Armorer Artificer: The Ultimate Utility Tank?

As the newest class in 5e D&D, the artificer has had a lot to prove. Is it worthy to be the 13th class? Is it different enough to provide a new experience? Is this a class that people will want to play?

To all of those questions, I say yes, 100 percent. This is a character that uses their expertise with tools and magic to come up with the perfect solution to any situation.

That means that no matter what adventure you’re in, an artificer will be a welcome addition to the team.

Now, no class is complete on its own. We need powerful, unique, and exciting subclasses to make a class worth it. Just look at how the ranger has been improved by subclasses like the drakewarden and the revised beast master.

Today, we’re talking about a subclass of artificer that completely exemplifies the spirit of the class as a whole.

The armorer is a versatile powerhouse that uses their mastery of magical items to create a powerful suit of armor with more functionality than you could dream of.

In this article, we’re not just going to tell you how good this subclass is though. We’re going to be discussing the ups and downs of this sort of archetype and what you can do to build the character that’s perfect for you.

From custom races and multiclassing to feats and the best spells to choose, this is the article that’s going to turn you into an armored god.

Class-Defining Abilities

  • Bulk and power without over reliance on Strength
  • Multiple ways to utilize your Arcane Armor
  • Impressive spells

A very simplistic way of looking at the artificer is to see them as a combination between fighters and wizards. Their general structure seems to mirror the fighter/cleric crossover that exists in the paladin.

While this is a good start to understanding how this class works, there is so much more going on here, and the armorer makes that clear right off the bat.

By third level, a normal artificer already has some great spellcasting and a powerful build. However, they are just half casters, and their spellcasting alone isn’t quite enough to carry them in combat.

Even with some great artificer infusions assisting them, they rely on a physical ability, either strength or dexterity, to really make a difference.

Normally, this means that artificers are M.A.D. scientists, reliant on decently high Strength (or Dexterity), Intelligence, and Constitution scores.

Of course, every class can benefit from a good Con score, but the balance of Strength and Intelligence alone is a lot to handle.

The armorer removes this barrier as soon as you get the subclass. Both armor models come with built-in weapons that allow you to add your Intelligence modifier to attack and damage rolls made with them.

While this isn’t quite as widespread as the battle smith’s use of intelligence with any magic weapon, it’s more than enough to push intelligence well into the lead as your priority ability score.

Of course, that’s not the only concern this armor eliminates. Not only do you get proficiency with Heavy Armor, any armor that becomes your Arcane Armor loses its strength requirement if it has one.

With a few infusions, like Enhanced Defense or Resistant Armor, you can quickly turn yourself into an absolute tank that dares your opponents to make an attack against you.

All of this is before we even consider the full breadth of what our Arcane Armor really offers us. 

Arcane Armor

You can turn a suit of armor into your Arcane Armor as an action, provided you have smith’s tools in hand. You gain the following benefits while wearing this armor:

  • If the armor normally has a Strength requirement, the arcane armor lacks this requirement for you.
  • You can use the arcane armor as a spellcasting focus for your artificer spells.
  • The armor attaches to you and can’t be removed against your will. It also expands to cover your entire body, although you can retract or deploy the helmet as a bonus action. The armor replaces any missing limbs, functioning identically to the body part it is replacing.
  • You can doff or don the armor as an action.

Armor Models

You can change the armor’s model whenever you finish a short or long rest, provided you have smith’s tools in hand.

Guardian. You design your armor to be in the front line of conflict. It has the following features:

  • Thunder Gauntlets. Each of the armor’s gauntlets counts as a simple melee weapon while you aren’t holding anything in it, and it deals 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. A creature hit by the gauntlet has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you until the start of your next turn as the armor magically emits a distracting pulse when the creature attacks someone else.
  • Defensive Field. As a bonus action, you can gain temporary hit points equal to your level in this class, replacing any temporary hit points you already have. You lose these temporary hit points if you doff the armor. You can use this bonus action a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Infiltrator. You customize your armor for subtle undertakings. It has the following features:

  • Lightning Launcher. A gemlike node appears on one of your armored fists or on the chest (your choice). It counts as a simple ranged weapon with a normal range of 90 feet and a long range of 300 feet, and it deals 1d6 lightning damage on a hit. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with it, you can deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage to that target.
  • Powered Steps. Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.
  • Dampening Field. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. If the armor normally imposes disadvantage on such checks, the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other, as normal.

These two armor models are like two sides to the same coin – vastly different while still giving you all the benefits of arcane armor.

Hopefully, the first thing you notice is that you can choose to configure either model at the end of a short or long rest.

While these are clearly specializations, they’re not so strict as a warlock’s pact boon, allowing you to have a sub-subclass that you can seamlessly transition between.

The guardian model is perfect for becoming a tanky brawler, while the infiltrator sets you up for all sorts of covert operations and ranged striking. 

This armor really feels like its abilities are almost endless. The fact that both weapons have additional effects on top of their respectable damage is incredible. 

With the guardian, our attacks further enforce that we are a tank, allowing us to control the battlefield and pull hits away from our allies.

Our AC is likely going to be incredibly high, but if we are taking any hits, we’ll have plenty of temporary hit points stacking up from the defensive ability.

On the other hand, the lightning launcher has an incredible range that easily ranks up with the martial ranged weapons.

The real highlight of the infiltrator though is that you get an increased walking speed and advantage on stealth checks. 

The official text makes it very clear though that this advantage functions normally, so if you’re wearing armor that imposes disadvantage on stealth checks, the two just cancel out, and you roll normally for stealth. 

This means it’s a good idea to pick up or craft some breastplate for infiltration missions so you can harness the full benefits of advantage on stealth checks.

Alternatively, you can make it a point to hunt down some mithral for a suit of mithral plate armor.

Armorer Spell List

Lastly, this subclass also brings some great spells to the table. The spells offered by any subclass are typically a great way to see what the playstyle for a typical build would be.

In this table, we see an almost clear divide between spells that work excellently for a guardian and spells that fit the role of infiltrator.

Our guardian can utilize spells like Fire Shield and Mirror Image to set up a powerful defense and control the battlefield.

Even Hypnotic Pattern allows you to incapacitate a number of creatures so you can focus on one or two, protecting your allies and leaving the damage dealing to you.

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for our stealthy infiltrator to throw on Greater Invisibility and launch a Lightning Bolt or two from your new hiding place.

The Best Armorer Infusions

Infusions are an incredibly important part to any artificer build. For the armorer, our infusions are going to depend greatly on our playstyle. Quite simply, the three armorer playstyles are guardian main, infiltrator main, and switch. 

While the armor models aren’t a choice you’ll have to stick to at any point, the other build decisions you make should depend on which model you plan to focus on.

Even though you’ll eventually have 12 known infusions, at early play you only know four, so you should do a decent amount of planning before locking anything in.

For each of the armorer builds, I’ll be suggesting three infusions that you can pick up at 2nd level. The switch should choose a mix of options from both the guardian and infiltrator suggestions.

On top of these choices, I’ve thrown in a few that are amazing options to add into your armor as you level up.

These “Arcane Armor Add-Ons” are especially useful once you get the Armor Modifications feature at 9th level, allowing you to put an infusion on each piece of your armor.

Guardian Main

Our guardian wants infusions that increase their ability to take hits, dish them out, and hold the attention of your enemies.

  • Enhanced Defense: Turning your suit of armor into something that gives you an additional +1 to AC is a no-brainer for any armorer.
  • Enhanced Weapon: Much like your AC, dishing out more damage is a wise idea. Adding this infusion to your Thunder Gauntlets is often going to be the best bet.
  • Replicate Magic Item (Orb of Shielding): An orb of shielding allows you to reduce incoming damage of a specific type by 1d4. Especially at earlier levels, this can function almost like a new damage resistance.

Infiltrator Main

Anything that can increase our ability to dish out damage from the sidelines or sneak around is a perfect addition to an infiltrator.

  • Homunculus Servant: Being able to hide in the shadows and use a tiny construct to dish out damage is a great way to keep yourself in the fight without actually getting in the fight. Shocking Grasp is a perfect cantrip to use with this servant.
  • Replicate Magic Item (Wand of Magic Detection): If you’re sneaking around in dangerous locales, you’ll need to be able to sniff out danger, making this wand an excellent addition to your arsenal.
  • Mind Sharpener: An infiltrator might want to cast more spells, and being able to automatically turn a failure into a success on a concentration save is vital for conserving your spell slots.

Arcane Armor Add-Ons

With Armor Modifications, your boots, chest piece, helmet, and special weapon all count as a different piece of your armor. Having an infusion for each of these is huge.

  • Boots of the Winding Path: Being able to teleport as early as 6th level is great for so many situations.
  • Resistant Armor: You should pick up resistances wherever possible in your build process, and this is a quick and easy way to do so at 6th level.
  • Replicate Magic Item (Gauntlets of Ogre Power): Immediately getting a strength score of 19 lets you actually use strength-based weapons without having to ever worry about devoting ASIs to strength.

Class-Defining Limitations

  • Choosing a sub-subclass
  • Limited spell slots

While the option to choose an armor model at the end of every long or short rest you take can seem (and be) incredible, it does raise a bit of an issue when building an optimized character.

Since the two armor models are quite different in their playstyle, they benefit from different feats, infusions, and even ability scores at times.

The struggle comes in because we don’t have to choose one armor model to stick with, but most players will often end up with a primary model.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to build an optimized armorer that seamlessly switches between both.

As we go through the rest of this article and discuss choices for your character, you’ll notice that a lot of these choices require disclaimers. A feat that might be perfect for a guardian could fall flat in the hands of an infiltrator.

All of this isn’t necessarily bad. It’s actually quite the opposite. These are luxury problems.

This limitation means that both armor models are so good that they could be their own subclasses. While you can choose which one to focus on, you get to switch at will. 

Even if you create a build that optimizes the features of an infiltrator, you can still switch into your guardian model when it’s necessary and vice versa.

Additionally, the way to deal with this limitation is really to focus on your infusions. Because artificers can eventually learn many infusions, you’ll have space to grab a “counter-balance infusion” or two.

An infiltrator might pick up Enhanced Armor so that they have the boost to AC when they need it, or a guardian might pick up Boots of the Winding Path so they can dart around like an infiltrator.

The other limitation this subclass runs into isn’t really specific to just armorers or even artificers.

Half-casters don’t have anywhere near the wealth of spell slots that full casters do, so you’ll have to be very conservative with your casting.

This means that awesome spells you pick up, like Magic Missile and Lightning Bolt, might just be pushed to the wayside. 

Fortunately, this also has a nice remedy built into the subclass. Both of the armor models’ special weapons function like powerful spells.

Your Thunder Gauntlets deal 1d8 and have a goading effect that’s perfectly suited to your playstyle. Then, the Lightning Launcher is going to be dealing 2d6 every turn or 3d6 once you pick up Extra Attack at 5th level.

While this subclass definitely isn’t perfect, it really does an excellent job of covering up all of the loose ends it might’ve had.

As with any artificer, you can easily use your infusions and magical items to deal with any problems that arise.

Black Citadel’s Ranking and Tier System

Color and Tier ranking is very helpful when you’re trying to digest a lot of information. In our ongoing series of 5e class guides, we use the following color-rating scheme:

  • RedC Tier. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice but are largely less effective than other tiers.
  • GreenB Tier. Solid but nothing that is absolutely critical for a build, or Green can be very good but only in very specific situations.  
  • BlueA Tier. An excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective. 
  • PurpleS Tier. The top of our rankings. Objectively powerful or transformative in some way.  No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are worth strongly considering when you create your character.

Our goal here is to provide scannable but comprehensive guides for you as you develop your character.

While we might sometimes make reference to unofficial or homebrew content to illustrate a point (or just because it’s too cool not to talk about), every option we suggest is legal in the official rules for D&D 5e as published by Wizards of the Coast.

Race Choices

Choosing a race in 5e is an important part of building a character that you can really enjoy.

Typically, one of the most important parts of choosing your race has been picking the ability-score bonuses that fit best with the class you choose.

A typical race has one or two set ability-score bonuses (such as +2 Strength and +1 Dexterity) along with some unique racial traits. 

With more and more new races allowing you to choose custom ability scores, the best race for a build is becoming much more reliant on those racial traits.

Of course, you should also be choosing a race that you’re interested in playing since your character’s race is a huge part of roleplaying at the end of the day.

In this section, our recommendations are still based on the way races have worked in 5e for the last decade, but talk to your DM about how custom lineages work at their table.

If custom ability scores are allowed for any, or even a few, races, feel free to ignore this bit of advice and choose a race that you think is cool.

With all that being said, here are some of the best races in 5e for an armorer.

Rock Gnome – INT +2, CON +1. Gnomes were the original artificers in 5e before the class was introduced.

Rock gnomes have the perfect ability scores to line up with a tanky Guardian main and even have the Artificer’s Lore racial trait, which lets you add twice your proficiency modifier when making History checks related to magical, technological, or alchemical items.

Forest Gnome – INT +2, DEX +1. Where the rock gnomes fit perfectly to the guardian’s capabilities, forest gnomes fit an infiltrator’s desires exactly.

The boost to dexterity, along with access to the Minor Illusion cantrip, make these stealthier gnomes a great choice.

Background Choices

Backgrounds have a few mechanical effects, such as proficiencies and starting equipment.

The main point of a background though, is to lay the groundwork for your character’s backstory. These give you a way to connect your character to the world around you.

There are certainly no “right” backgrounds or “best” backgrounds, but there are some options that make a lot of sense and provide mechanical benefits that can benefit an armorer.

The choices below are merely my top choices if I were to build an armorer today. The goal here is that you can find some inspiration for roleplaying your own character.

Guild Artisan – Proficiency in Insight and Persuasion. Guild artisans start with a set of artisans’ tools of your choice, a great way to pick up smiths’ tools without having to purchase them.

More than that though, the concept of an artisan that has worked with armor, weapons, and magical items for such a long time, yet only recently decided to put their skills to use in adventuring, is a classic trope. Even Iron Man (Tony Stark) fits this concept almost perfectly.

Acolyte – Proficiency in Insight and Religion. Acolytes grow up in service to some form of temple. They can worship gods, doctrines, or even just a way of life.

Inspired by mandalorians, this is an armorer whose suit is more than just protection – it’s a piece of them. 

Clan Crafter – Proficiency in History and Insight. In many ways, this is a combination of the two backgrounds above.

Clan crafters are specifically trained in the way of the craft by a dwarven master. Instead of having to create a religion, this background gives you a straightforward tie-in to a large piece of the world. 

Ability Scores

Your ability scores are one of the most important decisions you’ll make when building your character as they determine the modifiers that you add to most rolls that you make.

Whether you’re rolling dice to determine your scores, using a point-buy system or the standard array, or using some unique method of determining scores, you’ll want to know where to put your highest ones and which abilities aren’t at all important.

For the armorer, we actually have a bit of a split process in the decision making since the scores for a guardian and infiltrator main should be a bit different. 

Constitution – A tanky guardian should have great strength so that when they do get hit, they have enough hit points to take it.

This will also help with any concentration saving throws you make. Infiltrators can definitely still benefit from a high constitution, but it isn’t their main focus. 

For a guardian, this should be your secondary ability score.

Strength – Strength would normally determine how good you are with melee weapons and support your ability to wear heavy armor. With all of the armorer’s abilities, strength is almost useless. 

However, if you do get your hands on a powerful melee weapon, you might want enough strength to wield it.

Fortunately, by that time you should be able to craft Gauntlets of Ogre Power with your artificer infusions, which boost your strength straight to 19.

Dexterity – Guardians don’t need much dexterity to be functional. Their heavy armor doesn’t factor in dex bonuses, and they don’t need to stealth around much.

The infiltrator, however, should probably be wearing breastplate and will want to have a good dexterity for their AC and for stealth checks. 

For an Infiltrator, this should be your secondary ability score.

Intelligence – Hands down, this is your most important ability. It supports your spellcasting, your armor model’s special weapon, your infusions, and just about every main piece of your build. Get this to 20 or beyond as fast as possible.

Wisdom – Wisdom doesn’t support any of your abilities and is as good as useless.

Charisma – While a decent charisma can help you actually interact with people, it’s by no means necessary for an armorer.

Skill Choices

Skills are an important part of both social interaction and exploration, two of the main pieces of any D&D experience. The skill proficiencies that we choose make us better at doing those things.

There are two ways to look at which proficiencies you choose.

You can either choose a proficiency that compliments your highest ability scores so you have a huge bonus, or you can choose proficiency in a not-so-good score so that you can be more of a jack-of-all-trades.

Artificers get the choice of two skill proficiencies from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Sleight of Hand.

  • Arcana (INT) – Understanding magical items and traps is right in line with a high intelligence artificer.
  • History (INT) – If you choose the rock gnome, you almost don’t even need this proficiency; however, history in general can be very suitable for an artificer.
  • Investigation (INT) – Investigation isn’t quite up an armorer’s alley, but an Infiltrator might be very good at searching for traps and hidden objects.
  • Medicine (WIS) – If you want anything remotely related to this, just craft up some potions with an Herbalism Kit.
  • Nature (INT) – Nature doesn’t make sense for most artificers, but you could certainly be more in tune with nature if your character calls for it. They’re also not very common checks unless your campaign takes place mostly in wilderness.
  • Perception (WIS) – Perception is a great proficiency for everyone to have, but you can compensate with a Helm of Awareness infusion.
  • Sleight of Hand (DEX) – Again, this is an option that could be perfect for a specific type of infiltrator build.

Armorer Progression

Features that you automatically obtain through the Artificer class will appear in Orange and features that you gain through the Armorer subclass will appear in Gray

Filling Out the Character Sheet (Level 0)

  • Hit Dice: 1d8 per Artificer level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per artificer level after 1st

Proficiencies

  • Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields
  • Weapons: Simple Weapons
  • Tools: Thieves’ Tools, Tinkers’ Tools, One type of artisan’s tools of your choice
  • Saving Throws: Intelligence, Constitution
  • Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, Medicine, Perception, and Sleight of Hand

Equipment:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • Any two simple weapons
  • A light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • (a) Studded leather armor or (b) scale mail
  • Thieves’ tools and a dungeoneer pack

1st Level

Spellcasting

Spellcasting is very important to artificers, but it isn’t where their biggest strengths lie. You should be conservative with your spellcasting, being careful not to burn through all of your spell slots too fast.

From a roleplay perspective, you are casting your spells through the objects you create.

Magic Missile might actually be missiles of force that fly out of your armor.

Lightning Bolt could very easily be a bolt of electricity that surges from your Lightning Launcher’s gem nodes as if you were overcharging it.

Be creative with this and describe your spellcasting to really boost your roleplay value at the table.

Artificers use intelligence as their spellcasting ability, so your spell save DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier, and your spell attack modifier is your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.

You can use any of your tools, your arcane armor, or any items bearing your infusions as a spellcasting focus.

You know a number of cantrips shown on the table above, starting with just two at 1st level. Each day, you prepare a number of spells of a level which you have spell slots for from the artificer spell list.

The number of spells you can prepare is equal to your Intelligence modifier plus half your artificer level rounded down.

Magical Tinkering

You can use your tools to create small magical items with mundane effects, such as a visual illusion or a small audio recording.

While this might not seem huge, a creative artificer can use these small constructs in conjunction with the rest of their abilities to create incredible effects. 

You might create a small clockwork “lighter” that walks over and ignites the Grease spell you just cast, or you might leave a recorded message meant to ward off unwelcome guests from your party’s stronghold.

I’ve even used magical tinkering to confuse a group of pirates and eventually take over an entire armada of ships.

The options with this are limited to your imagination (and what your DM will let fly). 

2nd Level

Artificer Infusions:

At 2nd level, you learn four artificer infusions. These infusions turn mundane objects into magical items and have a large variety of bonuses.

Be sure to check out the suggested infusions in the Class Defining Abilities section up above.

3rd Level

Tools of the Trade:

This feature gives you proficiency in Heavy Armor and in smiths’ tools (or another artisan tool if you already have proficiency in smiths’ tools).

Heavy armor is incredible as it offers the highest AC bonus of any armor type and doesn’t rely on dexterity to give you that high AC. 

Smiths’ tools will be used for just about everything regarding your arcane armor.

Armorer Spells:

Armorer Spell List

Of these spells, the best ones to use are Thunderwave, Mirror Image, Lightning Bolt, Fire Shield, and Wall of Force.

Arcane Armor:

You can turn a suit of armor into your arcane armor, which grants you the following benefits.

  • If the armor normally has a Strength requirement, the arcane armor lacks this requirement for you.
  • You can use the arcane armor as a spellcasting focus for your artificer spells.
  • The armor attaches to you and can’t be removed against your will. It also expands to cover your entire body, although you can retract or deploy the helmet as a bonus action. The armor replaces any missing limbs, functioning identically to the body part it is replacing.
  • You can doff or don the armor as an action.

Of all these benefits, the two most influential are that you get to ignore Strength requirements of heavy armor and you can doff and don your armor as an action.

Normally, you would have to meet the strength requirement or suffer a reduced speed. Now you get to function normally with little concern for strength.

Then, while donning and doffing armor might seem inconsequential, you can be caught off guard and still take just an action to equip a suit of heavy armor, which would normally take 10 minutes!

Armor Model:

At the end of a short or long rest, you can change the model of your armor, which each grants you several benefits.

Most importantly, each model comes with a special weapon. You can use your Intelligence modifier instead of Strength or Dexterity for that weapon’s attack and damage rolls.

Guardian. The tanky guardian hits hard and is optimized for heavy armor. The goal of this armorer style is to force an enemy into combat with just you, dishing out loads of damage against them and keeping your allies safe from anything they might do.

  • Thunder Gauntlets. Each of the armor’s gauntlets counts as a simple melee weapon while you aren’t holding anything in it, and it deals 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. A creature hit by the gauntlet has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you until the start of your next turn as the armor magically emits a distracting pulse when the creature attacks someone else.
  • Defensive Field. As a bonus action, you can gain temporary hit points equal to your level in this class, replacing any temporary hit points you already have. You lose these temporary hit points if you doff the armor. You can use this bonus action a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Infiltrator. The infiltrator is optimized for stealth missions. In combat, they’ll likely stay on the sidelines and fire off their long-distance attacks, dealing as much damage as possible without getting in the fray.

  • Lightning Launcher. A gemlike node appears on one of your armored fists or on the chest (your choice). It counts as a simple ranged weapon with a normal range of 90 feet and a long range of 300 feet, and it deals 1d6 lightning damage on a hit. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with it, you can deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage to that target.
  • Powered Steps. Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.
  • Dampening Field. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. If the armor normally imposes disadvantage on such checks, the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other as normal.

The Right Tool for the Job

This feature allows you to create artisan’s tools for just about any situation.

4th Level

ASI

You can either increase one ability by 2 points or two abilities by 1. Alternatively you can choose a feature – if you already have great stats, this is a great choice.

5th Level

Extra Attack

Armorers pick up the extra attack feature, which allows you to attack twice instead of once with your Attack action. This is going to greatly increase the damage output from your special attacks and allow you to focus less on spells.

6th Level

Tool Expertise

You now add double your proficiency bonus to any skill check you make with a tool.

7th Level

Flash of Genius

As a reaction, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the ability check or saving throw of you or another creature that you can see within 30 feet of you.

Unless you can deal some great damage with a reactionary-opportunity attack, this is the ability you’ll want to save your reactions for.

8th Level

ASI

9th Level

Armor Modifications:

Your arcane armor now counts as separate items for the purposes of your Infuse Items feature: armor (the chest piece), boots, helmet, and the armor’s special weapon.

Each of those items can bear one of your infusions, and the infusions transfer over if you change your armor’s model with the Armor Model feature.

In addition, the maximum number of items you can infuse at once increases by 2, but those extra items must be part of your Arcane Armor.

Essentially, you get to put more infusions on yourself for free, without having to worry about leaving some infusions for the items of your allies.

10th Level

Magic Item Adept

You can attune to up to four magic items at once. Additionally, if you craft common or uncommon magic items, it takes a quarter of the usual time and costs you half the usual gold.

Now you’re excellent not just at replicating magic items but actually crafting them.

11th Level

Spell-Storing Item

At the end of a long rest, you can store a 1st- or 2nd-level artificer spell into an item. That spell can be cast at any time by the holder of the item, using your spellcasting modifiers for the casting.

If it is a concentration spell, the wielder of the item must concentrate on it.

12th Level

ASI

14th Level

Magic Item Savant:

You can attune to up to five magic items, and you ignore all class, race, spell, and level requirements.

15th Level

Perfected Armor

Both of your armor models are now enhanced.

Guardian. When a Huge or smaller creature you can see ends its turn within 30 feet of you, you can use your reaction to magically force the creature to make a Strength saving throw against your spell save DC, pulling the creature up to 30 feet toward you to an unoccupied space.

If you pull the target to a space within 5 feet of you, you can make a melee-weapon attack against it as part of this reaction.

You can use this reaction a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

This “get over here” move might be the use of a grappling hook, or it might be some sort of magnetic impulse. Whatever causes it, it further enforces that your enemies should only be dealing with you.

Infiltrator. Any creature that takes lightning damage from your Lightning Launcher glimmers with magical light until the start of your next turn.

The glimmering creature sheds dim light in a 5-foot radius, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls against you as the light jolts it if it attacks you.

In addition, the next attack roll against it has advantage, and if that attack hits, the target takes an extra 1d6 lightning damage.

This is almost the inverse of the guardian’s normal attack move, encouraging creatures to fight anyone but you, although they now take some serious punishments for doing even that.

16th Level

ASI

18th Level

Magic Item Master

You can now attune to six items at once. This is absolutely incredible and almost difficult. It means actually having six magical items worth attuning to.

You might have a plethora of Ioun Stones floating above your head, or every piece of your armor might be a unique magic item. Either way, you’re a force to be reckoned with.

19th Level

ASI

20th Level

Soul of Artifice:

You gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws per magic item you are currently attuned to.

If you’re reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can use your reaction to end one of your artificer infusions, causing you to drop to 1 hit point instead of 0.

Your infusions and magical items are now almost literally a piece of you.

Feat Options 

Feats are an excellent way to customize your build and make your armorer that much more attuned to your playstyle.

Like most of the choices we’ve covered, these will largely depend on which armor model you mainly utilize.

Sentinel 

This is an amazing feat for Guardians to pick up. It allows you to reduce a creature’s speed to 0 when you hit them with an opportunity attack.

It also lets you make an attack as a reaction when a creature within 5 feet of you is hit with a melee attack.

All together, this is the perfect feat to say, “Look at me, I’m the one you need to fight.”

Tough 

This feat gives you an increase to your Hit Point Maximum equal to twice your level.

While you can stack up a bunch of temporary hit points and make it very hard for your opponents to hit you, it’s still invaluable to have a high HPM.

Mobile

This Infiltrator feat increases your speed by 10 feet (meaning you’ll have a total increase of 15 on your normal race speed) and lets you ignore difficult terrain when you take the Dash action.

It even lets you evade opportunity attacks when you hit a creature with a melee attack.

While you’ll normally find a safe position and stick to it, this can allow you to dart around the battlefield with incredible ease, finding the perfect spot to launch your lightning.

Medium Armor Master 

The most important thing about this feat is that it eliminates the disadvantage on stealth that most medium armors impose. Additionally, it lets you add more of your dexterity bonus to your AC.

Infiltrators will find this invaluable as they’ll approach the tankiness of Guardians while also getting the full benefit of their advantage on stealth checks.

Armorer Builds

Guardian

  • Race: Rock Gnome
  • Feats: Sentinel, Tough
  • Infusions: Enhanced Defense, Enhanced Weapon, Replicate Magic Item (Orb of Shielding)
  • Important Spells: Thornwhip, Lightning Lure, Absorb Elements, Levitate

This build can take just about any hit that manages to come to it.

With Sentinel and Thornwhip on top of all of the normal things we’ve discussed for this armor model, we’ll be pulling just about every enemy that we want to fight right into our line of sight so we can unload our thunderous power on them.

Lightning Lure can be used as an alternative to Thornwhip when the situation calls for it, and Absorb Elements will keep us safe even when we’re dealing with enemies that make use of more elemental powers.

You can even picture the armor charging up with an elemental blast and unleashing it through your thunder gauntlets when you’re ready.

Infiltrator

  • Race: Forest Gnome
  • Feats: Mobile, Moderately Armored
  • Infusions: Homunculus Servant, Replicate Magic Item (Wand of Magic Detection), Mind Sharpener
  • Important Spells: Shocking Grasp, Lightning Lure, Faerie Fire, Tasha’s Caustic Brew

The infiltrator excels at maneuvering obstacles outside of combat, but this build makes us almost as much of a threat in combat as the guardian is.

We can cast plenty of spells through our Homunculus Servant, whom we might flavor to be a small little copy of ourselves. 

Shocking Grasp makes perfect sense for us, seeing as we already utilize lightning.

If we get in a situation where someone is up close or if we get our servant close enough, we can just taze any opponent at will.

Our Mind Sharpener armor will make concentration spells like Faerie Fire last far longer than they normally would so that we can dish out as many benefits to our allies as possible.

The armorer is an incredible subclass of artificer.

With characters like Iron Man, Boba Fett, and even Batman highlighting the benefits of impressive armor with a lot of gadgets, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most powerful artificer subclasses out there.

In fact, it just might be one of the most powerful subclasses in all of 5e

I hope you enjoy gearing up next time you sit down at the table. And as always, happy adventuring.


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