What are the Best Feats? Round 2, Vote Now!

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 25, 2011

Today the winners of What are the Best Feats? Round 1 begin vying for the crown of best feats in 4e D&D. It started with a simple discussion. Were some feats better than others? All evidence seemed to indicate that yes, some feats were absolutely, head and shoulders, better than others. With over 3,000 feats available to level 1 PCs we kept seeing the same few appear over and over again on everybody’s character sheet. Knowing that there was a hand full of superior, more popular feats, our next step was to identify and rank them.

Last week we comprised a list of 32 contenders for the best feats in 4e D&D and asked you to vote. The top two feats from each group in Round 1 advanced to Round 2 which begins today. Round 2 will work slightly differently than Round 1. Rather than put the feats into groups of four we decided to just go with two groups of eight. You can vote for up to four feats in each group.

Since many of these feats received a nearly identical percentage of the votes in the first round, limiting the groups to only four feats each might have unintentionally eliminated or favoured some feats based on which ones they were matched up against. The larger field in each poll should give more accurate results as we try to figure out what are the best feats.

Our original reason for conducting these polls and discovering which feats were the best (and likely also the most popular) ones, was because we wanted to give some of them to players in our home game for free – and why not since everybody was taking them anyway. Another possibility was to eliminate them from the game all together. In truth we’re still not sure what we’re going to do with the results once we have them, but the first round of voting did generate a lot of great debate and discussion. So please keep commenting on what you think should we should do once we determine the best feats.

Before we move on to the next round of voting, I wanted to look at a few of the results from What are the Best Feats? Round 1.

These were the top four feats from Round 1:

  1. Multi-class feat
  2. Improved Defenses
  3. Toughness
  4. Improved Initiative

I was not really surprised by any of these feats making the top four early on. We’ll see how they fare as the voting continues. What did surprise me was the fourth place finish of Staff Expertise (26%) and Superior Fortitude (20%) in their respective groups.

I realize that Staff Expertise really doesn’t appeal to or benefit any PC except those using staffs. However, the fact that it allows ranged spells cast from a staff not to provoke opportunity attacks, on top of providing +1 to attack rolls, makes this feat pretty much mandatory for all Wizards. I for one have house ruled it to a paragon level feat because I think it’s way too powerful for heroic tier.

Improved Defenses is a very good feat, but I’ve found that most PCs are better served by taking one or two of the Superior feats instead. Improved Defenses only provides a +1/+2/+3 to Fort, Ref, Will at each tier. This is good, but the +2/+3/+4 that the Superior feats provide usually shore up those weaker defenses far better and the added effects are fantastic. The resist ongoing damage 3/6/9 that accompanies Superior Fortitude has made it a popular choice at my table. I couldn’t believe it finished fourth of four in its group.

The voting for round 2 will be open for two weeks (until after GenCon). Now that Round 1 is closed, what are your thoughts on the results? What one feat are you most surprised to see advance or not advance?

What are the Best Feats?
Round 2

Choose the 4 Best Feats (Round 2, Group 1)

  • Backstabber / Killing Curse / Lethal Hunter (62%, 74 Votes)
  • Multi-class feat (58%, 69 Votes)
  • Improved Initiative (54%, 65 Votes)
  • Toughness (48%, 58 Votes)
  • Jack of All Trades (35%, 42 Votes)
  • Armor / Shield Proficiency (33%, 39 Votes)
  • Resilient Focus (23%, 28 Votes)
  • Enlarged Dragon Breath (13%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 120

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Choose the 4 Best Feats (Round 2, Group 2)

  • Weapon Expertise (and variations) (52%, 63 Votes)
  • Improved Defenses (49%, 59 Votes)
  • Dwarven Weapon Training (48%, 58 Votes)
  • Superior Will (46%, 56 Votes)
  • Master At Arms (41%, 50 Votes)
  • Durable (37%, 45 Votes)
  • Versatile Expertise (36%, 44 Votes)
  • Unarmored Agility (33%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 121

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Feat Summary

  • Armor / Shield Proficiency
  • Backstabber / Lethal Hunter / Killing Curse (increase extra damage to d8s)
  • Durable (gain 2 healing surges)
  • Dwarven Weapon Training (proficiency with all axes & hammers, +2 damage rolls)
  • Enlarged Dragon Breath (increase to blast 5)
  • Improved Defenses (+1 fort, ref, will)
  • Improved Initiative (+4 initiative)
  • Jack of All Trades (+2 to untrained skills)
  • Master At Arms (+1 to attack, minor action to sheath/draw weapon)
  • Multi-class feat (skill training & power)
  • Resilient Focus (+2 to saving throws)
  • Superior Will (+2 will, save vs daze, stun at beginning of turn)
  • Toughness (+5 hit points)
  • Unarmored Agility (+2 AC with no armor or cloth armor)
  • Versatile Expertise (+1 to attack with a weapon group and an implement type)
  • Weapon Expertise (and variations) (+1 to attack)

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Captain DM July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

Multi-class feat is really one of the best on here? Why is it the best? I think it’s more of a display of functionality instead of an actual bonus. Useful, sure, but I really don’t know why it’s doing so well on here.
Captain DM´s last blog post ..First Look at “The Hobbit” – Peter Jackson’s Video Blogs

2 nightwalker450 July 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I think functionally best is what people are voting. But when I think of free feat or, removing the feat. I can’t really think of any in the first set besides resilient focus might be worth the adjustment. I think the playstyle of heat choices is pretty different for this group. They’re probably competing more with each other or dm instead of trying to make their own characters.

3 The Id DM July 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I’m playing a Dragonborn Rogue and I haven’t touched his Breath Weapon yet. I’ve made him into a front-line Striker in our party by getting him a Light Shield, Improved Defenses, and Durable feats. He started out as the Brutal Scoundrel build, and is able to weild a mace as a light weapon. With a Mace Weapon expertise and Master of Arms feats, he hits well and it’s fun to roll a pile of d8s for damage. I’m taking Brutal Bludgeon at Level 12 to re-roll all damage dice that are 1s. Since I’m rolling anywhere from 2 – 6 d8s each round, it seems like a good investment. Should I boost defenses or take something else that increases my chances of hitting? My Reflex is already 30, while the other defenses are in the 26 – 24 area.
The Id DM´s last blog post ..Iddy Approved: Dragon Chow Dice Bag

4 froth July 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm

superior will better than weapon expertise….lol?

5 Kilsek July 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

I wanted to say these mini-polls have been fun. With so many feats to choose from, it’s great to take an ocassional deeper dive like this and look at a number of feats with similar themes, if only to discover or re-discover a feat you never knew about or never gave much thought to.

Which feat was that for me?

I somehow missed Superior Will and it definitely has some merit, at least at higher levels of play, where daze and stun are especially punishing with all the damage being thrown around.
Kilsek´s last blog post ..Winging It in D&D: Is it Back?

6 4649matt July 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

A lot of the “best” feats used to be boring. We all know about the “math” feats at this point. The newer feats that add functionality are great compared to the old ones. Weapon expertise vs Master at Arms (MaA) is a good example. They both offer the +1 to hit, but MaA gives bonus advancements sooner as well as a quick draw functionality.
The difference in many cases, such as the highlighted Staff Expertise, seems too great and many of the new feats seem on a paragon or greater level.
Multiclass feats share this dynamic. The multiclass feats give both access to a class (primarily taken for feat and paragon path access) but also some other benefit, some of which directly supercede existing feats. There is a Wizard Multiclass feat that grants access to ritual casting (as well as the wizard multiclass) making it clearly more valuable than the Ritual Caster feat.
Feats with secondary functionality are just plain better. The optimizer in me loves them, the roleplayer in me despairs at them as the death of choice.

As a side note, it is nice to see the love for Jack of All Trades out there, as this is both a useful feat and brimming with potential flavor.
4649matt´s last blog post ..Emperor’s Edge 8 page setting

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