In the Players hand book it mentions in a list called "Melee weapon groups and associated Statistics" (Pg. 77) and says

...the list below notes the melee weapon group and the ability score that is most likely to help you optimize your fighter abilities with that weapon group.

The same list gives wisdom as the "ability score that is most likely to help you optimize your fighter", but skimming through the powers and feats I don't see that many that rely on or even benefit from wisdom, except some shield feats/powers.

Even some of the powers that rely on using a polearm gain benefits from Dex (e.g. silverstride), which is mentioned as a rare thing for them to use in the list noted above.

Is the table in the PBH 'Wrong' about a fighter benefiting from a high wisdom when choosing to use polearms, or am I missing something? When would high wisdom help a fighter with a polearm?


2 Answers 2


Combat Superiority

This is the key class feature to a Polearm fighter. It gives you two benefits.

  1. A bonus to the attack rolls of opportunity attacks equal to your Wisdom modifier.
  2. If a move provoked the attack the enemy hit by your opportunity attack stops moving.

As a polearm user, Opportunity Attacks are your bread and butter. there are also two main feats I'd look at to justify a high wisdom score: Polearm Gamble and Superior Will.

Superior Will

This grants:

  1. a +2 (or higher) will defense bonus
  2. you can roll saves against the Dazed and Stunned conditions at the start of your turn as well as at the end.

While I feel this is nearly mandatory for most defenders, it is even better for polearm fighters. Both Dazed and Stunned prevent you from making Opportunity Attacks. Getting essentially two saves against them during your turn means a much better chance to be free of them during others turns (when you need them!). Also, if you make the first save then having the full range of actions for your own turn will enable you to better position yourself.

Not to mention that with a 15+ wisdom, your will defense should be pretty good and hopefully these conditions will affect you less often to begin with.

Polearm Gamble

With Polearm Gamble a fighter gets an opportunity attack pretty much any creature medium size or smaller who closes with them. This is huge and also makes them somewhat immune to minions as well.

This is a paragon feat so starting characters will not benefit from it immediately. It does have the drawback as it grants Combat Advantage to that enemy. However, if you hit them, you will stop them from moving at range 2. Most medium creatures will not be able to utilize the Combat Advantage against you.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do any of the powers add Wisdom? I don't think so, but I haven't looked through the exploits in a while. \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross Combat Superiority adds wisdom to OA's, so I recommend taking advantage of that as often as possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:23

Fighters get to apply their Wisdom bonus to Attacks of Opportunity, so any fighter built around Attacks of Opportunity would benefit from a high Wisdom score.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As a to-hit bonus? Is there any particular benefit to following the advice in the weapon/ability score list? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2012 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well a polearm has a longer range and so it can provoke more attacks of opportunity (which is probably why it lists it in that table). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2012 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JamesJ.ReganIV: reach alone doesn't affect OAs at all unless you have other options that explicitly increase your threatened area (see also RC p.246). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 15, 2012 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @arotter still, those options exist and if you are a dedicated pole-arm user, its likely you'd take those feats (unless they didn't exist in the PHB in which case this point is moot). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2012 at 16:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JamesJ.ReganIV: True, just wanted to point out that wielding a polearm won't get you any benefit by itself but rather requires additional resources to be really good. :) Of course you're right, if you're a polearm fighter you better invest in those feats, items and powers to get the most out of your character. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 15, 2012 at 20:55

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