Do you want more fighter with your fighter? Not to steal an amazing line from JoCat but fighter is an outstanding class in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the Fighting Initiate feat gives players the ability to dive even more deeply into the fighter class. This also opens up the Fighting Styles to other martial classes, letting them supplement their own skills in a very powerful way.
Fighting Initiate is one of the most powerful and versatile 5th Edition feats released from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This feat is worth it to most melee based characters as it allows them to add their choice of Fighting Styles from the fighter class to their character build, offering a taste of multi-classing without having to actually multi-class.
Considering the Fighting Style options available in the Player’s Handbook and Tasha’s Cauldron, which released even more, this is a very potentially strong feat that most melee classes will will find some serious benefit from.
Breaking Down the Fighting Initiate Feat
The Fighting Initiate feat has plenty to offer the melee classes, especially the armored tanks up front, but let’s break this down to see how good it really is in real-game scenarios.
Directly from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything:
Prerequisite: Proficiency with a martial weapon
Your martial training has helped you develop a particular style of fighting. As a result, you learn one Fighting Style option of your choice from the fighter class. If you already have a style, the one you choose must be different.
Whenever you reach a level that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can replace this feat’s fighting style with another one from the fighter class that you don’t have.
So let’s dive into these benefits and see how strong they actually are on closer examination.
Benefit #1: Pick a Fighting Style option available from the fighter class that you don’t already possess.
This is insanely powerful. Fighters have a number of incredible Fighting Style options, and this was consistently the hardest decision that fighter builds had to make when building their character because there were so many good options to pick from.
Giving other melee heavy characters like barbarians and paladins the option to pick up one of these Fighting Style bonuses, or allowing a Fighter to pick up yet another style, is extremely powerful.
Benefit #2: Any time you reach an Ability Score Improvement you can replace this feat’s fighting style with another one from the fighter class that you don’t have.
I do like the versatility that this particular benefit brings to the table. Some Fighting Style options are simply stronger early on but wane later into a campaign. The opposite can also be true where a Fighting Style feat that isn’t overly strong right away becomes more powerful as the entire party levels up.
Being able to switch from one to another adds a definite boost to this feat because it keeps the player’s options flexible as they move forward.
Fighting Style Options to Choose From
To fully break down if this is a good feat feature or not, we need to look at ALL of the Fighter Style feats that are available.
- Archery (PHB) – You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
- Blind Fighting (TCE) – You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn’t behind total cover, even if you’re blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you.
- Defense (PHB) – While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
- Dueling (PHB) – When you a wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting (PHB) – When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for a 2-handed melee weapon attack, you can reroll the die and must use the new number, even if that new roll is a 1 or 2. The weapon must have a versatile or two-handed property to use this benefit.
- Interception (TCE) – When a creature you can see hits a target, other than you, within 5 feet of you with an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage the target takes by 1d10 + proficiency bonus. You must be wielding a shield or a simple or martial weapon to use this reaction.
- Protection (PHB) – When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.
- Superior Technique (TCE) – You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist, the saving thro DC equals 8+ your proficiency bonus + STR or DEX modifier (player’s choice). You gain one superiority die which is a d6. This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. You regain a spent die after a short or long rest.
- Thrown Weapon Fighting (TCE) – You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.
- Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) – When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
- Unarmed Fighting (TCE) – Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your STR modifier on a hit. If you aren’t wielding any weapons or a shield when you make the attack, the d6 becomes a d8. At the start of each of your turns you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to one creature grappled by you.
5E Classes That Should Take the Fighting Initiate Feat
There are three that stand out here without question. Barbarians, fighters, and rogues were made for this feat. Fighters have extra ability score boosts so the ability to spend one of those on yet another fighting style can be a huge boost. Depending on the specific one chosen, these can lead to higher AC, higher damage on attacks, or even protecting other frontline members by forcing disadvantage on an attack.
The sheer number of Battle Master archetype maneuvers really opens up the floodgates for things melee fighters can do to mess up the enemy either by themselves or by unleashing hell with the entire party.
Barbarians looking for more damage or fighters looking for more versatility are going to love the sheer number of options that this feat makes available. Definitely on the shortlist of feats these classes want.
The extra damage that comes with sneak attack makes this a great use for the rogue’s extra ability score improvement. Dueling or two weapon fighting are great options for the rogue, or the ability to order the paladin to attack to cover your escape when you’ve been spotted and need an enemy to go down now – they’re all good options.
This is a solid feat that naturally works very well into all three of these classes in almost every single campaign.
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Fighting Initiate Feat:
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Fighting Initiate Feat
If you’re frontline or melee right around the frontline, than this is a feat that is definitely worth considering. Add some AC at low levels, add damage to that monk attack, or early on blindsight solves a lot of potential problems at low levels. Having a frontline with multiple melee guys who can use protect is a nightmare for an opposing enemy line.
Because of the sheer amount of options that Fighter Initiate opens up, there are many melee classes that should consider taking this feat. The biggest reason they wouldn’t is because some optimal builds require every bit of level up space or room that’s available to them. Take a look at the Cleric as a class always looking for more level up abilities.
That said, anyone who is frequently going to be front line or involved around the frontline should consider his feat. Especially those classes that although “built” for melee tend to struggle in comparison to other options. Looking at you melee-based Rangers, melee-based warlocks, and monks.
This is a feat that offers those classes a lot of extra boons without having to multi-class and miss out on what’s offered at higher levels.
Classes like Druid where a lot of combat will rely on spellcasting and/or wild shape and thus have extra ability score improvements open for feats may find a lot of use here. Paladins can also arguably be built with less need for maxing out multiple stats than say the cleric or monk. Adding in a melee benefit is definitely a plus.
If you’re involved in melee, the 11 Fighting Styles (not to mention the 16 battle maneuvers available for those who take advantage of the Superior Technique) offered from the Fighting Initiate feat, and your ability to switch those at higher levels, makes this a really solid feat. You’re certainly going to be hard pressed to find a feat that offers more versatility.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Fighting Initiate Feat:
- Ranger (mostly non-ranged builds)
- Warlock (Hexblade or Pact of the Blade only)
- Wizard (only War Caster or Blade Singer)
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Fighting Initiate Feat
Basically if you’re a ranged attack build or all about the spells, then the Fighting Initiate feat just isn’t going to be for you. There are better feats for classes like artificer, bard, ranger, or the other spell casters, and chances are with a lot of these classes or builds that all your ability score improvements are already spoken for anyway.
So if you’re in the list below, go ahead and just skip over the fighting initiate feat as it won’t do much for you and your best builds for those characters.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Fighting Initiate Feat:
- Ranger (common ranged builds)
Final Feat Grade for 5E Fighting Initiate
Fighting Initiate Feat Grade: A-
Is the 5E Fighting Initiate Feat Worth It?
For any melee build the Fighting Initiate feat is an excellent option that fits into whatever build you’re looking for. This can add defense, offense, battlefield control, or switch from one to another as more ability score improvements come by with a level up (this does NOT replace another ability score improvement or feat, this feat just allows that switch at these levels – you still get the other benefits of the level up), and it makes every melee fighter more dangerous.
This is an outstanding feat, definitely one of the most versatile available, and one of the overall strongest there. This is a feat that is almost always at least under consideration when you create a character who likes to get up and personal.
Fighting Initiate Feat FAQ
Can you use Fighting Initiate to stack +2 Archery on a Ranger who already has this skill from his/her class?
The fighting initiate feat can not be used to take the archery fighting style twice. The PHB states clearly that fighting styles can’t be stacked even through multi-classing or other means. A PC can only have the archery fighting style once
Can rogues take the fighting initiate feat?
Not only can rogues take the Fighting Initiate feat, but it’s actually one of the best feats that is available to rogues who can use it for extra defense, offense, or even the ability to counter attack after missed attacks.
Is there a feat that gives you a fighting style?
As of Tasha’s Guide to Everything, Fighting Initiate is the only 5E feat that grants a Fighting Style via feat.
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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.