DnD 5e: Shifter Race Guide
“I have put duality away. I have seen the two worlds are one.” – Rumi
Shifters are a beautiful representation of inidgenous peoples and native tribes around the world. Recognizing their connection to nature, their rich history, and varied qualities from tribe to tribe, and people to people. They are not a monolith. They perfectly represent a people who walk in two worlds, their physical space, one where they embrace and build civilization, and a more naturalistic space that wishes to turn to spiritual roots. And, as a result, they show that these two modes are not exclusive. A person can exist in the two worlds of modernity and spirituality.
In D&D, Shifters appeared first in Eberron, and have since become a staple race at the table. Offering their players a wide berth of options and features that make them incredibly unique, able to fulfill almost any role at the table and do it well.
If you are thinking about playing a Shifter, you are considering playing an empty canvas rich with opportunity. What you pick will be your paint and how you play, your brush strokes. I’ll help you do some thinking, but be advised, you’re about to make some art.
–ASI: +1 DEX. While this, on its own, doesn’t look incredible, with your subrace pick, you’ll get some pretty wild boosts at character creation.
-Age: Adulthood at 10 and you don’t live much further beyond 70. Be wary of aging spells. They could really mess you up.
-Alignment: Tend toward chaotic neutral, but this one is really up to you.
–Size: Medium. And you may stand 5 to almost 7 feet tall (varies by subrace).
–Speed: Base walking speed of 30 feet = Standard. We like it.
–Darkvision: Standard 60 feet of darkvision. Lovely to have.
–Keen Senses: You have proficiency in the Perception skill. This will free up a lot of backgrounds and classes to pick other skills.
–Shifting: Bonus action to go beast mode for 1 minute, or until you end it as a bonus action (or die). Gives you temporary HP equal to your level + CON modifier (note: this will always provide at least +1, even if you have a negative CON mod). You’ll also get your subrace bonuses (this is where the effect actually shines). Once per short/long rest. You should be able to use this fairly regularly since it recharges on any rest.
-Languages: You can read and write Common, Quori, and one other language of your choice.
—Beasthide (Eberron – Rising from the Last War, E:RftLW)
–Ability Score Increase: CON +2. Solid. Nice for a handful of reasons. You need it for your shifter ability to get the most HP out of it. And it’s great for tankiness and concentrating on spells.
–Tough: Proficiency in Athletics.Frees up picking another skill. That could be nice for some classes/background selections (especially if you’re going the way of the skill monkey).
–Shifting Feature: 1d6 additional temporary hit points, and +1 bonus to your AC. The way this is worded adds these temporary hit points on top of existing temporary HP rather than making you replace it. So, you’ll be stacking the base shifting temporary HP with these. With a solid CON score (+3 or above), you could be getting anywhere between 5 to 10 bonus HP at LEVEL ONE! You could basically be doubling a squishy classes’ HP. The woes of the squishy wizard almost disappear.
–Ability Score Increase: +2 STR. Hit harder. Solid pick for martial classes (with the exception of the monk). So, Barbarians, Blood Hunters, Fighters, and Paladins.
–Fierce: Proficiency in Intimidation. Frees up picking another skill. That could be nice for some classes/background selections.
–Shifting Feature: You get fangs to make unarmed strikes.1d6 + STR piercing damage, instead of the typica unarmed strike bludgeoning damage. While this ability has some utility, especially if your DM has plans on imprisoning you and stealing your weapons (I promise this happens like… at least once per campaign). However, you’ll likely never need to use this part of your shifting feature. I will say, though, this could be a very fun way of getting advantage on intimidation checks if you have a cool DM that looks beyond written mechanics.
–Ability Score Increase: +1 to DEX and CHA. Ultimately adds up to a +2 to DEX and a +1 to CHA. Solid array increases for your Bards, Rogues, and even Warlocks.
–Graceful: Proficiency in Acrobatics. Frees up picking another skill. That could be nice for some classes/background selections.
–Swift Stride: Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.
–Shifting Feature: Walking speed boosted by 5 feet. Plus, you get up to 10 feet to move as a reaction when an enemy finishes a move within 5 feet of you, and it doesn’t provoke OA’s. Hot.
Note that they first appeared in Wayfinders Guide to Ebberon with slightly different abilities. They are listed after this subrace, but I will only be referring to the E:RftLW subrace for the purposes of this guide, as it has been markedly improved from Wayfinders.
–Ability Score Increase:WIS +2 and DEX +1… A total of +2 WIS and +2 DEX. Considering how few races provide a +2 to WIS, this might be the best stat array increase you could find since you also get +2 to the GOD STAT of D&D 5e. Go light/medium armor Cleric, Druid or Monk and hot damn, you’ll be one fearsome foe. In my opinion, this is the BEST race/subrace pick you could take for a Ranger.
–Natural Tracker: Proficiency in Survival. Frees up picking another skill. That could be nice for some classes/background selections.
–Shifting Feature: Advantage on Wisdom checks, no creatures (within 30 feet) can hit you with advantage (unless you’re incapacitated, of course). Holy cow, this might be one of the craziest features in the entire game. Turning off advantage for your opponents (against you) means you’ll be one nasty combatant. Frankly, this ability alone makes this subrace a compelling pick for any class you pick.
—Wildhunt (Wayfinders Guide to Ebberon)
Ability Score Increase: +2 WIS. Compared to the improved Wildhunt Shifter, the increase is fine, but not amazing.
Natural Tracker: Proficiency in Survival.
Mark the Scent: Bonus action to select a creature you can see within 10 feet. You get a proficiency bonus doubled to anything you do to find them. And you automatically know its location if it is within 60 feet of you. Recharges on a short or long rest.
Shifting Feature: Advantage on Wisdom checks.
Best Classes and Archetypes for Shifters
I’ll save you some time and pair the archetypes with my preferred subrace combination. At the end of the day, the reasoning comes down to three things:
1) Does the race satisfy the expectations of the class?
2) Does the class synergize with subclass abilities?
3) How easy would it be to get started with this race-class/subclass combo?
You can try to turn D&D 5e into as much of an exact science as you want, but at the end of the day, you need to figure out what works best for your playstyle, your campaign, and your playgroup. Alrighty, here we go!
WIth no bonuses to INT in sight, you’re going to want to go the direction of Beasthide, Longtooth, or Wildhunt. Boost your INT ASAP or REALLY lean into your best stats.
Alchemist: You’re probably going to need the CON more than the other Artificer archetypes to keep spells active.
Longtooth or Wildhunt
Armorer: You really want a +2 to STR or DEX to make up for your lack of an INT bonus. This will keep your damage potential mostly in line with your peers.
Artillerist: It’s their shifting feature. You may end up in compromising positions to set up your turret, so it’ll be good to negate advantage on enemy attacks.
Battle Smith: Your battle suit buddy is only good if you’re alive, so negating advantage on enemy attacks is going to be the way to go.
You’ll want to pick either the Beasthide or Longtooth. Either is equally suitable, however, I might lean toward the Longtooth for most subclasses. The +2 to STR is going to help the Barbarian take advantage of all those class abilities that rely on STR. If you go Beasthide, you’ll be playing a DEX Barbarian, this a nontraditional path, but your unarmored defense is going to be pretty amazing
Longtooth or Beasthide
Battlerager: Technically dwarf only. One of the weaker subclasses in the game. I’d pass.
Berserker: Classic Barbarian loves the STR or CON. Lean in either way and you’ll have a good time.
Depths: Limited functionality to waterbased campaigns. It’s solid, but you should look elsewhere first.
Storm Herald: Overall, solid options to bounce between damage and interacting with your environment. Either subclass will do equally well.
Totem Warrior – Eagle: All of the totems (with the exception of Bear and Wolf) would really benefit from leaning into your STR. You need to be doing excellent damage from the get-go. The Eagle thrives on getting into the fray, but needs to stay alive and might struggle with the features offered to it early game, but would do fine later.
Totem Warrior – Elk: You could go Swiftstride here for the speed, but you really need the STR to knock people prone.
Totem Warrior – Tiger: Bouncing around gives you some solid battlefield mobility. The extra STR will give you more jumping distance.
Wild Magic: These guys are pretty fun and they’d do equally fine with the Longtooth or Beasthide. Honestly, if I were DMing a game with a Wild Magic Barbarian, I would make it extra wild and make it so they have a chance to swap Shifter subraces on rare occasions. When playing with fae magic, you’re asking for stupidity to ensue.
Ancestral Guardian: The longer you stand, the more damage you’ll do. Simple Barbarian math.
Totem Warrior – Bear: You definitely want those temp HP since your resistance still applies to those. This means you’re only going to get harder and harder and harder to take down as you progress. In the lore, Beasthide Shifters are frequently represented by bears.
Totem Warrior – Wolf: Getting attacks off with advantage with your allies is nice, but you’ll want to survive, so go the way of the Beasthide to survive. In the lore, Shifters in the Longtooth category would be more lupine but this is one instance of mechanics and lore maybe not working it total unison.
Zealot: Same thing as the Bear. You’re going to be an absolute pain to kill.
Beast: Multiple beastial forms. They don’t negate eachother. Grow fang with a tail, claws… or more fangs?
Juggernaut: GHRAAAH! GRONK BREAK THINGS! (You need STR to make this a reality)
You NEED the DEX, and the CHA is essential for the Bard. However, getting a +2 to WIS and DEX means becoming a jack-of-all-trades will be much easier. So, go Swiftstride for a classic Bardic experience (+1 isn’t the absolute best, but it’s workable) or Wildhunt, but then promise yourself to pick up a +2 to CHA at level 4.
Swiftstride or Wildhunt
Creation: Can’t complain. Shifters are not a beginners race, in my opinion, so chances are you’re in the mood for some creative gameplay. This could be an excellent pick for you.
Eloquence: This is a bard that can’t really do anything wrong. You’ll want the highest CHA possible at your nearest convenience, but you’ll be able to pump out some serious damage, provide immense utility, and control the battlefield.
Glamour: Decent utility, but a little weak. You’ll shine in social-heavy campaigns (and I think most campaigns need more socializing and less bashy-bashy).
Lore: Reject combat, return to (skill) monke.
Maestro: The Battlemasters of the Bard subclasses. I’d especially recommend going Swiftstride for the bonus speed, but man… negating advantage in combat is unbeatable.
Swords: Frankly, I think the Maestro is the more compelling Battle-Bard pick. However, if you want a swashbuckling vibe (without playing a Rogue Swashbuckler) this is the way to go.
Valor: Nope. Bad bard. Needs a rework.
Whispers: It’s the flip side of the Glamour bard. They are the edgelord Bards. Similar utility in social interactions with some fair combat options as well.
Depending on the build you are going for you may be looking at the Beasthide, Longtooth, or Wildhunt. A survivable Blood Hunter, especially Mutants, may want the Beasthide. Upclose and personal, bestial Lycan Blood Hunters would want the Longtooth. However, I would recommend that, across the board, you pick Wildhunt. A +2 to two ability score is insane, and both DEX and WIS are the top tier ability scores for a successful Blood Hunter.
Ghostslayer: Undead get some of the spookiest abilities in the game as it goes on. Especially in the ‘age’ effect category. You need to protect your precious years, so negating advantage will be very helpful.
Lycan: Hitting hard means more muscles. You’ll get all kinds of fun Lycanthropic abilities, so passing over the Longtooth isn’t an issue. You’ll need the WIS for your class abilities.
Mutant: You’ll be messing with your abilities scores anyway, and having two ability scores raised pretty high from the get go means you’ll have more to mess with without screwing yourself over.
Profane Soul: You need the WIS for your spellcasting modifier, so Wildhunt is basically required. And with everything offered by this class, you can watch the world burn!
There is no question asked. There is a +2 to WIS offered, we’re TAKING it and never giving it back. Hoard the WIS. Hoard all the WIS.
Arcana: Wizard Cleric. Pretty solid overall. Great options from level to level. You’ll always have something to offer the group.
Blood: Though this sits more in the camp of homebrew, it’s still nicely balanced and you’ll be able use your Blood Puppet channel divinity feature with greater efficacy. I like it.
Death: I get a witchy vibe from a shifter Death Cleric. The Death Cleric is already one of my favorite options in the game, so I am biased here. Your abilities are excellent and you’ll especially love this if you face undead regularly.
Forge: Solid utility options. Free +1 AC or Weapon boosts at level one are pretty amazing. Boost yourself or your allies. Everyone will be happy.
Grave: Powerful abilities. Loves the +2 to WIS. Good pick.
Knowledge: Likes having INT as well, but that’s something you can pick up at level 4 or try and prioritize at level one as you pick your stat array.
Life: You’ll be a very formidable healer and it’ll be hard to keep you down. This may make you a priority target for smarter enemies, but you’ll be able to negate any advantage they might try to get on you (if they are within 30 feet). That means it’s up to the party to help keep you alive if enemies are farther than that. Don’t use heavy armor unless it’s better than what you’d get with your DEX bonus.
Light: Pretty incredible abilities. Your enemies will be clutching their eyes, trying to avert their gaze from your holy radiance.
Nature: The shifter Nature Cleric is just about as druid-poser as it gets. I think there is some interesting space to roleplay why a creature of the wild is now a part of a holy order. Get thinking!
Order: You won’t want the heavy armor this one gives you unless it’s better than what you’d get with your DEX bonus. Otherwise, this is a fun social cleric class and gets some solid crowd control options.
Peace: This guy is pretty broken just because you get to add so many dice to people’s rolls. Basically, the party will pick who has the most powerful build, and then you’ll just make them unstoppable. Love it.
Tempest: My personal fave out of all the Cleric domains. I just like zapping people when they try to hit me. Works great for your build.
Trickery: Shifters lean into the chaos of the Trickery Cleric. I like the vibe. You’ll want a better CHA score to keep up the deception rolls you’ll inevitably be making.
Twilight: Powerful, powerful, powerful abilities. I love these guys. Just keep up the Advantage to Initiative rolls and you’ll be golden.
War: Again, you won’t want the heavy armor unless the heavy armor provides a better AC than your DEX + Medium Armor. Lean into finesse weapons, and this could be a fun combo.
Like the Cleric, no questions asked. Wildhunt all the way.
Dreams: Really fun abilities that expand roleplay/gameplay options beyond the waking world.
Land: Decent abilities, but I think they are outshined by the newer, shinier druid subclasses. Though, it is a classic, and it’s not like it can’t do awesome damage.
Moon: Oh, you thought you shifted? Time to shift even harder. Your shifting ability should still be accessible to you as a bear.
Shepherd: Awesome conjurations spells and abilities that rival the Conjuration Wizard’s abilities well into the late game
Spores: Pretty tanky druids with all of their abilities taken into account. I think they’re just “okay” in nine out of ten situations, but they can be a pivotal last line of defense in a sticky situation.
Stars: Love these guys. They are top-tier druids. Their efficiency is unrivaled.
Wildfire: The Arson Druid. Solid pick for the burgeoning wild-child, pyromaniac.
Given the wide variability of the Fighter, it fits that you could pick any Shifter subrace and feel like it was right for you. In particular, the Shifter tends to favor DEX based classes, so you may feel drawn to build finesse weapon fighters. I won’t list Wildhunt below, because ALL of them could pair with the Wildhunt and it would just get redundant to list it a million times. Why Wildhunt? DENY! ADVANTAGE!
Arcane Archer: Needs INT to succeed, but loves the DEX. Boost INT ASAP.
Eldritch Knight: Needs INT to succeed, but can make use of the DEX to overcome its shortcomings. Boost INT ASAP.
Gunslinger: Will absolutely destroy using the +2 DEX bonus. Cherish the bonus speed from the Swiftstride. You’ll be much safer if you can get into good long-ranged positions and maneuver out of combat.
Renegade: Will ALSO absolutely destroy using the +2 DEX bonus. You’ll operate in a similar space to the Gunslinger.
Longtooth or Swiftstride
Samurai: You’ll want the Swiftstride since the +1 to CHA will help turn on your social options. However, the Longtooth will help give your attacks more oomph and you’ll be able to use weapons beyond just the finesse.
Battle Master: +2 to DEX or +2 to STR. You’ll get your pick on how to approach your build. Love the versatility.
Echo Knight: Creative combat that enjoys synergy with either subrace. Likely lean to Swiftstride for the mobility.
Psi Warrior: Would really like INT to hit smarter not harder, but can make use of the DEX or STR to make up the slack. Boost INT ASAP.
Purple Dragon Knight: Loves boosting allies. The mobility of the Swiftstride will be incredible, to get into position. But if you want to hit harder with greater weapon variety, go Longtooth.
Rune Knight: It’s kind of a “meh” subclass just on its own, but it has some decent options but scales poorly in the long-run.
Cavalier: You’ll get your mobility from your mount, so what’s most important is that you survive since you’ll likely be a high visibility target. Use that temp HP to maximal effect. Boost STR ASAP (since you’ll likely lean toward using a Lance or similar heavy weapons).
Champion: A classic ‘stand your ground’ fighter. You’ll need to be able to take a beating. An expanded Crit range makes you a much more fearsome foe, but you won’t be epic until you boost your STR or DEX ASAP.
Wildhunt. +2 to WIS. +2 to DEX. Holy. Hot. Fire. This is perfect for your unarmored defense and is everything a Monk wants to succeed in combat and social scenarios.
Ascendant Dragon: Super fun to pair with shifter abilities. Negate advantage and blast people with draconic powers. Amazing.
Astral Self: What does it look like? Who is your inner self? This is a lot of fun to figure out with a Shifter. The powers are simple but powerful. Enjoy!
Cobalt Soul: Punch the truth out of enemies. Great for turning a combat scenario into a roleplaying opportunity.
Drunken Master: It’s just Jackie Chan. It feels great to play mechanically and immensely fun to roleplay.
Four Elements: Shifters already have a connection to nature, so the Four Elements Monk fits really well narratively. However, I think the Four Elements Monk is a bit clunky mechanically.
Kensei: Specializes on atypical monk weapons, so that gets pretty wild (like using a Warhammer and a Blowgun… who does that? A Kensei).
Long Death: Brutal attacks and strong utility. Thumbs up.
Mercy: Punch the souls back into people. Is it a bit silly? Maybe, but I like it.
Open Hand: Classic monk. More interesting options have come up since it first came out, but I like the simplicity and ease of access.
Shadow: Unbeatable in dark-setting campaigns. Like… seriously unrivaled.
Sun Soul: Turn every attack into a Kamehameha blast and have a good time.
You’ll want to lean into either the Longtooth or Swiftstride. The former will give you a classic Paladin STR build and you likely be using Heavy Armor, and maybe a shield. The latter will open up the deeper mechanics of the Paladin, using CHA for spellcasting and DEX as your primary combat stat. You’ll likely use a finesse weapon (god-Rapier), Medium armor and a shield. Either path works well for the Paladin subclasses, however, I think the Swiftstride is more versatile.
Longtooth or Swiftstride
Ancients: The Aura of Warding may be one of the most useful Paladin auras in the game. Resistance to ALL spell damage is huge.
Conquest: The abilities are solid and your Channel Divinity Guided Strike is insane. Pair that with a Great Weapons Master or Sharpshooter feat attack and pour in your highest Divine Smite and you are going to be very happy.
Crown: Great combat options. Solid spellcasting. All around a decent choice.
Devotion: The basic Paladin. Feels pretty Cleric-y until level 7 when you are able to negate the charmed condition.
Glory: Gives you one of the best mobility boosts in the entire game and your allies can benefit, but you have to make it to the mid-game. Also, the utility of giving temp HP after using your divine smites is immense.
Oathbreaker: Super solid. One of the most powerful Paladin subclasses. Live unbridled.
Open Sea: Works best at sea. Otherwise, pass.
Redemption: The Rebuke the Violent Channel Divinity used against a powerful enemy is huge. But you’ll want a very high spell DC to make their save harder to pass. Boost your CHA!
Vengeance: Relentless Avenger paired with the Swiftstride mobility means you’ll be moving around the battlefield like a madman. But, be careful to use your reaction wisely!
Watchers: Solid class skills, but needs to be used in a planar campaign. With Spelljammer confirmed, this will likely see a lot more play.
Wildhunt. It doesn’t get better than this for a ranger. DEX for all your swinginess and shootiness. WIS for all of your class abilities and spellcasting. I love this combo.
Beast Master: Needs to make access to all the Tasha’s optional features to even be viable. It’s fine, and using an optimal subrace would show how suboptimal this subclass actually is.
Drakewarden: A really fun pairing. Bring a dragon buddy along with you on your adventures.
Fey Wanderer: Best in campaigns that involve the Feywild. Otherwise, their kit feels a little limited. But what they have is good!
Gloom Stalker: One of the strongest Race/Class combos in the game. Incredible DEX and WIS mean you’re going to be able to hit enemies HARD again, and again, and again with your level 3 class features. And you only become more fearsome as the game goes on.
Horizon Walker: Like the Watcher Paladin. Will likely be seeing a lot more play in the coming years of D&D. Solid toolset.
Hunter: Basic Ranger. They have a lot of options and can put out A LOT of damage in the right situation. The difficulty with them is that they basically ask you “when do you want to deal damage” and outside of that scenario you might feel less capable.
Monster Slayer: Big. Game. Hunter. You want a higher STR score for these guys, so this won’t be your optimal fit.
Swarmkeeper: The flavor is cool, the abilities themselves are good, but I think they require good roleplay to feel like their unique style is reflected in the world. So, this may be a good pick for you, but if you’re still uncomfortable roleplaying, it might not be for you.
DEX and CHA + excellent mobility mean the Swiftstride is a happy camper with the rogue.
Arcane Trickster: Boost INT at your nearest convenience and enjoy using your reactions to move all around the battlefield.
Assassin: An expanded crit range is almost a reason to raise anything to epic. And, that’s the case here. Your mobility and ability to hit VERY hard is going to be hard to rival.
Inquisitive: Your WIS will be put to good use to get a lot of sneak attacks. And as a rogue, you want as many of those as possible.
Mastermind: 30ft help bonus actions are beautiful, so maneuverability on a reaction means you can use that more reliably and strategically plan your bonus actions on the enemy’s turn more proactively. That’s cool.
Phantom: Needs mobility anyway, so this is a happy addition. Turns the Phantom into a nearly top-tier pick.
Soulknife: Super powerful with high DEX, especially in the late game. You’ll really enjoy this pick.
Swashbuckler: Excellent mobility during your turn adds nicely to mobility on the reaction. You’ll almost never be hit by an OA.
Thief: Classic Rogue that loves a boost to DEX and CHA for both combat and social interaction.
Scout: The Swiftstride ability is a worse copy of your Skirmisher class feature. So go Wildhunt and get more out of life.
You need the CHA and the DEX is going to boost your AC. So, go Swiftstride!
Aberrant Mind: Wiz/Lock Sorcerer. Loads of options to destroy your enemies.
Divine Soul: Cleric Sorcerer. Amazing healing and damage output through the Guiding Bolt.
Draconic Bloodline: Dragon themes are always fun. I wish they got flight earlier in the game, but you’ll love the late game.
Rune Child: Sorcery points will be spent off the wazoo, but I think their abilities are very unique!
Shadow Sorcery: Super fun in dark-campaigns. Have some very powerful abilities. Plenty of interesting roleplay opportunities await.
Storm Sorcery: Level one limited flight is super fun to play around with your mobility. You won’t stop moving around the battlefield, on your turn or on your enemies’!
Wild Magic: Similar to the Wild Magic Barbarian, you’ll be popping off super fun magical effects and I think your DM could turn the Shifter into an interesting vessel of fey shenanigans.
Clockwork Soul: You’ll want to boost your CHA at level 4, but you’ll be negating Advantage AND Disadvantage now up to 60 feet away as a reaction on top of your free ADV negation within 30 feet. Some would call this gimmicky, I call it a powerful, broken combo. Enjoy.
You need the CHA and the DEX is going to boost your AC. So, go Swiftstride!
Archfey: Love a misty escape, pair that with your already existing mobility and your game-plan will become very proactive.
Celestial: Loads of utility packed into a cleric-ish package. Make your god-worshiping friend’s envious of your Patron that plays an active role in your life.
Fathomless: Wants a water-based campaign. The abilities are cool though.
Fiend: Very sustainable in the early game with some insane damage options into the late game. Very fun.
Genie: You’ll want the highest CHA as you can get for your Genie Vessel.
Great Old One: Your CHA will make it harder for your enemies to get out of your control spells and you’ve got some fun reactivity with Entropic Ward.
Hexblade: You’d probably rather have a +2 CHA and +1 DEX in this instance, but you’re going to be able to hit hard with the stat boost provided by the Shifter.
Undying: Way cool in undead campaigns. Hard to take down because they’ll be able to redirect undead attacks. Outside of undead campaigns, they’ll be just fine.
Being a wizard in these trying times is harder than ever. You’re going to want to make sure to get as many hit points as possible, and that means taking the Beasthide subrace where you basically get a temporary free level of HP that scales better than your regular HP level-ups. Boost your INT ASAP! I am going to grade these as though you’re going to. Take some community college courses or something.
Abjuration: Playing the defensive is a good choice for a squishy wizard, but you don’t need all that defense now that you’ve got the temp HP. So, how careful do you want to play it?
Artificer: Play the Artificer class. It’s ages better.
Bladesinging: Elf restricted, but I think it’s really only worth it if you’ve got a very high INT from the get-go.
Chronurgist: Second only to the Divination wizard in absolutely game changing class features.
Conjuration: Amazing summons that really only get interesting in the late game.
Divination: To this day, their ability to roll and pre-select outcomes is the number one class feature in the game.
Enchantment: You need a much higher INT for your spell save DC, otherwise, you’re going to have a really bad time.
Evocation: With a high HP, you can focus more on doing damage. You’ll need an INT boost to hit more reliably, but this is a fun pick.
Graviturgist: I really like their effects and I think gravity magic is some of the coolest in the game, but you’ll have to pick when to use your effects wisely. You’re all about the set-up!
Illusion: Strong in the hands of a creative thinker.
Necromancy: Not getting a horde of undead buddies is pretty sad. You’ll have an okay time, but you should really go to the Death Cleric, if you want to play this class optimally.
Order of Scribes: For the spell collectors out there, these guys are a hoot. You’ll be able to deny a lot of incoming damage just by knowing (and then temporarily forgetting) spells. That’s insane!
Transmutation: These guys can be pretty fun, but with the advent of the full Artificer class, they have lost a lot of their draw.
War Magic: Arcane Deflection is wicked to boost your AC, but having low INT is going to hurt your class abilities later on. You need to prioritize a boost.
Racial Feats/Best Feats
No racial feats for the Shifter just yet. Maybe we will see those later on, but for now, we have to make do with ability Score Improvements and basic Feats.
For Martial Builds:
–Great Weapon Master: Depending on your weapon of choice (in this case, heavy weapons), this will likely be your bread and butter. A -5 penalty for a +10 to damage is absolutely bonkers, and goes brilliantly with a Barbarian’s Reckless Attack. Keep your bonus actions open since if you reduce something to 0 hit points, you can get bonus action attack.
–Polearm Master: If you’re like me, the ability to maximize your reactions is a key to getting the most out of a game. Picking a weapon with reach and getting an opportunity attack when they come into your attack range is kind of insane. Free attacks on your enemy’s turn is ridiculous.
–Sentinel: Paired with either/both of the above feats, you’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of your reactions. Especially with Polearm Master, if you hit someone with an opportunity attack (probably 10 feet from you), you can reduce their speed to zero and get some solid damage off. And if you have Great Weapon Master, since many polearm weapons are heavy, you can also decide to take a -5 on that OA to deal INSANE damage. These three feats together will make you a truly fearsome
For Ranged Builds:
–Sharpshooter: Attacking at long range no longer gives you disadvantage and you can ignore three-quarter cover. Plus, something that many forget, is that this is the Great Weapons Master feat of ranged weapons. BUT, this isn’t limited to bows. This can be used on your bows, crossbows, throwing weapons, and firearms. Isn’t. That. Glorious?!
– War Caster: An essential part of the toolkit. Make cantrip OAs. Get advantage on concentration checks. And HAVE A SHIELD and still use somatic components.