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View Full Version : Staying Pure? I recommend Vanguard



MysticRhythms
04-20-2015, 02:00 PM
Hey everyone.

I recently came back to the game about a month ago and at the time, I had my fighter as a pure Warforged Kensai. I kept him that way for several weeks using the THF line and Greatswords. He had no self-healing and the enhancements weren't very well optimized. I was also still using W/P weapons thinking they were still effective. Well, thanks to "Epic Ward" I got a brutal education in the complete ineffectiveness of my build.

Over two weeks, I tinkered with the Kensai line and added more Stalwart Defender and less Warforged racial tree (that was another eye-opening lesson - the racial trees are overly expensive). I stuck with the Kensai capstone, got myself some better gear and sprinkled in some Stalwart (+6 STR stance?!?!?!) and I improved. I had hit mid epic levels and capped out Legendary Dreadnought which incidentally helped a lot.

But I was still getting hammered pretty hard and not hitting hard enough back. Granted, I was running EH and EE content on a first-life toon that was undergeared and usually 2 levels below the quest level, so that did have a lot to do with it. I spent hours reading through the forums, even requesting build help advice here but wanting to stay a pure Warforged Fighter.

Then I had a paradigm shift and put the Greatswords in the closet, picked up a bright and shiny Purple Dragon Knight Tower Shield, found my freebie Lesser Heart of the Wood (not the +20 variety - that one is still in the bank) and I respecced. I got rid of some garbage feats (Power Critical? Ugh) and said goodbye to some old Tactical feats (Combat Expertise + Improved Trip because basic trip is good enough and the AC boost from Combat Expertise isn't needed) and a filler feat (Dodge - nice but not synergistic with my build). I brought in the Shield feats and the Bastard Sword proficiency and went full-on into Vanguard.

1) My survivability instantly improved (the AC boost got me out of the range of taking much damage from trash and now I could also shield block)
2) I lost the double bonus of Power Attack and the extra damage of the Greatsword but ... Tower Shields now do a pile of damage. And my Tower shield procs a free attack 80% of the time.
3) I swung a lot faster and could still keep my AOE damage from Cleave, Great Cleave and glancing blows
4) I am stunning everything. Literally everything. A large percentage of the time. Stunning = helpless = more damage.
5) My action bar has way fewer short-term combat abilities.
6) The Weapon Focus/Specialization line added +10 Melee Power.

I am loving my fighter now. Between Shield Rush and Shield Charge, I can actually knock a lot of trash and even Orange names stunned/down a lot of the time. I proc free Shield Bashes which in turn proc free stuns on top of Stunning Blow, Stunning Shield and Shield Charge stun effect almost constantly. The Shield-based stuns also affect plants, undead and elementals.

There's nothing particularly grind-y about my fighter. He's a first lifer with 32 build points and not a lot of endgame gear yet and I'm surviving on Epic Hard with no issues and epic Elite most of the time. Granted, I have an amazing guild who have all helped me a ton with relearning the game.

I think if you are a returning player and you liked your fighter before but are struggling to find a niche now in this world of Paladins, Barbarians and Bards self-healing and wrecking everything with an Easy button known as "enhancement pass," consider Vanguard. It will not bring self-healing to you (you stil lhaveto find that in Epic levels) but it will make you pretty resilient and still give a lot of crowd control and as a result, extra damage through helpless enemies.

If I can actually play my fighter on EE content then anyone can. It's all about the Vanguard tree.

unbongwah
04-20-2015, 02:30 PM
Glad you're enjoying your respecced toon. Sadly, I HTRed my last S&B ftr toon a few months before U23 would've made her relevant again... :rolleyes:

The good news is Vanguard is hella powerful; the bad news is ftr VG in behind pally VG in most respects except extra feats. Even with Kensei enhs and the extra Melee Power from Weap Foc / Spec feats, it just doesn't close the DPS gap with Holy Sword+Zeal+Div Might. Factor in much higher saves and self-heals, the only drawback to pally VG is feat shortage.

BTW, you might want to consider swapping Dodge for Precision; lots of times -25% Fort is better DPS than +5 dmg.

LongshotBro
04-21-2015, 04:23 AM
I'm with the OP on this one - my Vanguard fighter is the most fun i've had in years. Your shield becomes a very powerful and useful tool.

However, i hung on to my Combat Expertise, got the full THF and SM lines, Imp Crits, cleave/great cleave, weapon specs and i managed to squeeze in SF: UMD so i can scroll heal and raise dead. probably could have used a better feat, sure, but i mean...fighters get so many feats!

On the other hand, i'm itching to TR and do a paladin vanguard. by all accounts, it's superior. but i also want to do it just to try something different and still use the vanguard tree, which imo is just terrific - definitely my favorite tree at this point in time.

i'm happy to see there's another pure fighter vanguard out there though!

MysticRhythms
04-21-2015, 10:44 AM
The good news is Vanguard is hella powerful; the bad news is ftr VG in behind pally VG in most respects except extra feats.

While I get that paladin is the falvor of the month and that it has the benefit of built-in self-heals and strong combat buffs from Holy Sword and Zeal, I think a lot of people are diminishing the usefulness of having 18 feats on a fighter.

My current list of feats is:

Adamantine Body
Stunning Blow
Skill Focus: UMD

Power Attack
Cleave
Great Cleave

Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword
Weapon Focus
Greater Weapon Focus
Weapon Specialization
Greater Weapon Sepcialization
Improved Critical

Two-Handed Fighting
Improved Two-Handed Fighting
Greater Two-Handed Fighting

Improved Shield Bash
Shield Mastery
Improved Shield Mastery

That's 2 AOE, 2 complete fighting styles that synergize with each other, an extra stun and pure damage that doesn't need to be rebuffed at shrines or in antimagic fields or after a resurrection. The skill focus in UMD means that in epic levels, I can actually teleport, raise others and even do silly things like solo Inferno of the Damned.

Yes, I know Paladins can do more damage but they are not really that far ahead. They likely aren't getting the THF line and certainlly not the Focus/Specialization line so they will be behind in Melee Power and AOE damage. I personally think the main advantage they have is in self-healing before level 28 whereas the Fighter has to spend some effort getting the right EDs to get it done. There's also a rather nice benefit to being able to focus on Strength as your primary stat for everything (Damage, Tactics).

Regardless, the pure fighter version is plenty of fun to play.



BTW, you might want to consider swapping Dodge for Precision; lots of times -25% Fort is better DPS than +5 dmg.
I run Power Attack right now. I get my extra DPS from helpless enemies as much as the crit procs so that's my main focus right now.

MysticRhythms
04-21-2015, 10:51 AM
I'm with the OP on this one - my Vanguard fighter is the most fun i've had in years. Your shield becomes a very powerful and useful tool.
It's amazing how many free Shield Bash attacks the Vanguard Tree + PDK Shield will proc. And you get all that extra PRR and MRR and the special effects from your Shield (I don't have to wear a Constitution or Charisma item elsewhere, for instance).


However, i hung on to my Combat Expertise, got the full THF and SM lines, Imp Crits, cleave/great cleave, weapon specs and i managed to squeeze in SF: UMD so i can scroll heal and raise dead. probably could have used a better feat, sure, but i mean...fighters get so many feats!
Yep. As I mentioned above, I pretty much did the same. I traded Combat Expertise/Improved Trip for the Bastard Sword and the start of the shield feats from my original Kensai build.


On the other hand, i'm itching to TR and do a paladin vanguard. by all accounts, it's superior. but i also want to do it just to try something different and still use the vanguard tree, which imo is just terrific - definitely my favorite tree at this point in time.

i'm happy to see there's another pure fighter vanguard out there though!
Before I had switched from Kensai to Vanguard, I considered TRing into a Paladin for something different. Switching to Vanguard has made me change the long-term plans for my character. I'm going onto the pathh of eTRs to grab up all of the nice epic past life features in Martial, Primal and Divine. That's going to take a lot of work and effort but I'm excited for the extra PRR, hit points, fast healing, etc.


I just finished Shiradi Champion and Primal Avatar with enough twists to self-heal reliably now. I can't wait to see what my fighter can do once I get into Fury of the Wild. And then I'll do my first eTR to start the ePL feat chain.

Nhennan
05-04-2015, 03:12 AM
Another vote for Vanguard tree here for straight fighter. Again swapped out of Kensai (also swapped out of Stalwart Defender whilst running in FotW).

Dwarf running dwaxe and Wall of Wood - this combo lets me keep dodge (15% in heavy armor) and gets me 40 points of healing amp from the shield (and still some reasonable shield bashes).

Feat lines are shield mastery, slashing focus/specialisation, dodge/mobility, and some from the THF line (melee power doesn't stack with that from the SM line, though).

Cocoon (with around 140 hamp and 180 positive spell power) hits for about 130/tick, which is useful. Hamp from ship buffs, PDK gloves or Iron Mitts; will be boosted once I collect enough mysterious remnants for the cloak.

Stunning Shield DC at 88 for L27 and can boost to 94 easily - pretty useful for EE content. Lots of shield bashing done!