The best Magus build?

It seems that the balance in P:K which favored strength Sword Saint builds has shifted towards the Eldritch Scion in P:WotR, at least in the beta, because:

  1. A lot depends on meta gaming and knowing what bonuses you can get, and that it is therefore possible for the strength Sword Saint to ramp up AC sufficiently, because she can add two mental stats to AC, and there being headbands of mental improvement, Bokken’s elixir etc. Those are not present in the beta (?) yet (?).

  2. Having a bloodline opens a lot of possibilites. In P:WotR, you can be both an abyssal and draconic Eldritch Scion.

  3. Sword Saints do not get access to mage armor, and can therefore not profit from the archmage armor mystical feat, but draconic Eldritch Scions get that as a bonus spell on level 3. Question is if they need it, because they also get armor training.

Do you see builds that may redeem the Sword Saint? How would you build an eldritch scion? Obviously one could simply use a P:K build for e.g. the abyssal e.s. and add a draconic bloodline for AC, but I wonder if more could be done to optimize it. Would you use a monk dip, would you use DD?

Anyway, my bet is that the first single playthrough on unfair will be either with an Azata eldritch scion or with a Lich melee sorc :wink:

1 Like

You could be right that dragon bloodline is better than sword saint.

  • Its less MAD. Sword saint needs int for AC and spells, dex for defense and either wis or cha for defense if you take monk.
    Dragon uses cha for both casting and defense (if you take monk).
  • regarding defense, sword saint has dex+int+wis/cha while dragon has dex+cha+bloodline bonus+archmage armor. I am not sure what a second bloodline via mystic can do.
  • better versatility. Dragon can use any martial weapon and you can wear armor if you find a good one and your defense is still good enough.

That’s probably outweighed by lack of INT-based companions/wealth of CHR-based and the value of good skills.

Don’t take Monk. You’ve already got all the defense you need. Monk trades one of the best levels in the game for nothing.

better versatility. Dragon can use any martial weapon and you can wear armor if you find a good one and your defense is still good enough.

Right, forgot to mention that. Sword Saints in P:K depend, again, on meta gaming where you know which weapons are available and can therefore choose one at level 2. The eldritch scion is much better for a blind playthough, because she just chooses whatever the best available weapon is at any point.

BTW: I found that spell combat sucks, because everybody and his cat has spell and elemental resistance, so in my playthrough, my eldritch scion always used a 2h weapon (strength build obviously).

I am not sure what a second bloodline via mystic can do.

In P:K you can either choose a draconic bloodline for AC and access to DD, or the abyssal bloodline which gets you +6 strength (+2 at level 9, 13 and 17) and transformation as bonus spell on level 13. Draconic = tank, abyssal = damage dealer. In P:WotR, you can get both. You can even go DD and abyssal, which could get you +4 strength from DD and +4 from the abyssal bloodline (you won’t get 17 levels in Magus, obviously, if you take 4 levels of DD).

Don’t take Monk. You’ve already got all the defense you need. Monk trades one of the best levels in the game for nothing.

Hm…in my first playthrough I took monk + archmage armor, and my scion’s AC was mostly on par with Seelah, who got the best heavy armor, a tower shield after taking one fighter level, and shield + armor focus. It is my first playthrough, but there were still some enemies who could hit both alright, and this was on normal difficulty. I did not always use every available buff, but it would seem that the monk level is needed…

That’s probably outweighed by lack of INT-based companions/wealth of CHR-based and the value of good skills.

True, it is not a build that best fits into a niche that is left open by the available companions :wink:
However, it does work well as a tank in a party with Woljif multiclassed into a Sword Saint (front line damage dealer), Ninio as EK (arcane caster), Lann as Ranger (archer + animal companion), and Daeran (healing + dazzle), who, in combination, can cover all skills.

This is nice analysis but game’s about party more than build and there’s more than enough ways for Saint with a good party to protect itself. Best defense is a good offense and Saint brings it all. I enjoy Scion too - Armor is good! - but Saint takes a back seat to no one.

Have you tried the control case?

If you haven’t you’re in no position to judge. Every splash condemns you to a whole game missing your best level.

…but Saint takes a back seat to no one.

Maybe I overlook how the Saint needs to be played in P:WotR (beta)? You probably mean a strength build?

First, AC: Sure, someone else can cast mage armor on the Saint, but the archmage armor only works if you cast it on yourself, not on someone else. In the standard build, the Saint will get +3 from int and char/wis. The scion gets +3 from char and more AC from the draconic bloodline (don’t know the exact number off the top of my head). This discussion has happend in P:K, where the Sword Saint wins because of certain equipment being available etc. see my first post.

Second, damage: Spell combat sucks, see above. This leaves 2h fighting, where the scion can get +4 or +6 to strength. The Sword Saint can use her arcane pool to optimize her (crit. or damage) rolls, but this is a very limited resource. P:WotR seems to love to send you into multiple boss fights in a row while very harshly limiting the rests you can take before you get severe debuffs via corruption (level 1 particularly hurts the Sword Saint, btw).

I don’t dispute that a Sword Saint is viable, especially on lower difficulties, it just seems that P:WotR very much changes the balance known from P:K.

Have you tried the control case?

Not really, no. I started a single class scion who took the background that gives you unarmed combat for free, so that you can start with crane style without a monk level, but I never took her too far, because light armor (at the first 6 levels) is simply worse.

If you haven’t you’re in no position to judge. Every splash condemns you to a whole game missing your best level.

You probably mean level 20 magus? I never reached level 20 in P:K. Yes, I played through the last level and fought the lantern king, but I always played with a full party. I assume that it is a similar situation with P:WotR. Do you play with a smaller party and are able to level up much faster?

I have a hard time justifying playing a magus in WOTR at all when you have bloodrager available. As you noted, spell combat is … not good. In general I think the magus spell list will struggle in WOTR due to the high elemental and spell resistance on every opponent.

Bloodrager gets the benefits of full BAB (not to mention the attack / damage bonus from bloodrage, which works with strength or dex builds), faster access to armor, and rage powers / uncanny dodge / armor training - all for the cost of a couple of spell levels that probably won’t accomplish much (and you still get mage armor and mirror image) and the off chance that one of your spell crits goes nova and gets past spell resistance.

A fair point, but the magus has, on the plus side:

  • Better will save progression. I know that power players love to point out that saves should not matter, but I don’t understand this point (yet). The game put me right in front of a dragon without any chance to buff up, and it hit us with a fear spell before anyone could react…

  • Faster spell progression, meaning that you have another arcane spell caster who can give you buffs like haste. If you are in a difficult dungeon with limited rests available, this will give you the chance to still have haste in every fight.

  • The arcane pool, which lets you add “holy”, for example, (but only at level 12).

I think that the bloodrager does not get the strengh bonuses when choosing the abyssal bloodline, if I remember correctly?

But, yeah, I guess that the bloodrager has very much the potential to replace the magus as best tank/melee damage dealer in the game.

Good point on the will saves - I don’t think I’d do a bloodrager without at least 2x levels of paladin to get a big saving throw boost.

The better spell progression is definitely relevant too - I’ve noticed that WOTR has a severe lack of 2/3s buff casters compared to Kingmaker (no bard, no alchemist, no magus…) so your full casters have to burn some slots buffing everyone up.

And yes - no inherent strength bonus from abyssal for bloodragers but you do get a size increase when you bloodrage which I believe should more than make up for it damage-wise (at the cost of some AC, unfortunately).

1 Like

Archmage Armor is a trap. There are some foes not meant to be tanked! Stop obsessing about AC, this isn’t an MMO. Use tactics and debuffs. Yeah you want toto have someone who can put a full Barkskin and Shield of Faith and Vestment on melee toons (bonus for Sjield spell from MC Alchemist, but don’t forget Protective Luck and Displacement and Mirror Image and distracting Summons.

Mythic Feats and abilities are your rarest resources. Use them for offense!

Okay, seems I need to critically evaluate my whole playstyle :wink:

That’s where the fun is!

Been where you are lol. I mean I did give Wolj Archmage Armor but stopped playing him because he’s too good.

Including if character cast it from scroll/potion on themselves.
Just now tried it with Camelia.

1 Like

They’re going to roll 20s on you. Just kill shit. For God’s sake Camellia has Medium Armor Proficiency.

What are you even doing?

For the sake of testing this is perfect.
He just veryfied that everyone can profit from archmage armor even when you cannot cast the spell.
Just drinking a potion is enough and now you can even craft potions.

Nobody ever said that a char must take this feat.