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I went over the updates on Wizards of the Coast and discovered that the Infernal Wrath power has changed from what it was in the Player's Handbook. There's one part that confuses me:

Infernal Wrath

Close burst 10
Trigger: An enemy within 10 squares of you hits you
Target: The triggering enemy in burst
Effect: The target takes 1d6 + Intelligence or Charisma modifier fire damage.

I always understood that Burst means every enemy, but this power seems to violate the use of the keyword Burst. I understood it to mean that a burst covered a target square and the surrounding squares (including diagonal). Say that Scorching Burst has an effect area of a 3x3 square centered on a target creature no more than 10 squares away from you. Is the Close Burst ability different? I had understood it to mean that it meant every square around you within the Burst gets affected simultaneously (as with the Prismatic Beams Spell).

Can a Burst target only 1 creature like the revised Infernal Wrath power suggests?

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Burst does NOT mean every enemy. Virtually all heals are burst for instance. Burst effectively means "ranged within X squares but doesn't provoke opportunity attacks" –  Mooing Duck Aug 21 '13 at 23:24

2 Answers 2

Burst actually doesn't inherently mean the power targets every enemy - it means the power covers, in some way, the area of the burst. (Close bursts are bursts centred around the caster.)

Bursts are used in a few different ways, and do not by default target everyone (or necessarily anyone) inside them. For instance, the Cleric has the level 16 Hallowed Ground utility power which uses a close burst to create a zone of protection - the close burst doesn't target anyone, it's just used to define the area for the zone.

If a burst power does target everyone in it, it'll say so with a target line like: Each enemy in the burst, or Each creature in the burst (which would include allies and enemies).

In the case of Infernal Wrath, it simply targets a triggering enemy within the burst.

Why a close burst 10 if it's only targeting one creature?
To give it a range of 10 whilst avoiding downsides of ranged powers: if they'd made this a Ranged 10 power instead, it would trigger opportunity attacks. Close bursts don't trigger opportunity attacks since they aren't ranged attacks, so they chose to make it Close Burst 10.

This also affects the feats that can apply, and the designers may have consciously considered that. Being a close burst means feats that affect close bursts are allowed to work here, whilst feats such as those that would affect ranged powers don't work.

If the trigger line and "close burst 10" line both state the range, isn't that redundant?
This confused me at first, but they actually serve different purposes.

  • The trigger line defines the initial range to which the spell can react: 10 squares. It might seem like they could simplify it by saying "An enemy within the burst hits you", but at the time the power would be triggered, there is no burst yet.
  • When you use the power, the Close Burst 10 is then created, defining the area the power can affect: conveniently, it covers all spaces from which the spell could possibly have been triggered. The enemy who triggered the power in the first place is chosen as the target.
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You are partially correct - the area effect Burst x generally covers all squares within x squares from the origin square, and affect any target in that area. Close Burst is still a Burst, but the origin square is always the user of the power. A Burst (Close or not) also does not need to have Line of Sight from the origin square to any of the targets to affect them.

Some powers, like Infernal Wrath and Healing Word, specify that you only select one target within the Burst area. This is an override of the general Burst mechanics. You still don't need to have Line of Sight, though.

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