The goal of this build is to make a lockdown wizard that specializes in taking troublesome opponents out of the fight in a permanent fashion. The build accomplishes this by a combination of items, feats, and class features that eventually make it almost impossible for a target to succeed on a saving throw against an incapacitating condition, such as stunning or unconsciousness. As a secondary goal, the build seeks to exploit the fact that it is forced to use a longsword by maximizing its melee capacity.
This build functions in the role of battlefield controller; he hinders opponents with debilitating effects and zone effects more than actual damage. Every so often, however, you can shine in the damage department if you prepare a spell such as wall of fire or disintegrate. The build's true power, however, lies in incapacitation; the orb of imposition class feature allows you to put a powerful lockdown on one creature per encounter, be it on a daze, immobilize, slow, stun, or unconsciousness, or even something as mundane as ongoing damage. If it requires a save to end, you're not letting them out of it. This build also has fantastic melee capacity (for a wizard); the Intelligent Blademaster feat allows you to use your strongest attribute for your melee basic attack, and Armor Proficiency (Leather) combines with your sky-high Int to give you a fairly decent AC. As a matter of fact, all your defenses are fairly strong, except Fortitude.
This build usually works by pelting spells from the back, attempting to keep opponents locked down. If a controller or another opponent with weak melee capacity approaches the wizard, or if you get a chance to engage them, draw your sword and go toe-to-toe with them, especially after level 11, because the one sword dazes and is spammable. If you get a nice opportunity, lock your opponents down with sleep or a similar spell, and use your orb to take the most dangerous target out.
As far as solos go, strike early and gratuitously; after a quick attack buff, put them down with sleep or Legion's Hold, and watch them squirm as your party rips them to pieces.
Required Books Edit
There are several good choices for your race. The build's key statistics are Intelligence (for to-hit) and Wisdom (for the orb of imposition), so any race with a bonus to at least one of those would work well. Here are the most prominent options:
- Deva: An upcoming race in the Player's Handbook 2, we know so far that the deva will have +2 to both Int and Wis, making it amazing for this build. As icing on the cake, it gets the power memory of a thousand lifetimes racial encounter power to add 1d6 to an attack roll.
- Elf: Although it doesn't have a bonus to Int, the bonus to Wis is quite handy, and the elven accuracy racial encounter power will help make up for the accuracy loss (and is generally amazing, especially given the Elven Precision and Wild Elf Luck feats).
- Human: As always, human is a very nice choice for a wizard, with its third at-will power allowing you to have at-wills targeting all three non-AC defenses, and the Action Surge feat being especially useful since the +3 bonus applies to all targets in an attack. Whether you allocate your attribute boost to Int or Wis is a matter of taste.
The rest of this document assumes human as the race, with the attribute boost applied to Int.
Chosen Class FeaturesEdit
Orb mastery will be taken at some point, but it doesn't have to be your first implement mastery; you can start with staff mastery for the extra defense and pick up orb mastery at paragon or vice versa, depending on whether you're more concerned about early defense or dropping saves (against sleep, usually) a small amount early on.
Multiclassing, Paragon Path, and Epic Destiny
This build multiclasses to swordmage, mainly so as to grab the Intelligent Blademaster feat (which allows you to use Int instead of Str for your melee basic attacks) and the fate-spurned foe utility power (daily minor-action -2 penalty to all saves on one enemy for the entire encounter). The only other choice worth mentioning is to multiclass to cleric, so as to go into the divine oracle paragon path.
There are multiple good choices for an orb wizard's paragon path. This build in particular, with its slight melee focus, uses wizard of the Spiral Tower. This allows the use of weapons (in particular, cunning magical weapons) as implements. The other wizard paragon path worth investigating is blood mage, almost entirely because of the level-20 power destructive salutation, which is a burst 3 within 20 power versus Will dealing 6d6 + Int damage that applies the save-ends effect of stun and 10 ongoing damage. This is the earliest stun power in the game (the next being prismatic spray at 25), and is great to have in hand going into epic. The rest of the blood mage class features are pretty awesome too.
Another option, which as mentioned above will preclude the swordmage multiclass, is the cleric paragon path divine oracle. This has several very nice class features and powers, among them the prophecy of doom encounter power (allows you or an ally to auto-crit on the next hit), Foresight at level 11 (cannot be surprised), and perhaps the most important, Terrifying Insight at level 16 (roll twice and take the higher result on all attacks targeting Will).
As for the epic destiny, both archmage and demigod (or chosen) are good; the former is nice in that it gives many mechanisms for recovering your daily powers, culminating in the Archspell class feature, which allows e.g. a legion's hold to go off every encounter. Another possibility is the ruler of winter epic destiny from Dragon #372; their level-21 class feature Lingering Cold imposes a -5 penalty on saves versus effects originating from cold powers (and there are several ways to make your powers of choice have the cold keyword, including their level-24 class feature Winter's Bite).
Ability Scores Edit
For races with a bonus to Intelligence, choose Str 8, Con 12, Dex 10, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 12. If you have a bonus to Wisdom but not to Intelligence, consider the following array instead: Str 8, Con 10, Dex 10, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 11. This delays access to Spell Focus until epic tier, assuming your race doesn't have a Charisma bonus (which is reasonable, since there is currently no Wis/Cha race). If more concerned about optimization at every level (rather than the 30th level build), perhaps consider this array: Str 8, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 12. This puts you even with an 18 Intelligence starting wizard about half the time (any time you've received an odd number of stat boosts), but will leave you behind at 28th level.
These are not important to the build, but some reasonable choices are Arcana, Dungeoneering, History, Insight, and Religion.
The feats are given here in approximately the order taken (although this can be changed a great deal). Since the build assumes human, there will be one extra feat, and the appropriate human racial feats will be chosen. Also note that several of these feat choices are not optimal for the non-melee focused variants mentioned above.
- Improved Initiative
- Armor Proficiency (Leather)
- Blade Initiate
- Implement Expertise (Orbs)
- Acolyte Power (fate-spurned foe)
- Weapon Proficiency (longsword)
- Second Implement (whichever of orb or staff you didn't take to start)
- Spell Focus
- Melee Training (Intelligence)
- Action Surge
- Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades)
- Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blades)
You should retrain a heroic feat—probably Improved Initiative—so that you can take both Second Implement and Spell Focus at 11th; you can take that feat back at 12th.
- Arcane Mastery
- Spell Accuracy
- Robust Defenses
- Epic Will
- Epic Reflexes
- Epic Fortitude
- 1st: illusory ambush, magic missile, thunderwave; grasping shadows; flaming sphere, sleep
- 2nd: expeditious retreat, shield
- 3rd: color spray
- 5th: phantasmal assailant, web
- 6th: dimension door, wall of fog
- 7th: winter's wrath
- 9th: ice storm, wall of fire
- 10th: blur, resistance
- 11th: the one sword
- 12th: shape the dream
- 13th: prismatic burst (replaces color spray)
- 15th: prismatic beams, wall of ice (replace flaming sphere, ice storm)
- 16th: displacement, stoneskin
- 17th: crushing titan's fist (replaces grasping shadows)
- 19th: disintegrate, Evard's black tentacles (replace phantasmal assailant, web)
- 20th: Corellon's blade
- 22nd: mass fly, Mordenkainen's mansion
- 23rd: acid storm (replaces winter's wrath)
- 25th: necrotic web, prismatic spray (replace Evard's black tentacles, prismatic beams)
- 26th: shape magic
- 27th: confusion (replaces prismatic burst)
- 29th: greater ice storm, legion's hold (replace wall of fire, wall of ice)
A cunning longsword (which you can use as if it were an orb from 11th level on) and a phrenic crown are important to achieving lockdowns. If using a non-melee-focused variant, you will instead want an orb of ultimate imposition and possibly supplementary orbs such as the orb of fickle fate, orb of inescapable consequences, and orb of karmic resonance. (Note that the primary reason for a melee-focused build was a cunning longsword, and for good reason: these orbs only impose their penalties as daily powers, whereas the cunning longsword penalties are always-on.) A cheap +1 defensive staff for the off hand helps keep all your defenses high for little cost: you'll never need to upgrade it past +1. Other equipment recommendations, none of which are essential to the build, include:
- Repulsion armor (in heroic tier); displacer armor (in paragon and epic)
- Cloak of resistance (in heroic tier); cloak of displacement (in paragon and epic)
- Belt of vim
- Gloves of piercing
- Mindiron vambraces
- Fireburst boots (in paragon tier); boots of teleportation (in epic)
- Opal ring of remembrance
- Nullifying ring
This build was originally posted by lordduskblade at http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1127932