Content of the article: "Favored Foe vs Hunter’s Mark But With Math"
I've been seeing a lot of opinions on r/3d6 and r/dndnext about how terrible Favored Foe is but I'm not seeing a whole lot of proof. Now I can agree that for most cases it is inferior even when you consider it doesn't take a spell slots. However, I found a Horizon Walkers and Beastmasters can get a real benefit from it.
Here's what to consider. Favored Foe and Hunter's Mark are single target but Hunter's Mark requires a bonus action while Favored Foe doesn't. While that's a non-issue for most Rangers our two exceptions, Horizon Walker and the new Beastmaster, both encourage using your bonus action per turn. Combat typically last 2-4 rounds
Let's first look at Horizon Walker's Planar Warrior which takes a bonus action on each turn for an extra 1d8/2d8 of damage and converts all damage from the attack to force. We're going to look at average damage and assume we're focusing on 1 target. We'll assume we're using the exact same weapon, stats, damage is averaged, and to-hit chance so we can eliminate those as constants from the equations. Now let's name some variables and begin the math. r=rounds, d4 avg=2.5, d6 avg=3.5, d8 avg=4.5, FF= Favored Foe, PW=Planar Warrior, and HM= Hunter's Mark.
level 3-4 This is where the comparisons can start. One attack FF=d4, PW=d8 FF+PW: rd4+rd8=2.5r+4.5r=7r HM+PW: rd6+(r-1)d8=3.5r+4.5r-4.5=8r-4.5 7r=8r-4.5>>>HM overtakes FF round 4.5≈5
lv 5 Two attacks, FF=d4, PW=d8 FF+PW: rd4+rd8=2.5r+4.5r=7r HM+PW: 2rd6+(r-1)d8=7r+4.5r-4.5=11.5r-4.5 7r=11.5r-4.5>>>HM overtakes FF round 1
lv 6-10 Two attacks, FF=d6, PW=d8 FF+PW: rd6+rd8=3.5r+4.5r=8r HM+PW: 2rd6+(r-1)d8=7r+4.5r-4.5=11.5r-4.5 8r=11.5r-4.5>>>HM overtakes round 1.3 ≈2
lv 11-13 Two attacks, FF=d6, PW=2d8 FF+PW: rd6+2rd8=3.5r+9r=12.5r HM+PW: 2rd6+(r-1)2d8=7r+9r-9=16r-9 12.5r=16r-9>>>HM overtakes round 2.6≈3
lv 14+ Two attacks, FF=d8, PW=2d8 FF+PW: rd8+2rd8=4.5r+9r=13.5r HM+PW: 2rd6+(r-1)2d8=7r+9r-9=16r-9 13.5r=16r-9,>>>HM overtakes round 3.6≈4
So looking at everything we have here the answer of which to choose changes. Favored Foe is actually a decent damage boost compared to Hunter's Mark excluding levels 5-10. Unfortunately for Favored Foe, that's the most played levels. For me however, Favored Foe's biggest benefit here is not taking up spell slots and if the there's a need for the extra damage or tracking Hunter's Mark is still available to use.
For the Beastmaster using you're bonus action for your pet is the better option with the pet's attacks doing 1d8+2+PB. If you're building for Wisdom first (which I believe you should now that you can get Magic Stone and Shillelagh) the to-hit bonus will be the same for both of you. I'm going to cut out the steps to reduce clutter. Pet Attack=PA
level 3-4 One attack FF=d4, PA=d8+4 HM overtakes FF round 9
lv 5 Two attacks, FF=d4, PA=d8+5 HM overtakes FF round 3
lv 6-8 Two attacks, FF=d6, PA=d8+5 HM overtakes FF round 4
lv 9-10 Two attacks, FF=d6, PA=d8+6 HM overtakes FF round 4
lv 11-12 Two attacks, FF=d6, 2*PA=2d8+12 HM overtakes FF round 7
lv 13 Two attacks, FF=d6, 2*PA=2d8+14 HM overtakes FF round 7
lv 14-16 Two attacks, FF=d8, 2*PA=2d8+14 HM overtakes FF at round 10
lv 17-20 Two attacks, FF=d8, 2*PA=2d8+16 HM equals FF at round 10
TLDR: Favored Foe is a nice tool in your arsenal and will out damage Hunter's Mark at most levels for most fights IF you're a Horizon Walker. Favored Foe will out damage Hunter's Mark for most fights (except level 5) IF you're a Beastmaster. Also new Beastmasters can do some resectable dpr.
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