I know this is bordering on off-topic for this site. However, many of the old class guides started with a section explaining why you would pick each subclass, which gave a quite good answer for these kind of questions.
Unfortunately, most of the old handbooks are lost with the WotC forums, and the ones I found for Swordmages leave this part out.

I get Assault Swordmages, they go in a more Striker-y way, increasing damage output. Shielding is also clear, damage reduction is an easy concept, even if it scales quite badly.
Ensnaring teleports the target to you after it hit one of your allies. It would make a lot of sense to yank the archer from the treetop, or the archmage from behind his henchmen to the middle of the melee, but unfortunately the Close Burst 2 distance makes it all but impossible.

So what is the value of teleporting an enemy from a near-adjacent position (Close Burst 2) to an adjacent one? (and you burn your Immediate action on it)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking specifically about the punishment effect on their aegis, or about the broader pros/cons of ensnaring swordmages as compared to the other two builds? \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 12:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage mostly the punishment, but would have been fine with an answer saying the punishment is bad, but the riders make up for it, or similar. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 21:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keledrath's answer does a good job of covering the value of their mark punishment. They're also notable in that they don't have a secondary stat, freeing up your second high ability score for any stat of your choice that some other part of your build might want, e.g. Wandering Swordmage, multiclassing/hybrid or other power theft, etc. It's a lot easier to mix ensnaring aegis with something else that wants a stat other than Int/Str/Con than it is either of the other builds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage, this should be a comment on the answer, so that Keledrath can include it \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


I think what you're overlooking is that while Aegis of Ensnarement is a close burst 2 when applying the mark, the punishment is much longer range

If a target marked by this power is within 10 squares of you when it hits with an attack that does not include you as a target, you can use an immediate reaction after the target's entire attack is resolved to teleport the target to any space adjacent to you. In addition, the target grants combat advantage to all creatures until the end of your next turn.

Given this, I'd generally say that the goal of an Ensnaring Swordmage should be to mark a skirmisher or a lurker that is going to be trying to disengage from you and go for your squishier ally, or to mark a brute, then run off to the enemy backline and pull the brute away from your allies.

A fairly common strategy for Swordmages in my experience is to mark one enemy and then walk away to engage someone else. And there is a lot you can do with moving an enemy across the map, primarily working off of power like Swordmage's Deep Freeze, Warlock Zone powers (Hunger of Hadar, Feast of Souls, and more), or Wizard Zone powers (Phantom Chasm for example). There's also some powers with riders for Aegis of Ensnarement, though in my experience Shielding has the best rider options.

At the end of the day, I do agree that Ensnaring is probably the weakest baseline Aegis, but it definitely has uses and party compositions that it works very well with.


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