Are you looking for the perfect feat to complete your fighter’s build? Whether you want flexibility, finesse, or just to make the best tank there is, there’s something here for you. Fighters are the most versatile martial class by far, and with extra ability score improvements (aka more opportunities to take a feat) than any other class, you can throw together an impressive number of feats to create some very powerful and fun builds with this class.
Let’s look at the best feats 5e has to offer fighters, but keep in mind what you want from your fighter’s build. Some of the feats are great for any fighter, but some are best for only a few builds, and some shine in combination with other feats. Since you’re a fighter, you have more options than any other class so lets dive in!
10. Fighting Initiate
Fighters get a lot of fighting style options, but who says you can only pick one? This is a feat for the fighter who loves to be versatile.
With the Fighting Initiate feat, you can add a fighting style without having to subclass in Champion or multiclass to get your extra style. As a bonus, you can swap that style out for a different one the next time you reach an Ability Score Improvement, which means being able to adapt and change if you decide to pivot your build at middle or higher levels.
The fighting styles offer a great variety of boons and being able to add an extra one to your array of abilities is a major boost. Add defense, add damage, or add the ability to impose disadvantage on an enemy attacking a fellow frontliner. Or pick up a bow. These are all great options that come from being able to take an additional fighting style with this feat.
9. Great Weapon Master
Want to get a bigger bang for your buck out of your greatsword? This feat has the potential to make you deal more damage per hit, and even give you some extra attacks. You can optimize it by using a heavy melee weapon.
The great weapon master feat will let you use your bonus action to make another melee attack whenever you score a critical hit or bring a creature to 0 hit points with a melee weapon, and every fighter loves getting another chance to hit.
If you’re especially confident, you can potentially deal 10 extra damage by taking a -5 penalty to your attack roll. So if you expect to get an advantage pretty often, you can count on benefiting from this feature pretty often as well since you can take the disadvantage knowing the extra dice roll will almost certainly overcome that far more often than not.
8. Heavy Armor Master
Damage reduction and strength increase? Yes, please! 1 and 3 might look like small numbers on paper, but they’ll make a difference hit by hit during the course of a campaign, and those number really build up over time! This is the only feat that provides actual damage reduction in 5E with every single attack of slashing, piercing, and crushing damage losing 3 HP of damage. Against enemies that unload with multiple attacks that can add up very, very quickly.
With your armor absorbing a bit of all the physical damage you take, you might trade in your shield for a two-handed weapon, increasing your damage output and making combat quicker, or you might simply keep the shield and high AC to become even more of a damage absorbing tank than before.
You have plenty of options with this feat.
7. Martial Adept
This one is especially great for the Battle Master since it basically expands on what the Battle Master can do. You get two Battle Master maneuvers and one d6 superiority die. So if you didn’t take the Battle Master archetype, it lets you do some Battle Master stuff, but if you are a Battle Master, then you get even more options, as well as an extra use of them.
Anyone who has played the Battle Master Fighter knows just how many outstanding options there are when it comes to battle maneuvers and how hard it can be to make a choice. Taking the Martial Adept feat gives you the ability to add two more maneuvers, which leads to a terrifyingly versatile fighter.
6. Mage Slayer
If you know your adventure will have you fighting a lot of casters, then this is a good choice. This is a good opportunity to ask your DM about the world and how your character fits into it since your reason for getting this feat can also be an opportunity to add flavor to your character.
This feat gives you so many advantages against spellcasting enemies, including advantage on saving throws against their spells if they’re standing within 5 feet of you, which is an uncomfortable position you both want to (and fear) being in when you are trying to take down the enemy spellcaster to save the day.
You can also use your reaction to attack them if they cast a spell within 5 feet of you. This is a good reason to get right up in their grill to fight them, even beyond the fact the enemy spellcaster is usually the biggest threat that the party is going to face.
You also impose disadvantages on the concentration checks they make against your attacks, making it easy for you to end any unpleasant crowd-control effects they’re using.
Many fighters consider this a must, and is always a good idea to have at least one martial character tasked with breaking through (or going around) the front line of the enemy to close the gap on the spellcasters and a mage slayer fighter knows how to get the job done.
To be a complete nightmare of a mage slayer fighter for your DM, make sure to add the Fey Touched Feat because charging the front line, then casting Misty Step to appear behind the enemy mage 30 feet away, and then using action surge to hack away might cause your DM to actually break into tears. Sweet, sweet tears.
5. Polearm Master
The polearm feat is great by itself, but it’s also a great feat to combine with other feats like Great Weapon Master feat because polearms count as heavy melee weapons, or the classic OP combo of Polearm Master + Sentinel, which we had ranked as the most powerful feat combination in 5E D&D. As it is, this feat expands your reach for both attacks and opportunity attacks, and lets you hit stuff without needing to disengage to avoid being hit yourself.
It also essentially gives you proficiency with the blunt end of your polearm, letting you attack with that as a bonus action if you used your action to attack just with the polearm. It’s not as good damage as the Great Weapon Master bonus action, but it’s consistent, and if you take Great Weapon Master as well, you get the best of both.
That is less exciting, but it shows that this is a feat with power, versatility, and is strong by itself in addition to pairing with multiple other feats well.
This feat is all about the reactions, so it won’t take up your bonus action. It’s a fun one, though if you take it, you might want to warn your DM so that it doesn’t bring combat to a halt. Basically, once you get close to your enemies, they can’t get away.
If you hit with an opportunity attack, the target’s speed becomes zero, meaning they can’t get out of your reach. They can’t even disengage to avoid it, because you ignore the effects of the disengage action, making Sentinel a terrifying feat to monks and rogues who can usually work their way out of such a situation.
The best part is that if they’re within 5 feet and try to hit a different creature than you, you get to use your reaction to hit them. Perfect for a defensive tank forcing enemies to root into place, and if you have the long reach from polearm master and a cleric close by creating a blender of death with Spirit Guardians, that’s a bad time for anyone facing your party.
3. Crossbow Expert
For the fighter who prefers to stay out of harm’s way and doesn’t want to use a long bow, the crossbow expert feat is a must. The loading feature makes crossbows a pain to use, but this feat lets you ignore that completely. So feel free to fire it on every single attack you have!
Even if you do find yourself in the middle of the melee, you can still use your crossbow. You ignore the normal disadvantage that’s imposed for being within 5 feet of a ranged attack, and if you have a hand crossbow, you can fire it as a bonus action when you use your action to attack with a one-handed melee weapon.
This is good to use in combination with Crossbow Expert or using it with a long bow to try to show up the ranger. You ignore all cover but full cover, and you don’t get disadvantage for firing at long range, which then gives you an insane range for hitting from a distance.
Sharpshooter is like Great Weapon Master, but for bows: you can choose to take a -5 penalty on the attack to deal 10 extra damage. So hiding before shooting is a good idea to get an advantage on that.
1. Defensive Duelist
If you went for the finesse fighter, then definitely take the defensive duelist feat. It lets you use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC if you’re hit by a melee attack, essentially using your rapier to parry the attack.
Since it requires a finesse weapon to use the reaction, only take this feat if that’s your character’s weapon of choice. Strength-based fighters should leave it alone, and Battle Masters will usually find the Parry maneuver to work better.
Best 5E Fighter Feats: Concluding Thoughts
There are so many ways to build a fighter, and that versatility is a major reason why they are so popular with both new and experienced players alike. Having two extra ability score improvements compared to the average class, there are plenty of options for leveling up stats and taking extra feats to build an awesome, overpowered, or wonderfully unique fighter.
This is one of the things that makes fighters so interesting is the fact that there are so many ways to build an effective and interesting character. These feats are some of the most popular 5E feats for fighters and choosing among these will help you get that strong and powerfully effective marital fighter you’re looking for.
Other TTRPG Articles You May Love
- Best 5E Feats for Barbarians
- Best 5E Feats for Paladins
- Best 5E Feats for Rogues
- Best 5E Feats for Rangers
- Best 5E Feats for Clerics
- Best 5E Feats for Monks
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.