Magus & Combat Casting


Advice


Is taking the Combat Casting feat worthwhile as a Magus? I'll be using a 20-point buy, so I'll be starting the game with 16 intelligence - that means to cast defensively, I'll be getting a +4 Bonus to beat a DC 17. That's only a 40% chance of successfully casting a spell defensively (like, if I'm in the middle of Spell Combat). With a measely two L1 spells per day, I can't really afford to lose a spell (I already know I'll have all the magic I'll ever want after L4, but I have to survive up until then first).

With Combat Casting, my bonus to Defensive Casting doubles, making it a much more likely prospect that I'll get my spell off without being AoO'ed (which, with low level Magus AC, is a somewhat -bad- prospect).

Now, I suppose I could just position myself 5' from a fight, wait a turn, declare spell combat, cast Shocking Grasp, 5' step in, get the free touch then swing - but that's overly complicated, results in me potentially wasting turns, and won't work every time.

Anyone got any opinion on whether or not it's worthwhile for a Magus to take Combat Casting - or, any alternatives to help deal with the Concentration Checks for Casting Defensively early on?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Is this for PFS?

You can take the Focused Mind and/or Abendego Spellpiercer traits to get +2 to all concentration checks. Also, remember you can take a penalty on your attack rolls while using Spell Combat to gain the same amount (up to your Int bonus) on your concentration checks.

What other feats are you planning on taking? That will determine whether you have room for Combat Casting.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It really depends on whether your GM will let you retrain it later. While it may be nice for the first few levels, your bonus to concentration checks quickly outstrips the DCs as you advance.


are you using retraining in your game??? if you do, then you could take it at low level and retraint it later!

also depend on which type of build you do...for a dex based magus, it might be harder since you want other feats at low levels...


Gjorbjond wrote:
It really depends on whether your GM will let you retrain it later. While it may be nice for the first few levels, your bonus to concentration checks quickly outstrips the DCs as you advance.

I guess this depends on your definition of "quickly", every level you gain one more to your conc check due to level. Around level 4 you can get +2 headband that will give you a plus one. Still, at level 5 still only have 65% change for that level 1 spell. Thats just to stay with level one spells, as you get better spells the DC goes up.

RainDayNinja was right about the traits. Also once you have 7,500 gold you can pick up a pair of Gloves of Elvenkind

EDIT: YES! I ninja'd someone! =P

Scarab Sages

You may want to look at Gloves of Elvenkind if your worried about casting defensively.

Early, I've always just dealt with the occasional spell failure.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like Spellguard Bracers. The "Roll twice and keep the better 3/day" is perfect for your highest level spells.

If you don't do anything at all to increase your concentration checks or your 16 intelligence and always use the full spell combat bonus when casting your highest level spells, you'll be down to a 10% failure chance by 16th level from the 45% you had at 1st.

I think feats like Weapon Focus are a better deal in the long run, but if your GM is fine with retraining, I'd get Combat Casting at 1st level and swap it out once you get Improved Spell Combat at 8th.

Liberty's Edge

At low lvl it's easier to just eat the AoO. Especially if Dex based your AC is quite good at lvl1, if they miss you cast without having to make any check, if they do manage to hit the concentration check is 10+1+damage I believe, so they have to do 6 damage to make the concentration check as hard as if you cast defensively

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I only play magus characters and never had a problem with casting defensively.

At low levels, I simply never put myself in a position where I need to stay locked in melee with an enemy. I don't engage unless I can almost one-shot an enemy with a shocking grasp or two-handed attack. If you're a strength magus, that should be easy to do. If you're a dexterity magus, you're too feat starved to waste one on Combat Casting and you got the Dex to make ranged fighting viable until you're ready to start stabbing things. Remember that arcane pool can enchant ranged weapons, too.

The only time I ever needed to spell combat was when using vanish to get away. An alternative is using vanish to get close and then spell combat while invisible and next to your target. You have to blow a spell for this combo, but you won't have to cast defensively and the priority target is pretty much guaranteed to get hit.

Short answer: Don't bother with Combat Casting. You can get around the need to cast defensively by simply playing smarter.

Scarab Sages

Cyrad wrote:
Short answer: Don't bother with Combat Casting. You can get around the need to cast defensively by simply playing smarter.

Long answer: while you can often avoid casting defensively, there will be times you need to make concentration checks. The question is, how often and how reliable do you want your casting to be in those circumstances.


This is all fairly good advice, thank you. My only concern with using the Spell Combat concentration bonus is that it'll reduce my AB to the point where I won't be hitting anything (since Spell Combat is basically Flurry of Misses). I'll look into tacking the trait onto there for a little extra padding on concentration checks.

This isn't for PFS, and the only problem with me just hanging back and participating sparingly is the fact that my DM enjoys goading people who're being more passive in combat. Unless we bottleneck them, the heavier fighters are basically ignored as everything bumrushes/snipes the wizards, clerics, lighter armored people. I suppose, after an adventure or two to raise funds for it, I could buy myself Mock Armor to fix that, but it's an imperfect solution.

It's a Human Magus, so I was thinking of going:

L1: Toughness, Combat Casting
L3: Weapon Focus (Scimitar), Arcana: Arcane Accuracy
L5: Power Attack, Arcane Strike

And so on. Survivability and Concentration bonuses early, a significant boost to accuracy a little afterwards, followed up by a significant damage boost when I don't want to spend Arcane Pool points.

My DM (and I can see where he's going here) thinks Retraining something that wasn't an honest mistake in your build is a little cheesey, so retraining may or may not be an option.


Mister Fluffykins wrote:

This is all fairly good advice, thank you. My only concern with using the Spell Combat concentration bonus is that it'll reduce my AB to the point where I won't be hitting anything (since Spell Combat is basically Flurry of Misses). I'll look into tacking the trait onto there for a little extra padding on concentration checks.

This isn't for PFS, and the only problem with me just hanging back and participating sparingly is the fact that my DM enjoys goading people who're being more passive in combat. Unless we bottleneck them, the heavier fighters are basically ignored as everything bumrushes/snipes the wizards, clerics, lighter armored people. I suppose, after an adventure or two to raise funds for it, I could buy myself Mock Armor to fix that, but it's an imperfect solution.

It's a Human Magus, so I was thinking of going:

L1: Toughness, Combat Casting
L3: Weapon Focus (Scimitar), Arcana: Arcane Accuracy
L5: Power Attack, Arcane Strike

And so on. Survivability and Concentration bonuses early, a significant boost to accuracy a little afterwards, followed up by a significant damage boost when I don't want to spend Arcane Pool points.

My DM (and I can see where he's going here) thinks Retraining something that wasn't an honest mistake in your build is a little cheesey, so retraining may or may not be an option.

I dont think you will get a lot f use out of Arcane strike since you will use many swift actions on other things.

How long do you expect the game to run because Combat casting is only going out of fashion after level 11-15ish.


One thing to keep in mind is that you don't take an AoO if you fail the Cast Defensively check. You just fail the spell, but suffer no AoO.

Shadow Lodge

It's not worth it. If you really want something, just get the arcana that lets you reroll 1/day.


Remember: you can always take a -int to your attack roll, to add it to concentration checks. Also, you can learn and use, even as wand, warding weapon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would skip the Arcane Accuracy and Power Attack feats and just use Arcane Strike. You can't use Arcane Accuracy and Arcane Strike at the same time and Power Attack reduces your bonus to attack.

Arcane Strike is a good feat for a Magus if you take arcana that don't use swift actions.

I'd actually look at the Concentrate arcana if you're worried about flubbing a spell.

My arcana list was Concentrate, Empowered Magic, Spell Blending and Maximized Magic. None of those use swift actions or arcane pool.

Scarab Sages

Cap. Darling wrote:
I dont think you will get a lot f use out of Arcane strike since you will use many swift actions on other things.

I usually start with Arcane Strike at level 1 and get a lot of usage out of it nearly every combat. It is free damage on any round you are not burning your arcane pool.

The only time Arcane Strike is useless is when you are running 15 minute adventuring days and resource management is not a concern.

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