I have an idea of build centered around the Crusader class, with some possible dips in Warblade/Swordsage to take advantage of the goodies in other disciplines (such as Ironheart Surge or Time Stands Still).
The dip in the Warblade class brings me the opportunity to take the Stormguard Warrior tactical feat, and I have seen it recommended a number of times specifically for its Channel the Storm option (ToB, p.36):
Channel the Storm: To use this option, you must choose to refrain from making one or more available attacks of opportunity against a single opponent. On your next turn, you gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls for each attack that you refrained from making against the same opponent. You gain this bonus only against an opponent that you refrained from making an attack of opportunity against in the previous round.
I am wondering if this feat is really that good. It seems that it requires a huge investment (in terms of feats) and it is unclear to me whether it really pays off.
The bonuses +4 AR/dmg per refrained AoO (which you have an infinite supply of (*)) do seem interesting, at first, however:
- A prerequisite of Stormguard Warrior is Ironheart Aura, which in itself does not seem that interesting, especially for a Crusader (Thicket of Blade is not an Ironheart stance)
- The bonuses gained can only be used against the opponent that generated them, and no other (it's a minor restriction, but worth keeping in mind)
- An AoO is likely to do much more damage than 4, especially if using a two-handed weapon (even at level 1, we are looking at 1d10 + 6 ~= 11.5)
Thus, the two feats investment seems only worth it if one can generate more AoOs than one has available. In the recommendations I have seen, it is combined with Robilar's Gambit (-4 AR, 1 AoO per foe attack in melee) which itself requires Combat Reflexes. Dexterity is unlikely to be ignored (since it benefits Touch AC), and therefore we are looking at a minimum of 3 or 4 available AoOs per round...
Letting Combat Reflexes and Robilar's Gambit aside, is it really worth it investing in Ironheart Aura and Stormguard Warrior? Am I missing something?
(*) I have seen some debates where it is argued that refraining to take an AoO to fuel up Channel the Storm should use it up, which I ignore here. The feat is much worse in this case.