Optimal magus Tactics


Round 3: Revised Magus Discussion


Hi,

just wondering how we're mainly gonna play this guy (vs others interpretation)

I've been trying to use him as a striker/controller.

Basically at each level we've tried, we worked out his to hit is ok

(thanks arcane pool- this ability does nothing for your to hit at high levels when you get a maxed encanted weapon, except for swapping enchantments)

but without spell combat/spellstrike his damage sucks. with it he is quite good.

So, Basically I use spell combat EVERY time I can full attack (spont casting if I run out of prepped)

I use spellstrike everytime I move (spont casting if I run out of prepped)

I also spamm Arcane Accuracy on all full attacks, will use Arcane Shield when the bad guy's first iterative of a full attack hits me (if he misses with the first I don't use it as the likely hood of the others hitting is much lower)

In straight NOVA arena battles I'm lasting 3 ish.

In a proper adventuring day (which adds out of combat castings, I've been playing as a magical scout/backup utility caster) I'm reduced to about 2 combats.

I may be novaing too much.
Using Calcific touch (spell blending) really saves on castings as I can use it for multiple rounds of full attacks.

Compared to a Fighter I am Nearly as good vs a single target (till my spells/pool runs out) then I suck.
Vs alot of mooks I rock hard. Spell Combat plus area spell rulz.
Obviously I am more mobile.
I don't need to be as sticky as a fighter (saving the step up line which most of our group melleer's take) because of spellstrike.

What's your preffered method/optimal view of magus tactics?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My view is that the magus is flexible. Sometimes he'll simply cast the way other mages do when the situation calls for it. Sometimes if it's a really trivial fight he'll swing his blade for a bit. Other times he'll be doing both at once, and it's going to depend a lot on the type of spells he learns. If he's relatively isolated and has a good deal of energy protections he may even ground zero nuke his immediate area if it pays off.

Or he can be casting battle field control spells or controlled damage placement spells like Fire Snake.

Dark Archive

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I think he can be phenomenal front line.
Elven Magus
Str: 7
Int: 18
Wis: 10
Dex: 19
Con: 12
Chr: 7

Feat line:
1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

Traits: +2 concentration, +2 init

Really comes online at 5th level, with +1 mithril chainshirt, +2 dex item, +1 ring and amulet your AC will be 23, and can quickly be 27 with shield. He'll be +11 to hit for d6 +8 damage, crit 18-20 with a +1 scimitar, and can use his arcana pool and chill touch to do considerably more. Pirannah strike will make that damage bonus +12.

Overall I think there's never been a better character for dervish dance, and channeling everything through dex makes for an awesome build.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thalin wrote:

I think he can be phenomenal front line.

Elven Magus
Str: 7
Int: 18
Wis: 10
Dex: 19
Con: 12
Chr: 7

Feat line:
1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

Traits: +2 concentration, +2 init

Really comes online at 5th level, with +1 mithril chainshirt, +2 dex item, +1 ring and amulet your AC will be 23, and can quickly be 27 with shield. He'll be +11 to hit for d6 +8 damage, crit 18-20 with a +1 scimitar, and can use his arcana pool and chill touch to do considerably more. Pirannah strike will make that damage bonus +12.

Overall I think there's never been a better character for dervish dance, and channeling everything through dex makes for an awesome build.

I have a major issue with the STR 7 fighter builds. I'd really like to see how your encumbrance is working on this and I hope you are taking into account the -2 to hit and damage. Even with weapon finesse, the minus to damage will apply.

Dark Archive

Encumbrance calculates fine... leather + scimitar to mithril chainshirt + scimitar, don't need much else, can get haversack if you want assorted magic. Fighter can carry the assorted stuff.

No -2 to hit / damage... Finesse and Dervish dance substitute (don't stack with) Str for to hit / damage.

You're worse at CMD, but not considerably so, since Dex/Str add there.

It's feat intensive, and at 1 and 2 you are effectively a support caster and crossbow shooter, but he really comes online as the levels progress.


To increase your adventuring day I'd suggest taking wand wielder as early as possible. Spell combat using a wand of shocking grasp rocks (especially if you can find/buy one with a caster level higher than first). Take multiple wands of different spells and you don't have to burn through your limited amount of spells, with the added bonus that wands don't provoke attacks of opportunity.

Dark Archive

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
To increase your adventuring day I'd suggest taking wand wielder as early as possible. Spell combat using a wand of shocking grasp rocks (especially if you can find/buy one with a caster level higher than first). Take multiple wands of different spells and you don't have to burn through your limited amount of spells, with the added bonus that wands don't provoke attacks of opportunity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Wand Wielder is a trick.

The Wands are almost always going to do less damage than you would with a spell and if they aren't then you either spent a ton of gold on a limited resource or paid a large opportunity cost when you decided not to sell it.

---

Unfortunately, despite having started my campaign a month ago I'm still a level one yearning to get to the cool toys. We're all very busy and our weekly games are short, only 3 hours or so and Serpents Skull starts out kind of slow. I've still never even had a chance to use Spell Combat.

Like many Magi, it's a Dex build. I've no wish to dump str, though. One Ray of Enfeeblement and a Str7 Magus is whimpering on the floor unable to do anything because even his spell components are too heavy to lift.

In theory, I'll be a straight damage dealer. While I'd like to be able to do some controlling, Wall of Fire is as far as I'm willing to go in that regard. Even with 16 Int (my GM like high point buys), my DC's are too low to be reliable. I stick to save free spells as much as possible so a lot of Touch and Ray stuff.


I agree with YuenglingDragon about the wands being a great way to stretch out your usefulness. I personally use Close Range to keep those range touch spells from fizzling on a miss. If I am up close and I miss with my Close Range scorching ray then I have a chance to do it again next round.

My group consists of a Druid with animal companion, TWF fighter/rogue, a converted warmage, a barbarian and myself as a Magus. We just hit level 7 and have been doing alright in terms of combat. I am able to hold my own and while not as damaging as the warmage or the fighter/rogue, I do tend to be the most versatile. Until I pad out my spell book with more spells I have to avoid going all out unless I feel confident that I can survive with the lower level spells and whats left of my arcane pool.

Shadow Lodge

Where does Piranha Strike come from? I finally got the book that has Dervish Dance.

Dark Archive

Gerrard Dixon wrote:
I agree with YuenglingDragon about the wands being a great way to stretch out your usefulness.

You must be thinking of someone else. I hate Wand Wielder.

ShadowDax wrote:
Where does Piranha Strike come from? I finally got the book that has Dervish Dance.

Serpent's Skull book.

Liberty's Edge

Thalin wrote:
Encumbrance calculates fine... leather + scimitar to mithril chainshirt + scimitar, don't need much else, can get haversack if you want assorted magic. Fighter can carry the assorted stuff.

Encumbrance does not calculate fine. At least not for adventuring. Your light load tops out at 23 pounds.

A chain shirt is 25. So you can't wear a chain shirt until you get a mithral one. Leather + scimitar is 19, so you won't be able to carry a crossbow and ammunition.

Your backpack is 2 pounds and your clothes are at least another 2. A lightweight lantern with a quart of oil is another 2 pounds. Each day's worth of rations adds a pound. Your spell book and component pouch are 5 pounds together, 50 feet of rope are five more pounds (for the silk rope), and your dagger adds another pound.

That's at least 18 pounds of gear for a fairly standard adventurer. No scrolls. No potions. No bedroll or tent. We'll round it up to an even 20 because not everyone wants to dress like a monk.

If your strength 7 character is not encumbered for overland travel, it's pretty much because your DM doesn't feel like adding up whatever he's carrying. Leather armor + scimitar + spell book + component pouch alone is over your light load limit.


Ardenup wrote:


... (thanks arcane pool- this ability does nothing for your to hit at high levels when you get a maxed encanted weapon, except for swapping enchantments)

...

The arcane pool specificly states that the enhancement it provides stacks with other enhancement bonuses.


The Grandfather wrote:
Ardenup wrote:


... (thanks arcane pool- this ability does nothing for your to hit at high levels when you get a maxed encanted weapon, except for swapping enchantments)

...

The arcane pool specificly states that the enhancement it provides stacks with other enhancement bonuses.

Exactly what I was gonna say. It's AWESOME. And it does not need to SWAP enchantments, it adds.


Thalin wrote:

I think he can be phenomenal front line.

Elven Magus
Str: 7
Int: 18
Wis: 10
Dex: 19
Con: 12
Chr: 7

Feat line:
1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

Traits: +2 concentration, +2 init

Really comes online at 5th level, with +1 mithril chainshirt, +2 dex item, +1 ring and amulet your AC will be 23, and can quickly be 27 with shield. He'll be +11 to hit for d6 +8 damage, crit 18-20 with a +1 scimitar, and can use his arcana pool and chill touch to do considerably more. Pirannah strike will make that damage bonus +12.

Overall I think there's never been a better character for dervish dance, and channeling everything through dex makes for an awesome build.

You can't take weapon focus on the first level.

Arcane Strike, really? Why?
Pirannah Strike doesn't work with a Scimitar.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xum wrote:
Thalin wrote:

Feat line:

1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

You can't take weapon focus on the first level.

I think he meant Weapon Finesse. Dervish Dance requires it and he didn't list it anywhere else.


Ashanderai wrote:
Xum wrote:
Thalin wrote:

Feat line:

1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

You can't take weapon focus on the first level.

I think he meant Weapon Finesse. Dervish Dance requires it and he didn't list it anywhere else.

I thought so too, but Piranha he can't get anyhow, so, bogus.

Grand Lodge

The Grandfather wrote:
Ardenup wrote:


... (thanks arcane pool- this ability does nothing for your to hit at high levels when you get a maxed encanted weapon, except for swapping enchantments)

...

The arcane pool specificly states that the enhancement it provides stacks with other enhancement bonuses.

The Enhancement bonus still maxes at +5. You can't go higher than that. You can still add magical properties like keen, speed, and any of the energy types, though, up to an effective +10. The Magus' ability does not bypass the limitations of the game.

YuenglingDragon, it is a trick. It's a very viable, fairly effective trick. It might not allow a Magus to dish it out like the big boys, but it allows him to make good use of his gishness.


Dax Thura wrote:
The Grandfather wrote:
Ardenup wrote:


... (thanks arcane pool- this ability does nothing for your to hit at high levels when you get a maxed encanted weapon, except for swapping enchantments)

...

The arcane pool specificly states that the enhancement it provides stacks with other enhancement bonuses.

The Enhancement bonus still maxes at +5. You can't go higher than that. You can still add magical properties like keen, speed, and any of the energy types, though, up to an effective +10. The Magus' ability does not bypass the limitations of the game.

That's what i meant. Being able to stack the bonus let's you bring your to hit up to a full BAB Char. UNTIL mr fighter gets a +5 weapon. then your ability is no advantage (since all other full bab classes have a self buff- Wpn training, smite, fe etc.


Dax Thura wrote:
The Magus' ability does not bypass the limitations of the game.

I'm not so sure, it's writen diferently than similar abilities like the paladin's one. And besides, it's a crappy rule, not what we are talking about anyway I know. But the way I read it, it does.

Liberty's Edge

To the OP:
It sounds like you do have trouble with too much nova. Hold back with your spells. Save them for when you and the party are really in trouble. Remember that you are better at the nova thing than pretty much anybody else in the game (except for people with Time Stop).

If you use spells like Chill Touch, you can really get a lot more mileage out of your few spells per day. Chill Touch grants a large number of touch attacks, rather than a single attack that deals lots of damage.


Xum wrote:
Dax Thura wrote:
The Magus' ability does not bypass the limitations of the game.
I'm not so sure, it's writen diferently than similar abilities like the paladin's one. And besides, it's a crappy rule, not what we are talking about anyway I know. But the way I read it, it does.

I'm wrong about the writen part, it's writen exactly the same. The rest I'm right though. :)


I take issue with having to take Dervish Dance with boatloads of Dex to be viable in the early levels moreso than the 7 strength. Particularly since my current Pathfinder run is in a homebrew viking game. You wouldn't catch a viking prancing around like an honorless pansy waving a little sword around.

I suppose it's easily solved by just investing in more defensive spells plus Extend spell. Daze and Disrupt Undead are decent enough for level 1.


Dax Thura wrote:

The Enhancement bonus still maxes at +5. You can't go higher than that. You can still add magical properties like keen, speed, and any of the energy types, though, up to an effective +10. The Magus' ability does not bypass the limitations of the game.

True. It is however still a very useful ability, even at high levels. It allows the Magus to save money and/or get increased flexibility, by swaping special abilities or having more weapons to chose from (eg. a dancing weapon + a wielded weapon).

Of course if the intention with this ability was to offset the avg. BAB the +5/+10 cap on this ability should be removed (my recomendation; it ensures the ability scales properly through all levels and simplifies the rules for the ability).


Lyrax wrote:

To the OP:

It sounds like you do have trouble with too much nova. Hold back with your spells. Save them for when you and the party are really in trouble. Remember that you are better at the nova thing than pretty much anybody else in the game (except for people with Time Stop).

If you use spells like Chill Touch, you can really get a lot more mileage out of your few spells per day. Chill Touch grants a large number of touch attacks, rather than a single attack that deals lots of damage.

Even with chill touch etc. I'm finding the damage sucks due to the 1 handed thing.

Consider (20th level examples- my builds so not hard rules)

A TWFer can average up to 320 DPR
A TWF Smiting Pally around 300 (Smite/Divine Favor)
A TWF Order of the shield Cavalier around 300 (Using Horse for flank, Tactician for Outflank)
A Ranger packing +8 FE around 300 (Use Instant enemy on others)

2 Handed Inquisitor around 240 (Judgement, Bane, Divine Power)
2 Handed Arcane Duelist around 208 (Stacking Good Hope, Inspire Courage)

It is the second group the Magus Fits in. The magus is supposed to use magic to make himself into a combat guy. Right now he's a sucky combat/blasty guy. Blasting is fun but subpar and he still has to worry about hitting allies.

I'm just struggling to make this work on DPR (for single targets- sure he can whittle a whole bunch of guys but when we play it's ALWAYS the Inquis/Bard who can actually drop someone)

Allowing arcane strike to stack would help alot.
or
More spell points.
or
A self buff like judgement or inspire courage (self only)
or
Adding a good self buff (like divine favor, power- arcane version)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TarkXT wrote:

I take issue with having to take Dervish Dance with boatloads of Dex to be viable in the early levels moreso than the 7 strength. Particularly since my current Pathfinder run is in a homebrew viking game. You wouldn't catch a viking prancing around like an honorless pansy waving a little sword around.

I suppose it's easily solved by just investing in more defensive spells plus Extend spell. Daze and Disrupt Undead are decent enough for level 1.

How would Extend spell help in the early levels? The only defensive spell the Magus has prior to level 4 is Shield and Obscuring Mist, and doubling those durations won't make a whole lot of difference. And that's ignoring the fact that nothing can be Extended until the Magus has 2nd level slots.

I agree that the Magus has a serious survivability issue until he can acquire a Wand of Shield or 4th level so he can trade Arcane Pool points to cast Shield every combat. By 7th level he's doing pretty well, but before that he's squishy and easy to hit. With Medium armor and Shield, he should have a comparable AC to a Cleric, and as good or better than a 2H Fighter.

Early on, the Magus almost has to take Dodge and/or Combat Expertise and Toughness. And Fight Defensively a lot. Or fight like the Wizard/Sorcerer and stay at range.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ardenup wrote:
Lyrax wrote:

To the OP:

It sounds like you do have trouble with too much nova. Hold back with your spells. Save them for when you and the party are really in trouble. Remember that you are better at the nova thing than pretty much anybody else in the game (except for people with Time Stop).

If you use spells like Chill Touch, you can really get a lot more mileage out of your few spells per day. Chill Touch grants a large number of touch attacks, rather than a single attack that deals lots of damage.

Even with chill touch etc. I'm finding the damage sucks due to the 1 handed thing.

Consider (20th level examples- my builds so not hard rules)

A TWFer can average up to 320 DPR
A TWF Smiting Pally around 300 (Smite/Divine Favor)
A TWF Order of the shield Cavalier around 300 (Using Horse for flank, Tactician for Outflank)
A Ranger packing +8 FE around 300 (Use Instant enemy on others)

2 Handed Inquisitor around 240 (Judgement, Bane, Divine Power)
2 Handed Arcane Duelist around 208 (Stacking Good Hope, Inspire Courage)

It is the second group the Magus Fits in. The magus is supposed to use magic to make himself into a combat guy. Right now he's a sucky combat/blasty guy. Blasting is fun but subpar and he still has to worry about hitting allies.

I'm just struggling to make this work on DPR (for single targets- sure he can whittle a whole bunch of guys but when we play it's ALWAYS the Inquis/Bard who can actually drop someone)

Allowing arcane strike to stack would help alot.
or
More spell points.
or
A self buff like judgement or inspire courage (self only)
or
Adding a good self buff (like divine favor, power- arcane version)

What're you doing casting Chill Touch at 20th level? And then complaining that the DPR weak? Of course it is! At that level you should be using Enlarge and Shocking Grasp, if you're going to use a 1st level spell at all.

The difference between a 2H weapon and a 1H weapon wielded with two hands is pretty minor. Generally a 1 point difference. When you're talking about 200 damage, 1 point per swing is insignificant.

Transformation is a pretty powerful self-buff that the Magus has access to. Grants +4 STR/DEX/CON, +4 AC, and full BAB. Way better than even Greater Heroism from a combat-boost perspective.


YuenglingDragon, Fri, Jan 28, 2011, 05:18 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
To increase your adventuring day I'd suggest taking wand wielder as early as possible. Spell combat using a wand of shocking grasp rocks (especially if you can find/buy one with a caster level higher than first). Take multiple wands of different spells and you don't have to burn through your limited amount of spells, with the added bonus that wands don't provoke attacks of opportunity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Wand Wielder is a trick.

The Wands are almost always going to do less damage than you would with a spell and if they aren't then you either spent a ton of gold on a limited resource or paid a large opportunity cost when you decided not to sell it.

---

Unfortunately, despite having started my campaign a month ago I'm still a level one yearning to get to the cool toys. We're all very busy and our weekly games are short, only 3 hours or so and Serpents Skull starts out kind of slow. I've still never even had a chance to use Spell Combat.

Like many Magi, it's a Dex build. I've no wish to dump str, though. One Ray of Enfeeblement and a Str7 Magus is whimpering on the floor unable to do anything because even his spell components are too heavy to lift.

In theory, I'll be a straight damage dealer. While I'd like to be able to do some controlling, Wall of Fire is as far as I'm willing to go in that regard. Even with 16 Int (my GM like high point buys), my DC's are too low to be reliable. I stick to save free spells as much as possible so a lot of Touch and Ray stuff.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not saying it works well with every spell (avoid anything with a DC), but something that does not increase in power by level works quite well. A wand of shield or true strike are good examples of this and they retain their usefullness even at later levels and they free up valuable spell-slots (and after 4th level - spell pool) which for the Magus is quite a limited resource. And also would obviously not really work at all in a low magic or low wealth campaign.
I know that using a damage dealing wand with a caster level lower than yours would deal out less damage than your own spells, but I say again: I merely suggest this as a way to extend "your adventuring day".
I have used this tactic in the Second Darkness adventure path and have encountered great success thus far.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Anyone think some incarnation of Insightful Strike could really help this class?

Before any flames actually do some math and think about it. Magus is a MAD class. Armor Prof. set up means Dex is going to have some importance especially in the beginning levels. Intelligence is obviously highly important and so is strength/constitution. Even if you have ridiculous rolls the class is stretched thin trying to even compare to other combat classes which all receive some kind of class based damage bonuses not to mention taking a hit to attack on top of the 3/4 BAB just to use the signature ability.
Its low a/c makes me think glass cannon but its Damage output doesn't support this yet its not a skill class and doesn't summon some uber powerful minion.

I don't have time to do the math but if someone feels like it compare this

elf Magus (racial bonus added in already) with weapon finesse and insightful strike - which adds your int mod to your str mod to calculate your damage bonus

18 dex
18 int
14 str
12 con

I love the flavor of this class and the abilities are great but even trying to min max in a non min maxed group it comes out weak. but with insightful strike i can make my favorite character concept (typical elf bladedancer who can actually play like the badass i always roleplay him to be) without the struggle and failure encountered with about 15 splat books.

Liberty's Edge

Ardenup wrote:

Even with chill touch etc. I'm finding the damage sucks due to the 1 handed thing.

....
It is the second group the Magus Fits in. The magus is supposed to use magic to make himself into a combat guy. Right now he's a sucky combat/blasty guy. Blasting is fun but subpar and he still has to worry about hitting allies.

I'm just struggling to make this work on DPR (for single targets- sure he can whittle a whole bunch of guys but when we play it's ALWAYS the Inquis/Bard who can actually drop someone)

Well my last game had an Inquisitor, a Magus, a Wizard, and a Cleric. We only got to level 8, but the Magus was EASILY the heaviest on damage output, when he needed to be. He can put two hands on whatever weapon he wields for damage when not casting, and can cast with the other hand when he needs to. He can do terrific damage with shocking grasp, he can tank with mirror image (best spell in the world for a magus, IMO), and can do both with vampiric touch.

Where he really mops up is critical hits.

Whenever your magus channels a touch spell through a weapon, his critical range changes to match that of the weapon. So a critical hit with the weapon is a critical hit with the spell.

This means your magus can get crits with shocking grasp (10d6 lightning damage, no save? I like it!), vampiric touch (8d6 damage and temporary hit points? Why thank you!), and even scorching ray (though I can't remember whether you need to take an arcana in order to alter rays into touch spells) much more easily than anyone else in the game.

This also means that a magus works best with a weapon that has a 19-20 or 18-20 crit range naturally, especially if it's keen. The piddly 1d6 damage on a scimitar is looking mighty good, especially since a scimitar can be wielded with two hands.

On top of this, you get your normal crit damage as well. So if you're power attacking with two hands on the bastard sword you're wielding, while enlarged and with bull's strength on... well holy cow you just cleaned somebody's clock!

Also note that buffing is a perfectly viable strategy for a magus, unlike with many classes, because you get to attack right after your buff is cast, and during the same turn.

I find that a magus doesn't need to use so much dexterity as it looks like he does. There's a lot of great defensive spells that a magus can use to augment or replace AC (such as shield, mirror image, etc) that can be cast mid-combat if need be.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Another change is I think Arcane pool should be tied in with caster level not class level that way going with a prestiges class wont totally gimp the Character. So instead of Half Class Level it should read Half Caster Level plus int mod.

@lyrax
didnt know your crit changed for spells. that is some nice damage and gives a better reason to use spell strike too. very nice


Lyrax wrote:

Where he really mops up is critical hits.

Whenever your magus channels a touch spell through a weapon, his critical range changes to match that of the weapon. So a critical hit with the weapon is a critical hit with the spell.

This means your magus can get crits with shocking grasp (10d6 lightning damage, no save? I like it!), vampiric touch (8d6 damage and temporary hit points? Why thank you!), and even scorching ray (though I can't remember whether you need to take an arcana in order to alter rays into touch spells) much more easily than anyone else in the game.

This also means that a magus works best with a weapon that has a 19-20 or 18-20 crit range naturally, especially if it's keen. The piddly 1d6 damage on a scimitar is looking mighty good, especially since a scimitar can be wielded with two hands.

This is why I LOVE Intensified Spell. 20d6 Shocking Grasp, no save, at level 10 for a 2nd Lv spell slot. Keen your scimitar with a pool point and your critting 30% of the time. And, really, since you only hit on, say, an 8 or better, half your hits are threats. Pick up Crit Focus, or, better yet, Imp. Crit and a wand of Bless Weapon. Never miss a crit on an evil foe! Free Empower with an Arcana, or, better yet, free Quicken and do it again. This is why my DM banned all third party ways to increase your threat range.


Quantum Steve wrote:


This is why I LOVE Intensified Spell. 20d6 Shocking Grasp, no save, at level 10 for a 2nd Lv spell slot. Keen your scimitar with a pool point and your critting 30% of the time. And, really, since you only hit on, say, an 8 or better, half your hits are threats. Pick up Crit Focus, or, better yet, Imp. Crit and a wand of Bless Weapon. Never miss a crit on an evil foe! Free Empower with an Arcana, or, better yet, free Quicken and do it again. This is why my DM banned all third party ways to increase your threat range.

Unfortunately you are doing a few things incorrectly. First, intensified raises the max by 5 levels. Shocking grasp does a d6 per level (max5 normally). So for two reasons, you would only be doing 10d6 at level 10 for an intensified shocking grasp. Second, Improved Crit also specifies that it doesn't stack with other threat increases (and seemed to be a default in many 3rd party books), so you wouldn't have a crazy threat range with pathfinder alone. Luckily you don't need to spend a feet and you can enhance your weapon via arcane pool.

Dark Archive

Dax Thura wrote:


YuenglingDragon, it is a trick. It's a very viable, fairly effective trick. It might not allow a Magus to dish it out like the big boys, but it allows him to make good use of his gishness.

Not by any measure I can determine unless you have unlimited funds at your disposal. A level 1 wand of shocking grasp only adds an average of 175 damage over the course of 50 uses. Using your weapon two handed adds nearly as much and doesn't cost a clipped copper.

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
I'm not saying it works well with every spell (avoid anything with a DC), but something that does not increase in power by level works quite well. A wand of shield or true strike are good examples of this and they retain their usefullness even at later levels and they retain their usefullness even at later levels and they free up valuable spell-slots (and after 4th level - spell pool) which for the Magus is quite a limited resource. And also would obviously not really work at all in a low magic or low wealth campaign.

You don't need Wand Wielder to use a Wand of Shield before a fight. You don't need a Wand of True Strike because with any decently built PC, your first attack will hit too regularly for the wand to be worth the cost in gold and Arcana investment.

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:

I know that using a damage dealing wand with a caster level lower than yours would deal out less damage than your own spells, but I say again: I merely suggest this as a way to extend "your adventuring day".

I have used this tactic in the Second Darkness adventure path and have encountered great success thus far.

Well, I think that extending your adventuring day is nice. But I also think that there comes a point where you don't need the extension that bad. You'll have plenty of spells by around level 7 or so. But at that same point you only get 2 Arcana. If one of them is Wand Wielder then you missed the chance to get a Familiar and its numerous attendant benefits or the chance to Vanish and other good spells with Spell Blending, or any number of other Arcana which are seemingly much better.


Animefunkmaster wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:


This is why I LOVE Intensified Spell. 20d6 Shocking Grasp, no save, at level 10 for a 2nd Lv spell slot. Keen your scimitar with a pool point and your critting 30% of the time. And, really, since you only hit on, say, an 8 or better, half your hits are threats. Pick up Crit Focus, or, better yet, Imp. Crit and a wand of Bless Weapon. Never miss a crit on an evil foe! Free Empower with an Arcana, or, better yet, free Quicken and do it again. This is why my DM banned all third party ways to increase your threat range.
Unfortunately you are doing a few things incorrectly. First, intensified raises the max by 5 levels. Shocking grasp does a d6 per level (max5 normally). So for two reasons, you would only be doing 10d6 at level 10 for an intensified shocking grasp. Second, Improved Crit also specifies that it doesn't stack with other threat increases (and seemed to be a default in many 3rd party books), so you wouldn't have a crazy threat range with pathfinder alone. Luckily you don't need to spend a feet and you can enhance your weapon via arcane pool.

he's referring to the spell if you crit with it cast through the sword, so technically you are both right, your answer is the rule, his the exception.


So it seems alot of people are counting on maybe intensified spells (via spell pool or prepping them) to lay a 15d6 on the crappy 1h damage with low level spells that will likely have saves passed?

How many slams/pearls are players counting on?

Or does themagus need to expend all slots on spamming dd spells.
Everyone says fighters suck cause the don't do anything but fight.
If magai are spamming a limited resource just to keep up damage wise they risk not doing much out of combat either.


Ardenup wrote:

So it seems alot of people are counting on maybe intensified spells (via spell pool or prepping them) to lay a 15d6 on the crappy 1h damage with low level spells that will likely have saves passed?

How many slams/pearls are players counting on?

Or does themagus need to expend all slots on spamming dd spells.
Everyone says fighters suck cause the don't do anything but fight.
If magai are spamming a limited resource just to keep up damage wise they risk not doing much out of combat either.

What are Magus' going to do out of combat? Fireball? Spellstrike? Maybe Arcane Accuracy?

A Magus has very few utility spells, only one utility Arcana (Familiar) and the only non-combat use of his pool is to cast one of the handfull of utility spells in his book.

The only way for a Magus to contribute out of combat is by using his quite respectful amount of skill points (by virtue of being an Int based caster). And those are absolutely free.

So, basically, 5 encounters per day means each encounter should use up 1/5 of his spells and 1/5 of his Arcane Pool. Cause he sure ain't using them for anything else.

Edit: And just to be clear, that's 15d6 of damage on 2h damage (so long as your just using spellstrike, not spell combat) that's at most 10-15 points behind a fighter with no save and +4 to hit enemies in metal armour. And If I really want to nova, it's +5 to hit and empowered.


Quantum Steve wrote:
Edit: And just to be clear, that's 15d6 of damage on 2h damage (so long as your just using spellstrike, not spell combat) that's at most 10-15 points behind a fighter with no save and +4 to hit enemies in metal armour. And If I really want to nova, it's +5 to hit and empowered.

Never said I had an Issue with Spellstrike. It's awesome.

Check the problem though, you just ran up and smacked a dude for good damage.

Now you gotta full attack him with spell combat. 1h for crappy damage+touch spell and provoking. Your putting yourself in the worst spot for a caster and doing the very thing thats gonna get you an axe to the face.

Generally I've found it ok to take Lunge ASAP.
Tactic: Run up and smack in rd 1
rd2 5ft step away and spell combat full attack using lunge so you can cast and hit without provoking, might not be legal (unsure) but dm is allowing it.

Dark Archive

Ardenup wrote:

Generally I've found it ok to take Lunge ASAP.

Tactic: Run up and smack in rd 1
rd2 5ft step away and spell combat full attack using lunge so you can cast and hit without provoking, might not be legal (unsure) but dm is allowing it.

That trick only works for the fraction of fights which are against enemies without reach who are attacking you from positions favorable to you. If your GM is making fights complex at all, that shouldn't be so many that Lunge is the make or break feat for the Magus.

The Dex based Magus has good AC and, with Combat Casting, a good chance to succeed on all tests to Cast Defensively. I've not seen a real problem with the Magus being in melee in my playtests or other's.


Ardenup wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
Edit: And just to be clear, that's 15d6 of damage on 2h damage (so long as your just using spellstrike, not spell combat) that's at most 10-15 points behind a fighter with no save and +4 to hit enemies in metal armour. And If I really want to nova, it's +5 to hit and empowered.

Never said I had an Issue with Spellstrike. It's awesome.

Check the problem though, you just ran up and smacked a dude for good damage.

Now you gotta full attack him with spell combat. 1h for crappy damage+touch spell and provoking. Your putting yourself in the worst spot for a caster and doing the very thing thats gonna get you an axe to the face.

Generally I've found it ok to take Lunge ASAP.
Tactic: Run up and smack in rd 1
rd2 5ft step away and spell combat full attack using lunge so you can cast and hit without provoking, might not be legal (unsure) but dm is allowing it.

I've found the Magus similar to the Rogue in this respect. Yes, you can hit for hefty damage if you expend the resources, but if you didn't drop him, now you get full-attacked.

The Magus does have a few buffs to help him in melee, but mostly his spells are for doing damage with a small helping of battlefield control. He does get Shield and Mirror Image, as well as Blur and Displacement, all of which help with defense.

I mostly try to use what ranged spells I can while the others soften up the monsters, then run in to finish them off with a low-level spellstrike. I also try to flank, of course, in addition to the bonus the extra targets sometimes help to take a little of the damage off me if I don't drop the baddie.

Dark Archive

Well, at low levels, it doesn't matter if the baddies can full attack the Magus since a full attack is functionally identical to a standard action for many enemies. Even as far as level 6 and 7, the bonus for the second iterative for full BAB opponents is so low that the chances of a well made Magus being hit are low. And at those low levels, the spells a Magus has are often quite enough to drop an opponent. Tonight my level 2 Magus killed two enemies with a Color Spray and another with a Shocking Grasp and sword strike using Spell Combat. Another took sufficient damage from a Spell Striked Chill Touch to be easily mopped up by the Ranger.

In my Level 12 Arena of Doom, the Magus soloed enemies from CRs 9-13, with fairly minimal healing resources between fights. When he was in danger, the spells Steve mentioned above plus Greater Invisibility, were enough to stop a lot of incoming damage.

Liberty's Edge

I am in a campaign with a 9th-level magus.
He can pour out well over 100 damage on a critical hit.
Our DM's best tactics often involve denying the magus HIS full attack, rather than us getting worried about enemy full attacks because he's just so doggone effective at dealing damage. And when the enemy attacks him, he usually has mirror image and a high AC.

We don't even have a full-on fighter. Just a magus and an inquisitor, and they are quite effective.

The magus can fulfill any combat role he needs to fulfill, although he may need to prepare accordingly.
EDIT: This is the same campaign I referenced above, we started it back up again.


I admit I CAN make the magus work (maybe I just need to get me head around expending rescources)

A few things I've noticed.

1. Magical Lineage (shocking Grasp) is a must have trait. It'll let you at 10th level get 10d6 with no save for a 1st level slot or Empowered/Intensified for 15d6 for a 3rd level slot.

2.When you move use spellstrike for an ok (2 handed) hit, lay on a intensified shocking grasp (10d6 no save, 1st level slot-trait) or empowered as well (3rd level 15d6 no save) and regular vampiric touch (10d6 3rd level) if you want to heal a bit. At high levels when you learn spell perfection (Cone of cold) you can bust out spellstrike then swift 15d6 cold damage to the face (only do it if you can catch multiple enemies in it though)

3. Spell Perfection is awesome for applying quicken to a cone of cold, then using spell combat for a spont Maximised, Prep Intensified cone of cold.

4. Pearls of Power are your BEST friend. Craft Lots (3rd level and lower)

5. Magi need to pump STR more than a wiz does. Not only because of the low level spells but his Arcane Pool is affected by it. By 20 with a 30 int (17 normal, +2 racial, +5 Tome, +6 Headband) a Magus will have 20 Pool points.

6. Spell Blending is best used for 4th level spells (Feeblemind, Boneshatter and Enervation are my faves) Magus actually gets most of the best 3rd level spells (Fly, Haste, Slow, Displacement). By the time spell blending could get you a 6th level spell known you could just use your arcane pool to cast any wiz spell anyway.

7. Arcane Pool seems to 90% go towards Enchanting my weapon and Arcane Accuracy. Accuracy lasts the whole full attack and if you took Gtr wpn fcs and high STR or DEX(dervish dance), you won't need it for Spellstrike.

8. Scrolls are your 2nd Best friend. Carry lots of your (limited) utility spells and you can spell pool cast them for 1/2 points if you get stuck.

9. Cause between power attack and spell combat you're taking -7 to hit on a full attack. When you full attack you need all iteratives to hit for decent damage (hence the shooting for 30int score), blow a pool point for accuracy (3 or 4 strikes hasted) and lay either a battle control or blast spell in the mix.

Here is a Build I've used in a few one shots. Uses Imp Familiar to get more actions from wands (mephit). Seems to work well enough once I finally learned better point management (I'd still rather it be 3+1/2Char level+Int mod though. An extra 3 points early would be awesome)
Be aware it does have 1 3.5 feat- Melee wpn Mastery

Ardenup's Magus:

Build: Magus 20
Race: Human
Favored Class- Magus (hit points)
STR 19 (22)
DEX 13
CON 15
WIS 10
INT 17 (19)
CHA 8
Skills per level 7 per level
Traits:Desperate Focus, Magical Lineage (Shocking grasp)

1 Arcane Pool +1, Cantrips, Spell Combat, Scribe Scroll, Intensify Spell
2 Spellstrike
3 Magus Arcana (Arcane Accuracy), Wpn Focus: Scimitar
4 Pool Spell
5 Arcane Pool +2, Power Attack, Craft Wonderous Item
6 Magus Arcana (Familiar)
7 Knowledge Pool, Medium Armor, Improved Familiar
8 Improved Spell Combat
9 Arcane Pool +3, Magus Arcana (Spell Blending- Rope Trick, Resist Energy), Empower Spell
10 Fighter Training
11 Weapon Specialisation, Improved Pool Spell, Melee Wpn Mastery
12 Magus Arcana (Spell Blending- Feeblemind)
13 Arcane Pool +4, Heavy Armor, Extra Arcana: Spell Blending (Boneshatter, Enervation)
14 Gtr Spell Combat
15 Magus Arcana (Quickened Magic), Quicken Spell
16 Counterstrike
17 Arcane Pool +5, Gtr Wpn Fcs, Spell Perfection (Cone of Cold)
18 Magus Arcana (Reflection)
19 Gtr Pool Spell, Maximise Spell
20 True Magus


I'm all about the intensified shocking grasp with the magical lineage trait! spell storing weapons are awesome for magi! last night we were in a battle and fooling around trying to out damage each other with only one attack. The cleric (maybe oracle we've hidden our abilities til recently) thought he was going to win with his harm spell. Then I bluff, do a sneak attack with spellstrike to let out 2 intensified shocking grasps (thanks to spell storing) doing 23d6 damage add a d8 and 10 STR we ended up in a tie @ 110 damage but I only used 2 1st level spells while cleric used his last 6th level spell. the halfling owns!!!


Another thought about the lunge feat: if you have a greater reach then you will most likely get more attacks of opportunity (nice if you have combat reflexes too) similar to the effects of using a whip, without the downside of having to use an otherwise pants weapon.


Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
Another thought about the lunge feat: if you have a greater reach then you will most likely get more attacks of opportunity (nice if you have combat reflexes too) similar to the effects of using a whip, without the downside of having to use an otherwise pants weapon.

I don't think Lunge works on AoOs.

Dark Archive

Mynameisjake wrote:
I don't think Lunge works on AoOs.

Factual.

d20PFSRD wrote:
Benefit: You can increase the reach of your melee attacks by 5 feet until the end of your turn by taking a ?2 penalty to your AC until your next turn. You must decide to use this ability before any attacks are made.

Only works until the end of your turn. I suppose it would be possible if a bad guy had a readied action that went off after you declared Lunge but that is about as fringe a case can be.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thalin wrote:

I think he can be phenomenal front line.

Elven Magus
Str: 7
Int: 18
Wis: 10
Dex: 19
Con: 12
Chr: 7

Feat line:
1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

Traits: +2 concentration, +2 init

Really comes online at 5th level, with +1 mithril chainshirt, +2 dex item, +1 ring and amulet your AC will be 23, and can quickly be 27 with shield. He'll be +11 to hit for d6 +8 damage, crit 18-20 with a +1 scimitar, and can use his arcana pool and chill touch to do considerably more. Pirannah strike will make that damage bonus +12.

Overall I think there's never been a better character for dervish dance, and channeling everything through dex makes for an awesome build.

Looks good. If you want pure crack swap out the Weapon Focus and grab Weapon Finesse then go out and pick up an Elven Curved Blade and set it to small....you get a attack and damage bonus for that high dex.


Soluzar wrote:
Thalin wrote:

I think he can be phenomenal front line.

Elven Magus
Str: 7
Int: 18
Wis: 10
Dex: 19
Con: 12
Chr: 7

Feat line:
1st: Weapon focus
3rd: Dervish Dance
5th: Arcane strike
7th: Pirannah Strike
9th: whatever
11th: Improved Critical

Traits: +2 concentration, +2 init

Really comes online at 5th level, with +1 mithril chainshirt, +2 dex item, +1 ring and amulet your AC will be 23, and can quickly be 27 with shield. He'll be +11 to hit for d6 +8 damage, crit 18-20 with a +1 scimitar, and can use his arcana pool and chill touch to do considerably more. Pirannah strike will make that damage bonus +12.

Overall I think there's never been a better character for dervish dance, and channeling everything through dex makes for an awesome build.

Looks good. If you want pure crack swap out the Weapon Focus and grab Weapon Finesse then go out and pick up an Elven Curved Blade and set it to small....you get a attack and damage bonus for that high dex.

Not that good, as Piranha Strike doesn't work with a scimitar, even when you also have Dervish Dance. To add damage, you need to raise Str to 13 and swap Piranha Strike with Power Attack.

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