Wizard At-Wills

September 1st, 2010 by Rory

I was looking over the Wizard at-wills, and some of them are pretty powerful! Paul already talked about Hypnotism, so I'll focus on the others:

Wizard!:

  • Stone Blood + Freezing Burst: I'm surprised it took so long for the wizard to get one of these. It's been something WotC has talked about since the release of the PHB II and the invoker power Vanguard's Lightning, which went a step beyond Scorching Burst by adding a minor effect to an area burst 1 w/in 10 power beyond just a die + ability modifier. Stone Blood and Freezing Burst slow and slide 1 respectively, as well as doing 1d6 + intelligence damage! Both very solid effects that beef up the wizards at-will arsenal.
  • Phantasmal Force: I love rogues even while admitting they aren't the most powerful of the strikers (though making the daggermaster crit only work on rogue powers certainly helps). Phantasmal Force provides a very nice way to give a rogue combat advantage, with a nice side effect (no OAs) AND does a very nice 1d10+ Int damage! And it targets Will (no surprise, considering the name). A very powerful and fun single target at-will.
  • Magic Missile: This is no surprise since the errata has been around for a while, and it was mentioned in the preview. The card says it can target 1 or 2 creatures, which is clearly pretty broken and probably a misprint! With a maxed Intelligence level 1 wizard that would be a guaranteed 14 damage a round split between two targets! Making it 1 target cuts the power down a lot, obviously, but it will still have its place for when the DM describes the target as "on its last legs, barely standing" and that sort of thing, something I do as DM quite a bit. Also, savvy players often figure out a monsters rough HP from tracking when it becomes bloodied, which can make this a great choice for dealing the death blow with no fuss. Finally, it never hurts to have a ranged 20 spell to fall back on when your enemy is across a huge chasm or just not in range of your other spells yet!
  • Hypnotism: Screw it; I'll talk about Hypnotism. I like the flavor, but I'm not super impressed with the mechanics. Still, a good slide spell is always nice for when the DM dangles a huge pit in front of the players. Even with the successful attack roll and only 45% chance to slide the monster over, spells like these can be worth it when success means killing a near full HP elite outright! The melee attack is not super impressive on account of the two attack rolls needed to hit, but it never hurts to have it as an option when some crazy elite or solo has some totally badass basic melee attack!

The more I think about it, the more I think that Hypnotism should have been something like "Effect: an enemy makes a melee basic attack" or "Hit: an enemy makes a melee basic attack, which always hits". That would significantly increase its power, letting the wizard do as much damage as the most powerful enemy, but it would still be situational. Hypnotism is only powerful when the enemy brute is adjacent to allies, and it doesn't give the wizard as much choice over target as do most attacks. My fix would also eliminate a die roll: over the course of a wizard's career, trimming a die roll off an at-will attack will save a lot of mileage.

Also, am I wrong, or is a critical hit on Hypnotism's first attack roll absolutely meaningless? That's something I'd work hard to avoid.

More Red Box thoughts...

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2 Responses to “Wizard At-Wills”

  1. Scott says:

    Would it be appropriate (for hypnotism) to stipulate that the attack roll the wizard is used for the attack roll of the resulting melee basic attack?

  2. paul paul says:

    Hmm… this would work… although, since the second attack roll gets a +4 bonus, it’s functionally almost identical to declaring that the second attack roll is an auto-hit. The main benefit of this ruling is it would allow a natural 20 on the first roll to be a critical hit.

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