The best Fighter feats in DnD 5e are those that complement their playstyle and base class features well. Fighters are naturally versatile, able to take on the role of tank, frontline striker, or ranged attacker with equal success.
They can use any weapons and armor available in the game, and attack more than any class through both Action Surge and scaling Extra Attacks. Fighters are also able to take more feats than any other class in DnD 5e, opening the door to even more customization and specialization.
With all these factors in mind, I’ve broken down the 10 best Fighter feats into three categories, depending on your playstyle.
DnD 5e Best Fighter Feats (Damage Dealer)
1) Great Weapon Master
After landing a critical hit or killing a creature with a melee weapon, can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action, and can take a -5 penalty on an attack roll for +10 damage if it lands when attacking with a heavy melee weapon.
There is no feat in the game more effective for maximizing the damage of a two-handed weapon user. Great Weapon Master is hands-down the best feat for a Fighter who cares primarily about making as many attacks and dealing as much damage as possible.
And if you can get attack advantage, you can essentially wipe out the -5 attack penalty. Knocking a creature prone, restraining it, stunning it, etc., are all ways to negate the penalty and simply enjoy a +10 damage boost. Even the Bless spell (+2.5 average on attack rolls) is an effective way to get around the penalty.
While you have to forgo wearing a shield to use GWM, the defensive tradeoff is minimal, and killing enemies faster is the ultimate way to reduce incoming damage anyway.
2) Polearm Master
When you attack with a polearm (glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear) you can make a bonus action attack that deals d4 + ability modifier damage. Additionally, creatures provoke an opportunity attack when they enter your reach while you’re wielding a polearm.
The d4 bonus action attack is a nice and consistent damage boost for Fighters who don’t have much to do with their bonus action anyway (not true for all subclasses, but most). The extra way to make opportunity attacks pretty much guarantees you’ll also get at least one extra reaction attack per combat as well, especially when you’re using a polearm with the reach property (10-foot reach), glaives and halberds.
Both of these weapons are also heavy, meaning that having both Polearm Master and Great Weapon Master is an easy way to maximize your damage as a Fighter (even if other two-handed weapons deal slightly more damage). The bummer is that the d4 Polearm Master attack requires a bonus action, as does the GWM bonus action attack after killing/critting; but you can wait to see if you DO crit/kill before deciding to use Polearm Master’s d4 attack (at which point you wouldn’t, because GWM’s attack is superior).
Finally, Polearm Master pairs fantastically well with the Sentinel feat (great for two-handed tanking; I’ll get to that soon).
+5 initiative, can’t be surprised, and unseen attackers don’t get attack advantage against you. A simple way to boost your initiative and guarantee you’ll go sooner in combat. Getting to kill a creature before it has a chance to attack is the ultimate way to reduce incoming damage for you and your party, making this both a strong offensive and defensive feat to pick up for your Fighter.
Plus, if you’re a Strength-based Fighter, this helps negate dumping Dexterity and brings your initiative bonus as high as a character who maximized their Dex to 20. And if you ARE a Dexterity-based Fighter, you’ll have an insane +10 initiative bonus, pretty much ensuring you’ll go in the top half of most initiative orders.
DnD 5e Best Fighter Feats (Tank)
Hitting a creature with an opportunity attack drops its speed to 0 for the turn, you ignore Disengage, and when a creature within 5 feet of you attacks a target other than you, you can use your reaction to attack it.
This is one of the top tanking feats in DnD 5e, primarily because it makes you actually sticky — foes can’t just run away once they’re within your reach. Pair this with Polearm Master, and enemies can’t approach you without being frozen either. Heck, if you’re using a reach weapon, they can’t even get in melee range to attack you at all.
Putting Sentinel, Polearm Master, and Great Weapon Master together makes you both incredibly strong as a damage dealer and a tank, even though you can’t wear a shield with any reach weapons. It’s no problem, though — you can make up for it with Heavy Armor and the Defense fighting style for +1 AC; shields are for suckers!
5) Shield Master
Oof, I was just talking trash about shields, and now here I am recommending Shield Master as a great defense feat — what gives? Well, it’s not really the AC of wearing a shield that makes this feat attractive; it’s the fact that you can take a bonus action to shove a creature after taking the Attack action.
So, with Extra Attack, you can take your first attack, use the bonus action to knock them prone, and then attack them again with advantage. This gets even better once you’re level 11 and have Extra Attack x2. And that’s not even considering the fact that your melee allies also have attack advantage against the target, so you’re providing extra damage and utility for them as well (as long as the initiative order allows for them to go before the target can just stand up again with half their movement speed).
Shield Master also lets you add your shield’s AC to Dexterity saves against single-target spells/effects that target only you (kinda rare, but not a bad perk), and allows you to use a reaction to take 0 damage instead of half damage when you pass ANY Dexterity saving throw (much more common).
These defensive perks are nice, but the bonus action shove prone (or 5 feet away so can run away without Disengaging, if you need to for some reason) are the real reasons Shield Master is an attractive feat.
+1 Constitution, and your minimum hit points gained from expending a Hit Die is twice your Constitution modifier. The half-ASI is a nice HP boost if you’re sitting at an odd-numbered Constitution score, and the added healing makes a big difference in how long you’re able to keep going in a day.
By the time you have +4 Con, your minimum healing from expending HD during a short rest is 8; by the time you max out your Con, you always get the max HP from expending HD. This takes a lot of pressure off your healers from using spell slots to keep you healthy from fight to fight.
And if your party lacks a healer altogether, then this feat is a massive boon for when your party is going a long time without a long rest. Note that this feat becomes much less attractive for Fighters if your DM doesn’t make it hard to long rest outside of safe havens and much more attractive if they’re sticklers for only being able to long rest in towns and such.
7) Heavy Armor Master
+1 Strength and -3 damage taken from nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. Now, this feat is incredibly strong in tier 1 of play, when -3 incoming damage could very well be a 50% damage reduction. It’s still solid in tier 2, and falls off by a lot in tier 3, when nonmagical attacks become less rare and 3 damage becomes negligible.
So, while I can recommend Heavy Armor Master as a great defensive feat if your campaign ends before level 12, I can also confidently tell you to skip it if you know you’re going deeper. Counterintuitively, damage-boosting feats will be more useful for tanking in the late game, when killing things faster is 100% better than reducing damage by 3.
+1 and proficiency in saving throws for any ability. For Fighters, I recommend choosing Wisdom — it’s one of the most common saving throws that monsters in 5e force, and also one of the most deadly. Being frightened by a dragon, Hypnotic Pattern’d by a spellcaster, or put to sleep by a Beholder are all particularly debilitating things to happen to your Fighter on a failed Wisdom save, to name a few common ones.
Dexterity is also a common save, but you’ll usually just take damage if you fail; no biggie compared to being completely removed from the fight by a failed Wisdom save. In my experience, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of Resilient (Wisdom) as a Fighter, even if the half-ASI is a bit of a waste for your character (although it’s a good reason to start with an odd-numbered Wisdom score if you’re using point buy for starting stats).
9) Defensive Duelist
Requires 13 Dexterity and using a finesse weapon, but if you meet those requirements, you can use your reaction to being hit to add your proficiency bonus to your AC, possibly causing the attack to miss.
With a rapier, shield, heavy armor, and the dueling fighting style (+2 damage when using a one-hander), you have significant defensive bonuses without giving up much damage. Defensive Duelist makes that even better, essentially giving you an unlimited version of the Shield spell, one of the most overpowered spells in DnD 5e (but slightly worse until you’re level 13).
The only problem is that you have to adjust your ability score allocation a bit to pull all this off; usually, a Strength-based Fighter will dump Dexterity, so accommodating a minimum of 13 is slightly annoying.
On the other hand, you can be a light armor-wearing, Dex-based Fighter and tank with Defensive Duelist while dumping Strength instead; it’s a fun, skirmisher-type build that bucks the traditional tank archetype most people image.
10) Gift of the Chromatic Dragon
Can use a bonus action to add 1d4 elemental damage to your weapon attacks once per day, and can use your reaction to taking acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage to cut the damage in half (usable a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per day).
The bonus damage thing is fine, but we’re really here for the Reactive Resistance. It’s essentially the Absorb Elements spell, which is widely considered (by me included) one of the top-tier defensive spells in DnD 5e. Great for dragon fighters and spellcaster battles.
DnD 5e Best Fighter Feats (Ranged Attacker)
Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on ranged weapon attack rolls, ranged attacks ignore half and three-quarters cover, and can take a -5 penalty to ranged attack rolls for +10 damage if they hit.
This is the ranged equivalent of Great Weapon Master, and it’s just as good. The longer range and cover ignoring are great perks, but the bonus damage is what we’re really here for.
With the Archery fighting style (+2 to ranged attack rolls), you already overcome a good portion of the -5 penalty. Getting attack advantage or having Bless (+2.5 average) negates the penalty almost completely.
While you may not want to take the -5 when attacking big bads with high AC, it’s almost always worthwhile to use Sharpshooter; even if you hit slightly less often, +10 damage is likely doubling your damage output for the attack.
12) Crossbow Expert
Ignore the loading quality of crossbows, being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on ranged attack rolls, and when you Attack with a one-handed weapon, you can bonus action attack with a hand crossbow.
Being able to shoot a crossbow twice in one turn is necessary to use crossbows with Extra Attack, and ignoring disadvantage on ranged attack rolls while an enemy is next to you just makes playing a ranged attacker much, much simpler. No need to worry about taking opportunity attacks trying to put distance between yourself and foes.
But the really great thing about Crossbow Expert is that you get a bonus action attack with a hand crossbow. If you make the first attack (or attacks, with Extra Attack) with the hand crossbow, you can make the bonus action attack with the same hand crossbow, since it is itself a one-handed weapon.
This feat makes hand crossbows the best ranged weapons in DnD 5e (which I kind of hate, but there we are). To maximize your damage as a ranged attacker in 5e, you want Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert ASAP, although I still think that maxing out your Dexterity modifier takes priority over both.
13) Elven Accuracy
+1 Dexterity, and when you have advantage on an attack roll, you can reroll one of the dice once. Requires you to be an Elf or a Half-Elf.
The half-ASI is nice, and “triple-advantage” is even nicer, especially if you can consistently get attack advantage.
Good Fighter Feats Runners-up
These feats are neat and can be fun on a Fighter, but I don’t think they’re “optimal.” That said, they’re worth considering if they suit your character’s backstory, role in the party, or you just think they’re nify and would be cool in your campaign.
Crusher. +1 Strength or Con, can move a creature hit with bludgeoning damage 5 feet, and critical hits with bludgeoning weapons give allies attack advantage against the target for one round. Pushing is great with certain party compositions, especially those that focus on creating persistent hazardous terrain (Spike Growth, Spirit Guardians, etc.).
Fey Touched. +1 mental ASI, Misty Step once per day, and +1 1st-level Divination or Enchantment spell once per day. Misty Step offers you great mobility (bonus action 30-foot teleport), and Bless (+1d4 to attack rolls and saving throws for you and two allies for 1 minute) is a great spell to add to your arsenal.
Fighting Initiate. +1 fighting style. For sword-and-board fighters, having the Defense (+1 AC) and Dueling (+2 damage with one-handers) fighting styles means you maximize your defensive capabilities without sacrificing your damage output. Kinda boring, but a straightforward way to make your character consistently stronger. A good choice for beginners; veteran players can do better with more complex feats if they know how to use them right.
Magic Initiate. +2 cantrips and +1 1st-level spell from any full spellcaster’s spell list. Booming Blade or Green-Flame Blade are fun cantrips until you have Extra Attack x2, and they become very unoptimal. Find Familiar is always a good 1st-level spell for giving yourself advantage and adding to your utility.
Skill Expert. +1 ASI, proficiency in +1 skill, and expertise in +1 skill. Getting expertise in Athletics is essential if you’re building an optimized grappler character; otherwise, you don’t need this.
Tough. +2 hit points per level. Good for maximizing HP, but I’d still recommend maxing out Constitution before taking this, even if it is worth twice as many hit points (Con saves are important).
Lucky. Can reroll 3d20 per day, including attack rolls against you. Technically good on any character in DnD 5e, but boring as heck.
DnD 5e Fighter Guides
Fighter Class Guide
How to Build an Arcane Archer Fighter
How to Build a Battle Master Fighter
How to Build an Echo Knight Fighter
How to Build an Eldritch Knight Fighter
How to Build a Psi Warrior Fighter
Best Eldritch Knight Fighter Spells