Hey theorycrafters - Help me build a strength Magus?


Advice


I'm interested in going against the grain with a 2h Magus that uses spellstrike with a reach weapon, essentially eschewing spell combat. Currently looking at a dwarf with a longhammer or a half-elf with a fauchard.

I've never played a Magus before, though, so I have no idea how to build it to be effective in combat. I've read up on the standard finesse + shocking grasp Dex builds, but is there a way to make a 2h version viable?


You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 13, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.


Can you even use 2h with spellstrike? I know of a archetype that lets you dual wield and still spellstrike because the offhand or w/e the hand that casts is a spell knife of some sort if I remember correctly.


You can with Spellstrike, not with Spell Combat.


Str Magus isn't the issue, eschewing Spell Combat is going to be the main problem. I'd suggest Mindblade if you're going to be starting at high levels, since at 13th they get the ability to Spell Combat with 2H weapons.

The main draw of a Magus, to me, is sort of the seamless blend of cast and bash without interrupting your usual flow of combat, so you can full attack and spell smash at the same time.

What you're doing is VIABLE, but takes away one of the Magus' main strengths, so you're going to have to work hard to juggle your weapon. Spell choice now is the most important part, since adding that 5d6 extra damage is pretty pointless once you get a second attack. I'd focus on touch based debuffs like Chill Touch.

Alternately, if you don't mind a bit of a weapon switch, you could use a Whip. It'd give you a one-handed Reach weapon so you can use all your class abilities.


Johnnycat93 wrote:

You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 7, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.

I'm OK with giving up spell combat and going for big single hits. I know there are buffs to hit, but I don't like the idea of dealing with defensive casting and dropping my attack bonus with a 3/4 BAB character. Attempting to land any iteratives seems like it would be a waste of energy. The vital strike build sounds fun.


When I did it I used Bloodrager VMC Magus to get access to feats faster and full BAB. I was using a Large Bastard Sword and Lunge for reach.


In the long run you'll probably be better off using a reach EK build. If you can VMC magus as well you'll be pretty much strictly superior after you reach level 11. The spell combat action economy is the only thing the magus really does better than the EK.

Grand Lodge

Kensai Strength build. Dont dump dex below 14.
Use combat reflexes and enlarge person.
Cast multible charges touch spells and buff spells with your standard action and use aoo as your offensiv.


If 3rd party is available, check out the Arcane Marauder Magus archetype from Path of Iron.


A strength build isnt a solid as a dex build. Dex build combines well with one-handed weapons, in particular the Scimitar for a Dervish build. Dex also effects you AC(youre stuck with light for a while) and initiative. You can also have ranged weapons or just outright use the Eldritch Archer archetype for it. Note: the main reason to use Spellstrike if For getting criticals.

for a strength build, well No Spell Combat and low AC. not a good combination. You would be better picking a Warpriest or Hunter.

A Dwarf is one of the most solid races, but their bonus stats are the opposite of what you want. The primary stats for a Magus are Intelligence and Dex(or strength) and secondary stats are constitution(and dex if its not your primary).

Chief problem is that Magus doesnt have the armor or bonus feats necessary to be like two-handed Fighter and your other half, spells would be weak.

If you want a reach weapon pick the Lunge combat Feat. Use it along with Spell Combat so you dont have to Cast Defensively.


I think the frostbite+Rime Spell+Enforcer build might be good here. Add in a Dual Talent human (for high Int and Str), with Combat Reflexesat level 1. And maybe focus on Polymorph spells? (Enlarge Person, Alter Self, Monstrous Physiqie)

I can see that being fun. And starting with an 18 strength means that even without power attack, you'll hit hard.

Grand Lodge

My DM is letting me use the still spell metamagic to use spell combat with a two handed weapon.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

You may want to consider a one level dip arcane duelist bard or spell warrior skald, then four levels of dragon disciple. That way you can afford to spread the ability scores a bit more to start with and still end up with a high Str.

You lose a couple levels of magus spell progression and slow the gain of magus abilities, but also gain +3 natural armor (which stacks with enhancement bonuses to natural armor like barkskin and amulets of natural armor). This helps you have a decent AC without needing to pump Dex.


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Are you certain you want to build as a Magus? Because if the important part is "2-hand reach magic knight" you might want to instead consider an Occultist. EDIT: nvm, I see spellstrike is on your important list.

Or, if this isn't for PFS, you could ask your GM if they'd allow Soul Forger's restriction to only use spell combat when using your bond weapon to allow said 2-hand weapon if it's your bond.


What about the Deep Marshal magus archetype?

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/magus/archetypes/paizo---magus -archetypes/deep-marshal-magus


A basic magus works, I have a magus that uses a great sword. The trick is to use chill touch or frost bite instead of shocking grasp. Chill touch and frost bite give you charges per caster level.

How it plays: cast buffs, cast chill touch, full attack. Most of the time one spell will last a whole combat so you will have spells to use for other things out side of damage. Your damage does not spike as much and your over all damage is a little lower.

Spell Combat is just not used. Spell strike on the other will be used 2 or 3 times a round instead of just once a round.


james014Aura wrote:

Are you certain you want to build as a Magus? Because if the important part is "2-hand reach magic knight" you might want to instead consider an Occultist. EDIT: nvm, I see spellstrike is on your important list.

Or, if this isn't for PFS, you could ask your GM if they'd allow Soul Forger's restriction to only use spell combat when using your bond weapon to allow said 2-hand weapon if it's your bond.

I'm not opposed to another class route - I'm unfamiliar with the Occultist, though. I'm more trying to flush out the idea of a Str/Int hybrid character that is proficient in both casting and melee. Magus seemed the best option for that. I've looked into Bloodrager, but it just doesn't have the same feel.


Johnnycat93 wrote:

You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 13, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean. I am hesitant to believe that the free attack spellstrike grants you can be a vital strike, because of the whole special standard action business associated with vital strike.

Can you explain? I've never played a magus (and it sounds like you have) so maybe I'm missing something.


Makknus wrote:
james014Aura wrote:

Are you certain you want to build as a Magus? Because if the important part is "2-hand reach magic knight" you might want to instead consider an Occultist. EDIT: nvm, I see spellstrike is on your important list.

Or, if this isn't for PFS, you could ask your GM if they'd allow Soul Forger's restriction to only use spell combat when using your bond weapon to allow said 2-hand weapon if it's your bond.

I'm not opposed to another class route - I'm unfamiliar with the Occultist, though. I'm more trying to flush out the idea of a Str/Int hybrid character that is proficient in both casting and melee. Magus seemed the best option for that. I've looked into Bloodrager, but it just doesn't have the same feel.

You can also look into the Child of War, Blade Adept, or Sword Binder. Of the three, the Sword Binder is probably the most potent (if a little boring).


Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:

You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 13, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean. I am hesitant to believe that the free attack spellstrike grants you can be a vital strike, because of the whole special standard action business associated with vital strike.

Can you explain? I've never played a magus (and it sounds like you have) so maybe I'm missing something.

The key is the ability to hold a charge on a touch spell. You can cast Shocking Grasp, hold the charge, and then deliver it some time later with a Vital Strike attack. Under normal circumstances it doesn't all happen on the same round. Remember, you don't have to take the free attack from Spellstrike. You can still use Spellstrike to deliver touch spells with other attacks (iterative attacks, AoOs) as long as you have a held charge.


Johnnycat93 wrote:
Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:

You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 13, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean. I am hesitant to believe that the free attack spellstrike grants you can be a vital strike, because of the whole special standard action business associated with vital strike.

Can you explain? I've never played a magus (and it sounds like you have) so maybe I'm missing something.

The key is the ability to hold a charge on a touch spell. You can cast Shocking Grasp, hold the charge, and then deliver it some time later with a Vital Strike attack. Under normal circumstances it doesn't all happen on the same round. Remember, you don't have to take the free attack from Spellstrike. You can still use Spellstrike to deliver touch spells with other attacks (iterative attacks, AoOs) as long as you have a held charge.

yeah, that makes sense. You're giving me ideas of dipping one lvl of barbarian and getting furious finish for the ultimate one hit wonder.


Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:
Del_Taco_Eater wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:

You have essentially three options: use third party resources, play a Mind Blade and wait until level 13, or give up on using Spell Combat.

A reasonably fun build can be done with a Magus using Vital Strike and Spellstrike for huge single attacks. It's not as impressive as a normal Magus build, but it'll certainly put the fear of god in folks.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean. I am hesitant to believe that the free attack spellstrike grants you can be a vital strike, because of the whole special standard action business associated with vital strike.

Can you explain? I've never played a magus (and it sounds like you have) so maybe I'm missing something.

The key is the ability to hold a charge on a touch spell. You can cast Shocking Grasp, hold the charge, and then deliver it some time later with a Vital Strike attack. Under normal circumstances it doesn't all happen on the same round. Remember, you don't have to take the free attack from Spellstrike. You can still use Spellstrike to deliver touch spells with other attacks (iterative attacks, AoOs) as long as you have a held charge.
yeah, that makes sense. You're giving me ideas of dipping one lvl of barbarian and getting furious finish for the ultimate one hit wonder.

Bloodrager VMC Magus is what I find to be the most effective. If you dip barb you either have to go Urban Rager or go Barb 2 ('cause you can't cast while raging normally).


Test Build:

Half Elf - 20pt buy - level 8 Magus
Str:16(+2 from 4/8 increase) Dex:12 Con:15 Int:14(+2 racial) Wis:10 Cha:7
Elven Immunities
Ancestral Arms: Fauchard
Keen Senses: +2 Perception
Low Light Vision
Multitalented

Traits: Student of Philosophy, Magical Lineage

Feats: was thinking Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Pushing Assault for a start - focusing on not getting full-attacked.

Arcana: Familiar, Empowered Magic

Basic combat gear: Keen Fauchard and Mithral Breastplate

Main spell - Frostbite

-----

This was kind of going down the line Johnnycat proposed. I'm not super familiar with VMC ragers so I kept it basic. Any advice on improving/fleshing out this build, or proposing an alt build with multiclass would be appreciated.

Liberty's Edge

Hi,

I think a frostbite build is going to be best here. There is an "ask James Jacobs" post somewhere on the forums where a wizard wanted a 2H sword as a bond, and Jacobs told him that he could as a free action hold the sword in one hand while casting with the other and then hold it again.

Also, as per the spellstrike FAQ: "Can a magus use spellstrike to cast a touch spell, move, and make a melee attack with a weapon to deliver the touch spell, all in the same round?

Yes. Other than deploying the spell with a melee weapon attack instead of a melee touch attack, the magus spellstrike ability doesn’t change the normal rules for using touch spells in combat. So, just like casting a touch spell, a magus could use spellstrike to cast a touch spell, take a move toward an enemy, then (as a free action) make a melee attack with his weapon to deliver the spell."

So I believe with a 2H weapon you could shift it to one hand as a free action, cast the spell, shift weapon back as a free action, then move toward enemy, then as a free action (see FAQ above) make a melee attack and deliver the spell. Note that you are not using spell combat to do this. You needed to free your hand to make the somatic component. Then you just used spellstrike.

The good news is you wouldn't have to go through so much bother other rounds, as frostbite lasts a few rounds.

I would say dual talent (+2 to two stats) human mindblade. Get medium armor at lvl 1 as feat and heavy armor at lvl 3. For traits, wayang spellhunter and magical lineage with frostbite. Pick up rime spell and empower spell at level 5.


Makknus wrote:
I'm not opposed to another class route - I'm unfamiliar with the Occultist, though. I'm more trying to flush out the idea of a Str/Int hybrid character that is proficient in both casting and melee. Magus seemed the best option for that. I've looked into Bloodrager, but it just doesn't have the same feel.

Might be worth looking into the Occultist. It's similar to a Magus in that it's STR/DEX and INT class that is proficient in combat and casting. Thematically the difference is that the Magus uses their magical abilities to hit harder while the Occultist invests their magic power into day long passive buffs (+2-6 to a physical attribute, +1-5 resistance bonus, and always-on see invisible at level 9 are the best ones).

The Occultist has an extremely limited selection of spells (you get 1 per school per spell level), but also gets class powers that use metacurrency instead of spell slots in order to mimic spells (e.g. Haste, Fly, Invisibility, Summon Monster.) Magus spell list is more blasty and the Occultist spell list is very diverse but in my experience is better for buffs/utility than blasting (you get both Fireball and Heal, and that's neat though.)

IMO it's one of the better designed OA classes, so it's worth at least a read through. I played one through RoW and had a blast; my biggest complaint is that the elf FCB is so good, that anything other than elf or half-elf is noticeably suboptimal.


I'll second everything *Khan* said.

I'm playing a bladebound Str magus (male lashunta, even) in a homebrew game; he fights with a bastard sword (which enlarges up to 2d8), and uses combat reflexes + long arm + cat's grace + a size enlarger (enlarge person, monstrous physique II, etc.) to constantly threaten a large area with numerous AoOs.

I'd say go with a longsword over a greatsword, because spell combat is so much better than single spellstrikes every round, and once enlarging is factored in you're only getting an extra 1d6 from the greatsword (longsword goes from 1d8 -> 2d6, greatsword is 2d6->3d6).

Remember that you can freely swap from 1-Hand style to 2-Hand style during your turn, so you can 1-Hand during your turn for Spell Combat and then return to 2-handing at the end for your 15 ft reach AoOs.

Frostbite's a nice little way to make your attacks more dangerous, as long as your foes aren't immune to cold or subdual. Chill touch is another option, though it's much lower damage than Frostbite (but works on all living creatures and has a chance to panic undead).


Zhangar wrote:

I'll second everything *Khan* said.

I'm playing a bladebound Str magus (male lashunta, even) in a homebrew game; he fights with a bastard sword (which enlarges up to 2d8), and uses combat reflexes + long arm + cat's grace + a size enlarger (enlarge person, monstrous physique II, etc.) to constantly threaten a large area with numerous AoOs.

I'd say go with a longsword over a greatsword, because spell combat is so much better than single spellstrikes every round, and once enlarging is factored in you're only getting an extra 1d6 from the greatsword (longsword goes from 1d8 -> 2d6, greatsword is 2d6->3d6).

Remember that you can freely swap from 1-Hand style to 2-Hand style during your turn, so you can 1-Hand during your turn for Spell Combat and then return to 2-handing at the end for your 15 ft reach AoOs.

Frostbite's a nice little way to make your attacks more dangerous, as long as your foes aren't immune to cold or subdual. Chill touch is another option, though it's much lower damage than Frostbite (but works on all living creatures and has a chance to panic undead).

This is a little more traditional, but will take away the GM headache of all the extra paperwork for Frostbite and other stacking debuffs:

Human Kensai 8
STR 18 (+2 racial +1 level)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 18 (+2 racial +1 level)
WIS 10
CHA 7

Dual Talented alt Racial

Traits: Magical Lineage - Shocking Grasp, Student of Philosophy

1 Kensai: Weapon Focus - Katana
1: Toughness
3: Power Attack
5: Combat Reflexes
5: Intensified Spell
7: Improved Familiar - Air Mephit (for carrying/using wands, rods, etc)

Arcana: Familiar, Arcane Accuracy

NOTE: I play mostly in homebrews that tend to be RP-heavy, so I don't mind not being completely battle optimized in favor of a few social boosts (though our combat sessions are still very tough, so I need to still be pretty good).

Sovereign Court

Actually - I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the one way to have both a reach weapon AND use Spell Combat.

You could potentially go with a whip build. It's feat intensive, but it's pretty slick when you get it going.

It has low damage dice, but that doesn't matter much when you're adding 5d6 electric damage.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Actually - I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the one way to have both a reach weapon AND use Spell Combat.

You could potentially go with a whip build. It's feat intensive, but it's pretty slick when you get it going.

It has low damage dice, but that doesn't matter much when you're adding 5d6 electric damage.

I've seen the whip magus discussed in a few threads. Conceptually, the thought of a whip crackling with electrical energy is really cool, but the problem is all the rounds you don't get to do 5d6 damage, like, most of them. If you have a one fight per day GM/campaign, however, it's not a problem.

Sovereign Court

taks wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Actually - I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the one way to have both a reach weapon AND use Spell Combat.

You could potentially go with a whip build. It's feat intensive, but it's pretty slick when you get it going.

It has low damage dice, but that doesn't matter much when you're adding 5d6 electric damage.

I've seen the whip magus discussed in a few threads. Conceptually, the thought of a whip crackling with electrical energy is really cool, but the problem is all the rounds you don't get to do 5d6 damage, like, most of them. If you have a one fight per day GM/campaign, however, it's not a problem.

Past the first few levels a single Frostbite can get you effectively through most lesser encounters, pulling out Shocking Grasp only for tougher foes. Perhaps combined with the classic True Strike/maneuver with a wand. (Only getting more AOOs.)


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
taks wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Actually - I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the one way to have both a reach weapon AND use Spell Combat.

You could potentially go with a whip build. It's feat intensive, but it's pretty slick when you get it going.

It has low damage dice, but that doesn't matter much when you're adding 5d6 electric damage.

I've seen the whip magus discussed in a few threads. Conceptually, the thought of a whip crackling with electrical energy is really cool, but the problem is all the rounds you don't get to do 5d6 damage, like, most of them. If you have a one fight per day GM/campaign, however, it's not a problem.
Past the first few levels a single Frostbite can get you effectively through most lesser encounters, pulling out Shocking Grasp only for tougher foes. Perhaps combined with the classic True Strike/maneuver with a wand. (Only getting more AOOs.)

I can see the value in a whip build, especially for getting into tripping, but from a thematic standpoint I am not a fan of using a whip as my main weapon.

Sovereign Court

Makknus wrote:
I can see the value in a whip build, especially for getting into tripping, but from a thematic standpoint I am not a fan of using a whip as my main weapon.

Remember this benefit from a thematic standpoint... you get to have Devo play your theme song!

(It's not the be-all end-all build, but it is the only one I know which lets you use Spell Combat with a reach weapon.)


Use a small-sized polearm with a -2 to hit? ;)


Because size matters.

Don't want people laughing at the size of your polearm.


Seems like finding an archetype that either gives up spell combat, or enables it with a THW would work best.

If you're using the standard action economy system, your best bet is to rip straight from the Reach Cleric guide (seems like you are) and use a reach weapon with Combat Reflexes.

An elf or Half elf with Elven Battle Training can get two attacks of opportunity per round, without investing into DEX, using an Elven Branched Spear as your reach weapon.

Basically, you'll spend your turn casting either a buff or a big hit spell (possibly using cheese to turn it into a one-hander to get access to Spell Combat anyway during your turn, purposely casting the spell last, and attacking with your "big hit" with an AOO.)


This is a bit of a necro but I'm looking to play a very similar character. Check out Armored Battlemage from the Armor Master's Handbook.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/magus/archetypes/paizo---magus -archetypes/armored-battlemage-magus-archetype

You start with medium armor along with a +4 to defensive casting. You give up spell combat but keep spellstrike. You lose your third level arcana for a Fighter's armor training(and 18th level arcana but that's so high level who cares). You get Armor Training I at 3, II at 8, III at 13. You get heavy armor at 7. Your other big trade is that your arcane pool buffs your armor instead of your weapon.

With all that you can use a 2h weapon along with spell strike like you want. You do lose out on buffing your weapon, which does hurt some, but buffing your AC won't be terrible. Since you aren't losing -2 to hit from spell combat you won't suffer as much for losing buffing your weapon. The big loss is not being able to grab special weapon abilities. Getting armor training is great.

I'd go human for +2 to two stats like mentioned above. You need high STR, good Int, and decent Con and Dex. At lvl 8 you'd want 16 dex and full plate. Probably 14 Dex with a +2 Str/Dex belt. You're also moving at full speed.

I would focus on arcana that boost offense/to hit like Arcane Accuracy.

The big thing I'm thinking with this archetype is how to maximize the utility of your pool since you can't buff your weapon. The way I see it, focus on getting as many swift action uses of your pool to offset not getting spell combat. You can't buff and attack at the same time. What you can do though is buff your armor with your pool as a swift action. Consider replacing the Shield spell in most fights with that. It's not as big of a boost as Shield but it's a swift action. Let's say you're going to buff round 1 of a fight. Swift action to use your pool to buff your armor. Standard to cast a buff spell, like Bull's Str, Longarm, get Frostbite up and running, whatever. Then move into position. Second round you could throw up Hasted Assault. Then if you need to move, cast a touch spell and go hit someone. If they're already in melee, full attack with haste. You've got good AC from heavier armor and arcane pool buffs so you can conserve some spells in regular fights and focus on the innate power of a STR based 2h power attacker.

I think by losing your 3rd level arcana it might be good to take extra arcana at 7th. Grab something to use those pool points with. Luckily the archetype doesn't give up spell recall, it wouldn't be worth it if it did. This archetype could be a great magic tank. Good AC, defensive spell buffs, plenty of spells/day with spell recall, a solid 2h power attack, and big flashy blast spells. A heavily armored guy 10 feet away from you who can throw fireballs while wielding a greatsword is a target you want to kill quickly, but he's got the AC and Mirror Images to live through it.

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