Eldritch Knight 5e
Last Updated on January 10, 2023
The archetypal Eldritch Knight combines the martial mastery common to all fighters with a careful study of magic. Eldritch Knights use magical techniques similar to those practiced by wizards. They focus their study on two of the eight schools of magic: abjuration and evocation.—Player’s Handbook
Eldritch Knight 5e Fighter Subclass
As the name suggests, the Eldritch Knight is a subclass of Fighter which combines formidable martial skills and battle prowess with powerful spell-casting ability. The perfect combination of melee and magic.
Unlike many spell-casting classes who prefer to use their magic from a safe distance and out of the reach of pointy blades and the bludgeoning weapons that can ruin your day, the Eldritch Knight will generally be found in the front line of melee.
Here, their combat skills and magic, which are at turns powerful, defensive, and destructive, can be used to the best use.
It sounds like a great combination, but it all comes down to those first choices you make during the initial build that will determine just how good your character is. It’s a fine line between success and missing out on crucial bonuses.
Maximize the Right Statistics
An Eldritch Knight may have arcane knowledge, but it is best to think of them as a Fighter first and foremost. So, put as many points as you can into Strength and Constitution. Ideally, both should be up around 16 points, a combination that ensures that you can deliver severe damage and withstand attacks.
Then, you can worry about Intelligence, as this will drive many bonuses and modifiers relating to your magical prowess. 12 is the minimum you need, which can be helped by carefully selecting your race and understanding the racial modifiers that this will confer.
Dexterity isn’t as crucial as it would be to most Fighter subclasses, as when not relying on muscle and might, you will be flinging around magic.
Plenty of races combine well with the Eldritch Knight class, but of the options available, the Mountain Dwarf is arguably the best. They come with a +2 to their Strength and Constitution, which makes for an excellent base upon which additional bonuses pile up to make a physically compelling character. Other Dwarves work, too but only get the Constitution bonus, not the Strength increase.
Half-Orc, Orc, Leonin, Goliath, and Loxodon are good options, as they all gain +2 to Strength and +1 to Constitution. The Eldritch Knight is naturally a physically powerful presence, as are most Fighters, so don’t let their magical abilities suggest otherwise.
Helpful Character Backgrounds
A character’s backstory is also worth taking some time to consider, as this can also be the source of additional bonuses that will further strengthen the character’s build.
Choosing Sage gives you proficiency in both History and Arcana, and it gives them a career path as a Wizards Apprentice, something very logical for someone who leaps into battle wielding both sword and spell.
Choosing Soldier will help improve the more obvious combat skills such as Intimidation and Athletics, again consistent with a backstory that has seen them wander battlefields and barracks in their earlier life.
Best Feats for Eldritch Knight
Choosing the right Feats can give the character some decisive advantages.
War Caster Feat
Select War Caster and you get a bonus on Constitution-based saving throws, ideal for trying to concentrate on maintaining a spell when a pack of Kobolds are trying to take lumps out of you with pointy sticks.
It also allows you to use your regular spell attack as an attack of opportunity and lets you cast spells without their usual somatic components. Pretty useful when you have your hands full with weapons and a shield.
Magic Initiate Feat
Opt for Magic Initiate, and you gain access to another magical class. You could elect to be knowledgeable in Warlock magic and add the likes of Hexblade and the powerful Eldritch Blast to your magical arsenal. You also get to cast some additional cantrips too.
Elemental Adept Feat
Elemental Adept is excellent as it makes spells of your chosen element ignore any resistance the target may have to that type of magic. This feat can be selected any number of times, meaning that you could make more than one elemental type of magic that is much more potent.
Best Spells for Eldritch Knight
As the Eldritch Knight begins moving up the ranks, they will have access to two cantrips, minor spells viewed as being below the first level, from the Wizard spell list. The spells selected for their first-level spell slot must be Wizard spells and come from the School of Abjuration or Evocation.
The highest possible spell slot level they can attain is four, achieved at the 19th level. The maximum number of slots they can earn without deviating from their build by multiclassing is 11.
Good choices of cantrips include Green Flame Blade and Booming Blade. Spells like Find Familiar, Protection from Evil & Good, Shadow Blade, Fireball, and Greater Invisibility endow the Knight with fantastic advantages.
Once they reach the 3rd level, Eldritch Knight can learn a ritual that will allow them to bond with a weapon of their choice. Unless incapacitated, they can never be disarmed whilst holding their weapon.
Having attained the 7th level. The Knight gets access to War Magic. This allows them to cast a cantrip as their standard action and then use the bonus action to attack with their melee weapon.
At the 10th level, they can wield their weapons so that they carve through enemy resistances with Eldritch Strike, at 15th they can employ Arcane Charge to teleport up to 30ft, and at the 18th, the War Caster feat is upgraded so that the Knight can cast a spell whereas before they were limited only to the more humble cantrip.
Playing as Eldritch Knight in 5e DnD
If you have ever contemplated multiclassing to combine the best features of a Fighter and those of a spellcaster, the Eldritch Knight already offers the career path that you are looking for. And, of course, the significant advantage of taking this option is that.
In contrast, multiclassed characters will find themselves hampered by the fact that their splitting of levels means that they don’t gain access to the benefits that come from attaining the higher levels, the Eldritch Knight, being a complete class in its own right, holds none of the same restrictions.