D&D: The Best “Worst” Subclasses
Dungeons & Dragons is full of player options. Some are stronger than others. But as you’ll see, even the “worst” subclasses can be fun.
Dungeons & Dragons is a game that many will tell you has no one correct way to play it. While also at the same time arguing to the point of exhaustion that some subclasses are better than others. And that if you play them, you’re doing it wrong.
We don’t tend to think there’s one right way to play the game here at BoLS. Take a “weaker” subclass, though, and you’ll find there’s always someone willing to say that math proves you wrong. But are you going to let math tell you what to do?
Depends on who you ask. But despite the mechanical hate, these are of the best “worst” subclasses in 5th Edition.
The Undying Patron for a Warlock is popularly held to be the “worst” Warlock Patron. Introduced in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, this patron is maligned because of the limited use of its subclass features. Especially compared to both the Celestial and Undead patrons, both of which are available to Warlocks.
What makes it fun regardless, is that you gain a number of “ribbon features” that make your character feel unique. If you’re in a campaign that features a lot of undead, your role as someone whom the undead find difficult to hurt becomes even more important. And your ability to cheat death once per day and the later abilities to reattach your own severed limbs (once per rest) can be fun. Just be prepared to let your core Warlock features do most of the heavy lifting.
The Artificer is a fantastic class, much like the Warlock, and has a lot going for it. But the Alchemist Artificer often ends up on the lower end of the spectrum. It’s considered “weaker” than the others because of a few quality-of-life issues. Notably, the Elixir mechanic, which is the defining feature of the Alchemist, is objectively awful on the action economy. It takes another creature their action to use it.
Alchemical savant, on the other hand, means you have to have a hand free at all times to benefit from this feature. This means you can’t have a shield while also wielding an enhanced focus to up your spell DCs.
On the other hand, players who want to dish out magical potions to their party find the class to be a lot of fun. By the time you get Restorative Reagents and your Alchemical Homunculus helping you hand out potions as a bonus action, it gets a little better.
Way of the Four Elements
Way of the Four Elements Monks have had it rough since day one of D&D 5th Edition. They were clearly meant to be the “you can do magic martial arts” class, taking heavy inspiration from shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Sadly, WotC hadn’t quite figured out how they wanted to use Ki as a resource yet. As a result, Way of the Four Elements Monks are often considered the weakest Monk subclass. In “the standard adventuring day” of 6-8 encounters, they have a hard time keeping up with their fellows.
But what makes them fun, is that they do deliver on the fantasy of doing magical martial arts. And if you only have one maybe two combats per session/long rest, you’ll probably be fine.
What are your favorite “worst subclasses?”