The knight has some pretty interesting at-wills, not the least of which are its totally boss Defender Aura and Battle Guardian power (the replacements for the PHB fighter’s Combat Challenge class feature). Let’s dive right in!
Battle Aura: An aura 1 that gives all unmarked enemies a -2 to attack rolls when it makes an attack that doesn’t include the knight. Not only is it easy to keep track of, it’s unobtrusive: other defenders can mark enemies at their pleasure and the knight will take care of the rest of adjacent enemies. Also, once it’s up it takes no actions to keep going, so it’s totally a fire up and forget ability.
Battle Guardian: Like the second half of Combat Challenge, this power lets you make a free attack if an enemy attacks someone else or shifts away. It’s probably one of the best defender abilities because it’s an opportunity action. It both frees the knight up to use their immediate actions on other powers and lets them take multiple attacks a round if a bunch of enemies decide to ignore them. Much nicer than the fighter and other defenders who are basically spent after their first free attack, letting other enemies run off and attack at their relative leisure. It’s fun to have that kind of firepower, even if it doesn’t come up very often.
Knight Stances: Some fairly interesting/powerful stances, even if brute force will probably end up winning the day. These stances make me excited about playing a warlord again, so I can help the fighter make a lot of extra basic melee attacks!
- Battle Wrath (+2 to damage): We’ve known about this one for a while, but it’s a pretty solid stance for doing extra damage against people with low to medium AC (with high AC, poised assault may be justified).
- Cleaving Assault (CON damage to adjacent enemy): This one is probably worth firing up when you’ve got someone adjacent, since you’ll be pumping out some more damage. Kind of depressing that the phb1 fighter gets a better version of this, Cleave, as an at-will power (since it uses strength), but basic melee attacks do allow for more flexibility with charges and opportunity attacks, as well as all attacks granted by other players, so it’s really a matter of taking advantage of those as much as possible.
- Defend the Line: The ability to slow with a basic melee attack is fun, but I don’t see this getting a ton of use. Generally, I’m not super impressed by Slow, since enemies can still eke out 4 movement with a move-and-charge if they aren’t satisfied whacking the guy next to them. I like this power more for its theme than its strength.
- Hammer Hands: I’m not super impressed by a power that lets you push people around and follow them. Granted, nice for cliffs and the like, but aside from a few specialized cases, I’d imagine you’d stick with a damage stance.
- Measured Cut (shift 1 on a hit): Fun for helping the rogue flank and activating your Boots of the Fencing Master (often a good pick if your DM lets you take them), but again, compared to 2-4 damage or Con damage from Battle Wrath and Cleaving Assault, I’m not super impressed.
- Poised Assault: +1 to hit is always nice, and I could see switching between this and Battle Wrath depending on whether you’re getting a power bonus to attack or damage from the party leader.