How does Exploiter Wizard compare with an Arcanist in Pathfinder Society Organized Play?

Preamble: min-maxing is OK

I have asked my PFS gamemaster if I am allowed to min-max, and they basically said that it’s OK, so for the purposes of this question I am seeking as much power as possible and allowed to use any PFS-legal sources.

My options

I usually play Sorcerers and don’t optimize too much, but this time I am not limited by anything, so I want to cheese as much power as possible, and I also want to try something new, too.

I am looking at two classes: the Arcanist and the Exploiter Wizard. They both have something from what I’m used to (spell list, spontaneous spellcasting, choosing the spells on the fly) and something I’d like to try (prepared spellcasting, choosing spells each day), but in different proportions.

The Exploiter Wizard

The Exploiter Wizard seems very nice due to faster spell progression. Character advancement isn’t going to be fast, so it’s going to be really nice to have Haste or Glitterdust a level earlier than a level later. Playing around once a week with that character, I will only reach level 6 in about five months.

Bonus feats are also nice.

An answer that prefers the Arcanist should say how that class can overcome the spell level delay and somehow comment on the following quote from Dawar’s Arcanist guide:

“But, Dawar” you may ask “What about the Exploiter Wizard?” to which I say …well

…I mean

…I guess

sh….SHUT UP! (no really, that Archetype makes a wizard better at what you do than you. But, you know, oh well)

The Arcanist

The Arcanist, on the other hand, gets more exploits, and some of them are really nice. I am not going to get a lot of those on my Wizard. What’s more, the Arcanist has Consume Spells, so Arcane Reservoir points are going to be less scarce.

The exploits

Some good exploits that I know of are:

  1. Quick Study: the point of being an Exploiter Wizard or Arcanist, ability to replace spells on the fly.
  2. Potent Magic: inrease caster level or save DCs of my spells better.
  3. Dimensional Slide: teleport as a part of your move action.

All can be got as Exploiter Wizard at level 9 (again, in a long time). In fact, I can even get them in this exact order. I was told that the Arcanist needs more exploits than those three.

Some other exploits that I consider:

  1. Metamagic exploits are mentioned as being cool ones in this guide, but they are not likely to kick in because I am not really going to play at high levels, and abusing metamagic is hence not a good option. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Anyway, as far as I know, Wizards are also good metamagic users. Are Arcanists any better? If yes, are they significantly better?

  2. Force Strike — basically, a better magic missile. Same expected damage as usually per level (1d6 and 1d4+1 both yield 3.5 on average), but no touch attack or saving throw.
  3. Counterspell
  4. Familiar — since we lose one when becoming an Exploiter Wizard or don’t get in the first place if Arcanist.

It should be noted that I am going to play in a group of friends, often attending sessions more often than them, so I might have to choose slow XP progression, if it’s of any importance.

All in all, would I like to know?

  1. What are the benefits and disadvantages of each of the classes (compared to each other) that I missed?
  2. How important are the pros and cons that I mentioned?
  3. Who is better at metamagic and how significantly? This is not a very important question, but still.
  4. How many exploits does each of them need?
  5. Which of the exploits that I mentioned are good and worth it?

Important notes

  • When speaking about the Arcanist, you can refer to archetypes too, as they are a part of the class. When speaking about the Exploiter Wizard, you can refer to archetypes that give similar spontaneous abilities or PFS-legal archetypes that stack.
  • I am going to play this character this weekend. I will be able to make some changes before I reach level 2, though.

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