This is just the biggest Bruh Moment™ I've seen from WotC. Below lie my reasons:
1: Not all of the chosen classes get the same number of subclass features.
So never mind that they don't get their subclass at the same level, that’s been fixed in a merely decent way, but Bards don't even have a 10th level feature, so the 10th level feature of the Lorehold and Silverquill subclasses are straight out the window for them. That, or they get two features at 14th level, one of which has lost some umph.
2: They have no correlation between the chosen classes.
For example, take the Prismari subclass, available to the druid, wizard and sorcerer. It is all about being physically in the middle of the fight, giving you bonus action dashes and evasion to opportunity attacks, all while casting spells. AND IT’S AVAILABLE TO THE TWO PHYSICALLY WEAKEST CLASSES!?
2.5: The power levels are way off.
Sorcerers have, by general tradition, a grand once-per-long-rest feature, and it’s taking from that opportunity by making a feature only just good enough for a 14th level character.
3: They're taking from what the classes are.
Part of the reason why Tasha's subclasses were so good was because they had good synergy with the base class features. Spend Sorcery Points for this one thing, a use of Wild Shape for this other thing, Ki points to buff that thing that every Monk uses, and so on. But no, fuck that, let's make a fiddly-piddly middle ground where the class’ features don't matter.
4: Potential wasted on diversity.
The subclasses themselves are actually good, or at least they could be. Some of the features themselves are good, but flavor-wise they don't match with all classes, and it'd suck to have them making sense in all but one of their available classes.
4.5 Flavor unaccounted for.
Take the Prismari subclass again, a subclass with the idea of turning self-expression into a boost to your magical powers. AND IT'S NOT AVAILABLE TO THE VASTER CENTERED AROUND CASTING MAGIC THROUGH ART!?
5: It’s a half-measure.
If you don’t want the traditional roles of the class reinforced, make a subclass that marks a difference. We have the Hexblade and Bladesinger for those that don’t want to play a traditional caster or fighter, and that’s good, but now they’re working from the wrong end. Another reason why Tasha’s subclasses were that good is because the theme resonated with that of the base class. Now, the theme is just a middle point you can sway in either direction, for some reason.
6: Innovation is good, to an extent.
Part of the reason why 5e became so popular is its accessibility, yes, and after a few years the system felt stale, also yes. After that, Tasha’s came out and innovated on the existing classes with variant features, that also gets a yes. Now, it feels like WotC are taking the steamthey've gathered and they're trying to force it to stay, trying to build on that success with even more innovation, but it just doesn’t feel right, it feels maybe a little desperate, half-baked.
7: Of course, it's a Magic: The Gathering crossover.
Not that either of the two released books has been bad, but getting this cross-promotional content isn’t really what I personally want, and I don’t think I’m alone. Books like Xanathar’s and Tasha’s, those with a huge load of content, take time and I get that, and I’m happy to get smaller, more specifically oriented books like Van Richten’s in between, but having a third crossover with MTG while only a small percentage of the playerbase actively enjoys the card game is, if nothing else, odd. Not to mention, there’s classic D&D setting that the audience is clamoring for, settings like Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Planescape, a whole list’s worth.
8 (maybe 7.5): it's needless.
Instead of attempting to make a middle ground in between classes, WotC should just make a planeshifter or MTG Mage class and give these subclasses to it, and be done with it.
- The Order of Scribes wizard feels like it should’ve been two different subclasses
- Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Confirmed Subclasses
- Sorcerer is the only class that doesnt learn how to do “its thing” any better. I think Sterling Vermin Co found an interesting answer to this.
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