The gnolls had been rampaging across the province for days, leaving the burning husks of farmsteads and hamlets behind them. They didn’t see the landscape change, the subtle shift of the hedgerows, the end of the young pine trees and the beginning of the old, strong oaks, but the Ranger noticed. She sensed their murderous presence as soon as they entered the terrain she called home. Her steps became one with the falling leaves as she stalked her prey, marking them one by one in her mind’s eye.
She took the first two with the bow, an arrow each as they passed over moss thick enough to muffle their fall. The remainder, she decided to deal with more directly, calling upon the power of the forest to fill their path with an ashen fog. Their barks and yips betrayed their confusion as she sprinted from one side of them to the other, the edges of her knives found fiendish flesh each time. When the fog cleared, her breathing was still fast as she looked upon the fallen. The forest would take them now.
You’ve always been drawn to nature, with a fierce desire to protect it, and others, from the dangers lurking beyond the confines of civilization. Now you’re ready to step into that role of protector and explorer, with a yearning to see new lands and become one with them. You want to play a Ranger, so grab your bow, and let’s hike out.
In this Ranger DnD 5E guide, we’ll train you on your options as a Ranger, as well as supportive choices you can make to build your character to achieve what you want. Whilst reading through this guide, you may find this article on jargon and this list of books (and their common abbreviations) helpful.
This guide will evaluate each option for the Ranger on a scale of 1-5 — this is a rating of the abilities’ potency and overall usefulness, primarily focusing on combat where appropriate. That said, I will still evaluate everything, hopefully to aid you weigh any choices you might be considering at a glance, helping you know what to expect and make changes accordingly, if desired. The rating scheme is:
Usually a bad choice, to be avoided
Below average, this can apply to powerful but very niche abilities
This rating system exists to best help you understand the effectiveness of all the options available to the Artificer for you to build and enjoy your character. Remember though, your fun comes first; it’s actually very difficult to build a character that is entirely bad in 5E, so if you have a concept that doesn’t rate highly, you might still have fun playing it. This is a guide, not a contract written by Asmodeus. Let it advise you and not force you away from your own ideas.
It’s recommended to have your book/PDF/DnD Beyond page open to reference and follow along with the guide.
Hit Dice (4) – The second hughes Hit Die available, this is more than adequate for melee Rangers and excellent for ranged ones.
Armor (5) – The only armor you don’t have access to is heavy, which is of no great loss to you unless you were planning a heavy weapon using build. Medium or light armor with a shield offers a good AC, with the option to raise it higher with other features.
Weapons (5) – You have access to all weapons, which is as good as it gets. Might I recommend the sling? Just kidding, unless you take the Crusher feat from (much) later in the guide.
Tools (1) – You don’t get any tool proficiencies, which is a shame as a Herbalism Kit would be very appropriate for this wild martial.
Saving Throws (5) – Dexterity is an excellent saving throw proficiency to have, being very common and usually resulting in damaging effects. Strength is considered a weak save but is reasonably common and often leads to conditions like prone or restrained, which set you up for more hurt down the road.
Skills (4) – More skills than is standard and from an excellent list to boot.
Favored Enemy (2) – The usefulness of this feature is entirely dependent on your table and DM, whom you should work with to make sure you choose a relevant creature type, and that the features will actually be relevant. Niche is putting it lightly.
Natural Explorer (2) – The benefits granted by this feature are very nice for the exploration pillar of the game. This would have rated higher if they were a little more generally applicable and you got some sort of combat-orientated feature at this level. You may be seeing a theme emerging here, what the Ranger is meant to be good at is simply too dependent on the DM they have, unlike most other classes.
Fighting Style (4) – The first actual combat feature you get, this is not quite as impactful as it is for the Fighter, but any boost to your combat prowess is greatly welcomed. The Ranger is very flexible in how it can be played due to the variety of styles it gains access to. You can even use heavy weapons if you wish, as the effect of the Great Weapon Fighting style is so minimal you won’t feel the lack of it. Each Fighting Style will be assessed individually in more detail later on in the guide.
Spellcasting (3) – The Ranger is a half caster, meaning that they don’t get cantrips by default and their spell slot progression is slower than that of a Druid, for example, whilst ultimately ending at 5th level spells. This spellcasting is intended to support the Ranger’s martial role, with a lot of their spells modifying, or enhancing, their weapon attacks. There are some control and support spells, and it is possible to build a Ranger that is more heavily based on spellcasting, but deliberately ignoring their martial abilities will usually lead to subpar performance.
This is only rated as a 3 because, whilst access to potent and unique spells is great, Rangers are very limited by the number of spells known they have, in contrast to the Paladin that is able to prepare different spells each day as they see fit. This is compounded by the Ranger being MAD if they choose to focus more on Wisdom to make the spells more reliable.
Primeval Awareness (3) – This feature covers enough creature types, with a large enough distance, that this is a valuable information gathering tool in a surprising amount of situations. This is held back at a 3 as it could provide more information, at least the number of creatures, and your spells slots are a preciously scarce resource.
Extra Attack (5) – The quintessential tier 2 damage increase for martial classes, well except the Rogue, that keeps you competitive whilst synergizing well with Hunter’s Mark, or spells that require you to hit with a weapon to achieve the effect.
Land’s Stride (3) – Very thematic for a wilderness-based class, but very niche and arguably less useful for ranged builds that won’t need to move around the terrain as much. This is only saved from being a 2 or lower as it’s a bonus ability, coming alongside the 8th level ASI, where most classes don’t gain anything else at this level.
Hide in Plain Sight (1) – This ability is just really bad, requiring a lot of hoops to jump through for a Stealth check bonus that only works as long as you stand still and do nothing at all. If you didn’t have to camouflage yourself again when you moved this might at least be a 2, but as it stands it’s clunky and lackluster.
Vanish (2) – A bit of an odd ability for a Ranger to get at this level. This has some value for ranged characters, similar to Rogues but with a lesser payoff, but very limited use for melee builds. Very niche to say the least.
Feral Senses (2) – Not suffering disadvantage against invisible enemies is nice, but it doesn’t prevent their advantage whilst attacking you, with the second benefit being essentially useless. There’s no reason that an invisible creature’s location/square should be unknown to you if they aren’t actively hiding, and if they are the ability doesn’t help anyway.
Foe Slayer (2) – This is a terrible capstone for a few reasons, the primary reasons being that it relies on fighting one of your favored enemies and that you have a good Wisdom modifier, the rest being that the benefit just simply isn’t good enough to be restricted to once per turn.
The contents in the following list of Fighting Styles are arranged alphabetically but divided by the books they are found in to make it easy to see what you can choose from if certain sources are not allowed at your table. Please note the styles found in TCoE are listed as optional class features, so be sure to check with your DM before choosing them. Some styles may be rated differently here than they were in the Fighter guide, this is because the opportunity cost for a Ranger taking a Fighting Style is lower, as their available styles are far fewer.
Archery (5) – Almost a must-have for any Ranger committing to a bow or other ranged weapon as their primary strategy. This not only makes your attacks more reliable and helps offset any cover the monster may be benefiting from, but also goes a long way to offset the accuracy penalty the +10 damage option imposes from Sharpshooter.
Defense (4) – With only access to medium armor and various incentives to not use a shield, this +1 to your AC can be very valuable. This isn’t as impactful as the other options on offer, so only warrants a 4 overall, although something can be said for it being agnostic of whatever weapon you choose to use.
Dueling (5) – A flat damage bonus that you can rely on and synergizes well with Extra Attack and some features, like the Gloom Stalker’s Dread Ambusher. This is better than using the versatile property of weapons like the longsword.
Two-Weapon Fighting (4) – This is essential if you want to use the two weapon iconic Ranger imagery (thanks Drizzt!), however, this only gets a 4 as you need your bonus action to make use of Hunter’s Mark. If you’re fighting a single big bad, then losing a single turn’s TWF attack for the additional d6’s is easily worth it.
Blind Fighting (3) – Blindsight is a very powerful PC ability, however, this only gets a 3 as its usefulness remains niche. Invisible enemies can be a real problem, but you likely won’t be fighting them for even half of your encounters. It does help mitigate a lack of darkvision on a Ranger, however, the Ranger has access to the Darkvision spell and one subclass has darkvision as a feature. If you do choose this then you may want to consider taking Fog Cloud as one of your spells known, allowing you to leverage this style to your advantage without having to rely on DM-given circumstances.
Druidic Warrior (4) – A great way to add some utility and coverage of different damage types to your Ranger, and a must-have for anyone attempting a more Wisdom or casting-focused build. Stand-out choices here include the excellent Guidance, Shillelagh, and Thorn Whip.
Thrown Weapon Fighting (5) – This is a necessity if you want to play a Ranger that’s dedicated to throwing weapons, or even just uses it regularly as a tactic, as this style allows you to ignore the object interaction limitation characters would normally face. Combined with a +2 damage and no inherent conflicts with how the Ranger works and this is a great and thematic option. It should be noted that whilst thrown weapons normally suffer from smaller damage dice, the combination of the +2 from this style and the extra d6 you can gain from Hunter’s Mark compensates for this.
Optional Class Features (TCoE)
Unlike many other classes, the Ranger receives a lot of optional features that replace existing features, completely changing the feel and handling of the class mechanically. Not all optional features are replacements, some are just additive, and overall they’re usually stronger than the PHB versions. These features do distract, somewhat, from the heavy exploration niche of the Ranger, so if you are playing at a table where those features may actually come up, you may want to weigh up which features to replace more carefully. The alternate options for the Beast Master’s companions will be rated in that subclass’ section.
Deft Explorer [Replaces Natural Explorer] (5) – This is an overwhelming improvement on Natural Explorer, providing you with benefits that are much more generally useful, whilst also giving you a more rewarding level progression. Each benefit will be individually rated to help you judge if, or when, you should take levels in another class:
Canny (5) – This is essentially an Expertise of your choice along with two free languages of your choice, which is a large boost to your utility, particularly as this comes at 1st level.
Roving (4) – Not only does your speed increase by 5 ft, but you also gain climbing and swimming speeds! This is a huge mobility increase, most features in the game don’t offer such a significant bump at once. This is only a 4 as how useful your mobility is depends on the environment and your DM.
Tireless (4) – Assuming that you have a modest Wisdom of 14, this will be worth 26 temporary hit points on average per long rest at level 10 when you gain this feature. That’s a significant chunk of your total maximum hit points per day, and could easily be higher. The ideal way to use these hit points is between combats, so you can start most, if not every, combat with a buffer of temporary hit points. The second part of this feature is much harder to rate, but as exhaustion is such a punishing mechanic it is a potent enough benefit to help rate this at least a 4 overall.
Favored Foe [Replaces Favored Enemy] (2) – This is not a good feature, the amount of damage is very small, you can’t mark a different creature without spending another use, and yet it still consumes your concentration meaning it won’t stack with your most valuable spells. This warrants a 2 as there are certain instances that this ability is most useful, such as level 1 before you gain the Spellcasting feature, or if you are using a build that will focus heavily on bonus actions like two-weapon fighting, as it won’t clash with your attacks like casting and moving Hunter’s Mark would. The last, somewhat, redeeming part of this feature is that it makes Foe Slayer a much better feature, making it at least a 3, although still not a good capstone feature. Depending on your character and campaign, you may actually prefer to keep Favored Enemy for the languages, at least.
Additional Ranger Spells (5) – There are a lot of good spells on offer with this feature, providing you with significantly more options with every spell level. Notably, adding these spells makes a more caster-focused Ranger possible, giving you more support, control, and healing options. Stand-out spells include Entangle, Aid, Enhance Ability, Magic Weapon, Revivify, and Greater Restoration. The summoning spells also give you a way to summon allies that is more table-friendly, instead of having to track and take actions for an entire pack of wolves, for example.
Spellcasting Focus (5) – Mostly a ribbon ability, but this allows you to play more to the martial Druid style of play, for example, wielding a shield and a staff that you have cast Shillelagh on. This provides you with a magical weapon that doubles as a spellcasting focus, the option to focus on Wisdom should you choose to, and still have the option of Polearm Master.
Primal Awareness [Replaces Primeval Awareness] (5) – This is a really good feature, but not an obvious choice to replace Primeval Awareness, the spells you gain are rather niche utility spells compared to the long-distance information gathering you normally get. That said, this feature allows you to fulfill the one with nature aspect of the Ranger without having to sacrifice any of your spell slots or spells known, which is fantastic. What makes this a 5 is that this offers a boost across your entire level progression, whilst coming alongside your subclass.
Martial Versatility (3) – This is essentially just giving the player a guaranteed way to change a choice that they are unhappy with, which a lot of tables would have normally done with a conversation with the DM. This is an additional ability, comes alongside an ASI, and can help some players out that can’t have that conversation, so it is worth at least a 3.
Nature’s Veil [Replaces Hide in Plain Sight] (5) – Far more potent and user-friendly than the feature it replaces, you can think of this as a bonus action, a turn-by-turn version of Greater Invisibility. Not only does it help you sneak by certain areas, but it can potentially give you advantage on all of your attacks, disadvantage on attacks against you, and deny monsters opportunity attacks. An easy swap to make unless you’re playing a lie in the mud for long periods of time kind of sniper character.
Stats for Rangers
Rangers are inherently MAD with their Spellcasting feature using Wisdom, whilst they will also want Strength or Dexterity, and a decent Constitution. For those that would prefer a Strength-based build, you will still need, ideally, a 14 Dex as the Ranger doesn’t get access to heavy armor. Str builds can certainly work, but you will have a more diverse stat array by focusing on Dexterity instead of Strength, allowing you to invest a small amount in a tertiary stat of your choice. It is certainly possible to build a Ranger that focuses on Wisdom, this is easier if the Optional Class Features from TCoE are available to you, but those builds will also want at least a 14 Dexterity.
Depending on your build priorities, if you are focused on Str or Dex for weapon use, then you may be comfortable with only a 16 in Wisdom, and not investing beyond that. If you want to pick up a feat or two, then try to get your primary stat to an 18 first if you aren’t choosing to play a variant human. You should consider your stats and priorities when you allocate your ability scores and choose a race at first level.
Strength (2) – With the hang-up of needing some Dexterity for medium armor, this just isn’t as appealing to you as it is for some other martial classes. If you are attracted to the idea of being a Ranger that uses heavy weapons then this might be for you, if you are interested in being Str-based for grappling purposes, then you are better suited having a 10-12 in this stat and gaining Expertise in Athletics.
Dexterity (5) – An excellent stat to base your character on, thanks to the many benefits associated with having a high Dex, such as a high initiative modifier, a handful of skills that will benefit, and the ability to switch between ranged and melee weapons with ease. This stat is needed for your armor proficiencies and is a prerequisite for multiclassing in and out of this class. It’s recommended to start with as high a Dexterity as you can afford and max it out when you’re able to. If you are focused on Strength or Wisdom, then you can start with a 14 here and not raise it, but you will always benefit from a higher Dex mod.
Constitution (3) – You’re a martial character that will likely be concentrating on spells, or even features, in combat often so you’ll want a decent Con to say the least. This is mitigated if you are primarily a ranged character, however, at least a 14 here is recommended no matter what your build is.
Intelligence (1) – You have no real use for this, you can invest in this for roleplay reasons or if you want to be really good at Int-based skills, but even in that regard this shouldn’t be higher than a 12 unless you’ve rolled really well, or are looking to multiclass into Artificer or Wizard.
Wisdom (4) – Not only do your spells rely on this, but it’s also a great stat to have a good score in thanks to how common, and devastating, Wisdom saving throws become towards the end of tier 2 and how useful Perception is. Ideally, you should start this at a 16, but whatever you can afford is best. If you want to focus on Wisdom as your primary stat then it’s highly advised you get the Shillelagh cantrip so you can still leverage Extra Attack.
Charisma (2) – A tertiary stat if you want to be a bit of a face Ranger, you can safely dump this to an 8 if you want, but if you want to do that talking thing to people then a 10-12 would be advised along with proficiency in the relevant skills.
Rangers are one of the most heavily influenced by their subclass in 5E, with the subclass you choose contributing significantly to your damage, and potentially changing how you approach play entirely. It’s important to think about what subclass you want to take when you are creating your character, as this can affect your race choice. For example, if you are planning to take the Gloom Stalker subclass, you may reconsider your race choice if part of what was important to you is having darkvision.
This subclass represents a specialized hunter of certain creatures, giving you benefits against your choice of larger enemies, hordes of enemies, or more generic benefits that you can choose at multiple points in your level progression. The concept of being a specialized hunter of certain creatures is no longer the purview of just this subclass, with entire archetypes focusing on different types of enemies, so before choosing this one you may want to check if your chosen foe is better represented in another. As each feature has multiple choices, each one will be rated individually:
Hunter’s Prey 3rd level – This will be your hallmark feature and is where you decide if you really want to lock yourself into a niche or not.
Colossus Slayer (4) – Additional damage is the mainstay of a Ranger subclass and this option has no restriction on what monster it can apply to, they just need to have taken at least one point of damage first. That restriction is what holds this back from being a 5, as it can mean that on the first turn of combat, or others if you need to switch targets, you may not get it at all. Otherwise, this is actually slightly more potent than other subclasses, as the additional damage is a d8, rather than a d6. This is the recommended option for most situations unless you know that you will be consistently facing larger enemies, or many enemies at once. It will also work well whether you are a melee or ranged character.
Giant Killer (2) – More attacks, and thus more chances to leverage something like Hunter’s Mark, are great, but besides this being restricted to large and above enemies only, it also relies on you being within hitting distance. As a result, this isn’t a suitable choice for most ranged weapon builds and pushes this firmly into a 2.
Horde Breaker (1) – On paper, this sounds really cool, you’re basically a blender for minions right?! Well, not really. The problem with this is largely that you have to throw yourself into the middle of the enemies to reliably use it, which makes it far more likely that you’ll get hit. But, on top of that, you won’t benefit from Hunter’s Mark as much as you have to attack multiple enemies and it’s very likely that the combat just won’t line up for you to be able to use this at all. If you do decide to take this option, then it is highly recommended that you invest in Constitution and consider using a weapon with the reach property, to help ensure that you can use it more often and not die whilst doing so.
Defensive Tactics 7th level – In stark contrast to the 3rd level abilities, these choices are not so defining unless you let them be. Instead, these all present a solid defensive option that can come up in any campaign, in any combat.
Escape the Horde (3) – If you want to be a skirmisher, but don’t want to invest in Mobile, then this is an okay substitution. This is only rated as a 3 because attacks at disadvantage can still hit you, and this really requires additional build decisions to function as well as it can. If you decide to take this option then it’s recommended that you take the Defense style and use whichever armor will give you the highest AC at the time, no matter the Stealth penalties, to give you the best chance that those opportunity attacks will miss. It’s also recommended that you take the Longstrider spell, and perhaps a race with a higher than 30 ft. speed so that you have enough movement to really skirmish effectively. The Roving part of the Deft Explorer feature is also helpful for this choice.
Multiattack Defense (4) – Multiattack is a really common monster feature that can be absolutely devastating to your hit point pool, this feature goes a long way to mitigating that, even to the point where you can get in a monster’s face and try to AC tank. Much like Escape the Horde, it’s recommended that you try to get your AC as high as possible to maximize the effectiveness of this option.
Steel Will (3) – Frightened is a condition that comes up pretty frequently when fighting the horrors of D&D, however, this only gets a 3 as there are far, far better features at this level on other subclasses that would protect better, and against more conditions.
Multiattack 11th level – This is a much easier choice for most Rangers, with one option being purely for ranged builds, and the other for melee builds.
Volley (4) – Whilst still dependent on the number of monsters you’re facing and their positioning, this ability uses a large enough area that you could reasonably hit three or more monsters with it. The strength of this feature is that you can still leverage Hunter’s Mark as you are still making attack rolls with a weapon and that it functions as an AOE, but has no risk of affecting your allies.
Whirlwind Attack (1) – Not only does this heavily overlap with Horde Breaker, it’s actually worse in a lot of ways. Whilst you can make an unrestricted amount of attacks, the more attacks you can make with this action, the worse of a position you are in, being completely encircled is not good. To compare this with Horde Breaker, if you only have two monsters close enough to use this, it may actually be better to use Horde Breaker instead, as you can make your normal two attacks, with the possibility of a third. This is relegated to a 1 because it can be very self-destructive, whilst not paying off significantly more than a 3rd level feature.
Superior Hunter’s Defense 15th level – This is mostly you getting to choose a Rogue feature to steal, but they’re really good features. The only knock against this overall is that this comes online so much later than for the Rogue that it feels like an unnecessary restriction.
Evasion (4) – This is an amazing ability that can save you from a tremendous amount of damage, but what holds this back from a 5 is that it comes online at such a high level. At 15th level, there will be plenty of monster features that target other stats like Wisdom, Constitution, and maybe even Intelligence or Charisma.
Stand Against the Tide (2) – This is a very niche ability that has too much potential to not do anything at all. It requires the creature to miss you, there to be another monster within its reach, the attack to hit that other monster, and then it can still fall afoul of that monster’s stat block. You see, resistance, or outright immunity, to nonmagical damage becomes increasingly common for monsters in higher levels/CRs, but most monsters don’t have magical attacks themselves. This isn’t normally an issue, as PCs don’t usually have defenses that distinguish between magical and nonmagical attacks, but redirecting a monster’s attack to another monster can hit those defenses and do little, or no damage even if it hits. When this works it will be great and satisfying, but that is too infrequent to bring this higher than a 2.
Uncanny Dodge (5) – Being able to halve the damage from an attack is a great defensive ability, and one that doesn’t suffer from coming online at a higher level, typically the higher level you are, the harder the monsters hit you.
If your idea of a Ranger is a wilderness expert with a formidable animal companion, then this is the subclass for you. This subclass will be reviewed in to stages, first the PHB version, and the with the optional companions from TCoE.
Ranger’s Companion (3) – This is what makes you a Beast Master, granting you your animal companion and allowing it to work with your action economy. This feature suffers from two issues, the power of it is firmly tied to which creature you choose as your companion, and it eats into your own attacks, setting a high bar for the companion to clear to be better than just attacking yourself. The scaling provided in this feature is largely competitive, only the hit points and additional damage may seem lackluster depending on your beast choice. Thematically, finding another beast to bond with if yours dies feels very callous and counter to building a relationship with your companion, this is something resolved by the optional version. Recommended creatures for animal companions include the flying snake, the giant crab, and the panther. It’s important to note that when the beast attacks it is taking the Attack action, meaning that any creatures with Multiattack will only make one attack until 11th level.
Exceptional Training (3) – This is an important feature for keeping your companion relevant by making their attacks magical, the ability to issue some commands as a bonus action still feels too restrictive, and is mostly useful for them taking the Help action before you attack.
Bestial Fury (4) – This is a fairly substantial increase to your damage, allowing you to leverage the bonus damage you add to the companions attack to a greater extent and increasing the chance of any conditions their attacks may impose.
Share Spells (3) – The power of this feature depends entirely on your spells known, if you are an archer build then there is a good chance that a lot of your spells won’t apply to your animal companion. This is an efficient way of healing you both, however, if you have Cure Wounds prepared, and some buffs can increase your team’s damage and mobility.
Primal Companion [Optional replacement for Ranger’s Companion] (5) – This fixes a lot of the problems with the Beast Master subclass, allowing you to use your companion entirely as a bonus action, and allowing them to Dodge without a command. The templates provided by this feature are overall mechanically better than the choices you could make from the Monster Manual, however, you do lose access to certain abilities, such as blindsight, that you could have chosen previously. The recommended template to use in general is the Beast of the Land, however, Beast of the Sky does offer some skirmishing and aerial scouting capabilities using spells like Beast Sense and Speak with Animals. The great thing about this feature is you can change the template you’re using every long rest, allowing you to prepare for whatever the day is going to bring.
This Ranger disappears into the shadows, hunting the monsters that seek to prey on the innocent in the darkness. This subclass focuses on going first and devastating the enemy in a hard-hitting first round, whilst leveraging the darkness to their advantage. Due to the additional attack this subclass gets, it’s a good base for a Sharpshooter build or Fighter dip.
Gloom Stalker Magic (5) – This is a good selection of spells that would help a Ranger and their party survive in a hostile environment like the Underdark. Rope Trick and Greater Invisibility are the standouts here, but Disguise Self can prove incredibly useful without conflicting with your Hunter’s Mark concentration.
Dread Ambusher (5) – A speed boost to ensure that you can position yourself how you want to, with an additional attack that does an extra 1d8 of damage! This is only on the first turn of combat, in comparison to other subclasses that can add damage in every round potentially, but this attack is worth enough much damage that it balances out. The fact that this is a passive benefit that works every combat means that this subclass can get through a lot of combat encounters on any given day. Note: If you dip two levels into Fighter, using Action Surge would double the additional attack, giving you six attacks on the first turn of combat if you don’t find a way to attack with your bonus action too.
Umbral Sight (5) – Granting, or enhancing, darkvision is a very nice feature, particularly when it comes alongside Dread Ambusher, but this goes the extra mile by making you invisible to any creature relying on darkvision to see you. This is a huge benefit as it means if you can leverage it, you will be attacking at advantage whilst they will have disadvantage to attack you. You can consider this a free Greater Invisibility when it is relevant.
Iron Mind (5) – Wisdom saving throws can be devastating to fail and become increasingly common as you level up, making this a great defensive option.
Stalker’s Flurry (5) – A second chance if you miss one of your attacks? An excellent ability that greatly reduces the risk from feats like Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master, as well as helping to ensure that you get that additional d8 from your Dread Ambusher attack.
Shadowy Dodge (5) – An at-will ability that lets you give a monster disadvantage whilst only costing your reaction, a fantastic defense that drives home that this subclass can fight all day long as long as they some hit points.
Whilst some Rangers may guard the borders of civilization along the edge of forests or deep caves, these Rangers protect the plane from extraplanar horrors, finding and guarding portals to anywhere and everywhere. To get the most out of the theme of this archetype you will need to work with your DM to make sure that portals will appear at all, never mind enough for you to feel relevant in that way. Fear not, because mechanically this subclass stands up on its own two feet, before teleporting out of view.
Horizon Walker Magic (5) – A great selection of spells that will serve you well at all levels, particularly Misty Step and Protection from Evil and Good, which can help you out in many situations. Haste, should you get high enough to use it, is best used on a ranged build to try and reduce the risk of losing concentration on it, and so missing an entire turn due to Haste’s unique drawback.
Detect Portal (3) – This is a thematic ribbon feature that can be handy in some campaigns, this comes alongside your subclass spells and Planar Warrior, so gets a 3 despite being exceedingly niche.
Planar Warrior (4) – This is a tricky feature to rate as it conflicts entirely with Hunter’s Mark, which is normally a Ranger’s primary damage boost outside of their subclass features. In fact, because it clashes with Hunter’s Mark, you can see this subclass actually doing less damage than others that can stack their subclass features with it. However, this feature’s redeeming quality is converting your attack’s damage to force, circumventing some damage resistances/immunities that you may have to deal with otherwise. This scrapes a 4 thanks to the scaling up to 2d8 at 11th level, but it’s important to note that this feature will only benefit one attack per turn.
Ethereal Step (2) – At first this ability looks really great, a 7th level spell at 7th level as a character, and it’s converted into a bonus action?! In reality, this amounts to a once per rest get out of jail free card, letting you run away without provoking any attacks of opportunity. This can certainly come in handy, but is so limited and directly clashes with Planar Warrior, relegating it to a 2 at best.
Distant Strike (2) – This can be really great on paper, you can potentially make an additional attack and can more reliably reach your targets if you are a melee character. However, this relies on having three separate monsters to attack and having enough movement to reach them all as you can only teleport 10 ft. each time. This is like a higher-level, more reliable version of the Hunter’s Horde Breaker option, which was not good.
Spectral Defense (5) – After a rocky set of mid-level abilities, the Horizon Walker ends strong with a great defensive ability that highlights how many queues this archetype takes from the Hunter. This ability is very similar to Uncanny Dodge, that the Hunter can choose at this level, trading the ability to stack the reduction with resistance, for not having to see the enemy that attacks you. Either way, this can save you enough hit points to let you tank some very nasty encounters.
This is a generalist subclass that gets a feature version of Hunter’s Mark that can stack with the spell and later grants you additional benefits. This archetype particularly excels at dealing with monsters that can cast spells or have abilities that force saving throws, with examples given including Vampires and Dragons. The primary downside to this archetype is that the feature that everything hinges on can only be used once per rest, giving it a higher nova potential, but making it poor across longer adventuring days or any time that a short rest is hard to perform successfully.
Monster Slayer Magic (3) – An okay list, but a very situational one for the levels you are most likely to play. Protection from Evil and Good covers enough monster types to be useful, but Zone of Truth is niche, as is Magic Circle. If you get high enough, both Banishment and Hold Monster are great spells, but you have to get there and won’t have many slots for them.
Hunter’s Sense (3) – This can be very useful, but is so situational that it is restricted to a 3, and only this high as it comes alongside other features. The problem here is that the ideal time to use this is before combat starts, and you likely won’t have the luxury of seeing your enemies before combat starts, whilst also being within 60 feet of them.
Slayer’s Prey (4) – This is basically a feature version of Hunter’s Mark, which you can look at in two ways. You can either use this in tandem with Hunter’s Mark, allowing you to save spell slots when you need them, or stack them together for more damage against meatier monsters. The alternative is to not take Hunter’s Mark at all, or swap it out once you gain this feature, allowing you to learn a different spell instead, with a small damage downgrade. Overall a good ability, but not great and the bonus action requirement makes it clunkier to use than other subclass damage boosts.
Supernatural Defense (4) – Adding a d6 to saving throws and grapple checks is a great defensive boost and the raw power of it is worth a 4, what holds it back is relying on having already used your Hunter’s Prey feature on the monster. This means that there’s a good chance that you won’t actually get the bonus, whether the monster has gone before you in the initiative order, you decided to use Hunter’s Mark first, or there are just multiple monsters forcing saving throws in the combat. This feature really highlights that this subclass is aimed at hunting down certain kinds of monsters, that aren’t likely to have minions with saving throw-based abilities.
Magic-User’s Nemesis (3) – This feature is Counterspell, except better as you won’t need to make a check to prevent higher level spells, spend a slot, or risk being countered yourself. What limits this to a 3 is that there are plenty of monsters you can fight that this won’t help you against, for example, this won’t prevent a vampire from charming your allies, and that is a monster specifically mentioned in the subclass fluff. When it is useful you’ll likely want to use it more than once, which makes the once per rest restriction really limiting without the option to spend spell slots to do it again.
Slayer’s Counter (4) – A fantastic ability, allowing you to completely avoid needing to make a saving throw, whilst also delivering some additional damage. This is only held back from a 5 by requiring you to have marked the monster with Slayer’s Prey, falling into the same drawbacks as Supernatural Defense.
Much like the Avatar is the bridge between the spiritual world and the mortal world, this Ranger is the bridge between the Feywild and the Prime Material. There are some suggestions given for how you gained your fey magic, but that is purely a roleplay choice for you to make. Mechanically this is the best subclass for a face Ranger, and at later levels, excels at summoning and teleportation. Moreso than many other subclasses, this Ranger is heavily incentivized to invest in Wisdom.
Fey Wanderer Magic (4) – A really good spell selection, with Charm Person reinforcing the face role, Misty Step and Dimension Door giving you teleportation normally absent from the Ranger, and the option of using Dispel Magic instead of relying on a fullcaster. This spell list is not only very mechanically effective but, also very evocative of the fey flavor.
Dreadful Strikes (4) – Additional damage is not only a staple of a Ranger subclass but a mandatory element as the main class relies on it. The damage here is the most anemic of all the subclasses with only a d4, later increasing to a d6, but that small difference is compensated for by the damage being psychic. This is a damage type that is rarely resisted, or nullified entirely by immunity, and can help a character without a magic weapon still land meaningful damage. The damage here is just a bit too low for a 5.
Otherworldly Glamour (5) – An excellent ability that is even better than just allowing you to use Wisdom instead of Charisma for social checks. If you are planning to take on the face role for your party, then it is recommended that you invest at least a +1, or as high as you can afford, into Charisma to get the most out of this feature.
Beguiling Twist (4) – This is a good example of planning your character ahead of time, as there are multiple races that have features that make this feature partially redundant. However, if you don’t have any overlap between this feature and your race, or anything else, then this is a solid defensive boost against common monster-imposed conditions. The ability to possibly frighten or charm a creature is nice but may run into immunity against those conditions as you level up.
Fey Reinforcements (5) – Not only do you get a good summoning spell without it counting against your spells known, not only do you get one free casting, but you can also trade duration for it concentration-free! That is a very potent ability for some harder fights, allowing you to still leverage other spells including potentially other summon spells. Do you want your own army of spirits? You can have it!
Misty Wanderer (5) – A bunch of free castings of MistyStep is great, but this also converts it into a mini Dimension Door. This adds a lot of mobility to your party, letting you shuttle yourself and one other character around for only a bonus action. Note: The way the feature is written means that you can still bring someone else along if you cast Misty Spell with a spell slot, instead of using the free castings this feature provides.
Besides never truly feeling alone (one versus a whole swarm, take that Beast Master!), this Ranger specializes in battlefield control by moving either themselves or the enemy. Notably, this is one of the few Rangers to be able to fly, giving them a valuable exploration tool and additional mobility in combat. Due to Gathered Swarm, this subclass is best suited for ranged weapon users.
Swarmkeeper Magic (5) – Gaining a cantrip from a feature like this is unusual for a Ranger, but very much appreciated as Mage Hand is a great cantrip. The other spells here are focused primarily on control, with Arcane Eye giving a very potent scouting tool to a class that naturally excels at scouting already.
Gathered Swarm (5) – A very versatile feature, this gives you the option of dealing additional damage, moving the monster up to 15ft horizontally in any direction you choose or moving yourself 5 ft in any direction. That last option won’t provoke an opportunity attack as you are being moved by something, rather than moving by your own movement speed. This feature can be very potent if you get creative with it, such as casting Spike Growth and doing additional damage whilst leaving them in a hazardous area. Another example would be to use Ensnaring Strike, letting you put the monster where you want them, and keeping them there.
Writhing Tide (5) – Flight is a great feature, even if it is only 10 ft. of it. The primary benefit of this is allowing you to get off the ground and, hopefully, out of reach of any ground-based monsters. This also allows you much more flexible angles to attack from, minimizing any cover that the monsters may be employing, which can include your own party. There’s also the out-of-combat utility of getting across gaps, or to higher places that may otherwise be inaccessible.
Mighty Swarm (4) – Not the most exciting feature, this is a buff to all of your Gathered Swarm options. This is held back at a 4 as the damage increase is minor, a d10 would have been reasonable, and by knocking a creature prone as a ranged character you are imposing disadvantage on any remaining attacks you have. The half cover, however, is nothing but a benefit and if you have melee party members they can leverage the prone condition to great effect, beyond just hindering the monster’s movement.
Swarming Dispersal (5) – This is similar to the Horizon Walker’s Spectral Defense, trading the at-will nature of it for a free 30 ft teleport that can get you out of danger. Being able to move yourself so far makes this a significant panic button, and continues the theme of battlefield control and mobility.
Like the sound of the Beast Master but prefer the idea of having your own dragon…ish creature? This subclass provides a lot of damage, notably some AOE damage, defenses, and someone to keep you company on those lonely adventuring roads. If you expect to hit 11th level and beyond then it’s advised that you have a decent Wisdom score, ideally at least a 16, as your Drake’s Breath feature will benefit from it greatly.
Draconic Gift (4) – A nice ribbon feature to accompany your drake, this gets a 4 as it’s not intended to be anything more than some thematic fun.
Drake Companion (5) – An excellent companion option that combines an archetype’s normal damage boost with the drake’s attack damage. The drake will have a decent amount of hit points, but will primarily rely on its AC to survive which starts out okay but scales very nicely throughout your character progression. With the first summon being free, and any subsequent summons only requiring an action and a spell slot, it’s easy to ensure that it will be available for every combat. The only downside to this feature is needing to have the drake summoned in order to gain the additional damage you’re expected to have, and that having the drake attack conflicts with Hunter’s Mark and other spells. The damage of the drake’s bite is high enough to compensate for the latter, and if you can’t afford to have the drake around all the time then there may be other problems. Note: As the drake has a lot of scaling tied to your proficiency bonus, you can multiclass out of Ranger if you like without it stagnating completely but, its hit point maximum may become noticeably too low for your level later on.
Bond of Fang and Scale (5) – There’s a lot here and all of it is good, whilst at first it might seem a little disappointing that you can’t ride your drake as it uses its fancy new fly speed, such at-will flight isn’t common at this level for the most part anyway. Being able to ride the drake gives you a huge mobility increase, especially since it remains a medium creature, an exception to the normal mount rules which allows you to navigate spaces the same as if you were unmounted. When not mounted this gives your drake the freedom to scout and attack flying enemies, which would have been a weakness of its until now. The added resistance is welcome, but is a little complicated with the added damage to the drake’s bite, as monsters that the resistance will be relevant against are likely to be resistant, or immune, to the additional bite damage. That additional d6 compensates for the bite not being a magical attack, however, when you’re fighting creatures that lack resistance/immunity to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing it becomes a very competitive bonus action attack for you.
Drake’s Breath (5) – An excellent AOE option that starts out with the same amount of damage as Fireball or Lightning Bolt, but allows you to choose the damage type and point of origin. The flexibility on offer here is excellent, and even though this consumes your action you can still use your bonus action to have the drake bite. The free use is very nice, but this is easily worth a 3rd level slot, or three, with the scaling at 15th level keeping this ability relevant through the rest of your career.
Perfected Bond (5) – Arguably one of the, if not the most, powerful archetype capstones available. Empowered Bite helps to keep the drake’s bite relevant, with Large Drake giving you a flying mount which is great enough that the inconvenience of your drake being large can be overlooked. Reflexive Resistance is similar to the capstones of the Horizon Walker and Swarmkeeper, providing a massive durability boost to yourself and your drake. What absolutely seals this as a 5 without a doubt is that you can all of this at the same time your Drake’s Breath feature improves to 10d6!
The Ranger is primarily a martial, however, the spells the class can access add significantly to the wilderness theme that it’s built upon, and can significantly enhance your combat, exploration, and utility. The spells presented in this list are intended to highlight some generally useful/good spells for you to consider, not dictate what you must, or must not, choose for your own Ranger.
Guidance [Cantrip] – Applicable if you chose the Druidic Warrior fighting style, this is a very useful cantrip to pick up to help your party pass the skill checks which really matter.
Shilellagh [Cantrip] – Similar to the above, only applicable if you have chosen the Druidic Warrior fighting style, this is an essential spell for players looking to use Wisdom as a primary stat.
Absorb Elements [1st level Spell] – A powerful defensive spell that can be invaluable in some encounters, don’t expect much out of the bonus weapon damage as the creatures using that element against you are likely resistant or immune to it.
Cure Wounds [1st level Spell] – Having the option to heal yourself, your party members, and your animal companions is very valuable. This won’t make you a great healer but, some healing is better than none.
Hunters Mark [1st level Spell] – The iconic Ranger spell, this can contribute a significant amount of damage over the course of its duration. It’s important to consider what subclass you are going to choose when learning this spell, as the bonus action use can clash with some subclass abilities.
Longstrider [1st level Spell] – A great mobility buff that doesn’t require concentration.
Pass without Trace [2nd level Spell] – An excellent spell that can carry your entire party through a Stealth check, even those clanking Paladins.
Spike Growth [2nd level Spell] – A control spell that can generate a significant amount of damage when paired with any abilities that push/pull enemies and brave party members with a good Athletics modifier and a lot of hit points.
In this section, I’ll review all of the racial options based on how well they complement the Ranger as a whole, commenting where specific features may benefit certain subclasses. Races are good places to pick up abilities for certain character concepts, so if you’re thinking about playing a Ranger build but that race isn’t rated well here, it doesn’t mean your particular combination wouldn’t work or be fun to play. Like I said previously, it’s actually pretty difficult to make a truly bad character in 5e.
Subraces and variants will be listed under the central race rating, indented to the right, and noted by italics.
If your DM allows the TCoE optional rules for reassigning racial stat bumps, every race becomes a minimum rating of 3 and you should decide entirely based on the other benefits they give. The only exceptions to this, are races which give more points to stats than is typical, like the half-elf or mountain dwarf, which would be at least a 3.5 before features are considered.
The player race options offered by Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse will be separated into their own section instead of being listed alphabetically. This is to make them more distinct on the list as they stand out as primarily revisions of existing races. If a race option from this book doesn’t have any changes from an entry already covered in this section, it will be omitted.
Aarakocra (5) – Excellent stats for a Ranger, the fly speed also greatly benefits both archers and melee weapon users. The former can take advantage of different angles of attack and stay out of reach, whilst the latter will be very likely to close distance to their next target. The slower walking speed is a small hindrance, but one you can mitigate with Longstrider but, the talons are only good for backup.
Aasimar (3) – +2 Charisma is a terrible start, but two resistances, the Light cantrip, and Healing hands make up for that enough to make this a 3. Rangers that don’t want to take Cure Wounds might find Healing Hands enough for their needs. The added damage from the transformation will help keep your damage competitive in longer fights, but the action to activate it is tough to swallow.
Protector (4) – Wisdom is good for you and gaining wings is fantastic, particularly for melee characters that may have trouble with flying enemies otherwise.
Scourge (2) – This is free damage and you have a large enough Hit Die to take a little bit of self-imposed damage. However, this only gets a 2 as you are likely to be concentrating on something like Hunter’s Mark.
Fallen (1) – The DC for this is based on your poor Cha modifier, it can cause friendly fire, and the frightened condition only lasts one turn. Awful feature.
Bugbear (3) – A good option for those looking to play a Strength-based Ranger, as you will still need some degree of Dex for your AC. Long-Limbed makes skirmishing possible, whilst Stealth proficiency will always be appreciated. This doesn’t quite get to a 4, however, as Surprise Attack is not likely to come up often, if at all.
Centaur (3) – Good stats for a Str-based Ranger, the movement speed will help ensure you don’t waste any turns using the Dash action, whilst the Charge ability has the potential to give you a bonus action attack that will work with Hunter’s Mark, maybe, if you’ve cast it already and really want to make it work. There’s enough here to be a 3, but certainly nothing worth more than that.
Changeling (2) – You need to really want to play a face Ranger to choose this race, perhaps a good option for an urban Ranger that disappears into crowds.
Dhampir (4) – The stats are whatever you want them to be, Spider Climb is a great mobility feature, and the bite attack will work with Hunter’s Mark and similar subclass features. This only gets a lower-end 4 though, because the bite is reliant on your Con modifier, which really limits its effectiveness and increases how MAD you are should you choose to invest in it.
Dragonborn (2) – A meh stat array for a Str-based Ranger, and awful for all other Rangers, combined with a lackluster breath weapon that will push you to be more MAD to make it effective. The gem here is the resistance, but this is definitely a niche choice, to say the least.
Draconblood (1) – Even worse stats than the PHB version, with nothing but a face feature to compensate for this. If you want to be a dragonborn for roleplay purposes and want to be a face Ranger then maybe choose this, but look everywhere else first.
Ravenite (3) – This is actually a solid choice for a Strength-based build, giving you good stat bumps and a reaction attack once per rest.
Dragonborn (FToD Version) (5) – This version has most of its features in a subrace, leaving only the excellent select your own stats to be rated here.
Chromatic (4) – The breath weapon is an excellent update in comparison to the PHB version, allowing you to still leverage any subclass damage boosts that rely on you making a weapon attack. This isn’t worth a 5, as the Chromatic Warding ability is very situational and clunky to use. If it lasted longer or only took a bonus action it would be much better, if still situational.
Metallic (5) – Being able to use your breath as a control option is fantastic, particularly being able to completely incapacitate an entire encounter’s worth of monsters, and carries this new version of the dragonborn to a 5.
Gem (5) – This is an excellent option, giving you more potent damage types for your breath weapon and bonus action flight. Depending on what damage type you choose, you may make your resistance more situation/useless, but the addition of telepathy helps to compensate for that minor hiccup.
Dwarf (4) – Con is always great for a martial to bump, and poison is such a common damage type amongst monsters that Dwarven Resilience is very likely to save you hit points throughout your adventuring career. The proficiencies from Dwarven Combat Training are completely redundant, but the tool proficiencies and Stonecunning add some nice flavor to your Ranger.
Hill (4) – You can most certainly use the Wisdom, and more hit points are always welcome. This would be best for builds that choose to tank, or those playing a Wisdom-centric build.
Mountain (2) – The armor proficiency is entirely redundant, but the +2 Str and +2 Con you’d get might help some a Str-based Ranger that rolled low on their stats.
Duergar (4) – A good option for a Strength build, providing great defenses, and very useful spells. For any Gloom Stalker fans looking to push the envelope, this race would give your build 150 ft. of darkvision when combined with Umbral Sight.
Mark of Warding (2) – The Int is entirely useless and the spells are a bit niche unless you decide to go armorless. This gets a 2, as Warder’s Intuition would make for a good Rogue-like build if you find yourself taking on that role for your party.
Elf (5) – +2 Dex, darkvision, Perception proficiency, and Fey Ancestry is a great package to start off your Ranger with.
High Elf (2) – The Int bump and proficiencies are entirely useless, and the dependence on Intelligence as a casting stat makes the cantrip unappealing. This gets a 2, as there are some niche builds that may appreciate getting access to something like Green-Flame Blade or Booming Blade.
Wood Elf (5) – A natural-born Ranger, the +1 Wis, and 35 ft. speed are very welcome, with Mask of the Wild a good thematic ability, situationally helpful to you if you decide to set up an ambush or sneak past monsters in the wild.
Drow (1) – Bad stats, casting that depends on Charisma, and redundant proficiencies. Unlike the Duergar above, there isn’t enough here to make the 120 ft. darkvision, and its accompanying Sunlight Sensitivity, worth it.
Eladrin (3) – The Cha is less than ideal, and Fey Step relying so heavily on your Cha modifier makes most of the riders unattractive. That said, bonus action teleporting is potent enough to hold this at a 3.
Sea (2) – Con is useful, and the abilities are flavorful for an aquatic Ranger, but this should just be a roleplay choice unless you’re playing an aquatic campaign.
Shadar-kai (4) – Good stats, a good damage type to be resistant to, and a bonus action teleport are all great, with gaining resistance to all damage being fantastic. This is only held back at a 4 by the limit of only using Blessing of the Raven Queen once per long rest.
Mark of Shadow (3) – The Charisma is a shame, but the spells are good and a d4 to all of your Stealth checks is very nice, enough to hold this at a 3 at least.
Pallid (4) – Good stats, pretty good spells with the exception of Sleep aging poorly, and a boost to some kills, if Sleep was something more useful/aged better then this would have been contending for a 5.
Fairy (5) – Choose your own stats with at-will flight is a great start, the spells are just sparkly gravy. Note: this race is only suitable for Dex-based builds, as the Flight trait doesn’t work with medium armor.
Firbolg (4) – Very thematic, this race would be a good base for both Str-based and Wis-based Rangers, with plenty of supplemental spellcasting and flavorful ribbon abilities. Hidden Step can be used for both retreating in combat and giving yourself advantage on one of your attacks. If the abilities were useable more frequently then this would be good enough for a 5.
Genasi (3) – Nothing here except +2 Con, good enough for a 3 at least.
Air (3) – The stats are good, but there just isn’t enough here to warrant a 4, especially when that single casting of Levitate uses your Constitution for the DC.
Earth (4) – A solid choice for a Str-based Ranger, Pass without Trace is a fantastic spell and this can not only save you a 2nd level spell slot and spell known but also gives you access to it much earlier.
Fire (2) – The Int is useless to you, but fire resistance is nice and Produce Flame can be used as a torch, the rest of the spellcasting is lackluster. This is a niche choice, but not completely useless if you have a roleplay concept.
Water (3) – Decent stats for any Ranger, with a fun utility cantrip in Shape Water. The swim speed and Amphibious trait are niche, with the former being redundant if you take the optional Deft Explorer feature. The acid resistance is very situational, and may not come into play at all in some campaigns.
Gith (1) – Nothing in the overall race besides an Intelligence increase, which is absolutely awful for a Ranger.
Githyanki (4) – A solid choice for strong Rangers, despite the +1 Int and redundant Martial Prodigy. The skill proficiency of your choice and Githyankie Psionics are easy enough to take this to a 4 with the +2 Strength. Whilst the spellcasting technically uses your Intelligence, the spells you get don’t actually rely on your spellcasting modifier at all. Note: this subrace is less appealing for the Fey Wanderer and Horizon Walker subclasses, as they already get access to Misty Step.
Githzerai (4) – Best for Wis-based Rangers due to the lack of any physical stat increases, but Mental Discipline is an excellent defensive feature, and access to an invisible Mage Hand and the Shield spell is excellent. Detect Thoughts is particularly useful when gained from this race as not only will it use your Wisdom modifier, but the lack of components makes it much more feasible to use discreetly when around NPCs.
Gnome (2) – A 25 ft. movement speed, the limitations of being small, and a +2 Int are not a good start for a Ranger. If you expect to encounter a lot of spells or magical features then Gnome Cunning can come in handy, and if you are a Beast Master planning to ride your companion you may consider this for the size.
Forest (2) – There’s at least a +1 Dex here, but this is primarily just a thematic choice for the Speak with Small Beasts ribbon ability. Minor Illusion would be nice but, unfortunately, would use your low Intelligence modifier.
Rock (1) – Just bad, this is only worth it for the +1 Con bump and that isn’t enough to lift it from a 1.
Deep (3) – +1 Dex and Superior Darkvision without the drawback of Sunlight Sensitivity are enough to claw this gnome up to a 3, Stone Camouflage is a nice ability for the times you’ll actually be able to use it.
Mark of Scribing (1) – Bad stats and pretty niche features overall, with the exception of Message as a cantrip. Strictly avoid unless you want to play a librarian-turned-Ranger.
Goblin (5) – Good stats, the very useful Nimble Escape, and a damage bump in the form of Fury of the Small that might help some players’ worries over Ranger damage.
Goliath (4) – A good choice for Strength Rangers looking to tank or grapple, Stone’s Endurance can also help you maintain concentration on your spells when you can’t afford to lose it.
Half-Elf (4) – With two floating +1s, this is the best way to get a decent Charisma score on your Ranger, with Skill Versatility allowing you to customize your Ranger should you want to play more of a face role, or any other skills that interest you. This will also allow you to qualify for the Elven Accuracy feat, very helpful for those using Sharpshooter.
Aquatic Descent (1) – Not only very, very niche but, also entirely redundant if you choose to take Deft Explorer.
Drow Descent (2) – Concentration spells that use Charisma are usually going to be a bad trade compared to two skills. This gets a 2 because some builds may want Darkness to combo with Blind Fighting, but that’s very niche.
Moon/Sun Descent (2) – If you wanted to pick up a cantrip then this can be a decent way to do it, just make sure that it won’t require a spellcasting modifier.
Wood Descent (3) – The Fleet of Foot option is the best for you here, with the weapon proficiencies being entirely redundant and Mask of the Wild too niche to trade two skills for.
Mark of Detection (4) – This is a great utility opinion, providing you tools a boost to your out of combat, and in the case of See Invisibility, potentially in combat too.
Mark of the Storm (2) – Everything you get here is very niche in application, including Gust of Wind. Even on the occasions you might want to cast it, you’ll have to use your Cha modifier for the DC.
Half-Orc (4) – A good race for Strength-based Rangers, Relentless Endurance can save your hide in a tough situation, and Savage Attacks gives a minor damage buff. Relentless Endurance isn’t enough to take this to a 5, however, as it should become less applicable as you level. This is because more effects will pop up that it won’t protect you from, whilst hitting zero hit points should be less common in general the more of them you have. If the latter isn’t true for you, then you may have a problem.
Mark of Finding (4/5) – Excellent stats, some Rangers may feel the squeeze of not having a physical stat to use a weapon with but, for Wisdom-focused Rangers this is perfect. The Hunter’s Intuition feature bolsters your most Ranger-like skills and Finder’s Magic gives you more of what you’d like to cast anyway. If you’re considering a Shillelagh build, then this is a strong contender.
Halfling (5) – A +2 Dex bump, advantage on saves against frightened, and the fantastic Lucky makes this an easy 5 considering that you’ll also get a subrace. The Halfling Nimbleness feature is a bit situational but, should be useful enough to be welcome on Rangers looking to leverage some mobility around the battlefield.
Lightfoot (2) – A Cha bump isn’t what you’re looking for as a Ranger, but can be useful for face builds, and Naturally Stealthy can be helpful for those looking to play more like a Rogue. Overall a very niche, but usable, option.
Stout (5) – A Con bump is great as a martial, and poison is common enough amongst monsters that Stout Resilience can save you a significant amount of hit points over the course of your adventuring career.
Ghostwise (3) – A +1 Wisdom is perfect for a Ranger, and Silent Speech is really neat but, unfortunately, is just a ribbon feature and so not enough to lift this to a 4.
Mark of Healing (5) – An excellent choice for a Ranger that wants to lean into healing, or that simply wants to have access to some healing without investing spells known into it.
Mark of Hospitality (3) – Even though this is a +1 Cha subrace, and has no combat features, the utility of Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant are great enough to warrant a 3.
Harengon (5) – Choose your own stats, a scaling bonus to your initiative, a bonus to saving throws, and a mobility feature that can be used to skirmish is an outstanding package for a race. This is great for pretty much any class, and that rings true for the Ranger as well.
Hexblood (5) –Hex is functionally very similar to Hunter’s Mark, allowing you to potentially save a spell known and spell slot, with Disguise Self being a nice out-of-combat spell that is usually reserved for Gloom Stalkers. The Eerie Token feature allows you to scout in interesting ways, letting you go ahead and report back your findings, or passing it off to an animal companion/drake so you can view what’s going on from relative safety.
Hobgoblin (2) – Martial Training is entirely redundant, the Int bump is useless to you, and there’s very little else here. The +2 Con is useful, and Saving Face can prove handy to have, although it is an unreliable bonus. There’s enough here to not be a 1, but it’s not worth more than a 2.
Human (2) – The Ranger is a MAD class, so you can make use of those +1s but, with nothing else here and half of those +1s going to stats you don’t really care about, this is a very niche choice.
Variant Human PHB (5) – Increase the stats that matter to you the most, whilst grabbing a feat and skill of your choice. This is an excellent package and can help you with a build that requires certain feats, without cutting into your MAD need for ASIs.
Mark of Finding (4/5) – See the half-orc version above.
Mark of Handling (4) – This is a lot of Ranger flavor in a race, allowing you to use iconic Ranger spells without the need to learn them, and the added benefit of being able to use them on some monstrosities. Combined with good stats and Wild Intuition helping you to be consistently good at Rangery things and this is worthy of a 4, despite not having a combat focus.
Mark of Making (2) – This is a niche choice thanks to that +2 Int but, with access to a version of Magic Weapon that doesn’t require concentration, there’s enough here to be tempting for some builds.
Mark of Passage (5) – Great stats, a higher movement speed, and a free casting of Misty Step are a great set of features for a Ranger, with the d4 to Acrobatics being a ribbon but, nice for doing those cinematic backflips without face planting.
Mark of Sentinel (4) – The stats are good but, some builds may not appreciate the lack of a Str or Dex increase. The bonus to Insight and Perception is very generically useful at most tables, with the ability to cast Shield once a day a good enough panic button to push this up to a 4. Vigilant Guardian is a good tanking ability for melee Rangers just don’t skimp on your Con if you choose to use it!
Kalashtar (3) – A good choice for those looking to play a Wisdom-focused Ranger, the advantage on all Wisdom saving throws is situational and likely to be more useful in mid-to-late levels. Mind Link and Mental Discipline are good enough to help cement this race as a 3, despite the less attractive +1 Charisma.
Kenku (3) – A solid choice with the stats and two skills but, rather lackluster overall.
Kobold (3) – The potency of this race is based entirely on your table, if you aren’t likely to be affected by Sunlight Sensitivity often then this is easily a 4 as Pack Tactics is a huge accuracy increase that synergizes well with feats like Sharpshooter. Grovel, Cower, and Beg is a good team support ability but, not likely worth your own action most of the time.
Leonin (4) – A good choice for Str-based Rangers, the 35ft movement speed helps to close into melee range, and Daunting Roar is nice to have the option of, as it’s a bonus action. If you choose this race consider a Con mod of +3 or higher, to support Daunting Roar’s DC.
Lizardfolk (3) – This is a bit of a mix of things good for different builds, with the Natural Armor feature best for Dexterity-focused builds and Hungry Jaws best for Strength-based builds. The stats support most Ranger builds well and this is a solid choice, but feels like no matter what you do, you’ll be leaving something on the table.
Locathah (1) – Being able to suffocate walking down a scenic road en route to your next adventure is a strong enough turn-off that you shouldn’t even look at this unless you can mitigate it completely. If you can, then this is an okay choice, primarily for Leviathan Will’s defense against various conditions.
Loxodon (3) – The Natural Armor is only really good for when you’re sleeping but, the stats are usable by all Rangers and Loxodon Serenity is a good defensive feature. As with similar stat arrays, some builds may feel the sting of no Str or Dex increase.
Minotaur (3) – An okay choice for Str-based Rangers, Goring Rush can reduce the opportunity cost of having to Dash into combat, and Hammering Horns offers some battlefield control.
Orc (3) – Similar to the Minotaur above, an okay choice for you strong Rangers out there, Aggressive can help keep you in melee range but, does conflict with some spells and subclass features.
Owlin (5) – A fantastic option for Dex-based Rangers, unfortunately, other builds will suffer from not being able to use the fly speed with medium or heavy armor. For those that can use it, a fly speed is very potent, particularly when combined with Stealth proficiency and 120 ft. darkvision.
Reborn (4) – There are enough generally good features here that it’s worth a 4, particularly with choose your own stats. The main features here are the resistance to poison and Knowledge from a Past Life, both of which should see an ample amount of use at the average table. Hopefully, your character won’t need the advantage on death saving throws too often!
Satyr (4) – A +1 Dex and the powerful Magic Resistance are enough to carry this to a 4, with some support from the more situational Mirthful Leaps and Reveler features. The thing to watch out for here is being a fey, rather than a humanoid, which makes you a target for certain effects such as the Oath of the Watchers Paladin’s Channel Divinity.
Beasthide Shifter (3) – A solid choice for a Str-based Ranger, this is held back by the Shifting feature clashing with your already hotly-contested bonus action.
Longtooth Shifter (2) – The stats are good for a Strength build but, the fang attack is too bonus action heavy for most Rangers, especially as this version can’t make the attack as part of shifting.
Swiftstride Shifter (3) – This is actually an interesting choice for a skirmishing or ranged build, however, ranged weapon users shouldn’t need to use the reaction movement often but skirmishers will value the added movement speed at least.
Wildhunt Shifter (4) – Good stats and a feature that denies advantage on attacks against you is a great offering, making it worth the bonus action activation. Rangers have the option of using a spell, like Fog Cloud, to get the most out of this Shifting Feature.
Simic Hybrid (4) – A good stat array and a variety of Animal Enhancement options to choose from make this a tempting choice for any Ranger, this race’s strength is its customizability. Recommended enhancements are Natural Climber if you aren’t using Deft Explorer, Manta Glide if you are, and Carapace.
Tabaxi (4) – Feline Agility combined with a climbing speed make this a very good option for any Ranger looking for some extreme mobility, be it in combat or scouting.The +2 Dex and proficiency in Perception and Stealth seal this at a 4, even with a +1 Cha.
Tiefling (PHB aka Asmodeus) (2) – Awful stats and spells that will use your Charisma modifier are a terrible start. If you are interested in playing a horn-headed Ranger there’s at least resistance to fire damage and Thaumaturgy here for you. If you take Blind Fighting then you may be able to make use of Darkness.
Baalzebul (1) – Like the PHB version but with spells more dependent on your Charisma modifier.
Dispater (3) – With a Dex bump and a selection of spells that you can mostly use without needing your Cha mod, makes for a solid choice for a Ranger looking for some out of combat utility. This option is best used in games with a chance of intrigue and plenty of opportunities to infiltrate areas to gather information.
Fierna (2) – Friends is an awful cantrip and both Charm Person and Suggestion will require your Cha modifier. The only thing saving this from a 1 is the small Wis bump and fire resistance.
Glasya (3) – A +1 Dex, Invisibility, and fire resistance are good enough for a 3, but this is held back a little by both Minor Illusion and Disguise Self using your Charisma if someone examines your illusions.
Levistus (3) – Armor of Agathys is an excellent spell for melee Rangers, with enough else here to warrant a low 3.
Mammon (2) – Terrible stats but, there’s a lot of utility here that might suit certain build concepts to warrant a low 2.
Mephistopheles (1) – The only good here is the resistance and Mage Hand, and there are better ways to get both.
Zariel (3) – Gaining smite spells is good enough to make this a 3 for Str-based Rangers, even if one of them will use your Cha.
Tortle (4) – A great choice for Strength builds, the Natural Armor is equivalent to wearing half plate but, without the disadvantage on Stealth checks a very handy perk for a class prone to scouting and sneaking into enemy territory.
Triton (3) – There’s enough here to warrant a high 3 for Str-based Rangers, even with Gust of Wind using your Charisma for the DC. This is best chosen for adventures centered around enough water to make use of the swim speed and the Amphibious and Emissary of the Sea features.
Vedalken (4) – Tireless Precision and Vedalken Dispassion are great-enough features that this can just about make it into a 4 with the +1 Wis bump. Just keep in mind that the potency of both will be dependent on your table.
Warforged (5) – This is a good race option in general for most classes but, excels with martial classes that can really leverage the durability that is integral to them. The +1 AC in particular is nice for a Ranger, who is limited to medium armor and is likely to not use a shield in many builds.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood (3) – Terrible stats and spells that all use your Charisma modifier are large drawbacks to this race, that said, the sheer power of being immune to poison and having Magic Resistance makes this at least a 3.
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse Race Options
As mentioned previously any races that are republished without changes won’t be included in this section. In addition, following previously mentioned guidance, there won’t be any ratings lower than a 3 in this section due to all races being able to assign stats to taste.
Note: Spells will be rated more highly here than they may appear above because all spells given can be cast with any spell slots you may have. This is a significant boost for a Ranger, giving them access to spells they may not otherwise have and adding to their very limited spells known.
Note: The Fey Ancestry and Trance traits listed in these races differ significantly from the versions published in other books like the PHB
Aarakocra (5) – Being able to fly at will from level one is very, very potent and that is especially true for the Ranger. This is because they have multiple ways within the class to increase their movement speed, and are often built as ranged characters or, at least, Dexterity-focused ones that won’t mind the light armor only restriction. Combine that with choose your own stats and Gust of Wind that can use your Wisdom modifier and this is an easy 5.
Aasimar (5) – Two resistances, whatever stat bumps you want, some healing, Light, darkvision, and a bonus action transformation that will give you a damage bump. There’s easily enough here to make this a 5 overall, even if some individual pieces have been nerfed, like Healing hands and the transformation damage, making the transformation easier to use and the stats more synergistic with the Ranger than the original. Each transformation will be reviewed below as if it was a subrace:
Necrotic Shroud (2) – For some reason this still uses your Charisma modifier and will give you the slightly inferior necrotic type, rather than the radiant damage of the other two options. Whilst this version no longer risks friendly fire, an effect that relies on your Cha mod and only lasts one round isn’t good enough for anything but a roleplay choice.
Radiant Consumption (3) – You have a large enough Hit Die to take a little self-imposed damage every now and then but, what really holds this back is that a lot of Ranger spells are concentration.
Radiant Soul (5) – Bonus action flight that uses your walking speed is a great ability, allowing you to leverage things like Deft Explorer and Longstrider to increase your fly speed even further.
Bugbear (5) – Long-Limbed makes for excellent skirmishing on melee builds, Stealth is a fantastic proficiency to get, and Fey Ancestry offers some niche protection. What really pushes this to a solid, high-end 5 is Surprise Attack. Getting an additional 2d6 on each of your attacks is a massive damage bump that synergizes well with a class that will often have a high Dexterity. This race is particularly great for Gloom Stalkers, who get a bonus to their initiative and another attack that can leverage that 2d6!
Centaur (3) – The only thing here for you is the higher movement speed, which is somewhat offset by your difficulty climbing. If you’re not expecting anything but flat terrain and want to be a bit of a speed demon then go for it but, there are more appealing races than this tired, old pony.
Changeling (3) – Best for a face Ranger in a game with a lot of roleplaying opportunities, there’s nothing here that makes you a better Ranger.
Deep Gnome (4) – 120 ft darkvision without Sunlight Sensitivity, flexible stats, and the ability to give yourself advantage on multiple Stealth checks per long rest are fantastic. Gnomish Magic Resistance has the chance to be useful depending on your table and Gift of the Svirfneblin can be considered a fringe benefit. If the spells were more generally useful then this would push into 5 territory easily.
Duergar (5) – This race just gets into 5 territory due to the plethora of excellent defenses it offers, in conjunction with getting Invisibility, 120 ft. of darkvision with no Sunlight Sensitivity, and flexible stats. Using Enlarge on yourself will usually be a worse choice than Hunter’s Mark, but can be situationally valuable at times. This would make a very thematic, and synergistic, Gloom Stalker.
Eladrin (5) – Although your bonus action is already contested by spells and some subclass features, a bonus action teleport with rider effects is more than worth using. Combine that with flexible stats, Fey Ancestry, and the new Trance and you have a great option for a Ranger.
Firbolg (5) – The original was a great choice for Strength builds, however, this version is great for many builds. The enhancement to Hidden Step makes it more versatile in use, allowing you to sneak past certain areas, escape from harm’s way, or get advantage on a single attack. Having Detect Magic from your race saves you a spell known, and spell slot, with Disguise Self being a nice additional perk. A great thematic and mechanical choice for the Ranger.
Genasi, Air (3) – A solid choice generally but, best for Rangers focusing on Wisdom and spellcasting. Other builds may not have a high enough modifier to get the most out of Levitate, and will usually be better off with the Attack action rather than Shocking Grasp.
Genasi, Earth (5) – You can now save a spell known by getting Pass without Trace from your race, and cast it once for free! This is already a great start, with the addition of a bonus action Blade Ward letting any Ranger build tank on occasion without fear of dropping from a stray crit’s damage. Earth Walk is a ribbon for most but, Rangers can actively make use of it with spells like Spike Growth and Entangle (an optional spell from TCoE).
Genasi, Fire (3) – Burning Hands ages poorly and Flame Blade is just a bad spell, so if you’re interested in this race for the spellcasting your best option is Produce Flame. Hey, at least you have fire resistance and will save money on torches, right?
Genasi, Water (3) – A very niche damage resistance and niche spells, this is a roleplay pick unless you’re playing an aquatic campaign.
Githyanki (4) – Astral Knowledge can make you a bit of a skill monkey, whilst Misty Step is just an excellent spell to have access to and a free casting of. Jump is more situational but, fun for a lot of players, and the improved Mage Hand can be very powerful. This is less appealing to Swarmkeepers that get access to their own version of Mage Hand.
Githzerai (5) – Shield is a powerful spell to gain access to and Mental Discipline provides some added protection against two common monster-imposed conditions. Detect Thoughts is most useful on this race, where it has no components to be observed when in a social situation.
Goblin (5) – Whilst Fury of the Small received an overall nerf, the addition of Fey Ancestry and being able to choose your stats makes this a wash compared to the original, so still an excellent choice.
Goliath (4) – If you’re looking to play a tank Ranger then this is a superb choice, with Stone’s Endurance now able to significantly reduce the damage you can take in a combat from the burliest of monsters. Reducing damage should also make it easier to maintain concentration on your spells, saving you spell slots in the long run. Cold is a pretty good resistance to have, with Little Giant being protein-infused gravy.
Hobgoblin (4) – This is a good choice for a support build, with Fey Gift’s riders being good enough to be worth your bonus action on occasion. Fortune from the Many is a welcome bonus but, as it depends on having allies nearby, is unreliable. This is held back from being a 5 by simply not being compatible with too many Ranger builds, including any ranged weapon build as Fey Gift doesn’t allow you to help from a distance and directly clashes with subclass features that take a bonus action most rounds, such as the Beast Master’s animal companion, the Drakewarden’s drake, and the Horizon Walker’s Planar Warrior feature.
Kenku (4) – This is an excellent choice for any Ranger looking to be a skill monkey, or specialize in anything relating to skills, like a grappler build. The ability to give yourself advantage on any proficient skill check is a great ability, with two skill proficiencies of your choice being the icing on the cake. Mimicry has been reworked into a cool, and situationally useful, ribbon rather than a hindrance helping to push this to an easy 4.
Kobold (5) – Draconic Cry is so powerful that it’s worth your bonus action in a lot of circumstances, even ranged builds can make use of it as they can stay 10 ft. away when attacking at advantage, and then move away afterward. Kobold Legacy adds a customizable perk that can help flesh out certain concepts. What helps seal this as a 5 is the lack of Sunlight Sensitivity, whilst also gaining a full set of stat bumps instead of just a single +2.
Lizardfolk (4) – Best for Strength builds that can make the most out of Hungry Jaws and the temporary HP that it provides. There is a lot of good to this race, but it is hard to make the most out of all of it, with Natural Armor benefiting Dex-based builds and Hungry Jaws benefiting Str-based ones. The skills you get to choose from here are good enough, Perception and Stealth in particular, that this can make it to a 4.
Minotaur (3) – The stats have become more friendly but, Labyrinthine Recall is a downgrade from getting a skill proficiency, and Hammering Horns will still use your Str modifier and target what is typically a strong monster saving throw.
Orc (4) – Adrenaline Rush is a welcome replacement for Aggressive, simultaneously adding to your mobility and durability, with Relentless Endurance being a great last line of defense. This is held back from being a 5 by the bonus action congestion most Rangers suffer from, and the fact that Relentless Endurance will likely become less useful and less frequently used as you level up.
Satyr (4) – This remains a 4, the flexible stats are an improvement, however, Magic Resistance has been nerfed substantially, making it much more situational. It’s overall a wash with the original version but, you should consider how prevalent spellcasters might be in your campaign.
Sea-Elf (3) – Flexible stats and the enhanced Trance make this better overall but, this is still far too niche to recommend outside of an aquatic campaign.
Shadar-Kai (5) – Necrotic resistance is great, the new Trance is great, and Blessing of the Raven Queen is outstanding. A bonus action teleport that isn’t a spell is already very potent but, giving yourself resistance to all damage when you use it is what carries this to a 5. This allows you to take some hits for the team when you need to, or escape from a dangerous situation with little to no fear of being knocked unconscious as you flee.
Shifter (3) – The number of times you can shift has now been changed to equal your proficiency bonus, however, the number of temporary hit points you gain has been significantly nerfed from level+Con to just twice your proficiency modifier. This is is better at 1st level, and then never catches back up to the original formula. The individual shifting features will be reviewed below:
Beasthide (4) – A solid choice if you want to make a tank build-out of this race, the +1 AC and additional d6 temporary hit points compensate for the nerf the standard temporary HP received.
Longtooth (3) – Being able to make an attack with your fangs as part of the bonus action you use to shift is a significant improvement, and makes this a worthwhile damage-focused option for Strength builds.
Swiftstride (3) – A decent option if you’re looking for increased mobility but, if you aren’t attached to the temporary hit points you may be better off looking at a race with a permanent speed increase, or a Tabaxi for Feline Agility.
Wildhunt (4) – This is the same great ability as the original and isn’t really made better or worse by the changes to the Shifting feature, so maintains the same score.
Tabaxi (5) – Flexible stats and an increase to both the claw’s damage and the climbing speed make this a 5, simply great for any Ranger looking for mobility and two great skills. The value of this race is reduced if you take Deft Explorer, as the climbing speed becomes redundant.
Tortle (4) – Now you can make use of the great Natural Armor this race has no matter what stat you choose to focus on, thanks to the flexible stats.
Triton (4) – This race cruises to a low 4 just based on the sheer amount of features it gets, even if it is overall best suited for aquatic campaigns.
Yuan-ti (4) – Both Magic Resistance and Poison have been significantly nerfed compared to its predecessor, however, the flexible stats and letting you use Wisdom for Serpentine Spellcasting compensate for this.
The Ranger is a MAD class, meaning that feats are hard to take if you want to keep your stats high, however, there’s no real need to push all of your stats at every opportunity. For example, if you are playing a typical Dex-based build, then you can likely leave your Con and Wis modifiers at their starting values if you start with 14 and 14/16 respectively. Likewise, you can delay your Dexterity progression without too much hindrance, although it is recommended that you advance it to 18 first. If you intend to play a feat-heavy build, or simply want the benefits of a particular feat early in the game, then it’s recommended you take variant human for your race. Feats will be rated according to how well they support Ranger roles, or cover weaknesses, whilst taking any prerequisites into consideration.
The following list of feats is arranged (mostly) alphabetically but divided by the books they are found in, to make it easy to see what you can choose from if certain sources are not allowed at your table. If a feat has a race prerequisite it is denoted in [brackets]. Other prerequisites may apply, such as minimum stats, or the ability to cast a spell so be sure to check the book text when choosing feats.
Alert (4) – This feat is good for any class, but the Ranger benefits from it as the class doesn’t have access to See Invisibility and can leverage the +5 initiative bump to either excel at initiative, or compensate for a middling Dex on Wis or Str-focused builds.
Athlete (3) – If you use this to round out your primary stat then this is a low opportunity cost feat, however, the benefits are minor and the climbing benefit can easily be redundant.
Actor (1) – You have no use for a Charisma bump, nor are any of the benefits helping anything you do as a Ranger.
Charger (1) – This is a bad feat, that you can’t really make use of in an effective way.
Crossbow Expert (4) – This is the kind of feat that your build revolves around, allowing you to leverage per hit damage bonuses like Sharpshooter and Hunter’s Mark in addition to the damage from a third attack. This doesn’t hit a 5 because, whilst not worrying about having an enemy in melee range is nice, the bonus action attack conflicts with many spells and subclass features.
Defensive Duelist (3) – A great defensive ability for melee Rangers, this will definitely see frequent use and save you from many hits over the course of your career, if you take it. This only gets a 3 as it can be hard to justify taking this feat instead of boosting one of the stats you rely on, or something that more directly impacts your damage. A solid choice but, best taken at 1st level as a variant human, or at later levels when you have your stats where you want them.
Dual Wielder (2) – Definitely a niche feat, if you use two-weapon fighting then this is a quality of life improvement, allowing you to easily draw both of your weapons at once. By allowing you to use weapons without the light trait you can immediately switch to 1d8 weapons like the rapier or longsword, which would be on average one point more damage compared to a shortsword or scimitar. The main reasons to consider this feat are the AC bump and the flexibility of what weapons you can use, allowing you to leverage magic weapons the party may come across more easily.
Dungeon Delver (2) – A niche feat, this is a good choice if you know that your game will be very dungeon-heavy and that you will be taking the lead on scouting through them. If someone else has already taken this feat in the party then you can go ahead and skip it.
Durable (2) – A lackluster choice overall, only recommended if you have an odd Con score and the campaign you’re playing in is high-lethality or using variant resting/healing rules.
Elemental Adept (1) – As a Ranger, you have no real use for this feat, carry on.
Grappler (1) – A bad feat, if you want to be better at grappling, instead choose a feat that will give you Expertise in Athletics.
Great Weapon Master (3) – If you’re playing a Strength-based Ranger, then this can be a massive increase in your damage. This is only rated a 3 as, besides being niche in scope, the Ranger’s damage usually relies on hitting consistently. This allows you to leverage subclass damage bumps, Hunter’s Mark, etc. which is how the class expects you to do a lot of your damage, and using the -5 penalty from this feat puts that at risk. This is rated more harshly than Sharpshooter because there is no melee accuracy boost in the same vein as the Archery style.
Healer (3) – This is a great feat if you want to fulfill the healing role in your party, this only gets a 3 because Rangers have access to Cure Wounds, whilst their ASIs are hotly contested.
Heavily Armored (2) – An okay choice for Strength builds that don’t want a 14 in Dexterity. This only warrants a 2 at best because you’ll be trading disadvantage on Stealth checks for a +1 AC, and having some Dexterity is always recommended where possible.
Heavy Armor Master (1) – You need to take another feat to even qualify for this, and then it won’t work against enemies using magic weapons, which is a common way to earn them as loot, or the scattering of monsters that natively have magic attacks.
Inspiring Leader (2) – An excellent feat for increasing the entire party’s durability and could really benefit the companions of the Beast Master and Drakewarden subclasses. This only gets a 2 due to the 13 Cha prerequisite and that there is likely another party member who is better suited to take this feat.
Keen Mind (1) – A useless Int bump and some ribbon features, not worth your ASI and only good for roleplaying reasons.
Lightly Armored (1) – You’re already proficient in light armor.
Linguist (1) – You have no use for the +1 Int, and additional languages aren’t worth taking a feat for. The ability to write ciphers is a ribbon that will rely on a weak stat for you, so also not a good reason to choose this feat.
Lucky (4) – This feat is generically good for everyone but, a bit bland unless you are building upon dice manipulation as a character theme. If you’re interested in this it’s recommended to take it in later levels, after you have bumped your stats and picked up any feats more specific to your build.
Mage Slayer (2) – If you’re playing a melee Ranger in a campaign that heavily features spellcasters as the primary antagonists, this might be for you. But, as you might have noticed, this is very, very niche. Thematically this is best for the Monster Hunter subclass, as they already have a Counterspell-like ability.
Magic Initiate (3) – If you’re interested in certain cantrips then this is an okay feat to take, with Cleric or Druid being the best spell list to take from for the Wisdom synergy. If you choose a different list, then it’s advised to avoid cantrips that require your casting modifier, for example, Mage Hand from the Wizard spell list. This feat can help round out any builds that are trying to focus on spellcasting/Wisdom, rather than the more usual approach of being a Dex-based weapon user.
Martial Adept (2) – For most Rangers, this feat doesn’t represent enough value to spend an ASI on. However, it can add a short rest resource onto your build, as well as a small amount of nova damage. One example of using this feat is taking the Precision Attack maneuver for a Ranger that uses Sharpshooter or Great Weapon Master.
Medium Armor Master (3) – A good feat for those looking to maximize their AC, without compromising on Stealth checks. A solid feat but, not for every build.
Mobile (4) – If you want to play a skirmisher without relying on a heavy weapon with reach, or a whip, then this is essential. Pairing this with a subclass ability, or spell like Longstrider, will allow you to reliably skirmish in and out of melee range.
Moderately Armored (1) – You’re already proficient in medium armor. It’s okay, we all forget things from time to time.
Mounted Combatant (3) – This is only really suitable for Drakewardens and certain Beast Master builds, but it can greatly enhance the longevity of your companion and increase your accuracy/damage in some combats.
Observant (4) – If you have an odd Wisdom score this is a good choice to round it out, the +5 to your passive Perception and Investigation will come in handy in a lot of games. Warning, your extremely high passive Perception may prove maddening to some DMs!
Polearm Master (2) – Useable by some builds, the attack this feat gives is likely to clash with your various bonus action options and this is only compatible with Strength-focused builds to begin with.
Resilient (3) – If you have an odd Wisdom score this is a great way to round it out, as Wisdom saving throws increase in frequency and severity as the levels get higher.
Ritual Caster (3) – Most Rangers will qualify for this feat by default, which can add a significant amount of utility to your character without taxing your small amount of spell slots. It’s easy to choose ritual spells that won’t use your spellcasting modifier, so feel free to choose a class that has rituals that most appeal to you. Wizard is an excellent choice here for spells such as Unseen Servant, Find Familiar, and Tenser’s Floating Disk.
Savage Attacker (2) – This will increase your average damage by a small amount, however, this feat is most effective with larger damage dice that most Rangers won’t be using. Even if you use a weapon like a greataxe, this isn’t really worth one of your ASIs.
Sentinel (4) – An excellent feat for tanks or any Rangers that just find themselves frequently in the heart of the action, just make sure you aren’t skimping on your Constitution when you’re forcing the monsters to stay next to you!
Sharpshooter (5) – This is a great feat for archers, even if you don’t want to use the +10 damage option. Increasing your range and ignoring most forms of cover make you a much more effective archer overall, with the option of trying for the additional damage with Archery compensating for some of the penalty.
Shield Master (3) – If you use a shield this will make you take less damage from Dexterity saving throws over the course of your career, it just will. Whether that is worth a feat is debatable when you’ll already have a good modifier for Dex saves. The bonus action shove is usable to skirmish or potentially knock monsters prone but, you will have to invest in your Athletics modifier to make it reliable.
Skilled (2) – Skill proficiencies are great to have but, this is only worth a feat if you are trying to build a skill monkey. If you are interested in being better at skills, you might be better off choosing a feat that also doubles your proficiency with a skill, such as Skill Expert.
Skulker (2) – A very niche feat but, if you want to play a sniper character then this can certainly help round out your ghillie suit.
Spell Sniper (1) – You’re not going to be casting the kind of spells that can benefit from this feat.
Tavern Brawler (1) – There are better ways to build a character that uses unarmed strikes, and your bonus action is too busy for a single grapple attempt.
Tough (4) – Everyone can always use more hit points and a MAD character can appreciate the value presented here versus increasing Con on a tight ASI budget.
War Caster (2) – The advantage on saving throws to maintain concentration is the only really useful part of this feat, with the Ranger’s spell list not lending itself to the opportunity attack aspect, and many Ranger spells only having a vocal component.
Weapon Master (1) – You are already proficient in all weapons.
Bountiful Luck [Halfling] (2) – This can really help out a buddy in a tough spot but, shutting down your racial trait for a round is too steep a price, especially when this isn’t even a half feat.
Dragon Fear [Dragonborn] (2) – This uses your Charisma to set the DC, making this a nonstarter for most builds.
Dragon Hide [Dragonborn] (1) – This is worse than just using medium armor and the claws are a ribbon feature. This just isn’t worth it for anything but roleplay reasons.
Drow High Magic [Drow] (2) – This is a lot of additional spellcasting that might be a nice boost for some builds but, using Charisma limits the usefulness of Levitate and Dispel Magic.
Dwarven Fortitude [Dwarf] (1) – Without a way to use the Dodge action as a bonus action, this is a severely niche feat. This could possibly be used with the Beast Master or Drakewarden, the companion attacking whilst you Dodge to take hits but, there are more worthwhile feats to take than this for that.
Elven Accuracy [Elf or Half-Elf] (5) – Gaining super advantage whilst boosting either your Dexterity or Wisdom is an amazing benefit.
Fade Away [Gnome] (3) – This isn’t a bad feat, especially since you can boost your Dexterity but, the ability the feat grants you is too restricted. Being able to turn invisible as a reaction can possibly make subsequent attacks miss, allow you to retreat without fearing opportunity attacks, and give you advantage on your first attack. All of this is great but, not so powerful it should only be once per short rest.
Fey Teleportation [High Elf] (2) – Misty Step is a great feat to have and saves this from a 1 but, there are better ways to get it and the stat bumps here are not for you.
Flames of Phlegethos [Tiefling] (1) – Bad stat increase and you won’t be casting any fire spells, hard pass.
Infernal Constitution [Tiefling] (4) – Rounding out your Constitution and gaining two more resistances, for a total of three, is excellent value for a feat. This is best for those looking to play a heartier Ranger.
Orcish Fury [Half-Orc] (4) – If you’re already playing a half-orc then this is great, it just makes you a better one! The smite-like ability helps your damage and the improvement to Relentless Endurance is making a good feature even better.
Prodigy [Half-Orc, Half-Elf, Human] (3) – A good feat but, best for skill monkey or grappler builds.
Second Chance [Halfling] (5) – This is a fantastic feat, largely because it’s so low cost to grab with the +1 to either your Dex or Con. Forcing a reroll makes it very unlikely you’ll be hit by a critical hit often, reduce the damage you take overall, and you’ll have it available every single combat!
Squat Nimbleness [Dwarf] (4) – It’s not fancy but, it allows you to remove one of the biggest drawbacks to some races, whilst increasing your primary stat, grabbing a skill proficiency, and a situational benefit if you’re grappled.
Wood Elf Magic [Wood Elf] (3) – These are very good spells that you can learn, this feat saves you the spells known and spell slots, or allows you to cast them even more. This isn’t worth more than a 3 as you can just cast these with your class features.
Eberron: RftLW feats
Aberrant Dragonmark [non-dragonmarked race] (2) – You can certainly get some value out of this feat, especially if you have an odd Con score but, it’s primarily a feat you take for story reasons. If you take this, then Shield is a recommended spell, and try not to use the random roll effect unless you’re comfortable with friendly fire.
Revenant Blade [Elf] (2) – If you’ve built your character around using this weapon then this is almost a must-have. However, this is best taken when starting at higher levels as otherwise, you have to use a different weapon until you get this feat, use it with Strength until then, or completely ignore the Finesse aspect of it.
Artificer Initiate (1) – If you want more spellcasting then there are many better ways to get it, especially since this will use your Intelligence. This is only worth it if you wanted to give mechanical backing to a backstory of being an Artificer’s apprentice.
Chef (3) – A fun feat that allows you to bump a relevant stat at the same time. The temporary hit point treats don’t give you much but, temp HP is temp HP. Mechanically this is best at low levels and games that have a higher lethality and restricted healing.
Crusher (3) – A good option for some builds but, overall is very niche as bludgeoning weapons are not what Rangers are commonly drawn to. One notable trick here is using a sling to get the control benefits at range.
Eldritch Adept (3) – This is an okay choice for a utility invocation, if you’re looking for a durability boost Fiendish Vigor can offer you up to eight temporary hit points going into every encounter, a significant amount over the course of the adventuring day.
Fey Touched (5) – Misty Step is an excellent spell and, unlike other feats, this feat allows you to also cast it with your own spell slots. For the first level spell, you can choose Hunter’s Mark, freeing up one of your spells known and a spell slot.
Fighting Initiate (4) – Fighting styles can be a powerful boon and, getting to choose from the Fighter’s list of styles gives you a greater selection to choose from. One way of using this feat is taking something that will enhance your weapon use, whilst you use your own style to take Druidic Warrior for some cantrips.
Gunner (5) – This is a great feat for a ranged build, allowing you to advance your Dexterity and prevent disadvantage on your attacks when a monster gets within 5 ft. of you. For those that don’t want to use a crossbow, this is a better alternative than Crossbow Expert. It’s important to note that you don’t need to use guns, or even have guns in the game world, to benefit from most of this feat.
Metamagic Adept (2) – This is a niche choice for most Rangers, the Ranger spell list just doesn’t lend itself well to metamagic. At least, not enough to warrant taking a feat for it and only two sorcery points.
Piercer (4) – This will work with many weapon options, including ranged builds, adding a small damage increase whilst you bump your Dexterity. This is low enough in opportunity cost that it is worth a 4 but, the bump to your damage won’t be significant enough to warrant a 5.
Poisoner (2) – If you want to play a character that heavily uses poison, this is a necessity to both make poison more user-friendly and allow you to create a more useful poison than the one you can buy in the PHB.
Shadow Touched (5) – A great way to pick up Invisibility and another utility spell, such as Disguise Self, or you might prefer a small bump of temporary HP from False Life. The rating of this feat is heavily influenced by being able to bump your Wis at the same time.
Skill Expert (5) – A great way to enhance a skill monkey build, or improve a grappling build. Being able to increase a stat of your choice makes this feat really easy to incorporate into your character progression.
Slasher (5) – Bump Str or Dex and a great control tool, potentially for enabling skirmishing, make for an excellent package. Slashing is also a flexible damage type, with Dex builds able to use scimitars and a selection of weapons available for Str builds.
Telekinetic (4) – An invisible Mage Hand, that doesn’t require components, is a great utility spell and the bonus action shove is a good control ability that you can use to skirmish if you want. This only gets a 4 as Strength is often a strong monster save, and the shove is only 5 feet. It’s important to note that you can use this feat to pull allies away from monsters without a save but, with many monsters having a reach greater than 5 ft. limits the utility of this.
Telepathic (3) – This is a very thematic utility feat that gets a 3 purely because you can increase your Wisdom with it. Not a bad feat, it just doesn’t make you a better Ranger.
Gift of the Chromatic Dragon (3) – An okay feat, this can save you a lot of spell slots on Hunter’s Mark and Absorb Elements, however, the trade-offs you need to make hold this back at a 3. Chromatic Infusion is a smaller damage die than Hunter’s Mark but, as it applies to the weapon, not a monster, you won’t need to spend subsequent bonus actions on marking new targets. Reactive Resistance is largely the same as Absorb Elements but, you won’t get the additional damage on your next attack. If Chromatic Infusion could be used more frequently, at least once per short rest, this would be a 4.
Gift of the Metallic Dragon (4) – Offloading Cure Wounds onto this feat, rather than your spells known, and getting a free casting in the process is very nice. The Protective Wings feature is fantastic for tank builds and helps compensate for a Rangers potentially lower, in comparison to other martial tanks, AC.
Gift of the Gem Dragon (5) – This is a great feat, giving Rangers a retributive reaction that keys off their Wisdom, whilst also increasing their Wisdom score. The 5 awarded here is heavily influenced by the low opportunity cost a Wisdom-boosting half feat comes with.
Note: More so than the Eberron feats, the following feats are designed explicitly for the high magic Strixhaven setting and this is reflected in the balance of the feats.
Strixhaven Initiate (4) – In some ways a more powerful version of Magic Initiate, in others a more restricted version. This gets a low 4 for allowing you to use your Wisdom modifier for the spells and letting you cast the 1st level spell you get with your own spell slots. Quandrix is a recommended college, due to the great combo of Mage Hand and Guidance, and the plethora of choices the Wizard and Druid lists offer.
Strixhaven Mascot (1) – You really don’t have the ASIs to engage in feat chains like this, and you have better ways to gain an animal(ish) companion through subclasses. Only suited for those looking for a Pokemon-style build.
Multiclassing your Ranger
In this section, we’ll review each class in terms of how well they multiclass with Ranger, mentioning how many levels and what subclass (if any) would work best. The ratings take multiclassing prerequisites into consideration; if a multiclass will require you to have a 13 in a stat other than Dex or Wis, it will likely receive a lower score unless the stat is one you would already have at 13 or higher, for example, Charisma if you intend to play a face character.
General multiclass tips for the Ranger:
Think about why you’re multiclassing and if the new class will depend on one of your tertiary stats, this should be avoided where possible.
Between subclass abilities and spells, your bonus action is already very busy. Consider if your dip will regularly require the use of your bonus action, this will make it harder to get the most out of both classes.
If you are taking a dip for spellcasting, classes that use Wisdom as their spellcasting stat, the Cleric and Druid, should take priority for your consideration. When taking spellcasting from any other class, you should try to choose spells that won’t rely on the spellcasting modifier as much as possible.
One of the common complaints about the Ranger is a lack of damage, if this is what you want to fix with your multiclass, prioritize abilities that will give you more weapon attacks, increase the accuracy of your attacks, or simply add damage to your existing attacks.
Due to the MADness of the Ranger, you should dip after your first ASI. ideally, this should be after 5th level so you get Extra Attack and either keep your dip short or go to 4th level to try and not delay your ASIs too much.
If you are playing a subclass that gets a companion, like the Drakewarden, consider choosing a class/subclass combination that would enhance your companion. An example of this would be the Circle of the Shepherd subclass for the Druid.
Artificer (2) – A niche option that needs you to have a decent Int modifier, this requires at least two levels to get real value out of. The main draws here are the ability to make your own magic items and access to some spells that you can prepare daily. Guidance and another utility spell are recommended for your cantrips, and if you go far enough for a subclass, the Armorer gives you the most bang for your buck without interfering much with your existing abilities.
Barbarian (2) – Only viable for Strength builds, this class will primarily increase your durability and grappling success rate, with a minor damage increase. Needing to have at least three stats of, realistically, over 13 in addition to a decent Con score is a tall order. Rage preventing you from casting any spells, or maintaining concentration on any you’ve already cast, is another nail in this multiclassing coffin. This gets a very low 2 for its synergy with Rangers already going down the Strength route but, is best avoided in general. If you go far enough for a subclass, then the Bear Totem is recommended for durability and the Zealot is recommended for damage.
Bard (1) – Not only is this a Charisma-based spellcaster but, the number of Bardic Inspiration dice you get directly depends on your Cha modifier. This, combined with Bardic Inspiration being a long rest resource until Bard’s 5th level, makes this an awful multiclass for the Ranger, with the highlights being utility spells and Jack of All Trades. If you go far enough to grab Expertise and a subclass, then your best bet is the College of Swords. This subclass will give you a limited selection of fighting styles, a speed boost when you take the Attack action, and allow you to use your tiny pool of Bardic Inspiration dice for maneuver-like tricks. It’s worth noting that, despite the subclass’ name, the Blade Flourish feature works with both melee and ranged weapon attacks.
Cleric (5) – The strength of this multiclass option is a combination of the Cleric being a Wisdom-based fullcaster, and getting their subclass at 1st level. This makes for a very potent one-level dip, with the addition of Channel Divinity at 2nd level making it one of the more tempting two-level dips as well. Recommended Domains are War for the bonus action attack, access to Divine Favor, and the accuracy boosting Channel Divinity; Life for the boost to healing if you want to play more of a support Ranger, and Forge for the ability to create your own +1 weapon or armor. All of these Domains also grant proficiency with heavy armor, if you’re playing a Strength-focused build and want to grab plate armor.
Druid (4) – A very thematic dip, this only gets a 4 as you really need to take two levels to get real value out of it, and it will restrict you from using metal armor. If you are comfortable taking two levels, this class rewards you with a substantial amount of benefits. Besides the substantial boost of spellcasting you get, you’ll also gain the Wild Shape feature and subclass abilities. Wild Shape will only really be good for scouting and hiding unless you choose Circle of the Moon, however, many newer subclasses will use Wildshape as a resource for their features. Recommended subclasses include Circle of Stars for high damage potential and versatility, and Circle of the Shepherd for bolstering subclass companions and summoned creatures.
Fighter (5) – Between the Fighter being very front-loaded and having a synergistic stat prerequisite, this is an excellent choice for a dip. Anywhere between one and four levels is recommended here, with each level being very rewarding but 5th level is entirely redundant unless you don’t plan on taking more than four levels of Ranger. The combination of an additional fighting style and Action Surge can significantly increase your damage over the course of the adventuring day, whilst Second Wind can help get you out of some tough spots or just let you adventure a little longer. If you go deep enough for a subclass, then most are decent to good choice for you, with the subclasses tied to Intelligence falling to the bottom of the pack. Battlemaster is a great choice for enhancing your weapon use with more damage and different rider effects, whilst the Samurai simultaneously increases your durability and accuracy, a great choice for Sharpshooter builds.
Monk (3) – This can be a a great choice for a multiclass dip but, how synergistic it is depends on if the Optional Class Features from TCoE are being used for the Monk and which fighting style you chose as a Ranger. If you built around ranged weapons, Strength, or took the Defense style, this dip is far less appealing for you. The draw of this dip is being able to have a respectable AC without armor, a bonus action attack, and being able to use a wider range of weapons with Dexterity. If you take two levels, then the movement speed increase is nice, and access to Ki provides some nova benefits and panic buttons. If you take three levels, then Kensei is recommended for the support to both melee and ranged combat, and Mercy for the efficiency of being able to provide emergency healing to allies in combat. It’s important to remember when dipping this class, you are a Ranger with Monk levels, not a Monk. You won’t have the Ki points to play like the latter, you are taking these levels to enhance the former.
Paladin (1) – Needing four stats at 13 or higher, whilst still needing Constitution to some degree, makes this a nonstarter. The first level of dipping this class will feel awful, only really providing a meagre five Lay on Hands points and a few uses of a niche detection ability. The second level is more rewarding with another fighting style, access to Paladin spells, and Divine Smite, however, your Charisma will be terrible for preparing and using the spells, and you don’t have a lot of spell slots to be spending on Divine Smite. If you go far enough to take an Oath, then Vengeance is recommended for Vow of Emnity. This is a bad dip that should be avoided.
Rogue (5) – A small bump in damage from Sneak Attack, proficiency in one skill and Thieves’ Tools, and Expertise is huge amount of value from a one level dip. Cunning Action can provide a lot of options for you if you want to go for two levels, but consider how contested your bonus action is before doing this. This is best for characters that scout a lot or want to be more of a jack of all trades/skill monkey type of build. If you go far enough for a subclass, then Swashbuckler is a fantastic choice for skirmishing and helping ensure that you qualify for Sneak Attack, and Soulknife can add a great deal of reliability to your ability checks even if you don’t use the Psychic Blades. Sneak Attack also increases to 2d6 at the same level you gain a subclass, increasing the value of doing so.
Sorcerer (3) – The reliance on, and prerequisite of, Charisma and a d6 Hit Die are very unfortunate, however, access to excellent spells such as Shield and gaining subclass features at 1st level can still make this an interesting dip. As with most casting multiclass dips it’s best to choose spells that don’t require your spellcasting modifier for your cantrips and two leveled spells. The best subclasses to choose are either the Divine Soul, which would give you Favored by the Gods once per short rest, or the Clockwork Soul for Restore Balance which will scale with your proficiency bonus.
Warlock (3) – The Warlock is very similar to the Sorcerer, with the Charisma requirement being partially offset by getting subclass abilities at 1st level, however, instead of getting a lot of cantrips and boosting your overall spellcasting level, you gain a 1st level spell slot that will recharge on a short rest. If you choose to go two levels into this class Eldritch Invocations can add a lot of utility onto your Ranger. Recommended invocations include Fiendish Vigor for a source of temporary hit points, Devil’s Sight for a better version of darkvision, and Eldritch Sight for at-will castings of Detect Magic. Recommended patrons include the Genie for the additional damage to one attack per turn, and Fiend for the temporary hit points when you reduce a creature to 0 hit points.
Wizard (1) – Reliance on Intelligence, subclass abilities not coming until 2nd level, and a d6 Hit Die all add up to a very poor choice of multiclass for you. If you do choose this class then it is best to primarily choose ritual spells that you don’t need to prepare and spells like Shield that won’t use your Int modifier. Recommended subclasses if you choose to take two levels in this class include Divination for Portent, and War Magic for the small bump to initiative and Arcane Deflection.
Are you looking forward to bonding with nature and hunting down anything that would threaten what you care about, or are you already worried about getting all of that animal hair off of your formal cloak? If you enjoyed this guide and found it helpful, comment below, and check out our other class guides. Until next time, may your steps be silent and your aim true.