The Best D&D Classes, Ranked Weakest To Strongest

Prepare to up your game.
He looks like a good DM

There is nothing quite like getting together with your friends every week for some tabletop role-playing. Dice clattering on the table, pizza being passed around, and great stories about what your fantasy characters can get up to. But before all the action can begin you have to go through the hard choices of character generation. In Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition there are twelve classes to choose from, which can seem like a lot especially if you are new to the game. To help out, here is a guide through the murky waters of class selection to give you this list of classes, Ranked Weakest to Strongest! 

12. Ranger

Ranger

If you had dreams of playing as Aragon from Lord of the Rings this is the class. It involves skulking through the woods, hunting monsters and using light amounts of magic. Plus, they are known for either their two weapon fighting, their bow hunting skills or their command of nature.

Strengths:

  • Gets to pick weapon fighting styles that Fighters do.
  • Has spellcasting options.
  • Is very good at killing whatever favored enemy type you pick.

Weaknesses:

  • Beast Master is out done by Druid and the spell Summon Nature’s Ally.
  • Not a full spellcasting class, meaning they don't get higher level spells.
  • Favored enemy and the other buffs they can pick are situational, and when not fighting that enemy type they are generally not as good as fighters.

Beast Master ranger is not a great option because making your companion attack consumes your action, meaning your character can’t act that turn. While their other routes offer the ability to specialize in killing specific types of enemies, most campaigns have a variety of enemies which makes your abilities useless most of the time.

You could be like this Ranger from the North.

Meet Drizzt the most famous Ranger of all.

11. Druid

Druid

Druids draw their power from different aspects of nature that imbues them with spellcasting. They can also shapeshift into animals to join the melee. They are some of the most powerful spellcasters in the game, even on par with Wizards and Clerics. And they possess a hidden language that allows for them to convene in secret glades and find hidden paths through nature.

Strengths:

  • Full casting class, going all the way to level 9 spells.
  • Wild Shape lets you be more versatile and join the melee.

Weaknesses:

  • You can’t cast while in Wild Shape until level 18.
  • Wild Shape doesn’t scale very well in higher levels of play, where your animal forms will struggle to keep up with the things you are fighting.
  • Playing as a dedicated caster is fine, but there are better versions of that in the game.

Druids are just kind of boring to play, especially in the early levels. Your Wild Shape doesn’t keep up with other fighters and your ability to cast is fine but will probably be upstaged by a well-built Wizard.

Malfurion Stormrage, from Hearthstone.

They don’t have to come with leaves in their hair.

10. Monk

Monk

Masters of the martial arts and unarmed combat. Choose from the Monastic Traditions sub-types, which allow them to move through shadows, become the Avatar from The Last Airbender or channel Bruce Lee. All in all, it is a cool sounding class with a lot of diverse options.

Strengths:

  • Unarmed fighter means you don’t have to keep up with buying equipment.
  • Fun abilities such as having your own resource pool in Ki Powers that let you be more versatile in combat and cast spells.
  • Ki Points regenerate during a short rest, meaning you will get them back faster than spell slots.

Weaknesses:

  • Managing your Ki Points can be harder than managing Spell Slots. Since they can be used for so many things they can disappear fast.
  • Damage scaling with your fists is a little slow when compared to other martial classes. Meaning the Fighter will be doing more damage for most of the game.
  • Has a lot of abilities which can be tricky for newer players to manage.

Monks have a lot of neat abilities and powers but can easily fall by the wayside when doing longer dungeons or encounters. They are best when used in short bursts of combat because they lack the ability to keep up with longer forms of play.

Four Elements Monk.

Or you could just be Bruce Lee.

9. Bard

Bard

The charismatic bard allures a lot of people both in and out of the game. Many interpretations exist of these tricksters, looking to sing and dance their way into high tales of adventure. When played right a Bard can lift a the parties spirits, often generating some of the most memorable moments of the game.

Strengths:

  • Jack of all trades. Able to fight, heal, cast and sneak if needed.
  • Good support unit with a lot of buffs and abilities to aid his allies in combat.
  • Fun to play, charisma is a must for the class leading to many fun characters to role-play.

Weaknesses:

  • Master of none. While being good at everything, rarely is great at anything.
  • Generally relegated to support unit, meaning that you should leave the heroic fighting to professionals.
  • Role-playing with confidence is key and cannot be as fun if you lack the confidence to assert your personality.

They make great support units but beyond that, they can fill any role lacking in a team, from fighter, to healer, or caster. Except they rarely do as good a job as any of the classes dedicated to those things and that can lead to the Bard being upstaged during fights often.

A bard will always be up for a night on the town.

You can channel one of the Witcher's most memorable characters.

8. Paladin

Paladin

The stalwart paladin is a noble knight that uses his faith to shield others from danger. They are the best tanks in this game. They are one of the few classes that get access to heavy armor from level 1 allowing them to have high AC from the beginning. Also gone is the aliment requirement of the old days, allowing more moral complex paladin characters.

Strengths:

  • Great tank that lets them soak damage for the weaker party members.
  • Healing abilities that work for both themselves and for others, allowing them to support mid-combat.
  • Grants abilities to smite evil and destroy the undead which can be helpful in most campaign settings.

Weaknesses:

  • Spellcasting is lacking. They don’t have many spell slots which limit their effectiveness as a caster greatly.
  • Unless built for aggression, most paladins won’t be the strongest damage dealers.
  • Still tricky to role play as most Oaths require some kind of dedication which can make the character more restrictive in a less morally simple game.

Paladins are very good at their job but lack the flexible in character creation to do much else. As a tank, they are second to none, but if you want to make a more aggressive knight, you would be better off looking elsewhere.

Uther knows how to bring some light.

Or you could just channel the most famous Paladin of all.

7. Barbarian

Barbarian

Barbarians are good at one thing, smashing. They are generally the strongest melee fighters in the game. Their rage ability lets them deal out extra damage and with the right build they can become a beast that destroys all that they comes into contact with.

Strengths:

  • Strongest there is. Rages let you add proficiency bonus to damage which means you can hit harder than any over melee fighter.
  • Highest hit die in the game, meaning your hit points will most likely be the highest in the party.

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks ranged abilities.
  • Primal Paths lack variety, they offer some nice bonuses, but they don’t change your character very much.

Barbarians are the best class for melee damage output but little else. They often encourage players to maximize ability scores to support Strength and Constitution leaving room for little else in terms of skills and other defenses.

Conan knows a thing or two about dealing damage.

Let's not forget the female counterpart, Red Sonja.

6. Rogue

Rogue

The dashing rogue who sneaks into buildings steals everything and leaves without a trace is an attractive option for many people. There is a lot of fun to be had by playing to the wrong side of the law, even if you want your character to use those skills for the right reason. Role playing potential and exciting abilities await with this class.

Strengths:

  • Sneak attack dice, when the rogue has advantage on an attack they gain extra dice to their damage which makes them effective fighting units.
  • Cunning abilities that allow them to filter in and out of damage in combat.
  • Sub-types that allow them to customize their abilities to fit common archetypes for characters they can role play.

Weaknesses:

  • They tend to have a lower health pool which makes them easy targets in the melee.
  • Requires teamwork to be used effectively, which may go against the philosophy of the character.
  • Most effective outside of combat.

Rogues can be a lot of fun to play and can open a lot of doors for the party. But common character traits while playing them has led to many problems within the game between other players. You may need to watch your back with a rogue in the mix.

Become a deadly assassin.

Or check out Loki, the Arcane Trickster.

5. Sorcerer

Sorcerer

Power lives in the Sorcerer’s bloodline. They are descended from a powerful line that has magic in their veins letting them conjure spells based on their own force of will. This sometimes creates chaotic and crazy effects that go wild. But as a full caster class, they are not to trifled with.

Strengths:

  • Full casting class, letting them go all the way to level 9 spells.
  • Sorcery Points, an additional resource pool on top of spell slots that lets them augment spells and regain slots.
  • Metamagic abilities that you change and shape spells how you want, making them a versatile caster.

Weakness:

  • Not strong melee fighters.
  • Can be unpredictable, especially if they choose the chaotic origin.

Sorcerers are recommended for players who are interested in casting spells like Wizards but want a simpler version of their ability set. Sorcerer’s walk the line between destructive and controlling the field to out of controlwhich can be a problem to the party if they aren’t careful.

Dragonborn make great Sorcerers.

Sorcerer Supreme, can you live up to it?

4. Fighter

Fighter

Normally this class would rank lower in other editions but in Fifth Edition they have a layer of added complexity to them. Not only is there a basic fighter archetype but now they have magical fighter called an Eldritch Knight and a Battle Master which is tactician that can command her allies in battle.

Strengths:

  • Diverse sub-classes, that make you feel like a different character within the same class.
  • Simple and direct play style that is easy to maximize for higher level play.
  • Well-rounded with the ability to shape the character to whatever role the party needs

Weaknesses:

  • Lower on the magic spectrum.
  • Most builds relay on items which can get costly.

The fighter is a strong pick for any team. It doesn’t take much know-how to master the nuances of their abilities meaning they can be a powerful ally in no time at all.

You can use all the weapons.

Gimli would be a good person to model.

3. Warlock

Warlock

Instead of praying or finding your magic, Warlocks strike deals with powerful entities like demons, fey, and Lovecraftian horrors for unlimited use of certain spells. The real key to this class though is what you can do with it. There is a powerful melee fighter build, a skilled utilitarian caster and devastating ranged caster all within this class that is dependent on what you want to do with it.

Strengths:

  • Can be shaped and formed into nearly any type of unit.
  • Unlimited uses of certain powers, with its most useful spell being a cantrip.

Weaknesses:

  • Fewer spell slots than most other caster classes.
  • Not the biggest hit die and equipment proficiency which can hinder the melee build.

Warlock is such a strong class that can do whatever you want that makes it an easy pick if you are finding it difficult to pick a class. Plus, you will be an effective caster without having to worry too much about spell slots or most other resources.

A classic way to play a Tiefling.

Gul'Dan can do anything.

2. Cleric

Cleric

Devout in their beliefs clerics strive to obey the words of their God and are granted powerful magics for their faith. This prominently comes in the form of healing. But they also possess the ability to don armor, pick up a mace, and wade into combat fulfilling their gods will personally.

Strengths:

  • Best healers in the game.
  • Full caster class, that goes all the way to ninth level spells.
  • Good proficiencies to begin with making them formidable in early levels.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited role-playing options for character traits.
  • Can easily be pulled in too many directions, making it hard to function during play.

The cleric is a strong choice, especially if you want to heal. But that is not all clerics can do, with many options of Domains that either push you towards a magical fighter or a powerful faith-based wizard.

Be a powerful caster.

Or be a White Mage.

1. Wizard

Wizard

Wizards are masters of the arcane. They have the most robust spell list, the greatest number of sub-types to choose from and the highest versatility among all the classes. As a Wizard, you can support, help, and deal massive damage all as one character and excel at all three.

Strengths:

  • High damage output.
  • The largest amount of variety in the game.
  • Ability to cover multiple roles in the game and excel at all of them.

Weaknesses:

  • Lowest hit points pool in the game.
  • Complicated system for casting, which is not very new player friendly.

Wizards reign as kings of the class list just based on what they can do. While there are many fine casters on this list, Wizard trumps all of them by being able to do what each of them can but in many cases better. Also, the option to specialize in a school of magic further defining your character but not pigeon holding it down to one type of play makes the class truly special.

Gandalf, one of the world’s first Wizards.

Not all of them are old.

What is your favorite class to play in Dungeons and Dragons and what spot do you believe they should have on this list? Sound off in the comments below! You may also be interested in:

After tiring form the life of adventure in Chicago, Andrew seeks to return home to Ohio where he intends to tell all the tales in his head. Unless more video games and comic books distract him.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Top 3 Favorite Games:Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
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