A late addition to the game, Artificer is one of the extra classes inspired by past editions of the game set in a not strictly medieval setting. First introduced in the first Eberron book, and updated in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the Artificer combines magic with technology to provide a diverse and effective class, capable of supporting a large party in the most dangerous of circumstances. Depending on your setting, artificers can be purely magical creationists or steampunk tinkerers, whichever fits the flavor. Like wizard, this is a very complicated class to play, and a difficult one to play to its full potential. Artificer has the most decision points of any class, requiring a ton of notation and reference to keep all your abilities and class features in check.

Follow this guide to discover how to best optimize the skills, weapons, features, and abilities for a D&D 5e Artificer class character build. While the options presented here may be the optimal build for a artificer (in my opinion), the beauty of D&D character creation is that the only limit is your imagination so feel free to build your character whichever way you want to.

The guide that follows uses a color-coding system to rank the abilities granted.
Blue = An essential, class-defining ability you would be remiss to overlook.
Green = A strong choice for your class.
Orange = Average option, useful in specific circumstances
Red = Below average, extremely situational, or otherwise just bad.

All features and abilities for the Artificer class are from Tasha’s Guide to Everything, with some supplemental spells taken from the core rulebook set (Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide). Those from other sources are attributed.

Party Role

Depending on your path, Artificer can fill the role of support, or a primary melee tank. Access to heavy armor and a pet gives you a huge defensive presence, and buff/debuff and healing give you great support features. With a little work, you can make a pretty successful ranged blaster or melee striker as well, making the Artificer one of the most well-rounded classes in the game.

Strengths:

  • With access to medium armor and shields, defensive spells, and a familiar or companion homunculus, you have plenty of ways to soak up damage.
  • At each level you have a huge list of choices to replicate magic items, grant extra abilities, or otherwise augment your items. You can hand off an infused item, making you the ultimate team player.

Weaknesses:

  • Hit dice. You’re on d8 hit dice, which isn’t the best. If something manages to get through all your defenses, you’re going to feel it.
  • You get a lot of great spells, but you are only a 2/3 caster, capping out at 6th level spells.

Ability Scores

Strength: You’re going to rely on your cantrips, cannon, and/or pets to do most of your damage.

Dexterity: You want enough Dexterity to max out your AC in medium armor, so 14 is the highest you’ll conceivably need.

Constitution: All day. You need hit points to make up for your low hit die, and Con saves are your specialty.

Intelligence: Your main stat. Intelligence dictates your spellcasting and other artificer skills and tools.

Wisdom: Only if you’re focusing on Wisdom-related skills. Otherwise, focus on Intelligence.

Charisma: You don’t need this at all.

Races

Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms Races

AarakocraEEPC: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

AasimarVGtM: None of the Aasimar subraces are a good fit for Artificer.

Fallen: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Protector: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Scourge: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

BugbearVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

DhampirVRGtR: This race is geared towards martial classes. Even with the flexible ability score increase, it is suboptimal here.

Dragonborn: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Dwarf: None of the Dwarf subraces are a good fit for the Artificer

Hill Dwarf: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Mountain Dwarf: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

DuergarSCAG: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Elf: High Elf grants the Dex and Int bonuses that you’re looking for with the Artificer.

Drow: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

EladrinMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

High Elf: One of the better fits for a Medium-armor Artificer, as it grants you +2 Dexterity, and +2 Intelligence.

Sea ElfMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Shadar-KaiMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Wood Elf: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

FairyTWBtW: Not being able to fly while wearing heavy armor defeats the entire purpose of taking this race.

FirbolgVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

GenasiEEPC: Fire Genasi is exactly what you want. The rest are lacking.

Air: Dexterity helps, but only for a Medium-armor Artificer.

Earth: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Fire: Intelligence bonus, spellcasting, and fire resistance

Water: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

GithMToF:

Githyanki: Strength and Spellcasting, which are useful if you’re looking to be a melee character with your armor and shield.

Githzerai: Better spellcasting than the Githyanki, and Wisdom instead of Strength.

Gnome: Gnome is the natural choice for an Artificer. All of the subraces are solid options.

Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC/SCAG: Dexterity bonus, deeper darkvision, and a stealth ability.

Forest: Dexterity and illusions.

Rock: This race is half the artificer class on its own, but all the abilities stack, allowing you to tinker many more trinkets than normal.

GoblinVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

GoliathVGtM/EEPC: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Half-Elf: Half elf is a decent choice no matter what you’re playing.

Standard: The skill and tool proficiencies play well with Artificer.

AquaticSACG: Only if you’re playing an aquatic campaign.

DrowSCAG: Spellcasting, but specifically Charisma-based.

Moon/SunSCAG: The cantrip is nice, since Artificers get precious few.

WoodSCAG: The speed and Mask of the Wild aren’t necessary for your build.

Half-Orc: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Halfling: If you want to play one of the small-folk, go with Gnome.

Lightfoot: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

GhostwiseSCAG: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Stout: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

HarengonTWBtW: Quick initiative, boost to Dexterity saves (which you are likely not good at) and extra mobility makes this a tempting option.

HexbloodVRGtR: You gain several useful magic pseudo-spells including scrying, message, and two very useful spells added to your spell list with a free cast once per long rest.

HobgoblinVGtM: Oddly, this is the perfect fit for an Artificer!. You get the right ability score increases, darkvision, martial weapons, and the Saving Face ability.

Human: Variant Human is a great fit.

Standard: You don’t need all the ability scores as an Artificer.

Variant: Another perfect fit, due to the customization rules.

KenkuVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

KoboldVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer, but the Pack Tactics works very well with the Steel Defender or a Homunculus if you go that route.

LizardfolkVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

OrcVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

RebornVRGtR: This is a mediocre race at best.

TabaxiVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Tiefling: The base Charisma increase isn’t ideal, but can still be useful depending on your skill selection. Some of the subraces are incredibly potent options for Artificer.

Standard: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Devil’s TongueSCAG: Worse cantrips than are normally available to you.

FeralSCAG: A decent combo, especially for a melee character.

HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is a neat spell that you don’t normally have access to.

WingedSCAG: Flight is always good.

AsmodeusMToF: A small Int bonus.

BaalzebulMToF: A small Int bonus.

DispaterMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

FiernaMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

GlasyaMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

LevistusMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

MammonMToF: A small Int bonus.

MephistophlesMToF:A small Int bonus, and some great, scalable, offensive spells.

ZarielMToF: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

TortleXGE/TP: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

TritonVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Eberron Races

ChangelingERLW: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

KalashtarERLW: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

OrcERLW: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

ShifterERLW: None of these are very good for Artificer.

Beasthide: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Longtooth: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Swiftstride: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Wildhunt: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

WarforgedERLW: One of the best, if not overall best choices. It’s customizable, and it’s also very thematic.

Ravnica Races

CentaurGGTR: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

LoxodonGGTR: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

MinotaurGGTR: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Simic HybridGGTR: This is the best race for almost every class. Customizability, unique abilities,

VedalkenGGTR: Between the saving throws, proficiencies, and Int bonus, this is the most thematic and also powerful races to use as an Artificer.

Theros Races

LeoninMOoT: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

SatyrMOoT: Poor ability scores for an Artificer.

Class Features

Hit Dice: The only real drawback of this class is your hit dice. d8 is average.

Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons, but that’s all you need given your ability to infuse them.

Armor Proficiencies: Medium armor and shields give you solid defenses, provided you have at least 14 Dexterity to max out your armor class.

Tool Proficiencies: Thematic, but useful as part of your other class abilities.

Saving Throws: Constitution is the most important save out there. Intelligence is less common, but you’ll be fine with it.

Magical Tinkering: This is mostly flavor, but in certain social situations your lack of Charisma can be made up for by crafting little toys. If you’re a clever player, you can exploit this to emulate several spell effects.

Spellcasting: Artificers are 2/3 casters, meaning they cap out at 6th level spells. You prepare spells like a cleric, picking your dailies off the entire list, which is short. However, there is a great degree of versatility in the selection of your list, allowing you to play the blasters, healer, or support.

Infuse Item: This is the meat of the class. Your ability to infuse items is your most potent, and gives you incredible versatility, as well as making you an invaluable member of the party. A full list of infusions is described below.

The Right Tool for the Job: You will likely have several tool proficiencies as an artificer, both from your class and background, so this ability ensures you’re never unprepared to use them. You can fabricate the tools you need quickly.

Tool Expertise: And here’s the combo. You can use all the tools. It’s your job.

Flash of Genius: This class is heavily dependent on having max intelligence, so getting a +5 bonus to saves on command is huge.

Magic Item Adept: You create magic items, so getting to hold a 4th one is important.

Spell-Storing Item: Considering Artificers have such limited casting abilities, getting to cast a 1st– or 2nd-level spell more per day gives you longevity as a support caster.

Magic Item Savant: A fifth attuned item.

Magic Item Master: A sixth attuned item.

Soul of Artifice: And once you get this ability, you should be attuned to 6 magic items at all times, granting you a +6 bonus to your saves. With Flash of Genius, you shouldn’t fail a saving throw ever, because you’re getting +11 on top of your base save at any given point.

Artificer Specialist

Alchemist TCoE

The alchemist is the master of potions, able to concoct a drought to accomplish many minor tasks you would otherwise rely on a full caster like a wizard of cleric to provide for you. The main benefit of this specialty is creating elixirs, which can be used by anyone at any time, rather than relying on your spellcasting in the moment.

Tool Proficiency: You get a ton of useful proficiencies as an Artificer, allowing you to solve lots of different puzzles.

Alchemist Spells: You get a great mix of support spells.

3rd Level: Healing Word is the most important healing spell in the game.

5th Level: Your offensive spells come through in tier 2.

9th Level: Two powerful options.

13th Level: An offensive spell, and a solid buff.

17th Level: Raise Dead and Cloudkill let you control large areas, something you have been lacking up to this point.

Experimental Elixir: The best way to spend your spell slots is to make these elixirs. Make enough so you get the ones you need in a given situation and pass them out.

Healing: Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Swiftness: Situational, but long lasting.

Resilience: Shield of Faith, on a budget.

Boldness: Single target bless.

Flight: Flight is the best movement mode in the game.

Transformation: Situational, but useful when you need it!

Alchemical Savant: A critical boost to your cantrips and other spells.

Restorative Reagents: Once you get here, you’re really going to want to pass out those elixirs as often as possible.

Chemical Mastery: Two damage resistances, and two great healing spells for free every day!

Armorer TCoE

So you want to be Iron Man, but magic. Look no further. The armorer is the melee build artificer that keeps it simple. Battle Smith gets messy with the familiar, so this is a bit more streamlined.

Tool Proficiency: Smith’s Tools allow you to forge your armor.

Armorer Spells: Your specialist spells start out weak but quickly ramp up. The later levels are great.

3rd Level: Solid spells, but somewhat redundant to get two offensive spells. Thunderwave is great since you’re going to be in melee a bunch. You’ve got a reliable ranged attack in magic missile.

5th Level: Shatter is a small upgrade to Thunderwave, but Mirror Image is the better option. Your already formidable AC combined with an additional miss chance makes you nigh unhittable.

9th Level: Lightning bolt!!!

13th Level: Two great buffs. Fire Shield may suffer due to your high AC, but it offers other benefits.

17th Level: A decent utility option and an excellent area control option.

Arcane Armor: This is your core skill. You get heavy armor proficiency, and don’t need high strength to use it! You can apply your artificer infusions until you get the Armor Modifications at level 9. There is one downside…you need to provide the armor. This requires you to buy, build, or win a suit of 1,500 GP Full Plate.

Armor Model: When you gain your armor, you need to choose which armor model you’re going for. Guardian armor is more of a front-line build, and Infiltrator is a more support/ranged role. You can swap your choice whenever you finish a rest, allowing you to change roles pretty easily.

Guardian Armor: This is the go-to option. You’ll find it easy and very straight-forward to play, and fit in well with a fledgling adventuring party.

Thunder Gauntlets: Your punches have standard damage, 1d8, equivalent to a longsword. It’s Thunder damage, so it’s less likely to be resisted than normal weapon damage. Additionally you get to pull aggro from some types of enemies, which is a solid ability given your role as a primary defender.

Combine this ability with a cantrip attack enhancer like booming blade or green flame blade for an extra effect.

Defensive Field: A very deep pool of temporary hit points available to you multiple times per day.

Infiltrator: This armor gives you ranged combat options, and is the preferred mode if you’ve got 14+ Dexterity. This option allows you to use stealth at advantage as well, if you choose breastplate instead of half-plate.

Lightning Launcher: The extra damage only applies to one attack per round. While still outclassing many cantrips, it’s something to remember.

Powered Steps: 5 feet of extra movement.

Dampening Field: Choose Breastplate for stealth, and Full Plate for maximum defense while in this mode.

Extra Attack: This gives you an extra shot with your lightning launcher, but the extra damage only applies once per round

Armor Modifications: Once you get here, you gain the ability to infuse two extra abilities on your armor, giving you more room to share enhancements with your teammates.

Perfected Armor: An additional effect on each armor model.

Guardian: Get over here! The ability to pull enemies towards you effectively gives you melee at range. You can drag a foe through a hazard or spell effect and wallop them when they get to you.

Infiltrator: You’re probably going to be using this armor mode in a stealthy capacity, so getting advantage after the initial attack allows you a second chance to strike after you’ve given away your position. If you tag them again, you can grant the advantage attack to an ally.

Artillerist TCoE

This is the all-in blow-stuff-up specialty, and it is, pardon the pun, explosive. You focus on firearms, and get spells to buff, control, and blow up anything in your path.

Tool Proficiency: The only non-stellar part of this specialty is the nearly useless tool proficiency.

Artillerist Spells: The Artillerist’s spell list is primarily offensive with some area control effects thrown in. None of the spells are on the Artificer spell list, which is strange compared to similar class features on other classes which typically saddle you with at least a few situational spells that are already on your class’s spell list.

3rd Level: Shield and full-plate make you practically unhittable. Use a shield as well, and you’re looking at 20 (25) AC as a base state. Once you’ve got magic armor and a magic shield, you’re able to get up to an ungodly 26 (31) AC. Thunderwave is cool too.

5th Level: Shatter at 5th level is underwhelming when full casters get fireball, and scorching ray is only slightly better than your flamethrower canon option.

9th Level: Finally, you get fireball. Wind wall isn’t the most relevant spell but I suppose they couldn’t just give you one spell here.

13th Level: Ice Storm isn’t really that good compared to what you’ve already got available to you, but Wall of Fire is the premier area-control and defensive area spell.

17th Level: Cone of Cold has similar damage to fireball, but a larger area. Wall of force is incredible, and nearly fool proof.

Eldritch Cannon: This is the bet pet available in the game. It has three modes, can be reset at the cost of a spell slot, and operates either as a weapon or an independent creature. It’s slow moving when set out on its own, but can climb, which is eternally helpful. It has 18 AC, so it can defend a spellcaster pretty well while dishing out ranged damage. You can use mending out of combat to heal it indefinitely, so it can last a long time (up to its 1-hour duration).

Flamethrower: This is more economic than casting burning hands. Walking on its own, it’s going to be tough to keep it in range of enough enemies to be worth casting, but as a hand-held device, especially if you need fire, this is your best bet.

Force Ballista: Your go-to damage option. You can use it in the same turn as a cantrip once it’s summoned, it forces movement, has a great range, and does a decent amount of damage.

Protector: This is one of the most abusable effects in the game. You can pop out your cannon before combat, and just roll until you have max temp hit points on the whole team, then fight in formation and refresh the pool every round. If your tank is going off on his own, he can wear the cannon like a backpack and refresh hit points constantly.

Arcane Firearm: An extra d8 on every spell mean an average of 4.5 bonus damage per cast.

Explosive Cannon: Both your flamethrower and your force ballista increase damage output by 50%, and the cannon itself becomes a bomb. Excellent.

Fortified Position: Half cover grants +2 AC to your entire party, which is pretty significant. A second cannon means that you can activate both the Force Balista and Protector at once, giving you offense, protection, and damage all at once.

Battlesmith TCoE

Battlesmith wants to wade into melee covered in infusions, either riding or accompanied by their steel defender. It’s a great class to play in a small party, because the steel defender is effectively another character.

Tool Proficiency: Metalworking is the most useful tool set, as most of your equipment is made of metal.

Battle Smith Spells: Most of the spells you get are from the Paladin list, forcing you into a combat/support role with your casting.

3rd Level: Shield is the best low-level buff. +5 AC puts you a tier above your fellows in most cases.

5th Level: Not very useful. Warding Bond is hard to use given your low hit dice.

9th Level: Getting 3rd level spells at 9th level is rough, and these do you no favors.

13th Level: This is the end of your spellcasting progression. Two great buffs. Feel free to multiclass from here.

17th Level: Two weak situational options.

Battle Ready: Martial weapon proficiency based on intelligence!

Steel Defender: The Steel Defender is an excellent guard dog for a caster, damage sink for the rest of you, and a mediocre secondary attacker. It provides flanking bonuses, so it’s a great addition to the team in general.  Don’t forget to infuse it when you’re able!

Extra Attack: Always good to have more attacks!

Arcane Jolt: A nice flexible damage/healing ability available to you multiple times per day.

Improved Defender: You get a boost to your arcane jolt and your steel defender. By now, it fully becomes a character of its own, granted many more AC points and better attacks.

Skills

Acrobatics: Not in that armor you won’t.

Animal Handling: Build it, don’t tame it.

Arcana: Definitely one of the more important skills for you.

Athletics: You likely won’t have the Strength to back that up.

Deception: You’re not a Charisma-character.

History: A good Knowledge skill.

Insight: Similar to perception and investigation, this is important.

Intimidation:

Investigation: Your most important skill. You need to figure out how things work.

Medicine: Use magic.

Nature: A solid knowledge skill.

Perception: Paired with Investigation, noticing things is your most important trait.

Performance: You’re not a Bard.

Persuasion: Not the most important thing for you.

Religion: Possibly, if you’re taking your role as a demi-cleric seriously, but otherwise irrelevant.

Sleight of Hand: If you’re working on your technique, you’ll want to be sneaky and agile.

Stealth: Not in that armor you won’t.

Survival: Use magic.

Backgrounds

Acolyte: Not great for Artificer.

Charlatan: Not great for Artificer.

City WatchSCAG: Insight and two languages

Clan CrafterSCAG: History, and the gear you’ll need to be an artificer.

Cloistered ScholarSCAG: History and a flexible choice, which can get you another Intelligence-based skill.

CourtierSCAG: Not great for Artificer.

Criminal: Not great for Artificer.

Entertainer: Not great for Artificer.

Faction AgentSCAG: A flexible skill selection and choice of languages.

Far TravelerSCAG: Two Wisdom skills, and an instrument.

FeylostTWBtW: No synergies with the needs of a tinker.

FisherGoS: History proficiency, but not much else.

Folk Hero: Nothing you need.

Guild Artisan: Insight and a tool proficiency, but it isn’t enough.

Haunted OneVRGtR: Option to take Arcana and Investigation, both of which are solid choices for you.

Hermit: Nothing you need.

InheritorSCAG: Money, but some skills you don’t need.

InvestigatorVRGtR: Investigation works for you, but the rest of the abilities are covered in your class, or a better background for your needs.

Knight of the OrderSCAG: Nothing you need.

MarineGoS: Vehicle proficiency makes you able to drive anything you might build.

Mercenary VeteranSCAG: Nothing you need.

Noble: Nothing you need.

Outlander: Nothing you need.

Sage: Two intelligence-based skills.

Sailor: Nothing you need.

ShipwrightGoS: Tool and Vehicle proficiencies, great for an aquatic campaign.

SmugglerGoS: A lesser choice than Shipwright, but for an aquatic campaign it works.

Soldier: Nothing you need.

Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: Nothing you need.

Urchin: Sleight of hand and tool proficiencies.

Uthgardt Tribe MemberSCAG: Nothing you need.

Waterdhavian NobleSCAG: Nothing you need.

Witchlight HandTWBtW: No synergies with the needs of a tinker.

Feats

Alert: As a support character, you do well to go early in initiative.

Athlete: Not great for Artificer.

Actor: Not great for Artificer.

Charger: Not great for Artificer.

Crossbow Expert: Not great for Artificer.

Defensive Duelist: If you’re not going to be using weapons, just holding a dagger activates this.

Dual Wielder: Not great for Artificer.

Dungeon Delver: Not great for Artificer.

Durable: A good way to increase your survivability on long adventures.

Elemental Adept: You’re very reliant on your cantrips and damaging spells, so this works great if you choose acid or fire.

Grappler: Not great for Artificer.

Great Weapon Master: Not great for Artificer.

Healer: You have magic for this.

Heavily Armored: You’ll do better with Medium armor and a small amount of Dexterity, or becoming an artillerist and gaining heavy armor proficiency.

Heavy Armor Master: If you do have Heavy Armor, this is ideal.

Inspiring Leader: Not great for Artificer.

Keen Mind: Perfect for rounding out an odd Intelligence score, but the other benefits aren’t so great.

Lightly Armored: Irrelevant.

Linguist: Use magic.

Lucky: A great feat for any class.

Mage Slayer: For a melee build, this works pretty well. You have some decent melee cantrips as well.

Magic Initiate: Given that you can swap your cantrips every level, and have very few, this is a solid feat which gives you much more flexibility.

Martial Adept: Not worth it for only one maneuver.

Medium Armor Master: This rocks if you’re sticking with Medium.

Mobile: Not really your strong suit, mobility. You’re more of a stay-and-fight kinda class.

Moderately Armored: Irrelevant.

Mounted Combat: If you’re going to be building a clockwork steed, why not!

Observant: You benefit from acting quickly and assessing the situation before anyone else.

Polearm Master: Not good for Artificers.

Resilient: If you’re playing the tanky healer, this is solid.

Ritual Caster: Not necessary, you have enough magic where it counts, and taking magic initiate to get the cantrips is more worthwhile.

Savage Attacker: Not a good feat.

Sentinel: A solid feat, but less useful on you than a fighter or paladin.

Sharpshooter: Armorers can make this work well.

Shield Master: Definitely a strong feat to amp up your defenses. You can cast one-handed so if you’re relying on cantrips this is a good option.

Skilled: You’re going to want to max out your intelligence-related skills, and this gets you there.

Skulker: Not the most appropriate feat for you.

Spell Sniper: Excellent for a cantrip-heavy artificer. Especially useful for an infiltrator.

Tavern Brawler: You’re smarter than a bar fight.

Tough: Defense upgrade number two if you’re going that route.

War Caster: Almost mandatory for Battlesmiths.

Weapon Master: You only need this if you are making magic weapons and want to use them. Generally you’re going to arm the rest of your party’s martial characters, and rely on magic yourself.

Weapons and Armor

As far as weapons go, you’re going to have a better time relying on familiars, cantrips, and magic items for your actions. If you can make a longbow work, that’s your best option overall, especially for a Battlesmith. Otherwise, get yourself a crossbow and imbue it with repeating shot when that infusion becomes available to you.

For armor, you’ll likely want 16 Dex in Medium armor, enhanced by your infusion and maybe Medium Armor Mastery. Otherwise, skip out on Dex entirely and go heavy with a shield for the maximum AC available to a player character.

Magic Item Infusions

2nd-Level Infusions

Armor of Magical StrengthTCoE: This is less useful at low levels, and more useful after level 5 when the recipient has an extra attack to use to knock prone/grapple an enemy.

Enhanced Arcane FocusERLW / TCoE: This is one of the only ways to get a bonus to spell attacks. If you’re working on magic for damage output, this is the infusion for you. Hand it off to a sorcerer, wizard, or warlock for maximum effect.

Enhanced DefenseERLW / TCoE: Armor bonus before magic items are accessible? Yes please!

Enhanced WeaponERLW / TCoE: Weapon bonuses before you can normally afford magic weapons, great! First priority for most characters is to get a +1 weapon.

Homunculus ServantERLW / TCoE: This little bugger can serve as a scout, a distraction, and even perform simple tasks for you. It’s rather weak, but it’s an extra set of hands. It can deliver touch spells for you, increasing your range. It has a ranged attack you can activate as a bonus action, giving you yet another option to increase your damage output each round.

Mind SharpenerTCoE: If you cast any concentration spells, you’ll want to favor this over any other infusion. You want to keep your spells for the duration, not drop them at the first stubbed toe.

Repeating ShotERLW / TCoE: When you get your extra attack, make sure you have this and Crossbow Expert.

Replicate Magic ItemERLW / TCoE: This is the best infusion. Getting free magic items at every level is amazing.

Returning WeaponERLW / TCoE: Between level 5 and 10 this is great for anyone who throws a weapon, as it lets you make both a melee and a ranged attack in the same turn and always have the weapon in your hand at the end of the day.

6th-Level Infusions

Boots of the Winding PathERLW / TCoE: A very limited teleportation. Combine this with Booming Blade on a melee character to assure anyone you’re grappling with takes the extra damage.

Radiant WeaponERLW / TCoE: Better than +1 weapon, but not as good as +2 weapon.

Repulsion ShieldERLW / TCoE: By this level, you need to compare each infurion to one of the magic items on your list. This is just not good enough to justify. Compared to a magic item? No thanks.

Resistant ArmorERLW / TCoE: Three resistances to uncommon damage types. You have absorb elements, use that instead.

Spell-Refueling RingTCoE: Artificers have a slow casting progression, so regaining a 1st through 3rd level spell will be very relevant to you until you hit 13th level.

10th-Level Infusions

Helm of AwarenessTCoE: Advantage on initiative is extremely rare outside of Enhance Ability – Dexterity. Drop this on your best melee character to tie up a caster, or your own caster to pull out the buffs quickly.

14th-Level Infusions

Arcane Propulsion ArmorTCoE: As written, this is a garbage 14th level ability. You get punching attacks and 5 feet of movement. That’s not better than any of the magic items available to you by now.

Replicate Magic Item

Replicate Magic Item is the best infusion available to you. You save money by getting magic items for free! You can swap which items you have as you swap infusions at each level, giving you incredible versatility.

Common Magic Items

None of these are terribly useful. They all give a little flair to something you do without having any meaningful impact on the game. If you need one of these, it saves you a few gold and that’s about it.

Clockwork AmuletXGtE: Guaranteeing a 10 on a roll might not be enough at low levels. Or high levels. Quite a conundrum.

Hat of VerminXGtE: Pulling a rat from a  hat is at best a trap springer.

Moon-Touched SwordXGtE: This can be used to overcome resistance to non-magic weapons, but it can only be on a sword and having the magic descriptor to the damage type is the only benefit of this.

Mystery KeyXGtE: It’s a key. It’s not terribly useful if you have an axe. Or proficiency with thieves’ tools.

Perfume of BewitchingXGtE: This replicates Enhance Ability – Charisma.

Pot of AwakeningXGtE: This is great for long periods of downtime, but that’s about it.

Ruby of the War MageXGtE: This is decent, just not for Artificer. You already use your tools as a spell focus.

Spellwrought TattooTCoE: This is great, except you only get to cast the spell once. If you go a long time between levels, you’ll blow this quickly and have nothing for the rest of the level.

Unbreakable ArrowXGtE: This is great, but you only get one arrow, so you can’t use it until you recover it.

Walloping AmmunitionXGtE: Again, you only get one.

2nd-Level Replicable Items

Alchemy JugDMG: YES. THIS. It has so many modes. It makes booze, it makes water, it makes vinegar, it makes acid…you don’t need anything more than this to be the one-man end-of-the-day party, the prepared-to-use-acid-to-melt-that-thing guy, and just generally be prepared and hilarious in any circumstance.

Bag of HoldingDMG: Another mandatory adventuring item, the Bag of Holding has a million clever uses. You can fit a ton of stuff in here, so turn ourself into a looney tune, and pull things out of hammerspace.

Cap of Water BreathingDMG: This is very situational, but in an aquatic campaign it’s a godsend.

Goggles of NightDMG: Most of the races in 5e have darkvision, but there’s always going to be one character who doesn’t. If that’s you, get these glasses.

Rope of ClimbingDMG: Before anyone has flight, this is your best work-around.

Sending StonesDMG: Your medieval cell phone.

Wand of Magic DetectionDMG: Detect Magic is on your spell list and you can cast it as a Ritual.

Wand of SecretsDMG: Situational, and your party can replace it by having proficiencies in Investigation and Perception which any adventuring party needs anyway.

6th-Level Replicable Items

Boots of ElvenkindDMG: This is strong, but the Cloak of Elvenkind is better.

Cloak of ElvenkindDMG: The math on this is nuts. You have advantage on hiding, and they have disadvantage on seeking.

Cloak of the Manta RayDMG: Situational by design, and unless you’re doing enough exploring underwater to need this frequently it’s going to become obsolete as soon as you hit level 9 and you can cast Water Breathing.

Eyes of CharmingDMG: DC 13 is trash.

Gloves of ThieveryDMG: +5 is an awesome bonus. You also have proficiency with thieves tools, so you’re on par with or better than the average rogue.

Lantern of RevealingDMG: A light source and a way to see invisible creatures at low levels. You can cast See Invisibility, but that only lets you see the invisible creature. This allows the entire party to see it.

Pipes of HauntingDMG: You need proficiency with wind instruments to use this, so hand it off to your bard.

Ring of Water WalkingDMG: Very situational, and Water Walking is on your spell list eventually.

10th-Level Replicable Items

Boots of Striding and SpringingDMG: Winged Boots are strictly better.

Boots of the WinterlandsDMG: Resistance to cold damage.

Bracers of ArcheryDMG: Only useful for a Ranger.

Brooch of ShieldingDMG: Force is the least common damage type used, and least common type resisted.

Cloak of ProtectionDMG: +1 to AC and saving throws. Hands down the best thing available at this level.

Eyes of the EagleDMG: Advantage on Perception checks.

Gauntlets of Ogre PowerDMG: 19 Strength is attainable for anyone who cares about strength.

Gloves of Missile SnaringDMG: Too situational. A +1 to AC will be more meaningful.

Gloves of Swimming and ClimbingDMG: Cloak of the Manta Ray grants you a swim speed, and Winged Boots make climbing obsolete.

Hat of DisguiseDMG: Disguise Self is a 1st-level spell.

Headband of IntellectDMG: You’re going to want to use your ability score increases to up your Intelligence, rather thanb waste an infusion slot on it.

Helm of TelepathyDMG: The DC is really low.

Medallion of ThoughtsDMG: Even worse than Helm of Telepathy, since it uses charges.

Necklace of AdaptationDMG: If you’re using a Cap of Water Breathing, this is an upgrade, otherwise, for each of it’s abilities there’s one other item you can make that does it better.

Periapt of Wound ClosureDMG: A great gift for a barbarian.

Pipes of the SewersDMG: You summon a bunch of creatures you can’t control directly.

Quiver of EhlonnaDMG: Who counts ammo?

Ring of JumpingDMG: Winged Boots are better.

Ring of Mind ShieldingDMG: Very situational, and psychic damage is pretty rare.

Slippers of Spider ClimbingDMG: Winged Boots are better.

Ventilating LungsERLW: Situational, and you have better options to do the same thing.

Winged BootsDMG: Four hours of flight spread over the whole day is plenty.

14th-Level Replicatable Items

Amulet of HealthDMG: Someone in the party can definitely use this, and will be very grateful for it.

Arcane Propulsion ArmERLW: A great uypgrade to the Thunder Gauntlets the Armorer has.

Belt of Hill Giant StrengthDMG: At least this one breaks 20, but it’s still not enough.

Boots of LevitationDMG: Winged Boots are good enough, and you’ve had them since level 10.

Boots of SpeedDMG: A good upgrade to Boots of the Winding Path.

Bracers of DefenseDMG: A decent option for Monk or Barbarians, but there are better things available elsewhere.

Cloak of the BatDMG: A combination of Cloak of Elvenkind and Winged Boots.

Dimensional ShacklesDMG: These are useful when you specifically need them, to trap an otherworldly entity.

Gem of SeeingDMG: True Seeing is a 6th level spell, you’ll never get there.

Horn of BlastingDMG: The chance to deal massive damage to yourself wrecks this item.

Ring of Free ActionDMG: This prevents you from getting locked down, which is great. Getting snagged at this level can spell certain doom.

Ring of ProtectionDMG: Stacks with Cloak of Protection.

Ring of the RamDMG: Low damage with a low attack modifier.

Magic

Cantrips

Acid SplashPHB: One cantrip, two targets.

Booming BladeSCAG / TCoE: If you’re a Battlesmith, this is your best option for additional damage. Put on your Boots of the Winding Path and abuse this whenever you can.

Create BonfireEEPC: An ongoing effect that requires concentration. At low levels, this is useful, but your other cantrips will eventually outmatch it, as will your infused items.

Dancing LightsPHB: You can accomplish the same thing with Mage Hand and a candle or torch.

Fire BoltPHB: The go-to cantrip for damage at range.

FrostbiteEEPC / XGtE: Low damage, but a great secondary effect.

GuidancePHB: You should be concentrating on this at all times when you aren’t concentrating on something else. Remember, Initiative is a Dexterity check!

LightPHB: You have so few Cantrips, it’s hard to justify this.

Lightning LureSCAG / TCoE: Battlesmith might like this to combo with Booming Blade and the Steel Defender, but otherwise it’s tough to justify.

Mage HandPHB: Action at a distance, and a third hand to help in your crafts.

Magic StonePHB: This is surprisingly strong, but doesn’t have an elemental damage type so it’s tough to justify.

MendingPHB: The Artillerist and the Battlesmith need this cantrip to fix their pets, and it’s just so appropriate for the class.

MessagePHB: Very situational.

Poison SprayPHB: Short range, Constitution save, and a commonly resisted damage type.

PrestidigitationPHB: A catch-all for magic stuff.

Ray of FrostPHB: Frostbite is better.

ResistancePHB: Guidance is easier to use, and with your limited cantrips, you should prioritize number of uses than importance.

Shocking GraspPHB: Worse damage than most other cantrips, and a melee shot at that. However, the bonus attack advantage clause and additional effects are grand.

Spare the DyingPHB: Make a Medicine check.

Sword BurstSCAG / TCoE: An AoE Cantrip? Yes please!

Thorn WhipPHB: Slightly more preferable than lightning lure.

ThunderclapEEPC: Sword Burst is strictly better.

1st-Level

Absorb ElementsXGtE: It’s a shame you have such little spellcasting, because you get all the reaction protection spells. Use this to protect yourself from a breath weapon or another spellcaster.

AlarmPHB: Cast it as a ritual before you rest.

CatapultEEPC: This spell is great, because if you miss your initial target it will hit something behind them. Target lines of enemies, or those standing in front of something fragile that might fall on them if they avoid your initial assault.

Cure WoundsPHB: Non-alchemist Artificers will rely on this for healing. Alchemists have much better options.

Detect MagicPHB: One person in the party is required to have this.

Disguise SelfPHB: If you’re not proficient in Disguise Kit, this fills that gap.

Expeditious RetreatPHB: Requires concentration, and that’s a deal breaker. Really only useful in a chase scene.

Faerie FirePHB: You’re the only character who can deal with an invisible creature from level 1. This is a great spell even for visible foes, granting advantage at low levels when you’re struggling to make contact due to low stats and proficiency bonuses.

False LifePHB: This stacks with Aid, which makes it really great if you’re tanking, or just struggling for hit points.

Feather FallPHB: Dying from fall damage is embarrassing and completely avoidable. Always have this prepared, just in case.

GreasePHB: Being knocked prone isn’t as impactful as it used to be.

IdentifyPHB: Just attune to it. Or get scrolls of this. Don’t waste your spell slots on adventures.

JumpPHB: Not a good spell.

LongstriderPHB: You don’t have enough spells to be casting things like this, but it’s great for a highly mobile character to give them that extra edge.

Purify Food and DrinkPHB: Cast this as a ritual only.

SanctuaryPHB: You’re going to be in heavy armor, and have the highest AC for a while, so make sure you have plenty of ways to thwart the inevitable enemy attacks.

SnareXGtE: A fortress-building spell.

Tasha’s Caustic BrewTCoE: This spell does a ton of damage, spread over a long period of time. Since you have very limited spellcasting, this is an efficient option, giving you a lot of actions spent on only a single spell slot.

2nd-Level

AidPHB: This is incredible. If you aren’t using the protector cannon, you should be using this.

Alter SelfPHB: A nifty trick with a litany of uses.

Arcane LockPHB: A fortress building spell. It’s got an expensive material component too. It’s very useful, and can also get you out of a sticky situation by locking someone in or out of a room.

BlurPHB: If you’re trying to tank, this is a great buff to use. It’s a self only cast, so you can’t hide your friends, reducing its usefulness.

Continual FlamePHB: Using this saves you from casting light  every time you go into a dark place.

DarkvisionPHB: Most races have Darkvision, but if you don’t, here’s your chance. You can also make an item that grants darkvision.

Enhance AbilityPHB: A versatile spell, but less impactful as it’s predecessor in earlier editions.

Enlarge/ReducePHB: A great way to pull aggro, or to hide something that’s normally too conspicuous.

Heat MetalPHB: This is great against any humanoid. Wearing armor? cook. Holding a magic weapon? Not anymore! Held on anyway? Burn!

InvisibilityPHB: This is a very important spell. Always have it ready. Scout, sneak attack, escape, it does it all!

Lesser RestorationPHB: It’s great you have this on your list, but you’re not going to prepare it unless you need it to counter an effect.

LevitatePHB: You can’t fly yet, but you can float! It can help you bypass obstacles, and also carry a heavy load.

Magic MouthPHB: Another fortress-building spell. It’s a ritual, so that’s a selling point.

Magic WeaponPHB: You have infusions that do this, and they last a lot longer.

Protection From PoisonPHB: Poison is very common when adventuring in wilderness.

PyrotechnicsPHB: A whole lot of flash and bang for very little effect, pun intended.

Rope TrickPHB: A great panic button, but very situational.

See InvisibilityPHB: This and Faerie Fire are the 1-2 punch of taking care of invisible foes.

SkywriteEEPC: This is purely a novelty.

Spider ClimbPHB: This can bypass many obstacles before you gain the ability to fly though spells or items.

WebPHB: This is an AWESOME area control spell. Set it up, trap some people, then set it on fire to deal extra damage. You know fire bolt, don’t you?

3rd-Level

BlinkPHB: 50% of the time, it works every time! It doesn’t require concentration, so it’s worth considering.

CatnapXGtE: This is useful if your DM is mean, or you’re really into tracking minutae of time.

Create Food and WaterPHB: Who tracks food? I guess you could use this in a wilderness adventure, but you’re a party of adventurers. You should be able to hunt and forage.

Dispel MagicPHB: This is an essential spell for any caster to have at the ready.

Elemental WeaponPHB: Your infusions are better.

Flame ArrowsEEPC / XGtE: +1 bonus to 12 arrows isn’t enough to justify a 3rd level spell slot. Unless you’re playing a super low magic campaign, you should just buy magic ammo., It’s rather affordable.

FlyPHB: You can make Winged Boots, but if you need another flier, cast this.

Glyph of WardingPHB: This spell is very useful, mainly for laying traps. It has an expensive material component, and can’t be moved, severely limiting its applications, but it’s still really strong.

HastePHB: One of the best buffs for a melee character.

Intellect FortressTCoE: This is a really important spell to have when you know you’re going in to fight a spellcaster.

Protection From EnergyPHB: This is one of the more important buff spells available.

RevivifyPHB: Aside from the expensive material component, this spell is a must.

Tiny ServantXGtE: A beefed up find familiar with a shorter duration. 8 hours is basically all day, and it can do so much more.

Water BreathingPHB: You can make an item that does this.

Water WalkPHB: Flight is better, you can make items that grant a swimming speed or underwater breathing, and at 9th character level and a 3rd level spell slot, do something more useful.

4th-Level

Arcane EyePHB: The best way to scout with magic.

Elemental BaneEEPC / XGtE: If all your allies can deal the same type of damage, this is a huge plus.

FabricatePHB: This spell is just not good for a 4th level spell slot, and you can do most of its effects with your tool and skill proficiency, or artificer abilities.

Freedom of MovementPHB: This is a really great pre-combat buff. It has a long duration and a great effect.

Leomund’s Secret ChestPHB: Extremely situational.

Mordenkainen’s Faithful HoundPHB: The hound can guard you against invisible threats while you rest.

Mordenkainen’s Private SanctumPHB: Leomud’s Tiny Hut is much lower level, and accomplishes the same goal. If you’re going for a permanent base, you can work this in during adventure down time.

Otiluke’s Resilient SpherePHB: This is a great debuff. While you only have lower level spells, you should have a solid spell save DC.

Stone ShapePHB: This is one of the most versatile and useful spells in the game. Anything you can imagine, you can create…out of stone. You can use it to pass through walls and block doors if you’re clever about it.

StoneskinPHB: A decent buff, but at this level magic attacks are common.

Summon ConstructTCoE: You summon a pile of hit points that doesn’t need to eat, sleep, or breathe. It’s a valuable utility, but lacking in power compared to the abilities of a full caster.

5th-Level

Animate ObjectsPHB: You can do so much more with your infusions by the time you get this spell.

Bigby’s HandPHB: Another too little, too late, but you do get a very useful spell here. It’s versatile and powerful.

CreationPHB: This spell can do anything your mind can imagine. Whatever your imagination has in store for you, make it real. Overall, one of your most powerful and thematic spells available.

Greater RestorationPHB: If you’re trying to play the Cleric, you need this.

Skill EmpowermentPHB: Enhance Ability is roughly equivalent, but much lower level.

Transmute RockPHB: This is slow, and specific. A corner case, but strong out of combat.

Wall of StonePHB: Much better than any of the other spells at this level for dealing with enemies. You can also use it as a utility out of combat, giving this a high priority.

Multiclassing

Barbarian: You’re not a rager, you’re a thinker.

Bard: Charisma isn’t a priority for you.

Cleric: You can pick up armor proficiency and some solid 1st level spells with one or two levels here.

Druid: Your reliance on magic items doesn’t work well with Wild Shape.

Fighter: Start here for Heavy Armor if that’s the route you’re going. You won’t miss out on much spells-wise by skilling a level.

Monk: Nothing about Monk is appealing to Artificer.

Paladin: Charisma skills don’t mix with your Int base.

Ranger: Not a lot of relevant overlap or compliment.

Rogue: Skills are the best part of the class. You’ll max out and with Flash of Genius and Expertise you’re almost guaranteed to never fail a check.

Sorcerer: Charisma again.

Warlock: Charisma again.

Wizard: Quick dose of Int-based casting, cantrips, and ritual spells.

References

DMG     Dungeon Master’s Guide
EGtW    Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
ERLW     Eberron: Rising from the Last War
EEPC      Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
GGtR     Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
MM       Monster Manual
MToF    Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
PHB        Players Handbook
SCAG     Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
TCoE      Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
TP           Tortle Package
VGtM    Volo’s Guide to Monsters
XGtE      Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

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