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Purely in terms of potential damage, am I better off taking Elven Accuracy, or Mobile, as a first feat at Level 4?

Question Conditions:

  • The option to disengage after making melee attacks is crucial to this question; thus the Mobile feat makes two weapon fighting viable (thanks to the free disengage after melee attacks), whereas Elven Accuracy does not (as disengage would use the bonus action instead of the offhand attack).
  • The playstyle is a skirmishing melee rogue/striker, as opposed to ranged, to better complement other party member's abilities (eg. Battlemaster shoving prone, et Al.).

Background Details:

I am playing a Level 3 Rogue, and will soon need to select my first feat at Level 4. Currently, this Rogue has 17 DEX, and the Soul Knife subclass. Using his Soul Blades means he can currently dual wield effectively (without the feat), giving +5 to hit, and a potential damage of: 1d6+3 (main hand, action), and 1d4+3 (offhand, bonus action). Sneak attack is currently 2d6, and remains the same for level 4.

I've attempted several different ways to calculate this, but haven't arrived at a conclusive answer. Any help would be most appreciated.


EDIT FOR CLARITY ON EACH FEAT:

  • The Mobile feat offers no additional bonuses to hit or damage beyond those listed in the Background section above. It provides extra damage by facilitating the offhand attack through the free disengage. Additionally, the base chance to crit (5%) is doubled with two attack rolls (10%), and quadrupled with advantage (20%).

  • The Elven Accuracy feat provides only one attack, as the bonus action must instead be used to disengage, as specified in the original conditions above. It does however provide a +1 bonus to DEX, taking this Rogues DEX from 17 to 18, with all the additional damage/hit bonuses that implies. Additionally, Elven Accuracy gives a single d20 reroll on attack, but only if the attack is made with advantage. Without advantage, Elven Accuracy still provides the improved +1 DEX hit/damage bonuses on a single attack, with the standard base crit chance (5%). With advantage however, the hit chance improves with the third D20, while also tripling the base crit chance (15%).

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    \$\begingroup\$ How frequently do you have advantage? E.g. are you using the optional flanking rules \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleth
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 8:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our DM is not using optional flanking rules; though the Battlemaster in our party has focused his build almost exclusively on knocking enemies prone. I have been getting a lot of advantage so far. Perhaps 2 in every 3 attacks, at a loose guess? \$\endgroup\$
    – Brave
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 9:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Larger enemies at higher levels are going to be harder to knock down (high Str save, or larger than Large), so it's a similar problem to monk Stunning Strike (Con save) where it's amazing at lower levels. So for the long term, keep in mind that Advantage may become rarer unless new sources develop, if monster Str saves scale better than your Battlemaster's DC and number of maneuvers available, or trip-immune. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 2:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ re: your edit: chance to crit on your Sneak Attack is what really matters. An extra 1d6 or 1d4 for a crit with your 2nd hit of the turn is not particularly significant vs. an extra 3d6 for a crit Sneak Attack+weapon damage at 4th level. If your first attack is a non-crit hit, you wouldn't choose not to do Sneak Attack on it because the chance of missing with the last attack is higher than the chance of critting, and consistent damage is more useful. So more attacks is barely significant for your chance of crit sneak-attack, except when AC is so high that nat20 is a big fraction of hits. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 3:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that's all correct, but your answer presents just "crit chance" as if all crits were equal. In fact a crit on your 2nd hit of the turn is actually much less useful, so it's not that simple to compare 3 rolls on one attack vs. two attacks with 2 rolls each. The extra 1d6 or 1d4 isn't nothing when you crit on the 2nd hit, especially at low levels, but just saying 20% vs. 15% doesn't represent the situation well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 12:21

1 Answer 1

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Using this anydice program, we can compare the expected damage of Elven Accuracy vs Mobile in the interesting case, when we have advantage.

The program assumes that you apply sneak attack to the first attack with Mobile, so it actually underestimates the expected damage. Even so, it beats Elven Accuracy until AC18.

Similarly without advantage, Mobile's off-hand attack beats Elven Accuracy's +1 dex until AC24, on turns when you would require Disengage if not for Mobile getting you past enemies you can Attack (up to 2), that aren't dead from your attack.

AC Elven Accuracy + Advantage Mobile + Advantage Elven Accuracy Mobile
6 16 20.22 14.3 18.7
7 16 20.22 14.3 18.7
8 16 20.08 14.3 17.75
9 15.98 19.84 13.57 16.8
10 15.95 19.51 12.85 15.85
11 15.88 19.08 12.13 14.9
12 15.77 18.56 11.4 13.95
13 15.61 17.94 10.68 13
14 15.38 17.23 9.95 12.05
15 15.07 16.42 9.23 11.1
16 14.68 15.52 8.5 10.15
17 14.19 14.52 7.78 9.2
18 13.59 13.43 7.05 8.25
19 12.87 12.24 6.32 7.3
20 12.02 10.96 5.6 6.35
21 11.02 9.58 4.88 5.4
22 9.88 8.11 4.15 4.45
23 8.57 6.54 3.42 3.5
24 7.09 4.88 2.7 2.55
25 5.43 3.12 1.97 1.6

This also doesn't consider the other benefits of +1 Dex: increased AC, and Dex saves and ability checks (including initiative and core rogue stuff like lockpicking). Or the mobility advantage of +10 speed from Mobile.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am really confused, mobile has no attack bonus and no damage bonus, how does it affect damage at all? Is this entirely down to making the assumption that with mobile they make 2 attacks? Effectively making it the same as asking how much extra damage a bonus action attack is likely to do? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 22:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Serious From the question: "Purely in terms of potential damage, am I better off taking Elven Accuracy, or Mobile [...] the Mobile feat makes two weapon fighting viable [...] whereas Elven Accuracy does not" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 so basically yes? Making the mobile feat just a distraction and the real question is "will I cause more damage if I make a second attack than if I don't both for whatever reason?" \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Serious Mobile is relevant for two reasons: (1) Mobile is the only independent means to make an extra attack within conditions specified; and (2) Choosing Mobile is mutually exclusive with Elven Accuracy at level 4. While it is true Mobile's extra attack offers no damage bonuses beyond standard options, Elven Accuracy does (+1 DEX, d20 reroll on advantage). Being mutually exclusive, the question is not comparing single vs double attacks, but the benefits directly provided by each feat in context. All three possible attacks vary in damage, hit chance, crit chance, and with/without advantage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brave
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 2:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Caleth, perhaps worth reiterating the assumptions right in the answer, that it's assumed you'll always use your bonus action to disengage if you don't get it for free with Mobile, rather than staying in for a chance to land a Sneak Attack and maybe finish the job if your first attack misses. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 2:48

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