Fighters are the professional soldiers and duelists of the DnD world. Each fighter specializes in a specific type of warfare or weaponry and their subclasses allow the to specialize further.
Whether they choose to be ranged specialists, duelists, or combination fighters & spellcasters, the Martial Martial Archetypes of the Fighters have a specialization for all types of play.
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Fighters are all professional soldiers, but their martial archetypes are just as varied as the different ways to wage war. Each Martial Archetype is a specialized fighter that has mastered their particular style of fighting.
Here is our ranked list of the Fighter Subclasses in 5e DnD:
- #9 – Champion Martial Archetype
- #8 – Arcane Archer Martial Archetype
- #7 – Echo Knight Martial Archetype
- #6 – Rune Knight Martial Archetype
- #5 – Cavalier Martial Archetype
- #4 – Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype
- #3 – Battle Master Martial Archetype
- #2 – Martial Archetype Samurai
- #1 – Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype
#9. Champion Martial Archetype
The Champion Martial Archetype can be found in the Player’s Handbook.
Champion Martial Archetype Features
Any person in the DnD world can become a champion. They focus on training their body and learning as many fighting styles as possible. They forgo magics and sorcery for sheer physical abilities.
Pros of Champion Martial Archetype
The Champion Martial Archetype is one of the easiest to play and beginner-friendly. Their stats are good and they can consistently deal damage without adding too much fluff to the game.
Cons of Champion Martial Archetype
As you get more experienced with DnD, you’ll want to branch out and try more classes and subclasses. The Champion is a simple multi-attack fighter.
#8. Arcane Archer Martial Archetype
The Arcane Archer can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Arcane Archer Martial Archetype Features
Arcane Archers study an ancient method of the magic of the elves. They supercharge their arrows with magics that offer various effects.
As they level up, they’ll gain more knowledge and be able to shoot different types of magic arrows. The different shots typically grant a particular type of damage. This includes fire, necrotic, poison, etc.
Pros of Arcane Archer Martial Archetype
Arcane Archers can control the battlefield with their various magical arrows. They can simply stand far away and blast their enemies from a distance.
Cons of Arcane Archer Martial Archetype
This is a very specialized subclass. To be effective they need to ensure they build up their DEX and take every feat that boosts their ranged damage.
#7. Echo Knight Martial Archetype
Echo Knight Martial Archetype Features
The Echo Knight has an interesting mechanic which allows them to make a copy of themselves. They can then use it to attack, scout, teleport, and eventually create a 3rd echo.
This adds a whole new dimension to combat abilities when you consider that you can basically have two locations on a battlefield.
Pros of Echo Knight Martial Archetype
Their increased mobility on the field is a great boon to the fighter class, and the ability to attack from multiple areas is an excellent ability, especially if there’s a Rogue in the party.
Cons of Echo Knight Martial Archetype
The Echo Knight will need to be at higher levels to really gain the full use of their echoes. At lower levels, it’s great to use them for increased mobility, but they won’t be powered up until they hit max level.
#6. Rune Knight Martial Archetype
The Rune Knight Martial Archetype can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Rune Knight Martial Archetype Features
The Rune Knight carves magical runes onto their gear to imbue it with magical powers. Each different rune adds a different effect. They add different bonuses depending upon what the rune is carved on; weapon, armor, or amulet.
In addition to the passive bonuses provided by the Runes, the Rune Knight can evoke the runs on the equipment for a powerful ability. In addition to their Rune abilities, they also gain aspects of giants such as increased size.
Pros of Rune Knight Martial Archetype
The Runes do add an easy-to-understand bonus to their abilities and are an easy way to add elemental damage at an early level.
Cons of Rune Knight Martial Archetype
The class itself is worded awkwardly and just written badly. It’s based on magical runes, but the majority of the abilities grant bonuses as if you were a giant and the rune seems secondary. In addition, it’s vague if the runes carved into equipment grants bonuses to other players.
As it’s written, anyone that gets their hands on your equipment gets the passive bonuses offered, but won’t be able to invoke the runes. Overall it’s just an odd mishmash of abilities.
#5. Cavalier Martial Archetype
The Cavalier Martial Archetype can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Cavalier Martial Archetype Features
The Cavalier class is the mounted specialist…or so the name would have you believe. They really only have 1 ability that’s dependent on being mounted, and that simply lowers the movement cost.
So what exactly can they do?
They can mark enemies on the battlefield to give them disadvantage, and can attack a ton of times using opportunity attacks with the Hold the Line ability at level 10. Basically, any creature that gets within 5 ft. is getting an attack.
Pros of Cavalier Martial Archetype
The Cavalier has a lot of defensive attacks and opportunity attacks, especially at higher levels. They are great for covering allies if used correctly can control the battlefield quite easily.
Cons of Cavalier Martial Archetype
I think it’s a really cool class, but it really doesn’t have a lot to do with mounted combat. Their abilities are all basically just as useful mounted or dismounted. I understand why they did that. It would be pretty awful to be stuck in a dungeon with no special skills, but it would be cool to see more value added with a mount.
#4. Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype
The Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype Features
Psychic Warriors have all the standard abilities of a Fighter, but add in psychic powers to boost their combat prowess. It’s like mixing a spellcaster with a Fighter but without spell slots. Instead, the Psychic Warrior gets psychic dice which are used to power their abilities.
These could be used to help their movement, gain extra defense, and even make psychic attacks against their foes.
Pros of Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype
Psychic Warriors have a wide variety of useful abilities. They’re great fighters that can do a little bit of everything. Their psychic powers can be used to heal themselves and deal damage making them very efficient warriors.
Cons of Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype
You are dependent upon your psychic dice to power your abilities, and adding another resource to keep track of could be tricky for new players.
#3. Battle Master Martial Archetype
The Battle Master Martial Archetype can be found in the Player’s Handbook.
Battle Master Martial Archetype Features
A Battle Master’s skill is passed down through generations of study. They treat battle as an entire field of study. They work on perfecting their knowledge of combat and learn various Maneuvers.
These allow them to perform various martial feats that deal additional damage or block various situations.
Pros of Battle Master Martial Archetype
The Battle Master’s Maneuvers give them plenty of options in combat. In almost any situation that they’ll find themselves in they’ll have the knowledge and experience to get out of it using their Battle Master training.
Cons of Battle Master Martial Archetype
Like the Psychic Warrior Martial Archetype, they rely on special dice to power their abilities. This isn’t as difficult to deal with but adds a level of complexity that could be difficult for new players.
#2. Samurai Martial Archetype
The Samurai Martial Archetype can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Martial Archetype Samurai Features
Samurai are modeled after their real-world counterparts. They’ve taken an oath to dedicate themselves to combat and are very similar to Paladins in theme. However, instead of a holy oath, they swear an oath to a goal that they will stop at nothing to achieve.
On the battlefield, they are ferocious fighters. They can invoke their Fighting Spirit to boost their physical abilities on the battlefield. It works similarly to the Barbarian’s Rage.
Pros of Martial Archetype Samurai
The Samurai Martial Archetype is an excellent attacker. Their Fighting Spirit gives them a healthy boost to their stats and at higher levels, they have plenty of attacks to whittle away at their enemy’s health.
Cons of Martial Archetype Samurai
There are not too many things wrong with the Samurai Martial Archetype. They’re just a straightforward melee fighter class.
#1. Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype
The Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype can be found in the Player’s Handbook.
Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype Features
The Eldritch Knight combines spells from the Wizard class with a martial character. It’s not just simply adding spells either. The Eldritch Knight gets specialized War Magic abilities that allow them to make extra weapon attacks and cast spells at the same time.
At higher levels, they’ll even be able to teleport directly into the combat range of their enemies.
Pros of Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype
If planned correctly the Eldritch Knight can be an absolute monster on the battlefield. It’s one of the best combinations of spellcaster and martial class in the game. Focusing on spells that boost defense or AC can make them truly unstoppable with their natural fighting abilities.
Cons of Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype
The spellcasting modifier is Intelligence, and if you’re a Fighter that’s typically a throwaway Ability Score. The Eldritch Knight is forced to specialize in 3 ability scores now, Strength, Constitution, and Intelligence.
Expanded Spell List of Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype
As they level up the Eldritch knight will be able to learn spells directly from the Wizard’s spell list.
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.