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D&D 5E Is Fey Wanderer the most powerful Ranger?

ECMO3

Hero
I used to think Gloom Stalker was the strongest Ranger, and it might be in terms of purely martial prowess, but after seeing one played; I think Fey Wanderer is actually a stronger character, especially if you start with 17Wisdom and take shadow touched feat with cause fear.

There are three things which make this subclass pretty awesome:

1. The wisdom bonus to charisma checks. Our Fey Wanderer is the party face, and is better at it than a Warlock or Paladin would be.

2. Beguiling twist is awesome, especially with the advantage on fear and charm saves. Every fight we get into, an enemy is going to get frightened or charmed, and with no concentration penalty. The charm ability is used less than fear but the charm is not broken by damage, so it is a lot better than the actual charm spells. You can charm someone and then wail on him with impunity and he stays charmed and can't fight back against you until he saves .... at which point another enemy gets it. We housed a white Dragon with this when he used Dragon Fear - made him frightened the same turn he used it, which limited his movement, then the following turn we charmed him when another ally saved. He could not breathe because he would have hurt the Ranger, he could not move to attack anyone else because he was frightened and could not move any closer to the Ranger.

3. Dreadful Strikes gives a reliable, if small, damage boost that requires no bonus action and is rarely resisted. With TWF and extra attack you can get this boost 3 times in a turn if you target 3 enemies.
 
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With the right build, in the right party, in the right campaign.

I love the bonus on Charisma checks, but keep in mind that a Ranger managing to have substantial bonuses to both Wisdom and Charisma, to make it an exceptional party face rather than just a good one, is rare. My guess would be the average Warlock eventually has a higher Charisma bonus than the average Ranger's combined Wisdom+Charisma bonus. If you're using Tasha's alternative features you can, of course, take expertise in one of the Charisma skills as well at level one, but that requires getting it from background or race. I do think (especially given how much more naturally a ranger Synergizes with a Rogue dip and hence more expertise) that it is definitely the potentially better party Face than a Paladin or Warlock, but it is something you have to build towards, not something that happens with even fairly unoptimized characters like the Charisma casters being good faces.

As for Beguiling Twist, it is potentially very strong if you have a DM or party members who are throwing around Charm and Frighten effects all the time. If you are relying on your own spellcasting to generate opportunities to use it there are probably better uses of your concentration most of the time. It ends up rather party and DM dependent.

Meanwhile the Gloomstalker is also basically always powerful, and in a campaign where the DM plays lighting conditions in their favor a fair amount of the time, they take off as absurdly powerful. I would rate the "all-season" strengths of the Gloomstalker a little higher than the Fey Wanderer, but they're both really good and truly exceptional under the right conditions.
 

ECMO3

Hero
With the right build, in the right party, in the right campaign.

I love the bonus on Charisma checks, but keep in mind that a Ranger managing to have substantial bonuses to both Wisdom and Charisma, to make it an exceptional party face rather than just a good one, is rare. My guess would be the average Warlock eventually has a higher Charisma bonus than the average Ranger's combined Wisdom+Charisma bonus.
I don't think so. I think a Fey Wanderer should boost wisdom first before dex which means he will outrun any warlock as long as he starts with at least a 12 in charisma or better and I think you will actually usually start with a 14 charisma on this build unless you go all out and get a 17 wisdom at 1st level. In either case you should have a +5 combined Ch/W at level 4 and +6 at level 8 before proficiency bonuses as long as you use half feats and ASIs to boost Wisdom.

Unless you need tracking, I think the place for expertise is perception, and you can get a passive perception of 19-20 by level 4. You could use it in one of the face skills, but those are already really high. You do need to pick a background that gives you at least one of the face skills though since Rangers get none at level 0. That will give you 2 at level 3. Personally I like half elves so I can get all three.


As for Beguiling Twist, it is potentially very strong if you have a DM or party members who are throwing around Charm and Frighten effects all the time. If you are relying on your own spellcasting to generate opportunities to use it there are probably better uses of your concentration most of the time. It ends up rather party and DM dependent.
The twist itself doesn't use concentration. That is the beauty of it. Also Fey Wanderer gets charm person on his spell list, which he can use effectively in combat while also concentrating on something else. The advantage on the charm person save is not relevant, if he saves you just twist it, change it to fear and put it on someone else.

I also think getting Shadow Touched feat and cause fear helps this build, by both providing a free cast and another option for non-humanoids. The initial spell is concentration, but it is a pretty good use of concentration. The movement restriction in particular helps a lot.

I do get what you say about being DM dependant. One of my DMs that I have seen this run with nerfed it. He said our Ranger could not keep someone charmed by the twist if he attacked them. His table, his rules and twist was still used extensively, but I would say that is not RAW. If the DM is strictly RAW it is pretty straightforward not much interpretation.


Meanwhile the Gloomstalker is also basically always powerful, and in a campaign where the DM plays lighting conditions in their favor a fair amount of the time, they take off as absurdly powerful. I would rate the "all-season" strengths of the Gloomstalker a little higher than the Fey Wanderer, but they're both really good and truly exceptional under the right conditions.
You are potentially right about getting more mileage. The Fey Wanderer does rely on an enemy not being immune to fear and frightened to where they don't save. You can also run out of spell slots.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Synergizes particularly well with the satyr race from the Theros book, which gets you magic resistance, 35 feet of movement speed, free proficiencies in the non-Ranger skills persuasion and performance, a ram attack, and a leaping ability. And happens to be a fey creature. I recommend the Druidic warrior fighting style and picking up shillelagh so you can melee, and eventually multi-attack, with your Wisdom bonus.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Synergizes particularly well with the satyr race from the Theros book, which gets you magic resistance, 35 feet of movement speed, free proficiencies in the non-Ranger skills persuasion and performance, a ram attack, and a leaping ability. And happens to be a fey creature. I recommend the Druidic warrior fighting style and picking up shillelagh so you can melee, and eventually multi-attack, with your Wisdom bonus.
I will have to check that out. The one I am playing is a Goblin, still feyish but not as good as a Satyr. I took Druid Warrior as well but picked up magic stone and guidance instead of Shillelagh. Still good in melee with nimble escape, 16 dex, a +1 magic flaming dagger and all the damage riders she can get (Fury of the small, dreadful strikes, favored foe). She is 12th level now and has a killer Nova, but to be honest she is usually casting or making an army of fey spirits.
 

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