Feb 212014

Mawry and AdventureDog
AdventureDog isn’t really part of the build,
but he is sort of part of Mawry and gets included anyway

I am posting this on the forums too in the hopes of getting the largest possible audience for error correction and enhancement suggestions. Please feel encouraged to chime in with your own thoughts and corrections in the comments, below.

The Half-Track: a Self-healing DEX-based Tank

Halfing Wizard 17/Rogue 3

Unlike most of my builds, this one has a single purpose: tanking. All of the other stuff is there to promote the ability to dive into a batch of bad guys and hold their agro, with or without a healer.

Tradeoff discussion

  • Being a Halfling means losing the DPS advantages of a Strength build, but in return the build gets greater AC, excellent reflex saves, and the Dragonmark of Healing.
  • Having Evasion means giving up on heavy armor’s PRR but it more than pays off in elemental damage avoidance.
  • Being a 17th-level wizard means less hitpoints but in return you will always be Hasted, Raged, Blurred, Displaced and Fireshielded, and you will be fighting in a cloud of Acid Rain or Ice Storm. The Eldritch Knight enhancements make for one badass wizard.
  • Damage was so minor, even when in a crowd, that I could keep myself up just using the Halfling dragonmarks. I could even get rid of my own Negative levels! I have an endless mug of rum too but often forget to use it; the dragonmarks are usually enough.

Epic Discussion

I feel like this character’s best main destiny would be Unyielding Sentinel. Then probably Legendary Dreadnaught. The normal wizard destiny Magister doesn’t have much for this build beyond spell points. The normal rogue destiny Shadowdancer seems meh too, maybe because this is not a normal rogue. Twisting Healing Spring and Rejuvenation Cocoon on this character should apply more than enough additional self-healing to stay up through the Epic levels.

Stats as of level 20:

This was not a well-geared character, she just grabbed whatever was available in her completionist TR bank. Some of it is nice (+8 CON and DEX) but others not so much, for instance I don’t think she had anything on her head at all. She has 10 past lives, and those certainly help, but most of these stats are pretty raw and will only get better as one applies the right equipment.

But even so, they (the stats, not the equipment) are pretty good for level 20:

STR    10/22
DEX    22/44
CON    16/32
INT    16/26
WIS    10/15
CHA     8/13

HP       471
BAB       20
DblStrike  5
Fort      31
Reflex    39
Will      27

AC        73
PRR       22
Dodge      0 
Max Dodge 12
SP      1555
Pos	 139 
Neg       61
Force    113
Repair    57
Sonic     44
Other     83


Balance        6/51
Concentration 23/55
Heal           5/17 
Spellcraft    23/39
UMD           23/32 **

* I put 18 ranks into Search which was a mistake. They should have gone into Heal, meaning the Positive spellpower would be higher too.

** I am torn between pumping up UMD as I did, versus Intimidate which I did not, and often missed having on this character. If you are going to be tanking a lot, take Intimidate. If you are going to be backup healing a lot, take UMD.


Combat Expertise
Enlarge ***
Improved Critical Pierce
Improved Mental Toughness
Least Dragonmark of Healing
Mental Toughness
Weapon Finesse ***

*** Enlarge was used but only rarely. Weapon Finesse needed to apply DEX damage mod to rapiers. Other combinations to consider: Dodge + Mobility for dodging percent, or Shield Proficiency + Shield Mastery for PRR

Halfling Enhancements

Halfling Luck (x3)
Dexterity (x2)
Jorasco Dragonmark Focus (X3)
Lesser Dragonmark of Healing
Break Out the Leaches
Greater Dragonmark of Healing

Assassin Enhancements

Knife in the Darkness
Dagger in the Back
Shiv (x3)
Poison Strikes (Ice Chill)

Eldritch Knight Enhancements

Eldritch Strike
Spellsword (acid)
Spellsword (flame)
Spellsword (shock)
Toughness (x3)
Battlemage (x3)
Improved Mage Armor (x3)
Improved Shield (x3)
Light Armor Proficiency
Arcane Barrier (x3)
Dexterity (tier 3 & tier 4)
Critical Accuracy
Critical Damage
Medium Armor Proficiency ****
Shield Striking (x3)
Tensor’s Transformation
Eldritch Shield
Still Spell (x1)
Doublestrike (x3)
Eldritch Tempest (x3)

**** Not sure how this got here since an Evasion build is never going to wear medium armor. I may have had to take it to satisfy a point-send requirement? Or maybe I just screwed up and should have put these two points elsewhere.

So, what did I miss? There’s always something that can be tweaked to make the build better. Thoughts? Comments?

  10 Responses to “A New Tank Build for Halflings”

Comments (10)
  1. Maybe drop combat expertise, improved mental toughness and enlarge for dodge, mobility and spring attack for the dodge percentages

  2. Blah, blah, blah, build, build, build.

    I’m sure this is a fantastic build, so I’m probably not going to read past the blurb.

  3. As long as you realise that this tank will only work as intended when grouped with similar flavour/casual builds, it should be pretty fun to play.
    It won’t hold aggro for long against anyone who’s built to do serious damage because you don’t generate enough threat. Your spellpower is low (and will still be with better gear), your weapon damage isn’t going to be spectacular either and you have no Intimidate. Even if you had it, you’d probably only hold mobs’ aggro for a short time or as long as nobody who does decent damage attacks them. Your hit points and Fort and Will saves will be low for a tank unless you limit your questing to EH… But then again, almost any build works on EH.

    • This opinion is also well-represented in the forum thread about this build (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/436740-The-Half-Track-a-Self-healing-DEX-based-Tank).

      I can’t definitively answer this until the build gets fully leveled and geared. I know that it was dominating CR 22 content while only level 18. The only quest that threw any difficulty at this build whatsoever was Breaking the Ranks elite which we attempted at level 18. All of the other heroic content attempted was on elite and was thoroughly dominated.

      It has been suggested that trading some levels of wizard for paladin or fighter would be worthwhile. And it might, I need to work it up and see what it looks like.

      • I know, I read that thread but I decided to reply here.

        I don’t think it’s a bad build for your playstyle.. Or what I *think* your playstyle is anyway. I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a few years and I believe I can more or less guess what type of player you are.

        I trust the character is proving to be efficient in the content you’re running at the moment. What I have doubts about is its ability to tank if grouped with powergamer builds that really dish out a lot of damage simply because I don’t think the threat it generates would be sufficient to keep aggro. As I said, the hit points and saves would probably only be a problem on EE. The difference in difficulty between EH and EE is generally bigger than between heroic hard and elite.

        It’s also hard to judge how efficient the build would be at cap without knowing what gear you’re using at the moment. It would help if you could post stats as they will be at cap when you have optimal gear (or gear you expect you could realistically obtain, which is what I do when planning my builds).

      • And yes, 2-4 levels of paladin would help, although you might have to change the stats a bit and focus on Charisma to take advantage of Divine Grace, but since this also complements UMD and Intimidate (assuming you will respec for it at some point), it should be a worthwhile investment.
        If you’re short on skill point to get Intimidate in, I think you could drop Concentration and take Quicken (instead of Enlarge for example) so you don’t need to worry about being interrupted. Dragonmarks would benefit from Quicken a bit as well.

  4. Thinking about it over the weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that posting this build as an end game build without actually projecting end game stats and gear was a mistake. It leaves me in a position of defending something that doesn’t even exist yet, which is really indefensible.

    So, a mistake. My bad.

    The consensus seems to be that Eldritch Knight is not end game viable. The whole tree. Except as maybe a splash-in portion of a build that is otherwise drawn from superior enhancement trees.

    I am not totally conceding that this build would not work as intended, but I am totally conceding that I have not proved my point. And further, that I won’t be, since I am not in the end game right now, and when I am back in I won’t be on this build, I’ll be modernizing previous end game builds for a strategy fighter, an enchanter, a DPS barbarian, and a DPS tempest assassin.

    There is also an implied sentiment in the forum thread – and here too, although stated more nicely (and thank you for that! 🙂 ) that I am not qualified to comment on any end game build because I am not playing end game.

    And in truth, I am not currently playing the end game. With emphasis on the word “currently”. Somewhere around the time MotU came out I started focusing on my completionist and guild runs exclusively. I feel like the years I spent in end game prior to MotU give me standing to comment, but if you disagree I am not going to convince you.

    I do like this build. I’ll get back to it eventually, but it is pretty far down the queue.

    So there you go. A mea culpa for declaring this to be an end game build without first building it up through the end game. My bad.

    • It’s not so much about end game builds, it’s mainly about casual vs powergamer builds. If anything, what I’m implying is that you might be underestimating the DPS of some of the current specialised builds, and subsequently overestimating the ability of your build to tank (ie. keep enemies focused on you so that they don’t attack others) if you were in a group with them, compared to whoever you grouped with then you leveled and tested this build.

    • To put it bluntly, I suspect that you were able to tank because other people in your group didn’t do a whole lot of damage..

What do you think?

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