D&D 5E Xanathar's "War Magic" too strong for multiclassing?

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The War Magic subclass offers 2 features.

1. Arcane Deflection: Requires a Reaction:
If hit by an attack you gain +2 AC against that attack.
If you fail a saving throw you gain a +4 bonus to that saving throw.
After using this feature you can't cast spells except for cantrips until the end of your next turn.

2. Tactical Wit:
+int bonus to initiative.

Maybe I'm mistaken but I can think of a whole slew of classes I'd consider taking a 2 level dip into wizard for the spells and these features. Even with just a 13 int.

Am I wrong about this level 2 dip being to strong? Thoughts opinions?
 

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EvanNave55

Explorer
What just came to mind for me is an eldritch blast specialized Warlock so even though you can't cast normal spells, you'd be casting a cantrip instead anyways, so the restriction doesn't really matter much.

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
What just came to mind for me is an eldritch blast specialized Warlock so even though you can't cast normal spells, you'd be casting a cantrip instead anyways, so the restriction doesn't really matter much.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using EN World mobile app

That's one of the better uses I agree. I can also see it being great for a paladin or barbarian as long as you can get the stats to work okay. Barbarians are in dire need of save bonuses IMO. This small dip would fix their saves for most of their career IMO. Paladins would save against almost everything with that their charisma save aura. That's kind of scary IMO.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If someone's willing to take 13 Int (the least synergistic stat) and a two-level dip to take a purely defensive reaction ability, more power to them, I say.
 

jgsugden

Legend
You're using your reaction. That is a cost. Fighter types want those reactions for more attacks. Spellcasters want to counterspell. There is a real cost there.

Also, you're dipping into *the* Int class. There are few PCs out there that are not wizards that have a point buy or default array PC with a 13 Int. It may work for an Eldritch Knight, an Arcane Trickster or something along those lines, but it will be felt more heavily by other classes.

I have no problem with it. It is also only for that attack/save and is not an automatic make. Certainly valuable, but not insane.
 

Snof

First Post
Can you give a level 10 build where going 2 levels of wizard (war magic) for this is worth it?

From what I see it is strong, but not out of touch with other multiclass dips.
 

jgsugden

Legend
To be fair, you get a lot more. Ritual casting, a spellbook of 6 first level spells, 3 or 4 spells per LR, etc... However - I have not played a PC in 5E yet that I would have wanted to dip into this honeyjar.
 

I think the biggest dipper will be the mystic (when it is finally official). I could see the "concentrate on this discipline" effects starting before using arcane deflection, and then making a melee attack. Plus the precognitive discipline gives you advantage on initiative so there should be no issue in using that and tactical wit at the same time.....
 

Dausuul

Legend
Can you give a level 10 build where going 2 levels of wizard (war magic) for this is worth it?

From what I see it is strong, but not out of touch with other multiclass dips.
Agreed. The most likely place I can think of would be if you're an eldritch knight, and you want to boost your spellcasting with a dip into wizard. In that case, you're insane to pick anything but War Wizard for your arcane tradition.

However, it's still not clear that this is more powerful than going straight fighter. Multiclassing in 5E is very costly and you need a lot of synergy to justify it.
 

I can see a dip into Warcaster more for RP purposes that explicit character build synergy reasons. The mysterious fighter who had once been a mighty wizard reduced by epic curse in a long-ago war. The rogue who was once the apprentice of a powerful mage but robbed him of a legendary artifact only to have it taken by a legendary creature. Etc.

The innate powers for defense and rapid reaction in battle belie a more powerful soul than you would suspect otherwise, but not at overkill levels.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Barbarian 5 warwizard 2 then continue on in barbarian. Take out of combat utility spells.

I think that's much stronger than a straight barbarian. A barbarian with good saves is scary.

Any fightery class after level 11 is amazing with that ability too. Be it fighter or barbarian or paladin.

It's still a solid trade off after 5 levels of fighter or 6 levels of paladin.
 

Snof

First Post
Barbarian 5 warwizard 2 then continue on in barbarian. Take out of combat utility spells.

I think that's much stronger than a straight barbarian. A barbarian with good saves is scary.

Any fightery class after level 11 is amazing with that ability too. Be it fighter or barbarian or paladin.

It's still a solid trade off after 5 levels of fighter or 6 levels of paladin.


How would this barbarian compare to a barbarian with a dip in fighter, either champion (extra crit), or maybe even battlemaster?

Without making a long post, I'd argue that is is just as good, if not better than dipping two level of wizard.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
How would this barbarian compare to a barbarian with a dip in fighter, either champion (extra crit), or maybe even battlemaster?

Without making a long post, I'd argue that is is just as good, if not better than dipping two level of wizard.

I'd say they are comparable options. You basically listed the most powerful multiclass options for the barbarian before Xanathar's and the War Wizard level 2 ability compares pretty well there IMO. To make it fair dip 3 levels of wizard to compare to your 3 levels of fighter and level 2 spells + that ability should sway things back to the barbarian wizards court.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Okay, let's try barbarian 5/war wizard 2 versus barbarian 7. What's the trade? (I'll go with totem barbarian since most folks seem to think that's the best option.)

What you lose:
  • Five stat points that must be diverted to your class's natural dump stat
  • 6 hit points, which is about 9% of your total (assuming Con 14)
  • One daily use of rage, which is 25% of your total
  • Advantage on initiative rolls
  • The ability to negate surprise by raging
  • A very minor ribbon ability from totem barbarian
What you get:
  • +2 AC and/or +4 to saves, at the cost of your reaction (since you only use this ability if you get hit or fail a save, and you can use it every round, it's close to a continuous bonus)
  • +1 to initiative (assuming you put the minimum required in Int)
  • Three wizard cantrips
  • Four 1st-level spell slots (including Arcane Recovery)
  • The ability to cast 1st-level wizard rituals
The big gains are the AC/saving throw bonus, and ritual casting. The big costs are the stat point investment, going from 4 rages/day to 3, and the initiative/surprise benefits (advantage on initiative is way, way better than a mere +1). I think the stat points push it over the line to "not worth it." Still, if you rolled for stats and have a spare 13 floating around, this might be a neat way to go.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Okay, let's try barbarian 5/war wizard 2 versus barbarian 7. What's the trade? (I'll go with totem barbarian since most folks seem to think that's the best option.)

What you lose:
  • Five stat points that must be diverted to your class's natural dump stat
  • 6 hit points, which is about 9% of your total (assuming Con 14)
  • One daily use of rage, which is 25% of your total
  • Advantage on initiative rolls
  • The ability to negate surprise by raging
  • A very minor ribbon ability from totem barbarian
What you get:
  • +2 AC and/or +4 to saves, at the cost of your reaction (since you only use this ability if you get hit or fail a save, and you can use it every round, it's close to a continuous bonus)
  • +1 to initiative (assuming you put the minimum required in Int)
  • Three wizard cantrips
  • Four 1st-level spell slots (including Arcane Recovery)
  • The ability to cast 1st-level wizard rituals
The big gains are the AC/saving throw bonus, and ritual casting. The big costs are the stat point investment, going from 4 rages/day to 3, and the initiative/surprise benefits (advantage on initiative is way, way better than a mere +1). I think the stat points push it over the line to "not worth it." Still, if you rolled for stats and have a spare 13 floating around, this might be a neat way to go.

So let's start with a few baseline assumptions.
1. You are having at most 3 combat encounters per day. (the guideline 6-8 just doesn't happen in many peoples campaigns). Having 4 rages instead of 3 will help once in a blue moon but not on the average adventuring day in this setup.
2. To make the stats work to get 13 int you will generally have to take one less bonus in con. There may be some racial choice that makes it work without taking away any bonuses but i'm willing to concede 1 less bonus in con.
3. Agreed on the loss of 6hp from class and an additional 7 from the con bonus. In perspective this would be the difference between 68 and 55 hp.
4. Initaitive would be lower.
5. A ribbon ability from the totem barbarian.

What you gain by going wizard is the ability to cast false life 4 times for a potential total daily temp hp of 4d6+16 (average 26). 55+26 = 81 effective hp vs 68 effective hp.
You gain the saves and ac bonus reaction. And a bit of initiative to help close the gap a bit on the pure barbarian.

That to me looks like a good trade. One rage I'm probably not using anyways, an initiative bonus, a ribbon ability and better initiative for more effective hp, +4 better saves and a little better ac. I think that looks like an amazing trade...
 




Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So let's start with a few baseline assumptions.
1. You are having at most 3 combat encounters per day. (the guideline 6-8 just doesn't happen in many peoples campaigns). Having 4 rages instead of 3 will help once in a blue moon but not on the average adventuring day in this setup.
2. To make the stats work to get 13 int you will generally have to take one less bonus in con. There may be some racial choice that makes it work without taking away any bonuses but i'm willing to concede 1 less bonus in con.
3. Agreed on the loss of 6hp from class and an additional 7 from the con bonus. In perspective this would be the difference between 68 and 55 hp.
4. Initaitive would be lower.
5. A ribbon ability from the totem barbarian.

What you gain by going wizard is the ability to cast false life 4 times for a potential total daily temp hp of 4d6+16 (average 26). 55+26 = 81 effective hp vs 68 effective hp.
You gain the saves and ac bonus reaction. And a bit of initiative to help close the gap a bit on the pure barbarian.

That to me looks like a good trade. One rage I'm probably not using anyways, an initiative bonus, a ribbon ability and better initiative for more effective hp, +4 better saves and a little better ac. I think that looks like an amazing trade...

Aside from the 3 combat/day assumption being fairly arbitrary (I agree 6-8 isn't common, but 4/day isn't uncommon either), your hitpoint calculation is off. The barbarian, assuming healing, has 68 hp per encounter. The wizard multi with false life has ~61, but at 2nd level can only maintain that for 3 fights (I'm starting to see that 3/day may not have been as arbitrary as I assumed).

Further, there's the fact that your wizard multi is burning all of their spell slots to achieve near parity in combat effective hp as the straight barbarian, meaning they're losing any flexibility from the multi which you, above, stressed as a benefit. If they don't, then the 13 less hp (26 effective) is a noticeable drop in staying power. The +2 AC vs one attack ability looks interesting, but barbarians are low AC characters to begin with (looking at around a 15-16 with non-magic medium armor) and often use reckless attack to up damage (especially with GWM) and at that point the AC boost doesn't look very helpful (somewhat, but not gamebreaking or even close).

The save bonus is very nice, though, that's granted. But that's about all you're really picking up with this multi, and the need to have INT 13 to do it, the cost is pretty high for that one benefit. It's a good one, yes, but not near gamebreakingly good.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
It's most attractive to me on a Ranger. Especially Revised Ranger. My Rangers are likely to have a decent Int for Nature and sometimes Investigation checks, and Revised Rangers are further incentivised to want to always be high in initiative order.
 

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