Pathfinder 2nd Edition: The Best Archer Builds

There are many kinds of archer in the world

Some Pathfinders like to get into the thick of combat. But some prefer striking at range. For these people, archery is a good option. But which archer should you build? We consulted players on the Paizo forums and they were kind enough to help us out and we made a top 5 list of the best archer builds. 


5. Dread Striker 

The Dread Striker is a Rogue that relies on the enemies being frightened to get sneak attack damage, a rogue’s bread, and butter. The issue with frightened enemies in melee combat is that they rarely stay in place for more than one turn. That’s where archery comes in handy. The enemy can try to run but there’s still the chance they’ll be in your range. With some degree of setup, like a dirge of doom from a bard or a high intimidation score. Plus, with a good stealth check or initiative roll, you can do some good damage in the first round.

Though the power of the Dread Striker is situational the real reason the Dread Striker gets on this list is its out-of-combat abilities. 

The Dread Striker doubles as a good skill monkey. Trapfinding and other skills give it versatility outside of combat, thus letting someone else play the bard.

High initiative and stealth allow you to get sneak attacks on the first turn.

Dread Striker gets sneak damage when enemies are frightened.

High Charisma used for Intimidation is also good for social challenges.


To build a good dread striker, You’ll need:


  • A short bow and leather armor that you upgrade throughout the campaign.
  • A high Intimidate score.
  •  Unlock dread striker at level 4.  
  • Trap Finder
  • High Stealth and Perception
  • Point Blank Shot
  • Nimble Moves
  • Mobility
  • Blind-Fight
  • Precise Debilitation


4. Fighter/Ranger Multiclass: The Ranged Reaper

Some systems have issues with multiclassing. Multiclassing in 2nd Edition is more viable compared to other systems, A fighter and ranger multiclass if done right, can be pretty good in terms of Damage Per Round. You’ll also have the chance to help your party out of combat with various skills. Rangers get a decent amount of skill points. This is especially important in Pathfinder Society Scenarios where writers try to create a variety of challenges beyond combat. This build doesn’t seem to have an official name on the forums. I’ll just call it the Ranged Reaper for now. Here are some benefits.

While Rangers will never outshine Rogues when it comes to skill-monkeying, they are a great alternative that doesn’t rely on a lot of tinkering.

A Ranger does great ranged damage because Hunted Shot gives you a free attack without accuracy reduction. Two attacks at full accuracy are big in the 2nd Edition.

If the majority of your blows land, you’ll do significant damage. You may not finish an enemy single-handedly but you can finish off a damaged one or weaken one enough for your party’s fighter to kill it.


To build this for the best Damage Per Round you’ll need to Multiclass a bit.


  • Leather Armor
  • A Horngali Hornbow
  • Magic Items that increase your Strength since this is a Strength Build.
  •  Point Blank Stance or Exacting Strike
  •  Ranger Dedication
  • Hunted Shot
  • Gravity Weapon
  • Far Shot. This extends your bow’s range to 80ft for 1st increment, double that for Hunted Prey shots from the Ranger feature.
  • Felling Strike or Incredible Aim
  • Animal Feature and get flying focus.
  • Fearsome Brute if you have someone that can frighten an enemy otherwise get a high intimidate skill and get the Battlecry Feat.
  • Blind-Fight
  • Stance Savant. It makes it a free action to enter point blank stance for +2 circumstance damage. But it doesn't stack with fearsome brute
  • Savage Critical or Impossible Volley
  • Savage Critical or Impossible Volley


3. Monastic Archer

One drawback both archers and gunslingers have is that they need to blanche their weapons to get passed damage resistance. On top of ammunition, this gets extremely expensive. Especially for Adamantine Blanches. The other drawback is that when an enemy gets close, you’re not equipped for melee. Monastic Archers solve this problem. 

At a high level, a monk’s fists become equivalent to Adamantine, as do their arrows. This is handy for dealing with hardness and damage reduction. You’ll also save money on blanches.

If necessary, they can go into melee with relative ease. This is good for playing with Pathfinder Society where you never know who the other players might be bringing.

Flurry of Arrows means you get a lot of high-accuracy attacks. Your 1st and 2nd attacks will have the same accuracy rating. Meaning it’s easier to deal a lot of damage.

Stunning Fist can stun enemies and make them easier for party members to hit. This makes a Monastic Archer a great “opener.” You wear down the enemy and your front-line fighters can finish it off.


To make this archer, you’ll need:


  • Bracers of Armor
  • A Belt of Incredible Dexterity.
  • Handwraps of Mighty Blows
  • Monastic Archer Stance, Ki Strike, - a human can get both via Natural Ambition
  • Stunning Fist,
  • Deflect Arrows,
  • Return Fire
  • Pinning Fire,
  • Ki Blast (available earlier but had no space for it)
  • Meditative Focus,
  • Triangle Shot


2. Eldritch Archer


Some enemies have strong resistance to non-magical or certain elemental attacks. For non-magical archers, this is not great. It requires a lot of elemental arrows which get expensive. But why buy your own magical arrows when you can be magical? Enter the Eldritch Archer! 

The Eldritch Archer can augment his arrows with magic. Even simple cantrips like acid splash can pierce acid resistance.

You can heighten your spells to make your low-level spells more damaging

Your touch spells become ranged spells, making them viable.


To make an Eldritch Archer, you’ll need:


  • Leather Armor
  • A Longbow
  • Belt of Dexterity
  • Headband of Charisma
  • Point-Blank Shot
  • Cavalier Dedication
  • Cantrips that do damage
  • Impressive Mount.
  • Quick Mount
  • Eldritch Archer Dedication,
  • Basic Eldritch Archer Spellcasting,
  • Felling Strike
  • Phase Arrow 


1. Starlit Span Magus

A lot of these builds focus on versatility as much as they focus on damage. But when it comes to archery, the Starlit Span Magus might be the best. While Paizo originally intended for the Magus to be a magic/melee hybrid, the truth is that a magus should never be in Melee. This build can be called the Eldritch Archer’s big brother. 

It’s easy for this archer to do a lot of damage in the early game and late game. Critical hits can be especially devastating.

It bypasses the “magus should not be in melee” problem. Staying at range 

A Magus can double as a caster and have magic skills. This can be handy when dealing with enemies who damage resistance or weaknesses. Or when you’re dealing with swarms.

It’s completely online at level 6. Most high-power builds take a few more levels to get to their full potential. 


.To build a Starlit Span Magus, you’ll need:

  • Leather Armor
  • A Shortbow
  • A Belt of Dexterity
  • A Headband of Charisma
  • Psychic Dedication
  • Cantrips of multiple elements
  • Imaginary Weapon.
  • Blind-Fight.

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As one of North Carolina's numerous rogues, Matt Stafford is always using his stealth and diplomacy skills to get the next scoop.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dragon Quest 11
Top 3 Favorite Games:Stellaris, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic,

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