Races With Intelligence Bonuses in 5e

Picking a race in D&D 5e is one of the most crucial decisions you can make while building a character. Your race influences your ability scores, grants special abilities, informs your character’s history/culture, and might even have an impact on the story of the campaign depending on your DM.

It’s also one of the more permanent character choices. If you want to switch classes, you can at least multiclass. Most spellcasters have methods for swapping out spells at various levels. But unless your DM is willing to let you rewrite reality, once you pick your race, it’s locked in.

That makes picking your race pretty critical. So, if you’re playing a class or subclass that relies heavily on Intelligence, like a wizard or artificer, you have to ask, “What D&D Race has Intelligence?”

That’s what this guide is all about. Below, you’ll find a list of every official D&D 5e race that provides a bonus to Intelligence along with the classes that will probably work best with it.

Of course, since races often provide special abilities, there’s also a list of races with abilities particularly well suited for Intelligence-based classes, though you’ll have to use your own best judgment to determine whether or not these options and their recommended classes are attractive to you.

Intelligence is an ability score not often used in D&D 5e, but when it is used, it’s usually crucial. The main classes that use Intelligence rely on it for their spells, and while an Intellect Devourer is one of the rare monsters that forces an Intelligence save, if you fail, it you die instantly.

If you’re making a class that relies on this ability, it’s crucial to get a boost from your race, so search the list below to get started!

Hint: This article is meant to be a reference document, so bookmark it, and use the browser’s word search (Ctrl + f on windows, Command + f on mac) to easily find the races with the class tag you’re looking for.

List of Races With Intelligence Bonuses

Here is every official race that offers a bonus to Intelligence. Generally, classes that provide a +2 bonus are ideal for wizards and artificers, while a mere +1 bonus is likely more useful for a subclass that makes use of Intelligence less often, though this general rule has exceptions.

Draconblood (Dragonborn)

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Forceful Presence, Breath Weapon
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Mark of Warding Dwarf

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Constitution
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Stonecunning, Warder’s Intuition, Wards and Seals, Spells of Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Eladrin

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Keen Senses, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Cantrip, Elf Weapon Training, Fey Step
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Arcane Trickster, Dexterity-based Eldritch Knights

High Elf

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Keen Senses, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Cantrip, Elf Weapon Training, Extra Language
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Dexterity-based Eldritch Knights

Gnome (All)

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Gnome Cunning
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Mark of Making Human

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 to another Ability Score of your choice
  • Other Abilities: Artisan’s Intuition, Artisan’s Gift, Spellsmith, Spells of Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Bloodline of Asmodeus (Tiefling)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Infernal Legacy
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Bloodline of Baalzebul (Tiefling)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Legacy of Maladomini
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Bloodline of Mammon (Tiefling)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Legacy of Minauros
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Bloodline of Mephistopheles (Tiefling)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Legacy of Cania
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Hobgoblin

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Constitution
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Martial Training, Saving Face
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Krynn Minotaur

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +1 Strength
  • Other Abilities: Horns, Goring Rush, Labyrinthine Recall, Sea Reaver
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Yuan-Ti Pureblood

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Innate Spellcasting, Magic Resistance, Poison Immunity
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Fire Genasi

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Constitution
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Fire Resistance, Reach to the Blaze
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Gith (All)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence
  • Other Abilities: Subclass dependent
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Ibis-Headed Aven

  • Stat Bonus: + 1 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity
  • Other Abilities: Kefnet’s blessing
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Dexterity-based Eldritch Knight

Blue Ixalan Merfolk

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Amphibious, Lore of the Waters, Cantrip
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Zendikar Merfolk (Ula Creed)

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Amphibious, Water Creed Navigation, Cantrip
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Zendikar Merfolk (Cosi Creed)

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Amphibious, Creed of the Trickster, Cantrip
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Naga

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Constitution
  • Other Abilities: Speed Burst, Natural Weapons, Poison Immunity, Poison Affinity
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Ixalan Vampire

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Vampiric Resistance, Bloodthirst, Feast of Blood
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Vedalken (All)

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom
  • Other Abilities: Vedalken Dispassion, Tireless Precision, Partially Amphibious
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

List of Fitting Custom Ability Score Increase Races 

Ever since Tasha’s Cauldron came out, some DMs will allow you to swap freely which racial bonuses get attached to which ability scores. Aside from the triumph of Mountain Dwarfs (who get two +2 bonuses instead of just a +2 and a +1), this means that the more general racial abilities can be more important than the specific bonuses.

After all, if any race can get a +2 to Intelligence, then maybe you will want to play as a Dwarven wizard.

While this isn’t universally accepted, if your table does play with these more flexible race rules, you’ll want to take a look at the list below featuring races with abilities that benefit from or support Intelligence-based characters.

Note that these aren’t races that are necessarily ideal for a particular class — a squishy wizard might actually benefit more from defensive/Constitution-boosting abilities. These are races with abilities that work well with Intelligence specifically.

Dwarf (All)

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Constitution
  • Synergistic Abilities: Stonecunning (automatic proficiency on Intelligence [History] checks related to origin of stonework and double your proficiency bonus on the check), and Kaladesh Dwarves get Artisan’s Expertise (Double proficiency bonus on Intelligence [History] checks related to the origin of architecture)
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency
  • Suggested Classes: Artificer (especially flavored to work with stone), Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster

Mark of Warding Dwarf

  • Stat Bonus: +1 Intelligence, +2 Constitution
  • Synergistic Abilities: Warder’s Intuition (Intelligence [Investigation] checks and ability checks with Thieves’ Tools get an additional 1d4 added to the roll)
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency, Wards and Seals, Spells of the Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Arcane Trickster, potentially Wizard for the additional spells

Astral Elf

  • Stat Bonus: +2 to Ability Score, +1 to another Ability Score of your choice
  • Synergistic Abilities: Radiant Soul. Once per long rest when you succeed on a death save, you can regain a number of hit points equal to your proficiency bonus +  an Ability Score modifier (either Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma)
  • Other Abilities: Astral Fire, Darkvision, Fey Ancestry, Keen Senses, Trance, Trance Proficiencies
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer, Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Rock Gnome

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence
  • Synergistic Abilities: Gnome Cunning (Advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saves against magic), Artificer’s Lore (Intelligence [History] checks related to magical, alchemical, or technological items get double your proficiency bonus)
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer

Mark of Scribing Gnome

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence
  • Synergistic Abilities: Gnome Cunning (Advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saves against magic), Gifted Scribe (Intelligence [History] checks related to Calligraphy Supplies get an added 1d4 bonus)
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Scribe’s Insight, Spells of Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer, Eldritch Knight

Mark of Detection Half Elf

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Wisdom, +1 to an Ability Score of your choice
  • Synergistic Abilities: Deductive Intuition (Intelligence [Investigation] and Wisdom [Insight] checks get an extra 1d4 added to them)
  • Other Abilities: Darkvision, Fey Ancestry, Skill Versatility, Magical Detection, Spells of the Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Inquisitive (Rogue)

Mark of Handling Human

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Wisdom, +1 to another Ability Score of your choice
  • Synergistic Abilities: Wild Intuition (When making a Wisdom [Animal Handling] or Intelligence [Nature] check, you can add a 1d4 bonus to the roll)
  • Other Abilities: Primal Connection, The Bigger They Are, Spells of the Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Artificer, Eldritch Knight

Mark of Making Human

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 to an Ability Score of your choice
  • Synergistic Abilities: Artisan’s Intuition (When you make an Intelligence [Arcana] or Ability Check with Artisan’s Tools, you can add 1d4 to the roll)
  • Other Abilities: Artisan’s Gift, Spellsmith, Spells of the Mark
  • Suggested Classes: Artificer, Wizard

Ibis-Headed Aven

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Dexterity, +1 Intelligence
  • Synergistic Abilities: Kefnet’s Blessing (You add half your proficiency bonus to any Intelligence check that doesn’t get your proficiency bonus)
  • Other Abilities: N/A
  • Suggested Classes: Artificer, Wizard, Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight

Loxodon

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom
  • Synergistic Abilities: Keen Smell (Advantage on Wisdom [Perception] and Intelligence [Investigation] checks that involve smell)
  • Other Abilities: Powerful Build, Loxodon Serenity, Natural Armor, Trunk
  • Suggested Classes: Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, Inquisitive (Rogue)

Vedalken

  • Stat Bonus: +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom
  • Synergistic Abilities: Vedalken Dispassion (advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws), Tireless Precision (Grants proficiency in either Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Performance, or Sleight of Hand, plus one tool, and allows an additional 1d4 bonus to any checks made with the chosen skill or tool)
  • Other Abilities: Partially Amphibious
  • Suggested Classes: Wizard, Artificer, Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster

Top 5 Intelligent Races in 5e

Here are some of the, in my opinion, best races from the above list. Of course, the synergy with specific classes is not always obvious and not always Intelligence based, but even if you disagree with the list, these analyses should help you formulate your own preferences. Figuring out how to choose a good race for your Intelligence-based character can be just as difficult as choosing the race itself.

Mark of Detection Half Elf

The Mark of Detection Half Elf grants a +2 to Wisdom and +1 to a score of your choice. However, if you use Tasha’s race rules, a +2 to Dexterity and +1 to Intelligence make a perfect build for an Inquisitive rogue.

In fact, pretty much any character oriented around Investigation will work great with this subrace. In campaigns that allow you to make frequent use of Investigation, that extra 1d4 will be very handy.

Mark of Warding Dwarf

The base +2 Constitution and +1 Intelligence bonuses for this dwarf subrace are well suited for an Arcane Trickster. Plus, the subrace gets a bonus with thieves’ tools as well.

If you use Tasha’s race rules and play a wizard, the additional spells granted by the Mark of Warding are excellent, and several of them are not on the wizard’s already large spell list by default. Armor of Agathys and Antilife Shell are both excellent spells that a wizard normally doesn’t get. This subrace works best with Abjuration wizards.

Yuan-Ti Pureblood

While these guys only get a +1 to Intelligence, they have some excellent abilities. Magic Resistance is frankly amazing at higher levels, and if you’re a spellcaster, you’ll likely be targeted by spells first.

Immunity to poison is nothing to scoff at either; complete immunity in a racial ability is rare.

Plus, it’s just pretty funny to be able to cast Animal Friendship an unlimited number of times on only snakes. I’m sure some kind of weird tactic can be born from that ability.

Eladrin

Eladrin are a solid choice for either Eldritch Knights or wizards (with Tasha’s alternate race rules).

The biggest boon from this elf subrace is Fey Step, which allows a cast of Misty Step that regenerates on short rest or a long rest rather than just a short rest. Quick teleportation is always handy, whether you’re a melee character looking to reposition or a wizard looking to escape.

Fairy

The only class on this list not mentioned elsewhere, Fairies get to choose by default where their +2 and +1 Ability Score increases go.

They make excellent wizards simply because of their ability to fly. The ability is restricted by medium or heavy armor, but this doesn’t matter for wizards.

They also get a few limited-use spells, including Faerie Fire, which is not on the wizard spell list. This is one of the best lower-level counters for invisibility and a great way of getting advantage.

Between flight and Faerie Fire, a Fairy is an excellent race for pure wizards.

How To Use Intelligence Intelligently

While wizards, artificers, Arcane Tricksters, and Eldritch Knights make use of Intelligence for their spellcasting, the Ability Score doesn’t often come up outside of those instances.

However, if you pick one of these classes and will have a high Intelligence score anyway, you really want to make the most use of it that you can.

Racial abilities that not only boost Intelligence but actively create opportunities for you to be particularly good at using that high Intelligence score are therefore highly sought after by those players who want to make their characters think.

Whether you’re making a wizard or Eldritch Knight character or simply want to make a character who relies more on their brains than their brawn, these lists will provide an excellent place to start sifting through the many, many racial options D&D 5e provides.