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    2016 DDO Council Member Strimtom's Avatar
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    Default Strimtom's Vanguide - An Endgame guide to playing Fighter Vanguard

    This guide is updated for U41.4
    INTRODUCTION
    Welcome to Strimtom's first attempt at an end game guide. The goal of this guide is to give those of you out there who need a way to step into the end game. If you want paladin, use this build guide, but follow the same general playstyle detailed here.

    Before we talk fighter, first I want to define end game as per this guide. To me, end game is:
    1. Attempting content that you and a group of people are unable to complete on the first try and require thinking and planning (level 30 quests/raids on high reaper difficulties)
    2. A part of the game in which clearly defined roles are needed for success and that not only do you need to have the equipment and stats for the role but that you also need to execute and perform your role well.

    Under these parameters, I define the vanguard fighter as:
    High DPS
    Assassin
    Crowd Control

    This is due to the nature of the character and it's statistics. There are almost no creatures that you cannot kill in 6 seconds as a vanguard in reaper 10, and your stuns last 6 seconds. Combined with your mobility, you can' easily jump on priority targets like casters or super champs and keep your team safe.

    This guide is for playing a vanguard fighter in the end game. For those that don't know what vanguard is, it is using the vanguard tree to kill people with your shield. Why would you want to do this? Because it's obviously a better weapon! Consider the following:

    Consider a sword. It's sharp and crafted to be a lethal weapon. You could use this with grace and slice up your foes.

    Consider a tower shield. It's a 50lbs piece of steel. You can use this to smash someone's entire body with almost no finesse at all. Clearly, the shield is the better weapon.

    Jokes aside, vanguard provides unique game play opportunities in fighter. It gives crowd control options that other fighters don't get as well as very strong burst potential. It's almost like dual wielding, except you are using a shield. For those that don't understand the mechanic, vanguards get Secondary shield bash chance as a stat. This gives your melee attacks to proc a shield bash for free. No, you do not hold block and attack. You just attack like regular and you get free extra hits. This gives you a lot of free attacks, and given the attack speed you get (+35% walking around, and at the 60% cap with action boosts.)

    PROS
    • Extremely high damage potential
    • You look cool as all hell when you smash people
    • Able to remove priority targets instantly in high reaper difficulties at level 30
    • People will think you are a tank and that you won't do anything but you will be top of the kill board every time.
    • Gives you a very optimized and specific way to play, letting you get into the game and focus.
    • People will tell you that you can only play monk in endgame but you will out dps 95% of monk players with your rad skills and damage.

    CONS
    • Does not heal at all
    • Your friends will become really jealous of your damage and tell you fighters can't play in the end game
    • You aren't a tank, but people will think you are
    • Requires you to pay attention, as in R8+ you can't take more than 1 hit.



    THE STATS

    Welcome to the obligatory stereo instructions included with each build. In this section we will discuss how to make an amazing vanguard. This isn't going to be an in depth levelling guide, the build levels itself.

    RACE
    Race doesn't matter much. You can play whatever you want, The only difference is warforged which has some neat properties if you have at least 2 racial enhancement points, making it the best option.

    I played dragonborn because they look so cool

    STARTING STATS

    You need strength for damage, you need at least 13 dex for Precision, you need con for life, and you need charisma for UMD.

    SKILL PRIORITY
    1. Use Magic Device
    2. Intimidate
    3. Balance
    4. Jump
    5. Swim

    Now you say, "Strimtom, why are you using intimidate? You straight up said this wasn't a tank build and now you are lying to me and I feel hurt and I can't even."

    I did say that this isn't a tank build, but I don't use intimidate to tank. I use it to pull monsters off of my healer and off of my casters. Have you ever gotten frustrated chasing around monsters that are chasing the ranged who won't stop running? INTIMIDATE THOSE THINGS YO

    FEAT ORDER
    Level 1 - Exotic Weapon Prof: Kopesh, Shield Mastery
    Level 2 - Stunning Blow
    Level 3 - Weapon Focus Slashing
    Level 4 - Weapons Specialization Slashing
    Level 6 - Improved Shield Bash, Heavy Armor Combatant
    Level 8 - Improved Critical Slashing
    Level 9 - Improved Shield Mastery
    Level 10 - Greater Weapon Focus Slashing
    Level 12 - Precision, Tactical Mastery
    Level 14 - Greater Weapons Specialization Slashing
    Level 15 - Heavy Armor Master
    Level 16 - Tactical Supremecy
    Level 18 - Power Critical, Quick Draw
    Level 20 - Heavy Armor Chamption
    Level 21 - Overwhelming Critical
    Level 24 - Two handed fighting
    Level 26 - Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    Level 27 - Epic Damage Reduction
    Level 28 - Perfect Two Handed Fighting
    Level 29 - Dire Charge
    Level 30 - Improved Two Handed Fighting, Scion of Arborea

    (If you have Completionist, take that instead of Power Critical)

    WARFORGED FEAT ORDER
    Level 1 - Exotic Weapon Prof: Kopesh, Shield Mastery
    Level 2 - Stunning Blow
    Level 3 - Adamantine Plating,
    Level 4 - Weapon Focus Slashing
    Level 6 - Weapons Specialization Slashing, Heavy Armor Combatant
    Level 8 - Improved Critical Slashing
    Level 9 - Improved Shield Mastery
    Level 10 - Greater Weapon Focus Slashing
    Level 12 - Precision, Tactical Mastery
    Level 14 - Greater Weapons Specialization Slashing
    Level 15 - Heavy Armor Master
    Level 16 - Tactical Supremecy
    Level 18 - Improved Shield Bash, Quick Draw
    Level 20 - Heavy Armor Chamption
    Level 21 - Overwhelming Critical
    Level 24 - Two Handed Fighting
    Level 26 - Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    Level 27 - Epic Damage Reduction
    Level 28 - Perfect Two Handed Fighting
    Level 29 - Dire Charge
    Level 30 - Improved Two Handed Fighting, Scion of Arborea

    (If you have Completionist, take that instead of Power Critical)

    ENHANCEMENTS

    A quick breakdown of the enhancements.
    First, notice that we don't use Stalwart defender. This is for two reasons.
    1. Stalwart adds aggro, and we don't want that. We want the tank to have aggro.
    2. This tree doesn't do damage so it is completely useless to us.

    You want T5 kensai and core 5, because that is 40 melee power and a tonne of damage. Along with this, you need the attacks A Good Death for a sweet as hell execute, and Deadly Strike for the auto crit. Shattering strikes is a great 1 pointer, since it drops enemy fortification (great for shroud portals).
    T5 Kensai is way better than T5 vanguard which is why you take it. However, the vanguard capstone is where the magic happens. It reads

    While shield is equipped: +2 attack, +2 damage, +5% doublestrike, +1(W) to your shield, an additional +5% (total 20%) Combat Style bonus to Melee Attack Speed, and shield bash stuns 10% of the time DC (10 + 1/2 Character lvl + strength modifier + stun bonus)

    This was recently changed from what it was previously on this guide. The capstone used to read that it was a 5% chance to stun, but it was actually performing as a 50% stun. Since U38.1, this has been changed to 10%. This is a good chance for clarity, since new players will understand it initially, but this is an 80% nerf on the proc rate of the stun. As a result, stun locking targets is nearly impossible if they aren't stunable. Undead, constructs, and many abbertions will be completely immune to stunning blow and dire charge, meaning that you get Stunning shield and then a small proc chance, making it less reliable.

    Out of Vanguard, shield stun is basically the best stun in the game since it works on all monsters, and shield charge is your version of a cleave. Yes, it moves you a great distance but that isn't how WE use it. I will go into details later in gameplay.

    Okay, but what about warforged?
    you want at least 1 racial enhancement point so you can fully take healers friend, which this build won't work unless you have 2 racial points.

    EQUIPMENT
    This is where this gets confusing. I will do my best to simplify. There will be two items lists. One as warforged, and one as non-warforged. Warforged is clearly superior for itemization and stats.

    WARFORGED
    Head:Mighty Stormreach Guardian Helm a- Globe of True Imperial Blood Slotted
    Neck: Slavelords Crafted Chains (False Life - Accuracy - Use Magic Device - Quality Strength)
    Trinket: Echo of Ravenkind - Slotted with a Topaz of Deathblock, Topaz of Blindness Immunity
    Cloak: The Invisible Cloak of Strahd
    Belt: Legendary Braided Cutcord
    Ring 1: Legendary Band of Insightful Commands
    Ring 2: Ring of Nightfall - Slotted with Topaz of Power +250
    Gloves: Molten Silver Gauntlets - Slotted with Golems heart, Charisma +8 Augment
    Boots: Flightfoot Grieves
    Googles: Epic Precision Lenses
    Bracers: Bracers of the Fallen Hero
    Armor: Legendary Memory of Hiding in Darkness - Slotted with -15% ASF Sapphire
    Mainhand: Calamity, a brush with death (Slotted with Prowess 5 set)*
    Off-hand: MirrorPlate Tower - Slotted with Ruby of Good


    This Item set gives you all the stats you need and also lands you with the ravenloft set as well as the silent avengers set.

    NON-WARFORGED MEAT BAGS
    Head:Mighty Stormreach Guardian Helm a- Globe of True Imperial Blood Slotted
    Neck: Slavelords Crafted Chains (False Life - Accuracy - Use Magic Device - Quality Strength)
    Trinket: Echo of Ravenkind - Slotted with a Topaz of Deathblock, Topaz of Blindness Immunity
    Cloak: The Invisible Cloak of Strahd
    Belt: Legendary Braided Cutcord
    Ring 1: Legendary Band of Insightful Commands
    Ring 2: Ring of Nightfall - Slotted with Topaz of Power +250
    Gloves: Molten Silver Gauntlets - Slotted with Golems heart, Charisma +8 Augment
    Boots: Flightfoot Grieves
    Googles: Epic Precision Lenses
    Bracers: Bracers of the Fallen Hero
    Armor: If you need more defense Legendary Scales of Avarice - Slotted with -15% ASF Sapphire, if you need more damage use Platemail of the Celestial Avenger - Slotted with -15% ASF Sapphire
    Mainhand: Calamity, a brush with death (Slotted with Prowess 5 set)*
    Off-hand: MirrorPlate Tower - Slotted with Ruby of Good


    There is some debate between MirrorPlate Tower and The Best Defense. I use mirrorplate because in higher end reaper it gives better defensive stats as well as critting harder due to having a higher top end of base damage. Best defense does more damage overall but I personally prefer the increases defensive stats in high end reaper mode. Either are good, but for R6+ I recommend Mirrorplate.

    Epic Destinies
    For this you want to use legendary dreadnaught, the only epic destiny for melee classes. Since you already get all the actionboosts you need from your enhancement trees, you simply take strength and blitz and the rest doesn't matter really.
    Your Twists are:
    T4 - Sense Weakness
    T2 - Legendary Shield Master
    T1 - Primal Scream
    T1 - Flex: Dragonhide Rank 3, energy sheathe.

    Past Lives
    You do not need any past lives for this build to be good. My character that I have been playing has 1 ranger life and 1 monk life, and I have no issues killing in reaper 10.
    Good past lives (Rated in order of most beneficial to least beneficial)
    Doublestrike 3
    Enchant Weapons 3
    Monk 3
    Fighter 3
    Paladin 3
    Fast Healing 3
    Brace 3
    Artificer 3 (UMD good)

    If you had all these past lives you would have +9% double strike, +6 to hit and damage, +3 to DCs of combat feats, +30 healing amp, a little healing and DR when blocking, and +3 UMD. Not essential, but still good to have.

    Now you are all set! You have everything you need to play this character properly.

    Oh wait, I forgot the how to play section. Lets do that now!

    GAMEPLAY

    Prowess and YOU!
    Prowess is the best filigree set in the game for melee, don't let anyone tell you otherwise., It gives you a 75 melee power boost for 10 seconds after you activate an actionboost. This build gives you 17 actionboosts allowing you to sustain 340 seconds of prowess between shrines thanks to action boost damage and actionboost haste. However, the mechanic isn't as obvious as to how it works.

    How do the skills work? What is my rotation?
    Your abilities are as follows...
    • Single target damage
      • Right Click, the best attack in the game!
      • Shield Smash
      • Opportunity Attack
      • A Good Death for executes
      • Deadly Strike for Burst damage
    • AOE Damage (Cleave)
      • Dire Charge (also a stun)
      • Shield Charge (also a stun)
    • Situational Crowd Control
      • Stunning Blow
      • Stunning Shield (Works on unstunable targets like undead and oozes)
      • Dire Charge (AOE)
      • Shield Charge (AOE, Works on unstunable targets like undead and oozes 10% of the time)
      • Shattering Strike

    As you can see, your single target attack list and your CC options are really good. I`ll now breakdown how to use each one.

    Rightclick: This is the bread and butter of fighter. Auto attacks are super strong since you shield bash almost 100% of the time you auto attack, which also gives a 50% chance to stun the target. Essentially, every 6 swings you make you are guaranteed to stun the monster you are fighting for 6 seconds without even using an ability. That's super good.
    Shield Smash: A single target shield attack that doesn't interrupt your normal attacks. It's basically free damage, hits extremely hard, and stuns 50% of the time. It also only has a 6 second cooldown, so always use this on cooldown.
    Opportunity Attack: Use this skill whenever it is off cooldown and you have charges. it recharges when you hit stuff, it hits hard, and it gives you 20 melee power. It's great.
    A Good Death: This should primary be used as an execute. The execution damage when a target is under 30% HP is massive, especially since this ability can double strike. Try to use this only when you are in execute range. As well, if you can activate prowess and/or have the buff from opportunity attack active you can easily hit with this for over 30k damage on elite difficulty.
    Deadly Strike: I use this on cooldown for anything less than R4, but in R4 up I use this as an execution tool to quickly burst down priority targets.
    Dire Charge: Usually my first action in combat. IT does a fantastic AOE stun, and when you don't have a CC caster present you basically become the CC caster. Against undead I just use this as cleave.
    Shield Charge: You don't need to use this as a charge. If you use this in melee (it requires a target) it is basically a 360 degree cleave but using your shield. Your shield is about 4x the base damage of your kopesh, so use this on cooldown in combat. The only except to using it on cooldown is when you want to save the stun for a potential priority target. Extremely useful in quests with lots of unstunable monsters (The wizard of the Wines, anytime you face packs of scarecrows).
    Stunning Blow: A great single target stun, but the DC is 30 points lower than stunning shield and also has a longer cast time. Only use this when you need to stun and have no other options.
    Stunning Shield: Not only does this skill stun everything with a ridiculous DC, but it also hits like a truck since it adds +3[W]. Your best stun since it works on command, so be careful of the cooldown. This skill alllows you to stun and delete any enemy since they cannot make their save. Use this wisely.
    Shattering Strike: Use this on cooldown against monsters that have fortification. It helps both you and your team.

    Understanding your skills helps you understand how you play. My rotation is usually as follows
    1. Actionboost and Power Surge before combat
    2. Shield charge into combat, and hold rightclick as you get into combat so you are constantly auto attacking
    3. If fortification, use shattering strike
    4. If stunable, use Stunning Shield
    5. Use Opportunity attack
    6. Use Shield Smash
    7. Use Deadly Strikes
    8. If in execute range, use A Good Death

    This attack priority is everything you need to do super sick DPS.

    How should you play?
    Do not think of yourself as a beefy tank fighter. You are an assassin who can shield slam for over 25k in a single strike. Your job is to wait until someone gets aggro and then manoeuvre around the combat to find priority targets. Wisps, casters, and every champion there is. Your thought process once the fight starts is like this:
    1. Are the monsters clumped? If yes and they are stunnable, dire charge them. If yes and not stunnable, use shield charge to stun the crowd anyway. If no, go to the next step.
    2. Beastmark/Arborean/Mark of Law melee's need to die or your tank dies. Kill them first.
    3. If no clumps, move onto the caster types in the back. Champions first.
    4. Single target down ranged, and continuously dire charge backs when it's off cooldown.


    Your job is to stand behind the boss and go to town.

    Once you equip all this gear, you will notice that your saves are abysmal. Like, really bad. This might seem awful, but it isn't. You see, this gives you as a player a chance to be better than the game. You have deathward and freedom of movement already, locking away many of the bad effects. You have UMD so you can heal and restore away any stat or level damage you take.So what happens when you get stunned by a soundburst?

    Harper Pin, Greater Harper Pin, and Unstoppable all break you out of crowd control effects. Use them, and master the cleanse. Being able to efficiently cleanse debuffs is essential to your survival in reaper mode. Your understanding of positioning should grow to the point where you are aware of spellcasters casting certain spells and to stay away from AOE spells that cause ailments like Otto's sphere of dancing or symbol of stunning. Yes, you can swap around your gear to get better saves, or you can learn to position and have much better damage overall. I highly recommend you practice this skill because it will save you much more and is also transferable to all your characters in DDO.

    A backpack full of success!
    Consumables are key in epic content. Don't leave home without these items in tow.
    • Raise dead scrolls (Or resurrection, if your UMD is high enough)
    • Heal Scrolls
    • Greater restoration + Restoration scrolls
    • Tensers Transformation Scrolls
    • Potions of Prowess (+2 to hit and damage pots from comms of valour)
    • Teleport Scrolls (So convenient! And the don't have spell failure!)


    And... that's it! This build works really well, just keep in mind that it doesn't have any way to heal outside heal scrolls which really stop working in reaper mode. That is why in reaper mode you need support characters with you to unlock your full potential. So go on reddit or the forums, find one of these only healer players, and become best of friends!

    I will be keeping this guide up to date, and I will also be testing out vanguard paladin next for a comparative look at what the difference is. As far as I know, it's a trade of damage for survivability, which I don't think is worth it given that this is a DPS build first and foremost. If I missed anything, please let me know!

    FAQ
    1. How does Paladin vanguard perform?
      It's all right. I played as a paladin vanguard using Aasimar and the enhancement tree. the damage is similar but about 10% lower. It also loses all of the burst since you don't have th combo of A Good Death and Deadly Strike, as well as some good base damage and shattering strike. Instead, you gain vulnerability on hit from Aasimar (void if you have Calamity, the raid kopesh) and you are about 30% more life, as well as having all your saves over 80. You also get the ability to lay on hands which is extremely valuable. Honestly, it lags behind in raw performance in the dps category, but if you have a shake group of player a paladin vanguard can more reliably raise the dead as well as get a heal in a pinch.
    2. Update 38.1 drastically changed vanguards, are they still good? Can you still play them?
      Yes, they are still good and you can play them.

      Vanguards can no longer stun lock stun immune monsters (you can still stun lock stun vulnerable monsters by rotating dire charge -> Stunning blow -> stunning shield), but vanguard fighters are still capable of instantly deleting high priority targets with their assassination tools. This is a blow to the sustained survivability, but if you enjoy the assassin play style this class presents than it is largely unchanged.
    Last edited by Strimtom; 05-27-2019 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Updated with paladin build
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  2. #2

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    An interesting read. I have one thing to note:

    WITHOUT SLAVELORDS SET OR CRAFTING
    Belt: Cannith Crafted Belt - Con 15, False life 57, Insightful Strength 7
    This is Chewbacca living on Endor.

    Edit: Ok, two things:

    How about Van Richten's Cane over a tower shield?
    Last edited by Matuse; 03-03-2018 at 10:19 AM.
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  3. #3
    2016 DDO Council Member Strimtom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matuse View Post
    How about Van Richten's Cane over a tower shield?
    Because Van Richten's Cane does less damage than The best defense or Mirrorplate Tower.

    About the cannith crafting item.... hmmm.... missed that one
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    IIRC, Shield Bash has a one second cooldown. So even with an exceptional chance to proc an attack, you're still only getting one per second (much slower than your main hand weapon). As a result, your shield bashes are almost certainly a very small portion of your damage (much less than an off-hand weapon would bring).

    I'm also skeptical about Khopesh. With Dwarven Waraxe, you can take the entire THF feat line to get glancing blows. You also gain access to Headman's Chop to add +1 critical multiplier on 19-20 to both weapon and shield.

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    This is an interesting build to be sure, but I have two questions:

    Ring 2: Ring of Nightfall - Slotted with Topaz of Power +250
    Armor: Executioners Platemail (Slavelords Might Set) - Slotted with -15% ASF Sapphire


    If you're a non-caster why the Topaz of Power?
    And why slot ASF?
    V

  6. #6
    2016 DDO Council Member Strimtom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    IIRC, Shield Bash has a one second cooldown. So even with an exceptional chance to proc an attack, you're still only getting one per second (much slower than your main hand weapon). As a result, your shield bashes are almost certainly a very small portion of your damage (much less than an off-hand weapon would bring).

    I'm also skeptical about Khopesh. With Dwarven Waraxe, you can take the entire THF feat line to get glancing blows. You also gain access to Headman's Chop to add +1 critical multiplier on 19-20 to both weapon and shield.
    You shield bash happens pretty much every single second thanks to the attack speed of the build. It might not sound like much, but the Mirrorplate shield has 3d10 + 10 as it's base damage. With the vanguard enhancements, that's 12d10 + 55 as your base damage, or 121 average. Thanks to the x4 multiplier, this often crits for over 10k, with crits being over 20k against helpless targets. Don't forget that using Shield Smash, Stunning Shield, and Shield Charge all use your shields damage.

    I chose kopesh because I wanted the greater critical threat ranger over all and because with the raid kopesh you can reliably stack vulnerability on targets, which will be a greater influence on your damage as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by JP457 View Post
    If you're a non-caster why the Topaz of Power?
    And why slot ASF?
    The topaz of Power is great if you ever need to twist something that uses mana, like rejuvenation cocoon for soloing epic elite quests. The ASF is because greater heroism scrolls have ASF, and without it you have -35% ASF, which is irritating to cast scrolls like 4 times.
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  7. #7
    Hatchery Founder Ganak's Avatar
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    Thanks Strimtom, most awesome post.

    This post really has shown me the light to convert my SD/Van to a Ken/Van, and has me kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

    However, I'm hung up on losing T5 Vanguard Shield Rush (especially since they fixed it).

    I love Shield Rush because:
    1. Like FvS Leap of faith, I use it frequently to move fast (keep up with the party) and make long jumps.
    2. Awesome CC.
    3. Quick to execute when mobs are lined up/grouped up. Don't have to target anything.

    I have not been a fan of Shield Charge because you need to have a mob targeted for it to work.


    I've never used Dire Charge. What is the difference between Dire Charge and Shield Charge? I'm seeing Shield Charge does 3W shield damage vs 2W weapon damage for Dire Charge.

    Do you need both? If you can use only one, which one would you choose?
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    I'm pretty sure your 32 no tomes column is actually a 28 no tomes column.

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    This looks like an awesome build.

    However, I'm not sure about some of the feat choices (esp. Great Strength x2 and Power Critical).

    Here are two possible tweaks:


    Vanguard Build - Dwarven Axe
    Fighter 20
    Neutral Good Purple Dragon Knight w/ (Tower) Shield & Dwarven Axe
    (h/t Hjarki)

    Stats
    . . . . . . . .36pt . . Tome . . Level Up
    . . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .--------
    Strength. . . . 18. . . .+6. . . .4: STR
    Dexterity . . . 12. . . .+6. . . .8: STR
    Constitution. . 16. . . .+6. . . 12: STR
    Intelligence. . 10. . . .+6. . . 16: STR
    Wisdom. . . . . 12. . . .+6. . . 20: STR
    Charisma. . . . .8. . . .+6. . . 24: STR
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28: STR


    Skills
    . . . . . 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    Intim . . 4. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Jump. . . 4. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Balance . 2. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. . .11
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . . .12. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 2
    . . . . .12. 4. 4. 4. 4. 4. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 6. 6. 6. 6. 6. 6



    Feats

    .1. . . . : Shield Mastery
    .1 PDK. . : Exotic Weapon: Dwarven Axe
    .1 Fighter: Weapon Focus: Slashing
    .2 Fighter: Stunning Blow
    .3. . . . : Improved Shield Bash
    .4 Fighter: Power Attack
    .6. . . . : Weapon Specialization: Slashing
    .6 Fighter: Cleave
    .8 Fighter: Great Cleave
    .9. . . . : Precision
    10 Fighter: Two Handed Fighting
    12. . . . : Improved Two Handed Fighting
    12 Fighter: Tactical Mastery
    14 Fighter: Greater Two Handed Fighting
    15. . . . : Improved Critical: Slashing
    16 Fighter: Improved Shield Mastery
    18. . . . : Tactical Supremacy
    18 Fighter: Greater Weapon Focus: Slashing
    20 Fighter: Greater Weapon Specialization: Slashing
    21 Epic . : Overwhelming Critical
    24 Epic . : Heavy Armor Champion
    26 Destiny: Pierce Damage Reduction: Adamantine/Perfect Two Handed Fighting
    27 Epic . : Epic Damage Reduction
    28 Destiny: Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    29 Destiny: Dire Charge
    30 Epic . : Heavy Armor Master
    30 Legend : Scion of: Arborea

    Enhancements (80 AP)

    Vanguard (41 AP)
    • To the Fore!, Shield Combat I, Vicious Shield I, Shield Combat II, Vicious Shield II, Shield Champion
      1. Shield Specialization, Shield Smash III, Armor Training III
      2. Shield Specialization, Brutality III, Stunning Shield III
      3. Shield Specialization, Follow Up III, Fatal Bulwark, Strength
      4. Shield Specialization, Shield Charge III, Myrmidon's Edge III, Strength

    Kensei (36 AP)
    • Kensei Focus: Axes, Spiritual Bond, Strike with No Thought, Power Surge, One Cut
      1. Weapon Group Specialization, Exotic Weapon Mastery, Haste Boost III
      2. Tactics III, Weapon Group Specialization
      3. Critical Mastery III, Weapon Group Specialization
      4. Opportunity Attack, Weapon Group Specialization, Strike at the Heart
      5. A Good Death: Melee, Weapon Master, One with the Blade, Deadly Strike, Keen Edge

    Purple Dragon Knight (3 AP)
    • Damage Boost
      1. Improved Recovery


    Destiny (24 AP)

    Legendary Dreadnought
    1. Legendary Tactics III, Extra Action Boost III
    2. Momentum Swing III, Imp. Power Attack
    3. Lay Waste, Critical Damage III
    4. (none)
    5. Advancing Blows, Devastating Critical
    6. Master's Blitz, Headman's Chop



    Vanguard Build - Bastard Sword
    Fighter 20
    Neutral Good Purple Dragon Knight


    Stats
    . . . . . . . .36pt . . Tome . . Level Up
    . . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .--------
    Strength. . . . 18. . . .+6. . . .4: STR
    Dexterity . . . 12. . . .+6. . . .8: STR
    Constitution. . 16. . . .+6. . . 12: STR
    Intelligence. . 10. . . .+6. . . 16: STR
    Wisdom. . . . . 12. . . .+6. . . 20: STR
    Charisma. . . . .8. . . .+6. . . 24: STR
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28: STR


    Skills
    . . . . . 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    Intim . . 4. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Jump. . . 4. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Balance . 2. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. ½. . .11
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . . .12. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 3. 2
    . . . . .12. 4. 4. 4. 4. 4. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 5. 6. 6. 6. 6. 6. 6



    Feats

    .1. . . . : Shield Mastery
    .1 PDK. . : Exotic Weapon: Bastard Sword
    .1 Fighter: Weapon Focus: Slashing
    .2 Fighter: Stunning Blow
    .3. . . . : Improved Shield Bash
    .4 Fighter: Power Attack
    .6. . . . : Weapon Specialization: Slashing
    .6 Fighter: Cleave
    .8 Fighter: Great Cleave
    .9. . . . : Precision
    10 Fighter: Heavy Armor Master
    12. . . . : Tactical Mastery
    12 Fighter: Improved Critical: Slashing
    14 Fighter: Improved Shield Mastery
    15. . . . : Greater Weapon Focus: Slashing
    16 Fighter: Tactical Supremacy
    18. . . . : Heavy Armor Champion
    18 Fighter: Greater Weapon Specialization: Slashing
    20 Fighter: Two Handed Fighting
    21 Epic . : Overwhelming Critical
    24 Epic . : Improved Two Handed Fighting
    26 Destiny: Pierce Damage Reduction: Adamantine
    27 Epic . : Epic Damage Reduction
    28 Destiny: Pierce Damage Reduction: Silver/Byeshk
    29 Destiny: Dire Charge
    30 Epic . : Greater Two Handed Fighting
    30 Legend : Scion of: Arborea


    Enhancements (80 AP)

    Vanguard (41 AP)
    • To the Fore!, Shield Combat I, Vicious Shield I, Shield Combat II, Vicious Shield II, Shield Champion
      1. Shield Specialization, Shield Smash III, Armor Training III
      2. Shield Specialization, Brutality III, Stunning Shield III
      3. Shield Specialization, Follow Up III, Fatal Bulwark, Strength
      4. Shield Specialization, Shield Charge III, Myrmidon's Edge III, Strength

    Kensei (36 AP)
    • Kensei Focus: Heavy Blades, Spiritual Bond, Strike with No Thought, Power Surge, One Cut
      1. Weapon Group Specialization, Exotic Weapon Mastery, Haste Boost III
      2. Tactics III, Weapon Group Specialization
      3. Critical Mastery III, Weapon Group Specialization
      4. Opportunity Attack, Weapon Group Specialization, Strike at the Heart
      5. A Good Death: Melee, Weapon Master, One with the Blade, Deadly Strike, Keen Edge

    Purple Dragon Knight (3 AP)
    • Damage Boost
      1. Improved Recovery


    Destiny (24 AP)

    Legendary Dreadnought
    1. Legendary Tactics III, Extra Action Boost III
    2. Momentum Swing III, Imp. Power Attack
    3. Lay Waste, Critical Damage III
    4. Volcano's Edge
    5. Advancing Blows, Devastating Critical
    6. Master's Blitz


    EDIT: Tactical Combatant changed to Precision on both builds + changed/added Pierce Damage Reduction Feats.


    Also, here's another build for comparison. It shows the advantages/limits of the Tank approach to Vanguard:
    https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...-Vanguard-Tank

  10. #10
    2016 DDO Council Member Strimtom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganak View Post
    I've never used Dire Charge. What is the difference between Dire Charge and Shield Charge? I'm seeing Shield Charge does 3W shield damage vs 2W weapon damage for Dire Charge.

    Do you need both? If you can use only one, which one would you choose?
    Direcharge is the most powerful melee ability in the entire game. It's an AOE stun with a gigantic DC on a short cool down. 6 second stun, 12 second cool down. The reason why you want both dire charge and shield charge is because shield charge only has a 50% chance to AOE stun, but that stun works on all monsters including classically stun immune types like constructs and undead. Shield charge is an ace attack that uses the shield, which is your highest damage weapon.

    I like shield rush, but the insane single target damage from T5 kensai is too much to give up. You need that damage for pushing R3+ shroud portals.

    Quote Originally Posted by savingsoul View Post
    Vanguard Build - Dwarven Axe
    This build looks good but you don't take precision. Monsters have about 167 armorclass in Legendary elite, so if you aren't able to get that high of a hit chance you will be running into major issues only getting grazing hits as well as not being able to confirm critical hits. I took great strength because I didn't take dwarves axe. If I had dwarf axe, I would have gotten all the two handed fighting feats, but since there isn't a raid dwarf axe I went with kopesh instead. Dwarf axe might still be better though.

    Quote Originally Posted by savingsoul View Post
    Also, here's another build for comparison. It shows the advantages/limits of the Tank approach to Vanguard:
    https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...-Vanguard-Tank
    This build has a completely different goal than my build. This build is unable to stun targets that cannot normally be stunned like flame skulls or animated armor as reliably as my build and it also does less than 1/4th of the damage. I think that there is some merit to taking stunning shield from the vanguard tree on a tank build to be able to CC as a tank, but other than that the vanguard tree really is only great if you have the capstone. Without the capstone you can't stun lock targets as effectively and you lose out on a lot of base damage and critical multi.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strimtom View Post
    [RE: El Toro] This build has a completely different goal than my build. This build is unable to stun targets that cannot normally be stunned like flame skulls or animated armor as reliably as my build and it also does less than 1/4th of the damage. I think that there is some merit to taking stunning shield from the vanguard tree on a tank build to be able to CC as a tank, but other than that the vanguard tree really is only great if you have the capstone. Without the capstone you can't stun lock targets as effectively and you lose out on a lot of base damage and critical multi.
    Yes, the build does have a very different goal (esp. Tanking), but it is sub-optimal at end-game on the tanking front, and maybe--per your feedback--on the tactical front as well. It is okay as a compromise between the two as "Tactical Tank" though. What is nice about your build is that it excels at tactics and dps, and seems to compromise little if any on both fronts--with the major exception on the tactical front of Shield Rush--but that is made up for by the Vanguard Capstone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strimtom View Post
    [RE: Vanguard - Dwarven Axe] This build looks good but you don't take precision. Monsters have about 167 armorclass in Legendary elite, so if you aren't able to get that high of a hit chance you will be running into major issues only getting grazing hits as well as not being able to confirm critical hits. I took great strength because I didn't take dwarves axe. If I had dwarf axe, I would have gotten all the two handed fighting feats, but since there isn't a raid dwarf axe I went with kopesh instead. Dwarf axe might still be better though.
    I noticed the build in the OP did not take Tactical Combatant, so if living w/o that feat is still working for the build, then Tactical Combatant could be swapped out for Precision on the Dwarven Axe and Bastard Sword (Divinity) builds. (Build post updated per this comment.)

  12. #12
    Hatchery Founder Ganak's Avatar
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    How functionally high can you get on UMD?

    What's an achievable benchmark and how do you get there?



    Also, why Quick Draw?
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  13. #13
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strimtom View Post
    While shield is equipped: +2 attack, +2 damage, +5% doublestrike, +1(W) to your shield, an additional +5% (total 20%) Combat Style bonus to Melee Attack Speed, and shield bash stuns 5% of the time DC (10 + 1/2 Character lvl + strength modifier + stun bonus)

    The highlighted section is important. It isn't 5% to stun, it's like 50% chance to stun. As a result, you constantly stun enemies with your shield bashes, and shield charge becomes a secret direcharge.
    This is what makes me think the Vanguard capstone is overperforming and will be nerfed someday. But enjoy until it is, because it's not like there's too many other perks as a VG.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganak View Post
    Also, why Quick Draw?
    Historically, because it reduces the delay on weapon swaps and action boosts.
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  14. #14
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    Great work per usual, Strimtom.
    Have fun, and don't forget to gather for buffs!
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  15. #15
    Community Member Qhualor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    This is what makes me think the Vanguard capstone is overperforming and will be nerfed someday. But enjoy until it is, because it's not like there's too many other perks as a VG.
    I hope not. Although, my Vanguard does stun a lot and just thought my DCs were that good. Its been quite awhile now since I played him, but hopefully the DCs for Shield Rush has been fixed and the high miss chance for shield bashing has been addressed. I remember there was some talk for awhile as far back as Lynabell before going back to school and haven't been keeping tabs on it. At least wait for those fixes. I do agree too with Vanguard having very few clickies to choose from, it is a big deal for Vanguards.
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  16. #16
    Hatchery Founder Ganak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Historically, because it reduces the delay on weapon swaps and action boosts.


    Broken now from what I'm hearing: https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...3-So-Quickdraw


    Does it reduce the delay of action boosts?
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  17. #17
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qhualor View Post
    Although, my Vanguard does stun a lot and just thought my DCs were that good.
    To be clear: it's not that I think that the DCs are too high, it's that (as Strimtom said) it seems like the shield stun from the capstone procs about half the time on shield bashes rather than 5%. Which on a build like this (which basically gets a free shield bash every second) means you're getting free shield stuns every couple of seconds rather than once per 20 seconds (on average). That is literally 10 times the proc rate as described. So either it's proccing too often or the description needs fixing (or both).
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganak View Post
    Hence why I said "historically." I don't know if it still has any benefit for a melee build like this.
    Last edited by unbongwah; 04-11-2018 at 05:30 PM.
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  18. #18
    2015 DDO Players Council Seikojin's Avatar
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    Awesome guide and pretty much the de-facto build my main uses. As much as I like TWF, I know survivability trumps all and this build stays alive a lot longer than the others I have tried.

  19. #19
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    Do any of the improved critical, focus, specialization feats affect shields? At some points it sounds like you are describing more damage from the shield than your primary weapon, that's why I'm confused why I didn't see anything that increases Bludgeoning damage.

  20. #20
    2016 DDO Council Member Strimtom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganak View Post
    How functionally high can you get on UMD?

    Also, why Quick Draw?
    UMD gets to about 48 depending on gear/past lives. I had no past lives and was hitting 48 UMD.

    Quick draw is included because before it was patched it used to decrease the delay between action boost uses which helps with this build a lot. It's still good for fast swapping to raise scrolls.

    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    This is what makes me think the Vanguard capstone is overperforming and will be nerfed someday. But enjoy until it is, because it's not like there's too many other perks as a VG.
    AFAIK there are no plans to nerf or change the funtioning of vanguard stuns, since it's kind of their *thing*.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qhualor View Post
    I hope not. Although, my Vanguard does stun a lot and just thought my DCs were that good. Its been quite awhile now since I played him, but hopefully the DCs for Shield Rush has been fixed and the high miss chance for shield bashing has been addressed. I remember there was some talk for awhile as far back as Lynabell before going back to school and haven't been keeping tabs on it. At least wait for those fixes. I do agree too with Vanguard having very few clickies to choose from, it is a big deal for Vanguards.
    I am not sure I understand this comment. Vanguard shield bashes don't miss often since this build puts you at +160 to hit, which is a whole lot. Shield rush has been fixed, it was fixed last patch although I don't use it since it's a huge dps loss to not take T5 of Kensai. I don't know what clickies are, but from vanguard you get an action boost, a stun, a shield smash, and an AOE shield cleave. Not sure how many keys you want on your keyboard but this character runs with 9 attacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpatzAI2 View Post
    Do any of the improved critical, focus, specialization feats affect shields? At some points it sounds like you are describing more damage from the shield than your primary weapon, that's why I'm confused why I didn't see anything that increases Bludgeoning damage.
    The shield does way more damage than the mainhand weapon, but sadly no feats affect shields. Believe me, if they did, this would be a warhammer build. Shields are only affected by Strength/Deadly/Accuracy/Shield specialization from vanguard. Feats don't affect shield damage
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