Why Wizard Is Pathfinder's Best Class
Jennifer Melzer
Pathfinder art Wizard in combat
Pathfinder art Wizard in combat
Pathfinder offers an abundance of character class options in Second Edition, making it easy for players to customize and build their character exactly the way they want. With 11 core classes and 29 others that explore niches and expand on other aspects, there are plenty of customizations to visit. Each class has its own powerful perks, and there are certainly reasons to try them all out. However, the Wizard outclasses them all.
One major appeal of tabletop-RPGs like Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons is the aspect of exploring and wielding magic. Wizards in these games are the very embodiment of magic, dedicating their entire lives to the pursuit of arcane knowledge and mastery. Those who play a Wizard through a long campaign will watch as their character becomes so powerful, they are virtually unstoppable.
However, Wizards don't start out with that kind of power. It would break the game if low-level characters had access to world-shattering magic, and there are some who feel that the power they acquire as they level up is game-breaking. On the contrary, getting a Wizard to a comfortable level where the player isn't constantly worried about them dying in combat takes time and dedication.
Human Wizard casting in Pathfinder
Human Wizard casting in Pathfinder
One of the most powerful aspects of the Wizard is their ability to study spell scrolls and accumulate magic. They may not be able to cast those spells right away, but while exploring the world around them and discovering magical items like scrolls, they can build a compendium of knowledge that will benefit the entire party later. As a result, it becomes the rest of the party's responsibility to protect Wizards, who usually tend to be physically frail, unable to wear armor because it restricts the movements necessary to cast spells. Keeping them far from the fray by holding enemies at bay is essential, and it provides them opportunities to expend ranged spell attacks and area-of-effect magic that allow them to contribute from a distance.
It's rare for a Wizard to reach for an actual weapon in combat, though it's more common at lower levels when their spell slots are more limited. They attack and defend with arcane abilities, many of which are related to the particular school of magic they specialize in. Wizards have the most expansive spell list in the game, with access to buffs that benefit the entire party, including the caster. Because their spell list is so versatile, they can help in nearly any situation, with many of their spells growing stronger as the Wizard gains levels.
Wizards automatically get the Scribe Scroll feat, meaning they can create scrolls for any spell they know and stockpile them for difficult combat situations. The more scrolls they have in their possession, the fewer spell slots they need to use. Though this can get expensive (scribing scrolls isn't free), a hearty adventuring party will gladly provide the resources needed because of how valuable these scrolls are are to everyone.
Pathfinder's iconic human Wizard, Ezren
Pathfinder's iconic human Wizard, Ezren
Every class has its pitfalls. Aside from being physically weak (Strength is often a dump-stat for Wizards), anti-magic fields are a spellcaster's greatest foe, making it difficult -- or even impossible -- for them to do what they do best. By the time Wizards reach level 20, they gain access to some of the most powerful spells in the game, making them a virtually unstoppable force that even the most fearsome of dragons aren't keen to face.
The Gate spell allows the Wizard to summon powerful extraplanar creatures to fight alongside them in battle, while Mass Suffocation spell allows the Wizard to draw the air from an enemy's lungs, provoking instant death if the target fails their saving throw. When casting Imprisonment, the enemy is trapped in a small sphere in a state of suspended animation and forced far below the surface of the ground. They are trapped there indefinitely, not aging or suffering any harm, and can only be freed with the Freedom spell.
Though it may take time to reach levels that make playing a Wizard worthwhile, the time and effort spent on building that kind of power pays off in a big way. The Wizard can easily become the most valuable member of an adventuring party, making them the best class in Pathfinder.