Guides

Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition) Class Tier List – 2019

Check out our ranking of the best Dungeons and Dragons classes down below.
Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Image credit to dnd.wizards.com

Since the mid-1970s, tabletop fans have been gathering together, dice in hand, to play Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s long-famous Dungeons and Dragons masterpiece. The game, of course, has gone through some changes over the years. Since being acquired by Wizards of the Coast, the company best known for Magic: The Gathering, D&D has gone through five different editions.

With every new edition, the mechanics and world building of the D&D universe have received some slight tweaks. Fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons has caused a massive resurgence in the game’s popularity, leaving many avid tabletop fans curious about how to pick up their dice and play the incredibly fun game.

One of the first choices a new D&D player is confronted with is selecting a class. If you are having trouble choosing a class for your game, then look no further. Check out our tier list down below to see how each class ranks and which one is perfect for you.

Tier List Descriptions

  • Tier S — These classes are extremely strong. Versatile, dominant in combat and just plain fun, these warriors are safe picks no matter the situation.
  • Tier A — These classes are powerful, though not unbeatable. If you want to ensure that your class does not hold you back, then you can’t go wrong with these characters.
  • Tier B — Average, these classes are capable and dependable. While not the most powerful characters to choose from, these classes can still be a lot of fun.
  • Tier C — These classes are generally considered less powerful than many of their counterparts. However, these characters can be quite useful and quite fun situationally.
  • Tier D — Generally considered the weakest classes, these characters are not highly suggested for first time players.

It is important to note that every player is different. Just because a class is not statistically maximized for combat does not mean the class is incapable of providing a player hours upon hours of incredible fun. This tier list is meant to act simply as a guide.

Check out our detailed breakdown of each class down below before deciding which class is right for you. If you would like to build one of D&D’s top tier characters for yourself, check out our guides here.

Bard

Barbarian

Fighter

Monk

Paladin

Warlock

Wizard

S

Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Bard — The bard is truly special. While many of D&D’s classes have firm grasps on the arcane or divine powers, the bard uniquely has the potential to have a firm grip over many different disciplines of magic. Every bard learns “magical secrets” at level 10, allowing the character the ability to learn upwards of six spells from any spell list in the game. If the player chooses to be a college of lore bard, then the player will be able to choose two non-bard spells by level six. This is incredibly advantageous, as the player is able to truly customize their bard’s skillset to fit their party. Need more healing? You can choose a handful of healing spells from the cleric spell list. Need some AoE damage? The wizard spell list is filled to the brim with damaging spells. Beyond that, the bard is the most capable of orchestrating the battlefield thanks to the large number of buffing, debuffing and crowd control spells natively found within their spell list and thanks to the decisive edge offered by a steady flow of inspiration die. If that wasn’t already enough, the bard holds some quality utility outside of combat thanks to the class’s “jack of all trades” and “expertise” abilities. Consequently, a bard can have great success with a large variety of skill checks. Ultimately, the bard is one of the most adaptive and highly customizable classes within the game. If you want to be useful both in and out of combat, want to orchestrate each battle with magical precision and want to be able to adapt to every situation, then you cannot go wrong by choosing a bard. My personal favorite bard archetypes are college of valor and college of lore.
Image credit to 5esrd.com
  • Fighter When it comes to pure combat prowess, no one outclasses the fighter. Concerning defense, the fighter has a small collection of useful abilities. With a d10 hit die, the fighter has the second largest hit die in the game. Consequently, the player can achieve a pretty sizable maximum health if they place a chunk of their ability points into constitution. Beyond that, the fighter’s second wind and indomitable abilities provide a minimal improvement to the class’s sustain. If you choose to make dexterity a dump stat for your fighter, your character still has proficiency with all armors and with shields. Consequently, there will never be an excuse for having a low armor class when using a fighter. The true power of the fighter, however, is the class’s ability to deal incredible amounts of damage. The fighter natively learns how to use upwards of four attacks per turn, which doubles the attack rate of any other class. But, the fighter can double his attacks per turn by using his action surge ability. Consequently, the fighter can burst down almost any standard enemy in a single or only a few turns if built properly. My personal favorite fighter archetypes are the battle master and the brute.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Paladin Paladins are just plain fun. The paladin has a hefty d10 hit die, giving the character the second highest potential for maximum health out of all the classes. The paladin is also proficient with all armors and with shields. Consequently, it is quite easy to get a high armor class with the character. The end result is that paladins can be wonderful tanks if necessary. That being said, a paladin can dish it out just as well as they can take it. Thanks to their martial weapon proficiency, divine smite, extra attack per turn and a spell list decked out with a bevy of combat-oriented spells, paladins are also capable of dishing out top tier damage. While these are already plenty of reasons to pick up a paladin, the class also has some serious healing potential. The paladin’s spell list is full of useful healing spells, but its the paladin’s channel energy and lay on hands abilities that really separate the class’s healing from the rest of the pack. My personal favorite paladin archetypes are the oath of treachery and the oath of conquest.

A

Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Cleric — When it comes to healing, no class compares to the cleric. This character’s spell list is chock full of incredibly useful healing and debuff removal spells. If your team needs more sustain, then it will likely be best to bring a cleric into the fold. The cleric can hold their own in combat, thanks to the class’s proficiency with medium armor and shields. However, clerics only get one attack per turn and are somewhat held back by their smaller d8 hit die. Consequently, you can make a quasi-tank out of a cleric. However, a cleric will never have the tanking abilities or damage dealing of some other classes. My personal favorite cleric archetypes are life domain and war domain.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Druid — Druids can be incredibly fun to play, as well as incredibly useful. The druid has a pretty similar spell list to that of a cleric. Consequently, druids can be great healers for your team. Beyond that, the druid has a variety of summoning spells that can help draw aggro and tank for your team. The class’s wild shape ability only adds to the druid’s unique brand of tank abilities. Ultimately, the druid is capable of doing a little of everything. However, the druid is also not quite the master of any particular craft. The class can tank, thanks to the wild shape ability and the list of summoning spells. The class can heal, thanks to the druid’s many healing spells that are shared with the cleric spell list. The druid also knows a handful of AoE damage dealing spells. Ultimately, the druid is a pretty well-rounded class. The only disadvantage is that the druid is not truly a master of much. My favorite druid archetypes are circle of the moon and circle of the shepherd.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Warlock Warlocks are incredibly unique characters. Beyond that, these eldritch warriors are more well equipped for combat than some of their spell casting counterparts. Warlocks have a much more restricted library of known spells and spell slots alike. However, these characters are almost always willing to blow all of their spell slots every encounter because warlocks uniquely get their spells back on short rests. The end result is that warlocks can focus their spells on buffing themselves and boosting their damage in every exchange. Warlocks are also highly adaptable when it comes to dealing damage. The pact weapon feature makes any warlock capable of dealing damage in melee when necessary. Beyond that, the unique warlock cantrip eldritch blast can provide adequate ranged damage all the way to level 20. If you are looking for something a little different that offers some flexibility concerning play style, the warlock can be an incredibly fun class. My personal favorite warlock archetypes are hexblade and raven queen.

B

Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Barbarian The barbarian has the potential to be one of the most fun classes to play. The character has a d12 hit die, the largest hit die in the game. Beyond that, the barbarian’s rage ability allows the class a chance to half physical damage for a short time. Ultimately, the character’s massive hit die, rage ability and unarmored defense ability join together to make the barbarian one of the greatest tanks within Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, the barbarian can dish out some serious damage as well. The barbarian earns a second attack at level five. Beyond that, the class gets a scaling, static damage bonus when raging. The barbarian’s reckless attack ability also allows the class advantage on attacks, though enemies will have advantage on attacks against the barbarian as a result. Ultimately, the barbarian is capable of being a better tank than pretty much any other class. Beyond that, the class deals enough damage to threaten your standard enemy. The class’s increased movement speed also makes the barbarian great for dashing into your enemy’s back line so that you can pressure the enemy glass canons and healers. The largest drawback of the barbarian is the class’s damage dealing is not quite on the same level as the fighter’s damage or even potentially the paladin’s damage. The barbarian is also one of the weakest of the group when it comes to utility out of combat. That being said, the barbarian can still be incredibly useful to the team and is lots of fun to play. My personal favorite barbarian archetypes are the ancestral guardian and the berserker.

C

Image credit to gmbinder.com
  • Artificer — Artificers are quite unique. Rather than leaning on the strength of their spellcasting, artificers largely rely on the strength of their gear. Artificers have d8 hit die, making them vulnerable when it comes to maximum health. However, they also have proficiency in medium armor and shields. Consequently, an artificer can be built into a tank but the results will be less impressive than other classes may be able to offer. An artificer can also situationally get a second attack. Of course, artificers are not proficient with martial weapons so the maximum potential for weapon damage is not as high as it could be. Still, artificers can be quite useful out of combat thanks to their multiple tool proficiencies. Beyond that, the artificer’s unique ability to boost their gear makes them marginally effective at dealing damage or tanking in combat. Ultimately an artificer is entirely capable of being useful in almost any team composition. However, the class is less equipped for combat effectiveness or out of combat utility than some other classes. My personal favorite artificer archetype is the alchemist.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Ranger — The ranger is uniquely equipped to guide the party to their destination. However, the ranger is not necessarily the best class for helping out once that destination is reached. The ranger has a bevy of unique abilities that the entire party can benefit from, including the inability for the party to get lost during a lengthy journey and the ability to avoid negative effects from difficult terrain during long journeys. The ranger can also be a great scout, as the class can boost its stealth with spells like pass without a trace. Ultimately, rangers make the best scouts and the best guides for any party. However, rangers are not specially equipped for dealing damage or being tanks within combat. Rangers are proficient with medium armor and shields. Beyond that, they have d10 hit dies. Consequently, players will be better off learning how to tank with the ranger class than dealing much damage. My favorite ranger archetypes are beast master conclave and the hunter conclave.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Rogue — The rogue can be a tough class to master in combat. The class is highly mobile, as rogues can disengage or dash as a bonus action. Consequently, rogues are great at diving into the enemy’s backline and pressuring some of the enemy team’s weaker members. Thanks to the rogue’s ability to hide as a bonus action, it is also highly suggested to do everything you can to avoid damage every turn. In order to increase the rogue’s sustain, move in from a distance to deal damage. Then, move away with your additional movement before using your bonus action to hide. The rogue is not really capable of tanking much, so you will want to utilize this feature as much as you can. Thanks to the rogue’s sneak attack feature, the class is capable of dealing moderate damage. However, the rogue’s damage is largely situational and cannot compete with the damage outputs of some other classes. The rogue’s lack of combat prowess, however, is somewhat compensated for outside of battle. The rogue’s expertise and reliable talent abilities make the rogue wonderfully equipped to complete skill checks outside of combat. Consequently, the rogue is best reserved for players that want to be able to help in battle but want the freedom to truly utilize their abilities elsewhere if needed. My favorite rogue archetypes are assassin and arcane trickster.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Sorcerer — The sorcerer can be incredibly fun, though not as rewarding in combat as other classes. The sorcerer has a bevy of AoE damage dealing spells at their disposal. However, the class offers little concerning single target damage. Consequently, the sorcerer’s ability to deal damage is largely situational. With a d6 hit die and no armor or shield proficiencies, the sorcerer is also defensively quite vulnerable. However, the sorcerer’s unique metamagic ability gives the class a rather uplifting quality of inventiveness. Beyond that, players that choose the divine soul archetype will also have a bevy of healing spells at their disposal. This class is not suggested for new players, but more experienced players looking for a bit more of a challenge and more inventive play style will likely have lots of fun with this class. My personal favorite sorcerer archetypes are stone sorcery and divine soul.

D

  • Monk The monk is a rather interesting class, though not a particularly useful one. The monk is highly mobile, as the class gets an additional 30ft of movement by level 20 and can use their step of the wind ability to dash as a bonus action. Consequently, the monk is best used as a gorilla fighter. Step into combat from afar, deal your damage and then use step of the wind to disengage and get away from the action. The player can also use the monk’s impressive mobility to leap into the enemy’s backline and pressure some of the enemy force’s weaker members. The issue with either of these strategies, however, is that the monk is not particularly great at tanking or at dealing damage. The monk only has a d8 hit die and will likely be more useful without a shield. Consequently, the player will have to dump many ability points into constitution if they wish to tank at all. Beyond that, monks are only proficient with simple weapons and short swords. There are ways around this issue, but most monk builds depend on the scaling unarmed damage that is unique to the class. Thanks to the flurry of blows ability, a monk can deal up to four attacks per turn for a short time. However, an unarmed monk can not benefit from damage boosting feats like sharpshooter or great weapon master. Monks also cannot buff their damage with paladin spells like banishing smite or buff their tanking abilities with arcane spells like mirror image. Consequently, monks are not effective tanks or really effective damage dealers. As a monk, a player can easily move around the battlefield. However, the player will have to get creative if they want to provide utility in combat. My personal favorite monk archetypes are way of tranquility and way of the open hand.
Image credit to dndbeyond.com
  • Wizard Especially inventive and otherwise creative players may want to check out the wizard class. The class lacks in hard-hitting combat prowess, but makes up for it in arcane wonders. The wizard is quite disarmed when it comes to combat. With a d6 hit die, the wizard has the lowest maximum health of all the classes. Beyond that, the wizard is not natively proficient in any of the armor types. Consequently, the wizard is defensively the most vulnerable out of all of the classes. The character does know some mildly effective AoE damage dealing spells. With this being the wizard’s most effective form of damage dealing, the class is quite dependant on enemy positioning in order to really lay down any punishment. In the end, the wizard is only situationally useful in combat. Of course, the class’s strengths remain elsewhere. The wizard can excel when it comes to out of combat utility. While the class’s skill checks cannot rival the bard or the rogue, the wizard has a bevy of fascinating spells at their disposal. Consequently, the wizard is best reserved for advanced players that are looking for a more challenging and inventive Dungeons and Dragons experience. My personal favorite wizard archetypes are the school of bladesinging and the school of war magic.

Drop a comment and let us know what you think of the official GameTruth D&D class tier list. For all your D&D needs, check out Dungeons and Dragons Guides Portal – Anything and Everything D&D.

Author

Hunter Boyce is a writer, which probably seems pretty obvious with "author" prominently displayed. He mostly writes about video games. However, he was previously a mixed martial arts news writer. When not writing about people pelting each other in the face or about leveling up in the latest RPG, he tends to spend his time as a web producer in Atlanta. You can shout all of your MMA and video game related quandaries at him at @SomthinClever on Twitter. Feel free to make your demands to him in ALL CAPS. He loves that.

9 Comments

    • Hunter Boyce Reply

      Hey, Ian. You are entitled to your opinion and I hope you continue to enjoy playing D&D.

  1. Pablo Chávez Romero Reply

    Uh, sorry, what? Wizards are consistently among the most powerful classes. Fireball ends encounters on his own, then you have animate objects to make massive damage (10 tiny objects = 10d4+40 damage at +8 to hit, as a bonus action) polymorph turns that half-dead rogue or that bard with no more spell slots into a giant ape of rage, haste means that barbarian is 50% more effective, banishment is a classic “save or suck” spell…..and at high levels you have simulacrum, maze and forcecage and finally you get wish, shapechange and prismatic wall

    • Hunter Boyce Reply

      Hey, Pablo. You are entitled to your opinion. I think the wizard is a fun class and is definitely worth playing if it interest you. I hope you continue to enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons.

  2. Grady Elliott Reply

    I have to agree with the other comments here. The Wizard is a top-tier class.

    • Hunter Boyce Reply

      Hey, Grady! I see what you’re saying. I promise that I’m not trying to throw shade at wizard players. I think it is a really fun and unique class, so I hope not to deter you from playing.

  3. Better title for article would be: “Is Tank?” Because that seems to be the rating scale outside of Bard.

    • Hunter Boyce Reply

      Hey, JDG. I would agree that being tanky is a great quality. However, it’s more about being well rounded. At least, that is my opinion.

Write A Comment