Unearthed Arcana: Revised Class Options Analysis

This month we get some more revised content from previous Unearthed Arcana articles.

We revisit four subclasses and a bunch of Eldritch Invocations. Let’s begin.

Druid: Circle of the Shepherd (Druid Circles and Wild Shape)

  • Speech of the Woods. It’s an upgraded Beast Speech. You learn to speak, read, and write Sylvan. You can also speak to beasts but you do not get special treatment from them. It’s a nice and flavorful feature that could easily be a general feature for the Druid.
  • Spirit Totem. That’s the Spirit Bond feature from the previous version and it’s the main feature of the class. You can summon a spirit that works as a beacon for your aura. It has changed a bit and one of the changes is that you can now move it, using your bonus action, up to 60 feet.
    • Bear Spirit. This hasn’t changed. It still gives you temporary hit points and advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
    • Hawk Spirit. This has changed quite a bit. First of all, this isn’t a passive benefit that affects everyone anymore. The Druid has to use their reaction and grant the advantage to one creature of their choice. The second change is that the advantage affects melee attacks as well. This may not be as big as the first change, but it is important. I’m not bothered by the changes. In fact, I think they’re fine. The fact that the spirit can be moved now makes this choice a bit better than before.
    • Unicorn Spirit. The only thing that has changed is the name, which was Wolf Spirit. It’s a really powerful healing ability and the amount of healing it does can easily surpass the amount of the spell you cast in order to activate it. Keep in mind that the target of the spell does not have to be inside the aura.
  • Mighty Summoner. It has pretty much stayed the same. The difference is that it also affects any fey you summon now.
  • Guardian Spirit. This has completely changed and now fits the flavor much better. Before it would grant the Druid the Death Ward spell. Now it heals any of their beast or fey summons that end their turn inside your aura. That’s a much better feature for this subclass, even though there are still problems. There aren’t many summoning spells and the ones that exist can’t really summon powerful creatures. Hopefully, the Mighty Summoner’s buff will make them tough enough to make this feature count.
  • Faithful Summons. It’s still the same and still not that amazing. If the beasts had some way to stabilize you, then it’d be a much more helpful feature.

It’s definitely better than the last time. Guardian Spirit fits the theme better. Hawk Spirit is a bit more usable now but, unfortunately, it plays against the Bear and the Unicorn. Especially the Unicorn is a beast(unintentional) at healing and it should be toned down a bit. In conclusion, it’s still not at a level where someone would enjoy playing a summoner but I believe it can be fixed.


Fighter: Cavalier (Kits of Old)

  • Bonus Proficiency. Two small changes. The History skill is not available anymore. Also, you now can pick a language instead of a tool proficiency.
  • Born to the Saddle. Pretty much the same with an added restriction on when you fall from your mount. You can land on your feet if you fall less than 10 feet and aren’t incapacitated.
  • Combat Superiority. This one still provides four maneuvers and four superiority dice that scale from 4d8 to 6d12.
    • Control Mount. A bit of better wording. Also, you can now use it to help an ally on their Animal Handling check to control their mount.
    • Precision Attack. It hasn’t changed. You can roll a superiority die and add it to your attack roll. In my opinion, it’s a really good option.
    • Trip Attack. It’s been changed a bit and now is better. Now it’s the Battle Master’s Trip Attack, which is more versatile. You don’t have a weapon restriction and you don’t have to be mounted.
    • Warding Maneuver. It has been expanded a bit now and you can use it on any creature near you, instead of only you and your mount. Also, the resistance makes it a great option even if the attack hits.
  • Ferocious Charger. It’s more or less the same but without the weapon restriction. Imposing disadvantage on the Strength check of the Trip Attack is pretty handy.
  • Improved Combat Superiority. That’s the Battle Master‘s feature and also hasn’t changed from the previous version.
  • Relentless. This one is also the Battle Master‘s feature and hasn’t changed from the previous version.

I believe the Cavalier has improved quite a bit. Many weapon or mount restrictions have been removed and that makes the subclass more useable. I’d like to see a couple of more changes, especially because it looks quite a bit like the Battle Mater. Finally, feats like Charger and Martial Adept are really good for this subclass.


Paladin: Oath of Conquest (Paladin Sacred Oaths)

  • Tenets of Conquest. The tenets are the same. I’d be weird if they changed.
  • Oath Spells. Blight has been swapped with Stoneskin and Insect Plague with Cloudkill. Other than that, it has remained the same and is really good.
  • Channel Divinity. One of the options has changed a bit.
    • Conquering Presence. Now it’s an area of effect ability. Instead of trying to frighten only the creature you hit, you now can try to frighten any number of creatures within 30 feet of you, without having to make an attack. Of course, this is now much more powerful than its previous version, Conquering Strike.
    • Guided Strike. This one has stayed the same.
  • Aura of Conquest. This has changed a lot and now it’s quite powerful. Before it was an aura that imposed disadvantage on rolls against being frightened. Now, if a creature is frightened by you, its speed is 0 and takes psychic damage equal to half your Paladin level. The aura’s radius extends to 30 feet at level 18. This is extremely powerful. The speed reduction to 0 can lead pretty much to making enemies useless during their turns, especially if they have no ranged attack options. Also, psychic damage is a rather unusual type of damage so not that many enemies are going to have resistance to it. The only way to neutralize this feature is having enemies with immunity to fear.
  • Scornful Rebuke. The previous 15th level feature, Implacable Spirit, was flavorless and now has been replaced with a both flavorful and good feature. When you’re hit with an attack, that creature takes psychic damage equal to your
    Charisma modifier, unless you’re incapacitated. Of course, at 15th level, the amount of damage dealt isn’t going to be that significant but it’s better than giving an immunity to Charm.
  • Invincible Conqueror. It hasn’t been changed.

The Oath of Conquest has been definitely improved. The core mechanic is better, the flavor of some features has been improved, and I believe it’s really good overall. I think it’s close to being ready to publish.


Warlock: The Celestial (Light, Dark, Underdark!)

This was previously named The Undying Light. The identity of the Patron has changed from ” the energy that radiates from the Positive Plane” to something a bit more specific like a “powerful being of the Upper Planes”. Unfortunately, the Undying Light Flaws aren’t there anymore. They weren’t something special, but it was an interesting thing to add to your character.

  • Expanded Spell List. The expanded spell list has been expanded even more. Of the old spells, Fire Shield has been replaced with Wall of Fire, and a bunch of healing spells have been added.
  • Bonus Cantrips. It’s the second half of the previous edition’s Radiant Soul feature. It gives you the Sacred Flame and Light cantrips for free. I doubt Sacred Flame will be used by a Warlock when Eldritch Blast is available. Light is an okay utility.
  • Healing Light. This was moved from being a 14th level feature to a 1st level one. It’s going to be much more helpful now. The greatest thing about it is that it uses a bonus action, instead of an action.
  • Radiant Soul. Now it’s a 6th level feature and I believe that’s a good change. The resistance and the extra damage have stayed the same.
  • Celestial Resilience. It has only changed name, which was Radiant Resilience. The temporary hit points granted to you and your allies remain the same.
  • Searing Vengeance. It’s pretty much the same but has been moved to 14th level.

I liked most of the features in the first version. Most changes here involved moving features to different levels and, to be honest, it feels better the way it is now.


Warlock: Eldritch Invocations (Warlock and Wizard)

A few months ago we got a bunch of Eldritch Invocations. Apparently, the community’s suggestion was to cut the Patron requirement. None of the Invocations below requires a Patron so I’m not going to talk about that for each one. Let’s take a quick look at them.

  • Aspect of the Moon. The only change is that it now requires the Pact of the Tome, instead the Pact of the Blade.
  • Cloak of Flies. Previously it was called Cloak of Baalzebul. The wording about how the radius of the aura is handled has changed a bit. Oh, and the prerequisite is now the 5th level.
  • Eldritch Smite. It replaces a bunch of Invocations. It works like a Smite but also knocks the target prone, if it takes any of the damage or is Huge or smaller. Take note that there’s no Saving Throw involved.
  • Frost Lance. The movement reduction has been toned down and it’s less broken. Now you can reduce the speed by 10 feet only once per turn.
  • Ghostly Gaze. It was Gaze of Khirad. Now you can use it once per short rest.
  • Gift of the Depths. It was the Sea Twins’ Gift. Its prerequisite is now the 7th level and it no longer needs you to spend a spell slot. You can cast Water Breathing once per long rest.
  • Gift of the Ever-Living Ones. It was Green Lord’s Gift and it’s new prerequisite is the Pact of the Chain. To be honest, I don’t know why.
  • Grasp of Hadar. It hasn’t been changed.
  • Improved Pact Weapon. A few changes here. First of all, the 5th level prerequisite has been removed. Your Pact weapon counts as a spellcasting focus as well. Finally, Superior Pact Weapon and Ultimate Pact Weapon have been trashed. I didn’t like them anyways.
  • Kiss of Mephistopheles(or how I call it, Laser Targeting System). This hasn’t changed. It’s really powerful and I find no reason Warlocks shouldn’t get it, especially since there’s no Patron prerequisite anymore.
  • Maddening Hex. I think this one replaces the Burning Hex and the Chilling Hex. Using your bonus action, you can create a psychic explosion around the target of your Hex or a Hex-like Warlock feature. The target, and anyone within 5 feet of them, take damage equal to your Charisma modifier. This is quite good, when you have your Hex is online. It just costs a bonus action and you can do some good damage over time.
  • Relentless Hex. Its level prerequisite has gone from 5 to 7 but its mechanic hasn’t changed. You can teleport to your Hexxed target. Teleport is nice, but this one takes you closer to your target. This means it’s going to be useful for Hexblade and Pact of the Blade Warlocks.
  • Shroud of Shadow. It was Shroud of Ulban. Its level prerequisite has gone down from 18 to 15. Casting Invisibility for free is nice.
  • Tomb of Levistus. Its prerequisite is now the 5th level. It’s an okay last resort defensive option.
  • Trickster’s Escape. It was Path of the Seeker and now the wording has been simplified. You can cast Freedom of Movement for free, once per long rest.

I’m still thinking about the whole no Patrons as prerequisite idea. They worked as restrictions in order to avoid some crazy combinations. Other than that I’m okay with the changes in the Invocations.

Overall, I’m pleased with this Unearthed Arcana installment. All four of the classes have been improved and we saw some fixes to the Invocations. However, even if I say the classes have been improved, it doesn’t mean all of them are good at this point. Take the  Circle of the Shepherd, for example. I don’t think it’s ready to support a player that wants to play a summoner. Also, as I said above, the removal of Patrons as a prerequisite may seem fun but could also lead to broken things.

That’s all for now. I’ve started missing the weekly Unearthed Arcana installments, but this way I get more excited when a new one comes out. You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about last month’s Unearthed Arcana can be found here.


2 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Revised Class Options Analysis

  1. I think they should revisit Circle of the Shepherd. I would call it Circle of spirits and lose the animal specifics and make them “generic” spirits that the player can then identify as they wish. “Bear Spirit” ability could be a bear or an ancestor..etc. I’d like to see a return to a Spirit Shaman and would even have a class ability be having a spirit that maintains concentration on a spell for you, thus freeing you up to perform other actions or gasp have a second concentration spell running.

    The summoning aspect feels like they are trying to put two subclasses into one. Which are we good at: summoning beasts or mediating spirits?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that the Circle of the Shepherd definitely needs work. I think what they’re trying to do is to make a summoner subclass that also boosts allies through “totems”, which isn’t a bad idea to be honest.. However, things get a little blurry at some points.

      As for the Shaman, I really hope we get a class and not subclasses that resemble the Shaman. It was the first class I played and want to see it return in 5th Edition.

      Liked by 1 person

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