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
If the intent is that it is captured, what would be the objection to spelling it out?
It would be less accurate. You can wizard right in the melee, without using weapon attacks. That’s different from staying in the back field and shooting spells off from range.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
What confuses me is the 12 votes for "dip to help make a gish build work".

Bladesinger is a Gish already. Why multiclass and sacrifice the full Wizard casting progression too? I could maybe see like Fighter 11/Bladesinger 9 for 5th level spells and Extra Attack (2), but you've wasted the Bladesinger Extra Attack at 6th doing that and also sacrificed all your other spell levels from 6th-9th to get one extra attack per round. You're also sacrificing the Int bonus to weapon attacks if you just dip. Sure it's a level ability that most won't get to, but if you're game is going to 14th, then you're missing out on what's probably at least another +5 damage on your weapon attacks.

That doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe someone out there has a build they have an example of where a 2 level dip to Bladesinger makes sense? I'm genuinely confused/curious.

For RP reasons I can see something like a Bladesinger dip, "I was training on the path but the rest of my order was slain in a sneak attack and I have no masters to take me to the next level of bladesinging mysteries....so now I'm a fighter who learns a few spells as I can (EK)" or something like that would make sense. But "to make a gish build work" doesn't make sense to me.
 

clearstream

Explorer
It would be less accurate. You can wizard right in the melee, without using weapon attacks. That’s different from staying in the back field and shooting spells off from range.
If the poll doesn't contain the option I would choose, then it is hard to feel invested in a challenge as to the validity of what I would choose.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I remember thinking they were too good in 2e - and one of the reasons the Complete Book of Elves was a bit overpowered.

In 5e, I'm playing one and they are defensively pretty awesome, particularly when also armed with a shield spell. But I don't play him melee focused because while his AC is excellent, his hit points are not and that limits the exposure I'm willing to give him in a straight-up fight.

As far as the whole gish thing goes - <turns on pedantic warning> why are people talking about githyanki in a discussion about elven blade singers? Because that's what a gish is - it's not a fighter/mage in general - it's a githyanki fighter/mage. Now get off my lawn!
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I remember thinking they were too good in 2e - and one of the reasons the Complete Book of Elves was a bit overpowered.

In 5e, I'm playing one and they are defensively pretty awesome, particularly when also armed with a shield spell. But I don't play him melee focused because while his AC is excellent, his hit points are not and that limits the exposure I'm willing to give him in a straight-up fight.

As far as the whole gish thing goes - <turns on pedantic warning> why are people talking about githyanki in a discussion about elven blade singers? Because that's what a gish is - it's not a fighter/mage in general - it's a githyanki fighter/mage. Now get off my lawn!
<anti pedantry shields up> Oh, get off that! Gish = generic fighter/mage concept or build has been a generic usage term for decades. Does it really matter what the lore origins of the term were in 1e AD&D?

Language evolves whether correct or not. "Irregardless" is going to be a "real" word in probably 10 years because of popular usage. In the same way that "Whelm" and "Overwhelm" mean basically the same thing with "overwhelm" being a doubling down emphasis on "whelm". But while "whelm" has fallen out of popular usage or even knowledge of its meaning today, "overwhelm" is alive and well to a whelming degree. </anti pedantry off>

<Back to the lecture disgussion at hand...> I think that Bladesinger IS viable in melee and for use more defensively as a standard wizard. I have more fun using them in melee because it's different.

I also thought the 2e version was OP for what you got and the restrictions you had, which is why none of my DM's would let me play one. They agreed that it was OP :)
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Looks like I've always read this thread in the app because I had no idea it was a poll. I've voted now:
Mostly Melee Unless The Front Gets Too Wild
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
<anti pedantry shields up> Oh, get off that! Gish = generic fighter/mage concept or build has been a generic usage term for decades. Does it really matter what the lore origins of the term were in 1e AD&D?

Language evolves whether correct or not. "Irregardless" is going to be a "real" word in probably 10 years because of popular usage. In the same way that "Whelm" and "Overwhelm" mean basically the same thing with "overwhelm" being a doubling down emphasis on "whelm". But while "whelm" has fallen out of popular usage or even knowledge of its meaning today, "overwhelm" is alive and well to a whelming degree. </anti pedantry off>

<Back to the lecture disgussion at hand...> I think that Bladesinger IS viable in melee and for use more defensively as a standard wizard. I have more fun using them in melee because it's different.

I also thought the 2e version was OP for what you got and the restrictions you had, which is why none of my DM's would let me play one. They agreed that it was OP :)
Irregardless is a real word now, though a lot of people hate it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Looks like I've always read this thread in the app because I had no idea it was a poll. I've voted now:
Mostly Melee Unless The Front Gets Too Wild
That’s how I play them as well. Highly mobile gish is a build type you want to be able to go in and out of melee with, generally.

What? Evaluating on the basis of "fun". I'm aghast.
😂

Jokes aside, IME most people do exactly that when deciding what to actually play.
 
I think an issue with the 5e bladesinger, and this also applies to valor bards, is that as a full caster, they have lots of spells. This means they are probably more effective if they use their actions in combat to cast spells rather than make weapon attacks.
 

clearstream

Explorer
I think an issue with the 5e bladesinger, and this also applies to valor bards, is that as a full caster, they have lots of spells. This means they are probably more effective if they use their actions in combat to cast spells rather than make weapon attacks.
Exactly. And that is where the DM's rest decisions have a shaping role. If, foreseeably, they can spam wizard spells every round of the "day" then their efficient-defense melee has less value. If the day is protracted (RAW could count as "protracted" here) then that changes and efficient-defense melee has more value.

Now I think of it, that's true of many classes/archetypes: defenses climb in value as the day protracts.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I think an issue with the 5e bladesinger, and this also applies to valor bards, is that as a full caster, they have lots of spells. This means they are probably more effective if they use their actions in combat to cast spells rather than make weapon attacks.
Bladesinger is less MAD as they don't need 4 decent stats they can get by with 2-3.

They also get better spells for melee combat.
 
Bladesinger is less MAD as they don't need 4 decent stats they can get by with 2-3.

They also get better spells for melee combat.
MAD has nothing to do with my point though - it's simply a matter of the action economy. So long as you have have spell slots to burn casting a spell is a better use of an action than hitting someone with a bit of pointy metal.

Only the Eldritch Knight tries to address the issue (at high levels) by allowing a melee attack as a bonus action after casting a cantrip/spell.
 

Condiments

Explorer
I played a mostly melee Bladesinger in my friends campaign for about a year to great success. He is currently a level 7 wizard/3 battlemaster fighter, and has very rarely been hit by enemies due to his ridiculous AC. The fighter levels have helped a bit with HP, though I'm waiting until next level when I can boost my Con.

The combination of Bladesinger form and Shadow Blade is a deadly. At 3rd level you're doing 3d8+5 every swing or 6d8+10 if you hit both of your attacks. Being a battlemaster fighter, I have regular access to superiority dice, and action surge which I have used to great effect. Last session I pumped out 105 damage on a boss by unloading my action surge and superiority dice in one turn. Being an Eldarin elf, I can zip in and out of combat with my misty step so I never have to stay on the front line too long.

How effective a bladesinger is depends on the multitude of rests available. If you're able to access short rests easily, and you never go beyond 5+ encounters per day you should have no issue. Between arcane recovery, and your spell slots, you can hit hard and often.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I think an issue with the 5e bladesinger, and this also applies to valor bards, is that as a full caster, they have lots of spells. This means they are probably more effective if they use their actions in combat to cast spells rather than make weapon attacks.
Maybe? But that is both a play style choice and encounter situational determination. Each encounter is different as is the play style and game day.

I would rather encounters take a bit longer and preserve my spell slots for truly dangerous things. Especially when I get bladesong back after a short rest.

The combination of Bladesinger form and Shadow Blade is a deadly. At 3rd level you're doing 3d8+5 every swing or 6d8+10 if you hit both of your attacks. Being a battlemaster fighter, I have regular access to superiority dice, and action surge which I have used to great effect. Last session I pumped out 105 damage on a boss by unloading my action surge and superiority dice in one turn. Being an Eldarin elf, I can zip in and out of combat with my misty step so I never have to stay on the front line too long.

How effective a bladesinger is depends on the multitude of rests available. If you're able to access short rests easily, and you never go beyond 5+ encounters per day you should have no issue. Between arcane recovery, and your spell slots, you can hit hard and often.
I agree that number of short rests and encounters a day greatly increases the usefulness of a Bladesinger overall.

I'm confused on what you're saying about the nitty gritty of Shadow Blade though.

It is a 3rd level spell slot to make the Blade 3d8 psychic damage... which is Wizard 5th level minimum, so you can't be getting that at 3rd level?

Also the "+5" on the attack... are you saying that you have a 20 Dex at Wizard level 5? I guess if you rolled stats and put an 18 in there then you could have that, just curious is all as most of my play is with point buy/standard array.

To get two attacks you need to be at least 6th level Bladesinger.

Not a big deal, I'm just confused what you meant by "3rd level" is all.

Once you get two attacks (assuming 20 Dex) you'll be rocking 42% over baseline damage* with that Psychic blade without any other spells helping out with damage (flaming sphere, etc). Pretty great. If you're only attacking 1/round at 5th level you drop all the way down to -1.5% of baseline damage. So that second attack his a huge boost to your damage potential.

*Baseline damage calculated based on Treantmonks methods.

EDIT: Math is hard...
 
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Condiments

Explorer
Maybe? But that is both a play style choice and encounter situational determination. Each encounter is different as is the play style and game day.

I would rather encounters take a bit longer and preserve my spell slots for truly dangerous things. Especially when I get bladesong back after a short rest.



I agree that number of short rests and encounters a day greatly increases the usefulness of a Bladesinger overall.

I'm confused on what you're saying about the nitty gritty of Shadow Blade though.

It is a 3rd level spell slot to make the Blade 3d8 psychic damage... which is Wizard 5th level minimum, so you can't be getting that at 3rd level?

Also the "+5" on the attack... are you saying that you have a 20 Dex at Wizard level 5? I guess if you rolled stats and put an 18 in there then you could have that, just curious is all as most of my play is with point buy/standard array.

To get two attacks you need to be at least 6th level Bladesinger.

Not a big deal, I'm just confused what you meant by "3rd level" is all.

Once you get two attacks (assuming 20 Dex) you'll be rocking 97% over baseline damage* with that Psychic blade without any other spells helping out with damage (flaming sphere, etc). Pretty great. If you're only attacking 1/round at 5th level you drop all the way down to -1.5% of baseline damage. So that second attack his a huge boost to your damage potential.

*Baseline damage calculated based on Treantmonks methods.
I apologize, I should have clarified that "3rd level" was for up-scaling shadow-blade. Before level 6, I played my character more conservatively though with the use of flame sphere, and melee cantrips he still kept up with the party barbarian with having more utility to boot. After level 6 with shadow blade, your damage goes through the roof. The following level I took a fighter level with the dual wielding fighting style to sneak in some off hand attacks for extra damage. When I got action surge, I could smash through encounters with my damage potential alongside my barbarian ally.

Our DM is a big fan of rolling for stats, which I does unbalance things a bit. It only took one stat boost to get my Dexterity to 20 at level 4. At level 10 with the fighter multi-class, my bladesinger regularly does truck tons of damage, especially with easy access to short rests(rope trick helps with this).

Very fun class, and I would never turn anyone away from making a melee bladesinger. However, bad luck with saves and the odd critical hit against you can really turn things bad quickly.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I apologize, I should have clarified that "3rd level" was for up-scaling shadow-blade. Before level 6, I played my character more conservatively though with the use of flame sphere, and melee cantrips he still kept up with the party barbarian with having more utility to boot. After level 6 with shadow blade, your damage goes through the roof. The following level I took a fighter level with the dual wielding fighting style to sneak in some off hand attacks for extra damage. When I got action surge, I could smash through encounters with my damage potential alongside my barbarian ally.

Our DM is a big fan of rolling for stats, which I does unbalance things a bit. It only took one stat boost to get my Dexterity to 20 at level 4. At level 10 with the fighter multi-class, my bladesinger regularly does truck tons of damage, especially with easy access to short rests(rope trick helps with this).

Very fun class, and I would never turn anyone away from making a melee bladesinger. However, bad luck with saves and the odd critical hit against you can really turn things bad quickly.
Super high ability scores help out fish characters a lot.

Think my wife got 18 Dex and int after racials.

It was before shadow Blade though, she used flaming sphere and bonus action bumping etc with it.

Even under default array a bladesinger really only needs good Dex, int,con.

a valor bard kind of needs 14 Dex, con, 16 charisma and strength band has a crappier spell list.

Lore bard can steal shadow Blade and tenders Transformation along with gfb.

Sorcerers get Shadow Blade, not sure if they could cast it and quicken gfb with it.
 
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