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In the Pathfinder tier list, the Skald is a blue tier 3 — in other words, nearly tier 2. The Bard isn't.

What made it deserve this notation? Is there an extremly powerful particular build or option that makes it blue?

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The tier system traditionally values versatility

In that respect, the ability that pushes the skald toward (but not into) tier 2 is the supernatural ability spell kenning:

At 5th level, a skald is learned in the magic of other spellcasters, and can use his own magic to duplicate those classes' spells. Once per day, a skald can cast any spell on the bard, cleric, or sorcerer/wizard spell list as if it were one of his skald spells known, expending a skald spell slot of the same spell level to cast the desired spell. Casting a spell with spell kenning always has a minimum casting time of 1 full round, regardless of the casting time of the spell.

At level 11 this's 2/day, and at level 17, this's 3/day. This special ability alone solves many, many problems, but combined with the skald's free level 1 feat Scribe Scroll and access to the skill Use Magic Device, the skald becomes capable of supplying solutions to problems that would baffle lesser creatures.

What keeps the skald from tier 2 is that the skald's only solving such problems 1 to 3 times per day (or by using a previously scribed scroll) and the skald can only solve problems using spells full casters have long had access to (although the full casters may not have such spells available when such spells are needed like the skald does).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also worth noting, the versatility inherent in giving your whole party rage powers. Raging song is a little more niche than bardic music (as in, it has some drawbacks that may lead to some refusing its benefits), but being able to hand out rage powers is quite an interesting ability. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 24 '17 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I agree that it's interesting, but the skald's raging song lacks the stunning versatility of spell kenning. Were the Pathfinder folks dead serious about making the skald supremely versatile, they'd've allowed the skald to pick--either at the day's start or when the ability's used (which is perhaps unbalanced)--what rage powers the skald grants with his song. Were that the case, I'd totally list it right below spell kenning as contributing to edging a skald further up the tier list, but, as is, it's yet another You picked it, you're stuck with it, and nyah nyah! ability. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 24 '17 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan It adds to the party’s versatility though. Suddenly someone with absolutely nothing to do with the barbarian class can benefit from rage powers. That opens up new tactical options that were previously impossible. And after all, T2s kind of have You picked it, you're stuck with it, and nyah nyah! as a quintessential trait (when compared to T1s). Though I’ll probably agree that none of the rage powers really reaches power enough to justify even nearly-T2... \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 24 '17 at 20:38

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