Thursday, August 19, 2010

4E DND: "Fighters: Stick to 'em like glue!"


If you are new to DND, you'd think that fighters are a boring bunch. Those that played previous installments of DND know better. Fighters, probably since the day Gary Gygax gave birth to DND, have been one of the most versatile and open class in the game, and the same goes for 4E.

There are so many ways to build the Fighter. They are a great class to multiclass or hybrid into, they have so many viable builds with Martial Power 1 and 2 entering the game and if you are into roleplaying, they are one of the easier classes to form a background with. There are indeed many different styles to build your Fighter towards and they are all very strong, but that is because all fighters share the same root. And because the root is solid, the branches become solid as well.

So here, we'll not go through the branches and styles of play. That's up to you to read up, discover and explore. No, here, we are simply looking at what makes ALL Fighters one of the most solid, easy to play and reliable Defenders in the game. We are simply going to take a look at the 'root'.

If you are unsure of what to expect of Defenders, you can take a quick overview at this post.


Fighters are one of the most sticky defenders, if not THE most sticky defender in 4E DND. Having one in your party really makes life easier for everyone. It's also an easy, yet versatile class, so playing a Fighter can be pretty fun both for newbies and veterans alike.

So here we are going to cover the key points of the Fighter and what makes him such a lovable meat shield.

Stickiness - As mentioned above, Fighters are incredibly sticky one-to-one thanks to his Combat Challenge and Combat Superiority abilities.

According to Combat Challenge, if the target of the Mark shifts or hits anyone that is not you as a target, you make a basic attack as an IMMEDIATE INTERRUPT. This means that it is a PREVENTIVE move.

On top of that, Combat Superiority states that if you hit an opponent during his Move Action via an Opportunity Attack, he doesn't get to move and would have used up his Move Action.

With these two abilities, it means that if a target tries to move OR shift, he would get hit anyways. And fighter's DPS isn't something you'd want to deal with. And soon you'd realize that the target might as well try to hit you anyways as the safest and most logical option.

With good Wisdom modifier to boost the Combat Superiority ability, Fighters seemingly 'roots' everyone within his threatening range, allowing your party to happily do whatever they want.

Durability - Well, Fighters don't really have anything that makes them especially durable. Compared to other defenders, he's pretty average and simple. He comes with proficiency in Scale Armor and having a solid amount of Hit Points and Surges. He has what it takes to be a meat shield, no doubt, but he doesn't have anything special.

Damage - I mentioned before in the Defender Overview post that damage is important as a Defender because having a painful Opportunity Attack gives all mobs second thoughts before they make their move.

Fighters have great damage, if not the best damage, amongst all Defenders. Not only that, they also have one of the better To-Hit compared to other Defenders. Just by looking at their Player's Handbook 1 At-Will Powers should give you an idea about their damage:

Cleave - Does damage to 2 opponents at once.
Reaping Strike - Does damage even though it misses.
Sure Strike - A lot higher To-hit

Fighters' Powers most revolves around dealing damage, with a handful that buffs himself or helps his allies. In fact, they are quite comparable to Strikers in terms of damage output.

Battlefield Control - Aside from their incredibly sticky mark, fighters have more tool to help n battlefield control. Some of the Fighter's Power have the push/knockdown/slowed effect as well as allowing him or his allies to shift. This makes him a mini-Warlord/Controller.

Just look at the Player's Handbook 1 At-Will 'Tide of Iron'. It allows the Fighter to push a target smaller or one size larger (this is very important) 1 square away AND allows you to shift into the space he occupied. This opens up tons of options for the fighter. He can shift in to get into better position for his Stickiness and he can push and knock the target into another object making him fall prone. The fact that he can push one size larger creatures (you know, those that occupy 4 squares) makes it even more valuable.

But that is only an At-Will. If you look at his Encounters, Dailies and Utilities, you'd realize that Fighters not only do good damage, but is also able to manage the battlefield much like a Warlord (to a lesser extent) is also able to knock opponents down here and there.

Thanks to Lester for pointing this out. Fighters DO have some weaknesses after all.

Fighters don't have any variety of weapon type damage. Paladins have radiant, Wardens have lightning and frost, Swordmage got...everything? So Fighters don't really take advantage or inflict any vulnerability status on the enemy.

In conclusion, Fighters are good damage dealers, incredibly sticky, extremely versatile and has pretty good control over the battlefield. They can help their allies and themselves shift into a good position and knock enemies around.

They are fun to build and use as a newbie and as a veteran alike. It's pretty hard to screw up building a Fighter, even with it being versatile. Definitely worth a look and try. If you are afraid to end up building a screwed up Defender for your party, Fighter is definitely for you.

last update 22/8/10

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