[RPG] How to optimize a Warforged Artificer for a tank role in combat


I'm trying to figure out the most optimized build for quite a specific setup using a Warforged with multi-class Artificer.

Specifically I'm looking for a character that come across as durable and dangerous in melee combat, while also being able to provide some of the unique quirks Artificers can offer (like infusions, etc). Wanting to play this character as a despondent "jack-of-all-trades" kindof deal that can help out the party by tinkering away on things if asked, but generally is just a close-combat tanky menace.

So, what is the most optimized build assuming the following requirements:

  1. Race: Warforged
  2. Class: Artificer multiclassed with whatever works best to make a decent melee tank (so possibly Fighter or Barbarian? But really whatever works).
  3. I'm wanting to be welding a 2-handed-weapon and taking the feat Great Weapon Master, just to help illustrate the characters brutishness (and hopefully allow more damage dealing).
  4. For the purposes of this question, let's limit the character to a total of 10 levels.
  5. Let's assume stats of 15 across the board (with the Warforged also adding +2 to Con and +1 to something else as normal).

So, with the above requirements, what is the best build one can make to soak up loads damage while also dealing respectable combat damage? And also making use of the Artificer class so that it isn't a burden to the build.

Best Answer

Fighter 3/Artificer 5/Wizard 2

Overall, a build of Fighter 3/Artificer 5/Wizard 2 will give you the following:

  • AC of 21 (with the ability to use your reaction to increase it to 23-26 for one attack that would hit you), plus many defensive options
  • +4 bonus (using your reaction) to one saving throw that you would fail
  • Limited healing and damage mitigation
  • Bonus to damage, and advantage on attacks

Level 5 Battle Smith artificer gives you:

  • the Battle Ready feature: lets you add Int (instead of Str/Dex) to your attack and damage rolls
  • Steel Defender
  • Extra Attack
  • shield spell

Level 2 War Magic wizard (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 59) gets you:

  • false life
  • absorb elements spell
  • find familiar to get another pet: choose owl for the Flyby trait, and have it take the Help action to give you advantage to your first attack that round
  • the Arcane Deflection feature: use your reaction, when you're hit by an attack or you fail a saving throw, to add +2 to your AC for that attack or add +4 to that saving throw (potentially changing the outcome)

Level 3 Battle Master fighter adds:

  • Maneuvers: Parry lets you reduce damage taken from a melee attack by 1d8 + Dex mod. Riposte and Lunging Attack are also good options.
  • Action Surge
  • Second Wind
  • Great Weapon Fighting fighting style

I would take fighter first, for the Con save proficiency and access to heavy armor.

As an artificer, you can use the Enhanced Defense and Enhanced Weapon infusions to add +1 to your AC and your attack and damage rolls respectively.

Your AC will consistently be 21 with plate; when an attack would hit, you can use a reaction to increase it by 2 with Arcane Deflection or increase it by 5 with the shield spell. Also potentially the attack will have disadvantage.