The Tankvoker (4e Optimized Character Build)
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Do you have trouble staying alive in battles? Do you get angry at your tank for not getting the job done? Are you tired of being the “Weak Guy” in battles and hiding behind everyone else in fear of dying? If you answered “yes” to any or all of those questions then this build is for you! By the time you reach the end of this build, you will have the knowledge to become a controller, leader and defender all wrapped up into one!
A_Man_In_Black’s Invoker Build (for various items) Player’s Handbook (feats), Player’s Handbook 2, Divine Power (powers and feats), A bunch of Dragon Magazines, Most was searched for on the compendium or the D&D Character Builder
 Recommended Spells
ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS take Visions of Blood (Divine Power) as an at-will power. It is your very best friend as an invoker as it is so freaking versatile for feat and item support that I just want to take it out for a nice seafood dinner and then give it a box of chocolates on the way home.
Other than that, I would just suggest getting controller encounters and dailies and leader-like utility powers to be more helpful to your party. If you have any questions on what to get, just ask me or go to an invoker char-op guide. I won't write all of the attacks you will need here as this is only to show how to play the tankvoker, not the invoker in general.
Note: Don’t be afraid to take spells that are a lower level than you when you level up. The level 1 encounter spells are much stronger than the level 3 ones, and there are probably others as well.
- Staff of Ruin (accurate or defensive, I prefer accurate) with Siberys Shard of the Mage (Main Hand)
- Aversion Staff (Off-Hand)
- Staff of the Traveler - Lowest level, only take if your DM allows you to use teleport distance increasing items with it. You should be able to, but the DM might not agree
- Helm of Able Defense - To increase your AC further
- Armor of Dark Deeds - With whatever the best light armor you can get is, probably hide or leather
- Antipathy Gloves - You can consult your DM about if adding an extra square of movement has an increased effect on difficult terrain. i.e. if needing to move 2 squares on difficult terrain would be increased to 4 with the gloves
- Eladrin Ring of Passage - Again, only if your DM allows you to use it with the Staff of the Traveler
- Incisive Dagger Wrist Razors - Higher level = longer teleport distance (only take if your DM allows you to count the Staff of the Traveler’s property as a power)
- Cloak of Translocation – Again, only take if your DM allows you to count the Staff of the Traveler’s property as a power. This gives you extra AC and Reflex for teleporting.
- Cloak of Distortion - If the Cloak of Translocation does not work as intended above, and possibly at Epic tier when the bonuses start to differentiate more
- Mage’s Spiked Shield - You will have to check the spiked shield’s property constantly, as the rules say that if it is used as a weapon you gain the shield bonus and you don’t have to wear it on your arm, but it doesn’t say anything about needing to hold it
- Belt of Vim/Diamond Cincture - To increase your fortitude
- Eladrin Boots - Same as the Eladrin Ring of Passage
- Dice of Auspicious Fortune – Good for securing the first hit or just getting out those bad rolls. Overall, these dice give you an exceptional boost when you need it most.
- Eladrin Chain Shirt - Slotless AC bonus for wearing light armor? Yes please!
The items that are here are mainly used so that you can teleport at-will so that you can get through difficult terrain (which we will talk about later), and to make you harder to hit. The Cloak of Translocation requires you to teleport to gain it’s effect, but who says you can’t just spend a move action to teleport but not teleport out of your square? Nobody, that’s who. By doing this, you will add +2 to your AC and Reflex every turn that you spend a move action. If the Cloak of Translocation won’t work, you will still get a bonus to ranged defenses by taking the Cloak of Distortion. The Armor of Dark Deeds will grant you concealment if you have Combat Advantage against an enemy and you attack them. This Combat Advantage will be granted with feats. Next, the Aversion staff. This is very useful as Visions of Blood makes the enemy subject to an effect caused by you. This makes them take a -2 to all attacks against you. The Mage’s Spiked Shield also gives you a +1 shield bonus to AC. All of this together allows you to be a massive tank once you have hit a creature once and teleported.
Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): You will want about 15/16 (depends on if you are allowed to have more than one Ability Score under 10 or not) as your Wisdom modifier as it is the most important for attacks, but you need to juggle a lot of Ability Scores for feats, armor and extra effects. You will want about 15 starting Dexterity for feat support and initiative. (You are going to be working towards 17 Dexterity, once you get that you can forget about it) You will want about 15 starting Intelligence if you are going for the Covenant of Preservation Invoker path. If not, 15 starting Constitution, but I would not recommend that as going with the Auspicious Birth background will work much better.
Race and Background It really doesn’t matter what race you are. Just keep in mind that you are going to want to increase your Wisdom and Intelligence whenever you can. Be sure to take the Auspicious Birth background. It gives you a much needed health boost for when your enemies attack those pesky NAD’s
All of these feats are recommended in order to use this build to be a tank. Some accuracy feats are used because you are 90% reliant on hitting with Visions of Blood. If you are starting off with this build, I would suggest doing it in this order:
- Power of Earth – Adding a slow to an already awesome feat compatible attack? Amazing!
- Vicious Advantage – Allows you to get combat advantage every time you use your At-Will power
- Defensive Advantage - +2 to AC when you hit? Yes!
- Invoker Defense – Not as good as Defensive Advantage in this build, but extra AC nonetheless
- Staff Expertise – You need to hit to get those defensive effects
- Improved Initiative – You need to hit first to be the tank
- Psychic Lock – Awesome debuff to attacks that also works with allies
- Superior Implement Training (Accurate Staff or Defensive Staff) – I would recommend Accurate Staff so that you can hit more, but Defensive Staff is good as well.
- Improved Defenses - You are going kind of overkill on the AC anyways, so why not upgrade those other defenses?
- Toughness – More meat if they get past the shield (meat shield? get it? Haha... ok...)
- Durable – Chances are, your DM will be focusing you a lot and you will need a lot of healz. This lets you get moar healz than before.
- Multiclass Paladin: Squire of Righteousness - You probably can’t get it now, so take it whenever you get the chance. It makes you more of a defender than a selfish tank which I think is useful.
- Quick Draw - Optional, only if you need to juggle your items around
- Coordinated Explosion - Visions of blood is ally friendly. If you can get them to be in your blast, it will be very helpful
- Epic Resurgence – Since you are pretty much always going to be using AOE powers, you will have a high chance of critting
- Invoked Devastation - Very useful for Coordinated explosion and mass slowing in general
- Just Sacrifice (Paladin Multiclass) – If you aren’t being hit, you might as well help your allies as much as you can. Also works well with Durable.
- Superior Initiative – Highly recommended to retrain improved for this. You can’t afford to go last at this level because the DM probably hates you right now.
Basically, this build is solely based off of using your Visions of Blood at-will power. With Power of Earth, this power slows the target(s). Vicious Advantage builds off of this by making slowed targets grant Combat Advantage. Defensive Advantage builds off of that by giving you +2 to AC against them, along with your Armor of Dark Deeds which grants concealment, making everything have a -2 to hit you. Invoker defense builds off of any invoker power, giving you another +2 bonus to AC. Since Visions of Blood is a Fear power, Psychic lock makes the target take a -2 penalty to all attacks. Altogether, this would mean that you would have the equivalent of +12 to AC, + 8 to Reflex and +6 to Fortitude and Will.
 Paragon Tier
I would strongly recommend taking the Keeper of the Nine Paragon Path. Creating difficult terrain around you whenever you use a close power means that slowed enemies cannot move to other squares beside you with your antipathy gloves.
 Epic Destiny
The best Epic Destiny I have found for a defender/leader/controller is the Planeshaper epic destiny. It gives you some extra Intelligence and allows you to use an encounter power twice per encounter (which is useful for healing/shielding powers). The level 24 feature allows you to remove people from play to give people some time to think, or to allow your party to focus another monster easier. The thing that I am sold on, though, is the level 30 feature. It pretty much gives you 3 or more AMAZING dailies that you can use AT WILL as a MINOR ACTION! This will be amazing for any kind of controller or defender, as you can create walls, difficult terrain or simply damage everybody within 10 squares of you which is amazing for popping those minions that get in your way. (It isn’t ally friendly but this can be fixed with a Battle Standard of the Fiery Legion and/or fire/frost resistance items) Also, this feature can be used to clear the rubble you have created with the Keeper of the Nine feature in case it is starting to annoy your allies. Overall, I think that this Epic Destiny is AWESOME and pretty OP at level 30.
 Bonuses Breakdown
 Paragon Tier
- Aversion Staff + Armor of Dark Deeds + Cloak of Translocation & Staff of the Traveler + Helm of Able Defense = (equivalent) +8 AC, +8 Ref., +6 Fort., +6 Will.
- Defensive Advantage + Invoker Defense + Psychic Lock = (equivalent) +6 AC, +2 Ref., +2 Fort., +2 Will.
- Mage’s Spiked Shield + Tembo Hide Armor + Elven Chain Shirt (Paragon) + 15 (10 + half lvl) + Int. Modifier = 29 AC.
- 29 AC + 6 + 4 (Other values that give actual AC) = 39 AC and -4 to hit for enemies (assuming they are beside you, otherwise it is -4 against you and -2 against others) and 37 AC with no penalty if you hit an enemy, but you did not hit the person who is attacking you.
- If an Elder Green Dragon (Level 19 Solo Skirmisher) were to attack you, it would have to roll at least a 19 to hit you!
 Epic Tier
- Items/feats that don’t change with level = (equivalent) +12 AC, +8 Ref, +6 Fort., +6 Will.
- Cloak of translocation: +2 to AC and Ref + Elven Chain: +3 to AC. Every time you TP or Cloak of Distortion: +5 to all defenses against ranged attacks. I would recommend cloak of distortion if you are having trouble with defending against ranged attacks and/or you feel like you are going kind of overkill on AC against one person.
- All your regular armor bonuses along with Roc Hide armor = 38 AC or Mekillot Hide Armor = 36 AC. With the Int. Boost from your epic destiny & leveling up through Paragon tier: +2. So, at Epic Tier you will have 40 AC with Roc Hide and 38 with Mekillot Hide.
- With Roc Hide: 40 AC + 10 + 2 + 3 (Cloak of Translocation & Chain Shirt) = 57 AC or 55 AC with Mekillot Hide
- This is the same amount of AC as The Old Man with the Canaries (a.k.a. Bahamut, a level 36 Solo Soldier). Now, he would be able to hit you on a die roll of 16. Seeing as You could have gotten even more expensive items for your defenses, the fact that this calculation is for a level 21, you should have no trouble at all forcing your way safely through hordes of baddies.
Note: I used Bahamut as an example because he is the highest level creature in the game: Level 36 to be precise. That is a whopping 15 levels higher than the character used in this example!
Basically, you are going to want to do anything in your power to go first and hit first. After that, they should pretty much always be granting Combat Advantage so you will have an easier time hitting. If you miss everybody on an attack, you are going to want to teleport away to keep a safe distance. You are going to want to do the same thing if you are thinking of casting any encounter or daily standard action powers as you will lose your buff to AC and can be beaten down very quickly. Your Paragon Tier Keeper of the Nine path is VERY important. Combined with the slow from Visions of Blood, you can effectively lock down your opponents and keep them in one spot. With Antipathy Gloves, you can trap the enemy between a wall and actually completely stop movement, allowing for strikers to burst the enemy down quite effectively. Another tactic is to “sandwich” the enemy between you and a striker. By doing this, the enemy will have to try to walk through your rubble and provoke opportunity attacks. The best way to trap the opponent, though, is to hit them with your blast, move a square back and let somebody else push/pull/slide them into the centre of the difficult terrain you have created. All in all, I have tried this build out with my character and it works exceptionally well. Since the DM will hate you, they will try to focus you, giving your team the terrain advantage and allowing for an easy encounter.
This build allows you to become an insanely insane tank/controller/leader by exploiting the hell out of untyped bonuses and Visions of Blood’s feat/item support. With the Keeper of the Nine Paragon Path you can further control the battlefield by slowing enemies while on difficult terrain, stopping movement. I allowed for some personalization in this build as, even though there are feats you need to take, you can choose whatever powers you want as long as you have visions of blood. By doing this, it is very easy to switch between the tank and the controller/leader role by teleporting away from the battlefield and casting the other at-will spell you chose or by teleporting in and spamming Visions of Blood.
 Munchkin-Size Me
- More Attack roll bonuses to secure your defenses?
- Multiclass/hybrid to cleric instead to be more of a Leader?
- Create a hybrid Warden for for defender attacks & more health?
- Make use of other classes’ fear/slowing powers to allow you to be more of a controller?
- Focus less on defenses and more on damage to become a “one man band” of sorts?
- This build only really works if you can hit the target with Visions of Blood, so it does not provide very much defense against ranged attacks unless you take the cloak of distortion.
- Although you gain a bonus to all defenses from some things, you still have fairly weak NAD’s compared to your AC
- If the enemy manages to get through your armor, you are fairly squishy. Ongoing damage is VERY BAD for you
 DM Counters
- Use a lot of minions or squishy monsters and spread them out on the board along with the more difficult creatures. If the invoker doesn't know that they are minions, he/she will lose a lot of his/her defense after killing them.
- On the contrary, be sure to put more than one high damage dealer in an encounter. The invoker will be forced to attack one while the other one can attack him/her a bit easier.
- Find monsters that attack Fortitude. Even though this is a tank build, the character’s fortitude is still a bit on the weak side.
- Stun/Daze the character at the beginning of the encounter. This character does not have very high defenses when they cannot use attack powers.
- Find monsters that have high initiative. It is very important to chip away at their health before their shield pops.
- Ongoing damage is a killer when looking at this build. It is a good way to get through the armor and slowly eat away at their health.
- Use attacks that have effects even if they miss. The Tankvoker has high defenses but still lacks in health.
- Focus other characters! Your biggest weapon in this game is peer pressure. The party may get angry at their Tankvoker for too much armor and not enough control. Eventually, they might just give in and change their build.