5E Bladesingers And The “Average” Game

How Have You Seen Bladesingers Played?

  • Entirely Melee Focused

    Votes: 8 20.5%
  • Mostly Melee Unless The Front Gets Too Wild

    Votes: 7 17.9%
  • Mostly Melee With Focus on Control

    Votes: 6 15.4%
  • Melee and Ranged, Pretty Evenly

    Votes: 7 17.9%
  • Mostly Range, Melee When Fairly Safe

    Votes: 9 23.1%
  • Entirely Back Field

    Votes: 4 10.3%
  • Multi-Class Dip To Make a Gish Build Work

    Votes: 12 30.8%

  • Total voters
    39

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’m very curious about how people play Bladesingers, because I often see folks say that they are “mostly” or “usually” played as a normal wizard with a defensive buff, not as a weapon user.

This is entirely the opposite of my experience with them.

IME, they basically only ever get played as a melee weapon focused gish.

How have you seen them played?
 

X13Phantom

Villager
The one I saw played like a fighter with a d6 hit die. They did o.k. until they gained the ire of the foe then they spent the rest of the battle making death saves. (or trying to make death saves) AoE's are their doom
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Loved bladesingers in 2E, they are entirely lackluster in 5E and I haven't seen one played, either.
 

clearstream

Explorer
From playing alongside one what I saw most is the powerful efficiency they create for a party. It matters if you are using 4dk3 or points-buy for characters, as to how strong they can be. The key weakness is hold person (and cc of that ilk). The rest depends on player choices and which books are open at your table (e.g. Xanathar's absorb elements against AoE).

In tier-1 their melee damage is good enough to matter. After I believe they're strongest as a wizard that can efficiently tank as needed. For a combat-focused campaign, bladesingers and diviners stand out among the schools of wizardry. One has to think laterally... I know from past debates that the maths of blur (or anything else that gives disadvantage to attackers while you have bladesong running with shield available) might not be intuitive. Also easy to overlook the benefit bladesong gives to concentration checks.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I've seen them played by people who want to gish - either pure or as part of a multiclass though even then it's usually just a dip elsewhere - they need INT and that doesn't have a lot of synergies. Booming Blade / Green Flade Blade, and once they get Extra Attack I see Shadowblade or a buff like Haste or even better Greater Invisibility, which helps keep away the damage that can break concentration.

Often goes ranged with elven longbow prof when low on HPs ... until they hit the levels where cantrips outdamage two attacks. And in that time some discover they can be just a normal wizard but super defensive.

I've seen a player start with the bladesinger as wizard+defense+concentration, never really weapon wielding except the occasional opportunity attack, or when it's better than a cantrip. They were just playing as a pure wizard with defensive options.

From what I've seen (and some has been at other tables at my FLGS/friends stories so not direct observation), they shine as weapon-user when the DM does the 6-8 encounters a day and gives out a decent number of short rests. Because spending actions on weapons is an action not spent using a slot, and that means they have plenty for when they do cast.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I played a bladesinger in Out of the Abyss, mostly melee with focus on control. So that's what I voted.

But it appears I am the only one and atypical.

Being only able to use Bladesong twice before resting limited the number of times my character would wade into melee. Our group had a halfling paladin, so my front line combat skills weren't always necessary to keep the monsters away from our squishy ranger and bard.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
The 3 spells that basically enable the bladesinger to melee.

1. Flaming Sphere
2. Tenders Transformation
3. Shadow Blade or whatever it's called in Xanathars (lvl2)

Otherwise just use it as a dancing wizard.

Low level rapier, flaming sphere.

Cast fs use it to bump
Additional rounds raper cast gfb

Damage
1d8+ Dex plus int bonus
Plus 2d6 bumping with flaming sphere
Plus 2d6 if they're beside it.

If they're immune to fire go with shadow Blade.
 

clearstream

Explorer
The 3 spells that basically enable the bladesinger to melee.

1. Flaming Sphere
2. Tenders Transformation
3. Shadow Blade or whatever it's called in Xanathars (lvl2)

Otherwise just use it as a dancing wizard.

Low level rapier, flaming sphere.

Cast fs use it to bump
Additional rounds raper cast gfb

Damage
1d8+ Dex plus int bonus
Plus 2d6 bumping with flaming sphere
Plus 2d6 if they're beside it.

If they're immune to fire go with shadow Blade.
Another approach is Blur or Greater Invisibility, with Shield available. Imposing disadvantage solves the problem of the 1:20 critical (becomes 1:400) and although the 'singer is burning a slot and using their concentration, over the adventuring day their party gets ahead. Which - of course - means that it matters how your table plays rests. For groups using one-encounter adventuring days (or close to that) then it would be better to use some other strategy.

I think the damage-dealing is only really important in tier-1. After that you're a full wizard... who can also tank amazingly efficiently as needed.
 

Eric V

Explorer
The bladesinger in a high-level game I played in was basically a defensive wizard who sometimes used his rapier if the enemies managed to engage him...which wasn't often.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
The 3 spells that basically enable the bladesinger to melee.

1. Flaming Sphere
2. Tenders Transformation
3. Shadow Blade or whatever it's called in Xanathars (lvl2)

Otherwise just use it as a dancing wizard.

Low level rapier, flaming sphere.

Cast fs use it to bump
Additional rounds raper cast gfb

Damage
1d8+ Dex plus int bonus
Plus 2d6 bumping with flaming sphere
Plus 2d6 if they're beside it.

If they're immune to fire go with shadow Blade.
Eh eh... Tender Transformation. Ironic typo/autocorrect, or witty editorial on the spell?
 

Esker

Explorer
I'm playing one now, but levels are split pretty much evenly with rogue. Uses shadow blade, primarily, does solid damage and is hard to hit. If not multiclassing though I'd probably not use a weapon much past tier 1. But then, I might just pick a different subclass (War Magic gives an AC and concentration buff too, as well as initiative, which is great for a control-focused wizard. But extra attack is a better 6th level feature, even if only used occasionally, than power surge, which is really bad)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
@Fradak plays one in a pbp game - a rogue (arcane trickster) 3/ bladesigner 5. Plays as a magic heavy rogue out of combat, high mobility skirmisher in combat. He runs around and disrupts things as much as possible, rather effectively. The party is a bit strange because our 2 main tank either dropped or didn't materialize - the main "tank" right now is another gish, my fighter/warlock.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I’ve only seen one in play, and it was a melee-focused AC tank. Between his Bladesinging, Blur, and Shield, he was basically only ever hit by critical hits. Of course, with his d6 hit die, he couldn’t really take a crit. I feel like he would have done well to pick up the Lucky Feat.
 

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