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I was considering building a Ranger, and consulted my local game shop DM on the matter. He suggested using one of the revised versions of the ranger class, due to the ranger in the PHB being somewhat underpowered as compared to later revisions of the class.

I was also doing some reading, and found a couple of references to a "revised ranger" here and here.

How many different versions of the ranger class are there in 5e, and what are the differences between them?

I'm looking for answers that reference official WotC sources, including UA if it's applicable.

I'm not asking "How many different ways, subclasses, feats, etc. are there for designing rangers?" Rather, I'm confused since there appear to be multiple releases of the ranger class itself, yet the only version I am familiar with is the version in the PHB.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is indeed an answerable question. There are two archetypes in the PHB, and a finite number (less than ten) in various UA that WoTC has issued in attempts to update the class and play test variations on the Ranger theme. The "Too Broad" VtC's seem misguided. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 25 '17 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin Even better though: it's not asking about that many archetypes ("subclasses"), just the 3(?) actual classes. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 25 '17 at 17:51
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There are three (and a half) versions

  • The classic Ranger as given in the PHB.

  • The Ranger with No Spells as given in the Unearthed Arcana: Modifying Classes.

    • This version removes the spellcasting progression from the class and gives them a more nature-based theme. This version has included in it Superiority Dice (from the Fighter's Battle Master archetype) and various abilities that mimic spells, but are explicitly nonmagical.
  • The Revised Ranger, which is also in the Unearthed Arcana.

    • This version of the class is what a lot of people enjoy. It upgrades the strength of many of the classic Ranger's abilities. Its Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer abilities are so good, it becomes worth it to consider a 1-level dip in this class just for those abilities.
  • In the 2019 Class Feature Variants UA the Ranger (in pdf) was given several alternate, or appending features.

    • The core class is still the one in the PHB, but was given optional features to replace certain features (Natural Explorer, Favored Enemy, etc.), append to options (including a Fighting Style which grants druid cantrips), or add to the spellcasting feature (including adding spells to the class list, spellcasting focus, and the ability to replace spells on long rests).

These three (and half) versions of the Ranger are, in essence, different classes which all just happen to share a name. There are, of course, many archetypes/conclaves, but those minor differences do not constitute a totally different release/version of the Ranger.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I know you touched on it, but you might want to list the sources for other archtypes not in those three. Mainly: - Unearthed Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark contained a archtyoe "Deep Stalker". Jnauary's Unearth Acarcana: Ranger Rogue gives a Horizon Walker and Primeval Guardian. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Jul 25 '17 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be useful to point out that other than the PHB version they are playtest material and not legal in AL, and requiring DM approval otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – diego Jul 25 '17 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ The revised ranger is also not legal for AL yet either..... It says so in the opening paragraph, and the many tweets from Crawford. That said, I get your point. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Jul 25 '17 at 16:02
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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also a non-UA version of the ranger from D&D designer Mike Mearls: Revised Ranger 2018. It's sort of half way in between the last two UA versions linked in this answer, as it's a patch to the official PHB version, like the feature variants UA, but it makes some major parts of the class (like spellcasting) optional, in the style of the UA Revised Ranger. \$\endgroup\$ – Blckknght Feb 23 at 19:47

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