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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default List of best-worst subclasses?

    What's your personal list of best-to-worst subclasses?

    Rather, to make things a bit simpler, if there was a different player playing each subclass from level 1 to 20, who would have the most/least amount of fun?
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-03-28 at 05:17 PM.
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    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas I’ve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. You’re a gem of the community here.
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    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    There are a lot of subclasses.

    The “best”, IMO, for each class are:

    Bard: College of Lore
    Cleric: Tempest Domain
    Wizard: School of Divination
    Druid: Circle of the Moon
    Warlock: Hexblade
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker / Hunter
    Paladin: Oath of Devotion
    Fighter: Battlemaster
    Rogue: Swashbuckler
    Barbarian: Path of the Totem Warrior
    Monk: Way of the Open Hand
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul

    The worst are:

    Bard: College of Whispers
    Cleric: Trickery Domain
    Wizard: School of Transmutation
    Druid: Circle of Dreams
    Warlock: Great Old One
    Ranger: Beast Master
    Paladin: Oath of Redemption
    Fighter: Champion
    Rogue: Thief
    Barbarian: Path of the Berserker
    Monk: Way of the Four Elements
    Sorcerer: Storm Magic

    That said, it’s really hard to make a bad character in 5e and these are just my opinions.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    The worst Fighter subclass is by far the PDK.

    Worst Warlock subclass is Undying.

    I'd argue they're the 2 worst subclasses in the game. SCAG was a mess and needed the crowd-sourced Xanathars treatment.
    Last edited by mephnick; 2019-03-28 at 08:27 PM.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Warlocks are had due to the almost two sub class picks they make.
    purple banner is hands down the worse subclass in the game.

    Beast master is mechanical sound but probably the most clunky in play.

    Some of the land druid options are lacking. could be updated with xan spell options to help them out. Same with PHB rangers

    I haven't seen a whisper bard in play but it seems lacking compared to other options
    what is the point of living if you can't deadlift?

    All credit to the amazing avatar goes to thoroughlyS

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    You asked for most and least fun, rather than powerful. With that in mind, here are my choices and justifications.

    WORST

    Barbarian: Path of the Battlerager
    All other barbarians are full of flavor, impactful effects, and/or changes in play-style. You get... a clone of Polearm Master, some extra THP, some maneuverability, and some piddly damage related to being spiky. The real trouble, however: when you're not raging, you get NOTHING!

    Bard: College of Valor
    This college might be mechanically sound for a generalist support caster, but it's not good at doing what it should be doing: making you a valorous martial combatant. Your damage is pathetic, you have hardly any spells that assist with melee in any way, you become really MAD... and you have to juggle instruments, shields, and weapons! Now that I think about it, that last part is actually on-theme for a bard...

    Cleric: Grave Domain
    This is definitely the worst-written subclass in the otherwise very strong list of subclasses that clerics have access to. Between the awful domain spell list, the awkward abilities, and the dissociative failure of game design that is Sentinel at Death's Door, this is a clear loser to me.

    Druid: Circle of the Land
    People always compare Moon to Land to show why Moon is so good. It's the other way around: Moon is there to make Land look bad. Why? You've nothing exceptional to do with your bonus action and your subclass features after 2nd level are uninspired, situational, or just plain awful. The other subclasses give you cool features that you'll use all the time, making Land feel totally left-out.

    Fighter: Purple Dragon Knight
    PDK has a big problem that pushes it from merely mediocre to outright terrible: Paladins. Why would you ever be a PDK with your situational, disjointed list of abilities, when you could be a Paladin and do (almost) everything the PDK can, but better?

    Monk: Way of the Four Elements
    A fun idea with a wretched implementation. I think this subclass would have been fine if you had more abilities to choose from in the moment, trading Ki efficiency for greater utility. But you don't. You pick one super-situational power. Every other monk subclass has an amazing build-defining feature at third level. The four elements? You get a wet fart.

    Paladin: Oath of the Crown
    The one bad egg in the otherwise excellent basket. Aside from a solid spell list, all you've got are a whole host of lackluster abilities that feel like a series of limp slaps. The worst part is Champion Challenge, which is rather poor as a taunt effect because it doesn't actually encourage anyone to attack you. It has some niche use if you can use it to keep a group of creatures occupied while all your allies are further than 30 feet away from you... but you won't live very long with a strategy that insane.

    Ranger: Beast Master
    The most awkward, clunky subclass in the entire game, and nothing else even comes close. Congratulations, Beast Master, you really are the worst. No matter what optimizers say about its mechanical effectiveness, it'll never actually feel right.

    Rogue: Inquisitive
    Absolutely terrible. This is an unfortunate example of a subclass with a theme that should have been a grand slam, a freebie. You're Sherlock Holmes! Except... every feature sucks. Seriously, every single feature you get as an Inquisitive is at or near the bottom among all rogue subclass features.

    Sorcerer: Draconic Bloodline
    Reasonably effective, but boring. None of your features until 14th level are at all dynamic or interesting, no matter how mechanically useful they are. And I'd argue they're not even that mechanically useful. Have you seen the crazy **** the other sorcerers can do by 6th level?! People like this subclass purely because it has the word "Dragon" in it. Here's a hint: you can be a dragon-blooded sorcerer of any of the other, more interesting subclasses.

    Warlock: The Undying
    Awful, awful spell list with awful features that are more ribbon than special power. This subclass has very little going for it.

    Wizard: School of Necromancy
    Aside from the fact that you'll probably be fighting with your DM every step of the way, this subclass has two big problems. First, the creation and usage of undead creatures is awkward, at best. To make proper usage of your features, you'll need to bog down combat with extra minions and juggle the resources of minionmancy even out of combat. Second, the necromancy school is by far the weakest of the schools in 5e. You'll be disappointed time and time again.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Barbarian:
    Best - many good ones but I will say zealot.
    Worst - berserker exhaustion is just that bad

    Bard:
    Best - Lore, just the massive versatility
    Worst - whispers. It just makes no sense

    Cleric:
    Best - many great ones I like nature. Great abilities
    Worst - trickery, it does not flow

    Druid:
    Best - moon, it opens so many options
    Worst - spore, it just sucks

    Fighter:
    Best - Battlemaster, short rest almost never wasted maneuvers are gold.
    Worst - Purple Dragon Knight

    Monk:
    Best: many options depending on how you want to play the character I personally like drunken master, but open hand is probably better.
    Worst: kensei, at least 4 elements gives you unique options, kensei can be replace by just getting a magic weapon.

    Paladin:
    Best: they are all pretty good, I like an Ender Wiggin mentality conquest paladin
    Worst: honestly they are all good, I guess crown because it is kind of plain.

    Ranger:
    Best: deep stalker, it is crazy powerful and. Seems like a real ranger style
    Worst: horizon walker, it only really helps thematically in a small number of play styles.

    Rogue:
    Best - I prefer swashbuckler, it makes sneak attacking alone so much easier, and the role playing flare.
    Worst - mastermind, it just seems like an npc subclass

    Sorcerer
    Best: as much as I hate the subclass divine soul is amazing
    Worst: wild sorcerer, I don’t like random

    Warlock:
    Best: so much rp to be had but hexblade is just that pain better than all the rest, I like celestial better though
    Worst: undying, it is just so limited in scope

    Wizard
    Best: illusionist in the hands of a very creative player
    Worst: transmutation is just meh
    Last edited by Misterwhisper; 2019-03-28 at 11:57 PM.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post

    WORST

    Bard: College of Valor
    This college might be mechanically sound for a generalist support caster, but it's not good at doing what it should be doing: making you a valorous martial combatant. Your damage is pathetic, you have hardly any spells that assist with melee in any way, you become really MAD... and you have to juggle instruments, shields, and weapons! Now that I think about it, that last part is actually on-theme for a bard...
    Don't take any weapons and just be a perfect full caster with AC 19 without any multiclassing

    Like in treantmonk's video
    youtu.be/w8D40i2gtto

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Yeah, valor bard is a great support caster with strong ac and a brilliant bardic inspiration, but that's not really what it advertises itself as. You can have a lot of fun with a valor bard /if/ you see past the illusion of what it's pretending ti be to the reality of what it is... but in general most players who want to play a 'valor bard' don't actually want to play a valor bard. They want to play a swords bard.
    The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or ... mortality.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    As I see it bards have a 3-way tie for first, and a 2-way tie for worst.

    Glamour, valor, and lore are all just fantastic. Valor and lore has been covered. Glamour has an inspiration ability that is stronger then sculpt spells before we even add the temp hp. Any bard that can cast their awesome AOEs every round without worry of friendly fire is top tier on that alone. But they also have the strongest social ability in the game to top it off.

    For druids shepherd overshadows moon once they hit level 5. Dream druids struggle. Moon druids are actually less versitile then other druids. They need wildshapes for combat, which makes it harder to use them out of combat. The extra wildshapes don't add much out of combat either. Spellcasting and wildshape don't mix well. Low AC tanking = RIP concentration. Any druid can tank with conjure animals at level 5 and up.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-03-29 at 06:46 AM.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    Cleric: Grave Domain
    This is definitely the worst-written subclass in the otherwise very strong list of subclasses that clerics have access to. Between the awful domain spell list, the awkward abilities, and the dissociative failure of game design that is Sentinel at Death's Door, this is a clear loser to me.
    Hmm...I was AFB and thought for sure that your gripe was with the Circle of Mortality ability because it encourages yo-yo healing. What's wrong with cancelling a crit? Because it is too meta-knowledge-y? It takes about two sentences of fluff to undo that: As a cleric tasked with shepherding souls from life to death, you have an otherwordly ability to perceive changes in the life force of creatures. When you see an ally struck with an attack and about to take several steps down the lonely path, you can abjure them against it. [Insert Sentinel at Death's Door text here]

    Purely on a fun-ness level(which is what the OP used as a qualifier), this subclass seems like a blast to play, and would be loved by its teammates. Free and ranged bonus stabilization, one of like three efficient healers in the game, set your teammate up to wreck someone, cancel crits. Seems like a lot of fun to me. The domain spells are pretty poor, but that is weighted against the relative strength of the subclass abilities.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Grave is a contenter for best cleric subclass :)

    Cancelling a crit is better then the best healing spells in the game.

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    ProsecutorGodot's Avatar

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    It's a tough scale, it's hard to rate subclasses in terms of "fun" because fun is subjective to the player. My idea of what is a fun subclass has already been shot down by several of the posters here. That doesn't mean they're wrong, just that they have fun with DND in a different way than I do. I can only really rate it on account of what I personally have the most/least amount of fun with to any certain degree.

    Barbarian:
    -Best: Ancestral Guardian
    -Worst: Storm Herald
    Bard:
    -Best: Lore
    -Worst: Whispers
    Cleric:
    -Best: Grave
    -Worst: Nature
    Druid:
    - I just don't like Druid, can't even pick a favorite.
    Fighter:
    -Best: Samurai
    -Worst: Arcane Archer (We all know PDK is objectively the worst, but I like the idea behind it enough that I'd almost be willing to look past the awful execution)
    Monk:
    -Best: Open Hand
    -Worst: Long Death
    Paladin:
    -Best: Oath of Redemption (The truest example of my bias shining through)
    -Worst: Oath of the Crown
    Ranger:
    -Best: Gloom Stalker
    -Worst: Beast Master (Find Familiar does more for me than a Brown Bear could)
    Rogue:
    -Best: Inquisitive (My favorite character I've ever made was one of these)
    -Worst: Scout
    Sorcerer:
    -Best: Divine Soul
    -Worst: Wild Magic
    Warlock:
    -Best: Celestial (Hexblade is owed its nod for enabling many MAD builds to be SAD instead)
    -Worst: Undying
    Wizard:
    -Best: War Magic
    -Worst: Conjuration

    Remember that this is purely opinion based. If your favorite subclass is here, all that means is it might not be my favorite (or it is my favorite).

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Nobody in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Best
    Zealot Barbarian
    Lore Bard
    Tempest Cleric
    Moon Druid
    Battle Master Fighter
    Long Death Monk
    Ancients Paladin
    Gloom Stalker Ranger
    Swashbuckler Rogue
    Divine Soul Sorcerer
    Fiend/Tome Warlock
    Abjuration Wizard

    Survivability, adaptability, and versatility are what I based my choices on as that's what "best" means to me.


    It's harder to pick the "worst" for each class, but some of them ARE obvious
    Battleranger Barbarian
    Satire Bard
    War or Trickery Cleric
    Banneret Fighter
    4e Monk
    Redemption Paladin
    Monster Hunter or Horizon Walker Ranger
    Mastermind or Inquisitive Rogue

    "worst" means different things to me. Some of them, like Banneret, Battlerager, and 4e Monk are just bad in most ways(IMO), but some of the others, like Monster Hunter, Horizon Walker, Mastermind, and Inquisitive are probably not BAD per say, they just have nothing about them that even remotely interest me. I actually think the Redemption Paladin is really strong, but I would hate to have one in my party as it's playstyle seems counterintuitive to how D&D usually works lol. Just not familiar enough with Druids to pick. I think the Sorcerers are pretty even. I used to hate Wild Magic, but now that I understand it better, I like it a lot more.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Here's an unpopular opinion. Divine sorcerers are contenders for worst sorcerer subclass.

    Adding another spell list to a class with the least spell slots does not help them much, and I haven't seen many good metamagic to cleric spell combos. Empowered healing is pretty weak, since healing doesn't use many hit die. It's just a nightmare trying to pick so few spells from two spell lists.

    Compare this to draconic getting solid buffs to hp, AC, and damage. Or shadow sorcerers getting a juiced up darkness and a heighten spell summon.

    Of course storm sorcerers are also pretty bad single class, and wild sorcerers, while potentially good, are terribly written. All wild surges are made at DM descresion, that's awful.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    Here's an unpopular opinion. Divine sorcerers are contenders for worst sorcerer subclass.

    Adding another spell list to a class with the least spell slots does not help them much, and I haven't seen many good metamagic to cleric spell combos. Empowered healing is pretty weak, since healing doesn't use many hit die. It's just a nightmare trying to pick so few spells from two spell lists.

    Compare this to draconic getting solid buffs to hp, AC, and damage. Or shadow sorcerers getting a juiced up darkness and a heighten spell summon.

    Of course storm sorcerers are also pretty bad single class, and wild sorcerers, while potentially good, are terribly written. All wild surges are made at DM descresion, that's awful.
    Least spells known*

    And I agree mostly about the divine sorcerer, two spell lists + the same limited selection doesn't help. Best ones from cleric spell list (that I remember off the top of my head) are Bestow curse, spiritual weapon, spirit guardians...and most of those only go for empower metamagic.
    Last edited by Skyblaze; 2019-03-29 at 07:36 AM.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    Here's an unpopular opinion. Divine sorcerers are contenders for worst sorcerer subclass.

    Adding another spell list to a class with the least spell slots does not help them much, and I haven't seen many good metamagic to cleric spell combos. Empowered healing is pretty weak, since healing doesn't use many hit die. It's just a nightmare trying to pick so few spells from two spell lists.
    .
    Free fly.

    I beg to disagree, a single Spell can change the world around the Divine Soul Sorcerer. A Sorcerer with Flexible casting create level 5 converting low level spell slots and sorcery points.
    Upcasted 4~5th Animated Dead is just broken. It allows him to control a army of the undead.

    A single spell from cleric list casted by a Sorcerer dominates low/mid levels.

    Stealth and Subtle Glyph of Warding allows him to concentrate on multiple spells before an ambush.
    Last edited by Lube; 2019-03-29 at 07:39 AM.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lube View Post
    Free fly.

    I beg to disagree, a single Spell can change the world around the Divine Soul Sorcerer. A Sorcerer with Flexible cast create level 5 converting low level spell slots and sorcery points.
    Upcasted 4~5th Animated Dead is just broken. It allows him to control a army of the undead.

    A single spell from cleric list casted by a Sorcerer dominates low/mid levels.

    Stealth and Subtle Glyph of Warding allows him to concentrate on multiple spells.
    This sure sounds familiar, hmm.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    This sure sounds familiar, hmm.
    3~4 upcasted level 5 Animate Dead doesn't dominate ?

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    The best for each class are:

    Barbarian: Ancestral Guardian / Totem Warrior
    Bard: Lore/Valor/Glamour
    Cleric: Life/Tempest
    Druid: Moon/Shepard
    Fighter: Battlemaster
    Monk: Open Hand
    Paladin: Ancients/Devotion
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul/Shadow
    Warlock: Hexblade
    Wizard: Abjuration/Divination

    The worst are:

    Barbarian: Berserker
    Bard: Swords
    Cleric: War
    Druid: Spores
    Fighter: Purple Dragon Knight
    Monk: Four Elements
    Paladin: Crown
    Ranger: Beast Master
    Rogue: Mastermind
    Sorcerer: Storm
    Warlock: Great Old One / The Undying
    Wizard: Conjuration / Transmutation
    Last edited by Merudo; 2019-03-29 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    For me, "best" subclasses often come down to a melding of theme and mechanical implementation, while "worst" is usually more about poor implementation of great ideas. Even if another subclass might be less mechanically useful, one that got my hopes up with a great idea then botched the implementation so much that it's just bad or frustrating to play is always going to be worse in my mind, especially since the devs have been very reluctant to cover the same ground twice this edition, so a bad implementation can ruin a great idea basically for all of 5e.


    BEST

    Barbarian: Ancestral Guardian, though Zealot's also pretty great
    Bard: Glamour, though I love lore and valor as well (once you understand that valor is a dedicated support caster, not a gish).
    Cleric: I really like Forge
    Druid: Moon, though be sure to have your one or two favorite forms printed in advance, don't go hunting through monster books mid fight. I also really like Shepard
    Fighter: Battlemaster, so versatile, so reliably good. I also really like cavalier.
    Monk: Shadow. Open hand may be mechanically better, but shadow monk is just so fun and fluffy.
    Paladin: Oath of Conquest - probably the best integration of theme and mechanics of any subclass in the game, though admittedly edgelord dark knights aren't what everyone is looking for in a paladin. Pretty much all of the paladin subclasses are great, so there's still plenty of good options for more classical knight-in-shining-armor types.
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker - so cool! I love this guy!
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster. A small handful of wizard spells adds a ton of flavor and versatility to the rogue. Grabbing a familiar is especially nice.
    Sorcerer: Shadow Sorcerer. Super fun, super fluffy. Slightly let down by a shortage of on-theme spells on the sorcerer spell list, but that minor flaw should improve with time.
    Warlock: A bit tricky, because my favorite *mechanically* is overwhelmingly Hexblade - a cool, creepy caster with a dark magic theme that emphasizes cursing your foes? Actually makes blade-locks functional while still working just as well with tome or chain? Yeah, fantastic, everything the warlock class wants to be mechanically. BUT the thematic angle is extremely under-baked, missing out on that 'power borrowed or stolen from a particular patron with distinct goals and personality' that is supposed to drive the narrative identity of the class. If you completely rewrite the patron's fluff (mechanically it's a great implementation of grim reaper/shinigami type patrons, or in Ravnica for pacts with members of Orzhov's ghost council), or even if you just flesh out the lore for the hexblades themselves, then it easily becomes my favorite warlock subclass. Otherwise, purely as written, I'd have to say any of the other patrons, they've all got their selling points. Well, any of them except for undying.
    Wizard: Divination, it's just everything you want a wizard to be - deeply knowledgeable, always prepared, & brimming with arcane power.


    WORST

    Barbarian: Berserker. great, class defining concept, almost entirely unworkable execution.
    Bard: I don't dislike any bard subclass outright, though Whispers is pretty niche.
    Cleric: Why would anyone play a nature cleric, when the druid exists?
    Druid: EDIT: Spore. Great concept, tragic execution.
    Fighter: Purple Dragon Knight. Great concept, botched execution. So frustrating.
    Monk: Tie between Elemental and Kensei. Great concepts, botched executions. So frustrating.
    Paladin: Oath of the Crown - stands out as the only kind of lackluster paladin oath, though even this isn't bad, spirit guardians in particular is nice, iit just falls short of the rest.
    Ranger: Beast Master. Fabulous concept, botched execution.
    Rogue: Tie between Inquisitive and Mastermind, which both struggle with mechanical implementations that fall a bit short of their brilliant concepts. That said, like the whisper bard, they're still decent if a bit niche in my mind, no where near as frustrating to play as beast master rangers or elemental monks.
    Sorcerer: Wild Magic *IF* the DM doesn't make frequent use of wild magic surge. Yeah, it can slow down combat a bit, but it's a lot of goofy fun and it's kind of what the subclass is all about, so if it just doesn't happen then the subclass isn't worth playing. But if wild magic surge does come up frequently, then wild sorcerer's fine. Otherwise, there aren't any sorcerer bloodlines I dislike.
    Warlock: Undying. All the problems of Hexblade's wishy-washy, half-baked patron fluff, only attached to by far the worst warlock subclass mechanics instead of easily the best.
    Wizard: Eh, none are really bad, but if I had to pick one? Necromancy can be a bit of a let down outside of the level range where animate dead is relevant (5 to 10ish) due to the somewhat lacking selection of higher and lower level necromancy spells, and can be a bit awkward even in that level range due to the hassles of minion management. Still not outright bad, though, and could easily improve with future releases if we get more and better necromancy spells.
    Last edited by Malisteen; 2019-03-29 at 09:55 AM.
    The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or ... mortality.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    What's your personal list of best-to-worst subclasses?

    Rather, to make things a bit simpler, if there was a different player playing each subclass from level 1 to 20, who would have the most/least amount of fun?
    Quote Originally Posted by Trustypeaches View Post
    There are a lot of subclasses.

    The “best”, IMO, for each class are:

    Bard: College of Lore
    Cleric: Tempest Domain
    Wizard: School of Divination
    Druid: Circle of the Moon
    Warlock: Hexblade
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker / Hunter
    Paladin: Oath of Devotion
    Fighter: Battlemaster
    Rogue: Swashbuckler
    Barbarian: Path of the Totem Warrior
    Monk: Way of the Open Hand
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul

    The worst are:

    Bard: College of Whispers
    Cleric: Trickery Domain
    Wizard: School of Transmutation
    Druid: Circle of Dreams
    Warlock: Great Old One
    Ranger: Beast Master
    Paladin: Oath of Redemption
    Fighter: Champion
    Rogue: Thief
    Barbarian: Path of the Berserker
    Monk: Way of the Four Elements
    Sorcerer: Storm Magic

    That said, it’s really hard to make a bad character in 5e and these are just my opinions.
    I like this format. :)


    The “best”, IMO, for each class are:

    Bard: College of Lore (Glamour very close)
    Cleric: Tempest|Nature Domain (Life and Trickery just a tad behind)
    Wizard: School of Bladesong (Abjurer, Evoker, Diviner damn close, honorable mention to Transmuter for potential perma-Polymorph and resurrection ability).
    Druid: Circle of the Shepherd <20, Moon = 20 (just for synergy capstone+bonus action and extra forms).
    Warlock: Tome pact, Hexblade|GOO
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker (Beast master close behind)
    Paladin: Oath of Ancients|Conquest (Crown for CD and Spirit Guardians & Devotion for CD and aura not far behind)
    Fighter: Eldricht Knight|Battlemaster
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster
    Barbarian: Path of the Totem Warrior
    Monk: Way of the Four Elements
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul

    The worst are:

    Bard: College of Valor (proficiencies can be gotten otherwise, alternative BI is lesser than for other archetypes imo, "spell&weapon" too situational unless you build around)
    Cleric: War Domain (most spells you can acquire otherwise, WIS-based bonus action is just not enough, the only interesting thing here is the +10 if you build around with a multiclass or at least weapon cantrip).
    Wizard: School of Necromancy: mechanically can be extremely powerful, but it's just all about undead army: limitative, kinda bland, and lots of complications RP-wise.
    Druid: Circle of Dreams (healing bested by Shepherd, fluff-wise not interested, I know I should give this a chance but priorities...)
    Warlock: Celestial: benefits are nice but if I really want some heal I prefer going another way, you can reproduce most abilities with spells or feats.
    Ranger: Hunter, maybe? Mechanics are good enough but it lacks something really distinctive unless you really want to play the "archer" trope 100%.
    Paladin: Oath of Vengeance: CD is not that good (very close range to activate, just gives advantage), reaction is too situational to my taste, lvl 20 is nice but too far. ^^
    Fighter: Champion: mechanically good, but too simple to my taste.
    Rogue: Mastermind: can be great if DM really exploits all three pillars, or for a very "manipulative" character, but imo even more niche than Assassin.
    Barbarian: Path of the Berserker: mostly usual critics: not that it's bad really, I just think all other options are better for me.
    Monk: Way of the Open Hand? Like Ranger, there is no real bad archetype, but only the level 3 (very good) and 17 (awesome) are really interesting to me. And Quivering Palm is sadly very hard to reach so...
    Sorcerer: Storm Magic: same, mechanics are strong but kinda force you to think "around them" which I don't like very much. Plus, while it's usually a good thing in my eyes, this time it's just a tad "too much", like you're screaming "I'm a LIGHTNING MAN" every minute.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Guess I'll actually do mine then. Note that I play fairly traditional DnD

    Barbarian: Zealot
    Bard: Valor (what a bard should be)
    Cleric: Life
    Druid: Shepard
    Fighter: Samurai
    Monk: Open Hand
    Paladin: Devotion
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul
    Warlock: Hexblade
    Wizard: Divination

    The worst are:

    Barbarian: Storm (easily)
    Bard: Glamour
    Cleric: Trickery
    Druid: Moon (yeah I said it, most overrated class in 5e since day 1)
    Fighter: Purple Dragon Knight
    Monk: Four Elements
    Paladin: Redemption
    Ranger: Beast Master (very easy to fix, and I personally like it, but RAW is the worst)
    Rogue: Assassin
    Sorcerer: Storm (they must have used up all their good storm ideas for Tempest Cleric)
    Warlock: The Undying
    Wizard: Necromancy

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citan View Post
    The “best”, IMO, for each class are:

    Warlock: Tome pact, Hexblade|GOO
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker (Beast master close behind)

    [...]

    The worst are:

    Bard: College of Valor (proficiencies can be gotten otherwise, alternative BI is lesser than for other archetypes imo, "spell&weapon" too situational unless you build around)
    Monk: Way of the Open Hand? Like Ranger, there is no real bad archetype, but only the level 3 (very good) and 17 (awesome) are really interesting to me. And Quivering Palm is sadly very hard to reach so...
    I don't understand these choices:

    GOO: Why is it the best? All of its abilities are underwhelming. I don't see how it measures up to the Hexblade, or even Archfey/Fiend

    Beast Master: It's the first time I ever see someone claiming it's close to being the best Ranger subclass.

    Valor: The proficiencies can be gotten otherwise, but at the cost of an ASI or multiclass (both are very step prices for the Bard). The extra use of BI to increase AC is actually quite powerful. College of Swords is almost strictly worse because it doesn't give Shield proficiency & it doesn't improve BI any.

    Monk: I'm amazed you think Way of the Four Elements is better than Open Hand...
    Last edited by Merudo; 2019-03-29 at 08:56 AM.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    BEST:

    Barbarian: Bear Totem
    Bard: not a fan of Bards
    Cleric: Grave, Life, Light, Order, Tempest and War. I really like Clerics this edition
    Druid: Moon
    Fighter: Arcane Archer, Battle Master, Cavalier and Samurai. hard to decide between one of them, all are good
    Monk: Drunken Master
    Paladin: Conquest. it changes the way you play a Paladin
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster, Inquisitive and Swashbuckler
    Sorcerer: none, I don't like playing Sorcerers
    Warlock: Celestial, Fiend (fireball!) and Hexblade
    Wizard: War Magic


    WORST:

    Barbarian: Berserker
    Bard: not a fan of Bards
    Cleric: Nature and Trickery
    Druid: Shepherd. anything that involves summoning creatures that will slow down combat is bad in my book
    Fighter: Purple Dragon Knight
    Monk: Kensei
    Paladin: Redemption the subclass art on XGE offends me
    Ranger: Beast Master
    Rogue: Assassin
    Sorcerer: Wild Mage
    Warlock: The Undying
    Wizard: Conjuration and Necromancy. see Shepherd

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Here's my take:

    The best:

    Bard: College of Lore - sheer versatility makes this OP
    Cleric: Grave Domain - the party will simply not die
    Wizard: School of Divination - Portents are important!
    Druid: I don't play them so no entry here.
    Warlock: Celestial - They can do just about everything anyone else can do, more times per day (given short rests), AND they aren't too MAD
    Ranger: Gloom Stalker - Early access Nova ability plus darkvision shenanigans make this wonderful
    Paladin: Oath of Vengeance - The oath spells make this fantastic!
    Fighter: Battlemaster - This really gives the fighter the "feel" of a fighter.
    Rogue: Arcane Trickster - you get to do all the things you want to, and then some.
    Barbarian: Path of the Zealot - you refuse to die, and deal MASSIVE damage. Nice, refreshing take on the class
    Monk: Way of the Shadow - Unlimited teleportation makes this unrivaled by other options, despite it losing in the raw damage department
    Sorcerer: Divine Soul - Twinned Cure Wounds? Yes, please!

    The worst:

    Bard: College of Valor - Grand idea, poor execution
    Cleric: Life Domain - Unpopular opinion, The abilities granted by the life domain are mostly in excess and over the top. No real need for this much healing.
    Wizard: School of Necromancy - Minionmancy is subpar in 5e, plus its always clunky and not very useful overall.
    Druid: Again, no opinion since I don't play them
    Warlock: VERY UNPOPULAR OPINION - HEXBLADE - overdone, overused, and just plain boring. Sure you can use CHA for everything, but it really doesn't excel in any other areas. Paladins can smite better, and have other abilities that suit them. They also have a rather limited list of spells and abilities. The only thing this really offers to make it unique are the invocations, but most of those are going to be spent on pact weapon enhancements
    Ranger: Beast Master - Whoever designed this needs to be sent back to school.
    Paladin: Oath of Ancients - Just play a druid for crying out loud
    Fighter: Champion - Become Mr. Bland and Boring, with no real abilities to speak of.
    Rogue: Assassin - The 3rd level ability is great, but it really doesn't offer anything else that's not done better somewhere else
    Barbarian: Path of the Storm Herald - Basically, this is the ribbon barbarian. There is no real draw to this other than flavor and minor abilities. Why use your action on the subpar abilities it grants when you could just as easily chop those enemies in half?
    Monk: Way of the Four Elements - Great flavor, but terrible writing. C'mon WotC, you can do better than this
    Sorcerer: I was tempted to say Wild Mage, but at least it has some flavor and fun to it. Truthfully, draconic is my least well liked. Its boring and has no real unique identity to it until later levels.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    I'm changing my 'worst druid subclass' nomination to Spore, which I momentarily forgot existed earlier. Land's only real failing is that it's a bit bland and lacking in pizzazz. Spore, in its final form, is another one of those tragic "fantastic concept, botched execution" deals that frustrate me to no end.
    The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or ... mortality.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Merudo View Post
    I don't understand these choices:

    GOO: Why is it the best? All of its abilities are underwhelming. I don't see how it measures up to the Hexblade, or even Archfey/Fiend

    Beast Master: It's the first time I ever see someone claiming it's close to being the best Ranger subclass.

    Valor: The proficiencies can be gotten otherwise, but at the cost of an ASI or multiclass (both are very step prices for the Bard). The extra use of BI to increase AC is actually quite powerful. College of Swords is almost strictly worse because it doesn't give Shield proficiency & it doesn't improve BI any.

    Monk: I'm amazed you think Way of the Four Elements is better than Open Hand...
    GOO
    To be honest my only certitude about Warlock Patrons is "which is the worst", which is actually Undying for me (and not Celestial... But I had just forgotten about Undying).

    I like very much Fiend's spells and abilities and I really hesitated to put it as best too. If were talking about "try to rate the archetypes that bring the best benefits mechanically without any provided context" then it's certainly the best: all its spells are usable in whatever situation (mostly), and its benefit while completely geared toward hostile encounters are certainly great too.
    In fact, I'll probably go and edit to add it as a tie. ^^

    I love Archfey's spells and their abilities are overall nice.

    But I really prefer GOO because...
    - Telepathy is plain awesome in many, many situations.
    - Their additional spells are among the best one could hope for as far as "short-rest usable spells" go.
    - Their level 10 ability is situational for most campaigns, but extremely precious when you actually face caster-based nemesis, especially Wizards or Warlocks.
    - Their level 14 is also extremely underrated in how it allows you to get long-range information instantly. Be it for trading, negociating, spying on enemy moves to plan a strategy, or just send a naive innocent as a sacrificial pawn, it has all kind of uses.

    Beast Master
    It's one of the strongest, if not, mechanically, in the long run, without even special build except for spell choice.
    People just dislike (justifiably) the way they translated the concept into mechanics with a "robotic" pet. I made peace with it myself. So I can enjoy it without trouble. :)
    It's also the one that, for me, makes the most distinguishable Ranger compared to other martials. Case could be made maybe for Gloomstalker, but Hunter and Monster Slayer are not very different from "Fighter with spells".

    Gloomstalker brings solid benefits to the party (especially Rope Trick), so in doubt about party composition and I want to play a Ranger with focus on teamwork I may favor it. If I want to play the archer trope, I may pick Hunter.
    But my default will always be Beastmaster, even if it does have a few annoying quirks. :)

    Valor
    Proficiencies: well, I disagree on your assessments, strongly. Bard does not need many feats, he's a caster: Resilient Constitution , max CHA and possibly Inspiring Leader or Actor to really maximize fluff&mechanic synergy is all he needs. So picking a Moderately Armored feat is largely possible.
    Furthermore, any single dip into Warlock or Sorcerer brings so much it's not at all a "very steep price", but rather an investment with added interests: you may dislike how much it amounts to while you reached level 15+, but it allowed you to enjoy good offensive cantrips, defense and additional spells all along the way.

    Also, as far as personal AC goes, Swords is strictly *better*. The only benefit of Valor's alternative BI is that you can buff someone else's AC, but there are other ways to help allies, plus as you progress you face enough creatures imposing saves imx to spend at least half BI on regular uses already.

    Monk
    It depends on what level you are talking about. Give me a 18+ Monk for a one-shot, for a solo player, I'll certainly pick Open Hand and wreak havoc on the world with "Invisible Quivering Palm" shenanigans.
    Give me a Monk for a 3-5 campaign, I would probably pick Shadow because at those levels it is the archetype with the best cost/duration ratio for abilities, or Kensei to play a tanky Monk.
    Ask me whichever Monk I'd pick by default for a campaign that goes at least up to level 14. Definitely Four Elements.

    I love versatility and creativity: Four Elements is by far the best in that regard, followed not too far by Shadow then at a decent distance by Kensei (best ranged attack) and Long Death (Fear for small crowds). But even those last two, as well as the others, don't really change the way you play Monk. Nor the kind of situation you can manage reliably alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malisteen View Post
    I'm changing my 'worst druid subclass' nomination to Spore, which I momentarily forgot existed earlier. Land's only real failing is that it's a bit bland and lacking in pizzazz. Spore, in its final form, is another one of those tragic "fantastic concept, botched execution" deals that frustrate me to no end.
    My... I completely forgot about it too. I guess it's already a good sign of how to qualify it. XD
    Last edited by Citan; 2019-03-29 at 10:12 AM.

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    WORST

    Bard: College of Valor
    This college might be mechanically sound for a generalist support caster, but it's not good at doing what it should be doing: making you a valorous martial combatant. Your damage is pathetic, you have hardly any spells that assist with melee in any way, you become really MAD... and you have to juggle instruments, shields, and weapons! Now that I think about it, that last part is actually on-theme for a bard...
    It's not particularly MAD unless you're trying to maximize both weapon and magic at the same time, when most Valor bards will likely just leave their attacking Stat (DEX) at 16. Keep in mind that Valor doesn't necessarily mandate you play in melee. Ranged Valor Bards are fairly common.

    Also even with just a 14 or 16 in DEX, Weapon Attacks are 100% a large boost for Bard's at-will damage output for Tiers I and II, which is one of the Bard's biggest flaws. Even if you ignore using weapons altogether Medium Armor + Shields is a god damned enormous boost to survivability, and Combat Inspiration is criminally underrated. It makes your inspiration far more versatile in the hands of your allies, since they can use it to raise their Attack or Damage Roll as part of an attack or their AC in reaction to an attack.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    Cleric: Grave Domain
    This is definitely the worst-written subclass in the otherwise very strong list of subclasses that clerics have access to. Between the awful domain spell list, the awkward abilities, and the dissociative failure of game design that is Sentinel at Death's Door, this is a clear loser to me.
    I don't necessarily disagree with this assessment (although I'd argue Trickery Domain fails harder at capturing it's fantasy), could you explain what you mean by "dissociative failure of game design" that is Sentinel at Death's Door? The damage prevention it affords can be gamechanging.

    Also, I don't know what's awkward about their abilities unless you play in a very low-lethality campaign where you never get to use features such as Circle of Mortality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    Druid: Circle of the Land
    People always compare Moon to Land to show why Moon is so good. It's the other way around: Moon is there to make Land look bad. Why? You've nothing exceptional to do with your bonus action and your subclass features after 2nd level are uninspired, situational, or just plain awful. The other subclasses give you cool features that you'll use all the time, making Land feel totally left-out.
    Land has the most lackluster features but it's plum the BEST pure spellcaster druid. Natural Recovery is just amazing and the expanded spell lists that don't require preparation massively improves the Druid's versatility with how many spells they have available and access to new, amazing spells such as Haste, Lightning Bolt, Invisibility / Greater Invisibility, Mirror Image, Misty Step, etc.

    Their class features are lackluster, but not useless. Their level 6 feature actually has great synergy with two of the druid's absolute best spells, Plant Growth and Spike Growth. As for bonus actions, Druid's don't necessarily need MORE to do with their bonus action with great spells that make use of it such as Healing Word, Flaming Sphere, Dust Devil, Gust of Wind, Heat Metal, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    Sorcerer: Draconic Bloodline
    Reasonably effective, but boring. None of your features until 14th level are at all dynamic or interesting, no matter how mechanically useful they are. And I'd argue they're not even that mechanically useful. Have you seen the crazy **** the other sorcerers can do by 6th level?! People like this subclass purely because it has the word "Dragon" in it. Here's a hint: you can be a dragon-blooded sorcerer of any of the other, more interesting subclasses.
    Draconic Sorcerers get Free Mage Armor and their sixth level feature is a fantastic boost to damage output. A +4-5 to damage rolls is often a 20% damage boost for spells, and Fire Sorcerers (or other damage types if your DM is flexible) have the best at-will damage of any sorcerer with boosted Fire Bolt, Fireball and Wall of Fire. Lighting Draconic are also solid with Shocking Grasp, Lighting Bolt, Stormy Sphere, etc.

    I think the claim people only like this subclass because it has the word "Dragon" in it disingenuous. It is mechanically solid and flavorful, and you don't need to spend Sorcery Points to make use of their features.

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    I also forgot about spore. I had such high hopes for it. At least we got order domain out of the deal. Why are some many people not talking about this guy!
    Imo it in the running for best domain. Divine strike is weak and so is the lv 17 feature but the rest is so good.
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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: List of best-worst subclasses?

    Quote Originally Posted by carrdrivesyou View Post
    Here's my take:

    The worst:

    Bard: College of Valor - Grand idea, poor execution
    Cleric: Life Domain - Unpopular opinion, The abilities granted by the life domain are mostly in excess and over the top. No real need for this much healing.
    Wizard: School of Necromancy - Minionmancy is subpar in 5e, plus its always clunky and not very useful overall.
    Druid: Again, no opinion since I don't play them
    Warlock: VERY UNPOPULAR OPINION - HEXBLADE - overdone, overused, and just plain boring. Sure you can use CHA for everything, but it really doesn't excel in any other areas. Paladins can smite better, and have other abilities that suit them. They also have a rather limited list of spells and abilities. The only thing this really offers to make it unique are the invocations, but most of those are going to be spent on pact weapon enhancements
    Ranger: Beast Master - Whoever designed this needs to be sent back to school.
    Paladin: Oath of Ancients - Just play a druid for crying out loud
    Fighter: Champion - Become Mr. Bland and Boring, with no real abilities to speak of.
    Rogue: Assassin - The 3rd level ability is great, but it really doesn't offer anything else that's not done better somewhere else
    Barbarian: Path of the Storm Herald - Basically, this is the ribbon barbarian. There is no real draw to this other than flavor and minor abilities. Why use your action on the subpar abilities it grants when you could just as easily chop those enemies in half?
    Monk: Way of the Four Elements - Great flavor, but terrible writing. C'mon WotC, you can do better than this
    Sorcerer: I was tempted to say Wild Mage, but at least it has some flavor and fun to it. Truthfully, draconic is my least well liked. Its boring and has no real unique identity to it until later levels.
    Life Domain Cleric: If you're trying to be a pure healer, Life Domain is pretty much the only way to do it while being somewhat as efficient as just killing the enemies outright. The extra healing output is only really overkill at early levels.

    Hexblade Warlock: While they can't smite as often as Paladins, their smite is stronger and automatically prones with no save. Also there's nothing forcing Hexblades to be melee combatants or take Pact of the Blade. They function as well as any other Patron as a standard Eldritch Blast turret, with the benefit of dramatically better AC with medium armor / shields and Hexblade's curse, an insanely strong feature that makes them the strongest Patron for single-target damage.

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