D&D 5e: Become The Primordial Force With The Strike of the Giants Feat
D&D 5e: Become The Primordial Force With The Strike of the Giants Feat
SOURCE: Glory of the Giants
Rating the Benefits of Strike of the Giants
Benefit #1 –
Once per turn, when you hit a target with a melee weapon or thrown weapon attack, you can trigger an additional effect
Choose from six varieties, all of which generally deal bonus damage + an effect. Triggering on-hit means that no uses are ever wasted, and some abilities here are very powerful.
The choice is locked in when you take this feat and affects which subsequent Giant Feat your character qualifies for. More on this below.
Benefit #2 –
This feature can be used a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus, with a save DC based on Strength or Constitution.
Scaling uses with proficiency is WotC’s method to let abilities naturally grow in strength with character level, and it works just fine. The stats required for saves do sideline some classes that might otherwise like this feat, namely Rangers and Rogues, but most martial classes will have at least a positive bonus in both of these stats.
Mechanics and Requirements
Understanding How This Functions
Mechanically, Strike of the Giants is very simple:
Once per turn, after an attack hits, you can use your Strike ability. All Strike abilities give a bonus dice of damage in an elemental type, and five out of six Strikes also have a bonus effect that activates if the target fails its save. The save DC is (Str or Con Bonus + Prof. + 8.)
Strike abilities can be used once per turn, with total uses per day equal to your proficiency bonus. All expended uses come back on a long rest, like many abilities of this type.
Where this feat gets complicated are the six subsequent “X of the Giant” feats, each of which builds upon this one, and is only available if you took the appropriate Strike choice from the list below.
For example, Ember of the Fire Giant, an AOE burst of flames, is only available if you take the Fire Strike choice from this feat first.
With that said, our breakdown of the available Strike choices below assumes you’re going to be taking the follow-on feat, and each description first describes the feat by itself, but will also include a short summary of the overall power of both feats combined.
Strike of the Giants Options
Cloud Strike – +1d4 thunder damage. Target has to take a Wis save, or you become invisible to it until your next turn, or you make a hostile action.
The lowest damage dice on offer, but a hilarious effect. Invisibility in combat is effectively disadvantage to hit you, plus not being able to be chosen as a target for things like spells, and much simpler mobility, all tied to a save big smashy monsters can actually fail.
Cloud Strike + Guile of the Cloud Giant – The combination doubles down on defensive and mobility effects, making for a very strong combination. This is great.
Fire Strike – +1d10 fire damage. A big damage dice, but it’s badly typed; fire resistance is still the most common enemy resistance type, and there’s no extra effect.
This is very strong early, effectively doubling a character’s damage before level 5, but falls off hard.
Fire Strike + Ember of the Fire Giant – The Ignition ability granted by Ember of the Fire Giant is incredibly powerful and more than makes up for the underwhelming power of Fire Strike. This combo is fantastic for any melee character, no matter the build.
Frost Strike – +1d6 cold damage and a Con save, or the target’s speed is reduced to 0 until your next turn.
Good for beefy melee brawlers who want to lock enemies in place, though targeting Con means that many enemies you might want to use this on have a good chance of saving, and you could simply grapple them, instead.
Frost Strike + Fury of the Frost Giant – Low reactionary damage and another movement 0 effect, neither of which are particularly worth the feat. You’ll use this, sure, but it’s not the strongest group of abilities.
Hill Strike – +1d6 weapon damage, target takes a Strength save or is knocked prone.
Weapon damage typing isn’t the best, and prone as an ability also isn’t spectacular, especially tied to Strength saves. This is good as the first attack in a sequence, as it will give you advantage on any follow up attacks, by you or your party. But considering you could just make an Athletics check for roughly the same effect, this isn’t great.
Hill Strike + Vigor of the Hill Giant – Vigor of the Hill Giant is hilarious garbage, and barely even worth the feat slot. Combining that with Hill Strike is a disappointing combination.
Stone Strike – +1d6 force damage. Target takes a Strength save, or is pushed back 10ft.
Force damage is excellent. Forced movement is less so. 10ft pushback is the very definition of mediocre. Increase the rating if you have a party that revolves around area hazards like Web, Spike Growth, or the assorted Wall of X spells.
Stone Strike + Keenness of the Stone Giant – Additive darkvision, and a bonus action ranged attack that can knock an enemy prone are both decent, especially for characters who otherwise lack bonus action utility. Shame about taking Stone Strike to get here.
Storm Strike – +1d6 lightning damage. Target makes a Con save or has disadvantage on all attack rolls until your next turn.
Finishing strong, storm strike has good elemental typing, and failing the save can effectively entirely neuter strong melee enemies for a turn.
Storm Strike + Soul of the Storm Giant – Storm Strike was already good, but soul is better, combining a powerful defensive ability with a wide area of zone control and awesome flavor. This is excellent.
This feat has no stat prerequisites, but it does require either Martial Weapon proficiency, available to basically every combat class, or the Giant Foundling background, published alongside this feat in the Glory of the Giants book.
Ideal Characters for Strike of the Giants
Fighter – Fighters gain more feat slots than other classes, so have the space to pick up feats and still stack ASIs. The Rune Knight subclass fits these feats perfectly, both mechanically and thematically, considering they already have a giant heritage and can grow in size.
Alternatively, there’s nothing stopping Battlemasters from stacking Combat Maneuvers with Giant Strikes, for all the damage. 0 movement from Frost Strike is much more effective when the target was also knocked prone in the same round and can no longer get up.
Barbarian – Barbarians like to hit things. Barbarians like dealing big damage. Barbarians have high Strength and Constitution. Barbarians have a specific subclass built around Giants and their abilities.
Everything this feat does fits the Barbarian class perfectly, and taking the new subclass, also conveniently available in the Glory of the Giants book, is a combination that we’re sure to see landing on many tables in the coming months.
Moon Druid – Every Strike ability triggers on a melee weapon attack. Natural weapons are melee weapons, meaning these abilities are all perfectly legal to use when you’re mauling someone while wild shaped into an enormous, angry bear.
Many Wild Shape choices also innately add effects to their attacks, often prone or grapple. Stacking another effect, plus thematic elemental damage, on top of these abilities, is, frankly, fantastic.
Race or Subrace Choices
Bugbear – +5ft reach is a straight buff to this feat, allowing a character to reach out far further (15ft with a polearm) and apply their enhanced attacks directly to whoever likes them least.
Any Elf – Not because of racial abilities, though there are some good ones scattered between the various Elven subtypes. Fey teleportation for Eladrin is particularly great.
No, we’re here to somehow jam the Elven Accuracy feat into our build. Rerolling a die every time you have advantage makes a character with this combo incredibly consistent at landing hits, turn after turn.
Variant Human – If your GM isn’t allowing the Giant Foundling background to pick this feat up at level 1, which feels almost necessary to make it relevant, Variant Human has your back.
Combos, Tactics, and Synergies
Strike of the Giants is a prerequisite for six further feats also printed in Glory of the Giants.
We’ve touched on these above, but each one builds on top of a particular Strike option, and some of the combinations are very effective.
If we were taking Strike of the Giants, it would be in the knowledge that we’re almost certainly also picking up the respective follow-up feat.
Spells that Synergize
Bless – Boost whole party attack rolls. Giant Strikes trigger on a hit, meaning you actually have to land an attack to be able to use it. It helps that Bless is one of the best party buffs, no matter the level.
Mind Sliver/Silvery Barbs – Reducing the chance of a target making a save increases the chance of disabling effects landing.
Haste – Move faster, hit harder, get hit less. Just don’t lose concentration, or you’re spending a turn doing nothing.
Strategies for Maximizing Strike of the Giants
The first big consideration for Strike of the Giants is how you’re getting it.
Realistically, would we spend one of the few feat slots a character gains solely on this feat? No, we wouldn’t. In terms of what it offers, just taking the ASI in your main combat stat is probably going to be more effective overall.
On top of this, taking this feat at level 4, then finally gaining your respective Giant Soul feat at level 8 is also a subpar choice. Your character will be a massive +2 behind on hit and damage rolls, which, for the warrior types, the people who really want attack-based feats like this one, is a huge downside.
However, picking up this feat at level 1, either from the Giant Foundling background printed in the Glory of the Giants book, through taking the Variant Human race, or simply through GM fiat, is a much better prospect.
That means grabbing the respective Giant Soul feat at level 4, where the abilities will see much more play and also doesn’t cripple the character’s stat growth in the same way.
So, a simple rule of thumb. Finding a way to take Strike of the Giants at level 1 makes the feat that much more attractive.
Hitting Hardest: Maximizing Your Strike Options
Maximizing the effects of the feat itself depends heavily on the particular Strike option chosen.
Cloud Strike is fantastic against enemies that want to target you with spells that require sight, as a way to gain a cheap advantage, or as a defensive button to prevent a character from losing their last few HP.
Fire Strike synergizes perfectly with characters who can force critical strikes, doubling that large damage dice. Champion Fighters, Reckless Attacking Barbarians, Stunned enemies, and anyone just rolling a ton of dice every turn.
Frost Strike is perfect for isolating a single enemy and locking them down, keeping them away from the rest of the party. It’s also great if you have a thrown weapon on hand. Hitting the melee striker before they get to act and while they’re still 25ft out of range prevents many enemies from doing anything for a turn.
Hill Strike’s prone effect can be combined with grapples to set an enemy’s speed to 0 and utterly prevent them from moving. Prone enemies also offer up advantage on melee attack rolls, meaning this is a solid combination for parties full of fighting types.
Stone Strike knocks enemies back. Pushing enemies away from allies is a solid use, but we’d also strongly consider setting up zones of control with your party. For example, the party Druid casting spike growth before you knock the enemy backward through it can deal a ton of damage and leaves them in a vulnerable position.
Storm Strike is probably the strongest raw ability on offer here. A flat disadvantage on attacks for a turn can just switch off enemies that rely on attack rolls. Look for ways to push that failed save through. Lore Bards, spellcasting, and several class abilities like the Wizard’s Portents can force enemies to fail saves almost on demand.
Final Thoughts on Strike of the Giants
Feat chains that build on top of each other? What is this, D&D 3.5e?
Strike of the Giants is a fun combat feat with a lot of options built in. While we don’t think this feat is that amazing by itself, taking this and the subsequent Giant feat can really work to define a character’s abilities and combat role. Some of the feat chains are incredibly powerful, offering up disabling abilities that can be used multiple times per day that shut out single enemies, or even entire encounters.
As we’ve already said in this guide, gaining access to the feat early seems almost essential to making it work, and WotC seems to agree, as it’s available as a benefit from a background of all things.
Would we take Strike of the Giants by itself?
Probably not, no.
But if we gained access to it early, a situation the feat was clearly designed around, and knew we were able to grab even more power just a handful of levels later by following the feat chain?
Yeah, then this feat is a fantastic option that adds abilities that many martial characters don’t often get. A whole table of themed characters, each one with their own elemental Giant Strike? That’s a game we’d love to see.