The Diverse Fighter Subclasses of Dungeons & Dragons 5e (2024)

The fighter subclasses in D&D 5e expand the combat prowess and versatility of the fighter class, offering unique abilities and playstyles.

Fighter subclasses like Battle Master and Eldritch Knight offer unique features, enabling players to customize their characters and playstyles for enhanced gameplay.

Whether it’s mastering the art of dueling as a Champion or harnessing the primal power of nature as a Beast or Brute, fighter subclasses add depth and excitement to every battle.

Benefits of Choosing a Fighter Subclass in DnD 5e

Choosing a fighter subclass in D&D 5e provides several benefits. It enhances combat capabilities with specialized features and abilities, adds unique mechanics to the character’s arsenal, and offers exciting role-playing opportunities for deeper character development.

Whether you prefer tactical maneuvers, magical combat, or embodying a specific character archetype, fighter subclasses enrich the gameplay experience and allow you to customize your character to suit your desired playstyle and narrative.

Enhanced Combat Capabilities

Fighter subclasses in D&D 5e provide unique enhancements to a character’s combat capabilities, allowing them to excel in specific areas of martial prowess. Each subclass offers a distinct set of features and abilities that complement the fighter’s core combat skills.

For example, the Battle Master subclass focuses on tactical maneuvers, granting access to a variety of combat maneuvers such as precision strikes, disarming opponents, or tripping them up.

These maneuvers provide strategic options during combat, increasing the fighter’s precision, control, and overall effectiveness on the battlefield.

Similarly, the Champion subclass emphasizes raw physical prowess, enhancing critical hit chances and granting improved durability.

This subclass is ideal for players who enjoy a straightforward approach to combat, dealing devastating blows and enduring the rigors of battle with resilience.

Unique Features and Abilities

Each fighter subclass introduces unique features and abilities that set them apart from one another and from the core fighter class. These subclass-specific features further define the character’s playstyle and add depth to their capabilities.

For instance, the Eldritch Knight subclass blends martial skill with arcane magic, granting the fighter access to spells and the ability to bond with a weapon magically.

This combination of martial prowess and spellcasting versatility opens up new tactical options, allowing the character to engage in both close-quarters combat and wield magical powers in battle.

Other subclasses, such as the Samurai or the Cavalier, provide specialized features that cater to specific character archetypes.

The Samurai excels in disciplined combat, gaining an advantage on attacks and temporary hit points when using their fighting spirit, while the Cavalier focuses on protecting allies and controlling the battlefield with powerful defensive and reactive abilities.

Melee-Focused Fighter Subclasses in DnD 5e

Melee-focused Fighter Subclasses are specific branches or specializations within the Fighter class in DnD 5e that emphasize close-quarters combat and melee engagement.

These subclasses offer unique features, abilities, and playstyles tailored to enhance a character’s effectiveness in melee combat situations.

By choosing a melee-focused Fighter subclass, players can customize their characters to excel in hand-to-hand combat, wield powerful weapons, and withstand the rigors of face-to-face confrontation on the battlefield.

These subclasses provide diverse options and strategic advantages for players who prefer a more direct and physical approach to combat.


The Champion subclass embodies the epitome of martial prowess, focusing on raw physical strength and resilience.

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Champions excel in straightforward melee combat, relying on their exceptional durability and critical hit capabilities.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Champion’s primary strength lies in its simplicity and reliability. They have a high critical hit chance and improved durability through features like Remarkable Athlete and Survivor.

However, they lack the tactical versatility and specialized abilities of other subclasses.

Notable Features and Abilities

The Champion gains features such as Improved Critical, increasing their chance to score critical hits, and Survivor, allowing them to regain hit points when reaching certain thresholds.

Additionally, they can choose from various options like additional fighting styles and superior critical hit damage.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

A Champion might be a stoic knight, wielding a massive greatsword and clad in heavy armor. They focus on dealing with consistent damage and surviving prolonged battles.

Tactics involve positioning to take advantage of critical hits, using Action Surge to unleash devastating attacks, and relying on their endurance to outlast opponents.

Battle Master

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The Battle Master subclass emphasizes tactical combat, providing a range of maneuvers to control the battlefield and outmaneuver opponents. Battle Masters excel at precision strikes, battlefield control, and supporting allies through superior combat tactics.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Battle Masters possess great tactical versatility, with access to maneuvers like Disarming Attack, Trip Attack, and Riposte.

They excel at adapting to different combat situations. However, they may lack consistent damage output compared to some other subclasses.

Notable Features and Abilities

Battle Masters gain superiority dice, which they can use to perform combat maneuvers. They learn a variety of maneuvers from a list, each with different effects such as adding damage, creating battlefield advantages, or imposing conditions on enemies.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

A Battle Master might be a seasoned mercenary, wielding a versatile weapon like a longsword and donning medium armor.

They focus on battlefield control, using maneuvers strategically to trip foes, disarm dangerous opponents, and rally their allies.

Their tactics involve assessing the situation, choosing the most effective maneuvers for the moment, and coordinating with teammates to maximize the impact of their maneuvers.

Eldritch Knight

The Eldritch Knight combines martial prowess with arcane magic, blending swordplay with spellcasting.

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Eldritch Knights are versatile combatants who can engage enemies in melee while wielding spells to enhance their offense, defense, or utility.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Eldritch Knights offer a blend of melee combat and limited spellcasting, providing versatility in various situations. They can wield spells to augment their martial abilities or overcome obstacles.

However, their spellcasting progression is slower than full spellcasting classes, limiting their access to higher-level spells.

Notable Features and Abilities

Eldritch Knights gain access to a limited selection of wizard spells, primarily focused on evocation and abjuration schools.

They can bond with a weapon to enhance it magically and gain the ability to cast spells as bonus actions or make weapon attacks after casting spells.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

An Eldritch Knight might be a noble warrior, proficient with a longsword and equipped with a spellbook.

They utilize their spells to enhance their combat capabilities, casting Shield to increase their defenses or using spells like Booming Blade to deliver powerful strikes.

Tactics involve balancing between spellcasting and melee combat, utilizing spells strategically to gain an edge in battles.


The Samurai subclass embodies the spirit of disciplined warriors who excel in the art of dueling. They are masters of combat techniques, possessing exceptional precision and resilience on the battlefield.

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Drawing inspiration from the samurai warriors of ancient Japan, this subclass focuses on both offensive prowess and indomitable spirit.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Samurai fighters have remarkable accuracy in their attacks, gaining an advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls.

They also possess the ability to regain hit points through their Fighting Spirit feature, allowing them to endure longer battles. This subclass excels in one-on-one duels and maintains a strong presence on the front lines.

However, the Samurai’s abilities may be more limited in larger encounters or when facing enemies with crowd-control abilities.

Additionally, their features primarily enhance their personal combat abilities, offering fewer options for supporting or aiding allies.

Notable Features and Abilities

The Samurai gains features like Fighting Spirit, which grants temporary hit points and an advantage on attack rolls for a limited time.

They also have the Elegant Courtier ability, providing proficiency in Wisdom saving throws and enabling them to charm or intimidate others more effectively.

Furthermore, they gain access to the Rapid Strike feature, allowing them to make an additional weapon attack as a bonus action.

Sample Character Builds and Tactics

A Samurai character might be a disciplined and honorable warrior, clad in traditional samurai armor and wielding a katana. They focus on mastering the art of the blade and embodying the virtues of bushido.

Tactics involve utilizing the Fighting Spirit feature strategically, activating it during crucial moments in combat to gain an advantage in attack rolls and temporary hit points.

The Samurai can engage in duels, utilizing their superior accuracy to land precise strikes and overpower opponents.

They can also combine their Rapid Strike feature with other abilities, such as Action Surge, to unleash a flurry of attacks in a single turn.

Ranged-focused Fighter Subclasses in DnD 5e

Ranged-focused Fighter Subclasses are specialized branches within the Fighter class in D&D 5e that excel in long-range combat.

These subclasses, such as Arcane Archer, Sharpshooter, Gunslinger, and Echo Knight, offer unique features and abilities tailored to enhance ranged attacks and provide strategic advantages from a distance.

Arcane Archer

The Arcane Archer combines martial prowess with arcane abilities, specializing in ranged combat infused with magical arrows. These skilled archers wield their bows with precision and unleash enchanted arrows to devastate their foes from a distance.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Arcane Archers excel in dealing with ranged damage and adding magical effects to their attacks. They have access to unique arcane shots that can impose various conditions on enemies.

However, their magical abilities are limited, and they may have fewer options for close-quarters combat compared to other subclasses.

Notable Features and Abilities

Arcane Archers gain features like Arcane Shot, which allows them to infuse their arrows with magical effects, such as dealing extra damage or ensnaring targets.

They also learn specific Arcane Shot options, such as Banishing Arrow or Seeking Arrow, each providing a distinct advantage in combat.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

An Arcane Archer might be an elven ranger, armed with a finely crafted longbow and attuned to the forces of nature.

They rely on their magical arrows to control the battlefield, using abilities like Grasping Arrow to restrain enemies or Bursting Arrow to deal area-of-effect damage.

Tactics involve maintaining distance from enemies, strategically choosing and timing the use of Arcane Shots, and coordinating with allies to maximize the impact of their magical arrows.


The Sharpshooter subclass represents expert marksmen who specialize in precision and long-range combat.

These fighters possess exceptional accuracy and focus, making them deadly from a distance and skilled at taking down enemies with single, well-placed shots.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Sharpshooters have unparalleled accuracy and excel at dealing with massive damage from afar.

They gain abilities that allow them to ignore cover and shoot beyond normal range. However, they may be less effective in close-quarters combat, as their features primarily enhance ranged attacks.

Notable Features and Abilities

Sharpshooters gain features like Sharpshooter’s Eye, granting increased accuracy and damage on ranged attacks.

They also have abilities such as Far Shot, which extends their weapon range, and Piercing Shot, allowing their arrows to pass through multiple enemies.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

A Sharpshooter could be a skilled bounty hunter, equipped with a finely crafted longbow and a keen eye for targets.

They focus on carefully selecting their shots for maximum impact, utilizing abilities like Precision Strike to increase their attack rolls or adding the power of a Superiority Die to their damage.

Tactics involve maintaining distance, taking advantage of cover and range, and delivering precise, high-damage shots to eliminate key targets swiftly.


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The Gunslinger subclass represents fighters who wield firearms, adding a touch of modern firepower to the D&D world. These ranged combat specialists master the use of guns and ammunition, combining martial skill with a gritty and explosive playstyle.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Gunslingers have the advantage of dealing ranged damage with firearms, offering a unique and unconventional approach to combat.

They gain abilities that enhance their firearm attacks and add an element of surprise to battles. However, guns and ammunition may be scarce or subject to misfire, and their abilities may require careful resource management.

Notable features and abilities

Gunslingers gain features like Gunsmith’s Knowledge, allowing them to craft and repair firearms. They also have abilities such as Deadeye Shot, which grants increased accuracy, and Thunderous Shot, causing explosive damage to both the target and nearby enemies.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

When creating a Gunslinger character, imagine a quick and agile individual, resembling a skilled bounty hunter. Equip them with a finely-crafted pistol and dress them in a rugged duster coat for style.

Prioritize Dexterity for accuracy and Constitution for durability. Utilize cover effectively, employ the Deadeye Shot ability for precise attacks, and carefully manage ammunition and potential misfires.

Consider using versatile firearms and ammunition types to adapt to different situations. Dominate the battlefield by delivering devastating shots to key targets, controlling crowds with explosive abilities, and adjusting tactics to exploit enemy weaknesses.

Echo Knight

The Echo Knight subclass represents fighters who harness the power of planar echoes and alternate realities.

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These warriors have the ability to summon and manipulate echoes of themselves, creating an otherworldly presence on the battlefield.

They can strike from unexpected angles, defend allies, and manipulate space with their unique abilities.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Echo Knights possess excellent versatility and battlefield control. They can summon multiple echoes, providing additional attacks and tactical options.

Their abilities allow them to move through their echoes and manipulate their positioning. However, they may require careful positioning and resource management to maximize their effectiveness.

Notable Features and Abilities

Echo Knights gain features such as Manifest Echo, which allows them to summon an illusory echo of themselves. This echo can attack, defend, and share senses with the Echo Knight.

They also have abilities like Echoing Weapon, which infuses their weapon attacks with additional damage.

Sample Character Build and Tactics

An Echo Knight could be a mysterious warrior with a connection to a parallel dimension, wielding a versatile weapon like a halberd.

They focus on creating tactical advantages by summoning echoes strategically and utilizing their unique positioning abilities.

Tactics involve summoning the echo in strategic locations to flank enemies, provide cover, or control the battlefield.

Echo Knights can move through their echoes, allowing them to reach distant foes or protect vulnerable allies. They can combine their echo’s attacks with their own, making them formidable in close-quarters combat.

Additionally, they can use abilities like Unleash Incarnation to duplicate attacks, increasing their damage output.

Outside of combat, Echo Knights may explore the role-playing opportunities of their connection to alternate realities, delving into their origins or utilizing their echoes for espionage or scouting purposes.

Unconventional Fighter Subclasses in DnD 5e

Unconventional Fighter Subclasses in DnD 5e include the Cavalier, which specialized in mounted combat and leadership; the Rune Knight, tapping into ancient runes for magical enhancements; the Purple Dragon Knight (Banneret), an inspiring leader; and the Monster Hunter, which specialized in tracking and slaying monsters.


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The Cavalier is an unconventional fighter subclass that specializes in mounted combat and battlefield control. They are skilled at commanding and leading allies in combat, making them formidable leaders on the battlefield.


  1. Cavaliers excel in mounted combat, granting them increased mobility and allowing them to deliver powerful charges.
  2. They possess abilities that enable them to control the battlefield, such as imposing a disadvantage on enemies, protecting allies, and locking down opponents.
  3. Cavaliers are adept at defending themselves and their allies, boasting increased durability and the ability to draw attacks toward them.


  1. While mounted combat offers numerous advantages, Cavaliers can be disadvantaged if they are unable to utilize their mount effectively or if they are in environments where mounts cannot be used.
  2. Compared to some other fighter subclasses in DnD 5e, Cavaliers may have slightly lower damage output due to their focus on defense and battlefield control.

Notable Features and Abilities

  1. Cavaliers can mark an enemy, granting them extra damage when attacking that target while also imposing a disadvantage on their attacks against other creatures.
  2. They can protect an ally within reach by using their reaction to impose a disadvantage on an attack against them.
  3. Cavaliers gain bonuses when making a mounted charge, dealing extra damage and potentially knocking the target prone.

Rune Knight

The Rune Knight is a unique fighter subclass that taps into the power of ancient runes, gaining magical abilities and enhancing combat prowess. They can manipulate magic and utilize special rune powers to gain advantages in combat.

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  1. Magical Enhancements: Rune Knights gain access to powerful runes that provide additional abilities like increased size, damage resistance, and enhanced mobility.
  2. Versatile Spellcasting: They can cast spells from the Rune Magic feature, offering additional utility and tactical options in battle.
  3. Battlefield Manipulation: Rune Knights excel at controlling the battlefield, hindering opponents, and altering the flow of combat in their favor.


  1. Limited Rune Uses: Rune Knights have a limited number of rune uses per short rest, requiring careful management during prolonged encounters.
  2. Intelligence Dependency: Intelligence is crucial for the Rune Knight subclass, as it affects rune saving throw DCs and the number of runes known.

Notable Features and Abilities

  1. Giant’s Might: Activating this rune allows Rune Knights to increase their size, gain temporary hit points, and deal extra damage.
  2. Fire Rune: This rune imbues their weapon with fire damage and enables them to impose a disadvantage on a creature’s attacks.
  3. Runic Shield: Rune Knights can use their reaction to gain bonus AC against an attack or impose a disadvantage on a saving throw.

Purple Dragon Knight (Banneret)

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The Purple Dragon Knight, also known as the Banneret, is a fighter subclass that excels in inspiring and leading allies on the battlefield. They possess abilities focused on bolstering their comrades and granting powerful bonuses.


  1. Inspiring Leader: Purple Dragon Knights can rally allies, granting temporary hit points and bonuses to saving throws.
  2. Battlefield Support: They offer exceptional support to their team, providing healing, additional attacks, and protection.
  3. Leadership Presence: Purple Dragon Knights inspire their allies, granting bonuses to attack rolls and saving throws within a range.


  1. Limited Offensive Abilities: Compared to other fighter subclasses in DnD 5e, Purple Dragon Knights may have slightly lower damage output due to their focus on support and leadership.
  2. Reliance on Allies: The subclass’s features heavily depend on the presence and coordination of allies, making them less effective when isolated.

Notable Features and Abilities

  1. Rallying Cry: As a bonus action, the Purple Dragon Knight can grant temporary hit points to allies within 30 feet.
  2. Royal Envoy: The subclass gains proficiency in Persuasion and a bonus action to heal an ally within 5 feet.

Monster Hunter

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The Monster Hunter is a fighter subclass specializing in tracking and slaying specific types of creatures. They possess unique abilities and techniques tailored for hunting down and defeating monsters, making them formidable adversaries in combat.


  1. Monster Slayer: Monster Hunters gain bonuses against their chosen prey, such as increased damage, advantage on saving throws, or tracking abilities.
  2. Adaptive Tactics: They possess a versatile skill set, allowing them to adapt their fighting style to exploit a monster’s weaknesses and mitigate its strengths.
  3. Survival Expertise: Monster Hunters excel in survival skills, enabling them to track creatures, identify their weaknesses, and gather useful resources from defeated foes.


  1. Specialization Limitation: While powerful against their chosen prey, Monster Hunters may be less effective against other types of enemies, lacking the same level of specialization.
  2. Resource Dependence: Some Monster Hunter abilities rely on specific resources or preparation, limiting their effectiveness if those resources are not readily available.

Notable Features and Abilities

  1. Hunter’s Prey: Monster Hunters select a specific type of creature as their prey, gaining bonuses when fighting against them, such as additional damage or advantages on checks to track them.
  2. Slayer’s Counter: This ability allows Monster Hunters to respond to an enemy’s attack with a powerful counterattack, potentially dealing extra damage and interrupting the opponent’s actions.
  3. Monster Slayer Magic: They gain access to a limited form of spellcasting, allowing them to cast spells that aid them in hunting and battling monsters.

Role-Playing Opportunities

Choosing a fighter subclass also presents exciting role-playing opportunities. The subclass you select can shape your character’s backstory, personality, and motivations.

The unique flavor and abilities associated with each subclass can inspire creative storytelling and character development.

For instance, a player who selects the Samurai subclass might craft a character driven by a code of honor and seeking to perfect their combat skills.

Alternatively, a character who becomes an Eldritch Knight might have a mysterious background tied to a secret magical order or possess a natural affinity for both combat and spellcasting.

The subclass choice can influence how your character interacts with the world, their relationships with other characters, and their goals and ambitions.

It adds depth and complexity to the role-playing experience, allowing you to fully embody your character’s subclass and bring them to life in the game.


The Fighter subclasses in DnD 5e offer diverse playstyles. The Champion excels in raw physical prowess, while the Battle Master focuses on tactical combat maneuvers.

The Eldritch Knight combines martial skill with limited spellcasting, the Samurai embodies precision and discipline, and the Cavalier specializes in mounted combat and battlefield control.

Each subclass brings unique strengths and abilities, catering to different preferences and allowing players to customize their Fighters to suit their desired playstyle.

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The Diverse Fighter Subclasses of Dungeons & Dragons 5e (2024)


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