Halberd Fighter - What order feats?

So I'm creating a Variant Human Halberd Fighter for Adventurer's League. I'm trying to come up with a good order for my feats.

I think I'd like to take Sentinel for my variant Human feat over Polearm Master, since I would probably be using my reaction every turn with 10' reach to either side, and d10+mod is better than d4+mod.

So then I have Polearm Master, Great Weapon Master and Tough, plus two Strength stat increases. What order do you think I should go? What other feats would work better? (this is my first non-sword/board fighter)

I plan on taking the Battle Master Archetype, if that matters. My goal is to use reach and Sentinel to keep opponents off of the back line.

Helpful suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

--Scott
 

Esker

Explorer
I'm playing a similar character now. I would probably take PAM at 1st and Sentinel at 4th if using a halberd, particularly in AL where you can't tailor your build to your party. It gives you a consistent extra attack that you can use every round, plus the potential for reaction attacks when enemies enter your reach. You may get that reaction attack less often than the Sentinel one, but I bet between the bonus action and the reaction you'll be doing more damage with PAM. As for the control aspect, keeping the enemy from moving past you after an AoO is useful, but likely if you're out there in front, most enemies will just attack you if they'd otherwise have to incur AoOs to get past you.

Sentinel could be better for some parties, but you may well not be the tankiest one in the group since you won't have a shield, so encouraging enemies to attack you all the time may not necessarily be what you want. Sentinel also works nicely once you have riposte, since you get a way to make a reaction attack regardless of whether they attack you or your ally.

I'd probably boost STR at 6th and take GWM at 8th, supporting it with Precision Attack and Trip Attack to make it easier to overcome the -5 to hit.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Sentinel is at best on par with Polearm master in terms of attacks. Polearm master definitely gives you one for a bonus action, with a smaller die. And it also increases the chance of a reaction from "likely not" to "meh, maybe". So call it +1.2 attacks per round over no feat. (+1 bonus action, +20% chance at reaction attack)

Sentinel guarantees nothing, but moves up the reaction to a "okay, decent". Call it +0.5 attacks per round (+50% chance at a reaction attack).

I would absolutely take Polearm Master first.

Once you are there, you need to value each relatively. GWM's bonus action on crit gives you little over PM. The -5/+10 works better when you hit more. If you are getting buffed regularly (Bless especially), it's not a bad pick at 4th, otherwise you may want until after a STR boost. Now, if you are going for Battlemaster (with Precision) or Samurai then you've got enough self-buffing to go for this without a +4 STR mod.

Sentinel is quite nice, but because you only have a single reaction, it only matters in the cases where PM wouldn't trigger but Sentinel would. The difference - +0.3 attacks/round over PM, isn't worth as much. Unless you find the reduction in speed to be a big deal, once you have PM I'd take this last.

STR boosts - the more attacks you have, the better this is. With PNM giving extra attacks, having a better chance to land them and better damage when you do is multiplicative. I'd advance this until you reach 20, with the details about GWM in there for when you take that.
 

Esker

Explorer
Sentinel is quite nice, but because you only have a single reaction, it only matters in the cases where PM wouldn't trigger but Sentinel would. The difference - +0.3 attacks/round over PM, isn't worth as much. Unless you find the reduction in speed to be a big deal, once you have PM I'd take this last.
But note that the reaction attack provided by PAM is considered an opportunity attack, and therefore qualifies for the movement reduction under Sentinel, unless I missed some errata invalidating this. This can be quite a potent synergy when used with reach: enemy approaches, opportunity attack (from PAM) when they get to 10', they have to stop (due to Sentinel). If they don't also have reach, now they can't attack you. On your turn, you can attack twice, then step back, to repeat.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
But note that the reaction attack provided by PAM is considered an opportunity attack, and therefore qualifies for the movement reduction under Sentinel, unless I missed some errata invalidating this.
You are completely correct as far as I know, and it is a nice combo.

This can be quite a potent synergy when used with reach: enemy approaches, opportunity attack (from PAM) when they get to 10', they have to stop (due to Sentinel). If they don't also have reach, now they can't attack you. On your turn, you can attack twice, then step back, to repeat.
Except that assume that thee's only one foe, and they either want you or have to get past you. Once there's a second foe who can close with you, you either need to start sucking up OAs yourself to move back, or to miss out on your two attacks (plus more once you hit 5th) and take the Disengage action. Same happens if you miss - foe closes and the cycle is broken.

And if they have other targets they can go for, you are no longer threatening for the basic OA trigger (and sentinel to stop them) if you've moved back.
 

Esker

Explorer
Except that assume that thee's only one foe, and they either want you or have to get past you. Once there's a second foe who can close with you, you either need to start sucking up OAs yourself to move back, or to miss out on your two attacks (plus more once you hit 5th) and take the Disengage action. Same happens if you miss - foe closes and the cycle is broken.
Right, you have to hit to keep this up. If emphasizing this control tank aspect, you'd probably want to take precision attack and pushing attack at 3, saving your superiority dice to keep enemies away. If positioning is such that this tactic can keep enemies from being able to attack at all, it's probably even worth foregoing your own on-turn attack to disengage, while your ranged allies beat up on the hapless bad guys.

And if they have other targets they can go for, you are no longer threatening for the basic OA trigger (and sentinel to stop them) if you've moved back.
Yeah, you probably wouldn't use this technique in a wide open space. But note that with a reach weapon, you command a 25' wide corridor, so this isn't something that only works in narrow hallways. Plus, even if there is a way around, circling at a distance of 15' probably takes most creatures at least one full turn at a dash, maybe more. Your allies may be able to pick them off before they can get past. Maneuvering or goading attack might be nice picks to help keep your allies safe too.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Right, you have to hit to keep this up.
And they have to be the only person coming after you. If you get mobbed by foes #2-5 this doesn't work. If you are defending a choke point as your example was, then they are all coming at (or through) you.
 
So perhaps something like this:

v.Human feat: Polearm Master
3rd level Maneuvers: Precision Attack, Pushing Attack, Trip Attack
4th level: Sentinel
6th level: +2 Str.
8th level: GWM or +2 Str.
12th level: whichever I didn't take at 8th
14th level: Tough

Thanks.

--Scott
 
So here's my take. The basic tactic of PAM + Sentinel I like.

However, your focus is in the wrong place. The focus isn't that you can prevent an enemy from ever attacking. You won't. You'll eventually miss. They'll go around you. You will get swarmed etc.

What the combo works great for is often keeping an enemy out of combat for a turn. It's great passive control. Denying even 1-2 actions in a combat is a very powerful ability.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So perhaps something like this:

v.Human feat: Polearm Master
3rd level Maneuvers: Precision Attack, Pushing Attack, Trip Attack
4th level: Sentinel
6th level: +2 Str.
8th level: GWM or +2 Str.
12th level: whichever I didn't take at 8th
14th level: Tough
Don't lock yourself in. If you see that your party is good on buffing (or debuffing) then between that and Precision Attack go for GWM @ 4th. If not, see the types of terrain your DM likes - wide open, tight, complex, full of hazards - and if justified pick up Sentinel. If you're missing a lot or neither of the others are true, go +2 STR. You're not advancing your character in a vaccuum, but rather at a specific table. Play to that.
 
For Maneuvers, I recommend menacing. If an enemy is frightened of you they can't move closer to you. If you reaction hit with PAM then using menacing can also prevent them from getting close. It allows you some freedom to still perform your tactic even if you chose GWM or +2 Str at level 4.
 

Esker

Explorer
The focus isn't that you can prevent an enemy from ever attacking. You won't. You'll eventually miss. They'll go around you. You will get swarmed etc.

What the combo works great for is often keeping an enemy out of combat for a turn. It's great passive control. Denying even 1-2 actions in a combat is a very powerful ability.
Yes, this exactly. It's fun to think about the extreme case, but you don't need the perfect circumstances for this to be a powerful interaction. You can think of it as a 1st level command spell (using "halt") that triggers on a successful attack instead of a failed save, comes along with an attack's worth of damage, and happens on someone else's turn. And instead of using a spell slot or an action, you can use it on any round that someone comes within 10' of you.

And the other choices you'd want to make to maximize this interaction are the same whether you're able to avoid getting hit completely (which you usually won't) or not: pushing attack and precision attack are still great. I'd take defense fighting style rather than GWF, personally, since you're trying to make yourself the target. Menacing, goading, or maneuvering would probably be my third choice of maneuver at 3rd.
 

Esker

Explorer
You're not advancing your character in a vaccuum, but rather at a specific table. Play to that.
Except that since this is an AL character, his ability to plan around a specific party composition or DM style is limited. The character will presumably be hopping from party to party, and DM to DM.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Except that since this is an AL character, his ability to plan around a specific party composition or DM style is limited. The character will presumably be hopping from party to party, and DM to DM.
Thanks, I didn't catch that. My experience with AL is that the groups are mostly regular at a FLGS. I haven't done any at conventions.
 

Esker

Explorer
I think, by the way, if going all in on the "keep away" game, it probably doesn't make sense to take GWM before your STR is maxed out. The bonus action attack isn't worth much at all when you have PAM, and the power attack option is really a -6/+9 trade if you're foregoing a STR boost to get access to it, and that's more or less a wash for average damage against typical ACs unless you spend superiority dice to boost your chance to hit, but you likely won't have enough dice to both do this regularly and augment your control capability. And a wash on average may be a loss in reality, especially when your attacks are doing more than just damage, since (a) it's usually better to consistently get damage near the average than to have swingy damage, and (b) the riders will happen less often when you're hitting less often.
 
I think it would be worth taking the mobile feat over GWM. That way when your turn comes around you will be able to move without taking OA's to reposition yourself for another potential OA.
 
I think it would be worth taking the mobile feat over GWM. That way when your turn comes around you will be able to move without taking OA's to reposition yourself for another potential OA.
To optimze with mobile feat I would take maneuvering. That allows you and one ally to get away from something to set up your combo again the next turn.
 
I think part of my problem is that I want to be two things, Damage Dealer and Protector of the Casters. Perhaps I should just leave the second part to the real Tanks, and concentrate on dealing as much damage as possible. Just get in there and hack away at anything within 10' of me, Attack(s), Bonus attack, Reaction attack. Do PAM, Sentinel, GWM and 2 Strength increases by level 8, Precision attack, Trip (to set up advantage), and maybe Commander's Strike (to not totally neglect my Paladin and Rogue friends).

I will probably only be playing AL at cons, since I have enough regular home games to keep me busy. It looks like this weekend's games are heavy on Clerics/Support types, so I'll hope for Blesses/Cures and see what happens.

Thanks for all the good advice everyone.

--Scott
 

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