Yuan-ti Pureblood 5e Guide
Published on August 31, 2021
Caroline Gariba - Wizards of the Coast - Ophiomancer
What is this guide?
This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Yuan-ti Pureblood will be right for your character build.
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Yuan-ti Pureblood. 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 Yuan-ti Purebloods?
Long ago, the Yuan-ti were human. Their ancient civilization worshipped snakes, as snakes embodied all of the qualities they wished to model themselves after. In order to take their intellectual pursuits to new heights, they vowed to separate themselves from emotion by pledging themselves to the serpent gods, and in doing so performed terrible acts of human sacrifice and cannibalism. These evil deeds allowed them to become snakelike hybrids and stripped them completely of all emotion.
The transformed beings fall into three main categories: abominations, malisons, and Purebloods. Of the three, the most human-looking of the Yuan-ti are the Purebloods. But make no mistake – the Purebloods are just as cruel and emotionless as the more monstrous varieties. They are often sent into human society as spies, collecting intel and discovering weaknesses. Yuan-ti have no interest in integrating themselves with society at large, as they believe the other races to be beneath them. They will not hesitate to kill or enslave anyone who chooses to oppose them.
Yuan-ti Purebloods are a playable character race found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Yuan-ti Pureblood Traits
Ability Score Increase: CHA and INT is a poor combination because casters will only need one of the two, meaning that the other is largely a waste of an ability score increase.
Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad.
Speed: Yuan-ti Purebloods have a standard walking speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Darkvision is always great, but its advantage can be ruined if your party members do not also have it.
Innate Spellcasting: Yuan-ti Purebloods come preloaded with spells, but unfortunately they are extremely limited in their usefulness.
- Cantrip – Poison Spray: As far as damage cantrips go, Poison Spray is one of the worst. This cantrip will only see any use if you don’t have access to any other damaging cantrips.
- 1st Level – Animal Friendship: This spell can normally be quite useful, but for the Yuan-ti you will be limited to using it on snakes. This makes it extraordinarily situational.
- 3rd Level – Suggestion: Normally quite a good spell, but it is again hampered in its usefulness by being restricted to one use per long rest. More uses would be nice, but it’s still a nice spell to have for free.
Magic Resistance: Magic Resistance is very powerful. It’s so good that this racial trait alone is the reason why some consider the Yuan-ti Pureblood to be an overpowered race in 5e. Having advantage on all saving throws against spells makes it far less likely to be hit by them. Purebloods also have advantage against “other magical effects” which can cover a very broad range of threats a DM might throw at you. In essence, this race has advantage against all magic, an ability that is usually only found on extremely rare or legendary items.
Poison Immunity: Poison is a fairly common damage type, and the poisoned condition is exceedingly annoying to deal with. Having immunity to both is an amazing racial trait.
Which Classes Work With Yuan-ti Purebloods?
Yuan-ti Purebloods are a solid choice for any CHA or INT caster due to their ability score increases. Magic Resistance is one of the best racial traits ever created, so it would be very powerful to have on any build. The same goes for Poison Immunity, although it is not nearly as strong as Magic Resistance.
Artificer: +2 INT would of course be better here, but Magic Resistance is just so good that +1 will do. Once you hit 7th level, you can add your INT modifier to any saving throw with the Flash of Genius trait, ensuring that you will hardly ever succumb to negative magical effects.
Barbarian: Barbarians need STR to be effective. Magic Resistance would make a Yuan-ti Pureblood nearly unkillable, however.
Bard: INT is the biggest dump stat for Bards, though the +2 CHA is just what they need. Combined with some more spells at their disposal and of course Magic Resistance, a Pureblood is a good choice for a Bard.
Cleric: Clerics need some amount of STR, DEX, or WIS to be effective.
Druid: Druids need WIS to be effective.
Fighter: Eldritch Knights are interested in INT, and the other racial traits line up well for a front-line build. The downside is that a lack of STR or DEX means the character will suffer offensively.
Monk: Monks need DEX or WIS to be effective.
Paladin: Although Paladins really want some STR or DEX to go with their CHA, the Yuan-ti offers a racial trait that is just too good to ignore. Without STR or DEX your Paladin may not be the best at swinging a weapon, but they’ll excel at casting spells. Combining high AC, Magic Resistance, and Poison Immunity, a Yuan-ti Pureblood Paladin will be really hard to take out of a fight.
Ranger: Rangers need DEX or WIS to be effective.
Rogue: Arcane Tricksters are interested in INT, though without DEX a Rogue may struggle.
Sorcerer: Yuan-ti Purebloods have everything a Sorcerer could want: +2 to CHA, innate spells, and some fantastic defensive traits to keep you alive.
Warlock: Yuan-ti Purebloods have everything a Warlock could want: +2 to CHA, innate spells, and some fantastic defensive traits to keep you alive.
Wizard: +2 INT would of course be better here, but Magic Resistance is just so good that +1 will do.