Highest AC in DND: Complete Stats, Builds, and Calculations

In Dungeons and Dragons (DND), your armor class (AC) influences how hard you are to hit with a weapon or spell.

What is the highest AC in DND?

The highest possible AC in DND is 114. The highest permanent AC is 54. The highest situational combat AC is 114. The highest AC for a monster in DND is 25. You can increase AC with race, class, armor, feats, spells, attribute modifiers, allies, cover, and magical items.

In this article, we’ll cover complete stats, builds, and calculations for the highest AC in DND.

What Is Considered High AC in DND?

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Armor in the dark—Highest AC in DND
Image by the author via Canva—Highest AC in DND

Anything over 20 is considered high armor class (AC) in DND.

With high AC, you will be able to avoid more attacks and take less damage in combat.

Here are the general AC levels and ranges in DND:

AC LevelsAC Ranges
Very Low10-12
Low13-15
Good16-20
High21+
AC Levles and Ranges in DND—Highest AC in DND

Of course, different classes fall in various places along the continuum of AC in DND. A wizard, for example, does not always prioritize AC.

Therefore, the average AC of a wizard is approximately 14-17. That’s in the “low” to “good” range.

For a spellcaster who stays at the back of a battle, that can be okay.

On the other hand, front-line combat classes like barbarians usually need much higher AC to survive.

What Is the Higest AC Build in DND? (Crazy Build You Can’t Miss)

The highest AC in DND is 114.

Depending on how you and your Dungeon Master (DM) calculate AC, it is possible to boost it to 121.

According to Josiah Zorn from Stackexchange, you start with a permanent AC of approximately 54.

Then you boost your AC with situational events, spells, magical items, and help from your allies.

This build requires that you max out your attributes (Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom) with 20 in each attribute.

It also requires multiclassing:

  • Bard (10 levels)
  • Battle Master Fighter (3 levels)
  • Kensei Monk (2 levels)
  • Bladesinger Wizard (2 levels)
  • Wild Magic Sorceror (2 levels)

Here is a series of charts that break down the highest AC build in DND:

AC BoostersAC Bonuses
Base10
Dexterity+5
Wisdom+5 (Unarmored Defense)
Intelligence+5 (Bladesinging)
Agile Perry+2
Defensive Duelist+6
Haste+2
Evasive Footwork+8 (from 1d8)
Defensive Duelist+10 (from 1d10)
Dual Wielder+1
Total AC54
Highest AC in DND Build (Chart)Source

Now let’s add Magic Items:

Magic Item AC BoosterAC Bonus
Bracers of Defence+2
Staff of Power+2
Defender Sword+3
Total AC7
Highest AC in DND Build (Magic Item AC Bonus Chart)

Situational AC bonuses come next:

Situational AC BoosterAC Bonus
Wyrm Knight Boon+1
Boon of Dreadnought+3
Ceremony of Marriage+2
Blessings+1
Cover (3/4)+5
Total AC12
Highest AC in DND Build (Magic Item AC Bonus Chart)

Allies strengthen AC to the top:

Ally AC BoosterAC Bonus
Rod of Alertness (Ally attuned)+1
Cavalier Fighter+8
Battle Master Fighter+12
Warding Bond+1
Shield of Faith+2
Valor bard+12
Glory Paladin+5
Total AC41
Highest AC in DND Build (Magic Item AC Bonus Chart)

Finally, let’s add everything together to get the highest AC in DND:

AC Boost CategoryAC Bonus Totals
Permanent/Base54
Magic Items7
Situational12
Allies41
Overall AC Total for Build114
Highest AC in DND Build—Overall Total (Chart)

In the forum example, the total rose to 121 with the potential (and somewhat squidgy) addition of +5 for a Sheild Spell and +2 for a Wild Magic Surge.

But wait, then there is this entertaining video that argues that it’s possible to get infinite AC in DND:

YouTube video by Blaine Simple—Highest AC in DND

Highest AC Possible for a Rouge in DND

The highest AC possible for a rouge without multiclassing is 21. If you multiclass as a fighter, you can reach an even higher AC.

To reach AC of 21:

  • Start with a base AC of 10
  • Dexterity 20 (+ 5 AC)
  • Medium armor feat (+1 to Dexterity)
  • Shield (+ 2 to AC)
  • Medium Armor Speciliazation
  • Breast Plate (Raises base AC to 14)

To reach higher ACs, I suggest multiclassing as a fighter. You’ll get access to better armor, abilities, and feats to help increase your AC.

You can also get help from magical allies through protection spells.

Additionally, you can hide and seek cover to temporarily boost your AC +5.

Highest AC Possible for a Wizard in DND

The highest AC possible for a wizard is 27.

You start by choosing to play an Elf with the Bladesinger subclass. With maxed-out dexterity and intelligence, you reach an AC of 20.

And AC 20 is already high for a wizard.

If you multiclass as a monk and select Kensei as your speciality, you move to 22.

Then, you add in magic spells like Mage Armor and Haste. These spells alone bump your AC up to 27 (temporarily).

If you happen to know a Paladin and another spellcaster, they could throw a few spells your way. Spells like Guardian of Faith, Warding Bond, and Sheild of Faith.

Suddenly, you are close to 37 (again, temporarily).

Highest Possible AC Without Magic or Magical Items?

The highest possible permanent AC you can get without magic or magical items is 54. There are multiple ways to get almost any character to 20 or higher.

To go back to my earlier highest AC example (with all the charts), you must max out all of your AC-related attributes.

Yes, this is unlikely in reality but technically possible.

Then, you multiclass, take on specific feats, level up across all of your classes, and skyrocket your AC all without magic, magical items, or even physical armor.

It’s going to take time but you can certainly make it happen.

What Is the Highest AC Monster in DND?

The highest AC monster in DND is the Tarrasque with an AC of 25 and a challenge rating of 30.

The Tarrasque is a gargantuan and legendary beast found in the Monster Manual.

It is immune to almost all types of damage and has a number of devastating attacks. For example, the Tarrasque is immune to non-magical damage by poison, fire, slashing, bludgeoning, and piercing attacks.

It is also immune to many ranged spells. Not to mention its high modifiers to saving throws.

If you or your party ever faces one, good luck.

You can also find high AC monsters in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.

What Is the Highest AC at Character Level 1?

The highest permanent AC you can get at level 1 is 22.

Let’s go over how this is possible. First, you choose to play a variant human Warforged barbarian with Unarmored Defense. You max out your Constitution and Dexterity attributes to 20.

Give your barbarian a shield and suddenly they possess an AC of up to 22.

You could push this build further by multiclassing, picking up feats, using magic spells, and magic items.

For example, you can select the Magic Initiate feat.

This feat allows you to cast Shield of Faith to temporarily boost your AC to 24. Find some cover to scale up to five more AC points.

So that makes an AC of 29 during combat.

Outside of combat, though, you will drop back down to an AC of 22.

Races That Give You Higher AC

Most character races start with a base AC of 10. Certain character races give you a higher AC starting from level one.

Two high AC races include Tortles and Warforgers.

Here is a chart with racial AC modifiers:

Character RaceAC Bonus
TortleBase AC of 17 + Shell Defense Modifer
WarforgerBase AC of 11 -16 + Dexterity Modifier
Highest AC in DND—Races that give AC bonuses

Knowing these bonuses and modifiers can help you select the perfect character race for your AC-Tank build.

Tortle AC Build

With a Tortle, you don’t add your dexterity modifier to AC.

You can’t wear armor but you can use a shield for a +2 to AC (for a total AC of 19). Your Shell Defense ability to temporarily hide within your shell gives you another +4 to AC.

That brings a Tortle up to 23.

If you go Tortle Bladesinger, then you can combine your intelligence modifier with your base AC. Assuming you max out your intelligence, you can boost your AC from 19 to 22 during the time you Bladesing.

You can then gather up magical items like the ring of protection and use cover for higher AC.

Warforger AC Build

Warforgers get a sliding scale of base AC determined by their “mode.”

There are three Warforger modes:

  • Darkwood Core = Base AC of 11
  • Composite Plating = Base AC of 13
  • Heavy Plating = Base AC of 16

What Armor Gives You the Highest AC?

The armor that gives you the highest AC is plate mail.

Plate mail is the heaviest type of armor and gives the wearer a base AC of 18.

The Shield spell is a type of magical armor that gives you a temporary +5 bonus to AC (that does stack with your other AC modifiers). Barkskin gives you a temporary base AC of 16.

Your DM could also homebrew any type of armor:

  • Light armor with heavy armor AC bonuses
  • Magical heavy armor that is light and invisbile

How To Get the Highest AC in DND (10 Ways)

There are many ways to increase AC in DND.

Here are ten ways with a bit of detail and examples of how they work.

1) Race

Select a character race that gives you a higher AC bonus.

We’ve already mentioned Tortle and Warforger. Those are usually your best racial options for AC.

2) Class

Pick a class that provides an Unarmored Defense bonus, such as the Barbarian or Monk.

Other classes with AC bonuses: Ranger Hunters, War Mages, Bladesingers, Clerics of the Forge, and College of the Valor Bards.

3) Attributes

Increase your Constitution, Intelligence, and especially Dexterity scores to their maximums.

The most important attribute for most characters is Dexterity.

The higher your Dexterity, the higher the AC bonus your character gets.

4) Armor & Shields

Equip yourself with the best armor you can find.

You also want to make sure that you are proficient with the type of armor.

Wearing armor gives you an AC boost of between 11 to 18. You can also increase your AC by two points with a shield.

That’s good news, because not every character can or should wear armor.

On this topic, you may want to read my article, Can Barbarians Wear Armor?

5) Magic

You can cast spells that increase your AC.

There are many spells that give you a temporary AC bonus. Some of our favorites: Shield, Barkskin, and Mage Armor.

6) Feats & Special Abilities

Take feats that give you an AC bonus.

Our favorite feats for increasing AC are: Magic Initiate (cast Shield of Faith), Multi-Attack Defense, Dual Wielder, Medium Armor Master, Hexblade’s Armor of Hexes, and Defense Fighting Style.

7) Magical Items

Find magical items that increase your AC.

Some of our favorite items include: Cloak of Resistance, Ring of Protection, Bracers of Defense, and Amulet of Natural Armor.

8) Allies

Make sure you are within the protective radius of your allies.

Many spells and abilities provide an ally with a protective aura. When you are within this aura, you gain a bonus for your AC.

9) Environment

Another way to increase AC is to take advantage of your environment.

There are many environmental hazards that can provide a bonus to your AC. Our favorites include: spikes, webbing, trees, boulders, and Tarpits.

Here are the AC bonuses for cover:

  • Half cover boosts your AC by +2
  • 3/4 cover increases your AC by +5
  • Full cover makes you unhittable (except, perhaps, by magical or psychic attacks such as Mind Spike)

10) Situational Modifiers/Disadvantages

Be aware of the situational modifiers that can increase your AC—or at least give your enemies a disadvantage to attack rolls against you.

Some of our favorites include: being on higher ground, fighting in the darkness, being invisible, ranged attacks, or dodging.

Final Thoughts

Another element of D&D that impacts AC is how rigidly your DM follows the official rules.

That will determine what AC bonuses are available to your character.

For even more articles that relate to AC, read these next:

Sources

Wizards of the Coast
D&D Player’s Handbook
D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide
D&D Monster Manual

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