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

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I've played it a couple of times in different games, and used it entirely melee focused, though occasionally I'd use range as necessary.

I mean, mage armor + Dex + Int + Shield Spell? I almost never got hit in melee and was able to use either my damaging cantrips and/or extra attack to decent melee effect.

The fact that I can toss a fireball out to the group on the right as needed is just icing on the cake.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I played one at 5th level. In encounters where I didn't need to focus on my spells too much I ran around with bladesong hitting people with Greenflame blade. I'd typically use blur as a defensive spell, easily cast before combat began. I'd still use spells like fireball or fire bolt but typically I would get up in the enemy's grill, falling back when necessary. I never used bladesong as a defensive buff and then stayed at range. If I was bladesinging then I was mixing it up in melee.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Loved bladesingers in 2E, they are entirely lackluster in 5E and I haven't seen one played, either.
They aren’t even a little lackluster in 5e.
I played one at 5th level. In encounters where I didn't need to focus my spells too much I ran around with bladesong hitting people with Greendale blade. I'd typically use blur as a defensive spell, easily cast before combat began. I'd still use spells like fireball or fire bolt but typically I would get up in the enemy's grill, falling back when necessary. I never used bladesong as a defensive buff and then stayed at range. If I was bladesinging then I was mixing it up in melee.
Yeah same. I like Mirror Image for defense, but some don’t. IME, Xanathar’s Absorb Elements is also a must have spell for any gish.

Mobile Feat means I can Booming Blade, then bounce, or later I can teleport away. Regardless, I don’t try to tank, I’m playing a skirmisher.

The Swashbuckler/Bladesinger is pretty incredible, as well. Last session I crit on a Booming Blade attack with SA, 1-shot killed that enemy, then moved and hid.

I’ve never seen the sort of play I’m reading about, where it’s treated purely as a defensive buff in a standard wizard.
 
They aren’t even a little lackluster in 5e.
They seem lacklustre compared to how they where in 2e, when they where ridiculously popular for a splatbook class - in those tables that didn't ban them outright.

Basically, they could do everything a wizard could do and everything a fighter could do.
 

clearstream

Explorer
They seem lacklustre compared to how they where in 2e, when they where ridiculously popular for a splatbook class - in those tables that didn't ban them outright.

Basically, they could do everything a wizard could do and everything a fighter could do.
I think when you compare 5e 'singer with other schools of magic, they stand out. I probably like Diviner more because I think the sort of fiat over the narrative it exercises is profound, but I wouldn't want to argue that Diviner was necessarily stronger. Illusion could be incredible in the right campaign... depending on DM decisions about illusions.

There's (at least) two axes for evaluation; 1) of schools a wizard character could take, how good are they, and 2) and of classes/archetypes a player could take overall how good are they. They're full wizards, and in my view highly competitive as melee tanks if played for efficiency. They're mediocre melee attackers... although not weakest in that regard depending on spell and feat choices.

Everything in Bladesong, even the Acrobatics (to contest foe grapple attempts), is relevant in a combat-focused campaign.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
They seem lacklustre compared to how they where in 2e, when they where ridiculously popular for a splatbook class - in those tables that didn't ban them outright.

Basically, they could do everything a wizard could do and everything a fighter could do.
I think they were popular in 2e because they were adding on to an already popular multiclass combination. Even without the bladesinger kit, a fighter/mage was very powerful. I think also that the bladesinger had a roleplaying penalty that I wouldn't be surprised wasn't enforced very hard.
 

AngryTiger

Explorer
I play bladesinger mostly as a defensive wizard. Sometimes i get into melee with booming blade when i feel it's safe to do so.
 

renbot

Explorer
In the game that I DM, the 6th level BS is mostly melee with upcast shadowblade, mirror Image, and Shield when necessary. Very effective in combat plus a standard wizard when necessary.

I play a BS (4th level) in another game where I am pretty evenly split between melee and control. I attribute the difference to my being more generous with healing in my game, but it could be I'm just a coward
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Interesting to me that the two “focused on Melee” choices, the 2 “focused on not-Melee” choices, and the “MC to make a gish work” choice, all have the same numbers of votes.

Definitely doesn’t match the claims I see that it’s almost always the “wizard with more defense” style of Bladesinger play.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Interesting to me that the two “focused on Melee” choices, the 2 “focused on not-Melee” choices, and the “MC to make a gish work” choice, all have the same numbers of votes.

Definitely doesn’t match the claims I see that it’s almost always the “wizard with more defense” style of Bladesinger play.
I think wizard with more defense is the optimal way to play it but most people will play it as intended.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Definitely doesn’t match the claims I see that it’s almost always the “wizard with more defense” style of Bladesinger play.
I would have liked to see that option on the list. I looked for it, but as it was not there I chose mixed... i.e. with assumption that the ranged or control part being spells. I mean, what do you pick if you were thinking "wizard, with highly efficient option to play defense"?

What would be good would be to have some options that expressly acknowledge casting: a bladesinger is still a full wizard.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I would have liked to see that option on the list. I looked for it, but as it was not there I chose mixed... i.e. with assumption that the ranged or control part being spells. I mean, what do you pick if you were thinking "wizard, with highly efficient option to play defense"?

What would be good would be to have some options that expressly acknowledge casting: a bladesinger is still a full wizard.
The “mostly ranged” and “entirely back field” are for that exactly.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I would have liked to see that option on the list. I looked for it, but as it was not there I chose mixed... i.e. with assumption that the ranged or control part being spells. I mean, what do you pick if you were thinking "wizard, with highly efficient option to play defense"?

What would be good would be to have some options that expressly acknowledge casting: a bladesinger is still a full wizard.
Sure, they're a full wizard, but the differentiating point, what makes them different and shine IMO, is the fact that you can engage in melee, be semi-successful at it and not get trounced like the little wizard you are even if facing a true melee threat!

Which is why I play BS's as full melee engagers. Because they can, and they can also through out a perfectly lined up lightning bolt or xyz spell because they're up near the melee for better angles than back in a defensive casting position. At least, that is what I often find true, that my wizardly role is actually enhanced by being in and engaging in melee frequently.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
To be clearer: none of the choices said to me "full wizard with efficient defense option".

EDIT I just went back and tried voting again, to see if I could capture it... and did not feel that I could.
I’m not sure I understand what is happening here.

What about the ranged and backfield options don’t fit “wizard with defense option?”
 

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