Fighter races need to support build, and your choice of subclass and your weapon preferences will dramatically affect what you need in terms of ability score increases. Increases to physical ability scores are key: a Strength or Dexterity increase is required, and a Constitution increase is helpful. Even if you’re playing an Eldritch Knight, Purple Dragon Knight, or Psi Warrior, your mental ability scores don’t justify a racial ability score increase.

Melee builds frequently want improvements to their durability. Damage resistances, temporary hit points, resistance to status conditions, and AC bonuses all work very well. If you plan to use two-handed weapons, you’ll also want to be medium size.

Ranged builds are less reliant on durability, so you have room for options like flight. Ranged builds also typically rely on Dexterity (thrown weapon builds are hard), so additional skill proficiencies can allow you to use many important skills like Stealth.

Innate spellcasting and Darkvision can be helpful for fighters because most fighters can’t provide either of those things with class features.

After reading this handbook, I encourage you to read our CLASS Handbook.

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Fighter Races

Keep in mind that not all races will be available in every game. Consult your DM about which races are welcome in your game, as not all settings are appropriate to every setting or even to specific campaigns within a setting which might otherwise welcome any and all races.


UpdatedMMoM: Flight is still great, but without the previous version’s incredible speed almost any other flying race is a better choice.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and flight in light armor. It’s an excellent package, but the winged tiefling is better in every way except fly speed.

Default Rules: Bonus Dexterity and the ability to fly out of reach are perfect for ranged builds. You can only fly in light armor, but that’s not a problem since you’re building for Dexterity anyway.


UpdatedMMoM: Radiant Soul provides easy flight that works in heavy armor, and even if you don’t need the flight, the damage boost is nice. If you don’t care about flight, Radiant Consumption is great for handling crowds. Healing Hands is nice for sharing (you have Second Wind for yourself), and Celestial Resistance provides resistances that you can’t get from most magic items or from spells that your allies can cast.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, two damage resistances, and some innate spellcasting. The subraces are distinguished by their transformation, and that distinction makes a big difference.

  • Fallen: The fear effect on the Fallen Aasimar’s transformation is great, but the DC is Charisma-based so it may be hard to rely upon.
  • Protector: Temporary flight when you need it.
  • Scourge: The area damage is great for handling crowds, but make sure that you have someone around to heal you in a hurry.

Default Rules: Very tempting for purple dragon knights. Each subrace offers a unique active ability and a different ability score increase, and the base race’s Charisma will help you serve as a face. Darkvision is great on a class that can’t get it on its own, and Healing Hands is great for a front-line class.

  • Fallen: Strength is great for a fighter, and the extra damage output from Necrotic Shroud is excellent, but the fear effect’s DC is Charisma-based so it may be unreliable.
  • Protector: Wisdom doesn’t do much for a fighter.
  • Scourge: Constitution is great on a front-line character, but be careful not to let Radiant Consumption burn through your hit points if you don’t have a cleric handy.

Aasimar (DMG Variant)DMG

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, two damage resistances, and some innate spellcasting. The spellcasting includes Lesser Restoration which allows you to handle problems beyond hit point restoration which the Fighter is normally unable to handle unassisted.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Air GenasiMMoM

The Air Genasi’s spells are poor choices for an Eldritch Knight, which is the Air Genasi’s best fighter option. Shocking Grasp is significantly worse than staples like Booming Blade, Eldritch Knights get 1st level spells too late and in too small numbers to spend them on Feather Fall, and the Eldritch Knight’s Intelligence is rarely good enough to justify save-or-suck spells.

Astral ElfSAIS

Darkvision, two skills, and a tool give the Fighter some much-needed utility outside of combat. For a Dexterity-based build, that easily makes you an effective rogue replacement. Fey ancestry is a helpful bit of protection since mind-affecting stuff often takes front-line martial characters out of combat, and teleporting as a bonus action is great for melee builds. The cantrips won’t be especially useful, but they offer some minor utility.


Armored Casing is great for Dexterity-based builds, giving you as much AC as full plate once you hit 20 Dexterity. Mechanical Nature gives you some helpful protections against hazards frequently faced by front-line martial characters, and Built for Success can rescue a saving throw that you fail by a point or two, providing an extra layer of protection. Outside of combat, Healing Machine is a great way to get back up to full hit points without stopping for a Short Rest, but you’ll likely need someone else to cast Mending. With all the extra ASIs provided by this class, though, you could afford to take Magic Initiate at le


UpdatedMMoM: Fighters get more attacks than anyone except the Monk, which is great for Surprise Attack. Build around Dexterity and either two-weapon fighting or Crossbow Expert and make turn 1 count.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Surprise Attack can be useful, but you may want to build around Dexterity so that your initiative will be reasonably high. Long-limbed is neat, but remember that it only applies while attacking on your own turn so you don’t just get ridiculously long reach.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Able to fill a variety of fighter builds. Keep in mind that Long-Limbed only applies to attacks made on your own turn.


UpdatedMMoM: A great high-damage Striker option, though if you’re standing still and tanking you’re not benefiting from what makes the Centaur special. Grab the Mobile feat (and find another 10 ft. speed bonus somewhere) and go for hit-and-run tactics with Charge.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and Fey creature type. Grab the Mobile feat and you’re ready to do some hit-and run attacks. Charge requires that you hit with a melee weapon attack to use Hooves as a Bonus Action, but with the Fighter’s number of attacks that shouldn’t be a problem. A great high-damage Striker option, though if you’re standing still and tanking you’re not benefiting from what makes the Centaur special.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: Not quite as powerful as the Minotaur, the Centaur’s bonus skills and non-humanoid creature type help to make up the difference defensively.


UpdatedMMoM: The Changeling’s sills are all Charisma-based, which is a poor choice for most fighters.

Classic (Customized Origin)ERLW: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Shapechanger isn’t a good fit for the Fighter, and there are other racial options which can cast Disguise Self which arguably does a better job at solving the same problem.

Classic (Default Rules)ERLW: Purple Dragon Knight has a small dependency on Charisma, and makes for an excellent Face. While they tend to be less sneaky and deceptive than a changeling is expected to be, there’s no reason you couldn’t reject that stereotype.

Deep GnomeMMoM

For a Dexterity-based build, Svirfneblin Camouflage is a passable replacement for Expertise in Stealth, allowing you to more easily serve as your party’s Scout. Gnome Magic Resistance is a helpful defense for a class which is notoriously poor at mental saves, and even the innate spellcasting is decent since it’s mostly only useful outside of combat. The Eldritch Knight is a tempting option because you can re-cast the spells, but they’re not consistently useful enough to build around them.


Chromatic: An AOE damage option and damage resistance are great for fighter subclasses which can’t provide those on their own, but lines can be difficult to use. The 30-foot range on the breath weapon may be appealing for ranged builds who typically remain at longer range and don’t want to rush into melee.

Gem: A conic breath weapon so that you can more easily hit multiple foes in close quarters, and Gem Flight gives you a short-term flight option which will make it easier to handle flying enemies since most fighters can’t cast spells. The Gem Dragonborn’s damage type options are rarely resisted, but this also means that your damage resistance will be less useful.

Metallic: A great choice if you really want to lean into using your breath weapon. Be sure to keep your Constitution high to support the save DC. With the Fighter’s extra Ability Score Increases, that shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t shy away from picking a common damage type like fire: once you hit level 5, you can use the two new breath options on anything that’s resistant or immune to fire.

Customized Origin:

  • ClassicPHB: A breath weapon is nice for a class with little ability to handle crowds, but the damage isn’t great.
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Forceful Presence is neat and could work for the Purple Dragon knight, but even then it’s not fantastic.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Vengeful Assault is a great option on any martial character.

Default Rules:

  • ClassicPHB: A breath weapon is nice for a class with little ability to handle crowds, but the damage isn’t great.
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Better ability scores for most fighters than the standard Dragonborn, and you can survive without the Dragonborn’s damage resistance. Ravenite adds Darkvision, a Constitution increase, and Vengeful Assault which offers an occasional boost to your damage output.


Enlarge/Reduce is a great combat buff for the Fighter, offering Advantage on Strength checks to support the grapple/shove combo as well as a damage boost. Since the damage boost applies on all of the Fighter’s numerous attacks, it’s especially impactful for the Fighter. Eldritch Knights can re-cast it using spell slots, too. Dwarven Resilience and Psionic Fortitude both provide helpful defenses that will remain useful for your full career.


For the updated version of the Duergar, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: One +2 increase and a second increase from your subrace, plus poison resilience and some weapon proficiencies that you can retrain into tool proficiencies.

  • DuergarSCAG: A second +1 increase, and the Innate Spellcasting works really well for the Fighter. But Sunlight Sensitivity is a pain, so I would only consider this in a subterranean campaign.
  • HillPHB: A second +1 increases and some extra hit points. A very solid choice, but it’s hard to compete with the Mountain Dwarf’s two +2 increases.
  • MountainPHB: Two +2 increases is really great for the Fighter. Starting with two ability scores at 17 makes it very easy to make a lot of room in your build for feats. You also get some more proficiencies which you can trade for tool proficiencies.

Default Rules: Dwarves make excellent Fighters. Their bonus Constitution provides more hit points, and Dwarves get Darkvision and resistance to poison. Many of the Dwarf’s free proficiencies are wasted because Fighters already get them, but even without those benefits Dwarves are still excellent Fighters.

  • DuergarSCAG: In a subterranean campaign, this is at least on par with Mountain Dwarf. Otherwise, Sunlight Sensitivity is a huge problem.
  • HillPHB: Bonus Wisdom is great if you need to have high Perception, and the bonus hit points are always welcome, but without a Dexterity or Strength increase you’ll lag offensively.
  • MountainPHB: The Strength bonus is fantastic for any Strength-based Fighter.

Earth GenasiMMoM

Since only the Eldritch Knight has spell slots to re-cast your innate spells, that’s your best fighter option. Eldritch Knights do get access to Blade Ward, but not Pass Without Trace. If you plan to be stealthy, you want to build around Dexterity. While you can already cast Blade Ward as a Bonus Action a few times per day, War Magic allows you to cast it every turn at the cost of most of your attacks, but the combination feels thematically appropriate for an earth genasi.


Fey Step is great, but the Shadar-kai is a much better fit for the Fighter.


For the updated versions of the Eladrin, the Sea Elf, and the Shadar-Kai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, one skill (which you should leave as Perception).

  • DrowPHB: The innate spellcasting is decent, but it’s Charisma-based so Faerie Fire will be unreliable. If you take Fighting Style (Blind Fighting), Darkness can be very effective. But that short bust of being really effective may be offset by Sunlight Sensitivity, so be cautious considering the Drow outside of subterranean campaigns. If you just want the Innate Spellcasting, consider the Drow Half-Elf instead.
  • EladrinMToF: The teleportation is great, but it’s Charisma-based which is a hard choice for most fighters.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: An easier choice for the Fighter than the regular Eladrin, you still get to teleport on a short rest but instead of the teleportation rider effect you get weapon proficiencies which you can trade for tool proficiencies.
  • High ElfPHB: Take Booming Blade if you plan to play an Eldritch Knight. You may also consider the High Half-Elf, which trades the Elf’s skill proficiency and the High Elf’s weapon proficiencies for an additional +1 skill increase.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The skill bonuses are neat but it may be hard for the Fighter to use both. The innate spellcasting is rough. Sleep is obsolete the moment you can cast it, and invisibility is available from numerous other races with better innate spellcasting.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Damage resistance and a once-per-day teleport which is great for diving into melee. The Variant Eladrin’s teleportaiton is more frequent, but the Shadar-Kai is still competitive due to its other benefits.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Unremarkable. If you want speed, play a centaur. If you want to be sneaky, play something that can cast Invisibility as an innate spell. If you want weapon proficiencies to trade for tool proficiencies, several other subraces will give them to you. The Wood Elf isn’t bad, but it’s not good at anything noteworthy and it simply can’t compete with the broad range of viable races when you’re using the Customizing You Origin optional rule.

Default Rules: A Dexterity bonus makes Elves obvious choices for Finesse Fighters and Archers. Free Perception proficiency and Darkvision are both welcome on any character.

  • DrowPHB: Nothing useful for a Fighter that other Elves can’t do better.
  • EladrinMToF: Shadar-kai is a better fit for most fighters, but Purple Dragon Knights may enjoy the Charisma increase.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: A tempting choice for the Eldritch Knight due to the Intelligence increase, but otherwise the regular Eladrin or the Shadar-Kai are better choices. The Eldritch Knight might also prefer the High Elf for early access to a wizard cantrip, but for a long-form campaign the Variant Eladrin may be more effective.
  • High ElfPHB: A bonus to Intelligence and a free Cantrip make the High Elf an obvious choice for an Eldritch Knight. Grab Booming Blade and you can pretend to be an Eldritch Knight at levels 1 and 2 until you can get your subclass features.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The same ability increases as the Wood Elf, but arguably better traits for the Fighter. The skill bonuses will help you contribute outside of combat, and while the innate spellcasting isn’t great, casting Invisibility once per day is much more broadly useful than Mask of the Wild.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Dexterity, Constitution, damage resistance, and the ability to teleport. The ability to jump into melee quickly and not suffer a mountain of damage for doing so is a great benefit for melee fighters. However, you only get to teleport once per long rest, while both versions of the Eladrin can teleport once per short rest.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Extra Wisdom works very well with Perception, and the extra movement speed is great for getting into (or out of) melee range, but the rest of the Wood Elf’s features probably won’t be useful.

FairyWBtW / MMoM

The Fairy’s innate spellcasting offers some interesting options, but it’s hard to put together a build that makes them reliable. An eldritch knight is probably your best bet, but limited to light armor you’ll need to build around Dexterity.

Fairy Fire is a great spell, and if you can cause one or two targets to fail their save you can use Action Surge on your next turn and hit them numerous times in order to quickly eliminate those targets. Maintaining Concentration may be a challenge, but at least the Fighter gets proficiency in Constitution saves. The Fairy can also combine with the Rune Knight’s features to allow you to become Gargantuan. It’s not an amazing build, but it’s really fun to think about.


UpdatedMMoM: Any amount of innate spellcasting is nice, but the Firbolg’s spell options do little to complement the capabilities of a typical fighter.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, and some innate spellcasting. Unfortunately, the spellcasting won’t do much to help the Fighter. Hidden Step is good, but if you want invisibility there are several races which can do it better.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: A little bit of Strength and some useful magic abilities, but not much that specifically caters to the Fighter.

Fire GenasiMMoM

The most obvious combination is the eldritch knight because no other fighter subclass gets spell slots. Even then, the spells aren’t good options.


For the updated versions of the Air Genasi, the Earth Genasi, the Fire Genasi, and the the Water Genasi, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), but the vast majority of the Genasi’s traits come from the subraces.

  • Air: Even without magic options to handle flight, Levitate isn’t great. It can be helpful for archers in encounters with creatures that can’t fly or attack at range, but the Aarakocra and the Winged Tiefling can both fly, which makes Levitate feel pretty silly.
  • Earth: Earth Walk is neat and Merge With Stone suddenly makes you very good at stealth, but those effects are only situationally useful, so you’re mostly leaning on the same +2/+1 increases that nearly every race gets.
  • Fire: The fact that the Fire Genasi’s innate spellcasting is Constitution-based makes them a profoundly weird racial option. Your best bet is to go for Eldritch Knight and you can use War Magic to attack with Produce Flame and follow it with a weapon attack, but you’ll want to emphasize Constitution first so your weapon attacks will suffer. You also get Darkvision and damage resistance, but if that’s all you want the Tiefling is a better choice.
  • Water: Fine, but I would only consider it in an aquatic campaign.

Default Rules: A Constitution increase is always welcome on front-line characters like Fighters, and the Genasi subraces allow for some interesting options for different Fighter builds.

  • Air: The Dexterity bonus is nice, and Levitate can be helpful at low levels before you have access to real flight, but it’s just not enough compared to the other Genasi types.
  • Earth: Bonus Strength, and the ability to move across difficult terrain unimpeded helps you to get into melee in situations where it’s normally difficult to do so.
  • Fire: Bonus intelligence, damage resistance, a free offensive cantrip, and a free offensive spell all play nicely to the Eldritch Knight. The fact that the innate spellcasting is Constitution-based is interesting, possibly making it a better option for fighters than options like Fire Bolt. If you raise your Constitution as you gain levels, you can keep the innate spellcasting viable, making Produce Flame a viable combination with War Magic and a weapon attack. However, without a Strength or Dexterity increase you’ll basically be a bad wizard until you get War Magic at level 7.
  • Water: Bad ability spread.


The obvious and easy choice for a race so martially-inclined.

Melee builds should absolutely lean into Hippo Build’s Advantage on Strength checks to Grapple/Shove your enemies. Advantage isn’t as good as Expertise mathematically, but it’s close enough for most of your career. Put enemies on the ground. You can also combine it with Expertise via Skill Expert for the most assurance possible short of reliable talent.

Ranged builds will enjoy the Giff’s Firearm Mastery, which gives you a big chunk of the Gunner feat, which means that you can play a gun user right from level 1 without playing yet another variant human. Grab Fighting Style (Archery) and Sharpshooter and you’re ready to deal some damage.

Ranged builds should strongly consider proficiency in Athletics and a splash of Strength to support it. With Advantage on Strength checks and Extra Attack that gives you more attacks than anyone else, it’s easy to Shove an enemy out of reach then get right back to shooting.


For the updated versions of the Githyanki, the Githzerai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), but the bulk of your notable racial traits come from your subrace.

  • Githyanki: One skill and some armor and weapon proficiencies which you can trade for a total of 5 tool proficiencies. The innate spellcasting offers some utility options, including teleportation via Misty Step, but if you just want teleportation the Shadar-Kai is a better choice.
  • Githzerai: Mental Discipline will protect you from common status conditions which are frequent problems for the Fighter, but the Githzerai’s innate spellcasting may be less useful for the Fighter than the Githyanki’s, and the Githzerai does nothing to expand your capabilities outside of combat like the Githyanki does.

Default Rules: The shared Intelligence increase is only helpful for the Eldritch Knight, but is otherwise wasted.

  • Githyanki: Strength and some bonus proficiencies. The Intelligence is helpful for Eldritch Knights, and Githyanki Psionics offers some useful magical utility options. If you just want teleportation, consider the Shadar-Kai instead.
  • Githzerai: Bad ability spread.


Both Jump and Misty Step great for melee builds, allowing you to circumvent obstacles like difficult terrain. The Eldritch Knight can re-cast both spells, and since they get so few spells known, two more is very helpful.


Mental Discipline provides an excellent mental defense for fighters who are typically very vulnerable to charm/fear effects. Shield is a nice boost to AC, but keep in mind that the somatic component is hard for sword-and-board and TWF builds, so if you plan to use, build around two-handed weapons. And, of course, it’s not going to go very far unless you’re an eldritch knight and can re-cast it.


For the updated version of the Deep Gnome, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace offers a +1 increase), Darkvision, and Gnome Cunning. Gnome Cunning is a great defensive option for martial classes which typically have poor mental saves and are frequently very easy to incapacitate using spells.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Even though they don’t suffer Sunlight Sensivity like the Duergar or the Drow, I would still only consider the Svirfneblin in subterranean campaigns where you know that Stone Camouflage will be consistently useful, and you’ll want to build around Dexterity.
  • ForestPHB: Minor Illusion and Speak with Small Beasts are weird choices for most martial classes, but Minor Illusion can do a lot before your spell save DC actually matters and it nicely complements the Eldritch Knight’s mostly violence-related spellcasting.
  • RockPHB: Nothing useful. Tinker is a fun novelty, but it doesn’t actually make your character better.

Default Rules: An Intelligence bonus doesn’t help the Fighter unless they’re an Eldritch Knight. Gnome Cunning is an excellent defense against spells which can often take fighters out of a fight due to their poor mental saves.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: For a finesse-based Gnome Fighter, Forest Gnome is an easier choice, but the Svirfneblin may still be worthwhile in a subterranean campaign. The innate spellcasting is nice, and could be a good utility complement to the Eldritch Knight’s purely offensive spellcasting, and Stone Camouflage may make it easier for a Dexterity-based fighter to serve as a scout.
  • ForestPHB: A Dexterity bonus helps for a finesse-based Eldritch Knight, and Minor Illusion expands your limited spell options. If you want something more offensive than Minor Illusion, consider the High Elf.
  • RockPHB: Bad ability spread.


UpdatedMMoM: Fury of the Small will be easy to apply, but try to reserve it for when it will be impactful rather than dropping it on the first thing you hit. Nimble Escape is great for hit-and-run tactics, but generally the Fighter is expected to keep enemies tangled up in melee so it’s hard to abandon that crucial function by moving away. You might be able to use Nimble Escape to abuse Polearm Master, though.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Fury of the Small will be easy to apply, but try to reserve it for when it will be impactful rather than dropping it on the first thing you hit. Nimble Escape is great for hit-and-run tactics, but generally the Fighter is expected to keep enemies tangled up in melee so it’s hard to abandon that crucial function by moving away. You might be able to use Nimble Escape to abuse Polearm Master, though.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Nimble Escape gives you the most important parts of Cunning Action, allowing you to hit-and-run much like a rogue. The Dexterity bonus works great for a finesse fighter. However, since the Fighter is typically the party’s front line it can be hard to have the Fighter running away from enemies instead of trying to hold them in place.


UpdatedMMoM: Athletics proficiency, damage resistance, and Stone’s endurance. Perfect for any Strength-based melee build.

Classic (Customized Origin)EEPC: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and damage resistance to cold. Stone’s Endurance is a great additional defense on top of the Fighter’s typically high AC. A great package, and very simple to build and play successfully.

Classic (Default Rules)EEPC: Tailor-made to be a melee Monster. Bonuses to your important abilities, free Athletics proficiency, and Stone’s Endurance adds a pile to your effective daily hit point total.


You’re basically only here for Hadozee Dodge and Dexterous Feet. Unless you can find a way to make Dexterous Feet matter, just play a goliath.

The Eldritch Knight can cast Jump, but you don’t have enough spell slots to justify doing so in order to trigger Glide.


Customized Origin: +2/+1/+1 increases, Darkvision, and Fey Ancestry. Most builds won’t need all three ability score increases, but the Eldritch Knight and the Purple Dragon Knight will benefit greatly.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only in an aquatic campaign, and even then there are better options like the Locathah and the Triton.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: If you want the Drow’s innate spellcasting, this is the best way to get it. Put some resources into Charisma and Faerie Fire can be an excellent combat option for the Fighter.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Arguably the Eldritch Knight’s best racial option, you can increase all three of the ability scores that you care about and still get Booming Blade at first level.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: An excellent way to expand the Fighter’s capabilities outside of combat.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: None of the Wood Elf’s traits are as good as two skills. You might take the weapon proficiencies and trade them for 4 skills, but even that isn’t a great option for most characters.

Default Rules: Probably the best racial option for the Purple Dragon Knight, the half-Elf is a great way to expand the Fighter beyond their “person with weapon” capabilities without sacrificing your primary functions in combat.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only if you’re in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: A handful of magical options is tempting on a class with no magical utility options. Keep in mind that innate spellcasting is Charisma-based, so if you want Faerie Fire to be useful you’ll need to invest in Charisma.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: An option for the Eldritch Knight, but the Eldritch Knight is already among the most MAD fighters so trying to bring Charisma into the mix won’t do you any favors. Go for a regular High Elf instead.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Two more skills can do a lot. Between these skills and your background, you can easily grab several Face skills to capitalize on the Half-Elf’s Charisma increase, or you could build around Dexterity and grab skills and tools that let you stand in for a rogue.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Fleet of foot is the best option, which is pretty sad because it’s such a poor option.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Savage Attacks is still used best with the biggest damage die possible and Relentless Endurance doesn’t change, so the Customizing Your Origin optional rule doesn’t change the Half-Orc very much. They still make a great Champion, especially with a Greataxe in hand, and Relentless Endurance is great on front-line characters who frequently draw a lot of attacks.

Default Rules: Relentless Endurance brings some of the Barbarian’s durability, and Savage Attacks is extremely potent when combined with the Champion Fighter’s improved critical range. Grab a greataxe.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1). Rearranging your ability scores means that Brave and Lucky are the Halfling’s most defining traits and they’re absolutely fantastic for the Fighter. Brave will help compensate for you relatively poor mental saves, and Lucky will improve your results when attacking with the Fighter’s incomparably high number of attacks.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Silent Speech isn’t especially helpful unless you’re built for stealth, and even then it’s not crucial.
  • LightfootPHB: Useless without a rogue dip, and even then you’re basically playing a rogue who’s trying no to rely on Sneak Attack for no readily apparent reason.
  • LotusdenEGtW: Rearranging the ability score increases doesn’t salvage the Lotusden Halfling. In fact, it will more likely make the innate spellcasting worse since you’ll likely move the ability increase away from Wisdom.
  • StoutPHB: Basically a short dwarf. Poison damage is common, so resistance to it will save you a lot of damage over your career.

Default Rules: A bonus to Dexterity makes the Halfling great for both Finesse and Archery builds, and Lucky is fantastic when you make as many attacks as a Fighter does.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Silent Speech isn’t especially helpful unless you’re built for stealth, and even then it’s not crucial.
  • LightfootPHB: This would be a very strange build, but a stealthy Purple Dragon Knight could potentially make use to the Lightfoot Halfling’s traits.
  • LotusdenEGtW: Nothing specifically useful to the Fighter. The innate spellcasting is neat, but it’s all Wisdom-based so your spell save DC will be terrible.
  • StoutPHB: Excellent ability score increases for a Dexterity-based fighter, and poison resilience.

HarengonWBtW / MMoM

A good option for ranged builds, Rabbit Hop allows you to break out of melee safely without spending your Action. Lucky Footwork can help against Dexterity saves, but it’s not going to save a low-Dexterity build on its own. Hare Trigger is exciting, but often not very impactful because waiting a few extra turns to get your first turn often doesn’t impact the Fighter’s effectiveness.


UpdatedMMoM: Most fighters don’t use their Bonus Action every turn, and if you’re built for melee you’re going to be constantly in melee where you can Help your allies attack a creature. Fortune of the Many provides some insurance against hard saving throws until Indomitable comes online at level 9, and even once you have Indomitable you can still combine it with Fortune of the Many.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and three proficiencies which you’ll trade for tool proficiencies. The Hobgoblin’s noteworthy feature is Saving Face. It provides a great way to turn near-miss failed rolls into successes, especially if you have numerous allies nearby. This provides great insurance against problematic saving throws.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: An interest option for Eldritch Knights. Saving Face will help cover the difference in your attack bonus until you get enough Ability Score Increases to get your Dexterity or Strength up to 20, which fortunately the Fighter does faster than anyone else. But until then you’re basically limping along to keep up with other options like the High Elf.


Customized Origin:

  • Standard: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no reason to play the Standard Human.
  • Variant: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Variant Human.

Default Rules:

  • Standard: Fighters really only need two ability scores for any specific builds, but a +1 to all of your scores can be helpful if you use the point buy ability generation method to give yourself low, odd-numbered base abilities to save points, and it can make it easier .
  • Variant: You get crucial bonuses to your two favorite ability scores (Typically Str/Con or Dex/Con), and you can get an awesome feat at level 1. Feats are especially potent for Fighters since it’s so easy to fit them into your build, and you can easily combine feats like Polearm Master and Sentinel without falling behind on your ability score progression. The bonus skill isn’t super important for a Fighter since Fighters aren’t really built for skill use, but pick up something fun or which no one else in your party takes and you may find it useful outside of combat.

    The Variant Human is especially appealing for the Champion Fighter because the Champion is mechanically simple. Adding the additional complexity of a feat can do a lot to make the Champion more engaging to play in combat.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases. Resistance to psychic damage is nice, though psychic damage isn’t common. Dual Mind provides an important defense, but other options like the Yuan-Ti and the Verdan are more appealing and may be more broadly effective at protecting you from stuff that hurts your brains.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.


UpdatedMMoM: Two additional skills offer some sorely-needed options for the Fighter to be useful outside of combat. Strength-based builds can use Kenku Recall’s Advantage mechanic effectively for Athletics checks to grapple, and Dexterity-based builds can potentially serve as a Scout if you select the right proficiencies.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Expert Forgery and Mimicry aren’t particularly impactful, so basically any other race with two skill proficiencies will be linearly better than the Kenku.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: An interesting option for stealthy, Dexterity-based fighters, the kenku’s free skills overlap with the rogue’s quite a bit. Be sure to pick up proficiency with thieves’ tools from your background.


UpdatedMMoM: A good choice for melee builds, and any version of Kobold Legacy could be useful. Craftiness will help make you useful outside of combat. Defiance will protect against a common mental status effect that is frequently a huge problem for fighters. Draconic Sorcery can get you Booming Blade, giving eldritch knights a small damage boost until Extra Attack comes online. Then when you get War Magic you can go back to Booming Blade.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2 increase and Superior Darkvision. The Customizing Your Origin optional rule does little to change the Kobold unless you’re dead set on a Strength-based build for some reason. Pack Tactics is still great, and Sunlight Sensitivity is still a pain, but Pack Tactics conveniently provides a way to negate it.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: With easy access to Advantage from Pack Tactics, it’s really easy to rely on things like the Sharpshooter feat which normally present accuracy issues. You can also use Pack Tactics and the Champion subclass’s improved critical range to fish for critical hits, potentially earning you big damage spikes with a relatively simple build.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Daunting Roar provides a great crowd control effect, and since the DC is Constitution-based it should be reasonably reliable.

Default Rules: Great for a Strength-based build, and the roar helps handle crowds much like the Dragonborn’s breath weapon.


UpdatedMMoM: Hungry Jaws is great on Strength-based builds and Natural Armor is great on Dexterity-based builds. Two additional skills help you be useful outside of combat, but the skill options aren’t great. Unfortunately there isn’t a good way to make both Hungry Jaws and Natural Armor useful in combat at the same time.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and natural armor. It’s really tempting to build the Lizardfolk around Dexterity because at 20 Dexterity you can match Full Plate’s AC. But Hungry Jaws is still Strength-based, so it may be better to go for a Stength-based melee build and ignore Natural Armor. It’s somewhat frustrating to take the cool barbaric lizard person who fights naked and turn them into a somewhat toothy but otherwise unremarkable humanoid, but it’s probably the best mechanical option.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Tempting but frustrating due to their ability score increases not lining up well with their needs. With 20 Dexterity you can match full plate AC without wearing armor. However, Hungry Jaws is always dependent on Strength, so emphasizing Dexterity may mean giving up on Hungry Jaws. Sadly, the Lizardfolk gets increases to neither so it’s a perpetually tempting but frustrating option.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Leviathan Will. Among the better aquatic options, Leviathan Will provides a robust defensive option against a long list of harmful status conditions which any adventurer is sure to face.

Default Rules: Increases to both Strength and Dexterity are difficult to use at the same time, but it means that you can build your Fighter nearly however you want. Leviathan Will offers some useful defenses against status effects, and two additional skills help you to diversify your capabilities beyond fighting stuff.


Customized Origin: The natural armor is useless for the Fighter, and while Loxodon Serenity is great for the Fighter, numerous other races get that same defense. The Loxodon’s other racial traits are mostly novelties, and none of them are especially useful for the Fighter.

Default Rules: Very little that directly helps the Fighter.


UpdatedMMoM: Goring Rush gets you the most important part of the Charger feat, and Hammering Horns gets you part of the Shield Master feat (but not the part that knocks things prone). A great choice for a Strength-based melee build.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: +2/+1 increases and one skill. Goring Rush gets you the most important part of the Charger feat, and Hammering Horns gets you part of the Shield Master feat (but not the part that knocks things prone). A great choice for a Strength-based melee build.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: An absolutely perfect melee fighter, Goring Rush gets you the most important part of the Charger feat, and Hammering Horns gets you part of the Shield Master feat (but not the part that knocks things prone).


UpdatedMMoM: Between Adrenaline Rush, Relentless Endurance, Second Wind, and decent armor, it’s very difficult to bring down an orc fighter. Grab a two-handed weapon and go looking for trouble.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, two skills. A great option for any melee build, Aggressive allows you to quickly close to melee without sacrificing your Action to Dash.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Perfect ability scores from Strength-based builds, Aggressive gets you into melee quickly, and two additional skills can add some useful options outside of combat. It’s easy to compare the Orc to the Half-Orc because there is definitely some overlap. They’re roughly equivalent, but the Half-Orc really shines with a greataxe or a similar large damage die, but the Orc works for basically any Strength-based weapon and has the ability to pick their skills (albeit from a list) so they’re a bit more versatile.


Perfect for a ranged build, flight in light armor doesn’t matter if you’re built around Dexterity. 120 ft. Darkvision is great for an archer, and proficiency in Stealth (or any other skill with the custom origin rules) makes it easy to be your party’s Scout. Dexterity-based melee builds also work great for the Owlin for the same reason, but the appeal of fighting enemies in the dark from outside of their Darkvision range is significant.


Resistance to acid and poison are nice for front-line martial characters, and Advantage to initiate grapples is fantastic for the Fighter. Take high Strength and proficiency in Athletics, and you’ll do pretty well. You likely still want Expertise to support the grapple/shove combo, though.


UpdatedMMoM: Magic Resistance is great, but the proficiencies aren’t a good fit for most fighters.

Classic (Customized Origin)MOoT: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Fey creature type. Magic Resistance and the Fey creature type will protect you from problematic spells, especially options like Hold Person which may be difficult even with Magic Resistance. Mirthful Leaps may let you jump over small natural hazards like difficult terrain. If you just want durability I would consider the Yuan-Ti first, but the Satyr’s additional skills offer some utility outside of combat which is very appealing on a class which is already so combat-focused.

Classic (Default Rules)MOoT: A great option for a Purple Dragon Knight, but any Dexterity-based build works well with the Satyr. Magic Resistance and not being humanoid are powerful defenses for a class which is normally very weak to magic.

Sea ElfMMoM

Darkvision and cold resistance are both great additions to the Paladin. Fey Ancestry provides resistance to common charm effects which can often take fighters out of a fight. For an aquatic option, this is still surprisingly decent on land.


Most fighters don’t have a use for their Bonus Action every round, so Gift of the Raven Queen is easy to add to their collection of options which you can sometimes use your Bonus Action to activate. Fey Ancestry protects you from common charm effects which can often take the Fighter out of a fight, free proficiency in Perception is always nice, and the damage resistance rider on Gift of the Raven Queen makes it easy to dive into melee.


UpdatedMMoM: Beasthide and Longtooth make excellent fighters. Beasthide will be more durable, while Longtooth will be more effective offensively for Strength-based builds. Longtooth offers a great way to use the Fighter’s often under-utilized Bonus Action which offers a great way to boost your damage output. For ranged builds, consider Swiftstride so that you have an easy way to withdraw from melee on other creatures’ turns.

Customized OriginERLW: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), Darkvision, and one skill. The Shifter’s signature trait is Shifting, which is a Bonus Action combat buff which works great for most fighters. It’s a decent buff on its own, and your subrace will offer additional effects.

  • Beasthide: A bigger pool of temporary hit points and a modest AC bonus do a lot to complement the Fighter’s already impressive durability.
  • Longtooth: Many fighter subclasses don’t lean heavily on their Bonus Action, so adding the ability to make a bite attack with your Bonus Action is a significant increase to your damage output for Strength-based builds.
  • Swiftstride: The intent of this ability is to let you move away from enemies when they get into melee with you so that you don’t need to Disengage on your turn. Fighters rarely need that.
  • Wildhunt: Too situational.

Default RulesERLW: Darkvision is a great start, and several of the Shifter subraces support some fighter builds.

  • Beasthide: Great ability score increases, a good free skill, and additional temporary hit points amd AC when you shift to help you absorb more damage.
  • Longtooth: The Fighter has very few uses for their Bonus Action (unless you’re built for two-weapon fighting), so using it to make an extra attack offers an easy way to boost your damage output. The ability score increases aren’t as good as the Beasthide Shifter’s, but they’ll still work.
  • Swiftstride: Dexterity can work, and the Shifting Feature can be a lifesaver for archers, but I would consider the Goblin first if that’s all that you want.
  • Wildhunt: The Dexterity increase is the best part, and you can get that from numerous other places.

Simic HybridGGTR

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Simic Hybrid. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: Fantastic and Versatile. Animal Enhancement can benefit the Fighter in much the same way that a feat does.


UpdatedMMoM: Good for a Dexterity-based build. With two extra skills and Darkvision you can easily serve as your party’s Scout.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, two skills. Feline Agility is the Tabaxi’s signature skill. It’s roughly equivalent to the Orc’s Aggressive, but it also allows you to run away (rather than only toward an enemy) and doesn’t eat your Bonus Action so it’s arguably a little better.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Similar to the kenku, the Tabaxi makes an excellent rogue-ish fighter.


For a two-weapon fighting build, it’s basically impossible to beat the Thri-Kreen thanks to Secondary Arms. A dexterity-based build will have more AC than comparable fighters due to Chameleon Carapace, and that’s before the possibility of a shield.

If you’re consider the Dual Wielder feat, remember that you only get the +1 AC bonus with a weapon in each hand (not in two hands), so a you can’t stack it with a shield.

Fighters have plenty of room for feats, so, for any melee build, strongly consider Sentinel with a whip in one of your primary hands. Even if you never attack with it during your turn, the ability to stop foes with an Opportunity Attack using either your 10-foot reach (with the whip) or your 5-foot reach (anything else) allows a wonderful tactical decision point about where to halt your enemies’ movement.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and damage resistance. Most subraces/variants offer innate spellcasting of some kind. The innate spellcasting is Charisma-based, so anything which requires an attack or a save is difficult for most fighters to use, but might be viable for a Purple Dragon Knight.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: The innate spellcasting is passable, but the most easily usable part is Hellish Rebuke, and without decent Charisma to back it up it’s not worth your subrace.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Bad innate spellcasting.
  • DispaterMToF: Disguise Self is the best thing you get from this, and if that’s all that you want you should play a changeling instead.
  • FiernaMToF: Maybe viable for a Purple Dragon Knight with enough Charisma, and the spells certainly work thematically for a Face build, but your low save DC will absolutely be a problem.
  • GlasyaMToF: The innate spellcasting can go very far without worrying about your Charisma score, and the spells are outside of the Eldritch Knight’s school limitations so they introduce some options which are normally hard for the Fighter to access.
  • LevistusMToF: Armor of Agathys looks very tempting, but it will break if you get hit once. The Drow’s innate spellcasting is similar but more effective even though it’s also Charisma-based.
  • MammonMToF: Situational utility options, but they don’t care about low Charisma.
  • MephistophelesMToF: The offensive spells are worthless, and if you just want Mage Hand, Mammon will be better.
  • ZarielMToF: The smite spells are decent, but Searing Smite allows a Constitution save and Branding Smite isn’t good enough on its own.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: The Customizing Your Origin optional rules make the Feral variant obsolete. All it does is rearrange your ability score increases.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: All offensive options that you don’t have the save DC to support.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Hellish Rebuke is a more safely reliable choice.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight in up to medium armor. You trade some of the Aarakocra’s speed for Darkvision and damage resistance. It’s a good trade.

Default Rules: Darkvision and Fire resistance are both great, and the bonus spells can be very helpful, but ability score increases are a problem for most of the subraces. You may also have trouble with the innate spellcasting because so much of it requires a spell attack or allows a saving throw.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: Bad ability spread.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • DispaterMToF: Potentially good for a Dexterity-based Purple Dragon Knight, but the the spellcasting isn’t very good.
  • FiernaMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • GlasyaMToF: Potentially good for a Dexterity-based Purple Dragon Knight. The innate spellcasting adds some great illusion options that care very little about your Charisma modifier, so this could be a great option for a tricky, sneaky fighter.
  • LevistusMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • MammonMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • ZarielMToF: Potentially good for a Strength-based Purple Dragon Knight. Smite spells are great options for the Fighter, but Searing Smite allows a Constitution save that you should always expect the target to pass due to your poor save DC and typically high Constitution saves. Branding Smite is decent, though. Unfortunately, one decent innate spell is not enough to make this good.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: A fantastic option for Dexterity-based fighters, especially Eldritch Knights. A Feral Winged Tiefling is basically an Aarakocra with Darkvision and fire resistance, and that’s an excellent set of racial traits.

    According to the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the Feral Variant is compatible with other variants.

  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Charisma-based spells are hard for most Fighters, and even Purple Dragon Knights won’t really get any use out of them
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Hellish Rebuke is a better option for fighters.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight in up to medium armor. You’ll almost certainly build around Dexterity so light armor will be better.

TortleTP / MMoM

Customized Origin: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no niche for the Tortle. You might get slightly better AC at low levels for Dexterity-based builds before other fighters hit 20 Dexterity at level 6, but that is nowhere near enough.

Default Rules: Strength and natural armor are great, but once you can afford full plate armor the Tortle will fall behind and you lose your most notable racial trait.


UpdatedMMoM: Fog Cloud is exciting if you take Fighting Style (Blind Fighting). It works very similarly to magical darkness, except that devils and warlocks still can’t see through it, placing you at a massive tactical advantage.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: Three +1 increases, Darkvision, amphibious, and some innate spellcasting. Like the half-elf, having three increases makes it easy to support MAD subclasses like the Eldritch Knight, the Psi Warrior, and the Purple Dragon Knight. The innate spellcasting isn’t fantastic, but it does offer some interesting utility options. In an aquatic campaign this is a great choice, but even on land it’s still a good option.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Surprisingly appealing for an aquatic race, the Triton gets good ability score increases for the Fighter, and has a little bit of innate spellcasting which may provide some utility options that fighters can’t replicate on their own.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, one tool. Vedalken Dispassion is the most interesting part of the Vedalken’s traits for the Fighter. It’s a powerful defense against mental effects which can easily take the Fighter out due to their poor mental saves.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.


Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Telepathic Insight protects you from the most common mental saves, which is great since fighters are so easily taken out by mental stuff. Black Blood Healing will help pad your hit dice a little bit, and Limited Telepathy can be helpful for sneaky fighters. You do need to deal with the weird size mechanic, but on a Dexterity-based build this will work reasonably well.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.


Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Warforged. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: Constitution, a flexible ability increase, a pile of useful resistances that cover things that front-lint martial characters frequently face, and a bonus to AC which puts you ahead of every other heavily-armored character in the game. A warforged fighter with full plate armor, a shield, and the Defense fighting style sits at 22 AC without magic items or spells, making you nearly untouchable. If you can force enemies to stay in melee with you (consider grappling), you’re a fantastic Defender.

Water GenasiMMoM

The Water Genasi’s traits aren’t useful enough for non-caster fighters, and the Water Genasi’s spells aren’t useful enough for an eldritch knight to justify using them.


UpdatedMMoM: Magic is the Fighter’s biggest counter, so Magic Resistance is a huge benefit for the Fighter. Poison resistance is great, too.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, poison immunity, and Magic Resistance protects you from one of the Fighter’s biggest and most problematic weaknesses. The innate spellcasting is useless, but honestly it doesn’t matter because everything else is so good.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread. Magic Resistance is great, but it’s not enough.


Dragonmarked DwarfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Warding: This could be interesting for a Dexterity-based Eldritch Knight. The skill bonuses work great for a character with high Intelligence and Dexterity, and the innate spellcasting saves you the trouble of learning Mage Armor. However, you still need to spend your spells known to take advantage of the dragonmark spell list, and I don’t see anything on the list that’s worthwhile except possibly Armor of Agathys.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Warding: Interesting thematically, and some of the spells are tempting, but this is a hard choice without a Strength or Dexterity increase. I wouldn’t consider this on anything except an Eldritch Knight, and even then it’s not a fantastic choice.
Dragonmarked ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Shadow: A Dexterity-based Purple Dragon Knight is likely your best bet here. The innate spellcasting is great, but you can get the same from the Glasya Tiefling, which is probably a better fit for the Fighter. The dragonmark spells are wasted on anything except the Eldritch Knight, and since you get so few spells known outside of your school limitations you’re not likely to learn most of them.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Shadow: The innate spellcasting is neat, but it’s hard to choose this for an Eldritch Knight because the ability increases don’t line up well, and no other fighter subclass gets spellcasting so you lose a big part of the dragonmark’s benefits. A sneaky, Dexterity-based fighter is absolutely an option, but at that point you may do better as a swashbuckler rogue.
Dragonmarked GnomeERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Scribing: The skills and innate spellcasting don’t help the Fighter, and the dragonmark spells aren’t appealing for the Eldritch Knight.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Scribing: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked Half-ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace some of your normal racial traits, as described in the entry for each Dragonmark.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Detection: The innate spellcasting offers some interesting utility options, but the dragonmark spell list has little to offer that the Eldritch Knight would care to learn. The skill bonuses are fine but it will be hard to use both effectively on one fighter.
  • Mark of Storm: The spellcasting is bad and the skill bonuses are too situational.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Detection: Bad ability spread, and the spellcasting does very little to complement the Fighter’s capabilities.
  • Mark of Storm: The ability spread is too poor to justify how little you’ll benefit from the spellcasting.
Dragonmarked Half-OrcERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. A bit like a class dip into ranger, you get Hunter’s Mark once per day and bonuses to some Wisdom-based skills. Hunter’s Mark is tempting since the Fighter makes lots of attacks and has good Constitution saves, but remember that it’s only once per day. The only fighter subclass with spellcasting is the Eldritch Knight, so unless you ignore Wisdom to focus on Intelligence, you’re going to miss out on the dragonmark spells.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked HalflingERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Healing: The ability to heal yourself is certainly tempting for a class with few healing options beyond hit dice, but I don’t think it’s enough. The Eldritch Knight can benefit from the dragonmark spells, but they’re beyond the Eldritch Knight’s school limitations so that’s a very hefty cost to get spells which you can’t use very often due to your tiny pool of spell slots.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The spells do very little to help the Fighter, and the dragonmark spell list doesn’t include anything that the Eldritch Knight wants.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Healing: A Dexterity-based Eldritch Knight could make us of the new spell options to complement their party’s existing healing capabilities, but the ability score increases aren’t spectacular. It’s a workable build and it could be a lot of fun, but it tries to do too much at the same time, which very few classes can successfully manage.
  • Mark of Hospitality: There’s very little here that works well for the Fighter.
Dragonmarked HumanERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your normal racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: The Wisdom-based innate spellcasting is neither useful nor reliable, and the dragonmark spells are not even remotely appealing to the Eldritch Knight.
  • Mark of Making: An interesting choice for the Eldritch Knight, Magic Weapon is a fantastic buff and the Arcana bonus will close the gap between you and a real wizard on Arcana checks. The innate spellcasting has a few gems like Elemental Weapon which work very well for the Fighter, but which aren’t on the Wizard’s spell list so you normally can’t cast them.
  • Mark of Passage: Misty step for free once per day, and teleportation options on the spell list. Unfortunately the spells are outside of the Eldritch Knight’s school limitations you’ll have trouble actually learning them. If you want teleportation, the Eladrin, the Githyanki, and the Shadar-Kai are all easier choices.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Thematically a fighter with the Mark of Sentinel makes a ton of sense, and everything about the racial traits works. The skills are Wisdom-based, which is hard for the Eldritch Knight but otherwise fantastic. Vigilant Guardian shares some function with Fighting Style (Protection). The dragonmark spells include some great options from the Cleric and the Paladin’s spell lists, including Shield of Faith, Protection from Energy, and Death Ward, all of which are within the Eldritch Knight’s school limitations. There are some worthwhile options outside of the school limitations, but they may not be worth your limited number of unrestricted spells known.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: Bad ability spread, and the spellcasting does very little to complement the Fighter’s capabilities. Hunter’s Mark looks really tempting with the Fighter’s crazy number of attacks, but I don’t think it’s worth your subrace to cast Hunter’s Mark once per day since you benefit so little from everything else here.
  • Mark of Making: The flexible ability increase can go into your choice of Strength or Dexterity, and you’re off to a great start as an Eldritch Knight. The ability to cast Magic Weapon without Concentration is a significant benefit at low levels, providing a reliable numeric boost over other fighters. The dragonmark spells offer some excellent new spell options, and there is no character in the game better suited to benefit from Elemental Weapon than a fighter with up to four attacks per Action.
  • Mark of Passage: If you miss the 4e Warblade class, famous for teleporting around in combat while using weapons to attack, Mark of Passage may scratch that itch. Grab a rapier to take advantage of the Dexterity increase, take the Eldritch Knight subclass for the spellcasting, and get really comfortable using Misty Step rather than walking around in combat like a peasant.
  • Mark of Sentinel: I really wish that the ability score increases worked for the Fighter, because Mark of Sentinel’s traits and spells all make perfect sense for the Fighter. If you can survive without a Strength or Dexterity increase you may really enjoy Mark of Sentinel, but mathematically you’ll suffer any time you try to use a weapon.


Published in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and beyond, no Lineage exists prior to the introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules, and as such each lineage has flexible ability score increases. Every Lineage has the choice of +2/+1 increases or three +1 increases except for the Custom Lineage which only receives a single +2 increase.

Lineages are applied on top of a base race. While the Custom Lineage isn’t affected by your base race, the three lineages published in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (Dhampir, Hexblade, and Reborn) borrow from your base race thanks to the Ancestral Legacy trait. Despite selecting a base race, you do not count as a member of your race for the purposes of any other effect, such as qualifying for feats or using magic items.

Custom LineageTCoE

+2 to either Strength or Dexterity, Darkvision or a skill, and a feat. Excellent, but in many cases the Variant Human’s split increases may be more effective so that you can also start with 16 in Strength or Dexterity and 16 in Constitution.


The Dhampir’s Vampiric Bite is a powerful option for the Fighter, allowing you to build around a single ability score. Building around Constitution makes you unusually durable with only a minor reduction in damage output (compare Vampiric Bite’s 1d4 to a longsword’s 1d8). Spider Climb allows you to easily bypass many obstacles, and Ancestral Legacy lets you get another movement type (flight most likely) or two additional skills to expand your capabilities outside of combat.


A hexblood eldritch knight is a very solid build. Fighters famously get more attacks than anyone else, which makes Hex a powerful damage boost, and the Hexblood can re-cast their spells using spell slots, so Hex remains available to you consistently even if you lose Concentration. Coupled with Action Surge, you can quickly pile damage onto a single target. Hex also imposes Disadvantage on ability checks with one ability of your choice, so you can impose Disadvantage on Strength or Dexterity checks (whichever you think the target is most likely to use) to make the Grapple/Shove combo easier.

I don’t recommend the Hexblood for anything except the Eldritch Knight, but that one combination is very solid. A Rune Knight built around grappling could also work, but without the ability to re-cast Hex, the Hexblood’s traits are less useful. Ancestral Legacy offers access to new movement types or skills, but if you go for flight you’ll likely find that your build is very MAD so the skills are often the better choice.


Several excellent resistances which will be consistently useful for front-line melee builds. Ancestral Legacy offers access to new movement types, but if you go for flight you’ll frequently find it difficult to keep all of your racial traits relevant at the same time. It may be best to go for the skills.