The ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything completely re-work the class. Every other class gets free things, has options to chose from, and more, but the ranger gets a complete re-work.
The ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything change four major abilities that all rangers get. This isn’t an optional addition, but a complete rework! No other class has this, and while the subclasses and other options in Tasha’s provide possibilities, the main draw is the class re-work.
There is a lot to talk about with the ranger. One question on everyone’s mind is, does Tasha’s make the ranger better with all of its changes?
Changed Ranger Class Features
Before the ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything came out, everyone had a problem with rangers. Some of us loved them the way that they were, but this depended on the DM. If your dungeon master didn’t cater to your natural environment, they weren’t that great. Rangers were not very strong, and on a tier list they never ranked well. If you want to see what I am talking about, look at our artificer class review. They were ranked low, and I was far more generous than most people!
This section will be a little long, so I split it up into changed ranger optional features to compare between the old and new. The next section will focus on new features that rangers just get to chose from, so let’s dive into these changes!
Deft Explorer replacing Natural Explorer:
Natural explorer was very exclusive. You had to be in the right terrain to gain advantages, and if you were not then this feature did nothing. Most of these features are debatably useful when you are in the right environment! Each DM is different and that made this a problem.
Now, you can replace a debatably useful in the right situation feature with expertise and more languages at level one. At level 6, your walking speed goes up by 5 and you can climb/swim which is extremely versatile. Lastly, at level 10 you can get rid of exhaustion easily and gain temporary hit points. This is a lot, and if the DM isn’t using the features in natural explorer you have a great option for any campaign.
Favored Foe replacing Favored Enemy:
Favored enemy was not that great. It focused on roleplay aspects but completely neglected any combat benefit vs your favored enemy. In addition, your favored enemy needed to be added by your DM, which was rare, and as you continued to level your past favored enemies are seen less most of the time.
Favored enemy was missing combat potential, and favored foe just makes the ranger get extra damage against someone they don’t like. This ability works as a concentration spell, and is in direct competition with hunter’s mark. Hunters mark might actually be better all the time since it deals 1d6 per attack, but this lets you get a free mini hunter’s mark. An interesting change, but not that powerful.
Primal Awareness replacing Primevil Awareness:
The old primeval awareness worked like the paladin’s divine sense. As an action, for a spell slot, you can know what animals are within 1 mile of you for 1 minute. Since primeval awareness cost a spell slot no one used it.
The new primal awareness lets you know a free spell, each spell level, which can let you interact with nature. AND you can cast each spell once for free per long rest. This not only provides new spell options but also gives them a free use. Rangers will now interact with the land, and I don’t know anyone who would ever pick the previous primal awareness.
Nature’s Veil replacing Hide in Plain Sight:
Hide in plain sight sounds awesome! In every edition before 5e hiding in plain sight was brokenly overpowered, but now it is terrible. In order to hide in plain sight, you need 1 minute to do so. No one has ever used this. If you need 1 minute to prep, you can find a hiding spot.
Alternatively, Nature’s veil is a useful ability that only takes a bonus action. This bonus action makes you invisible until the start of your next turn and you can only use it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest. This is useful, good, and will actually be used.
New Ranger Class Features
Rangers get a few new spells that are thematic, and somewhat powerful. Most of these spells are pretty good to add to your spell list, and it is a great addition.
Fighting Style Options:
You gain 3 fighting styles. Blind fighting, druidic warrior and thrown weapon fighting are the options that are all just okay. If you want to throw weapons instead of shoot, you can now do so. 10 ft of blind sense is nice, but not great. Druidic warrior does present more options for you, but a +2 to hit is probably better than getting produce flame or even druidcraft. All are okay, but not great styles.
You can now change out fighting styles every 4 levels. This is nice since you are not restricted to the decisions you made for your character at level 2.
The ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything present us with two ranger archetypes. Both, are awesome! They provide flavor, utility, and a different way to play the ranger. We talked about how there was one indisputable best subclass for the barbarian in our barbarian features in tasha’s article. For other classes, like the cleric, they were all good and just got more options. For the ranger, almost all aren’t that great.
That makes these archetypes an equal contender or better than the others without any competition. With that, lets get into these amazing options!
Once per turn, you can deal extra damage. Stack this with hunter’s mark or favored foe and you will have a fun time! Now you get more damage in your subclass, and have a chance to deal pretty good damage.
Fey Wanderer Magic:
You get more spells to know, and a cool roleplaying gimmick. Nothing to not like here.
You gain a proficiency and add your wisdom modifier to charisma checks. This is a new type of ranger! While there are many others that can focus on being the face, you can do so with charisma and wisdom. Expertise a skill with deft explorer and you are one of the best talkers in the game.
You gain advantage vs being charmed or frightened, and whenever you or a creature saves vs charm or fright, as a reaction you can make someone else charmed or frightened for 1 minute. A bit of a mouthful, but no limit and whenever it comes up you turn the tide for charming and frightening. This also means that enemies count as well. Pair this ranger with an enchanter wizard and everyone will be beguiled in some way.
You know summon fey and can cast it freely without using a spell slot once per long rest. This spell also can be modified to not require concentration which is amazing! It may only last one minute if you do this but wow! This is a very powerful ability that could turn the tide of any fight, or make you more useful during the day since you have a free cast of summon fey.
You can cast misty step=to your wisdom modifier times per long rest. For free. In addition, you can take someone with you. This is so cool, useful, and amazing. While there are better high level features, this is extremely cool and something that makes the fey wanderer a great class to play.
The fey wanderer is great at every level, and is a new, fun way to play the ranger. Great subclass, if not one of the best!
You can chose how your swarm appears, and they do things for you! Once per turn you can move yourself 5ft after you attack, deal extra damage when you hit an enemy, or move a target 15 ft in a direction of your choice.
You get mage hand and know some extra spells for free. Not a free cast, but mage hand is a pretty good cantrip and knowing extra spells is always nice.
As a bonus action you can fly at 10 ft per rd and can hover. This ability is limited by your proficiency bonus, but imagine an archer flying in the air, unable to be hit by melee when beasts come after the party. At the right time, this ability could be amazing and has a lot of utility.
This just enhances your gathering swarm. Your swarm damage goes to a d8, moving an enemy also makes them prone, and if you are moved by your swarm you gain half cover. This just makes your swarm better, which is good but it could be better. The ability could have evolved like how dreadful strikes scales with fey wanderer. If it did, then swarmkeeper would be amazing. Sadly, this is just a jump in an ability that could have used it at level 3.
When you take damage you can as a reaction gain resistance to that damage and teleport 30 ft. This is limited to your proficiency bonus but it still is pretty cool. Not the most amazing high level feature, but definitely worth it.
The swarmkeeper is best used as a ranged martial class. The flying, swarm options, and swarming dispersal all synergize so well. If you play a swarmkeeper in melee they will be mediocre. Play them with a ranged weapon and you will have a very fun time.
New Beast Master Companions
The ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also re-works the new beast master companions. This is a change that was sorely needed. Each beast wasn’t a great option, and they scaled terribly. Before, every ranger chose a wolf. Pack tactics are amazing and they had great ac, hp, and attack/damage. If you didn’t chose a wolf, then your animal was subpar.
No mater which animal you chose, the animals all got bad by level 5. Their HP was bad, (20 max vs 30), they couldn’t hit since it was only based on proficiency. The new companion’s attack is based on your wisdom AND proficiency bonus. This helps your animal hit and become a threat just like you are. Lastly, your beast is much easier to replace. In 1 hr with 1 spells slot you get a companion back with max hp.
This turns your companion into more of a magical creature than a normal ranger pet, but the tradeoffs are worth it. The animal companion before was just bad, and I am glad that beast master companions are worth it.
The ranger features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything are necessary. When you look at what the ranger had before some of the abilities were subjective. They were completely based on if the DM was micromanaging characters and making a campaign directly around them. This isn’t always the case, and some of the abilities are just bad or don’t make sense. Why wouldn’t you gain a combat bonus vs your favored enemy? Some things didn’t make sense and this needed to be addressed. I still don’t understand whoever thought hide in plain sight was good. One minute? That is rediculous.
The new changes made the ranger more versatile, and useful in many areas. They needed the boost, and free spells per long rest are amazing.
The subclasses are also extremely fun! Both are powerful in their own right and let you play the game in a different way than what the ranger was capable of before. The fey wanderer lets you become a charismatic monster while also being a bag full of tricks. The swarmkeeper is a fun thematic subclass that is great for rangers. It doesn’t change the whole formula like the fey wanderer does, but the swarmkeeper is still extremely fun to play.
Overall, this was needed. Not just nice, but necessary. I didn’t think that the ranger was that bad before, but looking at some core abilities has made me realize how bad some actually were. While previous versions of the ranger were alright, many abilities didn’t make sense. I love this part of Tasha’s and is possibly the only NEEDED part of the book. The other parts are just additions, but this is required.
I hope that this has helped you understand the ranger a bit better in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
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