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At what level does each class get its subclass?

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2 Answers 2

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Class Subclass Feature Name Level
Artificer Artificer Specialist 3
Barbarian Primal Path 3
Bard Bard College 3
Cleric Divine Domain 1
Druid Druid Circle 2
Fighter Martial Archetype 3
Monk Monastic Tradition 3
Paladin Sacred Oath 3
Ranger Ranger Archetype 3
Rogue Roguish Archetype 3
Sorcerer Sorcerous Origin 1
Warlock Otherworldly Patron 1
Wizard Arcane Tradition 2
Blood Hunter Blood Hunter Order 3

The following classes get their subclass at 1st level:

  • Cleric
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock

The following classes get theirs at 2nd level:

  • Druid
  • Wizard

The rest get it at 3rd level.

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Since you mention multiclassing as a point of concern here, I think it would be helpful to make some observations about which multiclass dips have broad and focused utility. Multiclass combinations are not created equal; some are good ideas for any primary class, some have niche uses, and some dips fall into the category of "flavorful if you really want to".

Class Level for
Subclass
Source1 Dip Primary
Class
Ability
Score Min.
Artificer 3 E:RftLW 54,
TCoE 9
2 (for Infuse Item) Any 13 Int
Barbarian 3 PHB 46 1 (for Rage)
2 (for Reckless Attack)
Fighter 13 Str
Bard 3 PHB 51 2 (for Jack of All Trades)
3 (for Expertise, College feature)
Any (Flavor, Skills) 13 Cha
Cleric 1 PHB 56 1 (for subclass feature)
2 (for Channel Divinity)
Any 13 Wis
Druid 2 PHB 64 2 (for Wild Shape, Circle feature) Ranger, Any (for flavor) 13 Wis
Fighter 3 PHB 70 1 (Fighting Style, Second Wind)
2 (Action Surge)
3 (Battle Master Maneuvers or Champion Improved Critical)
Any (Action Surge is even good for Wizards) 13 Str or Dex
Monk 3 PHB 76 2 (for Ki and Unarmored Movement) Any (great mobility features) 13 Dex and Wis
Paladin 3 PHB 82 2 (Divine Smite) Warlock, Eldritch Knight, Bladedancer, Melee Cleric, Melee Bard, Ranger, Artificer. (Any spell slots are eligible for use with Divine Smite.) 13 Str and Cha
Ranger 3 PHB 89 Flavor
1 (for Natural Explorer, Adventure Specific)
Flavor 13 Dex and Wis
Rogue 3 PHB 94 1 (for Sneak Attack)
2 (for Cunning Action)
Any (Skills, Mobility), Whispers Bard 13 Dex
Sorcerer 1 PHB 99 Take Metamagic Adept feat instead Flavor only. 13 Cha
Warlock 1 PHB 105 1 (Hexblade)
2 (for Eldritch Invocations)
Martial focused Bard, Paladin, Any (you want Eldritch Blast spam) 13 Cha
Wizard 2 PHB 112 2 (Divination for Portent) Arcane Trickster, Any (Portent is useful for anyone) 13 Int

There are a few things from the table that warrant a bit more explanation.

Artificer

Basically, Infuse Item is just a really cool feature. There are several useful items on the 2nd level replicate magic item table. If you want to have the flexibility of whipping up any of these items each day, then two levels of Artificer is worth it.

Barbarian

A barbarian dip is basically only good for a fighter. Rage is good for a damage and defensive boost, and you can go for two levels if you want to be able to get advantage whenever you want with Reckless Attack.

Bard

Bard is a really strong solo class, but in my opinion, it just doesn't make a great candidate for a multiclass dip unless you want it for thematic reasons. You might consider two levels for Jack of All Trades if you are looking to round out some skills.

Cleric

Clerics are hit or miss here. If there is a particular subclass feature or Channel Divinity feature that you really want (eyes Twilight Sanctuary feverishly), then a one or two level dip into Cleric is worth it. If you just want some basic healing options, consider taking the Magic Initiate feat. The 1st level features for Forge Domain, Twilight Domain, and War Domain in particular are all very good options with broad utility.

Druid

Two levels of Druid, especially Moon Druid, synergizes excellently, both mechanically and thematically, with Ranger. Otherwise, two levels is worth it if, for flavor reasons, you want to be able to Wild Shape.

Fighter

If all you want is a Fighting Style, the Fighting Initiate feat may be a better choice than a one level dip. However, a two level dip for Action Surge is a useful choice for pretty much anyone. The flexibility afforded by an extra action is great. Even Wizards would benefit from Action Surge, and the synergy with a spell like Tenser's Transformation is excellent.

Monk

Ki and Unarmored Movement may make this a worthwhile two level dip for anyone, especially martial classes. If all you really want is the mobility offered, consider taking the Mobile feat instead of a multiclass dip.

Paladin

A two level paladin dip is going to be useful for any spellcaster that engages in melee combat. Spell slots from any class can be used for Divine Smite.

Ranger

I'm not high on the ranger for anything but flavor, unless challenging terrain is a significant feature of the campaign. Adventures such as Tomb of Annihilation and Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden have challenging terrain built into the adventure, so a ranger dip may make sense if playing in a campaign that features challenging terrain, such as one of these.

Rogue

I'm generally not high on rogue multiclass dips either. If you want to round out some skills or acquire a skill expertise, a single level dip isn't a bad choice, but feats such as Skilled, Skill Expert, or Prodigy may be better choices. Taking two levels gives access to Cunning Action, which lets you bonus action Dash! whenever you want, which is a good feature if roguishness fits the theme you're after.

Sorcerer

Just take Metamagic Adept. I can't think of any great mechanical benefits to a sorcerer dip. Unless you're going for flavor or you really want one of the subclass features, Metamagic Adept is probably a better choice.

Warlock

Taking a level of Hexblade Warlock is an excellent choice for melee Bards and Paladins. It lets them use their primary stat, Charisma, for their attacks. This reduces the Bard's and Paladin's dependence on dexterity and/or strength, and provides a wildly powerful feature in Hexblade's Curse. My current DM has banned Hexblade dips because of how good they can be. The only other notable 1st level Warlock feature is the Genie patron's Genie's Vessel feature. Taking a second level in Warlock gives access to two Eldritch Invocations.

The other reason one might consider a two level Warlock dip is for Eldritch Blast with the Agonizing Blast invocation.

Wizard

Arcane Trickster with two levels of Divination Wizard is a fantastic combo. Portent is basically good for any class, but on a rogue, it allows you to fish for crits each day. You have a 10% chance each day of getting at least one natural 20 roll with Portent, and getting that as a rogue, knowing you can double those Sneak Attack dice today is really awesome. Taking it as an Arcane Trickster gives more flexibility with spells and spell slots - Portent is great for any rogue (or any class), but the two level dip synergizes great with Arcane Trickster in particular.

Miscellaneous

To close, I want to note that these recommendations are just based on my experience. I've experimented a lot with multiclassing, but I am sure there are good things I haven't tried or thought of. If you have a suggestion, leave a comment and I'll review it. The idea here is to provide some more concrete guidance for where to start looking when building a one-shot character, especially since for several classes, I recommend stopping short of gaining the subclass from the dip of choice.


1 E:RftLW = Eberron: Rising from the Last War; TCoE = Tasha's Cauldron of Everything; PHB = Player's Handbook

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great list! I think this will be very useful to a lot of interested parties. The one thing that seemed a little unclear to me is the note in the Dip column for Warlocks ("2 (Hexblade)"). I agree that a 2 level dip would be great (to get an invocation), but most of the benefits you mentioned of dipping into a Hexblade Warlock ("It lets them use their primary stat, Charisma, for their attacks... and provides a wildly powerful feature in Hexblade's Curse") are features a Hexblade Warlock gets at level 1. So I wasn't sure why "Hexblade" was written as the explanation for a 2 level dip. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme Ah, yes. That should probably be 1 (Hexblade) and 2 (Invocations). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 16:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ That'd nail it. The discrepancy only stood out because everything else in the answer is so spot on. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Thomas, nice list. For Cleric, a 1 level dip with War Domain to get Extra Attack as a bonus action can also be good. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Ah, good one. I added a mention of the Forge and Twilight 1st level features too. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 17:53

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