Introduction

Minotaurs now appear as playable races in both Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and Mystic Odysseys of Theros. Their lore varies between settings, but minotaurs as a playable race are notably different from the Minotaurs listed in the Monster Manual. Where the Minotaur monster is a fiend, the Minotaur race is a humanoid. They also lost their signature ability Labyrinthine Recall, which calls back to the greek mythological minotaur which was imprisoned in a labyrinthe. The playable version of the Minotaur is a minotaur in name and shape, but the similarities are purely cosmetic. The real-world mythology of the Minotaur is wholly absent from the playable race (at least until we get to the updated version in Monsters of the Multiverse).

Mechanically, the Minotaur is an appealing front-line martial option. Strength and Constitution are unremarkable but still fantastic, but the Minotaur’s real appeal is in its other traits. Minotaurs can use their horns as natural weapons, notably dealing 1d6 damage rather than 1d4 like every other published race (until they all got updated in Monsters of the Multiverse). But that alone still makes them no better than manufactured weapons. Goring Rush and Hammering Horns are what make the horns matter. Goring Rush provides the most important part of the Charger feat, while Hammering Horns allows you to push enemies 10 ft. away as a Bonus Action, giving the Minotaur two powerful tactical options right at 1st level. You also get a free skill, but it’s a Face skill which may be hard to use.

The introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and the updated version of the Minotaur published in Monsters of the Multiverse do surprisingly little to broaden the Minotaur’s options. Since their traits are so tied up in their Strength-based horns, you need to build around Strength to make them meaningful as a race.

Unfortunately, the existence of the Charger and Crusher feats makes the Minotaur a niche option regardless of which version of the race you use. Crusher notably doesn’t allow a saving throw, making it more reliable than Hammering Horns. Charger is a rarely-used feat because its effects are difficult to bring into play repeatedly in the same encounter. If you’re playing a minotaur, you specifically want to walk a line between the Charger feat and the Crusher feat. If you just want the effects of one of them, play a Custom Lineage or a Variant Human.

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Minotaur Versions

The Minotaur effectively has three versions (four if you count the Unearthed Arcana version). The Minotaur was originally published in Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, and was then reprinted without changes in Mythic Odysseys of Theros.

The introduction of the custom origin rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything gave us the second version of the Minotaur, allowing them to reassign their ability score increases and their skill proficiencies. Unfortunately, since the Minotaur’s horn attacks and Hammering Horns remain Strength-based, minotaurs are still locked into Strength-based builds if you want your choice of race to be mechanically impactful.

Most recently, the Minotaur was updated in Monsters of the Multiverse. The new version uses the new standard for racial ability score increases (+2/+1 or three +1’s), and replaces the Minotaur’s skill proficiency with Labyrinthine Recall. Sadly, it’s not the same version that the Minotaur gets in the Monster Manual: You are still perfectly capable of being lost in mazes. It’s mostly just Advantage on some Survival checks. Thematically it fits, but mechanically it’s just outright worse than a skill proficiency unless your DM really likes mazes and/or tracking. This doesn’t change your optimization options in any major way, but it is disappointing. Minotaurs aren’t an insanely powerful race, so losing a skill feels a big hit.

Minotaurs first appeared in 5e’s lifetime in an Unearthed Arcana article believed to be for Dragonlance content, and the description of minotaurs made them a naval race (that’s a thing in Dragonlance). Unfortunately that content never made it to print, and as of this writing there has been no official Dragonlance content for 5e. This is believed to be due to ongoing legal disputes between Hasbro and the authors of Dragonlance.

Minotaur Classes (Customizable Origins and MMoM)

This section assumes that you’re using the option updated versions of the race, including the “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and/or the updated version published in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. Because the race changed so little between those two versions, I have decided to combine these two sections. If you’re not using those rules, scroll down to the “Classic Rules” section.

Artificer

While you can still get the crucial Intelligence increase, the Minotaur offers the Artificer little worth having. Goring Charge and Hammering Horns are both still totally reliant on Strength, and you can’t use the Armorer or the Battle Master’s options to attack with Intelligence to solve the Strength issue. If you can spare a bit of Strength to make Hammering Horns at least somewhat useful, you could combine it with Booming Blade, but at that point you’re mostly a disappointing Eldritch Knight.

Barbarian

The Barbarian remains an easy go-to option for the Minotaur. Rage won’t affect the DC for Hammering Horns, but Goring Rush is a great way to close long distances without totally sacrificing your attacks for a turn.

If you’re using the custom origin rules, put the free skill proficiency into something better suited to the Barbarian’s ability scores than Intimidation. If you’re using the updated version of the Minotaur published in Monsters of the Multiverse, strongly consider proficiency in Survival and try to use labyrinthine Recall at every opportunity.

Bard

Melee is a terrible place for the Bard to be, and minotaurs are all about melee. Strength-based bards are exceptionally difficult to build effectively, so there’s really no way to make the Minotaur’s horns useful.

Cleric

You can get the crucial Wisdom increase, and Goring Rush would work with Divine Strike, but fighting with weapons is a poor choice for the Cleric compared to cantrips, so building around Strength is a difficult choice.

Druid

Even with a Wisdom increase, the Druid has essentially no meaningful way to use the Minotaur’s traits. The custom origin version’s skill proficiency is probably the most noteworthy thing that the Minotaur can offer.

There might be an interaction between the Minotaur’s Hammering Horns and Wild Shape forms which have horns, but it is a bit of a stretch in terms of interpreting the rules. Jeremy Crawford has tweeted that he would allow dragonborn to retain their breath weapons in wild shape because they retain the ability to breath (I think that’s a weird ruling, but did say this was a stretch). By that same logic, if your Wild Shape form has horns, you could use Goring Rush and Hammering Horns. Unfortunately, Hammering Horns required you to take the Attack action, and everything except player characters attacks by using specific actions in their stat block rather than the Attack action. Your DM might allow you to use the Minotaur’s horn stats with your Wild Shape form, which would allow you to use Attack, thereby triggering Hammering Horns. Like I said: it’s a bit of a stretch. As a DM I wouldn’t allow it, but it’s also not a good enough combination that I would feel bad if a DM disallowed it.

Fighter

The Fighter remains a great option or the Minotaur. Goring Rush gets you into melee quickly, and Hammering Horns allows you to tactically reposition foes without cutting into your attacks. Be sure to avoid builds which rely heavily on your Bonus Action like two-weapon fighting so that you can capitalize on your racial traits, and whenever possible be sure to follow the target of your Hammering Horns so that they don’t run past you to attack your frail allies.

If you’re using the custom origin rules, put the free skill proficiency into something better suited to your ability scores than Intimidation. If you’re using the updated version of the Minotaur published in Monsters of the Multiverse, strongly consider proficiency in Survival and try to use labyrinthine Recall at every opportunity.

Monk

Even with flexible ability score increases, the Minotaur’s capabilities are largely wasted on the Monk. If you want to knock people away, consider Way of the Open Hand or the Crusher feat.

Paladin

With the ability to rearrange ability scores, the Paladin is just as easy and viable as the Barbarian or the Fighter. I recommend +2 Str/+1 Cha because Lay on Hands reduces your need for high Constitution, but sticking to Str/Con or Str/Con/Cha also works well.

Ranger

Strength-based rangers are hard, and flexible ability score increases don’t help much. If you build around Dexterity, Goring Rush and Hammering Horns stop working, so why bother playing a minotaur? Most likely, you’ll build around Strength despite the challenges, and use Hammering Horns to knock enemies away in order to abuse positioning to stay out of melee reach.

If you’re using the custom origin rules, put the free skill proficiency into something better suited to your ability scores than Intimidation. If you’re using the updated version of the Minotaur published in Monsters of the Multiverse, strongly consider proficiency in Survival and try to use labyrinthine Recall at every opportunity.

Rogue

Strength-based race, meet Dexterity-based class with no use for Strength. The custom origin version at least gets a skill, but it’s not enough.

Sorcerer

The Minotaur’s noteworthy traits are Strength-based and sorcerers can’t do anything meaningful with Strength. The custom origin version at least gets a skill, but it’s not enough.

Warlock

Tragically, the Hexblade can’t use Charisma to attack with the Minotaur’s horns because they’re not a weapon. Similarly, they can’t make Hammering Horns work, so the Warlock doesn’t benefit from the Minotaur’s traits.

Wizard

The Minotaur’s noteworthy traits are Strength-based and wizards can’t do anything meaningful with Strength.

There is one noteworthy interaction for minotaur wizards: Bladesingers get Extra Attack, and can cast a cantrip as part of the Attack action. This allows you to take the Attack action, make two attacks (or more likely cast Booming Blade followed by a regular attack), then using Hammering Horns as a bonus action to push enemies away from you. This is a fun interaction, but it’s an extremely MAD build.

Minotaur Classes (Classic Rules)

This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or the updated version of the race published in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.

Artificer

No Intelligence increase.

Barbarian

Goring Rush gets you into melee as fast as possible, which is right where the Barbarian wants to be. Once you’re in melee, you want to stay there, so if you use Hammering Horns, be sure to follow your target.

Bard

Proficiency in Intimidation or Persuasion is nice, but it’s really not enough. You could try a Valor Bard, but in medium armor a Strength-based build is very MAD because you need 14 in Dexterity and good scores in Strength, Constitution, and Charisma which is very hard to accomplish. You may be able to take Expertise in Athletics and combine that with Hammering Horns to make it work while ignoring Strength, but that’s a lot of investment for something you can solve by taking the Disengage action.

Cleric

No Wisdom increase, and the Minotaur’s traits which use Bonus Actions make it hard to split your focus between swinging a weapon and casting or activating spells with your Bonus Action (Healing Word, Spiritual Weapon).

Druid

No Wisdom increase, and none of the Minotaur’s exciting traits function while in Wild Shape.

Fighter

Goring Rush and Hammering Horns are absolutely spectacular for the Fighter. Goring Rush gets you into melee quickly, and Hammering Horns allows you to tactically reposition foes without cutting into your attacks. Be sure to avoid builds which rely heavily on your Bonus Action like two-weapon fighting so that you can capitalize on your racial traits, and whenever possible be sure to follow the target of your Hammering Horns so that they don’t run past you to attack your frail allies.

Monk

No increases to either Dexterity or Wisdom, and Strength-based monks simply aren’t viable. The Monk’s Martial Arts also conflicts with Goring Charge and Hammering Horns.

Paladin

Not such an easy choice as the Barbarian or the Fighter, but still a great option. While Charisma is very helpful for the Paladin, they don’t strictly need an increase at 1st level. Strength and Constitution work fine, and the free Face skill will save you a skill proficiency if you’re serving as your party’s Face. Tactically, you can use Goring Charge and Hammering Horns just like a fighter would.

Ranger

Strength-based builds are difficult, but possible. Goring Rush and Hammering Horns could be useful for the Ranger, but it’s still a difficult build due to the MAD issues that Strength-based rangers face.

Rogue

The minotaur has nothing to offer the Rogue except a skill proficiency.

Sorcerer

No Charisma increase.

Warlock

No Charisma increase.

Wizard

No Intelligence increase.