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5E Worst Classes Level 1.


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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
It's strange that wizards are rated so much better than sorcerers at level 1, and why? Because they can prepare 4 spells? But look at what's actually going on in probably most games:

  • 4 prepared spells does not equal 4 cast spells
  • both classes have 2 spell slots
  • one of those slots is probably going to be used for something like mage armor, leaving 1
  • spell slots regen on a long rest, so during an adventuring day, you're probably casting cantrips 10-20x more often than an actual level 1 spell.
  • sorcerers get an extra cantrip

So in actual game play, for a typical adventuring day, you're getting much more flexibility out of that extra cantrip than you are out of the ability to prepare 2 extra types of spells. I.e, let's say you casts 15 cantrip spells and 2 spell slots an adventuring day. Having 4 options 15 times a day (cantrip) plus 2 options twice a day (spells known) is more than 3 options 15 times a day plus 4 options twice a day. 64 to 53 to be exact.

A wizard might get one damage cantrip and two utility cantrips like minor illusion and prestidigitation. And hope you're not fighting a creature that is resistant to your one damage cantrip. A sorcerer can do that, and get another damage cantrip for a different type, or add mage hand or message or mending on top of that--all things used more often the 2 spell slots.

I'm not saying the sorcerer is objectively better, I'm just saying it shouldn't be this big gap that some are presenting it as, and probably comes down to subjective personal preference.
At level 1 Wizards get arcane recovery which gives them more spells to cast in a day than other casters. They also have a familiar to help with exploration. They also get at least 1 other ritual they can cast as well as preparing 4 spells. They also typically have the best investigation - a skill that comes up pretty often in exploration in my experience.
 

Ashrym

Hero
At level 1 Wizards get arcane recovery which gives them more spells to cast in a day than other casters. They also have a familiar to help with exploration. They also get at least 1 other ritual they can cast as well as preparing 4 spells. They also typically have the best investigation - a skill that comes up pretty often in exploration in my experience.
IME the extra cantrip comes into play more often than the spell slot, and investigation on a wizard isn't more common than persuasion or deception on a sorcerer.

Rituals are nice. Unseen servants and familiars are useful. On a similar note, however, sorcs also get a bloodline at 1st level and better concentration checks.

Wizards have such a strong ritual list and mechanic it"s hard not to support their advantage. I just don't think sorcs are that far behind at that level.

Barbarians, monks, and rangers are the classes I think get the least out of 1st level. Monks and rangers get a little under valued in skills when both focus on WIS and DEX naturally but that has limited impact.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
IME the extra cantrip comes into play more often than the spell slot, and investigation on a wizard isn't more common than persuasion or deception on a sorcerer.

Rituals are nice. Unseen servants and familiars are useful. On a similar note, however, sorcs also get a bloodline at 1st level and better concentration checks.

Wizards have such a strong ritual list and mechanic it"s hard not to support their advantage. I just don't think sorcs are that far behind at that level.

Barbarians, monks, and rangers are the classes I think get the least out of 1st level. Monks and rangers get a little under valued in skills when both focus on WIS and DEX naturally but that has limited impact.
agreed. I wasn’t Trying to say wizard was better than sorc just that he’s Pretty much I n the same boat.
 

Iry

Adventurer
Barbarians, monks, and rangers are the classes I think get the least out of 1st level. Monks and rangers get a little under valued in skills when both focus on WIS and DEX naturally but that has limited impact.
Yeah, the impact is not huge but Dex and Wis have very nice skills to be proficient in. Barbarians have the coolest button in the game but how much does it actually help?

It turns 15 HP into 30 HP twice a day, but it has conditions. Only 1 minute each, not against elemental damage, it can fade early, and only gives damage to strength attacks.

Don't get me wrong, that's still really powerful and you get to roar at the table. But the fighter gets 32.5 HP without a time or elemental restriction, and that goes up if you have more than 2 short rests (not guaranteed). It's just not flashy.

Barbarians feel really cool, but they are one of the weakest at 1st level. Still a solid 2,0,0 using that other fellows rating, but just a little less useful than everyone else.
 
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dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Yeah, the impact is not huge but Dex and Wis have very nice skills to be proficient in. Barbarians have the coolest button in the game but how much does it actually help?

It turns 15 HP into 30 HP twice a day, but it has conditions. Only 1 minute each, not against elemental damage, it can fade early, and only gives damage to strength attacks.

Don't get me wrong, that's still really powerful and you get to roar at the table. But the fighter gets 32.5 HP without a time or elemental restriction, and that goes up if you have more than 2 short rests (not guaranteed). It's just not flashy.

Barbarians feel really cool, but they are one of the weakest at 1st level. Still a solid 2,0,0 using that other fellows rating, but just a little less useful than everyone else.
I put them at 2,1,0, giving 1 for exploration due to their class skills and have CON saves, but you make good points about rage and its uses.

In terms of enjoyability, I have to admit when characters use Second Wind during a combat, the players joke and suck in deep breaths, etc. However, when someone rages, the shouting and chest thumping is more entertaining to me anyway. :)

EDIT: overall personally I would rate the fighter higher mechanically also because fighting styles are always "on".
 
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Iry

Adventurer
In tnrms of enjoyability, I have to admit when characters use Second Wind during a combat, the players joke and suck in deep breaths, etc. However, when someone rages, the shouting and chest thumping is more entertaining to me anyway. :)
Yeah, flashy is usually great for morale. A raging barbarian gets the blood pumping even if you're not the barbarian.

But rangers? Even after level 1 they are an invisible class, where nothing interesting happens when the class succeeds.

I avoid this by describing what the ranger avoided. "Jane recognizes a sand trap just before someone walks into it." "Bob navigates the mountains with ease, even guiding you around a pair of camping Giants."

Granted, these are things a perception or stealth check could also do, but I narrate it like a knowledge check for the ranger.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Yeah, flashy is usually great for morale. A raging barbarian gets the blood pumping even if you're not the barbarian.

But rangers? Even after level 1 they are an invisible class, where nothing interesting happens when the class succeeds.

I avoid this by describing what the ranger avoided. "Jane recognizes a sand trap just before someone walks into it." "Bob navigates the mountains with ease, even guiding you around a pair of camping Giants."

Granted, these are things a perception or stealth check could also do, but I narrate it like a knowledge check for the ranger.
I get what you mean, but I still enjoy rangers. For instance, with an elf ranger I have six skills instead of only 4 that most characters will have. A lot of people might not rate two extra skills (one for the elf, though) as great, but I like it personally. Favored Enemy is weak compared to "Giant-Class Opponents" in 1E, but by level 2 they start to pick up a lot of steam for me. I like the spell selection as an add on and enjoy the subclasses and general flavor of the class. Tack on the fighting style and you can have some good fun with a ranger IMO.

But, at level 1, only the extra skill choice and skills geared towards typically high ability scores (DEX, WIS) makes them shine for exploration. They do suffer a bit in combat compared to Fighters and Barbarians, but I still rate them as good overall.

I like your narrative flare though and think it adds more to them then making a check.

EDIT: To add, we give Paladins and Rangers cantrips (Cleric and Druid, respectively), even at level 1. It really bothers me that EK and AT get cantrips, while the two "half-caster" classes don't get any. Makes no sense IMO.
 

I am playing with giving all rangers the primal animal companion in the variants UA starting at level 1 (including bonus action attack). BM would just get more boosts.

It woukd give rangers a unifying identity and flavorful mechanics at level 1.

The BM ranger would be like the moon druid; would boost the companion more.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
IME the extra cantrip comes into play more often than the spell slot, and investigation on a wizard isn't more common than persuasion or deception on a sorcerer.

Rituals are nice. Unseen servants and familiars are useful. On a similar note, however, sorcs also get a bloodline at 1st level and better concentration checks.

Wizards have such a strong ritual list and mechanic it"s hard not to support their advantage. I just don't think sorcs are that far behind at that level.

Barbarians, monks, and rangers are the classes I think get the least out of 1st level. Monks and rangers get a little under valued in skills when both focus on WIS and DEX naturally but that has limited impact.
AFAIC, the wizard has an advantage with ritual, but the sorcerer has advantage with extra cantrips. A person's favorite probably comes down to a matter of taste and playstyle. me? I use the flexibility of cantrips way more frequently than I cast actual spells (even ritual). So while I am not saying the sorcerer is better than the wizard, I am saying it's not nearly as bad as some are arguing, and certainly isn't nearly as big of a gap as many have listed.

Coincidentally, the PC I'm playing now is a sorcerer, and the my last PC was a wizard ;)
 

Ashrym

Hero
Don't get me wrong, that's still really powerful and you get to roar at the table. But the fighter gets 32.5 HP without a time or elemental restriction, and that goes up if you have more than 2 short rests (not guaranteed). It's just not flashy.
Second wind is awesome at 1st level.

Rage is decent enough but I get armor because the unarmored AC doesn't do much other than save starting gold at that level. And like you say, rage has restrictions and can end early.

Heavy armor, sleep spell, and healing abilities are where I see the most combat benefits at that level. Damage means less when a PC's DPR hits 0 along with his or her HP.

AFAIC, the wizard has an advantage with ritual, but the sorcerer has advantage with extra cantrips. A person's favorite probably comes down to a matter of taste and playstyle. me? I use the flexibility of cantrips way more frequently than I cast actual spells (even ritual). So while I am not saying the sorcerer is better than the wizard, I am saying it's not nearly as bad as some are arguing, and certainly isn't nearly as big of a gap as many have listed.

Coincidentally, the PC I'm playing now is a sorcerer, and the my last PC was a wizard ;)
I prefer the sorcerer for metamagic later. I find an extra cantrip is handy, but that's compared to a 1st level spell or two cast as rituals if it's a utility cantrip or a situational combat benefit versus an extra slot from a short rest if it's a alternative attack cantrip.

I think gaining the bloodline abilities at 1st level carries more appeal than the cantrip.
 

Minigiant

Legend
When it comes to the Sorcerer's extra cantrip and the Wizard's spellbook rituals, it's even to me. The bonus utility cantrip can be as useful as more 1st level rituals for level 1 appropriate adventures.
What puts Wizard on topis the high number of spell known and Arcane Recovery granting 1 more spell slot.

Now the low slots and cantrips really hurt a Warlock but a Hexblade's blade is basically another cantrip so that can bring it up to Sorcerer tier.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Now the low slots and cantrips really hurt a Warlock but a Hexblade's blade is basically another cantrip so that can bring it up to Sorcerer tier.
Warlocks cast 3 slots at 1st level (based on standard assumptions) like a wizard and have a patron ability like sorcs have a bloodline.
 

Barbarians are fairly resilient at 1st level. Armor plus shield or Unarmored Defense, (if you have the stats), nets around a 17 AC. The monsters run around the AC 19-20 Fighter with a shield, the Barbarian at least is a good target.

Also a 5 minute work day, 1st level adventure is not that rare I suspect.
The D&D Starter Set has an option to encounter a Manticore as one of three initial quests.
A Barbarian fares better then most in this scenario.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Warlocks cast 3 slots at 1st level (based on standard assumptions) like a wizard and have a patron ability like sorcs have a bloodline.
Wizards gets at least two and maybe 3 spells.

Warlock gets 1 spell maybe 2, crapshoot in the 3rd.

I like warlocks a lot but I've noticed newer players lean heavily towards going nova then wanting to rest.

I'm thinking if just doubling or tripling short rest abilities and eliminating short rests.

Doesn't really fix it though. Also a side effect of fewer 5E spell slots relative to say 3E.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Barbarians are fairly resilient at 1st level. Armor plus shield or Unarmored Defense, (if you have the stats), nets around a 17 AC. The monsters run around the AC 19-20 Fighter with a shield, the Barbarian at least is a good target.

Also a 5 minute work day, 1st level adventure is not that rare I suspect.
The D&D Starter Set has an option to encounter a Manticore as one of three initial quests.
A Barbarian fares better then most in this scenario.
Manticores fly and are reasonably intelligent. A barbarian loses rage if he or she doesn't attack or take damage.

We cannot make an assumption about a monster bypassing the fighter without acknowledging the barbarian might not get attacked in the same scenario.

Barbarians are fairly resilient at 1st level but that's doesn't seem as good as higher AC and self healing on a fighter or paladin.

Wizards gets at least two and maybe 3 spells.

Warlock gets 1 spell maybe 2, crapshoot in the 3rd.

I like warlocks a lot but I've noticed newer players lean heavily towards going nova then wanting to rest.
Wizards get 3 if there are any short rests which would give the warlock the same 2 and patron abilities.

Without short rests at all the warlock might suffer but then the wizard loses one of the advantages over a sorcerer, and if we acknowledge there might be fewer than 2 short rests we would also need to acknowledge there can be more.

We can't claim the party can take a long rest when that time frame automatically allows multiple short rests as well. If the group can take a long rest then they have time to take a short rest and continue. A warlock could use 4 or 5 slots at 1st level on the same note as having less. Especially in low level city quests or wilderness travel.

I don't see lack of short rest opportunity as a strong argument here.

Nova is definitely an issue at later levels for warlocks but not 1st level. Two 1st level spells doesn't give significant nova power yet.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Manticores fly and are reasonably intelligent. A barbarian loses rage if he or she doesn't attack or take damage.

We cannot make an assumption about a monster bypassing the fighter without acknowledging the barbarian might not get attacked in the same scenario.

Barbarians are fairly resilient at 1st level but that's doesn't seem as good as higher AC and self healing on a fighter or paladin.



Wizards get 3 if there are any short rests which would give the warlock the same 2 and patron abilities.

Without short rests at all the warlock might suffer but then the wizard loses one of the advantages over a sorcerer, and if we acknowledge there might be fewer than 2 short rests we would also need to acknowledge there can be more.

We can't claim the party can take a long rest when that time frame automatically allows multiple short rests as well. If the group can take a long rest then they have time to take a short rest and continue. A warlock could use 4 or 5 slots at 1st level on the same note as having less. Especially in low level city quests or wilderness travel.

I don't see lack of short rest opportunity as a strong argument here.

Nova is definitely an issue at later levels for warlocks but not 1st level. Two 1st level spells doesn't give significant nova power yet.
I've seen people dump 2 sleep spells and want to rest.

Personally I like warlocks just fine and find them better than wizards at lower levels which is more important than later.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I can’t decide if warlocks or rangers are worse at level 1.
They are both in the running for sure. I lean to warlock being worse because a ranger can still shoot arrows but needs GM to make the level 1 abilities useful but the warlock only has 2 cantrips and one spell slot unless your GM is providing a number of short rests. If your a caster your the weakest caster in the game, if you wanted to go martial you have crap for armor, no shield, and no proficiency in the weapons you want until level 3 pact of the blade unless you take Hexblade as your subclass if thats allowed in your campaign, you can't tank, you can't heal unless your an asimar celestial patron, and even if your a human variant with feat you can't scout well until level 2 with devils sight. Really, Warlock is waiting for level 3 to show up and do anything while the ranger can still at least track and fight.

That's my take on it any way.

Monk gets a bad rap, but my wife played one and the off hand attack meant at the very least she was out damaging everyone else melee with a sword hit and a punch more so versus level 1 CR1/8 enemies or lower she could one shot easily killing two per round. She had a AC15 out the gate and actual carried her group through her first mission.

Sorcerers get 4 starting cantrips and 2 first level spells which makes them one of the strongest first level casters for the sake of having the right cantrip for the job at level 1 and enough spell slots to do something interesting. Not sure why people are rating them low.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I've seen people dump 2 sleep spells and want to rest.

Personally I like warlocks just fine and find them better than wizards at lower levels which is more important than later.
That's not much of a nova over one sleep spell in a fight compared to 2 sleep spells in a day vs 6 sleep spells in the same day using multiple rests from the archfey.

That gets back to patrons at 1st level. Better spell lists and bonus abilities.
 

Manticores fly and are reasonably intelligent. A barbarian loses rage if he or she doesn't attack or take damage.
That is all true..but I’ve seen a Fighter try to lasso a Manticore, and need a timely expenditure of an Inspiration point by another PC, (as well as a plaintive plea to be allowed to act out of turn), to cast the Guidance cantrip to keep the Fighter from being carried aloft.

Having Advantage on the oppressed Str check, to be kept from being carried aloft, makes it that more likely the group does not need to expend those resources. The true role of the Barbarian is: The Survivor, at 1st level...that role helps the entire PC group to live, by not needing their help to live.

In a hard fight, the difference from having victory to having a TPK is very slight.
 

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