Selected in September’s Patreon Poll as the next 5e race handbook to receive an update, I’ve given the Elf Handbook the usual post-Tasha’s updates.
I really like elves as a race. Their fiction is cool, having long lives is interesting, and I love that they’re frequently the best wizards in the core rules of any given edition. An elf wizard is the first character I built in most editions of DnD and Pathfinder that I’ve played, and when I play with first-time players I frequently play an elf wizard named “Book” (more on that in another blog post). I like elf wizards.
Elves added several subraces of 5e’s history before Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and in many ways there was an elf for every class. The custom origin rules really shook that up, so elf subraces no longer have a near monopoly on any given class. The spell Booming Blade is a weirdly important spell for the elf. The High Elf’s access to Booming Blade has a huge effect on their place in the meta, and that single combination is frequently the best version of an elf that you can bring to any class. But even that isn’t the universal best option: the Eladrin and the Shadar-Kai remain excellent choices for many builds, and the Drow and Pallid Elf’s innate spellcasting offer some interesting options.
The Wood Elf basically doesn’t matter anymore.