Whenever you build a character, the perennial question of feats comes up. Should you pick a feat instead of an ability score increase? If so, what feats are worth taking?
This guide provides an easily referenced list of the best feats for Monk characters as well as an explanation of when you should and shouldn’t take a feat.
Feats vs. Ability Score Increase
Whenever your monk hits level 4, 8, 12, 16, or 20, they are eligible for an ability score increase of two points, distributed as you wish. However, instead of this increase, you might decide to take a feat.
That means, first of all, that picking a feat involves sacrificing two ability score points. If you pick a feat, it should either be vital to your character build or you should be already happy with where your ability scores are.
For monks, the critical ability scores are Dexterity and Wisdom. These two scores contribute to a monk’s AC, their attack and damage bonus, and various subclass abilities.
Moreover, as a martial character, monks can’t afford to skimp on their Constitution score either, especially with a hit die of only 1d8.
It may seem that monks will rarely get a chance to pick a feat. However, you may decide that your character simply needs a particular feat more than an ASI, or you might be granted a free feat by your race.
There are also several good half-feats for monks, feats that grant a single point in an ability score along with a few benefits that usually end up being less powerful than a full feat but still more interesting than just another numerical advantage.
Because of the monk’s reliance on three separate ability scores, full feats need to be extremely good or necessary for a build to choose them over an ASI.
Thus, there are a few more half-feats listed below than full feats.
Best Feats for Monks
This is just a great feat overall. You get 3 luck points that refresh on a long rest.
Any time you make an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can spend one luck point to reroll the D20 involved as long as you do it before the outcome is determined, and you get to choose which of the rolls to keep.
You can also use a luck point when someone makes an attack against you, making this feat defensive as well.
This feat is a little complicated but can potentially add a lot of interesting options for you monk. It grants access to two of the Battle Master’s maneuvers along with one superiority die, which refreshes on a short or long rest.
These maneuvers allow your monk to engage in tricky actions during combat, repositioning enemies or allies, adding bonuses to various combat rolls, or simply tripping up your enemies to leave them in the dust.
If you want more versatility in combat, I recommend this feat, though I also recommend taking a moment to look through the options.
For example, while the Trip Attack Maneuver is excellent, there are a lot of options that can be chosen to fit your playstyle, such as the Grappling Strike, which allows making a grapple attempt as a bonus action.
Technically, this feat is a little redundant with the monk’s usual abilities.
It increases your speed by 10 feet, lets you ignore difficult terrain when using the dash action, and allows you to prevent opportunity attacks from a creature you attacked in the last turn.
However, if you’re looking to make the fastest character you possibly can, the Mobile feat is a must-have.
A monk with a base speed of 30 feet who has reached level 2 can move 120 feet per round using Step of the Wind to double dash.
The Mobile feat adds 30 additional feet to that, and if you have the Boots of Speed, it adds another 30 (for a total of 180 feet per round).
This feat allows you to drop a creature’s speed to 0 whenever you hit them with an opportunity attack, and a creature provokes an opportunity attack from you even if they take the disengage action.
Plus, whenever a creature makes an attack on someone else who doesn’t have Sentinel, you can burn your reaction to make a melee-weapon attack against the attacker.
This works great for Shadow monks, who might want to prevent enemies from escaping a Silence spell, or spear wielding monks with a greater reach than usual.
With the monk’s relatively low hit-point total and martial nature, more survivability can be tempting. For survivability, this is the best feat for Monks.
It increases your hit point maximum by twice your level when you gain this feat, and whenever you gain a level afterwards, your hit-point maximum increases by an additional 2 hit points.
That can really add up after a few levels!
Best Half-Feats for Monks
Each of these feats grants 1 point to a specific ability score or set of ability scores.
Where a choice can be made, I recommend upgrading either your Dexterity or Wisdom for monks. If both of these are already at 20, then more Constitution never hurts.
This feat grants 1 point to either Strength or Constitution.
Once per turn when you hit a creature with bludgeoning damage, you can move them 5 feet to an unoccupied space (provided the creature isn’t more than one size larger than you).
Moreover, your bludgeoning-damage critical hits grant everyone else advantage on that creature until your next turn.
This is an excellent feat for monks looking for a little more battlefield control. The repositioning can be really useful, especially if you fight near a cliff!
Elven Accuracy (Elves and Half Elves Only)
This feat grants 1 point to Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. Whenever you have advantage on an attack roll with one of these four ability scores, you can reroll one of the dice once.
This effectively grants triple advantage, which can be excellent if your build focuses on methods of gaining advantage.
Shadow monks, for example, might use darkness (and darkvision), and other monks might simply shove prone their enemies before using a triple advantage Flurry of Blows.
This feat grants 1 point to Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma. It also grants the Misty Step spell, and one 1st-level Divination or Enchantment spell. Each spell can be used once per long rest without needing a spell slot.
Misty step makes a great mobility tool to enhance your monk, and the extra spell can include Hunter’s Mark and Hex, both excellent sources of additional damage (though Hex is better).
This feat grants 1 point to Dexterity. It is only really useful for the Kensei monk subclass, which can allow a monk to use firearms as their monk weapon.
The feat allows you to ignore the loading property of firearms and to ignore the usual disadvantage when within 5 feet of a hostile creature.
That can be extremely valuable when trying to maximize your attacks as a Kensei monk.
This feat grants 1 point to either Intelligence or Wisdom. It grants the ability to read the lips of any creature you can see so long as you speak the same language.
More importantly, it grants a hefty +5 to your passive Wisdom (perception) and Intelligence (investigation).
As a monk, your perception is likely to be one the best in the party already, and this can push it over the top. Just be sure that your DM knows how passive perception works and runs it before taking this feat!
This feat grants 1 point to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. It also grants the Invisibility spell and one 1st-level Illusion or Necromancy spell, both of which can be used once per long rest without needing a spell slot.
I recommend this for monks wanting to go the stealthy route. Invisibility plus Disguise Self or Silent Image can make for a very stealthy character.
This feat grants 1 point to any ability score of your choice as well as proficiency in a skill of your choice and expertise in any skill you are proficient in.
This array of bonuses can bring the monk closer to the rogue’s skill mastery, allowing the monk to fill the rogue’s usual spot in the party as scout and problem solver.
Depending on your monk build, feats might be essential or just a waste of time. If you are choosing a feat though, these are some of the best for monks.
Whether you’re a DM trying to come up with enemies with unusual tactics or just someone trying to see how fast a D&D character can run, consider one of these feats before anything else on the official list.