10 Best Things To Polymorph Into (D&D 5E)

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Polymorph changes you (or your target) into a beast shape. When Polymorphed, the target now takes on the shape, stats, and abilities of the new beast shape while still retaining personality and loyalties.

There’s a wide selection of beasts with different abilities, so Polymorph can be used in very interesting ways for exploration and roleplay.

But the huge selection of beasts you can choose to Polymorph into doesn’t necessarily mean all forms are created equal.

In this list, I rank polymorph forms based off overall utility and combat in 5e.

Transforming yourself with Polymorph isn’t going to drop your concentration or bypass the need for concentration. This means if you Polymorphed yourself and fail your concentration check, you immediately revert to your original form.

I made sure to cover most broad terrain on this list so I’ve included aquatic, aerial, and burrowing creatures. Lots to consider!

*Note: I also didn’t include forms used to disable a creature like a slug or a housefly, unless they benefit you or your party.

 

10. Rat

Source: Player’s Handbook

I know. It’s a rat with horrible damage and speed. But hear me out.

They have Darkvision for 30 feet and are tiny, so they can get into many tight areas.

The benefits of a rat form aren’t mechanical, but roleplay-oriented. You can transform your foes into a rat, sure. But transforming into one is good because they’re inconspicuous.

Rats can be found in almost all normal environments. They thrive in jungles, forests, mountains, caves, cities, dungeons, and even castles.

If normal creatures can live there, there will be a rat as well. Because of them being so common, most creatures who spot a rat won’t think twice on whether they’re being spied on.

I’d add Beholders as an exception to this, because those things get paranoid about anything.

Keep in mind that rats don’t normally understand language because of their low Intelligence score. So a rat scout will only be able to report what they saw, smelled, or heard.

 

9. Giant Badger

Source: Monster Manual

Giant Badgers aren’t impressive in a lot of fronts.

Sure they have Darkvision and Keen Smell. But they’re not great at combat and are pretty slow. Like most giant-sized beasts, a giant badger has Multiattack and has a 10-foot reach. But their horrible health pool and very average AC won’t allow it to last long in combat.

They do come in handy because they can burrow.

Burrowing sounds trivial until you’ve been caved in like Aladdin and need a way to escape. Having the ability to burrow and smell for fresh air could mean life or death.

 

8. Giant Octopus

Source: Monster Manual

A giant octopus is the first aquatic form on this list. Like their smaller counterpart, they have many biological abilities that could aid the party.

A giant octopus can breathe underwater for those ocean/water campaigns. But can also hold their breath for up to an hour.

You probably won’t be using this form in combat. But if forced to, a giant octopus can hit a creature with one of their tentacles. And if it hits, they can automatically grapple and restrict them.

It’s unfortunate that you can’t grapple for each tentacle, but giving your allies advantage on rolls and easy critical hits makes this form excellent for support and set ups.

If an encounter is not the worth time, a giant octopus can easily camouflage underwater to give them an advantage to Stealth, or make a quick getaway with Ink Cloud.

The Player’s Handbook doesn’t mention that an octopus in real life can squeeze into any opening as long as their beaks can fit. If your DM will allow this, a giant octopus could do the same to get into those tight areas.

 

7. Giant Elk

Source: Monster Manual

Giant Elks move as fast as any horse with a speed of 6-8 mph, and is Huge in size. Which allows them to fit a good amount of people (or goods) on their back.

With an Intelligence score of 7, they’re probably smarter than most Barbarians out there. Because of that intelligence, they have their own giant elk language and understand Common.

If forced into combat, a giant elk can charge into an enemy with a Ram Attack that has a 10-foot range.

This means the giant elk need not charge directly into their target, but at least land one within 10 feet of them. This attack forces a creature to either pass a Strength check or be knocked prone.

 

6. Giant Shark

Source: Monster Manual

Giant shark is possibly the best combat-centered aquatic form you could transform someone into.

It’s a given that it can breathe underwater. But it has a good 126HP, great swim speed, and has a high Constitution score to help keep Concentration.

A giant shark can smell blood which throws it into Blood Frenzy.

A creature gives the giant shark an advantage on all melee attacks if the creature doesn’t have all of their hit points, too.

I would rank this Polymorph form higher, if it weren’t for the fact that it would only thrive in a campaign focused on water. Which may not happen too often.

 

5. Flying Snake

Source: Monster Manual

Flying Snakes are a decent combat form, even if this is a low Challenge Rating creature. But utility is where it shines.

In its lore, Flying Snakes are domesticated by tribes and cults to act as messengers to deliver written notes. The reason they’re good messengers is because of their ability to slither, swim, and fly.

Flying Snakes have short-ranged Blindsight, but have the benefit of having Flyby if they need to get in and out of combat quickly to protect their puny 5 hit points.

 

4. Bat

Source: Player’s Handbook

Bats make an excellent scouting form.

They have a decent fly speed and won’t stick out like a sore thumb in many locations.

What makes bats exceptional is that they use Blindsight with their echolocation. This means that even magical darkness won’t affect them.

The only way to shut down a bat scout is to both use Darkness and Silence to deafen them.

Like the rat, bats have a horrible Intelligence score. So don’t expect a bat scout to tell the party, in detail, what was seen or heard.

Another downside is that echolocation can be noisy. So unless a bat belongs to an area, best not risk disturbing an area’s inhabitants.

 

3. Tyrannosaurus Rex

Source: Monster Manual

Transforming into a Tyrannosaurs Rex will pretty much obliterate any normal encounter for the next few levels.

They deal a whole lot of damage with Multiattack that involves a bite and a smashing tail.

The downside is that Multiattack can’t be used on one target alone.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite not only does a good amount of damage, but grapples and restrains any creature it lands on that’s small or medium sized.

This powerhouse is balanced out by its horrid 2 Intelligence. And if DMs are willing to recognize dinosaurs in their setting.

Still, if given the chance, transform into a Tyrannosaurus Rex at least once. I’ve personally never been disappointed turning into one.

 

2. Giant Owl

Source: Monster Manual

Giant owls are the best option for scouting.

With one of the longest-ranged Darkvision in game, and an Intelligence score of 8, I consider these to be the Dungeons and Dragons equivalent of a spy plane.

Like a spy plane, their combat abilities are pretty bad with a low health and AC. They can, like their regular-sized counterparts, use Flyby. Which makes them helpful in combat.

Still, a giant owl has an Intelligence score of 8, understands Common, and if someone in your party has the Comprehend Languages spell, then the giant owl has their own Giant Owl language.

High Intelligence scores are vital for trying to remember details. This makes a giant owl my pick for the top scouting Polymorph form.

And being a large creature, giant owls can be mounted to let an ally scout with them, and help give the party even more intel.

 

1. Giant Ape

Source: Monster Manual

Giant ape is my favorite Polymorph form for combat.

It has a huge health pool, even if it lacks good AC. Plus it has Multi-attack with a 10-foot reach, and is the only beast creature that has a ranged attack.

Giant apes throwing rocks sound incredibly boring… until you find out it has a range of 50 feet. Plus at long range with disadvantage, it has a range of 100 feet.

Of course, rocks need to be around to use this ability. But the damage is comparable to a single target Fireball.

Giant apes also have a decent speed and can climb with a +9 bonus to Athletics to help you (or your poor low-strength party members) scale a mountain. Very handy.

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