Spell combat (sorta) outclassed?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Is there any point to using spell combat at levels 2-7 for a magus when spellstrike is available? Spell combat requires a full round action with two attacks at -2 while spellstrike gives you one attack that typically requires a standard action and you can cast without needing a concentration check since you can cast the spell, move, and then attack. Is there something I'm missing here? The only thing I see spell combat having an edge over spellstrike is that at level 8 and beyond you can get more attacks with your weapon.


As a level 2 Magus, I find myself more often than not using a melee attack and then doing burning hands on a group of two or more guys clustered up. Overall doing more damage. This is of course situational, however the magus to me strikes as a very flexible class and can do these things if he wished. The spell strike is only the best thing to do in a fight where you are fighting one guy or something. Doesn't happen every fight.


Sure, buff spells. Open combat by spell-combatting Mirror Image/Shield/Haste, 5-foot step, attack. Or debuff spells, Grease or Ray of Enfeeblement before moving closer. Or now with the ACG, Long Arm, 5-foot step, attack people 10 feet away.


I would argue the case is a bit like Cleave for someone with full BAB before 6th level or someone with medium BAB before 8th. Yeah it gives two attacks but that doesn't mean it's always a good choice.


HyperMissingno wrote:
Is there any point to using spell combat at levels 2-7 for a magus when spellstrike is available?

You can do both at once, which I think is what you mean when you say spell combat.

HyperMissingno wrote:
Spell combat requires a full round action with two attacks at -2 while spellstrike gives you one attack that typically requires a standard action and you can cast without needing a concentration check since you can cast the spell, move, and then attack.

If you're five feet away from your target, you can do the same thing with spell combat. If you're adjacent to an enemy already, you can't do the spellstrike thing. If you're more than 5 feet from your target, spell combat isn't available at all so there's no comparison to be made.

Two attacks at -2 is typically better than one attack. (For example, if you have a 50% chance of hitting normally, you will land on average 0.5 of a hit. If you could instead attack twice with 40% hit chance, you will land on average 0.8 of a hit.)

If you're hasted you can make three attacks with spell combat.

Sovereign Court

I normally see them used together. Use Spellstrike to cast any touch spell, typically Shocking Grasp, Arcane Mark (or for Hexblades, Brand), and deliver it through a weapon, while using Spell Combat. It's a bit of a wonky way of simulating 2WF.


Ascalaphus wrote:
I normally see them used together. Use Spellstrike to cast any touch spell, typically Shocking Grasp, Arcane Mark (or for Hexblades, Brand), and deliver it through a weapon, while using Spell Combat. It's a bit of a wonky way of simulating 2WF.

A little clarification. This is not Spell Combat (which is a full-round action, allowing the casting of a spell AND a full-attack action). What you described was simply a standard action of casting a spell, with the delivery method modified by spellstrike. The ability to cast a spell and deliver it through a weapon is completely within Spellstrike.


CraziFuzzy wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I normally see them used together. Use Spellstrike to cast any touch spell, typically Shocking Grasp, Arcane Mark (or for Hexblades, Brand), and deliver it through a weapon, while using Spell Combat. It's a bit of a wonky way of simulating 2WF.
A little clarification. This is not Spell Combat (which is a full-round action, allowing the casting of a spell AND a full-attack action). What you described was simply a standard action of casting a spell, with the delivery method modified by spellstrike. The ability to cast a spell and deliver it through a weapon is completely within Spellstrike.

You've misunderstood him. He means, use the spellstrike as a method of getting an extra hit out of spell combat, even if you aren't actually using the spell for anything (as is the case for arcane mark). This means you get 2 attacks at -2 with the potential for a rider, instead of 1 attack.


Spell Combat is never outclassed. It is the Magus' reason for being. It is the reason to run a Magus 12 over Inspired Blade 1/Scryer Wizard 1/EK 10 (or whatever the newest EK flavor is).

Spellstrike is a useful tool for delivering a touch spell. The Magus' primary offensive strategies revolve heavily around Spellstrike, but to get the kind of raw damage they need to keep up with the party, they revolve just as heavily around Spell Combat-- you'll be using both, in unison, for as much as possible. But, here are some things you can do with Spell Combat:

  • Pounce. Declare Spell Combat 30' away from your target. Cast Bladed Dash. As part of the spell, you move 30', get an attack off. Then finish out Spell Combat by full attacking.
  • Buff in the middle of combat, without losing attacks. A dangerous enemy is in your face and you want to better protect yourself? No problem. Declare Spell Combat, cast Mirror Images (or whatever your defensive spell of choice is), proceed to full attack.
  • Damage output. Let's assume that you're a tenth level Magus, you love Shocking Grasp, you have Precise Strike and a 20 in you to hit/damage stat, your rapier is a boring +5 after you dropped your Arcane Pool on it. If you only use Shocking Grasp -> Spellstrike, you get 11D6 (10D6 Shocking Grasp + 1D6 Rapier)+20. Not bad. If you Spell Combat though? 11D6+20 on the first attack, then 1D6+20 on the second (at full BAB-2), then 1D6+20 on the third (at BAB-7). If you had Haste up-- and see the second point-- add another 1D6+20 to the board. What would you rather have, 11D6+20 and a move action or 14D6+80? Now, if the target is 30' away, yeah, you might prefer to use move action + Shocking Grasp over a Spell Combat Pounce. The Pounce will use a second-level spell instead of a first, in exchange for doing (assuming Haste) 4D6+80 damage. That comes out far ahead of Grasp in damage if everything hits (it comes out ahead even if you miss on the iterative or don't have Haste, but not if both happen).

So: Spell Combat is more flexible, but pairs wonderfully without Spellstrike. That said, if one has to be lost, it's easier to sacrifice Spellstrike. There is absolutely no reason to sacrifice either one though.


HyperMissingno wrote:
Is there any point to using spell combat at levels 2-7 for a magus when spellstrike is available?

Unquestionably. With JUST spellstrike, I cast Shocking Grasp and hit you with my scimitar as a free action, delivering the Shocking Grasp. With Spell Combat, too, I hit you with my Scimitar at -2, then cast Shocking Grasp and hit you with my scimitar as a free action (at -2), delivering the Shocking Grasp.

Basically, Spell Combat lets you dual wield a weapon attack and a spell, and with Spellstrike, that ends up giving you the effect two weapon hits and a spell from 2nd to 7th (at 8th, it gives three weapon hits and a spell).


I think what OP is trying to say is that making that extra scimitar attack at the cost of -2 to both of your attacks, and your movement for the turn is seldom worth it.

I tend to agree. Your scimitar won't do that much extra damage, especially at low levels. However it's still good for buffing yourself, and you can use the extra attack for combat maneuvers (most notably the trip/disarm+truestrike combo).


LoneKnave wrote:

I think what OP is trying to say is that making that extra scimitar attack at the cost of -2 to both of your attacks, and your movement for the turn is seldom worth it.

I tend to agree. Your scimitar won't do that much extra damage, especially at low levels. However it's still good for buffing yourself, and you can use the extra attack for combat maneuvers (most notably the trip/disarm+truestrike combo).

Yeah, that's I was saying, of course now I see that Spell Combat has a lot more flexibility over spellstirke.


At the lower levels using spell combat with arcane mark is almost TWF with one weapon. I Think it is worth it. Just remember to have a name that is spelled with a Z, as a Q is hard to mke with a scimitar.


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Cap. Darling wrote:
At the lower levels using spell combat with arcane mark is almost TWF with one weapon. I Think it is worth it. Just remember to have a name that is spelled with a Z, as a Q is hard to mke with a scimitar.

You just make it like a reverse 9.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HyperMissingno wrote:
Is there any point to using spell combat at levels 2-7 for a magus when spellstrike is available? Spell combat requires a full round action with two attacks at -2 while spellstrike gives you one attack that typically requires a standard action and you can cast without needing a concentration check since you can cast the spell, move, and then attack. Is there something I'm missing here? The only thing I see spell combat having an edge over spellstrike is that at level 8 and beyond you can get more attacks with your weapon.

You can't generally do the 5 foot step to avoid rolling with every spell you cast. No all combats occur on a flat featureless plane.


LoneKnave wrote:

I think what OP is trying to say is that making that extra scimitar attack at the cost of -2 to both of your attacks, and your movement for the turn is seldom worth it.

I tend to agree. Your scimitar won't do that much extra damage, especially at low levels. However it's still good for buffing yourself, and you can use the extra attack for combat maneuvers (most notably the trip/disarm+truestrike combo).

Getting two attacks at a -2 is almost always worth it. This is almost identical to a melee 'rapid shot' feat mechanically, which is considered a must have for ranged characters. Think of it as a power attack which doubles your damage.

Retaining a move action is mostly a waste if you are already standing next to someone. Obviously if you aren't standing next to or near someone, you can't spell combat without bladed dash or similar and the whole discussion is superfluous anyway.


Spellcombat is as much worth it as two weapon fighting. Is is just a -2 but you get to attack more often. And by attacking more often have more chances to deliver your spell.


LoneKnave wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
At the lower levels using spell combat with arcane mark is almost TWF with one weapon. I Think it is worth it. Just remember to have a name that is spelled with a Z, as a Q is hard to mke with a scimitar.
You just make it like a reverse 9.

Enter, Quasiradolph the Avenger(and magus)

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