5E Fighters are amazing!
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  1. #1
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    Fighters are amazing!

    Over on the Warlord thread, the subject of the viability of the Fighter class in 5E came up. I feel this deserves a thread all to its own, so I'll say it here, loud and clear:

    Fifth Edition Fighters are amazing!

    Sometimes I feel that they are really underrated. Let's break down some key points of the class:
    • You have great baseline features. Proficiency in all armor and shields means you'll never have a bad AC, all martial weapons means top-tier damage dealing, Constitution saves . You have access to as many skills as most classes do, and your options include the stellar Athletics (one of the all-time best exploration skills and great for grappling) and the all-star Perception. Constitution is also probably the best "common" save proficiency, and all the casters in the group will be very jealous.
    • Unlike Rangers and Paladins (never mind the poor Barbarian who doesn't get them at all), you have access to every Fighting Style, and you have it at first level. Can Rangers go GWF, or Paladins be archers? Nope. Those small bonuses to accuracy, damage or defense can really add up as they apply just about every turn.
    • Second Wind doesn't look like much, but it recharges on a Short Rest, of which you can expect 2 per day plus a long rest. Combined with your likely better AC, you can compete with the Barbarian for durability. Rangers and Paladins may have self-healing as well, but when taken over the course of a day, 3d10+3 looks a lot better than a Paladin's paltry 5 HP from Lay on Hands, and even at higher levels 3d10+30 is competitive with 50 HP when you consider that it can be done as a bonus action.
    • Action Surge is just insane, and every other class is jealous (and often they'll dip into Fighter just to get this). You can totally break the action economy approximately three times a day. This gets even crazier with multiple Extra Attacks at higher levels, but also comboes well with abilities like grappling or spellcasting.
    • You get more Ability Score Increases than any other class. What does that mean? If you start with a 16 in your key stat, you can bring that to 20 and pick up one of those fancy-schmancy combat feats (it's not like anyone's ever heard of Great Weapon Master, right?), all by eighth level. Or you can go for a totally devastating build like Polearm Master + Sentinel early on and still buff your stats up really easily. No other class can do that, and they'll have a much harder time maxing out their three or so key stats while rounding out their build. You only really need your attack stat and Constitution, leaving you free to pick up awesome stuff like Resilient (Wisdom) or Mage Slayer.
    • Sure, every other martial class save for Rogue gets Extra Attack at level 5. What they don't get is ANOTHER Extra Attack at level 11. That's three attacks, or a ridiculous six with Action Surge. You are also free to make Shove or Grapple attempts with those attacks, and if you're Strength-based you're likely quite good at those things. Not only does Extra Attack help your damage, it also helps your versatility.
    • Adding to the Fighter's general badassery is their ability to mimic the much-behated Legendary Resistance starting at level 9. Fail a save? I guess I'll give it another shot. Maybe the Paladin's immune to Charm, but Petrification? Not a chance. You are, though - or at least you've got a good crack at it when it counts.

    There's nothing a good class needs so much as stellar subclasses. Let's have a look:
    • First there's the Champion, which takes a lot of flack for being "boring" and "underpowered." But c'mon! First of all, it is important to have something you can hand to a new player and have them understand easily, and the Fighter's as good a place for it as any. Second of all, the Champion isn't actually bad. You double your crits (particularly good with Action Surge and Extra Attack), get one of the game's few Initiative bonuses, and eventually become crazy resilient in a fight - plus you have the whole Fighter class to fall back on. The Champion might not be exciting to play, but it still has tons of staying power.
    • The Battle Master is actually awesome! You can do so much. Sure, Superiority Dice aren't there all the time but you still get about 12-18 to play with per day, and pull off at least a few awesome moves each combat. And the moves are very awesome indeed! You can shove creatures around, disarm them, move your allies out of a tight spot, defend your whole team by intimidating a monster, turn a miss into a hit, knock an enemy prone (and then whale on them with your Action Surge with all attacks at advantage), rally a beleaguered ally, parry a vicious blow - whatever helps most at the time you need it. And all of this while dealing nova-y damage that rivals the Paladin (tip: Superiority Dice double on crits)! For extra points, you can annoy the DM by "sizing up" every NPC you meet, determining if the humble innkeeper could in fact destroy your whole party or not.
    • The Eldritch Knight looks limited, but in fact adds a whole host of abilities onto the strong-as-is Fighter chassis. Chief among those is the ability to shield, adding 5 to your AC for a round and potentially weathering several punishing blows. You can mage armor and summon your bonded weapon to be ready for a fight instantly, or cast misty step to leap thirty feet into the air and grapple the Manticore. And let's not forget the potent self-buffs available at higher level. Your party Wizard can save his or her Concentration slot for showstoppers like hold monster or delayed blast fireball - you can haste yourself and save them the trouble. The kicker? You're likely to have excellent Constitution saves anyway, so you'll be better at holding Concentration than they are!


    Aside from their great features and subclasses, the Fighter also has tons and tons of possible interesting, viable builds. A 4E-style Defender is totally doable, as is a powerful Great Weapon Master that deals bucketloads of damage whenever they hit or a gladiator with plenty of dirty tricks up their sleeve. A "trick shot" sniper that trips up, pushes around, and disarms foes at range? Why not? A bare-fisted Grappler that wrestles ogres and young dragons to the ground? Totally doable. A dagger master that destroys their foes with a barrage of kitchen knives? Surprisingly quite decent, as long as your DM will rule that drawing a thrown weapon counts as drawing ammo (and not as interacting with an object). A stalwart knight that never goes down in battle, no matter what you throw at them? There's a build for that. A magical warrior that takes to the air under their own power to duel dragons? Why not? A 4E-style Warlord that inspires their allies, granting them extra resilience and attacks? Possible with the right Maneuvers and feats. The first edition Elf, alternating between sword and spell? Just pick up Eldritch Knight and you're good to go. The options only get better when you consider multiclassing.
    ... I'm pretty sure I could play a Fighter for the rest of my D&D career and never get tired.

    Now, some naysayers will have you believe that the Fighter has some crucial weaknesses. Nay, I say to them!
    • In my opinion, the Linear Fighter/Quadratic Wizard dynamic in 5E, save for a few clearly overpowered spells like Simulacrum and Conjure Fey (seriously? eight Pixies?), is thoroughly smashed. Wizards are still great at battlefield control and AoE damage, but they generally can't match a Fighter for durability or single-target damage dealing (nova or sustained) during a fight. Similarly, Clerics are great at support, but the Concentration mechanic means they can no longer buff themselves into a combat monster, and experience has proved that even Moon Druids are unable to match a Fighter for pure damage dealing or resilience (save for perhaps level 2). While high-level casters still have access to enormously powerful spells with a wide variety of applications, those spells must be carefully rationed due to their limited use, while a Fighter can easily afford to use his or her most powerful abilities (Action Surge, Extra Attack), very often or even at-will.
    • "Fighters don't have out-of-combat utility!" Not so, I assert. The baseline Fighter can contribute strong skills like Athletics and Perception all day long, and thanks to the magic of bounded accuracy and Backgrounds stands a good chance of helping out in a social encounter as well. The Battlemaster contributes the totally awesome Know Your Enemy feature, which adds needed context to tons of social interactions, and a . And a Dexterity-based Fighter with the Criminal or Urchin background? You'll be a passable Thief, with Stealth and lockpicking skills to match. Finally, the Fighter's many ASIs and fewer relevant stats adds more opportunities to add great utility feats like Ritual Caster or Skilled.


    In conclusion, Fighters are awesome in 5E. They're my favorite class for lots of reasons - they have tons of power, loads of options, and are super iconic. Legolas and Gimli were Fighters. So is Captain America.

    I hope reading this wall of text has inspired you, too to explore the possibilities available in D&D 5E's coolest class. Here I'll add a shameless plug for my own Fighter Guide which I'd like to eventually transplant to ENWorld. Consider making your next character a Fighter!

    Agree with me? Got a Fighter story you'd love to share? Want to take an attack roll at the Fighter's awesome armor class of amazingness? (I think you'll miss, but I'm always interested to hear a dissenting opinion.) Have at it!
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  2. #2
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    Lama (Lvl 13)



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    Fighters are definitely awesome in this edition, especially if you use feats. A Fighter with sharpshooter, archery style, and crossbow expert is a pure damage machine.

  3. #3
    I agree as well. Fighter can get more damage out than any other class at any level, at least qhen feats are allowed. Even then its a tough competition with warlocks eldtritch blastiness.

  4. #4
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    We just started a 5E Adventure. The group consisted of 1 Fighter, 2 Rangers, 1 Bard, 1 Rogue, 1 Cleric. We're coming from 4E (played 3.5 only for a short time), and I loved the fast combats. Because we started 1st level it's hard to say how the fighter will do later, but he and the ranger really dominated the fights.
    I have to agree with the first post that the fighter sounds (at least when reading the book) like a very versatile character.

  5. #5
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    This past weekend I put my players up against two bone devils, a deadly encounter for them and let me tell you the two fighters in the group were the main reason only one of them went down. The protection sword and shield battlemaster was very effective at keeping his allies from getting hit with the tail attack, and the eldritch knight laid into them with his maul making him a primary target but when they would hit him, he just threw up shield and ignored the attacks.

    The rest of the party did good teamwork and all contributed, but without the two fighters being able to prevent those tail hits it would have possibly been a tpk.

  6. #6
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)

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    Two fighters in our current 5e party, one a straight Champion using Basic rules, the other a Battle Master. Level 4.

    Both deal frankly obscene amounts of damage (thanks, Action Surge!). And the Basic fighter's Protection ability was so vital for my Valor Bard gish that being without it is what lead directly to that guy's death. The battle master is chucking extra dice on everything.

    One thing is that Action Surge is insanely versatile. Doubling attacks is what comes first to mind when reading it, but it adapts well to ANY combat situation. Need to get to the back ranks of the enemy? Action Surge - Withdrawl to weave through them without OA's. Running low on HPs against a multiattack machine? Action Surge - Dodge and watch them flail at you like they were a 3e monk. Want to be the rogue's best friend? Action Surge - Help and don't blink or you'll miss when your target falls.

    As a defining ability that is absolutely thematic for the fighter without being "martial magic" and yet puts most magical effects of the same level to shame, Action Surge is delightfully mighty.

    They don't quite have the broad flexibility of the 3e fighter (though that was always a mixed bag), and they don't have all the detailed options of a 4e fighter (5e wants to be a simpler, more streamlined game), but I think this is my favorite version of the fighter. It's distinctive and powerful.
    [RIGHT]Jacob J. Driscoll
    [B][I]Astral Plane Campaign[/I][/B]: Take [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/193314/Hereos-of-the-Eternal-Classes-of-the-Astral-Plane"]your heroes[/URL] and [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/190331/People-of-the-Eternal-Races-of-the-Astral-Plane"]your people[/URL] and come to [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/198238/The-Athar-Citadel"][B]The Athar Citadel[/B][/URL], where those who reject the gods learn to wield divine magic!
    [/RIGHT]
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  7. #7
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    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)



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    I agree with the OP on everything except that champion fighters are boring. There are no boring classes, only boring players :P

    I have a lot of personal experience playing a champion and a battlemaster, and we've had a couple eldritch knights. Fighters are awesome. In my experience, BM fighters are downright badass, especially when you action surge and blow all of your superiority dice in one go. It's like you're a Cuisinart of death. Even if you ignore all the things the opponent has to save against or suck, just the damage alone. A BM fighter as low as 7th level could do: 1d8 (+1d8 for SD) +4 str mod x5 attacks (5th coming from off hand weapon). What other 7th level PC can do 10d8+20 points of damage in one round, and recharges on a short rest? And at 10th level they go to d10s?

  8. #8
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    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



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    When I start a 5E campaign, I plan to disallow feats. How does that affect the performance of the fighter, and the Champion in particular?

  9. #9
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    I don't think our Basic Champion has missed them. Ability score increases are typically a safer bet than feats anyway, they're just (much) less flashy.
    [RIGHT]Jacob J. Driscoll
    [B][I]Astral Plane Campaign[/I][/B]: Take [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/193314/Hereos-of-the-Eternal-Classes-of-the-Astral-Plane"]your heroes[/URL] and [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/190331/People-of-the-Eternal-Races-of-the-Astral-Plane"]your people[/URL] and come to [URL="http://www.dmsguild.com/product/198238/The-Athar-Citadel"][B]The Athar Citadel[/B][/URL], where those who reject the gods learn to wield divine magic!
    [/RIGHT]

  10. #10
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Our TWF eldritch knight is a blender of destruction. The rest of the party has said, "She's crazy, but at least she is on our side." Then she was hit by the dominate person trap.
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