Dungeons and Dragons' Fighter class is one of the most popular and easy to understand classes in the game, often serving as an excellent entry point for new players. Traditionally offensive and combat-centric warriors, Fighters come in a variety of forms through the litany of subclasses they have access to after reaching a certain level.

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As one of the premier ways of building Dungeons & Dragons characters online, D&D Beyond has recently examined which of these subclasses are the most popular and utilized by the most players, and their findings can be summed up here. So today, we're going to examine the most popular Fighter subclasses in D&D and shine a light on each of their strengths and appeal.

Updated February 3rd, 2021 by Kristy Ambrose: There are currently a total of eleven official subclasses for Fighters, but that doesn't include the myriad of possibilities that homebrews and future supplements will yield. We've completed our list to add all of the official Dungeon & Dragons Fighter subclasses, but remember that both players and Dungeon Masters can push the bounds of fantasy and create something completely new with the huge amount of extra materials available.

11 Psychic Warrior

Psychic Warrior D&D

The Psychic Warrior is the least popular of the subclasses, but that's because it's a fairly obscure reference that a lot of players don't even know, not because it's too complex or boring to play. It's one of the possibilities for subclasses listed in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, along with other psionic-based classes like the Soulknife and the Illithid Slayer.

A Psionic Warrior is primarily a Fighter who supplements their combat prowess with psionic abilities. Their psychic powers level at the same rate as their combat skills and they gain a new ability at every level, like Autohypnosis or Concentration. The exact spells and abilities they have might depend on the module you're playing and the kind of game your DM wants to build.


10 Banneret/Purple Dragon Knight

banneret fighter

Somewhat obscure comparatively to other entries on this list, Bannerets, also known as Purple Dragon Knights, are a distinctly support-based Fighter sub-class. This might be why they're low on the list, as most players who roll Fighters prefer melee combat.

However, while Fighters are traditionally characterized by their offensive capabilities, this class can help in rounding out a party in the form of abilities that allow a character to heal their allies and allowing them to re-roll saving throws.

9 Echo Knight

echo knight d&d

The Fighter sub-class that was the most recently added to D&D, Echo Knights are an incredibly unique Fighter Archetype that will surely explode in popularity as time progresses.

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Echo fighters have the ability to project an echo of themselves in use it in a variety of ways. That includes attacking enemies with it from afar or even swamping their place with them.

8 Rune Knight

Appearing in an Unearthed Arcana expansion, Rune Knights can utilize traits and abilities associated with giants and are capable of enhancing their equipment with the power of mythical runes.

These runes can be used with a great deal of flexibility, providing buffs ranging from providing resistances and advantages on specific checks, along with doubling one's proficiencies with tools.

7 Cavalier

Cavaliers are the Fighter sub-class most in line with a traditional armored knight. Cavaliers are defined by their exemplary expertise in riding mounts. Whether they ride a traditional mount like a horse or even something more fantastical such as a griffin, Cavaliers gain advantage when making rolls regarding falling off their mount.

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Additionally, Cavaliers gain numerous useful abilities that assist them in combat, such as the capability to mark foes, inflicting them with numerous inhibiting hindrances.

6 Arcane Archer

When it comes to long-range sub-classes for Fighters, few can compare to the Arcane Archer. While arrows can traditionally be used to attack foes from a safe distance, the Arcane Archer provides arrows with a significant amount of additional utility through the use of Arcane Shots.

These special arrows can be shot by Arcane Archers and have a wide array of potential applications. They can temporarily weaken targets, hold them in place, or even create large bursts of damage through detonating arrows.

5 Samurai

Samurai are perhaps one of the most defensive and sustainable Fighter sub-classes and are perfect for players who want to be able to reliably soak up large sums of damage whilst simultaneously being able to dish it out.

At their third level, Samurai gain access to the Fighting Spirit ability, which serves as the subclass's bread and butter. Fighting Spirit can be used to simultaneously put one's self at advantage when attacking while also supplying temporary HP.

4 Gunslinger

Created for Critical Role but made widely available on D&D Beyond, as the name would suggest, the Gunslinger is a subclass that utilizes guns and firearms to great effect. Gunslingers are not only able to wield guns but are able to craft a wide variety of ammunition and additional guns.

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Furthermore, as a Gunslinger continues to level up, they gain access to numerous abilities that allow them to utilize their guns in interesting ways. An example is a variety of trick shots that possess their own properties.

3 Eldritch Knight

Reminiscent of the classic Final Fantasy class, the Red Mage, Eldritch Knights are fighters that adept in both physical combat as well as spell casting. Players that are interested in taking a combo-class to the next level would enjoy exploring this Fighter subclass.

Eldritch Knights are incredibly versatile due to their unique blend of strengths, making them a phenomenal choice for players seeking a well-rounded, jack of all trades that can benefit a party in a myriad of ways.

2 Battle Master

Often regarded as one of the strongest and most optimal choices for players seeking to play as a Fighter in D&D, Battle Master's are capable of making a significant impact in combat through the use of their maneuvers and superiority die.

When a player chooses to make their character a Battle Master at level three, they learn three maneuvers that can provide additional benefits and attributes. The effects of these maneuvers range from the ability for that Battle Master to attack again if an enemy fails to hit that character with a melee attack, or even the ability to disarm a targeted foe.

1 Champion

fighter 5e

Fighters are often viewed as one of the more simplistic classes a player can select in D&D, and Champion is the most straightforward sub-class for Fighters. Despite its simplicity, the Champion is incredibly powerful and are capable of making significant and meaningful contributions to one's party.

This is notably due to a Champion's improved rate of landing a critical hit. Normally, a player can only land a critical hit if they roll a twenty when attacking. However, at level three, Champions double this rate, allowing rolls of nineteen to also count as critical hits. This is even further improved upon when that character reaches level fifteen, as rolls of eighteen will also count as critical hits.

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