Updated: Oct 25
You’ve probably looked up a few guides online and found out which classes are the best in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. There are some strong contenders, such as the vengeance Paladin and the Moon Druid. But what are the most popular classes in D&D 5th edition?
Let's explore if there are any classes which do stand out to players and find out why that may be the case. In addition, I'll compare data at DnD Beyond with my own D&D games of which classes are often chosen versus dismissed.
Note, I have played other additions of DnD as well as Pathfinder, but I will not include those numbers in my findings.
Here are the numbers!
DnD Beyond’s Table Tally
Data from DnD Beyond, July 2020
My Table - Most Popular Classes Tally
(Note: Includes Player Characters from 2 campaigns and One-Shot Adventures)
Popular D&D Classes: Thoughts & Findings
So if we break it down, there are 13 classes. If we assume an even spread, that would be about 7-8% per class. Any class that falls around those numbers is played about the average amount as expected.
Let's compare DnD Beyond’s data to my table data and we'll break it down into 3 sections:
I do also want to address the limitations of these numbers. The most popular classes in D&D will vary from table to table, as well as for peer groups. DnD Beyond’s data was from July 2020 and from 30 million players.
Most Avoided Classes
DnD Beyond: Artificer and Druid
My Table: Artificer, Cleric, Monk
There are a couple of discrepancies here.
First of all, the Artificer makes the most sense. As I mentioned before, the Artificer has the least amount of time to gain ground, especially with established players. Its ranking suffers since it’s not found in the core Player’s Handbook. I don’t see a lot wrong with the class in terms of power and overall usefulness.
I’m most surprised to see the Druid as slightly less popular (at 6%). My game table, mostly dominated by Moon Druids, came in at 12% of player choices. Each Druid was a powerful force to be reckoned with in my campaigns or during a 1 shot adventure. Many of my peers enjoy being in tune with nature, plants, pets and animals so it makes sense that Druids came out strong.
It’s possible that Druids are too complex for newer players to grasp. It is a class that requires plenty of bookkeeping, including tracking large amounts of spells, spell components and even stat blocks of beasts to Wild Shape into.
Cleric, Bard and Monk came out poor on my table. Monk I find isn’t a very favourable class, as it’s filled with situational abilities and an ever-draining pool of ki, which doesn't scale well at mid to high-level play. It's still surprising that Monks aren't chosen more for one-shot games, however.
The Cleric is slightly overlooked at my games because they are the best support role. They are extremely powerful and versatile, but a lot of my players don’t like to play as defensive characters, healers or enjoy tracking a myriad of spells.
Average Class Popularity
DnD Beyond: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard
My Table: Bard, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard
DnD Beyond has a pretty even spread in terms of class popularity in Dungeons and Dragons. This is to be expected because the classes are designed to be balanced, so for the most part I can understand these numbers.
I’m surprised the Monk scored higher here and that Paladin, Sorcerer and Wizard didn’t beat Warlock.
What’s also eye-opening is Ranger being up to par, as I’ve personally seen players scorn the class. I believe the newer subclasses, such as Gloomstalker or Horizon Walker have improved the class considerably.
Most Popular Classes in Dungeons and Dragons
DnD Beyond: Warlock, Rogue and Fighter.
My Table: Barbarian, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock
As you can tell, at my table, there are plenty of more popular D&D classes than on DnD Beyond.
The Fighter I’m the least surprised about. This is because most heroes in comics, movies and video games, are mostly Fighters. The class is also extremely welcoming to new players, has limited (if any) spellcasting to worry about, and is versatile to suit both ranged and melee combat.
The Rogue has been a favourite in other additions as well including 3.5 and even Pathfinder. I find parties seldom go without a Rogue in the group. They are absolutely fun tactical martial classes to play with a plethora of skills and more depth.
Warlocks also have been seen in plenty of my games and on DnD Beyond. I think this is because Warlocks have fewer spell slots to manage and they were also the new class everyone wanted to try when D&D 5th edition was published.
The Warlock class provides useful boons, such as restoring all spells during a short rest, and their mysterious magical pact origins invoke plenty of mysterious drama in campaigns.
I’m most surprised that the Druid, Paladin and Sorceror didn’t rank higher on DnD Beyond. Sorcerer does provide a simpler experience for new players. Their innate magic makes them exciting to roleplay (not to mention their Metamagic abilities).
Paladins I’ve seen argued as the best front liners on the battlefield in Dungeons and Dragons, usurping the Fighter and Barbarian. Their aura of protection, divine smites, and defensive bonuses on saving throws make them extremely durable and difficult to fall victim to magical effects.
There you have it: the most popular classes in D&D are the Fighter, Rogue and Warlock. But as you can tell, this can change a lot from table to table. My own table had a pretty large spread with the Druid and Paladin followed closely by the Fighter Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Warlock.
What are your thoughts on the most popular classes in Dungeons and Dragons? Do your games reflect similar findings or are they completely different? Let me know in the comments. Subscribe to my blog below for more D&D content including maps, blogs, and more.
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