Are controller casters still a thing?


Advice


Greetings Paizonians,

I remember the controller caster was an absolute powerhouse in PF1, how does he hold up now and who's list is most favorable for that style of caster? Is the controller still an optimal style or is the blaster the new benchmark?


It can still be effective. Most disabling and Crowd Control have been nerfed quite dramatically, so don't expect to shut down all enemies with a single cast.

Battlefield control will mostly delay enemies by a turn or two. Most spells that can take someone out of combat only last a round and many have the Incapacitate trait, making them ineffective against bosses.


The wall type battle field control spells all feel very weak to me.

There are still a few good spells, calm emotions is great at level 2 (but thankfully has the incapacitation trait). I think I saw some decent ones that didn't have that trait, but I can't remember which.

Most control spells are bad now, you really have to try to find good ones. I don't think that's too different from pf1 though


Instead of making opponents just lose entire turns or just be removed from battle the battlefield control in 2e looks to be around making the enemy lose actions.

Stinking Cloud, Grease, Wall of X, Black Tentacles, Web all work to make the foes lose actions or give penalties.


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Hmm yes seems quite inferior to straight blasting. Let us have a moment of silence for this particular style of casting. R.I.P old friend, you will be missed Web, Slow, Create Pit, Shifting Sand, etc.

Liberty's Edge

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Control casting is still very viable. Debuffs, particularly costing the enemy actions or giving them defensive penalties are very powerful with PF2's math.

They look a tad weak when you're used to PF1, but in practice they can be very strong indeed if you have allies to make use of the opportunities they provide.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Control casting is still very viable. Debuffs, particularly costing the enemy actions or giving them defensive penalties are very powerful with PF2's math.

They look a tad weak when you're used to PF1, but in practice they can be very strong indeed if you have allies to make use of the opportunities they provide.

Hmm? Which spells would you recommend?


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A few highlights:

- Slow. Reducing enemy actions is very powerful.

- Mask of Terror. For 1 minute, anyone targeteing the bufed creature must make a will save on their first hostile action each turn. Failure makes the attacker frightened 2, which is a pretty substential debuff, lowering not only attacks and save, but also AC and save DCs! Can be cast on 5 creatures (i.e. the whole party, most likely) hen heightened to level 8.

- Resilient sphere. At first glance, it's destroyeed very easily, especially at higher levels since there's no way to increase it's Hp. but than you realise that the enemy will msot likely use his first (and by far most dangerous) attack to break it, making his overall turn much less threatening. A caster might need a spell to get around it, which more or less costs him his whole turn. And the spell does all this still pretty well when the target succeeds at its save.

- Blindness is still a good debuff. It has the incapacitation trait so it works best against lower enemies (still up to your level, mind you, just not bosses). One minute blindness doesn't only meak 50% miss chance but also most likely at least one action per turn spent with the seek acton.

- Vibrant Pattern works like PF1 glitterdust. It does come quite a bit later, though (level 6 spell). Still powerful.

- Feeblemind give an enemy caster permanent 40% spell failure chance with a permanent duration. And it's still 30% for one round on a successful save.


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The action-reducing spells are much better when you get the higher-level versions that affect multiple targets. Fear and Fear(3) might be OK if someone in the party is built to exploit the frightened condition. Command(5), Slow(6), Paralyze(7) all look good to me.


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Stinking Cloud: Sickened and Slow while inside the cloud.

Wall of Fire/Stone/Ice/Force: No save, it split the field in two, possibly making one extreme encounter into two moderate encounters.

Grease: Enemies moving into the Grease space make a reflex save or will be prone, forcing them to spend an action to get up.

Solid Fog/Obscuring Mist: This harass ranged attackers so hard with the 20% flat miss chance, Solid Fog gives difficult terrain as well making harder to get out.

Synaptic Pulse: Occult list, it's incapacitation but it's a 30ft emanation stunned 2, it's crazy strong.


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Kyrone wrote:
Stinking Cloud: Sickened and Slow while inside the cloud.

Stinking Cloud has lost most of its steam. It only affects creatures that end their turn in the cloud. And with 20 ft radius, that means at best you force one move action. Which isn't bad, mind you. Just the chance to actually slow/sicken someone with it is rather low without a good setup.

Quote:
Wall of Fire/Stone/Ice/Force: No save, it split the field in two, possibly making one extreme encounter into two moderate encounters.

For one round. All the walls have too few HP to stop enemies for much longer, with the possible exception of Wall of Force with its pretty high hardness.

Quote:
Grease: Enemies moving into the Grease space make a reflex save or will be prone, forcing them to spend an action to get up.

And you can debuff a weapon user with it. -2 attack for a minute isn't too shabby. And there's not even any reason to use a slot above 1st for it.

Note that I still consider all thses spells very good, with the possible exception of Stinking Cloud, which requires a bit too much setup for my liking.


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To add to the list:

Synaesthesia seems like one of the strongest debuffs in the game, debuffing simultaneously various aspects of a target, and even in a save it still lasts for a round.

Black tentacles are extremely effective since not only does it robs actions in an Aoe, with a duration and damage on top, but even if they do manage to break free and leave, it's still a -5 debuff to attacks effectively since Escape action is an "attack" progressing MAP.

And you have to remember that if they fail to break free with their first action, all subsequent escapes are equally harder due to MAP.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Don't forget silence. Stops verbal casting, stops enemies feom calling for reinforcements, can be combined with reach metamagic and has no saving throw.


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HammerJack wrote:
Don't forget silence. Stops verbal casting, stops enemies feom calling for reinforcements, can be combined with reach metamagic and has no saving throw.

And targets only willing creatures ;)

He heightened version comes with 10 ft radius, though. Good against casters if you have someone good at grappling in the party.


HammerJack wrote:
Don't forget silence. Stops verbal casting, stops enemies feom calling for reinforcements, can be combined with reach metamagic and has no saving throw.

It has no saving throw because it has to be cast on a willing target now. You have to heighten it to the 4th level version, put it on an ally, and they have to move within 10' of a spellcaster. Who then just has to move at least 15' away from the target. So only grapplers need apply.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A grappler, or a barbarian that can chase down someone who tries to walk away, or anyone who stays on top of them, yes. The point is that they don't get a save against the effect if they're in the area. Also, grappler is not a specialized character now, but anyone with a hand and decent athletics. I don't see that as a niche application.

Silver Crusade

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whew wrote:
The action-reducing spells are much better when you get the higher-level versions that affect multiple targets. Fear and Fear(3) might be OK if someone in the party is built to exploit the frightened condition. Command(5), Slow(6), Paralyze(7) all look good to me.

I'm not convinced that losing one action is as big a deal as others do..

Obviously it is definitely always of some use, I'm not denying that.

If the creature is already in range for its attacks its really not that powerful. Having the creature lose an attack at -8 or -10 isn't that impressive. Ditto with when the creature has some form of 2 attacks for 1 action ability (fairly common).

Its most useful when the creature needs to close and therefore loses a decent attack.

Of course, IF the battlefield allows it AND the creature doesn't have an attack of opportunity then you can hit twice and run which is very effective against a 2 action creature WITHOUT a 2 for 1 ability. But battlefields are often NOT that open and often you're holding the line protecting the squishies. And attacks of opportunity ARE still a thing.


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Xenocrat wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Don't forget silence. Stops verbal casting, stops enemies feom calling for reinforcements, can be combined with reach metamagic and has no saving throw.

It has no saving throw because it has to be cast on a willing target now. You have to heighten it to the 4th level version, put it on an ally, and they have to move within 10' of a spellcaster. Who then just has to move at least 15' away from the target. So only grapplers need apply.

Sounds like a cool strat. Nice.

I’m digging how spells interact with casters now due to the new skill system, it makes the environment and tactics a lot more diverse. And spells seem to thrive in creative diversity.

I feel like now spells are strong but not “paper” strong, it’s how you use it that matters.

Action Combos seem to be king this edition, so losing an action is effectively losing a combo (like losing a full attack and having to standard almost)

Disintegrate true strike comes to mind as well as Malk_Contents players that ran monk and a Druid with a monk acrobatically using earth platforms to force opponents to take falling damage and lose actions.

Then since tactics are king, it leaves the GM some ammo to get creative too, so it doesn’t even have to be rocket tag to first combo. Plus extra HP helps with that.

First encounter in new edition this weekend! Hypeeee


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Gust of Wind prevents you moving against it - super narrow situational use in corridors. It also shoots down fliers that fail saves which seems strong for a level 1 spell that you don't need to heighten.


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Hideous laughter is a nasty spell.

"shutting down reactions" (even on a success) doesn't sound that great, until you look at bestiary and just how much it actually shuts down.

BUT one important usage of it is vs fliers.

There are plenty of ways to drop a flier, from Prone, to stuff like Felling shots and such, but "Arrest a fall" is a Reaction.

So, hitting a flier with Tasha's right before that felling shot may actually be up to 60 damage for the typical Felling shots and such (depending on how high the flier initially was).

It does require that you somehow get close enough to Tash's it, but for a caster that's supposed to have gone hunting fliers that doesn't seem particularly hard.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:
whew wrote:
The action-reducing spells are much better when you get the higher-level versions that affect multiple targets. Fear and Fear(3) might be OK if someone in the party is built to exploit the frightened condition. Command(5), Slow(6), Paralyze(7) all look good to me.

I'm not convinced that losing one action is as big a deal as others do..

Obviously it is definitely always of some use, I'm not denying that.

If the creature is already in range for its attacks its really not that powerful. Having the creature lose an attack at -8 or -10 isn't that impressive. Ditto with when the creature has some form of 2 attacks for 1 action ability (fairly common).

Its most useful when the creature needs to close and therefore loses a decent attack.

Of course, IF the battlefield allows it AND the creature doesn't have an attack of opportunity then you can hit twice and run which is very effective against a 2 action creature WITHOUT a 2 for 1 ability. But battlefields are often NOT that open and often you're holding the line protecting the squishies. And attacks of opportunity ARE still a thing.

At higher levels, it becomes increasingly common to find monsters that pack both significant martial and magical prowess. Stopping a creature from casting and striking in the same then is pretty great. As is limiting their ability to position for things like breath weapons.


I also think PF2 reduced the specialization that was there in PF1.
In PF2, a Barbarian can draw a bow without losing much efficiency, the bomber/mutagenist/etc Alchemist is no more a thing, and I think it's the same for casters. Any caster is a controller, as there is nearly nothing preventing you from being a great controller even without investment. So, to answer the question: No, controller casters are no more a "thing", but all casters are now controllers.


SuperBidi wrote:

I also think PF2 reduced the specialization that was there in PF1.

In PF2, a Barbarian can draw a bow without losing much efficiency, the bomber/mutagenist/etc Alchemist is no more a thing, and I think it's the same for casters. Any caster is a controller, as there is nearly nothing preventing you from being a great controller even without investment. So, to answer the question: No, controller casters are no more a "thing", but all casters are now controllers.

What do you mean "lose no efficiency"?

Rage is melee only and takes a feat to include throwing.

I don't think there's a way to get Rage on ranged ever.

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