Better, but it's main features are still pretty much +4 init bonus, +17.5 bonus damage, and +20 AC (if you sink 10 full levels in, buff your Int up to 30, and take a penalty to attacks).
Deflect Arrows is nice because of the magic weapon boost, but really, by the level it comes into play, you should just be granting Exceptional Deflection
, since the game assumes they've been using a magic weapon for about 10 levels now. And while I wouldn't necessarily grant Infinite
, I would give them like 1/rnd/2 levels instead of simply 1/rnd.
And then only +1 attack?
Damage on this is still subpar. Defense on this you still have to jump through hoops on to surpass the norm (+20 as noted above with a high Dex versus +5 full plate and +5 animated shield) on a character that will be doing more damage anyway.
I would rank this as far weaker than the single weapon option I rolled into the base Fighter class
that still also included bonus feats and a whirlwind buff and I know I didn't even begin to solve general melee problems.
Here's the particulars spoilered:
Single Weapon Fighting:
This fighting style focuses on fighting by flourishing a single weapon and confusing your opponent.
Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with a one-handed weapon, 8 ranks in Bluff
Benefits: You gain the following benefits at the indicated fighter level when you wield a one-handed weapon in one hand and nothing in your off-hand. note: animated shield is still acceptable because shields are not specifically called out
Stiff Parry: At 5th level you may add your strength bonus in addition to your dexterity bonus to your armor class. The maximum dexterity modifier of the armor you wear limits the maximum bonus to your armor class from strength as well, but you can benefit from both dexterity and strength to armor at once (a fighter wearing armor with a +3 max dex, for example, could have +3 from dex and str, for a total of +6).
Quick Riposte: At 7th level, each time an opponent’s melee attack fails to hit you, you may immediately make an attack of opportunity against that opponent provided you have an attack of opportunity to use. Additionally, you gain a number of attacks of opportunity equal to your BAB.
Lure: At 9th level, you may waste an attack in a deliberate flourish to make it seem as if you have over stepped your balance. Sacrifice an attack and make a bluff check with a bonus equal to the attack bonus of the lost attack; each opponent that fails a sense motive against the result automatically misses the first attack they make against you in the next five rounds.
Buckling the Swash: At 11th level, whenever you use the full attack action you may make additional attacks at your full attack bonus at the cost of accuracy. For each additional attack made, you suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to all attacks (including the extra attacks granted by this ability) until your next turn. This penalty may not exceed your base attack bonus.
Through the Eye: Starting at 13th level, your first attack in each round against a particular opponent is treated as a touch attack.
And with four feats including all prereqs (remember they still get Fighter bonus feats) you can add on
Heavy Weapon Fighting:
This fighting style focuses on large, heavy weapons and massive damage over multiple, quick attacks.
Prerequisites: Power Attack, Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with a non-reach two-handed weapon, 8 ranks in Intimidate
Benefits: You gain the following benefits at the indicated fighter level when you wield a non-reach two-handed weapon.
Frightening Power: Starting at 5th level, you may make a single intimidate attempt against any single opponent you attack in a round as a free action with a bonus equal to your strength modifier.
Devastating Attack: Starting at 7th level, if you choose to forfeit one of your attacks for the turn, you gain a bonus on attack and damage rolls equal to the forfeited attack’s attack bonus (but not any bonus it might have otherwise received from sacrificing another attack to Devastating Attack) until your next turn. You can forfeit multiple attacks each round this way. note: great synergy with buckling the swash and through the eye for massive damage to a number of opponents, especially with massive attack later
Sundering Critical: At 9th level, whenever you threaten a critical strike (even if the target is normally immune to them), your target’s AC is reduced by twice the critical damage multiplier of your weapon until the start of your next turn. If multiple critical threats occur in the same round, the penalties to your target’s AC stack, however, this penalty can never exceed the bonus provided by your target's armor and natural armor.
Crushing Blows: Beginning at 11th level, when you make two or more attacks against the same target in a round, each attack after the first receives additional damage equal to the base attack bonus of your first successful attack.
Massive Attack: Beginning at 13th level, when you use Power Attack and take at least a -3 penalty, your attacks cause half the damage they deal to your target to all enemies adjacent to your target.
This thing is still just not worth taking, especially since you still kept it useless as a dip.