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DnD scraps Fighter subclass after poor playtest feedback

Wizards of the Coast is dropping the Brawler subclass for the DnD Fighter, after its poor performance in the latest Unearthed Arcana survey.

Wizards of the Coast is scrapping the Brawler subclass for the DnD Fighter, after a survey showed fans weren’t vibing with it. This Fighter subclass was all about turning your body into a deadly weapon, but according to designer Jeremy Crawford, “the Brawler’s niche just wasn’t clear enough”, with many fans finding a lot of crossover with the Monk and the Barbarian.

Crawford discussed the verdict on the DnD Fighter, along with the results of the latest One DnD playtest survey, in a YouTube video released on November 7. The designer says, “overall the scores were fantastic” for most DnD classes, which it seems made the Brawler stick out like a sore thumb.

“You go through and the satisfaction levels… it looks like everything scores 70% or higher except for the Brawler and a few features within the Barbarian,” Crawford explains.

The Brawler subclass option was revealed, along with the new World Tree Barbarian, two months ago, in Unearthed Arcana #7. It had a focus on unarmed combat, the Grapple 5e move, and improvised weaponry. But according to Crawford, this led to a lot of “conceptual static” with aspects of the DnD Monk and DnD Barbarian.

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It appears fans found this 5e Fighter subclass a bit muddled. Unarmed combat and improvised weaponry seem like they’d be complementary skills in real life or an action movie, but they don’t actually work that well together in DnD combat. The result is that the Brawler Fighter ended up being quite good at a number of very similar (but competing) combat styles, and not really brilliant at anything.

Wizards of the Coast isn’t saying it’s permanently done with the concept of a brawling Fighter. “We might revisit the Brawler… sometimes it’s just not the time for something,” Crawford says.

Because they’ve now reached a point where Wizards (and over 70% of fans) are happy with them, nine of the twelve DnD classes are moving to internal development, and won’t appear in future public Unearthed Arcana.

The DnD Druid, Barbarian, and Monk are the three that still need work, and Wizards says the next Unearthed Arcana playtest will come out before the end of 2023.

Before that, we can expect to hear about feedback on the surprise One DnD playtest, which included rules for building bastions, and overhauled many of the game’s least popular cantrips.

Check out our guides to all the DnD races, DnD backgrounds, and best DnD feats. Or, if you’re more of an omnivorous tabletop gamer, you might like to know about other great tabletop RPGs you can play.