What is the best character class to play as in Lost Ark for PvE and PvP after the April update? When you first create a character in Lost Ark, you'll be tasked with picking a class from a list of seven options, and you'll notice that classes in this game are gender locked: Warriors are always male, while Assassins and Mages are always female. Martial Artists and Gunners have both male and female versions for you to choose from, but they're still separated out in character creation, since all subclasses in the game are available to just one gender.
The game's May 2022 update saw the introduction of the second new character class post-release. Just like with April's introduction of yet another female Martial Artist in the form of the Glaivier, the Destroyer belongs to the already very well-populated Warrior subclass. But what impact has this latest addition had on the game's meta, and is it worth making your next character a Detroyer? Read on for our comparative rankings of all 17 subclasses for both PvE and PvP activities to help you set up your perfect roster.
Lost Ark classes tier list
Best classes for PvP
- S Tier: Bard, Deadeye, Deathblade, Gunslinger, Paladin
- A Tier: Berserker, Glaivier, Gunlancer, Shadowhunter, Sorceress
- B Tier: Artillerist, Destroyer, Striker, Sharpshooter, Wardancer
- C Tier: Scrapper, Soulfist
Best classes for PvE
- S Tier: Bard, Berserker, Gunlancer, Gunslinger, Paladin
- A Tier: Artillerist, Deathblade, Glaivier, Sorceress, Striker
- B Tier: Destroyer, Scrapper, Shadowhunter, Sharpshooter, Soulfist
- C Tier: Deadeye, Wardancer
In total, there are 17 subclasses in Lost Ark, with seven options for male characters and nine for female characters. Whichever base class you choose to play as, you'll be taken through a brief tutorial, during which you're asked to choose a subclass for them to specialise in. With two exceptions — the male Martial Artist and female Gunner have just one subclass apiece — you'll have at least two or three options for what your character specialises in, based on their class and gender.
On this page we'll talk a bit more about each character class in detail, starting with our favourites in the S Tier and working our way down the list. Note that while each class and subclass is gender-locked, you can still customise the name and appearance of each character, so while we refer to these classes as "he" or "she", you're not locked into a particular design beyond gender and armour options when you choose a class.
Best Lost Ark PvE classes
S TierBard (Mage)
There are only two support classes in Lost Ark at the time of writing, and while they might not seem like the most exciting choices when you're just starting out, you'll quickly gain an appreciation for how important it is to have at least one on your roster as you approach the endgame. If you're looking to group up with other players then having a high-level Bard will be indispensable, as it's easily the most-requested class when forming parties, thanks to her possessing the best healing and shields in the game. Her only real downside is that she's not the best at playing an active role in combat, limiting her utility if you're mucking around in Arkesia solo; though her harp brings a whole suite of damage buffs and debuffs that benefit her team in a fight.
See our guide to the best Lost Ark Bard builds for PvE and PvP to learn how to kit out this powerful songress for your roster.Berserker (Warrior)
The Berserker may not be the most exotic choice, as he's Lost Ark's answer to the basic fighter from every RPG ever. However, that's a classic build for a reason; and while the Berserker might be the safe choice for players who aren't that confident of their survival skills yet, he really stands up to the game's challenges in the long term. He can buff both himself and his team with a 12% damage increase, and it doesn't take very long to level him up to a nigh-unstoppable damage-dealing machine. A solid choice for beginners, he nevertheless won't let you down if you choose to main him until the very end.
For everything you need to know about putting together this beefy warrior's best build, have a look at our Lost Ark Berserker build guide.Gunlancer (Warrior)
Players who consider themselves a little too savvy for the Berserker, but still crave the classic fighter experience, will want to add a Gunlancer to their roster. Beyond a doubt this is Lost Ark's tank class, with high HP and defence stats making him a great damage sponge alongside the ability to shield other characters and draw enemy attention to himself; and a special power that lets him interrupt attacks or sometimes even flat-out ignore boss mechanics. If your goal is to power through Lost Ark like a hot knife through butter, the Gunlancer is definitely your man (and that's without even getting into how cool his weaponry is on purely aesthetic grounds).
Check out our Lost Ark Gunlancer build guide for everything you need to know to get the most out of this class in both PvE and PvP.Gunslinger (Gunner — Female)
The Gunslinger is one of my personal favourites, and is among the best choices in the game for a PvE DPS class. Her ridiculously swift movement speed and her 10% increased crit buff mean that she's a sturdy option if you're playing solo. And if you're taking advantage of the MMO aspects of this MMORPG and playing with friends, happy days! Her crit buff benefits the entire group. The only real downside to the Gunslinger is that she can be tricky to get to grips with in the early game, but once you get your eye in you'll more than feel the payoff as you advance through the later sections.
For an in-depth look at the Gunslinger's kit, including the mini-arsenal she carries with her at all times, have a look at our Lost Ark Gunslinger build guide.Paladin (Warrior)
Support classes are in relatively short supply in Lost Ark and become increasingly vital as you approach the endgame; so the Paladin, like the Bard, get spots on the S-tier almost by default, and it's really a toss-up as to which is the better choice. For the Paladin's part, he's not quite in the Bard's league when it comes to healing and shielding his teammates, but he's more capable of taking an active role in combat thanks to his Warrior base class giving him access to higher attack and defence stats. In other words, he's a top choice if you're wanting to play a mixed sub-DPS/support role.
Be sure to visit our Lost Ark Paladin build guide to learn more about his various skills, sub-class specialisms, and late-game kit.
A TierArtillerist (Gunner — Male)
The Artillerist is something of a jack-of-all-trades, and though he may be master of none, that's not to say that he isn't very capable in every area he chooses to dip into. The Gunlancer is a better tank, the Bard provides better shield support, and there are other heavy damage dealers in the game whose movement speed isn't so encumbered. But the Artillerist plays all three roles pretty darned well, so if you're looking to low-key multiclass as a character who can switch between DPS and support as needed, you'll definitely want a member of this subclass on your roster.
A good build is essential for getting the most out of this class, so be sure to check out our best Lost Ark Artillerist build guide if you're planning on playing as this character.
My first Lost Ark character was a Deathblade, and it's not hard to see why this is a popular choice for newcomers: a Deathblade just looks incredibly cool wielding three swords while somehow managing not to cut her own hands off during the dizzying whirl of her attacks. I stand by my assertion that the Deathblade is a great starting character, and what's more, is one of the most fun classes to actually play as. However, as you advance through the game and both your roster and the challenges they face begin to level up, it's a sad truth that the Deathblade can't quite keep up. Her overall damage output at higher levels is way less than you'd expect, and other classes begin to make more sense if you're focussed on progressing through Lost Ark's grindy sections in the most efficient way.
The Deathblade is proving incredibly popular among western players, many of whom it seems are more than willing to overlook the class's shortcomings thanks to just how much fun you can have as her. Have a look at our Lost Ark Deathblade build guide to help you make the most of her undeniable potential.Glaivier (Martial Artist - Female)
The Glaivier is the first subclass added into the western release of Lost Ark post-launch, and to be honest it's a little surprising to see yet another Martial Artist class joining the ranks. However, the Glaivier certainly can't be accused of being a rehash, as she works quite differently from her siblings in the Scrapper, Striker, Soulfist, and Wardancer subclasses. Equipped with both a spear and a glaive, the Glaivier's kit is built around stance-swapping, effectively giving her access to two completely different attack sets depending on whether she's in the Focus (glaive-wielding) stance or the Flurry (spear-wielding) stance.
So does this make the Glaivier a better or worse class to play as? If you can forgive the pun, it's a bit of a double-edged sword. While she's certainly more interesting and complex than many of the other Martial Artist types, learning to balance her two-part kit can be a steep learning curve, and frankly that's not going to appeal to every play style. But for players who've got to grips with Lost Ark by now and are keen to take on a more challenging build, she's an extremely rewarding class to master — find out how to get started with our Lost Ark Glaivier build guide.Sorceress (Mage)
The Sorceress is one of the more recent additions to the South Korean version of Lost Ark ahead of the EU/NA release, so it remains to be seen whether she'll receive more tweaking down the line. For now, she's a solid addition to a combat-oriented team thanks to her decent damage buff (6%) and her incredibly high burst radius. I've also seen it suggested that she's a particularly easy character to pick up for players who are more familiar with Western RPGs, which might explain the timing of her introduction. However, she is an example of the infamous squishy wizard, with low defences and HP meaning that she isn't always the easiest character to manage in a fight, and so it'll take a more skilled player to get the best performance out of her.
The Sorceress can DPS right up until the endgame if you build her right, so be sure to check out our Lost Ark Sorceress build guide to help you on your way.Striker (Martial Artist — Male)
Two words: aerial attacks. The Striker has such a high movement speed that he can literally attack foes from almost any angle, and look damned cool doing it too. He's one of the more difficult classes to control thanks to the key role his positioning plays in landing a good attack. But he has a high damage output and increased crit chance, so there's room for forgiveness while you're still learning the ropes, especially since his crit chance and attack speed boosts apply to his teammates as well.
Despite his overall trickiness to play, the Striker is a top choice for crowd control. For details on how to build him for this specialised role, and more general PvE and PvP activities, see our Lost Ark Striker build guide.
The Destroyer was the second class added to the western version of Lost Ark post-release, and he's proving something of a divisive character. Players who enjoy tanking love this guy (perhaps even to the exclusion of the at-launch tank class, Gunlancer) thanks to his absolutely OP hammer weapon and his ability to withstand extreme levels of damage. However, his low mobility can make him a frustrating choice at various points during the PvE campaign, and while you can build him to improve his speed, the Gunlancer remains the better tank to explore Arkesia with while you level up. But if you're intrigued by the Destroyer's warhammer weaponry and gravity-controlling abilities and are prepared to work to level him up over the long haul, he can become a force to be reckoned with in time.Scrapper (Martial Artist — Female)
The Scrapper is an extremely beginner-friendly subclass if you're looking to experiment with melee combat in Lost Ark. She has a strong defence, paired with middle-of-the-road damage (including a 6% extra damage buff) — so while you might have to chip away in combat for a while, you're unlikely to come to an untimely end while you do so. However, the Scrapper is generally regarded as more of a training class, with players who find her combat style to their liking tending to switch over to a Striker character if they decide they want to main a Martial Artist for the long-haul.
If you're hoping to play Lost Ark as a classic brawler, the Scrapper might well be the class for you. Check out our Lost Ark Scrapper build page for more details on her best skills and accessories.Shadowhunter (Assassin)
It might be my undeniable bias towards the Deathblade talking, but I find the Shadowhunter to be just a little bit more boring to play than a demonically possessed assassin has any right to be. Her best feature is her 12% additional damage buff, which is a match for the Berserker's, and in many ways she could be seen as his female equivalent, since she's also a pretty straightforward starting character. I don't mean to suggest that there's anything actively wrong with the Shadowhunter, but while her kit is perfectly serviceable it just doesn't do that much for me. Her most interesting attribute is her ability to switch to demon form for a temporary boost to her HP and speed, but even then, the comedown might just leave you wishing that you'd picked a class with better base stats in those areas.
If you're looking to take the field with the Shadowhunter in all her demonic glory, have a look at our best Lost Ark Shadowhunter build page to learn how best to kit her out for PvE or PvP.
A sniper character can feel a little out-of-place in a fantasy saga, but that's essentially what the Sharpshooter is. The only purely long-ranged character class in Lost Ark, the Sharpshooter has a high damage output, a strong stagger ability, and adds a 6% damage increase buff to the whole team. On stats alone he'd probably deserve a spot on our A tier were it not for the fact that his whole kit is built around keeping your distance from the fray. This means that you won't get to experience a lot of Lost Ark's core combat mechanics, as there's very little he can do in close combat; so unless this is specifically something that appeals to you, you might want to choose a Gunner with a little more versatility, like the Gunslinger or the Artillerist.
Love him or hate him, the Sharpshooter is certainly unique. Check out our best Lost Ark Sharpshooter build guide for advice and information on how to make the most of this interesting if hard-to-master class.Soulfist (Martial Artist — Female)
The Soulfist's entire kit revolves around her undeniably exceptional ultimate, a burst attack with truly massive potential to deal damage. However, it's hard to place her anywhere above the B tier when none of her other skills can really match up. Furthermore, there's an element of randomness to her ultimate, since it takes several seconds to charge before deploying, and its full potential is dependent on landing crits while it's active. Soulfist is incredibly fun to play as, all the same, and if you want to roleplay a swift Martial Artist unencumbered by heavy armour the way it was intended, then she's an unbeatable choice.
A good Soulfist build can elevate this mid-tier class considerably, however, so be sure to take a look at our best Lost Ark Soulfist build guide for details on how to make her really shine in both PvP and PvE.
C TierDeadeye (Gunner — Male)
Lost Ark usually manages to blend its high fantasy setting with science fiction elements pretty seamlessly, but when it comes to the Deadeye, you can't help but feel that he's made a mistake bringing his handcannon to a greatsword fight. To be brutally honest, the Deadeye does everything that the Gunslinger does — wielding three different guns for a variety of occasions, all with a 10% crit buff — but he does it all just a fair bit worse. This might be the fiddliest class to get to grips with mechanically, and even once you've become an expert judge of his required range and positioning, his damage, HP, and defence just don't measure up to those of his nominal female counterpart.
Despite his lowly C-Tier ranking for PvE, the Deadeye really comes into his own in PvP. Read on for more details of our PvP Tier List, but also be sure to check out our best Lost Ark Deadye build for details on how to bring out the best in him for the other game mode.Wardancer (Martial Artist — Female)
The Wardancer isn't without her merits, but she finds herself in the odd position of being not-quite-suitable either for support or DPS roles when placed on a team. Her buffs are excellent, boosting the attack speed and crit chance of her teammates, but there's very little she can actively do in combat that isn't much better handled by another class. She deals very low damage, meaning that she can't sub-DPS very effectively; but her lack of healing or shield powers mean that she can't really be deployed in a proper support role either. To add insult to injury, her buffs have a long cooldown period, meaning that she can often be left frustratedly hanging around while the rest of the team has all the fun in a fast-paced battle.
If you just can't say no to those top-class buffs, be sure to check out our best Lost Ark Wardancer build guide for more information on how to make the most of this unusual character class.
Best Lost Ark PvP classes
When you reach the end of Lost Ark's story and hit Level 50, you'll be able to take part in PvP endgame activities. You might notice that the PvE and PvP tier lists look quite different: that's because stats that were a hindrance in PvE activities can become an active plus in PvP, while traits that really shone can become less impressive when you're up against other human opponents.
While the supremacy of the Bard and Paladin as the only support classes in town remains unchallenged, the Deadeye's place on the tier list is completely upended in PvP, where he shoots all the way from C Tier to join his nominal female counterpart (the Gunslinger) on the S Tier. That's because, despite his difficult controls, it's hard to overstate the usefulness of having a decent mid-to-long-ranged character on PvP teams. In fact, a sufficiently skilled player can actually perform crowd control even better with the Deadeye than the Gunslinger thanks to the slightly better range to his attacks.
Finally, PvP is where my two favourites — Deathblade and Gunslinger — really get a chance to shine. We all already knew the Gunslinger was great, but what both these powerful ladies have in common is a high movement speed that will keep your opponents nice and off-balance. Furthermore, the Deathblade's ability to strike rapidly and repeatedly more than makes up for her low base attack damage in PvP settings.
On the PvP A Tier, you'll primarily find all the solid DPS characters. While the tanking qualities of the Gunlancer and the Berserker are slightly less make-or-break than they are in PvE, huge attack and huge defence stats will never go out of style in Lost Ark no matter who you're up against, so these lads still deserve a spot near the top of the pile. The Shadowhunter ascends to join her sort-of-not-really male counterpart the Berserker here for the same reason. The Sorceress remains a strong-yet-squishy option for DPS main, with the added bonus that you can have some real fun deploying her various elemental attacks against real-life opponents. Finally, the Glaivier continues to defy easy ranking: built for speed and with a strong defence she can be your best friend as you duck and weave around other players, but she really requiries yet another highly specific build to make the most of her kit in PvP situations.
Meanwhile on the PvP B Tier, we find characters whose special abilities are undeniably fun, but are just a bit less likely to impress when everyone you're up against is able to react to your strats in real time. The Striker's whizzing aerial attacks and the Sharpshooter's focus on long-range weapons can prove a troublesome overspecialisation in PvP, since they don't have much to fall back on once an enemy gets in close. And unfortunately, other players will absolutely know that the Destroyer is likely to be moving slowly, which does quite a bit to neutralise the crowd-control abilities that are one of his stand-out features in PvE, though of course he still packs his unique punch. On the other hand, the Artillerist and the Wardancer can both perform some useful support buffing in PvP, even if their actual attacks are respectively too slow and low-damage to make them a good choice of DPS class for this style of gameplay.
And finally, poor old Scrapper and Soulfist languish down on the C Tier for PvP. The Scrapper's unofficial status as the Martial Artist "training class", with mid-level stats to match, means that you're better picking a different specialisation for this base class (though, to be honest, Martial Artists don't fare well in PvP in general). Players choosing the Soulfist, meanwhile, just won't end up having much fun in PvP, since her whole kit is built around a burst attack with relatively long charge and cooldown times, and that comes with an RNG element to damage that can prove costly.
Lost Ark's publishers at Amazon Games are celebrating the launch of their latest MMORPG with a series of Twich Drops — have a look at our Legends of Lost Ark Twitch Drops guide to learn how you can claim some unique in-game goodies. Further down the line as your character roster grows, you might find that you want to level skip a few of your alts, so check out our Lost Ark Knowledge Transfer guide to find out how it's done.