5E The New Tiers Ranked

Zardnaar

Hero
This is it, my thread I have been pondering on for a long time now. Back in the 3.5 days there was a tier system that rated the classes on thier power/versatility etc. Generally CoDzilla and Wizards were at the top, while martial classes were near the bottom. Overall it was a decent list but I htink it assumed mostly high level play and a bit of theory crafting. For example Druids were fairly broken all by them selves just with the natural spell feat while clerics kind of needed a fair bit of splat to break them.

5E is a different beast, the gaps between the classes are a lot smaller, martials got big boosts, you can't mass produce underpriced magic items, and the dynamics of the game have changed, To really break 5E try min/maxing the whole party and focusing on teamwork. This basically means abuse the -5/+10 feats and have combos in the game like mastermind rogue and bards and clercis to buff the to hit chances. Even something as simple as Battlemaster fighter+ Rogue is a decent combo.

So how do I rate the classes? Basically I am looking at the 3 pillars of 5E- Social, combat and exploration with a slight emphasis on combat (say 40% vs 30% for the other 2). Very few if any classes are good at all 3, most are good at two, some are only good at one. I am looking at the classes overall including things like saving throws, class power, versatility, utility (healing, support, buffing etc), damage and a bit of gut feeling. I place way more importance on level 1-10 than level 11-20. This is because like most editions of D&D ever most people don't play high level D&D that much I suspect and we have some figures to back that up. I' not that interested in several builds I suspect are mostly hypothetical and often use multiclassing.

In general spellcasters are not as overwhelming as they were and will tend to start of low and move their way up the power scale. The rules assume you get 2 short rests and 6-8 encounters, so I'll mostly go with that but I lean towards the lower end of that number-1 or 2 short rest and around 6 encounters. Obviously if you have few encounters classes that can nova will be better, the more encounters and short rests you have the better short rest type classes get. I will also assume that rules applicable to the AL are in effect, even without feats etc though that doesn't change things to much as martials get -5/+10 feats but spellcasters also get things like warcaster and resilient: con which makes concentration checks semi trivial so all classes tend to get powered up with feats. Things like Fighter vs Ranger are impacted more.

I am also going to assume a moderate amount of min/maxing is used. This means that the classes are being used "correctly" in terms of what spells and abilities they pick up. This means Rangers use hunters quarry, Warlocks use Eldritch blast, melee clerics use spiritual guardians etc. Combos involving 2-3 feats, certain options from a single archetype, and several splat books will not generally be counted. This thread is more aimed at what the classes can do in a real game rather than contrived situations or very narrow focus. Initially this will just be PHB archetypes only but I may mention any tricks involving material from Xanathars or Sword Coast Adventurers Guide. Eventually I want to cover them as well.

That is my criteria. I will also rate the classes tier 1 (good) to 5 (weak). If an archetype is better than the others even if those others are good they will be down a tier while the best archetype will be a tier higher. For example say you have one of the most powerful archetypes in the game, if there are better archetypes however that archetype will be tier 2 while the better one will be tier 1. The gaps in 5E are smaller but there are still gaps. Since very few if any classes are good at all 3 pillars if a class tends to be very good at one pillar and good in another pillar they will get a high placing. Exceptions do exist.

Initially I will be covering Heroic Tier and move up from there. So its a living thread, some of this is gut feeling so if you can convince me I have rated something wrong I will shuffle it up or down on a case by case basis.

Damage Tier by Request.

Tier 1. Very High Damage-Sorlocks quickening Eldritch Blast, martials using the -5/+10 feats consistently.
Tier 2. High damage Martial weapon+something else (smites, hex, colossus slayer etc), warlocks using eldritch blast+agonizing blast+hex.
Tier 3. Moderate damage. Martial weapons (1d12, 2d6+ attributes) or d8 weapons+ a little something (duelist, hex, hunters quarry).
Tier 4. Low damage. 1d8+ mods, cantrips+ attribute modifiers.
Tier 5. Poor damage, generally cantrips and 1d6+attributes or smaller weapons with no other modifiers eg most Wizard and Druid weapons.

Damage tiers exclude nova damage (long rest spells, fighters action surging).

Social Pillar Evaluation
Social pillar criteria are generally charisma based classes, charisma skills and class abilities/spells that help out. Not this is a generally guideline only I am sure you could build a wizard with a high charisma, the right back ground, some charm spells, and enhance ability, but charisma is not a primary, secondary, or even tertiary stat as a general rule. Note some spells such as enhance ability have combat and exploration uses as well.

Exploration Pillar Evaluation
This is mostly class abilities and spells that help you explore. Key attributes tend to be wisdom, dexterity, and strength and intelligence to a lesser extent. Generally classes such as Rogues, Druids, Rangers, and mid level + wizards tend to be good at this pillar.

Combat is the most important pillar but all 5E classes tend to have a fair amount of combat ability built in, the when, where and how is usually the difference in how good the classes are. Specific builds, party composition and situations can of course vary the tier rankings.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
Level 1-4 Local Heroes

Tier 1

Cleric: Light. Most spellcasters lack resources at low levels. The light cleric does not. Its flare ability is comparable to shield but you can use it at least 3 time/long rest. Its key ability hoever is radiance of the Dawn which is in effect a level 2 spell. It has a massive AoE for low levels (compare with sleep, burning hands), deals radiant damage and avoids hitting your own allies. And it gets even better later on and it scales. In addition you get a free light cantrip, and are still a cleric and can wear medium armor and use a shield. You also key everything off wisdom that matters.

Druid: Moon. This is all about wild shape and turning into a bear or other utility. Front loaded. Yep, over powered yep. Still a primary caster although you will usually resort to that when you run out of wild shapes yep.

Warlock: The Warlock doesn’t really have subclasses as such but it switches on very early and with the default 2 rests (or even 1) it will have more spells that matter than the other spellcasters. And there is the whole Eldritch Blast+ agonizing blast combo. And hex. Basically you have one of the highest damage low level options in the game, plus the option of casting some real spells plus a bit of utility from your invocations, a d8 HD and you can use light armor and simple weapons. And you’re charisma based. You can also pick up rituals in your book of shadows and be a fiend pact warlock that drains life which makes you a bit tougher. Damage, spells, utility, social game, and lots of options make the warlock great at level 1-4. Your book of shadows also gives you 3 cantrips that become warlock spells for you and key off your charisma. Guidance should probably be one of them.

Tier 2

Bard: Lore Bard. The Lore Bard offers some great things at low tier. It has several great abilities that other spell casters lack such as bard dice, song of rest, and expertise in 2 skills. Additionally being charisma based with extra skills gives it more use once it runs out of spells. It also picks up cutting words which while not as good as shield is not to far off. It’s a bit more front loaded than most spell casters and is almost tier 1 but its not quite there yet.

Cleric: Life. The life cleric is roughly twice as good at healing as every other cleric, and gets a short rest ability to heal more. Baiscally the best healer in the game (except maybe multiclass life clerics ruids/Valor Bards). Has some competition from Xanathars and Healing Spirit but you get to play with heavy armor as well. Raed lower than light as the lights abilities are on top of the spellcasting while the life clerics abilities except for channel divinity are still spell based for the most part. Still even a prayer of healing + bonus healing is decent.

Fighter: Battlemaster. Fighters tend to take a bit long to get going and by the time they do it’s a bit to late. Well the Battlemaster is an exception to that rule. Its front loaded, the resources refresh on a short rest (including second wind and action surge), the battlemaster is the best low level combatant in the combat pillar. Itis so good at it I have rated the BM fighter at tier 2 due to its versatility, sheer damage potential or even being an archer.
Monk: Way of the Open Hand. At low level all Monks can put out a surprising amount of damage using a staff or spear two handed and getting in a free attackas a bonus action. Being dex based they are better in skill use and exploration pillars as well along with having some utility built in. Flurry of Blows also compares well with action Surge but you can do it a ot more times than action surge and short of the -5/+10 feats the Monk is beter at dealing damage than the fighters. The Way of the Open Hand monk can also knock opponents prone when they flurry which grants advantage to hit with your follow up attacks and for your melee allies. With great rolled stats I would almost put this monk at tier 1 (say if you got 18-20 after racials in dex/wisdom). With the right back ground you are almost better off playing this than the Rogue. At level 3 and 4 with 1-2 short rests you can flurry a lot.

Monk Way of the Open Hand. A low level Monk is surprisingly good with martial arts gaining a bonus action attack. In effect the monk is out damage a two handed great weapon fighter. We all know how good action surge is the Monks flurry of blows is almost better and you can use it a lot more than the fighter action surging. The way of the open hand monk also gets to make a trip attack which is a saving trow to knock the opponent prone. Dex and wisdom based they are better in the exploration pillar, but the monk is mostly focused on the combat pillar. They can sub a rogue however i the skill monkey/sneak role IMHO with the right back ground although the Rogue is of course better.

Ranger: Hunter. This class is competitive with the Battlemaster fighter for damage but it a bit slower out the gate level 1-2 than default fighters. Rangers excel at being archers mostly so they don’t get hit in combat which interrupts their hunters quarry. Despite not having to many spells hunters quarry tends to last long enough and plays nice with colossus slayer/hordebreaker. Spells, class abilities and the fact you are probably dex based (lack of heavy armor) brings the hunter up in things outside combat relative to the Battlemaster fighter. The Hunter Ranger will serve you well at low levels.

Tier 3

Barbarian: Path of the Totem Warrior. The superior path IMHO. All 3 options are good, basically you become even more of a tank, get an aura ability, or mobility similar to a Rogue or Monk using a ki point. In general though you just don't have enough rages to go around as a Barbarian and then you are a bad fighter but on those days you get to nova its great. In general until higher level you can rage in around a third to half your combats.

Bard Valor. The fighter Bard from 2E the Valor bard is weaker than the lore bard. Mostly because its not that good at fighting (due to MAD), and its weaker than several clerics at fighting as well. Due to its default bard abilities its enough to put it at tier 3 as while it lacks spells like every other caster at low levels it has default bard abilities which are utility and social.

Cleric: Tempest+ Nature. The two best melee clerics the Tempest one has a side helping of blaster, roughly as good as a Druid. The Nature cleric can take shillelagh and key everything off Wisdom perhaps while wearing medium armor with the default array and it also benefits from the polearm master feat+ using a staff with shillagh. This makes it the best low level beatstick cleric.

Fighter: Champion. The Champion fighter is rated this high mostly because its still a fighter and its abilities are always on. The other warriors have not really switched on yet either and this is almost as good as it gets for the Champion. It gets a lot better at level 11+ but relative to everything else its not even that good then. By default this is as good as it gets for the Champion.

Paladins (All of them) Paladins have a bit of utility with lay on hands, a scant few spells but fo the most part it doesn’t matter to much what one you go with at elvel 1-4 the main differences are their spell lists and channel divinity options. They are slow out of the gate as well (level 1-2) relative to the other warrior classes. Still you do some abilities and you probably have charisma as a secondary stat (or even a primary thank you hexblade). Paladins are also a popular multiclass choice due to the abundance of charisma based classes in 5E but those builds tend to take a while to get going (level 7-10).

Rogues (all of them). At level 3 and 4 there is not a massive difference in the Rogues. A variant human Assassin with the crossbow expert feat or a thief with the healer feat is about as good as it gets. The Arcance trickster is the worst of the 3 but it still gets 3 cantrips and can cast 2-3 lvl 1 spells which are still useful. You can use the cantrips from SCAG but its probably a level or 2 two early to use them and its debatable if they are an improvement over say dual wielding. Otherwise how good a Rogue is comes down to how you build it. They are never the best at anything except maybe skills and that is where they shine. They are basically tier 3 all the way up as other classes such as Bards are also good at skills or can fake it via spells such as enhance ability or even bards/clerics using guidance or any class that has certain feats, MCs etc.

Sorcerer: Dragon. Well a wizard een at low levels is probably beter at spellcasting than a Dragon Sorcerer. However a Dragon sorcerer is tougher (better AC, hp), is charisma based (social pillar) and has the best saving throw combination I the game.With Cantrips like Green Flame Blade you can do a hell of a lot more in melee than a wizard can as well and with rolled stats the melee Mountain Dwarf Sorcerer can make a surprisingly good melee combatant with a great axe. You won’t have enough sorcerery points to do much yet but you can probably quicken a cantrip on occasion (hence the melee sorcerer thing). You also know more cantrips than say a wizard.

Wizard: Diviner. The diviner wizad is basically the best one but its still early days yet and you’ll suffer all of the problems low level wizards do with not enough spells to really matter than much. For example compare this class with the others I have rated higher. You will still mostly stink at combat, stink at social stuff and maybe be OK at exploration but portent dice are some of the most powerful things in the game although you want to roll high or low on them. You still lack enough spells to really abuse them and at low levels you want to use AoEs anyway such as sleep and burning hands. Still when you use it to stick a hold person spell or whatever on someone it’s a very fun moment, you just won’t have enough of them (2/long rest, may not roll low etc).

Tier 4

Barbarian Path of the Berzerker. Yay you get to make an extra bonus attack while raging. The mind boggles you can use a great sword like the polearm master feat. There is just a slight drawback which is the exhaustion level. Functionally this means you can frenzy once per long rest, any more and it goes from inconvenient to suck to potentially deadly. Of course if some players over look this draw back the class is great. With super high rolled stats (two 18's) and a munchkin who over looks that drawback the Barbarian is tier 1!!!!!. In the real world I'll pass more often than not.

Cleric: All of the Others. The other clerics are not as good as the best ones IMHO. This is because resources are scarce and the war cleric is worse at combat than the Nature and Tempest clerics and might be better off as an archer with sharpshooter as it can make a limited amount of bonus attacks and get +10 to hit which feeds in nicely with sharpshooter. The other two clerics have a side helping of skill monkey but just play a bard as it also scales better in the next tier.

Druid: Land. Take everything I said about spellcasters having a lack of resources and combine it with an OK spell list and the Druid lacks the rituals and cantrips of say a wizard. Throw in one of the worst melee combatants as an added bonus as every cleric for example gets to use better armor. Think of a low level Land Druid as a low level wizard with better armor and worse spells.

Monk: Way of Shadow. You are still a monk but your ability is expensive to use and you can’t knock your opponents prone which is a debuff in effect. On the plus side you are still a monk but you are behind the Way of the Fists monk at these levels since you probably want to flurry anyway.

Fighter: Eldritch Knight. This fighter ends up as the best fighter but it’s a long way in the future and by then it doesn’t matter. Its debatable if this fighter can even cast spells as a sword and board fighter for example and in any event it doesn’t get enough of them and even green flame blade is a bit of an anti combo once you hit level 5 let alone level 11. Just not very well designed I would almost rate it tier 5 but the base fighter itself is decent enough but it leaves very little room for the subclasses.
Sorcerer: Wild. This class varies a bit by how much your Dm lets tides of chaos trigger. And you can hypothetically fireball the party at low level. For the most part it is just a low level spell caster that’s squishy and has no extra resources that matter such as channel divinity or bard dice. You won’t have enough sorcerer points to go around.
Wizards (all of the others). Wizards have a great spell list but at low levels you won’t know enough of them or be able to use enough of them to matter. And other spell casters can also use rituals as well. Ritual casting gets very good with level 3 spells, but at low levels its mostly just cute. Throw in bad AC, weapons, crap hit dice and class features that often don’t kick in until later (or can be abused much until later) and the wizard is in a bit of a sorry situation early on.

Tier 5.

Monk: Way of the 4 Elements. Generally regarded as one of the worst classes, this is because your elemental powers cost to many ki points relative to what you get out of them. This means you are probably better off just using default Monk abilities which means you would be better served by the other two PHB monks- or any of the other Monks in other books. Avoid.

Ranger: Beastmaster. The animal companion is weak and awkward to use. Hunter Ranger riding a Moon Druid is a better option or just be a hunter ranger instead. Generally regarded as one of the worst archetypes in the game and is a failed concept.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
Levels 5-10 Heroes of the Realm

Level 5 is a big power up to the game. Cantrips scale in damage, martial types double their attacks, and level 3 spells arrive such as fireball, hypnotic pattern, and spiritual guardians. This is also mostly the sweet spot of 5E (say around level 4-8 or so). Additionally most relevant class features come online and several combos+ maximised ability scores can come into play so at level 8 you can have 20 in your prime attribute and a feat or two. Spell casters by level 9 and 10 can also drop a level 3 spell almost every round (5 or 6 of them) and if you have multiple casters you are looking at such a spell every round if they pace them right and sometimes 2 or 3. Anyway onto the tiers. In addition you can have up cast lower level spells such as a hold person being thrown at 2 or 3 targets.

Tier 1

Bard: Lore
The lore bard jumps up to tier 1. This is because you get magical secrets which lets you steal spells from other classes and bard dice scale to d8's and refresh on short rests. With cutting words you can also debuff incoming attacks. At level 10 you get more magical secrets for 4 new spells. Since these can be from any class you can cherry pick Paladin and Ranger spells that they themselves can't cast until level 17 or so or mix and match spells from numerous classes. For example a Bard who wants to be a blaster can pick up eldritch blast, hex, fireball, and destructive wave. Mr Invoker might be a sad panda at that point.

Cleric: Life A better melee option than the light cleric the heavy armor+ healing upgrade with channel divinity and more spells having one of these in your party is kind of easy mode now. There are better fighting cleric, there are better blasting clerics but in effect this cleric gets more spell slots due to how good the healing is. IN effect it frees up extra spell slots to blast, buff etc. Spiritual guardians+ armor go for it. Your extra damage at level 8 is radiant damage which is one of the best types of damage to do as sod all is immune/resistant to it and it can hurt undead more.

Cleric: Light.
The light cleric gets a lot better at these levels. This is because they can an additional use of radiance of the dawn which continues to scale and its on par with a lot of level 2 spells. And you can use it twice per short rest. You also pick spells like fireball and wall of fire. A light cleric can wade into melee with spiritual guardians up and then unleash radiance of the dawn and since spiritual guardians might last more than one fight they can do this a lot. Or they lob a fireball then waltz in with spiritual guardians. Due to the abundance of clerical radiant damage spells even fire immune critters will barely slow this beast down. the flare ability can also be used at range on allies and you get an unnamed damage bonus at level 8 on your cantrips. Some players think the sun shines out their ass, with this cleric they can back it up.

Paladin Oath of the Ancients and Vengeance. These two archetyes jump all the way to tier 1. One is very good defensively and the other is better at dealing damage. I like the Oath of the Ancients better however as its spell list fixes up some of the problems Paladins have with misty step and moonbeam for example offering mobility and a small AoE. The Path of the Ancients aura however is even better- it grants resistance to all spells. Your allies will love you, massive saves bonus on save or suck and they take half damage from direct damage spells. Your DM will hate you. The avenger gets a weaker aura effect but can start using spells like misty step, haste, hunters mark etc to deal more damage than the oath of the ancients Paladin. Classic defence vs offence, and I personally like the Oath of the Ancients better as its a lot better on the defence while the Avenger is marginally better on offence YMMV though.

Sorcerer: Dragon. The Dragon Sorcerer is tier 1 (briefly) as you are roughly at the pinnacle of its power relative to the other classes. At a most basic level the Dragon Sorcerer is pure artillery but you can also make a decent melee option or buff specialist. Haste+ greenflame blade semi decent AC and shield as an option for example (or be a mountain dwarf). You can also do things like twin haste and greater invisibility and that right their is pure power. You won't match a wizards versatility but you're more powerful, tougher, better saves, and better at social skills. Right now you're better than the average wizard IMHO and roughly on par with the best of them.

Wizard: Diviner and Abjurer. The two best PHB wizards IMHO. In this tier you can pick up some great rituals that actually matter and the diviner has one of the most powerful abilities in the game but you don't get to use it that often. Wizards also benefit a lot more from hitting level 9 and 10 since they basically have the best spell list in the game. With more spells come more utility and the abjurer can start using their ward ability a lot more than low levels in effect granting more hp to allies.

Tier 2

Bard: Valor.
The Valor Bard gets up upgrade mostly because the second attack comes online and bard dice refresh. You also get magical secrets at level 10 and if you're an archer you can pilfer the Rangers Swift Quiver spell and make 4 attacks a round which of course combos with the sharpshooter feat. For the most part you are still an underwhelming warrior type but the rest of the Bard abilities keep your head above water.

Cleric:Tempest, Nature and War
. The other 2 clerics that are not quite as good as the light and healing clerics although the tempest cleric is a lot stronger relative to what they were in the previous tier. The Nature cleric picks up a great defensive ability vs common elemental damage and the Tempest cleric can go around dropping maximised shatters. Both are fairly decent at melee combat as well using spiritual guardians. The war cleric also gets an upgrade due to the power of spiritual guardians. The war cleric also gets an untyped damage bonus while the other two deal bonus elemental damage, one is better than the other.

Druid: Moon. Moon Druid Wild Shape doesn't scale very well and some of the better combat forms are also huge which means using them tend to be difficult in dungeons and/or you block or get in the way of your own allies. At level 10 you do get the elemental forms which are great and at that level the Moon Druid is tier 1 again. In general spells start getting better than wildshape however which scales poorly.

Druid. Land. Like most casters the land Druid jumps up a few slots. Several of the land Druids terrain options offer some very powerful spells that come online at this tier level such as lightning bolt, haste, greater invisibility etc and you get more of them due to natural recovery. If you are a healer that is a lot of goodberrys or a few extra healing spirits to go around.

Paladin Oath of Devotion. Paladins in general get a massive bump at level 6 due to their aura. This is a unique class ability and its one of the most powerful in the game. With bounded accuracy a +3 to +5 bonus on all saves is great and in effect the Paladin is proficient in all saves and grants that bonus to nearby allies. This is on top of more spells and other class abilities. The Oath of Devotion Paladin is tier 2 for the sole reason the other 2 are just a bit better. One thing to notice is with aura the shield of faith spell is great in dungeons as concentration rolls are a lot easier.

Ranger: Hunter. The hunter continues to hang around due to how good the class is and its exploration pillar and spells. Fighters will likely over take it i damage especially if they are using hand crossbows but you are still competitive with a bow+ hunters quarry. Without feats the Hunter is clearly better. However damage isn't everything and the the Ranger is no slouch in that department either. A Melee hunter Ranger might all down to tier 3 here as you are probably dual wielding or going sword and board with a shield.

Sorcerer: Wild. This one will vary but you are still a primary caster with a great spell list and sorcerer points. If you DM hates you this might be tier 3 depending on how he rolls with you class abilities. I think we houseruled you have a 50/50 chance of regaining your chaos thing in each encounter. At the worst you will be tier 3 but PHB Sorcerer options are limited(the other non PHB sorcerers are better IMHO another day for them though).

Warlock: The warlock tumbles down as their 2 spells they can cast per short rest start to come up a bit short vs all of the daily slots other casters get. Still they can cast a lot of high level slots relative to the other casters and they may be able to use 4-6 level 4 and 5 spells per day with 2 short rests. However their spell list is a bit anaemic. Still Eldritch Blast+ hex keeps doing its thing, you're still charisma based and you get more invocations which can offer great utility.

Wizard: The rest of them. All wizards get a massive boost in power from level 5 and more than the other casters as they creep closer to level 9 and 10. However a couple stand out a bit more and the gaps between what left is fairly marginal although invokers and transmuters may be slightly ahead of the pack but not enough to kick the rest of them down to tier 3. In general you will pick up rituals, get more money to acquire rituals and things like water breathing and leomunds hut are very useful.

Tier 3

Barbarian:
Path of the Totem Warrior. No real change in position. You get more rages, and you can pick up some exploration pillar type stuff and generic Barbarian abilities.

Clerics: The rest of them. The only primary casters at level 3. The cleric spell list is decent but it doesn't really have many synergies with what the Knowledge and Trickery clerics offer. None of these clerics are that good at anything that matters (melee, ranged, healing etc). They are just at the bottom of the cleric heap and yeah they are supposed to offer a it more utility and side helping of skill monkey etc but in that situation just play another class instead. They are not bad as such by any means, but are outclassed by other classes in similar roles.

Fighter: Battlemaster+ Eldritch Knight. The EK moves up a spot, the Battlemaster falls down a spot along with the Champion. The EK picks up war magic so at these tiers they can use the cantrips from SCAG and have 2 attacks which is a great deal. And they get a few more spells. The Battlemaster doesn't scale as wellbut both ighters gain an extra ASI at level 6 and 8 so you can get some combos up quite early (say 20 dex+ sharpshooter and crossbow expert or GWM+ PAM). Relative to the other clases though they continue to sink further the closer to level 10 you get.

Monk Way of the Open Hand and Shadow. Monks lose their comparative damage bonuses over the other warriors at level 5 but they pickup stunning strike so they gain a side helping of controller. The fist Monk is more focused on combat while the Shadow (Ninja) is more focuses on utility. You keep getting more ki points which means the Shadow Monk will have ample use of pass without trace and the Open hand one can trip people left right and centre. They are better at combat than say a Rogue but Rogues are better out of combat hence they are bother tier 3.

Rogues: All of them. Rogues are unchanged but around level 9 its the start of a downward slide IMHO. The mid level abilities IMHO don't add up to much and after level 8 taking the next 5 levels or so as a fighter or hunter ranger are really a better option IMHO. You will give up 3d6 sneak attack but gain dex to damage on your off hand, an extra attack+ class features.

Tier 4

Barbarian: Path of the Bezerker.
No change from the previous tier for much the same reasons. This class is tier 4 all the way up.

Fighter: Champion. Well fighters struggle outside the combat sphere. The problem for the Champion is in the mid levels its not any better than the other 2 fighters, or even any of the other warriors. Its a one trick pony that is not even that good at its trick (combat). Its nice and simple though so there is that and its what it was designed for. It gets better later but by then its to little to late IMHO.


Tier 5.

Long story short. No change for the Beastmaster and Way of the 4 elements Monk.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
Levels 11-16 Masters of the Realm

All of the classes basically come online around this tier and in general it is fairly balanced as all of them are kind of over powered in various ways. Fighters may be a one trick pony with damage but they're really good at it. YOu start getting less new spell slots and no new freebie spells via Domains or land choices etc but from level 11+ or so you can drop a level 3+ spell every combat maybe even two if you nova or you have 6 encounters. Level 3 damage spells start to taper off and are not generally worth up casting to a higher level slot as an extra dice of damage is generally far less appealing than an extra target. For example a 10d6 fireball is less enticing IMHO than a 4 target hold person. The spell DC system also starts to break down as saves do not scale (except proficient ones) and DC start creeping up around 17+ so save or such. On the martial front the fighter 3rd extra attack and nova abilities of Paladins ramp up the damage so the Hunter Ranger falls a bit further behind in the combat pillar relative to the other warriors who get more rages, attacks, spells to smite with etc.

Tier 1

Bard: Lore The Lore Bard stays at tier 1 although they get relatively few features. Level 6 and 7 spells are always great and you get more magical secrets which can be used to cherry pick the best spells from other class lists including OP Paladin and Ranger spells before Paladins and rangers actually get to use them. Or you can just mix clerical and wizard spells into the mix. Level 14 pick simulacrum and clone yourself.

Cleric: Life. Clerics start to taper off a bit in power in general as they don’t really get much in the way of new class features. More spells and higher level spells are always welcome though and upcast spiritual guardians are always useful along with extra healing this cleric offers. The clerc spell list also starts to become a bit lacklustre but you have a few things like Heroes Feast and there are lots of lower level spells clerics have that are worth upcasting- Hold Person, Banishment etc.

Cleric: Light. Most things applicable to thelife cleric also apply to the light cleric. Not that Radiance of the dawn continues to scale and 2d10+11- 2d10+16 is still useful and almost comparable to a fireball but its radiant damage and is based off a short rest ability. And you still have decent domain spells to use with your higher level slots.

Druid: Land Wildshape gets less useful for a moon druid as you level up. Being able to recall spells and knowing more of them starts to be better than wildshape. You are decent at healing,, ok at blasting and the Druid spell list offers some great optins. Spells and class abilities tend to offer decent exploration pillar options as well along with upcast terrain option spells depending on what terrain you picked.

Paladin Oath of the Ancients and Vengeance. Paladins get more spells, 2 useful abilities+ subclass abilities. They may not get an extra attack but they get an extra dice of radiant damage and an additional dice when they smite. Cleansing touch is a nice bit of utility, while the Oath of the Ancient Paladin gets the Half Orc ability/long rest while the Avenger contuse their focus on smashing a single melee target. Combat, utility, aura, social offers a very competitive package and Paladins are worth keeping around even with spellcasters becoming more powerful.

Wizards (all of them) A few of the subclasses are better than the others but all the wizards are tier 1 now. Best spell list in the game, one of the best ritual casters, and one of their new spells is simulacrum. Even without attack of the clones cheese (a bit early for that yet) it is still another body that can lob cantrips. Depending on ones wealth they are also kind of disposable. Firebolt or Ray of Frost might not be the best cantrips in the world but you can spam two of them every round via simulacrum if you want. On top of more spells, rituals etc.

Tier 2

Bard: Valor. No real change, you are still a primary caster that can fight to some extent+ have utility, social game, bard dice, etc. And you get to steal more spells at the same rate as the Lore bard in this tier. Yay.

Cleric: Tempest, Nature and War. No real change here. There clerics are still not as good as the best two and the cleric spell list isn’t as good as say the wizards one and clerics taper off slightly. Miracle gets somewhat more reliable and can be very powerful (if unreliable) depending on how the DM calls it.
Druid: Moon. Early on you benefit a lot from elemental wileshape which is a decent combat form at level 11 still. By 14+ it is more utility or extra hit points. You can start turning into CR 4 and 5 critters but once again being able to fit might be an issue.

Paladin Oath of Devotion. You’re still a Paladin, the other two continue to be better.

Ranger: Hunter. At level 11 you get to attack everyone you can see via volley oy whirlwind attack. Obviously the archery one is better and it is humorous to see it in action with sharpshooter. You also get evasion or uncanny dodge (I would pick uncanny dodge, better all the time is more reliable than some of the time). All rangers gewt a bit of exploration pillar abilities here as well and you get more spells which also tend to lie in that direction. The Hunter archer continues to be tier 2, hunter melee would be tier 3 IMHO.
Sorcerer: Dragon/Wild. The Dragon Sorcerer takes a tumble down to tier 2. They can’t match a wizards utility which not only comes via rituals but 5-8 levels of spells being able to be recalled offers things like lots of enhance ability. Wizards tend to be better at combat and exploration while sorcerers are better at social and very good at combat but the versatility and utility gap is growing and the Sorcerers comparative advantages are becoming a bit less relevant while wizards have resources to throw a little bit at the social pillar.

Warlock: Warlocks remain good but they don’t get level 6+ spell slots but they do get mystic Arcanum which is similar enough but their spell list is kind of weak. They do hit 3 spells per short rest which is probably 6-9 level 5 spells. Their invocations and class abilities also offer options and they can be a decent ritual caster. How effective any warlock is on any given day is more down to player skill at building them though since they have less baked in abilities than the other classes.

Tier 3

Barbarian: Path of the Totem Warrior
. No real change in position. You become tougher basically and you get several good options to pick from including Eagle which lets you fly while raging. Useful in combat and out of it.
Clerics: The rest of them. No real change, mostly due to being outclassed by the other clerics and other classes.


Monk Way of the Open Hand and Shadow. No change, for much the same reason as the previous tier. Monks are good.

Rogues: Arcane Trickster. Rogues tend to fall off with fairly marginal abilities level 9-15 or so especially when compared with other classes. The arcane trickster gets to hang in there basically because it casts spells and gets more or them.

Tier 4

Barbarian: Path of the Bezerker. No change from the previous tier for much the same reasons. This class is tier 4 all the way up.

Fighter: All of them. The good news is fighters are roughly balanced with each other at these levels. The bad news is you’re still a fighter. You become very good at dealing damage and that’s almost it. The Eldritch Knight gets to cast spells but is rated lower than the Arcane Trickster because the Trickster has a lot more out of combat game. Not you can still have a very effective fighter if you really like combat- your great at it and finally become better than the ranger but it’s a toss up with the Paladin IMHO. Ranger of course is better outside combat hence its higher ranking. At level 14/15 the Eldritch Knight could probably be upgraded to tier 3.

Rogues (the rest of them) Rogues peak at about level 8, and it doesn’t get any better really for them at least relative to the other classes. They actually get worse IMHO. Still you’re never bad as such if you stay pure Rogue but you’ll fall behind in damage but are competitive in the other two pillars but you might struggle vs the specialist from other classes. Still average mostly all around is not terrible but you’re tier 4 due to below average combat ability.

Tier 5.

Long story short. No change for the Beastmaster and Way of the 4 elements Monk.
 
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squibbles

Villager
Good on ya!



Let me also ask, though, if you have the time (or if other posters do), would you consider indicating the degree of difference between your tiers?

How much damage, social, or exploration ability does a class need to transition from one tier to another?

Maybe a low-med-high indicator for each pillar would help.

And, since it's the most quantifiable, what would constitute low-med-high damage for each tier?

Thanks!
 
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Mort

Community Supporter
Very worthwhile thread! Thanks for the effort.


1. Did you forget to rate the rogue?

2. Don't see the barbarian either?
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
How the heck does the level 1-4 battlemaster fighter end up tier 2 when all he does is combat and he gets no exploration or social benefits?
 

LudicSavant

Villager
Its flare ability is comparable to shield but you can use it at least 3 time/long rest.
Unlike Shield, the flare ability must be declared before a roll (which can hit or miss), rather than after a failed one (and generally knowing whether a +5 is enough to turn it into a miss). This actually makes a pretty big difference to the math for expected DPR/mitigation. Additionally, the flare ability defends against just one attack, rather than all made during the round (and therefore can't do a lot of things that Shield can, like render a mook barrage largely harmless).

The result of these factors is that mathematically, Shield has a good deal more mitigation potential than the Light Cleric's flare ability. I wouldn't sum it up as "like Shield but with more uses."

Hope that helps!
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
How the heck does the level 1-4 battlemaster fighter end up tier 2 when all he does is combat and he gets no exploration or social benefits?
Because I vauled the combat tier higher (40% vs 30% for the others) and the BM is very out of whack in it relative to the other warriors. The other thing is its versatility, doesn't matter if you are building an archer, sword and board, strength or dex based.

You can build a BM fighter that is OK in the other pillars, dex based archer and still have a decent tertiary charisma score for example.

Its an overall rating, somewhat subjective. Generally I consider most classes at low level tier 3 or 4, fighters are tier 4, the champion is a bit better tier 3, the Battlemaster is better than the Champion hence tier 2. I have seen high dex BM with back ground do fine in the other pillars as well since the fighter is a lot less MAD than most classes.

Also at low tiers a lot of classes are underwhelming, the Battlemaster not so much so I thought I would be generous. Its probably tier 2.5, a bit better than most tier 3 stuff a bit worse than tier 2. The Battlemaster will be going down a tier next thing don't worry to much.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Good on ya!



Let me also ask, though, if you have the time (or if other posters do), would you consider indicating the degree of difference between your tiers?

How much damage, social, or exploration ability does a class need to transition from one tier to another?

Maybe a low-med-high indicator for each pillar would help.

And, since it's the most quantifiable, what would constitute low-med-high damage for each tier?

Thanks!
Its mostly a gut thing, the more things you are good at and the more resources you have the higher you will get. Exceptions would be if some things are just so good at something they might go up a tier. Generally I rated them as follows. Mostly its how good anything is in a real game and not a white room scenario.

40% combat
30% social (charisma+ class abilities)
30% exploration (dex especially+ other attributes) and class abilities.

I'll add a damage tier for you in the 1st post.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
Because I vauled the combat tier higher (40% vs 30% for the others) and the BM is very out of whack in it relative to the other warriors. The other thing is its versatility, doesn't matter if you are building an archer, sword and board, strength or dex based.

You can build a BM fighter that is OK in the other pillars, dex based archer and still have a decent tertiary charisma score for example.

Its an overall rating, somewhat subjective. Generally I consider most classes at low level tier 3 or 4, fighters are tier 4, the champion is a bit better tier 3, the Battlemaster is better than the Champion hence tier 2. I have seen high dex BM with back ground do fine in the other pillars as well since the fighter is a lot less MAD than most classes.

Also at low tiers a lot of classes are underwhelming, the Battlemaster not so much so I thought I would be generous. Its probably tier 2.5, a bit better than most tier 3 stuff a bit worse than tier 2. The Battlemaster will be going down a tier next thing don't worry to much.
I still don't get it. 60% of the rating is non combat. Unless you are both 1) rating virtually every other class as nearly non-existent in combat 2) rating nearly all tier 1 exploration and social abilities very low then it's hard to imagine how a class like the rogue whose pretty good at combat and very good at skills manages to be eclipsed by a class that's only extremely good at 40% of the game.

I mean you rate the champion fighter in the same tier as the rogue??? Speaking of champions you also somehow manage to rate them a whole tier higher than eldritch knights???

But it's your ratings so have at it.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I still don't get it. 60% of the rating is non combat. Unless you are both 1) rating virtually every other class as nearly non-existent in combat 2) rating nearly all tier 1 exploration and social abilities very low then it's hard to imagine how a class like the rogue whose pretty good at combat and very good at skills manages to be eclipsed by a class that's only extremely good at 40% of the game.

I mean you rate the champion fighter in the same tier as the rogue??? Speaking of champions you also somehow manage to rate them a whole tier higher than eldritch knights???

But it's your ratings so have at it.
EK lacks the spells and may not be able to cast them RAW. Casting shield for example 2 or 3 times a day is not that great compared with the champions always on ability. Fighters a bit front loaded at low levels champions swapping places next tier up.

BM is punching alot harder in the combat pillar than everything else and is so front loaded level 1 to 3. I made an exception to my guidelines due to how out of whack it is.
 
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Autumn Bask

Villager
That is my criteria. I will also rate the classes tier 1 (good) to 5 (weak). If an archetype is better than the others even if those others are good they will be down a tier while the best archetype will be a tier higher. For example say you have one of the most powerful archetypes in the game, if there are better archetypes however that archetype will be tier 2 while the better one will be tier 1. The gaps in 5E are smaller but there are still gaps.
I initially really liked this method, in theory, when I first read it. But in practice, it makes reading the Tier list a bit confusing and deceptive at first glance. Since you're going with a more wide tier spread instead of trying to remain relative to 3.5 tiering, you might want to include .5 tiers in-between for the subclasses that aren't as good as their higher tier counterparts. The .5 tiers can represent classes that are still technically in that higher tier, but is "out-performed" by one of their own subclasses already in it (out-performed in quotations, cause, eh; that's often too strong of a word for it).
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I initially really liked this method, in theory, when I first read it. But in practice, it makes reading the Tier list a bit confusing and deceptive at first glance. Since you're going with a more wide tier spread instead of trying to remain relative to 3.5 tiering, you might want to include .5 tiers in-between for the subclasses that aren't as good as their higher tier counterparts. The .5 tiers can represent classes that are still technically in that higher tier, but is "out-performed" by one of their own subclasses already in it (out-performed in quotations, cause, eh; that's often too strong of a word for it).
THat will blow it out to around 10 tiers lol. I have done the next tier up and specified in some cases that some archetypes are a bit better than the others in the same tier but the difference is either marginal or personal preference.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
EK lacks the spells and may not be able to cast them RAW. Casting shield for example 2 or 3 times a day is not that great compared with the champions always on ability. Fighters a bit front loaded at low levels champions swapping places next tier up.

BM is punching alot harder in the combat pillar than everything else and is so front loaded level 1 to 3. I made an exception to my guidelines due to how out of whack it is.
Then I can go with the BM exception. I still don't get EK vs champion. Even if the EK just took 1 spell for out of combat use he isn't a tier behind the champion who gets about 1 extra crit per day in tier 1. Am I missing something?
 

Krachek

Explorer
Tier 2 is incomplete.
Where are the SorLock, Sorcadin?
Theses terms are so common that they are classes by themselves.
 

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