All Blood Hunter Subclasses, Ranked

Originally designed by the famed Matt Mercer of Critical Role, the Blood Hunter class is one of the most versatile classes available in Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike other classes that have a determined primary statistic, Blood Hunters get to choose between Intelligence or Wisdom as their hemocraft ability modifier.

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Hemocraft, better known as blood magic, is the class’s distinctive ability, and Blood Hunters make use of this power by damaging their own hit points in order to curse their enemies. However, there are many specific types of blood magic that are divided into separate subclasses.

4 Order Of The Profane Soul

egyptian warrior fights off animal mummies
Ancient Curse via Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft 

Members of this Blood Hunter order are quite similar to Warlocks in that they’ve made a deal with some sort of lesser evil in exchange for their hemocraft magic. In fact, this subclass has you look at the same exact patrons as the Warlock when you select the source of your power. Also like the Warlock, your selection will modify how the subclass plays.

Unfortunately, the pact magic feature you gain from this subclass pretty much amounts to being a less effective Warlock. If you thought Warlocks had it bad with spell slots, don’t even take a look at this subclass’ spell slot availability. You only have a single spell slot until you reach sixth level, at which point you get two spell slots for the rest of your character’s career. Furthermore, you don’t unlock third level spells until you reach level 13.

This subclass also gains the same war magic feature as Eldritch Knights, allowing you to make a weapon attack as a bonus action whenever you use your action to cast a cantrip. While mixing sword and sorcery is a fan-favorite playstyle, this subclass is simply the worst of the sword and sorcery options available. If you find yourself drawn towards playing this subclass, you’re really better off taking up an Eldritch Knight Fighter, Arcane Trickster Rogue, Bladesinger Wizard, or Hexblade Warlock.

3 Order Of The Mutant

Dungeons and Dragons Two Vampires Fighting With Longswords In Front Of Stained Glass Window
Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft art via Wizards of the Coast

The mutant order comes with a rather unique mechanic known as mutagens. These are passive benefits that you can apply to yourself as a bonus action, however, each mutagen also comes along with a downside. Thankfully, you can end the effects of any mutagen as an action, so you aren’t subject to the negative effects any longer than you feel is necessary.

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There are a wide variety of mutagen effects from temporary flight speed to damage resistance to increased damage capabilities and more. While these are great passives to access, the downsides of some of these effects are difficult to ignore. Many of them make it so that your character has disadvantage on some sort of saving throw, making you extra susceptible to common magical effects.

The seventh level feature Strange Metabolism patches this problem somewhat, thanks to the added ability to ignore a negative side effect for one minute as a bonus action. However, you can only do this once per long rest.

This feature also gives you immunity to poison damage as well as the poisoned condition which are both very common problems to encounter. All in all, this is an acceptable subclass; albeit one that will be difficult for all but the most skilled players to utilize properly.

2 Order Of The Ghostslayer

Strahd von Zarovich fights Azalin Rex
Creating Domains of Dread via Wizards of the Coast

This order is more similar to Paladins or Clerics as they have a zealous hatred of all things undead. It is also said to be the oldest and original Blood Hunter order. In the right campaign, this order has a chance of competing quite nicely with officially made material. This is thanks to the benefits gained from their two third level subclass features: rite of the dawn and curse specialist.

Rite of the Dawn is an additional crimson rite you learn when you pick up this subclass. Not only does it turn your rite damage into radiant damage (one of the best damage types in the game), but it also gives you resistance to necrotic damage and causes your weapon to shed bright light to a range of 20 feet. Additionally, when you hit an undead creature while this rite is active, you roll an additional rite damage die.

Normally, the targets of a Blood Hunter’s curses need to have blood in order for them to work. This is where curse specialist comes into play, allowing your curses to affect creatures whether they have blood or not. In other words, this feature overrides one of the Blood Hunter’s most obvious weaknesses as a class.

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The seventh level feature aether walk isn’t quite as exciting, but it does give you the ability to move through creatures or objects as if they were difficult terrain for a number of rounds equal to your hemocraft modifier. While this is certainly a memorable and cool ability, its usefulness definitely relies on the environment in which your adventures take place.

1 Order Of The Lycan

adventurers face werewolf
Chapter one intro Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft via Wizards of the Coast

The final, and unarguably best, of the Blood Hunter subclasses allows you to fulfill your dreams of playing a werewolf character. This sect of Blood Hunters uses the magic in their blood to subdue and harness the curse of lycanthropy, hopefully allowing them to use this ancient evil for the greater good.

In addition to gaining advantage on all Perception checks that rely on hearing or smell, this subclass also grants you the ability to transform into a hybrid werewolf form for one hour as a bonus action. The form is quite similar to a Barbarian’s rage ability as it gives you advantage on Strength checks and saving throws as well as resistance to nonmagical, nonsilvered bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

On top of all of that, it also gives you a +1 bonus to your AC (Armor Class) as long as you’re not wearing heavy armor and a +1 bonus to your melee damage rolls. Lastly, you gain access to an unarmed strike feature that deals 1d6 bludgeoning or slashing, and when you use this unarmed strike you can make an additional unarmed strike as a bonus action.

The cost of all of these boons is that you could potentially attack an ally if you have less than half your hit points remaining and fail a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw, however, after this single attack you regain full control of your character. When you think about it realistically, it’s really not that bad of a setback.

The seventh level feature of this subclass provides you with some extra mobility while also turning your unarmed attacks into +1 magic weapons. This damage and to hit bonus increases as you gain levels as well. All told, the Order of the Lycan is far more powerful than any of the other Blood Hunter subclass options available, with the exception of the Ghostslayer being potent in an undead-based campaign. So, the next time you want to run a werewolf fantasy-type character, don’t hesitate to roll up a Blood Hunter.

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