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[GUIDE] Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Ranger Guide

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
And you don't think a class and build naturally inclined to use Stealth and be effective at scouting ahead is going to have more opportunities to prebuff than usual?

Maybe. I've acknowledged that when able to prebuff haste is great for an archer Ranger. Can you acknowledge when you can't that it isn't?

The amount of times you get to prebuff is going to be very campaign and DM dependent. I'm not really comfortable putting a number on that for everyone, are you?
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Nevermind, i screwed this up, they are equal. Though SS scale better with all accuracy increases.

Obviously but not as much as you are thinking. If you get something that adds at least +2 accuracy that means SS is going to be better so take it asap.

One small counterpoint - if you get something that adds ranged damage that means non-SS is going to be better. I seem to recall more magic items adding damage than accuracy for archers?
 

strateg

First Post
Welp, i'm too slow with editing(. I forgot to say, that SS also let you ignore cover, which is amazing at teamfights. Most games i've played used cover mechanics at full.
But still, that's was a bit unexpectable
 
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strateg

First Post
One small counterpoint - if you get something that adds ranged damage that means non-SS is going to be better. I seem to recall more magic items adding damage than accuracy for archers?
Only one - Bracers of Archery. I didn't took that one into account cuz magic items is way too unpredictable
 

Yunru

First Post
Maybe. I've acknowledged that when able to prebuff haste is great for an archer Ranger. Can you acknowledge when you can't that it isn't?

The amount of times you get to prebuff is going to be very campaign and DM dependent. I'm not really comfortable putting a number on that for everyone, are you?

It's not that bad. You still get at least one attack, you have your speed doubled, and you get +2 AC.
 

Maybe. I've acknowledged that when able to prebuff haste is great for an archer Ranger. Can you acknowledge when you can't that it isn't?

The amount of times you get to prebuff is going to be very campaign and DM dependent. I'm not really comfortable putting a number on that for everyone, are you?
Fair enough.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Only one - Bracers of Archery. I didn't took that one into account cuz magic items is way too unpredictable

Agreed, but you also didn't eliminate magic items from your comment about accuracy increasing so I kind of thought you were insinuating magic items there.
 

IMO war cleric/hunter ranger/war wizard is superior in every category. Both have quite similar offense capabilities though i think that Horde Breaker + War Priest is actually a lot better than Planar Warrior even with lvl11 boost in terms of damage.
Horde Breaker is situational since enemies have to be right next to each other for the extra attack. And War Priest is outright terrible. 14 WIS you'll get two bonus-action attacks per day that deal at best only somewhat more damage than what the Horizon Walker gets every round with a bonus action.

If you're going to dip Cleric, pick a worthwhile domain like Nature, Life, Light, or Tempest.

Ofcourse mobility boost is good, but wizard have its own ways to mitigate that like Longstrider for example.
Longstrider is ... bad.

Defensive capabilities is much better in wizard build because of spells like Shield, False Life, Absorb Elementals(Ranger have this one, but known spells says hello), Mirror Image, Counterspell and many others. Also War wizard have some amazing features like Arcane Deflection, which give you very good saves, and Durable Magic later on.
You're an archer. If you're in a position that Shield, False Life and Mirror Image are necessary often, you're doing something wrong. And the Horizon Walker, especially past Lv. 11 (your build is Lv. 13) is nearly impossible to pin down in melee.

Also, Counterspell with only 14 INT? Good luck getting that to work.

Wizard MC will also have much more spell slots, and i'm not even talking about higher levels, where he'll get cool stuff like Simulacrum, Tenser Transformation and much more
And you still only get 4th-level spells for the first time at the same level the straight Ranger does. That's simply not impressive for all the MC-ing you did and the extra MAD you incurred.

Simulacrum you won't get with the Wizard build until Lv. 19. And Tenser's Transformation is one of the worst spells in the whole game.
 

So, I'd be remiss if I didn't post my first snap impressions on everything the Ranger got in the new UA: Class Feature Variants document. Rangers got more than anyone in this (as may be expected), and a lot of it is either very good as is or at least on the right track.

Deft Explorer (overall rating) - Even with some things that need ironing out before final publication, this is already much better designed than Natural Explorer was or ever will be, with abilities that are always beneficial. Definitely on the right track here.

Deft Explorer Options

Canny - Giving Rangers the ability to Expertise a skill that they really should've had all along, plus extra languages. Nice start, though this seems to be an option that the Ranger should be allowed to take more than once, each one for a different Expertised skill and set of languages. That'll be a suggestion I make when filling the survey.

Roving - Extra speed plus actual swimming and climbing speeds. Good.

Tireless - Free temp HPs for WIS mod per day is great. And decreasing exhaustion level on short rest, which is merely good on a straight Ranger, just made Ranger the perfect one-level dip for a Berserker Barbarian. Expect this one to change somehow, perhaps given a Ranger level requirement.

***

Favored Foe
- Well, on the one hand, WIS-mod castings per day of a concentration-less Hunter's Mark is certainly stronger than Favored Enemy, both for combat and for tracking purposes. If simply grading on performance, this is sky blue, easily. But, I have to ding it a bit on design principle. For one, Hunter's Mark is still going to require bonus actions to tag and switch enemies, which doesn't play nice with a fair number of Ranger builds (dual-wielders, Beast Masters, Horizon Walkers). And second, Rangers getting all of this at Lv. 1 makes this prime one-level dip bait for a number of other classes (Monks and Moon Druids spring to mind), so that'll have to be addressed before publication, somehow. Thirdly, it would help to designate which level Hunter's Mark is actually cast at with this feature; which is important in determining its duration.

EDIT: Just a quick brainstorm ... how about the concentration-less Hunter's Mark 1/day at Lv. 1, and then at Lv. 6 (when the Favored Enemy Ranger gets another FE) it increases to WIS-mod/day?

***

Fighting Styles

Druidic Warrior - The obvious one is Shillelagh to make a fully WIS-based melee Ranger, though that locks you into the quarterstaff (which isn't too bad, because Polearm Master + shield). And then there is, of course, Guidance. If you're primarily non-DEX melee with a decent WIS, there's also some decent ranged cantrips available as secondary modes of attack (Produce Flame, Frostbite) or the AoE Thunderclap.

Blind Fighting - EXTREMELY BROKEN as currently written. Spellcaster with Darkness or Fog Cloud + this = All the advantage you could ever want. Now factor GWM/SS in the mix. This one needs to be nerfed, if not omitted entirely in an official release.

Interception - Rangers get a style to defend others with, and it's at the very least better on the action economy and more consistent than Protection, if not better overall.

Thrown Weapon Fighting - Makes an axe-chucking Ranger a viable build. Might also be worthwhile for any STR-Rangers to develop an easy ranged option if they're forced into ranged combat.

Unarmed Fighting - Obviously niche, though very good in its niche. And hey, since Athletics is a Canny option, an unarmed grappling Ranger is suddenly a pretty neat possibility.

Spell List Additions (notables)

Entangle - AoE entangling. Unlike Entangling Strike, this doesn't give Large creatures advantage on the saving throw, though since Entangling Strike adds damage to your typical attack it's probably still better against a single enemy. Decent addition, nonetheless.

Searing Smite - Rangers get a Smite spell that was completely useless for Paladins. For Rangers, though, it depends. It's not a bad choice for Rangers who take Favored Foe instead of Favored Enemy, since in that case it won't compete with Hunter's Mark for your concentration (though it still does for your bonus action). If you're still taking Favored Enemy, forget it.

Aid - Extra HPs without concentration is good.

Enhance Ability - Huge. Bull's Strength if you're one of those new grappling Rangers that are now suddenly quite appealing. Cat's Grace to enhance Stealth and initiative, or Owl's Wisdom to enhance Perception and Survival. Very, very welcome addition, though 2nd-level was a pretty loaded level for Rangers already. But that's why Rangers have Spell Versatility now.

Warding Bond - Rangers get an ally protection spell that's pretty solid.

Blinding Smite - Wow, this is actually one of the Paladin's better Smite spells Rangers just yanked. Very nice addition for melee Rangers who didn't have much spell love before.

Revivify - Woo, Rangers can raise dead now. This is especially big for Beast Masters who no longer have to go through the trouble of replacing their pet if (or most likely when) they die.

Death Ward - Saves you from KO or instant death without concentration. Good one. And a prime spell to take advantage of the Beast Master's Share Spells, too.

Awaken - At Lv. 17, you finally get your own superior animal or plant companion to the Beast Master's, even if you aren't a Beast Master. As many of them as you want, too. Will definitely be many Rangers' new favorite 5th-level spell.

Greater Restoration - Remove an exhaustion level or a number of pretty crippling conditions. Interesting this got added to the Ranger and not the Paladin ... but hey, you'll take it.

***

Spell Versatility
- A bit controversial at the moment. I will say that of the classes that get it, the Ranger is the one who definitely needs it the most. It fits them thematically, and to a certain extent it makes up for the fact they're not a prepared caster like I felt they should've been the whole time.

Spellcasting Focus - Woo, no more component pouch. You can use a druidic focus now for your no-cost material components.

Primal Awareness - Hands-down superior replacement for Primeval Awareness, giving the Ranger a suite of spells that they can use to garner much the same info they would've gotten from Primeval Awareness. Spells that absolutely fit the Ranger, but spells that Rangers wouldn't have used one of their precious and limited spell learning opportunities on. Now they get them for free and can even cast them once a day each without using a spell slot. Love this one, it can stay as it is.

Fade Away - Bonus action invisibility for a round per short rest to replace the highly situational Hide in Plain Sight. While I admittedly appreciate the old feature's potential for ambushes and long-term scouting, this replacement is just so much more consistently useful it's not even a contest, really.

Ranger Companion Options - Considerable improvements over the standard Beast Master fare, with a lot of the things oft-requested as fixes or buffs. Better hit point scaling, easy restoration after it dies (with a 1st-level slot), bonus-action abilities from the start.

(On a completely different note, it's interesting that the introductory paragraph basically codified animal companions that any Ranger, not just the Beast Master, can gain from the Animal Handling skill or the Animal Friendship spell.)
 
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fobia

Villager
Canny - Giving Rangers the ability to Expertise a skill that they really should've had all along, plus extra languages. Nice start, though this seems to be an option that the Ranger should be allowed to take more than once, each one for a different Expertised skill and set of languages. That'll be a suggestion I make when filling the survey.

+1
I actually wasn't sure whether this wasn't intended as an option to pick more than once, but since you read the description the same way, I will make the same suggestion.

Overall I'm very happy with this UA. The Ranger got a lot of love and imho he deserved it.

Thanks for the first impressions and many thanks for your guides in general. I really appreciate them.
 


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