Dungeons & Dragons: 8 Ways To Make An Overpowered Artificer

Due to its status as the most recent class released in Dungeons & Dragons, many players struggle to understand how to properly build an efficient Artificer. Intelligence-based classes have always been among the most difficult to play in the game, as the Wizard's legacy as the only Intelligence-based class prior to the publishing of the Artificer proves.

However, properly built Intelligence-based classes have access to many utility and knowledge-based benefits that you won't find anywhere else in the game. These include great bonuses to skills like Arcana and History, as well as unique access to a number of utility spells that provide additional protection, information, and support to the party. Today, we'll dive into how you can get the most out of your next Artificer.

8/8 Species: Gnome

Aside from being a great flavor choice, thanks to depictions of gnomes as a species with aspiring inventiveness across many fantasy genres, gnomes are also arguably the best mechanical choice of species when playing an Artificer. Gnomes have a +2 bonus to Intelligence, your primary ability score, and also come with the benefit of Gnome Cunning. This provides your rolls with advantage any time you make an Intelligence, Charisma, or Wisdom saving throw against magic.

Seeing as the Artificer class provides proficiency in Intelligence and Consitution saving throws, that makes Dexterity the only big hole in your saving throws. Unfortunately, it's a rather common saving throw, but you can shore up this weakness somewhat with the first-level spell Absorb Elements. It's also worth specifying you should choose the Rock Gnome sub species for expertise in History checks, a +1 to Constitution, and the flavorful Tinker ability which allows you to make some small devices.

7/8 Background: Sage

The Sage background taps into the Artificer's mastery of studious knowledge. You gain proficiency in the Arcana and History skills, which are both incredibly useful, and you get to choose two languages of your choice. Depending on the campaign, you might even have some hints about the kinds of languages that will be most useful.

In addition, the Researcher specialty allows you to take advantage of History checks even if you fail. It reads that when you attempt to recall a piece of lore and fail, you are still able to come up with where or who you might obtain that knowledge from. As they say, knowledge is power.

6/8 Infusion: Homunculus Servant

One of the biggest complaints posited against Artificers is their poor use of the action economy, due to very little access to bonus action abilities. In truth, Artificers have a great bonus action — as long as you make use of the Homunculus Servant infusion. This servant is sort of like a familiar, except it's also capable of making its own attacks as long as your use your bonus action to command it.

In addition, the statistics of the Homonculus are based upon your levels in Artificer as well as your proficiency bonus. As a result, it grows in power alongside your character. In other words, the Artificer is really a pet class when played properly, which is something many players overlook. The one caveat here is that you will need a gem or crystal worth 100gp in order to create your first Homunculus, but that ought to be achievable before you hit fifth level.

5/8 Subclass: Armorer

By far and away, the Armorer subclass is the best subclass available to Artificers. The Battle Smith and Artillerist subclasses are only slightly worse, but if you want to build the best Artificer possible, you should only have eyes for the Armorer.

Part of the reason the Armorer subclass is so good is thanks to its spell selection. You'll gain permanent access to incredible spells, including Magic Missile, Thunderwave, Mirror Image, Shatter, Hypnotic Pattern, Lightning Bolt, and more. Suffice to say, the other subclass spell additions pale in comparison.

4/8 Armor Model: Guardian

The other reason the Armorer subclass is so good is that it gives you access to two powerful suits of armor with unique attributes. However, the large majority of the time you should be using the Guardian model if you want to get the most bang for your buck. This armor gives you an Intelligence modifier melee weapon attack, Thunder Gauntlets. This deals 1d8 thunder damage and causes any hit target to have disadvantage on attack rolls against anyone other than you, until the start of your enxt turn.

There are very few tanking abilities and options in Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, and the Guardian model armor provides one of the few pseudo-taunt functions in the game. Additionally, the armor gives you a bonus action that adds temporary hit points equal to your level to your hit point pool. This function can be used a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus.

3/8 Feat: Heavily Armored

While we're still talking about armor, it only makes sense to mention the best feat for the Artificer in Heavily Armored. This half feat increases your Strength score by one and gives you proficiency with heavy armor. Seeing as your Artificer is already suited up for the frontlines thanks to the Guardian armor model, it only makes sense to increase your AC as high as possible.

Our Intelligence-based partner the Wizard manages to keep their AC high thanks to the use of the first-level Shield spell. Unfortunately, Artificers don't have access to the Shield spell, so they instead need to rely on boosting their AC via more equipment-based means. Using the Heavily Armored feat, this is no problem at all.

2/8 Infusion: Radiant Weapon

There are tons of great infusions available for Artificers to access, but chief amongst them is Radiant Weapon. Coming online once you hit sixth level in the Artificer class, Radiant Weapon infuses a simple or martial weapon with a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls as well as the ability to shed light as a bonus action.

Most importantly though, it also gives the weapon four charges. When you are hit by an attack, you can expend one of these charges to force the attacker to make a Consitution saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failure, the attacker becomes blinded until the end of their next turn. This infusion becomes even better when you consider the fact that you can throw it onto your Thunder Gauntlets. The result is a frontline character that can force any opponent to have disadvantage on attack rolls against the party.

1/8 Magic Item: All-Purpose Tool

Last but not least, the All-Purpose Tool is to an Artificer what the Rod of the Pact Keeper is to the Warlock or the Arcane Grimoire is to the Wizard. That is to say, it's the Artificer's most essential magic item, as it adds a constant bonus to the Artificer's spell attack rolls and spell save DCs.

Furthermore, the tool can be used to transform into any type of Artificer's Tools, and you are always proficient with the All-Purpose Tool — even if you don't have the tool proficiency of whatever it has transformed into. As an added bonus, the tool also allows you to pick up one cantrip outside the Artificer spell list each day. Once you pick up one of these babies, your Artificer will always have the right tool for what we can only hope is the right job. Artifice responsibly.

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