Oops all elves

DnD 5e has a feat called Elven Accuracy. Among other things, it allows you to roll three dice when rolling with Advantage (there’s some nuance to the text, but essentially that’s what it means). I had one of those idle moments where you’re sitting around and character ideas start racing through your brain, and I thought “I wonder how much I could abuse Elven Accuracy?”

The answer was “a lot”.

So, where I originally intended to create a single build, I ended up building a whole party around Elven Accuracy.

Elven Accuracy: A Crash Course

ThinkDM was kind enough to do the math about two years ago, so I won’t reproduce it here, but here are some highlights.

With Advantage and Elven Accuracy, a character will roll an 8 or higher ~95% of the time. If you flatten that math onto a d20 scale (which is easy to conceptualize), that means that a 2 or higher on our flattened scale would be at least a 10. In 5e’s bounded math, players are expected to succeed on average CR-appropriate challenges on a roll of 8 or higher, which means that for an average CR-appropriate foe, you’re going to hit ~95% of the time. That’s a near certainty.

Since it’s going to be important later: The odds of rolling a 19 or higher are ~27%, while the odds of rolling a 20 are ~14%.

The Builds

I’m going to stick to the classic cleric/fighter/rogue/wizard archetype where we have a divine spellcaster (usually a cleric or druid), a front-line martial character serving as a Defender (usually a barbarian, fighter, or paladin), a martial character serving as a Striker (usually a monk, ranger, or rogue), and an arcane spellcaster (usually a bard, sorcerer, wizard, or warlock).

Arcane Spellcaster: Drow Hexblade Warlock

Warlock is the obvious choice for an arcane spellcaster looking to abuse Elven Accuracy. Eldritch Blast is a staple option, but we need to be able to fight in melee so we’ll go for Hexblade.

A crossbow hexblade seems like an obvious choice here, but depending on the level range where you intend to play it may not be your best option. Since we’re already planning to take Elven Accuracy, you won’t be able to get both feats until level 8. That leaves level 1 through 7 where you may not be especially effective. Building around Crossbow Expert also favors straight damage output over other capabilities, and this party won’t be strained for damage. The flat damage bonuses from Hexblade’s Curse and Lifedrinker also aren’t multiplied on critical hits, and with a crit rate of 14% (27% against your Hexblade’s Curse target), multiplying damage boosts like Hex and Eldritch Smite more frequently is very appealing.

A caster-focused build would be easier and more conventional, and Hexblade’s Curse still works very effectively with Eldritch Blast. Focusing on casting will also reduce strain on your Bonus Actions, leaving room to use Hex, and making you more able to use your full range of capabilities within the space of a single encounter which typically lasts around 3 rounds. Fortunately, you have abundant options to gain Advantage consistently, such as casting Faerie Fire (remember: drow), magical darkness thanks to Devil’s Sight, and Shadow of moil.

Spending some invocations on on Eldritch Blast allows you to capitalize on options like Grasp of Hadar and Repelling Blast, which will allow you to push and pull enemies into range of your melee allies. That will be important later.

I’m going for Drow on this character because the innate spellcasting is helpful on the Warlock, and the Charisma-based save DC is a good fit, too. Faerie Fire also provides an easy way to provide Advantage for your whole party, supporting the build around Elven Accuracy. This is only once per day, but this is also not our only way to get Advantage within the party.

Martial Striker: Wood Elf Ranger

We have a lot of flexibility in this slot within the party. A monk or rogue would work. For this to be a functional party, we need a character who can serve as a Scout outside of combat, and I also wanted a character who had lots of options that deal extra damage which can be multiplied on a critical hit to capitalize on the high critical probability. You could even fit a Dexterity-based fighter or paladin into this slot, but you might switch the race to half-elf for the extra skill proficiencies.

The Wood Elf ranger is convenient because their speed is high enough to (mostly) keep up with the Barbarian’s 40 ft. speed thanks to Fast Movement and potentially the Instinctive Pounce Optional Class Feature. Longstrider can also close the speed gap, if necessary, and can be cast repeatedly to speed up the whole party.

My go-to subclass option here is the Hunter, though numerous other subclasses would work here. Hunter’s Mark and Colossus Slayer both provide damage boosts which are multiplied on critical hits, and with Extra Attack potentially two-weapon fighting you can expect to score critical hits frequently. Favored Foe also works, and since it doesn’t consume your Bonus Action it’s a great fit for two-weapon fighting builds. Favored Foe notably can’t be used in Conjunction with Hunter’s Mark, unfortunately, but it’s still helpful.

The Hunter (Colossus Slayer) build is great for focusing on single targets, which most of this party is going to be very good at. If you want to be able to handle multiple targets, Horde Breaker may be a better fit, but the positioning can be difficult, so the Fey Wanderer’s Dreadful Strikes may be a better option. If you want to stick to Hunter and use Horde Breaker, ask your warlock friend if they can help you force foes into position.

If you want to substitute the Ranger here for something else, look for features which add “extra damage” in the form of dice. The specific phrase “extra damage” identifies features which can typically be multiplied on a critical hit. Sneak Attack, Divine Smite, the Kensei Monk’s Deft Strike, and the Astral Self Monk’s Empowered Arms are all good examples.

High Elf Cleric (Nature)

Again, we have some flexibility here, but sticking to either Cleric or Druid is important because of the healing capabilities and other divine spellcasting which a typical party needs. Attacking with weapons is typically a poor choice for the Cleric, but adding Booming Blade from High Elf and Elven Accuracy can make weapon attacks considerably more effective than cantrips.

Choice of domain is difficult. Since we’re choosing to rely on attacks, a domain with Divine Strike the go-to choice. Nature lets us get Shillelagh and heavy armor, which makes things very simple for the Cleric. War could also work, giving our cleric the option of a second attack, and Divine Favor and Crusader’s Mantle both synergize very well with out Elven Accuracy strategy.

You could also use a casting-focused domain, and trade out Potent Spellcasting for Blessed Strikes (which is still nearly as effective with cantrips anyway). That opens up options Light or Twilight, which get you access to Faerie Fire. Of course, you could also take a single level of druid to get both Shillelagh and Faerie Fire, but that could delay Elven Accuracy.

High elf and nature domain are my recommendation here. Booming Blade provides a damage boost and helps hold targets in place, while Shillelagh allows us to build around Wisdom with no reliance on Dexterity, allowing us to easily transition between attacks and leveled spells. If you need to attack at range, Guiding Bolt is a good choice. Spiritual Weapon also qualifies for Elven Accuracy, which honestly feels like cheating.

If you go for a druid instead, you have limited options. Most druids don’t depend on attacks, so subclasses like Circle of Spores and Circle of the Moon are your only options. Circle of the Moon seems like an easy go-to option because it’s easier to build than Circle of Spores and has more room for feats, but none of the attacks will qualify for Elven Accuracy, so Circle of Spores is your only realistic option.

Circle of Spores can be built around shillelagh to focus on Wisdom or you could use a rapier or whip to use Dexterity. Both options work with Elven Accuracy and with Circle of Spores’ subclass features. I recommend sticking to High Elf for your race because Booming Blade will provide some extra damage output in the absence of Extra Attack, and you likely won’t have room for something like Polearm Master.

The Druid also gets access to Faerie Fire, providing an easy and reliable way to provide the whole party with Advantage in nearly any encounter before spending their Bonus Action to Wild Shape.

Barbarian (totem, wolf)

The Barbarian is a somewhat surprising keystone of the entire party. Totem Spirit (Wolf) provides Advantage on attacks against adjacent enemies while you’re raging, allowing you to near-instantaneously provide Advantage to your allies simply by walking up to a new target.

If allies can force enemies adjacent to you (Remember the Warlock’s Grasp of Hadar and Repelling Blast from above), they can easily force multiple enemies into position, making them bait for the whole party’s super-advantaged attacks, allowing the party to quickly focus fire on enemies and eliminate them.

The biggest challenge for the barbarian is getting enemies into position and keeping them there. Fortunately, Rage provides Advantage on Strength checks, and combined with high Strength, it’s easy to Grapple your foes and force them to stick around. Essentially, our barbarians job is to rage, rush into melee, grab an enemy, and shout “this one right here” to the party, who then proceeds to reduce them to dust. Repeat as necessary.

The limiting factor on this strategy is your number of rages per day, which unfortunately means that the barbarian is the least flexible build within the whole party because they’re such a central part of the whole strategy. Options like Faerie Fire can fill in gaps and may be better suited for large crowds, but Totem Spirit (Wolf) doesn’t allow saving throws.

If you do find that you have enough Rages to get through the day when complemented by Faerie Fire from our and warlock (and potentially our cleric), consider multiclassing after level 4, 5, or 6. (ASI at 4, Extra Attack at 5, another rage per day and a mediocre subclass feature at 6)). A few levels in artificer for the infused items will boost your durability, and the Armorer’s Thunder Gauntlets are provide some valuable “stickiness” which will encourage enemies to remain in melee with you. Fighter for a Fighting Style is great. Champion’s Improved Critical feels like a great fit within the party, Battle Master for maneuvers will add some utility, and Rune Knight can let you make yourself bigger to easily get yourself adjacent to multiple enemies. You have lots of great options, just be sure that they work while raging.

Your choice of race is flexible. High Elf for Booming Blade to keep enemies in place looks tempting, but you can’t use it while raging. Half-elf for the skills is nice, and both the Eladrin and the Shadar-Kai provide access to teleportation so you can get past obstacles.

The Barbarian is notably the only member of the party who doesn’t get to use Elven Accuracy. Elven Accuracy only works with Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma-based attacks, while the Barbarian’s class features lock them into Strength. You do still get Reckless Attack, fortunately, so you still get Advantage when you do attack (which might not happen much until you hit level 5 can can both grapple and attack in the same turn).

Without Elven Accuracy, you might explore other race options, but then we couldn’t say it was a party of all elves. Your party may also need to replace you every few decades when you died of old age.

The Level Range

Level 1

At level 1, the party works much like any other party. Our cleric is likely running around in melee alongside our barbarian, swinging a booming club. Our warlock is happily slinging cantrips. Our ranger is either in melee or using a bow as the situation demands. The Warlock can Hex high-priority targets to impose Disadvantage on their Strength, which the Barbarian can then easily Grapple and/or Shove, forcing them prone for the ranger to finish them off.

Level 2

This level is a big boost in effectiveness. Our barbarian gets Reckless Attack, our cleric gets Channel Divinity, our ranger gets Fighting Style (probably TWF), and our warlock gets Agonizing Blast.

Level 3

Totem Spirit (Wolf) comes online, and we start to learn how to focus fire on our barbarian’s chosen target. Our barbarian needs to get very comfortable with tactical decisions and strategic positioning, so while they’re not the one dealing all the damage, they’re also arguably the most important part of the party and their decisions are determining the party’s success and failure in combat.

While I recommended grappling above for our barbarian, for weaker foes it may be more effective to spend the barbarian’s Action to either Disengage or Dash in order to reach higher-priority targets. You might even use the Ready action to Ready a Dash in case your target dies and you need to reposition before your turn comes around.

Our cleric adds Spiritual Weapon at this level, which works with Elven Accuracy. Spiritual Weapon is already a staple offensive option for the Cleric and honestly doesn’t need the help, but I’m certainly not going to complain. If you need to use your action for something like Cure Wounds, you can still use your Bonus Action to be part of the Elven Accuracy party.

Level 4

Feats for everyone! Everyone but our barbarian takes Elven Accuracy, and our rapid and terrifying increase in efficacy continues. Our barbarian has more flexibility, allowing them to either increase Strength or consider a feat. Sentinel is a great choice, allowing the Barbarian to use their Action to attack instead of grappling to keep enemies from fleeing, and also allows our barbarian to protect the Cleric a bit, both making our barbarian a better Defender and allowing them to attack rather than just walking around and picking targets.

Level 5 and Beyond

At this point our strategy is in place. Level 5 brings Extra Attack for our barbarian and our ranger, an extra attack from Eldritch Blast, 3rd-level spells, and other good stuff. But at this point the party is already so phenomenally lethal that there’s not much else we need to do.

Since we’ve built around attacks and our attacks hit so consistently, there’s a lot of room to invest in more feats instead of Ability Score Increases. Our ranger might pick up Crossbow Expert or Sharpshooter depending on their precise build (but again, be mindful of your Bonus Action). Our cleric and warlock might go for feats, but increasing their casting ability is still a good idea because sometimes you’re still going to need leveled spells beyond Spiritual Weapon and Hex for problems that can’t be solved with hit point damage.

Conclusion

Elven Accuracy is really good, and it’s not very difficult to abuse to the point that it’s a problem. A consistent source of Advantage like our Totem (Wolf) Barbarian quickly turns a party based around Elven Accuracy into a nearly unstoppable force in combat. I don’t recommend torturing your DM with a party like this, but sometimes it’s fun to push the mechanics to extremes and see how far you can go.

4 Comments

  1. A. Nonny Mouse July 7, 2021
    • RPGBOT July 8, 2021
      • A. Nonny Mouse July 8, 2021
        • RPGBOT July 9, 2021

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