Tiefling Guide 5e

Published on January 25, 2021, Last modified on May 5th, 2022

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the tiefling 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 tiefling. 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 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

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 Tieflings in 5e?

Source: Player's Handbook

Tieflings are a race of humanoids, descended from demons and devils who had bred with humans long ago. While they are not inherently evil, their appearance likens that of their ancestors, with horns, tails, sharp teeth, and a wide array of eye colors and skin colors. Due to their ancestry, tieflings make great thieves and criminals, but are also strong leaders and are fiercely loyal.

Tiefling 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: A CHA bonus is the bread and butter of several classes. Where tieflings really shine is the sheer number of different subraces available, all of which come with various secondary ASIs and abilities, making them a passable option for nearly any build.

Size: Medium size doesn’t come with any drawbacks or benefits.

Speed: The tiefling’s walking speed of 30 feet is standard.

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

Hellish Resistance: Fire damage is extremely common, whether from enemy spellcasters or monster abilities. Having fire resistance baked into the tiefling race works wonders for survivability.

Tiefling 5e Subraces

Bloodline of Asmodeus

The standard tiefling. ASIs are not synergistic but the Asmodeus tiefling comes with useful spells.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Infernal Legacy: 

  • 1st level
    • Thaumaturgy: Much worse than minor illusion or prestidigitation but can still be effective in roleplay scenarios.
  • 3rd level
  • 5th level
    • Darkness: Good way to cut off an opponent’s visibility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer much of a strategic advantage unless someone in your party can see through magical darkness.

Bloodline of Baalzebul

Very similar to the Asmodeus tiefling, but comes with less effective spells.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Maladomini

  • 1st level
    • Thaumaturgy: Much worse than minor illusion or prestidigitation but can still be effective in roleplay scenarios.
    • Ray of Sickness: Damage isn’t great but Poisoned is a nasty condition. Unfortunately, the save targets CON, a common proficient saving throw, and immunity to the Poisoned condition is also fairly common. Don’t try to cast this at Constructs, Fiends, or Undead at the very least.
    • Crown of Madness: This spell has a lot of crippling limitations because of its powerful effect at such a low level.

Bloodline of Dispater

Bloodline of Dispater is a great choice for sneaky characters who want to infiltrate and deceive, but the Bloodline of Glasya comes with better spells for that purpose.

Ability Score Increase: While most CHA casters don’t have access to heavy armor, DEX is a natural option for an ASI to help boost AC, Stealthiness, and DEX saves.

Legacy of Dis:

  • 1st level
    • Thaumaturgy: Much worse than minor illusion or prestidigitation but can still be effective in roleplay scenarios.
  • 3rd level
  • 5th level
    • Detect Thoughts: Useful spell for interrogations, or to determine if there are any hidden creatures near your location.

Bloodline of Fierna

The Fierna Tiefling is the only one that comes with a WIS bonus. The package of charm spells can be useful and work in tandem with the massive CHA boost for a very persuasive character.

Ability Score Increase: Most characters choose between WIS or CHA and then dump the other.

Legacy of Phlegethos:

  • 1st level
    • Friends: Give yourself advantage on CHA checks, but after a minute the target will become hostile. This certainly has its uses, like interrogation or doing a very quick deal with a shopkeeper. Otherwise, the cons outweigh the pros.
  • 3rd level
    • Charm Person: One of the better options for dealing with NPCs outside of combat. Good for quick interactions, but the biggest caveat to this spell is the target knows it was charmed by you once the effect ends.
  • 5th level
    • Suggestion: Never underestimate the power of suggesting a course of action to an NPC. Yes, Mr. Scary Guard, why don’t you give us the keys to your king’s treasure vault?

Bloodline of Glasya

The best choice for sneaky builds of all kinds with a fantastic set of spells.

Ability Score Increase:  CHA and DEX is a great combination for sneaky builds, or CHA-based spellcasters that also fight with DEX melee weapons.

Legacy of Malbolge:

  • 1st level
    • Minor Illusion: If used creatively, this cantrip can be the most flexible tool in a spellcaster arsenal.
  • 3rd level
  • 5th level

Bloodline of Levistus

The Bloodline of Levistus is the most defense-oriented of the tiefling subraces.

Ability Score Increase: Nearly any build is happy to see a CON bonus, outside of those that are heavily multi-ability dependent.

Legacy of Stygia:

  • 1st level
    • Ray of Frost: Solid damage cantrip. The speed reduction can help with kiting enemies.
  • 3rd level
  • 5th level
    • Darkness: Good way to cut off an opponent’s visibility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer much of a strategic advantage unless someone in your party can see through magical darkness.

Bloodline of Mammon

Another subrace that comes with an INT bonus. The spells of the Bloodline of Mammon tiefling are very underwhelming compared to the other similar subraces.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Minauros:

  • 1st level
    • Mage Hand: Good utility. You can activate traps, grab small objects when you can’t reach them, etc.
  • 3rd level
    • Tenser’s Floating Disk: Being able to carry 500lbs is typically out of the question for most player characters not being buffed by enlarge/reduce or something similar. Getting this ability for an hour at the cost of a 1st-level provides a lot of utility, especially if you need to carry treasure out of a dragon’s horde.
  • 5th level
    • Arcane Lock: Surprisingly, a useful little utility spell. The effect lasts until dispelled so it’s a good thing to use on a home base when you have the spell slots to spare. Of course, the lock can be bypassed with knock but you’ll be able to hear someone using knock while you’re within 300ft. Overall, you don’t want this stocked unless you’re really paranoid or need to lock down an area.

Bloodline of Mephistopheles

Yet another subrace that comes with an INT bonus, and the most damage oriented of those subraces. Flame blade is not great though, so consider the Bloodline of Zariel if you want to make weapon attacks.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Cania:

  • 1st level
    • Mage Hand: Good utility. You can activate traps, grab small objects when you can’t reach them, etc.
  • 3rd level
    • Burning Hands: One of the better AoE damage spells you can get at 1st-level but there are better direct damage spells and better mass effect spells. This filler spell can be great if you catch a group of enemies close together.
  • 5th level
    • Flame Blade: This does slightly more damage than flaming sphere on hit, but has a lot of caveats. First, you have to be within melee range to you can be attacked and lose concentration. Second, it takes your action to attack using flame blade whereas you are able to cast spells on subsequent turns after casting flaming sphere. Yes, flame blade has a longer duration, but that rarely comes up in 5e combat. If I were playing a druid, I would take flaming sphere over flame blade most times.

Bloodline of Zariel

The only tiefling subrace that comes with a STR bonus. Combined with the spells the Bloodline of Zariel is perhaps the best choice for a melee tiefling.

Ability Score Increase: STR and CHA is an interesting combination that is primarily intended, and ideal for, paladins. Other classes likely won’t want this combination.

Legacy of Avernus:

  • 1st level
    • Thaumaturgy: Much worse than minor illusion or prestidigitation but can still be effective in roleplay scenarios.
  • 3rd level
    • Searing Smite: Could provide better damage than a Divine Smite as it causes fire damage turn after turn until the target succeeds in a CON save, but it’s a gamble.
  • 5th level
    • Branding Smite: You need to be able to hit an invisible creature for this spell to be worth it. Really only effective for Oath of the Watchers as they gain access to see invisibility.

Variant – Devil’s Tongue

Tiefling Variant – Devil’s Tongue:

  • 1st level
    • Vicious Mockery: This is THE bard cantrip. It deals psychic damage and provides a strong debuff on a failed save.
  • 3rd level
    • Charm Person: One of the better options for dealing with NPCs outside of combat. Good for quick interactions, but the biggest caveat to this spell is the target knows it was charmed by you once the effect ends.
  • 5th level

Variant – Feral

Ability Score Increase (Feral): Good if you want DEX and INT as an ASI instead of the usual CHA. Feral tieflings can be combined with the other subraces and variants.

  • 1st level
    • Vicious Mockery: This is THE bard cantrip. It deals psychic damage and provides a strong debuff on a failed save.
  • 3rd level
    • Charm Person: One of the better options for dealing with NPCs outside of combat. Good for quick interactions, but the biggest caveat to this spell is the target knows it was charmed by you once the effect ends.
  • 5th level

Variant – Hellfire

Tiefling Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands for the Asmodeus tiefling is mostly a matter of personal preference as they are about on par with each other.

Variant – Winged

Tiefling Variant – Winged: While you lose the free cantrip and spells, gaining fly speed is incredibly powerful. If playing a character that likes INT and DEX, such as a Bladesinger wizard, choosing this subrace is amongst the best options available. Even if your character doesn’t need both stats, having a fly speed is good enough to be worth it.

Which 5e Classes Work With Tieflings?

Artificer: Many of the Tiefling subraces come with an INT bonus, although ideally an Artificer would like +2. As a spellcaster, having more spells at your disposal is always welcome.

  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +1 INT, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +1 INT bonus, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: Decent spells, especially vicious mockery, but enthrall isn't good. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Feral: If playing with variants, use the Feral ASI. DEX is better than CHA for most artificers.
  • Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands is personal preference, so this subrace is just as good as the Asmodeus. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing. Use Feral to get INT.

Barbarian: Only one subrace comes with a STR bonus.

  • Bloodline of Zariel: While the Zariel tiefling gets a STR bonus, you can’t cast spells while in a barbarian Rage, making the smites useless a lot of the time.

Bard: Bards love CHA so tieflings are a great choice.

  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +2 CHA like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Dispater: DEX and CHA is a great combination for bards. Good spells for a sneaky character.
  • Bloodline of Fierna: WIS is useless, but CHA combined with the social spells here will make for a persuasive character.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: CHA, CON, and defensive spells will make a hardy bard.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +2 CHA like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Zariel: Great option for a melee bard running College of Valor or Swords due to the STR bonus and offensive spells.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: Free vicious mockery means you can learn more spells.
  • Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands is personal preference, so this subrace is just as good as the Asmodeus.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing, and you get to keep the +2 CHA.

Cleric: Only one subrace comes with a WIS bonus.

  • Bloodline of Fierna: Fierna tieflings do get WIS, but clerics typically don’t want to waste precious ASI on CHA. It’s passable and will make for an interesting character, but won’t be particularly optimized.

Druid: Only one subrace comes with a WIS bonus.

  • Bloodline of Fierna: Fierna tieflings do get some WIS, but won’t be nearly as strong as they could be by choosing another race.

Fighter: Fighters are very versatile, so options with STR, CON, or DEX could work.

  • Bloodline of Dispater: Decent option for a DEX-based fighter that wants to do some sneaking around.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: Decent option for a DEX-based fighter that wants to do some sneaking around.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: No STR or DEX, but will make you very tanky.
  • Bloodline of Zariel: Slight STR bonus and some offensive spells to make your weapon attacks hurt more.
  • Variant – Feral: Perfect for DEX-based fighters as this variant gets +2 DEX instead of CHA. Eldritch Knights can make use of both DEX and INT.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing, and combined with +2 DEX from Feral will make for a mean ranged fighter.

Monk: Look for subraces with DEX or use the Feral variant.

  • Bloodline of Dispater: Only +1 DEX, but decent for sneaking.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: Only +1 DEX, but decent for sneaking.
  • Variant – Feral: +2 DEX is exactly what a monk is looking for, though INT is useless.
  • Variant – Winged: Flight is amazing, though monks fight up close so it will only be useful for utility.

Paladin: Paladins are right at home with CHA bonuses. STR and DEX subraces will determine weapon and armor choices.

  • Bloodline of Dispater: DEX and CHA is a good combination, and spells will work well for a sneaky character.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: DEX and CHA is a good combination, and spells will work well for a sneaky character.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: CHA, CON, and some great defensive options for a tank paladin.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Zariel: STR and CHA is perfect for a paladin, and free smite spells is the cherry on top.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: Useful spells that expand on what the paladin can do for the party, especially vicious mockery.
  • Variant – Feral: This is a great option if you want to lose out on some spellcasting with CHA to go all-in on a DEX build.
  • Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands is personal preference, so this subrace is just as good as the Asmodeus.
  • Variant – Winged: Combined with Feral this could make a very interesting DEX-based paladin that can fly around.

Ranger: Look for subraces with DEX or use the Feral variant.

  • Bloodline of Glasya: The Glasya tiefling has an appropriate ASI and offers some stealth options to make you more akin to a rogue.
  • Variant – Feral: +2 DEX is exactly what a ranger is looking for, though INT is useless.
  • Variant – Winged: Combined with Feral to get +2 DEX you can fly around and should your enemies from a safe distance.

Rogue: CHA and DEX subraces are a perfect start for Rogues.

  • Bloodline of Dispater: Good ASI and spells for a sneaky rogue.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: The ASI are good, and the spells are perfect for any rogue. Most rogues can't cast spells so the tiefling makes the class that much better.
  • Variant – Feral: +2 DEX is great to add to any subrace, and the INT is also useful for Arcane Tricksters.
  • Variant – Winged: Any rogue will be more than thrilled with flight for infiltration and lining up sneak attacks. Add Feral into the mix for +2 DEX and you've got an incredible character.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers excel with CHA, so any of the subraces will do fine.

  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +2 CHA and solid spells.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +2 CHA like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Dispater: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a sorcerer, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Fierna: +2 CHA and good spells for a persuasive character.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a sorcerer, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: CHA for spellcasting, CON for hit points, and defensive spells to keep you alive.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: +2 CHA and an excellent subset of spells for a sorcerer.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing, and you get to keep the +2 CHA.

Warlock: Warlocks excel with CHA, so any of the subraces will do fine.

  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +2 CHA and solid spells.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +2 CHA like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Dispater: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a warlock, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Fierna: +2 CHA and good spells for a persuasive character.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a warlock, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: CHA for spellcasting, CON for hit points, and defensive spells to keep you alive.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: +2 CHA and an excellent subset of spells for a warlock.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing, and you get to keep the +2 CHA.

Wizard: INT bonus subraces will work just fine with wizards, although +2 would be preferred. Access to more spells is never a bad thing, and you have the choice of which spells best suit your playstyle.

  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +1 INT, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +1 INT bonus, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: Decent spells, especially vicious mockery, but enthrall isn't good. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Feral: If playing with variants, use the Feral ASI. DEX is better than CHA for most wizards.
  • Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands is personal preference, so this subrace is just as good as the Asmodeus. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight without needing to cast a spell is amazing. Use Feral to get INT.

Sources Used in This Guide

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.

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