Which Magus feats are under-powered / uninteresting?


Magus Class


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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was disappointed by the Playtest Survey. I really think they are missing an opportunity to collect information with some of the questions. They asked which feats in various ranges the person filling it out were the most powerful.

I think they also should have asked which were the least interesting / least powerful options -- things that aren't worth taking. It would not only help them look at what doesn't look very good, but if they cross-reference it with what people consider the most powerful it could give some balance to both sides. Something where opinions are sharply divided means either lots of table variation (bad thing), misunderstanding how it works (bad thing), or sharply different play styles. Only the last is alright.

My own list would be:

1-4: Combat Assessment. A savings of one action to find out about what you just (hopefully) hit. Doesn't matter if you hit or miss, no one can try it again on that target for a day.

5-8: Steady Spellcasting. All the other feats look better to me.

9-12: Magic Sense. Yes it is slightly better than the heritages that give Detect Magic as an innate spell (there are multiple ones that do that) but still it really doesn't compare given the level it is at. I could see taking it if it were a Feat 1 or Feat 2.

13-16: Effortless Concentration: I'm not foreseeing a lot of Magus casting spells that require concentration. This may just be my own playstyle.

17-20: Versatile Spellstrike: Here I liked all the possibilities. With how sharply spell power tapers off I'm really not certain that a spell that is two levels lower is worth being able to pick any spell from the spell book. It is further limited by needing to be used with Striking Spell.


1st Arcane Fists:
I have a tough time with this one. On one hand, it's decent on first glance, because it grants Martial Artist but with the addition of Critical Specializations (which Magi do not get by default). However, when you consider Magus cannot select this at level 1 most of the time, it means that a majority of non-human Magi will have to delay their concept (thus enforcing Human). I love this feat, but I think I would rather see it become a Class Path. I will say Martial Artist at least gives you Stance options, which is arguably more powerful than the initial dedication on its own. If it stays a Feat, I would like to see some more support (maybe a Magical Attacking Stance that combines with Striking Spell)

1st Combat Assessment:
Solid depending on how your GM runs Recall Knowledge, especially with a Class that can derive so many values from Weaknesses. Like Arcane Fists, really needs some Feat/Class Path support to feel at home, but on its own not a bad ability

1st Eschew Materials:
Probably the worst choice without some GM interpretation. If I had a player take this or want it I would allow them to prepare cantrips without a spellbook as well as treat all Material Components in a casting as if they were Somatic (which is what it seems like it's trying to accomplish) so the PC feels like they got some kind of return.

1st Familiar:
Not bad but not altogether appetizing right now. The biggest bang for your buck here is of course the Focus Point ability. Solid. Would like potentially a "weapon form" long term option for Magus or a Bonded Weapon at a higher level (offering to combine Familiar and Weapon). If it did nothing else, this is fine.

1st Raise a Tome:
Dripping with flavor and despite people saying its only okay, I find it to be decent. My biggest personal gripe is that the two Feats it combines with the best are also at level 1 (Combat Assessment and Arcane Fists) and that it doesn't work with Slide (and it seems like it should). Definitely a Class Feat that deserves more attention overall because of how cool it is.

2nd Cantrip Expansion:
More damage options and spells in your repoitoire. If Striking Spell becomes more optimal than multiple strikes, this Feat is going to be quite strong. As is, it's not out competing some of the level 1 options (IMO)

2nd Enhanced Familiar:
Would have loved to see this become some kind of Black Blade/Arcane Theurge/Force Shield type upgrade to the Familiar instead of just more Familiar. Fine as is since Familiars are solid. If Black Blade is a "unique familiar" this will be a cool way to get there over time.

2nd Spirit Sheath:
Lit. Love this feat. Thematically cool and has a nice draw benefit when making a Striking Spell attack. At level 2, this would be my choice if I had no reason to get an Archetype

4th Bespell Strikes:
Great Feat for a Magus and feels pretty much at home. Nice that it's slightly better than Bespell Weapon with the option to choose your body. One of the few Martial Feats they get that result from casting spells, and I love that theme of Magus the most.

4th Spell Parry:
I like this, but it is level 4, and it only works with a select mode of attack. One of the downsides of this though is that it is incompatible with Raise a Tome and the two occupy the same space.

4th Steady Spellcasting:
Absolute trash IMO. Not only is this mechanic only going to come into play when you're already down in chips, but it doesn't even solve the problem. It puts aloe vera on a 3rd degree burn. Disrupting Actions do occur, but if they were often enough that a Magus needed this Feat to survive, then you probably want to avoid melee in that fight anyways. I'm all for something like this existing, but if you're going to compete with Bespell Strikes and Spell Parry you need to all but remove failing spells due to Disruptions

4th Striker's Scroll:
I'm going to side-step this one. I won't be the best at assessment for value because I have almost no experience with PCs actively seeking, making, or otherwise using Consumables outside of the Alchemist/Snarecrafter. It seems okay.

6th Energized Strikes:
With the action cost, its hard to see when a Magus is going to be able to use this. If actions permitted and this stacks with itself (so different spells to get multiple damage types on one weapon), then given it can be used with Cantrips this bad boy is looking decent. As is though, hard to justify with the action economy.

6th Martial Caster:
The best feat they get IMO. The only way to reliably have Fly or any buff or utility spells past certain levels without sacrifices. Absolutely feels mandatory to me. If Magi got more spells, this would feel less necessary (and I sure hope they do).

6th Spell Countermeasures:
This is again competing in the Spell Parry space, but it is a Focus spell so you can only do it once (mostly) per combat. The best value out of this feat is the bonus Focus Point. I like Spell Parry better and IMO it loses the level 6 war to Martial Caster pretty easily. The strongest part is that it is a Status Bonus, which is huge, but with Focus Points giving you access to Potency and Runic Impression, it's pretty hard to justify something that's a "get out of Spell free card" to myself (maybe if I knew the attack result before I'd feel safer taking it). Its strong as is, its just not something I would ever personally take due to my style of play.

8th Capture Spell:
Pretty incompatible with Spell Countermeasures and is REALLY strong and cool. Given they both compete for Reactions, this gives Spell Parry (and this) a much bigger lead. This is why I would like a "know the result" type of thing on Spell Countermeasures, so that I could use which ever Reaction I needed based on the result instead of attempting to miss the spell with Spell Countermeasures, already dodging it, and then not being able to Capture (or any combination of them precluding each other), which feels a lot less tactical and more "I sure hope I guess right!"

8th Standby Spell:
A decent-ish Feat, but given the lack of slots and still costing a Slot to cast it, it only provides versatility for a maximum of 2 Slots. Originally when I had read this, I thought it was just a Bonus slot of the chosen spell, which would have been decent. As is, it's just a sprinkle of versatility and doesn't work on spells that can be prepared lower (so if you chose Shocking Grasp, you'd only get the level of Shocking Grasp you prepared, which maxes out at replacing 2 of your total spells). The weird part is when you get other spells via other ways (such as Wizard MCD), and it starts to climb a bit I think

8th Runic Impression:
One of the strongest choices for this level. It costs an action and doesn't combine with Potency so that's two focus points and two actions to get your weapon into gear. Now this is great in a world where a Magus already has a Magic Weapon and wants to add/swap a Rune on it, but in a world where a Magus is using Potency, it starts to get kinda tangled. Feels clunky the way things work right now, but decent overall

8th Spell Swipe:
2 actions and requires adjacency and that you have a Striking Spell stored in your weapon which means a two turn activity that can only be done in certain circumstances. The benefits are obviously great, especially for Sweep weapons, but it suffers from rarity of occurence and not being compatible with the action economy as is (unless Haste for some reason allows this but I dont think it does)

10th Cascading Ray:
This Feat is great in combination with a Striking Spell Save Spell, but terrible with double Attack Rolls (due to stacking MAP applying to Cascading Ray). I think the damage needs to be the exact same type and amount of the spell that applied damage, but the wording could be clearer. The big downside is your Spell Attack Rolls on a MAP strike (even at -5) are just.. pretty unlikely to hit, but it does essentially "double" spell output and at the cost of mere Reaction. Considering this works with Cantrips as well, that's pretty impactful at level 10 (now Cantrips might deal more DPR than 3 Strikes)

10th Comet Spell:
The weird part about that in any case where you are shooting at an enemy that is behind other creatures it applies partial cover or you're shooting through an Ally unless I'm missing something. The damage from the evocation basically makes taking advantage of this only worth it with Evocation spells (IMO) as by the time you acquire this you're dealing an additional 5 damage of Force on hit (not nothing, but at level 10, rather unimportant considering the 3 action cost of Striking Spell). Has to be used with a slot, so no cantrip spamming with this one. Kinda meh to me considering other options

10th Healer's Steel:
Really cool feat. Not much else to say, if I'm running Sustaining Steel, I'm taking this.

10th Portal Slide:
People keep saying this should be full stride, but I think this is good as is. For starters, you can Striking Spell your way through iron bar cages, through a window, onto the roof of a house, into a tree, behind the BBEG to flank, etc as a free action. This is a SUPER strong ability and teleportation on demand is always going to be. It does cost a slotted spell, but it's a free action that doesn't trigger Reactions (that I can tell). Absolutely good and doesn't need the movement buff (if you take Fleet, this dang thing would be nuts).

10th Quickened Spellstrike:
Okay choice and really helps action economy. All three can use this, but Shooting Star/Sustaining Steel benefit the most. The once per day is stiff, but still an okay investment (especially for Shooting Star IMO).

12th Bespelled Persistence:
Solid choice considering the rarity of persistent Sonic Damage, which happens to be an option. Given the right weakness, it could be a wallop. I'm not as familiar with high-level play, so not sure how well persistent damage translates

12th Magic Sense:
While I think this is super powerful, it sounds like a book keeping nightmare for both the GM and the PC. I'll just leave it at that. Solid feat though

12th Overwhelming Spellstrike:
A great way to deal with resistances when you're trapped with spell selection. Solid choice as well

______________

I'm going to stay away from the high level feats, as I do not feel comfortable with gauging high level play at this point (so many groups, none quite that level yet) so I would be a poor judge on any of those.

And of course, everything I have stated is my personal opinion (I tried to use IMO and "to me" as often as possible, but if I missed some, know that they were meant to be there).

Conclusion: Most of them are probably fine, but there are a few that have great concepts that are ultimately unrealized or are forced into spaces where they compete against each other (and IMO, some cases unfairly). Almost all of the original ones are at least somewhat interesting or have a purpose in mind, but whether those purposes are ultimately being fulfilled is debatable in some cases.


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Interesting: SPIRIT SHEATH, SPELL PARRY ->CAPTURE SPELL, PORTAL SLIDE

Powerful? MARTIAL CASTER, HEALER’S STEEL

Least interesting / least powerful options? Most of them. Most level it's kind of a coin flip.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cascading ray is deceptively bad because it makes that second ray a spell attack roll even if the original was a save or even a magic missile. It can't benefit from the advantages of striking spell and will suffer mightily from a -5 MAP. If you are looking to cause damage to 2 targets there are much better spells that can just be cast regularly, especially by level 10. The range is strangely good for the shooting star magus, and it is an attack for a reaction, but it is only going to be useful against a fairly weak foe and your regular spells will probably be more effective for cleaning up multiple mooks than this feat.


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Excellent point, Unicore! I had not considered how MAP would affect the Cascading Ray! Only wouldn't it be -10 MAP after the Striking Ray if it is a spell that has an attack roll?

Anything with a spell attack roll is already going to be at a disadvantage since the Magus doesn't keep up Spell Attack proficiency and has a lower maximum attribute for Int than melee.

You have convinced me that Cascading Ray with the playtest version of Magus is a worse choice than Magic Sense.


A scenario where you’re spending Cantrips to bring down a few mooks Cascading Ray can do okay and it’s relatively cheap action cost. If you have one of the other reactions (or a different one) it becomes harder to justify.

It can theoretically double the damage of a turn for a single target spell, but the lacking proficiency and INT is certainly an even bigger penalty than then MAP aspect.

But it is sort of “free” if you don’t have another reaction and you’re using Striking Spell. Problem is it’s level 10 which has a lot of competition.


I feel like Bespell is a bit hard to use since it last only one round and you have to cast a spell first. It does give you a nice d6 on your spellstrike though.


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Kalaam wrote:
I feel like Bespell is a bit hard to use since it last only one round and you have to cast a spell first. It does give you a nice d6 on your spellstrike though.

I think if you wanted to maximize its value you would Stride/Strike first, Striking Spell + Cast a Spell, and beginning of the next turn use Bespell Weapon, Strike with imbued weapon + Bespell Weapon damage, then finish the round with Strikes. Or you could simply just use this without Striking Spell and derive more value from it (maybe you want the range or an AoE spell).

Then another point of value are the types of damage (I mispoke in my post and said "sonic" but I meant "force") which are rather good damage types to get and can be good against certain enemies.

Considering their action economy, it might be more advantageous to take something else right now, but its got its value as effectively "Free" damage whenever you're using a slotted spell to Striking Spell or when you don't want to use Striking Spell.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome. I like it better than martial caster because it lets you operate with an extra spell slot spell every encounter. Using a scroll that is one level below your maximum is not very expensive and pretty sustainable over time. I get that a lot of people will ignore it on principle of using consumables, but it is really the only way the sustaining steel magus works with scrolls. It is less important with the shooting star magus, and the punch-face magus can get by without it as well, but a sliding spell magus with a weapon and the sustaining steel magus can never cast a spell through a scroll into their weapons otherwise. (EDIT: and benefit from their synthesis. For the sliding magus that isn't always a deal breaker, since they may not need to move, but they can't have the scroll out ahead of time so it is still hard to make it work).


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Unicore wrote:
My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome.

Can't say I'm a fan of a 'throw money at it' feat. Between that and the odd 'wrapping' the scroll around the weapon thing, it just turned me off.


graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome.
Can't say I'm a fan of a 'throw money at it' feat. Between that and the odd 'wrapping' the scroll around the weapon thing, it just turned me off.

scrolls of Haste are really cheap by the time you lose 3rd level slots, and probably worthwhile given how much this class wants to have a 4th action strike.

Beyond that, while some people don’t like consumables on principal, others assumptively do, and it’s not a bad thing for options to be available to make using consumables compatible with this class (all syntheses). Disapproving of consumable support on principal is to me akin to disapproving of options supporting unarmed/two handed weapon/ ranged.


Lelomenia wrote:
Disapproving of consumable support on principal is to me akin to disapproving of options supporting unarmed/two handed weapon/ ranged.

Ah... I says I'm not a fan. When did I say they shouldn't be available? I found the feat a turn off. I never said anyone else should feel that way, just saying why I thought that.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't really get the point of this thread. Or at least a lot of the examples listed. Many of them are already published for every other casting class in the game. It is fine to not like Steady Spellcasting, but why would you expect the Magus not to have it as option if every other class gets it? Why would they bother asking for feedback on it?


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Whirlwind Spell, as a capstone, isn’t that exciting; hard to get off against more than two creatures unless maybe you are going with whip, and at two enemies hit, Spell Swipe seems more exciting given the potential to, say, get two Disintegrates off.

Whirlwind Spell also is a bit awkward for Shooting Star Magi to use, which leaves them with Supreme Spellstrike, which is a worse form of Haste than they could already have from either Hasted Assault or a (albeit fairly pricy) rune. Make sure you don’t hit anyone with your 3rd action, or you lose your 4th that turn:/

The Spell Parry feat line is pretty neat, but appears to be incompatible with Sustaining Steel and Shooting Star for the most part (and Raise a Tome). And there aren’t really other feats that uniquely support Steel and Star, other than the 10th level trio.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't really get the point of this thread. Or at least a lot of the examples listed. Many of them are already published for every other casting class in the game. It is fine to not like Steady Spellcasting, but why would you expect the Magus not to have it as option if every other class gets it? Why would they bother asking for feedback on it?

One, these aren't examples, the thread was "what are good/interesting and what aren't".

Two, as we can see with Bespell Strikes (vs. Bespell Weapon) the Magus could get some additional treatment that is special to them. In the case of Steady Spellcasting, which is something a Magus was particularly good at in PF1, an "improved" version like Bespell Strikes would be more apt.

Three, regardless of whether a Feat exists or not already is not the only measure of a Feat. Feats can be assigned different levels for some Classes as opposed to others (see Effortless Concentration).

In short, there are plenty of reasons to analyze already in existence Feats with respect to a new Class.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Honestly, if the magus is not going to get much in the way of general martial feats, I don't really see a reason to give it a lot of the general casting feats that full casters get either. That feels like it should be something that the magus considers archetype to fulfill. I'd rather see magus feats that are uniquely tied to the combination of magic and weapon fighting, including activity granting feats tailored to the magus, and metamagic feats related to fighting. We get some of those in the playtest and they are much more interesting than general caster or martial feats. Caster feats are a little tricky to pick up through MC dedications because those dedications are already so feat heavy to get the casting benefits that most people choose them for, but hopefully we will get some generic caster archetype feats in secrets of magic that are a little more like the generic combat style dedications that will let casters pick up some more of those more generic options from other classes without fully MCing. As much as I love silent spell, and that it is is somewhat unique to the wizard, making other classes MC to get it feels like it would if you had to MC to fighter from barbarian to pick up power attack.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't really get the point of this thread.

The survey (that hopefully everyone who participated in a play test game will fill out) only asks for what people consider the most powerful feats in level ranges.

I think it is just as important to know which ones people don't consider worth taking. I honestly wish they had asked that in the survey.

Now threads will drift, but that was my reason for starting it.


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I'll give some of my thoughts on what feats are under powered and what needs improvement.

1st level: I like Arcane Fists but I don't think it will be picked often since the magus doesn't get a first level feat. I think there should be a unarmed magus synthesis that gets this feat for free and gets another benefit.
Raise a Tome is just broken now. It doesn't work with sliding magus unless you also use a feat to get Arcane Fists which will be at 4th level. And there's no reason that the bonus to recall knowledge has to be limited to a specific subject. A +1 or +2 to recall knowledge checks if you raise a tome isn't going to severely break anything.

4th level: Spell parry doesn't work well with the magus action economy and it doesn't give enough benefit. It's really most useful when you striking spell and have an action leftover where you can't strike. And the benefit doesn't even outweigh just using the shield cantrip because shield can also block damage. I think it should be a +2 to AC and saving throws and I think I have a way to help fix the action economy. If the magus had the option to use one of their one action feats in place of their synthesis benefit, I think it would help them. So a sliding magus could slide while striking spell one turn and then on another turn could choose to use spell parry with striking spell instead of sliding.
Bespell strikes doesn't seem that worth it compared to what other martial classes get as feats. Adding 1d6 if you cast a 4 per day resource while a fighter can get exacting strike at lvl 1 seems not worth it. Especially when it only lasts for the round you cast the spell. Bespelled Persistence has a similar problem.
Steady spellcasting is a band-aid for the obvious problem of the Magus having no way to deal with attacks of opportunity. I think striking spell should just be immune to that.

6th level: Martial casters is also just a band-aid fix for the magus not having enough spell slots. I think just giving them 2 slots per level would be better.

8th level: Standby Spell is similar to martial caster, and Runic Impression seems almost worthless to anyone who spends their gold maxing out their weapon runes.

10th level: Cascading ray has a problem when using spell attacks with striking spell. At -10 MAP, cascading ray is almost always going to miss. At -5 MAP it still has problems missing but at least you can target low level enemies to either finish them off or get some extra damage. And having something to do with your reaction is nice.
I think Portal Slide should be full speed. I don't think it would be game breaking and only having 10ft to teleport for most characters is too limiting.

14th level: School Shroud is interesting but being able to choose your benefit might be better. But...
Hasted Assault is nearly mandatory with how the magus is. A one action haste is just too good.

16th level: If Dispelling strike works with cantrips (which I think it would as written) then I think it's pretty good and a good example of feats that make the magus the character that combines magic and martial abilities. If not, then I don't think it's that good with only getting 4 spell slots.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Unique magus feats that are underpowered? I am planning a magus build and the only magus feats I am considering taking are Martial Caster, Spell Parry (which I think is a little weak, only using it for prereq), Capture Spell, Spell Swipe, Spell Shroud and Hasted Assault.

Stuff I think is underpowered

- Raise a tome not being able to be used with slide, though this has been mentioned a lot by now.
- Arcane Fists is not worth a 2nd feat. Magus should get a feat at 1 and/or this should be a synthesis.
- Bespell Strikes feels weak considering they have too few slots.
- Spell Parry feels a little weak given the magus’ action economy. Maybe the AC bonus could be +2 to put it in line with dueling parry considering it’s a higher level and doesn’t have any expansion feats outside capture spell. No spell parry stance makes me sad.
- Spell countermeasures would be ok if the magus had refocus 2/3 feats and there was otherwise a focus spell you wanted to use.
- Too few slots to consider standby spell.
- Runic impression does nothing on a weapon with maxed runes. Given flaming+frost hits like 95% of weaknesses already, I probably don’t want this.
- Cascading Ray has MAP issues
- The level 10 synthesis expanding feats, with the exception of healer’s steel, feel weak due to limited slots. Healer’s steel is ok, but sustaining sucks due to action econ. IMO, slide and comet should trigger on any spell and steel should be reworked such that it’s an effect which is reasonable on any spell (THP to an ally?)


graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome.
Can't say I'm a fan of a 'throw money at it' feat. Between that and the odd 'wrapping' the scroll around the weapon thing, it just turned me off.

There is the "Scroll master" archetype that gets free scrolls for a day, I think between Striker's Scroll and the limited amount of spell slots in a day, that archetype will be immensely useful on Magus. Useful to the point of necessity? We'll see, I hope not, but it looks like it might be


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nick1wasd wrote:
graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome.
Can't say I'm a fan of a 'throw money at it' feat. Between that and the odd 'wrapping' the scroll around the weapon thing, it just turned me off.
There is the "Scroll master" archetype that gets free scrolls for a day, I think between Striker's Scroll and the limited amount of spell slots in a day, that archetype will be immensely useful on Magus. Useful to the point of necessity? We'll see, I hope not, but it looks like it might be

I think you mean Scroll Trickster and it's not a lot of scrolls along with being quite a few feats: you could instead get multiple spells of the the same level and/or higher spells to cast with a multiclass and it doesn't take a 10 min out of combat set-up to use.

I think if someone likes the scroll feat and wants to run with it, that's great but I really can't see necessary for any build: if that where the case, I'd say the class fails right out of the gate.


graystone wrote:
nick1wasd wrote:
graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
My experience with striker's scroll is that it is awesome.
Can't say I'm a fan of a 'throw money at it' feat. Between that and the odd 'wrapping' the scroll around the weapon thing, it just turned me off.
There is the "Scroll master" archetype that gets free scrolls for a day, I think between Striker's Scroll and the limited amount of spell slots in a day, that archetype will be immensely useful on Magus. Useful to the point of necessity? We'll see, I hope not, but it looks like it might be

I think you mean Scroll Trickster and it's not a lot of scrolls along with being quite a few feats: you could instead get multiple spells of the the same level and/or higher spells to cast with a multiclass and it doesn't take a 10 min out of combat set-up to use.

I think if someone likes the scroll feat and wants to run with it, that's great but I really can't see necessary for any build: if that where the case, I'd say the class fails right out of the gate.

If Magus gets something like Scroll Savant it would be a lot better. It wouldn't surprise me if they do get this or a version of it (hopefully not at level 10 though) and it just didn't make it into the playtest.

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