Wizards' Handbook by Dictum Mortuum (3.5e Optimized Character Build)/Tactics
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Warning : in general it is easier for a sorcerer to be a good counterspeller, but an optimized counterspelling wizard can leave the sorcerer in the dust.
1. Learn the Dispel line. Contrary to sorcerers, you won't take Improved Counterspell. Instead, you will use :
- Dispel Magic PHB, 3 - max CL 10
- Greater Dispel Magic PHB, 6 - max CL 20
- Reaving Dispel SC, 9 - max CL 20
Reaving Dispel CA, 9 has been updated in the SC and now caps at CL 20. It can still be worth learning for a Dispel-oriented wizard. 2. Get some spells that help.
- Battlemagic Perception HoB, 3 - 10 min/level
- Duelward CA, 5 - 1 round/level
Both of them grant a Spellcraft bonus (to recognize spells) and allow you to counterspell once as an free action not on your turn*, which ends the spell. Battlemagic Perception is superior in every way to Duelward : lower level, longer duration, allows you to recognize spell-like abilities too.
- (the only other occurrence of this is speech - don't be surprised if your DM houserule it to be an immediate action)
3. Optimize your dispel check.
- Minor School Esoterica (Abjuration) [Master Specialist(Abjurer) CM] : competence bonus of half your class level to dispel checks
- Caster Level Increase [Master Specialist(Abjurer) CM] : +1 then +2 CL to abjuration spells
- Unanswerable Strike [Iot7V CA] : +2 then +4 CL for dispel checks against abjuration spells
- Arcane Mastery [Feat CA] : lets you take 10 on CL checks
- Arcane Thesis(GDM) [Feat CA] : interesting if you also plan on often chaining Greater Dispel Magic to disable many magical items at once. Overkill otherwise.
- Elven Spell Lore [Feat PHB2] : +2 to dispel checks
- Magic Disruption [Feat CM] : +1 competence bonus to CL for abjuration spells
- Mystic Backlash [Feat CM] : +1 competence bonus to CL for abjuration spells
- Inquisition Domain Power : +4 bonus to dispel checks
- Planar Touchstone(Catalogues of Enlightenment) [Feat PlH] : to obtain the above domain power
- Domain Granted Power [Alternate Class Feature CC] : also to obtain the above domain power. Requires you to get 5 levels in Wizard.
- Spellcaster's Bane CM, 3 : +2 insight bonus to dispel checks. Cast as a swift action, automatic recognition of spell if Spellcraft >= 5, learn CL of the spell if Spellcraft >= 15
- all effects/feats/items that increase the CL
Recommended : if you have gone this far, you should get the Mastery of Counterspelling high arcana [Archmage] and watch the enemy spellcasters cringe as their spells rebound on them.
- Wizard 3/Master Specialist(abjurer) 4/Iot7V 7/MS +6
- Wizard 3/Master Specialist(abjurer) 4/Iot7V 7/Archmage 1/MS +5
(unfortunately you have to choose between Mastery of Counterspelling and the Iot7V and MS capstones)
How your familiar can help :
- Use Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability to grant him spells (dispels)
- You can share Battlemagic Perception/Duelward with him ! When it runs out, he can cast it again on both of you.
- If you don't want to use the above spells, have him ready an action to counterspell.
The goal is to counterspell without using any action yourself !
- Every Battlemagic Perception spell allows you to counter only one spell.
- The maximum CL of each Dispel spell is reached quickly.
If you would rather not spend levels/feats on the above, consider the following items :
- Ring of Counterspells DMG - 4000gp : too cheap to pass by, especially if you can make them unslotted.
- Ring of Greater Counterspells DMG2 - 16000gp
- Ring of Spell-Battle CA - 67600gp : updated in the MIC, it is now a lot cheaper (12000gp) but less efficient.
- Spellblade PGtF - 6000gp
See the above on how to optimize the dispel checks.
In addition to the counterspell-enabling dispels listed above, the following allow active dispelling :
- Dispel Ward (SC, 1) : only for low-level abjurations
- Dispelling Touch (PHB2)
- Spelltheft (CS, 5) - max CL 15
- Dispelling Breath (SC, 5) : excellent if you already have a breath weapon (Dragonborn, for instance). All creatures in the breath area are subject to a targeted dispel (max CL 15).
- Chain Dispel (PHB2, 8) - max CL 25
- Dispelling Screen (SC, 4) : targeted dispel on whoever crosses it (max CL 10). Its best feature is however unrelated to dispelling : it stops line of effects for all spells not operating on a creature or object, making it a mini-antimagic field.
- Dispelling Screen, Greater (SC, 7) : as above, caps at CL 20