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War Caster 5e Feat DnD

So, you’ve decided to play a spellcaster.

Whether it be an immaculate wizard that holds the threads of the weave, a devoted cleric, a holistic druid, a talented sorcerer, or an ambiguous warlock, concentration is and will remain a nasty little bugger, giving even the most heroic specimens a migraine. But, don’t be afraid, for every stink, there’s a kink.

Allow me to introduce the War Caster feat:

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell

You have practiced casting spells in the midst of combat, learning techniques that grant you the following benefits:

1. You have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage.

2. You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.

3. When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.”

—Source: Dungeons & Dragons 5e Player’s Handbook, page 170

Let’s start at the beginning. To be able to take this feat, the character should be able to cast at least one spell according to the prerequisite. That includes cantrips. So even creatures with only an ounce of magic in their pinky toe can choose to be War Casters. (You have to hand it to Wizards of The Coast, the term War Caster does have a nice ring to it.)

Furthermore, we see three huge benefits to this feat:

Advantage on Saving Throws

The first part of this feat gives us advantage on concentration checks. (Those checks you need to make each time you take damage or when the Dungeon Master asks you to while concentrating on a spell.)

Concentration can be a particularly maddening occurrence in-game because it needs to happen each time you take damage. When a character hits you with a multi-attack, that means multiple saving throws. Or when an enemy spellcaster hits you with magic missile, that’s at least three saving throws right there. So, that can easily become a terribly tiring and sometimes disappointing process.

Just imagine; you’ve come all this way battling hordes of orcs to finally challenge the chief. You’re tired and almost out of spell slots. Therefore, you choose to play it smart. During the final confrontation, you cast Faerie Fire. Enveloping the orc chief in a glistening hue and giving your companions advantage on their attacks. The party looks at you like you’re a genius. Finally, the recognition you’ve been looking for…. only for the worst to happen. You get hit by a lowlife orc’s arrow and fail your constitution saving throw, your spotlight taken away far too soon. Make sure you manage, go for advantage.

Hands-Free Casting

The second benefit of this feat allows you to cast spells while holding weapons or a weapon and a shield while you would normally have to make a hand gesture, better known as, the somatic component. Before, one would have to drop a weapon or even choose not to carry a shield to have at least one hand free for spellcasting. This feat allows you to get rid of that restriction and become the spell-casting weaponized monstrosity that you always wanted to be.

I find this came in handy, especially for clerics and warlocks. Even first-level favorites such as Arms of Hadar, Cure Wounds, Guiding Bolt, and Hellish Rebuke require the somatic component. This means that your badass fully armored, shield-carrying, and a personally-chosen stick of pain-wielding (in)famous knight has to lay down their arms to cast this spell. And nothing takes away from the epicness of a fight as having to take a break to cast a spell.

Reaction Casting

The third part of the feat allows you to attack with a spell of 1 action casting time on an attack of opportunity. But beware; it can only target the creature that provoked the opportunity attack. So, say goodbye to that delightful idea where fireball was a reaction spell.

This just might be the reason why many take this feat. Just imagine the possibilities. You’re fighting goblins at the entrance of their cave. These two watchmen had no idea what was about to hit them. After realizing they were goners, goblin #1 stops attacking the sorcerer to sound the cave alarm. The sorcerer hits him with a fire bolt as an opportunity attack, and the call for help is successfully averted.

The second goblin sees his best mate and brother-in-law die a fiery death in battle and decides to turn tail and run, hitting the druid one more time before making a run for it. The druid gets hit but reacts quickly by casting Entangle, trapping the creature. Now you have a prisoner to interrogate.

The Best Classes for the War Caster 5e Feat

War Caster is most useful for Wizards and any spellcasters that plan to either be in melee range or close to melee range. 

For Wizards, this is always going to be a useful feat. They’re the ones with all the spells, but they’re also going to get hit. It’s simply a part of combat. The bonus to their concentration checks can be a real lifesaver considering they don’t really have defense built into their class. 

Any of the combat-based spellcasters are going to find this incredibly useful. Clerics, Rangers, and even Bards depending upon the subclass will benefit from Warcaster. These hybrid melee/spellcasters typically don’t have a lot of spell slots, so they can’t waste any spell. Even a Kobold can poke an adventurer with a stick and ruin a spell slot, so this definitely helps. 

The other 2 aspects of Warcaster, casting spells with a melee weapon in hand and casting a spell as a reaction, are specifically geared towards melee/spell builds. Rangers and Bards from the College of Swords will especially benefit from the bonus reaction spell. 

The Worst Classes for the War Caster 5e Feat

You would think this would be cool for Sorcerers and Warlocks, but there really aren’t that many situations where they’ll be in melee combat or they already have abilities that cover the Con bonus. Sorcerers come equipped with proficiencies on Constitution saving throws, and Warlocks have Eldritch Mind which already grants concentration. 

Warcaster will be the least useful for Fighters, Monks, and Barbarians because they have zero magical ability, but even some of the other classes will find limited use.

Rogues won’t need any of these abilities unless they choose the Arcane Trickster subclass. 

I find the War Caster Feat to be brilliant and find myself often relying heavily on it. But the decision to choose this feat depends on multiple factors. If I’m going for a glass canon with maximum damage output, I would, for instance, choose the Spell Sniper feat. If I’m going for a wise and knowledgeable wizard, I could choose the Ritual Caster feat.

However, when I want a well-rounded (de)buffing and/or battleground controller who has innovative and interesting ways of spellcasting then I will always choose the magnificent War Caster feat. It’s a must-have for every polymorph casting, frontline healing, and war-craving arcane character.

We hope you enjoyed this War Caster 5e Guide, why not check out our Bard 5e Guide or our full DnD Races List?

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