D&D 5e: Fighter Class Guide
Welcome to the Fighter Class Guide for Dnd 5e. We’ll take a look at Ability Scores for the Fighter, Races, Weapons, Subclasses, Skills, etc.
The first thing to know about playing as a fighter is that this class is the most versatile class out there. You also have to decide what type of fighter you want to be and whether you want to be a STR based fighter or a DEX based fighter. The different subclasses will also affect your stat array. For example, if you’re going for an Eldritch Knight, you’ll need INT or CON as your highest stat. The races will also depend on what subclass you pick. But fear not, we’re going to take a look at all the subclasses.
A few things to note, when I say STR based it means the type of weapons you’re going to use like longsword, battle axe etc. As a DEX based fighter, you’ll be using weapons like bows, rapier, scimitar, and shortsword. Again, it all boils down to what type of fighter you want to play, what weapon you want to use, etc.
STR If you’re going for a STR based fighter, you’ll want STR as your highest.
DEX If you’re going for a DEX based fighter you want DEX as your highest. Arcane Archer needs this to be high since you’re using bows.
CON Always good to have. Cavalier lets you use your CON modifier to add to your AC when you or a target is getting hit as a reaction.
INT** If you’re planning on playing as an Eldritch Knight. Psi Warrior, or Arcane Archer, you’ll need INT to be your highest since your spell attacks and DC are based on this. ***If you’re not then you don’t need INT.***
WIS: The Samurai does have a skill where you can add your WIS modifier but it’s not really necessary. The skill is situational.
CHA: A Samurai skill lets you add WIS modifier when you use the Persuasion skill. Other than that, this is not really necessary. Technically a “dump stat”.
Aarakocra This race gives you a DEX increase of 2 and Wisdom score increases by 1. Good for Arcane Archer and Battle Master if you picked DEX.
Aasimar You get a plus 2 to Charisma.
–Protector Nothing good for a fighter.
–Scourge Con score increases by 1 so Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier would work well.
–Fallen Strength score increases by 1 and the Samurai, Champion, and Cavalier could use the STR.
Bugbear Strength increases by 2 and DEX increases by 1. Samurai, Cavalier, and Champion use STR.
Centaur The STR increase by 2 is good and you also get a +1 to Wisdom. No, you don’t count as mount but you can use a lance without getting any negative effects. Samurai, Cavalier, and Champion use STR.
Changeling Nothing good for fighters.
Dragonborn STR has a +2 and CHAR gets a +1. Breath weapon uses your CON modifier. Good for Champion.
The CON boost will definitely help with the hit points and a few skills as a Cavalier.
–Hill The WIS boosts will help a Samurai skill but, overall, it’s not really necessary.
–Mountain: If you’re a STR based Fighter, you the STR will help. Think Samurai, Cavalier, and Champion.
–Duergar: As a STR based fighter, this will be a really good class. Works with Champion and Battle Master and Samurai (if you’re using STR).
If you’re going for a DEX based, the Elf class gives you a +2 to DEX.
–Drow Nothing good for a Fighter.
–Eladrin Nothing good for a Fighter.
–High Essential as an Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior because of the +1 to INT. You also get proficiencies with bows but bows do require DEX.
–Wood Gives you +1 WIS. If you’re going for Samurai it can sort of help with a skill but otherwise not that great.
–Eladrin Nothing useful for a Fighter.
–Sea Elf: CON score increases by 1. This is good for Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier.
–Shadar-Kai: CON score increases by 1. This is good for playing as Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier.
Firbolg Wisdom increases by 2 and Strength increases by 1. You can choose this if you’re going for a STR based fighter.
Genasi CON score gets a +2. Having CON is always good. Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier benefit from CON.
–Air +1 to DEX. Arcane Archer and/or Battle Master.
–Earth +1 to STR. Samurai, Cavalier, and Champion.
–Fire +1 to INT. Good for Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior.
–Water Nothing good for fighters.
Gith Really good for Eldritch Knights. INT + 1
–Githyanki STR gets a +2. You can cast spells and use INT as the spellcasting ability.
–Githzerai WIS +2
Gnome Essential as an Eldritch Knight because of the +1 to INT.
–Deep + 1 to DEX so this would be good for a DEX based fighter.
–Forest DEX gets a +1. Cantrip uses your INT to cast it.
–Rock CON boost by 1. This is good for a Cavalier.
Goblin Your DEX increases by 2 and your CON goes up by 1. Good for DEX based fighters and CON.
Goliath Your Strength receives an increase of 2 and your CON gets an increase of 1. Very good for Champion and Cavalier.
Half-Elf Okay for Samurai since it uses CHAR and WIS based skills.Two other skills do get a +1.
Half-Orc STR +2 and CON + 1. Good combination for Champion, Cavalier, and Battle Master.
Halfling As a DEX based fighter your DEX gets a +2.
–Lightfoot Samurai use the CHAR (+1) for skills.
–Stout CON score gets a +1. Good for Cavalier.
Hobgoblin CON gets a +2 and INT gets a +1 Good for Eldritch Knight, Psi Warrior, Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier.
Human This race can be anything. Each ability score gets a +1. As a variant human, you get a feat.
Kalashtar WIS+2 and CHAR+1. Not the greatest option. As mentioned before, Samurai does use some of their WIS modifier for a situational skill.
Kenku DEX increases by 2 and Wisdom increases by 1. Good for DEX based fighters like Arcane Archer or Battle Master if you picked DEX.
Kobold +2 to DEX and +1 to STR. Arcane Archer, Battle Master, Samurai, Cavalier, and Champion are all good choices here.
Leonin You get a +2 to CON and a +1 to STR. Good combination for Champion, Cavalier, and Battle Master.
Lizardfolk The CON score increase by 2 is great and you get a Wisdom increase by 1. Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion and Cavalier can use the CON.
Loxodon CON increases by 2 and WIS gets a +1. Good option for Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion, and Cavalier.
Minotaur You get a +2 to STR and a +1 to CON. Good combination for Champion, Cavalier, and Battle Master.
Orc STR + 2 and CON +1 but INT gets a -2. If you’re going for anything other than Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior, this race would be an option.
Satyr CHAR gets a +2 and DEX gets a +1. Okay for a DEX based fighter.
–Beasthide CON gets a +2 and STR gets a +1. Really good for Champion.
–Longtooth Your STR increases by 2 and your DEX gets a +1. Good for Cavalier.
–Swiftstride DEX increases by 2 and CHAR gets a +1. Good for Arcane Archer and/or Battle Master.
–Wildhunt DEX gets a +1 and WIS increases by 2. Okay for Arcane Archer and/or Battle Master.
Simic Hybrid Your CON increases by 2 and you also get to increase another ability of your choice by 1. Not a bad choice for Rune Knight, Battle Master, Champion and Cavalier.
Tabaxi DEX increases by 2 and CHAR increases by 1. Arcane Archer and DEX based Battle Master.
Triton Strength, Constitution, and Charisma increase by 1.
–Asmodeus This one gets you a +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR. Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior use the INT.
–Baalzebul INT +1 and CHAR +2. Useful for Psi Warrior and Eldritch Knight.
–Dispatcher +2 CHAR and + 1 to DEX. Okay for Arcane Archer and Battle Master.
–Fierna CHAR +2 and WIS +1. Samurai uses WIS for a situational skill.
–Glasya CHAR +2 and DEX +1. Okay for Arcane Archer or Battle Master..
–Levistus CHAR + 2 and CON + 1. Good for Cavalier and Rune Knight.
–Mammon Good for Eldritch Knight with a +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR. Good for Samurai too.
–Mephistopheles Good for Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior with a +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR.
–Zariel This tiefling gives you a Charisma increase of 2 and a Strength score of 1. Samurai, Cavalier and Battle Master.
-Feral Gives you an increase of 2 for Dexterity and increase of 1 for Intelligence. Good for Eldritch Knight, DEX based fighter.
Tortle STR gets a +2 and you get a +1 to WIS. Good for a STR based fighter and Samurai.
Warforged Your CON increases by 2 and you also get to increase another ability of your choice by 1. Good for Cavalier, Champion, and Battle Master, and Rune Knight.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood CHAR +2 and INT +1. Okay for Psi Warrior and Eldritch Knight.
Hit dice: 1d10
Armor: Proficiencies in all armor and shields.
Saving Throws: Strength and Constitution
+2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons. A must for Arcane Archer.
Wearing armor, you get a +1 bonus to AC. Good all around.
When 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
Rolling a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property.
When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.
In two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
Second Wind – You can heal yourselves using a d10 + your fighter level as a bonus action. Very handy to have.
Action Surge: Another bonus action where you can take your turn once again.
You get an extra attack at 5th level and, at 9th, you can reroll a saving throw that you fail.
Champion PHB: Damage dealer. Your CON should be your highest stat. You’ll crit on a 19 or 20. You’ll want your Con and STR to be highest.
Battle Master PHB: This subclass acts like a commanding officer on the front lines with proficiency in battle. You get maneuvers to use during battle by expending superior dice which give you a variety of fighting styles and maneuvers to use in combat. This class uses DEX or CON (pick one) for your saving throws if your maneuvers require one.
Eldritch Knight PHB: In all honesty, if this is your first time playing, don’t use this subclass. Magic brings other rule sets into play. It’s better to learn how to play first. This subclass focuses on sword magic. It’s very versatile and you’re a ⅓ caster. Your spell slots only go up to 3rd level and must be from either the abjuration school of magic or the evocation school of magic. You use the wizard’s spell list. This class uses your INT for spell attack and the spell DC.
Arcane Archer XGtE: magic pew pew. INT needs to be your highest stat. You’ll need DEX for your weapons.
Cavalier XGtE: You’re really good at mounted combat and still good off the mount. Strength and CON need to be your highest. You guard and protect your comrades in combat.
Samurai XGtE: Need I say more? Enemies yield or die. High damage dealer. Uses WIS for the Persuasion skill.Gives you INT or CHAR saving throw proficiency.
Purple Dragon Knight SCAG : This is a very defensive subclass but it’s underwhelming. You’re a support fighter. If you choose this subclass, just change it to Battle Master.
Psi Warrior TCoE: Telekinetic powers. Uses your INT.
Rune Knight TCoE: You infuse magic into a symbol and wear it. These runes have beneficial bonuses that can give you resistances and add control. This uses your CON modifier.
Acrobatics DEX based. Arcane Archer and/or Battle Master. Helps you wiggle free.
Animal Handling WIS based. If you want to tame animals and be friendly.
Arcana Eldritch Knight. Situational.
Athletics STR based. Good if you’re pushing or lifting something.
Deception If you want to lie.
History Not really useful
Insight WIS based. Judging PCs intentions and checking to see if they’re lying.
Intimidation CHAR based. Some DMs might let you do STR.
Investigation uses INT. Good to take for Psi Warrior and Eldritch Knight.
Medicine Fighters aren’t healers. The best you can do is shove a potion down someone’s throat.
Nature INT based.
Perception WIS based.
Performance CHAR based. How well you can put on an act.
Persuasion CHAR based. Samurai get to add their WIS at a later level.
Religion None takes this.
Sleight of Hand Stealing, cheating in cards.
Stealth Some armor can give you Disadvantage on stealth.
Survival WIS based. How well you can follow tracks.
Top 3 Backgrounds
Soldier Gives you proficiencies with Athletics, Intimidation, one type of gaming set, and vehicles (land).
Outlander Gives you proficiencies with Athletics, Survival, one type of instrument, and one more language of your choice.
Noble: Knight Makes sense for roleplaying purposes.
Top 3 Weapons
A STR based fighter you can use a longsword for Samurai, spear, and two-handed weapons count as STR. Most of the weapons are STR based with exceptions.
A DEX based fighter would use a crossbow or any kind of bow. Arcane Archer falls under this. Range weapons without the thrown property use DEX.
You can wear all the armor but not everything will be available at the start.
I’d suggest starting with Medium armor like a Chain Shirt which is 13 + DEX modifier. Leather or Studded leather for Light armor. Heavy armor is usually acquired later in a campaign. Talk to your DM.
Shields are always good to have. There’s no rule saying you can’t switch from sword and shield to two handed weapons. Archers can switch to their DEX weapon like rapier.
Top 5 Feats
Entirely up to the type of fighter you are. The first four are universally good for a fighter. Last four are specific to the subclass.
Tough is always good to have with the extra hit points.
Athlete You gain a +1 to either STR or DEX.
Durable CON gets a +1 and you can use your CON modifier when you use your hit die to regain hit points.
Resilient You can increase one ability score by 1 and you gain proficiency with that saving throw.
War Caster Let you get advantage on concentrated spells as an Eldritch Knight.
Shield Master if you’re using a shield and a weapon.
Sharpshooter for Arcane Archer.
Dual Wielder if you’re using two weapons to fight.
This depends on the type of fighter you choose to start with.
Barbarian needs a 13 in STR.
Rogue needs a 13 in DEX.
Paladin needs a 13 in STR and CHAR.