D&D Best Classes, Ranked Best to Worst

D&D Best Classes
Feale Paladin ready to smite her enemies

What Are The Most Powerful Classes in D&D?

First things first, all of the player classes in Dungeons and Dragons are perfectly playable and have their own strengths and weaknesses. There is no “bad choice” you can make.

That being said, some classes shine brighter than others and I will be shining a spotlight on those classes. These are my rankings for the best Dungeons and Dragons classes.

This is not a list for PVP, because that is a rare occurrence for most games. Instead I will list and detail which class would best help the average D&D party succeed against the threat they face.

By looking at S-Tier you should see how powerful magic is in this game. Those that use magic to its full potential are truly the kings of this game.

S-Tier: The best of the best. These are the classes that can survive and slay virtually everything. They will make the biggest difference in a fight, and help those around you meet their full potential.

  • Cleric: 98/100
  • Wizard: 95/100
  • Bard: 90/100

A-Tier: Solid choices overall. These choices will have you dealing good damage, maintain good sustainability, or perhaps both. But they are outshined by those at S-Tier. 

  • Paladin: 89/100
  • Druid: 85/100
  • Sorcerer: 85/100
  • Barbarian: 82/100

B-Tier: Not bad overall, but not your best picks. Still, these classes fill specific roles and fill them well. You won’t regret choosing one of these classes.

  • Fighter: 79/100
  • Rogue: 77/100

C-Tier: Those at this rank are good at one or two things, and that is probably it. They might be really good at that one or two things, but that is not enough to elevate them beyond this tier. Still not bad picks, as I have said no class is truly bad. But you can pick something stronger than these classes.

  • Warlock: 70/100
  • Monk: 65/100

D-Tier: Not a good pick. Maybe not a “bad” pick, but not a good pick either. You can still have fun with this class, and maybe they’ll make a significant impact on the game, but there are better options.

  • Ranger: 55/100

1. The Cleric (S-Tier)

Bugbear Clerics. Because someone has to keep the Hobgoblins healed up.

Clerics can wear heavy armor and shields, use virtually all weapons, learn an insane amount of spells, and can be tailored to fit just about any role you want. They receive their power from their god and use that power to assert their will on the battlefield. They can buff your allies, heal them, or kill your enemies. They are the strongest class in Dungeons and Dragons.

Cleric power rating 98/100

Cleric Strengths:

  • High Armor Class and healing spells ensure that as a Cleric, you will almost never die. 
  • Clerics have access to some of the best support skills and spells in the game, such as Bless, and Guided Strike. You will always be able to help your teammates.
  • Clerics can learn some of the most powerful spells like Fireball, and Mass Heal. You will have so many uses as a Cleric.
  • The best healers in the game. If you want to heal, this is your class.

Cleric Weaknesses:

  • Not a master of anything specific to fighting. If you, a Cleric, fights a melee-based threat and do not use your spells you will lose. If you try to fight a powerful spellcaster with only magic you will probably lose. 

2. The Wizard (S-Tier)

Unlease your inner pyromancer.

The Wizard is and has always been the glass cannon of Dungeons and Dragons. But my god are they a powerful cannon! The Wizard has access to the largest spell list, and among those spells are the most powerful in Dungeons and Dragons. They can become masters of any school of magic, and cast spells from that school of magic to their fullest potential. Magic is king in Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards are the kings of magic. 

Wizard power level - 95/100

Wizard strengths:

  • They have access to the best spells in the game, such as Wish, Fireball, and even Meteor Swarm if they truly want to level everything around them. Sorcerers might out damage them, but Wizards can do much more than Sorcerers.
  • Wizards have access to the widest amount of spells, so if you’re fighting something that resists fire for example, you have plenty of frost or necrotic damaging spells you can use instead.
  • Wizards have access to some buff and support spells, making them more than one-dimensional damage dealers. 
  • They can protect those around them when they cast such powerful spells, mitigating their risk. They are glass cannons, not loose cannons. 

Wizard weaknesses:

  • Wizards have no armor proficiencies, and a low amount of hit points. You won’t be able to take much damage with them before going down.
  • For all the spells Wizards have access to, they cannot heal. So you won’t be able to provide much in the way of health support. 
  • Wizards have proficiency in just a few weapons. So if you run out of spell slots, you are useless. 

3. The Bard (S-Tier)

When you want to string someone up, or string them along, Bards are the class to pick.

Perhaps the most versatile class, Bards are great at just about everything. And what they are not great at they can bluff their way into making everyone think they are great at it, so great that they don’t have to prove it to anybody! The Bard’s strength lies in their overall role as support. If you play a Bard you won’t heal like the Cleric or deal damage like the Wizard but you can hold their own in each category while charming and tricking everyone else on the battlefield, making them easy marks for the rest of your party.

Bard power level - 94/100

Bards strengths:

  • Using Bardic Inspiration, Bards can help your party with just about anything they need. 
  • Bards are surprisingly good at healing. Not the best, but better than you might think. 
  • Bards have probably the best enemy debuff spells and abilities in the game that your party can take advantage of. 

Bard weaknesses:

  • Not the sturdiest class. If you play a Bard you cannot take prolonged punishment. 
  • Bards are not the best damage dealers. If you play one you are probably the least likely to land the finishing blow on a monster. 

4. The Paladin (A-Tier)

Built for crusadin' and raidin' with a little dash of prayin'

The Paladin is an incredibly strong class which blends magic and steel to carry out their oath to a specific ideal and god. Able to deal impressive damage and solid healing, a Paladin would be a welcome addition to any party. However, if you play a Paladin your magic is limited when compared to other classes. 

Paladin power level - 89/100

Paladin strengths:

  • Very impressive damage and debuff capabilities that come from their Smite abilities. Paladins have many options when choosing to deal with your enemies. 
  • Paladins have pretty good healing. The healing you can provide as one can be very useful in virtually every situation.
  • Being able to wear heavy armor and shields ensures that you will be able to avoid much of the punishment thrown their way. 
  • Their Aura of Protection and other Auras provide solid support for your team. They also can be changed depending on your needs.

Paladin weaknesses:

  • Most things the Paladin can do the Cleric can also do just as good, or better. Especially using magic. 
  • The lack of cantrips is noticed. You’ll have quite a few spell slots to compensate, but they only go up to 5th-level. 

5. The Druid (A-Tier)

Probably an eco-terrorist. 

Druids are another highly versatile class that can fill a wide array of roles. They rely on the power of nature to give them their abilities and use that to heal, support, or deal damage. They can also transform into animals and use their natural power to bolster their own. If you play one, you will truly be a mighty force of nature. 

Druid power level - 85/100

Druid strengths:

  • Druids have access to a wide array of spells, including Druid exclusive spells. You’ll be playing one of the most unique classes in the game. 
  • A Druid's Wild Shape ability which allows them to transform into wild animals is not only great for dealing damage, but it also can be used to temporarily protect them. How this works is if your Wild Shape is knocked down to 0 hit points your regular form only takes the extra damage you recieve. For example, if you were transformed into a wolf and took 8 damage while you had 6 hit points your regular body would only take 2 damage. 
  • Shillelagh is a fantastic cantrip that can be used to help Druids do solid magical melee damage without expending a spell slot. This is admittedly much more useful in the early game, but in those critical early levels where spell slots are slim this cantrip will be your best friend. 
  • Druids are solid healers. You can do it all as a Druid.

Druid weaknesses:

  • Other than turning into wild animals, Druids are not the best at really anything. There are better healers, damage dealers, and support classes you could play. 
  • Druids will be stronger than most of their party members at early levels, but towards the later levels you might fall behind. 
  • Druids really shine in outdoor and wild settings. If your campaign takes place in one massive city, you will likely be pretty useless most of the time. 

6. The Sorcerer (A-Tier)

A random fireball out of nowhere is always a good time. 

While the Wizards have to work hard, study, and hone their craft; Sorcerers are lucky enough to be born with it. Their natural innate abilities allows them to be just as devastating as the Wizard, although they are a bit less in control of their power. If I was ranking these classes based on “fun factor” Sorcerers would be top of the list, but this is about power and usefulness. And while Sorcerers can be both very powerful and useful, they fall just a tiny bit behind some of the other classes.

Sorcerer power level - 85/100

Sorcerer strengths:

  • As a Sorcerer you can rival, and sometimes outclass the Wizard when it comes to overall magic capabilities.
  • You can regain spell slots quicker than most other classes. 
  • Sorcerers can learn some of the most powerful spells in the game, like Fireball, Wish, and Meteor Swarm. 

Sorcerer weaknesses:

  • Wizards have access to more spells than Sorcerers. This limit does not prove to be much of a hindrance though, as Sorcerers still learn many powerful spells. But it will limit your utility to a degree. 
  • Just like Wizards, Sorcerers are very fragile. You absolutely cannot take much punishment before going down as one. 

7. The Barbarian (A-Tier)

Only the savagery of battle can tame her heart.

Much like the Druid, the Barbarian is at home in the wild. This class is all about taking punishment, and dealing it out in return. While you won’t have much in the ways of spellcasting or abilities, a Barbarian is an unstoppable force of pure, raw, natural power. You cannot go wrong in picking one.

Barbarian power level - 82/100

Barbarian strengths:

  • As a Barbarian, you will have the highest amount of hit points in the game. 
  • Their Rage mechanic gives you extra resistances, which can be enhanced further depending on the which subclass you choose. This gives them a level of survivability that is unmatched. 
  • Their natural Armor Class can be boosted without armor, but they can still use a shield. This allows you to tank hits without heavy armor slowing you down. 

Barbarian weaknesses:

  • Your reliance on being in melee range at all times will be an obstacle. You are very effective at melee combat, but are severely outgunned at ranged combat.
  • Barbarians offer little to nothing when it comes to support abilities for your team. The best way a Barbarian can support their team is by killing whatever is trying to kill them first. 

8. The Fighter (B-Tier)

Even being surrounded by monsters cannot intimidate the Dwarven Fighter. He fights on.

What truly sets the Fighter apart from other classes is just how much punishment they can consistently dish out. Their lack of spellcasting holds them back (Eldritch Knights cannot compare to Wizards or Sorcerers) but unlike dedicated spellcasters all a Fighter really needs to be effective is a good weapon. Being able to stay well protected in heavy armor and shields helps them stay alive as well. Overall they are very strong, but still have a few key limitations you must consider. 

Fighter power level - 79/100

Fighter strengths:

  • Fighters can do the most attacks in a single turn. Your damage will be very consistent. 
  • Fighters can stay well protected due to their proficiency in heavy armor and shields. You will be able to shrug off many attacks.
  • Fighters have a limited form of regeneration. It ain’t much, but it’ll help keep you alive. 
  • Since they have proficiency in all weapons Fighters can be dangerous from both melee and ranged distance. You pick where you want to be most effective.

Fighter weaknesses:

  • While Fighters do offer some forms of support skills and abilities, their uses can be quite limited in practice. You probably won’t be able to use them too often.
  • The lack of spells limits them. Magic is very powerful and while it makes absolute perfect sense why you as a Fighter probably can’t cast any spells, it is still a limitation you must overcome. 

9. The Rogue (B-Tier)

They will never see you coming until it is too late.

Rogues are masters of stealth, espionage, and trickery. Their single attack damage is probably unmatched in the game, and they can slip in-and-out of danger relatively risk-free. The danger they pose from the shadows is virtually unmatched, but how often will you really be fighting in the shadows? The Rogues greatest asset is also their greatest liability.

Rogue power level - 77/100

Rogue strength:

  • Sneak Attack does crazy damage. If a Rogue can pile on Sneak Attacks your prey will fall quickly.
  • Cunning Action to disengage, Uncanny Dodge, and Evasion all make it so that Rogues will do whatever you want, and you will almost never receive any punishment for it. 
  • A Rogues ability to sense and disarm traps is unmatched. You’ll make dungeon delving much less dangerous for your party.

Rogue weaknesses:

  • Unless they are doing Sneak Attack damage a Rogue is just an average damage dealer. They might as well be an NPC.
  • In order to get Sneak Attack bonuses as a Rogue you will often put yourself in harms way. Sure, you will probably survive because they can dodge and evade most things, but it is still additional danger that you will put yourself in. 

10. The Warlock (C-Tier)

That's the smile of one twisted person.

The Warlock is the receiver of mighty gifts bestowed upon them by their patrons. These gifts allow them to cast spells and perform other fun tricks, like communicating telepathically and understanding all languages you read. Their limited magical abilities and melee abilities are what holds them back from being a top-tier pick for you.

Warlock power level - 70/100

Warlock strengths:

  • Warlocks have the best cantrip in the game, Eldritch Blast. No question. You’ll even be able to further enhance this cantrip as you level up, tailoring it to suit your needs. 
  • Warlocks can recover spell slots pretty easily. These spells are limited, both in slots and selection, but you’ll be able to recover them pretty quickly. 
  • For spellcasters, you can hold their own in regards to melee combat. You won’t be the best, but you’ll be better than Wizards and Sorcerers. 
  • As a Warlock your familiar is also augmented beyond that of a normal familiar summoned by another spellcaster. Your pet minion will be quite useful.

Warlock weaknesses:

  • Your limited spell utility holds you back greatly. Having access to 9th-level spells doesn’t matter as much if you can only choose from a few. 
  • There are flat out better classes that can do spells and melee combat. Cleric, Paladin, and even the Druids sometimes for example. 

11. The Monk (C-Tier)

Enlightened ass-kicking machine. 

Monks are masters of martial arts. They do most of their talking through their fists and can even cast certain spells using their form of magic called Ki. With a wide array of abilities at your disposal Monks are quite versatile, unfortunately your biggest downside will be that most of the time you must be very close to the enemy in order to use such abilities. 

Monk power level - 65/100

Monk strengths:

  • Monks have access to some good abilities which enhance their fighting capabilities. Such as Flurry of Blows, and Unarmored Movement which allows them to attack multiple times in a single turn, and have a much higher movement speed than any other class. 
  • Monks are probably the best class at dealing with ranged projectile attacks. Ever wanted to catch an arrow with your bare hands? Well Monks can absolutely do that.
  • Their spells, while limited, do add to their overall usefulness. 

Monk weaknesses:

  • Unlike Barbarians, who have the highest amount of hit points in the game and resistances to a ton of damage types, Monks have neither. Making them surprisingly fragile if you play them. 
  • Monks really need to be in melee range to shine, which is tough because you’ll be so vulnerable compared to the other melee classes. 

12. The Ranger (D-Tier)

At least Unearthed Arcana exists...

Well, someone had to be last. That unfortunate honor belongs to the Ranger. Rangers are hunters of those that would threaten civilization. Fiends, Giants, even Undead. Rangers will hunt them down. They roam the wilderness, tracking their foes so they can strike with deadly precision. Rangers specialize in hunting one type of foe, but they also rely on a limited amount of nature based spells, similar to a Druid. Rangers are perfectly capable classes, but there is nothing they truly excel at. They were so far behind the other classes that the D&D creative team had to put out a revised version. The reason I am not looking at that version of the class is because since it has not been officially released in one of their sourcebooks, it is not Adventure League legal, and so it cannot be used. If you are playing at a table that would allow you to play that version I highly suggest that you do. 

Ranger power level - 55/100

Ranger strengths:

  • Rangers are really good at fighting their favored enemy. So if you’re in a campaign which has lots and lots of one type of monster I have two things to say about that:

    • I’m sorry you have to keep fighting the same enemies. That can’t be very fun.
    • The Ranger will be very useful at killing those enemies for you. 
  • Rangers are capable of healing. This pairs well with the melee abilities you’ll have as them. 
  • Rangers also have access to some solid support spells, like Water Breathing and Hunter's Mark. These will really only benefit you most of the time, but you have them.

Ranger weaknesses:

  • There are better ranged, melee, and magic damage dealers in the game for you to play.
  • Favored Enemy makes your utility very limited. 
  • Rangers typically exceed at only boosting themselves. This doesn’t make them very effective party members. 

 

Those are the classes in mostly correct order. If I have spoke badly about a class you really like, do not worry. As I have said, there are no truly bad classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. However, some are still better than others. So if you want to be a great team player that makes the biggest contribution to your party look at the top and decide what role you want to fill more. The beauty of this game is that there is no right way to play. So if you want to play a party of four Rangers, all of which have Giant Favored Enemy, I truly believe you can still enjoy playing Out of the Abyss. Happy rolling!

 

Related Articles

You may also be interested in: 

More on this topic:
The desert-dwelling orc known as Shawn hails from Southern California, where he splits his time between his elven wife, and their feline companion; obsessing over RoboCop; and wearing Hawaiian shirts.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 2, Borderlands 2, DOOM
This article makes me feel:

More Top Stories