D&D (2024) Unearthed Arcana Playtest Packet 7 Live on D&D Beyond

Wizards of the Coast posted the seventh playtest packet for the 2024 update to Dungeons & Dragons. The new playtest packet includes updated class material for the Barbarian, Fighter, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes.

ua7.jpg

Highlights for each class:

Barbarian
  • New Path of the World Tree subclass and updated Berserker, Wild Heart (formerly Totem Warrior), and Zealot subclasses.
  • Attack recklessly for a full round rather than just one turn.
  • Path of the Wild Heart (formerly Path of the Totem Warrior) has updated options.
  • Brutal Critical gets damage buffs.

Fighter
  • New Brawler subclass excels at using improvised weapons and unarmed strikes.
  • Tactical Mind and Tactical Shift expand the use of Second Wind.
  • Studied Attacks grants advantage on an attack roll against an enemy after you've missed an attack against them.
  • Battle Master and its maneuvers have been updated.

Sorcerer
  • Innate Sorcery empowers your spellcasting for a limited time.
  • Sorcery Incarnate and Arcane Apotheosis boost your Metamagic while Innate Sorcery is active.
  • Sorcerous Restoration is available at 5th level and scales with your sorcerer level.
  • Wild Magic Sorcery now more reliably allows you to roll on the Wild Magic Surge table.

Warlock
  • Pact Magic is back.
  • Eldritch Invocations are now available at 1st level and your options have been revised.
  • Pact Boons are now invocations, and Mystic Arcanum is once again a class feature.
  • Patron Spells are always prepared.
  • Updated Archfey Patron, Celestial Patron, Fiend Patron, Great Old One Patron subclasses.

Wizard
  • Spellcasting feature now allows you to swap out a cantrip each long rest.
  • Memorize Spell is now a feature. Modify Spell and Create spell have been nixed.
  • Updated Abjurer, Diviner, Evoker, and Illusionist subclasses.
Universal changes include a return to class spell lists, more features from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and update to some of the spells including arcane eruption, sorcerous burst, counterspell, and jump.

The official Dungeons & Dragons YouTube account also posted an almost 90-minute-long video doing a deep dive on the playtest packet.

 
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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Remathilis

Legend
You can't look at an obvious rules error like "Blade Pact qualifies you for GWM" and shrug it off as a "best case scenario". It doesn't work, full stop.
Fine. Blow an invocation to pick up weapon proficiency in martial weapons. We have extra invocations to do that with.
 

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Kurotowa

Legend
Fine. Blow an invocation to pick up weapon proficiency in martial weapons. We have extra invocations to do that with.
You can't do that either. Weapon Training is a 4th Level feat, which means it isn't available from Lessons of the First Ones. Going by the Treantmonk build you'd have to take Weapon Training as your 12th Level feat and GWM at 16th. Which is an awful lot of buy in and all the way in Tier 4, so I'm rather less concerned about it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You can't do that either. Weapon Training is a 4th Level feat, which means it isn't available from Lessons of the First Ones. Going by the Treantmonk build you'd have to take Weapon Training as your 12th Level feat and GWM at 16th. Which is an awful lot of buy in and all the way in Tier 4, so I'm rather less concerned about it.
Details, details.
 

Remathilis

Legend
You can't do that either. Weapon Training is a 4th Level feat, which means it isn't available from Lessons of the First Ones. Going by the Treantmonk build you'd have to take Weapon Training as your 12th Level feat and GWM at 16th. Which is an awful lot of buy in and all the way in Tier 4, so I'm rather less concerned about it.
Details, details.
Yeah, my bad. I forgot the feat that grants martial weapons was not a level 1 feat.

Guess I shouldn't have trusted my GUT...
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Details, details.
That's what drives me nuts. I was there for the 3e Character Optimization forum on the WotC boards, fully participating. I spent over a decade immersed in World of Warcraft raid optimization and combat simulations. I'm not opposed to big numbers and efficient character builds. But all that time drove home two very important points for me.

The first is that you need to get your numbers and builds right if you want them to mean anything. Garbage in, garbage out. Combat sims are only as accurate as the assumptions built into them. Get those wrong and they're worthless.

The second is that white room numbers against a single motionless and unresisting target are never reflective of actual play. In actual play it's never a 1v1 duel, and the terrain matters, and boss enemies have all sorts of special abilities that throw a monkey wrench in your optimal combat script, and you're often not entering the fight in fully rested condition, and sometimes the dice just hate you. White room target dummy numbers have their place, but it's a limited one and should not be taken as a universal high score board.

So when people throw around clearly inaccurate white room numbers as if they're an objective measure of overall class balance, it drives me nuts. Those aren't what those tools are for and you're not even using them right.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Liiiiike what?

His video will come out soon I assume but here is a brief summary. Sorry if I miss something.

He did his usual assessment set to 13th level. The level is arbitrary but it's held consistent for his analysis for each class/subclass as a simple test case comparison so he can put them all on one chart. He's not claiming it's completely fair or representative, just a simple test to sort of hold his finger in the air initially. Once they settle on stuff he does a much deeper dive at multiple levels and varies his assumptions.

His quick sample build, not fully optimized.

Species: Any, +2 Chr, +1 Con,
Stats: Str 13, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 8, Chr 17
Notes: Melee Heavy weapons requires a 13 str (Greatsword), Ranged heavy weapon requires 13 dex (Longbow. assumes magic unbonused one at 13th level I think)
First lev feat: Lightly armored (gives medium armor prof for half-plate)
4th lev ASI: Warcaster, chr now 18
8th lev ASI: Charisma +2 for chr 20
12th lev ASI: great weapon master
Invocations (8 of them): Pact of the Blade (Chr for attack and damage rolls, modify damage types, create weapon as bonus action);
Thirsting Blade (3 attacks with attack action; Lifedrinker (+1d6 damage and healing option); Eldritch smite (used for Crits, 12d8 extra damage on a crit); Otherworldly Leap (20 feet extra movement); three more invocations as you see fit (Agonizing and Repelling blast? Lessons of the First Ones for Tough or Alert? Whatever).

Melee: Greatsword: Graze Mastery, deliver Charisma Mod damage on a miss (5), Base Weapon Damage: 2d6,
Rd 1 Bonus Action, spend 1 of 3 pact slots on Spirit Shroud (5th lev) = +2d8 additional damage to attacks, 1 minute.
Close to Melee. Assuming 60% chance to hit:
Attack #1:
2d6+5 Base Weapon Damage
1d6 Lifedrinker
2d8 Sprit Shroud
24.5 Average Damage on a Hit
60% chance to hit x 24.5= 14.7 average
40% chance to miss (Graze) x 5 = 2 average
5% chance to Crit x 73.5 Damage for Crits (Eldritch Smite used on Crits) = 3.68 average
Attack #1 total average damage: 20.38
Attack # 2: 20.38 average damage
Attack #3: 20.38 average damage
Great Weapon Master (Applies proficiency bonus to damage once per round): Chance of hitting at least once with 3 attacks = 94% x 5 (proficiency bonus) = 4.7 damage average per round.
Total Damage Per Round: 65. 84 average (20.38 + 20.38 + 20.38 + 4.7)
Reference: Berserker Barbarian, Beast Master Ranger, Champion Fighter, Assassin Rogue, and Devotion Paladin are all doing around 28 damage per round at this level. 147% over "baseline" which is a Warlock using Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast and Hex.

Ranged: Longbow (moontouched or whatever, assumes no magic bonus to hit and damage just base 1d8+5 damage). Includes Slow Mastery, which is nice but not changing DPR calculation.
Rd 1 Bonus Action: Hex (same as baseline attack)
Attack #1 1d8+5
1d6 Lifedrinker
1d6 Hex
Total average damage for a hit = 16.5
60% chance to hit = 9.9 average damage
5% chance to crit (Eldritch Smite used on Crits) 89.5 damage on crit = 4.48 average [BUT SEE BELOW]
Attack #1 total average damage: 14.38
Attack #2 total average damage: 14.38
Attack #3 total average damage: 14.38
Great Weapon Master (Applies proficiency bonus to damage once per round - and yes, it now applies to a longbow too): Chance of hitting at least once with 3 attacks = 94% x 5 (proficiency bonus) = 4.7 damage average per round.
Total Damage Per Round: 47.84 average (14.38 + 14.38 + 14.38 + 4.7), which is 79% more than Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast and Hex.

Now Eldritch Smite can use more spell slots. So lets assume for this one you never took Eldritch Smite and that big boost on crits goes away. Crits are now 5% x 12.5 = 0.63. New total is 36.59, which is still 37% more than Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast + Hex. And you're Slowing Target (Weapon Mastery) rather than pushing Target (Repelling Blast). And getting more range from longbow than Eldritch Blast. Bottom Line: why use Eldritch Blast anymore when this does a lot more damage for just one more invocation involved really?

He concludes with this about this build"

1. Pact of the Blade Warlocks Outdamage all other tested classes by a lot
2. Has Switchable Damage Types (four, changeable each attack)
3. Has it's bonus action available most rounds beyond first
4. Has faster movement, same speed as same level monk
5. Has three more invocation options left to choose (Lessons of the First Ones to access feats without pre-requisites so can get something like Tough to get HP close to barbarians, Lucky, Alert to win initiative, etc.)
6. Can switch between melee and ranged easily with one bonus action
7. Can access every weapon mastery with bonus action (which is better than fighters get - can just switch to Topple or Push or Graze each round)
8. Has in combat no-action healing (Lifedrinker)
9. Still has spells (will eventually get 9th level spells)

And all this he didn't even add in extra attacks from heavy weapon master, or any subclass boosts like from Genie,.

His quick recommendations:
Lifedrinker should require level 11
Thirsting Blade shouldn't scale at level 11

I think it's implied, but he doesn't state it, that maybe this is too many weapon attacks per round with weapons for a spellcasting class?
 

Remathilis

Legend
His video will come out soon I assume but here is a brief summary. Sorry if I miss something.

He did his usual assessment set to 13th level. The level is arbitrary but it's held consistent for his analysis for each class/subclass as a simple test case comparison so he can put them all on one chart. He's not claiming it's completely fair or representative, just a simple test to sort of hold his finger in the air initially. Once they settle on stuff he does a much deeper dive at multiple levels and varies his assumptions.

His quick sample build, not fully optimized.

Species: Any, +2 Chr, +1 Con,
Stats: Str 13, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 8, Chr 17
Notes: Melee Heavy weapons requires a 13 str (Greatsword), Ranged heavy weapon requires 13 dex (Longbow. assumes magic unbonused one at 13th level I think)
First lev feat: Lightly armored (gives medium armor prof for half-plate)
4th lev ASI: Warcaster, chr now 18
8th lev ASI: Charisma +2 for chr 20
12th lev ASI: great weapon master
Invocations (8 of them): Pact of the Blade (Chr for attack and damage rolls, modify damage types, create weapon as bonus action);
Thirsting Blade (3 attacks with attack action; Lifedrinker (+1d6 damage and healing option); Eldritch smite (used for Crits, 12d8 extra damage on a crit); Otherworldly Leap (20 feet extra movement); three more invocations as you see fit (Agonizing and Repelling blast? Lessons of the First Ones for Tough or Alert? Whatever).

Melee: Greatsword: Graze Mastery, deliver Charisma Mod damage on a miss (5), Base Weapon Damage: 2d6,
Rd 1 Bonus Action, spend 1 of 3 pact slots on Spirit Shroud (5th lev) = +2d8 additional damage to attacks, 1 minute.
Close to Melee. Assuming 60% chance to hit:
Attack #1:
2d6+5 Base Weapon Damage
1d6 Lifedrinker
2d8 Sprit Shroud
24.5 Average Damage on a Hit
60% chance to hit x 24.5= 14.7 average
40% chance to miss (Graze) x 5 = 2 average
5% chance to Crit x 73.5 Damage for Crits (Eldritch Smite used on Crits) = 3.68 average
Attack #1 total average damage: 20.38
Attack # 2: 20.38 average damage
Attack #3: 20.38 average damage
Great Weapon Master (Applies proficiency bonus to damage once per round): Chance of hitting at least once with 3 attacks = 94% x 5 (proficiency bonus) = 4.7 damage average per round.
Total Damage Per Round: 65. 84 average (20.38 + 20.38 + 20.38 + 4.7)
Reference: Berserker Barbarian, Beast Master Ranger, Champion Fighter, Assassin Rogue, and Devotion Paladin are all doing around 28 damage per round at this level. 147% over "baseline" which is a Warlock using Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast and Hex.

Ranged: Longbow (moontouched or whatever, assumes no magic bonus to hit and damage just base 1d8+5 damage). Includes Slow Mastery, which is nice but not changing DPR calculation.
Rd 1 Bonus Action: Hex (same as baseline attack)
Attack #1 1d8+5
1d6 Lifedrinker
1d6 Hex
Total average damage for a hit = 16.5
60% chance to hit = 9.9 average damage
5% chance to crit (Eldritch Smite used on Crits) 89.5 damage on crit = 4.48 average [BUT SEE BELOW]
Attack #1 total average damage: 14.38
Attack #2 total average damage: 14.38
Attack #3 total average damage: 14.38
Great Weapon Master (Applies proficiency bonus to damage once per round - and yes, it now applies to a longbow too): Chance of hitting at least once with 3 attacks = 94% x 5 (proficiency bonus) = 4.7 damage average per round.
Total Damage Per Round: 47.84 average (14.38 + 14.38 + 14.38 + 4.7), which is 79% more than Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast and Hex.

Now Eldritch Smite can use more spell slots. So lets assume for this one you never took Eldritch Smite and that big boost on crits goes away. Crits are now 5% x 12.5 = 0.63. New total is 36.59, which is still 37% more than Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast + Hex. And you're Slowing Target (Weapon Mastery) rather than pushing Target (Repelling Blast). And getting more range from longbow than Eldritch Blast. Bottom Line: why use Eldritch Blast anymore when this does a lot more damage for just one more invocation involved really?

He concludes with this about this build"

1. Pact of the Blade Warlocks Outdamage all other tested classes by a lot
2. Has Switchable Damage Types (four, changeable each attack)
3. Has it's bonus action available most rounds beyond first
4. Has faster movement, same speed as same level monk
5. Has three more invocation options left to choose (Lessons of the First Ones to access feats without pre-requisites so can get something like Tough to get HP close to barbarians, Lucky, Alert to win initiative, etc.)
6. Can switch between melee and ranged easily with one bonus action
7. Can access every weapon mastery with bonus action (which is better than fighters get - can just switch to Topple or Push or Graze each round)
8. Has in combat no-action healing (Lifedrinker)
9. Still has spells (will eventually get 9th level spells)

And all this he didn't even add in extra attacks from heavy weapon master, or any subclass boosts like from Genie,.

His quick recommendations:
Lifedrinker should require level 11
Thirsting Blade shouldn't scale at level 11

I think it's implied, but he doesn't state it, that maybe this is too many weapon attacks per round with weapons for a spellcasting class?
Listen, statistical analysis has no place in a discussion like this. Does your gut tell you it's overpowered? That's the only thing that matters here apparently.
 


Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Do you know that or are you just taking Treantmonk at his word? Because I wouldn't.

His full Bladelock video is out, and I posted my concerns over in the Warlock thread where I felt they belonged. But since it was getting discussion here, a quick recap: He assumes that Blade Pact qualifies you for GWM, which I think is very wrong. He assumes 100% uptime on Spirit Shroud, which I think is unrealistic and relies on pre-revision material that may not always be allowed. He assumes an Eldritch Smite on every crit, which is frankly impossible when you're already devoting a spell slot per combat to Spirit Shroud.

Those numbers he posts are not realistic and should not be trusted or quoted without comment.

I don't know if I agree with you on GWM but it's also a fairly negligible portion of the huge sum of damage we're talking about here that even if accurate, and you can't find some way to get a single martial weapon proficiency (which I doubt), it still doesn't prove your overall point.

100% spirit shroud isn't a bad assumption given a decent con and a likely initiative boost and faster speed and warcaster and so much damage you are likely talking about a dead nearby target before their turn even comes up. But EVEN THEN if you assume it's up less than 100% of the time, it's STILL A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE well more than any other build, which again fails to prove your overall point.

Finally, he even mentions you can skip Eldritch Smite entirely and the damage is out of sight. But I think your analysis here is the flawed one: just how many battles are you assuming between short rests here, and how often does that one minute of duration bleed into a second combat? I do not think it's nearly as "impossible" as you claim. Parties with Warlocks (and Monks) do seem to short rest after two battles in my experience sometimes, and usually after three, which means you will be using it on a crit just about every time it comes up, which should be roughly every other battle.

Nobody said you should take Treantmonks average damage as gospel. But even if we take everything YOU just said as gospel (and we should not do that either) you're STILL looking at more damage per round than any other class, right? Which means his point seems pretty meaningful here. Pact of the Blade looks a tad overtuned here.

Are you of the impression there is no cause for concern on this issue?

Note: I repeated this in the Warlock thread, including your concerns in the build repetition. I think it would be worth re-doing the melee damage with the assumptions you note and I discuss in that thread.
 
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