Ultimate Archer: Sharpshooter+Crossbow Expert (5e Optimized Character Build) (2023)


  • 1 Concept
  • 2 Race and Ability Scores
  • 3 Class and Leveling
  • 4 Damage
  • 5 Variants
    • 5.1 Stealth Archer - 250 damage in one turn: Fighter 4 /Ranger 5/Rogue 11
    • 5.2 Blessed Bolter=


An Archer takes a deep breath. Every shot counts. He raises his crossbow, and begins to fire. The orc burning the bar falls first, then the one next to her. He rolls through a nearby door, already choosing his next target. Soon the 2 chieftan guards have holes punched into their heart. The blood thirsty brute looks up in horror and surprise. He and all his men were dead before the realized what happened. The archer releases a held breath. Every shot counts.

(Video) The Ranged Fighter - D&D: Optimized #2

Want to play a high damage archer? Well then this is the build for you! The concept is fairly simple and many people have their unique versions of it. This will adress the optimal build for getting the most damage you can out of an arrow or any ranged weapon.

Race and Ability Scores[edit]

Race: Human Variant is the fastest way to get this build to come online and what will be assumed to be used. However, other races are viable they just take longer to become the levels of broken this does

  • Feat - Crossbow Expert: due to how the wording on this feat works, you can use your action to attack with a hand crossbow then fire again with it as a bonus action. This extra attack is a huge damage increase for any ranged build that most can't compete with.
  • Skill - Perception: for the flavor and being able to spot your targets.

Ability Scores:

  • Point buy: Str 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10 (after racial bonuses)
  • Standard Array: Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Class and Leveling[edit]

We will be going into the math later, but the highest damage you can deal is as a Fighter. This is because of a feat you'll be taking at level 4.


  • Level 1: Fighter, Archery Fighting Style
  • Level 3: Any Martial Archetype works, but we are going to recommend the Battle Master for potential bonuses to hit and damage and for utility shots.
  • Level 4: Shaprshooter Feat: -5 Accuracy, +10 damage. The Archery fighting style reduces that penalty down to only -3.
  • Level 6: Dexterity +2
  • Level 8: Dexterity +2
  • Level 12: Magic Initiate - Warlock or Ranger. Get the spell Hex or Hunter's Mark
  • Level 14: Martial Adept Feat to give you extra uses of your Superiority Die and more options
  • Levels 16 and 19: You've already gotten the most damage you can out of archery. Customize with ASI or feats as you want.
    • [READER EDIT] If you're really looking for a lot of extra damage, I recommend taking the Echo Knight subclass for fighter at level 3 over battle master, as Unleash Incarnation allows you to deal potentially double the damage with your echo-double.
      • [Reader Edit for the READER EDIT] Echo Knight would be good for different vantage points making your attack originate from either your position or the echo-double's position but if the echo-double attacks after you attack it is a melee attack and therefore not useful for the ranged build that this is presenting.


The main consideration is that the Fighter's 20th level ability is to attack 4 times with the Attack action. We add our bonus action using Crossbow Mastery for a total of 5 attacks per turn. To do that we are using a hand crossbow (1d6 damage). Sharpshooter adds +10 damage, plus another 5 from dexterity modifier. You can increase this damage for one hour using the Hex spell for an extra 1d6 (provided you don't lose concentration).

5x(1d6+1d6+10+5)= 110 average damage per round if all attacks hit, and your average attack roll will be an 18.5 if you're using the Sharpshooter feat without any magic items. A +1-3 weapon and other magic items will MASSIVELY increase your damage since it increases your odds of hitting and any damage bonuses are potentially multiplied by 5. One of the nice things of choosing Fighter over another class is that you can action surge to fire an additional 4 shots for 198 damage average in one round. Mix in your other class features and you're quickly dealing an incredible amount of damage.


Like all good builds, people have made many unique versions of this build. If you wand to add your own, let us know any results in the discussion page.

Stealth Archer - 250 damage in one turn: Fighter 4 /Ranger 5/Rogue 11[edit]

While raw damage might be useful in a straight fight, the utility of stealth can never be underestimated. In this build, you'll focus on gaining larger bursts of damage with things like Sneak Attack to deal heavy damage each turn.

(Video) The Crossbow Expert Battle Master: 5-Minute Builds

Race: While human might be optimal for a straight DPS build, a few others get competitive if you're dealing with stealth and advantage.

  • Wood-Elf/Half-Elf: With access to the incredible Elven Accuracy Feat (XGtE), you can fish for critical hits from the shadows.
  • Air Genasi: being able to hold your breath indefinitely can be useful for stealth in some pretty unique places.
  • Aarakocra: While almost universally banned, if your DM lets you play one, have fun sniping people from high in the air, using clouds for cover.

Leveling Guide

  • Levels 1-5 Ranger: Get Hunter's Mark and extra attack. Also, pick up the Archery Fighting Style. Take Horizon Walker or Hunter for the extra damage.
  • Levels 6-8 Fighter: Pick up Action Surge for some massive damage. Second Wind and an extra Fighting Style are pretty nice. Choose the Champion archetype for extra critical hit chance, something that gets even better combined with getting advantage in stealth and Sneak Attack damage.
  • Levels 9-19 Rogue: Increase your Dexterity and get some nice Sneak Attack damage. Bonus Action hide to consistently gain advantage when cover is available.
  • Level 20 Fighter: Just for a nice extra Feat or ASI. Take it at any point earlier if you feel the need.

Feats: Like all of these, pick up Sharpshooter + Crossbow expert. Beyond that, here are a few other options.

  • Elven Accuracy: an extra d20 when you have advantage compounds with the Champion archetypes improved critical hit chance for an occasional huge bump to damage!
  • Savage Attacker: While not very optimal, some people prefer it for consistency when it comes to damage.

Skill Analysis

(Video) The Samurai Archer (Kyūdōka): D&D 5e Character Build

  • Stealth Arrow: This build focuses on a stealth attack followed by a regular one after your position is revealed. You're fishing for a critical hit on your first attack which will compound with Sneak Attack and your ranger subclass damage boost.
  • Rapid Volley: Action Surge might not give you any extra sneak attacks, but you'll be able to volley your enemy for huge damage with just basic attacks thanks to Sharpshooter and Hunters Mark.

Blessed Bolter=[edit]

At an early point in this build, take one level as a Forge Cleric. You gain a lot of versatility, a boost to early rolls, access to a +1 weapon right away, and can aid your party frequently.

Blessing of the Forge: You can turn your hand crossbow into a +1 hand crossbow, adding +1 to attack and damage rolls. That's one more source negating the minus to attack rolls from sharpshooter, and a consistent +1 to damage.

You now have two 1st level spell slots. Always have the Bless spell prepared. This allows you to bless three creatures (including yourself), adding a d4 roll to all attack rolls and savings throws for 1 minute. That's ten rounds in combat. This minimally removes 1 (and possibly up to 4) from the attack roll reduction from sharp shooter. Your odds of hitting are considerably higher, as well as assisting a couple other members in your party.

As an added bonus for versatility to your character, you can pick up the Guidance Cantrip, and add 1d4 to every ability check (for yourself or anyone else you want) for the rest of the campaign. If you picked human as your race, grabbing the Light cantrip is also useful, since you don't have darkvision.

(Video) Basic guide to Crossbow Expert - Dnd 5e

Back to Main Page5e HomebrewOptimized Character Builds


1. The Ultimate Archer
(Treantmonk's Temple)
2. Crossbow Expert Sharpshooter power build. 6 Good things, 4 Problems & 11 solutions. DM Tips
(The Gamers' Hall)
3. How to Play an Archer in Dungeons and Dragons 5e
(Dungeon Dudes)
4. The Ultimate Assassin v2.0 - The Deadliest D&D 5e Archer Supernova Build Ever!
(Min/Max Munchking)
5. Fighter! Best archer build in the game? - Dungeons and dragons (ep2)
(Mr. Tarrasque)
6. Power Attack Guide for Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master in Dnd 5e! - Advanced guide
(Pack Tactics)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated: 02/14/2023

Views: 5763

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.