Why I think Cantrips should not be used with Spellstrike


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


First let' s look at the two definitions: "Spell" and "Cantrip".
They are two different traits, and the Spellstrike description says it can be used with "Spells", not "Spells or Cantrips".
Second, the limited slots for casting. The Magus in my party just uses Cantrip+Spellstrike. So basically it' s a buffed attack that can be done an infinite number of times, by using just one action to recharge it.
I calculated that a lv.3 Magus that uses Spellstrike with Telekinetic Projectile, with a +1 Striking Greatsword could potentially do, not calculating crits, 42 damage by using only 2 actions. With a crit, easier to do in PF2, that amount doubles.
Potentially enough to one-shot a boss at that level.
So I have to buff the encounter: but what about the other characters? They exist only to wait for the Spellstrikes?
By making Cantrips not usable in Spellstrikes, you add a consequence and a limit to that potentially infinite loop of Cantrip-Spellstrikes, forcing the Magus itself to think about new, and less boring, strategies.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

“ A cantrip is a special type of spell”

From the CRB. Cantrips are spells.

Second, the magus is a lower-mid tier class that is doing less melee damage than a fighter over the course of the fight. You are letting the occasional big crit distract from overall damage.

Don’t need the Magus, if anything it needs buffing not nerfing.


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Magus pays for it's extra damage with it's action economy. Spell strike will usually be a once every other round ability for melee. Especially if you want to true strike.


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I feel like you are overestimating spellstrike. A fighter with a +1 striking greatsword can do 40 damage with a power attack at level 3, and power attack isn't the greatest feat.


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Quote:
I calculated that a lv.3 Magus that uses Spellstrike with Telekinetic Projectile, with a +1 Striking Greatsword could potentially do, not calculating crits, 42 damage by using only 2 actions. With a crit, easier to do in PF2, that amount doubles.

Even a level 3 wizard swinging a +1 Striking Greatsword two times deals up to 48 damage from the weapon dice alone. 42 for two actions is really not that impressive.

Loath_Golcar wrote:
By making Cantrips not usable in Spellstrikes, you add a consequence and a limit to that potentially infinite loop of Cantrip-Spellstrikes, forcing the Magus itself to think about new, and less boring, strategies.

That's like limiting a barbarian's rage to only last 2 rounds, while still having a 1 minute cooldown. Or a rogue's sneak attack only be useable 4 times per day.


Blave wrote:

That's like limiting a barbarian's rage to only last 2 rounds,

Past lvl 17, I'd sign for this one.

Mighty rage and quick rage would be great to play with.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Loath_Golcar wrote:

First let' s look at the two definitions: "Spell" and "Cantrip".

They are two different traits, and the Spellstrike description says it can be used with "Spells", not "Spells or Cantrips".

Incorrect, cantrips are a type of spell.

Loath_Golcar wrote:
Second, the limited slots for casting. The Magus in my party just uses Cantrip+Spellstrike. So basically it' s a buffed attack that can be done an infinite number of times, by using just one action to recharge it.

To pull it off, you spend 1 action to charge, 2 actions to deliver. You know what else takes three actions to pull off and can be done infinitely? Attacking once and casting a cantrip.

Loath_Golcar wrote:

I calculated that a lv.3 Magus that uses Spellstrike with Telekinetic Projectile, with a +1 Striking Greatsword could potentially do, not calculating crits, 42 damage by using only 2 actions. With a crit, easier to do in PF2, that amount doubles.

Potentially enough to one-shot a boss at that level.

I am unimpressed. It's not an unheard of amount of damage, and is quite achievable by other classes.

Loath_Golcar wrote:
So I have to buff the encounter: but what about the other characters? They exist only to wait for the Spellstrikes?

A fighter is easily going to outpace the Magus for damage from spellstriking cantrips, and will supply those big max damage crits you're frightened of more reliably. If you're not buffing the encounter for fighters, you shouldn't be buffing the encounter for anyone.

Loath_Golcar wrote:
By making Cantrips not usable in Spellstrikes, you add a consequence and a limit to that potentially infinite loop of Cantrip-Spellstrikes, forcing the Magus itself to think about new, and less boring, strategies.

No, you just make Magus even weaker than they are already. Your take is objectively wrong.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Spell strike definitely works with cantrips and even focus spells, because they are all spells. If it didn't, the MC archetype feat and the bounded spellcasting feats would minimally have to switch places or else you could get a feature that you couldn't use from within the archetype yet.


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

Why are you calculating maximum damage instead of average damage (including accuracy) if you're trying to figure out if something is balanced? White-room DPR is already not a great metric, but that's stripping it down to the point where it doesn't say anything meaningful at all.

I would also suggest taking a look at how HP and damage scale past the earliest levels, as one-shotting really stops being a thing at all, before making some kind of change like this, as well as considering just how limiting a two-action attack and an action to recharge really is (having no movement and no defensive actions is dangerous).

Liberty's Edge

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You'd have to make some pretty serious changes to the class to keep it functional, then, because otherwise you're limiting the class's signature ability to something that can be done 2-4 times a day, ever. At the very least, you'd need to remove the recharge mechanic.

I don't really get the goal here, either. Yeah, sometimes a magus can do a lot of damage, it's a big part of the class concept. Sometimes, they whiff the roll and lose two actions, the spellstrike, and one of their very limited spell slots. Meanwhile, the fighter is just chopping away (with more consistent hits and crits) and doesn't have to manage any daily abilities or recharge mechanics.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Hammerjack is completely right about maximum damage being a very poor way to measure things.

But even if you do want to look at maximum damage, simply swinging that greatsword twice puts you at a maximum of 56 before crits for the same action cost... so I'm not sure why 42 is supposed to be so shocking to us.


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What is the Magus supposed to do, in response to their signature class ability being cut down to so few uses in the adventuring day? Do you think Rogues should only get three sneak attacks?

Magus is nowhere near the top of the optimization list; most complaints are about them being seen as weak. The change you propose isn’t necessary at all.


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Loath_Golcar wrote:

First let' s look at the two definitions: "Spell" and "Cantrip".

They are two different traits, and the Spellstrike description says it can be used with "Spells", not "Spells or Cantrips".
Second, the limited slots for casting. The Magus in my party just uses Cantrip+Spellstrike. So basically it' s a buffed attack that can be done an infinite number of times, by using just one action to recharge it.
I calculated that a lv.3 Magus that uses Spellstrike with Telekinetic Projectile, with a +1 Striking Greatsword could potentially do, not calculating crits, 42 damage by using only 2 actions. With a crit, easier to do in PF2, that amount doubles.
Potentially enough to one-shot a boss at that level.
So I have to buff the encounter: but what about the other characters? They exist only to wait for the Spellstrikes?
By making Cantrips not usable in Spellstrikes, you add a consequence and a limit to that potentially infinite loop of Cantrip-Spellstrikes, forcing the Magus itself to think about new, and less boring, strategies.

Big disagree. Not being able to use Cantrips with Spellstrike cuts back a lot of their overall damage expectation in comparison to other classes.

A +1 Striking Greatsword with Telekinetic Projectile at 3rd level does 2D12+2D6+6 (18 Strength, 14 Intelligence), an average of 26 damage. It's high for a single hit, but that takes 2 actions (3 if you bother to recharge), provokes AoOs, and if you miss, means your entire turn is essentially wasted if you want to continue it. And if you need to adjust tactics? You'll need to burn a turn of not doing your schtick just to do that.

Given that you only get 1 spell slot at 1st level, and only 4 spell slots (that can be used with Spellstrike, anyway) at any given point in your class career (barring MCDs), you're not really having a whole lot of opportunities to use your defining class feature, which many of us agree is bad design, given how subpar of a boost it gives compared to other classes that don't have that problem, like Rogue, Barbarian, Ranger, etc.


Magus being able to use cantrips is the only thing mitigating the fact that they only get 4 spell slots a day.

I hate the current Magus for only having 4 spell slots, but understand that it's because they can use cantrips. If they didn't get cantrips the current Magus would be the literal worst class. Even worse than Alchemist and Summoner (my opinion).

If you have something to blame it's the way cantrips scale affect spell slots number and damage.


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Temperans wrote:

Magus being able to use cantrips is the only thing mitigating the fact that they only get 4 spell slots a day.

I hate the current Magus for only having 4 spell slots, but understand that it's because they can use cantrips. If they didn't get cantrips the current Magus would be the literal worst class. Even worse than Alchemist and Summoner (my opinion).

If you have something to blame it's the way cantrips scale affect spell slots number and damage.

Yeah, but have you played one, or is this white room theorycraft?


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Well, I'm going to use this thread as a counterexample to refute the sentiment that 'it takes two to argue'.


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I'm really curious about one thing.
Why?

Why is this a change that needs to be pushed on ohters instead of just a homerule in private games? The general consensus is that if that if the damage worries you, you should be looking at Fighter and Barbarian, so why nerf someone that barely does their damage every two turns or so?

Usually a rule change has a solid reason, but this seems lacking that.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Loath_Golcar wrote:

First let' s look at the two definitions: "Spell" and "Cantrip".

They are two different traits, and the Spellstrike description says it can be used with "Spells", not "Spells or Cantrips".
Second, the limited slots for casting. The Magus in my party just uses Cantrip+Spellstrike. So basically it' s a buffed attack that can be done an infinite number of times, by using just one action to recharge it.
I calculated that a lv.3 Magus that uses Spellstrike with Telekinetic Projectile, with a +1 Striking Greatsword could potentially do, not calculating crits, 42 damage by using only 2 actions. With a crit, easier to do in PF2, that amount doubles.
Potentially enough to one-shot a boss at that level.
So I have to buff the encounter: but what about the other characters? They exist only to wait for the Spellstrikes?
By making Cantrips not usable in Spellstrikes, you add a consequence and a limit to that potentially infinite loop of Cantrip-Spellstrikes, forcing the Magus itself to think about new, and less boring, strategies.

Fighter deals more damage than Magus even with cantrip spellstrikes, fyi.

And yes. The class was designed to work with cantrips.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

Removed a baiting post.

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