Monks are one of the most intriguing classes in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. On the surface they seem simple, you play as a character who relies on their mobility instead of armor and their bare hands instead of a weapon. However, as you become more experienced you realize there are a plethora of ways that you can play a monk, and feats are one of the best ways to shape your character into something powerful, unique, and most important of all: fun!
So what are the best feats for monks?
Monks are among the most stat-hungry characters in DnD so choosing a feat can be difficult. Feats that boost stats as well as provide additional benefits like Crusher and Observant should be prioritized. Feats with strong benefits like Defensive Duelist, Mobile, and Sentinel can also be taken.
Since you lose out on a two-point stat boost by taking a feat you need to ensure that your monk has enough traits to stay alive. With that in mind here are the 8 best feats that you can choose for your 5E monk. These are in no particular order and some of these are great choices for any monk, while others are more specialized feats.
Keep in mind with a monk that barring a Boon from your DM, you’re likely only getting one, or two at most if you rolled great stats, since monks need Dexterity, Wisdom, and Constitution.
8. Lucky Feat (Player’s Handbook)
The first feat we will take a look at is one that almost every character can benefit from. Ever feel like your dice betray you at the worst time? That’s where Lucky comes in. Once per long rest, you get three chances to reroll a D20. These can be used to reroll an attack, try again on a failed ability check, or even force your DM to reroll that monster’s attack that just hit you.
The Lucky feat is one of the strongest feats in the game and it is never a bad idea if your dice try to decide your monk is flat-footed at the worst possible time, or to give yourself a chance to survive a crit from a dangerous enemy by forcing the DM to re-roll. Always a good take.
7. Observant Feat (Player’s Handbook)
Observant on the other hand does give you a boost in stats. You will want to take +1 in Wisdom to boost your other monk skills. Observant also comes with a passive +5 bonus to Perception and Investigation checks. With your already high Wisdom, Observant will allow you to be a helpful party member in non-combat situations as well. Monks with a passive perception of over 20 can be a huge asset to the party, avoid most ambushes, and a nightmare for the DM.
That makes the observant feat sound pretty good to me!
6. Shadow Touched Feat (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)
This feat is more of a specialized one for a monk. Are you feeling a bit jealous of your party rouge? Getting forced to be the wilderness scout because there’s no ranger around?
Let that darkness seep into you with the Shadow Touched perk. Take the +1 in Wisdom and gain access to the Invisibility spell as well as one other first-level spell from the necromancy or illusion classes of magic (which have some GREAT 1st-level spells). Sneak around like a rouge using your mobility and invisibility.
Add additional flavor to your monk with the spell you choose. Cause Wounds and Cause Fear both rely on your Wisdom stat and can be used to mix up your normal attacks.
If you want a full deep dive into why this is one of the better feats in all of 5E, take a look at our full Shadow Touched Feat Guide.
5. Fey Touched Feat (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)
Speaking of some of the best feats in all of 5E, Fey Touched is a great, versatile, and unique feat that is a cousin to Shadow Touched (or vice-versa). Fey Touched is a great feat to add additional mobility to your monk, especially at lower levels. First, you will take to +1 bonus to Wisdom.
Next, you will gain access to the misty step spell. This spell allows you to use a bonus action to teleport 30 feet to any space you can see, as long as it is unoccupied. If you need to slip past a barrier or want to close the difference on that pesky enemy mage this spell allows you to do so.
You also gain access to a single level one spell from the enchantment or divination schools. Bane, Bless, and Command are all spells that will be boosted by your wisdom stat and have some impressive uses. Detect Magic or Detect Good or Evil can also be used to add additional party utility to your monk character. Overall Fey Touched is a great choice of feat that is insanely versatile and allows for all kinds of mischievous and powerful builds.
4. Defensive Duelist Feat (Player’s Handbook)
A defensive Duelist is a great option for a monk that prefers to play defensive and rely on its high armor class to survive. Considering you don’t wear heavy plate (without a super specific optimized build, anyway) and a d8 hit die instead of a d10, that’s a decision.
However, this feat can help make it happen. The defensive duelist feat is quite simple, when wielding a finesse weapon you can increase your AC even higher. When an opponent tries to hit you with a melee attack you can use your reaction to add your proficiency in your weapon to your armor class potentially making them miss their attack.
This feat is particularly strong at lower levels. It begins to be outclassed at higher levels when enemies have higher to-hit bonuses on all their attacks. You also don’t gain any stats by claiming this option, but the additional survival makes it a worthwhile option.
3. Mobile Feat (Player’s Handbook)
Mobile allows you to take your monk to the next level of speed. You gain an additional 10 feet of speed which when added to the speed you already have means you can run circles around your opponent. Difficult terrain can be traversed without the additional cost to speed. Finally, you do not provoke opportunity attacks when attacking and disengaging from opponents allowing you to run around and hit multiple opponents each round without fear of retaliation.
Put simply, the 5E mobile feat is built for monks, and it’s one that fits extremely well with virtually any monk build, stacking on their already greater than average mobility.
2. Sentinel Feat (Player’s Handbook)
The sentinel feat allows you to mix the defensive and offensive aspects of the monk. If enemy attacks a party member within your melee reach you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against them. Also if an enemy attempts to disengage from combat with you, even if they use the Disengage action, they provoke an opportunity attack allowing you to attack.
Any successful opportunity attack drops an opponent’s speed to 0 for the turn. When combined with other potential feats like mobile, or crusher, this can make for a devastating monk with an outsized area of control on the battlefield.
1. Crusher Feat (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)
The crusher feat from Tasha’s is one of the best perks that you can choose as a monk, especially for one who relies on unarmed strikes. First, you will want to take the +1 bonus to Constitution. Next, you will want to be familiar with the two aspects of the feat. One benefit is an enemy hit by one of your critical strikes is hit with an advantage by everyone until the beginning of your next turn.
That’s a powerful bullseye put on any enemy who made the mistake of picking you. If you hit this on the first attack of the round all of your next attacks and the party’s get to be rolled with advantage allowing you all to rack up damage, and likely putting that enemy in for a bad time.
You can also push an enemy 5ft away from you after hitting them allowing you to disengage freely. Also, considering many monk weapons also use blunt force damage such as clubs, quarterstaffs, etc, there’s a chance all of your attacks that crit are going to take advantage of this feat and with one or two main attacks and two fist attacks from flurry of blows, that’s a LOT of chances for giving enemies a bad time.
Best Feats for Monks: Concluding Thoughts
Monk is a fun class. You can do a lot of it, but it can be a challenging build. You need Dexterity, you need Wisdom, you need a decent Constitution. That’s a lot of stats to build, in addition to the importance of being strategic because man, with a d8 hit die you’re in line to get wrecked if you try to front line fighter with a monk.
That said, this is a great and versatile class to build, and adding the right feat or mix of feats can make all the difference. This is our list of the best feats for the monk, with links to the in-depth guide of each feat so get out there and “monk it up” for your next D&D campaign!
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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.