One of the best things about the Fighter subclasses in D&D 5e is that they show just how varied this class can be.

After all, Fighters come from all walks of life!

Some might come from military backgrounds with a strong focus on training, honor, and discipline. Meanwhile, others could come from more humble origins as courageous people who are rising to the call of adventure.

And yet there are still more who learn to combine magical or otherworldly powers with their martial ability to get the best of both worlds!

But with so many options for your Fighter, you might wonder which is the best option for you?

Today we’re going to be answering that question!

In this article, we’re going to be looking over and ranking each of the Fighter subclasses in D&D 5e.

Theme and style will be mentioned, but we’ll specifically be looking at the subclass’s mechanics, impact on the game, and how powerful they are in general situations.

Which Fighter subclass will take the top spot?

Find out now!

Number 8 – Purple Dragon Knight Fighter

If we were strictly looking at style, the Purple Dragon Knight (also known as Bannerets) would be towards the top of this list.

These are noble and chivalrous knights who are sworn to stand against evil and protect the people of the lands from which they come.

In battle, the mere presence of a Purple Dragon Knight can inspire those around them. Rallying behind these brave warriors, it becomes entirely possible to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Even still, these Fighters’ reputation and strict code of conduct also makes them welcome as royal envoys. They can navigate diplomatic matters just as well as those on the battlefield.

Unfortunately, despite the Purple Dragon Knight’s style, it does suffer mechanically.

Their signature feature is their Rallying Cry which allows them to provide some minor healing to nearby allies. When the chips are down, this can potentially turn the tide.

Additionally, they can work tactically with their allies to pull off some punishing attacks with their Inspiring Surge feature.

However, it can be difficult to get full use out of this subclass’s features. In fact, many of their features are also present in other Fighter subclasses that, quite frankly, often do it better…

I’m not going to say this is an awful subclass that shouldn’t even be considered. However, it does find itself at the bottom of this ranking.

Rally your allies with the full guide to the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter!

Number 8 – Arcane Archer Fighter

Moving on, we come to the Arcane Archer Fighter.

Tracing its ancient origins to Elves who mixed their deadly aim with their affinity for arcane magic, Arcane Archers are highly respected warriors in both Elven and non-Elven cultures.

As you might expect, the Arcane Archer is entirely based around ranged combat with their trusty bow.

Enchanting their arrows with powerful magic effects, an Arcane Archer’s shot can banish enemies, produce a magical explosion, and even home in on a target!

And that’s just to name a few!

Unfortunately, the Arcane Archer Fighter ends up falling into a bit of a “more style than substance” category…

The subclass is pretty severely hindered by its limited uses of its Arcane Shot feature. As cool as the effects are, only being able to use them a couple times per rest feels underwhelming.

To add insult to injury, a Battle Master Fighter focusing on ranged combat then becomes more consistently useful than an Arcane Archer.

Considering that ranged combat is… you know… these characters’ whole thing… It’s a bit awkward.

While some very cool options open when multiclassing as an Arcane Archer, in an “apples to apples” ranking like this, it misses the mark.

Take magical aim with the full guide to the Arcane Archer Fighter!

Number 8 – Champion Fighter

Sometimes it’s best not to overcomplicate things and that’s precisely the approach the Champion Fighter takes.

These Fighters take a “no frills” approach to combat with a playstyle that is both straightforward and effective.

The core of the Champion’s strategy is in expanding their ability to land critical hits against their enemies.

At level 3, Champions land critical hits and double their damage on a roll of 19 or 20 (instead of just a natural 20.) At level 15, that range expands again so that they land critical hits when they roll anywhere from 18 to 20.

This means that Champions want to swing hard and as often as possible.

All in all, this is an excellent subclass for those who are new to D&D and want to play a character with less options and resources to worry about.

While veteran players might find this subclass to be mechanically boring compared to other options, it’s far from useless.

Crit like there’s no tomorrow with the full guide to the Champion Fighter!

Number 7 – Psi Warrior Fighter

Psi Warrior Fighters are experts at using their psychic abilities to enhance their performance in combat.

Using these psionic powers, the Psi Warrior can create protective fields, add extra force to their attacks, or defy physics with a psi-powered leap through the air.

And that’s not even mentioning the utility that comes with being able to move things with your mind!

At every level, there is something to enjoy about playing a Psi Warrior Fighter. Additionally, it manages to strike a balance between giving a variety of fun options and not being overwhelming.

Besides, we’re all thinking it: who wouldn’t want to be a Jedi?!

The only downside to the Psi Warrior is that it heavily depends on its Psionic Energy Dice resource.

It can be easy to blow through this resource too quickly and then find yourself as “just a Fighter.” But if you’re too cautious and never spend them, you’re stuck with the same fate!

This means that the trick to playing a Psi Warrior Fighter effectively is learning how to best manage your Psionic Energy Dice.

It’s a bit of a tightrope walk, but you’ll have a great time once you find how to do that!

 Coming in at number 7 we have the Battlerager Fighter.

Unleash psychic awesomeness with the full guide to the Psi Warrior Fighter!

Number 6 – Samurai Fighter

Training their mind, body, and soul, the Samurai Fighter is an absolute sight to behold in combat.

This is a subclass that rewards lining up the perfect time to strike and then hitting your foe with everything you’ve got.

Steeling their resolve, the Samurai is able to use their Fighting Spirit feature to reliably give themselves advantage on their attack rolls.

Though in situations that are better dealt with by making even more attacks, your Rapid Strike feature will also help you pile on the damage.

And in the peak cinematic style of this subclass, the Samurai can even take an entire extra turn if they get dropped to zero hit points.

Whether they turn the tide of the battle or not, a Samurai Fighter isn’t going down without a fight!

I love everything about this subclass and have been surprised to find that players seem to have largely divided opinions on it.

But for its incredible offensive potential and features that really capture the cinematic feeling of Samurai in films and comics, I’m absolutely a fan!

Steady your blade with the full guide to the Samurai Fighter!

Number 5 – Cavalier Fighter

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Cavalier Fighter was exclusively suited for mounted combat. After all, mounts aren’t quite as useful when you’re squeezing through cramped dungeons filled with traps.

To be fair, I made that mistake for years before really looking closer at just what the Cavalier Fighter has to offer. I feel no shame in admitting how wrong I was!

The Cavalier Fighter is a simply incredible defender that is particularly impactful in groups that prefer a more tactical approach to running combat in D&D 5e.

These characters are excellent at making space on the battlefield for the rest of the party. Enemies will face stiff penalties for not focusing on you instead of your squishier allies.

Pushing the party’s defensive line forward until getting a moment to lead a glorious charge towards victory is just a wonderful feeling.

The Cavalier Fighter just might be one of the most underrated subclasses in all of 5e. But to that I say “no more!”

Hold the line and save the day with the full guide to the Cavalier Fighter

Number 4 – Eldritch Knight Fighter

When you simply can’t choose between swords or sorcery, the Eldritch Knight Fighter says “why not both?”

Combining their martial training with defensive Abjuration magic and famously-explodey Evocation magic, the Eldritch Knight sets out to become a one-person force of nature.

Because these warriors are using magic to supplement their combat abilities, your spell choice is arguably the biggest factor in how well you can perform.

Choosing the best spells for your group composition and personal playstyle will see you being able to perfectly mix spellcasting into your combat strategy.

Characters like the Eldritch Knight that mix spellcasting and melee combat are known as “Gish” and are a very popular theme. While there are many ways to make a “Gish” type character in D&D 5e, the Eldritch Knight is perhaps the most straightforward.

If you want to play this type of character but don’t want to worry about the finer details in building such a character, the Eldritch Knight is an excellent option.

It’s “on rails” enough that you (for the most part) don’t have to worry about making any “wrong” decisions. However, there is still plenty of room to make the character your own in a way that’s meaningful and fun.

Eldritch Knight Fighters might be a bit much if you’re brand new to D&D. However, they’re excellent once you learn the secrets to doing both melee combat and spellcasting equally well!

Make your ancestors proud with the full guide to the Eldritch Knight Fighter!

Number 3 – Rune Knight Fighter

If harnessing the ancient and mystical power of Giant runes is something you would like to possess, look no further than the Rune Knight Fighter!

On their own, these Fighters are able to bring the raw might of the Giants to the table.

Enhancing their own strength and growing in size (eventually being able to reach the same size as Giants themselves!), Rune Knights can be absolutely vicious.

But where this subclass really stands out is in their ability to use mystical runes to gain powers based on the various types of Giants.

The deceptive trickiness of Cloud Giants, the scorching ingenuity of Fire Giants, the brutal resilience of Hill Giants and more are yours to control.

Gaining both active and passive effects by inscribing these sacred runes on your equipment, the Rune Knight offers much more utility than many people expect from a Fighter.

This means that they’re adaptable, versatile, and always relevant in virtually any situation your group encounters.

There is a bit more to the Rune Knight than most other Fighter subclasses in D&D 5e, but don’t let that scare you off.

If any class can make a giant-sized impact on your game, it’s this one!

Get big with the full guide to the Rune Knight Fighter!

Number 2 – Battle Master Fighter

If you’re someone who likes to have tons of options and complete control over how your character plays, the Battle Master Fighter is absolutely for you.

I’m not going to lie, it’s almost infuriating how good the Battle Master can be at pretty much anything that you want to build them for.

The core of the Battle Master lies in their (huge) list of Maneuvers.

These maneuvers are special techniques that your Fighter can do in combat. They include things like distracting, tripping, and pushing enemies which can all have a huge impact.

There are even maneuvers that help you work strategically with your allies which means that Battle Masters are also excellent combat tacticians!

This subclass looks at several others on this very list and proceeds to sing that song from Annie Get Your Gun.

You know the one…

“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”

There are a simply insane number of ways that you can build your Battle Master Fighter. Whatever type of Fighter you are envisioning, you can make with this subclass.

For the longest time, the Battle Master would have taken the top spot in this ranking. But then another subclass came along…

Outmaneuver your foes with the full guide to the Battle Master Fighter!

Number 1 – Echo Knight Fighter

It’s rare that reading a new subclass literally makes my jaw drop, but that was exactly the case when the Echo Knight Fighter came out.

In fact, this subclass is so powerful that I have seen countless threads where DMs say that they just don’t even allow it at their table.

Now, I think that’s a bit excessive. However, there’s no denying just how much the Echo Knight changed the game for Fighters.

Using the magic of Dunamancy from the Wildemount setting, the Echo Knight Fighter is able to summon versions of themselves from alternative and unrealized timelines to assist them.

Whether you’re looking for defensive or offensive options, it’s all possible when you can literally be in two places at once!

The benefits of this subclass are truly insane. Summoning and working with your “Echo”, you’ll be able to effortlessly:

  • Teleport around the battlefield.
  • Attack from either your location or that of your echo (including opportunity attacks).
  • Perceive through your echo’s eyes and ears.
  • Have your echo take hits for you and your allies.
  • Gain temporary hit points when your echo is destroyed.

Oh, and, just to really make this subclass as crazy as possible, the Echo Knight’s capstone feature lets them now summon TWO echoes instead of just one.

The Echo Knight Fighter completely breaks the mold and changes the game. Especially in the hands of a player who takes a tactical approach to combat, it can be absolutely devastating.

Sure, there’s a pretty big learning curve to mastering this subclass, but don’t let that scare you. I’m here to help!

Harness the potential with the full guide to the Echo Knight Fighter!

Conclusion – Ranking Every Fighter Subclass in D&D 5e

It’s a bit difficult to evenly stack the Fighter subclasses up against each other. Like I said in this article’s introduction, they’re pretty varied!

However, I’m feeling fairly confident in this ranking.

With that said, this is also just my opinion. Any one of these subclasses has the potential to be your favorite character and exactly what your party needs!

But what do you think? Would you rank the Fighter subclasses differently?

Let’s chat in the comments!

You can find the Champion, Eldritch Knight, and Battle Master Fighter subclasses in the 5e Player’s Handbook.

The Purple Dragon Knight / Banneret Fighter is in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

The Arcane Archer, Cavalier, and Samurai subclasses are in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Find the Psi Warrior and Rune Knight Fighters in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Get the Echo Knight Fighter in the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.