Building a 'tank' magus


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Jesper Roland Sørensen wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:


(*)If you actually go to the trouble to invest in the Power Attack + Improved/Greater Bull Rush Feat Chain, when you push them into the midst of your allies, they get sliced and diced by Attacks of Opportunity. Hard to fit all those feats in, though.

The greater bull rush chain is, well, great. I just don't see what Shield Slam adds to it, though.

I'll have to look into that shielded mage feat, it sounds promising.

I think the only thing shield slam does is give a free bull rush , when you shield bash and if the oppornent can't move back due to wall or other hard surface they are knocked prone instead.

Normally bull rush is a standard action so with this he can full attack and bull rush if he wants to.

Yes -- getting a Bull Rush as part of a Shield Bash attack (that uses no more and no less than one of your normal attacks) instead of a Standard Action is a pretty big deal, as is not provoking an Attack of Opportunity. This makes Improved Bull Rush partly redundant (you still get the +2 bonus on your Bull Rush), but you have to have Power attack and Improved Bull Rush if you want Greater Bull Rush, and you have to have Power Attack if you want Improved Bull Rush(*), while Shield Slam requires Improved Shield Bash and Two-Weapon Fighting, thus making this highly feat-intensive, so make sure your party can take advantage of your Greater Bull Rushes before you invest in all this.

(*)Thereby making Power Attack a prerequisite twice, which means that if you dip in anything that gets you off the hook for one of them, you are still on the hook.

The pulling equivalent of this(*) is Greater Reposition, which requires Combat Expertise and Improved Reposition, which requires Combat Expertise -- and then to make this good you either need to sink a whole bunch of feats into Whip use(**), or you need to get a Tentacle (Alchemist 2 dip?), or you need to get some other weird weapon or Improved Unarmed Strike that you can use to grab opponents, or you need to wait until you can use some kind of Polymorphing spell to turn yourself into something that has Grab and Reach, although the Magus spell list and 6/9 spellcasting more generally isn't friendly towards this.

(*)As far as I know, no action economy booster equivalent to Shield Slam is available for Reposition, unless you are a Maneuver Mastery Monk (which can boost all Combat Maneuvers this way, and incidentally can also get True Strike as a 4th level Qinggong Power; unfortunately not compatible with Unchained Monk, but gets to use Monk level instead of BAB).

(**)Get Whip proficiency somehow; Weapon Focus (Whip), Whip Mastery, Improved Whip Mastery, and Greater Whip Mastery; this doesn't even include Improved Grapple (which requires Improved Unarmed Strike) and Greater Grapple.

Liberty's Edge

IF you are looking to do alot of maneuvers, I would maybe multiclass a little or take archetypes that help improve this.

If you don't mind playing an elf (half elf) the Spire defender is a good start for any maneuver magus, you loose armor profeciency as a base featuer but still learn to ignore ASF at the normal levels if you have gotten profecieny in armor, so a dip in fighter will give you all the armor you need.
The trade of is you can pick an exotic weapon with trip or disarm = Whip
You get combat expertise and dodge as bonus feats in level 1
1 dip in fighter = bonus feat and all 3 armor, saving you to pick feats for those.

If you plan to go the dex route A dip in Daring chamapion cavalier gives you a few extra skills points, light and medium armor aswell as weapon finesse.


I don't have a philosophical objection to playing an Elf Magus -- the class seems almost made for them in some ways (even if the regular Elf archetype of Magus = Spelldancer isn't all that great, and the Spire Defender archetype is very regionally restricted). On the other hand, playing an Elf does have a practical downside if you are going to be the prime frontliner as opposed to a glass cannon striker or second-line controller: -2 penalty to Constitution really hurts. Nothing wrong with being a second-line controller or striker, but what the thread was originally about was being a Tank Magus, which implies frontliner.

Now, this is assuming point buy (PFS = 20 points; standard AP build = 15 points). If you roll for ability scores and get really good rolls, go right ahead and play an Elf on the front line. (Knowing my luck, though, 4d6 Drop Lowest would probably get me something similar to my own real life ability scores, which come out to the equivalent of a point buy somewhere in the range -3 to +6.)

With respect to archetypes: Another possibility is Mindblade Magus -- although you don't get armor proficiency beyond Light Armor and no shield proficiency, you are an Occult/Psychic spellcaster, so you never have to worry about Arcane Spell Failure, and you just need to get proficiency so that you aren't taking Armor Check Penalty on your attack rolls, and with that taken care of you're good to go from level 1 for using Heavy Armor and a Buckler. At 7th level, you can use Spell Combat even when wielding a weapon in each hand (and both Light and Heavy Shields count as weapons) or using a double weapon using Two-Weapon Fighting, and at 13th level you can use Spell Combat even wielding a two-handed weapon. Also, you can manifest your own weapons from your Psychic Pool, but nothing in the archetype says that you have to use manifested weapons if you aren't putting enchantments on them with your Psychic Pool, so you could (for instance) use a manifested main hand weapon and a mundane shield, and later get normal enchantments on the shield (which will save you some actions since you can't manifest 2 weapons with 1 action until you get to level 13, and even if you did manifest a shield it doesn't seem like the manifestation ability would actually make it work to give you a Shield Bonus). The rules on manifesting a weapon don't get more specific than the general categories of Light, One-Handed, and Two-Handed, so presumably you can manifest anything in these categories that you are proficient with.

With respect to feats: I keep forgetting that the Improved/Greater Combat Maneuver feats that require Combat Expertise or Improved Unarmed Strike can be satisfied by Dirty Fighting instead (which is both useful in its own right and even comes with text that makes the Improved Combat Maneuver feats non-redundant with it by increasing the bonus that they provide).


Finally got a chance to read up on Phantom Blade Spiritualist. Will have to think about it more, but:

  • Starts with Medium Armor and Martial Weapon proficiency but no shield proficiency, but no penalty for using Heavy Armor or a shield as long as you can get proficiency elsewhere (Occult spellcasting).
  • Manifest your weapon from your mind. Re-manifest it a day later if it gets destroyed, but watch out in case instead of being destroyed it gets taken away (eventually has to be taken more than 1 mile away to keep you from recalling it to you; it's not clear from the text whether you can harbor it if it is not in your possession, and Etheric Tether is replaced, so it isn't automatically destroyed/banished if it is taken away).
  • Abilities very similar to Magus, with the notable exception of being a Wisdom-bsaed (great for a Dwarf) spontaneous spellcaster with the Spiritualist spell list and not getting any Magus Arcana unless you go VMC Magus (for which the Spellstrike that you get at 11th level is semi-redundant, being useful only if you get deprived of your Phantom Weapon).
  • Spiritualist spell list also means no True Strike, although it does have some other nice spells (including both some nasty debuffs and pretty decent bad status removal) that a Magus would never be able to get.
  • VMC Magus without actual Magus levels means that Magus Arcana that depend upon Magus levels for effect do not work, so this means no Maneuver Mastery even if you shelled out for VMC Magus.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Finally got a chance to read up on Phantom Blade Spiritualist. Will have to think about it more, but:

  • Starts with Medium Armor and Martial Weapon proficiency but no shield proficiency, but no penalty for using Heavy Armor or a shield as long as you can get proficiency elsewhere (Occult spellcasting).
  • Manifest your weapon from your mind. Re-manifest it a day later if it gets destroyed, but watch out in case instead of being destroyed it gets taken away (eventually has to be taken more than 1 mile away to keep you from recalling it to you; it's not clear from the text whether you can harbor it if it is not in your possession, and Etheric Tether is replaced, so it isn't automatically destroyed/banished if it is taken away).
  • Abilities very similar to Magus, with the notable exception of being a Wisdom-bsaed (great for a Dwarf) spontaneous spellcaster with the Spiritualist spell list and not getting any Magus Arcana unless you go VMC Magus (for which the Spellstrike that you get at 11th level is semi-redundant, being useful only if you get deprived of your Phantom Weapon).
  • Spiritualist spell list also means no True Strike, although it does have some other nice spells (including both some nasty debuffs and pretty decent bad status removal) that a Magus would never be able to get.
  • VMC Magus without actual Magus levels means that Magus Arcana that depend upon Magus levels for effect do not work, so this means no Maneuver Mastery even if you shelled out for VMC Magus.

Judging by the description, he does not really need VMC Magus. He even has a small Magus arcana with a Ectoplasmic Pool.


^You would need VMC Magus (or a 3 level dip) to get Magus Arcana. Ectoplasmic Pool is the equivalent of Arcane Pool, not Magus Arcana.


Spell combat as a magus which means you keep your off-hand free; no shields despite being psychic.

The magus spell list is much better as a high damage striker. The spiritualist list is all over the place. You can certainly do interesting things with it

No equivalent to spell recall so be careful how you use your spells. Also you could easily burn thru your ectoplasmic pool really fast, so be careful there too.


Swordplay style?
Upsetting shield style?
Shielded gauntlet style?
Panther style?
Archon style?

If the enemy has a hard time hitting you they're going to run for your allies... best support them to...


The worst thing about the Phantom Blade is the thought component of psychic magic. If you want to cast one of those spells while in melee, you'll need to add 10 to the concentration check or risk taking a AoO.


Melkiador wrote:
The worst thing about the Phantom Blade is the thought component of psychic magic. If you want to cast one of those spells while in melee, you'll need to add 10 to the concentration check or risk taking a AoO.

From 4th level they can center themselves as a swift action. The writer already thought of your objection.


avr wrote:
Spell combat as a magus which means you keep your off-hand free; no shields despite being psychic.

I keep forgetting that Spell Combat specifically says that you have to have a hand free even when casting spells with no Somatic Components (gets translated to Emotion Components for occult casters). This also means no two-handed weapon.

The exception to both is if you manage to get more than 2 arms. Unfortunately, the Spiritualist spell list has neither Alter Self (turn into a Kasatha) nor Monstrous Physique (several multi-armed forms available), so the only ways to do this would be to be a Kasatha (probably won't be allowed in most campaigns), dip 2 levels into Alchemist (Vestigial Arm Discovery, but delaying Spiritualist for 2 levels really hurts), or find some way to get the above spells onto your spell list (but without Magus Arcana, you can't use Spell Blending), or find some way of getting these spells onto your spell list (not aware of any other than 2 levels of Pathfinder Savant, which starts you off with 1 level not progressing spellcasting and hurts your BAB and Spiritualist class features). You do get Undead Anatomy up to III, so if some Undead form that I missed (and that legal for Undead Anatomy no more than III) has more than 2 arms, this could work.

avr wrote:
The magus spell list is much better as a high damage striker. The spiritualist list is all over the place. You can certainly do interesting things with it

It certainly has some interesting debuffs in it. Being able to do Spell Combat with things like Dismissal (Magus doesn't get this without Spell Blending or Greater Spell Access) could also be a life saver.

avr wrote:
No equivalent to spell recall so be careful how you use your spells. Also you could easily burn thru your ectoplasmic pool really fast, so be careful there too.

You don't really need Spell Recall as a spontaneous caster -- just try to avoid casting all the same level of spells, but if you do run out of a particular level and it isn't your highest one, you can use higher level spell slots.


Courtesy of another thread, just stumbled upon a feat that may be useful for a Skirnir Tank Magus: Upsetting Shield Style/Upsetting Shield Style. This helps you debuff your opponents you Shield Slam even more, and lets you keep your Shield Bonus when using Shielded Spell Combat. The later feats in the chain are helpful, but not necessary, although the build I posted above has high enough Dexterity (15) to qualify for the second feat in the chain (Upsetting Strike/Upsetting Strike). Apparently in Rules As Written, it even has enough (13) to qualify for the third feat in the chain (Upsetting Vengeance/Upsetting Vengeance), but that's probably a typo in the Armor Master's Handbook (probably should be 17 -- at first I thought it was an error on www.d20pfsrd.com, but Archives of Nethys says the same thing, so I linked the Style chain on both sites above).

I would almost be tempted to pump Dexterity a little bit more and dip 1 level in Falcata Swashbuckler/Rondolero Swashbuckler and also get free proficiency with a Falcata for awesome Criticals (note: still need to keep decent Strength because Dexterity-to-Damage via Slashing Grace will be inhibited when using Spell Combat/Shielded Spell Combat). But delaying spellcasting progression is especially brutal in combination with Diminished Spellcasting.


FWIW, the Armor Master's Handbook also has 13 Dex as a prerequisite for Upsetting Vengeance. So if it's a typo, it's a typo in the book itself, so it's not getting fixed.

Maybe there's a narrow case where reincarnation would let you keep upsetting vengeance but not strike.


^The Armor Master's Handbook doesn't seem to have a possible errors thread the way some of the other rulebooks do.


Generally only hardcover RPG books get those because they're the only ones that get errata and reprints.


Okay, since Pathfinder 2nd Edition has quite a while to come out, might as well cast Animate Thread and take some time to debug the Tank Magus build I posted earlier. See that post for where I give the pros and cons of being a Dwarf, although I'm going to change my weighting of a few things a bit, with the big thing being that even though you get the Dorn Dergar as a Martial Weapon, it just costs too many feats to make good. Also rearranged some other things to get better use of them, and used the saved feats to add the * Bull Rush feat chain. Also fixed dumb error where I left out the Level 11 Magus Bonus Combat Feat (surprised nobody mentioned this). Note that since at levels before 5th you are going to take some hits while Bull Rushing, this tilts the balance between Hardy/Steel Soul and Unstoppable/Bonus Toughness somewhat in favor of the latter, although I am still inclined towards the former if I can get 20 point buy.

Dwarf (with alternate racial trait substitutions dependent upon campaign, as noted in the post linked above), Skirnir Magus (without VMC, and no dipping)

Str: 15
Dex: 14
Con: 14 + 2 = 16 (if you are stuck with 15 point buy, get 3 points back by reducing this to 12 + 2 = 14, and trace out Hardy for Unstoppable -- see the post linked above)
Int: 15
Wis: 10 + 2 = 12 (if you are stuck with 15 point buy, get 2 points back by reducing this to 8 + 2 = 10)
Chr: 7 - 2 = 5 (I hate dumping, but it's unavoidable here without higher point buy; if hard-dumping is not allowed but soft-dumping is, or if you want another point of Charisma because you are up against a lot of Mummies, you could afford to change Wisdom and Charisma to soft-dumps, for final numbers 10 and 6, respectively, although not if you are stuck with 15 point buy and have to shave some off Wisdom already)

Traits: Insert your traits here -- thematically and mechanically, Defensive Strategist is likely to be one of the ones you want, and the other one will probably be either a campaign trait or a PFS-specific trait.

All Favored Class Bonus goes to hit points (important for being tanky), unless you are really hard up for skill points (the previous incarnation of this had the Human FCB by mistake)

1: Level 1 character feat = Steel Soul -- makes your awesome Dwarven Hardiness even more awesome (if you traded out Hardy for Unstoppable, get Lightning Reflexes instead, to shore up your one bad Save); start with weapon (see above) and Light Armor of choice and Light Shield (no Spell Combat yet for the Skirnir archetype, so use your shield hand to hold your weapon when casting a spell, and keep in mind that your shield is an Arcane Bond item, so you can enchant it without needing Craft Magic Arms and Armor); use the 1st level Magus spell Lock Gaze to punish enemies who refuse to pay attention to you, and use offensive spells that have multiple charges (such as Chill Touch) to amortize the penalty of not having Spell Combat and make your Attacks of Opportunity more punishing -- at this point, although you are merely a tanky melee combatant, you will be quite tough for your level
2: - (note that Skirnir actually gets Spellstrike at the previous level, and can use it with a Shield Bash as well as a weapon strike)
3: Level 3 character feat = Improved Shield Bash (keep your Shield Bonus when Shield Bashing); Level 3 Magus Arcana = Maneuver Mastery (Bull Rush) (to use your level instead of your BAB; later on, Shield Slam is a Bull Rush, somewhat nerfed in effectiveness but improved in action economy, so this should work with it, but you don't have Shield Slam yet, so use this on regular Bull Rushes, but beware that you incur Attacks of Opportunity until you get Improved Bull Rush at 5th level; as a considerable bonus, it doesn't consume Arcane Pool points) -- at this point, you can start pushing enemies around the battlefield (use True Strike to help with this if you need), although since you will take some hits in so doing, don't overdo it
4: Level 4 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (required for Two-Weapon Fighting)
5: Level 5 character feat = Power Attack (required for Improved/Greater Bull Rush; use Blade Tutor's Spirit to mitigate the penalty); Level 5 Magus Bonus Combat Feat = Improved Bull Rush (no more Attacks of Opportunity against you when you do a regular Bull Rush, and even when you get Shield Slam later, the +2 bonus is still important) -- at this point, you can do what you were doing at level 3, but do it several more times, due to Improved Bull Rush making you take fewer hits
6: Level 6 Magus Arcana = Prescient Attack -- if you are going to do a weapon attack and then a Shield Bash (or later a Shield Slam), this helps, since denying an opponent their Dexterity Donus nerfs their Armor Class and their CMD, assuming that they have a Dexterity Bonus
7: Level 7 character feat = Two-Weapon Fighting (required for Shield Slam; use to get Shield Bashes in, and use Blade Tutor's Spirit to mitigate the penalty, and avoid using Power Attack at the same time); Medium Armor also comes online, and unlike the Human version of this build, it doesn't slow you down, so suit up!
8: Level 8 Ability Score Increase goes to Str; Shielded Spell Combat comes online, and since this lets you use your shield hand to perform Somatic components of your spells, you could upgrade to a Heavy Shield, but beware that this worsens Two-Weapon Fighting penalties); BAB is now +6 as needed for Shield Slam, but you don't have a feat available until next level
9: Level 9 character feat = Shield Slam (a MAJOR action economy boost for your Bull Rushing); Level 9 Magus Arcana = Accurate Strike (use this in conjunction with Shield Slam when you get it at level 11 -- Shield Slam as a Touch Attack? -- sign me up!; also use Power Attack and Two-Weapon Fighting at the same time for the rest of your turn, as long as you aren't fighting something like a Monk or a Pixie) -- you are now mostly online, although you still have 2 more bits of awesomeness coming at level 11
10: -
11: Level 11 character feat = Greater Bull Rush (whether doing a regular Bull Rush or a Shield Slam, whoever you Bull Rushed takes Attacks of Opportunity from all of your allies that they go by, and you get another +2 bonus); Level 11 Magus Bonus Combat Feat = Combat Reflexes (especially juicy to use with Shield Slam, and Greater Bull Rush makes this even more dangerous for your opponents) -- you are now fully online, and everything after this is just icing on the cake
12: Level 12 Ability Score Increase goes to Dex (no sense keeping an odd number on Dex; after this, if applicable, all go to Int); Level 12 Magus Arcana = Enduring Blade (for long fights) or Ghost Blade (if you are up against a lot of Undead/Incorporeal -- just make sure to turn on Ghost Touch and not Brilliant Energy by mistake, since the latter doesn't work on Undead, or on Constructs, for that matter; Brilliant Energy may also have undesirable effects on your shield)

Beyond level 12 (not in PFS unless you have some kind of boon that lets you past), get Shield Master when your BAB gets to the required +11 (which will be at level 15).


Greater bull rush only makes the opponent provoke AoOs from your allies, explicitly not from you. While combat reflexes is a perfectly decent feat you might prefer to finally get some metamagic on this magus considering that.


^While the lack of metamagic is somewhat irritating, the prospect of being your party's bulwark and being able to Shield Slam anyone that tries to get by into the Hungry Pits that your party's Wizard (or even Cleric with the Caves Domain) cast at either end of your front line, while the rest of your party slices and dices them along the way, is just too good to pass up. Note that since Long Arm, Enlarge Person, and the Monstrous Physique series of spells are on your spell list, you can get extra Reach, thus making Combat Reflexes even better (and keep in mind that Combat Reflexes is great if you are Spellstriking with something that works through multiple Spellstrikes per casting). Fortunately, since Shielded Spell Combat comes online at level 8, you can get off a True Strike in the same round that you need it, so this alleviates part of the need for Quicken Spell. Rime Spell would be nice to have if you end up using a lot of [cold] spells, and I would say squeeze it in at level 13; if not, squeeze in Quicken Spell at this point, which gives you the option to Quicken a True Strike and then use Shielded Spell Combat to cast something else and then attack.

When using Greater Bull Rush (or some other Greater Combat Maneuver), naturally you also want other members of your party to have Combat Reflexes as well, although even if they don't, if they haven't already used their Attacks of Opportunity, you are still handing them opportunities to slice and dice whenever you Greater Bull Rush an opponent past them.


I guess you could possibly use your shield only to attack with and hold a metamagic rod in the other hand from 8th level. You lose a little direct damage but get the opportunity to land an intensified shocking grasp or a rime frostbite. Not something you'd probably do every combat, but it's useful to have the option.


^Since you can hold something in your shield hand as long as you aren't wielding it, you could hold the Metamagic Rod in your shield hand. Have it tied onto a Weapon Cord if you run up against a ruling that holding the rod in your hand would interfere with Shielded Spell Combat.


The 'must have one hand free' under spell combat (which shielded spell combat refers to) seems to indicate that the ruling that 'holding the rod in your shield hand, with your main hand holding a weapon, is a problem' might already be there.

Weapon cords say 'you cannot switch to a different weapon without first untying the cord (a full-round action) or cutting it (a move action or an attack, hardness 0, 1 hit point)' which sounds like you might not be able to shield bash or even use spell combat with a dangling rod. And in any case you might well want to cast rime frostbite using spell combat.


If you get that ruling, it would be a pain, but I think that if you are up against opponents you can Bull Rush (which will eventually be a lot of them once you get access to the Monstrous Physique series of spells), being able to knock them around like bowling pins is worth it.

Also, I could have sworn to having once seen a feat somewhere that lets you count as 1 size larger than you are for Combat Maneuvers, but now I can't remember what it is.

Ironfang Invasion AP-specific note about Traits (since I've been thinking of this build for that AP): World-Weary sounds like a good Campaign Trait (or use the Militia Veteran Regional Trait if you want a different Campaign Trait); Highlander sounds like a good Regional Trait (which means it would be best to stick with the World-Weary Campaign Trait). Would need to take a Drawback to squeeze in Defensive Strategist on top of these. Having hard-dumped Charisma means that the Anxious, Scarred, or Stigmatized Drawbacks are probably the least bad Drawbacks -- they mainly hurt you in things that you are going to be absolutely terrible at anyway.


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Poised bearing is the as one size larger feat, imposing bearing is +2.

World-weary wants you to use aid another, and that's a last-ditch thing for a character who's competent at melee. Foxclaw scout looks more useful to a magus (crits!) but possibly not very appropriate, though the highlander trait could make it more so. Defensive strategist overlaps with combat reflexes, nice as it is. Maybe a different trait to make survival or something a class skill? I assume that's part of what attracted you to world-weary.

Edit: alter self into a kasatha would solve your free hand problems. Or monstrous physique into a witchwyrd. & of those drawbacks scarred is cliched IMO, anxious could be fun to roleplay. Your Mileage May Vary.


Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, Poised Bearing and Imposing Bearing(*) require Armor Training. I'll have to keep these in mind for a Myrmidarch Magus build . . . but Myrmidarch doesn't get Shielded Spell Combat. (Too bad Armored Battlemage is just a bad archetype -- actually wouldn't be so bad if it let you still use your Arcane Pool to enhance your weapon as well as your armor like Skirnir does with your weapon and shield, or eventually let you get Spell Combat like Skirnir does, but as it is, it just trades out too much for what you get.)

(*)Edit: And I could have sworn I even posted about these feats a long time ago, and now I can't even find that. Dain Bramage . . . .

And yes, I am fishing for getting in class the skills that the Ironfang Invasion Player's Guide says you should have (they make it sound like a Magus normally wouldn't be very good in that AP, so I'm trying to address that). Good point about World-Weary, though -- I'll have to think about it more. Problem with Campaign Traits is that they are kind of hit-or-miss on matching with the concepts that I come up with . . . .

For a less-cliched Drawback, I could alternatively go with Overprotective (actually, having the Drawback be Overprotective when you're around your friends and Anxious when you aren't would have good roleplaying potential). Another possibility would be to go with the Unstoppable alternate racial trait (gives you part of Steel Soul, but more broadly applicable), but instead of getting Lightning Reflexes at 1st level, go with Additional Traits to fish for even more of the skills that the Ironfang Invasion Player's Guide says I need.

And yes, once you get Alter Self and eventually the Monstrous Physique series, you can do a lot more with juggling magic items, although having dumped Charisma is bad for using anything that requires a UMD roll . . . unless you shell out for another trait, Pragmatic Activator . . . Hmmmm, Additional Traits instead of Lightning Reflexes is looking more appealing . . . .


You can take those feats with the Armor Focus feat as the prereq instead of the armor training class feature. Whether it's a good idea considering you're out of feats already is another matter.

I'm not sure that everyone in the party needs all those skills, more like the party needs them as a whole. And I've never seen a magus be a wasted party member, even the guy who's a level behind on updating his character and refuses to remember half his class abilities (albeit he's not in that AP).


VampByDay wrote:

So there is going to be a campaign starting up, and I wanted to try something a bit different. I'm thinking of building a 'tank' magus. I want to use spells like shield, mirror image, and false life while spell combating instead of going for the cookie cutter shocking grasp build. Probably going to end up in mithral breastplate for the mobility and because of the archetype I'm looking at.

Any ideas? Spells to keep an eye on? Arcana to look out for? As bad as it is for the concept, I really want to try the mindblade magus, so I will have some of the psychic's spells available to me, (like see invisibility).

May I suggest you to take a short look at the Phantom Blade, a Spiritualist archetype?

I know you said a Mindblade, but I do think a Phantom Blade actualy make a better tank than a Mindblade... it feature Spell Combat / Spellstrike like a magus but:

1- The Phantom Blade gains Etheric Focus at level 4, preventing him to suffer from the +10 DC on concentration checks when he tries to cast defensively at melee range
2- The Spiritualist spell list is actualy more suited to a defensive usage. If not for everything else, I'll just point out the fact it has Cure Wounds spells
3- It start with a medium armor proefficiency, instead of a light armor proefficiency
4- Being Wisdom based and having Burst of Insight actualy can save you to be affected by fear effects, one of the worst weakness of the psychic magic. You will gain wonderful spell to resove the matter in medium levels, too
5- Wisdom based and free Alterness helps with perception checks, which are good point when you try to always be the first one to step forward

Note that Mindblade is a great archetype. I'm not saying otherwise.
I just did play both the Mindblade and the Phantom Blade during campaign, and if the Mindblade has a way better DPS (because it has better offensive spells)... if I had to build a tank, I'll rather use the Phantom Blade for that.

There are a few great survival combos with that archetype, like using a Scimitar + Buckler, then using Spell Combat to cast Mindshock, when you have the Divine Fightning Technique (Way of the Merciful) feat.
That's 2d6 free healing every turn, while doing extra damage.


_Ozy_ wrote:
I assume you're snagging heroism from the mindblade archetype as well? Cause it's not on the magus list.

Or grabbing it with Spell Blending.


Dervish Dancing Kensai Magus. Focus heavily on DEX & INT. Both will be added to your AC. For extra benefit, equip a Haramaki (or Silken Ceremonial Armor) and enchant it. While you lose Armor proficiency, those armors have neither Armor Check Penalties nor Arcane Spell Failure chance, so they can be worn without penalty. They also don't have a Max Dex, so boost those scores up as high as you can.

You end up with a character that has high AC, high Touch AC, great initiative, decent-to-great saves (if you go Bladebound, you no longer need to spend money on a weapon, allowing you to boost your Cloak of Resistance as fast as possible) and great damage potential thanks to Dervish Dance (as well as all of the crit benefits that the Kensai gets), meaning that enemies can't just ignore you without serious repercussions.

You really don't need anything further than that, though theoretically, you could also add a Buckler to the mix, since you'll be relying on one-handed damage anyway. But that's only if you want to go crazy on AC.

For the Kensai, I'd highly suggest going for the Frostbite build over the Shocking Grasp build. This allows you to get Enforcer to make enemies Shaken, allowing you to eventually make use of Shatter Defenses to make shaken enemies flat-footed to your attacks. Not only does the Kensai deal extra damage to flat-footed enemies, but if you get Accurate Strike, you can attack flat-footed touch AC. Hard to ignore a guy who can do that with a potentially 15-20/x3 weapon.

Plus, Frostbite lasts longer, which is good since you lack Spell Recall. And debuffing enemies is an awesome way to tank not just for yourself, but for the rest of the team too. To say nothing of the benefits of lowering enemy saves for your wizard/witch/cleric/{insert full caster here} to take advantage of.


avr wrote:
You can take those feats with the Armor Focus feat as the prereq instead of the armor training class feature. Whether it's a good idea considering you're out of feats already is another matter.

I wouldn't want to take Armor Focus early, since I'd have to retrain it every time I upgraded armor (since most Magi get armor upgrades at levels 7 and 13), but on the other hand, getting it after I have the final armor I want (Stoneplate or whatever) might be the ticket, since this comes after all that other stuff I needed to get online.

avr wrote:
I'm not sure that everyone in the party needs all those skills, more like the party needs them as a whole. And I've never seen a magus be a wasted party member, even the guy who's a level behind on updating his character and refuses to remember half his class abilities (albeit he's not in that AP).

I'll have to avoid being that one . . . although a party's Stealth is only as good as its least stealthy member unless everyone gets Stealth Synergy. (Speaking of which, Armor Check Penalty is really going to hurt on Stealth, and being a Dwarf doesn't get you off the hook for that.)

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