Eladrin Guide 5e

Published on December 5, 2022

Whether you exhibit the fiery short temper of the Summer eladrin or the calm, cool headedness of a Winter eladrin, the elusive, everchanging nature of these Feywild-inspired elves can come in handy when situations turn dire.

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the eladrin will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your eladrin. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • 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

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Eladrin in 5e?

Source: Monsters of the Multiverse

Eladrin are elves that travelled to the Feywild after they were banished from their primordial home world of Arborea. They settled in the Land of Faerie because the powerful, natural magic made the Feywild feel similar to previous home world. During their time in the Feywild, the elves were influenced by the chaotic magic of the realm and became more emotional and erratic as a result. After centuries of coexisting with the fae creatures of the Feywild, the elves that settled in this realm decided that they were now different entities than their predecessors and began to refer to themselves as eladrin. As with most creatures in the Feywild, eladrin align themselves with a season:

  • Summer eladrin are fiery and short tempered
  • Winter eladrin are somber and calculating
  • Autumn eladrin are content and at peace
  • Spring eladrin are cheerful and celebritory

In Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, eladrin were introduced as an elf subrace. Now, with the release of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, eladrin are considered their own race. To see the ratings of the previous version of eladrin, please head to our elf race guide. If you want to learn more about the Feywild, the eladrin’s plane of origin, check out the article series I wrote over on D&D Beyond!

Eladrin 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: Being able to choose between +2 ASI, +1 ASI, or +1, +1, +1 ASI means that you can pick exactly what your build will need.

Creature Type: Humanoid is the default creature type for playable races. This is a bit of a strange mechanical choice, seeing as eladrin have lived in the Feywild for hundreds of years. If you end up asking your DM to change your eladrin character to the Fey creature type, I wouldn’t blame you.

Darkvision: Darkvision is always great, but its advantage can be ruined if your party members do not also have it.

Fey Ancestry: Advantage against being charmed will come in handy quite often as the charmed effect is relatively common.

Keen Senses: Free proficiency in Perception is always welcome.

Trance: The elf’s trance is seemingly innocuous but it is quite powerful upon closer inspection. First off, remaining semiconscious allows you to be surprised less often. Second, only having to sleep for 4 hours will allow casters (specifically wizards and warlocks) the ability to wake up before the rest of the party, cast a spell, and then short rest to get the spell slot back. This can be extremely powerful given the right spell and the right circumstance.

Fey Step: This ability is a straight upgrade from its previous version because you can now cast misty step at least twice and up to six times by 17th level per long rest. Six free 2nd level spells! Crazy. If this wasn’t enough, you still get the rider effects. All of which are the same as the previous version, except for the Summer option which now uses your proficiency bonus rather than CHA modifier:

  • Autumn: Being able to charm up to two creatures in the same bonus action as misty stepping is solid value. The biggest downside here is that while the creatures may not be able to attack you, they can attack your friends. This is best if you are the glass cannon of the party and have some tanks that can soak damage in your stead.
  • Winter: Frightened is a stronger condition than charmed as it applies the debuff to the creature whether or not they are attacking you. Although, this effect only targets one creature and lasts for a maximum of one round, which bring this option on par to the autumn option. With this in mind, now that eladrins aren’t locked behind a high CHA modifier, this ability is extremely useful for martials looking to debuff their enemies in battle.
  • Spring: Being able to misty step a different member of your party is a niche ability but can be quite powerful depending on party composition.
  • Summer: Definitely the best of the bunch, especially now that you use your prof. bonus instead of CHA. Yes, it may not be quite as good for builds that stack into CHA and aren’t playing a long-term campaign. But, overall, it’s a more effective ability that can be useful for any build. As always, being able to dish out damage to all the creatures within 5 feet in the same bonus action as misty stepping is an excellent use of resources.

Which 5e Classes Work With Eladrin?

Now that you can choose your ideal ability score array and the Summer Fey Step ability scales with your prof. bonus, eladrin are a strong contender for just about any build. The only thing that can get in the way of a truly optimized eladrin build would be if your bonus action Fey Step continuously conflicts with another class feature that uses a bonus action. That said, the Fey Step combined with the rider effects will likely outrank any other move you could make in a certain situation that calls for it. For example, if your bard is caught in a group of enemies, they wouldn’t necessarily be looking to use their Bardic Inspiration.

The real caveat to this is a build that is using a companion post Tasha’s, like the Revised Beast Master, Battle Smith’s Steel Defender, Artillerist’s Eldritch Cannon, or Drakewarden’s drake, which uses their bonus action every turn. Another case of bonus action interference would be if you’re planning on a Two-Weapon Fighting build and using your offhand attack often.

Artificer: Artificer's don't normally get misty step, so this is a solid baseline improvement. Unfortunately, half of the artificer subclasses (Battle Smith and Artillerist) have a consistent use for their bonus action. Still, this turns the eladrin's Fey Step from a "can use in combat when it's optimal" to "use in can of emergency", which means it's still a good contingency. The other passive eladrin abilities, like Darkvision and a proficiency in Perception are nice to have. But, the biggest boon outside of Fey Step is certainly the Trance ability, which gives you 4 extra hours per long rest to tinker. This can help buy time for creating magic items or your other mundane projects.

Barbarian: Barbarians love the ability to misty step in battle and it won't interfere much outside of the initial Rage activation. Whether they need to close in with an enemy or get out of the thick of it to be healed, a bonus action teleport is extraordinarily useful. Now, stack on the different rider effects from the Fey Step's seasons and it's even better. Obviously the barbarian's favorite will be the Summer ability because they're most likely to teleport into a large group of enemy to maximize the damage they put out. That said, the Winter ability would also be nice as it will allow them to focus fire on an enemy without risking too much incursion. On top of this, the passive abilities of the eladrin are nice to have, especially Fey Ancestry which can help resist nasty mind-control effects.

Bard: Even though you have a semi-regular bonus action in Bardic Inspiration, eladrin are still an effective race to start with. The misty step castings can allow you to spend your spell slots elsewhere, and the Autumn ability can act as a charm effect, which can combo with certain features like the Glamour bard's Mantle of Majesty.

Cleric: Clerics don't normally get access to misty step and it can be quite useful for zipping around the battlefield and bestowing healing, buffs, or debuffs. The bonus action may conflicts with other staples like spiritual weapon but usually using your Fey Step will be of higher importance than pumping out a bit of additional damage. Plus, you get a free proficiency in Perception, which goes great with your pumped WIS.

Druid: Druids don't normally get access to misty step and it can be quite useful for zipping around the battlefield and bestowing healing, buffs, debuffs, or just generally getting out of danger. The bonus action may conflicts with other staples like heat metal or the Circle of the Moon druid's Combat Wild Shape, but those conflicts should be relatively rare. Also, unlike the DMG's eladrin variant, you can use Fey Step while wild shaped, which can be useful for druids that plan on using their wild shape to tank. Plus, you get a free proficiency in Perception, which goes great with your pumped WIS.

Fighter: Fighters love the ability to misty step in battle. Whether they need to close in with an enemy or get out of the thick of it to be healed, a bonus action teleport is extraordinarily useful. Now, stack on the different rider effects from the Fey Step's seasons and it's even better. Obviously the fighter's favorite will be the Summer ability because they're most likely to teleport into a large group of enemy to maximize the damage they put out. That said, the Winter ability would also be nice as it will allow them to focus fire on an enemy without risking too much incursion. On top of this, the passive abilities of the eladrin are nice to have, especially Fey Ancestry which can help resist nasty mind-control effects.

Monk: Unfortunately, monk's need their bonus action too much and are simultaneous squishy when in large groups and have terrible ranged options, which will make it difficult to Fey Step with any regularity. Monk's also get Step of the Wind, which can allow them to disengage for at the cost of a bonus action and a ki point, which overlaps with Fey Step's ability to get you out of trouble. Even though getting multiple misty steps per long rest may seem appealing, there are better options out there for a monk.

Paladin: Paladins love the ability to misty step in battle. Whether they need to close in with an enemy or get out of the thick of it to be healed, a bonus action teleport is extraordinarily useful. Now, stack on the different rider effects from the Fey Step's seasons and it's even better. Obviously the paladin's favorite will be the Summer ability because they're most likely to teleport into a large group of enemy to maximize the damage they put out. That said, the Winter ability would also be nice as it will allow them to focus fire on an enemy without risking too much incursion. On top of this, the passive abilities of the eladrin are nice to have, especially Fey Ancestry which can help resist nasty mind-control effects. Some paladin subclasses get access to misty step, but with their lack of spell slots most paladins will appreciate the free added mobility so they can focus on smiting instead.

Ranger: Rangers will certainly appreciate the movement option Fey Step provides and the free proficiency in Perception. Unfortunately, they're a relatively bonus action-heavy class. Hunter's mark, the Drakewarden's drake, Horizon Walker's Planar Warrior, and Monster Slayer's Slayer’s Prey are all multiple-combat abilities that will definitely compete with your free misty step castings. That said, melee rangers will like the ability to freely traverse the battlefield (with additional rider effects) and ranged rangers will appreciate the ability to freely disengage while still being to attack in the same turn.

Rogue: Unfortunately, rogues are just too bonus action-focused to make the most of the eldrin's star feature, Fey Step. Whether they're hiding or dashing with Cunning Action, offhand attacking to try to land a sneak attack, using the Steady Aim optional feature, or using a subclass feature, like the Mastermind's Master of Tactics, Soulknife's Psychic Blades, or Thief's Fast Hands, there are too many uses to commit to the eladrin's playstyle. All of this combined with the bonus action Disengage option provided by Cunning Action means that there's just too much overlap to make an eladrin optimal for rogues.

Sorcerer: Misty step is already available to sorcerers but, seeing as they have a small list of spells known, the free castings provided by Fey Step are a welcomed bonus.

Warlock: Misty step is already available to warlocks but, seeing as they are severely strapped for spell slots, being able to cast it for free using Fey Step is a welcomed bonus. Seeing as warlocks also recharge spell slots on a short rest, you can use Trance to your advantage by waking up before your party, casting a spell with a long duration like hex or mage armor (or both) and short resting to get the spell slots back.

Wizard: While you may not need the free misty step, gaining access to a couple of free castings per long rest will enable you to use your reserved spell slots for dishing out damage or utility. Seeing as wizards get access to Arcane Recovery, you can use Trance to your advantage by waking up before your party, casting a spell with a long duration like mage armor and short resting to get the spell slots back. Keep in mind that you can only use Arcane Recovery once per day and only to regain a spell slot up to 6th level.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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