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5E Cleric Tier Ratings

War Cleric is great the first 4 levels. Guided Strike + Inflict Wounds is as good a nova as any in those levels.

Then level 5 comes, martial characters get Extra Attack, all Clerics get Spirit Guardians, and the War domain drops off like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.
 

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Question: How critical is it for a cleric to pump Wisdom?
Two of the top sources of Cleric damage are Spiritual Weapon and Spirit Guardians. The former relies on WIS for the attack roll, and the latter on WIS for the saving throw DC. So, pretty important.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Two of the top sources of Cleric damage are Spiritual Weapon and Spirit Guardians. The former relies on WIS for the attack roll, and the latter on WIS for the saving throw DC. So, pretty important.
Obviously, if your focus is on dealing damage with spells, you need Wisdom.

My question is, what if you're focused on using your spells to heal and buff your allies, which in theory is supposed to be right in the cleric's wheelhouse? How viable is that approach in actual play?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Obviously, if your focus is on dealing damage with spells, you need Wisdom.

My question is, what if you're focused on using your spells to heal and buff your allies, which in theory is supposed to be right in the cleric's wheelhouse? How viable is that approach in actual play?
Completely viable. The damage cleric probably wants to take warcaster which is makes those cleric buff soelks that much better anyway

There's also not that many cleric buff other type spells. There's bless but yeah.

Bless spam can work.

My next review gas another example of the wisdom cleric obliterating the weapons based on in terms of damage. At will even.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Arcane domain.

Spell list

The arcane domain has several wizard spells clerics don't usually get. Nothing to exciting but useful.

Arcane initiate.

You get to pick two wizard cantrips. This is half of the magic initiate. Unlike magic initiate you can key these off your wisdom score. There are several interesting new cantrips as well in SCAG such as green flame blade.

Channel Divinity: Arcane abjuration.
Basically you can turn outsiders and get. Useful sometimes but your channel divinity might suck depending on what you encounter. You can also banish them at higher levels. None of the above or undead and your channel divinity is a bit useless. Weak point of the class.

Spellbreaker.

You can use healing magic to dispel magic. Useful but still limited by how many spell casters you encounter.

Potent spellcasting.

The usual wisdom modifier to cantrips. This is great and you can add it to the wizard cantrips you picked up.

It has an interesting interaction with green flame blade. Your attacks deal an additional 1d8 plus wisdom modifier to primary target.

The secondary target however takes double your wisdom modifier in damage and an extra d8. You might have to use a dagger if you have a moderate dexterity but it's an option. If you want to be good at melee be an arcane cleric!!!!. Added bonus if you can pick up short sword or rapier proficiency or the shillagh cantrip.

Overall the arcane cleric is decent at casting spells. However it's got a few to many situational abilities that are also specific.

A potential S class archetype comes in at B overall. If it's channel divinity did something else along with spellbreaker it would be A or S tier. Also a great level 17 ability but let's face it it may as well be the moon.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
It's a pity you're only doing 1-10, as the Arcana domain lvl 17 ability is amazing.
It is. And I suspect virtually no one has ever used it.

If either (wife+me) of us have to play clerics in the near future we've shortlisted the death one.
I've played one before and made some minor mistakes. She's currently playing a death cleric 1/divine Soul 2.
 

delph

Explorer
Will it continue? I'm waitnig for Grave Cleric. I'm weighted him or Death Cleric. Last word will be after zero session where we will get what will be able, what not, and what want other players. Because as i read it Death Cleric is more about dealing dmg, Grave about de/buff and heal.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Will it continue? I'm waitnig for Grave Cleric. I'm weighted him or Death Cleric. Last word will be after zero session where we will get what will be able, what not, and what want other players. Because as i read it Death Cleric is more about dealing dmg, Grave about de/buff and heal.
Yes it just kinda got buried.

I'm wondering if I should revise some ratings. I may have over rated a couple that are kind of require a very narrow specific build.

The builds are not very obvious either.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Knowledge can, in the right situation, be amazing. This is especially true in any situation when you have to use something you normally couldn't.

Say you are doing some genre crossing and are exploring a crashed spaceship (this has been done more than once!). And you can give yourself proficiency in use computers.... game changer.

I think light cleric is good - heck I would definitely play one! - but I'm not sure it's S tier good. Is "blasting" really the best thing you can do as a cleric? Heck I would say that blasting overall is over-rated in 5e. Fireball is considered as a potent 3rd level damage spell (as it should be!)... but while HP have gone up dramatically in editions, spell damage has not. In 2nd ed, an 8d6 fireball would obliterate ogres. In 5e, it will make them mad...

Lastly, I agree that war cleric is...not so great. I think part of the problem is the bonus action economy. There are a lot of things you could be doing with your bonus action as a cleric besides using it to swing a weapon...
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Heading into Xanathars we pick up Forge Domain and Grave Domain.

Forge Domain
A favorite online built around the power of the forge. It's sowlls are kind of fire and creation themed vaguely remniscent of the light domain with more of a focus on melee vs AoE.

You pick up heavy armor and smiths tools. At level 1 you also gain blessing of the forge which grants you +1 armor or weapons. This is a great ability for whatever type of forge cleric you run and helps mitigate the MAD problems melee clerics have. Also a great dip feature for a multiclass option.

Artisans Blessing. A lot of text that essentially means you don't need access to a shop. You can magic up whatever you need up to 100 gp value as long as you can pay for it.

Soul of the Forge.
You gain resistance to fire damage, and +1 AC if you wear heavy armor. The fire resistance is great. Plus 1 AC in heavy armor also gives you a lot of incentive to wear said heavy armor.

Divine Strike
At 8th level you deal an extra 1d8 fire damage. This is one of the weakest divine strikes due to fire resistance and immunity being very common.

Overall the forge cleric has a lot of great abilities that add up to an awesome package. Generally I think Clerics should wear medium armor and focus on spells. The forge cleric has a focus on heavy armor and melee damage. How good the cleric is depends on how high your stats are.

In a melee role in heavy armor the forge cleric is one of the better clerics. I would wear heavy armor even if built as a spellcasting cleric. Overall I would rate the forge cleric as an A tier domain. If you have higher stats than the default array it's an S tier powerhouse.
 

My thoughts on the trickery Domain are similar, hence why for my games I've house ruled in the past to switch Invoke Duplicity to be an at will ability as a bonus action and make the Stealth Buff the channel Divinity. Given that it uses the concentration slot it's not as game breaking as it first sounds and makes the archetype feel a lot more on point.

My only comment about the Tempest domain is that you should perhaps reread Call Lightning. Nothing in the spell says that it cannot work outside, the only time it doesn't create a cloud right nearby is when it is already storming...in which one would assume it is overcast all around already, or if the place your fighting is literally 5ft high ceiling, in which case many AOE's are kind of impractical anyway.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
My thoughts on the trickery Domain are similar, hence why for my games I've house ruled in the past to switch Invoke Duplicity to be an at will ability as a bonus action and make the Stealth Buff the channel Divinity. Given that it uses the concentration slot it's not as game breaking as it first sounds and makes the archetype feel a lot more on point.

My only comment about the Tempest domain is that you should perhaps reread Call Lightning. Nothing in the spell says that it cannot work outside, the only time it doesn't create a cloud right nearby is when it is already storming...in which one would assume it is overcast all around already, or if the place your fighting is literally 5ft high ceiling, in which case many AOE's are kind of impractical anyway.
Call lightning works outside.
 

Question: How critical is it for a cleric to pump Wisdom?

I ask because it seems like Strength-first is a perfectly viable option if you're playing a Divine Smite domain. Arcane casters rely heavily on their casting stat because they throw a lot of damage spells and debuffs, which require saving throws. But heals and buffs, which are (in theory at least) the cleric's bread and butter, don't require saves and so are not much affected by Wisdom.

Weapon damage for a Strength cleric with Divine Smite should be comparable to cantrip damage for a Wisdom cleric with Potent Spellcasting at most levels. (Assuming 1d8 base damage in both cases, you have a substantial advantage from levels 1-4, do about equal damage from 5-10, fall behind at 11-13, regain equality from 14-16, and after level 17 how much do you really care anyway?)
Frankly speaking? The short answer is that it's not for any melee focused cleric build.

A wisdom of 16 is highly gettable by 20th level no matter what you start with and is perfectly passable for most situations. You just have to rely on choosing spells that minimize the need for wisdom and focus on buffs, heals, and weapon focused attack spells. I have done this or seen this on no less than two Tempest and one War clerics at our table for long ongoing campaigns. Most of them started with a Wisdom of either 12 or 14 and usually had a Strengrh of 16 and con of 14, and typically dumped dex and either int or cha.

The worst a lower wisdom cleric will face is their spirit guardians suffering, or people dodging their call lighting for half damage. Though it would mean not getting to use their extra attack from war domain or bug zapper reaction ability. Frankly a 14 con and a 14 wisdom are both easily gettable and will serve you fine enough if you want focus on Strength for melee.

You do not need Dex with heavy armor and heck you don't even need a 15 strength until you can afford the better heavy armor anyway, so starting with a 14 strength as a life cleric is perfectly viable. People are welcome to other opinions by I'm just not convinced that it's so crippling to life, war, or tempest domains to "need" both Stength and Wisdom. It's no different than a paladin, ranger, or artificer other than not getting extra attack, but those two classes don't get 6th-9th level spells and have delayed spell progression that is noticable at the table (especially artificer).

Arguably my biggest complaint with the War domain is the lack if Extra Attack, but it would be a difficult thing to fix just because of where clerics get their domain features.

My only gripe with Tempest is that I wish the 8th level feature was either your choice of lightning or thunder damage or lightning damage so you could send enemies flying from your other features on melee, but that's a minor gripe.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Frankly speaking? The short answer is that it's not for any melee focused cleric build.

A wisdom of 16 is highly gettable by 20th level no matter what you start with and is perfectly passable for most situations. You just have to rely on choosing spells that minimize the need for wisdom and focus on buffs, heals, and weapon focused attack spells. I have done this or seen this on no less than two Tempest and one War clerics at our table for long ongoing campaigns. Most of them started with a Wisdom of either 12 or 14 and usually had a Strengrh of 16 and con of 14, and typically dumped dex and either int or cha.

The worst a lower wisdom cleric will face is their spirit guardians suffering, or people dodging their call lighting for half damage. Though it would mean not getting to use their extra attack from war domain or bug zapper reaction ability. Frankly a 14 con and a 14 wisdom are both easily gettable and will serve you fine enough if you want focus on Strength for melee.

You do not need Dex with heavy armor and heck you don't even need a 15 strength until you can afford the better heavy armor anyway, so starting with a 14 strength as a life cleric is perfectly viable. People are welcome to other opinions by I'm just not convinced that it's so crippling to life, war, or tempest domains to "need" both Stength and Wisdom. It's no different than a paladin, ranger, or artificer other than not getting extra attack, but those two classes don't get 6th-9th level spells and have delayed spell progression that is noticable at the table (especially artificer). Arguably my biggest complaint with the War domain is the lack if Extra Attack, but it would be a difficult thing to fix just because of where clerics get their domain features.
Most games don't go to level 20. Hence why buffing wisdom is so good since weapon attacks tend to deal similar damage to cantrips anyway.

I'm ignoring level 17 abilities.
1. Game probably won't go that long.
2. Even if it does what about the 80% of the time you spent level 1-16?

So yes if you get high enough scored via ASIs, dice rolls or magic items my point about disliking weapons and heavy armor no longer applies.
 

delph

Explorer
Heading into Xanathars we pick up Forge Domain and Grave Domain.

Forge Domain
A favorite online built around the power of the forge. It's sowlls are kind of fire and creation themed vaguely remniscent of the light domain with more of a focus on melee vs AoE.

You pick up heavy armor and smiths tools. At level 1 you also gain blessing of the forge which grants you +1 armor or weapons. This is a great ability for whatever type of forge cleric you run and helps mitigate the MAD problems melee clerics have. Also a great dip feature for a multiclass option.

Artisans Blessing. A lot of text that essentially means you don't need access to a shop. You can magic up whatever you need up to 100 gp value as long as you can pay for it.

Soul of the Forge.
You gain resistance to fire damage, and +1 AC if you wear heavy armor. The fire resistance is great. Plus 1 AC in heavy armor also gives you a lot of incentive to wear said heavy armor.

Divine Strike
At 8th level you deal an extra 1d8 fire damage. This is one of the weakest divine strikes due to fire resistance and immunity being very common.

Overall the forge cleric has a lot of great abilities that add up to an awesome package. Generally I think Clerics should wear medium armor and focus on spells. The forge cleric has a focus on heavy armor and melee damage. How good the cleric is depends on how high your stats are.

In a melee role in heavy armor the forge cleric is one of the better clerics. I would wear heavy armor even if built as a spellcasting cleric. Overall I would rate the forge cleric as an A tier domain. If you have higher stats than the default array it's an S tier powerhouse.
If you have money it's one of best companion ever. I had adamantine rapier and adamantine half plate on lvl 5...
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
My personal take on tempest.

his channel divinity turns shatter into being nearly as strong as fireball (more damage less area).

With as often as that combo can be used from level 6 on it should be rated pretty highly.

I think the biggest problem with tempest is everyone looks at him and wishes he got lightning bolt.
 
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