Brace yourselves because we’re about to get nerdy in here. We’re taking the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes off the big screen and sending them to the tabletop instead.
Which Dungeons and Dragons class would each of these heroes play? Let’s roll for initiative and find out!
Note: The following classes are based on current 5e rules. Also, there are mild spoilers for the MCU!
Hawkeye – Ranger
C’mon, there’s no real question about what class Hawkeye would play, is there? He’d be a Ranger. But what kind of Ranger? First introduced in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the Gloom Stalker ranger is a silent predator who lurks in the shadows, dealing incredible damage and then vanishing from sight again. This class is especially fitting when Clint Barton was Ronin.
Gloom Stalker is a powerful class, but they basically do one thing: put arrows into their foes from the maximum possible distance. Interestingly, Kate Bishop isn’t a Ranger. She’d be an Arcane Archer Fighter, using magic to create a range of magical effects with her arrows.
Black Widow – Monk
Now, a lot of nerds on the internet are going to tell you that Natasha Romanov is a Rogue. However, if you look more closely at her actual fighting style, I think you’ll find that Way of the Shadow Monk makes more sense. Rogues are stealthy and prefer to avoid fighting unless they can ambush their target for Sneak Attack. Monks, on the other hand, specialize in hitting as many people as possible as often as possible.
I mean, look at this scene from Iron Man 2 and tell me she’s not a Monk. The text from the Player’s Handbook about this subclass might have been written about her:
Monks of the Way of Shadow follow a tradition that values stealth and subterfuge. These monks might be called ninjas or shadowdancers, and they serve as spies and assassins. Sometimes the members of a ninja monastery are family members, forming a clan sworn to secrecy about their arts and missions.
Iron Man – Artificer
Iron Man might have been the easiest MCU hero to port into Dungeons and Dragons. Artificers were first introduced in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and they are unlike any other class in the game. They are engineers and inventors, using their clever minds and whatever materials they can find to create magical potions, powerful weapons, or incredible armor.
Tony Stark would absolutely roll an Armorer Artificer. This subclass is essentially magical Iron Man. All Artificers can inspire their friends (Flash of Genius) and create gear and gadgets for themselves and others (Infusions). You could even argue that J.A.R.V.I.S. was a Homunculus Servant.
Thor – Cleric
Wait a sec, aren’t Clerics supposed to be healers? Well, not all Clerics are cut from the same (holy) cloth. Thor would play a Tempest Domain Cleric. This subclass can use spells like Call Lightning, Shatter, and Thunderwave. And yes, Clerics can wield war hammers.
The only tricky part with this D&D build is that a Cleric’s primary stat is Wisdom. I mean, Thor obviously has high Constitution and Strength scores, but if he wants to excel in the party, he really needs to start putting points into Wisdom.
Loki – Rogue
While I don’t think you can fully call Loki an MCU hero, I couldn’t leave him out of the party. Our boy is definitely an Arcane Trickster Rogue. His use of illusions, stealth, and magic maps onto the God of Mischief pretty perfectly. He can sling out a Minor Illusion or Disguise Self, but he still gets into the mix with thrown daggers or a rapier.
Loki would also pick up the Sorcerer Adept feat, giving him access to more options with his magic. This tracks with Loki’s innate magic from his Frost Giant heritage.
The Hulk – Barbarian
The Hulk perfectly represents the Barbarian class. When he goes into a rage—aka Hulks out—he becomes a nearly unstoppable force. Wearing no armor (those little purple shorts aren’t gonna block much) and charging into battle, he can absorb far more punishment than an ordinary hero.
The Hulk would probably go for the classic Berserker subclass, which includes an ability called Mindless Rage that makes a lot of sense for his character. Bruce Banner, on the other hand, would be an Alchemist Artificer. Although that rage is always there, just beneath the surface, so maybe not…
Captain America – Paladin
Was there ever a more Lawful Good character in the MCU than Captain America? As an Oath of Devotion, he’s your classic pally, complete with a mighty shield. Yeah, it’s kind of a boring class, but it’s really powerful.
“The Oath of Devotion binds a Paladin to the loftiest Ideals of justice, virtue, and order,” according to the Player’s Handbook. These characters are honest and courageous, and they hold their duty and honor above all else. They protect others as well as deal damage.
Cap would certainly have picked up the Shield Master feat as soon as possible. But would he do even more damage if he used a war hammer—let’s watch him wield Mjolnir and find out!
Spider-Man – Monk/Bard
I’ll be honest: This one was hard to figure out. Spider-Man’s endless quips reminded me of the Bard abilities Cutting Words and Vicious Mockery. However, the way he moves around the battlefield feels more like a Way of the Open Hand Monk. Bards get Thorn Whip at level ten, but I think he’d stick around at the College of Lore just long enough to pick up a few Bardic tricks.
Instead, he’d pick up the Magic Initiate feat and learn Thorn Whip as one of his cantrips. If you throw in a Step of the Wind and a Web spell now and then, you get something close to Peter Parker.
Black Panther – Druid
This was another tricky one. T’Challa’s story has elements of the Path of the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian, he feels more like a Circle of the Land Druid to me. I think you could argue that when he’s in Black Panther mode, he metaphorically shapeshifts. He might be casting Primal Savagery, a cantrip from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything that causes the caster to grow teeth or claws.
His connection to the realm of Wakanda is his biggest asset—that, and the fact that his sister, Shuri, is clearly a Battle Smith Artificer, supplying him with plenty of toys to play with. T’Challa would take the Inspiring Leader feat early on, as well as the Athlete feat to boost his movement and climbing abilities.
Scarlet Witch – Sorcerer
Marvel messed up when naming Wanda Maximov’s alter ego. Scarlet Sorceress was right there! Her abilities are much less controlled and intentional than a Wizard. She’s incredibly powerful, of course, but that power comes from her heritage as a mutant and not from years of careful study. (You could make an argument that Wanda’s exposure to the Mind Stone means she’s more of a Warlock than a Sorcerer, but let’s not get too far into reeds, okay?)
Wanda would be an Aberrant Mind Sorcerer, which gives her more access to spells than the usual Sorcerer. This subclass was introduced on Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and like most of the content from that book, it’s a lot of fun. You can mix and match from the Wizard and Warlock spell lists, then spice up your spells with Metamagic. This type of Sorcerer excels at Psionic (aka mental) magic like telekinesis, but they can also through around a lot of raw power.
Read More: Wanda Maximoff Is a Style Icon
Captain Marvel – Fighter/Warlock
This is a weird build that no actual D&D player is likely to pick up, but Carol Danvers is already OP’ed in the MCU, so let’s just go with it and see what happens.
First, she has two levels of Fighter, giving her a fun bag of tricks like Action Surge and Second Wind, as well as the unarmed fighting style. Although the origin of her powers (at least in the MCU) is similar to Scarlet Witch, I think that Captain Marvel makes more sense to multiclass into a Warlock.
After being exposed to the Tesseract, she gains superhuman powers. Since she has healing powers—and since most of the other Warlock patrons are at least a little evil—she’d be a Celestial Warlock. Her photon blast maps nicely onto Eldritch Blast. She would also get access to the Fly spell and the Armor of Agathys, which provides magical protection and deals damage to anyone who attacks you.
Doctor Strange – Wizard
Although Doctor Strange is “the Sorcerer Supreme,” he’s not a Sorcerer in D&D. Stephen Strange would be a Wizard because he had to work hard to learn his magic. The dude clearly has a very high Intelligence score, which is a Wizard’s primary stat.
It’s harder to pin down which flavor of Wizard he’d be. Doctor Strange throws around some Evocation and Abjuration magic, as well as Divination, but I think he’d go with Chronurgy, a time-bending magical specialty introduced in The Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. Some of this subclass’s abilities are literally world-breaking, but my favorite ability is Chronal Shift. This allows the caster to use their reaction to change a roll that already happened, giving his friends a cosmic do-over.