Top 10 Strongest Dragon Types in "Dungeons & Dragons"

Updated on March 28, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a chemist and business manager.

Dragon Overview DnD

Dragons are intelligent and powerful creatures in classic roleplaying tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, capable of speech (in both the common and draconic languages), and surprisingly variable in morals. The colored dragons are malicious warriors who fiercely guard their treasures, while the metallic dragons serve good and might actually assist your party in times of need.

No matter their alignment, dragons appear in four different types depending on their age: wyrmling, young, adult, and ancient, with the latter being the most powerful. But with offshoots like dragon turtles to consider, which reptiles reign supreme? These are the ten strongest dragons in Dungeons & Dragons!

Ancient Dragon Traits in DnD

Ancient dragons vary in characteristics, but all carry these stats:

  • Multiattack: Each turn, the dragon can use one bite, two claw attacks, and one frightening presence ability (potentially inflicting the "frightened" debuff)
  • Natural Armor: Reduces incoming damage (exact amount varies by dragon)
  • Immunity: Immune to a specific type of damage (like fire or ice)
  • Darkvision: Can see in total darkness
  • Blindsight: Aware of surroundings (up to a point) even without vision
  • Legendary Resistance: Up to three times each day, the dragon can succeed on a saving throw it failed
  • Lair Actions: Additional attacks occur at initiative count 20
  • Regional Effects: Passive terrain-altering abilities that conceal dragons and alter them to enemy presences
  • Legendary Actions: (see below)

Legendary Dragon Actions

Legendary actions add even more attacks a dragon's repertoire. After another creature's turn ends, a dragon can perform any of three legendary actions it hasn't yet used since the start of its last turn. It can either detect (make a Perception check to find a hidden opponent), use a tail attack, or use its wings, which takes two actions but moves and attacks simultaneously. Coupled with the multiattack feat, these reptiles pile on the hurt with repeated strikes.

Ancient White Dragon DnD
Ancient White Dragon DnD

10. Ancient White Dragon

CR (Challenge Rating): 20
HP (Hit Points): 333

While last in our countdown, ancient white dragons still earn a challenge rating of 20, warning players not to underestimate them. Like other dragons, their multiattack triggers several strikes each turn (two claws, one bite, and one use of frightening presence). And since dragons have incredible strength scores in the upper 20s, their melee attacks receive hefty bonuses that thwart dodge attempts.

White dragons favor arctic environments, granting them immunity to cold damage and a breath attack that spans numerous squares. Like their brethren, they have darkvision and blindsight, quickly locating even concealed allies.

Ancient Brass Dragon DnD
Ancient Brass Dragon DnD

9. Ancient Brass Dragon

CR: 20
HP: 297

The weakest of the generally-benevolent metallic dragons, the brass dragon has less health than its white counterpart, but compensates with better ability scores, particularly in Wisdom, Intelligence, and Dexterity. In addition to the Stealth and Perception skill staples, it also enjoys skill ranks in History and Persuasion, rounding out its arsenal.

Plus, metallic dragons are known for their shapeshifting abilities, able to adopt any form of a lesser or equal challenge rating. This lets them easily escape, disguise, and deceive; throw in a useful fire immunity, and you've got a well-balanced if slightly frail gargantuan.

Ancient Copper Dragon DnD
Ancient Copper Dragon DnD

8. Ancient Copper Dragon

CR: 21
HP: 350

Moving up a challenge rating, this beast resists acid damage and possesses all-around better scores than its brass brethren. Like other metallic monsters, copper dragons carry the chaotic good alignment, making them generally well-intentioned if unpredictable, and they dwell in arid caves or fields.

Characteristic of their kind, coppers collect hoards of treasure, but they're crafty even for dragons (possessing the Deception skill), so be careful not to walk into their traps. Besides, you'll often prefer to hunt evil-aligned creatures like...

Ancient Black Dragon DnD
Ancient Black Dragon DnD

7. Ancient Black Dragon

CR: 21
HP: 367

True, black dragons have lower Wisdom and Intelligence than coppers, and they can't shapeshift, but they enjoy superior armor and hit points, making them much sturdier. Additionally, they carry acid immunity and the amphibious (underwater breathing) ability—which not all dragons possess.

Thus, black dragons aren't as cunning as coppers, but their superior defenses, environment adaptability, and vicious nature (often attacking on sight) render them a bigger threat.

Ancient Green Dragon DnD
Ancient Green Dragon DnD

6. Ancient Green Dragon

CR: 22
HP: 385

Even more cunning than coppers, green dragons are comparatively frail, but use their impressive Insight, Deception, Persuasion, and Stealth skills to indirectly harass their enemies.

They generally nest in forests or marshes, offering natural camouflage, and their poison immunity proves useful when finally forced into battle. But remember that reaching a dragon proves a task in itself, as players have to endure any regional effects caused by the beast's presence.

Ancient Bronze Dragon DnD
Ancient Bronze Dragon DnD

5. Ancient Bronze Dragon

CR: 22
HP: 444

Often the chromatic dragons are more battle-oriented than the metallic—but not with the bronze. Garnished with more armor and vitality than their emerald rivals, bronze dragons are well at home in the middle of combat.

Protected from lightning damage and possessing boosted Strength and Charisma modifiers, these colossal champions are stalwart defenders of justice. Still, like their metallic allies, they can transform into other creatures when the need arises, adjusting to suit the current situation.

Ancient Blue Dragon DnD
Ancient Blue Dragon DnD

4. Ancient Blue Dragon

CR: 23
HP: 481

Blue dragons are lawful evil, carrying more structure but just as much carnage as their chaotic counterparts. They dwell in barren wastelands, cause perpetual thunderstorms in the surrounding environment, and (unlike some dragons) can burrow deep into the ground.

Mostly geared for battle, blue dragons aren't as devious as green, but adorn higher stats. They're also willing to destroy their own nests to destroy intruders, inflicting the suffocation-causing buried status on a successful lair action.

Ancient Silver Dragon DnD
Ancient Silver Dragon DnD

3. Ancient Silver Dragon

CR: 23
HP: 487

As strong as blue dragons are, their silver competitors carry slightly better HP and Strength scores, making them even more formidable. Silver-plated dragons are immune to cold, harness Arcana and History skills in addition to Perception and Stealth, and share the shapeshifting polymorph trait that defines their family.

Similar to white dragons, silvers prefer frigid environments, often roosting in the chilly peaks of mountains. Hunting them proves a long and arduous journey, but you may instead seek an alliance, as these majestic beasts carry a generally-trustworthy lawful good nature.

Ancient Red Dragon DnD
Ancient Red Dragon DnD

2. Ancient Red Dragon

CR: 24
HP: 546

The strongest of the chromatic dragons, crimson-scaled dragons quickly pulverize unprepared parties with their monstrous battle stats and ruthless moralities. They're immune to fire (one of the most common damage types), have a massive chunk of health, and spend more time outside their lairs than most dragons, meaning sometimes they hunt you.

When they do nest, reds prefer warm climates but accept several lairs, dwelling in underground caverns, abandoned mines, or caves atop mountainsides. If not as sneaky as greens, the sheer power and range of reds renders them a looming threat no matter your campaign.

Ancient Gold Dragon DnD
Ancient Gold Dragon DnD

1. Ancient Gold Dragon

CR: 24
HP: 546

The pinnacle of all reptiles, gold dragons are even more battle-forged than reds, matching HP and Strength while surpassing them in Dexterity, Wisdom, and Charisma.

Like their burning rivals, golds are shielded against fire, but they're also amphibious, lending adaptability to many environments. Preferring to keep to themselves, you'll see them dwell near serene lakes, raging waterfalls, or isolated ruins. When you happen upon these rarities, think carefully about your plan of action—their scales and treasure will fetch a pretty purse, but their benevolent nature and intimidating battle prowess make them better friend than foe.

Which ancient dragon do you prefer?

See results

Dragonborn Characters in DnD

Dragons are such a beloved and iconic creature that players themselves can share in their glory by selecting the Dragonborn race. Reminiscent of their namesake, these characters enjoy Strength and Charisma bonuses, knowledge of the draconic language, and a unique elemental breath attack.

Varied in habitat, attitude, and power, dragons are some of the most exciting monsters to face, and remember you'll encounter their juvenile forms in your early adventures. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next DnD update, vote for your favorite dragon type and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Jeremy Gill


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