The War Cleric

Zardnaar

Legend
Potent cantrip cantrip works on the SCAG cantrips for arcana clerics.

Any cleric can cast spiritual guardians plus weapon and wade into melee dropping sacred flame/toll the dead.

This is why I think clerics are better off built for primary spellcasting.

The exception would be high rolled stats and it's iffy. To reliably keep up spiritual guardians you'll probably need warcaster as well so that's two feats down at level 8.

Light cleric doesn't need warcaster, nature can key everything off wisdom and wear medium armor, arcana cleric can just take warcaster and do the above combining potent cantrip with green flame blade.

If you don't mind 18 wisdom at 8 the arcana cleric can take magic initiate and shillagh.

With higher stats they can have 20 wisdom and warcaster and Magic Initiate.

Round one they can cast spiritual weapon plus green flame blade or spiritual guardians plus shillagh next round spiritual weapon then gfb.

Or just spam cast shillagh outside combat so it's up already round one.
 
Potent cantrip cantrip works on the SCAG cantrips for arcana clerics.

Any cleric can cast spiritual guardians plus weapon and wade into melee dropping sacred flame/toll the dead.

This is why I think clerics are better off built for primary spellcasting.

The exception would be high rolled stats and it's iffy. To reliably keep up spiritual guardians you'll probably need warcaster as well so that's two feats down at level 8.

Light cleric doesn't need warcaster, nature can key everything off wisdom and wear medium armor, arcana cleric can just take warcaster and do the above combining potent cantrip with green flame blade.

If you don't mind 18 wisdom at 8 the arcana cleric can take magic initiate and shillagh.

With higher stats they can have 20 wisdom and warcaster and Magic Initiate.

Round one they can cast spiritual weapon plus green flame blade or spiritual guardians plus shillagh next round spiritual weapon then gfb.

Or just spam cast shillagh outside combat so it's up already round one.
And yet, when the warcleric decides to, we can out damage any caster cleric in any given fight.

One of the key benefits to the war cleric is that he doesn't have to rely on concentration spells for damage (at least not by level 8) which makes concentration not something he needs to worry as much about.
 

Esker

Explorer
And yet, when the warcleric decides to, we can out damage any caster cleric in any given fight.
But why would you focus on your own attack damage when you could give a martial ally your channel divinity, and keep your own action free to do something that does about as much damage anyway (even if it's only toll the dead)? By the time you can use spiritual weapon most fights, that bonus attack isn't doing that much for you any more.
 
But why would you focus on your own attack damage when you could give a martial ally your channel divinity, and keep your own action free to do something that does about as much damage anyway (even if it's only toll the dead)? By the time you can use spiritual weapon most fights, that bonus attack isn't doing that much for you any more.
Because inflict wounds does more than the martial is doing
 

Esker

Explorer
To be clear, the distinction I was making above between caster and non-caster wasn't so much about choice of subclass as it was about whether you invest ASIs and feats in Wisdom and spellcasting ability or whether you invest them in being better at weapons. But maybe I just misunderstood the thrust of your reply, which was to Zardnaar, after all.
 
To be clear, the distinction I was making above between caster and non-caster wasn't so much about choice of subclass as it was about whether you invest ASIs and feats in Wisdom and spellcasting ability or whether you invest them in being better at weapons. But maybe I just misunderstood the thrust of your reply, which was to Zardnaar, after all.
A caster cleric is one whose at will attacks will be primarily cantrip attacks.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
So at level 20, what would be the DPR of my warcleric over 10 rounds assuming I'm using the practice of Spiritual guardians, 6 uses of my extra attacks, spiritual weapon when I'm out of extra attacks, and GWM feat? I will list the stats again so you don't have to go back and look it up.

29 str
18 con (resilient)
10 dex
22 wis (tome of understanding)
10 int
8 cha

AC 22 (Resistance to B/P/S)
HP 183 (203 with Aid)
Halberd +17 to hit, 1d10+11 (6 uses of extra attack)
Spell to hit and dc is +12 and 20 dc.

Feats Resilient and GWM
 

Zardnaar

Legend
So at level 20, what would be the DPR of my warcleric over 10 rounds assuming I'm using the practice of Spiritual guardians, 6 uses of my extra attacks, spiritual weapon when I'm out of extra attacks, and GWM feat? I will list the stats again so you don't have to go back and look it up.

29 str
18 con (resilient)
10 dex
22 wis (tome of understanding)
10 int
8 cha

AC 22 (Resistance to B/P/S)
HP 183 (203 with Aid)
Halberd +17 to hit, 1d10+11 (6 uses of extra attack)
Spell to hit and dc is +12 and 20 dc.

Feats Resilient and GWM
Depends on the AC of what you're hitting or if you upcast spiritual guardian.
 

Esker

Explorer
A caster cleric is one whose at will attacks will be primarily cantrip attacks.
There's nothing stopping you from switching from weapons to cantrips if cantrips become the better option, so that in itself isn't a fixed property of a character. Whether weapons or cantrips are better at will options is mostly influenced by stat and feat investments, as well as choice of subclass. And what I'm saying is that even a war cleric is going to be better off playing as a caster cleric starting in tier 2, unless they make some specific choices, which likely includes multiclassing.
 
There's nothing stopping you from switching from weapons to cantrips if cantrips become the better option, so that in itself isn't a fixed property of a character. Whether weapons or cantrips are better at will options is mostly influenced by stat and feat investments, as well as choice of subclass. And what I'm saying is that even a war cleric is going to be better off playing as a caster cleric starting in tier 2, unless they make some specific choices, which likely includes multiclassing.
I fully disagree - though it may just be your definition of caster cleric.
 

Esker

Explorer
I fully disagree - though it may just be your definition of caster cleric.
Let's look at a couple of war cleric builds and tactical approaches at level 5. Both builds start as human with 16 WIS, 16 STR, and 14 CON.

Builds
The first build is a conventional "caster" cleric, taking War Caster at level 1, bumping WIS at 4th, and using spirit guardians, spiritual weapon, and inflict wounds only with 1st level slots. They will still pull out a weapon occasionally in order to get use out of of war priest, but when war priest is used up, they'll just use a cantrip (toll the dead).

The second bulid is more weapon oriented. They take Magic Initiate (Wizard) for BB and Find Familiar at level 1 and then bumps STR at 4th, all of which enhance weapon use. This build will prefer upcasting inflict wounds to using spiritual weapon.

Combat/Rest Schedule
Figure 3 rounds per combat, two encounters per SR, two SR/day, for a total of 18 rounds per day. Assuming base 55% to land either a weapon attack or cantrip at +3 modifier as you stipulated in the other thread.

Caster Daily Damage
Caster uses spirit guardians twice in the first round for 13.5 * 0.60 + 13.5/2 * 0.40 = 10.8 per target per round. Figure 2 targets in the zone per round. Suppose the cleric is wearing plate and shield for AC 20, and incoming attacks have +5 to hit, so each attack has a 0.30 chance to hit and if it hits a 0.35^2 = 0.1225 chance of breaking concentration. Let's say they take six attacks; so by the second round there's a (1 - 0.30 * 0.1225)^6 = 0.80 chance the spell is still up. By the third round, that goes down to 0.64. So for each casting, they're doing 2 * 10.8 * (1 + 0.80 + 0.64) = 52.7 damage over three rounds. That's 105.4 per day from spirit guardians.

Caster uses all their 2nd level slots on spiritual weapon and their 1st level slots (split 2/1/1 across rests) on inflict wounds, using channel divinity on the first miss in each stretch.

Spiritual weapon is netting them a total of 9 attacks, for 9 * (4.5 + 4) * 0.60 = 45.9 damage.

Inflict wounds (w/ channel divinity) is netting a total of

3 * 16.5 * (0.60 + 0.05 + 0.35) + 1 * 16.5 * (0.60 + 0.05 + 0.65 * 0.35) = 64.0 damage.

In the stretch with two inflict wounds, there's a 0.65^2 = 0.42 chance they have channel divinity left afterwards. After just one, there's a 0.65 chance they have it left.

Their next best option is to use war priest, pulling out their war hammer and making two attacks. They can't use this during the fights when they're using spiritual weapon, but that's only half the time, so there are plenty of opportunities in the other half. If they have channel divinity going in to the turn, they can expect to do

(4.5 + 3) * (0.55 + 0.40) + (4.5 + 3) * (0.55 + 0.60 * 0.40) + 2 * 4.5 * 0.05 = 13.5 damage on the turn using war priest.

If not, just 2 * (4.5 + 3) * 0.55 + 2 * (4.5) * 0.05 = 8.7.

Supposing they spread out their uses of war priest, there will be two uses when they have a 0.65 chance of having channel divinity available, one when they have a 0.42 chance, and one (occurring after one inflict wounds and one previous war priest use) when they have only a 0.65 * 0.60^2 = 0.23 chance. All together they can expect to get

2 * (0.65 * 13.5 + 0.35 * 8.7) + 1 * (0.42 * 13.5 + 0.58 * 8.7) + 1 * (0.23 * 13.5 + 0.77 * 8.7) = 44.1 damage out of the turns when they use war priest.

After two spirit guardians turns, four inflict wounds turns, and four war priest turns, there are 8 turns where they'll actually use a cantrip (toll the dead). These turns are worth 8 * 13 * 0.60 = 62.4 damage.

So, bottom line, the caster is doing 105.4 + 45.9 + 64.0 + 44.1 + 62.4 = 321.8 damage all told.

Weapon User
What about the weapon-user? Spirit Guardians is still going to be their best option for 3rd level slots in terms of total damage output, even though they don't get as much out of it as the caster. Though you could use additional inflict wounds instead to frontload the damage, even if the total is less.

Without war caster, the weapon user has a 0.3 * 0.35 = 0.105 chance of losing concentration with each attack against them. After six attacks they have a (1 - 0.3 * 0.35)^6 = 0.514 of still having spirit guardians. After 12 it's 0.264. Per target per round, they can expect to do (0.55 * 13.5 + 0.45 * 13.5/2) = 10.5 damage. So overall they get

2 * 2 * 10.5 * (1 + 0.514 + 0.264) = 74.7 damage out of their 3rd level slots.

We'll assume familiar help half the time, so for a spell attack their base chance to hit is 0.50 * (1 - 0.45^2) + 0.50 * 0.55 = 0.67, their base chance to crit is 0.074, and their base chance of a natural 1 is 0.50 * 0.05 + 0.50 * 0.05^2 = 0.026. So from 7 inflict wounds (split 3/2/2), they can expect to do

3 * (4 * 5.5) * (0.67 + 0.074 + 0.304) + 3 * 16.5 * (0.67 + 0.074 + 0.696 * 0.304) + 1 * 16.5 * (0.67 + 0.074 + 0.696^2 * 0.304) = 131.2 damage.

They have a 0.696^n chance of having channel divinity left after n attack rolls. For a weapon attack their base chance to hit is 0.50 * (1 - 0.40^2) + 0.50 * 0.60 = 0.72 (their chance to crit or roll a 1 is the same as for a spell attack). When they do have channel divinity, war priest does

(4.5 + 4) * (0.72 + 0.254) + (4.5 + 4) * (0.60 + 0.746 * 0.374) + 4.5 * (0.074 + 0.05) = 16.3 damage per turn.

When they don't, it does

(4.5 + 4) * (0.72 + 0.60) + 4.5 * (0.074 + 0.05) = 11.8.

They have three uses, two where they have a 0.696^2 chance of having channel divinity; one where they have a 0.696^3 chance. So in total they get

2 * (0.696^2 * 16.3 + (1 - 0.696^2) * 11.8) + 1 * (0.696^3 * 16.3 + (1 - 0.696^3) * 11.8) = 41.3 damage on their war priest turns.

That leaves two turns per short rest when they're just attacking once using booming blade.

With channel divinity available, a booming blade attack with a warhammer can be expected to do

(2 * 4.5 + 4) * (0.72 + 0.254) + (2 * 4.5) * (0.074) = 13.3 damage.

Without channel divinity, it does 10.0.

After three inflict wounds and one war priest turn, the chance of still having CD is 0.696^3 * 0.746 * 0.65 = 0.16.
After two inflict wounds and one war priest, the chance of still having it is 0.696^2 * 0.746 * 0.65 = 0.23.
After a booming blade, each of these picks up another 0.746.

So on our six booming blade turns, the chance of having CD available is

1. 0.696^3 * 0.746 * 0.65 = 0.16
2. 0.696^3 * 0.746^2 * 0.65 = 0.12
3,5. 0.696^2 * 0.746 * 0.65 = 0.23
4,6. 0.696^2 * 0.746^2 * 0.65 = 0.18

which means the total expected damage on those turns is

(0.16 + 0.12 + 2 * 0.23 + 2 * 0.18) * 13.3 + (0.84 + 0.88 + 2 * 0.77 + 2 * 0.77) * 10.0 = 62.6.

So, bottom line, the weapon user with booming blade and a familiar for help is doing

74.7 + 131.2 + 41.3 + 62.6 = 309.8

So it's extremely close at level 5. Obviously I made a lot of assumptions here, some of which may be off. In particular if you assume fewer incoming attacks, the edge from war caster is reduced, and you can get the weapon user to come out slightly ahead. Similarly, if the familiar can provide advantage more than half the time, that will favor the weapon user... etc. And I was assuming a very particular sequence of events so that I could work out the likelihood that you have channel divinity at any given time.

At level 6 when channel divinity goes to 2/SR, and you gain the ability to give it to others, who benefits more will depend who is in the party, I think; if there's a GWM/SS fighter or a booming blade rogue, etc., then giving it away will be worth more than keeping it, which would benefit the caster build since in the above they're letting their CDs go to waste somewhat more often. I think the weapon build would also be better off using their 2nd level slots on spiritual weapon, but I've spent way too long on this already.

But in any case, it actually looks really close between the two styles.
 

Esker

Explorer
I wonder what kind of math WOTC does to test balance and what kind of scenarios they test it in.
Me too. I'm frequently surprised by how close things turn out between what appear to be similar kinds of characters; at least if you follow the stated guideline of 6-8 daily combat encounters with two short rests. I think for the most part they did a good job of balancing things!
 

delph

Explorer
In short (I'm at work) I can play 5th lvl character in new campaign. hell yes it will be VHumat with GWM. but think about thinking about add 3 lvl battlemaster - 4 times precision attack + guided strike + bless. Or think its better go pure 5 th (be better caster - more and higher slots)

Edit and if I také 5th level cleric, what second feat take? Wisdom grow up spells and bolts od inspiration. PAM, give me second attack. It's d4 bit still can use -5/+10 And bless...
 
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