Last Updated: October 18, 2021
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 have 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.
Mechanically, the Minotaur is a spectacular 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. 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 does surprisingly little.
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.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : 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.
Classes (Customizable Origins)
This section assumes that you’re using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you’re not using those rules, scroll down to the next section.
While you can still get the crucial Intelligence increase, the Minotaur offers the Artificer nothing useful. 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.
The Barbarian remains an easy go-to option for the Minotaur. Put the free skill proficiency into something better suited to the Barbarian’s ability scores than a Charisma skill, but otherwise nothing changes.
With modest Strength and Expertise in Ahtletics, you can make Hammering Horns a useful tactical option regardless of your subclass. If you’re brave enough to run into melee, Shove something, then back away, you can do things like break grapples or shove enemies into melee with your party’s Defender without cutting into your spellcasting on most turns.
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.
Even with a Wisdom increase, the Druid has no meaningful way to use the Minotaur’s traits.
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.
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.
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 still works well.
Strength-based rangers are hard, and rearranging your ability scores doesn’t help much. If you build around Dexterity, Goring Rush and Hammering Horns stop working. If you take the Deft Explorer Optional Class Feature, you can get Expertise in Athletics to offset poor Strength, allowing you to build around Dexterity while still making Hammering Horns a useful option.
Modest Strength and Expertise in Athletics can make Hammering Horns a useful option for getting out of melee, but most of the time you can solve that problem with Cunning Action.
The Minotaur’s noteworthy traits are Strength-based and sorcerers can’t do anything meaningful with Strength.
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.
The Minotaur’s noteworthy traits are Strength-based and wizards can’t do anything meaningful with Strength.
Classes (Default Rules)
This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.
No Intelligence increase.
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.
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.
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).
No Wisdom increase, and none of the Minotaur’s exciting traits function while in Wild Shape.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The minotaur has nothing to offer the Rogue except a skill proficiency.
No Charisma increase.
No Charisma increase.
No Intelligence increase.