Level Up (A5E) What maneuvers are best to use with marshal's combat directives?


As the tittle suggest, I was at first trying to get the best maneuver to use, but after a quick read, I don't think any of them really qualify at all when you first get the feature.

Let's first see the relevant text to pick the maneuver

"In addition, when a creature uses your Commanding Presence to make an attack, it can simultaneously use one Sanguine Knot combat maneuver that you know."

For me that means, the ally can activate a maneuver, the action cost already covered by the reaction spent. I think he could only attack if the maneuver includes an attack, but maybe that can be read as he always get the attack and activate the maneuver for free.

Let's list all 7 of the degree 1 and 2 sanguine knot maneuvers possible when you get the feature at lvl 5:

-Back to back - could work and be a good candidate, but the ally don't get to attack (open to interpretation). It will only last until the start of THE ALLY'S next turn, so maybe it's over before the bonus to AC matters;

-Double tackle - expensive maneuver (3 points!) but would work. It expends another reaction from a 3rd ally (or the marshal) in order to work, making it even pricier.

- Doubleteam - a good cheap maneuver to choose, requires a bit of setup, and again, I'm not sure the ally gets to attack as well.

- Dual grapple - very specific and niche, you need a third ally already grappling or initiate the grapple yourself with the first attack and have the ally adjacent. Don't think it's a good option

- Legion stance - already been discussed in another thread, although I as a DM wouldn't allow for out of combat use, even though it seems to be RAW. If you are allowed and attack as well, could be good, see final note

- Shield wall - same timing problem as back to back, with the caveat you both need a shield. Not viable in my opinion, or at least very niche.

- Shoulder check - it's already a reaction with a very specific trigger, I don't think it can work at all with combat directives, but, as usual, I'm open to be proved wrong.

So, I don't know, it seems Legion Stance and Double team would be good. That is IF the ally gets to attack on top of the maneuver activation.
I think if the ally can't attack, none of these are worth you giving up your attack in the first place.

Thanks for reading the long post

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all it says it does is that it lets the ally make an attack and activate a sanguine knot (later others) combat maneuver. there's no reason this would change just because the maneuver is legion stance or double team.

double tackle is frankly just garbage in general and i'm baffled it got to print. doing it through combat directives arguably makes it a bit better (since the action cost becomes a reaction plus attack cost), but not by much.

i'd agree that shoulder check wouldn't work due to its trigger.

shield wall and back to back are really more initiative dependent then anything. did you just go before the marshal let you use combat directives? then it's largely the same as the marshal doing it himself (just that the action cost is changed from his bonus action to one of his attacks, and you're paying the exertion cost, really). is your turn right after the marshal's? don't even bother, then, it's worthless.

so yeah, i'd agree legion stance and double team are really the best options here - legion stance if you don't have an active stance at the moment, and double team if you do.

that said, stuff starts getting weird when you hit 3rd degree, since that's when look at me! (which lets you get your extra attack attacks) pops up. like...do you get the commanding presence attack AND all the attacks you'd get if you used the maneuver on your turn (on top of the rider)? because THAT'D be crazy, and RAW i think that's straight up how that works.


Thanks for the clarification (or at least a second opinion). I agree the attack is granted by a different feature (commanding presence) and therefore is not modified.

I hadn't gotten as far as 3rd degree on my possible future marshal planning, but you are right. Look at me! seems crazy to use with combat directives, granting at least 2 attacks and potentially 4 (to 11th lvl fighter or marshal). And I can't read it any other way.

A possible fix (assuming this interaction was not intended) is to add to combat directives that "any attack granted by the maneuver is not allowed" as the attack is already granted by commanding presence and more than one attack out of turn with one reaction is indeed ridiculous, no matter the cost.

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