Elemental Adept 5e

Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on July 18th, 2022

Elemental Adept allows builds that focus on a particular element to moderately increase their viability. Is Elemental Adept right for your build? Find out here.

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What Is Elemental Adept 5e?

The image of a powerful pyromancer blasting fireballs or thunder mages casting down lightning bolts is iconic, but they don’t fit into the average Dungeons & Dragons game. In most cases, classes have access to a wide variety of damage types and elemental spells to choose from.

They did give us a feat to help those pyromancers and other casters with their builds, but is it worth it? In this article, we’ll cover the Elemental Adept feat and all the best uses for it.

How Does Elemental Adept Work?

Once you pick up this feat, you’ll get three new benefits:

  • Once you pick this feat, choose one of these damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder.
  • Any spell you cast will ignore any resistance to the damage type you chose. Plus, for those spells, any 1s you roll for damage become 2s.
  • You may pick this feat multiple times, but you can’t select the same element more than once.

Is Elemental Adept Good?

We gave Elemental Adept a C Tier rating In our 5e Feats Tier List, making it a below-average feat in D&D 5e.

The damage added by Elemental Adept is certainly disappointing, so the main draw of this feat is to ignore resistances. Damage resistances really shouldn’t be an issue to a well-rounded character, but if you want to run, say, a pure fire sorcerer, then this could be worth it. Keep in mind that if you’ve slated into a single element, you’ll be stumped by enemies that have immunity to your chosen element.

If you’re planning on building a character that does one type of damage, fire is usually your best bet as it has the widest variety of spells. Unfortunately, fire is one of the most common damage immunity, behind poison which is included in Elemental Adept.

Elemental Adept 5e Interactions

As with all feats, there are a few possible interactions that might come up, such as:

  • The damage resistance works for any spell that deals that type of damage. This can extend to things like Wall of Fire as well.
  • The 1s you roll only count for the number 1 on a die, not any 1 on the die roll. 11’s don’t become 22’s. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s been asked often online.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Elemental Adept?

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Elemental Adept 5e feat is for a specific class/subclass.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Elemental Adept is best on builds that are trying to stick to a single element for most of their damage. In most cases, this only applies to caster classes, and only a few of those are entirely dependent on one or two elements. This feat, on average, mixes the best with fire. That’s primarily due to most of the best damage spells are fire combined with the fact that there are lots of monsters that have some form of resistance to fire.

Artificer: Choosing Elemental Adept (Fire) is a great boon for the Artillerist because of their spell list and because they get the extra d8 from their Arcane Firearm.

Barbarian: Skip this entirely. This does nothing for barbarians, as you rarely will be dealing elemental damage. You’re better off with Slasher or Great Weapon Fighting.

Bard: Most of your spells cover various damage types, so this is a skip. None of the subclasses work well with this feat either.

Cleric: Most clerics can skip this, as their damage type isn’t included here. Tempest Domain clerics can pick this up if they want to get better damage on either thunder or lightning, but it’s not essential.

Druid: The bonus damage is negligible but go for it if most of your damage comes from one element. This is a must-have for Circle of Wildfire druids as they are exclusively fire. Fire is also one of the most common damage resistances in the Monster Manual.

Fighter: This feat doesn't provide any value to fighters. Even Eldritch Knights are better off with Magic Initiate or similar spellcaster feats.

Monk: This feat doesn't provide any value to monks. Seeing as Way of the Four Elements monks get access to fireball, wall of fire, and burning hands, they may want to pick this up if they are going for a firebender build from Avatar the Last Airbender.

Paladin: Paladins don’t deal enough damage of a single element to make this count. You’re better off with Great Weapon Fighting or Sentinel.

Ranger: Skip. You won’t be dealing much elemental damage no matter what build you go for. Rangers mainly deal with weapons, and those often don’t get elemental damage.

Sorcerer: Most sorcerer subclasses can skip this, as they have varied elemental damage. However, Draconic Bloodline (Fire) and Storm Sorcery can benefit the most from this, as they are focused on a single element.

Warlock: Warlocks aren’t casting much more than eldritch blast most of the time, which isn’t affected by this feat. It’s a safe skip.

Wizard: You can get away with this feat if you want to focus on a specific element. However, the damage boost isn’t that potent, so you’ll mainly want it to ignore resistances.

Elemental Adept 5e FAQs

Why is poison not included in Elemental Adept?

Dungeons & Dragons has always been based around five core elements: acid, cold, fire, lightning, and thunder. Though a few have changed names between editions (thunder used to be sonic damage), they have always been the same core elements. This sadly does not extend to poison, so it was not included in this feat.

Conclusion

As we see more and more new subclasses come out, we have seen a slight rise in single-element builds. And with the Elemental Adept feat in 5e, we can finally make those builds viable. However, the list is still pretty small, at least for now.

What are your thoughts on Elemental Adept? Is there a certain build or subclass you like to mix this feat with? Let us know in the comments below!

Jeff Nabors

Jeff Nabors has been playing D&D ever since he stumbled upon the 3.5E core books in his high school library. When he isn’t running a campaign or designing a game, you can find him on Twitch, writing about game design, or staring off into the endless abyss.

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