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Critical Role Echo Knight is Wildemount's Most Popular Subclass

Russ Morrissey

Comments

Parmandur

Legend
You're putting words into my mouth and then demanding I "prove" them? Please do not do that.

I said they're overpowered. Not "broken". I don't use those terms interchangeably. Those are two different things, at least by degree. Hence people often saying "broken overpowered" when describing stuff in computer games, to mean something isn't merely problematic (like a gun that does 10-15% more damage than other guns), it actually breaks the game (like a gun with infinite ammo, or a gun that does 100% more damage). I don't know if anything here "breaks the game", but there's certainly "overpoweredness" in the sense of stuff that's clearly better than typical options.

What is "it" in the subject of this sentence anyway?

I'm leery of going into deep examples, because in my experience, people who've demanded such things tend to do one of two things when they are provided:

1) Walk away from the thread and never comment on it again (let alone acknowledging the often significant time and effort that goes into providing the examples and accompanying math).

2) Dismiss the examples with terms like "white room" (necessarily any example on a messageboard will be vulnerable to this, just as examples from real games are vulnerable to the issue that the player may be holding back or not very mechanically adept), or with very weak arguments (c.f. the "well you can kill the echo pretty easily stuff", where in fact the resources being used to kill the echo are potentially pretty huge - forcing an enemy to make a pointless attack is like having Stunning them for a turn).

I'm not saying "I refuse", I'd just like you to acknowledge that these are valid concerns. I've seen too many times when people (not always me) have provided detailed examples which have simply been ignored or dismissed unreasonably.

As for Healing Spirit being fixed "easily", maybe, but not everything can be fixed that easily.

I also note your original wording re: "bet" that they are balanced - have you actually looked at them? You haven't answered on that. I'm certainly not going to bother with this until you have looked at them (including all the spells).



No. If you think that's a requirement to seeing that something is obviously overpowered, then, I'm afraid I don't think agree and I don't think that's a reasonable position, and I've been vindicated in this viewpoint so many times in my lifetime that it's not even funny. Some flaws only emerge in actual play. Many others are obvious even without it. In my long experience, here, in video games, wargames, card games, and RPGs, It's far more often the case that something seems fine on paper, and is broken in practice, than vice-versa.

Some people will always claim that "Well in my game it's fine!", no matter how unbalanced or badly-designed something is. That's a fact, and it's something anyone who has discussed RPGs significantly will have seen. The interesting thing is that it's often true - but the reason it's typically is that the player is either restraining themselves voluntarily, or isn't capable of understanding how to leverage what the ability in question is. The perfect example is LF/QW, which people swear blind isn't an issue in their games, and again, I'm sure that's true, but as a point of the rules design, it is a problem.

The spells in particular are frequently better than other spells of the same level (not all of them), to a degree that says not "This wasn't tested at all", but rather seems like clear power creep, which to me undermines any suggestion of rigour.
I've read it, it's flavorful and not bad: but a Champion at the Level 3 gets expanded Crit range, which is extremely powerful, particularly as Bonus Attack starts coming online, and can be extremely powerful in the hands of, for example, a Two-weapon wielding Half-Orc.
 

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No. If you think that's a requirement to seeing that something is obviously overpowered, then, I'm afraid I don't think agree and I don't think that's a reasonable position, and I've been vindicated in this viewpoint so many times in my lifetime that it's not even funny. Some flaws only emerge in actual play. Many others are obvious even without it. In my long experience, here, in video games, wargames, card games, and RPGs, It's far more often the case that something seems fine on paper, and is broken in practice, than vice-versa.

Some people will always claim that "Well in my game it's fine!", no matter how unbalanced or badly-designed something is. That's a fact, and it's something anyone who has discussed RPGs significantly will have seen. The interesting thing is that it's often true - but the reason it's typically is that the player is either restraining themselves voluntarily, or isn't capable of understanding how to leverage what the ability in question is. The perfect example is LF/QW, which people swear blind isn't an issue in their games, and again, I'm sure that's true, but as a point of the rules design, it is a problem.

The spells in particular are frequently better than other spells of the same level (not all of them), to a degree that says not "This wasn't tested at all", but rather seems like clear power creep, which to me undermines any suggestion of rigour.
Well, generally you should engage with something before you make an opinion on it, and if you haven't, don't be surprised when people don't take your opinion seriously.
 

teitan

Hero
Different styles of play make different classes seem unbalanced is my experience, based on the situation and the DM. Echo Knight in my game would be fairly tame because of my approach as a DM. No, I don't do high powered campaigns, but my approach is very different. Like core book Ranger would be good for my game.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Something else to consider about the Echo Knight - A lot of the 'value' of the fighter class is tied up in their AC. If you use abilities that prevent you from being targeted with an attack, that benefit is wasted. Just as a barbarian that attunes to defensive items is diminishing the value of his high hit points and damage resistance when raging, an echo knight that avoids attacks on his person is diminishing the value of his high AC (and solid hps).

Honestly, the Echo Knight is best as a multiclass with a ranger or rogue build - but even then I would prefer the Battlemaster if we're just talking about power gaming. However, I love the evocative nature of the Echo Knight and see a lot of builds where it would be a lot of fun to add.
 

Just the ability to have your actual character stay behind cover while your infinitely re-summonable dupe makes ranged attacks and draws enemy fire can get ridiculous in many dungeon situations.
Overall, I think the Echo power of the Echo Knight edges out the Invoke Duplicity power of the Cleric of Trickery.

That said, I do something similar with a Cleric of Trickery. I run the perfect Illusion into the midst of a group of monsters and spam Word of Radiance and Toll the Bell. Unlike an Echo, the Illusion cannot be disrupted.

Echo Knight is strong but not excessive. Of course that is just my opinion.

That is also my impression of the Chronurgist Wizard as well. Chronurgy allows a Wizard to lockdown an opponent and make it likely that a target will fail their saving throws, twice per day, through Chronal Shift.

Momentary Stasis at 6th level is great to disrupt enemy Concentration on spells, but is a Constitution saving throw, and limited to your Intelligence modifier per day, for daily uses.

Arcane Abeyance is useful, will make some DMs cry, and requires some planning. Overall the subclass feature, allows one to spread Concentration out between party members.

It does have some interesting interactions with Magic Circle, Mord’s Private Sanctum, and Glyph of Warding. I rate the power as Strong...possibly overpowered in particular situations.

Spellwise, the book adds mainly Constitution saving throw spells. I was not super impressed.

Sapping Sting is a cantrip that requires a Con save for 1d4 Necrotic dmg and falls Prone.
Range is only 30’. About on par with Vicious Mockery.

Gift of Alacrity is a 1st level Divination spell that grants a 1d8 bonus to the recipients’ Initiative rolls for 8 hours. Very Nice!

Fortunes’ Favor is a 2nd level spell, that lasts an hour, costs a 100 gp pearl as an expendable material component, and grants a power similar to the Diviner’s Portent class ability.
Essentially you dismiss the spell to roll an additional die, or cause an enemy to roll an additional die. The caster chooses which die to use.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
I'll make a prediction

The first official fighter subclass that lets a fighter "double jump", make effective range attacks with their swords, and power dodge like a video game, cartoon, or manga character will be a top 10 played subclass in 5e D&D

High fantasy fighters are crazy popular. Echo Knight partially scratches that itch and the new comers love it. Another eldritch knight enters my game. 3rd one this campaign.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Overall, I think the Echo power of the Echo Knight edges out the Invoke Duplicity power of the Cleric of Trickery.

That said, I do something similar with a Cleric of Trickery. I run the perfect Illusion into the midst of a group of monsters and spam Word of Radiance and Toll the Bell. Unlike an Echo, the Illusion cannot be disrupted.
It doesn't "edge out" Invoke Duplicity. It destroys it by comparison. Invoke Duplicity is something a 3rd level Trickery cleric can do once per long rest, and it lasts a minute. The echo knight's duplicate can be summoned an infinite amount of times, as a bonus action, and lasts forever until destroyed (whereupon it can be re-summoned next round, as a bonus action).
 

jgsugden

Legend
It doesn't "edge out" Invoke Duplicity. It destroys it by comparison. Invoke Duplicity is something a 3rd level Trickery cleric can do once per long rest, and it lasts a minute. The echo knight's duplicate can be summoned an infinite amount of times, as a bonus action, and lasts forever until destroyed (whereupon it can be re-summoned next round, as a bonus action).
Some errors in your understanding of ID. It uses Channel divinity, so it can be done once per SHORT rest staring at second level, twice at 6th level, and eventually up to 3 times per short rest at high level.

So, you either have something that is indestructibe, looks exactly like you for purposes of fooling enemies, can be used to gain advantage on attacks, can be used to cast spells (extending the range of some of your spells meaningfully), etc... or you have your Echo. They're comparable in utility.
 

I've read it, it's flavorful and not bad: but a Champion at the Level 3 gets expanded Crit range, which is extremely powerful, particularly as Bonus Attack starts coming online, and can be extremely powerful in the hands of, for example, a Two-weapon wielding Half-Orc.
So you're not acknowledging the effort that goes into providing evidence that a class has issues, nor agreeing that you wouldn't just walk away or dismiss the evidence if I provided it? Ok, well it's clear that you aren't actually looking for reasoned criticism of the classes.

Also, you didn't answer any of my other questions, nor did you comment on the spells. You certainly cannot, in good faith, claim that the subclasses are "balanced" without looking at those spells. I admit you said you "bet" not that they "were" (I'm not going to put words in your mouth here), but I feel this is a bit of a silly position.

And no, critting on a 19/20 is not remotely as useful to an intelligent player as this is. I feel like you know this.

They're comparable in utility.
This is definitely not true. The Echo Knight power, in the hands of a player with any tactical aptitude at all, is drastically more dangerous in combat, and costs far less to use, particularly in terms of action economy.

ID is a drastically limited thing. It requires the following:

1) Concentration to maintain. If you get damaged, it probably goes away, and you're a Cleric, so it prevents you from using a very large number of excellent spells, because they also require Concentration.

2) An Action to generate. Compared to a Bonus Action. This is a hugely greater cost in the action economy. According to 5E's designers, few combats should last over three rounds (and that does largely match my experience, particularly at lower levels). So on average, you're using up 33% of the actions you'll get in a combat, simply to summon something to ALLOW you to potentially later cast spells from it. That's pretty poor.

3) It costs you a Bonus Action to move it up to 30ft. As opposed to a free action.

4) Literally the only benefits it offers, or threats it creates are that you can cast spells from that location (but you had to burn an action to even be able to do that), and it provides Advantage for you and only you on attack rolls against a creature if it's within 5 feet. It doesn't cause OAs or whatever, though, so even with Warcaster, people can just move away from it and you'll have to burn your bonus action every turn shuffling it around.

Yes, it can't be killed, but enemies will likely immediately realize this (after the first attack passes harmlessly through it), and there's no real need to "kill" it, because it's non-threatening. Whereas the Echo can make full attacks, and does OAs, so is extremely threatening if it comes up next to you, and thus actually may need to be killed.

You get 1/SR for 1-5, 2/SR for 6-17, and 3/SR 18-20. My suspicion would be that, given the opportunity cost of using it, many SRs will actually pass without you having used it. Especially as CD can also be used to Turn stuff, which if it can happen, is typically amazing.

This is not a comparable ability, nor should it be, frankly. If no concentration was required, and the action economy was the same as EK, it'd still be significantly behind, but not laughably so. I'm assuming you simply overlooked those elements rather than excluding them.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I don't like the UI. I don't like how it can't compute my spell slots accurately (like counting cantrips against my prepared spells per day). The app is terrible and the functionality on desktop is questionable.
It is a strange beast, an online character builder that is somehow even worse than what we had a decade ago in 4e with DDI. It doesn't facilitate online play at all, so you still need a VTT, which already have built in character sheets that work better than D&D Beyond.
I can't see the point in it, unless it's some form of charity to give Wizards more money.
I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. It computes cantrips correctly. It's character sheet works better than Roll20 or FG character sheets (which also function pretty good but not quite as well as DnDBeyonds). Has it been a long time since you've used DnDBeyond? It's improved A LOT since the early days.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
It doesn't "edge out" Invoke Duplicity. It destroys it by comparison. Invoke Duplicity is something a 3rd level Trickery cleric can do once per long rest, and it lasts a minute. The echo knight's duplicate can be summoned an infinite amount of times, as a bonus action, and lasts forever until destroyed (whereupon it can be re-summoned next round, as a bonus action).
That's not the correct comparison: it should be directly compared to the Champions extended critical range, which looks right.
 

It is a strange beast, an online character builder that is somehow even worse than what we had a decade ago in 4e with DDI. It doesn't facilitate online play at all, so you still need a VTT, which already have built in character sheets that work better than D&D Beyond.
When did you last actually use the D&D Beyond sheets in an actual game? Because if it was like, years ago, I can understand you take. At the beginning, it was kind of dreadful and yes worse than the 4E character sheets in the DDI.

Now? No. The character sheets work superbly. It's improved a huge amount. Don't write it off because of past experienced.

To use Beyond for online play, you get the Beyond20 extension for Chrome, and the DM can then have it feed data in directly to Roll20. Like, I adjust my HP on beyond, it goes down on Roll20. This isn't theoretical. I did this yesterday. To roll something, you click on it. To have advantage/disadvantage you either click twice, or better you click on the Beyond20 icon, switch rolls to the appropriate one, then click on the other thing.
 


Parmandur

Legend
So you're not acknowledging the effort that goes into providing evidence that a class has issues, nor agreeing that you wouldn't just walk away or dismiss the evidence if I provided it? Ok, well it's clear that you aren't actually looking for reasoned criticism of the classes.

Also, you didn't answer any of my other questions, nor did you comment on the spells. You certainly cannot, in good faith, claim that the subclasses are "balanced" without looking at those spells. I admit you said you "bet" not that they "were" (I'm not going to put words in your mouth here), but I feel this is a bit of a silly position.
Real play examples, please, not theorycraft. After since years, I have yet to see any of these sorts of assertions about balance pan out in reality.

And no, critting on a 19/20 is not remotely as useful to an intelligent player as this is. I feel like you know this.
It's extremely powerful whether the player is intelligent or not: going from a 5% crit chance to 10% crit chance EVERY SINGLE TIME for a Fighter is simply gigantic, and honestly every other Fighter Subclass suffers compared to that power curve. That you would not acknowledge that is a large part of why I doubt your instinctual assessment of power levels.
 

Real play examples, please, not theorycraft. After since years, I have yet to see any of these sorts of assertions about balance pan out in reality.
Oh wow.

You literally dismissed a real-play account that they were overpowered, and now you're claiming you'll only take real-play accounts? Wow. Just wow. That is genuinely incredible and blatant hypocrisy, and really proves what I'm saying about people who "want examples" not actually wanting examples.

Otherwise you need to go back and accept that the real-play account given upthread is worth far more than your theory that they're "fine".

Wow though. Astonishing.

It's extremely powerful whether the player is intelligent or not: going from a 5% crit chance to 10% crit chance EVERY SINGLE TIME for a Fighter is simply gigantic, and honestly every other Fighter Subclass suffers compared to that power curve. That you would not acknowledge that is a large part of why I doubt your instinctual assessment of power levels.
I'm well aware of the math, but you just said "real play examples only", and I can say from my real play experience that Champions is are not as possible to leverage as, say, Battlemasters, nor will they be as possible to leverage as this. Math is irrelevant to you, apparently, given you want "real play examples" though. Also, dude, you just said half-orc dual-wield champion was the way to go, and brother, that ain't so.

Casting aspersions on others when you've just said that is pretty funny.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Oh wow.

You literally dismissed a real-play account that they were overpowered, and now you're claiming you'll only take real-play accounts? Wow. Just wow. That is genuinely incredible and blatant hypocrisy, and really proves what I'm saying about people who "want examples" not actually wanting examples.

Otherwise you need to go back and accept that the real-play account given upthread is worth far more than your theory that they're "fine".

Wow though. Astonishing.



I'm well aware of the math, but you just said "real play examples only", and I can say from my real play experience that Champions is are not as possible to leverage as, say, Battlemasters, nor will they be as possible to leverage as this. Math is irrelevant to you, apparently, given you want "real play examples" though. Also, dude, you just said half-orc dual-wield champion was the way to go, and brother, that ain't so.

Casting aspersions on others when you've just said that is pretty funny.
Not hypocrisy, I literally don't see the post in question...?

My real play experience is that the Champion is the most effective character I've seen.

A Two-weapon Champion gets more attacks, hence more criticals. Half-Orcs get more hit dice every time they critical. It's not necessary for an effective Champion, but it is good synergy.
 

Not hypocrisy, I literally don't see the post in question...?

My real play experience is that the Champion is the most effective character I've seen.

A Two-weapon Champion gets more attacks, hence more criticals. Half-Orcs get more hit dice every time they critical. It's not necessary for an effective Champion, but it is good synergy.
Oh. It's first post in the chain you responded to, the second post in the thread :)

Yes it's a lovely synergy, but don't be dissing my ability to know optimization stuff when you're literally describing a fairly middle-of-the-pack optimization as your example, is what I'm saying. :) You can a lot better than that with Champion.

Thing is, with "real play", I agree Champions reliably do good damage, but they can't leverage it. They can't create or manipulate situations to take advantage of that. They just have to keep trying to hit things and not get prevented from hitting things. My experience is that any class which has abilities that can be leveraged like the Echo Knight's very clearly can be (I can see so many times they would have been insanely killer in the adventure I'm playing most weekends), where smart play and good tactics can make them distinctly more powerful, is going to be extremely powerful, potentially dominating. I don't think Echo Knights are "broken OP", again to be clear, but I do think that they are really at the very top for Fighter subclasses (not in pure DPR, no Fighter subclass except maybe Brute has ever beaten 2H Champions at that AFAIK), but in terms of overall effectiveness, pulling enemy attacks off other targets to attempt to hit their ghost(s), getting enemies to blow AEs to try and deal with them, and so on, as well as doing solid DPR (likely with more opportunity for OAs, and more lockdown on the enemy back line), they're going to be ahead.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Oh. It's first post in the chain you responded to, the second post in the thread :)

Yes it's a lovely synergy, but don't be dissing my ability to know optimization stuff when you're literally describing a fairly middle-of-the-pack optimization as your example, is what I'm saying. :) You can a lot better than that with Champion.

Thing is, with "real play", I agree Champions reliably do good damage, but they can't leverage it. They can't create or manipulate situations to take advantage of that. They just have to keep trying to hit things and not get prevented from hitting things. My experience is that any class which has abilities that can be leveraged like the Echo Knight's very clearly can be (I can see so many times they would have been insanely killer in the adventure I'm playing most weekends), where smart play and good tactics can make them distinctly more powerful, is going to be extremely powerful, potentially dominating. I don't think Echo Knights are "broken OP", again to be clear, but I do think that they are really at the very top for Fighter subclasses (not in pure DPR, no Fighter subclass except maybe Brute has ever beaten 2H Champions at that AFAIK), but in terms of overall effectiveness, pulling enemy attacks off other targets to attempt to hit their ghost(s), getting enemies to blow AEs to try and deal with them, and so on, as well as doing solid DPR (likely with more opportunity for OAs, and more lockdown on the enemy back line), they're going to be ahead.
Yeah, I'm sorry, had totally missed that.

I'm sure better optimization is possible, but it's one option.

The relentless attack is definitely the approach of the Champion, but boy that really works.

I'm not saying the Echo Knight isn't effective, it looks it, but my impression is that it is not more effective as such.
 

I'm not saying the Echo Knight isn't effective, it looks it, but my impression is that it is not more effective as such.
I really feel like it's top of the pile for a tactical Fighter. Champion is ahead for pure DPR, though getting your OA more often as Echo Knight seems likely to give you may make it very close or even ahead in real play.

I'm still telling you take a gander at those spells. Magnify Gravity for example, is just outright better than any other first-level AE damage spell. It's 60' range, 2d8 damage (CON save for half) in 10' radius centered on a point you choose (thus making it vastly easier to position than other low-level AE spells), aaaaand it halves the movement (halves, not -10' as you might expect, not even -15', halves) of creatures who fail the save, aaaaand all non-worn objects within the radius require a STR save (spell save DC) to pick up at all.

It wildly outclasses Ice Knife, in that it hits way more squares, doesn't require a creature as a target, and does more damage to boot (you might do 2d6+1d10 on the main target with Ice Knife, but there's no way you're nailing the same number of creatures reliably when they all need to be within 5' of the target, rather than within a 10' radius of a point. And the only other ranged AE spell at 1st level is the Ranger's Hail of Thorns (which is very similar to Ice Knife, except it only does 1d10 damage, not 2d6).

To me it looks very much like the sort of spells that came in, in late 2E, that were just better than older spells of the same level, and tended to have the same "too many effects" deal going on. If you maybe removed the movement reduction entirely and dropped it to 2d6 damage, you might have something. But a massive scaling movement reduction as well as more damage in a bigger area and the rarely-applicable but clearly useful item lockdown thing? Pfffffff. The only mark against it is a CON save, but that's not much worse than DEX at lower levels. Certainly not enough to justify increased radius, damage, ease of positioning, and a really powerful snare.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Some people will always claim that "Well in my game it's fine!", no matter how unbalanced or badly-designed something is. That's a fact, and it's something anyone who has discussed RPGs significantly will have seen. The interesting thing is that it's often true - but the reason it's typically is that the player is either restraining themselves voluntarily, or isn't capable of understanding how to leverage what the ability in question is.
Flip that around and say "balanced" and "well-designed", and your statement is still true. People tend to think that the way something works for their table, is the way it works for everyone else's tables (or worse, the way it should work for everyone). Balanced or unbalanced, fun or not fun, etc. It's kind of pointless to argue about feelings and judgment calls like this. (And I'd try to avoid implying that my fellow readers aren't capable of understanding something.)

The way I look at it: the author feels the Echo Knight was balanced. The playtesters felt it was balanced. The editors and publishers felt it was balanced. So it's probably balanced. It sure doesn't feel that way to me, but my feelings are pretty unreliable.
 

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