Classes that fill the Switch Hitter Role


Advice


What classes or builds besides ranger and fighter can perform similarly to a switch hitter? Think pfs rules.


Any class that is competent in both melee combat and ranged combat. All you really need is a way to attack those next to you and those that are farther away. About all you really need is quick draw, but even that is not absolutely necessary.

A Magus for example is able to handle it quite well. He uses his weapon on close targets and cast spells on those at a distance. Almost any spell caster with the right selection of spells could do this.


It's easier to list classes that would have a lot of difficulty with this. Cavaliers are probably too feat starved and rogues aren't natively good at range. Pretty much any other class could do this, though obviously many builds couldn't.

Sovereign Court

I am a fan of Alchemist and Medium in general. Mostly strength based Alchemist with a Adaptable Composite Longbow/Explosive Missile->Conductive to tag on another bomb (2 for the price of 3 essentially) , you can also use a Tangleshot Arrow to target Touch AC, but then you aren't leveraging the strength to damage. Feral Mutagen for natural attacks to be decent in melee. Medium Champion spirit gets a damage bonus for everything that isn't a spell, so basically weapon specialization->everything.
Flying Blade Swashbuckler (with a 2 level dip in Far Strike Monk) also fits the bill, though its mostly ranged throwing (and intentionally provoking) and countering the AoOs with its own AoOs with Disrupting Counter.

Kineticist, yeah, ok I agree with AVR, give us a class we can probably find a way to switch-hit it.


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All you really need for melee is a two-handed weapon and power attack.

All you really need for ranged is a STR bow or some means of adding static damage.

Any character with proficiency and very modest gear can switch-hit, the problem is, most don't try.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

All you really need for melee is a two-handed weapon and power attack.

All you really need for ranged is a STR bow or some means of adding static damage.

Any character with proficiency and very modest gear can switch-hit, the problem is, most don't try.

at level 10 a caster with a 2h and power attack will be at -7 on the attack roll compared to a fighter (without any iterative attack), and then power attack will drop accuracy further. It will not be a very effective plan.

There are some cool things wizards/sorcs can do in melee, and some builds that can support them reasonably, but in general I’d suggest looking at least toward a 3/4 BAB for switch hitters.


You don’t have to swing a sword to fulfill a switch hitter role. You just need to be effective from melee range to longer ranges. And most casters can accomplish this. For example, investing in touch spells and defensive casting.


Any full caster has enough options to be able to pull off both melee and ranged combat. A properly built wizard/sorcerer can be quite effective in the role of a switch hitter. This is especially true at higher level when they get access to more powerful spells. Power attacking with a two handed weapon is not the only way to fight in a melee. It may be very effective, but there are other ways to be equally effective in close range. Having at least ¾ BAB is going to make it easier to fill the role of a switch hitter, but is not required.


Rangers can use Combat Style Feats to gain archery while ignoring prerequisites, then just pick up Power Attack with a melee weapon. Thanks to their spelllist, they also have a bunch of buffs and other problem-solving spells. Plus they also get access to an Animal Companion, which is especially great if you're interested in Mounted Combat.


Besides rangers, what builds have you guys enjoyed using? I'm just looking for some fun ideas.


Do you count point blank master which lets you shoot a bow in melee range?


So long as you can melee and range in equal capacity and the build is viable, that's all I'm interested in. That and creativity.


For a wizard who can melee take a peek at Tarondor's guide to the Transmuter Wizard. Turning into a gargoyle or whatever to claw faces off can work. At range the same wizard can throw spells without needing to even spend a swift action changing weapons.


Sometimes switch hitting just means having the options. Fighter gets a lot of feats, maybe even more than you can use after a while, so they may do well in switch hitting.

For instance you could do something that quick draws daggers or short spears, throwing them and using them in combat. Throwing builds weren't as viable a couple years ago but have really done well to come back strong. For instance some items allow thrown into areas were wind mak block bows, or another feat allows an ax to be thrown while charging for a free attack.

Goes to show switch hitter doesn't mean switching weapons.

Silver Crusade

Kineticists make good switch hitters.


Flying blade swashbuckler is pretty good at using daggers/starknives in melee and range combat and are pretty good at being a party face.


Zen archer is not bad as a switch hitter if you do not neglect strength.


Any Charisma caster who follows Desna is a good choice. Divine Fighting Technique allows you to operate as a caster, ranged attacker, and if necessary engage in melee all using your best stat.


Lelomenia wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

All you really need for melee is a two-handed weapon and power attack.

All you really need for ranged is a STR bow or some means of adding static damage.

Any character with proficiency and very modest gear can switch-hit, the problem is, most don't try.

at level 10 a caster with a 2h and power attack will be at -7 on the attack roll compared to a fighter (without any iterative attack), and then power attack will drop accuracy further. It will not be a very effective plan.

There are some cool things wizards/sorcs can do in melee, and some builds that can support them reasonably, but in general I’d suggest looking at least toward a 3/4 BAB for switch hitters.

A caster has their own options. Many spells are equally effective regardless of range.

A cleric or oracle, if built for it, is already going to have melee weapons and ranged spells by default. Arcane caster's are either going to 5' step out of melee or cast defensively.


Degrees of switch-hittery:

Minimal: ...you're proficient at both melee and ranged combat.
Moderate: ...in addition, you're capable of securing battlefield-control AoOs.
Optimized: ...in addition, you're built to weather abuse and make your saves.

Implied (any degree): your output is more than negligible in multiple roles. I.e., the BAB6 melee guy who drops his opponent after one hit and then quick-tosses an axe for d6+4 against a distant opponent isn't much of a switch-hitter. (He's more firmly in the territory if TWF/Rapid, or a more damaging attack.) The "classic" 3rd-edition switch-hitter was a Ranger with both Rapid Shot and Two Weapon Fighting by 2nd level.

Also implied: you're a martial built to rotate weaponry as appropriate to the situation. --A high level caster who can do anything anywhere anytime may be an off-the-scale Green Lantern superhero coexistent in your fantasy RPG, but they're not really a switch-hitter even if they do sometimes slum around as a giant monster with opposable thumbs.

Examples:

* The archer who charges into melee Power Attacking with a greatword and offering his untouched pile of hitpoints as a meatwall to prevent squishy death has minimal switch-hitter capacity.

* The enlarged barbarian with a 20' reach polearm, Combat Reflexes and Quick Draw, has a moderate degree of switch-hittery.

* A paladin who is normally mounted with a lance, and also possessing both heavy and light blades and an Adaptive longbow, is an optimal switch-hitter. He's highly mobile and capable of both supernova offense in melee or at range, and can take more abuse than probably anyone else in their party.

Grand Lodge

Slim Jim wrote:

Degrees of switch-hittery:

* A paladin who is normally mounted with a lance, and also possessing both heavy and light blades and an Adaptive longbow, is an optimal switch-hitter. He's highly mobile and capable of both supernova offense in melee or at range, and can take more abuse than probably anyone else in their party.

Correction: a Kineticist with the Kinetic Blade (and possibly Kinetic Whip), a wand of Shield, Deadly Aim & Power Attack is an optimal switch hitter.

The Paladin above suffers the problem most people who try to switch-hit have - too many feats required. He needs mounted combat, ranged and melee feats. He's normally going to have one of the three sets, and not much of the other two. The Kineticist only needs one extra feat path, has a barrel of hit points, and moves from a ranged-designed class to melee with the addition of one infusion (kinetic blade).

I also fail to see where the Paladin gets super-nova powers in all three areas from. Double damage from a lance is standard, but charging is one attack. It only super-novas if there is extensive feat investment... which denies feats to melee/ranged. Similarly ranged supernovas require a lot of feats (three to get Deadly Aim). Melee is easier, as it only requires one feat, Power Attack, to ramp up. (Though others would help.)

Admittedly, Smite is a powerfull ability, but are you only going to run into Evil opponents?


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I think the myrmidarch magus looks like an interesting option.

They get ranged spellstrike but their spell combat only works in melee. They have extra combat feats by virtue of being magi and get weapon training.

It's not hard to pick up point blank shot, precise shot and focused shot, makes for a hell of a powerful single spellstrike ahot.


Egil Firehair wrote:
Correction: a Kineticist with the Kinetic Blade (and possibly Kinetic Whip), a wand of Shield, Deadly Aim & Power Attack is an optimal switch hitter.
You're cherrypicking one build out of hundreds available to argue that my listed example was somehow a poor choice.
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The Paladin above suffers the problem most people who try to switch-hit have - too many feats required. He needs mounted combat, ranged and melee feats. He's normally going to have one of the three sets, and not much of the other two.
I didn't list any feats at all for the paladin example, and he doesn't truly need any of them (although I'd certainly have Combat Reflexes for AoO-generation in a polearm guy).
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The Kineticist only needs one extra feat path, has a barrel of hit points...
While I'm sure you're proud of your Kineticist's jacked Con bonus, the paladin's swift LoH is best-in-game for unassisted damage-mitigation.
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...and moves from a ranged-designed class to melee with the addition of one infusion (kinetic blade).
I've never played a Kineticist and don't know a ton about them, so I would like to imagine there's some system-mastery-available mechanism around the prominently-listed 30' range limit to kinetic blasts.
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I also fail to see where the Paladin gets super-nova powers in all three areas from.
A paladin can apply his charisma bonus to attack and level bonus to damage (double versus some targets) while smiting regardless of weapon. That extra attack bonus fuels Power Attack, Piranha Strike and/or Deadly Aim (if he has them), as well as overcomes penalties for extreme distance, and the rapidly escalating numeric damage bonuses mean crits equal pink-mist.
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Admittedly, Smite is a powerful ability, but are you only going to run into Evil opponents?

What's your point? Is your Kineticist always going to face opponents at short range?

Grand Lodge

Slim Jim wrote:
Egil Firehair wrote:
Correction: a Kineticist with the Kinetic Blade (and possibly Kinetic Whip), a wand of Shield, Deadly Aim & Power Attack is an optimal switch hitter.
You're cherrypicking one build out of hundreds available to argue that my listed example was somehow a poor choice.

No cherry-picking going on. No mention has been made of what element the Kineticist is using, frex. Mentioning the Kinetic Blade is exactly the same as mentioning the longbow... KB is how a ranged designed class gets melee, the same as mentioning the longbow is how a melee designed class gets ranged attacks. And mentioning the Lance for mounted combat to get double damage out of a charge is equivalent to using the wand of Shield to bump the Kinny's weaker armor class.

Please note: I am not saying that your Paladin can't switch hit, I'm saying that it's moderate, rather than optimal.

Let's repeat something from my previous post:
"The Paladin above suffers the problem most people who try to switch-hit have - too many feats required. He needs mounted combat, ranged and melee feats. He's normally going to have one of the three sets, and not much of the other two."

Quote:
I didn't list any feats at all for the paladin example, and he doesn't truly need any of them (although I'd certainly have Combat Reflexes for AoO-generation in a polearm guy).

This is were you went wrong; to be optimal in a role requires feat support:

a) Mounted Combat feat tree - Mounted Combat, Ride-By-Attack, Spirited Charge, with Wheeling Charge & Phalanx Formation also being helpfull.
b) Ranged Combat feat tree - Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot and/or Many Shot (not all ranged chars get Many Shot). Point Blank Mastery is also helpfull for the classes that get it.
c) Melee Combat feats - there are so many options here that listing feat trees is ridiculous. Str melee tends to start with Power Attack.

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While I'm sure you're proud of your Kineticist's jacked Con bonus, the paladin's swift LoH is best-in-game for unassisted damage-mitigation.

Ah, no. Best in game would (probably) be the Earth Kineticist's defensive DR mechanism, though LoH is very good. As to jacked Con, if a Kinny only pays attention to his Con then he misses out the same way a Paladin misses out if only jacking his Cha.

Quote:
I've never played a Kineticist and don't know a ton about them, so I would like to imagine there's some system-mastery-available mechanism around the prominently-listed 30' range limit to kinetic blasts.

No imagination (or system-mastery) is necessary, as Kinny's get multiple infusions that extend the range to 120', and one for 480'. These are available as early as 1st level. It all depends on what you want, as 1st level also supplies Kinetic Blade. (I note: Kineticists are a complex class and you have to read well in to find longer range infusions.)

Vis supernovas:

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A paladin can apply his charisma bonus to attack...

I apologize, as I seem to have mentally skipped from supernova to damage surges. But Kinny's get this too, via the Burn mechanism, and more flexibly. As previously asked, is your Paladin only going to fight Evil opponents? The Kinny has problems of his own with creatures that have Spell Resistance, but still gets his supernova off on a wider range of enemies.

The Exchange

Slim Jim wrote:

Degrees of switch-hittery:

Minimal: ...you're proficient at both melee and ranged combat.
Moderate: ...in addition, you're capable of securing battlefield-control AoOs.
Optimized: ...in addition, you're built to weather abuse and make your saves.

Implied (any degree): your output is more than negligible in multiple roles. I.e., the BAB6 melee guy who drops his opponent after one hit and then quick-tosses an axe for d6+4 against a distant opponent isn't much of a switch-hitter. (He's more firmly in the territory if TWF/Rapid, or a more damaging attack.) The "classic" 3rd-edition switch-hitter was a Ranger with both Rapid Shot and Two Weapon Fighting by 2nd level.

Also implied: you're a martial built to rotate weaponry as appropriate to the situation. --A high level caster who can do anything anywhere anytime may be an off-the-scale Green Lantern superhero coexistent in your fantasy RPG, but they're not really a switch-hitter even if they do sometimes slum around as a giant monster with opposable thumbs.

Examples:

* The archer who charges into melee Power Attacking with a greatword and offering his untouched pile of hitpoints as a meatwall to prevent squishy death has minimal switch-hitter capacity.

* The enlarged barbarian with a 20' reach polearm, Combat Reflexes and Quick Draw, has a moderate degree of switch-hittery.

* A paladin who is normally mounted with a lance, and also possessing both heavy and light blades and an Adaptive longbow, is an optimal switch-hitter. He's highly mobile and capable of both supernova offense in melee or at range, and can take more abuse than probably anyone else in their party.

* A Zen Archer who moves faster than the mount, hits nearly as hard more times per round, has a longer range with their primary weapon, higher AC/Saves and only moderately fewer HP. Level depending, can completely ignore total concealment, shoot around corners, teleport anywhere on the battlefield and very rarely has to do anything other than keep putting arrows in the air as part of a full attack.


Egil Firehair wrote:
(Lots of stuff, but nothing addressing my twice-referred-to 30' range limit for Kinetic Blast.)
You're not a switch-hitter if you're only good within 30'. Hell, that's a "ranged" combat zone that's not larger than the melee zone of an Enlarged polearm dude with Long Arm and Lunge up, and he's also enjoying 2hPA AoOs.
Quote:

This is were you went wrong; to be optimal in a role requires feat support:

a) Mounted Combat feat tree - Mounted Combat, Ride-By-Attack, Spirited Charge, with Wheeling Charge & Phalanx Formation also being helpfull.
You only need Mounted Combat to keep your animal alive; the others are superfluous. (And you don't need Mounted Combat either, if you're not on an animal you care about; e.g., a yak costs 24gp and has 42hp.)
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b) Ranged Combat feat tree - Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot and/or Many Shot (not all ranged chars get Many Shot). Point Blank Mastery is also helpfull for the classes that get it.
A paladin needs precisely zero of these to be effective with a bow versus evil, which is half the opponents in the game. What is the purpose of these feats? Dishing out more damage, right? Well, if you throw out a ton of damage without them, then you don't need them. Furthermore, if you're incredibly resilient and can win wars of attrition, you don't even need to put out that much damage just being an indigestible hairball (more on that below).
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c) Melee Combat feats - there are so many options here that listing feat trees is ridiculous. Str melee tends to start with Power Attack.
Hmm.... Str:10 6th level halfling paladin Smites for +7 Cha bonus (for sake of argument let's also assume he doesn't even have Weapon Finesse and/or uRogue or Swashbuckler dip) and +12 damage versus evil dragons/outsiders/undead, and +6 to any "ordinary" evil, ...so that's another feat he doesn't need.
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Mentioning the Kinetic Blade is exactly the same as mentioning the longbow... KB is how a ranged designed class gets melee, the same as mentioning the longbow is how a melee designed class gets ranged attacks.
Well, you're going to need a bow, too, to hit anything standing any appreciable distance away, and unlike the full-BAB martials, won't have a class-granted buff of some sort to att/dmg.
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While I'm sure you're proud of your Kineticist's jacked Con bonus, the paladin's swift LoH is best-in-game for unassisted damage-mitigation.
Ah, no. Best in game would (probably) be the Earth Kineticist's defensive DR mechanism, though LoH is very good.

Let's take our halfling, this time at only 4th level, and give him Fey Foundling and Greater Mercy for his two total feats, and, because he's not entirely dumb, he'll choose the alternative level-up bonus halflings get for paladin. Now let's throw him into front-line combat with plants and constructs, where Smite is useless.

Any time he patches one of his owies with LoH (as a swift action) at 4th, he's healing 3d6+8, or better than Cure Serious Wounds, and he can do that probably seven times a day at that level if he bought a headband. That's a free 129 extra hitpoints daily. He's essentially made out of rubber. So, he'll tank with a size bonus to AC in the choke-points (who cares if he does no damage to those things?) while the party attacks over his head.

-- Supercork choke-point blocker is a valuable defensive capability, and anyone who can step into that position is optimizing their role-switching capacity. A paladin's capacity to weather avalanches of abuse is built into the class.

Glorf Fei-Hung wrote:
* A Zen Archer who moves faster than the mount, hits nearly as hard more times per round, has a longer range with their primary weapon, higher AC/Saves and only moderately fewer HP. Level depending, can completely ignore total concealment, shoot around corners, teleport anywhere on the battlefield and very rarely has to do anything other than keep putting arrows in the air as part of a full attack.

It's going to be nosebleed levels before a monk can outrun an ordinary horse wearing 3000gp Horseshoes of Speed (and a monk's speed bump is an enhancement bonus, so no make-me-faster gear for him), Sohei make better archer-monks than Zens do (and can actually flurry with a melee weapon while Zens are one-trick ponies screwed whenever archery is impossible for whatever reason), and monk saves and HP-soak eclipse a paladin's...no, that shouldn't happen (see above), sole exception you're a dwarf with Steel Soul and Glory of Old.


Slim Jim wrote:
(Lot's of stuff, but nothing addressing my twice-referred-to 30' range limit for Kinetic Blast.)

Pretty sure someone mentioned this already, but the extended range infusion and, if necessary, the extreme range infusion fix this. And/or air's reach.


Thanks. I figured there had to be something -- because there's always something. (...but, yeesh, the burn rate is going to be atrocious in artillery duals.)


Gather power and infusion specialization lower the burn costs. Kineticist has a lot of moving parts. Maybe even too many.

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