Dex Fighter 5E: The Ultimate Guide to Dexterity-Based Fighters

A Dexterity-based Fighter in Dungeons & Dragons isn’t the craziest idea in the world for a build. But there are some quirks with going in this direction. Fighters are well known for their versatility and adaptability, and when you take away some of their options you may bump into some problems. However, it does allow you to make use of some interesting weapons that a usual Fighter may not even glance at. And it certainly provides an advantage in a few areas. Either way, check out our Dex Fighter 5E guide to see how it all works.

Dex Fighter 5E Guide

dex fighter 5E

Fighters in Dungeons & Dragons are masters of almost every melee-based weapon. They can easily handle big weapons like axes and are able to handle rapiers or longswords deftly. Plus, Fighters can also use bows and can even dual-wield certain weapons with ease. So, a fighter would be perfect for you if you want a class that knows each weapon type like the back of their hand. Of course, being focused on Dexterity changes up the game plan a little bit.

Dexterity governs a few very important things in Dungeons & Dragons. To start, Initiative is affected by your Dexterity modifier. And having a high Initiative count allows you to start the battle off on a strong foot. Dexterity saving throws are also the more common type of save in the game. So being able to dodge a lot of hazards with ease is a good thing. Dex factors into a lot of other mechanics as well, and when you combine it with the strengths of the Fighter, you’ve got a pretty great class to work with.

What Race is Best for a Dex Fighter?

When choosing your race, you’ll want to aim for one that starts with a Dexterity bonus. Luckily you’ve got quite a few to choose from with that in mind. But we also need to see if these races provide other benefits that could improve the build further.

A Wood Elf would make a good Dex Fighter thanks to the +2 to Dexterity and a few other abilities. Fleet of Foot would allow you to increase your walking speed per turn to 35 feet. This in turn would give you slightly better control over your position in a battle. And if you’re running a melee-based Dex Fighter this little boost could be very helpful.

The Halfling race is another good shout here with a +2 to Dexterity. The drawback is their smaller stature. As a result, they can only travel 25 feet in a turn. With that said, they have some very nice traits that will make your life much easier. Lucky allows the halfling to reroll a d20 if it lands on a 1, potentially saving you from disaster. A Stout Halfling also has a +1 bonus to Constitution and resistance to poison.

Choosing a Weapon

When Strength isn’t your main stat, you can take a look at some more unique weapons to use. But before you do anything, there’s a vital choice to make when building your character. Fighters can choose to adopt a fighting style and out of all the choices you’ll want to pick Two-Weapon Fighting. This lets you apply an ability modifier to the bonus action attack. But both weapons will need to be Light. Of course, you can also get the Dual Wielder feat that lets you bypass that requirement. You could also opt for Archery if you plan on using a bow.

For one of the best weapons to use with this class, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rapier. Its 1d8 of damage is enough for you to dole out a lot of pain to enemies. And when you stick another Rapier into your other hand, you’ll be pretty dangerous. And remember you’ll be able to apply your Dexterity modifier to the bonus action thanks to the Two-Weapon Fighting Style. So, again, you’ll be able to deal a lot of damage.

Martial Archetypes for Dex-Based Fighters

Once you reach 3rd level you’ll be able to choose a Martial Archetype which gives you more features. This will further expand the Fighter’s abilities and give you some neat moves to use. You have to choose carefully, though, as you can only choose one Archetype. The one you choose will continue to give you new features at 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.

There are a lot of choices to make here, but two stand out as the best ones. If you’re going with a melee-focused Dex Fighter, then the Echo Knight is likely the best Archetype to go for. This lets you summon an alternate version of yourself that can help out in battle. The echo can be placed in an unoccupied space within 15 feet. And by using Manifest Echo you can swap places with your alternate version regardless of the distance between you. Your echo can also land opportunity attacks against enemies that pass by it.

Echo Knight is very cool, but archers can take the Arcane Archer Archetype. This will basically give you some magical abilities to use alongside your usual attacks. You can infuse arrows with magic, and even cause an arrow to redirect toward another target if you initially miss. This is also a solid choice and if you’re an archer it’s the one you should take up. Just make sure you’ve got a somewhat decent Intelligence score to make full use of this Archetype’s features.

Feats for Dexterity Fighters

The Fighter has a lot of Feats at its disposal, with a couple being extremely powerful in the right hands. But some feats’ effectiveness is dependent on the specifics of your build. Things like which weapon type you prefer, or what kind of player you are, will heavily determine the Feat you should choose.

The Piercer Feat would work well if you’re using a Rapier and can get you even higher damage numbers. It also allows you to increase your Strength or Dexterity by 1. So this really isn’t a bad idea if that’s what you want to do. Alert is another Feat that goes hand in hand with a Dexterity-based class. This feat gives you a +5 to your initiative roll and in combination with the Dexterity bonus, you’ll likely lead the charge.

One of the best Feats for Fighters to choose is the Sentinel. This allows the fighter to stop an enemy in its tracks with an opportunity attack. This means that any enemy that tries to flee from the Fighter will be met with an attack that stops them instead. In turn, this means that most fights with weaker enemies will be dealt with swiftly. And it also means you can defend your fellow party members from enemies that want to get some distance from you.


Multiclassing lets you pick another class to level into for a bit and that can give you some brilliant benefits. If your Strength is at least 13, you could give the Barbarian a go and gain its Rage feature. This would give you a buff to your Strength modifier, and since we’ve focused on Dexterity it might be nice to have Rage pick up the slack. This ability also gives you resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, which is always nice.

The benefit of Multiclassing is being able to diversify what you can do in battle. And in that case, it may not be an awful idea to invest in a class that uses some magic. Cleric may be good in this case since it’ll give you some useful abilities to heal the party like Cure Wounds. And it may be funny to play as a character that can heal as much pain as it deals to enemies.

But since we are focusing on Dexterity, the best option for Multiclassing would arguably be the Rogue. The high Dexterity stat lends itself well to this class. And by leveling into the Rogue, you get the opportunity to try and land a Sneak Attack. If you put enough time into the Rogue class you’ll also get the Uncanny Dodge at 5th level, which allows you to halve the damage of an attack against you with your reaction. This would slightly make up for a character that has a low AC.

Concluding our Dex Fighter 5E Guide

The Dexterity Fighter offers a lot of positives. And careful choices of weapons, feats, and overall playstyle can make it one of the best builds in 5E. Dexterity is one of the most powerful ability scores in the game, and basing a character almost entirely around it is hardly a bad thing. But since the Fighter is a class meant for dabbling in a bit of everything, it might seem strange to limit those choices. But that’s not something you’ll worry about when you start off most encounters and are able to deal with enemies in a few short turns.

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