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D&D 5E Zard's S Tier Archetypes

All this discussion regarding the organization of a tier listing when we should be discussing
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Aldarc

Legend
I don't want to go down this rabbit hole too much because it really, REALLY, isn't that important, but I've seen the letter-tier system used to rank dungeon difficulty or the viability of specs in WoW, the best aesthetic skins in Fortnite, and the various characters for each role in LoL, which are the 3 most popular games streamed on Twitch. The concept isn't so ubiquitous that it's impossible to avoid, but I was first exposed to it back in the 90s, and I've only seen it in more and more places over the past decade or so.

Really, it isn't so much a system as much as "getting an S rank" or "being S tier" is simply a commonly utilized piece of video game jargon.
Yeah, I have seen this grading system applied to MMORPGs (WoW), MOBAs (LoL, HotS, Dota 2), Overwatch, and Smash Bros.. I've even seen it applied to ranking a band's albums, NBA teams and players, superheroes, and breakfast cereals. A cursory search for 'tier list' on YouTube even shows Ben Shapiro applying it to ranking US Presidents.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
Going back to the purpose of the OP rather than debating the prevalence of the ranking system...

Bard: Inspiration, Lore
Do you mean the College of Eloquence bard?

Cleric: death, light, life, twilight
Interestingly, Dungeon Dudes puts the Death Cleric at C tier and the Grave Cleric at A Tier. They and their community also list Forge Cleric as S Tier, Light Cleric as A Tier, and Tempest Cleric at S Tier. So that's a quite bit of variance between your S Tier ratings and theirs. (It was before Tasha's so no subclasses from that book.)

Rogue: Arcane Trickster (high level)
Just so we are clear, and I am using the Rogue citation as an example: What do you mean by "high level"? As in "high level" S Tier? Borderline "high level" A Tier - low S Tier? Or it only becomes S Tier at "high level"? This is unclear.

Wizard: Abjurer, Bladedancer, Diviner, Evocation, War
I'm not sure if it's possible for so many subclasses to be S Tier. It kinda dilutes the purpose of intra-class subclass tier rankings when almost half are ranked S Tier.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Going back to the purpose of the OP rather than debating the prevalence of the ranking system...


Do you mean the College of Eloquence bard?


Interestingly, Dungeon Dudes puts the Death Cleric at C tier and the Grave Cleric at A Tier. They and their community also list Forge Cleric as S Tier, Light Cleric as A Tier, and Tempest Cleric at S Tier. So that's a quite bit of variance between your S Tier ratings and theirs. (It was before Tasha's so no subclasses from that book.)


Just so we are clear, and I am using the Rogue citation as an example: What do you mean by "high level"? As in "high level" S Tier? Borderline "high level" A Tier - low S Tier? Or it only becomes S Tier at "high level"? This is unclear.


I'm not sure if it's possible for so many subclasses to be S Tier. It kinda dilutes the purpose of intra-class subclass tier rankings when almost half are ranked S Tier.

College of eloquence yes.

Death cleric got a lot better with xanathars and toll the dead. They can also smite with indict or even vampiric touch and regain the extra hit points.

Dungeon Dudes over rated heavy armor and martial weapons on clerics IMHO.

They also miss interactions sometimes with various abilities. They rate there's into the mid tiers I mostly focus on lvl 1-10.

For example they talk about casting shadow blade and haste as an arcane trickster. That not going to happen a lot in most games and when it does that's S tier hence why I said the AT is really good later on.

Alit of people also over rate the forge cleric imho. It's extra damage is fire, it's MAD if you use heavy armor and it's channel divinity isn't that great imho.

It's good though personally I would put it in A tier though.

Poison and fire damage very common resistance/immunity.

I'll have to look at grave, it's non PHB I may have overlooked. I think I prefer order cleric but once again I'll have to reread.
 


Death cleric got a lot better with xanathars and toll the dead. They can also smite with indict or even vampiric touch and regain the extra hit points.
I don't think anyone is evaluating Death Cleric without Toll the Dead. It's enough to make it average rather than poor, and even an average cleric is a strong class. But, post-Tasha's the "S" cleric is easy to spot - it's Twilight.
For example they talk about casting shadow blade and haste as an arcane trickster. That not going to happen a lot in most games and when it does that's S tier hence why I said the AT is really good later on.
You only need to be level 7 for Shadow Blade, which is hardly what I would consider high level. Besides, I think ATs are mostly highly regarded for Find Familiar, which they get at level 3. But, if them not to be "S" at low level, that means something else must be better. Which rogue subclass do you consider a better low level option?
Alit of people also over rate the forge cleric imho. It's extra damage is fire, it's MAD if you use heavy armor and it's channel divinity isn't that great imho.
I think Forge gets rated up because of it's ability to supply magic weapons at low level, which can make the difference between an easy win and "run away! Run away!". But you millage may vary if your game is magic weapon rich anyway.
I'll have to look at grave, it's non PHB I may have overlooked. I think I prefer order cleric but once again I'll have to reread.
I'll save you the bother. It's better than Death, but worse than Twilight.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I don't think anyone is evaluating Death Cleric without Toll the Dead. It's enough to make it average rather than poor, and even an average cleric is a strong class. But, post-Tasha's the "S" cleric is easy to spot - it's Twilight.

You only need to be level 7 for Shadow Blade, which is hardly what I would consider high level. Besides, I think ATs are mostly highly regarded for Find Familiar, which they get at level 3. But, if them not to be "S" at low level, that means something else must be better. Which rogue subclass do you consider a better low level option?

I think Forge gets rated up because of it's ability to supply magic weapons at low level, which can make the difference between an easy win and "run away! Run away!". But you millage may vary if your game is magic weapon rich anyway.

I'll save you the bother. It's better than Death, but worse than Twilight.

Yeah I read it a while ago didn't impress me.

Twilight, Forge, Order iirc all better off the top of my head.

I don't think I would put any rogue S tier early on. Maybe very specific builds with specific feats.

I like Forge domain for the record personally I put it A tier shrugs.
 

I don't think I would put any rogue S tier early on. Maybe very specific builds with specific feats.
By definition, something has to be better. Even if it's only better by way of having better development potential in the future.

I find swashbucklers are popular, but I think that is because they are easy to play rather than strong. But the AT has a lot of exploration tier strengths as well as strong combat abilities.

If you want to go look at something, you should check out the Glamour bard. That is rated very highly in my circle.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Death cleric got a lot better with xanathars and toll the dead. They can also smite with indict or even vampiric touch and regain the extra hit points.

Dungeon Dudes over rated heavy armor and martial weapons on clerics IMHO.
I agree that DDs overrate heavy armor on clerics, which is abundantly clear when watching their multiclass video.

For example they talk about casting shadow blade and haste as an arcane trickster. That not going to happen a lot in most games and when it does that's S tier hence why I said the AT is really good later on.
IMO, the AT is S Tier basically at all levels for Rogue simply in how the subclass increases the versatility of the class. While other Rogue subclasses remain the same with each new Xanathar's and Tasha's, a AT's range of possible spells increases as a wizard's does. Find Familiar is probably the most common non-Illusion/Enchantment pick for ATs at level 3.

Alit of people also over rate the forge cleric imho. It's extra damage is fire, it's MAD if you use heavy armor and it's channel divinity isn't that great imho.

It's good though personally I would put it in A tier though.

Poison and fire damage very common resistance/immunity.
It's not that MAD IME actually playing a Forge cleric from 1-10. You are mainly just concerned about Wisdom and then Strength, but it's not that difficult to achieve, and I played one using a Hill Dwarf. You can also use your +1 Forge ability on a weapon to compensate for Strength in the earlier levels.

While fire damage is a common resistance, it's still bonus damage. And most of what you are facing in the level 1-10 branch will be things like non-fire resistant humanoids. There are even more monsters that are vulnerable to fire than other damage types. I can't really recall facing too much in my campaign (levels 6-10) that actually were fire resistant. Most of the time, it was pure bonus damage. But if you are facing something fire immune, then you are better off falling back on your cleric spells anyway.
 

It's easy to get confused over resistances. "A lot of monsters listed in the monster manual have fire resistance" is not the same as "most of the monsters we are fighting have fire resistance". If you look at what the party are actually fighting most of the time, it tends to be poison, necrotic resistance, and resistance to non-magical weapons. But most common is no resistance at all.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It's easy to get confused over resistances. "A lot of monsters listed in the monster manual have fire resistance" is not the same as "most of the monsters we are fighting have fire resistance". If you look at what the party are actually fighting most of the time, it tends to be poison, necrotic resistance, and resistance to non-magical weapons. But most common is no resistance at all.

True but all clerics get bonus damage in some way. Other types get radiance for example.
 

True but all clerics get bonus damage in some way. Other types get radiance for example.
Radiance is really good, but it won't stop a troll regenerating. Fire, on the other hand is much better than necrotic, poison, or lightning*, when you look at what the cleric is usually fighting. And most of the time, the type of damage doesn't matter at all.

*There is quite a lot of outright immunity to lightning.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Radiance is really good, but it won't stop a troll regenerating. Fire, on the other hand is much better than necrotic, poison, or lightning*, when you look at what the cleric is usually fighting. And most of the time, the type of damage doesn't matter at all.

*There is quite a lot of outright immunity to lightning.

Yeah lightning is kinda bad. Not much vulnerable to it either.

There was a list floating around, frost and poison are bad, fire by the numbers bad but has more positives, psychic, radiant, force very good.

Necrotic highly placed as well and it's not hard as a cleric to bust out radiance if you do encounter undead.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I don't think that the damage type of a Cleric's ribbon ability makes or breaks a cleric when it comes to the tier list, unless it was something particularly egregious like Poison.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I don't think that the damage type of a Cleric's ribbon ability makes or breaks a cleric when it comes to the tier list, unless it was something particularly egregious like Poison.

Not by itself but you have things like the light cleric that's loaded with awesome sauce.
 

Yeah lightning is kinda bad. Not much vulnerable to it either.

There was a list floating around, frost and poison are bad, fire by the numbers bad but has more positives, psychic, radiant, force very good.

Necrotic highly placed as well and it's not hard as a cleric to bust out radiance if you do encounter undead.
Those numbers are based on how often those resistances appear in the MM, not on how often those creatures are typically encountered. The typical adventurer fights lots of undead, and a lot of undead are at least resistant to necrotic damage. And many of the monsters with cold resistance are rarely encountered.

Certainly psychic, radiant and force damage are good, but so is Thunder, and (people forget this) magical s/p/b.

Fire, cold and acid are middle tier.
 

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