The Best D&D Class for New Players

D&D Fifth Edition Classes Every Beginner Should Learn to Play FIRST

Dungeons & Dragons can be daunting for beginners so make it easier by using this best D&D class for new players list. With the popularity of Stranger Things and Critical Role still going strong countless new players roll a D20 for the first time every day!

Here’s the scenario – You’ve decided to dive head first into the world of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. You have your dice, a Player’s Handbook, a Dungeon Masters Guide, and a Monsters Manuel. NOW WHAT?

Dungeons & Dragons CAN be complicated. Between sourcebooks, adventure guides, hundreds of rules and a heavy amount of character-creating options D&D definitely comes with a built-in learning curve.

It’s normal to need a few “starter campaigns” to work out the kinks before really grasping some of the finer intricacies of character development. There are many factors to consider before you join the Dungeon Master in the lands of The Forgotten Realms. So, before you delve into a Sorceror or an Artificer try out these awesome but much easier-to-grasp D&D classes.

Before You Ever Meet in a Tavern…

If you haven’t played D&D before you may wonder why choosing a class is such an essential task. What’s the big deal?

Simply put – your class is the defining attribute that drives your character forward. Your class is the source of your power and the building block upon which your character will grow as you level up.

We are considering all available class options from all official Dungeons & Dragons products. All classes can be found in The Player’s Handbook, Eberron Player’s Guide, or D&D Beyond by Wizards of the Coast LLC.

The 14 D&D5E Classes to Choose From the Beginning:

  • Barbarian
  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock
  • Wizard
  • Artificer
  • Blood Hunter

Here are the BEST 5 D&D Classes for New Players:

The Best D&D Class for New Players
Control the Battle with The Fighter

FIGHTER: Battle With Confidence from Day One

The fighter class is the undisputed easiest build in all of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

As the Fighter levels up there are subclasses, and different ways to make your fighter unique. You can even learn to utilize magic if you adapt to the right subclass. (See Eldritch Knight)

At the heart of every fighter though is the ability to act as the party’s frontline combatant. Deal damage and the constitution to absorb damage is a must. The fighter is THE protector of the group.

The fighter IS the most vanilla of class options but as mentioned before – that’s where subclasses come in. The factors when leveling up can make the fighter more complicated than a barbarian, but fighters are STILL the best beginner class. Hands down!

They are simple to play, which allows you the grace to learn the basic rules without getting bogged down by spellcasting, ki, or a long list of bonus actions. 

Playing as a fighter first helps you build the mechanics, in a simplified way. This avoids burnout, frustration and just giving up on what is truly such an amazing game.

The Best D&D Class for New Players
Conquer Every Foe With the Beefy Barbarian

BARBARIAN: A D&D Tank and a Chance for Some Gamer Humor

Barbarian is a straightforward and simple class. See something hit something. RAGE. Repeat.

Alright… it’s a bit more involved than that but the Barbarian is crafted to be THE tank of the group. As such they are heavy hitters with a TON of damage absorption. Barbarians are a high-risk, high-reward class that provides the ability for more built-in Role Playing flare than say a Fighter.

New players learn quickly that RAGE is their best friend. This gives them the ability to run head first into danger and attack until only nothing is left standing. (Except for them… hopefully!)

As stated before Barbarian is THE class for those who crave action. They are designed to be at the center of the action, giving and receiving damage. The simple nature of the Barbarian also sets the stage for some moments of levity and humor for those interested in that path. Think of Drax from Guardian of the Galaxy and you have the archetype of the comedic Barbarian.

Barbarians have high hit points (which is a plus for newbies), high defense, and high attack. This is a great class for new players who haven’t dabbled in role-playing games before. 

The Paladin
The Best D&D Class for New Players

PALADIN: Use Divine Power to Your Game Play

The noble Paladin is another great front-line class with high Armor Class and the ability to deal decent damage. Paladins also have access to spellcasting making them a bit more complicated for beginners than a barbarian. The spells they utilize are designed to help the entire group though so a healthy Paladin is great for strong group dynamics. 

Paladins are faith-based and have a high moral code making Role Play a bit more rigid and confined than other classes. Picking a god to worship is a great way to introduce lore but it can be overwhelming for new players as well.

Since Paladins are designed to be Lawful Good in most campaigns it can lead to a dull experience if not committed to the role. (If this is the case – look into the Oathbreaker Paladin – your welcome.) 

There Paladin’s physical prowess, along with the Divine Smite ability, makes this class one of the strongest in the game. This is perfect for new players looking for a classic high fantasy Dungeons & Dragons experience.

Paladins aren’t the easiest class to play, but they’re not overly complicated either. They are a good beginner option but new players will need to learn some class mechanics starting in session one.

The Best D&D Class for New Players
Put a Shine on the “dull” Ranger

RANGER: The Underdog of Dungeons and Dragons since Fourth Edition

The poor Ranger is considered by many to be the dullest class option in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. DO NOT let that deter you though. Rangers provide great options for new players and utilize skills like no other class on this list.

They have access to spellcasting which will add complexity to class management, but the spells aren’t overly complicated. Hunter’s Mark should be the New Player’s first action to master!

Ranger really is a great class for beginners who want to connect with nature and act as the “tracker” of the group. Perfect for animal lovers, as the Ranger can have an animal companion if they choose. (Having companion Creatures is a HUGE draw for many players!) The Ranger is a versatile class, and great for roleplay as well as the more reserved player.

Behold - The Cleric
The Best D&D Class for New Players

CLERIC: Have a Little Faith in Thee

For New Players who want a spellcasting-focused class, the cleric is THE easiest to master upfront. They can utilize armor and shields which make them more durable than other spellcasting-specific classes. The Cleric’s signature ability is as the group healer and use of buffing magic.

As with any spellcasting class, learning spell effects and how to use them is the most difficult part of the build.

Clerics are a great class option for defense, magic, and attack power. The need for decent wisdom and charisma also gives the Cleric role-play options as the party’s best-equipped NPC mediator. They are a versatile class and can be healers, naturalists, or war machines, depending on play style and God worshipped. Something REALLY unique is the Cleric’s ability to deal with the undead creatures. That alone makes this a cool option for New Players to have fun with!

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The Best D&D Class for New Players

There you have it. Playing D&D Fifth Edition is a unique adventure as there are so many options for creating your player character. The list above is just the tip of the iceberg and should give many players the best experience as they learn the finer mechanics of the game.

Don’t settle though! If you want to start with one of the other 9 classes then you should! Dungeons and Dragons is about having fun and having the epic adventure YOU want. At the end of the day, the memories you make around the table (whether in person or online) are what count… not who created the perfect character. So, roll your stats and I’ll meet you in the Tavern!

Do you agree with this list?

What do you think are the best classes for beginner players?

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And while you’re here – We welcome you to check out some of the other Nerd Night News Tabletop Role-playing Games articles. 

LIKE THIS ONE – Ranking The Best D&D Editions

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4 Comments

  1. If the goal is easier-to-grasp D&D classes, then I suggest Rogue is a major omission, and should be right along side the Fighter and Barbarian.

    As far as spellcasting-focused classes, Paladins and Clerics are some of the hardest to master upfront, because they have the greatest selection of spells to select from every day. Compare this to wizards who only has to choose their spells initially and when they gain a level, and they only need to be familiar with the spells in their spellbook. Being able to cast more spells does not make the class more complicated, but having more spells to select from does.

  2. My top 3 for beginner players:
    1. Barbarian: Easy roleplay thanks to Conan and combat = rage time.
    2. Rogue: Lots of tricksters in fantasy and sneak attack means seeing big numbers
    3. Fighter: Not as flavorful as the other two but very simple class to grasp and optimize.

  3. My first Player was a Ranger. Best of Both worlds as a Fighter and a Cleric. Rangers can Heal and Turn Undead. Plus they can us almost all the same weapons as a fighter. Really wanna learn D&D go play Online. I have too cause I live in the middle of Now where and All my friends are either Miles away or Dead. But this is My 2 cents. Battle on and have fun out there.

    1. Hi Jay!
      My first Character was a Ranger as well! I had such a great experience with him! That was in Third Edition but the 5e Ranger is great too. Thanks for sharing!!!!

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