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The Best Eldritch Knight Build

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The Eldritch Knight of Dungeons & Dragons is a Fighter subclass that combines the martial and arcane in a powerful blend of magic and melee. Drawing from their knowledge of protective and destructive magic, they can put themselves easily on the frontline, providing a protective barrier between their lesser-armored allies and dangerous foes.

Combining magic and melee has some major advantages, but players really needs to know how to build their character for maximum effect. The right racial bonuses and attributes, stat allotment, spells and feats can guarantee that the very thin line between the martial and the arcane can be crossed with great reward rather than severe consequence.

Eldritch Knight Build Summary

Ability Scores (in order of importance) Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma
Race Mountain Dwarf
Background Sage, Soldier
Feats Warcaster, Magic Initiate, Elemental Adept
Spells Booming Blade, Fireball, Greater Invisibility

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Maximize the Eldritch Knight’s Strength & Constitution

A fighter standing near a dead giant in DnD

Even though the Eldritch Knight has arcane knowledge, they still need to be powerful fighters. This means pouring as many points as possible into Strength and Constitution. Ideally, these should both have at least 16 points in them to provide the Eldritch Knight with the ability to make powerful melee attacks while also being able to take hits.

After those, prioritize Intelligence, which establishes the Eldritch Knight’s spellcasting DC and modifier. With the right racial bonuses, there should be enough points left in the pool to ensure Intelligence is at least 12. Because of this subclass’ abilities and build, Dexterity won’t be nearly as essential as it typically is for Fighters, so 10 is fine to start with.

Why Mountain Dwarf Is the Best DnD Race for an Eldritch Knight

Mountain Dwarf DnD

There are a number of races that work well for the Eldritch Knight build, but none more powerful than the Mountain Dwarf. Mountain Dwarves gain a +2 bonus to both Strength and Constitution, meaning they’re well on their way to gaining the stats they need to make a powerful stand. All Dwarves gain an automatic +2 to Constitution, but only the Mountain Dwarf can also add that +2 to Strength. Half-Orc, Orc, Leonin, Goliath and Loxodon are also good options, as they all gain +2 to Strength and +1 to Constitution. Any race that grants a significant bonus to Strength, Constitution or both is well-worth pursuing, so look through the stat bonuses each race gains before choosing.

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The Most Helpful Backgrounds for an Eldritch Knight

Psychic Warrior Fighter Subclass in D&D

Background choice should be related to the character being created, but there are some options that enhance an Eldritch Knight build. Sage provides proficiency in Arcana and History and allows the player to choose scholarly training as a Wizard’s apprentice — which could be a great leaping off point for where they forged their arcane foundation. On the flip side, Soldier provides proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation, and it’s great for explaining where the knight learned their martial skills, gained a rank and shaped their viewpoint on war and battle. There is also an option to sit down with the Dungeon Master and customize a background to make it specific and suitable to the Eldritch Knight’s history and proficiencies.

The Best Feats for an Eldritch Knight

D&D Eldritch Knight

Feats can give an Eldritch Knight build some powerful advantages. The War Caster feat grants advantage on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration for ongoing spells. It also allows the Eldritch Knight to use a spell attack as an attack of opportunity, as well as the ability to cast without using somatic components — which is perfect for a character who already has their hands full with a shield and weapon.

Magic Initiate allows the player to choose another magical class, like the highly recommended Warlock for access to Eldritch Blast and Hex. They gain access to two cantrips and one first level spell that can be cast at its lowest level once per long rest. Elemental Adept allows the player to choose a type of magical damage and makes it so any spells they cast of that element ignore resistances to that type of magic. This feat can be chosen multiple times, each time creating another magical damage resistance breaker that could come in handy against powerful enemies.

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The Best DnD 5e Spells for an Eldritch Knight

Dungeons & Dragons party skills in battle

When the Knight begins leveling up, they gain access to two cantrips from the Wizard spell list. The spells for their first level spell slot must be Wizard spells chosen from the School of Abjuration or Evocation. The maximum spell slot level for the Eldritch Knight is four, which is received at level 19, and the maximum number of slots they earn without deviating from their build is 11.

Powerful cantrips for the Eldritch Knight include Green Flame Blade and Booming Blade. Spells like Find Familiar, Protection from Good and Evil, Shadow Blade, Fireball and Greater Invisibility provide huge advantages. At level three, Eldritch Knights learn to perform a ritual that lets them bond with a favorite weapon. This means they can’t be disarmed of that weapon as long as they are not incapacitated and the weapon is on the same plane of existence. They can bond with up to two weapons, though only one can be summoned using a bonus action.

At seventh level, the Eldritch Knight gains access to War Magic, which allows them to cast a cantrip as their action and a melee weapon attack as their bonus action. With Eldritch Strike at level 10, they carve through enemy magical resistances with their weapons, forcing disadvantage on saving throws against a spell attack before the end of the Knight’s next turn. Action surge creates an opportunity to teleport up to 30 feet using the Arcane Charge feature at level 15. Level 18 improves the War Magic feature, allowing the Knight to cast a spell instead of a cantrip on their turn, then use their bonus action to make a melee weapon attack.

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