Magus without its "shenanigans"


Advice


Many classes have stronger builds than others.
From what I can see, the Magus seems to have only one suggested build, circling around the Intensified spell feat, the Magical lineage trait (or a comparable one), and Shocking grasp.

The question is: is a magus feasible without the aforementioned "shenanigans"?
How much does he/she really lose without those staple choices?


A self-buffing magus can do well enough. Use spell combat to give yourself buffs like longarm and shield. You won't have the same kind of burst damage as the damage focused build, but it will have good longevity. And you can still cast the regular touch damage spells as needed, it just won't be as much the usual thing.


You could make a Magus without Magical Lineage and it would be almost the same - it just wouldn't last as long - it'd use 2nd level slots instead of 1st level slots, so you'd run out faster.

The Frostbite Magus is fairly popuoar (same shenanigans, but with Frowtbite and Rime Spell).

Or as Melkiador mentioned you can be a buffing Magus - the Polymorph Magus is reasonably popular too.

There's an archetype (Puppetmaster) that loses Spellstrike and uses the Bard spell list, it plays very differently and is reasonably popular.

I made a Magus with all the shenanigans PLUS Preferred Spell - I could cast SG spontaneously. I then didn't have to prepare SG (or any offensive spells really) and played more as a utility caster with a sword. It was a one-shot game, but I think I only cast Shocking Grasp once, while spider-climb and other utility spells saw more use.


Want to add some shenanigans on top of the self-buffing shenanigans suggested by Melki at the Dor up there? Magus Arcana: Familiar, take a Sage familiar archetype. Change it's level 1 feat to Extra Traits and take the 2 that give it Use Magic Device as a Class skill and then UMD as an Int based skill.

Make sure your UMD is always ranked up as high as it can go per level. Have the familiar use your ranks in UMD, enhance it's Int if you can afford it in WBL and finally spend one of your precious regular feats on Enhanced Familiar: Skilled (Use Magic Device).

A baseline Sage familiar by level 7 has an Int of 12 for a total bonus to UMD of +19. At this point, buy as many level 1 spell wands and level 2 spell wands you can afford and have your Familiar cycle through them, buffing and healing you as you pound on your enemies. On a 2 or higher the wand works and you're swimming in Shield, Longarm, Divine Favor, Aid and so on.

Heck, if you really want to chance it buy or craft some scrolls (if you have Scribe Scroll) of level 3 buffs like Haste or whatever. Take the spell True Skill, cast that and share it's effects to the familiar. By level 7 it can speak to read the scroll. Now it uses a +3 Insight bonus to push it's UMD to +22 meaning it can use a scroll with a 20 plus CL of the scroll, so a Haste scroll scribed at CL 5 requires a 25 on the check, or a 3 or better on a D20. Very doable for the familiar

This frees you up to be dropping Swift actions like Arcane Strike, use your pool points or so on AND using Spell Combat to load in other spells besides Intensified Shocking Grasp to boost your damage. I know this method is a bit feat intensive, mechanical and costly for all the consumables, but once you hit about level 7 and you're picking up boosts or healing every round from your little buddy I feel like it's worth it.

Sovereign Court

My only Magus was a warhammer-wielding Frostbite-casting Sorcerer-Dip-to-convert-to-lightning Thor wannabe and it worked out just fine. At high levels you really want to be casting Fire Snake or Chain Lightning anyway...

The 'problem' with the Magus is mostly due to the fact that there are few high level melee touch attack spells that do damage. So the only recourse is to get as much mileage out of your lower level slots as you can.


Firebug wrote:
The 'problem' with the Magus is mostly due to the fact that there are few high level melee touch attack spells that do damage. So the only recourse is to get as much mileage out of your lower level slots as you can.

I think this is the crux of it. There are no 2nd (or 3rd I think) level spells that compete with Shocking Grasp for damage. Since Spellstrike is one of the main unique class features people usually try to get soemthing out of it.

At higher levels you can use the Close Range arcana with Disintegrate for 3-4 times the damage of Intensified Shocking Grasp, but you have to get to level 15 before you can use it, and even then it's 4-5 spell levels higher.


For 2nd level spells, you should have a couple bladed dash spells prepared. It’s basically the magus version of pounce.


If your damage without spells is good enough then using arcane mark to do something like TWF in effect is worthwhile. Using two world magic or similar to get touch of fatigue makes it better.

True strike (possibly via wand & wand wielder) via spell combat + combat maneuver works well enough.

Vampiric touch has its points from magus level 7.

A hexcrafter magus may want to jump thru the hoops to use hex strike or to use a conductive weapon. If they do then they want spells which debuff saves or which benefit from debuffed saves; spells which do damage have no synergy.

Eldritch archer isn't interested in shocking grasp at all, they have a different bag of tricks.


avr wrote:
A hexcrafter magus may want to jump thru the hoops to use hex strike or to use a conductive weapon.

I looked into a conductive weapon and it doesn't work well for hexes. Conductive weapons need effects that have an attack roll, and when I looked the only melee attack roll hex was Blight (which is terrible).

I think they've released a new book or two since I was looking at this though, so there might be some better options by now.


I'm currently playing a Spelldancer/Hexblade magus and don't use any of the shenanigans (in fact wasn't aware of them when I made a character)

Instead I have an unhittable monstrosity (AC approaching 40 at level 11) that tanks for the party (as much as possible in Pathfinder. I just got Antagonize this level but haven't had a chance to use it)

If I need to kill something it takes me 2 rounds, Slumber followed by Coup de Grace. Usually 1 as party rogue likes to deliver the Coup de Grace.


avr wrote:
Eldritch archer isn't interested in shocking grasp at all, they have a different bag of tricks.

Eldritch Archer has SO MANY possible tricks in its bag. You can do the obvious and shoot off ranged touch spells with Ranged Spellstrike for additional damage with or without Spell Combat. You can attack from a distance and cast an unrelated spell like a buff or other non-attack-roll spell in the same turn without provoking AoOs. You can get the Reach Spellstrike Magus Arcana and do the same thing as a regular Magus, except at a distance. You can make attacks at a distance and cast a ranged touch attack spell without Ranged Spellstrike so that you have a better chance to hit.


I've played around with the idea of a Eldritch Archer with a 1 level dip into Spellslinger to get firearms feats. It...has some trouble with reloading and a little light on feats. But on the positive side you can dump your 1st level wizard spells into Magic Bullet for a +1 enchantment, then do the same with an Arcane Pool point for more enchantment bonuses.

At 2nd level you can make your non-magical firearm +2 to hit/damage, or if you feel confident in your chance to hit +1 and 1d6 elemental damage. You can add fire, electricity, acid and cold. Eventually you'll be able to add all 4 elemental types if you want for a weapon that does +4d6 damage every shot. This takes 2 swift actions to set up, I think that is cheap for what you get.

This would be better if you can convince your GM to let you use your Magus spells to power Magic Bullet, or took Wand Wielder and again convinced your GM to let you use the wands to power Magic Bullet. Technically you're stuck with the 1st level Wizard slots to power Magic Bullet. In the long run, you might consider retraining to get rid of Spellslinger when you can afford to pay for the feats it gives you for free. But I wouldn't seriously consider it till 11th level when you can get a bonus feat from switching Spellslinger to Magus so it helps pay for the free feats and you pick up a feat from leveling.


My magus I used magical lineage, rime spell, and frostbite to get all my extra damage out. Being a hexcrafter I had brand for 0-level touch spell and slumber to knock enemies out combined with a heavy pick being my weapon of choice. Nothing says encounter ender like "Make a will save" followed by "I coup de grace with two handed power attack". BTW, STR magus works just as well as DEX magus and uses less resources to do so.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
My magus I used magical lineage, rime spell, and frostbite to get all my extra damage out. Being a hexcrafter I had brand for 0-level touch spell and slumber to knock enemies out combined with a heavy pick being my weapon of choice. Nothing says encounter ender like "Make a will save" followed by "I coup de grace with two handed power attack". BTW, STR magus works just as well as DEX magus and uses less resources to do so.

I had brand for touch spells until I took close range arcana to use Rays as touch (quite a few good rays at higher levels when touch spells fade away) and realized ray of frost is indeed a ray, and superior to brand ;)


This is a dumb question, bit of a non-sequitur, but why are 0-level spells important to a Magus? I see this a lot but I've never built/played a magus ever, just glanced at the class. There is a player in one of my campaigns however that is considering taking levels in the class, so I'm looking to see what I'm in for. Thanks and sorry for the derailing.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
This is a dumb question, bit of a non-sequitur, but why are 0-level spells important to a Magus? I see this a lot but I've never built/played a magus ever, just glanced at the class. There is a player in one of my campaigns however that is considering taking levels in the class, so I'm looking to see what I'm in for. Thanks and sorry for the derailing.

Depends on the spell. Maybe they just want some utility.

The most obvious would be a 2 level dip for Spell-Combat and Spellstrike. You can use a Touch spell to effectively give you Rapid-Shot with a melee weapon, and it works with cantrips (if the GM doesn't like Arcane Mark there's Brand for the Hexcrafter, or Ray of Frost with the Close Range arcana).

For 3 levels you can get the Wand wielder arcana and potentially cast any spell in the game (from a wand or staff) while still full-attacking.

Any more than that would be more than a dip and you're probably better off reading a guide or two to see what the Magus can do.


1) With spell combat, the magus can cast a spell and also attack as a full round action.
2) If a spell is a touch spell, the caster can deliver the touch attack with a free action.
3) With spell strike, the magus can deliver the touch spells with its weapon and get the weapon damage in addition to the touch effect.

So, as long as the magus casts touch spells it can get those extra free attacks and cantrips don’t run out. It’s a bit like having two weapon fighting.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
This is a dumb question, bit of a non-sequitur, but why are 0-level spells important to a Magus? I see this a lot but I've never built/played a magus ever, just glanced at the class. There is a player in one of my campaigns however that is considering taking levels in the class, so I'm looking to see what I'm in for. Thanks and sorry for the derailing.

If the magus doesn't want to burn higher level spells (or they are out of higher level spells), they can use 0 level spells to attack twice with their weapon via spell combat. I had a player in one of my games that made a hex magus and used brand in combination with their Scizore in order to do this. This is how I discovered hex magus's got brand in the 1st place. This was especially nice since they were playing a suli with the feat Incremental Elemental Assault.


Ok so per others in this thread, Touch spells run out quick at higher levels but from level 3 on couldn't a Magus be adding Acid Splash to one attack on every combat they ever enter, so long as they were able to study their spells that day? Close Range Arcana has no prereqs, Acid Splash is a ranged touch from close range, and the beauty is it ignores SR so it always works.

I think I'm starting to get the appeal now.

Also for cheese unrelated to being Mr Lightning Hand per the OP - couldn't you make a REALLY effective Magus/Rogue? Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility and your 2 Magus arcanas could go towards getting the Swashbuckler thing of adding your Magus level in Precision damage. Then you finish out with Rogue or something else that gives you SA.

Every round you go invisible AND attack as a full attack action, adding SA +6 damage, maybe add in some Arcane Strike for another 2 pts, on your first attack in that combat round.

Another build you could use would be totally altruistic. You could use spell combat for spells like Obscuring Mist or Invisibility and either build around Combat Patrol to set up zones of death or go even more team oriented; get a familiar, give it the Valet archetype, share Teamwork feats with the familiar and then use it's Swift Aid and other Teamwork benefits to run around the battlefield delivering buffs, supports and other effects to others in the party, even during your own full attack action.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Ok so per others in this thread, Touch spells run out quick at higher levels but from level 3 on couldn't a Magus be adding Acid Splash to one attack on every combat they ever enter, so long as they were able to study their spells that day? Close Range Arcana has no prereqs, Acid Splash is a ranged touch from close range, and the beauty is it ignores SR so it always works.

I think I'm starting to get the appeal now.

Also for cheese unrelated to being Mr Lightning Hand per the OP - couldn't you make a REALLY effective Magus/Rogue? Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility and your 2 Magus arcanas could go towards getting the Swashbuckler thing of adding your Magus level in Precision damage. Then you finish out with Rogue or something else that gives you SA.

Every round you go invisible AND attack as a full attack action, adding SA +6 damage, maybe add in some Arcane Strike for another 2 pts, on your first attack in that combat round.

Another build you could use would be totally altruistic. You could use spell combat for spells like Obscuring Mist or Invisibility and either build around Combat Patrol to set up zones of death or go even more team oriented; get a familiar, give it the Valet archetype, share Teamwork feats with the familiar and then use it's Swift Aid and other Teamwork benefits to run around the battlefield delivering buffs, supports and other effects to others in the party, even during your own full attack action.

You don't even have to multi-class. The magus archetype greensting slayer can add sneak attack to their attacks. I'm not sure if it works by RAW but they may even directly qualify for arcane trickster which progress both their spells and SA.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility

Can do the same thing with the Vanish spell at FIRST level.


A magus without the shenanigans is still feasible. They may not be as powerful, but they are still effective characters. Spell strike and spell combat are the signature powers of a magus, but that is not the only thing they have to offer. This is pretty much the same as asking if a paladin is viable when fighting foes that are not evil. Sure the paladin cannot access one of his most powerful class features but they still have a lot going for them. The same is true with a magus.

It is also going to depend on the composition of the party. If the magus is the only arcane spell caster he will probably need to provide battle field control that is usually done by an arcane caster. The Magus spell list actually has a decent number of battel field control spells. The magus in the group I run has used web, and black tentacles quite effectively. In one case he pretty much saved the party by keeping half the enemies at bay long enough for the party to deal with the other half. Other than a cleric that focuses on buffing the party he is the only other full spell caster.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Ok so per others in this thread, Touch spells run out quick at higher levels but from level 3 on couldn't a Magus be adding Acid Splash to one attack on every combat they ever enter, so long as they were able to study their spells that day? Close Range Arcana has no prereqs, Acid Splash is a ranged touch from close range, and the beauty is it ignores SR so it always works.

I think I'm starting to get the appeal now.

Acid Splash is not a ray spell (Close Range arcana is limited to rays) but Ray of Frost is, so aside from the spell of choice, this works just fine. (there are gloves that turn ranged spells into touch spells but limited to 3/day so sort of a waste on cantrips)

The issue is that the damage is minuscule, merely used to perform the second attack at all.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Also for cheese unrelated to being Mr Lightning Hand per the OP - couldn't you make a REALLY effective Magus/Rogue? Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility and your 2 Magus arcanas could go towards getting the Swashbuckler thing of adding your Magus level in Precision damage. Then you finish out with Rogue or something else that gives you SA.

Every round you go invisible AND attack as a full attack action, adding SA +6 damage, maybe add in some Arcane Strike for another 2 pts, on your first attack in that combat round.

In general terms multiclassing a magus is a bad idea, mostly because of the plethora of fantastic class abilities they get nearly every level. I am yet to find a class that would make it worth delaying a level of magus abilities (and higher level spells) for. If you want invisible rogue, just take Vanish as talent... or flank a lot... or any number of tricks rogues get to deploy sneak attack.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility
Can do the same thing with the Vanish spell at FIRST level.

If I were doing it I'd go 3 levels for Wand Wielder and get a wand of Vanish (activating wands doesn't provoke like casting a spell does). I'd probably go the 4th level for 2nd level spells and go into Arcane Trickster after that, since then you get spells AND sneak attack dice.

Honestly though, if your goal is to roll all the d6's and deal loads of damage then a straight Magus is going to be better than any sneak attack shenanigans you can pull off.


MrCharisma wrote:
(activating wands doesn't provoke like casting a spell does)

This is part of why I like the longarm spell so much. You can 5 foot step back and still get your full spell combat in. But eventually you should have a good enough concentration check to just automatically cast defensively.


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

couldn't you make a REALLY effective Magus/Rogue? Think about it; 6 levels of Magus means you get Invisibility and your 2 Magus arcanas could go towards getting the Swashbuckler thing of adding your Magus level in Precision damage. Then you finish out with Rogue or something else that gives you SA.

Every round you go invisible AND attack as a full attack action, adding SA +6 damage, maybe add in some Arcane Strike for another 2 pts, on your first attack in that combat round.

Sneak Attack is 1d6 per two levels. Shocking Grasp is 1d6 per level. The latter grants an additional melee attack. Do the math!

Melkiador wrote:
But eventually you should have a good enough concentration check to just automatically cast defensively.

Not if you multiclassed into Rogue...

MrCharisma wrote:
Honestly though, if your goal is to roll all the d6's and deal loads of damage then a straight Magus is going to be better than any sneak attack shenanigans you can pull off.

If your goal is to "roll all the d6's and deal loads of damage", you play a Cave Druid 10/unMonk 1, cast Strong Jaw, turn into a Carnivorous Crystal, and Flurry with 16d6 attacks.


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Quote:
Melkiador wrote:
But eventually you should have a good enough concentration check to just automatically cast defensively.
Not if you multiclassed into Rogue...

Yet another reason to never multiclass out of a caster class.

Liberty's Edge

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Derklord wrote:
Sneak Attack is 1d6 per two levels. Shocking Grasp is 1d6 per level. The latter grants an additional melee attack.

Um, you've got a few variables missing there;

Sneak Attack is 1d6 per two levels, max 10d6*, and applies to each attack.

Shocking Grasp is 1d6 per level, max 5d6*, and is applied to a single extra attack each round (for a Magus).

*Various options can increase the damage done by either Sneak Attack or Shocking Grasp. There are also various to hit adjustments, situational/positional requirements, and other considerations. However, on the specific issue of base damage dice raised the results are clear;

At 1st level a Magus could be getting two attacks with +1d6 Shocking Grasp to one of them... while a Rogue could be getting two attacks (one with each hand) with +1d6 Sneak Attack to each of them (+2d6 total).

At 5th level a Magus could be getting two attacks with +5d6 Shocking Grasp to one of them... while a Rogue could be getting two attacks with +3d6 Sneak Attack to each of them (+6d6 total).

At 10th level a Magus could be getting three attacks with +5d6 Shocking Grasp to one of them... while a Rogue could be getting four attacks with +5d6 Sneak Attack to each of them (+20d6 total).

Basically, Sneak Attack does the same amount of damage as Shocking Grasp at 2nd and 4th level... and more damage at every level other than those two.

Derklord wrote:
Do the math!

Indeed.

Silver Crusade

A different approach could be to use the same shenanigans to get a different effect, rather than copy-pasting the same old scimitar-wielding crit-fishing Intensified Shocking Grasp spellstriker.

I gave it a chance in this thread, where I used a couple of Magus' signature strategies to get a debuff-based character, who btw can still do solid damage, instead of the usual d6 maniac.


I did do some math in a thought experiment last night with Magus, and I must be terrible at building PCs because I see all the ways to deal loads of damage with the class but how do you keep their to hit bonus up?

A 7th level human magus with WBL, focused around Str with a 20 pt buy, has a 20 Str (17 from Point Buy, +2 Racial, 1 point at 4th level) and a +2 Str belt for a total of a 22 strength. This is a +6 to hit.

They get a +5 BAB. Weapon Focus on the appropriate weapon is +1. A +1 weapon at this level so that's another +1. All of this only puts the magus at +13 to hit.

The standard CR 7 monster's avg AC in the back of the Bestiary is a 21 I think. This means that, without Spell Combat the magus has only a 65% chance to hit with their base sword attack. Add in a Shocking Grasp spell and you're down to a 55% chance to hit, so you're missing in combat about half the time.

Now you can use your Arcane Pool to get a quick +1 attack/damage bonus, but that's a Swift action so at least on THAT round you can't use your Arcane Strike. Also that only gives you a 60% chance versus a 55% chance. You could try to max out your base weapon damage with feats instead and spend your one spell-in-combat on True Strike, but even a Str magus doesn't have the feats a fighter does or the raw power of a barbarian or bloodrager, so at high levels you kind of need the extra damage from a touch spell.

My ham-handed solution brought me back to having a familiar with the Sage archetype in your back pocket. By level 7 with the right build you could have a talking familiar that could grab a wand with a decent buff in it and using it's +19 Use Magic Device skill (another +2 if it's used the wand before) and hitting you with bonuses while you're engaged in Spell Combat.

I think the Share Spells ability only works one way, from master to familiar, so I don't think your little buddy could use True Strike on a wand, cast it on themselves, then hand it to you through Share Spells. If it could though, just having THAT on your shoulder every round would be game changing. Still other buffs or just the Vanish spell so you're always attacking a foe's Flat Footed might be enough to keep your attacks from missing half the time.

Anyway, that's my go to for non-Shocking Grasp shenanigans on a magus: a Sage Familiar wielding wands to pump you up in combat.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

I did do some math in a thought experiment last night with Magus, and I must be terrible at building PCs because I see all the ways to deal loads of damage with the class but how do you keep their to hit bonus up?

A 7th level human magus with WBL, focused around Str with a 20 pt buy, has a 20 Str (17 from Point Buy, +2 Racial, 1 point at 4th level) and a +2 Str belt for a total of a 22 strength. This is a +6 to hit.

They get a +5 BAB. Weapon Focus on the appropriate weapon is +1. A +1 weapon at this level so that's another +1. All of this only puts the magus at +13 to hit.

The standard CR 7 monster's avg AC in the back of the Bestiary is a 21 I think. This means that, without Spell Combat the magus has only a 65% chance to hit with their base sword attack. Add in a Shocking Grasp spell and you're down to a 55% chance to hit, so you're missing in combat about half the time.

Now you can use your Arcane Pool to get a quick +1 attack/damage bonus, but that's a Swift action so at least on THAT round you can't use your Arcane Strike. Also that only gives you a 60% chance versus a 55% chance...

Your Arcane Pool scales with level, so if you're having trouble hitting go +2/+2 instead of +1/+1/keen.

Also if you have a 60% chance of hitting with 1 attack, you use spell-combat/strike to get 2 attacks (at a -2). This means you end up with 2 attacks at 50% each. You end up with a 75%chance that at least one attack hits (50% chance that one hits, 25%chance that both hit).

Another trick to use would be spells. A level 7 Magus can cast Haste, this gives you +1 to hit and an extra attack. On the turn you cast it that's 2 attacks at 65% each, which is an 87.75% chance that at least one hits (45.5% chance that only one hits, 42.25% chance that they both hit). The following round you can use spell-combat/strike to get a 3rd attack per round at 55% each, which is a ~91% chance that at least one hits (~33.5% chance that one hits, ~41%chance that 2 hit, ~16.5% chance that all 3 hit).

Don't make all of your spells just damage, there's so much more you can do.

EDIT: Also if you wait 1 more level you'll get to +6/+1 BAB, which means you get an extra attack. This will up your DPR on its own with basically no effort.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Um, you've got a few variables missing there;

And you got the basic premise missing. The talk was about a Magus/Rogue multiclass using Invisibility (or Vanish) to trigger Sneak Attack. Which also makes it only on the first attack, and makes it take a long time until it rolls more d6 than an un-modified Shocking Grasp.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I did do some math in a thought experiment last night with Magus, and I must be terrible at building PCs because I see all the ways to deal loads of damage with the class but how do you keep their to hit bonus up?

There are several things you can do. For example, Blade Tutor's Spirit is a 1st level spell on the Magus list and the attack penalty imposed by Spell Combat qualifies for it.

Also, why are you assuming Arcane Strike? Magus has better things to do with a Swift Action when they want to nova, like the Arcane Accuracy Magus Arcana or, later on, a Quickened Spell for an additional big attack.


Thank you to everyone correcting me in this thread. Seriously, a big thanks! I didn't realize certain things about the magus. For example, I didn't realize that using Spellstrike doesn't AUTOMATICALLY impose the penalty from Spell Combat; those penalties only apply if the PC is making a full attack with their normal Light or 1-H weapon, then casting a Touch attack spell, THEN taking the Free action to deliver a melee attack instead of a melee Touch attack using their weapon.

I ALSO didn't realize that, if you're out of the threatened area of your foes, you can: Standard action/cast a Touch attack spell using Spellstrike, putting the effect of the Touch attack into your light or 1-h melee weapon; Move action to move your base speed (or other movement types, if you have them) to your opponent; Free action to make a single melee attack with your weapon, delivering the damage of your melee attack PLUS the damage from your Touch attack.

Using that "out of reach" scenario you essentially make a single full bonus attack against your enemy in a round, but with one big chunk of damage. While not fully optimal, couldn't you build a Spring Attack build or a Vital Strike build around that ability?


Here's another thing you may not have known then.

Spellstrike doesn't require a free hand to use. You can technically use it with two handed weapons by using a free action to let go with one hand, casting a spell with it, regrasping the weapon with two hands and delivering the spell with a two handed weapon.

You *cannot* use spell combat with a two handed weapon though.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I didn't realize that using Spellstrike doesn't AUTOMATICALLY impose the penalty from Spell Combat; those penalties only apply if the PC is making a full attack with their normal Light or 1-H weapon, then casting a Touch attack spell, THEN taking the Free action to deliver a melee attack instead of a melee Touch attack using their weapon.

Just to clarify: You take the penalties no matter which spells you cast as long as you're using Spell Combat. So if you use Spell Combat to attack an enemy and cast "Fly" you'd still take a -2 to all your attacks.


MrCharisma wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I didn't realize that using Spellstrike doesn't AUTOMATICALLY impose the penalty from Spell Combat; those penalties only apply if the PC is making a full attack with their normal Light or 1-H weapon, then casting a Touch attack spell, THEN taking the Free action to deliver a melee attack instead of a melee Touch attack using their weapon.
Just to clarify: You take the penalties no matter which spells you cast as long as you're using Spell Combat. So if you use Spell Combat to attack an enemy and cast "Fly" you'd still take a -2 to all your attacks.

You can, however, use Spellstrike without Spell Combat, ONLY making the attack from casting via Spellstrike, without Spell Combat's penalties.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I did do some math in a thought experiment last night with Magus, and I must be terrible at building PCs because I see all the ways to deal loads of damage with the class but how do you keep their to hit bonus up?

There are several things you can do. For example, Blade Tutor's Spirit is a 1st level spell on the Magus list and the attack penalty imposed by Spell Combat qualifies for it.

Also, why are you assuming Arcane Strike? Magus has better things to do with a Swift Action when they want to nova, like the Arcane Accuracy Magus Arcana or, later on, a Quickened Spell for an additional big attack.

Not every magus has a lot of uses for Swift actions outside of enhancing their weapon and Arcane Strike.

Kensai, especially bladebound kensai, frequently fall into this category.

Even the standard magus is going to want Arcane Strike when not going full burn. Unless your play style is a 15 minutes adventuring day, you are going to get plenty of usage.


I wouldn't say Arcane Strike is something the "standard magus" would take. I don't think every Magus is using all their swift actions on better things, but Arcane Strike isnt't free.

If you're using a lot of swift actions it's probably not worth the feat, and if you're not using a lot of swift actions it still has to be better than other feats you want to take (I could see a Magus getting more than average benefit from Riving Strike, but that's 2 feats).

From my experience Arcane Strike is on less than half the Magi I've seen.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I did do some math in a thought experiment last night with Magus, and I must be terrible at building PCs because I see all the ways to deal loads of damage with the class but how do you keep their to hit bonus up?

There are several things you can do. For example, Blade Tutor's Spirit is a 1st level spell on the Magus list and the attack penalty imposed by Spell Combat qualifies for it.

Also, why are you assuming Arcane Strike? Magus has better things to do with a Swift Action when they want to nova, like the Arcane Accuracy Magus Arcana or, later on, a Quickened Spell for an additional big attack.

Not every magus has a lot of uses for Swift actions outside of enhancing their weapon and Arcane Strike.

Kensai, especially bladebound kensai, frequently fall into this category.

Even the standard magus is going to want Arcane Strike when not going full burn. Unless your play style is a 15 minutes adventuring day, you are going to get plenty of usage.

Most people show the calculations for maximum output when they're talking about stuff like this in these forums, and I would think Arcane Accuracy, Accurate Strike, or a Quickened spell would often beat out Arcane Strike in those types of comparisons. Obviously Arcane Strike is good for resource conservation; I'm definitely not disputing that. Notice I said "when they want to nova".


I've seen just one kensai and they maxed Int because their AC depended on it as well as spells - and having high Int made arcane accuracy especially attractive to them too.


I would say if you are going the Arcane Strike route a dip into Bloodrager for access to the free action Arcane Strike is really nice on those rounds where you want to use the swift action for something else. It also gives an extra layer to the Nova via improved stats.


I'm giving some thought to a shikigami style magus who beats people to death with his 3d6 damage +4 metamagic rod


Temperans wrote:
I would say if you are going the Arcane Strike route a dip into Bloodrager for access to the free action Arcane Strike is really nice on those rounds where you want to use the swift action for something else. It also gives an extra layer to the Nova via improved stats.

Does Blooded Arcane Strike work with Eldritch Scion? It doesn't look like it, but it can't hurt to ask.

I don't think Blooded Arcane Strike would be great for a Magus. It's only a free action when you Bloodrage, and you can't Bloodrage and cast Magus spells without spending another feat (Mad Magic? Am I remembering that right?). While you could do all of that, you've then spent 3 feats for something you can only do ~6 rounds per day.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Most people show the calculations for maximum output when they're talking about stuff like this in these forums, and I would think Arcane Accuracy, Accurate Strike, or a Quickened spell would often beat out Arcane Strike in those types of comparisons.

There's a good reason, too: Against the easy fights, where you don't use limited recources, you're going to win anyway. It's the tough fights where you want the help of your feats. The harder the fight gets, the more a Magus uses swift actions for other stuff, and therefore the worse Arcane Strike gets. That is not how you want a feat to behave!


Sadly the Eldritch Scion think does not count as a blood rage. Nope but activating it is a free action so you can "technically" activate it after casting a spell (depending on GM ruling) so it works well with multi attack spells so you cast it once than bloodrage until the spell is gone.

Also Derklord is right, the Magus class doesn't want to use limited resources unless they know they needed, because otherwise they will be done for the rest of the day. Its also why the trait that gives 2 minutes for Arcane Pool is not a bad choice, its effectively doubles how long the points last in a dungeon or continuous fight setting (where you aren't likely to get much room to rest).

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