D&D 5E Thoughts on Absorb Elements vs Shield on a 4-level Arcane Trickster dip

ECMO3

Hero
Rogues get evasion by level 4? Another case for shield.


No I meant she will be level 4 so "no uncanny dodge or [no] evasion" sorry I botched that.

Silvery barbs better in a dual type situation shield is good vs multiple attacks.

Shield is just generally better overall, but silvery barbs is an enchantment so it does not compete for the same spot on my spell list.

She is also going to have Elven accuracy, so that will be another twist for SB - SB giving myself a 3-dice attack roll on the next attack.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
For myself it's clear. Silvery Barbs is on the Bard list, so you can get it there. It has heavy overlap with the Shield spell in turning a confirmed hit against you into a miss, but no overlap with making a effect-with-save into less damage. So Absorb Elements is the stronger of the two options. Now, Shield does have the additional usability of potential hits in the same round, but Silvery Barbs also has a nifty grant Advantage rider.

TL;DR: (Absorb Elements vs. taking full damage) is better than (Shield if you have Silvery Barbs), and you can have Silvery Barbs from Bard, so pick Absorb Elements.
 

ECMO3

Hero
For myself it's clear. Silvery Barbs is on the Bard list, so you can get it there.

I have to take 3 enchantment or illusion spells from the Wizard list and I will have a very low intelligence, meaning anything with a save is not good. I am planning on Disguise Self, Silent Image and Silvery Barbs and the only other thing worth considering is Sleep I think.

So it is not "Silvery Barbs or Shield or Absorb Elements" as Shield and AE can't go in one of the enchantment/illusion spots anyway.

Since SB has no save I think it is better to take it as a Rogue given that I have very limited options for illusions/enchantments regardless of if I take AE or Shield on my "any school" slot.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
The problem with Absorb Elements, is that, it depends on being hit with energy damage and if your are fighting dragons that is great but if you are in melee you have better uses of your reaction with either Shield or Silvery Barbs.
I have played a character with Shield and Absorb Elements and I find I rarely use the latter.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Absorb Elements seems fun on the semi-magical front-line-ish rogue in that it gives a boost to damage. Since you'll be doing almost all melee attacks it has more use for you than most.

I'd like it when taking an AOE spell/effect
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
For myself it's clear. Silvery Barbs is on the Bard list, so you can get it there. It has heavy overlap with the Shield spell in turning a confirmed hit against you into a miss, but no overlap with making a effect-with-save into less damage. So Absorb Elements is the stronger of the two options. Now, Shield does have the additional usability of potential hits in the same round, but Silvery Barbs also has a nifty grant Advantage rider.

TL;DR: (Absorb Elements vs. taking full damage) is better than (Shield if you have Silvery Barbs), and you can have Silvery Barbs from Bard, so pick Absorb Elements.
It should be noted that shield is more resource efficient than silvery barbs in turning hits into misses. Shield if used properly (in a game with visible dm rolls) can have a 100% success rate (and sometimes even turn more than 1 hit into a miss per round). Silvery Barbs has a success rate equal to the enemies chance to miss you. Maybe 50-70% success rate in most cases with your 18-19 ac.

That said I agree with the conclusion
1. Silvery Barbs
2. Absorb Elements
3. Shield

*Especially on a character that can get good mileage out of divine smite with low level slots.
**Though, if the PC was the only primarily melee PC then i'd grab shield. (Though if it's the case the rogue levels seem less than ideal).

Shield is the better all around spell - it will come up more often, etc - but at some point you have enough staples that you start looking for large impact situational boosts because you have good enough all around capabilities.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I have to take 3 enchantment or illusion spells from the Wizard list and I will have a very low intelligence, meaning anything with a save is not good. I am planning on Disguise Self, Silent Image and Silvery Barbs and the only other thing worth considering is Sleep I think.

So it is not "Silvery Barbs or Shield or Absorb Elements" as Shield and AE can't go in one of the enchantment/illusion spots anyway.

Since SB has no save I think it is better to take it as a Rogue given that I have very limited options for illusions/enchantments regardless of if I take AE or Shield on my "any school" slot.

I was going off your statement: "She will be mostly a full caster (Bard) after this". So you will have access to Silvery Barbs from that. So for me, I wouldn't use a very limited rogue pick on Silvery Barbs.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I was going off your statement: "She will be mostly a full caster (Bard) after this". So you will have access to Silvery Barbs from that. So for me, I wouldn't use a very limited rogue pick on Silvery Barbs.

But every spell I can choose is available to a Bard. I have to take 3 illusions or enchantments and all of the 1st level Wizard Illusions and Enchantments are also on the Bard list.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
But every spell I can choose is available to a Bard. I have to take 3 illusions or enchantments and all of the 1st level Wizard Illusions and Enchantments are also on the Bard list.
This is just incorrect. While there is some overlap between the bard list and the wizard list it is not a rule that bards also have access to all 1st level wizard illusions and enchantments. They are not wholesale on the bard list.

I think there's some confusion so let me start again.

You have been talking about a rogue (arcane trickster) and a bard character. Your spell slots can be any spell you know, but each of your classes has their own spells known to choose from. Your rogue spells are from the wizard list with some restrictions - 2 of the 3 need to be from the illusion or enchantment. That one that is not can be one of the three spells you were looking at: Shield, Absorb Elements, or Silvery Barbs. But only one of them.

When you take bard levels, which you said you were doing, you can pick up spells only from the bard list. Not from the wizard list. Silvery Barbs is on that list. So you can always pick up Silvery Barbs as a bard.

So, for me, that makes the opportunity cost of picking up Silvery Barbs as your one arcane trickster free-choice spell too high. And since Silvery Barbs has a good amount of overlap with Shield and no overlap with Absorb Elements, I personally would pick Absorb Elements as a rogue, and pick up Silvery Barbs later as a bard.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Your rogue spells are from the wizard list with some restrictions - 2 of the 3 need to be from the illusion or enchantment. That one that is not can be one of the three spells you were looking at: Shield, Absorb Elements, or Silvery Barbs. But only one of them.

When you take bard levels, which you said you were doing, you can pick up spells only from the bard list. Not from the wizard list. Silvery Barbs is on that list. So you can always pick up Silvery Barbs as a bard.

So, for me, that makes the opportunity cost of picking up Silvery Barbs as your one arcane trickster free-choice spell too high. And since Silvery Barbs has a good amount of overlap with Shield and no overlap with Absorb Elements, I personally would pick Absorb Elements as a rogue, and pick up Silvery Barbs later as a bard.
Arcane trickster can pick up shield and silvery barbs. You seem to imply above they cannot. That’s where the confusion is coming from. Silvery barbs is an enchantment spell.
 

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