Let me say I kinda love magic missiles.
Not high damage but has good minimum. Not resisted by anything. Heck only counters are shield cantrip and broach of shielding.
They do kinda hard counter it however.
What is going to have shield cantrip and that broach most often? I'm thinking humanoids and caster's.
Usually caster's have poor fortitude saves.
So best bet instead of focusing on all the elements. Focus on magic missile and any blast that targets fortitude? Maybe?
Dunno how many enemies that have such defenses against magic missiles would also have resistances to other element's.
Being an evocation Wizard doesn't really make you that much better at evocating, for better or worse. This means you feel less unique overall (sad..) but it also means you're incentivized to have a very varied spell list (glad!).
You get some pretty good focus spells to augment your casting (some people don't respect the lowly force bolt, but they will learn...), but making sure you pick up spells from all the schools is still probably a good idea. Having spells that target a variety of saves is any Wizard's best friend. Specializing somewhat in Evocation means you're more likely to have the right damage type for the job.
Magic missile is a great spell and very reliable. Low fort saves are likely on caster enemies, but also low ACs are very likely as well. This could mean using spells targeting AC, but it could also mean having an evoker with a DEX of 16 who is good with a bow. This is a pretty good way to get a lot of milage out of the bespell weapon feat as well. Since your focus spell automatically hits as well, you don't even need to be that focused on having an 18 in INT at first level either.
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I dunno, hard disagree on a wizard not having an 18 INT right out of the gate.
IMO (emphasis on opinion here), a wizard is very strongly tied to their primary stat.
Take a fighter for example... if they have a 16 STR to begin with, they are not as good at strikes. But maybe they have better DEX or CON, so they are still good at dodging/taking hits, so that can make up for it.
But a wizard? INT is almost their entire character.
Focus spell auto hits, yes, so does magic missile, but unless that's ALL your spell slots, I'd feel nervous about lowering my INT as a wizard. You don't want anyone saving more than they could as spells are your whole thing.
Now I want to build an INT 12 wizard who has some other crazy good stats (i.e. Unicore's archer wizard) whose whole thing is Magic Missile and their bow (or whatever, maybe it's a muscle wizard). And they're all like "Yeah, I didn't do great in wizard school, most of my teachers were jerks, but I really clicked with my Evocation 101 professor. We'd hit the weight room after class and I'd tell her all about how both my parents were wizards and really wanted me to go to the Magambya Academy, but I really identified more with my uncle who was a Barbarian. I learned Magic Missile really well because of that personal connection, but honestly I wasted my education otherwise, so now I've been kicked out and lost my inheritance, and I'm slumming it as an adventurer until a real career comes along..."
Liking the conversation here.
I'd probably keep my int 18. I always play with the idea I'll reach 20 even if I don't.
I do have 16 Dexterity. But I can't help but feel the money sink for a caster to have an effective martial weapon would require a generous GM with the wealth levels.
I do have a gnome wizard. Idea is to take the gnome feat that lets me regain a focus. Take linked focus and later the feats that let me use linked focus again after using drain bond.
By level 5 I'll be able to regain my single focus point twice before needing 10 minute's. So 3 uses. I went spell blending so I'll always have a slot to regain every day.
By level 14 I'll have 2 focus points and can regain 3 focus points before needing to refocus. So 5 uses of my focus before I need to refocus.
Granted it takes actions but those actions give me spell slots and a focus point for a single action and I can still do something else that round
So I think I'll lean on Force bolt unless I feel my gm is going to let me upgrade a ranged weapon on top of all the magical stuff I'll want to buy and create.
Good point on said enemies usually having lower ac as well. That widens the scope of my blasting a little.
So fortitude and attack spells to pair with missiles.
Acid arrow, I like the persistent damage
Hydraulic push, though this seems more situational
Vampiric touch, so long as the target isn't undead I guess, plus use with reach metamagic
Black tentacles, if they have any kind of teleport this probably wouldn't work but it is AOE
Disintegrate, seems risky
Polar Ray, seems good
Horrid wilting, should I just be a necromancer? Lol
Implosion and massacre
Things I notice.
Not much AOE. 4 total? Black tentacles, cloudkill, horrid wilting, massacre is a line technically.
AOE it has isn't bad.
And realistically might need to keep some reflex around. Odd levels are nice because I can use non Max level slots with magic missile at those times.
Dunno how much I should care slot reflex AOE even though some cases would benefit. Limited slots and all.