to be built for DPR, the paladin doesn't really. Their damage is intrinsic in the class features. Plus, outside of DPR, the paladin will have more versatility and a LOT more utility in pilars outside of combat.
 

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ECMO3

Hero
I'm not sure I see that. The Paladin is still swinging the same weapon, with the same Fighting Style and damage bonus as the Fighter.
Even looking at the Battlemaster and assuming the apparently rather unusual full two-short-rest adventuring day, the point at which a Paladin gets more d8s through smites as the battlemaster gets d8s through superiority dice is only 5th level.

The actual damage potential will vary with level. Depending on Action Surge and the extra ASI that the Fighter gets or the Paladin levelling into new spell slots. I don't see an equivalent Fighter "easily outpace" a Paladin.

Assuming 2 short rests, action surge gives a fighter three full actions more than a Paladin with the same initiative rolls.

At 5th level action surge fighter is making is 6 more attacks per day than a Paladin assuming 2 short rests. At 11th level assuming six 4-turn combats, a fighter is making 33 more attacks per day than a Paladin (24 turns of combat with 1 more attack each plus 9 attacks on action surges). That is quite a lot to make up with smites.

Even if we assume only 3 fights a day, as long as he gets his short rests in he is still getting 21 more attacks per day at 11th level.

Also a fighter has more options for fighting style and the extra feat while keeping the same baseline damage. On point buy, at 8th level he is substantially ahead because of the feat, if building for damage either he is running a higher strength/dex or he is regularly getting an extra attack on top of action surge. By the time the Paladin catches up, the fighter is getting 3 attacks per round.

Finally it is very easy to make an effective ranged fighter, it is much harder to make an effective ranged Paladin.
 
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Assuming 2 short rests, action surge gives a fighter three full actions more than a Paladin with the same initiative rolls.

At 5th level action surge fighter is making is 6 more attacks per day than a Paladin assuming 2 short rests. At 11th level assuming six 4-turn combats, a fighter is making 33 more attacks per day than a Paladin (24 turns of combat with 1 more attack each plus 9 attacks on action surges.
OK. It looks like you have changed the comparison to only base class, no subclass.
So let us have a look at your maths:
6 more attacks a day at 5th level, compared to 14d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 15 damage a hit to keep up. That is seriously impressive at 5th level without reducing hit chance.

At 11th level 33 more attacks compared to 57d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 11 damage a hit to keep up. That is more reasonable

That is quite a lot to make up with smites.
It looks like they're doing fairly well. Not keeping level, but certainly not "easily outpace" levels which is what I was responding to.

Even if we assume only 3 fights a day, as long as he gets his short rests in he is still getting 21 more attacks per day at 11th level.
21 more attacks compared to 43d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 14 damage a hit to keep up. Again, probably do-able, but not "easily outpace" simple to achieve.

And note that we are not only using an average of 3 short rests a day, we are also assuming no critical hits. Both assumptions of which are unrealistic and both of which favour the Fighter.
These numbers are taking to account the extra ASI the Fighter gets, by giving them a higher chance to hit at 11th level compared to the Paladin.
 

Marcotic

Explorer
OK. It looks like you have changed the comparison to only base class, no subclass.
So let us have a look at your maths:
6 more attacks a day at 5th level, compared to 14d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 15 damage a hit to keep up. That is seriously impressive at 5th level without reducing hit chance.

At 11th level 33 more attacks compared to 57d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 11 damage a hit to keep up. That is more reasonable

It looks like they're doing fairly well. Not keeping level, but certainly not "easily outpace" levels which is what I was responding to.

21 more attacks compared to 43d8s worth of extra damage.
Fighter needs to average 14 damage a hit to keep up. Again, probably do-able, but not "easily outpace" simple to achieve.

And note that we are not only using an average of 3 short rests a day, we are also assuming no critical hits. Both assumptions of which are unrealistic and both of which favour the Fighter.
These numbers are taking to account the extra ASI the Fighter gets, by giving them a higher chance to hit at 11th level compared to the Paladin.
Are you factoring damage per hit or damage per attack or using those terms loosely? DPA is a bit more complicated to factor, but will give you a more accurate read. Still, I think 11 damage per attack is definitely doable for a damage focused fighter.
 




Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It's tangential at best, and really not even that IMO.

Paladin's are not Wizards.

The original post uses "wizard" one time and "caster" six times and seems to focus on martial vs. caster instead of the thread title. The remaining posts on the first page of the thread use "caster" about twice as often as "wizard". etc...
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
The original post uses "wizard" one time and "caster" six times and seems to focus on martial vs. caster instead of the thread title. The remaining posts on the first page of the thread use "caster" about twice as often as "wizard". etc...
Paladins aren't casters, either, they are half-casters. And fighter's aren't either.

I understand how thread get off topic, I'm just trying to get it back on topic. Probably pointless after 80 pages... 🤷‍♂️
 

ECMO3

Hero
OK. It looks like you have changed the comparison to only base class, no subclass.
So let us have a look at your maths:
6 more attacks a day at 5th level, compared to 14d8s worth of extra damage
Fighter needs to average 15 damage a hit to keep up. That is seriously impressive at 5th level without reducing hit chance.

14d8 is 63 damage on average.

63 damage on 6 attacks is 10.5 not 15.

I will admit this is flawed and favors the fighter. This number is per attack, but some attacks miss while the smite dice always hit.

On the flip side the Paladin actually has to make enough hits against enemies and at a time it matters to get the most out of the 14d8, but at this level he can probably do that.

IRL your 15 per attack is probably close to accurate given a moderate hit percentage (65%) and 4 rounds per fight.


At 11th level 33 more attacks compared to 57d8s worth of extra damage.

I think at max it is 35d8, not 57d8: Four 1st = 8d8, three 2nd = 9d8, three 3rd = 12d8, two more 2nd level using channel divinity = 6d8

8+9+12+6 = 35

35d8=157.5 damage on average

157.5/33 = 4.8 damage per hit.

Also here it is not guaranteed you will be able to meaningfully use all those smites. Assuming 4-round fights there is only 48 attacks in that time and some of them are on the tail end where high damage won't all land.

Here the fighter is ahead.

21 more attacks compared to 43d8s worth of extra damage.

I think it is 35d8 here too.

157.5/21 = 7.5

Here the fighter is ahead and you will be really pressed to use all those spell slots meaningfully in only 12 rounds of combat.

And note that we are not only using an average of 3 short rests a day, we are also assuming no critical hits. Both assumptions of which are unrealistic and both of which favour the Fighter.

We are using 2 short rests a day not 3. A fighter who got 3 short rests a day would have 4 action surges a day.

Mathematically the expected value is 2 critical hits per day using six four-round fights as your baseline for the Paladin. The expected value for the fighter is 3 critical hits at 5th level and 4 critical hits per day at 11th level.

Critical hits are not going to change the math much at 11th level because if you crit fish you will have problems using all your slots for smite and problems with the damage all landing.

Crits probably do matter at 5th level, but you would need to use a representative AC and hit point value for the enemies as well as a codified strategy to figure out how much.
 
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Are you factoring damage per hit or damage per attack or using those terms loosely? DPA is a bit more complicated to factor, but will give you a more accurate read. Still, I think 11 damage per attack is definitely doable for a damage focused fighter.
Damage per hit. I am assuming a 66% (2/3rds) hit chance for the Fighter.
Paladin I'm assuming 66% hit chance at 5th level (same as fighter), but only 60% chance at 11th level (to represent Fighter having +1 from their extra ASI).

14d8 is 63 damage on average.

63 damage on 6 attacks is 10.5 not 15.

I will admit this is flawed and favors the fighter. This number is per attack, but some attacks miss while the smite dice always hit.
Indeed. At 66% hit chance only 4 of those extra attacks hit. Thus they need to deal 15 damage per hit to keep up with the Paladin.
I think at max it is 35d8, not 57d8: Four 1st = 8d8, three 2nd = 9d8, three 3rd = 12d8, two more 2nd level using channel divinity = 6d8
I didn't count channel Divinity: That generally provides more damage/effectiveness when used in its base form.
29d8s at 100% hit chance from spells converted to smites. 48d8s at 60% hit chance from improved smites round down is 28. 29+28=57d8s.
33 attacks at 66% hit chance means 22 will hit.

Also here it is not guaranteed you will be able to meaningfully use all those smites. Assuming 4-round fights there is only 48 attacks in that time and some of them are on the tail end where high damage won't all land.
The fewer attacks there are, the more the Paladin is favoured. Since we're not counting smites on critical hits, the Paladin can burn all their spell slots in 10 hits at 11th level. Do you think that is going to be an issue?

I think it is 35d8 here too.

157.5/21 = 7.5

Here the fighter is ahead and you will be really pressed to use all those spell slots meaningfully in only 12 rounds of combat.
Take a second look using what I have explained to you above.

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While Krachek's bonus content diversion about Paladins was interesting, unfortunately the calculations above don't translate well to a full caster. There is too much potential variation in the types of opponents that could be faced, numbers caught in AoEs etc even when trying to calculate pure damage - which is often a poor use of a spell.

The Fighter vs Wizard discussion has been going on for time immemorial, but I also think that the wizard stacks up well against the other full casters. With the combination of Arcane Recovery and the best Ritual usage of all the classes, the Wizard seems to get the most spells per day, both in number of casts and in number of spells available.
 

And note that we are not only using an average of 3 short rests a day, we are also assuming no critical hits. Both assumptions of which are unrealistic and both of which favour the Fighter.
These numbers are taking to account the extra ASI the Fighter gets, by giving them a higher chance to hit at 11th level compared to the Paladin.
Also assuming no divine smites are used on Undead or Fiends.
 

ECMO3

Hero
The fewer attacks there are, the more the Paladin is favoured. Since we're not counting smites on critical hits, the Paladin can burn all their spell slots in 10 hits at 11th level. Do you think that is going to be an issue?

Thanks for explaing the math on improved Smite.

The statistical issue with smites at high levels is landing all that damage. To illustrate an extreme example of what I am talking about - Put against a random foe at a random time 100 attacks that do 1 hp of damage each are going to deal much more damage than 1 attack that deals 100hps damage. The big attack will not do full damage unless it occurs against an enemy that has over 100 hps while the enemy has over 100hps.

Your 10 smites do 9, 13.5 and 18 damage on top of weapon damage respectively. You are attacking 48 times and presumably hitting about 32 times. Some of those time the enemy is going to have 2 hps left. To put it in extreme terms - If your day consists of 6 fights against 6 adult dragons that day, sure all those dice will land (if you use them early and don't crit fish). At the other extreme if your day consists of clearing 150 Orcs from their stronghold none of the 3rd-level dice will land full damage and most of the 2nd and some of the 1st won't either.

At 6 fights you can use them all, but they won't all necessarily do full damage. I can calculate this explicitly given an enemy and a strategy for use.

At 3 fights a day you actually will run into problems using them all some times.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Your 10 smites do 9, 13.5 and 18 damage on top of weapon damage respectively. You are attacking 48 times and presumably hitting about 32 times. Some of those time the enemy is going to have 2 hps left. To put it in extreme terms - If your day consists of 6 fights against 6 adult dragons that day, sure all those dice will land (if you use them early and don't crit fish). At the other extreme if your day consists of clearing 150 Orcs from their stronghold none of the 3rd-level dice will land full damage and most of the 2nd and some of the 1st won't either.
It's not quite that simple, though. As a player you will have some ballpark idea of how many hit points something has left, so you're not going to waste your big smites on something that has been beat almost do death. In 5e hit point damage by RAW doesn't show up until the monster drops below 50%, then small cuts and bruises start showing. Even if the players aren't sitting there and adding up the damage, they're going to know that it took around 50-70 damage to get there and will plan their resources accordingly. The paladin not smiting completely blind is going to make the smites generally more useful, though some of the smite damage will end up in overflow. But then so will some of the fighter attacks.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Thanks for explaing the math on improved Smite.

The statistical issue with smites at high levels is landing all that damage. To illustrate an extreme example of what I am talking about - Put against a random foe at a random time 100 attacks that do 1 hp of damage each are going to deal much more damage than 1 attack that deals 100hps damage. The big attack will not do full damage unless it occurs against an enemy that has over 100 hps while the enemy has over 100hps.

Your 10 smites do 9, 13.5 and 18 damage on top of weapon damage respectively. You are attacking 48 times and presumably hitting about 32 times. Some of those time the enemy is going to have 2 hps left. To put it in extreme terms - If your day consists of 6 fights against 6 adult dragons that day, sure all those dice will land (if you use them early and don't crit fish). At the other extreme if your day consists of clearing 150 Orcs from their stronghold none of the 3rd-level dice will land full damage and most of the 2nd and some of the 1st won't either.

At 6 fights you can use them all, but they won't all necessarily do full damage. I can calculate this explicitly given an enemy and a strategy for use.

At 3 fights a day you actually will run into problems using them all some times.
On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve killed a monster with attacks left over, but don’t have enough movement to reach another. Smites can be saved for the next fight; weapon attacks cannot.

EDIT: It’s almost like WotC thought through some of this. Wait, no, that’s crazy talk. Sorry. Not sure what came over me.
 

ECMO3

Hero
It's not quite that simple, though. As a player you will have some ballpark idea of how many hit points something has left, so you're not going to waste your big smites on something that has been beat almost do death. In 5e hit point damage by RAW doesn't show up until the monster drops below 50%, then small cuts and bruises start showing. Even if the players aren't sitting there and adding up the damage, they're going to know that it took around 50-70 damage to get there and will plan their resources accordingly. The paladin not smiting completely blind is going to make the smites generally more useful, though some of the smite damage will end up in overflow. But then so will some of the fighter attacks.
But if you don't "waste" them then you don't use them at all.

In three four-round fights you are only attacking 24 times total, you are only hitting 16 times total, including when the enemies are nearly dead and you have to use a smite on 10 of those 16 hits or you don't use them all at all. So many of those will be used when the enemy is low on hit points or they won't be used at all.

IF you are actually assuming 6 fights a day then AC and hit points of the foe matters. I can calculate this explicitly if you tell me AC, foe hit points and when you are and are not going to use it.
 

ECMO3

Hero
On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve killed a monster with attacks left over, but don’t have enough movement to reach another. Smites can be saved for the next fight; weapon attacks cannot.
Smites can only be used on the next fight if the current fight is not the last fight.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Smites can only be used on the next fight if the current fight is not the last fight.

Yup. There are endless "what ifs" that shift the balance back and forth. It seems both sides cherrypick the what ifs that support their case.

I'm not taking either side, except to note that I find Solasta much easier with a paladin than with a fighter. FWIW.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But if you don't "waste" them then you don't use them at all.

In three four-round fights you are only attacking 24 times total, you are only hitting 16 times total, including when the enemies are nearly dead and you have to use a smite on 10 of those 16 hits or you don't use them all at all. So many of those will be used when the enemy is low on hit points or they won't be used at all.
Depends on how many creatures there are in the fight. I get X hits, but I can switch away from an almost dead creature and swing at a fresher one. Some bit is going to be overflow damage, but it's not as bad as you are making out. Players will have enough information to make educated guesses about when to smite and which creatures to smite.

And you're limiting it to 3 fights, when 6-8 is the expected number for the game. Add even one more fight into the mix and you have an even smaller chance for that overflow to make a difference.
IF you are actually assuming 6 fights a day then AC and hit points of the foe matters. I can calculate this explicitly if you tell me AC, foe hit points and when you are and are not going to use it.
I don't need the exact specifics to know that you are overestimating the amount of waste a paladin has. I agree that there will be some waste, but it's not going to be as great as you make out because players will be decently informed as to the state of the enemy when deciding to smite or not.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Depends on how many creatures there are in the fight. I get X hits, but I can switch away from an almost dead creature and swing at a fresher one. Some bit is going to be overflow damage, but it's not as bad as you are making out. Players will have enough information to make educated guesses about when to smite and which creatures to smite.

If you change to a different foe to get more damage you are giving up action economy. That is generally not a wise choice.

I don't need the exact specifics to know that you are overestimating the amount of waste a paladin has. I agree that there will be some waste, but it's not going to be as great as you make out because players will be decently informed as to the state of the enemy when deciding to smite or not.

That depends entirely on what you are fighting. If you are fighting kobolds almost every single smite die you use is going to be mostly wasted.

Like I said I can calculate it explicitly given a strategy and foe.
 

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