Who Wore it Better: Boots of Haste

wallflowerwaitlist asked: The twins argue a lot over using the Boots of Haste. In Episode 82, Vax said that he is statistically more effective with them. Do we have any statistical evidence on which twin really has been more effective with them in the past, or even hypothetically?

Short Version: It depends heavily on the situation.

Long Version: There are a number of factors to consider here, because some of this depends on how we view ‘effective.’ Let’s break it down by what the boots are able to do.

First, the boots grant the wearer +2 to AC.

  • While wearing the Deathwalker’s Ward, Defense as his paladin fighting style, and Dual Wielder, Vax’s AC in combat starts at 21. With the boots, his AC goes up to 23.
  • While wearing Coldsnap Leather armor (though she doesn’t have it attuned), and Ring of Protection (+2), Vex’s starting AC is 18. With the boots, it goes up to 20.

Second, it doubles the wearer’s speed. Both Vex and Vax have the same on-foot speed, 30 feet/round. Both of them are able to Dash as a bonus action, granting them 60 feet of movement per round unhasted, so 120 feet/round hasted. So far, the boots don’t benefit either of them more or less than the other. However, there are two other factors to consider:

  • The boots allow Vax to increase his flying speed, since his wings are a part of his armor and attuned to him. The boots do not allow Vex to increase her flying speed because the broom’s speed is unaffected by the boots (Ep79, 2:43:10). That said, even if the boots didn’t affect Vax’s flying speed, his wings allow him to fly 60 feet/round, while Vex’s broom travels at 50 feet/round.
  • Vex needs to be further away than Vax for her attacks, since all of hers (save Trinket’s) are ranged. Vax needs to be closer than Vex because, even with Sharpshooter, he still can’t throw his daggers as far as she can fire an arrow. So, who benefits more from the boots here depends on the situation they’re in.

Third, the boots give the wearer advantage on Dexterity Saving throws. Except for a Natural 1, Vax can’t roll below a 12 on a Dexterity Save, and Vex can’t roll below a 14 when she wears her Ring of Protection (+2). If she doesn’t wear the ring, their Dexterity Save bonus is the same. Vax also gets the benefits of Evasion, which allows him to halve or negate damage after a Dexterity Save. So, the potential benefits from advantage on a Dexterity Save greatly favor Vax, who can potentially take 0 damage from a massive attack (like Meteor Swarm). Further, with 10 fewer hit points than Vex (and the second lowest in the party), Vax could use all the HP protection he can get.

Fourth, the wearer gains an additional action to Attack, Dash, Disengage, Hide or Use an Object.

  • Bonus Action Spells: While both of them already have the ability to Dash, Disengage or Hide as a bonus action as rogues, this gives both of them a little more flexibility if they want to, say, cast a bonus action spell, attack, and hide on their turns. Vex has higher level bonus action spells than Vax (Grasping Vine, and the ability to cast Hail of Thorns at higher levels).
  • Action Spells: Like Bonus Actions spells, Vex also has higher level action spells than Vax.
  • The ability to disengage is more often going to benefit Vax, since he is in melee range more often.

If we’re going to consider who benefits more from the extra Attack action, we need to focus on more than just who deals more damage (though we do consider that).

  • Vex has a +15 attack bonus with Fenthras, while Vax has a +13 attack bonus with Whisper, which is what he would likely use for this third attack. He usually begins his turn with Whisper, then uses the Dagger of Venom or Flametongue Dagger for his offhand attack, thanks to Dual Wielding, and then goes back to Whisper. Vex is more likely to successfully hit her target with her third shot than Vax is.
  • With Whisper, Vax deals 1d4 Piercing or Slashing + 1d8 Psychic + 8 damage. Without critting or adding damage from a spell in, Whisper deals a maximum of 20 damage. With Fenthras, Vex deals 1d8 piercing + 1d4 lightning + 8 damage + 2 for Bracers of Archery (when she wears them). Without critting or adding damage from a spell in, Fenthras deals a maximum of 22 damage.
  • If both of them use a bonus action and normal action to do something other than attack, then Sneak Attack comes into play for their hasted action. By virtue of being a higher level rogue, Vax deals 7d6 Sneak Attack damage, while Vex deals 2d6. Vax’s max sneak attack damage is 42; Vex’s is 12.
  • Needless to say, if Vax manages to get a critical hit on a sneak attack using his hasted action, he can deal the most damage in a strike.
    • But, what about those damage-adding spells and abilities? Vax can add:
    • Melee: Divine Smite and either Hunter’s Mark, Thunderous Smite, Searing Smite, or Wrathful Smite. Max damage: 28 (16 Divine Smite + 12 Thunderous Smite).
    • Ranged: Sharpshooter and Hunter’s Mark. Max damage: 16 (10 SS + 6 HM).
  • Vex can add:
    • Lightning Arrow (arrow’s damage is 4d8 lightning instead of the normal arrow damage + 2d8 to those within 10 feet that fail Dexterity Saves) and Blazing Bowstring. Max Damage: ≥42 (32 Lightning + 10 Blazing Bowstring + 16 to any others around).
    • Bramble Shot, Blazing Bowstring and either Hunter’s Mark or Hail of Thorns (+1d10 piercing, +1d10 to those within 5 feet that fail Dexterity Saves at 1st level). Max Damage: ≥52 (32 Bramble + 10 Blazing Bowstring + 10 Hail of Thorns + 10 to any others around).

So, while Vax can potentially deal more damage with a Sneak Attack (and definitely with a surprise attack), if there is only one intended target, Vex can deal more with area of effect damage, a little more damage with a regular one-target attack, and she is more likely to hit her intended target.

In conclusion, who statistically gains more benefit from the Boots of Haste really depends on the situation. Vex gains greater benefit from the +2 AC boost. Vax gains more benefit from the Dexterity Save advantage. The speed boost benefit depends largely on the battle. Having access to higher level spells gives Vex a stronger advantage when wearing the boots, giving her much more flexibility to mix and match bonus action spells or action spells with attacks. The extra attack benefit is also depends on the situation. Vex can deal area of effect damage and hit more often, while Vax can deal more Sneak Attack/surprise damage.