War Cleric 5E Guide | Tips, Builds, and More

war cleric 5e guide

In the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, The Player’s Handbook offers a lot of variety for Cleric domains of any god. One of the most ferocious is, of course, the War Domain. Flavorwise, War Clerics are essential components to any city under siege, any militia in need of divine intervention, or a simple mercenary being guided by their god. They gain great strength, magically, in order to become threats on the battlefield. As a result, mechanically, the War Cleric becomes a substantially powerful support with a lot of tools to become threats themselves. To celebrate this domain, we’ve put together this War Cleric 5E Guide. So put on your pauldrons and grab your greatswords, because we’re going to war!

Prepare for Battle: War Cleric 5E

The War Cleric has a lot of solid options for combat. From their domain spells to their abilities, they get a lot of tools for affecting allies, and enemies, directly. Most of their abilities are focused on increasing the damage of weapons and the likelihood of connecting with the opponent. However, they do get a few defensive abilities and some options to deal magical damage at long-range.

Domain Spells

The domain spells of a War Cleric follow the themes described above quite effectively; Most of these spells are buffs, but later levels have options to restrict opponents. And even more deal damage!

War Cleric Domain Spells
  • 1st Level – Divine Favor, Shield of Faith
  • 3rd Level – Magic Weapon, Spiritual Weapon
  • 5th Level – Crusader’s Mantle, Spirit Guardians
  • 7th Level – Freedom of Movement, Stoneskin
  • 9th Level – Flame Strike, Hold Monster

One of the major downsides of this list is how many concentration spells there are. You can only really use one concentration spell per minute or so, and this list has quite a few that have that restriction. You may find yourself having to turn off Crusader’s Mantle if you want to cast Hold Monster, for example.

However, a lot of these buffs are good to have up for a long time, and the spell efficiency of the War Cleric can be seen as an upside. The Domain is encouraged to use fewer spells per combat, and are given impactful spells from Paladin and Arcane lists as a result. Be careful using some of these in the front line, and you’ll increase everyone’s damage quite significantly.

Offensively, Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, Spiritual Weapon, Crusader’s Mantle, and Hold Monster are effective. They require Concentration for a lot of them, but they all help you deal damage to important foes. Shield of Faith, Spirit Guardians, and Stoneskin also need focused thinking, but all can defend against specific types of enemies. 

Oh, Freedom of Movement and Flame Strike are quite powerful spells that don’t have concentration, if you’re in the mood for burning slots in the higher levels. A lot of these spells actually don’t heighten, so having good, late-game options is always smart. Flame Strike isn’t an amazing use of your spell slots, due to its low damage, so try and look for better options.

Bonus Proficiencies

Just like the Tempest Cleric, the War Cleric comes out the gate in heavy armor and with martial weapons. This is significant. Heavy Armor opens the door for Clerics to more easily invest in Strength, and become better frontliners without Dexterity requirements. The high AC offered by heavy armor is great for survival early game and becomes crucial for even having a chance of being missed later on.

Martial Weapons tend to be rarer proficiencies for domains. Martial Weapons usually have 1 or 2 dice sizes up on their Simple Weapon counterparts; Greatclub’s 1d8 to Greatsword’s 1d12, for example. The melee War Cleric gets more options than the basic cleric for weapons that hit hard near the front. And the ranged War Cleric gets access to harder-hitting crossbows and the Longbow. All of which is to say that Martial Weapons give War Clerics free access to smacking dudes around. And trust me; this is a Domain that does not like to cast cantrips very much!

War Priest

Surprisingly, the first ability of the War Cleric is, by a large margin, the worst.

From 1st level, your god delivers bolts of inspiration to you while you are engaged in battle. When you use the Attack action, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Oh boy, where to start…

Having this feature use the Bonus Action is a little rough. This is already worse than Extra Attack, since Extra Attack just makes your attack actions stronger. What’s even worse is that the limit of times you can use this ability is up to Wisdom. That’s rather insignificant in the early game, where the amount might be once or twice. In the late game, this usually reaches 5 extra attacks, which is nice, but nowhere near incredible. You’d want to use your bonus actions on things like Spiritual Weapon instead.

However, don’t mistake this ability as being useless. Later on, when weapon attacks get larger, this ability scales with that. Even earlier, since AC is rather low in 5e, a War Cleric with good strength gets two opportunities to destroy someone. Not necessarily worthless, but this is far from the reason you should take the War Domain.

Channel Divinity: Guided Strike

This, and the following ability, are much better reasons.

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to strike with supernatural accuracy. When you make an attack roll, you can use your Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll. You make this choice after you see the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses.

A +10 to a roll is gigantic. This ability can turn a 12 – which wouldn’t hit much – into a 22 – which can hit almost anything. Adding so much to a roll by default is usually worth Channel Divinity, since a +10 heavily affects any attack roll. Weapon attacks from a cleric don’t do much, but guaranteeing a hit with them means that you deal a heck of a lot more than 0. Consider running Great Weapon Master if your GM allows you to get the feat.

However, that’s not all this ability does. First of all, it applies to any attack roll. Any. That means you can add +10 on Spell attack rolls as well as weapon attack rolls. Sadly, Cleric doesn’t have too many of those. Guiding Bolt is a good early-game example, as getting a +10 to hit a 4d6 attack that applies additional buffs for your team is amazing. Later on, landing debuffs with spells like Contagion is much easier with a +10, and any other spells you can find that use attack rolls benefit majorly.

Also, this is done after you see the roll, meaning you add +10 to an attack once you “know” that you rolled poorly. Try to get a “feel” for the AC of the enemy before using this ability. Remember that very few monsters have more AC than 25 or so, even in the late game. Use some military tactics here.

Channel Divinity: War God’s Blessing

The level 6 ability is both a blessing and a curse.

At 6th level, when a creature within 30 feet of you makes an attack roll, you can use your reaction to grant that creature a +10 bonus to the roll, using your Channel Divinity. You make this choice after you see the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses.

So, just to say, this ability is incredible. Clerics, as discussed above, don’t deal THAT much damage with weapons. Spells get better, but there aren’t many attack roll spells. So, choosing an ally within 30 ft to grant this ability to is downright absurd. Imagine how much you’ll be loved when a Rogue lands that killing blow with sneak attack, or a Paladin lands their huge smite, because of your blessing. Imagine the sigh of relief when the Sorcerer’s awful roll on Disintegrate becomes a clear hit. It’s a significantly better use of your Channel Divinity.

However, the curse is that you don’t get an additional buff at this level. You simply get more versatility for your Channel Divinity. No static growth or extra Channel Divinity to use this on, so your level 2 and 6 abilities kinda meld together. You also don’t have much of a reason to even use your level 2 ability now, since your allies will likely do a little more damage.

You do gain extra uses of Channel Divinity as you level up, however. Feel free to use one or two on your own Guiding Bolts or Divine Strike hits. Make sure you do some planning with your party’s heavy-hitters!

Divine Strike

The divine strike ability is a cornerstone of most domains. This divine strike is no different… But it has a twist.

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 damage of the same type dealt by the weapon to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Multiple options for your damage type… Fantastic!

Bludgeoning damage tends to be your best bet, since they have some creatures who are vulnerable to it. However, Piercing damage also has very few base bestiary monsters with Resistance, so that’s another fine option. Slashing gets the butt end in the Monster Manual with one monster even being immune.

That being said… Have all three damage types. There is no reason not to choose the weapon that best uses the Divine Strike ability. Dealing 2d8 damage of that specific type means that you can always try and find the best way to sneak past that resistance.

There’s not too much else to say, though do remember this only applies once per turn. That means your War Priest ability doesn’t get this benefit unless you miss once. Which might be the best use of War Priest; Divine Strike pickup duty.

Avatar of Battle

And finally, a bit of a doozy in the late game.

At 17th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.

Permanent Stoneskin. These damage types are pretty likely to come from nonmagical sources, even in the lategame. Beasts tend to do this damage. High-tier enemies often tend to have massive statistics rather than magical beatsticks. This is more useful than it may appear, though “nonmagical” does make this useless in some fights.

It’s a great reason to play the frontline role of the War Cleric by level 17. Though it does slightly weaken the power of Stoneskin on your spell list, this simple but effective defensive ability is a plenty good domain capstone.

The Role of the War Cleric

At Nerds and Scoundrels, we generally avoid discussing the “traditional” party roles like tanks or party faces. In 5E, characters are multifaceted, which most builds capable of doing more than just one thing will. With that in mind, our view on the role of the war cleric in 5E is based more on their full range of capabilities instead of pidgeon-holing them as a healer or some other one-dimensional role.

To understand the best use of the war cleric, it is worth considering their strengths. War clerics have access to heavy armor and martial weapons. A strong build gives them everything they need to excel in combat, including the strong domain spells and the additional bonus action attacks that come with War Priest.

As good as a war cleric can be on the front lines, it is important to remember that you have the full list of cleric spells and abilities to rely on. That means that even with your subclass options in mind, you could build a war cleric that is excellent at support and that offers substantial healing abilities.

Best Race for War Clerics

The War Domain is a bit of an enigma amongst domain options. It’s got a lot of good buffing options by domain, so Wisdom is less of a concern. The only ability that is reliant on Wisdom is the War Priest ability, which might not even be worth the investment. This opens up quite a few races to consider the domain, since Wisdom is not as important as being able to swing wildly or shoot accurately.


The Variant Human is a fantastic choice for a melee war cleric. As mentioned above, Great Weapon Master works wonders when paired with an ability that adds 10 to your attack roll. Coupled with the chance to swing twice in a round, and you’ve got yourself one godly blender. Do talk to your GM about needing War Caster for the two-handed build.

Ghostwise Halfling

Halflings got an interesting race with the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. The Ghostwise Halfling grants a bonus to Dexterity, Wisdom, and the ability to speak telepathically. For a ranged build, the ability to move under Medium or larger foes without worry is useful. Strategy is much easier if you can telepathically speak to your party and let them know you’re going to buff them, or Channel for them. That’s not even mentioning Lucky, giving you an additional method to climb back from poor rolls.

Race Notes: War for All

Please note that 5e benefits a lot of races by allowing the player to choose whatever race option fits. Every single race has some inkling about warfare, and thus can make a good War Cleric. Try and choose races that get bonuses to Strength or Dexterity, since those help your attack rolls depending on your build. Otherwise, choose one that fits your backstory; this subclass is insanely flexible, as long as your character can lift a weapon and use it.

Example Deities for War Clerics

War Clerics are tacticians, strategists, and warmongers. They are desperate to prove themselves on the battlefield. Because of this, the gods that they follow do not necessarily need to be the gods of bloodshed and pain. They can also be gods of thought, strategy, and victory.

Here are some example gods from various D&D settings, and one from a real-life pantheon. These gods should serve as examples for your DM’s campaign so that you know what gods to look for when you make a War Cleric.

Bane (Forgotten Realms)

All know the Black Hand. His influence on mankind is unknowable, but inseparable with the pitiful forces of humanity and mortality. When one knows hate, they know the touch of the Black Lord. When they feel fear, they feel Bane’s influence corrupting their mind. He is all that is known of war. And his worshippers are many.

Bane is a traditional evil god of war. He has a long history in D&D as the completely evil god of strife and war. He is conflict incarnate, and thus his worshippers live for war for war’s sake. Without chaos, their master would mean nothing. His worshippers are often subjected to intense torture to ensure complete and utter loyalty. His plans to cause pain and brutality are not to be trifled with.

War Clerics of Bane have a single-minded determination to see strife. While they are not opposed to making minor acts of kindness or compassion, their acts of good should be to further a schedule of war. They fight to grow stronger, so they may one day join their brethren in defense of Bane’s realm of Chernoggar.

In the case of warfare, a War Cleric of Bane should only accept victory due to domination. Surrender should be foreign to them unless they are clearly and utterly outmatched. In which case, plans for victory should begin to ferment.

The ultimate warmonger, Bane makes an excellent god of war for an Evil War Cleric. For those interested in a single-minded god of death, Bane is perfect.

Erythnul (Greyhawk)

A roar in the night. Blood splattered on the battlefield. Brains liquified on the ground. Slaughter, bloodshed, warfare. Erythnul is the Gnoll god of pain. Known as the Many, his battle rage is well-known to bestial tribes, though even humans recognize his importance. He is the face of war that many shy away from.

Erythnul is representative of the ugly parts of war. He is not invested in conflict for political gain, or even for his own power. He simply wants combat in order to sow the chaos of battle. A test of strength, a chance to have a good death. Blood on the sand feeds his power and madness, and thus blood should rain.

Worshippers of Erythnul are known for their love of battle for no apparent reason. Chaotic Neutral worshippers understand that innocents do nothing for the god’s power, but Evil worshippers are more than happy to put any living being to the blade. They are completely reasonless when talked to, making them incredible warriors when called to a task. 

A War Cleric of Erythnul abandons any sort of empathy. They are aggressive and very violent, making them a massive liability in social situations. However, in combat, there is no better ally. If healing allows for more death, a War Cleric can make it work. Chaotic Neutral Clerics of Erythnul can even be valuable assets in any situation, as they are quite skilled at hiding from their evil brethren.

For blood and gore, there is nothing like a god of slaughter to satiate the War Cleric domain.

Nike (Greek)

Trumpets, parades, decorations of honor. Flags with faces, speeches, cheers and cries of happiness from a thousand happy faces. On a pedestal, a beautiful statue, recognized world-round, of war heroes and generals, kings and queens. Over all of this watches Nike, the Goddess of Victory. She has seen conflict immortal, and has been at every celebration, large or small.

Nike is the personification of victory. Conflict is extremely important for her, because what is victory without a fight to triumph over? Because of her devotion to winning, Nike doesn’t recognize losing or concessions to be a reasonable option. Nobody throws a parade for the loser of a war. Nobody drinks until they black out because they handed over half of the gold in their treasury for peace.

Worshippers of Nike are potent strategists and warriors. They wish to trounce their enemy in warfare in the most consistent way possible. Because of that, they very rarely resort to underhanded tactics or outside help. They prefer the honor of a well-earned victory.

War Clerics of Nike are the frontliners of the war. They wish to be the ones that bards sing songs about, that kings knight, that gain the plaques. They seek a victory in any conflict that they are a part of: Even basic gambling games are taken shrewdly and tactically. 

Gods of victory and winners of major battles are perfect options for the War Cleric domain. They are also some of the easiest to make work for standard Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

Tempus (Forgotten Realms)

The Lord of Battles rides upon a drooling, spittling horse. Thousands of miles of grueling victories and honorable lessons pathe the way. The Foehammer crashes into battle after battle, war after war. A planet-ending warrior, Tempus promises his worshippers not just a worthy death, but a worthier life. To those who draw arms, the Battle Lord beckons.

Tempus is a god of honorable battle, but plenty of battle. He lives for excess, and thus finds joy in all kinds of plenty: Drinking, gluttony, hunting, or warfare. He is shockingly loyal, and follows his code to any end… His code being “embrace warriors of all races, codes, and technological advancement, and allow them to frolic in the field of battle.”

Worshippers of Tempus are not single-minded murder machines, but they do love battle. They prefer to solve conflicts with weaponry whenever possible. When war is around the corner, worshippers of Tempus should itch to bring their weapons and join in the fight. They look for battle anywhere. Because of Tempus’s tolerance of all creeds, there is no central temple of Tempus; only sub-churches.

War Clerics of Tempus are perfect adventurers. Perfectly neutral, they support conflict wherever they roam. While they can utilize diplomacy, it should be to the end of causing conflict elsewhere. What makes them interesting is their open mind; their moral compass is nearly nonexistent, allowing them to see both sides of a conflict. However, they have allies that they swing blades with. And they will almost always be on the winning side.

For those looking for a neutral god, gods that purely love battle and all emotions in it may be useful. And Tempus is the perfect example.

The Fury (Eberron)

All creatures know the Song of Passion and Rage. In any way, they have been touched by her incredible influence. Animals, insects, and humans alike share their knowledge of her power; intelligence falls apart underneath the potency of rage. Szorawai – the patron deity of rage and ruin – has existed ever since the first microorganism battled for its life.

The Fury is not simply a goddess of warfare. She is the god of those who let passion drive their motivation. A Blacksmith who forges a knife may find their muscles stronger if they are forging for vengeance. An artisan painting a picture of where their parents were murdered might find their inspiration stoked. A Barbarian practicing their rage will feel the touch of her power.

Worshippers of the Fury understand the importance of rage. They intentionally hold onto memories of pain and frustration to fuel their art. These clerics are natural warriors but do not necessarily go to war. They also go for missions of vengeance.

War Clerics of the Fury allow their rage to blind them. They see battle as the perfect location to generate and spend anger. Their strikes are fueled by memories of incompetence and frustration, and they find ways to hate their opponents in any situation. This can make it hard to surrender to a Cleric of Szorawai.

If rage is what drives a War Cleric to their domain, gods like the Fury are perfect beings to look up to.

Torm (Forgotten Realms)

All soldiers give some tribute to the Hand of Righteousness. The God of Duty has put himself into the minds of any and all drill sergeants who wish to bring his home justice. Armies under the banner of Torm are unbreakable, only defeated if the hearts of every single man, woman, and animal in the brigade were broken. Such is the power of True God.

Torm is a god of the unity of the army. His doctrine is focused on the strength of loyalty of soldiers to each other and the banner of the nation alike. He is a patron deity of lawful good guards and warriors. He takes promises and responsibilities extremely seriously.

Worshippers of Torm, or the Tormtar, are the most trustworthy clerics in the Forgotten Realms. Currently, they are atoning for their past failures through several Duties throughout the land. These Duties are divinely given acts to save the land from the sins of the Time of Troubles. Because of this, these men and women engage in their responsibilities and promises with a truly impressive zeal.

War Clerics of Torm are leaders and unifying forces of an army. Their holy symbol is recognized as a sign that this brigade cannot and will not be broken. For almost all soldiers, Clerics of Torm are proof that there will be no deserters in the army, and that all will be cared for. These Clerics are natural leaders into any sort of conflict, and they should strive to bring truth and righteousness to any armed conflict.

Torm is a perfect example of a War Cleric god who is truly pure at heart. Gods like these can make for incredibly passionate and fun War Clerics to play as.

Best Feats for War Clerics

War Clerics are extremely difficult to build for. Not only do you want to be durable enough to survive on the frontline, but you also want to make sure you have enough spells and abilities to solve problems. As the party’s beefcastle and healer, you’re going to be in a dangerous spot for much of every session. Because of that, you want feats that help you survive fights. You’ll also want feats that can boost your threat level in fights. Here are a few options.


Crusher is a very aggressive feat for a War Cleric. You start by getting a +1 in either Strength or Constitution, two stats that work well for War Clerics.

Much more interesting are the effects of the feat. Dealing bludgeoning damage to an opponent causes it to shift it 5 feet to a square of your choice. This can put opponents into a better position, away from allies. Situational but can be handy.

More importantly, on a critical hit with a bludgeoning weapon, you cause attack rolls against that creature to be made with advantage. On the off-chance that you roll a 20, this can start cascading a fight into your favor. It’s like a free cast of Guidance!

Overall, it’s an effective feat… Though, probably only worth the feat slot sometimes. Check your stats!

Mage Slayer

Mage Slayer is a caster-hating feat. To start, you gain a new reaction; when someone next to you casts a spell, you get to brain them with your weapon. Considering you can throw on a +10 to the attack roll, this can be a consistent way to stop a concentration-based spell very early on in its cast time. The caster might not even have the time to make use of their Dominate Person!

In addition, damage you deal to a creature causes disadvantage on the Concentration saving throw. This is pretty solid! A lot of deadly spells are Concentration-based, so this will basically guarantee that they’ll end as soon as possible.

Finally, you have advantage on saves against casters who are adjacent to you. This makes it harder for creatures to escape once you have them in your hands. Just try to use Cause Fear on a Cleric with advantage!

This is a great endgame feat if you just need to hate casters. Alternatively, you can dedicate spell slots and hope that the creature fails saves against spells like Silence or Counterspell.


This is a very simple feat. You get a +1 to a stat of your choice; likely Strength or Constitution. Then, you become proficient in the saving throw of that stat. 

We highly recommend Constitution. As a frontliner, you’re going to be taking a lot of poison procs, as well as a lot of damage that may interrupt your concentration. By becoming proficient in Constitution saves, you’ll be a more reliable caster and be less affected by spells that often target frontliners.


Tired of casters walking away from you without much issue? Sentinel is perfect!

This ability prevents a creature from moving when you hit them with an opportunity attack. It also disables Disengage. Finally, you gain a reaction that lets you attack an opponent who attacks someone other than you.

These three abilities make you a massive pain to deal with. Forcing enemies to engage with you can make some Wizards have to teleport to escape. As long as someone is in melee with you, that reaction is going to occur all of the time. 

Disabling the Disengage action for yourself will likely rarely come up; disengage is just too niche. That said, when it does come up, you’ll feel fantastic as you stop the enemy from moving an inch.

This combos well with Mage Slayer for a late-game defender build.


This feat gives you two max health per level.

Basically, +4 to Constitution.

As the Cleric, you have to stay alive. Your spells and durability are the only things keeping your party from a brutal beating at the hands of your opponents. Giving yourself a total of 40 health is pretty staggering. Even if it lets you survive one extra hit, that’ll mean this feat has done its job.

However, it does nothing to improve your Constitution saving throws. Take this only if you don’t prefer Resilient.

War Caster

This feat is a good replacement for Sentinel, with a few more restrictions.

You gain advantage on Concentration checks if you take damage. Already great, since you’re going to be up-front and personal! This’ll let you keep spells like Banishment or Shield of Faith online during a brawl.

Somatic spell components can also be performed if your hands are full of weapons or shields. Good, but most DMs don’t care too much about Clerics casting spells while wielding weapons. This only really matters if your DM is a worry-wart about somatic components.

Finally, and most amusingly, you can use a spell instead of a melee weapon to make an opportunity attack. This means you can make an attack of opportunity with Hold Person. Or Guiding Bolt. These tend to be stronger than most melee attacks. Especially with the Cleric Spell list!

If you take this feat, then Sentinel is no longer necessary. However, it is close for which one is better. This one is better for casters, while Sentinel is better for weapon-based builds.

Multiclassing for War Clerics

War Clerics benefit from classes that like Heavy Armor. Admittedly… Not many classes really like heavy armor. Here are a few options.


Fighters have two major benefits. 

At level 1, you gain a fighting style. This Fighting Style can be a +1 to AC, or it can be a bonus to damage. Alternatively, you can take Archery and get a massive bonus to hit! These will make you much scarier with weapons, which is exactly what a War Domain cleric should strive towards. Second Wind isn’t bad, either!

Getting to level 2 is well-worth it. Action Surge is an insanely potent ability that Fighter is legendary for. A Cleric being able to cast two spells in a single turn is incredibly strong. Even using it just to make several additional attacks with your weapon and War Priest ability can be effective.

Going farther into Fighter is unnecessary. If you want to hit level 3 and get an Archetype, we suggest picking up Eldritch Knight, which will give you back 1 spell slot and some Wizard spells.


The most explosive choice is the Paladin. Divine Smite, a level 2 ability, is ridiculous with 5th level spell slots. Paladins weren’t balanced around getting these spell slots so early, so a War Cleric Paladin can become a deadly nuke. With a +10 to an attack, you can guarantee that your Divine Smites hit the mark, dealing upwards of 6d6 damage on top of your weapon dice by level 12!

However, this build requires 13 Charisma, which is hard. If you can afford to have a few points in that stat, then this strategy can pay dividends!


We do not suggest using Ranger without the ranger Optional Features, which tend to be very slightly stronger than the Ranger’s base features.

While not as versatile as Fighter, 2 levels in Ranger give you a fast return on spell slots, some unique options in Favored Foe and Deft Explorer, and a Fighting Style.

Deft Explorer grants you Expertise in a skill, which can be handy out of combat. Favored Foe is a niche choice to just improve your damage slightly during a hard fight.

At level 2, you gain some good low-level spells and a Fighting Style. Archery, Defense, and Dueling are all quite good for different builds.

Overall, this isn’t a great improvement over Fighter. Replacing Action Surge with better spells and some utility is not fantastic. This is a better option for combat-light campaigns, where the extra utility will be appreciated.

How to Play a War Cleric

The final section of our war cleric 5E guide covers helpful tips for playing this type of cleric. Clerics are an important tool to any adventuring party, with an impressive spell list. The War Cleric is a simple soul, and a great choice for players just starting DnD. Here’s some starting tips for this domain.

Out of Combat

  • Use Skills and Magic to Your Advantage. Not all spells need to kill enemies. Try to use magic like Guidance and Command to get creatures to help you out. Use your proficiency in skills like Insight and Persuasion to find information and influence people. 

In Combat

  • War Priest should be used often. War Priest is a solid bonus action, allowing you to deal big damage to enemies in bursts. Using Two-Handed Weapons or Longbows can allow you to pump out high numbers with an additional bonus action. If you’re in a fight, don’t be afraid to spend your resources to deal with threats quickly. Every point of damage counts!
  • Guided Strike can be used every Short Rest. Channel Divinity comes back online quite often. So, make sure you use Guided Strike whenever you think it’s important. For example, if you cast Guiding Bolt and whiff an enemy, then feel free to just use Guided Strike to make sure the enemy takes the damage. You can have the party rest if you think you need Guided Strike back; it’s important to use this to ensure that combat ends quickly.
  • Make sure your party can use War God’s Blessing. While Clerics can do good damage with weapons, other party members might do a lot more damage with attack rolls. Feel free to use this ability to make sure your Rogue can land a sneak attack, or a Wizard can decimate someone with Disintegrate. War God’s Blessing is likely a better use of Channel Divinity than hitting someone with a weapon. And you can even use this if the target already has advantage! This bonus will come in handy every single time you spend it.
  • Avatar of Battle is not as useful as you think. At level 17, many enemies will have magical weapons on their side. Avatar of Battle only protects from nonmagical damage. While you will be tankier to many different kinds of enemies, you’re far from an invincible Barbarian. Make sure you understand how much damage you can take, and feel free to retreat when necessary.
war cleric build 5E

War Cleric 5E Build FAQ

Get all the answers to your burning war War Domain cleric questions here.

Is War Cleric Any Good?

The war cleric is a fun option for anyone that wants to play a combat-centric cleric: but is it any good? That is debatable. The goal of the war cleric is a lot of fun. Something between a cleric and a paladin that has all of the utility of the cleric class, with the hack-and-slash fun of a strong paladin build? Sign me up! The problem is that weapon attacks alone just aren’t that great as you scale levels. Your cantrips will consistently deal more damage, and usually of a type that is less likely to be resisted by monsters. Using your channel divinity to make bonus action attacks is nice, but at the end of the day you are looking at a limited amount of additional damage in exchange for using up your Channel Divinity slots. In the end, a paladin character is likely to always be a better divine martial option compared to a war cleric thanks to Divine Smite.

What Book is War Cleric in 5E?

The war cleric is located in the Players Handbook for 5th Edition D&D. It is one of the original cleric subclasses offered in this version of the game.

Conclusion – Our War Cleric 5E Guide

That concludes our War Cleric 5e Guide! The War Domain is just as simple but effective, as a lot of combat-focused subclasses in 5e. Channel Divinity is by far the most impactful ability in the subclass… Though that means the cleric themselves lack a bit of oomph in terms of standard domain buffs. Even with this, the domain spells are fantastic, the War Priest ability is… okay, and permanent Stoneskin is one of the more impactful capstones to a domain. Consider this for any offensive-leaning support builds you want to go for.

Want to see your other Cleric options or how to optimize your character in general? Check out our Comprehensive Cleric 5E Guide!

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