The 5E Charger Feat is an interesting option that situationally could be really potentially powerful. For some classes this feat offers some really intriguing options. Especially for those where speed, mobility, and movement matter for melee combat. A lot of great feats are going to B-grades: those that are very good for a few classes and a hard pass for others.
If you’re going with a melee class in a 5th Edition DnD campaign, Charger is a feat you should definitely at least take a hard look at.
The Charger feat allows a player to use their dash action and still attack, which is impossible otherwise. Charger switches the attack action to a bonus action, letting the player cover twice the space and still attack with a bonus, or shove an opponent back.
This might seem like a bit of weak sauce at first glance, but when you dive down further, there’s actually a lot to love about this feat. I know there are Redditt and Substack threads that argue this point, but if you have the right class and build then the 5E charger feat can be an outstanding addition.
Breaking Down the Charger Feat
Some players already see where this feat is going, but let’s dive into the breakdown starting with the definition from the Player’s Handbook because exact wording definitely matters when adjudicating in a 5th Ed campaign.
Directly from the 5th Edition Player’s Handbook:
When you use your action to Dash, you can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack or to shove a creature.
If you move at least 10 feet in a straight line immediately before taking this bonus action, you either gain a +5 bonus to the attack’s damage roll (if you choose to make a melee attack and hit) or push the target up to 10 feet away from you (if you choose to shove and you succeed).
PHB – p.165
It’s a compact feat that can deliver a lot of interesting situations or benefits.
Benefit #1: Can use a melee weapon attack via bonus action instead of using an action after dashing.
Dash is an action, which makes sense since at that point you’re doubling the distance traveled. The problem if you’re running into danger is that attack is always an action, meaning you run up to them and then stop. Even at high armor levels that’s definitely not ideal. But if you can make a melee weapon attack then that definitely makes the extra movement more useful.
For classes that have very limited uses for a bonus action (many fighters and barbarians) this makes more use of a bonus action that otherwise couldn’t be used.
This doesn’t do anything for casting classes, but most casting classes (melee-based warlocks and combat wizards aside) aren’t looking to close the gap with anyone.
Benefit #2: +5 damage bonus to a melee attack hit.
This is a great balancing effect to the fact that the multiple extra attacks of an action are still lost when using the dash action. It’s like getting kicked versus drop kicked.
It’s a simple thing, but +5 bonus is nothing to sneeze at at low or middle levels. Even at higher levels it’s still extra damage from what in effect is a bonus attack after spending your action closing the gap to engage the enemy.
Benefit #3: Shove action of 10 feet.
Meh, situationally useful. If you’re spending all that energy and potential actions to close the gap, it seems weird to break it open again. But maybe you shove an enemy fighter into an enemy wizard to break concentration, or maybe they’re on dangerous ground and you’re simply going for the shove off a cliff action.
But for the most part this will be the least useful part of the feat.
5E Classes That Should Take the Charger Feat
This is a feat that is clearly designed for melee classes that want to close distance and engage. This makes it a natural choice for the barbarian or fighter, and along with the mobile feat make the possible movements of high-level monks frankly terrifying.
While there are many situational builds and wild cards when it comes to who should take this feat, there are some classes that will almost always benefit from this.
In general barbarians, fighters, and monks should always look at picking up the charger feat. These classes have unique bonuses, melee skills, and features that make this feat a powerful part of most character builds for these 5E classes.
Barbarians and monks get extra movement which makes the ability to use dash extra useful since they get even more movement than the average party. The fighter is a frontline melee class that wants to engage, often won’t use a bonus action except for special situations, and has many extra ability score boosts which makes picking up a feat like charger less expensive.
Giving these classes the ability to quickly close the gap, and then hit a frontline with extra damage and force (or to get enough movement to run around the frontline minis and engage with the squishy spellcasters in the backline) can definitely set the tone of a battle, or change it after a rough start.
Even at higher levels this can still be a useful feat for some classes.
The ability to move around the battlefield in ways that the enemy can’t, or to even threaten enemy spellcasters with a melee charge can forge the DM to have your enemy NPCs play defensively, allowing spellcasters and distance fighters to have a hey day while also allowing the rest of the melee fighters to overwhelm the unfortunate NPCs left undermanned while dealing with your charger b.s.
Important Note: While I’ve never seen this in campaigns I play in, if you’re in a campaign where the fight always starts off in close combat and closing distance doesn’t matter, then this becomes an F feat based on the DM style of game – so adjust accordingly.
You want movement? Imagine a hasted high level monk with mobile and charger feats. That can mess up some battle field plans. While generally there isn’t “max damage” on that turn, if you were starting 60 or 70 feet away, there was no chance of optimizing melee damage anyway.
5th Ed Classes that should look at taking the Charger Feat:
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Charger Feat
There are multiple classes that wouldn’t necessarily look at taking the charger feat by instinct, however in the right situations or with the right builds it might be worth considering. This could be from a rogue who rolls strong early stats and has ability score improvements to burn or the paladin built to charge right into battle with a divine smite.
The same basic rule applies: you want a melee class who wants to rush into the thick of things if you are considering the charger feat. This isn’t for archers or most casters.
Because of this clerics (depending on sub-class), Druids, Paladins, and certain melee-based classes of Warlock and Wizard should consider it, although most of the time charger won’t make the cut. Not necessarily because it’s a bad feat but because each of those classes have multiple demands for high base stats or other feats that are more designed for the more conventional style of play for that class.
Rogue is a potential wildcard here. They are all about massive damage in one attack, which makes charger seem like a great feat and for the right table maybe it is. That being said, that means the rogue will be out in the open at first because after the one truly devastating attack, the rogue has already used the bonus action and thus can’t disengage that turn.
So that could be an issue, but in the right situation it could be worth it. This also depends on how the DM deals with dash vs. sneak, since many mechanics show the faster the movement, the bigger the penalty and the argument could be made that at a full dash there is no hiding – which takes away the sneak attack that makes rogues so dangerous.
A fun one could be a paladin who is all about that front line fighting. Don the heavy armor, dash to attack, and as long as they use divine smite, that does not require a bonus action. Meaning that first +5 attack can be devastating, especially if a crit comes up. Smite, double dice, plus five, and enjoy the red mist.
Druids generally won’t care about this at first glance, but considering how much wild shape comes into play, being able to use the charge action as a wild bear, a lion, or a T-Rex could be a lot of fun.
Finally, there are some casting classes that are built as melee casters and might consider the charger feat although most of the time there will be magic based feats that are still much, much better choices than charger at this point. If a player was of the opinion these wizard/warlock sub-classes should still be in the “never take charger” camp because of what they would pass on, that is a fair criticism.
Casting sub-classes that should consider taking the 5E charger feat:
- Blade Singer Wizard
- War Mage Wizard
- Hex Blade Warlock
- Pact of the Blade Warlock
5th Ed Classes that should situationally consider take the Charger Feat: Cleric, Druid, Paladin, maybe Warlock & Wizard melee sub-classes
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Charger Feat
True casters, distance fighters, and the classes that want to create space or control a battlefield are classes that never want to have a look at the charger feat. Because they don’t want to be up close and personal, the charger feat doesn’t help them. Even from a “create distance fast when things go wrong” point of view, mobile would be better.
Because of this the classes that pretty much never have a use for the charger feat are:
- Most Warlocks & Wizards
5th Ed classes that should never take the Charger Feat: Sorcerer, Artificer, Wizards (with the possible exception of the Blade Singer and War Mage), Bards, Rangers, most Warlocks
Final Feat Grade for Charger 5E
Charger Feat Grade: B
Is the Charger 5E Feat Worth It?
In 5th Edition for certain melee classes the charger feat could absolutely be worth it. Most campaigns have one if not several instances where space is an issue. If a melee character can use their dash to move double the distance, and still get in one attack, that’s a big deal. Especially if that skill can be used to allow a melee fighter to go around an enemy front line and get in the face of a caster.
If you have a class where you can combine mobile with charger, that is a powerful combination for a melee fighter and gives plenty of opportunity to move at will whether it’s to engage an enemy frontline via shock troop strategy, close in on a group of ranged fighters, or move over 100 feet as a high level monk to get in the face of a very surprised and suddenly concerned spell caster.
For those classes charger is a good spend if your stat rolls were good or you have the stats maxed out that you need. For other classes aside from the occasional situational build it’s a pass. Very solid for the classes it’s meant for, easy to ignore by those who don’t.
Charger Feat FAQ
Do you have to dash to use charger in 5E?
Unless the DM home rules otherwise, as the rule is written a player must use their dash action in order to use the charger feat in 5E Dungeons & Dragons.
Is the charger feat worth it?
The charger feat is generally worth it for melee-heavy classes in the average 5E DnD campaign whose job is to fight and tank.
Does the charger feat work with cunning action?
The charger feat does not work with cunning action. Cunning action is a bonus action, and the attack aspect of charger is a bonus action. Since each player only gets one bonus action per turn in 5th Edition, these can’t work together.
How do I create a charger build for 5E?
Pick the Monk class and take the mobile feat in addition to the charger feat. This creates a charger-based monk who can move across virtually any battlefield at insane speeds, changing the course of many battles. Especially with a support caster hasting them.
What is the best way to optimize the charger feat in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons?
The overwhelming consensus from experienced 5E players and DMs is that the best way to optimize the charger feat is by combining it with the mobile feat. This creates an insanely mobile player who can move freely over virtually any battle map.
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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.