Druids are servants of nature. They are empaths and hunters, in tune with the natural order. They are fierce predators, and shepherds, depending on the situation. Druids are divine casters with a wide range of options available to them, though their magic is a lot less flashy than other full casters like Wizards and Clerics.

Follow this guide to discover how to best optimize the skills, weapons, features, and abilities for a D&D 5e Druid class character build. While the options presented here may be the optimal build for a druid (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 are from the core rulebook set (Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide) unless otherwise attributed.

Party Role

Druids can fill several party roles. Their spellcasting gives them decent recurring damage but are outclassed by most other full caster classes. Wild shape gives a Druid incredible resilience, allowing them to function as a front-line fighter. Many of their animal forms allow them to perform reconnaissance relatively easily. Also, they have access to curative magic, and can function as a primary healer for lack of a Cleric.

Strengths:

  • The Druid spell list has many powerful spells unique to them.
  • Wild Shape grants a pile of hit points and various animal abilities that help in combat, stealth, tracking, and other accessory roles.

Weaknesses:

  • Druids can’t wear metal armor. It’s a flavor thing with rules implications, but it means you’re limited to hide armor in the medium category.
  • Druids aren’t proficient with any good weapons. You’ll rely on magic and wild shape for damage, but lack of options in your base form hurts.

Ability Scores

Strength: You can safely dump strength, as you’ll gain access to beast forms with impressive strength and other physical abilities very quickly.

Dexterity: Having good AC while not in wild shape is valuable.

Constitution: You need hit points, but your wild shape should soak up most damage you take.

Intelligence: You only need a good wisdom for skills, most of which are irrelevant for you.

Wisdom: Your spells are based on Wisdom, so max this out over anything else.

Charisma: Another dump stat. You don’t need it for anything.

Races

Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms Races

AarakocraEEPC: Flight in your base form covers the lack thereof in your wild shape options until you get to 8th level. Also, the Aarakocra gets a bonus to Wisdom, which is useful.

AasimarVGtM: Aasimar don’t make a very good druid.

Fallen: Nothing useful for Druids.

Protector: The only version of the Aasimar that grants a bonus to Wisdom.

Scourge: Nothing useful for Druids.

BugbearVGtM: Nothing useful for Druids.

Dragonborn: Nothing useful for Druids.

Dwarf: Dwarves are quite resilient in general, but only one subrace grants a bonus to Wisdom.

Hill Dwarf: The Constitution and Wisdom bonuses are perfect. The bonus hit points are great too.

Mountain Dwarf: Nothing useful for Druids.

DuergarSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

Elf: Now we’re talking. Elf is the one-stop-shop for Druids. The base dexterity is a good choice, giving you extra AC in your base form. Direct your attention to Wood Elf, if you please.

Drow: Nothing useful for Druids.

EladrinMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

High Elf: Nothing useful for Druids.

Sea ElfMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

Shadar-KaiMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

Wood Elf: Wisdom bonus, additional speed, and remember that your Mask of the Wild ability still works while you’re in wild shape, so you are extra stealthy.

FirbolgVGtM: FIrbolgs as a race are as druid-y as you can get before taking the first level in the class. A Wisdom bonus.

GenasiEEPC: The base constitution increase is nice, but only the Water subrace is worthwhile for Druids.

Air: Nothing useful for Druids.

Earth: Nothing useful for Druids.

Fire: Fire resistance is great, since Fire is the most common damage type, but otherwise not spectacular.

Water: Wisdom increase, and acid resistance. Acid is less common, but still a useful resistance.

GithMToF: The bonus intelligence isn’t very useful.

Githyanki: The weapon proficiencies make you a better base-form combatant, but you’re going to have to choose between casting, fighting with weapons, or wild shape, and that’s a lot of redundant choices.

Githzerai: The Wisdom increase works well with your base build, and the bonus spells are useful.

Gnome: There isn’t a lot here for Druids in general.

Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC/SCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

Forest: The ability to speak with small beasts saves you a spell slot on speak with animals in some cases, but that’s not enough.

Rock: Nothing useful for Druids.

GoblinVGtM: Outside the Goblin’s utility of just being a goblin, nothing here adds to the Druidic experience.

GoliathVGtM/EEPC: This race it too well geared towards being a melee combatant to spend time casting or wild shaping.

Half-Elf: Half-elves are versatile in general and can make any class work well.

Standard: The vanilla half-elf allows you to tailor your ability scores and skills to exactly what your class alcks.

AquaticSACG: Nothing useful for Druids.

DrowSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

Moon/SunSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

WoodSCAG: Another great choice. If you need to be stealthy, Mask of the Wild and stealth proficiency granted by this race are your best bet.

Half-Orc: All of the Half-Orc’s abilities are great for augmenting your wild shapes.

Halfling: The Dexterity increase is strong right off the bat.

Lightfoot: Nothing useful for Druids.

GhostwiseSCAG: A small Wisdom increase is helpful.

Stout: Nothing useful for Druids.

HobgoblinVGtM: Nothing useful for Druids.

Human: Once you realize the benefits of humans, you’ll use them for any class as a versatile option.

Standard: Druids don’t need a wide ability spread, they benefit from min/maxing.

Variant: Pump your bonus into Wisdom for your spells, and let your beast form take care of your Strength and Dexterity.

KenkuVGtM: Kenku gives you the Wisdom increase you’re looking for, and a bonus Dex boost that helps with your AC in your base form. Kenku gives you some skill proficiencies that let you be the party’s rogue in a pinch.

KoboldVGtM: Not much useful for Druids, other than Pack Tactics which is cool if you’re a circle of the moon druid.

LizardfolkVGtM: Wisdom Bonus, powerful in base form, and with your wild shape tanking most of your damage, you’ll have plenty of longevity to see your spells resolve.

OrcVGtM: The Aggressive ability is useful while you’re in your beast forms, but the rest of the Orc suite isn’t useful for Druid.

TabaxiVGtM: The Feline Agility ability is useful while you’re in your beast forms, but the rest of the Tabaxi suite isn’t useful for Druid.

Tiefling: Tieflings don’t have any synergies with the druid class. Even the Winged feature, which can improve almost any class, is wasted on the Druid once you have a flying Wild Shape form. Better off taking something more useful for your entire progression.

Standard: Nothing useful for Druids.

Devil’s TongueSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

FeralSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

HellfireSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

WingedSCAG: Nothing useful for Druids.

AsmodeusMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

BaalzebulMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

DispaterMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

FiernaMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

GlasyaMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

LevistusMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

MammonMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

MephistophlesMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

ZarielMToF: Nothing useful for Druids.

TortleXGE/TP: Tortle gives you a very solid, and durable base form. The Wisdom bonus is great, but the Strength boost is generally wasted given your beast form options.

TritonVGtM: Nothing useful for Druids.

Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM: Nothing useful for Druids.

Eberron Races

ChangelingERLW: Nothing useful for Druids.

KalashtarERLW: The Wisdom increase is great, and you have the ability to speak telepathically while in your beast form, which is very useful and will prevent a lot of obnoxious charades from serious role-players.

OrcERLW: Nothing useful for Druids.

ShifterERLW: There’s nothing in the rules as written that says you can’t use the shifting features while in Wild Shape, so theoretically you can gain quite a few useful bonuses on top of your wild shapes.

Beasthide: Poor ability score selection for Druids.

Longtooth: Poor ability score selection for Druids.

Swiftstride: Poor ability score selection for Druids.

Wildhunt: The only subspecies with a good ability spread for Druids.

WarforgedERLW: It doesn’t make much sense thematically, but hear me out. Put your flexible ability score increase into Wisdom, embrace your robotic heritage and all the resistances and immunities it comes with, along with the bonus to armor class, and do your nature-loving Pinocchio thing.

Ravnica Races

CentaurGGTR: Centaurs are built for combat, and druids generally use their Wild Shape for that.

LoxodonGGTR: One of the best druid races. Loxodon are tough and boast a great ability score spread. Their natural armor makes them the perfect base form for a wild shaper.

MinotaurGGTR: Nothing good for Druids.

Simic HybridGGTR: One of the best races in the game. Your animal enhancements are great for non-Moon druids who won’t be focusing on Wild Shaping all the time.

VedalkenGGTR: Vedalken are a quirky race, you get a small Wisdom increase, a skill proficiency, and the ability to breathe underwater.

Theros Races

LeoninMOoT: Nothing good for Druids.

SatyrMOoT: Nothing good for Druids.

Class Features

Hit Dice: d8 isn’t that great overall, but considering you’re a full caster, it’s tremendous. Also, your Wild Shape is going to provide you with most of the hit points you’ll be ticking off.

Weapon Proficiencies: A small selection of simple weapons is all that Druid affords you. You’ll likely rely on your wild shape for weapon damage, or use a cantrip like thorn whip.

Armor Proficiencies: Proficiency with light and medium armor and shields looks good at first glance, but the caveat that druids can’t use metal armor and weapons means your options are severely limited.

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism kit can provide some auxiliary healing, but you’ve got access to spells that are better.

Saving Throws: Intelligence is unimportant, and you’re not going to have a decent modifier in it so it’s basically useless to you. Wisdom is a solid save.

Druidic: This will almost never come up.

Spellcasting: The druid spell list has a ton of really great spells on it at every level. There are a handful of very useful cantrips, and options at higher levels to support your role as a ranged striker, battlefield control, or as a support character.

Wild Shape: Your tentpole ability. You’re going to spend most of your time as a druid wild shaped into some sort of creature that gives you more and better abilities than your base form. Each time you wild shape you get a new pile of hit points, and only take damage in your base form if you take overkill damage in your altered form. Eventually you’ll be able to climb, swim, and fly while wild shaped, so this ability opens up a ton of utility options for you.

Timeless Body: Unless you’re playing a campaign that spans centuries of time, this won’t come into play at all.

Beast Spells: Being able to cast while wild shaped makes you a powerful stealth caster. Fly around at the edge of your spell range in altitude and rain pain down on unsuspecting enemies.

Archdruid: Unlimited animal forms means you will be very VERY difficult to kill. By this level you can turn into some pretty beefy creatures, and if you’re a Circle of the Moon druid doubly so. Any time you’re in trouble, transform and get away.

Druidic Circles

Circle of DreamsXGtE

The Druids of the Circle of Dreams are mysterious shamans. This subclass focuses on healing and protection. This class is rather lackluster compared to some of the other options available to you.

Balm of the Summer Court: This ability gives you a small pool of healing you can use as a bonus action, which saves you a spell slot otherwise reserved for Healing Word or Cure Wounds, and extends your combat usefulness.

Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow: For lack of an arcane caster who knows Rope Trick or Tiny Hut, this is a great option to camp out in a dungeon.

Hidden Paths: This is one of the only teleportation abilities available to druids, and getting it before Tree Stride makes it very valuable.

Walker in Dreams: This ability comes much later on in the class progression where other classes will likely have picked up something similar.

Circle of the Land

The Circle of the Land gives you the greatest emphasis on spellcasting of all the Druid subclasses. The bonus spells granted based on your biome will provide you with solid elemental options not available to other circles.

Bonus Cantrip: Druids have fewer cantrips than any other casting class, so this evens the playing field.

Natural Recovery: This ability is incredible. Spells are the most powerful metric in the game, and you have a renewable supply of them.

Circle Spells: This is the main feature of this Druidic Circle. You gain additional spells prepared based on which biome you choose.

Arctic: This circle gives you a few crowd-control options, but most of them are concentration spells.

3rd Level: Hold Person and Spike Growth are two of the best control options available at low levels.

5th Level: Spike Growth is better than Sleet Storm. Slow is solid, but still requires concentration.

7th Level: Freedom of movement is wasted on a shapeshifter. Ice Storm is a powerful area control spell.

9th Level: Cone of Cold is incredibly strong, and dips into a rare damage type for Druids. Commune with Nature is a middling divination spell.

Coast: This circle starts very promising, but tails off quickly. Great for someone cross-classing into it.

3rd Level: Mirror Image and Misty Step almost totally ensure you won’t get tagged in melee.

5th Level: Two very situational spells you don’t need once you can Wild Shape into a swimming creature.

7th Level: Two more situational spells you won’t use.

9th Level: Scrying is somewhat useful, but Conjure Elemental is the real star here.

Desert: This circle gives you a weird collection of spells not normally available to Druids.

3rd Level: Blur is a great defensive spell. Silence is amazing. It’s the prefect stealth spell, and can completely shut down an enemy spellcaster.

5th Level: Create Food and Water isn’t terribly useful unless you’re playing a game where wilderness and travel survival are very important. Protection from Energy is one of the best “About to fight a dragon” preparations you can make.

7th Level: Blight is situational, but when it comes up it’s just plain mean. Hallucinatory terrain is tough to find a use for, but when you need it, it’s great.

9th Level: Two amazing crowd control options.

Forest: This circle is lackluster, and low on the power level of the spells it provides.

3rd Level: Barkskin is a solid defense option. Spider Climb is situational, since you can turn into a giant spider.

5th Level: Call lightning is one of the most efficient spells available to Druids. The problem is that it’s already available to Druids, so getting it from the Circle is redundant. Plant Growth is situational.

7th Level: Two very situational options you may never use.

9th Level: Tree Stride is neat but getting regular Teleport would be a lot better.

Grassland: This circle is all about the buffs.

3rd Level: Both of these spells are incredible for infiltration and recon. One for just you, and the other for the whole group.

5th Level: Haste is the single best buff in the game.

7th Level: Two mediocre situational spells.

9th Level: Insect Plague is an excellent area control spell.

Mountain: A strong contender for the best circle, this provides good options all the way through.

3rd Level: Spider Climb is redundant when you can turn into a spider. Spike Grown is very powerful at low levels, and continues to produce even later on.

5th Level: Lightning bolt is a powerful weapon for Druids.

7th Level: Stone Shape and Stone Skin are both very powerful spells

9th Level: Make a wall, pass through the wall, your choice.

Swamp: Another circle that has great options at low levels, and tapers off quickly.

3rd Level: Two good non-Druid spells.

5th Level: Stinking Cloud is fantastic area control.

7th Level: Both spells at this level are very situational.

9th Level: Insect Plague is excellent area control.

Underdark: Almost all of these spells are not normally available to Druids.

3rd Level: Spider climb is bad for you, but Web is oh so very good.

5th Level: Stinking Cloud is good area control, and Gaseous Form is a great infiltration and escape option.

7th Level: Greater Invisibility is second only to Haste as far as buffs go, and Stone Shape is a very useful tool to have in your arsenal.

9th Level: Cloudkill is powerful. Insect Plague is excellent area control.

Land’s Stride: This is a very situational ability, but if you choose right, you’ll enjoy having it.

Nature’s Ward: Again, situational, but more useful than the others.

Nature’s Sanctuary: Never fear, if you encounter a Beast or Plant foe you’ll have a great chance of avoiding the combat encounter or settling it quickly.

Circle of the Moon

This is the “Standard Druid.” It focuses on Wild Shape as your primary ability. Everything about this class is geared towards making you the most effective predatory beast possible.

Combat Wild Shape: Bonus action Wild Shape lets you get to the good stuff faster. You can transform, move, and attack in the same turn, or move, cast a spell, THEN Wild Shape if you need to.

Circle Forms: The increase in CR of forms you can obtain is what makes this circle the most powerful of all. The options afforded to you make you incredibly hard to kill at low levels, and it gets even better as you advance.

Primal Strike: Magical beast weapons allows you to avoid being redundant in combat at higher levels.

Elemental Wild Shape: Elementals are some of the best forms available to you. Fire elementals deal insane damage, Earth Elementals can move through stone, Air Elementals can fly, and Water Elementals are invisible and incredibly deadly in a body of water.

Thousand Forms: A second level spell isn’t too good as a capstone ability.

Circle of the ShepherdXGtE

If you’re looking for the “summon lots of creatures” subclass, this is it. Your primary focus is summoning and miscellaneous support. Your spirit totem gives you good team buffs as well.

Speech of the Woods: Gaining a bonus language and the ability to speak with animals is on-brand for druids. While not totally necessary, it’s fun to be able to do the things you believe you can do.

Spirit Totem: Here’s your best use of a Bonus Action as a non-Moon Circle Druid. Your teammates will thank you for always having their backs with this.

Bear Spirit: This is your best defensive option. Providing some hit points, and advantage on Strength checks means you can get out of a grapple easier.

Hawk Spirit: This is a solid option, as it gives you a reliable use reaction ability each round, maximizing your action economy.

Unicorn Spirit: If you haven’t used your totem spirit before a short rest, you’ve got this reliable option to make sure you don’t let anything given to you by your class go to waste.

Mighty Summoner: Your summons are downright scary once you have this ability. It makes sure your nature’s ally is still useful at higher levels, when you’re fighting things that have lots of resistances.

Guardian Spirit: The second buff to your summons makes them linger. You’ll be able to rely on them much more once you’ve gotten here.

Faithful Summons: CR 2 creatures aren’t going to make or break a combat, but more and stronger minions are always welcome.

Circle of SporesTCoE

This Druidic Circle is a powerful offensive caster that straddles the line between nature mage and necromancer. It provides you a ton of reaction and bonus action abilities, maximizing your action economy.

Circle Spells: You get access to a ton of great spells that aren’t on the base Druid spell list.

Cantrip: You get Chill Touch at 2nd level.

Level 3: A strong debuff and a mediocre utility spell.

Level 5: Animate dead is wonderful. If you ever need a few extra hands, you’re covered. Gaseous form is situational, but also very useful. It can circumvent many different obstacles.

Level 7: One great offensive spell, and one mediocre debuff.

Level 9: Two powerful offensive spells.

Halo of Spores: This ability lets you deal chip damage to anyone within 10 feet of you. If you’re a second-line fighter, and can swing using a reach weapon behind the tank, you’re going to absolutely kill it with this. The damage increment increases slowly as you advance too, so it never gets outclassed.

Symbiotic Entity: this ability serves two purposes, and both are amazing. Halo of Spores was good on its own, but this makes it even better. Additionally, the buff to your melee abilities makes you an effective front-liner.

Fungal Infestation: This ability is terribly limited. Luckily you’ve got plenty of other effective tricks up your sleeve. Worst case, another body next to you tanks one attack that would have hit you.

Spreading Spores: Your Halo of Spores effectively increases to 4x its base damage with this active, dealing double damage to creatures in each area.

Fungal Body: Four condition immunities, and resistance to critical hits is a nice capstone feature.

Circle of StarsTCoE

Circle of Stars is a strong subclass. It adds healing, support, and offensive capability. Starry Form is a neat mechanic that lets you go into a combat form that isn’t an animal.

Star Map: You have a spellcasting focus that gives you additional benefits. You can cast Guidance, which is one of the best cantrips available to divine casters. You get to cast Guiding Bolt and do it for free a few times per day. Additionally, you have it available to cast using spell slots.

Starry Form: You gain three choices for your Starry Form, which replaces Wild Shape as your transformation option.

Archer: This form is an absolute offensive powerhouse. The attack you make is a bonus action, so you can still cast a spell in the same turn. The damage increases at level 10, making it even better.

Chalice: This form gives you a decent boost to healing spells. If you’re playing a fully support role and find yourself casting Healing Word and Cure Wounds a lot, you’re going to find this extremely rewarding.

Dragon: Almost all your good spells are concentration, so having a guaranteed floor for those rolls is solid. This also gives you a bonus to your Wisdom and Intelligence skills outside of combat.

Cosmic Omen: You don’t get to choose which of the two features you get to use, as the dice determine them randomly. However, as a daily ability it’s still pretty solid, granting either a bonus to an ally’s check or a penalty to an opponent’s check.

Twinkling Constellation: All your Starry Form dice increase, and you can switch between them. This is great, because you’ll likely want to cycle through them depending on where in the encounter you are. Start with Archer to blast enemies, switch to Dragon if you cast a concentration spell, and move into Chalice if you start healing.

Full of Stars: You get this resistance a bit late in the game, but it’s not qualified to nonmagical damage, so it’s still relevant at higher levels.

Circle of WildfireTCoE

The closest to a Blighter we’ve gotten so far. This class features a ton of options for dealing fire damage, and comes with a pet. The major downside of this class is that every single thing it gives you is fire damage,so if you find yourself fighting something with resistance or immunity, you’re in big trouble. Fire damage is the most resisted damage type in the game, so be wary of this fact when choosing this class.

Circle of Wildfire Spells: Your spells give you a good combination of healing magic and damage spells.

2nd Level: One to heal, one to harm

3rd Level: Two fire spells you don’t normally get as a druid

5th Level: Revivify is situational, but it’s the most crucial situation out there.

7th Level: Fire shield rocks, especially if you’re in melee and getting a lot of heat (pun intended).

9th Level: Flame strike is the poor man’s fireball, but it’s still crazy powerful. Mass cure wounds makes you as effective as even the best cleric.

Summon Wildfire Spirit: Your pet is summonable, can fly, can teleport, has a ranged attack, and scales with your level.

Enhanced Bond: this effectively adds 1d8 to all your class spells, whether used to heal or harm. The biggest benefit is the ability for your spells to original from your Wildfire Spirit, which increases the range of some of your best spells from touch to medium range.

Cauterizing Flames: This is a quirky ability that gives you a strong Reaction ability, but only in certain specific situations. Again, you’re given the option to heal or harm with it.

Blazing Revival: Druids are already hard to kill, given their Wild Shape ability. With this, you can get another chance at life if you sacrifice your Wildfire Spirit. If you play a Wildfire Druid right, you should never die.

Skills

Acrobatics: Useless in this edition.

Animal Handling: This is thematic for Druids, but you’ve got spells that can better do anything you’d want to do with this class skill.

Arcana: Unnecessary for druids, generally the job of Wizards and Sorcerers, but if you’re the main caster you might consider picking this up.

Athletics: You may find yourself needing to swim, climb, and jump…which is why you can transform into animals who specialize in other movement modes.

Deception: Not the forte of Druids.

History: Definitely not part of your responsibility as a Druid.

Insight: Wisdom skills are your game.

Intimidation: The most intimidating thing you can do is transform into a wolf or something.

Investigation: You likely don’t have the Intelligence to back this up.

Medicine: You should have this, but you should also have Magic that can do it better.

Nature: Obviously, this is your most important skill.

Perception: Don’t get caught unawares. Considering you’ll be prioritizing your Wisdom above all other stats, you should be very good at this.

Performance: You don’t need this.

Persuasion: Not very important, and you won’t have the Charisma to back this up.

Religion: Another primary skill. If you want to be Archdruid, you better know your stuff.

Sleight of Hand: Not your bag.

Stealth: This could come in handy if you’re going for Wild Shape infiltrator.

Survival: Situational, but still your responsibility.

Backgrounds

Acolyte: Good skills, two languages. Makes sense thematically.

Charlatan: Nothing good for Druid.

City WatchSCAG: Nothing good for Druid.

Clan CrafterSCAG: History and Insight are both decent.

Cloistered ScholarSCAG: Two decent skills and two languages.

CourtierSCAG: Nothing good for Druid.

Criminal: Nothing good for Druid.

Entertainer: Nothing good for Druid.

Faction AgentSCAG: Insight and another skill of your choice, plus two languages.

Far TravelerSCAG: Two skills from your list and two languages.

FisherGoS: Nothing good for Druid.

Folk Hero: Two skills off your list.

Guild Artisan: Insight, but nothing much else useful.

Hermit: Two Wisdom skills and Herbalism Kit proficiency.

InheritorSCAG: Survival, and that’s pretty much it.

Knight of the OrderSCAG: Nothing good for Druid.

MarineGoS: Nothing good for Druid.

Mercenary VeteranSCAG: Nothing good for Druid.

Noble: History, but otherwise nothing good.

Outlander: Survival, but otherwise nothing good.

Sage: Two decent skills and some languages.

Sailor: Perception, but otherwise nothing good.

ShipwrightGoS: Nothing good for Druid.

SmugglerGoS: Nothing good for Druid.

Soldier: Nothing good for Druid.

Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: A very customizable class. If you can make it work for you, go for it.

Urchin: Nothing good for Druid.

Uthgardt Tribe MemberSCAG: Nothing good for Druid.

Feats

Alert: Not the top choice for you.

Athlete: Not a good feat, in general.

Actor: More suited for Charisma-forward characters.

Charger: There are Wild Shape options that already have this.

Crossbow Expert: Your spells are better than crossbows.

Defensive Duelist: You aren’t proficient with the weapons to make this worthwhile.

Dual Wielder: Polearm Master is better if you’re trying to get more attacks. Or just Wild Shape.

Dungeon Delver: Only if you chose skills to allow you to function as the “Rogue” of the party.

Durable: You have magic healing, and Wild Shape.

Elemental Adept: If you’re going to use your fire and lightning spells a lot, you’ll get a great return on investment here, especially if you’re a Circle of the Land Druid.

Grappler: If you specialize in snake and octopus Wild Shape forms, this will be useful.

Great Weapon Master: You’re not proficient with weapons to back this up.

Healer: Your magic is better than anything this feat can do.

Heavily Armored: You can’t wear metal armor.

Heavy Armor Master: You can’t wear metal armor.

Inspiring Leader: You don’t have the Charisma to back this up.

Keen Mind: Unnecessary.

Lightly Armored: Redundant.

Linguist: You can use magic for this.

Lucky: This feat is great for anyone in any scenario.

Mage Slayer: Situational, but given your ability to gain multiple movement modes and go unnoticed, you’re a good candidate for this if you’ve got the Stealth to back it up.

Magic Initiate: Once you have Natural Spell, you can take this to grab Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade off the Wizard list.

Martial Adept: Not useful for only one Superiority Die.

Medium Armor Master: Redundant.

Mobile: This is great while you’re Wild Shaping into fast land-based animals.

Moderately Armored: Redundant.

Mounted Combat: You ARE the mount.

Observant: A great feat for rounding out an odd Wisdom score.

Polearm Master: You can use this with quarterstaves and shillelagh.

Resilient: Constitution is one of the most important saves.

Ritual Caster: Not useful for the Druid.

Savage Attacker: Not a good feat.

Sentinel: If you favor Wild Shape forms with a grapple or trip attack, this is a great option.

Sharpshooter: Not useful for the Druid.

Shield Master: Not useful for the Druid.

Skilled: More skills are never a bad thing, but there are better options.

Skulker: Not useful for the Druid.

Spell Sniper: Not useful for the Druid.

Tavern Brawler: Not useful for the Druid.

Tough: Not useful for the Druid.

War Caster: Almost all your spells are Concentration spells, so this is a very important feat for you.

Weapon Master: Not useful for the Druid.

Weapons and Armor

Druids are restricted to not carrying or using metal armor. Hide armor is the best you can do, and don’t forget a shield to give you that +2 bonus. As far as weapons, you aren’t proficient with much. You do have access to Shillelagh, so if you’re forced into combat in your base form at least you have a reliable option.

Magic

Cantrips

Control FlamesXGtE: Cannot create or extinguish existing flames, which greatly reduces the usability of this spell.

Create BonfireXGtE: An ongoing effect that doesn’t require a spell slot. Most good Druid spells require concentration, and this one is a freebie.

Druidcraft: The Druid version of Thaumaturgy/Prestidigitation but decidedly less useful.

FrostbiteXGtE: Big pro and con list on this one. Low damage and Con save to negate, but imposing disadvantage is a huge plus if you’re spell-focused and have a decent save.

Guidance: Hands down the best cantrip available. You’ll use it multiple times per session outside of combat.

GustXGtE: This spell is almost totally useless.

InfestationXGtE: Con save to negate is a huge con (pun intended) for a cantrip.

Magic StoneXGtE: This spell is a true oddity, but not really powerful enough to make a difference. It’s a bonus action cantrip, which is unique. It provides a means for up to three creatures to deal magical damage at low levels, and it pins the attack bonus on your ability score, not theirs.

Mending: As a Druid, this is not necessary. Druidcraft should be able to do this.

Mold EarthXGtE: Don’t waste a cantrip on a shovel.

Poison Spray: Short range, Con save. Pass.

Primal SavageryXGtE: A melee cantrip with decent damage. This is probably better than any weapon you carry in your base form but is outclassed by your Wild Shape options.

Produce Flame: The Druid’s go-to damage cantrip, this has the added bonus of functioning as a light source in case you don’t have Darkvision.

Resistance: Harder to use than Guidance, but if you have it up before going into a dungeon, you can be the trap springer.

Shape WaterXGtE: This spell is insanely powerful for what it is. You can freeze/thaw water one 5-foot cube at a time. In any aquatic or even moist setting, you’re an absolute god, although one that moves at a snail’s pace. Use it to build a bridge, shelter, prison, etc. Also, don’t forget that ice floats.

Shillelagh: If you’re a Druid who insists on fighting with a weapon, this is the spell for you.

Thorn Whip: My personal favorite Druid spell, it’s battlefield control and damage rolled into one. This spell has the best potential damage of any cantrip if you pull enemies away from your allies for bonus attacks of opportunity.

ThunderclapXGtE: It’s hard to get more than 2 enemies in this spell’s area of effect, but whenever you do it feels really nice.

1st-Level Spells

Absorb ElementsXGtE: One of the best defensive spells available. A good spellcaster has reaction spells, concentration spells, and instantaneous spells queued up for any occasion. Druid gets one of the best ones right off the bat.

Animal Friendship: This is equivalent to proficiency in Animal Handling. Situational, but if the need arises you better be able to perform.

Beast BondXGtE: It’s a neat spell with a lot of fun uses, but Animal Messenger is more useful when that comes around.

Charm Person: Best used outside of combat, this can be used to manipulate or defuse an otherwise difficult to navigate social situation.

Create or Destroy WaterXGtE: Druids are self-sufficient wilderness explorers and can restart society from a single seed using their magic.

Cure Wounds: Your go-to out of combat healing spell.

Detect Magic: Someone needs to have it in every party.

Detect Poison and Disease: Very situational.

Earth TremorXGtE: Low damage, and restrictions on when you can use it make this one of your weaker spells.

Entangle: A great are control spell accessible at low levels. You’ll find lots of uses for this, especially when you want to take them alive, unlike things like Spike Growth which create a kill corridor.

Faerie Fire: Invisibility can be devastating to low level characters.

Fog Cloud: A stiff breeze counterspells this.

Goodberry: Travel rations, and a great way to burn all your remaining spell slots at the end of a day.

Healing Word: Bonus action ranged healing. ‘Nuff said.

Ice KnifeXGtE: Low damage and too many ways to avoid it.

Jump: Situational, but if you’ve got a Monk or Barbarian with high speed, try this out.

Longstrider: Not a great use of a spell slot, but if you’re in a race or a chase, this spell is perfect.

Purify Food and Drink: It’s a ritual. Don’t cast it in combat or using a spell slot. Please.

SnareXGtE: A magical trap. Perfect flavor and amazing versatility and usefulness.

Speak with Animals: Very situational, but very on-brand.

Thunderwave: Being able to move enemies around is very neat, especially if you can provoke an attack of opportunity from one of your allies when you do it.

2nd-Level Spells

Animal Messenger: Situational. Sending allows the recipient of your message to respond instantly. This takes travel time, and who knows if that pigeon is coming back.

Barkskin: Only for use by Druids who don’t do a lot of Wild Shape combat. if you find yourself fighting in humanoid form a lot, you’ll need this. Otherwise, rely on your animal form to keep you safe and soak up damage.

Beast Sense: You can use good old-fashioned Investigation for the same result.

Darkvision: If you don’t have it, you need it. You can always wild shape into something that has it though.

Dust DevilXGtE: This is a great spell for pushing people around. It requires concentration, so it’s best used to keep enemies away from you.

EarthbindXGtE: Flight is the greatest tactical advantage in the game. Taking that away is huge.

Enhance Ability: This spell has something for everyone. It’s not overtly powerful, and tails off once you get to higher-level buffs, bus at low levels, it’s great.

Find Traps: Don’t cast Rogue, hire one.

Flame Blade: This spell is flashy, but the math is unfavorable. You’re better off casting Flaming Sphere.

Flaming Sphere: Speaking of, this does reliable damage and gives you a one-and-done spell for an encounter. You can use it as a distraction, crowd control, or to intimidate.

Gust of Wind: A hard counter to Fog Cloud, and a lesser battlefield control spell.

Healing SpiritXGtE: This spell takes time, but it does work. You’re generally better casting Cure Wounds at a higher level if you need healing.

Heat Metal: This spell is a death sentence to anyone in full plate and can disarm a frightening foe wielding a great weapon.

Hold Person: Save at the end of each round to end makes this unreliable in the long-term, but it does exactly what it says it will, and can turn off a major threat long enough to escape or neutralize.

Lesser Restoration: You won’t need it prepared all the time, but you’ll likely need it eventually.

Locate Animals or Plants: Roll Investigation or Nature.

Locate Object: Better than its counterpart, but still an Investigation check away.

Moonbeam: It’s a better flaming sphere that also deactivates lycanthropes.

Pass without Trace: Stealth for everybody! This spell is awesome.

Protection From Poison: Generally, you’ll know ahead of time when you need this. If you’re in an area with lots of poisonous animals you’ll be fighting or hunting, or a dungeon with traps that could have poison-laced weapons you’ll be wise to pop this beforehand. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. It’s got a nice long duration too, so it’s a worthwhile spell to have handy.

SkywriteEEPC: Only good for proposing in-game or being very rude. There are other, better spells to communicate over long distance or send up a flare.

Spike Growth: Considering how many options you have to force creatures to move, this spell can be absolutely devastating.

Summon BeastTCoE: The lowest-level summoning spell available to you, and boy does it do work. Long duration, and great selection of creatures to call upon.

Warding WindXGtE: Making the area around you difficult terrain makes it hard for enemies to move toward you or away from you, and disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks keeps enemies with ranged weapons from becoming a nuisance.

3rd-Level Spells

Call Lightning: This spell has a long list of pros and cons. On the pro side, it’s a very efficient use of a spell slot, giving you repeatable damage for 10 minutes. On the other side, the radius is immobile, you can only use it outside, and it deals relatively low damage for its spell slot.

Conjure Animals: Summoning any other creates into battle on your side significantly increase your chances of victory.

Daylight: You have light sources at lower levels. This is only necessary when fighting creatures that have specific weakness to daylight, such as Drow, Vampires, etc.

Dispel Magic: This is a staple spell. If another caster in the party doesn’t have it, you had better prepare it.

Erupting EarthXGtE: This spell does mediocre damage, but creating difficult terrain is a nice bonus.

Feign Death: Situational.

Flame ArrowsXGtE: There’s a ton of uncertainty to this, making it unreliable.

Meld into Stone: Situational.

Plant Growth: Entangle is better as a combat application, but if you’re trying to be an altruistic hero, doubling the crop yield of a village besieged by a dragon will get you some plot credit.

Protection from Energy: Absorb Elements is usually enough, but this is also viable in certain circumstances.

Sleet Storm: This is a strong crowd control spell, but it only controls, it doesn’t damage much.

Speak with Plants: Situational, and not very powerful.

Summon FeyTCoE: The options for Summon Beast are stronger

Tidal WaveXGtE: Weak for a third level spell.

Wall of WaterXGtE: Warding Wind is stronger and a lower level.

Water Breathing: You don’t need it, but your allies will. You can turn into a dolphin

Water Walk: Another spell purely for your friends. Long duration and no concentration requirement is nice.

Wind Wall: Situational, but this can turn a siege around.

4th-Level Spells

Blight: Low damage for the spell level, and Con saves aren’t the best way to go.

Charm Monster: The same cons as Charm Person. This is not a combat spell, but it will help you get past a sleeping dragon…maybe.

Confusion: Unreliable.

Conjure Minor Elementals: The newer, lower level summon spells in TCoE are better.

Conjure Woodland Beings: The newer, lower level summon spells in TCoE are better.

Control Water: Shape Water gets you what you need at a cheaper cost, and this is very situational.

Dominate Beast: Druids have the best chance of befriending animals using their diplomacy, but when words fail, this is your best bet.

Elemental BaneXGtE: Concentration, Constitution based, and relies on your allies to play along. If you build a strategy out of this, it will deal a ton of bonus damage, but it’s hard to use effectively by yourself.

Freedom of Movement: You’re able to shapeshift, which can break a grapple easily.

Giant Insect: This spell is very powerful. If you’re carrying around a bag of bugs you can do your best Viridian Forest Pokemon trainer impression and throw spiders and centipedes at your opponents.

Grasping Vine: This is a bad version of Entangle. Skip it.

Guardian of NatureXGtE: Strong spell with a short duration.

Hallucinatory Terrain: Situational.

Ice Storm: Erupting Earth is better for creating difficult terrain, and literally anything else is better for damage.

Locate Creature: Pick proficiency in Survival or Investigation and you’ll do fine without this.

Polymorph: This spell rocks. You don’t need it but consider what you can turn your friends into.

Stone Shape: This spell has a ton of great uses.

Stoneskin: If you’re in your base form, this spell is amazing for fighting anyone not wielding a magic weapon.

Summon ElementalTCoE: Summon Beast is better.

Wall of Fire: An absolutely fantastic spell. Control and a ton of damage. Use your other control options to force creatures to move through it.

Watery SphereXGtE: It’s better than entangle, but not worth the 4th level spell slot.

5th-Level Spells

Antilife Shell: This will keep the heat off if you’re vulnerable, but it’s even better if you’ve for a strong ranged weapon.

Awaken: Not very useful compared to your summon spells.

Commune with Nature: Ritual spells are awesome. You can use it whenever you want with high effect and for relatively low cost.

Conjure Elemental: Elementals are awesome creatures.

Contagion: This is a really strong debuff.

Control WindsXGtE: Earthbind will usually get you what you want, but this can deal with multiple foes at once for a steeper cost.

Geas: This spell is very situational, but also very powerful. The penalty for not obeying the mission can wear down a powerful opponent giving you a chance at tackling a tough creature a few days or weeks after your initial contact.

Greater Restoration: An absolutely mandatory spell for many high-level encounters.

Insect Plague: Damage over time and difficult terrain, which helps with keeping the targets inside the area of effect.

MaelstromXGtE: Another really strong area effect spell that does decent damage and creates difficult terrain.

Mass Cure Wounds: Healing Word is better distance healing, as it uses a lower level spell slot. It does a lot, but costs you one of your higher level spell slots, which is unfortunate.

Planar Binding: Expensive material components, high casting level, and very situational.

Reincarnate: Revivify is your best bet. If you need this, it’s an odd way to go.

Scrying: Powerful, but situational.

Transmute RockXGtE: This spell affects a 40-foot cube, which is enough to bring down a medium-sized building in a medieval setting.

Tree Stride: It’s a weak, situational teleport.

Wall of Stone: A great spell that can be used offensively and defensively. If you’re fighting a group of enemies, you can split them down the middle and deal with them one half at a time, once the spell wears off. Casting it consecutively lets you build a powerful defensive rampart.

Wrath of NatureXGtE: You need to be in the right terrain to use this effectively.

6th-Level Spells

Bones of the EarthXGtE: It’s only useful inside, if you can pin creatures to the ceiling. Outside, it creates minor obstacles and blocks line of sight, but not enough to really matter.

Conjure Fey: The DM gets to choose what you summon, so you need to read them before you choose to take this spell.

Druid GroveXGtE: A really cool spell, but not very useful for adventuring.

Find the Path: Way to high level to be worth it, except for plot reasons.

Heal: One of the best healing options in the game, period.

Heroes’ Feast: This is a great spell. It has a 24-hour cast time, which means you can cast it and still regain your 6th level spell slot before you need to head off to that big boss fight.

Investiture of FlameXGtE: All of the investiture spells are great for Druids. You can turn one of these on and Wild Shape into a beast form that can best make use of the specific spell. For Flame and Ice, you’ll want something melee-heavy with multiple attacks so your additional damage is maximized.

Investiture of IceXGtE: The difficult terrain controls enemy movement around you, and the damage area is wider.

Investiture of StoneXGtE: The resistance to damage means your wild shapes, which have relatively low hit points, will last longer

Investiture of WindXGtE: Flight is awesome, especially if you wild shape into something that doesn’t normally fly.

Move Earth: This is not a combat spell, which makes it not very useful to have prepared. If you need it, sleep on it, then forget it.

Primordial WardXGtE: In most cases, you don’t need protection from more than one type of energy at once. If you know you’re facing a caster who can use multiple damage types, this is their Achilles’ heel.

Sunbeam: An efficient use of a spell slot, giving you a ton of repeatable damage.

Transport via Plants: much better than Tree Stride. Even though the effect duration is short, you can get any number of creatures through if they’re able to approach the gate fast enough.

Wall of Thorns: It blocks line of sight, it blocks movement, and it deals decent damage. Some of the lower level walls, like Fire and Stone are more accessible and generally better, but this is not to be overlooked.

Wind Walk: The flight speed this grants coupled with the duration is phenomenal.

7th-Level Spells

Fire Storm: The area of effect is highly customizable, but the damage is less than stellar.

Mirage Arcane: This is a difficult spell to use

Plane Shift: You can use this spell to travel with allies, or to banish a creature. It uses a Charisma save, which is rare. And you can go anywhere in the world by casting this spell twice. Once to another plane, and twice to come back to this plane.

Regenerate: Heal is better to have queued up during combat, but if you have a tragic loss of a limb, you can always prepare this the next day.

Reverse Gravity: This spell is a death sentence for most creatures. lifting them up to the top of this area of effect and cancelling the spell can kill a horde of minions with fall damage, or just straight up end an encounter by putting them out of melee reach.

WhirlwindXGtE: A moving vacuum cleaner that can sweep up a battlefield’s worth of enemies over time.

8th-Level Spells

Animal Shapes: There honestly aren’t a lot of strong options to use this spell to transform into for combat purposes. It’s a better stealth/infiltration spell. Sneak a group of elites into a well-guarded city as a swarm of spiders in the middle of the night or something.

Antipathy/Sympathy: This spell is great when faced with a group of enemies of the same type, but if your opponents are mixed it doesn’t work very well.

Control Weather: This spell is insanely powerful, but rarely relevant. You can cause mass chaos, but it doesn’t afford you discreet damage options like Call Lightning or the like.

Earthquake: This spell is one of the few options you have to cause mass destruction on a city-wide scale.

Feeblemind: This spell absolutely ruins Charisma-based casters who didn’t take their intelligence saves seriously.

Sunburst: Damage and Blindness resisted by a constitution save. Risky to cast, but the payoff is huge.

Tsunami: This is the massive control spell you’ve been waiting for. It’s powerful, it’s got a long duration, and if you wild shape into something that can swim, you’re going to have an insane advantage.

9th-Level Spells

Foresight: This is the best buff in the game. It’s got a long duration, no concentration requirement, and you can cast it on anyone. combo it with Haste from an arcane caster buddy to create an absolute monster.

Shapechange: Wild Shape is cool, but this is cooler. You can change forms rapidly, giving you incredible combat and noncombat options alike. It lasts for an hour, so you can cause some serious mischief with it.

Storm of Vengeance: Low damage for a 9th level spell, but it’s your only AoE option at this level. You’re better off turning into a Dragon with Shapechange and using your breath weapon repeatedly.

True Resurrection: It’s expensive, but by the time you’re 17th level the target is likely worth more than the gold cost.

Multiclassing

Barbarian: Rage and Wild Shape are a great combination. The bonus damage will really add up when you turn into an animal form with multiple attacks. Unarmored Defense works in Wild Shape as well. And the speed increase will make your quadrupedal form even faster.

Bard: Nothing good for Druids.

Cleric: There’s too much overlap in your spellcasting to make this worthwhile. The Domain abilities are the only draw, and they’re available at first level.

Fighter: It takes a few levels to get to the Combat Style but choosing one of these could offer an option for making you a worthwhile ranged support character.

Monk: Unarmored defense and Martial Arts while in your beast shapes gives you a ton of options. Combine this with enough Barbarian to get you Rage and you’re got yourself quite an arsenal.

Paladin: Two levels for a fighting style and smite, plus some paladin-only spells.

Ranger: If you’re looking for a fighting style, go with Fighter or Paladin to get some better options.

Rogue: Skills, and that’s about it. Monk and Barbarian are better if you’re looking for extra damage.

Sorcerer: Nothing good for Druids.

Warlock: Nothing good for Druids.

Wizard: Nothing good for Druids.

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
TP           Tortle Package
VGtM    Volo’s Guide to Monsters
XGtE      Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

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