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D&D 5E Shadow Sorcerer + Warcaster + Polearm Master + Eye of Darkness = Is It insane?


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ECMO3

Adventurer
Warcaster is really really useful feat for every situation, especially that Sorcerers are con proficient and get free spell oportunity attack. It's not melee focused feat, not even close. Advantage on concentration checks is just, amazing.
It is useful. PAM is the one I don't think is very useful.

PAM turns the Sorcerer better melee than melee character.
I don't see it. While you can do a lot of damage you are going to get slaughtered in melee, disadvantage and all. You have a 15-ish AC, even with disadvantage that is not close to being good enough to survive. If you use shield to boost it to 20 with disadvantage you are on the fringe of being survivable in melee with d6 hp, but you are using your reaction so you won't be able to use shield very often.

Here is some raw math: A group of 4 8th level characters fighting 4 CR8 Assasins. You run to the front darkness and hound out, so one of the Assasins is engaged with the hound. The other 3 attack you. We will assume those guys are going to wade in and attack you with disadvantage. Since they are at disadvantage they are severely nerfed and can't sneak attack, but all of them still can and do make 2 attacks against you. You hit one of them with and OA scorching ray for 34 ... so that one only has 44 hit points left. They each make 2 attacks against you at disadvantage needing a 9 with disadvantage to hit. Each individual attack has a 36% chance of hitting (while your concentration survives), meaning on average you will get hit twice in the first turn. Each time you are hit you take 6 plus need to make a constitution save against DC15 or take 24 more poison damage. On an average turn you are going to take over 32 points of damage (mean) or slightly lower 30 points (median) with a standard deviation of 25 hit points. There is a 24% chance you will lose concentration on your darkness during the first turn (assuming a 12 constitution) and a 23% chance you will be downed in the first turn. Your chance of taking no damage at all is a scant 7%. These numbers do not consider crits and assume hits are for average damage. They also do not include sneak attack if concentration on darkness drops early in the turn.

So in an average single turn of melee you have 14 hps left and have spent 75% of your sorcery points for the entire day. That assumes average rolls. Poor rolls and you have 2 hps left. Good rolls and you have 32 hps left. (Poor and good defined as the 30th and 70th percentile respectively)

I did not pick assassin because it is some super monster it is the first alphabetical CR8 monster on the SRD list and it actually nerfed because it does not get sneak attack (the numbers above do not include sneak damage)

So, yes. It's effectively better caster than casters (free advantage for everything, attack rolls, disadvantage against your spells), metamagic and extra hound damage and prone condition and the hound's oportunity attack.
There are two areas that make this objectively not true:
1. You are using your concentration. This makes you better at things that require an attack roll but it takes most spells completely off the table. If you want to use fear or hypnotic pattern or hold person or a host of other spells you can't because you are concentrating on darkness.

2. You have used a TON of your abilities in the first turn by using sorcery points. Other casters, including both sorcerers and others still have a lot of their features available to them.
 
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Hohige

Explorer
Here is some raw math: A group of 4 8th level characters fighting 4 CR8 Assasins (this is a "normal" difficulty encounter, not "challenging" or "
4 CR8 is much stronger than a party 8th level characters, it's a fatal encounter . Did you notice it?
 
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ECMO3

Adventurer
4 CR8 is much stronger than a party 8th level characters, it's a fatal encounter . Did you notice it?
You are correct. If it was 1 of them it would be normal, with 4 it is deadly, I corrected my post.

Nonetheless if I put an actual melee oriented character like a bladesinger, eldritch knight or even a Barbarian in the same situation she would be A LOT better off after one turn of combat. Let me know if you want that math too.

A bladesinger likely would escape the first turn unscathed even when being attacked by 4 and an Eldritch Knight would have a decent chance at not getting hit the first turn.
 
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Hohige

Explorer
You are correct. If it was 1 of them it would be normal, with 4 it is deadly.

Nonetheless if I put an actual melee oriented character like a bladesinger, eldritch knight or even a Barbarian in the same situation she would be A LOT better off after one turn of combat. Let me know if you want that math too.

A bladesinger or eldritch knight likely would escape the first turn unscathed even when being attacked by one more.
1 assassin that is normal is pretty easy.

Booming blade, average 22 damage.
Move out.
The Hound is attacking with advantage (Pack tatics) him for extra 10 damage and chance prone.
The Hound has 2 attacks with advantage per turn (normal attack and oportunity attack), both with prone chance and critical chance. 44 average damage per turn if all hits (All attack has advantage) without PAM+Warcaster shenanigans.
With PAM + Warcaster Shenanigans it can do more than 100 damage per turn + extra debuffs.
The Shadow Sorcerer can summon another The Hound on next turn :ROFLMAO:, for extra 20 damage per turn and prone chance. o_O
2 Hounds attacking is a lot of damage, debuff, prone chance and oportunity attack, all with pack tatics.


A STR 20 fighter with PAM level 8, deals around 29 damage per turn without aditional effect. (without advantage).

If it moves, the party uses oportunity attack, the hound's oportunity attack and prone again and trigger PAM+Warcaster spell oportunity attack. It's over.
Pretty easy without wasting recources.
or just the hound + fear = it's over.

16 AC with disadvantage and immunity to oportunity attack (Darkness) is much better than 19 AC fighter. Bealive me. If put Shield Spell inside math, it's unfair.


Is It insane?
 
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Mort

Legend
1 assassin that is normal is pretty easy.

Booming blade, average 22 damage.
Move out.
Quick questions,

1. where is the sorcerer getting Polearm (or Lance) Proficiency, a martial reach weapon?

2. How are you getting average 22 damage, even IF a Lance is allowed for Polearm master and the sorcerer can use it? 7th level BB: 1d12(6.5)+1d8(4.5) +3 (16 strength, though how you pull that while also having a decent CHA, Dex and non garbage Con I have no idea) = 14 (assuming an unrealistic 100% hit rate, really it'll be around 80% if you have advantage so actual average is around 11). Are you assuming an OA every round? Because sure, 22 but unrealistic.
 

Hohige

Explorer
Quick questions,

1. where is the sorcerer getting Polearm (or Lance) Proficiency, a martial reach weapon?

2. How are you getting average 22 damage, even IF a Lance is allowed for Polearm master and the sorcerer can use it? 7th level BB: 1d12(6.5)+1d8(4.5) +3 (16 strength, though how you pull that while also having a decent CHA, Dex and non garbage Con I have no idea) = 14 (assuming an unrealistic 100% hit rate, really it'll be around 80% if you have advantage so actual average is around 11). Are you assuming an OA every round? Because sure, 22 but unrealistic.
It attacks with a magical dagger (thanks DM).
Empowered Booming Blade
1d4 dagger +3 + 1d8(5,5 average empowered) + Extra damage when enemy moves 2d8 (average 9). (It moves or die).
It's 20 average damage.
+2 because I have a magical dagger.
The Hound attacks him for extra 10 damage if hits and chance of prone.


Next turn, repeat and summon a second The Hound.
Second turn, It deals around, 64 damage PER TURN, all with advantage and 4 chances of prone. (2 attack and 2 oportunity attack).

All without PAM and Warcaster shenanigans, only melee combat. If they trigger Spell Oportunity attack, well, we know.


The Sorcerer doesnt need cast leveled spells, just spending sorcery points it's devasting on melee combat. It's insane.

1631417094592.png


Remember that the Sorcerer can blast him at 120ft with the hound + firebolt/fireball until the enemy can stay close enough, well, It's probaly dead.
 
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Mort

Legend
It attacks with a magical dagger (thanks DM).
Empowered Booming Blade
1d4 dagger +3 + 1d8(5,5 average empowered) + Extra damage when enemy moves 2d8 (average 9). (It moves or die).
It's 20 average damage.
+2 because I have a magical dagger.

So:

You have a magical dagger that works with PAM;

You're always fighting things that can't get around magical darkness;

You're fighting enemies that move away rather than recognizing standing put and trying to kill you might be the better option. Or enemies that can't phase, misty step, teleport etc.

Your DM let's you dictate the pace of play enough that the large resource expenditure isn't crippling.

The 15' magical darkness isn't hampering party members despite other posters ' and my own experience showing that it really tends to.

Just pointing out there are A LOT of positive assumptions going on and without them the build suffers.

But it's clearly working for you and sounds like you're henning fun - so that's really what it's all about!
 

Hohige

Explorer
So:

You have a magical dagger that works with PAM;

You're always fighting things that can't get around magical darkness;

You're fighting enemies that move away rather than recognizing standing put and trying to kill you might be the better option. Or enemies that can't phase, misty step, teleport etc.

Your DM let's you dictate the pace of play enough that the large resource expenditure isn't crippling.

The 15' magical darkness isn't hampering party members despite other posters ' and my own experience showing that it really tends to.

Just pointing out there are A LOT of positive assumptions going on and without them the build suffers.

But it's clearly working for you and sounds like you're henning fun - so that's really what it's all about!
No, PAM works because I'm wielding a Glaive.
Hold a Glaive and Attack with a dagger. Yes, Warcaster feat allows the Sorcerer do it. It can hold with one hand (Giant Glaive) and attack with off-hand weapon (Magical Dagger).

Always that starts a battle, the darkness is always on.(on my turn), The Sorcerer has a lot of abilities instead Darkness.
You can teleport, why not? Not inside darkness, because you need see the location.

- Darkness, fear, hypnotic patter, polymorph is all spells situational. Choose the best way to fight.
Yes, I have a dagger +2.


Note:
It seems hard to understand that the Shadow Sorcerer isn't limited to one combo, it's extremely flexible with several powerful tactics to work perfectly, it's not a single combo. The Shadow Sorcerer can attack from long range, melee range, buff, broken debuffs. Just choose the best for that situation. Power and Flexibility is the key of this insanity.
 

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Mort

Legend
Hold a Glaive and attacks with a dagger. Yes, with Warcaster The Sorcerer can do it. It can hold with one hand and attack with off-hand weapon.
Back to, how are you proficient in the Glaive?

And, hold, yes, attack, how? The Glaive is a 2 Handed weapon. Are you dropping the dagger every time you use it? Seems clunky!

Always that starts a battle, the darkness is always on.
That's a BIG assumption! Kind of like saying the devotion paladin always activates his channel divinity before combat (when in reality the standard action is a big downside).

Anyway, sure, under IDEAL conditions, it's a killer set of abilities.
 

No, PAM works because I'm wielding a Glaive.
Hold a Glaive and Attack with a dagger. Yes, Warcaster feat allows the Sorcerer do it. It can hold with one hand (Giant Glaive) and attack with off-hand weapon (Magical Dagger).
"Holding" isn't "wielding". A two-handed weapon requires only one hand to hold, but two to wield. You have to be wielding it for the feat to give you extra attacks of opportunity, which is what you are using the feat for I thought.
 

Hohige

Explorer
Back to, how are you proficient in the Glaive?

And, hold, yes, attack, how? The Glaive is a 2 Handed weapon. Are you dropping the dagger every time you use it? Seems clunky!


That's a BIG assumption! Kind of like saying the devotion paladin always activates his channel divinity before combat (when in reality the standard action is a big downside).

Anyway, sure, under IDEAL conditions, it's a killer set of abilities.
It isn't proficient
It requires 2 hands is for attacking only. He can normally hold with one hand and the dagger with the off-hand weapon.

It doesn't need a IDEAL condition, It's flexible enough to fight in every situation.
 

Hohige

Explorer
"Holding" isn't "wielding". A two-handed weapon requires only one hand to hold, but two to wield. You have to be wielding it for the feat to give you extra attacks of opportunity, which is what you are using the feat for I thought.
The Glaive requires two hands only when you attack with it.

"This weapon requires two hands when you Attack with it."

It's clear, The Sorcerer doesn't need two hands because It isn't attacking with this weapon.
 

The Glaive requires two hands only when you attack with it.

"This weapon requires two hands when you Attack with it."

It's clear, The Sorcerer doesn't need two hands because It isn't attacking with this weapon.
Per the feat (emphasis mine):
"While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach."

If you want your extra opportunity attacks you've got to be "wielding" the thing. 5e isn't a technical term of art oriented system, but the normal English understanding of "wielding a weapon" is to hold it in a manner where it can be used, not just to hold it.
 

Hohige

Explorer
Per the feat (emphasis mine):
"While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach."

If you want your extra opportunity attacks you've got to be "wielding" the thing. 5e isn't a technical term of art oriented system, but the normal English understanding of "wielding a weapon" is to hold it in a manner where it can be used, not just to hold it.
It's pretty clear :
"Two-Handed
This weapon requires two hands when you Attack with it."

The Sorcerer isn't attacking this that weapon, It doesn't require two hands.


So, a fighter wielding a greatersword and a shield can't attack because It requires two hands.
 

It's pretty clear :
"Two-Handed
This weapon requires two hands when you Attack with it."

The Sorcerer isn't attacking this that weapon, It doesn't require two hands.


So, a fighter wielding a greatersword and a shield can't attack because It requires two hands.
This isn't about attacking, this is about whether holding a weapon in a way where it can't be used to make an attack in any way counts as "wielding it" for the purpose of triggering PAM opportunity attacks. I'd definitely say no, and I can't imagine I'm alone in that interpretation.

Just use a one handed spear or quarterstaff and avoid ranged attack roll spells for the attacks of opportunity and you can avoid a whole pile of rules lawyering. It helps trigger your hound's pack tactics advantage to boot.
 

Hohige

Explorer
This isn't about attacking, this is about whether holding a weapon in a way where it can't be used to make an attack in any way counts as "wielding it" for the purpose of triggering PAM opportunity attacks. I'd definitely say no, and I can't imagine I'm alone in that interpretation.

Just use a one handed spear or quarterstaff and avoid ranged attack roll spells for the attacks of opportunity and you can avoid a whole pile of rules lawyering. It helps trigger your hound's pack tactics advantage to boot.
To me its pretty clear, but, The Glaive is more skin than mechanic. It's just pretty cool.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
Booming blade, average 22 damage.
Only if he moves, which he does not have to do.

The Hound is attacking with advantage (Pack tatics) him for extra 10 damage and chance prone.
The Hound has 2 attacks with advantage per turn (normal attack and oportunity attack), both with prone chance and critical chance. 44 average damage per turn if all hits (All attack has advantage)

They are not all at advantage.

To start with the hound can't see in darkness and because of that can not possibly get advantage. The sorcerer also loses his advantage if casting any ranged spells if the hound knocks the enemy prone.

Prone imposes disadvantage unless you are within 5 feet and using a ranged attack within 5 feet also imposes disadvantage. This means if the hound knocks the bad guy prone you (the sorcerer) no longer advantage on anything except melee or touch attacks.

As a matter of fact the adversary can take away your advantage on scorching ray "shenanigan" simply by crawling the last 10 feet up to you and attacking you from the prone position. That would make him "prone" when the OA occurs and since he is 10 feet away you would have prone disadvantage to cancel the unssen attacker advantage. Further since your reach is 10 feet, you can't do booming blade as a reaction since it occurs at 10 feat away. So in reality all of your "warcaster shenannigans" are not at advantage, they are a straight up roll.

The Shadow Sorcerer can summon another The Hound on next turn

You can't summon another hound because you don't have enough sorcery points (you empowered your booming blade remember). 2 for darkness plus 3 for the first hound plus 1 for empowering booming blade is 6 and you only have 8.

A STR 20 fighter with PAM level 8, deals around 29 damage per turn without aditional effect. (without advantage).
No you are wrong. An Eldritch Knight fighter with 20 strength and great weapon fighting style and a +2 weapon who is going NOVA like you are is going to hit for 67 That is:

Booming Blade: 1d10+1d8+7 (rerolling 1s and 2s)
Warmagic: 1d10+7 (rerolling 1s and 2s)
Action surge booming blade: 1d10+1d8+7 (rerolling 1s and 2s)
plus 4d8 when the enemy moves.

That is without any "warcaster shenanigans" ..... which of course he could also do as well.

The difference is the EK can do this again after every short rest, while you can't summon another hound for the rest of the day and he always rerolls his 1s and 2s and does not need to use empowered spell to do it.

In addition to this he can heal himself, gets hit less, has more hps and has higher attack rolls.

This is also not by far the most powerful fighter build possible.


16 AC with disadvantage and immunity to oportunity attack (Darkness) is much better than 19 AC fighter. Bealive me. If put Shield Spell inside math, it's unfair.
No it isn't there is math in play here.

Inside darkness with a 16AC the chance of hitting you is 36%. The chance of hitting a 19AC Eldritch Knight (and it should be 20 by the way) with shield spell is 20% and that is if he attacked the first turn instead of casting a defensive spell like you did. If he cast blur on himself to start the combat then you are NINE TIMES more likely to be hit.

It is not unfair to put the shield spell in play, you are just choosing a different (and less effective) reaction. Even if we play by the same rules though and the EK has the same PAM and warcaster feats and he does the same OA trick you are using after casting a defensive spell (blur) on his first turn, he is still only hit 20.25% to your 36%. That is without the shield spell ..... and he has more hit points to boot.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
How strong is It?
Everyone Else said:
It looks good on paper, but in practice it’s way more trouble than it’s worth.
Hohige said:
No, it’s insane!
Why even ask if you’ve already made up your mind? Go ahead and try it if you really want. Just don’t be surprised when it ends up not actually being all that useful and constantly gets in the rest of the party’s way.
 


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