Help! - Melee Magus actual play experience please


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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HammerJack wrote:
No, True Strike and Hero Points are both Fortune effects, and you can never apply two Fortune effects to the same roll.

Was that for me?

With "if you do so" I meant if you go without true strike, but I realize now it may have been not grammatically correct.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Electric arc for a magus is for blasting when you don’t want to play chase. It doesn’t really work with spell strike, so you can use it on enemies within 30ft of you. At higher levels it won’t be something you use that often and it’s range becomes pretty limiting. Still it is a good way to hit 2 enemies and can be a better low level choice than moving and striking. It is really just a flexibility option


HammerJack wrote:
No, True Strike and Hero Points are both Fortune effects, and you can never apply two Fortune effects to the same roll.

Ahhh! Didn't know that. Ok, will definitely keep that in mind !


YuriP wrote:

My Magus experience was playing an Ancient Elf Sparking Targe Magus with Champion dedication (magic resistant tanker that can spellstrike sometimes). As a Tanker my focus was never the spellstrike everytime so I didn't care too much about the very complex action economy once my main focus was protect myself and my allied yet it exists and effect the class too much.

Notable things about this experience:

  • Spellstrike is a very strong and consistent damage source.
  • The Magus HP maybe is little low for a melee
  • Arcane Cascade is a thing that I used little due the expensive action economy generated by spellstrike. I basically used it only against opponents that I know I need to block magic effects. In general the stride, spellstrike, strike, rise a shield, shielding strike actions was more interesting than enter in arcane cascade. So it's a good thing but many times you will have another better thing to do with your actions (too many good action options to do).
  • AoO opponents can really make some limitation for a Magus (I was take some AoO in the face because many times I didn't use my actions to RK due my action economy and other party members also don't wanted to do too) but as my focus was to tanking this wasn't a real big problem and also I workarounded it using Elemental Wrath.

    In general was a very fun and interesting class to play but it's little tricky. You have to come with the open mind that you have to be very adaptable with your actions if you play it with a pre-planned mind thinking with a perfect action economy tactics in your mind you will probably will frustrate yourself with a melee magus.

  • This is exactly the sort of "voice of experience" I was hoping to get, thanks !

    Some questions if I may ?

    * Does the Champion dedication give anything other than the +1 AC for Heavy Armour ? Or is that a strong enough benefit that it makes it worth taking the dedication for that on it's own ?

    * Did you have any way on that char of keeping the enemies attention off your squishier team mates and onto you ? Is that a thing for tanks in this game ?

    * It's really awesome to hear that you didn't feel too hamstrung by the action economy. Do you have an impression of how often you were able to still spell strike ? Was it only rarely or a bit more often ?

    * Did you end up taking the Toughness feat and if so, did that help or did you still feel your hit points were too low ? Do you think Toughness compares in effectiveness to Hvy Armour ?

    * Elemental Wrath is a great idea ! I didn't know about that but it looks cool ! I wasn't planning on going Elf though, was planning on going Human and grabbing Toughness to help with the HP situation. But that's a good one to think about.


    HumbleGamer wrote:
    HammerJack wrote:
    No, True Strike and Hero Points are both Fortune effects, and you can never apply two Fortune effects to the same roll.

    Was that for me?

    With "if you do so" I meant if you go without true strike, but I realize now it may have been not grammatically correct.

    I think it was for me as I asked if you could use them both on the same roll.

    Shame that you can't but I understand about the stacking effects from the same source.


    Unicore wrote:
    Electric arc for a magus is for blasting when you don’t want to play chase. It doesn’t really work with spell strike, so you can use it on enemies within 30ft of you. At higher levels it won’t be something you use that often and it’s range becomes pretty limiting. Still it is a good way to hit 2 enemies and can be a better low level choice than moving and striking. It is really just a flexibility option

    Ahh, I see, because EA doesn't have an attack roll, so it doesn't work with Spell Strike. Gotcha. What would happen if I took Expansive Spellstrike and then tried to use EA with SS ? Would that work but only target 1 creature instead of 2 ? Is that right ?

    So yeah, maybe flexibility option if say there are 2 enemies adjacent to each other and I don't really want to go up in their face and let them both smack me, so I might choose to hang back first turn and use that, then enter Arcane Cascade off it (especially if the enemies have lightning vulnerability I suppose - are there many of those ?).

    Also, because EA is a save and not an attack roll, does that mean it's unaffected by MAP ? So, if for example, I strike and kill something, and then EA something else at range, is there any penalty ?


    Just a general note, to say thank you for such a warm welcome to the community and all the good advice you folks have been contributing.

    It's so appreciated and I really feel like it is teaching me so much about the game. So, cheers ! :-)


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    Unicore wrote:
    Electric arc for a magus is for blasting when you don’t want to play chase. It doesn’t really work with spell strike, so you can use it on enemies within 30ft of you. At higher levels it won’t be something you use that often and it’s range becomes pretty limiting. Still it is a good way to hit 2 enemies and can be a better low level choice than moving and striking. It is really just a flexibility option

    Ahh, I see, because EA doesn't have an attack roll, so it doesn't work with Spell Strike. Gotcha. What would happen if I took Expansive Spellstrike and then tried to use EA with SS ? Would that work but only target 1 creature instead of 2 ? Is that right ?

    So yeah, maybe flexibility option if say there are 2 enemies adjacent to each other and I don't really want to go up in their face and let them both smack me, so I might choose to hang back first turn and use that, then enter Arcane Cascade off it (especially if the enemies have lightning vulnerability I suppose - are there many of those ?).

    Also, because EA is a save and not an attack roll, does that mean it's unaffected by MAP ? So, if for example, I strike and kill something, and then EA something else at range, is there any penalty ?

    Expansive spell strike with Electric Arc still only targets one enemy. People have a range of opinions on Expansive Spellstrike, but I believe that feat only encourages you to play sub-optimally. Others feel it is an action economy booster because you can cast Area of Effect spells with an attack built in, but the trade off is that the spell is lost if you critically miss. Whereas you gain nothing from critically hitting. That is why I personally don't recommend Expansive Spellstrike, especially for newer players to the class or the game.

    The core identity of the Magus as a class (so what it is built to do well) is to try to set up as accurate an attack as possible with a spellstrike, so you can crit and get ridiculous damage against a single target. The class is not flat, or one dimensional. You certainly don't have to play it this way, lots of people don't, but the linking of the attack roll and the spell attack roll as a design choice, with the way the crit system of PF2 works makes it so that there are few other builds that will top it on critical damage. So the two things the Magus does best are devastating critical hits, and targeting weaknesses (which can really add up against the right enemies).

    As far as electricity damage, there are enemies that are weak against it, but, as you can imagine, they are usually robotic-like enemies. At the same time, electricity is often a very safe type of damage type to use when you don't know a creature's resistances, because it is not a very common resistance either (compared to poison or fire).

    The other advantage of Electric Arc for all casters is that, as a save targeting cantrip, it is pretty easy to get some damage out of it against an enemy (since they take half damage on a successful save), which can make it a decent option for targeting a very weak or injured enemy, but still maybe getting some damage in against someone else as well.

    And as you have correctly read, combining casting a saving throw targeting spell with a normal attack is a pretty good turn for most casters, since the attack is made with no MAP. Eventually, the delayed casting proficiency of the Magus makes that less of a great option for the magus, but by then you should have enough spells and higher level feats to give yourself much better things to do with your turn.


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:

    * Does the Champion dedication give anything other than the +1 AC for Heavy Armour ? Or is that a strong enough benefit that it makes it worth taking the dedication for that on it's own ?

    * Did you have any way on that char of keeping the enemies attention off your squishier team mates and onto you ? Is that a thing for tanks in this game ?

    The main reason I take Champion Dedication to do a magus tanker isn't really the benefits of dedication itself but the Champion's Reaction (paladin) and Divine Ally (shield) feats. They are the same name full class abilities of the pure champions for any class.

    Paladin's Champion's Reaction allows to protect allies and counterattack with reaction while Shield Ally improves the shield hardness and give 50% more HP for the shield improving the shield resistance when blocking magical damage, also spellstrikes are strong enought to call the attention of mostly opponents.
    The enemies easily begin to focus in the magus when it's reducing the damage to allies, counterattacking and giving a good amount of damage with spellstrike.

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    * It's really awesome to hear that you didn't feel too hamstrung by the action economy. Do you have an impression of how often you were able to still spell strike ? Was it only rarely or a bit more often ?

    Basically depends from situation. As I said before the main thing that prevented me to feel that's I was subpar is the char main focus. My main focus was never to do spellstrikes all the time but to protect allies and myself from all damage types (champion reaction protects my allies while Sparkling Targe + Shield Ally to protect myself against both physical and magical damage).

    The second thing is that Shielding Strike basically solve all my action economy problems to spellstrike while I have focus points. Usually the encounters works like one of these 3 situations:

    1. My opponent was out of my range. So you just Stride, Strike and Rise a Shield in these situations ignoring my spellstrike until some opponent is in my range.
    2. My opponent was in my range and I have focus point. Spellstrike, Shielding Strike (this focus spell is fantastic. Strike, Rise a Shield and Recharge the Spellstrike in just one action basically saves the action economy).
    3. My opponnent was in my range and I don't have focus point. I alternate between turns: Spellstrike, Rise a Shield; then in next turn: Strike, Recharge, Rise a Shield.

    There's also a situation when I facing opponents that do AoE magical attacks. In this case when I notice this I "waste" a turn to: Strike, Shield Cantrip, Arcane Cascade. This is necessary to allow the Sparking Targe to block magical damage due the need of Arcane Cascade to be used imediatly after a spellcasting and if I spellstrike to activate Arcane Cascade I fall in a situation where I neither Rise a Shield nor Recharge. That's why I said that Arcane Cascade was the thing the gives me more action economy problems and that I less use.

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    * Did you end up taking the Toughness feat and if so, did that help or did you still feel your hit points were too low ? Do you think Toughness compares in effectiveness to Hvy Armour ?

    I didn't take Toughness because I wanted to take Adopted Ancestry (gnome) to have access to Gnome Flickmace at level 5.

    Who solved my low HP problem was the party's cleric! kkkkk Yet I also take Healing Touch to improve gain more focus points and having some emergency heal/AC status bonus (yet I almost always prefer to use the focus point to Shielding Strike I only used Healing Touch in encounters twice in some desperate situation where cleric falls too kkkk)
    Having low HP is dangerous but it's manageable specially in higher levels.

    About heavy armor, it's depends. The heavy armor's extra +1 AC it's good to prevent some non-natural critcs from high hit opponents. Is these situations it's helps more than extra HP also the main problem of low HP was in earlier levels where I could fall too easily with few attacks but this becomes less and less problematic over the progression.
    Yet I had to take Sentinel Dedication too because Champion Dedication only allows to be trained in heavy armor and Diverse Armor Expert is limited to expert. So in higher levels the champion dedication training in heavy armor is useless but in early levels helps.

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    * Elemental Wrath is a great idea ! I didn't know about that but it looks cool ! I wasn't planning on going Elf though, was planning on going Human and grabbing Toughness to help with the HP situation. But that's a good one to think about.

    Being honest I found the Elemental Wrath by "accident". I choose elf to take Ancient heritage in order to take Champion Dedication freely so after this when I was searching for an interesting lvl 1 elf feat to take I noticed Elemental Wrath, a feat that I usually ignore because in general it's meh! Because it's a modified version of Acid Splash cantrip that IMO has a bad damage progression and I usually ignore but this time because I was building a magus I noticed the part "You can call to the land to cast the acid splash cantrip as an innate primal spell at will, except the spell has only verbal components and deals the type of damage you chose instead of acid damage;" and a light went on over my head "Hey I can use this to prevent AoO with spellstrike!".

    But my initial idea was just to avoid to use Spellstrikes when facing an AoO opponent but this solved the problem way better! Now I can Spellstrike vs AoO opponents it's just little weaker than normal. Yet after level 13 I always prepare 1 or 2 spellslots with Corrosive Body to improve it! It's way better than just Strike an opponent that have AoO.


    I haven't played one, but I do DM for a melee magus. As far as melee goes, Laughing Shadow (the only one I have seen in action) doesn't really suffer much from action economy thanks to the conflux spell's movement even without haste.

    Casting haste as a self buff though tends to be a mixed bag; you give up two actions and a resource, so it only pays itself off after 3 turns. Potions or Boots of Haste are better, as they only require one action.

    Being mounted would help a lot, though it makes the main Laughting Shadow benefit moot, so Twisting Tree or Inorexible Iron would benefit more. If you're playing Strength of Thousands, you can pick up druid for FA and take a companion; it'll be much slower to progress, but all you need is a mature companion to get a free stride. If you have a more open choice FA, Cavalier or Beastmaster are amazing. Even without FA, I would consider taking cavalier for the Dedication, Mature Mount, Impressive Mount, maybe a specialization or two, and Legendary Rider to be worth it, although, imo, these feats are good on nearly every class.

    Something that is worth mentioning though that a lot of guides and online discourse assume that the class is only good if you're spellstriking every turn, and this is where the talk of being action starved comes from, since you can't stride, recharge, and spellstrike at the same time. While you want to spellstrike as much as you reasonably can, you absolutely do not need to deliver a spellstrike every turn to be good, the same way a wizard doesn't need to use a max level spell every turn to contribute meaningfully. Arcane cascade does provide a minor amount of extra damage, and you base strikes are valid. The fact that so many conflux spells are strikes plus an enhancement seems indicative of a design choice that not everything in the class is intended to be stacked around spellstriking every turn. A twisting tree spending two actions to Blazing Dive into a few enemies, then sweeping strike, for example, did not waste their turn just because they didn't spellstrike.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:
    You should generally be spending one focus point every encounter. They are there to be used and renewed. In your toughest or final encounter, spend all your points. With the magus in particular, though, you should be tactical about spending it because your conflux spells recharge spellstrike.

    Got it. Thanks.

    So if I understand correctly, on a round where SS is down, I can use a Conflux focus spell to get a strike and recharge SS for a single action, whereas normally that would cost 2 actions, essentially saving me an action. Then I can use the other 2 actions that round to move and then do something else (shield spell, recall knowledge, etc) that I otherwise wouldn't be able to fit in that round. Is that right ?

    Would that be one of the best ways to use the conflux spell ?

    Exactly, yes. But keep it flexible and don't fall into the mindset of only using the optimal play. PF2 rewards tactical flexibility.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Common homebrew fixes for melee magus.

    Make arcane cascade either always on if your weapon is drawn or a free action. I prefer the former, but still takes an action to switch damage types.

    Also no AoO on spellstrike.

    You will find melee magus "flows" a lot better while not being overpowered at all.


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    One thing I will note if you're going for the mounted solution - it may be better (if you can manage it) to go for a small or tiny ancestry and a medium mount. Large mounts take up four squares, and that can get awkward sometimes.


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    I played several Magus, all of them melee. Action economy under normal circumstances is a bit rigid, but nothing you can't work around. The biggest issue is how easy you are to shut down. Melee magus has 2 big counters, loosing actions and high mobility enemies. Against the former, there is not much you can do when it happens (You can invest on Kip Up via acrobatics or tell a spellcaster to cast Spell Immunity: Slow on you, but the issue will be still there in a myriad forms), but against the latter you can make use of reach, speed increases, extra mobility options, ways to cheat actions... any of those are really, really good on melee magus.

    Also, Magus is probably the class that scales the most with accuracy increases. If your party has to buff someone with Heroism, convince them so it is you.


    I play a magus in 2 different campaigns. Here's some of what I learned for my laughing shadow magus I absolutely try to get into cascade often, at 10th level my base spellstrike damage before rolling any dice on a flat-footed opponent is +15. And the move speed is nice but easy to replicate in other ways. That magus also only prepares 1 spell for spellstriking once he had 4 slots the others are usually for AoE's. He can target almost any weakness in the game because of the various cantrips from archetypes. He has the psychic, magaambaya and Halcyon speaker archetypes. I spellstrike with cantrips almost exclusively and like someone mentioned I use elemental wrath when I need to worry about AoO's. The other magus is a sparkling targe and just started so not as much feedback but bastion is really good for the sparkling targe at helping to smooth out the action economy especially if you are going to use a real shield. You could choose to use the shield spell you get 1 less AC but you can use 2 handed weapons. You don't need to be in arcane cascade if you choose the bastion archetype as you can grab feats that will help do the same thing. Alternatively you could go the psychic archetype route and get the shield psi cantrip and imaginary weapon. You can use a shield on you and cast shield on someone else who might be squishy.


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    I played a scythe-wielding Inexorable Iron Magus, a Sparkling Targe in another campaign, as well as helping build a number of other types. I found a couple interesting points to consider for Iron Magus (my favorite so far):

    1. Arcane Cascade stance is great, and gives the Iron Magus temp HP each round. The extra damage is just a cherry on top, until it exploits an enemy weakness- then it's pure gold. As a stance, you only need activate it once during combat and will remain in stance until knocked down, disarmed, etc. OR you can re-enter stance after casting a different spell to change your extra damage type. (I like to think of it like residual dweomer from your spell captured by your weapon's movements).

    2. Shield is a solid cantrip for you because you can use it with your two handed weapon, and it adds Force damage to your strikes. When in doubt, open with this cantrip and enter Arcane Cascade stance. Safe and defensive, and almost all monsters are affected by force damage.

    3. Unless you plan to use Expansive Spellstrike or cast a lot of spells outside of Spellstrike (which you might, with your stated wizard free archetype) you don't really have to have a high INT. Spellstrike requires your weapon to hit (that's STR for Iron Magus or maybe DEX for others). Unless it requires a saving throw your INT doesn't really matter for most spells. Some add damage per spellcasting modifier, yes, but by and large you don't HAVE to. Just pick spells that don't depend upon INT for damage and have no saves, round out with a few utility spells (summons, buffs) and you're fine.

    Something to chew on, anyway.


    Unicore wrote:

    Expansive spell strike with Electric Arc still only targets one enemy. People have a range of opinions on Expansive Spellstrike, but I believe that feat only encourages you to play sub-optimally. Others feel it is an action economy booster because you can cast Area of Effect spells with an attack built in, but the trade off is that the spell is lost if you critically miss. Whereas you gain nothing from critically hitting. That is why I personally don't recommend Expansive Spellstrike, especially for newer players to the class or the game.

    The core identity of the Magus as a class (so what it is built to do well) is to try to set up as accurate an attack as possible with a spellstrike, so you can crit and get ridiculous damage against a single target. The class is not flat, or one dimensional. You certainly don't have to play it this way, lots of people don't, but the linking of the attack roll and the spell attack roll as a design choice, with the way the crit system of PF2 works makes it so that there are few other builds that will top it on critical damage. So the two things the Magus does best are devastating critical hits, and targeting weaknesses (which can really add up against the right enemies).

    As far as electricity damage, there are enemies that are weak against it, but, as you can imagine, they are usually robotic-like enemies. At the same time, electricity is often a very safe type of damage type to use when you don't know a creature's resistances, because it is not a very common resistance either (compared to poison or fire).

    The other advantage of Electric Arc for all casters is that, as a save targeting cantrip, it is pretty easy to get some damage out of it against an enemy (since they take half damage on a successful save), which can make it a decent option for targeting a very weak or injured enemy, but still maybe getting some damage in against someone else as well.

    And as you have correctly read, combining casting a saving throw targeting spell with a normal attack is a pretty good turn for most casters, since the attack is made with no MAP. Eventually, the delayed casting proficiency of the Magus makes that less of a great option for the magus, but by then you should have enough spells and higher level feats to give yourself much better things to do with your turn.

    Thanks Unicore, really good info & advice there.


    YuriP wrote:

    The main reason I take Champion Dedication to do a magus tanker isn't really the benefits of dedication itself but the Champion's Reaction (paladin) and Divine Ally (shield) feats. They are the same name full class abilities of the pure champions for any class.

    Paladin's Champion's Reaction allows to protect allies and counterattack with reaction while Shield Ally improves the shield hardness and give 50% more HP for the shield improving the shield resistance when blocking magical damage, also spellstrikes are strong enought to call the attention of mostly opponents.
    The enemies easily begin to focus in the magus when it's reducing the damage to allies, counterattacking and giving a good amount of damage with spellstrike.

    Basically depends from situation. As I said before the main thing that prevented me to feel that's I was subpar is the char main focus. My main focus was never to do spellstrikes all the time but to protect allies and myself from all damage types (champion reaction protects my allies while Sparkling Targe + Shield Ally to protect myself against both physical and magical damage).

    The second thing is that Shielding Strike basically solve all my action economy problems to...

    Thanks Yuri. I think if I was going to play a character like this I would probably go a similar way. I'll definitely keep all this in mind for next time.


    Alchemic_Genius wrote:
    I haven't played one, but I do DM for a melee magus. As far as melee goes, Laughing Shadow (the only one I have seen in action) doesn't really suffer much from action economy thanks to the conflux spell's movement even without haste.

    Yes I must say Dimensional Assault made it a BIG temptation to play Laughing Shadow instead but I just really didn't think I'd be durable enough to be the frontliner .... if I'd had someone else in the party to do that for me, I reckon 100% I would've played Shadow. I wish Iron got something similar that included a movement of some sort.

    Alchemic_Genius wrote:
    Casting haste as a self buff though tends to be a mixed bag; you give up two actions and a resource, so it only pays itself off after 3 turns. Potions or Boots of Haste are better, as they only require one action.

    That's a good point there. I guess it comes online a lot earlier though. Am I right in understanding that Potion of Quickness is L8 and Boots of Speed are L13 ? Are there any options for lower levels that you are aware of ?

    Alchemic_Genius wrote:
    Something that is worth mentioning though that a lot of guides and online discourse assume that the class is only good if you're spellstriking every turn, and this is where the talk of being action starved comes from, since you can't stride, recharge, and spellstrike at the same time. While you want to spellstrike as much as you reasonably can, you absolutely do not need to deliver a spellstrike every turn to be good, the same way a wizard doesn't need to use a max level spell every turn to contribute meaningfully. Arcane cascade does provide a minor amount of extra damage, and you base strikes are valid. The fact that so many conflux spells are strikes plus an enhancement seems indicative of a design choice that not everything in the class is intended to be stacked around spellstriking every turn. A twisting tree spending two actions to Blazing Dive into a few enemies, then sweeping strike, for example, did not waste their turn just because they didn't spellstrike.

    I completely see what you mean. I think it's just that a normal strike even when in Arcane Cascade seems pretty lacklustre unless you're triggering a weakness, so I imagine that is why it's deemed so important to spell strike as often as you can. But yes, you are right, it's not an entirely wasted turn.


    Captain Morgan wrote:
    Exactly, yes. But keep it flexible and don't fall into the mindset of only using the optimal play. PF2 rewards tactical flexibility.

    Haha, got it ! I will do my best :-)


    CaffeinatedNinja wrote:

    Common homebrew fixes for melee magus.

    Make arcane cascade either always on if your weapon is drawn or a free action. I prefer the former, but still takes an action to switch damage types.

    Also no AoO on spellstrike.

    You will find melee magus "flows" a lot better while not being overpowered at all.

    To be 100% honest, whilst I haven't started play yet, I imagine I'll wish more that I had a way to work around the 1-action recharge.

    If there was ever going to be a rules-change (whether official or homebrew), I'd rather it was that from the sound of it.

    Do you know if there are any common homebrew rules around that ?


    Sanityfaerie wrote:
    One thing I will note if you're going for the mounted solution - it may be better (if you can manage it) to go for a small or tiny ancestry and a medium mount. Large mounts take up four squares, and that can get awkward sometimes.

    This makes perfect sense, thanks for this. I don't think I'm going to go that route at this point, but I'll keep that mind for if I do.


    roquepo wrote:
    I played several Magus, all of them melee. Action economy under normal circumstances is a bit rigid, but nothing you can't work around. The biggest issue is how easy you are to shut down. Melee magus has 2 big counters, loosing actions and high mobility enemies. Against the former, there is not much you can do when it happens (You can invest on Kip Up via acrobatics or tell a spellcaster to cast Spell Immunity: Slow on you, but the issue will be still there in a myriad forms), but against the latter you can make use of reach, speed increases, extra mobility options, ways to cheat actions... any of those are really, really good on melee magus.

    Thanks so much, I'm really REALLY loving hearing the voice of experience of people who have played them. May I ask, was your overall experience of playing these melee magi still good ? Did you enjoy them and feel like you were holding your own in the party ?

    roquepo wrote:
    Also, Magus is probably the class that scales the most with accuracy increases. If your party has to buff someone with Heroism, convince them so it is you.

    Oooh, ok, this is really good to know, thanks ! I will try to convince the other players to do this !!

    It looks like Heroism is on the occult list so our Witch could get it, is that right ?


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:


    That's a good point there. I guess it comes online a lot earlier though. Am I right in understanding that Potion of Quickness is L8 and Boots of Speed are L13 ? Are there any options for lower levels that you are aware of ?

    There's just haste or electromuscular stimulators, but they require 2 actions to be activated.

    Note that it's not that they pay themselves after 3 turns, as an extra action completes your turn.

    For example

    Routine with Haste

    1) Haste > Cascade
    2) Movement > True Strike > Spellstrike
    3) Recharge > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure ) > Movement ( or strike )
    4) Recbarge > Movement > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )
    5) Recharge > Movement > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )

    Routine without Haste

    1) Spell > Cascade
    2) Movement > Strike x2 ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )
    3) True strike > Spellstrike
    4) Movement > Recharge > Strike
    5) True Strike > Spellstrike

    It's random routine, but as you can see, it already pay out by round 2, allowing the magus to land a spellstrike ( while a non quickened magus won't be able to do so, unless wasting 1 action to cast a worthless spell like guidance/shield/message on round 1.

    But even so they'd be equal.

    The more the hero points your master gives, the better the haste build.


    chapter6 wrote:
    I play a magus in 2 different campaigns. Here's some of what I learned for my laughing shadow magus I absolutely try to get into cascade often, at 10th level my base spellstrike damage before rolling any dice on a flat-footed opponent is +15. And the move speed is nice but easy to replicate in other ways. That magus also only prepares 1 spell for spellstriking once he had 4 slots the others are usually for AoE's. He can target almost any weakness in the game because of the various cantrips from archetypes. He has the psychic, magaambaya and Halcyon speaker archetypes. I spellstrike with cantrips almost exclusively and like someone mentioned I use elemental wrath when I need to worry about AoO's. The other magus is a sparkling targe and just started so not as much feedback but bastion is really good for the sparkling targe at helping to smooth out the action economy especially if you are going to use a real shield. You could choose to use the shield spell you get 1 less AC but you can use 2 handed weapons. You don't need to be in arcane cascade if you choose the bastion archetype as you can grab feats that will help do the same thing. Alternatively you could go the psychic archetype route and get the shield psi cantrip and imaginary weapon. You can use a shield on you and cast shield on someone else who might be squishy.

    Holy cow, +15 ?? Admittedly I don't know what L10 chars typically look like yet (we're starting at L1) but that still sounds nuts to me !

    And yeah, I REALLY wish there was some equivalent to Dimensional Assault for Inexorable Iron but there just isn't :-(

    I don't think Psychic is going to be an option for us in this campaign (at least, not at the start anyway) but that sounds like a strong option so I might keep that in mind for next time.

    As I've asked a couple of others also, may I ask how much you have enjoyed playing the melee magi ? Has the action economy constraints got in the way of you feeling overall happy with the class ? Do you feel you are contributing well in the party ?


    Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
    I played a scythe-wielding Inexorable Iron Magus, a Sparkling Targe in another campaign, as well as helping build a number of other types. I found a couple interesting points to consider for Iron Magus (my favorite so far):

    This is fantastic info, thanks so much !! And I'm thrilled to hear that Iron was your favourite to play. Would you be so kind to tell me more about that ? What made it your favourite ?

    Wow, Scythe ? I'd never even thought to try that. How was that to play ? Did you find you had the actions to use Trip much ? Or was it more of a backup thing ? Did you do ok without Reach ?

    Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
    1. Arcane Cascade stance is great, and gives the Iron Magus temp HP each round. The extra damage is just a cherry on top, until it exploits an enemy weakness- then it's pure gold. As a stance, you only need activate it once during combat and will remain in stance until knocked down, disarmed, etc. OR you can re-enter stance after casting a different spell to change your extra damage type. (I like to think of it like residual dweomer from your spell captured by your weapon's movements).

    Yes, I would really REALLY like to be able to get into AC often. I think as the main frontliner I will really need those temp hps, and I'm certainly hoping to find enemies with weaknesses I can trigger from time to time. I'm imagining that will feel really good when it happens !

    Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
    2. Shield is a solid cantrip for you because you can use it with your two handed weapon, and it adds Force damage to your strikes. When in doubt, open with this cantrip and enter Arcane Cascade stance. Safe and defensive, and almost all monsters are affected by force damage.

    Yes I was definitely planning on doing this. Question, when you open with it in this way, would you use the reaction if you get hit, or would you hold off b/c you want to be able to cast it again later in the fight ?

    At the moment I'm imagining that if I cast it, and I got hit, I'd really want to use it, even if that means I can't cast it again for 10 rounds, b/c I think I'll need the durability, and also I probably won't have the actions to cast it again afterwards.

    How did you do it ?

    Baron Ulfhamr wrote:

    3. Unless you plan to use Expansive Spellstrike or cast a lot of spells outside of Spellstrike (which you might, with your stated wizard free archetype) you don't really have to have a high INT. Spellstrike requires your weapon to hit (that's STR for Iron Magus or maybe DEX for others). Unless it requires a saving throw your INT doesn't really matter for most spells. Some add damage per spellcasting modifier, yes, but by and large you don't HAVE to. Just pick spells that don't depend upon INT for damage and have no saves, round out with a few utility spells (summons, buffs) and you're fine.

    Something to chew on, anyway.

    This is fascinating to me actually. I'm not sure about using Expansive Spellstrike, but I have a few levels to see how I feel about it I guess. I'm leaning towards starting with 18 Str, and then 14 in Int & Con and just 12 Dex. Does that sound ok ?

    Thanks so much for all this really useful advice btw Baron ! It's hugely appreciated :-)


    HumbleGamer wrote:


    There's just haste or electromuscular stimulators, but they require 2 actions to be activated.

    Note that it's not that they pay themselves after 3 turns, as an extra action completes your turn.

    For example

    Routine with Haste

    1) Haste > Cascade
    2) Movement > True Strike > Spellstrike
    3) Recharge > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure ) > Movement ( or strike )
    4) Recbarge > Movement > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )
    5) Recharge > Movement > Strikex2/Spell/Powerattack ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )

    Routine without Haste

    1) Spell > Cascade
    2) Movement > Strike x2 ( or spellstrike, if you considerto invest a hero point in case of failure )
    3) True strike > Spellstrike
    4) Movement > Recharge > Strike
    5) True Strike > Spellstrike

    It's random routine, but as you can see, it already pay out by round 2, allowing the magus to land a spellstrike ( while a non quickened magus won't be able to do so, unless wasting 1 action to cast a worthless spell like guidance/shield/message on round 1.

    But even so they'd be equal.

    The more the hero points your master gives, the better the haste build.

    OHHHH!!!

    Ok, I'm going to have to walk through those sequences carefully and get my head fully around them, but based on that, it makes Haste seem more attractive to me.


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:


    Holy cow, +15

    Consider laughing shadow magus is required to have a one handed weapon and a free hand

    +5 STR
    +2 Weapon SPEC
    +2 Arcane Cascade ( pr +5 if flat footed )
    +1 Precision ( I assume using a backstabber weapon like the dogslicer )

    The last +2 may be from circ bonuses, I guess, but the important part is matching the damage with a different weapon

    just adding a 1d12 weapon ( like a maul or great axe ) would increase the damage by 2/3 each weapon damage die, resulting in +4/6 by lvl 10, and way more by lvl 14 and 18 ( while laughing shadow arcane cascade falls behind ).

    So, the damage would be the same ( or even lower, depends the weapon the laughing shadow decide to use ) as an inexorable iron using a 1d10/1d12 weapon.

    It's still extremely good because of their focus spell, which allows to move and recharge spellstrike, but consider that the best would always be to expend focus points on damagaing spells like the one you get from fire domain or imaginary weapon ( by lvl 12, being able to deliver 12d6 or 11d8 damage twice per combat, in addition to any other big one you may get from your magus spell slots or, eventually, the striker scroll class feat, is unmatchable ).

    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.


    HumbleGamer wrote:


    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.

    I disagree with that. Magus focus spells have the major upside of recharging your spellstrike.

    Since that alone is 1 action, their effects are basically a "free action do X for a focus point"

    Which makes them quite good imo.


    shroudb wrote:
    HumbleGamer wrote:


    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.

    I disagree with that. Magus focus spells have the major upside of recharging your spellstrike.

    Since that alone is 1 action, their effects are basically a "free action do X for a focus point"

    Which makes them quite good imo.

    Their recharge involve an attack, which is way worse that strike x2 + recharge.

    Renouncing to a spell strike doing double the cantrip damage is nonsense to me.

    Starlit doesn't need to move, so they can just alternate true strike spell strike with recharge + strike x2

    Laughing shadow is the only one that can trade a focus for either movement and recharge, which may seem cool, until you realize you won't spell strike without a true strike.

    It can go with a hero point though.

    The other ones are kinda useless as they just give extra actions you don't need.


    HumbleGamer wrote:
    shroudb wrote:
    HumbleGamer wrote:


    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.

    I disagree with that. Magus focus spells have the major upside of recharging your spellstrike.

    Since that alone is 1 action, their effects are basically a "free action do X for a focus point"

    Which makes them quite good imo.

    Their recharge involve an attack, which is way worse that strike x2 + recharge.

    Renouncing to a spell strike doing double the cantrip damage is nonsense to me.

    Starlit doesn't need to move, so they can just alternate true strike spell strike with recharge + strike x2

    Laughing shadow is the only one that can trade a focus for either movement and recharge, which may seem cool, until you realize you won't spell strike without a true strike.

    It can go with a hero point though.

    The other ones are kinda useless as they just give extra actions you don't need.

    /shrug

    Until very high level you can't true strike every single spellstrike.

    And even then, it's still OK to do normal strikes if they come with free recharge for all those rounds that you have to do something else, priming you to burst next round without completely wasting a round with 0 attacks.

    They are also excellent for the rounds you want to AoE, since they give a free attack on top of everything.

    From my experience, the "issue" of action economy that some see (the original reason the OP was made) really boils down to not using Conflux spells in favor of using damage focus spells "too much".

    As a very simple example:
    T1 stride+spellstrike
    T2 stride, strike+recharge, cascade
    T3 stride, spellstrike

    Or with haste rounds
    T1 haste+cascade
    T2 stride, true strike, spellstrike
    T3 AoE, stride, strike+recharge
    T4 stride, true strike, spellstrike

    And etc

    It's basically free strikes for the rounds you recharge.


    I fail to see any logic behind that.

    Using the focus pool to perform powerful spell strikes would be like

    1) spell + cascade
    2) stride + strike x2
    3) true strike + spell strike
    4) recharge + 2x strike
    5) true strike + spell strike

    Note that you can also use hero points, which will be consumed only if you miss

    If you need to also move, you forgo the second attack.

    Using the focus pool to perform conflux spells would be like:

    1) spell + cascade
    2) stride + strike x2
    3) true strike + spell strike
    4) conflux spell ( strike + recharge) + 2x strike
    5) true strike + spell strike

    Getting 3x strike x round is useless, so one of the extra actions may end up being a movement or a skill check.

    If you think that is more efficient than doubling the effectiveness of a spell strike, go for it.

    I ended up switching from the mobility of laughing shadow, which remains excellent, in order to deliver better blows, which ended up being way more solid.

    I also tried not to exploit true strike on every spellstrike, but it's not possible when it comes down to the magus class, which involves not only a 2 action activity which gives -10 map after that, but also resources ( spell slots or focus points).

    Not being able to get many true strikes at early levels is true, but there are several possibilities to deal with it ( FA makes that issue way less serious) after the first levels.


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    This is fantastic info, thanks so much !! And I'm thrilled to hear that Iron was your favourite to play. Would you be so kind to tell me more about that ? What made it your favourite ?

    I really loved the whole concept of a martial character enhanced by magic. My character studied with wizards and warriors and took what he could from both lessons. We also had a houserule for spellstrikes that a 10-over crit affected the spell OR the attack, but a at 20 affected BOTH (we use Critical Hit & Fumble decks). I felt very rockstar when the dice lined up!

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    Wow, Scythe ? I'd never even thought to try that. How was that to play ? Did you find you had the actions to use Trip much ? Or was it more of a backup thing ? Did you do ok without Reach ?

    I used a scythe mainly because it was thematic for my concept rather than advantageous, but it performed wonderfully, however, I recently played a polearm fighter in a one-shot and think you're about to have a great time! Don't forget that Assurance: Athletics let's you ignore the multiple attack penalty on Trip (it uses 10+ your proficiency ONLY) so it's great for a 3rd action trip attack.

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:

    Yes I was definitely planning on doing this. Question, when you open with it in this way, would you use the reaction if you get hit, or would you hold off b/c you want to be able to cast it again later in the fight ?

    At the moment I'm imagining that if I cast it, and I got hit, I'd really want to use it, even if that means I can't cast it again for 10 rounds, b/c I think I'll need the durability, and also I probably won't have the actions to cast it again afterwards.

    How did you do it ?

    I only burst the shield when I felt I I couldn't take the hit, but with those free temp HP each round, this is easier to do. Just weigh the +1 AC for 1 action each round vs. the ability to absorb 5-10 HP one time.

    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    This is fascinating to me actually. I'm not sure about using Expansive Spellstrike, but I have a few levels to see how I feel about it I guess. I'm leaning towards starting with 18 Str, and then 14 in Int & Con and just 12 Dex. Does that sound ok ?

    Sounds great, and with your wizard archetype, you'll probably want to pass on my alternate build and get that INT up when you can. My wife has an Iron Magus with STR 16, DEX 12, CON 14, INT 12, WIS 12, CHA 12


    Ok I can explain the laughing shadow's breakdown. Right now we're level 10 his stats STR 19 DEX 14 CON 16 INT 19 WIS 14 CHA 12. I spellstrike almost exclusively with cantrips and most cantrips give you you're casting stat mod (+4), it's a melee attack so I get my strength mod (+4) and in AC with a flat-footed opponent I get a +7. Some people want to ignore int unless they plan on casting save spells but Magus is the only class that can add 2 mods to 1 attack repeatedly. I usually only get 1 attack a round on him so I try to make it count as much as possible


    HumbleGamer wrote:
    shroudb wrote:
    HumbleGamer wrote:


    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.

    I disagree with that. Magus focus spells have the major upside of recharging your spellstrike.

    Since that alone is 1 action, their effects are basically a "free action do X for a focus point"

    Which makes them quite good imo.

    Their recharge involve an attack, which is way worse that strike x2 + recharge.

    Renouncing to a spell strike doing double the cantrip damage is nonsense to me.

    Starlit doesn't need to move, so they can just alternate true strike spell strike with recharge + strike x2

    Laughing shadow is the only one that can trade a focus for either movement and recharge, which may seem cool, until you realize you won't spell strike without a true strike.

    It can go with a hero point though.

    The other ones are kinda useless as they just give extra actions you don't need.

    Ok before I make assumptions do you mean you won't spellstrike without true strike if you are using a spell slot or period?


    chapter6 wrote:
    HumbleGamer wrote:
    shroudb wrote:
    HumbleGamer wrote:


    They messed up with the magus focus spells, resulting in getting an archetype/dedication to cast damaging focus spells somehow unbeatable.

    I disagree with that. Magus focus spells have the major upside of recharging your spellstrike.

    Since that alone is 1 action, their effects are basically a "free action do X for a focus point"

    Which makes them quite good imo.

    Their recharge involve an attack, which is way worse that strike x2 + recharge.

    Renouncing to a spell strike doing double the cantrip damage is nonsense to me.

    Starlit doesn't need to move, so they can just alternate true strike spell strike with recharge + strike x2

    Laughing shadow is the only one that can trade a focus for either movement and recharge, which may seem cool, until you realize you won't spell strike without a true strike.

    It can go with a hero point though.

    The other ones are kinda useless as they just give extra actions you don't need.

    Ok before I make assumptions do you mean you won't spellstrike without true strike if you are using a spell slot or period?

    Not quite right.

    I won't spellstrike using a spell slot or a focus point if I don't also use true strike, or have a hero point ready to be used just in case ( for example, if my magus is already wounded and about to go down a second time, I'd consider saving my hero point just in case to prevent death).

    At some point, especially with FA, you'll get enough true strikes for the whole map ( every magus but inexorable iron would also be able to use a true strike from a staff once per fight, or a scroll. By lvl 7 with storing gloves it would be 2 per fight ).


    I think the True Strike dilemma (when to use and when not to use) is harder that that.

    Depending on the encounter, the spell + cascade first turn is a complete waste of time. Expending your first turn setting up is a good against a strong lone enemy, sure, but it is just better to spellstrike first turn if possible against multiple enemies. The closest to initiative you kill the first enemy, the better, doesn't matter if it during the first, second or third turn.

    I find that most combats can fit 2-3 spellstrikes for a melee magus. While I agree that pairing True Strike with spellstrike is something you should try to do as often as possible, trying to use all spell/focus spellstrikes under TS seems unrealistic to me (Specially if you go the focus route) unless you are a Staff Magus with a Divination staff, the rest don't usually have hand space to do that besides Laughing Shadow, who can use their second hand holding a staff in exchange of damage. So for Targe and Iron, TS as often as that is just impossible until you get past 7 and get a ring of Wizardry, which is an uncommon item.

    If enemies are moving a lot and you don't have range or if they are making you loose actions, going for TS is also not worth it at all. Better move and spellstrike than expending yet another turn setting up.

    Also, one of you was describing an attack routine with strides in all turn when the other was describing an attack routine with a single stride, both things will happen all the time, but trying to compare those 2 seems a bit pointless.

    Finally, when discussing Magus focus spells you should talk about Force Fang, it is available to all Magus and can be used at full MAP. Really good tool sometimes that combines really well with most base conflux spells. Worth considering even at level 4 when going for a dedication at 2.


    roquepo wrote:

    I think the True Strike dilemma (when to use and when not to use) is harder that that.

    Depending on the encounter, the spell + cascade first turn is a complete waste of time. Expending your first turn setting up is a good against a strong lone enemy, sure, but it is just better to spellstrike first turn if possible against multiple enemies. The closest to initiative you kill the first enemy, the better, doesn't matter if it during the first, second or third turn.

    I find that most combats can fit 2-3 spellstrikes for a melee magus. While I agree that pairing True Strike with spellstrike is something you should try to do as often as possible, trying to use all spell/focus spellstrikes under TS seems unrealistic to me (Specially if you go the focus route) unless you are a Staff Magus with a Divination staff, the rest don't usually have hand space to do that besides Laughing Shadow, who can use their second hand holding a staff in exchange of damage. So for Targe and Iron, TS as often as that is just impossible until you get past 7 and get a ring of Wizardry, which is an uncommon item.

    If enemies are moving a lot and you don't have range or if they are making you loose actions, going for TS is also not worth it at all. Better move and spellstrike than expending yet another turn setting up.

    Also, one of you was describing an attack routine with strides in all turn when the other was describing an attack routine with a single stride, both things will happen all the time, but trying to compare those 2 seems a bit pointless.

    Finally, when discussing Magus focus spells you should talk about Force Fang, it is available to all Magus and can be used at full MAP. Really good tool sometimes that combines really well with most base conflux spells. Worth considering even at level 4 when going for a dedication at 2.

    I was using strides because most of the time, in my experience, you dont get the opportunity to simply stand still to do the "true strike-spellstrike" rinse/repeat for a whole combat that was described after me.

    but as i said earlier, Conflux spells are a tool that allows you to actually strike when you need to move. Not that you need to do that every round.

    if there's a fight where for some odd reason you can spend all your rounds stationary, then sure go ahead and use your focus points for damage or something.

    But the key thing imo is that basically conflux spells are free action effects on top of the recharge, and usually that effect is a Strike.

    Most martials would LOVE a free action strike, and maguses are no different.

    Are they to be used in every single round? No. Like all focus spells. Like true strikes, it's not like you can spam focus powers either.

    Furthermore they help a ton with whatHumble is trying to do aka maximize true strike, because the nature of the 3 action routine requires both a previous round investment and preparation from one's part to do, the fact that you get a free strike doing so is massive.

    And yeah, true strikes should only be used for spellslot spells unless you are a staff magus, no way you have enough elsewise.

    HumbleGamer wrote:

    I fail to see any logic behind that.

    Using the focus pool to perform powerful spell strikes would be like

    1) spell + cascade
    2) stride + strike x2
    3) true strike + spell strike
    4) recharge + 2x strike
    5) true strike + spell strike

    Note that you can also use hero points, which will be consumed only if you miss

    If you need to also move, you forgo the second attack.

    Using the focus pool to perform conflux spells would be like:

    1) spell + cascade
    2) stride + strike x2
    3) true strike + spell strike
    4) conflux spell ( strike + recharge) + 2x strike
    5) true strike + spell strike

    Getting 3x strike x round is useless, so one of the extra actions may end up being a movement or a skill check.

    so.. you're telling me that for 4 straight rounds you are stationary next to the big bad and simply striking and no one is moving around and no one is dying and you never need to change target. Sure, if that ever happenbs in any game, go ahead and do it.

    Even then, the routine for Conflux wouldnt look anything like the one you posted.

    it would be:
    t1: Stride+spellstrike
    t2:Conflux strike+cascade+strike
    t3:truestrike+spellstrike
    t4:conflux strike+spell
    t5:truestrike+spellstrike

    compared to your routine for using focus points for damage:
    you casted 1 spell, you had 2 rounds of 2 strikes, you had 2 truestrike+spellstrike
    i casted 2 spells, 1 rounds of 2 strikes and 1 round of 1 strike, 2 truestrike spellstrikes, one more spellstrike.
    we both moved once and activated cascade.

    so overall i got 1 more spellstrike, 1 more spell, and 1 less map-5 attack.

    You dont use Conflux spell+2 strikes in a round. As i pointed out in my routine, you do it in rounds where you have other things to do, like the fact that you missed a full spellstrike in round 1, like for other rounds that you need to move, like for rounds you need to cast buffs/aoe and etc.

    in all those occasions it is a free strike in a round where you would literally made 0 strikes.


    I suggest you to read the whole quote, as it seems you missed this part

    Quote:
    If you need to also move, you forgo the second attack.

    So, no stationary stuff.

    Even though considering that enemies tend to come within your reach in order to attack you, it's not rare at all not having to move ( especially in a 4 party members team with 2 melee combatants).

    Past lvl 5, you can also start investing into haste, in order to get a free stride ( or attack, if, required) every round in part of the combats ( at slightly higher levels, it may be used during all combats).

    Note that youll also have 1 hero point at the beginning of each session, plus one more after every hour, resulting in the magus being able to forgo any of the true strikes for a stride, if required, to get within the enemy reach and performing a spell strike.

    So again, it's just about positioning and blast like hell.

    The moment you expend a focus spell to strike/recharge, you have already halved your next spellstrike damage.

    Casting a spell ( probably EA, which doesn't involve an attack) + conflux would result less efficient than strike x2 + a double damage on your next spellstrike ( all of this even without considering the magus low spell casting DC, which sometimes is even -3/-4 compared to a pure spellcaster ).

    I gave up after a while doing conflux strike + EA because of the odds ( on a character with 16 int lvl 1 ), though the laughing shadow blink really helped a lot at earlier levels with positioning, ending up to witness a sensible damage increase by expending focus spells on damaging spells ( as well as using true strikes, or hero points, on any focus spells or spell slot).


    Just throwing this out there for the OP:

    NOthing is stopping you from playing a heavy armor + 2h reach laughing shadow. It's conflux spell is that strong, and the hybrid studies changes to Cascade are pretty minor either way.
    That's actually one of my own backup chars


    I considered laughing shadow and starlight span before ending up with inexorable iron. The benefits from the different options aren't all that impressive.


    Laughing shadows conflux spell is just to good to pass up on a melee Magus imo.

    Unless your going for a tank Magus (while being cool isn't all that great) in which case targe is great.


    Inexorable iron temp hit points in arcane cascade is pretty nice. I kind of discarded targe, because of action economy.


    I agree targe is probably the hardest one to do play with.

    I also see the bastion dedication somehow mandatory, for several reasons:

    - free hand ( allowiny the magus to use scrolls, wands and staves to cast from).
    - extra reaction ( given the tight action economy, it won't be rare for a sparkling targe magus to use their reaction to raise their shield. Being able to have an extra one to also perform a shield block would be good).
    - reactive shield ( the magus feat is better, but this one is given for free).

    Fortunately, most of the magus feats are not that good, so expending class feats to get dedications/archetypes is not a big deal.


    I feel like tank Magus is something you'd only play if you had a very specific concept in mind. Like the inventor tank.
    Both concepts happens to nail 40k space marines though (iron warriors and thousand sons respectively) which is a win by itself of course.

    Edit: and yeah Bastion feels almost mandatory for both


    I think we Can say for sure that every character who Wants to tank and lacks an extra shield block option like quick block or quick shield block ( so, all classes but fighter and champion, and I'd also add reactive shield too, would really benefit from the bastion dedication.

    The sparkling targe magus just happens to be in an even worse spot because or their terrible action economy and rotation.


    Lollerabe wrote:

    Just throwing this out there for the OP:

    NOthing is stopping you from playing a heavy armor + 2h reach laughing shadow. It's conflux spell is that strong, and the hybrid studies changes to Cascade are pretty minor either way.
    That's actually one of my own backup chars

    Ooooh! I hadn't thought of that!!

    I actually really wanted to play Laughing Shadow originally but thought they only went light armour + 1H wpns and so probably wouldn't be durable enough to be a frontliner.

    But a hvy armour + 2H wpn Laughing Shadow?? How does this work? And if you have played this backup character at all, how was it to play? And do you think it could be durable enough to hang out on the front lines?


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    Lollerabe wrote:

    Just throwing this out there for the OP:

    NOthing is stopping you from playing a heavy armor + 2h reach laughing shadow. It's conflux spell is that strong, and the hybrid studies changes to Cascade are pretty minor either way.
    That's actually one of my own backup chars

    Ooooh! I hadn't thought of that!!

    I actually really wanted to play Laughing Shadow originally but thought they only went light armour + 1H wpns and so probably wouldn't be durable enough to be a frontliner.

    But a hvy armour + 2H wpn Laughing Shadow?? How does this work? And if you have played this backup character at all, how was it to play? And do you think it could be durable enough to hang out on the front lines?

    You'll be trading temp/hp and the arcane cascade additional effects from laughing shadow

    Quote:
    While in Arcane Cascade stance, you gain a +5-foot status bonus to your Speeds, or a +10-foot bonus if you're unarmored. If you have a free hand while in the stance and are attacking a flat-footed creature, you increase the extra damage to 3, to 5 if you have weapon specialization, or to 7 if you have greater weapon specialization. You must have your other hand completely free; the extra damage doesn't apply if you have a free-hand weapon or other item in that hand, even if you would normally be able to use the hand for other things.

    but it's not a big deal imo.

    - A wand of longstrider lvl 2 would give you +10 status speed.
    - Your arcane cascade damage bonus would be the same as the Inexorable iron.

    Plus, you are going to get better hybrid study spells ( even if you might end up using those slots for more true strikes ).

    As for the Temp Hp you'll get every round... well, that's a nice sustain you have to forgo... but consider you are going to get the best conflux spell so far, so it's no issue at all ( unless your purpose was to make a tanky magus.

    In that case, inexorable iron + life boost + stoneskin is the way ).

    I say go for it, as it would be incredibly fun to play with!


    TheOneGargoyle wrote:
    Lollerabe wrote:

    Just throwing this out there for the OP:

    NOthing is stopping you from playing a heavy armor + 2h reach laughing shadow. It's conflux spell is that strong, and the hybrid studies changes to Cascade are pretty minor either way.
    That's actually one of my own backup chars

    Ooooh! I hadn't thought of that!!

    I actually really wanted to play Laughing Shadow originally but thought they only went light armour + 1H wpns and so probably wouldn't be durable enough to be a frontliner.

    But a hvy armour + 2H wpn Laughing Shadow?? How does this work? And if you have played this backup character at all, how was it to play? And do you think it could be durable enough to hang out on the front lines?

    I haven't played it yet and full disclosure:

    This was actually advice given to me by a member called Exocist.

    I, like you, thought of laughing shadow as a 1h + freehand medium/light armor char. BUT the thing is you don't need a free hand really, and you don't got the action econ room for making trips, grapples etc.

    The movespeed from laughing shadow is unfortunately status and dosent stack with longstrider, which you should get a wand of asap - so missing that part is null pretty early.
    The extra damg from being in Cascade also requires the target to be flatfooted and even when meeting all those requirements: 1hand free, in Cascade, target is flatfooted - you still only break even with a d12 (assuming a d6 weapon).

    So the main 'weakness' of the build (imo) is that it feels very unintuitive and.. annoying ? To not use your class features.

    The build is super solid, and being able to gap close or reposition would most likely be more valuable for your survival than some mesely thp (which again requires Cascade to be activated. Which you already know how I feel about).

    I would argue that it's both stronger and more fun than an Iron build. But keep in mind that I find both Irons feats and conflux spell super weak


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    Hello,

    I'm currently playing a Twisted staff magus, and here are some pointers I hope will be useful. This is what I found optimized but there are no universal truths so take everything with a grain of salt ^^

    1) At low levels (say 1 to 5), spellstriking is useless.

    The best use of your low level slot(s) until you get a striking weapon is to cast magic weapon - and doubly so for an Iron Magus since you're using a weapon with a big dice. That means your guisarme will do 2d10+str (hopefully +4) and no amount of spellstriking will outdamage that. So even with a -5 penalty, it's better to attack twice and not spellstrike until level 5 or so. There are programs made by fans who'll give you the exact breaking point. But yeah, there you have it, our main feature is useless until level 5 which is pretty annoying. On the other hand, you'll deal a hefty amount of damage anyway.

    2) Try to get a powerful focus spell. Your slots are valuable, so a way to deal more damage every fight is great. The best ways include going Psychic dedication (for 1d12+1 fire damage/2 lvl) or cleric dedication (for 2d6 fire damage/2 lvl). Going psychic also lets you get the best magus cantrip ever but you'll need 2 feats for that.

    3) Since you took a wizard dedication, you should take hand of the apprentice. It works with spellstrike and deals a lot of damage at early levels. It will lose steam, though.

    4) All magus focus spells suck big time. Don't use them. The only one that could be worth it is laughing shadows if you take the level 10 feat, but then that would force you to play laughing shadows which is plenty bad.

    5) True strike is your friend. Use it, abuse it. That's also why Twisted Tree magus is the best magus by miles. True Strike into Spellstriking a big focus spell is an awesome nova round.

    6) Always take a round to prep at the beginning of the fight. Don't rush headlong into battle with your low hp. A good first round could be Greater Invis + Cascade or GI + move depending on whether you want the cascade or not.

    7) Don't hesitate to abuse weaknesses. Apart from the thaumaturge, you're the best at this.

    8) Since you followed my advice (didn't you ?) and took an offensive focus spell, don't hesitate to fill your slots with something else than touch spells. A big trusty fireball, a mass slow/haste or even a mass fear at low level can do wonders.

    9) Don't underestimate electric arc. It's everyone's favorite cantrip for a reason. Electric arc + cascade is a valid first round, and depending on the surroundings it might be better to do strike + Electric Arc instead of Recharge + Spellstrike.

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