D&D 5e: Echo Knight Fighter Guide
D&D 5e: Echo Knight Fighter Guide
Role in the Party
Four goblins skulk closer to the silent figure donned in full plate armor that stands waiting with sword in hand. Slowly, two of them flank around behind, grinning to themselves. Until the shadows coalesce, rising to form a transparent, mirror-like copy of the warrior, armed and armored.
That hesitation is all it takes. The warrior blurs forward, slaying one foe, as his Echo runs another through with the same movement. The next few seconds are a burst of action, as the Echo Knight fights with the strength of several men, flickering between positions and attacking unnaturally fast, once even resummoning their shadowy companion, entirely unharmed, after it takes a dagger to the back and dissolves.
In moments, the only figure left standing is the knight themselves. Alone. But not really, because no Echo Knight is ever truly alone.
Front line warriors and effective bruisers that offer a whole lot of DPS and tanking ability wrapped up in a flavorful package, Echo Knights are powerful fighters that own the battlefield, capable of locking off entire zones of threatened squares between themselves and their Echo.
This guide breaks down the subclass, what it’s capable of, choices to make when building one, as well as possible multiclassing, feat, and skill options.
Echo Knight Features
Manifest Echo: The core ability of the Echo Knight is their capability to create shadowy Echoes of themselves.
This takes a bonus action and creates an image of you in an unoccupied square within 15ft of you. Your Echo is relatively rules heavy, so it’s worth spending some time understanding the ability:
The Echo is a visual copy of you, except gray and translucent. This means it’s not a creature. You can only have one Echo. It lasts until you create another one, dismiss it as a bonus action, are incapacitated, or are more than 30ft apart at the end of your turn.
You can summon an Echo an infinite amount of times per day, with the only limit being one active Echo at a time.
Your Echo takes up its space as if it were a creature or object, so it can’t be moved through. It has 1 HP, an AC of 14 + proficiency, your save bonuses, and immunity to conditions. This means it’s relatively easy to remove with direct damage if an enemy decides to attack it. And you might just want them to.
You can command your Echo to move up to 30ft per turn without using an action, and can spend a bonus action to teleport and switch places with it if you’re within 15ft of each other.
Whenever you attack, your attacks can come from your space or your Echo’s space. This is chosen on a per attack basis and is treated as if you were standing in your Echo’s space for that attack.
If an enemy moves away from your Echo, you can spend a reaction to opportunity attack, as if it were you the enemy was moving away from.
So what does all of this mean?
Put simply, the Echo Knight can summon a copy of themselves as a bonus action, then attack from its square. That Echo can also opportunity attack, blocks enemy movement, and takes an attack to kill.
This adds a ton of flexibility to the character. Summon an Echo across the room so you can fight two enemies at once. Block a door with a copy of yourself. Get out of combat by teleporting away from a fight, then stab your foes with your shadow.
It also pushes the character towards using the biggest, heaviest weapons possible. Summoning your Echo takes a bonus action, and enemies might be attacking and destroying it every single turn. But this is a good thing because every attack that’s aimed at your Echo isn’t aimed at the party. If your enemies have to spend resources to even be able to attack you, you’re doing your job properly. The Echo Knight is best when it’s up close and personal, applying tons of disruption to enemy plans simply by existing.
It’s best to consider building towards a style that doesn’t rely on having its bonus action available to use. So avoid two-weapon fighting, and lean towards big, two-handed weapons like greatswords and polearms.
Unleash Incarnation: Also from 3rd level, the Echo Knight can draw on their magics to fuel bursts of all-out attack.
When taking the Attack Action, an Echo Knight can choose to make another attack as part of that action. They can do this a number of times per day equal to their CON modifier (so realistically, 2-3 times per day until very high levels.)
While the ability can’t be used that many times, the power of being able to just attack more often without needing to spend actions or other resources can’t be overstated.
Realistically, this is going to be used when you Action Surge against significant enemies, put down an enemy that’s close to death but stubbornly refusing to die, or on turns where you’ve been granted Advantage so those attacks are more likely to land, because two more attacks in one round is a colossal boost to overall DPS.
Echo Avatar: From 7th level, the Echo Knight can empower their Echo, directly guiding it with their own consciousness. This does several things:
The character’s consciousness and awareness transfer to their Echo. They see and hear through it, and can no longer do so from their own body.
The Echo can now move up to 1000 feet from your body without being destroyed and can last up to 10 minutes before dissolving into nothingness.
Ending the effect requires no action, and there is no resource cost for the ability, so it can be used multiple times per day.
While it might do nothing in combat, the Fighter’s main schtick, this ability is fantastic. It adds a massive amount of utility to a class that traditionally lacks it, as long as your party is willing to play along. Examples might include:
Send your Echo scouting through a dungeon to see what’s coming. If it gets attacked, triggers a trap, or dies in some other way, you’ve lost nothing.
Throw your Echo into combat again and again against enemies in a defensive position until they break, while your party guards your body.
Sneak your Echo across rooftops and into the bedroom of the corrupt noble, assassinating him, then dissolve into nothingness, leaving no trace.
The ability is only limited by imagination and time. With the right party and GM, there’s so much fun that can be had here.
Shadow Martyr: From 10th level, the Echo Knight can use their Echo to defend, as well as attack.
As a reaction when an enemy decides to attack one of their allies, the Echo Knight can teleport their Echo into the path of an enemy attack. This blocks the attack entirely and destroys the Echo.
This needs an active Echo to work, but just removing an enemy’s attack is a huge debuff, especially because it can’t fail. The ability also refreshes on a short rest, meaning that you could potentially use this two or more times per day.
Reclaim Potential: From 15th level, the Echo Knight can clothe themselves with the magic of a destroyed Echo to keep themselves safe.
When an Echo is destroyed from taking damage (this is probably to stop you from dismissing it for the effect, but nothing is stopping you from just stabbing your Echo) the Echo Knight can reclaim its power, gaining 2d6 + CON temporary HP.
This takes no action and can be used a number of times per day equal to the character’s CON modifier.
This isn’t a lot of temporary HP, but it’s free HP that takes no action, for doing what you were already going to do. At this level, a Fighter can probably expect to have a CON mod of +3 or +4, so this is effectively 30 to 40 free temporary HP every single day. That’s an increase in total HP of around 20%, and that’s just nice to have.
Legion of One: At 18th level, the Echo Knight’s ability to create Echos is significantly boosted.
Now, whenever they use a bonus action to create an Echo, they can choose to create two instead.
This is far stronger than it sounds at first glance. Two Echos means two potential places for your attacks to come from.
It means two squares on the battlefield taken up by phantom warriors. It means needing two attacks to shatter your Echoes, instead of just one. It means two Echos that can lock enemies in place with opportunity attacks and the Sentinel feat. It means being able to teleport between one of three different positions, making it impossible to lock you down.
The Echo Knight also gains another boon at 18. If they roll initiative with no uses of Unleash Incarnation left, they gain a use.
So, not only does the character double their effective Echo projection ability, they gain several more uses per day of their free extra attacking skill.
This is a fantastic capstone to the class, offering a ton of power and utility, as well as being incredibly fun to use. If you get this far into a campaign, enjoy every minute of this.
The Echo Knight excels at taking control of the battlefield. At pointing at an area and saying to their enemies “You don’t get to be here.”
Between blocking out key squares with their Echo, taking Feats or abilities that prevent enemy movement, opportunity attacks for moving away from the Echo, and the constant, ever present threat that comes from simply being able to deal a lot of damage, the Echo Knight excels at zone control and mobility denial.
The class is also surprisingly mobile, especially for a Fighter. An active Echo within 15ft can be teleported to as a bonus action, which allows the Echo Knight to ignore enemy front lines, cross gaps, and always be in the best position possible.
Echo Knights are also very effective damage dealers. It’s common to see Fighters struggle to deal damage against the most effective targets as the front lines clash. But the Echo Knight can simply summon a phantom warrior and send it sprinting towards the squishy casters and archers, forcing the enemy to deal with that threat.
Add in possible opportunity attacks from multiple squares that can threaten half the battlefield, the ability to attack more times than other Fighters as a basic ability, and as the class levels, multiple defensive layers, and you have a character that tends to have a disproportionate impact in combat for just being a single body.
Out of combat, the subclass doesn’t add much, beyond the scouting ability gained at level 7. It’s always worth building a Fighter with something to do outside of combat, especially since many Fighters will have the stats free to at least be reasonable at a few skills.
The biggest hurdle the Echo Knight faces is action economy, especially if they’re facing multiple smaller, weaker enemies. Summoning an Echo takes your bonus action, and with a mediocre AC and 1 HP, any attack that lands is going to destroy it, requiring you to resummon it the next turn.
Against a single big enemy, that’s a good thing, because it might only have 2 or 3 attacks, and wasting one of those to shatter your Echo is incredibly inefficient for its action economy.
But when you’re facing a horde of zombies that might have triple the amount of individually weak attack rolls, suddenly you’re distracting a single enemy that was never much of a threat.
The bonus action investment also almost locks the Echo Knight into particular fighting styles. It doesn’t really want to use two weapons, as that requires the bonus action attack to stay relevant in DPS. Choosing to be an archer means ignoring a lot of the subclass’s abilities, and going sword and shield lowers your damage ceiling, and so lowers your threat potential.
That means big, smashy weapons are the order of the day for the majority of characters who use this subclass. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing.
Outside of this, the Echo Knight has all of the Fighter’s usual weaknesses. Mainly, lack of skills and lack of magical means to fix problems. So a lot of the game is going to be left to the rest of the party. Either find a way to solve this with multiclassing or feats, or be content to play the strong, silent type.
Best Race Options
Bugbear: Great stats, Darkvision, free proficiency in Stealth, plus a bonus to damage if you somehow manage to surprise an enemy while clanking about in plate are all excellent things.
But the thing we want is long limbed. +5ft to melee weapon range is so good, the race could offer nothing else and you’d still take this. Pick up a polearm, summon your Echo, then stab someone standing an absurd 15ft away from it.
Metallic Dragonborn: Fighters tend to lack ways to deal with large groups of enemies. Do you know what is good at dealing with hordes of squishy foes? Dragon’s breath.
The Metallic Dragonborn offers the build two breath weapon options. One is a scaling cone of damage that can be used multiple times per day, and the second is an AOE cone with a disabling rider.
To use one only requires replacing a single attack roll, and it can be used by the Echo, so you can guarantee that it comes from the perfect angle. A choice of stats and a damage resistance are also handy to have.
Yuan-Ti: One of the biggest threats to most Fighters is magic, so adding resistance to spell effects, as well as resistance to poison, are both incredibly powerful defensive layers.
The Yuan-Ti Pureblood, published in Volo’s, is far stronger. If your GM allows you to use this option, definitely take it instead.
Choosing the Right Skills
Fighters are a class that’s traditionally starved for skills, normally only having four or five options across the entirety of their adventuring career. So it’s important to make your choices count.
Perception is almost a given. You’re a Fighter. This helps you find things to fight and stops enemies sneak-fighting you from unawares.
Athletics is good, governing physical feats like climbing and jumping, but also grappling. It’s especially good if your build is STR based.
From here, use your skill choices to round out the character. Knowledges can fit certain archetypes, as can survival skills. Like Survival.
Many Fighters might also have enough stat points to boost their CHA to 12 or 14, and if that’s the case, you can easily be the party’s secondary Face, taking Persuasion or Deception, and wowing people with stories of your exploits.
Sentinel: One of the best defensive feats in the game, Sentinel firstly allows a character to attack an enemy that swings for one of their friends within 5ft. This is great for convincing enemies not to attack the squishy wizard, but interestingly, it also triggers when people attack your Echo if it’s close enough. (Sentinel says target, not creature.)
But the big deal here is the second part of the feat. Whenever you hit an enemy with an opportunity attack, their speed becomes 0. And, whenever an enemy moves away from your Echo, you can make an opportunity attack.
This forces enemies to waste attacks killing your Echo, which you can refresh for free every single turn. Otherwise, it hits them and they can’t move. If there was a color better than purple, this feat would be it.
Skill Expert: An extra skill proficiency and Expertise in one skill is generally pretty useful, but the reason we recommend this is for Expertise in Athletics if you’re going for a grappling build.
The logic here is simple. There’s nothing stopping your Echo from attacking while you have another enemy grappled. So the plan is to pin one foe to the ground while your Echo is at your back, slashing holes in the rest of your enemies.
Polearm Master: Two big buffs. A bonus action attack that can be used whenever you don’t need to summon your Echo, which is great for overall DPS.
Second, you can attack whenever a creature gets within your threat range. You can’t do this with your Echo, but it does give you multiple options for opportunity attacks and zone control. Summon your Echo on one enemy to hold them in place, then position yourself where you can attack any enemies that try and break past you.
Urban Bounty Hunter: Two skills from a small selection, and two tools, including the main reason for this background, Thief’s Tools. If you don’t want to take this option, Criminal and Urchin are both fine choices, too.
Sailor: Perfect skills, plus Navigator’s Tools and Water Vehicle proficiency are all excellent things for every Fighter.
Soldier: The obvious choice, Soldier is a perfectly fine background choice, offering two solid skill choices, Land Vehicles, and a Gaming Set for flavor.
Gloom Stalker Ranger: The first turn is the single most important in every single encounter, and Gloom Stalker gives the Fighter a way to own it.
Firstly, it offers a bonus to initiative and movement speed, so you can get where you need to be. But the big deal here is a bonus attack whenever you take the attack action in the first round. Action Surge lets you take the attack action twice, so that’s two bonus attacks. Throw an Unleash Incarnation into the mix for 8 attacks in one round, as soon as you hit level 8.
Oh, and the character gains super-Darkvision, as well as ignoring enemy Darkvision, basically making you impossible to spot at night. So there’s that, too. That’s nice, I guess.
Ancestral Warrior Barbarian: The base barbarian package offers a lot to any martial class, but we’re here for two big things. Neither of them Rage. (I know, right!)
The first is Reckless Attack, which activates Advantage on attack rolls, but also gives it to enemies that attack you. This is … less … of a problem when you’re attacking through a shadowy copy of yourself that can be resummoned without major issue.
The second is the Ancestral Protector ability, granted by the subclass. This gives the first enemy you hit when Raging Disadvantage to attack anything that’s not you. And, again, this can be delivered quite happily through your Echo.
Pop Reckless Attacks, throw out the Echo, and slap an enemy in the face. Take Sentinel to keep enemies locked down for maximum hilarity.
Soulknife Rogue: Fighters and Rogues go surprisingly well together as a multiclass, and so do both of these subclasses.
The extra out-of-combat utility is something any Fighter can appreciate, so gaining access to more skills and tools, as well as Expertise in your main skills, is very useful. The Soulknife builds on this with Psi-Bolstered Knack, bonus psychic dice that can boost failed skill and ability checks several times per day.
You’re also gaining permanent, summonable, sneak attack capable weapons that can be created from nowhere and used for two-weapon fighting as well as ranged attacks. This little tweak turns the build into a literal army by itself, capable of summoning a fighting partner and energy blades from literally nowhere, even if it’s stark naked. The only shame is that your Echo doesn’t trigger sneak attacks. You need a real-life friend for that.
Finally, the Soulknife offers psychic communication between itself and friends, incredibly useful when you’re away from the party. Like, for example, when your Echo is sprinting solo through the dungeon…
Would I recommend playing an Echo Knight Fighter?
The Echo Knight is a strong subclass with a whole lot of power built into its abilities. But it also offers things the Fighter, or any class struggles to get anywhere else.
The core conceit of the subclass, summoning a shadowy Echo that you can attack from and interact with, is unique and flavorful, as well as incredibly strong when used correctly. It changes the entire feel of the class and is almost guaranteed to create a whole bunch of interesting situations in every single encounter your party has.
There are a lot of reasons to pick the Echo Knight as your next Fighter, and if you’ve never played one before, you should absolutely give it a shot the next time you want to play a martial character.