Ranged Artillerist Artificer 5e Build – race, feats and how to use the class

Class builds can be an overwhelming experience in the Dungeons and Dragons world. Artificers are the tinkerer and tester class that uses tools as conduits to access and delve into the world of arcane magic. A Ranged Artillerist is an Artificer that specializes in area-of-effect combat, from lobbing blasts at distant enemies to creating explosions for any unfortunate ones who get close enough.

The hope for this guide is to help ease the burden and workload of creating your character. This guide will discuss the Artificer class under the Ranged Artillerist specialty.

Where can I find the Ranged Artillerist Artificer?

The Artificer class level chart can be found on Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Page 10.

The Artificer spell list is found on page 12.

The Ranged Artillerist specialty is found on page 17.

5e artificer ranged build

What do I need for a ranged Artillerist Artificer


In order of importance: Intelligence, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom/Charisma, Strength.

    • Intelligence is responsible for your damage and spell success rate.
    • Dexterity is responsible for damage, AC, and initiative.
    • Constitution is responsible for HP.
    • Wisdom/Charisma are nice to have for spell saving throws.
    • Strength is overall useless for a Ranged Artillerist Artificer.


    • High Elf +2 Dexterity +1 Intelligence
    • Stout Halfling +2 Dexterity +1 Constitution
    • Forest Gnome +2 Intelligence +1 Dexterity
    • Rock Gnome +2 Intelligence +1 Constitution
    • Human Variant +1 in 2 stats of choice, 1 skill of choice, 1 feat of choice

    Personally, I prefer gnomes. Gnomes have an excellent racial feature called Gnome Cunning, which grants them advantage on all Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom saving throws against magic. Specifically, I like the Rock Gnome, as they possess innate tinkering abilities.

    As for the human variant, there are several feats that can pair well with the artificer:

    • Alert:+5 to initiative, can’t be surprised, no advantage on attack rolls for hidden enemies
    • Lucky: Have 3 rerolls every long rest
    • Keen Mind: +1 Intelligence, remember everything within the past month
    • Observant: +5 to passive perception/investigation, +1 Intelligence, and the ability to read lips
    • Sharpshooter: no disadvantage for long range attacks, ignore cover, and an option to take -5 on a ranged attack roll to do +10 damage on hit.
      Spell Sniper: +1 cantrip, ignore cover, double attack spell range
    • Weapons Master: +1 Dexterity, gain proficiency with 4 weapons of choice.

    Background and Skills

    While any background can work with any class from a narrative standpoint, these backgrounds will capitalize on the stat optimization of the Artificer.

      Sage- Arcana, History
      Urchin- Sleight of Hand, Stealth
      Artificer Skills- Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Sleight of Hand.

      I would prioritize Investigation, Sleight of Hand, Arcana/History because these skills are based on Intelligence.

      Ranged artificer build 5e

      What are the class features?

      Level 1 Magical Tinkering

      Imbue tiny non magical objects with benign magical properties like replaying sounds or messages.

      Level 2 Infuse Item

      You know 4 infusions and gain the ability to infuse magic into two items and turn them magical. 

      More infusions known increase as Artificer level increases:
      6 at level 6, 8 at level 10, 10 at level 14, and 12 at level 18.

      Additional items are granted at higher levels: three at level 6, four at level 10.

      Level 3 Right Tool for the Job

      For 1 hour, produce one set of artisan tools the artificer needs to create her magic. Can be done during a short or long rest.

      Level 4 Ability Score Improvement

      +2 in stat of choice, (see stat priority) Repeats at level 8, 12, 16, and 19.
      Can substitute stat gain for gaining a feat.

      Level 6 Tool Expertise

      Proficiency bonus x2 for ability checks used with tools.

      Level 7 Flash of Genius

      Gain the option to use your reaction to add your Intelligence modifier to a creature’s ability check or saving throw, within 30 feet of sight. Can be used as many times as your Intelligence modifier.

      Level 10 Magic Item Adept

      Can attune to four magical items at once.
      Crafting common/uncommon magic items costs half the gold and a quarter of the time.

      Level 11 Spell Storing Item

      Store one level 1 or level 2 spell in a weapon that you use. The spell requires 1 action to cast, and does not need to be prepared.

      Level 14 Magic Item Savant

      Can attune to five magical items at once. Additionally, you can ignore class, race, spell, and level requirements for magical item attunement.

      Level 18 Magic Item Master

      Can attune to six magical items at once.

      Level 20 Soul of Artifice

      +1 to saving throws for each attuned item (max +6). When reduced to 0 hit points, use a reaction to end an item attunement and drop to 1 hit point instead.

      What are the unique features?

      Level 3 Tool Proficiency

      Gain proficiency with woodcarver’s tools.

      Level 3 Ranged Artillerist unique spells

      Gain access to a spell list that you will always have prepared.

      Level 3 Eldritch Cannon

      The stationary or mobile handheld cannon is a powerful device with an impressive AC of 18 and HP equal to 5 times your artificer level (15 to start). As a bonus action, you can trigger a cannon effect if it is within 60 feet of you. Additionally, if you have equipped the cannon with mobility features such as wheels or legs, you can use the same bonus action to make the cannon move itself up to 15 feet.

      Cannon effects are:

      • Flamethrower – force Dexterity saving throw in a 15-foot cone and take 2d8 fire damage
      • Force Ballista – make a ranged spell attack on 1 creature within 120 feet, on hit take 2d8 force damage.
      • Protector – all chosen creatures within 10 feet of cannon receive 1d8 temporary hit points + Intelligence modifier.

      Level 5 Arcane Firearm

      Turn a wand, staff, or rod into your arcane firearm and use it as an arcane focus. Gain +1d8 damage on spells cast through his firearm. 

      Level 9 Explosive Cannon

      +1d8 for canon damage rolls. Gain the option to detonate cannon as an action, all creatures within 20 feet of it make a Dexterity saving throw or take 3d8 force damage.

      Level 15 Fortified Position

      Allies within 10 feet of the cannon have half cover (+2 AC and Dexterity saving throws).

      You can create two cannons within the same action (must use a different spell slot for each). Can activate both with a single bonus action.

      How do I play as the Ranged Artillerist Artificer?

      1. Combat 

      Take the Sharpshooter feature and “call your shot” almost every time. This feature is incredibly useful for dispatching easy-to-hit creatures with low hit points. By accepting a -5 penalty to your attack rolls, you gain a +10 damage bonus on hit. This extra damage is akin to scoring a critical hit each time, effectively doubling your projectile damage.


      Alternatively, you can choose the Weapons Master feat and become proficient with the hand crossbow. With this feat, you can wield a shield to increase your AC by +2 while simultaneously shooting with a hand crossbow in your other hand. Normally, this combination would be hindered by the need for a free hand to load the crossbow, but this issue is resolved with a repeating shot infused weapon attunement.

      This attunement allows the artificer to ignore the loading property of the weapon and generate ammunition for it. However, it’s important to consult with your DM beforehand to confirm the availability of this feat.

      Block pathways

      Strategically block off pathways with your cannon and then detonate them. Enhance your weapon damage with the aid of cannons and spells.

      The Ranged Artillerist excels as a surprisingly effective support unit, granting allies temporary health and cover at higher levels. Position your cannon behind the front lines to provide bonus temporary hit points, allowing the magical construct to absorb some of the incoming damage for your teammates.

      2. Adventure 

      Use the protector cannon effect in continuously damaging environments. Sometimes, there are hazards that consistently inflict damage, like the intense heat in a volcano. A protector cannon can help mitigate or even nullify such damage from low-damage hazards.

        Create and deploy cannons as landmines during an escape to discourage any pursuers.

        3. Role Play

        Utilize the Flash of Genius ability for failed ability checks and saving throws. This ability can be used after a failed roll but before the roll’s results are announced. However, refrain from using it on critical failures, as no bonus can overcome a critical failure.

        4. General Tips and Tricks

        Always remember that as a Ranged Artillerist, you have the shield spell prepared. It can be used as a reaction to increase your AC by +2 and grant immunity to magic missiles until your next turn. With medium armor, dexterity, a physical shield, and the shield spell, Ranged Artillerists can become quite challenging to hit.

        Alternate bonus actions

        Alternate between the bonus actions of your cannons to snipe distant enemies, incinerate those nearby, or bolster the hit points of your allies. Keep in mind that temporary hit points do not stack, so consider which allies still have temporary hit points before activating the Protector cannon effect.

        Mending cantrip

        Cannons can be mended using the Mending cantrip, but doing so requires an action. Gauge the need to mend based on the distance of enemies from your location. If the cannon is likely to be destroyed regardless, you can either throw or command the cannon to move and then detonate it. Generally, it is more advantageous to deal damage if the cannon is about to disappear. Customize your cannons according to the terrain and situation. Since you have control over the cannon’s design when summoning it, always provide it with some form of mobility.

        Think about magical items

        Take note of the magical items your party currently possesses, as well as the list of infusions and magical items you can replicate. Recreating magical weapons will require time and gold. Infused items can be given to your allies to strengthen their defenses.

        Feel free to experiment with magical items intended for other classes or races, as the Artificer class can bypass magical equipment requirements. Keep in mind that characters can typically only attune to three magical items at a time, but Artificers can increase this limit to a maximum of six attunements.

        Notable Infusions

        Repeating Shot – Attunement

        Grant a ranged weapon with ammunition a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. The loading property is ignored, and ammunition for the weapon is automatically created. This enhancement is a fundamental aspect of being a ranged artificer.

        Returning Weapon – Attunement

        Grant a thrown weapon a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. After the weapon is thrown, it immediately returns to the artificer’s hand. This is an alternative option for ranged artificers. Please note that thrown weapons generally have shorter range compared to other ranged weapons.

        Boots of the Winding Path – Attunement

        As a bonus action, you can teleport to an unoccupied space within 15 feet. The targeted space must have been occupied by a creature within the same turn. This item is excellent for hit-and-run attacks, allowing you to quickly get within striking distance of an enemy and then teleport back to a safe distance.

        Mind Sharpener

        On a failed Constitution saving throw, spend 1 charge to pass instead.
        This has 4 charges and regains 1d4 charges per long rest.

        Replicate Magic Item

        Recreate a magic item from Dungeon Master’s Guide from the given list.
        This infusion can be taken multiple times, attunement is based on the item created.

        Spell-Refueling Ring – Attunement

        As an action, recover 1 spell slot up to level 3. 1 use per day.

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