Lorkeon’s Guide to Paladins (Mod 17)

by Jason Hibdon on August 15, 2019
Paladin
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Lorkeon’s Guide to Paladins (Mod 17)

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Lorkeon’s Guide to Paladins (Mod 17)

by Lorkeon@eugee (PC) | /u/dmjason

Welcome to Lorkeon’s Guide to Paladins (Mod 17).  Before diving into the paladin, I want to establish an expectation: this is not a collection of screenshots telling you what to take.  This is an informed observation about the paladin class overall, and while I will make mention of my personal picks, it will always be with an explanation of why I do or do not use a power, as well as use-cases for all of those powers.  My goal is for someone that finishes reading this document to understand when and why I do or do not use a specific power, feature, or feat.

As far as the structure of this document, I’m covering the tabs on the character sheet in order.  While I will have short summaries at the end for the two paragon paths, for most of the document I will cover both paths in the same section.  Justicar is the tank paragon, and Oathkeeper is the heal paragon. I play both equally, as my guild rotates roles around a lot so I can find myself tanking or healing on any particular content.

Last Updated: 2019-Sep-18

So on the first tab of the character sheet we’ll cover Race, Attributes, and Equipment.  Some of these require more focus than others.

Race

With Mod16 this has become less important than ever; at most any particular race is going to net you 2 extra attribute points or a minor effect.  Pick the race that you want to look at for the duration of the character’s life. Any advantage that one race may or may not have over another race is so small that the standard deviation of random number generation is going to be larger than the difference.  I like human paladins; I come from old-school D&D where paladins were always human. That was the extent of my choice.

Attributes

So your attributes is really an extension of the Race question, isn’t it?  Whatever race you choose, you’re going to have to select an attribute(s) to increase.  Let’s look at how your attributes impact your paladin:

  • Strength:  Stamina Regeneration & Physical Damage Boost
  • Constitution:  Maximum Hit Points & Action Points
  • Dexterity:  Critical Severity & Movement Speed
  • Intelligence:  Control Bonus & Magical Damage Boost
  • Wisdom:  Control Resist & Outgoing Healing Boost
  • Charisma:  Companion Influence & Recharge Speed

For a Justicar, the two attributes you’re going to want to raise are Constitution & Intelligence.  Block stops up to 50% of your maximum hit points, so you want to layer on as much health as you can, and all paladin damage is radiant (magical) so Intelligence will boost your overall damage (and threat).

For the Oathkeeper, I would instead recommend going with Wisdom & Dexterity.  Wisdom is going to boost your Outgoing Healing, which you want to pick up every scrap of that you can, and Dexerity will improve your critical severity on crit heals (of which paladins can guarantee crits).  Note that I solo with my Oathkeeper, using a third loadout, and I go Intelligence/Dexterity there, to boost my damage output as much as possible.  If you only have one Oathkeeper loadout, which you will use for healing & soloing, then I would go Intelligence/Wisdom.

But let’s review what the other attributes offer; when evaluating artifact equipment you might be looking at gaining some of these, so let’s understand which is better.  Strength is the weak attribute for paladins; it does not boost our damage, and Justicars have many ways to recover stamina already.  Dexterity is a good pickup for any class; Critical Severity is always welcome, and no one complains about running a little faster.  Charisma is another solid choice; because Recharge Speed is always good, though Companion Influence is lackluster (more on that in Companions).  However a paladin’s core powers are tied to Divinity, not cooldowns, reducing the usefulness of Charisma.  

Equipment

So this is the big question–what is the best gear to wear!?  I won’t focus on that, because that changes all the time. With Mod 17 here, the best gear from Tower of the Mad Mage has equip bonuses that replace all of the level 70 Chult/Barovia items that were clung to in Mod 16.  Basically anything that gives flat percentage boosts to damage is probably the absolute best. However if you have full Successor and Protege gear? You’ll be just fine. All that really matters are your caps, so let’s talk about those, instead.

For Lair of the Mad Mage, the end-game content as of Mod17, 60K points for level 80 content, 68K for Lair of the Mad Mage, and 80K for Tower of the Mad Mage.  A few stats like Accuracy start hitting a soft-cap around 8-10K before the hard-cap, when adding more Accuracy has the same impact to your overall damage as just adding more Power.  The same goes for Deflect, when you reach a point where your life expectancy against incoming damage increases the same if you just add more Hit Points.

So what stats do you focus on hard capping?  For both paragons:

  • Defense: To overcome enemy Armor Penetration so you always take 50% damage.
  • Armor Penetration:  To overcome enemy Defense so you always hit for 100% damage.
  • Critical Strike:  To overcome enemy Critical Avoidance, so you will critically hit 50% of the time.

And that’s it.  Now before veterans freak out–I’m not saying to ignore the other stats.  I’m just saying it’s not essential to cap them, when Power & Hit Points are the other option:

  • Accuracy:  Capping that you will never be Deflected.  But before the hard cap you will get the same overall damage increase from just stacking on more Power.
  • Awareness:  You take Awareness to counter enemy Combat Advantage.  This happens very rarely though, so I won’t devote resources to raising it.
  • Critical Avoidance:  In Mod17, enemies received critical severity, which means you take more damage when you are hit with a crit.  This makes Critical Avoidance an important stat–though a difficult one to cap.  If you are tanking, it’s a stat you should try to get on your gear.  As a healer it’s not really important to you.
  • Deflect:  Capping means you will hit the max Deflect chance of 50%, which would be a mitigation of 25%.  There comes a point (8-10K before cap) where adding more Deflect doesn’t extend your life expectancy more than just adding more Hit Points, if you are tanking, Critical Avoidance will raise your effective health more.

I’ll say again, I’m not suggesting that these stats aren’t important, just that you should get enough from your gear and companion that you don’t need to allocate slots to them.

So Where Do the Stats Come From?

Equipment

The most obvious is your gear you wear.  As I mentioned before there are some older pieces of gear with great Equip bonuses, but you’ll be fine if you’re newer and just go with Spy Guild/Protege/Successor/etc.  For your main/offhand you will want to get Alabaster (Mountaineer if RNG hates you), and you should get a good neck/waist (most important is to have the extra enchant slots).  I like the Wyvern set because I get DEX/INT from it. Any of the new sets are fine though; the Electric Collar/Charged Restraints are really cheap after all, and there’s nothing wrong with DEX/CHA.

Companion

The next source of stats (and probably the most important) is your companion.  As of this writing, your best gain is from an augment. There are lots of augments to choose from, and the main driver for your choice should be the 3 bonus stats that augment has.  I’ll get into the choices I like in the Companion section, but for right now I like any augment companion with a boost to Hit Points, Power, or Deflect. Along with that augment companion, you need Bonding Runestones.  The better they are, the more stats your augment is transferring to you. Additionally, Bonding Runestones have no cost to unslot, so they are very simple to swap between characters through the shared bank–so it’s a really solid, safe investment.  Runestones are a good way to tweak any stats you are coming up short on, or just stack on more power with them if you are capped where you want to be.

Mounts

Then you have your mount insignias.  One of your first goals should be to get 5 mounts with 3 insignia slots each, and fill them with rare insignias.  As far as insignia powers go, I always want Gladiator’s Guile (at least once) on my characters, Wanderer’s Forturne (because I still need RP) and after that I pick up any “when X happens, heal for Y” powers that I can manage.  Epic insignias cost a fortune and are one of the worst returns for investment you can buy. Get rares, fill out any stat gaps you have, and then stack on power.

Enchantments, Runestones, Kits

The last spot you can work on is your enchantments and armor/jewel kits.  Again, look at your stats, and if you have any holes left (you really shouldn’t) then plug them, and after that stack on the power and hit points.  You can pick up some power and stamina with armor/jewel kits, and that’s usually my pick there.

Weapon & Armor Enchantments

For the weapon enchantment, Vorpal is pretty much the best pick for any class; there is a case to be made for Bronzewood on a tank, as it applies a debuff that will make the group do more damage to your target, but it’s triggered by encounters with a 50% uptime.  On the healing side it’s Vorpal, no contest, second best would be Holy Avenger if your really don’t want to go Vorpal.  For your armor enchantment, as a tank you just can’t beat Elven  Battle, both for the control reduction and the stamina regain.  If you only healed and never tanked I would go with Soul Forged just in case you went down, since you can heal yourself after dying.  Optionally you could go Barkshield to help prevent dying in the first place.

So this is the meat and potatoes of any class guide.  I’m going to focus on giving my take on every power, feature, and feat, as well as the best use-cases for them.  I will conclude this section with what my preferred choices are as well.

At-Wills

  • Valorous Strike – Fast-hitting radiant damage, this is the primary single-target attack for the Oathkeeper.  It’s the fastest way to proc Critical Touch, which is why I spend most of my time in melee wailing away when healing.  This is your single target on Justicar until you unlock Shielding Strike.
  • Radiant Slam – This is the paladin gap-closer.  The damage is very weak, but it’s a dash, so it’s useful at times.  On a Justicar I only use this in niche fights like Bore Worm, to dash between boulders quickly.  On Oathkeeper, this is my second at-will most of the time, as it’s the only multi-target at-will available to them, and dashing into melee so I can Valorous Strike is desirable.

Justicar

  • Oath Strike – This is the best multi-target at-will for tanking, with increased threat added.  It does good damage and keeps targets attacking you instead of allies. I will swap it out for Radiant Slam if I’m going to need to dash constantly, but that’s rare.
  • Shielding Strike – This is the best single-target at-will for tanking, with built-in stamina regen, plus it’s the most damage output available.  Anytime you are not doing something else, you should be using Shielding Strike to recover your shield meter.

Oathkeeper

  • Cure Wounds – So this is a free, very weak heal for paladins.  It’s capable of proccing Critical Touch but for the most part it’s too weak to reliably use.  We have so much better heals, I’d rather have the dash most of the time.
  • Divine Fulmination – This is a slow-casting decent-damage ranged attack.  It’s the highest damage at-will for the Oathkeeper, but the slow cast time means less chances to proc Critical Touch. Sometimes (like when standing in your Circle of Power at range) you want to keep hitting the boss without moving, and this at-will works then.

Encounters

  • Burning Light – This is a 25’ radius point-blank AOE that does 150-300 magnitude, based on how long you charge it (0-2 seconds).  It also stuns everything hit for 3 seconds, regardless of the charge time. The cooldown is 14 seconds. The feat Burning Vengeance affects this power, primarily removing the need to charge it.  Solo it’s a good opener to damage and stun a group of enemies, and when tanking through trash just opening with it to stun the pack (even without charging it) is a great way to start fights.
  • Sacred Weapon – 10 second buff you can cast every 28 seconds that adds 40 magnitude to most damage you deal.  It works best in combination with fast-hitting at-wills; it basically doubles your single target at-will damage for 10 seconds, or triples your multi-target at-will damage.  With Sacred Shield this becomes a double-duty power giving you increased threat and stamina regen (the same amount as Shielding Strike), which is nice when you want diversity from the power.  With Enduring Spirit an Oathkeeper gets 10% damage reduction and increased Divinity regeneration for those 10 seconds.  The total regen will be 120 over 10 seconds which is roughly how much you would gain from using Channel Divinity in combat for that long.
  • Divine Touch – This is our primary heal; it’s placeable up to 80’ away with a 20’ radius.  It’s our most versatile heal at 350 magnitude (500 magnitude for Justicar), and also provides the same amount of temporary hit points (when Oathkeeper).  Casting it on someone will replace any existing temp HP even if it’s lower.  It’s 100 Divinity for an Oathkeeper, while it jumps to 220 for a Justicar.  With the feat Critical Touch your at-wills have a chance to make the next cast automatically critical, which is huge.  When tanking I will use this power in order to assist the healer on a fight like Bore Worm.
  • Smite – The most damaging single-target encounter we have, weighing in at 900 magnitude for 220 divinity, and 80’ range.  The damage is reduced as your divinity bar drops, down to about 600 magnitude if you only have enough divinity to barely cast it.  Combined with the feature Divine Challenger, a Justicar can bump to the top of the threat list on their target with this power.  If using as Oathkeeper, the feat Spirit of Austerity drops the magnitude down to 450, but reduces the cost to 80, making it more efficient with divinity cost, and allowing you to do some damage while healing without draining your Divinity badly.
  • Bane – Casts a placeable 15’ radius AOE at up to 80’, doing 480 magnitude for 300 divinity.  If you hit 3 or more targets it’s more efficient than Smiting three times. On a Justicar the feat Baneful Strikes makes your at-wills have a chance to proc a free Bane that will cost 0 divinity, which will also trigger the feat Divine Pursuit.  On Oathkeeper, the feat Spirit of Austerity drops the magnitude to 240 and the cost to 100, making it much more efficient on Divinity, allowing you to help damage trash without plummeting your Divinity bar.

Justicar

  • Templar’s Wrath – This power is a blend between Burning Light and Bane.  It’s a very large point-blank AOE (30’ radius) that does 300 magnitude damage, and increased threat, for 300 Divinity.  It generates more aggro than Burning Light, doesn’t require a feat to instant cast, and has no cooldown (till you run out of Divinity).  It does less damage than Bane, but covers twice the area (while not placeable). Leading off with this will practically ensure you have aggro till the enemies hit with it die; the heavy divinity cost means you can’t realistically use it more than once per pack.  I drift back and forth on using this power.
  • Vow of Enmity – Sometimes you just need to aggro everything, and this is the power to do it with.  80’ range, and 20’ radius effect centered on your target. Does 100 magnitude to everything and places you at the top of the threat list.  It’s on a 19 second cooldown, and for some fights, it’s perfect. I use this a lot on trash clearing, when I don’t have a lot of use for a single target power, but occasionally need to grab a lot of aggro.
  • Absolution – For the next 8 seconds, you take 20% less damage.  If you know you’re about to get smashed (or your healer is struggling) this is a reliable means of mitigation with a 22 second cooldown.  I think this is a rare situation, and would mean not using a power that’s giving me either aggro, stamina, or damage.
  • Binding Oath – This power makes you reflect a 50 magnitude hit back at anything attacking you for 12 seconds, and also boosts your Stamina Regen for the duration.  The latter portion is the effect we are interested in. Over those 12 seconds it will restore ⅔ of your shield bar, which can be critical in a fight like Trobriand where you have to constantly block is heavy strikes.
  • Relentless Avenger – This is effectively a mini-Smite that includes a Dash.  It has a 60’ range, 460 magnitude, and a 12 second cooldown.  In fights where I need occasional bursts of mobility, I will swap this in over Smite or Sacred Weapon when I don’t need them.

Oathkeeper

  • Divine Shelter – This is similar to Divine Touch; it heals a similar radius centered on you, for 400 magnitude, at a 180 divinity cost.  That’s 80% more divinity for %14 more healing. While it’s our strongest heal, not being placeable, and not boosted by Critical Touch does not justify the increased divinity cost for me.  That makes this power is a complete pass for me.
  • Banishment – This is another power that falls a little short.  It’s a 60’ range, 15’ radius spell that stuns targets for 6 seconds and reduces their damage by 5% for the duration.  It’s on a 20 second cooldown as well. This isn’t a bad power, but other powers are much better. Burning Light has a 25’ radius and stuns for 3 seconds on a faster cooldown.  The 5% reduction would only matter on control immune targets, and on a boss that might reduce one attack.
  • Cleansing Touch – This is the paladin debuff remover.  It’s a very cheap single target heal (200 mag, 50 div) but it’s real purpose is to remove negative effects.  You have to aim it which is annoying, but it’s all we’ve got. It’s useful in Master Expeditions to remove curse effects, and on Trobriand for removing the attraction debuff from when two players collide (you may have to cast more than once).  When I run this I typically replace Smite/Bane.
  • Circle of Power – Places an area on the ground that increases outgoing healing by 15% and boosts divinity regen while standing on it.  Over 16 seconds it recovers 300 divinity, which is 50% more than you would gain with Channel Divinity in that time. In fights where your Divinity pool is going to be strained, it’s a great power to drop when you can be stationary for the duration.  A prime time I use this power is during the AOE phase of Bore Worm, or for the cocoon phase of Arcturia. Note that 300 Divinity is also basically 4 free Smites with Spirit of Austerity so you can use it as a damage boost as well.
  • Bond of Virtue – You can place this buff on an ally for 18 seconds every 30 seconds, up to 60’ away.  Any heal that you cast will also land on this ally, even if the first heal was cast on them as well.  With the reduction to paladin healing in Mod 17, this has become the key to healing a cocooned player in the Arcturia fight.  It has an instant activation time, so it does not change how many times you can heal before the cocoon explodes. Healing a cocoon to full is very difficult without using this power.  I’ve also used this power on the tank during Trobriand while healing the party fighting scorpions.

Dailies

  • Divine Judgement – Really simple daily.  You push the button, and a target within 40’ takes a 1500 magnitude hit.  Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Good option for turning your AP into damage on one target.
  • Shield of Faith – Core defensive daily.  Upon activation you and allies take 5% less damage and receive 10% more healing for 10 seconds.  When combined with Justicar Sheltering Light, allies will receive half of all heals you receive during the duration, which can help boost the heals to the party during a critical moment.  Only 5% damage reduction isn’t great, but it’s also the best we get. Oathkeeper has a feat called Convalescence that makes all barriers convert to healing during the duration of the daily.
  • Radiant Charge – If you can hit 3 targets, this is better than Judgement.  Delivers 600 magnitude to a 20’ wide pathway in front of you.  If you need to dump your AP into multiple targets, this is the daily to use.

Justicar

  • Divine Protector – So using this redirects damage to you from the nearest ally for 12 seconds, but doesn’t do anything to help you tank that damage, so it’s… okay.  With the feat Shield of the Gods it no longer redirects but instead makes you immune to most damage for 6 seconds.  There are some niche uses for that, but this probably won’t be on your tray much.
  • Heroism – This is just a big old self-heal and buff.  You gain 20% max HP, receive a heal for that much, and do 10% increased damage for 12 seconds.  It’s an okay daily, though I feel like our direct damage options are better.

Oathkeeper

  • Lay on Hands – This daily is a guaranteed “restore target” effect that will fill their health to full and cleanse all negative effects.  If combined with Divine Intervention it will even add a large temporary hitpoint shield as well.  It’s a reactionary daily, that I usually have slotted.
  • Sanctuary – Creates a 15’ radius shell around you that gives 10% damage reduction and applies a 600 magnitude heal over time for 12 seconds.  The downside is that you can’t do anything but channel during the effect; casting another encounter or using an at-will will interrupt it.  After killing the tesla coils on Trobriand is a prime time to use this ability though.

Mechanics

  • Block – While holding Shift, you raise your shield, blocking attacks from the front, as well as making you immune to most control effects.  You stamina bar represents how much shield you have left, and is 50% of your max health. Consider them temp hit points you can use instead of your health.  Regaining stamina on Justicar is a key component of tanking heavy-hitters, and is really the core of a fight like Trobriand.

Justicar

  • Divine Champion – Toggled on or off with Tab, this will double your aura effects, automatically block all attacks from any direction, and drain your Divinity quickly (60 per second).  This is actually very useful sometimes, such as during Trobriand who has many attacks that need to be blocked. During his heaviest hits, turn on Divine Champion and keep swinging, then after the big hit turn it back off, without ever stopping your swinging (which regains stamina).  With the feat Unyielding Champion, you can block 75% of your hit points, and drain 50 divinity per second.
  • Oath of Protection – This is what makes you a tank.  You get 40% more hit points, increased threat (5x multiplier), and your base damage is reduced by 10%.
  • Justicar’s Charge – This is your main form of divinity regeneration.  Every time you block, you will regain 25 Divinity. However you can only regain about ~500 divinity this way (you have 1000 divinity total).  After regaining that much you only gain ~3.5 divinity per block. The “hidden” 500 limit from blocking returns over time (about 2 minutes). With the feat Justicar’s Bulwark you that hidden limit is ~1000 so you could block from empty to full (it then needs about 4 minutes to refill).
  • Divine Palisade – This is your “super-block”.  If you block while Divine Champion is active, then you will hunker down and create a cone of radiant shielding behind you.  First you can block 75% of your maximum hit points like this, you reduce damage to self and allies behind you by 10%, and apply a 200 magnitude heal over time.  Because you have to have Divine Champion turned on, you can only do this for a limited time. A perfect use is during the blast wave on Trobriand.

Oathkeeper

  • Channel Divinity – When you hold Tab you will slowly regain Divinity, 13 per second in combat (40/s out of combat).  With the feat Guarded Prayer you will also block while using Channel Divinity.
  • Oath of Devotion – This is what makes you a healer.  You threat from healing is reduced, and all of your heals add a Divine Barrier (temp HP) based on the amount of the heal used.  The feat Emissary of Warding doubles the effect of Divine Barrier when you critically heal.

Class Features

Every class can have two class features active at any time; for paladins, only one of them can be an Aura power, and it must be placed in the top slot.

  • Aura of Protection – Self and allies gain +2% Deflect.  This is a plausible option for Justicar, as Deflect is hard to cap.
  • Blessed Wanderer – Deal 5% more damage when solo.  Having your companion summoned still counts as solo.
  • Composure – Regen Divinity 10% faster (2 divinity every 3 seconds).  You gain 20 divinity every 3 seconds in combat, so this is a pretty insignificant increase.
  • Aura of Wrath – Self and allies gain +2% Critical Strike.  Because it’s a priority to cap Critical Strike (and easy) this feature is typically wasted.

Justicar

  • Aura of Valor – Allies generate 5% less threat.  Plausible option even though it’s not a huge effect, simply because the auras are all kind of lackluster.
  • Divine Retribution – Deal up to 5% more damage as Stamina decreases.  The idea is flawed, as you are trying to keep your stamina full when tanking, not empty.
  • Divine Challenger – Smite places you at the top of the threat list.  As Smite is already an amazing strike, having it place you at the top of the threat list gives you a great 80’ range hard taunt.
  • Aura of Vengeance – Self and allies reflect 10 magnitude hit when struck.  Compared to boosting deflect or lowering ally threat, an occasional 10 mag hit is pretty disappointing.

Oathkeeper

  • Aura of Restoration – Self and allies receive +5% incoming healing.  This means Divine Touch becomes a 367.5 magnitude heal.  This is a decent pick, as Incoming Healing% is hard to pick up, but it’s in heavy competition with Guarded Prayers for me.
  • Guarded Prayers – While using Channel Divinity you block.  This is a very handy feature, allowing you to block and channel at the same time.  Combos well with Prayer of Opportunity, and this choice really depends on if I feel like I need the Restoration boost or not.
  • Timely Intervention – Divine Barrier on <25% health targets converts to healing.  This is the feature I recommend most for healing–it gives you a built in emergency heal on anyone below 25% health.
  • Aura of Life – Self and allies receive 25 mag heal on encounter heal.  While Restoration will boost Divine Touch directly, this feature applies a separate heal to anyone in the aura.  Restoration is better for a group that’s packed together, while this is better for scattered groups, applying some minor healing to people not hit by your Divine Touch.

Feats

Justicar

  • Sacred Shield vs Divine Reciprocation – Sacred Shield adds an effect to Sacred Weapon that makes your hits deliver increased threat and restore stamina (1.5 per hit).  Divine Reciprocation increases the threat of Divine Touch, and if you aren’t healed by it, you get the heal anyway. There’s really no choice to make here go with Sacred Shield.  It’s extremely rare that you will even use Divine Touch, and even if you do, you’ll most likely be healing yourself with it.  Activating Sacred Weapon will make all of your attacks high threat and restore stamina.
  • Burning Vengeance vs Baneful Strikes – Burning Vengeance alters Burning Light; it now does 300 magnitude without charging, and up to 600 as your Stamina decreases.  You can still charge it (you don’t need to) and will Block while charging. Because the stun from Burning Light isn’t tied to the charge time, all you’re really gaining is saving 2 seconds of charge time for 150 mag.  It’s not great, but it’s not bad, either. Baneful Strikes will give your at-wills a chance to make your next Bane cost no Divinity. The cooldown on Burning Light is 14 seconds; you are more likely to proc Baneful Strikes in 7 seconds than not, so on average you will get 2 free Banes for every 1 Burning Light.  Plus, even when cast for free, Bane still triggers Divine Pursuit.  Both of these feats mainly help kill trash or play solo, so which one will be best for you really depends on if you use Bane or Templar’s Wrath (using them together isn’t practical).  If you use Bane, Baneful Strikes is the obvious choice–if you use Templar’s Wrath, then Burning Vengeance is your alternative (as you always run Burning Light on trash.) 
  • Justicar’s Bulwark vs Divine Pursuit – Justicar’s Bulwark modifies Justicar’s Charge; you have a “hidden” pool of divinity that you can regain from blocking, increasing it to ~1000 Divinity, allowing you to refill your Divinity from empty to full with blocking.  However it will take about 4 minutes for the “hidden” pool to refill. Divine Pursuit is triggered by using any encounter that costs divinity (including a free Bane from Baneful Strikes), which makes your At-Wills restore 5 divinity per hit, for 10 seconds.  That means that if you use Smite/Bane at least every 10 seconds, you will always be recovering Divinity with your At-Wills.  Every 5 at-will strikes is the equivalent of blocking once, and makes Divine Pursuit clearly better.
  • Shield of the Gods vs Sheltering Light – Shield of the Gods changes Divine Protector so that it no longer redirects damage to you but instead makes you immune to most damage for 6 seconds, with a 180 second cooldown.  Sheltering Light adds an effect to Shield of Faith that makes any healing you receive while shielded cascade 50% of that healing to allies. There are a few niche cases where Shield of the Gods could be useful, but 99% of the time Sheltering Light is going to be a superior choice.
  • Intimidating Presence vs Unyielding Champion – Intimidating Presence changes your Divine Champion (Tab) ability to generate greatly increased threat, but no longer automatically block.  Unyielding Champion changes Divine Champion to cost 50 divinity/second instead of 60, and also makes the auto-block stop 75% of your hit points instead of 50%.  This means you can now “super-block” without stopping your attacks. Intimidating Presence is a solution for a problem you just shouldn’t have, as we have many tools for grabbing aggro, especially not when it means passing up on being able to “super-block” longer, while continuing to attack.  This is why Unyielding Champion is the best feat here.

Oathkeeper

  • Critical Touch vs Sheltered Healing – Critical Touch gives your at-will attacks a 10% chance to proc this effect, which guarantees the next Divine Touch you cast will critically heal.  Sheltered Healing boosts Cure Wounds to a 100 magnitude heal if your target has a Divine Barrier. While this actually makes Cure Wounds decent, it’s not good enough to be better than guaranteeing our most versatile heal will crit, especially when just attacking with our at-will is all you need to proc it.  This can even be triggered by swinging at the air, before starting a boss fight. Critical Touch is hands down the best feat the Oathkeeper has.
  • Prayer of Opportunity vs Divine Focus – Prayer of Opportunity gives you a 5% chance with any power to gain a stack of this buff (up to 3 times) that lasts 60 seconds.  Any time you activate Channel Divinity with the buff, one stack is consumed and you regain 75 divinity. Divine Focus builds stacks of its buff while you Channel Divinity, and at 10 stacks, causes your at-wills to regen divinity for 12 seconds.  Just activating Channel Divinity 3 times with Prayer of Opportunity will get you 225 divinity back, and with the feature Guarded Prayers you can just Channel Divinity instead of blocking.  Divine Focus will regain 18 divinity per second from at-wills, for a maximum of 216 regained.  While you gain a similar amount of Divinity with them, Prayer of Opportunity doesn’t require you to Channel Divinity to build charges, so it’s my preferred option.
  • Spirit of Austerity vs Enduring Spirit – Spirit of Austerity cuts the cost of Smite to 80 and the magnitude to 450, and drops the cost of Bane to 100 and the magnitude to 240.  Enduring Spirit makes Sacred Weapon reduce damage taken by 10% and restores 120 divinity over 10 seconds. Both of these feats are good, but Spirit of Austerity is really good, making soloing on Oathkeeper enjoyable, and allowing you to throw in Smite/Bane freely during fights without wiping out your Divinity pool.  If you plan to ever use Smite or Bane, then Spirit of Austerity is the best choice.  Note that if you can afford to have two loadouts for Oathkeeper, I use Enduring Spirit for my healing loadout and Spirit of Austerity for my solo/damage loadout.
  • Divine Intervention vs Convalescence – Divine Intervention simply makes your Lay on Hands also apply a Divine Barrier for 50% of the healing amount.  Convalenscence causes heals under the effect of Shield of Faith to convert all Divine Barriers to healing. Both of these feats are useful, so the choice depends on which daily you use the most.  I use Lay on Hands and Sanctuary as my primary dailies, so Divine Intervention was an easy pick for me.
  • Emissary of Warding vs Divine Vessel – Emissary of Warding causes Divine Barriers applied with critical heals to be doubled.  Divine Vessel kicks in if you drop below 100 Divinity; for the next 12 seconds all of your healing spells are free, and your outgoing healing is boosted 20%.  The downside is that it then has a 3 minute cooldown before you can use it again. It’s still a great emergency feat–but because we can use Critical Touch to guarantee that Divine Touch is a critical heal, Emissary of Warding is just a much better feat in comparison.

Boons accomplish a couple of things for your paladin.  First (and most obvious), they give you increases to your stats.  Second, they increase your item level, 25 points at a time. Lastly, at the Master Tier, they give you access to some pretty strong bonuses.  So how do you earn boons? Two ways:

Campaigns

So the primary way you earn boons is by completing campaigns from previous modules.  There are a lot of them, and one can quickly get overwhelmed with the idea of doing all of them.  The first thing to do is relax–you don’t have to do them all at once. My advice is to just pick a campaign, and do the quests for it.  If you have more play time, do another one. If you get bored, stop and run a dungeon or hang out with guildmates. Some of the campaigns (Maze Engine, Sharandar, Dread Ring) are very small time commitments each day, while other campaigns (Tyranny of Dragons, Storm King’s Thunder) are massive, long treks that require significant amounts of time daily that drain your soul, and finally the latest campaigns (Chult, Ravenloft, etc) are progressed with weekly quests instead of dailies.

My advice is to just work on them when you feel like it.  If you really don’t feel like it, you have another option: campaign buyout tokens.  You can find these both in the ZEN store and in the Auction House. If you are earning 100K AD a day from doing dungeons and other stuff, you can buyout most of the early campaigns within a week.  Even the newer campaign buyouts can be earned within 2 weeks. Getting to 60 total boons is a big deal though, as that’s both 1500 item level, as well as unlocks all 3 of your Master Boons.

So what boons should you take?  Remember that I value Defense, Armor Penetration, and Critical Strike heavily; they are your priority to cap.  The other stats I see value in, but don’t believe you should go out of your way to cap them; your companion and bondings will mostly take care of them.  Because of that, I don’t like taking those stats in boons, either. My focus is on Power > Other Stuff > Hit Points.

In the first four tiers there is a 5-point boon that grants 1250 Power at 5/5.  You should take all of these as your priority. Also in the first four tiers, there is a 5-point point that grants 5% increased damage & damage resistance to a specific enemy type at 5/5; I also like taking these.  Finally, in each tier there is a special effect, for Gold Gain, Movement Speed, Companion Influence, or Control Resist. I like to take all of these as well. Grand total that’s 60 points of boons. If you like a different set of Boons in Tier 1-4, go for it.  I think these are the best bang for your buck, but they aren’t super critical.

Tier 5 is important though.  You can put 4 points in two boons (8 total) at this tier.  For both paragons I prefer to choose Critical Severity, and Recharge Speed.  Critical Severity and Recharge Speed are both rare stats to pick up, so they are great to get here.  Incoming/Outgoing Healing, and Stamina Regen are all good for paladins, but there are sources for all of them on enchants, companions, and armor kits already.

At Master Tier you get 3 more points to spend, 1 for every 20 boons you have spent.  For Justicar you should take Focused Retaliation, which gives you a chance to mirror all damage back to the attacker for 15 seconds when you use an encounter power.  On Oathkeeper you should select Blessed Resilience, which gives you a chance to restore 12% stamina to anyone you heal, which is huge for tanks.

Stronghold

The second set of boons you receive is from joining a guild.  The Stronghold gives you access to three boons, Offense, Defense, and Miscellaneous, and which ones you can select depends on the structures in your guild.  You can get quite a few extra stat points from these. I’m not going to get into how to build the structures and maintain them, that’s well beyond this guide–we’re just going to look at which boons to take:

  • Offense – Power.  As always, Power = Damage.  Get more power.
  • Defense – Hit Points.  Again, Hit Points don’t cap, and make you live longer.  Get Hit Points.
  • Miscellaneous – Mount Speed.  Really take what you like here, but Mount Speed is the most useful.

That’s everything I have to offer on your boons; they are quite worth getting, whether you do that by grinding the campaigns out, buying them in the auction house with AD, or just breaking out the wallet and buying some campaign completions using ZEN.

Companions changed a lot in Mod 16, so I’ll start with the basics in case the reader is new to the game or at least new to this mod.

How do they work?

Your companion tab has a couple different sections.  First, you have your summoned companion. This is the companion that will follow you around and battle your enemies beside you.  They can level up to 40 when legendary, and they higher level they are, the higher their stats. When your companions hit their max level (35 at epic for example) you can use Companion Upgrade Tokens (from Lockboxes or ZEN Store) or Astral Diamonds to upgrade them to the next color.  (White > Green > Blue > Purple > Orange) You can have lots of companions. The base stats of your companion are determined by their level, the amount of Bolster they have, and your Companion Influence. I just introduced two new terms there, so let me explain them.

Bolster is a percentage multiplied by the base stats of your summoned companion, that is determined by the five best quality pets you have in that category (Fighters, Creatures, Invokers, Mystical, Beasts).  For example, I have an Ioun Stone of Might on my paladin, which is a Mystical companion. My best five companions in that category are 1 legendary, and 4 epic. You get 3% bolster for a legendary, and 2.5% for epic, so that’s 13% bolster to any Mystical companion I summon.  Companion Influence is gained from various sources, including Charisma, Dark enchantments, and Boons. It also boosts the base stats of your summoned companion, regardless of category.

The downside of these two stats is that they boost the base stats of the companion, not their stats after you include their gear and runestones, so the end result is these two stats have a much smaller impact on your companion than you might hope.  Let’s move on to the gear.

On the right side of the Companion window, you have 3 slots for Bonding Runestones, and 3 slots for Companion Gear.  The Bonding Runestones each transfer a portion of your pet’s stats to your character. The Companion Gear slots can only equip gear specifically for companions; you will get a Pearl Ring of the Companion, Choke Chain of the Companion, and Plated Belt of the Companion during the Undermountain campaign–these are the best gear you can get for them right now.  Each piece of companion gear has 1-2 slots that you can put runestones, which work like enchantments for companion gear. With Mod 17 there has been new companion gear introduced which you can opt for to improve your stats even further.

The catch here is that your Bonding Runestones transfer the stats of your companion including the gear and runestones.  At max rank, 3 rank 15 Bonding Runestones will transfer 210% of your pet’s stats to your character.  Additionally, if you use an “augment” companion, rather than fight beside you they have a bonus of 1000 stat points to three of their stats, and transfer 100% of their stats to you.  That means that you get 310% of your augments stats transferred to you, and an extra 3100 in three stats, depending on the companion you use.

For this reason, augment pets are the optimal companion for reaching your stat caps.  As far as which companion you should use? You want an epic augment at least, and getting it to Legendary (1 million AD to upgrade) should be a priority.  This also is why getting up to rank 15 Bonding Runestones is also critical. Plus, because Bonding Runestones don’t cost gold to take out of their socket, you can freely swap them between your characters, making them an incredibly good investment.

The last section of the Companion tab is the enhancement section.  Along the bottom you have 6 slots; the top left is your companion power.  Each companion you own has a different power that you can slot here. My preferred one is either Power, or Critical Severity if you have a companion that offers it.  The remaining slots are for enhancement powers, which again are offered by each companion. It’s important to note if a companions enhancement can be put into Offense, Defense, or Utility slots, which vary by class.  A paladin has 1 Offense, 3 Defense, and 1 Utility slot.

There are hundreds of pets and different options for these enhancement powers, and each player will have ones they prefer.  I like Outgoing Healing% when Healing, because there are not a lot of sources for it.  When tanking I focus more on picking up Deflect, along with Power & Hit Points when I can. Because I run both Justicar and Oathkeeper regularly, I use two sets of enhancement pets (which switch automatically when I change loadouts).

On Oathkeeper I use Neverember Guard, Polar Bear Cub, Ioun Stone of Radiance, and Rebel Mercenary (all give 10% Outgoing Healing Bonus at legendary) in my Offense, Utility, and two Defense slots.  That gives me 40% Outgoing Healing, which is roughly like running 40,000 extra power for heals.  I’m very happy with it.  For the last slot I’m using a Minstrel, which is the only 4K power defensive slot available.

On Justicar I focus more heavily on picking up Hit Points, Power, and Incoming Healing%.  In my Offense I run a Tamed Velociraptor (10k power), and in my Utility I use an Energon (32k hit points).  My defensive slots are currently an Ioun Stone of Allure, Duergar Theurge, and Red Dragon Ioun Stone, all of which give Incoming Healing, plus hit points or power.

You might want to focus on something else, like capping your Critical Avoidance or Accuracy.  This is really a personal customization here, depending on where your stat holes are. I will acknowledge that a huge source of Combat Advantage is from these enhancement slots–you can pick up 24K Combat Advantage with the right enhancement companions.

Ah… mounts.  There are tons of mounts in the game, and we love them for getting us from point A to point B quickly.  They also offer us another avenue to increase out stats however! This is done with Insignia Slots. You can have up to five mounts in your “Stable”, and each one will have up to 3 insignia slots (rare and better have 3 slots, while white/green have 2).  Your first goal with mounts should be to get 5 mounts that are rare or better, unlocking 15 insignia slots.

The combination of insignia types you use will unlock various Insignia powers, but none of them are going to be earth shattering changes to your character.  I like Gladiator’s Guile (movement speed when stamina full) and Wanderer’s Fortune (refinement stones drop from kills) a lot, as well as anything the heals when I kill, crit, deflect, get controlled etc.  If you use the same insignia power twice, the second one will be half effect, the third will be a quarter (the max you can have). What’s more important is that you have 15 insignias. Green insignias are better than nothing (and very cheap) while Rare ones are the best bang for your astral diamonds.

You can get most stat combinations on insignias, you just need to look through them.  My preferred insignia is of course Dominance, which has Power as the primary boost. Some insignia types don’t have Dominance available, and I use Brutality with them.  Free free to tweak your insignias to fit your stat needs, though ultimately most people are going to end up with Dominance/Brutality in the end as they hit their stat caps.

You also get access to an Equip Power gained from your available mounts (I use +5000 power from Guard Drake) as well as a combat power if you have a legendary mount (which I do not).

As I said in the beginning, my goal was to explain how all of the abilities of a paladin work, in both paragons, so you can make an informed decision as to how you will run your own character.  At the same time, I’d like to give a summary of what I run myself, now that I’ve explained all of these powers and mechanics.

I hope I’ve made it clear that your powers (and sometimes features) should be changing throughout a dungeon, based on the content.  I’m going to give an example of what I would run during a Lair of the Mad Mage dungeon, from both paragons:

 

Justicar

Dailies:  Divine Judgement, Shield of Faith

Features:  Aura of Valor & Divine Challenger

Feats:  Sacred Shield, Baneful Strikes, Divine Pursuit, Sheltering Light, Unyielding Champion

LOMM

At-Wills

Encounters

Trash Clear

Shielding Strike, Oath Strike

Templar’s Wrath, Burning Light, Vow of Enmity

Arcturia

Shielding Strike, Oath Strike

Smite, Sacred Weapon, Relentless Assault

Bore Worm

Shielding Strike, Radiant Slam

Smite, Divine Touch, Vow of Enmity

Trobriand

Shielding Strike, Radiant Slam

Smite, Sacred Weapon, Binding Oath

  • Trash Clear:  I open with Templar’s Wrath to establish aggro, Burning Light to stun the pack, and have Vow of Enmity as a backup to pick up any stray aggro without gobbling up the divinity I’ll need for the next Templar’s Wrath.  Oath Strike is my go-to at-will for maintaining aggro on trash.
  • Arcturia: I’m loading out for single target DPS with Smite, Sacred Weapon doubling for stamina regen and single target damage, and Relentless Assault giving me a periodic dash and solid single target damage.  I keep Oath Strike in case I have to round up any golems.
  • Bore Worm:  I swap in Radiant Slam because it’s optimal for killing boulders.  I use Bane and Vow as they are my best tools for keeping the golems aggro on the second half of the fight (plus the worm attacks people randomly regardless of aggro).  Divine Touch is loaded in to help with healing the AOE phase if needed.  During the AOE phase it’s also useful to use Divine Palisade to block and heal everyone behind you.
  • Trobriand:  Still using Radiant Slam so I can quickly get back in position if I get knocked back, as well as letting me charge to the next tesla coil in that phase.  Running Smite (in case I lose aggro), Sacred Weapon (threat/damage/stamina) and Binding Oath (pure stamina). Activate Divine Champion to block the Palm Blast while swinging (and 75% block with Unyielding Champion) when your stamina is low or Divine Palisade when your stamina is high.  After the towers fall I activate Shield of Faith and Divine Palisade to help with the blast.

 

Oathkeeper

Dailies:  Lay on Hands, Sanctuary

Features:  Aura of Restoration, Timely Intervention

Feats:  Critical Touch, Prayer of Opportunity, Enduring Spirit*, Divine Intervention, Emissary of Warding

LOMM

At-Wills

Encounters

Trash Clear

Divine Fulmination, Radiant Slam

Sacred Weapon, Divine Touch, Burning Light

Arcturia

Divine Fulmination, Radiant Slam

Bond of Virtue, Divine Touch, Circle of Power

Bore Worm

Divine Fulmination, Radiant Slam

Sacred Weapon, Divine Touch, Circle of Power

Trobriand

Divine Fulmination, Radiant Slam

Cleansing Touch, Divine Touch, Circle of Power

  • Trash Clear:  I primarily use Radiant Slam to stay in the middle of the fighting and proc Critical Touch.  Use Divine Touch to refresh shields whenever Critical Touch procs, use Burning Light more for the stun, and Sacred Weapon to boost Radiant Slam and give some divinity regain on the move.  Remember to use up Prayer of Opportunity stacks.
  • Arcturia:  Primarily use Divine Fulmination from range on Arcturia to proc Critical Touch.  Bond of Virtue is used on cocooned players to double our healing output, and Circle of Power is used after mimic phase both to regain divinity, and boost my healing for the cocoon (which procs Timely Intervention).
  • Bore Worm: Divine Fulmination used to proc Critical touch mostly, and Radiant Slam on the boulders.  During the AOE phase I drop Circle of Power and use Prayer of Opportunity stacks.  Guarded Prayers is handy here but if you need more healing go with Aura of Restoration.  Sacred Weapon gives some additional divinity regen as well.
  • Trobriand:  Use Divine Fulmination to proc Critical Touch while watching the tank for when they need heals.  Try to only heal with the auto-crit if possible.  Use Circle of Divinity whenever possible to recover divinity.  Cleansing Touch here if someone gets the attraction debuff (lowers damage and damage resistance) which can mean death in the tower phase.  After the towers fall I pop Sigil of the Paladin then Sanctuary (25% total damage reduction) for the big hit.

Note:  Because I run two Oathkeeper loadouts, I use Enduring Spirit in my healing loadout.  If you only have room for one Oathkeeper loadout, I would recommend Spirit of Austerity as it’s much more useful most of the time.

 

Soloing

This should give you a solid understanding of what powers I’m using and why, as well as adapt it for any specific content.  The only thing I would add is that when I’m soloing, I run in Oathkeeper; while Justicar is fully capable of soloing, the paragon has a damage reduction, and very limited Divinity regen, while Oathkeeper puts out more damage per divinity spent, and regains divinity more easily.  When soloing for an extended period (Legacy Campaigns for example) I run:

  • At-Wills:  Valorous Strike, Radiant Slam
  • Encounters:  Smite, Burning Light, Bane
  • Dailies:  Divine Judgement, Radiant Charge
  • Features:  Blessed Wanderer, Guarded Prayers
  • Feats:  Critical Touch, Prayer of Opportunity, Spirit of Austerity, Divine Intervention, Emissary of Warding

Playstyle is really simple; run up to a pack, pop off a full Burning Light.  If there are three or more targets still alive, use Bane, otherwise use Smite.  If you need to block, use Channel Divinity instead.  If you have a spare loadout, I recommend doing this so you don’t have to change all your powers out to solo and risk forgetting to put them back (which I usually don’t notice till the middle of a boss fight), plus I can run different boons (Deathly Rage) and change my enhancement companions all to ones that give Power.

 

Useful Links

  • Janne’s Neverwinter Info & Guides – Janne’s site covers everything you could want to know about game mechanics, has many useful guides, and some great calculators and a character builder!
  • Rainer’s Neverwinter Pocket Wiki – This is a direct link Rainer’s Mod16 Pocket Wiki which has a list of just about everything in the game.  I use it a lot so search for specific companions for enhancement slots!
  • Rainer’s Offline Character Planner – Rainer does tons of testing for all things Neverwinter, and has a great YouTube channel worth subscribing to.  This link is to his offline Character Builder, which is free, updated regularly, and a great way to tinker with character build options.
  • Mod 16 Paladin Compendium – I would be remiss if I did not include this work by [email protected]  This is a more in-depth breakdown of the paladin mechanics, which I have summarized and simplified (and corrected some things that changed with Mod 17).  Lightbringer did some great testing for the stamina and divinity mechanics with this write-up, and it was the basis from where I started when figuring out what worked best for me.
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  • Philippe Brousseau
    September 1, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    So is the oathkeeper build good enough for leveling? And what would be good armor and weapon enchants (apart from vorpal?)

    • September 1, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Yes, if you look at the last tab I posted my Oathkeeper leveling loadout. I’ve even picked up a third loadout specifically for leveling/solo. I’ve updated the last tab to better explain that.

      I prefer Elven Battle for armor for the Stamina Regen, and at R13 little stuns no longer affect you. For weapon enchants either go with Vorpal (great for healing, decent for tank), or Bronzewood (party buff, but based on encounter use so I opt for Vorpal instead.)

      • Philippe Brousseau
        September 2, 2019 at 12:23 am

        Thanks!

      • Michael
        September 9, 2019 at 12:30 am

        Holy Avenger over bronzewood good for healing

      • Contractions of Fate
        September 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm

        Really, the Healer build is better for dps when solo?

        Cheers!

        • September 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm

          Yes. While a Justicar is capable of more burst (900 magnitude Smites), they have a built-in 10% damage reduction, and limited divinity regen–Divine Pursuit, and blocking. The Oathkeeper doesn’t hit as hard, but is more efficient with Divinity, so they do more damage for the Divinity spent. On top of that they regain Divinity much easier; because of Prayer of Opportunity, most of the time you block, with Guarded Prayer that becomes 75 Divinity regained.

          The other advantages of the Justicar (higher HP total, increased threat, inefficient high burst encounters) are wasted when soloing. They are good at putting out a lot of threat very quickly–not at killing one group of monsters after another without a break, which is what soloing is about.

          • Contractions of Fate
            September 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm

            Cheers!

            It’s sort of more similar to the Fighter having dps/Tank than the Cleric’s dps/Healer. With Paladin it’s dps-Healer vs Tank!

          • September 23, 2019 at 12:33 pm

            I wouldn’t go that far. Any class in their DPS role is going to out-damage an Oathkeeper in the long run. But for 30 seconds or so you can hang…

  • Matt
    September 15, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for the guide. My question is when you run solo, what feats do you use. As your using oath are you using the same setup as your healer build or did you change them. Thanks in advance.

    • September 17, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      If you are only going a Tank and Heal loadout, I’d use Spirit of Austerity on Oathkeeper. If you are going to have two Oathkeeper loadouts, then I use Enduring Spirit when healing, and Spirit of Austerity when soloing. Enduring Spirit has a pretty niche use. I use it when doing trash clear, and specifically during Bore Worm as another means of regaining Divinity, but it’s largely not needed, as it’s pretty rare I get low during the charge phase since I just stand in the AE using channel divinity anyway.

      Updated the Summary section to reflect this.

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