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PF2 Greatsword Fighter vs Sword and Shield Fighter (2E Pathfinder)

CapnZapp

Adventurer
On a group level, gearing up your fighter to do damage might well be the superior option even though in isolation, that same choice is inferior. Killing off foes always is the better damage mitigator... until it isn't (because the enemy manages to kill you before you kill it). This crucial pivot point depends on many factors, but your 1:1 performance certainly isn't one of the significant ones.

People have pitted PCs against PCs in every edition of every game, and my advice remains the same: please do not draw any conclusions or base any chargen decisions based on such experiments.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
On a group level, gearing up your fighter to do damage might well be the superior option even though in isolation, that same choice is inferior.
Usually gearing up for defense is the better option for group play. Enemies tend to focus on the front liners. The only D&D style game I've found that to be an exception in is 5e, and that's nearly solely because whack-a-mole.

Killing off foes always is the better damage mitigator... until it isn't (because the enemy manages to kill you before you kill it).
That's objectively untrue. If a foe does 10 damage per round and you can kill it in 3 rounds with no defense or in 4 rounds while taking half damage then you objectively took less damage in the 4 rounds fight.

This crucial pivot point depends on many factors, but your 1:1 performance certainly isn't one of the significant ones.
1. Why not?
2. Why do you think this fight isn't fairly representative of pathfinder 2e at level fights against melee focused enemies?

People have pitted PCs against PCs in every edition of every game, and my advice remains the same: please do not draw any conclusions or base any chargen decisions based on such experiments.
Yep, and usually PC's are so different than monsters that doing such is a terrible idea. But when the 2 builds are nearly equivalent except for 1-2 features then it's not a far stretch that a test of them against each other would be strong evidence for which is typically better (at least against foes similar to class in question).
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
2. Why do you think this fight isn't fairly representative of pathfinder 2e at level fights against melee focused enemies?
Because your character isn't some kind of duelist, fighting 1 vs 1 battles all the time. They are part of a team. The rest of the team does things too!

If your team has a lot of high damage dealers (archers, evokers) then your main goal is to protect them while they are dealing the damage. In such a situation, the shield fighter is probably superior. If your team has a lot of battle field control types, debuffers, or buffers, then the situation is reversed a bit - they set them up, you knock them down - in other words, it's the fighter's job to be the main damage dealer. For such a situation, a damage optimized character is best.

So "how is this fighter going to best work in this group" is not answered by your analysis.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Usually gearing up for defense is the better option for group play.
Let's just agree to disagree. The best debuff is a dead monster. Going defensive is only something you should do to survive a fight. Otherwise killing the monster faster = less damage to you.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Going defensive is only something you should do to survive a fight. Otherwise killing the monster faster = less damage to you.
I've already provided proof by counter example that what you are claiming isn't a universal principle. Disagree with that fact all you want.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
Because your character isn't some kind of duelist, fighting 1 vs 1 battles all the time. They are part of a team. The rest of the team does things too!
Ironically, that's the exact reason defense would likely have been better even if it didn't win the 1v1 fights. Because it's a team game and the front line soldier tends to take significantly more attacks and so having him play toward defense is actually a greater strategy.

If your team has a lot of high damage dealers (archers, evokers) then your main goal is to protect them while they are dealing the damage. In such a situation, the shield fighter is probably superior.
If the team has any other PC's that do damage at all then you are likely better off with defense. They don't even have to be high damage dealers. 3 other PC's even doing low damage will typically outdamage the 1 PC. At that point the difference in team damage with the greatsword fighter vs the team with the shield fighter starts to be pretty negligible. The defense can be pretty negligible too, if enemies spread out and attack your allies as often as they attack you. In my experience, enemies tend to focus significantly more attacks on the front liners.

If your team has a lot of battle field control types, debuffers, or buffers, then the situation is reversed a bit - they set them up, you knock them down - in other words, it's the fighter's job to be the main damage dealer. For such a situation, a damage optimized character is best.
If my allies are capable of greatly boosting my offense i'd much rather have the built in defense of being a shield fighter. However, the flip side is that if they are capable of debuffing the enemies offense then I might be better focusing on offense myself.

With that said, it seems that most scenarios are favoring the shield fighter. 1v1. Team play with damage dealing teammates. Team play with offensive buffing allies.

So "how is this fighter going to best work in this group" is not answered by your analysis.
Sure, the answer to that question is pretty obvious for most groups. See the above analysis.
 

GrahamWills

Explorer
I ran some simulations of a Greatsword Fighter using power attack feat and a followup attack and Shield Fighter using double slice feat and the raise a shield action. I played smart with shield blocking. I would block as long as my shield wouldn't break (unless I would be downed otherwise).
Thoughts?
In most D&D games I've been in a power striker is a better defensive player, because although he takes damage, it's easier to protect or heal a high damage dealer than increase damage for a good blocker. So one on one, sure, send the tank. For a group, three barbarians with greatswords + a cleric I think will win against thee sword-and-board gals with a cleric.

Amusingly, I'm about to test this with my first post-playtest character; a half-orc warpriest cleric. I plan to start off as greatsword using self-buff magic weapon spell at level 1 to attack at +1 doing 2d12+3, and casting shield mostly for the AC, or when I need it to avoid dropping (orc ferocity will also help).

At level 3 I retrain orc ferocity to the orc weapon feat, since then I'll have access to the advanced orc weapons (made martial by the feat, made available by level 3 class feature), and switch to that plus a shield. It will be fun to see if that's a good switch or not!
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
In most D&D games I've been in a power striker is a better defensive player, because although he takes damage, it's easier to protect or heal a high damage dealer than increase damage for a good blocker. So one on one, sure, send the tank. For a group, three barbarians with greatswords + a cleric I think will win against thee sword-and-board gals with a cleric.

Amusingly, I'm about to test this with my first post-playtest character; a half-orc warpriest cleric. I plan to start off as greatsword using self-buff magic weapon spell at level 1 to attack at +1 doing 2d12+3, and casting shield mostly for the AC, or when I need it to avoid dropping (orc ferocity will also help).

At level 3 I retrain orc ferocity to the orc weapon feat, since then I'll have access to the advanced orc weapons (made martial by the feat, made available by level 3 class feature), and switch to that plus a shield. It will be fun to see if that's a good switch or not!
Assuming a stand still fight where everyone focus fires on 1 member of the other group, it would be a closer fight than the 1v1 scenario. (Only 1 block vs 3 enemies instead of 1 block vs 1). That said, with proper stepping the defensive fighters probably could force the enemies to split up their attacks which starts to favor the defensive PC's.

That scenario is a lot more complex than I think you imagine.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
A level 1 fighter with power attack, a greatsword and +9 atk vs AC 18 would have a 50% chance to get a regular hit and do 2d12+4 damage with a 10% chance to do double that. On the second attack, taken at a -10 penalty, they would have a 5% chance to do 1d12+4 damage and a 5% chance to do double that. That would average 17 x .5 plus 34 x .1 or 11.9 damage on the first attack and 10.5 x .05 plus 21 x .05, or 1.575 damage on the second attack. Together that is 13.475 damage per round.

A level 1 fighter with exacting strike, a great pick, and +9 atk vs AC 18 would also have a 50% chance to get a regular hit on the first attack but would do 1d10+4 damage and 10% of the time would do double 1d12+4 damage plus an extra 1d12 damage. That first attack would average 9.5 x .5 plus 27.5 x .1 damage, or 7.5 damage. The second attack would be at a -5 penalty, so would get a regular hit 30% of the time, and a critical hit 5% of the time, so 9.5 x .3 plus 27.5 x .05, or 4.225 damage.

On the third attack things get interesting. 65% of the time you will be making an attack at a -5 penalty and 35% of the time you will attack at a -10 penalty. So you can take the same average damage as the second attack, 4.225 and multiply it by .65, and then you multiply the average for damage at -10 by .35. Or at least I think the average will work out properly that way. In any case the third attack will by 9.5 x .05 plus 27.5 x .05 , or 1.85. And 4.225 x .65 plus 1.85 x .35 comes out to 3.39375 damage. So all told the damage with the greatpick averages 15.11875.

If you use all three of your actions to attack (and your enemy does not have some kind of damage resistance) then the greatpick with exacting strike comes out on top. But... how many of your turns are going to be like versus how many where you get only 2 actions to attack or are facing an enemy with damage resistance? I think in play it certainly means exacting strike is playable, but it is not likely to be superior.
I've been meaning to come back to this post. Power Attack Has a feat that lowers the MAP penalty to -5 instead of -10. Once you get that feat power attack with a greatsword is better.

(I also think you made a miscalculation with the 65% and the 35%, but the overall conclusion was correct)
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I've been meaning to come back to this post. Power Attack Has a feat that lowers the MAP penalty to -5 instead of -10. Once you get that feat power attack with a greatsword is better.

(I also think you made a miscalculation with the 65% and the 35%, but the overall conclusion was correct)
Yeah, I was not exactly double checking my work so that is possible. I am not sure how Furious Focus compares against other possible feats you could get at 6.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Yeah, I was not exactly double checking my work so that is possible. I am not sure how Furious Focus compares against other possible feats you could get at 6.
I don't see many that would give you much of an opening attack, which is where any real gains would be found
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Yeah, I was not exactly double checking my work so that is possible. I am not sure how Furious Focus compares against other possible feats you could get at 6.
I guess my biggest issue with furious focus, is that it requires you to make 3 attacks to gain benefit. Presumably, there's a lot of times you'll need to use an action to move or step, etc.

So while it would be a better style for the game we are showing, I'm not sure it would be a better style overall in actual play.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Shocking. Getting hit less results in taking less damage, thus outlasting your 2handed weapon using opponent.
And if it was the other way you could go "Shocking. Hits that do more damage drop an opponent faster then smaller hits."
 

Simonb1

Explorer
The large breadth of history would disagree with 'common knowledge' there. Wading into melee without a shield is a movie thing. I mean, unless you weren't expecting to make it out alive, or were in a big formation of other two-handed weapon wielders for a specific purpose.

Man, I really want to look at these classes now.
Or wearing full plate, when you would be wielding a great weapon to penetrate.
 

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