Heya folks, welcome back to another article of Underrated or Underpowered! I think today is going to be our first truly controversial topic, since most of us know a fairly popular tiefling cleric that follows this domain! However, I’ll do my best to be unbiased and deliver a fair assessment about the Trickery Domain Cleric this week. Let’s go!
Now you see me…
The Trickery Cleric takes an interesting diversion from the typical clerics that are often divided into making their spells better or their martial prowess better. The Trickery Cleric focuses on stealth and deception, for both themselves and their teammates. Let’s take a look at what they get.
At first level the Trickery Domain receive charm person and disguise self. In tandem the two spells do a great job of information gathering and on their own, while they’re not the most contested 1st level spells, they definitely hold their own and I would never say no to getting those two spells for free, always prepared.
Second level brings mirror image and pass without a trace. The first one is an incredible defensive spell that decreases the chance an enemy will hit you to 25% on their first attack against you. I could go on and on about why I love mirror image, but I’ll save that for another time. For now? Just know that it is an incredibly useful defensive buff that DOES NOT use your concentration. Pass without a trace is the be all end all stealth buff. It’ll make your paladin in plate armor actually roll above a 10 and your rogue roll somewhere into the stratosphere. Having this not restricted to the druid or the ranger is incredibly nice, and it’ll always be prepared for you!
Third level brings blink and dispel magic. Blink is another amazing defensive spell that gives you a 50% chance of just bouncing out of the world and also doesn’t require concentration. Dispel magic is one of those spells you never want to have prepared but regret when you don’t have it prepared, so having it always prepared for free is always welcome.
Fourth Level brings dimension door and polymorph. A free GTFO button, dimension door has so many uses that can save you and an ally, get you and an ally into an advantageous spot, or do a million other things with a 500 ft. teleport. Polymorph on a cleric?? Yes please. Polymorph is in my opinion a super fitting spell, since you can turn bulettes into turtles and your friends into giant apes. Great spell, even better that you don’t have to put effort into preparing it.
Finally, Fifth level brings dominate person and modify memory. While dominate person is a 5th level spell, it only lasts a minute at that level so you may wanna consider upcasting this one. However, complete control over someone, moral problems aside, can be very beneficial to you. Modify memory is actually a spell I’ve never used, so I don’t have much input on it, but from what I can tell it seems like a spell that can be VERY useful when it is useful.
All in all, I think that the Trickery Domain’s spell list is actually incredible, and probably one of the better ones available to a cleric domain. It includes a nice mix of utility and defense, which are a cleric’s best friends!
The first class feature available at level 1 is Blessing of the Trickster, which lets you touch a creature that isn’t you and give that creature advantage on stealth checks for an hour. If you’re stealthing as a group, consider using this not on your rogue/monk that has a +9 to stealth at level 1, but your paladin/fighter that probably has disadvantage on their stealth checks. However, if your rogue is going out to do some solo crime? A pat on the back for them never hurt. I think this ability is great, and the fact that you can’t use it on yourself really solidifies its niche as a support ability and not a selfish one.
The second class feature available at level 2 is the Trickery Domain’s Channel Divinity, Invoke Duplicity. For a minute, you concentrate and create an illusory double of yourself that appears anywhere within 30 feet of you. You can move the double with your bonus action up to 30 feet to a point you can see as long as it is within 120 feet of you. The kicker is that you can cast spells from the duplicate, but must be using your own senses and if the duplicate and yourself are within 5 feet of a creature, you have advantage on attack rolls against that creature. I’m very back and forth about this ability. Being able to stand behind a wall and guide your duplicate to do all your dirty work is definitely a boon, allowing you to deliver a ranged cure wounds, reach an enemy that’s farther away with your sacred flame, or any other number of cool things. If your DM is cool and runs creatures according to their intelligence, your duplicate may even tank a hit or two (just like Jester’s in the gnoll fight early in the campaign). On the other hand, you know just how much I value my concentration… and this takes it! I also think you’re wasting some of your awesome defensive spells that you get from both being a cleric and your spell list by standing in the back of the fight and sending your duplicate out. However, I think the final decision for me is that this ability is so unique and cool, I can’t help but enjoy it!
A Trickery Cleric’s third class feature is Cloak of Shadows, another Channel Divinity feature. As an action, you can become invisible until the end of your next turn. If you attack or cast a spell, you become visible again. A simple ability – contrary to Invoke Duplicity – Cloak of Shadows is another hit or miss ability for me. It takes an action to use it, meaning that you can’t really do much else with your turn unless you already have a spiritual weapon or other spell effect active. There’s also the whole argument that even though you’re invisible, you’re not “hidden” (which I actually think is insanely dumb) so enemies will still, “technically know where you are.” However, I like to think of out of combat utility, and there’s so much you could do with 6 seconds of invisibility outside of combat. Maybe you could even work with your DM to give it different effects out of combat, but I think that overall as the ability is, it’s kind of lackluster for a channel divinity.
At 8th level the Trickery Cleric gets Divine Strike, granting their weapon attacks 1d8 poison damage. Quite frankly I couldn’t think of a worse damage type to get from this class feature. If you’re taking advantage of your amazing defensive spells, getting into the fight with Divine Strike isn’t a bad idea, it’d just be nicer if it was a… well you know. Better damage type.
The Trickery Cleric’s capstone is Improved Duplicity and lets you summon four duplicates with your Invoke Duplicity instead of just one. The same problems I had with the original Invoke Duplicity I have with this one. If your enemies are conscious that they are illusions and don’t target them at all, that kind of sucks. You could have each duplicate follow around each party member and sort of pocket heal them. I feel like, as amazingly cool as this ability is, it just doesn’t provide a lot of in combat use compared to other capstones.
… now you don’t!
So I already critiqued basically all the abilities already, so I guess this is where I’m just going to go ahead and compare the trickery cleric to other subclasses and what not. In combat, the Trickery Cleric surely feels lackluster compared to the likes of a Light Cleric, War Cleric, or a Forge Cleric. Where I think the Trickery Cleric truly shines is out of combat. Similar to say, a Knowledge Cleric, the Trickery Cleric’s suite of abilities allows it to function extremely well in subterfuge type situations. If your party is in a pickle and you need to get out, whether it’s talking up guards with charm person, dominate person, and modify memory or just sneaking past with Blessing of the Trickster and pass without a trace, the Trickery Cleric will always have a trick up their sleeve.
I also think Trickery Cleric could be a pretty neat multiclass for a rogue or monk type. Thematically, your rogue could escape a near death experience through sheer luck and turn to thank Tymora for it. You could always reflavor the abilities if you don’t want them to be so magical, such as Blessing of the Trickster could be your rogue putting some padding/cloth underneath the fighter’s plate armor. While Wisdom is probably not a Rogue’s highest stat, sometimes it’d be cool to see those flavorful multiclasses every once in a while.
The Final Verdict
Now, for the decision we’ve all been waiting for. I think that the Trickery Domain for the Cleric is… Underrated! I like to look at the class both in and out of combat, and I think that what the class lacks in combat it definitely makes up for out of combat. Their domain spell list does a great job of helping to carry the class, and I personally love the amount of amazing things you could probably do with Invoke Duplicity. A creative player can find amazing use out of a Trickery Cleric, showing that there’s more to clerics than just healing your allies.
Thanks guys for checking out the article! I feel like this topic is pretty hotly debated overall, and I just wanted to put my own two cents in on the matter. If you feel like discussing, feel free to do so in our forums or on any of our social media! We always appreciate having you guys here and hopefully you’re enjoying reading through our articles as much as we enjoy writing them. Thank you again, so much 🙂