[Top 5] D&D Best Paladin Builds

D&D Best Paladin Builds
A paladin prepares to use Lay on Hands because his teammates can't roll dice

Building a new paladin from the ground up can be both fun and rewarding while also being difficult and overwhelming. Here are my top 5 paladin builds to help you make the best decisions for your paladin.


First on my list is the Tank. It fulfills the fantasy of wading into a sea of enemies that can’t hit you no matter how many there are. Examples of Tanks in pop culture would be the Hulk, Superman, and the Juggernaut. Tanks can be damage dealers as well but their main focus is to absorb damage so that other archetypes like skirmishers or glass cannons can do their thing without getting clobbered before they get to do anything. 

For this build, we’ll be focusing on buffing your AC and Constitution score as well as looking for items that grant resistances to damage. For starters, you’ll want to take Dwarf as your race due to them getting a +2 to CON and a +1 hit point every time they level up. Next, you’ll want to take the Oath of the Ancients (this will give you both aura of warding and undying sentinel, the first of which bestows resistance to damage from spells while the latter allows you to drop down to 1 hit point instead of dying outright. Next, you’ll want to make Constitution your highest score. Next, you’ll want some good items. This will include a +3 armor of invulnerability, a +3 shield of missile attraction, and (if your DM is allowing feats in place of ability score improvements) the Tough feat.These work together in order to grant resistance to all incoming non magical damage, make sure that any ranged attacks made in your general direction target you instead of allies, and increase your hit point maximum. All of these are synergistically adding up to keeping you, and consequently your allies, in the fight longer. 

What the Tank excels in:

  • Absorbing damage
  • Attracting damage 
  • Distracting bigger enemies
  • Moving the front line of the battle to wherever they happen to be
  • Staying in the fight longer than most and acting as a last resort to revive fallen allies or make a last stand


Full Build Details:

  • Race: Dwarf (+2 CON and +1 HP for each level)
  • Oath: of the Ancients (aura of warding and undying sentinel)
  • Important stats: CON and then STR (increases HP)
  • Skills: Anything that increases your saving throw modifiers (Ioun Stone, Headband of Intellect, etc.)
  • Equipment: +3 armor of invulnerability, +3 shield of missile attraction (helps you take less damage and attract it from your allies)
  • Feats: Tough, Resilient (increases HP and tankiness)


Damage Dealer

Next on my list is the Damage Dealer. This build focuses on putting out the highest amount of damage possible with less regard for the well being of yourself or your party. Damage dealers in popular media would be Thor, Rambo, and the Doomslayer. 

For this build we’ll be focusing on weapons, stats, and items that can improve not only the amount of damage you deal but also how often you can do damage (which has the same end result but whatever). To begin, we’ll start with making STR our highest stat. This will increase your attack and damage modifiers. Then you’ll want to take Half-Orc as your race as it comes with a +2 STR. +1 CON, and Savage Attacks (improves criticals). After that, you’ll want to take the Oath of Vengeance subclass. This comes with a slew of useful damage dealing abilities, the most useful being the Channel Divinity option Vow of Enmity and the feature Relentless Avenger. As far as weapons and armor go, you have some options. You could go with a great weapon such as a greatsword or greataxe or, and this is what I recommend, you could use a scimitar of speed. This is only a +2 weapon so it’s not quite as damage dealing as a vorpal sword or holy avenger but what it lacks in bonuses it more than makes up for with its ability to grant an extra attack as a bonus action every turn. This stands to give you three attacks per turn as early as 5th level. Finally, we’re going to take two feats: Savage Attacker (not to be confused with the feature Savage Attacks) which allows you to reroll a damage die once per turn, increasing your overall damage output, and Mobile which increases your speed by 10 feet per turn. 

What the Damage Dealer build excels in:

  • Putting damage downrange
  • Eliminating dangerous foes more quickly
  • Relentless Avenger and Vow of Enmity work together to keep the enemy in range while giving you advantage on attack rolls
  • Battlefield movement
  • Higher average damage

Full build details:

  • Race: Half-orc (+2 to strength, Savage Attacks)
  • Oath: of Vengeance (Vow of Enmity and Relentless Avenger)
  • Important Stats: STR then CON (increases damage output)
  • Skills: Athletics (most important STR skill)
  • Equipment: Scimitar of Speed or Holy Avenger (big damage)
  • Feats: Savage Attacker and Mobile (extra damage and mobility)


Warrior Priest

Next on our list is the Warrior Priest, a build that specializes in the channeling of divine power against the undead while healing and supporting allies. Examples of warrior priests in pop culture would be Gandalf (listen I know he’s a Maia but I’m going off of Peter Jackson’s movies) and Priest from Priest (2011). 

This build will focus on items and abilities that specifically target undead, and fiends while buffing and healing allies. Therefore, we will be starting with dragonborn as our race due to the +2 STR and +1 CHA that it comes with. Next we will want to take the Oath of Devotion subclass. Oath of Devotion is the choice for this build because of some of its Oath spells like beacon of hope, protection from evil and good, and lesser restoration in addition to its excellent channel divinity options Sacred Weapon and Turn the Unholy. Next we’ll look for a Holy Avenger to do that extra 2d10 damage to fiends and the +3 to attack and damage rolls won’t hurt. All paladins have access to Aura of Courage at 10th level but Oath of Devotion paladins get access to Aura of Devotion which, together, keep you and nearby allies from being frightened or charmed. A useful background for this build would be Acolyte as it comes with proficiencies in Insight and Religion both of which can help you in tracking or locating fiends and undead. I would also recommend taking the Magic Initiate feat and choosing two cleric cantrips: spare the dying and another of your choice. I would also take the 1st level cleric spell cure wounds (paladins already have access to this spell but taking it from Magic Initiate can free up space for other spells) to better heal allies and keep you all in the fight.

What the Warrior Priest excels at:

  • Finding undead and fiends
  • Killing undead and fiends
  • Buffing nearby allies while turning nearby enemies
  • Strong damage even not against fiends or undead
  • Healing and buffing allies

Full build details:

  • Race: dragonborn (+2 STR and +1 CHA)
  • Oath: of Devotion (beacon of hope, sacred weapon, turn the unholy)
  • Important stats: STR and then CHA (increases damage and spell save DC)
  • Skills: Insight and Religion (these help specifically with fiends and undead)
  • Equipment: Holy Avenger (extra damage, specifically to fiends and undead)
  • Feats: Magic Initiate (cleric spells and cantrips [for healing])



Now this next one may be a bit unconventional but hear me out: stealthy paladin. An assassadin if you will. Palassin? I don’t know. They’re sneaky without compromising too much on damage output, tankiness, magic, or any of the other things we love about paladin. Assassadins in modern media would, in my humble opinion, include John Wick and Sam Fisher.

For this build we’ll be focusing on moving quietly while not compromising on dealing damage. Therefore, our most important ability score will be DEX followed by CON. For this reason, I recommend taking Elf as your race due to the +2 DEX it comes with and the subrace Wood Elf for the Fleet of Foot and Mask of the Wild racial traits. For the subclass I recommend Oath of the Ancients as it comes with misty step as an oath spell. Here is where we get into the real stealthy meat of this build: the armor. There are many options for this but the best would be a plate armor set of mithral armor. Mithral armor functions like any other armor save that it doesn’t impose disadvantage on stealth checks. This means we can keep our AC while also being sneaky. Couple this with our high DEX score and we’re heavily armored and highly mobile. Next we come to weapons. For these I would recommend dual-wielding shortswords, rapiers, or daggers as these all have the finesse property and can be wielded well by a DEX build. For our background we’ll take Criminal for the stealth and deception proficiencies, which will work together to keep us hidden until we don’t want to be. Finally, for feats, I recommend dual wielder, mobile, and skulker. These will make you quicker on the battlefield, harder to see when trying to hide, and more useful in a pinch while dual wielding your weapons.

What the Assassadin excels in:

  • Stealth 
  • Asssassination
  • Battlefield movement
  • Still having high AC 
  • Surprisingly high damage output

Full build details:

  • Race: elf (+2 DEX)
  • Oath: of the Ancients (misty step)
  • Important stats: DEX and then CON (DEX for stealth and CON for extra HP)
  • Skills: Stealth, deception, acrobatics (these work to help you be sneakier)
  • Equipment: Mithral armor, finesse weapons (mithral for stealth and finesse for dex-based weapons)
  • Feats: dual wielder, mobile, and skulker (all three help with stealth while dealing out big damage)



Last on our list but not least is the face of the party. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “ Why wouldn’t I just play a bard?” Well, you see, this build happens to not use the worst class in the game. This paladin draws on their natural proficiency with charisma to employ diplomacy where they can while dealing out damage when they must. Facemen of popular media would include, well, Faceman from The A-Team, Percy from Critical Role, and Obi Wan Kenobi. 

For this build we will be focusing on public speaking, diplomacy, persuasion, deception, and other such things to ensure the best possible outcome of any encounters that don’t already involve violence. For this reason, we will be starting off with the half-elf race due to its +2 CHA bonus and a +1 to an ability of your choice. This race also comes with two skill proficiencies of your choice which we will come back to later. Our subclass choice for this build can be none other than Oath of Redemption. This is due to the oath spells it comes with, including calm emotions, counterspell, and hypnotic pattern, each of which can help steer a conversation in the right direction. Both of this oaths' channel divinity options are also a main reason for choosing it as the first of them, Emissary of Peace, adds a +5 to persuasion rolls while the second, Rebuke the Violent can help deter potential enemies from turning violent. Next, for items, we’ll start with the Ioun Stone of Leadership which gives the wearer a +2 to CHA to a maximum of 20. Any weapons that trip your fancy will work for this build as violence is mostly an afterthought. Our next item for this build will be the Tome of Leadership and Influence which, when used for 48 hours over the course of a week, again increases your CHA by +2 (I cannot stress enough how important CHA is for this build). Our background for this build can only be Guild Artisan for the insight and persuasion proficiencies, which will both aid in diplomacy. Finally, our feats. For the Faceman I would recommend Actor and Linguist, the former granting advantage on deception and persuasion rolls, the latter allowing you to learn 3 additional languages. These work together to make any social encounter easier. 

What the Faceman build excels at:

  • Avoiding a fight
  • Getting information
  • Persuasion
  • Communication
  • Ending fights that have already started

Full build details:

  • Race: Half-elf (+2 CHA)
  • Oath of Redemption (oath spells)
  • Important Stats: CHA (helps with public speaking and persuasion)
  • Skills: persuasion, performance, deception, insight (diplomacy)
  • Equipment: Ioun Stone of Leadership, Tome of Leadership and Influence (these both increase your CHA score which is imperative for this build)

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As a bard, Mack enjoys the simple things in life like giving his friends buff and giving the orcs debuffs. A fantasy nerd at heart, he spends his free time exploring any magical world he can find.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Baldur's Gate 3, ARK: Survival Ascended, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Baldur's Gate, Batman: Arkham Knight, Dark Souls 3

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