No Prebuff - Round 1 - Damage Rankings

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
ForgReaver, would you mind linking each build to the post where it was introduced? Compacting the justification for damage into a single line is insufficient and hard to read.

Good idea. I'd never considered it. I will try to do that at some point.

Personally I would have allowed the players 2 rounds and to take the average of both rounds. This would have allowed for a bit of buffing, but both are biased in some way.

I guess the most important factor for me was that Damage Now > Damage later. Damage on round 1 is worth more (in general) than damage on round 2 because if you do the damage now then the enemy has a greater chance of already being dead and thus not getting it's round 1 action. In short, I don't think it's the fairest comparison to compare damage on round 1 directly to damage on round 2.

Personally I found sustained damage more helpful than nova as sustained damage pushed towards having resources later in the day. This is going to be difficult to model as some tables frequently have 1 encounter per day, where nova would be king, while others are closer to dungeon crawl where a nova build will have sacrificed endurance for the nova itself. A way to get a mix would be that the build needs to explain what they do for 2 encounters for 2 rounds and they take the average or median of those 4 rounds. Average would bias towards nova, median would bias towards sustained damage.

If I was going to do that comparison I would look at total damage dealt in an adventuring day - which would still have the damage now vs damage later issue. In fact in addition to that it would then need to be defined what a standard adventuring day actually is in 5e. What happens when you do that is you get something that's nearly meaningless for many players.

Besides, early on in the edition at-will and nearly-at-all damages were pretty solved problems. Battlemasters (with precision and trip) are primarily the only complicated piece to calculate in those regards (and they get even harder the more rounds into the fight you go)

Speaking on this topic a little more, the assumptions in 5e are no where near as tight as they were in 4e. That makes more "complete" comparisons in 5e less beneficial.

You made reference to Damage Kings. As author of the DPR King Candidates thread in 4e I've had some experience doing this sort of thing. You said you were not wanting players to simply one up eachother with a tweak that ends up being unplayable, yet the top entries in your list are one trick ponies nonetheless.

I tend to guide toward that goal that but not strictly enforce the suggestion except for extreme outliers. I'm curious what builds you view as 1 trick ponies?

I found that you allow these tweaks and rank them all the same, then append the user's name on the entry. The competition ended up being healthy for the optimization and community as new exploits were found.

Nearly every "exploit" is known. Most of them involve some combination of Action Surge, Divine Smite, Advantage, Superiority Dice and feats. This thread isn't really to find new exploits, but more to rank the combinations of the ones that everyone already knows exists.

Another problem I found with my DPR King Candidates was differing interpretations and cheese. Like you I realized there was no way to have the same rules apply to all builds. I found that labeling the cheese or side of an interpretation was helpful as many builds ended up relying on them. I then added these labels as tags to the build so one could quickly filter out builds that wouldn't work at their table. I often had to make DM-like calls on some of these interpretations. Don't be afraid to do so here.

That was one of the things I hated most about the 4e DPR King threads. That nearly everything that ended up there was a cheese build. That said - 5e really doesn't have much cheese and there's very few rules interpretations that drastically differ. It's a pretty straightforward edition for most things.

I noticed you didn't account for area damage. According to your rules I could just make the assumption that I'm dealing with 21 HP mooks all in a giant ball and wreck the rankings. You would counter saying that is not an assumption that would be universal, yet I've cited my assumption. The way I tried to account for this was to separate out a build's single target damage from their area damage and annotate the per-target area damage with the area it applies to, then cite the additional single target damage. I was unable to find a satisfactory conversion from area to targets. For ranking it I had to guesstimate.

IMO. Area Damage has too many variables to even remotely properly account for in something like this.

Lastly have you considered having a section dedicated to guiding people through the DPR analysis. Advantage and Critting was one thing that many didn't find intuitive to calculate. I would go so far as normalizing for level by dividing the expected damage by some HP(level). I called this KPR (kills per round) and found it helpful putting builds on the same platform.

KPR worked well for 4e. Have you considered that it may not work well for 5e? Have you considered that there's far fewer standardized assumptions in 5e than there were in 4e.

Typically where I diverged from a 4e Damage Kings style thread was done for considered reasons.

Damage Calculation for multiple attacks over a round and limited use per attack abilities gets really complicated. I'm not sure that a guide could adequately explain that. I suppose crits could be explained but I figure that someone interested in this kind of thread will either know or ask how to calculate something they don't know how to.
 

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borg286

Explorer
I guess the most important factor for me was that Damage Now > Damage later. Damage on round 1 is worth more (in general) than damage on round 2 because if you do the damage now then the enemy has a greater chance of already being dead and thus not getting it's round 1 action. In short, I don't think it's the fairest comparison to compare damage on round 1 directly to damage on round 2.

If I was going to do that comparison I would look at total damage dealt in an adventuring day - which would still have the damage now vs damage later issue. In fact in addition to that it would then need to be defined what a standard adventuring day actually is in 5e. What happens when you do that is you get something that's nearly meaningless for many players.
I agree that Damage Now > Damage later, but having no arena for the rest of the day's attacks closes you and followers of this thread from these "many players" Just as players that have 8 encounters per day with 3 short rests may be in a minority due to the large variation from table to table, this equally extends to 1 encounter days. The thing you have going for you is that everybody has a first round of the day with varying degrees of risk on the character's health. This may well be the largest minority you can safely determine standards for. On the other hand there have been plenty of threads polling people for the number of rounds they have. Have you considered extending the time limits to be the average from that poll? Candidates would need to provide what they do for the remaining rounds. You would then have 2 lists: round 1 kings, and 5 round average kings. I'd wager to say that you'll get quite different orderings. This increases tedium for you and authors of builds, but provides readers with information that is more applicable to them.


I tend to guide toward that goal that but not strictly enforce the suggestion except for extreme outliers. I'm curious what builds you view as 1 trick ponies?
Fighters, and Variant Humans, don't contribute much to usefulness outside of their niche (fighters get 1 skill outside the optimal Perception, Human's extra feat is almost always used for their 1 trick w/o concern for usefulness past their target level). This puts tons of pressure on their background to carry the load of use outside combat. Thankfully fighter's Archetype means they'll be useful for each encounter but not as much if they are using a weak weapon.

Guided Strike is literally 2x per day. War Preist makes him MAD (Str, Con, Wis) so the extra attacks mean 2-3 extra single attacks per day. These become worthless at higher levels.
Lucky Smiting Paladin blows spells and dice in round 1. Due to using Short Swords his damage drops off after expending his slots on smites.
Catapult Wizard has epitomized glass cannon. Thankfully wizard spellbook makes him less of a 1 trick pony, but he can pull this off only once then has to wait till he's in a city to buy some more acid.
Magic Initiate (Magic Missile), that is what I call overfitting for level 2.
I could go on.
It comes with the terrain of Damage Kings that you'll get glass cannons as the monsters they fight are a block of tofu. The fact that it doesn't have HP means you'll get candidates that frequently do overkill damage. KPR does a little bit to help people see that "he'd dead jim" when the KPR > 1. But as you pointed out, the variance in 5e means that the party could face a higher CR rating, but just fewer total monsters. Thus there is a place for these glass cannons.



Nearly every "exploit" is known. Most of them involve some combination of Action Surge, Divine Smite, Advantage, Superiority Dice and feats. This thread isn't really to find new exploits, but more to rank the combinations of the ones that everyone already knows exists.

That was one of the things I hated most about the 4e DPR King threads. That nearly everything that ended up there was a cheese build. That said - 5e really doesn't have much cheese and there's very few rules interpretations that drastically differ. It's a pretty straightforward edition for most things.
From the looks of it, you've got as many candidates as I had when I was about 10% through the span of the DPR King Candidates lifetime. I didn't have that many things that DMs would call cheese at that milestone. The Sorlock being similar to the frost cheese in 4e as both were in the PHB from the start, which optimizes for the opposite of the 1 encounter day. Biasing towards this end and accounting for more than 1 target you'd see more of these builds instead.
In case this grows as large as mine did, I bet you'll see more arguments about the fine points with no good consensus. On the other hand tweets from the devs seem to quiet people down, which I didn't have when working with the DPR Kings.


IMO. Area Damage has too many variables to even remotely properly account for in something like this.
Then please be clear about this in your first post. It would be nice if you had a FAQ where you state why you're not accounting for area damage, multiple rounds, multiple short rests, encounter 2, HP, secondary enemy proximity to the first and so forth. Area damage is just one thing that abides by the rules you posted yet I don't see any build that shoots for area damage arguing that there is bound to be 3 enemies somewhere on the map that a burning hands would capture. It doesn't matter if I have to wade through 5 opportunity attacks to get there, this is about the damage, and the rules don't distinguish between the first and secondary targets, therefore I add their damage up.


Typically where I diverged from a 4e Damage Kings style thread was done for considered reasons.

Damage Calculation for multiple attacks over a round and limited use per attack abilities gets really complicated. I'm not sure that a guide could adequately explain that. I suppose crits could be explained but I figure that someone interested in this kind of thread will either know or ask how to calculate something they don't know how to.
I agree that accounting for Lucky, and "if you miss then" is beyond the scope of a beginner's guide. At least a note that lets people know that DPR accounts for to-hit chance by multiplying the chance to hit by the average damage on a hit. You're probably right that most people would intuitivly understand this, but I've seen enough people fall into the trap of average damage = DPR = expected damage. I've seen aDPR but don't know if it is universally understood to take hit chance into account. Your rules imply but could do with a few more words to be explicit.
 

So one thing I find exploitable and I don't think mentioned here (or generally enough when building ridiculous, white-room multiclass monstrosities) is the Shadow Blade spell. While the base 2d8 damage weapon is cool but nothing to base a build around, cast it at third level and you can bump it up to 3d8, 5th level will take it to 4d8, and 7th 5d8. Fill out a level 11 Eldritch Knight with some sort of full spellcaster and you can eventually be action surging up to 6 attacks with a 4d8 weapon. And it gets advantage in dim light, something that is not exactly rare. Do it as a Dexy Elf and you can throw Elven accuracy on top of that advantage.

It's not generally particularly amazing because it is a melee weapon that requires concentration, is mostly available to characters who should stay out of combat anyway, and even melee warlocks aren't interested because it can't be a pact weapon. Basically it's there for Arcane Tricksters and Bladesingers. And the latter need to use their first bonus action to bladesing, while the prior don't get the spell slots or extra attacks to really amp it up.

But any build that can manage to both upcast it to 5th or 7th level and put it in the hands of someone who can make a serious number of separate attacks takes it to another level. Get enough enemies crowded around a Hunter-Ranger with Whirlwind Attack and some sort of absurd Sorcerer or Wizard multiclass and you'll be the first person to ever give Paladins d8 envy.

I'm sure the math comes out higher for all sorts of things, but for those of you who have grown bored with the typical exploits, it might be a spicy new flavor. And, of course, it can be married with sneak attack and/or divine smiting.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I agree that Damage Now > Damage later,

Then please act like it.

but having no arena for the rest of the day's attacks closes you and followers of this thread from these "many players" Just as players that have 8 encounters per day with 3 short rests may be in a minority due to the large variation from table to table, this equally extends to 1 encounter days.

No such arena will provide an accurate enough picture to be useful as all arenas leave out too many players typical situations. And then we come right back to the damage now vs damage later issue.

As an extreme example: consider a character doing 100 dmg in round 1 and 0 dmg each subsequent round till round 4. Now consider a character doing 100 damage on round 4 but 0 damage on each round preceding that. Both characters have done 100 damage over 4 rounds. Yet 1 is clearly superior. But what if the 100 damage on round 4 was replaced by 120 damage. Which is the better option? What if it was replaced by 200? Which is the better option.

In short looking at total damage dealt over X rounds is a naïve way of looking at things because it doesn't just matter the total, but also the distribution over those rounds - and the simple fact is - at this juncture we have no direct way of comparing damage on this round to damage on a subsequent round.

The thing you have going for you is that everybody has a first round of the day with varying degrees of risk on the character's health. This may well be the largest minority you can safely determine standards for. On the other hand there have been plenty of threads polling people for the number of rounds they have. Have you considered extending the time limits to be the average from that poll?

And that proposal just isn't going to be accurate. I think the biggest problem is that you've missed most of the optimization discussion over the years. So maybe a recap.

We started out looking heavily at at-will damage.
Then we started extended that out to near at-will damage.
Then we modified that a bit and started trying to define a standard adventuring day and make evaluations based on that.
The problem we find is that adventuring days, and ratios of short rests to long rests to combat encounters to length of combat encounters all greatly varies from DM to DM and campaign to campaign.

So if you really want something similar to what you are suggesting you are probably 1-2 years late. Those analysises while moving us forward still failed to give a full picture and that's because of the varied ways in which 5e is played. So instead of trying to make something so complex to account for everything - which usually ends up being worthless as it doesn't actually correspond to anyones actual game - instead I'm looking at something a bit simpler that can apply to all games.

Nova damage in 5e is one of those things that really hasn't been explored much till now.

Candidates would need to provide what they do for the remaining rounds. You would then have 2 lists: round 1 kings, and 5 round average kings. I'd wager to say that you'll get quite different orderings. This increases tedium for you and authors of builds, but provides readers with information that is more applicable to them.

Not just tedium. It goes back to the damage now vs damage later issue. We have no mechanism to compare damages between different rounds. Which is why in this thread I'm looking at the Nova aspects. Because they can all be done on the first round by any character. Because the at-will, semi at-will, daily damage stuff has already been explored and still didn't take us where we needed to be.

Fighters, and Variant Humans, don't contribute much to usefulness outside of their niche (fighters get 1 skill outside the optimal Perception, Human's extra feat is almost always used for their 1 trick w/o concern for usefulness past their target level). This puts tons of pressure on their background to carry the load of use outside combat. Thankfully fighter's Archetype means they'll be useful for each encounter but not as much if they are using a weak weapon.

It's hard to fault a build for something that extends to all builds of a given class.

Guided Strike is literally 2x per day. War Preist makes him MAD (Str, Con, Wis) so the extra attacks mean 2-3 extra single attacks per day. These become worthless at higher levels.

And yet, after you've used that ability you are still a cleric which is one of the more versatile classes in the game.

Lucky Smiting Paladin blows spells and dice in round 1. Due to using Short Swords his damage drops off after expending his slots on smites.

And after that he's still a paladin with spell slots he can use, with lay on hands, with a channel divinity, etc. Not really a 1 trick pony, right?

Catapult Wizard has epitomized glass cannon. Thankfully wizard spellbook makes him less of a 1 trick pony, but he can pull this off only once then has to wait till he's in a city to buy some more acid.

And there you have it. Wizard's aren't 1 trick ponies.

Magic Initiate (Magic Missile), that is what I call overfitting for level 2.
I could go on.

So far you've not listed any build here that is actually anywhere near being a 1 trick pony. The closest was the fighter - but sting is taken away because all fighters are essentially the same in that respect.

It comes with the terrain of Damage Kings that you'll get glass cannons as the monsters they fight are a block of tofu. The fact that it doesn't have HP means you'll get candidates that frequently do overkill damage. KPR does a little bit to help people see that "he'd dead jim" when the KPR > 1. But as you pointed out, the variance in 5e means that the party could face a higher CR rating, but just fewer total monsters. Thus there is a place for these glass cannons.

Well that and damage gets split up a lot more than it did in 4e - meaning even a KPR of 2 doesn't mean you are wasting a bunch since it typically means you will kill 2 enemies instead of 1 in 5e, which didn't happen so much in 4e.

From the looks of it, you've got as many candidates as I had when I was about 10% through the span of the DPR King Candidates lifetime. I didn't have that many things that DMs would call cheese at that milestone.

I expect as higher level builds are explored we will see more as there's just more workable combinations.

The Sorlock being similar to the frost cheese in 4e as both were in the PHB from the start, which optimizes for the opposite of the 1 encounter day. Biasing towards this end and accounting for more than 1 target you'd see more of these builds instead.
In case this grows as large as mine did, I bet you'll see more arguments about the fine points with no good consensus. On the other hand tweets from the devs seem to quiet people down, which I didn't have when working with the DPR Kings.

Good points

Then please be clear about this in your first post. It would be nice if you had a FAQ where you state why you're not accounting for area damage, multiple rounds, multiple short rests, encounter 2, HP, secondary enemy proximity to the first and so forth. Area damage is just one thing that abides by the rules you posted yet I don't see any build that shoots for area damage arguing that there is bound to be 3 enemies somewhere on the map that a burning hands would capture. It doesn't matter if I have to wade through 5 opportunity attacks to get there, this is about the damage, and the rules don't distinguish between the first and secondary targets, therefore I add their damage up.

Typically stating why just leads people to argue about the why.

I agree that accounting for Lucky, and "if you miss then" is beyond the scope of a beginner's guide. At least a note that lets people know that DPR accounts for to-hit chance by multiplying the chance to hit by the average damage on a hit. You're probably right that most people would intuitivly understand this, but I've seen enough people fall into the trap of average damage = DPR = expected damage. I've seen aDPR but don't know if it is universally understood to take hit chance into account. Your rules imply but could do with a few more words to be explicit.

I have faith that if someone calculates something wrong someone here will check it at some point and it will get corrected and them educated.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
@borg286

My biggest issue right now with your approach is that you are coming into something with the assumption that every evaluation should be done the same way as it was in 4e and then trying to push for things created by others to turn into what you did in 4e.

So I will say this. If you want to make a 4e style Damage Kings thread then feel free. That's not something I am super interested in participating in. But don't come in here and try to force changes on this thread just because you haven't considered that the way I'm doing this may actually be better for 5e.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I'm wanting to get an entry on this chart for conjure animals. Thoughts on the highest DPR animals to summon for Nova turn?

I'm looking at wolves.

8 wolves with pact tactics summoned around an enemy will do

[7*.7975+5*.0975]*8 = 48.6 DPR

Not to Shabby, and has the potential to last multiple rounds in the encounter.
 
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borg286

Explorer
There is also the Oil of Purple Worm and OathBow. There are no rules against magic weapons, but would likely be frowned upon as 5e allows for a no magic item game, which is what most builds use as a baseline despite most groups not playing that way. Is an uncommon magic item acceptable
@borg286

My biggest issue right now with your approach is that you are coming into something with the assumption that every evaluation should be done the same way as it was in 4e and then trying to push for things created by others to turn into what you did in 4e.

So I will say this. If you want to make a 4e style Damage Kings thread then feel free. That's not something I am super interested in participating in. But don't come in here and try to force changes on this thread just because you haven't considered that the way I'm doing this may actually be better for 5e.
True, this thread is titles appropriately for limiting the scope away from consistent damage. It wasn't my intention to make you make changes and return to the DPR kings that you explicitly mentioned you wanted to avoid. I was simply offering some things I learned as I nurtured that thread through its life. Seems you took that as me trying to force you, sorry I came across as pushy. Carry on.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
There is also the Oil of Purple Worm and OathBow. There are no rules against magic weapons, but would likely be frowned upon as 5e allows for a no magic item game, which is what most builds use as a baseline despite most groups not playing that way. Is an uncommon magic item acceptable

A disclaimer on magic items would be good. The reason it's not there and no one has really used magic items is because most everyone on this forum already follows the default assumption that magic items don't get factored in to any optimization discussions.

I think the only item based build listed is someone using catapult and alcehmists fire or something like that. A very low end consumable item (not sure it even counts as magical though).

That said, I recommend avoiding permanent magical items and poisons and such. Something unique using a very low tier consumable item that couldn't be simply added on many other builds to increase damage seems like the sweet spot to me.

True, this thread is titles appropriately for limiting the scope away from consistent damage. It wasn't my intention to make you make changes and return to the DPR kings that you explicitly mentioned you wanted to avoid. I was simply offering some things I learned as I nurtured that thread through its life. Seems you took that as me trying to force you, sorry I came across as pushy. Carry on.

Apologies I took you wrong. Advice is appreciated. It's just that you started sounding more like, "we should do this because it would be better!" instead of, "why did you choose to do it the way you have" or "did you ever think about X". I'm sure you didn't mean to come across that way, but that is how it sounded.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Level 6:

VHuman (lucky) Tempest Cleric 2 Sorcerer 4 Chromatic Orb + Destructive Wrath + Quicken Firebolt

40*.84+40*.0975+11*.85+11*.0975 = 47.8 DPR
 

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