When Dungeons & Dragons 4E was first released, I found the warlord to be the most intriguing addition. So I was intrigued when Dragon announced the new Class Compendium feature, which converts classes to the Essentials format, was tackling the warlord.
I assumed we would see a new build of the warlord which favored melee basic attacks over powers. After all, the knight and slayer builds of the fighter, the executioner build of the assassin, and thief build of the rogue all took this tack.
What I was not expecting the changes to be as minimal as they were. I would hesitate to call the new marshal build a build at all. Instead, it seems to simply be a rewriting of the tactical warlord and the inspiring warlord using the new Essentials format.
The few mechanical differences seem to merely be errata rather than any attempts at new mechanics. The power selection is slightly different than the Player’s Handbook Warlord, but is more of a “greatest hits” from existing source books than anything new.
I like the existing warlord, so the fact that the marshal build changes nothing isn’t really a negative to me.
Frankly, I am confused as to what the point of the Class Compendium feature is. I assumed it was going to provide new builds for existing classes which were similar to the new builds created for Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms and Heroes of the Fallen Lands. Instead, all we seem to have gotten is a change in the layout with a little errata thrown in.
As content for Dragon goes, that seems a little thin.