Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Subclasses Analysis Part 3

Hello and welcome to part 3 of the Xanathar’s Guide to Everything subclasses analysis. I’m a week late and I’m sorry about it, but I’m here now and I believe that’s what matters.

In part 1 we took a look at the Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, and Druid subclasses. In part 2 we took a look at the Fighter, Monk, Paladin, and Ranger subclasses. In this one we’re going to be finishing up with the subclasses part of the book with the Rogue, the Sorcerer, the Warlock(including the new Invocations), and the Wizard. I believe I’ve already kept you waiting so let’s just jump in.



First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Heroes

  • Eye for Deceit. Technically this hasn’t changed. The wording is a lot simpler now, but you get the same result mechanically. That fits the Rogue, I believe. Rogues in 5th Edition have thing for skill checks.
  • Eye for Detail. This feature isn’t restricted to the bonus action granted by the Cunning Action feature anymore. I believe that’s because Insightful Fighting isn’t an available option for the Cunning Action anymore. Without that option I think it’s fair to not restrict the rest of them.
  • Insightful Fighting. This has changed a bit and I believe it’s more balanced now. The idea about granting you a second Sneak Attack target is the same. The most important change is that you don’t get to use this feature against an opponent that you attack with disadvantage, and it makes some sense to be honest. Also, we get a clear ruling on if there has to be another opponent close to the enemy you want to attack. It makes sense to add this ruling, since it’s one of the ways you can get to use Sneak Attack on someone.
  • Steady Eye. That’s an improvement. This version lets you move half your speed and get the advantage.
  • Unerring Eye. The major change is that the feature now is an X times per long rest ability. I like this feature because, even if it doesn’t provide the player with information that could hurt a lot what the DM has prepared. I prefer it over the Monster Slayer’s Hunter’s Sense.
  • Eye for Weakness. That’s a straight upgrade. The damage has gone up from 2d6 to 3d6. Does it mean that at level 17 your Sneak Attack deals 12d6 damage to your Insightful Fighting target? Yes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try this subclass so I’m going to trust that this change was made based on the survey results.

I like this subclass. It lets you play a more badass version of <insert your favorite detective here>.


First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Kits of Old

Second Version: Unearthed Arcana: Ranger and Rogue

  • Skirmisher. No changes. It’s a feature that I like. It gives more mobility to the Rogue.
  • Survivalist. No changes. The Rogue likes having skill proficiencies so there you go.
  • Superior Mobility. No changes. It’s here to make the Skirmisher feature better.
  • Ambush Master. This one has changed and it feels a bit cleaner now. No more initiative bonuses to you and your allies. Instead you get a nice advantage to initiative rolls. Also, you now grant yourself and your allies advantage on attacks against the opponent you manage to hit on your first turn. This lasts until the start of your next turn and I think it’s not a bad replacement.
  • Sudden Strike. No changes.

This first appeared as a Fighter subclass in Unearthed Arcana but I think that the second version, which is now for the Rogue, feels a lot better. There aren’t many differences between that and the final version in the book. I like the better wording used and I’m in favor of the changes made in Ambush Master.


Divine Soul

First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Sorcerer

Second Version: Unearthed Arcana: Revised Subclasses

  • Divine Magic. I like the change here. The affinity may be alignment based but it’s better than not having any choice at all. Alignment isn’t a very important thing in 5th Edition anyway.
  • Favored by the Gods. No changes.
  • Empowered Healing. This has become a limited area of effect ability. Allies within 5 feet of you that roll to heal can use this feature, if you decide to spend the sorcery points. Something makes me believe this change is tied to the addition of the affinity to the subclass.
  • Otherwordly Wings. It has changed name because of the affinity.
  • Unearthly Recovery. No changes.

I wasn’t expecting any major changes. I like that the subclass has changed to reflect the alignment of the divine being your powers are tied with. I also like that the core mechanics haven’t changed.

Shadow Magic

First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!

  • Eyes of the Dark. The range of the darkvision has been doubled and the rest of the mechanics have been polished a bit. They are the same but the cost has changed. I like that you get the option to see through your own Darkness spell.
  • Strength of the Grave. Two important changes. The saving throw is now Charisma based and that makes the feature even better, since Sorcerers use Charisma. Also, now you have one successful use of this feature per long rest. So these are balancing changes that make the feature better and its wording a bit clearer.
  • Hound of Ill Omen. The feature now has a range. There are also a couple of changes to the hound itself. It now gains temporary hit points and it’s considered a beast. I think I like this feature a lot.
  • Shadow Walk. No changes. The only change in the wording is that it’s mentioned that the teleportation is magical. I’m not really sure if it’s going to be important but you never know.
  • Umbral Form. The cost has doubled and this form doesn’t give resistance to radiant damage anymore. Still, I consider it a powerful feature that gives a lot of survivability to the Sorcerer.

I like the idea of the Shadow Sorcerer. The flavor is nice and the features aren’t bad. The Hound of Ill Omen  feature seems fun.



The Celestial

First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!

Second Version: Unearthed Arcana: Revised Class Options

  • Expanded Spell List. Burning Hands has been replaced by Guiding Bolt. I think it fits better.
  • Bonus Cantrips. No changes.
  • Healing Light. The feature has now a range of 60 feet, which makes it more useful.
  • Radiant Soul. The wording has changed a bit to make clear that you get to add your Charisma modifier only once per spell. No other changes.
  • Celestial Resilience. No changes.
  • Searing Vengeance. No changes.

Since it has been featured two times in the Unearthed Arcana articles, there shouldn’t many changes. However, the change in the Healing Light feature is kinda important, in my opinion. Other than that, the subclass is fine and I really want to try it.

The Hexblade

First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard

  • Expanded Spell ListMagic Weapon has been replaced by Blur and Destructive Wave has been replaced by Branding Smite. I understand both changes. Assuming the Hexblade picks the Pact of the Blade, they don’t need the Magic Weapon spell and the Smite spells are good.
  • Hexblade’s Curse. Only wording changes. Now it’s also mentioned how the curse can end early.
  • Hex Warrior. You now have to choose one weapon at the end of a long rest and you get the feature’s benefits with that weapon only. If you choose the Pact of the Blade you can use Hex Warrior with any pact weapon, no matter its type.
  • Accursed Specter. You no longer have a shadow hound pet. Instead, you now can summon a specter when you kill someone. It gets temporary hit points, its own initiative, and a special attack roll bonus. It lasts until the end of the next long rest, which is good. The hound gave you some benefits. The spectre adds another body capable combat but I don’t think it’s going to be as good at higher levels.
  • Armor of Hexes. No changes.
  • Master of Hexes. An additional cost now is that you don’t get temporary hit points if you choose to move the curse. Since temporary hit points don’t stack, I don’t know why this decision was made.

Overall, I like the idea of the Hexblade though I think I prefered Shadow Hound more.

Eldritch Invocations

First Version: Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard

Second Version: Unearthed Arcana: Revised Class Options

  • Aspect of the Moon. No changes.
  • Cloak of Flies. No changes.
  • Eldritch Smite. There is a slight difference in the wording. Now the feature says you knock the target prone if it’s huge or smaller. There’s no mention about the target taking any of the damage dealt with this feature.
  • Ghostly Gaze. The duration has changed. It used to last until the end of the current turn but now it’s a concentration effect with a duration of 1 minute.
  • Gift of the Depths. No changes.
  • Gift of the Ever-Living Ones. No changes.
  • Grasp of Hadar. No changes.
  • Improved Pact Weapon. This one has a couple of changes. The way I read it, now the +1 bonus can be applied to magic weapons as long as they don’t already have a bonus to attack and damage rolls. That’s actually important. Also, with this Invocation you can now use shortbows, longbows, and light and heavy crossbows. One of my players is really happy about this.
  • Lance of Lethargy. That’s the Frost Lance Invocation.
  • Maddening Hex. The changes here are meant to polish the Invocation a bit. The minimum psychic damage is now 1 instead of 0. Also, you need to see the target of your curse(or Warlock feature) and they must be within 30 feet of you. Knowing the Hex spell or having a Warlock feature that curses is also a prerequisite now.
  • Relentless Hex. The only change is the added prerequisite to know the Hex spell or to have a Warlock feature that curses.
  • Shadow of Shadow. No changes.
  • Tomb of Levistus. We get new wording that clears things up a bit. You get the vulnerability to fire damage after you take the initial damage that activate this Incovation. That’s actually important.
  • Trickster’s Escape. No changes.

I’ve had some time to think about if it’s better not to have Patrons as prerequisites. I had some doubts initially but now I think I’m in favor of it. Also, all the Invocations that were presented in Unearthed Arcana: Revised Class Options have actually made it into the book, with a very small amount of changes.


War Magic

First Version: Technically, the War Magic Wizard was inspired by the Lore Master Wizard from Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard and the feedback provided by the community. So I’m giving an honorable mention to the Lore Master as the first version of the War Magic Wizard, even though I’d like to see a Lore Master in the future. Some of the features were quite interesting.

Second Version: Unearthed Arcana: Wizard Revisited

  • Arcane Deflection. No changes.
  • Tactical Wit. No changes.
  • Power Surge. Interesting. The basic idea is the same. You get to deal extra damage. However, there’s now a kinda complex way to get to use the feature more than once per short rest. You can get power surges by using the Dispel Magic or Counterspell spells. If you are successful with them, you get a power surge that you can use once per turn to deal extra damage with your spells. Okay, that’s an interesting way to bypass the “once per short rest” rule. Also, flavor wise it’s better if you think about it. Now let’s look at the damage. At lower levels the previous version would probably deal extra damage. The new version’s damage caps at 10, but it’s guaranteed in the sense that you don’t get to roll for it. So which is better? You have to consider two things. The first one is that the new version allows you to use the feature multiple times per short rest. The second one is the progression you want your character to have class wise. A 20th level War Mage has the potential of dealing a ton more damage this way. If you want to multiclass, however, the previous version would have probably been better for you.
  • Durable Magic. No changes.
  • Deflecting Shroud. The number of creatures is now restricted to up to three, but the range has increased to 60 feet.

The War Mage is a very interesting idea. I had quite a few conversations about it, on the blog and in real life as well. This is another subclass I’d like to play.

And with that the analysis for the subclasses of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything comes to an end. Overall, I like how the subclasses have turned out. I was disappointed when I didn’t see a couple of the Unearthed Arcana subclasses(I’m mostly talking about the Stone Sorcerer which I found really interesting) in the book but I hope they will be released some time in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subclasses we took a look at this time. Which one do you like the most? Which one needed more changes? Are there any changes you don’t like?

Thank you for reading my mad ramblings that took me three parts to finish. I really appreciate all the kind words I’ve received about the analysis articles and I promise I will try to make them even better in the future.

Now that I’m done with the subclasses analysis, which was something I felt I had to do first, would you like me to tackle a specific part of the book? I have a couple of ideas about some parts because I don’t want to just write an analysis for the rest of the book. But before I decide, I’d love to hear your suggestions

And until next time, have fun!

One thought on “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Subclasses Analysis Part 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.